Friday, July 24, 2015

The Helm...Animated!

I am getting excited about the animation of The Helm I'm working on with Joel Brinkerhoff. He sent me the first lip sync test last night, which was awesome, and I can't wait to see more. Back when I was a full time animation director working at Will Vinton Studios, I got to see this kind of stuff come together every day, but I've been out of the field for over fifteen years now and I forgot how fun it is to watch the characters come alive.

I'm tempted to post tests of the animation here, but it feels like that would spoil the surprise. In the meanwhile, I've posted these design sketches Joel did to translate Mathew from comic book illustration to 2-D animated character.

We decided early on that we shouldn't try to duplicate the awesomely detailed art of Bart Sears and Randy Elliott, but should instead take it in a more animation-friendly direction that would best capture the sense of humor of the story.

Well, that's all for today. I hope to have more animation related news soon.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Animated Helm

Well! I haven't blogged anything here in quite a while, but I do have a couple of little things that might be fun to share. One is that I am working with a colleague from my old animation days (Joel Brinkerhoff) on a short animated Mathew/Helm adventure. It's about Mathew's recent trip to Mexico and what he encountered there. Joel is a brilliant animator and I very pleased to be working with him again. It will also be fun to bring Mathew and the Helm to life in animation.

Another quick tidbit is that I've been talking with Randy Elliott (he did the finishes on The Helm graphic novel) and he's playing around with the possibility of doing some Helm-based illustrations with me! Randy's art is beautiful and it will be awesome to continue Mathew's adventures in a comics format.

In non-Helm news, I recently completed the manuscript for a fantasy novel called Fish Wielder, and it was just picked up by Fiery Seas Publishing for release in August of 2016. If you're interested, you can check out the details here:

And finally, I also just launched an author page that brings together my writing work in comics, books, movies and TV. You can check it out at  if you are so inclined.

 Thanks for dropping by!


Wednesday, August 13, 2014

The Helm Book? That's Right. The Helm Book!

I realize it's been quite a while since I've blogged anything on the Helm website! It's not that I haven't been thinking about and working on Helm stuff. For instance...

Mathew Blurdy has continued to make and post his Chewbacca mashups and occasional songs for his MasterBeast epic rock opera album--which is coming along slowly because you can't rush art. He and the Helm have posted the occasional movie, book or TV show review on the Flaming Sword page whenever they can take enough time off from battling evil to see something and write about it. And of course, the Helm has been very active on social media after discovering it was possible to use his telekinetic and psychic abilities to post directly to sites like Facebook and Twitter.

Also, although I was initially forbidden to blog about it, there was a very interesting period where The Helm was being pitched to movie studios--which didn't pan out, unfortunately--and then there was an even more interesting period where the story was actually turned into a feature film script by a couple of actual Hollywood movie writers who've written actual movies that have actually been made and that you've probably actually either heard of or even actually seen (although I still can't say who). And it was funny. But after some initial excitement, that didn't pan out either.

So, there have been some things going on, just not much that was bloggable for various reasons.

Except now there is. I'm about to start writing a book about The Helm. Not a graphic novel book but a book book.

"Why would you do that when it's already a graphic novel?" you may ask yourself. Well, I just finished writing a fantasy novel (more on that later) and I enjoyed it so much that I started thinking of writing another, and the thing is that I have a bunch more Helm stories that continue the tale of Mathew Blurdy and his misadventures with the magical helmet that hates his guts. 

So, you heard it here first. I'll keep you posted on the progress and maybe even put up a page on the website where you can read chapters as I write them. Let me know what you think of the idea.


Monday, May 27, 2013

Get Your Mind in The Gutters!

What the heck? A new blog post? I haven't blogged here in so long, I thought my blog had fallen off!
And yet, here I am, blogging in order to let you know that I have a couple of on-line comics up at this website

Comic number 1 is called "Professor Fisticuffs in: The Continuing Adventures of Two Guys Fighting" and comic number two is called "Girl 2 in: The Continuing Adventures of Two Guys Fighting."

Check them out if you get a moment.


Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Grape Lightsabers

Well! It's been a long time since I've blogged on the Helm site, but today is Mathew Blurdy's birthday and it's also Halloween, so that seems like it deserves some kind of special notice. Happy birthday Mathew! Good luck in your never ending battle against evil.

I should probably note that many people might mistake me for evil at the moment, but only because they are ignorant of how lightsabers work.

