Sunday, June 27, 2010

Guest Artist - Mike Ortiz

I got a temp gig working at Independence Comics thanks to Pete the owner. He had quite a bit of inventory in the store and he needed all the comics sorted and counted. He also hired another person, Mike Ortiz. Mike was a very nice and funny guy. He was able to mimic the original Bugs Bunny laugh dead on. Also, he was a fellow comic artist. He had made contact with Dave and before I knew it he was in negotiations to work on a project for Grubbmaster Pieces. He had stopped drawing for some time but after seeing my stuff it inspired him to start working on his old creation, Super Stick Figure. Much like Unbelievable Laundry Detergent Man, it was a silly name to a serious character. SSF was a big bulky...alien type character. I remember one day he brought in his pages to show me. To my surprise, he had some special guest stars in his story. The Rebels of Razura. I had never seen anybody else draw my characters and this was the first time ever. It was such an honor and it looked great. Sadly, I never got a copy of those pages but I was given this great pinup by Mike.

Sadly, things fizzled quickly with Dave and Mike. I remember one day Mike told me he was a bit upset that Dave wanted him to draw an idea of his rather then he work on his own stuff. He wanted the same privilege I was given to draw and write whatever I wanted. I'm not sure really why things fell apart between them but I was sad to never see him put out his own work. I am grateful though that he did a pin-up for me.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

The Original Imp

The original Imp (seen below) originally had legs and three fingers. He had flames that would come out of his hands cause I guess it was cool and junk. Imp was originally created as somebody that was to take on The Savage Dragon in The Savage Dragon Character Creating Contest. I loved the book so much (even though it was announced in the second issue that was six months late) and I just imagined all sorts of adventures they could have fighting each other. Erik Larsen mentioned that Savage Dragons weakness are sharp objects like knives. So of course being the creative person that I am and embarking on my first original character I gave him sharp nails. I wish I had a copy or the original of the final version where Imp looks like Imp. Oddly, before I had done the final version, I actually had done a series of strips of him. Only he was a good guy. His nemesis? An evil cat. The cats name was some acronym that included the words Satanic and Cat. See? That showed how evil he was. He was an old cat and he would transform in to a young ninja. Again, no idea why. I didn't even remember this until a month ago as I was going thru some of my paper work and just stumbled upon it.

Imp though I believe has evolved greatly and I wish I had more things to show from his past adventures. He went from being a good guy to a bad guy to being a rebel, which is both good and bad. I do have more things on him so keep an eye out during this, Grubb Master Month.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Dave drops by.../ Sneak Peek

Publisher of Grubbmaster Pieces happened to stop by a the comic shop I was working at. With hope in his eyes and a determined grin, he decided that Grubbmaster Pieces could still be salvaged. He went in to Collectors Image to put his books on the shelves. Only one problem. There was a bit of competition with the latest issue of Dorks. In a humiliating defeat, he was forced to pose with his publishing and mine.

All joking aside, these were times where the little guys were fighting to get shelf space with the big boys. Collectors Image was a place that embraced this idea and had an entire shelf dedicated to the little guys. Dorks though, got top billing and was placed rite next to the register. I really don't remember how Grubbmaster Pieces fared at the shop. I just know sadly it wasn't enough to warrant a third issue. Something to this day I still wished happened.

Here's a quick peek at an upcoming project. From the pages of Grubbmaster Pieces, a retelling and re-imaging of Razura. I'm keeping the format of this project under wraps as it's going to be something of an idea of what Dave and I have been trying to do for ages.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Happy 15th Anniversary to Grubbmaster Pieces!

One day while hanging out at Independence Comics (Not named because they sold indy comics, which they didn't but due to the area) I was showing off my Dorks comic book. I had just completed the first issue and of course I had to just show everybody. Little did I know that there would be an on looker that was actually interested. The next time I had visited the store the owner, Pete had let me know that there was a customer in the store that saw my book and wanted to get in touch with me. He left his phone number with Pete to give to me if I were interested in doing a project with him. After much thought and hesitation I went ahead and called this complete stranger.

David Gruba was just starting to put together a zine called Grubb Master Pieces. He liked Dorks and wanted me to contribute stories for his new zine. I told him I'd think it over and after much thought (yet again) I decided not to "give" him Dorks. Many people told me that he would steal my ideas and characters and make money off me and I'd never see a dime. Ivan Flores of Unit 1 even told me that I was selling myself short. I felt that instead, if I were going to lose my characters it should be some that I didn't have much attachment to. I ended up developing Rebels (Later renamed Razura) for his zine. Although he wasn't too happy with the change he still accepted it since it was still a contribution.In 1994, a preview of Grubb Master Pieces came out. It was distributed at comics shops across town and promoted at Independence Comics. To me, this was a huge break and my way up in the world of comics. Dave booked us up for a signing at a sports card and hobby convention. The whole GMG crew was out there to promote the book. It was great just sitting in the back corner of the place where we were the only people that dealt with comics were. I got to meet Derrick Martin though and to this day I'm always happy to see him.In June of 1995 the first issue of GrubbMaster Pieces came out. This was now huge and official. My artwork graced the cover and sadly, mine was the only comic that actually was presented in the zine. Dave's artist didn't come thru for him on his two project ideas, Radioactive Roadkill and The Firing Squad.

The same thing happened for the second issue of GrubbMaster Pieces in September. There was a low response to the zine and to much disappointment, Dave had put the project on hold. I had received a very nice letter from him (shown in previous post) with the idea of printing out a mini comic of my choice for free. I picked Dorks. Sadly, I finished the first issue and half of the second but lost interest in that story and did not get anything printed from him.

Here we are, 15 years later. Dave and I are still at it. Free Comic Book Day we made it a day for ourselves to just promote our projects and the response was great. I have to say that we both got the accolades we had been looking for for years and years. Our first collaborative project, Bride of the Wolfman, got a great response and we sold several copies.
We look forward to many more signings together and many more collaborations together. This month I will be going back and featuring Razura and some never before seen material of the title. Also an ad for James (that I bet Dave never knew about) as you'll see below.
Enjoy a look back at GrubbMaster Pieces.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Savage Warriors

During High School, my good friend William Sabo talked to me about working on his comic book Savage Warriors. He had previously done work on his own comics, Hoge (whom can be seen in a small cameo appearance in Dorks Vol. 1 issue 1). The idea I admit was way out of my comfort zone. I could barely draw humans, thus causing me to create little round men and weird looking aliens and giving The Fighter a mask and a long coat. to my surprise though, I was able to pull just a bit out of my @$$ and draw up some things. I did copy from other comic books to make myself seem like a real artist.

The characters were Xymbolga, Stynger, Grypclaw and Grinder. My only problem was that they were all scaled very oddly. The dragon was 80 ft tall, The scorpion was 60 ft, the crab was 20ft and Grinder was I think 6 ft tall.

I had several concerns on how to get them all in the frames, how they would interact, and mostly, what kind of villains they would fight that would be formidable for an 80 ft dragon and a 6 ft human. I had a discussion with the creator and he told me he'd talk it over with the co-creator and see what they can come up with. His reply back to me was that they saw no issues with my concerns. I then lost interest very fast.