Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Grifter #10

Inking Portfolio #7
Grifter #10, March 1996
Wildstorm Productions

Roy Allan Martinez and I next worked on one of the spin-off characters from Wildcats. I remember inking this very well because of the long days and nights we both put into putting the art together. It was in this comic book I realized that comics was indeed *hard work*. The euphoria of working in comics was still there, but a reality had set in in which we really had to hunker down and *do* the work.

I remember waking up very early and working well into the night straight, my only break was when I ate and when I went to the bathroom. I was hardly outside anymore and my eyes were constantly red. I remember going, Oh my God... is this what it takes to do comics? After a week or so of this kind of work I started to wear down. I broke off once in a while to take a walk in Megamall nearby and just relax. I just wanted to be in an environment where there wasn't any comics at all. But quite soon, I started missing the work and I always head back before long.

A separate department in the studio was being put up, an advertising studio, which accepted local jobs. One of the first being doing artwork for CD covers for local bands. I was being asked to work on these projects more, specially on the TRIP album of Rivermaya. Members of the band, specially Rico Blanco would stay up late with us in putting the cover and interior art together. One time Rico fell asleep and the other people in the studio had fun with him by writing and drawing all over his arm and face and it was so funny because Rico slept so deeply that he didn't wake up. When he did, he good naturedly vowed revenge.

Andrew E. also came over to visit often as well. He was a comics fan and I think it thrilled him to meet Whilce. I remember inking some of Whilce's artwork with some dogs on it for a CD of one of Andrew E's groups, but it was never used. Andrew made a really cool rap message for Whilce's answering machine and sometimes people would call up the studio just to listen to it.

It was cool meeting these famous people because seeing them really fascinated me. The work was new and fun and my recent training in Photoshop served me well. It became stressful at times specially when the computer crashed while Whilce was in the US and I was left to start the work all over.

Fun as it all was, I was getting concerned that I was doing less comics than I wanted, and comics was the reason I was in the studio in the first place. I became even more concerned specially when I fell behind on inking Grifter and Edgar Tadeo was once again brought in to ink and this time he got to do 3 pages. I made my concerns known that it was comics I wanted to do. I could still do the ocassional advertising stuff, but comics will remain my priority.

Grifter writer Steven T. Seagle had sent in descriptions of a kind of SEAWATCH facility which will be featured prominently in a two page spread at the start of the issue. He had sent in a fax of a sketch of what he felt the building would look like. The building looked pretty standard to my eyes, and the architect in me suddenly leapt and took over.

I drew up plans of what I thought would be a much cooler Seawatch facility. I drew a top view and elevation view of a circular building that evoked a beached sea urchin/starfish and faxed it over to Steve, c/o Wildstorm. I had concerns that Steve would blow his top and slap me around for messing up his work and I was prepared to hide under the sink until I'm forgiven. The great thing is, Steve was actualy happy he's working with creators who actually care about the work that was being done. And he gave the go-signal to do my Seawatch facility design.

I'm grateful to Roy that he allowed me to take over the 2 page spread, pencilling and inking the entire complex with Roy handling all the people, statues and birds. I'm very grateful Roy allowed me to do it even though I know now that Roy most likely would have done a far better job of it. I was just glad to have been allowed to do it.

Roy drew us in the last panel of this 2 page spread. Roy is the one holding the camera and I'm the one in the far background with the long hair. I was thinner back then.