Showing posts with label Game On Comics. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Game On Comics. Show all posts

Thursday, February 26, 2015

J. Robert Deans explains why he is Kickstarting a cow-in-space childrens book

by Mike Rhode
J. Robert Deans may be most familiar to the local community as a comic book store manager, but he's been working on a webcomic, and now has launched a Kickstarter campaign for a cartoony children's book about a cow in space. In the middle of that fundraising, he took the time to answer my usual questions.

What type of comic work or cartooning do you do?
Around the time my daughter was born, I started working in a comic shop in Springfield, the former NOVA Comics. After that closed, I worked for Game On Comics in Vienna. I’ve had a web comic for almost three years now, a weekly single-panel gag comic called “Crass Fed Comics,” which is mostly jokes and puns in cartoon form. I occasionally post other random pieces of art as well, larger pieces, longer comics, or stuff that doesn’t fit the theme. Last year I added a new comic, the monthly (soon to be bi-monthly) comic strip “The Adventures of Surf and Turf,” which features a cow and penguin hanging out on a farm…with puns. Lots of puns. Last year after being laid off from Game On, I had an idea based on a silly doodle I had done some time earlier, and that quickly became a picture book for kids, which has exploded into half a dozen book ideas, and “Crass Fed Kids” was born. The first book, Moo Thousand and Pun, is now being Kickstarted. Subsequent books may be as well, depending on the success of the first, which features a cow in space.

How do you do it? Traditional pen and ink, computer or a combination?
I do have a tablet with the Manga Studio program on it. I use that to make corrections and add colors to art when necessary. (Moo Thousand was done this way, with letters also added digitally.) Most of the Crass Fed cartoons are black and white line art, but when I color I use technology. For the most part, I use pen and ink. I like drawing digitally, and I keep experimenting…but nothing can replace a pencil and a sheet of Bristol board.
When (within a decade is fine) and where were you born?
I was born in the early 1970s, in South Carolina. Luckily, I escaped.
Why are you in Washington now? What neighborhood or area do you live in?
When I was moving to go to college after a few years of working full time, my best friend tried to hook me up on a blind date with her friend. That Christmas, said friend sent me a card with her picture in it. A couple of weeks later we went on that date, and haven’t looked back. After I graduated I moved up here to the Springfield area to be with her. She’s a native to the area.
What is your training and/or education in cartooning?
None. And, to be honest, it shows. I have been drawing and doodling all my life, but I never took any formal classes. The past few years have been filled with several family tragedies, and drawing was an outlet to keep myself distracted. My position as a comics retailer afforded me many friends in the industry that have been very generous with their time and advice, and I have taken advantage of that.
Who are your influences?
Oy. A ton. It may not show up in my work at all, but artists like Will Eisner, Wally Wood, Jack Kirby, John Romita Sr, Frank Robbins, Alex Toth, Paul Reinman, Martin Nodell, Carmine Infantino, Charles Schulz, they were all over the books I read as a child. And many more, to be sure.
Creators that could be considered contemporary to me would include Dave Stevens, Stan Sakai, Chris Samnee, Gabriel Hardman, Dave McDonald, Paul Smith, Frank Cho, Evan Shaner, Roger Langridge, Howard Chaykin, Kevin Maguire, George Perez…too many to really count. The late Mike Parobeck and Mike Wieringo remain favorites. And that doesn’t even include the writers.
The biggest outside influence on my work today is Stephan Pastis, the creator of “Pearls Before Swine,” who I am pretty sure is my spirit animal.
I have also amassed a wonderful core of friends who help me almost daily with their encouragement, advice, and talent, and make my life that much more enjoyable: Jamie Cosley, Tara O’Connor, Matt Wieringo, Drew Moss, Bob Frantz, Eryk Donovan, Hoyt Silva, Erica Schultz, and Steve Conley.
Clearly, my wife and daughter (who at times is a collaborator) are my biggest influences. I really just do what I do for them. The fact that others have enjoyed the result is gravy, and something I am always thankful for. I also have to acknowledge Francesco Francavilla and his wife Lisa, who was the final push for me to start Crass Fed, with an almost literal kick to the tuckus and a “go do it, ya dummy!”
If you could, what in your career would you do-over or change?
Start younger. A lot younger. I’m at an age when arthritis and vision problems set in (and they are). Plus, I would have started taking classes to improve my craft that much earlier.
What work are you best-known for?
Probably my penguin avatar. I drew it while I was in high school, and when I go to shows, once I tell folks I’m “that penguin guy,” they recognize me. Next would probably be the cows, which I draw for my daughter. Her favorite toy is a stuffed cow she has had since birth, and that cow is the star of Moo Thousand.
What work are you most proud of?
There are a couple of individual cartoons from Crass Fed or Surf and Turf that I am proud of, but the biggest thing is the book. One friend, when I asked him to read a draft after the art had been finished, said that everyone says they write, but few actually finish a book. He said no matter what the reaction, I should take pride in my producing a complete work…and I do. I like how it turned out, people I don’t know have enjoyed it, and have asked for more. That’s… a nice feeling.
What would you like to do or work on in the future?
I would like to try my hand at writing a traditional cape and cowl comic. That would be a challenge, to be sure. I see what writers go through to keep readers captivated month in, month out, and it’s daunting and admirable. For some reason, I would like to try that.
Barring that, I have ideas for several other books in the Crass Fed Kids line, and hopefully this first one will be successful enough to allow me to make more.
What do you do when you're in a rut or have writer's block?
This may fall in to the category of “TMI,” but I jump in the shower. Every time I’ve had an idea that has really worked, like Moo Thousand, that lightbulb has gone off while I’m in the shower. After that, I put on another pot of coffee and get to work.
What do you think will be the future of your field?
Honestly, once we get past all of this histrionic crap about new female and minority creators and have real representation and equality at the creative level, comics will blossom. Folks still have a bizarre preconception about comics and comic shops, and the only thing that will get us past that is diversity. Speaking as a former retailer, every new comic book movie does nothing to boost comic sales. In almost ten years of selling comics in which there were some 20 comic-book-based blockbusters, I can count on one hand the number of new readers that came in to the shop because they saw one of those movies.
What really got people into the shop where they may not have thought of comics before were books like March by John Lewis. Or Bone by Jeff Smith. Or Ms. Marvel by G. Willow Wilson and Adrian Alphona. Books that feature lead characters that aren’t white dudes in tights. While there isn’t anything wrong with white dudes in tights, there are so many more worlds to explore that we need to open up the gates to everyone who has a story to tell… and let them tell them. Encourage them. Inspire them. Get them started with a pencil and a dream and support to let them tell their story. When we can really do that with everyone, the future will be as rich and as amazing as we can dream it to be.
What local cons do you attend? The Small Press Expo, Intervention, or others? Any comments about attending them?

