Friday, July 31, 2009

Jozef's Artwork Posted on a Blog Without Permission or Credit [UPDATED: 3/8/09]

One of my artworks has been posted uncredited on this blog:

I titled the cowboy character in pink that wears a "GAY" buckle – "Gay Ranger". I'm usually fine with people using my artwork online, providing they request permission. I also insist that the artwork is properly copyright credited and attributed to me with links to my website such as the example below:

© 2009 Jozef Szekeres

What is most concerning in this case is that the person who appropriated my art also removed my signature from my piece with dodgy Photoshop (see the pic on this blog post). Here is my original link of the artwork on
Deviant Art so you can compare.

UPDATE: 4/08/09
The offending blogger has removed my artwork from his blog without applogy or comment.

Decline in Graphic Novel Sales in the USA

ICv2 tells us that US graphic novel sales for the first half of 2009 have dipped by 8% in both bookstores and comics stores. The ICv2 news article also provides Top 10 or Top 25 Lists (May-June 2009 sales) in the following categories – Superhero, Genre, Fiction and Reality, Humour/Strip, Kids and Tweens, Manga, Shojo and Shonen. For those of you unsure of the definitions for the last two categories – "shojo" is manga aimed at girls between 10 and 18 and "shonen" is manga marketed to boys in the same age group.

How to Do 3D Comics

We've been following a series on called "Brainstorming: Digital Comics" and this week's post is about creating 3D comics. The results are impressive. Here's the technique that the artist came up with in his experiments:
It’s pretty simple. Just copy the stuff you want in front on the top layer, remove the foreground items from the background with the stamp tool, copy the background 'screen' a cyan layer over one background (red over the other), merge the respective backgrounds with each color, set them to ‘multiply’, then just nudge the cyan layer left a few and the red layer right a few. BOOM. 3D.
For the entire article, more hints and some pretty cool images go to Brainsttorming Digital Comics#19.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Jane Austen Monster Classics to Become Graphic Novels

Jane Austen books are reaching a new  audience and attaining cult classic status – they've been re-conceived as the most playfully bizarre parodies we can think of in the form of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies and Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters both published by Quirk Books. There are a whole other bunch of copy cats out there in book market land but it's our understanding that these two titles started the trend, with P & P & Z hitting #3 on the New York Times Best Seller List. We haven't read them yet ("yet" being the operative word) but they sound like a hoot and Seth Grahame-Smith who contributed his 15% of zombie fiction to Austen's 85% original content should be congratulated for thinking outside the box and making us laugh at the mere notion of the title. Ben H Winters is the contributor to S & S & SM.

The good news is that the books have become bidding material for Hollywood producers, and there is to be a graphic novel in the work for P & P & Z to be adapted by Tony Lee, illustrated by Cliff Richards and published by Del Ray. Can't wait! In the meantime we may never be able to watch any BBC television adaptations in the same way again.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

2009 Eisner Award Winners

We're happy that Comic Book Tattoo: Narrative Art Inspired by the Lyrics and Music of Tori Amos which was edited by Rantz Hoseley (published by Image) won the Eisner Awards Best Anthology category. We've both got copies of it at home – it's a stunning production and a larger than life book featuring works from our friends and colleagues Colleen Doran, James A Owen, as well as Aussie Trudy Cooper. Well done all to all the contributors and to Rantz for his vision. Another books we have on our shelves is Neil Gaiman's Coraline (published by HarperCollins) which picked up the Best Publication for Teens/Tweens. The film adaptation is screening in our cinemas even as we speak. The overall Eisner winner with three awards for Best Limited Series, Best Graphic Novel – Reprinted Material and Best Publication Design was Mike Mignola's Hellboy (published by Dark Horse). ICv2 has a full list of Eisner nominees and winners winners. Congratulations to all.

3D Architecture

No comics or mermaids or Black Mermaid™ stuff in this post but let us tell you – this is quite extraordinary. Sci-fi futuristic buildings are amongst us even as we speak. Very cool.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Mermaid Books 1 – The Secret World of Mermaids

Jozef and I have individually and collectively amassed a large collection of mermaid books so we thought we might feature some of them in a blog series. The first one's a recent acquisition to Jozef's library called The Secret World of Mermaids by Francine Rose. The book is deceptive because it's quite large and thick and you think on first glance there'll be lots of reading material. This isn't the case – there are only 34 pages. The packaging is thick because the book includes four mermaid figurines embedded in the front cover, which we challenge you to remove and spoil the aesthetic. Having said that, the illustrations are quite beautiful and lush and have more of an adult sensibility to them (rather like PreRaphaelite paintings) than the usual cutesy sketched mermaids created for youngsters (9 to 12 year olds) to whom this book is targeted. The cover illustration which also appears in the interior reminds me of an Australian singer/actress called Sophie Monk. I was quite drawn into and captivated by the various mermaid cultures – the Shipsavers, Wishgivers, Shapeshifters, Weatherworkers and Dark Mermaids – and was quite sorry to have the book come to an end. And just for the record – according to the Mermaid Map inside – Australia has Whalecallers and Dreambenders swimming up the east coast.  

