Now that Southtown has a mild social media presence of its own (go follow the Facebook page in addition to his site for content and updates) the game of non-spoiler marketing has begun!
As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, the team and I will be at this year’s GalaxyCon convention in Richmond, VA at the end of March and one of the big projects we’ll have ready to go is a 5 page ashcan preview comic to get the ball rolling. It’s a small snippet from issue #1 to introduce a small handful of the prominent characters in the series.
Additionally, below are a few character sketches and studies to tide everyone over until the next info-drop 😉
So let’s sum up the last three years. Starting in late February 2020: GalaxyCon (yay!!) Covid (boo) Unemployment (boo) Art Commissions (yay!) Mid Covid Restaurant Reopening and job promotion (yay?) Rinse, repeat for a year and a half. Various work and personal ups and downs and we arrive at summer 2022. After being burnt out by the restaurant industry and falling off on my artwork, I was approached by a couple friends in the Richmond, VA area about a new project. A comic book project!
It’s been a good decade and a half since I’ve done sequential artwork in a narrative capacity. I’d worked on a partial outline for a potential series in 2010 which, due to my work schedule and return to higher education, took a back burner. Though, taking part in larger community projects like “Inktober” over the years, I’d managed to prevent getting too rusty.
My artist friend Ally Slawson approached me alongside her writer friend Joshua Eadie about a comic book project he’d conceived of several years back. The idea was for Joshua to write, I’d do the principle artwork with Ally finishing the images with color and lettering. The comic is called “Southtown” and will be set in a futurist cyber-punk world. All tech-mods, tattoos and corporate terrorism! After spending the summer meeting every few weeks, mocking up character designs and defining roll-out plans, the actual comic is starting to take shape. Several pages are already completed (pre-color) and the crew and I have set up a website (still under construction) with a Kickstarter campaign soon to follow. More (frequent!) updates as these details and dates are solidified. I’ll be dropping art teases on Instagram and Facebook as more progress is made. If all goes well enough in the coming months, we may see you at GalaxyCon 2023 in March!
Well, here it is. The final 6 days of Inktober 2019. Full disclosure, The last entries were finished between October 31st and November 8th. Regardless, the last time I finished all 31 drawings, it was 2016 and I finished in mid December, so I consider this a win for me creatively. So here goes!
Neil Marshall, most recently known for a handful of Game of Thrones episodes and that horrifically bad Hellboy reboot is the director responsible for not only one of the best takes on werewolves in the last 20 years, but also a horror film that encompasses three different types of terror in one cohesive narrative.
The Descent manages to combine a severe emotional trauma character arc, a claustrophobic caving adventure and said cave being overrun with photophobic monsters into one hell of a ride. It spawned an unnecessary sequel (derived from the American release ending, which was a little too optimistic than the original UK release.)
I hope Neil Marshall finds his way back to some worthwhile projects following Hellboy, because his contribution to Game of Thrones was pretty good (his notable episodes being the classic “Blackwater” battle of Blackwater Bay and the season 4 battle for the Wall.)
This was a prompt that took me a minute to nail down. Urban Legend was one of those disposable Teen Slasher genre flicks that spiraled out from the success of Scream. And despite starring a post-My So Called Life Jared Leto (pronounced LEE-To) it managed to be pretty fun, spinning some kills into its narrative from the ever disturbing series of “children’s” novels Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark (whose terrifying artwork was egregiously replaced for its anniversary re-release…)
The sequel it spawned was… lacking, but I’ll always appreciate that Brad Dourif cameo in the original (known for his voice of Chucky from the Child’s Play series, Wormtongue from the Lord of the Rings series and One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.)
I’ve always had trouble with backgrounds and set-dressing as an artist. This was my way of getting over my phobia of anything with angles.
It’s a little crooked on one side, but overall, I’m happy with out it turned out.
Side note, I’ve had the opportunity to be on set with this car on a different film and can’t wait to see how that footage turns out!
From the first frames of the film (naked stretching?) to the inciting incident (hit and run, backpack full of bricks…) to the inexplicable STANLEY TUCCI cameo??
Yeah, this movie is straight up cocaine addled 80’s madness and it has to be seen to be believed.
HELPER. MONKEY. MURDER!
STD. Demon. It Follows was a really fun horror movie. Despite a little bit of Scoobie Doo planning in the 3rd act, for the most part it was an extremely original concept.
