Finder's Keepers
Name: Garth Cameron Graham
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The good and the bad.

August 4th, 2010

Otakon was insane as it always is. I met a crap ton of people, barely had time to eat, and all around had a good time. Congratulations to Katie Buxbaum, who won the custom framed copy of the Steam Beast art print. I’d like to thank everyone else who participated in the raffle.

Unfortunately, the awesomeness that was Otakon is tempered rather harshly by my remaining grandfather passing away yesterday. I’m flying out to Illinois for the memorial service this weekend. Needless to say, this is going to impair my comicing schedule and I would not count on an update until the 17th. Sorry guys, but I’ll get back to a regular schedule when life permits. I’ll be back. I hope you guys will still be here.

Return to Otakopolis

July 27th, 2010

Page 16 will be up later this week before I leave for Otakon. Some personal things came up and mucked with my production schedule. But enough of that, I have an awesome tidbit of awesomeness regarding this weekend.

This weekend, as any of you who give two hoots about conventions, is Otakon, that monstrosity of a convention that likes to eat everything like some ravenous bug bladder beast from Trall. I will be at said convention, doing my best to not lose what little sanity I have left. I will be occupying table J08 down in the alley like the last bastion against the mad tide thusly:
The Map!
The reason I mention this now is because I’m doing something new this year. The local frame shop, Fast Frames has been featuring my work for the last month or so in their gallery in Stafford. And we’ve partnered up to run a raffle at Otakon this year. Whats the prize? Well, the winner of said raffle will take home a custom, professionally framed, signed copy of my Steam Beast print. That’s right, something like $400 worth of framed artwork will go home with some lucky fan this weekend. Do I really need to say that lucky fan could be you?

Just thought those attending the massiveness that is Otakon might want to know where to find me in the chaos. I hope to see you guys there!

Why Did No One Tell Me?

July 23rd, 2010

Ok, the title is a slight misnomer. I have actually been informed of the existence of the following awesome webcomics, I just wish I had known about them sooner. So, without further ado and in no particular order I give you awesome reads:

Hanna is Not a Boy’s Name
While having the most obvious, and most non sequitur, title ever, “Hanna is Not a Boys Name” is an utter delight. What’s it about? A hopped up supernatural investigator that makes most little brothers look calm and reserved, an exceedingly tall zombie who doesn’t remember much about his former life but is otherwise pretty chill, the world’s worst vampire, and the the most squish-able adorable werewolf I’ve ever seen, among other exceedingly eccentric beings of questionable mortality and their bizarre adventures. The colors are deliciously vibrant, the style is so incredibly full of life, and the characters are truly characters of the first water. I wish my art had half as much energy.

Oh Perilous World
I’ve actually known about “Oh Perilous World” for some time now. Nick Borkowicz of Dead of Summer and Super Art Fight fame has been plotting this comic for more than a few years. I’ve had the honor of having heard tidbits of what it is all about during its development, and I am truly excited to see it finally put to paper as it were. What’s it about? Heh, well, half the fun is finding that out. But I will tell you that it’s about monsters and demons and a world that is not what it once was. Is that vague? Maybe, but I’d hate to spoil the adventure. If you’re a fan of the dark, twisted, and disturbing, you’ll enjoy “Oh Perilous World.”

The Less than Epic Adventures of TJ and Amal
“The Less than Epic Adventures of TJ and Amal” really defies description. If you were to tell me that it’s about two guys driving across country, stopping at gas stations, being caught in traffic, and having heart felt discussions, well, I just wouldn’t be that interested. And it IS about two guys driving across the country. And it is possibly the most touching comic I’ve ever encountered. The artist/author really shows us what comics can do, as she conveys just as much, if not more, information about the characters and story with just the art than she does with words. The art is simply beautiful and the story, while no more epic than your last road trip, artfully shows the human condition in ways that I seldom see. Imagine Normal Rockwell creating a Manga and you have some idea of what to expect out of “The Less than Epic Adventures of TJ and Amal.”

