Ultraist Studios Blog Journal thoughts, musings and other rambling…

October 5, 2008

Word On The Street 2008

Filed under: Conventions,Photos,Sketches — M Kitchen @ 7:27 am

Photo by Blair Kitchen

Last Sunday was the annual Word On The Street festival in Toronto, and despite calls for rain, the day ended up being warm and sunny. Once again Ultraist Studios was in attendance with Possum Press, and this year we debuted the SPY GUY and The POSSUM Superhero Movie cut-out stand-ups for the first time ever, which got a lot of attention (and photos).

An interesting side note:  I noticed all day that I was drawing a disproportionately large number of sketches with children robbing banks.  Must be a sign of our times.

Click to enlarge.

August 23, 2008

FANEXPO 2008 – CANCELLED!

Filed under: Announcements,Conventions — M Kitchen @ 1:16 pm

ULTRAIST STUDIOS will be unavailable to attend this event.
However you can still find POSSUM PRESS at booth A39.
Drop by and say “hi”.

December 1, 2007

Last Month Recap

Filed under: Announcements,Audio,Conventions,Photos — M Kitchen @ 2:36 pm

Wow. December. Already.
November turned out to be a bust for blogging.

But that’s okay. ‘Cause I’ve been busy.

Here are some of last months happenings:

Trampoline Hall
October 22

My brother and I were invited to a gathering at Fort York where we acted as Comic Steinographers.

Click for reverse angle.

Our efforts were printed and the book debutted at CanZine.

Contributor list:

Reverend Altor
Roxanne Bieskis
Arthur Dela Cruz
Shannon Gerard
Kathryn and Stuart Immonen
Eric Kim
Blair Kitchen
Dave Lapp
Steve Manale
John Martz
Brian McLachlan
Diana Tamblyn
Sean Daniel Byron Craig
Becky Johnson

… and myself.

Indy Spinner Rack
November 08
The fine folks and Indy Spinner Rack gave SPY GUY a plug in their SPX recap.

With such memorable quotes as… “we have this one, we didn’t have the second one, and I haven’t had a chance to read them… but I WILL read them” and “here we go… ultra… is…. ultra…. ultrai… ultra eye studio… geeze man, I’m drunk.” and “BLAIR was super nice”.

Listen to the snippet below. Or listen to the whole thing here.

[audio:isr99.mp3]

They say that there’s no such thing as bad publicity, right?

Seriously though, thanks for the plug guys… especially Mister Phil (who actually managed to get “ultraist” right).

Hollywood Hero Con

Blair spilled the beans more than I was going to here, so if you want the full story check out possumpress.

In preparation for the Hero Con show, I also created the mockup cover for SPY GUY#1 and had some nice banners and cutouts created. With any luck, all that stuff is currently in transit back to the Ultraist Studios HQ.

Computer Fixed

The Ultraist Studios Portable Computer had to go in for some repairs and is now slowly getting back to operational status.

SPY GUY Webcomic

I’ve been sitting on this next strip for almost 2 months now. Just never seem to have the time to get it net ready. However there have been some requests to get that strip moving again, so that has been bumped up a notch on the things to do list.

Blog Journal Fodder

Over the past year, there have been a number of articles that I have typed up, and never posted. I had debated between posting them or just letting them die. But I figure they’ve been started anyway – so I might as well post the things. I’ve been especially wanting to kick start that Archeology Project again… a few of those are ready to go.

T-Shirts

Another residual project from the Hero Con show was the Ultraist T-Shirt that I’ve been meaning to make for the past 2 years. Well, the prototype is is done. Now it’s just a matter of ordering a box of black t-shirts and busting out that silk-screen kit.

SPY GUY #1

Trying to get page 5 done this weekend.
Hence the hack job of a blog journal post.
The above will get filled in over the course of the week.
So check back for pics, and audio, and proper grammar.

October 19, 2007

SPX 2007: Field Report

Filed under: Conventions,Sketches — M Kitchen @ 11:10 am

SPX 2007

4:50 am Friday morning, Blair and I hopped in The Possum-Wagon and commenced on our journey to Bethesda MD USA for the Small Press Expo. It was a nice drive. Travelling through Maryland on the I-70 I was captivated by the beautiful rolling hills and miniature mountains, with scattered farms and colonial houses. I wanted to move there. Immediately. It sure beats the concrete sprawl of the GTA. I should have taken a picture. Next year, I’ll take a picture.

