Tuesday, October 30, 2007

About Comic Book Covers

So, one of my favorite blogs, The Beat linked to this article about ICV2 [ Sharpening the Swords - Where Are The Villains? ] which discusses the cross generational appeal of the old Silver Age Covers. Since much of what I'm trying to do with Flashback Universe is capture the look and feel of the old Silver Age Bronze Age comic books, I thought I'd take a few moments to compare covers today with covers from the Silver/Bronze Age...

First, let's compare the cover of our First Flashback Universe comic...

And here is the latest cover of Marvel's Nova relaunch (I think this is version 3)

Now, I'll be honest with you - obviously the Nova 8 cover is a *more realistic* image (I guess) but GEEZ is it ever boring! Look at the action and images shown on the Saturn Knight Cover - it instantly makes you go, "What's going on here?"

If you want to know why both DC and Marvel are failing to establish new characters (and trust me, they are...) it's because of these horrible GENERIC (there I said it) covers...

Has there even been a cover as cool as this published in the last year?

Mummy + Spider-Man + Fainted JJ Jameson = AWESOME!

Friday, October 26, 2007

What is: alt.binaries.comics.dcp?

I'm going on my 15th wedding anniversary this weekend, and I'm probably going to miss posting on Monday, so to make up for it I'm going to present one huge post today: The complete DCP Newsgroup FAQs.

Many of you may not have ever hear of DCP, even those of you that *ahem* get your comics in digital format, but DCP are one of the biggest newsgroup communities of comicbook scanners/uploaders on the internet. At one time, they were responsible for about 90% of all weekly comicbook scans. Now, several other groups of scanners have started uploading comics, so the pond has gotten bigger. Still, to many, DCP are the *go-to* guys for weekly 0-day scans.

Now, while we at Flashback Universe do not advocate illegal downloading, we don't pretend it doesn't exist either. Nor do we pass judgement on those people who chose to scan their comics and upload them to the internet. That's for Dan Slott to do. ;)

What I will say is this: People like to download stuff and keep it on their own personal devices. Apple found a way to make kajillions of dollars from this axiom. iNuff Said.

So, without further adieu: the alt.binaries.comics.dcp FAQs

1. Who is DCP?
DCP stands for Digital Comics Preservation. Unlike mother nature and father time, we want comics to be around for a long, long time. Therefore, we work towards digitally preserving ALL comics we can find. This includes new comics, old comics, popular comics, small-press comics, and even a few fan made comics that only a handful of people ever saw. If it's a comic, we'll scan it.

A. But don't I also sometimes see cartoons and stuff?
Sure. If we find some kind of comic related media - newspaper articles, cartoons, funny song about Superman, etc... - we tend to preserve that too.

B. So do you guys follow the OYATM (One Year Ago This Month) rule?
Nope. We scan it. We share it.

2. Why is this newsgroup here?
Primarily for sharing files with each other. Many people can download from a newsgroup faster than they can from a p2p service.

A. So this isn't the only place you can find DCP scans?
Not at all. People tend to put them on Bittorrent, DC++, and irc all the time. Sometimes we do it, sometimes people do it because they want to share our stuff. It's cool. Sharing is what it's all about.

B. Can we use this Newsgroup for discussion?
If you want to talk about a particular book with someone else, fine.If you want to talk about the geo-political ramifications of the current state of unrest in the world, go find a friggin' message board or crazy group of demonstraters. Political or religious postings will get you ridiculed, ignored, etc...PLEASE refrain from criticizing other scanners' work, regardless of their group affiliation. Scanners spend their time and money producing content for you free of charge - if you're not going to thank them, you can at least refrain from insulting them and their work. If you really find a book so awful, then buy the book and scan it yourself!

3. Do you only release DCP scans here?
Nope. DCP gets along really well with a lot of other scanners. If they say it's OK, we'll post their scans too.

A. Can I post my scans here?
Sure, but don't call yourself a DCP'er if you do. You have to work towards that.

B. Can I post anything comics related at any time?
We used to ask that you please refrain from making posts on Wednesday - Friday so that the new stuff can get out uncluttered. However, a lot of people bitched and bitched, so that's no longer a "rule." It's generally a nice thing to keep in mind and posting a flood will probably make people hate you.

C. Can I repost your stuff other places?
Sure, but be respectful of the rules there. If they follow OYATM, then please don't post our scans that are less than OYATM. Also, please don't change the files. Renaming them is OK, but don't take out scanner tags or ad pages. Respect the scanner and respect the scan.

4. Can I make requests (REQs)?
Try not to make any requests on Wednesday or Thursday or until late on Friday. During that period, people are focused on new scans. If you make a requests it will be ignored - not out of spite, but because no one pays attention to anything other than new comics during that time.

