Issue #19

Hello, comic fans, and welcome to Round 5 of "Comic Book Idol." I'm your host J. Torres. And this. is. it. We've finally arrived at our final round. The title match. The end game. The one that decides who will be named our Comic Book Idol.

But, first, let's have another round of applause for our final four and take another look at their entries from last week, a one-page "quick change" sequence featuring a Marvel superhero…

Now, let's look at how they fared in the poll this week. It was yet another roller coaster ride, folks. And more people than ever watched the online real-time interactive action. After about an hour, here's where the voting stood…

Michael J. Flores - 36 votes (30.00%)

Patrick Scherberger - 35 votes (29.17)

Martin Redmond -30 votes (25.00%)

Jonathan Hickman - 19 votes (15.83%)

At the two and a half hour mark, our resident rock star Redmond finds himself at the top of the charts. I believe it's the first time we've seen him up there. But it remains to be seen if his fans have the long distance dedication he needs to keep him from being just another one hit wonder…

Martin Redmond - 56 votes 27.18%

Patrick Scherberger - 55 votes 26.70%

Michael J. Flores - 51 votes 24.76%

Jonathan Hickman - 44 votes 21.36%

Into the third hour, we were well on our way to topping last week's turnout. Rock star Redmond's groupies are out in full force on the forum but he still dropped to the bottom spot. Lucky for him because the conspiracy theorists soon start firing magic bullets at a new target on top…

Michael J. Flores - 149 votes (35.99%)

Jonathan Hickman - 90 votes (21.74%)

Patrick Scherberger - 90 votes (21.74%)

Martin Redmond - 85 votes (20.53%)

With the controversial Chris Ring out of the picture, Flores is picked on, insulted, and accused of everything Ring was in the last two rounds. Despite how events unfolded in previous rounds, with peaks and valleys in the voting, dips and spikes in the numbers, and logically explainable waves of people making numbers jump now and then, certain individuals continue to insist there's evil afoot. And I'm ready to put my foot in someone's ass…

Michael J. Flores - 155 votes (32.22%)

Patrick Scherberger - 116 votes (24.12%)

Jonathan Hickman - 110 votes (22.87%)

Martin Redmond - 100 votes (20.79%)

But soon, the Flores votes go from tidal wave to trickle and people stop demanding that we make him wear a scarlet letter H for hacker (or hack). But the damage is done, and Flores takes hits even the roughed-up Ring was spared. In a classy move, Ring e-mails the remaining contestants a virtual pep talk about going placidly amid the noise and the haste. It's a beautiful thing (but yeah, Chris, run it through the spellchecker next time) and I am goodness and light for the rest of the night…

Michael J. Flores - 164 votes (29.18%)

Patrick Scherberger - 146 votes (25.98%)

Jonathan Hickman - 128 votes (22.78%)

Martin Redmond - 124 votes (22.06%)

Soon, Scherberger starts to shake it up, closing that gap between him and first place Flores. Redmond stays right on Hickman's tail, and the excitement and anxiety in the audience grows. I see over a hundred fellow night owls settling down in front of the computer for the night, browsing the forum, and no doubt hitting that refresh/reload as much as I am…

Michael J. Flores - 164 votes (26.84%)

Patrick Scherberger - 160 votes (26.19%)

Jonathan Hickman - 145 votes (23.73%)

Martin Redmond - 142 votes (23.24%)

Two hours later, Flores falls to last, Scherberger jumps to that familiar first place position, and Hickman and Redmond further frustrate fans hitting refresh every few minutes…

Patrick Scherberger - 186 votes (26.50%)

Michael J. Flores - 168 votes (23.93%

Jonathan Hickman - 175 votes (24.93%)

Martin Redmond - 173 votes (24.64%

700+ votes cast and it's after eleven o'clock on the East Coast…

Patrick Scherberger - 194 votes (25.87%)

Jonathan Hickman - 188 votes (25.07%)

Martin Redmond - 187 votes (24.93%)

Michael J. Flores - 181 votes (24.13%)

800+ votes cast and at the witching hour, a switch between Scherberger and Hickman…

Jonathan Hickman - 210 votes (26.22%)

Patrick Scherberger - 203 votes (25.34%)

Martin Redmond - 196 votes (24.47%)

Michael J. Flores - 192 votes (23.97%)

Just before I decide to turn in, another turn of events…

Patrick Scherberger - 224 votes (26.48%)

Jonathan Hickman - 221 votes (26.12%)

Martin Redmond - 204 votes (24.11%)