Again, this was an attempt to get out of my comfort zone artistically. Backgrounds and perspective scare me. A lot. You can almost tell with the trees on the other side of the street and the houses on the other. Guh. Also, I’m going to point it out: The hands are holding each other in a way that is FACING the demon that’s supposedly following them… Whoops…
One of the high points of the movie is that it forces you to pay attention to the background because the demon is so innocuous you can’t tell who or what it might be at distances…
This is the last day of Inktober. I finished it on Thursday 11/8. It is from a movie you should most definitely see if you’re a horror movie fan.
I’ll admit the prompt list this year was more of a challenge than the last couple. Though It’s wholly on me that I insist associating each daily word with a “horror” movie, and therein could lie the problem with my approach to the whole Inktober project.
That said, with thought I landed on David Lynch’s hollywood nightmare, Mulholland Drive. While the movie starts out with a happy-go-lucky tone with a far darker underbelly than can be trusted. Then an hour and a half in, the rug gets pulled out from under the audience and it becomes pure Lynchian nightmare fuel. I spent a large portion of my 20’s being very annoyed at this movie until I came across this gem of a write up. Just be ready to read all caps for a while.
On the nose again. A Ghost Story is a very strange concept film. Not really horror, it’s more of a drama with a silent protagonist (well, Casey Affleck dies in the first 10 minutes or so and spends the rest of the film under a white sheet.) The story touches on lonliness, nihilism and the potential time-slippage ghosts may experience in their post-mortem existence.
This piece was also a nice reminder that during Inktober I don’t have to go all out on every single entry and sometimes minimalism gets the point across better than anything ultra involved and complicated.
”Hail to the King, baby.” While it’s a line from Army of Darkness (unofficial Evil Dead III), it’s more appropriate for Don Coscarelli’s (Phantasm, Beastmaster) adaptation of Joe R. Landsale’s geriatric caper, Bubba Ho-Tep. Bruce Campbell plays “Elvis” (it’s never REALLY established if he’s THE Elvis or a dementia ridden impersonator) who is wasting away in a nursing home. Then an escaped mummy starts killing the residents of the nursing home and it’s up to The King and his sidekick JFK (played by the late Ossie Davis… yeah, you read that right) to dispatch the crusty corpse.
It’s delightfully juvenile and just completely bonkers as a concept. A+ 10/10 would watch again.
Again, while not really considered a horror movie, I’d be remiss if I didn’t include some Hitchcock nod during Inktober.
Vertigo has always been a solid favorite of mine when it comes to the Hitchcock oeuvre. Alongside Rear Window, I think this might be the best performance Jimmy Stewart put forward, especially since after a certain point he becomes not only unsympathetic, but wholly unlikeable as a character.
Before going on to direct both Guardians of the Galaxy films for Marvel Studios, James Gunn wrote and directed two of my favorite indie genre films, one of which being 2006’s Slither.
As a devout fan of Nathan Fillion (from his Firefly days, we can forgive him his cop-drama career move,) this was immediately up my alley as a cinephile and horror fan. Also Gunn’s history with Troma films and his writing credit on Dawn of the Dead (still the only Zack Snyder film I can watch without getting the urge to destroy a television.) Slither was a goopy horror movie with a solid comedy backbone. It also forged the adorable friendship between Gunn and star Michael Rooker!
Meanwhile: Posts are being made (mostly) daily on my Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook pages. Final days write ups will be arriving soon!
The halfway point has been breached! Thus making this the farthest along in Inktober I’ve ever made it while, for the most part, staying on schedule.
All month, so far, the subject matter has been a little on the bleak side, so for Day 16 I decided to lighten the load a bit and went with horror/comedy classic An American Werewolf in London for the prompt “Wild.”
I was first introduced to this film by its VHS box art in various mom-and-pop video stores in the 80’s and 90’s and then to the film-proper by a media studies class during my junior year in high school. The combination of body horror and lore-inspired comedy was something refreshing in the self-serious landscape of 80’s genre horror, and something I wouldn’t encounter again until Edgar Wright and Simon Pegg’s zombie rom-com Shaun of the Dead.
Day 17 was a tough one for me to land on. The prompt “ornament” definitely elicits a Christmassy vibe, though, I’ve never seen any of the “Silent Night, Deadly Night” films or any iteration of “Black Christmas”.
