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Over the past few days – especially since I posted the latest batch of Punch-Up covers, illustrated by my Negro Amigo, the Amazing David Brame – I’ve had a lot of people ask me about the status of the book.
Well, I’m here today to set the story straight.
First of all, for those who don’t know, Mr. Brame and I are collaborating on an original graphic novel called Punch-Up, about a twenty-something named Patrick who gets beaten up for a living. We’ve been working on it for a while now and we have about fifty pages penciled, inked, toned, and lettered; about a fourth of the entire story.
David, as far as I know, is on a Punch-Up sabbatical for the time being so he can focus on a few personal projects. Meanwhile, I’m feverishly trying to edit down the number of pages in the book and letter the last few finished pages David sent me, as well as trying to outline and script my next few book ideas.
As far as publishing is concerned…
Back in May, I – along with several friends – traveled up to Toronto for the Toronto Comic Arts Festival. We talked to a couple of comic book publishers and handed out copies of out 8-page Punch-Up ashcan. I was hoping we would get a little more out of the festival – like, say, a book deal or some sort of professional recognition – but, alas, we did not.
Skip ahead to now-ish.
David and I have been working on putting together our Punch-Up submission proposal. My friend Danny Cooper, co-owner of Mutant Cactus, told me about a comic book printer called Ka-Blam. After talking it over with David, we decided to print out the first 37 pages of our book – the first act, complete with a cliffhanger ending – with Ka-Blam.
In the week or two since this decision, I’ve resized all of the book pages and designed a quick credits/copyright page while David has designed an entirely new wraparound cover for the book and a character bio page.
With only a few minor details left, we should be able to send everything off to Ka-Blam within the next week or two — we’ll print off maybe a dozen or so copies to start, for submission purposes, and more early next year to sell at smaller conventions, like SPACE. — and if they really have a 28 day turnaround, we should be able to send out our pitches to various publishing companies somewhere around the middle of October. And if all goes well, hopefully, we’ll find out if we’re getting published by the beginning of the year.
In the meantime, David will eventually start cranking out those glorious comic book pages and I’m going to continue editing and lettering and thinking about different ways to promote the book.
And I have ideas on promotion. Yes, I do. Unfortunately, I can’t share any of those details with you yet but, when the time comes, good God, it will be awesome.
For the first time in a long time, I feel as if I have a decent plan for the future.
Until next time, I’ll leave you with the final covers for the book.
Bask in the glory that is David Brame.
Bask in the glory that is Punch-Up.
I meant to post this last weekend but, as it turns out, I’ve been incredibly busy being, well, incredibly lazy.
Last Saturday was our Summer Reading Club kickoff and, if you’ve read my last post, from *coughMay26thcoughcough*, you’ll know that I went a little above and beyond in my Humpty Dumpty: Case of the Cracked Egg display.
Anyway, the display went up about two weeks ago and, while there are a few minor details that still bug me, I’m fairly happy with the way it’s turned out.
(I just wish I had enough time to finish building the life-size spatula-wielding animatronic chef, but c’est la vie.)
Check out the pictures I took of the display and let me know what you think. Or, better yet, come on down to the Martin Luther King Library, see the egg in person and, while you’re at it, sign up for the Summer Reading Club!
And there you have it, kids: The Case of the Cracked Egg. Turns out, the butler didn’t do it.
Next, I’m off to commit… I mean, solve… The Case of Who Turned The Three Little Pigs Into Delicious Bacon and then eat breakfast.
I’ve been teasing about an awesome new secret project over the weekend and, while it’s not a new book, it is still pretty frickin’ sweet.
When I’m not sitting at home writing, I work at a library as a Customer Service Specialist to pay the bills. Every year, we have what’s called the Summer Reading Club, a program designed to encourage kids to keep reading over the summer through various fun programs, contests, and prizes. And, every year, we have a theme to tie the whole thing together.
This year’s theme is called “Get A Clue. Read.”, embracing the mystery/detective genre. Our branch has decided to turn classic nursery rhymes into mysteries. Where are Little Bo Peep’s lost sheep? Can you find the little kitten’s lost mittens? My project is called “The Case of the Cracked Egg: Who pushed Humpty Dumpty off the Wall?
Now I was kind of bad.
The library has a pretty strict policy about not working on work outside of work. We were supposed to create our displays at work, most of the other librarians using cut paper and found objects in theirs. And I was totally prepared to do this.
But then I didn’t.
As I was driving to my parents place in Cleveland, Friday night, I started thinking about how I didn’t have the time this week – or proper materials – to make my precise vision, which originally involved paper mache. The ideas just started flowing. I knew exactly how to create my display and – better yet – I had a three-day Memorial Day weekend and full access to my dad’s tools to create it with.
