NEWS

Wed

27

Jan

2016

IN STORES TODAY…

Cover art by Owen Freeman.
Cover art by Owen Freeman.

LAZARUS VOLUME 4: POISON TPB

Written by: Greg Rucka

Art by: Michael Lark with Tyler Boss

Colors by: Santi Arcas

Letters by: Jodi Wynne

Cover by: Owen Freeman

Book Design by: Eric Trautmann

 

Collecting issues 16–21, “Poison,” the fourth arc in the critically-acclaimed New York Times best-selling series.

 

The world is at war, and Family Carlyle must fight to defend itself. With Malcolm Carlyle hovering at death’s door, the siblings struggle to maintain control. But deception and war go hand in hand, culminating in a final revelation that will truly change everything for Forever Carlyle.

 

 

Image Comics  |  Color  |  Mature Readers  |  Softcover  |  $14.99US

"A" Cover art by Nicola Scott (w Eric Trautmann)
"A" Cover art by Nicola Scott (w Eric Trautmann)

BLACK MAGICK #5

Written by: Greg Rucka

Art by: Nicola Scott w Chiara Arena

Letters by: Jodi Wynne

"A" Cover by: Nicola Scott w Eric Trautmann

"B" Cover by: Ming Doyle

Book Design by: Eric Trautmann

 

"Awakening" Part Four. A stranger comes to Portsmouth. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Image Comics  |  Color  |  Mature Readers  |  32 pg.  |  $3.99US

New Fedora Monkey Newsletter out today, too.

The latest newsletter hit the aether today. You can read it here, if you are so inclined, and it would be excellent if you sign up (you can sign up at the link, or via the box in the upper right of this page). 

 

I talk a bit about upcoming Lazarus and Black Magick stuff, as well as various upcoming project. I also have a long-ish interview with Justin Robinson, who works for Seattle broadcasting notable, B.J. Shea. 

 

Share and enjoy!

Tue

08

Dec

2015

MAILING LIST POWERS… ACTIVATE!

If you'll cast your gaze to the immediate right, you'll see a sign-up form for the Fedora Monkey Mailing List. 

 

The plan, such as it is, is to send out new mails once or twice a month, with early peeks at stuff I'm working on, and some general blather. Occasional short fiction, advance links to vector art I'm designing, some insider dope on comics projects, and so forth. 

 

I'm using Mailchimp because I like the interface, and the system seems pretty bulletproof, so I do hope you'll give it a whirl. 


Oh, and comics retailers: I'll be including retailer resources in the mails—sell sheets for various comics, cover art, and other promotional artwork, specifically for use on your Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and web pages. 


I'm also including the sign-form here, too, just in case.

 

MAILING LIST SIGN-UP

Sun

06

Dec

2015

BLACK MAGICK APPAREL

Last week, the folks at WeLoveFine—makers of many lovely (and geek-friendly) t-shirts—went live with the first designs of apparel based on Black Magick (the Image comics series created by Greg Rucka and Nicola Scott). 


There will be more to come, but the first couple shirts are based on designs I put together (which were themselves based on artwork created by Nicola). 


The first offering features Nicola's design of series protagonist Rowan Black's tattoo (and the slogan "Something Wiccan This Way Comes" on the back); the second is a police badge shirt for the fictional Portsmouth Police Department, where Rowan works. 


Both designs are available in men's and women's cuts. 


To purchase a shirt, visit our friends at WeLoveFine

Fri

20

Nov

2015

VAMPIRELLA #1969

"A" Cover art by Robert Hack.
"A" Cover art by Robert Hack.

In stores this week: Vampirella #1969, an anthology title celebrating Vampirella's long history.


I contributed a short piece, and it was painted by Brett Weldele—it's quite possibly my favorite piece of all the ones I've done on the title.


VAMPIRELLA #1969

Written by: Nancy Collins, Eric Trautmann, Phil Hester, Mark Rahner, David Walker

Art by: Fritz Casas, Brett Weldele, Jethro Morales, Colton Worley, Aneke

Cover A: Robert Hack "Classic Dress"

Cover B: Jack Jadson


Vampirella first appeared on the scene in 1969 and quickly became a fixture of comics, horror and pop culture! Now, Dynamite Entertainment proudly presents a special, over-sized issue celebrating those heady days with a who's who from their roister of all-star writers and artists! Just look at this line-up: Nancy Collins joined by artist Fritz Casas, Eric Trautmann joined by painter Brett Weldele, Phil Hester joined by artist Jethro Morales, Mark Rahner joined by artist Colton Worley, and David Walker joined by artist Aneke! Each presents a special tale showcasing the best of the former horror hostess from Drakulon! 


Dynamite Entertainment  |  Color  |  48 pgs.  |  Teen+  |  $7.99US

PREVIEW GALLERY:

Tue

27

Oct

2015

BLACK MAGICK 01 IN STORES THIS WEEK!

Cover art by Nicola Scott; design and color by Eric Trautmann.
Cover art by Nicola Scott; design and color by Eric Trautmann.

In stores this week: Black Magick #1!

 

Black Magick is a crime/police procedural and occult mystery series, published by Image Comics and created by writer Greg Rucka and artist Nicola Scott. 

