Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year everyone - 2009

Happy new year - may the next 584,040,000 miles around the sun treat you well.

more SK8 in the new year

the holidays are screwing with my sense of time and obligation to my family and work, so more SK8 next week - too much to do.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

SK8! Pages Sixteen and Seventeen!

Another Double Page spread - This was the first thing I drew after getting laid off from Stan Lee Media. I had spent the year at SLM simplifying and developing my style, working out the kinks in an effort to get up to speed with the other artists. I was surrounded at SLM by what I would consider the best artists around - great lions of the cartoon field like Russ Heath, Leo Duranona, Joe Luna, Dave Johnson, Shawn McManus, Dusty Abell, Aaron Sowd. It was a great year for my development, I had never been around other artists in an a capacity where I was drawing along side them, my time on staff at Marvel was very early in career and treated as an apprenticeship, so I really felt like I was thriving.

The dissolution of the company was very jarring for me, I felt like I had been interrupted somehow. It was very difficult for me to pick up the pieces, and SK8 was part of that attempt. I went back to finishing up SK8, I went back to inking and threw myself into mastering that sort of work with Stuart Immonen and now George Perez, I started drawing the Jet Pack Pets, which lasted for five years, I did storyboards, I did Flash animation for a few years, I drew the Weapon, I did anything and everything to claw my way back to that feeling I had at SLM, that I was moving forward in my art.

Right now, for the first time in years I'm working just two jobs instead of the usual five, and I think the focus is helping me. George Perez is just an absolute master at storytelling, so I'm trying to really focus on what it is that he does best and trying to incorporate it into my work. I've been trying to add things to the stories I've been working on, to give the whole experience of reading a comic I draw an enriched environment that feels like there are things going on besides the "A" plot. Little additions to the experience and I think it's been improving the work I'm doing on Wolverine: First Class. At least I hope so - the future is unknowable and the first Wolverine: First Class issue I'm doing doesn't hit the stands until late February, and I'll likely be a few issues down the road.

Matt sez:
"Enter the SK8 contest! Scott drew this project in his spare time over the course of several years. See if you can figure out which pages were drawn first and submit them for a special No-Prize drawing! The lucky winner will receive absolutely nothing. Oh, and be sure to include the $20 entry fee…"

I feel compelled to let everyone know there is no real fee attached to Matt's contest, and you may join in the fun only if you are as attuned as Matt was to some of the stylistic changes in SK8 and Bucky's appearances.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

SK8! Page Fifteen!

I remember thinking about Frank Miller's Sin City when I was doing this page, but for the life of me, I have no idea why. There certainly are a lot of bricks in this one. Bricks are pretty easy to do, I am always searching for new ways to do them. This is one way.
I loved wrecking that cop car in the last panel.
More ads here for the Velvet Bats show, as well as a possible Senate bit by Mayor Benito. Benito's avatar was more ambitious and shot for President (although it looked like he was trying only for President of Florida in the primaries). I liked the name "Century Inquisitor" - there are far too few newspapers named the Inquisitor, probably because too few actually do that sort of job.

Matt Sez: "Not too long ago Scott went to a comic con and did a portfolio review in which a self-appointed expert critiques your hard work. For those of you who’ve never done it, it’s kind of like dropping your pants in public and having teenage girls point and giggle. Know what the genius said to Scott after perusing artwork such as this page? “You’re almost there, kid!” Fucking editors. The last good one was me."

In the editor's defense, I *was* almost there, since I am reporting from "there" now. It's nice to be here, so glad you could all join us!

Friday, December 26, 2008

SK8! Page Fourteen!

Another page that got added after the main sections of the book had been done. I don't know why I thought the book needed this, but I do know that the design of the page came first, as it seemed fun. I asked Matt give us some inner dialogue for Bucky, which, being the good sport he was, he provided. I thought it worked out ok, harkening back to the first page, where Bucky's narration is our lead-in. I still like the page design. Matt gets a little cranky about the subtle shifting of the art style, as SK8 and Bucky look a bit off model through the next few pages.

Matt sez:
"Many people in comics today would argue that this page needed no dialogue. The art, they would say, conveys the story without it. My script, they’d add, is redundant, didactic, and uncinematic. Voice over narration, they would offer, is old-fashioned, heavy-handed, and amateurish. To them I can only reply, “Fuck you. It’s my story and I love it.”

Thursday, December 25, 2008

SK8! Pages Twelve and Thirteen!

Pages 12 and 13 are the first double page spread that appears in the issue. The middle panel splash of SK8 and Bucky going over the hill reveals the town in all of it's maddening glory. Roman architecture, aqueducts, etc., you can see the fires of Baby Babylon still burning in the background. The middle panel also has five points of perspective. You read that right - five. Only pussies whine about three-point.
Matt sez:
"SK8 will always be a source of pure unbridled joy to me. It was a wonderful excuse for me and my best friend to hang out, bullshit, and laugh our assess off while doing the thing we loved best. The pleasure I got making it was worth far more than any monetary success. Okay, that’s a lie, I’d rather have money, but the pleasure was definitely a close second. Look at these pages and you’ll see exactly what I mean."

Wednesday, December 24, 2008


Merry Christmas from a man who is increasingly becoming more and more of an atheist every day.
I'm going to try and relax a bit tomorrow, which is rare to inconceivable to me after 6 long years of working nearly every single day. We'll see. I'm really beat, so it may be forced on me.

Monday, December 22, 2008

SK8! Page Eleven!

Oh yes - with page eleven - we turn it UP TO ELEVEN! That's one more than ten, you see.
Wow - does this page get packed with detail.
At the top of the page Apollo makes his first appearance - hospitals and ambulances still use his serpent-staff as their totem. Greek or Roman, if it was representative of antiquity, I co-opted it for this book. I'll be the first to cop to not always recognizing the difference between Greek and Roman mythologies and architecture, but I challenge you to tell me the difference between Methodists, Baptists and Lutherans. Freedom of religion in America means freedom from religion, and while the differences between religious sects meant murder in pre-revolutionary war America (as it most certainly did in Virginia and Massachusetts), today I have yet to meet anyone who even knows what the differences are. So - Greco-roman it is.

Matt sez:
"Today Rudolph Guiliani is lauded as being America’s Mayor. His bravery and leadership on 9/11 helped heal a horribly scarred city, but prior to 9/11—and no one seems to remember this but me—he was the most hated man in town. The press excoriated him on a daily basis for being a nasty, mean-spirited, fascist. It’s true. Go back. Look it up. I ain’t lying. Mayor Adolfo Benito (gee, that name also lacks subtlety, doesn’t it?) was a caricature of Rudy. In hindsight I regret writing the lisp because it’s hard to read, but in light of Rudy’s half-assed presidential bid and ham-handed hatchets jobs on Obama I don’t regret making fun of him one bit."

Friday, December 19, 2008

SK8! Bonus!

A Sk8 web exclusive! I found this - Matt's script, with a few of my notes and scribbles. You'll note that my father has asked for gold toed socks in the color black. Now you all know what to get him for Christmas 1998, no excuses.

SK8! Page Ten!

Too much to do over the next few days, so I'm posting this one early and then returning to it on Sunday. That's the plan anyway.

2008's almost over everyone - hang tight.

I remember doing this page in my little apartment in SoHo (nee the South Village). The apartment was 210 square feet, if you included the square footage of the bathroom, and it was like living in Sodom. There were no household department stores within 40 blocks of where we lived, so there was a distinct lack of curtains in our neighborhood. Every Friday night, like clockwork, the guy who lived diagonally across the alleyway and down a floor, who had hung a southern rebel flag in his window, would plop himself naked on his couch in front of the window and dive into a two hour long onanastic frenzy. My upstairs neighbor was a chef and would get home at 4am. The bed we had was on a loft-like structure in the 9' x 6' bedroom and I could touch the ceiling if I just raised up my hand. It was on that ceiling, and on the chef's futon on the floor that he would pound away at whatever waitress he dragged home. I hear them, as they were two feet from my head, and I could feel them by touching the ceiling. The only good (to my mind) entertainment was a beautiful girl who lived diagonally across from the bathroom alleyway and needed to do it with the lights on.

Matt sez:
"Again that neo-Roman influence is seen in the gladiator inspired police uniforms. I think it looks way cool but I must admit the CCP (Century City Police), an all-too obvious allusion to Soviet Russia is a tad heavy handed, even for me."

Thursday, December 18, 2008

SK8! Page Nine!

Gaah, rough day. Got up late, got to work late, got less done today than I wanted. It's always a very dicey emotional state for me as I hack away at the new pages I'm working on, even dropping a cup full of ice water can send me over the bend and into an emotional spiral that takes hours to extricate myself from.

Sk8 cock watch- covered by hospital worker's head in panel two. With this page, I was able to get a sheet onto SK8. I liked the sheet - it played up the Romanesque aspects, kind of harkening back to a toga and gave Sk8 something that accentuated his movement without using speed lines. Capes are useful, but I was surprised at how much better that sheet was.

Code Red, Pupil Response, all the crap from the best hospital drama - it takes them an hour, we cover it all in less then half a page. I liked panel 3, and I also liked the way the middle sequence of panels is isolated from the rest of the narrative by a unifying black gutter; it sets up a different speed for the reader to visualize time - it all should be happening at once.

We end this page with a nice little cliffhanger, much like the last page.

The haircut with the curls is pretty popular in Century City, I probably should have put it on both of the orderlies and not made the one bald. I kept making decisions that contradicted the Roman design sense in an effort to keep it a mish-mash of modern and ancient.

Matt sez:
"Okay, I admit it, I was going for the whole Christ thing. It’s a horrible, adolescent cliché disguised as art, I know, but it’s a writer’s right of passage. A friend once told me that the second coming idea was the single most common theme found in student films. So, much like masturbation and speeding, we all do it, but unlike them we should only do it once."

I'm comfortable doing all three. Some of them at the same time.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

SK8! Page 7A!

I forgot - Simon Coleby, artist on the Authority did a color version of a few panels of page 7- and here they are. Simon's very good at this sort of thing.

SK8! Page Eight!

Click on the image above to access a larger image.

I think I may have oversold the concept here.

Those are certainly some grievous injuries - it's like Calcutta central casting.

This is where the race begins to see how many ways I can cover up Sk8's shvang from view. So far - a panel crop, a table, and a gazillion hospital patients. Don't worry ladies - we'll get a few ass shots in - Sk8's tight, gotta show that off.

Matt sez:
"I did not steal this scene from Green Mile. I stole it from an episode of Amazing Stories, a short-lived TV show in the early eighties. Great crowd scene. Very Gone With the Wind. If you look closely you may spot Waldo lurking in the back."

SK8! Page Seven!

Before I forget - please click on the image above in order to make it bigger. It will help. Honest.

Been under the spell of what I'm trying to weave for the next comic I'm pencilling, where I'm heavily into the layout stage, which is where i do all my heavy thinking. Fortunately, it's with characters I thought about as deeply as I've ever thought about anything, - it's nice to pick up the old obsessions sometimes. I don't want to lose the thread of getting these pages out somewhat regularly, primarily so James can sleep at nights.

Sk8's tatoos were an important part of establishing him visually, and I wanted especially to have something on his face, as well as his body, so I could identify him easily in a crowd. I think Matt suggested the tatoo over his eye - it's a spiral/"s" shape done with a little Kirby krackle. A lot of kirby krackle was used for whenever sk8 used his powers, but I realized I couldn't involve the eye that had the tatoo on it. i should have put some sort of tatoo on his hands, it's not 100% identifiable as SK8's hands in panels 9 and 10.

Bucky's arm is really f#$@ed up.

I worked pretty hard on that emergency room, but I don't think I used any reference for anything besides the gurney's.

I realized when I've drawn SK8 in the past few years I have not included his goatee. Odd.

Matt sez:
"Bucky is a great character to write because his volume is eternally stuck on 11. As you read the dialogue imagine a loud, frantic, high pitch rant delivered at machine gun speed, then double it."

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Happy Belated Birthday Santa Claus!

i don't think anyone really knows what the hell they're celebrating this time of year, but i'll give it a shot and seeing as it's a little more than a week late, happy Birthday Santa Claus!

and good luck to you, Zwarte Piet! Quite literally puts a different sort of face on Christmas, doesn't it?

Hey - next time someone bitches about not respecting the true traditions of the christmas season, drag Zwarte Piet out and see if they still pine for the old country!

SK8! Page Six!

