Perhaps THIS will be the spark I need.
Author: Art Shirley
Okay…for real, this time…
I’m going to make an effort to post more material to the site.
Though I stopped doing a weekly cartoon a while back – after two years – I am working on some things and will share the sketches and ideas here from time to time.
Hopefully this will inspire to produce more work.
In the meantime, here’s the cover for the second Jack Quasar book. I’ve got the story and pages plotted, but can’t seem to get motivated to actually WORK on it.
Happy Independence Day!
Hope everyone has had a great 4th of July! I plan to get things fired up again here shortly.
Happy Father’s Day!
Wishing all my fellow Dads out there a Happy Father’s Day. My own two boys were the inspiration for this one, though they’re much older than they’re portrayed here.
Also, my own father and his love for a good couch played a hand in this one.
Will miss him, but looking forward to spending time with my boys this weekend.
Whatever you’re doing this weekend-Have a Blast!
An Adventure… 35 Years In the Making!
The following is from the back page of my comic book.
Order your printed copy by clicking the cover below or
click “Order Jack Quasar!” in the menu above to see sample pages
and find out how to order a PDF.
Jack Quasar was created in 1977 as a tribute to Buck Rogers, Flash Gordon and more contemporary influences, Star Trek and, of course, the just-released Star Wars.
My initial idea was a “James Bond in space” and in fact, the original title was Jack Quasar, Man from S.P.A.C.E. I never came up with anything I liked for those letters to stand for and with a couple of exceptions, Jack was more space cowboy than spy.
In the fall of ’77, my family moved from our hometown of Leland, Mississippi to Long Beach, Mississippi, and it was there that I started drawing Jack Quasar. Jack’s adventures took place in a series of letters to a childhood friend, Walter McWhorter, who shared my love for sci-fi and comics. This was before email, computers or scanners, and I kept no copies. Fortunately, Walter did, so I still have some of those early stories.
The adventure presented here is supposed to be the first Jack Quasar story. It’s actually the third time I’ve drawn the story, and I’ve finally gotten around to adding some of the details that have occurred to me over the years.
I’d like to point out that the story as presented here was written in October 2010, long before Ridley Scott’s Prometheus movie was announced. There are a few plot points that are coincidentally similar, but I don’t flatter myself that anyone would ever confuse my work with his.
That said, there’s nothing particularly original about this story or the characters, and I made no real attempt to hide my influences. (See what “homages” to popular culture you can find.) This was done for the fun of revisiting this character, and on that level, if no other, it succeeded.
I hope you enjoy it as well.
The new home for Flying Pig Studios
Its the end of the road for MobileMe. Apple’s online service is no more as of today, and for now, I’m not investing in webhosting until I’m sure I’ll do a better job of keeping things current. I hope to add some of the galleries of work to this site, and may look at going pro with WordPress.
I’m not terribly impressed with iCloud at this point and feel like there are several other, better ways to do the things I was doing with MobileMe (Most are even free!)
I’m sure I’ll eventually go back to a full-fledged website, but for now I want to see how this works.
UPDATE: The picture is supposed to illustrate “end of the road” but it looks like I’m setting up my studio in my sister’s cabin in Nashville. (I wish!)
There’s some solid writing within The Enemy Within!
Looking for that great summer read? Phillip Thompson’s The Enemy Within delivers.
Full disclosure – Phillip wrote a wonderful review of Jack Quasar: Project Prometheus, so it may seem that this look at his book, The Enemy Within is simply a bit of quid pro quo. And yes, there was a certain reciprocity in my deciding that I would gladly take a look at his first novel and see if his writing talent extended beyond making mediocre comic books sound like epic literature. I can be magnanimous that way. (Especially when it’s a free download – thanks Amazon Prime.)
I was also looking for a break from reading George R. R. Martin’s Songs of Fire and Ice series. 3 and a half books in, and I was ready for something not quite so mind-numbingly dark. (Don’t get me wrong – I enjoy the series, but the happy moments are few and far between.)
Not that I expected The Enemy Within to be sunshine and lollipops. The description on Amazon reads:
“Former Marine Wade Stuart, an ATF special agent, finds himself working undercover in his home territory, Mississippi, infiltrating a militia unit with lofty goals. When Stuart uncovers a plot to assassinate the governor and take over the state as part of a people’s revolution, Washington plans to send in the 2nd Marine Division to attack the militia. Stuart sees a bloodbath coming, begs for time to quash the plan, but the President sees this as an opportunity to set an example. Isolated and unsure of the decision out of Washington, Stuart must race to shut down the militia before the military arrives. Enemy Within rushes forward at breakneck speed, and only man can stop these domestic terrorists — Wade Stuart!”
