Nov 21, 2009

Canada 3/3

Why is this blog post so much later then the other two? It just is. Shit happens. Blogging isn't a paying gig for me, so, sorry about being late.

What did I learn from Canada? To relax. Have fun. Follow my own ideals. I always seem to have a little ball of stress inside of me. Leaving the country, to a place that doesn't have the stick up it's ass like the US, gave me a new out look on the US and my place in it. Without being to narcissistic, the United States is the center of the world. In entertainment. As a super power. This time period's Rome. Which I realized is very stressful. We have to be the BEST, better then everyone else. If someone gets something you want, they took it. They were lucky. They think they are better then you! And I can't handle it any more.

What has happened to our country. We use to want to follow in the foot steps of Lewis and Clark, Johnny Appleseed, and, or course, cowboys... be your own man, do your own thing no matter what others think, explore the unknown. Where have all the cowboys gone? What happened to the pursuit of happiness? As a country we hate and fear the lone wolves, the ones that think and do things their own way. We hate what we use to love, and aspired to be.

Canada (bet you thought I got away on a tangent didn't you) still follows their heroes, the frontiers man and the lumberjack. Self made, independent men. Every country has their heroes to follow. The English have King Aurthur, and knights. The Japanese have the samurai. Ect. These heroes, these archetypes, help form our mind set.

What happened to the United States? Canada still has the frontiers man. What happened to the cowboy? How did our icon for independents, being self made, and doing your own thing... turn into a joke. I think the problem came when Regan and W. Bush called themselves cowboys, and used that image to get themselves elected. They USED the cowboy like a cheap whore. They weren't cowboys. They embodied group think, fear of the individual, and the needing to be popular.

We're left with a prevented version of our hero. No honor. No sense of self. No anything. People follow the example of the trust-fund child getting fucked on camera. The balloon boy family, famous at any cost. More people look up to Jason Voorhees and Jigsaw, then anyone worth a damn.

That's what I learned from going to Canada.

Nov 12, 2009

Canada 2/3

C4 was great. My best show money-making wise. And one of my top favorites over all. What was so good about it, you ask? Well, the general atmosphere that I talked about yesterday was present. It was nice not having, as many, snobby comic fans walking by. The kind who walk away in disgust when they find out you don't draw Batman.

The convention was about the size of Fallcon, but with many more people attending. There was a greater diversity attending as well. Age, race, and gender balance.

Was there negatives, sure. But I'm not going to dwell on them to much, they were few and far between. Will and I sat back to back with a.. less then pleasant artist from New York. That's the worst I'll say.

The comic scene in Canada, at least Winnipeg, doesn't have that interlockingness that cities here in the States have. Which is both good and bad. Good: far less drama, and he said she said. Bad: less support for each other.

There wasn't very many people doing it all themselves, like Will and I are use to. A lot of people were shocked that we write, pencil, and ink our own stuff, let alone design and print it on our own as well.

I only bought a handful of stuff; a Smurf with a canvas and a paint brush, a copy of Captian Canuck #1, banana pocky, a sumi-e ink kit, and a print.

I met a lot of Canadian comic artist. I'm only going to talk about the ones that really blew me away, just cause I don't have time to talk about EVERYONE!

The print I bought was by Aaron Navrady. He was a great guy from Calgary. He does bio comics about his travels all over the world. He's a hell of a nice guy and a fine illustrator. With a number of comics on Top Shelf 2.0 and a fat list of illustration clients, this is a guy to watch.

Another guy I met was GMB Chomichuk, who runs Alchemical Press and has a project called the The Imagination Manifesto. This guy does some cool horror, surreal type work. He was another super nice guy, and one to keep an eye on.

Some times you meet someone at a con, get alone. Then after the con is over you realized you forgot to trade comics or even contact info. Well, it happened to me. There was a Muslim woman that was a hoot, again so nice, it's Canada... it's a given. She did some fun work, and would love to keep in touch with her. SO... if anyone reading this from C4 knows the artist I'm talking about PLEASE point me in the way of a web site or e-mail address.

Was C4 good? Hell YES! Would I do it again? HELL YES!!! But... it looks like I'll be moving to the west coast this summer, so it may not be possible. More on that later.

Nov 11, 2009

Canada 1/3

Over Halloween weekend I was up in Winnipeg, for The Central Canadian Comic book Convention... or C4, with Will Schar.
Instead of posting one long post, I'm going to break this into three smaller ones, 1) About Canada, 2) About C4 and the people I met, 3) What I learned from it all.

