This past month I’ve had the pleasure of creating art with Scott Kurtz for a new tabletop card game by the world-famous game designer Jason Bulmahn! Pirate Loot is a quick-to-learn, devilish-to-play game of skull-duggery, high adventure, and competitive treasure-hoarding for up to 4 players.
The game is suit-based, which means that with each card you draw, you’ll be building a hand – er, crew - of pirates from different factions. Each faction has a different in-game behavior, enabling you to grab more treasure, steal crew from your opponents, backstab, or weasel your way out of discards!
We started out with just one pirate image per faction, but since the game has cruised past its initial $20k printing budget, these will only be the first of dozens of unique crewmembers!
Brutal faction pirate.
Greedy faction pirate.
Lazy faction pirate.
Clever faction pirate.
It’s always a blast to illustrate using Scott’s concepts and style, so I’ve been enjoying myself thoroughly. I can’t wait to illustrate the rest! You can see more at Pirate Loot’s Kickstarter page, or pledge to receive updates and get in on exclusive cards that won’t appear in the commercially sold version of the game.
A few news items from the spring!
1. National Cartoonists Society – Reuben Award Nomination
It’s a great honor to announce that my online graphic novel Family Man has been nominated for a Reuben Award in the Online Comics – Long Form category. This is an especial pleasure since it was just this past winter that I was able to attend the extended NCS conference opening the new Billy Ireland library and museum at Ohio State University.
I met dozens of incredibly talented, deeply experienced, and extremely generous NCS members, many of them responsible for the comic strips that inspired me in the first place. This gives the nomination added impact, and I’m so touched. Family Man is a long, slow burn of a passion project, and this is a wonderful boost of validation. Thank you to the nominating committee for considering me; and, if you’re a voting member of NCS…give the comic a read! Winners will be announced in May. I’m in some great company!
2. Stripped: The Film
My dear friends Dave Kellett and Fred Schroeder have labored for years to create this wonderful documentary. They interviewed dozens of cartoonists about their work and their perspective on an industry that’s in the midst of some radical change, and assembled images from more than a hundred years of North American comics history. They not only interviewed li’l guppies like myself – they also nabbed luminaries like Bill Watterson and Jim Davis. The movie is now available through iTunes, Google Play, VHX.tv, and for sale on DVD. You can also download individual full-length interviews from over 16 creators. I can’t recommend it enough.
3. The New Disruptors Podcast
I’ve been a fan of journalist Glenn Fleishman’s work at the Magazine (where I’ve provided illustrations) and his podcast The New Disruptors. TND focuses on in-depth interviews with people working independently in creative industries and new media.
The archives are a blessed hit-list of great folks answering smart questions (including Dave and Fred in the previous episode, talking about Stripped!), so it was a delight to be included on his guest list. Give us a listen!
My work has been popping up all over this month! In addition to maintaining my ongoing projects and client work, I’ve gotten some great press.
Alex Dueben interviewed me for Comic Book Resources!
We talked about my graphic novel Family Man, the origins of my nerdiness for historical settings, how I got my start in comic books, and what it’s like to work with Scott Kurtz as a writer on his landmark web strip PvP. If you have wondered what it’s like to bounce from moody period drama to screwloose gag humor on an hour-to-hour basis, this interview was my first opportunity to talk about it.
Next up, my Eisner-nominated short comic, Outfoxed, has also put in an appearance in the Best American Comics anthology’s 2013 “Notables” list, alongside some really wonderful work covering every genre and format. Thank you to editors Jessica Abel, Matt Madden, and Jeff Smith for their consideration!
Also related to Outfoxed, you Francophones can now read the story in your native language. Outfoxed (under the translated title À Renard et Demi) is included in the first volume of Papier, a new quarterly book-length black and white anthology captained by Lewis Trondheim. The book showcases established French-language talents as well as new and newly-translated works by international artists like me. It’s a dizzying honor to be in the inaugural volume. The book looks and feels splendid, so head to your local librairie or Amazon.fr to snap up a copy.
Every so often you get the proverbial offer-you-can’t-refuse. For me, sometimes that’s work with a creator or for a project that I love. Sometimes it’s when somebody you respect needs help. Sometimes it’s a fun artistic challenge, and sometimes it’s a really cool opportunity to make contact with a new audience.
And sometimes it’s all of those things, because maestro Scott Kurtz needs somebody to write and draw a guest story for his wonderful flagship strip PvP while he heals up a sore back and gets ready to launch a big new project. So! For the next little stretch here I’m happily dropping (almost) everything to do just that.
I’ve been sweet on Scott’s work, and on PvP in particular, for years now – and especially since the story moved to Seattle, my old hometown. That means that I also get to depict some of my favorite landmarks from around the city. Tough gig!
So I’m having an absolute ball taking Scott’s lovely, silly, brash, sincere characters out for a spin. If you’re already a fan of PvP, I think you’ll probably enjoy this little story; if you’re new to the strip, well, you have some very fun archive-diving ahead of you! Either way, head over to site, check out the first strip from my run, and (hopefully) enjoy.
I’m taking the week away from Family Man to compensate for producing a weekday strip; I hope to be back next week! It’s a small price to pay for having such a ball.
In the meantime, if you peruse my store, you might notice that I have soft-launched two new books! I’ll make a big deal about it later, but if you missed your chance to get in on my Kickstarter project from 2012, you can now purchase your very own copies of Outfoxed and Danse Macabre. I still have a lot of orders to fulfill from backers, so expect a slightly longer turnaround than usual, but…they’re HERE!
One of my favorite ongoing gigs for 2012 has been with the alt-weekly Portland Mercury. I grew up in Seattle, and my teenaged face was frequently glued to the subversive pages of the Merc’s parent paper, The Stranger. I still get a kick out of seeing that logo on the paycheck envelope. Arts editors Erik Henriksen and Alison Hallett are both smart, funny, sarcastic people – I absolutely love working with them.
The last piece I did for the paper this year was a collaboration with Alison, summing up some of the notable happenings in the Portland creative scene this year.
As a bonus, I got up-and-coming cartoonist Lucy Bellwood to wander over to my computer and draw her autobiographical comics self-portrait for item #7. I predict that you’ll be hearing a lot from Lucy in 2013!
Hop on over to the Mercury to see what each of these items references! (Personal triumph: I was directly involved with #5 and #7.)