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Making a GREAT Paper texture in Clip Studio Paint (Manga Studio 5)


Making a GREAT Paper texture in Clip Studio Paint (Manga Studio 5)

Texture overlay on the left. Flat color on the right.

So you’ve made a great illustration in Clip Studio Paint or Photoshop. Your line work (if you’re a line artist) is the way you want it, you have an eye catching color palette, your composition is dynamic, but there’s something about it that still feels just a little off. It feels a little too, well, “digital”. If you do artwork digitally, or color scans of your traditional art and digitally color them, you may have run into this. Working digitally is fantastic for so many reasons but it can sometimes result in your art lacking the tooth of traditional artwork.

There are of course a variety of ways to remedy this. If you have a more painterly style you can use textured brushes, from brush makers like Kyle T. Webster, Ray Frenden, Paolo Limoncelli (DAUB Brushes), Brian Allen, and many others. There’s also the grain filter effect that you can apply in Photoshop (Comic artist Paolo Rivera mentions how he does this in his Comic Book Coloring Tutorial.) All of these methods are totally valid and I’ve used all of them at one time or another. Recently though, I discovered a fairly simple way to create a really fun paper texture (seen above) to add over your work.

Note: This tutorial is geared toward users of Clip Studio Paint (Manga Studio 5) but is possible in Photoshop and similar programs that have layer modes. I’ve provided a dropbox link at the end of this post to a .psd that contains layers which will allow you to replicate this in Photoshop to some degree.

So how do we create the texture overlay pictured above? In Clip Studio Paint there is something called the Materials Palette. The materials we need are in the Dot and Sand Pattern palette’s in the Basic Materials palette. If you don’t know where those are you can find them by going to Window>Materials>Basic

Presumably you have your file open at this point. If not, do that if you want to follow along.

STEP 1: Adding Materials

Open the Basic Materials palette. Select Dot from the sub menu and pick any of the half tone dot screens. You can always adjust the screen frequency, density, and angle settings later in the Layer Property Palette, and we will.

I advise choosing the circle patterns. Black dots are probably more useful for this tutorial.

Once you’ve selected a dot pattern you like click and drag it over and on to your image canvas.

Once you’ve dropped the dots into your canvas you should see something similar to the image below. If you’re working over an illustration and not a flat color like me you’ll obviously see the dots over your image.

Next we will replicate this step but instead of dots we’ll be dragging in a noise screen over top of our halftone dots. You can find it in the Sand Pattern sub menu in the Basic palette.

Now you’ve hopefully got something like this on your canvas.

STEP 2: Adjusting Materials (Optional but recommended)

Next we’ll be making adjustments to the screen frequency, density and angle settings of the screen layers in the Layer Property Palette. If the default settings are fine to your eye feel free to skip to the next step.

If you want to make modifications select your Halftone Dot layer in your layers palette and direct your attention to the Layer Property Palette (Window>Layer >Property)

As stated before we’ll be adjusting the Number of Screen Frequency and the Density sliders. The higher you set these numbers the smaller and more compact the dots will appear. This is honestly more of a preference thing and it depends on the image. Sometimes you’ll want bigger dots, sometimes smaller dots. Do what looks good for your piece.

For this example I’ve set the Screen Frequency for my Dots layer to 59 and my density to 40. There’s no particular science to this, it’s just what looked good to me.

This creates pretty small dots that are fairly close together. If you zoom in and turn off visibility for your noise layer, it should look like this.

Next open the Dot settings sub menu in the Layer Property palette and set the angle to 55.

Now the dots are on more of a diagonal. This prevents some of the “tiling” you may have seen on the canvas screen shot above. This makes the texture a bit more organic looking.

Select your noise layer and turn it’s visibility back on. In the Layer Property palette set it’s density to 40.

Now it should look like this. Do you see the texture forming? 😀

STEP 3: Setting Layer Modes and Adjusting Layer Opacity

Step 3 is the simplest step. We are going to set both our Noise and Dot Layers to Overlay.
So orange!

Once we’ve done this, the black dots on our Dot and Noise layers will pick up the color of the layer(s) below them. It works well for what we’re doing but as you can see it has turned our yellow into an orange. We do want to see the texture, just not that much. So next we’ll lower the opacity of both of our screen layers. You can choose whatever looks good on your image, but for this I set my Noise Screen opacity to 30% and my dot Screen to 25% opacity.

In case you don’t know where the Opacity slider is.
Thats better.
Now the texture is there but still subtle enough that it won’t greatly distort your color palette. It may seem almost too subtle in the above screen shot. But look at the image below.  I’ve masked out a section so you can more clearly see the texture.
There you go! A fun paper texture overlay to add a little traditional feel to your digital work. If you’re curious what it looks like over some art and not just a layer of flat color, here’s a recent piece that I added this texture to. A fan art piece of Hellboy and Kaoru & Kuma; characters from Champions of Hara which I helped create!
Hellboy,  Kaoru and Kuma. Done in Clip Studio Paint EX. Brushes and pen tools from Frenden, Daub, Brian Allen, and Robert Marzullo.
Close up on Hellboy’s beautiful Mug for detail.
Texture masked out in the center.
So there you go! Feel free to adjust your opacity, dot settings, or anything else. Make this texture work for you and if you come up with anything better feel free to leave your discovery in the comments.
 
Photoshop Users (Or Manga Studio Users that don’t feel like doing the leg work) You can download a file from HERE which contains raster versions of the Screen and Noise layers shown in this tutorial. They are 500dpi and 9 x 12 inches.
Happy Arting!


An illustrator, comic artist, and storyteller Jason Piperberg has worked on projects like Raising Dion and Champions of Hara as well as his own creator owned comic: Spaceman and Bloater.

 

In 2012 Jason graduated from The University of the Arts in Philadelphia with a BFA in illustration. He has always had a love for illustration, comics, super heroes, sci-fi, robots, and anything related to narrative imagery and storytelling.

He currently works as a freelance illustrator and is available for projects including: Book illustration, comic books, comic covers, storyboards, concept art, editorial illustration, t-shirts, posters, album art, and more.

If you like Jason’s work or want to contact him click here


Banner art used with permission from Jason Piperberg

This blog originally published on September 5, 2017 at pipelineillustration.blogspot.com

Reblogged with permission from Jason Piperberg

 

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Episode #33 | How to Love Everything Forever with Spencer Scott Holmes

Wanna learn how to do a million things at once? Wanna fall in love with your craft every single day? Wanna learn how find the good in every practice? Wanna learn how to never have a bad day? Look no further than the B-12 sunshine rocketship that is Spencer Scott Holmes, the man who does everything.

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Like many kings and queens of nerd life, Spencer’s love of creativity began in an introductory class to audio/video work way back in elementary school. Spencer also fell in love with music and began playing in bands in high school. His love of film never waned, and he eventually turned all that love into a passion for scriptwriting, filmmaking, animation and even podcasting. Take all that creativity, add an unparalleled zest for life and an unstoppable, infectious nerd joy and you’ve got the creative genesis genius machine kind enough to do this episode of Adventures in Interviewing with us. He manages to work out, eat pizza and enjoy retro gaming in his “spare time”- as if he had any. He’s managed to write 4 issues of his debut comic Pizza Boyz in a year, he works out as a hobby, and somehow manages to maintain an awesome relationship at the same time. What’s your excuse? Yeah, I thought so….

Spencer and I had a tremendous conversation regarding the nature of complaining. More importantly, we talked about why complaining is a bunch of BS. All the technology, all the information, all the connective possibility, and yet many creatives are still unhappy. They find ways to make excuses instead of progress. For Spencer, that just doesn’t compute. He does odd jobs to get buy while focusing on the projects that give him meaning. As long as he manages to exercise in the morning, he’s able to devote the majority of his energy towards the projects that he values most- mainly creating comics. He talks about the difference between a hobby, a job and career and the importance of that divide. Make no mistake, if you wanna learn how to multitask without being overwhelmed; If you wanna learn how to focus, and refocus multiple times a day; If you wanna redefine your life around not what you make, but rather, how you make it then put your nerd boots on. This dude is gonna kick your creative juice into a brand new atmosphere.


Don’t forget to check out the links below for information on Spencer Scott Holmes

Creative Website: www.oldmanorgange.com

Twitter: @SpencerSHolmes







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The Maroon[Review]

 

Reviewed by Anthony Cleveland

Writer/illustrator: Derek W. Lipscomb

Derek W. Lipscomb (writer/illustrator) approached ComixCentral to discuss his comic book series: The Maroon. We gave it a crack and discovered a fantastic series with genre combinations that have yet to be explored in other comics. The Maroon combines Leone’s Man with No Name trilogy with the fantastic mythology of American legends and history, all while never once pulling a single punch or tomahawk throw.




“The world I have The Maroon inhabit is a crazy mix of folklore fantasy with horror-inspired from Le Pacte de Loups (Brotherhood of the Wolf),Derek began. I love how that film blends lore from history and fabricates it’s own clever take on the legend of The Beast of Gévaudan. I liked the idea that in the nooks and crannies of 1850 American history, there were mythical creatures and supernatural dealings that permeated the fringes of a growing civilization.”

Derek pitched his comic to me as a simmering campfire cauldron mixed with western films, anime features, & spiced generously with Native American mythology. If I could add to Derek’s pitch, I would say this is very much like a Conan the Barbarian story taking place in the 1800s south. Like many of the classic Conan stories, they begin grounded in a somewhat familiar and historical setting and later introduce the more fantastical elements. What remains constant throughout is how we are reminded that this is a savage world these characters inhabit.

The stand out issues were #1 and #3. In each of these issues, the strengths of the series are on full display. With issue #1, we are introduced to a father and son, who we are led to believe will be the main focus of the arc. A few pages later we meet The Maroon (real name unknown), who is on the run and is being pursued by a posse. As the issue comes to a close, the three are confronted by the posse and #1 concludes with a tragic climax that sets the tone for the rest of the series.

“ While The Maroon is a blending of history with the fantastic,  what I really hope comes from this experience, is the further exposure of a pocket an American-created people often blindsided by ‘grander events that pushed American History forward,’ ” Derek added.

Derek’s research into his settings must be applauded as well. Throughout he uses specific historical events as backdrops to his character’s stories. He also goes on to describe specific Native American tribe culture and incorporates their mythology into his story arcs. This shows through best in Issue #3.