And while Gremlins will always be my go-to, favorite Christmas season movie, it is… at its core… a horror movie (horror comedy?)
The scene that has always stuck with me (and subsequently one-upped in the spoof-sequel The New Batch) was the scene in which Mrs. Peltzer, armed with only her wits and a kitchen full of culinary appliances, dispatches the first litter of Gizmo kin. The most notable kill being the gremlin pepper-sprayed (with a can of PAM) and stuffed into a microwave and set on high. SPLAT!
MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS FOR IT CHAPTER 2: The new adaptations of IT were a mixed bag for me. There was a lot to like on the character development end, though a lot of the “scary” elements were bogged down by oversaturated CGI and on the nose jump scares.
The novel was introduced to me by my grandfather when I was probably 6 or 7 years old. We would vacation in Maine (and it wouldn’t be until decades later that I would realize the Maine/Stephen King connection) but he would always be tucked into a Stephen King novel by the fireplace every night and would give me the best, age appropriate synopsis of the novel with the REALLY interesting cover art.
And yes. This is an image of Richie Tozier and Eddie Kaspbrak holding hands.
Monster Squad is a movie that is near and dear to me. It’s basically Universal Monsters’ presents The Goonies.
The prompt was a bit of a stumper for me, so rewatching this underrated B-movie classic set the wheels in motion and I figured the best sling I can correlate is a bow & arrow.
The dispatching of the Mummy in this film was always a fun memory for me, aside from the obvious revelation that Wolfman, indeed, has nards.
It’s a legitimate bummer that the Tarantino/Rodriguez collaboration film event “GrindHouse” didn’t perform better on the commercial film stage.
Featuring two “films” by each director and several fake trailers by noted genre filmmakers (Eli Roth and Edgar Wright, to be specific) it was an endurance trial of cinema. Especially considering the stylistic disparity between the two featured films: Film #1 being Planet Terror, a pulpy, gory, cheese fest with go go dancers, zombies (?) and barbecue. Film #2 being Death Proof: a moody, over-dramatic character study of a villainous stunt driver, featuring a thoroughly scene-chewingly stuffed Kurt Russel.
But there it is. Day 20: Tread, tires, Death Proof, car, whatever. I’m terrible at drawing cars, so I felt like I should challenge myself.
Meanwhile: Posts are being made (mostly) daily on my Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook pages. Days 21-25 write ups will be arriving soon!
Hello again! So far this month (as of this writing, 10/21) I have only managed to fall behind by one day at a time, and only three times in as many weeks! Here we go with the next five days:
Day 11’s film was almost used on Day 4 (Freeze) but I decided to tackle a different film in the Stephen King oeuvre.
Snow being a huge setpiece in Stephen King’s The Shining (despite his own distaste for the finished film,) the final shot has always resonated with me. Something about Jack Nicholson’s frozen visage makes him almost more menacing than when he’s stalking through the Overlook Hotel brandishing an axe.
Also, I am very excited about the upcoming sequel (based on King’s own sequel novel) Doctor Sleep, starring Ewan McGregor as a grown up Danny Torrence!
“Dragon” was a difficult prompt from a horror movie perspective. While Peter Jackson got his start in campy, gore horror (Bad Taste, Brain Dead aka Dead Alive) the Lord of the Rings Trilogy is still a little too fantasy based.
While, still not TRUE horror, the closest I managed to get was Michael Mann’s Manhunter (the original adaptation of Thomas Harris’s The Red Dragon) has some horrifying elements to it, including an underrated performance by Brian Cox as the original Hannibal Lechter.
Day 13 felt a little on the nose using Evil Dead 2:Dead By Dawn for the prompt “Ash” (being the namesake for the series protagonist…) This is also the 3rd year that I’ve drawn an Evil Dead inspired Inktober entry (2016’s found here.)
Capturing Ash Williams’s breaking point proved to be more difficult than I’d expected. It was the eyes. He looks a little Asian.
But we learn from our shortcomings and next year’s Evil Dead entry will be better. Or different. Or maybe the same. SURPRISE!
The Ruins came out of nowhere. The novel was recommended to me by a friend and the copy was promptly passed between myself and 3 friends when we realized the film was in production.
