Tuesday, July 25, 2017

To many media outlets.....ugh

I am not sure where folks find the time to fill out posts on all these media outlets. I mean you have blogger, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Wordpress just to name a few. There is no way you can update these things on a regular bases and still be creative.

If there is a way please let me know. I pretty much quit Facebook and twitter due to all the left wing nonsense. Tired of everyone attacking others because you don't agree with them. This is not saying all left wing folks did this but there was a high majority of them that did and no I am not a right wing person. I am conservative because I am a Christian but Jesus only served one person in power and that is God. My home is not on this world and everyday it becomes more apparent.

Most folks when you deal with them one on one are pretty nice folks but when you get a group together then it gets ugly.

For the record I believe God allows all of us to choose the life we want for ourselves. This means you can live a sinful life if you desire but just don't think that there aren't consequences to our choices. Even when you choose to do what God wants doesn't mean that hard times are not coming. That is the cost of living in a sinful world.

Now what I will not stand for is someone trying to tell, or teach, my kids that certain things are acceptable that are not acceptable. If that is the life you chose then so be it but don't think that everyone else has to go hand in hand with you down that road.

As Christians we need to learn to love folks where they are at. We were all there at some point in our lives. I mean I am still pretty sinful even though I try not to be but the difference is that I don't make excuses for my sin nor do I mask it in a veil of "pride". Which by the way is the sign of Satan. I mean that is his sin.

Not really sure why I went this route with this post. I mean originally it was just on how tough it is to manage all the media outlets. It is a job just to sit down and do those during the week.

Any suggestions on how to milk these outlets for the most you can; please leave it in the comments. I could use the help. Thanks.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Some of my favorite indy companies.

Just wanted to make a list of some of the books I am reading and enjoying. Trying to push the indy guys that deserve some love. I think if you pick up their books you will like them.

The first company is "Kid Comics". The titles I have read are Dragonfly, Power Knights and Purge. They have one more title but it has a mature label on it so I did not get it.
I would say the company as a whole is easily a A- and I would give them a A+, but having to wait on titles kind of sucks. Not that they can really do much about it. It is just my love for the books and wanting to see more.
I will break down the books themselves and give you an idea of what I thought of them.
I have read the first three issues and it is a good book. The art is nice and the character is interesting. My only complaint with it is that I have read three issues and the main hero has yet to really get in his costume. The pacing may be moving just a little slow for my taste but if you like your super hero stuff with espionage and aliens then this book will be right up your alley. I would give it a solid B.
You can order your copies here:  Dragonfly comic
Power Knights:
I have read the first two issues of this book and it is also a top quality book. The book centers around brothers and aliens that have taken refuge on our planet. The aliens are the deadliest in the universe and someone is trying to activate them again for service. Now, the third issue is to be out soon and I can't wait. Again, if you like super heroes with a touch of Sci-fi thrown in then this book is for you. I would give it a -A.  You can order it here:  Power Knights
This is the final book of the companies that I have read. Now, this book is a reboot from an old indy book that was done back in the 90's. The creator is one of our local guys and I have known him for years. This reboot is pretty amazing. The art on it is top notch. I just don't see how you can not like it. The writing and the characters are very interesting. It is a strong super hero title that deserves a look. I would give it a solid A. You can order it here:  Purge

The next company is "Be Amazed Studios".  Be Amazed has three titles I have read and they are: Mutant Chasers, Earth Outlaws and Galactic Bounty Hunters. The company is hard at work with some other titles too but I am not sure exactly what they are about. As a whole I would give the company a solid A, like Kid Comics, but they have not produced as much work as Kid comics has in their time being a publishing company. I would like to see a little more production out of them and not such a long time between books.
It is really hard to go over each book just due to the fact there is only one issue of each done. So you are just introducing all the titles that I mentioned. I would recommend picking them up though and giving them a chance. I loved them. I just want more.
Here is a link where you can buy them: Be Amazed Studios

That is only a couple of companies that are doing a lot of cool things. Maybe I will do another one later mentioning some more indy books. If it is something you are interested in. Now go out and support some indy books.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

My view on comic art today

It has been a while since I posted up anything. Just really haven't had much to talk about or share. I guess I could review some of the movies I have seen or some blu-rays that I am pretty disappointed with but not sure my opinion on these things really matter. Not that my opinion on comic art really means a whole lot either but at least it is something I have a little experience with doing.

