Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Scene 6 - finally ready for reading

I always mean to update each page as they're ready - but I just haven't gotten to it, BUT I have managed to get a few more pages done when no one was looking. So, scene 6, I tend to agree with your partner, is ready to read.

So, follow the link: Scene 6

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

page 19 - I tend to agree with yor partner

Here's page 19 of the Tomb of the Undead. It's coming along, I haven't wrapped up page 20 yet, but it's coming along!

You can visit the latest update here, where you can increase the size of the image.

Graphic Novel News
Batman vs. Robin
Primary Ignition

Oh, Grant Morrison. You anger me so much with confusing, convoluted crap like Final Crisis. But then you write stuff like this and I just can’t hate you.

This is the second volume of Morrison’s Batman & Robin title, in which he writes about Dick Grayson and Damian’s adventures as the Dynamic Duo. Continuing with the pattern the first volume set, the book contains two 3-issue story arcs, both with a different artist.

In the first story, Grayson tries to resurrect Bruce Wayne using the skeleton that was found during Final Crisis. With help from Knight and Squire, and some incidental help from Batwoman, he uses a Lazarus Pit to try and bring the original Batman back to the land of the living. The results are disastrous, and all parties involved must fight for their lives. But ultimately, it will be Damian who faces the greatest danger. Read more.
Loving the Hate
Museum of Mistakes
Julia Wertz

This is an interesting blog post where the author, Julia, publishes negative/hateful reviews of her own graphic novel. It's funny, and she obviously takes it with a grain of salt. This would be a post I'd be proud of if I made something people hated.
Since I just posted "the Insidious Nature of Book Reviews" I thought I'd share a few of my favorite bad reviews of my books. To be honest, I don't react to bad reviews in the way I portrayed in the comic. I understand that my work is rather specific and appeals to a certain audience. My humor and writing isn't for everyone, and for that I'm grateful. How boring would it be if we all liked the same stuff? So over the years, I've gone from taking bad quips personally, to accepting them, and ultimately to reveling in them. My attitude towards negativity is most adequately summed up in this brief, veracious review: "Wertz doesn't give a shit and neither do I." -Carrie L.

So, on with the hate! These are some of my favorite from Goodreads: (all spelling/grammer errors included, and reviews are truncated.) Read the reviews!

Graphic Books Best-Sellers: Charles Burns on ‘X’ed Out’
The New York Times
Adam Kelper

Five years after his graphic-novel magnum opus “Black Hole,” Charles Burns returns to the medium with his first full-color work, “X’ed Out,” which lands at No. 1 on the hardcover list.

The protagonist of Mr. Burns’s latest story is a drug-addled teenager with a healthy William S. Burroughs obsession, who also suffers from an unspecified head injury — not exactly the character traits of your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man. “X’ed Out” takes Doug and his familiar fantasy world counterpart, Nitnit, through memories and dreams or perhaps dreamed memories — or possibly something else entirely. Read more of the interview.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

page 18 - No Guts, no glory

Yeah - here's the next page in the comic - I've just finished inking page 20, and I hope to get the shading done shortly and then onto the next page. The 20 page mark has been important to me, I'm not sure why. But I've been looking forward to it for a while - I think it demonstrates a pretty significant commitment.

Anyhow - here's the latest scene.

I'm getting a lot more comfortable drawing thees characters, too - which helps a lot.

Stay tuned for the beginning of the next scene, "I tend to agree with your partner."

Graphic Novel News
Atalanta: The Race Against Destiny
Sterg Botzakis
Graphic Novel Resources

This book tells a pretty exceptional Greek myth: girl is born and rejected by father who wanted a boy. She is left in the wilderness to die but is raised by a she-bear. Afterward, a family of hunters take her in and teach her to be human, but she is the fastest, strongest human ever. S0 she becomes a great hunter and goes to the Oracle at Delphi to hear her fortune. Warned of a disaster that would accompany marriage, she decides she does not need any man.

BUT, she is so beautiful that men throw themselves at her. So to give herself some peace she makes a contest where any man who beats her in a race gets to marry her, but anyone who loses is put to death. Not many men take her up on this opportunity, but still there is a fellow named Hippomenes, who has a plan and a few golden apples... click to read more.
I'd post some more links, but my ISP seems to be lagging considerably.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Page 17 - finally

This scene has taken way too long to finish. I hope I don't have many more 5-page scenes, they just take too long to draw and post - thus making updates seem to take quite a long time. Granted, I think there was plenty to learn in those five pages that go to introducing new characters, a major plot point and it gave me some more time to get comfortable with drawing Dr. Miller & Dr. Bolam.

I'm having fun, and looking forward to reaching the 20-page milestone. Maybe even by the end of this next week!

Check out the finished scene!

Stay tuned for the next scene. It's going to be called ... "No guts, no glory" and it's going to be nice and short!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Superman, Dorian Gray reviews - interview with Darren Lynn Bousman (Saw 2)

Pow! Managed to get another one of these pages done. I've even penciled a whole bunch of the next page, too - might be a few days before it's inked and shaded. Cool part - this scene will be finally finished - it's long! The next few scenes are much shorter - and in fact, the very next scene will only be one page.

Anyhow - check out this link to see the latest page of Tomb of the Undead!

Hope you like it. I almost didn't have any backgrounds on this page - it surprisingly didn't take long to add them in, which is good. I might add the backgrounds in last as a regular practice next time. I kind of like the results.

An Interview with Darren Lynn Bousman | Abattoir graphic novel
Darren Lynn Bousman has spent the past decade, give or take a year or two, making movies. But it was in 2004, after pitching an ultra-violent screenplay titled “The Desperate” to H-wood execs, that Bousman was contacted by James Wan and Leigh Whannell to direct “Saw II.” Seems that although “The Desperate” closely resembled the plot of “Saw,” it was creative – and bloody crazy enough – to capture Wan’s attention. The story was adapted and, under Bousman’s lens, became the second in the “Saw” franchise.

Needless to say, work came quickly for the Kansas native after that, including a Mudvayne video, another “Saw” film and the cult hit musical “Repo! The Genetic Opera.” And he has a grab bag of various film projects in the works, including a sort-of-remake of “Mother’s Day.” But Bousman has taken a new direction of late.

He and pal Michael Peterson had an idea for a film, but the project was “too big,” so they scaled it down into separate packages, one of which is the upcoming graphic novel “Abattoir,” published through Radical Comics. Rather than belabor the point in a lengthy expository introduction, we’ll let Bousman tell the story.

This exclusive interview with Bousman is brought to you as part of our latest Horror Channel “What Scares You?” essay writing contest. The winner gets a free copy of the first issue of the six-part serial “Abattoir” (due in stores on Oct. 27), along with other Radical (pun intended) prizes. Read more here: click here.

The Picture of Dorian Gray : A Graphic Novel
I had no idea this was written by Oscar Wilde - none. I'd like to read this some time. Not the necessarily the comic, but the real thing.

“Youth! Youth! There is absolutely nothing in the world worth having but youth!”

The Picture of Dorian Gray is a graphic adaptation of Oscar Wilde’s classic work, stunningly re-imagined by writer Ian Edginton and artist I.N.J. Culbard. This Gothic morality tale is the story of a man who, taken by his own beauty, pledges his soul in a desperate bid for eternal youth. But when his wish is granted, things go terribly wrong. A painting of Dorian begins to age in his place, while Dorian himself becomes a dangerous narcissist who destroys everyone standing in his way until the day he is forced to come face to face with the ugliness of his own conscience.

