The Violent Blue blog***Comics, Horror and Pop Culture***Updates Tuesday through Friday (and occasionally at random)

Carol and John’s Comic Shop

Halloween Comicfest 2018

events44197871_10156566648277278_8772047484592586752_nLike a mini Free Comic Book Day, but better because there’s candy. And more horror. And it’s freakin’ Halloween!

44944489_10156594177012278_5581272093770645504_nLike FCBD, Carol and John’s comic shop holds an event every year. Anyone in costume can grab one of each of the free books, (and candy) but those not in costume are still welcome to grab three if they like (and candy). There’s also a photo op setup with a giant Pop figure box (and candy), and the shop cat Winston even dons his festive holiday sweater (he guards the candy)! Maddie and I donned this years halloween costumes and headed out. It’s one of my favorite events every year and no one does it as well as Carol and Johns (though my other regular shop; Comics are Go do thier best as well, inviting artists and making a big deal about it as well!). Not every comic shop does Halloween comic fest, so I hope you were all able to get out and find one who does! Here’s our photos from the day!


Carol and John’s Christmas Party

eventsIt’s hard to believe that it’s this time again. The annual Christmas party at the comic shop has become a longstanding tradition in Cleveland; easily as important event as Free 25507916_1767280129983069_1629629885884647748_nComic Book Day. There’s cookies and cupcakes and beer and art. There’s mingling with friends as well as the yearly food drive.
This time around, I contributed two covers to the art show, pieces which were raffled off to raise funds for the local food bank. I always feel a little inadequate next to some of the stunning art displayed (someone crossstitched a cover. Another one  this year had LIGHTS!) but it’s not a competition. Just fun for a good cause.


Comics were being given away alongside the custom brewed beer (seriously, I just want the bottle with Winston’s face on it). Even that got passed along to the son of my wife’s hairdresser (Who couldn’t have been more excited!). I arrived with a group of friends who immediately got lost in the crowd. (How do I manage to lose Superman and Batman anyhow?) Still, everywhere i looked there were familiar faces. It’s a party after all. It took me half an hour to make it to the door when I was ready to go and outside I found Santa and Mrs. Claus sitting on an overturned grocery cart with a PBR and a cigarette.


We basically captured Christmas in Cleveland pretty perfectly. Can’t wait to do it all again next year.

This Years Cover

commissionsI’m not a huge Star Wars fan. That’s what made it difficult this year. The theme was something Star Wars – anything. It didn’t have to be Cleveland or Christmas, but definitely Star Wars. Part of me wishes I had gone with my initial idea – The Doctor (probably ten) fixing an X-Wing. there would have been more detail but it would have stood out better. Instead, I went with A Christmas Story. So did everyone else.


I still think I had an interesting take, and here’s the process behind it!

First pencils are done separately. This is completely a test run- to figure out placement and size. A lot of things ended up being a LOT smaller than I had intended.


You’ll notice that Artoo doesn’t even appear yet. He was added later….once I saw how much empty space was between Shimi and Qui-Gon. I could have filled that up with a cityscape, but Artoo seemed like a better idea. The dialogue in Anakins thought balloon is diffrent to. I really struggled with that. I wanted something true to both A Christmas Story and to Anakin’s character. Revenge is cute..maybe even funny. Maybe a little disturbing. It didn’t fit. I tried a few diffrent phrases, and none did it for me. I then decided to list all the memorable qoutes from the movie. A Christmas Story has a LOT of them. Oh Fudge came up and was as perfect as I could get.

12360210_1079288528782236_5606749236471654893_nBy the way, Artoo? I’m never drawing that sucker again. I had no idea how complicated he was. That design seems so simple – it’s a lie! He’s fiendishly hard to get right…and if you get something wrong BELIEVE me you’re going to hear about it.


So now that we have a plan, I move on to actually drawing it on the cover. If there are any changes (like adding the droid) now is the time. I really wish I could have figured out a good place I could sneak in the leg lamp. Even at this late date I was trying – maybe in the adobe building? Nope. No room. (That’s really what that initial drawing is for – to figure that stuff out).

Also now that we’ve settled on “Oh Fudge” as Anakin’s thought, it changes his demeanor. He’s frustrated and upset, but not necessarily angry. The clenched fists go from active to passive.


