Sunday, 14 December 2014

Why Do You Do What You Do?

Several years ago I moved from one side of the world and started a new life.

It is both no where near as dramatic as that sounds, but yet also even more dramatic than I sometimes realize.

I moved for the best reason there is; Love.

I was in my thirties, doing okay in my day job, hadn't even realized that comics could be something I could do, and had a family to think of.

A little less than three weeks after arriving at my new home, I had a job which made me comfortable in so many ways, but also meant that I didn't have any where near as much time as I used to have.

It was a good thing and a bad thing. I really didn't process what was happening to me, and didn't really come to terms with how big a life change I had undergone.

When one moves to a completely other country in their thirties, they give up a big part of what makes them who they are - their friends - and they never really address this.

So much changed so quickly, that I never really stopped to think about how I had stopped being me in so many ways, and still continue to try to learn what that means.

Then something happened in the day job - the hours were long, the pay was enough to make us comfortable, but the people I worked with became...difficult.

I had no friends to talk to about this, I had no release to express how I was feeling, and so I started to think about comics a lot. It was a touchstone to the old me - something from my past which I could understand.

I became obsessed in both good (I wrote a lot) and bad (I bought a lot of Heroclix figures for no real reason).

On the good side, I started to realized that I could do something I'd always wanted to do - make my own comics.

I did everything almost wrong, of course - the world of comics is littered with stories of people starting out, making the same mistakes, hubristically thinking they will somehow make the magic happen that everyone else failed to make happen.

It make me happy. It was good. Work was hard, but comics got me through it.

I had some good, some bad, and some tough experiences, but I never did it for any more reason than to just do it.

This year I have really found myself questioning a lot about what I am doing and why in comics. I have also found myself questioning my worth. I have also had my work experience change to where I enjoy the people I work with more, and that has made it somehow harder to write as much.

I feel that it will be a question I think about a lot this year.

Sunday, 16 November 2014

Why Am I Still Making Plans When I Don't Know What The Future Holds?

My day job found itself getting cut short.

It may be a sign of the end, a may be a sign of the nature of that particular beast changing with the times.

Fact is, I'm now ending that particular project around six weeks earlier than originally thought.

One of the artists I am working with is finding themselves in a tough time, personally and nationally, and may have to hang up their inking tools. A real shame, not just because I love the work that they are doing, but because it breaks my heart that someone cannot afford to do the thing they want to do because of political reasons beyond their control.

The world needs artists.

The world needs art.

I have various bouts of existential insecurity when it comes to comics - I have no real plan to go beyond making my own comics, but it's tough to justify the costs when the return has been so consistently below par. I don't seem to be making much headway in my own, restricted goals. Is there any reason to go on? Maybe I'm not actually any good at any of this? Should I just focus on my day job, where at least I can get a sense of moving on, possibly upwards?

Not a day goes by when I don't think about ending the whole adventure, but in that same day I think about a new idea I'd love to try.

I feel like I'd be a fool to not at least finish the hanging threads of stories I have on the go.

I look at the cost of finishing it all, and feel saddened by the weight of that number, and think about where that money would be better served.

All very wonderfully depressing and self centered I know.

In the meantime I received Rafer Robert's Nightmare the Rat the other day - a newsprint comic I'd backed on Kickstarter (I'm a huge fan of Robert's work, and urge you to check it out)

It really got me thinking about one of the micro Kickstarter's I'd like to do - the Black Wraith one shot - and how fun it would be to do it as a newspaper - really tying into my sense of the disposability of comics, and the pulp nature of the character.

I've started to look at costs, and will report when I have more.

I'm also tempted to do a couple of little prose novellas featuring the Black Wraith - perhaps as ebooks.

Something else to wonder about doing while I wonder if I should be doing what I'm doing.


Sunday, 9 November 2014


Went to see Interstellar yesterday, still thinking over a lot of what I saw, but I for the most part enjoyed it.

