1. Thumbnail image for “When Darkness Falls,” the single being used in the promo for the new FOX show Gotham starting this fall.

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    Gouache/Watercolor/Graphite/Ink/Digital

    I was really happy to get to do a project with Jasmine, a great songwriter, artist, and friend. I believe the promo that uses the song is now up on YouTube and FOX.com. Go buy this song, it’s out today!

     
  2. U is for U-Go Girl.

     
  3. Jenny Lewis did a co-release with her new album, The Voyager, in conjunction with DomaineLA and Broc Cellars(one of my favorite California winemakers!). I was lucky to be asked to do the label for this special wine!

    Digitally painted, it’s a wraparound label with a font I created using my own writing.

    If you love wine you should absolutely pick up a bottle. It is available while supplies last at DomaineLA in Los Angeles for $29.99 and comes with a download code for the album. Or, alternatively, it is being served at LA’s Night+Market and Song.

    More information can be found at DomaineLA’s website as well as numerous articles on the websites for LA Times, Pitchfork, KROQ, Spin, Paste Magazine, PunchDrink, and NME among others.

    Special thanks to Jill Bernheimer of DomaineLA, Chris Brockway of Broc Cellars, and Jenny Lewis for letting me be a part of this.

     

  4. This was a big week. That made it hard for me to pick just one comic to talk about.

    So I didn’t.

    Vertigo’s The Wake is probably the most I’ve enjoyed a comic since my pre-teen years. Scott Snyder and Sean Gordon Murphy have created a millennia spanning masterpiece that is fresh and original yet familiar in the best way possible. It’s everything you love about post-apocalyptic sci-fi movies if they only started out as contemporary horror stories. Creatively presented in two chunks, the final issue brings together all of the seemingly disjunct elements from the first arc(and second arc, honestly) in a manner that without giving anything away, is pretty unexpected. Matt Hollingsworth really shines in this issue too. Without his adept color choices, certain scenes honestly wouldn’t have read as well as they did. Being a huge fan of Murphy’s work, to say that anyone could improve upon his line is saying a lot so way to go Hollingsworth, truly.

    In a time when so many mini-series wrap with a lackluster finale, I am glad to say that The Wake did not disappoint. The team was able to maintain their unique vision throughout the series, which never really lost momentum, even with the brief hiatus between arcs. For me, having returned to the world of comics relatively recently, Snyder and Murphy have set the bar HIGH with The Wake. Few books on the shelves have art as rich and unique as what Murphy produces and this series really allowed him to shine. Some of the most kinetic panel to panel storytelling I have seen from an artist without getting too “cartoony” is broken up by stunningly lavish splash pages that really help to tell sweeping parts of Snyder’s story with an effortless efficiency. Each unique character that Snyder has worked to give a distinct voice is equally reflected in the art. This is what a creative TEAM looks like.

    As sad as I am to see this fantastic series come to an end, I think I may have found the cure to my woes with Rick Remender and Greg Tocchini’s new Image book, LOW. Fortunately for me, and any other fans mourning The Wake, these two great books came out the same day.

    Image Comics, and Rick Remender, have done it again. This is another stellar debut. Image is bringing such unique stories to readers with such rapid succession that I wonder when this train is going to run out of steam. I hope it doesn’t any time soon and if the first issue of Low is any indication as to where they are allowing their creators to go, it doesn’t look like it will.

    Rick Remender once again teams up with Greg Tocchini to tell us a tale set far in the future on an Earth being threatened by the sun. The sun is nearing a point where it will consume the Earth and in order to avoid the intense radiation people have moved deep below the ocean’s surface. We are introduced to the Caines, our family of protagonists, in a very natural way that doesn’t underestimate the intelligence of the reader or the talents of the artist. Tocchini keeps a consistent look for each character making it easy to follow who is who, which can be tricky since Remender doesn’t introduce us to the cast of characters in a very stiff and obvious way like so many comics of old. This is as close to cinematic storytelling as a comic can get. There is a slow build toward a scene that clearly determines the direction for the series. I think. This is Rick Remender so instead of making up my mind about where this is going or what this is about I’m just going to go with it. I doubt that I’ll regret it.

    At the end of the issue there is a letter from Remender essentially explaining a bit of the process or rather the way in which this series came to be. It has been in the works for years and it shows. This world is special in the realm of science fiction, not a feat easily acheived, and it is done very, very well. Anyone who is unfamiliar with Tocchini’s work should really do themselves a favor and look him up. Anyone who is familiar with his work would probably agree with me that this is his best work and he has created some great stuff. The delicate line work and stunning color palette make it so you can’t, and don’t want to, rush through this issue. The crazy world Remender has envisioned is brought to life in a way that I am sure the author would agree, only Tocchini could do.

    Low features a refreshingly optimistic protagonist in a sci-fi comic that gives you the adventures you’d crave from something like Challengers of the Unknown, the family dynamics you’d hope to see in the Fantastic Four, with art that you’d expect to see in the most elaborate of European imports all in an oversized debut issue for just $3.99. This is why I’m doing double duty today.

