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Tuesday, August 28th, 2018
11:32 am - The Red Hook action figure from Amazing Heroes

THE RED HOOK action figure is the first stretch goal in the new Amazing Heroes Kickstarter for Indie/Alt superheroes! Check 'em out.


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11:20 am - Don't hate. Create.
Don't like a comic? Don't buy the comic. Don't bully the creator/s. Don't hate. Create.

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Saturday, August 18th, 2018
3:46 pm - Dean Haspiel On The Return Of The Alcoholic at Comicon.com

Hannah Means-Shannon interviewed me at San Diego Comicon 2018 about the 10th anniversary edition of THE ALCOHOLIC, published by Berger Books (an imprint of Dark Horse Comics) for Comicon.com


"I had wanted to work with Jonathan Ames since the moment I met him. I was a fan of his writing. It turned out that we lived in the same neighborhood at the time. I went right up to him, and one of the first things I said to him was, “We’re going to work together”. It turned out to be a good thing that he had read comics. You never know with literary people, since some shun comics. Ames was an old fan of The Avengers, and Nova.

Comics were never taken seriously when I was growing up. They were mocked. In general, comics were seen as power fantasies for 12 year old boys. Then there were books like Art Spiegleman’s Maus, and other underground comix, but those were more focused on the holocaust, or drug culture. Harvey Pekar writing memoirs, and being able to write about anything, really broke the idea of what comics could be. Even though the history of comics had originally included other genres like Westerns, War, Romance and Crime. But I think that what comics did especially well were superheroes because of the unlimited budget of the blank page. But little by small, TV and movies have caught up via technology and the ability to visually convey what comics could do best."

"I’d read a bunch of his essays in NY Press. I thought he was very funny, and what was interesting about his essays, when I thought about it later, is that he was usually the loser in the story. And the way that he attracted you and made you care for him was by being vulnerable. When meeting him, he kind of did that, and I realized that’s who he was.

I was surprised, because you never know if it’s a character. Maybe it’s a little bit of a character, just like I have a public face. In this case, he never wanted to hurt other people in his stories, so he would take the brunt of it. He once described himself as “a clown with cancer”.

"He’s definitely empathetic. Ames didn’t want to hurt people, and he didn’t want to judge people in his stories. So, he would meet all kinds of misfits and maybe he was kind of like the straight man, who would enter a situation, and events would unfold. But if anybody got hurt, it was usually him. It wasn’t like he would go on an adventure to get hurt. I don’t think he was masochistic. But when you make yourself available to weird situations, there’s a good chance that you will come out of things a little damaged."

"My pal/cartoonist, Bob Fingerman was the person who revived Jonathan Ames’s work for me. Fingerman had bought his first essay collection, What’s Not To Love?, and he would read some of the stories over the phone to me, and we would be dying laughing. Bedtime stories narrated by Bob Fingerman by way of Jonathan Ames."

"Then you meet your heroes, and you collaborate with them, and it becomes more expansive. In a very different way, I’ve gotten into Doug Stanhope, the comedian, and I went to see his standup recently. A soothsayer for the 21st Century. I gravitate towards these outliers like Harvey Pekar, Howard Chaykin, Frank Miller, and hell, even Steve Ditko and Jack Kirby."

"People worry about their work, wondering if other people will think it’s weird. Will people like it? That doesn’t matter. Make something you care about, and make it authentic. I think what we’re seeing now, in our culture, is that it is good to put yourself out there, and be honest and authentic about it. It’s not about winning awards, but it is about being acknowledged for your work, whether that’s in sales, people talking about it, someone wanting to option it for other media, whatever. The point is that it starts with you and a blank page, asking “What is it I want to do? What do I need to say?” If you can invest in yourself, maybe others will invest in you, too."

"One of the comics we gave to Jonathan to update him, since he hadn’t read comics since he was younger, was Y: The Last Man by Brian K. Vaughan and Pia Guerra. He was so entertained by the cliffhanger aspect of that, he loved it. So, Ames was thinking, “Maybe this issue could end with him on a fire escape, and he doesn’t know where his pants are. Is he going to find his pants?”