By this issue, Derek fully immerses the reader with the fantasy elements of his story. #3 also sheds more light on our main character’s backstory through a brutal hallucinatory dream sequence that bleeds into reality when he comes face to face with a half-owl, half-woman beast. The fight between the two is raw, bloody, and intense. These 10 pages were the highlight of the series for me.

Another high point of the issue was when tidbits of The Maroon’s backstory is revealed and he’s forced to meet his past face to face. We learn that he was once in love with a woman above his social class and was tricked by a witch to drink a potion that was promised to make her fall in love with him. The potion instead curses him for life. This was the first time we are offered a look back at who The Maroon is.

My only real critique of the book would be to have more moments like this where we can explore that character’s history. Additional issues are on the rise and I’m sure Derek does have more in store for that.


Thank you for checking out this ComixCentral Review by Contributing Author Anthony Cleveland

Click here to find more articles and reviews from Anthony Cleveland  and don’t miss Anthony’s own Comic now available on ComixCentral, Silver Skin







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The Owl Tribe [Review]

 

Reviewed by Anthony Cleveland

the-owl-tribe-comic-book-review_-comixcentral

Writer: Lukasz Wnuczek
Illustrator:  Lukasz Wnuczek


Quick Overview: The Owl Tribe is a comic that revolves around a hunt for a beast straight out of the Native American (and Norse!) legends. It is set in the time of Viking exploration of pre-Columbian America and features fantastic characters borrowed from the lore of Native American tribes while also drawing from Norse tales.


Story

This 56-page comic is so rich and dense with world building and characterization that it feels like a sweeping epic graphic novel with a thick page count. What Lukasz Wnuczek (writer & illustrator) has done with this book is really something unique that lacks from other comics that commit to this particular length. Every panel matters and every panel sets up a pay off for our characters down the line.the-owl-tribe-comic-book-review_-comixcentral-2

The book follows several characters that are on both sides of the conflict and treats them both accordingly. It’s tough to say who is the bad guy or good guy throughout the comic. Our characters commit some pretty brutal acts, but we are shown their backstories so we can see their motivations and more often than not, give them our sympathy. This works the best in this comic when we see the motivations AFTER we think a character might be our villain.

It repeatedly makes the reader ask: Does this character’s emotional history justify their violent actions?

It’s engaging to the reader. Not only do you have an interesting conflict on the page to read, but you also have an internal conflict going on inside the reader. It’s difficult to accomplish and this Lukasz pulls it off seamlessly.

The best example of this is on the final page. It’s such a great gut punch that I will not spoil.  


Art-

There’s an earthy texture in the art that is very appropriate for this book. It feels organic and genuine. Lukasz puts this on display the strongest with his backgrounds and landscape panels. It’s an immersive feel that puts you right in the forest.

From my first glance at this book, the most eye-catching detail was in the character designs. The book’s cover features one of the more supernatural characters of the comic. This character is wearing a leather stitched mask with tribal-like paint across it. He stands with his staff and stares off into the mist. This is an eye-catching cover that makes you want to pick up the comic just to see who this guy is and what this book is about.


the-owl-tribe-comic-book-review_-comixcentral-3


RATING

This is a really unique book that shares an overlooked part of history. The comic doesn’t take sides in this conflict and instead allows the story unfold naturally by giving the right amount of information to the reader without spelling the whole saga.

The combination of earthy art and empathetic characters get this book a 5 out of 5.


Amazon: available as Kindle/paperback / extended paperback (with artbook section)


Thank you for checking out this ComixCentral Review by Contributing Author Anthony Cleveland

 






 

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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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Episode #23 – Julio Guerra

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On this weeks episode of “Adventures in Interviewing” Chris Hendricks interviews Julio Guerra.

In the words of Julio’s profound character Deathbag, “Grumble, grumble, grunt, grumble, grunt.” We couldn’t have said it better. With all seriousness, pop your earphones on, turn up the volume on your bluetooth speaker, tell Alexa to play it loud, however you choose to listen, listen up… we’re joined today by the hilarious and inspiring Indie comic creator, Juilo Guerra. Let’s do this.

 

[podbean resource=”episode=86ty8-7f358d” type=”audio-rectangle” height=”100″ skin=”1″ btn-skin=”108″ share=”1″ fonts=”Helvetica” auto=”0″ download=”0″ rtl=”0″]

Connect with Julio

Twitter  |  CXC Profile





 

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Joe Francis Totti | Creator Spotlight

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

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

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

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

Let’s get to the interview!


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

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

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

What kind of comics do you create?

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

When did you get your start?

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Joe: My Mac (computer not jacket) haha.

What resources do you rely on for illustration?

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

Who are your biggest inspirations in the comic realm?

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

Where do you get your inspiration and ideas from?

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

What does your workspace look like?


Tell us a funny story JOE!

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

Where do you hope to be in 5 years creatively?

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

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

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

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

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

Lethal Corbyn III
Eye in the Sky

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

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


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

Instagram  twitter


 

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Episode #20 | Thom Burgess

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

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

Connect with Thom Burgess

Twitter  |   Website





 

 

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Episode #18 | J Francis Totti

j francis totti_podcast

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

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

Twitter   |  Instagram





 

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Champions of Hara: Chapters 1 and 2 | Comicbook Review

Champions of Hara: Chapters 1 and 2

Reviewed by Rod Jenkins


Creators: Walter Barber
Ian Vannest
Andrew Zimmerman

Writer: Walter Barber

Art, Colors, Lettering: Jason Piperberg

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


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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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





 

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RAGS: Creator Spotlight a Fireside Chat with Brian and Trent

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Hello readers! Today we have 2 badasses for the price of 1 Creator Spotlight!

We are delighted to have the opportunity to pick the brains of the creative team behind the jaw-dropping, action-packed, delightfully comedic and beautifully illustrated, RAGS: Prologue. If you haven’t read the first issue of this comic, stop right now, (well read this spotlight first) then, go get a copy, immediately.

“RAGS is a comic involving two military veterans and their quest for a sense of normalcy during a zombie plague that has wrecked the liberal state of California. But this isn’t a tale about Zombies. This is a tale about pants. A tale about PTSD. A tale about finding a purpose. About setting aside your own prejudice. About overcoming guilt and insanity. Things that most other authors are too afraid to tackle. Hold onto to your poopers and get your tactical onesies ready.”

So without further ado, may we present A Fireside Chat with Brian Ball and Trent Luther. Let’s do this! Oohrah!


To start, tell us a little bit about yourselves.

Brian: Well my is Brian Ball, I’m a 14year Active Duty Army Veteran, currently in the San Diego National Guard. I’m the writer of RAGS, and my partner in crime in this is Trent Luther. He and I came up with the basic premise. My friend Rudy help us polish it up with the Unicorn Onesie. I’m withholding the name of my artist for the time being as I’m unsure of how he wishes to be credited.

Trent: My names Trent, I’m from Fargo North Dakota. I work at an auto salvage yard. I don’t think I really known for much.

What kind of comics do you guys like to create?

Brian: I’m actually unsure of how to answer this one, as RAGS is the first Comic I’ve actually created, from concept to what it is now. I’m not quite sure what I’d call the genre. Maybe Black Humor is the most accurate as I subtly make take jabs at lots of things.

Trent: Zombie comics I guess. Though I used to draw some dope stick figure comics that had to do with the civil war and the supernatural (Ethan Allen was my main protagonist.).


What made you decide to start making comics and get into the business?

Brian: So what got me to create? I would have to say that I’ve always enjoyed writing. That’s been my passion since I was 8years old. The military came a very close second when I was 10. But what really pushed me is that Comics now, Marvel in particular, no longer speak to me as an Individual. I see a lot of push towards inclusivity and diversity but I’m not really seeing any characters with personality. I’m half-black, ¾’s Latino and there has yet to be a character that I could really get behind. So I figured, rather than complain about it, I’d just go out there and make my own.

Trent: Brian’s ambition. He’s been a rock that waves break themselves upon this whole time.

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

Brian: Right now, the biggest obstacle to success is marketing. Marketing, marketing, marketing. Some early feedback I’ve seen is that ‘Oh, it seems like another by the numbers zombie story.’ It’s not. In many ways, the zombies are a bonus.

Trent: Marketing. Marketing has been rough. Mainly lack time and funds to do so. I try to make an enticing post on Imgur and Reddit. But getting them rolling can be tough

Coffee or Tea?

Brian: Coffee. Definitely Coffee. There’s this saying amongst me and my battle buddies; “If it wasn’t for caffeine and hate I would have no reason to wake up in the morning.”. But honestly, I need about three cups of coffee just to get the old brain synapsis plodding along.

Trent: If you ain’t down with Alwazah tea you can get outta my life.

Who are your biggest inspirations in the comic realm?

Brian: My biggest inspirations are Adam Warren, the old crew from Antartic Press. Eric Johnson, if you’ve ever seen his work, he’s drawing the book for Vikings. Masamune Shiro, Kentaro Muira, Hajime Kanzaki, I read a lot of manga. Akira Toriyama for his pun-based naming structure. John Kantz and Christopher Reid for their EXCELLENT book: Legends from DarkWood. I was really sad they didn’t continue this, it was great series!

Trent: For me Todd McFarlane, Frank Miller and R.A Salvatore (I know he doesn’t do comics, fight me.) But I grew up with Spawn comics and toys and everything Drizzt.

Where the inspiration for RAGS come from? Tactical onesies? WHERE?! We love!

Brian: So the inspiration from RAGS initially grew out of a drunken night of Left4Dead2 with Trent. The initial plot we came up with was just some chick running from store to store trying to find a pair of pants while fighting off a zombie horde. And each time she found pants, she’d lose them somehow or some way and have to go find some new ones. It was funny in our heads, but after initially writing the whole thing, I knew I could tell a better story if I just changed some things, so that story evolved into what RAGS is now. The idea for the tactical onesie though, that grew out of me, being absolutely sick and tired of seeing the skin-tight spandex suits that you saw in all these female superheroes run around in. I’m sorry, but Black Widow, in that lycra she runs around in, would constantly be splitting her the backside of her pants. Also, I dislike the idea of a woman in 5-16”inch heels being able to beat up 210lb guys with just her fists. So while trying to come up with a suit that would be practical, my buddy Rudy simply suggested ‘Why not a unicorn onesie…like they have at Wal-mart.’ Then it just grew from there.