    I thought that I would probably just choose one beer for these two similarly aquatic tales but but instead decided to give two recommendations for helping to make this Wednesday the best day of the week.

    My first pick, loosely inspired by the terrifying Mers of The Wake is an amber ale called Mermaid’s Red from Coronado Brewing Co. in Coronado, CA. Possessing nutty, malty, caramel notes, this is a bold beer for warm summer weather but it has a Mermaid on the label so I couldn’t resist. If you’re like me and don’t mind a bolder beer the Mermaid’s Red amber ale will reward you with a strong hoppiness and relatively high amount of carbonation. If you like IPAs but want a lower ABV, this could be the beer for you as it only has 5.7% alcohol by volume.

    On the lighter side, I’ve chosen a pilsner from Louisiana based Abita. Specifically, the Save Our Shore pilsner. At 7% alc./vol., this unfiltered Weizen pilsner is a little stronger than other pilsners on the market and unlike those others it also doesn’t get skunky as it warms up, something I typically dislike in a pilsner. Perfect for summer, an added benefit to this beer is that .75 cents of each bottle sold is donated to rescue and relief efforts associated with the gulf oil spill. So while the shores in the world of Image’s Low are beyond saving, purchasing a bottle of the SOS Pilsner from Abita can help make ours a little more habitable.

    Coronado Brewing Co.’s Mermaid Red and Vertigo’s The Wake along with Image Comic’s Low and Abita’s SOS Pilsner helped me to make today the BEST DAY OF THE WEEK!

     
  5. Congratulations Julia and Nate!

     

  6. I can’t say enough good things about Afterlife With Archie.

    To say that Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa and Francesco Francavilla were able to do something that people maybe thought wasn’t possible isn’t accurate. I think they did something nobody else thought to do and they are doing better than probably anybody else could. After a brief absence, how could I not choose Afterlife With Archie #6 this week?

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    Picking up, in a way, where issue #1 left off, we finally get to see what has been happening to Sabrina since she seemingly set the events of this series in motion or at least helped complicate and exacerbate what had already happened. Francavilla’s art is stunning. Moody and dark, he finds a way to make each page feel cinematic. While not being overly detailed, he is able to convey exactly what is going on in each panel with a simplicity I’d liken, at times, to the work of Alex Toth. However, for such heavy uses of black, Francavilla maintains a highly saturated color palette that would be difficult to juxtapose for many other artists or artist teams. For me, this is moody visual storytelling at its very best.

    If I admit to having initially picked up Afterlife With Archie for the art I’ll also have to admit that I’m sticking around for the story. Archie! I eagerly await the release of a new Archie Comic! I never would’ve imagined that but this book tops my stack each Wednesday that it’s released. Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa has somehow managed to modernize these characters and stay true to who and what they are intrinsically. We aren’t losing any of the humor, the innocence, or naivete of this universe. He hasn’t taken a dark turn just for the sake of making it dark. In many of today’s comics, film, and television adaptations, so many properties are simply grim for the sake of being grim without really driving the story. Here, Aguirre-Sacasa has shown what happens to these bright, generally wholesome and good characters, when darkness is thrust upon them. The result is some of the most unique, compelling, and frankly surprising stories on the shelves.

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    I’ve chosen to crack open a can of Modern Times Beer’s Blazing World. This seemed like a fitting pick for today for several reasons. Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa has managed to bring a comic company that has been around for over sixty years into well……..modern times. That isn’t to ignore the fact that Archie Comics has made some other forward thinking decisions prior to Aguirre-Sacasa’s arrival such as the intorduction of Kevin Keller etc., but with Afterlife they have reached a much more mainstream, possibly jaded, and adult audience. Rightfully appointed as Archie Comics’ Chief Creative Officer, Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa has modernized a decades old property, hopefully exposing it to a new (and wider audience), while reminding longtime comics readers that Archie is still relevant and has a place among today’s top comics.

    Modern Times’ Blazing World is as well thought out and classy as its beautifully well-designed packaging suggests. This 6.8%ABV amber, when poured out of its pint-sized can, has a stunning coppery color and a slightly malty caramel aroma. A shallow head that quickly disappears reveals a perfectly balanced beer that I think nails what hoppiness should be. Maybe I’m being seduced by the almost earthy pine notes but I feel like this beer is a nice summer alternative to the citirusy beers flooding the market this time of year. Brewed in San Diego, this beer seems like an appropriate choice for the week of San Diego ComicCon. If I have time, I may have to swing by their tasting room this week.

    Afterlife With Archie and Modern Times Beer’s Blazing World, two reasons why Wednesday is THE BEST DAY OF THE WEEK!