 

BLACK MAGICK #01

Written by: Greg Rucka

Art by: Nicola Scott (w Chiara Arena)

Lettering by: Jodi Wynne

Logo and Book Design: Eric Trautmann

Cover A by: Nicola Scott (w Eric Trautmann)

Cover B by: Jill Thompson

Magazine Edition Cover by: Rick Burchett

 

The hammer falls this Halloween! From New York Times bestselling and Eisner Award-winning writer GREG RUCKA (LAZARUS, Stumptown, Gotham Central) and superstar artist NICOLA SCOTT (Birds of Prey, Secret Six, Earth 2)! Detective Rowan Black works robbery/homicide for the Portsmouth PD, but her greatest mystery is the truth about herself...both who she has been, and who she will become. Yet there are others in Rowan's world with very long memories, and the power that one person holds, another will always covet. PLUS, each issue also features an all-new work of original fiction by GREG RUCKA! A new gothic-noir ongoing series about legacy, destiny, redemption...and the price of magic.


Image Comics  |  Color  |  Mature Readers  |  $3.99 (regular & variant); $5.99 (magazine edition)


As with Lazarus (also by Greg Rucka), I'm the series' "designer," which seems like an atypical and somewhat uncommon role in comics (though more common at Image, thankfully). 

 

My role is to take Nicola's cover art, for example, and add appropriate color and trade dress (which I also designed), and lay the cover out for production. I also tackle the design chores on anything that isn't a comic page—the credits, the creator bios, the letter column, and even typsetting some serialized fiction that will be running through the series as it progresses. It's a good gig. 

 

I do a lot of that kind of work on Lazarus, too, but Black Magick is the first time I had a free hand to design the overall "look" of the book. With Lazarus, co-creator/artist Michael Lark had a strong design in mind already, and it was my task to implement it. He'd designed the logo, as well, so I more or less was batting cleanup on the first few issues, gradually tweaking the design work as the series went on. 

 

I went through several preliminary design passes on the logo and trade dress before I even attempted submitting designs to the Black Magick team. For grins, I'm including them here. 

FIRST ATTEMPT

Logo Preliminary Version 001
Logo Preliminary Version 001

The first attempt at the logo design is something I nicknamed the "blurted out" version. I was looking at old books on prestidigitation and sleight-of-hand, and the typeface I chose here was reminiscent of those. So, contextually wrong for the story, and it reads a little too "Magic: The Gathering," while simultaneously being stuffy and dull. 

THE "ABRACADABRA" PHASE

Logo Preliminary Version 002
Logo Preliminary Version 002

Prelim 2 was an attempt to mine the noir, pulp-crime sensibilities of the story, so I tried an Art Deco typeface, and monkeyed around with it a bit. I like the look of it, but it still reads too much like a stage magician's poster. 

Logo Preliminary Version 003
Logo Preliminary Version 003

Same problems as the prior versions: not quite right, in terms of tone, and the awkward perspective would likely be at odds with cover art, and other necessary trade dress, like the Image Comics logo (about which more later). 

AND NOW FOR SOMETHING COMPLETELY DIFFERENT…

Logo Preliminary Version 004
Logo Preliminary Version 004

Black Magick artist Nicola Scott had sketched some preliminary ideas of her own (and you can see some of them in the bonus material in the Magazine edition of Black Magick No. 01, plug plug hint hint) that included the use of runes as primary letter forms. Here, I attempted to blend an old 1930s poster typeface with hand-drawn "rune"-ish letters, to horrifying, unreadable effect. 


I was started to get really frustrated here. 

Logo Preliminary Version 005
Logo Preliminary Version 005

No.


Just…no.


Every design I do goes through this process. I call this "The Ugly, Desperate Phase."

Logo Preliminary Version 006
Logo Preliminary Version 006

I like this one a lot (and I ended up using a cleaner version of this typeface on some of the interior bits—specifically on an image of an old, tattered spellbook page), but up front on the cover, it reads too antique for a contemporary story. 

ZEROING IN

Logo Preliminary Version 007
Logo Preliminary Version 007

Now we're getting somewhere. The older poster typeface from the "rune" design returns. The box/inverted type started to get me thinking about police forms and casebooks, and it occurred to me that, since there's going to be supernatural stuff on the cover, the logo needed to cement the otherwordly aspects of the setting in a contemporary context. 


At this point, I started looking at scans of old police manuals and crime/pulp covers, and without any further drafts, leapt immediately to the final design and structure of the covers. 

THE BOFFO FINISH

Final logo design
Final logo design

I took a slightly more modern typeface—Alte Haas Grotesk Bold, which has a nice Helvetica feel to it, but with softer, slightly curved edges. It feels clean and modern, but has a touch of age to it, too. 


The team seemed to like it, so that was a definite plus. Especially when it's in situin the trade dress...

Final trade dress design
Final trade dress design

Taking cues from old pulps, I decided the solid, bright color background would be featured on each of the regular covers with each issue using a different color than the prior release. Issue 1 is red, issue 2 is blue, issue 3 is purple, etc.


That color is also used in the interior design pages and back cover, too, tying everything together. 


It was also important to me to incorporate the Image logo into the design; everything is on a sort of grid, with the Image logo, price and issue number forming a vertical line which acts to anchor the trade dress, and the logo and credits drawing the eye horizontally. 


One of the challenges in designing the covers for Lazarus is finding the right spot for the Image logo, issue #, and so on. I wanted to really integrate that stuff into the trade dress, as it makes for a nice, consistent look without distracting from the cover art, and it simplifies the workflow when it comes time to actually get work done.