Review: Seconds by Bryan Lee O'Malley

Seconds is a graphic novel that came out last year by canadian artist, Bryan Lee O’Malley, famous for the Scott Pilgrim series. This book is about a chef named Katie who started a restaurant with her friends a long time ago called “Seconds”. She sold the place and her ultimate goal is to start a brand new restaurant in the city. I’m going to do my best and make this review as spoiler free, but Katie ends up finding a mushroom along with a journal and a note that says that if you eat this mushroom and write your mistake in the journal, when you wake up you’ll get a second chance. She spends the comic trying to fix everything she felt like she messed up, a fling with a younger coworker, hurting a friend, how things went with her ex-boyfriend, etc. Its revealed that there is a spirit that lives in her house and by revising her life so much, she’s hurting the house spirit and ultimately hurting herself and at a certain point, it seems like there is no point in return. 

There are so many things to love about this graphic novel, and one of the biggest things is the art style. Bryan Lee O’Malley is really inspired by 60s manga artist Osamu Tezuka, who drew Astroboy (and a bunch of other famous series) and you can really see that come out in this comic, but also with his own flavor of art. Unlike Scott Pilgrim, this comic is in color, which makes great use of his very simple art style and just looks crisp and great. The coloring changes depending on the scene, you can feel if the characters are are warm, cold, happy, scared or even sad. 

Another thing Bryan is great doing is understanding how people work. I find it interesting that his first book “Lost at Sea” is about the struggles of a younger teenage girl, “Scott Pilgrim”, Scott is in his early 20’s, and our main character of this book is 30, and it is even written that she views 21 year olds almost like little kids. Makes you wonder if Bryan wrote these books a little from his own struggles and perspective. He does a wonderful job writing about the struggles we all deal with, heartbreak, work, dreams and goals, while adding a fun magical twist on it. Its a story we can all identify with, if we could get a second chance on specific events to fix it, how many of us would totally do that? I know I totally would. 

Overall this was a really fun comic, and I highly recommend it to everyone, especially if you’re a fan of Scott Pilgrim. I think Bryan knows what people love about his previous works and even included a few references to it in this book, including a cameo of Scott and Ramona (and Stephen Stills and his boyfriend make a less obvious cameo). It doesn’t take very long to read so if you get the chance to pick it up or add it to your collection, do it! 


AU: You and your best friend, Luke, have been in love since the first day you met and everyone knew it except you both.

(credit: byehemmings)


why not sharing my Lis cosplay with the Tumblr world :D

I looooove Seconds and all of you should better read this from the brilliant Bryan Lee O’Malley <3 but definitely you know the Comic Scott Pilgrim from him … so .. WH NOT CHECKING OUT MOOOOORE BRYAN STUFF *V*
u won’t regret it <3 

Cosplay made by me Taiga-Ichihara
(click on my name if you’re interested in more of my work :>)

The first three photos are by my buddy Boti
(also a huuuuge Bryan fan ^//u//^)

and the fourth picture is made by Oleg

and the last two are just selfies and make up close-up’s

I hope Bryan-senpai don’t mind that I’m too chubby for Lis

Pax Americana color process


Pax Americana was my first time working with Frank Quitely, an artist whose work I have enormous respect and love for. It was literally a dream gig. 

That Grant Morrison guy is no slouch either.

Anyway. Here’s my process.

Step 1: read Grant’s script and look at Frank’s line art

After weeping in a corner for a few minutes, I picked myself up and got stuck in.

Step 2: pull reference

Sometimes this step adds a lot, and sometimes it adds a little, but you should always do it.

Step 2: flat the thing

Nothing terribly impressive here. Just a highly realist approach with everything in blocks of local color. I briefly considered casting the panels where Harley’s head initially gets blown apart in restricted expressionist palettes of shocking yellows, hot oranges and lurid reds but that immediately felt like the wrong approach. My read was that we wanted this whole three-page cold open to hit the reader hard. We wanted hyper-realism and hyper-detail. We wanted it to play out like a nature documentary of a cheetah ripping the throat out of a gazelle in super slow motion. And, uh, backwards.

Step 3: cast shadows

Casting shadows from one object onto another is a huge pain in the ass and I hate it so much. Don’t believe me? Just ask Andrew Loomis:

And that’s just for starters! There’s a stunning amount of thought and care that goes into doing it right, which is why I usually just fake the hell out of it. On this book, though, I put in the effort.

And by “put in the effort” I mean “eventually asked Frank to do it for me when I couldn’t get it to look right.”

At any rate, this particular shadow was important. Frank told me he wanted the peace flag to cast the shadow of a mask on Harley’s face, which, symbolically, is so goddamn brilliant it makes me want to fly to Glasgow and hug the guy. 

Now, with some books and some art, this is the end of the process. Nothing more than flat colors with a few choice cast shadows is required. For example, this is as far as I took the colors in Bryan Lee O’Malley’s Seconds:

But for Pax Americana and Frank Quitely, an elegantly minimalist approach isn’t enough. Not even close. Coloring Frank’s art requires texture and luminescence and every scrap of modelling and lighting skill you can muster. Just look at how the man colors himself:

Holy shit, right? Pores? Seriously? We’re painting in pores, now?

Now, I knew I could never really color Frank’s art and have it end up looking as good as if he’d done it himself, but I certainly wouldn’t be able to live with myself if I didn’t at least try my fucking best. So I put on my big boy pants, drank all the coffees, blacked out for a bit towards the end there, and eventually came up with this:

Step 4: paint the fucking thing

Up to this point, all of these colors are sitting on a layer below the line art. The last step after that is coloring the line art itself (this is called a “color hold”) and painting glow effects and the like on top of everything. There’s not a ton of that sort of thing on this page, but if you look closely, you can spot it.

Step 5: hold and glows**

And that’s about it, really (unless you count Steps 6 through ∞, during which I color the other 39 pages and then spend the rest of my life second-guessing every brushstroke).

** Oh, and looking at it again, sometime during this step I realized Frank had forgotten to draw Harley’s ring after that first panel, so I put that in there for him.

I don’t know that I did a perfect job, and it’s a pale substitute for Frank coloring himself, but at the end of the project he thanked me and said some beautifully kind things. So even given the fact that he was probably just being a perfectly wonderful Scottish gentleman, I feel that at the very least I didn’t fuck it all up too badly.

There ya go.