Friday, April 30, 2010

Two NEW Free Comics from Flashback Universe!

As Caine mentioned yesterday, in honor Free Comics Day, we are proud to present two complete Free Comic stories for you read/download

The first one is a new Flashback Universe story courtesy of Chad Bowers, Caine Dorr, Chris Nye, Donald Jackson and Liezl Buenaventura. This comic is in the vein of the old Marvel comics wherein two heroes would share a comic. Mysterious Journeys featuring Prometheus and Amanita! Click on the image to download the entire comic in rar format (which is the same format I use ever Monday for my Free Comics Monday.)

If you are a newcomer to the whole downloadable comics scene, click here to get an idea how how it works...

For those of you afraid to download a digital comic, you'll be happy to read our second offering hell-bent: Infamous Monsters - a web comic story written by FBU friend Trey Causey featuring art by Diego Candia.

hell-bent Infamous Monsters

- Enjoy!

Lost Universe Desktops

FBU fans.
Did you know that tomorrow is FREE COMIC BOOK DAY?

Of course you knew that but what you may not have known is that we're going to have an all knew FBU adventure posted here for all of our fans tomorrow & to that end (plus a few others) we've been a little busy as you might imagine.

If you're a fan of the "Lost Universe" posts here on the FBU don't fret as they will continue again in the next few weeks. To tide you over we've provided you all with a few "extras" to decorate your computer desktop this week as we put the finishing touches on our FCBD comic. Click your favorite thumbnail for full size images....



Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Absolute Addict

Hi, my name is Pierre....
And I am an addict.
I am an Absolute Edition addict that is....

... and it's all Jim's fault. : )

Jim got me my first Absolute Edition for Christmas a couple of years ago when he sent me the Absolute New Frontier.

I was hooked. Not only did I not own the New Frontier comics before that... heck I even had no idea as to who Darwin Cook was. But now I had not only my own copy of New Frontier, I not only now knew who Darwin Cook was, but I also had some GREAT extras that were included in this edition. My only complaint would be that it no longer is Absolute... since some new material was produced thanks to the DVD Movie.

Oh well.

Sadly... I was enough of an addict that I got some of them Absolute comics that I already owned (Crisis on Infinite Earths, Kingdom Come, Watchmen). Although in some cases... there was enough new material in the extra section to justify buying the comics once more.

And I got some that I had never purchased before (Batman: Hush). And Jim got me another one (Justice)... just to be sure that I would remain an addict. : )

And lately... I just got my latest fix...

Absolute Green Lantern:  Rebirth.

I was one of the many foolish fools that passed on Rebirth when it first came out.

I was one of those that thought that it was nothing more than a cheap stunt to try to get Hal Jordan back as Green Lantern. So I failed to realize that it was much more than that - it was going to bring back not only Hal Jordan, but Guy Gardner and the entire Green Lantern Corps. And even more... it was the first step in setting the tone for what would come next.

A new Green Lantern comic and Green Lantern Corps comic.

The Green Lantern/Sinestro Corps War.
Blackest Night.
nd now Brightest Day.

So when I saw the Absolute Edition of Rebirth, I just knew that I HAD to get my hands on it. I knew that it was a too important turning point in recent DC history to pass it up. And it is a beautiful book to own. The cover and wrap around dust jacket are beautiful, and the oversized format allow us to enjoy the detailed artwork.

Damn this book looks good.

And it was fun to see some of the promo artwork and some rejected never used before artwork, and even the original pitch for the project. The least interesting part for me has to be the script by Geoff Johns. But I am sure that many aspiring writers would get a kick from reading a script as it was written by an established writer. It might teach them a thing or two at how to properly write a script.

Although it is not the only way to write a script... it would serve as a good basis for an aspiring writer to show them how a proper script is done.

Although one thing is missing in my book in Johns' script.... the amount of panel in the page.

For example... see the part in Bold:

Page One (6 panels)

Panel One,

Blah Blah Blah.. etc

Essentially... it is always a good idea to mention the number of panels right at the start of the page.


It helps the artist plan his page layout in his head... or even on paper... right from the start as he starts reading the script.

Not a big deal.... and sure all the artist really need is to go look at the end of the page to try to get that number.... or has to start looking further in the script if a page needs multiple script pages.

Not a big deal.... but it can be annoying with certain scripts if you have to constantly look through the script for the amount of panels on a given page.

So if you are an aspiring writer and want to make your artist happy... just adding that little information will be a good start. : )

So just for some of those behind the scenes stuff... pretty much any Absolute comics are worth picking up. Even some comic like Hush, with what I consider a not very good story, is worth picking up in that format.

The Jim Lee artwork and extra sketches alone make it worth buying.

Although... I am still trying to convince myself to get the Absolute Superman: For Tomorrow. Even with the Jim Lee artwork... I could not summon the strength to get that one.

Although.... maybe the extra section could convince me to get it??

I guess we will have to wait and see. : )

Monday, April 26, 2010

Trouble for the Green Hornet!

You have to wonder about Hollywood - the suits seem so out of touch with what people want. Witness the current Chinese firedrill going on over the Green Hornet movie - a movie which stars Seth Rogen, a guy who is great in comedies, made by director Michel Gondry, who wikipedia says is noted for his inventive visual style.

Who thought that would be a good combo?

Now, as I remember it - the Green Hornet television show was light entertainment back in the 60's, but it didn't really have a huge fan following. It sort of road in on the coattails of success the Batman 60's TV show, with the characters even having a couple of crossover episodes, but never really caught on as big. I think the shows biggest claim to fame is that it helped launch the career of Bruce Lee.

Outside of that - what is the public awareness factor of this character? Not much I'm willing to bet. Even among comics fans, the comics have never done that great. They Golden Age Holyoke series only ran for 6 issues. The character was then picked up by Harvey and published until issue 47. After that there was a one shot by Dell and some TV tie ins from Gold Key - nothing outstanding.

The Hornet probably had the best comics run in 1989 when NOW Comics reintroduced the character with a series that sort of sounds like a a complete mess, but was successful enough to warrant a few spinoffs. The Now version lasted up until 1995.

I think the jury is still out on the recent Dynamite relaunch, so I'll reserve judgement on that for now except to say I don't know how smart the publisher was with the deluge of first issues and mini-series right off the bat...

But back to the Hollywood suits and their infinite wisdom - let's see - a movie featuring a golden age comics hero with art house pretensions - where have we seen that formula before? Oh yeah...


and here:

Now, I don't really have proof that the Green Hornet movie will get the same reception as the Spirit or Dick Tracy, but I think the pieces were put in place so, that's probably how the game will play out. And now it appears the studio has seen some of the footage and is having the same thoughts as this week it was announced the movie's launch date would be moved from the prized December 22 holiday spot to MLK Day (January 14th) - not really a holiday known for boffo box office openings is it?

Oh well, we still have Raimi's Shadow movie to look forward to.

Enjoy today's free comics which featuer another gun drawing golden age hero - The Clock!

Feature Comics 29

Feature Funnies 19
- Enjoy!

Friday, April 23, 2010

Digital Comics Funding 2

There are several challenges to getting a comic book made. I don't think anyone would argue that money is the largest of those challenges. It may not necessarily be cold hard cash were talking about here, money could easily be replaced with time if you were doing a comic completely on your own, but the value of time = money as we all know so the point stands as far as this blogger is concerned.

What if you found a way to easily provide the money needed (which in turn would afford you the time needed depending on the structure of your project) to get a comic book made?

Two weeks ago we began this topic of discussion by examining the web site KICKSTARTER and today we'll look at an alternative called INDIEGOGO.

Indiegogo is a funding platform for artists, designers, musicians, journalists, inventors, & film makers, a group that they've catered to in many ways.

Indiegogo allows all comic book creators, established or new to the business, the ability to offer something a bit like TopCow's "Pilot Season" where the creators pitch the fans potential books they want to release and allow the fans to pledge money toward the creation of one or more of those comics.

Directly from Indiegogo's site...

Earn Rewards:
IndieGoGo pays you a bonus of 5% for every dollar you raise if you meet your goal.

It's Your Money:
Whether you reach your goal or not, keep the money you raise.

Ideas from Across the World:
Projects and members hail from 114 countries. No matter where you live, you can post or fund a project today.

Funder Friendly:
Make it easy for your fans to fund you; accept payments via credit card, Amazon Payments or check.

