Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Who watches the watchers of Underfist?

I remember a day in Fifth Grade: a day like any other day, really. I'd walked through "the ditch", a convenient but semi-forbidden shortcut that got you to school a few minutes faster. In my lunchbox I had my lunch, of course, but I also had a few Star Wars figures. It was tradition by this point to play Star Wars during recess, and I'd come prepared as usual. Unfortunately for me, though, I'd somehow missed the memo. Today when I pulled out my Boba Fett I wasn't greeted with Battle Action, but with laughter. Somehow everyone had come to the conclusion that we were all too old to play with toys and this was the day.

I think there was a mild play resurgence when those battery-operated 4X4 trucks came out the next year, but things were never the same.

Or so I was just thinking as I stuck my new Boba Fett USB drive into my port here at work. Coming full-circle is great because things are usually better the second time around. The nice thing about being a man in your early 30's is that you can play with whatever you damn well please and ain't nobody gonna stop you. I'm not saying they won't laugh; just that they won't stop you.

Comic con is always a mixed bag for me. It's inspiring to see what other people are doing with their art. It's a blast crashing industry parties. It's exciting to know that somewhere in all of that square-footage and sweat that there are a few unique treasures that you know you have to have. It's just a matter of finding them. It's a time to reunite with old friends and colleagues; to drink too much vodka and eat hot dogs on a rooftop at two in the morning.

On the other hand, it's a reminder that it's been five years since I said I'd start my comic book and I haven't done it. It's also a cruel reminder that I'm only as good as my next project. Then there's the fact that you have to plow your way through all that square-footage and sweat just to get whatever it is you're looking for. It's a time when you're buried under hundreds or thousands of other projects and properties with better promotion and merchandise and all the things you know you can't have. I think by Saturday I realized that I wasn't going to get anything I wanted this year.

Sorry that the Underfist part of the panel was so short, but frankly I was happy that we got any time at all. I think this means that CN is actually going to air it, and up until recently I would've bet against that. Not because it's bad or has any questionable content, but just because there's an attitude that everything has to be new. Not that Underfist isn't new. It's a completely different show than Billy & Mandy, but it's got recognizable characters in it so it's totally off the radar. So the answer to the most-asked question of the 'Con for me ("Will CN do Underfist as a series?") is almost certainly "no".

So to any of you who saw the clip and liked it, or to any of you who liked Billy & Mandy, I encourage you to look for Underfist in October. Tell your friends. Tell your enemies. Break into your neighbor's house and turn on the TV(Only if they're a Nielson family). I will deny any knowledge of that last setnece. The previous paragraph will self-destruct in 16 seconds.

Above you'll see some pictures of some of the characters in their new uniforms. I was hoping to put up something more exciting, but I forgot that they wiped the drives here after we shipped. There are definitely a lot of surprises in Underfist and a lot of things that are "secret" (just like Flapjack!), so I couldn't put up some of the prettiest artwork I managed to dig up. You'll just have to wait and see!

Hopefully soon I'll be able to share some of what I've been doing over the last year and a half. I'm at CN until September 7th, as it stands. Then I'll have a lot more flexibility as to what I can put up here.

I remember how excited McCracken was when he saw his first bootleg Powerpuff skateboard, and I've been waiting for the day when I finally get to have the thrill of knowing that enough people recognize something you've done that they'll try and make money off of it. Score! I wanted to find out how much the guy was charging, but he was trying to hook up with two girls and I got bored and left. At least B&M is helping out somebody's gangsta' lifestyle.

Chowder's C.H. Greenblatt and I being interviewed. I guess we'll be on "CN Video". If you liked watching me shame myself on the Season One DVD, you'll... uh... love this. I guess.

So another Comic con passes... I think I've done enough griping and hinting on here that you all know that it's been a rough year. I don't like purging my personal life digitally, so sometimes I just get quiet and I don't post much. I'm waiting for that to change.

Actually, I did come away with something I wanted (besides my Boba Fett USB drive) this year. Maybe I needed it more than I wanted it. It's the reminder of why I do this in the first place.

I mean, I do it because it's a sick obsession or a compulsion or some sort of recurring synaptic misfire. But I can be obsessed and compulsed and misfired at home with a sketchbook.

The real reason I do it is for you guys. Because you seem to like it. Maybe because it's nice to know that there are other people out there who are like-minded and can laugh at the same things I laugh at. People who aren't afraid to stop playing in the face of laughter and derision, whether they be eight years old or fifty-five.

So thanks to all of you who've supported Billy & Mandy over the years. I'm coming around full-circle again. Get ready for it, because the stuff that's coming next is gonna blow your minds!

P.S. - Right as I was about to post this we were hit by a 5.5 earthquake and CN shook for a good 20 or 30 seconds. Aye caramba!

Sunday, July 20, 2008

One week 'til Comicon!

It's back again. And, yes, I'll be there. I mean, assuming that the people setting this mess up for CN actually call me and confirm whether or not I've got somewhere to stay...

I'll be doing a signing at the CN booth at 11:30 on Saturday, so find me there and tell me you like my hair. I don't really care about Billy & Mandy or Underfist. This year's all about the hair.

There's a panel on Sunday before noon for Chowder and Flapjack. Smack in the middle is a "sneak preview" of Underfist. I don't know how long I've got in the panel yet so I can't say exactly what you'll be seeing. My hope is to give you a taste of what the Underfist experience is, and it's very different from Billy & Mandy.

I know someone, if there's time, will ask what I'm doing next, and I'll tell you now what I'll say to anyone that asks. I'm doing the best work of my life right now and I mean to somehow get it in front of you guys in a year's time. This has been a sobering few years for me, and it's forced me to really take stock of what I want out of life and decide where I need to put my energies to get it. My hope is that you'll be pleased with Underfist. It's the first step in a new direction for me, and I'm already well on that path.

Here's a peek at "The Underfist That Never Was". I was pitching it as a series while we were making the special, and at the end of each board section I'd tag on a page or two of extra goodies to supplement the bible. This is a page of villains. You might recognize a few...