Friday, June 13, 2014

Busy, busy, busy!

The past weeks I've been swamped with a huge inking assignment; unfortunately, I've had to put STP aside in the meantime. Although I haven't had much free time, things are still happening behind the scenes.

We have a colorist working on completing our second Lil' Ninja story. Joe Badon is coloring a fresh page of a Jo Nemo story that was drawn years ago; I'll be revisiting the colored pages I posted here a couple years ago, and combining them with Joe's story to release a first issue. Looking over my work, I've decided to tweak it and rely a lot less on captions. Visual cues will now tell the story, which will help its appeal to much younger readers.

Finally, I've found a talented character designer to flesh out my Grandma Vs concept. Jean is knocking the assignment out of the park, I really dig his bande dessine vibe on my characters. With luck, I'll start seriously working on the debut issue of that title as well. Oh, and I want to repitch Slam McCracken on Kickstarter asap.

Not enough hours in a day!


Friday, April 25, 2014

Keep on keepin' on

The jury is still out on our new colorist. Although inexperienced in colors, we're extremely curious how he'll approach the pages. Thinking outside of the box is one of the hallmarks of Sore Thumb Press, so my hopes are high.

I'm approached an artist to try a page of Grammy Vs, but haven't heard back as of yet. That concept has a lot of potential, and the right art will make it sing. Finding talent is a challenge, but perseverance (or luck) will win out.

I often see work that's incredibly polished; folk spend enormous amounts of time filling panels with meticulous detail, and/or inking every single miniscule line flawlessly. One of the things that I adore about comics is how forgiving the medium is. As a matter of fact, loose lines that properly tell the story are much more effective than lusciously rendered pages that feel 'lifeless'. I've always believed Less is More, and comics can become victims of over-think, like a lot of media.

I've decided to spend free time outside of my 'day job' to tinker with STP projects. I have a feeling once the ball starts rolling, the momentum will be difficult to halt!

Friday, April 18, 2014

Changes

We've been anxious to get things moving forward. 

Dustin, our previous colorist, seems unavailable, so we've sought new talent. We've contacted a potential replacement (more details next week) and have high hopes to finally complete our first Lil' Ninja book. Creative team changes can be a challenge, but it's awesome when a nice fit comes along.

We continue to feel that having finished books will jumpstart us in sales, and getting STP off the ground.

I'm also reworking Slam McCracken as a comic strip pdf; I think the format works extremely well, and I'll probably retry Kickstarter to gather funds for that concept. At the same time, I'd like to get moving on other concepts (not enough hours in a day!).

The name of the game is being focused, and finding the steps to get things done!

Friday, April 4, 2014

The past couple weeks have been continued fun. I've reformatted Slam McCracken as a strip, and really like the results. It ties in with my great love for classic comic strips like Calvin and Hobbes, and I discovered that syndicated strips were collected in 40s comic books as loose anthologies. I now realize that having the right concept presented in the right format is key, although nothing stops us from expanding to other media once one takes off.

My wonderful partner continues to move forward on Lil' Ninja. At the same time, we're dusting off The Temp, but with an entirely new spin. Once again, I'm excited by the potential of the concept, it fits in with our goal of producing comics that aren't easily pigeon-holed. Later, I'm working on character designs for the next Lil' Ninja book, and we should have Dustin finishing colors on the Victoria tale asap.

 Busy indeed!

Friday, March 21, 2014

Animation gets it right

Like a lot of folk, I've been binging on Netflix (thanks to my lovely wife); in particular, I've  been watching a couple cartoons: Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes and Batman Brave and the Bold. I find both showcase the coolness of their comic book roots, but in a format that is more appealing than its source material.

Animation demands consistency. Characters always look on model, and stories tend to be self-contained (the Avengers is an exception with subplots spread throughout a season, but the effect isn't as confusing as a typical modern comic book). On account of time limits, plots must be concise and to the point, as well as breezy and entertaining. Characters are distilled to easy-to-understand versions, with dialogue serving to move the story forward while defining said characters.

Today's comic books are quite the opposite; plots drag on sluggishly, and individual issues act as story 'beats', part of a massive 'epic' (while ultimately could have been told better with less issues). Characters spend pages chatting, with witty, precious, hard-boiled dialogue that rarely advances the plot. I understand that by forcing readers to buy a series of issues in order to get the whole story the Big Two are trying to prop up stumbling sales. It does seem crass to me, and I miss the days when a typical issue had stories with a definite end (although sub-plots percolating behind the main tale were effectively left to be resolved at a future date).

I also wish comic books featured clearly defined, heroic characters who look roughly the same from issue to issue, like their animated counter-parts. On any given run, art teams constantly redesign characters (usually for no good reason, and mostly straying too far from clean, iconic designs) and writers peel back 'layers' in their characters with 'never-before-revealed' past events, leading to complex 'motivations'. The result is an inaccessible, pretentious mess, with new readers the casualty.

I realize that comic books are a fluid and creative field, unlike animation which requires tight 'regulation' to achieve the final product. Still, I can only observe that I have a lot more enjoyment watching a typical episode of the above mentioned series than trying to wade thru any recent comic book. Hopefully, comics will learn from their mistakes before the medium is damaged beyond repair.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Numbers

Our recent failure with Kickstarter gives us much to consider. There are flaws with the site as a fund-raising tool, but perhaps it could be helpful as a promotional source. We'll mull how best to use the site and return with solid strategy.

The factor that was most troubling was the tiny number of pledges (20 something). In order to succeed, our publishing endeavor would need a solid group of core readers; I'd always envisioned 1000 as a good place to start. Considering the wealth of folk out there who read comics and/or graphic novels (including our target demographic of young readers), that number should be easily attainable.

The challenge is to find these readers. With clever promotion and a gradual grassroots build up of a fan base/readership, I can see us achieving those numbers, and hopefully a lot more.

Kickstarter was a good experience so far. I'd assumed it would facilitate our dream, but the truth is hard work and perseverence are what's required.

And we've got that in spades, True Believers! (sorry Stan!)

Friday, February 28, 2014

Almost over

We're winding down to the end of our campaign, and it doesn't look good for success. Folk would argue that I haven't harassed every single person I could have, nor taken advantage of services for promotion; my answer would be that for the amount Kickstarter takes from each successful project, it doesn't make much sense to do all the work myself.

In the end, I was curious about it, and am glad to have tried it. Like everything, the system has its flaws and it's difficult for a small fish to compete against whales.  Regardless, I don't regret our efforts, and look forward to Plan B (which we're still mulling).

I never assumed self-publishing would be easy, and nothing good is ever achieved without sweat!