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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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ComixCentral Presents – The Best of Indie: Anthology 2019: Cover Artist Contest


Cover Artist Contest

Enter here: Entry Form  | Entries close: March 15th, 2019

We are requesting submissions for Cover art for our upcoming Anthology- The Best of Indie: Anthology 2019.

This contest is open to all artists of all types! The details for entry are below.

  • We are requesting submissions for Cover art for our upcoming Anthology.
  • The theme is Family. You are welcome to interpret this theme in any way you choose.
  • Submit a rough sketch and a small description of your idea. (Finished illustration is not necessary)
  • Show us a few samples of your previous cover artwork.
  • If chosen, you must complete your artwork and submit the finished cover by April 15th, 2019.

Compensation: $250 upon completion of artwork & other benefits TBD at a later date. (Discounts on copies of the anthology etc.)

You can learn more about the Anthology project here: https://www.comixcentral.com/cxc-anthology/


Entries close: March 15th, 2019

Enter here: Entry Form


 

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The CXC Podcast Episode #38 | Why Webcomics Matter- Star Prichard



Star Prichard | Comics and Cosplay are always on her mind!

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Do you have a passion for webcomics? Do you know how to get started? Do you know how to create a joke or an emotional reaction within a 4-panel comic? Look no further my friends- Star Prichard is here to save the day.

Star began her journey in comics in elementary school. It was always more fun to hang out in the back of a class and draw comics rather then, you know…be an extrovert. Don’t let the label fool you. She brings an untapped energy and initiative to the table that will make even the most disciplined comic creators drop their pencils in awe. combine that with an exceptionally welcoming personality and it’s no wonder she’s the dynamo behind a webcomic like Castoff. She credits her dad for giving her some artistic perspective and let her addiction to multiple projects take off from there. Her drive, as inspiring as it is, pales in comparison to her desire to shine a light on webcomics that seems way over do.

As Star would say, webcomics are awesome because no one can tell you what not to do. Sounds a lot like indie comics in general, but here’s a just a couple of things you can learn from this queen of creativity. Maybe you’re interested in running a panel at a con. She’s done several including San Japan. Would you like to learn how to build up your instagram as an artist using fan art? Maybe you wanna learn the challenges of having a Patreon and how to overcome them? Most of all, you’re gonna learn why webcomics still have an audience worth reaching. That alone makes this episode a must listen. She reminds us that comics, unlike animation, can be done by yourself in an amount of time that allows you to still have a life. While her marketing skills are self taught, her art on the other hand comes from the Savannah College of Art and Design. In short: she knows what she’s doing friends.

Read the award-winning WebComic series “Castoff” here

Inspirations for her work comes from basically everywhere but here’s a couple of specifics

Hanna is not a Boy’s Name by Tess Stone

Awkward Zombie by Katie Tiedrich

Soul To Call by Katherine Lang aka Rommie or Rommieren


Connect with Star and learn more about her work

Instagram  |  Twitter  |  Tumbler  |  Website






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Canada Bear #’s 1 & 2 [Review]


Canada Bear #’s 1 & 2

S & P Comics
Creator and Penciller: Paul Farris
Writer and Letterer: Sean Wilson
Inker: Carlos Azevedo
Reviewer: Rob Wrecks


After reading this, I am so, so, SO glad I saw ComixCentral on Twitter promoting this comic.

I’m even gladder I reached out about potentially reviewing it as well cause this was highly enjoyable for me. To the point it had me laughing over the goofy silliness that’s contained within the pages of these two comics. And any team that can get you laughing more than once over their comic’s events is a team that deserves an award in my humble view. I’m curious if Paul Harris and Sean Wilson have any Canadian roots or if this is just something they chose to do for the heck of it. Or perhaps out of a love for Canadian culture and admittedly, I found more amusement then I should have in the use of the word ‘Eh’ that are found throughout these first two issues. Now Canada Bear is something I probably coulda passed on to Derrick considering his love for stuff involving animals that talk and the like, but then that would have meant I wouldn’t have found so much joy within Canada Bear’s pages. Who is a legit bear who ended up changed thanks to the Canadian Government.

Even if it wasn’t something they were intending on during their (to me anyway) oddball war with the Swiss! Our furry hero can talk, fly, be super strong, and is invulnerable. Kinda like Superman but, you know, furrier and a bear! Canada Bear would be perfect as a cartoon for kids, teenagers, and adults to enjoy together as it’s not something that’s meant to be taken seriously. No, its just meant to be taken as something to enjoy. Or at least that’s how I view what Paul and Sean are doing here. The art and the coloring definitely help sell the idea of this being something for all ages to enjoy. I’m curious just how aware the Canadian Government is of what happened with our furry hero and just what exactly was in that bomb of theirs to change him like it did! Fairly certain though they now know to thoroughly check the land below them for any flight paths they take! Whoever Blue Jaw is talking too at the end of issue one is something I hope we don’t have to wait too long to find out about. Though it’s bound to be amusing either way when the mystery person and Canada Bear tie into it.

Unless of course, Paul and Sean choose to make the whole thing quite seriously. And in issue two, we get to see our furry hero take on a trio of bank robbers. Whom you wouldn’t think would be able to accomplish much considering what two of them are wearing for masks! It’s amusing however with what the leader thinks of Canada Bear, amusing but also an understandable thing given his line of thinking where the big furball is concerned! I’m not necessarily sure you would see this kind of silliness in a Marvel or DC book these days, especially the lengths we would be the leader of bank robberies goes too in order to get what he thinks is a mask from a certain furball. I would love to go on and on about this title from S & P comics, but that would ultimately spoil things for you readers and that’s the last thing I want to do. As this is something that should be enjoyed by many as much as possible due to the highly amusing fun things that go on in these first two issues. Which makes me curious as to how Paul and Sean are gonna top it with the third issue!

Will the ‘Salmon’ prevail where others have tried and failed? I have no idea but I can’t wait to find out!

You can buy Canada Bear issues in the SP ComicShop right here.


Known as Rob Wrecks, and due to a love for Independent titles that was born from an earlier start of reviewing comics for InvestComics. IndieComiX came into life from that love in 2012 and has been a-rockin’ ever since! Can reach him here and read more of his reviews and more on indiecomix.net


 




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Episode #30 | Success in Indie Comic Publishing with Peter Simeti

 

Wanna know what it takes to succeed in indie publishing? Wanna know how to really engage with a fan base, get their attention, and keep it? Wanna know how to come at this industry from a place of service and come out on top on the other side? This is the podcast for you.

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It’s my distinct pleasure to interview the one and only Peter Simeti of Alterna Comics. Peter is also famous for his indie horror masterpiece The Chair, which was ultimately turned into a film not too long ago. Bottom line: this guy knows indie comics and we’ve got a front row seat to his mastery.peter-simeti-interview-comixcentral

Peter and I talked about falling in and out of love with comics over the years. Getting into publishing was initially about giving his own stories a voice, but he kept coming across the tremendous talents of others and he just couldn’t keep the magic to himself. We talk about developing a genuine relationship with your followers and friends on social media. We talk about when and how to go for “the ask.” We also talk about what Peter looks for in a story so if you’re interested in pitching your work than this episode is definitely a can’t miss. Last but not least we talk about the cliches of the comic world and how to make your comic just a little different, even if you do insist on writing another superhero story.

Alterna Comics - ComixCentral Podcast

Peter Simeti has already reset the chess board of publishing by bringing back newsprint.

As a marketer and creator, you can learn a lot from Peter in terms of what it means to really disrupt an industry. This is especially inspiring for someone who was on the verge of considering bankruptcy just before having a book get on the New York Times Bestseller List in 2012. It takes a long period of dedicated hard work to build a service that stands above the rest. There’s no question that Peter Simeti is breaking through the surface and I’ve got a feeling that this is still just the beginning for Alterna Comics. We’re proud to support what he’s doing for creators and fans alike and if you want to be a game changer this is the man to emulate for now and years to come.


Website: www.alternacomics.com

Twitter(Peter): https://twitter.com/petersimeti

Twitter(Alterna): https://twitter.com/ALTERNACOMICS

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AlternaComics/

Instagram: @alternacomics

 





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Episode #24 | J Adam Farster

comixcentral_carousel_homepage_adam-farster

On this weeks episode of “Adventures in Interviewing” Chris Hendricks interviews  J. Adam Farster

“There’s probably gonna be a robot.”

Join Chris while he finds out makes the delightfully inspiring and motivating creator of the Humalien series, J. Adam Farster tick! Adam, Indie Comic creator, graphic designer, Kickstarter, and one of the founding members of the Indie Comic think tank and collaboration group, “The Lab”, shares his own personal origin story, how he creates his comics and drops some mad wisdom for new and wanna’ be creators along the way. So turn it up, put your brain on “soak in” mode and let’s meet J. Adam Farster!

