Tuesday, July 03, 2007

July 3, 2007
Supposed to be a scorcher today and tomorrow. No doubt a demonic welcome to True West's newest employee Jason Strykowski, who drove in from New Mexico Sunday. He will be working on special projects, including the Top Secret Project, which I haven't mentioned much in here lately, because of all the distractions, like the book Classic Gunfights, Volume III and the big artshow at End of Trail, both of which took me out of the graphic novel game for the past three months.

Jason is huge graphic novel fan and he has many ideas on how to bring the project to fruition, so we had a good talk at El Encanto yesterday ($32.08 biz account). Sat out by the pond and talked about The Top Secret Project at length. I have marked in my Franklin Daytimer July 26 as a deadline to get it up and running (it was on that date last year that The Top Secret Writer and I holed up in Bisbee to get the story fleshed out). With Kathy gone, I have nothing better to do, and have vowed to knuckle down and get this thing out there where you can see it.

On a related note, here's yesterday's sketches, which I deem:

Poaching Posada
Virtually all of the images are poached from the Mexico And Modern Printmaking artshow and book I enjoyed on Sunday at the Phoenix Art Museum:

The cloud image (upper left) is poached from a litho by Isidoro Ocampo, 1940. The small head (middle, left) is from a metal relief print of a woodcut by Fernando Leal, 1922. The madonna head (lower, right) is inspired by a woodcut by Isabel Villasenor, 1929. The profile (upper right) is poached from Howard Cook's Acapulco Girl, a wood engraving, 1932, and the street scene has been lifted from a woodcut, also by Howard Cook of Tesuque, New Mexico. And the blurred gunfighter was inspired by a series of woodcuts by David Alfaro Siqueiros, 1930.

Meanwhile, I got this email from Gus Walker ("The Mapinator") this morning:

"Hey!!! maybe your idea of a graphic novel should take a new twist. combine your daily drawings and your blog into a book. publish a journal of your joint daily notes and drawings. you’ve already produced the contents."

You know what? You and I are more than Zane Brothers, at least more than I thought. Not only have I been playing around with that exact concept this morning, but the other day Abby showed me this photo of a guy and girl dressed up in Old West garb and asked if I thought the guy looked like me. I admitted he did look quite a bit like me, right down to the drooping mustache and piercing eyes (ha!). Well, turns out the photo is of you and Patty in 1971, or so. Do you know the photo? Abby wants to run it as a Historical Twin in the mag:

Anyway, thanks for the insights. I started the Top Secret Project wanting to parody all the 1950s comics about Indians with the Tony Curtis pompadors, etc. then went all the way to a flat-out comic book story, then yesterday at lunch with Jason Strykowski, our newest employee who came from Paul Hutton's staff, we came back to the idea of Frederick Remington narrating the story. The model is the narrator in 300 (have you seen it?). I woke up this morning and got to rolling that possibility around in my mind and on a bike ride, came all the way back to a Remington's short story, complete with his alleged illustrations and historic footnotes, telling where he's wrong, etc. but including European and Mexican comics that allegedly featured our hero (all fake of course). This allows me to use "real" photos of Beauty (roughed up to look old) a Harper's Weekly, with a fake illustration inside with the headline "Heads Will Roll" and it will also allow me to skim the story. This model plays to my strengths and hopefully will work as a GN.

Also, yesterday, someone I met at End of Trail, Anthony Dembek, sent me a 1990 documentary on Frederick Remington, "The Truth of Other Days" which is excellent, and plays right into our efforts on the TSP. Thanks Universe!

We are now leaning towards publishing this online, with a two-page teaser in the magazine. It's slated for the October issue. What do you think?


"Shut up and listen: the universe is trying to help you."
—Old Vaquero Saying

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