If you want to learn common Mermish (Sesurim) this is the phrase to embed in your memory – "To hisna rendi–to fan sesmuna (I mean no harm–I am a friend)!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Movie Mermaids 2 – Miranda & Mad About Men

Miranda is a British movie made in 1948, starring a young Glynis Johns (who also played the mother in Mary Poppins and more recently Elsie in While You Were Sleeping). It's the story of a doctor who hooks a mermaid called Miranda while he's out fishing one day. She pulls him underwater into a cavern and proceeds to blackmail him – she will "let him off her hook" so to speak if he will show her London. He brings her back to his house, puts her in a wheelchair and disguises her tail with a blanket much to the chagrin of his wife. Trouble ensues when Miranda's flirty style gets all the menfolk to pay more attention to her than their wives and girlfriends. The incomparable Margaret Rutherford who is privy to her secret plays the nurse/mermaid-sitter.

The film was followed up by its sequel in 1954, which was called Mad About Men. Miranda the mermaid returns to land and swaps places with her cousin Caroline (a human – don't quite remember how that works) while on holiday and creates havoc in Caroline's love life.

Comic Book Trailers

Great new resource for comikers – the new website – where you can upload your videos on upcoming comic books, graphic novels, web-comics or other comics-related projects. Love the tag line – "where comic books come to PLAY". The advantage of putting them up on a one-stop shop such as this is that retailers, publishers and readers don't have to muck around with individual websites and can just look at your cover and trailer to make their buying decision. 

Monday, July 20, 2009

Supanova Perth Pics

Jozef flew to Perth for the first time in his life a couple of weeks ago to give a presentation at Supanova Perth. It went swimmingly and he had a fabulous time. Here are a couple of pics – the first one is with Wolf Bylsma, the publisher and managing director of Gestalt Publishing which is going great guns on the local and international comics and graphic novels scene. Look for Wolf at San Diego ComicCon this week. He's exhibiting somewhere (we don't know where). Stop by and say hi. He's a good bloke as they say in these parts.

Giant Jellyfish

Seems like Japan is a "hive" of activity when it comes to underwater life (what a terrible mixed metaphor but you get our drift! Haha – "drift"  – just some juvenile humour at work here). This story, however, isn't funny. Although the photo is remarkably beautiful, tells us in its "Japanese Fishermen Brace for Giant Jellyfish" article that, "Giant jellyfish descend on the Sea of Japan, causing untold devastation to coastal villages and leaving a trail of destruction and human misery behind." The species is called Nomura's Jellyfish and it can grow 1.83 metres (6 feet) in diameter and weighs 204 kilos (450 pounds). They swim in shoals and can rip fishing nets apart. We wouldn't want those stingers wrapping us up any time soon.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

World's Second Largest Fish Tank

This is footage of the Kuroshio Sea Tank at the Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium in Japan – it's quite beautiful and calming, although we'd prefer to see the larger creatures like the whale shark and the manta rays in their natural habitat. Thank goodness mermaids are too clever to get caught.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Tilaweed Time

Tilaweed's having a great run this week on our blog and on Jozef's Deviant Art page. We thought you might want to see an origins pic that Jozef painted as a gift for our former US colleague and long-term friend Cat many years ago. She looks a little different now, as she has evolved in line with the new story and new look.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Elf~Fin Issue #2 Cover Revealed!

We promised in a previous blog post we'd bring you a surprise and here it is! Tilaweed in her element. The  "BEFORE" piece is the wash Jozef did to establish the colour palette of Tilaweed's underwater environment (notice it's very different to the colour palette used for Hyfus's ocean territory). Like the Hyfus Issue #1 cover, the realised Tilaweed "AFTER" artwork is essentially a pin-up piece but with story elements embedded into the artwork. When the series is released, there'll be one more piece of visual information added to this cover painting that we don't want to flag just yet. Hope you like it.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland

The character designs in the upcoming Alice in Wonderland film are simply stunning. Helena Bonham Carter as the "off with your head" Red Queen and Johnny Depp's Mad Hatter are our personal favourites. Tim Burton films are must sees for us. Not all of them work story-wise (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory being one of them) but they're all visual feasts. Can't wait till 2010.

Friday, July 10, 2009

End of the Line

Something we may all want to take a look at to determine our individual culpability and what we can do. This is a world class documentary about the devastating effect of overfishing on global oceans. Without minimising the importance of the message, we have to ask ... what will the mermaids think?