IndieGoGo adds Analytics to Every Project:
Start Tracking Your Success!
Want to know how many project views your twitter campaign drove? Or how many referrals your friend's Facebook post brought? Or the contributions that resulted from a blog write-up? Here's your data! Now You Can Track Your Fundraising Success...

Views: total number of visits to your page.
Funders: number of contributors Funds contributions: money raised
Referrals: number of visits that result from someone sharing your project using widgets, twitter, google buzz, facebook and emails (from the SHARE WITH FRIENDS section)
Favorites: number of IndieGoGo members who have added your project to their Favorites
Requests to visit: number of times someone has requested your project come to their town

Like we did with Kickstarter two weeks a go, here's a look at a project currently on Indiegogo...

Death Walks the Streets - The Comic Book Series
With two issues already in-print from THE SCREAM FACTORY and set for a late April 2010 release through Panelfly for the iPod Touch, iPhone, and iPad – DEATH WALKS THE STREETS (DWTS) is a BIG new world of horrific adventure, filled with colorful characters and fantastic creatures. Follow the adventures of three friends as they navigate a world populated by Vampires, Demons, Zombies, Werewolves, and The Mob.

$1 or more = Fringe Member-The OrganizationA $1-14

Contribution will get you a special "thank you" on the list of NEW MARSHALL'S MOST DISTINGUISHED CITIZENS - to appear online as well as in print (next issue). Online listings can also feature a link to your own website or project (subject to approval).

$25 or more = IBVM Dues - Level I
So you think you're a tough guy/gal? Ok, then it's time to pay your first installment of your monthly dues. The IBVM thanks you. We'll consider this protection against... something. For a $25 contribution, we'll give you a special place on the list of NEW MARSHALL'S MOST DISTINGUISHED CITIZENS - A "thank you" page for those who have supported the comic book project. You will also receive a SIGNED copy of the issue in which this appears.

$501 or more = IBVM Dues - Level IIIWell, well - a big spender...
For a $500 contribution, you'll guarantee yourself PREMIUM PLACEMENT on the list of NEW MARSHALL'S MOST DISTINGUISHED CITIZENS - A "thank you" page for those who have supported the project. *You will receive 2 SIGNED "Trade Paperback" Editions of the prequel mini series - issues #0, #1, #2, and #3 - four issues in all - collected into a handsome, library collection. *A copy of the Wizard World Exclusive #0

There are other projects on Indiegogo, some more comic book themed projects in fact, all with various levels of funding proposed and achieved. I'm wondering the same thing today that I did two weeks ago, would you be willing to (essentially) pay for your favorite comic book to be made ahead of time?

Have a great weekend,


Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Is This The End?

No... no... I did not watch the movie 2012 one time too many.

Well... technically I did... since I saw it once... which in MY book was one time too many. ;)

But what I really mean is that...

It is the end of the Arthur TV series.

At least for now. ;)

"We" just finished working on Arthur Season 14 last Friday.

I am using "we" loosely here since not everyone is finished working on Arthur. The animation and post-production will got up to next November or something like that... but for a lot of people (scripts, designs, storyboards)...  Arthur 14 is behind us.

Every year for the past 5 years... more or less... whenever a season of Arthur was finished... the same question came back;

"Was this the LAST season of Arthur??"

For years now, it pretty much was expected that... yes... this was the LAST season of Arthur EVER. But year after year.... we are proven wrong. The demand for a new season of Arthur still remains strong, so more Arthur episodes are produced each year. So will this year be finally the LAST season of Arthur?? It is much too early to tell. We will have to wait and see.

So what does it mean for the people who just finished working on Arthur 14??

It's job hunting season for most of us. Although technically... it had been job hunting season for a while. When you are an artist - unless you plan to take a few months off after the project you are working on -  you must not wait until your current contract is up before starting to look for your next assignment.

Odds are that it might take a while before you get your next gig. So you must not wait... you must start looking as early as you can. As an artist... you are always looking for your next gig. You are always sending your resume or some submission, or working on some proposal to get your next gig.

It is part of being an artist. Although... not unlike working from home.... people have a tough time understanding that.

