Superwoman

Walking through an Antique Mall on the Oregon coast, I stumbled upon this little beauty: “DC Comics Presents SUPERMAN introduces SUPERWOMAN Annual #2 (DC, 1983)”

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DC Comics Presents SUPERMAN introduces SUPERWOMAN Annual #2 (DC, 1983). Written by ELLIOT S. MAGGIN. Illustrated by KEITH POLLARD.

I am not a collector but I do enjoy picking up old Comics if I find some cool-looking cover. I simply could not resist the alluring Superwoman with her super cool costume. I don’t know about you but I did not even know there ever was a Superwoman until now.

There is a lot of cool and crazy going on in this book. I am about to spoil it all so stop reading now if you don’t want to know.

Superwoman has got quite the Super Body.
Superwoman has got quite the SuperBod with the SuperLegs.

Kristen Wells is a History Professor living and teaching in the 29th century. She is telling her students about the Last Secret Identity: Superwoman. Apparently, by the 29th century, everyone knows the DC heroes real identities except for Superwoman. Prompted by her students, Kristen goes back in time in order to find out who Superwoman really is. She gets hired at the Daily Planet as a typist for Lois lane and hangs out with Clark Kent/ Superman who already knows her. Apparently, Kristen time-travels a lot. She finds the Superwoman costume in Lois Lane’s closet (!!!) but Lois is keeping it for Clark’s cousin, Linda Danvers (aka Supergirl!), so that she can wear it at an upcoming costume party (!!!).

The villainous King Kosmos, who is bent on world domination, shows up. According to Kristen’s history records, that’s when Superwoman is supposed to first appear to save the day and help Superman but there is no Superwoman in sight. So she put on the Superwoman costume and uses her futuristic tech to phase through objects, fly, and just be all kind of badass. So yeah, she is Superwoman. She is also (revealed at the very end) Jimmy Olsen’s grand-grand-grand daughter (add as many “grand-” as necessary here). That explains why she keeps refusing to date him during the whole thing because, well, that’d be kinda creepy.

Yeah Jimmy, They're grown ups. Mind your own business.
Office “play” in the eighties.

I did enjoy the fact that Superwoman is more than just a female version of Superman. She has no superpowers but uses futuristic technology and science in order to defeat her opponent. Yes, at some point, Superman saves her from falling to her death after she gets hit by King Kosmos. But you’ve got to give the poor lad something to do since he seems completely clueless as to what’s happening for most of the issue. Superwoman actually tells him a couple times that she will “explain later” because clearly poor “Smallville” does not get it. She is also very patriotic. Her catch phrase is “Let History bear witness that no American ever had to bow to a tyrant”. She is also very adept at flying thanks to her “Freestyle Space Dancing Lessons” (!!!).

supermandisintegrated
At some point, King Kosmos disintegrates Superman through space and time. Supes finds himself in the past where he meets the Knights of King Arthur. All is well though since he comes back to the present by flying real fast through space and time. Really, REALLY fast.

This is a really fun story where Superwoman actually gets to take the lead and is not a simple sidekick to the Man of Steel. I hope DC will bring her back, perhaps in the hands of Gail Simone? That would be awesome.

The last thing she does before leaving the present, is to steal a kiss from Clark. Because, like I said, she’s pretty smart.

-N

Bathory Comics

My ongoing fascination with the Countess of Bathory has no end in sight.

I have to say that her story (in truth, my version of her story) is my go-to project. In the past few months, I have been focusing on more pressing writing matters but Elizabeth Bathory is always in the back of my mind. From time to time, the muses grace me with ideas for her story. I quickly write them down before they take them away.

