I’m back. Been busy with some stuff.
I ran a kickstarter for Speculative Relationships: Volume 2 with my pal Scott Kroll. We got funded! Here’s what it looks like:
We have some super awesome contributors in this one. Each artist is on their way to having amazing careers making comics and they all turned in mind-blowing stories. I’m so proud of the team and proud to say we have an amazing diverse group of creators telling unique heart-felt stories. There is a lot of scifi out there right now, which is great. But… A lot of it tends to fall into some of the same old tropes. Even the best stuff tends to focus on dudes fighting bad aliens or robots. Don’t get me wrong, that stuff is fine (I mean, Predator is one of my all-time favorite movies). But I feel pretty strongly that when a genre is en vogue, it’s important to take advantage of that to showcase ideas and creators that are under-represented within it. To that point, Isabella Rotman and I talked about diversity in comics a bit in this interview for Speculative Relationships:
I also really loved this thing that Ben Passmore (one of our contributors) posted:
I’m not a huge reader of Sci-fi or speculative fiction, in part because much of what I’ve come across is a thinly veiled narrative supporting some of the oldest oppressive ideas (colonialism, magic white dudes, ect.). Chunky young brown Ben wasn’t super into that, not because of some deep political analysis, but because I felt expected to be a magical white guy and that stressed me out. The comics in this anthology stray from this, sometimes a little and sometimes a lot, and it’s totally worth it for there to be narratives that are different in the word so that little chunky brown kids are less stressed.
We also did a bunch of interviews to promote the book. You can check them out here:
I feel really good about the results in the book and I can’t wait to get it into more hands once we finalize the printing.
I’ve done a few different things for some things. Here’s the line art for a pinup I did for Image Comics Dark Engine:
Which should be out soon-ish? And the final is in color.
And here’s a sneak peek at a secret thing I did for a new Dark Horse book by Donny Cates & Eliot Rahal:
I’m in another show at Third Coast Comics in Chicago this weekend. The show is themed ‘bad guys’ so I had to do an Apocalypse for that:
Here’s a logo I designed for the title page of Aaron Pittman’s cool scifi webcomic Grimfish (which you should read):
Somewhere in the last couple months I also did some Luther Strode fan art for fun:
VICTUS & KINSHIP
I haven’t forgotten about Victus and I assure you, the 4th issue is coming. Here’s some early sketching for the cover design:
I am posting 1 page from the series per week on my tumblr, to lead up to the release of #4. So if you haven’t read it yet, you can check it out there. Issues 1-3 are still for sale in my store as well.
Kinship is a project I haven’t talked about much yet. It’s a comic I’m writing with my brother Logan, and the incredibly talented Drew Alderfer is drawing it. We are putting together samples for a pitch. The series follows a group of native americans in the early 1600’s, who have to defend their village from a group of foreign bandits. We are taking a lot of queues from Seven Samurai and it’s really shaping up to be something special. Here’s a couple of Drew’s designs for the main good and bad guys:
I couldn’t be happier with the work Drew is doing and working with my brother on the script has been amazing. We really hope we can find a home for the series! It’s about time we see some native american heroes in comics.
Here’s some stuff that’s inspired me lately:
Tradd Moore is KILLING it on Legacy of Luther Strode
My friend Landis has been working on this book. His hatching is next level.
This Guillaume Singelin Metal Gear thing is drooooollll…
I really liked this new John Vestevich story.
There is a really cool show of woodblock prints from different religions at the Art Institute right now.
The clouds have been perfect in Chicago lately. So I’ve been taking a lot of pics.
I’ll try to get back on the wordpress horse. Thanks for reading!
I’ve neglected my poor blog. What’s crazy is that it’s not because stuff has been slow. I feel like I’ve been running a marathon for the last 8 months. But I wouldn’t have it any other way. I’m just gonna ramble here…
The book got printed, delivered, and read by our awesome backers. I’m so proud of the work we did on this book. It was so cool to see the pics our backers took with their copies:
So we did a release party at the amazing Challengers comics and a signing at the cool Graham Crackers Comics.
But we have one more event coming up where you can see us and get a copy of the book! Come see us on October 24th at Quimby’s Bookstore:
We’ll have the book up for sale soon online in both print and digital formats. I promise to do another post when we get that together.