We regularly attend Heroes in Charlotte, Baltimore Comic Con, and SPX. We also went to AwesomeCon last year. If all goes well with the Kickstarter, this year will be our first exhibiting, starting with AwesomeCon. We will also have tables at Heroes, and are in the queue for a table at SPX. Baltimore is up in the air this year (because of a family scheduling conflict).

I have written about attending conventions for my blog, because they are such different animals for exhibitors than attendees. The cost of attending a show can be pretty big, especially if the show isn’t local. Admission, hotels, meals, travel, all of that adds up before you even buy your first piece of art or your first book. When you exhibit, that costs goes up exponentially with table fees, travel and shipping all of the materials needed to exhibit…it’s an expensive undertaking just in hopes that a few folks stop at your table and check out your work. It’s exhausting, and most creators hope they can just break even. It’s a little easier for artists because they can always sell commissions, but writers have to be able to sell their story, which is a lot harder in a convention setting where the visual side of the medium is king.

The advice I give everyone about attending is go to have fun. Even I have attended a show (Heroes, the first time), just to meet a particular creator (Kelly Sue DeConnick). In addition to that, use the time to explore other creators you don’t know. Browse the artist alley. Check out folks sharing tables. Their budget is small, and their hopes large. A simple $5 purchase at their tables could be just the encouragement they need to keep creating. Who knows… a comic bought on a whim at a table could mean you were one of the first people to discover the next big thing in comics. I call it “Try 5” and have written more about the idea on my blog at

What's your favorite thing about DC?

I met my wife here. The food’s pretty good too.

Least favorite?

The commuting. Always, the commuting.

What monument or museum do like to take visitors to?

I actually let my wife handle that. Being the native, she is much better at figuring out logistics and such when those visits are needed. Aside from the Library of Congress where my wife works, Air and Space is usually the big hit, though. And Natural History. Old books, space, and dinosaurs rule, I suppose.

