Indie Cover Spotlight: ESPers #3 (vol. 1)

This week I’m going with a very narrow theme, namely the many incarnations of another one of my all time favorite series: ESPers.

ESPers was created by James D. Hudnall, and the first story arc was illustrated by David Lloyd. It started out as a mini-series from Eclipse Comics in 1986. Oh, and that awesome cover is by the one and only Brian Bolland! And as I look back on it now, over 25 years later, it warms my heart to know that neither one of the dictators depicted on those posters in the background are with us anymore.

As you might have guessed from the cover image, the series was one of the early ones to explore the “what if people in the real world had super powers” motif. In this case, all the powers are manifestations of psychic abilities. Several secret cabals, locked in a perpetual shadow war with each other, have conspired to keep this knowledge from the general population, and the central characters of the series are brought together under duress and manipulation. Hudnall’s scripting and characterization was very tight, and he wove in a lot of real world politics into the series. If you can find the back issues, I highly recommend them.

Process: Ulises Farinas

I haven’t posted a process link in a while, so I figured we are due. This time around, it’s artist Ulises Farinas, as he goes thorough a detailed step-by-step process of how he created his cover for Zupi magazine. From this:

to this:

He takes you through all the stages, from finding photo references, to drawing the perspective lines, to pencils and inks, and finally colors via Photoshop (done on a Wacom Cintiq). Pretty cool stuff.

Indie Cover Spotlight: Alien Worlds #1

We conclude “alien week” with the cover to Alien Worlds #1:

Painted by Joe Chiodo, and published in 1982 by Pacific Comics, this was an anthology of science fiction and fantasy stories that featured the works of Bruce Jones, Al Williamson, Nestor Redondo, Scott Hampton, Ken Steacy, and a ton of other great talents.

Ohioana Book Festival – Sat. 5/12

The Ohioana Book Festival is a celebration of Ohio-based authors, and takes place Saturday, May 12, from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the Fort Hayes Metropolitan Education Center. This is the 6th year for the event, and it will feature nearly 100 authors covering a variety of genres, across both fiction and non-fiction. There will be live music, food carts, exhibits, and author readings. You can meet your favorite writers, get your books autographed, and chat with them in an informal atmosphere.

And best of all, it’s free to attend, and parking is free as well.

The 2012 Featured Authors are:

Tom Batiuk
Jeni Britton Bauer
Cinda Williams Chima
Casey Daniels
Nancy Petro
Donald Ray Pollock
Emilie Richards
Les Roberts
Michael J. Rosen
Robin Yocum

I’ll be one of the guests at the festival, and I’m also participating in a panel at 2:15 pm titled “Young Adult Fiction – For Tweens & Teens.” There will be a ton of other panels, workshops, and author readings as well. Plus, children’s activities. Check out the website for all the details.

Hope to see some of you there.

Comic creator quote of the day: Mark Waid

“After all, a question mark looks an awful lot like a hook…” —Mark Waid

From a post about how to end each installment of a serialized short form digital comic. Waid’s advice: “end each installment by asking a question.”

Not necessarily literally, of course. Go read the short article, it’s a good one for writers.

Indie Cover Spotlight: Alien Legion #4

Alien week continues for this feature, with today’s spotlight on another one of my all-time favorite series, Alien Legion:

And yes, I’m counting Marvel’s Epic Comics imprint as indie!

This cover is by Frank Cirocco, and features the serpentine alien commander, Sarigar. The series was created by Carl Potts, Alan Zelenetz, and Frank Cirocco, with the high concept basically being “French Foreign Legion in space.”

Indie Cover Spotlight: Aliens #2 (vol. 2)

I’m having fun with the “theme” weeks for this feature, so this week I’m picking the theme of “alien.” To start the week off, here’s a look at the cover of Aliens #2 (vol. 2):

After the huge success of their 1988 Aliens mini-series in black and white, Dark Horse Comics followed up with a full color mini-series in 1989. This time, the book was airbrushed by Denis Beauvais, who I knew from his many covers for Dragon magazine, as well as his indie comic Warlock 5. Mark Verheiden wrote the series, and went on to do a lot of genre TV work, including the long-running Smallville TV series.