A. How many books can I request?
Use your best judgement. Asking for 100 issues of Legends of the Dark Knight may fill the hole in your collection, but I doubt anyone wants to take the time to post them all. Plus, people can't help others if they are spending all their time helping you. Be polite. Shoot for a handful at a time.

B. Can I request a flood?
You can, but that doesn't mean anyone will fill it. Read the answer above.

C. How often should I repost a request if it's not filled?
Once a year. It might take time for someone to find the books you want. Or, they may be filling other requests. Or, they may be busy scanning new books. Or, maybe no one has them right now. If no one has them after a couple weeks, send Mile High Comics your credit card information and get your scanner ready...

D. But what if I know it was posted last week?
Then you should download last week's post. If your news server has such poor retention that you can't get books a few days old, then you should pay for a better service.

F. What about pars?
Most people will post pars with the books. If they didn't, ask nicely and they, or someone else who downloaded it, will post some. If you need more pars, ask nicely and someone will help you out? See the pattern here? Ask nicely...

G. What if I know in my heart of hearts that a book came out this week, but I don't see the scan?
Wait. Wait. Wait. I know it's hard, but give it time. Books are scanned by people nice enough to spend their money on them and their time scanning them. Obviously, they will scan the books they want to first. Believe it or not, there are some who scan boooks that no one else wants to - just to make sure they get preserved even if they don't really like them.

So, just wait and give it time. Sometimes, the skipped books will be picked up by a friendly scanner when he grabs next week's books, so give it a couple weeks before you start asking. Or better yet, get your cheap ass out of the house, and buy a friggin' comic and scan it yourself. Or just shut the hell up. Either way.

5. Do you guys only post comics?
Nope. Some members like to encode cartoons, video game manuals, and magazines like Wizard or Knights of the Dinner Table. While none of these are comics and sometimes aren't comic related, we welcome these to our group as well.

A. Should I post all the cartoons in the world here?
Try not to. You can go to other groups to get cartoons. We'll post DCP encodes here.

B. Should I post other video game manuals here?
Try not to. The best place to post them would be in the group for that console. We'll post DCP scans here.

C. Should I post scans of all magazines here?

Try not to. The best place to post them would be in the groups for those magazines or topics.
We'll post DCP scans here. However, if someone requests a CBG, KotDT, or Wizard and you can fill that REQ with a scan from somewhere else, knock your self out. Make sure you read the whole FAQ first though...

6. Do you guys make PDFs?
Ugh. F' no. There are groups out there ripping off the comics that are scanned by your favorite DCP, OCD, HaCsA, RIP, etc scanners, and calling them their scans, repackaging them as PDF and sharing them via another distribution system. If you have any of these "scans" do yourself a favor and delete them and get the .cbr, .cbz, .zip, or .rar version, the way comics should be.

Sharing PDF comics will get you ridiculed, ignored, etc... If you don't like it, grow up and get over it.

7. How do I find out if a comics has been released? Or what if I want to request a scan, but I don't know if the actual comic book has come out yet?


Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Creator Profiles: Jason Wright

If you are a comics fan, then you've probably seen that one quiet guy in the comics shop, who never says much, but is always very friendly whenever you see them. Jason is that type of guy. I think I first met Jason at the Comics Club where we were going to discuss the Kree Skrull war by Roy Thomas. We got talked to Roy Thomas via phone that evening, and he had a ton of great stories for us!

After the meeting several of us went to Ruby Tuesdays for coffee and cheese cake. Jason sat across from me at that little soiree, and I don't think he actually said 3 sentences the entire time. I figured he was either shy, or was too worn out by the awesome Roy Thomas phone interview to really contribute to the after club meeting. This really didn't strike as that odd because I once knew a really shy guy who only talked when he was talking to his CB radio.

Well, over the past year, Jason and I have passed each other at the Comics Club meetings, or at HeroesCon, but to be honest, he was way low on my radar of people to consider ask to submit a Flashback story. I wasn't even sure he even knew what Flashback Universe was.

Well one day I get an e-mail from Jason asking if he can submit a Kondorr story. As fortune would have it, Chris Sims had *just* requested to write a Kondorr story a few days prior, with a very impassioned story pitch, so I had to tell Jason no. Sort of.

What I ended up doing was telling Jason that I *really* needed a GodSpeed story, and that since I've already established *some* sort of relationship between the two characters, why not have Kondorr in the GodSpeed story?

And then, I promptly forgot about Jason's request (I get a LOT of e-mails from people requesting to write for Flashback Universe. Usually I assign the requester an Action Item, and see how they do with that. If don't think about it until I get the response to the Action Item.)