Trent: The inspiration for RAGS. That’s tough. Brian came to me one day with a small idea of a story and it just kinda evolved. Tactical onesies…It seemed like a joke at the end of our story. However, it just worked so well. Then when we got a few illustrations and it was so damn amazing seeing it on paper.

comixcentral rags regina

You clearly love zombies. What made you decide to throw your talents into the zombie storytelling world?

Brian: I’m a HUGE Resident Evil Fan. I have the S.T.A.R.S logo and two of Rebecca Chambers tattooed on my arms. Since the inspiration for the story came from Left4Dead2 it was only practical that the zombies followed. But there’s a slight twist to mine, that make them much different….much more lethal than what we’re used to seeing. Creating a new plague was tough because I’m just a soldier and not much of a scientist. But I have figured out something that is very realistic and COULD come about if the right minds got together and were able to put two and two together.

Trent: To me… a Left for Dead 2. We talked a lot about it while playing an impossible to beat player made campaign. Also, Zombies fit perfectly for Regina’s main struggle in the story.

Your choice of coloring for RAGS is very unique. Could you tell us how you guys decided on this approach?

Brian: The coloring for RAGS is done that way, because I wanted people to focus on what the was important to the character, Regina. Her freckles are important, and obviously her tattoo’s, (which is a story arc I hope to explore much later.) I wanted to add to the tension by tricking the reader into focusing on things that I wanted them to focus on. I hope that makes sense. Color is going to come into play much later, I hope the audience appreciates what I have in store.

Trent: Brian’s call on that. I yes-manned cause it was a wonderful choice.

comixcentral rags

 

What would you say is your ultimate goal in comics? Where do you both hope to be in 5 years creatively?

Brian: My ULTIMATE GOAL is for everyone to be Cosplaying Tactical Onesies at all the cons. If that happens, I’ve met my goal. In five years I hope to have the entire story of RAGS completed and on the shelves of bookstores. Maybe a movie deal, or a t.v. series if it gets popular enough.

Trent: Super cheesy Syfy Movie with a dank cult following.

How far are you wanting to take RAGS? What do you guys see as the “Big Picture?”

Brian: I’d really like to get RAGS into the hands of a publisher. I have a story that’s actually inclusive, diverse (being set in California gives me a wide array of characters to choose from and topics to tackle) and I KNOW with the right backing would be a huge hit. Also, having someone else handle the marketing (you’ll see me spam twitter almost daily) would be nice.

Trent: All the way. I’d like to see our idea flower into a whole series of comics.

What do you find to be the most difficult part of creating a comic?

Brian: The most difficult part I would say is getting feedback. Especially when something is good and you personally know it. Sometimes I’ll hand over a copy for a friend to read and I won’t hear back from them for months….and when I see them again I ask about it and they’ll say “Oh, it was good.” Yeah, but how good? What did you like best? What worked? What didn’t? Finding the right people help steer you in the right direction. That’s pretty tough. Thankfully I had a few people give me honest reviews and critiques, so moving forward I know exactly what how to handle things.

Trent: Picking a genre. There is a lot of criticism jumping into any kind of genre when there is so much of it all readily available. Really have to make an impression right off the bat.

Are you for sale? I say that as a joke, but not really. Would you sell RAGS to a large publisher? And on that note, would either of you consider working for the Big guys?

Brian: I would SELL RAGS ONLY to the publisher that would handle it properly. I’m tackling lots of issues in ways that I have seen or experienced that are relevant to me and so I’d like to find a publisher that would appreciate the nuances that are baked into the story. I would LOVE to work for Marvel and write Spider-Man. I kinda feel old Peter could use some fresh blood. But IDW is actually my second pick if I had a choice.

Trent: Hmm. Definitely to Image comics. Spawn and RAGS mashups all day baby. Honestly tho though that’s a tough question. IDK?

How has the response to RAGS been? And what do you think you’ve learned for your next issues?

Brian: So far (for everyone that’s taken a chance on it.) the response has been positive. Usually, my pitch is what gets people raising eyebrows. “Naked chick running around town trying to find pants during a zombie plague!” I get it, it sounds perverted. I would be a skeptic too. But usually, after I show off the script and artwork…people get it. I’m getting a lot of requests for physical copies, which I’m only sending off to those who’ve supported me on Patreon as a reward, and it sucks to say ‘I can’t right now.’ But it’s also great to know that there are people out there that want to see this on shelves!

Trent: The response has been great but I feel pretty localized. Hard to get my old, gearhead co-workers into comics. I get called a nerd a lot. Marketing. Definitely, marketing is a must. It’s hard let me tell ya.

Trent: The Patreon and Facebook. I try to post teaser albums on Imgur and Reddit under the username Niehlis. I’m normally fairly busy with the daily grind so Brian tends to knock out this stuff.

It’s been awesome getting to know you guys and learn more about the stories behind RAGS. Is there anything else we can tell the reader about you?

Brian: Anything else I wish to add? Oh yes! I’m not sure if anyone noticed, but there are a TON of Easter eggs hidden within the prologue. One might be a little obscure and I have no problem giving this one away but Regina, the main character, her face is modeled after Liz Finnegan. If you do not follow her on twitter…you’re failing at life. There are some other things that are hidden too! Most of the other tidbits we probably won’t see until we’re further along. But this comic…it’s my magnum opus and I hope those that are tired of the big two right now, give this a chance. Trust me, if you think this is JUST another Zombie story you’ve barely scratched the surface. Even though I play up tropes, like say Regina quickly getting surrounded by zombies. Well, there’s a legitimate reason for that, but again, only someone with a very discerning eye will catch on.

The other thing I’d like to say, really quick, is that I really have to give a shout out to my friend: Balam, who taught me how to write scripts. And Jim, my old Army buddy from my first unit. Joshua Foster has been helping me maintain the website/blog. Rudy Vallejo and Heaven Perez have been my local support as has Deanne Vicedo. Everyone that supports me on Patreon. Morgan Marino, Candy Dax, Grace Harney (for the edits she did for my revision.) and Elizabeth Stryker. And my biggest cheerleader Samantha Johnson. All the boys in the Quality Control Discord. Captain Frugal the youtuber for his honest review. And Zetha202, one of my favorite Deviant Art Artists who let me borrow a character of his (check him out here: https://zetha202.deviantart.com/). There are so many people to shout out too, but I know that alone is going to be about 4 pages long.


Well, that’s it for this Creator Spotlight! Thanks so much for joining us. If you’d like to learn more about Brian and Trent, connect with them, buy their products or support RAGS directly, you can find the links to all that and more below! 

ragszombie.com  |   twitter   |  teepublic.rags  |  CXC Profile  |   Patreon Rags

 Trent also posts teaser albums on Imgur and Reddit under the username Niehlis.





 

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Nick Johnson – Comicbook Illustrator and Creator | Episode #13

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

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

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

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




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Crowdfunding Round Up – October 1st 2017

comicbook crowdfunding




Let’s Get Roundin’ UP some Kickstarters!

Every month we run around Kickstarter looking for stuff that really bakes our potato! And this roundup has gone up a whole.. nother.. level.  Come on in and stay a while! Watch some rockin’ trailers, learn about some great comics and then put your money behind some incredible and worthy independent creator’s creations.

And with that, may we present the CXC Crowdfunding Roundup, October 1st, 2017 edition.


by Charon Comics   |    Kickstarter

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All the books are completely colored, lettered and ready to print. They’ve already secured the printer they will be using and are ready to go. Which means no risk to the backers.

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Do you ever get that feeling like something is so cool – I mean, looks so badass – is SO awesome… that you have to have it in your hands? Well, we do, and the good folks at Charon Comics get it. That’s why they’re running this impressive Kickstarter Campaign to print 3 of their gorgeous titles…not to mention one of the 3 is actually 5! ANTHOLOGY! So much action, horror, fantasy, samurai stuff and chicks who kick ass all in the palm of your hands, on your shelf and ready to be poured over from cover to cover. (Just don’t bend the spine, ya’ll know these are gonna’ be collector’s items!) Ok, enough chit-chat, head over to the campaign and put your dollar down!

Kickstarter Campaign  |   CharonComics.com  |  Twitter


by Mac Smith |    Kickstarter

Scurry comixcentral

We have been obsessively watching Scurry for a very long time and were thrilled to find this campaign! Albeit a little late:( But you all still have a chance to get in on this incredible campaign. The art? Astounding. The story? Heart pounding good fun. Adorable level? Maximum. Scurry has it all, and Doug to boot. (His eating powers are impressive!) With only a few days left to go, you still have time to Scurry on over to Kickstarter and get your copy(ies)! Let’s help this astoundingly talented independent creator, Mac Smith continue to bring the world of Scurry to our world!

Kickstarter Campaign  |   scurrycomic.com  |  Twitter


by Savi Designs   |    Kickstarter

The Realest Bayani is an independent comic book created from the mind of Hip-Hop artist, Mark “Marvel” Teodosio. This comic book brings to life the cultural heritage of the Philippines. The Realest Bayani follows a man by the name of Marlon “Pirate” Ramos who is in fact based on Mark Marvel’s cousin who passed away not too long ago.

Although this Comic clearly has an important and personal motivation for the creators; which we appreciate and applaud, we have to say first and foremost… this Comic looks BADASS! Illustrator Shawn McArthur is absolutely crushing these pages and pinups! That said, please support this passionate team’s effort to make a social impact through their Comic with a message. “In a world of love, power & corruption a man can only stand by for so long. Marlon Ramos stands as one man against a society descending into hell on earth.” — The Realest Bayani 

Get your copy(ies) today!

Kickstarter Campaign facebook.com Twitter


by Tom Spellman |    Kickstarter

You had me at Goatpocalypse. But seriously, wtf is happening? This is one of those campaigns that stopped us in our tracks, pulled us in and then proceeded to blow our minds with awesome art and evil goats. Sometimes you have to own things that make you go… whaaaaaaaaaaa? If you love weird, gore and total insanity, this is the Kickstarter for you! Come get your GOAT ON!

Kickstarter Campaign  |  facebook.com  |  Twitter


And that’s it for now! If you’ve got a Campaign you think belongs on our list, let us know!

