Tag Archives: WebComics

Big Typo.

I started passing around my business card.

People usually like it. I did it here if you wanna try.

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Notice the pretty artwork from Nick. Only I know that’s what he looks like on the toilet–>here.

Yesterday I gave it to a coworker and told him about the work Nick and I are doing and how we’re going to be in an anthology blah blah blah…

Then the unthinkable happened. As he was browsing through this very website on his I-phone, he noticed a TYPO! Not a typo in a text or a blog or a word balloon. No no no..that I could have stomached. He saw this:

00

How do you pronounce that???

What in the name of fuck? I mean come on people, a little help here. No one noticed this!!!??? Yeah, I’m looking at you Nick. I have a valid excuse, English is my second language: “Anglissh his aard four mi”.

Anyway I fixed it:

00NOtypo

Phew! I feel better. Next time though, could you please let me know you guys. I mean, what am I not paying you for?

N-

Ripped to shreds.

I am currently reading tons of Top Cow comics in order to compete for their Talent Hunt. As I read more and more of their stuff, a story starts to form in my head. That’s good. Better hurry since the January 31st deadline is looming. Incidentally, it is also my mommy’s birthday and the deadline for our Loony Story with 8th Wonder Press.

I need to be familiar with the intricacies and idiosyncrasies of the Top Cow Universe if I want to write a story to their specifications and satisfaction. As I mentioned last week, they provide a list of recommended reading (thank God!). I have been trying to get my hands on all of the books. I got a fair share from the library (I pay taxes Goddammit!), others from the Comic Book Shop (Excalibur!!!) and then, as a last resort, Amazon.com. I ordered the first volume of “Artifacts” from them ( I got all other 4 volumes from the library).

I was really excited to read it. It has an introduction by Marc Silvestri that really explains his vision for Top Cow. How it was “the perfect place to satisfy [his] sci-fi/fantasy/horror fetish.” And it is. Looking back on the Witchblade and the Darkness, I realize it is very much X files if Mulder and Scully had superpowers. It has detective/horror elements much like “Seven” with added fantasy elements (Angels, demons and even Dragons!) and heroes wielding magical weapons on top. What a cocktail! If anything, there is nothing else like it in Comics.

I am truly enjoying the experience, much more than I thought I would. Writer Ron Marz is really bringing the whole universe and all its characters together in a compelling and downright cool way. I am looking forward to reading more of his work.

But even better, I cannot wait to finish the research phase and start the outline phase ( I already have a plot!).

The only blemish on that otherwise good time is that damn Artifacts Vol.1 from Amazon.com. As soon as I started reading, it started falling apart at the seam! Each page I turned would come undone! That was like a total nightmare!!! It fell apart one page at a time.

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Yep, she’s dead; ripped to shreds.

I never had that happen before! Books from the library are as sturdy as a rock but this brand new one falls apart?!? I was totally freaked out. You know, bad omen type of situation. Looking at it now, I believe the glue from the seam must have been defective. Oh well, I should have gotten it from the comic book store. I still might because the artwork is pretty sumptuous too.

I am about to read Artifacts Vol.4 tonight. Stjepan Sejic is the artist ( he was for a few other titles I read as part of the research) and he is a very talented artist/digital painter. I’ll leave you on a positive note with his sick artwork! Go check him out.

Artifacts_14_Image_Expo_variantOne happy family!

The Top Cow Talent Hunt

Though I am obviously still working on the script for 8th Wonder Press, I am also starting work on the next thing. And the next thing for me is: The Top Cow Talent Hunt.

Publisher Top Cow is looking to publish the work of 4 artists and 4 writers. All you have to do is submit a script or some artwork following their hyper specific guidelines. I only heard of this a couple weeks back so I am a bit late to the party but I am still going to write a 22 pages script by the January 31st deadline. I just have to read up and study the Top Cow universe first.