 “Don’t be afraid of failing, because the entire process is about failing.
Even when you’re succeeding, you’re probably failing somewhere”. – J Adam Farster

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Connect with Adam

Twitter  |  CXC Profile





 

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Joe Francis Totti | Creator Spotlight

inktober-winner-joe-tottie-2017-creator-spotlight

Welcome to our first ever “Inktober Winner Edition” of CXC Creator Spotlight.

Today we are joined by the 2017 CXC Inktober Winner, Joe Francis Totti!

During this year’s Inktober, Joe took the road less traveled and created an entire Comic over the 31 day period. Slow rolling a terrifyingly good mini-horror, delighting his Instagram followers with every gruesome panel. It’s for this reason our selection team chose Joe as our winner and we thought you’d all enjoy getting to know this talented writer, illustrator and graphic designer as much as we did.

Let’s get to the interview!


Hello Joe! First off, congratulations on winning our first ever CXC Inktober Contest! The hundreds of entries we received from incredible artists made choosing very difficult, but your work came out on top as the clear winner this year. A truly exceptional execution of Inktober, we tip our hats sir!

Now, please tell our readers a little bit about yourself and your work.

Joe: My name is Joe Francis Totti, I’m 29 years of age and based in Liverpool in the Uk, My profession is Freelance Graphic Designer, but my love, life, and passion are reserved for comics (and my wife haha). I have worked in the creative industry for the past 7 years. Only in the past few years did I puck up the courage to jump into indie comics and social media and try to find my footing in the industry. That is something I am still working on daily to find haha.

What kind of comics do you create?

Joe: So far they all seem to have a dark tone, I find myself working on Horror or Science fiction, but I like to make sure there is humour in everything I work on. It brings you out of the misery and grimness.

When did you get your start?

Joe: I like to think I’m still waiting for it haha!

What made you decide to start making comics, how did you get into it?

Joe: I have one of those personalities, I cant just enjoy something I have to be involved in the things I love, so naturally, I found myself craving the idea of making my own stories up and drawing them.


How about your graphic design career? Did you attend art school, or are you self-taught?

Joe: I studied under two amazing teachers, Alan Baker and Paul C, but even they would say University sets you deadlines and it’s your job to teach yourself.

How do the two occupations complement/ clash with each other? Do you have a favourite?

Joe: It really helps me with compositional work and understanding programs like photoshop & illustrator. So this helps with the colouring and lettering of my work and understanding the print process, but I love comics, they wipe the floor with design hahaha!

What do you see as the biggest obstacle to your success?

Joe: I like to feel like I’m yet to be successful to help me keep pushing haha (ever the pessimist haha) but I would say allowing people to work with me and not being a control freak and doing all the work myself.

What’s the one thing (tool, process, etc) that you absolutely could not live without during the creative process?

Joe: My Mac (computer not jacket) haha.

What resources do you rely on for illustration?

Joe: I love to use my little notebook and fine liners (when traditional) and my Yiynova graphics tablet when working digitally.

Who are your biggest inspirations in the comic realm?

Joe: I would have to say, Tony More, Rick Remender, Daniel Warren Johnson, James Harren, and Mike Spicer all masters of there craft!

Where do you get your inspiration and ideas from?

Joe: Usually, a situation sparks a weird idea then I jot it down and develop it from there. Conversations are really important to the process as well, tell people about your ideas it really helps.

What does your workspace look like?


Tell us a funny story JOE!

Joe: Aha! Last year at thought bubble festival I had an opportunity to meet one of my heroes in comics, Jeff Lemire, creator of one of my favourite books Sweet tooth.  We had a conversation at my table and he said come over and say hey and I’ll draw you a quick doodle of Gus.  So I head to his table I stood there like a deer in headlights and he said: “what’s your name again so I can sign this?”  I said, Joe. The room was loud so he said “Jon?” (I thought) so I said, “With an N?” And he said “Joe with an N?” I said “I’m not sure” ….. he then said “do you know how to spell your name?” haha so I went red-cheeked and slumped away from the table embarrassed, but he gave me the drawing below. He was a great guy, gave me multiple prints and books.

Where do you hope to be in 5 years creatively?

Joe: Like most creators, I have dreams of releasing a book with image comics, but I will be happy as long as I’m still making comic books.

What do you think the big publishers could learn from the Indie scene and vice versa?

Joe: I like both for different reasons, I would say they both serve a purpose as well, but there is a real sense of levity with characters in indie comics I would love to see in the big two but, would that be destroying what I love about them? Haha tricky question.

That just about wraps it up Joe, any final thoughts?

Joe: I would love to share my projects I’ve recently been involved with. They are: The Landings, being published through Markosia. It’s a sci-fi horror, super hammy like the old cinema, a bit like (it came from beneath the sea) this is with writer Elijah James. Also a project with Matt fitch and Dead Canary Comics called “Eye in the sky”. This is part of an anthology called “Adventures in science” out next week through the Dead Canary Comics website, http://www.deadcanarycomics.com/product/adventures-in-science/  Another is Self-made hero’s The Corbyn Comic. I worked on a 3-page story in this anthology called – Lethal Corbyn III – with Chris Baker also of Dead Canary Comics. I realize I’m rambling now, but look out for my social media for news on the printing of mine and Matt Fitches Inktober comic that we will be printing in the next few months! 🙂

Lethal Corbyn III
Eye in the Sky

Awesome! This has been such a pleasure Joe! How can people find out more about you and the work you do?

Joe: You can find me @thelifeoftotti on both Instagram and Twitter thank you for all the support through Inktober.


Well, that’s it for this Creator Spotlight! Thanks so much for joining us. Make sure you follow Joe on all his social platforms, you’re gonna’ want to keep an eye on this talented guy! I think we’ll see great things from Mr. Totti! Who knows, maybe one day he’ll misspell your name at Comic-con!

Instagram  twitter


 

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Episode #20 | Thom Burgess

On this weeks episode of “Adventures in Interviewing” Chris Hendricks interviews Thom Burgess. Writer of dark shadowy things, creator of Ghoster, The Eyrie, Malevolents and Hallows Fell.

Let’s get creepy with Thom, find out what makes a great horror story, how to build a ghost and learn more about this terrifying and darkly beautiful comic creator from another realm. Well, the UK. BOO!
 [podbean resource=”episode=ncd4s-7e9a31″ type=”audio-rectangle” height=”100″ skin=”1″ btn-skin=”107″ share=”1″ fonts=”Helvetica” auto=”0″ download=”0″ rtl=”0″]

Connect with Thom Burgess

Twitter  |   Website





 

 

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Episode #18 | J Francis Totti

j francis totti_podcast

On this weeks episode of “Adventures in Interviewing” Chris Hendricks interviews our 2017 CXC Inktober Contest Winner!

Inktober_comixcentral_winner.6

Join Chris and our 2017 CXCInktober Winner J Francis Totti as they delve into the comic illustrator’s creative process, work habits, the social impact and importance of “Friends” in the UK and why Joe self-identifies as a Chandler.
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Connect with J Francis Totti

Twitter   |  Instagram





 

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Champions of Hara: Chapters 1 and 2 | Comicbook Review

Champions of Hara: Chapters 1 and 2

Reviewed by Rod Jenkins


Creators: Walter Barber
Ian Vannest
Andrew Zimmerman

Writer: Walter Barber

Art, Colors, Lettering: Jason Piperberg

Cover Art: Chapter 1 – Hannah Kennedy
Chapter 2 – M. Misztal


Quick hit: Champions of Hara is a mix between Fate Stay Night Anime and Eternal Champions.

Champions of Hara is a tale of a world created from chaotic energies, that is also being destroyed by those same energies. In order to keep the lifeforms of Hara viable, the Kensei (guardians of Hara) reach out to other worlds, perhaps other dimensions, to find beings who may be able to control and harness the chaotic energies of Hara and stabilize the realm, only one can claim the right to these energies, thus from what I gather, an ‘unofficial’ competition begins to see who is worthy of possessing Hara’s energy, and as a side perk, the winner gets to have the greatest desire granted.


This reviewer quickly thought. if these guardians have that kind of power, why can’t they control Hara’s energy on their own? Perhaps as the tale is told, more of Hara’s secrets will be revealed. The ‘chapters’ of Champions of Hara are quick, with timely wording and elegance provided by writer Walter Barber. These first two novellas introduce readers to the first 2 participants in the competition. It must be pointed out, that so far there has not been an actual number of participants listed, so from here, no one can be certain if there are any more beings participating.