Yellow Peril
“Yellow Peril” is done by another friend of mine, Jamie Noguchi the original artist for Erf World. I suspect that “Yellow Peril” is more fun for me than some because I look at it and say to myself “so this is what Jamie’s day job is like.” Which makes sense as Jamie is a graphic designer for Nasa, and the comic is about a nerdy, irreverent, hilarious, over the top, kung-fu kicking, boogie nights in-house graphic designer. It’s not strictly auto-biographical, but it definitely draws from the real-life experiences of a creative type working for the Man. It’s like Dilbert but, you know, funny.

From Connecticut to Asgard

July 16th, 2010

Connecticon this year was a blast as always, full of merriment, good friends, phenomenal fans, and delicious beers! I can hardly wait for next year, but I must first focus on the upcoming behemoth that is Otakon. There is a legit segue in here, btw. One of our traditions at CTcon is the great gathering together and taking over of one of the local breweries every night and consuming vast quantities of delicious beer. It’s much like Valhalla I think, long tables full of good company and all you can drink for all eternity. Good times.

Which leads me to the latest image releases from the upcoming Thor film:

Now I’m not going to bother discussing the news that Thor and the First Avenger movies will be in 3D, I’m sure I’ve made my feeling clear on how little I like 3D movies. Rather, I’m going to talk a bit about the costume designs here.

One should bear in mind that I’ve never read Thor. I have never had any real interest in him as a superhero. He always struck me as basically Superman with an even funnier costume: i.e. the boyscout who doesn’t really have much of a personality to speak of and is just there to kick ass, chew bubblegum and be a good guy to thwart the villains. And that’s just not the Thor I know and love. See, I’m a huge fan of the Norse Mythos, and being predominantly norse in descent this is not terribly surprising. I’ve always loved the fact that of all the various religions that have sprouted up over the centuries, the Norse Gods are the only ones that I can think of that are pre-destined to loose the great battle at the end of all things. There no happy ending for anyone. The best you get is to die in combat, chill in Valhalla for a time (there’s my segue again) and then fight alongside the gods in a battle they are are destined to lose and the world all ends in entropy and darkness. And then starts over. This really says something to me about the Norse culture, and about humans in general. I like that struggle against odds you can’t beat, know you can’t, and in the end don’t, but you do it anyway because trying and losing is a hell of a lot better than never trying at all.

Anyway, I never read Thor because he and the rest of the Marvel AEsir just weren’t interesting. They were all flash and no substance. I mean, look at Loki’s horns and tell me that man’s wallet says “bad ass mother fucker” on it.
look at my hat!  it means I'm eeeeeeeevil!
“But Garth,” you might say, “the original Norse stories weren’t all that… you know… deep to begin with.” To which I would counter with, they are perhaps basic in their delivery, but they have a gravitas to them that I just never saw from Marvel’s Thor. Anywho, so the point is that I’m quite vested in anything that deals with the Norse myths, and here we have yet another adaptation this time on the big screen!

So what do we think of the still? Well, it’s hard to say. I REALLY like the concept of Anthony Hopkins playing Odin (a man so bad ass he hung himself from a tree for three days just for kicks). My first thought is “it’s too bright.” Which is strange as most of the colors in this shot are dark grey. I kinda like the armor designs, very Too Human in their design, which I kinda dug. I wish they weren’t so plastic-y. However, Ironman managed to make the plastic suit look like metal so maybe in post-production these’ll look good too. I’m glad they ditched Loki’s ridiculous horns. And I’m not sure what’s up with Odin’s eyepatch. It doesn’t appear to be the same gold color as the accents in his armor, and so it really stands out, obnoxiously so. I do like that there is a slight raven shape in it, but I could be imagining awesome where there isn’t any. I’d also have liked to see some runes carved into that shit. Seriously, there is nothing that says “viking” more than runes everywhere. Well, runes, and horned fur-lined helmets.

Asgard (i.e. the background) looks cool, but a little too clean cut. All around it says to me “ancient alien tech” more than it does “viking hall.” And perhaps they’re running with that. Maybe the AEsir really are crazy powerful super alien beings who came to earth to wage great wars and fight off terrible monstrosities to protect the hapless primitive native life. Stargate did it, why not Marvel?

So, in summary? Is it awesome? Hell yes. Sure, I’d like to see the AEsir be less polished and grittier. I’d like to see more drinking contests that end in the consumption of the local ocean. But! As long as Thor throws Mjolinir with such force that he is physically hauled off his feet, sent flying through the air after the less-than-perfectly forged thunderbolt, I will be one very happy citizen of Midgard.

