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Five for Creating with Jim Lawson


FIVE FOR CREATING WITH JIM LAWSON


Welcome to Five for Creating! An interview series here at ComixCentral where we focus on getting to know Indie Creators and what they are working on through a series of five questions. This week we chat Legendary Comic Creator Jim Lawson, known for his incredible run on Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. But has recently been pumping out a few fantastic creator owned series. He is currently Kickstarting two books, DRAGONFLY and HELLRIDE.

 

1. Tell us about Dragonfly.

I love fun adventure comics and that basically was the intent with Dragonfly. Also, I was looking for a world where I could just throw in whatever I wanted, as far as characters or situations. In the world of Dragonfly, I’ve even messed with the timeline. Here I’m talking about the environment that the characters inhabit is filled with dinosaurs. It really is totally wide open and available to have pretty much anything happen.
The mystery is where are they, exactly? Also, who are they? Each character has special abilities, but they they don’t know why or where they came from. They know that they where placed there (in Dragonfly world) but for what purpose. I like that that can relate to ourselves, such as why are we here? What is the meaning to our lives? I like writing about serious issues against a playful backdrop.

2. Tell us about Hellride.

Hellride is funny. It really is a simple story- there’s a guy on a journey. He faces trials and obstacles and in the end— well, you’ll just have to read it. The thing for me, that I loved, was to try some new things artistically that I haven’t done before. Those things are like, black panel borders, strange layouts and full-page bleeds. It might not sound like much to most folks, but it was a journey for me too. I like the look of the book and hopefully others will too- it was a lot of fun.

3. What are some of the differences between creating and putting out your own books vs working on a book like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles which was intially someone elses idea, but it still seems like you were able to add your own touch too?

That’s interesting. The answer has to be the control that you have with your own book. Plus you don’t have to ask permission. Lastly the characters are yours, and there is an intimacy with them that comes with that, like your children.
I certainly have certain troupes that I have an affinity for. The kick-ass girl- the big, strong thoughtful guy- and the cute, funny guy. I done these over and over again- so much that I think I need an intervention. I’m in all their heads and I know how I want them to react and go through their struggles. I know that I can get weird with them and if I feel like pushing the limits I can. I could kill off one of the main characters if I wanted- that’s incredible power in your storytelling.
With the TMNTs it was different. I remember in volume 2, kinda treading lightly on the guys. I didn’t really feel like I could alter things in the Turtle world. Imagine my surprise when they went to Image and Donnie became a robot, and Leo got his arm hacked off and Raph became the Shredder. It truly was stunning to me.
When I say permission it’s instances like that that I mean. A bunch of years ago, I made several proposals to Peter (Laird) asking if I could expand on the volume 4 universe. These would’ve been stories outside of the main plot but after a few tries and rejections I stopped. Ultimately the characters are not mine, and I totally get it, yet I was frustrated that I was so throughly rebuffed.
It was great times working on that book, the Turtles. I absolutely loved it- and I guess it’s just the end result of doing so many pages of them, writing and drawing that I probably held a secret idea that they were mine. Silly I guess, but the book was everything to me and I put so much into it that I probably allowed myself to get too attached. I’ll admit it- when the book sold it was tough, devastating for awhile.

4. What are your plans for your creative future? Do you have more in store for us fans?

So there’s a Kickstarter now. Neither of those books you’ll see from me again. Dragonfly will go to its new owner (and I’m very happy about this and excited to see what he does) and Hellride was a one shot so that’s all for that.
I have another series that I’ve been working on, called The Box City Wallops. I’ve written and drawn 7 issues so far and as of right now the book is in Russia being colored. I don’t know when it will be done or when it will be published but that’s where my concentration is right now. All I can say is stay tuned.

5. Here at ComixCentral we are all about promoting all things Indie. With that being said, besides yourself and your projects, what is one Indie property or creator you think people need to go check out right now?

Well, you asked for one so after reading this question, my brain went right away to Doug Tennapel. He’s got a crazy, cartoony style with lots of vivid brushwork and motion- it’s amazing. Also, as a writer, he always seems to be doing something new- I really admire his ability to always come up with something fresh. Also too- the guy just doesn’t seem to stop, it seems like he’s working on a book or one’s just come out- he’s astoundingly prolific. I believe try recently he’s just had a book come out that he funded with Indegogo- Bigfoot Bill. His library is huge so there’s probably something for everybody in there. Recommended.

CLICK HERE TO BACK THE KICKSTARTER FOR BOTH DRAGONFLY AND HELLRIDE!


Jim Lawson is a Comic Creator from New England. He is best know for working on one of the most popular Indie Properties of all time, The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, where he created the Ferocious Vermin Master The Rat King, who first appeared in the Tales of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Issue titled I, Monster. While working on Turtles he co-created Planet Racers with Peter Laird as well as his own series Paleo: Tales of the Late Cretaceous, among many other projects. Since the sale of the Turtles Jim has kept busy by creating comic series such as Dragonfly, The Box City Wallops, and Hellride. He continues to make appearances at local cons and provide beautiful commissions of anything from Turtles to Motorcycles. If you would like to contact Jim feel free to reach out to him through his Facebook page or Website.

 

 

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2018 ComixCentral Comic of the Year Award Winners!

2018 COMIXCENTRAL COMIC OF THE YEAR AWARD WINNERS


The year 2018 brought ComixCentral a bevy of new and awesome Indie Comics from some of the best and brightest stars in the Indie game. We are so fortunate and proud to have these titles available on our site. The quality of content made this years awards quite the challenge to decide on. So what did we do to help remedy this problem? We called in the Heavy Hitters, we brought in six of the biggest names in comics and dropped the tough decisions in their laps! We were so lucky to be joined this year by Jim Lawson, Ben Bishop, Michael Lent, Charlie Adlard, Pat Mills, And Robin Etherington! They were tasked with selecting a winner in a specific category of their choosing. Jim Lawson was also so kind to select two category winners, including the toughest job of all, Comic of the Year! Below is a list of all the winners and comments by our celebrity judges and members of our ComixCentral staff on why they thought that book or creator was deserving of the win. Congratulations to all the nominees and winners this year! Keep creating and knocking our socks off!


*Click on the covers to BUY the comic and support some of the best Indie creators in the world!*


BEST ACTION ADVENTURE COMIC

Winner- Stroper

By- Eddie Porter

Judge- ComixCentral Staff

“We loved how Stroper sets up the story in this issue with a masterclass of visual storytelling. The minimal speech and text give an exemplar in just how it’s posible to build a story setup, world(s) and create a specific sense of character in a single issue. Stoper dispenses with extensive exposition with engaging effect. It’s unique style and tone set this story up perfectly for the action that follows. And set up for a 10 issue story arc readers are in for a real blast from this deserved winner for best action adventure.” – Jamie Norman (CXC Staff)

BEST ALL AGES COMIC

Winner– The Legend of Polloman

By: Gonzalo Alvarez

Judge– Robin Etherington (Disney, Dreamworks, Etherington Bros.)

“Polloman was engaging from the off: a deep dive into Mexican folklore with beautiful visuals. The art style was fresh and playful and perfectly complemented the tone of the tale. I loved the consistent use of language translation between the panel borders. More please! Dirk Brody was a straight up slice of action adventure joy. Like the protagonists themselves we’re thrown in at the deep end and hang on, breathless, till the last desperate escape. The choice of limited colour palette works wonders with the clean inking. It’s fun and bold, giving precious little of the obviously larger ongoing plot away, and being none the poorer for it’s omission. Bravo!” –Robin Etherington

*Robin would like to make a special mention of Dirk Brodey: The Lost Empire of the Moon! as runner up in the category.

BEST COMEDY COMIC

Winner- Fetch

Writer – Nicholas Poonamallee

Artist – Szymon Sobczak

Judge- Jim Lawson (TMNT, Dragonfly)

“Pretty Damn Awesome! An entertaining and lively book had my interest from page 1. The art particularly arresting with thoughtful panel layouts and use of B+W. Also nice use of both simple and detailed linework. Portrayal of action was just stunning.Story- clever and funny. Characters were good and the dialogue worked well. The plot itself nothing new really but that didn’t stop me from reading with anticipation to the end, and closing the book wanting more. Great job.” – Jim Lawson

BEST FANTASY COMIC

Winner – Starside

By–  Dylan Klein, Lane Brettschneider and Jordan Chao.

Judge– ComixCentral Staff

“A masterful execution of character development and suspense. From the minute this beautifully illustrated and written comic begins, the reader is drawn into the main character “Jack’s” world. A simple, straight forward life existing of a day to day before school ritual, contact with a beloved sibling and typical teen angst over girls and grades. The writer takes their time, telling the story properly, not rushed to “ge to the action” and we appreciate the trust they have in the reader. When the action does begin, we were not disappointed. In Fact a rush of goosebumps told us just how good this team really is. A well deserved win, we can hardly wait for issue #2!” – Leigh Jeffery (CXC Staff) 

BEST HORROR COMIC

Winner- Six:Eight

Writer- Michael T. Gonzalez

Art & Letters- Allen Byrns

Judge- Charlie Adlard (The Walking Dead)

“Ok read everything… and the winner is…SIX : EIGHT! Out of the shortlist I read, it was the book that had the strongest combination of art and story – something I look for always – if it’s not 50/50 story/art, then it’s failing as a comic. On top of that the art style was gloriously textural and atmospheric, which worked well with the downbeat seedy nature of the story. Nice subtle touches too… stuff that stays with you well after you read the book. It’s always hard for print media to compete with film and TV when doing horror, since that medium can capitalise on tension and the the jump scare due to its format, so comics etc have to seek out other ways to scare the reader – imagery, concept – and Six : Eight achieves that really well.” – Charlie Adlard

