Big Announcement

Hello to everyone, and thanks for bearing with me lately on limited entries here.  I do have some big news coming for one of my comics projects, but I want to hold off until it's a done deal and all involved are informed.  Come back soon for some great news on what has been one of my favorite comics to write.  I can't wait to see where this goes from here!

Inspiration at the movies

Inspiration comes to me from many sources - music, books, comics, movies, conversations.  Sometimes I'm extremely surprised from the source, and last night I saw a movie that greatly surprised me.  It was called Warrior, and it stars Tom Hardy (Inception, Star Trek: Nemesis, The Dark Knight Rises), Joel Edgerton, and Nick Nolte, all of who did an amazing job.

The thing that inspired me about this movie is it used the trappings of an intense, violent world (in this case Mixed Martial Arts, MMA, and the sport of Ultimate Fighting), but the entire movie really focused on a broken family and grieving that came years too late.  Two brothers end up in a MMA tournament called Sparta, both for very different reasons (one revealed early on, one much later).  This collision of sports, violence, anger, and family all came together in an emotional ending that was one of the best I've seen in a long time.

The reason for the inspiration is that it speaks very much to my own literary themes.  I find m writing revolving around themes of family, loss, grieving, and how that comes in different ways for different people.  As much as my horror series Devolution is about a zombie attack on a married couple inside their Tennessee house, it's really about a couple's broken marriage and the grief over the loss of their son.  It's about how they grieved in different ways, at different times, and what it did to their family.

Great fiction opens the lense on our own experiences, allows us to share in those moments and relate to them.  It's what makes AMC's The Walking Dead TV series (and the Image comic for many years) work so well.  We see ourseves in these characters, no matter how fantastic the situation. 

If I do my job well enough, you'll see yourself, or your family, or your friends, in these characters and these worlds.  And maybe you'll learn a little bit about myself as well.

Redo to premiere soon

My new independent superhero comic, Redo, will be released soon at www.ComicCritique.com.  Owner/editor Louis Vitela at ComicCritique has done a masterful job of maintaining a quality comics site these last couple years, and he's always been gracious to host any independent comic I've put together. 

I don't want to give away too many details at this point about the new series, but I will tell you it explores a very simple theme - what if you had the chance to live your life all over again.  Mixing new concepts in a unique way with fantastic art by William Allan Reyes and Ivan Plascencia, I'm excited at all that's to come for our main character and the people in his life. 

I'll announce the debut installment soon, once the ComicCritique site gets a few modifications done to it and it gets posted.  I have the first two issues plotted out, and we're into the art on issue 2.  Can't wait to show you the latest offering from Hangar 19.  Happy reading.

Matt

Hangar 19

I've been mulling the idea of creating an imprint name, something that would go with all my written work, for some time now.  This would be for comics, novels, nonfiction, basically anything that has the byline, "by Matt Yocum."  Some of the more successful brand and imprint names include: Marvel, Image, Skybound, Dynamite, Boom!, and many others. 

I posed this question to the gang at ChristianComicArts.com, and I got some great feedback on what did and did not work.  Martin Murtonen did a great job deconstructing several of my suggestions, and several others pitched in and voiced their thoughts and opinions.  Possibilities included: Otherwhere, Front Porch Entertainment, Hyperion Entertainment, Perpetual Motion, Sons of Thunder, Complete Geek Entertainment, and SDG Entertainment (Soli Deo Gloria), and many more.  The one that won out and lodged itself in my brain was...

...Hangar 19.

So, starting now I'll be writing under the banner of Hangar 19.  The idea behind it is this - you think you knows what's in Hangar 18.  You have no idea what's behind the doors to Hangar 19.  Let me open those doors and show you what's inside.  Come inside the Hangar. 

Next up is designing a logo.  I'll work on that with some artists over the coming weeks, and I'll be sure to unveil that logo here. 

Happy reading.

Explaining the world of The Chosen

As I mentioned before, I'm currently working on a pitch titled The Chosen.  It follows a team of US special operations forces and CIA analysts who have discovered and are using alien weapons technology.  On their first mission, the team has to track down a set of the alien weaponry that's made its way to less-than-friendly foreign government hands. 

