Tim's Notebook

Tim Larsen
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Ah yes, more email stuff!

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Storytelling Mechanics: Jack and Jill

What exactly makes up a memorable movie/play/comic book? When writing a story, how do you get people to follow you into your world?


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Tuesday Comic Review: 'Y: The Last Man Omnibus' Part 1 of 4

A mere 1,424 pages. A story with more overtones in this Covid-19 era than we care to admit. I'm breaking down this review into 4 parts to get through it.


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Four great websites that talk about comics.

"As of 2019, the average daily social media usage of internet users worldwide amounted to 144 minutes per day, up from 142 minutes in the previous year." -from Google.


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A tale of wish fulfillment.

Six years three apartments and two jobs ago I was walking from Safeway to my car in the parking lot when my phone went off.


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Tuesday Comic Review: Voodoo Nations

The world is made up of cultural clashes. One side is bigger, better equipped than the other. One side is on the ascent, the other on the decline.


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Tuesday Comic Review: Night Wolf 4

I remember the short list of Hollywood monsters proffered by Universal Studios going way back to the 1930s: You had Frankenstein's monster, Dracula, The Mummy, The Phantom of the Opera, The Creature from the Black Lagoon, King Kong, and finally...


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Tuesday Comic Review: Hollowed

The art and colors are a feast to behold. The palette is kept in check with an air of mastery by Darius Johnson as we see pages that alternate between pea green/ochre tan and violet to dark blue.


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Profile on "Hard Boiled's" Geof Darrow

I was told once that of the comic book artist Geof Darrow (born 1955) his artwork was so detailed that he would sometimes draw each panel separately. This was so he could cram in more and more 'stuff' in it.


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Tuesday Comic Review: Chango

The cross-artistic connection made between music and comic books is always a problematic one. It's a real challenge to get the 'spirit' of a musical piece or a singer/player to translate effectively into a sequential, still narrative.


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Tuesday Comic Review: Enlightement

It gets off to a strong start with a man at the depths of his depression. He's all alone in his unlit apartment at night.


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3 Rock Songs that Typify the '70s

Every pop tune worth its existence wallows in the era it was written in.


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Steve Ditko never took LSD

The one thing that stands out for me was a comic I picked up in the 1970s. By this time I was onto Marvel's reprint technique where I'd be reading something that already went by...


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Graphic novel review: Local

From time to time I get nostalgic about living in Minneapolis in the 1980s. It was my college years and I think about the random hang-outs we students would show up in...


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Letter from a fan

A while back I joined a Facebook group for fans of Sons of Anarchy. Every so often I'd submit a pencil drawing just for the heck of it. It was well received.


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Reference photos for comic books

Not too long ago in an interview on Part Time Fanboy with Kristan Horn I was told my work has a very 'active' quality. There's lots of movement and animated faces, body language etc. I was very flattered but to be honest I felt I was hiding a secret.


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One Year Anniversary.

It's been a year to this day that I started on my re-boot for my comic book Mayfield Eight, a 6 part saga covering a wild and dangerous weekend in the life of a 17 year old fry cook who gets caught up in Biker gangs, drug lords, crooked cops and a snarky waitress named Tina.


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On designing a comic book page: Focal Points.

Sometimes there's no getting around it. In making comics, no matter what is going on in the page story-wise you're going to have to acknowledge one hard fact.


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It was April 1971

when my Dad took me to my first custom auto show. We drove all the way into Minneapolis on a Sunday, a quiet cold-ish morning clear blue sky...


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Graphic novel spotlight: Conquering Armies.

It was back in the '70s when I bought new an oversize perfect-bound book featuring artwork reminiscent of the Roman Empire on the front.


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Kickstarter update: Fulfillment Time! (part 2).

Two prior failed Kickstarter campaigns... check. Main printer company bailed on everyone... check. Covid-19 pandemic crisis worldwide... check.


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(A painful) review: Dazed and Confused.

I was.


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Another '70s movie icon: 5 Easy Piece

"Okay, I'll make it as easy for you as I can. Give me an omelette, plain, and a chicken salad sandwich on wheat toast -- no butter, no mayonnaise, no lettuce -- and a cup of coffee."


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Script ideas, I got a million of 'em.

Script Ideas. Actually, about three or four...


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Kickstarter update: Fulfillment Time! (part 1)

Hey there! If you were part of my Kickstarter just this summer for 'White Meat' -awesome! I'm getting it together come fire evacuation, covid-19, what have you... You will get the goods in the next week or two!


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Graphic novel review: '13: The Astonishing Lives of the Neuromantics'.

Yves Navant is a gay man telling a story with a gay slant on things. Not because it's a stylistic choice, so much as it's in his nature...


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Roth Studios: T-shirts.

As I mentioned in a previous email I could fill a large document, say 80 pages of all the things Ed 'Big Daddy' Roth accomplished and influenced in his storied career...


