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Cover : "Making Comics" by Scott McCloud, published September 2006, Harper, ISBN 0060780940.

Hat : "Coyote Coffee" a River Falls, Wisconsin coffee shop that actually knew how to, and was not afraid to, make a Japanese-style "Coffee Boss"


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Panel 3 : "The Prize of Pizarro", Uncle $crooge #26, Disney. Art by Carl Barks. "Detective Comics" by DC (no particular issue shown) "The Demon of Gothos Mansion"Batman #227, DC Comics. "The Three Stooges", not sure what issue, by Dell comics.

Panel 1: Thanks to Adam and Ron for the help with the text in this first panel.

Panel 2: A haircut you could land an airplane on.

Panel 3: I grew up north of Highway 8 in Wisconsin, so the only bookstore within a day's drive was the local drugstore - only five hours away by foot, or a half hour by Ford pickup. Once you got it running. Assuming you could get it running. When I was in high school I thought that meant that I had a crummy, impoverished, intellectually malnourished upbringing. Now I understand that it meant that we were so far off the beaten track that as a 3 year old in 1963 I was receiving first-run issues of Spiderman and Uncle Scrooge comics that had taken years to make their way to our store, and instead of being jaded by the eventual glut of super-hero comics I was raised on hand-selected and incredibly cherish-able shining examples of the art form. I still pray that I have some of those original comics stashed away in one of the many boxes in my attic.

Panel 3: Drawing Batman is more fun that I ever imagined possible - he's all frowns, jaw, ears, and shadow. I was drawing Batman on whiteboards all over work the next day with captions like; "I'm here to get you back on schedule." It makes me wonder if any of my characters are fun to draw - if not, they should be.

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Panels 1 & 2 : "The Prize of Pizarro", Uncle $crooge #26, Disney. Art by Carl Barks.

Panels 4 & 5 : "Astrix" by René Goscinny and Albert Uderzo.

Top text block: Carl Barks (1901 - 2000) created Scrooge McDuck for Walt Disney, and produced more than 500 comic books. George Lucas and Steven Spielberg were 15 and 12 when "The Prize of Pizarro" hit the newstands, and they've credited Barks' comic as the inspiration for many of the details in the opening scenes of Indiana Jones, including booby traps like the flying darts, the flooded tunnel, and the giant rolling bolder. If you've read "The Prize of Pizarro" odds are these images are a permanent part of your memories as well. Besides this legendary comic Barks penned and drew many Scrooge McDuck and Daffy Duck adventures ranging from space exploration to salvaging sunken boats with pingpong balls - the later of which has even appeared on an episode of the Mythbusters.

Panel 1: When I was in college I did a lot of theater, and ended up the Master at Arms for several plays including Camelot and The Scottish Tragedy during which I had to produce swords and plate armor for the actors. I didn't really do any research for the props - I just started blacksmithing swords and welding and riveting sheet steel until it looked right. I never knew how much Scrooge McDuck's adventures had influenced me until I started drawing this panel and realized that I had used the sword, helmet, and breastplate from this image as the archetypes for the props I made.

Panel 2: While drawing this panel I was struck with the strongest sense of nostalgia I think I've ever felt, and suddenly remembered that I had drawn this entire adventure on typing paper using crayons when I probably only three or four. Every curve of the path, every line of the hills, were as familiar as if I'd just drawn it. I never realized it before, but I now know that when I have to draw a hill I draw Barks' hills. See those cracks in the rocks along the edge of the path? Yeah - that's what I'm talking about. RIght there.

Panel 3: Dear god why did I decide to wear that shirt?

Panel 4: Originally, Oblix was carrying a big wrapped present, complete with bow. A non-descript barrel, with the portent of mead, seems more in keeping with my fond memories of this comic.

Panel 4: See the woman on the right hand side (on the original she's almost 3 inches tall - hopefully there's still enough detail in the reduced version to make sense)? Well, as I was drawing her hair I realized that she has the same hair as Beldandy from Aa, Megamisama [Ah, My Goddess] by Kosuke Fujishima. Up until that very second I had thought that Fujishima-san's rendering of hair was the first place I'd ever seen that particular kind of "hair drawn as if it was water or wind", but now I don't know if Fujishima-san used to read Atrix and Oblix comics too, or if he, Goscinny and Uderzo were all inspired by some other comic I haven't even seen yet.

Panel 5: Does Astrix look like Popeye to anyone else? Give Popeye a mustache, a winged helmet, and back off on his forearms a little and I'm pretty sure you're looking at a case of "Separated At Birth"

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Panel4 : "Metal Hurlant", Metal Hurlant #47, 1980.

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