I actually started reading Witchblade and the Darkness when it first came out in France back in 1996 I believe. It was published by Image Comics and I thought it was so cool but I was like 14 years old and I thought SPAWN was the bomb! So the Witchblade was like a sexy version of Spawn to me. Then the Darkness came out and it was another cool murderous dark anti-hero. It was all very dark and brooding and gory like Batman on steroids (and with boobs!) and I loved it.

The Top Cow universe has changed quite a bit since  so I have A LOT of catching up to do. Thank god the submission guidelines include recommended reading.

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Poor me! I have to read sooooooo many comics.

Now I am trying to get as many of this books from the library as possible and I did find about half of what I need. I am just waiting for them all to be available which should be soon. I am also still waiting on Artifacts Vol.1 from Amazon so I can read the whole series. So far it is the only trade I bought for the purpose of this submission but I plan on going to Excalibur to get some more stuff as I am sure they carry pretty much everything and I like giving them money. They are a true comic book shop where one can find specific issues AND they know their stuff. No gimmicks. No toys.

That’s about it. I will keep you updated on the processes. On one hand the studying of the Top Cow universe and the birth of a story within that universe; and on the other hand, I’ll let you know how our to-be-published project is coming along.

After all that, perhaps I can catch up on my library readings:

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Look at me and my first world problems:

I don’t have enough time to read ALL those Comic Books!

See you next week,

N-

We’re getting published!

Nick Nall and I are getting published!

8th Wonder Press accepted our submission for their 2014 Anthology slated for the spring. Along with 20 other artists, our 12 pages story is going to be printed in a 160 pages book.

As you can imagine, we are thrilled! We are also working hard. While Nick sketches the new characters to give them their definite look, I am ferociously scripting.

2014 already looks good.

Here are some sketches from Nick that I just LOVE! I know you will too.

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The theme for the Anthology is Science and Mad Science. Mad Science it is!

N-

The Pitch.

Alright people, Nick and I are pitching to 8th Wonder Press for their Science/ Mad Science Anthology. I figured I would share the pitch here so you can tell us what you think. One thing to keep in mind is that we are writing for all ages here.The final Artwork from Nick is not included but it will be in the final pitch. Regardless, this is about the story. Here it goes:

Dear Submission Editor,

My name is Nicolas Izambard and I am writer. Together with artist Nick Nall, we wish to propose to you a story for your upcoming anthology. The story is titled: “Loony the Moonian Makes Friends”. Our story is one of Mad Science. It is 12 pages long and has no dialogue.

On the moon, Loony the Moonian is enjoying eating moon rocks, his favorite meal. He just wishes he had a friend to share it with. So he hops into his flying saucer and goes to earth. Using his technologically advanced tablet, he captures animals in the most fantastic ways. Projecting a gazelle hologram to catch a lion and using a decoy lake to trap a giraffe, Loony manages to catch dozens of animals from Africa. [Pages 1 to 3]

As he flies back to the moon with the flying saucer full of animals, we see why Loony kidnapped them all in the first place. He has a plan. He wants to build the perfect friend. From the courage of a lion to the sense of humor of a Hyena, he is going to put it all together.  Back inside his lab on the moon, he uses special lasers to divide each animal into cubes (just like a sliding tile puzzle!).He then uses all the different cubes to build the most fantastically backwards looking animals. Unfortunately, no matter how many times he tries, he cannot put the perfect friend together. Disappointed in his failed experiments, Loony is about to discard a big pile of cubes when, suddenly, he trips and falls. All the cubes he was carrying fall to the ground and merge together to form a big, scary-looking creature. [Pages 4 to 7]

The poor thing is made of all the wrong parts in all the wrong places! It has a giraffe’s neck for a tail, an elephant’s trunk for an arm and it is now chasing Loony through the lab so that it can get a big hug. The creature simply wants some love. Unfortunately, our friend the Moonian does not see it this way and has never been so scared in his entire life. So when the creature manages to catch him, he reaches for his tablet to release the many failed experiments he created. [Pages 8 and 9]

