Well, as touched on before, work at the minute is not just a bitch, it's the Alien Queen of bitches. Luckily (and touch wood), I'm fairly resistant to a lot of bugs that seem to go round but a warning sign that I'm getting rundown is when my throat starts playing up and I began losing my voice at work yesterday. Work's always an ordeal but I'm fortunate that as soon as I get out of the building, I can forget about it almost instantly but this year has been an absolute melonfarmer so far.
As well as lots of upcoming changes and uncertainty whether we will retain our jobs (not a good time to become "workless"--that's the new PC word that replaces unemployed and I can't see why) (and with environmental disasters, economic crises and various other factors coinciding with various world religions' forecasted impending apocalypse scenarios, I'd have to wonder if we aren't all heading off to see Old Scratch if there was no other point in history where similar events also occurred....), other departments are practically just not doing their work, resulting in pointless time-consuming tasks for us and the added kick in the arse for having to sort the crap out because nobody's been doing it before handing it back to us to finish off.
As a result, I had to have a few beers last night to recover because I was a wreck by mid-afternoon. After waking up with a slight croak, my throat is ok for the moment but I thought I'd take an easy day for once. I laid out an 8-page script while listening to Jonathan Ross (good to have him back on Radio 2) and then caught up with some reading. Te last thing from my monthly parcel to read was the surprisingly readable fantastic Four: World's Greatest hardcover that collects the first eight Millar & Hitch issues. The art was the main attraction for me and it's a great looking chunk but the script was also both interesting and venom-free. Millar has a habit of injecting a mean spirit into his work but this was pretty positive stuff.
The last few days have also seen a bounty of reading material plonking through my letterbox: I forgot to order a copy of Back Issue so ordered it from the States and it arrived the same day as the last Nexus issue I was after, a Wally Wood reprint comic (graced with a Dave Stevens cover, thus giving me the excuse to post some of his art above), and four Power Pack issues drawn by Colleen Doran (which are rather ruined by Terry Austin's inking unfortunately). A Flash Gordon collection (non-Raymond daily strips that I bought on eBay while going on my retro kick recently) also turned up after I'd completely forgotten about it (bit annoyed the Al Williamson Flash Gordon collection's been delayed) and I also unearthed four manga books I had stored away.
Somebody picked them ("Pretty Face") up for me a few months back in a sale from one the book chains and I started reading it to find out it was a semi-tranny (non-porno) series (gender swapping being a fairly common theme in manga, apparently). I gave up half way through the first volume not because of the subject matter but because of the same problem I always have with manga, in that it's so decompressed and shallow, it makes it hard to empathise with the characters and thus a pointless read. I'll keep them to one side and keep them for a bored afternoon. Still got the Dave Stevens book to read too.
Talking of him, I cribbed a ton of his art off the net the other day so spent some time renaming and filing them away on my PC (I love gallery sites as it's possible to find great work without having to shell out £2.50 or whatever just for a cover), plus I was going to digitally doctor some photographs for a gag but the resolution was so poor, doubt I'll get that done anytime soon.
Tomorrow, I'll possibly start the 8-page strip. Following the layouts above, I'll then draw the panel borders before proceeding to pencil the actual art (experience and the layouts mean I can usually judge the size of the panels I need without having to draw the art first). I'm hoping to do this in clean line so hopefully the inking won't take long but keeping to a simple clean line is surprisingly difficult and involves some problem-solving before the final line is laid.
Oh, and after a fairly positive reaction online to the legion episode of Smallville, Zatanna will be dropping by too, as played by the actress below...