Man, I can’t wait for you all to see the new issue of Victus. It has been a BEAST to get through, but I think it represents a big step in my work and hopefully some really intriguing turns in the story. I’m neck deep in figuring out printing, but once I’ve found the solutions, I’ll put up a pre-order page (with some cool bonuses). For now, here’s some peeks into the book:
I’ve still been doing some fan art for fun. Here’s some Prophet:
And here’s some fanart from Spread, by Justin Jordan & Kyle Strahm:
Sadly, one of the greatest places in Chicago, HOT DOUG’s, has closed. It’s cool, as he chose to close, rather than being forced to because of low sales or rent or some other nonsense. Doug’s was a special place that I frequented since college and always tried to take Chicago visitors to. Doug said some awesome stuff about it in this interview, so Read It.
STUFF I LOVE
I’ve been really inspired by this stuff lately…
Grim Wilkins is doing some really cool stuff in Prophet, but in general rocks. Check him out.
Liam Cobb. Basically, everything Liam does is breathtaking. He’s one to watch.
I finally started reading (for real) Hayao Miyazaki’s Nausicaa manga that my pal Dan let me borrow. It be goooooood.
Speaking of Daniel Warren Johnson… his current storyline of Space-Mullet is his strongest work to date. Get on board now!
That’s all for now. I have a lot more to tell ya’ll, but my computer at home just had a major malfunction, so I’m sneaking this out at work. Let me know how you’re doing out there!
Things have been busy here. Very busy. Most exciting at the moment: I got the proof for the Speculative Relationships anthology that we Kickstarted last month!
INCREDIBLY excited! The books printed and delivered en masse is the next step!
This issue is taking me a bit longer. But… not to brag… but it’s because this is some of my best work yet. I’m really excited about the new things happening in the book and new techniques I’m exploring. Here are some peeks:
I scanned in some stuff from the Katsuhiro Otomo special issue of Brutus Magazine, which my awesome friend from Japan (Rinko Endo) sent me. Some really cool stuff in there:
So amazing. Everything about Otomo mesmerizes me.
I went to Starved Rock this weekend with my fiance’ (oh yeah, I GOT ENGAGED). Here are a few pics:
And I guess you probly wanna see the ring…
I designed the ring in collaboration with the amazing custom jeweler Heather Oleari. I’ll try to do a post about that design process at some point in the near future.
FAN ART & OTHER STUFF
As usual, I’ve been up to my ol’ fan-arti-ing
No, from The Spread
The main character in Reid Psaltis’s Kingdom/Order
And a Simon piece to promote the awesome Cupcake Award
And finally I’ll leave you with a moment of zen. Barry Windsor-Smith’s beautiful colors, accompanied by a new Run The Jewels Track…
Woooo! Things have been busy. They still are, so I’ll just get right to it!
I was tagged in a blog tour recently by the amazing Beth Hetland and tasked with doing a post for the “My Writing Process blog tour”, answering 4 questions. Beth had been tagged by the talented Cara Bean before that. Here we go!
1) What am I working on?
Oh man… Ok…
– Victus # 3: This is the newest issue of my sci-fi, metaphysical, religious, relationship comic. It’s almost all pencilled!
– Speculative Relationships: The sci-fi romance comics anthology featuring some of my good pals that we are trying to get funded on Kickstarter (see more on this below). I am doing 2 stories for this, which I just finished yesterday! Oh and I’m co-editor with Scott Kroll.
– Upgrade Soul: I’m inking this amazing sci-fi iPad comic for Ezra Clayton Daniels. It’s a blast!
2) How does my work differ from others of its genre?
I’d like to think that my work is different in that it’s not tied to the conventions of any one genre. With Victus, I’m attempting to create my own genre, which takes influence from theology, psychology, and philosophy, but also reflects aspects of sci-fi, action, and romance. I also try to bring in experimental elements which will hopefully expand the restrictions of any genre I work within. I hope that makes sense?
3) Why do I write what I do?
When I start any new project, it is usually because I need a vehicle to explore thoughts, ideas, and feelings I’m having. I usually say that I make comics so that I can understand something better. With my comic Gary, I wanted to gain more insight into how and why a serial killer exists and how that relates to my own experience and place in society. With Victus, I want to explore communication and connections to a larger universal nature. I rarely start writing something with an answer in mind. I write because I have questions.
4) How does your writing process work?
I can’t write scripts. I just can’t do it. I feel that if you’re making comics, you really shouldn’t start with just words or just pictures. So I find the process of writing a script counter-intuitive and out of place when making comics. Generally, I start a comic with random notes and drawings. These will be in sketchbooks, on my phone, on meeting agendas at work, etc. After I have a pretty large log of these ideas, I try to organize them in a google spreadsheet (words/ideas) and folders (drawings). I also start a project specific sketchbook at this point, where I will put all future content related to said project. Then I start zero-ing in on key scenes/images/dialogue and organizing them into some kind of order.
