Wednesday, September 28, 2011

professional troubles.

I always hate it when people mass together in a group. Especially when those people are part of some professional organization. Take doctors for instance.

You go in to get a checkup and when the doctor is looking at the results, they say "humph". Next thing you know he is asking Dr. Jake to come have a look. After a few minutes they decide Dr. Elaine needs to see this. Give it a few minutes and you can see your results being scrutinized by 7 or 8 doctors. That many doctors looking at the same thing is never a good sign.

Or consider the mechanic. You take your car in for a routine oil  change and one mechanic starts to look at your vehicle. He calls over his friend. Then a third joins them. Next you have a squad of mechanics staring down at you car. I can promise you this: If there is a group of mechanics staring down at your car,  you are about to spend a lot of money.

Mob mentality always amuses me since there is always the one person who suggests the other people do something outrageous. It does not matter what it is (even if it is something they would never normally do) people always agree to do the crazy in mobs.

"You know what we should we do. We should paint the entire town purple and olive green."
"Yes. I have always wanted to do that!".

We all know that mobs quickly turn into angry mobs. Does anything good come from angry mobs. I do not think so. So when does a group become a mob? What is the magic number that changes everything.

4 people are a quartet,
15 people makes a party.
50 people makes a mob.
51 people makes an angry mob.

And speaking of angry mobs, why do they always have torches and pitchforks available. Even people who live in cities have those items. Where do they get them?

Now we have flash mobs. Just what we needed. People are not angry but dancing. I do not know which is worse.

Where is "Footloose"'s dancing law when  you need it?

Saturday, September 24, 2011

End of days

According to the Mayan calendar the world is going to come to an end December 2012. I have a theory about what could be so catastrophic as to cause the end of the world. While there are several likely scenarios, I have narrowed it down to one that seems to be the most possible.

Facebook shuts down.

That is it.

No more FB and everything grinds to a complete halt. Imagine if FB shut down completely. The panic, the riots, the sheer terror. Oh, no, people cannot like your status anymore. No more sending friend requests to complete strangers just because you share the same interest--enjoying pistachios.

I am a user of FB but it was not always this way. In 2007, I went back to school and several freshman told me I need to try Facebook. I asked what that was and people started rolling in the aisles, gnashing their teeth and tearing out their hair. "How can you not know? It is the greatest thing ever!".

When the looting and rioting start, I am not going to the big electronic stores. Instead, you will find me at bookstores filling up shopping carts.

Them: So what did you get in the riot?
Me: Lots and lots of books.
Them: Wwwhhhaaaaaatt?

Think about this. If we lose the Internet and texting there will be a whole group of people no longer able to communicate. The "cute" little things people splatter into online conversations won't work anymore. Don't LOL while you are talking to me face to face, if you are ROFL then you actually need to be rolling on the floor laughing and people would have to actually leave when the say BRB since one cannot say be right back in person and just sit there.

The loss of IMs and texting would bring us back to real, live conversations. Imagine that!
Comments always welcome.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

2.5 men conspiracy

I do not like to think of myself as a conspiracy theorist but I don't like to think a lot of things. I believe the whole Charlie Sheen/"2 and a Half Men" controversy was planned out. It benefited both parties to have this happen. Think about it:

Charlie Sheen:
1) Got out of his contract
2) Gained a lot of notoriety and Hollywood supports this kind of behavior.
3) Sold out shows for his act across the country.

On the other side, the show:
1) Gained many viewers over the debacle. This is not a new show and viewership was down. This brought it back up. The 1st episode of this new season has the highest rating ever. Everyone wanted to see what the show was going to do.
2) The new lead is paid less than Charlie Sheen so the show costs less.
3) Many people felt bad for the cast and crew since Sheen was the one acting out.

See, both sides gained from this so there were no losers except for the public who had to listen to entertainment shows constantly talking about it.

Comments always welcome.

quick movie takes

I love movies. Really love them and coworkers can verify this. I love to watch them and can spout useless knowledge about them. The only problem is that most of the films that come out nowadays are terrible. Why do they film so many remakes? Is Hollywood no longer a place of innovation?
Here are some of my feelings on things I have recently seen.

