Sunday, September 30, 2012

The Craziness of Being an Artist

Hey there sports fans, Al here with the latest:
Corrax the Seeker #2 is under way and should be completely colored by the time Halloween rolls around.  This is an Awesome step for me as the creator to be able to have such a quick turnaround time on books.  I guess my talent has nearly caught up with my conceptual ideas. 
CTS #3 Cover prototype

I hope to have at least half of CTS #3 transferred to bristol by the time of this posting.   This also includes a cover for CTS #3 as a prototype.  Which is good because I need to have an add for the third issue in the second book. And nothing better than a finished color cover.
With the CTS story line of "Cosmic Confrontation -parts 1-4" concluded.  This clears my plate of pretty much all my obligations. 
This is good news as the year starts its last leg.  Its also cool because it also frees me up for two (possibly three) projects.
The scratchboard "Dreams of Elysium" graphic novel.  And the end of the year gallery show the BIG 300 and the possibly the Corpse Cop "Arctic Wolf" storyline that I have been talking about recently.  But that is a stretch for for me. 
I guess that's the curse of being unique.  But after the response for this last weeks show at Jet City, I am inclined to think that the scratchboard work is the way to go and if I can marry the two ideas together then I have something worthwhile for not only fans but art collectors as well.
It 's been proven to me that the scratchboard work sells far better than my traditional comic book illustrations.  But I guess I couldn't have one without the other.
At the Jet City Comic Show I had been talking to my friend Adam from Darkslinger Comics.  He felt and said the same thing to me that a large scratchboard project - like Dreams of Elysium- would be the best way to go.
I agreed.
So this falls right into what I have planned for next year.
Good times!

"Witch of the Wood- Zo"  16"x20" Scratchboard with digital coloring
2012 copyrighted by Alan Bennett and BBVA

Now with next years Emerald City ComiCon starting in about half a year the submission I have planned for "Monsters and Dames" hard bound book is truly under way.  One of the more interesting issues as an artist is learning what works and what doesn't.   With the digital coloring work that I have been applying to the comics doesn't quite lend itself to scratchboard.  That's okay, this was a learning curve anyway.
But it can be done.
The biggest hurdle to overcome was that very nature of scratchboard really precludes the use of color in the work.  The hell you say!
Well it is because that scratchboard is defined by white and black for light and shading.  Color would almost get in the way.
But I think by keeping just a base color and a extra highlighted color layer would work just fine.

And with all the things that I am trying to achieve this year commissions have stepped up as well recently.  Of this i couldn't be happier.   With that it begins to spin a great feeling that your work just might begin to support itself.  And me in the process than having to work two different jobs all the time 6 times a week leaving only Sunday to ever sleep in (which is almost never in my case) or work on out standing projects.
The first is designing a logo for a friend of mine named Toby.  If you remember Toby was the one that commissioned the scratchboard piece of Godzilla early this year.  Well Toby has a hobby of making his own ammo and wants a logo to go with it.  A basic black and white design 8"x8" size for the original.
The second is a rendition of a person's character.
This was a curious one because I had received a email via facebook that this company called Lazy Bones Studios wanted me to do a version of one of their characters in scratchboard.  I am still working out the details but I believe that this could be the beginning of "something wonderful" to quote Dave Bowman from 2010.

And that is it for the kid.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Jet City Comic Show 2012

Hey there sports fans Al here with the latest: of this time the Jet City Comic Show of 2012 will have come and gone. 
Here is one personal (mine) review of the show.



 I had a great time hanging out with my friends from Neotrash Comix at the table and being part of that group contingent and with my buds from Darkslinger Comics as well.  Now what made this awesome for me was the people and general camaraderie that we're all geeks to one degree or another.  It was great to be Seattle again! Though Dan and I were held up getting to Jason's early in the morning by a freight train here in Portland and had some on again/ off again rain/mist/fog that we ran into on I-5.  But the rest of the day was great not to hot nor to cold.    We got up to show in fine time and earlier than we thought.  And of course we talked about the most important topic of our generation- what else?  COMICS (duh?).