BEST LGBTQ+ COMIC

Winner- Alex Priest

Writer- Jenn Arledge

Art- Scott Malin

Judge- ComixCentral Staff

“This was my introduction to the Alex Priest series and I can tell you one thing, I am disappointed……IN MYSELF! I can’t believe I hadn’t yet read any of the available books in the series before we started the awards process. Jenn Arledge has crafted a fun and exciting world for her characters to reek havoc in. Scott Malin’s art is a perfect fit for the tone of the story. In this issue I really enjoyed how the two storylines were on opposite ends of the spectrum. One being full of action and fear and the other a happy reconciliation. And then when it matters most when the storylines collided towards the end of the issue it left me feeling satisfied and the cliffhanger left me wanting to pick up the next issue! Everyone needs to go and read all the issues in this series, they won’t be sorry!” – Joey Sheehan (CXC Staff)

BEST MANGA COMIC

Winner- Dead Ronin

By- Luke Brown

Judge- ComixCentral Staff

“There is only one choice for best manga. Its Dead Ronin. The best way to describe this book is to imagine strapping yourself to a rocket and hold tight. From page one it never lets up. Luke’s artwork only gets better with each new page. His style perfectly captures the high speed action without missing any of beautiful detail. The story hits you from the start and trust me once you start you will not want to put it down. Luke has pushed himself and this series to the highest point and its brilliant.” – Craig Johnson (CXC Staff)

BEST MYSTERY COMIC

Winner- The Pale

Writer- Sanders Fabares

Art- Jay Fabares

Judge- ComixCentral Staff

“For us ‘The Pale’ represents everything that’s great about Indie comics. The freedom to tell new, interesting stories, beautiful artwork, and excellent story craft. This story builds an engaging mystery expertly told with excellent characterisation and wonderfully brought to life. The character devleopment is well placed allowing the you to learn and invest more in them as the story unfolds. This book has production values the belies the two creators behind it (Sanders and Jay Fabares) and they should be really proud of what they’ve created here. This award was for the comic of the week winning issue but we totally recommend checking out all the issues in this story. We see big things ahead for this creative team.” – Jamie Norman (CXC Staff)

BEST SCI-FI COMIC

Winner- Astr0 Pi6

By- Justin Sunseri

Judge- Pat Mills (Judge Dredd, 2000AD)

“It was a surprising choice for me. I really hadn’t expected it to be the one I would go for as the comic world I write for is so very different. I’ll explain more about this in a moment. But as I read it , I was drawn into the concept and the art. The images are inspired and beautiful. The story premise seems highly original. I’ve certainly never come across anything like it before. It was written and drawn from the heart and thus didn’t fall into any of the obvious traps – e.g. being too cute, too cliched, or too educational/moralising etc. There was a joy in the creation which communicates itself to the readers. A ‘feel good’ factor without the gooey soft centre of a Hallmark film.

I think it has enormous social and commercial potential and I found myself wondering how the series would develop. Who had commissioned the pig to go on his space travel and why. How would the pig deal with other challenges. What other science fiction worlds he might visit.

In Britain, there’s, rightly, considerable professional hostility to educational and middle class comics and I’m one of their fiercest critics. Primarily because such comics are usually smug, patronising,sustain our wretched class system. and working class kids in the UK – the largest potential audience – tend to hate them. I turned to Astro Pig fully expecting it to be the American equivalent and intending to quickly move on to the other comics. To my surprise I was completely captivated by it – it has none of the negative attributes I feared it might have.

It is truly delightful and an outstanding winner!” – Pat Mills

BEST SUPER HERO COMIC

Winner- Canada Bear

Creator, Pencils, Cover- Paul Farris

Writer, Letterer- Sean Wilson

Line Artist- Carlos Azevedo

Judge- ComixCentral Staff

“The obvious choice for Best Super Hero of the bunch was Canada Bear. Everything a good Super Hero story should be. A proper origin story, an out of control baddy, the world in chaos and we have only one hope. A steely eyed, massively muscled, smooth talkin’, catch phrase dropping hero to save the day eh! Canada Bear has the all the elements that make for a delightful Comic read. The artwork has that wonderfully classic Saturday morning cartoon feel that assures me I’m going to be giggling and entertianed with the flip of every page. The story lines flows perfectly from punch line to punch line, and the charming dialogue fits each character like a glove. A delightful read for all ages, and fun fun fun!” -Leigh Jeffery (CXC Staff) 

BEST THRILLER COMIC

Winner- The Maroon

By – Derek W. Lipscomb

Judge- ComixCentral Staff

“No question about it. The Maroon is the best thriller. No other comic has pulled me in and had me on the edge on my seat at all times. Derek continues with each issue to add more depth, character development and world building. The artwork is consistently amazing and fantastic action set pieces. The Maroon deserves this and so much more. One day I hope to see this adapted for a series as the story is huge and ever expanding.” – Craig Johnson (CXC Staff)

BEST COMIC PROMOTION


Winner- Mashbone and Grifty

Art & Story- Oscar Garza

Story- Rolando Esquivel

Judge- ComixCentral Staff

“If there was one comic series that came to mind when we thought of “Promotion” it was Mashbone and Grifty. Never is there a day that we don’t get an eagerly anticipated eyeful of their fantastic artwork, clever tag lines, click-worthy links, and awesome custom gifs come across our various social media channels. A truly professional marketing effort is being precisely exectuted by this talented group of creators and we can’t get enough! Not to mention they are putting out one fo the most creative, beautifully illustrated and hilariously written indie comics on the market “Mang!” ” – Leigh Jeffery (CXC Staff)

SPIRIT OF INDIE AWARD

Winner- The Maroon

By – Derek W. Lipscomb

Judge- ComixCentral Staff

“Derek Lipscomb is the obvious choice. No one in the indie comics community does as much as Derek. He supports every indie comic he comes across. He’ll retweet a project you are working on, an ad you have going and he reaches out and gives words of wisdom and guidance. He has on more than one occasion helped me and cheered me. He is an inspiration to not just me but to everyone in Indie. Derek is undoubtably the heart of the Indie Comics community. We are all lucky to have him on our side!” – Craig Johnson (CXC Staff)

PEOPLES CHOICE AWARD

THE PEOPLE HAVE SPOKEN!!!!

The People’s choice award was an open vote to the fans of ComixCentral. We asked them to vote for six of their favorite comics from the past year. When the vote was done we had a top six that was so close we just had to give everyone an award! All these comics are worthy of the award and we are proud to have them on our site!

 

WRITER OF THE YEAR

Winner- BOB: Non-Union Psychic

Written and Scripted- Lance Lucero & Adam Volle

Art- Francisco Resendiz

Letters- Kurt Hathaway

Judge- Michael Lent (Prey, The Lynx)

“BOB: NON-UNION PSYCHIC #2 is such a fun, fresh and inventive universe. The characters all have interesting backstories. The pacing is spot on. Story elements are properly motivated and dialogue isn’t always carrying water for exposition, something that fellow writers notice. The more I read the more I want to both understand and immerse myself in this idiosyncratic world. There is a seamless integration of vision between writer, artist, letterer and colorist. As a reader, BOB is a full meal experience — story is engaging and each frame is chockablock with interesting elements and attention to detail that reward attentive readers. You are in the moment and yet, aware of the greater universe just outside a given panel or page. I kept thinking that the BOB team really needs to bring out the TPB from #0, 1, & 2. That would be awesome. Like the other books, Bob is really a credit to the CXC universe.” – Michael Lent

ARTIST OF THE YEAR

Winner- Whisper Wilds

Creator/Writer – Brent Nelson

Art/Letters- Emanuele Arnaldi

Judge- Ben Bishop (The Aggregate, Drawing Blood)

“Emanuele Arnaldi’s artwork in Whisper Wilds is both inventive, and beautiful. The incredible color palette throughout, as well as the brilliantly imaginative character designs, make for a very fleshed out, and immersive world within the story. I want action figures, I want a cartoon, I want to see this book continue for a long time. Love it.” –Ben Bishop

COMIC OF THE YEAR

Winner– The Legend of Polloman

By: Gonzalo Alvarez

Judge– Jim Lawson (TMNT, Dragonfly)

“Well- I went through all the books that made the final cut last week. There’s a lot of really impressive stuff there and I wanted to chew on it over the weekend.I had a tough time. There was probably 4 books that I kept coming back to as my top picks. Emotionally there was one that I really dug but in the end I decided on another that I loved, but I felt that the extra effort that had gone into the book and it was a little more expansive in the world-building department. This is the book that I picked as winner. The Legend of Polloman. I love that I went into the book not knowing what my expectations would be. As I flipped through and read the first pages I was really impressed that this was like no other comic that I’ve read and on top of that it was really thoughtfully designed. Plus it was folklore and historical and I’m a sucker for both those things. Then when I was hoping that this would somehow translate into an actual comic story there it was- what I wanted- perfect timing. A good story too. I think it makes the presentation stronger when the characters are relatable and feel emotions and contend with situations just as we do.- fear, hope, frustration- all the human stuff we struggle with. By the end of the book, we begin to see these worlds (human/folklore) coming together. A beautiful, well-crafted comic.” – Jim Lawson


CONGRATULATIONS TO ALL THE WINNERS AND NOMINEES!

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Lets Meet the Comic Of The Year Awards Guest Judges!

LETS MEET THE COMIC OF THE YEAR AWARDS JUDGES!


Jim Lawson

Photo from Turtlepedia

Jim is based in Massachusetts and is best known for his work on the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles comics from Mirage Studios. He was an Artist and Writer on the series for more than 20 years. He has drawn more issues of Turtles than any other creator. He created the villain the Rat King who first appeared in I, Monster of the  Tales of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Series. He also created the series Planet Racers with Peter Laird as well as Paleo: Tales of the Late Cretaceuos.

After the sale of the Turtles to Viacom in 2009, Jim started working on his new Indie properties Dragonfly and The Box City Wallops. Look for Jim’s newest project Dragonfly and Hellride coming to Kickstarter this month! Keep up with Jim and all his work through his website JimLawsonArt.

 

Ben Bishop

Photo from Facebook

Ben is a comic creator from Portland, ME. He self-published his first graphic novel in 2008 called Nathan the Caveman. After that he illustrated the award winning Lost Trail book, a comic adaptation of Lost on a Mountain in Maine. In 2015 He successfully Kickstarted his next graphic Novel The Aggregate, the worlds first Split Decision Comic. It was nominated for a Ringo Award for Best Graphic Novel, the only self-published nominee in that category.