The expertise of artist Jason Piperberg is clearly shown throughout both books, from knowledge of time settings of Earth to fantasy flora and fauna.

champions_of_hara_review_comixcentral_1

Piperberg’s use of shades and colors deftly, and subtly set the emotion and pace of Barber’s writing. I give full marks to Jason for his use of digital coloring, as this reviewer is not a huge fan of the technique, Piperberg touch is not overblown, nor lacking to the lineart, instead, it’s a perfect harmonious balance.

champions_of_hara_review_comixcentral_2

The only flaws of these fine books are: a page wasted for indicia, perhaps the creative team was looking for ways to stretch out the stories (each book is just 12-14 pages) This reader would’ve preferred if the legalese was placed along with the credits, the give Piperberg a page to really show off his artistic skill (perhaps with character design sketches).

The other flaw is the second page is too dark, where, readers skip by the pencil art that is on the page, you don’t see it because of the darkness of the page, a lighter gradient will fix this oversight.

Champions of Hara is all too quick of a ride, however, the substance that Baber and Piperberg give readers, is a complete joy, that has this reader and many more, eagerly waiting to see what is upcoming.

Rating 4 out 5 eyes ( Worth the price of Admission)





 

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Nick Johnson – Comicbook Illustrator and Creator | Episode #13

Episode #13 – Interview with Comicbook Creator and Illustrator Nick Johnson

On this weeks episode of “Adventures in Interviewing” Chris Hendricks gets behind-the-curtain access to illustration wizard Nick Johnson, the artist and co-creator of the comedy-horror series “Wolf Hands.” In a world overrun with social media creators are reminded that success lies hidden within the weeds of personal conversation and the belief that art is much more than ink on a page.

[podbean resource=”episode=c2zq4-7e9a37″ type=”audio-rectangle” height=”100″ skin=”1″ btn-skin=”108″ share=”1″ fonts=”Helvetica” auto=”0″ download=”0″ rtl=”0″]

Connect with Nick and Buy his stuff using the links below:

Twitter  |  nickj.ca  |  @nicksoup  |  The ComixShop of NICK JOHNSON




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When Artists Hire Artists- The Business of Storytelling

gamal hennessey

In this Guest post Gamal Hennessey shares his insights into the things you’ll need to consider to protect yourself when creating comics.  For a more detailed look at this either head to Gamal’s own page or listen to him talk to the ComixCentral team on this podcast


The business of storytelling is evolving to take advantage of new technology and business models. It’s creating new opportunities to get stories in front of people by breaking down the old barriers to entry. Self-publishing and independent projects are growing at a record pace, thanks to digital distribution and micro niche marketing.

Creators are now in a better position to publish books on their own without traditional publishing houses to act as gate keepers. Some artists are releasing their own comics to build their reputation in the industry and break into the mainstream. Some writers are self-publishing their books to retain more profit and control. But with great power comes great responsibility (sorry, that was too tempting to leave out).

Artists and writers who used to be forced to sign a publisher’s work for hire agreement are now in a position where they need their own work for hire contracts to protect their rights. But what are the key elements that need to be in this kind of contract? How can you protect yourself in both the short term and the long haul? How can you be the type of creator other artists want to work with? When artists hire artists, they need to take care of their world, their defenses and their reputation.


Your World:

When you create a story, you have the power to define what happens. When you have your own creative project, you have the power to define your relationship with your artists. The three key factors you need to deal with are:

Defining the project:

Spell out in as much detail as you can what the artist is working on, what kind of work they’ll be doing, when the work is due and how much they’re going to get paid.

Owning the Services:

Make it clear that your relationship with the artist is a work for hire. This means they aren’t going to have any ownership or control over the property itself or the underlying characters or stories they’re going to be working on.

Own the use and distribution:

Reserve the right to use any work the artist does for you in any and every way you can think of. You might only be planning to do a web comic now, but you don’t want to limit your options to do a deal with Netflix or whatever the next hot media turns out to be

Your Shield:

Producing your own book opens you up to a certain amount of risk. You could pay for work and never get the finished product. Your artist could deliver artwork done by someone else. There are all sorts of pitfalls in publishing, but certain terms in the contract can help protect you from trouble.

Payment:

If you tie payment to delivery of work, you are more likely to get the services you commissioned.

Representations and Warranties:

If your artist makes promises to protect you and your work, they’re less likely to screw you over because they’ve been put on notice

Indemnification:

If they do break their promises to you, an indemnity (just a fancy word for repayment) gives you the ability to resolve your dispute in a court (which is one place artists don’t want to go).

These protections are not perfect. People breach contracts all the time. But when all the terms and conditions are spelled out, people are more inclined to see you as a professional and treat you in a professional way.

Your Reputation:

Clear and consistent contract terms will remove most of the confusion and doubt that comes with making a business deal. As more and more people do business with you and get exposure to your business practices, the better your reputation will be in the industry. The creative world of books and comics is a small one if you stay in the game for a while. A professional reputation as both an artist and a publisher can be just as critical to your long term success as your ability to write or draw.

Independent creators need to tailor each work for hire contract to fit each new creative project. Larger publishers work better with form agreements and economies of scale, but until your publishing evolves into that level, a custom agreement is probably your best bet.

Have fun.

Gamal

PLEASE NOTE: THIS BLOG POST IS NOT A SUBSTITUTE FOR LEGAL ADVICE.

IF YOU HAVE A LICENSEING OR INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY ISSUE, DISCUSS IT WITH YOUR LEGAL ADVISOR OR CONTACT C3 AT gamalhennessy@gmail.com FOR A FREE CONSULTATION.

Judge Dredd Image Credit Magnetic 007 At Deviant Art





 

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Eff The Naysayers

sean martin

From an early age, I was exposed to the negative effects of being an artist. I’ll explain.

Most every artist (be it Illustrated, digital, paints, etc.) has been subject to psychological evaluation through their art. This is usually done by anyone who views their art. From the earliest caveman all the way up to present day artists. Art has always been up for interpretation, much that same as the written works of those who contribute to society as civil servants, psychologists, theologians, whathaveyou. There is the problem of judging the artist by his art. The worst culprits of this activity are usually parents, psychologists and art critics. This is to be expected.

My father was my worst critic. Going so far as to admit me to therapy at the age of 13, Puberty-Age, with some of my art as the reason behind the visits. He believed that a few pieces of art, and some erratic behavior of a budding young man, were cause for concern. After several visits for therapy, and a prescription for ADHD meds, I was “better”. The only thing that made it seem as if I were better was the fact that I stopped making art that could be seen as psychotic, or otherwise questionable to the morals of my family’s household. So, a lot of misunderstanding took place between myself and my old man. What were these images that landed me on the therapist’s couch? Mock-up covers for a horror book I was writing, pseudo-posters for “Child’s Play” movies, and a few Beavis and Butthead images with them dressed as Wolverine and Cyclops.

Can I blame him for seeing things that weren’t there? As a 37 year old father myself, probably not. I’m constantly worried about what my son and my twin daughters are posting on Instagram, but tend not to overthink their intentions. My behavior towards my own children was directly influenced by the negativity of my own upbringing. I tend to let them rant and vent and share things, as I see it as important to let them get it out in the open. So, in that respect, I understand what my own father was going through with me. As I said, my father was my worst critic. He was my naysayer. I think he understood that I wanted to be an artist, but misunderstood where I wanted my art to go; Comics. He would constantly tell me that computers were the way to go, as more and more films and other media seemed to migrate with the technology. He hardly understood my intentions, and would become increasingly more vocal about not drawing. I sometimes find myself questioning his motives as a father to not support his son’s wishes and dreams. It seems that I was not allowed to draw anything, as it was a “waste of time” when hand-drawn media seemed to be disappearing. It was like a constant redirect.

My own father would not be alone in trying to dissuade me from chasing my dream of being a comics artist. My first wife was the same way. But from a completely selfish direction. Much as I hate to talk about my ex-wife, I feel it’s relevant. I was a young father, then, and adult responsibilities had to take priority. That’s only natural. But it seemed that she, like my father, saw drawing as a waste of time. Chasing a dream like that will only lead to failure. She and my father would not be the only naysayers in my lifelong dream of pursuing a career in comics. But they are the closest examples of those whom you trust to back you up, fall short and try to shut it down. A dream can fade if the support factor is absent.

Despite my naysayers, close relatives or otherwise, I was determined to make my dreams come true. Eventually, I would distance myself from those naysayers, either through divorce or outright choosing to not be around them. My point is, Fuck those naysayers. DO NOT let someone, who knows nothing of your struggle, try to make your dream seem less important. My own trust in family has been damaged for many years, so this isn’t advice on how to deal with YOUR naysayers. I have since found my family in the friends I keep close to me. Those who support my dream, and try to do anything to help me achieve it.

