Splash Wednesday: Tom Mandrake and Thomas Yeates

It’s close to Halloween, so I thought this would be an appropriate splash page to spotlight in our weekly feature. I’ve always loved Tom Mandrake’s artwork, with it’s moody, evocative brushwork. This page is from an odd limited series published in 2009 by DC Comics, titled Superman and Batman vs. Vampires and Werewolves. This is from issue #3:


(thanks to The Crapbox of Son Of Cthulhu blog for the scan)

As for the flashback portion of this feature, here’s the splash page I posted on my old blog in April of 2011:

Thomas Yeates Week rolls on, here on the blog. Here’s a gorgeous double-page splash by the man himself:


This is from Timespirits #7, a creator-owned series by Yeates and writer Steve Perry, published by Epic Comics, December 1985.

Indie Cover Spotlight: Scout #9

I’ve featured Scout on ICS before (here, here, and here) but in honor of the news that the series has been optioned for a movie, I’m going to devote this week’s feature to it again. I love this book, and I’m cautiously optimistic that we may one day see a film version of it.


This wraparound cover to issue #9 was penciled and inked by creator Tim Truman, and features the character Beauregard La Duke on the back, modeled after fellow comic book writer Beau Smith. Published by Eclipse Comics, July 1986.

Splash Wednesday: Mitchell, Bennett, and Stokoe

I came across this splash page on the Unspoken Decade comics blog, in a review of the 1992 mini-series, Batman: Gotham Nights. It was written by John Ostrander, with art by Mary Mitchell, of whom I know very little. But I dig her Tim Burton influenced interpretation of Gotham.


As for our flashback feature, apparently back in April, 2011 I was doing an “indy month” feature on my old blog, so here’s a two-fer for you:

In celebration of indy month here on the blog, we’re going to feature two splash pages this week. The first is by our very own PANELista, Andy Bennett:


This is a double-page splash from PANEL: Space, the 3rd volume of our self-published anthology. The story was written by PANELista Tony Goins, and the book came out in the spring of 2004. Unfortunately, that particular issue is sold out, but you can check out the other PANEL anthologies here.

The second splash is actually more of a pinup, but close enough, right? Here we go:


This is, of course, by the inimitable James Stokoe. It appears on the inside back cover of his Orc Stain #6, published this month by Image Comics.

Writing tips from Charles Soule and Jim Zub

Are you an aspiring comic book writer? Check out this post over at Bleeding Cool, So You Wanna Write Comics? Tips and Tricks from Charles Soule and Jim Zub At NYCC:

6. Self-Publish and be active: “Nowadays there are no barriers, use the internet to your advantage.” In today’s day, comics are more accessible than they’ve ever been. The industry is growing like never before and self-publishing is on the rise. Whether its digital or print, you need to have a completed work ready to go.

Most of these tips may seem like common sense, but you’ll be amazed how many people lack common sense out there.

Cartoon Crossroads Columbus – CXC

The 2nd annual Cartoon Crossroads Columbus has been in full swing since Thursday, and will be going on through the weekend. I will be at the expo portion of the event on Saturday and Sunday (Oct 15-16) at the main branch of the Columbus Metropolitan Library downtown.


So please drop by and say hi to me and the dozens of fantastic creators who will be signing books, doing presentations, and holding panels.

Persia Blues named one of 25 Essential Columbus Comics

As part of their coverage of the 2nd annual CXC – Cartoon Crossroads Columbus, the Columbus Alive has compiled a list of 25 Essential Columbus Comics. These are comics and graphic novels created by Columbus writers and artists, and I’m proud to have Persia Blues (by yours truly and artist and fellow Columbusite Brent Bowman) be part of the list!


“Dara is a wonderful storyteller, and his Persia Blues trilogy is a great story with a strong female lead.”

The list was compiled with the help of 11 local creators and comic book fans, of which I was a member (and no, we did not vote for our own books). Go check out these books, and be sure to read the Alive’s other reports about CXC.

