Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Dark Dominion Part 12...

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas…

Hi Guys,

I was asked to accompany Janet, Joe and some of their friends for an evening out in New York. We met at restaurant and everyone one was already there, by the time I arrived with Joe. We ordered drinks and looked at menus and then the strangest thing happened they asked me to say something, anything. So I did, I asked them what did they want me to say and there were smiles and a few excited giggles.

It eventually came out that the friends had never heard a Brit accent for real before and I was the token Brit, so they wanted to hear me speak. I remember making them all laugh because we all have different accents, even with neighbouring towns herein the UK, whereas the Americans, seem to think they don’t have any accents, which they so obviously do, as I explained in part 9.

The meal and the company were equally great and I had a great time amongst these new folks, although I was never to see any of them again, except for Janet and Joe, of course.

I went to see Nightmare at Christmas, again, this time with Su and Ben. It was a really great film to see and one, which I had no prior knowledge of, so the concept and storyline were completely new for me, which was fantastic. I always prefer to see a film without knowing anything about it. Su loved Halloween time as I said in part 11 and she loved this film enormously. I have to admit that both Ben and I also enjoyed the film and would have stayed to watch it all over again, had it not been the final showing for the evening.

It was now December and the run up to Christmas, one of my favourite times of year. Once more Su had something new to show me and down at the Rockefeller Centre the Pumpkins had been changed to large statues of Angels blowing trumpets, following the Halloween season.

For anyone who may not know this, the Rockefeller Centre was shown in the final scenes of the original Home Alone film with Macaulay Culkin. The scene where the young actor stands looking at an enormous Christmas tree over looking the ice skating rink is where I was now standing and the film did not show the true scale of the Christmas tree, which was huge! The decorations were beautiful and made the whole area totally Christmassy.

The skating rink, which had been created below the Rockefeller Centre, was awash with skaters whizzing along on their thin blades leaving a line drawing etched in the ice behind them. It was just like looking at any American Christmas movie, which explained why they do them so well.

Below: Pages from War Dancer Issue #2
Respectively:
Page 5
Page 7
Page 20


On the first Friday in December Ben had been discussing the director John Woo and his films. Having overheard that I had never seen any Joe decided what was needed was a John Woo session and it would take place tomorrow morning. Ben, Su, Dave, Paul, Joe, Rob, and I would be there watching them, it was to be a marathon session too.

Saturday morning saw early arrivals from all our little band of video John Woo buffs and the day consisted of us watching, with only refreshment and toilet breaks between each. We watched: Hard Boiled, Bullet in the Head, The Killer, A Better Tomorrow, and A Better Tomorrow 2 – five consecutive films, one after the other. It changed Defiant forever…

That afternoon, before we all went our separate ways, the office was filled with the sounds of gun fire, machine gun fire, ricocheting bullets and explosions, not from the videos, they had long since ended, they came from each of us that had been watching them. The slow motion, used in the films, of actors diving about the scenes firing an inordinate amount of unfeasibly bullet-laden guns, which exploded everywhere, including wood was there to be emulated.

The John Woo session was to influence office gunfight sessions (at every opportunity) to the amusement of the other office staff that had not been privileged to have been present at the marathon video event.

Fellow Brit comic artist Charlie Adlard joined us in the Bullpen pencilling and inking Dark Dominion Issue #4 to give Joe more lead time to the book. Oclair was given the assignment to colour the book, which allowed me to work on the other books and join Joe on Dark Dominion issue#5. He also became my second roommate at the apartment. Yes you guessed there would be more of them. Charlie is also a fast artist and he amazed the guys with the speed with which he pencilled and inked the book and really got the book out very fast, which also helped Oclair who was painting the pages in Brazil.

One day, when Charlie who was sat at the next drawing board to mine was well on with issue #4, I noticed Rob LaQuinta heading my way, walking in the aisle in front of this front row of drawing boards. There was something about his demeanour, which warned me of impending doom, or at least an attack. Maybe it was the awareness I had gained through watching the John Woo videos, or maybe it was just I knew Rob too well, but as he approached I began to rise in slow motion.

As I did so, Rob dropped the sheets of paper he had been carrying and again in slow motion reached for two guns (imaginary of course). As he did I was reaching for a pump action shotgun and my Uzi (again obviously invisible to all except our group of John Woo fanatics). Rob leapt in slow motion, until he leapt for real firing round after round of pistol bullets at me, whilst I leapt in slow motion, until I too hit the office floor for real firing round after round of shotgun ammo at him.

The funniest thing about this was, the others in our little gang of mirth-makers turned and moving in slow motion, each gathered their guns and began firing also, much to the amusement of the rest of the office.

The cacophony of noise as we made the sound FX of gun fire, shotgun fire, Uzi 9mm’s, ricochets and explosions had Charlie in stitches and brought Jim out of his office to see his creative and production staff shooting the heck out of each other with bodies flying all around the office. By this time I had sat down having replaced my imaginary shotgun and Uzi’s back in their rightful places, replacing them once more with my trusty brushes. Jim looked at me, smiled, shook his head and said, “I might have know it was the crazy Brit…” Everyone in the office was helpless laughing and for a while this became a regular occurrence, even with folks outside of the video event.

I was quite often watching two, or more of the guys in some kind of shoot-out. You had to be there to appreciate the humour of it all, but whilst it lasted it was great fun to see and to be involved in and a welcome interlude to the long hours at the drawing boards.

Below: Pages from Good Guys Issue #1

Respectively:
Page 27
Page 32
Page 42


Editor, Ed Polgardy came over and asked to speak to me in private. He asked me if I could cope with painting all of Good Guys issue #1. I laughed and asked if he was joking, I had Dark Dominion and I worked on all the other books as need be, but the Good Guys book was six months late at the pencils stage and was seeing hordes of inkers jumping on board to help out, myself included. There would be no way I could do the book alone not so close to Christmas and my intended return home.