Currently Ben is the artist on Kevin Eastmans Drawing Blood series. He was also the artist on Target R the Raphael Macro series book from IDW. Ben has also worked on properties such as Savage Dragon, Batman, Bloodshot and more! Keep an eye out for the Kickstarter for The Aggregate Book 2 Launching March 1. Keep up with Ben and his work at Bishart

 

Michael Lent

Photo From The Reading Bud

Michael is a writer and producer based in Los Angeles. He has written comics including the Marvel and Dabel Brothers Publishing Prey: Origin of the Species and The Machine Stops from Alterna Comics. He Co-wrote On Thin Ice, which was based on the life of Hugh Rowland from the series Ice road Truckers. In 2007 Michael wrote Christmas Letters from Hell: All The News We Hate From The People We Love which ended up being the number 1 Holiday Humor book of the year.

Michael has produced on a number of award winning films including Hard Scrambled, Witches’ Night, 2021, If You’re Serious, and the soon to be released To Your Last Death which is an animated Horror Film starring Morena Baccarin and William Shatner. To keep up with the latest news from To Your Last Death including when to catch it in theatre’s, check out their website ToYourLastDeath.

 

Robin Etherington 

Photo From Jersey Festival

Robin is based in the UK and is one half of the power duo that is The Etherington Brothers.  Along with his Brother Lorenzo, Robin has created Long Gone Don, Von Doogan, Baggae, Monkey Nuts and Freaky and Fearless. They have worked for Disney, Dreamworks, Aardman, The BBC and many book publishers. They have worked on properties including Star Wars, Transformers, How to Train your Dragon, and Kung Fu Panda.

Their blog is a go to for many creators. They have countless tutorials to help creators become better artists by providing countless tips and tricks. To check out the blog and keep up with news and appearance info make sure to visit Robin on Blogspot.

 

Charlie Adlard

Photo From ComicsBeat

Charlie is a comic artist based in the UK. He is best know for his historic run as the artist on Robert Kirkmans The Walking Dead comic. He has been drawing the series since 2004. Beyond drawing thousands of zombies Charlie has also worked on properties including Judge Dredd, Batman, The Thunderbolts, Mars Attacks, and The X-Files to name a few.

Charlie has also worked on the series Savage with Co-Guest Judge Pat Mills. To keep up with Charlie and his work stay in touch with him on his site CharlieAdlard.

 

Pat Mills

Photo from WordPress

Pat is the Godfather of British Comics. He has worked on countless titles and has created some of the biggest characters in comics including Judge Dredd. He also created the Sci-Fi comic magazine 2000AD in 1977. 2000AD has featured some of the best talent in comics including Pat, Alan Moore, and Dave Gibbons amongst others. Pat has written some of your favorite characters ranging from Batman to Slaine, Morbius to Punisher, thousands of pages of epic greatness.

Some non comic work includes writing two Doctor Who audio plays in 2008 and 2009. He also recently released his memoirs Be Pure! Be Vigilant! Behave! 2000 AD and Judge Dredd: The Secret History. If you would like to follow Pat and keep up to date with his current work please visit the Millverse.

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Five for Creating with Joseph Schmalke

FIVE FOR CREATING WITH JOSEPH SCHMALKE


Welcome to Five for Creating! An interview series here at ComixCentral where we focus on getting to know Indie Creators and what they are working on through a series of five questions. This week we chat with Comic Creator Joseph Schmalke who is currently Kickstarting his new art book CARPE NOCTEM.

1. Tell us about your love for horror and how its inspired your work including the upcoming art book Carpe Noctem.

My love of horror stated way early on.  I remember being a kid watching Phantom of the Opera (the silent one) and the classic universal monster movies with my Dad.  My mom was into the slasher horror that was coming out in the early 80’s and exposed me to Nightmare on Elm street and Friday the 13th.  So, for me its just from what I know.  I loved those movies then and I love them now. Every October I binge watch horror and love drawing my favorite monsters and maniacs.  This year I touched on several themes that I have wanted to draw like monsters of rock, classic monsters, slashers, and Kaiju monsters. 

2. This is more than just your run of the mill art book right?

It’s going to be a large format book (11×17″) and will have a prominent look just from its size alone, but it’s also a labor of love and I wanted to offer people something with more of a prestige format. I see a lot of people walking around at shows buying prints for their walls and then the following year saying to me that they love the prints they are seeing but have no more wall space. I’m remedying that with this book.  You get the large format art but you also get your wall back…this is an art print book you are meant to hold in your hand.  Outside the campaign I doubt I will sell any of these pieces as wall prints though many of them are frame worthy. 

3. Tell us about your Graphic Novels Cherry Blackbird and The Infernal Pact, Which will be available as ad-on rewards during the Kickstarter.

The Infernal Pact is about three friends that jokingly sell their souls for drugs and find themselves actually cursed. Transformed into monsters they find themselves being hunted down by Devil worshiping bikers and brain eating zombies on a cross country road trip to hell. Cherry Blackbird is about a rock and roll star that has to send seven demons to hell in order to save her own damned soul.  Both the Infernal Pact and Cherry Blackbird exist in the same universe.  Both are horror/grindhouse books with over-the-top violence, insane characters, salty language, sexual situations, nudity, drugs, and a dose of dark humor. They are my independently published horror graphic novels and both have a hard “R” rating. 

4. Do you have anything else on the table for this year that you would like readers to know about?

The biggest thing will probably be something that people will be bringing to my table.  The Electric Black is coming out in April from Scout comics and it’s the story of an antique shop filled with cursed objects that’s run by a demonic proprietor and his psychopathic employees.  It’s Tales from the Crypt meets Needful Things/Friday the 13th the series and as such works like an anthology with a larger story binding all the smaller stories togther.

5. Here at ComixCentral we are all about promoting all things Indie. With that being said, besides yourself and projects, what is one Indie property or creator you think people need to go check out right now?

Some of these are coming soon and some are available now.  Ben Bishop has THE AGGREGATE which is the worlds first Split Decision comic. Dylan Andrews continues work on his Archive: the Warhood odyssey series. Ryan Wing is coming out with his newest project the October Ghost , Rich Woodall is releasing both Space Force and Sgt. Werewolf this year (he’s also my partner on the Electric Black) and finally Walter Ostlie is releasing Metal Shark Bro also in April from Scout comics. 


CLICK HERE TO SUPPORT CARPE NOCTEM ON KICKSTARTER


Joseph Schmalke is a comics creator, writer, and illustrator residing in Westbrook, Maine. Joe is the author/artist on THE CALAMITOUS BLACK DEVILS (Broken Icon Comics), THE INFERNAL PACT (self published), and CHERRY BLACKBIRD (self published) and the upcoming THE ELECTRIC BLACK. A classically-trained painter, Joe got his start doing tattoos in the back of New Orleans barbershops. A lifelong lover of comic books and horror movies, he has worked behind the scenes in film and tv, but has always focused on making the type of books that he loves to read— full of dark humor and dark themes. You can find his work featured on Exclusive FYE t-shirts, Portland Maine’s comics zine ONE-PAGE STINKERS, Killer Bootlegs’ and Super 7 figure box art, and A Sound of Thunder’s IT WAS METAL graphic novel anthology.

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Five for Creating with Team Angela and the Dark


FIVE FOR CREATING WITH THE TEAM FROM ANGELA AND THE DARK


Welcome to Five for Creating! An interview series here at ComixCentral where we focus on getting to know Indie Creators and what they are working on through a series of five questions. This week we chat with Writer Umbrus Syn and Artist Russell Fox two members of the creative team behind the comic Angela and the Dark.   

 

1. Tell us about Angela and the Dark.

UMBRUS: Angela and the Dark is an anime inspired all-ages action-adventure series set in the year 2137, which follows the exploits of our young heroine Angela, and our slightly older heroines The Dark in cyberpunk Metron City.  My favorite pitch that I give for it is to imagine the dark and serious world of Blade Runner…then drop Pippi Longstocking right in the middle of it. Madness and shenanigans ensue. 

RUSSELL: What he said!

 

2. What are some of the biggest influences to the story of Angela and the Dark?

UMBRUS: Angela and the Dark for me is a love letter and homage to some of my favorite things growing up, including especially anime.  I was and still am a big fan of Akira, Cowboy BeBop, and Bubblegum Crisis which you can definitely see elements of.  Angela herself has that trickster energy that Spider-man has when he’s in mask, and as the story progresses we’ll see how that shapes the course of events for everyone she encounters. The social and economic dynamics of Metron City were inspired by looking at history and how human beings tend to behave given a certain set of conditions, then positing a “what if” in the future.  Elements of Ancient Rome, Hong Kong, New York City and the standard operating procedure of the worlds Super Powers since the end of World War 2 helps guide the backbone of it.

RUSSELL: I took onboard a lot of influences when creating the look of Metron City. Umbrus and I discussed it at length, but the general aim was a less oppressive Blade Runner aesthetic. The level of tech was kept “within reason” so it didn’t become too fantastical. For example, there are flying cars but they’re only used by law enforcement, it’s not the Jetsons.

Visually I drew from Blade Runner, Akira, Ghost In The Shell, Star Wars…

Everything had to be designed, and everything had to work. Footwear, buildings, armour, clothing, vehicles… I didn’t want to just throw in a bunch of crazy sci-fi designs; there had to be a thread running through fashions, architecture, etc. Background characters needed to be fully realised, the city itself needed to feel sprawling and lived in.

3. What is the dynamic like between the two of you creatively when you sit down to start working on a book?

RUSSELL: We’ve known each other a long time, worked together enough, that we have a good back & forth when working. Umbrus might have suggestions or concepts he wants to see in the art, I might have dialogue or ideas I want to read in the story.

Volume Zero is based on a one shot Umbrus wrote & illustrated several years back. I didn’t work off a script, I looked at the one shot and… expanded it. Just redrawing it panel-for-panel didn’t really interest me, but working like this gave me a chance to put my stamp on it. He then wrote the script to my art. I threw in some stuff that he built upon, and vice versa. There’s a lot of freedom, it’s a fun way to work.

