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Devil X 3 #1 | CXC Featured Kickstarter


With or without Skin?

Going to hell in a hand basket doesn’t even give you a taste of the Kickstarter for Devil x 3

Ever had a cop fetish? Like ladies who are constant smokers, drinkers and have some brains? Well, then Maggie Maine is right up your alley.

DEVIL X 3 STORY

The story starts in the bottom room of a police station where Maggie is handed the SKINS case for the first time by her assistant Kat. Unfortunately unable to work alone, Maggie must play nice with the first detective on the case, the ice queen of the station Cornelia Abaddon, but she’s not going in without backup as she drags long-time friend and senior detective Jarrod Rothchild into the bizarre events that follow.
The story takes a dark turn when a visit to the first crime scene exposes more than just evidence to Maggie. Her eyes plays tricks on her in the dark and ominous thudding sound from deep inside the train station tunnel is the last thing heard before the lights go out.

How did Devil x 3 get started?

I started Devil x 3 almost 10 years ago as a novel style book but then life happened and re-wrote the thing so many times by the end of it not being perfect as I wanted it to be.
While diving through my many, many ideas, I realised this story needed to finally be told. I had worked with the artist Jimmy Faroudly on another title Clockwork (shameless plug) and loved him so much I stole him for this one. Now he’s chained to me for the long haul.

Being a horror fan, this story was born from my fascination of the occult and the obsession with sexy cops. I wanted to show a darker side then what a typical detective comic can be and stretch the boundaries for themes along with the style of comics.

Who is Maggie Maine?

Maggie is the amalgamation of everything I love; she is the quintessential “odd cop” and probably going to be every lesbian’s fantasy woman. She is exceedingly intuitive and has her witty quirks that keep you coming back for more. With her immense background in occult and ritualistic knowledge, the police department gave Maggie a choice, go to jail for theft charges or work for them. Guess which one she took?

Maggie has been a pleasure to write, and with the first 5 issues done, I fell in love with her even more so it’s up to the readers to do the same now.

What inspired you to write this story?

Horror movies, books, games, you name it, I’ve got it. The big three are Dante’s Inferno, Fatal Frame and Silence of the Lambs. These three works have become my staple for the mood I need to be in when writing.

If you love things like this, then Devil x 3 is perfect for you.

Tip: Wack on a soundtrack from a movie in that genre to get you in the mood! It’s not distracting like watching the movie but gives you the feeling of being there.
I also find inspiration comes from literally nowhere, so keep a book for phone handy so you can write everything down because you never know when it will come in handy.

So strap yourself in for the bizarre ride that is Devil x 3.

Click here to support Devil x 3 #1


Find out more about Devil x 3 and connect with the creators here:

Instagram  |  Facebook





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Daddy’s Issues – Chapter 2: The Pregnancy Gauntlet

 

Welcome to the blog series; Daddy’s Issues, from Indie comic creator, Johnny Craft.  Come along chapter by chapter as this comic book writer explores the journey of expecting his first child and all the emotions and creative challenges that come along with it. 

Jovelyn Jade & Johnny

Daddy’s Issues – Chapter 2: The Pregnancy Gauntlet

After my appearance on the solidly entertaining ComixCentral Podcast, the idea was tossed around that I would host a Youtube show for them called “The Gauntlet”. It’s meant to be a “brutally honest” review show, for the books featured on ComixCentral, and I was to review them in the style I see fit. I was initially, very, very excited to take part in this project, though not thrilled with the idea of potential bridges that I may burn as a result. I had every intention of producing “The Gauntlet” regularly and hit releases like clockwork. I am normally very good at consistency, work rate, and hitting deadlines. Ever since my lovely Jovelyn Jade got pregnant, though, I have not had much time to be creative on any sort of consistent basis. It is one downside that I am realizing exists in the life of a creative person, who is expecting their first child.

I have the format for “The Gauntlet” set, pretty solidly, I just can’t seem to find the time to record my first episode. With any luck, now that we are into the second trimester, Jovelyn and I will be able to work together to find a nice balance, where I can remain creative but still be there for her in every way she needs me. The format for “The Gauntlet”, however, is intended to be split into four small segments: What is it? Why is it great? Why does it suck? Should you buy it? Since I can’t get around to recording my first episode of the ComixCentral Indie Comics Gauntlet, I thought I would devote this entry into mixing the two major things in my life right now: my life as a creator, and the anticipation of my future family. For your reading pleasure, here is The Pregnancy Gauntlet.



