Friday, February 22, 2013

King-esque editing and Dogs of War in a Thrilling GooglePlus Community

Most importantly to announce, after completing the artwork for the second act to The Tomb of the Undead, I knew I would have to tackle a big chore that was waiting for me at this point - reviewing, revising and editing the third act to the story. It was something I KNEW I was going to have to do, but I'd been putting it off. Well, I'm finally there, after years of working on the story, so ... that's what I've been up to.

Struggling with jet lag and his professional relationship with Howard, Casey looks to make necessary changes in Why'd you do it?
I knew I would have to revise the third act of the script by the time I got to it - which wasn't until now. I just wrapped up the edits this week- and was able to put into practice one of Stephen King's first rules of writing - edit out 20 per cent.

8,224 words in the last draft I'd performed - the latest 6,533, which is pretty significant! It was like 31 pages in the .pdf format, and I trimmed it down to a lithe and svelte 24 pages, which is pretty good. Oddly, the last draft was like nine scenes, but I broke the action down into 19 scenes, which is pretty significant.

Only after doing the math do I discover that I've edited/revised the script down by 20.56 per cent, which is almost a coincidence. Very King-esque in my quantitative editing, which is great (to me).

See more by following the links:

Graphic novel news

Sexy, Seductive, Thrilling Graphic Novel Not For Kids or Faint of Heart

Blaque Sun Mediaworks to publish sexy, murder mystery Thriller Graphic Novel with a mature audience in mind. First of Five (5) Graphic novels in production for release beginning this summer.
Click to read more.

Nathan Fox teases upcoming graphic novel ‘Dogs of War’

Chris Arrant
Comic Book Resources

Men and women working with dogs in military actions has been going on for decades in the United States; the practice actually goes back centuries. And it’s something writer Sheila Keenan and artist Nathan Fox are celebrating in the upcoming graphic novel Dogs of War.
Click to read more.

Webcomic Creators' GooglePlus page

Image from Patrick Yurick's American Booom (@
A community for anyone who has created a webcomic. Introduce yourself, Share your work, ask questions and let us all work together to improve our storytelling abilities.
Click to read more and get involved.

Friday, February 15, 2013

I'm [Sic] of Hearing You Need "Better Drawing.s"

Here are some behind-the-scenes thoughts from page 85, while we're moving forward here. This package that's being shared around is the same that appeared in the first scene, way back in the early pages. It'll make another appearance in the story, but for now, while it may not be clear here, the package is being handed to James, Jesus' brother, and not to Lazarus yet. Lazarus is being charged with a more serious oath of service, though I'm not sure he quite knows what he's getting into.

The mythology of this story is revealed a little more as Jesus visits Bethany days before he is betrayed by Judas in Lazarus is Charged.

See more by following the links:
Webcomic news
I don't really have any "news" for this week, but rather had something of a complaint for webcomics. It's something that's been gnawing at the back of my mind for a little while now, and I think it finally made sense to me just last night.

Mostly, it's the disassociation between a good webcomic and providing highly stylized and well designed art to accompany the regular updates.

What set me off on the epiphany was that Benjamin Pernick, the head sloth at Turbo Sloth, had announced the three-year milestone for his site, which boasts hundreds - perhaps even more than a thousand - pages of absolutely ridiculous jokes.[Ridiculous in the best way - the site if full of "groaners"!]

This is the faucet installers' equivalent of spitting in your burger.
I dropped Ben a line to congratulate him on the milestone, and his response is what really solidified my understanding of what I'm feeling here.

Thanks! I'm glad I've stuck to it for so long...even if I haven't gotten much better :P
His answer immediately reminded me of some "constructive criticism" that the folks at The Broctopus had received upon launching their site after this comic was posted:

Gregory102714 Good in theory horrible in execution. I think you guys would have more hits if you had better drawing.s
Seriously!? This is what "Gregory" felt after reading this comic, that the strip is "good in theory" but unable to attract attention or traffic without "better drawing.s" [sic].

I can't imagine anything sillier - what these two strips have in common is that they're people who are eager and passionate about sharing their comics. They're doing it for the love of doing it - the side effects of which would only be to brighten the days of readers when they pass through, and the warm feeling that comes from knowing you had something to do with it.

If anything, the silly and nonchalant style is imperative to a good joke. It admits to readers that this isn't to be taken too seriously. I mean, Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel was supposed to be a ceiling-comic, but he got carried away and people "don't get it" now.

Revisionist history and restoration "experts" completely missed the joke. A warning to us all that too much detail distracts us from the gag.
Now, I must admit, I was prescient of this concept before I endeavoured to start making comics about the bad haircuts I'd received at the bad barber's shop. He made me feel stupid by giving me a bad haircut, and drawing dumb comics is my outlet - after joking about it for ages with a co-worker, I thought the joke between us could live on if I immortalized it in a silly strip. To go along with the bad barber was the bum that begged for change outside our office:

I know, the Peterborough, Ont. version of Bert and Ernie, right?
I wanted the comic to look "thrown together" because I didn't want it to be taken too seriously, but I have to admit, I spent a lot of effort making sure the images looked like that. Like, an embarrassingly long time, if you ask me.

And that's the IMPORTANT lesson here. The merit of the comics, that spirit of creating them for the love to bringing a little joy to the lives of others, is what's essential - and cramping up because it's not straight out of the Yale University School of Art is no reason to stop.

As long as you love it, don't ever stop, slow down or feel less of yourself for letting your style and personality grow through your work.

It's ridiculous [in the bad way] to think you have to be great at something before you start, or that becoming a Master in your craft requires that you conform to the style of those who have been the most successful in your field. All of that's nonsense.