I've never been out of the country before. It comes with my poorer, more white trash, back ground. Been all over the United States, but never outside of it.

I found Canada to be so much more layed back then the US. No one I met was judgmental, or had a "we're the best in the world" stick up their ass. Maybe it has to do with them having free health care, who knows. Everyone was nice, and not in that superficial "I really can't stand you" kind of way. But NICE nice.

At one point I was asked how crime really was in the US. When I said that crime was higher then Canada, and that some friends and I have been mugged before, they had a genuine sense of worry. Asking if I "was okay". Even after telling them "YES, I'm fine, it was a long time ago", they seemed concerned.

Being in Canada I realized how many Americans walk around with a sense of entitlement. But not about the things we should feel entitled to, like health care or education. Americans feel they are entitled to act like assholes, but not have people act like assholes to them. After overcoming hardship, instead of hoping that no one has to under go those same hardships, most feel that if they had to live with out something as a child or live through this or that, then no one else is entitled to forgo those hardships.

Canadian food is much better, they don't have artificial coloring, or use corn syrup as much. Instead relying on natural colors and sugar. Their laws for livestock is higher. And did you know that in Canada clear drinks cannot have caffeine in them, unless marked as an energy drink? Therefore Mountain Dew in Canada has no caffeine. Anything with chocolate is also marked as an energy "whatever". I got a candy bar out of a venting machine, and it said "energy bar".

Their advetisments have a LOT more cartoon characters, which is super cool.

I liked Canada. It was great to leave the country, even if it's one that is like America in many ways. I could talk a lot more about this and that but it would get boring.

Tomorrow I'll post the next part.

Sep 23, 2009

What I've been up to

For the last almost two weeks I've been sick. Like every good geek I have allergy and sinus problems. So it's normal for me to get a little under the weather with time of the year. High pollen count and all.

So I'm dealing with the pollen count allergy crap okay. One night I'm about to fall asleep, something starts crawing on my neck... I freak, and hit it. It's a spider, it BIT me. I had to pull it's dead body off of me, cause it's fangs are suck in my neck. Turns out I'm allergic to spider bits. So instead of super powers, I got huge bumps, fever, and shit. My body explodes with sick.

To deal with the awfulness that was my life, I was given a does of Prednisone, a steroid. It helped, but it kills my immune system (cause it kills the good and the bad). Because of this, I was left open for... a respiratory infection. Feeling worse and now unable to breath, I was given Penicillin and an Advair inhaler.

It's like I got kicked while I was down... then soaked in gasoline and lit on fire.

I'm doing better, even got a little work done today. But the set back means I won't have my new comic "Monsters, Murder, and Madmen" done for Fall-Con. I will, however, have it done for C4 at the end of the month.

So... that's that. What has been going on.

Aug 5, 2009

Comics as Movie Pitches

It's been awhile. Some big things have been happening... I'll post about them soon.

Until then,
The Beat made some comments about "comics as a pitch for a movie":
"There are quite a few “comics to movie” companies that I could name – or any regular reader of this blog could name – that are very, very obviously not interested in being successful publishing companies — and succeeding handsomely in that goal."
and a blogger from The Groovy Age of Horror, asked 'Why not'.

I had my own view on the topic, and thought I would share them:

A lot of the time you can tell if a comic is just a pitch cause of the art work. It's drawn by a storyboard artist, or a want-to-be, with a storyboard mentality. No thought of line quality, placement of blacks to help the eye flow, making room for text and balloons, and the panels not working together as a page in themselves.

The other give away is, well, people will often just tell you. Mostly as part of their sales-pitch to you... I'm talking about at con, person to person. This comes off like comics are a consolation prize.

They couldn't get anyone interested in making their movie nor financially backing it, so they made it into a comic. What were those reasons? Story? Character development? To innovative? What?

If it's innovation, and they want it to be made into a film... why didn't they make a low-budget film. Even if it's on a handy-cam, made with friends on weekends. Lots of people break into the film industry this way, George Romero for one. It shows (to me) a lack of conviction in their own work, not to just make it into a the medium they envisioned for it.

I would rather buy a comic from someone that wants to make the best comic they possibly can, then someone that just couldn't get their movie made. I would rather buy THAT persons low-budget film.

There are two kinds of people when it comes to this kind of thing. Those that just want to make money, first and foremost, they don't care how or from where. And those that are following their bliss, and hopes that money comes sooner or later, but just want to make something that means something to them. The comic-as-pitch-for-movie comes off as the former.