Superman: Earth One (a Graphic Novel Slugfest)
Thom Young

Twenty years ago, a strange visitor from a parallel Krypton arrived as an infant on a parallel Earth possessing powers and abilities far beyond those of mortal men. Now an envoy of the race that destroyed his homeworld has come looking for him . . . with his adopted planet as the battleground.

Click on this to see some reviews.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Batman, Point Blank, and Get Jiro! after Tomb of the Undead update

I updated the next page of Tomb of the Undead this evening - and I've got quite a bit of work on the next page accomplished while listening to the Maple Leafs game tonight, which is nice. I'm getting a little tuckered out, I'm afraid, so I don't know how much more I'll be getting done tonight after all. And of course, you can see the whole chapter at this link.

Batman: Life After Death – Graphic Novel Review

By Rob
Primary Ignition

TITLE: Batman: Life After Death
AUTHOR: Tony Daniel
PENCILLERS: Tony Daniel, Guillem March
COLLECTS: Batman #692-699
FORMAT: Hardcover
PRICE: $19.99
RELEASE DATE: October 2010

In a lot of ways, this book is a sequel to Batman: Battle For The Cowl.

It doesn’t come after it chronologically, but this book was written entirely by Tony Daniel, the same man who wrote Battle. It also ties up some of the plot threads Daniel started in that miniseries, allowing him to finish what he started.

Life After Death finds the mysterious new Black Mask and his gang of False Faces in a war against the returning Falcone Crime Family. With the help of Catwoman and Huntress, Dick Grayson, the new Batman, must fight to keep Gotham City standing amidst the chaos. Meanwhile, Kitrina, youngest of the Falcone children, proves a force to be reckoned with. And did I mention that The Riddler, who struck with amnesia shortly after the events of Batman: Hush, is starting to remember things…things that will come back to haunt him.
click to read more
Point Blank: The Graphic Novel PB Alex Rider Series
Reviewer: Kathie M. Josephs

Point Blank ( PB ) The Alex Rider Adventures are #1 bestsellers the world over, Point Blank and following in the footsteps of the Point Blank graphic novel adaptation of Stormbreaker comes the second book in this phenomenal series. Like Stormbreaker: The Graphic Novel, this edition features bold, edgy, manga-like illustrations that make the graphic novel form so immensely popular, and brings the young spy to life in a whole new way. For existing fans of Alex Rider, this will be a must-have; for those yet to discover the series, this will be the perfect introduction.
Children’s Literature

I am such a fan of graphic novels because they make it perfect for reluctant readers who never finish a book because reading is difficult for them. They are also a perfect way for nonreaders to read classics they may never read. A good graphic novel allows even the poorest reader to complete a book, take part in classroom discussions, and write a book report. In this case, the first 18 pages bring readers up to date in the story. Alex Rider is a super spy who is trying to fit in at school. This is hard to do because he has to try to be a typical teen while completing a mission by M16 to infiltrate the Point Blanc Academy. He needs to find out what is going on there and find a way to warn the world of the danger. This academy is where many parents send their kids when they have been expelled from other schools. That is Alex’s cover; he was expelled from ETON. He meets a boy named James Sprintz who shows him around and gives him some pointers for making life easier. The first thing he tells Alex is that the place is more like a prison than a school and that there are only six boys in the entire academy. Alex soon finds out that the students are being cloned. This plot combines mystery with the scientific issue of cloning. The author provides a lot to think about if cloning becomes a reality. I can’t say I enjoyed the message of the book because it makes me think about the dark side; however, if it made me think about it, then it must have been well-written. It was a good length. There was as much text as pictures, which was refreshing.
Anthony Bourdain to Pen Graphic Novel "Get Jiro!"
by Josh Friedland
The Food Section

It's been reported that author and "No Reservations" host Anthony Bourdain is working on a graphic novel about food, but now Eater notes that Vertigo, the publisher of the upcoming book, has just publicly confirmed that a book is in the works.

Bourdain will write the graphic novel in collaboration with novelist Joel Rose, along with illustrations by artist Langdon Foss. Vertigo provides these additional details:

GET JIRO! is a futuristic action thriller that takes America’s newfound obsession with exotic cuisine to a manic, violent extreme. It takes place in a world where food and the secrets of how to prepare it are the source of all power leading master chefs to fight over Jiro, a mysterious top-notch sushi chef with ideas of his own.

By the way, contrary to those earlier reports, the title is not Get Gyro! so if you were expecting lamb, tahini, and pita to figure into the plot, you might be sorely disappointed.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Lashing out at Disney leads to "The Exile" AND Fallout All Roads interview

I wrapped up my obligations with Nanowrimo, which is awesome, so I'm free to continue work on Tomb of the Undead. I've just finished page 14, which you can review here, and follow along with the story, here.

And here is a draft of Barnum Mantell before I could draw this page:

Newsarama: What was the impetus behind creating Fallout: All Roads?

By Seth Robison,
Newsarama Contributor

The Fallout franchise returns to its Southwestern roots today in the new action RPG Fallout: New Vegas for PC, PlayStation 3 and the Xbox 360. Before venturing back out into the Wasteland, those who purchase the collector’s edition of the game receive a copy of Fallout: All Roads, a prequel graphic novel detailing the events and the state of the world immediately preceding the start of the game. Newsarama recently sat down with the comic’s writer, Chris Avellone, Creative Director for Obsidian Entertainment and the Senior Designer on New Vegas to talk about the game, the comic and why life in New Vegas requires a little more than just luck.

Newsarama: What was the impetus behind creating Fallout: All Roads?

Chris Avellone: A deep-rooted desire to unite my love of game design with my childhood dream of writing comics. I had my first shot when Obsidian worked on Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II. I wrote several stories set in the Star Wars universe, including Star Wars Tales and Clone Wars Adventures, including an Aurra Sing story I'm really proud of, among others.

By this time, I had developed a good relationship with Dark Horse, so when Obsidian had a chance to return to the Fallout franchise with Fallout: New Vegas, I figured I'd take another run at it and asked Bethesda if they'd want to do a Fallout comic. Our marketing manager, Regi Jacob, shook hands with the Dark Horse folks, then both took the idea and ran farther with it than I expected. Less than a year later, it's a graphic novel with some of the most respected artists in the industry, and I'm grateful.

Nrama: Where does All Roads fit within the Fallout canon?

Avellone: It takes place a week before the opening movie of the game [Fallout: New Vegas]. The idea is that you can read the graphic novel then play a new game. The transition is seamless. You get to see the path of your adversaries and the road they took to track you down at the start of the game. It also forecasts future events you'll see played out as your character adventures in the Mojave surrounding New Vegas.

Nrama: How critical would you say this story is to the understanding of the events of Fallout: New Vegas?

Avellone: The story in All Roads isn't critical to the New Vegas experience. We just wanted to tell more of the story surrounding the events in-game, not focus on the critical path which would be unfair to anyone who didn't have the Collector's Edition. It gives more context and backstory to a number of the characters and some of the factions you meet. It’s for people interested in digging deeper into the game world.

One challenge of working on a computer game is that you may have to create a good deal of lore and backstory on the characters and factions, but it’s rare to be able to show all of it in-game. What's great about graphic novels and novels is they allow the game creators an opportunity to get that backstory out to players interested in learning more about the history and events surrounding the characters.

