Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Salty 'Ham Slam 4 - On Reflection

Our fourth SHC meeting was very good. Look at all the awesome cartooneestas who showed up!

Left to right: Chris Garrison (me), Sam McDavid, Russell Quick, Chris Rosko, Nolen Otts, Tim Spinosi, Brian Ratigan, James Hislope, Christopher Davis, and Richard Haigler. Also in attendance were Kirk Creel (who took this picture) and Paul Godbey (who doesn't show up on film).

Russell Quick came all the way from Huntsville!

From 2:00 to 3:00, we put some art out on the table that we could all look at, and just talked about stuff in general.

The mystery over the confusion about Nolen's death was cleared up. He'd been confused with Roy Norrell, who really did die. Roy did a lot of illustrated maps of towns and colleges, and after he passed, it came to me to revise them for later printings. You can see a bunch of those HERE. Roy Norrell, rest in peace.

We also talked about how it wasn't a proper slam without usual regulars Chris Fason and Tim Rocks. So Fason and Rocks, you were missed. And then we had a vigorous debate about the pronunciation of Fason. FAY-ZON or FACE-un?

At about 2:45, I talked about some ideas I have about additions I might make to the main Salty 'Ham Cartooneestas site.

Then, we had a mini film fest. We watched an animation reel by 5 Guys in a Garage, the group that includes Frank Cummings, Tim Spinosi, James Hislope, and a couple other dudes I haven't recruited yet. Then we watched "Sunday," Brian Ratigan's latest stop-motion puppet work. Also, Nolen played a short film, for which he had provided the animated opening titles. Man, there was all kinds of great stuff.

All of these presentations were followed by high-fives and hugs. Some cartoonists, who shall remain nameless, wept with joy.

Finally, we got down to work:

Brian and Nolen had a 45-minute staring contest:

Christopher Davis tried to steal Richard Haigler's girlfriend. Finally, Richard said, "I can stands what I stands, and I can't stands no more!" After downing a can of spinach, this happened:

It ended in an octagonal cage-match. You REALLY should have been there!

I asked everybody to draw in my sketchbook, and I'll show a few of those drawings here:

Little bitty sketch by Russell Quick

Richard Haigler drew Muffin, the dog from his strip, Marty's Life.

Christopher Davis drew this guy. I think it might be some kind of Ivy League bird - a penguin or a rooster, maybe? Somebody should do a color version. I love his tiny tie.

And we passed around these goofy little comic jams:

Cube of Destiny credits: panel 1 by Chris Garrison; panel 2 by Kirk Creel; panels 3 - 6 by Russell Quick; panel 7 by Chris Rosko; panel 8 by Chris Garrison; panel 9 by Christopher Davis.

Tiny Soda credits: panel 1 by Russell Quick; panel 2 by Chris Garrison; panel 3 by Chris Rosko; panel 4 by Tim Spinosi; panel 5 by Brian Ratigan; panel 6 by James Hislope; panel 7 by Richard Haigler; panel 8 by Kirk Creel; panel 9 by Chris Garrison.

Zacky the Clam credits: panel 1 by Chris Garrison; panel 2 by Kirk Creel; panel 3 by Nolen Otts; panel 4 by Chris Rosko; panel 5 by Brian Ratigan; panel 6 by James Hislope.

People ate cookies and candy, and fun was had. So join us, won't you, for the NEXT Salty 'Ham Slam! (as yet unscheduled)

You can look back at previous slams, here: Slam 1, Slam 2, Slam 3

Saturday, October 24, 2009

SHC Interview - Jamie Cottle

We at Salty ’Ham Cartooneestas recently welcomed Jamie Cottle to our ranks. He's the writer/manager of R&R Comics. After checking out the site and putting up his SHC page, I somehow felt that I still didn’t have the whole scoop. So I decided to interview him. And here’s that interview, now.

