Thursday, March 5, 2009

My Watchmen Sketchbook

This one's gonna take a sec...

Following in the monumental footsteps of several of my closest friends, I decided to start a themed sketchbook in Spring 2008. My girlfriend has a monster book, my buddy Matt has a Saturday morning cartoon book, my boy Sean has a David Bowie book and my future ex-husband Dave has a Lockjaw book as well as a Calvin and Hobbes book! It took me about a year to decide on a theme and then it hit me. Watchmen.

It's my favorite comic, and you don't get much new art featuring the characters, so I figured it was perfect. The problem, though, is that I'm a huge wiener when it comes to asking people for sketches, so my girlfriend and Dave have had to push me to ask. I'm also reluctant because I have this fear that the artists will assume I'm just some kid who wants a Watchmen sketch so I can sell it online or because, "Hey, there's a sweet-ass movie coming soon, dude!" But I said screw all that noise and at MoCCA in 2008, I began the book by collecting the following sketches:

Rorschach by Jason

I couldn't believe Jason (writer/artist of many amazing, brilliant comics you should read) was going to be at the show in the first place, but when I thought about who I'd like to have start my book, he seemed like the perfect guy. I LOVE his work and he's the kind of artist other artists would see and know that they could take my book seriously. And not only did he happily sketch away for me, he chatted with me for a second about the film and how excited he was to see it. He's just a genuinely sweet dude.

Rorschach by Adrian Tomine

I walked right from Jason's table directly over to Tomine's and there was only one girl in front of me. He's another guy I absolutely love and who I thought other creators would respect if they saw in the book. But when I got to the front, he politely asked if I could come back because he only had a short while for the rest of his signing and wanted to make sure he could sign for anybody who had his book, Optic Nerve. It totally made sense, so I walked back over to Jason as my girlfriend got a sketch from him. Ten minutes later, I walked back to Tomine because his signing time was almost up and he apologized to me (!) "for making me walk away." He said not many more people came up after I left, and he could have knocked it out for me before. When I told him the theme, he seemed happy to oblige and we chatted about the then-upcoming edition of Good-Bye, the new Yoshihiro Tatsumi volume from Drawn & Quarterly. Watching him draw, even upside down, seemed very delicate and was a great pleasure. He even took the time to letter my name in and smiled when he was done.

Rorschach by Josh Cotter

Cotter first came to my attention when he won the Isotope Comics award for best mini-comic in the award's first year. My best friend Josh Peichoto had also entered that year with a mini-comic collection of his college newspaper strips so when we checked into the guy who "beat" him, I was stunned by how his work oozed gorgeousness. Cotter won for Skyscrapers of the Midwest, which was eventually published as a miniseries by AdHouse, which I eventually bought, which I instantly loved. Plus, Cotter's a great guy in person and very warm and was happy to draw Rorschach's fedora for me.

Nite Owl II by Bryan Lee O'Malley

O'Malley (of the Scott Pilgrim series) was the last guy I got at MoCCA. He'd been signing and hand-shaking and selling things all weekend, but even still, he was happy to knock out this baby. It's cute and simple and I love it.

The next show was SPX in Fall 2008 where I got:

Dr. Manhattan by Jim Rugg

When I left Wizard, as a going-away present, the guys commissioned Rugg (Street Angel, The Plain Janes) to do this AMAZING original piece for me (It's Kamandi and Impulse (my two favorite characters) saving me from falling debris in an homage to this cover and kinda this one, too). I knew he'd be at SPX, so I made sure I introduced myself and thanked him personally. When I told Rugg what the book was, he seemed happy to provide me with a sketch! Then he asked if there was a character I'd like him to do that no one else had done and I told him Dr. Manhattan. He laughed about how he "got" to be the first one to draw a penis in my book. After a full-page try-out penis in pencil (which he didn't erase and I still have), he did this wonderful picture that does the God-like being right. Reminds me of Mobius.

Alan Moore by Brian Ralph

My second and final Watchmen sketch of SPX 2008, this Alan Moore was actually the second image Brian Ralph (of Day Break and many other books) did for me. I left my book with Ralph and walked the floor a bit before coming back and collecting my book from him. Later, at home, I found that he's done ANOTHER image, but pulled it out of the spiral book, folded it in half and stuffed it into the middle of the book. The discarded image was of Dr. Manhattan on the toilet reading a newspaper. But I don't wanna post it cause Ralph clearly didn't want anyone to see it. And besides, this hilarious image of Moore is completely rad. I like the socks.

And my one and only sketch at New York Comic Con 2009 was this beauty:

The Comedian by Cliff Chiang

Cliff is one of my favorite superhero comic artists, so it was a treat to break in my book with the superhero scene by starting with him. The only problem was, I had to work the DC booth at NYCC, and Chiang was signing at the time. In comes Dave with the save! Dave agreed to stand in line for a sketch from the Dr. Thirteen artist for me. And what do you know? Cliff goes all out for the Comedian in his earlier leather fetish wear. Cliff told Dave the fetish costume doesn't get enough love. I'd say Cliff doesn't. Check out his work here.

And that's it! I should note that I did get up the nerve to also start a ninja themed sketchbook and started it at the same time as the Watchmen one as a happy alternative for artists who don't even want to attempt a Watchmen sketch. Which I can dig.

And I gotta say, if you're looking to start a themed book, please, please PLEASE do it. It'll make you 87% more happy than you are RIGHT this second and you'll be all the rage at the local rave parties and gas stations. Just choose something you'd like to see an endless supply of and be polite when asking for submissions. Good luck!


Ben Morse said...

I echo Rickey's last paragraph a zillion percent.

And these are, of course, amazing sketches. Rugg's is my favorite. And no, not for that reason. Pervs.

David Uzumeri said...

Those Watchmen sketches are incredible, but that Jim Rugg Kamandi/Impulse piece is the greatest fucking thing I've ever seen and I'm going to steal it and change my name.

Rickey said...

Do it, David! "Rickey" spelled backwards is "Yekcir," which may mean something in Alaskan. So that's one additional reason to make the change.

Ben Morse said...

Fun fact: that Kamandi/Impulse piece was originally going to be drawn by Dan Jurgens, but he got swamped with work. I actually don't think anybody could have done any better than Rugg, so all's well that ends well.

smoky man said...

congrats! great collection

from Italy
smoky man!

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