Thursday, October 21, 2004


I just finished a difficult sequence, one that took quite a while to figure out and not a small amount of compromises. It was essentially a "talking heads" scene, involving Shen Hua Yen, the hero of the series, and a taoist priest discussing plans to summon and ambush a vengeful spirit that is murdering members of the Song Dynasty Imperial court.

Their discussion takes place in the priest's chambers, amid some pretty lavish period decor and tricky camera angles I had to come up with to cover up the fact that there currently exists no examples of 12th century Imperial court taoist priest's chambers anywhere that I could find. (If anybody knows of one, please let know...)

What was I thinking when I wrote it, anyway? Not what it was going to be like to draw it, that's for sure. Why do I get myself into these situations? Writing this stuff that I have no idea how to draw? Truthfully, I don't want to think about it too much.

If I only created stories that were made up of the things I already knew about, my version of that cool sequence from that cool movie or comic or storyteller or whatever that I liked, then I don't feel as if I'd improve much as an artist. I might be faster, or more commercial, or even more well-known and popular. But that's not really the same thing as good, and never really was.

Still, it was worth it, I more scene that's never been done before in American comics, at the very least. I can now add some massive Chinese furniture to the repetoire. And the next time such a sequence comes up in this paper Song Dynasty World I've dreamed up for the series, I'll be that much more ready.

And, perhaps, better.

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

Gallery Show Details

Gallery Show Details
Originally uploaded by DaleBerry.

Originally uploaded by DaleBerry.

Thursday, September 09, 2004

cover, book one

Originally uploaded by DaleBerry.


I've confirmed a table at Gerald Okamura's 9th Annual DRAGONFEST, Nov.21st.2004, at the Glendale Civic Auditorium, 1401 N.Verdugo Rd.(134 Ventura Fwy,Glendale Ave.exit, should anyone want to go). This show features top-name martial artists, actors, industry celebs and varous combinations of the three, as well as all the prerequisite martial arts supplies, films, anime, manga, gifts, collectables, memorabilia and orientalia that revolves around martial arts and pop culture.

This is my first time attending (long time listener, first time caller...), and I can't wait, frankly. I've been a fan for so long, watching from the sidelines as awareness and acceptance and appreciation for all of the above has slowly grown to become part of everyone's common experience, that even if the show's a bust and I don't sell a book, or are ridiculed for having the temerity to even try to do an American wuxia comic, or (what the heck? since we're throwing...) end up in a drunken martial melee in the parking lot, steel flashing in my hands as I go down in defeat beneath an onslaught of angry action-film stars and their Fists of Fury...I am still going to have a great time.

(um...not that I expect any of that to actually happen, you understand...)

We'll have copies of the books for sale, as well as previews for #3 and more (ask about our Free Kung Fu Movie Special!). Just look for the big, leaping Moonlight Cutter above the Myriad Publishing table.

Also, a pinup of mine will be featured in an upcoming gallery show in LA, dedicated in part to the Day of the Dead Festival and in part to the art of "El Muerto, Aztec Zombie,"the independent comics creation of artist/band manager Javier Hernandez. Details are still being worked out, but it's expected to run from mid-October through early November, and I'll be happy to post more complete details (like, oh, the exact address and location) as soon as I get 'em from Javier. He's a busy man these days, with his book in development as an indie movie and his band, Core 13, playing all over the place...but the show is firm and specifics are on the way.

Monday, August 30, 2004

So How Do You Find The Books?

If you haven't been able to find them, or your store hasn't been able to order them, help is on the way: the series can be ordered once again from national distributors (ie; Diamond Distributors), following a year spent mistakenly labelled as "unavailable." It turns out my copublishers, who are in charge of marketing, were too busy to actually do any, never followed up on the distributor's snafu and seldom filled any orders themselves.

I've spent the last year, on the other hand, selling hundreds of copies (yes,hundreds) by hand at conventions and comic shops, all while writing and researching #3 and recovering from a bout of Bell's Palsy, which left half of my face paralysed for three months and forced me to relearn how to draw with an eyepatch,and without depth perception. Bitter? Oh, a tad...

Things did get better, though. The palsy faded away in time (though I still have a slight tic in my left eye during stress) and after directly, personally confronting the distributor on their error, the books did become available again. The copublishers have recently invested in an ad for The Comics Journal. Continued follow up remains an issue,however.

