Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Comic Book Swap Meet poster and more...

Here's the official show poster for the Comic Book Swap Meet on January 31st!

The Comic Book Swap Meet is Washington state's mini comic-con on the Olympic Peninsula. The show features comic sellers, toys, gaming and supplies, cosplay, cool nerdy vendors, and comic book guests. Comic guests include CD Poe, James Taylor, Scott Adams, and our guest of honor Jeffrey Veregge!!

We will also be joined by Garrison Titan, the Washington State chapter of the 501st Legion. If you don't know about the 501st, they are a all volunteer international Star Wars costuming organization approved by Lucasfilm to perform public appearances for benefits and charities. For more info on the organization go to:

Stay tuned here at,,, and for all the latest info!!!

Be sure to check this out too!!!
Do yourself a favor and check out this new book from Dynamite Comics, The Avenger, written by writer, critic, KIRO radio personality,and friend to,  Mark Rahner!! Be on the lookout for some great upcoming comic release announcements from Mark very soon too! Edu Menna's art is awesome too!! tell your friends

Monday, December 22, 2014

Interview with Savage Dragon creator, Erik Larsen

The one and only Erik Larsen
As comic book readers, we see artists and writers come and go on our favorite titles. You defintely won't a single contributor work on the same series for 20 years!! My subject of this next interview breaks that trend and more. In my opinion, Erik Larsen is a modern legend in the comic book business. From his Marvel days when he took over doing the art on Spider Man from Todd MacFarlane (who you might've also heard of), to being one of the original owners and founders of Image Comics, and now hitting the huge milestone of his 200th issue of what Mr. Larsen refers to himself as the "perpetrator" of, Savage Dragon (which he writes and does the art for), he's done it all. I'm absolutely honored to have had this correspondence with him. Enjoy my interview with Savage Dragon's creator, Erik Larsen!

SS: I'd like to thank you for taking the time for this Q&A with us. I'd also like to congratulate you on the recent release of Savage Dragon issue #200! That is a big milestone. When you first started Savage Dragon, did you expect the longevity of the run?  EL: Of course not. I had high hopes. The hope was to write and draw the book for the rest of my career but there was no guarantee that would happen. I certainly wasn't expecting that or planning as though that was a possibility. Still--I couldn't be more pleased to have made it this far. If it all ended tomorrow having had the opportunity to do whatever I wanted to for 22-years is nothing to sneeze at. 
courtesy of Image Comics

SS: Since you write and do the art for the title, and though that doubles the workload, is it at all easier to put each issue together since you can basically put your own vision of your story on the pages versus trying to translate someone else's vision of characters and plot?
EL: You would think so but the writer and artist don't always agree on what to do. There are things that are a blast to draw but I can't necessarily string together coherent stories just about that kind of thing. It involves a lot of thinking. When you're just drawing other people's stories you don't have to think about this stuff night and day. It may be easier plotting for me than having to write out every detail to explain my vision to another artist but it's still a lot of work.

SS: There will be a Savage Dragon Free Comic Book Day release in May. Can you give us any details on that? Is there going to be a separate story, or continuation of the current arc at the time?
EL: It'll be a stand alone issue but that's frequently the case. The book has Malcolm taking a big step after high school and following in his father's footsteps by becoming a police officer in Chicago. It puts it all out there--your proverbial great jumping on point for new readers and that will be collected in and expanded on in a later issue of Savage Dragon. The thing about FCBD is that not every store participates so it has to be incorporated in a regular issue or made available in another way or readers can't get all of the story.

SS: With the boom of comic book based television and film right now, is there any talk of bringing Dragon to TV (maybe try an animated show again?) or the big screen? I'd personally love to see a Savage Dragon live action film! 
EL: There is forever talk. A screenplay exists but at this point I have nothing to report.

SS: Since I mentioned comic movies, do you have a favorite comic based film and why? Are there any coming up you're looking forward to?
EL: I enjoyed the Avengers quite a bit. That felt like a decent old school Marvel comic to me. It hit a lot of the right notes. I also liked the first Amazing Spider-Man, which was a stark contrast to the Rami Spider-Man movies which I didn't care much for. Oh, sure, Dr. Octopus looked great but beyond that--meh. I take in what I can. I dunno if you'd call Birdman a comic book movie but it was great. Looking forward to more of whatever's coming. I'll watch most of it.

SS: Now that we're talking  personal opinions and likes, are you reading any current comic book series? Whats in Erik Larsen's pull list nowadays?
EL: I don't have a pull list per se. I pick things off the rack which appeal to me. I read a lot of the Image books--Invincible, Walking Dead, Southern Bastards, Shutter, MPH and--geez, it seems like we're doing all the cool stuff. I guess Dark Horse does Hellboy and I buy that. I follow a few artists' work at Marvel but I'm not really all that excited about the books as reads--Chris Bachello, Humberto Ramos and a few others.

