Let’s Make Out.

Make Out is a Virtuazine.

Yes. A virtual magazine featuring short comic book stories. This VirtuAnthology, if you will,  is specifically designed for easy reading  on phones and tablets. The comic book panels have been formatted so that you can read the stories scrolling down on your phone or tablet as opposed to reading a good ol’ paper-pulped comic book from left to right like a real fucking human. I enjoy digital content but I will always prefer being able to smell my comic book, nose deep in its spine.

Why am I taking about Make Out? Shameless plug of course!

The four pager I wrote entitled “Brain Freeze” with Artist Seamus P. Burke will be featured in issue 1 coming out this week.

“Brain Freeze” is a work of pure spite. It was the second submission I sent to 2000AD. They only take submission via snail mail so you must include a return to sender envelop in order to get a response which means that you must include an envelop with UK postage on it. You can imagine how much fun it is to find UK stamps in the US. Well, it’s not. I actually had to ask a friend living in the UK to send me some.

“Brain Freeze” was rejected by 2000AD so using my spite-fueled energy, I decided to produce it so that I could show how great of a short story it really is. I know Seamus from the PDX Comic Crew Group we both go to and I always wanted to work with him. As it  turned out, we both share a love for Paul Verhoeven movies such as “Robocop” and “Starship Troopers”, which this story takes a lot of inspiration from.

Since “Brain Freeze” will be featured in Make Out and Portland’s own Entertainment paper “BANG!”, I am only going to share the first page here.You can read the entire story in Make Out (check out the magic portal!) out on October 23rd.

-N

 

The King is back!

…not that Arthur King ever left, really.

And despite my long absence from this site, neither have I. I was just floating about through life, busy with the day job which provides me with enough money so that I can commission things like this:

Yes, we have been bringing Arthur King back to life. It seems fitting since my last post on this site was about our 8 pages story being included in last year’s Alterna IF Anthology.

I guess I just can’t let it go!

When I found about Octal, a virtual Anthology of pitch packets editors can subscribe to, I knew we had to give it a shot. Especially since they ask for an 8 pages pilot which we already had, albeit in black and white. You can find out more on their website and on the Facebook group designed to help you through the entire process. They also provide templates and guidelines that you can use to put together the packet in Abode Illustrator or Photoshop.

In the past few weeks, (one of) my favorite artist in the whole world, DKaotic, has been coloring the 8 pager. He also made a brand new cover and characters designs and sketches for our proposal.

In the meantime, I have been doing my best to craft a good logline, synopsis, and all other pitch packet requirement to be included with our bios, rough sketches, and setting designs.

We hope to be finished in the coming week and will share the complete packet on here with you guys. We just have little ways to go which mostly involves me formatting pages to the right format, rewriting my synopsis, and overall trimming things down for a lean and mean packet.

I’ll leave you with our new cover Art for the series, courtesy of DKaotic, of course.

Take care champions,

-N

 

The IF Anthology is OUT!

Arthur King is featured in the talent-full “IF Anthology”.

I am happy and proud to announce that “Arthur King” is published in Alterna Comics IF Anthology.

You can purchase the digital version here for a mere $7.99

IF Anthology Collage

Dkaotic and I put the 8 pages story together last year as a demo of sorts for a limited series. We are proud parents now that it is featured in the IF Anthology.

I read the entire book (40 stories!) and I am in awe of the talent in display. From Writers, Artists, Letterers… Everybody is bringing their A+ game, making the entire book look incredibly professional, something we can ALL be proud of.

I know it has been a while since I posted here. I have been busy working with the magnificent DKaotic on our next project, which I ‘may’ (or may not) tease on here sometimes in the near future.

Like Arthur King, we are putting together a short story in order to show potential publishers what the final book would look like.

So yes, we are still working and the Art DK has turned in has been mind-blowing, which makes it really hard NOT to share.

But, if you know me, you know I LIVE to surprise people so, until then… Nico out.

