Tuesday, March 23, 2010


It is with great excitement that I announce veteran comic book artist John Van Fleet has signed on to provide the cover image for DIONYSUS WEPT! While the interior illustrations of this ground-breaking comic are in the gifted hands of Marc Borstel, Van Fleet will bring his "urban grit" to the cover. Avid comic readers will recognize Van Fleet's mysterious style instantly. That's because he's worked on some of DC COMICS most popular titles, including BATMAN! I met John at WIZARD WORLD/BIG APPLE CON in October '09. He and his partners were there promoting their studio and their innovative techniques for 3D modeling and video game design. But it's his unique painting style that caught my eye.

From a Q&A with Comic Book Resources:
Some describe Van Fleet's artwork as moody and mysterious, but the artist doesn't see it quite that way.

"I don't see my stuff as being that dark," said Van Fleet. "I mean I use a lot of black but I use it as a color and as a design tool, so I see it differently I guess. I have been told a lot of things about my art, some I see, some I don't. The most common is it's dark and moody, I like a good urban grit is all."

Fleet trained as an artist alongside an impressive list of others. "I went to Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, NY. We had a great class. George Pratt, Kent Williams, Mark Chiarello, Scott Hanna, just to name a few. [We] were all in the same group and we are all working in Comics."

For the rest of this interview head over to CBR

As a long-time BATMAN collector, it's an honor for me to be working with the man who illustrated one of my favorite all-time issues. BATMAN #663 is remembered by most as a comic/novella written by, master-author, Grant Morrison. Titled THE CLOWN AT MIDNIGHT, this spooky tale chronicles the Joker's bloody escape from Arkham Asylum. The 3D modeled illustrations from Van Fleet that accompanied the prose created a creepy tone worthy of BATMAN'S most dangerous adversary. Here's one of John's haunting images from the book.


Born and raised in the small town of Stanhope, New Jersey, John credits his childhood freedom in the 1960's as the source of his creativity. Now living in North Carolina, John feels blessed to have the company of his wife, kids, dog, friends and family. I hope to have Van Fleet's completed cover available for viewing, along with Marc's completed interiors, at the MoCCA Art Festival the weekend of April 10-11. See y'all there.

Sunday, March 14, 2010


Argentina born artist Marc Borstel has spent the last 20 years working in the comic book industry. But he's always looking for new ways to tell killer stories through his art. I had the pleasure of meeting Marc last year at NEW YORK COMIC CON '09 for the launch of our collaborative effort on THE OUTER SPACE MEN Graphic Novel. Marc was kind enough to shed some more light on the creative process involved in DIONYSUS WEPT.

Eric C Hayes: So Marc, give me an idea about the steps in the creative process.
Marc Borstel: I start sketching the page (On the computer, using Photoshop, with a Wacom Intuos 3 Tablet) on a virtual blueline white artboard, after the storyboard is done, I do all the panel borders, and I make a cheap copy I use as reference, then, I skip programs, enter the 3D modeling. I use Poser 7 for the characters and Lightwave 3D for the objects. when I do all the renderings, I come back to photoshop where I build every panel using 3D renderings, my own thumbnails and photo references (if needed), when I mesh all the objects in the panel, I add some photoshop filters to melt the artwork.
Eric C Hayes: The story starts out with some character development before business starts to pick up. Tell me how you can change the story's mood through your artwork.
Marc Borstel: Here's when the things get interesting: At this point, I start toying with the images, retouching, getting dirty, erasing, doing whacky things with all the tools I have at hand. this is the reason for getting something new (and fresh, I hope) in every page, because every panel has a different finishing process. If you like the artistic evolution in every page, but to me, this fact is great, because the story starts in a very specific way, moody, dark, and elegant, and after the page 5, it comes darker, chaotic, sick, very dramatic and moodier. I'm very proud of it.
Eric C Hayes: You're also doing the lettering on this project. Can you give me some information on your lettering decisions?
Marc Borstel: I'm trying to always keep the same color scheme for the lettering, I tried to make it controlled, because in such chaotic artwork, you need to be grounded with all the captions, to make the message clear for the reader, the only part where I made the lettering different was in the last panel, trying to increase the transformation on the main character.
Thanks Marc. If you're interested in Marc's art and the comic, make sure to follow this blog for the latest news on the progress of DIONYSUS WEPT.

Thursday, March 11, 2010


Here's your opportunity to take a "behind the scenes peak" at the creative process behind DIONYSUS WEPT (the revolutionary exploration into the internal universe told through sequential art.) This collaborative effort between the muddled mind of Eric C Hayes and the supreme pen of Marc Borstel is in the final stages of preparation for submission to the world of comic book publishing.

But it all starts with the script. The completed script is merely a collection of my disjointed thoughts jotted down in notebooks, book margins and on burrito receipts. Hopefully this witch's brew of musings ends with a cogent story. This blog post will focus on the artistic maturation of PAGE 6 from DIONYSUS WEPT.
Script page 6
This information is transported through a system of tubes, called the interweb, to Mar Del Plata, Argentina. By way of "electronic" mail, it is read by master draftsman, Marc Borstel. And even though English is Marc's second language, he nails the script every time. Often sending me back art that is head and shoulders better than I could have imagined myself. Using a Wacom tablet, Marc starts with a blue-line "pencil" sketch.
Page 6 pencil
After viewing Marc's sketches, I typically have to, first put my socks back on. Then I green-light the coloring phase. For some time, I've been taking notice of the coloring styles specific to non-superhero comics. I've really been digging the look of today's noir comics. This has been quite a departure from Marc's preferred style, But after some experimenting, it's clear he's created an atmosphere that is both evocative of a crime/noir story while presenting a completely original work of art.
Page 6 color
Lastly, comes the lettering. The only problems in this area arise from my misspellings in the script.
Page 6 letter
Hopefully, the end result is an entertaining story that doesn't bum too many people out. Everyone should now take a moment and thank Al Gore for creating the World Wide Web. Without him, and it, this process could last decades of frustrating delays. Make sure to follow this blog for further insight into the craft of making comics. And get yourself prepared for DIONYSUS WEPT, the nexus of Greek Mythology meets Nietzchean Philosophy meets Psychotropic Spelunking. See more of Marc's work at his DeviantArt page.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010


Is it any wonder that of all the Gods from ancient mythology, Dionysus is one that I've found to be most intriguing. The Greek God of wine was also the inspirer of ritual madness and ecstasy. That's pretty boss! He was so super-mint that the Romans adopted him but they went and called him Bacchus so as not to infringe on the Greeks. He was also known as the Liberator, freeing one from one's normal self, by madness, ecstasy or wine.

The great thing about mythology, is that is teaches us how random things came to be in existence. For example, Amethyst. As the tale goes, a pissed off Dionysus swore revenge on the next mortal that crossed his path, creating fierce tigers to carry out his wish. Along came unsuspecting Amethyst, a beautiful young maiden on her way to pay tribute to the goddess Diana. The terrified girl asked to be spared the pain of the brutal claws so Diana turned her into a statue of pure crystalline quartz. At the sight, Dionysus wept tears of wine in remorse. The god's tears stained the Quartz purple, creating the gemstone we know today. AWESOME!

While you absorb that, check out Page 2 of my comic book project DIONYSUS WEPT. Keep reading to see how this has inspired my literary creation of mythological proportions!