What is it?

The woman of my dreams, and I, are 12 weeks into expecting our first child. We go for our first ultrasound this week, where we get to see Babylove Craft (working title) for the very first time! Both of us are still learning and adjusting to our new circumstances, and things could be coming along a little smoother in that department, but all things considered, I think we are doing very well. I love Jovelyn and I love this baby, more than I ever thought I could love anyone or anything. We are having a baby and it’s going to be my greatest creation yet!

Why is it great?

What could be greater than falling in love with someone you have known for a very long time, whose personality is eerily similar to yours, who is stunningly gorgeous, and then reproducing with that person? What better scenario is there, for having a family? I have been in serious relationships, in the past, with a few different women. Women that I’ve told “I love you” to and actually thought that I meant it. However, since Jovelyn came into the picture, I realized that I have never actually been in love before her. I promise to devote an entire entry to this blog, talking exclusively about Jovelyn and I, but for now, the important information is simple. I am madly in love with this woman and if I’m having a baby with anyone, I couldn’t so much as dream of a better candidate than my lovely Jovelyn Jade Ross.

Why does it suck?

Okay… So… I should be really careful how I answer this question, right? I mean, the word “suck” should be danced around very carefully, in this context. Hormones are running wild and I don’t want Jovelyn to read this and stab me in my sleep. To start, the one thing that most definitely DOES SUCK about expecting your first child is the treatment you receive from those you interact with on a regular basis. I’ve gotten everything from people I haven’t spoken to since I was 12, contact me on social media to ask overly personal questions, to some even thinking I’ve been lying about the entire pregnancy as a way to promote my comic “SuperLove”, that I wrote as a direct inspiration from this situation! It’s very strange how involved people are becoming in my life, suddenly, and how invested they are in a child they will probably never meet.

I’ve also noticed that certain people in my life are treating me like suddenly I’ve just now become an adult. I’m 32 years old. I’ve traveled across the country and various places overseas. I’ve kicked an alcohol and semi-serious drug problem, without even a remote desire to return to that lifestyle. I’ve supported myself for a very long time, and I’ve never had to do anything desperate just to feed myself, or pay my bills. I feel like I’ve had a fairly solid adult experience, up until this point. Babylove is just the next chapter.

As far as the actual pregnancy itself… I would never say it “sucks”. I understand there are adjustments that I need to make, Jovelyn needs to make, and there will be emotional side effects on both ends. I will say, again it does not “suck”, but I certainly don’t find it… enjoyable, when I get made to feel like a total dickhead for certain things. I have a full-time job, a part-time job, and I freelance, so most of my free time needs to be devoted to someone else, in some capacity. With the hormones running high, Jovelyn tends to go for the jugular or drown me with sarcasm and mockery, when she feels like I’m not devoting enough time to her. I understand where she is coming from, and I do feel like I’m punching well above my weight class in the fatherhood department already, so those jabs certainly make me feel like shit.



A lot of my frustrations are self-imposed, and I do forget that from time to time. I chose the life of a comic book writer, and I also have an important management position for a family-owned business. I understand that my time is precious/limited/valued. I also understand that there are plenty of guys that look at pregnancy as a woman’s problem, and a lot of dudes take that selfish road and make their lady deal with most of the stress solo. That was never an option for me, though. I make it a point to go above and beyond, to try to take as much stress off the mother of my child, as humanly possible. My time NEEDS to be devoted to making sure Jovelyn and Babylove are healthy, first and foremost.

Unsolicited advice, hormonal wrath, and physical/mental exhaustion all certainly suck, but the pregnancy itself absolutely does not. Things seem to be going well for us, so far.

Should you buy it?

I think the best way to interpret this question in the context of this blog, would be to translate it to “Would I go back and change this if I could?”. If given the chance to stop Babylove from ever being conceived on that (none of your business) filled night, would I do it? Would I go back to having the freedom and extra money that I used to have, just mere months ago? Would I trade this whole thing, and what could be, for the opportunity to continue living the life of a creative savage with no one to let down?

