Thursday, March 21, 2019

Teen Titans GO! artist Sarah Leuver!

Be here at Flying Colors Comics 
Saturday March 23 at Noon to meet cartoonist Sarah Leuver!

Sarah's first published DC Comics' art is featured in the newest issue of Teen Titans GO! and we'll have copies on hand for Sarah to sign for you!

The event begins at noon. Shortly after, Sarah will do a LIVE drawing demonstration of a Teen Titans GO! character. Bring the kids, too!

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Dan Fraga's THE GRAVE: An Interview & an Exclusive Offer!


Dan Fraga's THE GRAVE
Flying Colors Comics is pleased to be working with artist Dan Fraga on an Exclusive Signed Bookplate Edition of his forthcoming graphic novel THE GRAVE from IDW Publishing.

Exclusive signed bookplate editions of THE GRAVE (still at cover price!) are available to order now through March 25 from Flying Colors Comics.

For ordering info, please email coolstuff@flyingcolorscomics.com.

Copies can be reserved and picked up in-store at Flying Colors (THE GRAVE releases on April 17).

Please note: Mail order copies are available at cover price plus shipping.


As a Contra Costa native now living outside of Atlanta, we wanted to catch up with Dan Fraga to look back at his formative days with comics and to talk about his career now.

FlyCoJoe: Dan, thanks for taking the time to talk bit about your career and your new graphic novel THE GRAVE. It seems your art career really started with a love of comic books. How did you get into comics when you were a kid?

Dan: My interest in comics started like most kids. I got my first comics as a 7 year-old at garage sales, then later at convenience stores. It wasn't until this time at the local Quick Mart that I picked up a copy of The Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe # 5 off of the spinner rack and saw that heroes and villains had first appearances.

I asked the clerk if he had a certain issue in the back because I wanted the first appearance of a character. He explained to me the comics were dropped off and picked up every couple of weeks. Then another customer told me about Comic Shops. I had no idea at that point that there were such a thing as comic shops. Of course I had to go!


FlyCoJoe: Growing up here in Contra Costa County, there were other comic shops here when you were first diving into comics. What do you remember about those shops?

Image from Dan Fraga's THE GRAVE
The first shop I'd ever been to was a shop called The Land of Nevawuz. It was in Pleasant Hill near Pacheco situated next to an arcade and a movie theater. I was blown away at first because I'd never seen a comic shop before. I remember putting Amazing Spider-Man #121 on lay-away and mowing lawns for weeks to purchase it. That shop was all about selling high ticket items and less about the culture of comics.

I eventually found Flying Colors and needless to say, the environment and vibe was much different. For starters, you had an incredible stock of trades, art books, back issues and other memorabilia. The one thing that struck me like a bolt of lightning was your bulletin board where you'd let artists post their work. I fell in love with your shop instantly, as I could see there was real love for the culture as a whole.



FlyCoJoe: I met you first when you were 15 years old in 1989 and you were doing the Comic Talk program for local cable TV. I want to thank you again for shooting the earliest video inside Flying Colors. I laugh now when I look at that video, because there we were-- in a super fun place---and we were both so deadly serious. Why so serious?

Dan: Ha! Yeah, I recall wanting to be taken as a serious journalist! Back then, and even now, when I embrace something, I go all in.



FlyCoJoe: I noticed right from the start you were eager to learn everything you could about comics, comic art and the business of comics. How do you think that helped you back then?

Dan: Honestly, when there's something I'm passionate about, I can't help myself but to be eager and have a voracious appetite for all things involved in whatever it is that I'm into. I think that it's helped me immensely.

That voracity kind of put blinders on me and I went after things full force and without fear. It's how I was able to just walk up to Jack Kirby and ask for his phone number... or to cold call Rob Liefeld on a weekly basis. All when I was just a kid!
Image from Dan Fraga's THE GRAVE

FlyCoJoe: As a comics creator, how important are comic shops to the work you do?

Dan: Comic shops are very important! It's the only place you can actually hold the books and have discussions with like-minded people in person. I find comic shops to be invaluable. 



FlyCoJoe: You were there in the early days of Image Comics. How crazy was it to be a part of that?


Dan: Being part of Image in the early days was absolutely nuts. I met Rob Liefeld when I was 16. I had met Todd McFarlane a few months prior... same with Erik Larsen and Jim Lee. But I talked with Rob on a regular basis. I basically sent him my artwork via fax anytime I'd draw something new.