 

Top Cow Talent Hunt 2016: “God of the Arena”

My 2016 Top Cow Talent Hunt entry

Hello Folks,

Gosh, it’s been a while. I’ve been keeping busy, working on a new exciting project with the talented DKaotic. You know, the artist on Arthur King, the eight pages story slated to appear in Alterna Comics “IF” Anthology later this year?

Yep, totally bragging.  Gotta focus on the positive.

As you may know, the winners of the 2016 Top Cow Talent Hunt have been announced and for the third year in a row, I did not win. Yeah!

You can find the list of winners here.

Congrats to all of them. I am excited to read their stories. There were some real great ones from last year’s winners, especially that one about The 13th Artifact.

On the plus side, I can now share with you my entry for this year: “God of the Arena” featuring Top Cow’s mighty Ares.

3714455-aresix

 

READ IT HERE!

 

 

“I am the God of War”

-Kratos, in that game, you know.

I am not sure what attracted me to Ares. I always loved Greek Mythology but that’s besides the point. The fact that he is gay was somewhat original. I am ashamed to admit it but yes, I had the idea of having him fight his gay lover who betrayed him, really playing up the “gay angle” in hope if would make my story stand out. But it was very artificial.  Down the line, I realized that his sexuality did not define him.  Instead, he is referred to as the most cruel of the New Gods.  So what kind of a ruler is he? How did he become the most tyrannical of them all, up there with Hades? Did he have to prove himself to his people?

As a mighty God of War, I wanted to see him fight, so why not in an ancient Rome-style Arena? I re-watched Ridley Scott’s Gladiator and Spartacus on Netflix. Things got real gory and juicy, especially after I pit him against a powerful  Drake.  I had so much fun killing him over and over again to see if he could figure a way out of it, despite allegedly being the dumbest in the Pantheon.

I had fun writing this story and I am very thankful for the feedback provided by the Top Cow Talent Hunt Crew. It was VERY supportive and insightful.

I am somewhat saddened that the Top Cow Talent Hunt will no be returning this year. It had become a fun yearly habit and I KNOW I am a better writer because of it.

-N

 

Karate Beetle and the Magic Rain Droplet.

Karate Beetle and the Magic Rain Droplet

Last year, Nick Nall and I accepted a challenge.

8th Wonder Press, the same wonderful people who published our story “Loony the Moonian Makes Friends” in their 2014 Anthology “Uncanny Adventures: Science vs Mad Science“, came up with a new concept for their follow-up  Anthology.

The 2015 Anthology “Uncanny Adventures: Duo” were to feature complete  stories told in ONLY 2 pages.

I asked Nick what he wanted to draw and he said that insects would be fun. I remember that I had just watched Bruce Lee’s “Way of the Dragon” the night before so everything got mashed up in my head and I thought: “Karate Beetle!”

We set out to tell a micro epic in two pages with an ironic twist. I think Nick came up with some of this most fun and energetic drawings to date. So to be fair, Nick’s work is always full of energy.

Fun fact is that the “Uncanny Adventures: Duo” Anthology #1 and #2 have been nominated for a DINKy award as an Outstanding Work from Colorado by the Denver Independent Comics and Art Expo.

So Congratulations to everyone at 8th Wonder Press and everyone whose work made up those amazing Anthologies, showing that a lot of creativity and story-telling  can be crammed in only 2 pages,

Since it has been a full year since the Duo Anthologies came out, we can proudly share our two-pages Epic with you.

Here is “Karate Beetle and the Magic Rain Droplet”:

Click on it!

KarateBeetleWEB

Essential readings for Comic Book Writers

Essential readings for Comic Book Writers:

This list is based off of the curriculum from Brian Michael Bendis’ writing class, as well as other recommendations from friends, and other lucky finds. I picked my favorites or, at least, the ones I believe to be the most helpful, should be read first or even re-read, perhaps studied. Simply put, books you should have at arm’s reach for easy reference.

