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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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RAGS: Not just another pair of pants

 

Hey everyone! I’m Brian the writer and Co-Creator of RAGS. I have been asked to share my journey from drunken idea to self-publishing our first issue.


The back back way back story:

For those that didn’t know, RAGS has taken almost 3 years from drunken funny concept to release. And like most stories, this wasn’t easy.

A short history of me, I’ve been writing since I was in the fifth grade. Most of my influences were from Japanese animation very early on. Around 1989 my father took a trip to Japan and returned with some Super Nintendo games that perked my interest in everything ANIME. By the time I had reached middle school I had completely watched, on VHS, every episode of Dragon Ball and Dragon Ball Z so when the series finally hit U.S shores, I was ahead of the curve. The importance of this is that I was very heavily inspired by the works of Akira Toriyama. More specifically, his puns. If you pay close attention to his work, you will see that nearly every character he’s created has had some sort of pun-based naming convention. As I inspired myself to write, I attempted to adopt these traits. Early on it did not work out so well, but when you’re a kid everything you do is great right?

Flash forward after graduating High School and 9/11 happens. Being the full bloodied patriot that I am, I rushed to raise my right hand to join up and participate in the war on terror. During my time in the Army, I would continue to write but nothing ever really stuck. I had fans of my writing in my unit, but I was neither fully impressed with my own finished work or I felt I had become too ambitious with the projects I wanted to complete. I attempted to self-publish a full-length novel in 2005, only to find I had been scammed by a Vanity Press and coupled with a few other incidents which we’ll skip, simply stopped writing for a number of years.



Beer, Zombies and a nude mod

On a night that was a-typical of any other night. Trent and I were having a nice fun drunken night of playing Left 4 Dead 2 and attempting to defeat a Map called Yama. This was a difficult map to beat, and on to this day, we have been very unsuccessful at completing it. Anyway, I was using a mod titled: Ravaged Zoey. This mod left one of the female characters in a certain state of undress and to his credit, Trent called me out for utilizing the mod in order to…um…enhance my gameplay. Notably, poor Zoey was left without pants. Trent demanded that I explain myself and, very drunkenly mind you, I came up with an elaborate story about how Zoey was only with the other group of survivors to find clothes and the entire campaign was her quest to locate a comfortable pair of pants. I laughed. Trent laughed. The toaster laughed. I shot the toaster. It was a good time.A few months later I had finally caught the writing bug again and yet, I could not figure out WHAT exactly it was that I should write. So as what most people do in the social media age because it’s the cool thing to do, I decided to let Facebook decide my path for me. I put out a list of old stories I could revisit and possibly give new life to some old characters. Just as the votes were coming in, Trent sent me a message:

Dude! Write a story about that chick looking for pants!

Could I? The concept was stupid, but it was funny. Well at least to us. But after a moment of contemplation, I decided: This is so stupid it just might work!!

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Not long after Trent and I began brainstorming. Originally envisioned as an extremely short story the beta version of RAGS started out with an unnamed female protagonist arriving at a Wal-Mart style store, without pants and fully armed to the teeth, but of course minus the pants. She would lose them constantly as she met other survivors or zombies. Always coming out on top, but always bottomless… That had been mulled around a bit but eventually tossed on the floor due to being unable to flesh out the main character, or having a good reason why the loss of pants as a justifiable occurrence. Later, we came up with a working rough draft but decided that instead of novelizing our idea, it would be much more fun if we wrote it as a movie script.

I had never written movie scripts before, and so I went to see the one friend I knew that had. Balam, or Luis as he’s better known as has written many wonderful scripts for movies that will possibly never get made (quite unfortunate but that’s life eh?). I asked him to show how he went about putting his scripts together and after a couple hours of tutelage, I eventually got the hang of things.

Two six packs and three days later I had written the first draft of RAGS: A Zombie Shopping Spree. It was designed to be its own self-contained silly one-shot, however as we shared it around our small network of friends we kept noticing that while initially disgusted with our beginning, people generally enjoyed the story elements and humor overall. Though while the entire concept was outright dumb, they did thoroughly enjoy the journey from beginning to end. Embers underneath the fire if you will.