 

UMBRUS: What Russell said!  It’s one of the greatest honors of my life to work on projects with him as he’s insanely talented.  We had a motto of sorts when we set out to do this and that was that it had to be fun. We have to be having fun at all times, and I hope that comes through in the pages.  I love it because he brings things in that I either didn’t think of initially, sees them in a different way than I did, or just brings so many layers to it that it truly comes to life and gives things an “this could really happen” organic nature. It helps keep everything fresh and fun and feeling new.

 

 

4. What is the plan for the future of the series?

RUSSELL: The plan is to eschew the 25 page format in favour of a series of 100 page books. I think that’s right? Umbrus knows better than I do. And also a TV series, because it would be awesome.

UMBRUS: Volume Zero is our introductory issue into the world and dynamics of all our main players and we plant the seeds for all the twists, turns, surprises and adventures in store.  We’re looking ahead to releasing a 100 page graphic novel, really diving in and putting the entire first story arc out.  As indie creators we can try different formats and takes and aren’t locked into the traditional way of doing things, and we hope by doing it this way we can make a greater impact telling the story we want to with the ideals we want to put forward.

 

5. Here at ComixCentral we are about supporting all things Indie! With that being said , besides your own work, what is one Indie property or creator you think everyone needs to go check out right now?

UMBRUS: I have a couple of really good friends that are doing some amazing things.  One is Jamie Gambell who has been putting out The Hero Code for quite a while, and another one is the amazing incredible Tim Fielder who is breaking the mold with Matty’s Rocket! Check these guys out!

RUSSELL: A guy I’m friends with on Instagram called Dave Law, I love his work. Crazily inventive. He works on a book called The Space Odditorium. You should definitely check it out.


Click here to buy Angela and the Dark on ComixCentral!

A. Diallo Jackson aka Umbrus Syn, is the writer & co-creator of ANGELA AND THE DARK. In comics, he has also published THE PARANORMALS with Russell Fox, and is currently producing a new project called E.A.R.S and currently at work writing his first YA fantasy novel. Along with published novels THE CLAYMORE and the science fiction serialized novel MAYA, he has also written for a number of publications including Yahoo! Games, US Weekly, and Geek & Sundry, and is also the writer of 2017 Producer’s Guild winning Weekend Shorts short film, BEAUTIFUL STRANGERS.  When he is not dreaming up ways for his characters to save the world, he daydreams of being the showrunner for a revival of Quantum Leap, writing the definitive Green Lantern movie, and being the best.Unicorn.ever.

Russell Fox is the artist & co-creator of ANGELA AND THE DARK. With delusions of grandeur from an early age, it was on his first day of school at age five that he told his teacher he intended to draw comic books for a living and twelve years later began his first commission as an illustrator for JUDGE DREDD MEGAZINE. After some years in advertising as a visualizer he moved back into comics as co-creator of two graphic novel series, one of which was adapted by the BBC into THE MYSTI SHOW. He has produced concept art for the films KILL ‘EM ALL and THE SHADOWED, and worked on several indie comics projects including BIO-MORPHS, HUMANS VS ZOMBIES, DIE CONFISERIE and THE PARANORMALS.

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Five for Creating with Dylan Andrews


FIVE FOR CREATING WITH DYLAN ANDREWS


Welcome to Five for Creating! An interview series here at ComixCentral where we focus on getting to know Indie Creators and what they are working on through a series of five questions. This week we chat with Dylan Andrews the creator of ARCHIVE: The WarHood Odyssey a comic series which is currently Kickstarting its fifth issue HERE

1. Tell us about ARCHIVE: The WarHood Odyssey.

My series is about an unwilling and unlikely hero that is forced to use a futuristic weapon against it’s creator to save a dying planet. It’s inspired by over the top 90’s chromium age action comics that I grew up reading. I’ve always wanted to try and capture the magic that I felt while reading the Image Comics books like Savage Dragon, Spawn, WildCats, Youngblood and Cyberforce! So I created ARCHIVE The WarHood Odyssey!

2.  Who is your favorite character to write/draw in the series? Is there a particular reason why?

I love drawing all of the characters, but the main character is Era Nalyd, who wears The WarHood! He’s fun to draw because he’s got a lot of the things I love about characters I grew up reading. He’s dark like Batman, Spawn and Darkness, and he’s muscular like Venom, Hulk and Savage Dragon!

3. This is issue #5, what are your plans for this run? Do you have a set story arc or will you continue on for as long as you are inspired?

The plan is to have an incredibly successful issue #5! I have some ideas for what happens after that.

4. I’ve heard you mention your love for the comics of the 90s. If you could do a crossover issue with one character of that era who would it be and why?

That’s a great question… All of them? Can I say all of them? I think that my character would be an awesome crossover with any founding Image Comics book… It’s funny because crossovers were so much fun when I was growing up, they were so exciting! Marvel Vs DC and all the Image books crossing with other companies. They don’t really do that anymore, I remember Batman and Spawn crossing over… that sort of stuff doesn’t happen anymore.

5. Here at ComixCentral we are about promoting all things Indie Comics. So, besides your own work. What is one Indie Property or creator you think people should go check out?

Thee’s SO many incredible creators making awesome stuff right now! My friend Ben Bishop is doing the variant cover for my book, we share a studio and he’s doing so many awesome things as an independent publisher! The artist doing commissions for my campaign, Joseph Schmalke, Ian Chase Nichols, Bill Walko, and Rich Woodall are fantastic creators! They’re working with Scout Comics, Altered Reality, and Kickstarting their own series!

Click here to Support the Kickstarter for ARCHIVE: The WarHood Odyssey


Dylan Andrews is a designer, artist and comic book creator. He has been working professionally for almost 20 years in the field of publishing. He has done six successfully funded kickstarter campaigns for his comic book ARCHIVE The WarHood Odyssey. He started reading comics when he was 5 years old, and he has always wanted to use his knowledge of art, design and publishing to create his own comic books.
He is so happy to be part of the vibrant comic book creating community in Portland Maine. He loves the over the top chromium age 90s comics from my youth and he wants to bring back the excitement and energy that those comics had for himself to a modern audience.
If you like Dylans work check out his work on any of these platforms:


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New Year Revelation By Jamie Norman


NEW YEAR REVELATION

BY: JAMIE NORMAN

Photo by Ian Schneider on Unsplash

 

So it’s that time of year again where some of you may be thinking of your plans for next year, maybe even making some new year resolutions. Or are you?  Is it something that you do once you’ve got past Christmas, start to feel the impending opportunity and a fresh start?  A chance to do all those things you promised you’d do this year?

But what stopped you?

Recently I’ve been doing a lot of self reflection around the goals I set for myself and trying to understand what made the ones I achieved work and what made the ones I didn’t, fail.

Now I understand we’re all unique and circumstances can vary greatly but there are things that I’m sure we can all relate to that prevent us achieving what we plan to.

Procrastination, being ‘too busy’, Other parts of life be that your job, family commitments etc coming first, or just not feeling in the right place to work on your projects.

First things first you’re certainly not alone. These are the kind of things shared by creators across all industries.  I sure as hell have experienced them all.  Sometimes all at once.

Which is why I’ve worked so hard to understand the mechanics of it all.  Why doesn’t all the stuff we so desperately want to do not get done?

I can tell you this much.  Goals are bullshit….

…Hear me out.  Not goals per se but the idea we’ve been led to believe that you just set yourself the right goals and everything takes care of itself.

But we’ve been looking in the wrong place my friends.

It may sound a it trite but as the saying goes ’a goal without a plan is just a dream’.  And as the dreamers of the world this can be hard to reconcile as creators.

But the key is in the process.

My journey of self discovery led me to a particular place.  A detailed look at the power of habits.

Because when you distill all the things, I want to achieve focussing on the goal is not the place to look.

Focussing on the process is where the magic happens. I’m not usually one for sports analogies but consider this.  Both teams in the Super Bowl have the exact same goal, the same dream and the opportunity to realize it.  But wishing to win is not enough. It’s the team who has done the right things in the preparation leading up to the game that come out on top. Every training session, film study session and so on that help.  The goal itself is not enough.

And as creators we’re in a unique position. Particularly in a self-publishing sense.  You have no opponent or game to win.  Just yourself. And you’re in control of your own destiny.  But you have to give yourself a fighting chance.

Going back to my habit journey of discovery, I came across a book by James Clear, Called Atomic Habits.  Now I’m pretty cynical about ‘self help’ books but there are so many gems of practical steps in this book.  If you want to understand how habits work, how to make new ones easier, how to cement a habit in your daily/weekly routines and how to discourage bad ones, this book does it.

Photo from jamesclear.com 

But not in general platitudes but in very specific steps in a framework that you can apply to all areas of your life.

On the basis that what we feel we need to sustain a good habit or practice is motivation but in reality it’s clarity

For me that focus in on health and fitness and my writing and you wouldn’t always draw parallels with those things but I’ve got some actionable outcomes from this book that are absolutely setting me up to do the things I want going into next year.

At a high level it gives you a plan to look at every habitual part of your life in a new way, build a specific routine to address forming new habits and breaking bad ones. ‘Stacking’ good habits together to create a chain reaction of positive behaviour.  And the skills to review and maintain this in the future.

If we apply this to writing we all know the best way to writing successfully is to keep writing.  Not waiting for inspiration (that may never come) but creating a sustainable momentum to keep writing.

Following the Atomic Habits method I’ve been able to address the obstacles I’ve put up for myself, change the way I think about approaching writing. And build a system to build it into my routing.

In short the difference is about creating an identity rather than a goal and a focus on the system not the result.  So rather than be saying ‘I want to finish  book “X” by June’ I’m saying ‘I want to be the kind if person who writes every day’

Then look at how specifically I can support this.  By becoming the kind of person who writes every day is something that will sustain me beyond finishing book “X” and will hopefully make me a better writer.

And taking this further he introduces the idea of writing out an implementation Intention.

Essentially this means writing a specific plan is (proven with science no less!) to make a particular behaviour more likely.  Whether that is the intention to vote, make an appointment or any habit you want to introduce.