I suggested Su and Ben worked on the book and I would oversee and help out where I could. Ed told me he didn’t think they were ready. I disagreed, having seen their work on the samples they had been producing, since Janet had asked me to taken then under my wing. I felt that without a chance being given how would they ever be deemed ready. Ed still insisted they weren’t yet ready. So I said quite simply that he had a choice to make.

The choice was simple too, either; let the book remain with me alone and guarantee not to be ready on time, or let Su and Ben come on board with me to oversee their work and help out on the paint job giving the book a chance of being ready in time. What was there to lose, if the two colourists didn’t turn in the goods then what had he lost? I was not going to have time to get the book out alone, the pages were still being pencilled, let alone inked.

So it was that Su and Ben got their first chance at a book of their own and to my mind, rightly so, they really were ready. The published comic proved they were ready, maybe it wasn’t as good as their work would be in another three months, but that’s all part of being an artist and working for real on stuff. If you have what it takes your work progresses. Theirs did and I am glad I stuck to my guns. So was Ed when he saw the first of their pages and so was Janet too. It meant the new addition of colourist/painters at Defiant and these two guys had come up through the ranks too, which was even better.

Below: Photos from the Defiant Offices:

Respectively:
Joe James
Hector
Charlie Adlard, Debbie Fix, & Ed Polgardy
My Favourite Folks - The Accounts Department
George Roberts





Well it was, as I say the run up to Christmas and that meant doing some shopping. I went with Joe, Rob and Ben to the Mall and Toys ‘R’ Us, where I bought all sorts of stuff to ship back home. I then went with Su and we got lots of girly type stuff. With the occasional rain I had decided to buy a leather jacket, one day whilst out with Su and Ben shopping. I couldn’t believe the price of everything in NYC, it was so cheap. Once back at Defiant I packed everything up, toys, electrical stuff, CDs and the like, and shipped it off via Fed-Ex to my home in the UK.

One night I had been working late and before I knew it, it was 5:00 in the morning, so rather then pack up and walk back to the apartment, I decided to sleep on the floor at the side of my drawing board. I opted for the floor rather than the Defiant couch as it was near to the radiator. I soon fell asleep and then as through in a dream I began to hear sounds and then I awoke and, squinting my eyes, saw that there were folks in the office.

As I sat up I saw there was a piece of paper, which had lain on my chest.

It read:
“How about a rousing chorus of God save the Queen for the crazy Brit”.

It was signed, Shooter.

Jim had come in to the office early and seeing me asleep had placed the notice on my chest, as I slept, realising it was after working yet again all night at the office.

I stood up and took off my jacket, stretched and sat at my drawing board. Jim popped his head out of his offices, smiled and winked. He knew I was working hard and he appreciated it.


Below: Photos of me with Jim's note on my chest

Photos taken by Jim Shooter



Well there were more CDs bought along with more comics and more general Christmas shopping, including some presents for my new family of friends here in the offices.

And then it was the night before I was to leave everyone and it was decided that everyone was to go to a bar/restaurant, in lieu of my being unable to attend the Defiant Christmas Party. The only problem was there were a few interns, who were under aged and could not get in, despite our trying several places.

The interns wished us all a great night and disappeared into the night, once it had been established they were simply not going to get in any of the places we had tried. It must have looked like a scene from a Conan film with jugs of beer accompanying the meal.

The trouble was most of the guys there just couldn’t hold their drink and the merriment of the evening had folks trying desperately to speak English, without success. You know the kind of nights when all your mates really love you and you are told they think you are great…yes well it was one of those nights, with the only thing missing to my mind being someone swinging from the light fittings above the long table we were all at. The meal was great and as I say there was lots of beer and many drunken folks. I was introduced to Amaretto by Zack and Rob and I have to say I am now hooked on the stuff.

Everyone had a fantastic time and we left in the early hours and some would regret this evening’s mirthfulness, when the next morning finally arrived.

I had packed before going out that evening, so it was just a matter of getting my suitcase, hand luggage and Portfolio to the offices and then to JFK for the return trip home. I got a taxi with Charlie and as I paid for the ride Charlie got the stuff from the boot of the taxi. I turned to Charlie and he said he had all my stuff from out the boot. We went up to the offices and it was then that I asked Charlie for my brushes, as Su and Ben wanted me to finish off a page for them, before I left. Charlie then asked, which brushes…I knew then they were lost. He had seen a plastic bag in the boot, but had not realised it belonged to me.

Amongst the prized brushes I had was a large squirrel hair wash brush, which to this day I have never managed to replace, and it was a beautiful brush to use as well. Charlie was very upset at not having taken them out although he had meant to help me out, but I told him not to worry, it was just one of those things.

As I have already said, all the guys in the office wanted me to stay for the Defiant Christmas Party, but I told them that I just couldn’t and I really had to get back to see my family now. There was a tinge of sadness at this, as I would dearly have loved to join them there in the offices over a glass or two of eggnog and all the other festive goodies, but the lure of returning home to my young family, especially at this season and some five months away from them was no competition.

The party hadn’t finished the night before, however, and a surprise was in store, as the office had arranged for a not quite so impromptu office party had been arranged. There were cakes and pies and sandwiches and lots of nibbles and as you can see in the photo above there was more than my fair share of weight added to my frame during my five months there in NYC.

The guys even had a farewell cake for me, which was great, and then it was time to say goodbye for a last time. Joe came along to JFK with me again and we said our goodbyes again. We wished each other a Merry Christmas and then I turned to check in. Before I turned, however Joe reached into a bag and gave me a book it was a book The Art of Arion, a Japanese Anime book, which Joe had and he knew I loved and he had written a dedication inside the cover. He told me not to read it yet, and to wait until I got back home, so I placed it inside my portfolio and once more turned to check in.