Here is my Definitive list of Essential readings for Comic Book Writers:

51473OvY5zL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_voglers-writers-journey

One of my favorite books and the one I recommend reading first. It will give you a solid foundation, from the actual structure of your story to character’s archetypes. This is a great book that you will keep referring to and should keep handy. Plus, I feel like it makes all my writing super Mythical and Epic!

 

51c1Pf0fe7L._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_

Another great book though, I felt, a little more dense. I found it easier to digest AFTER reading The Writer’s Journey since it builds on some of the principles explained in the first book. The script analysis of Chinatown is particularly exciting. This is a book you should read closely and by that, I mean STUDY it. Just like all the books on this list really. And yes, it is about Screenwriting but the same principles apply to Comic book writing.

 

61KgveZjO7L._SX329_BO1,204,203,200_mc36c

The best book about the actual medium. Understanding Comics is a big fat comic strip about comics and how they work. Scott Mc Cloud takes you through everything that makes up a Comic Book, one panel at a time. You should also read his Making Comics.

 

59704

Tons of good advice from the Legendary Writer with an interesting focus on the ‘Theme’ of your story. Also, the afterwords that he wrote 15 years later destroys everything he recommended doing in the book. Priceless.

 

9780770434359

More than a book about writing Comics, this is  about the entire business of being a professional Comic book Writer. From your relationship with Artists to dealing with Editors, it proves to be the most original and innovative book of the bunch with advice from pros you won’t find anywhere else. This book will take you to the next level. Oh, it also gives you homework.

 

wwgbg

This is my new favorite book and one I keep handy.  Nick Macari little book will truly take you to the next level because it assumes you already know about the writing basics and concerns itself with mechanics specific to the comic book medium. I am still learning from this great book. You can find some of Nick’s advice on his site here and make your own opinion.

More cool books to check out:

You can also find Comic book scripts in the back of some trades or Deluxe editions of your favorite books. It is worth checking it out. I especially enjoy the Civil War Script book by Mark Millar.

And of course online, at the Comic Book Script Archive.

Have the most Mythical and Epic of Journeys!!!

-Nico

 

Arthur King – PG Version!

Arthur King to be featured in Alterna’s upcoming “IF” Anthology.

I have been sending copies of DKaotic and I’s “Arthur King” 8 pages comic and pitch to every publisher that takes submission.

Alterna Comics responded positively and thought our 8 pages “Arthur King” story would be a good fit for their IF Anthology.

BUT first, it needed to be reworked so that it could be rated PG.

I reworked the dialogue and cut the swearing. It lead to Alterna giving me a few more notes about dialogue, and, with their precious help, I believe the new version is actually better. Arthur has very a colorful language now and I love it.

You can find a two pages preview below. You will find the entire story in Alterna Comics upcoming  IF Anthology later this year.

-N

Everyman’s War.

That one time when I exploded.

It was back in 2008 that I played French soldier Marcel in the Word War II Drama: Everyman’s War.

It was being shot right here in Oregon and only a couple miles from where I lived at the time. I remember stepping onto the private property which I believe belonged to the director. It was a large, farm-like area with tons of space and several buildings, including a nice big house.

They were shooting a scene of a soldier lying down in the snow. Perhaps he got shot? I don’t quite remember, but since there was no snow at the time, he was lying down in fake snow, enough to fill the shot, everything else around him was green grass. It was kind of surreal. That Nazi soldier on a patch of fake gelatin-like snow in the middle of a green field as the camera shoots him down.

4926_1159606824792_7217199_n
French/German sympathy. Building Europe early on.

My character Marcel was a member of the french resistance. On the first day of shooting, I waited until about one in the morning before we got to my scene. I remember being asked to use a thicker french accent. It went fast. There was no notes or feedback so I assumed I did good but I always felt I could have done  better.

The second day went fast too. That’s the day Marcel died, pulverized to pieces as a German bomb fell on him. The explosives were already in place but I was told it was not wired yet. I stepped into Marcel’s home, a small hole in the ground, and waved goodbye to my American friend as he walked away after a mutually beneficial transaction, the scene from the night before. We shot it only two or three times but I was sweating.  One foot on each side of the explosives and the smell of gasoline. It was a bit scary to be standing in a hole with a bomb.