Modern Day Engrish

Okay ... we don't want to mock any of our Asian neighbours but we really do recommend that people in publishing get good translators and proofreaders. These pics came from our new favourite website –  – which features ... well a picture's worth a thousand words. Here are some beauties from the Anime/Manga section, as well as the Books/Magazines section (wonder what Disney has to say about this – we're betting it's unauthorised usage of the Winnie the Pooh character). These pics are just the tip of the iceberg – check out the menus and signs – absolute classics! The archives go back to 1996 – there's longevity in this website. Guess the lessons haven't been learned yet. 

Tilaweed Fan Art Pixel Doll

Seems to be Tilaweed week this week – we featured the tattoo a few days ago and we're bringing you a great-looking pixel doll today and in the next couple of days we'll bring you another Tilaweed surprise. The artist goes by the name of stytchid and you can check out the pixel doll with a black background on her DeviantArt page. The art was created for the trappedartist who has an entire self-created original WaveDancer pixel doll collection of her own. 

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Like Minded Collective (Sydney) – A Day of Sketching and Painting

There's a great initiative happening in Sydney for artists (including the comics kind) who want to practice their craft. The Like Minds Collective, a group of artists, designers and illustrators who want to draw and paint characters and architecture can spend a day in the city with others who share their passion. There will be an afternoon and a night session. Kim Taylor and Adam Paquette will be demonstrating Live Digital Painting, Evan Shipard will be doing Alla Prima Oil Portraiture and everyone else can be involved in an all night creative jam so bring your laptops and easels.

Date: Saturday 18 July 2009
Outdoor Sketch Session Time: 12pm
Outdoor Sketch Session Location: Chinese Garden of Friendship, Darling Harbour, Sydney

Evening Session Time: 6:30pm
Evening Location: Warehouse 308, Hibernian House, 342 Elizabeth St, cnr Kippax St, Surry Hills (opposite Central Station)
Cost: $5 donation

Pinocchio the Avenging Punk

Came across a weird concept today that really did my head in – Carlo Collodi's famous marionette Pinocchio has been turned into a vampire slayer! I read The Adventures of Pinocchio (originally published in 1883) when I was a kid and I have a gorgeous hardback edition at home with illustrations by Attilio Mussino who interpreted it in 1911. It really is a dark story and not as cheery as the 1940 Disney animated film – for one thing the Cat and Fox characters disguised as assassins in chapter 14 and 15 are quite ghoulish and have no compunction in stabbing and then hanging the unfortunate puppet. And by the way, Disney substituted a whale for a shark in the climax. I have yet to see the 2002 Robert Benigni version, but am looking forward to an upcoming stop motion feature developed by Guillermo del Toro (Pan's Labyrinth) and the Jim Henson Company (The Dark Crystal). It's my understanding that brilliant illustrator Gris Grimley who did another picture book of the tale in 2002 will be the concept artist. Why all this set up? Well, SLG Publishing is about to release a graphic novel where Pinocchio becomes an avenger after his carpenter father and creator Geppetto is murdered by vampires – thought you might want a taste of it. The writer is Van Jensen and the artist is Dustin Higgins. It's a screwy but strangely fascinating concept all at the same time ... the artwork looks good and Pinocchio looks like a punk with a curl in the middle of his forehead. The tag line cracked me up –  " He's got a nose for evil". The concept may very well work.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Tilaweed Tattoo

Tilaweed fan Nikki T asked us for permission last year to get a Tilaweed tattoo on her side and hip. It took a year to complete. Here's the result – this is the Tilaweed of old sourced from the original WaveDancers. The tattoo artist is Chris Depinto of Shotsies Tattoo in Wayne, New Jersey, USA. It looks terrific but boy it musta hurt. You're a stronger person than we are, Nikki T.

Supernatural Comics Creator Prophet


Anyone catch last night's Supernatural episode called "The Monster at the End of This Book"? We're not regular viewers but when we read the setup we just had to check it out. Here's how the Sunday Telegraph TV guide summarised the plot:
While visiting a comic shop as fake FBI agents investigating a possible haunting, Sam (Jared Padalecki) and Dean (Jensen Ackles) are mistaken for fans of a cult series of books entitled Supernatural about two hunters who also happen to be called Sam and Dean.

Intrigued, they buy the full collection and find that each novel accurately details their demon-hunting lives.

The brothers soon track down and confront the reclusive author Chuck Shurley (Rob Benedict) who shows them a draft manuscript of the next book which describes future events ...
The episode was half tense and half tongue-in-cheek, especially when the Chuck comics creator character discovers that he can psychically predict what happens to the two brothers and then pronounces himself to be a god.  However, he turns out to be a divinely protected prophet instead. Also LOVED the idea that the Winchester brothers will get their own Gospel of Winchester in a future edition of the Bible. We liked the spin on the entire episode and are interested to see how the producers and writers handle the rest of the story line. More info, trivia and episode quotes on and the Supernatural Wiki