Turkey Day! Thought I'd give you the news on my projects.
You, my brave readers, who took the time to read the rants
of an artist. Hey, there's a reason no one pays me to write.
I give thanks for your patience...
For a while, I was planning on doing a project with Humanoids.
That's on hold. After I finish The 49ers I'll be
doing a contemporary Top 10 mini series written by Zander.
I go into this with a bit of dread. Top 10 projects ask for
a lot of detail. I'm still hoping to streamline my style so
I don't go stark raving Dave Sim in 2005. Wish me luck on
November 22, 2004 the Monday before Thanksgiving
While I was at the Mega-Con in Boston my wife recorded
Woody Allen's Stardust Memories. It's my favorite
Woody Allen film and the greatest movie ever about attending
a fan convention.
I first saw the movie in art school, around when I first
broke into comics. It's a very different movie after ten years
The repeated theme I kept meeting this weekend was getting
older, but not growing up. Lisa's friend Tracy loaned me Little
Children, a book about housewives and househusbands,
still stuck trying to be perfect adolescents and resisting
becoming functioning adults. Great book. Stardust Memories
flashes back to the protagonist's childhood to explain the
man. Woody's character Sandy uses the analytical tools of
an adult to justify his childlike escape from responsibility.
He explains his actions as existential despair, but he acts
by chasing emotionally unavailable women.
The most charming and disturbing encounter of the weekend
was with four little children. A group of young cousins was
stuck in the hotel complex, and ended up at the unexpected
convention. They revelled in the attention of adults. The
oldest, a 13 year old girl, loves video games and manga. She
had no time for books, much to her mother's despair. Even
offering her a literate comic book was like trying to sell
cod liver oil. Her 9 year old cousin proudly loves video games,
leaving no room even for comics. He spends every free minute
playing with thumb candy. The two youngest girls took to modelling
the cult TV stars at the con, and tried to sell autographs
and interviews. They actually made a few bucks. Cute, but
disturbing. They're gonna have a rough time dealing with the
Of course, I'm not in the adult world either. Instead, I've
finally become the teenager I always wanted to be. I work
in comics. I can go to rock concerts without asking for permission.
I finally have broad shoulders, decent abs and a good haircut.
I've got a great girfriend (hell, she's so great I married
her!). I had a great thrill a few weekends ago when I got
carded trying to buy a lottery ticket. The teen behind the
counter was afraid I'd try to buy cigarettes next so she'd
better check right away. I'm 35, so this makes me kinda giddy.
I spent much of the con weekend talking comics with Angel
Medina. He's immensely more dedicated to his craft than I
am. He's banished all distractions from his life. He doesn't
own a computer and doesn't watch his TV. There is no collection
of action figures on his shelves. The last video game he became
obsessed with was Centipede. It's not that he lacks the geek
obsession with collecting and obsessing. He just knows how
easily he could get trapped by it. You can dependably expect
his books to come out on deadline.
There aren't many grown ups in the comics world.
October 20, 2004
I was sitting in front of the TV, drawing the 49ers. I've
got a small pile of books nearby on what Berlin looked like
prior to 1945, including Berlin the graphic novel. I love
getting my historical research as accurate as possible.
After watching an entertaining South Park, I turn to AMC
to watch part of The Battle of the Bulge with Henry
Fonda. I'm a recent WWII history junkie, so I'm pretty excited.
So I'm pretty weirded out to see both the Germans and the
Americans using US tanks. The battle was a miserable and snowy
hell, but the tanks in the movie are rolling through California
desert. I'm fearing that I'll see some cowboys and indians
Should I be working so hard on my historical research? Sometimes
I just don't know.
October 12, 2004
Another weekend, another Con. My favorite con, the
at the Minnesota State Fairgrounds, leaves another trail of
costumed geeks and impoverished poker playing artists in its
wake. Great fun.
Thanks to everyone who came and said hi! Special thanks to
those who donated to the Lupus
Foundation of Minnesota for sketches. And my deep respect
to the two brave fans who took dares in exchange for sketches.
I hope the sketches were worth it!
On the political rant page,
links to webpages by soldiers currently
or recently serving overseas.
October 7, 2004
Thanks to the Chicago
Comic Book Marketplace for a great show last weekend.
It was very small. But it was well organized, friendly, and
actually in Chicago. All of the other 'Chicago' comic shows
are in the suburbs.
More of my political stuff here.
I hope you're all watching the debates!
The next one is Friday the 8th, and the final one is Wednesday
the 13th. And let's hope you're all registered
to vote. I should have asked this earlier: it's too late
now in several states.
If you did watch the vice-presidential debates, you watched
as Cheney plead with you to get the real facts at Factcheck.com....
he actually meant Factcheck.org.
It's actually a very good site, and truly non-partisan. As
Show pointed out, he might have meant Fatchick.com...
And no, I'm not providing a link for that one.