In travel, we talked about the state of the industry, who was doing what in what company with what character, what major company characters we would love to work on if we had the chance, movie and tv addaptations, cult movies that we love but nobody else seems to care about ("f" those guys!).  All that kind of stuff that you might talk about sitting around a table playing DnD 3.5.   Sorry guys, I ain't making another conversion to 4.0 anytime soon.

Sales.  Now of course when your talking a break from you drawing table and have had to switch up to a portible drawing board with several markers.  With this in mind as an artist and creator you want to make some coin at a show at least enough to cover the cost of the table or the cost of gas. Well as it turned out I ended up being the heavy with this.  Corrax the Seeker sold two copies but without any other books to back him up I could understand the reluctance on people part even if it was a #1 issue.  HOWEVER, more art books got out there without even people flinching on the price but the big winner was ta dah!- the scratchboards!  Five of these little guys ran off the table and two going to a returning customer who had comissioned me to do a peice of work at ECCC early in the year of he and his wife as the Vision and Scarlet Witch. He talked about weird aliens and I think I could oblige him for that Emerald City next year. 
Of course with now six 5"x7" boards being sold off I will have to crank out about six more new ones to make sure I have a 25 ceiling for that kind of work.  Even the 11"x14" were getting the look and those guys go 5 times as much a little ones.  Woot! as old friend of mine would say.
"BLOOD RED DAWN"  11"X14" clayboard
2012 copyrighted by Alan Bennett and BBVA

Corpse Cop "Arctic Wolf", pg 4
2012 copyright Alan Bennett and BBVA

I have been looking and dusting off the files of the original thumbnails I had done over a year and a half ago of a story I entitled "Arctic Wolf".  It was a little shorter in length (12 pages) and it featured a one on one with one battle with one of the other kinda monsters I love to draw.  Look at the title and you'll know which critter I am talking about.
We'll see how long it takes me with this.  But this also makes me want to develop another story to be a companion to make it worth while for the reader and collector to pick up.
So keep watching here for more developments.


When the Rose City ComiCon came to an end two weeks ago I also had a small gallery show going on at the same time starting at the time of my birthday in August.
  Now it's nice to know when your artwork sells and you don't have to take it home with you, just cash.  Well unfortunately nether of my three pieces that I had up for the show  sold but I still have a inventory that I can pull from when I get my own solo show.
I have been feeling the pinch of not being a solo act with either the comic show or gallery show.   
Again it is good to be in the public eye on a regular basis and would be nice to be self sufficient.
"Witch of the Wood" 2012
copyrighted Alan Bennett and BBVA

HOWEVER with that being said I did have a chance at to talk to the gallery owner of the Sequential Art Gallery at the Rose City ComiCon about a future show there.  Kaebel Hashitani is his name and is also organizing next years Stumptown Comic Festival.  Now I have  nothing against organizers of past shows but I know he has a good reputation here in Portland and the arts scene.  This made me very  happy.  By the end of the year 2013 I will have put together enough group of images for a solo show.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Rose City Comic Show - The Results

Hey there sports fans, Al here with the latest: 
The 1st Rose City Comicon has come and gone.  My personal opinion on it -IT WAS A SUCCESS! 
Much to the surprise of most vendors was the cost of our tables in Artist Alley- $75 bucks for two days -awesome.  That was about the same price when Stumptown first started 10 years ago or so.  This was great,  with a new show and new products that people hadn't seen before.  We were on a roll.  
BUT, HOWEVER, THERE WAS ONE THING that we as vendors forgot - the cost if the tickets to get in for the day.  $12.50 per adult kids under 12 got in free.  
We realized that cost was more expensive than we would have had to pay to get into one day at Emerald City ComiCon goes for.  At first we thought that we were just going to be twirling our thumbs but as doors opened @ 10 AM there were lots of people coming in.  Yea!  The show may not be a bust.
And within two hours or less we had first of couple of sales and then we were  off to the races!
The crossover of  Weird Atomic Tales which hadn't gotten much attention at E.C.C.C eariler this year or at  Stumptown took off as well as The Brass Knuckles Rituals.  CTS #1 had already gotten a few pre show sales and did ok for a opening show. But I think that nobody knows how well these books are going to do.  I'm  a monster creator, and he is the Man-Bird of the Future!
During down time I continued to keep working on the pages for CTS #2.   By this posting I should finished with the inks and the beginning of scanning and lettering.  By Halloween I should be completely done with the entire issue and getting ready to go too press.  CTS #3 should be transfered and start inking.  This makes for an exciting time for Corrax the Seeker with issue #4 being last part in the story arc of "Cosmic Confrontation -part 4 The conclusion."
With Emerald City ComiCon starting in (I think ) in late April issue #4 should be completely done. 

