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The Most Important Video-game You’ll Ever Play: A Nerd Metaphor for Success

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Competition is a beautiful thing. This is such a weird realization to hit a universal lover like myself.

As a person who does his best to appreciate as many people as possible (and fails constantly), I have realized that this truth is a fantastic relief. There’s a massive old-school misconception swimming around in the self-help ocean that is hurting people. The message that everyone can get what they desire out of life is true to a point, I guess, BUT many will not. I don’t make it my goal to hurt anyone’s feelings, but it’s not my job as an encouraging entity to present a Barney-and-Friends reality either. People will get tired. They will get weary. They will get trapped in corners by monsters that only exist in their imagination. It’s because self-help often projects an all-in, one-and-done mentality. Sure, we can talk about how people “learn from failure” and “get up and try again,” but the brain’s primary instinct is to survive. It fears actual death when the only thing really dying is perhaps the current idea of self, only to be resurrected again a moment later. We get unlimited tries until we stop breathing. My point: Life is the most important video game you’ll ever play. 

The biggest identity crisis within this type of positivity is this: everyone seems to think that each person is their own celebrity. That’s not the world we live in. Pay close attention though. I’m not saying that everyone doesn’t have value or isn’t important. I’m saying people focus on a celebrity end-game rather than thinking about what they can do to provide genuine value.

Here’s another scary thought for you — I haven’t REALLY figured out how I can provide genuine value yet either, and I’m 32. I’m crazy insecure. I worry about my age and the amount of time I have to make an impact. I worry about something I just posted at least once a day. I wonder if people are actually looking at my content. I’m learning as I go. I’m overwhelmed by the internet world and the flood of information we all have access to. As I’ve said many times before, I’m incredibly human. It’s a tired truth, but a really valuable reminder nonetheless.

Despite all of those concerns, I still love being in the trenches. Why? Because “Everybody wins” is a wonderful lie. Regardless of a person’s situation or environment, the golden truth is that each person gets to define “winning” in his/her own way.

Does the fact that everyone gets to define winning means that everybody wins? Absolutely not — you still have a chance to lose. The best news you could ever get is that life is much more like a video game than a lot of people would like to admit. Unless your body gives out on you, you can always hit the reset button. Each time you hit the reset button, you get to take everything you learned from losing a life and apply it to your brand new journey. In other words, each time you “die” in this life, you come back with upgrades.

The gift of losing exists for the same reason that human beings are mortal. A part of who we are will always love the chase at certain moments. It’s human nature to desire progress. I wish everyone in the world would put a sign on their bathroom mirrors that says, “Get busy living or get busy dying.” Screw up. Fall down. Walk away. Let a business crash. Bomb in front of an intimidating audience. Have the worst day of your life. Wake up covered in mud. Realize you’re still in the game dirty as all hell, and realize that being human is the ONLY reason winning is possible in the first place.


by Chris Hendricks 

ComixCentral COO and host of the ComixCentral Podcast – Chris has reached over 100,000 people, young and old, from all walks of life throughout the US, Canada, and Europe using his music, spoken word and personal stories of transformation.

 







 

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2017 Comics Of The Year Awards

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The First Annual Comics of the Year Awards – 2017 Edition

2017 was an astounding year of firsts here at ComixCentral. When we opened the doors in March of 2017, we could have never imagined that so many incredible Comics of exceptional quality would be added to our marketplace in such a short time. We are overwhelmed with gratitude that the community we love so much has embraced us and chosen to sell their work on ComixCentral. We thank you all for joining us on this amazing journey, and we look forward to growing together for many years to come.

With that said, this year’s nominations were excruciating to choose. We love each and every comic on our site, and the competition was fierce! We’d like to thank all of you talented creators, and I hope you know how hard it was for our team to vote this year. But, as my 10th-grade gym coach once told me, “A little competition is good for the soul!” and we’ll add, great for our industry!

 We can’t wait to see what you have in store for 2018! And with that… here are this year’s winners!


“Best Fantasy” 

Comic”Skylin 001: Old Remnants

Long ago, the six nations fell victim to the ruthless tyranny of the Demon King and his Serpen. He burned all who opposed him and spared few. With little hope for liberation, nobles from each nation journeyed to an ancient floating city where they pleaded to the Spirits for help. Six warriors, one from each nation, were granted a powerful Serpen of their own, which they used to defeat the Demon King.

Buy Now »

 “Best Mystery”

The White Room of the Asylum

The White Room of the Asylum focuses on the tape-recorded memoirs of an old man named Steve who recently committed suicide. The tapes tell of the last period of his stay at the Soraberg Asylum and his discovery of what he came to call ‘The White Room.’ The White Room is an infinite space of pure white in which the residents can create anything they can think up. Over time more residents gain access to this mysterious place- Thus beginning a series of events that stretches Steve’s sanity to its limits, offers a chance at redemption, and leaves a man too broken to fix.

Buy Now »

 “Best Action”

Smart Bomb!! Level 1-2

Imagine an alternative gamingverse. One where TV games you’ve never heard of (yet, somehow, find oh-so familiar) are the norm. If only there was an awesome mix of comics and video games magazines to let you in on what’s going on? Thank Mr.Jump!’s ghost, it’s SMART BOMB!!

Buy Now »

  “Best Thriller”

Daughters of Knights – Chapter 1

Seraphine, accused of witchcraft, recalls the demon who slaughtered her companions and framed her. Daughters of knights is a medieval horror story about a disfigured girl, slaying monsters, and an uncomfortable, unconventional attraction.

Buy Now »

  “Best Superhero”

Humalien #1

In a future where humans are extinct. One was engineered in a lab to be a living biological weapon

Buy Now »

 “Best Horror

Bastard Son: Murderborn

Busted Knuckle Press presents: ‘Bastard Son: Murderborn’, a horror graphic novel. ORIGINS OF A SLASHER – 120+ PAGES OF BLOOD AND MADNESS! Created by Frank T. Allen & Marco “Sbrillo” Fontanili. Lettering by Taylor Esposito of Ghost Glyph Studios. Chapter One cover by Jacen Burrows.

Buy Now »

 “Best Sci-Fi”

Folklore Issue 1

A band of survivors travel across North America after a biological weapon turns the world’s greatest superheroes into horrifying abominations. The first issue of Folklore’s ongoing story, collected in this easy to enjoy PDF! Purchased issues help support the ongoing creation of Folklore, but you can find all our pages for free at http://folklorecomic.com/ or support Folklore directly by visiting our Patreon at patreon.com/Folklore

Buy Now »

  “Best Mature”

Dildo Boy Origins

Dildo Boy Origins is an XXX rated short comic which satirises the chauvinistic, adolescent male power fantasies of the superhero canon. Written, coloured, and lettered by Doktor Geraldo. Illustrated by Stefani Magician’s House. @DoktorGeraldo @MagiciansHouse In association with Digital Pastiche.

Buy Now »

 “Best Manga”

Samurai Shin Issue #1

Samurai Shin is highly influenced by anime such as Afro Samurai, Samurai Champloo, and Sword Of The Stranger

Buy Now »

 “Best Comedy

BOB: NON-UNION PSYCHIC #0 TRUE TALENT

Renegade Psychic. Professional Hairstylist. This is not your usual paranormal adventure. This is about the rise of a new kind of hero. Or, rather, the reluctant rise of a hero. Meet Bob Holbreck, a talented guy who has mad hairstyling skills. He owns and operates a nice little shop in the trendy part of town. His clientele is building with loyal customers. Bob truly knows what looks good on a customer before they do. How does he do it? How does he know what to do with a head of hair? Well, Bob has other talents. There are those who may consider it a gift. Like his great-grandfather, who is at odds about Bob’s future career choice. Bob just wants to be a hairstylist and make people feel good about themselves; Gramps wants him to cash in on his psychic abilities.

Buy Now »

  “Best LGBTQ+”

Alex Priest #1

In a world where vampires and demon ilk are very, very real, two agencies work to keep the world safe from the forces of darkness. Demon Eradication And Denial (DEAD LLC) is a corporate entity that charges itself with the training and employment of demon slayers – specialists in combating magical beings. Living Corpses that Bite (LC & B) is a tax exempt public entity that relies on time proven traditions to keep humanity safe from vampires. When hunting evil evolved into blue collar work, the evil had to evolve.

Buy Now »


 “Best Story Arc”

Project Shadow Breed #1

In the new millennia, SinTech, a private government contract corporation began developing a serum to turn ordinary soldiers into werewolves. With the backing of the US military, SinTech perfected the serum. In 2014, they created the first “wolf pack” of soldiers. What they didn’t expect to create was Marrok.

Buy Now »

 “Best Series”

WOLF HANDS: Season 1

Vaughn Miller is a mild-mannered cellphone plan salesman who was bitten by a dying werewolf. Now, whenever trouble rears its ugly head, he transforms into a werewolf….IN HIS HANDS! Pursued by the evil Professor Orchid and his army of Frankensteins, Vaughn turns to his far-more-capable girlfriend Jenny Rose to get him out of this increasingly sticky situation. Madcap adventures and cartooney ultra-violence ensue! Written by Justin Heggs with art by Nick Johnson.

Buy Now »

 “Best Overall” 

RAGS: PROLOGUE

Marine Corps Veteran Regina Ragowski is trapped naked and alone in the town of Paso Robles during the Zombie Outbreak. In order to survive she’ll need to avoid the zombies and find food, shelter and weapons…but most importantly….a clean pair of pants.

Buy Now »

Congratulations to all our first annual Comic of the Year Award Winners!

You can check out all the Nominated Comics here:

Get your Comics uploaded and available for sale on ComixCentral.com to enter the 2018 Comic of the Year Awards! 

 





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How to Upload & Sell Your Comics on ComixCentral

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Step 1

Open your ComixShop.



Step 2

Add a new product.


Step 3

Fill in your Comic book details and add the PDF file so customers can purchase your digital Comicbook.


And that’s it! You’re all set.

Your Comic will now be submitted for review and will be added to our Marketplace for sale in the next few days, as long as you’ve followed our Uploading Guidelines. If there is a problem, support will contact you to sort the issue out as quickly as possible. Watch the quick tutorial video below if you’re still a little sketchy on the details;)


Welcome to ComixCentral! If you have any issues or need any assistance, check out our forums or you can contact our support email at any time.

