Monday, September 30, 2013

A Dirty Trick

I pulled this one on my daughter. She had a lose tooth, and wanted me to help her get it out. When I reached for it, I could tell how nervous she was.

"I'll go one, two, three, pull! Okay?" and she nodded. "One," YANK "..two three pull." She stared at me and said - "That didn't hurt at all!"

Pain is often a learned response, and for many years I tried to keep her from learning it. This backfired, of course, when she once held up a broken arm and wiggled it back and forth in my face. "See daddy? It doesn't hurt!"

Thursday, September 26, 2013

One month down

This makes the fourth week that the site has been up, and the story has begun to unfold. Master Jeffrey now has a page on Facebook (please like) and I will be entering into other social media soon. Oh, and please notice the ads! DC Conspiracy at Artsphere is a must if you are in the Washington DC area, and Aphelion Arc promises to be the kind of storytelling venue that even Jeffrey would approve of.

As for storytelling, the pacing on a story like this is something new for me. I'm trying to give something good on each page, and balance the art with the necessary dialogue in a way that keeps the pace flowing well. I like how the coloring in the last two panels on page 12 came out - if I had more time, I'd keep working in the shadows and highlights. That's one of the reasons I decided to do a M-W-F schedule; I wanted to get the story started and keep it going at a good pace.

So, how'm I doin?

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

My very first tool that I owned was a swiss army knife

I bought it when I was thirteen from a street corner store in Cayambe, Ecuador. It had fake plastic wood grain instead of the traditional red, and somewhere between 12 and 6,000 blades. I was convinced it could do anything, and I ran all over the Andes opening bottles, cans, cutting things with the little scissors, and sawing the occasional pieces of wood.

Ever since then a Swiss Army knife has been my gift of choice to anyone coming of age. I got one for Jeffrey, but he was less than thrilled with it, and I never saw him carry it (probably because it didn't have the make-a-hole attachment.)

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Software is hard

I should apologize right about now to all the technophiles out there. It is not immediately obvious, but if you look you can see that the Master Jeffrey website is all hard coded HTML. There are a few reasons for this, but mainly I wanted to start posting the pages. The thought of waiting another month while I got a database driven site up and running was not acceptable, so I started with this. Every three days, around midnight, I write new HTML and edit the forward and back buttons on previous pages. It's tedious, but the grin on my face at seeing Master Jeffrey coming to life is worth it.

This means that someday (cue Marlon Brando in the Godfather "...and that day may never come...") I'll have to switch the whole thing over, probably on a weekend. I'll make an announcement, but you'll be able to tell by all the shrieks coming from my house. Don't worry if you don't live nearby, you'll probably still hear them.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

I REALLY didn't know she could do that

I knew that Ms. Edelbrock would be jumping in about here, but it wasn't until I saw that I would have to get her up on the platform fairly quickly that I realized I would get to do a Batman tumbling roll. Oh, how I've waited!

For those who suggest that you couldn't do this kind of acrobatic in a long skirt, I would reply that a cape wouldn't make it much easier, and Bats does it all the time. There's also a trace of Mort Weisinger's Johnny Quick, in the decision to draw the multiple versions as isolated poses in sequence, rather that ghosting the first ones or drawing streaks.

oops! got technical there for a minute. Sorry, I'll try not to let it happen again.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Here she comes...

I am prepared to take a little heat for the character of Ms. Edelbrock. I have chosen to develop these characters slowly, as the story unfolds, and at first glance I am certain that there will be assumptions about the relationship between Master Jeffrey and Ms. Edelbrock. Her deference in calling him "sir" and "Master Jeffrey" alone is going to raise all sorts of eyebrows, along with a few hackles.

The relationship these two characters have, along with others that I will introduce in the future, are not so simple. Jeffrey had very complicated relationships with the people he was around, and as I've said, I want to convey that spirit in these stories. It will be up to you to decide how I've done, but please give it a little time before you decide what's going on.

I will tell you that as a character, Ms. Edelbrock has existed in my mind for a long, long time. In terms of her relationship to Jeffrey, she is a combination of several spirits, myself included, who tried to show support and build his esteem. It is also worth noting that there is a real Ms. Edelbrock--in fact, there are three of them. All are talented, elegant and athletic (and more than capable of accomplishing some of the feats to be depicted on these pages.)

Sunday, September 15, 2013


Finally! I like exposition as much as the next guy, but...

Friday, September 13, 2013

My boyhood addiction

It was innocent at first - just a taste, and it only cost me a dollar. What could it hurt? I ran out of the basement clutching the brown paper bag and raced home to my room, where I locked my door and jumped on to the bed. Opening the bag, I pulled out my new find and read my first Tom Swift Jr. book.