Sooo… Games in Motion

June 15th, 2010

Sorry guys. I just haven’t gotten this shit done. How’s that for a first eh? A Webcomic that just tells you the page isn’t done on time rather than making excuses? I could tell you that there’s been some chaotic upheaval in my personal life and that I’ve been a slackass and let it affect my professionalism, or that I’ve been working on other tasks (moving, commissions, new art pieces) and it’s just eaten up my time, or that I’ve been having horrible writers block and the scripting is slowing me down. But you know what? It doesn’t matter. The end result is the same: comic ain’t done. As bad as I feel about being a slackass, because being a slackass sucks, I’m not pulling my punches on this one. The next quality awesome installment of our epic adventure will be posted as soon as it is done. In the mean time… play some kickball, the comic will be here when you come back.

In other news, I’m going to talk about gaming for a bit. Holy shit! I know! You thought I didn’t do anything but sleep and draw stuff, didn’t you! Ha! Fooled you! I’m something of a gamer, though a casual one at that. Used to be pretty hardcore FPSer back in the days of Day of Defeat. I was killer with my k98 back in highschool. Alas, I’ve gotten slower, and the kids who play those games now keep getting faster, and everything looks to be the same shade of hyper-textured brown to me. You know, when shit ain’t exploding. But I do enjoy me some gaming now and again. I’ve been a stalwart PC purist for a long time now, but despite my stance that your computer is a better gaming machine and far more useful than any entertainment/gaming console the gaming industry has embraced consoles as the heart of it all. Every year more and more excellent games come out for consoles only, and on the rare instance where they’re available for PC as well it is quite obvious that they were meant for consoles. I played Prince of Persia (not the most recent sands of time one, the one before that with the headscarves) on PC and despite it being a mind-blowingly awesome game, the game play was less than stellar because all of the moves were mapped specifically for the xbox. Hell, the PC port was so bad that they didn’t even change the graphics. When those quicktime events came up it’d be all “PRESS A!” and I’d be all “shit! what key is mapped to A? Oh right! Spacebar” but by the time my brain finished that, it’d be too late. So consoles are here to stay. And the way they’re looking it looks like your console will one day be the hub of your household entertainment. It’ll be your media player, replacing DVDs, blu-ray, crystal matrix, whatever, and simply access media content through the great NET. Oh, and you can link your far more useful and multi-purpose computer to it as well. It is the future, I fear.

But something interesting has happened. The Wii came about and it was awesome. Motion control! Sweet! Virtual reality is here and it doesn’t suck! Sorta. The Wii is a great system, I wanted one since they announced it, but really I just can’t think of anything I’m dying to play on the wii. My roommates had a Wii and a 360, and I never played anything Wii-ish. I tried Zelda and didn’t care. Tried Metroid and got bored. Nothing engaged me on the Wii. Ah well, nice attempt, maybe next round. Well now, of course, Microsoft and Sony are trying to get in on that motion-sensitive casual gamer market that the Wii has been printing money off of for the last several years. And you know what? I’m not impressed. Not for gaming anyway. As awesome as it sounds to have you know a “gun” to play your FPS with, point and click and all that, until you make it totally immersive and figure out a decent movement control, it’s gonna suck. Go play yourself some airsoft or paintball, way more fun. And I have to say that while some of the manipulative abilities of the PS move are pretty sweet, the wands you use are some of the goofiest looking things ever. They make wiimotes look hardcore. The 360′s Kinect system I actually have more interest in, because unlike the PS move it actually takes motion sensitive technology to its logical conclusion: remove the controller. Why do you need it anyway, right? If you can make a gesture and have shit happen, why do you need to waggle a remote? Now, I don’t think the Kinect is going to be especially great for gaming. I could be proven wrong, but I don’t think it’ll really catch on. However, for baseline menu control and interacting with the BOX as opposed to the game, I think it has epic potential. Picture this:

You walk into your living room, power on your system, and plop down on your couch. With a swipe of your hand you quickly scroll through your Netflix que, decide there’s nothing new you wanna watch. A quick flick upward and you’ve shifted over to the Xbox live to see who of your gamer buddies are online and to see if that new demo finally downloaded. It did! So a quick verbal “play demo” statement sets it running. You grab your controller and play through some awesomeness for 15 minutes until a message from Frank saying that they’re getting a CoD game going and if you want in. Another quick hand gesture swaps out the focus from the demo you were playing to the chat window. And you voip Frank that you’re ready to go, as you quickly swipe your way through menus to boot up CoD. Or conversely, maybe Frank’s pissed you off and you angrily swipe the chat box off your screen and get back to your demo.