Hell-tothe-mother– fuckin’ NO! I love this woman! I love this baby! I wouldn’t change a thing, for a thing!


 I’m Johnny from ComixCentral and this has been The Pregnancy Gauntlet. Be sure to Like, Subscribe, share and join us next time, when another trimester throws down… The Pregnancy Gauntlet!


 





 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


by Chris Hendricks 

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

 







 

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Crowdfunding Roundup – February 2nd, 2018

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ZOMBIES’ END

The zombie sub-genre is a blast, but it’s a bit saturated with the “same old, same old.” How many zombie outbreak stories do we need? How many wasteland wandering zombie stories are there? …Well, how about a zombie story that deals with the end of the plague. We don’t have very many of those, do we? And that’s just ONE reason to back Zombies’ End!

PLOT :

“A living head in a bucket and his zombie daughter, who are said to hold the key to mankind’s survival, are transported by three brave soldiers through the apocalypse. As the head struggles to maintain sanity and focus, he realizes his disjointed visions are not entirely unreal and must convince mankind that the solution to this zombie horror will be more extraordinary than anyone imagines.”

WHAT THEY NEED :

FUNDRAISING STATUS: URGENT!!! 14 days to go and $6,000 to needed! Funds will go to production, printing, and shipping.

WHY YOU SHOULD BACK IT :

It sounds like a blast! A last stand / final mission type of story with a touch of Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia or Sin City’s The Big Fat Kill thrown in there. Give this unique zombie story a few bucks and see how the plague finally comes to an end!

ZOMBIES’ END- comixcentral

Follow this link to learn more and support this campaign »
twitter @garyscottbeatty  / Fb https://www.facebook.com/garyscottbeatty


GORE SHRIEK

New Gore Shriek issues could be on the way if this Kickstarter is successful! For those that aren’t familiar with Gore Shriek — This was one of the best horror anthologies of the 80s and featured many creators that are now huge names in the industry. A staple of this series was its no-holds-barred horror with some darkly imaginative artists.

GORE SHRIEK-comixcentral

PLOT :

A horror anthology that will produce three 48 page issues in 2018.

WHAT THEY NEED :

Previous Kickstarter and a demand from Gore Shriek fans led to the idea to create subscription plans and new comics. There’s about a month to go and $19,000 to get there.  A highlight of this Kickstarter is in the rewards. At just $10 you receive a digital subscription to the books for 2018. That’s a steal. And the rewards only get better and better.

WHY YOU SHOULD BACK IT :

Old school horror anthologies are making a come back ( check out Creeps for example ). Gore Shriek needs to be back too!  Who knows what other indie creators this book might launch or inspire!  
GORE SHRIEK-comixcentral 3GORE SHRIEK-comixcentral 2

Follow this link to learn more and support this campaign »

twitter: @FantaCoPublish


WE SHALL FIGHT UNTIL WE WIN

I’m a sucker for historical stories in comics, especially when they’re stories that don’t get as much attention as they should. We Shall Fight Until We Win is a graphic novel anthology that takes a look at some historical women from the UK over that last 100 years and tells their stories “in colourful, illustrated snapshots – some stories are well known, some less so – all worthy of note. “

PLOT :

The anthology features stories from a few women from each decade: “From suffragettes like Emmeline Pankhurst and Sophia Duleep Singh, through the defining ‘firsts’ in politics like Nancy Astor, the first female member of Parliament, and Diane Abbott, the first black woman to hold a seat in the House of Commons, to many of the women campaigning and heading up politics today, this graphic novel brings together a mix of creators across the UK to illustrate the numerous stories from the last century.”

WHAT THEY NEED :

They’re about a month away from a goal of $11K. Funds will be going mainly to their contributors and to printing.  “Both 404 Ink and BHP are publishers with numerous titles in their back catalogue and we’re comfortable with the process of creating publications and shipping worldwide between our two teams, and anticipate no problems.”

WHY YOU SHOULD BACK IT :

I’ll let them explain why-

“We wanted to create a reminder of how far women’s rights have come over a century and, conversely, where we have left to go. We’re looking back to the women who shaped our current climate or trailblazed.”

WE SHALL FIGHT UNTIL WE WIN - ComixCentral

Follow this link to learn more and support this campaign »

twitter @404Ink  @BHP_Comics


Thank you for checking out the Crowdfunding Roundup – February 2nd, 2018  |  by 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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How to Upload & Sell Your Comics on ComixCentral

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Step 1

Open your ComixShop.



Step 2

Add a new product.


Step 3

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


And that’s it! You’re all set.

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


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

 


 



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Episode #28 | Newton Lilavois

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Do you struggle with juggling 9 to 5 obligations with your comic creativity? Are you a new writer in need of support? Are you desperate to find inspiration for the first page of your graphic novel?

Check out this new indie comic craftsman originally hailing from Haiti. Have no fear, Newton Lilavois is here! He’s also a genuine indie comic convert who started with our generic superheroes and graduated to the world of indie comics via Walking Dead. Like I always say, need an army? Zombies got yo’ back… unless they’re… hungry…

In addition to being a tremendous supporter of the indie comic movement through Kickstarter, he also happens to be a brilliant writer originally from Haiti. It doesn’t get much more topical than that and we’re grateful to have him on The Comix Central Podcast. He talks about the creative process behind Crescent City monsters. Both the story and the interview focus on the invaluable support that comes from family and what happens when it’s taken away. It’s a zombie twist with a backdrop of Haitien mythological history. Check it out or be left out.

Crescent City Monsters Page

He doesn’t shy away from his support of other indie comics. We talk Cognition, and The Werespider (a reimagining of the African folktale Anansi).  He admits drawing inspiration from other mediums like television. He references the online program Master Class as initial support though he doesn’t always take their advice. Most importantly, Newton talks about the love of the process. Storytelling is a long arduous task. As we all know, it’s not for the faint of heart. Simply “liking” your story just isn’t in the cards. Love is the only way to survive in this business. Luckily, most of the time it’s contagious. As the most successful members of the nerd nation will tell you, learn by doing. I’m excited to see Newton’s story develop. Keep up with him at www.Dreamfurycomics.com and remember friends, you can’t finish what you don’t have the courage to start in the first place.

Love the stories you tell, because they’re gonna be with you for a long time. – Newton Lilavois

[podbean resource=”episode=btq3d-83f8a9″ type=”audio-rectangle” height=”100″ skin=”1″ btn-skin=”108″ share=”1″ fonts=”Helvetica” auto=”0″ download=”0″ rtl=”0″]

Connect with Newton

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Interview with Ryan K. Lindsay

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

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

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

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Beautiful Canvas Cover

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

DEER EDITOR
DEER EDITOR

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

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

7. What’s in the works for you now?

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

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

 


 




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Episode #25 | Stephen McCoy

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

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

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Connect with Stephen:

twitter  |  cxc profile   |   historicalperceptions.com


 

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Episode #22 | Anthony Cleveland

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Comic Creator Anthony Cleveland

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

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

Connect with Anthony Cleveland 

Twitter  |   Website





 

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Episode #21 | Joey Oliveira

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On this weeks episode of “Adventures in Interviewing” Chris Hendricks interviews Joey Oliveira. Comic book writer, filmmaker and founder of British Comics Publishing house Afterlight Comics.

Come meet Joey Oliveira! A fascinating look what into it takes to be a Comics entrepreneur and the many lessons he’s learned along the way. Find out about his Kickstarter campaign, Comics, how to find an illustrator, the founding and running of a publishing company and so much more.
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Connect with Joey Oliveira

Twitter  |   Website





 

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Joe Francis Totti | Creator Spotlight

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

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

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

Let’s get to the interview!


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

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

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

What kind of comics do you create?

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

When did you get your start?

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Joe: My Mac (computer not jacket) haha.

What resources do you rely on for illustration?

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

Who are your biggest inspirations in the comic realm?

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

Where do you get your inspiration and ideas from?

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

What does your workspace look like?


Tell us a funny story JOE!

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

Where do you hope to be in 5 years creatively?

