Saturday, March 28, 2015

Three Must Visits at this Year's ECCC

This year's Emerald City Comic Con in Seattle offers up a bevy of amazing creators that run the gamut from genres and styles. Here are three must visit creators as you make your way through the crowds. These talented folks offer works of exceptional fun and top notch storytelling.

Monica Gallagher (Table M-05)
I've been a fan of Monica's art for ages. Her character design is incredibly inviting and the voices she creates within them are really warm and endearing. Her trade that's just come out this week is Part-Time Princesses. It's the story of four bestie high school seniors who all work as princesses in the local amusement park. Think of it as Mean Girls meets Disney, only these girls aren't as snobby. Through a series of unexplained mishaps at the amusement park, their place of employment is losing customers and money. The ladies band together to investigate the troubles and defend their kingdom, so to speak. It's nice to see a book with lady pals working together and looking out for each other, no damsels in distress here. One of my favorite lines from the book is, "'ve got ovaries of iron, girl." This encapsulates everything that this story is. It's 100% girl power. If you're looking for a gift for a teen lady in your life, this age appropriate and fun, fun, fun. Nothing in here to worry about either so don't fret parents. I'm in my late 20's and totally dug this book too, so it's not just for a younger crowds. Snag this book while you're at her table!

Fabian Rangel Jr. & Alexis Ziritt (Table A-14/A-15)

Everything Fabian does is magic. I can't think of one title he's put out that hasn't been truly entertaining. Space Riders has been nothing short of that. It's incredible, it's actually mind numbing how cool the color and all around design on this book is. I'd call it aggressively colorful, but it only enhances the story. In no way does the art deter from it, the mark of good work. If you're into throwback space adventures, bad-ass captains with an awesome crew that's regulating justice, seething for redemption, and causing exquisite mayhem across the universe, this book if for you. But I can't stress enough, you really need to purchase this book in print. You just won't get the full effect of how good the artwork is on an iPad/Kindle.

I'm sure Fabian will have copies Doc Unknown and Boss Snake, two other really fun series of his. Hopefully he brought tshirts, the man makes killer shirts.

Also....Get one of those really rad Space Riders patches too. Join the Skullship Santa Muerte Crew!

Ed Brisson (Table HH-07)
I've gotten several of my pals who aren't traditional comics folks into a few of Ed's books, in particular Sheltered. The best thing about Ed's writing is he doesn't just create well rounded characters he builds a whole world where they and you can be totally submerged in. One of my favorite series is Murder Book. It's so nice to see the volumes collected into a trade and with Michael Walsh doing the cover art you really can't go wrong. For those not in the know a Murder Book is a documented case file of a homicide from the inception crime to an arrest. This is a gritty collection of these stories. Ed has assembled so many talented artists over the last few years to bring this anthology to life. A few of the artists who lend their talents are Vic Malhotra, Johnnie Christmas, Jason Copland, and Brian Level just to name a few. The Murder Book series was actually my introduction to Ed's writing, needless to say he hooked me. If you are into noir you will really like this trade and be completely impressed with Ed's writing too. Ed's new book with Brian Level won't be out until May, but go ahead and ask him about The Mantle. You'll be pleasantly surprised.

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Tuesday, February 24, 2015

TerraQuill: Printing New Worlds

I chatted with TerraQuill's Shawn Daley last week about compiling his series into a printed book and where the World he's created goes from here. We also discuss the Kickstarter campaign he is currently running to help fund the printing of this inventive comic.

Sheilah Villari: You've mentioned TerraQuill started just as warm up or exercises for you. Being both artist and writer can expand on when you knew this was becoming more than that? What pushed you to pursue this world you sort of accidentally created?

Shawn Daley: I've always considered TerraQuill to be my resume, so I made sure the individual issues were always free at conventions. After a couple of cons, I noticed returning readers asking for more stories. I was stoked that readers were asking for more; it was great motivation. I still consider every TerraQuill story an exercise in writing and drawing, which itself is motivation to continue building the world and populating it.

SV: I like the free flowing creativity that you've built into the TerraQuill world. Is that organic spirit the same that lead to TerraQuill the book becoming a reality? 

SD: Thanks! I hold readers responsible for the book becoming a reality. If it wasn't for their encouragement and backing, there's a high probability that this collection wouldn't have come together as it has.

SV: At this moment it looks like you will hit some of those stretch goals. With about two weeks left in the campaign, it's feasible you will go beyond the ones you have now. Any plans to add more? 

SD: Absolutely. I'd like to add an 11th story to the collection and commission some of my favorite artists to draw pinups for the book. If we can reach past stretch goal four, that's what you can expect. There will be some last minute rewards added within the final three days for anyone who wants to upgrade, or maybe snag some more original pages from the book.