Lashing out at Disney started her career
Writer returns to her comic book roots

by Ashley B. Craig
Daily Mail staff

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Fans of Diana Gabaldon can soon find out just how the author of the Outlander series and the new graphic novel "The Exile" evolved from scientist to novelist and author of comic books.

Writing in comic-book form is nothing new to Gabaldon, who wrote in the late 1970s for Disney Comics.

"I was in my 20s and I was reading one - I can't remember which one - and I thought to myself 'This is pretty bad,' and I thought I could do better," she recalled during a telephone interview from her Arizona home.

The young writer penned a not-so-nice letter to the comic's editor who, instead of lashing back at her, sent her a few comic scripts to learn from and constructively edited her work when she sent it back to him. She ended up writing comic scripts for Disney Comics for three years before the company reverted to using scripts from the archives.

Gabaldon, 58, got back into the genre two years ago with graphic novels and comic books safely in the mainstream. She thought it would be fun to try it again.

Read more ...
Thanks for stopping by - it's always appreciated.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Stan Lee, agents and Set to Sea

The latest post has taken a long time to get ready, which is too bad. I have been playing a lot of catch-up with the Nanowrimo competition this month and that's significantly affected my time spent on Tomb of the Undead. However, the good news is that I'm only about 4,000 words away from finishing Nanowriomo, getting the little .gif that says "Winner" and then being done with it and getting back to drawing comic pages.

Anyhow - here's the latest update, page 13.

A lot more backgrounds coming up as the characters continue to move through the museum - I didn't really take much advantage of actually having much of this story happening in a museum. There really could have been some awesome sights - but really, there's only going to be one cool museum location that's awesome.

List of agents who take graphic novels
If you're interested in pitching your graphic novel, some user named elae (a.k.a. Niki Smith) over at has compiled what I imagine is a lengthy list for your reference.

Graphic Novel Review: Set to Sea
Steve Duin
The Oregonian

In the postscript to his debut graphic novel, Drew Weing extends gratitude "to all of the friends who gave me advice and support in the two cities and five years it took me to get this book together."

I have no idea how many months Weing was handcuffed to his drawing board before he found the rhythm in this book. But find it he did, producing a series of 134 panels that -- finally collected here by Fantagraphics -- betray an admirable gift for storytelling.

Had I been following along when Weing was posting individual panels on his website, I don't know that I would have similarly swept away by the story he tells in Set to Sea. A lazy lug of a poet is trying to write a book about the sea-faring life. As he is wedged at the end of a dock, it's not surprising that he eventually concludes, "Something's still missing." He promptly falls asleep, waking only to find that he has been shanghaied and is now serving at the pleasure of Captain Conrad Porter aboard a clipper ship that won't see land for months.

In a panel that Weing draws from the crow's nest, the lug turns that last good eye to the stars, the stars that abandoned him long ago. Over the next 21 pages, not a word is spoken. The poet has found all that he will ever find of his purpose in life, Weing has found his rhythm, and years -- 10? 15? 30? -- pass in a sequence of images that have my hands shaking. There are icebergs, a whale, a sexton, a card game, a storm, and a lonely sailor curled beneath a palm tree with his journal. We are witness to a man's life unfolding, unraveling, before us in a series of postcards that leave nothing -- or is it everything? -- to the imagination. I don't know Drew Weing, or whether he's lucky or good, but in Set to Sea, he has reminded me once again just how much story you can share in a brief flurry of comic panels, so long as you know how to trim the sails and catch the wind.
Stan Lee working on sci-fi Romeo and Juliet graphic novel

The busiest man in comics keeps getting busier, as Stan Lee’s POW! Entertainment and 1821 Pictures are teaming up for three new graphic novels.

Per Deadline Hollywood, Lee and Terry Douglas will write the first one, Romeo and Juliet: The War, which sets William Shakespeare’s famous lovers in a futuristic setting. Skan Srisuwan will provide the art, and the book is due out in the spring.

Here’s the description of the project provided by Deadline: “Two groups of superhuman soldiers turn the Empire of Verona into the most powerful territory on earth. The Montagues (powerful cyborgs made of artificial DNA) team with the Capulets (genetically enhanced humans with super speed and agility) to destroy all threats to Verona. When they succeed, they turn on one another in a race for total dominance. In this volatile backdrop, a young Monague boy and Capulet girl fall in love and plan to marry in secret.”

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

New page for Tomb of the Undead

Page 12 - The Relics of Lazarus

here's the new page for Tomb of the Undead. Finally introducing Barnum Mantell, aka Barney. He's fashioned after a very famous actor, if you can guess who it is, leave me a comment. I'll confirm or deny whatever your guess is.

I think the backgrounds (which I loathe drawing for their complexity and detail) really make these next few scenes better than the scenes from back in the desert, or even stage set that I had (and certainly better than the hallway setting from the last page).

Meh, I'm liking the background settings, I guess is what I'm saying. I hope you think they're alright, too.

Artemis Fowl
Artemis Fowl appears to be a new Disney product out there. I didn't know that they did graphic novels over there, but ... of course they do!

Check it out.

Since the release of Artemis Fowl in 2001, Eoin Colfer’s blockbuster series has sold more than eight million copies in the United States alone. Now, in this second graphic novel installment of the series, fans can follow along as the world’s youngest criminal mastermind rushes to save a man who has been kidnapped by the Russian Mafiya: his own father.

Eoin Colfer has once again teamed up with acclaimed comic writer Andrew Donkin to adapt the text for this action-packed, brilliantly illust... [there's not much else written, so tough luck for us.]
The Alchemist
I have not read The Alchemist - however, I realize how transformational it was to whoever read it. Everyone who read it says that it's (in the voice of Ron Burgundy) "really great."

Every few decades a book is published that changes the lives of its readers forever. This is such a book — a magical fable about learning to listen to your heart, read the omens strewn along life’s path and, above all, follow your dreams. Released on CD for the first time to celebrate the 10th anniversary of this modern classic.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Page 11, the wind up and the pitch

Ha, finally got to the next page of Tomb of the Undead. Hope you like it.

Next scene is called.... "The Relics of Lazarus." Look forward to it!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

new character

Character design - but not like a character back-story or anything like that - I literally have to figure out what I want a character to look like. I've finally got to the point in the story where I've got to draw him, so ... I've got to figure this out.

I've got a cool idea - and it'll be interesting to see if you can identify whom I based the design off of. Here's a hint - all of the characters are modeled off of some celebrity that has plenty of pictures of them on the Internet for me to use as guidance while drawing.

That being said - this actor is quite old and accomplished - so there are lots of pictures of him, but fewer as a young man. That's fine, too. I'm looking forward to it.

Next - the woman of the story. I know who I want to base her off of, but maybe I want to change my mind. Women are ... for some reason, hard to draw the facial features of - or else they wind up looking like witches. It's weird. Or, it's just weird to me, I guess.

William S. Boroughs graphic novel
I'm not exactly sure how'd your present Naked Lunch as a graphic novel (it's an opium induced heroine trip scrawled out as crib notes over a period of years. Honestly, how much more sensible can it be after that?

No, this is not a surreal, drug-induced alternate reality.

No, seriously, back in the late 60′s, before the term “graphic novel” had even been coined, William S. Burroughs worked with artist Malcolm McNeill to make the experimental Ah, Pook Is Here. It was a multi-year collaboration that flashed briefly on the literary scene of the time, then disappeared. However, Fantagraphics has plans to resurrect this lost treasure as a two volume set.

