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.
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.
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.
This is Nick Nall and I’s first published work. 8th Wonder Press was looking for short story pitches involving the use of science and/or MAD science. I knew I really wanted to use Nick’s mad cartooning skills to make an old fashioned cartoon in the style of the Looney Tunes AND I wanted it to be completely silent. NO dialogue. We came up with the 12 pages story of how a poor lonely Moonian named Loony literally MAKES friends.
I learned a lot from working on Loony. I learned about telling a story with images only. I learned how to better communicate with my collaborator and artists Nick (still working on that). I learned that I should not be so anal about it and let the artist do his job. I learned that sometimes, you should kill your “cool visual ideas” in order to put the story first. And I still learning.
ALISTAIR is the Graphic novel I wrote and produced for the Graphic Novel writing class I took with Brian Michael Bendis at Portland State University. Our final assignment was to make a 22 pages comic. Like most of the students in the class, I do not draw so I used Photoshop.
I got a B+. Brian told me that the script was good enough, I did not need to go overboard with the lettering and design.
My beloved wife, Skye Champagne, is not only featured in it (as the Lady) but she also took numerous pictures of me.
When I first started writing Comic Books, I had a hard time finding an artist. I was deluted enough that I thought I could find someone who would draw my stories for free. I know better now. At the time, I decided to make my own comic in Photoshop and the Activist #1 “Oily Shit” was born.
It was a great learning experience and my web project for The Graphic Novel Writing Class I took at Portland State University with Brian Michael Bendis. “Oily Shit” got an A.