@comixcentral





 

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Podcast Episode #11 – Lance Lucero & Adam Volle: Creators of BOB Non-Union Psychic

Episode #11 – Interview with Lance Lucero & Adam Volle

On this episode, Leigh chats with 2 parts of the creative super team creating the Indie Comic masterpiece, BOB: NON-UNION PSYCHIC
We find out how this team found each other, what BOB is about, how it was created and we also learn why you should mess with Lance and Adam! Join us for some laughs and great lessons in comicbook creation and we’re not kidding when we say these two should be teaching master classes. What a pleasure to have them on!

[podbean resource=”episode=f2h59-7e9a3a” type=”audio-rectangle” height=”100″ skin=”1″ btn-skin=”108″ share=”1″ fonts=”Helvetica” auto=”0″ download=”0″ rtl=”0″]

Connect with Lance and Adam using the links below:

Adam Twitter  | cxc profile:  @warehouse9   |  Warehouse 9 twitter   |   warehouse9pro.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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Welcome to the Magician’s House

CXC – Hello Magician’s House! We are so excited to have this opportunity to get to know you a little better. We’ve been big fans of your work around here for some time! Thank you so much for joining us today.

MH – I’m super stoked to get to talk to you guys and gush about what an important platform ComixCentral actually is.  I don’t know of anywhere else that actually gets indie comics the way that you guys do.  

You’re 100% about the freedoms of the creators, you bend over backward to support what they’re doing and you have categorically come down harshly against all manner of censorship issues which have cropped up since you’ve opened your doors.  

ComixCentral has really shown me everything that I need to see in order to recommend them to people who might be unsure about where to shop their product.  At a different time it may have been Kitchen Sink Press, Fantagraphics Books or something like that, but now, in this age, I have no doubt that the place to be is ComixCentral.  

Since you guys came along, it’s like indie publishing excuses don’t exist anymore.  You’ve thrown down the gauntlet and said, “Oh you have an idea that you want to express in comic book form but it doesn’t fit the mainstream market?  It’s too rough, too short, too experimental, too controversial?  Well, we’ve got you.”  You’ve put the all-talk people on notice. It’s sort of like, “Ok big girl who says she’s out to make comics… now what’s your excuse?”

But those excuses, they’re plentiful, aren’t they?  “Oh, I want to succeed at comics but something’s stopping me; my finances aren’t straight, I have family duties which eat into my creative time, I don’t want to work at it too much and neglect my self-care.”  Dude, if you’re an artist, making art is the only self-care. It should tear you down.  Art should destroy you.  Every time you approach a page you should be a bomb exploding. Afterward, worry about picking up whatever’s left of you from the floor and reshaping it up to do it again. 



CXC – So you don’t have much patience for those not taking their own destiny in their hands it seems.

MH – Yeah, a theme comes up immediately with me that I completely dismiss complainers and excuse-makers.  If you’re not willing to literally give your soul for whatever it is that you’re after then we’ve got nothing to talk about.  We’re operating on different levels.  I came into comics from a delinquency background so my frame of reference for artists was skewed toward the self destructive edge of the spectrum.  It was amazing to find out just how soft the people in comics actually were.  Doughy tykes who wouldn’t last five minutes in a real world situation building stories off some TV that they’ve seen and still complaining about the process and their personal despondencies.  Meanwhile I’m looking at them like, “Are you for real?”  If your dream is to make comics and you’re finding excuses why you can’t squiggle lines down on paper, go ahead and freaking kill yourself.  Life isn’t going to get any easier for you at this point.  I mean, I never find reasons to quit.  I never have things about which to complain.  I only find more and more motivation to push harder and burn hotter.  I just want to crush my enemies, humiliate my critics and die on my feet while moving forward.

Magicians House Cover work – Project Shadow Breed

CXC – Do you feel like that point of view separates you from the “Comicbook” crowd?

Now, haha yeah, I feel like that alienates me from the herd, certainly.  When you add on that I’m not big into fandom, I hate manga, never seen Star Wars, have no clue about video games or Dungeons & Dragons… it all starts to add up that a big chunk of the standard experience is going to zoom past me, you know?  That’s just the palette I’ve been dealt.  All those aspects of comics just get lost on me but there is something else at work in them which I’m very much interested in exploiting.  It’s the subliminal danger that they pose.

Comics used to be a dirty word.  Comics were smut.  They were at the very least a brush with some subversively-motivated minds. They were hurried, and in that quickness the damaged brains of the creative team shown through the cracks.  Like a game where you blurt out the first thing on your mind and you’re horrified at what you unconsciously said.  That’s comics for me.  And for others, too.  Game recognizes game.

Take Doktor Geraldo.  You talk to that guy for five minutes and you realize that he’s a madman.  You’ve met this guy, he’s a menace, isn’t he?  His every idea is so loaded in ways that will completely unbalance you.  He let me creep up into his world for a minute and he told me that he liked my drawings a little bit. Well I, naturally, was crazy about his throwback unidentifiable concepts and writing.  He offered that we should collaborate on a completely original concept at some point and I agreed but my drawing schedule was slammed for the foreseeable future.  He didn’t skip a beat.  He said, “Ok then I’ll draw it and you write it”.

This is the world in which Geraldo lives, haha.  I’d never written anything so he had nothing on which to base this gamble.  He’s well known to illustrate in a very primitive artistic style, so this whole suicidal concept was simply going to be an exercise at baring our necks to the critics.  Each of us taking the things at which we excel and instead doing the opposite.  It was a jarringly original proposition.  He had no idea what kind of story I’d be asking him to illustrate.  He’s a guy who dives in first and looks for water on the way down.  It certainly got my attention, so I messaged him back immediately.

Let Geraldo’s enthusiasm be known.  No roadblock can be built which will hold this guy back.  Never is he anything other than exuberant about the potential of comics.  Here I was intentionally making the story as self-damning and radioactive as I could conceive.  And yet he had no problems with the two of us using our weakest skills to create the unsaleable. 

CXC – What do you mean by unsaleable?

MH- Unsaleable because the comics community is famously strident in that they take themselves far too seriously.  They love to climb up onto their cross and yell out to the crowd about how they’ve been given such a raw deal.  Victimhood is very much the fashion of the day.  It might be completely lost on them that Kirby obviously occupies a great deal of my constant brain power if his 100th birthday was something rolling around in my head back in March.  I knew to count on the predictable reactionary tantrum for a besmirching title like Fuck Kirby piggybacking the occasion, no matter its content.

I told Geraldo that nobody was going to publish this.  Nobody was going to get near it for fear of the galled backlash from all the shriekers who themselves only know that it’s Kirby’s birthday because Marvel told them a day before in order to sell them their own comic books. So props to ComixCentral, again. We did Fuck Kirby before we did Dildo Boy Origins so I wasn’t yet convinced at just how truly committed you guys were to staying consistent on your position that everyone must retain the power to sink or swim under their own merit.  Personally, if I could turn this interview around on you for a minute, I’d love to know how this concept of creative freedom became so important to you in the first place such that you’d take it to extremes like this to stay in step.

CXC – Haha! Yes. We believe strongly in freedom of expression and have put our “money where our mouths are” so to speak. If you’re going to stand on a soap box and take a stand for free speech, you better be willing to back that up with action. We are very proud of our no-censorship stance.. which is probably why we love your work so much! 

Cover “Fuck Kirby” written by Magician’s House

But, back to you. Tell us a bit about your personal website magicianshouse.com and the blog, “Comix Voodoo Hayride”. How did that come about?

Like I said, game recognizes game.  I’m always here to sing you guy’s praises not because of things that you’ve said but rather the things that you’ve done. I regret that I’ve had to turn down a few of your creator spotlight segments but I got banned from Facebook and couldn’t participate.  That’s one of the reasons I ended up launching my own website.  It became apparent to me that if I was going to continue popping off with inflammatory views then I was going to need a place where they couldn’t throw me out.  Comix Voodoo Hayride” is now my own little corner of the universe where I get to talk to whomever I want and say whatever I think.  I like highlighting the extreme personalities, whether or not I agree with them.  I’m drawn to bad apples.  I gravitate to the self taught and the self made.  I don’t care if you’re a good witch or a bad witch just so long as you’re indomitable.  It’s just the taste I developed due to my background. 

CXC – Now that you bring it up, would you mind telling us a bit of your origin story? We’ve heard from Doktor Geraldo it’s very unique.

MH – I haven’t clued you into any of that yet, have I?  Well, let me give you the nickel tour of the last thirty years. 

My mom was a runaway rambunctious beauty queen, my father a convicted mad bomber who’s doing life without parole.  Growing up I was familiar with comics but they weren’t the center of my world, magic was.  When my mother remarried an African Obeah man it gave me pretty much the keys to the kingdom; anything I wanted to know, I had access.

I was painting a lot of freight trains at the time and eventually started riding them.  One day I just never rode back.  I was fourteen.

If you’ve never ridden a freight train before, they’re sooty and everything about them is designed, from what I can tell, to hurt you.  And they’re loud.  So loud that conversation is useless and you’re left to your own interpretations of what the hand-etched symbols on the interior of all the cars mean.  The symbols were always there.  You could see them in the dark.  I could see them with my eyes closed.  With my background I was quick to assume them to be an unknown magic inscription and I fancied the trains were crisscrossing America, clandestinely feeding the country like a circulatory system with these sigils.  They influenced me to no end.  A whole lot later I found out that they were what people call Hobo Signs. 

Excerpt from “Fuck Kirby”

I met other kids painting trains.  I’d stay at their houses.  If they were into comics I would eat up their collection but the issues were always fragmented, diverse and sporadic, like channel surfing.  I found work in haunted houses, that led to some modeling, I worked a cash register at an all-night sex store.  Comics were germinating in my head all this time but I had far too much ground yet to cover.  Too many walls to bomb.  I got locked up a lot.  And I escaped a lot.  I cut off every ankle monitor ever put on me, got back up on my feet and hit the road again.

I was eventually institutionalized and finally remanded to some unknown extended family deep, deep in an undeveloped swallowing forest in Georgia.  It was like no place I’d hitherto been.  It was a real detour for me.  I found out that my grandfather had been this legendary Hitori Hanzo type character; a mountain man living in cryptic hermitage while hand-forging these widely-sought blades with components he gathered from the forest, skeletons and antlers.