Maybe I’m just too much in love with Tony Stark’s 3D modeling computer, but that sounds pretty awesome to me. Maybe the Kinect can give us the start of that. Maybe not. Time will undoubtedly tell.

Before Finder’s

May 25th, 2010

So, you may be wondering why no new page this week. Well, I’m in the middle of moving. Finishing up, really. I thought that I’d be done with it all in time, and truth be told I managed to pack up my entire life and relocate it in about 3 days. However, unpacking and sorting through the riff-raff has proven to be far bigger a chore than I imagined it would. And with, Animazement this weekend, I just don’t have the time to get a properly finished page done. There will, however, be a new page next Tuesday, so minimal interruption to our story will occur.

In the meantime, I found some awesome drawings from half a decade ago amongst my papers when I moved. These drawings, and what turns out to be about a paragraph and a half of text give me a brief glimmer of an idea for a story I apparently had before I dreamt up Finder’s Keepers. This story was ominously given the working title of “Project Jericho” and followed a priest/hunter/mage apparently named Malcolm Connelly. This project never went very far at all, as all the notes and memories I have of it are brief world outlines rather than anything resembling plot. Malcolm apparently could see and interact with Angels and Demons who played their unknowable games for the souls and fate of humanity in a city somewhere in Europe that I had code-named “Wall.” Obviously I had just read Neil Gaiman’s Stardust and was using “Wall” as a placeholder to tell me how the city was a crossroads of the real world and a world beyond and was super important. I’d come up with a better name later.

I’m not sure what all the tattoos on Malcolm’s skin are. Possibly they are magic seals or circles necessary to work his magic. Perhaps they are brands. Perhaps they just look cool. I do seem to recall thinking that the elaborate ones across the twin scars running down his shoulder blades might be seals to bind his own angelic properties, having perhaps fallen from grace. Who knows? The girl Rachael, I think was supposed to more or less play the part of being a familiar face for the audience to connect with, but the story (whatever it was) was Malcolm’s and not her’s specificaly.

I remembered the drawings of Malcolm that I did. This man who is somehow a cross between the brothers from the Boondock Saints and Harry Dresden (though I had not read the Dresden Files at the time). And I remember thinking how he was kind of a prototypical Cardinal. Not Cardinal, but enough of the vague ideas that made up this man were ideas that went into the creation of Lord Cardinal, Aspect of the Primary Directions. But what shocked me was the drawings of Rachael and the creature. I had forgotten I had done those drawings. While Rachael doesn’t look particularly like Cailyn, there’s something very much like her in Rachael’s expressions I think. And then there’s the three words that were written next to the drawing of that creature:

Torment of Darkness

I mean, wow. A whole year before I had dreamt up the Umbra I had drawn them for a completely different project. And then forgotten I had ever done it! I know I’ve been obsessed with monsters made of shadow for a very very long time. I personally find the dark quite terrifying if I let my imagination contemplate what might be just out of sight. I have a very vivid imagination. Yet I had totally forgotten I had drawn this thing, this thing which is so very much like the Umbra.

It’s really amazing how you have ideas that lurk in the back of your head, desperate for a chance at getting out. And perhaps the first time is not the right venue. Perhaps they need to noodle around in your subconscious a bit longer before they become the awesome things that they are meant to be. I think this is super cool, and I wanted to share it with you guys.

I hope to see you at Animazement this weekend!

Attention Forum Admins

May 22nd, 2010

Right, so. I am highly displeased. Through either intentional malice or accidental good intentions, I’ve managed to be banned form my own forums. This is UNACCEPTABLE. I’m posting about this because lo and behold I was trusting and communicated with my admins mostly through the forum private message system and I can no longer find their actual email addresses. So, here’s the deal.