Read the entire interview here: http://www.comicon.com/2018/08/17/a-book-ahead-of-its-time-gets-a-new-edition-dean-haspiel-on-the-return-of-the-alcoholic/

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Thursday, August 2nd, 2018
10:48 am - SYFY Wire interviews Dean Haspiel about The Alcoholic & The Red Hook
I talked to Mike Avila about the 10th anniversary edition of The Alcoholic, and The Red Hook on Syfy Wire during San Diego Comicon 2018.



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10:37 am - THANKS!
Enormous thanks to everyone who made The Red Hook summer 2018 tour successful.

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Monday, July 30th, 2018
4:49 pm - The Comic Source Podcast Episode 437 – San Diego Sound Bytes 2018: The Alcoholic with Dean Haspiel
I spoke to Jace Milam at San Diego Comicon 2018 about the 10th anniversary edition of THE ALCOHOLIC for The Comic Source podcast.

Listen here: https://lrmonline.com/news/episode-437/

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Friday, July 27th, 2018
1:53 pm - Making Comics Gutter Talk - episode 110
As described and conducted by Adam Greenfield:

"...a conversation during a Comic Con after-party about the vagueness and even capitalistic aspect of what can and can’t be released in a podcast when it comes to background noise. Participants included Gutter Talk alumni Dean Haspiel and Chris Miskiewicz, as well as Glynnes Pruett, owner/operator of Comic Book Hideout in Fullerton, CA. As stated in the podcast, no one makes a claim to be any kind of legal expert on this stuff. It just seemed applicable. And some of it was just plain silliness that needed to be shared."

Listen here: http://www.makingcomics.com/2018/07/27/making-comics-gutter-talk-ep-110-sebastian-kadlecik/#more-9803

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Monday, July 23rd, 2018
8:39 pm - The Comics Beat: Celebrating Artistic Progression & Expanding Creative Visions with Dean Haspiel

AJ Frost interviewed me at San Diego Comicon 2018 for The Comics Beat.


AJ FROST: Hi Dean! It’s so nice to chat with you today. So, I believe from what you told me before we started taping was that this is your first Comic Con in twelve years. Can you talk about the differences you see now that you did not see more than a decade ago?

DEAN HASPIEL: Well, twelve years ago it was 2006. I remember walking through the front doors and I looked to the left of me and I didn’t see any end in sight. I looked to the right of me and I noticed that the earth was curving. I thought to myself: “What is going on here? They expanded out more of the space and Comic Con was just taking over San Diego. And I thought well that’s really cool. But… I started to feel overwhelmed. Now everyone knows how difficult it is to walk through this space; everyone’s waddling like a penguin half the time. But back then, that hadn’t happened yet. Plus, it felt like Hollywood was taking over, being more committed to and exploring IP with television and movies. It started not to feel like a comic con.

It’s expensive to do the show. You come here, you get overwhelmed, it’s physically draining, it’s emotional. Everyone’s trying to make ends meet and now you’re competing with Halle Berry, you know? Now, I love Halle Berry, but this was our place for our people to be Halle Berry. And I think that there was a backlash and a lot of criticism about that. And little by small, Comic Con expanded out and became the same thing that San Diego has become. So I think ultimately what happened is I’ve come back because I’ve embraced the fact that Hollywood is here to stay and it is part of the function of comics in certain ways, especially the franchises.

I still look for the golden gems, the diamonds in the rough, the stuff that is purely comics and can only be comics. I can find that stuff at Baltimore Comic Con, SPX, MoCCA, and these smaller shows, but yet you still can find them here. San Diego Comic Con is like the Times Square of comics where everything is blown up and ginormous and hyperbolic, which is funny because that’s what superhero comics are right. So I guess the Con just took the one genre the comics knows how to do best (even though comics can be about anything) and was able to do that and just exponentially blow it up.

FROST: Has there been anything this time around that really took you by surprise?

