Thursday, June 26, 2008

Heroes Con 2008 wrap-up extravaganza

Whats up dudes and dudettes?

Another year, another fabulous Heroes Con in the lovely city of Charlotte, NC, for those of you that are stupid and without a map.

Travel chums Brad McGinty and Patrick Dean made both the trip up and back fun with their amusing anecdotes and sound effects while I drove the Yaris full of fun mini comix and pasty nerds. I seriously can't believe we fit all of that in a two door car. Oh well, the things we do to save on gas, which by press time is now up to $74.67 a gallon. Why do I bring up gas prices? Trust me it came up a lot.

This is my fourth year going, first year as a featured guest in Indie Island.
I guess I'm moving on up the comix latter. Why, next year at this time you might have maybe possibly heard of me! Not bloody likely, but a fella can dream, right?

Anyway, where was I? Oh yes, I shared a table with the other half of Cute Girl Demographics, Brad McGinty (who's not a cute girl) , and our super duper pal and fellow cartoonist Shannon Smith.

The table was cramped and tight but it was nice to have someone at the table at all times, 'cos I like to walk around n' stuff and buy stuff n' stuff.

And Brother, did I ever buy stuff! I think I did my part to stimulate the economy, thank you.
I don't think I 'll ever need another comic as long as I live. Just kidding, please send me your comics, everyone!

That's my biggest regret of the show. I really wish I met and traded with more of you out there. But I digress.

What, was there even a point?

Oh yes, the stuff I bought or otherwise (shoplifted):

The Claws Come Out
by Pat Lewis

I was already sorta familiar with Pat's work through the stuff he did For Wide Awake Press. I really love it. His style is super bouncy and cartoony. I love cartoony books. We need more fun comics, I mean they're called Comics, right? Anyway, the book is great, buy it now. Pat's gotta lot of great minis too. Go to his site right now and say "What up, homeskillet?!"

Superior Showcase #3
by various jerks

Man alive! What a great book. All three stories (by Brian Maruca, Jim Rugg, Laura Park and Dustin Harbin) are great. Am I saying great too much? I must admit, I had hesitations about Steet Angel, mostly because I thought it was gonna be a comic adaptation of the
1984 film directed by Robert Vincent O'Neill about the High School Honor Student by day, Hollywood Hooker by night. Well, true believers, it's not. I 'm a fan now. I loved Street Angel.

I 've slobbered over Dustin many times in many places, so I'll just say,
"Dustin, you make me wanna quit drawing, and I mean that in the best possible way."

A side note about this book. I got Chris Pitzer to sign my issue, he personalized the lovely Roger Langridge cover for me and for whatever reason felt bad and offered to give me a clean copy too. I wouldn't hear of it. In fact, I want Chris to autograph all my comics for me from now on. Y'hear that, Chris? Look for my collection coming to you C.O.D!

Skyscrapers Of The Midwest
by Josh Cotter

I haven't read this one yet, but man, the book is gorgeous, it really looks great(there's that word again!)
Oh, I have read an issue or two of this book when it was being serialized as a floppy, but I don't know how it reads all together. I 'm wagering it'll be great(That's it, I quit).

The Blot
by Tom Neely

Would you believe this beautiful book is self-published? Cripes, the craftsmanship on the cover alone is enough to make me throw my own books in the nearest landfill.

Tom has kinda a 30's Ub Iwek/Fleischer looking rubber hose style that he uses to tell a sad and psychedelic tale that I honestly would do a disservice by trying to explain. This book is all pictures. There are a few word balloons, but it's mostly a pantomime. I've seen this book around, and I 'm glad I have it now. Look out for The Blot, he's gonna be huge!

Girls Of Monster Paradise
By Stephanie Gladden

First things first, the cover of Girls Of Monster Paradise looks MUCH better in real life. I was just too lazy to get a good scan and I couldn't find a better picture in Google image search.
In a perfect world, you and I could turn on the TV and this cartoon would be on the air. Then after we finish watching a little TV, we could get up and go to the kitchen and make ourselves a bowl of Girls Of Monster paradise cereal while dreaming of a world when gas was still only $2.98 a gallon.

