Good-Bye Bernie Wrightson.

Last night I was getting up and turning things off to go to bed when I looked at my phone and saw a Facebook update from Steve Niles saying that the Bernie Wrightson had passed away. I sat back down and spent most of the next two hours watching as the comics creator community, fans and friends posted about how devastated they were. Watched as my entire time line on all social media formats turned into nothing but images from Bernie’s amazing and incomparable career. With the obvious exception of why it was happening, it was the most beautiful thing.

I’ve talked at length many times about what Bernie Wrightson’s work has meant to me. I’m not the kind of person that get’s super upset when celebrities or people I wasn’t close to die. I generally grumble about the idea of social media posts where it feels like people are mostly talking about themselves when they mourn the passing of a celebrity or a hero. Bernie is different for me. There were actual tears in my eyes. Bernie Wrightson has been a part of my life and an enormous influence since I first bought a reprint of Swamp Thing #1 when I was a tiny lad.

I had been into comics since I was 7 or 8 maybe. Probably even younger. People would buy me comics at the grocery store or the occasional trip to a comic shop (which was like a Toys ‘R Us to me at that point being in a small town). They were primarily Spider-Man, Daredevil, X-Men, etc. I was also always into monsters and horror stuff. One day I was out with parent types and looking at comics and saw a Swamp Thing #1. If I remember right, it primarily caught my eye because I loved the movie. I picked it up and immediately thought “this looks creepy!” which was weird to me because the movie was anything but creepy. I don’t remember exactly how old I was but that day changed a lot. I wore that comic out! Loved every single page and panel. The biggest thing though.. it was the first comic where I thought “who did this!?” A switch went off where, for the first time, I actually realized that someone, a person, drew this stuff! From there it became “I want to draw this stuff!”

From there I started looking for things with Wrightson’s name on it. Which led me to CREEPY and EERIE (and it’s partially for this reason that getting to work on both of these titles years later means so much to me) and the like. I also started to realize I had been familiar with some of his work and never realized it. I remember the first time I was at a store and picked up Cycle of the Werewolf. Started flipping through and was just in fucking awe at the illustrations. Bernie Wrightson was my first favorite artist. I loved other artists but Bernie’s work meant something to me.

No one will ever come close to being able to do what Bernie does. His ability to convey dark and foreboding with beauty and even a sense of humor that doesn’t seem out of place. He could walk those lines like a god. Producing illustrations of such detail and beauty and then turning around and doing the same but while plunging you into fear and horror. Then he could just as easily do the same but with a much more humorous hand. I still love his Captain Stern stuff for this reason.

The man is a true master. Not just in the comics medium but as a modern artist in general.

One of the biggest regrets of my life now will always be that while I was at a couple different shows with Bernie Wrightson and had multiple opportunities to talk to and gush at him.. I didn’t. I’m not the biggest “fanboy” type. I don’t like to be nerdy all over people. Part of that is because I’m very socially awkward and nervous. Just being in the same room with him made me nervous. This was my hero. He was with me through most of my life. I just didn’t know what to say to him. This is ridiculous of course, by ALL accounts Bernie is the sweetest, most amazing person.

I can give you this story though:

I think it was my first or second year doing HEROES CON and I was getting the feel for how the auction crowd went and the showboating smoking jacket scene. Apparently if you have something that sells for a ridiculous amount of money there is some ridiculous club where you wear these things and strut around the auction. Christian Sager and I were grumbling about how ridiculous that shit is. The night of the auction we were leaving the bar and heading up to our room when the elevator door opened and out came Bernie Wrightson. With his ever present smile. He was wearing one of these smoking jackets. We looked at each other and said “Well, no.. that’s fine. Bernie Wrightson should be wearing that.”

I believe it was the next morning (or the next year possibly… I don’t know) we were at the hotel restaurant eating breakfast and Bernie and crew came and sat down right next to us. I was so nervous! Looking back it’s almost embarrassing how nervous I was.

This man was my hero.

Bernie Wrightson is the reason I draw comic books. I’m so sad that he’s gone but we are all so fortunate to have been able to experience and witness this modern master in our lifetime. No one could replace him and no one should.

My most sincere sympathies to his family and friends.

zombie-05

 

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PEP TALK

Recently the “breaking into comics” conversation started circulating again, as it does a couple times a year. It’s such a weird conversation, mostly because it’s a conversation rooted in outdated ideas. What I mean is that the term doesn’t mean what it meant twenty years ago but, people still talk like it does. Which, like a lot of things in comics, people are realizing as we drag the industry kicking and screaming into 2017.