If you look closely, the EMT guys are trying to save Bucky's board, not Bucky.

This page is where I started to get a handle on what I was doing. I'm still very happy with this page today. Sk8's hand, his first appearance, is done with the same expression as found in the sistine chapel, reinforcing the savior angle. The Fireman in panel five is married. St. Elegis hospital is named after the TV show in the eighties, and it also seemed to fit the overall architectural themes - the Roman columns, the brick work. The last panel was my first real experience with text obscuring the artwork, but the "Roger Ober, Out" joke makes it fun. I think Dave did a very nice job placing the "Carnage. Death. Chaos." balloons. All the lettering was done on the boards - I wanted it that way so I could get a feeling of what the page looked like before I inked it. I'd pencil up the boards, give it to Dave and then tighten the pencilling up and ink it.

Here are some nice colors from the middle row - Matt tells me it was done by Simon Coleby, who is currently an artist on a book for Wildstorm, I think it might even be The Authority. Simon's a great artist, I have inked over him at some point, on Punisher 2099. Punisher 2009 is the last book to sell over a million copies to the direct market, and I dare anyone to knock it off it's perch as the title holder. It's been 16 or 17 years now, the champ looks pretty lonely at the top there. Comics aren't dead, they're just resting. Resting very well indeed. A nice 40 year nap?

At any rate- Simon is a good friend of Matt's and a good sport, since his color work never saw the light of day, until now. He did a fantastic job - it's very fun, and really the only way we got to show SK8 was blue. Thank heaven the the cover was in color.

Matt's corner! Matt sez:
"Check out the fine detail work on the last panel. I kept telling him, “Scott, it’s a friggin’ background! I’m going to cover it with word balloons. Nobody cares about the background!” Except for me, of course, I think it’s awesome. Getting these pages in my fax machine (yes we did this in the stone age) was always a visual treat, the best kind of eye candy. Thanks for the hard work, dude, but it’s all your fault the damn thing took so long!"

SK8! Page Five!

We get back to the originally intended flow of the book here, as I believe this was originally supposed to be page two. I don't know if it works better as page two or page five. Some nice moralizing from Matt - he's always worried about the homeless, skateboarders, junkies and whores. All those characters were to appear as part of the cast in the first issue - Padre Pete (second panel) makes an appearance, the junkie (for some reason I think his name is John?) didn't make the cut - his scene was excised. i don't think the whore character or her little son made it either. The boy looks a bit too old here.

It also appears that the "savior of the homeless" has to destroy a few buildings before he starts up with the saving. I expect the Obama Administration will be faced with the same sorts of problems.

The Matt Corner! Matt sez:
"This page betrays Scott’s background as an inker. Few pencilers are capable of this level of textured inkwork. Much like painting, inking is all about light and shadow. Pencilers get the glory (and the money) but many inkers are just as talented. The next time someone asks what an inker does tell them he is a master of light and shadow. It’s pretentious bullshit but it ain’t wrong."

Thursday, December 11, 2008

SK8! Page Four!

Another page done after SLM dropped it's dot-bomb. I didn't realize how much was added and subtracted from the whole package until Matt and I spoke today. I'll post the Errata after I've posted the Juvenalia.
Mat writes:
"See that crackling energy effect in the third panel? It’s called Kirby Krackle, invented by Jack “King” Kirby and popularized in early issues of the Fantastic Four. Kirby Krackle always brings me back to childhood. Scott, workman artist that he is, knows all the tricks of the trade, but it’s interesting to note (at least to me) that many artists don’t know how to do it. Jazzin’ Johnny Romita taught me that the key to Kirby Krackle (say that five times fast) was not in the black circles, as many artists think, but in the scimitar like patterns between the circles. The secret of drawing Kirby Krackle is not to fill the white space with black circles, but to turn your thinking sideways and fill the black space with jagged white patterns. My friends, there is no man who thinks sideways more than Scott Koblish."

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Merry Christmas-

Merry Christmas- It kicks in around 45 seconds in.

SK8! Pages Two and Three! Updated!

Here are some notes from Matt, the writer. Matt writes:
"Skateboarding is the only sport that is banned in public. Society itself has turned thrashers into cool, young, rebels. In short, the perfect anti-heroes. The neo-Roman design was a great visual device to paint the skateboarders as the barbarians at the gates of civilization. On the first page Bucky and Hal are boarding on the head of Athena, the goddess of wisdom. Yo, Scott, who the hell are the Velvet Batz?"

I did this double-page spread in 2001, soon after being let go from Stan Lee Media. I can't remember the reasoning behind adding this spread and the subsequent fourth page, except that it opened things up a bit. My style had changed slightly due to exposure to artists like Dave Johnson and Dusty Abell during my year long stay at SLM. It wasn't too radical a difference. The "Velvet Bats" are a joke - a goth band name i made up and have continued to use for various graffiti in various comics. I think it's even in an FF comic. Mean Planet was an animated online story that some friends of mine were working on around the turn of the century. I even inked a Mean Planet comic that Art Baltazar pencilled, so it might've been on my mind.

Again, some Roman architecture mixed with slums. That's Perseus holding Medusa's head. I was searching for the right metaphors, and kept coming up with snakes somehow - Medusa, Athena's chest-plate, etc.

I remember doing this spread while suffering through a terrible depression following the implosion of SLM. I had given my all to that company, working 40 days out of every 41 for a year - going through it's bizarre implosion was a very difficult experience for me. I was lucky enough to have unemployment insurance, resulting from the dissolution of the company, but that also weirded me out - it felt awful going through the process of collecting unemployment and suing SLM for the remainder of my contract through the Bankruptcy court.

Freelancers don't normally get unemployment - you're just working or not working and I was used to the rhythm of project, followed by next project, etc. In my 16 or 17 years as an adult employee I've only worked two staff jobs - one at Marvel, which I quit to "go pro," one at Stan Lee Media, where we were all fired. The firing did a real number on my head. My animator friends were used to being laid off, but I wasn't. I had let my New York freelance contacts dry up while I was at the company, doing only one 8 pager for DC early in the year. It felt like forever, but it was probably just two months of unemployment - I did some storyboard work, in retrospect I actually turned down a chance at doing backgrounds for Justice League (a real boneheaded maneuver, I recognize now that I should have pulled my head out of my butt and taken the shot, but my head was still in comics) and Tom Brevoort pulled me back into comics in the spring of 2001 with an inking assignment over Stuart Immonen on Thor.

It was with that book under my wing that I moved back to New York, dividing my time between working on the film Nobody Beats Charlie, freelance and finishing up SK8. I moved back to New York in September 2001. I was glad to have moved back to New York then - I felt really attached to what was going on during that time. I don't think I could have watched those events from afar, it was better for me to be in the center of it, for better or for worse.

Matt's going to add his two cents and I'll post them along with my comments when he sends them to me.

Pulse interview-

Interview on the Pulse.

Tomorrow- event reminder-

Just a a reminder:
I will be doing an appearance for the HERO Initiative on the 10th of December at the Comic Bug in Manhattan Beach. A whole bunch of artists will be signing and sketching for anybody who buys a copy of the “Hulk Covers” Book. The proceeds go to the HERO Initiative charity and they do really important work, so if you have a moment during this holiday season, go to their website at and see what you can do.

Monday, December 08, 2008

SK8! Page One!

I did the bulk of SK8 on duo-shade board. It's a thick paper that has two tones, hidden, that you can expose by using 2 separate chemicals, each attuned to the separate hidden patterns. When you brush on the developer, the patterns show up. However, time is not kind to the chemical reaction and it was a few years before the book was collected into print and it faded. It still looks OK on the statue, and even adds a little texture to the whole thing. it's hit and miss- in some spots it helped, in others it made the image more confusing.

I wanted the architecture to be a mix of modern, slum and old Roman architecture. Most skateboarders congregate around public governmental buildings- they like stairs, stark inclines and grounds with multiple levels. The best spot for that sort of thing were government courthouses like 60 Centre Street in New York, and skateboarding was actively frowned upon there. It seemed more than a little cruel to me that the design function of Roman architecture would so closely mirror the design sought by skateboarders, and the tension between authority and illegal behavior would be so stark. I've always been a little confused about the adherence to Roman architecture by the American government, it seems like an odd style to drag across the ocean and if I'm not mistaken, it arrived late as an American style, although Montecello comes to mind. I also thought Roman aqueducts would be an excellent thing to skateboard on and they reminded me a bit of the L.A. river in the dry season. Same concept.