. . . . .

cg: Welcome, Jamie! Tell me about R&R Comics. What does that stand for? Rest and Relaxation?

jc: R&R’s name is derived from R&R Productions, the production company my brother and I run on the side. It's where we put all our side projects. The two R’s actually stand for Romulus and Remus, the two brothers who founded the Roman Empire. So you can see we're aiming high.

cg: Who founded R&R Comics? And when? And how? And why?

jc: R&R Comics was conceptualized by me, and then I was fortunate enough to convince some extremely talented individuals to work with me. My brother Jack handled the design and execution of the site, as well as providing pencils for the new story we'll be adding soon, "Pound of Flesh." In a way, all the people currently involved, I count as founders of the site. Each has put in their own share of sweat into making a great site.

We're right about six months old as I write this, and I find that tidbit hard to believe. Things are moving fast.

The original concept for the site came from my frustrations over the submission process for comics. I find it maddening that I'm expected to stalk editors for gigs. It feels sleazy and desperate. There's also the Catch-22 of answering the question most editors have – “What have you done?" Well, nothing, until an editor helps you out, but you need something to show in order to get an assignment from them. I'm in the latest Negative Burn, and it's sweet to be in a publication next to Brian Bolland and Phil Hester (who gave us a sweet quote for the site), but I realized I needed more than that. I needed something that was easily accessible, that demonstrated a nice range in style, and had the comparative workload of a monthly book (16-22 pages/month). That's why I went for the web site. It is a great promotional tool for myself and the other contributors. I only have to give the editor my card and he can check it out. I don't need to bother him with ashcans and other printed samples he'd have to keep up with. In addition, there are NO PRINTING COSTS!!!!

cg: Do you consider it a Birmingham-based company? Because maybe it should have its own page on Salty 'Ham Cartooneestas. Mega Comics Group has one, and 5 Guys in a Garage will soon have their own SHC page, as well. Should R&R?

jc: Well sure, I'm in the 'Ham, and while the site's contributors range from all over, I believe that there should be more networking among creatives in the Birmingham area. A similar loose association has sprung up among creators in the Kansas City area (Tony Moore, Rick Remender, Alex Grecian), and I think those guys really push one another. It's why they're the new rising stars among comic creators. I'd love to get to know more local folks who're dedicated, professional, and really into comics.

cg: It looks like R&R is only doing web comics right now. Any plans to put anything in print?

jc: We plan on doing an annual compilation of everything on the site. With additional bonus material, of course. We may not do it for the first year. It depends on whether interest in the site can justify the printing expense. We'll be going to C2E2, MegaCon, Imagicon, and hopefully the NYCC this year, so maybe we can really get some people looking at the site and make the printing worthwhile.

cg: Does R&R Comics have a lot of readers? How do you attract people to the site?

jc: For a six-month-old site, I think we're doing okay. We had a nice boost early on when we helped Rich Johnston (from BleedingCool.com) bust infamous comics scammer Josh Hoopes. That was good for fostering some good will from some people I really admire (Rich Johnston and Ben Templesmith, among other professionals), and we've been leveling out since then. I think it takes time for word to get out and really build that audience. Is traffic where I'd like it? Not really, but I am willing to give it time and keep working.

We've been primarily using our twitterfeed and our facebook group (which is approaching 1,000 fans, by the way) to direct traffic to the site. A well timed Reddit post seems to help traffic on Fridays, as well.

cg: I see ads on the R&R page, and you also have a cafepress store. And I read something on there where you mentioned paying the artists. So you’ve got some money coming in, and some going out. How hard is it to make web comics profitable? Are you guys anywhere near breaking even?

jc: Profitable webcomics is almost an oxymoron. Especially when you're new. PVP, xkcd, and all the other great sites like them are making cash now, but that's after a few years of constant work. Those guys have earned their place. We're prepared to do the same. R&R functions more like a collective, so meeting the overhead is a bit simpler. When money comes in, it gets split evenly among the members. Fortunately, not only are the folks at R&R brilliant artists, but they love what they do and are willing to delay compensation for a place to put their work and get seen. Once you’re a working pro, then you can demand real fees, otherwise it's really putting the cart before the horse.