How about a favorite local restaurant?

I used to manage a restaurant, nothing at all fancy, and my wife is finishing up her first cookbook, so we tend to cook most of the time. But, if friends are in town it’s hard to top any of Jose Andres’ options. Jaleo is probably the favorite. Or one of a small handful of good Pho places. Hard to go wrong with Pho, or my favorite, Bibimbap.

Do you have a website or blog?

Indeed. My home site, which has been running since ’97, is – from there you can get to my blog (, or any of my webcomics (all hosted at, plus a few other sites like my wife’s recipe blog, or other art, such as my daughter’s art ( I am also on twitter (@jrobertdeans). I don’t have a public page for Facebook, but when I remember to, comics are also cross-posted on the Crass Fed Comic page on Facebook.

Tuesday, April 01, 2014

Game On! Comics Graphic Novel Trade-In Day this Saturday

Got some old Graphic Novels sitting around? 
 Trade them in for store credit! 

 Do you have old graphic novels sitting around unread, and you want to clear up some space for new collections? Bring your used graphic novels in this Saturday, April 5, from Noon-4pm, for our new Trade-In Day!

We will give you store credit based on the resale value and condition of your books that you can use immediately, or in the future, on any store product (even books in your subscription box)!
Game ON logo
Graphic Novel Trade-In Day!

This Saturday
April 5th
All Day

We will be exchanging store credit for your used trades!   
Here is how it works:
Value of your graphic novel
$1-$20 = $5 store credit token
$21-$40= $10 store credit tokens
$41-$60= $15 store credit tokens
$61-$80= $20 store credit tokens
$81-$100= $25 store credit tokens
That's it!  Just bring them in and trade!

*We do reserve the right to decline graphic novels based on condition, popularity, and current stock.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Halloween ComicFest comes to Game On!

Halloween ComicFest comes to Game On! 

Saturday, October 26 will be a great day at GAME ON! Comics as we celebrate Halloween Comic Fest 2013!  From the time our doors open until supplies run out, GAME ON! will have available FREE Halloween-themed comic books for our customers to check out.  In addition to the free comics and other fun activities, from Noon until at least 4pm, we will have not one, not two, but THREE great artists hanging out, signing their comics, and drawing some GREAT art for their fans!  They are:
  • Mark Roberts, artist and colorist, most recently on Dynamite Entertainment's PATHFINDER GOBLINS
  • Pop Mhan, artist and cover artist on the current HE MAN AND THE MASTERS OF THE UNIVERSE comic from DC
  • Drew Moss, GAME ON! favorite and artist on the recent IDW mini-series THE COLONIZED
Find out more about these wonderful folks at the following sites, and come pick up one of their books (we have extras for you to buy), get a signature or a drawing, and talk about comics (and Tacos)!
Mark Roberts
Pathfinder Goblins

  • Mark's DeviantArt Site:

  • Mark's Twitter Feed:

    Pop Mhan
    Masters of the Universe 

  • Pop's DeviantArt Site:

  • Pop's Twitter Feed:

    Drew Moss

  • Drew's DeviantArt Site:

  • Drew's Twitter Feed:

  • Drew's Tumblr Blog:

  • See you next Saturday!

     JR,  Michael, Giahn, Louis
    Game On! Comics

    Friday, October 18, 2013

    Monday, September 02, 2013

    Game On! Comics' Labor Day sale

    ChildTime Magic
    Thank you from Game On! Comics!
    Dear Mike,


    Come join us for a ONE-DAY Sale! 
    On September 2nd from 11am-8pm 

    Labor Day Sale 
    50% OFF all Back Issues
    25% OFF all Games*
    25% OFF all Heroclix 
    25% OFF all Action Figures
    25% OFF all Graphic Novels
    Additional 25% OFF Sale items!
    *excludes Magic the Gathering

    Game On! Comics

    Friday, May 31, 2013

    June 1: Aspen Comics creators Krul and Hernandez at Game! On Comics in Vienna

    Game ON logo
    Exclusive Signing Event tomorrow!