Below: More photos from the Defiant Offices:

Respectively:
Zack Lynch
Su, Ben, George and Brady looking worried...again
Me disguised as a lumberjack
Cutting the Defiant farewell to the Brit cake (look at the size of me)





At the passport control, where all the bags are X-rayed my suitcase went through and the woman operating the machine asked what the odd shaped object was and I told her it was a Nerf Gun. Even back in 1993 that was enough to have several armed security police officers reach for theirs and other members of staff turn to look to.

He asked me to repeat what it was and when I said it for a second time the guy behind her, who knew what they were said, “Oh cool I got one of those for my son last month, which one is it?” So as they were checking the bag anyhow, I showed them which one it was. By now there was a small crowd of security, no longer worried about a gun, but wanting to see this cool toy.

My bag re-packed and checked in I boarded the plane home. The flight home was uneventful with the usual meals and films to watch, which passed the time away quite quickly.

Now I have to tell you guys that at this point no one knew I was coming home having spoken to my family on the previous evening, their time GMT, except my sister-in-law, with whom I had hatched a plot to return home without their knowing, as a surprise.

Well the plane touched down and I met my sister-in-law and she drove me home from the airport. We arrived home and I stayed in the car almost lying down in the front passenger seat, hiding. We had timed it to perfection; Margaret was locking the door, expecting her sister to be taking the kids to school and her to work.

But that was before Margaret opened the door and saw me there. The look of shock and happiness will stay with me forever as one of those magical moments when the world is perfect, just for those few moments.

Well as well as the smiles there were a few tears all around and it was decided that today was going to be one of those days, which would be a day off school and work. A day to play catch up and do all the things a family does, especially one that has been estranged for so long.

The full realisation of just how much weight I had put on was fully realised when I tried to put on clothes from my wardrobe and nothing fit me anymore. It was all too tight. I decided I would have to exercise and eat less, which being back in the UK and eating home-cooked meals and not as many take-aways and more manageable portions, would mean back to my normal weight.

Well it was a perfect time to return home as it was the run up to Christmas, during Christmas week and a time to do more Christmas shopping and high on that was the food list – oh well the diet could wait.

In a quiet moment I remembered the book Joe had so kindly given to me and I opened it to see what he had not wanted me to see whilst at the airport. Joe had written a dedication on the inside first page. I have chosen not to share that with you, as it is something special between two friends, suffice it to say it brought a tear to my eye and I realised why he didn't want me to see it whilst at JFK.

Now for those of you that have been reading about my exploits at Defiant from part 1, you may remember in part 6 I mentioned our family trip to “Gwynt Y Mor” in North Wales, where our car broke down. Well whilst out doing some UK-style Christmas shopping with Margaret the car broke down again, just as we pulled onto our drive and so with only time to take out our shopping I asked Margaret to get back in the car with me, because if it started we were going to buy a new one.

I had only had the car for about three months, before going out to New York the first week, but the car had not been a big enough jump in years between my old car and this, so I knew we needed to get a newer model.

What we got, after falling in love with it was an almost brand new car, with only 1,000 miles on the clock. The work at Defiant meant I had come home with a lot of money and so feeling as though things where on the up and up, we part exchanged the old car and bought the new one. It felt really good and my new work seemed to be starting to make a difference to all our lives now.

It was soon Christmas day and it was perfect, it snowed. It felt like our lives were taking a total turn for the better and this Christmas was just perfect and it seemed as though life was getting better all the time.

We opened our presents and the entire holiday season week was full of meals at restaurants, parties, and family fun at our house, as well as our parents’, sibling’s and friend’s houses. New Year saw us celebrate with the traditional Haggis supper and life continued to be good. It felt to me like all the traditional Christmas films all rolled into one were being re-enacted before my very eyes.

Below: Photos from Christmas morning:

Joanne and Simon opening some of their presents




Below:
Photos from Christmas morning:

Respectively:

A view from the Bottom of the Front Garden
The Fields at the side of the House



All the while, in the quiet moments, I began to work on the pages of Dark Dominion issue #5, which I had brought with me from NYC, between Christmas and New Year.

Then one evening the day after New Year I received a call from the States from Janet. It was great to hear from her and I wished her a Happy New Year. She wished me the same and then said, “Can you come out again – the deadlines on all the books are shot to pieces again?”

But I’ll share that in my next Blog.

Until next time have fun!

Tim Perkins…
July29th 2009

Monday, July 27, 2009

Hot Wheels Issue #59…

A look at the latest cars…

Hi Guys,

Here is another of my monthly sneak peaks at the cars you’ll see in issue #59 of the Hot Wheels comic, out this month, to whet your appetite. This month, however, instead of just showing the cars themselves I am showing them in situ within a panel setting.

The two cars are respectively:

Fast Fortress – From the story: “Car-Go Plane!”

Nitro Doorslammer – From the story: “Street Race Ace!”

Both cars are seeing a reprise of their roles in the comics, each having appeared in earlier issues, in different stories.


The same gang produces both stories as always:

Written by – Ian "In Vogue" Rimmer
Pencilled, Inked and Computer Coloured by – Tim "Trendy" P
Edited by – James "Jazzy" Hill
Production Design by – Rob “Raffish" Sharp

This comic from Publisher, Toontastic is on sale now.

I am looking forward, as always, to hearing what you think of this latest artwork.
Until next time have fun!
Tim Perkins…
July 27th 2009

Monday, July 13, 2009

Dark Dominion Part 11...

New York New York, so good they had to name it twice…

Hi Guys,

Well, as I may have said occasionally, the weather was still unbelievable. I cannot remember having lived through so much sunshine in my entire life before, or since. The weeks just seemed to roll along, almost as though I had entered another dimension with my only contact with my real world and life back there being my family, who it was now apparent, although speaking to them every day without fail, was missing me, as much as I was missing them, without the buffer I had of being in a great place doing what I had always dreamed of doing.