Send me a better jpeg of this cover, Steph!

The Surrogates
by "Hollywood" Rob and some other guy

Jeez, Rob. I'm sorry it took me this long to get around to buying your book.

Some other odds and ends:
  • a nutty European Disney Duck comic that has some dragons and junk
  • Superman Family Vol2
  • ...and a grounds for divorce-worthy amount of golden age funny animal comics.

You're still reading this?

Let me say how great it was to see my friends, J.Chris Campbell, Duane Ballenger, Rob Ullman ,
Ben Towle, Topshelf, Adhouse, Sarah Louise Wahrhaftig, Chris Schweizer, Team 8 Press, Dollar Bin, all those guys from Macon, Indie Spinner Rack and lotsa new friends too.

Admittedly, I didn't really make out at the Con like a bandit in terms of my sales, but a good time was had and that's all that really matters, right?
I honestly wish I walked around and did more trading.
I guess I was just darned embarrassed!
I guess there's always next year-
Unless of course, we live in a Mad Maxesque post apocalyptic world by then.
In that case, comic books would be pretty silly, really.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

A new review for an old comic

(click on image to read this very nice review)

Well, whadda know?

Rashy Rabbit #3 was in last months' (May 2008 for those keeping up)Comic Buyer Guide.
It seems as if it was "Indie Comic Of The Month."

Why didn't anybody tell me?

Oh, and for the record, Morie is a dog!



Though it isn't obvious from his demeanor and dialect, Josh Latta was born in Nashville and grew up in the Atlanta suburb of Stone Mountain. And while he makes a living creating Flash animation for kids games and conservative clients, he is most proud of his confessional comic books starring a down-on-his-luck rabbit in search of something more meaningful in his life than bong hits and strip clubs.

While working on the fourth issue of his Rashy Rabbit series, he took some time to talk about Rashy Rabbit, the local comics scene and what led him to cartooning.

For those who haven't seen it, what's your comic book about?

It's about a character named Rashy Rabbit and they're semiautobiographical stories about me and other people I knew growing up. They're usually about sex and drugs and other various debaucheries. It stars a rabbit, who's basically my stand-in.

Is it an online comic or in print?

I would like to probably put more online. I have them on places like MySpace and Blogger, but not a specific Web site where you can just read the comics. A lot of people like to read comics online, but I just could never get into it. I think comics are always going to be a printed medium. That's how I enjoy reading them and I assume a lot of other people do to. Then again, what do I know? There's a lot of online comics that seem to be real popular nowadays.

Magazines and newspapers are moving towards that, too. But to me comic books and magazines are things I want to read when I'm not in front of a computer.

Yeah, exactly. I like to lay down when I read, or sit in a comfortable chair. Sitting in front of a computer just feels like work to me and I can't really relax in front of a computer. I guess that's also because a lot of the art I do nowadays is going to be done on a computer some way or another. It's going to be in Vector or Flash animation or Photoshop. Everyone wants files, not raw art. I don't really have original art anymore since I piece together so much of it on my computer.

At what point did you realize art was something you wanted to pursue?

According to my mom, I've been drawing since I was 2. I've always wanted to do exactly what I'm doing, which is cartoons. For whatever reason, that particular medium just spoke to me, there's something really special and magical about it and I always wanted to do it. Animation always just felt so far away from me, though, because growing up in the pre-Internet days there wasn't really that much information on how animation was done. I just didn't know how people did it. That's one thing about Flash animation is it puts the tool in anybody's hands.

Did you go to art school or are you self-taught?

I'm self-taught. In some ways I wish I went to art school, probably more for the social aspect of it. It might have sped up the process a lot more. But when I got out of high school you couldn't have convinced me that college was the thing to do after being in school for that long.

Who are some of your favorite cartoonists that have influenced your style?