The thrill lasted only so long, but it was great. Silly characters, adventure, the first hints of girls as something interesting to hang out with. And secreted away in the pages, a very (sometimes VERY VERY) small bit of real science. I astonished my teacher in fifth grade by identifying a sea cucumber from an illustration, thanks to Tom Swift and his Undersea Hyperdome. I learned about inertia and gravity from his repelatron, and I'm still waiting for someone to invent a Trifibion Atomicar, just to see if the atomic battery works the way he said it would.

ALICE is a real experiment at CERN's Large Collider in France. While not the primary goal of, I picked up a lot of real science reading those books. Now, I have to take a lot of liberties with reality in this story, but hopefully you 'll be interested in the fantastic things being accomplished under the ground of  St Genis-Pouilly to look into the subject more. One thing Tom Swift didn't have, but I'll bet he would have found handy - hyperlinks (bet he'd have loved the name.)

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Tell Me I'm Wrong!

I keep forgetting to spell check my pages. While I'm fairly competent in the spelling department, I have a terror of typos - always have. I would get these HUGE poster jobs where they wanted me to had letter 5,000 words over a watercolor, and all I would be able to think about is the inevitable phone call telling me I misspelled Mississippi.

Now technology has me in its grip, and I have a system where everything is saved in multiple versions. So, if I make a boo-boo, let me know - it will save me sooooo much time and embarrassment when I finally go to - dare I say it - print?

Oh, and thanks for all your patience with the pages of exposition I've been throwing out. The action!

Jeffrey and kids

It would be an exaggeration to say that Jeffrey was beloved by children everywhere. Truthfully, he was always cautious around kids and I think that children sense that. One thing for sure is that he was always considerate and as nice as he could be, and tried to treat children with respect. Not the big, loud, hand waving kind of "hey kids, let's all have fun!" kind of thing. It was more like he would listen respectfully and try to be honest with them. So, he was never the funny character some adults perceived him as; just another big kid that they could talk to and hang out with.

And he never, never missed sending his niece a card and a present on a birthday or holiday.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

What a Great Time!

My first comic con as an exhibitor was a fantastic experience! So many exiting things to tell you about, but first I must collapse from Exhaustion. Here's one photo with my booth-mate Teresa Roberts Logan - she of Laughing RedHead Studios

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Okay, Let Me Be Perfectly Clear

I loved Jeffrey, but he DID have some size issues. I could sympathize, because I have them as well, but I would still tease him from time to time, like guys do. This page tries to capture that essence, BUT...

Jeffrey never had trouble fitting into any seat he tried to. It was something to see - he would grunt and shove, but he always made it in. I was always worried he would get kicked off of airplanes or buses, but it never happened. I realized that this was an aspect of his desire to fit in - literally. He wanted to be accepted, and not treated like someone who needed help or couldn't manage on his own.

So, if sometimes his body conquered his will - like when he was passing a Dunkin Doughnuts - in the end, it was always his will that won out.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Happy New Year!

...or l'shana tova, as you would say if you were Jewish. I am not, but Jeffrey was (more on that story later, I promise) and he was very concerned about participating in his shul. I went to services tonight, not because I participate in dogma, but because they're a wonderful crowd of people at the Temple and besides, my daughter just joined the choir. A number of people asked about Master Jeffrey and were excited to see the first pages come out.

When he was particularly worried about how things were going or what to do, Jeffrey would say to me " I gotta be a mensch" which is a German/Yiddish word meaning a good and outstanding person. I hope his spirit knows that by his inspiration for this project, Jeffrey will always be a mensch to me.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Getting a LITTLE caught up

Woof! Lots getting done, but lots more to do!

The next time I try to draw something that complicated, somebody PLEASE stop me. I have no idea how all those guys like Jack Kirby and Geof Darrow can draw stuff like that. When I was in high school I could sit and doodle in details for hours at a time, but now everything is rush, rush.

Baltimore Comic-Con is coming together - see you at Booth A239, where I'll have free stuff and a chance to win a part in the next Mastery Jeffrey adventure. Look for the big hairy skull!

Sunday, September 1, 2013

And now it begins

I know what you all are thinking... well, some of you. Well, a couple of you, not counting the naughty ones (see me after class, please.)

The slow start is intentional, and was supposed to happen a month ago. I'm still figuring out so much all at once! New techniques, new tech, and lest we forget, Baltimore Comic-Con in...HOLY CROW, I'VE GOT TO GET STUFF DONE!

Anyway, be patient. If I had my way, I'd just give you all 124 pages right away, but then how would you learn about patience? How would you learn persistence? How would I soak you all for stuff if you never had to come back? You see, I'm only thinking of you.