Cut.

I got out of the hole. The camera was on a tripod, not to be moved or tempered with so that they could cut the footage from my waving goodbye to the explosion without a hitch.

They wired it up and boom. It was impressive. The loudness of the bang, the rise of the flames. I couldn’t help but imagine what it would have been like to be in that hole with the big boom. Thankfully, only Marcel died that day.

Everymans_war_poster

Everyman’s war is available on DVD and online.

I think I explode at about 25 minutes in or just about.

-N

Wrestling with Comicbook dialogue.

I recently had he opportunity to rework the dialogue on the Arthur King 8 pages story that I wrote last year and which was drawn by artist DKaotic.

You can find it here.

I have been reworking the dialogue and lettering on the story in order to get a chance for it to be published in an Anthology this year. Once it is set in stone, I’ll tell you everything, I swear.  But for now, I would rather not.

This was a great opportunity to get feedback from an editor and give Arthur a stronger voice and more colorful language. I also fixed some of the lettering and actually cut some of the lines because some of the panels had way too much dialogue in them. It truly helped the flow of the story and created a superior version of the Comic that people really seem enthusiastic about. Good stuff.

Still, I feel bad. DKaotic’s artwork is so pretty that I would rather not put ANY balloons on top of it.

Check it out:

Artie01ArtOnly

+++

More good news came when I got my feedback from Top Cow. As you may already know, I am participating in the Top Cow Talent Hunt for the third consecutive year. I have to submit a 22 pages script based on the characters from the Aphrodite IX and IXth Generation books.

One of the big differences this year is that each participant who submitted his script and/or Artwork before the first deadline of January 15th received feedback in the second half of February.

I did receive mine. It was not only very positive but also very helpful. I am currently revising the script and doing my best to improve the dialogue in some specific scenes, literally agonizing over which word to choose in each sentence. I actually decided to step away from my latest draft for a week and take a step back because I know I am overthinking it.

The good news is that the final deadline is May 15th so there is still plenty of time to implement improvements.

+++

Lastly, here is a link to some very cool advice for Comicbook Artists:

10 Rules for Drawing Comics

+++

I wish you all a Merry March.

-N

 

 

Wizard Con Portland 2016

It’s wednesday, wednesday, WEDNESDAY!

It’s new comic book day and, from now on, the day of the week when I put a new post on my blog. I know, it’s been a while. Honestly, I simply forgot to post. I was busy. I have sciatica.

Enough said.

A couple weeks back, I went to:

Wizard Con Portland!

But first,

Pretty pictures:

Wizard Con Portland- Sasquatch by Steve Lieber

I really enjoy buying original sketches from Artists at Cons. It is a bit expensive but well worth it. Check out Steve Lieber (Superior Foes of Spiderman) here.

In that vein, earlier last week, I received a commission from Emi Lenox:

StormByEmiYou jealous, yet.

You can find Emi here.

I gotta go frame shopping… and wall shopping? because I’m running out of wall space… haha, hilarious. Alright, I’ll stop.

+++

What I learned from Comic Book Artist and Writer Michael Golden during his panel at Wizard Con:

1- People are stupid.

So do not confuse them with your ‘mysterious’ writing, break it down for them, keep it simple.

2- Who, What, Where, When, How, and Why.

Make sure you tell your audience all that because they are a bunch of morons.

+Plus a few precious pearls of wisdom for your writing:

  • Write the ending first.
  • Establish the premise right at the beginning.
  • Plot and character development are one and the same. Plot IS character so make sure you know what your character want and runs with it.
  • Moms make great villains because they love you.
  • Everything is a machine. Figure out how the machine work.

+++

And finally:

2016-ww-portland-1-02857-org

Happy Wednesday!

-N

The work of Comic Book Writer Nicolas Izambard

%d bloggers like this: