The second person I showed the rough draft of the first six pages of my comic Flesh Machine to, only a few hours after I'd finished them back in September 2015, was indie cartoonist Farel Dalrymple.
We were at the DC comic shop Fantom Comics, and it was the night before the Small Press Expo, one of the great indie comic conventions (held locally - for me - in Bethesda, MD). I showed him my pages and asked what he thought, expecting a polite but mostly critical response. He gave me verbal praise and encouragement, for which I was (and remain) grateful. And now he's given me a written blurb as well!
Dalrymple's art style is sometimes rich black and white brushwork, sometimes intriguing and delicate watercolor, and always beautiful. His writing has a mystical but grounded quality - characters you can relate to in fantasy, sci-fi, and "magical realism" situations. Dalrymple's many works include the cult hit Pop Gun War (the first story is now back in print, and he's serializing a new Pop Gun War story in Island, a comics anthology edited by cartoonists Brandon Graham and Emma Rios), the sci-fi adventure Prophet (also with Graham and others), the quirky superhero comic Omega the Unknown (with Jonathan Lethem), the teenage drama Palefire (with M.K. Reed), the fantastical and arty It Will All Hurt, and the New York Times bestselling graphic novel The Wrenchies.
Dalrymple was very complimentary and encouraging when I showed him those early Flesh Machine pages, and he was kind enough to last week write a recommendation for the comic. He even drew a favorable comparison to Mike Mignola, one of our greatest living cartoonists, most famous for his creation Hellboy. Mignola was just awarded the Spectrum Grand Master title for 2016, finished what may be the last Hellboy story after telling Hellboy stories for over 20 years, and announced a sabbatical. I found the outpouring of respect Mignola received from his peers very moving. (And Mignola's a fan of Dalrymple, too.)
"The art in Flesh Machine is deceptively simple, with a hint of Mike Mignola influence, but this comic is one cool science fiction story for older readers.
Once you start reading Flesh Machine, it is easy to get warped right into this mysterious and provocative universe."
It's a privilege to work in the same medium as Dalrymple and Mignola. You can check out their work in the above links and read all of Flesh Machine so far at MichaelAvolio.com, with new pages every Tuesday.
Thanks for reading!