Monday, November 12, 2012

NaBloPoMo Post #12 - Early Influences

Day 12 and I'm already out of ideas.  This was a stupid thing to do!

Anyway, we'll see what I can cobble together here.  I think it my first post, I mentioned that the initial idea of Faith was to make a comic that John and I would have liked as kids.  We're talking the early to mid-80's here, so at the top of my list of inspirations were Starblazers (a,k.a. Space Battleship Yamato) and Force Five, both Japanese imports.  Boy, we Americans are lazy and we can't write cartoons.
Force Five was pretty cool because each day of the week featured a different hero team fighting the forces of evil, usually involving space ships that could unite into a giant robot.  In fact, a quick look over at Wikipedia tells me that they all did.  That was probably the draw for me.  The five shows were Gaiking, Dangard Ace, Starvengers, Grandizer and Spaceketeers.  I honestly don't remember Spaceketeers at all, but I remember the rest of them, and they were awesome (although, if I watched them now, they would probably not seem quite as awesome.).  Part of me is wondering why no one has tried this kind of anthology now.  Maybe because it's hard enough to write one show?
I think one of the reasons we used these as inspiration was the cool bad guys they always fought.  It was always a giant lizard or a giant robot or something.  Now, Faith has yet to encounter any giant bad guys as of this writing, but I doubt we'll have to wait long.  John is a huge Godzilla fan.  he is also a big Jaws fan, so that (I assume) is where he got the impetus for the giant shark.  And the Mummy?  Well, that has classic monster movie written all over it.  But I may have said too much... 
The whole idea is that part of the fun of creating your own comic is to put in the stuff you love.  I mean, the odds are that if you'd want to read it, then other people probably would, too.  The real crux  of these early influences that we wanted to capture was gallivanting good guys fighting menacing bad guys.  the fact that Faith is a girl will maybe make for some interesting scenarios down the, but at this point, she's not exactly using her feminine wyles to get by.  She's just a "good guy."  But she is a good guy that has been shaped by characters that we have been watching for over thirty years.  So, hopefully, with all that to back us up, we've created someone that people will like.
So, if you like the types of things I liked as a kid, and want to see Starblazers again (or for the first time), I recommend season II: The Comet Empire.  Force Five?  That you'll probably have to bootleg, but this is the internets age.  You can find it.  And if you're like me (and I hope you are!), you'll find it worth your time.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

NaBloPoMo Post #11 - Re-post: Putting a Price on Making Comics

Since it's Sunday, and I don't have a lot of time, I thought I would re-post an old blog piece I wrote about creating faith back in February 2009, when John and I still thought that we were going to publish it through Bluewater Productions.  So, it's a few years old, but still kind of relevant.  In fact, in retrospect, it's a good thing we never published it through them.

So, here's where I was February 2009:

I was figuring out the economics of making a comic. And this is not a self-publishing deal, because I've done that before, and believe me, that was bad enough, because you had to pay for your own printing costs and work your ass off to sell it, and most of the time that meant walking directly into stores, where they may take 8 or 10 copies and you'd get half the cover price. Or buying a table at a convention and begging passers-by to look at the thing. Not exactly a get-rich-quick scenario.

Now, considering that the comic I am co-writing (and currently waiting to be drawn) is being printed and distributed, I figured that would keep my costs down. However, we had to get our own artist to draw the thing, and as artists kept dropping out, what we were paying them went up. You get what you pay for, I guess, because we have a couple guys who haven't dropped out, but we have to pay them a rate of $30 a page. The upside is they are really good. The downside is it will cost us $660 an issue. For the planned five-issue series, that will bring it to $3300, plus the $300 we shelled out to get a known artist for the cover of issue #1. At $3600 for the series, at a $2.99 cover price, if we sold 2000 copies (which I believe is the new minimum to remain in Diamond's catalog for more than a month), that puts us (minus the Diamond percentage) at $3588, or $12 short of what we put in. Now, I'm not sure if Blue Water takes a cut, but I imagine they do. They are publishing it, after all.