NYC unlike my small hometown here in the UK sees many celebrities on a daily basis. The city is electric and almost seems like the centre of the Universe. One Saturday around mid day I was with Joe on our way to a music shop, which he was going to purchase some new strings for his guitar from and as was his want he suddenly stopped me with an arm across my chest. Once more my heart stopped – I had to get him to stop doing it, I smiled. Then across the street coming out of a nearby hotel front door was the rock band, Aerosmith, only to leap in a limo in front of us. I remember saying to Joe, how I had always thought the lead singer was tall and slim, whereas in reality he was slim, but quite small.


We were now well into Autumn with Winter on its way towards us, but only as far as the date, as I have already said in this Blog the weather continued to be sunny. The nights, however, were now drawing in and the hours of darkness were now longer, giving NYC a different air about it. By now Charles had gone home to California, settled his affairs back home and driven back to NYC, with all his important possessions in tow, where he settled into a new apartment of his own, the lifestyle of New York obviously appealing to him, as a young artist.

One day Su and I walked down 5th Avenue, as she wanted to show me something, having spoken all morning about it to everyone in the office. Halloween was her favourite holiday and as such she wanted to show me the ultimate Halloween experience.

We arrived at the outside of the famous Rockefeller Centre and there were the biggest pumpkins I had ever seen. A real pumpkin patch with hundreds of them and some of them enormous. It was awash with bright orange and quite incredible to see. They had just been planted and as I had been spending long hours in the office and had taken to catching cabs on my way in for a few days had not seen them previously.

Su had spoken of me to her parents and having a family of their own, they felt so sorry for me that I was away from home and had been for so long now. She came in the office just before Thanksgiving and asked if I was doing anything at the weekend, which I knew was Thanksgiving and told her no. She then said she had been asked by her parents to invite me along to their house for a family meal there. I gratefully accepted and couldn’t wait to try her Mother’s home cooking.

Su had begun bringing in Chocolate Brownies and all manner of home made cakes and cookie biscuits into the office for me, almost from the moment we met, as in her eyes she felt so sorry I was away from my family. Her boyfriend at the time, Jon Holdredge, a Marvel penciller and her had taken me out to the pictures recently to see The Nightmare before Christmas, which I would see with her and Ben too later again that same week.

So it was that I found myself that Sunday on a train bound for New Jersey. It was the first time I had left Manhattan since the summer and as I looked around on the journey I saw that the trees had indeed started to turn and were starting to lose those beautiful Autumnal colour scheme of reds, golds and ambers, as the leaves began to fall from their limbs.

On arrival at their home Su introduced me to her parents, both lovely people and I was welcomed into the home like a long lost family member. The meal was wonderful, homemade, something, which I hadn’t had for many weeks at that point, and we had a great time discussing my life back home and the new situation here in the USA at Defiant.

I told them that I knew my family were finding it increasingly difficult with my absence from their lives other than the daily phone calls at bed time, which although only a couple of minutes long, at least gave them the secure knowledge I was still there, albeit three thousand plus miles away. Su’s parents really felt for my family and I and made my visit an absolute wonderful event, to which I will be eternally grateful.

Su introduced me to her pet Chinchilla, which was a brilliant little creature to have as a pet. He lived in a huge cage in the room he was in and roamed around like a dog for much of the day. Bright white and very friendly he was a very cool creature. Later on that day Su took me back to the train station and I set off back to Manhattan.

We came to a stop not far from where I was to get off again and a small group of youths came onto our carriage. Dressed with jeans which looked about six sizes too big for them with the groin area almost down to their ankles and with baggy sweaters and jackets and huge sports shoe boots, they looked for all the world like many of the characters within the comic books being produced at the time.

They had a ghetto blaster with them and it pumped out the latest rap artists as they made a lot of noise and laughed and joked with each other. I looked around the carriage and could see the young group were unsettling some of the other passengers, in fact to be truthful, most of the other passengers and yet as I observed the teenagers, aside from them making their presence known with the noise, they were in fact doing nothing wrong.

For my money they were simply having fun as teenagers, but their appearance and the amount of noise they made were the only things, which made the other passengers fear them, which was a shame as they were only kidding around with each other. The stop before mine they arose as a unit and then they got off the train. There were audible sighs of relief from all around the carriage and most of the passengers were discussing how bad the behaviour was from the youths.

I remember getting off the train and heading back to my apartment, smiling inwardly at how easily the youths had made the others feel uneasy, and yet in real terms had actually done nothing, except maybe cause their imaginations to conjure up bad images.

Below: Pages from Dark Dominion Issue 3

Respectively:
Page 2
Page 9
Page 16
Page 23
- The famous 20 minutes page




One day, shortly after Thanksgiving, Bob Downs came along to the offices and brought in some new Flash pages for DC comics, which he was inking over a new guy on the block Mike Wieringo and I was hooked by his stuff. This was Mike’s early work in comics and already folks were starting to talk about him and his work.

I have a natural cartoony style in my work and I remember thinking to myself how much I loved his stuff and was surprised the work had managed to get under the radar with DC, as most stuff at the time was quite grim and gritty in terms of story and art.

I watched Bob working on the stuff at the side of me as I worked on more Defiant pages, listening to his enthusiasm for the new Flash pages. I remember going out a few days later and buying a Flash comic with Mike’s work in it, I liked his stuff so much. There was a lightness of tone and a fun approach to the storytelling, which made it fresh and exciting and something you didn’t want to put down.

One day, around lunchtime, I was on my way to Mid-Town Comics with Joe when we noticed someone was filming outside the hotel I had been staying in when I had first arrived in the states. The road was cordoned off by real Police and there were the film set cordons with the Cop actors.