 


 



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Interview with Ryan K. Lindsay

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If Ryan K. Lindsay, of recent, much-lauded BEAUTIFUL CANVAS (Black Mask) fame has learned one thing, it’s that you shouldn’t give up on your dreams.

As cheesy as that sounds, the old adage put Lindsay right where he wants to be: writing comics. But he also learned the that the only way to chase down these dreams and put them in a sleeper hold is with a mighty work ethic. “I started writing comics in the last decade but self-published my first work in 2013 (FATHERHOOD). From there, I’ve written about every damn night,” he tells me. It’s this principled nature that has brought Lindsay to his current platform of success.

Outside of his work on the critically-acclaimed BEAUTIFUL CANVAS he’s also published several other series with various “bigger” indie publishers with other projects forthcoming soon. Lindsay, while steadily pacing his way to wide notoriety, is still young and hungry enough to remember what it’s like trying to turn stories into actual, physical product for all to marvel at on the stands of comic book stores everywhere.

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Beautiful Canvas Cover

1. What is your background and history in comics? What are your main comic project(s) that you are working or have worked on?

Ryan K Lindsay: I’ve put out a few miniseries– BEAUTIFUL CANVAS with Sami Kivela through Black Mask Studios, NEGATIVE SPACE with Owen Gieni through Dark Horse Comics, HEADSPACE with Eric Zawadzki and Sebastian Piriz through IDW, CHUM with Sami Kivela through ComixTribe, and DEER EDITOR with Sami Kivela through my own imprint, Four Colour Ray Gun, that was supported by 3 successful Kickstarter campaigns. I’ve also Kickstarted 3 other one-shots, written for some anthologies, and it’s all lead up to this year where I have ETERNAL with Eric Zawadzki coming out January 31st from Black Mask Studios, and they’ll release the trade paperback collection of BEAUTIFUL CANVAS in February. And beyond that, I’m working on a secret thing or two



2. How long from start to first produced comic? Can you give a rundown on the processes and steps that happened along the way?

RKL: Oh, man, I wrote my first comic script probably around ’05 or ’06. So between that time and 2013 I put together some pitches, but my writing sucked, so nothing ever happened. And then I met my wife, I travelled, I wrote 4 unpublished novels, I became an Assistant Principal at my school for a time, I wrote online reviews, I read a tonne, and then I finally had a good story to tell – and I smartly made it a one-shot, so we could actually make it and put it out into the world in completion. That comic was FATHERHOOD and it was done with Daniel Schneider, Paulina Ganucheau, and Brandon DeStefano.

3. Where did you assemble your team(s)?

RKL: I think I found most of them via Twitter, which was an ace banter/networking site at the turn of the decade, unlike the swamp it is now. As for the specifics of tricking them into working for me, I honestly have no idea.

4. How much or how long did you “shop” around your first publication and/or your subsequent ones? Any insights?

RKL: It was a one-shot, so I always knew it would just be self-published. I did actually put it in with CHALLENGER COMICS, an online hub of people and great stories run by Ryan Ferrier. But I didn’t take the book anywhere else because I knew that’s not what this was for. This wasn’t my foot into publishing, this was my calling card for editors.

5. What did/do you find to be the hardest aspect of getting your book published and into people’s hands?

RKL: All of it, is that an okay answer? Haha! I think getting it published is hard because you’ve got to make your story clear, a sellable commodity, and be tailored for the publisher you are submitting to. It’s like catching lightning in a bottle. You really just never know. But it can help if you are a known entity, hence me making shorter comics I could share in their entirety. Then getting it into people’s hands – the hook of the book has to be strong. Has to fit into a tweet, strong. Then you just have to make people care enough to seek it out. Care about the level of craft in the art, or care about the characters, or care about you. I still have no idea how to do that, especially the last one.

DEER EDITOR
DEER EDITOR

6. Tips/advice on any aspect of comic publishing for those looking to get their indie comics published? Any sure fire tactics? Anything ESPECIALLY to avoid doing?

RKL: Make short comics. One-shots are perfect, you can probably afford to put a team together for 22 pages, or you can Kickstart at a decent fee. An editor can read them in one sitting, and you can still sell them at conventions and to stores. It’s a really good sweet spot, and if you can tell a complete story in 22 pages, you can probably do it for longer, so editors will trust your chops. Don’t make a #1 issue and send that around because building a hint of a world, and a hook, is easier than showing you can stick the landing. Also: really take yourself to task. If the story isn’t good enough, don’t publish it. Rewrite it first, or write something else, something better. You’ll usually know when it’s not good enough.

7. What’s in the works for you now?

RKL: I have two new miniseries I am writing which have homes and should hopefully be blindingly spectacular works of narrative and comics. I also have the books from Black Mask in the next two months, which I hope people have preordered. Beyond that, I have irons in the fire, but you never ever know.

They say comics will break your heart, but they never tell you how long it’ll take.

 


 




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Episode #27 | Ben Miller



Do you know how to handle diversity in your comic? Do you have the courage to get real with the culture clash of your characters? More importantly, do you know how to handle controversial storytelling with grace? If you want to learn, be sure to check out this week’s podcast with culture comic creator Ben Miller.

“Comics belong to everyone!” – Ben Miller

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Hardship makes for great storytelling. Ben Miller’s Judges is a tremendous example in multicultural heroism done just right. In this episode, we learn about character/cultural research and why it’s important in comics. If you take the risk of writing what you don’t fully understand you’d better be meticulous or you run the risk of alienating the very audience you’re trying to reach. Culture goes way beyond the skin we see on the surface and stereotype shortcuts have no place in a well written comic. You don’t have to take my word for it. Read judges, and you’ll see how indie comics is the perfect universe for cultural courage to exist free of red tape and badly filmed afterschool specials. Working in a youth center has obviously had an effect on Ben’s storytelling and it shows in the best way. Having passion is one thing, but contagious passion is something completely different. The best passion and vulnerability give others permission to do the same. It certainly did that for me.

If that’s not enough, we talk some great superhero comics from Dark Horse. We look at the top 3 tips for going to a con as a new creator with your first book. We learn about groups you can join to become a better creator and marketer and even some “how to” books regarding writing and artistry. Above all, we are reminded to temper our expectations, stay humble, and use controversy to our advantage because sometimes causing a stir is the only way to get your message out there.

[podbean resource=”episode=3s93h-83353a” type=”audio-rectangle” height=”100″ skin=”1″ btn-skin=”108″ share=”1″ fonts=”Helvetica” auto=”0″ download=”0″ rtl=”0″]

Connect with Ben

twitter EnjoyComics


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Episode #25 | Stephen McCoy

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Will we ever run out of stories to tell? Blogger and history junky Stephen McCoy doesn’t seem to think so.

On this weeks episode of “Adventures in Interviewing” Chris Hendricks interviews Stephen McCoy. They tackle the use of tropes in storytelling, how comics represent our modern day mythology and the importance of using Indie comics to shine a spotlight on current social issues as seen in Edgardo Miranda-Rodriguez’s “La Borinqueña”; a much-needed highlight on a Puerto Rican superhero giving hope and culture back to the worlds biggest tiny island in their time of need in the wake of hurricane Maria’s devastation.

[podbean resource=”episode=yw9db-811fc3″ type=”audio-rectangle” height=”100″ skin=”1″ btn-skin=”108″ share=”1″ fonts=”Helvetica” auto=”0″ download=”0″ rtl=”0″]

Connect with Stephen:

twitter  |  cxc profile   |   historicalperceptions.com


 

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Episode #22 | Anthony Cleveland

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Comic Creator Anthony Cleveland

On this weeks episode of “Adventures in Interviewing” Chris Hendricks interviews Anthony Cleveland. The incredibly fascinating Comic writer of the comic Chris calls, the #1 Horror Comic with Heart, Silver Skin.

We’re getting personal and awesome up in the Podcast this week with Comic creator Anthony Cleveland. We chat about Anthony’s creation process and you have to tune to hear how he funded his latest comic book project, Silver Skin. It’ll make you lol!
 [podbean resource=”episode=a5cxs-7e9a2f” type=”audio-rectangle” height=”100″ skin=”1″ btn-skin=”108″ share=”1″ fonts=”Helvetica” auto=”0″ download=”0″ rtl=”0″]

Connect with Anthony Cleveland 

Twitter  |   Website





 

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Joe Francis Totti | Creator Spotlight

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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 #19 | Johnny Craft

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On this weeks episode of “Adventures in Interviewing” Chris Hendricks interviews writer of over 100 Comicbook scripts, Johnny Craft!

Wanna’ just bro-down about comics, wrestling, stand up comedy and more? We’ve got your back! Hang out with Chris and Johnny as they discuss navigating the world of working in comics as a professional writer.
 [podbean resource=”episode=7f4cb-7e9a32″ type=”audio-rectangle” height=”100″ skin=”1″ btn-skin=”107″ share=”1″ fonts=”Helvetica” auto=”0″ download=”0″ rtl=”0″]

Connect with Johnny Craft

Twitter  |  CXC Profile





 

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Episode #17 | Sharon Hackney

Sharon Hackney | Indie Game Developer & 3D Environmental Artist.

On this weeks episode of “Adventures in Interviewing” Chris Hendricks chats with Sharon Hackney, Indie Game Developer & 3D environmental artist extraordinaire!

Sharon shares how video games are scripted and developed. Grab some insights into this fascinating indie world!

[podbean resource=”episode=i2q9h-7e9a34″ type=”audio-rectangle” height=”100″ skin=”1″ btn-skin=”108″ share=”1″ fonts=”Helvetica” auto=”0″ download=”0″ rtl=”0″]

Connect with Sharon using the links below:




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The Ultimate Bromance: Craft Beer and Indie Comics

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How’s it hanging, my handheld hero hooligans? Today, I want to shoot the shiz about a secret bromance between locally brewed liquid courage and indie-pendent ink architects.

It’s been a well-hidden rain-bro connection since the days of the great depression, but still, you might be surprised by the twin territory hidden inside the idealism of craft beer and craft comics. Chances are, if you have the passion for one, you’ll find a love for the other. As long as you weren’t hung over during statistics class, you might remember that correlation doesn’t equal causation; try our Comix Central comparison on for size, and see if it fits. Let’s take a swig of appreciation for art and alcohol as we dare to get drunk on the similar ways both these passion projects have dared to be different.

Here are 5 “pairings” of craft beer and indie comic creativity:

1. The Boiling Process

Like any creation, both indie comics and home brew have a basic formula. However, like the code in Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl, the “formulae” that apply to both are “more what you call guidelines than actual rules.”

