“Today, in our field, there is so much talent and recognition that we are reaching a saturation point. An artist should no longer strive only for breathtaking craftsmanship; he should, instead, try to help us live better, either by dressing the wounds that are constantly being opened by society, or by offering solutions to get us out of the mess we’re in…But it’s going to be difficult and we have a lot of work to do.” - Jean 'Moebius' Giraud

Saturday, May 17, 2008

IVAN KEYSER BRANDON SOZE_90 minutes


I have friend and his name is IVAN BRANDON. I'd like to talk to you about him for a minute so read along if you don't mind. As a matter of fact, if you want to get into this business for the long term you need to know this story. Then maybe you can go find and get to know this man.

First let me preempt everything I'm going to say here by saying that some of the statements may seem to make this brilliant, brilliant person out to be some kind of bogeyman. He's not. He's here to HELP. Let me tell you how and how I found out:

Okay, so...Ivan. He's the one who asked me to draw covers for his NYC MECH book a while back (look at some of my earliest posts on this-here blog for images of these covers) and he wrote the story for my 24/7 contribution in Volume 1. Now, he's done more work than that obviously - the most recent of which is his Machine Man run set to release from Marvel very soon. And if you'd like to know his full professional background, click on his name on the link I've high-lighted above; the fella' is bright, quick with the wit, well versed in comic book history and can tell and take a good joke with the best of 'em. Oh, and he's loyal. Loyalty is important. He's backed my name in everything that I've done - even pushed my work like a drug dealer whenever a project comes up on the horizon and it doesn't even have to be a book that he's involved with! He looks out for his people and I was lucky enough to meet him, lucky enough to be asked to work with him and everything has gotten rolling from there by way of my second foray into the funny book business. It is to say that I credit they guy with how my career got its second start.

Here's the thing: He's not REAL.

Yeah...it was hard for me to wrap my mind around the idea of that too, but after this past weekend's trip to the Emerald City Comic Con, the proverbial light bulb went off in my head and I was convinced. See, events transpired in that show that started me on this path to discover if he was an actual person or not. My findings have lead me to believe that he's actually several people. Put simply, there's more than one 'Ivan Brandon' walking around out there.

Crazy, right?! Yeah...let me tell you how crazy.

Ivan Brandon's a mystery man. He's everywhere at once. In that same show, I'd talk to 'him' at his table (sitting with his lovely girlfriend Kristyn - one of the nicest, most charming people I've met in a while) for about 20 minutes or so and that was a hoot. He'd offer me books he's just recently published and about what's going on next between the both of us. Then I'd make my way around the show, run into someone who also had an acquaintance with Ivan and they'd say,
"Oh hey, you just missed Ivan. He was here...two minutes ago."


"Oh yeah?, I was just talking him up a bit at his table two minutes ago. When did you run into him?"


"Like, I dunno, man...two minutes ago. He was *just* here - literally two minutes ago! We talked about this and that and books and comics and blah, blah blah."


"Blah, blah, blah, " I'd think to myself? "That's the same shit he just spoke to me about! Verbatim!"


Now I don't care how fast you walk or what kind of special pair of Pumas you've got on, that type of travel, especially in a crowded show like ECCC, that's f*cking impossible. That incident is what started me on my realization that there's no way Ivan is just ONE person. Want more proof? At the same show, let me emphasize this so you'll pay attention - AT THE SAME SHOW - another fellow artist, obviously not knowing that Ivan had a booth set up in Artists Alley, comes up to me and says, "Hey...24/7 VOLUME 2 just got nominated for an Eisner! Too bad Ivan is in South America hoofin' it, knee-deep in river water or else I'd give him props myself!"

I'd say, "You're f*cking high: I just spoke to the guy today and he's sitting behind his table."

I don't typically drop the F-Bomb this much, but this was the fifth or sixth person IN THIS SAME SHOW who claims that Ivan is in one place when I just saw him and TALKED TO HIM at another place. And this guy says he's in SOUTH F*CKIN' AMERICA?! This is ridiculous. Anyhoo...

"Naw, dood. I just saw pictures of him and he's smiling that ol' Ivan smile, pants folded up to his knees in some muddy river in South America. Funny thing is Jimmy ('Jimmy' is a stand-in name - if I start naming real pros, I'd implicate their involvement and I don't know what the 'Ivans' will do to them) just sent me picture of Ivan wearing a winter parka and he looked like he was at base camp on K2 a couple of days ago. Cool, yeah? Th' guy really gets around."


Cool? COOL?! It's f*cking IMPOSSIBLE! Not only is it ludicrous for him to be in ten places at THIS SHOW, it's even more ridiculous to think that he'd be on two different halves of the hemisphere - TWO DAYS APART! Why has no one ever caught on to this. More importantly, why has no one ever called this man out?!

Then... the second light bulb went off. Why has no one ever called him out? Influence. The man has influence.

"Eric, I think you'd be great on Iron Man. Marvel would have to be crazy not to put you on that book."


His words. A full year before I got the IM: ETM gig. It seems so innocuous, that statement. Read it again. It seems so simple and and throw-away, that you don't even think about it twice. As a matter of fact, I denied it could even happen! "What would Marvel want with me," I asked myself? So I left it alone. And that's how Ivan wants you to think. It makes his influence *seem* that much less significant. "The greatest trick that The Devil ever pulled was to convince the world he wasn't real." Keep that in mind when you re-read this blog entry. That's how he works. That's how they work.Why did it take a year if he has so much influence, you ask? That's how people with real clout work. They make you think it was all your doing, all of your decisions; that you had somehow controlled your own destiny and now you're doing the thing that you set out to do. Every industry has it - from business, to entertainment, to sports. Comic books has Ivan Brandon. He pulls the strings - little bit tighter here, looser there. He cranks down on pulleys and levers - all in the name of comic books. And it's not just for me.