SS: You've been quoted in other interviews citing legends such as Jack Kirby, Herb Trimpe, John Byrne, and Frank Miller as artistic influences. Do you feel a sense of responsibility to be influential to newer comic creators?
EL: There's nothing I can do about that. That's entirely up to the people reading the stuff. I know a few artists list me as influences and writers too. Both Robert Kirkman and Joe Keatinge being the most successful ones.

SS: What new artists and writers do you think we should keep our eyes on, that have the potential to be the next big thing in comics?
EL: That Shutter book is awfully good. Joe Keatinge and Leila Del Duca are doing some awfully nice work on that and I love the fact that they're intentionally making a book intended to be a comic book and nothing more. All those visual things--emulating comic strips and stuff--that's not going to work as a TV show or movie. I love movies and all that but there's something to be said for people doing work that embraces all that comics are and can be.
Nice Larsen Spidey cover
courtesy of

SS: What advice would you give to new creators and indie creators on getting their work out there to be seen?
EL: There's nothing to say beyond do good work and network. Show your stuff to everybody. If it's good--you'll get there. If it's not--you won't.

SS: Are there any projects or characters out there that you would still love to work on?
EL: Beyond Savage Dragon? Just stuff I own and books I want to create. I'm through with work-for-hire.

SS: I always like to end a Q&A by giving you the chance to share whatever you'd like. Anything you'd like to plug? Any advice? The proverbial floor is yours...

EL: At the end of the day--I love comic books. I got into comic books because I wanted to do comic books--it wasn't a stepping stone to movies or TV--this was the end goal. This was what I wanted to do. Comics have their own advantages and shortcomings and I adore creators that make comic books that are better than movies on paper. We can do some much and often we do so little. The movies can't really pull off a guy in a seamless skintight costume with every muscle flexing. We can do that. It's a bit disheartening to see companies compromise their comics and emulate film, adding straps and seams to costumes. We can do better with that--we have done better. Why are we stooping to their level instead of embracing our strengths and showing them how it's done!

SS: Thanks so much for taking the time for this, sir. Best of luck, and here's to another 200 issues of Savage Dragon...

Steve Strout is the media mastermind behind this site, host of the Comic Book Swap Meet, nerd, terrible artist, gamer, convention goer and comic book reader who spends more time rescuing toys from thrift shops than a normal adult should. He is also known around the northwest for his promotion of live music and stand-up comedy events and is the creator/producer of the Olympic Peninsula Comedy Competition (which will make it's big return in 2015). Follow him on Instagram at, and  He can be reached for comments at on twitter at @thestevestrout

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Comic Book Swap Meet guest announcements and Skriker review...

I recently had an independant comic creator submit her new book to me to check out. I will get into that, but before I do...

We mentioned recently that the Comic Book Swap Meet is coming up on January 31st, 2015, and that we'd be adding more guests..Check out these great artists that will be joining Scott Adams ( and our guest of honor, Jeffrey Veregge (!

 I'm excited to announce comic artist and writer James Taylor. Mr. Taylor has been working in the industry since the late 90's on projects such as The Victorian, Para, Decoy, and Anne Steelyard for Penny Farthing Productions and also does freelance work as an inker and graphic designer, while running his own publishing company, Rorschach Entertainment. If that wasn't enough, he also runs the Jet City Comic Show in Tacoma, Washnington.

James Taylor from the Bellingham Comic con
He is currently working on a creator-owned web comic entitled The Bully's Bully of which the first issue of the graphic novel was released in August 2014, as well as a new Decoy series for Panny farthing Productions. I look forward to having him at the show and pick his brain a bit about the ins and outs of running a big convention like the Jet City Comic Show. Go check out The Bully's Bully at

Also, Back by popular demand is Kitsap county CD Poe! He joined us at the last Comic Book Swap Meet back in August, and was a hit. Show attendees kept him busy all day doing custom sketches, and buying his art prints. He has been a favorite at area conventions, including our Cmic Book Swap Meet and Jet City Comic Show!

CD Poe!!!
CD Poe is excited to bring his flavor of mythological themed fantasy and pin-up style art to the show. Here's an excerpt from his personal bio that describes his work perfectly:

"He draws his inspiration from a variety of sources. He is very much into art nouveau, contemporary pin-up photography, tattoo art, faerie lore and mythology. His literary influences are J.R.R. Tolkien, Clive Barker, Charles Baudelaire, Edgar Allan Poe, Neil Gaiman, to name a few. Artists which adorn his walls and constantly live in the back of his twisted cranium include Brom, Frank Frazetta, Todd McFarlane, Tim Bradstreet, Alphonse Mucha, Gil Elvgren, Olivia, Charles Vess, Joseph Michael Linsner, again to name a few. All of this finds it's way into his work, with a smattering of comics and gaming."

