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jabberworks July 13 2014, 13:38

london YA lit con 2014

Hatted up, suited and booted: just another day heading into the office...

Ha ha! It's so much fun when other people dress up, not just me. Yesterday I went to YA Lit Con (that's Young Adult Literature Convention, or #YALC), held as part of the London Film and Comic Con at Earl's Court in London. On the pavement outside, this lady in her fine threads won my heart... until she shot an arrow straight through it. Aiee!

Seriously, where else but these sorts of conventions do you get tens of thousands of mostly-unaccompanied kids and teenagers together in one place - many with MASSIVE WEAPONS - and have such a well-behaved, literate group of people? These people LOVE stories, and they often don't just want to read them, but become actual characters in these new myths and legends. I love this so much. Here's Martin Chilton's coverage of YALC in The Telegraph:

When I got to the Green Room, I went a little crazy with taking selfies with lots of people there. Steve Cole was super-chuffed to get his photo taken with one of the Doctor Who characters, Paul McGann. (Steve had written BBC books starring Paul's Doctor from '97-'99.) To be honest, I had a bit of a crush on him in the film Withnail and I; there are even two pages in Morris the Mankiest Monster based on screen shots I took of that film.

Click here for more under the cut!Collapse )
jabberworks July 11 2014, 18:19

summer reading challenge: a weird & wonderful mythical world!

Snakes alive! This year's Summer Reading Challenge is off to a great start! Here are a bunch of us at the British Library launch, being our usual quiet, demure selves.

That's illustrator-animator Steve May on the left (who did a great job animating the Mythical Maze trailer), writer-illustrator Liz Pichon, some tall chick in a hat, writer (and former actor, I discovered) Guy Bass, and writer Helena Pielichaty. Oh, and here's Children's Laureate Malorie Blackman! (She's also been super-busy coordinating this weekend's London YA Lit Con.)

One of the things we were asked to do was to make a video saying which book we'd like to recommend to people doing the Summer Reading Challenge. I chose my studio mate Gary Northfield's book, The Terrible Tales of the Teenytinysaurs. It's a brilliant read: funny, and beautifully drawn.

Look out for the beautiful dark underwater scene that Gary carved out of a giant sheet of scratchboard! (Here's a peek at it from our studio.) Gary's the person who originally showed me how to do library events, he's ace.

Here you can see me talking about Teenytinysaurs. I think I might have been underwater, too, or just very tired, because I don't think I usually talk that slowly and deeply. Kind of weird sounding. But, hey... FLOURESCENT MEDUSA HAT.

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projectrooftop July 11 2014, 16:13

Fan-Art Friday: The New Batgirl!



babs tarr

In less than 24 hours, artists across the nerdosphere have once again proven something we here at P:R know all too well: Everybody loves Batgirl. It seems everybody is also crushing hard on Batgirl’s new look from artists Cameron Stewart and Babs Tarr (that’s an *exclusive* Batgirl sketch from Babs above!). As one of our commenters pointed out, this look is the kind of thing we’d champion, rate 10 out of 10 here at Rooftop, then sadly lament the fact that DC would never adopt such an outstanding, functional, thoughtful redesign in the proper titles. I can’t tell you how pleased I am to find us all proven wrong with this stellar new look. Phenomenal creative team choice from DC, phenomenal look from those creators. As a dude who’s nearly 2000 Batgirl redesigns, and started this whole site as the direct result of talking about Batgirl redesigns, I’m on a nerdhigh that just won’t quit.

So yeah, I’ve been thinking about it non-stop since yesterday’s announcement, and I’m pretty sure this is the best DCU redesign since Cully Hamner‘s Jamie Reyes Blue Beetle. And the lightning-fast outpouring of love and fan-support for a redesign hasn’t been seen since Jamie McKelvie‘s Captain Marvel. Cameron mentioned on Twitter that McKelvie’s Carol redesign and Darwyn Cooke’s perfect Catwoman redesign were his major influences in how he approached this Batgirl revamp. That is not surprising at all, given all the attention to subtle detail and elegant functionality. Anyway, ENOUGH FROM ME. Here’s all the new Batgirl fan art I’ve seen since the announcement. (Babs said mine was the first to hit the internet, and I’ll definitely be the first in line for Batgirl #35.)