I took a trip to the local art store Saturday morning and, for a little over five dollars, I got all of the supplies needed for the project phases.
Phase One: I blew up a balloon and covered it in a Plaster of Paris molding cheese cloth, about four layers.
Phase Two: I coated the balloon in plaster and, once it had dried, sanded it down, painted it white, and cracked the egg in half, make other surface cracks with a utility knife. I also cut a small wooden ball in half and painted it bright yellow.
Phase Three: I coated a sheet of wax paper with several layers of hot glue. Then, I put the yellow ball half on top of the lake of now-dried hot glue and coated that with more hot glue. Then, I placed the cracked plaster egg on top of the hot glue lake and poured even more hot glue inside and all around it.
(Although I took several pictures of the process, my camera decided to go crazy and erase everything on my memory card so now all I have to show you is the finished product.)
Anyway, I’m taking the sculpture into work today. Hopefully, it goes over well and my boss doesn’t yell at me for working on work outside of work.
Wish me luck and, if you’re in the neighborhood, stop on by the Martin Luther King Branch and see The Case of the Cracked Egg for yourself!
Just a quick note to let you all know that there are going to be some changes coming. Very soon, in fact.
For the past four or five years, I’ve been writing, blogging, and publishing under the alias Boom Boom Storm Cloud. (My friend and former coworker, Scott Woods, gave me the nickname several years ago because I had never seen the Lord of the Rings movies; something about how I rain down negativity or how I’m loud but pretty much harmless, like a lightning storm, or something like that. You’ll have to ask him.)
Anyway, I dug the nickname. It stuck. It conveyed everything I wanted to say about my work to my readers: it’s going to be something different, it’s going to be fun, funny, something you won’t read anywhere else, negativity will rain down… or something like that.
I started seriously using the BBSC pseudonym when I started writing for Tastes Like Chicken, a now-defunct underground humor/entertainment/arts magazine where all of the writers and artists involved used aliases. From there, I started to alter all of my online wheelings and dealings to suit my BBSC mask; my Myspace profile was suddenly renamed, a new email account was started, ol’ Boom Boom got a blog (Y’know, the one you’re reading right now.), a Deviant Art and Twitter account.
And it was good.
And then something horrible happened — something so terrible and unspeakable that I’m ashamed to even utter the words: I grew up.
I know. I know. I’m ashamed, too.
But I decided that, since I’m seriously trying to break into the comic book industry, that I should stop hiding behind a nom de plume (Especially, on as silly-sounding as Boom Boom Storm Cloud.) and start using my real name.
And so the Great Frank Rebranding of 2009 has officially begun!
In fact, it’s kind of already started. If you look around the blog, you’ll see more “Franks” around the blog than you will “Boom Booms”. That sounds kind of dirty, actually. Anyway, I’ll be changing the blog, email address, and Twitter addresses, and so on and so forth to reflect the rebranding.
I’m hiring talented artist and friend, Michael Harris, to design a new Frank-specific logo. The old BBSC logo is a work of art but and things must change and it’s time for it to go into retirement.
Also retiring soon is my sign-off line “Your friend (and part-time lover).” “Part-time Lover” has served me well through the years it feels too BBSC-specific and so it too shall be put to an end. I’ve been racking my brains over the past few months trying to come up with a suitable replacement line but have thus far been unsuccessful.
That’s where you come in!
Let’s have a little contest, shall we? At the bottom, where it says “Post a comment”, tell me what my new sign-off line should be. We’ll let a few weeks go by before the judging. Winner will get some brand new art work that I’m going to force Mr. Harris to make. Just kidding. No idea what the prize will be. Probably an original sketch by yours truly or a short story written in your honor or something equally lame.
Hmm. Maybe we should have a contest to determine what the contest prizes should be, first…
Be sure to enter the rebranding contest and keep your eyes here in the coming weeks and months for all sorts of changes and updates!
Your friend (and part-time lover, albeit not for much longer),
A few months ago, my good friend – and extraordinary quilter — Abigail Kokai produced the first-ever fan art for my book, Punch-Up! I’ve seen this piece from its conception to conclusion and have been amazed by every stitch.
I am extremely proud and pleased to share this piece with you.
Abby describes her piece and process: Punch Up 15″ x 21″ October 2008 Technique: Photo iron transfer image, layered netting, printed and solid sheers with fabric placed as graphic elements placed behind image. Machine quilted, hand embellished with ribbon, black glass beads and letter beads. Spray painted and hand stitched accent outlines around image. Please visit Abby’s website — abigailkokai.carbonmade.com – and shower her with your admiration and praise. And, I guess if we can’t get the book published, we can always make Abby quilt all 260 pages! Your friend (and part-time lover),
Quilted and embellished adaptation of an illustration by David Brame, for the comic Punch-Up, written by Frank Cvetkovic.