It was one of the early episodes of Law and Order and was quite exciting to watch, even if from a distance. These kinds of things were regular happenings in NYC and were certainly different experiences for me from any in my small, northern hometown, here in the UK. The shows continue to be some of the best TV viewing for my wife Margaret and I. In fact she is watching an episode of SVU as I write these words.

Work was always the main thing on the agenda though at Defiant and one night saw me in a marathon session for Dark Dominion Issue #3. Joe had been busy on the book and had been helping out with the production team on the books and also had some family health problems to deal with, so the book had become a little behind on schedule at the end of the issue. The pages had Joe using Manhattan references for buildings and such and those you can see above with examples of the photos we used for authenticity below.

We used Trump Tower as a basis for Chasm’s offices and there were the usual plentiful Dark Dominion Denizens. I also added graffiti in the backgrounds of the NYC underworld again and on page nine, I managed to add my daughter and son’s name onto the wall of panel five. You can see their names on the far right hand side of the panel – Joanne and Simon. Joe and I went out taking the photographs of the buildings, as we knew what we need to shoot for reference and it was great fun as we looked for the best buildings and best views to use to utilise our, by now, patented reflections in the windows SFX.

Well, as I have said the book was now running late and an all-nighter was had by others as well as myself on the evening before the deadline to ship the artwork to the printers in Canada. I had seven pages to start and it was 12:00 midnight following an already gruelling day of painting on more of the pages.

By 8:30 a.m. I still had one to start and the office was starting to become populated by other folks. I looked up and folks wanted to speak to me, especially editor, Ed Polgardy who knew we only had half an hour to complete the job and get it on the next stage of production, the flight to Canada.

I picked up all my paints and the pages and walked into Ed’s office asking Joe to bring his ghetto blaster and the fan in too. I then asked Joe to stand outside the office door and let no one in until I walked out with the pages. I remember seeing Ed pacing, like an expectant father to and fro about the main office floor.

His head popped in his office, as I was saying this to Joe, I asked him to go away, politely, saying I was to be locked in the room and I WOULD finish it in time, but I wouldn’t if folks kept interrupting, asking if it was finished. I then said they would know when it was, I would walk out of the office with it.

Well with Joe as the official “Tim is in Ed’s Office” bouncer I set to work, with Pearl Jam blaring out “Jeremy” on loop. It must have seemed a little surreal to those outside on the other side of the door. Ed Banished from his office, Joe guarding the door and me inside promising to paint the final page inside twenty minutes.

Well I put the final touches to the page, which were always the highlights and the final page was indeed painted in 20 minutes. I walked out with the ghetto blaster, still blasting behind me, to a tumultuous round of applause and cheers from everyone in the office, who had, by now, gathered around Ed’s office awaiting my coming out of it, much like the scene in Groundhog day when the groundhog is taken out of his little home.

The pages were still wet as Zach Lynch took them from me to take to the printers in Canada. I told him to blow on them until they were dry enough to put with the others in the production bag, which he did with a beaming smile on his face.

Joe slapped me on the back and Ed shook my hand both with accompanying grins from ear to ear. The office was abuzz with the sound of success. No one could believe I had finished the seven pages over night, let alone this last page in twenty minutes, but I had and although everyone expected us to go home, having worked all day and night previously, we stayed on driven by adrenalin and the need to come down to earth again working on the next batch of pages, which for me meant the Good Guys.

Below: Photos used for Chasm's office block and inner rooms:
Check them out against the Comic Pages above.






Late one night having just worked with Bob Downs helping him ink an issue of Barbie comic for Marvel, as I was waiting for new pages and he was so close to deadline with all the work he was doing at the time for Defiant I found myself, because of a good word from Bob, invited to the offices of Marvel comics for a chat. Bob said he had told them about me and they had asked to see me, so I rang and made an appointment to go along.

It tied in great one morning and as I was waiting for some pages to be completed and then shot onto watercolour paper at Kinko’s I had the time to pay them a visit, if only to look around the New York offices, hey maybe I would meet Stan himself, so what the hey?!

I remember being surprised at not seeing a huge sign outside the skyscraper heralding the fact that this was the home of Marvel Comics - The House of Ideas. In fact the huge engraved bronze plaque outside the reception and elevators to the various companies residing there was the only evidence that they did so. I was greeted by the guy at the reception desk and I told him I had an appointment with Marvel’s editors. He showed me to the elevators and off I went up to the floor, which housed them.

It wasn’t until I reached that floor that I saw the first sign of Marvel in the form of a large logo over the reception and large free-standing cut-outs of Spider-Man and Hulk, etc. I was asked to take a seat and was then joined by Editor, Bobbie Chase. He took me to an office and we spoke for a while, as he looked through my portfolio of work, which contained mainly colour works and not too much of my pencil and ink work, although there were some. The editor asked about my work in the UK, especially the Marvel UK stuff.

We spoke about the inks, helping Bob and he asked me about my work over at Defiant. Things like, what it was like there and what Jim was like and stuff, like that. It appeared that I was being quizzed more about the opposition than I was about my abilities to work for Marvel.

My enthusiasm for Jim and his new company maybe helped to seal my fate as far as work at the time with Marvel. Anyhow, suffice it to say I didn’t get any further work from Marvel, but I did see the offices and as I walked back to Defiant’s offices I have to admit to feeling a little like that Englishman in New York part again. I also have to admit that with the way I was being treated by Jim and the rest of the folks, there would have had to be one ecch of a deal on the table to draw me away from them and one I was already receiving and that was never going to be bettered. I couldn't have left Defiant anyhow, it was just too good to lose.

I felt I had done what I needed to, as Bob had so very kindly opened a door for me, but I had no inclination to look for work from another company at that moment in time, besides I was so busy already. I had been to Marvel and shown them the courtesy I thought due them, owing to the fact they had invited me along. Maybe all the above made me look like someone who would be unlikely to leave Defiant anyhow, even if asked, so they simply didn’t.