I talk more about how I relate to my artists on my blog, "Pushing Lead," found at R&R. Essentially, it's based off truth and respect. When dealing with people over the internet, I try to be as honest as possible. I don't ask anyone to read between the lines. That just leads to misunderstandings and hurt feelings.

cg: Are you happy with what R&R is doing creatively, so far? What are your plans for the future of the site?

jc: I really love the content we have up right now. I think it has a maturity and sensibility not seen in too many comics right now. They can be so much more than just capes and tights. Pride of Baghdad, We3, 300, and Maus are all examples of how sequential art can do more than blow up buildings. I am most intrigued by exploring those possibilities. Don't get me wrong – I’d step over my grandmother to write Captain America, but I also want to tell other stories. In fact, I am working on a pitch about forgotten American heroes that has me pretty excited. The process is different, because it's my first time working with an editor, but he's great and makes me a better writer every time we communicate.

cg: How do you choose the artists that draw the stories?

jc: It's really organic. I know what my story feels like to me. When I see art that makes me feel the same way, I target that artist. I don't just grab the first guy. If I find the right person for my story, I'll contact them, and then if they're interested, I’ll wait for them to become available. It's worth the wait to do it right. If I just worked with anyone, I wouldn’t be as happy with the finished product as I am with the work on R&R.

cg: Bob Sly, P.I. is my favorite series on the R&R page, so far. Would you explain the premise for us? How did the idea for Bob Sly come about?

jc: Like many of my stories, these are characters I created in my childhood. They are extremely different from the first concept (most notably Bob, who was a time traveling P.I. from the ’40's, inspired by Michael Jackson's "Smooth Criminal"). I liked the noir style and the name, but the rest had to be trashed. I started thinking about what else P.I. could stand for. Don't ask me how, but Polyspecies Integrator is what popped into my mind. The P.I. is an individual licensed in the mediation of culture-based conflicts. Bob has an office aboard a space station called "the Hub," which is a large trading station. So of course there are plenty of situations for him to navigate.

It's drawn by Anthony Peruzzo, the powerhouse behind two other titles on the site, "Tales from the Looking Glass" and "The Assignment." He's a beast, and having worked with him for over two years now, I can say he's become a good friend. Look out for this guy. He's starting to get noticed more by indie publishers and has some stuff coming out soon. He’s got a big project from Silverline, and he's also my collaborator on the Negative Burn story.

Side note: We originally had another story to launch the title with, that's more like the standard situation for Bob. We had the chance, though, to get it into the next popgun anthology, so we submitted it, held our breath, and cranked out another story in record time. That story didn't make it past the final cut (so close!), but it will be our next Bob story on R&R.

cg: You wrote a piece called "The Harvest," for Desperado’s Negative Burn anthology – 2009. Tell us about that story, would you? And how did you get the job? And when will the book be available?

jc: Without being too cryptic, it's a story about personal sacrifice, that takes place in Mexico City. It's the second thing Anthony and I ever worked on, and we were able to submit to them because Anthony had some work in there prior to our submission. Really the best advice I can give a writer is to find a brilliant artist who believes in you. It's a tall order, but man is it easier than the alternatives. I continue to be grateful to Anthony for his continued support and faith in what we're doing. The book should be available next week. Go to your LCS and demand it. I may be doing a signing in the future at Kingdom Comics in Vestavia. More info later.

cg: Thanks for the interview, Jamie, and good luck!

jc: Thank you.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Salty 'Ham turns FIFTY!

That's right, it's the big five-oh. Salty 'Ham Cartooneestas now has FIFTY members!

Jamie Cottle is our fiftieth member, and our FIRST one who's primarily a writer. He writes most of the stories at R & R Comics.

I'm hoping this will mark a new day for SHC. We'll start including writers of comic books, producers of animation, publishers of graphic novels, and other such non-artist cartooneestas ... if we can find any here in middle-Alabama.

Anyway, check out Jamie's SHC page, and visit R & R while you're at it. I want to get the full scoop on R & R, so I'm hoping to do an interview with Jamie in the coming days, to publish here on the blog.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Salty 'Ham Slam - Reminder

Coming up this Sunday, Oct. 25th, 2009, from 2:00-5:00 -- Our 4th gathering!

All members are invited to come over to the J and meet up. Brian Ratigan has said he'll play his experimental stop-motion animated / live-action short, "Sunday" (here's the trailer).