    Saturday, from 12-4pm

    aspen event

    Do not miss this rare opportunity to meet some great comic writers/creators!
    June 1st, 2013  
    From 12-4pm
    Join us as we welcome writers/creators of Charismagic and Jirni!
    • J.T. Krul, writer of Jirni, Soulfire, Fathom, Teen Titans, Green Arrow 
    • Vince Hernandez, writer of Charismagic, Executive Assistants
    You will not want to miss this day!  Bring out your comics and have them signed by these writers.  We will have some in stock for purchase also.  The first issues of Jirni and Charismagic are only $1!  Not only that but we have an exclusive Game On! Comics cover from each writer!
    Jirni  Charismagic #1

    Comes with our famous awesome environment for playing Heroclix!
    310 Dominion RD NE, Vienna, VA 22180

    Friday, May 03, 2013

    Game On Comics - Free Comic Book Day

    From Louis the Magician and Game On! Comics

    free comic book day 2

    Wolverine wants you to come to Free Comic Book Day!  

    Free Comic Book Day - Hugh Jackman 2013
    Our friend, Hugh Jackman, wants you to come to our store tomorrow!
    OK, maybe we don't actually know Mr. Jackman but he does want you to come to our store anyway!

    Accross the nation all comic book stores are celebrating Free Comic Book Day, tomorrow, May 4th.

    Our store will have over 60 comic titles for FREE!  From comics for kids to comics for adults, we have everything you need.  
    We open our doors at 11am and close at 8pm.  BUT COME EARLY!  Last year we gave away all of our titles.

    Game On! Comics
    310 Dominion RD NE
    Vienna, VA 22180

    We love Free Comic Book Day!
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    310 Dominion RD NE, Vienna, VA 22180 - 703-242-3838

    Thursday, March 21, 2013

    March 22-23: Game On! Comics weekend events

    ChildTime Magic

    Join Us
    for two very special events!
    Game On! Comics
    310 Dominion RD NE
    Vienna, Virginia 22180
    Upcoming Events
    Aspen Events

    We've got special events coming up and we want you to be part of it. Please join us on March 22nd and 23rd!  

    Louis Meyer
    Game On! Comics

    Aspen Comics' Events this weekend

    Join Us
    for two very special events!

    Game On! Comics
    310 Dominion RD NE
    Vienna, Virginia 22180
    Upcoming Events
    Aspen Events

    We've got special events coming up and we want you to be part of it. Please join us on March 22nd and 23rd!  

    Louis Meyer
    Game On! Comics
    Aspen Comics' Events this weekend

    Friday Night Comic Book Club
    Join us tomorrow for our monthly comic book club at 7pm.  We will be discussing two comic books, Legend of the Shadow Clan and Shrugged!  Then both artists will be at the store on Saturday for our store signing.  This club meeting is a great way to introduce yourself to Aspen Comic's first two of the 10 for 10 series this year.  We will read the comic and discuss it in our open forum.  You will get our exclusive Game On Comics Shrugged issue for FREE!  Did I mention snacks provided?  
    Click on this link to attend and register: Game On! Comics Comic Book Club
    Friday March 22, 2013 from 7:00 PM to 8:00 PM EDT

    Saturday Exclusive Store Signing

    This Saturday we have two artists, one from Los Angeles and the other from New York, coming to Game On! Comics to sign copies of their newest comic books.  

    Jonathan Marks: artist of Shrugged
    Cory Smith: artist of Legend of the Shadow Clan 

    Aspen Comics two newest titles, Legend of the Shadow Clan (about ninjas!) and Shrugged (about the adventures of a high school kid and the little creatures on his shoulders) will be on sale for only $1!  Not only that but the artist from each comic will be in the store to sign the copies.

    In addition we will have face painters and balloon artists there to make balloons and paint faces for you and/or your kids for free!  Even the Incredible Hulk will be there for pictures!

    Saturday's Schedule:
    11am to 4pm Artist Signings
    12pm to 2 pm Balloon Artists
    1pm to 3 pm Face Painting
    1:30pm and 3:30pm Pictures with the Hulk
    Hulk costume  

     Click this link to let us know you are coming: Aspen Comics Exclusive Event

    Where & When  Game On! Comics
    310 Dominion RD NE
    Vienna, Virginia 22180
    March 23rd, 2013

    Like us on Facebook
    $1 Comics!
    Both Shrugged and Legend of the Shadow Clan #1 are only $1.  And each one has variant covers for only $1.
    Offer Expires: 

    ChildTime Magic | 310 Dominion RD NE | Vienna | VA | 22180