Friday, September 30, 2011

Checkup + Photos

I seem to be pulling out of this state of sickness at last. Over the day I've been feeling progressively better, so with luck I'll be in the clear by the weekend's... end. The last few days have been largely made up of taking care of Logan and slipping in and out of consciousness, but mid-afternoon today I started feeling alert again, with a little legitimate energy even, so I've been catching up on neglected housework and plugging away at a project for work.

I've been pretty cooped up this week, so I don't have much exciting to write about. Instead here are a few pictures. Hey why not.

Logan - The Sweet Life

Logan, being the most spoiled dog on the planet. Beyond adorable though, you have to admit.

Body of Work

Going through filed-away comics on the floor of my studio. I've done 67 as of this week.


Self shot. Because narcissism.

All for now. Sometime soon I'm gonna write a bit about the comic series I'm digging these days. Sound good? (Come on, you know it does.)

And hey, for the sake of padding this out a bit more, here's a good song:

Thursday, September 29, 2011

A to Z

I'm trying to fight this nasty head cold off with lots of juice and tea and sleep and pills, and hopefully it's working. I'm going slightly stir-crazy, being confined to my apartment - and my bed specifically, for the most part - but it's what has to be done.

One of the things I can do in this state is type, so I stole a little questionnaire from my good friend Mel. (I can't think especially well right now, but fortunately this doesn't take too much brain-power.)

A. Age: 27.
B. Bed Size: Queen.
C. Chore you hate: Cleaning the bathroom. But I do it anyway.
D. Dogs: Love.
E. Essential start to your day: Let's be real here, it's coffee, first thing. I've been sick this week so I've been abstaining for my own health. I am not happy about it.
F. Favorite Color: Changes pretty often. Lately I'm drawn to vibrant, livelier colours, either blue or green specifically.
G. Gold or Silver: Silver.
H. Height: 6'1".
I. Instruments you play: I've learned (at least mostly) how to play guitar and violin. As to whether I'm any good anymore...
J. Job Title: Proctor / Office Clerk, I guess? I'm actually not entirely sure. Is that weird?
K. Kids: Undecided. I don't think having kids is something you should set out to do as a goal. It's something you should do if you know you want them, know you're ready and are in the right position to properly raise them. It's a huge responsibility that shouldn't be approached lightly or rushed into.
L. Live: Thunder Bay, Ontario.
M. Mother's Name: Tracey.
N. Nicknames: Bry is a nickname. My full name is Bryant, but I haven't gone by that in 12 years. Also: Brystars, B-ry, Runkle (my pal Dean Young says I'm "the Runkle to his Moody") and an old one is Sy (Sy Kotyk, geddit?)
O. Overnight hospital stays: I'd do it if I had to with no complaint, but I'd prefer not to.
P. Pet Peeves: People who are rude, impatient or overly judgmental. Dishonesty. Bad drivers.
Q. Quote from a Movie: "Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it."
R. Right handed or Left handed: Very right-handed. Lefty is fine for daily routine stuff, but I couldn't draw or doing anything intensive with it to save my life.
S. Siblings: None.
T. Time to wake up: I naturally seem to wake up around 8:00. It used to be much later - I'm adapting to the "morning person" routine more every day.
U. Underwear: Colourful. I really hate boring underwear and socks. (Which is odd, since most people will never see them...)
V. Vegetables you hate: Olives. (I guess technically they're fruit, but I'm still counting them.)
W. What makes you run late: Checking multiple times to see if the stove is off or the door is locked. I have minor OCD like that.
X. X-rays you have: I've had x-rays taken of my left knee and my right hand. Don't recall if there were any others.
Y. Yummy food that you make: Apparently I make a pretty good omelette!
Z. Zoo animals: Kind of depressing.

That's all for now. Back to bedrest. I'm gonna end this with a picture of my sickbed caretaker and his new toy:

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Brysketch: Wonder Boy

Sorry about the lack of updates lately. I haven't had much to say for the most part, and when I did, I was either too busy or not feeling up to it. I'm actually pretty sick right now, but typing from bed is one of the things I can do in this state, so here we are.

It's been a really interesting month for the topic of gender in comics. Well, "interesting" is one word for it. "Frustrating" is another, but there's been a lot of thoughtful discussion on the topic that I think is really important to the industry.

So, the short version? This month, DC Comics launched "The New 52", a relaunch of their entire line of comics. This has generally meant a reboot of most of their series, each starting over with a new #1 issue. Once details emerged about the upcoming titles and their creative teams a few months ago, it was noticed that the writers and artists were overwhelmingly male, with incredibly few female creators attached to the new titles. It became a bit of a controversy.