I've heard, so far, that Brian Ratigan, Kirk Creel, Richard Haigler, and Chris Rosko are coming. Who else is coming?

Read all the details about the Salty 'Ham Slam HERE, including location and agenda, etc. And you can also find links to posts about the earlier slams there.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

I haven't been around in a while

I've been unplugged from the internet for the most part plus living in Tuscaloosa is a hassle when it comes to going to Salty Ham Jams. I can't get as much info without an internet connection at the house and I really regret missing a chance to see Bill Plympton or my old teach Tim Spinosi.
BUT! That doesn't stop me from getting some work done every now and again.

Kung Fu Crane
by ~weezel365 on deviantART

This next one's only just a link because it's got a Mature content warning... enjoy if you want:

I hope I can catch up with everyone as soon as possible... hopefully I can learn some more tips about getting some of my own comics published.

Rock on and Keep Rockin'
Shaun WeezeL Burnett

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

creepfest backgrounds

If you're wondering what the bottom image of the "mermaid" on the trashcan means, there's not a good explanation. It sort of evolved out of a committee and I never tried to edit it to make more sense, for better or worse.

The image below (of what's supposed to be a drive-in movie) is incomplete until the "dark-ride car" with our three hosts is dropped into the empty parking space.

The blank movie screen will have the title of the movie under review on it.

Monday, October 5, 2009


We've just added another dude to our roster: Russell Quick. He's in Huntsville. If I counted correctly, he's our 49th!

You may already know Russell's work, from his contributions to cartoons by our fellow cartooneests Sam McDavid and Chris Rosko. So check out Russell's SHC page HERE.

Fason's 24-Hour Comics Day Comic

Along with a few other Cartooneestas, I made a 24-hour comic on Saturday at Kingdom Comics in Vestavia. I actually copped-out and didn't do a real comic w/ a sequential story; I did more of a fun little picture-book of monsters. Clickie-clickie! Everyone else has to post theirs' too!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

LRB hits 5,000

Love's Rich Bounty, my old cartoon for MTV's Cartoon Sushi, just reached 5,000 views on youtube!

. . . although, while 5,000 sounds good, it's been up for over a year. So I guess it's actually really lame, compared to a sneezing baby panda.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Art Show Saturday 5-10pm

A little late notice, but here goes....

The Birmingham Art Collective is hosting The Show at Woodlawn this Saturday night at Woodrow Hall (1st Ave N & 55th St). A TON of artists are scheduled to show and there will be live music by DJ Rashido and a few bands. I'll have video projection of animation & other visual delights so stop by if you can.
It is FREE and Bottletree will be selling yummy food items there along with an alcohol selection. Good things.


On a side note, my short film SUNDAY will be showing all month on FINAL BROADCAST, so if you didn't catch it at Sidewalk then you have yet another chance to be perplexed and distraught.

24 Hour Comics Day

It's 24 Hour Comics Day again, already! Gosh, time flies.

Kingdom Comics (Vestavia) is hosting folks again for this crazy challenge -- Draw a 24-page comic in 24 hours. I don't think I'll participate this time; frankly, I don't think I'd come out with anything much good in that amount of time, plus I'm too old to stay up all night. But I believe fellow SHC's Chris Fason, Chris Rosko, and Alison Marceau, plus former SHC Sarah White, will all be there. Will YOU?

It goes from noon Saturday (Oct 3) 'til noon Sunday (Oct 4). Sodas are available from the machine, and the comic shop will probably spring for some pizza at around 9pm.

Go HERE to see a video about last year's event.

(I called Astrobrain Comics, but they're not doing anything.)

Thursday, October 1, 2009

SHC facebook group

The Salty 'Ham Cartooneestas now have a facebook group!

I don't know if we'll really use this, but it could be nice. It's got a discussion board, and we can all put up art and photos and videos. If you didn't get my invite, email me and have me invite you. Or:

- Join facebook
- Enter Salty Ham Cartooneestas in the search bar in the upper right
- Click on Join This Group

(but I'm not going to let you join the facebook group unless you actually join the SHC page first!)