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Mayfield Eight as a 'Grind House' exploitation flick:

When I launched the Kickstarter for "White Meat" I had a reward item being a 'Grind House' type of poster...


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Odd Rods.

They were great in that you had to bicycle (in my banana seat spider bike, natch!) to the candy store to buy the latest shipments. They were colorful, gross, semi-violent in a weird way...


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Robert Williams.

One major influence I had going way back was an L.A. artist who's -gasp- 77 now! His name was Robert Williams, and was featured in a page or two of that thick Underground Comix tome I bought in 1977.


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Comic book review: SHE by Ryan Lindsay and Chris Panda!

I was exiled from my home for 10 days as around me forest fires raged and the fire department kept it at bay...


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The Dodge Challenger: Vanishing Point and Mayfield Eight.

One of the most iconic 'looks' of the movies in the 1970s is the scraggly hero who goes up against the 'man': Elliot Gould in M*A*S*H, Dennis Hopper in Easy Rider, and of course...


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Backlog Library and STICKERS!

Want to go back to the past? For those of you who might want to check back with my older posts I now have them up on my website...


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Why I started making comics.

Years ago I went to art school and made paintings. Lots of them. They were quirky, and weird, and had odd people or odd things doing odd stuff in odd scenes. I got better and better at them. I made it all the way to where a far out-of-the way State University paid me a small bit of money -plus free tuition- to be an Art Teacher and get a Masters Degree.


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Sons of Anarchy sketch Mondays...

After giving a comic book review of Sons of Anarchy I decided to bone-up on the show and signed on to Hulu to watch it every Monday (my schedule).


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Why a Honda?

As an older teenager I dallied in building plastic models of cars and motorcycles, mainly cars though. I'd rarely finish them. Instead, I would get bogged down into the details; wiring, oil stains, paint finishes etc.


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Online Guided Tour of My Studio!

It's been a while since I've opened up and shared with you the site that I make my art in. Where do I work/live? I'm lucky enough to be situated in a cool, quiet neck of the woods not far from Santa Cruz Ca. It's small. I once cat-sat for a friend and found out it's not enough space even for one cat and myself!


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Why Dark City resonates with me.

To get you up to speed, Dark City was a Kafka-esque movie about a man, John Murdoch, who awakens alone in a strange hotel and is wanted for murder.


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Which came first, the script or the art?

That's a very good question. My answer would be script, but just slightly ahead, and in two versions. Let me explain.


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The 1970s: retro nostalgia vs the real deal.

I was expecting a flavor or intensity of the gritty, hard-core kind of New York 1970s like from Taxi Driver or Rocky. (The movie Joker did a great job of that).


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Comic Art Pro Tip: Inking

One of the parts I like about comic book pages is how they change in approach from each level of completion.


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Graphic novel review: Nameless

I always was a fan of those hokey self-explanatory 'aliens visited earth long ago' pseudo-scientific stories by the likes of Erich von Däniken (Chariots of the Gods?) that I tore through in the Seventh Grade in 1972.


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Comic Art Pro Tip: Drawing beyond the panel's edge...

When drawing people in a panel I sometimes lose my way with how 'big' or 'small' their hands/face hair etc. should be. How do you draw in a tight spot and keep everything into proportion?


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Comic book review: Zevon-7 by Quentin Shaw!

A while back I was asked to review a comic book by someone who -obviously- read one of my earlier reviews. So here goes:


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Comic Art Pro Tip: reference photos

Do I use reference photos? Boy, do I ever! One of the luxuries in this pre-COVID 19 era was that I could attend life drawing sessions and keep up with my anatomy skills drawing from the model.


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Part Time Fanboy interviews Mayfield Eight's creator!

I had the pleasure of talking to Kristian Horn who is a very energetic and talented man behind a few comics he's making AND has a very energetic podcast called Part Time Fanboy showcasing all things comic book and pop culture.


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Comic book review: The Red Ten (part 2 of 2)

I've had a hard time making up my mind whether The Red Ten is a graphic novel I'd recommend. There's merit in it, for sure. It exudes a lot of joy and hard labor wrought by a team of creatives that were obviously pouring their hearts out in this.


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Comic book review: The Red Ten (part 1 of 2)

It was with great pleasure I tore through Tyler James and Cesar Feliciano's 'The Red Ten' two-part Opus collecting a 10-issue run of, as Tyler describes it a mixture of Agatha Christie's 'And Then There Were None' and Super Hero teams.


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A chance comic purchase on vacation.

Summer of 1972. Stuck on a cross-country vacation with my family (big sis got to bow out because she said to Mom 'I'd feel like I was grounded.'). We were going all the way from Minnesota to Washington, DC to see the sights.


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A very useful resource for comic book writers.