Eventually, he'd tell me of his plans to start a company with Erik and Todd. That later became Image. My first visit to Extreme was February 1992. The day after I arrived was the day CNN came to the studio to do a news feature on the newly formed Image comics!

There I was with the pantheon of comics' greats... watching history happen in real time. Later after the news crew left, we all went to get Chinese food. I remember sitting there with Marat Mychaels and the seven Image founders and thinking "How the heck am I even sitting here?" It was literally a dream come true.



FlyCoJoe: Since your early days at Image, you have taken your art into other media. How did your experience in comics help you when you were an animation director?

Dan: The last full comic I had on stands was August 2002 Black Panther #50. I left comics to pursue work in the entertainment business.

I found that working in comics prepared me in a few ways. For one, having a sense of storytelling was essential, and for another, dealing with deadlines and production teams was also an asset. I started off storyboarding commercials, then later features like Transporter 2 and The Fighter. Later around 2010 I started directing on The Ricky Gervais Show, then I moved over to Mattel to help direct Monster High, Max Steel, and Hot Wheels.
-->
Now, I work on the Doom Patrol TV show as their storyboard artist. I found that my experiences in comics have been very useful, almost in a Swiss army knife sort of way. My skills, like drawing, storytelling, time management, and teamwork were all forged in comics. Those have all been used in the work I do now.


FlyCoJoe: What current projects are you working on?
Dan: Currently I'm back at drawing storyboards. I'm the regular board artist on Legacies for the CW, Doom Patrol for DC Universe, American Saga for Hulu, and Tales for BET. I also storyboard music videos for Taylor Swift, and recently drew the Nacho Fries campaign for Taco Bell.

FlyCoJoe:That brings us to THE GRAVE. It's an unusual project for any comics artist because you drew it one panel a day for an entire year. What led you to work this way?

Dan: I worked that way out of pure necessity. I was working a full time job, I had a three-hour commute... and a wife and three kids at home. The story had to be told and I needed to tell it.

I found a book called The War of Art by Steven Pressfield in which he talks about having no regrets creatively. That we must create, that we shouldn't wait for giant blocks of time, but use the time we do have to make our projects happen. I knew I could manage a panel a day, so that's what I did.

FlyCoJoe: How does the story in THE GRAVE circle back to your own coming of age years? 

Dan: There are a lot of real-life tidbits in THE GRAVE. There are conversations and events that managed their way into the story. I based a lot of the locations on places in Martinez. I used to get my comics at a corner store called Case's where the boys in the story get theirs... etc. I remember going from junior high to high school being a major step at the time for me. THE GRAVE is a story about the transitions we go through in life and making an effort to live life to its fullest... without regrets.

FlyCoJoe: Did I see something about you returning to Black Flag which you created for Image 25 years ago? What can you tell us about this and any other projects you have coming up?

Image from Dan Fraga's THE GRAVE
Dan: In my free time, I've been working on bringing my comic Black Flag back.

 There seems to be a demand for it. I get requests on a daily basis to do something with those characters. I've heard the requests and I've written a story arc that'll be sure to make the fans happy. I hope to announce it officially

I've also got a YouTube channel and Instagram called Couchdoodles. Where the mission is simple: To illuminate and empower creativity in others through example.

The show features interviews with creative professionals, and also has reviews, tech talk and how-to-draw segments. I am very passionate about Couchdoodles. It's my way of giving back.

FlyCoJoe: I love it! It's like Comic Talk from your high school days except with the added richness of experiences you've had over the last 25 years of your career and a mission to empower creativity. That's full circle!

About THE GRAVE:
For fans of coming-of-age stories similar to Stephen King's The Body; the movie based on it, Stand By Me; IT; Stranger Things; and E.T.

Drawn one panel per day over a year, follow the story of three boys who discover a
Image from Dan Fraga's THE GRAVE
shallow
grave while on a weekend camping trip. But that's just where the mystery begins. The unexpected find reveals a cigar box containing seven mysterious items: a knife, a coin, a pocket watch, a rare baseball card, a gold ring, a silver spoon, and a strange manga comic. How are these items connected? Whose body lies buried? Find out in this once in a lifetime tale of friendship, mystery, suspense, and growing up.

The exclusive signed bookplate edition of THE GRAVE (still at cover price!) is available to order now through March 25 from Flying Colors Comics. For ordering info, please email coolstuff@flyingcolorscomics.com.

Wednesday, January 02, 2019

Just Arrived! Exclusive Flying Colors Toon Tumbler!

