My earliest influence would be Disney. I was a big Disney fan and that stuff always stood out. Looney Tunes cartoons, Cheap Hanna-Barbera cartoons – I loved that stuff and still do. I read Disney comics growing up and a lot of Mad magazine and humor books. I didn't get as much into the superheros. Further on in my life I guess more quintessential influences would be Robert Crumb, Dave Cooper, Pete Bagge – a lot of the alternative guys. But Robert Crumb in particular opened my eyes and showed me that you can tell personal, unflattering, un-politically correct stories through the medium of comics. And I love that, I love when people are honest in art and I think most people aren't, people are afraid to show their dark side.

Take us through your creative process.

It still always starts off the same way, which is pencil and paper. I still sketch everything out and try and get it right in the pencil stages. With comics I still do it by hand and with the computer I scan in everything and ink it in Illustrator and Flash. It still starts off the old fashioned way with pencil and paper. I think nothing can beat that.

Where did you get the idea to do

That came from my father, actually. He would jokingly refer to our house as Lattaland and he put that in the cement in our driveway. I always thought that was funny and obviously there's the Disney influence. I thought about getting a new Web site because I don't know if it's too hard to find me with Lattaland instead of Josh Latta. But I like the sound of it.

Do you ever do gallery shows or just the comics and online stuff?

I've done a few art shows, but I always end up feeling misplaced in something like that because my art really doesn't look that great when you see it because I do piece together things in Photoshop like putting word balloons in and whiting out stuff. A lot of my stuff is drawn on tracing paper, so it looks kind of rough when you see it up close. Like I said, I think comics are a printed medium and that's how I like my work to be presented.

How do you feel about Atlanta's art scene?

There are a lot of good artists here. To me the comics scene is something entirely different and what I do is even an offshoot from what most people in Atlanta do. I self publish and put out mini-comics that are personal stories and humor based. I don't think a lot of people are doing that.

It's hard to get a comic book in people's hands. It's hard to get people to read just about anything, so it's an uphill battle. I don't do well at Atlanta comics shows, I seem to do better in other cities. There's a good small press expo in Baltimore and in Charlotte I do really well. And I usually get a better response from people who aren't already into comic books than comic book fans.

I do have a lot of good friends who are cartoonists. One good thing about being in Atlanta is we have Turner, so there's a lot of opportunity for cartoonists. I have a good friend who's also my mentor in cartooning named Stephanie Gladden and she's been a lot of help. Another good friend who was actually the best man at my wedding is Brad McGinty, who's a self-publisher, and he's amazing. He puts out so many books, he's a machine.

Who are some of your favorite local artists?

I like Stephanie Gladden, of course. And I like Bethany Marchman as far as fine art goes. Brad McGinty's not only a good friend of mine, but he's also a great artist and I'm a big fan of his work.

How would you say Southern culture has influenced your work?

Oh, it definitely has. When I draw my comics I draw a lot of real things from the South. The one I'm working on now, Rashy Rabbit No. 4, there's a scene inside the Pink Pony and I didn't even call it some goofy name. It's just the Pink Pony, so I'll call it the Pink Pony. Rashy Rabbit's world is pretty much an animal version of Atlanta. It's kind of like Song of the South with animals that are clearly meant to be of different races. I don't shy away from stuff like that because I think it's honest and sincere and it's coming from a place where I'm like, "Hey, we are different and this is the South and this is what I personally deal with."

Why are you Rashy Rabbit and how do you decide which animal characteristics are going to apply to certain characters?

I don't know exactly. Rabbits are kind of a quintessential cartoon animal. Rabbits are at the bottom of the food chain, everybody will eat them and they really don't have much purpose except to be food and fodder for other animals. And since a lot of my comics revolve around sex, I thought the rabbit's sex drive would be apt, too. I use other animals, too, but pretty much everybody's a rabbit or a weird dog kind of creature.

Where can people find your comics?

You can find them online at If you're here in Atlanta I'd recommend looking at Criminal Records and on my Web site and at comics shows.