From late 2010 to 2014 the diligent Comic book editor extraordinaire Steve Forbes every Tuesday put out a column on the website ComixTribe expounding on various facets of the industry. This guy was no slouch. He still operates time to time on message boards like Digital Webbing.


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Spotlight on the (late) '70s: Cheech and Chong

When the counter-culture was beginning to form Cheech and Chong stepped in to poke fun of it. Best known on their comedy records and stand-up bits, and later in their movies Cheech and Chong played off their contrasting personalities: Chong the irrepressible slow hippie-musician who's always three steps behind what's going on...


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Bait and switch and Apollo 8

I was a kid at the time, but I remember how everyone was so pumped up about finally getting the goal of sending astronauts to the moon's surface and back. The 1960s were drawing to a close quickly, and the build-up of Mercury then Gemini and then Apollo's programs showed everyone we were really going to do this.


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Standing at a Starbucks 1997

You ever had a moment from your past that you wished you could re-live again? Not talking a whole day like Groundhog's Day with Bill Murray. Rather like a fleeting sliver of time where you went 'what happened?'.


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Cartoonist Creates a National Holiday

Sadie Hawkins Day became an actual event. Nested in a story line from November 15, 1937 Sadie Hawkins Day was imitated in real life in college campuses across country. By 1952 it was everywhere in America (Wikipedia mentions 40,000 known venues). It's also morphed into a common practice in schools known as either 'Sadie Hawkins Day' or the 'Sadie Hawkins Dance' where it's become a tradition falling on every November 13!


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The Master of Light and Shadow

Sometimes, you look at another creator's work and have to admire their skill -even if they don't make art that's particularly your style. A case in point is the late great Chester Gould (Dick Tracy) from his heyday in the 1950s to 1970s.


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Review: Rebels: These Free and Independent States

Two times in my life I was visiting in Boston and walked along the decks of the oldest registered fighting sea vessel in the US Navy: The USS Constitution. Years before I put together an (unfinished) model of the ship.


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Spotlight on the 1970s: Farrah Fawcett

My comic book Mayfield Eight is set in 1974, but thinking about the styles of hair the women wore back then revealed to me a bit of a discrepancy. You see, Tina the waitress' hair has that classic 'flip' look so popular of that time.


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Comic Art Pro Tip: blood splatters

... A secret I use in coloring pages is that I don't have an arsenal of colored bottles of ink. Instead I use Photoshop to pick out colors. It's a simple matter to change a black-line image into a colored line using either masks or overlays. But I won't go into detail about Photoshop here. You could just as easily do this with colored ink.


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Heavy Metal's Phillipe Druillet

While fans of fantasy art would typically rally behind Moebius or Frank Frazetta I went off in a different direction. I came across a thick bound book of Phillipe Druillet's 'Lone Sloan' saga and 'Delirius.


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Spotlight on the '70s: Waterbeds!

There's a lot of bygone fads that were all the rage at their time. The 1970s are emblematic for many of them: Smiley faces saying 'have a nice day', 'fern bars' -where you'd drink in a bar with a rough-cut plank wall and philodendrons surrounding you.


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Graphic Novel Review: The Lonesome Go

I didn't know what to expect when getting this heavy tome dropped on my doorstep via US mail last year. I really dug the detailed artwork and more-or-less filed this one away as a 'buy later' item. That day came when I had some extra cash. I thought it was going to have very detailed artwork, and hoping for an interesting story or two.


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Want a good source of inspiration for action/fighting in comics? Delacriox!

For us comic book artists (and writers who are trying to visualize their scenes too) you can easily see how way back before cartoons, comic strips even someone like Delacroix tackled movement, restriction, tension and body language. Let's see how:


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Comic Review: SINK, Blood & Rain Part Two of Two

It's made up of five parts, starting with Chapter 6. There's a level of professionalism and seriousness spent in staying 'on topic', of giving the reader a satisfying time following each story's thread. Chapters 8 and 9 has their main character Mr. Dig, the fox-headed shovel wielding bad ass.


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Spotlight on the '70s: Beer can collecting

Collecting's been around forever, though the items may have changed through the years. Stamps, matchbooks (when people smoked), baseball cards, marbles, POGS (1990s throwback)...


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Comic Review: SINK, Blood & Rain Part One of Two

I had the pleasure of participating in a group chat online with a few comic book producers including John Lees. His Scottish accent is quite pronounced and as I'm from the Midwest USA (Minnesota) originally I was understanding what he was saying, but hanging back maybe a half-sentence delayed while I allowed my mind to catch up.


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Spotlight on the '70s: CB radio

I mentioned a couple weeks back the '70s had lots of weird stuff. Among those weird phenomena was a strange method of communication that DIDN'T involve downloading aps, namely CB radios.


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Where did these guys come from?