The day after this I ended up posing for a character, which Greg Boone was drawing from Good Guys issue #5. Greg tested my acting abilities for the splash page of that issue, in which Flex learnt self-defence. Greg admits to having problems composing that very complex opening shot and I actually did the pose you see Icarus in, whilst he is kneeling down to help Zack. So Greg immortalised me by using me as his model for his great illustration. I often quote this when I teach my students, trying to get them to understand about feeling the characters and being able to act and pose for them too.

Whilst I worked in New York, if I wasn’t working through the complete night I could be seen walking the streets of the city at 4:00 a.m. in the morning, or so. Now at that time of night or day, whichever you prefer, the only folks you will see are other New Yorkers, who don’t give you eye contact, after all you, or they could be packing a gun, or a knife – so it’s better to keep your eyes averted, thus avoiding a complete impasse.

The only other guys you may see, at that time, are the New York Cops, in their cars. Quite a number of times I would be walking along only to have a slow moving Cop car pull alongside me slowly moving at my walking pace with the passenger giving me the top to bottom torchlight search. This I always gave the thumbs up to along with a smile too and I was always carrying my portfolio when I did so. I always wondered if they had known I was this Brit comic artist guy would they have said oh no it’s that crazy Brit again? They never stopped me and always waved back after this and drove slowly on their way.

One of the great things we did as a group was pay a visit to George Pratt’s home/studio the artist behind the enemy ace painted comics. We got to spend the Saturday there and see his original paintings, etc, with Joe, Rob, Zack, Hector and a few others. That was a fun day out and we had a great time talking to George about his work and his thoughts on what we were doing at Defiant. George is a great guy as a well as a great artist and made us all really feel at home.

Some of his comic work was just the usual size, which was amazing, as he was using oils and then he had some humongous canvases, with a variety of subjects on them. I remember his studio/home had artwork, books, photographs and scripts everywhere and it felt like you had to concentrate all the time when moving about in it, or else chance stepping on, or through something of great value. The day passed so quickly and we all went for a meal later in a nearby restaurant, which was great.

We had seen a little rainfall of late, but nothing like back home. It had probably rained about a week out of the entire four months to that point, which was nothing and was, I am sure making the folks back home quite jealous.

Fall was about to turn to winter, although you would never think so, with the wonderful weather New York continued to entertain.

But I’ll share that in my next Blog.

Until next time have fun!

Tim Perkins…
July 13th 2009

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Bryan Talbot…

Comic Creator Gets Honorary Doctorate…


Hi Guys,

My good mate and International comic artist and writer, Bryan Talbot is about to receive an honorary doctorate from Sunderland University for “Outstanding contribution to the Arts as writer and graphic artist”.

Bryan, one of the UK’s leading ambassadors for comics in these fair isles of ours, is the first comic creator to have this privilege bestowed on him.

I would like to publicly extend my Congratulations to him here on the Blog.

I have actually known about this since my meal earlier in the year with Bryan and his family and friends, where he told me about the honour amongst all the other stuff we spoke about on the evening in question. I was sworn to secrecy and have waited until he was ready to tell the world, before publishing this Blog.

His list of credits includes: Chester P. Hackenbush Trilogy, Frank Fazakerly - Space Ace of the Future, Luther Arkwright, The Tale of One Bad Rat, Alice in Sunderland, and his latest book, Grandville due out in October 2009, amongst a great many others.

For more about Bryan and his marvellous work, please check out his brilliant website at:

www.bryan-talbot.com

Now it’s back to the drawing board for me and more Worlds End pages.

See you soon with another Defiant comics Blog

Until next time have fun!

Tim Perkins…
July 11th 2009

Friday, July 10, 2009

Hot Wheels Issue #58…

A look at the latest cars…

Hi Guys,

A little later than my usual Hot Wheels Blog, but here is another of my monthly sneak peaks at the cars you’ll see in issue #58 of the Hot Wheels comic, out now, to whet your appetite. It as been out for a short while now, so you need to pop out to get this issue, if you haven't already, before the next issue comes out!

This month, like with the last issue, instead of just showing the cars themselves I am showing them in situ within a panel setting.

The two cars are respectively:

Flathead Fury – From the story: “Test Track Trouble!”

Unobtanium – From the story: “The Wrecking Crew!”

Both cars are seeing a reprise of their roles in the comics, each having appeared in earlier issues, in different stories.

The same gang produces both stories as always:

Written by – Ian "Irresistible" Rimmer

Pencilled, Inked & Computer Coloured by – Tim "Trancing" P
Edited by – James "Jinxing" Hill

Production Design by – Rob “Riveting" Sharp

This comic from Publisher, Toontastic is on sale now.

I am looking forward, as always, to hearing what you think of this latest artwork.

Until next time have fun!

Tim Perkins…
July 10th 2009

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Dark Dominion Part 10...

Dark Dominion and other comics - 1993 style…

Hi Guys

Well although it was mainly all work, there where times when I also had a life as well. I remember Brady Darvin coming over to me one morning and telling me all about an exhibition at the New York Museum, which were displaying the Dead Sea Scrolls. He was excited about it and, after obviously thinking about it, asked if I would like to go along with him and take a look.


I was not only happy to be asked to accompany him, but also equally excited to look at these ancient artefacts. It was only a short walk of a few blocks in mid-town to the Museum from the offices and took no time at all.

As it always seemed to be for the majority of my time in NYC the weather was glorious. Now you guys may be asking, why does he go on about the weather in these Blogs so often? Well it’s simple and you would need to pay me a visit here to this neck of the woods in England, I suppose to fully understand. It was sunny in NYC and suffice it to say, I wasn’t really used to so much of the stuff, so hey, I was enjoying the good weather.

