Monday, January 25, 2010

ZX Page 31: Impasse = deadend

Posting from my girlfriend's computer. This page has one of my favourite panels in it so far. And is also, the last page of calm before the storm. Next week's going to be challenging.

I'll write more soon!



Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Mares of Hope

These walls are stained engraved with pain
You will find them under shadows casting shame
For some, it's all they've ever known, Angels of
the fortunate sons come and go ... You may not

Entities pass in the night
Guardians and the Reapers fight,
The will to live shall win
Mares of hope ride through their dreams
Blinding light awakens sleeping dawn
It seems it was all a dream, an endless dream

I will wish upon a star I believe in you
And if my will has strayed afar I remembered you
Will you remember me
I the one you sentenced penance unabsolved
Answer me, save my will, have you forgotten me

Pace the hallway blind man,
for a million miles of stars his mind has seen
Think you may that he lives in darkness
We're in the dark, he's seen the light of dream

Karen, she's been asleep forever
I know she hears me, she has so much to say
The machine sends sparks through her eggshell mind
A tear streams from her face
Into my hand, to my heart

I'm a fire without a flame
Helpless child without a name
With broken wings catch me I'm falling
I'm a question with no answer
Who are you that takes my life away from me
Unveil the boundaries of the black

I had a dream I was you
Strong as the fire in my veins
And when I called out your name
I would remain to witness the pain
I am beyond silent black
I will be back as your guardian

Angels in white you have sacrificed
You witness and bury the pain
You walk hand and hand with the fear stricken child
Strengthen the weak and the lame

Have you seen beyond the unborn
The pillars of penance and lore
Perpetual journey into the realm
The sovereign servitor

Human beings do not share a lot of common experiences. They share common drives which result in named emotions but the combinations of them as designed by circumstance and fate are unique to every one. The common experience of humans is not ideology either because words and meanings, while evoking with the austerity of thousands of years worth of pondering a deep respect, are in the end as subjective as the symbols conveyed by clouds.

The common experience of human beings is that of hope. Assorted elation and anger, fulfillment and despondency follow and mix and are difficult to describe but who doesn't know of hope? The illogical and untestable belief (if that word can begin to describe, because sometimes it feels so flimsy) that life will be good, one will achieve what they desire, the tally will be fair and finally, closure and contentment before the end.

Art isn't hope in itself. Art reminds of hope through awe. Artistic artifacts are fancy externalities, emotive curiosities that we often keep a safe distance from. We like to count them and catalogue them according to how often they made a controlled impact on us and we call that 'good art', thereleft the discard pile of bad art that made us feel nothing, highly suspect in both motive and design as usual. However from good art to great art there is a surrender that can only occur when the external breaks the safety net and reconfigures the internal, finds its vital place at the core. That's a violent process and it's shocking and it's a surrender and this is why people are sometimes reticent to talk not of 'good art' (art which has had some curious & controlled effect a week ago and might be worth suggesting to others on the same safe level) but of great art, the art which has climbed inside, has rearranged, has become real. People are reticent to talk about that because it's like talking about their deepest hopes.

As an aside, this is also why people often disguise merely 'good art' as great art and praise to the sky stuff that barely managed to have a bit of an effect on their mood last Saturday as if it's the self-defining pinnacle of all artistry. Merely a diversion. The undead like to appear breathing so as to gather around them a secondhand vicarious existence while their tender heart beats in the secret phylactery underneath their bed. You can spot these liches by their terminology when discussing said 'great art', avoiding personal risk and exposure.

Heavy Metal became an internalized reality for me during a troubled adolescence, as is common. Dreaming darkly through the disappointing minutiae that coalesce to a monumental disappointment, glimmering in still black water, a severe hope. A reflection of the stars above, so below, a proud dive inwards where the superego is distant and the ego can liken itself to the primordial fierceness of the id.

Heavy Metal has nothing to offer in ideology or social grace, its pursuits are personal & ingressive. It is dangerous because what it inspires is extremity and hyperbole: the world is for it, an eternal enemy. One might learn to shield themselves from it and be proud but what when the victory is complete and they are left alone? An absurdity of being calls magnetically to suicide and perhaps Camus would instead suggest the absurdity "requires revolt" but Heavy Metal is also dark and in some ways, a coward when it comes to toiling under a measured, endless burden.

But Heavy Metal sings of hope even through surface morbidity and through the naive solutions of a romanticist destruction and in this way it is a human art (humanist has become a different word meaning "that which likens but is not" so let me avoid) and the way it can get inside and rearrange is through the awe it inspires. Awe reminds us of our hopes. Some times people I meet who listen to less obvious types of music struggle to see how I - a person they think, of some sophistication and education - can be very single-mindedly given to Heavy Metal, why I become easily bored or disassociated from other types of more faceted, glib, subversive music. It is because I have been awed by Heavy Metal, I have fallen in love with it and the love will last forever. I have no strength for many mistresses and those who dabble with them all I do not want to emulate nor do I ever trust completely.