Surround yourself with supportive people, be it family, friends, your dog, your cat, your pet snake, or even the smelly guy on the bench who drunkily says “Go for it.”Draw

Draw everyday. Practice those challenging areas that give you trouble. Don’t stop drawing, writing, painting, whatever your passion. Don’t give up because it’s a waste of someone ELSE’s time. You have a gift for a reason. A “Super-Power”, and to some, it is a perceived ability that not everyone possesses.

EFF the naysayers. Chase your dream!


 


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CXC PodCast Episode #6 – Marketing Your Comics Series – Part #1

Part 1 of Our Ongoing Series – Marketing Your Comics / Simple, Straightforward Advice for Self Promoting Your Comics & Art.

Today Leigh Jeffery is joined by expert Marketers Kirsten Nelson and Jamie Moran to discuss how to start marketing your comics in a noisy and uninterested world. We also poke fun at how Kristen pronounces Origin 😛 Sorry Kirsten! We love you! <3

[podbean resource=”episode=2m3e5-7e9a40″ type=”audio-rectangle” height=”100″ skin=”1″ btn-skin=”108″ share=”1″ fonts=”Helvetica” auto=”0″ download=”0″ rtl=”0″]




 

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Starving For Affection Part Deux: The Search for More Money (AKA Becoming the Unicorn)

becoming unicorn chris hendricks

What’s shakin’, cartoon cartels? Welcome to another episode of I Think I Might Know What I’m Talking About (Maybe Sort of a Little Bit) by Chris Hendricks, sponsored by Comix Central.

In case you were wondering, the title does reference Spaceballs, the ultimate parody of everyone’s favorite star odyssey that didn’t feature Patrick Stewart or William Shatner. On a rather important note– If you don’t like Spaceballs: The Movie, please do normal people a favor and go away. I’m happy to assist you in shuffling off this mortal coil with the use of my trusty Spaceballs: The Flamethrower. Now that the terrible people have been cremated, let us continue.

Today we’re talking about, you guessed it, making money as an artist… again. Why, you ask? Because I hear a glimmer of hope beneath your mocking laughter of disbelief. Oh yes, my apprentices of art appreciation, you may still laugh. You may even call me a madman, but I told you before, and I’ll tell you again: it can be done. These “successful” creatures exist. Granted, it’s rumors mostly. They participate in foreign rituals like eating non-Ramen-like, energy-sustaining food products three times a day. I hear they also drive cars without the check engine light on and have personal relationships outside of immediate family and beyond that kid you decided to loan your retainer to in fifth grade who for some reason still comes over to play Magic: The Gathering even though you don’t really “get” each other.

These money-making artist types are troublesome. The frisky unicorns are as rare as a Polish Leprechaun sunbathing in the South Pacific. Lucky for you, I’ve been navigating their rainbow road for sometime. Stay in the middle of my flow, brothers and sisters, and we might get somewhere. I’ll teach you to avoid some red turtle shells along the way, so you can at least cross the finish line in the money race without becoming a total wreck. Let’s pull our nerdtastic-selves together, and we’ll get out of mom’s basement yet. The best part, of course, is that we’ll do it on our own terms. Rise up off the couch and start your engines, people. Let us not simply survive off our passions, but thrive! At the end of this journey, you won’t just find the unicorn, my friends. You will become the unicorn.


The last time we crossed this bridge together, the preparation provided was largely mental and philosophical in nature. This time I’d like to give you insight into some real tactics I’ve learned along the way. I should warn you: this piece is as much a rant against lazy people as it is a learning opportunity. Not to worry. If you’re reading this article, you are not a lazy person. If you want to make money doing art, your desire must be genuine, and we all know that learning is the first step to genuine understanding. Most learn by asking questions, so let me begin by asking, how serious are you really?

Most creatives, including myself, are one ADHD moment away from hobbyland. There’s nothing wrong with hobbyland. It’s a carefree kind of kingdom, somewhere around the end of world one or two, but I’m sorry, Mario, the princess is in another castle. Toadstools won’t pay the mortgage, and there’s no warp whistles in this game. If you want to afford a kingdom for your king or queen, you’re going to have to face the greatest Bowser of them all: consistency.

via GIPHY

If you want money as an artist, earn it. You must learn to treat it like a job. That means working on your craft at least three to five times a week. Part-time or full-time, make it happen. Most of the unicorns I know currently paying bills with skills work on their magic everyday. Call me a snob all you want, but the bottom-line is that work ethic is your greatest asset. It’s the only thing you can control. If you’re really serious, then take advantage of the fact that you care more than the other guy. I encourage you to think of the free time you have as a sort of currency you exchange for future freedom. If you can’t do 9am-5pm, then do 7pm-1am. Get up early, and do 6am-8am before your day job. If you wish to exist inside the business of art, then Weekends are prime time for the art of business. Fruits of opportunity are born inside seeds of dedication. In other words, “I don’t have time” equals “I’m not an artist.” I know some of you are afraid of structure when it comes to things you love, but if you want to stay the course, you’re gonna have to roll over the curious question box, hope for a feather, press the A button, and get over it.

If you want money as an artist, earn it. You must learn to treat it like a job.

Now that you’re keeping your foot on the gas, let’s examine some of the power-ups and pitfalls you’ll encounter on the road. My first piece of advice: watch where you’re going. Sounds simple, right? Well, you’d be surprised how many blind, angry, flaming-guitar-playing drivers exist in the art world. It’s sort of like the movie Mad Max: Fury Road, except this time you’re stuck in downtown Los Angeles, there’s a lot more drivers, you’re not Tom Hardy, you’re stuck in an ‘82 Pinto without any weapons, Charlize Theron has hair, and one of the other guys behind the wheel is an angry gorilla who throws bananas. Side note: If you actually do happen to be Tom Hardy, then congratulations on winning the life game. Otherwise, let’s keep going.

The only real way to avoid slippage and catch an upgrade is self-awareness. Learn who you are as an artist. Have the courage to give yourself an evaluation every-so-often. What are you good at? What do you suck at? Use that knowledge to evolve as a creator. Consistency is great, but it guarantees nothing without swerving the learning curve. Let’s say you’re an illustrator who consistently “draws” Harley Quinn, but your version of Harley Quinn consistently looks like a five-year-old girl’s first attempt at wearing clown makeup. The bottom-line: the only thing more important than consistency is growth.

The bottom-line: the only thing more important than consistency is growth.

Sometimes this happens naturally, but if not, the best and worst opportunity for this is social media. Ask the people you most admire for feedback. Eventually, you will develop a filter between the haters and the mentors. Like most upgrades in imagination land, this is something you earn over time. Thick skin requires experience points, and experience points sometimes mean “killing your darlings” for the sake of something better. On behalf of your self-esteem, remember one thing: Success is not external. The outside world does not determine your worth. Only you, the artist, can do that. Bear in mind I’m speaking to personal worth here. Monetary merit, on the other hand, is a little more complicated. That is determined by the market, and it can be a little overwhelming sometimes.

Success is not external. The outside world does not determine your worth.

It’s understandable if you feel pressure considering the amount of content out there right now. The road to success is always going to be a congested mess of warlords and wannabees. The fastest way to alleviate the pain is by accepting the truth and forging your own path. This doesn’t mean you will discover a shortcut, but it does mean there’s always room for you to get ahead. Sure, there’s a lot of content out there, but it’s not YOUR content. There are millions of pieces out there worthy of purchase, but there’s only one you. The sooner you figure that out, the sooner the rest of the world will. The sooner the rest of the world figures it out, the sooner you can use your passion to pay rent. You do this by giving your art monetary value. Sure, it takes awhile. You need to figure out what people charge. You might have to go up and down for a bit before you find the sweetspot for your service. So what? I don’t understand why people in the art community, and especially the indie-comic community I know personally, aren’t always up front about charging a fee. For some reason, when it comes to giving people a number, some creatives turn into some sort of Oliver Twist-reject in a poorly done, one-off Disney film. Does the following sound familiar at all?

Customer: “Hey there, how much is your drawing of Pennywise? It’s amazing!”

Artist: “Gee willikers, sir. Thanks for noticing! Gosh, I did work awful hard on this here piece. Now that you’re here, stranger, it looks more like a finger paintin’ than a true work of art. It’s Uhhhhh, 50 dollars.. I mean, maybe… well, I’ll go ahead and take 10 dollars if you can’t afford that. You know what? Actually, I just want to “get myself out there” so if you could just tell your friends….”

Me: WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH YOU!

If your drawing of Pennywise is fifty dollars, it is fifty DOLLARS! If they don’t have ten dollars, guess what? They have to go work an extra hour at the Give-N-Go Gas Deluxe first, or they can’t have your hard work. You hear me, people? They have to go away until they return with your value. If they say, “I only have ten dollars.” You say (in a much more polite way), “Tough shit, my drawing is fifty dollars. It is fifty dollars because if you wanted it for free, you could’ve done it yourself, but you didn’t. That’s why you work at the Give-N-Go, and I draw things a lot.”

