Sunday, December 30, 2012


Hey there sports fans Al here with the latest:

And with that lets take a look back at
Kicking off the new year starts with a look back and the high lights of year.

A year of regrouping traditional comic illustration and coloring and up from the ashes of Johnny Vega 1-4 sprang Corrax the Seeker.
Johnny has had his last real adventure with Jason Pott's character Jonny Morbid in Weird Atomic Tales crossover.  The failure of any kind of fanfare from this last book kinda put a nail in the creative coffin - figuratively speaking of course.
I have been wanting for a while to work on Johnny's sidekick and at the beginning of the Emerald City ComiCon show of last year so I started working on a solo project with Corrax in it.  And to me it has been some of the best consistent comic work I have ever done.  I'm real proud about that.
After the current story arc is finished we'll see how I feel about another Corrax book, but there is one in the works.

Talk about this project has been on going for nearly four years.  It has changed a lot in that time.   It started out as special project but what kickstarted back into high gear by a conversation about my writing and the use and the lack of dialogue and narration to drive a story.
ALSO working on large panels of scratchboard could really open up the detail for this kinda story sequential story telling in the  panels) and since it takes a silent approach and lets the readers own mind fill in the, it also avails itself for international distribution.  Something I hadn't even thought of.
New territory for me to explore.  And that makes this venture very exciting!

This last year had been a little lax in the number of shows that I had been asked to participate in unlike the year before.   But the ones that I have been in have much more  high profile galleries here in Portland and much closer to having that one man show I have been working towards.
The first was...
Unlike last year I had already been working on this show before I got the invite.
BUT THE BIGGEST DIFFERENCE was the fact that this invite had me having to show work in a digital forum.  In all honesty,  it seemed a little iffy to be showing original work that way. But as a concerned artist my fears were alleviated by Ben Pink.   He had been doing it for years.
The several months after that had no contact from anyone for "the 88 Strong show" or "I think, therefore I am show".
My first feeling was that I pissed somebody off down the road.
This was not the case at all as I found that I was not the only one to receive an email about these shows.
Then from out of nowhere the same organizers suddenly asked me to participate in the...
 FANFARE SHOW with three pieces that I had worked on early during the summer.  FanFare show turned out to be a great time as I found one of my larger pieces right at the front door entrance.  This show really played to my strength as fantasy/sci-fi illustrator.  Nice change of pace compared to last years Portland Love Show having a piece placed downstairs and behind a door.  But being in this show after the birthday began to heat things up for more shows.
Then there was NEW BROW show later in the year.   This was to me a "just fill in the blanks" kinda show but luckily I just happened to have a piece that would work for them.
As it turned out this was the high profile show I was hoping for on the west side.
Immediately after was the invite for the BIG 300.  This show has always been very successful for me and this year was no disappointment either.  I can't really say any more than I will always be part of this show if I am able.

Now comic shows are always a grab bag when comes to sales.  Some of other fellow indipenants have the same issue- you just never know.
The first of year was Emerald City ComiCon.
  Last year had been very cool with Corpse Cop.   AND the mono smack down book of Werid Atomic Tales was done and ready to sell.  It didn't, not really.  So that was kinda a bummer for me because I had put all of this hard work into it. I STILL think it rocks!
Then there was Stumptown Comic Festival.
  Unfortunately there was then need to leave for a wedding so there you go.  So there was no way to tell how people did at the show.
Next on the list was the Rose City ComiCon.
  This was a successful show for all concerned.  Vastly different than say Stumptown.   Funny concidering that Stumptown was just at the same place two years before.
As I have said before this was a great show maybe a little cramped for space but worth while.   Sales did well for NEOtrash Comix at the table but not as well for myself as I would have hoped for.
But I still had a great time.
THE JET CITY SHOW turned out this year to be the best comic show I had been too.  But sales of original art work far over shadowed any of the sales with the comics.  This had confirmed that I needed to shift my attention to the art work rather than the comics being produced.  At least thats the way it to you comes across to me.

Godzilla Strikes Again 2012 Toby Person Collection
Anne Frankenstein Copyright 2012
Lazy Bones Studios
N.W.I.P.A Christmas Commission 2012
Now this was a really interesting situation for me this year.  As I completed one work another suddenly would pop up.  In the list there were five completed this year and one on the way.
The 11"x14"scratchboard Godzilla Strikes Again.
Anne Frankenstein 11"x14" scratchboards for Lazy Bones Studios.
Godzilla Ammo Works illustration for a patch.
Bastet scratchboard piece for an altar.

And the N.W.I.P.A. Christmas ornament tree topper installation.
And that's about it.

