Category Archives: blog

Godland Finale


I just approved the printer’s proofs for Godland #37. It will be in stores December 11, 2013. If you’ve never read an issue of Godland before, please start with this one. Godland Finale is a heady, intoxicating, hyperactive comic that nothing, not even the preceding 36 issues, can prepare you for. The closest I can come to describing it is as a fusion of two of my favorite Futurist comics: Hunger Dogs and Dark Knight Strikes Again, but even that doesn’t do it justice.


One of my favorite things about collaboration is the way the sum of the parts add up to something that could not be achieved otherwise. The collision of the various elements have created a visual reading experience that is genuinely new, the likes of which may never be seen again.

I want to thank my co-creator Joe Casey, colorist Brad Simpson, Letterers and Graphic Designers Rus Wooten and Sonia Harris for making this “Very Special Issue” very special. Also, thanks to Jonathan Chan and the Image Office for getting this Finale into production as quickly as was humanly possible.

See you on 12/11/13.

Avengers/X-Men Cover


I was recently commissioned by editor Jordan White to create a cover that references an iconic classic Marvel cover but with the roles of The Avengers and The X-Men swapped out. In this case, take the iconic Kirby cover for Avengers #4, which is in my opinion THE Marvel cover, featuring the return of Captain America, and replace the Avengers with X-Men. Jordan presented me with a couple of concepts to choose from, but the one we both liked best was Professor X casting aside his wheelchair and walking. Filling out the rest of the roles was easy enough. “Flying” X-Men replace the flying Avengers. Earnest Giant-Man replaced by the earnest Cyclops. Long-haired Thor replaced by long-haired Marvel Girl. I was tempted to give Marvel Girl a hula hoop, to reference the ring of motion that Thor generates by swinging his hammer, like how the wheel from Professor X’s toppled wheelchair forms a visual rhyme with Captain America’s shield.


Whom to put in the inset box above was a little trickier. The Beast would’ve made sense, but in the original version it was Sub-Mariner, who was always a loner, belonging to no group at the time. I thought Spider-Man fit that role, the perennial outsider. Putting Spider-Man on a cover doesn’t hurt sales, either. I added the subtle flourish of a stamp border around his portrait.

I decided to use this cover as a place for stylistic experimentation. I’m trying to figure out the perfect look for Transformers/G.I.Joe. One that I’m considering, is printing directly from my pencils. Working on Satan’s Soldier for the past year, I really liked the results I was getting from intense colors over loose pencil drawing. I wanted to see what intense colors over a tight, meticulously-crafted pencil line would look like.


I was commissioned to provide black and white line art, to be colored by someone else. I’d recently made the decision that going forward, even if I’m just being hired for black and white art, I’d also color it. If the client decides to keep my color, great. If they decide to have somebody else color it, the colorist will at least know what my intentions were for the piece. The colorist can feel free to go in whatever direction he’d want with it, but at least he’d understand what everything’s supposed to be. That’s something you can’t take for granted. Sometimes areas of overlap can be confusing. Is that an upper lip or teeth? Is that shape part of the foreground character’s leg or the background character’s arm? These things are often difficult to discern.

In essence what I’ve created is at best, actual finished colors, at worst, a color guide, which many artists provide when they do black-and-white line art.

I drew it in pencil, then redrew it a couple of times. Instead of inking it, I redrew it again as a pristine, blemish-free, camera-ready super-tight pencil drawing. I like the variation you get with a dark pencil line. It breathes a little more than the crisp ink line I usually use. On a separate layer, I played with the contrast to make sure that, it could be easily adjusted into a proper hard digitally-inked line if need be.

First I added flat colors, then successive layers of modelling and color adjustments:XFlat



Here are my final colors:


Usually when somebody else colors my work, they make it less poppy, more modeled. In this instance, the colorist did the opposite. My version has soft, modeled colors, a subdued line and a somber palette reminiscent of Suydam, while the colorist went with a flatter Pop Art approach with a cheery palette and increasing the contrast on the linework.
As with the Deadpool cover, I feel like the end result is stronger than my initial version.


What the colorist made is richer than what I’d provided, but I can also see the influence that my guide had. Without that guide, I feel that the cover, for better or worse, would’ve been very different. I’ve been pleased with the results I’ve been getting from this approach and feel it’s worth the extra effort.

American Barbarian is Now on Comixology

Today American Barbarian has launched on Comixology. I created American Barbarian to be widely read, widely circulated, and perpetually available. Comixology is an excellent option to get it into as many hands in as efficient a manner as possible.

Because we didn’t print enough copies of the American Barbarian hardcover to meet demand, as with the Godland hardcover, I’m left to wonder what the true extent of that demand is. Comixology is extremely useful to get a better sense of that. If demand warrants it, I’ll make getting another edition of the book into print a priority, whereas right now my priority is the creation of new work rather than the curation of previous work.

I have two more years worth of new American Barbarian stories beyond the one told on, in the hardcover, and now on Comixology. From a creative standpoint, the projects I choose to spend my energy on are the ones that captivate my whimsy at the moment. Given a choice, I’d rather work on something altogether different than add to the breadth of a past work. That said, I’ve learned over the past 2 years that commercial success is more important to me than I’d previously allowed myself to believe. If AmBarb ends up being successful on Comixology, the responsible thing would be to seriously consider getting these new American Barbarian scripts drawn and into circulation.

In any event, I’m curious to see how this unfolds.

Satan’s Soldier #3 Premiers Saturday 9/10/13 at SPX


Satan’s Soldier #3 is premiering at this weekend’s SPX 2013 (Small Press Expo) in Bathesda, Maryland.