Each craft begins with certain basics. If you’re going to brew your own beer, you start by heating up water in a pot. You then put your choice of grains in a grain bag, tie it off, and let it steep. The idea behind an indie comic isn’t too far off. The thoughts burning in your head usually stew around a theme or a character. Metaphorically speaking (you know how I love those), you might consider this the basic boiling process of indie comics. The grains in a brew represent the character in a story. As these preconceived conjurings sink deeper and deeper into your mind, it’s natural for the ideas to expand beyond basic tropes and become unique. Ideas are really the catalysts in chemical reactions themselves, so you can’t allow yourself the luxury of genuine creativity unless the expansion happens first.

It’s a step-by-step magic trick, and both passions require patience. Eventually, you’ll get the combustion you need to launch the idea into a full fledged reality all your own.



2. Home Away from Home

This is really the love-meets-marriage moment for our creative couple here. Any master craftsman knows we live in an impersonal, desperate-for-banter-outside-of-“how was work” conversation. Once you get beyond the basic formula of homebrew and indie comics, you wander into the realm of personal taste. The variety of locally brewed brilliance is half the reason it’s become more of “a thing” among millennials in particular.

Indie comics possess the same flavors of what I like to call “odd familiarity.” It’s hint of something different sugared beneath a layer of comfort. Allow me to “Pavlov” the situation a bit further, and you’ll see what I mean.

The best-of-the-best uncommercialized lager whets any well-traveled man’s palate with a sense of home while at the same time taking his taste buds somewhere he’s never been. That’s a much different “feeling” than drinking, say, Milwaukee’s Best, called “The Beast” in my dorm-room days. It was five bucks for a 24-pack of sewer-rain sadness. It was also the first time I learned that just because something makes money, doesn’t mean it’s good.

Similarly, indie comics are basically invitations that allow you to be a stranger in a strange land with ease.

The basic formula is designed to intoxicate you, but the really good ones will make you wonder how you got drunk in the first place. What was it about THIS particular story that did it. Commercial drinks and commercial stories are safety blankets that trick you into talk of things seen and done before. Indie comics and local brews, on the other hand, are interesting enough on their own. You don’t need to con your mind into the conversation when you’ve got something interesting to talk about right off the bat.

3. Quality and Quantity

A lot of commercial businesses are built on quality OR quantity. Think about it for a moment. McDonald’s is a quantity company. They make cheap stuff that’s “good enough” to eventually kill people. Hopdoddy’s Burger Bar, on the other hand, uses a breed of Japanese Wagyu cattle known as Akaushi. They were brought over and bred in Texas while being protected by rangers and watched over meticulously for years. They were fed all-natural, high-quality food and treated without any chemicals or hormones. Now Hopdoddy’s is one of the top burger joints in the country and the world. Clearly, these guys are a Quality company. It’s not about high-volume manufacturing; it’s about the wow factor.

Here’s the thing, independent passions worthy of growth have no choice but to “ferment” over time. In turn, they develop an underground culture of fanatics who pride themselves on individual precision and a language of camaraderie that can get lost in the noise of commercialized endeavors. It’s sort of like smartphone zombies versus people that still have the courage to meet face-to-face. There’s a time and place for either, but independent language is something that existed before technology. A lot of corporate entities struggle with evolution. Marvel and DC are often trapped in superhero land when we now know that comics can thrive in any manner of themes and viewpoints. Budweiser seems stuck in the original idea of “the American Dream.” They exist more as a brand and less of a beer. Wicked Weed Brewing out of Asheville, NC, focuses on pushing boundaries with ingredients and recipes. Evolution is even a part of their website branding. For the record, I wrote the evolving part before I checked the Wicked Weed Brewing Company website. The beers themselves have names as alluring as their spectrum of taste. In comparison, commercialized beer just seems lazy. Craft beer and indie comics both thrive on evolution. The bottom line isn’t really quantity, and quality really depends on the individual. Collectively speaking, the goal for both practices is creativity. As a result, you get the best of both worlds, truly something savory to swallow over and over again.

4. Small Soldier Syndrome

How can you have something that’s both wildly out of control and extraordinarily specific? That’s a good question, but somehow craft beer and indie comics both pull it off. They are small soldiers in a war against the temper tantrums of the typical. Carefully created homebrew and hidden-gem comics hang out on the same dirty front lines taking heat for the same obsession. The minds and the tastebuds of the creators are bored beyond a simple trip to Beers ‘R’ Us or Marvel Unlimited. Honestly, thank goodness for boredom. It’s the light that burns on the end of our match made in heaven, and it’s the only thing that really creates artistic change without the onset of instant inspiration. Good relationships have common gravity, and our two warrior hobbies are drawn to each other because they both have to be interesting in order to survive. Indie comics can’t rely on brand alone because brands take a long time to build. Craft beer began popping up because somebody was like, “This stuff tastes like piss,” and someone else was like, “Yeah, I don’t like the taste either, even if it is sterile.”

Frustration can be tremendously effective gunpowder against the mundane canons of mediocrity.

Plus, both indie comics and indie alcohol are basically awkwardly marching to the same freedom song. Both visionaries are sick of the if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it mentality. I’m all for positivity, but it turns out that when the struggle is real, people are much more likely to come together. That’s why all good stories have problems. Drink up, friends; we’re closer than you think.

5. An Audience on the Edge

Indie comics and local brew attract the same kinds of people. Commercial audiences expect safety; our audience expects the unexpected. Commercial audiences trust a brand; our audience trusts the moment. Allow me to elaborate.

If you order a Corona with lime, there’s an expectation that you will be transported (however briefly) away from your problems and thrust onto a beach either alone or with someone who’s not your other half in real life. It’s comfortable, but also depressing. It’s also an expectation that your brain creates before you’ve even had your first sip. Therefore, when the reality doesn’t come true, you wind up disappointed.

Local brew doesn’t have the same side effect. Your mind has to create a reality around the flavor after the first cool sip hits your lips. You have to search for the various delicacies within the drink in order to discover “where you are.” That’s something that takes time. It forces you to be present and actually enjoy every drop.

In the same way, indie-comic enjoyment comes from the turn of the page. You can’t rely on heroes you’re too familiar with, so you have to lean on something you don’t see coming. It’s a little scary, but always worth the thrill. Even if you weren’t wowed, at least your eyes had to linger on the page before you made the decision. Today’s common heroes don’t require an in-depth look, so it’s easier to miss the beautiful devil in the details. For example, if you pick up a Batman comic, you expect the arc to be dark. If you pick up a Deadpool comic, you expect sarcasm. Pick up an indie comic like Errants and you expect… uh…. Post….apocalyptic….. Steampunk…. Wrench…fighting…with ghost-like stuff??? You don’t have to like what I just described, but you should at least have the guts to admit it’s interesting. All of that was strictly based on the cover. Imagine what will happen when you look inside!

Good or bad– interesting always wins.

All things said and done, we’ve really just seen the tip of the iceberg. There’s a need for familiarity that will sustain commercial art and creativity, but these familiar things will only make us ask questions to which we already know the answers. If you already know where you’re going, then are you really taking a trip worth your time? Possibly, but it’s your call. I don’t always like knowing how things are going to end, right-side-up or upside-down. I’m not sure I always like knowing where I’m headed, even if the end result is so foreign it forces me to change. Sometimes it’s good to trust that a certain feeling is going to come up and visit like an old friend, and other times it’s good to see what feelings rise up from an unknown experience. You don’t have to be a thrill-seeker to appreciate new things. You just have to be willing to exist beyond where you are. That’s really what it means to live in the first place. Whether indie comics or indie brew is anyone’s cup of firewater tea, everyone should have the backbone to admit that they are both aliens brave enough to come to earth for the sake of elevating our species beyond what is known and understood.

Cheers to you, indie-pendent pourers of passion. We salute you. Buy indie comics. Buy indie brew. Read like the wind, and please drink responsibly.





 

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Podcast Episode #10 – Be Pure! Be Vigilant! Behave! Let’s Talk to the Godfather of British Comics, Pat Mills.

Episode #10 – Interview with 2000 Ad Creator, Pat Mills

On this episode, CXC’s Jamie Norman sits down with the Godfather of British Comics himself, Pat Mills!
British comics writer and editor who, along with John Wagner, revitalised British boys comics in the 1970s, and has remained a leading light in British comics ever since. His comics are notable for their violence and anti-authoritarianism and he is best known for creating 2000 AD and playing a major part in the development of Judge Dredd.

 

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Connect with Pat and purchase a copy of Be Pure! Be Vigilant! Behave! with the links below:

twitter  |  millsverse.com


Our sweet intro/outro music is brought to you by Pleasure Pool! Thank you so much guys for letting us use your awesome tracks!



 

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Episode #9 – Comicbook Creator Jeff Haas

Episode #9 – Let’s Meet Comicbook Creator Jeff Haas

On this episode, Chris Hendricks interviews Jeff Haas, one-half of the super Father/Son Comic creating duo behind Nighmare Patrol. Listeners might also know Jeff from his writing on Sanctus!

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Making Comics; An Interview with Spencer & Locke Creator, David Pepose

making comics blog david pepose

Many of us who read comics would love to write them.

We’ve studied the art of them for years, perhaps decades, and often assure ourselves, if, given the chance, we could create something kickass. Still, there are some things you need to know before embarking upon this path of comic greatness. Having a story is definitely part of it but there’s much more involved than that. In fact, having a manuscript of a finished comic, completed even, won’t be enough to even get your submission looked at by most publishers, if not all. So, to help navigate these troublesome waters I contacted David Pepose, writer, and creator of the new critically acclaimed Spencer & Locke series published by Action Lab comics. Pepose spent several years writing and immersed in the culture of comics, working both at DC Comics and Newsarama before landing his gig as an official, badge-toting member of the highly selective Comic Book Writers Club. (Which isn’t really a thing but sounds pretty cool so maybe it should be.) And while Pepose had plenty of sage tips and advice to offer, there’s one he proposes as the most important. “At the end of the day it doesn’t matter how well you write, although that’s important, it’s all about relationships. It’s about reaching out to people and making that human connection.” ‘Nuff said, right?

