Tuesday, July 21, 2009

'Twas the night before San Diego...

Holy crap, people. You can buy Hero House STARTING TOMORROW (if you're in San Diego).

Before this momentous occassion, a few housekeeping notes...

First of all, as you can tell from the image above, I finally was able to do some shirts (and onesies!) in our Zazzle store, thanks to some image help from Brian Gabrillo. Check out zazzle.com/aclincorp to buy the long-awaited Hero House Epsilon Epsilon Psi logo shirt for yourself!

Next, don't forget to come to the Arcana booth, 2415 on Sunday from 12-2 pm for the Hero House signing with me and Mike Dimayuga. Mike will also be sketching for graphic novel purchasers, so you won't want to miss that.

I was going to link to some of our most recent reviews and plugs, but I'm going to be flying across the country soon and I want to spend some time with my wife now. Be back soon!

AclinCorp Interview: Brian Gabrillo


(Above: Almost done! Brian's colors bring the page to the brink of completion. Come back tomorrow to see the final lettered page and read the interview with letterer Shawn.)

Today's interview is with our colorist, Brian Gabrillo.

1) How did you first become a fan of comics?
It all began when a friend lent me the "death of superman" comic book; I was not a comic book fan until then. After rereading it I began searching for books to read and collect. What really got me hooked, though, was getting a hold of Image titles "Wetworks" "WildC.A.T.S" "Cyberforce" and "Pitt." The art and the story was new so I was able to collect all the issues..

2) How did you start getting into art? How did you start coloring specifically?
I was already drawing when I was a kid, my mom says, but never really looked into it as a profession, even took statistics as a course during college. One time, though, my teachers saw my doodles on the notebook and said that I would be better if I was in an art related course, so I shifted. It was the logical thing to do.
After graduating I entered [the workplace] as a graphic artist, doing lay-out and concept work and designing toys for a major fast food restaurant here in the Philippines. When news came that a comic book talent scout was going to visit the Philippines my girlfriend suggested I try applying as a colorist rather than a penciller, since I have not drawn much due to the work I had, and I followed her suggestion.
I applied as a colorist. The talent scout said I was good but not yet great, but hey, that counts as something! So I practiced everyday after work, also taking in some local independent comic coloring jobs to improve, and there I began as a colorist.

3) What made you decide to take the Hero House assignment?
I was looking for additional work and something to boost my portfolio as well as a colorist, and by coincidence the studio I freelance for, "Big Cat Studios" offered me a 4-issue job. After giving me the information, I took the job. I mean, its not everyday I get a chance to color an Ed McGuinness cover, more so color a whole mini-series that was written by Justin Aclin (We have ToyFare magazine in the office when we want to update ourselves what new toys are out). Plus, it would be of great help for my portfolio.

4) What was the hardest thing you had to do for Hero House?
Well, the hardest part for me was coloring the interior pages, since it had a different style than what I usually do, which I used to color the covers. Nevertheless, I was happy because it had me develop an additional style that I could use and improve my skills.

5) What was your favorite part of working on it?
My favorite part was doing the big splash pages and of course getting the book done. It was the graphic novel I had that was coming out, so I was excited getting it done.

6) What's next for you?
Well right now I plan to study 3d softwares (Maya and 3D Studio Max) to learn new stuff that could help me in my advancement in my day job. For the coloring part, I'm beefing up my portfolio right now. I plan to add more stuff on my DA page (ryjalon311.deviantart.com) to show to publishers.

7) Anything else you'd like to add?
Thanks for the opportunity, Justin! I would also like to thank the guys at Big Cat Studios for the job and of course Mike, Frank, Shawn and Ed for letting me be a part of the Hero House Team.

Thank you, Brian!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Radio, Radio

Quick note: The interview with Mike and I on Fanboy Radio is now online! You can download it as a podcast and take my dulcet tones with you wherever you go. We talk Hero House, toys and all sorts of current geek news. Big thanks to Scott Hinze for having us on and for such a fun time!

Also, my buddy Andrew Kardon is finally relaunching his comics blog ComicBookMarks, and he used one of his very first posts since coming back to plug Hero House. Return the favor by adding Andrew's site to your RSS feed - this guy wrote the book on comics. Literally.

Friday, July 17, 2009

JA (and MD) on the Radio!

Want to hear me and Hero House illustrator Mike Dimayuga being interviewed live on the air (in Texas) for an hour this weekend? Then check out Fanboy Radio this Sunday at 7 pm Eastern!

Unlike a lot of other podcasts, FBR actually goes out live on the air, so if you go to the site and click on "Listen to KTCU Live" you'll be able to hear us live! If not, podcasts are usually available on the site the next day. We'll be talking about Hero House, of course, but also probably ToyFare, San Diego, current comics...it should be a blast. Mike and I are definitely looking forward to it.