Below: The New York Museum:

When we got there I noticed how strict their security was. We entered the room where the exhibition was taking place and I saw special lighting illuminating these ancient fragments of parchment, with their tiny calligraphic renderings. We were looking at things thousands of years old and it felt incredible.

There were dozens of these sometimes small fragments of parchment and for all the world they looked so ancient it appeared they would turn to dust if the glass case, in which they each lay were opened and this was not far from the truth.

They were marvellous things to look at and I have to say here that I am forever indebted to Brady for giving me the chance to look at them with him. It was one of the highlight memories for me during my stay in NYC.

One day shortly after this I was asked into Deborah Purcell’s office for a chat. Deborah was always aware I was away from my family and eager to make sure I was okay with it all. She asked if I would care to go along to an Italian restaurant that night, it was Deborah and Jim’s treat for me working so hard there at the offices. Well loving Italian cuisine I agreed to go along.

We met at the office and caught a cab down to the Italian, I cannot for the life of me remember the name of it, but wish I could, it was marvellous. It was a regular haunt for both her and Jim and had really nice d├ęcor.

We sat down and were quickly joined by a rather jolly Italian gentleman, whom Deborah introduced to me as the owner of the restaurant. He was the most gracious host and asked how I was finding New York. We chatted for a short while before he asked me what I would like to eat. I turned to Deborah and asked what she was going to have. She turned to the man and said maybe he could suggest something, as it was my first visit to the restaurant.

He said he would like to bring me an antipasto, so I could try lots of different starters. He then asked if I liked chops, which I said I did, so he said he would do me one of his special chops…I would soon learn what he meant by special. Deborah placed her order and the man disappeared inside of the kitchen.

Wine was brought to the table and opened for us and we each toasted to the success of Defiant. I was then treated to the most amazing and massive antipasto I have ever had. It was huge and I mean it too. A giant would have struggled finishing it all of, but I had a good try.

The owner came during the starters to ask if everything was okay, to which we both replied, lovely, thank you.

This was followed by one of the waitresses placing this huge oval plate in front of me with the most humongous piece of meat I have ever seen on a table anywhere. She headed back to the kitchen and I remember thinking, what a great idea this was to bring several people’s food out at the same time and cut it from the bone – unique. She returned with another waitress and lay down several dishes of vegetables along with Deborah’s pasta meal.

I turned to Deborah and asked when they would be cutting the chop up and giving me mine. She answered that the full joint was mine. Now I am not often shocked by food and love to both try new foods and also new restaurants, but this was unbelievable, it was all mine and it could actually feed a group of more than four people really.

Once more the owner returned to our table and asked if everything was okay, again we replied it was.

I managed to eat all of the meat and some of the vegetables, but hardly made a dent on the vegetables, if truth were told. Even the wine did little to wash it all down.

Recovering from the mammoth attempt to eat for twenty, the owner re-entered the scene with a small desert for Deborah and a huge pudding for me. I thanked him and looked at Deborah and figured Jim was fattening me for the kill, so I must be on my guard, half expecting Ninjas or Mobsters to appear at any second and me in no position to defend myself, except to roll on them and attempt to crush them to death.

The evening was spent with me telling Deborah all about my family and my time in comics in the UK and the present situation, living and working in NYC at Defiant. Throughout the meal she thanked me several times for staying on and also for helping to get the books on track and said Jim was really over the moon with both my work and also my agreeing to stay, until things were a little straighter at the offices.

We left the restaurant and Deborah would not allow me to pay for anything, it was what she and Jim wanted, so I thanked her and once she was safely inside a taxi, I got into another and made my way back to my apartment on 54th.

The beauty of working in NYC and especially being part of the comics scene there too is there were more trips to comics shops. NYC had a few great ones too and we could be seen certainly on a monthly basis and to be honest a weekly basis and sometimes a several times a week basis too paying a visit to one or more of them. It was great to meet up with folks in them too, or be introduced to new ones. As the token Brit there I was introduced to lots of folks, who seemed enthralled to hear me speak, with my English accent.

Below: Joe James – I'm not sure if he was looking at a Hot Dog or the Cop here

One evening I had been working with Joe until late having eaten hours earlier and we decided to pay a visit to HMV for Joe to pick up some new albums. We both bought some new stuff and then called at a burger place for something to eat. It was quite late and we walked around New York and then got a cab to a special place for Joe. We stood outside a pizza place overlooked by one of the bridges that span the roads and buildings in certain parts of Manhattan. I can’t remember where it was exactly, but remember Joe having said he was going show me his NYC, off the beaten track from tourists.

We walked along the wide sidewalks of NYC laughing and joking and getting to know one another better all the time. Joe laughed and said that there were no alleys in NYC, or at least not as many or as much like the ones in the movies and on TV, despite them being shown all the time by Hollywood. I was soon to realise this was true as I spent more time there.

We grabbed a slice of pizza and set off once more for mid-town. Once there we got out the cab and Joe showed me the building Steve Ditko had modelled Doctor Strange’s house/Sanctum Sanctorum on. Doctor Strange being one of the seminal early Marvel characters created by Steve and Stan Lee back in the sixties. There, sure enough, was the house, almost verbatim.

As we continued to walk along the streets Joe turned to me and said we’ll cross the street here. We were now outside Central Park and it was just before 12 midnight. We then entered the park – you don’t want to do that, but we did. I have to admit to feeling very alert and very apprehensive at first. It was dark, it was NYC, it was Central Park, it was supposedly VERY dangerous, it was very silly and I was going along with it all. I guess the reason I followed Joe was, he was bigger then me, and the way I figured it, if something did happen, I could always hide in one of his coat pockets.