Boom Boom Storm Cloud
Abby describes her piece and process:
Punch Up 15″ x 21″ October 2008
Technique: Photo iron transfer image, layered netting, printed and solid sheers with fabric placed as graphic elements placed behind image. Machine quilted, hand embellished with ribbon, black glass beads and letter beads. Spray painted and hand stitched accent outlines around image.
Please visit Abby’s website — abigailkokai.carbonmade.com – and shower her with your admiration and praise.
And, I guess if we can’t get the book published, we can always make Abby quilt all 260 pages!
Your friend (and part-time lover),
(Wednesday started much in the same fashion: I had the day off and it was a beautiful, cool morning so I decided to pack a bag full of the puppy’s toys, her water bowl, a few bottles of water and head to Schiller Park.
After the pup and all of her stuff was successfully loaded into the car, we pulled out of the parking lot just in time for a light on my car’s dashboard to light up — singing ding! ding! ding! as it did – signaling that I was dangerously low on fuel. I pulled into a Speedway station a few block from my apartment and filled my tank up halfway. I got back in my car, put the key in the ignition, and turned it, but instead of my car start, I heard RRRrrrRRRrrrRRRrrr.
After failing to start my car two more times, I opened the hood and started to root around in the engine. As far as I could tell, everything was in working order; all of the cables and hoses and whatnot were still attached, the battery was looking good. I had no idea why it wouldn’t start.
A few minutes went by and a man who did not look completely unlike a pudgy Stone Cold Steve Austin approached the pump in front of me, his red plastic gas can in hand.
You broke down?
Yeah, it would appear so.
He looked through my engine and came to the same conclusion I had.
Man, I don’t know why it won’t start.
My van ran out of gas when I pulled into the drive.
Let me fill ‘er back up and we could try to jump yours.
You got cables?
So Stone Cold walked back to his van, filled it up, and drove over to where my car was parked, stopping just before his front bumper hit my own. His van was old and falling apart, the grill was missing and his front bumper looked like it only had a few days left on this world as well. Where it wasn’t completely covered in rust, the vehicle was painted a light tan. There were no windows, with the obvious exception of the driver’s and passenger’s side and the windshield. I imagined a mattress in place of backseats and lengths of rope, duct tape, candy and video games in the trunk.
Stone Cold opened his hood and we connect jumper cables from his battery to mine. After a few failed tries, we decided that the battery didn’t need to be jumped and that there was nothing else we could do to fix it ourselves at the gas station.
Well, I think we’ve done all we could.
Yeah, same here.
I’ll tell you what; I’ll help you push your car into a parking spot if you want.
Thanks. That’d be great.
So I stood outside the driver’s side and steered while he pushed the car from behind. The puppy hopped excitedly from one side of the car to the other, not understanding what was happening. We finally got the car into an empty parking spot — about twenty feet away from where we started — and I thanked Stone Cold for his help, giving him some extra cash to fill up his gas tank.
I appreciate all of your help, man.
Aw, it was the least I could do. Say, do you need a ride anywhere?
Uh… no… I’m good.
Are you sure? I got some gas in my van now.
I could give you a ride back home, if you want.
I actually, uh, don’t live that far from here. I can walk.
Nothin’ doin’. I have plenty of room in my van for you and your little puppy.
At this point, I was starting to feel a little wary. I realized that I’m not exactly a small person by any means – unless we’re talking height – but I’m not sure what he meant by “plenty of room in my me” and my “little puppy” and I’m not sure I wanted to know.
It’s starting to get hot out. I wouldn’t want you to have to walk all the way back home in this heat.
Really, it’s not that far of a walk.
In fact, if I look really hard, I can probably see my apartment from here.
And both the puppy and I could both probably use the exercise.
Well, I could not, in good conscience, let y’all walk home by yourselves.
Now, come on. I got——-in my van.
An ambulance passed by, deafening the area and cutting off Stone Cold’s sentence for a moment. Even at the time of this writing, I’m still not sure, in the back of my mind, whether I would have liked to have heard him repeat “plenty of room” or venture off into something a bit more risque, like “candy.” Not that he could have gotten me into his van with a promise of video games or candy – A burrito, maybe. A new Blackalicious album, definitely. — I really just wanted to see where his true intentions laid.