Breaking into comics has so many meanings and measurements for so many creators now. What one person views as being successful in a comics career isn’t necessarily what his buddy down the street is looking for.

There are so many different ways to make comics and make them available to readers now. The days of needing to be near the heart of a publisher (physically, like living in New York) or mailing samples in the mail are all but distant memories. You can live anywhere and have a career in comics. Really.. all you need to have a career in comics now is an internet connection. Even if you are someone who measures success as working for Marvel or DC, the internet is your bestfriend.

You can make a comic and publish it online for next to nothing. You can make mini comics and go to conventions. Comic conventions. Even that is a vastly different thing than twenty years ago. There is a comic show in practically every state and or city on any given weekend now. It’s possible to get so many eyes on your work now in ways that are right there and up to you how you handle them. Even self publishing comics that are a quality product is so much more attainable due to crowdfunding and print to order sites.

So, with all the various avenues one could focus on, the plethora of subjects and styles that are widely accepted, why are so many of us miserable half the time and feel like failures while working our asses off making comics? Well… there are a lot of reasons. But I’m not a psychologist or paranormal investigator or whatever.

I just want to offer my personal perspective here.

My personal goals in a comics career is to make comics. The kind of comics I like. I would also like to be able to, at the very least, pay my bills and  live comfortably. Not comfortably like nice cars and shit, but comfortably like not having to panic about bills, medicine, food, etc. I’m not someone who would only consider myself a successful creator if I ended up at Marvel or DC or whatever. There’s nothing wrong with that, mind you, I’d love to work with them (or any number of others) but they are not the end game for me.

Comics is an investment. No matter how you cut it. You are going to sink your life into it. Very possibly your life and your money. Comics is working hard and feeling like no one is looking as you labor away in a room ignoring your family for hours or days on end.

The thing is… there’s always SOMEONE paying attention. You put a comic out, someone out there is going to find it and like it. Will you be held up as the next big thing in comics? No, probably not. Odds are good you might only have 50 people who call themselves “fans”. You know what? That’s fine. You keep working. You keep making comics. You keep trying new things and trying to get better at making comics. You try to learn about everything there is to make a comic and have it in someone’s hands. That 50 is bound to become 75.

If you are making comics and you fight through that depression, fight through that self doubt, you make yourself be outgoing and talk to other creators at shows etc. If you make yourself do that, you are breaking into comics.

I know, I know, “No, what we mean is how do I break into making money and being loved and not having any trouble dealing with the distribution monopoly that is Diamond?” I don’t know. By doing everything I mentioned above. By not deciding you want to be a comics creator and then setting your  sights on the top of the mountain with no plan for how to navigate the base. Don’t get me wrong, goals are good. But being realistic in your goals is smart.

I talked with a lot of people that hate the idea of “pros” saying “just make comics!” as their advice for making it in comics. I get that. But, it’s not wrong. The only way to break into comics is to make comics. Is it the only thing? No, probably not. But I’ll tell you this, If you are wanting to make comics for a living, you have to love you some fucking comics. You need to want to make those comics even if no one is paying you to make those comics. If you want to get paid to make comics, you need to prove you can make comics worth paying for. The comics industry is maybe one of the stupidest business wise. It’s all over the place and everyone is trying to make their way in a sea of chaos.

I’ll offer you this, comics has been my main job for about 5 years now. I’ll be 41 this year. I have a lifetime of mini comics, anthologies, single issues and a couple graphic novels behind me. I was 39 when I got the opportunity to work with Dark Horse on EERIE and CREEPY. I am still incredibly honored and stoked by that. Not a lot changed though. I have managed a couple projects with editors I met or worked with during that. I noticed a lot more people paid attention to me once I could add Dark Horse to my resume but it didn’t make other publishers give me more work. I won’t lie, I get really depressed and feel like a failure, probably like, twice a week. But you know what? I keep going. I keep making the comics I want to make. I keep hoping to work with publishers I respect. I keep working with publishers I’ve had relationships with for a few years now. I keep paying to self publish my own comics. I keep making comics and I keep my goals reasonable. I don’t send out samples near as much as I should because of self doubt. I think about bugging people at BOOM! and ONI and such on a regular basis. I almost always talk myself down. Don’t do that. No matter how bad the rejection feels, don’t talk yourself out of trying. Comics is a hard egg to crack but, don’t believe the hype. There is room for everyone.

No matter how awfully alone you feel or how much you think you’ll never make it in comics, shut up. Shut up and suck it up. Ok.. you can cry too. That’s fine. Just as long as you find time in the darkness to make comics for the rest of us to enjoy.