Once I have a vague big-picture of the project, I’ll start the first issue/book. I put together 8.5×11 sheets of paper folded in half and staple them, making a little blank book. Then I start thumb-nailing. As I thumb-nail, I write any words that I have figured out and plug in images from the sketchbook. Once I have maybe… 80% of the book thumb-nailed/written, I’ll start in on the “big”/”final” drawings. I guess what I’m trying to point out here is that I’ll start drawing the final comic with pretty significant gaps in the ‘story’. Since I think of my process as a meditation on an idea, I like to leave room for certain questions to be answered as I work and bring about new content. So I may not have certain lines of dialogue written until I’ve already drawn most of the first issue. I think this helps in cutting down on unnecessary dialogue or images, and figuring out what’s actually important. My writing process really doesn’t stop until I’ve filled in that final word balloon or inked that last line.
SPECULATIVE RELATIONSHIPS KICKSTARTER UPDATE
We have about two weeks left in the Kickstarter campaign for Speculative Relationships! In promotion of the project, we’ve been doing artist interviews and podcast spots. Here’s some o’that:
Scott Kroll Interview
Isabella Rotman Interview
And we’ll have interviews with me, Daniel Warren Johnson, and Mike Manomivibul up next week!
Scott and I were both featured on a couple podcasts too:
We are a little over 60% now, so we still need your help to get this thing funded. Check it OUT!
THINGS FROM MY DRAWING TABLE:
– that’s all for now!
I feel like I’ve gone through a comics ‘right of passage’. I exhibited at the legendary S.P.A.C.E. One of the longest running indie comic conventions in the states. It was one of the most welcoming shows I’ve ever attended and featured a very diverse collection of comics creators. I was tabling with my buddy Scott Kroll. Here’s a our table:
We had a nice time meeting other folks and we even did a couple jam pieces. Here is a Prophet that I pencilled and Scott inked:
One of the big bonus’s of the trip was seeing the Bill Watterson “Exploring Calvin & Hobbes” art exhibit at the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library. It was … almost like a religious experience. I grew up on Calvin & Hobbes and still aspire to create work at the level of Mr. Watterson’s. Here are some shots:
It was amazing. If you are even REMOTELY close to Columbus, OH, you NEED to go to this show.
On top of all that, we saw Nate Powell sing heavy metal at the after-party karaoke.
C2E2 THIS WEEKEND!
Along with our normal stock of awesome comics, we’ll have the new Speculative Relationships postcards and posters:
And I’ll have 1 new print, which is the teaser image for Victus #3, along with the 2 previous Victus prints:
I’ll try to add these to the online store after the show. But C2E2 will be the first place you can get your hands on this new print! Hope to see a lot of you there! Mention the blog and get a special treat!
Well… I’ve been plugging away on Victus #3, inks on Upgrade Soul, and my two scifi romance short comics for Speculative Relationships. And of course some Prophet fan art. Here are some peeks:
Get to C2E2 this weekend and say hi!
Back again for a quick post.
Here are a few more looks at my bookshelf (or ‘shelfie’ I guess it’s called?)
Some of my proudest acquisitions on these shelves would have to be 2 of Katsuhiro Otomo’s short story collections (SOS and Memories), Visions of Arzach, Moebius’ 40 Days Dans Le Desert, In the Studio, the Hellshock collection, Stranger in a Strange Land… ugh.. honestly I love all this stuff!
What’s on YOUR shelf?
So it’s official, I’ve announced the anthology I’ve been putting together with Scott Kroll. It’s is a science fiction romance comics anthology called Speculative Relationships (get it?). We are really excited about it! Here is the cover image:
by the amazing Mike Manomivibul.
It will feature new stories by:
and of course ME.
We are planning to gain funds for printing via Kickstarter! So please keep up with the project on tumblr and twitter:
I’m sure I’ll bug ya’ll about it more as the Kickstarter approaches!
Work work work all the time
So here is what I’ve been up to…
You know I can’t get enough Prophet/Yilala. What I wouldn’t give to just get ONE PAGE in that Prophet: Strikefile book.
Work has been excessively sucky lately. So I put my feet up and watched the Thundercats intro. It helped. A little.
The Raid 2 is one of the best things ever on the planet. Do anything you can to go see it NOW. I’ve been twice so far and count on at least one viewing in the theatre.
Thanks for playing along at home! Is anyone keeping score?