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vigil the ante and friends #1

Don’t let the #1 mislead you. This was actually my third or fourth full-length Vigil the Ante story. I numbered them all 1 so they would be collector’s items.

I present, in it’s entirety, my last Vigil the Ante comic book. Completed in 1996, published worldwide now for the first time.vigil-cover vigil-1 vigil-2 vigil-3 vigil-4 vigil-5 vigil-6 vigil-7 vigil-8 vigil-9 vigil-10 vigil-11 vigil-12 vigil-13 vigil-14 vigil-15 vigil-16 vigil-17 vigil-18 vigil-19 vigil-20 vigil-21

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vigil the ante

Back in high school, I read a lot of comics. My first love was comic strips. After a while I tested the waters of comic books. They were fascinating. They charged ahead on 24 pages of glossy paper in full color. Yet, I was ultimately let down by superhero comics. They couldn’t seem to do what the best comic strips did: tell a succinct and witty story. Page after page of splash panels, action scenes that were at times hard to follow, spandex costumes that revealed muscles I had never heard of before. There was not much in superhero comics that a skinny redhead with glasses and braces could identify with.

One thing superhero comics did give me was Vigil the Ante. Vigil was a parody of all the comic books I was reading at the time. He was also a parody of the movies I’d recently seen, the TV shows I watched, the books I was assigned at school. He took the information I was ingesting at a steady rate and rearranged it into something I could enjoy.

He was also deeply indebted to Homer Simpson.

Vigil was part man, part ant, with a helmet, antennae, squinting eyes, a huge nose and a nifty spandex outfit. His shoes were shaped like two diamonds (I think that was because I didn’t like the way every superhero had super-smooth footwear, but maybe I just liked the odd design). Vigil stood for everything good and weird. He was my kind of guy. vigil-the-ante
Vigil, like all the best superheroes, had a sidekick. His sidekick had no name, a little joke about how he did all the hard work while Vigil took all the credit. “Friend” wore a costume as bulky and inefficient as possible. His huge goggles didn’t fit his head. A coat-hanger had somehow become lodged upside-down in his shirt. He wore a bow tie. There was a smiley face on his shirt, not unlike a giant bulls-eye. He had no pants, just underwear. He adopted the same footwear as Vigil, my only concession to a team costume.

The one advantage he had was the ability to fly. Vigil used him as his personal taxi. Friend couldn’t catch a break.vigil-and-friend

I recently uncovered my last, and most fully realized, Vigil the Ante story. Clocking in at 21 pages plus cover, it was my attempt to tell a comic strip story in a comic book format. Plenty of jokes, lots of small panels, as packed with story as I could make it. I used a brush to ink it, as I was attempting to follow closely in Bill Watterson’s footsteps.

Reading it now, 13 years later, I realize how little my storytelling goals have changed. I also notice how much the dialogue sounds like conversations I’ve had with my brother. This all follows my theory that our sense of humor crystallizes in middle school and doesn’t change for the rest of our lives.

Tomorrow I will post Vigil the Ante and Friends in its entirety. I look forward to sharing it with the entire planet for the first time.

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rashida jones, i could’ve drawn your comic book

frenemy of the stateRashida Jones has written a comic book. Not exactly new news, but pretty darn exciting nonetheless. What’s it about? Just check these stories to read more about it.

But that’s not what I’m here to talk about. You see, Rashida, I am a cartoonist. I happen to draw a daily comic strip which has three strong female characters. Ranger Dee is about the same age as your protagonist. Although she is merely a Park Ranger, not a CIA spy, she still has plenty of style.

Were you too shy to ask me to draw your comic book, Rashida? That nervousness is completely understandable. Cartoonists are perceived by the public as stand-offish, off-putting, gruff, bed-wetting party-poopers. But none of that is true. We get a bad rap from the liberal media. Not all of us live in cardboard boxes under the freeway. We bathe regularly, clip our fingernails, are good at making eye contact. Some of us even get married!

In fact, I would have been honored to draw your comic book. Maybe, since it looks like you’ve got this project covered already, I could get on your “short list” for the next opus. Don’t worry about setting or characters or even story; I’d be happy to “brainstorm” with you. We could work it all out at one of Portland’s many late-night coffee joints.

Think it over; take your time. You can’t rush art, after all! In this crazy mixed-up world, sometimes comics are the only thing that makes sense.

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just in time for the holidays

Still have gaps in your gift-giving list? There’s still time to order one of my books for that special someone in your life. Imagine how happy they will be when, instead of getting that polyester Christmas tree sweater that’ll just molder in the closet all year, they unwrap a hilarious comic strip collection! Falling Rock is funny all year long.*

Just follow this link here and you’ll be instantly transported to the book order page on my website. Choose from three Falling Rock collections or my pirate comic, Dancing with Jack Ketch.
owl_howl_V2-copy backcover1-copyfront-cover-book-3 dancingwithjackketch_cover_low
*This statement was not approved by the FDA, the FBI, the CIA, the CDC, or the BBC.

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Falling Rock Book 3 on the Web

SHALEK_COVER-3News of the third collection of Falling Rock strips is making its way across the web.

First up, the good people at Pinball Press have written up Book 3 on their blog. I happily recommend Pinball for all your printing needs, especially if you want to be just like me in everything you do. Who doesn’t?

Second, the good people at Powell’s City of Books now have a link to purchase Book 3 without ever having to go inside their store. This is not a drill, people. We’re through the looking glass.

It’s not just a bumper sticker: reading IS sexy. Pick up your copy of Book 3 today.

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Falling Rock Book 3 order form UP

SHALEK_COVER-3Beginning now, you can purchase your own piece of Falling Rock National Park.

Click here to go directly to the book order form, or use the handy icon to your right (it’s the image with all the books in it).

Falling Rock Book 3 contains 32 pages, 67 (give or take) high-quality jokes, printed right here in Portland, Oregon on recycled paper and utilizing the latest in soy-based ink technology. (WARNING: This is not the same thing as a book made of tofu. Do not try to make a stir-fry with this book.)

If you’re going to be in the Portland area on April 18th or 19th, make your way to the Stumptown Comics Fest, where I’ll be hawking my wares with the rest of the Portland comics community.

Order up!

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Falling Rock National Park: Book 3

The wait is almost over.

Welcome to Falling Rock National Park: Book 3 is almost back from the printer! This should prove to be an exciting chapter in the history of Falling Rock National Park. Ernesto tries to hide an elephant, Old Man Winter visits Melissa, Carver saves the park from a ticking bomb, Pam considers running for President, and Dee tries to teach a school group what the desert is all about.front-cover-falling-rock

As you can see, the front cover is only the beginning. You get 32 pages of Falling Rock comics, each one handcrafted right here in the USA.

When you finish reading the book, you can close it and start all over again. But before you do that, make sure to glance at the back cover.

Why are there Easter Island heads at Falling Rock? You’ll have to read the book to find out.back-cover-falling-rockKeep checking this here blog to find out when the third collection of Falling Rock comics arrives.