So, this was me rambling. It’s probably not helpful and very un-informative. I have no real reason or place to assume I can offer you any helpful advice for making your career in comics. Just try. Try really really hard.

And fuck it, if you need someone to talk to, feel free to contact me. I can’t get you jobs but I might be able to make you laugh and want to try again.

 

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ECCC, C2E2 & HEROES 2017 pre-show commissions open!

That’s right! I’m finally doing a show out west and it’s one I’ve wanted to do for awhile now. Super stoked to be doing Emerald City Comic Con this year!

Since this is going to be an expensive show and also one that I can’t bring as much of my stuff along for, I’m opening pre-show commissions early. That and I have a bunch of other stuff to finish before I head out there so getting them in early helps me out. It’ll also help me keep up with commissions I take during the show.

 

So, here’s an idea on the pricing…

9×12 black & white bust – $30.00

9×12 black & white full body – $40.00

9×12 full color – $50.00

11×14 black and white $60.00

11×14 full color $80.00

11×17 black and white $100.00

11×17 full color $130.00

 

For more than one character, add half of the base price (for example, 11×14 full color 2 character would be $120. etc.)

email me at allmattersgrey@gmail.com

 

Taking payments via paypal.

I’ll post as many finished ones here as I can before the show as I finish them up.

I will also be continuing my $5-$10″Awful Shit Happening to Trump” sketches at the show. I’m trying to keep it up for all shows this year with the money being given to charity. Just come by the table and let’s make awful shit happen to Trump!

 

Here’s a couple recent ones to look at and junk…

tanos-lordsg

aliangoomfistvodoo

Posted in art, comic art, Comics, comics by kelly williams, commissions, fantasy, horror, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

#INKTOBER 2016/KIRBY MONSTER MONTH!

It’s that time again. Inktober!

This year I decided to do a full month of Jack Kirby monsters!

I’ll update as time permits or you can follow on the social medias. @treebeerd on the twits.

All this years drawings are for sale. Contact me at allmattersgrey@gmail.com for info.

 

Day 1: SOLD

orrgo

Day 2:

thorr

Day 3:

grogg

Day 4: SOLD

sserpo

 

Day 5:

twoheaded-thing

 

Day 6: SOLD

bombu

 

Day 7: SOLD

lo-karr

 

Day 8: SOLD

groot

 

Day 9:moomba

 

Day 10:

x

 

Day 11: SOLD

taboo1

 

Day 12:

cyclops

 

Day 13: SOLD

zzutak

 

Day 14: SOLD

goom

 

Day 15:

scarecrow

 

Day 16:

gomdulla

 

Day 17:

gorgilla

 

Day 18:

mangog

 

Day 19: SOLD

crawled-by-night

 

Day 20:

spragg

 

Day 21: SOLDgargantus

 

Day 22:

shagg

 

Day 23: SOLDtorr

 

Day 24:

molten-man-thing

 

Day 25: SOLD

rommbu

 

Day 26:krogarr

 

Day 27: SOLD

zemnu

 

Day 28:

metallo

 

Day 29:

kraa

 

Day 30:

monstrom

 

Day 31: SOLD

fin-fng-foomsmall

 

 

Posted in #inktober, art, comic art, Comics, comics by kelly williams, commissions, fantasy, fin fang foom, goom, horror, marvel comics, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

News and updates and Kansas City Comic Con!

It’s been awhile since I posted on here. Mostly due to being busy, maybe a hint of the lazy. It’s kinda dumb because I’ve had a lot going on over the last few months that one might think I would want to post about. Well.. one shouldn’t presume to tell me what to do!

Late last month saw the release of the first in a series of short horror stories I’m doing with Alterna Comics under the collected name, THE DARK. The first story is called BOO HAG (if you follow me on any of the sociable medias, you’ve heard me not shot up about this for a long time.). It is now available on comixology for .99!

THE DARK: BOO HAG

The same day this was released, the final issue of CREEPY dropped from Dark Horse. I did a pin up for the issue and it was awesome to squeak in at the last minute. Having done work in both EERIE and CREEPY is a pretty huge accomplishment for me.

I’m also working on some varient covers for Action Lab’s Full Moon comics! Not sure when they’ll start popping up so, keep an eye out.

 

I’ll be doing a few more cons this year, the next being KANSAS CITY COMIC CON 

I’m taking a small amount of pre-show commissions. Space is limited because I have to draw comics.

Rates are something like this:

For multiple characters add $25.00 per character.

Black and white includes ink wash gray tones

Color is watercolor and all drawings are on watercolor paper.

