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Monday, June 17th, 2019
3:07 pm - SCARCE #89

Excited to have an old piece of unpublished art I did for the now defunct FALLOUT (a back-up series for Speakeasy Comic's BEOWULF series, that I co-created with writer/pal Vito Delsante in 2005) being used for the cover of French comix magazine SCARCE #89.


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Friday, June 14th, 2019
12:47 am - FOG! Chats With ‘Scene By Scene With Josh & Dean’ Hosts Josh Neufeld and Dean Haspiel!

Stefan Blitz interviewed me and Josh Neufeld about our podcast, SCENE BY SCENE WITH JOSH & DEAN, at Forces Of Geek.


"Josh and I discuss every aspect of our working relationship and friendship with Harvey Pekar on the podcast. So, you’ll get to hear us tell all. But, I’ll tease that the first time Harvey contacted me on the phone, I thought it was a prank, and it ended with Harvey telling me to go fuck off. Listen to the podcast for the rest of that story. Bottom line: it was a pleasure and an honor to collaborate with Harvey Pekar, a sensitive and unique innovator of the comix form."

"Harvey Pekar wasn’t afraid to write about real life. Real life is complicated and confounds a lot of artists. But, some artists really want to draw real life, even if they don’t feel comfortable sharing their own stories.

So, American Splendor attracted a certain type of illustrator. And, as strict as Harvey was about making sure every word he wrote was published, he seemed to trust the various interpretations of his character and gave an artist like me a lot of latitude. Granted, there were bumps in the road, but that’s why he liked to talk it out with you. Bring out the best in the story. I feel Harvey’s best comix were illustrated by artists who were also writers, too. You could always tell the difference between an artist who basically drew the story versus the ones who excavated the narrative gold from Harvey’s script."

"The thing that was most important to me was that we focus on ourselves as much as we did analyzing Harvey and the movie. Josh and I spent our formative years together and I wanted the podcast to also reflect and document our trials and tribulations creating independent comix from our days in high school til now."

Read the entire interview/article here: https://www.forcesofgeek.com/2019/06/fog-chats-with-scene-by-scene-with-josh-dean-hosts-josh-neufeld-and-dean-haspiel.html

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Wednesday, June 5th, 2019
3:35 pm - Forces Of Geek! Chats with ‘Starcross’ Creator, Dean Haspiel!

Stefan Blitz talked to me about my webcomic series, STARCROSS, The Red Hook season 3 at Forces Of Geek. It also includes chapter 11 of STARCROSS.


"I’m a giant fan of the Silver Age of comics, back when the color palette was limited and less rendered yet popped. Since my line art is a modern compliment to those older 1960s comic books, I prefer to keep my colors flat with a tone and a highlight, and not much more."

"The Webtoon App made the production much more challenging. I had to reconsider how to convey drama and reveal story. What was once narrative cliffhangers dramatized by the turn of a page was now dictated by the pull of your thumb. Everything that was once moving to the right, down, left, and then back to the right again was all down, down, down. Webtoons are bottom heavy ditties. Bring your galoshes."

"1985 was a game-changing year for me.

I was 17 going on 18 in my senior year of high school. I went from drawing comix with my best friends during lunch and math class, to helping produce some of the greatest comic books published to this day (American Flagg! The Mighty Thor, The New Mutants, and Elektra: Assassin) after school.

Chaykin taught me discipline and how to exploit the real estate of the page. Sienkiewicz taught me how to improvise and innovate. And, Simonson taught me structure, the bones of the page, and the power of line art. Especially, vistas, which I’ve yet to master."

"Comix is my first love. It’s the most innate and economical way for me to express and communicate most of my ideas. But, I’ve always had a soft spot for movies and theater. If I can carve a lucrative path writing and directing, I will happily pursue those other stories."

Read the entire interview here: https://www.forcesofgeek.com/2019/06/fog-chats-with-starcross-creator-dean-haspiel.html

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Wednesday, May 29th, 2019
7:52 pm - The Comics Beat interview: upcoming Tales of the Night Watchman crossover with The Red Hook
Edie Nugent interviewed me and Dave Kelly about our upcoming Red Hook/Tales of The Night Watchman crossover at The Comics Beat.