I've been on FBR once already with the illustrious Zach Oat, but this will be my first time on live. And it is a call-in show, so please listen and give a call in if it sounds like I'm getting boring. Many thanks to Mr. Scott Hinze for having me back on. If you go to the FBR page right now it says that Mark Millar is the guest (he had to reschedule), which is fine with me, because a lot more people will tune in if they think Millar is the guest than my sorry ass. I may or may not start the interview in a Scottish accent, talking about my plans for the Superman movie franchise.

I want to take a moment to thank some of the other folks who've been helping us make the Hero House Insufferable Media Tour 2009 a success. First up my good buddy Casey Schreiner, who plugged the book at the end of his backed-by-a-major-cable network podcast, The MMO Report.

Thanks as well to Comic Book Resources' Robot 6 blog, which mentioned the book's release in a recent San Diego round-up. UPDATE! They also have now posted this interview with me about my plans for San Diego regarding Hero House and ToyFare. Thanks, JK!

Thanks to the folks at the Nerd City podcast, who gave the book a nice plug recently.

And finally, thanks to everyone who's become a fan on Facebook, especially the folks who are clicking the "share" button and spreading the word. As of this writing we're only 13 shy of 100. We can do it!

Thursday, July 16, 2009


Okay, I decided to make a couple shirts.

Check out the AclinCorp shop on Zazzle.com. You can get the awesome Hero House San Diego shirt I posted about the other day, as well as the new Hero House cover art shirt you can see above. Unfortunately I can't figure out how to crop the Hero House logo art file to a round shape to get it on a shirt properly. Anyone know how to do that?

Just so you know, we're not earning commission on these. These are purely an opportunity to show your support for Hero House (especially as you walk the floor at San Diego next week).

If you buy one, please tell me how they turn out and take pictures!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

T-shirts, Anyone?

So my multi-talented penciler Mike Dimayuga made me a t-shirt last holiday season, and now he let me know that he's working on a special t-shirt for the creative team to wear to San Diego Comic-Con. And this t-shirt...is awesome.

So what I want to know is, would anybody be interested in ordering the Hero House logo t-shirt, which looks like this:

or would you be interested in ordering the special SDCC shirt, which looks like THIS:
Awesome, right?

And if people would be interested in getting such a thing, does anyone know a good site for getting shirts made? Anyone have any experience with Zazzle or Cafe Press?

Oh, super-important! Hero House now has a fan page on Facebook! Become a fan. It's the cool thing to do!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

AclinCorp Interview: Frank E. Stone


(Above: Above: Hey, Frank sent me the correct page to post! Thanks, Frank! Tune in next time when we see what happens when Brian lays some colors over it.))

A quick note before we get into today's interview with our inker extraordinaire, Frank E. Stone: Now that the San Diego Comic-Con panel schedule has been announced, don't forget to clear some space on SUNDAY from 12-2 PM as Mike and I will be signing copies of the book at the Arcana booth! More details soon! Now, take it away, Frank!

1) How did you first become a fan of comics?

As a kid, I dug newspaper comic strips and paperback reprints of Charles Schulz's PEANUTS. Then the SPIDER-MAN newspaper strip began in the late '70s (yeah, I'm old -- what's your point?), which soon led me to seek out Spidey and his fellow superheroes in comicbooks, and I've been a fan of the artform ever since.

2) How did you start getting into art? How did you start inking specifically?

Like most people, I started drawing at a young age, but never lost interest in it. My earliest subjects were characters from the aforementioned comic strips, as well as my favorite cartoon characters, Popeye the Sailor and Underdog. I'm primarily self-taught, learning mostly through "osmosis" -- observing and practicing, and applying what I've absorbed.

By the early '80s I had started learning about the specific materials and tools used by professional comicbook artists, including bristol board and india ink, so I started practicing with a variety of those items, and developed a fondness for "finishing" my drawings with ink. From there, it was more osmosis to get the hang of the techniques that are unique to the inking discipline.

3) What made you decide to take the Hero House assignment?

Mike offered it! We met in the spring of 2007 when we joined a local artist group (since dubbed the San Joaquin Graphic Arts League), and he liked the inks on the drawings in my sketchbook, so he told me about the HERO HOUSE project and invited me to "try out" by inking one of his drawings. He liked the results, and here we are!

4) What was the hardest thing you had to do for Hero House?

Ink all those brick walls Mike drew! But seriously, folks -- it was probably getting used to the idea of buckling down for a full-length comic art project that wasn't one of my own. Still, I got into the groove pretty quickly -- and by the end of the first chapter, I was really hitting my stride.

5) What was your favorite part of working on it?

The ease with which Mike's drawings lent themselves to inking -- his pencils are pretty tight and clean, so I didn't have to "improvise" much. And this quality was only enhanced by the highly individualistic characters and comprehensive environments. The pages were a real pleasure to work with. And getting to ink (via blueline recreations) Ed McGuinness's cover drawings was a bit of a kick, as well!