The good:
"Easy A"--hilarious. The adult cast really shines in this film. Stanley Tucci, Patricia Clarkson and Thomas Haden Church make this movie worthwhile.

"Alice in Wonderland"--this is not Tim Burton's best work but it is a good representation of what he does best; creating new worlds, interesting characters and odd situations.

The bad:
"Inception"-should have been stopped at conception.

"Super"--with Rainn Wilson and Ellen Page really was not. The movie takes a strange, dark turn when the cop gets shot. It is not a good turn either.

"Eat, Pray, Love"--The movie ate away at my time, I prayed for it to end and loved when it did.

"Suckerpunch"--basically describes what I think the movie gave me.

"Leap Year"--the less said, the better.

"Green Hornet"--needs a movie equivalent of bug spray.

"Date Night"--a reason to stay at home. Tina Fey's outtakes during the credits are funny..

Yes, I know the bad list is much longer. That just goes to make my point.

Comments always welcome.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

free weekends

I am a victim of dating sites! Okay, that is a overstatement. Unless you accept having to suffer through all the commercials on television. Having to see all those people swear up and down about how bad things were for them but the site made life worth living.

Many people have seen those commercials for the dating sites offering free weekends. This sounds good--"Find the love of your life--FOR FREE!" What people find out later is you are not allowed to see the picture of your matches unless  you join.

Now I know that appearance is not everything but it is something. I refuse to date someone with three heads. I draw the line there. Called me biased if you want.

Here is a deep, dark  secret. I have tried two different dating services. The first was a gift membership from a former roommate who decided I needed to have a partner. It was a rough six months especially after being told there is no one out there for me. That is just the revelation a person wants. Way to sell your site "By the way, you are going to end up alone since you are such an oddity that there is no one out there for you. Sign up here.".

You have to fill out a personal evaluation so the site can match you with that someone special. The questions answer choices range from strongly disagree to strongly agree. The questionnaire is very long:

If everyone else jumped off a cliff I would do it too.
I believe in governmental conspiracies.
I know my pets are plotting against me (of course, who can really disagree with this one).

Years later I was sucked in by the advertising of free views of a certain "peaceful" site and barely survived it. The commercials let me know that at least 1 in 5 relationships start on the Internet. That is 20%. So, of course, I had to join right away. I needed to be in that 20%.

 I received some letters on this site. It was always letters from women who asked me a specific question.

The letter always asked "Do you want to see me naked?".
Sensibly, my response always was "Yes, please.".
The women (?) never followed up.

I knew I was doomed when I got a letter from another person who wrote one sentence in her letter "Is that a real picture of you?". I said yes and then, almost like magic, her profile vanished.

My favorite part were the Russian women looking for matches. I always wondered how they do. Were they able to find the green card they wanted? I should do that--pose as a Russian man looking for a green card and love with a  U.S. citizen.

Of course, like in life, women have all the power on these sites since men are as desperate on there as they are in real life. At least I was and women could smell it. How they smelled things through the Internet I'll never know. They must have those new scratch and sniff computers I have heard so much about.

Any time a woman joins one of these sites men jump all over it. I can only imagine women are deluged with multiple emails from guys who think she is mate material. Women get to pick and choose. I kept waiting and waiting. Eventually I blamed the email system since it must not be working right. I sent a letter to the technical department saying my email must be faulty. Their response was "Yeah, blame the email system".
Comments always welcome.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Erica Hesse interview

Amidst all the crowds at Baltimore Comic Con this year I found an artist who pieces I liked and could afford. Artist Alley was a busy area and this is where I happened to meet Erica Hesse. These are the pieces I was able to get from her (several other pieces had already sold out which makes me wonder what I missed). They are Supergirl, Red Sonja, girl on a tombstone and Shadowcat with Lockheed.

 I have shown the pictures to some people and they like them, especially the Shadowcat with the dragon.

In addition to doing these pin-ups, she also does commercial graphic work. Some of her work has included roller derbys and clubs. She kindly agreed to answer some questions. All the other pictures below, except for her photograph, are courtesy of Erica Hesse.