In my humble opinion I think today's comic art is way too polished. I see a lot of artist really roughing the art out to the point where it grasps me more as commercial art then an actual art form. In no way shape or form am I saying there aren't great artist out there today. There are a ton of them and they are beyond talented and skilled. I just feel that comic art has become so polished and refined that you lose the artist in it.

I look back at artist like Micheal Golden, Art Adams, Mcfarlane, Liefeld, Lee, and just about any artist that actually has name recognition, and they had flare in their art. Most still do. They do not polish the work to the point where it looks like something that no longer has a life. Art is an extension of one's self. Yet in books today it is hard for me to tell who is doing what and what artist is on what book.

Now like anything there is exceptions to what I am saying. So don't get your panties in a bind. I am not saying I don't like the artist of today. I think most of them are way too talented to get the scraps they are getting paid by the comic industry. I mean they are probably some of the greatest artist alive but really don't get that credit. I just think comic art today has lost the heart it use to have. Could be due to some of the writing too. Without a great story art can suffer and mixing political views with comic art can really just make you dislike something that doesn't really deserve it.

I would love to see more artist being able to just do what they want on books. Seeing them grow and learning from them as they learn. That was the enjoyment I got out of comics. These is probably why I enjoy indy books more now then mainstream. The indy guys do it with heart. Yeah, it may not be as polished but that is part of the joy in it. These guys and gals are doing it because they love it and they have a story to tell.

So, if you are an artist, please don't let your art be pigeon holed due to try to find a job. In the long run it will hurt you because you will not grow and you fall victim to the hundreds and hundreds of unknown artist that exist in these companies Rolodex. Hey that is just my opinion though.

Sunday, July 02, 2017

Creating something of value-part 3

The main reason I posted the first two parts was to get us to this part. This part on the subject is based on all my years of experience. This is my process. This doesn't mean that this is the definitive way to create something that has value to it. You will find out that this is just my way of learning from my mistakes and trying to grow from them. So lets go.

First off, we need to understand what does "value" actually mean? The dictionary's definition of it is:
  1. 1:  the monetary worth of something :  market price
  2. 2:  a fair return or equivalent in goods, services, or money for something exchanged
  3. 3:  relative worth, utility, or importance a good value at the price the value of base stealing in baseball had nothing of value to say
  4. 4:  something (such as a principle or quality) intrinsically valuable or desirablesought material values instead of human values — W. H. Jones
  5. 5:  a numerical quantity that is assigned or is determined by calculation or measurement let x take on positive values value for the age of the earth
  6. 6:  the relative duration of a musical note
  7. 7a :  relative lightness or darkness of a color :  luminosityb :  the relation of one part in a picture to another with respect to lightness and darkness
  8. Now, reading the definition can get us going in the right direction. Personally, I think, value to me can also mean anything that gives you enjoyment. So, in the end, you are going to have to figure out what it means to you and what it will take for you to reach the level in your work that is going to bring you to that level.
  9. Secondly, prepare for mistakes. I know some folks may put this as one of the last steps because with the right preparation you should not make any mistakes, but the truth is that when you work in any type of entertainment industry then you are going to have unforeseen problems. Somethings you just can't prepare for such as fans reaction to what you are making. So go into it knowing you are going to make some mistakes and that is fine because the mistakes don't define us but what we do after them is what defines us. Use your mistakes to learn and grow. Look at mistakes as a positive. You can never improve if you don't make mistakes. It is a very important part of the process. The process that will give you more than the successful parts will in my opinion. 
  10. Thirdly, what is your purpose in creating? Now, you can have more then just one reason for wanting to create something but you really need to be honest with yourself here because it will help you the most with creating. Now, if you create something with a certain purpose and it doesn't reach other reasons, like making money, then don't get upset. You are the one that set the value for your creation. If your value is just to create, and you do just that, then don't get upset if you don't have success in other areas. This isn't saying that you will not have success in other sections of value but if you set your goal on one thing and don't achieve another then there is nothing wrong with that and should not be seen as a negative.
  11. Fourthly, once you figure out the purpose then it will be easier to figure out what you should create. If you want to do a super hero book can be a great vehicle for teaching moral lessons and entertainment. Apocalyptic books can be a great vehicle for telling lessons of warning. On and on. You will just have to figure out what you are trying to convey to others.
  12. Next, focus on production. In comics there are so many different ways of doing this that I am not going to focus on them here. Maybe, if someone wants me too, I will do a later blog telling of my process of production and what I consider to be major points of interest. 
  13. Next is marketing. This is still something I am learning. I use to feel that if you created a great product that they would find you but that isn't the truth. That is probably the farthest thing from the truth. What I have noticed is that you have to be a salesman all the time. This is hard for me because I just don't like shoving my product on people and due to the fact I don't do that makes me lose to those that do. It is a tough truth but the truth. You have to understand how to use the tools available like Facebook, Twitter and instagram. Learn to avoid landmines like politics and personal religious beliefs. Some folks will not care but others will go out of their way to make sure you fail. 
  14. Lastly, shipping the product. Make sure you spend the time to get your product to those that bought it. Sounds simple but I failed horribly with my Kickstarter I did. It just became way to overwhelming and my health made it extremely hard to meet this part. Nothing kills a business faster then when you can't deliver what you promise. 
  15. So, there you have a short overview of my thoughts on the subject. There is plenty on here that I could expand on and if you have any questions please feel free to ask. I hope this helped. 

