Sunday, September 25, 2011

Bone Bound Set

I just finished reading my four volume bound set of Bone by Jeff Smith. This probably doesn't come as a surprise to those who have read the series, but here it is anyways, I LOVED IT! An incredibly well crafted, epic story filled with rich characters and masterful cartooning.

My first experience with Bone was about 5-6 years when on a whim I bought the first trade paperback (containing the initial 6 issues of the 55 issues series). As far as I can remember, the great looking art was really the only reason I picked it up. Even though at the time the series had already concluded, I had no knowledge of it's popularity. To me, it just looked cool. Shortly after reading the first trade my local comic store had a back issue sale where I picked up a lot of the issues. They were mostly non-consectutive, so I never actually read any of the issues. But like most binding projects, I slowly collected the remainder of the issues over a period of a few years, until I completed the run. I even found one issue from a dollar bin that had been signed by Jeff Smith!

The binding was done by Bindery 59 through David Banks at Single Bound Studios. I've worked with David on most of my binds during the last couple of years and I've never been disappointed. He represents a number of different binderies, all catering to various needs. The two binderies I've used are Bindery 59 for this set (and similar basic binding projects) and Capitol Bindery for more complex, extras-laden binds. Both companies provide a great, quality product and I'll continue to use them for the foreseeable future.

The first three volume contain the main series. I made a fourth volume for the Rose mini series, the Rat Tails trade paperback, Bone Holiday Special and Bone Sourcebook. I figured if I was going to bind the series I might as well be a completist and add all the extras.

This was my first bind where I decided to add my own title page. It's a simple design, but it just adds to the fun of making a custom book.

Another cool aspect of have the original issues as opposed to the trades, is reading through the great letter columns. Even though I'm reading the series years after its conclusion, the letters make it possible to see fan's opinions as it was ongoing. It's the closest I'll ever get to joining the fan community at that time. I found one letter from a future Eisner winning artist!

Bone is a great series, it's one of my all time favorites! I'm beyond pleased to have this set and I plan on enjoying it for many, many years to come.

Friday, September 23, 2011

My Mini Comic - By The Slice

So I finally finished my mini-comic, By The Slice. Cecilia Latella did a great job and I couldn't be happier. But let's start from the beginning.

I took a class at Meltdown Comics on Sunset Blvd on how to create your first comic. Yes, I'm a newbie comicbook writer. So I knew I needed to learn the basics (paneling, captions, word balloons etc.) before getting in touch with an artist to execute the story. As soon as I finished the script I went on Deviantart, posted on a forum looking for a penciller/inker and received many responses. It came down to two artists, both showing interest and talent, but I liked Cecilia's style and storytelling. She signed onto the project and we finally starting the creative process. She living in Italy, while I in California, meant emailing back and forth almost everyday.

I had written a fourteen page script about a post college girl working at a pizza place. It's a slice of life story between employee and employer. Her liberal views are challenged by her un-PC boss' business practices. When the job becomes more of a headache than a paycheck, she becomes bitter--much like her boss.

The working relationship between Cecilia and I went smooth. This has our names on it so we both wanted it to look good. After months of collaboration, it was ready to print. I took it to a local copy shop and now I have a box full of mini-comics. But it doesn't stop there.

I called Meltdown to see if I can sell it for cheap in their store and they were very accommodating. I walked up to the counter, they paid me for 5 copies and put it on the "new" shelf in the middle of the store. That was really nice of them! He complimented the comic and said, "Tweet away! Tell everyone it's here."

I know I still have a lot of ground to cover but for me who has a tall stack of unpublished/unoptioned/rejected was a good day.

Friday, September 2, 2011

SDCC 2011: Finding Artists

So here's my deal. I want to be a comicbook writer. That's it. Plain and simple I want to write comicbooks. I love the medium, I enjoy storytelling, and I have a blast meeting people involved with the industry (creators and fans alike). So a couple of years ago I decided that I would make a go at writing comics. The first year/year and a half was me just trying to get a grasp of how to actually write a comic script. I don't want to say "a good comic script" because that's not for me to determine. I just wanted to complete a script I was happy with and confident in. After countless rewrites and discovering that writing funny books wasn't one of my natural born abilities (who knew!), I have finally finished a few scripts. Yep, I said "scripts," plural. Now don't get me wrong, these aren't 300 page graphic novels, they're mostly of the short story variety. In fact, all three of the scripts are 12 page short stories. Baby steps.

My first story starts with a clown walking down a busy city street, who then passes another clown. Both clowns stop, engage in a tense standoff, and then fight for the next 11 pages. It's a little bit Highlander (there can be only one.... clown?), a pinch of Spy vs. Spy, and a healthy dose of a Tex Avery cartoon. After finishing the script, I scoured the internet for an artist. The majority of my time was spent following links on deviantart, artist message boards, and personal blogs. Eventually, I contacted an artist from Argentina who agreed to do it. As of right now he's only been able to pencil 8 out of the 12 pages but I've been beyond stoked with how it's come out so far. Though the finished comic is still a ways off, I've enjoyed making it and have learned quite a bit in the process.

"Clown Fight" character sketches (Artist: Ger Curti)

To find an artist for one of my other stories, I decided to participate in the Comic Creator Connection at this year's San Diego Comic Con. The way the meet up worked was that there were a series of long tables in the room where all the artists would sit on one side and writers would sit on the opposite side facing them. Each writer and artist would be paired up for 5 minutes, in which time they would share artwork and scripts. After the time limit, the artist would stay seated while the writer would move over one spot to the next artist. It's essentially comic creator speed dating; five minutes to find your comicbook soulmate.

My results were quite varied. First of all, there were more artists who showed up than there were writers. This left me with a few times where I'd be in-between artists and have to kill the 5 minutes before my next one-on-one. It's wasn't a big deal, but swimming through a sea of other aspiring writers to find an artist can be a little frustrating.

The work I saw from the artists, for the most part, was pretty much a letdown. The most glaring problem with their portfolios was the lack of sequential art. Come on people! The room is full of new, inexperienced writers and if an artist can't show them that he/she can sequentially tell a story why would someone want to collaborate with them? I think an artist looking to work on a comic should only be showing comic samples. When I'd talk to an artist who only had pin-up samples, it felt like a waste of my time and of their's. Five minutes goes fast and if they don't have something on paper to show their storytelling ability it's pretty much game over, especially after two hours of meeting a couple dozen different artists.

This is not to say that it was all bad. I met a few artists with some good sequential art and a lot of potential. Unfortunately none of their styles were anywhere near what I was looking for. Hell, even if it was in the same ballpark of what I'm envisioning I would have been all over it. Oh well, c'est la vie. Despite all this I just signed up for the Comic Creator Connection at next month's APE in San Francisco. By improving your odds, your improving your luck.... right?..... hopefully......please!