S.P.A.C.E. 2012 is a wrap

The 13th annual Small Press and Alternative Comics Expo (S.P.A.C.E.) has come and gone. As always, it was a fun show, especially being tabled next to my fellow PANEListas Tom Williams, Brent Bowman, Tony Goins, Craig Bogart, and Matt Kish. The only downside this year was that I was fighting a nasty cold, which had me stuffed up, tired, and in a haze the whole weekend. Still, I tried my best to smile for this picture, taken by another PANEL member who was hanging out with us at the show, Ross Hardy:

Overall, I’d say that each year the level of craft I saw at the other tables keeps improving. There were several gorgeous books I spotted, with silk-screened covers or wood block prints. True objects of art, not just quickie photocopied zines. Not that there’s anything wrong with the latter, though. After all, that’s what this show is all about: DIY comix, in whatever shape or form you’d like to make them. Unfortunately, I couldn’t afford to buy every book and print I liked, but I did manage to snag a couple of items.

It was also good to see John G. make the trip down from Cleveland. I traded him one of our PANEL anthologies for his latest, a nifty color comic titled The Lake Erie Monster.

I did pick up a few other comics, which I’ll post about later. But for now, I wanted to share some of the artwork I acquired at the show. First up, a print by the talented Marnie Galloway:

And an original piece of art from Salim Cortes:

I also snagged a couple of original sketches: a Matt Smith Doctor Who illustration from partner-in-crime Brent Bowman, a gift for my daughter:

…and a Matt Kish original, related to a Heart of Darkness project he’s working on:

Incidentally, if you’d like to see some great pictures from the show, check out this Facebook gallery from Columbus’ own Alexandra Kelley Fox.

Also, here’s another one from Ross Hardy.

Comic Biz quote of the day

“Hard to name another entertainment industry where people would happily stab the content creator in the neck out of support for a label.” –Brian Wood

From the comments section of this post on The Beat about writer Chris Roberson ending his work relationship with DC Comics. Without going into too much detail, I’d say this other great quote, from artist Cameron Stewart, pretty much sums up my thoughts on the original matter:

“Once again, I see no harm or foul on either side here – a guy made a calm and reasoned decision to part with a company he no longer felt comfortable working with, and said company responded by cancelling the remainder of the work they were doing. Unsurprising and perfectly reasonable.”

However, I post the Brian Wood quote above because having recently experienced some of that fanboy rage myself, I can attest to how rabid certain folks are with defending their superhero icons, even when responding to a calm, rational, non-confrontational opinion.

Indie Cover Spotlight: Buce ‘N Gar #2

I’ll conclude my trip down R.A.K. Graphics memory lane with a book not by the publisher himself, but rather from writer/artist James Groman:

Buce ‘N Gar #2, published in 1986, was a sci-fi adventure starring a couple of decidedly not-human protagonists. The series was never completed, as James went on to a career in the toy design field. But as of a couple of years ago, he had floated the idea of collecting the 3 published issue, plus some additional material, into a complete TPB. Here’s a new-ish illustration from his blog:

Will we ever see it? You never know…

Indie Cover Spotlight: Chakan, The Forever Man #1

Debuting in 1990, Chakan, The Forever Man became R.A.K. Graphics‘ biggest hit. Well, big for a small indie publisher, that is. Once again, the books was created, written, and drawn by Robert A. Kraus.

The story behind Chakan is that he was such an accomplished swordsman that he challenged Death itself to a duel. If he won, he would be granted eternal life. Sure enough, he won, but ended up with one of those Faustian deals. He was granted eternal life, but in return he was compelled to hunt down and eliminate all evil from the world. Only then would he know peace.

But wait, there’s more to this story. Don’t ask me how, but somehow this little black and white indie comic was picked up by Sega and turned into a video game for the Sega Genesis!

Check out a video review of it below.

My “PANEL: Green” story

The 19th volume of the PANEL Collective’s anthology debuts at S.P.A.C.E. this weekend. The theme for this issue is “Green,” and for your $3 you gets 32 pages of pure indie comix.

Here’s a sneak peek at my contribution, a silent story titled “Green to Green,” with art by the incomparable Matt Kish:

And a look at the back cover, depicting the PANEL crew, by my Persia Blues collaborator Brent Bowman: