Appearances

Page 213 – You Will Never Be Evil Again

And there it is, the first blow of the coming battle is struck, and it’s called foul right off. The way this came about was in telling the story, Charlotte got to this part and said:

“…Axe Cop walks up with all his pals. And he says to them “you will never be evil again! And then he chops off the little kids’ heads.”

She immediately rethought it and started to go another way, but it was too funny to let go so I kept it. You HAVE to keep a sudden, unprovoked axe attack on little kids to punish the parents. You know, when I type it out like that, it’s not so funny anymore. But… well… at least it’s funny in the Axe Cop universe. Infanticide is many horrible things, but at least we can enjoy that it’s hilarious in the context of an Axe Cop comic.

KIDS’ QUOTES OF THE WEEK

‎”If The Hulk just played dead,
nobody would ever bother him.”
                                        -Charlotte, 6 years old

Amelia’s in trouble and she thinks her
stuffed bear, Vanilla, has told on her.
She yells 
“Curse you, Vanilla!!”
then throws him down the stairs.
                                        -Amelia, 5 years old

Page 212 – Showdown

Well, all right, all that art-talk over the last two blogs was a complete dud and no one cared. Sorry ’bout that.

 I don’t have the time to write up much of a blog this week, I’m under the gun on an art deadline and am cranking out pages. I wouldn’t leave you with nothing, though, so here’s the audio of Amelia telling an Axe Cop story. I requested it be in a smoothie shop because I was trying to tie it in to the comic story, and didn’t wind up using this at all. I definitely don’t have the time to draw it these days, but if anyone  has the time, this’d make a good guest strip.

KIDS’ QUOTES OF THE WEEK

Me: “I need to take a shower.”
Charlotte: “Why?”
Me: “I need one, I’m stinky.”
She gives me a hug.
Charlotte: “You’re not stinky.”
Me: “Aww, thanks!”
I sneeze.
Charlotte: “But you ARE gross.”
                                        -Charlotte, 6 years old

Amelia is going to get her room painted.
She says she’s going to have pictures painted
of “blocks and tigers and people and butts and people.”
                                        -Amelia, 4 years old

Next week, the first act of aggression in this street fight is about to go down, and it’s a doozy.

Page 211 – How to be a bad guy

For anyone wondering, yes, Axe Cop only slept for two minutes.

Last week, I mentioned that I’ve come up with a pretty solid inking technique in Manga Studio and said that if anyone wanted to know the process I’d fully detail it. It got a couple of responses, so here we go. These instructions are for Manga Studio 5 or EX5. If there’s some way you can make it work for your inking program, do it up.

Coloring Detail-02-02

Before you begin, go to Manga Studio > Shortcut Settings and in the Main Menu settings area, find Transfer To Lower Level. Set its shortcut to Cmd + F. You’ll be using this function a lot, and this command will make the process much quicker for you than clicking the button on the Layer palette, seen above. Note that I use Mac, so PC users substitute Cmd with the Ctrl key.

Screen Shot 2013-12-30 at 10.55.46 AM

1. Have your pencils on a layer. Set the Expression Color to cyan and lock the layer.

Expression Color is a very useful setting in the Layer Properties palette. It applies a lightening color to everything in the entire layer, but not permanently- meaning that if you click it off again, the image is normal. You’re using it as a way to see between your layers while you work.

2. Create two layers above your Pencils layer. These are your inking layers. Name the top one “Working Inks” and the bottom one “Finished Inks.”

3. Set the expression color of Finished Inks to red.

4. Begin inking, in black, on the layer Working Inks. Hit Undo frequently and redraw a line as often as it takes to get the line you want.

Remember that you can change your brush size on the fly by holding Option + Cmd and dragging your pen to find the desired size. This keeps things moving so much more quickly than clicking over to the brush palette and sliding the brush size slider. Also hit the R key to rotate the page freely as needed.

5. When you have a chunk of inking you’re happy with, hit Cmd + F. You’ll see the inking turn red as it moves to the Finished Inks layer.

6. When you have overlapping ink lines at corners and edges, erase at will on either inking layer until you get the desired effect.

Hitting the C key will set the color you’re drawing with from black to erase. This keeps things moving somewhat more quickly than switching over to the eraser. Hit C again and you’re back to black.

7. Repeat steps 4-6 until you’re done inking.

8. Delete Working Inks and click the Expression Color button for Finished Inks to turn it off, and to turn the red lines to black. You’re done!

I hope some of you find this helpful. It’s really streamlined my process quite a bit. To think that just a year ago I was inking on paper, erasing pencils, scanning, and cleaning up the mess in Photoshop. I’ll never go back.