Inks are next. I hate inking. I’m terrible at it and I don’t have the proper equipment for it. When I do something for Kreepy Kastle, or Angel Lite comics, or Lazer Comics or Violent Blue, I ink digitally. Not an option here. It has to be done on the cover and that means good old fashioned inking – and only one shot at it.


You’ll noticed that there’s parts I left uninked. There’s some pencils still showing through, ones I hoped would fade away once I dove into the coloring process. Last year I used colored pencils. It worked reasonably well, but still left a bit of a rough “crayon” look to the pieces. A couple of watercolor covers caught my eye and put that in mind for this time around. I stuck with the pencils for a few highlights- the blue on Artoo for instance; it required a precision Watercolor paint doesn’t afford. It was an adventure to mix some of these colors, trying to get the right tone for shadows and folds. The twin suns are my favorite part. To achieve it with negative space…the areas I DIDN’T paint, that was really rewarding to see succeed. I was hoping that the water wouldn’t warp the paper too much. It did a bit, but no enough to ruin anything.

12311315_1079642625413493_4214082644950401269_nI can’t complain too much about how it turned out. The spelling on Anakin’s name is a mistake – google misled me. I should have tried Wookiepedia. Still I really like the idea of Anakin going all Sith on us because of that horrible pink bunny suit, and the amount of research this took to get the images right was genuinly surprising. Shimi had parts to her outfit I didn’t remember. Artoo has ports in places I never thought about.


A big thanks to Carol and John’s for including me in the art show and an even bigger thanks to the person who bought my art. That money will go to the Cleveland food bank and help someone in need this winter.

Merry Christmas to all.


Christmas Force

IMG_9392Yes  I saw it. Saturday afternoon I headed out to Amherst cinemas and plunked down my $4.00 for the newest Star Wars movie (We’ll talk about that later). It seemed like something I should do sooner rather than later since spoilers were already starting to leak out and I was headed out to a Star Wars themed party at Carol and John’s later that night.


I had done a piece for thier art show that would be raffled off as the night went on. The Christmas party was great fun as always, with snacks and deals and friends. They brew a craft beer every year just to hand out at this event (I don’t even drink beer. I just want the bottle!)

IMG_9407 The Star Wars Gingerbread was just to DIE for. IMG_9400

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And of course they showed us that the one thing that can make a Christmas party better is Lightsabers.

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Hope your weekend was just as eventful.


