Saturday, July 26, 2014

San Diego Comic-Con Weekend

I'll admit it - I am super-duper jealous of everyone at SDCC this weekend. While I have nothing to complain about - being that I just started a new job and have a week to prep for some upcoming projects - I can't help but wonder what it's like to actually be at the epicenter of everything geeky right now.

As a contributor for Bleeding Cool, I have the opportunity to write stories about the goings-ons at the biggest event of the year. The team in place is awesome so as wonderful a writer as I am they don't need me. Plus there's always that little part of me that feels inadequate in merely engaging with the culture he loves as opposed to contributing to it with his own content.

So I'm making a declaration on all my social media soapboxes platforms that come what may I will be in attendance at SDCC 2015 both as a fan and as an artist. That means one year from today I will be in California covering the madness and contributing to it with my own creative output whether that's my own comics, films or what have you - I don't know I can't tell the future just declare my intentions for it.

So if you're up for it and have some spare time to divulge in the exploits and introspective meanderings of a not-so-mild-mannered emotionally-subnormal geek with a burning passion for storytelling then get ready for one wild ride over the next year folks!

With some Luck, Will, Hope and God I will achieve some major dreams in 2014-2015


Sunday, July 20, 2014

Random Thoughts

Had some story ideas recently...thought if I start putting these out into the world - or at least on this blog - it might make them feel more real and motivate me to see them through.

But more importantly I just know that I would appreciate hearing the creative ideas of others shared openly so maybe I'll meet a kindred spirit.  Let me know your thoughts people, whoever you are...

 Seven Story Ideas

1-    Fat kid gets super-speed and saves his families delivery service. He gets the powers from who cares and helps them make faster service. He loses weight and gets cocky. Ends up becoming a man but only by accepting responsibility for his powers and overcoming his desire to be gratified – once by food, now by fair-weather friends and fun – replacing it with a peaceful integrity that will endear him to his one true love. 

2-    Lonely guy gets off unemployment and gets his life together with self-help books. He fantasizes about being a superhero. The juxtaposition could be fun and he has an adorable disposition. The cute girl thing. Eh…pandering.

3-    A T-Rex goes on a boxing world tour. He fights a black mamba. Named Kobe.

4-    Kid moves to New York City to become a super-villain. He doesn’t care about any laws he’s just devious and messes things up for people. Reflects a sad personality but there’s a humor to him for dressing up and doing this…I guess he thinks it’s a sort of a super-sanity. Where does he live? Night-to-Night. What does he do to survive. He steals to survive. What does he live for…to laugh. Obviously he is following the joker… this is a surrealist comedy.

5-    A guy gets out of town for the weekend. He smokes pot. Does nothing. Thinks to himself. Eats food. Watches television. Hates / loves / hates self rinse repeat. Then wakes up and learns nothing other than he probably shouldn't smoke pot but...he likes it. This could be a fun look at a loners addiction and the funny/sad ways it can fill up your days with everything and nothing.

6-    A reality show about working at a restaurant. Naaaah, I mean it’s a great idea but I don’t want to be the one writing it I’m too close to it. Plus its been sorta done to death you would need something else. It’s the backdrop for a comedy but its not my joke. I’m not sure of myself and the only thing I would want for the protagonist is to LEAVE – get over his desire TO LEAVE – find LOVE  - or pursue his PASSION while using the place EFFECTIVELY. Think its time to move on from this story. 

7-    Comic Book Show about people at the shop. What happens when a shop is run by hot girls who are secretly superheroes with mythological origins like Wonder Women except less busy? Awesome things. 

Well that's a few ideas. I took a couple cracks at the overweight speedster recently but haven't gotten to where I can't stop. Started a book about unemployment too but it felt too talk-ey and needs a hook.

While I prefer making my own stories just like I prefer living my own life - I have to say that journalism is a welcome way to explore my creative sensibilities because there is an inherent structure to my understanding of the external. Limited possibilities can have their uses too when brevity ain't your thing...

Shawn Perry - 7.20.14

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Review: Strange Desires by Bleachers

Sup ya'll - been a while since I did a review but just listened to Strange Desires by Bleachers and had to talk about it.