Michael J. Flores - 197 votes (23.29%)

While I was sawing logs, Scherberger was pulling further and further ahead of the pack…

Patrick Scherberger - 273 votes (28.62%)

Jonathan Hickman - 245 votes (25.68%)

Martin Redmond - 228 votes (23.90%)

Michael J. Flores - 208 votes (21.80%)

I wake up to these standings with about two hours left to vote, and at this point all four contestants have been in all four positions so I wonder if they've settled into their fated positions…

Patrick Scherberger - 281 votes (27.68%)

Jonathan Hickman - 262 votes (25.81%)

Martin Redmond - 243 votes (23.94%)

Michael J. Flores - 229 votes (22.56%)

Just after 11:00 AM our leader hits the 300 mark, yet another stats record broken in this contest…

Patrick Scherberger - 300 votes (27.57%)

Jonathan Hickman - 294 votes (27.02%)

Martin Redmond - 256 votes (23.53%)

Michael J. Flores - 238 votes (21.88%)

Around half past the hour, the fat lady is warming up with some vocal exercises…

Jonathan Hickman - 316 votes (27.96%)

Patrick Scherberger - 310 votes (27.43%)

Martin Redmond - 265 votes (23.45%)

Michael J. Flores - 239 votes (21.15%)

And in the end…

Allow me to turn the mic over to our departing contestants Martin Redmond and Michael J. Flores:

Martin: "Vote for me! I am looking for HOT and EXCITING voters. Vote for me if you are HOT and EXCITING!"

Oh, Martin. You're so very French. So wonderfully, wonderfully French.

Michael: "I just wanted to express my gratitude to J. Torres and everyone at CBR for this fabulous opportunity. Most aspiring comic book artists would kill to have the likes of Joe Quesada, Jamie S. Rich, and Ron Marz looking at their work week in and week out, not to mention knowing their names. Our judges' sometimes harsh critiques pointed me in the right direction in terms of what to fix, and I hope I am a better artist for them."

I applaud Michael for his artistic efforts and amazing attitude. What people did not see behind the scenes was Michael admitting to me that he felt he was a bit out of his league in this competition, but that he was not going to decline the challenge and would put in his all for himself as well as the fans who supported him. He had no idea who these 200+ people voting for him were, but he appreciated them and wanted to put on a good show for their benefit. I really admired that, and it made me hate his critics even more when they so maliciously maligned not only his art but his character. It's become somewhat cliché to say I don't think you've heard the last of this contestant or that, but in this case it's so very true.

As for Martin, our rock star who got his name in two nationally distributed newspapers, did a radio interview, and even got invited to appear at a comic convention all because of CBI… you haven't heard the last of him either. This guy's too good at what he does to not go somewhere with it. And about those rumors that he's dating former Canadian Idol contestant Audrey de Montigny... not true. He just draws all his women to look like her because he's so smitten with her. And by "he" I mean me. And by "draws" I mean dreams.

Now, without further ado, Jonathan and Patrick, here is your art assignment for our fifth and final round…

Illustrate this "story" in three pages:

A woman gets out of a taxicab in front of a 50s style diner. She enters the diner and looks around for the man she's supposed to meet there. The place isn't so busy but a few tables and booths are occupied. Not seeing the man she's there to meet, she takes a seat at the counter, orders a coffee, and waits. She looks pretty peeved when she sees what time it is and promptly pulls out her cell phone to make a call. There's no answer, so she hangs up. And waits.

Suddenly, something crashes through the window.

Three pages. No more, no less. You probably only have time to pencil this one.

What crashes through the window? I dunno. That's what I asked Joe Quesada when he suggested ending the scene with something "exciting." He didn't give me a definite answer. So, we'll leave it up to you. The various elements to be illustrated in this scene, from the props and the set to the acting and the pacing, are obviously designed to test your storytelling skills and ability to put a comic page together.

Play-at-Home players and people using the art assignments to build their portfolios, are you paying attention?

Okay, Jonathan and Patrick. It's the finale, boys! The climax. The big finish. The one where the winner takes all. Entertain us. Impress us. Surprise us. Show us whatchu got.

Your deadline is Monday, September 15 @ noon (EST).

You know the drill by now. The judges know the drill. The fans know the drill. Let's just do this.

And before we let you go, a special goodbye message from Martin Redmond:

Related Links:

Next week: You choose our Comic Book Idol.

Meanwhile, in the Open Your Mouth forum we're debating file sharing, sharing summer reading, and reading way too many TV Guide articles.

Thank you for your attention.

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