I threw Athena in to reinforce the Roman aesthetic. I wanted to show Bucky (the narrator) and Hal jumping off the head of Athena, but I'm afraid that some people read it as they were flying instead of jumping. My first lesson in the book, first page - because there is no movement in comic books (the images are static), the reader is saddled with trying to figure out what the action is in reference to the position of the elements. Hal and Bucky are in the sky. They are not touching anything. It read as flying. It works slightly - it gives the whole thing a fantasy-like quality, but fails at describing what I wanted to get across.

I also used separate vanishing points for the upper city and the lower slums. I wanted to imply that the rich and poor are separated by more than money, by a deeply cracked reality, and anchored by that staircase to the right. Who knows if it works that way or not, it was worth a shot - nobody ever complained about it.

I still like the movement of elements in the first panel - the sweep of the clouds, the curve of the staircase, the giant statue anchoring the 4 panel grid underneath.

I really like Dave's lettering. Matt's script works very well: the broad sweep of words that compliments the establishing of place in the first panel, staccato sentence rhythm for the last 4 panels. "Your Board. Your Best Friend. And the Universe." It helps to set up the major themes of the work too - skateboarding, friendship, aliens (to come).

Matt had a friend of his color a few panels of the book. They look very fun, I'll add them where I can. I wish I had more. I don't know who colored them. In the color version I wish the last panel only had one "lens flare," as SK8 was supposed to be coming down within a single meteor, and having two flares throws it a bit.

SK8! the Cover!

OK- here we go.
I intend to have fun with this, because the birthing process for it was so impossibly hard and ended in sorrow, agony and dashed dreams. I worked on each page between gigs as an inker for Marvel Comics, while living in SoHo in New York in 1999. Matt and I hatched most of it in a giant coffee house/gallery off of West Broadway, near Spring Street. The general idea was that skateboarders were publicly persecuted (there are actual signs in every town forbidding their activities) and they needed to have a savior - our twist was that he was an alien. Had tatoos. And was blue. He could power his skateboard forward really fast, and had healing powers -because most skateboarders we'd ever seen were broken or torn or bleeding and could benefit from a healer. He was a savior to the downtrodden and a hero to the masses. Or something like that.

Here's the cover to the issue for SK8, minus the cover copy, oddly enough. Matt must have done the cover copy separately on a file that I don't have. Matt's cover copy consisted of "Earth's First EXTREME Hero!" in the upper right corner (I remember he was saying it was funny BECAUSE Extreme had already been overused, even back then), and at the bottom left "The Mysterious Talking Skateboard Tzontemoc!" Tzontemoc was an idea that came to us late in the game, after we'd done the 1st issue, but before we did the cover. The intent was to put Tzontemoc in the second issue, or rework the first issue eventually to include the story where Tzontemoc was discovered by Bucky. If I ever catch you using a talking skateboard that has an imprisoned, spiteful mexican deity within it, I will hunt you down.

This was very early in my attempts at understanding Photoshop, the files I found recently didn't even have the proper suffixes. This cover was colored by one of my compatriots at Stan Lee Media, Peter Tbolski. After SLM went under I had Peter color up a copy. I remember having to break into his house in order to retrieve it, but I don't remember why. Certainly it wasn't because of any hostility, I just don't remember the circumstances.

I had also come up with the idea of having a flip-book animation in the lower right hand corner of SK8 doing a skateboarding trick, and I'll have to find the little figures and post them at some point. I wanted to have them on the cover, but it was nixed, which was fine.

Matt Morra did the script, he and I worked out the plot, Dave Sharpe lettered it on the boards.


Sunday, December 07, 2008

Wolverine/Power Pack #3!

Here's the cover to your first purchase of the new year!
Wolverine/Power Pack #3-
I drew the interior artwork for the book.
It's due on the stands on January 7th!

Thursday, December 04, 2008


I will be doing an appearance for the HERO Initiative on the 10th of December at the Comic Bug in Manhattan Beach. A whole bunch of artists will be signing and sketching for anybody who buys a copy of the “Hulk Covers” Book. The proceeds go to the HERO Initiative charity and they do really important work, so if you have a moment during this holiday season, go to their website at and see what you can do.