Listen, there are exceptions to every rule. There’s nothing really wrong with doing free stuff every once in awhile, but you’ve got to have the right intention around it. If you really want to do something for free, then do it because it’s the right thing to do. Don’t give the charity guy an immediate answer. Tell him you’ll think about it, and really think about it. If you are honestly being a good Samaritan here, fine. Now hear this: if you’re doing it for free because you’re afraid you’ll lose the opportunity for “artistic exchange,” then being poor is your own fault. This just happens to be a perfect pipe dream down into the next topic.

In the indie world there’s this debate about being a creator for hire versus the allure of profit sharing. The “hired-gun creator” usually gets an agreed-upon lump sum divided into two parts. The first half being a deposit (upfront payment allowing the artist to prioritize his/her time), and the second half being the remainder (the rest of the fee).  Profit sharing usually happens with larger projects. If you’re a hired writer for instance, the head of the book may offer you a large percentage of ongoing sales in exchange for a smaller deposit upfront. If you’re a hired illustrator for an ongoing comic series, this is also common. My take is by no means a biblical breakdown of bartering skills. However, these are lessons I’ve usually learned the hard way. I hope this knowledge makes things easier for you.

Early on, if you really want to start paying for things with art, I suggest the hired-gun approach. It’s simple, it’s immediate, and it’s a wonderful way to learn the business as you go. The clientele that you serve will prefer quality and a quick(ish) turn around time. Find a way to serve them well and protect yourself at the same time. A good reputation with these people who hire you is critical, but you’re not a piece of meat. Creative newbies can be very trusting, and therefore, sometimes get taken advantage of. If you really know your worth, then get comfortable setting boundaries. For example, if you’re an illustrator, you might consider giving the client the opportunity for 2 free full revisions. After that, you charge a per-hour penalty for your time. Otherwise you may wind up drawing the same Poison Ivy with 100 different noses for six months. As a writer, there are only so many drafts you can shell out. The same rules apply. After a few rewrites, there needs to be a draft fee. Make sure the clients are aware of everything up front. If you can’t eat while working on the project, the project shouldn’t be a priority. Again, I learned this the hard way. I once ate cheese off of cardboard while writing a song for a client. Don’t short-change yourself, and definitely don’t eat cheese off of cardboard.

If you do things right, your confidence should increase with each project. Remember to have faith, and always challenge yourself. Lastly, don’t be afraid to say no to a project. It seems counter-intuitive, but when you do have the courage to ride away from something that isn’t serving you, that’s when you’ll really start going places.

If you do things right, your confidence should increase with each project.

Once you have gained a bit of experience, you might consider profit sharing. It’s a whole different circuit and has its own ups and downs. If I’m sticking with the Mario Kart metaphors, we’re sliding into 150cc territory here. The drivers of projects tend to (usually, but not always) be more experienced. The relationships are more long term. As a result, there can be more expectations, more assumptions, and more risk. It’s a great idea if you have a lot of faith in the project itself. If you really think the story, franchise, or business model is something special, then by all means, feel free to forgo immediate riches for a stake in passive income possibilities. It’s a bit of a gamble, but can be very rewarding if you have patience, dedication, and good interpersonal skills. Once the product is out there and begins to gain traction, your bank account should grow accordingly.

Another facet to consider: Younger creators sometimes have a hard time with starry eyes. They believe in the dream more than themselves. Don’t make that mistake. Contracts can provide the perfect amount of UV protection from the blinding burn of big, bright, planet-size promises. It’s important to note that contracts don’t exist to protect naive geniuses from hungry sharks. In my experience, they exist to protect good people from their own, sometimes accidental, humanity. In other words, good people with the best intentions make bad decisions all the time. Good humans have bad egos. Good humans forget things. Good humans can lose heart when heads get too crowded. A contract should not be an intimidating document. It should be an inanimate friend that preserves the animation of a relationship. Bottom line: people come first. Make sure any contract you sign is a covenant of friendship and business, not a prison sentence for you and your dreams. Respect will take you closer to the finish line than any other shortcut out there. I don’t share any of this to make you fearful of collaboration. We know there’s nothing more fulfilling than a group of people letting go of ego for something much bigger. Learn the difference between owning who you are and being selfish with your content. This arena is not always about speed. Sometimes the only way to win is to slow down.

We’re rounding the final curve, friends. How do you feel? Can you reconcile personal, artistic integrity with your bank account? Are you comfortable with asking for dough? Can you call yourself an artist? I believe you can, and so does this community. The only ones who can’t are people who refuse to at least acknowledge the modern era of this art business. If you’re one of those Luddites out there who’s “angry” at the digital/internet world, fine. I can’t change your belief system. There’s nothing wrong with putting pen/pencil to paper. It is, in fact, and will always be, incredibly beautiful. However, avoiding or especially “hating” digital because you feel like the world is “losing something” is straight up immature, moronic, and just bad business. I’ve said this before, but learning, exploring, and adapting to new platforms is what creativity is all about. If you’re making money in indie comics without the power of Google, Instagram, Facebook, or Snapchat, then I applaud you. Email me at chris@comixcentral.com and tell me I’m wrong about the necessity of the internet community and digital platforms. Break down your own process, tell me how you pay all your bills using your art without the Internet, and I’ll write you an apology personally. I’ll even give you the opportunity for a guest blog post. Let the games begin.

It’s about connection, and this new world is ripe with that possibility.

Last thing, I’m not trying to be overly positive or overly direct here. Living off of your art in the indie world is hard. I get it, but there’s plenty of people who do. Look for us. Ask for help. Be genuine. Chances are we’ll probably want to help you. It’s not about chasing a deal with Marvel, DC, or even Image (If that happens for you, great btw). It’s about connection, and this new world is ripe with that possibility. It’s everywhere. Just keep your eyes open, and actively look. Honestly, I need to ask you all one more favor as a community. Can we please take the word “starving” as far away from our artistry as possible? The kind of artistic success we’re talking about means time and overcoming challenges, but it also means fulfilment beyond measure. This article may have been about tactics, but this game is still 90% mental. If we keep calling ourselves starving artists, then so we shall be. Let’s change it up. We’re not starving. Starving implies a sort of frailty. We are not frail. We are hungry. We are energetic. We are the collective. We are pillars of support. We are hunters, gatherers, and friends. We create the very ideas that feed us. How could we ever starve? We are the never-ending story in a world that lives off of imagination. We make fantasy into reality for everyone else all the time. Why not do it for ourselves? You got this, people. Laziness must die, and fear must be let go. Only when you quit being a bitch can you finally become the unicorn and never go hungry again.  


 


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Just DO the work.

comic book motivation

A friend of mine had once told me the secret to breaking into the comics biz was to “Just DO the work.”

Without name dropping, this friend, who made quite a name for himself in the indie comics world and was becoming a success in his own right. When he gave me this seed of wisdom, it took some time for the idea to grow. Once I realized what he meant, I was at the drawing table as often as I had the time. Just creating.

I had had brushes with my dream job, make it into the comics biz as a full-time storyteller, a few times in the past. My relationships with other creators always seem to steer me further into the right direction. But somehow, fall short of the intended destination.

I pushed my submissions to many publishers over the years, nearly coming close to drawing my hero for a fledgling company. No matter how close I came to my dream, it seemed not to be. I was chasing the damned Roadrunner. It was exhausting. Coyote or not, I could not continue wasting my time and energy chasing something, seemingly, unattainable. So, what was there to do?



“Just DO the work.” His words kept pinging off the inside of my brain. What had it meant?

To me, four words never held such mysticism and mystery. Doing the work surely had meant keep submitting your work to companies. Over time, that didn’t prove true. So, there had to be another meaning. One I had to discover on my own. Just DO the work. Just create. Just write. Just draw. Just DO it. It began to sound convincing. What had I to lose?

Over the years, technology progressed, social media pages began exploding with all kinds of new apps. I began to think, Fine, If I can’t sell my art, I’ll showcase it. Somebody is bound to take notice. I took my art to Instagram and to Facebook. I stopped trying to sell myself to a faceless company whose only concerns were their bottom line and not the reader’s interest. I want to tell stories and draw them for you as I see in my head. 

Just DO the work. Let THEM decide if they like it. Get your stuff out there. Don’t be afraid of negative feedback.


 

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Faithfully Human – J.M Bryan

jm bryan

 Greetings everyone. Today I’m honored to connect with the very prolific, and very honest, J. M. Bryan.