Issue #3 is the Return of the Jedi/Superman III/Search for Spock/Escape from the Planet of the Apes/Batman Forever/MI:3/Dark of the Moon of Satan’s Soldier comics. It’s an all-ages, bubblegum pop, good-timing installment of the acclaimed series.


The greatest superhero ever fights an endless army of Manichean space gods and techno demons who have joined forces to take him down. The arena for this cosmic battle royale? Planet Earth.


The dusky cloaked avenger, D’Ark, and the ring-slinging valkyrie, Heroine,  get caught up in the gladiatorial globetrotting. Be there for the first appearances of an array of international strongmen including Union Jack the Ripper, Herr Doktor Glockenspiel, and Pablo Picasso.

Who will live, who will die, who will return from the grave? Find out in this full color, 50-page adventure presented in the burning neon hues of SCIOLI-VISION.

The Star Wars

Ever since I read George Lucas’s early drafts of Star Wars, I thought they’d make a good comic. The early script treatments read like Star Wars Apocrypha, with elements just familiar enough to resonate and just exotic enough to be exciting and new. When Dark Horse announced earlier this year that they’d be releasing a comic book series adapting these stories, I thought I’d better take a crack at it before I read them, knowing that the official version would probably obliterate the half-formed version I had in my head. For fun, I went into high-speed comics mode for an afternoon and drew 29 pages of bare bones comics. Check it out:


Le Garde Republicain

I just got this in the mail.


While in France I drew a picture of the superhero Le Garde Republicain (Guardian of the Republic) created by Delcourt publisher Thierry Mornet under the psuedonym Terry Stillborn. LGR is headquartered in Paris (that’s Notre Dame in the background). Le Garde is like Captain America if the “A” stood for France.

I did the pencils and inks, Reed Man did the colors. In the center of the book is a fold-out poster of the image.


Process: Godland Pages 62 and 63

Here’s two more pages of the Godland Finale. The biggest project I’ve ever worked on is that much closer to completion.

Here are the stages of page 62. First the rough:



Then the pencil:



Then the inks:



Here are the stages of Page 63:





Five more pages to go. I’m curious what it will feel like after I draw the last line of the last page.

If you’re interested in purchasing the original art for either of these pages e-mail: art [at] tomscioli [dot] com

Godland Finale Arrives in November

The final issue of Godland has one of my favorite things, the future’s future. Looking back, I would’ve preferred to start the series in an unimaginably distant future, rather than end it there, but it was a nice end point to build towards. Maybe next time.


It’s been my education in color comics. Prior to Godland I knew NOTHING about the comics business. Now I know SOMETHING. I used Godland as a laboratory where I could experiment. It’s not for me to say how successful any of these experiments were, but I came out of the experience the indestructible cockroach of a cartoonist I am today.

Had Godland been more successful, I would have happily worked on it until my dying day. Its difficulty finding traction in the market forced me to innovate and get out of my comfort zone. I mourn the loss of the Godland-that-might-have-been, but a successful Godland would’ve meant no American Barbarian, no Final Frontier, no Satan’s Soldier, no Mystery Object. I love Godland and I hate it. I was in my 20’s when it started, now I’m not. I can’t help feeling it stole those years away from me.

“Life is at best bittersweet.” Darkseid, Mister Miracle #18.

Godland #36 & 37 are our Hunger Dogs, our Mister Miracle #18, our Silver Star #6. I feel genuinely privileged that we were able to end the comic properly, something very few series get to do.

In preparation for the writing of the two-part finale, I read the series from the beginning. It’s a relic of the early 2000’s, but its mix of old and new has aged surprisingly well. Not being part of any movement of the moment definitely helped. For as under the radar as we were, it sure seems like Godland gets imitated a lot. There’s a proliferation of comics now that have a wisecracking floating skull in a jar character, and Image publishes half of them. I don’t know if we can take credit for it, but the Marvel and DC publishing lines have moved a lot closer to Godland’s cosmic whimsy.


“Experimenters take risks–even with humor, Mokkari” Simyan, Jimmy Olsen #146

With Godland I learned that you can be funny and still be serious. For as bloated and excessive a prog rock comic Godland is, I learned how to tell a story economically from it. We cover a lot of ground in those 37 issues. I had to draw 7 different versions of the future, which is the biggest challenge I’ve ever faced in comics. I didn’t know I had that many in me. Most cartoonists only have one or two in them.

I learned that there’s more to life than Jack Kirby. Joe brought his influences to the project and I sought them out to see for myself. Cosmic jokesters like Jim Starlin, Steves gerber and Engelhart, among others. These creators have since become favorites of mine.

Most of all, I learned how to collaborate. I couldn’t ask for a better creative partner than Joe Casey. What we created together is very special to me. I’m eternally grateful to the people who supported us and our book.

When we started it we didn’t know if it would last 5 issues or 500. I had this fantasy of working on it forever, at least a lot longer than we have. 37 issues is a lot of comics. I wish Kirby could’ve done 30 issues of New Gods. I definitely think about what might have been, if things really took off in a huge way, but I’m proud of what we’ve accomplished. 37 issues is nothing to sneeze at. That’s a lot of imagination, hard work and sacrifice that we’ve poured into it. I’m not too sad about leaving the Archers behind, because Joe Casey and I own it, so if I ever get the itch to do another Godland story, I can.

The GØDLAND FINALE will be in stores on November 27 and can be pre-ordered in the September issue of Previews.