Be sure to stay tuned for all the latest on the Comic Book Swap Meet. We're going to be raising some funds for some great causes. Hope to see some of you there. Put it in your calendar...January 31st, 2015 in Chimacum Washington!

As previously stated, I received an independent comic from a creator named Dani Smith.  She sent me the first issue of her book Skriker. I must say, I was pleasantly surprised by the book. The art is very bold, colorful, and to the point. The story itself had an anime/manga feel to it, which worked for me, since I've recently started rally getting into Anime and Manga.

 Skriker is a tale of a demon/human hybrid who was orphaned as a child. He is taken in by a bar owner who happens to have a monstrous side to himself. He grows into a warrior of sorts, but by the end of book #0, he makes a new friend and rears his humanity.

I don't want to give away too much plot, in hoping that you give the book a shot. Recently Dani, who happens to have written, drawn, inked, colored, lettered, and published Skriker, was offering issue #0 for free. She may or may not still have that deal going, but I'd recommend giving it a shot, free or not, especially if your into paranormal and fantasy stories. It's NSFW so don't share it with your kiddos. The second issue is set to be released over the next month or so. I will be on the lookout! Check it out and get more info on Skriker at:

Steve Strout is the media mastermind behind this site, host of the Comic Book Swap Meet, nerd, terrible artist, gamer, convention goer and comic book reader who spends more time rescuing toys from thrift shops than a normal adult should. He is also known around the northwest for his promotion of live music and stand-up comedy events and is the creator/producer of the Olympic Peninsula Comedy Competition (which will make it's big return in 2015). Follow him on Instagram at, and  He can be reached for comments at on twitter at @thestevestrout

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Comic Review: Bitch Planet

Review by Joe David Thompson
If the names Kelly Sue DeConnick and Valentine De Landro weren't enough, was there any chance a comic called Bitch Planet wasn't going to rock?

Bitch Planet is an actual planet, one where women deemed to be "non-compliant" are arrested, tossed on a spaceship, and incarcerated for the rest of their lives.  Men on Earth have created a kind of totalitarian gender government that can have offending women shuttled off to this "auxiliary compliance outpost" planet for any reason.  

It's a terrific mashup of science fiction and women in prison exploitation films that's described as "Margaret Atwood meets Inglorious

Basterds," which is actually a pretty close comparison.  Everything you expect to see is here, from the violent guards, explicit nudity, and the overbearing control in the prison.  All this and the hint that all is not what it appears to be in the prison.

DeConnick and De Landro nail the feminist, yet tongue in cheek tone of the book beginning with the cover art and never let up.  Bitch Planet is nearly the antithesis to DeConnick's Pretty Deadly, a gorgeous Western fable, but this Eisner nominated writer breathes new life into these genres and makes them relevant again.

Joe David Thompson has been doing media reviews for websites such as Red Carpet Crash and the 405 Music Blog. For any questions or comments for Joe David Thompson, you can email him at and follow him on twitter @jovid52

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Comic Reviews: Gotham By Midnight and Secret Six

Review By Joe David Thompson
I've still been in a turkey coma, so we're going to be talking about my favorite books from these past two weeks, ok?  Wait, you don't get a vote!

Gotham By Midnight is another book in DC's latest slate of offerings that dig for deeper stories that a rich setting like Gotham City has to offer.  I've already sang the praises of Gotham Academy and Arkham Manor, so I wasn't too shocked by how much I enjoyed this book.  Gotham By Midnight is a part horror, part supernatural book that stars an off the books GCPD operation tasked with investigation the strange and unusual crimes in Gotham.  Think of a cross between the X-Files and Warren Ellis' excellent comic Fell, and you've got the basic idea here.  Writer Ray Fawkes does a bang up job with this first issue, introducing the characters with clumsy exposition, while building the creep factor well.  Art duties are covered by the inimitable Ben Templesmith, who I think we can safely say has been delivering iconic work.  This book fits perfectly in Templesmith's wheelhouse, and he does stellar work.  This is one I don't plan on missing.

If you've been part of the fan base clamoring for DC to revive the Secret Six, then this past week was a good one for you.  Gail Simone returns to the title with this latest reinvention of the group.  Details surrounding this book have been very secretive, so I won't spoil anything here, but it's safe to say that Simone has another winner on her hands.  This first issue swiftly introduces us the Six, as they awaken in a locked room, possibly somewhere at the bottom of the ocean.  What follows is some psychological torture a la the Saw films, and the idea that someone is manipulating these people.  I'm a fan of just about anything Simone gets her hands on, so I was onboard when this was announced, and she doesn't disappoint here.  I love how we meet and learn about these characters as they deal with impossibly high stakes right off the bat.  Ken Lashey is on art duties here, and he makes the panic and claustrophobia leap off the page.  Buy this now.   