Haspiel says he’s “never ignored the potential of what Brooklyn can do,” and that was certainly how it played out according to Kelly. He says the crossover was Haspiel’s idea, formed when Kelly and Hobson visited his Gowanus studio. “We were talking with Dean about his New Brooklyn universe,” Kelly says, “and he just kind of threw out, ‘Oh, you know what? We should do a crossover.’ And then he looked at Brett and said, ‘And he should draw it.'” Kelly didn’t hesitate, and says he and Haspiel began talking storylines immediately .”We met for Indian food one day, and he told me he wanted three things: Coney Island, to burn the patriarchy, and go-karts.”

Though the pair ending up nixing the go-karts, Kelly’s work with Haspiel was hands on. “We passed notes back and forth every step of the way,” Kelly remembers. “One thing I like about Dean is that he likes to talk on the phone, which makes things a lot smoother.” He also points to their understanding of each other’s characters and worlds as a factor in making their collaboration a successful one.

For Haspiel, it was “the challenge of clashing and mashing sensibilities” that lured him to work with Kelly. “We have different approaches to storytelling and character motivations and how to pace a scene. I think it was a good learning experience.” It was easier, he told The Beat, to let Kelly take the lead on co-writing due to his ongoing work on both The Red Hook season 3 and Starcross, his latest series for Webtoon.

Luckily for Kelly, Haspiel says he enjoyed Kelly’s take on some of The Red Hook’s dialogue, and claims he made him “funnier than I’m used to.” Haspiel saw Kelly’s approach in general to be “more light-hearted” in contrast to what he calls his “sentimental absurdity,” and sees the crime/horror genre as the guiding thread that connected their work on the one-shot"

“The Untold Legend of Luna” puts Haspiel’s character under the pen of Hobson. How did Haspiel feel about another artist interpreting his character? He says that though there have been “a few interpretations” from other artists of The Red Hook in the New Brooklyn comics at this point, “it always feels a little weird but cool.” In terms of Hobson’s line art specifically, Haspiel is effusive. “Frankly, it’s an honor,” he says. “Brett Hobson has a unique way of rendering, somewhat akin to Baker Street & B.P.R.D. artist Guy Davis, only with more cross-hatching.”

Haspiel says he reviewed the layouts Hobson drew, but was less hands-on than with his co-writing duties, careful to avoid micro-managing the process. The only strong note he passed along was the need to animate The Red Hook’s ears. “When you only have rectangle cut outs on a red mask to show when you’re beleaguered or surprised,” Haspiel says, “it’s helpful for the ears to evoke other emotions."

Read the entire article/interview here: https://www.comicsbeat.com/tales-of-the-night-watchman-nationwide-with-diamond/

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Sunday, May 19th, 2019
11:01 am - Respect the Story
I admire the current pop culture phenomenon's that get people talking about story. It's one of my favorite things to do in person with willing participants. I cherish story. It's sacred to me. But, not everyone gets to indulge story at the exact same time. Alas, technology has made it so we can access each other in ways like never before. Greatly impact our experiences with the press of a button. We hold the nuclear codes in our hands that can annihilate each other's personal experience with story. It's why I no longer discuss most stories online anymore (I sincerely apologize to all those people who may have been spoiled by the comments section in my "Old Yeller" post on Facebook last week). It's too risky. So, please, try to respect each other, especially those who don't have the free time and/or financial ability to indulge certain story delivery systems until they can afford to. Some people suggest that narrative twists and endings don't really matter, but they're lying to you and to themselves. Social networking has already become an interesting human experiment; a challenging balancing act between pro-activity, self-promotion, and toxicity. I'd hate for it to become the place that ruined all stories. If ya gotta blab, please employ SPOILER ALERTS. Thanks!