Next thing we did was shop the story around FB Author groups. This is where we hit out first major roadblock. Immediately the script we share was derided as sexist, misogynistic, and disgustingly vulgar. Just to name a few of the many praises lauded onto us. Our responses got us removed from group after group, until we settled into another group titled Fiction Writing. There we actually met a few authors who saw the gem hidden in the coals of our script and agreed to help us polish things. Eventually, we were kicked out of this group as well. Cie Le Vie.

Regina Ragowski: The mama Leopard

One of the main issues that plagued us, in the beginning, was that our protagonist initially didn’t have a name, personality and they lacked any real depth. We were at a loss as to what to do as we thought our current script was perfect. Nameless heroine on a quest for pants, small town mall, Jill’s Sandwiches, puns galore what was not to love? After some collaboration, we eventually decided to do what any other sane person would do, and dropped the entire thing the trash and start over again. To add depth to the character that we needed, we realized that we needed a character with a name. A name that would kinda stick. So Trent and I got drunk again and went back to L4D2 to brainstorm. Ya know. Science. It was there, as when we’re doing our best to sabotage each other’s efforts at survival that Trent had the epiphany: Dude, we should name her Regina Ragamuffin. To which I responded: Nah man, Ragowski! Like the Big Lebowski but Ragowski!

Needless to say, we think we nailed it there.

Secondly, we needed a personality type. A realistic one. Not a Mary-Sue or a typical tsundere anime girl. We needed legit real personalities to humanize and create a character that you could root for, despite their flaws. While pondering how I should go about this Liz Finnegan had tweeted out: “Get your heads out of your dickholes you WHORE REFS!”

Yeah. It was right then and there I was sold. SOOOO SOLD!

At the time too, I decided to reach out to some female battle buddies of mine from the ARMY to interview them about their input on their unique life experiences and things they had to deal with during their time in the Military. Combining all these things with our character, Regina, finally being given a name, a history and a personality that appropriately matched, all she needed was a face….

Making a Baby:

Movie treatment in hand, polished (4th or 9th time) and ready to rock we came to the conclusion that it was time to start pitching to Netflix and Amazon. Well long story short, we were rejected. Flat out. It seemed as the studio heads there didn’t believe in the subtle nuance a story about a naked woman and her quest for pants could tell and at the same time entertain an audience that wasn’t a bunch of pervs. In that moment of double rejection, we then decided: Fuck it, we’ll make it a comic!

Not knowing how to write comics scripts was another HUGE roadblock. But we took the time to read books on how to write the MARVEL way, studied how IMAGE and DC writers handled their scripts and said: Fuck that noise!

Eventually, we found a style that suited our needs and got right to work. We placed feelers out into the net and reached out to multiple artists before we got our first hit. Recommended to us by a mutual online friend who does short comic work, this artist we reached out to gave us the first real rendition of Regina.

This was great, however, the script and description we gave to them involved a tattoo to be placed on Regina’s left leg. The artist took it upon themselves to change the placement of the tattoos and at first, we were upset…

…however the look ended up growing on us so we just went with it. This same artist was also commissioned to complete 5 pages in a timely manner, however, they went radio silent for long periods of time. So, while they were silent we searched for a second artist that would be able to meet our needs and not just vanish. While we did enjoy their work, the inability to effectively collaborate and the long periods of silence eventually forced us to find another partner.

The second artist we reached out too, this time working with our third drafted script, promised to deliver pages and work on time. However, he quickly showed to us that he did not have the same passion as Trent and I had for our story and script. We fired this artist, and surprisingly they begged for a second chance. We gave it to them, however, they still failed to meet simple deadlines. 6 pages of inks took 6 months or more to receive. And knowing that we would be attempting more pages in a shorter period of time, we found this completely unacceptable and fired this person again. We never got our money or our time back.