Well, a few days later, Jason sends me what is probably the single best story pitch I've ever gotten! It was short and sweet (ALWAYS a plus with pitches) but most of all, it was CHARACTER driven. Jason had come up with a beautiful plot that involved both Kondorr and GodSpeed and played off of their personalities in a perfect way. I wasted no time in giving Jason the green light on his script.

Since then, Jason has been hard at work hammering out the plot details (which have been quite interesting.) He's also come up with some great new characters for the Flashback Universe that I'm sure everyone will enjoy! Just goes to show those quiet guys can really surprise you!

Here are Jason's answers to the Creator Survey:

What Flashback Universe comic did you work on, or are you currently scheduled to work on?

Godspeed (guest starring Kondorr the Killer)

Do you have a blog or portfolio site:

What comics from the 70's did you like when you were growing up?

I didn't really get into comics until about six years ago, so I missed a lotof great stuff growing up. I'm working on reading back through some 70'sand 80's stuff and I'm finding that I enjoy Roger Stern's writing on theAvengers.What writers/artists do you think you are most influenced by?Kurt Busiek, Roger Stern, Marv Wolfman, Chuck Dixon, Peter David

Current trend in comics you hate now?

More than anything right now, I hate the over-the-top gore and 'mature themes' in a lot of modern books. It seems that there are a lot of attempts to 'shock' the reader with an extreme level of violence. I know that those things aren't what I look for in a superhero book and I don't think they're necessary to tell a great story.

Current trend in comics you like now?I love backup stories and anthology books.

Aside from getting new talent achance to get some work in, you get to read some stories without too muchdecompression. You also see the bigger publishers take more of a chance ona small backup or anthology story than you do in a full-sized book.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Creator Profiles: Chad Bowers

Chad Bowers is one of those guys who just seems to be at the center of everything. Right now he's not only working on a Prometheus story (guest starring Amanita) but he's also lettering a Paladin story and Chris Sims' Creature/WildCard story.

At the same time, he is also working with Phil Looney on a project for Zuda and more Danger Ace stories with Jerry Hinds and Chris Nye. On top of all that, he is the coordinator of Comics Club. He's pretty much the axis that the Columbia Comic Scene revolves around at the moment. :D

What's interesting about Chad is that he's like many other comics fans who, while they enjoy comics that are coming out now, he is very passionate about comics from all eras. And not just superhero comics either, but a wide range of independent comics. At comics club, he's pushed hard to expose what is primarily a group of hardcore Marvel/DC guys to read such things as Blankets, Bone, The Filth and My Faith in Frankie. I think when people read his Prometheus story, they'll see how Chad's varied tastes have really brought a nice dimension to the Flashback Universe!

Chad's Answers to my Creator Survey:

What Flashback Universe comic did you work on, or are you currently scheduled to work on?

Well, there're a couple of things, but right now, I'm finishing up a Prometheus story called "Double Date, Double Doom". Also, I recently started helping out with some lettering stuff, and that's been a blast.

Do you have a link to a blog/portfolio you would like me to include?

Yeah, there's http://thatchadblog.wordpress.com/ , (which I haven't been updated in weeks).

What comics from the 70's did you like when you were growing up?

I was born in '79, so any 70s reading that got done was through reprints like Marvel Tales, or from back issues I picked up on the cheap at flea markets. I made sure to always look for issues of Captain America, Defenders, Avengers, Thor, etc... anything by "the Steves" - Ditko, Gerber, Engelhart. Those are the books and writers that really got me fired up as a kid.

But as an "adult", I've managed to pick up every Essential that Marvel's produced... yes, even Essential Godzilla. And I've been devouring those, doing my best to make up for being born a decade too late.

What writers/artists do you think you are most influenced by?

I already mentioned "the Steves".
Obviously, Stan and Jack.

Hmmm, who else? Roy Thomas, (TV's) Gerry Conway, Arnold Drake, Doug Moench, David Anthony Craft, Walt Simonson, John Byrne, Marv Wolfman, Roger Stern, Dan Jurgens, Grant Morrison, Mark Waid, Kurt Busiek. And newer guys, like Dan Slott, Ed Brubaker, Dwayne McDuffie, Matt Fraction, Jeff Parker...

And I'm sure there's someone I'm leaving out.

Current trend in comics you hate now?

Just one? I guess I'd say stories that start and don't have endings already in place. I know it's nothing new, but it's never seemed more obvious to me as a reader.

One more thing: high-profile creators coming on books and, either, taking forever to finish or not finishing at all.

Current trend in comics you like now?

Reprints, reprints, reprints!
And the slow, but long overdue migration away from decompressed storytelling.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Creator Profiles: Dr. K!