Even when you are not working on a project.... you ARE working. Looking for a gig can be a lot of work. Unlike most people.... you do not simply send your resume... you often need to send either a submission/proposal.... or need to make some art samples aimed at the studio where you are applying for work.

For example... applying for work as a penciller for Marvel... you would need to make a few penciled pages featuring some Marvel characters. Applying for work for Wizards of the Coast... you would need make at least a few fantasy drawings or paintings.

And even then you might be asked to make a test. Even if you are an experienced artist you might be asked to do such a test.

I remember seeing in a CON some beautiful Spawn samples that Angel Medina did as a test to work on Spawn. Although at the time... he did not get to work on Spawn... but he did get to work on Sam and Twitch thanks to his test.

Not long ago... as the end of Arthur was coming up... most people at the studio were busy making a layout test. Even people who were experienced layout artists.... heck some had even been layout supervisors in their career. But all were required to make the layout test.

But making art samples... either as a submission or as a test does take some time.

Imagine, you are competing against people like Brian Hitch, who can take 6 months to pencil 22 pages.  He can make some highly detailed pages thanks to all the extra time he can take.

Well if you want to compete against such established artist... you need to take some time to make the best pages you possibly can, because Hitch is in a position to do just that, to take the time he needs to make the best possible pages. So even when you are not under contract... even when you don`t have a paycheck coming in - you ARE working. And trying to make the best possible samples does take some time.

But people have a tough time understanding that.  That even if you are home all day...even if you have no current gig... you ARE working on your samples/submissions/tests in order to get you next gig.

Although as Jim mentioned last week... I just got a promotion... so I was one of the few who did not need to look for the next animation gig after Arthur... it's been already decided for some time now what I would do after Arthur.

Most of the people at the studio were intrigued how I... unlike most people in the studio... was not making the layout test.

But I already had my next gig... so no need for me to do a test at the time.

Normally, I would have waited to be already working on the project before even mentioning this... but the cat is already out of the bag (DAMN you!! Shelley!!!  ;) ).

Heck on a previous season of Arthur... I was told that I would be part of the layout & posing team... until months later I learned that the layout & posing and been done overseas after all.

It happens.

So I prefer to be cautious.

But don't worry... when I can... I will tell you guys more.

 More soon. ;)

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Crimson Movie Update

Mister Crimson in a movie part 2 - back in March I mentioned how filmmaker Ken Cosentino had contacted me about a superhero movie he was making - which (at the time) coincidentally featured a character named Mister Crimson. Well, today I'm happy to present some photos from the movies set with a glimpse of some of the crew of the movies as well. (click pictures to see full size)

Front row from L to R: Gus Posey, who plays the main villain, corrupt businessman Boyd Emerson. To his right is Rob Thong, Back row, L to R, James Ventry, Ken Cosentino, Gary Marino, Matthew Catanese and Don Freeman.

Here is Walter's room - the man obsessed Crimson, the movies title character.

The title character has had a name change (from Mister Crimson to Crimson) because we all thought it might be a little less legally complicated, but there are some neat Mister Crimson Easter Eggs in the movie.

Among the scattered items in the room, you will see some of the image's of Seth Sherwood's and Diego Tripodi's Mister Crimson, a nice tip of the hat courtesy of Ken.

Thank you Ken for sharing the pictures! Please keep us updated!

- Jim

Monday, April 19, 2010

Mystery In Space

It was recently announced that Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy and Nova comics were going to go into hiatus in April- which sounds like a new way for saying they are cancelled - until they are possibly relaunched in the wake of some event comics extravaganza featuring Thanos. Sad, but I guess it’s not that surprising.

For some reason, the recent decade hasn’t been very kind to Cosmic Comics.  The success of Annihilation had me pumped that we might be entering a new era of galactic goodness, but it seems short lived. From start to finish the whole new era didn’t last but 4 years with this version of GotG only lasting 24 issues.

Whereas in the 90’s, Jim Valentino's Guardians the Galaxy ran for 62 issues and Silver Surfer ended its volume 2 run around 140 issues! Heck, even Adam Warlock got 42 issues out of the incredibly haphazard Infinity Watch. Over at DC, the 90’s brought us LEGION/REBELS and DarkStars - all of those titles respectable runs.