Joe David Thompson has been doing media reviews for websites such as Red Carpet Crash and the 405 Music Blog. For any questions or comments for Joe David Thompson, you can email him at, and plese follow him on Twitter: @jovid52

Monday, December 8, 2014

Big Comic Book Swap Meet announcement and more...

Before I share the big guest announcement for the next Comic Book Swap Meet, I wan't to remind you all about the latest giveaway we're doing here at !!!

All ya gotta do is follow @thestevestrout on Twitter or Instagram (OR BOTH!!) and share the following picture and use the hashtag #comicbookswapmeet to enter. Feel free to enter as many times as possible!!! We will be selecting a winner on Saturday December 13th at 9pm Pacific.

The Comic Book Swap Meet, as I announced recently, Is happening on January 31st, 2015 at the Tri Area Community Center in Chimacum, Washington! Come check out our mini convention here on the Olympic Peninsula.

And finally, our big announcement!!!
We already announced that we will be joined by the creator of the Sukotto comic book series, Scott Adams. You can find info on Scott at and in our interview from earlier this year.

photos courtesy of Jeffrey Veregge
With out further adieu...We are super excited to announce our comic book guest of honor for the Comic Book Swap Meet, Mr. Jeffrey Veregge. Veregge is a rising star on the comic book scene as a cover artist as of late. Recent published work can be seen on some major titles on publishers like IDW . His art has been recently featured on the cover of issues of G.I. Joe, Judge Dredd, and more.  Come out on January 31st to meet and support this one of a kind talent.

Stay tuned for more details on the Comic Book Swap Meet and all the other great features here at!!

Steve Strout is the media mastermind behind this site, host of the Comic Book Swap Meet, nerd, terrible artist, gamer, convention goer and comic book reader who spends more time rescuing toys from thrift shops than a normal adult should. He is also known around the northwest for his promotion of live music and stand-up comedy events and is the creator/producer of the Olympic Peninsula Comedy Competition (which will make it's big return in 2015). Follow him on Instagram at, and  He can be reached for comments atptcomedy@yahoo.comon twitter at@thestevestrout

Friday, November 28, 2014

Comic Review: 7th Wave Comics' Undertow

Review By Joe David Thompson
Undertow #1 cover
After the 7th Wave Comics appearance at the Jet City Comic Show earlier this November, Luke Donkersloot shared his latest project with us.  Donkersloot is the writer and letterer of Undertow, an anthology series currently in its fourth issue with a fifth currently in production.
Undertow writer, Luke Donkersloot

After its inception, Undertow evolved to include two separate stories which split each issue.  Undertow begins with The Organ Grinder, an old fashioned Western meets the Twilight Zone, centered around a mysterious, one-armed musician who stumbles into a mining town, with his monkey and interesting instrument in tow.  Trouble ensues when our hero comes up against some unsavory characters doing unsavory acts.  Undertow's back half is currently occupied by The Forgetting, a supernatural tale about magic, reincarnation, and monsters.  

It's challenging to review indie comics chiefly because these are the creators on the front lines, putting these books together on their own dime and time.  To paraphrase an idiom, if you want to get better at something, the best way to do that is by doing it.  If you want to be a writer, then write.  If you want to draw, draw.  If you want to sing in a N'Sync cover band, we need to talk.  

Seriously, you can see this expression in action looking over the four issues of Undertow.  The current issue demonstrates a major evolvement in terms of writing and art.  Where the earlier issues are overly dependent, weighed down even, on the use of captions, this issue uses more visuals and dialogue.  Comics is primarily a visual medium, so it's a natural think to let the images do the talking.  Besides, this demonstrates a trust in your artist, who in turn, gets her chance to shine.  In the case of the Organ Grinder, Gibson Quarter is doing just that: shining with each panel.  In additon, the language of this book has gotten stronger both in terms of directness and swearing.
Undertow #1 digital variant cover

Donkersloot clearly has a vision and a story to tell in both vignettes.  To me, the strongest of these is The Organ Grinder, which owes a big debt to Clint Eastwood's Man with No Name films.  Donkersloot is keeping many of the secrets of the Grinder close to his vest, and I'm ready to know more about this character.  My biggest gripe story wise is with how women are depicted in this world.  While I can appreciate that this period is definitely not packed with feminism, you're not going to attract a strong female readership with a scantily clad Native American victim of violence.  There is a female sharpshooter who is dressed as a man we we first see her.  We discover the supposed "he" is a "she" only when she strips down and finishes her scenes in a bubble bath with a bouyant bosom.  I'd love to see some strong women add some color to this black and white comic.

The Forgotten is an entirely different animal.  I can get the gist of what's going on in this story, I just haven't had a strong reason to care about this one.  The way in here is through the magical elements, but the better part of The Forgetting's run has been spent on reactions to violent creatures by characters we haven't had a chance with which to connect.  Adam Gorham's art makes great uses of minimalism in rendering scenes both intimate and sprawling.

