Artist Showcase: Damian Duffy

So I’m going to take every Saturday to talk about an artist that I have worked with or am obsessed with. I’ve been very lucky over the years to be involved with so many creative minds through my work with Eye Trauma Comics and Our Fair City.

The most obvious choice to kick this off is Damian Duffy.

Bootleg run with the Duff

Whisp recap page

I’ve known Damian since 1998 or 1999. Something like that. Our first big collaboration was a comic called Whisp (“The best psycho-junky comic out there!”) which we started in 2000 or 2001.  A little vague on the dates, I know.  We did Whisp for many years and hit the convention circuits and all that.  At the time, I was working at Kinko’s so I was printing our issues at work.  We also started experimenting with print-on-demand, which was just starting to become a thing.

But we never gained traction.  We were carried by Diamond for  the first three issues and hustled a bunch.  People did indeed buy the comics (around 200!), but not enough to justify how much effort we put into this thing or to remain in Diamond past 3 issues.  Maybe we sucked at marketing (true!) or maybe the story wasn’t as good as we thought (possibly true!) or maybe we just got burnt out (very true!).  Sadly, after 3 1/2 issues the story was never finished and it still languishes, haunting and taunting me.  Maybe we’ll finish it one day.  You can still read Whisp at the Eye Trauma link above.

Whisp. Chapter 2, Page 26.

Whisp. Chapter 2, Page 26.

Working on Whisp was really where I broke my teeth as a comic artist and I owe a lot of that to the Duff.  Damian really challenged me to push my abilities further with every page.  A good example is the page in Chapter 3 where I had to cram around 40 panel son one page, as seen on the left.  That’s right, that’s one page.  The crude art in the first issue is painful for me to look at but some of my favorite comic pages to date are from Whisp.

I am sure I’ll be spending some time on this blog talking more about the monster that is Whisp.  But I should get back to the purpose here – glorifying Damian Duffy.

Duff and I have collaborated on many projects, comics and otherwise, over the years and he has always been my go to for all things with words.  Words are hard and I just make with the pretty pictures.  But, he has also been quietly honing his skills as a visual artist and is now quite formidable in that regard too.

He has another frequent collaborator, John Jennings, with whom he has worked on such projects as Kid Code, The Hole: Consumer Culture, Black Comix, and the ground-breaking art show Out of Sequence: Underrepresented Voices in American Comics.

On top of all that, he is also an active comics scholar and curator.  He is one of the most intelligent people I know and happens to be a pretty good dad, too.  I could go on, but I won’t.  I don’t want to blow up his ego too much.

You will learn to love him as I do.

 

 

Mann Stuff

So one of my current ongoing projects is a comic called Mann Vs., writen by my hetero-life-partner Damian Duffy. This comic was started many years ago and has gone through a few iterations.

Mann Vs. - page1, version1

Mann Vs. – page1, version1

The first version, I drew for a comic class with Christa Donner at SAIC in 2008. The script and most of the concept art existed well before I drew it, but I hadn’t had a chance to draw it yet. At the time, I was still working on paper for my initial drawings and then scanning them in for finished. I drew this one in pencil and then put it all together in Photoshop. It was a pretty crude job, but I had a due date that had me rushing it a bit, especially for 14 pages. My hand lettering is terrible, in case you hadn’t noticed.

 

 

 

 

Mann Vs. - page1, version2

Mann Vs. – page1, version2

The second version of Mann aimed to clean up the art and add color. It didn’t look terrible, but I felt a lot was getting lost because of the way I initially assembled the pages. I like the atmosphere of the room that the color created, though I might have been a little heavy handed at the expense of the details of the scene.

Harcourt’s ghost is really blue here and Damian was thinking that it might be too Dr. Manhattan.

 

 

 

 

Mann Vs. - page1, version3

Mann Vs. – page1, version3

For this third (and hopefully final), I decided to ditch the pencil look and doing some nice digital inking. These pages look a lot cleaner, and the various elements look more like they’re in the panel together than the previous cut and paste hackery. My recoloring loses some of the intense atmosphere, but I think it brings the details out way better.

 

 

 

 

 

Mann Vs. has come a long way since its’ first inception and I’m really excited about the way this is shaping up.  Next time around I’ll share some of the concept work  about the world of Mann.

Spring is Bad for Snowmen

This is the beginning of my blog. What, Dann has a blog? What insanity is this?

As part of my effort to snag more freelance work, I’ve decided that I need to start using this internet thing to my advantage. So I plan on using this space to show off some new work, give some glimpses of works-in-progress, dust off some old pieces, and showcase some of the talented artists that I know and have worked with.

In addition, I will also be doing some social media stuff because it seems like the thing to do. We’ll see how this goes. I’m kinda green at all this stuff so if you have any suggestions, let me know. Super big thanks to Lauren Faits for her insight and time! You’re the best.

Thought I’d start off my blog with something a little seasonal. This was a piece I did a few years ago around this time. It was, in fact, a reworking of something I did back in High School. I don’t know if I have the original drawing anymore…

The First Sign of Spring