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

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Is blogger dead?

Just curious if blogger is dead? I know Facebook seems to be where everyone pushes their work and pretty much where their comments are located.

Just wondering if I am wasting my time trying to get this blog going again or if I need to go to Wordpress and start a new one.

Any comment on this would be appreciated.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Yesterday I turned 46. Ugh

So yesterday was my birthday, and like most of my birthdays, this one was another dud. My wife, bless her hearth, tried so hard to make it right, but the famous Caligan curse could not be beaten. She bought me a gift that she thought I would really love, and I did love, but the issue was that I already had what she had given me.

This of course made her upset and she pretty much cried all day because she knows how things are going with me now and wanted so badly to change reality.

Also, hers, and my brother, are the only two gifts I got for my birthday. My brother gave me money to go out which we did not do because the kids had karate. I am sure we will probably try and go out this weekend but who knows. My luck just isn't pushing for us to have any success in that market.

We did get some good news today. My wife was worried about a medical situation with her and it came back today that she is fine. While waiting in the doctor's lobby I made a deal with God. He can take me and I would not put up a fight or argue or be bitter as long as she was OK. My kids need her a lot more then they need me. She is so important to our family. So we will see how that all works out.

The only thing right in this world I ever did was marry Kelly. Everything else I have put my hands on has been a failure. I sure don't deserve the love that she freely gives and I sure don't give her the things that she deserves. It makes me very sad to know that I can't provide for her the things that she desires. I could careless about me but her, and my kids, have to drive around in a van that is all busted up and not safe. They all have to live on top of each other due to our living conditions and we have to live off of government help just get food. It is not a very good thing and I really have no way out of it due to my condition from the war. But hey they are going to give us a total of $587 a month to live off of and folks wonder why I am pissed.

I expect this from an evil government that could careless about the bodies they send off to war but I am beyond let down with God. He was suppose to always be my provider and we don't even have a vehicle that is safe to drive and we drive all the time. I mean me and my dad have doctor's appointments about twice a week and the drive is about an hour away. I don't think it is unreasonable for me to ask God to provide a safe newer vehicle for us. Not to mention I hate depending on the government for anything. They are horrible and could careless about any of us.

Maybe I am having a mid-life crisis. I don't know. I don't see away out of this situation and I sure don't see anything good coming our way. So happy 46th birthday to me. Ya (sarcasm).

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Another Father's day in the books

Today was Father's day. Can't say I was overly thrilled with celebrating the holiday. Granted my dad is still with us at 68 but I am not feeling to fatherly at the moment with my own kids.

Then of course the one movie I wanted to see for my Father's day present isn't in theaters anymore. I am a huge King Arthur fan and really wanted to go see it with the wife but of course there is only one showing and it is at 10:20 at night. No way with the kids that we can make something like that happen. Just another fine example of how things work out for me. Didn't have the money to see it when it first come out and now that I can see it then it is gone. SMH

Again, I know some of this sounds petty, and it is, until it has happened to you a million freaking times in your life. It is almost like you can see the finish line but that one person gets there just ahead of you and then the race no longer matters because you lost.  Or you really wanted that orange soda and the person in front of you just bought the last one right before your eyes.

I am tired though. So tired. I have nothing left in the tank and life really has no type of value except to make it through to the next day. There are times I feel bad, as a father, that I brought kids into this world. Whatever pain comes on them I am partly to blame for because it was half my decision to have them. Maybe they can have better lives then I have had and that is the dream of every parent but I just don't see this world getting any better any time soon. I could be wrong though and I usually am.

So here is to another Father's day. Made another day. We will see how tomorrow holds up.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Ends' journey

The last couple of weeks I have really taken stock in who I am, where I am, and how I have gotten here.

I shut down Alpha Dog Studios about two weeks ago and it closed a nine year journey that led me to know where but pain. The odd thing is with this company was that I never wanted it in the first place. I had several friends who wanted to have a studio and asked me to make it happen. So I did. I put 100% into the company and it failed horribly. I lost more money then I care to even talk about. I tried to do everything right with this company. We paid talent. We kept our deadlines and I promoted the crap out of all of it and it still failed. We just did not have the money to really push the products and we did too many products at once.

I turn 46 in 5 days and I have nothing to show for my 20 some odd years of doing comics. What a freaking waste. Now with my health I am not in a position to try and "start" something new with my life. Nor do I have a desire to do so. I feel like I really put my all in and trusted God with this last endeavor and there was just no kind of payoff. If anything it put me in a worse position then I started in.