The Hungarian Countess, Elizabeth Bathory de Ecsed (1560-1614) is, allegedly, the most proficient serial killer of all time. Legend has it, that with the help of her “torture crew”, she kidnapped, disemboweled, and very muck killed hundreds of young girls.  About six hundred or so. Rumors of Vampiritic thirst fuels her deadly legacy but she sets herself apart from her cousin Dracula in one interesting way. She did not drink blood. Instead, she bathed in the blood of virgins in order to regain and maintain her youth and beauty. And so the Blood Countess was born.

What exactly happened to the highly educated young woman who knew dozens of languages and provided medical care to the most unfortunate remains unclear. Whether she was framed by a King indebted to her family for large sums of money or vilified for her liberal sexual practices, no one knows for sure. In the end, she was condemned and imprisoned in her own chambers. Walled in. She died at age 54, alone, in the dark.

For me, it all started about 4 years ago and I have been writing and thinking about her ever since. It was 2011 when I convinced poor Gabriela Laszcz to draw a couple short stories I wrote based on Elizabeth Bathory. And Gabriela obliged me. And she did it for free which, in retrospect, really makes me look like a jackass. You MUST pay your artists. You just must. I was even less experienced as a writer and Comicbook “maker” than I am now and unreasonably demanding. I also shamelessly used that opportunity to do my first (and quite horrid) lettering job. And good Gabriela put up with my silliness and turned in some beautiful art.  She even did the lettering for the second Comic, “My Beautiful Mentor” and I am glad she did. No, really, I was a real jackass. I don’t think I even knew what the word “collaboration” actually meant back then. Oh well, you live, you learn, right? I just wish I could learn a lot faster.

My focus at that time was on Elizabeth’s childhood. There is  this story of her father allegedly forcing her to watch as he punished a Gypsy for stealing. He had him sewed inside a dying horse. That’s some messed up stuff. I was hooked. I had to write it. And four years later, I still am. I just cannot stop thinking about Elizabeth.

BATHORY: “A childhood Memory”.

 

BATHORY: “My Beautiful Tutor”.

From wordpress.com to .org

I am moving.

When I started my activecomics.com blog/ website, it all made sense. At the time. I was doing the Activist short Comics on my own and then with Nick. But now… having a website that is called Activecomics does not make much sense. I have diversified since then. I have written other stories, worked with other people, and gotten published a couple times. Activecomics.com is not who I am and I  need to market myself as a Comicbook writer,

I have been trying to figure out what to call my new website. When your name is Nicolas Izambard, it can be kind of tricky. Will you remember to go read my work on Nicolasizambard.com? NicoIzambard.com? Nico.com? That last one is already taken. Darnit.

I thought Nicomicwriter.com or Nicomic.com was good for awhile until realize that most people reading it would probably read it “nycomic” and not get the pun that my name is actually Nico.” Actually, it’s pronounced ‘knee-comic’. Who has time for that?

So, I’m thinking, let’s keep it simple:

ComicsByNico.com

What do you guys think?

I am planing on making the move, meaning actually moving all my stuff from here to the new site, this week. I will let you guys know how that goes, most likely next week. I don’t know if both sites can exist simultaneously so if you don’t hear from me, activecomics.com will be dead. Wish me luck, I hope not to kill it.

In preparation for creating this new site, I have been watching videos about WordPress on  Sean Glumace’s website. He also has great tutorials on Lettering.

Hopefully, I’ll be back next week in one form or another.

-N

 

Top Cow Talent Hunt 2016!

Yep, it’s baAAAaack!

This will be my third year participating in the Top Cow Talent Hunt and I am real, REAL excited. Plus, this year, my chances are actually increased since one of the winners will be someone who participated in the previous years a.k.a. THAT guy (pointing at myself with both thumbs up and smiling idiotically like I mean it).

This time around, the stories must take place in the future (as established in Aphrodite IX, Cyber Force and IXth Generation) and you can basically use any of the characters in those books and submit a 22 pages script.

IXthGeneration01-Review-1
IX Generation #1 by Matt Hawkins and Stjepan Sejic.

But wait, there’s more!