A random biker tosses a beer can into Cal Ryder's face which ignites a feud which results in the Rat Hole Bar --uh, you should read the comic first. Trust me, it's cool.


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Comic Review: SUCKER -a vampire horror story- Part Two of Two

With Sucker Part Two the killer artwork is still there with Tony Talbert here once again supplying the pencils and Jason McNamara writing the scintillating dialogue. The other duties are a bit mixed this time with two inkers -one editing as well (John Heebink, Peter Secosh). Paul Little once again is the colorist.


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The difficulties of balancing a shot glass of whisky in your cleavage.

Getting to The Rat Hole had been a hard, long slog. An early rise followed by a state-wide run across the desert left them sweaty and tired. What would be more natural than to strip off that sticky t-shirt and let it all air out? No one's going to judge you at The Rat Hole, in fact you'd be encouraged.


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Comic Review: SUCKER -a vampire horror story- Part One of Two

First off, this has a very enthralling cover that appealed to me on many levels. The imagery is both sexy and gross, and simple which gets the message across. Most importantly the degree of confidence and slickness shows in its execution to make me want to see what's inside, which is what a good cover is all about.


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Spotlight on the '70s: Patty Hearst

For those of you over 40 Patty Hearst was remembered as the heiress to the Hearst Newspaper Syndicate who was kidnapped by the Symbionese Liberation Army (SLA)...


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'Twisty' panels.

The problem with me, the human element is that I can't seem to distort things without thinking logically. My training and habits in drawing a person and their outfit, the background all get a lot of interference from how things 'look' in that child-level of building an image like they're all toys.


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Letting go of the story.

Run right out and tell someone to do something, anything. I'll wait... How did it go? Did they comply with you without questioning? The chances are slim that you would've gotten blind obedience on the first try.


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It started with a spray can.

Atlanta Ga. Summer 200?... deputy Sheriff Rick Grimes cuts short his lunch with Shane and answers a call to support a road block to stop a dangerous armed group of outlaws.


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What is Mayfield Eight?

It's a highway sign for an unremarkable frontage road that leads to nowhere. A bullet-riddled marker for an arbitrary convergence of hard asphalt and gravel side roads.


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In drawing for comics, show the aftermath of the punch.

What comic book story has been made without a few fight scenes peppered in here and there? (Well, quite a few actually.) What I mean is, like any dramatic medium comics once in a while do have to convey conflict. Sometimes a conflict has been stirred up to such a peak that the fists come out:


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He will remain anonymous.

The opening of Mayfield Eight, which tells about Cal Ryder being fatherless, comes from something that really happened out of Sonny's book of an early member of that club coming back from the hospital after seeing his newborn child. He got hit by a train and died. It happened in Oakland, Ca 1959.


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Being a Banshee.

A Banshee is a terror-driven phantom that shrieks in the night. To wear these colors on your back means living within a comfortable cushion of fear that proceeds your arrival.


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Go for the 'almost kiss'...

There's maybe four or five different stages of an action you can show. If someone's tying their shoes, do you show the laces pulled out just starting, or the bow already made, pulling the laces tight? Do you show someone pouring a cup of coffee or drinking it?


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Whatever Gets You Through the Night...

I am indebted to Jamie O'Barr's The Crow that makes use of lyrics on a comic book page to indicate mood, time, place. Music undoubtedly is used time and time again in comics, namely Jem and the Holograms, and at least 3 or 5 new Kickstarters (one has 'It's the-end-of-the-world so let's start a BAND!)


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Woke up, fell out of bed...

... sorry, over the holidays I watched 'Yesterday' with my daughter on Christmas, so I got Beatles tunes running through my head. A very good movie.


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Review: White Knuckle Birthday

It seems that indie biker comic book stories have to involve birthdays (Mayfield Eight starts on Cal Ryder's 17th). White Knuckle Birthday is set in the present day and has a young man named Robert Powell on his 34th birthday. There's three chapters.


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Slade's Old Lady... NOT!

A biker gang can't all be tough guys and towering mounds of muscle behemoths. Sprinkled here and there should be some women of the eye candy 'don't touch' type. Maxine French is one of them. I drew her at first referencing the singer Carly Simon, a 1970s icon who had a very distinctive level of beauty and wide toothy grin. Also a touch of Bridget Bardot from the 1960s.


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Art gets you in the door, story keeps you there.

I think I'm in agreement when I say that the story -whatever it is, comics, movies, cartoons, novels- is crucial to keeping its staying power to the reader, in retaining them for the long run.


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A day in the life of a fry cook.

Cal Ryder, age 17, is spending his long hot 1974 summer as a cook for Ruby's diner. He's the chef, bus boy, trash man, counter help, security and one-third of the staff. The other two are Tina, the waitress who hustles the tip money, and Howard, the Owner, who likes to fish, drink beer and stay away from the diner as much as possible.


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