By the way, we’ll be running another batch next Friday, so please feel free to email us your depictions of this excellent redesign! -Dean

Joel Carroll

Joel Priddy

Mike Maihack

Dave Stokes
Dave Stokes

Kristafer Anka

Dean Trippe

Ramon Villalobos

Aaron Diaz


Jason Horn

Irene Koh

Evan Bryce

Paul Duffield

Sam Logan

Koi Carreon

Kiki Jenkins

Kelli Moore

M.J. Barros

Chris Buckley

Eric Merced

Rita Zhirkova

Ricardo Bessa

Patrick Gleason

Gregory Dickens


Matt Nelson

Martin Kirby

Ashley McCammon

Chandra Free

Chris Johnson

Dennis Culver

Katie Shanahan

Jack Ciolli

Joseph Garcia
Joseph Garcia

Cal Slayton

Anna Rettberg

Isaac Goodhart

Mingjue Helen Chen
Mingjue Helen Chen

Priscilla Tramontano
Priscilla Tramontano

Charles Tan

Romy Jones

Jake Castorena

Adam Ham

Mariane Gusmão
Mariane Gusmão

Andrew Kapellusch
Andrew Kapellusch

Scott Drummond

Guy Major


Adrian Williams

Jess Timmons
Jess Timmons


TA Shepard
Tyler Shepard


Robert Negrete
Robert Negrete

Lissy Marlin



Gavin Guidry

Fill Marc Sagadraca
Fill Marc Sagadraca

Yingjue Chen

Sabrina Deig

Felipe Smith


Grace Park


Johan Vinet

Tom Bancroft


greg melo
Greg Melo

Note: Don’t forget to send yours to projectrooftop at gmail dot com! -Dean

jabberworks July 11 2014, 08:39

should you go to art college?

I get a lot of people asking me for advice about art college. Should they go? Will it help them get work in illustration, children’s books or comics?

Camberwell Alumni Day

I can’t answer for everyone; art college might be right for you, but wrong for someone else. But here are a few tips from my own experience and looking around at friends and fellow students who have gone to art college:

1. You don’t have to go straight from school to art college.

Everything you do goes into the pot of good experience. First, here’s my background: Illustration wasn’t my focus of study when I did my Bachelor’s Degree in the USA. I studied Russian language and literature at Bryn Mawr, and did what’s called a ‘minor degree’ in History of Art. The art faculty came to a private arrangement with me where they let me take a few more studio classes than was strictly part of the History of Art requirements, so I still got in quite a bit of painting and drawing. But this course of study was a great preparation for being an illustrator. When I took the study-abroad option for my third year, I found huge inspiration in the art galleries and museums of Moscow, and it gave me a unique focus to what would later inspire my own artwork. One of the international schools in Moscow didn’t have an art teacher, so I volunteered teaching art for half a day every Friday. This was rather frustrating, but SUCH good training for later, when I’d be leading workshops and standing on stage, presenting my book to crowds of up to a thousand kids. After my year of study in Moscow, I stayed for a second year, delaying my graduation, and worked at The Moscow Times newspaper as a full-time copy editor and occasional journalist. That experience taught me a lot about how the media works, how to catch mistakes in text, and how to write headlines and photo captions. (I often think of this blog as a series of photo captions.) I learned that I really didn’t want to be a journalist, but I love the freedom of blogging; I can write what I want, when I want, and if I make the occasional mistake, it’s unlikely anyone will care enough to sue me or fire me. I graduated with my BA in Russian in 1999 and didn't start art college until 2005. I had a career crisis, got depressed, couldn't draw properly, and starting college gave me just the boost I needed.

Some of my degree show artwork

Mature students rock. When I was on the MA Illustration course at Camberwell, the people who seemed to get the most out of the course were people who had already been working for some time in the field. They knew which questions to ask and how to set themselves challenging projects. People who had come straight from a BA course seemed slightly bewildered that no one was telling them what to do, and they didn’t know how to go out and supplement their training with outside courses, lectures and professional groups because they didn’t really know what they needed. It’s a bit of a sweeping statement, but with a few exceptions, I wouldn’t really recommend anyone go to art college before they’re 30. Study something else first, get work experience. And that way you’ll avoid being part of the young groups who are desperately worried about maintaining their artist image, wearing cool clothes, getting drunk, trying to learn how a washing machine works, etc. Mature students are almost always much more focused.

(I did tour two art college when I was 16 (Cornish in Seattle, and Emily Carr in Vancouver), vaguely thinking maybe I wanted to be a painter or a graphic designer. But I looked around at all the sneering students in their cool outfits and thought I would never fit in. And I cared about fitting in, I was 16. ...Ha ha, Bryn Mawr wasn't like that, it was wonderful Nerdville.)

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projectrooftop July 10 2014, 14:50

Babs Tarr and Cameron Stewart’s New Batgirl



BG_Cv352 BATGIRLMODEL2 batgirl_promo_poster2

Alright Bat-Fans, it’s time for some good news. DC’s freshest talent have delivered us a brand-new Batgirl redesign full of radness and wonder. Cameron Stewart and Brendan Fletcher are taking over the writing, with Rooftop Regular(!) Babs Tarr on interior arts, starting with issue #35. This is beyond exceptional news. With these creators, DC has just rejuvenated our idea of what kind of talent they’re seeking, and where they’re willing to move with costume design.

