I did my own little nod to hidden fortress. This will be in color in issue 4. It needs more cleaning up too. I also kept shouting how the trees needed "MORE STOKOE!" I first found James Stokoe in 2007 on deviant art. If anyone influenced my teenaged textures, it was him. I found my own tool kit, but the confidence in his lines and compositions, no matter how strange they were drew me in.
I remember him posting about "Wonton Soup" when he was drawing it. I savored every posting but grieved because it was too good for comics. My background had been my big brother's mulleted Superman, depressing legacy virus stuff, and Liefeld feet. I had little to no hope for comics. Stokoe was far too good I decided to "make it" in comics.
I left the country, so I continued to look at his posts until it broke my heart too much to think about the comic I'd never read. Then, I met my future spouse in 2009. By this point, I had most of Neil's Sandman, but had very little love for most of the artists. I just love Neil. As my flirtations began with my spouse, he indicated that he saw a lot of Stokoe in my textures. Hmm...I did not remember James' name. I was familiar with his deviant handle. Then, the elusive book of my teenage years (the Gideon's Bible to my Scrooge) came to me. WONTON. SOUP. Hope! Joy! What a raw, strange comic! I proudly pulled up my first, fateful "favoriting" of Stoke in 2007. Then Image printed "King City." My spouse baited me with "You know Brandon Graham is Stokoe's friend." The rest is history, I guess. So, when in doubt, maybe your trees need more Stokoe.
Footnote: With my beloved Hchom ending I'd like to repeat the fateful words to me in 2010 "Your know she's Graham's friend." Go read it while it's up. You really should.