Wine-Book Wednesdays: John Kerschbaum

Whenever I think of John Kerschbaum, it’s his comic The Wiggly Reader that immediately leaps to mind. It’s wonderfully warped and funny, and it was my first introduction to his work. Since then he’s done a variety of projects, from Timberdoodle (a mini-comic about the life of a boy who has an actual log in place of his genitalia), to Petey and Pussy (the two most deranged pets you’ve ever met).

He’s actually someone whose work appears all over the place, though, not just in comics. Every now and then without warning I seem to find myself coming across his illustrations in a variety of publications, from The New Yorker to National Lampoon. It’s always a nice surprise.

His illustration is short and sweet, and it amuses me to no end… just like Kerschbaum’s comics.

Wine-Book Wednesdays: Bryan Talbot

Ah, Bryan Talbot. There are times when it seems like less a question of, “What’s he worked on?” but rather, “What hasn’t he worked on?” To me he’s forever associated with The Adventures of Luther Arkwright and its sequel Heart of Empire, as well as his gripping story of an abusive parent in The Tale of One Bad Rat.

But he’s also worked on other people’s books, including Sandman, and he’s continued to put out a lot of great books since the ones mentioned. (Which reminds me that I still need to sit down and read his Grandville graphic novels that came out last year and this year. Oops!)

When I got this sketch from Bryan at SPX, I’d also bought a Heart of Empire print and he explained for about five minutes the usage of the golden rectangle within the layout of the print, and the theories behind how everything was mapped out. He’s a brilliant man, a great artist, and also super-friendly. A nice combination.

Wine-Book Wednesdays: Jay Hosler

Jay Hosler is one of those rare comic creators who blends science and comics together. (Another creator who you should search out, if this idea interests you, is Jim Ottaviani, whose stuff is also great. But I’m getting ahead of myself.)

I first encountered his work through Clan Apis, the story of the lifecycle of a bee. You might be thinking, “Really?” but honest, it’s utterly riveting as he brings us through the life story of Nyuki the bee. Since then he’s had several other great books including The Sandwalk Adventures, Optical Allusions, and (coming any day now) Evolution: The Story of Life on Earth. If that’s not enough, though, Jay’s one of those uber-awesome guys who is just a real pleasure to be around. He teaches at Juniata College and I must admit I’m a little envious of his students for having someone like him as a professor.

This drawing is from what was then his new book, The Sandwalk Adventure, telling the story of Darwin and his conversations he would have with a mite that lived in his eyebrow. I know, it sounds odd, but it was charming and funny and touching. And of course, poor Darwin’s general bewilderment over this talking mite was half the fun… as you’ll see below.

Wine-Book Wednesdays: Jeff Parker

Jeff Parker is truly a scholar and a gentleman. One of those people that’s always a real joy to talk to and hang out with; ever since he moved to Portland, Oregon, the West Coast’s gain has been the East Coast’s loss. This was my first sketch from the 2002 Small Press Expo, which was the first one for which I was Executive Director. (Well, first one that happened. Greg Bennett and I had taken over for the 2001 show that was regretfully cancelled.) I miss seeing him at SPX, and it was no small coincidence that I sought him out early in the show to get a sketch.

Anyway, these days with him writing books for Marvel like Agents of Atlas and Thunderbolts (as well as with artist Steve Lieber for Image Comics, the caving drama Underground), his newer fans might not know that he’s just just an accomplished writer, but also an artist. I loved his graphic novel The Interman and I keep hoping that one of these days we’ll see a new big fat graphic novel that he’s written and drawn.

Until then, though, this shall serve as a visual reminder that he knows that one way to make a sketch involving wine look even better is to involve a monkey.

(Those who read my blog via LiveJournal may very well recognize this image, since it’s the icon I tag all the Wine-Book Wednesdays posts with. Et voila!)

Wine-Book Wednesdays: Eddie Campbell

“When are you going to get a sketch from Eddie Campbell?” was the number one question I heard after starting this sketchbook back in 2001. Before becoming extremely well-known for drawing Alan Moore’s From Hell, Campbell wrote and drew Bacchus (previously under the name Deadface), about the craggy-faced but immortal god of wine himself.