While I would normally put together some color-coded, alliteration-obsessed introduction to focus your attention, this artist is far too personal for heavy-handed words. It doesn’t take much Internet stalking to become attached to J’s style. It’s near impossible to not get pulled underneath the “criminally” emotional riptide that is Closer, and his collection of shorts, Stuff, seems to be the perfect marriage between a childish heart and an old soul. Whether you’re healed by the young vulnerability of “Broken,” or choose to breakdown reality itself with the abstract storytelling in “Galaxia Apparatus” (soaked in just the right amount of fear mind you), the journey always seems to end in quiet reflection.

Without giving away too much, Ted is my new favorite member of the undead community. J’s humorous take on humility and relationships makes being undead seem very life-like. Lastly, his colorful take on a bad dream just might leave you looking forward to your next nightmare. Take a deep breath, my friends. Let’s find out what’s it’s like inside the open heart of an artist just crazy enough to be himself.

 

Chris: Good to have you with us, J. I understand you have a comic writer in the family. Did that inspire/influence your storytelling? How long have you been writing, and what was it like shifting from poetry to short stories to novels to comics?

J: I have a cousin, Rich Woodall, who has been writing and illustrating comics for as long as I can remember. I remember being a kid looking at his comic collections and at his books thinking, “I want to make something like this someday.” So I guess it inspired in that I knew that I could do it if I put my mind to it and actually did it. My adventure in writing comics has just begun, but I’ve been writing prose and poetry since I could write. I actually have an old notebook full of “ghost stories” I wrote in first grade. They are terrible, truly terrible, but I suppose the positive side is that I was putting something down on paper. When I finally started writing comic scripts, the first few drafts were incredibly rough, but thankfully there are a lot of resources on the internet that help you learn to write in any kind of medium. So the transition really wasn’t that bad.




Chris: Kickstarter is a typical avenue for many indie comic creators, BUT I understand you managed to get it 250% funded via mostly strangers without much connection in the community or strategy. How do you explain your success?

J: Dumb luck, mostly. I was fortunate to have a lot of people share the project and, if I can take any credit (which I don’t want to), I would say that my low goal amount and low pledge levels really helped me meet my goal. I think people are a lot more likely to help any kind of crowdfunding effort when they feel like they are going to get their money’s worth or more. I tried my best to offer a lot for a little. My goal with Closer was not to make money but to make something people would want to read, so I really just wanted to get it into people’s hands.

Chris: Closer is a wonderful story. I’m curious. It’s in Black and White, and yet, Nathaniel’s love Marie has scars. The simple choice seems to pull emphasis away from the injury, but Marie is very self-conscious about them. Is that symbolic of how we as humans tend to focus on “imperfections” more than we should, or is it simply coincidence? I have many scars myself and would love your take on things.

J: I’m going to try and keep this answer as short as I can, but I could spend all day talking about this aspect of Closer because, at the core, it’s what the comic is about. I’m a believer, mostly by experience, that everyone has something that they would give up everything for. It’s that old cliché that “everyone has a price.” When I was a teenager and the story for Closer began forming in my mind, that something was love. I would have done anything to find that one person I could be with forever. Now, as a married man with kids, I think that family is that thing I would give up everything for. I would do anything to make sure they are safe and taken care of. Now those are pretty standard answers, but I wanted to explore the darker side of all this in Marie’s self-consciousness about her scars. If someone were to come along and offer to take those away, to give her the relief from the stares and the whispers of people she walked by, what would she do to get it? If there truly is something that haunts us all, something that we suffer with every day, what would we give up to have that taken away and finally be at peace? That’s really where the focus on the scars comes from.

Chris: Did you always want Closer to be a 2-Issue story? Where does your love of the short story form come from? Do you prefer a quick knockout punch to longer bouts of exploration? I understand it was initially meant to be a novel.

J: Yeah, I originally planned it to be a novel, but I found that I needed some sort of visual to go with it in order to fully tell the story that I wanted to tell faithfully. That was really frustrating to me and bothered me for a long time until I decided to put it into comic form. I fully intended to release it as a one-shot comic, but after talking with some people about it, I decided to release it in two parts to really raise the tension and have that cliff hanger that I really wanted in there. While I love a good ongoing comic, I feel it’s easier for me at this point in my writing career to write shorter stories to ensure that I can really write a full beginning, middle, and end to a story. I suppose that means that right now I write shorter stories for convenience, but I don’t want to bring myself into a situation this early on where I wouldn’t be able to finish something that I started. I must also add that some of my favorite books growing up were the collections of short stories of any genre, especially scary stories. Those have always meant a lot to me because I spent so much time getting into them.

Chris: I love to read. I tend to dive into non-fiction, though I agree with you in terms of it being dry at times. Stephen King taught me to love the more imaginative form, but why do you feel reading fiction is important for people in general?

J: I think that any kind of reading is beneficial. For instance, I noted recently to someone that while I might not enjoy a book like Twilight (just an example, no one needs to jump on me), I know that I can learn something from the writing, whether it is what to do or what not to do, when writing a book. Reading fiction allows me to explore worlds I never imagined and can really open my mind to new possibilities with my own creations. Even if you aren’t looking that deeply into the work, there are many classic works of fiction that challenge us in many ways or just entertain us. Some fall into both those categories, being both entertaining and challenging, but either way I believe they can be beneficial to anyone. Siddhartha by Herman Hesse taught me to challenge my faith. Harry Potter was a ton of fun and taught me a lot about right and wrong. We can always learn, whether it’s a biography about a president or an outer space adventure.

Chris: My love of comics has been a tremendous learning experience. I’m still trying to understand the importance of lettering. Can you tell me where your passion for it comes from, and why it’s more important than new readers might realize?

J: Someone told me that good lettering is pretty much invisible, but bad lettering can be a flashing light on the page. I think this is incredibly true. If the lettering is bad it can make a page confusing, difficult to read, or ruin what could be a great comic by making it feel like a jumbled mess. Good lettering, on the other hand, makes a comic flow in such a way that you barely even know it’s there. I think the good lettering is the reason why lettering has gone unnoticed, which is a good thing.  I have a bit of history with graphic design and typography, which led me to look into learning lettering as another form of comics to explore. I like to make things look clean, and taking a comic and trying to make it readable is exciting to me. I’m a bit of a design nerd.

Chris: I read that you believe the Internet tends to “frame” a creator’s vision. Can you tell me more about that, and why it might be something worth avoiding as a creator?

J: Absolutely. We live in this “social media era” where what’s trending seems to be monitored more than real world issues. In that world, our ideas and opinions literally change with the time of day because we are constantly looking around to see what’s popular and what people want. Unfortunately, this sometimes can cause people to limit their vision and their minds to just that scope of view. Sometimes in comic-making you have to make the stuff that no one wants to read just because you want to make it. We need to be alright with not being the popular comic. If we are constantly chasing trends, we betray the creative spirit within us all. I truly believe that. We need to make what we want to, not what the internet wants. On the positive side, though, if you hit the right side of one of those trends it can really boost careers and help spread your work. Retweets and shares can boost exposure exponentially. There are two sides to everything, I think.

Chris: You know more than anyone that the Internet also allows for collaboration. It’s one of my favorite things about creativity. Tell us about what that has been like for you, and how other people have helped bring your vision to life.

J: This has been the coolest thing for me. Because of the connectivity of social media and sites like Reddit, I’ve been able to work with people from all over the globe. Only in 2017 can a guy from the US work with a Serbian artists and a British letterist. Only in 2017 can I talk to people from 4 different time zones on 4 different continents. We may take this for granted a lot, but I had to take a step back in awe at the fact that this was the reason my comic could be made. While I have met and made friends with an artist from the area in which I live, when I started making comics my “creative circle” was more of a dot, me. Closer came to be because I put out ads on social media and met the right people.

Chris: Stuff was a really interesting collection of shorts. It’s very clear that you have a mind of exploration and vulnerability. I think everyone has their own answer to this, but why is it important to make storytelling so personal?

J: To be honest, I don’t think a comic is worth reading if it’s not personal in some way to the creator. The reason I think that is because I feel like we are more invested in the things we create if there’s a piece of us in it, not just something we did for kicks with no thought. What makes any comic unique is that it is written/illustrated/colored/lettered by different people with varying experiences and feelings. If they put those into their work, readers get a very personal, yet different story. It makes our books special. It makes them part of us and that’s something to cherish and be proud of.

Chris: It’s clear to me that faith and family are very important to you. Since you’ve had the courage to be so personal with your audience in your storytelling, may I be so bold as to ask about your own love story? How did you meet your other half, and how has family been an asset to your own creativity?