I finally convinced Stone Cold that I was fine on my own and didn’t need any man-rape services at that particular moment, when I told him I was just going to call AAA. After all, I told him, if I don’t call them, I’m paying seventy dollars a year for nothing.
You wanna at least wait in the van until the tow truck guy arrives?
I have some kick-ass tunes. You like Dio?
You know, I’ll pass. I wouldn’t want to waste any more of your time.
Aw, yer not wastin’ my time.
I’ll tell you what, I’ll circle back around in half and hour t’check up on ya.
Stone Cold eventually got back into his Rapemobile and drove off in search, I’m sure, of latchkey kids with a sweet tooth. The tow truck guy arrived within about twenty minutes and, as luck would have it, the engine started before he could even check under the hood. Turns out, my car didn’t start due to vapor lock, although, I still had the mechanic at the Monro station across the street test my battery.
The rest of the day consisted of: neighborhood kids knocking on my window trying to communicate with my puppy, who, in turn, became incredibly agitated and howled at them; an unbelievably aggravating phone conversation with my parents; and a reoccurring dream where my teeth continuously fell out.)
So, yeah, Thursday was looking pretty good.
First of all, I work nights on Thursdays, so, even though I was up at the ungodly hour of 5:30AM to let the puppy out, I had nowhere to go further than the couch and nothing to do but nap for the first few hours of the morning.
Second, it was one of my manager’s last day at work and, while that was kind of sad, since she was a great person and great at her job, we were throwing a kick-ass going-away party for her.
It was also the last day that I would have to host the Teen Gaming Program, for about a month. (For those of you who don’t know, the Teen Gaming Program is where, once a week, they lock me in a room with a dozen or so teenagers and give them Wiis and Playstations. It’s kind of like Lord of the Flies, except with more video games and less pig heads on pikes – mind you, I didn’t say no pigs heads on pikes, just less.)
Work ended and I made my way to the Short North, forgetting how difficult finding a parking space can be on High St. at night. I drove around for a few minutes, finally finding a couple walking to their car and, once they pulled out and drove off, I stole their spot. I got out of my car and examined the area; I can be quite cautious about parking on the street. I wasn’t parked next to a hydrant; there was a no parking sign, but it was for the hours between 7:00AM and 6:00PM, and, considering it was around 8:20PM, I thought I was safe; and, after examining half a dozen cars parked around my own, I saw no parking permit stickers or signs.
So I made my way to The Art Exchange, pushing through a mass of people congregated outside of the gallery. I showed my ID to the… bouncer? — I guess — and went inside to find Abby; which wasn’t that hard, since she was at least three feet taller than anyone else in the room.
We talked for a bit, although, it was so loud in there that I could hardly hear what Abby or her friend Jenn said. Hell, I couldn’t even make out which song the DJ was playing. After a few minutes of small talk, I broke away from the two of them to go A) put in my vote for Abby’s quilt, B) snag myself some free beer, and C) look at some of the other “art”.
The subject of the show was Blue Moon Ale, a tasty orange beer. All of the pieces displayed incorporated the beer, the logo, or the drinking of said beer in some way. Sadly, half of the pieces I saw looked rather unintelligible and amateurish the other half looked more like beer commercials rather than art. There were only a few pieces – and I include Abby’s in this statement – that looked like they were actually worth a damn.
And, to my surprise, there was actually a decent spread of food. Most gallery shows will put out cheese and crackers or chips and dip, and, when I heard there was going to be free samples of Blue Moon Ale, I was sure they would be served out of Dixie cups. But, lo! This was not the case. Kegs overflowed with orange ale; tables filled with antipasto skewers, crab cakes, finger sandwiches, and expensive cheese spreads. Half-eaten trays of food were replaced with newer, fuller trays before they had time to sit out for several minutes (reminding me slightly of female newscasters). I only partook in the drinking of a glass of ale, although, I think maybe I should have squeezed a few more orange slices into the beer; Abby liked the antipasto skewers so much she shoved a tray of them under her shirt to take home with her.
I stuck around for about 45 minutes, until the crowd started to get to me and I remembered that I have a puppy at home, in a crate, who will be exploding with urine should I not make it home sometime soon. I said my goodbyes and made my way back to the car, only to find a parking ticket under my windshield wiper. I cursed and examined my surroundings for a reason for the ticket and cursed again. I got in my car and drove to High St and took a right, taking another right onto 5th Ave and yet another onto Summit Rd, eventually turning left onto 670. But before I could even reach the speed limit, I saw flashing police lights in my rear view mirror.
I was getting pulled over.
I stopped my car, turned it off, and waited for the officer – a portly, gray-haired middle-aged man who will hence be known as Officer Dickhead – to approach. He eventually walked up to the driver’s side, taking his time and, even though my window was already rolled down and I was looking directly at him, he knocked on my door anyway.
