Saturday, July 21, 2012

Cancer - Losses and Gains

I lost my wife to cancer.
I lost my kids to cancer.
I lost my job to cancer.
I lost my sanity to cancer.

These are all true statements.

I was diagnosed with kidney cancer at 33 years old. It was a blessing and a curse. I am alive, so obviously, it was a good thing. But, the life I had is gone. I was married, 2 kids, 2 cars a mortgage. I was living the American dream. Things were as perfect on the surface and one could imagine. We had a life that people dream of having.

I was happy.

The day I was diagnosed with cancer was the last day of my former life. I didn't know it at the time but it was the beginning of some really dark days. Every day past that was another day of emotional pain, worry and I sunk into a depression that it took me years to break out of. I was a pretty level headed guy by the time I got married at 25. Not much bothered me and I was happy.

Cancer changed all that. I was angry, spiteful. I didn't want to be around me and I didn't want people around me. I was doing exactly what I knew I shouldn't have. I was closing myself off from the support system that I had. And it was a great support system. People would die for a support system like I have and still have today.

But that being said... I pushed away my ex-wife, I pushed away my family, and I am sure I underperformed at my job. The only thing that is missing to make this the movie of the week is drugs and alchohol. Sorry folks... the story is not that juicy.

But I did go through 3 years of hell. Even if no one knew it. (Most did. I am sure of it.)

And then it happened again. Scans showed another tumor on my left kidney. I was done. If there is a textbook case of a person shutting down, my picture is next to it.

As I've stated in one of my earlier blogs. I go for scans every year now to find out if my cancer has returned(Hey! It happened!) and during that time, I slip right back into that person that I described in a prior post. I become an asshole. So, it takes me a looooong time to make my appointments. Because I know that I am going to be very mad, sad, angry and very hard to be around. I am very fond of the phrase "You are the owner of your reactions" But, I can honestly say that during this time, I just don't care.

Nothing scares me in this life like another reoccurence... Nothing.

I am making my MRI appointment on Monday. Wish me luck!

Honestly, Like most of these blogs... I have no idea where I am going with this. I just have these thoughts and it helps me to get them on paper(virtually) in the hope that I can help someone to see it from a different perspective.

If you have cancer - embrace your family and friends.
If you have a friend or family member who has cancer - talk to them. But give them the space they need.
If you love someone with cancer - Understand that we know you are going through it too. But we can't help you. Not right now.
If you are a survivor of cancer - Bravo! Live life like you never have before because only you know what it is like to feel immortal, and then with one sentence, one word... never feel that way again.

My life now is finally on track. I am happy like I haven't been in a very long time and yes, 2 years of therapy helped. Don't be afraid to ask for help when you need it.

So, I am living proof that there is hope.

I have an awesome girlfriend who will be my wife one day(if she'll have me)
She is pregnant with our first, and my 3rd child.
My kids are happy and seem to be doing well. (nothing is more important)
I get along really well with my ex which is rare in these situations.
I have a great job.
I got my sanity back.

Well, most of it.

Thanks for reading!


Check out my Facebook page for The Mighty Titan, Where I am attempting to wrap my cancer experiences in a superhero shell.

"Youth is easily deceived because it is quick to hope." - Aristotle

Monday, July 16, 2012

Kickstarter... and why it is more stressful than a cancer screening.

And I would know!

Let me start this rant by saying thank you to all the people who are helping me promote that push this campaign. The outpuring of support and backing for this project has been amazing. I really, REALLY apreciate all that you did and continue to do. I am humbled, truly.

Every year (It used to be 6 months) since I had Kidney Cancer, I go for an MRI to scan my torso for cancer. That is the most stressful time in my year. I am irritable, I am hard to live with. I am impossible. From the MRI to the waiting for the results to the doctors visit. It is a miserable 2 weeks. I dread it.

That being said, promoting a Kickstarter is worse.

No... Really.

I realize that there are a LOT of Kickstarters out there. I realize that a lot of people still don't know what a Kickstarter is. For those that don't know...

