Tuesday, June 28, 2011

THE BIRTH OF AN IDEA-PART 2( I went to fucking jail)

No, REALLY. Went to jail Tuesday morning. Around 8 a.m. I woke up after a good nights sleep ( as I had just returned from The Albuquerque Comic Expo, thrilled to be in my own bed) Showered, dressed, brewed Coffee, let out my Dogs, and kissed my Wife and Kids Good-Bye, and left to my Dentist appointment( Cracked Molar, pain, and i was going in for a Crown), which was at 9:15 a.m. So I turned onto Vineville Avenue and the Blue and Red lights popped on in my rear view mirror. I slowed to a stop and waited. We all know what's next. So I reached back for my License, Insurance, and Registration. No License( as it was still in my Travel Back-Pack that I went to New Mexico with), and I couldn't locate the Insurance card, or the current Registration. OH, SHIT! Now the Officer is knocking at my window. OH, SHIT! OK, so I buzzed the window down and he asks , "Do you know why I pulled you over?" "No.", I said. " Your rear tail light is out.", he said. " Oh. I had no idea.", says I. Then he asks for my License, which I don't have, and my registration, and Insurance, which I can't locate. So he writes the information on his hand as I dictate. I wait, looking in my rear view, nervous, but confident that I have no record. No outstanding Warrants, no nothing. WRONG.

He comes back and asks me to exit the vehicle. So I step out, and he snatches my hand, twists it around my back as he removes a pair of Hand-Cuffs from his belt, slapping them on my wrists. WHAAAAAAAAA----!!!!. Shit. Shit. Shit. Shit. Wait! What just happened?! "Sir you have an outstanding Warrant, so I am gonna have to take you into custody, and go Downtown. " said the Cop. So I start telling him that I have NEVER been arrested, and I have NO record( which is true, by the way). He doesn't buy it, so in the Patrol Car I go, as I ask him to call my wife, and see if she can come get my car, which is RUNNING in front of his, as we block and slow down morning Rush-Hour traffic. He calls Stacie, and I can tell by their conversation that she is incredulous and beside herself( because my 3 kids are asleep, she isn't dressed, and has no car to come get me). She's on the way. Meanwhile, he has stuffed my 6 foot 2 inch, 240 pound ASS into what seems like the back of a Clown-car. After 10 minutes I can't feel my hands. Numb. Pain. Patience is going Bye-Bye! Mainly because I can hear him being told that my Warrant is for not reporting to my Probation Officer 10 years ago( which I did, after racking up a stack of parking tickets, that I went to court to pay, reported to my Probation Officer weekly until I paid off the debt and went my way), and they want their cash for some unpaid parking tickets that I went downtown to voluntarily ( albeit late) pay, and was never arrested for, so that's why my Probation was conditional, and Non-Restrictive to Travel.

I explain this to the Officer, to no avail. So my wife arrives (after I stood, being handcuffed on one of the busiest roads in Macon, GA, seen by God knows how many of my friends and neighbors) with the help of my good friend, and Neighbor, Eric O'Dell. Cop let's me outta the back, to talk to Stacie and she tells me to behave, which I agree to after a Kiss, then she removes the WAD of cash I had in my pocket, just having returned from a Convention( which would have looked REALLY bad). She tells me she will call our lawyer, and Homicide detective neighbor, and friend, and have me out super quick.So off to Jail I go for some FUCKING BULLSHIT I TOOK CARE OF 10 YEARS AGO.

I roll up to the Bibb County Jail( NOT to be confused with State Prison) which I have driven past a thousand times, never giving it a second thought. This time, I noticed, and I thought about it. I was going in.

Through a huge Barbed Wire topped, 10 foot fence with camera/recog, entrance, we go in, up to a holding area, inside a second fenced area( later I would be told by a State employee the gates are inoperable, explaining the frequent, widely publicized escapes) . Cop parks his Cruiser inside what is supposed to be an enclosed, secure garage. It's not. It's open on both ends. He opens my door( just behind his), removing his Glock from it's Holster, turning his back on me and unbelievably placing in the floorboard of his Cruiser( which, again, I was told by a State Employee that he was supposed to deposit his weapon in a safe, Lock-Box at the secured, camera monitored( yeah , right) entrance. He escorts me through an open yard, past the lockbox for his gun, into the County Jail. This is where shit get's REAL. I sincerely hope, NONE of you reading this, EVER has to experience what it is like to be processed into the Department of Corrections, unless you deserve it. Cuz I sure didn't, and I can't UN-KNOW what I know. I really could have lived my whole life without experiencing this.