Excerpt from “Fuck Kirby”

Having nothing to paint on and nothing to paint with while being isolated in the forest really dialed me into the history of the soil. Haha, the frequency of all those ghosts in the ground.  So I started drawing and found that comics were calling distantly to me out there from the future like a time-traveling dog whistle.  Now I’ve been drawing for three years.

CXC – Wow. Just wow is all we can say! You really must write an autobiography at some point!

Now, you say you’ve been drawing comics for 3 years. Can you tell us a bit about some of the projects you’ve worked on?

MH – I’ve gotten to work on a lot of books that you can conveniently find right here on ComixCentral like Project Shadow Breed and Dildo Boy Origins.  You can catch me at magicianshouse.com which I update several times a week.  I would invite you to see the pernicious ten page mini-comic Fuck Kirby for yourself and stamp your size eight shoes around angrily if need be.  

CXC – Wonderful. Thank you so much for this candid and fascinating look into your work and the woman behind the art! We’ve enjoyed your story immensely and look forward to all your future endeavors. We have a feeling you’re going to be making some huge splashes and waves in the coming years!

Alright, it’s been great talking to you and we’ll do it again soon.

Corsair is illustrated by Magician’s House

And with that, we’d like to thank Magician’s House again for joining us. You can find out more on her website, connect through twitter or right here on ComixCentral. 

Twitter   |   magicicanshouse.com   |  CXC profile





 

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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!

[podbean resource=”episode=6wvxa-7e9a3c” type=”audio-rectangle” height=”100″ skin=”1″ btn-skin=”108″ share=”1″ fonts=”Helvetica” auto=”0″ download=”0″ rtl=”0″]
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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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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Stephen Gammell: A Friendship Forged in the Dark

stephen gammell

 Greetings, fellow fear followers. Tis’ another frenzied frightfest filled with eerie exploration.

Grab your torches and pitchforks. Let us mob-march together across yet another murderous moor. Tonight we brave the mist in search of the ultimate bearer of bedtime burdens. He’s the drawer of dark art that gifted us our first ghoul-gasm. He’s the herald of horror headaches, and he put the chill in children illustrations. Ladies and gentlemen, I’m speaking, of course, about the juicy genius of Mr. Stephen Gammell.

He’s one of those mystery magicians who has a reputation for macabre magic among the youth of the 80’s and 90’s. You may not know his name, but trust me, you know his work. He’s been doing his thing as a paid professional since the 70’s, but he’s particularly fear-famous for the Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark series. Like many currently-early-30’s children, I was introduced by this dude (along with writer Alvin Schwartz) to terror tales in the best way. You see, fear is a tricky thing. Often times, it keeps us from moving forward. However, true morbid masters of the netherrealm find a way to give darkness a sort of awkward gravitational pull. Fear is supposed to be something you run from, but Gammell turned darkness into a siren’s song that many adolescents are still singing along to today. Gammell didn’t always do horror, but he was always brilliant. Like all kings and queens of creativity, his brilliance had to start somewhere.


From a very young age, Gammell’s parents put a perfectly good sheet of paper in front of him to ruin. Those are paraphrased words from Gammell himself. It’s easy to see how a young son might get “drawn in” by illustration when his dad is the art editor for a major magazine. Encouragement from your parents is one thing, but I think growing up in Iowa must have been an even bigger influence. I mean seriously, what’s in Iowa? I’m pleading ignorance here. Will someone please message me and tell me what exciting thing existed in Iowa as a kid 50 years ago or something? Oh, my bad. I forgot. You guys have Albert, the world’s largest bull. My life is made. Thanks, Iowa. Anyway, sorry for my lack of Iowa knowledge. I’m sure Stephen probably appreciates it a lot more. If you are reading this Mr. Gammell, please accept my sincerest apologies. Des Moines is much more interesting to me now than ever, thanks to your existence.

In my limited experience, I find that art is not something you chase.

It seems to be something that always chases you. I read that, from a very young age, Stephen Gammell found pencils much more interesting than toys. I also read that he credits drawing as the thing that “got him through” school. I don’t know about you fellow creators out there, but I definitely credit curiously cultivated fantasy as the ultimate cure to the soul-sucking scholastic disease we adult children now call boredom. For the record, it’s not the fault of your teachers, my friends. It is the system’s fault. If you don’t believe me, just check out one of the old school houses circa 1876. I hear they have one in Iowa. You’ll find that it looks strikingly similar to our modern day desk dilemma. Alas, my ADD has appeared again, and this is a topic for another time. For now, back to Stephen. P.S. This article does not reflect the opinions of ComixCentral, nor does it belittle the value of education for the youth. P.P.S. Yes it does. P.P.P.S. Go to school anyway. Stephen did. He did not, however, go to school for art.

Like many unique geniuses, Gammell didn’t have any formal artistic training. There’s nothing wrong with going either way necessarily, but those who don’t follow formulas are bound to find something special. I would venture to guess that they find their own way a bit faster, but everyone has influences. Gammell was first influenced by the periodical illustrations his father would bring home from the office. As a songwriter/musician by trade, I was first influenced by Brian Wilson and my mom’s old THK tapes of The Beach Boys Greatest Hits. What can I say? We’re all a product of our surroundings.

Once Gammell came into his own, his first published illustrations came in the form of squirrels declaring war on a farmer. The book: A Nutty Business written by Ida Chittum. Since then he’s illustrated/written over 50 stories and poems. Other illustrated works include: Old Black Fly, Mudkin, and, one of my personal favorites, The Relatives Came (written by Cynthia Rylant). Incidentally, this one came out the year I was born. While these were not especially creepy, you can see Gammell’s style in each picture book. His illustrations have a way of both complementing the writer and maintaining a unique, very memorable signature all its own. He was a runner-up for The Caldecott Medal in 1982 for Where the Buffaloes Begin (written by Olaf Baker) and finally nabbed the award in 1982 for Song and Dance Man (written by Karen Ackerman). The Caldecott Medal is a pretty major award in the league of little kid literary gentleman. Unlike the sexy leg lamp in A Christmas Story, this award actually means something.

Now that some back story has been taken care of, let us return to why we are here together.

While some of Gammell’s literary partnerships may have won awards over the years, no partnership has created more buzz, or more controversial excitement, than his literary marriage of imagination with the flesh fevered folklore king, writer Alvin Schwartz. Both creative wizards remembered something that so many “adults” often forget. There’s this phrase around storytelling and self-esteem every kid grows up getting sick of, thanks to every kindergarten teacher ever. Say it with me, “Don’t judge a book by it’s cover.” It’s a childishly delicious sentiment with a gushy cliche’ center, but the inside truth is that pictures mean so much more than “a thousand words” when you’re somewhere between 9 years old and a “hormonecidal” maniac. As a youth pictures mean everything. There’s no better tapestry of that understanding than the covers on the front of any ORIGINAL Scary Stories tale. We’ll talk about why I capitalized original in a moment. For now, let’s take a ride back ‘round a crooked carousel of magnificently mangled memories full of creaky stairs, angry shutters, haunted whispers, and cat-eye shadows. What was your favorite story, and perhaps more importantly (since Gammell is our focus today), what was your favorite image? I honestly can’t decide. Let’s you and I go through some of them briefly, and maybe you can help me remember the best of the best.

There’s something about “The Red Spot” that sticks with you. I scratch my cheek just thinking about it. The illustration for “Oh Susannah” doesn’t really connect with the story, but it sure reaches into the imagination. If you need immersion therapy into the depths of dying female desperation, definitely check out the images from “The Bride” and “The Haunted House.” Last, but not least, the image (and story) that never left me to this day has to be “Harold.” I can’t really explain it. Maybe it’s because I have a farmhand’s soul. Maybe it’s because the story addresses bullying in the best way, and I was sort of going through some of that stuff in my own life at the time. Either way, trust me on this, don’t torture things you don’t fully understand, even if it’s something as simple as a scarecrow named Harold.

As I examined some of these stories from my past, my girlfriend remarked, “I can’t believe they thought these stories and pictures were okay for kids!” THAT, my friends, is exactly my point. The reason why these stories are so beloved is because both Alvin Schwartz and Stephen Gammell approached their passion with bravery. Even more so, they had faith– faith in their audience regardless of age. Nightmares were not to be shied away from, but exposed for what they were and are still today.  It seems to me that both the artist in question (Gammell) and the writer (Schwartz) understood the difference between “childish” and children, “youth” and young adult. It’s an important distinction. Any artist with an ounce of courage puts passion in front of controversy. They put joy ahead of concern. They value charisma beyond critique. You get it. If you take one thing from this piece, I hope it’s this: push boundaries in order to get pushed back. Otherwise, you’ll always be one step behind the artist you were meant to be. With that said, every artist has their own mental paint brush. The same story project could be given to ten different illustrators, and they would have ten different takes. So let’s take a quick look at the Scary Stories 30th Anniversary blunder and my thoughts around the new illustrations.

Brett Helquist is a brilliant illustrator. Do you hear me people? For real though, he’s really good. He can’t stand up to Gammell, but that’s not really his fault (kind of). Before I start to ramble, let me back up a bit. For those of you who didn’t know, Harper Collins decided to accidentally ruin lives when they had Stephen Gammell’s illustrations redone for the 30th Anniversary release of the Scary Stories series. If you don’t believe me, check out some of the Amazon reviews. All the one-star writeups come from surprised angry readers expecting a night scream and getting a whimper at best. I’d break down how I feel with words here, but again, pictures are worth so much more in this scenario.

Bottom line: Brett’s great. He’s best known for his work with Lemony Snicket (aka Daniel Handler) and A Series of Unfortunate Events. The fact is, his stuff would probably work with just about anything else. I did some research, arguably limited, and found all these people hating on Brett for his part in destroying memories of our childhood. Look, stop hating on this guy. He’s awesome. He was hired to do a job, and he did it as he saw fit. It’s not like he stood in a candlelit room cackling while dismantling the dreams of Stephen Gammell after he got the call from the publisher. If you’re gonna hate on anyone, you should probably hate on Harper Collins. They’re the ones who finally caved in to all the helicopter parents and book ban lists. If you’re one out of a million people who actually like the new illustrations, good for you. I know what you might be thinking– something along the lines of, “Brett’s illustrations are more directly connected to the story.” Guess what? You’re right. However, you are once again missing the point.