Kickstarter helps people fund thier creative projects, in return, you get a reward. For me, the best that I would give is the first issue of The Mighty Titan. But I offer much more than that if people are interested. I offer a special, double sized "Backer's Cut" that is similiar to a Director's Cut of a DVD with behind the scene stuff that you will never see anywhere else.

If you don't hit your goal you get zilch, nothing, nada.
Most of you know that I fund all of my projects myself. I pay people out of my own pocket and haven't pulled anything that is even close to a profit in 16 years. I put out a professional looking book and I really love doing it. I love writing them. I love drawing what I can. I love interacting with people and discussing my work. I love it all.

This time, I decided I would try and do it without taking money away from my family. Plain and simple.

So, please see this campaign as a pre-order for my newest book. For $7 you get the book, delivered to your house, signed by me. You can get less, you can get more. And as I always said, sharing the link helps if you can't back the project.

Everyone that bids will have thier name in the first issue and on The Mighty Titan fan page on Facebook.

Thanks for reading. :)


Please check out my Kickstarter that wraps my cancer experiences in a superhero shell. Share if you can.

I am running a new one now. Please get in on this.

"Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined." - Henry David Thoreau

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Kickstarter Thanks!!!

The Mighty Titan Kickstarter campaign got off to a great start on the first day. Thanks for sharing and pledging. Let's keep it rolling along! Joe

Thursday, July 5, 2012

My Kickstarter is live

Hello all. I just wanted to let all of you know that my Kickstarter campaign has finally launched. It would be great if you could contribute or share the page.

Thanks all!

The Mighty Titan

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Kickstarter is looming

The Mighty Titan Kickstarter campaign is now in for review. Please help us spread the work with this jpeg and help spread the word! Thanks all!

Monday, June 25, 2012

Titan Art. Now in glorious color!

Here is the Cyclops piece colored by Bryan Arfel Magnaye. Drawn by me and inked by Jeff Austin. We hope you dig it!

Thanks for looking!
As always, check out for updates and such!

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Today is the best day of your life.

To the people out there who know me, they know one thing. I like to talk. A lot. I like to meet new people and I like to ask questions. Sometimes I ask questions that I shouldn't, sometimes I don’t even have to ask. Last year. I was walking into the Bagel shop in town behind an older woman. She turned around and I think I scared her. She was expecting to see her nurse, who was standing behind me.  Anyway, I let the nurse in front of me and apologized. She laughed and asked if she scared ME. I told her I thought she was the one who was scared.  

So, we both order our stuff and wait. She grabbed a seat and I remained standing. After about 5 minutes she asked me again if she scared me. I laughed and told her no. She then told me that her husband was home from an operation in which they took off his legs. The operation was directly linked to Agent Orange, a chemical used as a weapon in the Viet Nam war. I asked her how he was and she said since the operation he is much better. He is learning to walk with 2 prosthetic legs and is pain-free for the first time in years. I said it was messed up that the government doesn’t take the Agent Orange thing seriously but she said that they do now. This lady was so positive and really made an impact on me. 

This reminded me of my own trial and tribulations. I am slowly but surely going blind due to a botched lasik eye surgery. I had cancer twice in three years. Cancer showed up once in my right kidney and once in my left.  I had surgery in October 2004 for one and they removed a rib and one in February 2007. No rib removal on the last one but I wound up with a hernia with pain that I still deal with on a daily basis. I also had a knee operation in September 2007 to repair and remove some of my meniscus which is the padding that cushions your knee. I am in pain pretty much every day to some extent or another.
My family. Dad, Daughter, Mom, Me, Son, Girlfriend(Son in the oven?)
I don't want sympathy and I won't take it. Don’t feel sorry for me. I am okay. I have other, more personal complications and repercussions to this deadly disease. I got divorced. I lost self-respect. I was living a sedentary lifestyle. I worked, ate, watched TV and gained weight. I have always been heavy. But I had blown up to 351 pounds at my heaviest. I am now seeing a chiropractor, I am walking at least twice a week and exercising with my good friend Brian. I am down to 325 pounds, not much, but it is a start. If my back would stop hurting I would love to get back into it. I can say with no embarassment that great now. My kids are my life. I met a great girl. I am expecting my third kid 11 years after my son was born. I am working towards living my life and being happy. I have family and friends who I love. They support me and sometimes scold me, but they have my best interests at heart. I almost never tell them, but without them I would be dead.

