Monday, August 31, 2015

#FourComics

Originally published on LongJohnComic.com.

There was a fascinating meme going around the internet at the beginning of the year called ‪#‎fourcomics‬. Started by prolific comic writer, Jim Zub, on Twitter, he asks creators and fans to post the four comics that really inspired them in their youth. With such an interesting premise, I decided to jump on the bandwagon. However, narrowing down the influential comics in my life to a mere four was a bit more trying than initially expected. However, when thinking about which comics were inspiring only as a youth, four comics did, eventually, rise to the fore. Though I can't necessarily vouch for their current impact or importance, there is no doubt that young comic-reader Dan was pushed into the realm of story-creation and drawing by the four comics below.

X-Men #1 (1991): This was the first comic I ever purchased and was hooked from the get-go. It was, it could be argued, a signal flare that helped to ignite everything that went wrong with comics in the '90s, but I hold onto it because of its incredible nostalgic value.
One of 5 different, interlocking covers released for X-Men #1 in 1991. Art by Jim Lee.
One of five different, interlocking covers released for X-Men #1 in 1991. Art by Jim Lee & Scott Williams.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Long John, Volume 1 is For Sale

I am proud to announce that the collected Volume 1 of Long John is now on sale on my Etsy store. It is priced at $7 plus $3 shipping, bringing the total cost to around $10 for a perfect-bound (rather than stapled as found in a regular comic book issue), 48-page book that collects "Sunza" as well as "Save the Bones."
EtsyShop

Features

It does feature a couple of tweaks to dialogue in both stories, nothing entirely crucial––mostly to improve the reading experience as a physical book (as I've written about) or to clarify––but enough to warrant mentioning. The most exciting things are the inclusion of some new art (not to be confused with new pages).

With Volume 1, I continue the tradition I started with the Eben07 books by including what I call a "white page" to close the chapter or story. It's something inspired by what Bill Watterson did to close out his Calvin and Hobbes book collections: an otherwise blank page with a drawing in the middle of it. With Calvin and Hobbes, it was usually a gag or heartwarming moment; with the Eben07 white pages, which continues in Long John, these act as a visual coda that summarize the ending of the book and, possibly, hint at future tales. With that in mind, I created white pages for both the end of "Sunza" as well as "Save the Bones."

The most exciting addition (again, as mentioned before), however, is that Josh Tobey––artist on "Save the Bones"––was kind enough to create a "cover" for his story and it is gorgeous.

Book Details

  • 48-pages collecting "Sunza" and "Save the Bones."
  • Perfect-binding
  • New art and revised text
  • Includes the essay, "Behind Every Line and Between Every Panel"
  • Ships with custom Long John sketch on a card stock comic book backing board
  • Ships with Long John bookmark
  • Every book is signed
  • $7 + $3 media mail shipping (within the states, $10 international shipping)
If you want one, pick one up and support independent comics at the same time! The store is a bit bare right now, but I'm in the process of adding some prints I have made as well. Keep an eye on it in the coming weeks. If you have any questions or problems purchasing the book, please e-mail me at longjohncomic@gmail.com.

Again, thank you all so much for your continued support and I hope the book meets your standards.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Dog / Person



Dan's Adventures in Dog-Raising
Dan's Adventures in Dog-Training (click for bigger version)

My summer has been busy, not the least part of which was the addition to my household of a puppy named Rusty. Based on my history, I would not be what one calls a "dog person," though I have nothing against dogs at all––I like my time with dogs, it encouraged my desire to get one––I am more of a "cat person." They are amenable to my personality and temperament: quiet, calm, relatively slow-moving.

With that in mind, it is no surprise that the recent addition of one Rusty Dog to our household (named after Rustin Cohle from True Detective, season 1; also, his coat is a rust reddish brown) has caused a bit of a schism in what had become "normal" life.  Having not been around a puppy for decades, I found the learning curve (on both sides of the leash) fascinating, tiring, frustrating, exhausting, infuriating, offensive, illogical, horrifying, etc., etc.

We got the basic training down; Rusty can sit, lay, and (occasionally) off. But, for some reason, during a recent obedience class, the teaching of a simple trick, taught to us as "shake" though I have done my best to convert it to "high five" (though it is clearly a "down low," but it's too late now), hit me in the emotional core of my being. And so, I drew a comic about it.

In the interest of full disclosure, the real incident that inspired the above comic was a little different than depicted. Both my wife and I attend the obedience classes with Rusty. The week that "shake" was taught, my role was as an anchor point for Rusty––holding his leash and sitting on a stool––as Nicole worked with him on various commands. It was over the span of about five minutes when Rusty went from a non-shaking dog to one that was hoisting his paw every chance he got that I became a little overwhelmed by literally watching a sentient entity learn in front of my eyes despite being a completely different species with whom we cannot cogently communicate or understand (and vice versa). Perhaps it was my background as a teacher that bolstered my emotional reaction, but seeing such a change––an ostensible exhibition of reason and logic––over a short amount of time hit me hard. I know it's basic Pavlovian response, but it's fascinating watching a dog assess his situation, his eyes darting from hand to hand to face and eyes, putting the puzzle together. So, panels five and six are probably the most accurate panels in the entire cartoon.

I may not have been a dog person going into this––and, in truth, I may not yet be an all-in dog person––but little moments like this are really helping open up those doors.
Dan & a very young Rusty.
Dan & a very young Rusty. And a beer. And my grandpa's smile (it freaks me out; I don't normally smile like that).


Monday, August 24, 2015

Mind in the Gutters: Satoshi Kon's Opus

Originally posted at LongJohnComic.com.
Cover to Satoshi Kon's Opus

It's not a lie that much of Satoshi Kon's manga, Opus (published stateside by Dark Horse Comics in November 2014), is basically an action-adventure version of 2006's Stranger Than Fiction, a drama-comedy directed by Marc Forster and starring Will Farrell as an unknowing protagonist of a novel written by a novelist, played by Emma Thompson, in the "real world." The major plot point of the film comes when the protagonist and the novelist actually meet and they both realize that they have either much less or more power, respectively, over their lives than previously known, and they are both horrified.