Still, Undertow is a fine example of passionate creators working and honing their craft.  I fully believe these guys are going to keep getting better.  If you're interested in supporting indie creators, Undertow's digital issues can be snatched up for a buck a pop on the 7th Wave Comics website.

Joe David Thompson has been doing media reviews for websites such as Red Carpet Crash and the 405 Music Blog. For any questions or comments for Joe David Thompson, you can email him at, and plese follow him on Twitter: @jovid52

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Comic Review: Casanova Volume One

Review by Joe David Thompson
I was cruisin' Comixology last week, looking for interesting new releases to review, when I stumbled across something for which I blew my weekly comic budget in one fell swoop: the first volume of Casanova, Luxuria, collected in what's called a "complete edition," and there was no stopping me.

If that sounds like the ravings of a madman, let me explain.  Casanova first dropped in the summer of 2006 on Image Comics before the title moved to Marvel's Icon imprint in 2011.  Since picking up the first issue, I've purchased both the print and digital singles, and now I've gone and done it again. 

Casanova is a psychedelic, spy, and science fiction comic from the mind of Matt Fraction, writer of Hawkeye and Sex Criminals, and illustrated by the extraordinary talents of Gabriel Ba and Fabio Moon.  Casanova Quinn, the star of the book, is the much maligned son of the leader of one of the world's most powerful espionage groups.  Quinn is soon drawn into a plot that finds him kidnapped across timelines and other dimensions, where he must claim to be something he's not: a super spy.

Fraction infuses this book with dynamite pacing, smart humor, and a pop sensibility that keeps readers on their toes.  He's clearly having fun writing this book and that feeling practically leaps off the pages.  Fraction plays around with the cool spy tropes and atmospheres of the sixties, for which he seems to have an affection.  Gabriel Ba (The Umbrella Academy, De:Tales) turns in art that is fluid, sexy, and just plain gorgeous.  Ba captures the playful tone of the book masterfully.  I've been a fan of Ba's art for a while now, something I credit to his work on this book. 

For all its spectacle, Casanova has a lot of heart driving the book.  A shocking death forces Quinn to take stock of who he is and what motivates him to do the things he does.  We see a man trying to define himself beyond, and in spite of, the excesses he seems to enjoy.  Eventually, Quinn must confront the questions we all do: when are we going to grow up?  How long are we going to let other influences control our life?  And what does this look like?  Fraction has always been good at pulling the human drama out of whatever fantastic circumstances his books may be set.  And, after reading through the honest commentaries in the back matter, we see just how personal Casanova is for him as an artist. 

This complete edition includes all that back matter, Ba's covers, a deeper look at Casanova's color palette and lettering style, among other assorted goodies.  If you're a Casanova junkie like me or just love the spy or science fiction genres, Casanova is the perfect book to take you away from the family fights and the same old turkey dinner.
Joe David Thompson has been doing media reviews for websites such as Red Carpet Crash and the 405 Music Blog. For any questions or comments for Joe David Thompson, you can email him and follow him on twitter @jovid52

Monday, November 24, 2014

Interview with comic book artist Matthew Southworth

You've heard me rave about Mathew Southworth's art and how big a fan I am of his work, so I'm more than pleased to share this Q&A Matthew and I did to discuss his background and upcoming projects.

Before we get into that, I want to mention that I will be announcing another really exciting guest at the next Comic Book Swap Meet here in the next few days or so! Also, don't forget about the contest for the signed Jet City Comic Show poster over on our Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. Links are posted at the end of this interview. The poster is signed by some great comic creators including Matthew Clark, Clayton Crain, Tim Seeley, and the subject of the following interview, Matthew Southworth!! Here's a peak at the poster...


Inteview with Matthew Southworth, November 18, 2014
TheSteveStrout: I assume, based on your beautiful artwork, that you've been drawing and doing art in some way from a young age. At what point did you realize that you WANTED to and COULD make a career in the field?

MS: I've been drawing since I was three years old, but there have been some big gaps in there. In my teens I alternated between obsessing over comic books and playing guitar, and eventually I went off to theatre school. From the age of 18 or so on through to my late twenties, I didn't do much drawing at all. But once I'd been working in the film industry for a while, I realized the immediacy of working in comics really appealed to me, so I started diving back in around age 27 or 28.

TSS: Did you have any artistic inspirations growing up?

MS: Yes--I was always "the kid who could draw" in elementary school, and that made me want to be...wait for it...Leonardo da Vinci. I set my sights pretty high. Haven't reached that level yet.

TSS: Your first published comic was a piece in Erik Larsen's Savage Dragon.How did that gig come about?