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Saturday, May 18th, 2019
1:04 pm - Give a crippled crab a crutch
I'm surrounded by misfits. Communication artists embodied by introverts and/or people with a heightened sense of self. All of 'em motivated by their own noble sense of purpose. Guilty as charged. And, even though some of them can be obnoxious and polarizing, I often view them as wounded warriors. I'm hyper aware of how many people deem them creepy and/or abominable, but my empathy for the bold and the challenging, probably says a lot more about my toxic relationship with my father than anything else. Ergo, my sadomasochistic ability to trade with conflict. An endurance test of self-destructive tolerance? Perhaps. But, it's something I'm working to eradicate from my system.

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Thursday, May 16th, 2019
12:00 pm - NY1 News: New Comic Book Features Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez
NY1 News reported about the AOC comic book benefit/anthology.


"One storyline has Ocasio-Cortez taking down the NRA in a wrestling ring. In another, she battles President Trump in an effort to "Make America Empathetic Again."

See/hear about it here:


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Wednesday, May 15th, 2019
2:29 pm - AOC comic reported in The Washington Post
Journalist, Michael Cavna, interviewed me for his article "A new comic book paints Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez as a superhero — literally — on the Hill" for The Washington Post.


Blaylock’s new title boasts some veteran writers and artists, including the Eisner Award-winning Jill Thompson, Tim Seeley, Marguerite Dabaie and the Emmy Award-winning Dean Haspiel, who, alongside illustrator Christa Cassano (“Ghetto Klown”), created the comic “Make America Empathetic Again” — in which a superheroic Ocasio-Cortez quotes “Watchmen” and shaves Trump’s pate, rendering him free, “unencumbered by fear, hate and . . . hair.”

“AOC is one of us,” the New York-based Haspiel said, of the congresswoman’s appeal among some of his colleagues. “She slung coffee, digs comic books and isn’t afraid to dance.”

Read the entire article here: https://www.washingtonpost.com/arts-entertainment/2019/05/15/new-comic-book-paints-alexandria-ocasio-cortez-superhero-literally-hill/

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Tuesday, May 14th, 2019
12:40 pm - "Make America Empathetic Again"
Here's my contribution to the AOC comic book benefit/anthology published by Devil's Due. I wrote, laid out & lettered "Make America Empathetic Again." It was illustrated and colored by Christa Cassano.

You can order variations of the AOC comic book from the publisher: https://devils-due-1first-comics.myshopify.com/collections/aoc-and-the-freshman-force

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Saturday, May 11th, 2019
11:44 am - Pop Culture Squad recommends Dean Haspiel's STARCROSS

"This story is a deeply metaphysical love story masquerading as a superhero comic."

Thanks, Bob Harrison for your recommendation of my current, free/weekly webcomic, STARCROSS (The Red Hook season 3) at Pop Culture Squad.


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Monday, May 6th, 2019
10:35 pm - Open it up
You gotta open it up to close it.

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Wednesday, May 1st, 2019
9:49 pm - Masterpiece
When I realized it was okay for people to not like my work, I discovered I could do anything.

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Thursday, April 25th, 2019
11:38 am - Dean Haspiel guest at Camden Comicon 2019

I'm a guest at Camden Comicon on Saturday, April 27th, 2019. I will be tabling, selling books, and doing a panel. Please come talk to me about my new, free webcomic series STARCROSS (The Red Hook season 3), and SCENE BY SCENE WITH JOSH & DEAN podcast.

12:30 PM - 1:30 PM Real People, Unreal Talk
FA 110 Lecture Hall / Fine Arts Building, 1st Floor
Panel featuring Dean Haspiel, Christa Cassano, Fred Van Lente, Marguerite Dabaie, Jennifer Hayden and moderated by Adam McGovern.

