Written and Illustrated by Dave Baker
Tag Archives: Younger the vine walker
The Future of the Action Hospital!
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.
Yes, Geordi La Forge and Ben Sisko watch over me while I draw. It’s not creepy. Don’t make this creepy, man. They’re just making sure I don’t miss anything.
Robits, man. SPAAAAACE Robits. I’m all about them.
This dude may or may not make it into the finished version depending on how many pages I plan on drawing.
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.
Action Hospital #1 Page 4
Written By Dave Baker
Illustrated By Robert Negrete
Lettered By Henry Barajas
I’ve Seen The Future And It Will Be
Robert, and his lovely partner Sabrina, threw an Art Party last night. Which basically consists of a bunch of nerds sitting in a circle, drawing, and not talking to each other. This is how we socialize. Yes, we’re that cool.
During the Art Party, Robert and I worked on Action Hospital pages. To say that we’re gentlemen travelers of the illustrated page might be appropriate.
There are many ways to make comics. Sometimes you just have to make them in a large group of people who are also making comics.
I’m not exactly sure what I’m miming in the photo above but I think it’s proper inking posture. Or it could be that I’m about to show Robert how gravity works.
The pages are progressing at a steady pace. Robert’s really getting into a groove. Look at that Sibling enjoying her bowl of dirt. How awesome is that? The dude is really starting to kick into high gear.
Towards the end of the night our host Sabrina served us veggie and fruit smoothies. To say that making comics, drinking smoothies and then making some more comics is anything less than a perfect saturday night would be an egregious lie.
Also: can we just digress into douche bag Bro-town for a minute? Look at Sarah. How did I pull that shit? hubba hubba, man. I’ll take two with a side of hells yes. Thank you very much.
There’s really no reference in this post’s title. It’s just funny to put an F before Art it makes FART. No points.
Until Next Time,
Hollywood, Ca 2013
Action Hospital #1 Page 2
Written by Dave Baker
Illustrated by Robert Negrete
Lettered by Henry Barajas
Action Hospital #1 Page 1
Written By Dave Baker
Illustrated By Robert Negrete
Lettered By Henry Barajas
Yes…But Take Warning
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.
In Trek terms, ‘away missions’ are required from time to time. They help maintain my sanity, which is constantly on the verge of snapping.
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.
I mean, look at these sketchbook pages, man! Look at his control of from and his line weights. It’s super duper good.
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
Look. Something’s Burning.
Momentum Is Key
I find that whenever I stop doing something of a little while it takes me a bit to get back into the swing of it. Case in point, comics. I’ve been banging my head against the wall attempting to crack this third Action Hospital script for a while now and then yesterday, I sat down, wrote it, and started drawing it. Biff bang Boom. All there.
Making comics is kinda like dating. Only with less sex. You’ll see why I say that in a moment.
So, Action Hospital #3 has unintentionally been in the making for a while now. About a year ago another writer and myself started working on a comic together. For the sake of anonymity we’ll just call him Captain Awesome. At that stage in my life I had just stopped working with my longtime writer pal/wookie life partner/bff/whathaveyou. I wasn’t looking to have a serious ‘writer-relationship-partnership’ style thing. I was just looking to hang out, make a pitch for a comic, and see if we could sell it. I was pretty upfront about it. I enjoyed co-writing with Captain Awesome a lot. He was fun, we had a lot in common, and our script came out really well, I thought. So, I set to making the pages. I really put a lot of effort into those first five pages. Those were the pages we were going to use to pitch the book to publishers.
I finished the first five pages and we went to a convention together to network, meet editors, and try and get some feedback on the pages before digitally submitting to the usual publishing companies. Over the course of the convention I brought up that if we didn’t sell our book, I wasn’t really interested in drawing a whole six issue mini series. Captain Awesome didn’t take that too well. Now, full disclosure, this was his first comic. So, I’m not really sure if he fully comprehended just how long a six issue mini would take to complete. At the pace I was drawing it probably would have taken me 8 months to do six issues. That was not at all what I was shooting to do.
Captain Awesome didn’t like what I was saying. So, the project died. I’ve had these really awesome pages laying around for a long time and I just haven’t really known what to do with them.
Until now, I decided to take the pages that I made with Captain Awesome and re-write them. I’m using them as an intro into a new story. It’s pretty fun. I’m in the middle of drawing the new Joan-centric pages currently. The story, when it’s all finished, should be around 16 pages long. So, it’ll be our first Giant Sized Action Hospital!
The drawing is going pretty well. I’m a bit rusty when it comes to lay outs. Other than that, things are progressing fairly well.
Space: The Final Place You Can Be Shitty To People That Don’t Look Like You
As I’ve been drawing/writing/masterminding/being a nerd, I’ve started watching Star Trek: Voyager. When I was a kid I remember watching Voyager and hating it. I remember hating Janeway’s voice with a passion. Now that I’m a psudeo-manchildadultthing I actually don’t mind it. It’s an interesting character element.