One of the literary devices I use in the series is to have a POV (point of view) character who is not from the military side.  Rather, the main character is a behavioral scientist from the CIA who has a military liaison assigned to her.  The reason for this is that as the military liaison is explaining stuff to her, it allows the audience to also learn how the military special operators work. 

I was recently watching the movie Inception starring Leonardo DiCaprio.  In this movie, they use much the same technique by introducing the character Ariadne played by Ellen Page.  She's new to the team and hired as an "architect," someone who "builds" the elaborate dream worlds they all visit.  Because she's new, DiCaprio spends a good amount of time explaining how the dream realm works and, consequently, the structure of the story itself.  This allows us as the audience to learn right along with her. 

If this technique is done well, it flows organically and doesn't open the curtain to show the hand of the writer behind the dialogue.  It can be a tricky balance.  You want to make sure the audience is tracking, but you don't want to spend page after page, or panel after panel, doing nothing but explaining.  You have to make sure you're advancing the action and keeping the reader, and the characters, moving forward. 

We'll see if the technique works in my case, but I think I've got a good blend of action and expository dialogue.  And in this case, since I'm only creating 9 pages of completely produced art along with a synopsis, I have a short amount of space to balance both action and expository dialogue/explanation.  We'll find out if we pulled it off as well as I hope. 

If you can know of other techniques to keep the action moving while allowing the audience to learn about the world you've created, I'd love to hear it.

Matt

Writing abounds in 2012

Greetings all.  Hope you had a fantastic New Year's Day for 2012.  My last week has been tremendous with a lot of time mapping out all the various projects I've got for the coming year.  I thought it might help to go over a few, if not for your interest then my own as an exercise in keeping track of it all.

First, I've completed several edits of a screenplay based on my horror comic Devolution.  The 94-page script expands a bit on the 4-issue comic, and I think it filled in some key gaps that I couldn't squeeze in the comic.  My plan now is to submit it to a variety of screenwriting contests as well as agents and see if I can generate interest in it.  It's a good year for zombie-related stories with AMC's The Walking Dead going strong and the upcoming movie World War Z starring Brad Pitt due in December 2012.

As for comics, I've got several independent projects in the works along with new pitches.  These include:

Redo - what if an aged superhero on his deathbed in the future is sent back in time to today to re-live his entire life over again, remembering everything that happened to him the first time.  That's the premise behind this action/adventure that asks, "How would you redo your life?"  Art is being handled by the amazing William Allan Reyes.

ClosetWorld - issue 1 has generated fantastic reader response, and we're well on our way through issue 2 pages with the same great team of artist John Amor, colorist Thomas Bonvillain, and letterer Chris Studabaker.  Once we're further ahead on pages, I'll start to release the installments on ComicCritique.com.  I also continue to look for an independent publisher to release this one in print, as I know it would be a hit.

The Chosen - an indy pitch I'm developing with artist Sedat Oezgen.  Imagine a special ops military team armed with alien technology going on covert missions, only to find out this highly destructive technology has found its way to less friendly governments.  That's the premise behind this pitch.  Our plan is to produce 9 pages along with a breakdown of the story to show prospective publishers.

The Forgotten - this fairy tale adventure follows Lucy, a young girl who lives in the dream realm of the Forgotten, a place for those dreams who have been forgotten by their dreamers.  Little Lucy joins her dreamers' other forgotten dreams to find a way to travel back to the realm of the Remembered.  This pitch is currently in the early stages of development, and the plan is to produce 5 to 7 pages of art along with a synopsis.

I'm also talking with an artist about possible Christian comics pitches including one called Joseph, that would follow the life of Joseph in the book of Genesis, but place his adventures in a science fiction universe.  The other is a story called Omega, following a group of Christian special operations soldiers who make up "Omega Force," a team dedicated to tracking down terrorist events aimed at destroying Christianity worldwide.  The team's first mission would be to stop a plot aimed at sending suicide bombers to various American megachurches all on the same Sunday.  In the vein of Frank Peretti's This Present Darkness and Piercing the Darkness novels, this story would follow the action both in the physical and spiritual realms.  I tagged it as "where modern warfare meets spiritual warfare." 