But in the last 10 years, we saw a rise in more grounded comics. Perhaps the earthy, street level stories of Brian Bendis and Ed Brubaker created a tonal storytelling dissonance that made Star-spanning sagas seem a little quaint.

Jim Starlin's Strange AdventuresNot that people didn’t try - we did see some Jim Starlin on some interesting cosmic comics over at DC, (Mystery in Space Vol 2, Death of the New Gods, Strange Adventures Vol. 2, ) - Perhaps the project with the most promise from Jim Starlin was his Thanos solo series which he left for reasons undetermined after two issues (check) Keith Giffen did a nice job taking over the comic, but it didn’t last long.

I don’t know - I guess some people would call Blackest Night a space comic as it features the Green Lantern Corps, but it doesn’t feel very spacey to me. It’s just a bunch of superheroes fighting each other - which is just fine if that’s what you want. I just think it would be nice to see a modern spin on Adam Strange or Space Cabbie. I don’t see that happening anytime soon though.

Maybe people are just disillusioned with the whole idea of space travel? We used to harbor hopes of traveling to far distant galaxies and visiting other worlds. Now? Not so much. NASA has to fight for budget money and every new space mission is surrounded with questions about how much does it cost and what are we really learning?

Anyway, enjoy these classic comics from a time when the stars were are destination - budgets be damned!

[ Space Adventures 41 ]

[ Space Adventures 44 ]


- Jim

Friday, April 16, 2010

Lost Universe: The Brute

This article is another one of Caine's explorations into the Lost Universes of defunct companies. You can read other Lost Universe articles here. - Jim

Today we'll be focusing on another archetype; The Strong man, Muscle Bound, Larger than life BRUTE.

Unlike "The Shooter" (who's large thrust of popularity is often fleeting and relatively new to the last thirty years or so), The Brute is a comic book staple that reaches back to the golden age and even beyond in some cases. If superheroes or villains gathered together and joined forces for the common good (or bad) then you can be sure at least one brute was drafted for the team. Fantastic Four has The Thing, The X-Men has Colossus, The Titans have Cyborg, The Wildcats has Maul, and The Power Company has Bork.

For clarification purposes we won't really be including characters like Prime, who are larger than life but don't really fit the bill as a complete Brute.

To me, when researching this archetype, I was surprised I didn't find more "Brute" characters. Maybe it's the very fact that The Hulk, The Thing, and Colossus are such iconic characters that those publishers making their way in the comics boom wanted to do something different.

Much like DC, Valiant doesn't have a large number of shall we say "dim" muscle bound characters running around their universe the way Marvel does. While you might be able to argue that XO Man of War or a few members of the Eternal Warriors are quite brutish they don't really have a character on par with The Hulk or The Thing. The same could be said for Epic, Comico, First, Now and many more.

We did find some Brutes out there though.

CGW: Mecha
Mecha is an interesting take on "The Brute" archetype.

The "elevator pitch" is that he's a blue color grunt riding around in a 10 Million dollar piece of high tech machinery that calls him master.

In a way Mecha is the opposite of The Hulk.

Where as Bruce Banner is a brilliant scientist who becomes trapped in the body of a raging simpleton driven on nearly instinct alone, Art Thomason is a simple man who found his way into the most advance weapon he's ever experienced in his life.

Art is also continuously driven by honor and duty, something that's always a part of him and only enhanced by his association with Mecha, unlike the core of The Hulk which has always been severely dampened by gamma radiation and rage.


Frank Hoag was a corrupt NYPD detective who finally grew a spine when he was asked by his mob bosses to kill a fellow dirty cop.

When he refuses, his own murder is ordered; he dies by a hail of bullets as well as a bomb. The explosion covers him with chemicals, which combine with the sewage from where the mobsters dump his body.

The chemicals had regenerative properties and tried to heal Hoag, but combined the sewer substances with his body, transforming him into a huge mass of living slime.

He awakens with a raging anger against criminals and an inability to think and speak coherently. Many words come out replaced with one that sounds similar, such as 'munch' instead of 'mutual'.

Do you have a favorite "Brute" character?

Did I mention it?

Let us know.