This is simply completing the gaps in this phrase to make the intention to do something more specific.

‘“I will [BEHAVIOR] at [TIME] in [LOCATION].

Let me take an example of where I could have adopted this myself during my annual failure to complete Inktober.

On the face of this this is a great excuse to practice daily illustration in a structured way.  But simply saying to myself I’m going to complete Inktober this year and draw every day hasn’t been enough on it’s own to see me through longer than a week.  Because that initial motivation isn’t sustained when ‘stuff comes up’.

But if I was to make a specific Intention Implementation like.  ‘Will draw something based on each Inktober prompt for 20 minutes before breakfast at home every day’  I may stand a much better chance.  Because I always eat breakfast, I always waste about 20 minutes before hand on social media or some other distraction and I’m at home where I’ll always have something to draw an and with. Check back in December 2019 with me on this one…

In terms of my writing habit I’ve already managed to start small.  A key element of Atomic Habits is making it easy and starting off small.  So I would make a goal to write for just 2 minutes a day.  This may sound a little ridiculous.  After all what can you write in 2 minutes a day?

But something extraordinary happened.  Making the 2 minute habit made writing a habit.  By the time I’d opened my laptop, opened a doc and started writing its amazing a) that you can write something in 2 minutes and b) how once you’ve mad the effort to start (the hardest part) you want to keep going anyway.  So that 2 minutes might become 10 minutes or even an hour.  But the key was baking the behaviour into my day.

There is a lot more detail and explanation to this process in the book (which I’m not earning a commission on by the way I’m just keen to share how it can support your creativity next year because I’m nice like that…)

For example building a structure to your habits using a 4 step process to make them:

1.  Obvious 

2. Attractive

3. Easy

4. Satisfying 

So if you do one thing that your future self can thank you for I totally recommend getting this book.

One of my first habits was switching to audio books from listening to the radio in the car and that was where I first heard about Atomic Habits.

I’d love to hear about your experience of switching up your creative habits.  Maybe if there’s enough interest we could start a creative habits social media group or something.  Just get in touch if you’re interested in anything like that.

Here’s to a creative and Productive 2019…


Growing up in the UK Jamie noticed he was starting to change after unintentionally drinking a radioactive cup of English Breakfast Tea. Many years later his powers began to manifest including an ability to create bizarre stories grounded in reality. By day a Software Product Manager but by night a creative machine able to procrastinate on a creative idea for months on end.

In my formative years I was heavily influenced by the burgeoning talent coming out of the UK Writers Like Alan Moore and Neil Gaiman. Artists like Brian Bolland, Dave Gibbons and others who led the ‘British Invasion’. I love to draw/paint but my real passion lies in writing. Current projects include a children’s picture book, a near future Sci-fi crime story and a short submission for an anthology.
I enjoy the usual suspects from the big publishers but nothing quite captures the unbridled creativity and raw talent seen in Indie comics. I was really proud to be asked to join ComixCentral as contributor, and bring some of my product/tech experience to help build the best hub for indie lovers and creators on the planet.

To hear more from Jamie give him a follow at THUNK!  Comics


Banner Photo by JESHOOTS.COM on Unsplash



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Five for Creating with Matt Nelson



FIVE FOR CREATING WITH MATT NELSON


Welcome to Five for Creating! An interview series here at ComixCentral where we focus on getting to know Indie Creators and what they are working on through a series of five questions. This week we chat with Matt Nelson creator of the Web-Comic Catbeard the Pirate.

1. Tell us about Catbeard the Pirate.

Catbeard is the most scurrilous pirate on the seven seas. His whole life has been spent in pursuit of one legendary treasure – the famed hoard of Scurvy Skeen. Along the way, he hit a bit of a snag when he angered a magical sea crone, who transformed his beard into a living cat! Against all odds, he embraced the change, and now sails the sea even more notorious, as Catbeard the Pirate!
I came up with Catbeard by accident. Back in 2011 I was playing with my (now sadly late) cat, Tiger, and pushed her against my face. “Look, a kitty beard!” I said to a friend with me. “Catbeard, the Pirate!” he responded. That was all I needed to be struck with sudden inspiration.

 

2. Catbeard the Pirate started in 2011, what drives you to continue telling his story?

I’ve always loved drawing and reading comics, especially adventure comics like Usagi Yojimbo, or comedic adventure like  Groo. Catbeard is the first thing I’ve done which scratches that itch for me. I like the freedom that comes from a fantasy story. Should Catbeard have to fight dinosaurs? Absolutely! Could Catbeard have to deal with his Beard’s own forays into kitty romance? Assuredly! Will he fight yeti dressed as Vikings? WHO CAN SAY?! But it’s not out of the realm of possibility, and that always gives me something new and fun to draw. Plus, I feel some duty to the Cap’n and his crew. We’re going to see this voyage through to the end.

3. What goes into introducing a new character to the plot? Do you usually come up with the character and fit them into the story or do you build around them based on need of the script? Or is it something totally different?

So, sometimes it’s the setting – currently there’s a storyline where the crew will be invading a massive floating library on the sea to get another of the clues to Skeen’s treasure. Out of necessity, then, I have to design pirate librarians. Other times, it’ll be just me doodling in a sketchbook, coming up with a design I like, and thinking, “I gotta work him/her into the story somehow.”

 

4. What’s next for our furry bearded pirate?

The story of Catbeard is actually winding toward its ultimate conclusion! I’ve planned for seven Catbeard books, and I’m currently serializing the sixth one online. Catbeard has to infiltrate the Pirates’ Library with the help of all buccaneers’ most hated enemies, a clan of ninja! If he and the crew survive that encounter, things will finally come to a head between he and his oldest rival for Skeen’s treasure, the Dread Pirate Templeton. Only one will make it to that golden hoard!

5. Here at ComixCentral we are about promoting all things Indie Comics. So, besides your own work, what is one Indie property or creator you think people should be checking out right now?

I’ve been reading a comic on Webtoons called Lore Olympus and it’s absolutely gorgeous. The kind of thing that makes me want to throw away all my drawing tools in frustration; it’s just lovely to look at. It’s a retelling of the Persephone myth in modern times, and it’s quite clever. I’m sure the author is probably half my age, just to make me even crazier. Definitely give it a look.


Matt Nelson is a cartoonist from the Pacific Northwest. He has been drawing comics for as long as he can remember. His favorite things (besides comics) are cats, board games, and craft beer.


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Five for Creating with Melissa Capriglione

FIVE FOR CREATING WITH MELISSA CAPRIGLIONE


Welcome to Five for Creating! A new interview series here at ComixCentral where we focus on getting to know Indie Creators and what they are working on through a series of five questions. This week we chat with Melissa Capriglione the creator of Falconhyrste a  web-comic which is currently available in collected form through her active Kickstarter campaign. 

1. Tell us about Falconhyrste.

Falconhyrste is an on-going web comic about a boy who accidentally awakens a demon on the first day at his new school! And to top that, he also has to deal with a pair of school bullies, a rambunctious school reporter, and a seedy student council organization.

 

2. There is a ton of representation in this series and I think you do a great job of making it prominent.  How important is it to you to showcase all types of race, religion and sexual orientation?

Our point is to have Falconhyrste reflect the real world. We’re not looking for Brownie Points in Representation, but we want everyone who is interested in this comic to feel represented accurately and not feel left out. Both me and Clara identify as lesbians, and we just want to see stories of queer characters going on adventures and doing magic, rather than being defined by our gender identities or sexual orientation. And I feel like that applies to a lot of web comic readers these days.

3. You and Clara seem to be the ultimate team, a real mix of responsibilities on the project. Whats your team dynamic like? Is there a set structure to it or is it a more fluid, depending on how you feel that day type of situation?  

We’ve been working together on this project for almost four years, so we’ve had a lot of experience in streamlining our processes. This is a full collaborative project, meaning we write together, come up with ideas together, and sketch together. With our busy schedules, it’s hard to keep up with editing script and constantly doing pages, but we still manage to find time. Our process starts with writing a first-draft script (which is usually really bad), and we edit it over the course of a few weeks. Once the script is finalized, I do the thumbnails and layouts, then send it to her for pencils and lettering. I then finish the pages with line work, colors, painting, and effects.

 

4. This collection just seems to be the tip of the iceberg for Cei and the crew, is the web-comic ahead of this timeline or do we have to impatiently wait for more?

Our story has been going on for almost four years now, and we just only hit page 200! We’re a bit further behind than we wanted to be, but we started this story while we were both in school. Now that I’m a full-time freelancer and Falconhyrste is getting bigger, it’s easier to spend more time on it. We’re currently in chapter six, and there’s eight chapters plus a prologue in this arc, with a sum of three arcs, so there’s still a long ways to go in this story! We’re confident, however, that our story will develop quickly, and there is much danger ahead for Cei and the crew! Web comics are a slow medium to begin with, but we’ll be getting into the thick of the plot very soon!

5. Here at ComixCentral we are all about promoting all things Indie. Besides your own work, who is an Indie creator or property you think everyone needs to run and go check out?

Here are some of my favorite webcomics that I keep up-to-date with:

Admiral by Matt H. Taylor

XII: Of Magic and Muses by Kristen Kiomall-Evans

APOC by H. Spikings

The Blue Valkyrie by Emily Riesbeck

O Sarilho by Shizamura

Blank Eyes by Marsh Kaleido



Melissa Capriglione is an Indiana-based comic artist and has been self-publishing Falconhyrste since 2015 with co-author Clara W. Melissa has gone on to work in published stories and anthologies, but Falconhyrste remains her main interest


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The Team Behind THE LYNX Share Their Pitch

THE TEAM BEHIND THE LYNX SHARES THEIR PITCH

The creative team be THE LYNX shares with us a look at the pitch they put together for prospective publishers and future team members.


Photo by Victor B. on Unsplash

 

Pitching a new series to artists and publishers requires some advance work and a bit of heavy lifting in terms of showing the potential for the project into the foreseeable future. Editors and publishers want a sense of how the story came together, as well as the tip of the iceberg of backstory and unseen elements. Meanwhile, artists need to be fully immersed into the universe if they are going to successfully translate the world inside the writer’s head into compelling and coherent images.