Evening, son. License and proof of insurance, please.
I produced both and he examined them carefully.
Son, do you know why I pulled you over tonight?
*sigh* No one told me there was going to be a test.
MEHonestly? No, I don’t. I wasn’t speeding and it’s not like I cut someone off or was weaving in and out of lanes. And I just got on the freeway so, no, I honestly have no idea why I got pulled over.
You have a tail light burned out, son.
Oh, thank God!
Nothing. I’m just glad it isn’t anything serious.
Officer Dickhead handed me back my insurance card, but kept my license. Then, he started writing my ticket.
So, um, what are you writing there?
Your tail light is burned out.
Couldn’t you just give me a warning?
I could, but then you wouldn’t learn anything.
But I have learned something. I’ve learned that my tail light has burned out. And, with that knowledge, I can go home and fix the burned out light.
Well, then, consider this extra credit.
Isn’t extra credit usually optional?
Not this extra credit.
MEBut… but that’s… illogical!
That doesn’t make any sense!
What doesn’t make any sense?
This whole thing. It’s… it’s… it’s… illogical!
I was trying very hard not to use the words “fucking stupid” or “re-goddamn-diculous”.
It doesn’t make any sense that you’re giving me a ticket for a burned out tail light. That’s like giving me a ticket because someone’s shoe is untied, or because I missed a button on my shirt or because someone put a “kick me” sign on my back!
My point is that these are things that you’re not going to know about until either you trip over your shoelace, some says “Hey, you misbuttoned your shirt.”, or you start getting kicked!
Where are you going with this?
It’s physically impossible for me to be behind my car, while I’m driving, to see that my tail light has burned out!
Son, please, lower your voice.
I didn’t raise my voice.
And I didn’t. I was talking the the officer with the same even tone that I would use to speak to any of you, although, admittedly, with less cursing. Actually, I was speaking better to the officer that I would to any of you. I was using my white voice; the calm, cool tone of voice and speaking manner that I use when I am at work or talking to mine or anyone else’s parents or family.
Calm down, son.
I… I am calm. I’m just saying, it’s a burned out tail light. Does that really warrant a ticket? I mean, it’s not like I was speeding or ran someone over or was drinking and driving.
OK, that last one may not have exactly been the truth…
You know what? My other tail light burned out, like, a year ago! When I changed it, I bought a two-pack of bulbs! I have a spare bulb in the glove compartment!
Keep your hands where I can see them.
But I have an extra bulb. I can change it, like, right now and then we can pretend that this whole thing didn’t happen! I’ll have two working tail lights and you won’t have to write me that ticket!
I’ve already started writing the ticket.
Well, then, you’ll be able to stop writing the ticket.
Once I start writing a ticket, I cannot stop. By law.
But… but that’s… illogical!
Son, I have asked you to calm down and lower your voice. Am I going to have to ask you to step out of your vehicle as well?
No… But… you also don’t have to write me a ticket…
Son, please step out of your vehicle.
I got out of my car.
Step around to the back of your vehicle.
You’re not going ask me to spread ‘em, are you?
You’re not going to give me a reason to, are you?
I just want you to take a look at your car and see that your tail light is burned out.
OK, first of all, I never disbelieved you. I completely believe you when you say that my tail light is burned out. I do. Secondly, my car has been turned off, so even if it is burned out, I won’t be able to see which one was burned out and which one is just turned off.
See? This whole thing has been pointless!
Son, I have asked you plenty of times before to calm down and lower your voice. Do we have to discuss this downtown?
No… But you also don’t have to write me a ticket.
Son… *sigh* Son, just get back in your vehicle…
I got back in my car, Officer Dickhead served me my ticket and made sure to tell me to “have a nice night.” I drove off adding my ticket amounts together and coming to the conclusion that $48 is way too much to pay for one glass of beer, even if it is a tasty orange brew.
I continued down 670 East, eventually turning onto 270 South, exiting onto East main St; the dancing lights of the Hooters electric palm tree telling me that I was almost home.
I dropped my messenger bag onto the dining room table, when I walked in the door, placed my Blue Moon Ale glass in the sink and grabbed the puppy’s leash from the kitchen drawer. We went for a quick walk and then it was dinner time, for both of us.
I poured water and a cup of kibble into her food bowls and then took out some kick-ass leftover chicken salad that I made the day before. I scooped some of it out onto some crusty home-baked bread and carved a thick slice of sharp cheddar cheese on top.
I ate and eventually I slept, hoping Friday would be a better day, my puppy licking my orange-flavored fingers.