Now, the hope would be to sell tons and tons of them, of course. Naturally, I'm not sure how to do that. Sales are down everywhere, according to my local comic shop proprietor (who I am counting on to order many copies). So, right now, 2000 seems like a lot. We may never make it passed issue #1, which would mean we would have to collect it in a trade and sell it ourselves, which, again, is not a way to actually make a lot of money.

The good news? I would have a published comic. A credit to my name. Something to show the nephews (although they better buy it.) And if it leads to something else down the road, then I guess you can't really put a price on that. 


Saturday, November 10, 2012

NaBloPoMo Post #10 - My Stuff

I've talked a lot in this blog about what John has done, and what our artists have done, but you may be wondering what I've done.  Well, the answer is, "Very little."  I mean, very little that anyone has read.  John and I did the Secret Monkey, and we wrote a little animated web-thing called Guitar Boy, and we wrote a space opera called Star Guards (way before Battlestar Galactica was re-booted), and we wrote something called Super-Mask, and an Avengers send-off called Heroes United.  Ok, well, that sounds like a lot, but I swear I haven't done much.
One thing I have done that I'm very proud of is take Andy Schmidt's Comics Experience Writing Class.  The only assignment for the class was to write a fave-page story, and it had to have a clearly-defined beginning and end, so that it could be a stand alone story and not just a piece of something else you had written.  Mine came out very well, I feel.  In fact, much better than I anticipated.  The class decided to get together and publish an anthology of all of our stories, so we had to hire artists to do this.  Naturally, I hired our pal Mark, and he turned around the pages so fast that one of my classmates also hired him, so I was glad to get him the work.  Here's a little preview of my story:

 These are just the pages without letters since I only had those in pdf form, and I didn't want to give everything away for free, but I did of course ask John to do the lettering for me, and he did it because he's awesome.  If you like the look and feel like you have to read it for yourself, the class put all of our stories in an anthology called Out of Our Minds, which can be purchased here, which also features the spectacular work of Paul Allor, who was probably the only writer in the class better than me.  Just kidding.  I was better.
Anyway, so, I have written a few things, but take my word for it, Faith is no doubt the best thing I've ever done, and I swear it's coming soon, so eyes peeled!

Friday, November 09, 2012

NaBloPoMo Post #9 - Why Comics?

Back at New York comic-Con, my friend Clay and I became very inspired at a panel which was actually a lecture by Michael Uslan, who had written a book called "The Boy Who Loved Batman."  Long story short, he produced the original Batman by Tim Burton back in 1989, but he bought the rights back in 1979, and dreamed of one day doing a Batman movie that made people forget about Adam West.  Everyone thought he was crazy, but now he is laughing all the way to the bank, literally.  Sometimes, good things happen to good people, and dreams do come true.  He was also recently awarded the very first doctorate in Comics from Monmouth University.

When John and I were young, we used to talk about one day working for Marvel comics, and how we would kill Galactus.  Non-comic readers may not know who that is, but he's a big, powerful, scary, planet-eating dude.  It was said partially in jest, but the idea was that we would one day create comics.  Nowadays, it doesn't matter if it's for Marvel or for ourselves, but I think the dream is still there.    Otherwise, I wouldn't be writing this at all.  John himself has been working for comics for many years, so I definitely need to catch up here
One of the reasons that i think we are drawn to comics is because, as Dr. Uslan said in his lecture, comics are our modern myth.  Centuries ago, human created the Greek gods to explain things that they had no explanation for, but these gods also had personalities and got into adventures and scraps, and messed around with humans, and some were heroic and noble and some were wicked and evil.  Is that really much different than our myths today?  Or, to once again use Uslan's logic, think about the story of Superman.  His world was being destroyed, so his parents sent him off in a spaceship to save him.  Now compare that to the story of Moses.

I think that there are few heroes in the world now.  All the heroes I had growing up, like Jose Canseco or Roger Clemens, even Hulk Hogan, have ended up being disgraced in some way.  But Batman?  When has he ever let me down?  Sure, he may have a stretch when the writing is bad on his book, but it'll come around.  The Hulkster?  His goose is cooked. 
I think that's why I continue to hold on to comics.  Obviously, the talent that goes into making them, but the very idea behind them draws you in.  Good vs. Evil.  A hero's journey.  Overcoming the odds.  All the stuff that makes for good drama.  Plus cool colors and fights and stuff. 
What's not to like?    

