Fan Expo update

I'm not going to be at Fan Expo this year. I had to pull out at the last minute. I will, however, be at the Montreal Comic Con on September 11th and 12th with Trina Johnson (my writer on Kraven!) and my friend Tim Sale.
Here are some sketches I'll have available at Montreal:

This is the sort of thing I do for my con sketches.  If you are interested in any of these (or you'd like a character of your own choosing) then come see me at the show. I hope to see you there.

Webisode Six of That's So Kraven! is online right now. Spiderman takes Kraven to meet his employees, and makes him a most beguiling offer. Stay tuned!

The Monster as Hero (Or, More BioShock Drawings)

I drew this ages ago but I never got around to coloring it. Keeping to a rigid once-a-week updating schedule means bringing a lot of unfinished drawings out of mothballs, shaking them out, giving them a quick coat of Photoshop paint and throwing them, unloved, out into the cold cold world.

I spend a lot of time thinking about villains and monsters. Some of my favorite media (Frankenstein, Hellboy, BPRD, BioShock 2, obviously Proof) feature monsters in leading man roles. The problem inevitably arises that the hero (conflicted about his role as a horrible monster but working for good) must rationalize his presence in a world that rightly fears him. It seems artificial; nobody I know walks down the street to fears that he/she is suddenly going to Hulk out and start throwing cars. It's unrelatable. The notion that it somehow boils down to 'fitting in' is laughable, too. A tyrannosaurus can't change its haircut and start working out in order to mesh with its chosen social subculture. (Although that'd be a sweet comic.)

The appeal of the monster-as-hero is obvious; they are fun to draw (artists love that), they are challenging to write (good writers love this) and they are excellent power fantasies (RAAGHH! BOOM! ROAR!). But, at the end of the day, it's always easier to massage the tropes if you pick a regular fellow who perhaps has a weird scar (Harry Potter) or the proportionate speed and strength of a spider (Scrooge McDuck). That way you can include lovely things like 'romance' (nobody wants to see Fin Fang Foom kissing anything), 'emotion' (besides, "Why do the villagers hate me?!"), and the 'redemptive arc' ("Does not killing this old man make up for totally killing that little girl?").

Anyway, I wrestle with this stuff as I try to figure out what's next for Archie Snow.

Here's Webisode Four of That's So Kraven!, my weekly webcomic with Trina Johnson, where we remove Raven-Symone from her own show and replace her with Kraven the Hunter. This week: Donna and Spiderman show down!

EDIT: Wow! The trailer for BioShock: Infinite was released today. Looks even more old-timey.

Why I Love Monkey Island

I love The Secret of Monkey Island. It's been my favorite computer game since I first played it twenty years ago. It was the first game that I ever beat (it took my cousin and I weeks to figure out that you needed to use the monkey on the nose at the giant monkey head). It was the first computer game I played with a compelling hero (sorry, King Graham, you charisma-free boob). And it's the funniest computer game ever made.

The Secret of Monkey Island tells the simple story of Guybrush Threepwood, a young man who dreams of becoming a mighty pirate. Running afoul of the ghost pirate LeChuck, Threepwood must master the three pirate trials, hire a ship, and journey to the mysterious Monkey Island to free the lovely Elaine Marley from LeChuck's grasp.

What my description fails to communicate is how funny the game turns out to be; the game is top-loaded with absurd situations and great gags, including the infamous 'insult sword fighting', a used-ship salesman who never stops moving, and a group of vegetarian cannibals. It's fantastic.

It's been a pleasure to go on with my life as a cartoonist and come back periodically to Monkey Island; Director Ron Gilbert just released DeathSpank (to rapturous review), designer Tim Schafer made Psychonauts and Brutal Legend (such fantastic design work), and Dave Grossman is still Herman Toothrotting it on Monkey Island itself. Artist Steve Purcell (who created Sam & Max and is an amazing artist) is, unsurprisingly, working for Pixar. Lucasarts, seeing the dollar signs in my eyes, has released Special Editions of both games. Seeing the first two games updated and re-scored fills me with joy... The idea that another young artist is just now learning about the rubber chicken (with a pulley in the middle) or bouncing spit off of Wally in LeChuck's torture cave puts a big, dumb grin on my face.

Monkey Island has taught me that you can be a brilliant artist and a funny person, and if you're lucky someone might pay you to do it for the rest of your life. Thanks, guys.

Here is a drawing that I did of Guybrush Threepwood (mighty pirate) for my excellent friend Kim, who was kind enough to bring me a bunch of swag back from the San Diego Comic Con. One of the treats she brought was a portfolio of concept art from Tales of Monkey Island, the latest game in the series. Many of these drawings will be framed; the artist did a fantastic job of amalgamating the different Guybrushes and Elaines and LeChucks.

Also: it's Wednesday, and so Webisode Three of That's So Kraven! is up, written by Trina Johnson and drawn by me. You can find it right over here.