Reality and fantasy may be harder to tell apart than ever, but at least we meet familiar faces in each one. Movie screens make superheroes, aliens and time-travelers feel realer than ever before, and living figures have appeared in comics from their earliest years. Since that day Captain America first punched Hitler, the worlds of comics and real life have crashed into each other, and it’s only gotten louder! From untold tales of Abraham Lincoln, Nikola Tesla, Jack Johnson and Annie Oakley as occult and sci-fi secret agents; to reconstructions of lost and hidden history like Emma Beeby & Ariela Kristantina’s “Mata Hari”; to satirical retellings of schoolhouse staples like “Action Presidents”; parallel accounts from possible bystanders to the work of Einstein and Warhol; and the upcoming comic starring a superpowered Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, this panel will explore how comic creators are dragging fictional characters into reality and making real-life people’s voices ring true!


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10:51 am - So What? Press announces crossover with The Red Hook and Tales of the Night Watchman


APRIL 24, 2019

Drew Ford
Dave Kelly

It's Alive! and So What? Press join forces to bring Tales of the Night Watchman to Diamond; announce crossover with Dean Haspiel's The Red Hook

Brooklyn-based publishers It's Alive! and So What? Press have made a deal to distribute Tales of the Night Watchman to the direct market via Diamond. Under this arrangement, So What? Press will operate as an imprint of It's Alive! and continue to produce issues of the acclaimed series about baristas who fight monsters. This fall will see the release of a two-part mini-series, "The Final Kill", and a crossover one-shot with Dean Haspiel's Line Webtoon / Image Comics property, The Red Hook, entitled "The Untold Legend of Luna".

"The Final Kill" involves a race against time as the Night Watchman is hired by a mysterious woman to protect her family from an ancient flesh-eating god called Zahal. "The Untold Legend of Luna" is a crossover event three centuries in the making as the Night Watchman and the Red Hook team up to travel back in time to save Brooklyn's first superhero, a woman of mystery named Luna, who has been erased from history.

Series co-creator Dave Kelly wrote "The Final Kill" and co-wrote the crossover with Dean Haspiel. All three issues will feature line art by Brett Hobson, colors by Sonia Liao, and lettering by DC Hopkins. Tim Hamilton (Copra #25, Rabbit Who Fights) provided covers for "The Final Kill". Haspiel will provide a cover for the one-shot. These and future issues will be edited by Rachel Pinnelas (Marvel, DC Comics, Image's Black Cloud).

The series began in 2011 after Kelly's recovery from cancer inspired him to change careers. He met series co-creator Lara Antal at a Think Coffee holiday party, and the NYC-based coffee chain plays a prominent role as the day job for the main characters. The series is most known for its popular "It Came from the Gowanus Canal" storyline and for the issues drawn by Molly Ostertag (Scholastic's Witch Boy series). A story from the series appeared in the Eisner-nominated and Ringo Award-winning Mine! anthology, published by ComicMix. A serialized version runs quarterly in Brooklyn's Park Slope Reader newspaper. It was also featured in the 2015 book, Blood in Four Colours: A Graphic History of Horror Comics, written by Pedro Cabezulo and published by Rue Morgue.


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Wednesday, April 17th, 2019
3:38 pm - Smash Pages Q&A: Dean Haspiel on ‘Starcross’

Alex Dueben kindly talked to me about my new webcomic, STARCROSS, The Red Hook season 3.


"As I was writing Red Hook and imagining what the big stories are because it’s hard to write a big long epic story especially because every big long epic story has been told. From Shakespeare to Stan Lee, they’ve told all the stories. It’s basically how you make it unique. For this third story I was going to use this idea about how love could save the world. As I was putting that together I realized that it’s not just a story about the Red Hook and his lost love The Possum, a.k.a. War Cry, but it’s also about community. It’s about these other characters. And if it’s about love, maybe it’s not just one person’s love but a whole bunch of love. What does love look like in its many iterations? It’s complicated in this third season because I’m letting other characters shine just as much as the Red Hook because it’s becoming more of a communal story. Curiously enough, it’s a weird metaphor for global warming. The sun is dying and they need to reignite the sun. It takes a bunch of characters to ally and figure out what to do next. It involves the community and the people of New Brooklyn. It become a weird metaphor about global warming and lost love and it becomes Shakesperean on a galactic level."