Either I get unbanned in the equivalent of 30 internet seconds OR…


Am I clear?

Fix it.

Panel Panel Panel

May 18th, 2010

A quick hello to everyone visiting from Three Panel Soul. Hi.

In other fun news, do you guys remember my brother Cole (last panel)? Yeah? How could you forget? Well TJ learned bass and now truly rocks out. Check ‘em out, maybe you’ll like ‘em. Right now, the band Seven Days Past, is part of the Battle of the Bands and is striving for a shot at performing at Warped Tour. So, VOTE for them! Clicky Clicky!

I’ve also finally given into demand and in addition to the Twitter feed I started up a while back, I now have a Deviant Art account. Why? Because everyone asks if I have one. Chicken and Egg. If things go as planned, you guys should start seeing more sketches and doodles of mine in addition to my finished pieces and, of course, comic pages.

I need to go pack now. Moving. More news as it develops.

Not Dead

May 11th, 2010

So, I’m very much alive and well. I know some of you have expressed concerns over this. Obviously I need to update this blog bit more frequently. So, MTAC was really awesome despite all the rain, and no it affected me almost not at all. I did not get trapped, or rained out, or submerged, or drowned, or anything like that. I cannot say this was true for everyone else in Nashville that weekend, but I was pretty damn dry despite the weather. I really should get one of those wicked awesome Bladerunner Umbrellas or something. All the flooding seemed to be primarily located to the west/north/south of us, but to the east (where I was headed back home), the roads were still open and passable. Though the road the con was on was flooded out down the opposite direction, so it was a little dicey. But chance and fortune favored me and I got out of there perfectly safe.

By the by, if any of you guys can help out Outland Armor I know they’d really appreciate it. As an extremely small business (like myself) crap like this is utterly devastating. It’s devastating to anyone, but when literally your entire livelihood, everything you’ve ever built washes away like so many tears in the rain, it’s just… impossible to imagine. Now, I believe that most of the Outland crew have day jobs (unlike yours truly) but still. Also, they rolled up in a bus, and that’s just fucking amazing.

In other news, Iron Man 2 is pretty slick. It was borderline on the “excessive number of important characters” that comic book movie sequels seem prone to, but it handled all the personalities (many of them very scene-stealing) quite nicely. Kudos! Marvel is seriously pimping the shit out of this Avengers movie though. I worry slightly. Anything pimped this hard has a difficult time delivering.

Trailer wise, it looks like a lot of cool stuff is coming out. I hate to say it, but the Last Airbender Movie looks pretty awesome. Despite being a huge fan of the cartoon, and being very wary of Hollywood doing anything with anything I love, AND being taken vaguely aback by the darker tone and questionable casting job, the trailer looks like an awesome movie. It probably will let me down, but I can hope that it’ll be just as excellent as the show. Though I doubt we’ll have enough time within the 2 hour time constraint for the characters to show us why it’s as amazing a tale as it truly is.

Last note for this update: I have T-shirts again!

Life is Art is Life

April 13th, 2010

Before I start getting the flood of emails asking if I’ve given up on color, the answer is no. I fully expect to get these emails anyway, but I can at least attempt to communicate. However, the color will be coming in later than the inkwork for Tuesday’s update. Why again, you ask? Well, I shall tell you.

Anime Boston was a blast. Many thanks to all the people who came by and said hello, many more thanks to all the people who came to my panels and laughed on cue. You guys were awesome. However, like most conventions, I came home more drained than I thought I should be. It didn’t really help that I actually had to do part of the drive down from Boston twice because I forgot important things and had to go back for them. I admit I’ve been oddly spacey the last week or so.

The spacey-ness could be a side effect of completing my 27th trip ’round our closest star and simply being dizzy from all that roundy-roundy. More likely it is a side effect of, as my friend Mookie phrases it, my lady friend and her exceptionally enjoyable company. Who is to say? Regardless! I am now fully recovered (as much as I ever am anyway) and I have lots and lots of awesome story to tell you guys! So let us get back to the show and see how Cailyn’s going to get herself out of this mess…

…right after I file my taxes.