September 27, 2004
The Perfect Comic Book
I've been thinking lately about the concept of perfection
Michelangelo once wrote "Trifles make perfection, but
perfection is no trifle." I've always wanted to create
the perfect comic book someday. The "Great American Comic
I'm coming to the conclusion that perfection in art is a
crock and a trap. Just finished reading No
Place For A Picnic by Justin
Taylan. In 1993, when he was still 16 years old, he drew
a documentary comic book about the war in the Pacific and
his grandfather's time there. It's obviously inspired by Maus:
its told as a set of interviews with his grandfather.
The drawings looks like the work of a 16 year old, and not
one who's had art training. But it works. It's a VERY good
read. What's more, I think a polished style (like mine) wouldn't
have worked as well. Frankly, I enjoyed it more than Age of
Bronze, and Eric
Shanower's a genius.
Too much polish in art is boring. You appreciate the flash
and lose track of the story.
The greatest artwork shouldn't be perfect. To remain interesting,
it needs to challenge. It needs to set off alarm bells. Take
the art of the perfumer. In perfume making, you can't just
throw in all your favorite flower and citrus scents. A heavy
scent must be thrown in too. While this can be something pleasant
like vanilla, the most prized base notes are things like deer
musk and ambergris.
Ambergris is sperm whale refuse (sources differ whether it's
feces or vomit), and by itself is unspeakably foul smelling.
But when mixed into a perfume, it's divine.
Art is most interesting when it takes something ugly and
makes us reconsider, to look for its beauty.
And on another subject, Bush
hates our fighting men and women in Iraq.
September 20, 2004
You know what I miss? Standards. Good low standards.
When I was in school (public and then college) there was
a well defined expectation of how much work I should do, and
how good the work had to be. Being pretty good at school work,
I could finish my studies and still have some time left over
for hobbies. When I had jobs back then (Taco Bell, Koenig's
Art Supplies) it was pretty clear what my responsibilities
were. I just had to do as well as everyone else.
Now, in my comics work, I'm always competing against myself.
I enjoy the work of other artists, but I have no desire to
copy or match their work. I've got my style, they've got theirs.
When I look at Jason
Lutes Berlin, or Eric
Shanower's Age of Bronze, I love their drawings but I
would never try to draw like them. Instead, I'm always trying
to push my style a little harder. And after ten years, I'm
not sure how much further I can push it.
I fantasize about taking two years off and doing something
'easy'. Like grad school, or working at Starbucks. Of course,
I know that lots of people with my daydream jobs would love
to have my job. So don't take this bitching and moaning seriously
(as if anybody reading this would!).
Recently, I got to hang out with my role-playing game buddies
and gamed away. During our dinner break, they filled up milk
jugs with water and swung swords at them. Their all avid students
of historical European sword fighting. Swinging a sword is
surprisingly fun! If you live in the Chicago area and would
like to try it out, Dave teaches a class on it at the Chicago
Swordplay Guild. It's amazingly subtle, and because of
differences in weapons and armor includes techniques and concept
alien to the Oriental martial arts. It's not the thrashing
and swinging you see in the movies.
August 21, 2004
I've finished up the chaos of Wizard World (née Chicago
Comicon) and Gencon Indy. Art and I both had a fabulous time.
Art's partner in coloring (and marriage), Ellen, attended
the Chicago con and was in charge of the nubbins. She's still
recovering. Cons are easy, taking care of kids is hard!
is back in the US! It was awfully nice to see him again as
a US resident. After the Chicago con, he's settling into Minnesota
and setting up a studio.
Big Time Attic will
include Zander, the unrelated Kevin
Cannon, and Shad Petosky.
They really will be working out of Shad's attic.
Zander and Julie have already bought a house. Shad's wife
Anna is entering law school and quit waiting tables at the
Mini Apple's funnest bar. So
if you meet any of the Attics, give them crazy amounts of
work and money. They're all insanely talented.
Hope I wasn't too hard to find in Chicago. On Friday, we
arrived late (childcare issues). I tried to be extra accessible
Saturday, and did two hour signings at three booths: Marvel,
DC and the Comic Book Legal
Defense Fund. Hi Rowen!
As a future note, here's how to get a sketch from me at a
convention. Find out when and where I'm showing up, and get
in line early. I only commit to doing around five sketches
at a time, so snooze and lose. Ideally, bring your own sketchbook.
When you talk to me, I'll ask for a receipt from one of three
CBLDF, or Friends
of Lulu for $40 plus. More money means a fancier sketch.
If you don't have a receipt yet, leave your sketchbook and
go make a donation as fast as you can.
Most of my fans are old enough to do the wage-slave bit.
But if you don't have the cash, here's another way to get
a sketch. Come up to me and volunteer to do an embarassing
stunt at the con! All it will cost you is your dignity, and
you'll entertain nameless hordes of your fellow fans. This
is how I traditionally charged for sketches, before I found
out how nice the folks at CBLDF
and Lulu were.