That’s as much of a plot recap as you’ll get here, by the way. Too spoiler prone. Just know that the story works well, I was captured quickly and, yes, at 120 pages, things move along quite quickly. (Given the story’s setting, my home turf as well as the author’s, maybe I should say it moves at redneck speed. Okay, maybe not.)
The quick pace doesn’t mean that Phillip shortchanged other areas of the book. I know well many of the book’s locations, but even readers who have never been south of the Mason Dixon line will feel like they’re right in the spot because of how well things are described.
Phillip’s time in the Marine Corps serves him well writing the military and political aspects of the book. At times, I was reminded of both Grisham and Clancy, but Thompson’s work never seemed derivative of either. His voice is his own, and at times the language is colorful and the descriptions of violence vivid. In all cases, the voice rings true and there’s a grit and reality here, and nothing seems done for the sake of shocking the reader.
I especially appreciate the way Phillip handled the tough topics and tougher characters that are as much a part of the South as mosquitoes and humidity WITHOUT resorting to tired clichés! You’ll recognize some of the characters, but don’t always assume you’ll know what they’ll do. Wade Stuart definitely may fit the action hero mold, but Thompson has obviously created his hero layer by layer. We don’t see as much as we’d like in this first story, but that just makes us look forward that much more to the next installment.
For more on Wade Stuart and to read some of Phillip Thompson’s online musings, follow the link below to the Kudzu Corner. There are links there for downloading Phillip’s books. You’ll be glad you did.
And by the way, for those still thinking this is just tit for tat; 2 chapters into The Enemy Within, I was already downloading the follow up, A Simple Murder and, yes, paying full price! Winter may be coming, but as long as summer’s here, I’ll be hanging with Wade a bit longer.
Comic Book FINISHED!
Finally finished the Jack Quasar comic book this past Saturday, had Will proof it, and uploaded it to the on demand printer, Comixpress, on Monday. I’ll have some copies for family and friends who’ve contributed to or inspired the story in some way or another, and may offer it for sale online, if there’s anyone that’s interested in owning a printed copy. I’m including a link to download a screen rez pdf if anyone would like to look at it first – before or instead of getting the printed copy.
As I mentioned in an earlier post, this has taken longer than I thought, but it’s been a fun project, and I’ve learned some things in the process.
One of the main things I’ve learned is that this doesn’t come as easily to me as it once did. I’ll apologize up front for the often sloppy drawing and the inconsistency of style throughout the book. I rushed through some pages, and it shows.
Being colorblind produces some occasionally bizarre coloring results, as you’d imagine. I’d also apologize for using too many computer tricks and shortcuts, but I’ve worked with deadlines too long to worry too much about something that makes your job easier or allows you to do things faster.
Maybe later, I’ll pull a “Lucas” and go back and redo them, but for now, I’m enjoying being finished and glad that I stuck with it over the 18 months it’s taken to complete the project. I’m usually an “instant gratification” person and don’t like to work on long form projects. This comic book is something I’ve said I wanted to do for years, and I hope it will motivate me to tackle some of the other things I’ve been putting off. (Sorry, Becky, I was thinking more about Ernie, Skip & Joe and not yard work. But you knew that.)
My father loved to tie things into important dates in his family’s lives. He would start something on someone’s birthday or try to complete a project by a certain anniversary. He would have appreciated the fact that I finished this story-a story about fathers and a story that he, as my first and best hero, helped inspire-just as we mark the third anniversary of his death.
(Of course, he would have appreciated even more being around to read it and tying it into Drew’s birthday or Earth Day or something, but then we all would’ve wanted that!)
Thanks to those of you who’ve shown interest and support, not just on this, but all the other random things over the years.
DOWNLOAD FIRST CHAPTER HERE
(I’d suggest saving this to your disk and viewing “2 pages up with cover” if you have that option.)
Closing in on Chapter Two
I was originally hoping to have my Jack Quasar comic book, Project Prometheus, finished and printed in time to use as Christmas Gifts, but got lazy after having the first chapter printed in July.
The new goal is to have it out and printed sometime before June. Now that Ridley Scott has a new movie coming out called Prometheus, I don’t want anyone thinking I’m ripping him off. Not that there will be much to invite comparison other than the title. I’m excited about Scott’s return to SciFi and can’t wait to see the movie.
If I’m unable to get my book finished in time, I’ll just go back to the original title, Flash Rogers and the Star Wars. That should be safe.
Art Table Set Up!
As the 30th anniversary of Ernie, Skip and Joe approaches, I’ve set up the old art table in the den. This is where almost all of the ES&J’s were drawn as well as some of the early Jack Quasars and untold other comics and projects. My grandmother gave me the table, and even though it’s stained and scored, it seems ready for several more years of service.
India ink, Bristol paper and quill pens have been replaced with a Mac laptop and a Wacom tablet. The old school/new school thing appeals to me, and I look forward to sharing new artwork soon.