Ziggo Dent from Facebook describes you as "rad". Is that an accurate statement?

 Wow, that's an awesome compliment! It must be an accurate statement if Ziggo (Leroy) said it. Thanks Ziggo!
Erica Hesse at Baltimore Comic Con.

Your website,, states you have little training in art. How did you learn to draw, to become proficient enough to earn a a living at it?

I learned how to draw like any kid growing up, by trying to copy my favorite comic or cartoon characters.  I remember trying to duplicate anything from Katy Keene and Millie the Model, to Betty and Veronica from Archie comics.  As I got older, I would take any classes that were available in high school, (which was usually your standard art class) and had a really cool art teacher that encouraged my pursuing illustration. From there, I went to the Art Institute of Philadelphia for  a few years of Graphic Design. My first passion was illustration, but somehow got swayed into Graphic Design instead. To be honest, a lot of my illustration skill comes from practice, practice, and more practice!

As for becoming proficient enough to earn a living, a lot of it is going after the work yourself. I put myself out there and made myself available by setting up a website, going to comic conventions, and networking. A lot of it is knocking on doors.

At what point did you feel ready to start selling your merchandise at conventions? When did you realize that this is what you wanted to do?

I believe it was the first Wizard World comic convention in Philadelphia in 2002. I was there with my boyfriend ( now husband ) at the time, we were walking around checking out comics and artist alley. Seeing everyone's art in Artist Alley inspired me and knew this is something I could do. I pretty much stated that "I'm going to do a comic convention here next year." And that was it. The following year I was set up at the Wizard World Philly show. I just kind of knew this is what I wanted to do, to somehow be involved in comics and start getting my art out there.  I really didn't have much to sell at the time. I think I had four prints to sell and  had free posters to give away for my website. It's hard to believe that I've been doing shows off and on about eight years now. Pretty crazy when I think about it!

How much of your business comes from commissions and how much comes from professional organizations?

To be honest, it's hard to say how much of my work comes from commission and professional work. I get a fair share of each, it happens to be different from time to time. I do notice that my comic art picks up each time before and after a comic convention. A lot of it due to pre-orders for conventions, meeting new people, and new work being picked up after a show.

Charm City

Some of your professional work is based on roller derby. Do you skate in roller derbys?

Nope, I don't skate at all. The closest I've gotten to roller derby is going to bouts (games). There's been times where I thought about joining, but, to be honest, I can't skate for jack. I have fond memories as a teenager skating at my local roller rink, being out skated and pushed down by five year olds on skates. So, if you wanted to be technical, I guess you could say I was in an informal type of roller derby growing up! 

What conventions do you go to?

The conventions I usually set up art are usually comic book related. Every year I go to Comic Geek Speak, Baltimore Comic-Con, New York Comic-Con, and a few local shows around New Jersey. Going forward, I'm looking to expand my convention appearances next year. Currently I've been looking to do some tattoo, classic car/hotrod, and horror conventions. I'll be posting what shows I'll be doing on my website, when I find out more details.

Stephanie Brown time trois

What are your favorite pieces?

My favorite pieces? That always changes but it does seem to be whatever current piece of art I'm working on. There are a few right now that are in the works that are becoming favorites, one of them labeled "Dirty Martini". It's still in progress, but, when it's finished it will have a Romance/Thriller Style book cover look to it while still throwing a bit of the pin up style I love to do. Another piece I'm really liking now is one I just completed last week. It's a Wonder Woman commission I did and was pretty psyched with how it turned out. Wonder Woman is one of my favorite female DC characters ( Batgirl Barbara Gordon comes first! ) and feel like I have a hard time getting a certain look to her. I wanted her to have a pin up type feel to her without taking away any of the strength she represents. I think I managed to do that.

Tell us more about your work, "The Key".

My comic, "The Key", is my personal self-published comic that I'm currently working on. It's a tale about a woman named Angeline that has a near death experience and comes back from it. But when she comes back from the near death experience, something in the world is not right. She sees things that other people don't see such as forces from Hell, the living dead aka Zombies, and others that promise her a way out of this hell shes currently experiencing. It's a psychological horror story. 

