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Last update: 2013-06-24

Podcast Episode 223 :: MAN OF STEEL Movie Review

2013-06-24
Length: 1s

Director Zack Snyder's big budget attempt to wipe our collective memories of Watchmen and Sucker Punch is finally here. Yeah, that's right Man of Steel. This darker, edgier depiction of Superman has easily been the most anticipated geek movie of this year thanks to a series of well-timed trailers. And early numbers indicate those trailers have been mighty effective at putting butts in seats.

Online 'guesstimations' place the budget for this reboot featuring the Last Son of Krypton at right around $225,000,000. So far, it's done $245M worldwide. Not bad for just ten days work. By the time the Blu-Ray/DVD comes out in November, it will likely be considered a success if not a bona fide hit.

But setting aside box office concerns is Man of Steel a good movie? More specifically, is it a good Superman movie? And does it hit where Bryan Singer's Superman Returns spectacularly missed back in 2006?

The average ticket buyer (that's code for non-geek) will probably enjoy Snyder's new film with no problems. Sh*t blows up real good, super-powered characters knock each other through buildings, and the CGI definitely isn't in need of more cowbell.

That said, since its release the nerd community has been hopelessly split. Most hardcore comic books fans agree that Man of Steel has plenty of raw entertainment value, but about half of us think it still has issues. (And by issues, we are not talking the bagged and boarded kind.) There are crits galore out there from various geek pundits concerning character portrayal, story cheats, and the final epic battle between Kal-El and the villainous General Zod.

On this episode of SiDEBAR, the fellas and I chop all that stuff up and leave our general impressions on the mics. We call it the good, the bad and the ugly. Let us know what you think, 'Nation.

- SWAiN

***"Man of Steel" starring Henry Cavill, Amy Adams, Michael Shannon and Russell Crowe opened on June 14th in theaters everywhere.

This one goes a little long, folks. And yes, there IS an Easter egg.

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Podcast Episode 222 :: Cover Band

2013-06-14
Length: 1s

This little roundtable was recorded (somewhat covertly) in an empty panel room at Spectrum Live 2. I thought it would be fun to discuss comic book cover art, so I hit up our friend Mark Chiarello (DC Comics Art Director) about joining us on the mics. He said sure, but suggested we ask another friend, George Pratt (The Art Department), to sit in as well. George said he would love to, and well, we did it.

The questions were these: What makes a good comic book cover? How have they changed over the many decades from the Golden Age up to current day? At what point did comic publishers decide to really focus on the cover image as a tool to get fans to buy their books? And who are some of the all-time greats at creating the quintessential comic book cover? (Ah, you'll have to listen in to find out the answers, true believers!)

Our thanks to George and Mark for jumping in the fray with us. They are both big fanboys so it didn't take much wrangling. And special thanks to Spectrum Live for "loaning" us (cough, cough) the use of one of their rooms. 'Preciate you, Cathy and Arnie!

**WARNING: THE AUDIO ON THIS EPISODE HAS SOME ISSUES. MY MIC WASN'T PLUGGED IN PROPERLY, SO MY VOICE SOUNDS FAR AWAY. APOLOGIES UP FRONT, 'NATION! IT WAS ALL ON ME, NOT THE OTHER GUYS.

- SWAiN

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Podcast Episode 221 :: TERRYL WHITLATCH - From the Main Stage at SFAL2

2013-06-10
Length: 42s

To be honest, illustrator and creature designer Terryl Whitlatch was someone that I was absolutely unfamiliar with prior to hosting her panel on the main stage at Spectrum Fantastic Art Live 2. The first time that I had heard her name was when she was named a Special Guest on the Spectrum website.  

Shame on me.

However, in my preparation for the panel, I found her work to be fascinating and I bubbled over with questions to ask. I and the panel audience learned about her life-long passion for animals both real and imagined, how she creates the phyisiology of fantastic creatures for film and her involvement with Star Wars: The Phantom Menace and the creation of Jar-Jar Binks. Plus we learn about her creator-owned book The Katurran Odyssey with writer David Michael Wieger.

A big thanks to Terryl for being a delight and enlightening me on a subject that I knew nothing about and a huge thanks to the attendees for their excellent questions.

- ADRiAN

**More audio to come from Spectrum Live 2. Stay tuned!

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Podcast Episode 220 :: PETER DE SEVE - From the Main Stage at SFAL2

2013-06-03
Length: 51s

I like this young man right here. This young man invented the phrase: "Oh no, you didn't!" He is none other than Peter de Sève, and he was one of the Special Guests at Spectrum Fantastic Art Live 2.

We spoke with Peter (or Pete, as he allowed me to call him) on the podcast back in October of 2010. As a character designer, he was fresh off of Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs and well into the promo tour for his recently-released sketch book, A Sketchy Past: The Art of Peter de Sève. I had a copy of said sketch book and loved it, so Dwight and I called him up and we had a lively and robust chat. Click here to check out the tomfoolery.

Fast forward to May of 2013 and Spectrum Live 2. I not only got to meet Peter in person, but I also moderated the panel with him from the SFAL main stage. I found him to be as charming and jovial in person as he was during our phone interview. Lucky moi.

Thanks to de Sève for being such an entertaining guest, thanks to the attendees for their presence and great questions, and thanks to you all for listening in today.

And, oh Darla lives!

- SWAiN

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Podcast Episode 219 :: TARA MCPHERSON - From the Main Stage at SFAL2

2013-05-30
Length: 56s

Tara McPherson: Illustrator. Designer. Entrepreneur. Bass player. Mom. (And certainly not in that order!)

Tara was also one the very special guests at Spectrum Fantastic Art Live 2 a few weeks ago. As expected, I had crazy fun at the event and she was one of the reasons why. Dwight and I had met her once before at a Dragon*Con, but never got the chance to chat with her on-mic. Well, SFAL fixed all that.

McPherson took to the main stage on Saturday morning and the audience ate her up. She was upbeat, charming and ready to go. Recommended for your ears, 'Nation!

- SWAiN

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Podcast Episode 218 :: RALPH MACCHIO

2013-05-24
Length: 1s

In this age of perpetual hyperbole, the word 'legend' gets thrown around a lot. If you last, you're a legend. If you've done great work over the years, you're a legend. If your name has been attached to big name projects, you're a legend. It can (and does) get old.

However, in a career spanning over thirty years, Marvel writer-editor Ralph Macchio has done all the things mentioned above and more. Without question, he has earned the title 'legend'.

Ralph as a part-time writer and on-staff editor has touched nearly every character in the Marvel Universe. He was in the Bullpen for all of Frank Miller's classic runs on Daredevil (including the Born Again series with artist David Mazzucchelli). He gave young talents like Bill Sienkiewicz, John Romita, Jr., and Greg Capullo their first big breaks in comics. In 2000, he was put in charge of the entire Ultimates line at the request of Editor-in-Chief Joe Quesada. And he also oversaw the launch of Marvel's adaptation of Stephen King's The Dark Tower and The Stand novels in 2007.

As a writer, Macchio crafted the Project: Pegasus Saga in Marvel Two-In-One, and also had stints putting his pen to titles like The Mighty Thor and The Avengers.

Our chat with Macchio is a long one, but it needed to be. We had plenty to ask and we didn't want to rush the man. As they say in his business, he had a story to tell. As a matter of fact, he had plenty.

Have fun listening in, 'Nation. 

- SWAiN

**A big super-sized thanks to our pal Skottie Young for hooking us up with Ralph!

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Podcast Episode 217 :: WILLIAM WRAY

2013-05-15
Length: 1s

Willaim Wray is a trip. Let me say that up front. He's a former comic book artist, former animator, former cartoonist, and present-day fine artist; but turns out his real superpower is that of storyteller. And his stories will trip you out.

If his name sounds familiar, it's because Wray went by "Bill Wray" back in his commercial art days. As Bill, he worked for animation houses like Spumco and Filmation, drew comics for companies like Marvel and Dark Horse, and was the one-man creative force behind Monroe, a strip he did for MAD magazine. Monroe ran in over 100 issues of MAD before a frustrated BIll finally hit the ejector button.

He also co-created Hellboy Junior in 1997 with his friend, writer-artist Mike Mignola. The series was a one-shot, but is fondly remembered by fans of the Anung un Rama universe.

During our conversation, Wray dropped a few names, but not at all in the douchey way. When one has had as varied a career path as him, one is bound to have run into everybody: Dave Stevens, Doug Wildey, Howard Chaykin, John Kricfaluci, Roy Thomas, Al Williamson, Tony Dezuniga, Alfredo Alcala, Jack Kirby, Ashley Wood, etc. Exhausting, right?

We jumped on board the Bill Train and held on for dear life as he regaled us with tales that will curl your hair. And he also shared some insights into his life now as a fine artist; a pusuit he finds richly satisfying, but replete with its own unique challenges.

Oh, and please pick up a copy of Wray's new art book from Brandstudio Press called Monolith. It's his second book with Brandstudio and looks to be 48 pages of full-color, full-bleed, urban landscape awesomeness!

Thanks for checking out the interview. William Wray was a hoot. And a trip.

- SWAiN

***Bill's blog.

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Podcast 216 :: Bookshelf Babble-On

2013-05-06
Length: 1s

I think we got us a series, y'all. Welcome to our third Bookshelf Babble-On!

If you haven't listened to our previous installments, the premise of this series is this: We go to our respective bookshelves, pick a book we like, and try not to bore everybody for the next hour. It's that simple.

Dwight's choice for this episode was an old favorite in terms of the artist: Luis Royo's "Third Millennium". One part art book, one part narrative, and all parts apocalyptic; Royo's hauntingly beautiful art details the story of a physically deteriorating man who replaces his dead body parts with mechanical ones. It also explores the untraditional romance he has with the woman he pines for with the ultimate of contrasts: flesh against metal.

Dwight has mentioned Royo's name fondly on this podcast and in person, so it was fun hearing him officially wax poetic on the pathos within one of Luis' stories.

My pick was "Sharaz-de: Tales from the Arabian Nights" by the late Sergio Toppi. As most know, Toppi passed away last year. And being a relatively new fan, I was determined to get one of his books on my bookshelf sooner rather than later. So, when Archaia Entertainment announced that they were putting out an English language edition of "Sharaz-de", let's just say that like Marcellus Wallace: "I was on the motherf*cker, Jules".

The story is a classic tale of evil spirits, despotic kings and supernatural intrigue, and it is gorgeous to behold. If you don't know Toppi's work, you ought to be ashamed ashamed, I say!

Adrian's book was a curve ball, folks. You do a podcast with a guy for a few years and you think you know him. Not so much. "The Adventures of Jodelle" by Guy Peellaert and Pierre Bartier is as pop art as pop art can be. And who knew Adrian really dug that stuff?! (Not us.)

Though "Jodelle" has been a sensation in Europe for decades, Peellaert wasn't even a comic book artist when he created it. He was a Belgium advertising dropout who wanted to try comics as another medium of expression. Rumor has it, Peellaert often made up the story page-by-page as he drew it. 

"The Adventures of Jodelle" is an sexy, anachronistic romp filled with the juicy visuals and aesthetic of the emerging counter-culture of the mid-1960s. And to be even more subversive, Peellaert appropriated the visage of real-life French teen idol Sylvie Vartan as his heroine, Jodelle.

Also, 'Jodelle' was first run in the French magazine Hara-Kiri, which was also home to several early efforts of Moebius (Jean Giraud)!

Thanks for checking out another Babble-On, 'Nation. We appreciate the ears. More interviews and roundtables a-coming!

- SWAiN

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Podcast Episode 216 :: Remembering the Man Called MOEBIUS

2013-04-14
Length: 1s

Jean Giraud.

Moebius.  

Two names existing as a monolith of singular vision. A vision that can conjure tales of gunfighters riding the arid trails of the Old West, to alternate worlds with towering mega-cities, to the farthest expanse of the imagination.

And beyond.

When Jean Giraud aka Moebius died a year ago, social media amongst his fans went nuts! It is not hyperbole to say that Giraud was one of the few living artists whose work was universally admired and loved by everyone.

He is missed.

To mark the anniversary of his passing (March 10, 2012), we took an hour to remember Moebius. Words could hardly encapsulate the breadth of this career, though we do try. Thanks for stopping by and taking a listen.

- ADRiAN

**In honor of Blueberry, we threw an Easter egg at the end of this one discussing our favorite westerns. Stay til the end credits roll, 'Nation!

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Podcast Episode 214 :: JOHN ROMITA, JR

2013-04-01
Length: 1s

With a career spanning over three decades, John Romita, Jr. has come to be known as "Mr. Marvel" or simply "JRJR". Like his father, John Romita, Sr., his name is practically synomynous with Marvel Comics as he has depicted nearly every character in the company's universe.

With a style typified by solid storytelling and powerful visuals, JRJR puts the 'super' in super-heroes. He is as adept at illustrating tales of street-level crimes as he is with capturing the majesty of galaxy-spanning demigods. 

Romita, Jr. has been a personal favorite of mine since my first issue of his Iron Man run (#258, to be exact). I got it as part of a 3-for-$2 grab bag when I was a young teen. Shortly thereafter, I started collecting anything I could find of his: Uncanny X-Men, Daredevil, Punisher War Zone, Daredevil: Man Without Fear, and of course, Amazing Spider-Man.

But JRJR's success and longevity have not come without joys and pains as we discover in our conversation. He details his early career wrought with accusations of nepotism, and his mission to establish his own artistic identity apart from that of his legendary dad.

John also regales us with hilarious stories of the 1980s-era Marvel bullpen and him being the first (and only) Marvel "Hunk of the Month". And he speaks warmly of his collaborations with writers Frank Miller, Ann Nocenti and Mark Millar, as well as inkers Al Williamson and Klaus Janson.

- ADRiAN

* Special thanks to our friend Warren Drummond for helping make this interview possible.

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Podcast Episode 213 :: DAN DOS SANTOS

2013-03-22
Length: 1s

In a marketplace where digital is increasingly becoming the production standard for book covers and sci-fi/fantasy art, there are artists still dedicated to bringing fantastical visions to life with oil-to-canvas.

One of those artists is Dan Dos Santos!

In our conversation, we discuss working within the ever-changing field of sci-fi/fantasy art, his mentorship with illustrator Steven Stroud, love of comics, and the virtues of hard work instilled in him by his parents. Dan also relates his founding of the Muddy Colors blog and what the future may hold for it.

Dos Santos has worked for clients such as Disney, Universal Studios, Scholastic Books and Wizards of the Coast, and can be found online at dandossantos.com. He posts regularly on the aforementioned Muddy Colors blog as well, along with his fellow contributors.

- ADRiAN

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Podcast Episode 212 :: Shine On — TONY SALMONS

2013-03-19
Length: 57s

In this latest edition of our 'Shine On' series, we focus on artist Tony Salmons. In the circles of comic book art, Salmons has been lauded for his energetic, avant-garde approach on titles such as Dakota North, Vigilante, The Mark and Doctor Strange.

A thinking man and an "artist's artist", Salmons is hailed by his peers as one of the brightest of their generation. However, many of those same peers will also relate that Tony seems plagued by misfortune, chronic lateness and the ruination of relationships in his professional and personal life.

Swain and I discuss these aspects of Salmons' career as well as his influences and his influence on other cartoonists.

- ADRiAN

**Special thanks to friend of the show Michel Fiffe for his excellent three-part interview with Salmons at The Factual Opinion. Many of the points from our conversation were culled from Fiffe's interview. 

***And another thanks to past guest Toby Cypress for his story about meeting Salmons. We quoted him from his post on the DrawingBoard.org forums.

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Podcast Episode 211 :: Under the Influence

2013-02-27
Length: 1s

Despite our slightly misleading title, the conversation on the show today is pretty sober. And we were joined in it by a special guest, Wilfredo Torres — friend of the show and artist on The Shadow: Year One mini-series available right now from Dynamite Entertainment. It seemed apropos to ask Wilfredo on. Not only is he a stellar artist himself, but one look at his work will easily tell you what his influences are.

Or will it..?

Hence, the crux of today's roundtable. We chop up the nature of influence in comics and art. Why some artists transcend their influences while others do not. How far should said influences go? And can one be influenced in ways other than visually?

Check out the discussion and see what you think. Our goal with the talk was to take a conversation we have all had privately with our buddies, and bring it to the fore. Hell, you'll even learn to appreciate the greatness that is Curt Swan if you don't already. (Shame on you if you don't!)

-ADRiAN

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Podcast Episode 210 :: NATHAN FOWKES

2013-02-22
Length: 1s

Today's conversation is with visual development artist/instructor Nathan Fowkes. Fowkes' career in animation of nearly two decades has included work with clients such as DreamWorks, Disney and Digital Domain, and spans feature films like The Road To El Dorado, The Prince of Egypt and Shrek Forever After. He shares some enlightening and funny anecdotes about working in the field of "entertainment arts".

Nathan also details his experience as an instructor; teaching classes in charcoal portraiture and use of color and light. And as Fowkes reveals, he once had a famous artist in his class and didn't even know it. (It's great, too!). Allow us to say that you owe it to yourself to discover Fowkes' masterful charcoal drawings and vibrant watercolors. 

He can be found online at nathanfowkes.blogspot.com. Tell him SiDEBAR sent you!

- ADRiAN

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Podcast Episode 209 :: Run for Your Life!

2013-02-01
Length: 1s

Belated Happy New Year, 'Nation!

The Tres Amigos are recovered and ready to bring you the art funky like none other. First, we have some unfinished business from last year as we present Dwight with his belated Christmas gift (it's good, too!). Then, Swain and I give thanks for bundles of amazing books that we received from friends of the show (Thanks, Derek and Colby!). 

Then it's our Feature Presentation of the roundtable segment we like to call 'Run For Your Life'. For the uninitiated, this is the segment where Dwight, Swain and myself each choose a run of comics that impacted us personally and chop it up. Dwight chose Fantastic Four issues 279-281, Swain chose Amazing Spider-Man issues #18-22 and I chose The Invaders issues #1-28, plus the Giant-Size Annual PLUS the What If? issue #4. (It all fits together, trust me.)

Hope you enjoy the talk and here's to an awesome 2013!

- ADRiAN

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Podcast Episode 208 :: 2012 Year End Wrap-Up

2012-12-31
Length: 1s

Of course, on this last episode of 2012, we reflect a little and celebrate a lot. Plenty of great interviews were had this year, tons of fulfilling conversations, some big belly laughs, and even a few cries. It's been a good one, 'Nation.

Thank you sincerely for hanging out with us over the last twelve months. We couldn’t have done it without you all.

Thank you to each and every guest who made the time to come on the show and chat. You are appreciated! *Tupac voice*

Thank you to Graham Crackers Comics for continuing to be the best sponsor around. John, you and the guys are the best!

And my personal thanks to Dwight and Adrian for having my back on these here mics. The three of us form a unit like Voltron, yo!

- SWAiN

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Podcast Episode 207 :: STEVE 'THE DUDE' RUDE

2012-12-03
Length: 1s

Steve Rude aka the Dude is by far one of my favorite comic book artists and illustrators. By far. So it was a real honor to finally interview him for this podcast. Oh, sorry — Steve Rude is generally known as the Dude to his friends. (Come on, try to keep up.)

I’m a fan of the Dude’s going back to my late teens. With his brilliant, sci-fi adventure series Nexus (with writer Mike Baron), The Incredible Hulk vs. Superman, World's Finest, X-men: Children of the Atom, and his work on so many other titles; the guy is just the best.

I have my pal Don Hillsman to thank again for turning me on to Nexus, and essentially, on to Steve Rude. Don was reading Nexus in the ‘80s, and as he had done many times before, shared the love. I said he was a pal, right?

After that, I became a rabid fan of Rude's stuff. I bought all of his comics, and eventually his art books, too. And discovered he was not only an outstanding comic book artist, but an outstanding all-around artist. The Dude can do it all — illustration, portraits, landscapes, commercial art — all of it! But as we found out in our talk with him, at the end of the day, comics are home. They are his calling.

Originally from the Midwest (like Dwight and I), Steve now makes his home in Peoria, AZ. He’s a family man (which comes up in the interview), fiercely loyal to his friends, and dedicated in the truest sense to his craft. You won’t meet a guy more committed to growing as an artist.

Our conversation covers it all, although not step-by-step. We thought it best to try and ask the Dude good questions and just let him talk. I mean, he’s been at this thing for over 30 years, right? We figured he had some stories to tell and opinions to share. And he damn sure did! 

Our thanks to Steve for coming on with us and being so epic. (We knew he would be!) Our thanks to you all for listening in and supporting the show.  And check out Steve’s new DC project, a Dollar Bill One-Shot, when it hits stores everywhere in January. It looks amazing.

Okay, enough typing. It's time for hyperspeed! It's time for the Dude!

- SWAiN

**Scoop a copy of his 2007 art book — Steve Rude: Artist in Motion.

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Podcast Episode 206 :: LEINIL YU

2012-11-19
Length: 1s

I wanna talk about Adrian Johnson for a minute. Yes, I know today’s interview is with 'The Quiet Superstar' Leinil Yu — but indulge me, please.

The three of us are all fans of Leinil’s, but it was Adrian who pulled the trigger and invited him on the show. Yu and Adrian are roughly the same age, both are Image Comics babies, and Adrian became a fan of Leinil’s right from the jump: his professional comics debut on Marvel’s Wolverine (1997).

Adrian was majorly excited when the Manila-based artist said yes to the podcast invitation. He dove headfirst into his prep and research for the talk. And it was a real treat to sit and watch my boy cheezin’ like the Cheshire Cat as he interviewed someone for whom he's been a longtime fan. Matter of fact, it always is. When Dwight does it, I love watching it; and I’m sure when I do it, those two guys get a kick out of it. Okay, back to Leinil!

Wolverine, Superman: Birthright, Batman/Danger Girl, New Avengers, Supercrooks, Superior, and now Indestructible HulkLeinil Francis Yu is rocking it. And not just because of the kinds of books he works on. The dynamism and raw energy in his work put him head and shoulders above many of his peers — but then so does his prolificity. In a fanboy world where we throw the term ‘superstar’ around willy-nilly because someone “draws good” and quickly gains popularity, Yu actually cranks out the pages.

He does the work. He makes comics.

It’s a shame that one has to parse that distinction from other so-called comics superstars, but it’s true. (They know who they are.)

Enjoy hearing about Leinil’s early days and the influence of guys like Travis Charest and Yu’s mentor, Whilce Portacio. Enjoy hearing about his excursions into concept art (Serenity) and his experimentation with different media. Enjoy hearing Leinil very pragmatically reconcile himself with the lofty term ‘superstar’. And definitely enjoy listening in on the good time we had chatting with this humble, interesting, yet multi-faceted guy. Because it was like that!

Thanks, Leinil.

- SWAiN

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Podcast Episode 205 :: Rise & Shine feat. JANE RADSTROM and JAMES HARREN

2012-11-12
Length: 1s

On this podcast, we talk to tons and tons of creators. The vast majority of which have had long and very fruitful careers. They've seen it all and done it all, too.

Well, we thought it was high time we got off our asses and created a format where we could bring some relatively new talent to the fore. You know, guys and gals who are on the front ends of their careers, but show incredible promise even now. Hence, Rise & Shine: Their stars are on the rise and we wanna give them some shine. So, here goes!

First up is Jane Radstrom. Without giving too much away here, Jane is an artist and illustrator based out of Austin, Texas. She's a grad of the Ringling College of Art and Design and now works, not only as a freelance illustrator, but also as a drawing instructor for The Art Department (TAD).

Don't be fooled, though. Jane's real secret weapon is her personal work. Not to downplay her skills as a commercial artist (she's got 'em), but her fine art is amazing. You can find the charming Ms. Radstrom on-line right here. Do click now.

Next up is sensational young comic artist James Harren. James hails from Doylestown, Pennyslyvania, but received his formal art training at The School of Visual Arts in New York. And as fate would have it, legendary artist and inker (and past SiDEBAR guest) Klaus Janson was one of Harren's instructors while he was in school.