Author Scott B. Smith (who also wrote the screenplay for the film) was previously known as the author for the 1998 Sam Raimi film A Simple Plan, and The Ruins could not be more of a 180 from the snow-covered pseudo-heist storyline. A group of tourists find their way into a forbidden set of ruins in South America and are basically ravaged by carnivorous plants.
The film diverged from the source material in a few major ways (surprising considering the author was also the adaptor…) but was an entertaining watch nonetheless.
What is more Legendary than the prolific career of super-zombified serial slasher, Jason Voorhees? He’s been to Manhattan (for like 20 minutes) and SPACE!
While some of my favorite entries in the Friday the 13th series are its more ridiculous ones (Part 5: Jason Lives, in which Jason does not live and it’s an imposter, spoilers… I guess… and Jason Goes to Hell, in which Jason only appears for like 5 minutes at the beginning and the end and the rest of the movie involves a soul jumping Jason Spirit in the form of a gross black tongue…) Part 4 will always be the pinnacle of the series, even if it would be FAR from the “Final Chapter.” A young Corey Feldman “stars” alongside a pre-Back to the Future Crispin Glover and the iconic Hockey Mask becomes a series mainstay (after its introduction in Part 3.)
Meanwhile: Posts are being made (mostly) daily on my Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook pages. Days 16-20 write ups will be arriving soon!
Historically during my Inktober endeavors, this is the span of days in which I fall behind, feel uninspired, or just don’t carve out the time to get the creative momentum needed for 31 ink drawings in 31 days. This year is going slightly better than previous years. I’m only falling behind by 1 day at a time, or managing to stay right on top of the deadlines.
So here are days 6 through 10 with non-optional commentary:
Of course, John Carpenter’s The Thing could’ve been used on several of the prompts this month (Freeze, being the first thought, and Snow being the second.) Though the “Husky” prompt gave me pause to hold off until day 6. This also marks the first time I’ve had to time and motivation to scrap an entire drawing!
My initial design was an attempt to replicate (much like the alien organism from the film) the scene in which the stray husky dog reveals itself to be an extra terrestrial being while trying to consume and replicate the other dogs in the compound. The finished product (not pictured) looked more along the lines of the Demogorgon dogs from the second season of Stranger Things. So draft 2 steered in the direction of the Blair Monster from the film’s finale. Which for some reason, still kind of features a dog monster protruding from it’s “belly.”
Day 7 was a doozy (as you can probably see…) 2016 gave us the creep-tastic New England folk-horror The Witch (or the VVitch, as it’s spelled on the poster) and I’m amazed I managed to forget this bonkers bit of cinema.
This piece also allowed me to start playing with heavy shadows and contrast a bit as well. Drawing from memory wound up looking a little too cartoony to bring across the extremely visceral nature of the scene, so photo-referencing the screen grab turned out to be the right way to go about this one.
Have fun with those nightmares, new moms!
The Machinist is another film that kind of tows the line between “thriller” and “horror.” Ultimately, it’s a fantastic little send up to classic Hitchcock style storytelling.
Two parts paranoid protagonist with a secret (that he’s even unwilling to let himself in on. Two parts score consisting of 90% theremin and creepy strings and put in a blender with a 85 pound Christian Bale and this is one unsettling piece of cinema. This paired nicely with the Day 8 prompt “Frail” and turned out far better than my entry for the same film last year.
This one stumped me for some time. How to interpret “Swing” appropriately for the theme?
Eventually I threw in the towel and decided to dial this one back for the sake of completion of the project. After all, one of the pointers on the official website is to not stretch yourself too thin. If simplicity benefits the long run, go for it.
So, Pit and the Pendulum it became. I’ve never seen the movie. I’d read the story in high school. C’est la vie. I think it turned out pretty good either way.
Day 10 was a fun one. “Pattern” could’ve gone a few different ways, but I’ve become fascinated by the chevron floor pattern used throughout the multiple entries of the Twin Peaks mythos.
The original series maintained a certain camp to it, almost laughably, for its initial 30 episode run from 1989 to 1991 but always had a sinister element just creeping behind the (ominous red) curtain. This lingering dread was thrust to the forefront in the 1992 follow-up film, which was VERY poorly received at the time for leaving the series cliffhanger in the dust in lieu of a prequel focus on the last days of pilot episode murder victim Laura Palmer.