I love the idea that we’re on a ship with a female captain. It only to like four TV shows and 7 movies to get to that point, but whatever. Woman captain. I’m down with it.
Recently, I’ve been reinvestigating DS9 and I love it. Ben Sisco is the coolest dude ever. I love the show, the cast, the station. It’s great. What’s not great? The space jews. Yes, the Ferengi were in TNG but they weren’t untrustworthy, thieving assholes. They were just shitty slavers with whips. They where one dimensional. Quark, the main ferengi in DS9, is borderline a racial cartoon. He’s almost an anti-simetic poster child. He has screwed up teeth, a big nose, and he’s money hungry. It’s so disgusting. People bitch and moan about how JJ Abrams’ Star Trek isn’t Trek because it’s not about the enduring spirit of man or about how tolerance and love are the only blah blah blah. Fuck that. The Ferengi are persecuted and openly mocked by Star Fleet officers all throughout DS9.
During the first 30 seconds that Harry Kim, the new tech officer in Voyager, is introduced Quark attempts to swindle him. Kim responds ‘They warned us about Ferengi at the academy’. Quark gets super upset and calls Harry Kim a racist and threatens to report him to Star Fleet high command. Harry Kim, seeking to calm Quark down offers to buy all the trinkets that Quark is selling. This is where another Star Fleet officer steps in as says, ‘these aren’t worth anything. Don’t give this Ferengi your money, Ensign.’ As their walking away the officer turns to Harry Kim and says ‘Didn’t they warn you about the Ferengi at the Academy?’
What is this? Star Fleet has institutionalized racism? Or speciesism? or whatever? What is it with the bigotry towards the ferengi in Star Trek? C’mon, Star Trek. I expect more of you. No culture is singularly one-dimensional.
If there’s ever another Star Trek tv show, I’m going to pitch 9,000 ferengi centric stories.
The title of this blog post is from a book about Super Spies, a three headed monk/robot, and time traveling green skinned woman. I think it’s fairly obvious what I’m referring to. No points for you.
Until next time,
Hollywood, Ca 2013
Even If Flavor Flave Was In It
Well, Action Hospital is on it’s way… sort of.
Robert and I are hard at work on the pages. Currently we’ve to the first issue all penciled, inked, and mostly lettered. We should be rolling those out soon. We’re just waiting on some finished lettered pages, and some minor tweaks. I suppose I should clarify something. Our Action Hospital ‘issues’ are going to be 8 pages long. So you should be getting a beginning, middle, and an end… and maybe a cliffhanger. In 8 pages. So the first issue is all wrapped up, it’s almost ready to go. We’ll probably hold off a bit before we start posting them, just cause, like I said, we have some minor lettering stuff we’re waiting on.
The second issue is all written. Robert has it, and he’s starting to work on it. So, hopefully, I’ll have more to show you soon. Preeeeeeviews. They’re the best, man. I love doing sneak peaks and previews. They’re intoxicating.
So, where does that leave me? Working on the third issue of Action Hospital. Writing, writing, writing. For Action Hospital #3 we’re trying something a bit more complex. Robert and I are BOTH drawing it. That is to say, we’ll both be working of of the script that I wrote. So that’ll be interesting. I’ve rewritten the thing like twelve times. For real. I have no idea what other people’s process is like or if my process is ass-backwards but I definitely find myself changing my mind a lot. I discover cooler/newer/better ways to tell the story. For me writing is kind of like applying for a job on Craig’s list. You get your resume just right (my outline), then you send it out (actually writing), then you don’t hear back (get dissatisfied with what you just wrote), so you apply for another job (write it again) and so on and so on. I do this over and over and over again. It’s probably not healthy or productive.
Let me give you an example:
Each Action Hospital artist has a cast of characters. Robert has Younger and I have a nurse called Joan Michelle Basquiat. Currently there are no other Action Hospital artists, but there may be in the near future. You never know. Joan, a nurse who is gifted with True-Sight, which is basically just seeing in John-Michelle Basquiat paintings, is my central character. Initially, she was going to be struggling against an antagonist named Sharkerham Lincoln, a clone-hybrid Abraham Lincoln and a shark. I couldn’t get the story to work in such a small page count. I wrote this three times. Then I decided to have Joan help out an embittered politician. To, for lack of better words, regain his soul or, y’know, get his political groove back. I rewrote that twice trying to make it work. I never really did.
Now, I think I’ve finally figured it out. I’m having Joan help a boy detective realize that he doesn’t need to follow in his overbearing father’s footsteps. We’ll see where it goes. Here’s hoping this is the last time I re-write this darned thing.