     
  7. New business cards.

     

  8. The Legendary Star-Lord #1 hit shelves today! When I read about people looking for a good jumping on point for a character or team, this must be the kind of comic they dream about. In one issue, Humphries is able to establish who our hero is, with a balance of backstory and current predicaments, unlike I have seen in many comics since picking this habit back up. The issue reads like a sitcom with well done cut aways and asides that don’t slow or bog down the pace of the story. Oftentimes, I find that many writer’s attempts at humor take you out of the story for a second because the jokes feel forced or too calculated, like they’ve been saving that joke and just plugged it in there. Humphries demonstrates that he is such a perfect fit for a character like Peter Quill because he doesn’t do that. Peter’s dialogue and sense of humor come across naturally and effortlessly which makes him read like a charming lead and not a series of punchlines with a smarmy face. Opening with a flashback and closing with a cliffhanger, the first issue of Star-Lord wraps up quite nicely making me eagerly anticipate the next issue. Humphries seems poised to take on the existing Star-Lord continuity and expand and enrich it in a way that fans of Marvel’s cosmic heroes have wanted and deserved but might not necessarily expect.

    Not to be overlooked is the art team on this book. Cutting his cosmic hero teeth on Nova, Paco Medina delivers some really clean and clear art(that I think could be the best I’ve seen from him at Marvel) which is only enhanced by the tight inks of Juan Vlasco and brilliant color work by David Curiel.

    My beer pick this week is part of New Belgium’s Lips of Faith series(quite possibly the best “labeled” beers on the market). Its called Gruit. Yes, Gruit. Pronounced like “Groot.” How could I resist?

    Gruit is great! Funky. But great. It has a lot of the qualities I typically like in a saison which makes it seasonally appropriate as well as appropriate in name for this week’s comic pick. Brewed with a mix of horehound, bog myrtle, yarrow, wormwood, and elderflowers, this beer juggles a lot of flavors and does it quite elegantly in my opinion. And yes, that does say wormwood for any of you absinthe aficionados. I typically like to enjoy my beer with the right food but there is something to be experienced by having Gruit just by its slightly bitter, velvety self. At 6.66% ABV, it comes in a 1 pint 6oz bottle so when you’ve finished The Legendary Star-Lord #1 you’ll have plenty left to enjoy with Skottie Young’s Rocket Raccoon #1, also out today.

    Something to note this week is that this is the first new offering from SHumphries in a while. The writer has hinted at a few projects coming down the line on his Tumblr and if Star-Lord is any indication of the types of stories he is planning to tell you should probably plan on Sam Humphries dominating your pull list in the coming months.

    Legendary Starlord #1 and New Belgium’s Gruit, two reasons Wednesday is THE BEST DAY OF THE WEEK!

     
  9. T is for Tempus.

     

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    This week…! Image Comics’ Deadly Class #6 by Rick Remender and Wes Craig and Anchor Summer Beer. This is something of an exercise in contrasts.

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    Still in Las Vegas, a lot of what has been building over the previous five issues comes to a head in this final issue of this great new series’ first arc. For having such a dark tone and premise, Remender successfully interjects humor throughout this series that for me is reminiscent of the John Hughes movies of the era this story takes place in(though I doubt Remender would appreciate that comment) while being decidedly modern in its appeal for a contemporary audience. I was won over by Marcus pretty much right away and have fallen for the supporting cast along the way. No spoilers, but that didn’t make this issue any easier to read. I’ve become used to Remender doing things differently with properties I already know and love over the last couple of years and its been a real treat to get back to some of his original creator owned work. Deadly Class really isĀ  something unique among what is out there on the shelves and I am eagerly anticipating issue seven.

    That is in no small part due to the beautiful work of Wes Craig. He has a just-so-slightly gritty quality to his work that works with the dark tone of the book while maintaining a level of youthful energy mirrored by the cast. His subtle, limited color palettes help tell the story almost as much as the drawings themselves. They’re just beautiful. Taking on triple duty, I am in awe of his ability to keep this pace. Its no wonder that, much like a far more traditional type of class, Deadly Class won’t be returning until September. Its going to be a bummer of a Summer without this book. Speaking of Summer……….

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    My beer pick for the week is by contrast, far lighter than Deadly Class. Anchor Summer Beer seemed like an appropriate choice for a few reasons. First of all, this is the first official Wednesday of the Summer. Second, today, while definitely on the warm side, has been intermittently foggy, albeit not quite as foggy as this beer’s “birthplace.” Third, Anchor is brewed in San Francisco, the city where this first story arc of Deadly Class began. And lastly, the first brewing and bottling of this beer took place in 1984, just three years before our story takes place. Seemed like a clear choice to me.

    Crisp and light, Anchor Summer Beer was the first wheat beer to be brewed in the US in something like seventy years. All the yeast has been filtered out leaving this beer clear and crisp, not at all cloudy like the city on the bay. Being a wheat beer it is, you guessed it, pretty wheaty, but give it a minute and you may even get hints of subtle malty banana. At only 4.5% ABV, this dry finishing thirst quencher is a perfect light pick for a warm summer day filled with reading and relaxing. Deadly Class and Anchor Summer Beer, two reasons why Wednesday is the BEST DAY OF THE WEEK!