Fun Stuff for Comic Nerds and Tech Heads
Xan gave me her old iPod Touch earlier this week when she upgraded(thanks, baby!) and I’ve been toying around with it every night. I already have an iPod that I love and use constantly(a 160GB Classic used to store and play pretty much my entire music collection and for listening to audiobooks on a constant daily basis), so I wanted to find some unique uses for the iPod Touch–with its larger screen and touch controls–so I could justify having it and not just feel really decadent about it.

Well, I’ve decided to use the Touch more as a PDA or little portable computer than as a music player. I’ve found a few games and some useful applications that I like, including one called ComicZeal, which allows you to view comics on the iPod.

I’ve already used a program called CDisplay, a digital comic-reading program for the PC and Mac. With CDisplay loaded on a laptop, one can bring along entire comics series to read on long plane flights or car trips. CDisplay reads .cbr or .cbz files–folders full of jpegs of scanned comic book pages which have been compressed and stored as tiny .rar or .zip files. Once the “.rar” or “.zip” parts of the file names have simply been retyped as “.cbr” or “.cbz,” respectively, the compressed files can be read by CDisplay. ComicZeal takes your .cbr and .cbz files and converts them so they can be used on iPhones and the iPod Touch. I have CDisplay files of most of my own work, and I have a huge collection of other series i plan to read on my new iPod now! I’m also thinking about putting together a reference file I can view using ComicZeal while sketching at conventions. I’m often asked to draw characters whose costume details I just can’t dredge up from the murky depths of my memory, and a small portable collection of all the major Marvel and DC Comics characters would be very useful!

Number of the Beast #2 on the iPod Touch


February Update: Sick As The Proverbial Dog, But Still Productive
Xan and I have been as sick as we could possibly be with the cold/flu thingy that’s going around, spending most of January and all of February so far coughing and feverish. Having no appetite and no interest in leaving the house gave me plenty of time to focus on work, and I’ve been really productive. While I still can’t discuss my current full time project, I can talk about some small jobs I’ve been able to complete lately.

First, Tom Strong is getting the “Deluxe” treatment this Spring/Summer when Wildstorm collects ten or twelve of the best issues of the series as a deluxe hardcover collection. Editor Kristy Quinn asked me to do a new cover for this collection, and the results are pictured below. I’ll post more details about the Deluxe Collection when I have them.

The pencil art for the cover of the Tom Strong Deluxe Hardcover Collection

At some point this year, Ocean is also getting collected in a new edition. I don’t have too many details on this collection either, but one thing I do know is that it will have supplemental material from both myself and writer Warren Ellis. I provided Kristy Quinn (who’s editing this book as well) with every Ocean character design drawing, sketch and unfinished page I could find.

When not working, I’ve also been busy arranging convention appearances for the rest of the year. In April, it looks like we’ll be returning to Toronto for the Toronto ComiCon Fan Appreciation Event on the 18th and 19th. In September, we’ll be heading to Spain for a Comics Festival in Aviles–more on that when I have the details. Then in October, it looks like I’ll be attending the Mid-Ohio Con here in Columbus again. If you’re able to attend any of these shows, come out and say “hi!”