As I sit here at my desk, sipping a glass of cherry Crystal Light, I am a little warm in my hooded Jedi robe and I have finally realized why lightsabers have retractable blades. It's not just because you have to turn them on for the blade to appear, I think it's also because it's really hard to sit at a desk with your lightsaber attached to your belt when the blade is out. First, it's just awkward because most desk chairs were not designed with sword-wielders in mind. Second, if your lightsaber were real, it would probably cut right through your chair every time you adjusted your position. It could also cut off your leg, which would be bad. My lightsaber is just a plastic one with a non retractable blade (but it looks way better than those ones where the blades telescope out, has cool sound effects and is way cheaper than those ones where you can take the blade off) so I mostly have to deal with the awkward part. The other awkward thing about my lightsaber is that it only lights up red. I guess, in the Star Wars universe, that makes me look evil.

It's not that I didn't try to get one of the blue or green lightsabers (I really wanted a purple one, but I guess they don't make those), it's just that every place I checked only had red ones. It didn't even seem like they only had red ones left--it actually seemed like they only stocked the red ones, period. Maybe it's because I only checked Fred Meyers (three of them) and the people who make the purchasing decisions for their toy section are evil. Or maybe they're trying to imply that people who buy lightsabers are evil. Or maybe they're reacting to market research that shows that most people only really want the Darth Vader lightsaber.

Whatever the case, the impact is the same. I am wearing a Jedi robe but sporting a red lightsaber. This will make most people think of me as an evil Jedi. If that were the case, I would probably have to be Anakin Skywalker just as he finally switched over to being Darth Vader but before he got burned to a crisp. I can live with that, as long as I don't have to be the kid version of Anakin. That would blow.

Here's my question though. Do you think the color of your lightsaber is based on whether you're good or evil, or do you think it is it just a mechanical thing or a style choice?

Until yesterday, I labored under the misperception that it was based on your disposition. When I complained that my red lightsaber would make me look evil, Mathew gave me a scornful look and noted that Anakin's lightsaber didn't change color from blue to red when he switched to being Darth Vader, he actually got a different lightsaber. It has nothing to do with good or evil.

Lightsaber colors don't really have anything to do with the personalities of their weilders. A lightsaber's color is determined by the type of crystal used to power the blade. That's right, it's crystal light. Thousands of years before the Star Wars movies, the Jedi used to give people different colored blades to indicate their role in the Jedi order. Green blades were for peace keepers. Blue blades were for warriors. The sith and other bad guys used red lightsabers because they thought they looked scary and badass. If you were a Jedi or another Force manipulator, you could get a lightsaber in almost any color, including hot pink.

So, yes. I am wearing a Jedi robe and swinging a red lightsaber. That doesn't mean I'm evil. But I do kind of wonder if the color of a lightsaber does indicate one thing...its flavor. Mine is probably cherry. Mace Windu's was grape.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Ivo Tobin Is Real!

So, I got an email message the other day. It read, "My name is Ivo Tobin and I found your comic by websearching my name. I can't imagine there are a lot of us in the world..."

I think that Ivo is correct as, up until he wrote to me, I firmly believed that I had invented his name. You see, as I was fishing around for an appropriate name for an undead bad guy, I decided to combine two references from the movie Ghost Busters. The first was Ivo Shander, the mad architect who created the building that Sigourney Weaver's character Dana lives in. The second was the book Tobin's Spirit Guide, a tome that Dan Akroyd's character Ray refers to.

When I explained all of this to the Ivo who wrote me, he explained that his name was also a combination. His parents apparently named him after Ivo Pogorelich, a Yugoslavian pianist of some renown whom they happened to see in concert while he was still a passenger in his mom. And Tobin was pulled from a baby naming book. Not that they pulled his last name from a baby book. Tobin is his middle name and I have merely withheld the information that he has a last name so as not to breach his privacy. Because, I would never breach anybody's privacy.

Anyway, the Ivo who wrote me concluded by saying, "...I kind of think I should get a free copy."

Ivo, I agree and one of these days I'll be sending you your very own autographed copy of The Helm.

Any other Helm-named real life humans out there? Write me and maybe I'll send you your very own copy.

Friday, December 2, 2011

MasterBeast, Zebracorns and the Mind Chicken

Well, Mathew has finally done it. He's begun posting the work in progress of his MasterBeast concept album. He keeps telling me that his "vision" has something to do with Pink Floyd's The Dark Side of the Moon and The Wizard of Oz, even though I thought that the link between those two wonderful bits of entertainment had been thoroughly debunked ages ago.

When I asked Mathew about the concept behind his concept album, he started rambling on and on about fate and free will, which he said were symbolized by the conflict between two creatures he called the Zebracorn and the Mind Chicken. He wasn't completely clear about it, but as near as I can make out, the Zebracorn represents fate and the Mind Chicken represents free will.

Anyway, check out the MasterBeast page on the website for more on this breaking story.