After SVA, James cut his teeth freelancing for a year at Marvel Comics, then settled in nicely with the folks over at Dark Horse. So far, he's done a killer job on titles like Abe Sapien, Conan the Barbarian, and of course, B.P.R.D.

This guy is definitley the one to check for. You can find him on-line at his DA page, as well as his blog Pregnant Void. (Yeah, we know — dope name.)

- SWAiN

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Podcast Episode 204 :: Halloween Special - THE 'SUPER' IN SUPERNATURAL

2012-11-06
Length: 1s

Trick or treat, smell my feet, give me something good to eat. Unknown

Our Halloween shows are little more than another opportunity for the three of us to run our mouths, but we do try to make them special. And finding ways to connect our nerdiness with our love of 'the scary' is far from a chore — we love it!

That said, today's episode is all about superheroes who wield magic and mysticism, or in some cases, the straight up occult. Many of these characters are incredibly powerful with god-like abilities, yet when you think about it, they are generally not super popular. Why is that?

The Spectre, Dr. Strange, Zatanna and even Death herself are just a few of the conjurers and other-worldly types we bring up in our conversation. We also dig around in their origins and shrouded pasts, as well as make fun of their alter egos and nicknames (some of which you won't believe).

As always, thanks for tuning in, 'Nation. Let us know what you think, and we hope all who celebrated it had a happy and safe Halloween!

- SWAiN

**Lots of episode-specific music played on this one: "Abracadabra" by The Steve Miller Band, "Strange Magic" by ELO, "You Can Do Magic" by America, and Nina Simone's "I Put a Spell on You".

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Podcast Episode 203 :: "Read Between the Lines..." - Exploring HBO's Brilliant Polica Drama THE WIRE (Part II)

2012-10-26
Length: 1s

As promised, here is part two of our epic discussion of HBO's The Wire. From the towers, to the terrace, to every corner in West Baltimore — Adrian and I dig in.

This one covers most of season four and also, season five, the final season. And I gotta say, watching the last episode of the last season was tough. It was like saying goodbye to a new best friend I had made at summer camp — on the very last day of camp. Bittersweet...

As established on part one, these shows are super spoilerific. You have been warned!

- SWAiN

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Podcast Episode 202 :: "Listen Carefully..." - Exploring HBO's Brilliant Police Drama THE WIRE (Part I)

2012-10-15
Length: 56s

(WARNING: Due to spoilerific content, listener discretion is advised.)

About a month ago, Swain and I plowed through all five seasons of HBO's The Wire. Disc by disc.

"What took you guys so long?!"

I hear you yelling. But I think I speak for both of us when I say that we had reservations regarding the nigh-universal and perpetual acclaim that the series garners. Could it live up to the hype? Five seasons later — yes!

From some of The Wire's most memorable characters (Jimmy McNulty, Omar Little, Stringer Bell, Snoop), to the behind the scenes production, to our favorite quotes; Swain and I delve fully into the world of West Baltimore.

And again, if you have not seen the show and plan to, I highly recommend you save these episodes until after you do (trust).

Like the epic scope of the series itself, we'll deliver our conversation to you guys in two parts. In other words, we're dropping off "that good package". So step on it and get your fix.

- ADRiAN

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Podcast Episode 201 :: PASCAL CAMPION

2012-10-08
Length: 1s

Pascal Campion is the definition of prolific. As a matter of fact, if you look the word up on dictionary.com, it hyperlinks to his website (kidding). Sarcasm aside, this man does his thing, he does it well, and he does it a lot! His friend Anthony Vu says he has over a 1000 Campion images saved on his computer. And Vu received all of them via email — one day at a time.

I became a stalker fan of Pascal's work like most of you did. Somehow, I stumbled across his sketch-a-day drawings and simply fell in love. And I mean that. I started going to his blog daily to check for them. It became a bit of an obsession!

If you aren't familiar with Pascal's art, specifically his sketches, they're the best. These colorful slices of life that are superbly rendered and warmly captured. Turns out, Pascal is a listener to the podcast, which is always flattering to hear. We're humbled to say the least when artists, especially great artists, enjoy the talks.

Two new Campion books out this year: Papa c'est Moi, a family-focused collection of his work, and Sunny Side - The Art of Pascal Campion. The latter is a bigger book, we hear, and has way more in it in terms of the "how". Click and buy if you wanna soak up his goodness in hardcopy form.

To Pascal, my friend: I appreciate your putting up with my feeble attempts to affect a French accent during the interview. I wanted to impress you, but I suspect I missed. (C'est la vie?) Either way, thanks for coming on the show and chatting with us. Dwight and I enjoyed it immensely.

- SWAiN

**Anthony Vu produced a short video on Pascal and his art. Take a look here.

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Podcast Episode 200 :: Listener Call-In Show

2012-09-25
Length: 1s

"DJ, please ... pick up the phone, I'm on the request line!" Rock Master Scott & the Dynamic Three

Today's topic is "milestones", and two hundred podcasts is definitely a milestone for the three of us. We not only didn't think we'd ever get here, we never even thought about getting here! We just took it a step at a time, a day at a time. And so...

Thank you to everyone who called in for the Listener Call-In Show. It was made special only by your presence. And a huge thanks to everyone who has ever downloaded an epsiode, sent an email, posted a comment, made a donation, or said "hello" to us at a con or event. Every single interaction we've had with you all has meant a lot to us.

You are friends. You are the 'Nation.

Hope you enjoy listening to episode 200. And as several callers warmly wished us during the recording — here's to 200 more!

- DWiGHT, SWAiN & ADRiAN

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Podcast Episode 199 :: Countdown to Call Time...

2012-09-18
Length: 30s

As we waited to hear from the 'Nation — the three Amigos, the Siblings, Dwight, Swain and Adrian — decided to reflect a little. Basically, it was our normal intro for episode 200, but we went deeper. You know — how the show got started, what we thought then versus what we think now, changes along the way.

And it only seemed right after listening to the audio to give that reflection its own space. Besides, we got so many great calls and heard from so many of you, you all deserved your own space, too.

So, we hope you enjoy this little apéritif. Coming up next, the main course!

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Episode 198 :: THOMAS BLACKSHEAR

2012-09-10
Length: 1s

The amazing Thomas Blackshear has finally graced these esteemed microphones and we are elated! Thomas has been on the short list of wanted SiDEBAR guests for eons (or at least since Dwight and I first started the show back in 2007).

He is a former illustrator, and now, fine artist, and his large and eminently respectable body of work has garnered him legions of dedicated fans (many of whom are his peers).

After more than two decades of working as a professional illustrator, Thomas switched lanes to jump into the collectibles market as a designer and sculptor. That endeavor, too, has been ridiculously successful. (Check out his Ebony Visions series, folks.)

This is a real treat and a coup for us. Blackshear doesn't do an awful lot of interviews, podcast or print. We're honored to have spoken with him. Thanks to him for chatting with us, and thanks to you all for checking it out.

- SWAiN

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Podcast Episode 197 :: MICHAEL WM. KALUTA

2012-08-31
Length: 1s

Hero moments are pretty easy to come by doing this show. One minute, you're conducting an interview and trying to be professional. The next, a "fanboy unease" comes over you when you realize you're talking to someone whose art you've admired for most of your life.

That happened to me in waves while chatting with Michael William Kaluta.

Since I was a teen, Kaluta has been an artistic hero of mine. I was a fiend for his run on The Shadow with writer Denny O'Neil, all of his short stories at DC Comics, and the stacks and stacks of comic book covers he drew throughout the '70s and '80s.

It was somewhere in those '80s that I rediscovered Mike as a painter and illustrator. He had joined up with a unique quartet of artists that you may have heard of. Yes, that's right — The Studio. Together with Jeff Jones, Bernie Wrightson, and Barry Windsor-Smith, Mike Kaluta made fantasy art history in the New York City loft they all shared on West 26th street. Oh, to have been a fly on their wall.

Much of the above and more is covered in the interview, so settle in. We also get the scoop on what he's working on these days (hint: it involves a certain princess on a certain planet in our solar system). Here's the one and only — Mike Kaluta!

- SWAiN

**Here's a link to the Alan Parsons Project's video for "Don't Answer Me". Mike did design and concept work on it.

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Podcast Episode 196 :: Back in the Clubhouse

2012-08-23
Length: 1s

The Los Bros SiDEBAR are back in the clubhouse!

It's been a hot minute since we've done a good ol' fashioned Roundtable and chopped it up casual-like, so here goes:

First, we mention Dragon*Con, which will invade the ATL next week from August 31 through September 3, 2012. Next, we three offer reflections on the passing of comics great Joe Kubert (Sgt. Rock, Enemy Ace, Tarzan). Swain and Dwight offer a review of 'The Dark Knight Rises' (which I still haven't seen... I know, I know...). Then, I take point to examine the 'Legendary Failure' of Thomas Peak and the incredibly dubious tale of his hardcover collection of the career of his father, famed illustrator Bob Peak.

Lastly, we cap things off with - that's right - the SiDEBAR Bicentennial is nearly upon us! It promises to be a Treasury-Sized Anniversary Spectacular and we want the 'Nation to join us in the celebration. Listen in to find out how YOU can get on the air and help us ring in the occasion in style!

-ADRiAN

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Podcast Episode 195 :: CRAIG ELLIOTT

2012-07-20
Length: 1s

Today, we've got artist, illustrator, animator, architect, sculptor, and now jewelry designer, Craig Elliott. (I know, enough already!) We've been big fans of the guy's work for years, met him in person at Spectrum Live, and he was totally amenable to coming on the podcast and chatting with us.

Craig’s clients include Disney, Dreamworks, Blue Sky, and Nickelodeon. Films he's worked on: Hercules, Mulan, The Emperor’s New Groove, Flushed Away, and The Princess and The Frog (just to name a handful).

You can view his printed work in the esteemed pages of the Spectrum annuals, as well as in his new art book: The Art of Craig Elliott. And said art book is available right now through its publisher, Flesk Publications. We encourage you to go and scoop one up today. It's good stuff!

Craig covers quite a bit in our conversation about his background, training, his professional choices, and his thoughts on art and being multi-faceted. He was a delight to talk to, and we hope you enjoy listening in.

- SWAiN

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Podcast Episode 194 :: JASON FELIX

2012-07-09
Length: 1s

What can be said about Jason Felix (pardoning the obvious pun) is that he is "that cat'" In fact, a wonderfully talented cat who has worn many hats artistically in his eighteen year career.

The roll call of companies he has worked for is voluminous: Electronic Arts, Blur Studio, Hasbro Inc, Wizards of the Coast, Del Rey, Lucas LTD, Atari, Broderbund Software, The Learning Channel, Mattel, Sega, TSR, Upper Deck, White Wolf Studios... to name a few. And he has often done so in capacities that most seasoned vets seldom have the opportunity to.

I first met Jason at WonderCon back in 2004, while he was working on the upcoming StarCraft Ghost video game. He was an affable guy, very giving of his time, and not to mention, the first concept artist of regard I had ever spoken with. We talked about his work with Christopher Shy and how much those collaborations emboldened me to renew my own artistic pursuits.

And as much as I perpetually go on about the 2005 ConceptArt workshop being a catalyst for my personal growth, my conversations with Jason have been equally influential on the kind of talk that ultimately became SiDEBAR. So, having him officially join us on the podcast feels very much like home to me.

It was an entertaining and inspiring chat, 'Nation. Hopefully you'll agree.

-DWiGHT

**Below are two frames taken from the opening title sequence of the David Fincher film "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo". Felix was contracted to work on the sequence through his associates at Blur Studio.

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Podcast Episode 193 :: Spectrum Fantastic Art Live (2012) - The Recap

2012-07-02
Length: 1s

We finally did it! Dwight and I finally sat down and culled together all of our memories from Spectrum Live. Twas a huge undertaking, too. Especially considering our brains were still blown by (not only) the incredible amount of art we saw, but also, at how positive the whole experience was.

SFAL was a lot like a 'fantastic art nuclear bomb' going off in the middle of Kansas City (I'm not kidding). And yet there wasn't an ego in the house, folks — art was the star of the show. Everyone in attendance was there to have fun, buy and sell some amazing art, connect with other amazing artists, and just soak up the vibe.

I called the whole weekend magical once before and I'll do it again here. Hope you enjoy the recap.

(And 2013, you better watch your ass 'cause we're coming back!)

- SWAIN

**Once more, we gotta thank Arnie and Cathy for bringing us aboard for this first year event. We had a ball. They were both guests on SiDEBAR back in October of 2008 and it was pleasure to finally meet them in person. Also, thanks to the Spectrum Live staff and all the volunteers. They rocked! And as it pertains to this episode, many thanks to the talented folks who kindly jumped on the mic with us: Tyler Davis, Bregelle Whitworth-Davis, Scott Quick, Travis Lewis, Jason Felix, Kristina Carroll, Kirk DouPonce, and Ron and Vanessa Lemen.

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Podcast 191 :: Spectrum Fantastic Art Live (2012) - JAMES GURNEY

2012-06-11
Length: 42s

This panel took place on the main stage at SFAL on Sunday morning. It was the day after the live awards show at the Midland Theatre where our friend James Gurney was awarded the Spectrum Grandmaster Award. Dwight and I were both there to see James win, heard his very gracious speech, and couldn't have been happier that he was being honored.

Jim Gurney is not only an outstanding artist and writer with a huge body of work, but a teacher and lecturer who remains fiercely supportive of the fantastic art community. It was nothing short of moving to see him get a standing ovation from a room full of his peers (many of whom are also fans).

Oh! And a special thank you to everyone who attended the panel. I know Jim felt the love, and the Q & A portion  was exceptional, folks.

- Swain

**James Gurney was a guest on this podcast back in February of 2010.

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Podcast Episode 190 :: ARTHUR ADAMS

2012-06-07
Length: 1s

The chat of all chats is up and available in our free feed: Arthur Adams. Longshot, Uncanny X-men, New Mutants, Fantastic Four, Monkeyman and O'Brien, Ultimate X — you know his hits! Arthur joined us on the mics and we had an absolute blast with him.

In the interview, we cover some background, breaking into comics, working on Longshot and the much-talked about Speculator Boom of the late '80s.

Also, Arthur gives us his take on drawing fast vs. drawing good, his love of Godzilla and monsters, and the "rarefied air he breathes" as a sought-after illustrator who still wants to make comics.

Adams gave it all up and cracked us up while he was doing it, too (something we didn't expect). Our thanks to him for taking the time out to come on the show.

**There's a little Easter Egg at the end of this one. Don't miss it!

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Podcast Episode 189 :: Spectrum Fantastic Art Live (2012) - PHIL HALE on the Main Stage

2012-06-04
Length: 54s

Phil was one of the special guests at Spectrum Fantastic Art Live and I had the honor of moderating this panel with him. I was a little nervous, too. We had interviewed him on the podcast recently, but this was my first time meeting him face-to-face. I noticed a couple things about him right out of the gate:

1) Phil is a lot taller in person than he looks in pictures. I thought he was my height. Not so much! He's easily over six feet.

2) He was super nice. Not that I expected him to be an ogre or anything. But the man creates such provocative and moving images, I guess I thought he'd be all serious and what not. And to some extent he was. For the most part though, he was approachable and friendly, and very much a regular guy just there to hang out.

The panel took place on Friday (the first official day of the show) and it was well attended. I asked a few starter questions, then we opened it up for Q & A. Hope you enjoy the audio.

- SWAiN

**Our unending thanks to Cathy and Arnie Fenner, the founders and organizers of Spectrum Fantastic Art Live, for inviting us to be a part of their event. It was a magical weekend.

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Podcast Episode 188 :: NIC KLEIN

2012-05-15
Length: 55s

Nic Klein has the goods, baby. He draws his ass off, paints traditionally and digitally, and he friggin’ rocked it on Viking, his 2009 Image Comics mini-series with writer Ivan Brandon (Secret Invasion, NYC Mech). Oh. And he’s about to do it again with his next book, Dancer

We've never met Nic face-to-face, but we know people who know him. He hails from Germany (Kassel, to be exact), and is pals with former Marvel Comics exclusive artist Marko Djurdjevic. As a matter of fact, Nic was part of the staff for Marko’s MADE symposium back in 2010. In the interview, he tells us all about the experience and doesn’t spare any of the funny bits. HIGH-larious!

Nic is also boys with Wizard of Oz artist Skottie Young. Skottie told me in an email that Nic was the first guy he knew of (other than Jon Foster) who could paint digitally and make it look just like his traditional stuff. And Nic all but confirms this in our talk with him.

After a slew of covers for New Warriors and other Marvel titles, and after getting much fan love for the conquering Viking (see what I did there?) — here comes Dancer. Due out tomorrow, it’s an espionage tale (of sorts) with full art by Klein and script by Nathan Edmondson (Who is Jake Ellis, Olympus). We’ve seen the previews and it's really killer. Very different, too, from Nic’s other work.

See, told you he had the goods. You gotta change it up or get stale. Go, Nic.

- SWAiN

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Podcast Episode 187 :: THE AVENGERS (a b-side movie review)

2012-05-10
Length: 52s

Around these parts, we don't usually do movie reviews. But Marvel's The Avengers was so top notch, and so well done, that we had to make an exception. Joss rocked it, the cast rocked it, and the Siblings had to gush! There ain't much more to it than that, partner.

Excelsior!

**Spoilers a-plenty. Consider yourself warned!

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Podcast Episode 186 :: BROM

2012-05-09
Length: 1s

Gerald Brom has a lot in common with Prince, Madonna and Sting. No, he’s not a musician (that we know of). But his art so singularly represents him that one name, his last name, is enough, really. And it’s a kick-ass name, too, by the way!

Born here in Georgia, and raised all over the world (a military brat), Brom has gone on in his creative endeavors to become a fantasy writer and artist almost without peer. The author of amazing books like The Plucker, The Child Thief, and his upcoming Krampas the Yule-Lord, his fans are legion. You can count all three of us in that group, too.

In today’s interview, we cover some background on Brom, TSR and life in rural Wisconsin, working traditionally, picking up the writer handle, and everything in between.

Plus, we talk a bit about him being a special guest at Spectrum Fantastic Art Live which is going down in just over a week in Kansas City, MO. We’ll be there as well and hopefully we can grab a beer with the guy. He was awesome.

Can. Not. Wait.

- Swain

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Podcast Episode 185 :: 20 Years of IMAGE COMICS

2012-04-30
Length: 1s

Recently, the fellas and myself realized that this year, 2012, marked the 20th anniversary of Image Comics. In 1992, seven formerMarvel artists struck out on their own to make the kinds of books that they wanted to make, and inadvertently started a revolution.

Now I can imagine the eye-rolling going on from those of you who remember chromium covers and every other Image title called Blood (fill-in-the-blank). And that sort of derision is deserved to some extent. But putting aside all the gimmickry, it cannot be denied thatImage Comics changed the industry forever in ways, ultimately, for the better.

As you'll hear on the roundtable, back in 1993, it would have taken a triple gatefold cover to contain my excitement for that initial line ofImage books. That period was my personal 'Golden Age'. And Swain and Dwight both temper the conversation righteously with some great recollections of those days pulled from their memory banks.

From comic book millionaires to having an underground garage of exotic sports cars, to the direct market crash to becoming a respected independent publisher; we cover the gamut of Image's history — to the extreme.

-ADRiAN

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Podcast Episode 184 :: Deep Focus with Filmmaker ERNEST DICKERSON

2012-04-16
Length: 1s

If you listen to this show with any regularity, you know that 1) we are comic book fans, 2) we are art nerds, and 3) we are huge pop culture junkies with an unending fascination for TV and movies. So, of course, a conversation with filmmaker Ernest Dickersonwas right up our alley. 

Ernest made his name as a respected cinematographer for years before finally planting himself down in the director’s chair.Brother From Another PlanetKrush Groove and several of Spike Lee’s first feature films (Do the Right Thing, Mo’ Better Blues, Malcolm X) all bear his lush but tasteful style. Dickerson and Leeactually met as students at NYU film school where they became friends and eventual collaborators. 

Ever since his 1992 directorial debut, Juice, which starred then unknowns Omar Epps and Tupac ShakurErnest has been “calling his own shots”. And over the last eight years, his presence as a director and storyteller have been felt exclusively on television shows like The WireHeroes and Dexter, and more recently on HBO’s Treme and AMC’s The Walking Dead.

Adrian and I chatted with Dickerson at length about his craft, choices, the business as a whole, and the kinds of projects that he would like to produce. And it was like that.

-SWAiN

**Our sincere thanks to Ernest for coming on the show with us. He was awesome! Also, many thanks to his managerJennifer Levine and storyboard artist Warren Drummond(BFAM) for making this interview happen.

And check for the Easter Egg at the end. We play some "Either Or" with our guest and it ends with a surpising Hollywood horror story.

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Podcast Episode 183 :: Spousal Support

2012-04-06
Length: 1s

For every whole, there is a better half. At least we’re sure that’s what that saying is supposed to imply. And that brings us to Spousal Support.

Over the last five years, we have talked to a ton of creators. During that time, we’ve heard tales of incredible triumph, and in some cases, incredible challenge — and everything in between. We thought it would be fun to see, well, how the other half lives. So, we did. We sat down with four women who are married to, and/or, committed to creators and geeks, and had a blast doing it. The chosen four (as it were) were very open, honest and forthcoming, and we think you’ll really enjoy hearing what they had to say. Here they are:

Kellie Warring of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia chatted about life over the last year and a half with her beau, Darren Yeow. Darren is a concept artist and has a company called Stylus Monkey Design. Janis Renzi of Charlotte, North Carolina shared some of her story. She’s married to colorist Rico Renzi, who is also the creative director of the Charlotte-based Heroes Convention. Atlantan Samantha Johnson talked to us about living with none other than our own, Adrian Johnson. Adrian is obviously one of the hosts of this podcast, but is also an artist himself. And last up is Monica Torres, a former New Jerseyian who now makes her home here in Atlanta. Monica is married to Wilfredo Torres, a working comic book artist whose star is on the rise.

Many thanks to these ladies for braving the geek waters and joining us on Spousal Support. We know we have a reputation for being silly and a bit cheeky, and we're pretty sure we maintained that rep solidly throughout all of these talks (ha).

- SWAiN

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Podcast Episode 182 :: DAVID GROVE

2012-03-31
Length: 1s

I do not believe in providence. Not at all. Doesn’t matter that we’ve been fans of illustrator David Grove for forever. Doesn’t matter that out of nowhere, a friend of the show emailed us and basically offered to hook us up with him. Doesn’t matter that while he wasn’t a podcast guy (at all), David graciously agreed to chat not knowing what it would entail. And it doesn’t matter that a wonderful career-spanning art book on Grove came out not four months ago. Nope, that ain’t providence.

Okay, thinly-veiled sarcasm aside, this interview was a coupe. If you’re at all a student of illustration, and by that I mean the hey-day of it, you know David Grove. He worked throughout the 1970s and ‘80s and left a trail of broken art-loving hearts when he finally retired from commercial work in the ‘90s.

Book covers, editorial illustration, national ad campaigns and movie posters were his bread and butter — and he knocked them all out, folks! The Outsiders, Pale Rider, Something Wicked This Way Comes and Vision Quest are just a few of the films Grove painted posters for. And they made him a star of his industry.

We would be telling a big fat lie if we said we didn't have an awesome time on this one. David was witty, warm and charming, and he told terrific stories. And if you know anything about his life, you know he’s got a few. Last year, Norfolk Press put out an art book called David Grove – An Illustrated Life. It is chocked full of drawings, sketches, color illustrations, photographs, and yes, tales from Grove’s past that will curl your hair.

Do grab a copy of the book from his site. It’s well worth the asking price ($35). And while I don’t believe in providence, I do love and believe in great art. David Grove’s kind of art.

- SWAiN

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Podcast Episode 181 :: ERIC FORTUNE

2012-03-19
Length: 52s

The fortunate son makes his debut on SiDEBAR (okay, that’s a little too cheesy even for me).