Because of the success of the scratchboard Corpsecile story and people I have had to re evaluate the viability of this character.  Of course the script of "Arctic Wolf" still is in the works.  There may yet be another story but I have yet to flesh these ideas out.
So there you go with the latest with that guy.

Well now, in less than a week (Saturday,September 22, 2012)
 from now I again with the boyz from NEOtrash will be heading out and up to the 3rd Jet City Comic Show. 
For more infomation about the showcheck out Jet City Comic  
The Jet City Show Floor Map 2012
Also check out our table on the floor (table AA04 and also from P-town, Darkslinger Comics at table AA12.)  PDX represents YO!
Now with a successful show from nearly two weeks ago I think we are doing pretty well.  And I do mean we.  Though I haven't been able to stand up in the Lime Light of front stage for about the last year and half or so I still am making an effort to get books out there and get stuff out there.  
I am keeping my fingers crossed that CTS will do well in Seattle.  
The shows in the past have always done pretty good for me with both original art work a few comissions while I was ther aand the books themselves.  I just wish I had the funds to get a few more Corpse Cop books out there and issue #2 for CTS - just to show that this wasn't a one hit wonder either.   
In a related topic,  I think that the time I spent there going to art school really pushed me in a direction to follow what I wanted to do- even if I didn't finish my associates degree.  In my opinion they weren't teaching me what I wanted to know.
Every once in a while I get a tinyest of itches to go back and pick up the latest computer skills that I am lacking like InDesign or Adobe Illustrator but that usaully sinks back into the depths like Cthulhu on a bad day.
Is that even possible?
 We'll see if I can break myself to learn the newest program to help make my books look professional. 
And this kid is outta here.

Friday, September 7, 2012

ROSE CITY COMICon this weekend

Hey there sports fans, Al here with the latest: 
As of this posting I will be hanging with my pals from NEOtrash Comix (namely Jason Z. Pott writer extraordinaire and Dan the master plan DePaolo) at the Rose City Comicon 2012.  

In all of the hard work and putting all the ducks in the row the cost to get in got brought up last night while I was hanging out with friend Dan.  The cost of the show for only one day is a whopping $12.50 and $20.00 for both Saturday and Sunday.  That along with others vendors think that's way too steep for a beginning show but they might be making up for lost revenue with the cost of the tablers there.
So please be warned.  But if you make there great an we'll see ya!

Now in the past there has been a number of planned shows in the past under the same name which also leads to lots of confusion with attendees and potential vendors.  But it looks like there is definitely some people who believe that Portland can support another show like this for the independent market here.
The hope I have (like the Jet City Comic Show ) is that the show stays with comics and their creators.  I have heard many grumblings from creators that a lot of shows particularly with The San Diego Comicon as an example have been taken over by other comic related media such as the latest video game or the revealing the latest comic movie adaptation.  I understand the need to cross pollination for a new show to expand your financial base to cover the cost of putting on a shows.   As a creator I really want these shows to succeed but when the show becomes a red carpet for the latest movie special effect juggernaut I want to have nothing to do with it.  But of course what I want ain't the reality.  We all want these shows for the comics again.  

ANOTHER HOWEVER,  and I know that some people may bitch about this here in Portland but "What about Stumptown Comics Fest or The Portland Comic Show?".
Well,  in my option (and exactly what this is, my option), the Portland Comic Show has become the garage sale of comics as vendors try desperately to unload vast volumes of non selling back stock that taking up room in their stores.  And the Stumptown Show seems to have developed a clic-ish mentality that if your work "looks too professional" (what ever that means) your not a independent publisher or creator.  Dude,  seriously last time I looked at my work I didn't see a DC, Marvel, Darkhorse or IDW logo on my books let alone the distribution in Previews.  So I'm not sure how that tracks with people.
Anyway enough about that soapbox.  'Nuff said.
CTS #2 is under way currently as page 8 is worked on.   Soon I am hoping to have the transfers for #3 before October rolls around.   If anything the first collection of all four issues of Corrax the Seeker will be gathered into one and ready for show at E.C.C.C next year.  