So, let’s get into why this one is more complex, other than the fact that I’ve re-written it like 12 times. Robert and I are going to do an Image United deal. We’re each going to draw on the same boards. We’re going to each draw our characters on the different pages. That meaning, if Younger shows up in my story, she’s only drawn by Robert. If Joan shows up she’s only drawn by me. I’m hoping that it’ll really feel like an important event whenever one of our characters shows up. We probably won’t be doing it a ton, just because of the logistical requirements, but I think It’ll be a fun little side note that we can throw into our narratives every once and a while.
I’ve been watching Venture Bros. a lot lately. Partially to bone up for an interview that I had at Titmouse, the company that makes Venture Bros, and partially because the fifth season just concluded.
This may sound strange but I find myself interested more in the people who make the stories I consume than the stories themselves. Specifically, Doc Hammer and Jackson Publick, the co-creators of the Venture Bros. All throughout watching the show this season I found myself stopping episodes, searching youtube for interviews with Doc and Jackson, and rapidly consuming every odd observation they made about Liam Neeson and David Bowie. I suppose, for me, the stories people create are more of a conduit to them. Rather than an escapist past time.
When you work at home, as I do being a writer, you find yourself going a little stir crazy. You find yourself attempting to talk to the cute cashier girl at the grocery store. You find yourself trying to connect with the waiter who barely speaks english at your favorite vietnamese restaurant. You’re starved for human connection so you start attempting to connect with anyone around you. You can’t help it. Your brain just says, ‘That’s a person. Talk to them. Become friends.’ Even when that’s probably not exactly what you should be doing.
I take it really personally when people I admire go off the deep end and start spouting off about crazy shit. I’m looking at your Frank Miller and Mark Millar. I can’t read anything Millar writes anymore. His comments about women, his decision in Kick-Ass 2: Balls to the Wall to have Dave beat the shit out of two mentally handicapped adults, and basically everything he’s been involved with recently have just made me really sad. I used to love Mark Millar. He was fun, edgy, and his books were always top notch. Now? He’s writing for a select group of really angry, emotionally stunted, sexually frustrated men. I want to part of it. Frank Miller? He’s a comics god among men. But you know what? After he said that shit about the Occupy Wall street protesters I made a vow never to buy another book of his again. What happens to creators when they get old? Frank Miller seemed like such a cool, smart, down to earth dude in the 80’s and 90’s and then all of a sudden he just went crazy. And don’t say it’s the movies. Have you read Dark Knight Strikes Again? There’s crazy in there. It’s not as bad but there’s crazy. I’m just so saddened by the whole affair.
I don’t know if I’m alone in this but I use the momentum generated by someone’s story to connect with them. I’m sure there are far easier ways to connect with people. Shit, online dating and the consumption of alcohol are how most people do it, right? Well, I guess I’m just to cerebrally idiotic to indulge in either of those pastimes. So, that only leaves me with a laptop, some On Her Majesty’s Secret Service audio commentary, and a frozen pizza.
I’d be lying if I told you that I was anything other than ecstatic about this project. Getting pages back from Robert is like Christmas. I’m writing about things that I’m deeply, deeply passionate about, and there’s a shit ton of onomatopoeia jokes. And who doesn’t fucking love onomatopoeia jokes?
Well, then you shouldn’t be readying this comic. Because there’s gonna be a veritable ass ton of them. And I, for one, am excited for them. I’m also excited to see the characters that Robert and I have been slaving away on for months alive and walking around the internets. I can’t wait.
Hopefully, you’ll love these characters as much as we do.
The title of this blog post comes from the Venture Brothers. Five points if you can name the episode.
Hollywood, Ca 2013
If You Need To Use Guitars, Use Guitars.
Comics take forever.
I feel like I’ve aged ten years since the last time I put out a comic that I was truly proud of. It would seem that those are the two constants in my life, recently. Age and comics. Seemingly the older I get the quicker I age. Yes, I realize that I’m still young and virile and have my whole life ahead of me and blah blah blah but, I’m not going to lie. I feel like 9,000 years old.
Man, this is a depressing intro.
Let’s start again. And this time with a thin veneer of jubilation
Hello, dear reader!
You’re about to start reading the first issue-ish of Action Hospital featuring our beloved plant wielding pre-teen Younger The Vine Walker!
Action Hospital and Younger have been rolling around in my head for quite some time. I suppose to give you an accurate depiction of where this creative journey has gone and just how long it has taken I should start at the beginning.
The first time the words Action and Hospital entered my head were in my ratty little apartment on Park Ave in San Diego, California. I was listening to an interview with comics writer extraordinaire Matt Fraction when the host asked him a question that sounded like, “Have you ever visited the Action Hospital?” Undoubtedly, the actual question was nothing of the sort but the misheard phrase ‘Action Hospital ‘ stuck in by brain. A few days after this my partner left our humble abode for a weekend trip to see friends. I was left at our house, with a stack of comics and no real responsibilities. So, what did I do? I read comics in my underwear until 2 am.