I saw someone else do this, so wanted to do this for my own head - here is the current state on all MPS books;

The Hero Code

Issue 1 - 100% complete
Issue 2 - 100% complete
Issue 3 - Art and lettering complete, cover and 5/22 pages coloured
Issue 4 - 20/22 pages of art complete, needs lettering, colors, and a cover
Issue 5 - scripted
Issue 6 - 100% complete
Issues 7-12 - scripted

The Hero Code: Theatre of War

Prologue - 100% complete
Issue 1 - Cover and interior art and lettering complete, needs coloring
Issue 2 - Cover and interior art and lettering complete, needs coloring
Issue 3 - 10/32 pages of art complete

Department O

Issue 1 - 100% complete
Issue 2 - 100% complete
Issue 3 - scripted

The Black Wraith

Issue 1 - 100% complete
Issues 2-4 - art and lettering, covers complete - needs coloring*

The Black Wraith: One Shot (Life of Crime)

Chapter 1 - 100% complete
Chapter 2 - Art complete - needs lettering and color
Chapter 3 - scripted
Chapter 4 - plotted


Issues 1-4 - 100% complete

That's where we are.

*The mini will not be coloured until at least all first print copies of the trade are sold.

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Monkey Pipe, Now, Then, When...

Work continues on issue 4 of Hero Code (issue 3 is still being coloured) and issue 3 of Hero Code Theatre of War.

Department O issue 3 has a finished script, and I'm now just waiting for a) the chance to save up some money and b) a window in Andrew's schedule for us to get together and finish that up.

The Black Wraith one shot is about half way done. I need to finish the script for the fourth chapter, and then the art for chapter's 3 and 4 will need to be done.

I still have plans for Samurai Billy.

I'm folding the Intranauts storyline into a later Hero Code story, so may revisit that down the line.

I have plans for a few more Kickstarters in the future, 3 bigger ones, and perhaps 2 micro campaigns. The schedule for these looks something like this;

Mid 2015 - The Hero Code Menace of the Mannequin campaign - this will help make a soft cover print run which will collect the first 6 issues of The Hero Code in one volume.

Early 2016 - The Hero Code Theatre of War campaign - this will help make a soft cover print run which will collect the prologue issue and the three issues of the WWII set story in one volume.

Mid/Late 2016 - Department O Body Politic campaign - this will help make a 6x9 hard cover print run collecting all three issues of Department O.

These three will all be bigger campaigns than I've run before, but maintaining the simplicity of the Black Wraith campaign.

I'm also thinking of doing a micro campaign for The Black Wraith one shot (perhaps a treasury edition sized book), and perhaps one for a future Samurai Billy book.

My idea is to produce runs either at 1,000 or 2,000 copies, and then only reprinting when a book sells out. I'll be looking to do a few more shows out of LA during this time, shrinking down what I'll be taking with me to have more focus on these collected editions.

That's pretty much where I'm at. I'll be finishing up a few books over the next year, and then taking stock of what I want to do, shifting focus onto just the Hero Code.

Sunday, 21 September 2014

Writer Sketch Card Raffle - week 1

I'm going to be doing something - a weekly sketch card raffle.

I'll be looking for suggestions as to what to draw during the week over on twitter (you can @ me or use the hashtags #writersketchcard or #writersketchcardraffle), then selecting one at random to draw over the weekend - that winner will get the finished sketch card.

Here's one I did this week, for winner Gary Lister;

I always enjoy doing sketch cards, and thought this would be a good way to a) keep my art muscles active, and b) motivate me to actually do them.

Let's see if I can do one years worth!

Saturday, 20 September 2014

Long Beach table 1603

It's nearly time for the Long Beach Comic Con!

I think this is the sixth, and I'll be there - sharing table 1603 with Jesse Toves.

I'll have the following books on hand -

Department O issues 1 and 2 ($5 each)

Hero Code issues 1, 2 and 6 ($5 each)

Hero Code Theatre of War prologue sketch card editions ($5 each)

Black Wraith volume one ($10 each)

Samurai volume one ($10 each)

Jesse will have copies of his book, Pages of 8 (he may also have some copies of Trouble, Guts and Noir).

He'll also have some 3d printed Black Wraith busts for sale - unique collectables!

Plus, he'll be doing sketches.

See you there!

Sunday, 7 September 2014

Black Wraith volume 1

For those that missed the initial Kickstarter, volume 1 of The Black Wraith is now available at my store.

I've also added the single issues (2-4) to the Submit queue on Comixology, where you can currently buy issue one.

Issue 2 cover - featuring art by Harris, colors by Breckel