This sort of upbeat pop is my bread and butter so its no surprise that I say "great album" as its very much my style this summer. It has the free-wheeling pop sensibility of The Killers mixed with the visceral style of Youngblood Hawke and Foster the People. Did I mention it also reminds me of Fun which is much appreciated seeing as its been quite a long time since Some Nights and its good to see Jack Antonoff is keeping busy.

The album has tracks for all types of moods and mixes which makes it a fun one to enjoy all the way through despite some slow spots. As I said, the man behind the magic is Antonoff, better known as one third of Fun. My favorite tracks are the rev-up track "Shadows," the 'you probably have already heard it' radio hit "I Wanna Get Better" along with the jumpy summertime sweetner "Roller Coaster." Another one of the key tracks to listen to here is "Wake Me" which is another notch in the belt for my Pet Sounds-as-a-genre argument. The Yoko-infused "I'm Ready to Move On/Wild Heart Reprise" is questionable but possibly good after a few listens I'm not sure yet.

Strange Desire is not perfect by any means with a few tracks that left me scratching my head and/or bored like "Reckless Love" and "Like a River Runs," however,  in the vein of Antonoff's eternally optimistic sensibilities I will go so far as to say that they will get better in the context of the album over repeat listening.  If you dig the style, you'll dig the album - if you don't, then you won't - there are no bad tracks but there are some better ones and that's my story. But bottom line - this is an extremely talented artist proving that he has what it takes to go it alone when he is not rocking out with Nate Ruess or writing tunes for pop staples like Tegan & Sara or Taylor Swift. In my opinion, he deserves his time to shine.

For more on the record check out Josh Terry's (harsh but honest) review on Consequence of Sound.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Being Drawn Away - Interview with Local Author Luke Foster

Being Drawn Away – An Interview with Artist Luke Foster

Recently, I had the pleasure of meeting with local artist Luke Foster at our local comic shop, A Hero’s Legacy. In recent years, Foster has produced an impressive body of work, both with web comics and self-published graphic novels. He has also become quite the journeyman, but as he explains, it took Foster a long time to harness his passion and get out into the world – both literally and creatively.

Much of Fosters’ work is based on personal experience. For example; one of his first web comics, The Gang From The Store was based on his humorous experiences as an employee at the store.  He has since packaged that series into a graphic novel, along with his insightful travelogue Drawn Away which follows his journey across America. As he explains, in regards to exploring and producing, the last few years are a trek he does not regret.

SP –So Luke – I know you’ve got books to ink so I will cut to the chase - how did you get started in comics?

LF- I started out in 2008 with the web comic called Moon Freight 3 - a science fiction comedy strip about being twenty-something with a job that you hate. I thought there were too many stories about the galaxy’s greatest starship captain and I wanted to produce something different. That strip ran for about four years and during that time I did one called The Gang From The Store and, as the name implies, that was all true stories of things that happened while I was working here at the shop.

SP: So I really enjoyed Drawn Away  – can you tell me how you came up with the idea to do a travelogue about your cross-country adventures?

LF: One day in November 2012 I was with my parents and in a bit of a rut with my job and my personal life. I felt like I was treading water and was considering a move to Portland, Oregon just so see something different for a while. My mom said ‘don’t move somewhere without visiting you should travel for a while’ and I said “OK - I think I will’ and to justify quitting my job I had to do my comic book travelogue so that was the genesis of Drawn Away. So I packed my bags, set up some stops with friends and spent four months on the road. There were times when I got anywhere from 1-3 weeks behind because I was driving a lot and found it difficult to find service or a place to plug my computer in the desert. When I got home I finished it and since then reception has been extraordinarily positive. A couple of stores that carry it have almost sold out which shocks me! It’s very flattering and humbling. 

SP – It sounds like a lot of your work comes from your own experience, do you find that you have a natural inclination towards personal storytelling?

LF: Sort of. It is kind of an indirect thing where I find the more exciting things I am experiencing at the time. the more interesting my stories become. Personal storytelling is kind of my thing, as opposed to some giant epic fantasy story where the fate of three thousand kingdoms is up for grabs. Stories that follow smaller sets of characters where interesting things happen but a lot of focus is on their personal journey.

SP: You have been getting out there on the comic book convention scene recently can you talk about what it has been like to get more attention for your work?

