Wednesday, June 28, 2006

The Young Gods - Art Team!

First up, apologies for taking a few days to post this, but it's been quite a weekend, really...

So, first things first, I want to publicly announce... proclaim... shout from the mountain tops... that the Young Gods now boasts a couple of the hottest new artists working in comics amongst the motley crew of creators responsible for transferring my addled delusions onto the printed page.

First up, and pencilling the up-coming six page preview story, is Vinnie Tartamella. Check out Vinnie's take on everyone's favourite Canadian mutant at the top of this post (you can see more by visiting the "Services" section of the Visionary website, and then clicking the "Pencillers" link...or by clicking here). I'm really looking forward to seeing his take on The Young Gods. Vinnie worked as a lead designer for McFarlane for a year, and has also designed toys for ToyBiz and Diamond Select.

Next up is our highly talented cover artist, Melanie Espinola. She lives in Toronto, Canada, and produces her breathtaking pictures in Corel's Painter. I'd bet money on Melanie being a huge star one day, and I wouldn't be surprised to find people buying comics just to collect her artwork. She also owns a cat hat and believes that there were female Smurfs other than Smurfette that we never saw.

My only regret is that we won't be needing a cover for the six pager, so I'm going to have to wait for the one-shot to see her version of the team.

Rounding out the team for six page story will be Paul Brian DeBerry, who'll be handling the lettering.

The script is now complete and has now entered the review process at Visionary. Once that's complete we'll be passing it on to Vinnie and we can start the ball rolling!

We're aiming to get the six pages pencilled, inked and coloured by the 18th July...which gives us twenty days!

Well, I'm sure there's other news, but it's late and I really ought to get some sleep....

EDIT - Oh yes, one more thing, thanks to a link posted on Mike Sterling's Progressive Ruin site, we topped 100 hits in a single day on Monday!

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

The Young Gods are GO!

First up, let me apologise for the vagueness of this post, but I'm simply not at liberty to divulge certain information at this time.

Suffice it to say that we are, as of right now, working on a six page Young Gods story that will act as a prequel to the one-shot. So, in a sense, it's a prequel to our prequel.

This six page story will be developed with Visionary Comics Studio and will be published later in the year by a major independent comic book publisher.

I have, tonight, emailed a penciller to invite him onto the project, and, assuming he says yes, I'll make an announcement about that as soon as I hear back from him. Obviously, whoever ends up pencilling this six page story will have the option to stay on board for the one-shot, and the ongoing series after that.

I'll be providing plot, inks and colours, Derek will be on scriptwriting duties, as usual. I'm not sure what the arrangement is regarding lettering. I'd prefer not to letter, but I will if I have to.

So, that's all I can say right now, really, keep checking back for regular updates. Oh, in other news, I'd like to publicly welcome Peter Rogers on board the "Intergalactic Adventures of Slam Ripley" ship. Pete will be taking on the risky business of putting words into the mouths of Slam and the gang. He's got a couple of his own writing projects to finish up first, then he'll be working on a script for the Slam one-shot. I have a penciller in mind for that too now, but I don't intend to contact him until we have a finnished script. Please, feel free to leave comments, and don't forget to enter the caption competition.

Return of the Son of Caption Competition

(By the way...this is my 100th!).

This week I've been inspired by Tony Lee's "Messages From God" on his site ("inspired"...the posh way of saying "ripped off").

So, rather than creating a caption for an amusing picture, I'm asking you to come up with an amusing message for this church sign. I've provided a suitably unfunny example to get you going. If you want to play around with making your own funny church signs, check out the Church Sign Generator.

On to other looks like Paul Ridgon and I will be manning a table for Visionary at the Memorabilia show in Birmingham in November, so swing by and say "Hi." I'm sure we'll be more than happy to look over any portfolios and give out any tips and pointers.

The Young Gods may be making it onto the printed page in the not too distant future!

That should shock Derek as he knows nothing about that yet.

OK, on to the winner of the last caption competition. I'm pleased to announce that my good chum Pete Rogers takes away a big bowl full of smug self satisfaction this week.

Deja Vu ruled as Rodney realised interdimensional travel wasn't all it was cracked up to be.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Thank you Mr. Larsen....

Yes, thank you Mr. Larsen, for at least having the decency to reply. Ok, so it was a pretty standard "thanks, but no thanks" email, but it was still nice to have an email from Image Comics waiting in my inbox for me this evening. So, Image have passed on the Young Gods ongoing series. I'm not exactly surprised. Now that I've decided to bring in a penciller, I'm far more excited about the book than I ever was when I was doing the CG art. I've had to remind myself that I only ever started using the CG art in the first place because I can't pencil well enough myself, and I wasn't in a position to find a good, reliable penciller to take on the book. Now I'm fairly confident that we'll be able to find someone to pencil it that I'll be happy with, which will make the project about a million times stronger. Couple that with the support that we'll hopefully be getting from Visionary, and I'm confident that I'll finally see my creation in print.