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

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

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

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

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

Lethal Corbyn III
Eye in the Sky

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

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


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

Instagram  twitter


 

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Episode #19 | Johnny Craft

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

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

Connect with Johnny Craft

Twitter  |  CXC Profile





 

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Rick Osowski | Episode #16

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Rick Osowski | Inside the Mind of a Super Fan

On this weeks episode of “Adventures in Interviewing” Chris Hendricks goes deep into the mind of a Comicbook superfan!

Get some insight and perspective into what makes a fan, how to find your audience and how to keep your readers happy. Chris and Rick discuss what makes a story addictive, what causes a reader to lose interest and how to capture a fan for life.

It’s market research 101. Get out your notepads comic creators!

 [podbean resource=”episode=thk6e-7e9a35″ type=”audio-rectangle” height=”100″ skin=”1″ btn-skin=”108″ share=”1″ fonts=”Helvetica” auto=”0″ download=”0″ rtl=”0″]
Rick Osowksi is a self-described Computer Geek, Sports Nut, Magic: The Gathering Nerd, Solution Architect at IBM Cloud and Hobbyist-at-large. Connect with Rick and check out his Podcast using the links below:



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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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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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The Ultimate Bromance: Craft Beer and Indie Comics

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

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

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

1. The Boiling Process

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

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

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



2. Home Away from Home

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

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

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

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

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

3. Quality and Quantity

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

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

4. Small Soldier Syndrome

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

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

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

5. An Audience on the Edge

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

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

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

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

Good or bad– interesting always wins.

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

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





 

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CrowdFunding Round Up – Sept 1, 2017

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Hey. Pssst! You! You wanna’ see something cool?

I know you do. Come on, all the cool kids are doing it! Come feast your eyes on our Crowdfunding roundup! We’ve got some of the best, un-cut and primo campaigns from Kickstarter. But you know, if you’re not into being awesome. We understand.

May we present the CXC Crowdfunding Bi-Monthly Roundup, September 1st, 2017 edition.


Champions of Hara

by Greenbrier Games INC    |    Kickstarter

 

Champions of Hara is an adventure board game in which 2-4 players (+2 with expansion) race to protect a dying world. Players will contain destructive energy by defeating monsters, closing rifts, and exploring the six different zones within Hara. In order to rise to the challenge, players will need to unlock new abilities and collect powerful items. Each session takes approximately 30 minutes per player.

Breathtakingly beautiful! The art is what first caught our eye with this Kickstarter, but after reading more about the gameplay, characters and of course the Graphic Novel (2 issues are currently available on ComixCentral btw… cough cough!)  which runs parallel to the game, we were hooked! Get your hands on this exciting, self-described, funk fantasy! Your friends and family will thank you when you pull this beauty out on game night!

Kickstarter Campaign   |   greenbriergames.com   |   twitter.com


SPACE COPZ: Cereal Zombies!

by  Michael Speakman  |    Kickstarter

 

SPACE COPZ is an all-age science fiction comic series following the journey of Sgt. Alpha Omega and his loyal sidekick Beta Boy, as they traverse outer space, saving it from great evil.

Available as a web-comic series before making it’s way into print copy. Each SPACE COPZstory will be illustrated by a different artist, making for a unique experience for all.

The issues will not be numbered but will instead be titled. This will allow more casual readers the opportunity to pick up the series wherever/whenever they wish.

FUN! That’s the word that kept popping up while we were looking into Space Copz Kickstarter. Seriously, the art looks fun, the storyline is fun, the creators look fun. I think we killed the word fun. Fuuuun. So, you want to have some fun with Zombies, puppies, cereal and spacelords? Of course you do! Come back these guys and get as much fun as humans can pack into a comic into your hands! Also, take a close look at some of the rewards this campaign is offering, some really unique options there. OK. Go have some fun! 

Kickstarter Campaign    |   Facebook


EDJ COMICS: BLACKLIGHT

by ERIC W SHEFFIELD JR.|    Kickstarter

This is the first book in a three comic series that will tell an amazing story that culminates in the joining of the characters of the 3 books in one grand quest against an invincible foe.