Former illustrator and now fine artist Eric Fortune stopped by to hang out with us and we’re happy that he did. We’ve known this young lad for a couple of years now, so it was 'bout time. Eric is an Ohio-based artist and a graduate of the Columbus College of Art and Design (CCAD). He tells us in the interview that being an Ohio resident has had its unintended perks. Over the years, he’s become friends and colleagues with two other local guys, who at one time, were his artistic heroes: Chris "C.F." Payne and John Jude Palencar. Payne is the dean of illustration at CCAD where Eric received his BFA, and Palencar has been a visiting speaker and lecturer at the school (both are awesome, by the way).

Take a looksee at Fortune’s beautiful and ethereal paintings and we’re sure you’ll agree with us when we say, "they are the stuff that dreams are made of". Gorgeous!

And check him out on-line at his blog and website, or at Muddy Colors, the art blog he contributes to with other lauded painters like Justin Sweet, Greg Manchess, Jesper Ejsing and Daniel Dos Santos (just to name a few).

Yeah, it’s like that.

- SWAiN

**As fate would have it, we recorded our talk with Eric the day after legendary illustrator and designer Ralph McQuarrie passed away. At the end of the episode, there's an Easter egg discussion between us on the life and career of McQuarrie. It wasn't something we really prepped for, but it was from the heart.

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Podcast Episode 180 :: The Return of Bookshelf Babble-On

2012-03-12
Length: 30s

Welcome to the return of Bookshelf Babble-On. It's been right at a year since we've done one of these and it feels good to get back. On these episodes, we do what the title suggests — run off at the mouth. But for good reasons! We each pick a book off our shelves and do a quick, little mini-review. Very laymen in approach, but we try to keep it interesting. Check it:

Swain’s pick was Kent Williams’ Amalgam: Paintings and Drawings 1992 - 2007. If you know me at all, you know there is a certain brand of painter I adore, and Kent fits that bill in spades. He’s one of the Fab Four (he was college roommates with George Pratt, John Van Fleet and Mark Chiarello), started out in comics, and has since became a fine artist and part-time teacher. Amalgam was published in 2008 and collects about 15 years worth of personal work by Williams. It’s a beautiful book that definitively showcases his visceral and provacative approach to picture-making. And it was well worth the three years I waited for it to be discounted on-line before buying it. Hell, I’m patient if nothing else!

Dwight’s weapon of choice was a graphic novel called Transient by our friend, Justin “Coro” Kaufman. Coro is the co-founder of ConceptArt.Org and Massive Black Inc, but is also a brilliant artist in his own right. He’s been a guest on the esteemed SiDEBAR microphones before, and during our chat with him, he spoke at length about the process of making Transient. The book wasn’t finished yet, but he had us salivating with descriptions of the tale and teaser images. Well, our appetites have been satiated. Transient is here, it’s hot, and Dwight Clark has it. And Coro’s work on the story is quite good both as writer and artist. We highly recommend you put your eyeballs on it. Go here, true believers.

Closing it out is Adrian with a collection of art by Spanish artist, Sanjulian. If you don’t know Sanjulian’s work, you need to. Truly, one of the best painters and illustrators of the last 40 years — be it fantasy or any other genre. Adrian snagged his pick recently at a local comic convention here in Atlanta, and is to be applauded for doing so (it's amazing). The book was put together by European publisher, Glenat, and it's all in French. But we'll be the first ones to say that great art surmounts all language barriers. In other words, we feel Sanjulian! This tome (named after the artist) covers everything he excels in — fantasy, adventure, romance, horror, sci-fi — everything. Sanjulian’s name gets compared to guys like James Bama and Frank Frazetta during our discussion, and that is not hyperbole. He’s that good. Check his stuff out wherever you can.

- SWAiN

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Podcast Episode 178 :: English 101 - Legendary Illustrator MARK ENGLISH Holds Class

2012-03-06
Length: 54s

We used the word "legendary" in the tagline on this one, and for good reason. Mark English has earned it. After years of brilliance in his chosen field, and after influencing an incalcuable number of younger artists — it applies. Period.

Mark is someone who has been on our radar for a very long time. Dwight and I (and now, Adrian) delayed asking him on the podcast until now because we wanted to make sure that we were ready for such a talk. That our collective skills for gab were up to the task. That (and this is being completely honest), that we wouldn't sound like three chickenshit art nerds with nothing of substance to say to an artistic hero. After all, Mark is someone who entered a field where guys like Austin Briggs, Al Parker and Bernie Fuchs were already doing it real big. And he not only held his own with those fellas, but made his own mark (no pun).

Over his career, clients like RCA Records, GE, Ford Motors, Redbook, McCall's, TIME and Sports Illustrated were all well served by English’s talents. And he went on to receive hundreds of awards for his work, at one point being the most awarded illustrator in the history of the Society of Illustrators. Also important to note, in 1983, Mark was elected to The Illustrators Hall of Fame in New York alongside venerated predecessors like Maxfield Parrish, N. C. Wyeth and Frederick Remington.

Nowadays, Mark is retired from the illustration game. After three decades of knocking them out of the park, he decided to start painting for himself. And yes, he kicks ass at that, too. Have you seen his personal work? Geez.

We hope you enjoy our interview with the legendary Mark English. Again, he’s earned that title.

- SWAiN

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Podcast Episode 178 :: Who Supports 'BEFORE WATCHMEN'?

2012-02-27
Length: 1s

... and other news.

It’s generally not like us to be so topical on our discussion shows, but the Gary Friedrich matter and the announcement of Before Watchmen brought out some pretty ripe opinions. I think everyone who reads comics and/or is interested in them as a hobby has at least heard about both situations.

Marvel Comics counter-suing Gary for $17K is just plain sad to hear (although for the most part, we get it). And DC finally pulling the trigger on new Watchmen stories after 26 years sounds abysmal. Not to mention the whole "Screw Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons! We're gonna retain this IP at all costs" attitude.

But hey, who knows? Dan DiDio and company might come up with some fun stuff. I’ll never know because I won’t be reading it. Not sure any of us will. So, there you go!

Hope you enjoy the jaw-jackin'. We did.

- SWAiN

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Podcast Episode 177 :: Storyboard Artist WARREN DRUMMOND Does It with Stylus

2012-02-07
Length: 1s

BFAM: Brother From Another Mother. It's a crazy little term somebody came up with to describe a person that you have SO much in common with, you MUST be related. THIS guy is one of those guys.

I first “met” my pal Warren Drummond via this podcast in early 2010. Well, I should clarify that. While he and I have become the best of buddies over the last two years, I've still never met the guy in person (due time). Warren was a listener to the show, wrote us a very kind note, and has been a friend and supporter of SiDEBAR ever since. The three of us owe him a debt of gratitude for being the hook-up on several terrific interviews we've conducted.

Over time and many emails and phone calls, I've come to find out a few things about my boy, Warren — so, here goes. He's a former New Yorker, a long time comic book fan, a dedicated family man, and he’s worked the last 20 years as an L.A. based storyboard artist. And if you take a look below, you'll see just how strong his kung fu is (that joke will make more sense after you hear our talk). Warren has boarded over 60 feature films with some of the biggest names in Hollywood, and yet — he remains a humble, decent person. See, Hollywood doesn't corrupt everybody (ha).

Our conversation with Mr. Drummond covers quite a bit as far as his background, his opinions on freelancing in the film business, his complete love of martial arts, and his true calling, writing.

- SWAiN

Straight from IMDb: Analyze This, Major Payne, School for Scoundrels, Mr. Woodcock, Antwone Fisher, 2 Fast 2 Furious, Evan Almighty, Lackawanna Blues, Rush Hour 3, I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry, You Don't Mess with Zohan, Mr. Popper's Penguins, The A-Team, X-Men: First Class, and The Amazing Spider-Man (2012). I know, right?

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Podcast Episode 175 :: CHRIS SAMNEE

2012-01-17
Length: 58s

Pronounced like "Omni".

It’s 2012, so I’ll let you all in on a little SiDEBAR secret. Most of the blog posts we write as companion pieces to the podcasts are written ahead of time. Not all, but most. I can’t speak for Dwight and Adrian, but for me, I sometimes get an angle on a guest or topic that I think will be interesting, and I try to run with it. Doesn’t always work out, but hey, where there’s a spark, there could be flame, right? So, here’s what I have to say about today’s guest, Chris Samnee, and how I think things will go with him.

I first heard Chris' name a few years ago on the Around Comics podcast. He was probably drawing Capote in Kansas at the time. Then, in early 2009, I attended the very first C2E2 in Chicago, ran into Sal and the AC gang on the floor of the con, and Sal showed me a commission he’d just gotten from Samnee — who was in artist alley. It was an awesome little piece with this serious chiaroscuro thing going on. Very noir, very well composed. I hightailed it over to Chris’ table, never said hello (asshole), and after rifling through his originals, just fell in love with what I saw. His stuff was reasonable, too.

Since C2E2, Samnee has gone from working on smaller projects to working very much in the mainstream. He did a great job on Marvel’s limited series, Thor the Mighty Avenger (2010), with Roger Langridge and Matt Wilson. And he just finished up on the monthly series, Captain America and Bucky, with Ed Brubaker, Marc Andreyko, and Bettie Breitweiser (both the Thor and Cap projects were just in time for the films).

All of this means Chris' star is most certainly on the rise with fans and art nerds alike. Which is a good thing.

So, how do I think the interview with him is gonna go, you ask? Quite well. Chris Samnee is a young guy, seems pretty laid back, and his work oozes a love for his job. I suspect we’ll hear that much of what he’s learned about drawing and mark-making, he learned by observing and self-educating. I think we’ll hear some classic comics names as well as a few names from his youth as influences. And I think we’ll get an inkling from the conversation that even bigger things are on the horizon for this remarkable talent. And that, too, is a good thing.

Listen in and find out if my powers of prognostication are on or off. As I said earlier, I’ve been wrong before.

-SWAiN

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Podcast Episode 174 :: The Year in Booty (2011)

2011-12-31
Length: 58s

2011. The year that was. And yes, there was some phat booty. We acquired tons of comics, OGNs, trades and artbooks over this past year. The goodness flowed freely! Somebody came up with the idea of us celebrating our year's take on the show (me), so here we are. Don't judge us too harshly.

We also cover some highlights and memorable moments on this one. 2011 was not without its peaks and valleys. For the most part, though, it was all good.

A sincere thank you to every single person who downloaded an episode this year. Thank you to every guest who came on with us this year. Thank you to everyone who followed us on various social media or took the time to drop an email or comment on our blog. All the great discussion, laughs, and plain old camaraderie are very much appreciated. Thank you to all the convention promoters who extended us courtesies.

And last, but never ever least, an extra special thanks to our sponsor, GRAHAM CRACKERS COMICS, for eternally being the best damn sponsor around! What's up, John?!

We hope your holidays have been fantastic so far, and here's to an awesome 2012!

-DWiGHT, SWAiN & ADRiAN (The Three Amigos)

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Podcast Episode 173 :: HOWARD CHAYKIN Revealed

2011-12-09
Length: 1s

Howard V. Chaykin.

Comic book writer/artist. Illustrator. TV writer/producer. And eternal digressionist. OK, I made that last one up, but it aptly applies. He’s quite the talker.

I’ve been a fan of Chaykin’s ever since I was a teenager. I met him in person briefly at a comic book convention here in Atlanta back in the 1980s. He was there with his then-wife, and it was during the apex of American Flagg! fever. I didn’t really talk to him. I just sort of stood back and watched him interact with fans. He was gregarious, very professional, and very direct. The exact impression of him I had gotten from his print interviews.

Before that con, I had just started following his work after having read several of his graphic novels: The Stars My Destination, Empire, The Swords of Heaven, The Flowers of Hell. All of them were full color, mixed media, and very sophisticated stuff. Some of the first works of their kind here in America.

I proceeded to pick up loads of his comics later on (though I wasn’t a Star Wars guy, per se). I did, however, become a complete fiend for Flagg!, The Shadow, Blackhawk, and so on.

Going back to Howard’s interviews for a minute — as a kid — I'm pretty sure I read them all. At that particular time in my youth, I found him to be a fascinating figure in comics. And not just because of the material he was working on. As a person, he seemed to be well read, had an acerbic wit, and was opinionated as all get out (I related strongly to that last one).

Plus, from where I sat, Chaykin came off like an adult. Once he stepped up as writer and artist on his stuff, it became glaringly apparent that he wasn't guided by a 14 year-old's idea of heroism and benevolence. His work was layered with themes like politics, sex, betrayal, and guilt. And usually at the center of it all, was a protagonist with questionable motives and feet of clay (just like in real life). This was completely diametric to my pals and I who, back then, well — we were still very much into punching and saving the day!

The other thing about his interviews that intrigued me were these little tidbits he would drop. Things about himself, his background and his profession that he never really expounded upon much until recently. Chaykin has always been a good soldier when it comes to promoting projects (an aspect of his professionalism that I’m sure his publishers adore). Yet I’m quite certain his comments in print have gotten him as much buzz as the work he creates.

And that’s why we chose to call this interview Revealed. The goal wasn’t to be sensational or provocative — in fact, not at all. We genuinely love Howard’s stuff, but were curious if the perception that many fans may have of him is at all accurate or justified. And frankly, he surprised us.

After nearly four decades in the business, you won't find a smarter writer or more graphic designer of the comic page than Howard Chaykin. However, the meat of our discussion with him today reveals more about his background, the person he is, and more importantly, the professional that he is. I, myself, find those things almost as interesting as the stories he tells. And I hope you do too.

- SWAiN

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Podcast Episode 171 :: JAMES TUCKER

2011-11-23
Length: 1s

Hey, when it's good, it's good. You gotta give it up. And that's exactly what I had to do with Cartoon Network's Batman: The Brave and The Bold.

When I first heard that there was gonna be a new, new Batman animated TV show, I was like, "First of all, it's gonna have huge shoes to fill coming behind the incredible Batman: The Animated Series and The New Batman Adventures. And second, the tone is gonna be that campy, over-the-top Dick Sprang vibe? That's gonna suck."

Of course, I was dead wrong. And I told James Tucker, the producer of Batman: The Brave and The Bold, as much in my interview with him. Thing is, he said the potential Silver Age campiness was partially why he agreed to help develop the project in the first place.

Apparently, the 1950's era DC comic book of the same name was one of James' very first comics. It was geek providence that he got offered the chance to bring some of that flavor to animated life. When Sam Register approached him with the idea a few years ago, James says he liked the fact that this cartoon incarnation of Batman would be very different from Batman: The Animated Series.

I knew Tucker's name and face from the behind-the-scenes extras on my other Warner Bros. animated DVDs. Superman, Justice League, Batman Beyond — he worked on all of them— either in the art department, or as he did on BTBaTB, as a producer.

And he mentions in our talk that he learned much of the craft of producing under the wing of animator extraordinaire, Bruce Timm. Timm, along with Alan Burnett, Glen Murakami, Paul Dini, and Michael Jelenic, are just a few of the talented collaborators that James has worked with since he got his start at Warner Bros. Animation.

Batman: The Brave and The Bold debuted back in November of 2008, and the series just ended with its triumphant final episode on August 1, 2011. It was a delightful show that captured all the adventure and whimsy of those old Silver Age comics without ever slavishly paying homage to them. Tucker and crew cleverly pulled classic elements together, and then pushed them through a modern day filter — thus, making their show very much its own thing. Well done, folks!

- SWAiN

**It's just me asking the questions on this one, but I had a ball. Hope you dig it.

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Podcast Episode 170 :: Shine On — KYLE BAKER

2011-11-14
Length: 1s

Hello, 'Nation. Swain and Adrian here. The two of us have a saying that we use around these parts. It goes like this — lay off the hyperbole! Say it from the gut and with meaning, or don't say it at all. And don't get us wrong. Hyperbole has its place in this world. But you just don't wanna reside there, ya know?

That said, here goes. Harvey Kurtzman. Mort Drucker. Don Martin. Sergio Aragones. Jack Davis. These men are considered cartooning gods. And if you're of a certain age, you know that all of them wrote and drew pictures for MAD magazine. MAD was co-founded in 1952 by William Gaines and the aforementioned Mr. Kurtzman as a humor anthology, and continues to be published to this day.

The work that these gentlemen did for MAD (some of them for almost five decades) was beyond remarkable. It redefined what cartooning was to become for later generations with its outrageous parodies and lampooning of pop culture.

So, with that kind of preamble, is it hyperbole to say that we see Kyle Baker in a similar light? Not completely. If you look at the breadth of his work on a practical level, Kyle is clearly working in their same tradition of "cartoonist". He writes, draws, colors, letters, and does the design work for most of his projects. He's an auteur.

Baker as a writer is a humorist/satirist at heart — again, just like his MAD predecessors. His gags are always clever, caustic, and clear. They can range from family-friendly slices of life to sharp observations of the sexes. And his dialoguing is some of the most natural that you'll find in comics.

Without question, the humor and attitude in Baker's stuff reflects the city from which he hails: New York. New York has been the backdrop for many of his stories, most especially, the one that made us die-hard fans — Why I Hate Saturn.

First published in 1990 by Piranha Press, Saturn is a smart, funny, and by most accounts, accurate representation of urban single life in the late '80s/early '90s. It's an early example of a non-comic book publisher, in this case, Doubleday, seeing a comic book story as a viable publishing option.

Putting Saturn in perspective — right smack dab in the middle of mutant fever and "gimmick" covers — comes this long form graphic novel about a neurotic writer, her platonic friendship with a bar-hopping guy pal, and sibling rivalry. All with little-to-no action. And it is hilarious! We highly recommend this book if you haven't read it.

Why I Hate Saturn, sadly, has never been a huge hit. And it's perhaps indicative of Kyle's status in the comics industry — critically lauded by dedicated fans and peers for his inventiveness, craftsmanship, and humor, yet mainstream readers at large have never responded in droves (or dollars) to his projects.

However, should the uninitiated wise up and seek out works by Kyle, there are plenty that we think deserve your attention: The Cowboy Wally Show, The Shadow with writer Andy Helfer, Dick Tracy, You Are Here, Plastic Man, Nat Turner, I Die at Midnight, his Hawkman tale in Wednesday Comics, and all of his self-published collections like Cartoonist and The Bakers.

After his Wednesday Comics gig ended, Kyle got a call from Marvel to work on Deadpool: MAX. That's pretty much where he's been comics-wise for the last two years. We both admit that his MAX stuff is not our favorite stuff by him (by any stretch), but it's still great to see him on something regular.

And again, we don't mean to be sacrilegious in comparing Baker to the giants listed above. Kurtzman and company are all esteemed quite highly by fans and critics alike, and deservedly so. However, what they all share in common is the distinction of being creators of timeless quality and perpetual verve. A Kyle Baker book will absolutely never fail to entertain. And that's the TRUTH (pun intended).

There's much more to Kyle than we're laying out here — trust. We're just trying not to give too much away in this blog post. The two of us have been champing at the bit to give Baker some shine on these mics, so this one was a long time coming.

Hope you enjoy the exchange. We damn sure did.

- SWAiN & ADRiAN

**Our thanks to Eric Nolen-Weathington of TwoMorrows Publishing for doing a terrific interview with Kyle as part of their Modern Masters series. That issue (along with Comics Journal # 219) was an invaluable resource to us in our prep for this episode.

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Podcast Episode 169 :: Monsters as Heroes (A Very Special Halloween-Themed SiDEBAR)

2011-10-31
Length: 1s

Pixie, kobold, elf, and sprite,
All are on their rounds tonight;
In the wan moon's silver ray,
Thrives their helter-skelter play.
- Joel Benton

Okay, now that's hot!

With Halloween creeping up on us (no pun), we thought it was high time we did an episode celebrating the scary. And why not go the route of scary comic book characters, yeah? Comics going back to the 1950s have always featured "tales of terror", and that tradition continues on to this day.

The '70s being what they were for horror films seemed like a good place to start. Movies like The Omen, Jaws, The Exorcist, Carrie, Amityville Horror, Willard, Audrey Rose and others, set that period apart as "the" decade of horror. So, many of the characters/heroes we dug up for this roundtable (no pun) were birthed around that same time.

Our theme is Monsters as Heroes. Creepy, weird, and just plain awful-looking folks who, at their core, are heroic. They wanna do the right thing — often times they do do the right thing — but damn if they don't frighten the sh*t out of people! And their actions can sometimes end with grave results (no pun).

We hit all the main ones you can think of, and threw a few surprises in there, too. The images we've showcased with this blog post will offer a few clues as to who made the final cut (no pun).

It's a FEAR FRAUGHT FRANTIC EPISODE!!!

-SWAiN

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Podcast Episode 168 :: Survival of the Artist

2011-10-26
Length: 1s

A poor play on Charles Darwin's Natural Selection, but hey — it sounded better than all the other stuff we came up with (ha).

The impetus of this episode was the mystery as to why some of our favorite comic artists aren't doing more work. Why aren't they more visible in the marketplace from month to month? Well, we attempt to answer that question on this one.

Surviving (and succeeding) in the world of comics is probably just as challenging as it is in any other industry. Not unlike other fields, I'm sure it comes down to a few simple rules — show up, create and foster good relationships, do great work, and finish the job — on time.

The rules above are universal in most trades, but from where we sit, they're not always universally applied within comics.

For example, if you're popular in comics, all can be forgiven pretty quickly if you miss a deadline. Editors and fans have certainly been known to turn their heads when "superstars" are late.

What if you're good at your job, but can't strike a solid rapport with those that will hire you? You can end up out of sight and out of mind.

Here's another one. What if you're an older artist with a style that's seen as "old school"? It can probably be a struggle to get assignments. Ageism exists everywhere (sadly).

And last, what about the possibilities of embracing an all-digital workflow to meet the demand by companies for quicker turnarounds of production? The needs of the business beckon.

Opinions and theories abound on this one, 'Nation. And with the comic book industry evolving in nearly every other facet in terms of production, now more than ever is a good time to discuss the challenges of maintaining a fruitful comics career in the 21st Century.

- SWAiN & ADRiAN

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Podcast Episode 167 :: Review of STERLING HUNDLEY'S Blue Collar / White Collar

2011-10-20
Length: 22s

The return of the B-side — short, but very sweet.

We here at the 'Bar were fans of illustrator and fine artist, Sterling Hundley, long before he appeared on these esteemed microphones back in 2009. He was one of the guys we knew we wanted to talk to. And he was quite the astute guest. Knowledge by the pound was dropped that day.

So, guess what? His new art book, Blue Collar/White Collar, will be available everywhere on November 15th from Adhouse Books. We got our grubby mitts on an advanced review copy — and it is wonderful! A gorgeous collection of images that thoroughly covers his illustration career as well as some of his recent fine art pieces. And presented with some very special touches to reflect the artist's taste and sensibilities. Very well done.

Dwight and I cannot recommend this tome enough. Blue Collar/White Collar is worthy of your time and your dollars. To paraphrase Dwight on the episode, "It's a much needed addition to any art lover's collection".

- SWAiN

**It's just dos amigos on this one. Adrian was away on assignment in New Genesis.

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Podcast Episode 166: Comic Shop Confidential

2011-10-08
Length: 1s

The comic shop. The LCS. The funny book store.

That last one was what my grandmother and aunts used to call my favorite hangout spot when I was growing up in Chicago. I hated it. Superheroes weren't funny to me. Dudes got socked in the eye! People got killed (Gwen Stacy, Bucky, Captain Marvel)!

Anyway, I'm over it now. And I still got love for my brick and mortar stores. So, welcome to Comic Shop Confidential.

Dwight, Adrian and myself recently sat down for a celebration of the venerable brick and mortars. Specifically our collective experiences here in the Atlanta area over the last three decades. And even though we reference names and places that you all don't know, chances are the experiences are universal. We all come from the same place, right?

We hope you enjoy listening in and don't get too bored. While the battle between digital vs. print rages on, it was nice to pay simple tribute to the guys and gals who've been holding it down for the last 25 years. Salute!

- SWAiN

**This episode is dedicated to Graham Crackers Comics — our official sponsor and the largest chain of comic shops IN THE COUNTRY.

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Podcast Episode 165: Run for Your Life (pick a run in comics...and go!)