Therefore, to cut through the bs, I'm making copies available directly from me. You can order a single copy for yourself, both books as a set, or multiple copy orders (retailers inquire for discounts). The info is below. I'll be happy to autograph single copies of each, and, time and demand permitting, I might do a quick sketch in one if you ask nicely. Oh,and be sure to include your return address! :)

TALES OF THE MOONLIGHTCUTTER #1 [42pgs., perfect-bound, B&W with a wraparound full color cover]
price: $4.00 (+2.25 p&h)

TALES OF THE MOONLIGHT CUTTER #2:SILK & SPEAR [52pgs.,perfect-bound, B&W with wraparound full color cover] price:$5.50 (+2.25 p&h)

Discounts on multiple orders.
Send cash, check or money order, payable to:

Dale Berry
c/o Myriad Publishing
2775 38th Ave.
San Francisco CA. 94116

Meanwhile: I'll have some important info on a convention and an upcoming gallery show appearance in the Los Angeles area soon! To be continued...

Monday, August 23, 2004

Originally uploaded by DaleBerry.

Originally uploaded by DaleBerry.

Friday, August 20, 2004

Originally uploaded by DaleBerry.

Whoever said making your own independent comics is fun was lying. Or thinking wishfully.

Satisfying, yes. Hard work, yes. Educational, enlightening, yesyes. But fun? Only sometimes. Seldom. There's too much writing and redrawing and peripheral distraction. And far too many road miles and bad meals and hotels. And often, way too much shilling and ballying for people's love and attention and money -looking out for what my old carnival mentor called "the Tip." The crowd. The audience. The ones you must please or cajole or manipulate with your charm, your routine and your patter until the conclusive Big Payoff. "Grab the Tip, build the Tip, execute the Tip"-the Barker's creedo.

Yet, comes the other side. The private side. The draw, if you'll pardon a pun...the need to create with the ideas of visual storytelling, of making and reading Movies On Paper, taking a medium out for a spin in ways seldom, if ever, used anymore, and all while exploring a world that, for most, is the very definition of the unknown.

A synthesis of the last two paragraphs is what I suspect provides the spark that keeps things moving...

I've made some changes to the layout, and have begun to explore some of the technical possibilities inherent in using a site like this. Its exciting, but I'm not sure if I'm obsessive enough for it to become too "enhanced," or too much of an online journal for myself. It is, after all, about the drawing.

I think I'll keep the overall look of it fairly simple: basic black, without a lot of bells and whistles. Focus on the visual aspects, for the time being... if people comment otherwise, perhaps we'll add more.

Wednesday, August 18, 2004

Originally uploaded by DaleBerry.


As work progresses on TALES OF THE MOONLIGHT CUTTER #3:CRIMSON TEARS [tentative title], I've decided to explore the idea of posting some of the various designs, sketches, thumbnails, unused pages and "rough" pencil art for the series in a blog.

Well,"decided" isn't exactly true...I don't have much practical computer experience, so its not something I would've ever considered for myself. I have to say the idea came from my friend James Sime, proprietor of San Fransisco's very progressive comics salon,Isotope. James suggested it as a way to fulfill the demand to see more of my artwork, and as a way to share the process of creating the book with others.

The series, following the adventures of a wandering swordsman and his encounters with the supernatural world in 12th century China, has two graphic novels in print so far. [Artwork below is the cover to TALES #2:SILK & SPEAR.] It has garnered some critical interest and very positive feedback from readers and retailers, some of whom are probably far more familiar with the conventions of China's wuxia pian ("flying swordsman") genre than I'll ever be.

If these readers tell me something "feels" right to them [ie; feels genuine,or just like something out of a Chinese film or novel] while I'm still telling a story that's accessible to anyone...then I know I've gotten it right.

The book has proven to be a challenge to me as an artist and a writer. I'm constantly faced with learning to write and draw things that I've never considered before (How did the powerful and wealthy behave in the Song dynasty? How did the poor and desperate? How did they dress? What does the underside of an overhanging pagoda roof look like, anyway?). This requires a lot of research, and much trial & error, as I teach myself exactly how to make it "feel" right. Many, if not most, of these rough ideas and designs (as well as finished artwork) will be posted here in the days to come.