All of this would lead us to Sasha. I had worked her before on some small things. And wanted to give her a shot at RAGS. We had the rapport. I knew her work ethic. I wanted to take a chance. So I commissioned a Regina concept from her and it turned out wonderful! Unfortunately, due to personal reasons Sasha had to focus on other things and wasn’t available to work with us. At this time, we honestly were deciding what we should do. We’d already poured in the money to artists. Set up the webpage, domain, set up the Facebook group, the Reddit page. I had just finished setting up our Patreon and T-shirt/ Merchandise store to hopefully help crowdfund our project, but I was curious as to what I could do to get this thing out of the water when there were already multiple gaping holes in our boat. We were lost and dejected and honestly felt as though we had given it a good attempt. To cut our losses and at least be proud that we tried to do something fun while most people would sit back and complain about things.

Hail Mary, or rather Hail Liz!

So as everyone knows by now, that we based Regina around Liz Finnegan’s football tweets and her face. This was initially supposed to be just another one of the many Easter eggs I had planned. As a nod to those that knew and an ‘oh that’s cool’ to those that didn’t. Well, I didn’t have official permission, so with the house around us seemingly burning down at a high rate, I decided to reach out to Liz and inform her of our intentions. The thought was if she said yes, then we’d continue. But a No would let us know that this project wasn’t meant to come to life and to move back to doing other things. I honestly did not believe I would get a response, or rather I didn’t expect to receive such a positive one from her. She enjoyed it. She was a fan. We had a reason to make this shit happen. I passed her blessing onto Trent and we felt renewed. And as if karma was rewarding us for our perseverance that’s also when we found Luigi.

Separately from this RAGS project, I had been working on something of a MARVEL Fan comic. Again, testing the waters and teaching myself the ins and outs and nuances of things of making comics just for knowledge’s sake. I had commissioned an artist, who I felt scammed me out of a potentially fun project and a beaucoup amount of money. As the animosity between us grew Luigi eventually stepped in and finished the work all the while remaining professional the entire time. Even with my demands for compensation being delivered in a cruel manner (I’m really an asshole in real life.), Luigi maintained complete utter professionalism and delivered to me this: Regina-Chan 2.0 as we called it. Everything about it was perfect. The onesie. The eyes. The freckles. The trigger discipline. It was at this time as we were completing my other side project, that I decided to throw another hail mary and put the offer out. If our previous interactions had been contentious I had doubts that he would accept anything additional that I would request.

But.
He.
Did.

Back on track and ready to rock, I felt the need to go back and hand Luigi a script that was worthy of his talents. This script was the first half of issue #1 that Trent and I agreed would be a good test to see how Luigi worked and see if he was a good fit for future works.

Well, needless to say, that what he sent in to us next made our jaws drop. It was at this point. This moment we knew. We immediately went all in and gave Luigi an open deadline to get things done. It was tough, there was a bunch of back and forth and loads of frustration. To this day I still think somewhere he rolls his eyes whenever he sees my email populate in his inbox. But good lord. Without Luigi, RAGS would probably still just be some pipe dream between two drunk guys and a nude mod.

The lesson here to take home is that if you believe in a project, no matter how silly or dumb it may seem. No matter what comments or putdowns that others who don’t know the intricacies of your work. You should just F.I.D.O:

Fuck It.Drive On.

Sure, we will probably never see a full return on the hours and money we’ve spent. But at the end of the day, Trent, Luigi and I will bring to the world our baby. A story about a something near and dear to me, PTSD and overcoming self-guilt. We’re bringing Trent’s great plots, outlines, and story concepts to life in a meaningful way. And hopefully, we’re bringing forward into the spotlight, the amazing talents of a man who deserves to be the lead of animation company. Even if this isn’t a success, it will be all be worth it, because, at the beginning of all this, I did get to meet the amazing person that inspired us and drove us to move onward despite the hurdles and setbacks. And with that, my bucket list is complete.

Liz Finnegan and Brian circa 2018

Written by Brian Ball

 






 

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

 

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

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

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

Alterna Comics - ComixCentral Podcast

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

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


Website: www.alternacomics.com

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

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

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

Instagram: @alternacomics

 





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Episode #29 / Determination Perfection and Art Direction with Kyle Hester

 

Do you have a passion for film and comics? Wanna know how the creative process for one can be an asset to the other? Honestly,  does your determination just need a kick in the pants?