Scare-reaction is much more about what you CAN’T see.

I don’t know Gammell personally, so I’m not sure whether his vision was a happy accident or a well-thought out gallery of gore. However, it’s obvious that Stephen understood that the one thing more important to a kid than pictures is imagination. Of all the things an adult world can stop, imagination isn’t one of them. Parents can’t protect their kids from an imagination anymore than they can stop them from growing up. A message to all the parents who hate on Gammell’s illustrations: go away. No one likes you. Fear builds strength and character, and as a hopeful father myself, I’d much rather that fear come from Scholastic than some street corner. If fear is learned under the covers, within the confines of a book, in a happy home, then it can be slowly absorbed, explored, and, on some level, appreciated. If it is thrust upon you in some dark alley, then all you’ve got is fight or flight, and that, I’m afraid, is barely human. If anything, Gammell’s art reminds us that we aren’t just animals fleeing from life. We are people. We are people with hearts that beat for the sake of adventure, even if that adventure is so frightening that our hearts seem to leap ahead of our chest. As a kid, Gammell (and Schwartz) taught me that I could handle more than I bargained for, and I felt stronger for it. If you’re still haunted by these images, then good; they did their job. Besides, that’s what therapy is for. There are limits to fear, but they are only as limited as the human experience itself. You might say that bravery is at the heart of storytelling. It’s not something you’re born with. It’s something you find. His gritty imagery helped me smile in the face of darkness. We still don’t always get along, but thanks to Stephen Gammell, the dark and I will always be good friends.





 

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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 #3 – The Doktor is in!

 INTERVIEW WITH DOKTOR GERALDO

On today’s episode Leigh Jeffery and Steven Rosia are joined by Doktor Geraldo! We meet this digital renaissance man and get the low down on Spec Ops Hobo, Dildo Boy and so much more.

So please join us as we continue to learn the craft of Podcasting and are having a blast doing it!

[podbean resource=”episode=w7ds5-7e9a43″ type=”audio-rectangle” height=”100″ skin=”1″ btn-skin=”108″ share=”1″ fonts=”Helvetica” auto=”0″ download=”0″ rtl=”0″]

Also, stick around to the end to hear Leigh mess up the first intro;P


Our sweet intro music is brought to you by Pleasure Pool! Thank you so much guys for letting us use your awesome tracks! Ps. The Doktor is also behind this amazing band!



 

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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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Evian Rising: A Lesson in Love

evian rising comic review

What’s up manga misfits? Today we examine the architectural odyssey of Evian Rising. I do not use the word “odyssey” lightly.

As it stands, if Stephen King’s Pennywise is considered “the eater of worlds,” then Latravious Calloway may very well be the clown’s antithesis. A kind, meticulous designer whose love and devotion for his wife and daughters created a universe. That’s a pretty strong monument to unity and family compared to your last-minute-no-thought-sad-sack-cuz-girls-like-singing-things-sometimes purchase of Pitch Perfect 2 from Walmart ‘ay Jim.

Evian Rising’s creator seems to have the corner market on lavish love letters in the form of a martial arts fantasy/anime mashup.

His journey is crafted upon a sculpture of feminism that is both timeless and modern, broken from the mold of diversity, mythology and vengeance. The magnetism of the main character comes from her decisive nature. It’s up to you as the reader to decide whether the ends justify the means, but I can appreciate the story’s attempt to demonstrate the power human charisma can have over blind faith. The protagonist is both blunt and empathetic, similar to the likes of Salt or Lara Croft, and she’s just as mysterious.

With only one issue thus far, backed up by an unfinished 60 plus wikia page chalked full of backstory, character descriptions, and skill trees, it’s clear this arc is going to be a very long trip. Thankfully, we could all use a new heroine addiction. It feels a little bit like Dungeons and Dragons grew lady parts and flew into space. I’m down with that.
Since Latravious uses the graphic novel medium as a means to redefine the term “passion project,” I thought it might be best to express the creative process of Evian in the form of a sonnet, one love letter for another, if you will. A bit strange perhaps, but more than appropriate considering our topic is a little out of this world.

Evian Rising: A Sonnet

When stars could not keep locked the heaven’s lore

And humans learned the truth from stranger things

The beings with new faith were slaves no more

God’s idle hands were tricked by freedom’s ring

But while her ring burst forth with good intent

Her voice broke through the masters lazy rest

His morning fury came without consent

And stole the light the new believer’s blessed

But though the night brings monsters in his wake

The light gave birth a wish upon her death

A star with mother’s skin and daughters strength

Who would return the power that hope left

A warrior countess born without a past

Will fight to give the cosmos truth at last

~

While I’m not as familiar with our story as Latravious must be, the vast nature of its lore along with our author’s attention to detail must be nothing short of poetry.

Though it might be easy to label this tale as 2 years in the making, there’s something about the venture that is honestly timeless. While love may be the most widely worded topic in the land of art and literature, that’s only because it reminds each of us why we tell stories in the first place. That is, to tell the truth.

While I wish Evian’s rise to be a successful one, she can rest easy above the clouds knowing she’s supported via a rare and devoted romeo who really wanted to put a new spin on those three little words we all know in a big way. While we all want our creativity to shine far and wide, we often forget the value of genuine depth under all that noisy expectation. It’s all pretty wild considering a universe this big can exist around a single focal point.


This is the kind of creative journey we can always feel more than anything else.

It reminds us that “I love you” is never boring and always matters. Don’t take my word for it. You don’t need a class in Shakespeare or a course in etiquette to tell a good story. You simply need to place your heart in the hands of someone you love and let her do the talking. I have a feeling she’ll have a lot more to say than you think.


For more information about Evian Rising check out her home on the web: https://www.evianrising.com/





 

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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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Faithfully Human – J.M Bryan

jm bryan

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

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

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

 

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

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




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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

jmbryanwrites.myportfolio.com

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

CXC: @jmbwrites

ComixShop: Little Monster Comics





 

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Gilbert Deltrez: Demons, Dreams, and Determination

Hello again, my fellow spawn of supernatural storytelling.

Today, I’m tempting the pentagram in an effort to understand the tortured tenacity of Gilbert Deltrez. Let us join him on a foray of flesh flying fanaticism. We’ll delve into various dark projects, crush some Kickstarter, and learn about the inspiration monster within. If you’ve got the courage, let’s do some dimension hopping with a devilishly kind comic chameleon. If we’re lucky, we’ll get back here in one piece, covered in a new shade of red of course.


Chris: Hey Gil, thanks for joining us man! First off, how long have you been dreaming up demons? Sometimes people use art to release the nightmares they have in their heads. Is your process more cathartic, or do you simply love the macabre? For me, it’s a little bit of both I’m afraid.

Gil: As an 80’s child I kinda grew up with a deep infatuation to horror. Movies like The Pit, Child’s Play, Nightmare on Elm Street, and The Exorcist ruined me in all the right ways. As much as I love a good ghost story, they don’t do anything for me. Ghosts can’t hurt you. Demons can. Their effectiveness stems from the morality of one’s spirit. For me, the demonic subject alone has compelled me to flesh out narratives that evoke people to search within themselves. 

Gilbert Deltrez

Chris: Did your parents have any influence on your artistic choices, or even your vision to pursue art as a career? Sometimes it’s harder for parents to get behind a young artist’s obsession, especially if it has darker themes. As an artist myself, I’d love your take on things.

Gil: My artistic endeavor came after much soul-searching, and coming to the realization that a career in the arts wasn’t something that’s inherently viewed as attainable in my cultural circle as a Latin American. But in a general sense, my parents were behind me. Realistically, they didn’t view comic book writing as a career worth pursuing, or investing money in, but for me, obviously it goes way beyond a means to make money. It’s a way of life. It’s sharing a distinct viewpoint that only I am capable of. It’s a voice. Although the darker themes may spurn some, my message is ultimately one that brings light. 



Chris: Tell me about “Under the Flesh.” Is that the story that got you started with indie comic dreams, or were there prior attempts? Why did you have to tell that particular story?

Gil: “Under The Flesh” is very special to me. It was my first jump into the world of comic book creation. I learned by making tough mistakes. What started as my personal love letter to the zombie genre evolved into a psycho-spiritual apocalypse story. We’ve already completed three issues of a six-issue arc.

Chris: My understanding is that LAIR is a 60- or so page, one shot graphic novel, as opposed to broken down issues of UTF. As a writer, what freedom do you experience in a one-and-done scenario like LAIR? What challenges do you experience that didn’t apply to UTF?

Gil: LAIR is all about closure. As an avid comic reader, it gets hard to keep up with all the glorious comic book fodder available for our optic spams. So many Issues. Volumes. Trades. Because of that, I wanted to write a complete story. Something with a beginning, middle, and end, where readers can gauge my work. Like a mini movie in comic book form.

Chris: What’s your process like? I love storytelling but I struggle with outlines. I tend to start with a situation and let my brain figure out the story from there. Do you feel outlines are necessary? What’s your best advice for new writers?

Gil: Everyone has his or her own method. Style. Routine. Mantra. I don’t mind outlines. I’ve written stories which started from a cool title that just popped in my head or a scene that manifests subconsciously from something else. I’ve even created a project that sparked from a bizarre dream. Usually, once key pieces are in place, I figure out the cast, plot, overall direction, and then start handwriting before I type it out. But outlines are pivotal. And in other cases, not so much.

Chris: How does the off-duty cop in LAIR differ from the super-soldier in UTF? They both seem like gritty individuals with their own personal struggles, but I’d love to gain an understanding of the character depth.

Gil: In UTF, our super-soldier is eager to channel his untapped power in an apocalyptic world. He’s unaware what he’s capable of and wants to push his limits, even if it puts himself in immediate danger. He’s a man of faith. He’s not utterly hopeless. In LAIR, our off-duty cop is a brash, irreligious man who’s tired of being typecast by society, even though he’s a cop. His pride is so strong that he’s willing to walk away from the woman he loves because he can’t stand her elitist father.

Chris: You seem like a Kickstarter veteran. As an indie creator who has learned a lot in a relatively short period of time, what is the most important piece of advice you can provide?

Gil: DON’T GIVE UP. If you’re determined, you’ll tough it out. I’m as marginalized as they come, and my path to publication is double the uphill with triple the battle. My goal is to finish what I start. As a comic book writer, there are many things out of my scope of control, so I like to focus on what I have power over.