Campbell is a real treat to meet, should you ever get the chance. He’s funny and well-spoken, and he’s the sort of person who spends a lot of time thinking about the medium in addition to simply drawing and writing comics. Campbell’s also the kind of person who keeps turning out new projects every time I turn around; The Playwright and The Fate of the Artist are just two of his recent books that I’ve loved.

With this drawing, I brought my 2002 trip to San Diego to a close, and it was a nice way to do so. (It also means I need to start scanning more pages out of my book!)

Wine-Book Wednesdays: Brian Hurtt

Brian Hurtt is an artist who just keeps getting better. He’s worked on numerous projects over the years; at the time he’d come off of a stint on Queen & Country, but these days he’s drawing the fantastic series The Sixth Gun, a great mixture of horror and adventure and westerns and a little bit of everything else.

Looking at this drawing, there’s something about the soft way he tackles these lines, and it’s just a hint of the artistic talent he has at his fingertips. I love his comics, and I love this sketch.

Wine-Book Wednesdays: Batton Lash

I first remember reading Batton Lash‘s comics when they showed up on the back cover of Polyhedron, back in the day. At the time it was titled Wolff and Byrd, Counselors of the Macabre, and as the name implies, it’s about lawyers that work with the supernatural. It’s also an awfully funny comic, whipping up parodies of everything you can imagine. (The book is now titled Supernatural Law, which has a snappier ring to it.)

Over the years as he’s come to SPX, and I’ve been out at San Diego, I’ve gotten to know Batton a bit better and he’s always to stop and talk with about just about anything. His wife, Jackie Estrada, runs the Eisner Awards and she is a much more patient person than I will ever be, as well as also being a treat to hang around.

This is from the last day in San Diego back in 2002, and seeing Mavis (world’s greatest secretary) having the double wine/whine joke was a nice way to start winding down the trip. Take it away, Mavis!

Wine-Book Wednesdays: J. Bone

When I asked J. Bone to draw in my wine book, he’d just started working on Mutant, Texas: Tales of Sheriff Ida Red with writer Paul Dini. I’d been a fan of Bone’s clean lines and character designs on books like it and Alison Dare, so I was looking forward to the end result.

What I hadn’t expected, though, was J. leaning over to Paul Dini and the two conferring on what he should draw. The end result was Ida being helped out by local cantina-owner Mezcal, giving her own little assistance in Ida’s glass, much to my amusement.

J. also works a lot with artist Darwyn Cooke, and as good as Cooke’s work is on his own, the Cooke/Bone combination? Out of this world.

Wine-Book Wednesdays: Steve Rolston

I first encountered Steve Rolston when he drew the initial story arc on Queen & Country, Greg Rucka’s British spy thriller comic. (The drawing below, in fact, is Queen & Country‘s Tara Chace.) I love the clean style of his art, and over the years he’s continued to perfect it.

These days he’s drawing a mini-series called Ghost Projekt, a supernatural techno thriller set in Russia, and he’s had a lot of other strong projects between the two that I’ve enjoyed. So often I have to end these posts with, “I sure wish I would see more from this artist,” but in Rolston’s case, I sure am glad we continue to get more comics drawn by him. Good, good stuff.

Wine-Book Wednesdays: Andi Watson

Andi Watson’s been around the block in the comics industry for ages, and while he’s staked out a name for himself over the years, I find it slightly frustrating that he’s not a bigger star than he is.

He’s got more comics out there than I can even possibly remember; he made his first big splash with Skeleton Key, a book about a girl who finds a key to different dimensions and becomes best-friends with a kitsune (Japanese fox-spirit), which is what the drawing below is from. But he’s done a ton of books since then, from a book about getting laid off and reshaping your life (Breakfast After Noon), to a sly take on romance novels meeting superheroics (Love Fights), to becoming a parent (Little Star). His latest book, Glister, is a series of stories about a young girl and the strange, slightly enchanted life she lives.

Watson’s an amazing comic creator, and I’m hoping we’ll see more from him Stateside before too long.