I’m not familiar with the artist, though there are some samples at that link above, and the book itself seems to be yet another of Burroughs’ experiments. In fact, the article describes it as an extension of the “cut-up method” that Burroughs is famous for and liked so well. Personally, I think it’s just interesting as a piece of history. Alan Moore may have all the pretensions he cares to about his graphic novel work, but he can’t possibly hold a candle to this genius.

Anyway, it’s Friday, so take a mental health break and go read about this crazy experiment that was well before its time.

And here is something that I must have intuited very thinly back in October when I started drawing Tomb of the Undead, but it appears that October is National Graphic Novel Writing Month. I had no idea:

On National Graphic Novel Writing Month

I’ll bet you didn’t know that October is National Graphic Novel Writing Month. :cool:

Glenn Hauman of ComicMix describes NaGraNoWriMo thusly:

The goal is simple: By October 31st, you write a script for at least a 48 page long graphic novel.

Despite my employment by the comics industry, I’ve never really wanted to write for the medium. Okay, okay, twenty years ago I’d have thought writing for comics would have been awesome, but I was also sixteen years-old and my juvenile impulses shouldn’t be held up as any sort of present-day standard.

Would I want to participate in NaGraNoWriMo? Do I want to write a script for a forty-eight page comic book in the month of October?

I thought about this on Friday, and recognizing that this would most likely produce an interesting (but ultimately unusable) spec script, I thought that perhaps this was the opportunity to write the Doctor Who/Uncle Scrooge crossover I’ve long dreamt of. For several reasons, none of which I’m willing to share at the moment, I decided this was an untenable choice.

On the subway ride home Friday, I brainstormed other ideas.

After dismissing Batman/Thor as an unrealistic waste of time (seriously, even though it’s a spec script, there’s no point in writing something utterly pointless) and a zombie baseball story (because it’s a joke of an idea, one that would be better suited for an 8-page Tales from the Crypt tale, not a 48-page graphic novel), I settled on two ideas that had promise.

One would be a modern day, lit-esque graphic novel. The other would be an historical piece.

After more musing, I decided the second would be best. It’s something different and unique and, to be honest, putting the work in on developing the graphic novel script would give me the foundation for a short story or a novel.

In truth, I had some of the background work on this done. In the spring I’d started a file of notes for an historical story, but I didn’t actually have a story. A setting, a concept, some characters, and how they related.

Now I’m hanging this sketchy work on something. I spent the afternoon hammering out a two-page outline.

I have some issues of TwoMorrows’ Write Now (the magazine about writing comics) to look at for ideas on formatting a comic book script. Screenplay I can do. Not well, but I can do it. Comics? That’s terra incognita. :h2g2:

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Page 10, the wind up and the pitch

Tomb of the Undead
here's an update on the 10th page of the Tomb of the Undead story. One more page in this scene before we get into the next.

Writing a graphic novel has been done by many enthusiasts - including this guy. He dug an old copy of a short story he wrote, and decided to make an illustrated novella out of it. Check it out.

Eric Drooker: Graphic novel of Ginsberg's 'Howl'
Ari Messer
This article appeared on page G - 17 of the San Francisco Chronicle

Eric Drooker came to create the artwork for his new graphic-novel version of "Howl" - based on his animation design for the new movie, which also shares its title with Allen Ginsberg's classic long poem - through a number of paths at once.

Ginsberg and Drooker met in the contentious Lower Manhattan of the 1980s. Drooker showed Ginsberg his protest art, but there was no need: "He'd already been collecting my posters," Drooker said in his Berkeley studio.

Drooker felt honored by the new friendship, and Ginsberg would later write in their 1996 collaboration "Illuminated Poems" that he was "flattered that so radical an artist of later generations found the body of my poetry still relevant, even inspiring. Our paths crossed often, we took part in various political rallies and poetical-musical entertainments."

"Illuminated Poems" does contain "Howl," but Drooker says he was excited when directors Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman asked him to provide artwork for the long series of animation in the film (now playing in the Bay Area).

"Ginsberg and I were on a similar wavelength when we were both trying to describe what he called the 'Megalopolis,' an endless corporate cityscape and factory-scape," Drooker said. "Right away, he had suggested that I try illustrating something from the 'Moloch' section of 'Howl.' He recognized that my style, my vision of the metropolis, would lend itself particularly strongly to that section."

The smooth, three-dimensional quality of the artwork might surprise fans of Drooker's previous, etching-like graphic novels, "Flood!" and "Blood Song." The art in the new graphic novel has traveled from Drooker's pen, through the animation studio and back onto the page.

"Animation is a very slow, meticulous process," he says. "I fed the animators concept art, characters and storyboards, and then the studio made everything move using the same type of software that Pixar uses."

When Nick Hornby called Drooker's work "mythopoeic," he wasn't kidding. "I decided to stretch out a nine-page poem over 200 pages," Drooker said. "Each stanza of the poem has its own page, its own spread. I tried to make it more like a religious text, more liturgical.

"I made Moloch, the God of War, look more or less like a Greek minotaur," he says. "It has the head of a bull and the body of Schwarzenegger. It's a terrifying character. We send our firstborn to war, in ancient times as well as in modern times."

Tonight's event will be a chance to get Drooker's signature on your own copy of the graphic novel, as well as a chance to observe the process behind the artwork.

"I'm going to show slides illuminating the whole process of animating the poem and working on the movie and storyboards," he said.
Hope you're having a great time following along with the story.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Page 9, The Wind up and the pitch

Coming along - here's the next installment of Tomb of the Undead:

It would appear that Dr. Bolam does not trust Dr. Miller. I think I'm going to try and avoid drawing audiences in too many pictures anymore. A little awkward and complicated for a scene that really doesn't add much to the conversation.

That being said, when I watch cartoons like the Simpsons and things like that I'm paying a lot more attention to the backgrounds and establishing shots. Last night Homer and Lenny were in France and there were some incredible artwork used as establishing shots that only appeared on the screen for a second, which is both incredible and disheartening. A lot of artwork goes to into making those shots - and people aren't even watching, they're looking at their laptops instead.

Graphic Novel news

Publish Your Own Graphic Novel_5243
By admin on September 20, 2010.
Publishing your own graphic novel may be hard work, but some parts are probably easier than you think. Here are a few tips to get you started.

Whatever your motivations are for wanting to write and publish your own graphic novel, you should have a firm and exhaustive grasp of the genre before you begin. Spend as much time as you possibly can studying the work of those who are successful (both critically and commercially), and make copious notes as to what it is about their work that appeals and endures. What scenes did they choose to illustrate and how did it convey what the artist meant to convey? What is their style and what is it based on? Delving deep into what the artist was trying to achieve and how he or she succeed or failed are the are the kinds of things that will help you get a sense of your own craft.

Your Story
This is the fun part, of course, but also the most work. Things to keep in mind in this stage are to work, work, and work to get your characters fleshed out and nailed down. You should write down complete character sketches (these won’t appear in your book, naturally) so you have a deep and enduring concept about who your characters are, and what each character’s motivation is in any given scene. This helps create consistency and help you and your audience build a bond with your characters.

Team Up If Necessary
If you are a skilled storyteller but your drawing skills leave a little bit to be desired (or you just can’t seem to achieve what it is that you have in your head), consider finding someone or a group of people to team up with. Make sure that these are dependable and creative people who can help you with your vision, and that have some great ideas of their own.