2011-09-16
Length: 1s

Finally, a fangirl has crashed the clubhouse! I’m Erika Peterman, co-founder of Girls-Gone-Geek.com, and the woman behind the high-pitched voice you’ll hear on this lively episode.

Long before I officially met Dwight, Swain and Adrian, a mutual friend suggested I check out the Sidebar podcast. At the time, I was sampling a truckload of comics-related podcasts for education as much as entertainment, and frankly, only a handful held my interest. But when I heard these guys, I was not only impressed by their depth of knowledge but also struck by how much fun they were having. I instantly felt like I knew them, and I was kinda mad that I wasn’t in the room. It was a bit like eavesdropping on the cool kids’ conversation in the cafeteria and desperately wanting to join in.

So when they invited me to be part of the “Run for Your Life” installment during Dragon*Con, I was thrilled — and a little nervous. I mean,these three really know what they're talking about, and I didn't want to come off like a seventh-grader among Ph.D. candidates. However, recording this episode turned out to be one of the highlights of my weekend. It was just as much fun as I'd imagined when I discovered Sidebar a year ago.

Our task was to discuss a series whose run we enjoyed from beginning to end. My pick was Brian Wood and Ryan Kelly's New York Four/NewYork Five miniseries, an absorbing story about a group of young women in their freshman year at NYU. Wood's writing and Kelly's art are so perfect for each other, which makes for a deeply satisfying read. When people ask me for suggestions of good comics, this is always near the top of the list.

The others chose books I never would have considered but am now eager to read. I only knew Micronauts as old-school action figures, but Dwight totally sold it as a complex, exciting series that still holds up. Who knew that a toy could inspire a comic that touches on heavy-duty topics like genetic engineering? Next, Swain put the spotlight on Dave McKean's Cages, a graphic novel with hauntingly beautiful illustrations. The book's themes of creativity and inspiration are very close to home. Finally, Adrian convinced me that I need to get up on some Jack Kirby, immediately. That's a real gap in my education, and Adrian's passionate commentary on Kirby's classic New Gods epic was mighty compelling — as was the eye-popping art.

I hope you enjoy listening to this installment as much as I enjoyed being part of it. And many thanks to my brothers in geek for inviting me to share the Sidebar microphones!

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Podcast Episode 164: Dragon*Con Panel featuring MIKE GRELL

2011-09-12
Length: 59s

American Flagg, The Rocketeer, Jon Sable Freelance. Those were just a few of the titles I cut my teeth on as a young comics reader. Amongst many others, they were indicative of the new wave of American comic books in the early 1980s. There was a palpable excitement in the air as scores of great books hit the shelves.

New things were also going down behind the scenes. Royalties and incentives were finally being paid for the first time ever. Independent publishers began wooing seasoned creators away from the Big Two with opportunities to tell the types of stories they'd always wanted to tell. And one of those creators was Mike Grell.

I actually found Mike (or maybe he found me) in the mid '70s on The Warlord at DC Comics. Warlord was a Verne-esque tale about a modern-day Air Force pilot "lost in a lost world". I was also quite fond of Mike's work on Legion of Super-Heroes from a few years earlier. Super-powered teens in the 30th century? What was not to like?!

Later, I was floored to find out those Legion stories had been written by a then-teenage Jim Shooter (he started writing them when he was twelve). To paraphrase Mike from today's panel audio, Legion of Super-Heroes was a book aimed at young readers that was being written by (at the time) a very young reader.

After Warlord and Legion, I pretty much checked out everything the guy did — the aforementioned Jon Sable, Starslayer, Green Arrow - The Longbow Hunters and even some of his rare Marvel work.

Moving forward, our hometown convention, Dragon*Con, brought Mike to Atlanta this year as a special guest. I had the pleasure of moderating a panel with him. Grell was funny and in great spirits, and the crowd was full of enthusiastic fans.

All of the above was covered in the sit-down, but we also got an ear full on the writer-artist's background, how he broke into the business, and the scoop on his latest project, The Pilgrim (with writer, Mark Ryan). Good times.

Thanks to Mike for his candor and humor, thanks to the crowd for being all kinds of awesome, and thanks to the promoters of Dragon*Con for having me as a moderator.

- SWAiN

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Podcast Episode 163 :: A Discussion of "Oeuvre" and "The Art of DREW STRUZAN"

2011-08-22
Length: 47s

I wish I could say this roundtable was full of nothing but insightful comments and informed opinions. It isn't. Oh, some of that stuff is in there. You just have to listen for it in between the gushing and awe. When Drew Struzan's art is the topic of conversation, gushing and awe abound.

One of our first, and I mean very first interviews on this here podcast, was with Drew (Episode 16, September 2007). It was magical. Dwight and I, to this day, are floored that he made time for us. He was and still is — "The Man". We were just two art nerds in the basement talking on the phone. Still, he did do it and we will always be forever grateful to him for that.

If you don't know Drew's work, you suck (you really do, trust me on this one). He's a master illustrator of over 40 years, primarily having worked in movie posters. He's retired now, but without a doubt, his bibliography will smite you: Blade Runner, Star Wars, Indiana Jones, Back to the Future, Police Academy, The Thing, Big Trouble in Little China, Cannonball Run, Masters of the Universe, The Green Mile, The Shawshank Redemption, Harry Potter... The list is glorious and it is legion.

Back in 2005, an artbook of Struzan's work came out called Oeuvre and I scooped it up right before we spoke to him. Great book, beautifully put together. Sadly though, it never made the splash in the mainstream that was intended. Dreamwave, Oeuvre's publisher, went bankrupt before the book ever made it into stores.

Well, a new version of this collection will be available as of October 4, 2011. This time from Titan Books, the company that brought us 2010's brilliant The Art of Drew Struzan. Titan and Drew have "re-mastered" Oeuvre (if you will) and it features a new cover design, 50 new pages, and text written by Drew himself and his wife, Dylan.

With both books being released in such close proximity, we got super excited and decided to chat about them. Sort of. We only had the older version of Oeuvre, so some supposition takes place in our conversation. Still, Drew and his art were celebrated mightily and we had an awesome time doing so. We hope you enjoy it.

And please — whatever you do — get yourself copies of these two books. No art lover's shelf should be without them. That would be a crime.

- SWAiN

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Podcast Episode 162 :: JOHN PICACIO

2011-08-14
Length: 1s

First, a confession: Prior to last year's Dragon*Con, I had absolutely no idea who John Picacio was.

None.

Rewinding back to that particular convention, I remember Dwight strongly urging Swain and myself to check out the Art Gallery, post-haste. After much hemming and hawing (all by me), I followed Dwight over to take a look.

Now, speaking honestly, I've never been a sci-fi/fantasy art fan — by any stretch. But after we stopped by Picacio's booth and I saw his work for the first time, those words no longer rang true.

Dwight and I ogled his original drawings for Michael Moorcock's legendary hero, Elric, and let me say, they were something to behold. Seeing those grayscale images up close was an experience unto itself. And it was made more so by John's eloquence and giving spirit.

We had the good fortune of having him sit down and join us for a quick chat at our booth (as chronicled on Episode 136). Turned out he was an avid listener to SiDEBAR and we all became fast friends.

Picacio's lauded resume of over ten years includes illustration for all the major publishers of science-fiction, fantasy and horror. And at this year's San Diego Comic-Con, he debuted his latest project from Random House: the 2012 George R. R. Martin calendar for A Song of Ice and Fire.

John says the Martin fans at Comic-Con absolutely loved it and this was his best year ever. He describes them as "hardcore and beyond passionate". We believe him!

Our conversation covers the creation of the Ice and Fire calendar, as well as a look back at Picacio's formative years as a young artist. We also get into his thoughts of the ever-changing landscape of contemporary illustration, some process talk, and his amazing artbook, Cover Story.

Cover Story was published by Monkeybrain Books in 2006. And after meeting John at Dragon*Con, I promptly went home and ordered myself a copy. It's a treat for fans of sci-fi/fantasy illustration. Awww hell, fans of illustration period. Trust.

Lastly, from August 17-21, John will be set up at Worldcon in Reno, Nevada. The con also hosts the annual Hugo and Chesley Awards. This year, he's nominated for a Hugo for Best Professional Artist and three (!) Chesleys for his cover and interior illustrations. Good luck to John and the rest of the nominees!

Picacio's Blog

** Stay tuned after the interview for an extra special Easter Egg celebrating Dwight's recent birthday!

-ADRiAN

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Podcast Episode 161: DUNCAN FEGREDO

2011-08-01
Length: 1s

I've been a Duncan Fegredo fan ever since his American comics debut on DC's 1991 Kid Eternity series. The original Kid Eternity was (at best) a book featuring a forgettable, terciary Golden Age hero. However, the '90s makeover it received from Duncan and writer Grant Morrison was extraordinary, and KE ended up being a precursor to what we now call the Vertigo line.

One of the things over the years that's kept me locked in on Fegredo's art is simply watching it evolve (as it should be with any artist). He wore some heavy duty influences on his young sleeves when he first broke into comics, but his stuff quickly crystallized into something singular and all his own.

If you wanna see some great drawing by the man, scoop up back issues of Enigma, GIRL or a story in Spider-man's Tangled Web called "Flowers for Rhino".

The Rhino tale is a charming, little riff on Daniel Keyes' "Flowers for Algernon" — one of my favorite short stories as a kid. On it, Duncan teams up with his frequent collaborator, writer Peter Milligan.

And let's not forget about his sublime cover work. Fegredo crushed it on books like Lucifer, Books of Magick, Shade the Changing Man and various Star Wars titles.

Having spent the last four years exclusively telling Hellboy stories, we caught up with Duncan as he was finishing up "The Fury", his final run on the series. Mike Mignola, the book's well known creator, will be back to take over art chores on the new arc.

So, what's next for Duncan Fegredo you ask? Listen in and see, folks. But also covered in our chat with him are his opinions on formal art training for comics, how he and Milligan began their working relationship, and those early days at DC/Vertigo.

We also find out how he feels about working traditionally vs. digitally, bad coloring jobs, and Intersections, his experimental artbook mash-up with fellow artist and pal, Sean Phillips.

- SWAiN

**This episode is cheerfully dedicated to our friend, John Robinson, at Graham Crackers Comics. Graham Crackers has been our sponsor for almost two years now, and John's always been super supportive.

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Podcast Episode 160: JEFF PRESTON

2011-07-24
Length: 1s

Jeff Preston is many things. He's an illustrator. He's southern. He's old school. He's also our pal and a fun guy to hang out with!

Dwight and I met him at a Dragon*Con a few years ago (Adrian has yet to) and we've all been buds ever since. It's cool being friends with someone who's been doing this for 26 years, and whose artistic lineage goes back to Howard Pyle (yep, that's right).

Looking at his gallery, you'll notice Jeff has a penchant for the macabre — monsters, ghouls, zombies. Basically anything that goes bump in the proverbial night. Which is funny considering many of the assignments he's gotten over his career have come from religious publishers (drawing Jesus by day, and Dracula by night).

And hey, don't let the old school comment fool you. This man does work traditionally (his marker technique — oh my God!), but he also rocks the digital tools. He taught Photoshop courses for a while at a college in his native Tennessee.

Prepare to regaled by Preston's rich stories and tall tales. I say tall tales in jest. Jeff's experiences are all honest and real. In some cases pretty funny, too. He was a hoot!

And we do get into some process for all you tech-heads out there. Jeff wields a Copic marker like Thor wields his hammer — and there's just as much thunder and lightning as a result. You can quote me on that!

- SWAiN

His partial client list: Famous Monsters of Filmland, Darkhorse Comics, Lifeway Christian Resources, The United Methodist Publishing House, MGM/UA Home Video, Haunted Hill Productions, Spencer Gifts, Harcourt Publishing, McDonalds, Flynn/Sabitino/Day Advertising, Fantasy Flight Games, 5/3rd Bank, U.S. Post Office and more.

Here's a link to Amdale Media's latest in their Masters of Art Video Tutorial series. A DVD featuring Jeff and his incredible marker technique. Gobble it up, folks.

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Podcast Episode 159: Tying Up 'Loose Ends' with JASON LATOUR

2011-07-16
Length: 1s

Lately, I've become a huge fan of crime fiction in comics. I'm lovin' me some Criminal by Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips, and Scalped by Jason Aaron and R. M. Guerra. And it looks like Loose Ends, the new 4-issue limited series from 12 Gauge Comics, is on its way to joining those gully ranks.

Written by Jason Latour, and illustrated by artist Chris Brunner and colorist Rico Renzi (aka the Kickstand Kids), Loose Ends delivers big time. So, why not have the writer and co-creator of the book on to chat about career and his new project, right?

Though coming into his own as a writer, you'll probably know Jason best as an artist whose star is fast on the rise. His partial resume is listed below with more to come, but by all means, please pick up Loose Ends #1 (out right now). It's Southern-fried crime noir, but it's served up scattered, smothered and covered — just the way we like it!

Chris and Rico, Latour's collaborators, are doing some of the best work of their careers on the art and Jason's dialogue in the script is dead on.

As alluded to above, the story takes place in the Dirty South with specific mentions of some Atlanta landmarks. And since the entire SiDEBAR crew lives in the metro Atlanta area, we've figuratively met these characters before and literally been to several of these places (... no, we weren't slangin' in "the trap").

In the interview, we get some background on Jason's upbringing, how he broke into comics, how he almost broke out (ha), and how Noche Roja, an OGN from Vertigo's recently departed "Crime Noir" line, turned it all around for him.

Hats off to JLa and the Kickstand Kids for putting it down with their first creator-owned book. A lot of people in comics talk about doing one, and while Ends was a long time coming, they did it.

Nuff respect, fellas.

- SWAiN

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Podcast Episode 157: PRINCE Trivia Cage Match ft. BROHAWK and JASON PALMER

2011-06-15
Length: 58s

Pretty much says it all, right? I don't even have 2 sell this sh*t, 'cause this sh*t sells itself!

Die-hard Prince fans, David 'Brohawk' Williams and Jason Palmer, both agreed 2 come on the show around the same time and chat about art and career. Die-hard Prince fan and podcaster, Swain, said "Hey, while U all R here, let's get our purple on!" And it was on!

Seriously, one of the best times I've ever had doing this show. I've loved Prince's music since I was fifteen, and 2 find 2 dudes who share that love with an equal amount of enthusiasm, was the coolest.

Dwight and Adrian were sitting in awe as me, J and Brohawk geeked out over the man from Minneapolis. I don't think they suspected how deep it was gonna go though. Pretty f*ckin' deep!

And the best part about it was they had mad fun watching Jason and David willfully follow me N2 purple madness.

Hope U dig this 1, folks! I did!

- SWAiN O(+->

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Podcast Episode 156: JASON PALMER

2011-05-29
Length: 1s

The eye of an illustrator is a real particular thing. When I was a youngster, I didn't pay that much attention to what was what in art — comics, cartoons, movie posters, an image on a lunchbox — it was all just cool pictures to me.

But after a few years of maturing and taking a closer look at what falls under the artistic umbrella, illustration, as with all the disciplines, has its own lane. And it requires a very specific skill set, too. You gotta have the "magic eye" like Denzel Washington tells Ethan Hawke in the movie 'Training Day'. Our pal, Jason Palmer, has the magic eye.

Jason lives out on the west coast in California, where he was born and raised, and has been a professional illustrator for over 20 years. He's worked on a variety of projects in his career: Star Trek comic books, prop art for various TV shows, licensed artwork for Warner Bros., Universal Studios and Lucasfilm properties, storyboards, ad designs, and more.

And as we cover in our interview, he recently worked on the new Wonder Woman television show that was in production over at NBC. This was the one, of course, being helmed by David E. Kelley and featured actress, Adrianne Palicki.

Other than commercial gigs like the ones mentioned above, Jason creates images for his own business featuring the liknesses of many of his favorite sci-fi, fantasy and pop culture icons. If you go to his store or if you see him at a convention, you'll likely see merch with characters from Star Wars, Star Trek, Tron, Smallville, Firefly and The Matrix.

When we first met Jason and his wife Yelena at Dragon*Con a few years ago, we ended up being their booth neighbors. Jason told us he was a fan of the podcast and how much he enjoyed it. And we were floored at how good his art was. After about ten minutes, we became bestest buddies and the rest of the weekend was a complete hoot!

In our chat with Mr. Palmer, we get to hear about everything — his early days working in an art store, his encounters with guys like LeRoy Neiman and Dave Stevens, becoming a professional illustrator, and what it's like to be considered Drew Struzan's protege (yes, that is correct).

- SWAiN

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Podcast Episode 155: A Discussion on the Life, Art and Recent Passing of JEFFREY CATHERINE JONES (1944 - 2011)

2011-05-20
Length: 33s

"The artist does not see things as they are, but as he or she is." - Alfred Tonnelle

Since hearing the news that Jeffrey Catherine Jones passed away yesterday (May 19, 2011), I keep coming back to one thing — I'll never again be able to refer to her as "my favorite living painter". That's a change I never thought I'd have to make. A simple one, but still tough.

I will miss Jeffrey greatly. Her life's work awakened something wonderous in me many years ago, and I owe her a debt of gratitude.

Marvin Gaye said, and I'm paraphrasing the hell out of it, "If one is a true artist, their singular goal is to open the minds of men and women". With Jeff, we've most certainly witnessed the passing of a true artist.

That's all I got for now, I guess. The real stuff is in the show. And trust when I say Dwight's story is the one. Listen for that! I envy him for having that brief, but moving exchange with Jones. And at the same time, since it happened to my man, I get to share in it, too. So really, I'm good.

Bye, Jeff. Sleep peacefully, rest easy...

- SWAiN

**I chose the picture above because it was featured in The Studio book by Dragon's Dream, and it made me wanna be that smooth, bohemian, artist type. Ha!

The 2004 Sequential Tart interview with Jeffrey Catherine Jones conducted by Laurie J. Anderson.

Hazy Shade of Winter written by Paul Simon

Time, time, time, see what's become of me
While I looked around
For my possibilities
I was so hard to please
But look around, leaves are brown
And the sky is a hazy shade of winter

Hear the Salvation Army Band
Down by the riverside, it's bound to be a better ride
Than what you've got planned
Carry your cup in your hand
And look around, leaves are brown now
And the sky is a hazy shade of winter

Hang on to your hopes, my friend
That's an easy thing to say, but if your hopes should pass away
Simply pretend
That you can build them again
Look around, the grass is high
The fields are ripe, it's the springtime of my life

Ahhh, seasons change with the scenery
Weaving time in a tapestry
Won't you stop and remember me

But look around, leaves are brown now
And the sky is a hazy shade of winter

Look around, leaves are brown
There's a patch of snow on the ground...

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Podcast Episode 154: DAVID 'BROHAWK' WILLIAMS

2011-05-10
Length: 1s

Your bro' with the mo'. And he's no poser either.

Comic artist David Williams was rockin' a mohawk long before it came back en vogue a few years ago. He and the odious Puff Daddy actually started wearing one around the same time.

Puffy adopted the look as publicity for his run in the 2004 New York City Marathon. David's reasons were a bit more personal. Peep the interview, please...

While preparing to speak with him, we took a look at David's timeline in comic books and found that to be a point of interest unto itself. He started out as a penciler, worked into the '90s, went into animation and consumer products for about 10 years, and thankfully, is back doing more comics stuff than ever before.

If you wanna "see what he got", check out his pencil and brushwork on characters like The Authority, Batman, Hulk and Power Pack, She-Hulk and Uncanny X-men. And his current assignment doing covers for IDW's G.I. Joe title is straight up monthly eye-candy.

David says his time in animation pushed him and made him a more well-rounded artist. I agree, although my first introduction to his stuff wasn't until 2008 (tardy to the party, I know). And I have my buddy, colorist Rico Renzi (Loose Ends, Frenemy of the State), to thank for it.

Rico not only put me on to his work, but also shared one of Dave's dirty little secrets — he's a big Prince fan, just like me.

As a matter of factoid, back in '94, David illustrated a book called Prince and the New Power Generation: Three Chains of Gold. It was pubbed by Piranha Press/DC Comics and was penned by the recently deceased, Dwayne McDuffie.

*I have this book, by the way, but more on all that later.*

Renzi and McDuffie aren't the only 'creator-badasses' Williams has rolled with in his time. Over his career, he's been mentored and/or friended by guys like Darick Robertson (The Boys), the late Dave Stevens (The Rocketeer), Bruce Timm and Glen Murakami (Justice League, Batman Beyond) and Frank Espinosa (Rocketo). Yeah, I know, right?

We caught up with Brohawk at his hidden lair in Alburquerque, New Mexico and ran it all down. From the rooter to the tooter, as we say! His background, his start in comics, some great stories from his past, and what lies ahead for him (can you say creator-owned?).

It's all in there. Hope you enjoy.

- SWAiN

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Podcast Episode 153: Roundtable Free-for-All (TV, Movies and Random Art Talk)

2011-04-15
Length: 1s

With the veritable glut of action-packed comic book movies waiting to assault our senses this summer, we took a breather from interviews and decided to chat about a few of 'em. Along with some TV and art talk, too. Gotta get some art talk in there, right?

On the television front, the focus was mainly on the new Wonder Woman show being written and produced by David E. Kelley (Ally McBeal, Boston Legal). He cast a fairly unknown, Adrianne Palicki (Friday Night Lights), as Diana Prince, and here recently, the studio released some production stills of her in the new costume.

Was. Not. Good.

The geek community blew a 'nerd gasket' when they saw them. And from the looks of of the latest batch of shots, the suits acquiesced and changed the design. Smart move, suits!

On the chopping block for films was Green Lantern starring Ryan Reynolds and Blake Lively, Captain America: The First Avenger starring Chris Evans and Tommy Lee Jones, X-Men: First Class starring James McAvoy, and Thor starring Chris Hemsworth and Natalie Portman.

We had a little bit more to go on with these four properties. The trailers have all, for the most part, been pretty outstanding. Hopes are definitely high. Granted, a trailer is a big-budget commercial to get butts in seats, so the studios could still be fooling our asses (uh-oh, I made a funny). We'll see.

And we ended things by giving shine to some of our favorite and more recent 'art makers'. Guys and gals we've been checking for who can hold a pencil, brush or stylus — well.

Lots of names came up in this segment that you've never heard mentioned on this show before — Barbara Canepa, Nathan Fowkes and Greg Tocchini, just to name a few.

As to digressions: The Cape, Chris Benoit, Andy Kaufman got slammed, Fringe, the cancellation of Sym-Bionic Titan (Dwight: "Damn you, Cartoon Network!"), Superman II, The Little Rascals, Natalie Portman's tookus (that means booty), Watchmen, Sucker Punch, Deadlock, Terrance Stamp and Anthony Hopkins are 'who-errs', The Last Dragon and Action Jackson, Vanity, Bane, Buster Douglas and the impending wackness that is likely to be the Spider-man reboot.

More great interviews to come, folks, but thanks for checking out the roundtable.

- SWAiN

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Podcast Episode 152: DAVE STEWART Colours Our World

2011-04-11
Length: 1s

None of us here at SiDEBAR are exactly sure when we first noticed Dave Stewart's work and said, "Damn, he's puttin' that down". But clearly, at some point, we all did.

In the twelve years that he's been in comics, Dave has rapidly ascended to the top of many an artist's and editor's preferred list of colorists. This man knows his stuff.

He's laid his stylus to tons of regular books — B.P.R.D., Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Detective Comics, New Avengers, Superman, The Goon, Hellboy. And he's no stranger to special projects and limited series' like Greendale, Joe the Barbarian and 2003's breakout hit, DC: The New Frontier.

I think New Frontier was probably my baptism into the gospel of Stewart. I found the color choices in each scene were at once sophisticated, and just as much fun as the tale Darwyn Cooke was weaving.

With the variety of stories thrown at him every month, Dave's intuitive ability to adapt has become a precious and sought-after commodity in comics. And that's important to note.

No matter what one's discipline, be it writing, penciling, inking, lettering — what have you — everyone working on a comic book is a storyteller. Or at least they should be whether one knows it or not. Dave certainly knows it and shows it with much panache.