1. Study the structure.

Comic books are infamous for having insane plots but unlike other mediums they generally all have the same basic structure to them; 20-22 pages of words and pictures, text boxes, dialogue balloons, etc. Pepose spent a lot of time with the format writing reviews for comic sites like Newsarama, where he spent the better part of eight years before embarking on Spencer & Locke “writing reviews and breaking down the stories every single day.” Even a long-time comic fan can have trouble navigating the confinement of a comic book; having exactly the same amount of room to tell a particular slice of a larger story, being able to choose only the material that is relevant and moves the story. You don’t have to write reviews for eight years but you do need a solid grasp on the basic mechanics of comic book style story-telling. Publishers and the titles they publish follow, essentially, the same format. Of course, that shouldn’t discourage creativity within the form but this is one instance where you really do have to know the rules before you can break them.

2. Have your entire story completed before reaching out to artists.

At some point, you’re going to have to start lining up an art team. And when you do, you need to have your act together, Bub. Whether they’re working pro bono or you’re paying them a rate, illustrators (and inkers and colorists and letterers) probably have better things to do than waiting for the possibility of work from someone who hasn’t gotten past the initial concept of their comic book idea. With his own series, Pepose waited until he knew exactly where he was taking Spencer & Locke. “I didn’t approach an artist until I had a script and a treatment for all the issues already done,” Pepose recounts, then adds, “I can’t just expect somebody to take a leap of faith on my story.” As the writer and the creative force behind the comic, you’re the leader. And no one wants to follow the lead of someone who doesn’t know where they’re going.


3. Don’t worry about writing in order.

Pepose always keeps Joss Whedon’s sage advice in mind when writing: “Nobody said you can’t have dessert first.” In the course of plotting out your comic’s story, there will certainly be moments and scenes that stand out more than others, ones you’re dying to get out. So, if you’ve hit a wall in your writing, skip ahead to those scenes and write those. That’s exactly what Pepose did. He knew from the very beginning that he wanted a car chase in Spencer & Locke which was one the very first things he wrote. And while writing out of order isn’t for everyone it can definitely help to spur creative momentum if you feel yourself floundering.

4. Finding an artist/art team is the hardest and most crucial part.

Comic books without art would just be short plays so it should go without saying that you can’t get a comic book published without it. Unlike most other writing outlets publishers, from behemoths Marvel and DC to indies such as Spencer & Locke’s Action Labs will accept submissions only as a finished/semi-finished product. “All you need is six pages and a cover,” according to Pepose, but that finished six pages and a cover is harder work than you might imagine. You’re going to need someone for the pencils. An inker. (Pepose suggestion, as difficult as it may be: to find a penciller that can ink.) You’re going to need a colorist, unless you’re going for a black and white aesthetic, although there’s a reason the overwhelming majority of comic books are in color. Oh, yeah, you’re going to need someone to do the lettering. To cut some expenses and time looking for your perfect band of merry comic creators, Pepose advocates learning some things yourself. Online classes, YouTube videos, etc. If nothing else, Pepose says, it will help you better communicate with your art team if you understand some basics behind the elements of creating the finished comic.

5. Be prepared to spend some money.

It’s very possible to assemble an art team that will work for future fortune and glory, or at least a penciller, but it’s more common to pay upfront costs to illustrators, inkers and letterers. Which is fair. It’s work being done with no concrete promise of that future fortune and glory. But even if you do somehow manage to enlist a dedicated, completely pro bono art team, you’re still going to have to spring for submission copies. And while there are publishers who accept online submissions, we still live in a comic book world where paper is still king. It’s something very unique to comics; that relationship the reader has with the physical book, and prospective publishers are no different.

6. Comics are best when stories and characters are relatable.

Marvel comics took off in a big way when Stan “The Man” Lee and Jack “The King” Kirby began introducing characters much more akin to the true nature of our human psyche. The Fantastic Four was a family who bickered but still loved each other; Spider-Man was a shy, bullied high schooler who had failed to use his great powers responsibly and inadvertently got his uncle killed; the X-Men were mutant freaks shunned by the rest of the world. Take away the optic eye blasts, telekinesis, and web-shooters and you’ve got a mess of humanity that anyone can relate to at some point in their lives, and that holds as true today as ever.

7. Keep your stories small.

In a world of cosmic distances spanning unfathomable light-years and men and women who can fly around the world in minutes, this rule seems counterintuitive. Why not go all out? Pepose advises against this, at least for newcomers. “Don’t try and convince people you can run a marathon when no one’s even seen you walk,” warns Pepose. Spencer & Locke revolves around a detective and his partner, a stuffed, one eyed panther and is proof you don’t have to confine yourself to average every day subjects for a powerful, focused story. But he keeps the cast small, the story streamlined. That’s the walk before the run. A sprawling space opera featuring dozens of characters and locations are the bread and butter of many publishers, but when you’re trying to break in you should be able to elevator pitch the summation of your story, Pepose says. Publishers want to see how well you can handle something small before giving you a 24 issue deal.”

8. Finish It!

Repeat after Pepose: “Finish it!” No, really. Finish it. It’s the only way you’re going to see your name in the funny pages.

Connect with David and Buy Spencer & Locke at the links below:

Twitter   |  actionlabcomics.com





 

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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 [email protected] FOR A FREE CONSULTATION.

Judge Dredd Image Credit Magnetic 007 At Deviant Art





 

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CXC PodCast Episode #7- Expositional Dialogue Make Chris a Dull Boy!

Expositional dialogue makes Chris a dull boy!

Originally intended to be a mini-sode, this week Chris Hendricks and Leigh Jeffery have a little chat about making comics, how much Chris hates expositional dialogue, what expositional dialogue is, taste in comic art and we even venture into the digital vs traditional art argument.

Also, just a little apology. Leigh has terrible allergies and she coughs a lot through this. Geeesh.. Leigh! She does however insist she was muting herself before she coughs, but it didn’t work;P

[podbean resource=”episode=c9ut3-7e9a3f” type=”audio-rectangle” height=”100″ skin=”1″ btn-skin=”108″ share=”1″ fonts=”Helvetica” auto=”0″ download=”0″ rtl=”0″]


Our sweet intro music is brought to you by Pleasure Pool! Thank you so much guys for letting us use your awesome tracks!



 

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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 #5 – Creating a Comic Universe and ROAD HOUSE. Let’s Talk to Justin Bartz!

 INTERVIEW WITH JUSTIN BARTZ

Today Leigh Jeffery interviews lead writer and creator of the Project Shadow Breed universe Justin Bartz! Find out how Justin got into creating comics, how he and the Project Shadow Breed team are creating their own Comic universe, and also a little bit about his extra curricular activities… cough cough.. he’s a pretty tough dude:D

[podbean resource=”episode=it5zx-7e9a41″ type=”audio-rectangle” height=”100″ skin=”1″ btn-skin=”108″ share=”1″ fonts=”Helvetica” auto=”0″ download=”0″ rtl=”0″]

To find our more and connect with Justin:

Twitter    |   Project Shadow Breed ComixShop  |    DimThroat Comics


Our sweet intro music is brought to you by Pleasure Pool! Thank you so much guys for letting us use your awesome tracks!

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The Eyrie: Midnight Walk on the Beach  

the eyrie comic book review

Trick or treat, indie idolaters. No, it isn’t Halloween, but it might as well be. You know how I get truly, madly, deeply giddy over spooky, ghastly, creepy storytelling. Now that I’ve reminded you of my bias, we can begin.

I don’t know if I would really call my loveable lament a review as much as the electronically written equivalent of my joygasm. That last word is in the urban dictionary, by the way. Don’t like it? Don’t read my stuff. No one loves the angry nun living inside of you who constantly regrets her vow of celibacy. If you care about that word, then your definition of terror lies in a classroom on the end of a ruler. It’s archaic, and that nun is most likely dead. The Eyrie by Mr. Thom Burgess, on the other hand, is much more frightening and very much alive. Mostly alive. Maybe just sort of alive. It depends on your medical opinion of certain longfellows.  



First of all, Illustrator Barney Bodoano’s style is the PERFECT dark cloak to cast over Thom’s tightly knit words. Notice I said cloak here, not cloud. That’s because the art of The Eyrie feels more like a fabric than a storm.

It’s the kind of creepshow you feel just attop your skin with plenty of room for goosebumps.

His work reminds me of my first favorite illustrator Stephen Gammell, who brought horror to life in the “Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark” series of Alvin Schwartz fame. I’ve always enjoyed the challenging maze of haunting illustrations because the creator has to draw a fine line between frightening and fascinating. In my view, the art is a slightly matured shade of Gammells mastery. Nothing can replace my first childhood horror gem, but as far as one-shots go, I’m made both small and fragile by Bodoano’s vision. The world is unfamiliar, unsettling, and still somehow nostalgic. I couldn’t have drawn a better picture myself. Well done.

If any of you readers out there are actually writing out your own panic-filled panels, I strongly recommend you take note of how Thom Burgess handles exposition and tension. Our protagonist Rebecca is introduced in the midst of a tense moment right off the bat. The basic details of our story are sprinkled on an icing of frustration and sarcasm that allows for both familiarity and sympathy. You feel connected to the character, and despite her clearly eerie road trip, we’re all ready for a ride along.   

I found the whole read to be a wonderful descent. We begin by slipping into something mildly uncomfortable. The greasy history of our English backdrop adds a barbarous fog to the mix. In the case of Rebecca, I suppose it’s really a “be careful what you didn’t wish for” situation. Disconnection, isolation, and “generally pissed off” are all wonderful ingredients for madness. Still, our girl seems to keep it together for the most part, considering the noises in the shadows.

This story has plenty of the classic tropes we’ve all come to expect. Still it’s clear that Thom has cut his teeth on fright-night noir and the criminal creep themes in order to find his own voice of darkness. Most importantly, he understands what it takes to craft a scare. That is to say, the build up is everything. It’s not about the moment itself, but the vision you paint around it. While torture and sacrifice are a must in Sussex, happily, no one falls victim to your typical jump scare. I’m afraid that’s just too Hollywood, and every flesh food fan I know is over it. I think I speak for most monster maniacs when I say thanks for racking your brain for the sake of our genre.

I do not wish to take you round the final turn or through the last dark tunnel. It would be cruel of me to do so. However, Thom has earned his dance among the ghosts. He stepped onto the floor with Malevolents, and the creative choreography within The Eyrie’s pages will pull you in just long enough to stop your heart. With a well-deserved introduction from Reece Shearsmith (The League of Gentlemen, Shaun of the Dead) to get you started, you know you’re in for an interesting nightmare. Lastly, never mind a knock or two on the cottage door, but do be mindful of Mr. Owl wearing a hat. He may not be as welcoming as your childhood tootsie-pop dreams made him out to be.