Jun 4, 2009

Clothing Sale!

Friend and fashion designer Samantha Rei is having a sale on some of her clothing and jewelry.

Sam is a designer of the gothic lolita variety. So check out her sale items here.

If you mention my name at check out, she'll be like... "Oh, Jesse... yeah I know him."

May 18, 2009

The long awaited return of My Holy Three

Sorry folks, I've had a bunch on my plate. Here you go... more art up soon-ish.

My Holy Three #3 page 1/5
My Holy Three #3 page 2/5
My Holy Three #3 page 3/5
My Holy Three #3 page 4/5
My Holy Three #3 page 5/5

Apr 16, 2009

Stumptown is Good Enough!!!

Off to Portland, for Stumptown, in the morning. Back Monday... until then Radio silence.

Apr 10, 2009

April 2009 Cons


I'm working on a new comic for the two... count then TWO, conventions I will be going to this month.

Next weekend (April 18th & 19th) will be Stumptown in Portland, Oregon. I'll be setting up with my buddies and fellow MCAD alumni Will Schar, Reynold Kissling, Zack Corcoran, and Emily Wing.

The weekend after (April 26th) I'll be setting up at Minneapolis' own Microcon. Will Schar will again be joining me, as well as Renny Kissling.

If you can make it to either, please come out and say hi.

Apr 3, 2009

Come to Iowa for Corn, Stay for the... Gay Marriage?

So it seems that Iowa is the first mid-west State to say it's okay to be gay and in love.

I don't know what to say... IOWA... r e a l l y... I thought it would be Illinois or Minnesota... not IOWA!!!

Never, ever, ever thought I would have bragging rights coming from Iowa.

"Where you originally from?"
"DUDE! They okayed gay marriage, that's awesome!"

I'm waiting for the first gay marriage in a corn field... complete with a hayrack ride.

Mar 31, 2009


I'm now on LinkedIn:
So let's link up!!!

Mar 29, 2009

Less Than Zero

I finished reading Less Than Zero yesterday. The quote that has stuck with me is:

"If I care about things, it'll just be worse, it'll just be another thing to worry about. It's less painful if I don't care."


The logic makes sense. But I don't completely agree with it.


Mar 26, 2009

Where The Wild Things Are

This looks kind of cool. I wasn't so sure about them making a movie out of this book. But I'll bite.

Mar 9, 2009

T-Shirt Contest

I'm in a t-shirt contest! I submitted this t-shirt design for TGWTG, along with a hand full of other's not picked for the final voting. If anyone is a fan of TGWTG, especially the Nostalgia Critic, check it out. If anyone is a site member (or want to join to help push SOMEONES design to the front *winkwink* it's free) it would be cool if you voted for my shirt.

Because it's the "Nostalgia Critic" I thought the shirt should look Nostalgic, i.e. the color zip tone.

Go HERE to vote. Voting ends next Monday.

Mar 3, 2009


Hey all. My old college is having a gallery show of comic art coming up this Friday. It features work from Fantagraphics' Mome. If you are in Minneapolis, check it out. A lecture by Erik Reynolds will also take place. More info can be found here.

Feb 25, 2009

Comics you should read

Hey all. My buddy Max has posted some new comics, and I thought y'all would dip them.

First is Clyde in Amsterdam... this is NOT work friendly.
Second is Pumpkinship... of the two this is my favorite. But you should check them both out.

Feb 24, 2009

I'm BACKkkkk!!!

My GOD what a messed up few weeks. Being sick. Then taking meds... only to have side affects. After the med stuff I had to hurry and do t-shirt designs for a contest... it's great publicity if I win, and was for some very COOL guys, I like a bunch. More on that later as it develops.

I'll be posting new stuff VERY soon. But until then I thought I would share a review of my Slide story I did last year. In October did a review, mostly positive, of said story. I should have posted this sooner... but I guess I was bashful. I met the reviewer, Jason, at Fall-con, he was very nice and it was a pleasure to talk to him.

Feb 16, 2009

More Delay

So I was sick right... I told ya'll about that Friday. I got better from these super strong meds. I was all a ready to get some stuff done... WELL it turns out the meds have some serious side affects. I was told there might... but didn't think much about it. Well there was... body cramps... insomnia... other gross stuff.

I'll be back on schedule soon.

Feb 13, 2009

No Review This Week

Hey everyone,

You maybe wondering were this weeks comic review is. Well I've had a sinus... flu... I wish I would die thing all week. I felt like I had nails being pounded into my head. When I wasn't tripping and sweating cause of my fever, I was chattering my teeth with chills.