Andy Kunka, alias the Amazing Dr. K, is a exceptionally talented individual that I was introduced to by Chris Sims at HeroesCon 2007. Though we spoke just briefly at the convention, I was completely sold on Dr. K when I discovered he had had a letter published in a bronze age JLA comic. I *think* it was this one...

Just for the record:

Letter published in a Bronze Age comic = Qualified to be a writer for Flashback Universe

Since that meeting I've have exchanged several emails with Dr. K about the state of the comics industry. His commentary on DC's Countdown and their Showcase reprint initiative have been right on the money. *

When he posts on other peoples blogs, I'm alway enjoy his commentary, and sort of wished he had his own blog, because I figured it would totally rock, as the kids say.

So you can imagine how happy I was when he started doctor-k100.blogspot.com My initial instincts have been rewarded with great reading on a myriad of topics all near and dear to my heart. I'm currently pushing him to do one of his great movie breakdowns for his blog of Planet of the Apes! :)

The Doc's Answers to my Flashback Survey:

What Flashback Universe comic did you work on, or are you currently scheduled to work on?
I'm currently working on a Cyclotron story.

Do you have a link to a blog/portfolio you would like me to include?


What comics from the 70's did you like when you were growing up?
Batman, Superboy and the Legion of Super-Heroes, Justice League of America, Master of Kung Fu, Avengers, Micronauts

What writers/artists do you think you are most influenced by?
Steve Englehart, Steve Gerber, Marv Wolfman, Denny O'Neil, Bill Mantlo, Doug Moench

Current trend in comics you hate now?
Endless crossovers

Current trend in comics you like now?
The incredible diversity of choices available.

Thank you Andy! I look forward to seeing what you can do with Cyclotron!
- JS

*For the record about CountDown and the DC Showcases: I, Jim Shelley, think CountDown is gonna end up being a big disappointment - moneywise - for DC. And I think DC is going to either kill their Showcase reprints or slow them down to a trickle. Ditto their Archives. This, I think, has something to do with some new budget tightening being done by their parent company Time Warner. :(

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Creator Profiles: Jerry Hinds

I recently bought the DC Archives of the Legion of Super Heroes volume 10, mainly because it was all of the Dave Cockrum issues.

One of the things that really struck me was how amazing it was that even though Dave only did about a years worth of stories, just how much influence he put on the legion after his run. Mike Grell was pretty much obligated to use the new costume designs, and as a result new costume designs (like Tyroc) sort of needed to blend in to the existing schemes set up by Dave Cockrum.

I think about this when I'm looking at new artists - can they adapt their style to fit with the *House Style* set up by Pierre? Most of them will say, "Sure!" but the real test is the amount of complexity Pierre puts in his work based on simple design concepts. Also, his use of color is very specific.

I'm happy to say that Jerry Hinds is one of the few artists I've encountered who actually understood what Pierre was doing and has been not only successful in matching it, but is also not afraid to push the parameters of the Flashback Universe look and feel. (Examine the picture above - Ultrax the Unconquered, from a story by Chris Sims - the style of color and costume design is pretty much Flashback Universe Perfection! Below is his rendition of a character called Baba Yaga.)

The other thing I like about Jerry is that just like Pierre, he really *gets* what cool about the Bronze age of comics. So many artists and writers like to praise the Bronze age with a wink, wink, nudge, nudge attitude that I just find insulting. They totally ignore the great things Starlin was doing with Warlock, or Gerber was doing with Man-thing. To them it's all about how *quaint* Bob Haney's Brave and the Bold was. (btw Bob Haney Rocked Hard!)

Jerry understands the reason those Bronze age comics were so great - he uses a word for it that has a very specific meaning in his e-mails: Gravity. Defined the way Jerry uses it, Gravity is that moment when Damocles looks up and sees the sword hanging over his head. Or when a salvage team in space realizes they have an alien stowaway. Or when two high school rivals realize they have superpowers as long as they as they agree to help each other.

It's how heavy the pages get as you flip through a comic, one by one, the plot tension building, giving each page more and more impact.

I expect Jerry will bring a lot of Gravity to the Flashback Universe! :)

Here are Jerry's answers to my Creator Survey:

What Flashback Universe comic did you work on, or are you currently scheduled to work on?


Do you have a link to a blog/portfolio you would like me to include?



What comics from the 70's did you like when you were growing up?

Captain Marvel (of the Kree), Spider-Man, Fantastic Four, Luke Cage, Legionnaires, Avengers, Thor, Captain America

What writers/artists do you think you are most influenced by?

Gil Kane, Jim Starlin, Don Heck, Jack Kirby, George Tuska, Neal Adams, Sal Buscema, Jim Steranko/Stan Lee, Tom DeFalco, Kurt Buseik

Current trend in comics you hate now?