This modern day 'Peter Paul Rubens' hails from Portland, Oregon; the home of Dark Horse Comics, the company that gave him his professional start. Portland is also the home of Greg Manchess — painter, illustrator and Dave Stewart fan, just like the rest of us (more on that connection covered in our talk).

We ran Dave down at his home studio and chatted with him about those early days at Dark Horse, his process (lots of process), the joys and the rigors of his gig, and some of the incredible artists he's had the pleasure to embellish — Cliff Chiang, Darwyn Cooke, Guy Davis and Mike Mignola.

Thank you, Dave, for making time for the Boys at the 'Bar. We appreciate it. And thank you, 'Nation, for checking back in once more.

- SWAiN

**The title of this episode is a clumsy reference to the 1970 ballad, 'Colour My World', recorded by Chicago and written by band member, James Pankow. Great song!

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Podcast Episode 151: LAUREN MONTGOMERY

2011-03-19
Length: 1s

"Patience, young grasshopper." That's what Master Po said years ago. And he was right, too.

I came to know Lauren Montgomery's work through our mutual friend, artist Eric Canete. She and Eric are buds and her name came up, I believe, when we interviewed him back in 2008. I started looking around, found her blog and became an instant fan.

Hit the button and fast forward to February of 2009 at the New York Comic Con. Dwight and I are in an auditorium teeming with geeky fans. We're all waiting for Lauren, Bruce Timm, Michael Jelenic and Gregory Noveck to take the stage.

The convention is holding a panel discussion and a screening of the then, newly animated Wonder Woman movie (Keri Russell, Nathan Fillion). Lauren directed it, Bruce produced it, Michael wrote the script and Gregory was a Senior VP of Creative over at DC. There's maybe 2000 people in the room. It's nuts!

Anyway, the panel goes off without a hitch, audience members get to ask a pant load of questions. As you'll hear, one question in particular that Lauren answered elicited an excited shout from one lone fan. Good times.

Oh, and Wonder Woman was fantastic! If you haven't seen it, you should. Outstanding job by all. It might be my favorite of Montgomery's films.

She went on to direct Green Lantern: First Flight, Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths and Superman/Batman: Apocalypse. All for Warner Brothers' direct-to-DVD line and all, equally as good.

Well, after two years of pursuing her, she finally agreed to come on the show for a chat. Finally. Way to show and prove, grasshopper!

What a bright star, she is. What a cool person she turned out to be (seriously). And with the kind of excitement Lauren's generated thus far, I can only imagine what goodness lies ahead from her.

(Green Lantern: Emerald Knights and Batman Year One, but don't tell anybody I told ya).

- SWAiN

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Podcast Episode 150: CLIFF CHIANG

2011-03-12
Length: 1s

Some four years into SiDEBAR, Dwight, Adrian and myself are proud to present our 150th episode. Wow! Aren't you glad you stuck around to see it?!

*Don't answer that.*

And what better way to celebrate a milestone than to feature a talk with the always formidable comic artist, Cliff Chiang (Human Target, Green Arrow/Black Canary, Zatanna).

Cliff was great. We've met him in person twice — once at the Heroes Con in Charlotte and again at the New York Comic Con. Both times he was affable and generous as all get out (he gave me one of those Batgirl/Purple Rain 'album' covers like the one below).

Our thanks to him for coming on the show and chatting. The conversation takes an interesting turn towards the end there, but it's all good. Not your average comic book interview stuff.

"So...so when you drew Batman...that was pretty cool, huh?!"

Nahhh, not average at all. But we hope you enjoy it none the less. Take care!

- SWAiN

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Podcast Episode 149: NORM BREYFOGLE

2011-03-06
Length: 1s

Dynamic. Energetic. Classic.

All these words come to mind when I think of artist Norm Breyfogle

However, to most, 'Batman' comes to mind at the mention of Breyfogle's name. Norm was THE Batman artist for an entire generation of comic book readers in the late 1980s and early 1990s. We cover all that and more in our talk with him.

Norm details his beginnings as an artistic prodigy in his native Michigan, his discovery by Mike Frederich at the 1984 San Diego Comic Con, and his meteoric rise to penciling the Batman titles (below). This was at the height of 'Batmania' with the release of Tim Burton's titular 1989 movie.

As Norm himself quotes, comics were "berry berry good" to him and got even better with the release of Prime, the flagship title of Malibu's Ultraverse line in 1993.

Conversely, we discuss the lean side of comics freelancing in the years following the bust of the speculative boom of the early '90s. Breyfogle regards his travails to publish his creator-owned project 'Metaphysique', his efforts to garner regular work from his previous publisher DC Comics and the career rebound he's made through independent publishers and freelancing outside of comics.

Then we cap things off with a look at his recent projects, not the least of which is his current stint as an artist for Archie Comics and their line of 'New Look' books for the gang from Riverdale.

-ADRiAN

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Podcast Special: Remembering Writer and TV Producer DWAYNE MCDUFFIE (1962 - 2011)

2011-03-01
Length: 42s

The fellas and I were as crestfallen as you guys all were at the news of the recent passing of Dwayne McDuffie (February 21, 2011). Not two days prior, I was checking out his post on Facebook concerning the early reviews for the new All-Star Superman DVD. Dwayne wrote the script for the movie and I remember thinking, "That's my man promoting his stuff. Cool beans."

Then suddenly, he was gone.

After much vacillation, we decided to do a short episode to honor Dwayne. None of us here at SiDEBAR knew him personally, so all of our recollections and stories are from our perspective as fans of his work.

A special thanks though to our buddy, storyboard artist Warren Drummond, for sitting in on this one. He did know Dwayne in passing as a friend and a peer, going back to their New York days.

Warren also attended an event Wednesday night at Golden Apple Comics in L.A. that included a heartfelt memorial by many of McDuffie's longtime pals. Warren shares some of that night with us in the conversation.

There's plenty out there on the Interwebs about Dwayne's career, so we won't inundate you with more here. We will say that if you've never read any of the man's comics, go pick some up. He was a storyteller to his core and as Adrian points out in our talk, he lives on through the work.

And hey, if you've never seen an episode of Static Shock or Justice League Unlimited — kick yourself in the ass! That's unforgivable! JLU was brilliant, Static was great fun too, and a healthy portion of the credit for those shows should go to Dwayne McDuffie as a writer, producer and story editor.

A beloved figure like this is already missed, folks. Certainly by his family and friends, but also by a legion of dedicated fans and readers. Our condolences go out to all.

- SWAiN

The All-Star Superman DVD was released on February 21st, sadly, the day Dwayne passed away. It's an adaptation of a 12 issue DC Comics series by the same name — originally done by Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely.

Dwayne handled scripting chores for the film version and did a bang-up job, too!

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Podcast Episode 148: Bookshelf Babble-On

2011-02-23
Length: 51s

As 2011 was looming last year, we started thinking about new ideas for the podcast. We came up with a few keepers, but we also resuscitated some kick ass classic ones and plan to bring them back better than ever. More on that later.

Today though, it's the first in our Bookshelf Babble-On series. Nothing too deep (hey, this is SiDEBAR, right?). Just us grabbing a few things off the shelf that we like and talking about them. That's it.

Dwight, Adrian and myself have many, many things in common as far as our tastes go, but we diverge in a lotta places, too — which is a good thing.

The goal with Babble-On was to pick a book that some people might not know about and bring it to the fore. You know, open up a can-o-worms and see what slithers out!

The rules were no rules. It could be anything — a collected trade paperback, an original graphic novel, an illustrated novel, a novel, a children's book, an artbook, a book about comics or nerd culture — what have you.

Of course, we end up down a few rabbit trails, but again, this is SiDEBAR, where digressions abound (ha).

Our chosen Babble-ees, if you will, are COME ON, RAIN! by Karen Hesse and Jon J. MuthSLAINE THE KING by Pat Mills and Mike McMahon, and Yoji Shinkawa's THE ART OF METAL GEAR SOLID. We got a little versatility goin' on today, kids.

Hope you have fun listening to us run our mouths. And thanks for stopping by again and clicking the little download thingy.

- SWAiN

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Podcast Episode 147: JAIME HERNANDEZ

2011-02-06
Length: 1s

I had the good fortune of meeting Jaime Hernandez at my first comic convention, HeroesCon, in June 2006. He and his brothers, Gilbert and Mario, were at the same table and I was awestruck. I'm pretty sure I came across as a big goof, stammering something about, "You're awesome..." and loving their work as they signed my books.

Cut forward to almost five years later and I have the good fortune of speaking with Jaime again, albeit in a more composed manner. Barely.

The guys and I chatted with him from his home in Southern California about all things Love and Rockets and beyond. We touched upon his childhood love of comics, early influences from cartoonists such as his older brothers, Alex Toth and Bob Bolling of the classic Lil Archie series, his love of dialogue, the spirit of 'Do-It-Yourself' in comics, the recent art book 'The Art of Jaime Hernandez: The Secrets of Life and Death' by Todd Hignite and much more.

I am wont to say that Jaime is probably one of comics' greatest open secrets. Universally acknowledged as a godfather of alternative comics (in my eyes), it is surprising that many people have never given Love & Rockets a try.

With the entirety of Jaime's work in print by Fantagraphics Press and the aforementioned art book, there has never been a better time to discover his work. You'll come for the superb draftsmanship and nuance of his art, but you'll be come back for the mature storytelling with Maggie, Hopey, Ray, Vivian the Frogmouth and the rest of the gang                                                                 of Hoppers.

- ADRiAN

**Click here for a scan of the signature and free Maggie sketch by Jaime in my copy of the 'Ghost of Hoppers' hardcover from HeroesCon 2006

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Podcast Episode 146: 'A Life in the Day' - The Art Department's IRENE GALLO Takes Us Through It

2011-01-11
Length: 1s

Being world famous is a tough gig. Ask Irene Gallo.

She's known, not only for being the art director for Tor Books, one of the leading publishers of science and fantasy fiction. Not only for her great blog, The Art Department, an incredible resource for all things art. Not only for her work on staff with the Illustration Master Class, the week-long workshop that pairs diamond-in-the-rough artists with seasoned working pros. And not only for her own immaculate taste in art. Put all that aside, if you can.

She's world famous for the wonderful glimpses into her life that she shares on-line—her pics!

We assume she's a closet shutterbug because she takes these amazing photos of her travels and escapades. City to city, country to country, err...lighthouse to lighthouse. A life in the day indeed.

We were fans of Ms. Gallo eons before she ever became aware of us. Spectrum, the annaual tome that collects the best of the best in fantastic art, has a jury every year to help pick the art that goes into the book. Dwight has been buying Spectrum for...well...a while now, and he knew her name from one of the juries. He mentioned it to me a couple years ago and I've been trolling her blog ever since.

A few months back we heard that she was gonna be in our fair city for the 2010 Dragon*Con and thought, "Hmmm, now's our chance. Let's try and get her on the podcast!"—provided we could find her. Dragon*Con is only about 40,000 people, mind you.

But God love the Interwebs. We shot a few notes, tweets and Facebook posts out there and lo and behold, on Saturday, up to our humble little table walks Irene. Cool as a cucumber and sweet as pie. Dwight was on hand as our ambassador to say hello and gush appropriately (WHERE THE HELL WERE ADRIAN AND I....ARRRRGGGH?!).

Turned out, she was completely amenable to the idea of an interview and so, here we are.

Whatever you wanna know about Irene Gallo and the terrific work she does, we hope she answered it for you in our talk. We were just happy to be able to hang with such a champion of art and illustration. Truly, the love resides within her.

Maybe one day in the future we can all break bread together, sip some wine and join her in one of those world famous montages she posts on The Art Department. Chronicling the weekend's merriment. Who knows..?

- SWAiN

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Podcast Episode 145: 2010 Year-End Special

2011-01-01
Length: 1s

Click here to listen to the show

This is our last show of 2010 and we wanted to reflect. No script, no guests, just us sitting around chatting. We hope it doesn't get too boring, but ahhh, screw it!

Thank you to every single person who downloaded a SiDEBAR podcast this year. Thank you to every guest who kindly took time out of their schedules to come on with us—you rock! Thank you to everyone who posted a comment on our blog or sent us an email. Thank you to all the convention promoters who extended us courtesies.

And thanks to our sponsor, the mighty GRAHAM CRACKERS COMICS, for being the best damn sponsor around! What's up, John??

We hope all who celebrate it had a great Christmas and here's to a Prosperous and Happy New Year!

-DWIGHT, SWAIN & ADRIAN

**Just to end things right, at the tail of this episode we played a snippet of Dan Fogelberg's Same Old Lang Syne.

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Podcast Episode 144: TOBY CYPRESS - Fast Cars, Gangsters and the Road to Rodd Racer

2010-12-31
Length: 1s

There's a saying in music that goes like this. Sometimes a singer or band will record their very first album and it's so good, so fully formed, that it sounds like they spent their whole lives writing it.

While this isn't his fist rodeo, Toby Cypress' first creator-owned project, Rodd Racer, reads like a lifetime labor of love.

One of our buddies, artist Leland Purvis, (Vóx, Resistance: Book One) got his hands on a copy earlier this year and said it best. "Rodd Racer is like Toby throwing down the gauntlet to other artists in this business saying show me what you can do". That's not a direct quote, but you get his point.

This gasoline-fueled tour de force is set in a fictitious past where zepplins fill the night skies and a deadly race called Thunder Alley is the city's main event. Below is Toby's own description of his noirish tale:

"He keeps his past to himself, but Rodd's always been running from something."
Former stunt driver, turned racing legend, Rodd Racer has made a reputation built on risk.
But, he's finally risked far too much by involving himself and his love, Susie, with gangsters that want them both dead."

I became a hardcore fan of Cypress' after seeing some of his older stuff that another buddy, Rico Renzi, (The Perhapanauts, Loose Ends) had colored. I was all like, "Who's that?!"

"Toby Cypress."

"Have I seen his work before?"

"If you haven't, then you need to."

After that, it was Killing Girl for me, Batman/Nightwing, The Tourist and a few other goodies.

 

Toby doesn't do an awful lot of mainstream work. He confesses to a deep love of independent comics. And that makes sense—he likes to do his thing.

His style, while grounded in classic art influences like Alex Toth and Noel Sickles, is also shaped by other things like old b&w movies, cartoons and his own eclectic taste in music.

And just like the name of his publishing company, PUNKROCK*JAZZ, he comes off like this weird and wonderful amalgam of all that stuff.

With so many folks out there talking about doing their own projects, it's nice seeing Toby Cypress finally make Rodd Racer happen. And then some!

- SWAIN

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Podcast Episode 141: The Art of Storytelling (it's like that now)

2010-11-18
Length: 1s

That's correct! On the further adventures of the SiDEBAR roundtable, we discuss the use of storytelling in comics and illustration. What is it? Who does it well? What separates strong storytelling from style, conceptual thinking or someone who's simply into render porn? These and many other questions go completely unanswered on this episode!

We also brought along a willing accomplice today to help us figure it all out—our good buddy, Braxton Harrison. Braxton is a terrific artist himself, a local guy and no stranger to the podcast community.

His name (and voice) would pop up all the time on Around Comics and he was on a show of his own for a while. It was called the League of Nobodies and it was him, our buddy Brion Salazar from Fanboy Legion, our other buddy Skottie Young, artist from The Wizard of Oz and Matt Burden, who's now co-hosting the Matinee Idles podcast.

We wanna thank Brax for rollin' up and hangin' with us. It's like a 50 minute drive from his place to mine. And thanks to you all too for listening in. We know it's not another creator intervew, but hey, we're havin' some fun.

- SWAIN

**On this episode, we played snippets of Outkast's Da Art of Storytellin' (much love to Suzy Skrew and Sasha Thumper).

Also, there's a rather bawdy Easter egg at the end of this one that was inspired by a post I read on Girls Gone Geek. The ladies don't hold back either... 

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Podcast Episode 140: Dial V for VAN FLEET - Illustrator JOHN VAN FLEET Picks Up the Phone

2010-10-30
Length: 1s

John Van Fleet is an illustrator and painter who's work I've enjoyed for many a year. He graduated from art school at the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, NY alongside the likes of Kent Williams, George Pratt and Mark Chiarello. Adrian warmly refers to them as "that Brandywine crew." For me, they'll always be The Fab Four.

Van Fleet started out studying graphic design at Pratt, but hated it. After seeing what his buds were doing in comics, he decided to make the switch.

The stuff by him that you'll wanna check out weaves back and forth between full blown comics, masterfully illustrated comic covers and trading cards. I say look for Typhoid, Batman: The Chalice and Batman: The Ankh if you want some really fun comic stories.

As for single images, try his covers for H-E-R-O and American Century. You cannot go wrong. And all of his trading cards are super nice, too—he's done tons.

John lives outside of Chapel Hill, NC with his family and works from his home studio. We caught up with him there and found him to be affable, funny and pretty free wheelin' in our chat. He was a hoot!

In the interview, we cover his background and some hilarious stories from his days in NYC, how his approach to picture-making developed, the sometimes 'arduous' use of photo ref and freelancing after all these years.

- SWAIN

**There's a really funny Easter egg at the very end of this episode. Check it out!

Also, the title of the interview is a reference to the H-E-R-O series Van Fleet worked on back in 2003. It was a new take on a Silver Age DC book from the '60s called Dial H for H-E-R-O.

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Podcast Episode 139: Dragon*Con 2010 - The Recap

2010-10-25
Length: 22s

All twenty three minutes of it! Today, it's just a short conversation covering some of the memorable moments at this year's Dragon*Con. We had a wonderful time, as always, and 2010 definitely had its highlights.

Many thanks to all the listeners who stopped by to say hello, to all the convention guests who did likewise and wished us well, to all the kind folks who jumped on the mic with us, and to the Sensei, Brian Stelfreeze, for putting it down as only he can.

Extra special thanks to John Picacio and Jim Keefe for their support and gifts.

And a hearty thank you to the guys and gals who run the Con and the Comics Track—Pat and Sherry Henry and Thom Trainor. We appreciate their generosity and look forward to next year. Bigger and deffer!

**Swain would like it known that the picture above and the last minute of this episode made the entire weekend worth it for him.

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Podcast Episode 138: VAPN United - More Dragon*Con Audio featuring Artists DREW BAKER, PETE MOHRBACHER and CHANDRA FREE

2010-10-23
Length: 44s

It was basically a family affair. Attending Dragon*Con for the very first time were our buddies from the Visual Artist Podcast Network, Drew Baker, Pete Mohrbacher and Chandra Free. Three terrific artists from two terrific podcasts and we took the opportunity to pounce and get 'em on the mic.

 

Drew and Chandra are a part of a great show called Ninja Mountain Scrolls. Ninja Mountain is a collective of ninjas (working artists in the sci-fi/fantasy/horror fields) and the discussion on their shows is generally centered around the life of a freelance illustrator. They offer insights into their profession, advice on breaking in and staying in, and often derail into funny stories and down rabbit trails (glad we're not the only ones).

Pete does a super cool podcast called WiP (Work in Progress). He co-hosts it with three other folks—his wife, artist Anna Mohrbacher, artist Jeff Himmelman and Jeff's wife, Caroline Himmelman (Caroline's not an artist, but the brains behind the outfit). Their show is also sci-fi/fantasy based and offers a helpful and critical look at breaking into the world of freelance art and illustration.

 

Again, we're grateful to Chandra, Pete and Drew for stopping by our table. It was AWESOME to meet them all in person and we look forward to doing it again soon.

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Podcast Episode 137: Seeing RED - A Dragon*Con Panel featuring Artist CULLY HAMNER

2010-10-04
Length: 1s

The convention audio drags on. Get it...drags on..? Sorry.

Cully Hamner is a near 20 veteran of the comic book business and has a pretty respectable resume, if you ask us. Besides some really excellent work on titles like Detective Comics, Black Lightning, Blue Beetle and The Ride, he and Warren Ellis collabed on a creator-owned mini-series back in 2003 called RED.

RED is the story of a retired black ops CIA agent named Paul Moses who becomes a target and ends up reactivating himself 'red'.

The book was a hit with fans and apparently movie studios, too. It was optioned by Summit Entertainment in '08 and is now set for release as a major motion picture on October 15th of this year.

The film adaptation of this DC/Wildstorm series stars Bruce Willis, Morgan Freeman, Helen Mirren, John Malkovich and Mary-Louise Parker. Cully mentioned recently on his blog that he'll be leaving the New York Comic Con one day early so he can fly out West and attend the big Hollywood premiere (I know...don't hate).

Since he's an Atlantan and a regular guest at Dragon*Con, Hamner kindly agreed to sit on a panel over the Labor Day weekend and talk about all things RED. We had the pleasure of moderating the shindig and happily bring you the audio today. Hope you enjoy.

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Podcast Episode 136: Convention Chats with JIM KEEFE and JOHN PICACIO

2010-09-29
Length: 47s

Dragon*Con 2010 was indeed a monster and we've got more proof. Here are some interviews we did from our table with artists, Jim Keefe and John Picacio.

You'll know Jim Keefe's name from his work in newspaper strips on characters like Blondie, Beetle Bailey, Hagar the Horrible and of course, Flash Gordon. He's a graduate of the Joe Kubert School of Cartoon and Graphic Art (a Kubie!) and he himself has guest lectured at schools like MCAD and SVA.

Jim was our neighbor at Dragon*Con and was a hoot to hang out with. SUPER nice guy, too (he gave us an awesome Flash Gordon sketchthanks, Jim).

John Picacio and SiDEBAR have been Facebook friends for a minute now, so we're pretty sure that makes us blood related (ha).

John is an award-winning illustrator who has created book covers for virtually every science fiction, fantasy and horror publisher around. He just recently finished a series of images featuring his rendition of Michael Moorcock's classic fantasy character, Elric.

His first ever hardcover artbook, Cover Story, came out in 2006 and his work has also been featured in the hallowed pages of Spectrum as well.

Picacio was set up down at the other end of the auditorium in the Art Show, but he was kind enough to come down to Artist Alley and share a few words with us. He too came bearing gifts (thanks, John).

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Podcast Episode 135: Dragon*Con 2010 - Legends of the Dark Knight Panel (ft. NEAL ADAMS, PAUL DINI, TIM SALE and BRIAN STELFREEZE)

2010-09-23
Length: 52s

It went down Sunday afternoon, and it was just that. Legendary.

Our four panelists, Neal, Paul, Tim and Brian were all great and the attendees loved 'em. Lots of stories were told, recollections of the Caped Crusader were made and a ton of belly laughs were had by everyone.

When things jumped off, it was standing room only in 'Hanover F'. By the time it ended, there were people sitting all over the floor. It was nuts.

SiDEBAR wants to thank Dragon*Con for letting us moderate the event (especially Pat Henry and Thom Trainor). We also wanna thank all four guests who sat in on the panel. And a hearty thanks to each and every person who made it their business to come by and hang out.

You all rock!

**This episode is dedicated to the memory of Patricia Basey, mother to our good friend, Mark Stroud A.K.A. MarkCalifornia. May she sleep peacefully...

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Podcast Episode 134: Free Pass

2010-09-11
Length: 1s

Swain here. Me and Adrian started chatting after seeing Neal Adams' Batman Odyssey #1 (he saw it, I still haven't) and the idea of free passes came up.

A free pass is when someone, doesn't matter who, gets a pass for what is basically sub par work for them, and you won't call it for what it is. Many a Neal fan were on-line doing just that when Odyssey's preview pages were postedlooking at his current work through Green Lantern/Green Arrow tinted glasses (even though it ain't 1970 anymore).

Don't get me wrong. I give out free passes from time to time myself. I think we all do on some level. But calling something crap doesn't...well...crap all over the great stuff that person did or will do, does it?

Most people who know me know I'm a big music nerd as well as an art nerd. I adore Elton John, Prince, Peter Gabriel and Stevie Wonder. One of my favorite bands to come out in the last 13 years is a Scottish band called Travis.