You can learn more about The Eyrie here. And buy it too!





 

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CXC Podcast Episode #1 – Finding our Groove

Welcome to our very first ComixCentral podcast!

Now, a short disclaimer. We have no idea what we’re doing. Three members of our team found themselves early yesterday morning deciding to make a podcast, and they pulled the trigger. We’re all about just getting things done around here, even if you’re flying by the seat of your pants!! 


There are lots of shows dedicated to indie comics. There are review shows, shows that discuss art and the creators, and lots of shows that just geek out in wonderful ways! We didn’t want to step on their toes and so we decided to put together something a little different. As we move forward with our show, we hope to bring you more of our team members, lots of information on marketing, creating, collaborating, attending cons, getting published, covering your ass legally and so much more!

So please join Kirsten Nelson, Chris Hendricks and Leigh Jeffery as they discuss how Pulp Fiction traumatised Chris (not really though), Kirsten nerds out over how the brain interprets good and bad stories and we even get into what are some essential steps that every indie comic creator should take to market their comics as effectively as possible.

We hope you bear with us as we figure this whole thing out. I’m sure the journey will be entertaining! And hey, you might even get some tips on how to start your own podcast!

[podbean resource=”episode=d9z73-7e9a45″ type=”audio-rectangle” height=”100″ skin=”1″ btn-skin=”108″ share=”1″ fonts=”Helvetica” auto=”0″ download=”0″ rtl=”0″]




 

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The Red Hyena Dragged Me Into The 21st Century!

red hyena doktor geraldo

Digital art fascinates me.

I usually work in traditional media, such as pencils, multiliners, copic markers, coloured pencils, watercolour, and gouache. I use apps on my phone to manipulate my drawings, making alpha layers and background layers, and scaling and making panels. Then I transfer to my laptop and use Photoshop to build pages and arrange the lettering. That’s as far as I venture into the digital realm.

I decided to draw a pinup of The Red Hyena, a great character from Project Shadow Breed. I started with a pencil drawing, outlined it, then blocked in the areas with flat layers using copic markers. I would normally render with markers, adding shadows and depth, then highlight areas with coloured pencil or gouache. Instead, I uploaded the drawing to Photoshop and decided to finish it digitally.

I was so absorbed in the process that I forgot to save the separate stages, but the last image in the strip was the final result!

Issues 1-4 of Project Shadow Breed are available at ComixCentral.


 


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CXC Conversations with Creators: Featuring Michael Lent

michael lent

We are over the moon today, having scored an interview with professional Comicbook creator Michael Lent.

Most of you will know him as the writer behind the Marvel series “Prey”, and more recently, “i, HOLMES”, but his experience stretches across many entertainment genres from non-fiction literature to film and TV.

Michael shares with us a wellspring of information, advice and even imparts a few star studded stories to brighten your day. Whether you’re a Comicbook creator looking for insight or a big ol’ Lent fan, curious about this hugely talented guy, we’ve got the goods – so get comfy.



And with that, ComixCentral proudly presents… “An Evening with Michael Lent!” (Well, an interview. You’ll need to supply your own wine and easy listening tunes).


Hi Michael! Thank you so much for taking the time to share some of your amazing experiences in making Comics and other media with us! Could you tell our readers a little about your comics.

ML: Anyone who admits to knowing me might refer to me as that @!*% writer of the Prey series (Marvel), co-writer of Brimstone (Zenescope), writer of The Machine Stops (Alterna) and most recently the i, HOLMES, also for Alterna. I co-wrote four graphic bios of Keith Richards, JRR Tolkien, Stephen King, Stephen Hawking (this was during my “bios of guys named Stephen who don’t like to be called ‘Steve’” period). Incidentally, the Stephen King bio was cool because I actually got to interview him and was able to confirm some things that had only been rumors before then. The project also led to me adapting one of King’s short stories, The Reaper’s Image.

Presently, we’re wrapping i, HOLMES a gritty urban detective drama set in 2009. The story is about a brilliant loner, a streetwise 17-year old girl fresh out of juvie who knows very little about her past except that someone wants to kill her and is willing to take out most of New York. Who she is, in fact, is pretty special, as is the identity of her would-be killer. Art is by Marc Rene, who I most recently worked with on The Machine Stops series. Publisher is Peter Simeti at Alterna, which also published The Machine Stops.

Recently, television producer David Rambo picked up i, HOLMES to develop as a television series and has been instrumental in helping to shape the story. David has worked on EMPIRE, REVOLUTION and CSI, as well as the upcoming series on TNT, WILL. He’s one of the most creative people I know, so we are pretty excited and hopeful.

Outside of comics, I write and produce independent movies in Los Angeles. I was executive producer on IF YOU’RE SERIOUS, shot in China in 2012. The film won several awards and was nominated for a sound design award by the National Academy of Sound Editors in 2014 and I was able to meet presenter George Lucas.

In 2009/2010, I followed the Arctic ice road truckers made famous on the History Channel in order to write the non-fiction book On Thin Ice for Disney Hyperion. The main staging area was out of Yellowknife, Canada and I experienced temperatures as cold as 45 below zero (F). It was awesome.

Wow. Just wow! So what kind of comics would you say you like to create?

ML: Well, first and foremost, what I do is write sort of architectural blueprints, and any ”creating” doesn’t happen until I team up with an artist who knows how to turn my brain scribble blueprints into a house. Without an artist like Marc Rene who I’ve worked with on three, soon to be four series, I would be reduced to stick figures.

As far as subjects, I’ve only done one super-hero book on assignment that has yet to be released. Mainly, I do sci-fi, horror, action-suspense crime dramas, and non-fiction bios. I can do comedy, too.

When did you get your start?

ML: I’m a trained screenwriter and had come to Hollywood to work on the Hellraiser series for Dimension, the film production company that made Scream, the Halloween movies, From Dusk ‘til Dawn and many more, including The Road, which is one of my favorite books and films.

Coming from the world of movies gives me a certain recognizable style and pacing. I’d like to think that my stories are well-structured. These days, I create some stories that are best served as comics or vice versa.

What made you decide to start making comics and get into that side of the entertainment industry?

ML: In 2006, I wrote a screenplay called Prey, a sort of Jaws/Aliens story that was set off the coast of Southern California. My agent at the time thought it was some of my best writing to-date but as a live-action film, the budget was something like $120 million and there are a finite number of companies able to make a film of that scale. However, films that come from comics can have a stylized look that’s a lot cheaper to shoot. Films like Sin City and 300 had come out and my agent encouraged me to think about my story in that context. As a kid, I had been into the X-Men and Marvel universe so I went back to those roots.

The result attracted interest from Dabel Brothers Publishing in Atlanta. They wanted to publish Prey as a six or seven book arc. At the time, the Dabels were working with George R.R. Martin, Orson Scott Card and Laurel K. Hamilton among many others, so it was a pretty exciting time to be there. My first signing at Comic-Con San Diego was with George R.R. Martin just as Game of Thrones was about to happen. We actually had downtime between signings and chance to talk about craft and business. It’s nice to meet some like Mr. Martin as a fan, but even better as a fellow creator.

By the time we finished creating Prey, Dabel Brothers had become a [short-lived] imprint of the Marvel Universe. My mentor in comic script writing was Mike Raicht who was an editor at Marvel, and is a very good writer in his own right. Mike worked on a lot of series including X-Men, Spider-man and the Hulk, and he taught me a variation of the full script method. Lance Laspina was my first art director. Through him, I came to understand how an artist sees a project, as well as how writers and artists should communicate.

Everyone has moments that they’d like to throw in the towel, how do you get and then keep momentum on your projects during those times?

ML: I know, it’s tough. The whole time we have been making i, HOLMES, artist Marc Rene and I have lived this question in the most gut-personal way possible. Just as I started to write out the initial story, my sister Shelly passed away unexpectedly. It was a difficult period. I thought I was handling it okay but the morning of the funeral my hair was coming out in my hands from all the stress. Luckily, I had my family and friends who supported me.

I soon realized that the only thing I could do to honor my sister’s memory was to finish what I’d started.

Then, early on in production, artist Marc Rene’s father was hospitalized with an invasive cancer. Every other week since August, 2016, he made a 450-mile drive each way from San Jose to Burbank to see his father. In early December, he lost his battle for life. In the aftermath, we continued to lay everything on the line to create this book and keep our dream alive.

In a more general sense, self-doubt is the biggest dragon we have to slay. It helps to realize, that the self-doubt goes hand-in-hand with creative expression. I’ve been on projects that appeared on the cusp of changing my stars but then they didn’t happen for some reason usually beyond my control. It can fill you with doubt and anger. To counter this, I focus on how much I enjoy creating and the community I’ve built. Usually, that causes me to reach out to friends, again for support, and then get back to work writing. Those are things that I enjoy and have some control over.

Also, I try to look at bad news dispassionately. Often, that leads me to ask “Why?” I’ll reach out to, say, a publisher and ask, “Can you tell me a little more about why you passed on the project?” Sometimes they tell you things that you can do something about. In one case, a publisher didn’t like the lettering style, which is an easy fix. I wouldn’t have found out if I didn’t probe for info. But lots of times you’ll find out it had something to do with elements outside of your control. You can’t beat yourself up about those kinds of things.

It helps a lot to have more than one project going at once.

When I’m stumped on one, I just roll over to the next. I also don’t pressure on any single project to be the ONE.

You’ve given some incredible advice here, is there any advice you wish someone had given you when you were first starting out?

ML: If you write, it has to be every day and not when the mood or lightning bolt of inspiration strikes. Same applies if you’re an artist. In school, my writing teacher used to say,

“Good days can come after good OR bad days but they can’t follow no days [days when you don’t write].”

One of the most important lessons Mike Raicht from Marvel imparted was a deferential respect for the medium and the stories. The business side of comics can be and often is brutal but Mike never, ever allowed these challenges to bleed into the creative side. He always made schedules and stuck to deadlines even when it was something just for himself. Especially in the case when you’re making something that doesn’t have a publisher waiting for it or a ready audience. If you don’t start with respect for the process when it’s just you by yourself, no one else will later on. I see creative types who are always chasing the next project as the be-all, end-all. When you do that, you’re less willing to make a project that’s right in front of you all that it can be.