So into processing. " Stand on the Blue line."( still in cuffs.) Now it's my turn. "HARRIS!" I move up to a Deputy. The arresting Officer FINALLY removes the Cuffs. I can barely move my shoulders. Hands are numb and wrists bruised. So he tells me to remove ALL items from my pockets. Remove my shoes, belt, Handkerchief from my head, and any wristbands, or Jewelry. Then my piercings( which I only have 4, in my ears). I do that, and he commands that I remove them ALL. So I say," That's it, CHIEF, maybe your cock and balls are pierced, but not mine."YES. I said that. So, he then removes all the $340 in cash from my wallet, with his surgical glove/clad hands and counts it out, filling out a form with the amount, and the contents of my pockets. Heres the really debasing degrading part. " Put your hands on the table and spread your legs." I did. Then I got felt up for weapons, or contraband. NO OTHER WAY TO PUT IT. Inside of your legs from ankle to Balls, grabbing, and groping all the way. Then it's up to your Man-Tits, armpits, stomach and ass. Nice. Sign yer documents, and move on.

Shall we continue?

Then you see a Med/tech. Tell me all the Meds you are on so I can call your Pharmacy to confirm that we just told all yer OLD friends at the Pharmacy that YOU ARE IN FUCKING JAIL. Sign more documents, and move out into the main holding area. A buncha Deputies hollering at you randomly to GO!, MOVE! GET IN TANK 1! You look around, find a label above a metal room with one window, filled with scary looking dudes. Then, guess what? You reach for that door, and you walk in under you own power. Against everything you know to be right, you reach out and you open the door, and walk in in.

I am not a weak man. NOT of mind, and NOT of flesh. Those of you who know me? Nuff said. I am also NOT a Super-Hero. What I am is Human. And I was scared. Of what? I have no Idea. I didn't know what to expect.I don't know if what you see in TV and Movies is real. All I can relate to you here, is what happened to me. Unfiltered. True.

In this Jail, they have multiple holding Tanks surrounding a Command center that controls the opening of the doors electronically by 4-6 Sheriffs Deputies. When you enter, you begin at TANK 1 and move on to TANK 3 and release. Entry. Internal ventilation thats serves NO purpose, and also serves as an entry point to VERIFIED RAT ATTACKS on detainees( by a State Employee). There is a steel toilet attached to a sink above, hooked into a cinderblock wall that is covered in shit, bloody snot-rockets and GOD knows what, just above a PISS-soaked concrete floor. The smell was unbearable. I was later joined by other Detainees. Firts was a stinking sack of Human Shit. Crazy as a shit-house-rat. Asked me if i was, " Chillin?" Next, a guy who went on and on about how I had been here 2 hours without a phonecall, and that was Bullshit. Then he proceeded to punch concrete walls and floors. NEVER SHUT UP. NOT EVER! Echoing off concrete, and cinderblock in INCOMPREHENSIBLE EBONICS. Lots of nodding and ," Right Ons!" from me. Then Georgia Chain-gang Prisoners were brought in. Finally I was moved to TANK 3 after my wife paid my Ransome. FINALLY they call your name. This is when you are photographed and released. You are given back your belongings, and ordered to examine every piece. Your money is counted out back to you, and you sign more documents.A Deputy escorts you down a LOOOOOOOONG hall as you say under your breath, " Sometimes, the Green Mile can be sooo long." My Deputy laughed out loud, and said, " In a minute, YOU are gonna be on the OTHER side of THIS."

So I came home, talked to my wife, my friends, and reflected on what happened. Yep, I was pissed. Yep, Scared for sure. But after a LOT of discussion, it was clear to me that I had to assimilate this into my life, as well as my work. So what happened to me in Jail, THAT day, WILL be written into BUFFALO MONK. After all, MONK is the Sheriff. We will deal with Jail, Prisoners, and the like. So why not pull from experience? So th esecrets of what happened to me in TANKS 1-3 will be revealed, in time. Stay tuned.


Wednesday, June 15, 2011


Hiya. So I thought I would do something new. After all isn't that what I keep preaching? So here goes putting my money, where my mouth is.

Me and B. Clay Moore are already working on a Creator Owned book for DC Comics called THE FURTHER ADVENTURES OF THE WHISTLING SKULL, and the experience for me, working with Clay, has really been rewarding, so I had this other concept for a comic that I wanted to start fleshing out to prep it for launch that I brought to Clay and asked he would be into developing it with me. Much like I did with SKULL. So I verbally pitched it to him, as I still did not have ANYTHING real on paper. Just Ideas rattling around in my head, and scribblings and key words on a half dozen different post it notes along with relevant photo-ref for designing the characters( which I haven't done yet)around the studio. Anyway, Clay LOVED the Idea right away. You how I could tell? Cause he immediately started spring-boarding ideas for the Book, and even new characters, as we sat next to one another in Kansas at Planet-Comicon this past spring. So we went home, got busy with our lives, and work. Then I was thinking about the book again the other day so I began to chat with my wife about it. She is a very talented writer, and full of wonderful ideas. So she came up with a couple of gems, and said I could use them( thanks babe!) So I figured it was time to put something down on paper, no matter how preliminary, to get things rolling. And boy did they. I emailed Clay with these notes, and suggested to him that we do this back and forth Blob about the birth of an Idea. Really from the literal beginning all the way thru to ( hopefully) publication. Clay jumped at the Idea, with one suggestion. "We gotta hold back on some stuff." He's right. If we tell you every little nuance about the story, it won't feel fresh when you finally read it. But, we intend to be as transparent as we can with everything else.So keep coming back, and also check out Clay on his blog for his MONK entries too. I hope you enjoy experiencing the birth of.......