That said, all the stuff Elton's written for Disney has been utter wackness. PrinceI've not liked much since the symbol album. Peter Gabriel's Up CD was so God awful that I sold it two weeks later (didn't want it in my house and I adore him). Stevie's lowest had to be I Just Called to Say I Love You and Travis' 12 Memories disc gave me amnesia.

I still love them all for their past work, but give 'em a pass for the nonsense they're doing today.

Bringing it back to comics, it doesn't take any of the greatness away from Frank Miller's Dark Knight, Born Again or Batman Year One to say Dark Knight Strikes Again and The Spirit sucked. And they did

The conversation between Dwight, Adrian and I also veered off into free passes for comics coming out late as hell, outrageous original art prices, lack of professionalism and common courtesy. We went there.

So many fans will look the other way if it's their favorite guy or gal and act like they're not being mistreatedwhen they really are. That's bullsh*t.

Listen in and see what you think. Our goal wasn't to dump on folks just for the sake of dumping. It was to encourage us as fans to be more honest. If it's great, hey, let's celebrate it. If it's just okay or bad...let's call it for what it is.

**If you're squeamish or easily pissed off, we must warn youthis audio is disturbing. Names have not been changed to protect the innocent (ha).

Check for the Jack Kirby birthday Easter egg at the very end. That was fun.

And Dwight would like it on the record that he dug Kneel...ummm, Neal's cover for Batman Odyssey #1.

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Podcast Episode 132: Logos, Lettering and a Long Career in Comics - It's KEN BRUZENAK

2010-08-01
Length: 1s

The attempt at alliteration in the title was absolutely on purpose.

 

Ken Bruzenak is an awesome letterer and designer who's distinctive style not only pushed his career in comics to higher heights, but the craft of lettering as well. Guys like him, John Costanza, John Workman and Todd Klein brought lettering to the fore and really made it a part of the narrativeas it should be.

Ken got his start back in the late '70s working with Jim Steranko, eventually broke into business, and his star quickly rose from there. We consider him, as many do, to be the first superstar letterer.

His best work can undeniably be found in his collaborations with his friend, writer and artist Howard Chaykin. Over the last 25 years, they friggin' killed it on titles like American Flagg!, Time Squared, Blackhawk and The Shadow.

Beyond his pairings with Chaykin, Ken worked his own brand of voodoo on tons of other booksAzrael, Jon Sable Freelance, The Punisher, Wolverine, Batman Black & White, Body Bags...

In 1988, he was handpicked to letter and do a logo design for Michael T. Gilbert's Mr. Monster series. More recently, he was a part of the original creative team on Powers when it launched from Image back in 2000.

And yes, of course, in between all of his touchstones, are literally thousands of comic pages with his talented fingerprints on them.

In our talk with Bruzenak, we find out how it all began with Steranko, Gary Groth and Greg Theakston, what it was like being on fire during The Late '80s Boom, how lettering has changed over the years and what he still loves about comics as a medium and a profession.

**Our thanks to Ken's wife, Kristie, for her help getting us in contact with him. Much obliged.

Also, the page above was created for a comic book that Ken and Howard Chaykin worked on called Jake Noble. It was simultaneously being developed as a TV series vehicle for footballer/actor Vinnie Jones (Snatch, Gone in Sixty Seconds, X-Men 3).

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Podcast Episode 129: SiDEBAR After the Show (Blah, Blah, Blah)

2010-06-09
Length: 1s

It was bound to happen. Since Adrian joined this merry band of art nerds, our conversations after interviews have gotten longer and much more interesting, Basically, we're having even more fun.

After we all chatted with Iain McCaig, we decided to leave the recorder on and try to capture one of those talks in earnest. It ended up being all over the place topic-wise, but a real breath of fresh air for us. Rambling on as just buddies isn't something we do often enough on this here podcast and that should change. Will change.

So here it is. No preparation, no research, no pretense—just emotion. And lots and lots of mistakes made with names and factoids. Oh well, eff it.

You can expect to hear about PostSecret, 'Ahh-nold' and Sully, Alyssa Milano (twice I think), Don Cheadle, John Holmes, Square Pegs, The Aristocrats, great '80s movie villains, Carrie Fischer, Jeff Jones (no, not that one), Idris and Chewy, Dwight and Swain's first duet on the show, Reverse Flash, Predator I, the genius of Curtis Hanson, fine ass Charlotte Lewis (Adrian needs that movie, man), casting for Green Lantern and Captain America, new Bond vs. old Bond and Sean Connery's relationship advice.

Hence the forewarning to everyone, "Blah, blah, blah."

**The song we play in the intro is Hangin' Out by the classic Hip-Hop group UTFO. Hangin' Out isn't available as an MP3, so we had to pull out the wax. However, we do recommend Roxanne, Roxanne and Ya Cold Wanna Be Wit Me.

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Podcast Episode 128: 'Dexter' Star JAMES REMAR Gets in Character

2010-06-01
Length: 1s

Of course, he does, he's badass. But he's also smooth and sophisticated. Cunning and dangerous. Passionate and caring.

In other words, don't typecast actor James Remar. He's got way too many things he can do well to be put in a box. As he himself says in our interview, he's played everything from an escaped convict to a Native American to a billionaire playboy. And that was just last month!

Seriously, all three of us 'found' James at different points in his incredibly varied career. For Dwight, it was as Ajax in The Warriors. For Adrian, it was Joe Dylanne in Quiet Cool. For your boy, I went mainstream—Ganz in 48 Hrs.
Other great performances by this gentleman actor can be seen in Crusing, The Cotton Club, What Lies Beneath, 2 Fast 2 Furious, Pineapple Express, Battlestar Galactica, Sex and the City and most currently on Showtime's Dexter, playing Detective Harry Morgan, father of the lead character.

Remar began his acting career in the theatre as a younger man and transisitoned into TV and movies back in 1978. Since then, he's worked on over 100 television and film projects.

In our talk, he discusses his craft and many of his famous roles, changes he's seen in the movie business and his recent work in New Orleans on the comic book-based Red.

Red (Retired Extremely Dangerous) was a three issue mini-series created by Warren Ellis and Cully Hamner, published by Wildstorm back in '03. It's now in post-production as a major motion picture from Di Bonaventure Pictures.

James plays Gabriel Loeb in the film alongside folks like Bruce Willis, Morgan Freeman, John Malkovich and Mary-Louise Parker. Red is set for release in October of this year.

The talk is kept pretty real in our chat with James, so this is true insight into the thoughts and opinions of a successful working actor. We thank him much for hanging out with us and being so candid—he was terrific.

**Also, many thanks to friend and artist Warren Drummond for helping us get in contact with Remar.

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Podcast Episode 127: The Original TREVOR VON EEDEN

2010-05-16
Length: 1s

Our conversation with comic artist Trevor Von Eeden is special to us for several reasons. One, he was one of a handful of guests Adrian wanted to invite on the show just after he joined it. Two, Adrian and I are both HUGE fans of the guy's work from the '80s and '90s. And three, having him on kind of jump-started a desire in us to chat with other seminal creators, like himself, who really came to the fore during our formative years (more on that part later).

Now, for those of you who don't know his work, Trevor's most noted contribution to the DC Universe has always been considered the co-creation of Black Lightning with writer Tony Isabella, back in 1979. What we think he should be most known for are his innovative layouts, amazing storytelling and his avant garde approach to drawing comics.

The work he did on Batman (Annual #8), Green Arrow and of course, Thriller, with co-creator Robert Loren Fleming, are inarguable examples of his maverick thinking. Trevor really was doing something new when he worked on those characters years ago.

Other than his superb art, there are a few things about Von Eeden as a person that came out in our talk with him as well. Some of it was covered in The Comics Journal interview he did from last year (#298), some wasn't. Either way, we ain't gonna spoil much of it here. Let's just say, he was very young when he got started at DC, he's an intelligent guy and highly principaled, and he's had some special relationships with other professionals in this here industry.

And last of all, we'd be bad hosts if we didn't mention The Original Johnson here. Trevor embarked on his first creator-owned project a couple years ago and we saw Part I make its debut in late 2009. The Original Johnson is his bio-comic about the life and career of famed heavy-weight boxer Jack Johnson. At the time when we first spoke to him, IDW had just released Part I and Trevor was hard at work on Part II.

The story of Jack is a fascinating one anyways, and it's made all the more so by Von Eeden's deftful retelling of it in TOJ.

Part II is out this month and we do recommend you check it out.

Our sincerest thanks to Trevor for chatting with us. Again, he's a guy who's been rockin' our worlds since we were in our teens and it's nice to see he's still at it.

**The Original Johnson was inked, in part, by our good buddy, Don Hillsman II. Go, Don!

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Podcast Episode 126: Giant Steps - The Undeniable Impact of Artist FRANK FRAZETTA (1928 - 2010)

2010-05-11
Length: 31s

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Podcast Episode 125: Cover to Cover with Illustrator JENNY FRISON

2010-04-15
Length: 1s

"We're baaack." Apologies for the long absence, but a chat with Jenny Frison will hopefully make up for it.

She's the Chicago-based artist who's been putting it down lately on IDW's Angel series (we posted about her before). She's also done work on The Dreamer, Voltron and Hack Slash—all three of those from Devil's Due Publishing.

Jenny is a part of the new wave of creators in comics today known exclusively as cover artists. She's done interior work before on stuff like Chicago 1968, but applying her illustrator's eye to the comic book cover is where her awesomeness really shines through. Fortunately for her, she figured that out early enough to well...get good early.

I was in my local comic shop here in Atlanta a few weeks ago, saw an Angel cover she did and just stopped. Very well composed, good staging, smart choices on the color palette and a pretty classic looking presentation.

I thought, "This person has gotta be an illustrator." And she confirmed that for us in the chat.

Other items covered in our conversation (sorry), her art training at Northern Illinois University and The Kubert School, breaking into comics via alcohol (okay, it was a Drink & Draw—sorry, again), adapting to the life of a professional, and attending C2E2, Chicago's newest downtown comic convention. That's right, downtown, baby!

Jenny was an absolute joy to speak with and we'd love to talk to her again someday. Stop by her table in Artist's Alley at C2E2 and buy some stuff. She's the real deal, gang.

Jenny Frison's DeviantArt Page

**At the very end of this episode, there's a short talk between the three hosts about the life and career of Dick Giordano. R.I.P, Dick.

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Podcast Episode 123: Superstar Comic Artist DENYS COWAN

2010-03-01
Length: 1s

Denys Cowan is that dude. You know the one. That guy who's known for all the best stuff to be known for.

Talented. Ambitious. Professional. Charismatic. Well read. Genuine. Friends in all the right places.

And yet with all that on his side, he doesn't come off full of himself...he's a great guy.

Yeah, we hate him, too (kidding—JOKES!).

Actually, about a year ago he left his position at BET as Senior Vice President of Animation and returned full-time to his first calling. Comics. Now that, we can't hate on.

Here's what you need to know about Denys before you listen to the interview:

He started assisting professional comic artists at the age of 14. He interned with Neal Adams and a slew of other well known creators at Continuity Studios at the ages of 15 and 16. Started getting regular assignments from editors at 17. In his early 20's, he worked with renowned writer, Denny O'Neil, on The Question for DC Comics and was nominated for an Eisner award. In 1992, Denys along with Dwayne McDuffie, Derek Dingle and Michael Davis started Milestone Media, an independent imprint of DC. At some point, he began a career in animation that includes the original Static Shock TV show, a character he helped create during his Milestone days. He helped launch the animated version of Aaron McGruder's lampooning comic strip The Boondocks. He worked for years at BET under friend and then President of Entertainment, Reggie Hudlin, heading up their animation department. And now, almost ten years after the series was cancelled, he's back to his comic book roots doing The Question again.

Issue #37 is in stores now and it's a one-shot follow-up that has Denys once more collaborating with Denny O'Neil. Only this time you can add to the mix current Question writer, Greg Rucka, and art legend in his own right, Bill Sienkiewicz, on inks.

See, that's how you do it.

We cover the whole gamut in this mammoth interview with Cowan—and we mean all of it. Denys has done and seen much in his 35 year career, and doesn't mind talking about any of it. So be prepared.

Remember what we said earlier about what he was known for? Well, guess what?

Three decades into this thing, he's still talented. Ambitious. Professional. Charismatic. Well read. Genuine. And has even more friends in all the right places.

Okay, enough with the hate already. Ladies and gents—Denys Cowan.

Dewars Man          The Breccia Sketch

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Podcast Episode 122: The Continuing Saga of HO CHE ANDERSON

2010-02-14
Length: 51s

Dwight and I were joined on this one by our good buddy, Adrian Johnson, and for two reasons.

One, Adrian brought up Ho Che Anderson's name as someone that would be cool to chat with and we were like, "Yeah!"

And two, Adrian has so much admiration and love for Ho Che's work that we knew he would add something special to the mix. And indeed he did.

For those of you who don't know Ho's resume, he's best known for his KING series that came out in the early '90s from Fantagraphics Books. KING was a sequential art retelling of the life and last days of Martin Luther King, Jr, with some fictionalized elements thrown in. It ended up being a critical success that brought a lot of eyes to Ho's work.

Beyond KING, he worked on a variety of interesting projects like Pop Life, Young Hoods in Love, the erotic I Want to Be Your Dog and Scream Queen (by the way, Fantagraphics is releasing an expanded version of Scream Queen this month called Sand & Fury—check for it).

Anderson was born in London, England but has lived in Canada for most of his life. In our conversation with him, we cover those aspects of his background, some of his influences, much of his comics work and his future as a budding filmmaker.

He and a friend, Gerald MacKenzie, have just recently launched a small production company called Assassin Films. With the release of their first short, The Salesman, Ho Che is on his way to making the transition from comic book creator to movie maker—should be interesting!

We also get Ho's take on the Comics Journal interview he did back in the day and end things with a nice, little surprise for Adrian (you have to hear this one to appreciate it, 'Nation).

**The extra surprise Ho sent with it (yes, it's the original).

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Podcast Ep. 119: JAKE PARKER and Missile Mouse: The Star Crusher

2010-01-14
Length: 1s

Jake Parker is a talented artist friend of ours with a new children's book out. It's called Missile Mouse: The Star Crusher, it's pubbed by Graphix, an imprint of Scholastic Books, and we dig it thoroughly. He kindly sent us a copy to preview before our interview with him and it's full of high adventure, sci-fi fun and life lessons.

And even though it's a kid's book, Jake doesn't skimp at all on things like cool tech and alien character designs. The look and feel of Missile's world is pretty funky.

We ran Parker down at his home in Connecticut and talked to him about The Star Crusher project, his background as an animator with Blue Sky Studios, his work on the film Horton Hears a Who and the whole thing. It was good stuff!

Check Jake out at his site and blog below.

Agent 44 Site

Agent 44 Blog

**For this episode, we played two snippets of music: When I'm Small by Phantogram and Ramblin' Man by Lemon Jelly. Both are excellent!

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Podcast Ep. 118: The P. CRAIG RUSSELL Interview

2010-01-01
Length: 59s

Dwight and I have been fans of this man for forever and I don't care how much that statement dates all three of us. Craig's been brilliant from the word, "Go". 

Phillip Craig Russell is an Ohio native, studied art at the University of Cincinnati and has worked professionally in comic books since the mid '70s. He's known most for things like Kilraven, Elric, his opera adaptations like Wagner's The Ring of the Nibelung, and his collaborations with Neil Gaiman on projects like Coraline and the recent Sandman: The Dream Hunters.

Plus, as an inker, he's inked countless comics for Marvel and DC over the years. Russell was considered by many to be the inker for Mike Mignola long before Mignola became a fanboy fav (see: Gotham by Gaslight and many others).

We chatted with PCR from his home about his stellar career, art, his penchant for literature and adapting classics, and we had a great time doing it.

As for two late X-mas presents for yourself, you should pick up his 2007 'Art of' book from Desperado Publishing. It's an excellent retrospective of his work and Craig himself helped design it alongside publisher Joe Pruett.

Also, the collected Dream Hunters just came out in hardcover in November.

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Podcast Ep. 117: The HITCH Factory - SiDEBAR Talks to BRYAN HITCH

2009-12-22
Length: 1s

Today's interview is with superstar artist and storyteller, Bryan Hitch. You know him from titles like The Authority, The Ultimates, Fantastic Four and Captain America: Reborn. We know him 'cause he gave us his phone number and said we could call (ha)! 

Our chat with Hitch covers his early days, artistic influences, some process stuff and many of the projects mentioned above.

Also discussed are his design work for both the Doctor Who television show and the latest Star Trek movie directed by J. J. Abrams.

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Podcast Ep. 116: WebComic Creator JAY POTTS and His 'World of Hurt'

2009-12-19
Length: 1s

Dwight and I met Jay Potts at this year's Heroes Con and knew we would one day chat with him. Well, one day is today, folks. Jay writes and draws a strip called World of Hurt and it's the Internet's #1 Blaxploitation WebComic.

For those who're either too young to remember or from outside the States, blaxploitation is a colloquialism that describes a certain period in American filmmaking during the '70s. It was the first time ever that black actors were cast as the leads in "mainstream" action, adventure, crime and horror movies.

Some were good and some were bad** like anything else, but overall, this era is celebrated for its spirit, dynamic characters and powerful realism.

We spoke to Jay from a secret location in Columbia, SC and talked about his background, his goals and intentions with World of Hurt, merging blaxploitation film sensibilities with a weekly comicstrip and we end things with some movie and TV talk.

**The use of the word bad in this blog entry is not meant to denote bad meaning good, but bad meaning baaad (ha)!

Also, we played several snippets of music on this epsiode. In order, they are: Trouble Man by Marvin Gaye, Superfly by Curtis Mayfield, The theme from Shaft by Isaac Hayes, Freddie's Dead again by Curtis and The theme from The Equalizer composed by Stewart Copeland.

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Ep. 114: Spinning the Chamber with STUDIO REVOLVER

2009-11-20
Length: 1s

"Man...who are these guys?" Glad you asked that question, 'Nation. We'll tell ya.

Studio Revolver is a diverse collective of artists and creative types who share studio space here in Atlanta. We've known most of them, some in passing, some more personally, for forever. They're all good people, very talented and very focused on combining their individual strengths to make the whole stronger.

Other than talent, one of the things that makes Revolver unique is how many members there are. They're nine deep, folks—nine. That's a baseball team! They can kick the asses of any other studio you know just based on numbers (kidding—JOKES).

Seriously, we were destined to chat with them at some point, and now seemed like as good a time as any for us to do it. Plus, they just moved into their spacious new spot about a year ago.

The studio roll call is as follows: Casey Edwards (artist and graphic designer), John Tyler Christopher (artist and graphic designer), Tariq Hassan (artist and graphic designer), Tom Feister (artist and inker), Kevin Stokes (artist and inker), Jason Pearson (writer and artist), Georges Jeanty (artist and illustrator), Dexter Vines (artist and inker) and Bernard "Shay" Shepard (graphic designer and inker).

In the interview, they all kinda give a brief mention as to what they do and what they've done that you might know.

**Note to listeners: Studio Revolver didn't start out as a complete Sausage Party. We know there's been at least one female member (we met her). However, this industry tends to be full of dudes, so whatareyagonnado?

We caught up with the fellas late one Friday night at their lair, which is located right in the heart of downtown Atlanta. And yes, hilarity did ensue.

Dwight and I have to thank 'em for letting us bring our new fangled set-up into their space. It was a lotta fun and we had a great time as always. Thanks, guys!

**For this episode, how could we not play snippets of Revolver by Rage Against the Machine? I mean, c'mon?

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Ep. 111: A Sketchy Interview featuring Artist PETER DE SÈVE

2009-10-24
Length: 1s

Okay, this time we really tried to color inside the lines, so to speak. We got the opportunity to interview a lauded and respected illustrator, Peter de Sève, and wanted to play it sorta serious.

I mean, this guy has been doing it for over 25 years, right? He paints covers for The New Yorker, Time, Newsweek, U.S. News & World Report—you know, the big ones.

He illustrated one of Mark Twain's short stories called A Murder, A Mystery and A Marriage back in 2002—that's serious stuff.

Now granted, he did work on all three of the Ice Age movies, but that was as a character designer. He wasn't writing gags or jokes.

Anyways, about a minute into our conversation with him, Peter had us cracking up big time. So much so, we had to join in (any old excuse will do, I suppose).

All kidding aside, this guy is a major talent and it was a lotta fun speaking with him. We caught up with de Sève at his home studio in Brooklyn, NY and chatted with him about the new Spectrum Exhibit that just opened there, digital prints vs. original paintings, working in animation and his two new projects.

Peter just released his first ever hardcover artbook, a monograph called A Sketchy Past - The Art of Peter de Sève. We blogged about it recently and with good reason. It's filled to the brim with resplendence and chronicles his art and career beautifully.

He also has a children's book out that he illustrated called The Duchess of Whimsy, written by his wife Randall de SèveRandall's written two other kid's books, but this is the first time she and Peter have worked together.

We had a blast, as always, and outside of his having some fun with us too, Peter is a brilliant artist. A thinking man's artist, we like to say. And we need more of his kind out there doing it—that's for sure.

**Psst! He also has a tutorial DVD coming out through our friends at Massive Black—imagine that, gang!

Peter's Blog (that's right, blog)

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Ep. 110: 'Bravo for ALEX TOTH' - Celebrating the Life and Art of a Comics Legend (Part II)

2009-10-17
Length: 1s

Thanks for coming back for Part II of our tribute to Alex TothAlex was a giant in the comics and animation fields and deserves all the accolades we can give him. 

This second half features more audio from creators who either knew Alex personally or just loved his work from afar. They all speak honestly and straight from the heart, and it's really great stuff.

Also in the mix today is Toth's eldest son, Eric Toth. I contacted Eric through the TothFans.com site and he kindly agreed to join us and chat about his Dad.

Speaking of joining us, the official Roll Call for this one goes a little somethin' like this: Jim Amash, George Pratt, Michael Oeming, Toby Cypress, Steve Rude, Darwyn Cooke, Mark Chiarello and again, Alex's son Eric.

Our many, many thanks to all of these guys for participating in this tribute. It was a labor of love for us to work on and we had the best time! 

**We played lots and lots of terrific music between Parts I and II. Here are the performers and song titles in order of appearance: Bob Dylan's Things Have Changed (Alex's Theme), Glenn Miller's In the Mood, The Theme from Space Ghost, Colin Hay's I Just Don't Think I'll Ever Get Over You, Neil Young's Old Man, Dave Mason's We Just Disagree and Norah Jones' Peace. 

All of these, with the exception of the Space Ghost theme, are available for purchase on-line through Amazon and other music sites.

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Ep. 109: 'Bravo for ALEX TOTH' - Celebrating the Life and Art of a Comics Legend

2009-09-30
Length: 1s

Hey All, Swain here. 

I'm pretty sure my first exposure to Alex Toth was during his Warren days. My father was a butcher for 35 years and worked for a grocery store chain in Chicago called Del Farms. I remember sitting in the isles at Del, on the floor, thumbing through Creepy and Eerie—and loving them. Maybe later, I picked up some Silver Age DC stuff by Alex

One I clearly recall was that Flash/Atom story from Action Comics where Flash gets tied down like Gulliver in Gulliver's Travels (...wow). After that, it was Hot Wheels, a 'war' story called Dirty Job and by the time I saw Death Flies the Haunted Sky, I was all in—my conversion was complete! 

Bravo for Adventure, Zorro and his animation work for TV shows like Johnny Quest and Super Friends, I didn't pick up on until way later.

In my late teens, I bought The Black Hood published by Red Circle because of their distinctive covers and guess who did them? Alex Toth. He also wrote and drew a back-up story in those books featuring this noirish character called The Fox—and it was EXCELLENT! 

Keep in mind, folks, at that point in the '80s, Alex must have been close to 60 years old. Still kicking ass like nobody's business! Quoting my friend, Mark Chiarello, Alex actually got better as he got older. He and Will Eisner both had some odd wiring in their DNAs that made them even more awesome as they aged (I know that's poor grammar, but it feels accurate). We should all hope for the same, by the way. 