Thursday, November 08, 2012

NaBloPoMo Post #8 - Cover Story

Continuing the "Creationism" theme here,  I wanted to talk a little about the covers for Faith (so far.)

First, a little background: it's become a thing in comics now, from Marvel on down, to have some brilliant artist do a cover for a book, even if said artist hasn't read the comic and doesn't know what actually goes on in the story.  While this makes for some dynamic covers, they essentially become pin-ups.  For example, most months, you can pick-up any issue of Spider-man and see an amazing picture of him swinging through the city on the cover, but that doesn't necessarily mean he'll be swinging through the city in the actual book (I mean, he probably will, because that's what Spider-man does, but still... He may be swinging through the jungle.)  When I was a young comic book collector, I liked the fact that the cover featured some aspect of what went on in the book, even though sometimes it was a very small aspect of the story.  It was still cool to learn what may be coming in the next 22 pages, and a good way to advertise.  In the real old days, the covers would often show the good guy in dire straits, while the bad guy stood over him, seemingly triumphant, and there would even be dialogue on the cover.  The bad guy would say something like, "Prepare to meet your doom at the hands of the vile Paste Pot Pete!"  And the hero would be lying on the ground, covered in paste.  Now, the good guy would usually recover and beat the bad guy with his wits, but the cover gave you the indication that the bad guy at least got this far.

John and I thought it would be a good idea, given the nature of our book, to have cover that did a bit of both: reflected what went on in the story, but also showcased the characters in that pin-up way.  Also, through John's amazing coloring at IDW, he had the opportunity to work with a couple of brilliant artists who were willing to do covers for us.  I mean, we paid them, obviously, but since they were only drawing the cover and not the whole book, we could use their name value to hopefully sell the book, and get a pretty snazzy cover out of it.

We first reached out to Robert Atkins, an artist whom we loved when we was working on IDW's G.I. Joe re-launch in 2008.  Unfortunately, because Robert was in such high demand, he took awhile to get around to us, so his cover was bumped from issue #1 in favor of Stephen Molnar's cover, which I posted in the second post on November 2nd.  Still Robert did an excellent job, based on a very small description of the book:

If you'll notice, the cover features the characters doing what they do, but it also reflects aspects of the story.  Without giving away too much, Akira is on his jetpack, and there's a scary mummy in the background.  (Spoiler warning!)

That trend continues with the second two issues, which features a huge underwater battle between Faith's buds and UMBRA agents.  Issue #4's cover by Pedro Potier may be the best one of the bunch, but maybe because I'm a swimmer:             

 And, in case you were interested, yes, John did all the colors on these, so we can, and should, thank him for his amazing work.  And buy all the books he works on.  And buy Faith,when it comes out.  And just generally support this stuff.  These are our modern myths people (More on that in a future post.  Probably tomorrow.  I got a month to fill here.)