1:00 pm we arrived at the convention center ahead of schedule. How we managed to arrive on time, when we’ve been consistently running late on our local cons, I have no idea.

photo by Blair Kitchen courtesy of Possum Press

That left us plenty of time to eat some lunch, set up the booth, and get ready for the doors to open at 2:00.

Not that it mattered much. Friday was a very slow day. And yet, it held a few surprises. Like the interview we did for VOA Indonesia. And meeting up with people I had only ever encountered online. So that was nice.

photo by Blair Kitchen courtesy of Possum Press

Over the past few weeks I’ve been trying to adjust my own internal anxieties by letting go of worries, and trying to embrace an optimistic and positive outlook on things. And this con turned out to be a good testing ground to prove some theories. In fact, each time I recalibrated my internal dialogue to keep with a more positive outlook, it seemed like good things would happen.

Learned a few lessons… like this one: Ecclesiastes 11:10.

And this one: Matthew 11:29-30

And this one: Matthew 6:25-35

After the show on Friday, the Marriott set up a bar downstairs. And I could really go for a glass of wine. Of course a glass of wine would cost me the profit of two comic sales. Well, they finally broke me down and I approached the bar.

Was asked “do you have a ticket?”

“No… where do I get a ticket?”

“I don’t know. It’s $6.50 without a ticket”

So… if I get a ticket, that’s like selling two comics…

“I’ll be right back… I’m going to find a ticket”.

This sent me on an expedition through the convention center looking for the SPX organizers who would surely be the keepers of the drink tickets. Sure enough, they were in the bar upstairs, and surprisingly, Karon Flage saw me and waved me over. Of course, she had mistaken me for someone else (bald heads look alike) but she was more than willing to hook me up with some drink tickets. Yes. This was the sign that told me this weekend would turn out just fine.

Lesson learned: Matthew 7:7

Oh yeah. There was also cake.
It made me laugh.

In an attempt to cut costs, we had abandoned the idea of spending $100 a night for a plush room in the Marriott, and instead camped out in the Possum-Wagon. Aside from being impaled by strange seat hooks and attachors, and having reoccurring nightmares of being harassed by parking lot security, I had an incredible sleep.

Saturday, I awoke to a brand new day. A sponge bath in the bathroom sink freshened me up, and I managed to score a free coffee from the restaurant upstairs, and some French toast, strawberries, and another coffee from a buffet downstairs. This all seemed to endorse the above lesson.

Here Blair has finally awoken from his slumber in the Possum-Wagon.

The show that day started off moderately slow, and remained that way until eleven o’clock when things went crazy and picked up. Here are a few sketches that were done over the weekend. Check out Possum Press for more.

It was a great crowd. Not as artsy and esoteric as the APE and TCAF crowds, and not as pop-culture mainstream as the FAN EXPO crowds. Which seems to be a good fit for our target audience for both SPY GUY and THE POSSUM.

One added bonus was that while I was wandering, I noticed a bunch of other artists I had been introduced to on Dave Sim’s Blog and Mail (that I’ve been meaning to check out). So when I did my round of trades, these were the first artists I hit.

Specifically Scott Berwanger (Anubis), Pat Lewis (Abominable), and Steve Peters (Chemistry).

I never did manage to get a trade with Jim Coon (Beaver). Maybe next year.

In all I scored a box full of comics, (that I’ve been reading all week on the GO Train). That always makes a break-even or profit losing show seem all the more worth while.

Some other notable events were meeting with the Diamond reps, getting some comics to Heidi MacDonald (could there be a review in our future?) and meeting Dan Merritt from Green Brain Comics, who told me one of his agents picked up our books at the Toronto FAN EXPO this summer. Cool.

We had great neighbours at this year’s show. To our right was John Bintz who draws “A Moment of Clarity” and to our left was Kevin McShane, who does the superhero / hollywood parody “Toupydoops”.

The end of Saturday finished of with the Ignatz Awards, and some more wine and drink tickets.

This ended our SPX Saturday.