Splash Wednesday: Kane/Nebres and Michael Gaydos

We begin this week’s feature with another scan courtesy of the awesome Diversions of the Groovy Kind blog. This gorgeously rendered splash page is by the art team of Gil Kane and Rudy Nebres, from Marvel’s John Carter Warlord of Mars #3 (May 1977). I suppose some fans may dislike Nebres’ “smoothing out” of Gil’s usually angular pencils (see Kane’s solo cover for this issue at the link above) , but I totally dig this combination.


And now, the flashback post from my old blog, originally posted on April, 2011:

“Welcome old and new readers to another edition of Splash Wednesday, where we feature a cool splash page each week. Since this month is our 8th anniversary, we’re trying to spotlight more indie material, and that extends to this feature as well. So let’s get to it:


This page, illustrated by Michael Gaydos, is from Inferno #5. The series was one of writer Mike Carey’s earliest published works, and came out from Caliber Press in 1995. It only lasted 7 issues, but it was a good read, and presaged Carey’s involvment with another infernal series, the critically-acclaimed Lucifer at Vertigo. Here’s a description of the series:

When John Travis is murdered he finds himself in Inferno, a Hell with no fiery demons and satanic majesty, just an endless city alive with corruption, intrigue and despair. Yet being dead is the least of Travis’ problems; he is actually Jacamo Terence, dead 800 years and the first man to escape Hell and live his life again. This did not sit well with the Infernal Powers and soon, aided by Nostradamus and a were-girl, he is at the center of a vast power struggle.

Individual issue are probably hard to come by, as is the limited edition TPB put out by Titan Books in 2004. But I’m sure if you really want one, you can find a copy online somewhere.”

Persia Blues: spotlighted by the British Council website

I recently ran across the website of British Council Iran, which describes itself as such:

“The British Council is the United Kingdom’s international organisation for cultural relations and educational opportunities. We work in three key areas: Arts, English and Education and Society…Art continues to flourish in Iran, with a strong two-way appreciation and profound interest between UK and Iranian artists. We facilitate platforms for the manifestation of this shared interest through promoting understanding of the different arts sectors in both countries…”

In an article titled Images & Words: Weaving Together a World of Iranian Stories, writer Homa Naraghi (no relation, as far as I know) recounts her experience with the graphic novel (and subsequently, the animated movie) Persepolis. She goes on to say:

“No other graphic novel about Iran has been as widely talked about as Persepolis, but there are a few others out there using the opportunities offered by the genre that are worth taking a look at here:”

Among the graphic novels she names are some truly great reads, including my personal favorite Zahra’s Paradise. And she also kindly includes my humble GN, Persia Blues.

“Persia Blues (Vol I & II) Dara Naraghi and Brent Bowman. The books take us along on the adventures of its character Minoo as she lives life in three worlds: the mythical and fantastical world that brings together elements of ancient Persia with those of the U.S., the modern day Iran, and the modern day Ohio, U.S. The book won the 2014 SPACE (Small Press and Alternative Comics Expo) prize for best graphic novel and was nominated for two other awards in 2014.”


It’s a thrill to be listed alongside so many great graphic novels created by the Iranian Diaspora.

IDW Pitch: Back to the Future

Back in the spring of 2015, IDW reached out to me (and other writers) to pitch a 4-issue limited-series based on the Back to the Future movies. They were in the process of obtaining the BttF license, and Universal Studios wanted multiple writers to pitch them ideas.

I initially had a hard time coming up with a story, but decided not to stress it too much. If I couldn’t think up an interesting pitch, so be it. But then, as these things often do, the pieces fell into place on their own. I remember laying in bed one morning, in that lucid state halfway between sleep and being awake, when the core concept of my pitch just came to me. I spent a few days fleshing it out, and then sent in my proposal.

Unfortunately, this particular pitch didn’t go anywhere, as the studio and IDW eventually went with Bob Gale, the co-creator and screenwriter of the film trilogy. But I always look on these things as learning experiences. Plus, I don’t feel too bad losing out to the guy who wrote the films themselves!

Anyway, here’s my pitch, for those of you curious about the process behind creating comics:

Back to the Future: “Joyride”

Treatment by Dara Naraghi


When Doc’s children Jules and Verne seemingly take his time travelling locomotive on a joyride, zigzagging through time, he enlists the aid of Marty and Jennifer to find them before they create a temporal paradox. But is it really Biff who is both the instigator of, and the solution to, this fiasco?