If you can tell I am not really digging life right now. I just don't think it really has a lot of value to it. We live for such a short amount and then leave this realm and really are forgotten. I mean even folks that do a lot with what they have are forgotten. Very rarely do you have individuals that make such a mark that they are remembered years after their passing. Just sad. What is the freaking point of it all? We can change others' life but even that is limited. After that person passes then your impact is gone. You have children but they grow up and get busy with their lives and of course then die. It seems very futile to me.

Yes the time here is suppose to be about loving God but if the same thing happens when we pass, as long as we know Jesus, then what is the point of being here? I mean for me; my life has been nothing but crap. One crapfest after another. No real learning. Maybe that is on me but again what good is learning if it dies with you?

These are the things going through my head because of so many failures in my life. The one thing I can actually say I was good at was failing. You can paint it how ever you like but sooner or later the failures start to define who you are. You can't fight it. I never wanted to be one of those folks that were just stumbling through life working some crappy job just to pay the bills and barely getting by and lucky me, I am not one of those folks. I am worse. I can't even hold a freaking job anymore due to my health and basically have to depend on a country that could give two craps about me or what they did to me. Where is the justice in that? Where is God?

Don't know what is ahead of me in life but I can say that I have no motivation to do anything anymore. Just don't see the value in any of it. I mean you can still bust your butt and still not have enough money to pay the bills. So sick of begging and depending on others. God is suppose to help me when I can't help myself but I feel forsaken by Him and prayer sure hasn't worked for me and my family. I almost feel cursed. If it can go wrong; it does go wrong and that is not me exaggerating.

So with this chapter closing let us see what other great failure awaits me. SMH

Thursday, June 08, 2017

When you realize that you are the Ben Affleck character and not Will.

The last couple of post have been pretty bad and gloomy but the fact is that is just where my life is and really has always been. I have just fought it for 46 years and I am tired of the fight. One day you wake up and realize that you are not Will Hunting, from Good Will Hunting, but instead you are Chuckie.

Chuckie is the character that tells Will to leave and to never look back because the fact is that there is nothing for Will in this town but death. Chuckie understands that he is never going to be able to get out. He is not blessed enough to leave this hell. So all he can do for his friend is tell him to leave and to never look back because he understands that success will not be found here. You see he knows this but he has no way of escape himself. He accepts his role as a nothing. That he has no real importance in the world.

This is where I am. This is something I have known for a while but have always tried to fight it. I mean I could not tell you how many artist have left me to find huge success. If I listed them all your mouths would probably drop. I have also always been friends with the successful ones yet never really found my own success. I have always been the guy who knows the guy but never the guy.

This wears on you after a while. You really get tired of seeing success all around you and none for you. I never had an issue with putting in the work. I have put my time in and hard work but God has just not seen fit for me to raise from a level of mediocrity. Nor has God ever made anything easy for me. It has always been the hard way.

I know you may think I am exaggerating but anyone that has been around me for more then a month knows the crazies things happen to me. Like two days ago we were taking the kids to Karate class and I wanted a jar of homemade pickles from a fresh produce market on our way to class. I have talked and tried to get these freaking pickles for days now. We get there and the shop is open. My wife goes in to get them. Well, five minutes later my wife comes out with no pickles. Seems the lady who is watching the shop for the owner doesn't know how to work the debit card reader. So I did not get my pickles.

Now, that is just something recent. I could go on and on how getting something normal like pickles turns into a freaking quest. It is the dumbest thing ever and most folks will not believe it until they see the black cloud, which is my life, at work. It is pure evil and I must point out to that this is something God has allowed to happen to me over and over with no protection.

It is as it states in the bible. 2 Tim 2:20 "But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and of silver, but also of wood and of earth; and some to honour, and some to dishonour."

You see you have no say so what you were born for in this world. None. And the kicker is that God expects you to be joyful about it. So if you are made for a crappy life then you need to still smile and say thank you. I don't really get this at all. Sorry. This part of scripture shows that really hard work has nothing to do with anything. You are going to be in the station God put you no matter what. Your success is not based on your actions. We see this in proverbs when we are told that men plan their trips but God places their footsteps.

Having a free will and being able to change anything is falsehood and a lie. You are who you are and the fact is most of us are Chuckies and it sucks. 

Wish I could be more positive about it but the realization that you really have no real value in this world is a tough pill to swallow. 

So I guess accepting the idea of being Chuckie is the first step in understanding your life of mediocrity. Yay. SMH What a suckie life. 

Tuesday, June 06, 2017

Blah. Another day

Not really much to talk about today. Still in a very foul mood. Just don't see a reason for life and this is not some suicide nonsense. I am just tired of the daily pain and the illusion that things can get better when reality is that it is only going to get worse.