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

NaBloPoMo Post #7 - Making Comics

I wrote a lot yesterday about how we got to this point in the creative process in my recap of our search for an artist, and it got me thinking about how much goes into making one 22-page comic (No wonder Marvel's always late!) 
First off, we had to write the thing, which took us awhile, since John and I wanted to really get this one right.  We pored over every line of dialogue, and since we don't really live near each other anymore, we would sometimes do it together, sometimes over Skype, and sometimes email drafts back and forth.  Unfortunately, since this process has literally taken years, and we have seen a few computers come and go in that time, and I'm not a very good organizer in the first place, some data was lost.  Also, as I said in an earlier post, I did a lot of research on this one, mostly for Akira's dialogue, but also because I wanted to include real facts about the places our heroes visit.  So, it was time-consuming, but very rewarding.  Back in our Secret Monkey days, John and I could bang out an issue pretty quick, but that was mostly for our own enjoyment.  It was no less rewarding, but we were trying to do something a little more meaningful than poke fun at old comics.  Still, we did get 16 issues in the can in almost no time.  Those were the days.    
Beyond writing and drawing it, however, there is still more to be done.  Thankfully, Faith's creator also works in the biz, so we had a letterer and colorist on hand.  Unfortunately, being that coloring and lettering is also John's full-time job, it was hard to justify spending time on it when he should be spending time on the actual paying work (Hey, the guy had just bought a house.)  So, some of faith's color work was done (and is being done) by outside forces that John knew through his various comic connections.  This is great because I love spreading the work around and helping these unsung comic heroes earn money, but it's a bit of a loss because John is an amazing colorist.  And if I may throw in a cheap plug, he'll be featured in the Athena Voltaire book from Dark Horse, so watch for that.
There is also something called inking that most comics require.  Thankfully, Mark, our second half artist, did his own, but we had to hire one for the rest.  If anyone remembers that scene from Chasing Amy, you can probably figure out what the inker does, but regardless of what side of the inker/tracer fence you sit on, it is necessary.
This is all just to actually complete the book, but if you ask me, that's the easy part.  the hard part?  getting anyone to read that damn thing.  Which I guess is part of the reason I'm doing all this in the first place.  These days, self-publishing is a lot easier than it was when we started Secret Monkey over a decade ago.  In fact, Kickstarter is now the #2 publisher of graphic novels in the country.  Your chances of striking gold are minimal, but if you just want to see your creative work out there, and have people enjoy it, and want to see a job well done, now is the time.

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

NaBloPoMo Post #6 - The Artist Drama

We're only six days into November, and I already have forgotten if I've posted some this stuff before.  If I have, sorry.
I wanted to get into the history of this comic a little bit, but to do that, I have to tell the story of our various artists.  Since we had some small issues with one of them, he shall remain nameless.    God love him, but it was just one of those relationships that didn't work out.
When John came to me with the idea, it was with the knowledge that he would not be drawing the book, as he did on The Secret Monkey, and everything else we had worked on in our lives.  Years of coloring and lettering comics had made him want to try his hand at the writing side of things.  So, it was decided that we would write the thing, hire an artist through the wonders of the internets, and pitch it to companies.  For this, we only had to initially shell out for the artist to do our five-page pitch, so we took to the message boards to see if anyone would bite.  We got several responses, and several different versions of our characters, which is really cool, in retrospect.  To wit, here to two Akiras.  The colored one we used.  The pencilled one was drawn by someone else.  No less cool, but he probably wanted more money or something.

In the end, we picked a very talented young man from The Phillipines that had the style John was looking for (and who drew the Akira on the right).  Our five pages came very quickly, so we asked him if he would also do our cover.  We paid him, John colored his pages, we made some copies, and headed to San Diego Comic-Con to pitch to the studios!
Very bad idea.  The Con has become such a beast that it's extremely hard to make your voice heard for something like this.  Still, we kept trying to break in as we finished writing the first story-arc.  The bad news?  Our fast and talented artist was now busy working on another project that was a sure thing.  So we took to the internets again and found another talented artist.  Unfortunately, this one not as fast.  Still, he was good.  As an example, here was his version of Akira.
Sadly, years passed, and even though we were paying this artist, the pages literally trickled in.  Not only that, but there seemed to be a bit of a language barrier, as parts of the script were completely misinterpreted, and a lot of the characters seemed to be smiling all the time.  He also insisted on being paid by International money order or something, which was really annoying because the other guy was cool being paid by Paypal.
Because he was good, and we were rubes who had already hired him, we kept him on to finish the first two issues of the first story arc, which was four issues.  Waiting for him to finish four issues might have taken decades.  Plus, John had the added frustration of fixing all of his mistakes, which lead us to decide he deserved an art credit for a book that he initially said he didn't want to draw.

Fortunately, our first artist recommended his brother to us (after we went and begged him to come back.)  His brother, Mark, was also very talented, and even faster.  Mark finished his pages faster than our second artist, and he came on way later.  Not only that, but we paid mark a little more to touch up some of the pages that the other guy had muffed.  And he was so fast and good, that I hired him a couple years ago to pencil my five-page story for my Comics Experience Writing Class.
After all these years and all these artists (to draw 4 issues of a comic), we're pretty close.  Some inking and coloring to be done, and that's why we need the Kickstarter backing, which I will hopefully be able to update you on soon, because I'm running out of ideas for this blog.