"I’m highly inspired by 1961’s Marvel Comics, or those first three years from ‘61-’63. When I was invited to pitch to Line Webtoon I came at then editor Tom Akel with three different ideas, one of them being The Red Hook. He liked The Red Hook but I said, there are other New Brooklyn characters. At the time Seth Kushner was alive and he had been writing this idea called The Brooklynite and Vito Delsante had co-created The Purple Heart and so we got artists to become co-creators and we created this three pronged universe. Everyone had a first season. As you know Seth passed away in the middle of working on the Brooklynite and Shamus Beyale and Jason Goungor completed that season. Vito and artist Ricardo Venâncio completed the first season of The Purple Heart. To preserve Seth’s legacy I don’t really want to touch The Brooklynite anymore. I love that character but I don’t want to touch that character unless Seth’s wife wants us to do more, so we’ve told his story and he’s going to be pushed to the side. I would love to do more with the Purple Heart, and in fact he makes an appearance in Starcross. I have other characters that I feel are as crucial and critical to The Red Hook like The Coney, Sun Dog, even Benson Hurst. I have others set up. Adam McGovern and Paolo Leandri created Aquaria, and Aquaria has always been loosely attached and tethered to New Brooklyn. I’ve talked with other creators about coming up with characters for the New Brooklyn universe. It’s a long winded answer but yes, in my heart and even written down on paper there is a whole universe expanding through New Brooklyn."

"They don’t want you to be complicated. They like a complicated story, but they don’t want you to be complicated. They want you to be the person who does that thing. I like to use Frank Miller as an example. He did Daredevil, Batman, Sin City, they all can be under the banner of neo-noir and it keeps it easy to track. Ed Brubaker has a track. Brian K Vaughan is hard to pin down, but I feel like writers can away with expanding their rubber bands but it’s harder for artists and/or auteurs. People don’t like it when you hopscotch all over the place because they want to place you in their mind where they understand you and again.

I’m guilty of this as well. I look at filmmakers like Tarantino, who’s a great DJ of cinema. I look at musicians like Scott Walker, who just passed away. What an interesting artist and musician. Or someone like Prince or David Bowie. There’s a lot that’s similar in their music, but they were always creating different things. I wonder if in my career I’m making albums, and I don’t mean bande desinée French comics albums, but these little experiments. To your answer about where I belong, I don’t know if I belong anywhere. Maybe I belong everywhere?"

"That was an editorial mandate. I was happier with my original color scheme in Volume 1 but I was told that the readers of Line Webtoon prefer a four color experience over the limited palate that I use. I disagree and also I’m not a good colorist. I tried to meet the challenge of producing a four color comic with War Cry and I realized that I don’t have the talent or the skillset to do what four color colorists are doing today, which is one of the reasons why I created a limited palate. Having said that, I came upon a collection of Batman and The Outsiders written by Mike Barr and drawn by Jim Aparo and colored by Adrienne Roy. It was a team book; it was going to get cosmic. I knew there was going to be a contrast between the New Brooklyn setting and it would get a little wild. I liked a lot of what Adrienne was doing, her solutions, keeping it a flat color schema. I was looking at that. With Starcross I was just pushing what I learned in War Cry a little bit more because now we’re really getting cosmic. There’s a lot going on in this comic. In a way Red Hook is almost a secondary character to the story in this third part, even though he’s essential."

"At the end of the day, I’m writing all kinds of characters. I’ve always represented diverse characters and strong females – I grew up around strong females, my mother is my first superheroes. Nowadays people are being called out for not being the person that they’re writing or drawing, but I feel like I’ve been very respectful of the different cultures and different kinds of people that I write and draw. But at the end of the day I’m telling this story through the eyes of a straight, white man, i.e. Sam Brosia, the Red Hook. So it is his story."

