Written and Illustrated by Dave Baker
Written and Illustrated by Dave Baker
The State of the Future-Union
The Action Hospital is going strong, ladies and gentlemen.
We’re currently in the middle of our second issue, six pages in to an 18 page story to be precise. In case you forgot, I’m writing and drawing the currently sprawling epic about Boy Detectives, Yakuza, Robot Arms, and super-powered nurses.
After that we have Action Hospital Issue 3 staring Mallory Sloan, Satanic Super-Sergion written by me and drawing by the one and only Clay Murrell.
Mallory is the resident ‘nothing can fix this, fuckit. Send ’em to Mallory Sloan’ doctor. When nothing can be done, they call her. She doesn’t come cheap but she’s worth every penny. When pitching Mallory to Clay I described her as
Clay drew the fuck out of these pages. They’re stunning. He captured the countless eccentricities of Mallory with just a few pen storks.
In issue Three we also have the first black pope, Pope Shotgun the 1st.
Clay really outdid himself on the pages. Just look for yourself!
Action Hospital issue three is going to be off the chain. Satanist magic, a black pope, and super science. What more could you want? Nothing. That’s what. Action Hospital has literally everything you could ever want in a comic book EVER.
Ok, that might be a little extreme.
Younger and Younger
Meanwhile, over in Robert Negrete’s world:
Robert is only a few pages away from finishing INKING issue four. That’s right. INKING. Holy moly, that guy is so good and he’s really learning how to move quickly and effectively. Look at that lay out. Dope, right? Yeah. Dope.
In a distant galaxy…
While Robert and Clay are kicking ass and taking names on their pages, I’m slowly moving through mine. I’m currently writing and drawing issue 5, which will see the return of Albert, Joan, and the cast of characters from the currently being serialized issue two.
My pages look something like this. Lots of weird creatures, dudes in space suits/robot costumes, and tons of panels.
And call outs. Can’t forget how popular the call outs have been. Everybody seems to love those. Which is good! Cause I love drawing them.
Robits, man. SPAAAAACE Robits. I’m all about them.
Dance Until Your Heart Falls Out
In other news, I’m working on some super fun writing projects outside of comics. SOONER OR LATER I’LL BE ABLE TO TALK ABOUT THEM. Gosh. It kills me.
So, I’ll leave you with this. Justice. Do it.
Written By Dave Baker
Illustrated By Robert Negrete
Lettered By Henry Barajas
Mouths Within Mouths
I’m currently in Arizona. Not by choice, mind you. I’m here out of familial obligation. The simultaneous happenings of my sister’s birthday and my partner’s mother’s birthday was enough to lure us back into the rattlesnake infested, drug addled wasteland that is Tucson.
Arizona, where I was born and raised, is not my favorite place. Partially due to the massive amount of time I’ve spent here, and partially due to the unsavory individuals I’ve encountered within the boarders of the Union’s Most Bigoted state.
There are two things that constantly shock me about Arizona. 1) People here don’t change. Every time I return to this state I inevitably encounter people I know and they’re always doing the same thing. They’re always working some dead end job. It’s like the entire state has convinced itself that it needs to be doing whatever it is that they’re doing. Even if what they’re doing is working at a gas station. 2) There are Star Trek figures at every store in Tucson. Not the cool Art Asylum ones either. The crappy big-headed Playmates ones. They’re everywhere. I don’t know if a batch of collectors died and their relatives have been dumping their TNG and DS9 toys and local used book stores or if people are finally getting older and realizing that these toys aren’t “going to put their kids through college”.
Arizona’s a weird place. It’s flat, dry, and, obviously, fucking hot. There’s nothing to do here. The positive side of the fact that life here is so uneventful is that it necessitates self reflection. The topography of the social terrain requires the inhabitant to administer self-diagnostics. When you’re born and raised in Arizona, you’re forced to evaluate yourself and what you want out of your existence because there’s literally nothing else to do.
Due to the harsh social terrain of Arizona, individuals who spend any significant amount of time here develop social adaptations. They become predators. They grow psychic barbs and talons. People who live and survive in the desert do so because they’re conditioned for it. They’re psychic vultures.
The desert is an inhospitable place to attempt to subsist. Everything is constantly attempting to kill you. Literally and metaphorically.
All that being said, this trip has been really nice. Ever since cutting a few people out of my social circle my level of happiness has skyrocketed.
Honesty is key. Vulnerability is a commodity. It’s these exchanges of dark secrets that cements a friendship. I’ve developed deep rooted connections with people in this place. There’s something about existing in a pack of wolves that helps you to appreciate the other sheep, if that makes any sense.