I do commissions depending size, complexity of the piece, varnished and framed.  Usually half down half on completion of project.  Payments are through PayPal.  Email me at and we will work out the details.

Old blog for Black Box Comix entries can be found here at
I know strange but the identity theft that I experienced last year warranted a new blog presence.
And this kid is outta here.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

That Time of the Year

2012 copyright Alan Bennett and BBVA

Hey there sports fans Al here with the latest:
Well Christmas is nearly here and time to say thanks for the friends and family that you have.  I know that I am.  Especially after this last week.
Hug them and tell them you love them because that is the greatest gift you can give them.

The N.W.I.P.A. installation- SWEET!
There are always two sides to everything.  2012 copyright
N.W.I.P.A.  Artwork by Alan Bennett


                                            Well by this time my large Christmas Tree ornament is completed and turned in and should be adorning a tree and a window front.  Pretty cool. 

Next on the commission agenda is a small scratchboard piece of Egyptian Goddesses Sekhmet and Bastet.   That will be a fun one to do as well.
Partial color.

Most of the basic color has been applied to the work.  But now comes the finishing color to flesh out the work.  The digital coloring really fleshes out the pen and ink work that has already been laid down.  So be looking for CST #2 at ECCC this next year.
So what's this mean for Corrax?  That his first story arc will be completed in 2013.  What does this mean for future stories for Corvis?   New stories of course!  AND with a new story arc and a new way to render the characters within in a different color pallet to suit the story.  In this case its a noir type of story.  And the pallet will be muted with a turquoise/blue color with an off setting neutral grey color.

This will be all be incorporated into "A.I. Wars".  some of this you may have already seen in my thumbnails that I have posted recently.   Looking cool.
Now there had to be some talk about this big project for 2013. 
The collection of 16"x20" scratchboards are started to the collected.  And we are looking at about 62 pages.  Plus cover (front and back ) and the interiors.

This is a big deal for me as I am looking at the possible pulling back from the comics and focusing on the commission side and gallery work.  Dreams of Elysium bridges the gap between the two.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

A Bit Stressed but okay

Hey there sports fans, Al here with the latest:


This year has been a turbulent one towards the end and instead of embracing our friends and family and coming together in fellowship and brotherhood (sisters you are all included in this) this country is being torn apart from the inside by the most random and senseless amount of violence I have ever witnessed truthfully first hand.
Walking into what was supposed to be an end to my day of work I walk into the sound of gunfire and the mass panic of people running for their lives to get out of harms way.  I did the best I could to control a situation and lead with some authority my co- workers and calm down and lead people out a building.
Yes, I work at the Clackamas Town Center in Portland OR.
The feeling of lack of control is a humbling and a scary proposition for anyone and though "calm mode" was engaged, I was scared shitless.
But following hours I was angry and frustrated because it was so senseless- no reason what so ever.
Then the shootings in Connecticut re intensified that feeling and this time children who will never get the chance to open presents this Christmas.
"Angry Fist"  2012 copyright Alan Bennett and BBVA
I just wanta scream at the top of my lungs "STOP IT!"  But I know that the world will not quiver with the shaking of my voice.  Like Alfred says to Bruce Wayne in the Dark Knight "Some men just want to watch the world burn."  So true.
Like any alcoholic who acts out at the people around them because they have a disease doesn't make it right.  I agree with a friend of mine that it seems very odd that we have a system where it's easy to get a gun but help for mental health is (ha) insane.
There is no reason, in my opinion, and it's great to have all of the experts point fingers to clues for the reasons why but it doesn't help that the fact is it happened and the unfortunate knowledge that it will happen again someplace again but I know I will do exactly what I did before- without question.  My heart goes out to those people seriously in Connecticut.  I wish I could do more than pray for you but it's the best I can do you all in your time of loss.
I just hope that we can all get it together and get through this.


CTS #4 page 9, panels 1-3
Work has been slowed but not stopped with all the craziness that has been sweeping the world but the work keeps focused.  And CTS is looking great even in the blocking phase of inks.  I am looking to have a the second issue of CTS#2 ready by the time ECCC comes around this year.  So there will be another book coming.  Yea!  That makes me happy!  

The end of the year also bring people out to by artwork for particular jobs as well and this year is no different the only thing that changes up is the client in some cases.  And this is not the usual commission for scratchboard but traditional illustration.  Cool.  That is fun as well but also challenging at the same time but you don't want to become complacent with your work or things begin to stagnate.  

