14 May 2012

My First Ever Illustrated Comic Book Storage Short Box

Ever since I was a child, I wanted to illustrate a comic book box. I never did, though. Mostly, it was because I was entirely too self-conscious of how bad an artist I was. I'm still aware I haven't put in the time or effort to become nearly as good as I maybe could, but I'm a lot less self-conscious about it today. No one will ever mistake me for anything other than what I am, of course; a crude, amateurish imitator. You know what? I'm fine with that. It's not like I'm trying to pass myself off as a pro or anything. I sketch because I enjoy it. I want to get better, sure, but I'm not worried about other people seeing what I've done and reacting with disdain. That's why not only have I finally attempted to appease my inner child, but I'm sharing the results with you now, Dear Reader.

You'll note an absence of superheroes save one. That was very deliberate. I could have done an entire Bat-box, for instance, and I was very tempted to do that. I may do one in the future, but I decided that I really wanted this first illustrated box to represent a look at the diversity of the medium. The only character on this entire box I have ever attempted to sketch before is the lone superhero, The Tick. I never did many Tick sketches, though, probably only three or four ever, and none in the last decade that I can recall. It was pretty ambitious to do an entire box of characters I had never sketched before, but what fun!

Comic Book Storage Short Box ($3.75 on sale from $5.00 at The Great Escape)
General Pencil - Sketch & Wash #588BP ($2.99 at Michael's)
Craft Smart Paint Pen - black, broad line ($2.29 at Michael's)
I dashed off just a little red using an old felt tip pen I had lying around.

Side A - pencils and inks 12 May


  • The Tick - The Tick: Luny Bin Trilogy #1 cover by Eli Stone
  • Abbey Chase - Danger Girl: The Dangerous Collection #1 by J. Scott Campbell
  • Marv silhouette on a wall - Sin City: Just Another Saturday Night #1/2 by Frank Miller

Abbey was the character who intimidated me the most, without question. I resolved going into this, though, that my goal was to evoke the characters and not the work of specific artists. That is to say, I wasn't trying to duplicate J. Scott Campbell. I was just trying to put Abbey Chase onto the box. Her legs disappeared in the inking process and I'm not very happy with her hands and gun, but otherwise I'm pretty content with the way she turned out.

Side B - pencils and inks 13 May (Fone Bone, Betty & Veronica) and 14 May (Enid)


  • Fone Bone - Bone: Out from Boneville Scholastic trade paperback, art by Jeff Smith
  • Betty & Veronica - Pep Comics featuring Betty & Veronica Free Comic Book Day 2011, art by Dan Parent
  • Enid - Ghost World Seventeenth edition softcover, art by Daniel Clowes

Bone was originally blocked out for Side A, but once I actually began to sketch Abbey Chase, it became apparent that he would work better somewhere else. It was just as well, because all I had for sure for Side B were Betty & Veronica! I eventually decided that the remaining space would be a good place for Enid. It seemed appropriate to her character, too, to be on the side with the all-ages characters, but looking away.

Side C - pencils and inks 14 May and 18 June
  • Deena Pilgrim - sketch by Michael Avon Oeming (14 May)
  • Wendy Watson - The Middleman vol. 2., art by Les McClaine [I'm not sure which specific issue; I checked out The Middleman: The Complete Series Indispensability! from the library.] (18 June)
  • Marjane Satrapi - cover of The Complete Persepolis, art by Marjane Satrapi (18 June)
Deena Pilgrim had to go on this box, partly to represent Powers and partly because I love her. I looked at the covers to the second volume's #9, #12 and #20 and some promotional images before finding that sketch by Oeming. It was perfect for what I wanted. I'm very happy with the way she turned out, though I admit I feel like there's something somewhat reminiscent of Huey Freeman to her.

Side D - pencils and inks 14 May


  • Francine & Katchoo - Strangers in Paradise: It's a Good Life, art by Terry Moore
As with Deena Pilgrim, I searched for quite a while before finding the image to use for Francine & Katchoo. At one point, it was just going to be Katchoo. For a while, I wanted to use issue #11. I even had it in mind to incorporate Batwoman into that side, taken from Amy Reeder's cover to Batwoman #8. She was going to be perched atop the lid, with her cape flowing down into the side of the box in front of the moon from the Strangers in Paradise cover. At the last minute, though, I settled on the cover to the third trade paperback collection. Why did I omit David? I'm not really sure. He just didn't feel right to me for this box, though I confess that open space on the side is awfully conspicuous and I think I may add him at some point in the future.

I'm pretty sure Young Travis is happy with the way this turned out, though I know part of him wants to yell, "BUT THERE'S NO BATMAN!" I'm strongly considering doing a Bat-box next, though, so that should mollify him.

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