Sunday, September 2, 2012


Hey there sports fans, Al here with the latest:


  What more needs to be said -it is done! And will be premiering at the Rose City Comic Show this year here in Portland Oregon Sept 8 and 9th and then followed show,  the Jet City Comic Show in Seattle later in the month.  FAN-F’ING-TASTIC!
Issue #2 of Corrax: The Seeker
copyright 2012 Alan Bennett and BBVA
As CTS #1 is finally done issue #2 begins to take shape.   The final cover you have already seen but here are a couple of inked pages that are completed and fitted into the traditional comic book layout to give you an idea what to expect.

1st appearance of Angry Robot
from Guilded Edges #2
"Cosmic Confrontation -part 2" is under way, and addition to this the beginning of a new plot line is starting to take place in issue #5.  Here are a few rough thumbnail images of those upcoming stories.  Now with those images being shown it should be apparent that there are robots to be seen.  Now of course being the supreme master of vague, this was the hint in the previous blogs I gave you about what was going to be shown in the future issues.  And to top it off this is one of main reasons for Corrax's seeking.  Here are a couple of images  from those original pages from Guilded Edges that show Corrax and the Angry Robot. Now with Corrax the Seeker I've been working hard to keep him light hearted but occasionally you as a writer have to dip your character's toe into something serious.  The A.I. Wars were like that for Corrax.  Now the funny thing is with the A.I. Wars,  this puts things into a time frame for the for the Vega Universe.  The formation of the Rangers was already spoken about in Johnny Vega #1 in color!  (Still available at
And thats where the origin of Angry Robot comes from. 
1st appearance of Corrax- as an Outlaw
from Guilded Edges #4
But this also makes Corrax an old character- like over a century compared to you and me.  
CTS #5 thumbnails.
  With that issue we will be re introduced to the "Angry Robot" -AX1-2501.  The cool thing about him is the Robot continues to be a thorn in side for the Galactic Rangers and especially Corvis.  The Robot only processed Corrax creation by one issue back in the late 1990's.  This was when I was still working with the Eugene Comics Guild.  But now he makes his come back!  And when the Angry Robot shows up, there's no good that can come from it!  Chaos will ensue.  So in issue #5 of CTS, when the report about AX1 comes across his vid phone you'll understand the significance of this relationship.  It will be fun to play with two of my oldest creations. 


For about another two weeks the FANFARE show will continue on till the 9th of September.  And as that shows swings to a close the Rose City Comic Show starts.  Gotta stay in the public eye.  
But the thing to keep in mind is that as an artist in the 21st century you need to spread yourself out as far as possible.  And there's  nothing better than using the internet to do it.  Again this deals with the self promotion that so many artist just don't want to deal with or know how to.
So as the body of work continues to grow the need to spread it grows as well.  The art market has changed immensely over the last two decades and changes the landscape for galleries to sell work exclusively for one artist is rare.  Also the reasonable pricing for work is also needed to be talked about here.  A lot of artists ask me what a good price is for their work.  I firstly tell them I can only really gage my own work.  But it's based on cost of materials and time on putting it together.  In my case it covers the premade scratchboards, xacto blades, steel wool, varnish, framing, cost of gas for transportation to the gallery.  And then you add in the wage you would pay yourself (a living wage not some inflated price) and the percentage cut a gallery takes (in most cases this is about 40%).  But this all comes down to one price for the people at large to be able grasp.  Problem is that so many people think they should get something for nothing.  Sorry folkes, but it's taken a lifetime to get this far honing my skills.  The only thing I'll come down is the percentage cut that a gallery would normally take.  Deal with me directly and you'll see it right away.   That cut can sometimes make a big choice pretty damn easy.


As ECCC starts to loom in the future for 2013, my artist bud Dan DePaolo had mentioned to me about art submissions to the "Monsters and Dames" hard bound book .  If you haven't seen these books you should take a look.  They are prettt cool.  
So I am goung to take a shot at it.  
And that is it for the kid and I am outta here!