A dozen years later, I still believe cynicism is a currency of dubious worth. I just don’t see much value in thinking success is all about “validation from strangers” or “who you know” and that kind of stuff.

If you’re meant to create, then that’s what you’re going to do.

I’d rather just get to it.

As someone who has worked with big publishers, studios and independently, I believe in DIY because I’ve learned the hard way that if you wait for someone else to pick up your project, you may be sitting around for a long time. Sometimes I’ll run into would-be creators at a con and they show me some great concept work or an ashcan, then a year later, I run into them again and see the same samples. That inertia comes from a lack confidence in either themselves, or the overall concept. You have to believe that what you’re doing matters.

Don’t let your story only exist inside your head.

Really crucial to partner with people with a strong work ethic who you respect and vice versa, too.

Again, what incredible advice! What would you say is one thing that you absolutely could not live without during the creative process?

ML: It would be hard for me to exist as a writer without my MacBook Pro and access to Google. I like to research and photo-reference things as I go so it would be tough to work off of a cave wall.

Here’s a weird question. If you could body snatch someone and take over their life for one day, who would that person be? And why?

ML: Real life person Barack Obama, especially if it was circa 2016.

Fictional person? Hmm. Gandalf… Harry Potter… Sherlock Holmes. Any of these people would be COOL and the bonus would be that I would get some residual value when I returned to my own form. I think it would be depressing to be Superman for one day, see through walls and fly around, etc. and then go back to being a mere mortal who rides the bus and looks bad in tights.

Your writing is so creative. Where do you get your inspiration and ideas from?

ML: I read a lot. 30-40 books/year. Comics, too. A lot of my ideas come from asking “What if…?” Also, I try to live with my writing so that when I’m walking around, everything I see, hear or do seems to pertain to the story I’m writing. Like I’ll see a billboard or my wife or kids will say something and I’ll think, “Wow! That’s exactly what I was trying to figure out!”

For the noisier fans out there, (uh-hum… you know who you are;) What does your workspace look like?

ML: I used to have a great office in our house with a couch and everything, but then our first child, my son was born, and I moved everything into a little bedroom that was barely big enough for my desk and an extra folding chair. The couch, the collectables and all the memorabilia went into the garage. Then our daughter came along and that little room went back to being a bedroom. I started working out of coffee houses around the Valley in Los Angeles. But then our second son arrived and there went the budget for bagels and Sumatra roast. So now most days I’m in a cubicle at one of two public libraries in Burbank, wondering what the hell happened. Seriously, it’s a great resource where I can go Old School and grab real books for reference. And the librarians are nice.

The breadth of your experience is so inspiring. Are there any funny or interesting stories you wouldn’t mind sharing with our readers might enjoy and maybe even learn a little from?

ML:  I don’t know if it’s funny or interesting but one story that jumps out is the time I was asked to be on a panel about writing in Hollywood. I arrived about 10 minutes early and the organizer took me aside and said, “Good, good, good, you made it. So, here’s the thing: we had a change of plans.” “Oh?” says me. “Yes, instead of a panel it’s going to be you and a surprise guest, so just go with it. It’ll be fun!” I immediately felt a tiny, tiny bit of sweat beading up on the back of my neck as I looked over at the stage that was empty except for a mic and two chairs. About thirty seconds later, the door opened and in walks the special guest, actor Michael Madsen, star of The Hateful Eight, Kill Bill, Reservoir Dogs and dozens of other movies. Now, normally, this would be real cool and a thrill but all I can do is look over at the two chairs, then over to Michael Madsen, then at the sweat pooling in my palms, as I realize that I am supposed to conduct a sit-down discussion with Mr. Madsen for which I had done ZERO prep.

Actually, Michael Madsen is a pretty cool guy and he usually pauses to size up and search for just the right words before he answers a question, which kind of gave me time to think of what to talk about next.

Truthfully, he didn’t really need my help, so it all worked out fine. Some audience members even thought me and “Mike” were friends who went way back. Might have worked out better that I didn’t know anything beforehand because I could have over-prepared and would have been more nervous. Afterwards, Michael Madsen and I bro-hugged like we had survived a plane crash.

You’ve already accomplished so much, but as a creator we know you can’t stop now! What would you say is your ultimate goal in making comics?

ML: I’d like to create and work on as many stories as possible. Right now, I have a number of projects stacked up waiting for artists. I’d like to get them moving forward.

It would be nice if some of those projects could stand the test of time, but at the end of the day, it’s a privilege to write anything that finds an audience. A few years ago, I had a signing in Santa Monica late one Saturday morning. It was raining which is a little rare for Los Angeles, so I wasn’t expecting much of a turnout. Still, I brought enough bottled water and candy for a few dozen people just in case. As soon as I set up the little table they gave me, crickets ensued. Some people actually avoided the area so that they wouldn’t have to say “hi.” Then, all of the sudden, this tour van pulled up and all these college-age Japanese cosplay girls got out. Most didn’t speak English, but they had flyers written in Kanji advertising my signing. Turns out I was part of their tour and someone was recording everything for a local broadcast. We took lots of pictures, I signed a couple dozen books and gave away the water and candy. It was surreal and wonderful.

Having had experience in the professional comics industry, do you think there is anything the big publishers can learn from the Indie scene or vise versa?

ML: Big publishers can become risk-adverse. You see the same story arcs over and over barely dressed up. Some of the freshest stories come from the edges and take the biggest chances. Indie books should take chances. Otherwise, they will never stand out from all the white noise. Not long ago, I was searching ComixCentral for something different and discovered the Lance Lucero series Bob: Non-Union Psychic. Such a fun story! Meanwhile, indies can emulate the fit & polish of mainstream pubs.

Editing and logic matters, as does making deadlines. A book riddled with typos undercuts the storytelling. One time I was reading a cool indie book where, on the climactic page, the main character takes a big wind-up swing with a sword but in the next panel, the follow-through was with an ax. I stopped reading and went back through the book looking for clues as to whether there was some sort of sorcery present and if so, to what end. I emailed the creator who responded with an “Argh.” There had been production issues and no one noticed the gaff that couldn’t be corrected now that book was in print.

Super important to fully vet your project before it goes out into the market.

Are you currently involved in any projects our readers might be interested in hearing about? Anything your fans can get excited about?

ML: People might be interested in Malevolent (https://malevolentmovie.com/), an animated horror film currently in post-production slated for completion by the end of this year. Basically, the story is Saw meets Groundhog Day. Cast includes Morena Baccarin, William Shatner, Ray Wise, Bill Moseley. Producers Jim Cirile and Tanya Klein who both love comics asked me to join their team about a year and a half ago. So many talented people are working on the project, I’m excited for the result.

This has been just amazing Michael, we at ComixCentral are so honored and thrilled you’ve taken an interest in what we’re doing here and can’t thank you enough for taking the time to answer our questions. You’ve been so candid with us and given indie creators a peek into your world and an enlightening taste for “how this is done!”.

Before we go, how can people find you and what you’re up to?

ML: Besides Facebook and Twitter, I’m on Quora.com (https://www.quora.com/profile/Michael-Lent), a global community of over 100 million people and a great place to share stories and ideas.

I hope people will check out i, HOLMES, as well as our previous series The Machine Stops, also from Alterna and in collaboration with artist Marc Rene. This series is adapted from early-20th century British novelist E.M. Forster who wrote only one sci-fi story in his entire career. Forster wrote The Machine Stops in 1909 but he was something of a Nostradamus. His 12,000-word story foretells our modern way of information gathering and social interaction through cyberspace, while expressing concern for our dependence on technology at the expense of personal experience and all that makes us human. Instantly, many of the best predictions about the future rely not on an understanding of technology and future industrial trends so much as an understanding of human nature, language and culture. That was Forster. It was a great journey for Marc Rene and the rest of our team to bring this amazing story to a whole new generation of readers.

Thanks, Leigh and everyone at ComixCentral for this wonderful chance to chat. It was big fun.

No thank you Michael! This has been such a pleasure! We look forward to all your future endeavours and can’t wait to see what you create next!

If you’d like to connect with Michael, buy some of his work or even just friend him, you can find those links below.

Now go make some Comics!


Twitter:  @michaellent2

Facebook:  MichaelLent

Quora.com (https://www.quora.com/profile/Michael-Lent)

ComixCentral: @michael_lent





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Motivation

comic book motivation

My mother was born in a small village in Guanajuato Mexico.

Her mother was dirt poor even by 1930’s Mexico standards, which is really saying something. Her father had died before she was born. He was trying to catch a ride on a bus. It was one of those old-fashioned buses with the standing platforms on the corners and handlebars to pull yourself up in case you were running to catch the bus before it drove away. At least that’s the vision of it in my mind. The good news was he caught the bus. The bad news was he couldn’t hold on to his grip on the handlebar. So he was buried a couple of months before he got to meet my mother.

My grandmother already had an older daughter and had no way to support them both. So she immigrated to the United States. But she couldn’t take the girls with her. It was going to be all she could do just to keep herself alive. So my mom and aunt went to live in an orphanage. Grandmother told them she’d be back to get them when she could afford to provide for them. And then she left.

I’ve heard a lot of stories about that orphanage over the years.

About how mean the nuns were. How’d they dispense beatings for trivial slights. About how hard the children had to work every day. About how they barely had anything to eat.  About how my mom had to sneak into the pantry in the middle of the night and eat raw oats because she was so hungry she couldn’t even sleep. It was many, many, many years after she left the orphanage before she could bring herself to eat a bowl of oatmeal again.

But leave she did, along with her sister. Grandmother came back. She had found a job and a home. She could provide for them again, but only in Texas. The problem was getting them across the border. So late one night she took the girls for a ride on a small handmade raft across the Rio Grande. And before she knew it, my mom was in McAllen Texas, living in the first real home she had ever had.

Over the years she watched her sister have two girls of her own and then waste away due to unchecked cancer. My aunt died a couple of years after I was born. My mother managed to have a lot more kids, though. 8 in all (I’m the youngest). She met my father in McAllen. He was a native of Illinois, having come down to Texas to start his career as a journalist. He was working at the McAllen Monitor as a cub reporter. Mom says she knew immediately that he was the one. He took a couple more jobs over the years before settling us all down in Houston, where he got a position as a reporter for the Houston Post, since closed.

We visited grandmother several times over the years in her little house in far south Texas.