When I proposed doing this tribute to Alex, Dwight and I didn't have a clue what it would turn into. Almost nobody we approached said no. Right away, it went from let's chat with a few creators—to let's do a two-parter. Apparently, I wasn't the only rude little kid sitting on the floor in the market reading comics and such. Thank God. 

The Roll Call for Part I of our celebration of the life and art of Alex Toth is as follows: John Hitchcock, Klaus Janson, Howard Chaykin, John Paul Leon, Tim Sale, Paul Pope and Rubén Procopio. All of these guys are either friends, fans or peers of Toth's—and in some cases all three. Either way, they were great for agreeing to take part in this. We thank them. 

Look for Part II of 'Bravo for Alex Toth' soon and we thank you all as well—for listening.

**Lots of people to acknowledge here, so grab a sandwich.

Mark Chiarello (O Captain), your greatness is only exceeded by your tiredness (ha)—many thanks, brother! TothFans.com for being such a great resource. Alex's son Eric for chatting with two art nerds he's never met before (Eric will be featured on Part II). Rubén Procopio for his candor, his help and his answering machine message—thank you, my friend. Paul Gravett of The Guardian (I shamelessly pillaged and personalized his Toth obit from June of 2006)—my apologies, but thank you, sir. Adrian Johnson for his enthusiasm and encouragement. And last, but most of all, my man Dwight, for supporting me on this 'vanity project'. Thanks, sibling!

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Ep. 108: Dragon*Con Panel - "That's Illustration!" featuring MATT BUSCH, JASON PALMER and RANDY MARTINEZ

2009-09-20
Length: 1s

Three guys, one moderator and a room full of blood thirsty fans—here's the tale of the tape! 

Matt Busch, the 'Rock Star of Illustration', has created licensed art for Star Wars, done design work for TV shows like Nash Bridges and NY Undercover, and directed films, too. He also hangs out with real live rock stars like Kid Rock and System of a Down. Okay, I'm jealous, how 'bout you?!

Jason Palmer is an illustrator of epic proportions (hey, he does illustrations for a lot of epics). He's known for his work on properties like Indiana Jones, Superman, Star Wars and FireflyJason also has his own line of sweet licensed merch that he sells through his website (see below). 

Randy Martinez is another cool guy and a great artist. He too rocks the Lucasfilm characters, but also keeps busy doing other stuff for Topps Trading Cards, Scholastic and Playroom Entertainment. Randy is a musician and songwriter, in addition to being an illustrator, and he does storyboards and sketchcards as well. 

Dwight sat down with these fellas at a Dragon*Con panel and got 'em to talk about everything: drawing, the business of art, their personal stories, the whole nine. A good time was had by all and we thank them immensely for their openness and candor.

Hope you enjoy! 

mattbusch.com 

jasonplamer.net

randymartinez.net

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Ep. 107: Dragon*Con Panel - Home Town Heroes featuring MARK BROOKS

2009-09-19
Length: 1s

To be honest, Atlanta has such a thriving community of comic creators, the theme for this panel could go on forever. That said, it was cool to kick it off right with the talented Mr.Brooks.

Mark Brooks gets mad fanboy love based on his dynamic charcaters and lush rendering style, kids. His resume is plastered with big selling titles (Dark Reign: Young Avengers, New X-men, Cable & Deadpool, Ultimate Spider-man). He's a comic artist and illustrator, but he also pokes his iron in a few other fires like sketchcards and the vinyl toy scene.

And just in time for Ess Dick (that's how you pronounce the acronym for San Diego Comic-Con), he and Brandstudio Press released a 48-page artbook of his stuff called Devilish. I think he and Alberto both had it available at the Con.

Mark is indeed a home town guy. He lives right here in Atlanta with his wife and son, and reps 'The A' very well. It was cool to hear him share some of his story.

Joining Brooks on the panel was another local creator, his friend, writer Paul Jenkins (Civil War: Front Line, Sentry, Mythos, Sidekick). He sat in with Mark and Dwight, and basically ended up interviewing Mark by himself. Good lookin' out, Paul.

Oh, and another thing. A raffle was held after the festivities ended by toy company, Sideshow Collectibles. The prize—a comiquette of Dagger from Cloak & Dagger that Mark himself designed exclusively for Sideshow. The winner—SOME DUDE WHO'S LAST NAME HAPPENED TO BE BROOKS.

**sniff, sniff** We smell a fix!

Anyways, big thanks to Mark, Paul, the panel attendees and Dragon*Con for the great time we had on this one.

Now, who should be next year's home town hero? Hmmm...

Mark's DeviantArt Page

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Ep. 106: Surrogates Creator ROBERT VENDITTI Comes to SiDEBAR

2009-09-13
Length: 1s

Once again, my man Dwight brings something cool to the show. Nothing new, right?

About six months back, he stumbled across a soon-to-be-released movie called Surrogates and got intrigued. It was an action-thriller set in the future that dealt with robots and murder, so it was an easy sell (we're both big sci-fi heads).

After snooping a bit, he found out the film was based on a limited series comic that Top Shelf had put out in 2006. He also found out the writer of the series, Robert Venditti, was living right here in Atlanta.

Dwight shot me a link to the trailer—I kinda dug it. We both scooped up the trade, LOVED IT, and that began the hunt for Robert.

After some bush beating and a helping hand (thanks, Barron), we eventually found him and carved out a date to chat.

Our interview with Rob covers how he broke into the business working in the mailroom at Top Shelf, writing the comic and linking up with artist Brett Weldele and the wily beast that is Hollywood.

We also discuss how the idea for the story developed, the new sequel Flesh & Bone and some upcoming projects he's got simmering on the stove.

As to the film, Surrogates opens nationwide on Friday, September 25th. It stars Bruce Willis, Ving Rhames and Rosamund Pike with direction by Jonathan Mostow.

We wish Venditti, the movie and everyone involved the best with this project. The Surrogates explores some pretty provocative ideas way beyond the science fiction elements on the surface. We can't wait to see what they do with 'em on the big screen.

Rob's blog

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Ep. 105: The Art Nerds Catch Up with J.H. WILLIAMS III

2009-09-03
Length: 1s

I'm gonna refrain from referring to Jim "J.H." Williams III as J3reezy, although I did call him that once while talking to Dwight (oops). The man's artwork trancends such nonsense. Look at the design, look at the layout—look at the red! Lots of it!

But done for a reason, true believers. That's kind of Jim's thing—he's always trying to push the graphic nature in the art, while staying true to the story. Moving the narrative along, as he puts it.

We wanted to chat with him about more than just Detective Comics and Promethea, but alas, it didn't happen. Oh well, best laid plans of mice and men. Tons of process in there though and plenty on the new Absolute Promethea coming out this October.

Plus, Williams pulled back the curtain for us. Apparently, he's just as hard on himself as every other creator is (go figger). 

All in all, we got some sweet audio for you to check out. Jim gave us a bunch of his time and we 'preciate it totally. We're fans now more than ever.

Hope you dig it!

The J3 site

**On this episode, we clear up a rumor about Jim that's been going around for a while now. Always happy to embarrass ourselves in the name of truth (ha)!

We also played a snippet of Elvis Costello & The Attractions' Watching the Detective.

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Ep. 104: 'Walk Your Path' - The Wisdom in the Words of Artist RUDY GUTIERREZ

2009-08-23
Length: 1s

“If art is therapy,
if art is to inspire,
if art is a weapon,
if it is medicine used to heal soul wounds,
or if it makes one not feel alone in his or her visions,
or if it serves as transportation to a higher self,
then that is where I aspire to live everyday.”

- Rudy Gutierrez

You can't deny that some people just seem to be destined to do what it is they do. Call it providence, call it serendipity—what have you. Rudy, with all of his training and self-determination, is very much one of those people.

I (Dwight) have been a fan of his work for a long time, having been made aware of his skills as a Illustrator by a mutual friend, Jim Hamilton. Jim and I worked together years ago and he would talk about his days as an Art Director in NYC working with his talented friend, Rudy Gutierrez. So much so, it seems completely fortuitous that I finally got to meet him through this podcast!

Rudy's career and body of work commands much respect. Book covers, album covers, CD art, illustrations for periodicals and children's books. His paintings have appeared in galleries and shows, nationally and abroad. He's done 'performance art' in front of live audiences, Art on a Grand Scale and received awards from The Society of Illustrators. He's spent time as a teacher at schools like Parsons and his own Alma Mater, Pratt.

As a matter of fact, in his own brand of fortuitousness (is that a word?), he was commissioned to paint the cover to Santana's platinum selling Shaman CD, back in 2002. While the disc is only seven years old, the path to Rudy getting the opportunity to collaborate with one of his musical idols, started in his childhood (listen to the interview, you'll love the story).

The Shaman image ended up being featured not only on the CD, but later, several stories high on a billboard in Times Square. It was also displayed on a huge backdrop behind Carlos Santana himself during his performance at the '02 Super Bowl. It's one of Rudy's most noted contributions, as a painter, to the pop culture landscape.

We had the best time chatting with this man about life, love, spirit and art.

In the interview, he talks about his early days growing up in The Bronx, his first experience with art on a sidewalk scale (snicker...sorry) and working on staff in a commercial art studio before going freelance.

He also discusses the backstory behind him getting the Santana gig, his relationship with his agent, Richard Solomon and why he stays true to himself...always.

**For this episode, we played snippets of Santana's Black Magic Woman and Sideways ft. Citizen Cope, plus John Coltrane's A Love Supreme. I know, right? We have excellent taste!

Also, go here and here to buy two children's books recently illustrated by Rudy and click here to see a gallery of his amazing paintings.

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'Devil's End' - Daredevil Artist MICHAEL LARK Talks Past, Present and Future

2009-08-18
Length: 1s

You gotta give Michael Lark and Ed Brubaker credit where credit is due. They picked up their run on Dardevil right after Bendis and Maleev, and have done a stellar job over the last three years. Most creative teams don't stay on a book longer than six issues these days, let alone years. Kudos to these two gents and the Editors at Marvel for consistency and excellence. Daredevil's been in very capable hands...

Me (Swain), being the art hound that I am, I was aware of Michael long before he started appearing in the pages of DD (this is one of few times I can make that claim, so I'll revel in it). The guy has done some really great work, folks:

Scene of a Crime through Vertigo, his first effort with Brubaker. A wonderful 'Elseworld' story called Batman Nine Lives written by Dean Motter. The intense cop drama, Gotham Central—this one had Brubaker and Greg Rucka teaming up on the stories. The Pulse over at Marvel with Brian Michael Bendis. And let us not forget his awesome flashback sequences in Captain America (once again, with Ed).

As a penciler, this dude has impeccable storytelling chops and he creates some of the most accurate settings in comics. Go back and take a look at how authentic his WWII pages were in Cap. Or the grittiness of his Hell's Kitchen in Daredevil. It's all dead on! 

With his run on DD sadly coming to an end, the interview covers what his plans are for the future, cool past projects, tools of the trade and more.

I've wanted to get Lark on SiDEBAR for a long time now, so this was very cool for me. Hope you dig!

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Ep. 102: The Kids Gotta Have It - CHRIS BRUNNER & RICO RENZI of The Kickstand Kids

2009-08-08
Length: 49s

SiDEBAR has gotten to know both of these guys pretty well over the last year or so. Rico, the colorist half of the duo, wrote us a complimentary note about the podcast and he and I (Swain) have been emailing each other ever since. We finally met in person and became buds at the 2008 Heroes Con.

Chris, we later found out, is a SCAD grad and the penciler/inker of the two. The images start with him, for the most part, and Rico's the guy who comes in and swoosh—puts the icing on the cake (or hangs the fuzzy dice on the mirror of Brunner's tricked out whip, as he puts it).

If you aren't familiar with these fellas already, consider this an introduction. One you'll appreciate.

Renzi is the regular color guy on The Perhapanauts, a book by Todd Dezago and Craig Rousseau, pubbed by Image. He also put it down on Killing Girl with Toby Cypress and did some hot stuff over Nathan Fox recently for WIRED magazine.

Chris drew a killerrr run on Legends of The Dark Knight that I'll swear by, right here. He also penciled an incredible short story in a one-shot issue of The Ride series called Language Barrier. If you haven't read it, go get it now.

Seriously, I'm not kidding—now! It's that good!

Ron Marz wrote it, Rico did the 'zip effects'—and it's the sh*t! So much so, that the Kids feel like they have to outdo it with their upcoming creator-owned project, Loose Ends.

Loose Ends is a crime fiction tale penned by their friend, writer and artist Jason Latour, and it takes place in none other than the Dirty South. From what I can tell, it's full of Southern slang, guns, drugs, Daisy dukes and red clay (and maybe a mullet or two).

I have an ashcan demo of the book I got from them and it looks really sweet. Ends will be out from 12 Gauge Comics some time next year.

We stole Chris and Rico away from their tables at this year's Heroes Con and chopped it up in one of the convention center rooms. It was a lotta fun, not to mention, way over due. They both have been really supportive of the show and we've been fans of their's from the gate.

Look for Loose Ends when it hits, grab anything else you can find by the 'Kids' and thank us later. We promise you will.

Their blog

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Ep. 98: Shootin' the Sh*t with Atomika Creator SAL ABBINANTI

2009-06-28
Length: 1s

Just a couple a guys sittin' around talkin' about whatever—comics, Cons, people, porn, Tijuana...

We're kidding, we'll be serious now.

We had never heard of Sal Abbinanti before checking out one of his appearances on Comic Geek Speak a few years ago. We laughed our asses off for sure and thought, who is this guy..?! Later we found out about Atomika, Mercury Comics, Buzz and everything else.

He told us in today's interview that the first time he went on CGS to promote Atomika, he didn't like how pretentious he sounded, so he came back and kept it real. He talked about everything under the sun and just had some fun. You know, like guys do.

Well, it worked and the rest is podcast history. Sal's sense of humor is infamous! If you have sensitive ears, this ain't the one for you—trust.

All that aside, we do think he's a decent guy, and Atomika is a comic worthy of your attention. The concept is extremely interesting, the hero's design is iconic beyond words, and Sal gets the best of the best in this business to do covers for him. For this blog entry, we've featured the most recent ones by Travis Charest, Darwyn Cooke and Glenn Fabry

Since indie titles do have to promote, promote, promote, we caught up with Abbinanti on the 'AtomikaisinPreviewsagainsoletsgetthewordout' Tour. He's been humpin'-to-please trying to let everybody know what and where the book is, and we ain't mad at him. We wish him well.

Not much serious talk inside, folks, but hey, it is what it is. Sal kept us in literal stitches, as he has many times before on CGS, so it's all good!

Atomika at Mercury Comics

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SiDEBAR Goes to Heroes (2009)

2009-06-19
Length: 1s

A little theme music for those that couldn't be with us.

See ya next year!

~ S & D

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Ep. 97: JOSH MIDDLETON Shows Us the Sky Between Branches

2009-06-06
Length: 1s

Doing it all is a rare trait in American comics. Doing it all and doing it well is even rarer. And that's exactly how illustrator Josh Middleton has made a name for himself.

He started his career as a young artist back in the late '90s at CrossGen, the Tampa-based comic book publisher. He and a bunch of creators signed on for what looked like a bold new direction in the making of comics—and it was.

After relocating to Florida from Pennysylvania, Josh worked on their title Meridian and fans ate it up. But it wasn't long before things went South (pun intended), and he and others decided to part ways with the maverick company.

Post CrossGen, Josh pubbed a creator-owned project called Sky Between Branches with a European company, Com.X. The preview issue of the book, got the attention of Joe Quesada at Marvel and he asked Middleton to collaborate with him on a little something called NYX.

That book was, of course, a huge hit and from there Josh worked on Superman/Shazam First Thunder over at DC. He's also done a ton of covers over the last few years for titles like New Mutants, American Virgin, Vixen and Supergirl.

As implied earlier, this guy is somewhat of a white tiger. He's one of few comic artists living here in the States who handles all the art chores himself. Every bit. You tend to see more of that sort of thing in places like Europe, so it makes him a rare breed on this soil.

In the interview, we cover some background, the 'dark days in Tampa' (HIGH-larious), many of the projects mentioned above, and just why he decided to take the reins and do it all himself.

Plus, Josh gives us the inside scoop on his recent book cover illustrations for Tor and Scholastic, and tells some funny stories about his recent experiences in Hollywood.

Middleton's Site

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Ep. 96: BRAD HOLLAND on BRAD HOLLAND (and other things, too)

2009-05-30
Length: 1s

Once again, we here at SiDEBAR must confess to being late to the party. We really just became acquainted with Brad Holland's work in the last three years or so. Well, actually for me (Swain), that's not accurate. You see, my father had a rather sizable Playboy collection and I used to sneak them out to ogle all the interesting artwork (never cared much for the articles). Anyway...

Brad's been a 'creator of images' (that's a nice safe title) for almost four decades now and he's still going strong. In our opinion, his career and contributions to the art community are marked by several events.

One, his work for the earlier referenced Playboy Magazine. A gig he got when he was in his 20's and his big break, some would say.

Two, his terrific pieces published on the Op-Ed page of the NY Times in the mid '70s. The page's editor was the late Harrison Salisbury, a noted author himself and Pulitzer Prize winner.

And three, his tireless efforts in the area of preserving creative copyrights for intellectual properties. Brad's one of the founding members of the Illustrators Partnership of America, and he's been a vocal opponent of things like the Orphan Works Bill from day one. 

Prolific is a word often given to describe Holland's output of art over the years, but it's horribly understating. A rough tally of his body of illustrations falls somewhere in the, ohh...7000 range! That's a good 'guestimate' from the man himself and a staggering one, to say the least.

Our talk with him ended up being everything we strive for in a podcast—interesting, funny, informative, honest and insightful. If you hear Dwight and I being curiously silent during the conversation (it doesn't happen often, so cherish it), it's because we were listening.

And absorbing. And digesting.

You see, Brad's an extremely well read guy and we didn't even wanna pretend we could hang. We decided to adopt a boxer's philosophy—we stayed on our toes, but stayed out of the way! After all, it's not often that these two art nerds get to hear a fella like Brad Holland tell his story. We didn't wanna miss a thing.

His Site

A great vid about Brad

The BBALM

**Our thanks to Brad for making some time to chat with us—it was surreal (he'll get that).

Also, many thanks to Jason Manley at ConceptArt.org, Richard Solomon and Bryan Beus for their help in facilitating his appearance on the show. It was invaluable.

Picture provided by Jonathan Twingley.

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Ep. 95: TOMM COKER'S Noir

2009-05-20
Length: 1s

Tomm is an awesome artist I discovered last year on a fill-in issue of Moon Knight. I dug his work, did some googling and found out he's been doing his thing off and on since the early '90s. Well, kill the off 'cause it's definitely on now. His art on Marvel's new Daredevil Noir mini-series will turn some heads—and with good reason.

Knowing a little about the guy's backstory makes his work all the more interesting. Tomm got into comics at the tender age of 17, worked for several major publishers, made great money, lost his way, then left the business to find it.

Along his journey, he did storyboards for commercials, animated TV shows, movies like The Mummy and The Watcher, and music videos like Aaron Carter's 'How I Beat Shaq' (sadly, we forgot to ask him about that one).

After some years away, he was lured back to his first love in 2003 by Vertigo, to work on a vampire mini-series called Blood & Water. Blood introduced comic fans to a brand new Coker. Tomm's drawing had matured and become much stronger. He was spotting blacks like crazy and his images were grittier and more realistically rendered.

He followed that series up with things like The Monolith for DC, an issue of The Ride for 12-Gauge (sweet), and covers for Exiles and Agents of Atlas over at Marvel. It was all good!

And you can put his current project, Daredevil Noir, up there as well. Written by Alexander Irvine, Noir is a DD story told 'Elseworld' style with a serious crime fiction overtone. Issue #1 is out now and I'm feelin' it big time. Go pick it up!

Now, the other thing about Tomm that I haven't mentioned is, he's a movie director. He made a feature film back in 2007 called Catacombs with his friend, screenwriter David Elliot. It stars the lovely Shannyn Sossamon and pop singer Pink, and it's a horror picture of sorts, set under the streets of Paris.

Tomm rocked it for his directorial debut and while the movie's completion had its hurdles, it's definitely worth checking out (look for the director's cut).

We cover all of the above and more in our very candid talk with this Renaissance Man. Plus, he shares lots of cool stories about comics, art, filmmaking and just...life in general. Hope you enjoy!

**A special shout of thanks to David Elliott for his unplanned appearance on this episode.

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Ep. 92: 'The Graduate' - FRANCIS VALLEJO Makes His Debut

2009-05-01
Length: 48s

We've been fortunate to have a few firsts on SiDEBAR and today's episode is no exception. Francis Vallejo is still technically a student at Ringling, but shows such incredible promise, we invited him on for a chat.

He's a painter with a penchant for oils and he sights some pretty heavy weight influences: Norman Rockwell, Ilya Repin, Nicolai Fechin, Dean Cornwell, James Jean. We can't argue with his taste—at all!

Francis came to our attention like so many others do. People started singing his praises and his name began popping up everywhere. We visited his site and after snooping a bit, we too, joined the chorus! This young man has skill and vision beyond his years.

In our talk with him, he discusses his old stomping grounds in Detroit, his intense love of art and Hip Hop, a superstar teacher and mentor of his, George Pratt, and recent projects he's contributed to like Totoro and Microvisions.

Graduation is in May, but before he jumps right into the professional ranks, looks like Vallejo will be studying abroad for a while—in Saint-Petersburg, Russia at the Repin Academy (wow, do your thing, sir)!

We wish Francis the absolute best over in Saint-Pete and in all of his future endeavors. He's a cool kid who's star is certainly on the rise.

**For this episode, we played snippets of the following songs: Lupe Fiasco's Superstar, Dead Prez' Hip Hop, Eminem's Stan, Kanye West's Through the Wire, Beanie Siegel's Rock the Mic and Ch-Check It Out by The Beastie Boys.

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Ep. 91: DUSTIN NGUYEN is Watching the Detective

2009-04-25
Length: 1s

Some days podcasting is so much fun, we'd almost do it for free.

(Hold up...we ARE doing it for free!) **stops to call his agent**

Well, I'm sure if food and shelter weren't such a looming factor, DC might be able to get Dustin Nguyen to draw Batman for free. Might! The guy has such a thing for that character and we ain't mad at him—he draws the hell out of some Batman!

He's been the regular artist on Detective Comics for a year now, alongside his faithful collaborators, writer Paul Dini and inker Derek Fridolfs. Those three have been putting it down on that book from day one and I for one, dig it!

I was a Dini fan from his awesome work in animation with Bruce Timm. And Derek and Dustin have been an art team going back to their early Jet days at Wildstorm.

A quick moment to gush, if I may. Nguyen's covers for Detective, especially the super-gorgeous watercolor ones he's been doing lately, are like whoa! We have a saying here down South that I must apply—"Dude put his foot in those damn covers!" Don't worry, it's a compliment.

In our chat with him, we discuss his beginnings in Georgia, before planting roots in California, the industrial design work he did prior to getting into comics, some fun times at Wildstorm Studios, and a few titles he's worked on like Wildcats 3.0 and Manifest Eternity.

Also covered is his new Batman series—Streets of Gotham, friends and mentors like Eric Canete, Sean Murphy and Jim Lee, and a couple of personal projects he's got cookin', too.

Never a dull moment hangin' with Mr. Dustin Nguyen. He's got energy for days and I for one, am jealous!

**And post-interview congrats to Dustin for Batman: Heart of Hush hitting #2 on the NY Times Best Sellers List for graphic novels.

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Ep. 90: 'Heavy Mettle' - A Revealing Interview with the One and Only BOB LAYTON

2009-04-21
Length: 1s

This one's sorta NSFW, kids, so don't play yourself at the Joe Job.

We talked to Bob about coming on the show when we ran into him at the NYCC and had no idea how uncensored it would get. Not that he's all about the filthy language or anything (notice I said all). But colorful adjectives aside, he was very candid and very, very open about his life and career. The guy laid it out there.

