Friday, February 27, 2009

Chronolillogy I: Average Joe

As I get older, I get more reflective.

I don’t mean that I develop a shiny surface like a T-1000 Terminator, I mean that I think a lot more about the past. Reflecting on the past is in some ways an attempt to actually remember the subtle details of things, because the farther away stuff gets in your rear-view mirror the more cloudy and out of focus those things become. Sucks to get older, that's a fact.

When I was younger, in my teens and into my twenties, I kept a notebook journal. Yeah, it's pretty cheesy and sometimes VERY weird to read some of that stuff, to see just how obsessed I was over the stupidest shit imaginable...and yet I am extremely glad I have those scribblings, if for no other reason than the fact that I don't worry about remembering that era since I have all of it written down. Leaves lots of room for OTHER memories. I call that the Henry Jones Philosophy of Sentimentality.

So when I was thinking about my career the other day, where it's headed, where it's been, I got to thinking that a lot of the blogs I wrote for Palisades and even after that are certainly helpful in remembering how it all went down. But there is no cohesive timeline, no sort of point-to-point chronology of what I did in my career.

Since blogging is nothing more than an online journal of sorts, I am going to try to create a chronology here, which I can add to as I go along and have time. This is an overview, not a detailed look at any one particular product and its production or something like that. It's part retrospective, part online portfolio.

Of course the beauty of Blogger is that it e-mails me a copy of each blog every day, which gets auto-archived into a folder on my hard drive and eventually backed up. I don’t have nearly that comprehensive of a storage system for the stuff I did at Palisades, which is mostly gone with just photos remaining.

So with any beginning let's start at the beginning, my very first job in the toy/collectibles industry. It wasn't a real job, per se, but a freelance gig. I was living in the basement of a friends' house in Columbus, Ohio, no job, very little in the way of actual paying freelance comic book work (my first career choice), and not a lot in the way of a life.

One day I answered a newspaper ad that was seeking a comic book style artist for a project. While I had only some limited success in the field of comics at the time (in other words I was starving), I answered the ad and an interview/portfolio review was scheduled.

I found myself at the offices of a little group of folks called The Resaurus Company, Inc., which we all refer to as ReSaurus since the other is too wordy. I met with their VP who was in charge of the product development side of things. After the interview, I met Jay Borman for the first time and some of the other people who worked there. I can't remember if Steve and Chris and Tony were there yet, but I think at least one or two of them might have been. All of them were on staff by the time I was hired there later. (I freelanced for about a year on stuff and met them all during that time, just not sure who was there on that first, fateful day other than Jay.)

Actually, I found out later that ReSaurus, the name, was born from a book that the owners, Doug and Mike, had put together. It was a resource for Dinosaurs, and they shortened that to ReSaurus. Nifty, huh?

So I met with Mike, their VP. He wanted a handful of character designs for something they were working on. I have no idea what the project was really for, I just don't remember to be frank (Hi, Frank!), but I think it was from something they wanted to pursue as a comic book/toy line, at least that's how it was sold to me. It was some kind of alternate reality thing called 'Average Joe'. I did a few illustrations and got paid for them, that's all I know, and at the time I needed the cash so that was all I really cared about.

Even looking at these drawings, I don’t know for sure what the story behind these guys is/was. I was given some descriptions of what they wanted, went home and started drawing. But if you judge by the names they gave me for the characters, you get some sense of the play on words thing they were going for in their designs.

There was Coptaur...


...Litigator...


...Intimidator Sam...


...Richard Cranium...


...Sigmund Droid...


...and Average Joe with Rage (Get it..aveRAGE? How punny Hey, I didn’t come up with this shit).


Then there was an image they asked for of all of the characters on one sheet. I hate this one, but will post it. Never even loaded this into my deviantART page, that's how much I hate this piece.


The drawings overall, as a group, turned out OK, if they have nothing else going for them they allowed me to work on my inking and coloring skills, which I rarely did, which had I decided to do for nothing on a couple of the pieces in an effort to impress my benefactor. All he asked for was pencils.

But the best aspect of actually getting this gig, my very first paying gig for a toy company, was the fact that it led to my involvement on an actual action figure, Duke Nukem, which I'll go over in the next Chronolillogy installment.

Hail to the king, baby!


3 comments:

  1. Im really looking forward to these retrospective blogs from you. keep it up !

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  2. Same here - I think the Timeline of Lilly is going to be very interesting!

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  3. Thanks dudes...comforting to know I have a couple of people who will read the stuff.

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