This is a series of posts about comics included in the forthcoming anthology comic “Identity” produced by Northside Comics.

troyart

 

The next comic in our series is by Troy Hunter and is entitled *I am I be (not)*.

Can you give us a brief description of your comic?

My comic is about some common assumptions about what I am and what I do and what I like, and my overarching reaction to them.

How does your comic speak to the theme of identity?

What I do and what I like are huge parts of what makes me me, but people seem to conflate my unknown with…something else they’ve seen or heard.

Where did you come up with the idea for your comic?

When the topic for this came up, I knew what I wanted to do almost immediately. I may have even dealt with a couple of those assumptions I illustrated very recently, so they were fresh on my mind.

What influences your work both on this comic and in general?

Hmmmm. I would probably say, for this comic, I drew (see what I did there) on the work of Keef Knight and, to a lesser extent, Adrian Tomine. The panels are oddly shaped, which is something I wanted to try in Manga Studio, but instead of taking time to learn the program, I drew everything freehand. In general, I grew up with graffiti and its characters, particularly those by Vaughn Bodé. Visually, I change things up; I’ve loved webcomic artists, illustrators of every stripe, and Instagram success stories in equal measure over just the last few months.

Where can people find more of your work?

My site is tallblackguy.com. I do typography, greeting cards, and a ton more, and can be reached through that for any work.

The full comic anthology “Identity” will be available later this summer for purchase. If you can’t wait that long you can contribute to our kickstarter and maybe get yourself some unique swag.

This is a series of posts about comics included in the forthcoming anthology comic “Identity” produced by Northside Comics.

michelleart

 

The next comic in our series is by Michelle Scott and is entitled Life Adventure.

Can you give us a brief description of your comic?

A young man feels the pull of life and adventure, but is always being told that it’s too dangerous, until he finally finds someone who understands.

How does your comic speak to the theme of identity?

The main character has to constantly struggle with holding onto who he is and what he loves with everyone around him suggesting that he is doing the wrong thing. The narration speaks to everyone and how each of us should enjoy the things we love and be who we are without worrying about the comments and judgments of others.

Where did you come up with the idea for your comic?

It started with a small project based around a layout theme – I wanted to do something visually different with panels flowing into each other, and this man adventuring through each panel felt like it would fit. When I knew it would be about identity, I worked to piece together this short story of someone who just wants to experience all life has to offer, and who has to be strong and ignore the disapproval of others in his life.

What influences your work both on this comic and in general?

I love being able to tell stories but am also a really visual person, so comics are a great way to combine the two. In addition to that, I really love being able to create new and unique things from dreams and thoughts, and experiment with different techniques and mediums to change the way people perceive my art.

Where can people find more of your work?

I post my work on Tumblr at autorunfail.tumblr.com.

The full comic anthology “Identity” will be available later this summer for purchase. If you can’t wait that long you can contribute to our kickstarter and maybe get yourself some unique swag.

kickstarterflyer

You may or may not know it, but we have a kickstarter launch party planned for Geek Bar Beta (1941 W. North Ave.) on July 24th at 7:00pm to fund our first group comic project. Now you might ask yourself, “If I’m not part of the project, what’s in it for me?” That’s a great question. Here’s what:

In addition to hanging with and supporting our artists, enjoying the food, drinks, and games Geek Bar has to offer we will also be holding raffles ($5 or backing the kickstarter gets you an entry) throughout the night for a variety of prizes. Here are a couple sneak previews:

  • Two tickets for any parody burlesque show at Gorilla Tango Theater (up to $70 value). They do burlesque parodies of everything from Disney to Game of Thrones to Star Wars. It’s pretty cool.  You can also use the coupon code “northsidecomics-summer2015” to get $6 off each ticket when you buy 2 or more through August 31st regardless of whether or not you attend the party. Gorilla Tango is a cool place and we will likely be holding a figure drawing night there in the near future. So stay tuned for that.
  • Two all-event passes to the 3rd annual nerd comedy festival at Stage 773 (a $130 value). This event is massive with improv, stand-up, and an improved Star Wars/Macbeth hybrid show. These tickets get you into all the shows you want during the event.
  • A coupon for laser cutting at the Edgewater Workbench. The workbench specializes in 3D printing and laser cutting services. Laser cutting is exactly what the name would lead you to believe – it’s the process of using lasers (LASERS!) to cut stuff. For example, making interesting patterns out of cardstock for a wedding invite or cardboard cutouts to build a T-Rex skeleton. Lasers can also be used like a printer to burn rather than cut into wood. That means you could print your face onto wood and thus achieve wooden immortality! Stu and Ally at the Workbench host our weekly sketch parties on Thursdays so please stop in and check the shop out.
  • Comic books. This wouldn’t be a comic kickstarter without comics! The list is growing but at the moment we will for sure be raffling off the following: A hard cover of Infinite Vacation by Nick Spencer/Christian Ward, This One Summer by Mariko Tamaki/Jillian Tamaki, and 5 Very Good Reasons to Punch a Dolphin in the Mouth by Matthew Inman.