Virtually everything (especially Marvel) outside of MC2 connected survivalists - static vertical figures standing pretty on comicbook covers, or art direction that's mainly derivative of Image Comics)

Current trend in comics you like now?

To see a few comics which maintain a visual 'comic feel' as opposed to many which display art that's 'too realistic', thus non-escaping (though technically excellent) in the way Golden & Silver Age comics are.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Creator Profiles: Deigo Tripodi

I found Diego while looking for artists for the Butterfly Backstory. He responded to my post on Digital Webbing with a link to his Deviant art portfolio. After reviewing his portfolio, I was sure that while he wasn't what I was looking for for the Butterfly story, he WAS someone I wanted to work with on another story.

But what character would work for his style? That was the problem. For you see, Diego is not only a very gifted artist/storyteller, he is also an amazing stylist. The b/w work on his site is just incredible, reminding me in many ways of Alex Toth.

So, after much thought, I decided I would design a story around Diego's style. I presented Diego with 3 plot ideas, where his style would shine the best and let him pick his favorite. The end result is the Terrorsaur Rex Backstory with Catfish Jenkins. In many ways, it's one of the Flashback Universe stories I'm most proud of because it's a tribute to another artist I used to know.

Currently Diego is studying at Film School in Argentina. Another funny thing - despite the fact that he's from Argentina, Diego has an amazing grasp of the English language, making correspondence with him a joy! Diego is also one of those amazingly rare artists who is not only fast, professional and enjoyable to work with, but also an amazingly intuitive designer. His panel layouts are filled with extra touches that add a neat dynamic to the scenes.

Like the Trex story, I'm currently trying to figure out what to put Diego on next. :)

Diego's Answers to my Creator Survey:

What Flashback Universe comic did you work on, or are you currently scheduled to work on?

I worked on the Terrorsaur Rex BackStory.

Do you have a link to a blog/portfolio you would like me to include?


What comics from the 70's did you like when you were growing up?

I was born in 1983.

What writers/artists do you think you are most influenced by?

Some of my favourite artists are: Frank Miller, Tony Harris, Mike Mignola, Neal Adams, Mike Allred, Bill Sienkiewicz, Dave Gibbons, Mark Schultz, Dave Stevens, Renée French, Matt Wagner and many, many more, but I don't really know if their influence shows in my work. I hope so, though.

Current trend in comics you like now?

Most of the comics I've been reading these last few years were published many years ago, so I don't really know what are the current trends in comics... maybe I'll be able to answer to these questions a few years from now, when I get to read what's being published today :)

Friday, October 12, 2007

Creator Profiles: Chris Sims

OMAC Knows the Scope!The first time I officially met Chris Sims, he was welcoming everyone who walked into Heroes and Dragons with a resounding, "Are You Ready For OMAC?!"

And while I think this should be the welcome anthem of EVERY comic shop owner, Chris was saying this with such an earnest determination, that I wondered if maybe, just MAYBE, he knew something I didn't.

Later, after checking CNN's website, I was pretty sure Chris just really, really liked OMAC.

Anyway, in the coming months, I came to realize that Chris Sims pretty much loves comics more than anybody I've ever met in my life. And I don't mean just the joy of reading his weekly comics, but comics in all shapes, sizes and types. It doesn't matter if its some rare gem from Bob Haney and Jim Aparo or Jeff Smith's Bone or David Petersen's Mouse Guard - if it's good, odds are Chris has raved about it on his blog: http://www.the-isb.com/.

Which brings us to another aspect of Chris that has really surprised me. When he started up his blog, a lot of us guys who knew him thought it would be the perfect outlet for his unique brand of enthusiastic comics talk.

Little did we know just how successful he would become with that blog! And while a large part of it is owed to his natural wit and enthusiasm, you can't discount how much hard work he puts into it. It's very easy to make a blog. It's much, much harder to make content for it on a regular basis. After more than a thousand clicks on the publish button, Chris's efforts have made him one of the leaders of comics blogoverse.

Chris was also one of the first bloggers to support the Flashback Universe, so many of you reading this may already know all about him.

What you probably DIDN'T know is that he's written his own Flashback Universe comic coming out soon starring the Creature and WildCard! Check out this awesome cover by Jerry Hinds!

Flashback TeamUp

We'll keep you posted on this comics progress. :)

Here are Chris' answers to my Creator Survey:

What Flashback Universe comic did you work on, or are you currently scheduled to work on?

Wildcard and the Creature in "SO FALLS THE WORLD!"

Do you have a link to a blog/portfolio you would like me to include?

Of course: http://www.the-isb.com/

What comics from the 70's did you like when you were growing up?

