Thursday, August 30, 2007

Knee Deep

I swearz i'm gonna post something soon! Between drawing the comic and becoming a Jedi, blogging falls a distant third. And I appologize.

I should get an intern.

I agree with Kevin.

Anyway, here's Peter Gabriel to tell you a little about LD Volume 1.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Rumble... Winner!

Well, the response to Rumble I: The Experiment was... underwhelming.

That's okay though, because we're doing it again soon and next time we're doing it through comments. So all you lazy ones out there can play along.

But there was one reader who took up the challenge. And so I proclaim Kevin Houlihan of Madison, Wisconsin to be Winner and Supreme Champion.

A few of his responses:
But Kevin is wrong about one thing: "Star Wars is great" he says. "It opened the door for film in creating an alternate world and environment and addressing every detail... it was also the first movie I saw with my dad in our local downtown theater."

See what Kevin's doing here?

a) He's being flat out wrong

b) He's mistaking nostalgia for redeeming quality.

That's okay though, because Kevin's adorable:

Also, congratulations again on getting engaged.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007


Loyal Readers, Occasional Skimmers, Folks who just Stumbled here by Accident,

Last week, I yapped on and on all week long (till the break of dawn?)

This week, I want to try something else. I'm gonna call it the "Mid August Labor Days Pop Culture Brawl."

Below is a list of a few pop culture opinions that I support. I've tried to choose contentious ones.

Now here's the game. If you don't agree with one or many of those opinions, e-mail me and tell me why and we'll have it out.

I'll post responses and back-and-forths to the blog. Provided, of course, that I get any.

I love an all-out all-in-good-fun pop culture row.

The List:

- Will Ferrell: Not Funny

- Robo-cop: Greatest American Film of the 1980s

- 24: Bad for America

- Interview with the Vampire: Hunkiest Movie of all Time

Subset: Also most homoerotic film made in Hollywood, to date

- Cameron Crowe: Almost Complete Crap

- On Her Majesty's Secret Service: Best Bond Film till Last Year

- Twin Peaks Fire Walk With Me: Pretty Damned Good

- Star Wars: Not a Single Redeeming Trait

If you have some other controversial pop culture opinions you'd like to share, e-mail me with them.

I'll probably argue even if I agree.

Basically, this is an attempt for me to see who's out there. There might not be anyone out there. But I aim to find out and I aim to do so by hearing what you think about shit.

People who I know in the real 3D world can feel free to participate as well.

Reach me at Replace the AT with the symbol, you know the drill.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

The Road to Now, pt. 5

Everybody Out of the Car: Now!

And so, as my re-writes got under way, Rick and I came to become fans of a certain Oni comic.

Fans to the point where we ended up sending an e-mail to its creator professing our love for the book.

And he passed our information onto the fellows at Oni. Who were intrigued by the concept, and, let's be honest, impressed with Rick's work on Venture Brothers. They said they wanted to do it, and after a lovely dinner/drinks meeting in the sadly now closed Cedar bar, we had a deal.

So the Labor Days publishing contract was born, many long years after the first hand shake that got the endeavor going.

And that brings us today, with Rick hard at work drawing the first book and me hard at work writing the end of the first book.

Next week, I'm in Wisconsin. Anyone want anything?

Friday, August 17, 2007

The Road to Now, pt. 4

Off To War

Ah re-writes. I hate the idea of them. I hate every moment before I start them. I get all bent out of shape "how dare the first draft not be perfect?!" Or even worse "how dare the [second/third/fourth..tenth] draft not be perfect!?"

But once I start them, I love them.

It's like writing, but less than half the work.

And so it was with Labor Days. A little over a year ago, I cracked the file open, realized there were a ton of things that could be fixed very easily. And so I did.

I got the page count right, went through and put in panel breaks, and added a shit ton more drama.

(That should always be cardinal rule number one for writing. Don't bore your audience. Ever. They will walk away from you and never come back. Unless you're James Joyce. In which case they might come back to you but only out of some guilt about never having read you.

Back when I used to read screenplays for a living it was a startling revelation how few writers new how not to bore an audience. It is my opinion that so much of understanding screenplay structure, and story structure in general, is simply knowing how to hold interest.

Aside over.)

The watch words for the new Labor Days became things like "emotional poignancy" and "beat up Bags at any opportunity."

And so a leaner, meaner, funnier, fighting weight Labor Days was born.

All told, and working sporadically, the revisions took me about a month to do. Inevitably, the necessitated Rick re-drawing everything. I don't think he minded, as the merits of this new LD were pretty apparent.

Meanwhile, the opportunity to pitch to Oni had come about through rather odd means.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

The Road to Now, pt. 3

Teen Times

I have in front of me a copy of the original Labor Days script. Draft is dated March 2003. Yikes.

As written it is 26 pages. That ended up ballooning to over 36 pages after Rick expanded the comic's fight scene into an 11+ page epic of back alley scrapping.

Let's see here.

I haven't broken the pages down into panels in the script.

I haven't paid a lick of attention to pacing or structure.

Dialogue scenes are bloated, rambling, and at times baldly self-indulgent.

The third act is laughably convoluted (we actually fought over this third act quite a bit, with me constantly using this as an argument "just trust me, it makes sense.")

As a very first draft, I guess it functions. It did give Team Labor Days something to spar with in the interest of developing our skills and functionality as a team.