Finally, I'm moving my political
stuff to another page. It'll make it easier to find the
comics stuff and the rants.
June 15, 2004
Global Freeq is on the comics shop shelves. Glad it's out
there, hope you like it.
I'd like to explain the "Art Lyon" credit. That
really means "Art Lyon and Ellen Lyon", but they've
decided to just put Art's name out front. But Ellen is doing
her 50% of the work too.
Also, I got back from Toronto on Saturday. No comic signing
or convention, just a real vacation with the lovely wife.
Canada's a weird place. People walking down the street look
happy. They bicycle to get around, but they don't jog much.
The only mean person I met was at the border crossing, and
after that they were all very nice.
Minnesotans are nice too. But they're full of repressed anger.
Switching lanes on a busy MN highway is scary stuff. Canadians
are even nice behind the wheel.
And my wife was pleased to find out that boutique clothing
is cheaper there than in Chicago. And fancy
Cheap French food and fish
& chips to die for. We Americans are no slouches about
our fries, but I had the best ones in Toronto. Also, they're
biggest pizza chain
is better than any big American chain. Wonderful thin crispy
crust. Who'd figure that Canadians could make a good pizza?
I'm a disloyal Chicagoan.
The honest reason I went was because Canada is the last industrialized
nation with a currency weaker than the US dollar. I am a cheap
June 1, 2004
Good news! Global Frequency #12 is out, and I'm quite happy
with how it looks. As ever, special thanks to Art and Ellen
for all the hard work they threw in!
May 19, 2004
Finally done with that bastard! Global Frequency has been
finished, you can read the last issue in June. Long wait,
as usual. Hope you think it's worth it. Just in case you're
curious, I put a sample of the artwork at the top of the page.
The image above was done as inks by me. Then Art and Ellen
did their usual magic with the coloring. Most of the value
work was done in inkwash. Then Art takes the B&W image
and tints it in Photoshop (select area with lasso, then Ctrl-B
and modify the color balance). I'm rather surprised how well
the flames came out!
I'm still doing a few Superman covers and continuing work
on The 49ers. But tonight, I'll be doing some experimental
sketches. I need to come up with some new style ideas, hopefully
something quicker. I knew when I started in the industry that
I wouldn't be able to draw hyper-detailed drawings for the
rest of my career. I'm going to try to take some cues from
Maurice Sendak's "In the Night Kitchen". Wish me
One of the odd results of me drawing all day is that I no
longer want to do it on my spare time. I don't have a sketch
And here's another of my old high school drawings.
Just goes to show that a lack of talent never stopped anyone.
March 8, 2004
Doing lotsa covers, working on Global Frequency. I've got
script up to page 19, so this will keep me happily chugging
along. I'm continuing my series of covers for The Adventures
of Superman. Check out the latest finished pieces on the Art
Thought I'd mention one of my fave reads from last year:
It's a really wonderful autobiographic novel from Craig Thompson,
the creator of Goodbye Chunky Rice. It's very honest
and painful. It's a tale of first love, full of unresolved
emotions and threads. By the end, part of my wanted to clap
(great storytelling) and part of me wanted to slap him. And
what I really want is the courage he owns, which one needs
to nurture one's own talent and to tell a tale so unflinchingly.
Speaking of developing talents, my mom gave me a box of my
old papers last week. I'm stunned by how bad the drawings
were. At the time, I really thought they were the bomb. Which
just goes to prove that if you want to learn how to draw,
you need to be a little cocky. You can't quit just because
you can't draw a straight line.
There have been several other graphic novels from last year
that I enjoyed, but Blankets
tops the list. Neil Gaiman's Endless Nights and Marjane
also figure high on my list. And I demand that all of you
buy everything Bill
Willingham ever wrote or drew. As ever, Fables rocks and
continues to do so.
February 4, 2004
I can't believe how long it's been since I've written. My
brother, who designed
this website, reminded me that I should put some work into
it too. True, true.
He also pointed out
that in my last
post, I'd warned everyone that I'd gone crazy, and then
stopped writing new posts... So just to update everyone, my
wife took both sets of house keys to work with her. She brought
them back later that day, and I've felt quite sane ever since.
I'm a little over half way done with The 49ers, and waiting
for more script from Warren. Having fun with the occasional
cover. I'll try to put up some new art on the Art
New title I'm reading: Caper, written by Judd
Winick. I've only read the first issue, but it's fantastic.
The first storyline is about Jewish gangs in frontier San
Francisco. It's a beautifully written issue. And darkly funny,
for those of us who think fat naked men being chased off the
roof of a whore house can be funny. The art's brilliant too,
but the artist still needs to work off some rough edges in
his storytelling. The art style is very loose, and may not
be to the long-underwear crowd's taste. I find it easy on
Anyhoo, thanks for dropping by and hope you're having a great