Denny O'Neil, Neal Adams, Steve Englehart and Marshall Rogers on Batman, Bill Mantlo on... well, on just about everything Marvel published.

What writers/artists do you think you are most influenced by?

For Flashback comics, it's definitely Bill Mantlo.

Current trend in comics you hate now?

Unskillful decompression. Even when writing for the trades, there's no reason whatsoever to have a boring single issue.

Current trend in comics you like now?

Well, Iron Fist is in two comics every month, and even though one of 'em isn't any good, that's GOT to be a step in the right direction!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Creator Profiles: Jorge Calamato

The Butterfly BackStory was originally something I cobbled together in Flash using a bunch of clipart and images I found in Google. It was really just something I was using to *sell* Pierre on the character, because he wanted a more classic Vampire character, and I wanted to go in a different direction.

It was never really supposed to be seen by anybody but Pierre, but when we started the Donator's site, I decided to let Donator's see what I'd made.

As it turned out, a lot of the donators really enjoyed the story, but felt it needed better illustrations. Thinking about it, I decided they were right, but because the story was so much darker than other Flashback stories, I wanted a different look and feel for the story. (Sort of how the Mike Ploog's Werewolf by Night looked so different than the rest of the Marvel Universe titles.)

This led me to search for an artist with a unique style and possibly some horror influences on Digital Webbing. Which is how I found Jorge.

Number one thing I can tell you about Jorge: English is NOT his native tongue. :D

While working him on the Butterfly Backstory, he used to send me these e-mails that would keep me up at nights.

Example: "Jorge, be sure to include some soldiers on page 24, as I refer to them in the script."

Reply: "Yes, to me you will see the artwork, as you requested in most beautiful ways the story of the young girl haunted by tragic past."

...uh. Okay.

Now, I won't kid you. After a few e-mails like that, I was really worried about the pages Jorge was going to turn in, but damn if he didn't hit the nail on the head each and every time! His art was just great, the line work phenomenal and the composition was top notch! Also, he hit his deadline with time to spare!

The whole experience really taught me to disregard how artist express themselves verbally and just wait until the pages start rolling in.

Still, Jorge, if you know someone who could translate your e-mails for you, hm...it *would* make me more comfortable on future projects. :)

Interesting sidenote 1: The Butterfly Backstory is the most downloaded Flashback Universe title currently on the site by a WIDE margin. I think this says a lot about Jorge's cover design for the comic. :)

Interesting sidenote 2: I never really intended to do Backstories as a part of the Flashback Universe. The Butterfly Backstory and the Last Angel Backstory were originally character proposals I made in Flash and sent Pierre for both characters. These are posted in the donators section, and a lot of donators said I should go ahead and convert them into cbr/comic format. were a result of donators commenting on my character proposals in the extras section.

Jorge's answers to my Creator Survey:

1-What Flashback Universe comic did you work on, orare you currently scheduled to work on?

I worked on "Butterfly Backstory". Excellent story andI like the character in the same vein of Underworld.

2-Do you have a link to a blog/portfolio you wouldlike me to include?


3-What comics from the 70's did you like when you weregrowing up?

I don't know exactly what kind of comics I prefer, butI know what kind of comic artist or creator I want to be: Alex Toth, Hugo Pratt, Jorge Zaffino, JohnBuscema, Alberto Breccia, Mike Mignola, Frank Miller.

4-Current trend in comics you hate now?

I don't hate any trend in comics. Only I don't like manga and anime. But I don't hate these styles. You can learn from any style of art that represents any culture.

5-Current trend in comics you like now?

Mike Mignola and Frank Miller as writers and artists.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Creator Profiles: Richard Bensam

Short and to the point: Richard Bensam is a freaking amazing writer. I'll explain why, but first let me tell you how we *met.*

Richard came to my attention when he was the very first blogger to write about Flashback Universe where he eloquently explained the importance of digital comics much better than I ever could have.

Shortly after that, Chris Sims (I think it was Chris) mentioned he was going to write a Flashback Universe story, whereupon Richard e-mailed me asking he I was accepting submissions.

Now, I get a LOT of people asking this and my standard reply is to give the requester some busy work to see if they really are going to do the work or are just blowing hot air. I think I told Richard to come up with a Fantom Force story. I just off handely mentioned the connection between Doc Nomad and Nick Flint as a way of explaing the Doc Fantom/Nick Flint relationship.
Well, I don't think 7 days passed before Richard e-mailed me a completed story synopsis with full character breakdowns of all of the Fearless Five AND Fantom Force. Simply Amazing. To this day, no one has beaten that turn around time.

Not only was he quick in his delivery, but the story was top notch. He found a nice way to introduce all the characters and the relationship between the two teams. His dialogue was witty and natural. His action scenes flowed nicely. Really, it was everything you could ever want in a comic story, and it's gotten some nice comments ever since it was posted.

Currently, Richard and I are kicking around a cosmic hero he created called Asterion, who was originally inspired by the Silver Age Captain Mar-Vell, but has since grown into something much different. I'll keep you posted on his development. :)

In the meantime, here are Richard's responses to my Creator Survey:

What Flashback Universe comic did you work on, or are you currently scheduled to work on?
The debut stories of both the Fantom Force and Doc Nomad and the Fearless Five, and more to come...

Do you have a link to a blog/portfolio you would like me to include?


What comics from the 70's did you like when you were growing up?

I was always very keen on team books like the Legion of Super-Heroes, the Avengers, the Defenders, the JLA, and the X-Men. Something about the heroes being together to interact and provide support for one another always appealed to me.

What writers/artists do you think you are most influenced by?

Jack Kirby influences my real life on a daily basis, but in comics writing I feel most influenced by Steve Englehart and Steve Gerber.

Current trend in comics you hate now?

Where do I start? The anti-fun policy among certain creators and editors. The belief that only nihilism and misogyny are "realistic" and that this supposed "realism" should be the goal of all comic books. The industry closing out potential new readers in favor of holding onto an ever-dwindling base of comic shop customers. Artists who swipe all their character drawings from porn mags. Everything overrendered with computer coloring to look photorealistic but instead becoming dreary and lifeless. I could go on and on.

Current trend in comics you like now?

People who fight the above trends! Seeing work from artists like Darwyn Cooke, Mike Allred, Paul Grist, and Colleen Coover enter the mainstream. New forms of distribution and free comics.

Friday, October 5, 2007

Creator Profiles: Pierre Villeneuve

Okay, if you've been reading these in order from the bottom of the page up, then you've seen how Chris Nye's Brother Destiny and some comments and Indy comics made by Phil Looney started me down the road of making the Flashback Universe.

The one missing piece of the puzzle was finding an artist who would be willing to work on such a project.

It needed to be someone who:

1) Had a great appreciation for the Bronze age comic book format and

2) Was willing to try this new form of digital distribution.

And let me tell you, THAT was NOT an easy combination to find.

I posted my add on Digital Webbing looking for artists who were able to draw in the 1970's Marvel Style. I got a TON of responses. From those responses I narrowed the field down to 16. To those 16, I sent what I was willing to pay per a page and a description of my digital comic idea.

Well, the pay rate was fine with all but 4 of these 16. However the whole, "You mean you aren't ever going to print them?" thing pretty much washed out all but 1 guy. That one lone wolf who was willing to take a chance on bringing LEGITIMATE digital comics to the world?

Pierre Villeneuve!

Once I had settled on Pierre, I began to study his portfolio in earnest to get an idea of what type of characters/format he could really shine on. If you click on the link below in the survey section, you'll see Pierre's Portfolio. It's an impressive collection of animation and sequential art that has gotten him a lot of notice in the animation field. I soon realized that Pierre could probably handle anything I tossed at him, and we began setting up the characters who would be the backbone of our universe.

Pierre is very much the Jack Kirby of the Flashback Universe, not just in the sense that his design skills completely shape every character in our universe, but also in that he has been key to helping design the personalities and themes that make the universe so distinct.

I've said this countless times to all my friends here - I am truly lucky to have a friend and partner like Pierre to work with on Flashback Universe!

Thank you Pierre!

Here are Pierre's answers to my Creator Survey:

What Flashback Universe comic did you work on, or are you currently scheduled to work on?

I worked on the Saturn Knight issue, the League of Monsters issue, the Fantom Force issue, and the Last Angel backstory.

Am schedule for a Paladin issue, a Runewraith issue, and another Saturn Knight issue. And maybe something special (if Jim likes what I send him it that is ;) ).

Do you have a link to a blog/portfolio you would like me to include?

What comics from the 70's did you like when you were growing up?

Spider-man, Avengers, Captain America, Iron-man, Karate Kid. Hulk.

What writers/artists do you think you are most influenced by?

Sal Buscema, John Byrne, George Perez amongst many many others.

Current trend in comics you hate now?

Decompressed stories.

Current trend in comics you like now?

Can't think of any right now.... will have to give this some more thoughts. ;)

Creator Profiles: Phil Looney

If Chris Nye was responsible for the birth of the theme of Flashback Universe, then Phil Looney is the guy who is responsible for the birth of the idea of Flashback as a downloadable digital comic. This is ironic, as Phil is one of those DIE HARD Comics Must Be On Paper guys. :D

What happened was several years ago, I had just discovered cbr comics (thanks to comments made by both Rich Johnston and Warren Ellis) and the entire pirate digital comics scene.

I was just floored by the amount of digital comics available on the internet and on ebay. Being someone who loves all things electronic and readable on my laptop, I was amazed at how easy it was to find, well, ANYTHING I wanted in the dark and dusty DC++ backwaters.

I mentioned this to Phil, (who always indulges my crazy ideas) and he thought it might be great way to get comics out to kids, but that old school readers would want their paper comics. I started thinking about that, and what I wanted to do with my Old School comic idea and realized that this might be a great way to *test* two theories at the same time:

1) The theory that younger won't like old school comics.

2) The theory that old school reader won't like digital comics.

Since starting Flashback Universe, Phil has been 100% supportive in that he is always happy to suggest new ways I can reach out to readers and improve my website. This very blog is the result of his steadfast advice. :)

Also, Phil is big advocate of small press comics. Since I've known him, I've watched him put together two great small press comics The New Adventures of Jack Kirby and Gone To Texas. His initiative in this area was another thing that made me get off my butt and start up Flashback Universe.

So without further adieu allow me to introduce Phil Looney to the Flashback Universe readers:

What Flashback Universe comic did you work on, or are you currently scheduled to work on?

I'm working on a Golden Age Wildcard story.

Do you have a blog or portfolio site?:

What comics from the 70's did you like when you were growing up?

All my 70s comics were back issues, but I had some old Spider-man comics with Rocket Racer, and some great reprints of Spider-man by Gil Kane that I loved. Also, Marvel Team Up.

What writers/artists do you think you are most influenced by?

Right now I would say Scott McCloud, Matt Fraction,Chris Sims, Chad Bowers, Jack Kirby, Robert Ullman,and Jack Hamm

Current trend in comics you hate now?

Decompression - I'd like more one and done stuff.

Current trend in comics you like now?

Reprinting old stuff to get it in people's hands.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Creator Profiles: Chris Nye

I'm going to start this series with the artist who, in many ways, is responsible for the entire Flashback Universe, Chris Nye, creator of Brother Destiny (Mecca Comics).

What Flashback Universe comic did you work on, or are you currently scheduled to work on?
Prometheus (also featuring Amanita)

What comics from the 70's did you like when you were growing up?
Primarily Marvel: All of Marvel's horror titles (Werewolf by Night, Tomb of Dracula, Ghost Rider, Frankenstein, Creatures on the Loose, Supernatural Thrillers etc.); Spider-Man, FF, Iron Man, Sub-Mariner and Marvel Team-Up were mainstays.

Occasionally bought The Avengers, The Invaders, Thor or Marvel Two-In-One. Came to appreciate Warlock and The Defenders later.

Also loved Marvel's reprint titles...particularly those that reprinted 50s and 60s horror, such as Monsters On The Prowl, Where Monsters Dwell, Crypt of Shadows, Vault of Evil, etc.

What writers/artists do you think you are most influenced by?
John and Sal Buscema, Gil Kane, John Romita Sr., Jack Kirby and Neal Adams.

Do you have a blog or portfolio site?

Current trend in comics you hate now?
Bleed format pages, overblown Photoshop coloring, the lack of descriptive captions, poor layouts and storytelling.

Current trend in comics you like now?
Seems to be a growing appreciation for the classic material (Masterworks, Archives, Essentials, Showcase) which hopefully will have a trickle-down effect and teach newcomers some much-needed lessons on how to entertain and tell a good story.

NOTE: Now I said that Chris was responsible for the Flashback Universe, but you'll notice he's not yet drawn anything for FBU. I'll back up and explain.

Back at Heroescon 2005, I saw some sketches of Chris' comic Brother Destiny and was just flat out blown away by the way he manage to capture the early Marvel House style, while bringing his own touches to it. I realized then and there how much I'd missed comics like that. A few months later, I posted a note on Digital Webbing looking for artists who might be interested in working on such a retro project and was floored by the responses I got. It seems a LOT of people miss the old Marvel style.

Now might be a good time to ask me why I didn't just ask Chris to help me with Flashback Universe then? Well, as it turns out, I heard he was busy with Chad Bowers working on Dr. Impossible, so I decided to look for someone who might not be busy. That's how I found Pierre.

Anyway, come Heroescon 2007, Chad (who was at the Flashback Universe Booth) introduced me to Chris, and I think we hit it off well. After the con, everyone from the booth (plus friends) went to have dinner, during which Chris and I discussed our love for The Invaders, 70's Avengers and the great Golden Age artists!

To say I'm excited about having Chris onboard to illustrate a Flashback Universe story is really an understatement. :)

Welcome to the Flashback Universe Chris!


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