At the time I was reading a lot of titles. Probably more than my internet startup writers paycheck could reasonably afford. But, nevertheless, I was reading a bunch of books. As I always do, I saved my favorite book for last. Casanova. If you haven’t read Casanova, do yourself a favor and go buy it. Today. It’s astoundingly good.
Let’s digress for a second. I feel that to properly digest the story which I’m currently in the midst relaying to you it is of paramount importance that you understand my relationship with Casanova. Matt Fraction, Gabriel Ba, and Fabio Moon’s Casanova is my all time favorite comic book. But it’s more than that. It’s a strangely lovable recurring character in the painfully banal sitcom that is my life. It’s helped me through extremely trying times. It’s assisted me in more ways than I’d like to admit. The book intersects with my life in very, very strange ways. The first volume served as the background noise to my creative break up. It functioned in the same way a record does when you’re deciding to leave someone. You always think of that person when you hear the record.
That is to say, I used to make comics with someone that I hold very near and dear to my heart. Casanova inspired us to create a five issue mini series about a time traveling spy. Over the course of those five issues my relationship with my collaborator deteriorated into a husk of what it once was. Currently, we are not on speaking terms. This is a fact that I have very mixed feelings about.
Ok, let’s get back on course. I’m sitting on my bed in my 0.5 bedroom apartment and I’m reading Casanova: Aviritia #4. It’s the final issue of the third arc. It’s the book that has been delayed for months. It’s the comic I’ve been dying to read since who knows when. And It’s here. In my hands. I open it up and it’s an injection of pure cocaine straight into my brain meat. I’m on cloud nine for the entire issue. And then I reach the last page. And Casanova Quinn, inter-dimensional superspy, is standing in front of the Hollywood sign.
And it hits me. This is where I have to move. I have to go to Hollywood. I have to escape the bizarre, crack head filled life that I’m living and I have to go to Hollywood. Casanova is starring off the page at me. Practically daring me to do it. To go to Hollywood.
I feel like I’ve been hit by a freight train. I wander around the apartment stunned into silence. After a few minutes of pacing in circles I flip to the end of the issue and start perusing the letters column. There it is. My letter. The letter that I sent to Fraction almost four months previous. I’m in Casanova.
I dropped the book and started writing. I started writing a screenplay called The Action Hospital.
That was almost an entire year ago. Action Hospital has changed shapes multiple times since then. It started as a screenplay, then morphed into a four issue mini, then was completely retooled and reconstructed into what you see before you. The story of Younger the Vine Walker and her many compatriots in the Action Hospital.
There you have it. That’s how we got here. From San Diego to Hollywood to your computer screen.
Comics, man. They take forever.
At this juncture I’d like to take a moment to acknowledge my collaborator on this project, my co-pilot, and Younger’s co-creator Robert Negrete.
I met Robert at the weekly Drink and Draw at Casey’s Bar and Grill in Downtown Los Angeles. His illustrative capabilities are on display for all to see in this issue. He’s the real reason that this comic was birthed. His skill is on display on every page of this issue.
Robert took my billion little ideas and synthesized them into a real thing. Into a breathing, living thing. He synthesized them into Younger. No one could draw this book but Robert. Look at Younger’s costume design. Even Mark Silvestri with all his assistants would be crazy to design something that intricate.
I’ll never know why or how Robert puts up with my crazy hair brained ideas but he does. And he ushers them into reality with a diligent hand and a critical eye.
Finally, in the tradition of Casanova, let’s talk for a moment about the influences behind Younger and Action Hospital.
The Cosby Show
The Cosby Show is the greatest sitcom of all time. It was not only pan culturally comedic but it was poignant. Yes, it was ground breaking due to its all African American cast but it was also ground breaking in that it treated its characters as real people and not inflatable plot points.
Kamen Rider Amazon
Japan’s long running super hero television show Kamen Rider (Masked Rider) is one of my favorite pieces of pop culture. Especially, Kamen Rider Amazon, in which a child who was raised in the Amazon Jungle travels to Japan in order to protect it from the evil Ten Headed Demon. Yes, the show is as crazy as it sounds.
Growing up I loved Tarzan. Then I hit 15 and discovered that it was a white power allegory and lost my mind. Younger is my vain attempt at spitting on Edgar Rice Burroughs’ grave by subverting the Tarzan archetype by creating a character that is not white, nor male and yet is just as powerful and awesome.
Never in a million years did I expect to love Kirkman and McFarlane’s Haunt half as much as I do. The concept of two people being trapped in one super powered body is delightful.
Extra tidbit: the title to this post is a Depeche Mode reference. Five points to anyone who can figure it out.
Until next time,
Hollywood, Ca 2013