"Josh Blaylock, the publisher of Devil’s Due, reached out to me and said, do you want to do something for this? I didn’t have any thoughts on it, but he asked me if I knew other local cartoonists who might want to be involved. I sent out a call and a bunch of people responded. He asked me one more time and I had an idea that wasn’t a comic about AOC, because as you’ve read, it mainly focuses on someone else. The little I know about AOC, she seems to be a catalyst of new fresh ideas so she could be the person that sparks this fire. I hate the 45th President, as most of us. I can’t stand him, he shouldn’t be President. Having said that, I don’t like the amount of horrible drawings – and I know why artists do it – of this guy drawn every day. He’s throwing himself under the bus everyday. I feel like we’re in some ways perpetuating this monster by talking about him and drawing him constantly. We have to keep him on his toes, but I thought, if I’m going to contribute to this, what can I do to put a positive spin on it. Not that he’s doing something good, but what story can I tell to put a positive alternative spin on what will happen. I didn’t draw it. I wrote it, laid it out and lettered it and my former studio mate Christa Cassano, who drew the first half of John Leguizamo’s Ghetto Clown graphic novel, did the line art and colored it. I’m happy with the collaboration and I’m glad I was able to contribute, but I am curious to see how it all comes together as an anthology."

"I’m in the middle of writing two new plays. I am wondering about my next phase because I wrap up production on Starcross around mid-August and then I’m going to be going to Yaddo, the writers retreat, for a month. I hope to finish the first draft of a prose novel I’m writing and hopefully tweak this play. I might need to really buckle down and invest in myself and try to stay in this autonomous creative space. I spent years wanting to draw other people stories and characters, and slowly but surely I started to write my own stories and create my own characters. Now I want to stay here."

Read the entire interview here: http://smashpages.net/2019/04/11/smash-pages-qa-dean-haspiel/

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3:06 pm - Webtoon Wednesday – Star Cross with Dean Haspiel: The Comic Source Podcast Episode #815

I spoke to Jace about STARCROSS, the third tale in my New Brooklyn epic/Red Hook saga on The Comic Source podcast for Webtoon Wednesday at LRM:


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Tuesday, April 16th, 2019
12:06 pm - The fork in the road
I've heard the rumblings. A special sect of impassioned fans championing new comix inspired by the golden age of yesteryear. I joined the front lines, early on, waving that flag for decades. A patron of those creators who captured the flames and lightning from that groundbreaking Marvel Comics explosion in their works: Miller, Simonson, Starlin, Mignola, Giffen, Staton, Rude, Allred, Pope, Burden, Larsen, Quitely, Cooke, etc. Somewhere in the early 80s, I started writing and drawing my own.

Never one of the cool kids, I was too quirky. Not ready for prime time. However, I was lucky to enjoy some recognition but it was usually for my collaborations or my occasional memoir stuff. Never really popped with my superhero leanings, corporate-owned and/or creator-owned. Billy Dogma barely made muster and The Red Hook is basically ignored by the very fans I'm trying to appeal to.

Is a format issue? Perhaps. But, webcomics has been very good to me. I just didn't crack the comic book shop like I'd hoped to.

Is what I do not very good? I can't think about that. Besides, your mileage may vary. And, I don't have the cache of the current cabal of pseudo-neo-revenge comix slipping and sliding in '90s comics slime. I'm a cartoonist who unabashedly mashes up 60's anti-establishment silver age (Kirby, Beck, Ditko) with 80's indie-grit (Chaykin, Miller, Pope) all wrapped up in sci-fi romance monster comix. So, I continue to drive blind with unbridled passion in the gas tank, hoping to find a less bumpy road to Valhalla.

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Saturday, April 13th, 2019
11:55 am - Deadline Art
No comic book artist likes rushing their art. We discuss this in the studio. Do you know how many franchise comic book artists made the deadline, hell, even drew a whole comic in 2-weeks or a weekend (because another artist botched it up or a writer was late on the script) just to get dissed by readers and fans, protesting the artist from working on any given book again? It's sad. As a kid I didn't know about deadlines and pressure and rushed art. I just thought a sucky artist sucked. When, actually, they were better than that -- MUCH better than that -- given the time.

