Wednesday, October 22, 2008

"Local 'inker' for Dark Horse to sign comics...."

The following article ran in the Sunday Bulletin last Sunday for an event taking place in our store on Saturday.

We'll have copies of the #1 comic for the series Clone Wars, as well as graphic novels of the first two Star Wars Legacy books. Hope to see you there!

Local ‘inker’ for Dark Horse to sign comics on Saturday

Comic book artist Dan Parsons doesn’t get out of his Terrebonne home very often. Inking comics for Dark Horse Comics, a Portland-based publisher, keeps him too busy.

But you’ll be able to see Parsons at Pegasus Books of Bend on Saturday. He’ll be on hand signing these and other titles he’s had a hand in, and promises to give away a sketch to each patron (see “If you go”).

“Inker” means Parsons, 42, is an artistic middleman on the creative side of the comic book assembly line. After the writer produces a script, which resembles that of a screenplay, a penciller sketches it and does the layout.

“Then they give it to me … and I put the blacks in and basically finish the drawing,” he explains.

And, with a little help from FedEx, an inker of his ilk doesn’t need to leave home to get his completed drawings to the colorist, who scans them into a computer and does the coloring digitally.

“I basically work out of the house and pretty much don’t leave. I work night and day,” he said.

“Particularly now, with the Clone Wars series,” an in-progress miniseries.

He also inks another Star Wars spin-off, the Legacy series, which is set in the future — Star Wars’ future, that is — and features character Luke Skywaalker’s descendents, according to Pegasus Books owner Duncan McGeary.

“It’s by far the best-selling Star Wars series we’ve had since maybe way back to Dark Empire, which is the first one Dark Horse did,” McGeary said.

Before entering the comic book world of art, Parsons worked for a number of years in developmental psychology in Baltimore. Drawing was merely a sideline until about seven years ago, when he quit and moved to Eugene with the intention of pursuing a freelance art career.

He lived there for about six months, then moved to Crooked River Ranch.

“At that time, I didn’t really have a job, per se. I was just doing trading cards and miscellaneous small jobs.”

Then, in 2002, he went to Comic-Con, an annual convention in San Diego, where he had a table displaying his artwork and its classic, retro style inspired by Alex Raymond and Al Williamson, two artists behind the mid-20th century Flash Gordon comic strips.

There, a Star Wars artist from Dark Horse scouting for talent liked what she saw and approached Parsons. Dark Horse gave him some sample pages to ink, “and I’ve been working for them ever since.”

Along with the Legacy and Clone Wars titles, he also worked on Star Wars Jedi, as well as Dark Horse’s King Kong, an adaptation of the Peter Jackson film for which he did pencils and inks.

Additionally, Parsons has illustrated for the Topps brand on its Star Wars, Lord of the Rings and Indiana Jones lines of trading cards.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Comic Reviews.

Comic Book reading weekend. I'm staying away from that gooey, strawey mess (October Fest) downtown -- They set up a straw bale maze in front of my store. I'll be vacuuming up straw for months out the nooks and crannies...

I'd planned to read dozens of titles, but my son Todd showed up on the doorstep yesterday afternoon. I'm trying to convince him and Linda to go see APPALOOSA this afternoon. I never miss a Western, since there are so few of them.

To get some use out of these reviews, I decided to read number ones, maybe I can get a few of you started on a new series.

SOLOMON KANE. Another Robert E. Howard creation, a traveling 'Puritan' if you can imagine, who will rebuke you for swearing and then slice up evil bad guys without nary a word.
Good competent sword and sorcery, like many of Dark Horses' offering.

GREATEST HITS. Imagine superheroes as popular as the Beatles. Flashes from the glory days of "The Mates" to their cynical old age. I just really like the Vertigo take on the world, and this is fun.

FLASH GORDON: Competent (damning with faint praise?) and very slick comic. Sets up the storyline O.K. The art looks like J. Scott Campbell (Danger Girls) art on steroids.

BACK TO BROOKLYN: This is my kind of thing. Hardcore gangster story, by Garth Ennis and Jimmy Palmiotti. Like it a lot, if only it wasn't a mere 20 pages long.

SAMURAI: Another Soleil (French imprint) comic from Marvel. Amazing how well these sell. Slap any other logo but Marvel on them, and they wouldn't sell at all.
So far, every one of these titles have been really good. This is a straight out ...well....Samurai story.

Finally, I decided to jump ahead on my Wolverine reading, and start the new storyline.

WOLVERINE: OLD MAN LOGAN: Holy cow, this was great! Wolverine in a Road Warrior future. Old man Logan has sworn off violence, but the world is dominated by bad guys, so I think we can see where that's going. He is hired by a blind Hawkeye to drive across the wastelands to deliver a mysterious shipment. This is very cool, fun stuff.
I'm going to try my best to get reprints in of the first 3 issues and push this for all it's worth.