Seek Out Criticism
Before you start publishing large numbers of books yourself, seek out opinions on your work. If you have friends in the business that is the best place to start. However, you will want to try your work out on a few members of your intended audience as well. When they are through with your book, be prepared to ask them what they liked and what they didn’t and why. Make it clear to them that you are not looking for compliments, but that you want to hear the bad along with the good. If you start to hear the same tings over and over, you will have a pretty good idea what is working and what is not.

Print and Bind
Once you’ve got your book dialed in you are ready to put it together and pass it around. The printing should be done on a high-quality laser machine, and the cover should use a four color process. As far as the binding, there are several ways you might want to go depending on the length of your book, and what it is you are trying to accomplish. For an old-school comic book look you can use a simple booklet maker that places two staples in the center of the book (called saddle stitching). If you are going for a hardcover or softcover book, thermal binding machines are inexpensive, easy to use and create an impressive finished product. Take a look around online or visit your local printer to see what your options might be.
A Novel Renerd Graphic Novel
Posted by Bishop

I have always had a love of comic books. It started as a passion for the saturday morning pullouts and soon developed into a want to purchase a magazine I could hold in my tiny, pasty scratchers. Xmen 122 won me over and my lifelong affair really kicked in to gear. I have followed many titles over the course of my collecting (which was put on hiatus in my mid-20s, and buried alive in my early 30s).

One of the odder choices of enjoyment was the “What If…” Series from Marvel. There was also the “What The ?!?” series but that was an entirely different (and much funnier) experience. For those who aren’t in the know, “What If…” took plot points from the Marvel Universe and turned them on their ear. It asked questions like “What If Wolverine killed The Hulk?” or “What If Elektra had lived?”. For the most part they should have just named the series “What If Everyone Died Because …” As that is how I remember most of those stories ending.

A little while back on The Talking Dead podcast, (shameless plug here) the question was asked what if Rick Grimes, protagonist of the series “The Walking Dead”, had not moved the camp? Would everyone have survived longer? What would have been different? This is something that I think the tv show is going to tackle as they flirt with alternatives to the book.

This got the gears going in my head though.

I think it would be cool to do yet another zombie comic. The difference here is that you take five different teams to write the same comic. The first issue needs to be relatively consistent but from there, each team can take the story in whatever direction they like. The stories must have the same central characters and the teams can do with them whatever they please. Each book will branch off from the original at whatever point in the timeline they choose. The caveat here is that each of the 5 storylines MUST END within 12 issues.

No “to be continued”.

I am not saying the endings can’t be a little ambiguous or unclear. I am saying that the experiment would then need to be over.

I don’t know what to call it, and I don’t know what the story should be. After all, I am no writer. I think all of that could be decided by the teams as a group in a massive beer and pizza session.

Or this could just be an elaborate scheme to drink more beer and eat more pizza.
Chris Avellone Bets on "Fallout: New Vegas" by Steve Sunu, Staff Writer

Get ready to roll the dice and place your bets, because the “Fallout” universe is getting its due in a graphic novel - but this isn’t the "Fallout" you remember. In "Fallout: New Vegas" from Bethesda Softworks and Obsidian Entertainment, players get a look at the city of hopes, dreams and five dollar lobster through the lens of the Wasteland - a post-apocalyptic expanse that has swallowed the United States following a nuclear attack - and strike out on their own adventure with nothing but their brains and whatever weapons they can get their hands on.

Longtime “Fallout” fans are in for a treat this time around. The limited edition version of the game not only comes packaged with a bunch of cool collectables (including a deck of cards and poker chips featuring the logos of the in-game casinos), but also includes an original hardcover graphic novel called “All Roads” produced by Dark Horse. Setting his writing hand to expanding the “Fallout” mythos is the game’s senior designer, Chris Avellone. While comic fans may not be familiar with Avellone, video game and RPG fans will likely recognize his name from a number of critically acclaimed games including the “Icewind Dale” series and “Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II.” Keen-eyed “Fallout” fans will recognize Avellone from “Fallout 2” and the cancelled, original Fallout 3, “Van Buren.” Hardcore “Star Wars” comic fans might recognize him from “Star Wars Tales” or “Clone Wars Adventures.” Now, he’s running head-on into the wasteland of “Fallout: New Vegas” for a brand new adventure. Unfortunately, while a preview of the book is currently on iTunes, the full version will only be available with the collector’s edition of the game.

CBR News was spoke with Avellone about his first foray into the world of comics to get the who’s-who of artists working on “All Roads,” glean some details on the game’s upcoming release and pick his brain on the differences between designing a game and writing a graphic novel.

CBR News: Chris, tell us a bit about "Fallout: New Vegas" and how it builds upon the already-existing "Fallout" Mythology.

Chris Avellone: Bethesda asked Obsidian if they'd be interested in developing a Fallout game. “Fallout: New Vegas” is the result. It's the latest installment in the Fallout franchise, and it takes the player west - far out west - to the Mojave wasteland surrounding the still-glittering, walled city of New Vegas.

It takes place four years after the events in “Fallout 3,” and about four decades after the events in “Fallout 2.” The player takes on the role of a courier with the Mojave Express, contracted to deliver a mysterious package to the Strip in New Vegas... however, the journey is interrupted and the player is shot in the head and dumped in a shallow grave, Vegas-style. Then the game begins.

A page from "All Roads"

You've worked on the "Fallout" franchise before, first on "Fallout 2," then on the cancelled "Van Buren." How does it feel to be back in this universe?

Like putting on a favorite pair of old shoes you found while cleaning out your closet, wiggling your toes, and finding out not only do the shoes still fit, they're just as comfortable as you remember.

For fans of the "Fallout," what are you keeping from the previous installments and what new innovations are you adding?

“Fallout 3” was well-received, so we didn't want to mess with the elements that made it great. In "New Vegas," we just wanted to make sure there was more to do, not change the existing systems the player had come to enjoy from “Fallout 3.”

We have new reputation mechanics (factions in the game remember what you've done for and against them and respond accordingly), weapon mods, new skills, new applications of old skills, improved companion interfaces for easier companion control, traits from “Fallout 1” and “Fallout 2,” new weapons, new perks, companion quest arcs, and an open-world-style storyline that lets you decide where you stand in the Mojave wasteland - and who stands against you.

While you're senior designer for "New Vegas," you also put together "All Roads," the original graphic novel that comes with the collector's edition of the game. How exactly did that come about?

I have a good relationship with Dark Horse as I worked with Dave Marshall and Jeremy Barlow at Dark Horse during “Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords,” did a short story for “Star Wars Tales” and then four more scripts for “Clone Wars Adventures” that were a lot of fun. When it came time to explore the possibility of doing more comic book game tie-ins, I suggested an “Aliens” comic through SEGA, then an “Alpha Protocol” comic through SEGA as well - neither of these took off, unfortunately.

I was still driven to try and make it work, though - the chance to write for comics was one of my childhood dreams - so I took another run at it and introduced Nick McWhorter from Dark Horse to our “New Vegas” marketing manager, Regi Jacob, and to my huge surprise, Regi and Bethesda grabbed the ball and ran with it. At the end of it all, I got to write a book with some amazing artists - Jean Diaz ("Incorruptible") and Wellinton Alves ("Shadowland: Blood on the Streets," "Nova") and a cover by Geof Darrow. Geof Darrow! I couldn't have asked for a better chance at comic writing. Many thanks to Dark Horse and Bethesda.

What's the main plot of "All Roads" and how will it add to the experience players have in "New Vegas?"

