Saturday, August 26, 2017

Epic Square-Offs!

Just a reminder: Keith and I will be appearing at Comic Card again this year (the second consecutive Comic Card we've done together, as well as this being Keith's third appearance in Minnesota in a year!), and just like last time, we'll have an exclusive Switch print to give away for free to fans who stop by our table ;)  Unfortunately, colorist Robb Miller will not be able to attend this show as he will be out of town.

As I wrap up drawing the Switch, I realized that I've been pretty fortunate to draw some really cool scenes that range from quiet to tense to sexy to action, and then some.  And that's not including the other half of the story!

One this this book will promise is awesome action and fighting.  I'd like to tease (exclusively!) some of those parts here:

Getting a ground-and-pound from Moss is not as bad as having a face full of bush!

Why is the Truth so pissed?

Lover Boy in a not-so-loving mood...

Looks like it could be an explosion?

Moss in action...
Next week I think we can show off some finished color panels :)   In the meantime, I caught Keith's Superman issue (penciled by our Switch alternate cover artist Doug Mahnke) at Barnes & Noble recently, and I think you should, too:

Superman Rebirth #29 on stands NOW
Finally, in 2 weeks (September 9th) I'll be in Aberdeen, South Dakota for Fandom Dakota Con doing a keynote speaking.  I hope to see/meet some of you there!

Sunday, August 20, 2017

sunday update!

Hey everybody, welcome to a special Sunday edition of The Switch production blog! Of course, it's only a special Sunday edition because I screwed the pooch on Friday and didn't get this update posted until now. But hey, I'll try to redeem myself here.

This past week was a big one for me as my first issue of Superman (drawn by Switch alternate cover artist/Pencil God Doug Mahnke) arrived in stores last Wednesday. Superman is my all-time favorite 'corporate' character so it's been a genuine thrill to get to write him. The second part of the story ships in about 10 days and then the regular writers, our good pals Pete and Pat, will be back, and then I'll have another two-part story running before too long. Lots of fun for me!

But you didn't come here to read about Superman. You came for The Switch so here's what's going on. We dodged a real bullet with Tom's Surface Pro 2 debacle. Thankfully, he managed to find his computer because I'm really not sure how we'd have recovered from the loss of all those files. I get the chills just thinking about it.

Things are pretty intense here behind-the-scenes as we're closer than ever to finishing the art. Tom is working as hard as he can to get the book done, Rob is coloring up a storm and I'm jumping in right now to ink some pages to help drag us to the finish line a little faster. It's stressful but I've been stressed about this project since it started so I guess I'm used to it by now. Fingers are crossed that over the next update or two, you'll get a message letting you know we're done and the book is off to the printers.

Anyway, here's some sneak peeks...

Why is Switch murdering The Truth?!

Spoiler Alert: The Truth seems pretty dead on the floor behind Switch. 

The Moss has a funny way of saying he loves you.

What? The Jorge Jimenez variant cover to the next issue of Superman? How'd that get in here?

Thanks for reading, everyone, and for your support.
See you in five short days!

Saturday, August 12, 2017

The End of The Switch

The above title could have two meanings:  1) that we're near the end as we're finally wrapping up by month's end; but really, it's closer to 2) that the project was nearly killed (at least possibly severely delayed) during a moment last Sunday in Texas.  In one sentence, I almost lost my beloved Surface Pro 2-- with all of my important work (including all of the hi-res Switch files) on it!!!  Some of you who follow my social media may have caught my brief posting about it, but allow me to show you several more pictures in detail, and then an explanation:

When I lost my Surface Pro 2, it was one unit.  We found it on the road in three pieces (thankfully said pieces are meant to be detachable!

The awesome FreedomCase cover (which functions as a multi-angle stand) broken....R.I.P.

A better view of the death of the FreedomCase cover

The Power keyboard (it's actually a second battery as well) for the Surface Pro 2 with battle scars 

The Surface Pro 2 itself all dinged up

Another look

Surprisingly, the front screen (with matte screen protector attached--more for the drawing feel than for protection) made it out with barely a scratch!

corner damage

It still functions!!
So let me quickly summarize:

After the Bell County Comic Con in Belton, Texas, artist pal Mostafa Moussa, cosplayer pal Priscilla, and I left the show to grab dinner.  Five minutes after driving, I realize that my Microsoft Surface Pro 2 is not on my person.  Panic erupts.  I knew and remember taking it out of the bag.  I had to have set it somewhere back at the convention.  So we turn around and drive all the way back to the Belton Expo Center.  We look around and ask around, even checked the Lost and Found (ha! sounds like rap lyrics).  With every security person or volunteer asked, the answer was "haven't seen it," and minute-by-minute my heart beats faster and forehead sweat intensifies.  Nothing, nada, zilch....  My first thought is that someone must have found it and kept it.  Stolen.  It doesn't matter that the tablet was locked; I don't even care if the thief was able to crack it and saw my non-existent porn folder.  It had my work and livelihood on there.