I'm sure there's a good reason comic books and periodicals had to be published on a regular basis, something to to do with distribution and keeping fans on the hook, but it never serves the creators. The entire creative assembly line of a group effort is forced to make shortcuts.

On the other hand, there IS an art to shortcut art. An art form I'm trying to master because I'd rather the reader turn pages than sit and stare and ogle my art. I've come to a certain sense of peace that my art ONLY serves the story (where image is text, too). To be honest, I don't know if I want to know what my art looks like given the time and space. And, at age 51 going on 52, I don't know that I care as much anymore.

Alas, comics can be anything. So, the creatives (including editorial) have to decide what is being produced before they set a proposed deadline. There's DAREDEVIL the monthly book (by Frank Miller & Klaus Jansen) and then there's LOVE & WAR (written by Frank Miller and painted by Bill Sienkiewicz). Both are great but created in different time frames with different goals. I worked with Sienkiewicz on The New Mutants and, even though the artwork was great, it was different than what he did on DAREDEVIL: LOVE & WAR, ELEKTRA: ASSASSIN, etc. Different deadlines and different goals for different projects in the same medium for the same industry.

Knowing what the project is supposed to be at the beginning helps dictate goals.

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Friday, April 12th, 2019
12:19 pm - Hi, It's Whitney (Matheson) episode 28: Dean Haspiel

This week I also contributed some recommendations to Whitney Matheson's great pop culture newsletter:

WHO'S AFRAID OF VIRGINIA WOOLF? by Edward Albee might be my favorite play of all time. Alas, I've only seen the brilliant movie adaptation directed by the late/great Mike Nichols, starring Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton. It's the movie that made me want to write a play.

I've been lucky enough to have written three plays produced the last few years, and I'm currently putting the finishing touches on two more. In a world going digital, the intimacy of a black box theater is my favorite space to engage in one of the last bulwarks of human expression and connection. So with that in mind, here are three NYC recommendations:

IT'S GETTING TIRED, MILDRED, written and directed by Roger Nasser. It's NYC's longest-running late-night monthly soap opera for the stage. Since its premiere in 2014, it has grown a loyal following with a cast party after the show so you can meet your favorite characters. And whether you have watched from the beginning or come for the first time now, you will be hooked and become a fan!

COMEDY PEOPLE'S TIME features New York's premier stand-up, improv and late-night television talent. Each unique performance continues to raise the bar. If you haven't seen my pal/actor Tarik Davis do his thing, you're truly missing out on something special.

THE PAIN OF MY BELLIGERENCE. I have tickets to see this brand new play on April 19, and I trust that writer/actress Halley Feiffer (daughter of master storyteller Jules Feiffer) will broker a spirited performance confronting the rigors and fallout of toxic masculinity with brutal wit and wisdom.

As for other mediums, I've been listening to Boy Harsher, Kamasi Washington, Vince Staples, The Zombies, Roland Kirk, and Cosey Fanni Tutti. I watched and loved ANNIHILATION, ASSASSINATION NATION, MISSION IMPOSSIBLE: FALLOUT and THE KILLING OF A SACRED DEER. I recently watched Season 2 of THE SINNER and THE DEUCE, and Season 1 of STAR TREK: DISCOVERY and KIDDING. Comic books/novels I'm currently reading are INCREDIBLE INC. by J.M. DeMatteis and Mike Cavallaro, CRIMINAL by Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips, OFF SEASON by James Sturm, SOMMELIER OF DEFORMITY by Nick Yetto, WHICH LIE DID I TELL? by William Goldman, and FREEZER BURN by Joe R. Lansdale.

Read the entire newsletter and subscribe here:

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Thursday, April 11th, 2019
11:09 am - Only Love Can Save The World: Talking StarCross With Dean Haspiel at Comicon.com

Hannah Means-Shannon conducted an interview with me about my new webcomic series, STARCROSS, The Red Hook season 3 (for LINE Webtoon) at Comicon.com


"The cosmic aspects of my comix are definitely influenced by Jack Kirby’s Negative Zone in The Fantastic Four, coupled with Steve Ditko’s psychedelic astral planes in Dr. Strange. The Monolith in Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey carries profound curiosity in my mind. The outer space jockey and gardeners from the “Alien” franchise has been rattling around in my head for awhile. And, recent cinema like Moon, Interstellar, Arrival, and Annihilation hit me hard emotionally."