I don’t really know where I am going with this. All I can say is that life is hard. It hands you shit all the time. But, the thing is, we need to keep moving forward. This is whatever that means to you. Life is short but it is also long. Can you conceive of something longer? You are not invincible and neither am I. You will not get hit by a bus and a meteor will not fall out of the sky. You are most likely going to live a long life with many sicknesses and much sadness. Most likely, you will die many years from now, with more than a few regrets. You don’t have to!!! Live your life the way you want to. Always follow your dreams when you are young and healthy. And if you are not healthy, and you can help it, GET UP! Go walk in the park, play with your kids, get a dog. Today is the best day of your life. And it can only get better from here.

But only if you want it to.

* * *
I would be remiss if I didn't tell you that I write, draw and publish comic books. My newest project takes my cancer (And other) experiences and wraps them in a Superhero shell. Please feel free to click the link below and like the Facebook fan page. Also, please keep your eyes open for the Kickstarter campaign(
"Are you not entertained? Are you not entertained? Is this not why you are here?" - Maximus Decimus Meridius from the movie Gladiator(2000)

Friday, June 22, 2012

No NYCC for Joe Joe

So... I will not be in artist alley at NYCC this year. My $500 isn't good enough. My 17 years of making, publishing, writing, drawing, lettering, editing and creating comics must be too unimpressive for the moguls at the NYCC board.

What, me bitter? Maybe... maybe a bit.

I say, oh well. I will live. I don't want to go somewhere that I am not wanted. Even when I not only needed to be "Chosen" but I needed to pay $500 AFTER BEING CHOSEN!

Oh, but what is really great, if I REALLY want to go to NYCC, I can pay more for a vendor or small press booth. So, there IS space, but someone of my limited experience and exposure has to pay much more to get it.

I think my new goal will be to become and amazing success. And then, one day I will be invited to be a guest at NYCC. And then I will and can finally say...

No, thank you.

My girlfriend does say I have a tendency to hold a grudge...

Have a great day and don't let the man get you down.


The RESURGENCE will not be televised. You don't have to look underground to be underground.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

New Titan Art

I just got this back from inker Jeff Austin. I am amazed at how well Jeff is able to take my work and make it look like I know what I am doing.
For more of Jeff's work, check out his blog. You won't be disappointed!



For more Titan goodness, clicky da linky below.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Why do I do what I do and why I am nice when I do it

I get this question a lot...

Why do you create comics?

The answer isn't as easy to answer as you would think. I've been creating comics in one way or another since before I can remember. I love to create, I love to write, I love to draw. I love the idea of leaving something that I created after I am gone. A legacy.

Sadly, I have little time for it.

I work a full time job doing IT. I love what I do. It is challenging and I am always learning new things. I work with great people and we have a great culture of mutual respect. But, it isn't my dream. It isn't what I planned for myself when I was young. The 10 year old me wanted to draw for a living. He wanted to create and share and be a comic book artist. But, alas, kids have to eat. Rent needs to be paid and my passion for creating has to take a second seat. Since, no joke, I still to this day haven't made any real money doing comics.

In my "real" life, I have a great family. I have 2 kids, a girlfriend named Jasmin, a new bundle on the way. People would call them responsibilities.

Scream - By Joe Martino and Rusty Gilligan
I call them life. They are also my legacy. They are the reason I wake up every day.

Now, I am not a comic book professional, nor do I claim to be. I am just a guy who loves creating comics so much that I decided to make some of my own. I wrote that 17 years ago for the letters page of my first Shadowflame self-published comic. I've met a lot of great people through the years. I've also met a lot of assholes. Fortunately, they all know who they are so I don't need to list them here. I have been told I suck so bad that I should quit. And in the same week, been told by a fan that I was one of their favorite writers.

Life is about bringing new things to the world, even if they are a bit derivative. Life is about helping others to do things for themselves. That is why Twitter and Facebook and Google+ are so good for people like me. We can share our knowledge, learn new things, help people grow and promote their work and in return you hope they will do the same. At no time would I EVER tell someone that they were so bad that they should quit. Never quit! Never give up what you love because someone else can't appreciate what you do.