So I'll have a review up early next week (Mon or Tues), then post another later in the week (Thurs or Fri) to make up for it.

Sorry everyone

I've got to go now take some more meds

-Jesse Haller

CONvergence 2008 5/5

Rocket Launch

Feb 9, 2009

CONvergence 2008 1/5

Hey everyone! This week I'm posting ink wash paintings I did for CONvergence last summer.


Feb 5, 2009

Early 90's Nintendo Ad

While doing the review for this week I found this print ad for the Turbo Touch 360 controller. Is it JUST me... or does this... look like he is doing more then "pumping" more power into that Nintendo.

Early 90's Nintendo print ad

X-Force 19

Alright boys and girls. This week I'm arming myself with a gun atop of a gun, that is attached to a bigger gun, to blast my way through X-Force (vol. 1) 19, from 1993. Written by Fabian Nicieza and penciled by Greg Capullo.

In the late 1980's, Rob Liefeld started writing and drawing the X-Men spin-off book New Mutants. With the introduction of Cable, the book became so popular that New Mutants was renamed X-Force. Liefeld soon left Marvel, along with other top name artists, to form Image. This issue is a few months after Liefeld's departure. Walking into this issue is much like entering the restroom after someone just finished… you can still smell the shit.

X-Force 19
Like most early 90's comics covers, the left-hand corner has headshots of the stars of the book. Which is fine, it's a quick way to know who is in the comic while shopping. The problem is that Domino and Cable's are there, when they DON'T appear in the comic at ALL. In fact Cable is suppose to be "dead".

Professor Xavier, Storm, and Cannonball, the only actual member of X-Force, appear on the main part of the cover. The action here is the most intense part of this book; at no point does anyone fight. Storm on this cover is a joke, she’s only in two pages, never wears her uniform, and has nothing to do with the main story. The cover title "The Dream... Divided!" is unfitting. And everyone looks like they are trying to take a collective shit… just saying.

We begin the story with an almost full body shot, minus the feet, of Boomer. She is admiring herself in her knew uniform. I won't say anything about the glasses…it was the early 90's. Comics were still in 80's withdrawal. But look at that… chest belt… thing? She has a pocket belt strapped across the top part of her chest, with another strip of pockets going between her breasts. How can this be comfortable at ALL… and who needs THAT many pockets? She seems to be wearing something that looks like a microphone headset or that thing that John Popper wears to play the harmonica. I'm not sure?

We are given ANOTHER title for this story, "The Open Hand, The Closed Fist" It seems one title isn't enough. It isn't great but it works better.

As Boomer is making come-fuck-me poses and talking to herself, Lila Cheney tells her Sam (Cannonball) is back. Boomer makes a backhanded comment about Cannonball wanting Lila. When Lila says they need to talk, Boomer says she can't cause she has a broken jaw.

SO that's what that thing is… her mouth is wired shut. Most people with broken jaws can't speak very well. I mean, I noticed that Boomer's lettering was smaller than everyone else's… I figured she was just slow or something.

Boomer is jumping for joy at the news that Lila doesn’t want Cannonball. But is cut short when Lila says it will be hard to get him if X-Force ends up doing time in jail. Wait… what did they do? I guess they'll explain that later.

We cut to Sunspot sitting in the grass talking about how he and the other New Mutants use to come out there for privacy. Cause Xavier's wheelchair couldn't go out onto the wet grass. I guess being a mutant doesn't mean your smart. Professor Xavier is the world's most POWERFUL psychic. We cut to Sunspot sitting in the grass talking about how he and the other New Mutants use to come out there for privacy. Cause Xavier's wheelchair couldn't go out onto the wet grass. I guess being a mutant doesn't He doesn't need to wheel out on the grass… he can go INSIDE your head and find out what you're THINKING.

Sunspot cries about how he doesn't know who he is anymore. To deal with his pain Sunspot shoots a solar-ray and burns some grass. It's very emo before emo was emo.

Meanwhile, Shatterstar, Feral, and Rictor are playing around in the danger room. The voice of the narrator tells us how they never had a chance to train under Xavier. As the workout ends, Beast thinks to himself in full sentences…because that's how nerds with PH D's think? Beast then questions what should be done with X-Force… again I’m sure they tell us what the moose in the room is.