Heavy Metal induces awe with ancient, simple meaning. When Fates Warning sing of secret promises to stars, of obligation and of remembrance, they are not humans named John Arch or Jim Matheos, they are a primordial entity, named as far as the warnings of fate can be given names. Clotho spins the threads of life, Lachesis will measure them and Atropos will cut them with her shears. A god sings distant, a symbol behind the symbols of clouds, he doesn't teach anything but shows with grace: one has been given back what they always possessed.


Monday, January 18, 2010

ZX page 30: Cat Inquisition!

Not much to say at this point beside that this is page 30, I am officialy two thirds of the way done!

Next couple of chapters are the crux of this whole thing. Expect some answers and some new questions.



Wednesday, January 13, 2010

check out the little bio post on the side!

Click for manly size

This was pretty fun to draw. I'm pretty backwards some times, this post should have been one of the very first on the blog, don't know how my mind made sense of avoiding it for a year.

I also wonder if I should directly link to a few 'choice cuts' of comics as we discussed, straight on that neat little contact.html . Robotboy, Memorybot, Europe after the Rain, Metal Gear Mike, I guess. I think just the 'comics' full tag would work for potential employers, seeing how the ZX pages (which I'm most proud of) will be on the top when sorted like that.

If you want to link me to someone that wants commission work or something else, you now can!



Tuesday, January 12, 2010

early heavy metal memories

Those guys are scary

Over at Invisible Oranges there's been a vibrant comment space on the subject of first records to get readers into Heavy Metal. I interpreted the question a bit more openly and besides listing of records I also mentioned formative heavy metal experiences. Here's the relevant bit below:

"[...] My second HM experience was a year or so later [when I was aged six] where my mom let me go to the close-by playground on my own for the very first time, in Crete and there were two teenager metalheads there (must have been early 1990, remember, at that time only delinquents and misfits listened to Heavy Metal in Greece, the traditional 10 year delay in music vogue from America to most European countries) all decked out in denim and leather and chains with long hair. I looked at them shocked. One turns to the other and says "hey, do you see my friend here? He likes to eat little boys like you" His friend grinned devilishly. I ran away crying. When I collected my six-year-old courage, I found a piece of wood and returned to the playground to 'beat them up' (I don't know man, I was six) but they had left."

I had some free time earlier today to pencil the memory (well... reconstructed, 20 year old memories are very foggy but the gist is there), when I'm done with the comic I will endeavor to return to this one and ink it as well. The past couple of days have been a bit of a downer but it was pleasant to do this one and with rejuvenated feeling I return to the ZX comic :D



Monday, January 11, 2010

ZX Page 29: Retrograde Advance

I'm posting from my girlfriend's computer, I almost forgot it was monday. I finished the page yesterday and I guess the stress relief of having done that erased the mental reminder to actually post the page.

As for the story and why Marina is being so disappointed about, if you're asking yourself 'what, have I missed something here?' then go back and check the chapter number of this sequence. Thou hast been flash-forwarded, sire.

I know it's bad form to say so, but I really like the middle panel. In the pencil art there was a little note in the corner of the panel reading "perhaps render this like Mignola?". Well, I guess I didn't, exactly, but the high-contrast without many hatched lines works for what I wanted, emotionally. Also the final panel worked better that I thought it would in the pencil art, what with the ambiguousness of whether the silluette is driving towards us or away from us. Reader participation: did you read it instinctively as if she's driving away or not? If too many readers say 'towards the viewer' I'm going to have to change it a bit for the final printing to make it more clear it's riding away.

Oh, also, this is the only 'pop-culture' reference in the whole comic (and probably one of the only recurring ones in the whole of my work, come to think of it): Zzap!64 Can you remember where you've seen it before?



Thursday, January 7, 2010

Comissions, prints-on-demand, questions for readers

In the spirit of making a honest living, I've been considering making a little side-store to the blog where I could sell prints or do commission work and I wondered if there'd be any interest in that. A big 'problem' is that most of my art is black and white so I don't know how much people would care about that. Commissions could either be digitally-made and e-mailed or hand-drawn and shipped through old-fashioned snail-mail, according to demand. How does that sound? Hell, I could even make a YUS bird t-shirt or two (but no coffee mugs, I hate coffee mugs!).

Give me your thoughts, give me your thoughts NOW.

There's nothing worthwhile below the jump.

Well, besides the space-rending upside-down space dogs, that is.

- Helm


Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Bring me the head of Hans Christian Andersen

photos by the wonderful Petteri
Denmark was fun.

Fireworks were photographed!

New Year's Resolutions were reluctantly made!

They were mostly about getting a job.

Back with more comic next monday.