SV: I really like that the book is done and ready for your contributors. This is a major point of attractiveness for someone looking to donate to a KS campaign. Was that something you took into consideration before launching?

SD: That was the first thing I considered! Actually, it wasn't even really a consideration, but more of a prerequisite to launching the campaign. It's a little easier for me as I don't need to find or pay an artist to draw these stories, so my production costs are basically reduced to art supplies and coffee. If you're Kickstarting your own material, I highly recommend completing everything before launch. Save yourself the potential headache.

SV: Now that this volume of TerraQuill has been collected are there plans to continue in the World and see where it takes you or are happy to but a bow on this series?

SD: I'm working on a full length TerraQuill graphic novel at the moment called The Bridgebuilder's Creed, so TerraQuill isn't quite wrapped up just yet. There's a lot of written mythology that hasn't been published (or drawn) as well. Most of the timeline is mapped out, including both the creation and eventual destruction of the land.

SV: Now that Con season is starting again do you have any plans to bring your work out to the masses this year?

SD: You bet. I'll be at Toronto ComiCon (March 20th - 22nd), and Fan Expo Toronto (September 3rd - 6th). NYCC might be happening for me as well.

SV: Running a campaign is pretty intense but can inspire more projects as many creators have told me. What's next for Shawn Daley once this Kickstarter is wrapped?

SD: I'll just be continuing to draw comics for independent scriptwriters, writing and drawing TerraQuill, and making music for independent game developers. And right now, I wouldn't have it any other way!

There is still plenty of time to check out and donate to the TerraQuill Kickstarter. You can keep up with Shawn's other projects at his website and on Twitter. Can't wait to see if the stretch goals are surpassed before March 6th! 

Click Here to Read More!

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

For the Title, For the Win

I caught up with For the Win's creative team (Austin Green and Lance Schibi) this week. We discuss their Kickstarter campaign and how these faces came together to make bring this book and what makes it a top contender for your support.

Sheilah VillariFor the Title is definitely influenced by 80s/90s wrestling culture, is it safe to assume you both grew up wrestling fans? Are you still avid?

Austin Green: I watched from as long back as I can remember, until around the time I graduated high school. Working on For the Title actually got me interested in it again and about a year or so ago I tuned back in and have been on board ever since.

Lance Schibi: Yeah, my brothers and I were huge WWF fans growing.  I stopped watching wrestling before Stone Cold and The Rock came onto the scene but I never forgot those 80’s wrestlers. I really hadn’t watched wrestling since I was a kid but since starting For the Title. I’ll switch RAW on while inking on Mondays.  I just really miss the off-the-wall characters that were present in the 80’s but current wrestling is still fun.  I read a lot and recently read Bret Hart’s autobiography Hitman and The Squared Circle, so I’m more reading about wrestling than watching it these days.

SV: As a Co-creator was this an idea spawned together or was it a spark that started from one of you presented to the other?
AG: Lance and I used to work together. We had a dry erase board next to our cubes used to draw on it all the time. One day he drew this gnarly old guy and he ended up having Warrior face paint. This led to Lance drawing an even bigger and more gross version of Ho Kogan (NOT Hulk Hogan, clearly) next to him. We laughed about them and started making up a ridiculous backstory for these versions. We went back to work but I kept thinking about them. I added Macho Ghost and talked to Lance about us actually making a webcomic. I thought it was an idea we could run with and that people would dig. We actually may include some pictures of the original dry erase board sketches in the Champion Wish edition for the Kickstarter!

LS: I doodle all the time and the best place to do this is when you’re bored at work. They were powerful images to say the least. So we kept them up for a few days and bounced ideas of each other until I finally said, “Script out some panels for me to draw.” We’d always talked about doing a comic together but never settled on the many many ideas we had. This one we just ran with.

SV: Was it the plan all along to only post one panel daily? Or was this born out of efficiency? (Was it the fastest and best way to get the story out?) It's a great concept that is different from other web comics that will post an entire page once or twice a week.
AG: It was definitely the plan from the start. We both just really liked the idea of giving people new content daily, and felt like it makes it easier for people to keep up with the story. Just follow the InstagramTwitter, or Tumblr and you're set. No need to click any links to go offsite to read everything. No having to remember what last week’s page was.  It's all right there for you, daily. Forget a day? Just go to the profile page, and the whole thing is right there.

LS: We both really dug Instagram and thought, “How cool would it be to create an Instagram comic?” One panel a day. First, it’s super easy to draw, sticking to a 6x6” square template. Secondly, it’s really awesome to have new content every weekday. So the plan was to definitely post one panel a day (Monday thru Friday) to try to pick up a following of some sort.

SV: When did you guys decide this comic needed to be in print and more accessible to the masses? I really like the idea of printing it as you say 'Garfield Style' (two panels per page). And having the book already completed is a huge plus for a Kickstarter campaign.