Have a great weekend,


Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Animation: An Industry Going Digital

EDITOR'S NOTE: Congratulations go out today to Pierre who has been promoted at the animation studio he works at. Way to go Pierre! I think the studio made a great decision as people with the passion and knowledge of animation you exemplify on this blog are hard to find! Today's post is a great example!- Jim

Animation: An Industry Going Digital
If you are an aspiring artist hoping to break into comics or animation or pretty much any other art field... I have the most important advice you will ever be given.
Are you ready??
Learn to draw using a graphic tablet.
That was it.
Simple isn't it??

What??? But... but... How can this be?? There are hundreds of artists that still draw on paper.

Well.... I will give it to you.
If you are Alex Ross... odds are that you will still be drawing on paper for quite some time. Although technically... he probably does not draw on paper, but on some sort of illustration board... but you know what I mean. ;)
Sure... there are some established artists that will keep drawing on paper... at least for a while. But unless you are a big name hotshot... you should prepare to be able to work using some more modern tools like a graphic tablet and various programs like Photoshop/Illustrator/etc.

Heck even some of the more established artists are learning to work using some more modern tools (Bolland, Gibbons, Byrne and others I fail to mention).

We are reaching the point where a studio will prefer to use a lesser artist that can use the latest tools and programs, then to use a better artist that can only work the old fasion way.


For starter, there are various financial advantages that comes from using new technologies. There are various tax breaks/subventions that can be had thanks to the use of new technologies.

But also, when using new technologies, there are some expenses that are no longer required. No more need to use Fed-ex to ship your artwork for example. The expenses for supplies (ex; pencil, pen and paper) is cut down dramatically, if not completely.

But also... it is important on a production to have a standard working method for everyone in the production. Otherwise... it can make the job harder for the people who work later in the production.

For example... when making storyboards... working with Sketchbook Pro allows an artist to have various layers for a single drawing making everyone's job easier later in the production. So you can have the BG (background) on one layer, the characters on a second layer, and your Field Guides with notes on a third layer for example. That way... if someone wants to tweak/change one of the characters, he can easily do so without messing up the entire drawing.

Essentially, even if it saves no time to the person actually doing the drawing, it can save some time for everyone else that needs to work on that drawing later on.

So if later... there are 5 people that need to work on that drawing for some reason. If each can save... lets say... 2 minutes of their time by having everything on separate layers....

5 people X 2 minutes = 10 minutes

Multiply that by the amount of such drawings that might need to be tweaked somehow... it can add up very quickly. And in the end.... if traditionally you needed 5 people to do a specific job... you might be able to cut that down to 4... maybe even just 3 people doing the very same job that way. So you essentially need less manpower to do the same job. Or you can shorten the schedule and need those people for less time. Either way... the studio can end up paying less money in manpower for the same job.

So no matter how good someone drawing on paper may be.... we are close to the point where working on paper will no longer be an option - at least, not on a production level. Sure there might be people that will keep on working on paper in their basement... but in general.... drawing on paper is on its way to becoming obsolete.
Original Sketch from Heavy MetalThere is one terrible side effect to this if you ask me...No more original artwork.

I came to realize this as we saw some original artwork from some previous seasons of the Arthur TV show.

Arthur like most TV show at the time had the BG`s done on paper, in the case of Arthur, on some thicker aquarelle paper. And the characters were done on animation cells... essentially... some transparent acetate.

But at some point... cell painting did become a thing of the past.... and the characters were scanned and colored in the computer.

For the Backgrounds (BGs), it took a while longer. It is only for the past two seasons that we found a way to color the BGs digitally on Arthur and keep them looking the same as when the BGs were colored on aquarelle paper.
So for the past 2 seasons of Arthur.... no more original artwork on Arthur.

Sad... but that is how it is.

Yes... this is mostly concerning the animation industry... but the same is happening in comics slowly but surely. Already comics have been colored digitally since the early 90s... and we are seeing more and more comics inked digitally. And heck... some comic artist draw everything digitally now.

In the case of Byrne, he does 3D models of various technical things to draw (car, planes, etc), or various special effects with the computer. And Brian Bolland has been drawing entirely in Photoshop for quite some time. A week after the introduction of the iPad, Jim Lee made a big splash by demoing some original artwork he drew directly on the iPad...

At some point.... original comic artwork will be a thing of the past too.