Despite not being to work on the Captain America project for Marvel Comics, I still have a few possible projects in the works.  I'm talking to a couple editors, and although they have to tighten their financial belts along with the rest of the country, there's still a possibility I could be doing some work for them.

It dosn't stop there. I'm chipping away at the early stages of a nonfiction book called Alive that I won't go into detail here (yet). I can't wait to get together a book proposal and send it out to possible agents and publishers. This is one story that simply MUST be told.

Finally there are my novels, The Calling and HONOR, both at amazon.com.  They are now discounted to $.99, so I hope everyone out there orders them and checks them out and shares this with everyone else.  And even more importantly for those of you who have read it, PLEASE PLEASE review it on amazon for me (particuarly if your last name is not Yocum!).  For me, amazon reviews go a long way when I'm browsing for a new novel, and I'd love to see more reviews on the site.  I have a lot of people who have written me telling me how much they liked both books, and I'm hoping to see those comments in public for everyone else to see.

That's what is on the writing plate for 2012.  You can see that it's going to be a busy year, but that's just the way I like it.  As always, I'll keep writing and I hope you'll keep reading.

Matt

The great novel sale of 2012

I've been reading a lot about electronic publishing, what works and what doesn't for an electronic, or e-book's, success.  One of the big things I learned is how important price point is for an electronic novel.  The most successful e-books are not ones that are priced similar to their paperback counterparts on the shelves of mortar and brick stores but are priced similar to other e-book novels in the digital realm.  There are some great articles out there about successful e-books, one found here in the Wall Street Journal, the other found here at USA Today.  These articles helped me determine that the best thing I can do to help my two novels to find the biggest audience is to lower the price, in this case to $.99. 

99 cents?  That sounds crazy at first.  But if someone is browsing for a book and finds interest in my book priced at $4.99 and also finds equal interest in a book priced $.99, they are going to go for the cheaper book every time (unless it's friends and family who are willing to help me out).  The goal for me now is to figure out how to get people I don't know to check the books out, hopefully to write a review, and to recommend it to others.  It's a given that the book first and foremost has to be good.  But it's also important in the electronic world that the book be cheap and an easy buy.

The other thing I need to do, which I have yet to pursue, is expanding where the book is located.  Amazon's Kindle is great, but now there are many other electronic publishing venues out there including Barnes & Noble's Nook and Apple's iBooks. 

For now I'll take it one step at a time, lowering the price point for the Kindle and looking to expand both The Calling and Honor's digital reach.  For those of you who paid "full price," I thank you.  I'm sorry I'm just now learning this point, but it's a new realm of publishing, both for me and all the writing community.

The biggest thing you can do to help me at this point is: 1) buy the book through amazon.com (you can find them here), and 2) write a review on amazon (particularly if you're last name isn't Yocum!). 

Thanks to all of you for your support, and I'll keep writing if you'll keep reading.

If Captain America had visited Iraq

There was to be some extremely great news coming your way, but things did not pan out as I'd hoped.  I had pitched to Marvel over the summer an idea I had called "Captain America: Deployed" that would be a Captain America adventure where he visits troops in Iraq.  The unique thing is that it was to be written during my deployment to Iraq.  The idea was a hit with Senior Vice President of Publishing Tom Brevoort, and when he presented it to Marvel's Editor-in-Chief, Axel Alonso, he also loved the idea.  I worked on and finished a draft of the script while in Iraq to keep the hook to the story intact, that of a deployed military member writing a Captain America story. 

When I returned to the States in September, I found out that it fell apart.  It had nothing to do with Tom or Axel and everything to do with financing and the difficult state of the industry right now.  Despite high level backing, it seemed that Marvel's finance office couldn't figure out a way to monetize the project in a way that would be profitable, and so that ended it.  I'm seeing more and more that the Big Two (Marvel and DC) are having to trim any fat off their plate, working only on projects that in their eyes stand the best chance of making the payoff worth the investment. 

It was a good experience working the script.  After all, no writing is bad writing since it still flexes the mental muscles.  And I had the opportunity to meet Axel at the New York Comic Con this Fall, and he was extremely nice and told me that he really did love the idea and wished it had worked out.