AG: We had been talking about doing a Kickstarter to get copies printed, but we wanted to wait until all three volumes were completely done before starting it, or even thinking about it seriously. I love Kickstarter, but I've been burned before by pledging for books that never get finished. The hard part on ours is done. The book is finished. As soon as the campaign ends it's getting printed. I'm so stoked to get it into people’s hands!

LS: I made a few mini-comics of the first two volumes that I’d sell at cons. They actually did much better than I thought they would. It was really all about just getting For the Title out there, but they were little 4.5x4.5” inch comics that were actually hell to make. I probably made about 30-40 of each so they’re really limited. So we both thought it’d be cool to get a book printed collecting a few volumes. I loved the weird size of the mini-comics I had made, so I thought that a Garfield-style book would be a great way to contain the goofiness of this story. 

SV: What's the process like to get this posted, from week to week?
AG: It was sort of wild west when we started, but now I write out the full scripts for each volume, breaking it down panel by panel for each week, then give it to Lance.

LS: Yeah, at first it was literally Austin sending me one week at a time. My drawing style for this comic is obviously cartoony, so I would quickly draw, scan, color and letter the panels and say, “Ok, send me the next week!”  But we found that the story was kind of directionless, so Austin began scripting out everything beforehand.  I think he fully scripted out volume 3 and he gave me the full script for volume 4, which I’m working on right now.  When I’m done with panels, I’ll email him the art and he’ll get them added to Tumblr while I take care of the Instagram and Twitter posts. 

SV: You've got an amazing list of guest contributors. Did any of them approach you about working on For the Title or did you approach them? Were any already fans of the series?

AG: Every "main event" fight we do, we thought it would be cool to get a bunch of guest artists to do 
panels of the fight. I thought it would be a cool way to get a bunch of variety or randomness even to the fights. We give them the basic details of the fight, like who is fighting, and where it's taking place, but everything else in the panels is up to them. 

LS: The whole guest artists came together when I was cutting it really close to staying on top of the daily panels and I jokingly said we should have my twin brother, Cody, do a week. Cody is a really great artist and although I was kind of kidding when I said it a light bulb went off in our heads. We were like, “Hey, wait a minute…YES!!” I know a lot of great artists from doing conventions and from social media, so the first week of guest artists was me asking a group of friends. I was super surprised when they were all about it, so that was the first Main Even fight in volume 2.  When volume 3 came around, it was the huge Warrior vs. Ho Kogan match and we wanted to go nuts with it. We had planned doing maybe 2 weeks of guest artists but I kept asking more and more artists, and a few actually contacted me about it.  So we end up with four weeks of guest artists.  It was like the They Live alley fight, it would never end! It was a little insane but it’s definitely the coolest part of volume 3.

SV: There are some really unique rewards for this Kickstarter (the mask, Garbage Pail cover, getting to draw a guest panel, etc...). How did you guys decide on these rewards for contributors?
AG: We just tried to pick things we would thought were cool. I was worried no one else besides me and Lance would like the masks, but after we launched they were all grabbed so quick. It was awesome.

LS: I definitely wanted as many options out there as possible. I got my hands on most of the original art all the guest artists did, which was incredibly awesome of them to give me. And every single piece of art I’ve drawn for the comic is available too. Nick Pitarra and I are good friends and when I asked if he wanted to do some sketches, he was all in. The Garbage Pail variant cover was actually all his idea.  The Macho Ghost mask I had made for cons to catch some eyes and thought it would be a cool reward.  And yeah, the 'Join the For theTitle Team' was something we came up with because that's a reward I would want for a Kickstarter I was backing. We’re not planning on inviting guest artists for four weeks, so this reward is definitely worth it. 
Mick Foley with Lance Schibi

SV: As you've said all excess funds from printing will go to help you guys travel to Cons, which Cons do you have your sights set on?

AG:  We definitely want to be at Wizard World Austin this year. I'd also like to be able to go out to HeroesCon in Charlotte.

LS: I’m already doing Comicpalooza in Houston in May, which is by far my favorite Con.  But Austin and I would love to do Heroes, C2E2, or Emerald City at some point. We initially planned that extra funds from the Kickstarter would help with this but we’re really pushing to use those funds for some awesome Stretch Goals. If we don’t reach them, you can definitely expect us at some Cons late 2015 and all of 2016.

SV: With more than two weeks left are there any surprise stretch goal rewards as you've already reached your original goal?

AG: We just added two stretch goals. The first is for both a 1.5" Hot! button, and a Ho Kogan leg drop vinyl sticker. The other is to print hardcover versions of For the Title instead of paperback. I'm so insanely happy we got funded, hitting either of these would just be icing on the cake. We wanted to be sure every backer who gets a copy of the book would benefit from the stretch goals, and think the ones we picked are things people will really like.