HASPIEL: No, because in a way I was prepared for it. What took me by surprise that was that it actually felt easier than the last time I was here.

FROST: Why do you think that is?

HASPIEL: Twelve years of mental preparation. Twelve years of seeing San Diego Comic Con delivered to me on my laptop, or my phone, or via all these great comics websites. There is this idea that you don’t have to be there to be there. But, I also think that nothing beats real life, face-to-face confrontation with this kind of stuff. I’m still a fan. As much as I’ve become a professional and dedicated my life to comics, I’m still a fan and I still love to see my heroes and shake hands and say thank you. Nothing beats saying thank you. I think one of my greatest regrets in my life is never having met Jack Kirby—one of my biggest influences—and shaking his hand and saying thank you. I make sure that I try to do that to the other folks that impress me and inspire me.

FROST: This year you’re promoting two different projects. You have The Red Hook Vol. 1 and the tenth-anniversary edition of The Alcoholic, a book you made in collaboration with Jonathan Ames. Can you talk about those two books and what they meant during the stages of your artistic and professional development?

HASPIEL: Well, it’s funny because The Alcoholic was ten years ago and then the Red Hook is where I’m at now. It’s also one of the other major reasons why I showed up because if I’m going to be making these things, and especially if I’m doing another superhero right now, the Cinematic Universes of DC and Marvel are taking over the world, I’m kind of stupid and an idiot to even dare attempt to introduce another superhero from an indie point of view. But I think that’s why it’s interesting. Because it is from an independent point of view. I mean look at Hellboy, look at Scott Pilgrim and that kind of stuff. One of the good things that Marvel and DC have done over the years is to create a hunger. Sure, there can be a deluge or a backlash to this stuff, but that’s only when it sucks. When it’s good, people want more. You go to a Chinese restaurant and the food is bad, you’re not going to go back to it. But, if you keep eating good food, that just expands your menu and your diet, and then you become overweight. I feel that if I’m going to throw down the gauntlet and say ‘Here’s my superhero,’ starting with the Red Hook as my anchor, then I got to go to the party and see how it fares.

There’s this other work coming out in the fall, which is a reprint and the tenth-anniversary edition of The Alcoholic which is a collaboration with one of my favorite people and one of my good friends and definitely one of my favorite writers Jonathan Ames. And we’ve collaborated on HBO’s Bored to Death and a couple other things, but this is the project where… When I met them, it was in 2001. I had read some of his essays and I noticed him in my local café. I was like, ‘Oh snap! Jonathan Ames lives near me.’ And I went right up to him I said, ‘Hi my name is Dean Haspiel. I love your work. We’re going to make a comic together someday.’ I guess I was able to recognize in his own prose writing that he could probably write a comic. And it wasn’t until I became friends with him when I realized Oh, you do have an appreciation for the form. And. in a lot of ways, he’s a Renaissance man because he was able to transition from novel writing to prose writing into television writing to comic book writing, which a lot of literary-minded authors have a tough time with. They forget that image is text too and to rely on their collaborator i.e. the artist to convey the story visually.

I think we both created something that we otherwise wouldn’t have. And that’s what’s cool about collaboration. That’s why I advocate for collaboration. Because now that we have comic book colleges, I think that they are encouraging the auteur more than ever before. But when I grew up reading comics, it was an assembly line. I thought I was just going to be a penciler one day. So it took me a long time to find the courage and the confidence to write. But some of that came from these collaborations with great writers: Jonathan Ames, Harvey Pekar, Inverna Lockpez, J.M. DeMatteis. I learned from everyone and from all those experiences. And now I feel like I’ve come to my own space because LINE Webtoon pays me to create something I own that [they have digital] exclusivity for, which I can then later turn into a print edition or maybe even create merchandise if I want to. I now have the dreaded ‘IP’ to then go Hollywood baby.

FROST: How do you balance and manage your time? And I know you’re so… well, prolific is one word. The other is just producing quality work after quality work: writing plays or comics. You’re doing a new webcomic here. You have an artistic collective. How do you keep all that stuff together and still manage to create that is not only of high quality but work you can look back to and be proud of?

