Indie Cover Spotlight: Pistolwhip

Jason Hall and Matt Kindt appreciation week rolls on, with a look at their first full-length graphic novel, Pistolwhip:

This crime noir tale set in a nostalgic time period expertly weaves multiple storylines into an enigmatic tapestry of crime, love, regret, and paranoia. Published by Top Shelf Comics in 2001.

Persia Blues – a lettered page, with some missing figures

I haven’t posted a Persia Blues update in a few weeks, so I thought I’d show off some more artwork. This is page 3. Art by my partner in crime Brent Bowman, writing/lettering by yours truly.

Yes, those missing figures could be you!

Which brings us to the unfinished figures on the page. This may not come as a big surprise, but we’re planning on running a Kickstarter campaign soon for the book. Yes, we already have a publisher lined up, and to their credit, they’re actually paying us an advance on the book. But the reality of the current publishing landscape (especially for indie graphics novels not coming out from a major publisher) is that there’s not much money in it. Which means the advance is nowhere near what Brent deserves to be compensated for all the time and effort that goes into drawing a 100+ page book. Hence, Kickstarter.

Anyway, one of the incentives will be the opportunity to have your likeness drawn in the book, as one of the 3 mercenaries in the above scene. And you’ll also appear on the following three pages, in a knock-down, drag-out fight with our protagonists, Minoo and Tyler.

So keep your eyes on this blog, or the new Persia Blues website (still under construction, but almost ready), for details on when the campaign kicks off, and what cool incentives you can score.

Indie Cover Spotlight: Mephisto and the Empty Box

Sorry for the skip week, I had too much to do and not enough hours to do them in. Anyway, we’re back, and this week, it’s Jason Hall and Matt Kindt appreciation week, starting with their earliest collaboration, the one-shot Mephisto and the Empty Box:

This book was my introduction to the Hall/Kindt team, and I was hooked. It’s a metaphysical story of love and magic, with evocative writing and simple, yet expressive art. Published by Top Shelf comics.

Archaia – effective submissions

The Beat has a nice little piece about Archaia’s How to prepare an Effective Submission panel at the recent NYCC. Archaia submissions editor Rebecca Taylor lists what every submission packet should include:

• Cover letter introducing the creative team and mentioning the vision for their book and why Archaia is the right fit for it
• Full title
• Names of the writer and artist
• Short description of the book
• A synopsis about one page in length
• Scripts for the first several pages (optional)
• Character descriptions.
• At least six pages of sequential art (colored and lettered, if possible)
• Your contact information
• Signed terms and conditions, which are available on Archaia’s website

But even better, here’s a link to a blog entry by one of the creators who participated in that panel, Michael Lapinski, artist of Feeding Ground:

FEEDING GROUND _ NYCC 2012 Effective Pitches Panel

At the link above, you can download the entire pitch packet for their comic in PDF format, and it’s definitely a very well put together presentation.

Indie Cover Spotlight: Pre-Teen Dirty-Gene Kung-Fu Kangaroos #1

We started our look at TMNT parody/rip-off comics on Monday with a book from a decidedly craptacular publisher, and we end it with the same. This time, the also-ran publisher in question is Blackthorne (which, with the exception of the Roachmill series, just put out a metric ton of garbage books) and the book goes by the horridly unoriginal and forced name of Pre-Teen Dirty-Gene Kung-Fu Kangaroos:

Of course, this being the 80s, the series actually went on to last 3 issues. Although I probably shouldn’t be too hard on the book, since TMNT co-creator Peter Laird actually was in on the joke. According to the Grand Comics database, there’s a cameo by one of the turtles in this issue, inked by Laird himself.

The book’s Writer/Artist, Lee Marrs, has a ton of underground comix to his credits, from such publishers as Kitchen Sink, Rip Off, and Star*Reach. He also did work at both Marvel and DC.

Indie Cover Spotlight: Bushido Blade of Zatoichi Walrus #1

This week, I’ll take a small detour from featuring comics that I generally like, and instead feature some rather…um, weak offerings from the indie publishers of yore. The unifying theme will be lame books trying to cash in on the success of 1984’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles series, which was a genuine black-and-white indie comic smash hit. These books? Not so much.

Yes, that’s right, a book with the unwieldy name of Bushido Blade of Zatoichi Walrus. The cover is by Chuck Wojtkiewicz, who went on to do some books at DC in the 90s, if I remember correctly. Inks provided by veteran inker Rich Buckler. This book was published in 1986 by Solson Publications, which was basically one giant crap factory of forgettable comics.

Indie Cover Spotlight: Ex-Mutants #6

I’ve never read this series, though I was aware of it from the stands:

I used to be a big fan of Ron Lim’s artwork from his Marvel and DC days, and I believe this 1987 series from Pied Piper Comics was his first published work. The series was later revived as a color comic from Malibu Comics, before they were bought out by Marvel and their books mothballed.

Jim Valentino on submissions

Image co-founder and Shadowline imprint head honcho Jim Valentino talks to CBR about what he looks for in a submission:

I want to see five finished pages, beginning with page one, fully inked, lettered and colored, if it’s a color book. I want to see a cover with a logo treatment (the book’s logo, not the image “i”) and I want to see a very brief one paragraph STORY (not plot, story) synopsis.

All of these things inform me whether or not a creator is ready for prime time. The reason I want to see the first five pages is that’s where a reader is going to start. They’re not going to start on page 13 where the most exciting part of the story takes place. The first rule of journalism also applies to creative writing: “don’t bury your lead,” reel them in with a powerful opening.

Having worked with Jim on the Archibald Aardvark books (created and drawn by Grant Bond) and the Fractured Fables kids anthology, I can tell you the guy genuinely loves comics and really tries to get new and innovative series out there.

Cullen Bunn on managing your time

Here’s another great process post for aspiring (and professional) writers. It comes from Cullen Bunn, writer and co-creator of The Sixth Gun from Oni Press, as well as a bunch of books from marvel Comics. The topic is time management, especially when you’re working on multiple projects and need to effectively and efficiently divide your working time between them all.

I use a cooking timer to keep myself on track. You can find software and apps to facilitate this method (Google “The Pomodoro Technique”) but I think a simple plastic timer and a cheap notebook work well. I divide my day up into thirty-five-minute segments. I call these segments “mods” thanks to a funny bit on The Office. The number of mods you complete in a day is completely up to you. I have a goal of completing 10–12 mods a day…

Click on the link above to read the rest of his process.

I have to say, I really like this method. I use a very informal version of this process for my own writing, but to be honest, I haven’t been doing a good job of it as of late. So I can see the advantages of really sticking to a concrete plan.

Indie Cover Spotlight: Megaton #7

No theme this week, just random comics, starting with the cover to Megaton #7, published in 1987 by Megaton Comics:

You’ll probably recognize the artwork of future superstar Jackson Guice. Megaton was an interesting little indie superhero series. It actually featured multiple stories, including the first appearance (as far as I know) of Erik Larsen’s Savage Dragon character. One of the issues also featured an ad for some young punk’s superhero series called Youngblood.