The Hunt officially stars September 15th and ends May 15th BUT if you submit by the phase 1 deadline of January 15th, you will receive a one paragraph of feedback from the Top Cow team.

Isn’t that awesome? You actually get to receive professional feedback from a publisher on your comicbook writing. HAAAAARG! I cannot wait!

Then, of course, you have until May 15th to refine/ edit your script. This is an incredible opportunity Top Cow is offering aspiring Comicbook writers (and artists). One not to be missed.

Here is the Link to CBR where you can download the guidelines for both writers and artists and all that good stuff.

Peace,

-Nico

Diary of Success.

This will make you more successful.

A little while ago I subscribed to the Dream, Play, Write email list hosted by the extremely supporting Timothy Pike. I often receive encouragements, writer’s quotes, and useful advice from the guy. It’s real inspiring stuff.

Back in may, Timothy talked about the Importance of keeping a success Journal. I have been keeping one since then and I believe it had made me more successful on a daily basis.

diary

Here’s how it works.

Everyday, you simply write down 5 things you achieved that day. It might sound tricky sometimes, especially if, like me, you have a full time job. But even if you only write one hour a day, I guarantee you are already doing 5 successful things. One, there is sitting down and actually writing which can actually be the most difficult thing to do. Two, if you’re like me, you use a dictionary or thesaurus while writing, looking for that perfect word. Three, you might do some research online or in good old books. Four, you may write a scene here and there or re-organize and edit a chapter. Five, you make a discovery about a character that changes the course of the story.

One thing I know I do everyday besides sitting and writing is taking notes. I take notes on my phone when something magically comes to mind, or on my tablet while I’m reading an article or a book that pertains to my work.

insidediary

Once you get in the habit of doing it, you won’t want to stop. It is an effective way of helping you get going on a daily basis. And remember, no achievement is too small.

-N

Comic Book Puzzle

Writing comic books is like solving a puzzle.

The last couple days have not been  easy on the writing front.

I am writing an outline for a limited 6 issue series I will pitch to Oni Press. Their next round of open submissions should start in September. Right now, i am tackling the middle of the story. In the fantastic comic book “Spread“, writer Justin Jordan talked about the middle part of the story being the hardest part to write. Well, I feel the truth in that. Perhaps a bit too much.

I am laser focused on the middle of my story. I have been rewriting, and reworking, and trying to make it all fit together. Now I am starting to hate it, hate my writing, and hate my dumb self.

I finally found solace in the ComicVine podcast from June 26th that I listened to at work today.

(Yes, I have a job where I can do that and yes, I’m playing catch-up on my Podcasts.)

joshua-williamson

Watch out! Joshua Williamson is coming right at you! 

Joshua Williamson (Ghosted, Birthright, Nailbiter) was the guest. The way he talked about getting stuck, his writing process, and the importance of humility was inspiring. It gave me a renewed outlook on my process. I realized I was not so crappy after all but simply trying to solve the puzzle that Comicbook writing sometimes is. Sometimes, you just need to come at it from a different angle.

-N

Curated by Gail Simone

I have to admit. I am not a big fan of social media.

Until recently, I limited myself to Facebook, mostly watching what people are up to. Yep, I’m kinda creepy like that.

Recently though, I have made a conscious effort to increase my social media presence. I want to put my name out there so that people check out my site and read my stories.

Truns out,  A LOT of Comic Book Creators are on both Twitter and Tumblr. Following them gives me an insight on how they market themselves and promote their books. I’m also a fan and wants to know about their latest projects. Some of them (Chip Zdarsky) are also freaking hilarious.

Tumblr is a great tool to share your passions through reblogging. To repost cool comicbook sketches of favorite artists or any other comicbook related posts is a great way to maintain a social media presence without much effort. Plus, you can link it to your Twitter and Facebook accounts and shotgun blast the internet with it. My favorite thing to do is to take a picture on my phone of a favorite panel or cover from a Comic Book I’m reading and post it on my Instagram with simultaneous posting on Tumblr, Twitter, AND Facebook. BAM! Shotgun Blast!