"Some artists convey flight with balletic verve, as if the body is made of feathers. I prefer to display mass and how flight can disorient you; how a body combats the tether of gravity.

Years ago, I remember studying Curt Swan’s Superman and admired how he drew the man of steel as if he weighed 400 pounds of relaxed muscle. Which makes sense since Superman’s extraordinary powers are activated by the earth’s sun, and gravity is an important part of what makes his abilities work. I always admired how grounded (literally) Curt Swan drew Superman lifting off and flying as if he needed to take a running start. Former Justice League of America artist, Mike Sekowsky, drew his heroes like inebriated meat sacks that stumble and flounce rather than leap and bound. Most recently, Lee Weeks illustrated gravity like a boss in that great Wile E. Coyote and Road Runner inspired chase sequence in Batman #67.

Another artist I’ve leaned on for a graphic sense of gravity is John Romita Jr. It’s as if he ate everything Jack Kirby, Frank Miller, and his father, John Romita Sr. drew, and combined their catalog into drawing the modern superhero. I’ve learned a lot from Romita Jr’s Spider-man, Thor, and Iron Man comics. His characters always feel centered."

"I can’t color to save my life. And, because I have poor Photoshop skills, I hardly render in color. In fact, I designed a limited color palette for The Red Hook season one only to be told by editorial that I had to expand my color schema. I think they thought more fans would read my comix if I made the sky blue and the grass green. I disagreed, but the challenge made me confront some creative fears. And, I leaned towards the bold Stan Goldberg colors of 1960s Marvel, and Adrienne Roy’s team book colors in those 1980s New Teen Titans and Batman and The Outsiders comics published by DC. I discovered new ways to color code scenes and characters for narrative clarity and emotional impact."

"Remove New Brooklyn and take away the superhero tropes, and the core is a classic story about The Red Hook’s love for his girlfriend, Ava Blume. She is his center. His inspiration to do better. Be better. Anyone who has ever been in a serious relationship can relate to this. And, what happens when the person you’ve devoted your heart to dies trying to save your life, resurrects into a human of mass destruction and then, ironically, becomes the only solution that can save earth from extinction?"

"I’m still using cheap sketch paper, blue pencils, a Japanese brush pen and Jet pens for inks. I digitally color, letter, and edit my art into a vertical scroll, while keeping in mind the eventual print version. I lay out the comics I produce for LINE Webtoons differently than most other comics I create. It’s been quite a challenge. I’m still discovering a better, more succinct shorthand in my work. I’ve always maintained that my art is story-driven. Don’t waste your time ogling my illustrations. There’s nothing to see here. Just read it, enjoy it, and move on."

"And, then there’s the Instagram comics model. One to ten square panels of comics. Same thing I did at ACT-I-VATE, the now defunct webcomics collective I founded 13-years ago at Live Journal in 2006. I realized that most of my more successful creator-owned comix launched online and I’m thinking of starting a Patreon for my next self-produced comix project. See, I’ve grown weary of creating and curating content for Facebook. I know social media has become a groundbreaking (yet questionable) part of our daily lives, but why not see if I can make a few bucks doing the same thing but with new work and make my digital footprint more intimate and qualified?"

"Curiously, writing plays has started to affect the way I think about comic books. Even though the blank page has an unlimited budget, I’ve started to treat my comix like black box theater. I’m writing my scenes as if they could be performed on the stage. I never have more than 5-6 major characters in a story. I simplify the setting. I try to keep each conflict between 2-3 characters. By shrinking my cast and settings, I’m able to better develop my story and achieve themes. It’s been an interesting phase in my comix process."

Read the entire interview here: http://www.comicon.com/2019/04/10/only-love-can-save-the-world-talking-starcross-with-dean-haspiel/

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