A long time ago I decided that making my own comics was an expensive hobby for me. It was a great relief not stress out about breaking even at cons or making back printing costs. I just don’t worry about it because it’s my expensive hobby, and not a business concern. That said, I am delighted that FOREST sales were almost enough to cover the printing costs for SPACE. I thought it would take us much longer to reach such a point, and it give me high hopes for the future of our anthology series. I’m already getting excited about OCEAN, especially after hearing Leia’s story idea.
Archive for March, 2011
Check out the illustration I drew for a story by Jeff Wells in the upcoming Couscous anthology SPACE.
The idea for this new story I’m working on came from a dream I had in high school, and I wrote it down and elaborated on it a little at the time. Years passed, and I created a spreadsheet of all the unfinished stories I have (ones with at least a page synopsis, not the ones that live in my head unwritten). I asked Elena which ones she wanted dibs on for comics, and this one (I will call it Project C) was one of the first she claimed. But, she warned, there were going to have to be changes. Since the entire story was just a page at the time, I wasn’t worried. I’d made dramatic changes to stories before. I could do it again! But one of the changes she wanted was a shift in tone. See, the original dream was very dark. It opens at night, in the bad part of town. Even during the day, things are gray and dingy. There is danger and angst. It totally appealed to the high school me, but Elena has never liked working on that sort of thing, and I’ve learned that trying to push her in that direction leaves us both unsatisfied with the results. So, Project C must become less grim. I can do that! I immediately crossed out some the harsher elements (threats of death, ancillary forced prostitution, that kind of thing), but things were still leaning towards the dark side. I made some characters younger and changed the opening scene. Still gloomy. Then I had a eureka moment one night when I was obsessively watching a Korean historical drama. In it, the characters were really worried about something that seemed incredibly trivial, but to them it was vitally important. Suddenly it made perfect sense in context with Project C. I decided to change the item of contention to something more symbolic. It’s still of grand importance to the characters, but it also instantly lightens the tone of the story.
As the plot and tone have evolved, so too have the characters, but their development has lagged behind. For me, it’s harder to give up the concept of a character than to change a setting or even the whole trajectory of a plot. Even worse to get rid of a character completely; but that’s what I’m facing now. It occurred to me yesterday as I was brushing my teeth that I might not even need this one character. He’s one of the original characters from the dream, and he’s already undergone massive remodeling. But do I even need him in the story as it has become? He does play some functions in the story, but couldn’t those be taken over by another character? Taking him out would tighten up the plot for sure, but it will be sad to see him go.
I also have to focus on the personality of the main character. When I axed some of the earlier elements, she started to morph in my mind without any prompting. Her transformation made it clear that the romantic element of the story needed to get cut too, since she just isn’t interested in that sort of thing right now. But does she want it ever? Should I introduce the future option of romance? I have a way to do it, but I’m not sure if its warranted. I’m also a little worried that she will come off as too cold and introspective, and that will make the story seem slow. I’ll have to remember to let her smile from time to time. At least I finally realized she needed a best friend. It instantly made her less isolated and more open.
And finally, I’m wondering about gender. Why did I automatically choose to have a Crown Prince? In a fantasy story, why not a Crown Princess? Clearly I’m effected by real world monarchies. And I think to some degree I was holding on to the romance thing even though all the characters were telling me to give it up. But now that I’m considering getting rid of that other character, it might make sense to change the Prince’s rank and create a Walsingham character instead. Oh, I just had a great idea!!
This month’s Skin Horse wallpaper is my tribute to Pogo.
Andrew and I did a two-page spread for The Comic Book Guide to the Mission, edited by the awesome Lauren Davis. Also included: Mario Hernandez, Paul Madonna, an epic search for the perfect Mission taco, and more. Check out the website to get copies of the book and prints of Chuck Whelon’s adorable Where’s Waldo?-like cover.
Jason and I each did a one-page PSA comic for Justin Hall’s amazing Glamazonia! The Uncanny Super-Tranny. Appropriately enough, Jason’s is about anime cosplay and mine is about having inappropriate fantasies about Iron Man. The whole book is flipping hilarious and was a blast to work on. Thanks, Justin!
When not hanging out with the other Couscous folks, I work on King of RPGs with the hard-working artist, Victor Hao. King of RPGs volume 2 is coming out on May 24, and to celebrate, I’m having a contest for the greatest King of RPGs fan art!
In honor of the second violence- and drama-packed volume, I’m giving the following prizes to five lucky winners who submit their fan art to email@example.com by April 15.
(1) GRAND PRIZE: A limited edition, full-color King of RPGs t-shirt drawn and designed by Victor Hao! (Please specify the size of you choice.) Plus a signed and sketched-in copy of King of RPGs volume 2!
(2) 1ST AND 2ND PLACE PRIZES: A signed & sketched-in copy of King of RPGs volume 2!
(2) 3RD AND 4TH PLACE PRIZES: A signed King of RPGs minicomic, plus printouts of “The Siege of Gharazak,” the climactic adventure of Theodore Dudek’s Neo-Pegana Mages & Monsters campaign!
So go ahead and send us your beautiful, beautiful, snarky, twisted, awesome art by April 15! If you haven’t read King of RPGs, you can read about 50 pages of it on the site for starters, and if you’ve already read it and don’t mind spoilers, check out the King of RPGs TV Tropes Page too. See you at Stumptown Comics Fest!
I did a T-shirt illustration for Manboobz, ground zero for mocking online misogyny. In it, I have brought to glorious full-color life a comment about the dangers of women made by some douche on the Internet. Because this is what I do with my time.
A million thanks to JohnnyKaje for turning my illustration into a primo design, and of course to David Futrelle for making Manboobz to entertain me. The T-shirts and related products (this is very nice on an apron) are available at Zazzle.
You don’t have to use stale chips, but this is a really great way to use up that half-bag left over from the party you had that time. It’s the same concept as using stale tortillas for chilequiles. And you can use any filling you want, or make it more like a nacho casserole. Experiment! This version has black beans and sweet potatoes.
1 large sweet potato (or 2 medium or 3 small)
1 8-oz can black beans
Cumin, chili powder, cayenne pepper, garlic powder
About 3 cups stale tortilla chips, crushed
1 10-oz can enchilada sauce, any kind
Shredded cheese to top
Cut sweet potato(oes) into pieces and cook until tender. I like to steam mine, but roasting or boiling are fine too.
Mash the sweet potatoes a little, add 1 can of drained black beans and spices to taste.
Spray the bottom of a casserole dish with non-stick spray and spread out the crushed chips. You want enough chips to cover the bottom at least. More is fine.
Pour on 2/3 of the enchilada sauce and mix until the chips are mostly covered.
Add the filling, patting it out to cover the chips. Pour on the rest of the sauce.
Top with cheese.
Bake at 350 F for about 15 minutes or until heated through and the cheese has melted.
I didn’t take any pictures last night, but here are the leftovers I brought for lunch. I’m eating it with a side of Romain and cabbage salad (aka left over Mardi Gras slaw without the dressing). I like the crunch and texture the raw veggies add. That green thing you see is a jalapeno chip, from a mixed bag of regular, jalapeno and chipotle chips.