HASPIEL: Gosh. The honest answer is I don’t. I balance my career better than I’ve balanced my life. I don’t have a good quality of life at home. I don’t have dinner with my girlfriend. I work on weekends often. I work odd hours, by which I mean late night hours. I haven’t figured out that wake-up-at-the-crack-of dawn-and-be-done-by-5:00 PM lifestyle. I don’t think a lot of freelancers and/or authors slash artists really figure that out. And I think I trade a lot for that lifestyle because I’m committed and invested in not only crafting stories that mean something to me and hopefully to others but also because I care about other artists. I’m constantly checking in with them and giving unsolicited advice or trying to you know play like an absentee mentor in some ways. I don’t know. Creation, to me is how I get high. It’s life for me. You know it they say violence begets violence and I think creativity just begets more creativity. I guess that’s where I live.

Read the entire interview here: http://www.comicsbeat.com/sdcc-18-interview-celebrating-artistic-progression-expanding-creative-visions-with-dean-haspiel/

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5:47 pm - Comicon.com: Image Comics' We Believe In Suspense Panel at SDCC 2018

Hannah Means-Shannon reported on Image Comics' We Believe In Suspense Panel at San Diego Comicon 2018.


"Dean Haspiel’s Red Hook is kind of an avatar for Silver Age sensibilities, and his long history of working with many legendary comic creators starting in the 80’s onwards. He populated the comic with his “best friends”, a lot of early superheroes, but he’s created his own. There’s an innocence to earlier comics that still appeals to Haspiel, and you’ll find old school stuff thrown into the comic, like classic tropes. He likes to flip and modernize elements, too. There are some politics in the comic, too, like economic commentary on the role of art and the need for supporting artists in society. Creating art creates a kind of “energy”, he feels, and hopefully a positive one, and yet rents rise and spaces shrink, limiting the ability of artists to survive."

"Haspiel added that you should ask more questions than you answer in a comic, and that also develops tension."

"Working on Red Hook for Line Webtoon, which has a vertical scroll, had different reveals and structures based on the reading media, and it took some experimentation and tweaking from him to get suspense into it differently than on a comic page, he said."

Read the entire report here: http://www.comicon.com/2018/07/22/sdcc-2018-images-we-believe-in-suspense-panel-with-donny-cates-mirka-andolfo-jacob-semahn-dean-haspiel-megan-hutchison-steve-orlando/

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5:40 pm - Comicon.com: The Berger Books panel at SDCC 2018

Hannah Means-Shannon reported The Berger Books panel at San Diego Comicon 2018.


"The Alcoholic was originally created by Jonathan Ames and Dean Haspiel, and is back in a new 10th Anniversary Edition from Berger Books, originally published by Vertigo. Haspiel said that Ames was someone whose essays he’d been reading in newspapers, and one day Haspiel walked into a local café and saw him. Haspiel walked up and told Ames that they would work together, at least that’s Haspiel’s perspective on it. Ames had been a comic reader as a kid. The project they created was eventually brought in to Vertigo by Jonathan Vankin and Karen Berger.

It’s a heartbreaking story about an alcoholic, but there’s a lot of levity and humor in the story as well, Haspiel said. Serious messages are best told through comedy, Haspiel feels. There’s also action, romance, and an account of a life from childhood to adulthood. Haspiel loves the ending, too, and was proud to “convey the story visually”. Berger commented that Haspiel is one of the best storytellers in the comic industry. When the book went out of print at Vertigo, the creators asked Berger if she’d like to do another version. It arrives in September, with designs by Richard Bruning.

Haspiel thinks it’s cool that the new release of the book is that his own work and also Ames’ work has risen in the intervening 10 years, which means even more people will be aware of it."

Read the entire report here: http://www.comicon.com/2018/07/21/sdcc-2018-the-berger-books-panel-with-karen-berger-g-willow-wilson-ann-nocenti-dean-haspiel-christopher-cantwell-richard-bruning-dave-gibbons/

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3:23 pm - Brooklyn Paper "Red hearing: Bushwick Book Club sings about Red Hook superhero"

(Photo by Stefano Giovannini)

By Julianne McShane

A dozen bibliophile musicians will perform original tunes inspired by a Red Hook superhero who saves the borough from disaster at a July 25 show at Barbes in Park Slope. The creator of “The Red Hook” webcomic, recently released as a graphic novel, said he is excited to sit back and see what the Bushwick Book Club does with his heroic character.

“It’s such a cool idea — I’m going to be as surprised as anybody else,” said Dean Haspiel, who has illustrated several stories set in his longtime Carroll Gardens neighborhood. “I was in full control of the comic book, in terms of writing and drawing it and creating it, but I have no control over anyone’s response to it.”

The Bushwick Book Club has created monthly musical responses to various books since it was founded in 2009. Haspiel, who has also drawn the superheroes Spider-Man and Batman, pitched the idea of performing his latest superhero comic to the group after seeing them react to his friend Jonathan Ames’s thriller “You Were Never Really Here” in March.

The performers will use a wide variety of sounds to tell the story about the superpowered Red Hook hero, said the group’s founder.

“It will definitely run the gamut: there will be hip-hop, cabaret songs, folk songs, who knows, rapping,” said Bushwick resident Susan Hwang. “We don’t discriminate against musical genres — I love when there’s a big variety of music done in different styles.”

Haspiel hopes the gang finds a way to incorporate techno tunes — his writing and drawing music of choice.

“I hope there’s some electronica in there, because that’s what I listen to and hear when I write,” he said.

The group will pay homage to the comic’s strong visuals with superhero costumes and a dance number, Hwang said.

“It’s a different kind of experience reading the graphic novel because you want to take in the visuals, too,” she said. “We’ll have a choreographer and what we call the Bushwick Book Club Dance Team.”

Bushwick Book Club presents Dean Haspiel’s “The Red Hook” at Barbès (376 Ninth St. at Sixth Avenue in Park Slope, www.bushwickbookclub.com). July 25 at 8 pm. $10 suggested donation.

Read the entire article here: https://www.brooklynpaper.com/stories/41/29/24-red-hook-comic-songs-2018-07-20-bk.html

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Thursday, July 19th, 2018
I talk to the Death Wish Coffee cats about comix!

Hear/read the interview here: https://www.deathwishcoffee.com/pages/ep-83-dean-haspiel

Or, see/hear it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yXxb4MJ-4wY&feature=youtu.be

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Tuesday, July 17th, 2018
6:17 pm - Bleeding Cool: Dean Haspiel’s Red Hook continues free at LINE Webtoon with STARCROSS

Press release:

Starcross is the fifth Webtoon series in the New Brooklyn Universe, and the anticipated follow up to The Red Hook trilogy’s second season, War Cry which wrapped in May. Starcross will publish new episodes weekly beginning in early 2019, for free.

Starcross finds New Brooklyn on the eve of an ice age that will make all life on earth extinct. The only way to save the planet is for Red Hook to ally with Sun Dog, find and rekindle romance with War Cry, confront the Omni-Gods, and give birth to a new dawn where only love can save the world!

“Starcross is my most ambitious project yet!” claims creator Dean Haspiel. “As much as The Red Hook saga is about independence, art, community, and the rise of new heroes, it’s mostly about love and what we’re willing to sacrifice for it.”

Recently published in print by Image Comics, The Red Hook won the 2017 Ringo Award for Best Webcomic and the sequel, War Cry, is a finalist this year for the same award. Both titles are currently available to binge at LINE Webtoon. Still free.

You can read the Bleeding Cool article and see the special preview here: https://www.bleedingcool.com/2018/07/17/dean-haspiel-red-hook-webtoons-starcross/

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11:40 am - NY1 News on Dean Haspiel and THE RED HOOK

NY1 News field reporter Chelsea Katz did a nice, short piece on me and my graphic novel, The Red Hook. Big Ups to Shannan Ferry & Izzy Fleming.