Chris: Speaking of which, you’ve got a lot of faith and courage attached to the 10k goal for LAIR. Where does that kind of courage come from, and how can we help get it out there (besides just telling our friends, of course)?

Gil: Faith is what gives me my courage. I believe in LAIR. I financed the finished cover and first page out of pocket because I’m confident in the strength of the project. Sadly, since I don’t have a disposable income, I need to rely on crowdfunding to shoulder the burden. Anyone that knows comics can see that the creative team behind LAIR is of the highest order. We’re all self-taught artists, respectively, and we all suffer from delusions of grandeur. We’re unknown, which makes getting word of our project all the harder. We’re banking on word of mouth because my voice doesn’t hold much weight in the comic world right now. Hopefully that will change slightly with LAIR.

Chris: I see various influences in your work. I like the “Walking Dead” vibes, and with all these demons, The Exorcist has got to be in there somewhere. Based on a limited understanding of our heroes, I’m gonna guess… Frank Castle is hidden in the shadows as well? Who’s your biggest influence as a storyteller?

Gil: Frank Castle is one of my favorite superheroes after Batman and Spiderman. As far as influences? I’ve got many. Romero, Fulci, Tarantino, Stephen King, Koontz, Joe Hill, Kirkman, Snyder, James Wan, and Jordan Peele. But my biggest storytelling influence comes from a prophetic humble man who rode a donkey while claiming to be king for his people.

Chris: Finally my friend, what’s the most exciting thing in your life outside of LAIR at the moment?

Gil: The most exciting things outside of my life are the underprivileged third grade students I serve five days out of the week. I hope to inspire them as if I was clad in spandex with a gust of wind winnowing beneath my cape.


There you have it, admirers of the underworld.

My expectations were exceeded yet again. Gil is not only a well-read dreamer, but as humble as they come. He’s brave enough to explore a harsher side of humanity, and I, for one, am brave enough to follow him into the depths. We’ve not only managed to survive a stroll in the gorgeous midnight gardens of good and evil, but also somehow managed to come out brighter on the other side. Gil’s work is indeed a worthy search of the soul. Like the best storytellers, he entertains us in the most “graphic” sense of the word while also telling us the truth in secret. It seems we must grab hold of the darkness tightly if we are to find the light within.

To contribute to Gil’s Kickstarter, learn more about his work or just connect, you’ll find all those links below:

Kickstarter – Lair

twitter: @GilbertDeltrez

Website: http://www.undertheflesh.com/





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J Adam Farster: The New Blue Bomber

j adam farster

What’s up, super seekers? It’s time for another life dive dance, and I’m happy to cut in.

For today’s episode, I get to slice through the mental majesty of J Adam Farster and his 4 piece 80’s arc explosion, Humalien. It’s wild whack-attack, GotG meets Family Ties vibes sound like the Happy Days, all-ages, oddball orchestra everyone hears coming from the pit of their soul. It’s accidental humor meets an electric slide surprise. By the way, he does all the illustration and storytelling himself. Enough jib-jab. Let’s explode onto the scene.

J. Adam Farster / Humalien

Chris: Hey Adam. Thanks for joining us. First off, where do you fit into Humalien? Why was it so important for you to tell THIS story?

Adam: Well, in the 1900’s (’99) I had the idea and self-published a book called Y4K.  It is essentially the same as Humalien, just not as polished.  I hit some cons and showed my work around with overwhelming rejection.  I had a lot of negativity at cons, too.  It was extremely defeating.  In reality the work wasn’t great.  So I backed away and was working as a graphic artist.  I drew little comics here and there.  There were a lot of starts and stops, all the while still loving the story I had created in Y4K.  

It was almost 3 years ago talking with a friend, and then with my wife, and them both telling me to “just make the thing.”  So I re-branded, put together a Kickstarter, and made the thing.  

It was nice to make it through the project and have some extremely positive responses to the book.  It had to be time, and what I put into it, this time it feels different to be making comics.  I think it was important to complete the first 4-issue arc. There were ups and downs along the way, but ultimately having a completed project was rewarding.



Chris: Did you always intend on being the illlustrator and the storyteller? In my experience, collaboration makes it easier to market because you have more than one person pushing the content. What was it like being the lone genius? 

Adam: I like being a storyteller.  I like illustrating, but writing and coming up with ideas and figuring it all out is part of the fun.  I also have control issues; I like to be the one making the creative decisions.   Making an independent book is also a lifestyle.  You get back what you put in.  I can’t blame anyone for my failures/successes.  It all falls on me.  Not to say I don’t and won’t collaborate in the near future (foreshadowing). It just wasn’t my goal starting out.  

J. Adam Farster

Chris: Speaking of that, I read that one your most challenging things was building a brand. What was your process like? Do you have any specific MUSTS for fellow creators out there? Did Midday Monster sketches come out of that process? 

Adam: It was really just finding an audience, which I’m still looking for.  Exposure is tough in a crowded market.  I’m really just figuring it out as I go.  

As far as a MUST, I think creators need to be ok with failure. You are going to do it a ton.  Working out of that and learning is a big part of being a creator. Also, find a group of creator friends.  Start a group. Go to local drink & draw events.  Having people to bounce ideas off of is a great resource.  Plus it makes you become more social.  Sometimes you can create with them.  The group I am part of released an anthology book earlier this year called Lush.  

Midday Monsters was a plan I had that hasn’t really happened…YET.  I would like to do more live streaming and teaching/tutorials.  I just need to make time. 

My process is this:  have an idea, write a rough outline, then sketch, thumbnail, and get to work.  I have an idea and try and hit all the beats I want.  I work 100% digital with Sketchbook and Photoshop using a Cintiq, so it all goes fairly smoothly. 

J. Adam Farster

I’m working on a couple ideas right now, and I draw a lot in a sketchbook to understand the feels of characters before I can commit 100% to doing an entire book with them.  It needs to feel organic.

Chris: I checked your review on Roast.com. That must have felt pretty good. How do you handle criticism of your work? What was the most constructive advice you’ve been given as a creator? 

Adam: There have been some kind things said about Humalien and a few pretty terrible things.  When someone GETS the book, they get it and it makes me happy for days.  Some people are turned off by the art or the limitations of the story.  I’m just trying to make something fun. Everything doesn’t have to be for everyone.  I make stuff I would like to have read or would like to read and see.  You don’t see me doing a lot of superhero art because everyone does it.  How many versions of Deadpool or Batman are there out there?  They are great characters and have amazing talents working on the books.  It just isn’t what I set out to make.

The most constructive advice I’ve ever gotten was to keep making comics.  You don’t need a major publisher or anything. Anyone can make comics.

I tell this same thing to people when they ask how to get into it.  Just make your thing, put it out there.  Rinse.  Repeat. 

Chris: As far as the Humalien heroes: Ed and Plato seem brave and reckless, whereas Kuhl and Kyrja look before they leap. Which pair is more like your life style? 

Adam: I’m totally Kuhl.  He is the one who has to overthink and be the one hiding rather than right in the mix.  Ultimately I’m Ed though, even though he is all action, he is an outsider with a bunch of weirdos around him.  However, I’m sure I am the weirdo surrounded by normal people.

Chris: Speaking of reckless. I love the humorous dynamic between the characters. The dialogue seems natural. Was it easier to write the dialogue than the big picture details of the story, or was it the other way around? 

Adam: I write all the dialogue last.  I have all the art done and go in and make it flow the way I feel that is natural. Dialogue is tough to get the beats, and most of the humor is accidental.   

As long as the art hits all the story beats, then it seems to work. I have completely scrapped pages because they didn’t work sometimes 2 days before printing.

Chris:  I definitely see the 80’s vibe in the comic. You’re also clearly a Star Wars fan (Me too– WHO ISN’T?!). I also read that you were much more influenced by film and cartoons than comics themselves, at least initially. Is that true, and how has that impacted your animation style? 

Adam: I still am.  I think that film and animation are great.  There are some great comics that inspired me to take a shot.  Ultimately, it’s 80’s action/toy cartoons and movies that made me want to be a storyteller.  

Chris: I saw a sketch of Jason in your collection. I loved it. Do you have an appreciation for the hack-and-slash horror genre, and has that impacted your story telling in any way? 

Adam: I have a huge affinity for the Halloween, the first few Friday the 13th’s, and Nightmare on Elm Street movies.  I don’t think it has impacted me at all other than I love creating monsters and menacing villains.

J. Adam Farster
J. Adam Farster

Chris: Where did the idea of spontaneous combustion come from as a superpower? That’s really unique to me. Is that where the Chuck Jones/Looney Tunes influence comes into play? 

Adam: I read something about spontaneous combustion in high school, and it always fascinated me.  I thought about it a lot.  I thought of it like an electrical fire, and how cool it would be to harness the electrical power from your body and be part alien. 

Chris: I saw you went to animation school. What did you love about it? What was challenging about it? Was there a lot of critique involved (like a typical art school), or did you experience a lot of freedom? 

Adam: I did.  I went to Columbia College in Chicago.  It was great. I wanted to be Chuck Jones or Bob Clampett.  I really loved Ren & Stimpy and what John K was doing, too. While we had projects to do, we were allowed to do what we wanted with them. Critique was more on technical skills, rather, so you had a lot of room to experiment creatively.   I still love 2D and stop motion animation more than a lot of what we have going on right now.  

Chris: What’s the most exciting thing happening in your life right now outside of comics/creativity? 

Adam: I have a 3-year-old daughter, and she is the most exciting thing ever.  Everything is new, and seeing something through her eyes is so much fun.  

Adam really embodies everything representative of the indie spirit.

His grace while walking the tightrope of encouragement and criticism has provided space for a master class in independent artistry. His storytelling abilities have been crafted into a reliable catharsis of sorts. I’m excited for the next arc. If you want charming lessons in sibling rivalry, action and loyalty than look no further than Humalien. If you need a wise friend to help you navigate the oddities of life, look no further than Adam himself. He may not be a blue robot from the future, but I’d hop on the Ed express if I were you. There’s something truly “mega” in store for the man who’s just alien enough to sketch a new shade of the human experience.

J. Adam Farster

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

AdamFarster.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/adamfarster

CXC: @farster13

ComixShop: Floor 13 Studios 





 

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Jared Muralt: The 2-Dimensional Illusion of a 3D Life

jared muralt

Welcome weird wunderkinder!

