New Tricks For An Old Dog

Two people–in one week–asked me if I was still drawing. I hadn’t seen them since the last charity event, maybe a year ago. When they ask me, they make a scribbling motion in the air as if they were asking for the check.

It isn’t the first time someone poses that question.

Thing is–I don’t know how to answer, so I mumble, uh–sure–yeah. They seem happy–reassured. No idea what else I would be doing, since I would draw even when not paid for it. (half the story of my life)

Late at night, my wife Ruth says goodnight and asks what I’m doing.

Drawing I say, shrugging my shoulders.

Trying Sketchbook Pro, Smoothdraw, Softdraw, Art Rage, Manga Studio, sketching zombies, space probers, German soldiers…everything that doesn’t bring in a dime.

Do the library often, load up with GNs. Occasionally I find a new artist, or a GN I haven’t read yet.

A recent, late, discovery was Jaques Tardi–wonderful, total cartoonist.


Working paperless is like only eating potatoes. Makes me hunger for some of the things that were; paper, pencil, ballpoint, crowquill.

Then I wind up scanning it all anyway, so I can color it, letter it, panel it. It’s all drawing–so–what difference?

Some of the Inner Sanctum book was done in ballpoint, scanned and washed in Photoshop.

One of the formats I go to again and again, is vector. It has a lovely clean look I like–but it is so laborious and so not intuitive. It requires more structure. Doesn’t lend itself to lazy artists.

This is a small experiment in vector I did for a project my partner and I are working on, 3/5ths of a Man, The History of Slavery in America. Would love to do it like this, but I don’t have ten years and I don’t have a team.

It can be done, of course, with tempera–now I think of it. Of course, that wouldn’t have the advantage of vector’s small file size.

Is that relevant anymore? Can anyone tell me?

After the jump, check out several pieces of Ernie Colón’s presented for the very first time.


6 thoughts on “New Tricks For An Old Dog”

  1. hi Ernie,
    love your drawing since i was a kid,but i did not know until you worked on TIGER-MAN for Atlas/Seaboard that you had produced all those RICHIE RICH pages for Harvey–now i can pick your Harvey work out.
    i was also exposed to MANIMAL in a Sal Quartuccio magaz9ne/prozine/fanzine, called HOT STUF’, which made me laugh, thinking of the little devil from Harvey.
    i loved your DC book, THE MEDUSA CHAIN, but i really flipped over AMETHYST, it is one of m all-time favorite comic books, and i’ve loved them since i was age 6, in 1963.
    i read your blog post about WATCHMEN and am saxd that you, Dan, and Gary were not contacted about DC’s plans for AMEHYST, in their current publications.
    i will always admire all phases of your cartooning, i’m particularly pleased that you and Sid J. have created the dramatic projects like the 9-11 REPORT together, and that you continue to tackle that ind of material.
    i wish all the comic book publishers would handle such subjects and do it with such great results, i hope you can keep it up for a long while, still.
    Very Truly Yours,
    –steve c, Boston, MA, USA


  2. Steve,

    Thanks for your comments and questions. I’ll reply to them best I can.

    You have a good eye, since the Harvey brothers didn’t allow us to sign our work. Sometimes Warren Kremer and I would sneak our names in on storefronts or billboards in the story.

    Re: MANIMAL:
    Manimal (not our character…exactly…) was a TV flop. We sued the producers for infringement and should have sued our lawyer–a bigger dud than the show.

    Medusa Chain was a favorite of mine. But it was pre-computer (we owned a baby pterodactyl who actually learned to use the litter box) and I colored the book with magic markers, whose magical fumes made me sick.
    Amethyst really special for me. It had–with all the guys like you who liked it–an audience of girls–a group comic creators have so often and for so long ignored. Go figure–don’t they like money?

    We were very proud at Harvey that 45% of our readers were girls.

    Re: WATCHMEN post:
    Typical corporate hard heads and soft brains. It would surely have been to their sales advantage to have the original team on board. You know–when you work on something like Richie Rich for so many years, you develop a sense of ownership–very misleading. It ain’t yours–it belongs to them.

    With Amethyst, the sense of ownership was more logical–we created her! Sometimes I’ve felt like the village idiot–where do I sign? Here in the bottom? Uh-huh, u-huh. When can I pick up the check?

    Re: 9/11 Report:
    Thanks, Steve–you’re very kind. Great experience. We had four and a half minutes of intense fame and then one day–they all disappeared–taking their TV cables and lights and leaving Sid and I scratching our heads and trying to close our mouths.

    Re: Comic Publishers:
    From your mouth to God’s good ear.
    With publishers like NBM taking a chance on projects like “Inner Sanctum”, there’s hope for growth and better stuff done better. Print ain’t dead–it’s just holding hands with a weird digital babe.

    Thanks again, Steve


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