LF: It is always fun to meet new people with the same passions like kids in costumes who are experiencing all this for the first time and adults who are finding a way to have fun with friends they might not see much outside of cons. I love introducing people to my books and I love drawing for them. When I am at conventions I tell people that I will draw anything they want as long as I can see a picture so I know what it looks like. Even if it doesn’t exist as long as they give me a good idea of what it should like I’ll take care of it. Thanks to smart phones it’s easy to do that sort of thing.

SP: What do you think about comic book culture and how it has developed since you first started reading?

LF: I think in terms of mainstream acceptance it is fantastic with respect to their maturity and potential. I don’t think there has ever been a better time to be a fan – not since the seduction of innocence back in the forties – I also think the industry internally is developing with campaigns to make comics better reflect diversity. At conventions I see so many young kids in costume and as many girls as boys now. It’s just so matter-of-fact now that girls are welcome and it doesn’t occur to them there might be people there that think that they shouldn’t have things that cater to them. Comics are for everyone and I don’t want anyone to ever have to feel unaccepted reading comics and anyone.

SP: Can you tell me more about your experience as a self-published comic creator, which is something that you dedicated the time to make happen and not many people today can say that as there are so many closet writers and artists out there who give up because they’re afraid to fail or just can’t find the time. What motivated you to go for it and get over the proverbial hump of second-guessing?

LF: I’ve wanted to do comics my whole life but for a time there I had let myself get convinced that I could never do it because a) I could never make money at it and b) because I just wasn’t a good enough artist. Then right around when web comics started to become a thing I said ‘I really want to do this - I know I’ll just write something and find someone to draw it for me.’ I tried to do that a couple times and initial meetings would happen but things would sort of just fizzle out. So then I thought ‘the heck with it I’ll draw it myself.’  My first attempts were very rough but I kept at it and like to think I have gotten better. I have learned a lot I’ve learned anatomy, movement, color and how to make characters look less stiff.

SP: What’s it like now that you have a few books under your belt - have people come asking you to draw their work?

LF: Not yet but I am open to it!  My art style is very cartooney, similar to what you see in a newspaper and I think people sort of see me as doing my own thing right now…but my dream is to do comics full-time with a mainstream publisher or one of the larger indie publishers. I’d love to not be self-published but for now I have my day job and I get a lot out of being on the convention circuit.

SP: Speaking of conventions, what’s on-tap for you in the coming months?

LF: I am going to be at Insta-Con in Kennett Square in PA later this month and I will be at Baltimore Comic-Con in September. I will also be doing a Drawn Away signing right here at A Hero’s Legacy on Saturday, July 19th.

It is always exciting to meet people who have taken something they love and found a way to engage with it in a personal way.  We live in a society where personal consumption is everywhere and it can be easy to get caught in the trap of feeling lived by society. While it might be hard to invest the time I believe that these stories and people like Foster prove we can’t afford to ignore our calls to adventure in life because, like a comic book, our lives are vessels for incredible experience and if we don’t fill them up - who will? 

I challenge you to get Drawn Away.


One of my favorite lines in Watchmen - and also, any story ever - is when the craziest of the outlawed vigilantes shares what drives them to go out into the night and risk their lives. In this line he perfectly captures the feelings I have about writing, dressing up and sharing my pure soul with the world.

 There is no logic to it other than:



The thing in my life I can't ignore is this burning need to be create and engage with my imagination. It's the part of my brain that is too far-gone to turn off. In much the same way that a bodybuilder has to lift, lovers have to love and fish gotta's ineffable and it cannot be denied.

Challenge: Ask yourself - what is your compulsion? Then ask what have you been doing to let it free and, if the answer isn't easy or acceptable to you, find a systematic solution to give let it out.

Starting this week I am going to be writing/creating a lot more and a lot of is going up here.

The time it takes is acceptable. It's permitted. Because it will fill me up.  Because I am compelled.

Because to break the laws of your soul is to break yourself against your dreams... and that is the only thing that can break you.


Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Writer's block

Sorry for the sporadic posts - I have been super-busy lately with work and kind of having a hard time getting motivated. I love writing editorials and reviews but I got a burning kick to create my own story...and the fact that my most recent work has been all about celebrating indie creators for doing just that is to blame.

Review of Indie Series on BC 

Interview with local artist on BC

Spotlight in Indie Comics on BC

Darn them inspirational artists...always inspiring with their artistic achievements.

The hardest part of writing is when you don't know if anyone will read it.

I'm going to give my own work another draft for kicks.