"All Roads" starts a week before the opening movie in “Fallout: New Vegas...” If you read the graphic novel while downloading the game, you'll look up from the last page and into the opening movie seamlessly. The idea was to take the background we'd introduced for the factions, adversaries, and even areas such as Vegas and showcase them to the player to give them context for the brutal attack that occurs at the start of the game. You'll even be able to retrace the events and key locations in the comic in the game environment as well, with some possible unique items if you know where to look after reading the comic.

Did you grow up a fan of comic books? What are some of your favorites?

A page from "All Roads"

Some old school comics are in my arsenal, and some are collected story arcs into graphic novel format: "The Killing Joke" (the ending nailed it for me and I felt it was one of the best moments in comic history), "Born Again," any of Morrison's "Animal Man" or "Doom Patrol" compilations, "Watchmen" (which I read in high school), Moore's "Miracleman," "Batman: Year One," all of the Garth Ennis "Hellblazer" and "Preacher" collections, the first two years of "The Authority," "Sin City: A Dame to Kill For," Straczynski's "Midnight Nation" and "Rising Stars," and a bunch of others. I just finished reading “Dark Reign” and enjoyed it.

While you've worked on a number of games praised for their stories and secondary character development, and early in your career you wrote Dungeons & Dragons campaigns, this is your first run at doing a graphic novel. How do you feel the graphic novel format is well-suited to the story you want to tell as opposed to telling it in-game? How is writing a graphic novel different than designing a game?

In a role-playing game, especially for "Fallout," you need to design characters and events that can be approached from any direction, any faction allegiance, any character skill set and set of attributes (stupid brute, sneaky thief, silver-tongued scientist), and any order in the storyline. This can be challenging to design, so much so you may be telling three or more stories with a character depending on how they react to the player - but that range of responses are what role-players enjoy.

Graphic novels, in many respects, allow more focus, and provide more opportunity to introduce a specific theme, along with elements of the background of locations and characters that players may not have a chance to see in the game. As an example, in the graphic novel, we're able to showcase some of the history of the Great Khans through the perspective of one of their own, something that can be difficult to do from a player perspective in the game, but not from a reader's perspective.

Why should fans of the "Fallout" franchise get excited about "All Roads?"

It leads right into the opening movie, gives greater background on the people looking to kill you (even if they messed it up once), and as you explore the “Fallout: New Vegas” world, you'll see the exact same path and have a greater understanding of some of the faction politics in the game.

Do you think you'll do more "Fallout" content in the form of comics or graphic novels? Are you interested in writing comics in the future?

If there's enough fan interest, I hope that might be enough of a push for a regular series. If readers would be interested in seeing more stories in the Fallout universe outside of DLC and "New Vegas," say the word on forums. I'm definitely interested in writing more in the world of Fallout. I enjoyed writing for Star Wars, I'd love to do it with another franchise, and Fallout is near and dear to my heart ever since I played “Fallout 1,” worked on F2, and after all that I've been able to contribute to "Fallout: New Vegas."

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Update for Tomb of the Undead

It took a little while but I've managed to complete page 8, which you are welcome to view in all its glory at Tomb of the Undead. [Don't forget to click on "Follow" to basically say, "I was here."] Following won't commit you to anything, you won't even get an email or anything - you simply leave an icon that tells me that you are following along.

Also - in other graphic novel news:

Koko Be Good: complex and satisfying graphic novel about finding meaning in life complex
by Cory Doctorow
Jen Wang's Koko Be Good continues publisher FirstSecond's amazing run of thought-provoking, challenging graphic novels for adults. It's the story of Koko, a "free spirit" in San Francisco who trades on her manic energy and good looks to bumble by in mooched accommodations, borrowed clothes, and sponged meals. Then she meets Jon, a driven young man who is about to sell everything he owns to move to Peru, where his girlfriend is working in the remote orphanage her mother grew up in.

Jon isn't sure about his move, but he feels he needs to be. He quit his band after finishing college (they're now becoming an indie sensation, which puts some urgency into his choice to succeed at something other than music), and now he's not sure what his life is for or what it will come to.

When Jon meets Koko (she steals his tape recorder after a raucous performance at the Zeitgeist in the Mission), he finds himself subject to her withering scorn and tough questions. But the interrogation isn't one-way -- in the process of criticizing Jon's do-gooder ambitions, Koko comes to realize how empty her own life is.

The two of them enter into a struggle to find meaning and happiness -- to be "good" -- and embark on a difficult journey that involves a huge cast of minor characters all engaged in their own existential battles.

All the above makes the book sound moody and brooding, but it's anything but. Koko Be Good brims with manic energy and comedy, a complex story engagingly told with ingenious layouts and lovely art.

Doesn't that sound nice?

Anthony Bourdain to Cook up 'Ultra-violent Food Nerds' Graphic Novel at Vertigo
By Andy Khouri
Scourge of the Hawker Stalls. The Man Who Will Put Anything in his Mouth. Matter-Eater Lad. These are but a few possible superhero monikers for chef Anthony Bourdain, the culinary thrillseeker best known for his best-selling "Kitchen Confidential" and "No Reservations" on Travel Channel. You see, having presumably run out of unspeakably horrible things to eat as well as "Top Chef" contestants to terrorize, Bourdain is turning his attentions to the field of graphic novels via DC Comics.

As reported by Robot 6, Bourdain revealed in recent interviews that he is writing "Get Gyro", which he described as a graphic novel about "ultra-violent food nerds". "It's a gourmet slaughter-fest, sort of like 'Fistful of Dollars' meets 'Eat Drink Man Woman.'" If that doesn't sound insane enough, the acerbic chef also pitched his book as, "'Yojimbo' meets 'Big Night' and 'Babette's Feast', an ultra-violent slaughter-fest over culinary arcana.'"

Although no illustrator was mentioned, Bourdain said he's working with DC on 'Get Gyro', but Bourdain swears a lot so we can probably assume the book will be released by the publisher's Vertigo imprint.
There we are - graphic novels are now being written by chefs in their little spare time. I'm definitely among the right folks.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

DC comic adapting to the small screen

Neil Gaiman Graphic Novel 'The Sandman' Coming to TV

Neil Gaiman novel "The Sandman" is reportedly being adapted to become a television series. Gaiman, however, will reportedly not be involved. (Neilson Barnard/Getty Images) Neil Gaiman’s graphic novel The Sandman is in development for television, according to The Hollywood Reporter on Thursday. The Reporter said that the TV adaptation is in its early stages. Warner Bros. is in the midst of settling the bestselling graphic novel’s rights with DC Entertainment and deciding on the most suitable way to adapt it to the small screen.

I know that this is old news, but ... it goes to show that Hollywood isn't the only one interested in graphic novels.

the wind up and the pitch

I've finished up page 7 - it might be a few days before I can finish up the next page - though I'm well underway to having it complete. I just have a busy day tomorrow - and it might be a while to play catch up on Thursday as a result.

No matter - I've written almost three thousand words on the sequel to Tomb of the Undead, as well - so that's good news. I hope to get a bunch of it written down for Nanowrimo this year.

I hope you've been liking the story.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Stay tuned for the next scene

I just inked a bit more on pages 7 - 10, they are close to being finished. It may only take a few more days to have another substantial update. Also, I've finished a rough draft of pages 11 and 12. So things are moving along. This would take us into early scene 3.

Also - I've begun the writing of the sequel to Tomb of the Undead, which I've titled Netjerikhet's Gateway. This is something I'm writing in 'novel form' for Nanowrimo this year, which you can read more about here.