We had another wonderful night sleep.

Sunday morning I woke at the crack of dawn, where I sponge bathed in the sink, and made my way to the hotel lobby where I bought a coffee, found a comfortable seat, and cracked open my stash of trades.

What a great morning.

10:00 – 1:00 we attended the panels that were offered, which was a good way to spend the last few hours of the con.

All things considered, SPX was a success.

October 11, 2007

SPX and other miscellany…

Filed under: Announcements,Conventions — M Kitchen @ 3:50 pm

Yes. Tomorrow we commence on an SPX road trip.

Click the banner above for details.

Or click to Possum Press for more info.

At the moment I don’t feel like typing.

On a side note: Word On The Street was a great success!

Want to see pics and stuff?

Again, click over to Possum Press.

Haven’t felt like blogging.

Mind has been focused on SPY GUY #1.

And attempting sleep.

Perhaps SPX will inspire some blog entries.

Stay tuned.

September 29, 2007

WORD ON THE STREET 2007

Filed under: Announcements,Conventions — M Kitchen @ 8:09 am

Wow. The Word on the Street festival is tomorrow. I guess now would be a good time to put up a blog post to announce it to the hand full of you that check out The Ultraist Studios Blog Journal, and happen to be in the Toronto area…

Word on the Street is a national, annual, one-day celebration of reading and writing that promotes Canadian authors, books and magazines, and highlights the importance of literacy in the lives of all Canadians. The Word On The Street festival in Toronto focuses on promoting Toronto and Ontario authors and literacy organizations.*

This year Ultraist Studios and Possum Press have joined forces to attend. Listed under MAGAZINE MEWS Niche magazine publishers: Ultraist Studios / Possum Press will be located at booth MM5 which is located at 2 o’clock on the Queen’s Park Crescent circle. See map below for details.

I have always heard good things from comic makers about Word on the Street. It will be interesting to see how many comics can be sold in a single day, and if it will be enough to make up the table cost. At least my weather widget assures me that tomorrow will be mostly sunny with a high of 22°C.

In other news, the Ultraist Studio Store is debuting a SPUD & HARRY #1 / Creature From Jekyll Island special. More details and pictures to come.

August 27, 2007

FAN EXPO 2007: Field Report

Filed under: Announcements,Conventions,Photos,Sketches — M Kitchen @ 6:39 am

It’s been a year since the last Fan Expo. Our first con. Attending Fan Expo 2007 had me reminiscing about the all the conventions we hit this year. What worked. What didn’t. Things to think about for the future. And the realization that the pop-culture crowd seems to be our target audience. If you’d ask me last year, I would have thought that the A.P.E. or T.C.A.F. would have been the crowd that would gravitate to our comics. But the Fan Expo continues to blow all the other cons out of the water. Which has got me seriously considering the other BIG THREE comic cons. Maybe next year?

As for celebrity guests this year: Adam West and Johnathan Frakes were the two I was most interested to see.

On the comic book front, the heavy hitters were John Romita Sr. and John Romita Jr. who had a sketch off that I would have loved to watch, but couldn’t because I was busy selling comics. Sometime this week, I’ll have to scour the internet to see if it was captured on film.

Here is an interesting con sketch… one of our customers was having comic artists finish an old issue of Alpha Flight! Check out the Spy Guy appearance (along with The Grad and The Possum)!

And here are some other con sketches that came out quite well:

Spy Guy vs. Darth Vader.

Spud & Harry vs. Doctor Who.

Spy Guy Batman team-up.

Spy Guy vs. Spy Mite.

Spy Guy Captain Kirk team-up.

Adam West vs. Spy Guy.

Spy Guy SCUD team-up.

Spider-man vs. Spy Guy.

Harry Potter vs. Elijah Wood (as Kevin).

Geeze… the list goes on and on… so let’s end with:

The Possum Spy Guy team-up.

August 24, 2007

FAN EXPO 2007: Starting Now.