She never did learn to speak  English. But she had worked her ass off for decades and paid off that house. She had her daughter, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. She always seemed happy to me, even though I couldn’t communicate with her. She passed away while I was serving in the Army in  Germany. I think if I could have asked her, she would have told me she had a good life.

It’s probable that all my memories from those years played a role in my dreams one night. I woke that night to a vision of a young Hispanic woman beating the ever loving hell out of another woman. Why, I thought, am I having THIS dream? The setting of the dream looked exactly like the small towns of south Texas near the Mexico border that I had visited as a youth back in the 70’s and 80’s. But I couldn’t shake the dream. It returned several times over the years. With more characters and developing storylines. I’d be at work, completely unable to focus because I had suddenly thought of a new plot twist to the story. I’d spend all of my time on the treadmill at the gym thinking about ways to advance the story to its next logical step.

So I finally decided I had to write this book.

I thought I could be like my dad and brother. They’re natural born writers. Stories flow from their fingertips. Meanwhile, I stared blankly at the computer screen. Unable to fill a single page much less an entire chapter. The characters didn’t seem real to me if I couldn’t see them. I realized if I was ever going to make this book I was going to have to draw it out. And why not? Illustration was always my greatest talent as a child. Just because I had abandoned it as an adult didn’t mean I no longer had it. But where was I to find the time? I had a full-time job plus a family to support.

That’s when Saudi Arabia stepped in. They decided to kneecap the US oil industry by no longer artificially supporting the high cost of oil. So the oil industry crashed and my job went bye-bye. Hello free time! I spent the last 8 months of 2016 reacquainting myself with how to draw the human form and how to make comics. After a few tries, I finally finished chapter 1 and built a website to host the book online. I had finally, after 45 years, found my true calling in life.

Unfortunately, I had to go back to a regular job.

The money was drying up fast and I knew I was a long way off from making any money as a graphic novelist. So I’m back to working in the oil patch. But now, instead of spending my free time watching Houston teams lose on television, or working on odd jobs around the house, I work on my book. I don’t know how long it’s going to take me to finish these books (oh, did I mention this has turned into a trilogy?), but I know that I will do this. Like my grandmother paying off her house, it may take decades of hard work. But I think about how hard she worked over her life. And my mother too, raising so many kids mostly by herself. In three generations this family has gone from living in absolute poverty in Mexico to living a comfortable middle-class life in the suburbs of America. If I don’t finish these books, what would my grandmother and mother think of me?





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OUR TRUMPED-UP COMIC

 

Well,
we doubt the rest of responsible America will be much cheered, but for
us personally, there’s at least one silver lining to Trump’s winning the
election this year: our new comic isn’t going to seem so dated.

When we began writing BOB: NON-UNION PSYCHIC # 1 last year, Trump hadn’t even clinched the Republican nomination.  Like
almost everyone else who’s gazed on him, though, we couldn’t help
noticing the demagogue’s ‘do.

Let
us level with you on this: when you’re writing a book about a psychic
barber, you are always on the hunt for fun and/or relevant hair-related
material.  And the mane on that man?  It was like a gift.

So we came up with a reactionary rabble-rouser by the name of Atticus Jackson,
whose curious perm may figure into a larger mystery BOB is trying to
solve.  And Ol’ Jackson, he would have been a just dandy addition to the
BOB mythos, we found ourselves grumbling later – if not for the
production delays that pushed our new issue past the election.  Like
most people, we were certain Trump would be history after that, and BOB: NON-UNION PSYCHIC #1 would be dated from the very moment of its release.

If only…

But we’ll take our comforts where we can right now.

Learn the secret of Donald Trump’s Atticus Jackson’s hair in BOB: NON-UNION PSYCHIC # 1 “The Legend of Legros.”


 


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JOHN HOLLAND

john holland

Today we are thrilled to be joined by an inspiring comic creator who’s been making comics for “Longer than he’d like to admit”. But you know what? With great experience comes wise counsel, and awesome stories!

John is the creative mind behind titles like Ayla – Speaker for the Dead, Joe Bushkin, Boxie and many, many others. With a vast library of past work, John has a great deal to be proud of, and it sounds like his creative engine is just getting started. Ambitious? Yes. Driven? You know it! A true creator, John continues to allow the Muses do their work on him and giving his fans what they want. More comics!

So pull up a chair. If you’re under 25, get ready to Google some names and be impressed! John’s been around the Comicbook block and he’s imparting some excellent advice for all you up-and-comers, as well as some fun tales for the comicbook curious.

 


Let’s get to it!


Thanks for joining us John! To start, would you tell our readers a little bit about the comics you make?

JOHN: Right now I’m working on several different comics. I post them online, I try to do one page a week, and then collect and print.


Ayla Speaker for the Dead:
“In Death she seeks the justice they were denied in life.” Set in a future New Orleans life hasn’t changed that much for those on the bottom. No one cares when you’re alive, so when you’re killed they care even less. One less murder to investigate. Except for Ayla. Her voice is the voice of the unwanted dead. She brings justice for them.

Boxie: 14 year old Amanda sees an alien robot fall to earth. What she doesn’t know is she’s been picked to be the next partner for the alien warrior and soon they are protecting earth as Boxie


Life During Wartime: What would our world look like under a Trump presidency that actually lives up to his rhetoric? What happens Roe v Wade is repealed? What happens if he demolishes the 1st amendment? What happens when he destroys the last decade of advancement in gay rights? That’s what this comic looks at.

I was working on The Almighty Project, which I always describe as my Young Adult comic novel, but after problems with a second artist on it, I’m going to put it on the back burner for a bit.

Is there a style or genre you focus on? What kind of comics do you create.

JOHN: Any kind. Science fiction, crime, super hero, young adult, slice of life…there’s no subject matter that can’t make a good comic. I don’t want to limit myself to one genre or style. Whatever the story demands is where I go.

When did you first start making comics?

JOHN: Longer ago than I want to admit, lol. I started getting published by the indie comic scene back in the 90’s. At the time there was an explosion of black and white comics being published and a lot of publishers were springing up trying to cash in on the boom. Still I managed to get published in some of the better publishers, like Fantagraphics, Kitchen Sink and a few others. I took a long break sometime between then and now, getting back into comic writing in the last few years. Instead of trying to break into other publishers right now I’m focusing on publishing my work myself.

How did you get into creating comics?

JOHN: I always wanted to write and I always loved comic books. When I first started writing I tried my hand at the science fiction magazines. I was a big science fiction fan at the time. But even then my goal was always to end up writing comic books.

You are clearly very self motivated considering all the titles you’re publishing at the moment. What advice would you give to those who are struggling to keep momentum and want to give up?

JOHN: Just keep working. It helps if you’re working on more than one thing. If you have all your eggs so to speak in one basket and it doesn’t pan out, it can be hard to keep going. But if you’re working on a project that you start feeling like is not going anywhere and you have another project to jump into, it helps keep things going.  I’m constantly working on so many different projects, that when I start to feel things slowing down for me on one I just move to another for awhile.

But in the end you just have to want it bad enough to keep going.

Even if you don’t sell anything you have to want to write enough that you’ll do it even if no one else sees it.

Where do you get your ideas/inspiration from?

JOHN: Everywhere. Anything and everything can inspire me. Ayla was inspired by the hurricane Katrina and the tv show Homicide and my ex girlfriend. Mix all that together and I came up with Ayla. Move beyond comics to inspire you. If your inspiration is coming strictly from comic books something is wrong.

You should look at everything for inspiration. Movies, books, tv and even more importantly life.

Is there one thing that you absolutely could not live without during your creative process?

JOHN: I guess I would say my pen and paper. I’ve tried to write on the computer, but I find the creative juices flow better when I write the first draft on a notepad with a pen. Then I can take that and put in the computer and revise as I go. But the original writing is done simply with ink and paper.

What was the first comic you published.. Any memorable experiences during the process?

JOHN: A four page backup in Bill Loeb’s JOURNEY comic that was published by Dave Sim, who did CEREBUS. The artist was Sam Kieth (yes, that Sam Kieth that created the MAXX). Bill’s wife Nadine was editing JOURNEY and the backups and the story I originally proposed was going through the editing process.

I guess it was a couple weeks, I’d call and we’d discuss it and then I’d go back and write it. Well, during this I sent Sam this other four page story and he drew it and sent to Bill and Nadine and it ended up in the back of JOURNEY with no editing process, lol.

You’ve had a very interesting career and worked with some pretty iconic people. Are their any stories that come to mind you’d like to share?

JOHN: Perhaps a comic con, publisher, social media, family etc. story Speaking of Sam Kieth, back when Image was forming and he was one of the first artists not part of the founders asked to contribute he was coming up with the idea for the MAXX. Originally he asked Bill Loebs to write it with him, but for whatever reason Bill declined. So Sam came to me, we had been working on a lot of stuff together before he broke in to Marvel, so we got along pretty well.

A few months went along and Sam and I would talk about what he wanted with the MAXX but we never really got very far along. Then Bill decided that he would work on it with Sam. Sam was very nice about it and I couldn’t blame him. Bill was a great writer and we really hadn’t gelled on the comic.

But from this I was able to get Sam to do a cover for my first self published comic DIEBOLD.

What would you say is your ultimate goal working in comics?

JOHN: My ultimate goal would be able to make a living from this, but it’s not a goal that I am counting on. In the meantime I’m happy to be able to write and publish my comics and get out there and meet people and sell comics.

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

JOHN: I’d like to see them rely less on continuity and more on just telling a good story, but they’re really not set up for that. Their fan base wants each issue to build off the past issues and the characters to be the same all the time.

Just tell a good story.

Are there any interesting projects or books you’ve created you’d like our readers to see? And are their any comics you’re currently working on that your fans can expect?

JOHN: Besides the comics I have a collection of tips on comic book writing called FOR WHAT’S WORTH and will be coming out with a companion book called THE MAKING OF A COMIC BOOK, which details the creation of Ayla Speaker for the Dead from the idea to getting it online and printing. I also have a kid’s book called THE VOODOO BEAR coming out this month also. And by the time this interview is out I’ll probably be coming up with some new idea that I want to do.


Well it’s been a trip. But that’s it for this edition of COMIXCENTRAL CONVERSATIONS!!.. sationssations..*words slowly drifting off.

We want to thank John for taking the time to give us some insight into his extensive career. I hope you learned something, I know I did! Just keep creating what you love, no matter how long the game may be or seem, if you’re making things you love… it’s all worth it. Thanks for that John! Truly inspirational.