A change is coming. The clique is eroding and you can't even see it. Remember, the buggy whip maker had no idea his career was over when Ford started mass producing Model T's. The guy you blow off now may just well be the ass you need to kiss later. Be nice. Be respectful.

Watch the heads that you step on when you rise up, they will be attached to the asses that you need to kiss on the way down.

Today, try and help one of your fellow creators. Share or retweet their work, buy his digital comic, help fund or share her Kickstarter campaign, help out a struggling Indy band. But, do it because you want to do good for your fellow creators. Not because they did it for you. We are all in this together, even if we are doing it alone.

Thanks for reading this rant. I know I went off the reservation a bit but it all ties together if you really read what I am saying.

Stay strong and always follow your dreams, even if people can't understand them.



If you have the time and the want to support some good people, check out the following links. And yes... some of them point to stuff I've worked on some of them are people I've met that do great work.

And join this group on Facebook if you are looking for a really supportive group of guys and gals who are working on a RESURGENCE!!!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Inspiration... and where it comes from.

Back in 2009, I read an article about a 7 year old boy that had gotten cancer. He was going through the treatments and his mom created a hero "The Dominator" to help him get through this.,2933,562240,00.html

Dominic passed away in 2009 from brain cancer.

Inspiring. A boy having cancer at such a young age disgusts me. To be 5 years old and having to go through all of those treatments is just heart breaking. I am glad that his mom came up with a positive way to cope with his treatments. I think that not telling him that he had cancer was smart. I was diagnosed with kidney cancer at at 33 and and again at 36, it really messed me up. I realize that was a little young to understand the scope of what cancer means. But does a child of 5 or even 7 years old have to know?

In my opinion, no.

This isn't about me, but a part of me wishes that my doctor told me I had some other kidney issue that required surgery. I would have coped much better. Cancer is a death sentence to so many people that just the word sent me into a freefall of terror that I still experience every 12 months when I go for my scans to see if there is a reoccurance. Cancer was a big motivator(Along with family and friends) for me finishing my comics and getting them out. The first Ripperman actually came out on October 20th 2004, the day of my first cancer surgery and the first issue of Shadowflame came out February 2007, the month of my second cancer surgery. Maybe I should have just let Shadowflame or Ripperman get the cancer and I could have stayed clean. But even that way of thinking bothers me and shows the negative stigma of cancer. I have been "clean" of cancer since 2007. Like I was dirty before.

Now, after a few years and a few scars, I am working on a new story. This scares me more than you could know. Each time I put a book out, It was tied into cancer. This time, I am bringing the cancer to the book! Titan is a character that I created back in 2004 when I was recovering from my first cancer surgery.  Don't worry. There is still plenty of Superhero action, Giant Mechas, Mythologocal creatures and vile villains to whet even the most fanatical comic reader's appetite.

I have to say that I was and am really proud of this little guy and the struggle that he went through. I am not a praying man but I sent my hopes to this boy that he made a full recovery and he didn't have to deal with this type of thing again for the rest of his hopefully long life. Unfortunelty, he didn't win the fight. He wasn't able to defeat this enemy and the world is a little less bright without his light in it.

I am sure if there is a heaven, that Domenic is up there and he is fighting with the Dominator against the evil villany of the Megazoid!

Check out my new creation The Mighty Titan that takes my cancer(and other) experiences and wraps them in a superhero shell.


Monday, June 18, 2012

So, now I have a blog. I will be telling you stuff you want to hear about and stuff you don't. Please enjoy it and don't be so frigging uptight! :-)

Some of you know me, most of you don't. I write comics, work in IT, have tattoos, kids, a girlfriend. I am a geek, a punk, a metalhead and artist. I am labled and mislabled. Through all of it, I am me.

I will be posting art and writing and funky stuff. Read it, don't read it. I am good either way.

Actually, I would rather you read it. :)

Oh, I drew this and Jeff Austin, Bryan Magnaye and Adam O, Pruett!