With one week elapsed and seven of ten peices sold I think says something about the work don't you?  SWEET!  
One of my high points other having some beer after a long day at work sell art supplies was seeing a remnant of my pervious art piece from last years BIG 200 show.  This made me happy as this was a also a remnant of another show that I had did for Cosmic Monkey Comics during their free comic day about two years ago.  Brady Cornelius is his name and the experiments done to him do not make him happy at all.  Like Mojo Jojo he's  the angry chimp of the Johnny Vega universe.  His origin is at the same time as Suntop.  Methusla Kcon was a very busy and bad man.
I am still surprised by the fact that a Brain in the Jar didn't leave because I saw a lady walking out with this piece.  Strange but he is still there.  But he'll be around for a little while if not, I have other original pieces to sell at any other show this upcoming year.
2012 Copyright Micheal Wm. Kaluta
That work always does well for me.


I just came across a Michael William Kaluta  book that looked awesome with John Carter stuff in it!  Fantastic.  Al Williamson and Wally Wood are my favorites of the fifties and sixties but during the seventies and eighties there was a whole slew of artist to grab, Steranko was at the top of the list but just as hard to get ahold of.  Bernie Wrightson, Barry Windsor Smith and Michael Wm. Kaluta   I have had the fortune to meet both Wrightson and Kaluta at San Deigo and determined that Kaluta was just a big teddy bear that you just wanted to hug.  His style and aproach to his work hasn't changed all much just the subject matter and the volumes of it. Aboslutely Fantastic!  That kind professional constancy is what keeps me coming back for his work.  His detailed backgrounds are awesome and alive with mood. This is where he differers from say Geof Darrow who is fantastic at creating a multitude of chaos when Nixon goes through a glass car window but the mood is kinda missing.  
1975 copyright Marvel Comics
Not so with Kaluta's work.  I think the first time I saw his work was on the cover of Marvel's black and white magazine "Unknown Worlds of Science Fiction" back in the seventies for the story called "War Toy".  
It's one of the reasons that I like doing  robots in the Johnny Vega Universe.  I like that stuff.

SO I may be purchasing a present for my self soon.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Last Show of the Year


The year begins to wind down as the days of fall evaporate into the winter months and the last big show of the year started and before Christmas and the New Years.
The BIG 300 art show kicked off yesterday here in Portland Oregon and was looking like it was still going strong by the time that I had gotten there after a long busy day at the art supply store that I work at part time.
Of course, I may have imbibed a bit too much but it was fun to see all the work being presented there. It was good to see other friends of mine there and talk to them about things related and unrelated to artwork and the creation of it. There was one piece that I really liked but did not have the cash on hand to buy.  I might still try to pick it up today if the weather isn't to gnarly to ride in.  I usually like a sunday to be a day when I stay at home and relax (so to speak) and work on project(s) that I don't get the chance to to really work on except on the weekend.
But what make the end of this year pretty cool is the fact that I have another show still going on about 5 to 6 blocks away with the New Brow show.  Good times for the kid.
It's been a long drive to get these works up and running and I realize that the lofty goals that I have had earlier this year some will not make to paper before the end of the year.
But there is always next year and the Dreams of Elysium is on the boards and ready to be looked over again and drawn down then etched onto the scratchboard.
Perhaps i may be able to purchase a larger scanner than I have currently.  It's a pain in my behind when I have to scan a work three sometimes four times before I am done with a page and I know that I am going to be doing that here this next year.
Maybe the Kickstarter program will help this kid out with that process and end my headache.


Well there are still outstanding pieces that I need to work on but there is that question about payment.  

Like a lot of serious artists who are trying to make it in this economy people don't get something for free.  Think of this as good will gesture.   You compensate me for a half of the cost of the said project and then I will make time in my schedule to work on it.  But nothing is for free.  I wish people would understand that.  I truely don't like coming across being mean but I think that (and I know you guys have read this before) but being taken advantage of by non artistic types pisses me off.  And I will leave it at that.

CTS #4 Cover- in progress.  2012 copyright
Alan Bennett and BBVA
Well the computer coloring is coming along pretty well and the inking for the last two issues even more so with limited amount of time to work on them but all in all things are looking good.

After talking to my printer earlier this week I may be looking at getting some decent prints made of scratchboards for sale at Emerald City this next year and I think this is a great idea!   This would make the sale of art work begin to cover the cost of printing the books and cost of tables.  So this sounds like a win win situation.  

