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Epic Proportions


Kids, itís been a while since weíve added to our Stuf page, but hereís some coolness I wanted to pass on.  At the last New York Anime Fest, an ingenious shirt design caught my eye; a gold foil circle with a silhouetted close up of Bruce Lee in sunglasses inside and the word ďEpicĒ underneath on a black tee.  While too busy to stop and look further, the design stayed in my mind.  I was pleased to have once again found that simple, perfect image at this yearís New York Comic Con and had a chat with the artist who designed it.

Jerry Ma, is foremost a comic book artist who decided to try his hand at creating imagery for wearable art.  Basing his concepts of iconic images of his youth, Maís work is fresh and tremendously fun, bringing a postmodern edge to retro subject matter.  On t-shirts, buttons and prints, Ma features his interpretations of characters from Star Wars, Transformers, DC & Marvel comic heroes, Voltron, Gigantor, and one of our favourites, Gatchaman (- or Battle of the Planets/G-Force, to you, gaijin).  Heís also designed coolly Asia-centric work employing samurai imagery, Godzilla, the Monkey King, the Five Deadly Venoms, Yao Ming, and the aforementioned Bruce Lee. 

Depending on the medium, Ma renders his subjects in the manner of the ďKawaiiĒ SuperDeformed Japanese otaku style, or with the expressionist eye of a pop culture Rauschenberg.  His ďStormtrooperĒ design is a head of one of Vaderís guards comprised of tiny TIE-fighters used in the same manner Roy Lichtenstein used Benday dots to create his comic art.

Hereís some samples of the shirty, badgy, printalicious goodness:

See why I luv?

Hereís where you can get your own:  http://www.epicprops.com/

And hereís my chat with Jerry:


Artist Jerry Ma:

The Lady Miz Diva: When did you begin the t-shirt company?

Jerry Ma: I began the t-shirt company really just this year.  Technically, Iíve been doing it for a couple years.  It started off by me just going to comic cons and the truth is, it was impossible to make back the money for the table selling comics for $3.  I had to sell close to a 1000 comics to do that, and that wasn't really happening.  So I made some tees for fun and people really responded to them.  So I began to do more with them in terms of shirt quality and screen quality and people responded to them even more, then I finally found a good factory to make the shirts and invested a lot of my money into them just last summer.  So, this year is the first official year that I have my entire line out all at once and Iím very proud of them, so cross your fingers for me and
wish me luck as I hope to not go broke from doing it.


LMD:  Do you find that the t-shirts bring more attention to your comic work?  Has your comic work been published previously?

JM: The t-shirts don't bring too much attention to my comics, unfortunately.  Most people that get the shirts from me don't even realize that Iíve drawn and designed them myself.  I sometimes get the feeling that they don't expect the artist/designer to be selling the shirts him/herself.
As for being published, Iíve been published in digital webbing presents, which was quite some time ago.  Then I began to self publish my own books thinking I could do it alone.  Since then, Iíve been published in some magazines and some small comic companies such as terminal press, and most recently I just finished up a pretty big project called Secret Identities. I art directed and drew 2 short stories in the book.  Itís coming out April 14th, thru the new press and itís a huge graphic novel anthology book that I partnered up with Jeff Yang, Parry Shen and Keith Chow with to complete.  The book is an anthology about Asian-American superheroes created by Asian-American creators. There are a few big names attached to the book, such as Gene Yang, Greg Pak, Larry Hama, Bernard Chang, etc, but this book took 2 years to complete and it is something that I am quite proud of.  I lost a LOT of sleep in making this book and am thrilled that it is coming out soon.


LMD:  What kind of training did you undergo as an artist?

JM:  I went to and graduated from the School of Visual Arts, where I had the privilege of learning under Walter Simonson, Klaus Janson, and the late, great Joe Orlando. I also took some night fashion courses over at the Fashion Institute of Technology, but I owe much of my knowledge to Walter Simonson, who has been the biggest influence over my work in terms of art.  I owe my work ethic to my parents, who have obviously taught me everything I know in life.


LMD:  Do you get requests from friends or convention-goers for particular subject matter?

JM:  I get requests for specific shirt designs all the time, and I do try to listen to most of them, but for the most part, I really do design shirts that I myself want to wear based off of things I love.  Each shirt is very personal and represents a part of my personality.


LMD:  Is there a particular shirt design that is your personal favourite?

JM:  Again, each shirt I make is something Iíve always wanted to wear, so itís hard for me to pick just one as my favorite, but the one Iím most proud of would have to be the "war helmet" shirt, which i feel like definitely shows how far Iíve come along with these tees. I feel like that shirt got me over the "beginner's hump".  The factory I use, which is fantastic, even told me what a hard time they had in making the shirt as each piece of gold material had to be cut out and then heat-sealed down and this material is sturdier than just most gold foils everybody else uses.  This can be thrown in the wash and it'll come out looking the same.  So, to me, that "war helmet" shirt showed growth in my work, which is why I would definitely say that it is the single shirt that Iím most proud of.  But as for favorites - I mean this with all sincerity - they're all my babies and I love them all.

That goodies link again: http://www.epicprops.com/



~ The Lady Miz Diva

Feb 22nd, 2009




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Photos Courtesy of Epic Proportions





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