Maybe some long time readers of this blog will be wondering why it wasn't right for us to take The Young Gods to Visionary waaaay back when we first talked about it, but it is right now. Well, simply put, Visionary suggested that we do pretty much exactly what we're doing now...create a one-shot to introduce the series. The problem was that back then, I simply had no idea what to do with a Young Gods one-shot. I didn't have a single idea. The story that Derek and I had put together simply had to be told over six issues. There was no way we could have squeezed it down into one over-sized issue, or even just told part of the story. So, the first step was to actually develop an idea for a one-shot that came naturally...that wasn't forced. Indeed, the concept for the one-shot was as un-forced as is humanly possible. It seemed to coalesce from the ether into my mind in such a way that once it was actually sitting there, in my head, fully just seemed so obvious. In retrospect, telling the story of how everyone involved gets to where they are at the start of #1, doing it as a sort of homage to/pastiche of Giant Size X-Men #1, and deviding it into chapters inspired by tracks from the Young Gods album by the Little just all seems so obvious now.

The second step was a fairly big one - it was the realisation and the acceptance that the book will be far stronger if I'm not doing the art. While the CG stuff can look great (go look at my portfolio at Visionary to see some great Silver Surfer pages) it does limit us severely. There are some things that simply cannot be done with the technology that I have to hand. Ultimately, the last thing I want to do with a book like The Young Gods is put limits on it, in any way, shape or form. I'd love to still ink and colour it, but...we'll see.

Okay, in other news, I've just hooked up with Orang Utan Comics to act as Consulative Editor on their forthcomign anthology title, Eleventh Hour. This is mainly an act of pity on my part as Orang Utan founder, Pete Rogers, sadly "can't physically eat." Joking aside, I'm actually spending what little spare time I have right now looking over artists submissions for Pete and doing my best Simon Cowell impersonation. If there are any artists out there interested in gettign involved in this exciting new small press project, click here to find out more and check out my logo design for the book.

Lastly, just a quick update to the "Published Work" section to the right of this column. I've just had confirmation from Chuck Satterlee that all of the pin-ups I coloured for him for Of Bitter Souls have been included in the trade paperback. Both the Of Bitter Souls and Smoke & Mirror TPBs are out this month from Markosia. So, take note, Ian Sharman completists, let the arguments begin as to which is technically my first published work!

Oh, and lastly, lastly...the pic is from the first page of the #2 of The Young Gods that never happened (that's before Derek came onboard and we started all over again...I guess now we're starting all over again, again!). It shows Nyssa and Alyssa waiting for Malak in a private room at the Bohemia Club.

Comments welcome, as always. (I've just noticed that this is my 99th post!).

Friday, June 16, 2006

The Young Gods One-Shot

While submissions packs for the ongoing series of The Young Gods sit expectantly in the in-trays of the submissions editors at Image and Antarctic, it occured to me that rather than just let the project languish in development limbo while we wait to hear back, we should probably do...something.

"Something" turned into a plan for a 40-page one-shot set (mostly) before the events of The Young Gods #1. This one-shot "prequel" will feature ten chapters, each chapter focuses on a different character from the book, and each chapter takes its title from a different track on the Young Gods album by 90's hard rock band, The Little Angels. Yes, this comic book has a "concept" and is in great danger of straying into the realms of "art."

I'm announcing this now because, yesterday, I finished writing the plot, and handed it over to Derek for him to start writing the script. So, the book is now officially "in development." Once the script is complete we'll be submitting it to Visionary with the hope of continuing the book's development and promotion through them. I guess one important point I should make is that I will NOT be providing the art for the one-shot. I have plenty to do art-wise right now, and for this book to progress, we really need to bring a penciller on board. I may ink and colour...I may not...we'll see. I do have a penciller in mind, and I've already spoken to him about it, but I'm very aware of the fact that he's very busy himself right now. He's keen to do the book, but we'll just have to wait and see if the timing's right.

Assuming that Image or Antarctic don't pick up the ongoing series on the strength of our recent submissions...and assuming that Visionary do pick up the one-shot, find a publisher for it, and it's successful...then we will continue the ongoing series with traditional pencilled art too. Until I'm earning enough from comics to do this full-time, I have to be realistic about what I can achieve, art wise, and accept that if The Young Gods is to see print, I'm going to have to bring in other people on the art side. Personally, I suspect this will only make the book stronger.

I'd really welcome people's comments on this. Is anyone out there actually interested in reading The Young Gods? What do you think about the switch from CG art to traditional pencils?

Friday, June 09, 2006

Son of the Caption Competition

Well, we actually got more entries for the second caption competition than for the first, so technically it's growing, so it's returning for a third week.

This week sees us leave the X-Men 3 theme and move on to a comedy staple - Stormtroopers! Just post your entries by hitting the "comments" links.