If you haven’t watched the trailer to this campaign, go back and watch it all the way through. Guys, great message, great idea, great comics! We love this project. Let’s help Eric bring these amazing characters to life so kids of every color can see themselves in their heroes! By the way, if you pledge fast enough, you can get your own character in the first issue! Yup, get out your wallets and pledge to a great project! Not to mention, the art looks badass, and you know you want to add it to your collection;)

Kickstarter Campaign   |   Facebook


Urizen Zero – The Serpent’s Fang Hardcover Comic Book

by  John Pinto |    Kickstarter

Urizen is a mesmerizing, compelling, tragic, fun and epic adventure revolving around a medieval, sci-fi world with the same name. In it my good friend Derek Thomas and I tell the story of a great race living at the cold ends of Urizen known as the Ademinians, led by their strong and noble ruler, Draconan and his queen of beauty and magic Arguine.  It has been told that a great light will fall from the sky and it is then that a great reign of nobility, and strength will come in the form of an egg, soon to give life to the one to be named Draconan King of Starlight and Might.  Soon he would grow alongside the young Arguine, and together they would join to form the Kingdom of the Cold, Ademynia.

So we’re going to admit the art grabbed us by the collar and slapped us around a few times with this campaign. Pinto has found an amazing artist is Fachrul Reza, and it seems that this group of creators is destined to create some mind blowing comics and take the indie world by storm. Pledging support to this project is a no brainer! Show these guys some love and be part of bringing this jaw dropping universe to life. Not to mention with a $100 pledge.. they’ll put YOU on your own cover, how cool is that?!

Kickstarter Campaign   |    http://www.bloodshadowgames.net/   |   Facebook


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

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

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

 

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

twitter  |  millsverse.com


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



 

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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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When Artists Hire Artists- The Business of Storytelling

gamal hennessey

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


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

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

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


Your World:

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

Defining the project:

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

Owning the Services:

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

Own the use and distribution:

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

Your Shield:

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

Payment:

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

Representations and Warranties:

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

Indemnification:

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

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

Your Reputation:

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

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

Have fun.

Gamal

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

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

Judge Dredd Image Credit Magnetic 007 At Deviant Art





 

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Eff The Naysayers

sean martin

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

EFF the naysayers. Chase your dream!


 


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

 INTERVIEW WITH JUSTIN BARTZ

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

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

To find our more and connect with Justin:

Twitter    |   Project Shadow Breed ComixShop  |    DimThroat Comics


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

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/h5>

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Review: Arkade – Can the vikings of Arkade survive the nothingness?

comic book review arkade

Art

Elaine is always great (read “Look Straight Ahead” if you haven’t done this already)!  The layouts, the character designs, the colouring, the lettering, she does it all folks!  The pixilation effect Elaine created is fresh and adds a lot to the tone and setting of Arkade.

Story

Mark crafted a solid story here.  There is a world within a world, life outside the cartridge impacts the story within.  The characters are all searching for something; for the game dwellers it is a way to survive and stay relevant, for the video game stoners it is nostalgia.

I felt there is an existentialist aspect to this story.  The cartridge folk face an absurdist threat of nothingness (“The Never Ending Story”).  The bored stoners roam through a video game store, looking for a distraction.  It is people trying to come to terms with their situation, and find meaning in what they are choosing.

ComixCentral is selling “Arkade” in PDF format: https://www.comixcentral.com/product/arkade/

You can learn more about Mark and Elaine’s projects on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CuckoosNestPress/




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

becoming unicorn chris hendricks

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

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

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

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


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

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

via GIPHY

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Me: WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH YOU!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


 


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CXC PodCast Episode #4 – Exploring Contracts, Licensing & Your Legal Creative Rights with Attorney Gamal Hennessy

  On today’s episode Leigh Jeffery, Steven Rosia and Jamie Norman are joined by Attorney Gamal Hennessy of Creative Contract Consulting.

Gamal shares his vast experience in navigating the legal ins and outs of the creative world, gives some free legal advice for Comic creators and tells us about the book he is currently writing to walk creatives through contracts, licensing and protecting their creations.

If you create Comics, books or artwork of any kind, this episode is a must listen! Don’t be the spectator while someone else takes your creative vision and executes it, leaving you in the dust with nothing to show but bitter tears. Let Gamal help you protect your dreams! We are so grateful for the lessons we learnt in this episode and we know you will be too!