Fast-forward to now. A few of the new DC comics have been released recently that have treated their female heroes as little more than male fantasy objects instead of well-rounded characters that could appeal to a wider audience. For more details, it's been well-covered by Comics Alliance EiC Laura Hudson here and here. If you have any interest in the topic, definitely check those articles out. I'd comment on the issue more myself, but she really covered everything I'd want to say anyway. (Though do yourself a favour and avoid the comment section. Trust me.)

So gender in superhero comics is a pretty hot-button topic right now, and for good reason. Not directly related to the controversies above, but Chris Arrant at Robot 6 asked today, "Where are the male versions of female heroes?"

But in this world of male heroes sharing their costume designs with women, I’ve always wondered why there isn’t much going the opposite way: heroes who base their costumes and names on heroines.

One of the key reasons is that by sheer number there are far more popular male superhero characters than female characters. By my unscientific estimation, the only female superheroes the general public could name would be Wonder Woman, Supergirl, Invisible Woman, Catwoman, Jean Grey and Storm. Compare that to the male heroes most people know, and you’ll get the picture. But even then, where are the male counterparts to those female heroes I mentioned?

This is a really good question. As someone who's read a lot of comics over the years -- though I'm currently down to only two superhero titles, neither of which published by DC -- I've wondered about this a lot myself and have always been bothered by it.

So then I drew this.

Okay, far from my strongest work - I pencilled, inked and (very quickly) coloured it in under an hour, all while sick. I don't much care for the pose, either, but you get the idea.

There have been other characters called "Wonder Boy" at various points (or so Wikipedia tells me), but none that have stuck around in any permanent capacity. Meanwhile, female versions of Superman, Batman, Spider-Man and others have become superhero staples with long-running histories. Seems a little uneven, doesn't it? I've always loved the idea of younger characters being inspired by their heroes and taking on their symbols. It's a very hopeful tradition. But why are Superman and Batman any more inspirational than Wonder Woman? And why wouldn't she inspire a young man to follow in her footsteps instead of strictly female sidekicks? I'd like to say the obvious response is "of course she would", but it's an unfortunately rare occurrence in the superhero world.

Maybe it's about time that changed.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Poll: Halloween Costume

Halloween is coming up quick, and anyone who knows me probably understands that it's my favourite holiday of the year. And like every year, this means I get super excited and have trouble settling on a costume. So naturally I'm asking the Internet for help. That's a totally normal thing to do, right?

Below I have the three costume ideas I'm considering at the moment, and right underneath that is a poll. Tell me which one you think I should choose. Or, if you don't like any of them, give me a suggestion in the comments.

Clearly all three will involve wigs. (There, I made that comment, now nobody else gets to.)

Pick my Halloween Costume!
Conan O'Brien
Scott Pilgrim
Philip J. Fry
Other (write in comments) free polls 

This is important stuff, people! I thank you for your assistance.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Operation: Step Up My Game

Okay! Doing the "random topics" thing again. Let's roll.

First off, I just posted a new "Welcome to Hereafter" comic today, so check that out if you want to maybe!?

Next up, here's a quick/rough sketch from a few months back of the two then-Batmen (Bruce Wayne and Dick Grayson):

(Not my finest work or anything, not by a long shot, but I think it captured their different personalities fairly well.)

As part of what I'm calling Operation: Step Up My Game, I recently bought a new suit. I haven't owned one that actually fit me for years, as apparently I lost a decent amount of weight in that time. I had a wedding to attend this weekend, so I went out shopping with my girlfriend and happened to luck out and find a pretty ridiculously good deal on a gray suit. I've wanted one for ages, and now I have one. So check me out, Mister Fancypants right here:

(I seriously wish I had more reasons to dress up in my regular life.)

Buying a suit can be a bit tricky for me. In fact, buying any clothes can be a bit tricky for me, but suits especially. My body type is a bit lanky, I suppose. I'm moderately tall and pretty thin - which is not something I'm complaining about. However, the issue I have is that many/most shirts and jackets either fit me well in the shoulders/chest but tend to swim on me in the mid-section, or fit well in the body but tend to be a bit tight up top. If I can find something in a slim fit (like the suit above) I tend to be okay. But something that fits "perfectly" is pretty rare. For example: the suit fits and looks great overall, but the sleeves are a bit shorter than they should be. But unless I want to break the bank on something custom, it's just something I have to deal with.

Stepping Up My Game also includes the following - Get serious about advertising/promoting "Welcome to Hereafter" (I've already started this, and am considering the next phase now), Buy a new table/chair set for the kitchen (check - I got a couple of cool red hydraulic barstools a little while ago, and now have a hydraulic table on order), Buy new/better kitchen stuff (I picked up new cutlery, place settings and napkins this week, for starters), Live better (IE, keeping a positive attitude, making a point to enjoy my life, and keeping on an exercise schedule - overall I'm doing well so far, but it's in progress).