These are the notes I wrote down just the other day unedited or changed....
This would be BUFFALO MONK! Heres a quick rundown.

I haven't written the story yet because I am creating the "world" just now. I always work like that, so I know the rules as I'm writing.

It's a Western set among the bordeland areas of New Mexico or the Equivalent in the township of MURDER. This is a skewed reality with Animals co-existing with Humans. No explanation needed as we throw you right into the story. Everything revolves around the Sherriff of MURDER, and that is BUFFALLO MONK. He's an 850 lb. Silverback Gorilla that wears a full length Buffalo Skin coat. He rides a small Donkey called FINNEUS. He does not carry guns, but a pair of Slingshots in holsters. He uses dried dung from Horses and such for ammo, so youll see it sitting all around the Jailhouse on window ledges, drying out. He has 2 Deputies named DIRTY BIRD ( an Ostrich wearing a Fez and a Paper collar) and a Midget Human named WESLEY, who is addicted to Elegant Haberdashery, and as such, is dressed to the nines at all times. He rides Dirty Bird as his Mount. Down the street is the Saloon called HICCUP MIKES( Mike is human), and upstairs is the ever popular Brothel called, " THE CAT HOUSE" Run by a Human Woman called BEA, and all her girls are Meerkats. There is a Gang of Banditos in the Canyons, north of town headed by the evil "JESUS LIZARDO" a Jesus Christ Lizard ( Basilisk). His men ( comprised of animal and Human Bandits) fear him terribly, and LIZARDO keeps them in line with the fact that someone may have heard of a guy who might have talked to someone that may or may not have seen JESUS LIZARDO walk on water.LIZARDO also has, within, his group, assassins called , " A MURDER OF CROWS."( YES ,THEY ARE CROWS) Anyway, these guys terrorize the town of MURDER with regularity. ALWAYS lurking on the outskirts of the story is a mysterious character barely seen until towards the end. He is watching all of the events in the story unfold, but with a keen eye for MONK in particular. This character will be revealed to be THE NAKED BUFFALO that MONK took his coat from. The BUFFALO is pissed, out for revenge, and to retrieve his hide. I like the idea of ending the story with his reveal, and you realize that we haven't even scratched the surface of this "World", or BUFFALO MONKS back story of how he came to be Sherriff of MURDER, and how he got that coat.
My wife's ideas were the Brothel named The Kat-House, and the group of assassins called, "A Murder of Crows"
-----So now, the next step for me as the Artist is to start breaking down each character to the Nuts and Bolts of who they are. That usually dictates to me what they should look like. That, and my own visual sensibilities as a designer. And sometimes things I design for a character will actually add a bit here or there to the story itself. I also start thinking about the Logo at this point too. Don't know why, but that's my process. This is also the time to start my research. I do tons of this. I mean TONS. I am a stickler for getting things right, and think that is in large part due to the fact that I used photo ref for such a long time. I recently decided to put it down when I started work on SKULL, and I am quite happy with the way I working now, but getting all the details right for a photo shoot has embedded itself in my minds eye, I think, and now I pour over books, and the Internet to collect a visual "Bible", for lack of a better term. These are a collection of images that I print hardcopies of, put them into a folder, and keep them at the ready when ever I am working on a particular Book. So thats where I am at the moment. What's difficult here is the Juggling. I am working on quite a few things currently, and have to toggle back and forth constantly. It can be quite frustrating as an Artist( and to my Family,my Fans and my Editors!) to not be able to devote ALL of your time to one thing. And that comes from fear really. Fear that I won't ever get around to doing it all if I don't start several things all at once, then drudge through the muck of deadline Hell, and making sure each Book get's the proper amount of attention when it needs it. This doesn't always work either. Sometimes I will ultimately be forced to put one or more things down in order to properly finish something else.

So the next step? Wait for Clay to send me back his notes, and Ideas. And in my copious spare time, Start designing the "look" for the main character, BUFFALO MONK. See you soon.

July 20011