[podbean resource=”episode=cyv3h-7e9a42″ type=”audio-rectangle” height=”100″ skin=”1″ btn-skin=”108″ share=”1″ fonts=”Helvetica” auto=”0″ download=”0″ rtl=”0″]

To find our more and connect with Gamal:

Twitter    |    Facebook    |   LinkedIn    |    Website


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



 

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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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CXC Podcast Episode #1 – Finding our Groove

Welcome to our very first ComixCentral podcast!

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


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

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

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

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




 

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Get New Customers and Reward Loyal Fans by Using our Coupon Feature

Here at ComixCentral, we don’t have favourites, But it doesn’t mean that you can’t!

Make your fans feel special by giving them discounts with the Coupons section in your ComixShop.



Perhaps you want to say a little thank you to your buyers or to those that helped you get up and running?

Say, you post something online using our social media links and would like give a small reward to those that help promote you by sharing?



You could even create a key for your friends and family which offers a 100% discount, such that you can gift your comics to those close to you!

 

So whatever you decide to do with your coupons, let your fans know that they are appreciated and grab some new readers too!

Best of luck!
Sincerely,

Your friendly neighbourhood Crystal & the ComixCentral team


 

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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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Masks: An Apocalypse Worth Dying For

indie comic masks

Let’s start with Stanley Ipkiss. Remember? The 1994 comedy smash hit you loved when you were 7 years old because, well, Jim Carrey? ALLRIGHTY THEN!

Take his mischievous nature, and turn the psycho factor up really high.

After that’s done, move him from Eagle City to Los Angeles (because let’s be honest, it’s L.A. anyway). Easy right? Now, start lots of riots; blow up everything; kill almost everyone; fast forward about 70 years or so, while somehow feeling stuck in the past; find a way to act creepy and nonchalant at the same time; and become oddly obsessed with finding the one comic that’s really a book, that’s really a bible (maybe, I think). Congratulations! You’ve now sort of skimmed the surface of Masks #1, a new indie comic from story magician Daniel Warner and illustrator extraordinaire Matias Zeballos.


Wow! What a war-torn western celebration of mysterious sadness!

It’s like Stephen King and Quentin Tarantino made sweet dude love in a cave, and a whole population of identity-crisis-covered children came marching out the other side.

Our dark, quiet world sugarcoated in mystery and death is divided into two types of people.

The Maskless (straight shooters with well-revealed intention) and yes, you guessed it, The Masks. It seems that these shady types are the bread and butter of our massacre meal. Thankfully, though, the basic concept is merely an appetizer.

The story gnaws at a basic, enduring, and natural question of identity; however, our main protagonist does a brilliant job of walking the line between a likeable mystery man and a time bomb whose ticking pulls our eyes toward an explosion we can only hope to get caught up in.

The pacing might be overwhelming given that it’s a little over twice as long as your average indie comic, but I implore you, as the reader, to have patience. The burden is shouldered well with Zeballos’ seasoned and gritty horror-color choreography keeping you company. Think Breaking Bad with masks instead of meth.

I’d argue that there’s a little more time dedicated to backstory than Stephen King might prefer (even for Volume 1), but the influence of his Dark Tower hiding inside the panels is much appreciated. I’m also a little biased, because there’s a nice nod to my favorite indie comic—and favorite indie comic film—early on in Issue 1. It would be rather vicious of me to give it away.

All in all, it’s a slow burn worth the read.

The absence of the overall population strengthens the deafening knock of doom that overwhelms the reader. My somewhat limited understanding is that Warner and Zeballos wish for this series to expand 12 volumes, perhaps more. I certainly hope so. I want to meet the Masker. I want to get to know the Bookkeeper. I’m excited to see where the violence takes us. Most of all, I’d love to see where Warner takes such a relatable theme. Can we exist as solely deceptive or open? Do we need both worlds to coexist? Will human identity survive the apocalypse? I don’t know the answers to these questions, but I do hope that the story continues to take its time. There’s a bloodbath just waiting to occur, and the dark wanderer in all of us is dying to go for a swim.

A solid 4.5 out of 5 stars!