Click here to watch the report:


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Monday, July 16th, 2018
3:53 pm - First Comics News interviews Dean Haspiel about THE RED HOOK
Rik Offenberger interviewed me about THE RED HOOK for First Comics News.


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12:07 pm - Dean Haspiel at San Diego Comicon 2018

After a twelve year hiatus*, I will be at San Diego Comicon 2018 promoting THE RED HOOK, and the 10th Anniversary edition of THE ALCOHOLIC (my graphic novel collaboration with Jonathan Ames).


Here is my weekend schedule:


1pm - 1:45pm Image Comics booth #2729 signing for The Red Hook

3:30pm - 4:30pm Berger Books group signing at Dark Horse booth #2615

5pm - 6pm Berger Books: The Second Wave panel in Room 25ABC
Berger Books keeps great comics coming in its second wave of new and unusual genre-bending series. Editor Karen Berger (Vertigo founder) is joined by Christopher Cantwell (co-creator of AMC’s acclaimed Halt and Catch Fire, She Could Fly), Dean Haspiel (Emmy Award-winning artist of HBO’s Bored to Death, The Alcoholic), legendary comics writer Ann Nocenti (The Seeds), art director Richard Bruning, and the one and only Dave Gibbons (The Originals expanded edition) plus a special surprise panelist and announcement!


11am - 12pm We Believe in Suspense Image Comics panel in Room 7AB
Comic scribes wield character, dialogue, and panels with clockwork precision, leading readers through a gauntlet of plot beats designed to ratchet tension and escalate stakes. In concert with artists, these storytellers operate outside budget constraints to orchestrate explosive dramas without any limits save their own imaginations. Listen to a panel of thrill gurus including Donny Cates (Redneck) Mirka Andolfo (Unnatural), Steve Orlando (Crude), Jacob Semahn (No. 1 with a Bullet), Megan Hutchison (Rockstars), and Dean Haspiel (The Red Hook) as they deconstruct their approach to weaving the tightest suspense in comics.

1pm - 1:45pm signing at Dark Horse Comics booth #2615

4pm Heavy Metal signing booth #1529

*here is a link to my blog post about the last time I was at SDCC in 2006: https://man-size.livejournal.com/228828.html

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Sunday, July 15th, 2018
5:37 pm - Forces Of Geek reviews THE RED HOOK vol.1 New Brooklyn

"Dean Haspiel is a living legend. His works are always strong."

"Haspiel is pretty much a one man show here and the art is as dynamic as the writing. The Red Hook tries not to do the heroic thing in the beginning, which I loved. Then he feels the Omni Fist of Altruism clutching his heart. He is forced to do the right thing. It’s little touches like this which made the book stand out. Another example of that is when the residents have to form a new economy. It’s well thought out and feels fresh."

"Haspiel does another fine job here. He has created a book that demands you add it to your library. Every page brings something new and it’s a delight."

Read the entire review here: http://www.forcesofgeek.com/2018/07/the-red-hook-vol-1-new-brooklyn-review.html

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Saturday, July 7th, 2018
3:21 pm - Publisher's Weekly reviews Dean Haspiel's The Red Hook vol.1 New Brooklyn
"Winner of the 2017 Ringo Award for Best Webcomic in its original online format, this lively graphic novel is a fast-moving, funky twist on the standard superhero. Haspiel (Beef with Tomato) gives the setting-as-character concept a literal version, imagining Brooklyn awakening as a life force when its people secede from New York State. Only Sam Brosia, a costumed superthief called the Red Hook, can save the heart of Brooklyn by turning from crime to become a hero. This postmodern Jack Kirby–style adventure injects superhero tropes into contemporary urban politics—or is it vice versa? Underneath the fantastic, funny exterior lies a fable of strength and righteousness populated by heroes and villains with punny local names: the Coney, the Sheep’s Head, gang boss Benson Hurst, and superhero the Green Point, who bestows upon Sam “the Omni-Fist of Altruism,” an inner selflessness, and borough awareness. Haspiel’s dynamic and energetic page layouts lean into the over-the-top visual absurdity of his gag, with characters in spandex costumes battling as urban ballet against a backdrop of recognizable Brooklyn architecture rendered with detail and authenticity. Haspiel sets up a playful, novel mythology in the Red Hook’s mission of salvation with room to expand (despite rent inflation!) in the ongoing series."