Scared of all the failed experiments Loony unleashed, the creature runs away from the lab. Using the distraction to his advantage, Loony hops into his flying saucer and escapes but the creature spots him in the distance and runs after the saucer. When it finally catches up, it jumps onto the saucer and causes Loony to crash onto the moon’s surface. [Pages 10 and 11]

Later, Loony wakes up in his lab with bandages on his head. He is surrounded by all his failed experiment and the creature is dangerously approaching him! The creature offers him a plate of Moon rocks, his favorite, and they all share a meal together. Loony has not only made a friend in the creature, he did in fact make friends, not matter how imperfect they are. [page12]

The End.

The Method.

Well, A method. This is, in essence, the DC method that you can find in The DC Comics Guide to Writing Comics. Check out last week’s post to learn more.

Like any method, it should be tailored, re-sized, and dyed to your own needs and tastes. I did not always use this method but ever since I started to, I don’t wanna stop. I find that it brings more discipline to the process and who doesn’t need more discipline?…especially when it comes to writing. Though I use the method for Comic Book Writing, it can be applied to any kind of writing.

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That’s what the method looks like on my PC for the Flo-Rida script. Concise stuff. I like.

Now the method pretty much requires that you possess a personal computer. That doesn’t mean you should stop using a pen and paper. You crazy? I still have a journal of sorts with some version of the story in it. You’ve gotta be ready for the Apocalypse. Just in case.

Once you have a computer, you’re gonna want to create a folder titled..well, whatever your title for your project is. I know. It’s probably not the final title since you’re just starting, but come on, you gotta call it something. Let’s say I call it “something”!

Now, inside my “something” folder, I create a SUB-folder for reference pictures. Phew!… you still with me? I know it’s getting tough for some of us tech-tards but hang on! You don’t have to make a sub-folder for pictures. You don’t have to use pictures at all. I just do. That’s the beauty of it, it’s totally up to you.I just enjoy looking at pictures in the research phase and I collect them for inspiration and to use as reference. Then I can show them to my artist if needed.

Let’s get to the meat of it. You wanna create 4 WORDS Documents entitled:

-“Something” NOTES:

That’s where you frantically gather random notes about your project, copy and paste Wikipedia pages and what not. “Un veritable Fourre-tout”= A put-it-all-in kinda place. (that’s what she said..haha). The research phase is my favorite. I’m a hoarder of research materials and that’s what this document is for. I also use it for dialogue ideas, some plotting, anything. Just vomit it all on the page! You can go fishing pearls later.

-“Something” PLOT:

Usually my shortest document. I try to summarize the entire story in 3 sentences then I toy with it a bit.

-“Something” OUTLINE:

This is the map you create here that will guide you through the long and hazardous scripting process. Mine sometimes look like this:outileex

Now this probably only makes sense to me but that’s all that matters, right? Of course, you change it, you re-write it, you perfect it until you’re ready for…

-“Something” SCRIPT:

The Script! ARRGH! I hate scripting, it is the least fun for me. I start only when I feel I have the story, a solid PLOT and good OUTLINE make scripting a lot easier. I usually start by writing a rough script so I can gauge for space. Once that is well established, I go in for details and clear panel descriptions to the artist. When it comes to formatting, I’m pretty standard. Maybe I’ll show another time.

That’ it folks. That’s the method. My method. The DC method. Whatever.

4 word docs, some pics if you like. Pretty straightforward and, more importantly, it’s ORGANIZED!

Try it, you might like it.

N-

Never Stop Writing

“Never stop writing”

That’s what Brian Michael Bendis told me.

I took the Writing Graphic Novel class he taught at Portland State University back in 2010. This was the beginning of my Comic Book writing days. Professor Bendis is not only extremely knowledgeable about the craft, he is also very supportive. It was just a great, fun, informative class with fantastic reading material.