This introduction is placed before the actual script begins. Ideally, you want to build and develop it as you since it is a fair chunk of work. 

When the time comes to approach potential publishers, more elements can be added to the intro including character bible, link to an art reference library and fleshing out the story beats for future issues.

In any case, editor Joey Sheehan and I thought the Intro might be of interest to ComixCentral members.

-Michael Lent

THE LYNX

Written by: Michael Lent

Art by: Vittorio Garofoli

Color by: Carmelo Monaco

Lettering, Graphic Design & Editorial contributions by: Marshall Dillon

Cover by: TBD

INTRO for EDITORS: THE LYNX is a three-book arc that tells the saga of GAUPA, a young Norse boy caught between two mythical pagan worlds at war.  The title of this series derives from Gaupa’s name, which old Norse for “Lynx.”

Pronunciation IPA(key): /ˈkøyːpa/  (Audio available)

Rhymes: -øyːpa

https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/gaupa

Gaupa risks everything in pursuit of a mysterious destiny. Set against the pre-Christian, pre-marauding 6th century, this Viking tale recounts the days when two houses of Old Norse mythology, the warrior Aesir (Odinn, Thor and Loki) and the mystical Vanir (Frey and Freya), practitioners of shamanism, sorcery and prophecy, clashed and vied for adherents in the harsh Norse landscapes. Keep in mind that this is a time where gods were not immortal by birth. Often they mingled with humans and for their part, some humans laid claim to godlike powers such as shape shifting, prophecy, and dark magic. Meanwhile, the “dragons” of this period are unlike any we have encountered before.

The Lynx is an epic drama, fantasy adventure story that’s in good company with other successful stories and series including: THOR (Marvel and Disney), GAME OF THRONES based on A Song of Ice and Fire, VIKINGS (History Channel TV series), Northlanders (Brian Wood’s series that ran for 5 years],  Vinland Saga (the Japanese Manga currently in its 15th volume), and Valhalla, the long-running Danish comic that began in 1978, the films BEOWULF and BRAVEHEART. 

And while Viking stories are more popular than ever, the pre-marauding Norse world is one we know so very little about. Until now, this a time period rarely told because runes are the only documents that survived.  To wit: any school child can give you a dozen gods from the House of Zeus or Apollo whereas from the far more recent and arguably more culturally relevant Norse pantheon you may know Odinn, Thor and Mjolnir, but what about Skadi, Njord and Freya, not to mention Gerda? THE LYNX will correct this gap. Rest assured: I have read many 6th century runes as well as 19th century translations of the 10th century Icelandic sagas chronicling the Age of Iron. On the pages that follow you will leap across a 1500-year chasm to feel the power of this rare history finally unleashed in fiction form.

Thanks,

ML

SUMMARY OF THE LYNX THREE BOOK ARC

The Lynx is named for the main character Gaupa, Old Norse for “lynx.” He is the product of an Aesir (warrior clan) chieftain and a Vanir (mystic) woman captured on a raid and taken as wife. Gaupa identifies more with his mother in temperament and lives in the shadow of his father.

Book #1 begins with the death of Gaupa’s father.

Book #1: Ritual

Clan chief Thorvald Hildibrandr has died. He is 15-year old Gaupa’s father. During the funeral, the clan is attacked by Heiðnir, a band of rival warriors and mystics. Thorvald’s mythical sword has been stolen. A revenge war party is formed. It is Gaupa’s first time to be included and everything that could go wrong does.

Book #2: ÞRÆLL Slave

Three years have passed. Thorvald’s sword has changed hands several times before being restored to the Heiðnir. Gaupa is now enslaved on a trading ship headed for the Heiðnir stronghold. Gaupa’s thirst for revenge has grown but so has the power of his rivals. Gaupa exacts his revenge but the sword and some of its newly revealed mystical powers escape his grasp once more.

Book #3: móðr tíð Wrath of Time

The ghosts of Gaupa’s parents, family and friends continue to haunt him. He encounters a mysterious fellow mystic/warrior hybrid who claims she can help Gaupa locate his father’s sword; however, all may not be what it seems.

CREATIVE TEAM BEHIND THE LYNX

Michael Lent

Creator/Writer

Designated Top Writer of 2018 on Quora.com with more than 1.2 million reads, Michael Lent’s trans-media writing and producing experience spans film, fiction and nonfiction books, biographies, graphic novels, animation, video games, and reality television.

As a writer, Lent has adapted both Stephen King and E.M. Forster.

Writer of more than fifteen graphic novels and comics including i, Holmes (currently in development as a television series by veteran producer David Rambo (Empire, Revolution, V, CSI), Prey (Marvel), Brimstone (Zenescope), graphic novel nonfiction bios for Orbit including Keith Richards, Stephen Hawking, Stephen King and JRR Tolkien.

Writer of eight books including On Thin Ice, published by Disney/Hyperion, based on the top-rated reality television series Ice Road Truckers. Research for this project entailed one winter in the Arctic.

Producing credits on seven films including the upcoming animated horror movie MALEVOLENT starring William Shatner, Ray Wise and Morena Baccarin, and IF YOU’RE SERIOUS, shot in Fenghuang, China and nominated by the Academy of Sound Editors for the Verna Fields Golden Reel Award for Sound Design in 2014.

The Lynx is an homage to Lent’s Scandinavian roots.

Vittorio Garofoli

Panel Artist

Garofoli has been a comic book artist seven years, following three years of study at the School of Comics in Palermo.

He began his professional work at for Zenescope Entertaiment working on the long-running series Grimm Fairy Tales. He also worked on the well-regarded Dorian Gray series for TidalWave Productions. Garofoli has drawn for independent books and editors including CCTVYLLE, as well as various Kickstarter projects.

Garofoli admires artists such as Brian Hitch (Marvel’s Ultimate series), Alan Davis’ work on the Excalibur series, and French comic book such as Alpha by Yori Jigoumov and Largo Winch. His influences range from artists such as Trevis Charest, Ivan Rais, Mike Perkins, as well and Italian artists such as Sergio Toppi, Massimo Carnevale and Corrado Mastanuomo who helped inspire his style on The Lynx.

Interested in history, Garofoli loves the Viking Age and has studied it extensively, especially in preparation for this project. He is a devoted fan of the Vikings television series.

Marshall Dillon

Lettering, Graphic Design and Editorial Contributions

A comic book industry veteran, Dillon got his start in 1994 during the middle of the indie boom.

Over the years, he’s been everything from an independent self-published writer to an associate publisher working on properties like GI Joe, Voltron, and Street Fighter. Dillon has done just about everything except draw a comic book and has worked for just about every publisher except the “Big Two.”

Primarily a father and letterer these days, he also dabbles in old-school paper & dice RPG game design.

Dillon also has Scandinavian roots and has studied the history, customs, mythology and language through the on-line lectures of American scholar and poet Dr. Jackson Crawford of the University of Colorado, an expert on Old Norse. A particular thrill was a recent trip to Iceland with Dillon’s family.

Previously, Dillon and Lent collaborated on I, Holmes (Alterna) and worked at the game company Slime Sandwich.

Carmelo Monaco

Colorist

Carmelo Monaco is an Italian comic-book artist and illustrator. He lives and works in the city of his birth, Catania, Sicily. He studied at School of Comics in Palermo, where he got his degree in 2013, focusing on digital 2-D animation.

He worked as a background artist for Grafimated Cartoon on the feature film ”I Vespri Sicliani’.” (The Sicilian Vespers). The story is adapted from Guiseppe Verdi’s classic grand opera of the same name.

Since 2013, Monaco has worked as both artist and colorist for many comics including the series Totally Spies. Publishing credits include Disney, IDW, Tunuè, and Mondadori.

Since 2015 Monaco has taught anatomy for comic books and visual storytelling in the School of Comics in his Catania.

Carmelo’s interest in the subject matter and desire to work with artist Vittorio Garofoli brought him to this project.

NOTES ON THE ART

Okay, so, a small intro into the pre-Christian Viking world is warranted here. You might be interested to know that our modern idea of the Thor-worshipping, pillaging & marauding “Viking” — literally Old Norse for “to go wandering” — comes from a finite period of about two hundred years, roughly from the 10th to the 12th century. When the Norse, aka “North Men” first raided the Saxon lands we know today as England, Scotland and Ireland starting with a raid on a monastery at Lindisfarne, Britain in 793 AD, they were pagans worshipping the plethora of gods of war from the House of Aesir. Chief among these were Odinn, Loki and, of course, our beloved Thor. They soon discovered that the abbeys and monasteries conveniently located in snatch and grab dragon longboat distance along the Northern Britain coast housed many bejeweled golden relics whose protection was entrusted to pasty-faced Christian monks who never heard of Chuck Norris and instead spent their days in prayer, silence and organic gardening. For decades, the contest of Marauder vs. Monk was akin to Pitbull vs. Pot Roast.

Eventually, the Vikings pushed on to Russia (“Rus” being Old Norse for “men who row”), Normandy “Norse Man” and Constantinople serving as an elite royal guard there and the Age of Vikings was well underway. There were raids deep into Italy, Spain and Portugal. During this time, worship of Thor and the warlike House of Aesir gave the Vikings strength and made them much feared. However, as the Men of the North cut a swath through post-Roman Empire Europe, they began to settle in to the lands they had conquered, intermarrying and raising families. It was then that the local practice of Christianity with its carpenter and fisherman seemed more appropriate and conversion to the new religion swelled through the ranks. The conversion was more for practical reasons than anything else: when you’re raping, plundering and pillaging, it goes without saying that a God of War comes in mighty handy; however, when you have a wife, three kids, a house with attached two yak stall, well, “Love thy neighbor” seems like a more actuarially sound game plan. Back in Scandinavia, Harald Bluetooth, converted to Christianity in the 960s before taking the throne as the King of Denmark.  A supreme politician, Harald realized that this new religion both unified the many clans, tribes and chieftains under him, as well as gave him protections from other Christian realms that would otherwise attack Denmark as a place of run amuck with heathens to be conquered (i.e. see Native American “conversion”). Thus, Harald Bluetooth consolidated his power by renouncing Paganism and declaring that none other than God himself had anointed him king.