And that is it for the kid.  Work to be done.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

So Begins the Last Month

Hey there sports fans Al here with the latest: 
The retouched BIG 300 images copyright 2012
Alan Bennett and BBVA

In werid twist of fate what was supposedly be an early and easy drop off for art work became something much more.
I faced the artistic nightmare that every painted artist has had to deal with messed up varnish.
Now to say that art work was messed up was an understatement but it still could be presented but not the clean and polished work like I had hoped for.  The barrier paper called Glassien is supposed to a acid free paper that nothing is stick to.  Well that would have been true if the varnish had curred correctly.   
Of course I can fix this issue but it does bring up the question of doing finishes for work in the future.  I don't have a workable studio so like so many others and I have to work on my artwork at my regular 9 to 5 job.  That means really no break of anykind.  So I had to think quickly about what to do.  And I did last year.  Spray inside my work area and place the artwork in a room that many people never go or have access to.
That is my only option left to me.   But past events have proven that to me that this will work though not ideal.


Corrax the Seeker covers 1 though 5
As the end of the year begins to raise it's head the end of one story arc also being seen.  Currently page 5 of Cosmic Confrontation -The Conclusion! is being drawn up right now on the light table.  I don't think that it will take long before all the transfers are completely done.  But this also takes away from me the idea that issue  2 will be colored like I hoped.  But this also means that Jason will have much more to edit when he over all story arc from beginning to end.  
Of course this opens a topic that I feel really strong about.
With other editors that I have dealt with before in the past, I have tried to explain a story and character's(s) motivation and what will happen but because this is all outside of their prevue (without the use of a hard copy in hand) there are the questions. The constant questions and then the ever infamous offering of suggestions that are made for the work because they couldn't see the end result or appreciate the scope of the story.  I don't really blame them though.  When you sit back and have to read through bad scripts and poorly conceived story boards  (and have several of them at the same time) you just want to not worry about the one book that is easy to deal with.
I know what that is like when dealing with submissions.   I am just hoping that I run into that happy little issue down the road.
ITS ALSO one of the things I had issues with from other comic book creators and illustrators. Them offering their two cents worth making me and others doubt their abilities in the work that was being produced and shown. And of course all these suggestions were just offered out of hand.  When you show  a piece of work to somebody, especially a colleague and friend, you're showing a part of your self to the world.  The responce is like a lot of comic book collectors, slightly arrogant and above reproach.  They all would just offer up ideas that you should pursue without realizing the amount of damage that can be done just by opening their mouths. I would hope that wisdom would roll down from on high so when these brothers in arms when asked for their opinion they realize the damage they can do.
But I don't really see this happening anytime soon.  Just toughen up that thin skin kid, you'll do just fine.
SORRY I will get off my soap box but there are times when people who are better off technically and financially than some of the rest of is less fortunate who just don't think before their open their lips.  I know a lot of people like that.  I know that they didn't mean any harm and thought they were helping but don't offer those ideals unless you were asked.
AND IF YOU were wondering why I brought this up it's because of a few things that have happened recently. 
CTS is going to look cool when completed but now comes the question, do I wait to get the second series out for "A.I. Wars" to be complied into what I call a "Microbus" collection.  Or continue trying to do a ongoing series?  The microbus (as opposed to an omnibus) would be the best collection of all of Corrax's appearances of old from my Guild days living in Eugene and throughout the Pandora's Garage books and all of the Johnny Vega books.
Perhaps only the colored collection would work.  Some people have this strange aversion to black and white which still I don't get even to this day.
Maybe it might be because when I started picking up comics it was always better to really start off with as much bang for your buck- literally.  It wasn't till I picked up the original Swamp Thing that I really got into it.  Of course that was colored.
My feeling is that three of the new CTS stories possibly four.  Plus colored original pages from Corrax's first appearance.  This would show the evolution of the artistic style as well as the character evolution of Corrax.  I think that would be really interesting.  The Corrax of today looks a bit different than he did back then.
By this posting I should be finished with the transfers for issue #4.   That is a big issue for me.  It clears the path for Dreams of Elysium.  But of course there are wild cards being thrown onto the mix.   That card is War Ram.
Jason Z.  Decided with my blessing to bring the Unstopible Engine of Destruction another story. 
When a few things didn't quite work out with Corpse Cop Jason had a story follow up.   As small as the page count is the story is immense!  
Should be fun to work on.

Now after a few months of sitting around working on art work for the CTS comics other things have been a little slow for commissions till now.   In the last week an old I belive mentioned that I had been commissioned for a scratchboard piece of Egyptian Goddesses Sekhmet and Bastet for a friend of mine (and old roommate).   This will be cool for me since I haven't ever rendered these two siblings together for in the last 15 years.
This falls right into my strengths for all the anthromorphic characters I have done already in the past.  A price has still yet to be set but I could forsee it not being a  huge investment for her. AND in grand Christmas Holiday cheer I walked into a local bar for some beer and low and behold another commission.  Traditional illustration with color.  SWEET!  And here I was thinking I was going through a dry spell.  As my art mom Lynnie Peterson used to say to me "Feast or Famine"  in work and pay.   Good times.