I personally recommend starting with The Writer’s Journey by Christopher Vogler. It’ll teach you plenty about telling a story and the three acts structure. Don’t just read it, STUDY it. Take notes. Commit to memory. You should do that for all these books. It truly helps. THEN read Story by Robert McKee. It seemed to me it was a lot easier to read Story AFTER The Journey. I also recommend the DC Comics Guide to Writing Comics. It contains some great organisational methods. Add Will Eisner’s Comics and Sequential Arts and Graphic Storytelling and Visual Narrative; and Scott McCloud’s Understanding Comics and Making Comics. Those will take you on a trip.

That’s enough,  you got plenty there. In the end though, you write your way. There are not set methods. just pick and choose what works best FOR you.

I got an A in the class, not that I believe in grades or anything but it does help when people enjoy your work and tell you so. The Activist was born in that class and so was Alistair.

The last time I talked to professor Bendis, it was on the floor of the Stumptown Comics Fest where the whole class met for the last time. As he walked away from me, he turned around and said “never stop writing”. To this day, this is the most supportive and positive advice I have gotten. It carries me through and pushes me forward no matter what.

I quickly answered: “I won’t”.

N-

Collaboration

For the first time, I feel that Nick and I are truly collaborating.

So far, I’ve been writing full scripts for The Activist and given them to Nick to draw. Period. We have discussions about layouts and whatnot but the story is mostly unchanged from the script to the final product. After the art is finished though, I always adjust dialogue in the lettering phase (or even delete it completely) so that it looks natural and the story is being told by the sequential art, not by the word balloons.

On our current project, things are different…and for the better.madthumb2

We are working on a new story to submit for the 8th Wonder Press Anthology : Science/Mad Science. I came up with an all-ages story that includes some sort of mad science (no spoilers here) and loosely wrote an outline but no script yet. From there, I figured Nick and I would meet and “make” the comic as we go, working together on telling the story, making choices, debating, and arguing, while he thumbnails every beat in the story without restrictions.madthumb3

We are only 3 pages in and meeting tomorrow to continue and finish telling the story. The script I will write will be based on this collaboration.

I have never done anything like that before. I do have a background in collaboration though, with my experience in Theatre as both an actor and a director but this is the first time I get to apply this to story telling in such a direct and rewarding fashion.

Many thanks to Nick for the opportunity and for being so flexible. We’re having a ball.

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Stay out of our way!

As you might know from last week’s post, I have been working on a story idea Nick had (Nick is my artist). Things were getting a lot creepy in my research stage, like THAT CREEPY:

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Al Basti and Popobawa. That’s what you find when you dig into the world of succubi.

I enjoy collecting images as part of my research so that I can share them with Nick later if necessary AND/OR start barfing and laughing simultaneously.

Then all of sudden, Nick sent me an email that his roommate sent him about a great opportunity. Now, we are working on a brand new 8 pages comic for the 8th Wonder Press Anthology – Science! / Mad Science! and so should you! No, really, check it out.

In the next weeks, we are focusing solely on this project as the deadline for the proposal nears. Please, wish us good luck, pray for us to your gods, your demons and your mutant children! Send us good vibes and lots of positive energy and as Stewie Griffin so perfectly put it:  “Dear God…STAY OUT OF OUR WAY!!!!”

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Nick pretty much forced me to post his picture here because he is (self-admittedly) a narcissist.

New Look…finally!

So I finally found a better Theme for this blog. It is called Fontfolio and it does what my blog needed most: it makes it more VISUAL.

I just love the new front page.

newsiteThe order of posts featured can be re-arranged via Sticky Notes.

The most difficult part was to find a “full width” theme in order to accommodate the comics themselves but especially the large GIFs from the AC series.

The second big change is that I decided to do away with “pages” for the Comics themselves. Instead I chose to feature the art on one long page, separated by a slight margin.

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Try it here and tell me what you think,

N.I.