Tucson, and Arizona in general, is a mixed bag of awful and joy. Obviously, my family lives here. Some of my closest friends have chosen to remain here. However, the overwhelming stillness of life here is debilitating. Possibly, it’s my inability to let go of the traumas that I’ve endured while living here, but sadness echoes in the place. In Los Angeles, life is full and vibrant. It’s almost overloaded with color. I have an amazing partner who I go on swashbuckling adventures with. I have friends and adopted family who are intelligent and creative. In Tucson everything is brown, slow, and slightly decayed.
Arizona feels like another lifetime. It feels like when I moved away from this place I died and was reborn. And every time I come back here I’m forced to confront the ghost of who I was.
The first question I get asked at parties and social functions in Hollywood is inevitably “where are you from?” because no one in L.A. is actually from there. I’m always forced to spit out ‘Arizona’. It never feels right. I don’t consider this place my home. I don’t consider myself from here. It’s the place I was born and then left.
Tucson, Az 2013
Written By Dave Baker
Illustrated By Robert Negrete
Lettered By Henry Barajas
Live Long and Party
creating is a very lonely thing. You spend all your time sitting in a room ‘working’. Sure, some people listen to podcasts or music but it’s an undeniably solitary life. I’m not complaining, mind you. I love not having to go into an office. I love being able to push my schedule around as I please. However, there are times when even I, the most hobbity of hermits, want to interact with people.
Night before last I, and my small cadre of nerds, ventured down onto Hollywood Blvd. To say that it’s a hive of scum and villainy wouldn’t be incorrect. The place is bonkers. Twenty-four-seven. Part of me loves it and part of me hates it. I love the fact that a few blocks from my house there’s a massive orgy of excess and drunken indulgence. I also can’t help but be disgusted by the artifice of it all. On Hollywood Blvd there’s nothing honest. There’s nothing real. It’s like Vegas. It’s all genetically engineered to be consumed by individuals who have no cultural awareness. Hollywood Blvd is the porn version of life in California. Everything is heightened, all the vulnerabilities are shoved under a rug, and there’s a shit ton of noise. There’s a large facet of my person that devours this presentation of life here. I love the fact that people come here to escape from their everyday lives. Even individuals who still live in Los Angeles attend parties and go to clubs on Hollywood Blvd because a small part of themselves buys into what the club owners and party throwers are selling.
And then there’s shit like this. A fucking dude in a Mario suit. Why? Because it’s friday night and why not. It’s like comic con, but with more crappy hip-hop. And almost every night.
The sheer volume of ‘holyfuckwedon’thavetoworktomorrowlet’sgetfuckedup’ is astonishing. People really hate their jobs, their partners, their (insert aspect of their life here) and they are constantly attempting to escape it. Every time I’m in a situation where I witness this It gives me an immense amount of perspective. Oh course there are elements of my life I’m not happy with. Everyone has something. But it’s the fact that people need these venues to escape from themselves for two or three hours that I find endlessly fascinating. I find the whole cycle really beautiful and really sad simultaneously.
The Curse of the Carpal Tunnel Creatures From Beyond The Grave
And now on to the the things you care about. COMICS. Or rather the drawing of the comics and such. Or maybe you don’t care about comics. I don’t know.
I’m almost done penciling Action Hospital #3. I’ve got about two more pages left to lay the graphite down on and the WE MOVE TO THE INKS!
Working on the art side of comics again is interesting. It’s been a while since I’ve actually put any serious effort into drawing. I’ve been concentrating on writing for so long. I’m really enjoying drawing again. I forgot how rewording it is to see a blank page birthed into something so much more.
One of the challenges about writing/drawing is being able to keep one hat on for an extended period of time. Whenever I start drawing I instantly start thinking of ideas for the next script and vis versa. I suppose that’s a good problem to have.
Drawing drawing and them more drawing, man. That’s really all their is to say, at this point. I’m just really deep into the production of this thing. I’m going to be overjoyed when it’s finished.
Form Of A Bucket of Awesome Comics!
Last night I got together with Robert Negrete, my creative partner in crime on Action Hospital.
Robert has finished all the layouts for Action Hospital 2 is just starting on the pages. Even his thumbnails are fucking dope. Look at this:
Great, right? Yeah, great. Robert is ten times the illustrator that I am. Here’s hoping I can finagle him into doing Action Hospital for a little while.