How’s your creative genius treating you this morning? Mine has gone into hiding, thanks to the mental magnificence of Swiss illustrator, Jared Muralt. I had the pleasure of interviewing this tremendous talent and it was clear to me that the content of his character is as colorful, multifaceted and exceptional as his body of work.




Whether he’s doing freelance work or running the business rails of his Blackyard Studios, a co-founded Swiss design collective, he really has a people-first approach to his craft. It’s so interesting how microcosm moments, like a young 5-year-old mind crashing headfirst into a sci-fi adventure comic book, can create a relationship with life that no one would’ve seen coming. I’ll let him give you the gritty details, but Jared dispels the illusion of easy art with joy and grace. His tone is playful, yet serious. Much like his style, his insights come alive with a sense of innocence, vulnerability and an undeniable respect for the craft. Join me as we jump off the page and share in Jared’s love of Moebius, Star Wars, nature, and Indiana Jones (except Crystal Skull of course).

 


Chris: Hey Jared, I understand you’re from Bern.  Did that community have an influence on your style?  Did you find art or did art find you?

Jared: No, I wouldn’t really say that the community had an influence on my style, but when art found me was when I found art. When I was five years old, I found a comic book by Moebius, “Le Garage Hermétique,“ that belonged to my mother in our living room. It must have been around our house for much longer, but this is when I found it and when it found me. I was instantly mesmerized!

Chris: I understand you started with sci-fi drawings, did any early sci-fi stories influence your developing style? FYI: I came across Grand Moff Tarkin on your Instagram – AMAZING!

Jared: Again, sci-fi stories by Moebius. Of course, my early fascination and affixation with Star Wars is undeniable and prevails to this day, but I know I am not alone with this!

Chris: Tell me about your year in art school. I’ve been told it’s nothing but criticism.  You either grow from its constructive nature, learn to create despite judgment, or maybe both.  Was that your experience?

Jared: What I really took from art school was the realization that I was too young back then, too young to take life and my education and my career seriously. The following year, I worked as a cashier in a supermarket and that was much more valuable life experience than my year at art school – in that it showed me what I don’t want to do. And that I really, really have to accomplish myself and work on my skills and career unless I want to end up in a job I don’t want to do for the rest of my life. After years of school and then art school, it was this very real work experience that showed me the responsibilities that come with being an adult. It made me thing seriously about a career and how to get one.

Chris: I also understand you have a preference towards the stippling technique.  Can you share a little about what that is?  Do you find creative power in the world of dots?

Jared: To me, it did indeed start with stippling and this helped me to convey surface and structures in a black-and-white drawing. It doesn’t really need to be points – it could be cross hatching for example, but it is a good technique to successfully create the illusion of three-dimensionality in a black and white illustration.

Chris: I understand your mom gave you your first sketchbook.  How did your parents influence your art?

Jared: My father didn’t, he ran out my mom the second he found out she was pregnant, so I never knew him. My mother is herself a creative person and her creativity influenced me and I was raised in a creative household/environment. My mother supported me in living my creative impulses as best and as fully as she was capable. She once called herself my lab assistant because she was always supplying me with everything I needed to follow my creative instincts.

Chris: Do you have a favorite story or comic that has stuck with you or influenced you over the years?

Jared: “Le Garage Hermétique” by Moebius as I mentioned before. The whole Star Wars franchise as well of course. The Adventures of Tintin by Hergé. And let’s not forget Steven Spielberg’s original Indiana Jones trilogy (let’s forget “Crystal Skull“, please), just to name a few.

Chris: I also understand that you work with some graphic designer and art friends as part of your team now.  How has collaboration played a role in your success?

Jared: It very much the key point in my career. Since they are not only graphic designers but also illustrators, the creative exchange with my friends/colleges/coworkers brought me to the point where I am now.

Chris: What are your passions outside of illustration?

Jared: Walking and trekking and working in the garden and swimming in our beloved river are, though I only swim in it during the summer. Generally being outside and in nature is what I love to do.

Chris: What accomplishments are you most proud of up to this point?

Jared: Generally, that I can make a living as an illustrator – and whenever someone lets me know that my works inspire them, that makes me very proud.

Chris: Do you have any exciting upcoming projects and what is the most exciting thing in your life right now (even if it doesn’t have anything to do with art)?

Jared: The most exciting thing in my life would be my impending fatherhood – my girlfriend and I are expecting twin boys next month! And my other, (hopefully) soon to arrive offspring, my upcoming comic book series “The Fall“ should be mentioned as well.


Jared, I’m so appreciative of our time together. Thank you for your honesty. Your love of this profession gives us permission to use our imaginative energy without fear of losing our sense of responsibility. You are living proof that art is both a fountain of youth and a pool of wisdom that prepares us for life, freedom and family.

For more of Jared’s awesomesauce, check him out on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/jaredmuralt.

Here’s a link to his design collective: https://shop.blackyard.ch and be on the look out for his new post-apocalyptic comic series, “The Fall,” to be released soon.





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LEGROS, A MAN OF MYSTERY

legros bob

BOB’s creator Lance was so excited about the upcoming launch, he couldn’t wait until the book was out to start cosplaying as one of its characters.  Come on, what else would you do if you created your own comic book character?!

Sure, it may have creeped out his neighbors, but his enthusiasm has given us some great visual aids with which to introduce you to Legros de Rumigny (pronounced Luh-gro, ‘cuz French).  He’s a major player in BOB: NON-UNION PSYCHIC #1 – though we suppose you might’ve guessed that, since his name is in the title of the of the book.

So who is Monsieur de Rumigny?  A legit historical figure, actually – a former chef who turned into the hairdresser extraordinaire of the 18th-century French court, when fashion was at its peak!  Ol’ Legros primped and preened the coiffures of the likes of Madame de Pompadour, and he’s the author of the famed L’ART DE LA COËFFURES DES DAMES FRANÇOISES, one of the earliest guides dedicated solely to his craft.

He opened and operated the prestigious ACADÉMIE POUR LA COËFFURES DES DAMES, where he taught illustrious hair constructs and helped establish hairdressing as a profession.

Go ahead and scroll through THE WORLD page on the BOB site  http://www.warehouse9pro.com/bobworld.html or Google him!

But remember, what you research won’t be the whole story!  You will have to dive into the pages of BOB: NON-UNION PSYCHIC #1 “The Legend of Legros” in order to find out all of the amazing secrets of the man behind the hair!





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DOKTOR GERALDO

doktor geraldo

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

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

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


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

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

What made you decide to start making comics?

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

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

 

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

Where do you get your inspiration and ideas from?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What resources do you rely on to make your comics?

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

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

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

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

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

 

Who are your biggest inspirations in the comic realm?

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

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

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

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

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

Where do you hope to be in 5 years creatively?

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

Now, go make some Comics!


Connect with Doktor Geraldo

comixcentral.com/vendors/doktor-geraldo-store

twitter.com/doktorgeraldo

facebook.com/doktorgeraldo

payhip.com/doktorgeraldo

instagram.com/doktorgeraldo

imgur.com/a/ErIrT

Get Spec ops Hobo


 


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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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8 Reasons To Read  the Bob: Non-Union Psychic series

bob non union psychic

In this saturated market, it’s easy to miss the little gems out there.

One diamond you probably haven’t noticed in a vast sea of rough is BOB: NON-UNION PSYCHIC (“Renegade Psychic. Professional Hairstylist.”), a digital-first series published by Colorado-based newcomer Warehouse 9 Productions, Ltd. in 2015.

The ad copy puts the hilarious, high-as-they-come concept as well as anyone could: “Bob Holbreck would rather use his mad hairstyling skills to make the world look a little sexier than use his awesome psychic powers to make it a lot safer.  Too bad his great Gramps won’t take no for an answer…”

Here are eight (illustrated!) reasons why BOB: NON-UNION PSYCHIC is worth your time.

1. BOB’s part of that too-rare gem of a genre, the paranormal-comedy-horror comic CHEW just ended, and there’s only one GHOSTBUSTERS.  BOB: NON-UNION PSYCHIC is serving an under-represented audience right now.  If you’re a member of it and didn’t know about BOB, well, now ya know.

2. Everyone who reads it seems to really like it.  Indie comics don’t make much of a splash – but you can tell a lot from the ripples they do make.  And the series has received unanimously high reviews, averaging no less than 4 stars out of 5.

3. BOB isn’t just an independent comic – it’s a book about independence.  Bob Holbreck’s attempt to join the Psychic Union in BOB: NON-UNION PSYCHIC # 0 is a story his creator Lance Lucero originally thought up as commentary on his fights with the gatekeepers of the entertainment world, but any person whose clear ability has been denied for paper-related reasons will dig the central theme of this book.

4. It’s an indie book, but everything about it is pro.  Yeah, we all like the idea of supporting the little guys in comics, but not to the extent that we’re ready to spend our hard-earned cash on sub-par work.  The production values of BOB are as good as any you’ll find, though, thanks to artist extraordinario Francisco Resendiz and the designer’s eye of Lance Lucero.

5. For a book about a psychic hairstylist, BOB: NON-UNION PSYCHIC is bizarrely well-researched.  Lance Lucero lives in fear of a reader informing him that this or that part of his book makes use of an incorrect fact, so the man does his homework.  For the just-released BOB: NON-UNION PSYCHIC # 1, his writing partner Adam Volle even stopped off in Paris to conduct some primary research.

6. BOB is bilingual!  In BOB: NON-UNION PSYCHIC # 1, Bob finds himself tasked with an important mission by a French ghost.  The problem is, Bob doesn’t speak French.  You don’t need to speak it either in order to follow the story, but if you do, there’s a whole extra layer of fun available.

7. BOB offers new cosplaying options. Just imagine: while all your friends are boring the world with their run-of-the-mill Deadpool costumes, you can be showing off as the 18th-century founding father of hairdressing, Legros de Rumigny!

8. BOB is timely.  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 ‘do of a certain new president?  It’s like a gift.  It may also be a clue in a case Bob is trying to solve in BOB: NON-UNION PSYCHIC # 1…

You can buy the digital editions of BOB: NON-UNION PSYCHIC # 0 and # 1 on ComixCentral right now – and it’s highly recommended you do!