In the meantime, I've been hard at work on several independent comics ideas, trying to maximize the numbers of pitches I'm building.  I've got a host of pitches in various stages of development.  The most imminent will be released soon at www.ComicCritique.com.  Keep your eyes open for Redo, one of the most original superhero stories I've ever come up with, and with a hook that I believe everyone will be able to relate to.  I'm also developing several new stories including a military story with a science fiction twist called The Chosen and a fairy tale adventure titled The Forgotten

Some good stuff is on the horizon and I hope you'll check back here to see what's coming next.

Have a great Christmas and happy New Year's.  And happy reading.

Matt

Good things from New York

New York Comic Con has come and gone, and it was fantastic.  Far bigger than anything I'd been to before, but from what I heard, it's still not on the scale of San Diego.  Some day I'll make it out there.

One of the highlights at this con was meeting Buddy Scalera, comics pro and moderator for several panels on comics as a profession.  He was the best moderator I'd seen, keeping things moving, interesting, and making sure his panelists each spoke and offered their insights on a variety of relevant topics. 

I got a chance to meet Buddy later in Artist Alley, and I'm extremely glad I did.  I bought a copy of his book "Creating Comics from Start to Finish," and I've been pouring through it since.  The book only recently came out, so it's probably the most timely on the shelves for breaking and staying in the business. 

In the course of talking to Buddy, he challenged me to create a pitch that mixes my military background with some type of science fiction element, and he offered to chat with me during its development.  Since then I've been hard at work on an idea called The Chosen, and Buddy and I have had a chance to chat several times about it.  His course corrections have been spot on, and I could not be more grateful at the time he's spent giving me his thoughts and experience.  I'm in the early stages now, refining the idea, developing the characters, figuring out their motivations, and coming up with the basics of the plot.  It's always the most fun for me, starting with nothing and creating something.  First there was no idea, then there was an idea, a seed that started to grow after it was planted.

I'll continue to water this idea and we'll see what sprouts from it.  Hopefully something as good and unique as I believe it's going to be. 

If you ever get a chance to meet or sit in a session led by Buddy Scalera, do it.  You never know what great idea it might lead to.

New York Comic Con approaches

Only a few more days until the New York Comic Con.  I plan to attend each day, and cannot wait to be surrounded by all things comics.  I've not been to this convention before, so I'll be excited to see how it fares compared to Heroes Con in North Carolina, one of the best conventions out there. 

One of my goals for this con is to look for independent publishers for The Rift and ClosetWorld, and perhaps to sow the seeds of what's coming in Redo.  All three series are turning out incredibly well, and I could not be more pleased with their progress and quality. 

The great thing about independent comics is that I'm not tied to any one genre.  The Rift is a science fiction story with a core mystery, ClosetWorld is a fairy tale adventure, and Redo is a pure superhero story that I cannot wait to unleash.  Not to mention my already completed Devolution, a 4-issue horror series that I recently wrote as a screenplay this summer.  This variety is what continues to make writing comics so enjoyable for me.  Just as much as I love to read a wide variety of styles and genres, I also love to write a wide variety. 

That doesn't even slightly take away my love of writing mainstream superhero comics.  I've always loved the 4-color heroes found in Marvel and DC, and I don't think I'll ever outgrow that.  Every Wednesday with new comic book day is a like a little Christmas, waiting to see what comics came out, how the art and story turned out.  And there are some fantastic comics coming out now.

I'll be back to write more about the highlights from the New York Comic Con.  Until then, see you in the funny pages.

Two Novels Published

I accomplished one other great thing while in Baghdad these past few months.  My two novels, The Calling and HONOR, are now both published and available for purchase at www.amazon.com.  If you have a Kindle, or anything that can download the free Kindle app (an iPhone, iPad, Android device, PC, Mac, whatever), then you can buy the books.

These two books spanned years to write, and I could not be more happy to have them available for readers.  The Calling is a science fiction adventure that deals with faith and how we come to our beliefs.  HONOR is a terrorist conspiracy thriller that gives you an insider's view to life at the Air Force Academy.  Consider the first book a deeper, more literary book contained in a fantastic science fiction adventure.  Consider the latter book a fun, fast summer read.  They're both great and very different. 