The end of the Viking Age is often marked by the failed invasion attempted by Norwegian King Harald III, who was soundly defeated by Saxon King Harold Godwinson in 1066 at the Battle of Stamford Bridge. More thumping followed in the ensuing decades and by the 12th century, the age of Vikings was over.

This is a thumbnail narrative mostly familiar to even the casual student of History. If not familiar to you, first “you’re welcome” and second, “shame on you.” For crying out loud, the Vikings gave us the days of the week and the practice of divorce, so would it kill you to learn something about these so-called “barbarians?” Yeesh.

Yet, there is another narrative, one from the pre-marauding Viking days before Christianity and even before the House of Aesir (Odinn/Thor/Loki/Valhalla) was solidified in Norse consciousness when the embers of a fierce, Germanic people were just beginning to stir. The sixth century was a time when TWO sects of Norse paganism vied for adherents. In the red corner, we had the Aesir with Odinn and his posse of warrior gangsta Gods geeked out on heavy metal — mainly iron — for hand-to-hand combat. In the blue corner, hailing from the world of mysticism and some very unsettling sex practices, the Vanir with Frey and Freya, practitioners of shamanism, sorcery and prophecy. Mysticism was considered unmanly (“ergi”) and its use less than ethical by the Aesir who saw no irony in worshipping a magic hammer that could manscape mountains. For their part, the Vanir probably brought it on themselves by openly advocating incest and mystical gender reassignment. In the close confines of relatively resource starved Scandinavia (a major reason for the Viking raids that were soon to follow), it was inevitable that the Gods from both houses would fight an epic war. It was the sword vs. the wand.

After a ferocious battle, the Aesir faith prevailed by and large over the magical Vanir, which is why the ensuing Viking raids didn’t consist of legions of Norse Harry Potters and Ron Weasleys. Unlike the warlike house of Aesir, the Vanir were all about the seasons, getting buck wild with fertility rites, love and sex, mysticism and intuition. In fact, even today when we speak of the Rites of Spring, that is Vanir and we are drinking from a well of full moon hookups and more than a thousand years old.

Keep in mind that this is a time where gods were not immortal by birth. Often they mingled with humans and for their part, some humans laid claim to godlike powers such as shape shifting, prophecy, and dark magic. It was said that the destinies of both gods and men were governed by the same Norn — female beings not unlike the Moirai or Fates of Greek mythology. Along with the Germanic pagans of the same period, our awareness of dragons, giants, and trolls comes from this place and time. Some argue that it was only the advent of Christianity with its emphasis on battles between good and evil that made comingling between the natural and supernatural world impossible.

Apart from a small taste of this world given to us in the Anglo-Saxon epic poem of Beowulf and the monster Grendel, this is a world we know little about and until now, this a story rarely told.  To wit: any school child can give you a dozen gods from the House of Zeus or Apollo whereas from the far more recent and arguably more culturally relevant Norse pantheon you may know Odinn, Thor and Mjolnir, but what about Skadi, Njord and Freya, not to mention Gerda? This is the raison d’etre for THE LYNX.

Of course, gods or no gods, the sixth century was a very difficult time to be alive. Uninhabitable wilderness is the predominant feature of this gritty landscape of craggy mountains, deep snows during intensely frozen winters that lasted seven months, and vast dark forests inhabited by trolls, dwarves, elves and the occasional dragon interrupted with swaths of raw earth where the locals cling to their subsistence farms.

When we draw this world, it’s often with a steel grey and blue pallet, or else the rust browns and reds of corroded iron and spilt blood. And yet, because the Vanir were about Spring and lust, we get the occasional exotic shimmers of gold and silver and gems against the otherwise drab backdrop.

Hopefully, your appetite has been whetted and we can get going.

The script begins on the next page.

THE LYNX



ComixCentral would like to thank Michael, Marshall, Vittorio, and Carmelo for offering their knowledge to our community. It was a special look behind the scenes that is not always available, especially to new creators.

Follow: Michael Lent

Follow: Marshall Dillon

Follow: Vittorio Garofoli

Follow: Carmelo Monaco


Banner Photo by Chris Moore on Unsplash

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Five for Creating With Aidan Casserly


FIVE FOR CREATING WITH AIDAN CASSERLY


Welcome to Five for Creating! A new interview series here at ComixCentral where we focus on getting to know Indie Creators and what they are working on through a series of five questions. This week we chat with Aidan Casserly the creator of Scapula a comic which started its run back in 2007 and which has a new release  available through his active Kickstarter campaign.

1. Tell us a little about Scapula.

Scapula is a creator-owned comic series that I first self-published in 2007; it started as both an indulgence in everything I loved about comics (supervillains and monsters with a MAD-esque tone) and grew into a long-running series. Scapula ran as a webcomic from 2008 through 2015 (the first four years as a full-color Sunday page only, the last three with the insane update schedule of four comics a week). The series is now published as special magazine-sized issues, the most recent one being 2017’s Scapula and the Sinister Monster Doom Legion.
The brand new issue, Scapula-Doubly Dark & Deadly! is currently having a Kickstarter campaign to fund its publication, which you can find here!

2. You published the first Scapula story in 2007, Eleven years later what drives you to keep telling his story.

In all honesty I just really enjoy creating Scapula comics; there are times when creators have stories and characters that they have to struggle to work with, but sometimes they hit on something where the ideas just  never stop. After I had done the original Scapula zine and a year of the webcomic I no longer had to struggle to come up with ideas; a few years later and the stories started to become dictated by the whims of the characters as if they were real people.
Some stories, such as ‘Blessed be the Damned’ and ‘Love and War’ (collected in Scapula: World’s Worst Villain) were completely rewritten when I started thinking about the plots from the characters’ individual perspectives and thinking about how they would emotionally and logically react to situations; once a creator reaches that stage of understanding their own creation then I believe they’ve hit on something great.
…that and I like drawing monsters and bad guys getting clobbered.

3. Scapula seems to has both a horror and comedic theme. Is this tough to balance when writing the story?

Not at all! Humor and horror have had a long-standing relationship in comics, film, rock, theatre, etc, and the mixing of creepiness and comedy is my goldmine. Sometimes the horror is fun and nostalgic (such as the ‘House of Scapula’ story from Scapula Vol.2 Fear the Failure, an homage to the Universal monster movies), sometimes it’s played deadly serious (as in the majority of Scapula: Memento Mori); the tone may shift depending on what kind of story I want to tell, but in the end there’s a lot of freedom and range when you’re going for chills and laughs.

4. You mention in the Kickstarter campaign that you are showcasing the Female characters from the Scapula Universe. Other than the fact that Woman totally rule, was there another factor on why you chose to focus on them?

Even though I had a ton of fun making Scapula and the Sinister Monster Doom Legion I did take another look at it afterwards and realized that there were barely any women in it (the only ones of note being the seductive vampire and the completely ridiculous alien girls); I decided that the bad boys had their fun in that issue and that it was time to return to the female cast of Scapula.
The two-headed gangster Jemini, who has been Scapula’s main nemesis since the first year of the webcomic, has always been a challenge for me to both write and draw, which is oddly enough the reason why I return to her stories time and again. There’s something strangely funny about having a character who is smarter than the idiots around her and yet still falls victim to their exact same stroke of bad luck. She appears as a central character in the main story of Scapula-Doubly Dark & Deadly!; we’ll see how she deals with Scapula this time…
Aside from Jemini we’ll also be seeing the return of some of Scapula’s former lovers in the final story of the new book. I will confess that the ‘soap opera’ angle in the webcomic was one of my favorite things to explore (I’m a softie at heart) and even if the romances usually turned into tragedy they still made for interesting stories. I’m very happy that readers will be able to revisit some of these strange and unusual women once again.

5. Here at ComixCentral we are about promoting all things Indie Comics. So, besides your own work, What is one Indie property or creator you think people need to go check out?

I really want to thank Bill Walko, who has generously helped promote my own Kickstarter while accomplishing his own goal for The Hero Business: Season Two with flying colors; we launched on the same day and he still took the time out of his own promotion to help spread the word about mine. That’s a real class act right there!
We’ve even had fun with it in the form of a ‘drinking contest’ cartoon series between his main bad guy (the show-stealing Dr. Eli Malefactor, who would be my favorite character from The Hero Business if not for Louie the Lounge Lizard) and Scapula. Let’s see how drunk they get by the end of the campaign!
I also want to thank Howie Noeldechen, creator of the ongoing Tara Normal comic and the graphic novel Float, who created an exclusive Scapula piece for my campaign, which is currently being added as a new Reward for certain level backers.
Thank you everyone for reading my ramble and check out the campaign; enjoy the horrorshow!


Aidan Casserly is a California-based artist, formerly from San Francisco and later relocated to Los Angeles. He received art training at several institutions, namely the American Animation Institute in Burbank.

Aidan works as a storyboard artist, primarily with Animatics & Storyboards Inc and Smorgasbord Productions, having worked on commercial and animation properties as diverse as Barbie, Talking Tom & Friends, Chop Chop Ninja, Gorillaville (DreamWorks TV), AllState Insurance, Mercedes Benz, Ace Hardware, and Disney Interactive.

Aside from freelance work, Aidan continues to create his own brand of comics, including his creator-owned series Scapula (currently in its eleventh year of publication).

Aidan is heavily involved in the SoCal horror scene, with a series of monster-art books and live caricature appearances at spooky-themed stores including Dark Delicacies, the Hyaena Gallery, Toy-Zilla, Black Cat Comics, and the California Institute of Abnormalarts. He is also a frequent collaborator and performer with the shock rock band The Rhythm Coffin.

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Interview with the creative team behind The Lynx


Interview with the creative team behind The Lynx


Participants: Marshall Dillon (Editor/Letterer/Graphic Designer), Vittorio Garofoli (Artist and Inker), Michael Lent (Creator/Writer), and Carmelo Monaco (Colorist).