Inside the park you could see the lamps along the pathways. Above the trees soared the skyscraper lights like a myriad Christmas trees. The sounds of the city air conditioning units gave out their perpetual hum and the crickets added to the low cacophony. Even the smells from the city permeated the parkland, a kind of mixed sweet donut, fried onions, affair mixed with the earthy smell of night time soil.

Then Joe suddenly stopped walking and reached out an arm to stop me in my tracks, so did my heart. He had seen something ahead and not a word was spoken. I glanced at my watch; it was 12 midnight precisely. Ahead under the park lamps figures moved about and then the sound of voices managed to carry our way. I almost held my breath even from that distance then he said it was okay. We headed forward again along the path and came to what we had seen earlier, it was a film crew producing a music video. We stood and watched for a while, from a distance, and then set off once more for the city streets.

I can safely say that I closed the front door to the apartment and secured every lock that night, checking through the eyehole to make sure no one was there outside the door and then once in bed I could hear every sound. Just before I fell asleep I remembered the words of Michael Alexander, “fear is the root of all evil.” I remember I smiled to myself, as I agreed with the sentiment and then eventually fell asleep.

Well we all continued to work like mad to get the books out and then one day the Dark Dominion card series Issue “0” was released and arrived at the offices and we all get a copy. I had produced the colours on the cover and also on a number of the cards in the set. This was the first of my work here in print and it felt good.

I remember the day the proof copies came into the office of Dark Dominion Issue #1, I still have a copy unstapled and we were all blown away with it. All the hard work everyone had done to get the book out to schedule had now paid off for us. It was not too long after this that the courier arrived with boxes of the books for the office and we suddenly realised that Dark Dominion had come out and was now on sale in the stores. We took copies out of the boxes and we all began to sign copies of it, for each other and our families and then for the office as official signed collector copies for conventions and the like.

Jim was in the office and we all knew just how pleased he was. The towering frame of the man, which to some was intimidating due to the sheer size of the man, stood proud of his creative team. Check out the photo of the guy standing next to Joe and I, in a later Blog, and he is stooping into the photograph. It was another book out on the shelves and Defiant was continuing to grow at a pace.

Ed Polgardy wrote a great accolade for us all in the office in his editorial piece of the book and said of me that I was am incredible talent. I still don’t feel that is true, but I am grateful to him for saying so.

The next morning we knew the books were going to be in the stores, so Joe, Ben, Rob, Zack, Dave, and I went over to Jim Hanley’s comic shop to check out Dark Dominion on the shelves and suddenly I looked like I was the most prolific artist in New York. Every time I picked up something to look at, one of the guys would come over and show me a book in which I had work. I remember being so surprised myself.

I have to admit to feeling rather pleased with the fact there were so many books out at the time with my name on them.

“Dark Dominion” card set Issue “0” with Steve Ditko & Marcus David
“Dark Dominion” Issue #1 with Joe and the gang
“Plasm” with David and the gang
“Junker” (4 issue series) with John Ridgway for 2000AD
“Universal Soldier” (2 issue series) with Simon Coleby for 2000AD
“The Way We Whirr!” Full art for 2000AD
“Chopper” Graphic Novel with Colin MacNeil
“Deaths Head” with Simon Coleby for Marvel UK


With War Dancer issue one at the printers and the slew of books on my list on the drawing board, back at the offices, it looked like I was working on dozens of books at the same time. In reality the above list comprised of some comics I had worked on back in the UK earlier in the year and were being printed in US format here in the States or had just been released in both places. That said I really was working on a lot of books at Defiant and it was about to increase even more, as my workload increased again.

It felt great that the books were back on schedule after a massive effort by all to get them all back on track. The buzz around the offices was now absolutely positive and folks were starting to relax a little, with the understanding that we were all part of a new venture, testing unknown waters and starting to move forward as a company.
One of the things we saw a lot of, at Defiant was the increase in the numbers of sleeping bodies in the offices, which grew as more books came on to the publishing schedule. Many times certainly through the nights many freelancers and office production staff would be seen sleeping for an hour or so between stints.

The hours and the workload were gruelling ones. Even sometimes during the days, we were witness to someone having to catch up on a little sleep in this way and we coined the phrase the "Defiant couch", which is where most folks could be found if not at their drawing boards, even me. If the couch was taken then it would have to be the floor and some nights you would have to walk between bodies to get across the office floor.

By the time we turned around from having Issue #1 of Dark Dominion in our hands then it was that we suddenly found ourselves in possession of Dark Dominion Issue #2. The same buzz went around the office and Joe and I felt good about the reviews, which were a constant stream of missives from fans all around the world. Folks genuinely seemed to like our book and what we were doing with it and it felt great. Maybe we were doing something special.

Below: Pages from Dark Dominion Issue 2:

Respectively:
Dark Dominion
Issue 2 Page 6
Dark Dominion Issue 2 Page 7
Dark Dominion Issue 2 Page 11




Below: Photos of the “real” NYC streets




Below: Photos of the world below the streets of NYC - showing the pipes seen in Dark Dominion




Deborah wrote an incredible tribute, in Dark Dominion issue two, to us all working in the office and once again it felt great to be so appreciated.

Then the office was hit by a bombshell. Deborah came in one day and announced she was leaving the company. She seemed sad to do so, but another opportunity had arisen and she was taking that route with her career. Sadly I have never heard from her since she left Defiant and hope that somehow she gets to see this series of Blogs and gets in touch, as it would be lovely to catch up with her.

I remember going to see many films throughout my stints there with Carlito’s way and Robo-Cop 2 two of the early ones. One evening Joe, Janet and a few others and I went to a movie theatre and sat through three films consecutively and it was a great evening out for us all, especially with the gruelling deadlines and a chance to wind down. There would be other movies I would get to see during my time in NYC.

But I’ll share that in my next Blog.

Until next time have fun!

Tim Perkins…
July 8th 2009