If you’d like to learn more about John, buy some of his comics or just connect with him, all the links to do so are below.

Now go make some comics!


Connect with John

http://johnfholland.net/

http://aylathecomicbook.com/

http://lifeduringwartime.us/

http://www.theduckwebcomics.com/BOXIE/

Comixcentral : @john_holland

For all John’s titles:  Shop by Holland 





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CHAD COLPITTS

chad colpitts

Daaamn ComixCentral! Back at it again with a killer Comic Creator interview!

Today we are chatting with the hilarious and delightfully quirky minded Chad Colpitts. Chad is a huge advocate for people looking at butt cheeks as much as possible and we’re inclined to help him out!

You simply can’t miss his iconic, laugh inducing work in “The Streaker” and he’s making us laugh uncomfortably again in “B-Movie Garbage”.


Guys we are honored and tickled that Chad took the time to fill us in on where he’s been, how he got there and how he’ll continue to “go there”.  Enjoy! (FYI- Chad may have been naked while answering these questions.. But we’ll never tell;)


Hi Chad! Thanks for taking the time to answer some of our questions. First off, please tell us a bit about the comics you’re working on right now.

Chad: At the moment I have two comic series on the go. The first series which is now on issue 3, called The Streaker. The Streaker is your average superhero story, except this hero is constantly naked. I know what you’re thinking, but I promise he’s not some weird pervert. He’s just another poor victim of radiation exposure.

After being exposed to radiation, our hero gets radioactive skin that burns everything he touches . . . including his clothing. Since he is forced to be naked he hides out in a nudist centre, and reluctantly fights crime under the guidance of the centre’s janitor. Together they run afoul of some truly bizarre villains, including extremist nudists, and robotic geniuses with phallic shaped acid cannons. This series features the eye poppingly pleasant art of Matt Garbutt (Oh Sh**t Zombies), which is sure to impress (I’m confident on this because it’s great, and my mom really likes it).

The second series is surprisingly and delightfully more inappropriate than The Streaker. It’s an anthology series we like to call B-Movie Garbage, which showcases our own homages to B-Grade cinema. You’ll see campy, disgusting, and slightly disturbing tales that you can never unsee.

The first issue is part 1 in a 3 part tale titled EMOS, where a demonic plague spreads through a highschool turning everyone into the titular fad. In issue 1, witness the possibly accurate origin of the EMO fad, along with some unconventional uses for the human skull. With the inspiredly grotesque art style of Cam Hayden (Futility, Red Flag) to disgust and entertain, we are hoping this will be a must read for B-Movie fans.

What kind of comics do you make? 

Chad: At Tongue in Cheek Comics we create a certain kind of comic . . . the kind you didn’t even know you wanted. Our goal is to bring bizarre unique comics which span a variety of genres, and will hopefully entertain even the angriest of nudist extremists.

When did you get your start?

Chad: I self published and released the first issue of The Streaker in August 2015. I guess that could be considered my start, and hopefully there is no end in sight.

What made you decide to start creating comics?

Chad: I’ve always been a daydreamer with my head in the clouds, full of weird bizarre ideas. I was never really sure what to do with them, until I started reading comics again.

realized comics would be a great format for my ideas, and would give me a chance to bring these stories to life in an exciting, artist, and slightly affordable way.

What motivates you? How do you keep creating through the times when you might feel like giving up?

Chad: Whenever things get tough I rely on the support of my family (like my very supportive mom and sister), friends, and girlfriend Megan Hodgson (brownie point name drop). Plus, I’m always lucky to be working with talented artists who keep things timely and professional. In the end I know I can’t really give up, because the Streaker is way to powerful to piss off. I guess motivation comes easy when your life depends on it.

Your books are wildly creative, where do those ideas come from?

Chad: I’d say my inspiration comes from years of cartoon watching, comic reading, and a devotion to all things movie/ pop culture related. I like to use my comics to satirize or pay homage to the things I love. So basically you could say all the time I’ve spent sitting on the couch in front of the TV was just training for my comic career.

What is the one thing you couldn’t live without?

Chad: My laptop. That is where I awkwardly type (or hen peck) out my comic scripts.

What was the first comic you published.. Any memorable experiences during the process?

Chad: The First comic I published was The Streaker. One of the more memorable/ awkward moments of the process actually came about with the act of payment. When I first started off the artist Matt Garbutt didn’t have paypal, so to pay him I have to go into the bank and wire him money. When I would do this the bank employee I was dealing with would ask me what the money was for and I would respond “for a comic”. Of course they would say “that’s a lot of money for a comic”, then I’d explain it’s actually the art for my own comic. All this would lead to the obvious question, and the awkward answer. “What’s your comic about? Well . . . (I have no choice but to tell them) a naked superhero. Then the look, and the polite response of fake interest. I would blush and show them a picture, all while secretly enjoying every minute of the exchange. I got to experience this a few times, and it’s entertainment level never really diminished.

Is there an interesting story you could share with us about your creation experience?

Chad: People always ask where I found an artist for The Streaker, which is a great question since I live in Canada and he lives in the U.K. The answer is freelance.com. I set up a page saying I had a comic idea and was looking for an artist. I actually had two hits before Matt, both didn’t really fit. The first one was a very nice lady, but after hearing the idea she had to admit it was definitely out of her comfort zone. The second guy said he would do it, but I’d have to change some things in order to make them less offensive and more appropriate. Which of course wasn’t really something I wanted to do. Then Matt heard the idea, and basically said “I love it when can I start”. So it was an obvious choice, and I’m very glad I made it, because his cartoony style works perfectly for The Streaker. Plus he’s a great guy to get along and work with.

Do you prefer to work with a team or alone.

Chad:  Since I don’t have a shred of illustrative talent, I’ll always need a team. However, I’m thrilled by this because it gives me the opportunity to work with extremely talented artists. I also find it very cool to have different ideas brought to life with different styles and visions. It gives us diversity throughout our titles, and gives me a chances to work on my flexibility as a writer and publisher.

Chad, do you have any superstitions, or rituals you can share with us?

Chad: I have a certain pair of socks that I wear to every show or con I attend. They’re lucky socks that I was given as a groomsmens gift at a best friends wedding. The wedding was a success with zero casualties, broken bones, or sullied vows, so they are definitely lucky. Plus, they’re a reminder of the constant support I have from my friends (who are the ones that will always buy my comics no matter how horrible). The only real downside of this superstition, is when I forget to wash them between shows. If I do that things can get stinky and I should apologize in advance to those sharing a table with me.

So, what can one expect when they pick up one of your comics?

Chad: Here are two pages from our comics, to give an idea of what to expect from each series. Also to showcase the fantastic artwork you’ll find inside each book. The first page is from The Streaker #2 and the second is from B-Movie Garbage #1.

How can the good folks of the world find out what you’re up to Chad?

Chad: If you want to know more about Tongue in Cheek Comics and the series we publish, you can find us on Twitter @TiCComics or at www.facebook.com/TongueinCheekComics/ . You can also contact us at [email protected] , if you want to know where to pick up print copies or if you want some sent to you.


Well, we’ve come to the end of our interview. This is always an emotional time for us. We love digging into how creators get their amazing comics out in the world and we know you guys love reading about it!

We want to thank Chad again, for sitting down with us and letting us into his world for this brief time. If you’d like to learn more about Chad, buy some of his comics or just stalk him a little, you’ll find all the links below.

Now go make some comics!


Connect with Chad and Tongue in Cheek Comics

 [email protected]

Twitter @TiCComics

facebook.com/TongueinCheekComics

Comixcentral : @tonguecheekcomics

Grab  The Streaker |   B- Movie Garbage





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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





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World Building (Ayla Speaker for the Dead)

ayla speaker for the dead

There were two things driving me in the creation of this series at the start.

First, there was the title “Speaker for the Dead.” (And yes I know all about the science fiction series by Orson Scott Card, a series I once loved but would rather not get into reasons for not loving it now. This series has nothing to do with that. And the title has nothing in common with anything from that series.)

And the second, which is what we’re going to talk about a little today, is the comic series Finder by Carla Speed McNeil. This is a science fiction story that is so good I don’t even know how to describe how good it is. She creates a world that is so believable for this series that you have no trouble believing in it. For most of its history, McNeil self published the series herself in black and white. Lately, I’ve been seeing it coming from Dark Horse and one volume even appeared in color. Personally, I prefer the black and white, but I know color is going to help it sell better.

I’m not going to talk about the characters she creates for this series. How true to life they feel, but I want to talk about the world she has created. She has created a world that is believable that you feel like it’s real. A lot of science fiction stories have one point to make and most of their world revolves around that point, so while the story might be enjoyable and the characters real, the entirety of their world never quite feels real. You never completely believe in the world. You can accept it, you have to if you want to enjoy the story, but there’s always something in the back of your mind questioning the whys and hows of this world. You don’t have that in the world of Finder. I get so completely lost in her world. It is evident that she has thought this world out very carefully and built it slowly and carefully from the ground up.

I’ve been wanting to create a world like this for awhile. My world is nothing like hers and I don’t want it to be. I want a world that you can believe in. That’s what I want to take away from her. Now I’m nowhere the talent Ms. McNeil is, so I’m hoping that my world building is at least half as good as hers. Heck, I’d settle for a quarter of good.

Another series, one that is a lot newer and one that I’ve come to after my thoughts on Finder is Lazarus by Greg Rucka, Michael Lark and Eric Trautmann. I’ve been a fan of Mr. Rucka since his first days chronicling the adventures of Atticus Kodiak and truth be told always more a fan of his prose work than his comic book work. But I’ve come around to loving his comic creations just as much as the ones he does without pictures. In this series, the creators create a  world a lot closer to our timeline than the one McNeil does in Finder. But again it is a world you can believe in. He creates a history for his future world and you can understand how it got where it is at that point in time. He’s created characters that live in this world and not just inhabit it. Sometimes a character will read as if they belong to our time and culture but they are set in a future time and place that has nothing to do with our now. Like the characters in Finder the characters in Lazarus belong to their now and then.

What I hope I’ve taken from both of these fine publications is a little truth of their world building. I’m hoping that the world I create for Ayla and her friends will be believable for them and not look like I’ve just plucked characters from now into a setting that is a little different from ours. If my world rings even a tenth of true as theirs I think I will be satisfied.