Friday, February 27, 2015

The neglected audience

When I discovered comic books (many moons ago), I was immediately taken with the format: interesting, dynamic pictures combined with text that told fantastic stories. Rereading some of the comics I first bought back then (now snug in mylar and hidden away in dusty longboxes) I'm struck at the deft skill of creators who were able to create all-ages material.

'All-ages' doesn't mean juvenile, or aimed squarely at kids. What I'm talking about is a story that a younger reader can enjoy at face value; older readers in turn can appreciate subtle nuances crafted into the text and/or art (of a more sophisticated nature). For example, buying Wolfman and Perez's New Teen Titans from a spinner rack, I had a blast with the adventure and cool characters; now, I admire the deft character interplay, and 'mature' themes hinted at in the script and lush art.

This ultimately makes the comic reading experience a deep and rewarding one.  

I find that comics today have lost this simple skill. Most books on the stand are targeted squarely at an older demographic, with graphic portrayals of violence and 'reality' (the supreme irony is that super-heroes are grounded in pure fantasy, and desperately applying the 'real world' to them usually results in an awkward mess). I can't find many books I'd introduce to my kids; even the ones specifically maketed to younger readers are usually lisenced material with uninspired, cookie-cutter stories and artwork seeming traced from episode storyboards.

When I grew up from super-hero comics, I wondered about creating my own. Over the years, many concepts popped into my head, inspired by my fond memories of the bombastic comics I enjoyed as a kid. One of my favorites is Lil' Ninja, my current Kickstarter project.

Inspired by the antics of my own daughter as a toddler, Lily defends her crib against wacky villains using her mysterious ninja skills. The concept is fun, vibrant with color and joy, 'counter-programming' to the dour, depressing fare comic book readers are given monthly. My hope is that my idea sparks enough interest to allow me to continue Lily's adventures; my desire to create comics springs from a well of genuine love of this unique medium, and it saddens me to see the sad state of the industry today.

Please take a moment to check out my Kickstarter, and if you like it, please spread the word. I think there's plenty of room for all-ages books on todays cluttered stands, and I'm extremely proud of the quality of mine.


Monday, February 23, 2015

Starting the second week of Lil' Ninja on Kickstarter, I'm humbled by the generosity of all backers so far. It's awkward asking folk to pledge funds, but I think the end product is appealing and I believe in my lil' superheroine. It's exciting to realize that with a few more pledges, I'll be on my way to producing physical copies of a comic I've been working on for years, with a possibility of follow-up issues.

No rest for the weary! Completing colors on issue 1 remains my goal, as well as deciding which concept to focus on next. Getting Sore Thumb Press books into the 'light' is a challenging but ultimately rewarding 'job'!


Monday, February 16, 2015

Lil' Ninja Kickstarter launch


The latter half of 2014 was dominated by distractions that kept me apart from my self-publishing ventures. I've finally gotten my head screwed properly into place in order to focus on Sore Thumb Press.

To that end, I decided to relaunch a Kickstarter for Lil' Ninja, one of my most developed concepts.

I have high hopes that I can attain my funding goal, and complete a first issue of a title I'm extremely proud of. Once I actually have a physical copy of the debut issue in my hands, I'll feel like things are finally 'real'.



Update next week!


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!