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This is the perfect episode for you. We’ve got the indie Hollywood man who does it all. Kyle Hester is an actor, producer, art director and more. He’s got plenty of credits to his name and all the humility and wisdom that comes with it. He’s a spitfire king of the road mix master who knows how to handle everything from emotional transformation to social media sorcery. He’s a tremendous storyteller with humor for days, and that’s just me getting started.

Kyle and I definitely get into the nature of Hollywood hustle but Kyle’s not your run-of-the-mill camera king. He could have gone full Hollywood like some of his counterparts but he chose to keep it indie and his advice reflects a passion for new projects that deserve to be seen. Of course, we get into his upcoming films like Preacher Six and Zombie with a Shotgun, but we also got to share in the hard times that come along with running on all four cylinders for the sake of success. We talk about everything from crowdfunding to set building. We talk mentorship and creative growth. We talk about Kyle working with his wife on Preacher Six and how it came about and of course we talk about similarities between indie film and indie comics. Hey, we even talk about Peter Simeti of Alterna Comics and Kyle’s work on the film adaptation of his horror graphic novel The Chair.

Other head nods include talk around Trey Parker and Matt Stone’s Team America World and our mutual respect for Naomi Grossman of American Horror Story fame. She plays The Blue Nun in Preacher Six so you definitely don’t wanna miss this. He’s the most inspiring man you’ll find in indie this side of the Netherrealm.


Don’t forget to follow the #PreacherSixArmy on Twitter: https://twitter.com/PreacherSix

Follow Kyle on Instagram @Kylehesterland

Preacher Six IMDB: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt6135560/

Support their Indiegogo: https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/preacher-six-horror#/

Kyle’s CXC promo vid: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ilObkdnkNPk&t=1s

Website: http://preachersix.com

No art without indie

 






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How to Upload & Sell Your Comics on ComixCentral

blog-headers.uploading-sell-comics-tutorial

Step 1

Open your ComixShop.



Step 2

Add a new product.


Step 3

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


And that’s it! You’re all set.

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


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

 


 



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Interview with Ryan K. Lindsay

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

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

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

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Beautiful Canvas Cover

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

DEER EDITOR
DEER EDITOR

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

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

7. What’s in the works for you now?

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

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

 


 




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Episode #26 | Patrick Trahey



Are you struggling to find the right illustrator for your comic? Are you stuck within a crappy collaboration going nowhere fast but you don’t really know how to break it off? Do you maybe just want to suck a little less at writing?

We’ve got that covered and much more on this weeks episode of Adventures in Interviewing with the one and only Patrick Trahey. He’s a soldier of a story like none before him. He’s got 10 years of comic creativity experience to bring to the table. He’s the singular incendiary spirit behind the short stories of Sol comics. He’s the powerhouse behind a new apocalyptic thriller to be released on February 28th, 2018 called The XII. It’s a creepy noir meets grapes of wrath vibes will have you glued to nostalgic graphics page after page, and we’ve got the skinny on the first 5 issue arc before anybody else. When everything is falling apart the only thing that matters is family.

It’s funny what you stumble into once you decide that making video games isn’t all that its cracked up to be, but Patrick has found his stride in the comic world by creating relationships at cons and beyond. He constantly challenges himself as a writer in more ways than one and has mastered “the ask” it takes to share his vision with the masses. It’s no wonder this wunderkind is being picked up by Alterna comics. He has a passion for multiple mediums, but comics just seemed to be the perfect fit. Exposition still sucks but Patrick has a way around it. Above all, we are reminded that when you write the script for a comic book your audience is your illustrator whether you like it or not.

The XII - Episode #26 | Patrick Trahey
The XII – Episode #26 | Patrick Trahey

Come along for the ride and please subscribe to new indie comic knowledge every Friday from now until forever.

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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 #23 – Julio Guerra

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

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

 

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Connect with Julio

Twitter  |  CXC Profile





 

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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

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

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

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

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

Let’s get to the interview!


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

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

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

What kind of comics do you create?

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

When did you get your start?

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Joe: My Mac (computer not jacket) haha.

What resources do you rely on for illustration?

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

Who are your biggest inspirations in the comic realm?

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

Where do you get your inspiration and ideas from?

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

What does your workspace look like?


Tell us a funny story JOE!