So, since I’m nearing the end of Action Hospital #3 Robert and I have some super cool things planned. We’re going to be both drawing on the pages. As such, here’s a sneak peak:
So, there you have it. Drawings, comics, me in a Science Officer’s shirt out in public, and Robert Negrete owning me at the drawing game.
Special Announcement: We’re shooting to launch the Action Hospital page #1 this Wednesday. See you then!
The title for this post comes from Detective Comics #300. Five Points?
Until Next Time,
Hollywood, Ca 2013
Johnnie Hobbs and the Internal Dictations
You’re probably here for comics/drawings/nerdy things. Well, that’s not what’s happening right now.
We’re talking about tap dancing.
Last night I attended a tap dancing party/workshop/dance battle/tap-stomp-the-yard thing. This is just one of the million reasons that I love living in Los Angeles. You work all day. You’re about to call it a night and go to sleep like an old person and someone calls you and says, ‘Hey, do you want to come to a (insert weird cultural activity that you have had little or no contact with) party tonight?” And of course you say, “Fuck yes!” because you’re not old and going to sleep is morally reprehensible in that situation.
Last night, my director buddy Johnnie Hobbs, my partner Sarah, and I went to ‘Monday Night Tap’.
Now, just for some background, Johnnie is a tap dancer. So, it’s not that strange that he was attending a tap party/class/dance battle/whateverthefuckhaveyou.
Johnnie’s a stellar dude. He made a movie with Dule Hill titled Nostalgia that you can see more about here. There’s really no earthly way to describe Mr Hobbs. He’s a massive ball of energy. Let me give you an example. Johnnie and I don’t really talk on the phone. We text… OR SING.
That’s right. Johnnie, a grown ass man, and I sing R & B style songs into our iPhone voice memo apps, and then send them to each other. To say that we’re both sickeningly childlike is a gross understatement. The only reason Johnnie can get away with it is because he has a million dollar smile. Look at that shit:
So, now you’re all caught up. Johnnie plus Sarah plus Me = going to a tap party/dance/shindig
Needless to say, I’m not a tap dancer. I don’t really know anything about it other than Sammy Davis Jr is rad and that kid from Sesame Street was cool when I was 9. Johnnie, on the other hand, is a virtual cornicopia of tap knowledge. On the ride there Johnnie schooled us on Bring Da Noise, Bring Da Funk, Savion Glover, and and the history of Tap.
Let’s digress for a moment. Los Angeles has an image problem. People all over the world think that L.A. is just overly-plastic-surgeried, blond haired, blue eyed, trust fund assholes. Yes, those people exist here. But there’s so much more to Los Angeles than that. People in L.A. are all trying to make something. They’re all trying to establish something. They’re all trying to create things. You can’t say the same for everywhere else.
The reason I wanted to get that out there is because this Tap event we went to was in the back of someone’s house. That’s right. It wasn’t in a studio. It was someone’s living room that they’d re-modled to be a tap studio. It was insane.
When we arrived, there was a class going on. Sarah Reich, the woman who owned the house, was leading a class of 30 or so dancers. It was awesome. There’s something about the percussive nature of tap that really connects with you on a guttural level.
After the class, the dancers formed a circle and started stomping their feet in unison. They were making a beat. Then, each dancer would step into the center of the circle and riff off of baseline that the group was establishing. You Got Served can jump off a cliff. Stomp The Yard can take a nap. This tap-battle-jam-session-whatever was amazing. The level of talent on display was jaw dropping.
It was such a positive experience. Dancers of all ages and skill levels would have their time in the spotlight while everyone would encourage them. The dancer’s skill level ranged from Dule Hill, one of the original cast members from Bring Da Noise, Bring Da Funk and West Wing, to a 12 or 13 year old boy.
Often times in large cities you lose a human connection with those around you. The people next to you morph into a massive horde of Other. People stop being people. They start being Not You. That was not the case last night. Each dancer was acknowledge as being a separate, skilled individual by the group. It was almost overwhelming how undiluted everyone’s positivity was. Regardless of your skill level, you were encouraged. Period. That’s an attitude that more people, especially in creative fields, should adopt. Life shouldn’t be a competition. It should be a party. Everyone should be having fun. The will and drive to better one’s self shouldn’t be an external mandate. It should be an internal dictation.
More lettered pages are coming in. I wish I could show you, but I feel like I’ve already shown almost the entire first issue both here and on the Facebook fan page. We should be rolling out the page next week or so. I’m just being overly cautious. I don’t want to have the pages stop and start. You understand.
Comics, man. They take forever.
The title is from my favorite musical. Five points.
Until Next Time,
Hollywood, Ca 2013