Monday, November 05, 2012

NaBloPoMo Post #5 - No Faith. The Comic, that is.

No Faith update today, because tomorrow is Election Day, and I am worried.  I've heard a lot of conflicting things, but one thing that stands out in my mind is that, no matter who wins, it will be close, which means there's a good chance we could have a repeat of the 2000 Election debacle, and it also means that the winner will be in a lot of trouble because half the country will not like anything he does.  I should have faith (and, yes, Faith), but I don't.  So, in case anyone else is feeling Election Day jitters, maybe this will help.  I'm re-posting my blog-post from Obama's inauguration 4 years ago, to try and recapture the hope (and faith) I had on that day (and I was a cynical bastard back then).  It was called "Unclenching my Fist," which was a great quote from The President's speech regarding problems in the Middle East.  It went something like, "They must be willing to extend their hand, and we must be willing to unclench our fist."  It struck me then, and it strikes me now.

So, enjoy, and have faith.

Unclenching my Fist...

I figured I would give my take on yesterday's Inauguration. I'm sure it's been written about ad nauseum, but it's my blog and I'll do what I want. besides, being a very opinionated person, I'm sure my thoughts matter immensely. That's what the internets are all about, right?

First of all, I don't mean to blame my bitterness and cynicism in life on George W. Bush. I've never met the guy, of course, but he seems rather boob-ish and ignorant. Were he some uncle that I only saw at family functions, I would laugh at his antics, such as forgetting the names of foreign dignitaries and not knowing the old "Fool me once..." saying. But where he was, in fact, the leader of my country, and he sort had the fate of millions in his greasy, dumb hands, yeah, no, I wasn't laughing. I spent the last 8 years hating him. And I use the word hate here in the way it was intended. I get annoyed by a lot of things (mostly everything), but I reserve hatred for the really bad things, like George W. Bush. And Dick Cheney. And the fires of Hell.

Eight years is a long time. It's a long time to carry hatred in your heart. For awhile, I hated my ex-girlfriend for racking up charges on my credit cards and forcing me into debt and despair. But that faded with time. I also hated another of my exes for awhile, because she was just a stupid bitch. Now I just pity her for being a stupid bitch, because she is stupid and couldn't help herself. The hatred faded. Time heals all wounds.

But I did hate George Bush and Dick Cheney for 8 years, and it never faded. So, while I don't blame them directly for the state my life is in, it weighed on me to carry that around all that time, and certainly didn't help matters. The fact that he was flushing the country down the toilet, and made very few decisions I actually agreed with, didn't help, but I hated him from the first time I even heard he was running, and the fact that people actually voted for him, twice, made me hate him and most of the country. How could people in this century be so blind? Not all of them were, of course, since he didn't actually get the majority of the votes the first time, but... Deep breaths. It was 8 years ago.

I think now the hatred can begin to fade a little. Granted, we're still in a gigantic mess that will take years to clean up, but watching the Inauguration yesterday, knowing that there were hundreds of students in the lobby of CGS watching it on TV's that I had set up, and several classes were watching it on projected laptops that I hooked up (small feats, I know, but it's something), I was washed with feelings of hope and happiness for the first time in 8 years. And it felt wonderful. I may never not hate Bush and Cheney, but I can stop carrying it around so much, because I know we are headed in the right direction.

Sunday, November 04, 2012

NaBloPoMo Post #4 - Da Bad Guys

I figured, after introducing our heroes, I might as well introduce the antagonists of this story.  Besides, encountering ancient evils like mummies and the like, Faith and Co. must do battle with the evil terrorist organization known as U.M.B.R.A.  I have a slight confession to make, however, that I have no idea what the letters stand for.  I'm pretty sure it's along the lines of SPECTRE from the Bond Movies, or if you're an old Marvel fan, A.I.M. without the yellow buckets on their heads.