In other news, I've started up an online journal (see the links to the right), which will be a bit less "formal" and "official" and will generally just be short posts about whatever. You're welcome to visit and please post some comments.

Okay, on to the winner of last week's caption competition. Well, sadly, for those people who thought that his head was already big (and bald) enough - this week's winner is, once again, Mike Kingston! Sorry folks....

While the more educated X-Men discussed public policy and the growing unrest over the mutant cure, Logan entertained himself quietly with a rousing game of pocket pool.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Coming of Age

Well, we finally made it to 1000 hits. Actually, we made 1000 hits and kept going...whoah. For some reason I've really been focused on reaching 1000 hits, it feels like a big landmark to me. we are...the sites been up for about eigth months now, and it gets a fair amount of regular traffic. Hopefully as the various things I'm working on get published I'll see more and more people checking the place out.

Okay...why the Firefly pic'? Well, I'd love to say "Why did nobody tell me how incredible this series is?" or "Why did no-one tell me that I simply had to wtach it because I'd love it?" but, of course, lots of people said exactly that. I'm half way through the second disc of the boxed set and...whoah...this is incredible. Joss Whedon is a genius. I loved the movie, but I can't wait to watch it again once I've finished watching the series. It would be a real shame if there was no more of this made.

Visionary had a successful trip to the Philly Con', and there'll be some big announcements coming out of that in the near future. Sadly, the big news I was hoping to have in the wake of the con' doesn't look like happening, at least not yet anyway. I do have a very exciting project coming up through Visionary though, I'll be inking and colouring an eight page strip pencilled by Maluk's Paul Ridgon, and written by someone fairly special. Not too sure exactly how much I'm allowed to say about it just yet, so I'll announce more details of that closer to the time.

Well, that's all for today, really. I did want to do something big to mark 1000 hits, but I couldn't think of anything in the end. I guess that'll just have to wait for the 10,000 mark!

Friday, June 02, 2006

Return of the Caption Competition

Due to the rip-roaring success of last week's caption competition, it returns! Ha ha! We're sticking with the X-Men 3 theme this week because, quite frankly, I can't think of anything else right now.

Let's see if we can smash last week's record of four entries! Remember, you can always enter more than once! As usual, enter by clicking the "comments" link below.

Last week's competition was won by certified mental mean Headlocked writer Mike Kingston for this witty little jape... Mike wins a healthy dose of smug self-satisfaction for his efforts.

Logan: What d'ya say Ro? Wanna find out if she's a REAL redhead?

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Smoke & Mirror

Well, I sat here for ages trying to think of a good title for this post....ah well...

Anyway...put simply...I am now the regular colourist on Smoke & Mirror. The first issue will be published in August by Markosia.

So, a big and hearty thank-you to Chuck, Dan and Dave for allowing me to gate crash their party with my fist full of crayons. I will, of course, endeavour to colour within the lines at all times.

I remember a few months back when Chuck shared some of Dave Riske's jaw-dropping cover art for the series during a Markosia chat session. I was totally blown away and I recall wishing that I could be involved with something half as cool as that. Fast forward to now, and my name's going to grace those very same covers. Right now it all seems a little surreal.

So, for those of you trying to remember what the h-e-double-hockey-sticks I'm doing - next month ('s past midnight) this month sees my first published work. That's colours for #5 of the first series of Smoke & Mirror, which is only available as part of the Smoke & Mirror TPB out very soon from Markosia. I believe there will also be some of my colour work on some pin-up pages in the Of Bitter Souls TPB, also from Markosia (also written by Chuck Satterlee) and, I believe, also out this month. So, that's June. July sees my hair turn grey (or greyer) and my bones start to creak as I turn thirty, and August sees my first regular, ongoing, professional comic book work, Smoke & Mirror Vol 2 #1.

There are a couple of other things in the pipeline, one is CG art, the other is inking, and if they work out they'll be absolutely huge. But I really don't like sharing potential work with the world...I'll save the big news for when it's 100% definite. Suffice it to say that if they both happen...everything will change...forever.

But let's not take the focus off of Smoke & Mirror now. Seriously, what I've read is amazing. I've got the scripts for the first series, but I was careful to only read what I needed to read to colour #5...because I want to wait and read it all in one go when I get the tradepaperback. Personally I think this series is going to be huge...and one day I hope to sit down with a big bucket of popcorn, a bladder-buster cup of coke, and enjoy the premier of the Smoke & Mirror movie. While my kids play with Smoke & Mirror action figures. And take their Smoke & Mirror lunchboxes to school. And wear their Smoke & Mirror pyjamas to sleep under their Smoke & Mirror bedding after I've closed their Smoke & Mirror curtains and turned out their Smoke & Mirror lamp. Then I'll admire my collection of Smoke & Mirror mini-busts sitting on my TV...showing the Smoke & Mirror animated series...a spin off of the live-action, smash hit, Smoke & Mirror TV show.