Friday, June 30, 2017

Creating something of value-part 2

Now to catch up a little on more recent events of my adventures into creating comics and IPs.

I left comics for about four years. I was pursuing a career as a pastor and needless to say that did not work out due to my divorce. This kind of threw me for a reel and I did not know what I was going to do with my life.

So, I go back into art. It was not something that I had wanted to get back into but it seemed to be the only door that was open to me at the time. When I first got back in I did not do a lot of creator owned stuff. I worked on more freelance work for companies like Upperdeck, Marvel and Markosia. I also had a ton of commission work at the time that just kept me way too busy.

In '07 I got the idea to do an anthology book with a group of very talented deviant art artist. The book would be called "Cereal and Pajamas". The book came out through APE Entertainment and sold pretty. Although we never saw a dime from it. Most the artist from that book went on to do a lot of work for different companies like Marvel, Udon, and IDW. I mean the talent was very heavy in that book. I was by far the weakest of the group.

Then in '08 I was approached by two friends who wanted me to start a studio that would also be a small publishing company. This company would be "Alpha Dog Studios". I spent 9 years building the company with these guys. This is where I did most of my creator owned work. Alpha Dog would produce Grimm, Gun Ghoul, Techlore, Twilight Run, The Dog Pound anthology, and two art books.

Being out of the creator owned game for so long I lost my reputation and getting back in was not a very fun experience for me. It had changed a lot. Many of the indy creators now were more like clicks in high school. Originally indy creators really stuck together and helped each other. That was not really the case with how it is now. Which is sad because most indy press folks have it tough to begin with and they really need others to help.

Just in the last two months I decided to shut Alpha Dog Studios down. It was just too much work for me to maintain and it was something that I never really wanted to start in the first place. I did it because my friends wanted it. I tried to make the best of it but for some unknown reason to me the studio stuff never really took off. We had some fan support but not really enough to warrant us producing books and especially paying for folks to work on our titles. I lost way too much money in those 9 years. No way I am ever going back to that type of stuff. If I can't do it myself or I don't have a desire to do it myself then it will never get done.

Now, I still have somethings going on from the Alpha Dog days. Randy Green, myself, and Bat Hilliard are working on a 36 page crossover book with Gun Ghoul and Cherry Bomb. Those seem to be the most popular characters from the Alpha Dog publishing. The issue though, if you read some of my earlier post about Gun Ghoul, it is a character that I never had a desire to work on. Gun Ghoul was a character that fans from deviant art pushed me to do. In saying that though I understand the business end of the industry and that is sometimes you have to do what the fans want even when you don't really want too. You owe the fans that much for supporting you and your work.

So where does that leave me now? I am not sure. My art has really gone down hill with my health. I can't half look at the work I have done in the last two or so years. It makes me very sad. I either have to really push myself to get better or just stop drawing. I know whatever I do will be creator owned stuff. That is who I am. That is who I always wanted to be when I first started this journey way back in '95. That will never change but my process has to change because it isn't bringing any type of true success.