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

Where do you hope to be in 5 years creatively?

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

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

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

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

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

Lethal Corbyn III
Eye in the Sky

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

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


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

Instagram  twitter


 

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Episode #20 | Thom Burgess

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

Let’s get creepy with Thom, find out what makes a great horror story, how to build a ghost and learn more about this terrifying and darkly beautiful comic creator from another realm. Well, the UK. BOO!
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Connect with Thom Burgess

Twitter  |   Website





 

 

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Episode #19 | Johnny Craft

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

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

Connect with Johnny Craft

Twitter  |  CXC Profile





 

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Episode #18 | J Francis Totti

j francis totti_podcast

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

Inktober_comixcentral_winner.6

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

Twitter   |  Instagram





 

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Comic Shops Open Up About How to Get Your Comics on Their Shelves

sell comics stores

If ever there was a field where independent creators have it rough, it’s the comic book industry.

Completing any project can be a feat in itself but with comics, you have to have it all (as in finished comic book product) and hope that you can recoup your expenses monetarily or at least in the capital of prestige/notoriety.

So, as a way to help guide indie creators to greater heights, I talked to several different comic book stores about their ordering processes, how indie books make it to their shelves, what books seem to sell and ideas on getting indie books in stores. If you don’t already, you should fully understand the juggernaut you’re up against coming out of the gates. Out of the stores contacted the majority reported their independent/non-DC/Marvel titles sales were only 5-20%. Since Image was included in these numbers (which is essentially just a smaller version of the Big Two) it’s safe to assume the percentage for non-Image independent books drops even further. Obviously, as in any competition against established products, the uphill battle is very steep indeed. But not impossible, and this is where the owners have keener sight and advice.


1. Any Insight into why certain titles seem to take off compared to other titles? What seems to misfire?

Dave Michaels of eXpertComics: “I find what works in the indies better than anything is word of mouth. If a book is not doing well, it is probably because the fans and retailers are not spreading the word in the shops and online.

Jim Drucker of NewKadia.com: “Marketers have been trying for about 150 years to figure out what products the public will grab onto. You never know.”

Benn Ray, co-owner of Atomicbooks.com: “I think some non-DC/Marvel titles fail because many are uninspired 3rd rate DC/Marvel/Image/Dark Horse wannabe books. The publishers are simply trying to create what other publishers are already doing better, maybe in the hopes of securing a job with those publishers. Some creators seem to think “indie” is simply a step up the rung. I also think many floundering indie titles could benefit from stronger editors. Overall, crappy art, lame writing, uninspired storytelling. In many cases, you can judge a bad book by its cover.”

John Robinson, co-owner of Graham Crackers Comics: “Indie titles are just like a mainstream book. It’s like Batman except his butler is a girl! Whoa. It’s like Superman only he’s kind of a jerk. It’s like Justice League only they hate each other.”


2. How does the person responsible for ordering make their specific choice of titles and the quantity they order?

Dave Michaels: We specifically have on online subscription service. I believe we order based on what is pre-ordered mostly, and secondly, we try to order based on mainstream exposure and/or ‘hype.’”

Jim Drucker: “Based on past sales of those titles.”

Ryan Liebowitz, owner of Golden Apple: “Diamond Previews is our main catalog but we also look at emails, mailings and get many calls and visits directly from creators and publishers alike. Generally, we will look at the creative team, publisher credibility, story concept and artwork to help determine ordering levels.”

Benn Ray: “I think my filter works something like this: if the book looks like a wannabe DC/Marvel superhero book, I’m not ordering it. If it’s a hokey-looking genre book, sci-fi/ fantasy, I’m not inclined to order it. If I’ve never heard of the publisher, the writer, or the artist, it’s unlikely I’m going to take a chance on that book. If the art looks poorly computer colored, computer-generated or the story concept seems hackneyed, I’m probably not going to order it. If the art looks “manga-inspired” I’m probably going to skip the book. My store focuses on alternative/underground books, so I’m more apt to carry those. If it’s a publisher I recognize as doing quality work, if the book has artists/writers I know I have an audience for, I’m more apt to carry their book. I’d rather miss an issue or two of a new comic and have customers ask me to order it than get stuck with a really crappy book that I”m embarrassed to have on my shelves that I can’t get rid of.”