I hope you're liking the story - and be sure to click "Follow" at the top right hand corner to show to me that you're following along. I like that.


Saturday, October 30, 2010

updated again

Up to page 6 now - thanks for reading. I've got the next four pages drafted, three of them roughly penciled in, and the same three inked, just a little. So - it may not be long before I get the next few updates as well. This concludes the Talking Heads, True Stories segment - onward to ...

The wind up, and the pitch

page 5, Talking Heads, True Stories

click here to see more.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

coming along

I've drafted out the framework for up to page 10 now, which is good. I'll have the drawing drafted and inked for page five in no time. The story will really start moving in the right direction now. I hope to have another page ready before too long.

Thanks for reading!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Page 4 - talking heads, true stories

Nice, here is page 4 for the Tomb of the Undead series. I hope you love it! Click on this link and be sure to sign up as a "follower" of the blog - it would really make my day!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

calling it a night

I was working on the final little bit of the Opening Image tonight ... I'll definitely finish it by tomorrow - and then post it up. So you can look forward to that. I also plotted out the rough draft of page 10, so there's progress there. In fact, page 4 should be finished tomorrow. That shouldn't be a problem. - I don't think, anyhow.

It's exciting, because moving from the opening image to the first scene will finally introduce you to the protagonists of the story.

It would mean a lot to me to have anyone interested in simply reading my story to "Follow" the blog by clicking on the upper right hand side that says, "Follow." It doesn't take much, and it would sure inspire me to keep working on the project if I knew that people were interested in reading more.

The first scene has three sub-parts and they take us from mid-page four to the end of page 11, so it has a lot of stuff happening in it, and a lot of information in it.

BUT - all of that aside - I wanted to post this now so that I could get to bed by 10 p.m. tonight. This would mean I can get up fresh tomorrow morning and get to work on this and a legion of other things I'd like to get done. It's amazing - I've got lots of inspiration, but I just keep piling new projects onto myself instead of sticking to one.

Friday, October 22, 2010

i wish

I really wish that I could post up pages as quickly as I'd like to - it's a real lesson in taking your time to do something right and do something well, to go at this. I'd like to put up enough pages to get a feel for the story's flow so you readers can appreciate it more - but - it just takes time.

The writing took time, and now I've wrapped that up and wish that this could go quicker. I have the first 8 pages drafted out and almost ready to go - but the good copies, the inking and the shading / posting just add more time to the situation. The next time I get a free day I promise I'll have the final image of the "opening image" complete and posted - then I'm on to scene one titled "Talking Heads, True Stories."

Please hang in there - I'll post more about the situation in a little while, and once I get a few pages under my belt - I may start to promote the series around to strangers. There's somethin apprehensive about showing it to friends and family - it's like, they might think:

That's nice. This is what you spend your time on? Aren't you embarrassed?

And then, of course, I would be. There's something fragile about sharing something you care about with others. Something you've done as a creative expression because you personally value it. It's totally different when it's entirely your own creation, and not some assignment that an editor's given you. It's all yours, and if people do or don't like it, it reflects exclusively on you.

I always wanted to be a part of a creative writing association or ... the word is coterie. It's like a "Indy night" at the open-mic spot downtown. Where artists come together and share their work, and everyone snaps their hippster fingers. Well, a coterie would be like that, in a way that you can share what you've written and get feedback from people who are interested in the craft. It gives you some support from people who are interested in the same things as you.

Well - this is just a big ramble.

I'll have more Tomb of the Undead for you by early next week. I promise. Sorry this is taking so long.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Tomb of the Undead page 3

Nice - the third page is up and done. This wraps up the opening image for the story. It introduces the underlying mythology of the story that's going to be told - and of course introduces two important characters in the mythology of much more than the story, but the entire Christian religion.

It's up to you, but see if you can guess which celebrities I modeled the character of James and Lazarus after. Exclusive bonus points if you recognize the mysterious observer at the end of the scene.

Story is coming along

I'm excited to almost have the opening image (first three pages) of the book done. I've done a very rough draft of the first 8 pages now. It's exciting to have the story coming out so nicely - although the finished pages take a lot more work than the drafted pages. Hell, I could draft 20 pages by the end of the week - but you'd never see them until they were finished.

Too bad this takes so long - but good things require determination, dedication and consistency. It'll be worth it in the end. I'm sure of it!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Tomb of the Undead page 2

Pow - it's taken some time, due to lots of thins on the go at once, the page 2 is inked and shaded and already posted. I hope you like it. Follow along at the official blog, Tomb of the Undead.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Tomb of the Undead begins

The first update for The Tomb of the Undead has been posted. I won't make a major announcement or anything like that until I've got the first full scene done. Then I only plan to make updates to notify people when a scene is posted - although I will post pages as I complete them.

Hope you like it ...

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Opening image

I'm going to leave little subtitles for each of the scenes for Tomb of the Undead, so that being said, the first part, the opening image, is drafted. I finished writing it ages ago - finished drafting the first three pages, and the title page.

This will segue into the first scene of act one - so good stuff. It's coming along very nicely!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Started today

I started drafting the first 1 and 1/3 pages of Tomb of the Undead, and I hope to have a whack more of it done tomorrow - and I'll be quick to get into the good copy of the drafts, then ink and then POW updates on the official site.

It's gonna be a little while before I officially start rolling this out - but ... this is a big step in that direction. I hope by this time next week you'll be able to see the opening image for the story. That's my hope - and I hope you're looking forward to it.

So Exciting!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

How long should a graphic novel be?

I really enjoy following along with bloggers who are working on new projects. It helps me feel like there's a support group out there that is waiting to support me, even though they don't know who I am yet. In this case, someone has posted their thoughts for a new screenplay - but of course, it's a secret (just like me!).

I really feel like there's a parallel between people who want to share their progress believing that if they make their ambitions public, that they can be held accountable to follow through. That's been my strategy, anyhow.

Demystifying the Graphic Novel

Here we have a link where someone stresses than publishers ARE interested in graphic novels.
Scholastic editor Nick Eliopulos is a graphic novel fanatic! At the 2010 SCBWI LA conference he shared his experience making the graphic novel The Sons of Liberty. He had so much insight into the graphic novel universe that I couldn’t fit it into one post! So if you have even an inkling about writing your own graphic novel then read on my fearless friends!

Publishers Want Graphic Novels!

  • Graphic Novels have gotten bigger and bigger in the publishing world in the last ten years. But progress is slow. Publishers are still trying to figure out how it all works.
  • Publishers see graphic novels as a way to expand their current market and get new readers.
  • Graphix is the Scholastic imprint that publishes graphic novels. They published Bone.
  • Graphic novels is growing in the publishing industry, everyone want to do one, but they are being picky due to cost.
  • Manga has hit a wall.
Follow the link as they discuss the following questions: What kind of stories can be graphic novels?; Tips on writing and pacing your graphic novel; Finding an artist for your graphic novel; What do publishers want in a manuscript?; Great ways to promote your graphic novel; etc, etc. There's lots of great stuff at this link.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Graphic novel news

Man ... if you start looking, you'll definitely start finding plenty of news on graphic novels. Dozens of them all the time. That being said, there is lots to hear about ...

Kenk: graphic novel humanizes Toronto's most notorious bike-thief without apologising for him

This is really interesting - taking a well-documented news story and telling it as a graphic novel. Very interesting - the choices in terms of which medium you prefer to tell stories by always amazes me; especially when an unconventional choice is made.

