The next sketch I got from Jamal needs a story. I wrote about how I met some comics-minded peers on the message board dedicated to Kingdom Come back in 1996. Gail Simone wound up becoming a star, but she wasn't the only person to go from forum poster to comic book writer. One of the nicer people I met from the board was Brian Joines. If the name sounds familiar, it's because he's been writing stuff recently for BOOM! Studios (Imagine Agents, Bill & Ted Go To Hell) and Image Comics (Krampus, Secret Identities). Back in 2004, Brian was writing stories for Jay Faerber's Noble Causes comics for Image, going so far as to introduce a one-shot character (Living Landscape) based on something I created back in the day ("Living Landfill"). He also wrote in a mook named Hydro-Foil, who wound out getting killed off in his story. His name was Jasper Borelli, merging my name with another poster's. Jamal drew the story, and I got the character sketched at The National in 2004.
I would see Jamal more often over time, at shows and events. He is one of the nicest guys I have gotten to know. One time, he said my full name upon seeing me. It freaked me out, but it was kind of cool.
Truth be told, I didn't keep up with what he was working on. I never got into Firestorm, Nightwing or Supergirl. I did get Tangent Comics: Superman's Reign, but mostly through back issues. I did get the "New 52" miniseries The Ray when that came out in 2011, and I got the first volume of his Kickstarter book, Molly Danger.
Looking back, I see that I had Marvel Comics movies on the brain when I came to Jamal. I got two characters from the films, and another that inspired a more human-looking character.
Like most artists, there is a lot I don't know about Jamal. For one thing, I didn't know he was a fan of Doctor Who until I approached him at Fan Expo Canada in 2014. He even did a decent impression of Peter Capaldi's Scottish accent. Another thing I never noticed was that he had a weight problem. I knew he was a larger guy like myself, but I didn't realize to what extent until I read this article on Comic Book Resources in March. While I don't need to lose over 100 pounds, I should use Jamal as an inspiration to shed some stubborn mass.
HONORABLE MENTIONS: Stuart Immonen (the last sketch I got at CCI in 2000), Mindy Indy (real name Mindy Steffen, but I'm listing her with under "I"; four sketches, including this Adventure Time/The Venture Bros. mashup I got from her at MoCCA), Chistopher Ivy (this Bane sketch based off The Dark Knight Rises).