6) What's next for you?

Hopefully, figuring out the end of my own graphic novel, THE ASCENDING MAN CHRONICLES, so I can finally finish it. And I'm continuing to collaborate with Mike on commission drawings for one of his regular customers, who pays me an additional fee for inking.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

AclinCorp Interview: Mike Dimayuga

(Above: A page from Chapter 3 of Hero House, pencilled by Mike Dimayuga. As we do these interviews with the creative team, you'll see this page go from pencils to finished product. Neat, huh?)

Things are really moving here at Hero House HQ (HHHQ?), with less than two weeks to go till Comic-Con and the book's physical debut! Tonight I'm kicking off a series of short interviews with the book's creative team, and we start with the man who's the bedrock of the book: Mike Dimayuga! (Forgive the obvious email interview, by the way - we're all busy people!)

1) How did you first become a fan of comics?
As a kid, my friends and cousins would tell me about the adventures of the X-Men or Superman. I was always entertained and the tales intrigued me. When I was old enough to have an allowance, I started buying my own comics. I used to watch a lot of cartoons.

2) How did you start drawing?

In kindergarten class, we would draw and color fruit. I seemed to excel at drawing apples, bananas and oranges. Later, my sisters discovered me copying the Snoopy and Woodstock print on my blanket and doing a good job of it. When i started collecting comics I started copying the art, and as I grew up, I'd fill up my notebooks with doodles and sketches rather than actual notes. It just grew from there.

3) I've already told the story of how I found you, but when I reached out to you, what made you decide to take the Hero House assignment?

Well, shortly before we met, I had just completed a short 8 page story for a small publisher. I felt I was finally ready to do something longer, maybe a 12-pager or even a full 22-page issue. Gradually work my way to the deeper end of the pool, as it were. So when a certain Justin Aclin e-mails me he wants me to do a FOUR ISSUE book, i was flabbergasted. I had just learned to drive a car and already someone wanted to have me compete in the Indy 500. I read the script, and really, really liked the story. and I agreed to do the book shortly after.

4) What was the hardest thing you had to do for Hero House?

Since I was a complete newb when I started the book, I had to learn on the job. Laying out the page, while telling a story, while keeping in mind what you can realistically do was very difficult. Another element I had difficulty were the backgrounds and the props since I wanted to ground the super character and situations in reality.

5) What was your favorite thing to draw?

My favorite to draw was probably the final page. I worked on the book for 3-4 years and I was very satisfying to see it completed. By then i think I'd grown and improved, it was gratifying to see the culmination of all that hard work. Also fun was animale's various animal forms. Ihad fun doing the research.

6) Which of the characters were your favorite to design?

It's a toss up between Nate Hedges and Brutal. Nate because I liked having him "act" and show different kinds of emotions and Brutal brutal because I'm very proud of the design I gave him. I felt it was really close to what Justin had in mind. He has this huge presence that he dominates every panel he's in.

7) What's next for you?

well, the issue of Hack/Slash I did just came out (number 23). Currently, I'm finishing up a 40+ page book with [Hack/Slash creator] Tim Seeley. In July, I'm going to see what projects I can drum up in the San Diego Comic-Con. After that? I don't know, we'll see. I know I want to eventually do my own stuff.

8) Anything else you'd like to add?

I just want to say Hero House was fun to work on. It was a blast designing the characters and the whole HH universe. I learned so much from just doing the book. by the time it ended, I felt I was a better artist than when I started. [Editor's Note: He totally is.]

Thursday, July 2, 2009



Howdy, folks. Now that Hero House has a few reviews under its belt, I figured I'd collect them all in one place! Just a reminder - if you or anyone you know or anyone you don't know wants to review the book or interview me or the rest of the creative team (except Ed, who I am not the boss of), please email me at herohousecomic [at] gmail [dot] com and we'll make it so!

First up this is not a review, but I think it's kind of cool. It's the first interview I've ever done as a comic author, conducted with new-ish site Comic Hero News. Speaking of CHN, here's the link to their review of Hero House.

Next up is a more personal review by Mike Birnbaum, who I knew from college. He gets some of the little Boston University in-jokes I inserted into the book.

Next up is a bit of a mixed review by Snow Glare for website The Fwoosh. Yes, I'm even man enough to link to my mixed reviews.

Website Super Summaries took a break from their usual practice of reviewing Superman comics to do a review of Hero House where they compare it (favorably) to Buffy.

And finally (so far) Kastor's Korner gives us a nice review that some might consider a little too spoilerific for this stage in the game. You've been warned.

Thanks to everyone who's read or reviewed the book so far, and remember: I'm looking for more. We're only three weeks away from Hero House being available at San Diego. Ca-razy!