Sunday, December 1, 2019

Sunday Music Muse Day - Steve Khan, Tord Gustavsen Quartet

The Sunday Music Muse day finds us enduring a ice rain (sleet) fall, making the driving a dangerous nightmare. So, I'm avoiding going out at all cost, and will stay warm inside, listening to some new music.  First up, Steve Khan Backlot.  Khan has been a favorite guitarist of mine since the 80s. with albums like Casa Loco, with covers by artist Folon.  As described by jazz critic James Nadel, "Steve Khan has undertaken the role of expanding and redefining the role of the guitar in the hybrid genre of Latin Jazz... in the transformation of straight-ahead jazz compositions into unique Khan improvisations drawing deeply from the Afro-Cuban tradition."  Like his contemporaries  Pat Metheny,  John Scofield, and others, he has a unique tone, and you can spot his playing in just a few note.  This a nice addition to my Steve Khan stash and great listening for cold afternoon.




My second pick is Tord Gustavsen Extended Circle, a 2014 ECM released.  It's a spacey, introspective offering, as most of his music is, in a good way.  The laid back, moody feel, and even the extended silence between the notes, draws you in the music.  I admit I'm not totally into the saxophone on this. I find it harsh in spots.  But, all in all, I'm keeping playing this, often. Especially, on day like today.





Well...it's time for another warm cup of tea, and settle in for some good tunes.  Enjoy.

Friday, November 29, 2019

Dime-A-Dozen Project #14 - Warrior in the Mist

Dime-A-Dozen Projects is so named from a conversation with creative friends of mine as we lamented that when we were working full-time for someone else, we get these (in our minds) original million dollar ideas, that would, somehow, turn into "dime-a-dozen" ideas when we were out of work and on our own. I have tons of unfinished projects in the form of character sketches, incomplete written outlines, half drawn comic pages, and full illustrations. You get the idea, a dime-a-dozen idea. I'm feeling the need to catalog for my own sanity and for a simple record to leave my kids, and as I said above, along the way rekindle my creative juices and start drawing again. Warrior in the Mist is a original comic book story of mine that has spanned decades and has been woven into various creative projects of mine. It started out in the early 70s as a art sample to be used to break into the comic book as an artist.

Warrior In the Mist. - A History



False Start.
I started Warrior in the Mist as a one-shot, 12 page comic book project in the early 70's. It was inspired by Michael Moorcock's Eternal Champion series and the battle suits concept from Heinlien's Starship Troopers. I did page breakdowns and finished about five page of pencils, than for some reason I stopped. (Most likely it was to find a real paying job and, I admit, I lost interest in comics for awhile in the 70's.  In any case, it sat for about 12 years in it's unfinished state.

The thumbnails roughs.







Then in the mid 1980's , while working on the animated series Adventures of the Galaxy Rangers, the younger staff artists re-introduced me to the comics of the new wave of independent creators and their characters, like Steve Rude's "Nexus", and the Frank Miller's "Dark Knight" for DC Comics. This renewed my interest in the reading comics and in trying to draw them again.

So after finishing working on Galaxy Rangers, I begin not only revitalizing dormant projects like Warrior in the Mist and Blackwolf, but also to developed several new properties like Tailgunner and Nova Corp. (See my other Dime-A-Dozen Project posts)  At first, these too were aimed at the new independent, direct sales comic market. But with the advent of the a "new" personal computer, the Commodore Amiga 2000, the my focus shifted to animation.

The pencil finish art (poor xerox copies)







Dragonfly Presents - Warrior in the Mist - the Comic Book
In the summer of 1992, I finished the comic art for Warrior in the Mist (it's original name was The Eternal Warrior, but somehow Valiant Comic came out with a character by the same name. But that a story for another day). 















I packaged the story, some frame shots of the video and original illustrations as a 24 page black and white comic book, which I intended to self publish. The book was solicited to comic distributors and set for a April 1993 shipping date. Orders were coming in, not big orders, but orders never the less. Diamond Comic Distributors "Previews" give Warrior in the Mist a "Spotlight on"  highlight.