J: My wife really saved my life. I met her at a time in my life where I was pretty sure I was going to die alone and didn’t really know what my purpose was. We met when one of my exes told me about this site she met her husband on, Christian Mingle (yes, the one with the terrible commercials). I didn’t really know what to expect, but, to make a long story short, I ended up meeting my wife. It turned out that she went to highschool with one of my best friends and knew a lot of the same people that I did. I think that’s what made her decide to actually meet me. Since then, our life together has been a whirlwind. We dated for just over 2 years before we got married, and we now have two beautiful baby girls. They really are my whole world, and it absolutely frames my writing. As I watch my girls grow, I’m leaning toward more all-ages comics because I want to make things that they can enjoy. At the same time, though, I now understand the heroes in the books that sacrifice it all to save someone because that’s what I would do for them. They have made me a better writer, and I’m even more determined to succeed in what I do because I want them to be proud of me.

Chris: Thank you J. It’s been a joy to learn from you.


As much as I value words on a page as conduits for learning, my true love for individual creativity comes from those moments that transcend skill, methodology, or practice– something that can’t be read in a book or absorbed from a computer screen.

The truth is, we do not find creativity. Creativity finds us when we are ready. J. M. Bryan is more than ready. His love story alone is proof that honesty and art can come together to form an endearing and trustworthy spirit I can only describe as family. His pages feel like one-on-one conversations. His body of work feels like bandages anyone would love to wear. He’s the new medicine man of the indie comic world with plenty of scar tissue to go around. Don’t worry. There’s nothing to hide. With someone like J. M. Bryant around, you might just give those battle lines you’ve drawn over the years a much closer look.

To learn more about what J.M is up to, buy his work or just connect, check out the links below:

jmbryanwrites.myportfolio.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jmbryanwrites/

CXC: @jmbwrites

ComixShop: Little Monster Comics





 

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DOKTOR GERALDO

doktor geraldo

For this day of ComixCentral Conversations, we take a bit of an unexpected turn! Today we bring you a newbie to the game.

You see, we’re not just interested in how the experts get things done, but also the journey that all creators must undertake to get to “Level expert”. Indie comics are not about perfect stories and artwork, polished and edited till they loose all their soul. Indie is about sharing your voice however you choose to share it. You’re unique spin on the world, straight from the horse’s mouth… no corporate interference. And we, the indie community, celebrate all creators of our beloved medium, at all levels in the game.

And so we present an underground sensation in the making. A creator you are sure to hear from as he grows his craft and develops into a full fledged tour de force in the indie comic realm. Keep your eye on Doktor Geraldo, we predict great things.


Hello Doktor Geraldo and thank you for talking with us today! Could you first tell us a bit about yourself, and the comic you’re currently creating.

DG: I’m a 46-year-old road worker from the north east of England. I live in Whitley Bay, a fading Edwardian seaside resort. I work night shift, and I’ve got three sons, so my spare time is limited. When I do get time to myself, I enjoy making comics. I find it relaxing. I recently released my debut comic, the first part of a four-part series called Spec Ops Hobo. This first instalment, entitled The Best, introduces the protagonist, Johnny Higgins.

What made you decide to start making comics?

DG:I used to draw single page comics in the late 80s, and give photocopies to my friends. These were pretty much in the style of Viz, the legendary local comic we all grew up reading. I gradually just stopped drawing in the early 90s, and then I recently had my interest piqued by my eldest son, who collects comics. He showed me some indie stuff he’d recently purchased at a con, and I immediately thought “I’ll have a bit of that!”

I came up with a great idea for a science fiction comic called Flangu, about a boy who makes a cardboard robot which helps his family, but which ultimately threatens mankind. Flangu describes the advent of nanocardboard, a revolutionary new packaging material intended to cut down on packaging and shipping times. The robot is inadvertently made using a sheet of nanocardboard, and quickly hooks up to the Wi-Fi and becomes sentient.

 

I spent a long time planning this idea, to the extent that I had creative block before I’d even created anything. I decide to shelve Flangu, and switched to what had originally been intended as an incidental detail, a fictional movie within the framework of the comic. Spec Ops Hobo. I quickly realised I could make this into a series, so I just went with it.

Where do you get your inspiration and ideas from?

DG: Higgins is inspired by a real person who lives in my town. Spec Ops Hobo is, at its core, a study of those marginalised by society due to poverty, homelessness, mental illness, and other similar factors, and it is a celebration of and tribute to those unfortunates who are exploited and condemned by the relentless, unforgiving machinery of global capitalism.

This is all very noble and valid, of course, but it would make for a boring comic. I deliberately avoided making this a dreary pamphlet, and instead opted to cloak these weighty themes in a velvet blanket of tits and killing, adventure, and a few laughs along the way.

Spec Ops Hobo – The Best is set mainly in an unspecified Central American hell hole, in 1985, and pays homage to the machismo and excess of 80s action movies, with a nod to classic boys’ comics like Victor and Warlord.

In general I am inspired by films, music, art, literature, and even things like podcasts.

What’s the one thing that you absolutely could not live without during the creative process?

DG:I’m overlooking the staples here, like pencil and paper, and teabags, and I’m going to go for my phone! I use the camera on my phone to photograph figures, or groups of figures. The resolution on today’s camera phones is superior to most home scanners and printers, and I like the effects that you can achieve.

I also use free apps on my phone to do rough page layouts and scaling, and to superimpose figures and scenery onto watercolour backgrounds. There are apps to create alpha layers and cut out plain backgrounds and so on. It’s good to play around with an old-school drawing and a smart phone.

What resources do you rely on to make your comics?

DG: We live in a golden age of creativity. The digital world allows anyone to create, music, film, animation, and comics using a wide variety of free technology that I couldn’t have dreamed of as a teenager.

You just need a little bit of talent, and some ideas.

I would highlight free apps and software that are widely available. As a new creator, I don’t really want to lay out thousands of pounds on state of the art software and equipment. I’m a firm believer in the adage: “All the gear and no idea!” I think it’s important to learn your craft using basic resources, and then invest in some swanky kit further down the line, when you’ve earned it.

I did treat myself to a small selection of copic markers, which I’d never used before. They are my go to medium for comics, and they’re well worth the price.

I’ve also printed off a prototype A5 fanzine of Spec Ops Hobo – The Best, and I’m thinking of doing a limited run for those who absolutely insist on holding paper in their hands.

 

Who are your biggest inspirations in the comic realm?

DG: The first person to approach me directly on Twitter and express a liking for my work is a comic artist from Alabama, Stefani @magicianshouse. Stefani is the artist on Project Shadow Breed, and she also drew the forthcoming Corsair, written by Nick Gonzo, both of which are outstanding.

Stefani saw my posts on @ComicBookHour, and offered to draw a pinup for Spec Ops Hobo, and as I was still working on part one, I asked her to do the cover. She came back with a fantastic illustration. I was encouraged to receive feedback from someone involved in the indie comics world, and Stefani has just written an experimental short that I am illustrating. This is quite a controversial piece, and it will release in August to coincide with a certain centenary celebration…..

Coincidentally, Nick Gonzo (@nick_gonzo) was the creator of the indie comics my son showed me: Pictures of Spiderman, and 50 Signal 1 and 2. He is part of Madius Comics, the team behind Papercuts and Inkstains, Griff Gristle, Laudanum, and many more. Gonzo has kindly agreed to illustrate the cover for the third part of Spec Ops Hobo.

Another great creator is Olly Cunningham at Black Lines Comics (@black_lines_). His work is very, very funny, and he’s got a unique style.

Lastly, I’m blown away by the astonishing output of an Australian creator called Ryan James Melrose (@RyanJamesMelros). This guy must be the hardest working man in comics.

Where do you hope to be in 5 years creatively?

DG:This year I want to complete the remaining three parts of Spec Ops Hobo and release them on Comix Central. I would also like to release the entire series as a trade paperback, but I think I will print a run of each issue myself for now.

I would like to build up Digital Pastiche, my fledgling production company, perhaps even bringing new creators into the fold. I’m also collaborating with Stefani @magicianshouse on a short, and we’ll hopefully be working together in the future.

Next year I want to focus on Flangu, and I should have more of an idea having cut my teeth on Spec Ops Hobo.

I will continue to network and promote my comics in my inimitable fashion. I adhere to the philosophy of “shy bairns get nowt”, and I’m not afraid of appearing overly forward. This has come back to bite me on the arse a couple of times already, but it’s all part of the learning curve.

In five years, I would like to be releasing comics that I enjoy making. Hopefully, people will enjoy reading them.


And that’s it for this one. So freakin’ inspirational in my book! If this interview doesn’t make you go, damn.. I can do this… I can let my inner comic creator out! Then I don’t know what will!

We want to thank Doktor Geraldo for taking the time to share his journey and inspiring story with us. Thank you for showing everyone that a little bit of passion and a lot of hard work will get your where you want to go. We can’t wait to see what you’re going to do next!