As the three cool down after their workout, they talk about potentially going to jail… okay, so we know for sure that The Vault is a prison. At least that's something. During this Feral is cleaning herself… ewww! When did this become a furry comic? Rictor comments "Hard to believe even I miss these sessions."… huh? Didn't the man in the caption boxes JUST say how they had never been taught at the school? HOW can he miss them, if he NEVER had THEM!

All this takes place on a very badly laid out page. At some point an editor felt the need to place an arrow between panel one and two to show us where to go. This is "helpful" given that Feral's head from panel four is overlapped with panel one. Leading us from panel one to four. The editor should have made the artist redraw the damn page.

Down by the main computer, Siryn and Warpath are copying programs, cause, as Warpath puts it "Everyone does that." Being pre-Napster, X-Force is ahead of their time.

We now cut to a scene where Cannonball bitches to Xavier about his team being held in the mansion under house arrest. Storm intervenes, with her only part in the story, telling Cannonball that he is lucky that they are not in jail. Cannonball points out that they haven't been charged yet, and that they didn't do anything the X-Men haven't done already. Still, NOT telling us what they DID.

Cannonball goes on a rant about how Xavier had brought him into the New Mutants, only to hand the team over to Magneto. Which is true, Magneto ended up abandoning them with no place to go. Going from one crazy adventure to another, until Cable found them and took them in. Or as Cannonball puts it "a new driver comes along, maybe not the safest driver around". He makes it sound like Cable molested them at a rest stop.

From here we cut to a bunch of seemingly unimportant crap, that doesn't really forward the plot in this book. Probably, part of the running plot that isn't important enough to tell us about.

Back at the mansion, Boomer has Warpath and Cannonball walk into a HUGE (and I mean Liefeld huge) machine then walk out with their new uniforms—gratuitous number of pocket belts included. Seriously? Cannonball tells them that they are leaving. Everyone agrees. Because using someone's crap before leaving shows independence.

Outside Xavier talks to Siryn. (Who seems to be having a…"moment" with nature) She explains that not long ago, she felt dead inside and by joining X-Force she found others that were also dead inside… someone cue Nirvana, please. But together as a team, they stopped feeling dead and felt alive again. Sigh… cue Smashing Pumpkins.

X-Force confronts Xavier about leaving. Telling him that his dream is as simple as Magneto's separatist theory. Xavier tells them that they needs to pick between the path of violence and salvation. Cannonball says they will use both. Cause the closed fist can be used to hurt, or to protect, which Cannonball demonstrates by opening his fist to reveal a mouse… that Feral then eats…again, eww! Then says the open hand can be used to slap. Understanding his point Xavier lets them leave.

Not bad overall… but what the HELL! We are never told what they did that got them put under house arrest. There isn't even an asterisk to tell us where it happened. I know, I know… "I would know what happened if I had read... blah blah blah." But if I'm only reading THIS comic, I need to know; it only needs a sentence, or a "Previously" page at the beginning. It's kind of important. It is the only thing going on in the comic. You don't have any action to grapple your attention on.

The artwork in this comic is typical of the time, with Liefeld inspirations, pointless, over-the-top melodrama, and LOTS of pockets. The writing is a bit unfocused, but unlike most X-Force comics at the time, there is a weight of meaning. It talks about the grey area that is walking the path between two extremes, and using violence for the right reasons. Whereas Xavier and Magneto are metaphors for Martin Luther King and Malcolm X. X-Force would be the Black Panther Party of the mutant world.

A lot of the early 90's was filled with lackluster work that flooded the market. But it is an important part of the history of comics. It is when many greedy people tried to take advantage of a booming market only to cause a crash. Artists broke away from the big two for reasons that had more to do with greed then creative freedom. But among the rough there is some diamonds of importance.

Comics in the early 90's are kind of like middle school, or a long-term relationship that ends… we aren't willing to write off a huge part of our lives as "trash" no matter how bad it was. We need to look back at this time in comics and figure out what WAS good, what we learned from it, and not simply throw the baby out with the bath water.

Feb 4, 2009

Mainstream Inking Portfolio 3/3

Last part of my inking portfolio. Today is over Shawn Moll pencils. Unsure of the book, but it has Superman in it.

Inks over Shawn Moll pencils page 1

Inks over Shawn Moll pencils page 2

Inks over Shawn Moll pencils page 3

Feb 3, 2009

Mainstream Inking Portfolio 2/3

Today's section of my inking portfolio is over Christopher Jones pencils for the comic Batman Strikes

Inks over Christopher Jones pencils 1

Inks over Christopher Jones pencils 2

Inks over Christopher Jones pencils 3