U.M.B.R.A.'s leader is a man called Van Buren.  The bio I wrote awhile back goes like this: "Van Buren used to be a colleague and a close friend of the Chancerys. (Faith's parents if you're paying attention).  Eventually, his greed caused him to turn on them, intent on obtaining the powerful weapons components they recently unearthed on for himself, to sell to the highest bidder.  He has used the wealth he stole from his former allies while working with them to establish a vast network or spies, as well as a cadre of formidable warriors who will stop at nothing to stop Faith and attain the weapon components for their master."  Thus far, we've only seen a couple members of this cadre, but there are many more to come, as Van Buren is more of an office CEO-type.  But, like any terrorist organization, UMBRA has its share of grunts.
A quick note on the origin of UMBRA (in case you're wondering where the Hell we come up with stuff); UMBRA was a name John came up with in our Secret Monkey days as an evil organization that was the nemesis to SQUAD, which was our send-off of Marvel's SHIELD, well before Samuel L. Jackson became the leader of those guys.  UMBRA just sounds kind of bad, but it was intended to be kind of jokey, at first.  Ah, well, you can't always be funny.

Saturday, November 03, 2012

NaBloPoMo Post #3 - Support Group

As promised, a quick view of Faith's besties and helpers in her globetrotting quest to rescue her parents and fight the forces of evil.

We'll start with Faith best friend, Akira.  Akira is wildly intelligent, basically a walking encyclopedia.  Writing his dialogue required more research than I've ever done on anything, possibly including high school term papers.  Of course, there was no Google when I was in high school.  For example, when our heroes find themselves in Cairo, Akira knows all about the local customs and culture, but I didn't, so yeah, some research there.  He basically fights with his mind, because he's a bit of a geek, but he combines his "book smarts" with a heavy dose of street savvy, since he grew up there before he was caught pick-pocketing and soon adopted by...

Hoyt Manning, our man of action!  Hoyt is a good friend and loyal employee of Faith's parents, so when they kidnapped by the terrorists, he vows to ensure her safety and accompanies her on her crazy missions (and besides, someone has to drive!)  Hoyt does actually have a hand, but our first artist thought it would be cool to give him what he called an "Impact Arm, " and we thought that was just awesome.  We originally told him to draw him as Duke from the old 80's G.I. Joe cartoon, but he's not a military man, so he was drawn as a more engineer-type. His official title is "weapons tester," I believe, but I always thought of him more as "Rhodey" from the older Iron Man comics, sort of a Jack of all trades.  Writing Hoyt required less research. since he's pretty much a meat-and--potatoes kind of guy. In fact, he was probably my favorite character to write the dialogue for, because he is rather fearless, so no matter what hair-raising situation he may find himself in, he can crack a joke, and I love writing a witty zinger when appropriate.  I hope John doesn't mind me spoiling my favorite line of dialogue from issue #1.  When he sees the villains have launched missiles at them, Hoyt reacts by saying, "We've got trouble... Heat-seeking trouble."  Hehe.  It's the little things...  Sometime down the road, you may see the Hoyt solo story that John and I penned.  That's a classic.

So, those are the good guys.  Hopefully, tomorrow I will reveal what little there is to reveal about the villains, but secret terrorist organizations usually keep things under wraps, so we'll see.  In the meantime, go see Wreck-it Ralph.  Good times if you love Pixar and/or video games.  And get there early to see the Paperman short that plays before it.  Ridiculously funny and, dare I say, sweet.

Friday, November 02, 2012

NaBloPoMo Post #2 - Meeting Faith

Yeah, I know that Post #1 was mere hours ago, but that was 11:30p.m.  on November 1st and this is 3:30p.m. on November 2nd, and if I'm going to do a post every day for a month, this is the kind of thing that's going to happen.  Plus, I'm seeing a 10:05 showing of Wreck-It Ralph tonight, so if I don't do it now, I'll miss my deadline.  Also, nyah, nyah!

After some positive feedback, I thought I'd give people a small taste of what Faith (the girl from the comic) looks like.  First of all, all credit goes to john Hunt on this one.  I had nothing to do with her creation.  You might say through writing the dialogue that I had a little to do with fleshing out the supporting characters, but really, you would be stroking my ego.  This is John's party, and I'm just glad I got invited and get to drink at it.