More prizes to come.

On top of all of this, the artists from the book will be present and word is they might be doing some live sketching (if you’re into that sort of thing)

Tell your friends! And if you are so inclined, come dressed in cosplay (10% discount off food and drinks). If you decide to up the ante and come dressed as one of the characters from the anthology find Ed and he will personally buy you a drink.

See you at Geek Bar on the 24th!

 

This is a series of posts about comics included in the forthcoming anthology comic “Identity” produced by Northside Comics.

johnart

 

The next comic in our series is by John Vestevich and is entitled Give me all my favorite songs back.

Can you give us a brief description of your comic and what does it have to do with the theme of identity?

Give me all of my favorite songs back shows a guy going about a regular day in the city, but his mind is constantly bouncing between the present and memories of a lost love.

Where did you come up with the idea for your comic?

I was about a year past the end of a huge relationship and was doing great with moving on, licking my wounds, and forgiving myself. I met up with my ex for dinner because she was about to move to another part of the country and she said that she “wanted closure.” It turned out she actually wanted to tell me that she was still bent out of shape about certain things, she thought we hadn’t worked enough on our relationship enough to keep it alive, and she thought about me every day.

Woof.

Here I was, doing this “great” job of moving on, and suddenly I was forced to go through my days, yet again, with my thoughts tethered to the past – but this time, there was an extra blanket of sadness on top of them, knowing how she continued to suffer. I knew there was nothing to be done to alleviate that suffering, we were through, as we should be, and we went our separate ways. But nevertheless, there I was, my present day invaded by unwelcome memories. And everything I did for a little while after that was despite this invasion, or rather, through this filter. For a short period, it was my new identity – this thing I carried around.

What influences your work both on this comic and in general?

My comics work is very heavily influenced by manga, particularly the works of Hiroaki Samura (Blade of the Immortal). Japanese comics in particular come from an animated place – the artists think of their comics like films, and the panels are like storyboards that help to establish a believable sense of rhythm and timing that does not exist in traditional (aka. boring and stupid) American superhero comics. How can you throw a punch WHILE speaking a paragraph’s worth of dialogue? I find that utter lack of believable pacing to be completely alienating, and, frankly, insulting.

Comics worlds continue to overlap and, thanks to the internet, my favorites of late have been comics from Europe, particularly France (Lewis Trondheim, Joann Sfar). Modern French cartoonists have an extremely loose, causal, and yet still somehow expert way of drawing comics that flies directly in the face of the precision and physicality of my treasured samurai epics from Japan. It’s like someone with incredible, flawless handwriting scribbling out a note on a napkin as fast as they can. Quentin Blake said that a great drawing should look as if it was barely pinned to the page. This kind of honest effortlessness is what I’m working towards now.

Where can people find more of your work?

The proper website is at johnvestevich.com, but the real meat is on tumblr, smellyhippiecomics.tumblr.com. That’s where all my ideas show up first to develop into what goes onto the portfolio site.

The full comic anthology “Identity” will be available later this summer for purchase. If you can’t wait that long you can contribute to our kickstarter and maybe get yourself some unique swag.

group

Holy cow did we have a turnout on Monday at G-Mart! I could never have predicted that based on attendance of the last one. I guess it helps to have the combined forces of the meetup group and Alex’s social media prowess. People were working on some fantastic stuff and we had some conversations about the proper rankings of the Indiana Jones films (in terms of quality not chronologically), many people were astounded by Alex’s lack of 80’s pop culture knowledge, we perused a Go-Bots kids book illustrated by Jack Kirby, and Ed suggested that knowledge of who John Wayne Bobbitt is turns out to be a good litmus test of whether or not a person is under 25 years of age.

As is tradition, near the end, we took part in a comic exercise that we do from time to time (need to think of a name for this one). Everyone gets a blank six panel piece of paper with a random word in the top corner. They have five minutes to draw a panel based on the word and then pass it to the right. 30 minutes later you have finished comics! Here are some of the results:

beetle
beetle
bow
bow
health
health
soup
soup
whale
whale
wrinkle
wrinkle
macaroni
macaroni
television
television
fruit
fruit
dentist
dentist
tire
tire
lemonade
lemonade

This is a series of posts about comics included in the forthcoming anthology comic “Identity” produced by Northside Comics.