Backing things up a bit, our connection to the man, of course, goes back to his stellar runs on Iron Man in the '80s with writer David Michelinie. I read those books as a 17 year old kid and loved 'em! Iron Man had everything I wanted in a comic—over the top fight scenes, cool characters, fun stories, drama! It was just the best!

Later on, I ended up checking out his Hercules mini-series and a few of the titles he worked on over at Valiant Comics. And I must admit to being a little less familiar with the Valiant stuff, as my fascination with girls at the time began to emerge (boo-yow).

After Stan Lee, Layton's name is probably the next one to pop up if you're talking about Iron Man. He and David's contributions to the character are indelible, and their "Demon in a Bottle" storyline truly broke new ground during the Bronze Age.

We get into all that in the interview with him and thankfully, a few more goodies too! Like his early days in Indianapolis, being an apprentice to the late Wally Wood, how he and Michelinie got the job working on Iron Man, and his persona back then as a flashy dresser (dude, looked like a straight pimp!).

He also shares a few fond memories from his Valiant days, describes his departure and return to comics, and tells us about all the stuff he's got comin' up.

This one was a hoot and indeed uncensored, but in Bob's own words, "I've always tried desperately to keep one foot in the real world."

Bob's Site

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Ep. 89: Makin' Moves with TOMMY LEE EDWARDS

2009-04-13
Length: 1s

An artist friend of ours once referred to Tommy Lee as "Boss Player" and I guess we can we can see why. Even though the guy is way laid back and approachable, you can just tell he's got some cool stuff goin' on behind the scenes. And he does—trust! But more on that later...

I first got hip to Tommy back when he and Rick Veitch did that Question series for DC in 2005. His lines had all this crazy energy and charisma to 'em. I remember looking at those bold ass gestures and thinking, "Man, this guy has no fear!" Plus, he colored the book too, which also stood out to me.

We ended up meeting him and the rest of The BLVD Studio at a Heroes Con in Charlotte the next year. All super nice guys, by the way, and all major talents in their own rights.

After The QuestionEdwards worked on Bullet PointsWhat If, covers for Daredevil, and 1985 with writer Mark Millar. All over at Marvel. As a matter of fact, most of his mainstream comic book work since '05 has been for Marvel. Hmm...

Beyond comics, his name is also a staple in the movie world. He's contributed to the style guides on a couple of films you may have heard of: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, Men in Black II, Batman Begins and Superman Returns.

Not to mention, he's doing concept art for a Hughes Brothers picture that's in production right now. Here's a teaser for you—there's an Oscar-winner in the lead role who's a huge star. Now, that's what we call makin' moves!

We cover that project, his craft, Star Wars, conventions and comic shops, and everything else we could in the time we had with TLE. Hope you enjoy this special extended episode and we'll see ya next time!

TLE's Site

**For this one, we played snippets of the following: Will Smith's "Men In Black", Red Hot Chili Peppers' "Dani California", Montell Jordan's "This Is How We Do It", "Duel of Fates" from Star Wars and Steppenwolf's "Born to Be Wild".

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Ep. 88: 'Back to the Drawing Board' - A Conversation with THE BLVD's JOHN PAUL LEON

2009-04-05
Length: 52s

My first real connection with John Paul's art was at a Heroes Con back in 2006, I think. I had, of course, seen his epic work on Marvel's Earth X series, but up until then, was more a casual fan. That weekend, we met all the guys from The BLVD Studio and Dwight picked up their three sketchbooks (all of which are great, by the way).

Later that night, we attended the Art Auction which is always one of the high points of the convention. I'm standing in front of the original art display, floored by this one killer Wolverine piece, and I can tell this guy next to me is feelin' the same way (it was the hotness).

We go back and forth for a minute, then I look up and realize the guy is Tony Harris---the artist from Ex-Machina! Tony is pretty amazing himself and apparently, a big Leon fan (later that year, JP ended up doing an Ex-Mach Halloween special). You just never know... 

The man's vitals are these: he was born in NYC, but makes his home in Miami. He started working professionally at the age of 16 doing stuff for TSR's Dungeons & Dragons magazine. He graduated from SVA with a bachelors degree in fine art. He's a member of The BLVD Studio with four other exceptional artists---Sean Chen, Bernard Chang, Trevor Goring and Tommy Lee Edwards. He created licensing artwork for the mega-hit film Batman Begins and also contributed to the Superman Returns style guide.

And he rocked it on all of the following comic titles: Tom Strong, Wintermen, Midnighter, Scalped, both Ex-Machina specials and DMZ

I've been a staunch JP fan ever since that time in Charlotte (isn't it obvious?). In my almost never humble opinion, you'd be hard pressed to find a bolder, more dramatic storyteller working in comics today. Leon's approach is near-cinematic, to quote a friend of mine, and I can't front---I'm lovin' every frame of it.

Oh, and he's famous on YouTube, too!    

JP's Site

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Ep. 87: Introducing JOAO RUAS

2009-03-29
Length: 54s

We're stoked that we finally got to speak to Joao (pronounced "Joo-whoa"). He's been on our radar as someone to check for for a good minute. I know I've been visiting his site for at least eight months---long before the Fables announcement was made.

To be perfectly honest, when we talked to Jon Foster way back when, I remember Dwight and me asking him about Ruas. We were thumbing through Spectrum 14, right before Jon's interview, and got curious if he knew Joao. Jon said he didn't, but agreed that the man's work was impressive. More SiDEBAR serendipity (whoopee!).

And not to glaze over the important stuff---yes, he is the new Fables cover artist. Yes, he's awesome. And yes, YES, we got the inside scoop on the road he traveled to get to this point.

We titled this one "introducing" for a reason. Even though Joao's done a few interviews in the last year, we feel especially proud to be his first podcast. We think an art literate show, such as ours, is the best place for fans to hear this hot new artist in his own words.

As to this blog entry---sorry folks, but we're not gonna reveal one single thing about him here. WE WANT YOU TO LISTEN IN! C'mon, now...

What we will give up is that he lives in Brazil, he's 28 years old, he's an excellent choice for the Vertigo gig---and that's all!

Oh yeah, and his English is about ten times better than our Portuguese. That part, I'm sure, is no surprise (ha).

Adeus!

**Two things: We wanna thank Pamela Mullin at DC Publicity for hooking us up with Joao---she really looked out!

Also, for this episode, we played "Hush" by Jellyfish and "Girls, Girls, Girls" by Jay-Z.

 

 

Joao's Site

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Ep. 86: Shining the Spotlight on Artist RYAN SOOK

2009-03-23
Length: 1s

It's always fun when you get to holler at a personal fav. A creator who, whether they're on a huge mainstream title or a smaller, lesser known one, you'd still buy their stuff anyway. 'Cause they're just that damn good!

Well, if you haven't had the pleasure, let me introduce you to one of my favs—Mr. Ryan Sook!

Ryan is an artist who's name comes up on all his peer's Top 5 lists. And they all say the same things about him. "He's a superb draftsman", "A beautiful renderer", "Ryan Sook has talent for sheezy". Okay, I added that last one, but I swear the others are quote, unquote!

I've been on Sook's trail ever since I discovered his Seven Soldiers: Zatanna run with Grant Morrison. From there, I hunted down X-Factor, The Spectre and Hawkman, plus his covers for Friday the 13thBirds of Prey and Countdown.

While his most recent job is a short story in Final Crisis: Resist, most of Ryan's time is spent working in DC's Licensing Branch. He helps create the images that end up on a lot of their games and merch. As a matter of fact, he told us that over the last year of doing license work, he's had the good fortunate to ink the great Jose Luiz Garcia-Lopez—another DC licensing vet! How cool is that?!

In the interview, we get into how his career began, his past on titles like Zatanna and X-Factor, his approach to creating comic covers, and dealing with "moving deadlines".

We also chat him up about his Dad who's a graphic designer, his friendship with Mike Mignola and DC Art Director Mark Chiarello, and his brand new sketchbook Preliminati.

Ryan's Site

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Ep. 85: NYCC Panel - The Do's and Dont's of Being a Comics Professional

2009-03-11
Length: 1s

We'll try and keep this one short and sweet. This is our panel audio from the New York Comic Con last month and it was all about being a pro. Lots of great back and forth from the audience, much knowledge was imparted, and of course, a few laughs were had.

Our featured panelists were Paolo Rivera and Eric Canete, and you know both these dudes from Marvel's Mythos, Spiderman, The End League and Iron Man: Enter the Mandarin—so don't front! They were awesome to sit in and help D and I out, and we thank them profusely.

Speaking of profuse thanks, we need to direct some of that to a few other special people:

First up, Peter Tatara and Kim Mueller of the NYCC staff. Those two folks and everyone else at the show were extraordinarily nice to us and we thank 'em for having us.

Also, big ups to Madame Xanadu artist, Amy Reeder-Hadley and Haunted Tank writer, Frank Marraffino for stopping by and saying hello. Vertigo in the house!

And without a doubt, much love to Sarah Jane Sapang and Ron Salas, artists, friends and listeners of the podcast. They too were kind enough to come through and support us.

**Pic provided by comic writer and friend, Jon Tsuei—'preciate it, "Sway"! Snippet provided by Madonna.

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Ep. 84: Weighing In on Watchmen (The Original Comic Series)

2009-03-04
Length: 1s

It was bound to happen. The film is mere days away and we decided to sit down and chop up Moore and Gibbons' landmark series in the best way we knew how—by bringin' in some help!

We took it back to Titan Games & Comics, since we had so much fun there the last time, and joining us in the 'round:

Adrian J. aka Inazuma Tiger, a friend and up-and-coming artist who frequently posts on our message board. He was with us the first time we hung out at Titans.

Christian Sager, a local comic writer we've gotten to know over the last year. Sager has two creator-owned properties he's currently launching: Border Crossings and Partial Invasive. You can take a look at the former here.

And finally, Titans Store Manager and passionate comics fan, Mike Loewnau. I've known Mike for several years and figured he'd bring up some awesome points about the series (he did). Plus, he kindly let us crash his place again, so many thanks to him!

Actually, we wanna thank all three of these fellas for jumpin' in the fray with us and offering up their opinions. They rocked it!

**For this special Watchmen episode, we played snippets of Smashing Pumpkins' The End is the Beginning is the End.

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Ep. 83: From Book Covers to Video Games, JP TARGETE Has Many Styles

2009-02-28
Length: 1s

JP's name has been comin' up on this show since literally day one. He's an accomplished artist and illustrator who's resume includes companies like Wizards of the Coast, Fantasy Flight Games, Bantam, Tor and Warner Books. Dwight got a chance to meet him at the ConceptArt Workshop in San Francisco, back in '05, and became an overnight fan. When he got back, D regaled me with tales of huge 3x5 foot canvases, live painting demos and lots of oohing and aahing!

Needless to say, it was only gonna be a matter of time before we reached out to JP and extended the offer of a podcast chat—and here we are.

While he has an extensive background in illustration, book covers to be precise, Targete's current title is Art Director at Ignition Florida. His job, he tells us, is to set the look and tone of a video game, then guide the visuals through all the various stages to completion. Outside of his AD position at IgnitionJP says he still picks up freelance gigs, but laments that there's only so much time in the day to get it all done (we feel you, sir).

Also covered in our conversation is his relationship with his Dad, who's an architect, JP's days painting romance book covers (Fabio!), some stories about the life of an illustrator, and a description of the term he calls "Dark Fantasy".

Our thanks to the man for takin' a minute to hang out with us. We had an excellent time!

**Another thank you goes out to our buddy, Chuck Harper, for submitting some questions for JP through our message board. Go, Chuck!

J.P.'s Site

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Ep. 82: Listener Call-In Show

2009-02-17
Length: 1s

A month or so ago, we took a page out of the CGS playbook and set up a call-in event for listeners and forum members. It turned out awesome and we got to hear from many of the "voices" on our msg board for the very first time.

Also, a few people who regularly check out the show that we've never heard from, hit us up as well. It was the coolest!

We're gonna try and do it at least twice a year, but for this inaugural event, we wanna say thanks to everyone who gave us a shout—Mpol, lightbombmike, Jake Ekiss, MarkCalifornia, Chuck, Charlie, Steve E. Wonders, Inazuma Tiger, ChrisCandide and Musashi! 'Preciate you all much!

**For this episode, we played several snippets of music randomly and for your pleasure: "Request Line" by Rock Master Scott & The Dynamic Three, "Personal Jesus" by Depeche Mode, "Pick It Up" by Poison Clan and "Hello" by Lionel Ritchie.

Also, big apologies for being so late with getting this out. Life reared its ugly head...

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If This Town Is Just an Apple

2009-02-12
Length: 32s

...then let me take a bite! That was MJ back in the day before his...umm...troubles.

The New York Comic Con was a sold out success (yeah, that's right, SOLD OUT) and Dwight and I, as your two resident art nerds, are happy to have been a part of it. We owe all of our participation to our friend, artist Paolo Rivera, and also to Peter Tatara and Kim Mueller of the NYCC staff. Everyone working for the show was awesome, gracious and helpful as all get out.

We moderated a panel called The Do's and Dont's of Being a Comics Professional which, by the way, turned out beautifully. Very well attended, lots of good information imparted and we didn't come off like complete idiots (notice I said complete).

Our panelists were, of course, Paolo and also another friend, Eric Canete, who from now on shall be referred to as "Our Hero". Our Hero stepped in at the last minute, joined Paolo as a speaker, and they both rocked the house with their insight and honesty. The crowd asked a ton of questions and those two guys did their thing. We thank them much...

To hear a quickie audio recap of the weekend's events (a B-side, if you will), click here. To check out our flickr set from the Con, click here. Otherwise, we again wanna thank the NYCC for having us and we're lookin' forward to next year—and Chi-town (ya-yuhh)!

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Ep. 81: The Evolution of JASON SHAWN ALEXANDER

2009-01-23
Length: 1s

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Ep. 80: Clash At The Titan!

2009-01-13
Length: 1s

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Ep. 79: JOCK!

2009-01-06
Length: 1s

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Ep. 78: PAT WILSHIRE of IlluXCon Breaks New Ground

2009-01-02
Length: 53s

We wrote about this event back in the fall of 2008 and word has it, it was a big success. In light of that news, we thought it would be cool to have one of the founders on, Pat Wilshire, to discuss the show's inaugural year and future plans. Pat and his wife Jeannie seem to have started something really special in their hometown of Altoona, PA, and we're super excited that he took some time out to talk with us.

As we mentioned in that other blog post, IlluXCon was designed to be more of an illustration "symposium", not a convention. The goal, as Pat describes it, was to create an intimate mingling bewteen artists, students, collectors and anyone else with a desire to learn about and celebrate, art. Membership (yes, that's right) would be limited to maximize the one on one time for not only the attendees, but also for the guests. This is the kinda show where an artist who wants to hear a lecture from a peer, can get up from their table—and go hear it! Kinda neat!

Last year's guest list, well—it was a doozie! Boris Valejo, Julie Bell, Stephen Hickman, John Jude Palencar, Ian Miller, Dave Dorman, Justin Sweet, Michael Whelan and Greg Hildebrandt were some of the stellar names that were on-site that November weekend. And from what we hear, most of 'em will be returning in 2009.

In the interview with Pat, he gives us the lowdown on his background as an original art collector with The llustration Exchange, why he and Jeannie started IlluXCon, some of the challenges they had making it happen, and how bright the days ahead look like for this awesome event.

**For the first episode of the New Year, we played a snippet U2's kick ass song!

IlluXCon Site

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Ep. 77: "Tick Tock, Ya Don't Stop!" - It's Illustrator FRANK STOCKTON

2008-12-24
Length: 51s

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Ep. 76: Showing Our Xenozoic Age... More with Us and MARK SCHULTZ

2008-12-17
Length: 42s

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Ep. 75: SiDEBAR Talks to MARK SCHULTZ (and it's an exploration of subject matter not commonly

2008-12-11
Length: 57s

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Ep. 74: Animator MARK BEHM on Day Jobs and Nightwork

2008-11-30
Length: 1s

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Ep. 73: NATHAN MASSENGILL - THE THinker

2008-11-25
Length: 1s

Nathan Massengill is a friend of ours and it's been a long time coming getting him on the show.  We met him at the first Atlanta Comics Expo back in 2007, and consider ourselves fortunate to have done so.  The three of us struck up a conversation at an ACE after party and I think we were all shocked—it wasn't the same old party chit-chatNathan dropped some serious knowledge on Dwight and I that evening and I guess we haven't stopped talking since.

While he's an excellent all-around artist and painter (folks, he can paint), Nathan's professional weapons of choice are usually pen and brush. Inking, I'm sure, allows him the time to be on many more projects than full art chores ever would.  You can witness his mighty brushwork on a ton of titles too: Wonder Girl, Indiana Jones, Marvel Adventures, Batman, Deadpool, Tellos, Vampirella Strikes...

And let us not forget, NAM (his nickname) recently joined the art team that brings you JSA every month—pencils by Dale Eaglesham and covers by Alex Ross!

For the interview, we convened at Casa de Massengill, grabbed some chips and dip, looked at some original artwork and just had a good time.  The conversation includes a lot of Nathan's musings on the comics industry as a whole, the craft of inking and what he thinks is the future for his chosen profession.  We also chat him up about his background, his time as a student at the Joe Kubert School of Art and his interactions with legendary names like Joe Kubert and Neal Adams.

People, believe us when we say, the title of this episode is no joke.  The talented Mr. Massengill is an extremely observant guy and he has a real gift for communicating.  Click here to read his FAQs on inking (awesome!) and click below to hear the man himself speak.

**The Robin & Crew image was drawn by the late Mike Wieringo and inked by Nathan.  The annataZ piece however...is all Nathan. He sent it out as his X-mas card last year (ho, ho, ho)!

NAM's Place

 

 

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Ep. 72: The Incredible Shrinking Medium

2008-11-04
Length: 1s

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Ep. 71: Comics, Craft and Keeping It Real with Smallville Actor PHIL MORRIS

2008-10-20
Length: 1s

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Ep. 69: Labor of Love - CATHY & ARNIE FENNER on Spectrum, 15 and the Making of a Fantastic Art Series

2008-10-05
Length: 1s

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Ep. 68: Back for the First Time...RAGNAR!

2008-09-28
Length: 1s

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Ep. 67: Weekend with Bernie - A Conversation with the Legendary BERNIE WRIGHTSON

2008-09-21
Length: 43s

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Ep. 66: Brushstrokes of Genius ft. JEFF PRESTON, BRIAN STELFREEZE, JOE JUSKO and MARK TEXIERA

2008-09-17
Length: 1s

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Ep. 65: Infinity and Beyond - A Chat with JIM STARLIN

2008-09-14
Length: 50s

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Ep. 64: Chiuists Unite! - BOBBY CHIU of Imaginism Studios Comes to SiDEBAR

2008-09-07
Length: 1s

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Ep. 63: Dragon Con's THOM TRAINOR Promotes the Big Show

2008-09-02
Length: 29s

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Ep. 62: Here's to You, ANDREW ROBINSON!

2008-08-28
Length: 57s

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Ep. 61: KELLEY JONES After Midnight

2008-08-13
Length: 1s

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Ep. 59: One of the Good Guys - BPRD's GUY DAVIS Stops By

2008-07-25
Length: 45s

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Ep. 58: The Roundtable Returns (It's a show about nothing—and everything!)

2008-07-16
Length: 1s

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Ep. 57: One Time for the Redesign - ADI GRANOV Covers Iron Man, the Film and More

2008-07-07
Length: 54s

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The Second Coming of ERIC CANETE

2008-06-29
Length: 54s

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Act II: The MATT WAGNER Mystery Theatre...Continues!

2008-06-25
Length: 39s

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MATT WAGNER on Magic, Masked Men and Madame Xanadu

2008-06-17
Length: 48s

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Chasing Amy - An Interview with Madame Xanadu Artist, AMY REEDER HADLEY

2008-06-14
Length: 53s

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Still in the Clutch of the Blast Tyrant - More with SKOTTIE YOUNG

2008-06-12
Length: 53s

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Brothers Gonna Work It Out - SKOTTIE YOUNG Finally Comes to SiDEBAR

2008-06-08
Length: 52s

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SANFORD GREENE Explains the Method to His Madness

2008-06-04
Length: 49s

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Great Scott! - Artist STEVE SCOTT Cracks the Whip on Indiana Jones and More

2008-05-26
Length: 52s

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ACE Audio VI: The Wonder of It All ft. MIKE KUNKEL, ANDY RUNTON and RAGNAR

2008-04-26
Length: 46s

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More with Cover Girl, CELIA CALLE

2008-04-19
Length: 40s

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Caution Boys & Girls - It's CELIA CALLE

2008-04-12
Length: 52s

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ACE Audio V: "If You Want It Done Right..." ft. MIKE KUNKEL

2008-04-09
Length: 38s

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ACE Audio IV: World Wide Web Comics ft. GINA BIGGS and GREG CARTER

2008-04-06
Length: 1s

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"Delays, delays..."

2008-03-31

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ACE Audio III: Fast Talkin' with PHIL NOTO

2008-03-15
Length: 43s

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ACE Audio II: Character Design ft. SANFORD GREENE, STEPHANIE GLADDEN, RAGNAR and DEREK YANIGER

2008-03-13
Length: 1s

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ACE Audio I: Digital Visions ft. RAGNAR, TONY SHASTEEN, BRIAN STELFREEZE and JIM BURNS

2008-03-08
Length: 1s

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CREE SUMMER - Voiceshifter

2008-03-02
Length: 52s

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Meet JUAN DOE

2008-02-28
Length: 51s

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Mettle Men - SiDEBAR Talks to SCOTT MORSE

2008-02-24
Length: 54s

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Dear Jon - More with JON FOSTER

2008-02-18
Length: 53s

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JON FOSTER - r/evolutionary

2008-02-17
Length: 41s

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LARRY STROMAN is Back

2008-02-07
Length: 50s

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Spinning from Vertigo with DC's BOB SCHRECK

2007-12-17
Length: 53s

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WENDY & LISA Talk HEROES and the Future

2007-12-08
Length: 47s

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Live Long and Party - More with ROBERT MEYER BURNETT

2007-12-01
Length: 50s

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Dance, MOVIES, Sex and Romance with ROBERT MEYER BURNETT

2007-11-27
Length: 52s

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PAOLO RIVERA Explores the Mythos

2007-11-18
Length: 53s

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MARK CHIARELLO - The Artist and The AD

2007-11-01
Length: 54s

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PHIL LAMARR Comes to SiDEBAR

2007-10-13
Length: 53s

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Freaks, Geeks and Celebrity Hijinx with BEN TEMPLESMITH

2007-10-06
Length: 29s

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Freaks, Geeks and Ghoulz with BEN TEMPLESMITH

2007-10-03
Length: 52s

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The Retro Guy - A Chat with SHANE GLINES

2007-08-24
Length: 50s

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2007 Heroes Recap (Part III) with CHEEKS, PEKAR and BAKER

2007-07-23
Length: 57s

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2007 Heroes Recap (Part II) - GAIJIN REUNION

2007-07-21
Length: 1s

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2007 Heroes Recap (Part I) with MICHAEL GOLDEN

2007-07-18
Length: 46s

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Post ACE Wrap-Up (Part III) with DICK GIORDANO and BOB SCHRECK

2007-06-25
Length: 46s

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Post ACE Wrap-Up (Part II) with RUIZ, MACK, GIORDANO and SCHRECK

2007-06-14
Length: 48s

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Comix with an X - A Chat with 99X's JENNERS

2007-06-04
Length: 35s

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"Let's Talk About Dex!" - An Interview with Inker, DEXTER VINES

2007-05-31
Length: 1s

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Post ACE Wrap-Up (Part I) with FRANCAVILLA, SUYDAM and THE O.C.T. CREW

2007-05-09
Length: 53s

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"This is...Sparta!" - A Review of 300

2007-03-11
Length: 25s

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Favorite Things

2007-02-12
Length: 59s

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The Inaugural

2007-01-14
Length: 57s

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SiDEBAR - COMICS, ART & POP CULTURE

The Siblings: Dwight, Swain and Adrian

SiDEBAR - COMICS, ART & POP CULTURE


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