Michael Cherkas is a graphic designer, art director and sometime cartoonist. He was born in Oshawa, Ontario in 1954 and now lives in Toronto. He grew up reading comic books, watching bad 1960s sitcoms, and reading science fiction. His favourite comic book of all time is Superman 172. He has co-created with Larry Hancock, The Silent Invasion and The Purple Ray. Other comics he has worked on include Suburban Nightmares with Larry Hancock and John van Bruggen; and The New Frontier with John Sabljic.
Often when it I’m in the middle of a story, and I’m getting low on paper, and I don’t want to venture out into the “wiggly-world”, I’ll grab a page of unfinished art that I have lying around and use the other side.
Here’s an example. This is page 120 from Dark Matter, before the final lettering was in place.
And on the other side of the above artwork is an unused page of art from the first chapter. These blue pencils are an earlier version of page 20.
And here’s the final version of page 20:
Next time more lost art retrieved from the jaws of those feisty grey aliens!
Tiny, chirping, grey aliens are all around my drawing board, causing little mishaps as I try to complete each page. They misplace my pencils, hide my ink, break my pen nibs, and steal perfectly good art work before I can finish it. They claim they’re being mischievous—like that character from the fifth dimension in a comic book that shall not be named. BUT, I know all of these lame tricks are part of an ongoing effort to stop us from revealing the truth behind what these aliens been really doing on our planet over the past 75-plus years!
But they will not succeed! Dark Matter, Book Four of The Silent Invasion graphic novel series will be released on October 19!
And here is a page from chapter four to give you an idea of the process …
Here is a page of “final” pencils. I tend to do all my pencils using a non-repro blue pencil. The artwork is 10-1/4 inches wide by 15-3/8 inches high.
Here is the same page inked and lettered. You’ll see differences between the pencils and inks. Before inking I decided to change the viewpoint in some panels; and the design of the character operating the “mind-O-meter.”
The completed page. Grey “zip-a-tone-like” tones were added using photoshop. And for the sake of consistency, I re-lettered the story on the computer. But that my friends, is a story for another day.
Dark Matter, book 4 ofThe Silent Invasion series continues the strange saga of evil aliens, deep-state conspiracies, and paranoia that began in Red Shadows. Though it’s now 1970, the troubles of the Sinkage family continue, as Walter Sinkage tries to learn what really happened to his brother Matt back in 1959.
Here to help you get acquainted with the stars of the new volume are brief descriptions of the main characters in Dark Matter.
Next time we’ll meet the supporting cast of Dark Matter!
Meanwhile watch the skies! I did and saw a “UFO” the other day! Really! I did.
We have finally completed the story and art for Dark Matter, the fourth volume in our graphic novel series The Silent Invasion. For those new to the series, Dark Matter continues the mis-adventures of the Sinkage family (in this volume, Walter Sinkage and his wife, Katie) as they get entangled with flying saucer sightings, UFO-based religious cults and a clandestine network of deep state agencies.
To whet your appetite for more here is the final cover to Dark Matter.
Next time we’ll have sketches, layouts, pencils and final art to preview.
Stay tuned and watch out for the little grey aliens! They’re coming to steal our minds if they haven’t already!
Lock your doors! Close the blinds! Bar your windows!
Hide your children and especially your pets!!
The little grey men from Proxima Centauri are coming for you, if they haven’t already taken you for a ride through the galaxy!
And while watching out for little grey or green men, look for Dark Matter, the fourth book in The Silent Invasion series coming this October from NBM. And, remember, if you see mysterious glowing lights in your back yard during the middle of the night — run and hide!
Dark Matter, Book Four of The Silent Invasion will be released this coming October. This tale of shadowy, out of control, international cabals weaving byzantine webs of deep state conspiracies, fear, and paranoia in an America that may be controlled by mysterious space aliens “continues” in an alternate-world 1970—five years after the “conclusion” of Abductions, the previous book in the series.
The jury is still out on whether The Silent Invasion is a documentary or just the addled ravings of a couple of comic book geeks from southern Ontario.
Here are a couple of finished pages from Chapter Two…
Until next time, stay safe and watch out for those little green men!
A number of weeks ago Larry Hancock and I chatted with by John Swinimer, the host of the True North Country Comics Podcast to promote our appearance at this year’s now cancelled Toronto Comics Arts Festival. We had planned to launch the newly-released Abductions, Book Three of The Silent Invasion series at TCAF 2020.
Tune in and enjoy our conversation with John here.
This time around, here’s a tour of the tiny space where The Silent Invasion is drawn, erased, redrawn, lettered and inked.
And now some photos:
Top row; the approach to the studio: bottom; the ink-stained desk, surrounded by some treasured and well-read favourite comics and other bric-a-brac.
The artist’s materials, including his trusty blue pencils, numbers 4 and 5 Winsor & Newton Series 7 watercolour brushes, and jars of India ink.
The bookshelves beside and behind my drawing table, and three very dusty 1/72-scale plastic airplane models built in the wayback time when I was in high school. The aircraft are a Hawker Tempest (in front), Grumman Bearcat (rear left) and a Grumman Hellcat.
Until next time, watch the skies, and stay safe and healthy.
Way back in the distant past (remember those days?), we created this 7-page tale telling the story of Dick Mallet’s last case. If you recall, it was Dick Mallet’s mysterious disappearance at the beginning The Great Fear that was the catalyst to get this wild goose chase going. Presented here for the first time in many years, is the story that explains how poor old Dick Mallet ended up on a lonely road somewhere in America back in the halcyon days of 1952.
As we get closer to the release of Abductions, the excitement is almost unbearable!
No forget that…
Let’s talk about floating anxiety. I’m sure most people perusing this blog have it. I have it. How can we relieve that sense of uncertainty?
I know! Read something light and fluffy—not stuffy—like The Silent Invasion! Books One and Two are now available from NBM. Abductions, Book Three of the series will be released shortly. The art is a little quirky, and the story will take you down rabbit holes with no exits. And as I like to say, The Silent Invasion is a comic/graphic novel for people who LIKE to READ comics.
Before closing for today, here’s a look at some pages from Chapter Two of Dark Matter, Book Four of The Silent Invasion, coming next year from NBM. These images are not scans. They were photographed with my phone camera. So here they are, warts and all.
Next—a visit to the artist’s lair.
Until tomorrow… Watch the skies! Stay safe and healthy! And read The Silent Invasion (and all those other comics)!