Our own mascot super-hero, Captain Four-Color, has his own Toon Tumbler! With art by Des Taylor (Titan Comics' Scarlett Couture), these cool and exclusive pint glasses are now available at Flying Colors. Just $11.99 each!

Saturday, December 29, 2018

About last night...The FlyCo Hall of Fave!


From left: FlyCoJoe, Liam Sharp, Gene Yang, Mick Gray, Dan Brereton, Libby
Last night, we had a truly special event to cap off our year of Flying Colors 30th anniversary events.

Being that December 28 is Stan Lee's birthday and that he was so instrumental in my career move into comics, we wanted to celebrate Stan, so we started our event with a good crowd here all cheering a big and hearty "Excelsior!"

Taking a page out of the Marshall McLuhan handbook ("the medium is the message"), yesterday was the official release date for Flying Colors 30th Anniversary Special Edition comicbook (Stan preferred 'comicbook' as the correct way to name the periodicals we create, sell and enjoy since so many of them aren't funny and they aren't books in the truest sense of that word. But they sure are "comicbooks!").

Our anniversary comicbook features an epic, funny, weird, wonderful and heart-tugging 14 page story by cartoonist Jeff Bonivert, "It Came from the Short Box!" The story stars our own Captain Four-Color and the Flying Colors Retailing Brigade. I hope you'll pick up copy or three here soon.
Available NOW at Flying Colors!

Last night, as the event started, I looked out at the assemblage of awesome people here--- our FlyCo Faithful, my FlyCo Retailing Brigade and some of our favorite comics creators--- and I got, shall we say, a bit... overwhelmed. 

I had a short intro speech written and prepared, but I just couldn't pull myself together to get to it, let alone through it. At one point, I tried to hand my script over to Libby. She's always far more poised than I am, but she knew this was my deal and while she helped me by taking the mike for a moment, when she handed it back, I was still a mess. Oh well. 

Let me, for the record, put my little intro speech here, to say the things I wanted to last night.

FlyCoJoe with Retailing Brigade members Casey, Marty and Mike
Flying Colors is a business, a community, a family... built on gratitude.

Given that today would have been Stan Lee's 96th birthday, rather than a moment of silence--- that wouldn't be Stan's way--- on the count of three, let's a give a rousing "Excelsior!"

I'm very grateful to everyone who has contributed to the longevity of this little shop. That includes our staff---  the FlyCo Retailing Brigade. I really want to shine the light on the two mainstays of the Retailing Brigade: Mike's been on staff for 18 years and Marty has 11 years here. So major props to them!

I'm so grateful to my family, Libby and our three daughters, Michelle, Jenny and Cindy. I've put them through a lot these last 30 years, living on the edge, not knowing from year to year whether this business would make it for another year. Libby deserves special thanks and some kind of award for all she does for me and the Flying Colors' community!

I'm happy to get our 30th anniversary comic released today. It's appropriate to have the comic released on Stan's birthday which also happens to be on the last weekend of our 30th anniversary year.

Big thanks to those who helped put it together:
* John Hageman, cartoonist for Bay Area classic kids' TV icons, Charley and Humphrey.
* Cartoonist Tom Beland whose one-page story in this comic is one you're going to love!
* Our Captain Four-Color art contestants, all featured in this comic.

Mostly let's give a big round of applause to cartoonist Jeff Bonivert, the co-creator of our own Captain Four-Color.

Jeff's 14-page epic story in this special comic is so much fun. You'll recognize some of the characters in it, including Stan "the Man" Lee making a cameo. For those of you who are fans of comics Silver Age, you'll get more of the jokes than anyone. Thank you for this awesome story, JB!

As you look around the shop here, you'll see a good number of comic book professionals. Welcome, one and all!

Jenny Field with Jim Lee and Brandon Choi, 1996.
So this is where the mystery of our "MysteryEvent" is revealed.

Over the course of these last 30 years, Flying Colors has put on so many events with comic creators. Free Comic Book Day events are huge, of course. We've done a number of events to debut and promote the work of these pros. All have become friends to me and to the Flying Colors community.

Some have gone above and beyond, giving Flying Colors much needed promotion and encouragement. They are also among our favorite people in the comics' biz.

Today, we want to honor a select few to be the first inductees into what I have dubbed the Flying Colors "Hall of Fave."
The FlyCo Hall of Fave honors these pros for their creative talents, their stellar comics work, their energy and enthusiasm in promoting comics and their steadfast support and promotion of Flying Colors Comics.