John Robinson: “Managers base their ordering on their personal tastes, number of pre-orders from customers and the current amount of buzz surrounding the title.”

3. In terms of sales does anything stand out to you as remarkable from the past few years, as far as indie publishing?

Dave Michaels: “I don’t know if this counts but I would say the resurgence of Archie and the whole relaunch of the Archie line of comics shocks me. Whoever decided to reboot the line in that way is absolutely brilliant! I think the indie market should be thinking about tapping into that fan base.

Jim Drucker: “TV shows and movies and other mass media and massive social media all contribute to sales of various titles.”

Ryan Liebowitz: “Image Comics are starting to outsell Marvel and DC titles. We also have seen much success from publishers like Black Mask, Boom!, Valiant and others on select titles.”

Benn Ray: “We’ve seen a big resurgence in interest in self-published mini-comic.”

4. Any advice or suggestions as to how someone with a self-published book would best go about getting it on comic book store shelves?

Dave Michaels: “My best advice for indie creators would be to use the times and social media as much as possible. We live in a big “convention era.” Try to get booths at cons both big and small, do panels, interact with fans. Also, the internet and social media is our best tool today. Get online make Facebook pages, do the Twitter thing, get a Kickstarter going. These are the best avenues we have today. Also, go to local comic shops and ask them to put your stuff on the shelf. There are not many stores that won’t support local content. Make friends and fans and get out there!”

Jim Drucker: “ A, have a ground-breaking idea. There is no substitute for quality and originality. No amount of great marketing can sell AND maintain sales for a lousy product. B, have a strong social media presence. If young musicians can find a worldwide audience from YouTube, aspiring writers and artists and comic book creators can to with the right product. C, have the necessary capital. Starting any new business takes a great product but it is expensive. I have seen HUNDREDS of comic books that published only one issue. Many, deservedly so. But some, I thought had some potential, but for reasons unknown to me, there was never a second or third issue. My guess is that poor early sales sapped their budget. There are countless examples of products in other industries that took YEARS to catch on. If you’re on a shoestring budget, you may not stay in business long enough to catch on.”

Ryan Liebowitz: “Self-published works that are not solicited through Diamond are very difficult to get onto shelves. Their stronghold on the industry is criminal and another distributor needs to form to help all publishers get into the hands of comic book fans.”

Benn Ray: “There is no magic bullet or quick fix or trick to this.”

John Robinson: “The thing I tell anyone that is self-publishing is to take a hard look at their own buying habits. Ask yourself some questions. Do you buy Stray Bullets every month? Are you interested in Zombie Tramp? What indie titles have gotten you to buy them faithfully month after month and what was it that got you to try them? I constantly get people that buy only Marvel/DC type books doing their own self-published book and not understanding why no one buys it. Every item in the store is fighting for your attention–what’s unique about your property? Could be just great art. Could be it fills a niche that is currently not being filled in the marketplace.”


So there you have it, folks, straight from the mouths of those who know and want to see indie, self-publishers and creators succeed.

There are certainly a few key takeaways. Even if you can’t use a hot established property such as Archie, maybe try and tap into the essence of what is attracting so much attention today both in comics and Comic related TV programming. Support other indie/self-published books. Research and explore the market. Be original, don’t clone the big Marvel/DC titles. Or if you do, put a real spin on it that no one has read before. (It’s the Justice League but they’re vampire zombies!) Lastly, and most importantly, network the hell out of yourself and your book. Without that, even the greatest of indie comic books will stay undiscovered.


*A seriously big thanks to all the people and establishments that took the time to answer my questions and help propel, if even only a small amount, the world of indie and self-published comics.