This look, a collaboration from Babs and Cameron, features such wonderful clarity and control. The overall vibe reminds me of the jacketed look of my first Batgirl redesign (don’t look at it, it was ages ago), which helped launch this entire enterprise here at P:R, but this has so much more detail and cleverness. It’s physical. It’s stylish. It’s practical at every level. The over-the-ears cowl, the snap-away cape, everything about this new Batgirl is wicked. This is a 10 out of 10 Rooftop Review right here.

You can get the rest of the details on the new series team over at MTV.com. Now, excuse me while I go doodle up some fanart and adjust my pull list. -Dean

jabberworks July 10 2014, 11:41

summer reading challenge makes a slithering start!

Yesterday evening, The Reading Agency, the British Library and Children's Laureate Malorie Blackman launched the Summer Reading Challenge Mythical Maze! (I wore a Medusa hat.)

More about this soon! You can get updates on the Summer Reading Challenge website, their Facebook Page, and follow the #SummerReadingChallenge hash tag on Twitter. (Be sure to use the hash tag if you do something fun at your library that you want to share!)
bougieman July 9 2014, 12:13

New Cinema Sewer podcast: With special guest COLIN UPTON

It's our longest, veiniest, most tumescent podcast release yet, and this time we're really nerding out! Tim and Robin are going downtown with Upton!

You heard right: In this episode, renowned indie comics legend and international raconteur Colin Upton stops by to help Robin & Tim discuss some of the best comics-to-film adaptations ever. Will your favorite get mentioned? Perhaps! But probably not! Haha! Fuck you!

HEAR: Tim & Robin trying to shoehorn silly accents into every other sentence. SWOON: As our guest simulates a nasal cavity search in surround sound! THRILL TO: A gratuitous sales promo at the end! Yes, this episode is everything you ever hoped for from an overdue 7th episode, and perhaps more. Look, if loving this episode is wrong, I don't want to be right. See dealer for details. Kids, ask your parent or guardian's permission before snorting this audio.

You can listen to it at our official page:

Or you can listen to it here, at itunes:
jabberworks July 8 2014, 07:53

shark & unicorn: are dragons allowed?

The theme of last weekend's edition of The Funday Times was DRAGONS. Which was very handy, because the dragon is also a big part of this year's Mythical Maze Summer Reading Challenge!

Shark & Unicorn are mucking about with Dragon a bit here.

A cool thing: yesterday I got to meet my Sunday Times editor for the first time! Her name is Karen Robinson, and we'd only ever talked by e-mail. The Funday Times is mostly a film tie-in, but Karen's keen to nurture local talent, and I've been thrilled to have a regular comic in a real broadsheet newspaper. (Well, only six times a year, but regularly six times!)

I had lunch with her and Damian Kelleher, who's been my amazing champion and go-between for Summer Reading Challenge, Funday Times, Kids Week and lots of other things.

And Damian has a new book out this week! A Dog in No-Man's Land ties in with the First World War commemorations and looks great, published by Templar, with illustrations by Gary Blythe, edited by Helen Boyle (of WRD magazine) and designed by Nghiem Ta (who's worked on loads of Templar's 'ology' books).

They've tucked all sorts of letters and postcards in amongst the pages, giving it a wonderful scrapbook-like feel, and I'm very much looking forward to reading it. Congratulations, Damian, Gary, Helen and Nghiem!

And here's the latest Summer Reading Challenge message, from Irish writer Eoin Colfer:

dinosaurcomics July 7 2014, 12:12

"today is the day i bought dromiceiomimus some pants" is a sentence i wrote. i am an Actual Writer


archive - contact - sexy exciting merchandise - search - about
← previousJuly 7th, 2014next

July 7th, 2014: I started writing this comic in 2009 but then never finished it, I think because I wanted to wait until it truly was a decade since McDonald's discontinued the Super Size promotion? Anyway they ended it in March 2004 so HERE WE ARE.

UPDATE: It turns out I did take this idea but move it in another direction back in 2009! So enjoy this TERRIFYING VISION OF AN ALTERNATE UNIVERSE!!

– Ryan

jabberworks July 7 2014, 06:00

cakes in space: dressing up!

When Oxford University Press publicists asked last year if Philip Reeve and I had any Cakes in Space-themed photos to use for book fair publicity, this was the best we could get together at the time:

But we knew we wouldn't be able to draw outfits onto ourselves for stage events. (Actually, that would be very cool; possibly for another book.) And dressing up in space costumes is... just plain fabulous, so we set about designing something for ourselves. First, I needed a hat! Of course. There's this line in Cakes in Space, when space voyager Astra first meets a killer cake:

The top of the cake flipped open like a pedal-bin lid, revealing a wide mouth and lots of shiny teeth.