KIDS’ QUOTES OF THE WEEK

Me: (yawn) “Man, I’m tired.”
Charlotte: “So go to sleep.
Blah blah blah, end of story.”
                                        -Charlotte, 6 years old

Daddy: “Charlotte, you have to eat some of your salad.”
Charlotte: “But I don’t LIKE salad.”
Amelia: (points to bottle of bacon ranch dressing)
“Probably, this will help you.”
                                        -Amelia, 3 years old

The kids are planning to stay up until midnight tonight and then camp out in the living room in Amelia’s new Spider-Man tent that she bought with her Christmas money. Amelia’s a huge Spider-Man fan. Everyone got her Spidey stuff for her birthday and Christmas (I got her a full costume, she loved it) and she still bought more on her own. It’s pretty awesome. Anyway, I’m predicting that Amelia will have passed out by 10:30, and Charlotte will be a zombie by 12:20. They always think they’re going to go all the way on these late nights they occasionally have, but they never quite make it.

This year’s been good for me, and I hope 2014′s even better. Have a great New Year’s Eve, everyone, and a happy 2014.

Next week, it’s a showdown on the street, good guys vs. bad. Heads are about to start getting seriously chopped.

Page 206 – When in doubt, improvise

Hiya everyone! Well, last week’s first page seemed to go down smoothly with everyone. Truth be told, Ethan and I were a bit afraid that people would be hesitant to accept an ongoing Axe Cop story from creators other than the Nicolle brothers. Luckily, things went over well and no one groused. That’s good, because we’re in this for the long haul here.

Today, we learned that young Axey’s means of dealing with bad guys isn’t too far off from his adult means. Get ready for lots more shocking and sudden violence in this vein… I think shocking and sudden violence will prove to be a hallmark of this story. One example in particular is, I think, destined to go down in Axe Cop history as one of his more rash actions against bad guys. Trust him, though. He’s Axe Cop. He knows what he’s doing.

If anyone wants to commission some art from me or is just curious to see more of what I do, you can look at my rapidly-becoming-outdated portfolio site, or go to my Facebook page. In recent years I’ve found myself doing a lot of album artwork for metal bands, which is okay, but those guys want an album cover choked with details, and they don’t want to pay for the time it takes to create it. I’ve been hoping to expand into more comics work, so… hit me up if you’ve got a project.

KIDS’ QUOTES OF THE WEEK

Charlotte: “what’s sheep meat?”
Me: “What?”
Charlotte: “What’s sheep meat?”
Me: “sheep meat??”
Charlotte: “Yeah.”
Me: “Mutton.”
Charlotte: “What?”
Me: “Mutton.”
Charlotte: “What’s mutton?”
                                        -Charlotte, age 8

Amelia has requested, for dinner,
“chicken wif the handle
like chomp chomp chomp.”
She means chicken drumsticks.
                                        -Amelia, age 5

Next week, we return to the present day and see what this flashback is leading up to. Also, next week, we finally meet Rainbow Girl herself.

Page 205 – What the heck?

Hiya. I’m Tom, and welcome to the first page of REVENGE ON RAINBOW GIRL. This story is written by my two nieces and drawn and colored by me. This is step 3 in a 16-step plan to subtly manipulate Ethan as a contact and get my own TV show. Don’t tell Ethan I’m abusing him as a contact; he doesn’t die until step 14 and I don’t want to spoil the surprise.

So as it turns out, I’ve got these things called blog posts to go along with the comic strips. I wasn’t ready for that. I guess I’ll get into it by starting with why I’m doing this, and why I like Axe Cop: kids are hilarious. I know a lot of people with little kids in their lives, and the kids have always just said something hysterical. What these people don’t always do is what I’ve been doing since the girls were little, and I’m going to recommend it to everyone here- write down their quotes. I keep a Google Doc full of things the kids have said, grouped by how old they were when they said it. What I’m planning to do is give each kid a quote of the week whenever I post.

Considering I’m the much-worshiped frontman of metal band Lich King, this’ll probably endanger my reputation as the Ice Cube of thrash metal*, because adoration of the cute things kids say isn’t supposed to be a trope of thrash guys. We’re supposed to enjoy violence and apathy and 80s action movies and zombies and beer. In light of that, if you’re a metal guy that’s put off by that I love little kids and now you can’t like my band, I guess it doesn’t bother me if you take a walk because you’re not the kind of person I want enjoying my band anyway. Metal is supposed to be fun. Hug a puppy now and then, you miserable churl.

KIDS’ QUOTES OF THE WEEK

Amelia: “Ow. Charlotte’s hitting me!”
Me: “Charlie, what are you doing?”
Charlotte: “She just told you.”
                                        -Charlotte, age 8

Picking crabapples from the tree in the kids’ yard,
Amelia points to one and I pick it for her.
Amelia: “Thank you Unca Tommy. You’re a good
picker and no car could ever run you over.”
                                        -Amelia, age 3

Thanks for reading, I hope you enjoy REVENGE ON RAINBOW GIRL as much as I did listening to it being written on the fly by two awesome little kids. I’ll be back next week with page 2!

*…No one calls me the Ice Cube of thrash metal. I call myself that in hopes that it’ll stick.