MS: I met Erik at Emerald City Comicon and showed him my work in hopes of getting a review. He was very helpful--his primary bit of advice was "make sure a thing looks like the thing it's supposed to; this leather jacket does not look like leather", and I learned to look at things with a different eye. He invited me to do the Star backup in Savage Dragon #133, which was very challenging for me but was a great way to get my feet wet. Seeing your work in print is shocking--SHOCKING--but you gotta start somewhere and calibrate your eye to what will actually appear on the printed page.

Here's a commission Southworth did for
me earlier this year when he was a guest
at the Comic Book Swap Meet!!!
TSS: Stumptown is probably your most acclaimed work to date. How did you get that hooked up with Greg Rucka to do the art for the series?
MS: I was working with Stefano Gaudiano as his assistant on DAREDEVIL and a few other assignments, and he was bringing me along, teaching me technique and being an excellent and generous mentor. He and Greg had worked together on GOTHAM CENTRAL, and when STUMPTOWN came along, Greg and Oni contacted Stefano to see if he'd be interested in drawing the book. He didn't have time to do so on his own but suggested that he and his assistant Matt might do it. But it immediately became clear that Stefano had no time to work on it; he put in about an hour and a half on the book total. So all of a sudden Greg and Oni were left holding the bag, stuck with this untested Matt Southworth guy. 

TSS: What are some of the notable comics you've worked on, for fans who aren't as familiar?

MS: I've done a little work here and there for just about every publisher in comics. I just finished an X-Files Christmas Special for IDW; I've done Spider-Man, Spider-Girl, Thunderbolts, X-Men, a Beta Ray Bill Special, Ares and others for Marvel; I did a story in a Batman Special and inked Infinity Inc. for DC; drew a Shadowman story and did layouts on several other books for Valiant; did some layouts for an issue of The Activity for Image; and I've done a number of things for Dark Horse, too. I've been all over the place.

TSS: How hard is the process of putting a writer like Rucka's characters and vision onto the pages?

MS: Extremely easy because Greg's writing is complete, and he's very detailed about character. It's easy, once you've read his script, to picture who these people are and what they look like, how they sit, and so forth. He puts a lot of character in subtext, which is my favorite kind of writing. Alex de Campi, who I'm working with now on a book called MAYDAY, is very effective at the same thing. You read her work and immediately ideas are pinging around all over the place because the script is so full of life.

TSS: Would you say the work in Stumptown best exemplifies your art style?
MS: Hmm. I'm not sure I'd say that, but that's only because my art style changed so much over the course of the two series. I'm constantly testing, pushing, trying new techniques and tools and approaches, and that can create a lack of unity in the work. On the second arc of the book, however, I decided just to go with that impulse, to keep pushing and testing; I figured that where I sacrificed stylistic unity, the work would benefit from enthusiasm and experimentation.
Here's a page from Sumptown #3 on
Oni Press

TSS: How would you personally describe your drawing/inking style if you were to see it from a fan's perspective?
MS: My drawing style is probably best described as "high-contrast", which is something I'm pushing even more now. I think the most marked characteristics of my work are not so much in my drawing style, however, but in my storytelling. I place a very strong emphasis not on how well I draw but on exactly what I draw to convey the drama of the story.

TSS: Do you work in any other artistic mediums other than pencil/ink?
MS: I do... I paint a bit, mostly in watercolor, and I'm coloring MAYDAY and have colored some of my other work. I'm also a very amateur sculptor, fiddling with little bits of clay in order to create maquettes of characters. This helps keep the characters consistent.

TSS: Who is your favorite character to draw?
MS: I don't know the answer to that, actually. I'm finding that the more I do it, the more I like characters who have "caricaturable" features--guys with huge eyebrows or women with long flowing red hair, people with big hands and feet or terrible skin. Character actors instead of romantic leads. 

TSS: You worked with and assisted Stefano Guadiano earlier in your career. How much if any influence did Mr. Guadiano (who happens to be one of my favorite comic artists) have on your drawing technique?

MS: He had a huge influence in teaching me how to approach high contrast work. Stefano uses a strange combination of highly-considered, time-intensive labor and sudden bursts of messy experiment done in a flash, and he passed that on to me. I'm very grateful that that was what I learned from him rather than something more focused on polish and glossy finish; it's the enthusiasm and intellectual stimulation one gets from suddenly deciding to ink a page with a Q-tip or wiping one's dirty hands across a panel that makes it fun.

TSS: If you could work on any current comic book series, what would it be? Why?
MS: This will sound glib, but MAYDAY is the most exciting thing to me. I want to do that, and I want to do this book I'm writing about paramedics who cater to injured superheroes. MAYDAY issue one is the best script I've ever read, and Alex is doing something very interesting with the series. And my paramedic book deals with all sorts of things I've wanted to see in comics but which no one seems to be doing, for some reason. 

TSS: What are you personally reading nowadays?