For more info on these books, and where to find them, go to the Prose section of this website where I have direct links to the books.  Happy reading.

I'm Back

My deployment to Baghdad, Iraq is over.  I'm now finally back home, enjoying some good food, good reading, and the joys of home life.  It was a long but rewarding 4 1/2 months in Iraq, and I'm glad I was able to go, but also more glad to be home.

So the question is, was I able to get any writing done?  The answer is, not only was I able to get some writing done, I got a LOT of writing done. 

First, the comics.  I spent a lot of time mapping out the storylines for The Rift, ClosetWorld, and Redo.  And I made progress on all three fronts by getting art moving forward.  We're well into issue 1 of Redo, and issue 2 of ClosetWorld is moving along nicely.  The Rift is a bit slower, but I love what I've seen so far.

I thought I was going to have some good news out of Marvel for you, namely that I'd sold a Captain America story that would have been about Captain America visiting troops in Iraq.  I had some solid backing for the story, including Tom Brevoort and Axel Alonso, the top two editors at Marvel, but financing didn't work out.  It's a tough market today, and although there was some key people behind it, the story didn't work out fiscally so they were unable to take it.  Still, it was a valuable experience, and I'll keep trying.

Another major project I accomplished was writing my first screenplay.  My 4-issue horror series Devolution is now a screenplay, adn I'll be looking for a home for it soon.  I've got a lot of learning to do about the business side of how you sell or option a screenplay, and hopefully I find someone willing to take a chance on what I believe is a unique, more literate zombie story, sort of a cross between Panic Room and The Walking Dead

All in all, I made a lot of progress, and I'm pleased with how much I accomplished in such a short time.  Hopefully I'll be finding homes for these projects soon.  I'll keep tapping away, writing more and getting out all these ideas in my head.  It's only a matter of time before this hard work pays off. 

Thanks for reading.

Big News Coming Soon

I've not wasted much time while in Iraq.  I've got a little over a month to go, but in the 3 months I've been here, I've done a huge amount of writing.  I almost don't even want to go into what I've written since that will spoil some of the surprise.  I've had a few breakthroughs, and those will be coming soon, once they're nailed down. 

Check back and soon I'll let everyone know what the plans are for the future.  Great stuff is coming all on fronts.

Comics in Iraq

It's been about 2 months since my last post, which is much longer than I ever wanted.  The main reason for this is my deployment to Iraq where I'm now working in Baghdad and will continue for a few more months.  It's definitely everything you'd expect - hot, dusty, dry, and still not a nice place to live.  Every few days are sirens warning you of incoming, and the streets remain laden with IEDs. 

That being said, I'm having a wonderful time.  How, you might ask.  Because I'm getting a lot more time now to work on and read comics than I've had in a while.  I'm working extremely hard on several comics projects including issue 2 of The Rift, finishing issue 1 of ClosetWorld, and developing my new indy super hero title called RedoRedo is like nothing you've seen or read before, and I cannot wait to unleash it on the internet world.  As always, all my independent webcomics continue to be hosted by the wonderful owner and editor of www.ComicCritique.com, a magnificent site for comics, reviews, interviews, and blogs. 

I've got a few other projects in the works, including some novel-related work that I'll save until it all comes together.  It's something I'll be overjoyed to see come about once it's completed. 

I'm also getting a fair amount of time to catch up on comics reading, thanks to my wife sending me a couple boxes filled with them.  I would have to say my favorite right now is Uncanny X-Force.  As much as I was sad to see Jerome Opena leave as artist after the opening arc, they did not let down in quality going into the 2nd and 3rd arcs.  Esad Ribic impresses me every time I see his non-painted sequentials.  Do yourself a favor and check out the series, but start at the beginning to get the full flavor. 

Hopefully I'll have some more good news soon, but I'll wait until everything comes together.  Many projects in the works right now, and I'm glad to be alive and writing. 

Until next time...

Matt

Status of Webcomics

I printed out digest-sized copies of the first issue of The Rift, and I have to say that overall I'm extremely pleased with how it turned out.  My artist, Alex Amezcua, was a talented guy to begin with, but he clearly improved throughout the issue, and the stuff he's putting out now is just incredible.  I can't wait to see what he cooks up for issue 2. 