So, meet Faith Chancery:
Faith has changed a little since her humble beginnings.  She's gotten a little bit older and... shall we say, chestier.  She was originally envisioned to be a very young teenager, more in the anime-style, but this is comics, and most of the readers will be male, so she was made to be a couple years older and more developed.  This was originally the suggestion of the publisher who we walked away from, but some of the art was already done, so we kept it.  They say sex sells, and they be right, and there's really nothing wrong with it as long as it's a good story.

This is one of our covers, and my favorite.  We commissioned Star Trek artist Stephen Molnar to draw this for us, and he did an amazing job.  Worth every penny.  Colored, of course, by the master himself, John Hunt.

Here she is in her original form, and pretty much the way she looks in the book.  A tad more spritely here, fitting her character.  It's not a real heavy story (despite the fact that it features terrorists and ancient evils), so we wanted her to reflect that.  It's a fun, old-fashioned adventure story for all ages, really.  This one wasn't colored, but she will still have purple hair in the book, don't worry.
Stay tuned, folks.  Tomorrow, I will hopefully give you some insight into those supporting characters, I mentioned, and a few more artwork teasers.  Maybe even tell you a bit about Wreck-it Ralph.  

Thursday, November 01, 2012

NaBloPoMo Post #1 - Gotta Have Faith

While reading my brother and sister-in-law's blog over here, I learned that this month is National Blog Posting Month, a.k.a.NaBloPoMo, and if you can pronounce it, I say you're probably a better writer than me and you can probably craft a smarter blog.

But I digress.  I've decided to participate, since I've been neglecting this blog for awhile (I find that when life is good, I write much less.  Curious.)  But I don't want to ramble on about my life.  I want to actually talk about something that I feel passionate about, and this seems like a good opportunity to break a story that's been cooking for awhile.

A few years ago, my longtime friend and writing partner, John Hunt, came up with an idea for a comic book and asked if I would help him write the script.  He and I had collaborated many times before, but it had been awhile, and I think I had emailed him one day and said, "I want to get back to work," and he pitched me the idea of Faith in the Unknown.  The idea was simple: John felt that there were few adventure comics for kids anymore, and there were even fewer that appealed to girls, so Faith (the title character) is a teenage girl who travels the globe getting into adventures and trying to rescue her kidnapped parents, or as we pitched it, "Kim Possible meets Young Indiana Jones."  Basically, we wanted to write the kinds of stories we enjoyed as kids.  The first story arc alone has jet-pack fight, a mummy, and a giant shark, so how can it go wrong, right?

After writing a couple issues, we commissioned an artist to draw us a five-page pitch, and headed to San Diego Comic-Con.  Unfortunately, we learned that the damn place is so crowded, that no one really has time to listen to pitches unless you get on a list that is about a mile long.  John was able to use his industry contacts as a colorist and letterer to get us a tentative deal with a small-press publisher, but we soon learned that the company (which shall remain nameless) only pays on the back-end, and there is no guarantee that you will ever make any money, or that they'll ever even distribute issue #2 even if you do get them to take issue #1.  So, we walked away from that one.  Meanwhile, we had paid another artist to finish the book, because our first one had found other, steady work (He was that good!)  This second artist was from The Philippines, so there was a language barrier we had to encounter.  Even though we paid him gobs of money, we had to pay someone else to finish it up and then even re-draw a bunch of the pages because they were not what we wanted (John himself had to do a lot of drawing work on it.)

Fast-forward a few years, and suddenly Kickstarter is now the #2 publisher of graphic novels in the U.S., and printing costs for graphic novels has also come way down.  So, this month, we plan to set up our Kickstater campaign and earn enough money to finally, after several years, to print Faith in the Unknown, at least the first story arc.  I'm finishing up our video and taking care of the legal mumbo-jumbo, so stay tuned to this blog to follow our progress.  I'll be making an announcement pretty soon when the Faith Kickstarter campaign is live.  Stay tuned, and this month, you might see a dream come true.