INTRO by Michael Lent

It was a lot of fun putting together Blog #1 of the THE LYNX, so members of the team behind our book thought you might like to know more about us and our work.

The following is based on questions I asked or general observations made by the artists themselves.For this blog we reversed the order from the previous blog and will begin with Marshall Dillon.

MARSHALL DILLON

Lettering, Graphic Design and Editorial Contributions

How did you get your start in comics?

In 1993, fresh out of high school, I partnered up with 3 friends and started a small self publishing company. We spent a lot of money and made very little. I did that for another nine years or so until I became Managing Editor and eventually Associate Publisher at Devil’s Due working on titles like GI JOE, D&D, and various other retro properties.

What were some specific comic books or series that have inspired you?

X-Men. 1983-1995 or so…all the wonderful Claremont stuff. In particular I liked Marc Silvestri’s run. All that stuff was lettered by Tom Orzechowski. He’s a lettering god. He was the voice of Claremont. What X-Men was… what it DID was it created a sense of family. Misfit characters, a whacky world, insane situations, but they all loved each other. And as a fan I loved them and felt loved by them. It was magical. I never got that feeling from Batman or the Avengers or any other comics.

Do you have a genre that you consider to be a specialty?

As far as MAKING comics, no. I prefer non-superhero stories, but I’ll gladly do them. I love reading fantasy and sci-fi and I’m pretty good at giving the lettering for those genres an appropriate feel without looking kitschy.

How did you come to wear many hats including writer, editor, colorist, inker and, of course, letterer?

I guess they call it bootstrapping. I just found something that needed to be done and I tried my hand at it. Originally I wanted to be a penciller, but I didn’t have the dedication for it. I love to write, but without an audience I don’t typically make time for it. As an inker, I’m still a novice. I do it for fun mostly. It gives me a new reason to talk to people and have the kinds conversations I liked having as an editor, but from the other side of the table. 

What are some signature elements to your lettering?

Hopefully it’s meshing with the art / story / genre. Making choices that are appropriate. I think I’m a pretty good storyteller (most people don’t realize how lettering works to help tell the story). I also usually have a lot of added value services for self publishers and even for people going through Image. I help put all the elements together so it all comes out well in the end.

What are some challenges letterers could face when working with both artists, writers and possibly publishers? 

As I said in Blog #1, lettering IS storytelling. It’s usually the last stage of the storytelling process. Letterers take the vision of the writer and the vision of the artist and try to make a cohesive item. We merge… we WELD the two into one thing. That’s what we DO. Now, the challenges vary greatly by project. Some books are over written, some are over drawn. Some artists just draw whatever the hell they want with no regard for the script and some writers write whatever the hell they want with no regard for the rest of the process or for the reader (those people should write novels and leave the rest of us alone). There are fundamentals of comic book storytelling that MANY writers blatantly ignore. Its worth rereading Eisner’s and McCloud’s books frequently to refresh your understanding of the basics and invigorate your desire to experiment within realistic constraints.

What is some advice for people who would like to get into lettering? 

Hmmm… I didn’t set out to be a letterer… so it’s a tricky thing. If I could have been a penciller I would have. If I could have been a writer I would have. There is absolutely nothing wrong with being a letterer, but if you want to be a rockstar, pick up the guitar and sing. Don’t play drums. Now, if you want to break in to comics at all this is an amazing time. every aspect of the industry is in a constant state of flux. everything is being disrupted. YouTube, crowd funding, viral marketing, none of that was a thing 20 years ago. You can learn everything you need to know about how to make comics from the internet and from Amazon. Once you have some skills you partner up with other young bucks and slowly level up. There is no shortcut. it takes work. It takes YEARS of work. (I only recently gave up looking for shortcuts myself, so… ;))

What are some upcoming projects you are working on that we should know about?

It’s always tricky you know when to hype things. What I can say is that WAYWARD is coming to an end with issue 30. I love that team and that book. We all did some of our best work on that. I do a LOT of work at Aftershock. I particularly enjoyed working on BACKWAYS, and continue to enjoy working on PESTILENCE, LAST SPACE RACE, BEYONDERS, MOTH & WHISPER, VOLITION, and ANIMOSITY. If you compare the writing, art and lettering on all of those titles you’ll get a glimpse of what I spoke about above. making decisions that work with the script and art to create a new whole thing. It’s like welding with letters! 😉

Wayward #26. Series ends on #30. Cool for Dillon to get letterer props on the cover.

CARMELO MONACO 

Colorist

How did you become a comic colorist?

I started working as comic book colorist when I was a student at Palermo School of comics. I was 23 years old and already knew how to use Photoshop. I was in the first year of a three year program at school, and truth be told, I wasn’t great at color theory. So it came as something of a surprise when the school principal needed a colorist for a simple gig and gave me the opportunity. The project was a French comic book for kids that was linked to a cartoon called Totally Spies! The series focuses on three teenage girls in Beverly Hills, California who work as undercover super agents. To date, the series has run for six seasons and produced 156 episodes. 

I seem to have a tendency to back my way into things. For example, I was pretty old, 14 or 15, when I started reading comics. I didn’t really have an interest in them before then. The medium grew on me and I think my first great inspiration was Uncanny X-men, written by Scott Lobdell, with lots of great artists including Madureira, Adam and Andy Kubert, Chris Bachalo, and so on and so forth. After that, I started reading all different genres of comics, French, indie, Italian, manga… 

As a colorist there are many guys I watch consistently, all with different styles and techniques ranging from digital medium to traditional. You never know what your next gig will be, so you kind of have to know how many different styles as you can.

What are some specific genres you might like to work in?

 Well, I really have almost never did the same thing twice, so I don’t think I have a specific genre where I am particularly good at. And part of me doesn’t want to be. I am not that kind of guy who wants to do only one thing because he is good at it. In some sense, when I understand I am good at one thing, I kind of lose interest and start studying something else. Maybe that’s my biggest strength and my biggest flaw. It is a strength when I teach, because comic books work if every aspect is well orchestrated, (script, drawing, inks, color, etc.), but as a professional, it is very hard to be really good at many different things, so you have more possibilities of success if you specialize yourself at just one craft.

Carmelo Monaco hard at work.

VITTORIO GAROFOLI

Artist, Inker

Who are some of your influences?

I admire artists such as Brian Hitch (Marvel’s Ultimate series), Alan Davis’ work on the Excalibur series, and French comic book such as Alpha by Yori Jigoumov and Largo Winch. 

My influences range from artists such as Trevis Charest, Ivan Rais, Mike Perkins, as well and Italian artists such as Sergio Toppi, Massimo Carnevale and Corrado Mastanuomo who helped inspire my style on THE LYNX.

Village

What are some aspects of your craft that you are still mastering?

In my opinion, one of my problem is recreating and showing action, namely people in motion such as during the battle that ensues in THE LYNX. 

Capturing the full range of emotions and feelings is also a challenge that I face like many of my fellow artists.

What is some advice you would give to aspiring comic creators?

Practice, practice and practice. It’s simple but true: you can’t better without constantly engaging in the craft.

The business of comics is hard, so it’s important to trust in one’s own abilities in order to take advantage of opportunities that WILL occur IF you don’t give up easily. 

Be willing to accept and take the advice of those who are more experienced.

Album cover for Hotel on Mars

MICHAEL LENT

Creator, Writer

Tell us a bit about your experience as a comic book writer.

I love being a comic book writer. If you’re on the fence and is thinking about taking the plunge, do it. Don’t talk about it. Don’t circle around it. Don’t survey the scene or assess the situation. Just do it. You will be astonished by the results. Sometimes when I’m working on a few projects at once and new art or lettering is arriving via email every day – it feels like Christmas. 

There are so many milestones to keep you motivated and sometimes they come fast and furious. Starting and completing a book… Landing a publisher… When the book comes out… The day you see it on a shelf in your local shop or online… Boothing to represent your work at a con… Meeting fans and fellow creatives… Indescribable experiences. All this can be yours if you just do it.  

Lack of confidence and the internal critic are the two dragons that keep people from pursuing their dreams. Both involve a sort of cynicism about the process and one’s chances in it. So instead of descending into the arena of combat we remain on the sidelines or up in the spectator stands where we judge the actual combatants, or rationalize to ourselves that it’s all about “who you know.” Cynicism is paralyzing which is why it’s such a dubious and caustic currency. “I could do better than so-and-so but…” Better to stop comparing ourselves to the competition and just get to it. I, Michael Lent, have no special skills except maybe tenacity. 

What is it like to work as part of a creative team?

Working with a team is an amazing journey all by itself. Everyone comes possibly from all corners of the earth with very specific skill sets, galvanized for a common goal which is creation of the book. Think Fellowship of the Ring. Some of these fellowships go on for years and when they break apart because the project has ended, sometimes you never work together again. Consequently, the finished work takes on a life of its own. Personally, over time I start to lose the sensation or muscle memory of having written it. What I’m left with is the fellowship and the historical chronology represented by the finished book.

Whats dome general advice you would share with a fellow creator?

Make your work be all it can be and you have take chances. Talk to people. Get your work out there. Let readers kick the tires and judge your book for themselves. 

I have done projects for Marvel, Disney and many of the major publishers and studios, but I believe in DIY because I’ve learned the hard way that if you wait for someone else to pick up your project, you may be sitting around for a long time.  There are times when I run into would-be creators at a con and they show me some killer concept work or an ashcan, but then a year later, I run into them again and see the same samples. I try to encourage them to push forward but some lack confidence in either themselves or the overall concept. Don’t let that be you.

People break through every single day. Why not you? Maybe today is your day. 

Proving that sometimes it takes a village and more than three years of development and production, this is MALEVOLENT, the first-ever American animated horror film. Nearly completed, Lent is an associate producer on the movie under the leadership of lead producers Cindi Rice, Paige Barnett, Jim Cirile, Tanya Klein, and producer/director Jason Axinn.


Come back next week for part three of this special blog series, where we take a look at how the pitch for THE LYNX came together.

 Follow: Michael Lent

Follow: Marshall Dillon

Follow: Vittorio Garofoli

Follow: Carmelo Monaco


Banner Photo by Matt Botsford on Unsplash