Category Archives: Nico’s Blog

Blog posts written by Nico.

It’s getting Stranger: The Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe

After reading last week’s post, my friend Matt Roberts recommended “The Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe” to me since it contains the files I was looking for. I went to Excalibur on SE Hawthorn and got my self a copy along with Greg Rucka’s “Lazarus” after Dan recommended it. I might talk about it alter though I am no Comic Book reviewer.

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Now there is a major difference between The American Handbook and it’s french version:

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First, the french version is in COLOR!

Say what?

 

 

 

 

The American Volume I have is volume 1. I doubt the subsequent volumes are in color though. I had the choice between this one and the “update 89” version which is also in Black and White so, bottom line, there were no color versions available at the store (or that I know of for that matter).

Second, Iron Man’s armor is different. Look at it! The french version pictured is actually a more recent version of the armor from the 80’s. Now that version of the armor can be from the American 89 updated version and I will check on that next time I go to the comic book shop.

It still does not explain the lack of color. Was the original American version in color and used in France but not reprinted later in the US? Did french people color them in? I need to KNOW!

Still, I am having a lot of fun with the handbook and will be sharing some of my favorite characters for posts to come.

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 I would love to see him go head to head with Captain America… just to see what happens.

The Strange way I got into Comics

I am always deeply fascinated by the work of visual artist. I guess it is because I always had “pencil envy”.

I used to draw superheroes a lot as a child. I had this phase around 12 to 14 years of age where I would create superheroes as a hobby. I read a lot of comics at the time and some were published in a french magazine called “Strange”. This is actually the one french mag that got me into comics. It was a monthly publication that compiled 4 issues of marvel characters such as Spiderman, Thor, the F4 and The Avengers into one book. I kind of wish it still existed. I guess it is kind of like “Dark Horse Presents” in a way.

Another version of the magazine was called “Strange Special Origines”. It was dedicated to the origin stories of famous Marvel characters and it also contained the alphabetized character sheets and descriptions of the Marvel Universe characters. That latest part was my favorite. They were gorgeously drawn by, I believe, Jack Kirby. I still have to find the American version of these. There are some “Marvel Universe A-Z” out there but they are newer and different.

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Anywoo, I used those sheets as template for the characters I created, writing everything down from their secret identity to their base of operation, height, eye color and more. And of course, I drew them. Badly.

It is probably because of my love for drawing; despite my lack of talent for it; that I am not only grateful for Nick’s work on The Activist but also oh so excited when he brings his sketches to me and I find myself behind the scene, where it’s cooking.

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If anyone knows where to find the Original American version of the Marvel A to Z please comment below!

 

The House Nick Built

A you might know by now, I write The Activist comic and Nick Nall produces the Art based on the script I provide him with. We meet regularly to discuss panel layout and whatnot.

Last we met, Nick did not only bring sketches and layout for the next issue but also something else that I found very interesting: a sort of model that he drew. It was a representation of the conference room in which the action of the next issue takes place. Nick said he had to draw it in its entirety so he could get a sense of space for the action and work in his angles and shots much like a movie director does. What a great idea!

I know Nick wants to do more of that sort of prep work in the future. Little does he know that the issue I am writing right now takes place in a real Portland location. HiHiHi. When he gets the new script, we will also go on a tour. I cannot wait.

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                The house Nick built: a floor plan and even the ceilings with the lights!

Anxiouly Scripting.

I am currently writing the next issue of The Activist and it is now time for…Scripting.

You see, so far I have written my plot, did the research, and created several outlines; all of those based off the story I wrote. I did not always used to do this but I found something very liberating in writing down the entire narrative without any restrictions. I think of it as purging. I just write ANYTHING and EVERYTHING that should and would happen in the story I am working on. Most of it is crap and that’s the beauty of it. You basically take a crap on the page and out of this manure grows a beautiful flower! Once you are purged from the excess crap, you can more easily find those story bits that are truly interesting and amusing.

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It’s okay if you can’t read it, it’s a secret code.

Then it’s time to write the script. I am always so anxious about it that I will try to delay it by having a sandwich or another cup of coffee. I think it’s because of the commitment it represents: there is a form to adhere to, a number of pages to stay within (at least in comic-book land). I was anxious but ended up having a lot of fun (as usual) and I kept reminding myself that this only a first draft. No judging. It’s only the FIRST DRAFT. The first draft is always crap, right?