The honorees are:
Jim Lee (DC Comics co-publisher, co-founder of Image Comics, artist of X-Men, WildCATS, Batman, Superman, etc!) ---
a huge star in comics and has been for nearly 30 years, but not a lot know Jim's first pro signing was here at Flying Colors!

Seanan Mcguire with Libby and Joe Field
Dan Brereton (creator/artist The Nocturnals, Giantkiller, Black Terror)--- broke into comics at about the time Flying Colors opened back in '88. He's been a part of so many great events here, too. At one, we were even visited by US Congress member George Miller!

Liam Sharp (current artist of DC Comics' Green Lantern, also worked on X-Men, Hulk, Wonder Woman, etc!)---
So good with his fans, so great in his dynamic art and such a good bloke, too! With excellent events like the debuts of Wonder Woman Rebirth, Cap Stone, Brave and the Bold and Green Lantern, Liam brings the goods!

Gene Luen Yang (award winning graphic novelist, American Born Chinese, Boxers and Saints, Secret Coders, Superman, ambassador for young people's literature for the Library of Congress) ---
Moving comics forward while telling riveting stories is what Gene does. A fantastic talent, a verified genius and one cool dude, Gene has been the focal point of several great Flying Colors events... with more to come, we hope!

Seanan Mcguire (Hugo and Nebula award-winning author, writer of Marvel's Spider-Gwen: Ghost Spider)--- She shopped here from the time she was 10 years old... a time that wasn't always friendly to girls in comic shops... until she found Flying Colors. At 12, she told FlyCoJoe "I'm going to grow up and write the X-Men and when I do, Flying Colors will be the first place I sign them." When her first X-Men comic was released in 2018, after 28 years, Seanan kept her promise and flew down from her current home in Washington state for the happy event.
Read the sweet story HERE!
Mick Gray (current inker for DC Comics Wonder Woman)--- Ink slinger extraordinaire, Mick's first event with Flying Colors was in 1998 for the debut of DC's CHASE series. He was our first guest at Free Comic Book Day in '02 and was the first to add his ink to the Flying Colors Door of Fame! We love this guy, his comics work and his energy!

Welcome to the Flying Colors Hall of Fave! We hope you survive the experience!

Video from our Hall of Fave event!

Saturday, December 22, 2018

Flying Colors Emailing Brigade!


With Flying Colors' Mystery Event coming up Friday December 28 at 4PM... and more events coming in 2019, we invite you to join our email list... the FlyCo Emailing Brigade.

We'll send out an email prior to our Mystery Event giving you info you'll want to know.

Sign up here, please:
https://conta.cc/2R9KLr3

(Or if you're on FlyingColorsComics.com, look to the column on the left for the place to sign up.)

You Are Invited to Flying Colors' Mystery Event!

When: Friday December 28, 4PM-7PM 
Where: Flying Colors Comics, 2980 Treat Blvd at Oak Grove Rd, Concord 
Who: The FlyCo Retailing Brigade... and some surprises!
What: We'll have pizza and soda and a fun time on the last Friday of the year.

Why: Surprises!
The reasons will become clear soon. What we can tell you is December 28 is Stan Lee's birthday. While Stan "the Man" is no longer with us, the work he did in his 95 years on earth will live on forever! 

Along with the titanic talents the likes of Jack Kirby, Steve Ditko, Dick Ayers, Don Heck, John Romita, John Buscema, Bill Everett, Jim Steranko (and others), Stan had a hand in bringing forth a new mythology with characters that will live on for generations. 

So part of our Mystery Event will be spent sharing Stan stories and appreciations, to talk about the comics and characters he guided as editor and chief writer of Marvel Comics' Silver Age. 

But there are other special pieces to this event. There will be something for every fan of comics and Flying Colors. And there may be some surprise guests, too.

So we  just say YES and be here December 28 at 4PM!  
Tell us you'll join us for this event by hitting the "Going" button on our Facebook Event page.
By the way, here's a brief glimpse of something you'll see on December 28... 

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

More Exclusive Gift Ideas Available at Flying Colors Comics!





Be sure to follow FlyCoJoe on Twitter!

Friday, December 14, 2018

Spider-Man Into the SpiderVerse!

First, into Flying Colors.
Then... Into the Spider-Verse!
Flying Colors is OPEN 11-7 Daily!

We've Got Your Cool Stuff Right Here
in Flying Colors!