Free Comic Book Day 2014

events10301945_10152126346508651_1469803689662239334_n New_104_5631Last year I decided to just swing by Carol and John’s comic shop for the FCBD midnight release, and hit the place around 11:45. This was a mistake. The line stretched almost to the end of the building complex and moved slow. It wasn’t the comic shops fault, they didn’t expect this many people. I didn’t end up getting out until around 2:30, and it was too crowded and I was in a bad mood altogether. The next day, people kept running out of comics and it was a drag -my favorite shop Comics are Go really saved the day with nice sets of FCBD comics for my girls. New_104_5629This year, I came in with a plan. I expected to be up all night. I pulled out my mazinger costume and grabbed a lawn chair. I met up with people from POP the Comic club and you know, the night flew by. Carol and John’s really worked things out too. They rented an empty space next to the shop, and set up two lines for the comic tables – plenty of space. On one side of the room, they held a comic related art show, on the other, they had vendor and information tables with cupcakes and concessions, along with familiar faces like the Akron Comicon, the Doctor Who New_104_5650Society of Cleveland and POP. Also, being the most kid friendly comic book shop on the planet, Carol and John’s had a special play area set up for the kids. There wouldn’t be a whole lot of children at the midnight party (but still more than you might expect), however, they would be out in full force the next morning! Mazinger was a big hit by the way. Carol and John’s was giving out patches to the cosplayers and I love mine, but I would have dressed up anyhow. I may have New_deadshottaken more photos over three hours at the party and  in that line than I did over five hours in the costume at Shinboku con. If a person knew the character, they immediately recognized it. If they didn’t know him…there was a lot of Optimus Prime and Voltron guesses. For the most part I didn’t correct people. Why harsh someone’s buzz anyhow? I took advantage of the artist alley for a change too. I got Thom Zhaler to draw my girls a My Little Pony. “”You don’t have to say it’s for your girls,” he smiled at me. “It’s okay if it’s for you you know!” It really was for my girls though. If I’d been getting one for me it would have been Doctor Whooves. Actually, that still might happen sometime. The Twilight Sparkle sketch is up in  the girl’s room now, right above their autograph from the Little Mermaid. The love it. New_IMG_20140503_145943   New_IMG_20140503_101341The next morning I got the girls up and I headed out to York comics. York had a really cool set up as well. They were doing a food drive. Everyone who walked in the door got the main set of books – the 12 “Gold” books.  They already had these bagged in a large box and just handed out bags to everyone who walked in. In addition, if you brought in a few canned food items, you could grab ten more from the “silver” book (the other FCBD books – these are optional to order)  table. I like the idea because raising food for the Cleveland food bank is a good cause, and even if you don’t participate, you’re still going to walk out with 12 free books. If you do participate, there’s a greater chance that you will New_IMG_20140503_134604walk away with the “Silver” tier books you want. I talked with on fellow in line who couldn’t get the Mouseguard hardback at Carol and Johns the previous night. That was why he was here, and I noticed he did manage to get his copy that morning. I headed back over to Carol and Johns. I was mostly here because Marc Sumerick was giving away signed copies of the collected Franklin Richards strips that he scripted, and was only going to be there from 11:00 to 1 I believe. Marc singed a copy for each of my girls and Maddie in particular is loving it. It feels like Gus Beezer to her, though to me it feels more like Calvin and Hobbes. It almost feels strange. I know Marc. I see him a couple times a month, so getting an autograph from him is kind of weird. But still, the girls loved it. I ended my day by swinging by Comics are Go!  which I’ve mentioned earlier is my 10334347_10203023675245932_2403546328708743715_nfavorite comic shop. They had a nice selection of the Gold books along with a TON of Rocket Raccon. Scott was also have a sidewalk sale and a table full of .50 cent bins! I dove in and emptied them of all the Shadow, Green Hornet and Daredevils I could find. Actually the best discount bins of  the day. It’s worth mentioning, that even though I didn’t make it to it (the girls just didn’t feel like going out), there was a great event going on in downtown Elyria where I live with superheros putting on a live show, the bank being robbed and Batman putting a stop to it! 10170729_10203028501006573_841120872853514810_n All in all, I had a great Free Comic Book Day. I came home with over 40 free comics and bought about 30 more from different dump bins (I make a point to buy something from the shops I get my freebies at. That’s only fair). More importantly, I got to spend some time in the comic scene this weekend, hang out with friends and dress up as a giant robot. I hope you’re FCBD was a good as mine!   This little guys was my biggest fan. he kept coming up to me all night! New_10253851_804602432884149_424389060124451674_n I love the tricked out Mini cooper as a Ghostbuster car. Best idea ever! New_10294398_804602489550810_409039619181811259_n We actually started our night off with a game of Spider-man Monopoly before I left for the party! New_10276975_10201549036198536_9192169373103405220_n New_1509271_10201549036118534_1406601326807031888_n New_10325252_10201549036158535_7069822366075327583_n BEST. COSTUME. EVER. New_104_5633   Had to get a photo by the TARDIS New_tardisNew_IMG_20140503_133607 New_10339759_10152126345973651_6435838921175296971_n New_10339759_10152126345213651_8071819005197813833_n New_10322830_10152367564552278_8565671156297493656_n New_10297893_10152126346398651_1567530359478896789_n   New_10289824_10152126345183651_5653091766725108558_n  New_10273419_10201603314835513_3261910482314243689_n  New_1610107_10152126346658651_3098017694784260612_n  New_104_5650 New_104_5649 New_104_5648 New_104_5646 New_104_5645 New_104_5644 New_104_5641 New_104_5636 New_104_5638 New_104_5637  New_104_5634 New_104_5627 New_104_5625 New_104_5622 New_104_5623 New_104_5624 New_104_5621 New_104_5620 New_104_5619 New_104_5618 New_104_5617 New_104_5613 New_104_5612 New_104_5611 New_104_5610 New_104_5608 New_104_5607 New_104_5606 New_104_5605   Special thanks to Mark Brown who took a lot of t he better photos in this post!