NewKadia.com  |  Atomicbooks.com  |  grahamcrackers.com  |  goldenapplecomics.com expertcomics.com





 

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

Episode #11 – Interview with Lance Lucero & Adam Volle

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

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Connect with Lance and Adam using the links below:

Adam Twitter  | cxc profile:  @warehouse9   |  Warehouse 9 twitter   |   warehouse9pro.com


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



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

making comics blog david pepose

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

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

1. Study the structure.

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

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

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


3. Don’t worry about writing in order.

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

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

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

5. Be prepared to spend some money.

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

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

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

7. Keep your stories small.

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

8. Finish It!

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

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

Twitter   |  actionlabcomics.com





 

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Episode #8 – up close and personal with Nick Gonzo

Episode #8 – up close and personal with Nick Gonzo

On this episode, Leigh Jeffery interviews Nick Gonzo, the dynamic and wildly talented creator behind 50 Signal, Funk Soul Samuari and most recently, Corsair! Also the co-founder of Madius Comics and one of the most silver tongued story tellers we’ve host on the ComixCentral podcast. Get ready for a fascinating, charming and sometimes bone chilling good time with Nick Gonzo.


[podbean resource=”episode=iaahy-7e9a3d” type=”audio-rectangle” height=”100″ skin=”1″ btn-skin=”108″ share=”1″ fonts=”Helvetica” auto=”0″ download=”0″ rtl=”0″]
Our sweet intro/outro music is brought to you by Pleasure Pool! Thank you so much guys for letting us use your awesome tracks!



 

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

Expositional dialogue makes Chris a dull boy!

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

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

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


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



 

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Eff The Naysayers

sean martin

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

EFF the naysayers. Chase your dream!


 


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

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

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

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




 

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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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Just DO the work.

comic book motivation

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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


 

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The Red Hyena Dragged Me Into The 21st Century!

red hyena doktor geraldo

Digital art fascinates me.

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

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

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

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


 


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J Adam Farster: The New Blue Bomber

j adam farster

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

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

J. Adam Farster / Humalien

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

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

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

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



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

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

J. Adam Farster

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

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

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

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

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

J. Adam Farster

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

J. Adam Farster
J. Adam Farster

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

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

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

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

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

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

Adam really embodies everything representative of the indie spirit.

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

J. Adam Farster

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

AdamFarster.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/adamfarster

CXC: @farster13

ComixShop: Floor 13 Studios 





 

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

jared muralt

Welcome weird wunderkinder!

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




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

 


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Chris: What are your passions outside of illustration?

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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





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CXC Conversations with Creators: Featuring Michael Lent

michael lent

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

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

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



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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

When did you get your start?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I’d rather just get to it.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Now go make some Comics!


Twitter:  @michaellent2

Facebook:  MichaelLent

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

ComixCentral: @michael_lent





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DOKTOR GERALDO

doktor geraldo

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

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

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


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

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

What made you decide to start making comics?

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

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

 

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

Where do you get your inspiration and ideas from?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What resources do you rely on to make your comics?

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

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

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

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

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

 

Who are your biggest inspirations in the comic realm?

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

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

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

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

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

Where do you hope to be in 5 years creatively?

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

Now, go make some Comics!


Connect with Doktor Geraldo

comixcentral.com/vendors/doktor-geraldo-store

twitter.com/doktorgeraldo

facebook.com/doktorgeraldo

payhip.com/doktorgeraldo

instagram.com/doktorgeraldo

imgur.com/a/ErIrT

Get Spec ops Hobo


 


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JOHN HOLLAND

john holland

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

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

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

 


Let’s get to it!


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

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


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

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


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

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

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

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

When did you first start making comics?

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

How did you get into creating comics?

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

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

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

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

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

Where do you get your ideas/inspiration from?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Just tell a good story.

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

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


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

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

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

Now go make some comics!


Connect with John

http://johnfholland.net/

http://aylathecomicbook.com/

http://lifeduringwartime.us/

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

Comixcentral : @john_holland

For all John’s titles:  Shop by Holland 





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CHAD COLPITTS

chad colpitts

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

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

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


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


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

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

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

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

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

What kind of comics do you make? 

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

When did you get your start?

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

What made you decide to start creating comics?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Do you prefer to work with a team or alone.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

Now go make some comics!


Connect with Chad and Tongue in Cheek Comics

 tongueincheekcomics@gmail.com

Twitter @TiCComics

facebook.com/TongueinCheekComics

Comixcentral : @tonguecheekcomics

Grab  The Streaker |   B- Movie Garbage