Richard Poplak and Nick Marinkovich's Kenk: A Graphic Portrait is a journalistic inquiry into the life of Igor Kenk, Toronto's notorious stolen bike peddler, told in comic form.

I've known Igor since I was 18 years old, and truth be told, I found him confusing, likable, maddening, hilarious, charismatic, criminal, and even honourable after his own fashion. The Slovenian entrepreneur and bike-mechanic was a packrat (Kenk implies that he is a pathological hoarder, and I think this fits) and a seamy, rough-and-ready type who seemed to have stepped out of the pages of a Bruce Sterling story. He occupied a succession of shops at the western end of Queen Street in Toronto, long before the neighbourhood became fashionable, back when it was a depressed and seedy little strip in the middle of nowhere.

Igor used to fix my bikes (and very well, too, at reasonable prices -- and even on credit when I was broke), and inevitably a simple repair would turn into hours of conversation out front of his shop or back in its jammed interior, sandwiched into the tiny clear spaces between the mountains of bike-junk and refuse harvested from sidewalks and garage sales and dumps. I traded in my bike for a better one, paying the difference with cash, just before he was arrested in the early 1990s, charged with selling stolen bikes. Among the bikes that the police seized as stolen property was my old bike, which I had owned for 15 years and had traded in fair and square. I concluded then that no matter what Igor was up to, he was also being railroaded by the authorities.

That bike I bought from Igor? It was stolen later that month. The day after it was stolen, I went down to Igor's shop to get a replacement (on credit -- I was skint), just as two guys showed up to sell Igor the bike I'd just had nicked. I was inside the shop and Igor came in and said, "Go out there and pretend you're a mechanic, look the bike over, I think it's yours." I did, and gave Igor the nod. Before he could say anything, the two guys took off -- one riding his bike, the other riding mine. Without saying a word, Igor grabbed a bike from his stock and chased them down. A few minutes later, he rode back with my bike in tow, and charged me $10 to replace the fenders the thieves had stripped.

I knew -- everybody knew -- that Igor was dealing in stolen goods. Every second-hand merchant does (I was working in a used bookstore at the time and I'm certain that some of the books we accepted for cash or trade were hot, though we could never have proved it or readily distinguished them from the legit product). But Igor seemingly played by the rules: when he bought a bike, he recorded the seller's name and the bike's serial number, held the bike for the required period, and if no one came to claim it, he sold it.

But Igor also dealt in enormous volume, and bought bikes from guys who were so sketchy that it strained credulity to believe that they were just keen-eyed pickers who found yard-sale bargains and arbitraged them to Igor for resale. And indeed, in the end, Igor was arrested after he was caught instructing some of these suppliers to take a pair of bolt-cutters and steal a particularly nice bike.

The resulting arrest revealed a trove of over 3,000 bikes in various states of repair. More than 500 of them were claimed by Torontonians, who rose up in ferocious anger over Igor, whom the press characterized as the kingpin behind Toronto's epidemic bike thievery. On blogs and vox pops, Torontonian cyclists howled for Igor's blood, and the world's press picked up the story, calling Igor the world's biggest bike thief.

And perhaps he was. But whatever he was up to, he wasn't your average bike-stealing junkie or a mobster who dealt in industrialized theft as part of a criminal empire. Igor was a character.

In Kenk, Igor is a character in an engrossing, well-told journalistic account of his life and times. The author and illustrator worked with footage from a documentary on Igor by Jason Gilmore, using stills from footage from the year before his arrest, along with roughed-up, xerographic reproductions of newspaper stories, blog screenshots, framegrabs from newscasts, and found objects.

Through this odd documentary style, the creators build up a picture of a complex, dysfunctional, philosophical pathological case. Igor's early years as a kid in Soviet Yugoslavia and then as a cop in the Slovenian police force set the stage for his move to Canada, and the beginnings of his practice of hoarding all manner of consumer junk picked at markets, fleas, yard sales, and dumpsters. Igor is brought to life in his vehement ramblings about the wastefulness of Western society, the instability of economics, and the author and illustrator perfectly capture his fractured eloquence and epic Soviet grouchiness.

But while Kenk's authors humanize Igor through their tale, they don't apologize for him. Having read Kenk, I'm more convinced than ever that Igor really was a hub for Toronto's stolen bike trade, and that he knowingly nurtured it even as he decried dishonesty and waste.

The act of humanizing Igor makes him both more and less culpable. More culpable because it's clear that this intelligent and thoughtful man was deliberately choosing not to bear responsibility for his choices, using elaborate, self-serving justifications for his deeds. But more forgivable, too, because his real kindness and generosity, his humour and passion are all also on display, making him more than the criminal kingpin caricature that appeared in the press at the time of his arrest.

I've felt ambivalent about Igor since the conviction; the last time I saw him was a few months before the arrest. He admired my daughter, ribbed me about having read about me in the press, and was, all in all, the same guy I'd known for more than half my life. Nevertheless, I couldn't deny the depraved indifference to suffering that accompanies complicity in the theft of peoples' mode of transport, nor excuse it.

In Kenk, Poplak and Marinkovich manage to express empathy for Igor without excusing any of his misdeeds.

Review of Stargazer

You can follow the link and read the review for Stargazer - but what I like the most about this is ... the trailer.

Trailer for Stargazer
What I haven't seen before is a trailer for a comic book, on Youtube. Pretty neat.

More graphic novel news concerning my man Sam Rockwell

Sam Rockwell will join Harrison Ford, Daniel Craig and Olivia Wilde in the upcoming film adaptation of the graphic novel Cowboys & Aliens, according to The Hollywood Reporter. The casting re-teams Rockwell with his Iron Man 2 director Jon Favreau. Rockwell plays a bar owner who joins a team of cowboys and Native Americans who team up to fight off an alien invasion. The part was originally meant for a heavy-set actor, but when Favreau and the writers learned Rockwell was interested in acting in the film, they re-wrote the part just for him.

William Monahan to write 'Oblivion'
William Monahan, the guy who won an Oscar for his "The Departed" screenplay, is set to write the big-screen adaptation of Joseph Kosinski's Radical Publishing graphic novel "Oblivion" for Walt Disney.

"Oblivion" goes like this: In a future where the Earth’s surface has been irradiated beyond recognition, the remnants of humanity live above the clouds, safe from the brutal alien Scavengers that stalk the ruins. But when surface drone repairman Jak discovers a mysterious woman in a crash-landed pod, it sets off an unstoppable chain of events that will force him to question everything he knows... Joseph Kosinski developed the original story for the graphic novel.

Kosinski's career took off after he got the job to direct the upcoming "Tron: Legacy." Monahan also wrote "Kingdom of Heaven."

Transformers: Prime Graphic Novel Preview

Follow the link in the header to read the first few pages. It looks very cool - featuring Cliff Jumper.

Transformers: Prime
Mike Johnson (w) • E.J. Su, Allan Jefferson, David Daza, Joe St. Pierre (a)
This all-new graphic novel adventure leads directly into the hotly anticipated TRANSFORMERS PRIME animated series! In this epic first adventure, battles across CYBERTRON have left CLIFFJUMPER and his fellow AUTOBOTS in desperate need of help against the threat of MEGATRON and the evil DECEPTICONS. What is it that leads them from war-torn CYBERTRON across the galaxy to Earth? Find out in this special feature-length story!

TPB • FC • $9.99 • 96 Pages • 5” x 7” • ISBN:978-1-60010-832-7
Expected in-store date: October 20, 2010