Matt hanging out at the Comic Book
Swap Meet this past August
MS: Lately I'm reading a lot of prose. This year I've read books by Martin Amis (TIME'S ARROW, which is an amazing book in which the narrative creeps backwards through time), Charles Willeford (PICK-UP, a noir novel that is easily, unquestionably the most surprising book I've ever read--if you seek it out, do yourself a favor and do NOT read ahead or skim anything), Elmore Leonard (MR PARADISE, the audiobook as read by Robert Forster), Gary Webb's DARK ALLIANCE, which is a non-fiction book about the CIA's involvement in building the crack cocaine epidemic in South Central LA in the 1980s, and books by David Goodis, Richard Brautigan, Don DeLillo, and Harlan Ellison, among others. 

As far as comics, I just finished Michael Cho's book SHOPLIFTER; I've been re-reading the Bill Sienkiewicz issues of NEW MUTANTS, which blew my mind when they first came out and which are still amazing; I've been finding old issues of various superhero comics by Trevor von Eeden in his prime experimental phase--those are all pretty fantastic; I just read Chris Ware's BUILDING STORIES, which I'd bought more than a year ago but was intimidated to attempt, it's so big; and I've got books by Al Columbia, Dave McKean, Darwyn Cooke, Zack Soto, Emily Carroll and Brandon Graham all stacked up and ready to go next. I've also been loving Brubaker/Phillips/Breitweiser's THE FADE-OUT, Vaughan/Martin's THE PRIVATE EYE, and Soule/Pulido's SHE-HULK. 

TSS: You also have a background in screenwriting and music. Are there any works out there that we can check out?

MS: As far as screenwriting, no, unfortunately. Years ago I made a feature, BIG WIDE EMPTY, but it was never properly completed. I finished a rough cut but never had the money, time or energy to do a proper mix and tighten up all the weak edits and effects. One day! Music-wise, yes--when my website is back up and running, you'll be able to stream/download several things, be they from my band The Capillaries or from a still-developing project called RKO.

TSS: Do you have any projects coming up, or in the works that you can discuss?

MS: I've mentioned MAYDAY and the as-yet-untitled Superhero Paramedic Project; I'm also writing a book called THE UNDERSTUDY, which is being drawn by Nick Barber. Nick is an animator who is new to the comics industry; his work has so much vitality and character, and it looks totally unique. I can't think of anyone in comics who draws like Nick. That book is about a metaphysical robbery.

I'm finishing up a project for Dark Horse Presents called "Addressee Unknown", which I've written, drawn and colored, and I'm just beginning my second story for CREEPY, which is called "Skinny", about a boy who adopts a sickly monster. Those will both be out before the summer; MAYDAY will likely be out in late summer, and I suspect THE UNDERSTUDY will come out around the same time.

I really appreciate the time Matthew Southworth took for us, and will be on the lookout for the interesting projects he's working on!!! Stay tuned, and go search out some of his work. It's fantastic.

Steve Strout is the media mastermind behind this site, host of the Comic Book Swap Meet, nerd, terrible artist, gamer, convention goer and comic book reader who spends more time rescuing toys from thrift shops than a normal adult should. He is also known around the northwest for his promotion of live music and stand-up comedy events and is the creator/producer of the Olympic Peninsula Comedy Competition (which will make it's big return in 2015). Follow him on Instagram at, and  He can be reached for comments at on twitter at @thestevestrout

Cosplay Talk with Kit Cosplay

Cosplaying for causes
by Kit Cosplay November 2014
One of my favorite things about cosplaying, is that I get to bring many smiles to many faces. There’s just something so special about putting a lot of work into being the embodiment of a character, and having someone else really enjoy your creation. In fact, I loved doing that so much, that I created a business with friends that centers around cosplaying for causes. We’re called Comic Book Characters for Causes (CBC4C for short), and we volunteer time with kids in need around the Seattle area, and also raise funds to support pediatric wellness programs. Some of the more notable causes we’ve worked with are Seattle Children’s Hospital, The Goodtimes Project, Love Your Melon, and the Make-A-Wish foundation. Personally, if showing up as a superhero can take a child’s mind off of their current troubles, then I’ve won that day. I can’t tell you how fulfilling it is to see a kid’s face light up when they see Spider-Man, Iron Man, Black Widow, or Thor in front of them!

It is so awesome to see many other similar causes around the country as well. From The Portland Superheroes Coalition, to the Avengers Initiative, to Cosplay for a Cause, these fantastic people are putting their blood, sweat, and tears (Yes, making costumes typically involves all 3 of those things – at least for me!) into making lives better.
Sure, it may seem like kind of a silly thing to do, and I’ve heard my fair share of nay-sayers (“they’re only doing it for attention”), but I can’t tell you how absolutely fulfilled I feel when I volunteer with these kids. Most of the time, the littler ones are just looking for a buddy – Just being there, and hanging out with them is enough to brighten their day. Besides, it’s not every day that you get to do arts and crafts with Captain America, or eat lunch with Captain Marvel.
If you’d like to equally brighten someone’s day, check out the causes listed above, even if you’re not so willing to hop into a spandex suit. If you are a cosplayer, check around for local groups in your area that you could help support – and if there aren’t any, form a charity group! Send me an email if you’re looking for advice on getting a group started in your area, I’m happy to help –
Until next time!