Comic Book /Video Adaptation
The Amiga computer allow me to make simple animation using a great digital drawing program called Deluxe Paint. Deluxe Paint have a animation mode included with it, all this for $120.00. (The Amiga was the original platform for the Video Toaster, an low cost video effects and compositing graphics card and which introduced the Lightwave software, used the groundbreaking sci-fi TV show, Babylon 5)

I planned to call my animation 'Comic Book / Video Adaptations'. The Inspiration for these Comic Book / Adaptations were the old Marvel Comics Cartoons of the mid 60's and other shows in that era like "Space Ghost" which featured the artwork of the great Alex Toth. These animations were done using artwork from the comics directly, "animatic style". They were real "funky" and crude but seeing the same Jack Kirby's "Captain America" drawing, from the page of a comic you owned, move across the TV screen had it's charm. In today's animation market, many great characters are seemingly overlooked by the large entertainment companies. Or worse, they would be changed so much in the transition to film/video that they have little to do with the original source. Did you ever see the 1970's Captain America live-action movie. Enough said.

The Warrior in the Mist video would show that the old "Marvel" format could be updated by using desktop computer video technology, for a reasonably low production cost. This would allow the work of more comic creators , and publishers, exposure in the growing video market. (Sound like the Flash dot.com boom doesn't it. But, remember this was 40 years ago.















So,what happened? Well, I actually produced several short Comic Book /Video Adaptations. The first was a based on a Paul Chadwick's "Concrete". It was an adaptation of a five page story "Waiting for the Sunset". It was not completed, the first half was in color and the remainder in black and white. I sent Mr. Chadwick and Dark Horse, his publisher a copy of the video. Months later I introduced myself to Paul Chadwick at an comic convention in New York City. He said you liked the tape but Dark Horse owned the media rights. I later had contact with Dark Horse. They ask for a budget, which I presented to them. But that was far as it went with Concrete and Dark Horse. After the disappointment wore off. I decided using my own creations would be less of a hassle. With that in mind I forged ahead on Warrior in the Mist.

So What Happened?

In March of 1993 I received an job offer I couldn't refused. Six months earlier , in October of 1992, while returning from our honeymoon in Hawaii, my wife and I visited friends in Los Angeles. My friend Ray S. introduced me to Will Meugniot (pronounced "Mineo") who was working on the pitch package for a new animated series "Exo-Squad" for Universal Cartoon Studio. I showed Will my portfolio and a tape of the first part of Warrior in the Mist. In passing he mentioned a possible position as a oversea animation supervisor may be available, if the show got picked up. I said I'd consider it.



Much to my surprise, Will called and offered me the job, six month stay in Seoul, Korea. After a brief talk and salary discussion with his boss, Jim Graziano (which included this inspiring quote, " I don't know why anyone would want to do this, but here's what we paid"...etc.) I accepted the job, but that meant I had to cancel the Warrior in the Mist comic, since it's shipping date was in mid-april and I was to be in Seoul on April 2 and remain there for six months.

So, that's what happened, I cancelled the book, then left for Korea, where I worked as Exo-Squad's oversea supervisor. Warrior in the Mist return to it's dormant state on the back burner.

Warrior in the Mist was resurrected again, for my Dragonfly Flipz books this time I want it to finally see the light of day. I'm still working on that.




Warrior in the Mist  featured in Komikwerk Volume 2, comic book anthology.


Warrior in the Mist was featured in the Komikwerks Volume 2, a printed trade paper anthology series produced by publisher Shannon Eric Denton and Patrick Coyle. This was the long-delayed print premiere of the Warrior in the Mist.  Scripting credit goes to Cyrus Voris, who's Emmy Award nominated co-writer/creator of of the TV, Sleeper Cell, and the co-writer for the Kung Fu Panda movies. The art on this 16 page printed version of Warrior in the Mist was adapted from the same art used in the upcoming Comix Flipz™ series.




















So, I not finished with Warrior in the Mist, yet.   I'm considering printing a new version with both the original B&W version and the computer graphic art version, maybe in color.  Time will tell.