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3:08 pm - The Beat: Hearts Beat & Fists Clench for Justice in Dean Haspiel’s THE RED HOOK
AJ Frost wrote a very kind review of my graphic novel, THE RED HOOK, at The Beat.


"a triumph of sequential storytelling. Besides being one of the most prolific and hardworking auteurs on the scene, Haspiel’s chops, imagination, and ingenuity are all on powerful display here as he tells the tale of a thief magically coerced into becoming a hero. It’s a thrilling and thoughtful ride."

"...the art throughout the book ebbs and flows from quietude to bombast. Every turn of the page reveals something extraordinary, which is an even greater feat because the book debuted without physical pages. The coloring in this book too is simply extraordinary. There’s an eclectic mix of pages that alternate between muted two color palette followed by huge explosions of hue and brio. There is always something new to discover here."

"The land of New Brooklyn is a fecund playing ground for the modern superhero. With the Red Hook, Dean Haspiel has created is a masterwork of the comics form. He goes for the high concept and succeeds in sticking the landing."

Read the entire review here: http://www.comicsbeat.com/review-hearts-beat-fists-clench-for-justice-in-dean-haspiels-the-red-hook/

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2:16 pm - RIP Steve Ditko

This one hit me hard. A comics industry legend. Honored to have met and spoken to him a bunch of times. Happy to have been influenced by his imagination. A true artist and auteur. Steve Ditko was a profound individual.

I often cite Jack Kirby as my greatest comic book influence. But, Steve Ditko was certainly on the Top 10 list of my favorite cartoonists. I don't have the faculty at this moment to discuss Ditko's craft and vision and how much his work affects me to this day. I'm still processing his passing. It's crystal clear how much Ditko innovated the industry and inspired so many creators.

In 2011, I was asked by then Amazing Spider-man editor, Stephen Wacker, to conjure an 8-page Spider-man story. His challenge? "What happened to the costume the night Peter Parker quit being Spider-man?" (from issue #50) I could do whatever I wanted to, just as long as the costume was returned to the garbage can in the alley by the end of the story.

Here's what I did, "Spider-man for a night," published August 22, 2012 in Amazing Spider-man #692, the 50th anniversary issue of one of the best superheroes ever created. Thank you Stan Lee and Steve Ditko.


Every time I visited Steve Ditko, it was a cold call. I introduced Ditko once to my mother, and another time to a fellow cartoonist, Joe Infurnari. Ditko was nice but always hesitant. As if he was ready to shut the door if he didn't like who he saw. As my visits increased (five times total), I could tell his patience wore thin. The first time we talked, I gifted him a copy of CUBA: My Revolution. We talked about Cuba which he seemed to be interested in. I asked him if he still drew comics and he said "Everyday." His commitment to the medium energized me and I supported all of his Kickstarters. The most time we shared together was probably 20 minutes? He was initially kind but super private and easily irritated. I believe I gave him a copy of my Billy Dogma comix the second or third time we met, and I always wondered if that turned him off to me. Because our auteur work speaks for us, I wonder if he felt we had philosophical differences that drew the proverbial line. I think he had a tough time being empathetic to other points of views. Maybe that was part of the reason he was a recluse? I also wondered often about his relationship with people. Who did he confide in? Did he ever experience romance? How did that inform his work? I never asked him about that. The last time I was near his office/home, I spoke to the doorman and we shared Ditko anecdotes. They loved that Ditko resided there but everyone respected his mystery. I elected to not bother him ever again. I never corresponded with Ditko over mail but I intended to send him a copy of THE RED HOOK next week. I think he might've liked that one.

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