If you’d like to learn more about Doktor Geraldo, buy his books or just connect, we’ve got the links for all that good stuff below.

Now, go make some Comics!


Connect with Doktor Geraldo

comixcentral.com/vendors/doktor-geraldo-store

twitter.com/doktorgeraldo

facebook.com/doktorgeraldo

payhip.com/doktorgeraldo

instagram.com/doktorgeraldo

imgur.com/a/ErIrT

Get Spec ops Hobo


 


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RANDOM ENCOUNTER COMICS

random encounter comics

Oh ho ho! Do we have a treat for all you Comicbook lovin’ good people. We managed to corner the gents from Random Encounter Comics and shake them until all their secrets fell out.

These guys are making some shockingly great stories, with some of the most unique art pages we’ve seen.. well.. anywhere! This is what indie comics are all about.

So if you are into making comics and are looking to pick up some tips, dig a behind the scenes peek into creativity or just have major crushes on Adam and Colin… get ready to have all your dreams come true.  We love these guys! Let’s get going!




Hey guys! First of all, could tell our readers a little bit about your book, yourselves and your company?

REC: Folklore is a post apocalyptic horror story set in a world where earth’s mightiest heroes have been warped and twisted into hungry predators. It’s the only series handled

Adam handles the writing and social media, Colin the illustration, and together they try not to be absolutely obnoxious while trying to excitedly show off their work. It’s a two man show and our first foray into the comic industry. They’re so new, they’re not even sure when it’s ok to talk in third person during an interview!

On ComixCentral we showcase our work under Folklore Comics, but our official studio name is Random Encounter Comics!

What kind of comics do you create?

REC: Right now we’re focused 100% telling Folklore’s story from start to finish. Although Folklore’s background is rooted in action-oriented superhero culture the core of our stories lay in exploring the nature of horror — whether it be through terrifying abominations or a more psychological kind of fear.

We want you to grow attached to the people and places you meet in our world, but maybe expect to lose a little something along the way.

When did you start working on Folklore?

REC: Folklore has been a personal project of ours for quite a while now, but we’ve only just begun to share it publically for the past year. Using our spare time between work and other professional projects we came up an initial concept and very rough storyboard. It took a while for us to finalize things like character design and comic layout, but the time spent working on it all really gave us the time to see how expansive the comic world really is.

Where did the idea for Folklore come from and what made you take the plunge into creating it?

REC: The original recommendation to start a comic was inspired by a mutual friend, who recommended we pool our talents to create something memorable! Our friend was British, so he recommended a time travel plot. We decided to go in a very different direction.

In a lot of ways Folklore is a collection of personal fears as much as it is a reflection of the way society builds history and legends over time.

Everybody gets discouraged wants to quit sometimes. How do you guys keep the motivation going?

Adam: What’s great about what we do is that our work is broken down in half, so there’s a lot of motivation between the two of us to make sure we’re both keeping Folklore up to par with our expectations. Not only that, we have an incredible group of readers. I don’t think we ever expected to receive the support we did on Patreon.

Colin: I think we’re both so absolutely excited about getting Folklore out there that when we do feel burnt out or throwing in the towel, we remind each other to keep on going. That kind of encouragement is a great form of motivation, as is support from our Patrons and supporters. It’s a pretty incredible feeling when we come across reviews of our work or when readers express their enjoyment.

Is there any advice you wish someone had given you when you were first starting out?

Adam: Plan ahead, and try to set realistic goals. We’ve overestimated the workload Colin could handle illustrating in the past, and it just adds a lot of unnecessary pressure. Take your time.

Colin: Agreed, the bulk of the work really comes from planning out each issue and we’ve learned it the hard way.

A solid plan can actually speed up the rest of the illustrating work.

Folklore is obviously a very unique and creative story. Where do you get your ideas from?

Colin: Plenty of films and stories, there’s such a rich library out there to be inspired from. I have my favourites like Star Wars and The Witcher novels, Mike Mignola’s work and Akira Kurosawa, as well as drawing from my own personal experiences.

Adam: Anywhere and everywhere. I wish I could say there was a single medium that inspired me, but I jump around a lot. Any good story that focuses on character growth and world building is bound to grab and hold my attention. It just makes me want to create.

What’s the one thing (tool, process, etc) that you absolutely could not live without during the creative process?

Colin: Thumbnailing. Definitely Thumbnailing. There’s nothing harder than jumping straight into a page and just winging it. Working from thumbnails allows me to lay out any ideas we have and to direct the flow of our art and writing.

Who is your favorite writer, illustrator, actor.. Etc. And what do you think you’ve learned from this person.

Adam: It’s hard to say who my favorite writer is, but when it comes to comics I think it was Matt Fraction and David Aja’s run on Hawkeye that really showed me how incredible comics could be. I always try to keep in mind their creative paneling when trying to highlight action. Their humor goes a long way in bringing humanity to each character. Plus, Pizza dog.

Colin: They did a bloody awesome job on Hawkeye and I love the way they treated the visuals and panel work. As for me I’m a big fan of Scott Snyder’s writing for Court of Owls, and Greg Capullo’s art really brings the thrill and mystery of Batman to life. Mike Mignola is up there as well. His use of negative space to direct the flow of his story is a fantastic study.

Are there any funny or interesting tid-bits you could share from your experience working together making comics?

Adam: I guess there was the time I thought we were really cool and progressive for having an elderly woman as a badass sniper. Then Overwatch’s Ana came out.

Colin: I’m still bitter about that, but was just as excited when I saw the reveal.

Adam: It was like a mix of ‘Yes I’m so excited for this character’ and ‘I hope no one thinks we’re copying this hype’. I’ve seen this kind of thing happen to plenty of other artists and storytellers before, so we can’t really feel too bad about it. Them’s the breaks!

What is your ultimate goal in comics?

Adam: I love entertaining others. Growing up I’ve always found myself sucked into stories, whether it be from a book, comic, RPG, or just a really exciting board game.

I’d love to always be in a position where I can help relieve stress through the worlds I help bring to life.

It would be incredible to be well known for creating those kind of immersive experiences. Comics are just one way to do that, and I’ll be writing for as long as there’s someone out there who enjoys my work.

Colin: A part of it is quite practical, I find comics to be a good form of practice for my art. Ultimately though, I think it’s the collective enjoyment of sharing stories. At first the work was quite overwhelming for me, but when readers started feeding back to us how invested they’d had become in these characters’ tales and how much enjoyment they receive. I felt all that work was worth the effort.

If you had a dollar for every comic you have started but not yet finished.. How many dollars would you have?

Adam: Comics, 0. Books? At least 4. I get to live out most of my ideas in my weekly D&D sessions, but some narratives just require a little less interaction from my audience.

Colin: Maybe about three. Usually I axe a lot of ideas before I even get started, haha. I’m definitely going to try to make another two bucks in the next year!

Any parting words for the people out there gentlemen? And how can people find what you’re up to?

Adam: I don’t think we have anything more to add, but we do want everyone to know how exciting it’s been to be a part of this growing community. Not just on ComixCentral, but in terms of indie comics in general. Everyone has been the best. There’s so much creativity out there, and everyone we’ve encountered and have spoken with has been so positive and energetic about their work. It’s been an incredible experience, and we’re so glad we can contribute to the positivity.

If you like the work we do on Folklore then you may want to check out our website, which has a lot of extra background information on our cast of characters, plus a short story we wrote for our fans on Halloween. All of our work is also available for free on Tapastic and Webtoons, but it’s your support that lets us continue to work on Folklore. Every purchase on ComixCentral helps our ongoing development, but if you’re interested in supporting us for a bunch of cool perks we recommend that you check out our Patreon!

In addition to regular weekly updates we have a lot of cool behind-the-scenes details, like WIP pages, monthly raffles, and the opportunity to appear in Folklore as a minor character! (Please note: We reserve all rights to terribly maim or dismember your avatar at our discretion.)

You can find all the cool details at patreon.com/Folklore, or just bug us via tweets anytime you’d like. [links below]


And with that, our time here is over, and we’re not embarrassed to say we’re a little choked up about it. We’ll have to do this again!

We want to thank the boys from Random Encounter Comics for taking the time to answer our questions and letting us dig a big fork into how things get done in their amazing world. I learnt some new things today and LOL’d more than once!

If you’d like to learn more about Random Encounter Comics, buy their books or connect with Adam and Colin, the links to do all that are below.

Now go make some comics!


Connect with Adam, Colin and Random Encounter Comics!

FolkloreComic.com

twitter: @FolkloreComic

twitter: @34thGingerbread (writer)

twitter: @unartifex (illustrator)

comixcentral : Random Encounter Comics

Grab Folklore issue 1  |   Folklore issue 2