I do feel at times that if this stuff would just go ahead and take me that my wife could at least find and marry someone that could provide for her instead of having to suffer along with me. The fact I make someone I love life's suck due to my physical and mental state makes things even worse.

I don't find enjoyment in anything anymore. I feel abandoned by God and don't feel as if Scripture is actually doing what is promised to us.
Mark 11:24 "Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them."

This is just one of many verses that talk about God giving you the desires of your heart. Of course when you bring this up to other Christians they always say the same thing "In God's timing" or "Your faith was not strong enough" or "It wasn't God's will for you".

Now the piece of scripture I posted doesn't acknowledge any of those lame excuses. It is very clear and this is not the only piece of scripture that says this.

See my issue is that if I can't trust this piece of scripture then how can I trust any of it? And understand for me it isn't just about my prayers not being answered. I look around and see so many Christians suffering and living as the poor. And yes I know our real treasure is in heaven but that doesn't mean that you can't be blessed here too. I know plenty of folks that have it both ways. 

Of course then you have to remember the piece of scripture that tells us that some are made for great things while others are made for trash. 

It is a hard pill to swallow to know that you were made for nothing more then to be a beggar and borrower. Especially when you had dreams. Dreams that aren't going to come true because the bible also tells us that a man can plan his route but God places his footsteps. So no matter what plans I make I am nothing more then a pawn or action figure that God does with what He desires. 

The other kicker is too that if I don't get in line and find joy with how God treats me then off to hell I go. I mean how is living for 70 years then spending all eternity in hell justice? And God is a God of justice. I mean even in our prison system we have parole and a limit for doing certain crimes. I do know that denying Christ is a sever crime but what is the purpose of making me just to turn around and demand I give my life back to you or I go burn in hell? These kind of things have always bothered me and this is not about being "fair" but about being just. 

But like I said you don't really have a choice in anything. It is an illusion of choice. I mean a real choice would have been 1) you can die and go to heaven to be with God or 2) you can go to paradise where there is no sin.  That choice would show more about whether or not someone actually loves God. Although the bible does say to be saved out of fear too. 

This is why I just don't care anymore. What is the actual point? Nothing you do here is really going to be remembered. And unless you get in line then you go to hell. I just can't take the empty promises anymore and I am tired of living a crappy life and most folks that know me know that my life has not been the greatest. I mean my hope was just maybe, just maybe my last part of my life would be a good one but God just would not give me that either. For whatever reason He wants my entire life to suck and be filled with pain. Not sure what I did to deserve this crap but again what can you do? You can't fight God.

So really the only left is to sit here and wait for death and pray that maybe it will come without pain but nothing comes easy or blessed for me. 

Sunday, June 04, 2017

"Zuzu's petals" my butt

I know this may seem to be a weird topic to talk about because it isn't Christmas but if you knew anything about the real me and how my life was going then it probably would not seem so weird.

I have always hated the movie "It's a Wonderful Life". My wife actually has a great uncle that plays one of the main parts in the film. He is the one that makes the mule sounds and is really rich from selling plastic or some nonsense. Needless to say that every freaking Christmas my wife has to watch this horrid movie.

Now some of you may be scratching your head, and going, what the freak I thought everyone loved this movie. You would be wrong. George Bailey is by far the most screwed human being in the world. I mean this guy keeps trying to do what is right and just keeps getting screwed. A lot of times I can relate to the guy.

So, George is so loved that no one in that freaking town gave two craps about him until he was about to go to jail. I mean even God sent a second rate angel want to be to try and bail him out. I mean the guy was not even worthy enough to God to get a real angel. Then of course the dude never gets his dreams. Never. Not once did he get to see the world or get out of that hellhole of a town. Then to at the first sign of trouble the whole town comes screaming for their money from him. Yeah they loved him. I mean this whole movie is just a load of crap.

Then of course at the end you see the point is that he touched so many lives and changed them for the positive and that is what was important. Except of course he never got any of his dreams. Never got to see the world. Yet somehow he was suppose to just accept his role and even though he never got anything he wanted; he was suppose to be happy. SMH

I know the point of life is not about getting things or always getting your dreams but the idea that you never get your dreams but you are still suppose to be happy because of all the lives you touched is just worthless to me. I mean maybe it is a little selfish but if you never have a chance to live for you at some point and all you get is negative, like poor George, and myself, then life isn't wonderful. I am no more then a glorified stepping stone for others success or happiness. What the freak?

Sorry for this kind of rant but I really needed to get it off my chest and due to the fact that this is my only internet spot anymore then odds are this is where I will post most every thing.