All of my important deadline art files were in that Surface.  I had a television project (due the next day, of course) and of course The Switch files I had been working on that are all due this month.  I know what you're thinking: did you back these files up, Tom?! No, I did not yet at that point.  I have an external drive that I carry and regularly back up files to, but I haven't backed these particular files to the cloud yet.  So spare me the lecture, I know, I know--!

I was ready to give up on life and my career.  How do I explain this mishap?  Should I just call my client/publisher and say, "Welp, I lost my computer that has all the work you need.  Later!"  Seriously, I felt like this was the end of The Switch, and I couldn't have felt more disgusted at that moment.

When Mostafa, Priscilla, and I called off the search and decided to leave, I had a last-second thought:  what if I had left the Surface Pro on top of the car and we drove off?  I'm ashamed to admit that it wouldn't have been the first time my absent-minded self left things on top of the car before driving off (i.e., my wallet once when I was in my 20s...).  But wouldn't we have noticed it when it flew off the car?  Or at least in the parking lot of the Expo when we all drove back to to look for it?  Surely the car couldn't have gotten that far before the little tablet computer succumbed to wind resistance whilst driving.

We drove slowly back out in the same way we did originally.  Mind you, I had little-to-no-hope at this point--but it was the only morsel of hope I had left before I completely threw in the towel.  Looking all around us as we passed though the sparse lot, we saw nothing resembling a computer on the ground as we exited.  And what if it did fall off?  Someone still could have stolen it, or there was a better chance that a vehicle could have run over it.

Leaving the Expo Center along the frontage road, I simply gave up. A few moments later Priscilla says, "Wait....I think I saw something dark on the side of the road back there..."  She said that she wasn't sure it was a computer and didn't want to get our hopes up, but it wouldn't hurt to go back and check.  So we circled around and repeated the path, but this time slowed down a bit.  Priscilla spots it again, and tells Mostafa to stop.  She gets out, and.....

FINDS THE KEYBOARD AND COVER!  But no tablet....oh, no!  Did someone beat us to it?  Maybe it got run over by a truck?  We look down the road a bit further....Priscilla sees another dark object about 30+ feet ahead of us, and runs toward it.  Mostafa and I drive to catch up to her, and we see her grabbing the dark slate and raising it up in the air in triumph and glee as she runs back to the car.  SHE FOUND MY MICROSOFT SURFACE PRO 2!!  But did it work?  All of the 3 pieces certainly didn't look like they would work anymore (see above photos).  As my two friends watched, I turned on the tablet....waited about 7 seconds....

...a truck drives right past us and honks at us, probably because we were so amped up on adrenaline and forgot that we just stopped in the lane without a care in the world.

...and the Surface Pro 2 turns on!!  I then attached the keyboard.....AND IT WORKS!  And the Wacom Bamboo Feel Stylus (still miraculously attached to the now-broken FreedomCase) still registers!!!  To describe the roller coaster of emotion that I felt in the past hour--going from a great mood to the lowest of lows, and then in a moment going to the highest of highs-- is, well, indescribable.

And although I sincerely thank the show workers and security for the look out, it was because of my post-show, hungry-for-food friends Mostafa and Priscilla that we were able to find my work, and extend my career at little bit longer ;)

Thanks, Mostafa and Priscilla!

What a testament to the overall durability of the Surface Pro 2, although it did unexpectedly shut down twice this past week.  :(  Anyway, you guys probably want to see what I cranked out on it since the accident, huh?  Here's another sneak peek for this week!
I'll give you a million dollars if you can figure out what's going on in this page

Lover Boy doing an gorilla impression

The Switch herself!
Finally, YES I did back up everything.  ;)  I just hope my Surface Pro lasts until the end of this month.  Otherwise I might have to buy the Cintiq Companion 2 off my artist pal Henry Liao to finish the book--!  Unless Microsoft wants to send me a new Surface Pro for this glowing testamonial of their computers' durability ;)


Friday, August 4, 2017

let's cover it

Hey everyone, welcome back to another chilling, thrilling, spilling installment of the Switch production blog! I feel like I haven't updated in a month, probably because it hasn't been my turn to update in a month.

Things are picking up steam behind the scenes as we get ever closer to the end of production on this puppy. Tom's got his nose to the grindstone and Robb is cranking out colored pages as fast as they come in. We're starting to think about the overall design of the book at this point as we begin to pull everything together in one pretty little package. Depending on how many extra pages we have in the back, I'm thinking of producing a couple of Marvel Universe Handbook-style profile pages for Electricia and Lover Boy. I always enjoy stuff like that and who knows, maybe I could even get a couple of guest artists to pitch in to make it even more fun. Dream big, I always say!

Thanks to Switch backer/ convention organizer Kevin Deneson, I'll be returning to Minnesota for the Comic Card show on September 16th. I'm planning on giving Tom the joint reward sketches, the stuff I'm penciling and he's inking, that were snapped up during the Kickstarter campaign and who knows, I might even bring special guest Jack Champagne with me to really put some lime in the coconut. Good times ahead!

Anyway, here's your little sneak peek this week, thanks to Robb. Your first look at the cover design. There will be some minor changes to this in the actual printed version but this is what we're working towards...

Catch everyone next week! Be well and thanks as always for the support!