Filed under: Announcements,Conventions,Uncategorized — M Kitchen @ 3:47 pm

Click here for the Floor Plan

Come visit us Friday – Sunday at Ultraist Studios booth A73

August 22, 2007

TCAF: Update

Filed under: Announcements,Conventions,Photos,Sketches — M Kitchen @ 8:26 pm

The Toronto Comic Arts Festival has come and gone. Another interesting show which had a vibe similar to A.P.E. That is, people seemed to be less interested in the standard sized glossy covered saddle stitched (stapled) pamphlet comics, and more interested in mini-zines, art objects, and graphic novel books. That said, the reaction to the Possum Press | Ultraist Studios joint catalog was actually very good.

The venue for TCAF was the Old Victoria College building and the Burwash Quad on the University of Toronto Campus, which was a nice classy place to hold a con. Gaging the size of the crowd was deceptive due to the multiple rooms and levels, and being in a corner table in a side room, it always seemed as though the place was relatively empty despite a steady flow of people.

It is such a different vibe from the super-hero cons like the Fan Expo (coming up this weekend). I found it strange wandering around the floor as it felt as though I was walking through the corridors of broken dreams. The majority of the vendors are self-publishers, and all of the vendors are dumping their hearts and souls into their work. Each one selling a piece of themselves for a minimal price, desperately looking for takers. Unless of course you are one of the headliners selling art prints for 50 bucks a pop. Now I don’t feel like uploading all of the sketches that were done over the course of the weekend, though here is a sampler (click the image to see the enlarged sketch):

Here is a Mexican couple who were taken by the villianous cast of the Possum #2 (who gave us a literal review of the Spanish portions of the script). Given they are fans of Mexican wrestling, what better sketch to do than Harry pummelling the Seven Deadly Dwarfs! I even had them write the caption.

More fans of The Possum who picked up a Value Pack! Heed Spy Guy’s words or warning about Possum fans… he speaks the truth!

SPY GUY: Minis has always been popular with the ladies. Or, at the very least, the cover has been. I’ve always been curious what they think after reading it…

It’s always a pleasure when asking “what sort of sketch would you like” when the response comes back “draw me”. The “team up” and “versus” sketches usually end up being my favorites.

Trisha wins the prize for “most fun accessories to draw”. Now looking at that sketch, I just wish I remembered to draw in the ground shadows…

Somewhere outside of the old Vic building, a rather depressed looking Seth and Chester Brown were overheard saying: “I wish we were as famous and lovable as the fabulous Kitchen Brothers”…

Indeed.

Indeed.

For more TCAF field reports and sketches, click on over to the Possum Press blog:
day 1day 2

Stay tuned for FAN EXPO 2007.

August 11, 2007

COTTAGE CON: Update

Filed under: Announcements,Conventions,Photos — M Kitchen @ 3:53 pm

The day began in Brechin, on the north beach of Lake Simcoe at Grandpa Kitchen’s cottage. The same cottage where we would read boxes of old DC and Gold Key comics from the early 70’s and sit in the camper trailer drawing all day.

I joined Grandma and Grandpa Kitchen for breakfast, along with my brother Blair, his wife Rochelle, and their son Jacob. The egg sandwich and orange juice arrived courtesy of Mom Kitchen. Thanks Mom!

What better way to start the day than with a quick dip in the lake! Jackson’s Point (location of the Cottage Con) is “that way”.

A quick jaunt around the lake, and we were there. Here Blair, founder of Possum Press, unloads a box load of The Possum! And check out the beach in the background.

I’ve got our signs, and a box of Spy Guy comics, and we’re ready to go.

This is the view of Lionshead Resort – located at the lakeside community of Jackson’s Point Village in Georgina.

And here we are, all set up at the Possum Press | Ultraist Studios “round table”.

The first “Value Pack” sale of the day came quick. And here is the “Spy Guy vs. Wonder Woman” sketch to show for it. After that, the day was extremely slow. Made a few single sales, but most of the time was spent drawing sketches for orders that came earlier in the week. Blair even got some inking done on The Possum #3! But our slow streak ended when…

… the Kitchen Clan arrived! They were our best customers of the day. And while we would have gladly given them their comics for free, they wanted to participate in the Con with a few charity purchases of their own. So who are we to turn away a sale. Besides, those sales probably paid for the gas to get home.

Ah, after a long day at the Con, there is nothing like relaxing on the pier. Good work Blair, and enjoy your rest. You deserve it!

All comics should be made this way…

Coming up next: TCAF.

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