If you go through... let's say, the Image Comics booth at this year's San Diego Comic Con, ask the other artists in Ivan's vicinity, and I believe they'll all say the same thing...or at least something similar:

"Ivan's a really cool guy. He helped me [insert kind act that's impossible for one man to accomplish here]. And man, it's been nothing but smooth sailing since"

Like a Rothschild or a Rockefeller, Ivan Brandon, along with an exclusive cadre of highly influential yet carefully secretive sect within this industry, have been pushing artists writers, colorists, et al - to the forefront. And they make it all seem like it's your idea. Or it was your blind luck. Or it was chance. Or it was some editorial office in NYC. It's not.

My recent count puts their at numbers at around 50 - all of them wear one mask.

Their name is Ivan Brandon.




Wednesday, May 14, 2008

ORION_90 minutes


So if I understand this correctly, when Orion takes off his shiny helmet his face is just as jacked up as his dad's, Darkseid - ruler of of Apokolips. Or it may *eventually* end up looking that way? I'm not quite sure. Man, it must be tough to be the grand loser of the intergalactic genetic lottery.

So, this one's a day early because I don't know how my schedule will shape up tomorrow and I'm getting one in early now. By the way, I just realized I'm about a month late from my proposed two and a half week deadline of...um...re-posting again. Well, I'm just gonna start now. Enjoy!

"Hey, Orion... take your helmet off! What's that? Oh, you're exaggerating. I'm sure you don't look that baaaaaaa-OH MY GAD! I...um...mean....that's hardly noticeable. But, uh...put the helmet back on, yeah? It goes with...uh...your...uh....suit! Yeah, no...I mean, it's all just...it's all cool. Helmet. On. Thanks."

OUTSIDERS_commission


Well, not *really* The Outsiders, per say. But that's how it was explained to me when the fella asked for the commission. Anyways, apologies for taking so long in finishing this, Riki. But as my previous post expressed, I've been behind the eight ball for about two months or so now. This'll be out to you in the mail very soon.

Now, what else did I say I was going to do for someone else? Where'd I put that commission list....?

THE BEGINNING OF THE END_update


Okay, I'm behind on updating this one here because NEWSARAMA has already published the story, but just in case you don't visit their site, click HERE and read about what's got me so busy for the past...I dunno...has it been months already? Ugh. Thanks to CHRIS ARRANT for the interview - he's the fella who wrote up (what's become notoriously known among my friends as) the 'Enter the Eric' interview a while back for IM: ETM.

Anyhoo, the book is called 'The End League' written by RICK REMENDER - writer of 'Fear Agent', 'Sea of Red' and most recently 'The Atom' for DC Comics. So, read the interview along with the comments thereafter. The reaction has been overall postive and I'm glad not too many people are hating on the fact that I'm coming in after Broome.


I'm going to act as if you couldn't see this preview image on the Newsarama site because I'm feeling awful guilty about not updating this blog in a while. This is the cover to issue #5 with pencils and inks by me, colors by the amazing NAOMI BAKER. I'm not sure if they've amended it in the said interview, but I think they mentioned Dave Stewart as the colorist for my run. As a matter of fact he *was* indeed slated to color the book, but unfortunately, due to an unforeseen schedule constraints (I mean c'mon...the guy's Dave Stewart - he's busy as hell) he had to pass. But without missing a beat, Naomi came in to lend a helping hand and if you check this image out (along with the preview pages up on the news site) you'll see what a great fit she is.

What else...oh yeah! In the theme of promoting myself like a true press whore, I did an INTERVIEW for the CHARACTER DESIGN BLOG. Please check it out and read along to all the semi-retarded things that come out of my mouth. Thanks to Randall Sly for the opportunity and the interview.

In other comicbook news, please keep an eye out for Tori Amos' project called 'COMIC BOOK TATOO', in which writing monster JONATHAN TSUEI and I (with the incomparable SASKIA GUTEKUNST providing colors) contributed a short 8 page story. Thank you RANTZ HOSELY for letting us participate. It's been a ton of fun. Like oodles of noodles, but different. The book should be out by San Diego Comic Con time so please keep an eye out and buy the book. Look at the contributors, guys. It'll do your collection a heap of good to have this in the line-up.

Also, the new BEN 10: ALIEN FORCE cartoon debut on Cartoon Network a few weeks back and is considered (by way of reviews and ratings) a resounding success - even better than its predecessor, from my understanding. I'm doing concept designs for the show and it's been a real treat seeing it all come together culminating in the airing of the episodes. I'm quite proud to be associated with all the talents working on the show - from the character/prop/background designers to painters/color stylists , from the production coordinators to the writing staff - they're all tops in my book. GLEN MURAKAMI (Batman: TAS, Justice League Unlimited, Teen Titans) and DWAYNE MCDUFFIE (Static Shock, Justice League Unlimited) have another hit on their hands and it's all due to those guys' devotion to the show. Here's hoping they both get a well-deserved rest between seasons.

So I think that's it for now. I just got back from the Emerald City show in Seattle and I'll come back on here to give a full report on that. You know... much like I gave a report of my trip to the Savannah College of Art and Design - Atlanta a few months back. So, yeah... hold your breath. It's not like I've been busy or anything. Har! See you all really soon.

How much time do I have left before I have to start posting again?