Eventually, audiences would come back around to this entry (just in time for the delightfully bonkers and, oftentimes, thematically terrifying de-facto 3rd season The Return.)
Meanwhile: Posts are being made (mostly) daily on my Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook pages. Days 11-15 write ups will be arriving soon!
October is here again. Which, for me, means two things: No drinking for 30 days, and 31 consecutive days of ink drawings.
I first came across Inktober in 2014. I managed to finish 6 of the 31 proposed drawings (mostly due to my school schedule at the time.) I opted out for 2015 (again due to school,) but went full in 2016. Though I did finish all 31 drawings, the last post clocked in around mid-December. 2017 and 2018 fell off in similar fashion, around halfway. So here we are, 2019, 11 days sober and here with the periodic update for this year’s Inktober adventure. Each year, a list of inspirational prompts are posted to help artists come up with ideas for their drawings and each year (given that it’s Halloween season) I cross-reference the prompts with horror movies. So here is the first of 6 potential posts cataloging my progress this year (as it stands, I am only a day behind schedule!)
Day 1: The obvious choice for the given prompt “Ring” would be, clearly, The Ring. Attempting to subvert the obvious, I took this drawing in a different direction. Inspired by the classic thriller “When a Stranger Calls” I decided to tackle my phobia of drawing inanimate objects and architecture. Historically, backgrounds and setting are my weak point (I usually like to focus more on the human form and the actions and facial expressions therein…)
The telephone cord provided a great deal of anxiety on this one, the concentric loops and the requirement that it all at least appear to be one continuous strand… A new addition to the project this year are famous or relevant quotes from the films in question.
Day 2: “Mindless” naturally brings zombies to mind (“The ZED word, don’t say it!”) Shaun of the Dead being one of my favorite in the genre, comedy or not, seemed fitting. Doubling down on the “mindless” prompt, I chose to depict the final scene (uh… spoilers… for a 15 year old film…) since video games are often regarded as a relatively mindless hobby. Also mindless, the quote is in reference to the character Ed’s rancid farts. Hilarious!
Day 3: This one was a bit of a stretch for the prompt. “Bait” definitely brings fishing to mind, though I’d already done Jaws twice and The Meg (Jason Statham v. Giant Ass Shark) made an appearance last year. So I decided to follow theme this year. Cabin in the Woods was a sort of sleeper when it came out, but quickly became one of my absolute genre favorites. The cabin vacationers in the film are literally bait for a ritual overseen by a bizarre corporation and it all turns out to be a metaphor for the genre as a whole. Gofigure. The “moose” in question, per the quote, is indeed a stuffed wolf head.
Day 4: “Freeze.” This one took some mental hurdles. My original idea was for The Shining, but I’d seen at least 3 other entries for this one (one of which showcasing the same image I’d been dancing around…) Naturally, I stayed in the Stephen King lane and went with another of his frozen hellscape thrillers.
Fun fact: Misery the film was written and directed by the same team that gave us the timeless classic The Princess Bride (William Goldman and Rob Reiner, respectively.)
Fun fact #2: I referenced my own foot for this one. So, there’s that.
Day 5: This one was a challenge, prompt-wise. “Build” doesn’t really bring to mind a lot of horror themed options. After a good bit of deliberation, the original Wicker Man landed on my brain. As much as I’d have loved to depict Nicolas Cage with a cage full of bees on his head (note to self: depict Nicolas Cage with a cage full of bees on his head next year… or later this year!) I went with the more iconic flaming effigy from the 1973 classic, starring the late Christopher Lee.
My folly here was that I was under an extreme time crunch (clock in to work at 4pm… start drawing at 2pm? Not smart.) However, I managed to maintain the detail on the wooden sculpture and not be late for my day job! Hooray for me.
Well, that’s days 1-5 of #Inktober2019. Posts are being made (mostly) daily on my Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook pages.
Committing a design to permanent ink is one of the most stressful steps of my creative process (aside from maybe paint mixing.)
Perhaps therein lies the benefit of the digital age, the hard-lined phase of an illustration doesn’t come with the pressure of perfection when there’s an “undo” key. For me, though, I’ve always preferred the sharpness of the pen/brushstrokes. Or maybe I’ve become one of those stubborn, stuck in the old ways artists.
Regardless, these designs won’t finish themselves. More on this piece as I make more progress.