Ultraist Studios Blog Journal thoughts, musings and other rambling…

August 30, 2007

Ripped From the Blog and Mail

Filed under: Announcements — M Kitchen @ 7:33 pm

Guess who got a feature piece in today’s Blog and Mail?

I thought this part was interesting where Dave commented:

(Blair’s) really got that Chester Gould forward momentum thing nailed.

Refering to an earlier Blog and Mail entry (#334 August 11th, 2007) where Dave commented:

There was something that Chester Gould understood about the comics medium that I don’t think anyone else has really clued into to the same extent that he did. The whole thing is forward momentum. It is technically considered to be “bad comics” to take up half a panel with a caption that stiltedly describes everything that is going on. Chester Gould didn’t think that was “bad comics”. Just the opposite. If the gangster threatens to throw the bomb in one panel and you explain what Pat Patton is about to do and how Dick Tracy signals him in the caption in the next panel and then show Pat shooting the bomb out of the guy’s hand and into the pickle brine in the following panel…Chester Gould is saying, that’s GOOD comics. Set up, explanation, gunshot “OW!”. The reader wants to see the bad guy get shot in the hand so the sooner you can get him shot in the hand, the better your comics are. If you can get from point A to point C with one long-winded caption, that’s better than using two or three panels to get there.

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”…



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 15, 2007

Ripped From the Blog and Mail

Filed under: Announcements,Mail — M Kitchen @ 10:19 pm

Dave Sim has posted an incredible review of SPUD & HARRY #1 on today’s Blog and Mail. Originally I was thinking of posting it here, but it’s a big one, so instead I’ll leave you to click over to the Cerebus Yahoo! Group to read it. The previous day’s post also contains the letter which I sent with the comic. That has also been linked for your reading enjoyment. The best thing about Dave Sim is that no matter what it is that he is discussing, he always gives you something good to think about. And this time it is no exception. I think his “force God’s hand” analysis is pretty accurate… not conscious on my part… but accurate none the less.

My Letter to Dave Sim –Tuesday August 14 2007 Blog and Mail

Dave Sim’s review of SPUD & HARRY #1 – Wednesday August 15 2007 Blog and Mail

August 14, 2007

Breaking News…

Filed under: Announcements — M Kitchen @ 1:58 am

This just in from the Monday August 13 Blog and Mail


August 11, 2007


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.

August 4, 2007

Tomorrow: Cottage Con

Filed under: Announcements — M Kitchen @ 11:19 am

I’m looking forward to this one. Another Possum Press | Ultraist Studios joint venture. Chances are attendance will be slim, however the tables and admission are free, and it’s happening in cottage country. So really, we can’t lose!

Paradise Convention’s Cottage Con is Sunday, August 5th 2007 at the Lionshead Resort – located at the lakeside community of Jackson’s Point Village in Georgina, Ontario – on the shores of beautiful Lake Simcoe.

Click here for directions.

Click here for a list of guests.

Click here for more details.

August 1, 2007

I Got Mail…

Filed under: Mail — M Kitchen @ 6:41 am

The following mail, containing perhaps the most comprehensive review yet, arrived from Switzerland from Ultraist Reader and CRIC2 Contributor Jay Traci:

Random notes from a know-nuthin’ on the comics of Mike Kitchen:

Knight Hawk/Apocalypse (1993)

Ah, a step back in the way-back machine. So what’s the Matt Campbell chap working on of late. I see his posts on your page from time to time.

Spy Guy Bootleg (2001)

Nice cover, bootleg-esque, but maybe you should have focused the drawing more on Spy Guy, an interesting, eye-catching character?

Funny to see the A-V ‘note from the president’ layout on the inside front cover. I like that you state the circulation too.

I like the look of The Skunk character.

Hot damn you do good guns!

Your use of tones is nice. Not too heavy handed. And I like your backgrounds, like in the cigar shop: the wooded paneling and newspapers on the racks.

Lovely sequence of 4 panels with Hunter taking the thug’s gun away.

Hmmm, looks like you got a thing with squee-gee guys! I’m a big fan of ‘conceptual continuity’ and could feel they would return And they did! Again and again!

Ninja dialect: difficult to pull off. But it worked, mostly.

In the restaurant I loved the dialogue of “Ssshhhh, keep it down! Someone may become suspicious of our activities!” after he shot someone in the head.

Nice 1920s flash-back.

Great panels of the alley, bricks and Spy Guy on the fire escape. With lasers.

Also at the shipyard with the wideshot on the top panel and then seemingly the ninja and mob guy face to face in the next, with panel separator.

Hmmm, Spy Guy carries a rubber chick around…I like the idea of the jacket being able to house damn near anything (like the bazooka-type gun at the end)

Nice idea of SG sliding to get under the thug’s chin with a gun.

Lotssssss of cross hatching on the wharf. Lots.