It is during my tumblr wanderings that I discovered the Comics Survival Kit blog. Curated by Gail Simone (Red Sonja, Secret Six and much, much more), the blog offers advice from professionals on how to navigate the Comic Book industry.

Here are a couple of my favorite articles (so far!):

MOLLY MAHAN ON WHAT EDITORS LOOK FOR IN ART PORTFOLIOS

SEVERAL FAMOUS ARTISTS PLEAD: DON’T DO THIS TO US, WRITERS!

and of course,

HOW DO I BREAK IN? BY JIM ZUBKAVICH!

The Comics Survival Kit blog is a truly formidable resource. Many thanks to Gail Simone for providing us with tips and advice on how to become a pro!

-N

PS: you can find my tumbr here.

Karate Beetle in two pages.

Karate Beetle and the Magic Rain Droplet

Though I did refer to it in last week’s post, I feel like I should make an official and boastful announcement.

Nick and I are published for the second time!

Yeah!

The wonderful staff at 8th Wonder Press had a nice challenge for everyone this year. They asked for pitches for stories limited to only 2 pages long (!).

When we decided to enter, Nick told me he wanted to draw something with insects, that it’d be fun for him. I also remember watching quite a few Martial Art movies as part of my research for the Top Cow Hunt.

And Bam!

This happened:

titlepic

For obvious reasons (go buy the book!), I cannot show you the story here. It is part of the Uncanny Adventures Duo Mini Series and our story is featured in the first issue.

I am very proud of it. Nick keeps getting better. His work is more and more like a beautiful cartoon. I also did quite a bit of lettering, including the scrolls type of balloons. It was quite challenging and rewarding. Hopefully, we can get published again next year, perhaps even make this a yearly thing.

In the meantime, check out the beautiful cover below,

-N,

Later

cover1-web

Cover at by Ellie Fortune, doodlepadart.com

The Pixar Method

An easy method from the famed studio to make sure your story checks out.

Here is a great article by Comics writer Michael Moreci (Roche Limit, Hoax Hunters, Curse, Burning Fields, Transference, ReincarNATE) about storytelling.

In the article, Mister Moreci shares some of the Pixar storytelling magic with us mere mortals.

According to Pixar, every story can be broken down, from beginning to end, as following this sequence of events:

1.Once upon a time there was

2. Every day

3. One day

4. Because of that

5. Because of THAT

6. Until finally

DI-Toy-Story-Of-Terror-2

I actually knew that formula from Improv !

Back in France, when I got into Improvisational Theater, we would sometimes use similar prompts as a way of improvising stories. Though the content was still improvised, the structure itself would provide a skeleton for your story to pile the meat on.

I have had a lot of fun breaking down my stories in this fashion. Go ahead and try it. It will give a sense of clarity and purpose to your story which will help shaping your outline. It will also shed light on potential plot holes and problems in your structure AND force you to be quite concise.

Read the rest of the article to see him apply the Pixar method to the recent blockbuster “Mad Max: Fury Road” to somewhat surprising effect.

Top Cow Talent Hunt 2015: “Fearless”

“Fearless” was the first script I wrote for the 2015 Top Cow Talent Hunt.

It featured my now favorite character, the tortured and powerful Ji Xi.

1526488-13th

Somebody buys him some new clothes already.

I asked myself, if I had to carry a very dangerous weapon such as the Thirteenth Artifact, where would I hide so that I don’t put people’s in harm’s way? Right away, I pictured the white Arctic desert and the story started.

We actually open with a nightmare scene. I thought it would be a cool way of showing Ji Xi’s fears about unintentionally harming people and explain why he stays so isolated until, well, he doesn’t.

Here is “Fearless”.

-N

The work of comic book writer Nico

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