9×12 black & white bust – $30.00

9×12 black & white full body – $40.00

9×12 full color – $50.00

11×14 black and white $60.00

11×14 full color $80.00

11×17 black and white $100.00

11×17 full color $130.00

I’m taking payments via paypal and you can contact me at allmattersgrey at gmail dot com.

 

I had a great time at Heroes this year and did a ton of commissions for it. Way too many as it took me until after I got home to get finished up! Here are a few from that and other recent stuff.

frankencastle smallGBmeta commishnew mutants smallbrother voodoosmallBJcavebatmanchewkladarth ngodzilla 34goomGRjonah rockjumperineman thing auction smalllmantging3pip trap smallrancorrock and bee smallSHADOWspider gob smallsuper boba morph smallthe countx lanterns small

Posted in comic art, Comics, comics by kelly williams, commissions, fantasy, goom, Heroes Con, horror, paintings, Sci-Fi, Uncategorized, videogames | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

C2E2 2016 commissions open!

About time for me to get ready for the new con season. I’m probably going to be at one or two smaller ones before C2E2 in March but, I’m now taking pre orders for C2E2 commissions. Here’s an idea of how things shake down:

For multiple characters add $20.00 per character.

Black and white includes ink wash gray tones

Color is watercolor and all drawings are on watercolor paper.

9×12 black & white bust – $25.00

9×12 black & white full body – $30.00

9×12 full color – $40.00

11×14 black and white $50.00

11×14 full color $70.00

11×17 black and white $90.00

11×17 full color $120.00

Email me at allmattersgrey@gmail.com if interested.

Feel free to contact me with any questions or if you’re interested in something not listed.

I’m super into drawing Star Wars & horror stuff right now. Wink wink, nudge nudge.

Here’s a couple recent commissions..

conan d&d small

bat soop

ewok small

(The Ewok style is a painting and falls under a slightly different price range)

 

Here’s a few of the C2E2 preorders I’ve finished so far. I’m still taking them and working on them, so I’ll update here as I go.

morlocks small

aqua namor small

bat clay small

beast wondersmall.jpg

 

 

man thing small

mumm ra small

rey vs ren com small

doc strange small

joker c2e2

pinhead c2e2

spider 2099small

mario kart

 

And a few for kicks…

the spirit small

death bird small

blood feud small

creep teeth head

 

dark witchwitch hag

squidman

spiral

 

 

Posted in C2E2, comic art, Comics, comics by kelly williams, commissions, fantasy, horror, paintings, Sci-Fi, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

INKTOBER 2015, THE ADDAMS FAMILY! (and what’s been going on)

I’ve been super busy the last few months and have fallen off hard on keeping the site up to date. Super quick run down before I post some Inktober drawings…

I drew a story written by Justin Jordan in the upcoming issue #8 of EERIE from Dark Horse Comics! It’s out in December and is in this months Previews. So go to your local comic shop and order it!

I am heading out soon for our yearly visit to Grand Rapids Michigan. I will be at the Grand Rapids Comic Con October 16th-18th! There is still time to get in on pre-order commissions, just email me at allmattersgrey at gmail dot com.

Okay, art!

This year for #inktober I am doing all Addams Family, all month long. Some portraits, some comics, all Addams. I’m 8 days in, so here we go…
(There will be a week or so delay on posts due to being in Michigan. I’ll still be posting on social media though)

Gomez Addams
inktober 1

Morticia Addams SOLD
inktober 2.1

Fester Addams and Thing SOLD
inktober 3

Cousin It
inktober 4

Wednesday Addams SOLD
inktober 5

Grandmama Addams (with bonus)
inktober 6
inktober 6.2

Lurch
inktober 7

Pugsley Addams
inktober 8

10 point dive
inktober 9

Chinese Takeout
inktober 10

Uncle Fester SOLD
inktober 11

Surprise Lunch
inktober 12

It’s Electric
inktober 13

Gomez Addams
inktober 14

Uncle Fester & Pugsley Addams
inktober 15

Gomez & Morticia Addams SOLD
inktober 16

Grandmama Addams
inktober 17

Lurch
inktober 18

A Game of Hangman SOLD
inktober 19

Cousin It
inktober 20

Uncle Fester and Thing feed Muerto
inktober 21

Morticia listens to the Misfits SOLD
inktober 22

Gomez accepts a delivery
inktober 23

Pumpkin Carving Contest SOLD
inktober 24

It’s a trap?
inktober 25

Dating
inktober 26

Grandmama relaxin’
inktober 27

At the dog park
inktober 28th

A look back
inktober 29

‘Tis the season
inktober 30

Family Motto SOLD
inktober 31small

Posted in #inktober, art, comic art, Comics, comics by kelly williams | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment