Saturday, November 26, 2011

CLAW Great Yearly Ceremony Invite!

Each year, The CLAW (Cartoonist's League of Absurd Washingtonians), which is the super-semi-secret-society I belong to here in Tacoma, holds their "Great Yearly Ceremony", where new Four-Eye Council Members, inducted and presentations are made, rituals are performed...and, of course, cake is eaten! One of these presentations is the awarding of "Friend of CLAW" Honorary Fezzes to persons who have contributed significantly to the aid or interests of The CLAW during the previous year.

One such recipient is Mr. Jamison E. Pantley, who has been a supporter of The CLAW in the past, but truly surpassed the past in 2011 when he contributed a large sum toward a fundraising event (and ultimately toward the CLAW Scholarship Fund) at Comic Book Ink a few months ago. His generous donation to the cause made it possible to reach our goal, and because of that he was voted to receive one of the prized Leopard Fezzes!

I volunteered...OK, insisted on creating his invitation (traditionally created by a member of the 4-Eye Council anyway) so that I could try and do something special for him! This is what I came up with: "Indianda Panda"!

Above is a photo of me holding the final piece taken by Edmund Stockham, friend and professional photographer. All the photos are taken by Mr. Stockham and are displayed with my appreciation.

Here I am, posing with the recipient of my paper sculpture invitation to the CLAW's Great Yearly Ceremony, to receive his official "Friend of CLAW" Honorary Fez, Jamison E. Pantley! I hope he was as pleased with the artwork as he seemed to be with the signal honor of being made a "Friend of CLAW"! He certainly seemed to like it, and I'm glad!

Fellow (and founding) CLAW member, Mark Monlux joined me at Comic Book Ink to make a nice little ceremony out of the presentation of the Invitation! In these images Mr. Monlux, Jamison and I mug for posterity.

This is how the final image turned out. I'm holding it slightly sideways to give a feel for the dimensionality of it. All in all, I was pleased with the results!

This was the original sketch I did that the final art was based on. I really didn't do any other prep work, I just started building it based entirely on this, which I think keeps it fairly loose and spontaneous.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

I am in OUT100!

It's finally poated on the OUT website, and the magazine hits the stands today! Zan Christensen and I made the OUT100 list for 2011! It's really exciting and a great honor!!

Here's the link for the slideshow:

Here is Zan and me at the photoshoot in LA, still decked out in our Laurel & Hardy gear, holding the book that is the reason we were there. BTW, that jacket I'm wearing is worth $1500! (I didn't get to keep it.)

The following is the official press release from Northwest Press:

November 17, 2011—OUT Magazine revealed today that Charles "Zan" Christensen and Mark Brill—creators of the anti-bullying comic THE POWER WITHIN—have been recognized as two of 2011's "OUT 100", described by the magazine as an "annual salute to the year's most inspiring people". Other notable honorees this year include Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Sandra Bernhard, Justin Bond, Dustin Lance Black, David Mixner, Harmony Santana, Chaz Bono, and Tim Gunn.

Christensen and Brill started work on THE POWER WITHIN in October of last year for 24-Hour Comics Day, an event where artists and writers attempt to create a complete 24-page comic book in 24 hours. Their story focused on a boy named Shannon who deals with bullying at school by escaping into a super-powered alter-ego but ultimately has to find the strength to face the harassment in real life.

The decision to do a comic that tackles antigay bullying was prompted by the previous month's numerous reports of teen suicides linked to bullying and harassment. Those reports spurred Ellen Degeneres to speak out to raise awareness and Dan Savage to start the It Gets Better Project.

"We didn't go into this project knowing where it would go," said Christensen, who scripted the book and coordinated the project. "We just felt compelled to tell a story that confronted the epidemic we saw unfolding before us and offered some hope. We're humbled to be recognized for our efforts, and hope that others will continue use their skills and their resources to change kids' lives for the better."

THE POWER WITHIN was completed in Spring of 2011 and released as a limited edition black-and-white comic at Seattle's Emerald City Comic-Con, but Christensen and Brill decided to raise funds for a much larger color print run of the book and make it available for free to schools and other youth resources. Brill continued to work on the book, adding full color and additional art, while Christensen recruited special guests to contribute bonus pages to the project.

The finished book contains pages by a collection of comics industry heavyweights, including Gail Simone (Wonder Woman, Birds of Prey), Phil Jimenez (New X-Men, Wonder Woman), Greg Rucka (Detective Comics, Gotham Central), Matthew Clark (Outsiders, Wonder Woman), Stephen Sadowski (JSA, Warlord of Mars), Dan Parent (Archie, Kevin Keller), Donna Barr (The Desert Peach), Andy Mangels (Gay Comics, Iron Man: Beneath the Armor) and Carla Speed McNeil (FINDER).

The book was published by Northwest Press and made its debut at Comic-Con in San Diego in late July, hitting store shelves later that summer. It was well-received by readers and critics alike.

"It's been really amazing—this project seems like one of those things that was just meant to be," said Brill. "I think Zan and I were both really inspired and motivated to do something positive with this story and people have really responded to it."

"THE POWER WITHIN goes well beyond what’s expected of a project done with the best intentions," said Fran├žois Peneaud of The Gay Comics List. "It’s a moving depiction of what’s unfortunately the real life of some teenagers in our society, and the creators involved can only hope it will contribute, in its own ways, to the improvement of that situation.”

"Gay comic creators Mark Brill and Charles ‘Zan’ Christensen have created what may be the best comic book of the year," said Andrew Belonsky of

To date, Northwest Press has distributed over 700 free copies of the book to over 50 Gay-Straight alliances, schools, churches, community centers and other youth organizations across the United States and beyond. Northwest Press encourages organizations to request copies of the book to use as teaching and outreach tools. In addition to the main story and bonus pages, the book contains a page of discussion questions and resources for LGBT teens.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Portland Comic Book Show!

So here I am at a table I was sharing with Nick Butler (fellow CLAW member, and the driver of our expedition south to the great state of Oregon--and also the credit for this pic goes to him), sketching and surrounded by various merchandise I was trying to unload. ^0^ "The Power Within" comic, of course. The "Mark of Aeacus" comics, also done with Zan Christensen, writer extraordinaire. I also had found my old box of "Platypus Rex, Blood Junction" comics which I did about 12 years ago with Quenton Shaw! I was selling them for half price, and must have unloaded a good 3 or 4 of them! LOL

All in all it was a bit slow. I pretty much broke even, and that was only because I sold a couple of sketches--one of which is shown below, along with myself and the Magic: The Gathering enthusiast who commissioned it.

I also did this Darkwing Duck sketch--from memory, btw. LOL Not that he's as complicated to remember as Darth Vader was... In any case, I think it turned out much better than the first DW Duck sketch I did that started off this blog, AND didn't take any longer to do. Might have taken LESS time, in fact.

Anyway, it was a good show. Had a lot of fun and good talks with Nick on the road about comics and our ambitions! Also got to hang out with a friend who I haven't gotten to see for several years, and that was great too!