I like the back cover too.

So what happened to the Spy Guy video-game you mention in the intro?

Spy Guy Minis (2005)

I liked most of the Target: Terror strips, and I’m very much in-line with your political thinking and it’s nice to see you fleshing out your characters and broadening your drawings, but all in all I think there _could_ be a danger is using a character you want to continue to fall-back on in such a autobiographical motif, no?

One of the things I’ve thought about doing with ‘my guy’ is some random ‘public service announcements’ about public transportation. But I’m wary, as they’d pretty much just be rants and I don’t want to muddy the character in mere substitute for drawing a self-portrait.

But as I said, I enjoyed them. And current events certainly gives one a storyline to continue to work with.

In addition to T:T I did like the occasional inter-cut of non-T:T bits. I can’t stand Star Wars but I liked the way you did the little review. And inserting yourself sitting with your character is nice and the fat movie guy (you know, Beyonce’s brother) gives it a movie feel.

T:T12, “leave your trash in Mississauga .” Funny stuff. Plus I like the name Mississauga .

Thumbnail Action. Amazing. I love this. You totally have every bit of you character nailed, and your animation tuition was certainly worth it. Love it.

T:T13, Canada joins war in Afghanistan. Great strip.

T:T14, the guy that runs the cigar shop returns! Nice to see. And nice reference to Pearl Harbour (and again later). I always dry heave when Americans cite PH knowing little about it.

The Dog, the Bitch and the Gimp. “ring burns on both ends”, you’re sick. (but in a good way). Interesting strip. I liked the ending. And these tiny-tiny panels you sometimes insert are a nifty device.

The Miller-esque pinup is nice.

Hat Attack, ah! So our little spy indeed has a head of hair (which I assumed as it’s in his file from Bootleg…)

Godlike, is that lettering reminiscent of The Godfather? Gotta love a Sea Monkies mention, though. And, of course, the Cerebus “alone, unmourned and unloved” reference.

Nice to see the first appearance of Spud.

T:T22, “don’t have to live there but still have to deal with them” sums up _exactly_ how I feel…

I also loved the cover, great colour contrasts and excellent presentation of your character. Paperstock is also nice.

Well done!

Spud and Harry (2007)

Nice flip cover and very eye catching.

The middle insert is very very cool also. I like that this is “a Spy Guy comic”, giving on the feeling you have your own little ‘universe’ going. Looking forward to Spud, Harry and Spy Guy meeting up some time.

The Spud story could be used in an Econmics 101 course…lots of information there; I’m curious how Spud, who obviously does his homework, will flesh out as a character. Harry, of course more the strong-Silent type.

Your art work, good years ago, has jumped leaps and bound. Absolutely fan-bloody-tastic. Every panel is damn, damn good. I really couldn’t be more impressed, Mike.

Feel free to pass this on to Blair…

Random notes on:

The Possum #1

Nice eye-catching cover.

I really like the splash page (p5), I’m very impressed with your houses and cars.

Page 7 having Mike’s line at the comic book convention being the only one with people (and lots of them at that) is a nice touch.

“3 Feet Under” is a hysterical name for a retirement place!

Holy hell is Steve Tacola an annoying character; and didn’t we allllllll know someone *exactly* like him!

Love the double-page spread on 18-19. Great bus.

A snort-out-loud moment was in the ambulance when our hero ‘returns’ the first reaction from the EMTs is not something like ‘it’s a miracle!’ but “Ahhhhh, Zombie!!” Funny stuff.

Nice use of visuals, very animated-like, with the stretcher coming out of the ambulance and rolling about.

Nice panel on 47, captures the “I wish I was never born” feel.

Again, I like your autos: the truck at the end of the story.

T-shirts with your first issue, wow, were pre-sales that good! Although I guess it’s not such an expensive endeavour as it used to be.

All in all a fun read. Admittedly I’m not a reader of _comic_ (or comedy/funny) comic books (pardon the seeming redundancy), but our visuals kept me engaged. Your consistent line-work is very solid. I haven’t seen a Mad magazine in over 20 years but I was getting a bit of a flashback. But you’ve mentioned you’re a big fan of Groo and I think Argones (sp?) was of that school.

What did stick out for me is your use of tones. Your art is really, really very good and I wish you would let us see it some more. Not everything needs a tone. Let white work for you. Solid black too.

The Possum #2

Again a nice cover. Eye-catching.

I like the movie-credits type of into (p8-9)

Again, your cars and backgrounds are very, very good.

Good ending with an issue number 2: bring ‘em back for more.

– – – – – –

Really impressive work, guys. And knowing that you both have the commitments of jobs, sometimes many jobs, and still get this down on paper. And published. Well, well done. And I’m sure Mom and Dad Kitchen are proud as can be.

Good luck with all your future projects!


Thanks Jay!

I’ll respond to your letter below in the comments section.

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