panel88 artists at C2E2

Next weekend is the big C2E2 convention here in Chicago. Be sure to drop by artist alley to visit panel88-affiliated artist Jordan Gunderson. Jordan will be displaying his latest work for Zenescope along with original artwork for sale. He’ll also have ashcans of our latest project, Dissension, available for sale.

Get to know panel88 affiliated artist Miguel Sanchez

Miguel Sanchez gives some insight into the creative process, why comics are still an important communication tool, and background on his latest work, Starfish.

Answering the $3.99 comic wallet drain

Local Chicago shop The Comic Vault has your answer to the great $3.99 comic swindle.

Gettin’ it goin’ again

Been a while..too long really…since posting to the panel88 site about some new work, new projects, new friends. Are you sensing the theme here. We’ve had a lot going on in the last few months. Some things good – like new projects, new artists coming on board, new things to share with you in the very near future. Some things bad – folks taking off to do their own thing, friends moving, priorities needing to be set and reset (whether we like it or not).

Like with everything in our pretty little existences throughout this world, panel88 is changing and growing to take on the ever-evolving world of communication by way of graphic fiction. Is this a complete tease of a post with little content worth sharing – absolutely. But it’s also a herald. Stay tuned. Keep posted. Stand by. Follow us. It’s coming…

panel88 artists bring it to C2E2

To those fortune souls out there who’ll make it to the new C2E2 con in Chicago, be sure to drop by artist’s alley and meet the hard-working, ever-loving, multi-talented artists that have lent their skills to some of our projects. L.E.A.S.H. and Dissension artist Jordan Gunderson will be at table G12, showcasing some of his latest work on Cry Wolf, Daughter of Sin and all the goodies he’s been working on with panel88 along with much more. Soulless artist Eric Jimenez can be found at table E5 with his sure-to-please smorgasbord of illustrated goodness.

Be sure to follow us on twitter for regular updates on what’s happening on and off the show floor.

All hail the cameo king. Excelsior!

Striparella aside, you gotta love how Stan Lee keeps giving us the goods. Let’s hear it for the unsung cameo actors of the world.

The rate of (comic) universal expansion

While I may try to fight it, I’ve always been a sucker for expansions to comic titles. The adjective-less X-Men title (damn your multiple covers) sewed a seed in the early ’90′s that has since managed to empty my wallet and pack full several short boxes many times over. As a Marvelite, this means X-titles dominate about a third of the collection, followed most recently by Avengers in all forms – new, dark, mighty and recently initiated.

I often wonder, though, just how close are we skirting the line between excessive and complete overkill? (Or was it crossed a while ago?) I am not going down the continuity rabbit hole here, by the by. Anyone spending more time talking about the plot time lines of comics rather than the significance of the ideologies comic heroes represent aren’t really reading comics. Get over it. A story well-told beats a chronologically consistent one any day. We comic readers (for the most part) are adults and should be able to wrap our heads around this fairly easily.

What I’m getting at is a complete desensitization to our beloved characters and the ideas and themes they represent. Take my personal fav. Wolverine. When I began reading X-Men I savored every last line and panel featuring the ol’ Canucklehead. Didn’t matter what the story was – as long as Wolvie was in it, I was, too. This was fine when that meant picking up two or three titles, but bring that concept through to today and I could easily find myself dropping an extra $20 or more a week at the comic shop in order to snap up every title featuring Wolverine. Not that I’m opposed to doing so, but it muddies the waters a bit when I can simultaneously see Wolvie battling his abandoned son Daken, bounding around San Francisco with the regular X-Men crew, carrying out covert wet-work ops with X-Force, teaching the New Mutants a canned lesson in life and three or four other story lines in the numerous new X titles I now cannot bring myself to buy.

The point here is that we’re treading steadily up the hill of the major marketing no-no of over-saturation. It’s simply too much and the ultimate victim ends up being the character. I don’t care, necessarily, what he does where and the order in which he does it. What I care about is whether or not he’s still on the mission to make sense of his past and balance the feral and human facets of his life. Unfortunately, amidst fighting the brood, his son, anti-mutant hysteria, Magneto, Romulus, government operatives and biker gangs, it’s hard to attach oneself that, through it all, the hairy little mutant is still trying to sort himself out. Hell, he doesn’t even have time to eat or fit in a good lay (that isn’t entirely true – thank you Jason Aaron and the consistently solid new Weapon X series).

Don’t get me wrong. I want to see my favorite characters doing as much as possible, I just want to keep the feeling that they’re actually being amidst all the doing.

When digital gods question their own faith

In addition to being a life-long practitioner of the proud traditions of the comic book geek, my skills as a resident geek of all things pop and tech culture have grown quite a bit over the past few years. One place I’ve found these ideologies of geekdom to have come together quite nicely is the Underwire blog on The tasty little slivers of all things comic-bookly techy pop (in varying combination) have aptly filled many a lunch hour. That is until I came across Scott Thill’s recent post on Andi Ewington’s Forty-Five appeared it would provide the same satisfaction.

From the outset the post was a great teaser for a graphic novel I soon hope to own. It touched on the concept of, essentially, a new style for investigative journalism’s use in graphic fiction. I’d honestly love to see the technique used more and hope Ewington brings us something that’ll push the medium further.

Scrolling down past several beautifully executed pieces of finished art, it all gets a bit lost. Instead of exploring the book and its themes, the post breaks down into a recounting of the hard work it takes to pull together resources and meet deadlines in order to get a book out. (Really? It’s hard work?) Everyone now and then should be allowed a few pedestrian bits to help fill space (wouldn’t doubt it if most of you will probably think that’s exactly what I’m doing now). That being forgiven, what really gets me here is Thill’s final statement exploring the horizon for comics, questioning if there’s a digital age ahead.

Just to be clear, here we have a blog on the site for one of the world’s most preeminent technology publications questioning if the comic medium has a future in digital format. I don’t mean to break balls, but I can’t help but be astounded at the lack of credit given to the comics industry by a blog that should damn well know better. Sure, there could have been earlier strides made to move comics away from print, but when I can now turn on an episode of Man Caves (you heard me) and see Marvel’s digital subscription service getting prime product placement as part of a fellow geek’s comic-themed basement renovation, I think it’s safe to say the digital age is here.

As creators, we shouldn’t even question the possibility of digital formats – we should embrace them, champion them. From the very start of a new comics project, we should be thinking of the digital promotion and delivery of the book right behind theme development and talent procurement. But most of all, we shouldn’t have to read pontifications by apparently savvy experts on all things geek as to where the future of our medium lies.

We’ve seen our future. We know it. Now let’s get our there and prove it.

Hello, Monday.

Nothing like some kung fu a la Cowboy Bebop to start the week off right. Enjoy.

Watchmen cartoon

Opening the New Year under the very real threat of ultimate vengeance from Alan Moore and his unmerciful snake god, I give you the Watchmen cartoon.