That is what we will cover tomorrow. The process into creating something of value. Hope you stick around for it.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Creating something of value-Part 1

When I first got into the comic industry way back in 1995 my goal was to create my own characters and books. I was not an artist that wanted to ever do Marvel or DC characters at all. I loved them but never really wanted to work on them. I felt the desire to do my thing. This desire was probably driven by the fact that Image Comics had just begun and I loved everything they did. It was like a breath of fresh air.

My first book was called "Grimm". It was a super hero book based on half alien half human bounty hunter of sorts. Way before Marvel's "Civil War" I had created my universe where the government made super heroes register and most heroes had to work for government contractors, or the government, if they wanted to use their powers. Now those that did not register were hunted down by characters like "Damion Grimm".  The book had been picked up by a company called "Samson Comics" who was affiliated with Image Comics at the time. Needless to say, like many books back then, the company went under and the original story done by some great and talented artist was never seen. A very sad thing because the book was before its time in the industry. 

Now the "Grimm" project has been rebooted several times and just never has been able to gain momentum and now the concept seems a little dated because the subject matter has been covered. I still love book, and always will, because it was my first project and the characters are very dear to me. Whether or not I can bring a new fresh take on it, or not, is still something I will have to figure out. 

My second project was called "Techlore". This was a book I created in the hopes that I would have a creation that I could pretty much do whatever I wanted to do in it. The book is set in the future where magic and mythical characters have been released back into our world but due to how they were released man could only access magic now through technology. This book starred a female lead who was a bounty hunter, see a trend here, who was tasked with saving a young boy from a group of Dark Elves who desired to use him to send humans into the Avalon Realm in which they had been banished to for so many years. This book was picked up by "Blindwolf Comics" which was run by Franco, who is a writer for DC comics, and other titles, he really went on to do some big things, but the book was published with a mini ashcan but did not go on beyond that until just recently when I published it with "Alpha Dog Studios". 

The reaction to the book was not as great as I had hoped. I think it is a book that can do some great things but I think the female lead in comic books has come to an end. Just way too many female leads. So if I ever do anything else with the book I will have to change the direction and give it a different lead. Right now I just have no desire to do anything with it. Pushing it for so long, since 1997, has just worn me out and given me a bad taste for the product. 

This is the end of part 1. A little of my background in what I have created. Tomorrow I will go over my later years creating and on Saturday try and give some points on what I think helps you create something of value and not just a splash in the pan. 

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Gun Ghoul: The creation that irritates me.

So way back in '08 I posted up a simple warm up sketch that would haunt me until this day. During my warm ups I doodled out my character which is now known as "Gun Ghoul".

The reaction to this character blew me away. It was something that I did not put any kind of thought in and really had no idea who or what the character actually was at the time.

I was hounded to do something with the character by fans on deviant art and decided to do a mini series with the character. At this point I still had no idea who or what the character was or is. I basically let the story tell itself and I fleshed it out as we did the mini series. The character turned into a mix of The Crow and Ghost Rider with a dash of Grifter.

Looking back I am pretty proud as to how the whole mini series turned out considering I had no clue what the story was or how to tell it. The story itself is not what irritates me about the creation; it is the design.

Ever since I did that design back in '08 folks have ripped it off. I mean it is everywhere and the kicker is that most folks don't understand that I have had this character now for almost ten years. So the designs coming out makes it look like I ripped them off due to the fact that most the designs are coming from big companies like Warner Bros. animation and the Overwatch video game. It drives me crazy. Plus, there are so many indy comic guys that flat out stole the design too. One in particular is a character called "Tool Boi". I think that is the name of it.  And I can't tell you how many folks have ripped off my collar design and added it to their characters.

Now I am not saying my character is all that original in design. It borrows heavily from an anime called "Trigun" but my take from that design was just accidental. I never noticed how much I took from it until years later.

To this day I am bombarded with folks wanting me to continue the "Gun Ghoul" story but the design and story have really caused me to shy away from doing anymore of the series. This is mainly due to the fact that many believe that I am the one copying my design from all these others and I just don't like that as an artist.

This leaves me in weird position because the book could be successful. It has a fan base but I just can't get over the fact that it irritates me now and I don't really know how or what to do about it.

So we will see I guess. I tried to redesign the character a couple times but nothing really comes close to the first design. It would be nice if lightning would strike twice. That would make things so much easier. LOL