Keep it real!

Friday, February 8, 2013

Writing Webcomics in the Subway? Mind the Gap for Doonesbury

Here's a little commentary for page 84, the beginning of the second half of Act II, which was a big deal for me. At the time I was definitely getting into the depths of the story, which was great. It begins with a big dose of mythology for the story, and where does any great story get its mythology?

Well, from the Big Guy, of course:

The mythology of this story is revealed a little more as Jesus visits Bethany days before he is betrayed by Judas in Lazarus is Charged.
I'm finding the webcomic community much more engaging than the Graphic Novel community, if that means anything. They're much more active on Twitter and they'll even talk back to you, which is cool. I had a completely unsolicited follower "favourite" my latest SuperBowl gag which I thought was pretty exciting, as they weren't in my network whatsoever, so they somehow searched it out and found it.

I found something called the Belfry WebComics Database that seems to have a ... database of webcomics, of course, which is neat.

See more by following the links:
Webcomic news
Beginning with a bit of a web-backlash for Doonesbury's creator, has an interesting discussion on the future of both media. Webcomic Alliance has a guest article that discusses how to attract an audience to make a profitable webcomic work and Boing Boing has a review of Mind the Gap.


Doonesbury makes case for print, enrages Web comics
Andrew Beaujon


“What happens to comics if newspapers go away?” a Twitter user asks Zonker in a Feb. 2 Doonesbury strip. Two blank panels follow. “Feel how empty your life became?” Zonker asks. “Stick with print, folks, this doesn’t have to happen,” Mike Doonesbury replies.
The strip has kicked off a meme among producers of Web comics, who are inserting art from their own work in the blank space:
Click to read more.

Webcomic Artists as Subway Musicians
Steve Ogden and Tom Dell’Aringa
Webcomic Alliance

“…We need to pull our readers out of their routines to get their attention. We need to get them to approach our comic on our terms, not just as they’re passing through their daily collection of RSS feeds or Facebook posts.”
Click to read more.

Mind the Gap: a paranormal thriller/mystery graphic novel that non-comic book readers will enjoy
Mark Frauenfelder
boing boing

Mind the Gap: Intimate Strangers collects the first five issues of Jim McCain (writer) and Rodin Esquejo's (artist) Hitchcock-esque comic book series of the same name. The art is superb and the story is a masterfully-paced, intriguing thriller. Warning: this is an ongoing series so when you get to the end of this graphic novel, you'll want to find out what happens next. Fortunately Mind the Gap #6 is out. I'm going to wait for Volume 2 of the anthology series, myself.
Click to read more.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Podcast shoutout, detoxing nicely and new followers

Just a few notes on page 83 for Tomb of the Undead, and then I'll get into some webcomics news!

Some neat reveals in this page - that Mugabe has the letters S.A.L.V.A.T.I.O. tattooed on his fingers, which is of course Latin for "salvation." Might be an interesting note to make while reading and understanding his motivations.

I liked how the team is crammed into the back of a pickup truck, too. I recall riding home from a concert in Barrie, Ontario in the back of a pickup late one evening, just like this, for about a 45 min. ride. Pretty exhilarating, but also COLD. I rode home from high school after an exam like this one time, too, which was like in January, ALSO COLD.

So often when you're writing, cell phones are making connectivity and information sharing easier, so it's more of a challenge, as a writer, to create barriers in communication. I'm hoping cell reception is plausible enough - in this instance, as the reception returns, so do warning messages, but perhaps too late?

Taking the story to the mid-way mark, Ian Escutcheon leads our team into the unknown in pursuit of his theories, but they haven't shaken their dangerous enemy yet in No Signal.
See more by following the links:
Webcomic news
My first mention in a podcast in a long time last week, which is really cool. Back in like 2006/07 when I was working in news I was in a couple podcasts for some of the stories I'd written. So it's been quite a while since this was something I've been a part of.

In other news, I've got another group of comics to put on my reading list as soon as I can get to a "save point" in HomeStuck from MS Paint Adventures. That comic is LONG. Gary Tyrrell from Fleen has a recent update on the sale of another MS Paint Adventure from Andrew Hussie.

Check it out!

Work is Hell - the Destruct-o-cast
Nick Marino, E.D. 

I'm kinda thrilled to have been able to contribute a bit of my own life experiences to the Destruct-o-cast from last week. It was neat, and I liked how the mock-superhero strip's podcast was able to spin my tale into a new superpower, albeit an awful, to be used for evil. That made me chuckle.

Tune into the whole thing, and look for my mention around the 45-minute mark. It's a behind-the-scenes review of the latest installment of the Super Haters strip.
Click to read more.

Fleen Book Corner: Sweet Bro and Hella Jeff
Gary Tyrell

Publisher’s note: Sweet Bro and Hella Jeff is available from TopatoCo, while supplies last. Doctors indicate that Gary is detoxing nicely, and should be back to blogging with only mild perceptual impairments shortly. Rumors that the DEA is investigating SBaHJ for making readers “high as balls” could not be confirmed at press time.
Click to read more.

Twitter Followers and new webcomics to catch
Dieter McBoom, Jared Catherine, Riverbend Kings

New Twitter followers I'm planning to get a chance to review as soon as I'm caught up with HomeStuck from MS Paint Adventure. Including Dieter McBoom (@sftcz) from Slow for the Comic Zone as well as Riverbend Kings (@RiverbendKings) from, of course, Riverbend Kings and Jared Catherine (@JareBearStare) of Incrediman.