...And that seemed a good template for an INTERESTING piece of headgear.

My sculptor friend Eddie Smith offered to help me with the mechanics of it, and he's generally just good at this sort of thing. (He built the structure for my Giant Seawig. Read about that in an earlier blog post.) So here's Eddie, with a rough prototype, made from cardboard, tubing, a turkey-baster squeezeball, and cork and a bit of folded inner tube. Fill the inner tube with air and it tries to straighten; the mouth opens.

Ha ha, here's the more finished version, in action!

Click here for more under the cut!Collapse )
projectrooftop July 4 2014, 19:10

Karl Kerschl Variant Cover for Superman/Wonder Woman #10



I’m absolutely in love with the Trinity redesigns on this cover illo from one of my favorite comics creators, Karl Kerschl, featured as part of DC’s variant covers celebrating Batman’s 75th anniversary. I checked in with Mr. Kerschl (soon to be launching the Gotham Academy series with writers Becky Cloonan and Brenden Fletcher) over on Twitter today to ask about these redesigns, and they are indeed his original creations, having been given some leeway from VP of Art Direction and Design (and the first person at DC Comics to ever give me his business card–old school logo!) Mark Chiarello.

I’m not at all surprised to hear that Mr. Chiarello chose to give Karl a free hand in the costuming department, as he’s been a shepherding creative force behind so many of the best things DC’s done in recent memory: Wednesday Comics, Batman: Ego, New Frontier, etc. Anyway, this shot from Karl is so flipping exciting and fresh. The looks are instantly recognizable and all-together original. I’d love to be reading THESE incarnations of Bruce, Clark, and Diana in some team-up title somewhere. Come to think of it, why isn’t that a thing? A Mini-Justice League Heavy Hitters book? Been a long time since Kurt Busiek’s Trinity.

As a bonus, Mr. Kerschl provided me with this original version of the layered inks–featuring boss-as-Rao mechawings for Clark–to share with all you Rooftop Readers. Flipping cool!


Everything about these looks is awesome. They’re modern and exciting without relying on conventional redesign tropes we’ve seen over and over for these characters (and so many others). No stripe or seams down the sides of the torsos ala the Legion of Superheroes costumes. No cape-into-the-shield for Superman. Clever invisible armor for WW, and cool details like the emblem on Bruce’s shoulder, the Supershield shape as the bottom triangle in Superman’s chest emblem. Is that a signal watch? Is Diana’s tiara shaped to resemble an eagle’s beak?

On Karl Kerschl’s drawing board, these three look sleek, exciting, and unstoppable. Not bad for an illustration of three septuagenarians. Sure as heck puts a smile on my face. -Dean

jabberworks July 3 2014, 22:01

cakes in space: the pre-launch

Since my co-author Philip Reeve and I COME FROM THE FUTURE... we can see into the future, all the way to September, when our mothership Oxford University Press will be launching our new book together...

Photo by Michael Thorn, Achuka

Until Tuesday, no one had seen anything printed except the orange uncorrected proof copies, which were only half illustrated, with pencil roughs in the second half. But just before our press pre-launch party, a few copies of the final version arrived in Oxford, and the team brought them for us to look. Super exciting!!

Photos by Michael Thorn, Achuka

I can honestly say Philip and I are both thrilled with how it came out! It's printed on lovely paper and just like Oliver and the Seawigs, is such a nice thing to hold. Here it is, being displayed by Julia Harrison from Daunt Books Marylebone, who will be hosting our Publication Day launch party in September. (I hope you can come!)

Photo by Michael Thorn, Achuka

These front endpapers weren't in the earlier proof copy! Here's a peek at the planet Astra and her family are setting off on their voyage to colonise, until something goes terribly wrong with the Nom-o-Tron food machine.

Photos by the Nova Mundi Tourism Board

Oliver and the Seawigs had a blue colour theme, and this one's orange. And did the editorial team come dressed to theme... oh yes!

Photo by Michael Thorn, Achuka

Click here for more under the cut!Collapse )
projectrooftop July 3 2014, 17:46

Project: Rooftop Presents Man of Steel v. Superman v. Batman: Dawn of Justice and the American Way



Warner Bros. has released an image of Superman, Last Sad of Krypton, as he’ll appear in the upcoming movie every news outlet refuses to call anything besides Batman vs. Superman. I noted a few updates to the single Kryptonian outfit Kal here has, all of which look like minor improvements to me. Obviously, most of us here would be psyched to see the red shorts and a spit curl, with maybe Superman posting an Instagram of himselfie flying around the Earth back in time to retcon the last movie, but all in all, this ain’t a bad update from designer Michael Wilkinson. -Dean

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