Cover to issue 2

In the third issue, (which I'm looking to get done before the year is out, knocks on wood) I'm pretty excited how everything is "revving" up storyline wise for Angeline. As I get closer to finishing up this issue, I'll be putting out a sneak preview of the comic and will offer it for pre-sale on my website and Also, it's still tentative, but I'm looking into making the first two issues of "The Key" available for digital download too. But for now it's available for sale on my website at or on

I see you have a profile on Model Mayhem. Has this helped your business? Do you meet models there who want to pose for you?

I have gotten some inquires on Model Mayhem about my art and  think it has helped my business as for "getting my art out there" so to speak. So I would say yes, it has helped me.  I do get a lot of inquiries from models who want me to draw them. As much as I would love to, I simply just don't have the time. I have never had any of the models pose for me as of yet, but plan to in the future. 


What comics do you like to read? 

Where do I begin? Anything with great art intrigues me. For some people it's the writer, for me it's the artist. Don't' get me wrong, there are a lot of writers I love out there, but if the art doesn't do it for me I won't pick it up. Does that make me a comic book art snob? ( laughs)  I read all kinds of comics, mainstream, indie, webcomics, horror, slice of life, you name it.  Currently I'm reading The Walking Dead, Ex Machina, Claws II, and some of the 52 comics from DC. I picked up Batgirl. Justice League, and Batman Detective last week. I'm looking forward  to reading Wonder Woman, Batwoman, and Catwoman next. I guess it's safe to say that I'm a huge fan of female DC characters! 

Wonder Woman Color

How would you describe your style?

I would say my style is good girl pin-up with a slightly naughty edge. 

Besides commissions, how do you decide what to draw?

Usually whatever inspires me at the moment. Mainly it's pin up related. I have a few notebooks filled with thumbnails and sketches of ideas of pin-ups, posters, and paintings I would like to do.  I get most of my inspiration/ideas from listening to music- I would love to do a series of prints based on that idea alone. Now I just need to find the time to do it!

How long does it normally take you to complete artwork such as sketches or work on "The Key"?

Since I work on "The Key" on and off, it all depends on my workload, it can span over many months. I usually start out with thumbnails/roughs of each page. From there I enlarge the thumbnails/roughs on my computer or copier to a full size comic page (around 11x 17 ) and start roughing it out on the light table. What takes a good chunk of time for me is backgrounds, that kind of eats up my time quite a bit. It can take me up to a day or two to pencil one page.  After all the art is completed and changes are made, I can move onto the inking process. At this stage, inking takes far less time for me than pencilling. I can ink about two to three pages a day, all depending how detailed they are. After inks are completed, I need to scan all the art in and move on to coloring, lettering, and laying out the comic. So you can see, it's very involved and time consuming!

Is there a date on your pin-up book yet?

There's no set date as of yet for my pin up book, tentatively titled "Girls, Girls, Girls and more". It's another one of my projects that's a "work in progress". Each time I do a new pin-up it's almost a guarantee that it will be put in my book. It's just a matter of collecting enough pieces of art and laying it out. What's cool is that I will have preliminary sketches of the art, inks, and the final art piece. Plus, I'm thinking of having a " How to" section in the book. How I start a pin-up from start to finish in traditional and digital mediums.
Are you going to any other conventions in the near future? Where can people go to physically see your art?

Mermaid Tattoo

There are two conventions I'm doing, the first being New York Comic-con in October. It's still up in the air, but I maybe at a table for  a few hours on one day. If anything pops up on that, I will post that on my website. The other will be a one day convention, the WildPig Comics Show, on November 5th in New Jersey. To find out  more information on appearances and  my art you can go to

Her website is full of material such as the images posted above and many more. The site is easy to maneuver and look around. Be warned. The material is addictive and you may find yourself wanting to buy many different pieces. I know I have.

Comments always welcome.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Terry Moore interview.

Terry Moore has written and drawn many different comic books but is best known for his work on "Strangers in Paradise" and "Echo". He has a new title coming out called "Rachel Rising". His work has been lauded by Kevin Smith and Harlan Ellison as well as his being the subject of strips in webcomics such as "Devil's Panties" by Jennie Breeden. He graciously agreed to answer some questions for me.

You are starting a new series, "Rachel Rising", and I would like to hear more about that. Current descriptions basically state that Rachel is standing over her own grave. What else can you tell us about this series?

TM: Rachel Rising is a comic book series based on the mystery of Rachel Beck’s murder. The story opens with Rachel climbing out of a shallow grave in the woods to investigate her own murder. It’s creepy.

You give credit for "Echo" to your wife, Robyn. Where did the concept for "Rachel Rising" come from?

TM: I wanted to write a scary murder mystery, so I was thinking along those lines when I got the idea for Rachel. I want to write a story where a victim goes after the predator.

 "Strangers in Paradise" lasted for 3 volumes and 15 years. "Echo" ran for 30 issues. How long do you see "Rachel Rising" lasting?

TM: Longer than Echo, but less than SIP. I’m guessing 50 issues or so?

 "Echo" dealt heavily with physics and Quantum Mechanics. How much research (if any) did you do for this series?

TM: I drove by a graveyard. (smile)

One theme I see running through both SIP and "Echo" is the danger with obsessions. Darcy Parker was obsessed with power and  scientists at HeNRi pursued scientific knowledge with no regard for people or consequences. These characters came to bad ends in their respective series. Is this an intentional statement? Will we be seeing this in "Rachel"?

TM: Probably. I write about the things that puzzle me.  Now the topic is death. There’s a mystery.

Tell us more about the cast of this new series.

TM: It’s a creepy little town. Everybody’s a character. The rest you’ll have to find out for yourself as the story unfolds.
I read you have a movie contract for "Echo". Congratulations for that. How much control will you have over the script?

The last panel of "Echo" was surprising. Do you have plans to return to the series one day and show the ramifications of that revelation?
TM: Some, in the beginning. As more people come in my role will quickly diminish, same as always with any writer. When it becomes 250 people working on a $150M project, the book writer is not a VIP. It becomes something else and I was just the surrogate father.

TM: Yes, I do actually. I already have the sequel in my head. It’s very cool.

I would like to talk about SIP.
 Without Emmie, would Katchoo and Francine been a couple? Emmie seems to be the motivating factor for those two's relationship.

TM: Katchoo and Francine made their connection in high school, so Emma stepped into something that already existed on the back burner. Katchoo’s experience with Emma was very helpful in healing Katchoo when Francine wasn’t around, though.

Was it hard to write Darcy Parker? She has very few redeeming qualities. She was manipulative and abusive to those around her. Was she aware she was abusive towards others and did it consciously?

TM: Some people behave that way because they are lashing out in pain, some people behave that way because they have no empathy for others. Darcy teetered between the two.

Why did Darcy focus on Katchoo so much? I understand Katchoo was good at what Darcy had her do. Is it possible Darcy saw Katchoo as Darcy's replacement in the future?

TM: Darcy was in love with Katchoo and she admired Katchoo’s toughness and sharp mind. Once Katchoo left Darcy, Darcy was a scorned lover; bitter, jealous and hurtful.

Freddy started out as a real jerk (and stayed that way throughout the series) but became comic relief later as well. Was this a natural progression for his character, to be both things--jerk and funny?

TM:  Yes. There’s nothing funny about winning. So, a loser like Freddie is naturally funny. The fact that he accepted his place in life so…. gracefully… just made it all the funnier.

Francine seemed to buy into her mother's idea that a woman gets married, has kids and stays married. Francine was unhappy and her mother (where Francine got her ideas from) is the one who calls Katchoo to come help Francine. When did you decide that mom is going to be the one to call and not Francine? I think that is one of the powerful moments since Francine's mom put her daughter's needs ahead of what mom is comfortable with.

TM: It’s about a mother’s love. She cared more for her daughter’s needs than for her own needs. That’s the kind of love we all wish we could experience.

SIP ends with after David's death and "Echo" (apparently "Rachel Rising does as well) begins with death. Which do you find easier to write--a story ending with death or a story beginning with death?

TM: They both take a toll. A story that begins with death is a mystery to be unraveled. A story that ends in death is just sad, so ultimately the human story is always a heart-wrenching experience. Mozart is dead. What a waste. David is gone, and we can only imagine how wonderful he could have made life for Katchoo and Francine.

Darcy was killed and David died in the course of the series. Did you always intend for that family to seem cursed in some way?

TM: Yes. Starcrossed.

SIP used poetry and songs heavily. "Echo" used quotations from scientists. What are we going to see in "Rachel Rising" (if anything)?

TM: A lot of green and red.

Tambi was a fixer of sorts just like Ivy was in "Echo". I found it interesting that Ivy was someone Tambi listened to in "Echo". Are we going to see these two together in a future series?

TM: It’s possible. They know each other. Who knows what their future needs might be?

Any chance of seeing Little Lizzie Borden from "Paradise Too" in the future? I enjoyed reading your strips with her in that title.

TM: Thank you. I like her a lot too. I do want to continue cartooning. I love making cartoons.
Terry Moore's website can be found at or to read more about SIP, go to

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Goodbye, Borders

The Borders bookstore close to me has a sign stated 6 days remaining until they close for good. While I am not sorry to see this bookstore close as I rarely shopped there, I do feel bad for all the employees who will now be flooding the market looking for work. I know what they are going through as I worked for a national chain that closed down the store I was working in.

The worst part (besides the unemployment) is some of the customers who come in and want to talk about the stores closing.

"So what is the company going to do?"
"Well, sir (or madam) since I work at the store level, I am obviously privy to all the corporate decisions. Since you asked, I will tell you all the top secret decisions they have entrusted me with. Don't tell anyone else.".


"What are you going to do now that you don't have a job?"
"What? I'm going to be unemployed? No one told me that! How dare they let me go?" Yes, discussing impending unemployment with a complete and total stranger is just what people love to do. If you want to help, offer that person a job.  Most of these employees have enough stress without customers reminding them about the upcoming lack of a job.

Like many other I have been going to Borders and buying books as the discounts get steeper. I am not a fool. What I am is a hard core book lover and will go a little crazy in used bookstores. It is like putting a chocoholic next to a chocolate fountain. Seriously, put me in a used bookstore that has genres I read and money will be changing hands.

I do not have an e-reader since I prefer to hold the book in my hand and pull it out whenever I want. The physical book does not require electricity or if it accidentally falls down a flight of stairs, the book will still be in good condition. An e-reader might be the worse for wear.

Yes, people tell me I need to embrace technology. I refuse on grounds of some sort. I just haven't decided what those grounds are yet. While I have not been called a Luddite, I have been called a dinosaur.

Comments always welcome.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

VA Beach: The city that does sleep.

I have now returned to Virginia Beach, VA after being gone four years. I did not think or plan to come back but sometimes life throws you surprises. Surprises like finding out

Things look remarkably the same.

Buildings in the same spot as when I left--check.

Traffic still a pain due to traffic light signals--check

Tourists still hanging around--check.

My secret stash still at Mount Trashmore--check. Oops I wasn't supposed to mention my ultra secret stash.

People from different parts of the state never believe me when I say this city has a large hill filled with trash. They say I am making it up. No, there is a large hill that is filled with trash and always seems to be getting bigger. For those who are not here--children play on it, families have picnics on it, there is a body of water next to it and there is a Boys Club/Girls Club close by. I await the day it comes to life and begins terrorizing the city. Fortunately, the military is here so they can fight Mount Trashmore. That would make a fantastic B grade horror movie. "They filled it with trash. It filled them with--DEATH!"

I have yet to go to the beach to see the last few pebbles of sand before they are washed away.. I have never been a big fan of the beach. Since the tourists have spent time, money and gas to get here, the beach must mean a great deal to them. Of course I am aware Virginia Beach would become a ghost town (complete with tumbleweed blowing down the streets) if tourism and the military left.

I had completely forgotten all about the sound of the planes flying overhead since I mentioned the military. As soon as I am saying something important, the planes fly by and drown out my words. This is how you can tell residents from the visitors. The visitors shout "HOW CAN YOU STAND ALL THAT NOISE?". The residents reply "What noise?". Live here long enough and people are not even aware of it.

Comments always welcome.