 

laurenart

The next comic in our series is by Lauren Davies and is entitled Statue.

Can you give us a brief description of your comic?

A black, billowing smoke-cloud alien and his lovely, ethereal ghostly girlfriend are jaunting through space and time. (Their “meet-cute” happened off-stage.)  They’ve been toying with the idea of reentering the human world, via a man-made vessel.  They come across a statue that sparks their creative, story-telling sides.  Together, they decide to take on a new heroic persona, via some interstellar, post-death magical rebirthing.  The metaphysics are just a touch out-there, but with their powers combined, their living-statue plan works!

How does your comic speak to the theme of identity?

Statue is a playful take on donning a new identity via imaginative “possession”. I’m a little bit obsessed with possession in general, so I really wanted to tie that in. We project emotional back story onto art (and each other!) all the time.  I liked the idea of these two other-worldly creatures doing the same thing with an ancient totem, offering it a tenuous second life of their own shared design. One wandering ghost paired up with one amorphous cloud-alien, playing dress up via material possession of a long-forgotten statue – each of their identities is amorphous, in a different way.

Where did you come up with the idea for your comic?

I’ve always loved sci-fi and short stories, and have look been intrigued by statues/inanimate objects coming to life, since childhood.  I have a rather whimsical side that I don’t always show in my day-to-day realm, so I thought I’d go full-on fantasy. I’ve written another short story about a statue/human relationship, playing on the Galatea myth, so it’s definitely a theme for me.

What influences your work both on this comic and in general?

I love Ray Bradbury, Neil Gaiman, Emily Short’s interactive fiction games and the eerie quality of Beckett plays. I also love those young adult/late childhood books that take you to strange, forbidding places: The Giver, Charlotte Sometimes, and the myth-within-a-myth back stories of GOT, Happy Potter and the like.  There’s a certain mysterious, soft quality I’m drawn to in other art/music/film, and I always want that to come forward, in my own work.

Where can people find more of your work?

The short portfolio version lives here: www.katzenkatzen.wordpress.com
Endless Flickr/Instagram/artwork parade: www.flickr.com/photos/divine_aphasia

The full comic anthology “Identity” will be available later this summer for purchase. If you can’t wait that long you can contribute to our kickstarter and maybe get yourself some unique swag.

We had a great time last night at the workbench. As is tradition, we spent a fair amount of the meetup discussing Star Trek, Ed went on a rant no one listened to about The Matrix,  and we debated the merits of the short-lived 80s television show China Beach. Special shout out to Kelly, our only first-timer out of ten attendees!.

Once we all ran out of steam, we took part in a comic exercise that we do from time to time (need to think of a name for this one). Everyone gets a blank six panel piece of paper with a random word in the top corner. They have five minutes to draw a panel based on the word and then pass it to the right. 30 minutes later you have finished comics! Here are some of the results:

"Brilliant"
“Brilliant”
"Marsh"
“Marsh”
"Foil"
“Foil”
"Perform"
“Perform”
"Align"
“Align”
"Nimrod"
“Nimrod”

This is a series of posts about comics included in the forthcoming anthology comic “Identity” produced by Northside Comics.

edart

The first comic in our series is by Edward Witt and is entitled Happy HourHappy Hour follows a young man at a bar during happy hour. The man becomes listless and uninterested in the scene, but as he is about to leave he encounters something quite out of the ordinary.

How does your comic speak to the theme of identity?

Without giving too much away about the comic, mine is essentially about a man who feels the need to be in a social situation, but doesn’t really feel like he belongs there. The people he encounters either intimidate or disappoint him. I think a lot of people can relate to these feelings especially when they’re in an unfamiliar setting around unfamiliar people. The final scene of the comic causes the main character to question what it really means to be him.

Where did you come up with the idea for your comic?

My comic is based on an event that actually happened to me, although it’s been pumped up a little bit for dramatic value. I went to happy hour after work one day to meet some friends. It was the middle of the summer and I was wearing a nice outfit. When I got there literally everyone in the bar was dressed up except for the people I was meeting. They were all wearing shorts, skirts, and t-shirts. I felt kind of out of sorts. As we were about to leave, I went to use the bathroom and I encountered someone who looked a lot like me. And when I say a lot, I mean A LOT. He was the same height, had a similar complexion, roughly similar hair color and we were wearing essentially the same outfit. We both sort of acknowledged each other in this weird encounter but didn’t speak. It was very creepy. I sort of felt like he might knock me out, drag me into the stall, and then replace me and the people I was with would never know the difference.