Fun, Fast-paced, Humorous, Brain-twister, Suspenseful

At a Glance

Mere moments after Doc, Clara, Jules, and Verne fly off in Doc’s time travelling locomotive (as seen in the closing scene of BttF 3), Doc and Clara reappear in a another time machine, in the form of a family minivan from the mid-80s. As Marty and Jennifer pile in, the panicked parents explain that their children have stolen the locomotive and are travelling around in time, unsupervised.

Marty: “Doc, the DeLorean and locomotive I get, but are you telling me that you built a back-up time machine… out of a minivan?”

As Doc fiddles with an instrument that will help him track the whereabouts of the first time machine, he rationalizes that every growing family needs sensible transportation. Our intrepid gang then sets off on a series of misadventures, visiting various timelines, but always a step behind the children. Doc blames himself for the entire mess, explaining that an argument he had with his sons drove them to run away. However, Clara believes that the boys are not that irresponsible, and suspects foul play.

Sure enough, we soon discover that the two boys were merely playing in the locomotive when it was hijacked by what looks like 1955 Biff, who now has them imprisoned in the back. He is seen visiting different time periods, tracking down various ancestors of his Tannen family. After each visit, the Tanners are left changed, but not necessarily in a positive manner. Jules and Verne, meanwhile, manage to free themselves, and using their own scientific acumen, fashion a sort of “early warning beacon” that will transmit their next intended time jump to their parents, hoping to be rescued.

With the helpful signal from the boys, Marty and Doc are finally able to intercept the locomotive in 1955. They spot Biff getting off the train, carrying a handgun, and heading to the high school’s Enchantment Under the Sea dance. After being reunited with the boys and taking in their account of Biff’s travels, Doc hypothesizes that this isn’t really Biff after all, but an alternate time paradox version of him.

Marty: “But where did he come from?”
Doc: “Don’t you see? By manipulating his own past, he made it possible for him to exists in the first place. He’s his own creator!”

The gang catches up to Anomaly Biff, and realizes his plan is to kill the “real” 1955 Biff, who he sees as a born loser, unable to ever create a positive future for himself, despite even the temporal manipulation from BttF 2. As he holds the gang at gunpoint, he explains that he’ll then insert himself into original Biff’s place in history, prior to the seminal events of BttF 1 (George punching Biff) and BttF 2 (Marty taking the sports almanac away), avoiding both of those events, and then forging a successful future for himself on his own terms. It’s at this point that he notices Jules and Verne have slipped away, and prepares to kill the remaining interlopers.

Just then, Anomaly Biff is startled when a voice from behind him proclaims “Hey, Butthead!” Turning around, he is sucker punched by Real Biff, and is knocked out. Real Biff then looks on in amazement as Anomaly Biff fades out of existence. He looks at the can of beer in his other hand, shrugs, and leaves. Meanwhile, the gang flees back to the two time machines, careful to avoid their previous visits to that point in time. Jules and Verne explain on the way that they had sought out Real Biff outside the dance and told him that a rival for Lorraine’s affections planned to kill him, and led him to Anomaly Biff.

Jules: “After all, who better to fight a bully–“
Verne: “Than another bully?”

Doc surmises that by foiling the final step of Anomaly Biff’s plan, Real Biff disrupted the very complex time paradox that allowed Anomaly Biff to exist in the first place, causing him to be erased from existence.

Boarding the time machines, the gang go back to the future of 1985, dropping off Marty and Jennifer back at the wreckage of the DeLorean from the end of BttF 3. As Clara and the boys board the locomotive, and Doc gets behind the wheel of the minivan, Marty suddenly remembers a remark Doc made earlier in their adventure. (Marty: “Hey Doc, what did you mean by ‘every growing family needs sensible transportation’?”) Doc simply smiles and looks at Clara, who in turn gives Marty and Jennifer a wink while resting a hand on her belly, before both machines rise in the air and disappear in time.


So there you have it. In this industry, most pitches get rejected. It’s part of the process. But I’m still pretty pleased with my take on the BttF concept.

By the way, the BttF comic is now actually an ongoing series. There’s also a limited-series adaption of the BttF video game, called Citizen Brown.