ClosetWorld is also moving along, and the artist, John Amor, is as perfect an artist as you can get for the tone of a comic.  His light-hearted renderings and the way he captures facial expressions are exactly what I was hoping for when I turned this short story into comic form.  We should be posting further installments soon at ComicCritique.com.

My latest independent comic is a superhero story titled Redo, and the issue 1 script is complete.  I believe this is the best opening issue for a comic I've written to date, and I'm so excited to see my artist, William Allan Reyes' inital layouts for the first installment.  This is going to be one fantastic series, and I believe you'll see something quite unique in the superhero genre.  It's got action, mystery, romance, you name it, it's in there.

I'm also pitching a few projects to Marvel, so we'll see how that goes as well.  All in all, it's an exciting time of writing, and I've got a lot of varied and fun projects in the works over the summer (which will be spent in Iraq).  Keep checking out this page here along with www.ComicCritique.com for more on my webcomics.  And as always, thanks for reading.

 

Honorable Mention for Best Movie of the Year

Okay, I realized after I wrote last night that I failed to mention other movies I recently saw and what makes my list for honorable mention this year after my favorite film, Let Me In.  I saw The Next Three Days (with Russell Crowe, which felt like three days to watch) and RED (we were so bored with the mindlessness of this film, despite the cast, that we fast-forwarded our way through the last half hour).  Obviously these didn't make honorable mention. 

That honor goes out to last week's new release, Hanna.  Starring Saoirse Ronan (another teenage lead actress, such as in Let Me In), this movie is carried squarely on her shoulders.  She absolutely makes this movie work, and if she were not as capable as she was, this movie would have failed.  I was surprised at the lyricism of this movie, the incredible action scenes, the humor, and the great music that kept this movie humming.  I was also pleased to see a great performance by Eric Bana, someone whose career has seemingly waned.  The only misstep was in giving Cate Blanchett's character a Southern accent - thinking on it, I understand why they chose to give her this accent, but it didn't work.  She simply didn't pull the accent off, which I believe she did succeed in Sam Raimi's horror/thriller The Gift.  But that was a small misstep in an overall great film.

I'm glad this movie didn't get thrown into the summer blockbuster mix where I'm sure it would have remained unnoticed.  I can only hope that an April release fares well for it and that more action movies like this result. 

Best Movie This Year

I've seen a bunch of movies recently - Winter's Bone, The Fighter, The Source Code, The Adjustment Bureau, The King's Speech, and several others.  But the best movie I saw this year, hands down, was Let Me In, a US remake of a Swedish vampire movie.  This movie worked on so many levels, it was inspiring to me as a writer and a fan of story.  About a "young" vampire girl and a "helpless" little boy who befriend each other, I thought the two lead actors - Kodi Smit-McPhee and Chloe Moretz - should have been nominated for Oscars.  They made this movie carried such a heavy load and handled it so well that they should have been recognized for the amazing work they did.  Chloe Moretz in particular is one to watch as her career progresses.

I was so impressed with the story and how this movie was shot.  There is scene after scene where you just wish you could see a little more than what is shown in the frame, which adds tremendously to the sense of dread the director, Matt Reeves, was going for.  He gave us a movie that was horrifying, touching, and somehow true to life all at the same time.  Even the title worked on several levels.

This was my goal in writing my horror comic Devolution, to do something in the overpopulated zombie genre that's rarely seen - to making a thinking man's zombie story.  I know this has been done in The Walking Dead, both the comic from Image and the television series on AMC.  I'd hoped to do that on a smaller scale, with a more intimate story about a husband, wife, and their son and a very small cast of zombies.  I'll get back to writing the screenplay itself one day, but for now other projects have jumped to the forefront. 

If I've not succeeded with Devolution, movies like Let Me In can only help to inspire and inform me on how to get better.  I hope as I prepare my next story, an independent superhero story, that I can take things to that next level.

She Has to Die

I hate it when I have to kill someone.  Especially if I like them.  But sometimes they just have to die.

I am talking, of course, about one of my characters.  I won't name which comics series, but I was working steadily this week on some of the plot points for a comic, and a character came to the forefront that I quickly realized had to die.  And the only real reason I realized that she had to die is because of what it'll do to the main character. 

In order for the hero of this tale to be fully worn out by the end of the series, this hero needs to go through some significant emotional events.  Major things have to happen for this person to be where I need them to be.  And one of the most emotional events is to build someone up in this hero's life only to have them die and our hero to lose them.  That's what happened the other night.

Also, unlike mainstream superhero work, I don't have an obligation to perpetuate this character for future generations (like Marvel must do with Spider-Man, Iron Man, and Captain America, and DC with Superman, Batman, and so on).  That means when these independent comics characters die, they stay dead.  It's why the characters in The Walking Dead remain dead.  Independent comics have the luxury of death being a real, substantial threat in a way that mainstream superhero comics at the Big Two do not.  I don't list this as a fault of the Big Two, merely as a difference between superhero comics from the Big Two and independent comics. 

I'll have to delve more into this in the future, how death is different in mainstream and independent comics.  For now, I've got to figure out how this girl dies.  All I know is she'll never see it coming. 

Print Comics

If you look at my webcomics, it's no secret that I'd love to see them in print.  You can tell by their formatting that I'm trying to use the web as a springboard to get these comics into print.  Perhaps this is the wrong way to look at it, not taking full advantage of the web and the unique things you can do in webcomics that you can't do in print.

But for those of us who were comics children of the 1970s and 80s, I think we have a nostalgia for comics in print.  There's something about holding a comic, flipping back to see what came before, trying not to peak ahead and see what comes next.  There's something magic in print that you don't get digitally.  I even love bagging and storing my comics, seeing them in their resting place for me to some day pull out and flip through again.

Today I worked on organizing the first issue of The Rift so that I can take it to a print shop and make digest-sized copies of the comic with the intent of showing it to prospective publishers.  I want to be able to show editors the look and flow of the book in one shot, not emailing them page after sequential page.  I'd rather have them take the extra step of physically throwing it in the trash rather than hit the delete key if they don't like it.  Seeing it in their mail might warrant a flip through with a physical copy that an email would not.  And, for those nostalgic about print comics like I am, it might make them that much more amenable to my story over one more email in an already-full inbox.

Or I may be wrong and it may end up in the trash faster than I can put a stamp on the envelope.  In either case, I made the best story and best-looking comic I can for them to see and read.  And that's all I can do.  The rest is in the eye of the reader.

 

Building a Comic Book

I'm in the early stages of creating a new, independent super hero comic book called Re-Do.  I don't want to give too much away, but I have to say it's the project that has me the most excited of anything I'm working on right now.  With a science fiction (The Rift) and fantasy/adventure (ClosetWorld) series already coming out, I truly do love super hero comics.  That love goes to my personal beginning in comics, starting first in Iron Man and then branching out into other series (Marvel's Secret Wars, the Avengers, Spider-Man, and so on).  I'm realize how lucky I am to have gotten a chance to write about some of these very same characters for Marvel Comics. 

And now I find myself working with my long-time collaboration site, ComicCritique.com, to create a new super hero series that I can say came from no one else's imagination other than my own.  Working for Marvel is of course a dream come true, but there's also a huge thrill of coming up with a super hero that no one else has dreamed up.  From his origin to his name (which is NOT Re-Do) to what happens to him, everything came only from me. 

After working out the backstory and the beats to issue 1, the next step was to find the right artist.  The site www.DigitalWebbing.com has been my go-to site for finding artists, having steered me to my webcomics artists Jake Bilbao (Devolution), Alex Amezcua (The Rift), and John Amor (ClosetWorld).  Now I've partnered with William Allan Reyes, and I CANNOT wait to show the world what this guy can do.  Hopefully the story is up to the task of showcasing his art in a way it deserves to be showcased.  The guy can flat draw. 

There are other creators I need to nail down for this project - a colorist, someone to design a logo, and so on - and I have just as much fun working on those details as I do working the story.  I think there's no one aspect of creating comics that is more fun than another.  I really do enjoy each and every part there is in making, publishing, and promoting a comic. 

It'll be months before Re-Do hits the web, but I can assure you it'll get as much work put into it as possible to make it the best read we can.  Here's hoping you like it as much as I do.