LS: HARDCOVER!  I would love to see this book printed in hard cover. We wanted the first round of stretch goals to give some goodies to everyone, so we went with a For the Title button and sticker, which look awesome. I’m just blown away that we hit our goal already and the Champion Wish Edition is actually happening! It’s really an awesome feeling and I can’t thank everyone who backed us enough.

SV: What's the future of For the Title? Volume 4 has already been planned out and will be starting soon, correct?
Austin Green with "Rowdy" Roddy Piper
AG: Yes! Volume 4 is called Rumblemania and is fully written. Lance is drawing it this very moment. It's a bit different than the previous volumes, and isn’t going in the direction people may think, but it's my favorite volume yet. 

LS: Volume 4 is next and I’d love to maybe do another print edition once we complete Volume 6. We’re definitely not thinking that far ahead right now but having this Kickstarter funded so quickly has really energized me to keep drawing. But aside from volume 4 starting up in a few weeks, we’ll be working on getting the books printed. Plus, you’ll be seeing us at some conventions in the near future as well.

Be sure to get your daily dose of action over at the For the Title site, updated Monday-Friday. Be sure to follow the tag-team of Green and Schibi on their Tumblr accounts and the book's Instagram and Twitter. And there is still time to donate to the Kickstarter, ending March 8th.

Click Here to Read More!

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Faction 1-3 Review

From the comic book creators in New Zealand comes a book crafted with a true love for comics. Faction is a showcase of the best of New Zealand comics. Readership isn’t very high in NZ, but there has been a huge renaissance as of late. Local comic artists have been producing work for decades, and with the rise of the internet, the number of artists and the quality of the work has risen rapidly. This is a comic made by people who love comics for people who love them just as much. Hit the jump for more!

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Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Top 10 Tuesday: 'Arrow,' 'S.H.I.E.L.D.' AND Beyond: Marvel on Netflix

With the 2014 fall television season creeping upon us like the dumb Galactacus cloud, it's looking to be a pretty sweet year for series based on comic book heroes. From returning favorites like Arrow and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. to promising new shows like The FlashAgent Carter and Gotham, TV seems to be jumping headfirst into many different corners of graphic multiverse. So today, we're throwing up a list of heroes (and others) who deserve their piece of this new frontier. This week I've decided to box myself into the fledgling Defenders corner of the MCU that begins with Daredevil next May. Here's 'Arrow,' 'S.H.I.E.L.D.' and Beyond - Part 2 of 3: Marvel on Netflix!

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Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Top 10 Tuesdays: 'Arrow,' 'S.H.I.E.L.D.' and Beyond - Part 1: DC Comics

With the 2014 fall television season creeping upon us like the dumb Galactacus cloud, it's looking to be a pretty sweet year for series based on comic book heroes. From returning favorites like Arrow and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. to promising new shows like The Flash, Agent Carter and Gotham, TV seems to be jumping headfirst into many different corners of graphic multiverse. So today, we're throwing up a list of heroes (and others) who deserve their piece of this new frontier. Here's 'Arrow,' 'S.H.I.E.L.D.' and Beyond - Part 1 of 3: DC Comics!

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Thursday, September 11, 2014

Crisis on Infinite Arts - Andrew MacLean's ApocalyptiGirl

For this week’s Crisis on Infinite Arts we have artist Andrew MacLean. Comics Alliance recently published an article announcing MacLean’s upcoming graphic novel for Dark Horse called ApocalyptiGirl, so we figured it’d be a good time to show off some of his awesome work. Hit the jump for more!

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Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Dark Horse / Image Comics Reviews 9/10/2014

We're back with another addition of comic reviews. This week we have three first issues with '68: Homefront, Copperhead, and Prometheus: Fire and Stone and some other great gems from Image and Dark Horse. Hit the jump for those reviews!

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Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Top 10 Tuesdays: 10 Movie/TV-to-Comic Continuations That Need To Happen

Dark Horse has just released issue one of "Prometheus: Fire & Stone," a follow-up to Ridley Scott's 2012 sci-fi/horror flick. "Fire & Stone" is the first title in DH's new initiative to meld together the existing canon of "Alien," "Predator" and "Prometheus" films for one sprawling but cohesive comic universe. In honor of that we're counting down 10 Movie/TV-to-Comic Continuations that need to follow in its footsteps!

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Thursday, September 4, 2014

Crisis on Infinite Arts - Tradd Moore's Luther Strode

To kick off the first Crisis on Infinite Arts that we’ve done in a long time, I wanted to take a look at one of my favorite artists, TRADD MOORE. This past week he released some new art for his upcoming The Legacy of Luther Strode, and I could not be more excited. He is without a doubt one of my favorite artists in the industry. Hit the jump for more!

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