Kit Cosplay is a co-founder of the Comic Book Charcters For Causes fundraising and charity cosplay group. Whether you are interested in cosplay as a spectator, just starting out, or have been doing it for years, Kit hopes that her monthly column entertains or inspires you. Reach out to Kit Cosplay on Facebook, Twitter, or shoot her an email – She’d love to chat with you!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Jet City Comic Show recap and more...

This one took a little longer than planned to get posted due to my work schedule getting turned upside down. but here goes.

I made my first visit to the Jet City Comic on Saturday November 8th. I was absolutely pleased by the amount of talented artists and writers who attended the show. I got the pleasure of meeting some great creators I hadn't dealt with, as well as getting to hang with some old friends.

I had the pleasure of meeting Damon Gentry, (through my friend Matthew Southworth,with whom I will be posting an interview with very soon!) one of the creators of a really intriguing comic from Dark Horse called the Sabretooth Swordsman. This is a really cool looking story about a farmer who has to find his inner warrior to save his enslaved people. Go check out the Tumblr page for the book and see some art samples ...I hope to chat more soon with Damon about the book and other projects to come.

I also picked up a couple books to potentially review for the site including Undertow. The writer of the series, Luke Donkersloot was in attendance selling the book and was gracious enough to submit a copy for us to review. We cant wait to dig in. If you're not up for waiting on the review, go preview the book at . If I'm not mistaken, there should be a link to a free digital copy of one of the books. Check it out. Flipping through the pages, it looks like a real throwback to some old school comic books that we grew up on. Looks fantastic!!

As usual, Here is my pictorial recap of some of the great talent from the convention. Of course I had to include my pics with Richard Hatch and Dirk Benedict from Battlestar Galactica!!

Tim Seeley making fans happy... Follow his twitter feed at
Matthew Clark has worked on Superman, Ghost rider, and Wonder Woman to name a few. Check out his site
This was a friend of Brandon Jerwa's, I think?
I was very excited to meet Steve Lieber. He's worked on some of my favorite books like Hellboy and especially Gotham Central. I'm going to attempt to get him up for a Comic Book Swap Meet.
I prior mentioned Luke Donkersloot, writer of Undertow. Check out the Undertow Facebook page too!
Clayton Crain...One of the sickest artists around. Go take a look. He was very busy at the show,so I didn't have much time to chat with him...unfortunately.
Richard Hatch aka Apollo from the origianl Battlestar Galactica. Also played Tam Zarek on the most recent BSG series. He told me about an awesome independent Star Trek project called Star Trek: Axanar . It's a fan funded film based in the Star Trek universe that stars Hatch and other Trek series veterans. For more info or to contribute:
Dirk Benedict is hands down, one of the most down to earth celebs I've had the plesure of meeting on the conention circuit. I was actually shocked that he remembered chatting with me at Emerald City Comic Con about the 80's comedy about pro wrestling, Bodyslam, starring him and Roddy Piper. I loved that film as a kid. Then there's the A-Team, of course. Ahhh childhood...
My friend Abi Sue Cosplay and her debut of her She Hulk costume. I'd say it's looking pretty awesome! If your not following her on Facebook yet, you should be. She does a lot of charity work and stuff involving her great cosplay work.
I brought this poster around to a bunch of artists and writers at the show and had them sign it. I'm going to be giving this poster away in a contest through Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. Be sure to follow me on those social network sites to find the info on the giveaway.

This awesome show poster was created by the super talented artist, Shane White. Go look at his website at to see some more of this talented artists work. He's another I hope to interview in the future and have out as a guest at a Comic Book Swap Meet...
I mentioned the Comic Book Swap Meet a couple times. Here's a little info on our next little convention up here on the Olympic Peninsula in Washington. Our first Guest announced is Scott Adams. You might remember the interview we did with him earlier this year. If not here it is again:

Stay tuned, as I will probably share some more from the Jet City Comic Show, including some more cosplay pics, and as always, thanks for reading. Keep spreading the word. Don't forget to join our Comic Book Swap Meet group and page on Facebook to keep up on updates, news and other nerdiness!

Steve Strout is the media mastermind behind this site, host of the Comic Book Swap Meet, nerd, terrible artist, gamer, convention goer and comic book reader who spends more time rescuing toys from thrift shops than a normal adult should. He is also known around the northwest for his promotion of live music and stand-up comedy events and is the creator/producer of the Olympic Peninsula Comedy Competition (which will make it's big return in 2015). Follow him on Instagram at, and  He can be reached for comments at on twitter at @thestevestrout