Sunday, December 30, 2007

The Greatest Comic Series Ever Made!

That's a big and bold statement for my header but this Marvel comic series that started in 1974 (when I was 4 years old) was THE reason I started reading comics and started reading in general. There are many reasons for me liking this series and I'll go into them later on as a podcast or on other posts. THIS comic cover that is shown IS my very first comic I ever saw and owned in 1975. Most people remember the first record they bought, but I remember my first comic! Spider-Man became my favorite character, which has lasted to this day, and my interest in the Lizard character which stayed with me as well. The Lizard was a great villain of sorts for the webslinger. There's something about a human lizard in the white lab coat that attracted my eye visually and made me want to read this comic and see what it was all about! The way artist John Romita drew Spider-Man on the cover (and his art was on other countless toys, comics, and other comic-related things I grew up on) remains THE definitive version of Spidey to me. Spidey and the Lizard were such a visual fascination for me that in 1982 when I saw a comic cover (Marvel Tales #143) with the Lizard fighting Spidey, I was hooked once again! I was in a local 7-11 after school and soon after I bought the comic for 60 cents and read it at home, it started my comic book collecting hobby which has lasted to this day.

This comic series started in 1974 and lasted for 57 issues. John Romita's beautiful artwork graced many of the covers in this series early on. The series was an innovative and educational effort between Marvel Comics and The Children’s Television Workshop, Spidey Super Stories was the first nationally distributed comic book created specifically to be an “easy to read” comic series in the early 1970s and featured Marvel Comics’ flagship character, The Amazing Spider-Man.

Here are some pages from the inside to give you an idea of the format and how little dialogue and word balloons are used as opposed to the normal comic book. The guidelines for the comic were based upon the Children’s Television Workshop research and eye-movement studies conducted by Dr. Kenneth O’Bryan at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education. As a result, Spidey Super Stories used an average of fewer frames per page, fewer balloons per frame, and fewer words per balloon than other comic books. The stories are written in a controlled vocabulary, and speech balloons are strategically placed to capture the eye of the reader.

This comic series was such a hit with me in my early years that I decided to use the comic as a model or template for my own comic book series starring Alfie. There are very few comics made for the little ones in today's world, so it's my attempt to use this format hoping to attract young readers who will want to pick up and read The Adventures of Alfie and see the many adventures that this little dog can get into. Spidey Super Stories succeeded and The Adventures of Alfie will attempt to follow suit by making reading a positive and exciting experience to young readers and to get them excited about reading comics and the thrill of the sequential art of storytelling!

Friday, December 28, 2007

The Alfie DCM Coloring Page Prize Print!

Here is the first Alfie print I made. Full of energy and charging through the backyard! I'll be giving this design out as the prize for the coloring contest page you saw previously posted that appeared in DCM. They will be signed and personalized for the two winners which will be given out the end of next month once we pick the winners.

Out on the, neighborhood...

After a quick comb through on his hair we're out on the street. Each day is filled with new sounds and smells...I've studied Alfie's movement and shot some video to get his exact stance and how he looks when he runs so that my cartoon captures as much of his essence as possible.

Waking up is hard to do...

It's a dog's life all right. He gets a prime sleeping spot on the bed. Took this shot one morning as I was getting ready for the day...
And once he hears my keys jangle as they go into my pocket, he's up and ready to go! "Yes, Alfie, we are going for your morning walk." It doesn't take much for Alfie to get ready in the morning. A few bulldozers on the bed or carpet and he's ready!

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Alfie's First Coloring Contest!

This is another page from the new Delaware County Magazine issue for January '08. I run a coloring contest every month for some kind of giveaway or prize and this is the first one ever featuring Alfie. It was thrown together at the last minute as well since the mag's deadline was kinda tight and it hit me late that, "Hey! Why don't I do one for Alfie?!" You'll be seeing this image in other spots probably as well. I'll get the most out of it in my style guide for Alfie. I have some color prints of Alfie that I'll be signing and mailing away to the winners of the contest!

Also below is an ad for Hollywood Hal & Rhinestone Al that I co-created. I run an ad for the boys every month as well. You can see them at! It's a Pre-K winner for your young ones at home!

Alfie first newspaper strip for January 2008!

Here is a first new strip I did for Alfie, It's a verbal gag but one that most small dog owners can relate to. There will be a new Alfie strip printed in Delaware County Magazine each month, which is a magazine that is in my area that I edit, design and write for. The publisher wanted a comic page and I thought Alfie would be perfect to get some exposure. So Alfie is starting off with a 120,000 copies a month run! This cartoon is in the January '08 issue which was printed this week! One of the Christmas strips ran in the December issue. His strip will also be on the magazine's website, but I'll post them here as well of course since this is also Alfie's Backyard!

Alfie's comic adventures will be on Sugary Serials which is located at! A great site for all kid-friendly and all ages comics! There will also be other downloadable Alfie stuff there soon. I got a lot planned! This blog will post the behind the scenes stuff and the working process to it all. A diary with art if you will!

Even though the action is static in this first cartoon, there is movement in each panel by the wag of both Alfie's tail and Pocket's tail. Even though I did not name him in the strip, the squirrel's name is Pocket and he is one of three squirrels that perplex Alfie. These other characters will all be revealed soon as I go along. There's a whole neighborhood that will be in here. Still debating if humans will be shown though...

Also, in the strip and comic book, I figure Alfie to be around 1 and a half or two years old at the most. I wanted to keep him younger since most of the stories are based on stuff from his perspective at that age that he had in real life. Which will be explained in future stories. He is also meant for younger readers so it helps to be around their age range.

The original intent for Alfie was for it to model a young reader book and be for beginning readers to help them learn to read, which is why I use larger word balloons and a more limited vocabulary. Anything I create for Alfie I want to all be consistant with what I originally set out to do and who my demographic would be. More on this later...

Monday, December 24, 2007

Merry Christmas from Alfie!

Here's the front of Alfie's first Christmas card I made this week! It came out really cute! I did the background which was all painted in Photoshop and added digital snow. The beauty of working in the computer is that if you aren't happy with something you can always fix it!

Merry Christmas from Alfie and me!

An Alfie Christmas! Final art!

And here's the final cartoon strip! Enjoy!

Another Alfie Christmas! Work in progress...

Here's another Alfie Christmas strip based on an actual incident when Alfie was young. This is when he was around 2 years old. He's now 4 and 3/4 years old. The cookies were too low and Yorkies are like mountain goats so he was able to get the cookies.

Here is the pencil version of the strip. I loosely put in the word balloons in some spots. A lot of planning went into the drawing.

An Alfie Christmas! Part 2! The final strip!

Here's the final strip! Enjoy!

An Alfie Christmas! Part 1! The pencil stage!

Here's an Alfie strip for Christmas at the pencil stage. I usually letter it first in the computer to get the accurate size for the final art. Also so that all my word balloons will fit in the strip and comic book naturally and not seem like they were jammed in with a crowbar.

After the pencil work is done and is something I'm happy with, then I ink it, scan it and then color the strip and then drop the lettering right on top. Here is one that I inked roughy so it's not in pencil. I try to get the idea down as completely as I can.

The Alfie Sketchbook Preview!

Here is a preview of Alfie so everyone can get an idea of what I want to do with my character based on my real doggie! Click on each image to enlarge so you can read them.

Welcome To The Backyard!

Welcome To
The Adventures of Alfie
by artist Scott Neely!