This is also the step where writing the entire narrative proved itself very useful. That was done by pen and paper and there is something to be said about the flow of it as opposed to a computer keyboard. I gently extracted some bits of dialogue and description from the sea of poop in front of me, followed my outline; and before I knew it, the first draft was done. It did take a turn for the weird as it ought to with The Activist. I cannot wait to share that script with Nick next month.

Now onto polishing the turd with better dialogue, clearer descriptions, and tighter structure. I’ll leave you with my favorite line so far.

N-

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Getting ready for more!

Nick ( The Awesome Artist on The Activist) and I met yesterday. We discussed the preliminary sketches for our next issue: “Oily Shit!”

That’s right.After some “light” changes (not that it’s gonna get any lighter), we decided to re-make the first issue of The Activist that I first made in Photoshop.

I am oh-so very excited to see what Nick will bring to the table and I am pleased to say that he already did bring it…to the table:

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Looking over his work in conjunction with the script, Nick and I discussed what needs to be focused on. Meanwhile I photograph our feet. I am wearing the sandals (sans socks, how un-french of me). Nick’s sneakers are on the right. Nice socks!

We are planning for an early August online publication (an a few prints of course for submission) so stay tuned.

N-

Chubb-missions

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So here goes nothing…except our very first submissions for the Activist, Whoohoo!!!
I just got to get those babies stamped and sent.
My only hope is that USPS delivers. That’s it. Since comic book publishing companies do not have enough people to send rejection letters, we will technically NOT get rejected.
It’s an interesting process and one that we will continue with each subsequent issue.

Below is a copy of the cover letter/synopsis I included with each submission along with the script and printed comic (see last week’s post and Nick’s glorious mug).

If you have time, your opinion and advice are ALWAYS welcome,

See you next week,

N-

SYNOPSIS:
Once a biathlon Winter Olympic champion, Orphan Francois Poitiere was kicked out for doping. After many failed attempts at helping the world through charitable organizations, he took it upon himself to pursue ultimate justice no matter the wacky consequences!
He is the activist!!!

In this comic, the Activist gets pregnant from a new drug he got for Christmas. He tries to get an abortion but Jesus convinces him not to so he accidentally gives birth to a baby girl in the toilet. Permanently attached to him via an unbreakable umbilical cord, she grows up to gargantuan size and starts destroying the city. The Activist has to choke her with the umbilical cord in order to stop her. Though he does not regret killing her, the Activist is stuck with a giant baby’s carcass attached to his ass.

Created and written by Nicolas Izambard with Art from Nick Nall.
PO Box 1466
Scappoose, OR 97056
Phone: 503-680-0177
e-mail: nizambard@yahoo.fr

What is The Activist???
In my dream, the Activist is a monthly publication that pokes fun at current political and social events. But what truly matters here is…what do you need?
A graphic novel? The Activist can do that and would be more than happy to pitch the hell out of you.
A 4-issues mini-series? I got just the thing!
The Activist is FLEXIBLE, you need just ask.

Have a good day!
Sincerely,
Nicolas Izambard

So hard to print!

This past week was an adventure into the world of printing and InDesign. What a load of shit. Fuck Kinkos.(and Documart as well). I found my savior at Minuteman this morning and they helped me print a real comic book looking Activist (in no time at all!). I have yet to truly understand why my Comic Book needs to “bleed” so much.

If you have not yet, go read it. In the meantime, enjoy this picture of Nick Nall holding it.

Next week, I ‘ll let you know how writing (or in this case, re-writing) the next issue is coming along (or not).

Thanks for your support and to those who helped me with the printing process.

N-

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ARTIST WANTED

As much as I like doing the Photoshop thing for the Activist and such, I have to face the fact that it will not help me get published. Most professionals I have talked to agree, it is NOT publishable.

The thing is I want to get published, and in order to do that I need a seriously talented artist with whom to collaborate. I need someone publishable.

Can you help me find the ONE? Are you IT?

If you are, we would do short- shorts ( 3 pagers), pitches, and submit our work to Dark Horse and especially Image. I also know a couple freelance editors we can talk to.

Though I am open to work with anyone, I would prefer someone Portland-based. Not just so that we can meet face to face, but because I would love to tell pdx-based stories.

Important fact: I can’t afford to pay you the hundred of $$$ you so rightfully deserve but I can buy you lunch and coffee. Plus you get my eternal gratitude which is priceless.

If interested, check out some of my work below. You can contact me by email: nizambard@yahoo.fr

The Activist

Bathory

Alistair