Although you will be able to get high quality prints, or recreations like what Mike Zeck or Bob Layton have been doing for quite some time.

I guess we will have to wait and see.

Monday, April 12, 2010

The Marxist Manhunter

Slowly but surely Pierre and I are working on the Trial of the Red Death comic we mentioned a million years ago. I won't bore you with the details of why the project has taken so long, but I will say that in the downtime, I've had to change a couple of plot points, as they have since appeared in other comics. (Most recently, The Twelve: Spearhead had a scene that was identical to something I was going to do...)

Anyway - one of the characters in the comic is a villain we are calling the Marxist Manhunter. We just aren't sure which of Pierre's versions to use.

Which one do you think looks best?

Red M on Top

Double Gray M

Yellow Cape

Red/Yellow M's

Feel free to chime in!

Today's Free Comics feature the character that inspired this whole project - The Black Terror.

[ Black Terror 26 ]

[ Black Terror 27 ]

- Enjoy!

Friday, April 9, 2010

Digital Comics: Funding

There are several challenges to getting a comic book made. I don't think anyone would argue that money is the largest of those challenges. It may not necessarily be cold hard cash were talking about here, money could easily be replaced with time if you were doing a comic completely on your own, but the value of time = money as we all know so the point stands as far as this blogger is concerned.

What if you found a way to easily provide the money needed (which in turn would afford you the time needed depending on the structure of your project) to get a comic book made? How many of you would begin making one tomorrow?

Lets say you much prefer reading comics to making them, and don't have any real desire to produce one your self. Is your favorite comic book; series, mini, or character, being published often enough for your taste? I wonder what a fan of All Star Batman & Robin would do to get DC to speed up the process and finish the series? Has Kevin Smith completed all of his comic book work? If so, there were some large gaps in the production runs on some of the books he wrote.

I'm sure there are lots of fans out there who'd have loved to have been able to influence Marvel's production schedule so that they could have seen the completion of those series quicker. In fact, I'm betting that there are lots of books, being published from lots of different companies, that fans would love to be able to have a bit more influence than they have now (Stump Town, Queen & Country, Dynamo 5 to name but a few).

I wonder how many fans would still be purchasing comics, or begin purchasing them again, from defunct comic book production lines such as: Epic, Chaos, Valiant, or the Ultraverse if they were able? Is there a high enough price, if offered, that could accomplish the goal of getting those books and characters published again?

If money equals influence then let me show you a way:

Kickstarter is a funding platform for artists, designers, filmmakers, musicians, journalists, inventors, explorers...

"We're focused on creative projects. We've got a pretty broad definition of creativity: art, music, design (fashion, product, game, app, etc), film/video, food, journalism, and other projects that spring from the imagination. Creators keep 100% ownership. Kickstarter is a new form of commerce and patronage, not a place for investment or lending. Project creators inspire people to open their wallets by offering products, benefits and fun experiences. Funding is always all-or-nothing. A project must reach or exceed its funding goal or no money changes hands. Why? It's fun, dynamic, and really efficient. Our fee is 5%. Kickstarter collects 5% from the project creator if a project is successfully funded."~KickStarter

KickStarter allows all comic book creators, established or new to the business, the ability to offer something a bit like TopCow's "Pilot Season" where the creators pitch the fans potential books they want to release and allow the fans to pledge money toward the creation of one or more of those comics. You're pledge is only collected if the total funding goal is completely met & then you are now entitled to extra content that the general public doesn't have access to because you were a part of the fan base that got the comic book made in the first place.

It's happening now:

Pledge $10 or more:

You will receive a signed and numbered cover copy of JOHNNY RECON No.02 ONLY available to people who pledge for this project (FREE SHIPPING). Thank you so much!

Pledge $100 or more:

You will receive all of the above as well as a page of original inked artwork from the book itself (artist's choice)

You may have heard of Johny Recon, or even purchased a copy of it's first issue on the shelf of your local comic book shop. As you can see, they've reached their funding goal so JR2 will be made and all of the contributors will have access to the JR kickstarter production blog, updates on the project, and of course extra special JR content along with a copy of the actual comic book being made. I wonder how many of the contributors would have gone out and purchased original page art or a hard bound deluxe edition of the book anyhow? Now they actually have the chance to do that as the comic will definitely be made, and in a timely fashion as there is money to produce it.

Pledge $125 or more

EXPLORER REWARD • An ORIGINAL ART PAGE from The Collected Webcomics or The Flight of the Falcon. Artist’s choice, but if you have a particular page you want, we’ll do our best to accommodate your choice on a first-come, first-served basis. • EXCLUSIVE LIMITED SIGNED HARDCOVER containing The Collected Webcomics and Flight of the Falcon —available ONLY to supporters— INCLUDES AN ORIGINAL SKETCH OF ATHENA VOLTAIRE on the inside! • Limited edition Athena Voltaire sketchbook, available only to backers of the project. • Your name will be printed in the Acknowledgments section of the book. • PDF edition of Athena Voltaire and the Volcano Goddess • Access to the exclusive AV Kickstarter backer-only blog, Athena Voltaire Production Diary.

Pledge $300 or more

SHARPSHOOTER REWARD • The ORIGINAL TITLE PAGE ART to Athena Voltaire: Terror in Tibet #1, the lead story in The Collected Webcomics. • EXCLUSIVE LIMITED SIGNED HARDCOVER containing The Collected Webcomics and Flight of the Falcon —available ONLY to supporters— INCLUDES AN ORIGINAL SKETCH OF ATHENA VOLTAIRE on the inside! • Limited edition Athena Voltaire sketchbook, available only to backers of the project. • Your name will be printed in the Acknowledgments section of the book. • PDF edition of Athena Voltaire and the Volcano Goddess • Access to the exclusive AV Kickstarter backer-only blog, Athena Voltaire Production Diary **VIEW THIS COVER ART HERE:

Like Johny Recon you may have also heard of, and purchased a copy of, Athena Voltaire at your local comic book shop or elsewhere. Unlike Johny Recon AV has yet to achieve it's funding goal so it's future is up in the air.

There are other projects on Kickstarter, some more comic book themed projects in fact, all with various levels of funding proposed and achieved. I wonder, would you be willing to (essentially) pay for your favorite comic book to be made ahead of time?

Have a great weekend,


Wednesday, April 7, 2010

In Memory of Dick Giordanno

When I found out that the legendary Dick Giordano passed away, it was a little too late and I was buried under a ton of work, so it was not possible to write something about him for my Wednesday Blog.

And I must admit... I was not too sure about what to write at first.

Unlike most people... what I remember fondly of him was not his work as an artist, but his contribution as V.P.- Executive Editor.

Although I had seen his work over John Byrne in Man of Steel, it was his "Meanwhile.." column in various comics labeled as "new format" or "deluxe format" that really got my attention.
To me... that period was the golden age of DC comics.

I had just read Man of Steel, Batman; Year One, Crisis on Infinte Earths, Dark Knight Returns, Watchmen....

.... and now we had them "deluxe comics" like Mike Grell's Green Arrow, which led me to hunt down the Longbow Hunter mini-series which I had missed.

I LOVED how the ads were mostly printed at the very end in them "deluxe comics". That way, the ads were not interupting the flow of the story when reading it.

We had the NEW Justice League by Giffen, Demateis and Maguire. Loved that comic.

We got a GREAT reprint of some AWESOME Spectre tales drawn by Jim Aparo done as a 4 issue mini-series. And the Batman comic, also by Aparo.

And of course, we had the king of the mountain in the 80s, John Byrne... on both Action Comics and Superman.

And also we had the Greatest Batman Stories Ever Told with not only the introduction by Dick Giordano himself, but also various tales inked... and even pencilled AND inked by him. Must be when I realized that... damn.... he sure could do it all.

He did such a great job in "There is no hope in Crime Alley".

And there are many more comics at the time that I somehow failed to mention... Suicide Squad, Manhunter, Checkmate, Teen Titans, Legion of Super-Heroes.

Damn that was a great time to read them DC comics.
So unlike many, it is not not his work over Neal Adams for the Green Lantern/Green Arrow comic that got my attention, but more the period when he was at the head of what I consider to be DC's golden age.

That is the time when I became a DC fan. Up to that point... I had been pretty much a Marvel Zombie.
But not anymore.

And that is in part because of Dick Giordanno.
Thanks Dick.

You will be missed.



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