We worked from this pimply, awkward monster, as well as it slow-witted brother (the original chapter 2 script), for about 2 1/2 years. In that time, Rick drew most of the first issue, including all of that epic fight scene he laid out. What a humdinger that thing is.

Meanwhile, in our lives away from Labor Days, I started honing my writing and thinking seriously about the "how" of writing. Rick was off getting other professional comic book gigs along side his animation work.

In other words, we were figuring some shit it out.

So when the decisions to gut the script and build it better came along, it seemed the obvious thing to do. I think we both knew that we loved the material and we loved the characters, but that this version wasn't working.

In particular, I knew I could do it better. Or maybe I knew I had to do it better if we ever wanted to find a publisher who'd want to work with us.

So in the interest of a leaner, bolder, stronger Bags, I started ripping the thing apart.

Rick, would you mind giving these people some of the old pages to look at? Or at least the old designs? They've been suffering through a shit load of reading this week.

And now here, just to prove it's still out there, the first page of "Storms a'Brewin," the original LD script:

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

The Road to Now, pt. 2

Early Childhood

The original typed Labor Days document was a pitch I threw together in the days after our initial brain storm session, without Rick's knowledge. I was genuinely intrigued by this idea of a mysterious tape and I started to pull together a number of sources of inspiration in the hopes of stumbling on a story that would be fun to do.

It gave an initial form to Benton Bagswell ( though his original name was Bertrand). It gave him a job ("Chores for Hire"). It gave the story a structure (12 labors). It gave Bags a personality (skeptical-sarcastic-loser).

It also added a number of new characters to the mix. Among these were the marxists, Bags's ex-girlfriend, and Rick Stryker (much more on him soon).

The one thing it didn't add was a title. It would be at least 6 or 7 months before the words "Labor Days" became associated with the work at all.

I don't know quite what Rick thought about the pitch upon first receiving it.

But I do know the first thing he said to me was "It's good but we need to change Bertrand's name... how about his name is Benton Bagswell and his friends call him 'Bags'?"

And after a brief discussion, it was agreed that I would write a script and we'd go from there.

Oh and then we got gun-swords, rented hyper-armor, fled the space castle and stormed the fiery ramparts of Mega-Fortress Void.

Next installment? the horrors of a first script.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

The Road to Now, Pt. 1

Birth Site

Labor Days as a concept was born in old apartment of mine sometime in 2002.

Rick and I had known each other for a year or so. I had just graduated from college and Rick had just moved back to New York from a dalliance in Florida. We'd talked about doing a comic book together but only in the vaguest sense.

And, one night, we ended up sitting around in what turned out to be an impromptu brain storming session. Although, at the time, neither of us quite realized that's what it was.

Rick started talking about a character who was obsessed with a mysterious videotape and we started blabbing about a chase across a city.

And then there was the single moment in which I believe Labor Days was truly born: Rick grabbed his forehead and pretended to be this as of yet unnamed character. "But what is on that tape?" he said, in an overblown dramatic stage whisper.

The character, who would end up being Bags, had no more definition than that. The tape was pure mystery. The locale was simply a city.

But, as it turns out, it was enough.

Stay tuned for part two. When we get swords.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

It's Saturday Morning and Your Just in Time...

... to fuck the average reader.

Once again, a post unrelated to Labor Days.

But seriously folks, The Wire is the best show on television. You'll hear it from loads of people and now you're hearing it from me. I dare you not to agree.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Chunks o' Hunks

Team Labor Days as seen on the Oni Panel. Photos, as always, by Charles Lavoie.

Look at Rick, all confused and yet somehow still sexy.

Look at my ever growing bald spot, visible from across the room and yet somehow still sexy.

Been an exhausting week over in my wing of Labor Days' Towers. Next week is gonna be a big blog week.

I promise.

PS: If your weekend is slow go get some social education from Bill Moyers or Greg Palast.

Friday, August 3, 2007

First step into a larger world..

Hey all you Labor Daydites! Labor Daysians? Er....anyway, Phil is gonna kill me for quoting Obi Wan Kenobi. But thats how it felt at this years Comic-Con.

The convention was awesome for Phil and I, especially since we got to announce our book and release some of the first art. The ashcan i've already posted so here is the cover of the book which was seen as a poster at the Oni booth. I composed the drawing and my friend Liz Artinian, who is an amazing artist was kind enough to do up this spectacular painting. The logo was designed by another friend of mine, Dong Lee, who's graphic design skillz are just awesome.

Newsarama has posted a little blurb about our upcoming book on their blog too. Which we appreciate immensely. I believe my reaction was "buh, wah!?"

Thanks Newsarama!

So the convention was a good trip for the LD boyz and stick around for further developments, as listed below in Phil's previous post.

Rick, out! SWOOOOOOSH!

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Comic-Con: Post-Op

The convention ended three days ago and I moved yesterday into an apartment that is not yet finished. So we have no kitchen and no room to unpack.

There's a lot to do in August for Labor Days so hopefully this apartment construction will finish itself and then I can get on with my portion of the comic construction.

Coming soon to the LD blog:
  • comic-con photos
  • character back stories
  • script selections
  • more talk of this thing called Zardoz
  • more Rick sketches
  • more Rick personality, splattered across the page
If you're joining us for the first time having seen our ash can in San Diego, welcome.

I'm off to unpack a box or two.

Up the Bags!