What influences your work both on this comic and in general?

On this comic, I was going for the look and feel of the twilight zone. Sci-Fi has always been like poor-man’s philosophy. It helped that we were doing the whole thing in grayscale. Something is so much more ominous about that to me. I don’t think old movies would be nearly as influential now if they had always been in color. I used a lot of gradients to give it all sort of a dreamlike haze and I tried to fade out people in the background to try and keep the focus on the main character. From page to page you go from watching him to seeing stuff through his eyes. I hope it has my intended effect. In general though, I tend to keep a little bit more on the cartoon-y side of things. I’m not usually the kind of person who tries to draw hyper-realistic stuff. So I’d say my general influences tend to be more like Bill Watterson and especially Gary Larsen. When it comes to comic books, I love twisted and surreal stuff. I spent a lot of time looking at art by Greg Capullo and Todd McFarlane as a child and I like Rafael Albuquerque a lot (especially his work on American Vampire). I can’t draw like these guys at all, but if I could draw like anyone, I’d choose them for sure.

Where can people find more of your work?

I occasionally post short web comics at kantorwont.com. I also post other doodles and illustrations on instagram (instagram.com/edwardwitt/) that you won’t find on kantorwont.

The full comic anthology “Identity” will be available later this summer for purchase. If you can’t wait that long you can contribute to our kickstarter and maybe get yourself some unique swag.

I’m proud to announce our first group contest! Our website and social sites need some flair. I think we need an awesome logo and accompanying banner to show off what we’re about. I’m envisioning something that we can use across platforms (Meetup, Twitter, Facebook) as well as in other arenas (group projects, group signs for conventions, etc.).

So rather than try to create my own logo and banner (not a great idea), I thought I’d open it up to the group for submissions (much better idea). You are welcome to submit a logo and/or a banner. To sweeten the deal I decided to make it a contest.

Here are the general rules:

Regardless of whether you submit a banner, a logo, or both, the final product needs to be digital and full color.

Additional specifications for each are below:

Logo The logo needs to represent what we’re about (cartoonists and comic artists) and should probably also indicate that we are a Chicago-based group on the Northside. Our technical name is “Northside Cartoonists and Comic Artists” (Northside Comics, for short). So the name should also be somewhere in the design. These are general guidelines, if you think that you can do something cool that doesn’t incorporate these elements, please have at it.

Keep in mind that the logo should also scale well. That means it should still be legible at different sizes. If you want an example, go to this link and resize the browser a bunch of times to see what I mean http://www.responsivelogos.co.uk/­.

You’re final logo should be 300 X 300 pixels at at least 300 dpi.

Banner – All of the above also applies to the banner. I want it to give a similar amount of information about the group. Please keep the text somewhat minimal. Facebook is picky about what % of the banner can include text, so less is better.

Speaking of Facebook specifications, their ideal dimensions are 851 X 315 pixels at at least 300 dpi. If you want more detail about where the logo is placed on top of the banner, what part is shaded, etc. go here: https://www.facebook.com/CoverPhotoSize­ but at minimum please make sure it’s 851 X 315 pixels at 300 dpi.

File specifications – the final file (for both logo and banner) needs to be in a format that is lossless. So please save as a TIFF, BMP, or PNG file (JPEG and GIF are lossy and will make it hard to scale the images up or down).

Prizes:
Logo Winner: Copy of Manga Studio 5 (or $25 Amazon GC)
Banner Winner: Copy of Sketchbook Pro (or $35 Amazon GC)

Judges:
The final submissions will be judged by myself and an independent board of shadowy figures (who, unsurprisingly, wish to remain anonymous). I’ll also open up public voting and factor those results into the final decision. I’ll be rating on originality, clarity, and quality.

Deadline:The deadline for entries is Sunday, July 12th at 11:59pm CST. Please send your entries via email to me at edwardwitt(at)gmail.com­.

Legalese: By entering the contest you are giving the group permission to use your submitted image in any group-related material which includes, but is not limited to, use in promotional materials, on websites, and in digital and print publications. Credit for the logo will be given whenever possible using the manner that the artist prefers (link, twitter handle, etc.). If you are the winner, you will have to sign a document stating that you understand these terms and releasing your work for these uses.

I know I tend to be a little long-winded, and paradoxically I still manage to leave important details out (my father calls it “inefficiency”). So if you’re confused please feel free to email me with any questions you might have.

Good luck everyone! I can’t wait to see what you come up with.

Ed