"Buy a car" is somewhere on the list too, but I think the smarter thing to do right now is hold off until it becomes a necessity. I can easily walk to and from work and have been getting by just fine without a car for some time now. No reason to change this just yet.

Oh and hey! Community, the best damn comedy on television, returns this Thursday. Here is how I feel about that:

Thursday at 8:00 on NBC. Watch it or we can't be friends. (Okay, maybe we can, but I'll be mad at you.)

Thursday, September 15, 2011


Because hey why not, just some pictures of me clowning around with my best buddy:

(Apparently I felt like ending that on a sinister note...)

On The Walls

There's something very liberating about getting rid of things you can never get back. Like giving away an old gift, or shredding a photo and deleting the original. Each a little anchor you cut away from your life.

I feel like I'm a positive person by nature. I admit that I haven't been that way all the time, and I still have days where it's hard to find the brighter side. I know that how I feel when I'm caught up in negative emotions just isn't "right". It's hugely stressful, it makes me feel sick and uneasy and I don't know how to deal with it. I'm at my best when I'm positive and hopeful - everything feels lighter, every effort easier. That's how I want to be, as much as possible.

Yeah, I've said as much before. This time it feels a bit different. How I feel right now is like this: I've been through another round of the emotional ringer, the same one I've been through more times than I can count. And the experience has helped me realize once more how important it is to pinpoint those negative influences in your life and remove them whenever possible. I'm tired of being weighed down. So I'm doing my best to cut all those little anchors loose so I can move forward, onward and upward.

And I'm doing it on my terms. How cool is that?

Last post I said I would share some more studio photos, so let's get to that. I've been very fortunate to have collected a number of sketches, commissions and prints by some of my favourite comic artists over the years, people whose work I enjoy and who inspire me. So I've hung them all on my studio walls, where I need them the most.

From top to bottom: Signed "Usagi Yojimbo" print by Stan Sakai, signed "All Star Superman" print by Frank Quitely, "TMNT" sketches by series artist Jim Lawson and co-creator Peter Laird, "TMNT" print by Eric Talbot, signed "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" print by Georges Jeanty, Impulse commission by Dean Trippe, and coloured Impulse sketch by Jason Ho. Click to embiggen!

Obligatory adorable sleeping dog photo:

Logan - Bed

My best buddy Logan, being awesome even when sleepy. He's completely taken over the house and I am totally cool with it, you guys.

And last (but certainly not least) I have a few links for you:

My dear friend, ally, and life coach in self-destruction, Dean Young, is a talented and brutally funny writer. He has a Facebook page and a Twitter. You should check them out.

That's all for now. Peace out, Internet!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Where We Make The Comics

Sorry about the lack of updates over the past week. I've been dealing with some stuff. And some things. That's all I feel like saying about that.

To make up for it, here's something a bit different. As you may know, I draw a webcomic. In fact, I just counted and I've done 62 individual comics as of today. It's a whole thing! I've been fortunate enough to have a second bedroom in my apartment that I've made into a "home studio", and I figured I'd give a little photo tour of where I get things done. Click pictures to embiggen!

First up, my bookshelf. It's 66.6% filled with graphic novels, but there are some novels and other books in the mix too.

On the left is a really awesome head sketch of Impulse (my second-favourite comic character of all time) by the very talented Jason Ho. He was offering sketches to early donators in an effort to support the Help the Cheerleader campaign, and I was lucky enough to get one. Please check out the link and donate if you can - what happened is a truly horrific injustice, and every bit helps.

Up top, I've got some toys on display. The Mirage TMNT toys are some of the coolest things ever made out of plastic:

Here are a few shots of my drawing table setup. I've had it since 2006, when I lived off Bank Street in Ottawa. Still the best money I ever spent.

In the last one, you can see the inked version of the latest WTH comic - this shows how I "cheated" by not drawing the full background in each panel. I feel kind of guilty about that, but it's what I had to do to get it done on time.

Here's my computer setup, now spread across two desks to accommodate all the extras like my printer, backup drives and knickknacks (not pictured is my scanner on a separate stand to the left).

And finally, a few shots of the little doorway nook I use to store my music collection (yep, I'm the guy who still buys CDs) and honour 1/4 of my heritage -- 1/2 if Wales counts -- with a big ol' British flag:

And up top, Spike. Because Spike is great.

(Nevermind the Coldplay - I honestly haven't listened to that in years, I just never get rid of CDs.)

That's all for now. In the next day or so I think I'll share all the sketches and signed prints from some of my favourite comic creators that I have on the walls. Until then!