Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Making Of: She Hears Voices - A Short Story

Hello Everybody!

It's been a while, I know. But I've been busy this year and I wanted to take a small break and dive into my earlier work. She Hears Voices was released late in 2017. I've been selling ash-can copies at conventions (see above).

But now, you can check out the comic online at ComixCentral

Rafael Dantas did the art and Chas! Pangburn did the lettering.

I wanted to dive into the process a bit, very much a bonus/behind the scenes thing.

The premise is, a little girl learns to communicate with animals and a year later she is imprisoned in a detention camp where orphaned kids are forced into labor. In order to free herself from the fascists in charge she talks to city creatures like pigeons, rats, and dogs to help her.

It's like a Don Bluth take of Shawshank Redemption.

I built an inspiration board on Pinterest for the artist to reference. City of Lost Children and Gattaca were prime examples of the dystopian aesthetic I was looking for.

As for the script, the biggest challenge was to establish the dialogue balloons to show her speaking telepathically to animals while narrating her thoughts to us. It was very tricky but I wanted to remain consistent so there's no confusion. Also I purposely didn't want to use the Professor X telepath balloon because it's a bit dated and very unique to his character in the X-men series. So Chas, who did an excellent job parsing through all the different forms of dialogue, created a whisper-telepath hybrid balloon.

Small panel - A Dragonfly, like a winged messenger, flies through a crack in the window of a basement.

CAPTION (CECI): How to talk to animals.

Night time. Ceci looks up at the window from the cold floor. She is in tattered clothing and wears low tech infrared goggles. It helps her see movement. She was blinded by the corporate goons who run this place, coder slaves.


NARRATION - I’ll never forget what Mr. H said to me later that day,
“Animals are not aware of the politics of this world. They keep flying and crawling, with or without us.
NARRATION - “But I believe, somehow they know who’s worth helping.”

We see an albino rat named Sim is next to her looking up at the dragonfly.
**Lettering note: Telepathic dotted lines should be used when she speaks to animals**

Hello Dragonfly. How are you?

So story continues, she directs Sim the rat to cut the wire to the electricity where it will automatically disable the security doors. For this scene, she's narrating to us her internal monologue, and she's trying to escape but CYD06 (cyber-dog) stops her. The background story on him (which is not really explained in this short story) is that he was caught as a stray but instead of training him to be a vicious guard dog that can die like any other living thing, they made him into this canine Terminator. He was once a sentient creature but now a mech-animal. 

Side note- I absolutely loved WE3, so this was also a nod to Frank Quietly and Grant Morrison.


NARRATION - People can't see in the dark. But I'm not like most people.

SFX - Huff Huff

Ceci runs down the hallway passed the camera. There's low light coming from the exit signs.

Inside a security office, OTHO a bald headed guard, stands over a large workstation, pressing a button and talking to a TECH GUY on speaker.

Otho here at Sector Twenty Four, what seems to be the issue? 
Is it software or hardware?

(on speaker)
Not sure. Want me to check it out?

            I'll go. Just keep an eye out on the bridge.

Ceci slows down, she hears a growl behind her.

SFX: Grrr.

She looks behind her. It's a dog but really a robot. 
***Lettering note: His name and his dialogue should be an old digital font.***
Halt! Intruder!

NARRATION - CYD06. He looks real, but only a part of him is. Organic heart, metal brain. I can only stall him for a short while.

But the guard in charge, Otho, finds her before she's about to escape. He uses his electric baton on her and she's knocked out, barely moving. The pigeons who live in the building and know Ceci sees this and starts attacking Otho. The great thing about this scene is we get to see what the pigeons are saying. The squaking is translated. 

Five pigeons see Otho standing over her.

SFX: Coo. Coo

They become agitated, flapping their wings.


BLACK PANEL ***Lettering note: same font used for cooing and squaking***

NARRATION - I hear them. They're fighting for me.

CAPTION (PIGEONS): Get away from her, you bad man!

Her POV: She sees the outline and heat from Otho getting attacked by the pigeons.


Otho is waving his arms around, the pigeons peck at his head.

OW! Get off of me! Dumb flying rodents!

And so if you haven't read it yet, I'd suggest you do because I don't want to spoil anything....

But she successfully escapes. The last panel shows her running out onto a bridge. The cityscape is barely in the background but to sum up this story, I took a quote from an amazing anthology called Wastelands: Stories of the Apocalypse.

The quote from Dale Bailey's "The End Of The World As We Know It" was to end the story as more of an ellipsis than a solid period. There are no real happy endings in dystopian stories. It's more of a, "I survived this, for now. But the world is still on fire." My urge to write this story (only two years ago) was that, we're not that far off. The headlines are as bleak as ever. As of now, there are kids being stripped away from their parents and some are dying in cages on US soil. History is repeating itself and before I go out on a rant, I'll just say, comics is not just a form of escapism, but a way to express what's happening before our eyes. 

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Los Angeles Comic Con - Oct 26-28th

Hey guys, it's Giulie here.

Guess what's coming up? LA Comic-Con this weekend! It's been a long time since we did a show but we have some new stuff to offer.

We will be debuting our latest micro-anthology, RED: A Golden Age Mixtape. Four modern short stories using Golden age characters: Red Rube, Red Bee, Red Mask and Red Torpedo. Contributors include Jared Sams, Kenny Keil, Rob Harrington and me with Leonie O'Moore. Nathaniel Osollo did the awesome cover, sneak preview of the logo below.

A Golden Age Mixtape

Also, FANBASE PRESS did a shout out for all indie creators that will be in attendance (including us).

Rob and I will be tabling in Artist Alley at C13. Come by and check us out!

Monday, October 22, 2018

Our New Website is up!

Lot's of announcements this week!

We have a new website (so sleek and shiny) and you must check it out.

We will add and edit information as the weeks go by but until then, peruse and enjoy.

Saturday, October 20, 2018

Kickstarter for Cash & Carrie Book 2 is now live!

Cash & Carrie: Book Two - Summer Sleuths is now available for pre-order!

It's 96 pages of fun stories and colorful art. The rewards are for the digital edition or the soft-cover printed trade. Kickstarter campaign ends on November 27th.

What's in store for our favorite mystery solving duo?

Cash and Carrie are back at it again! School’s out for the summer and that means it’s time to retreat to a cabin in the woods where it’s always safe and nothing bad ever happens there. It’s all fun and games until strange things start happening. Campers go missing, Bigfoot might actually exist and what's really in coleslaw? With no WiFi and the mosquito repellant not cutting it, our detective duo have to stick together to solve these mysteries on their own. Will they survive this spooky summer camp of supreme superstition? We shall see!

Please click on this link to contribute or help spread the word.

Saturday, September 22, 2018

BEHIND THE SCENES: Breakdown of a Script

Hello there!

It's been a while since I've done an actual blog post that is more tutorial than announcement, but here we go.

I'm going back to one of my earlier scripts that I almost self-published but ultimately didn't for numerous reasons. Today, I wanted to look at the mistakes I made (and learned from) and analyze what could've been a worthwhile short comic. With every failed attempt is a learning experience, and here's hoping I'm evolving into a better writer.

DINER MAN - A server waits on the patrons of a small diner until he sees a shady man ready to abduct a young woman. 

It's a simple story, four pages. A major criticism I received when I posted this story on a message board (to get notes) is...not much happens. Well, I still disagree with that sentiment because it's slice of life. A small gesture can have big consequences.

An aside, I hired an artist for this but he never finished it. Even though I have posted his pages here for educational purposes, I'm withholding his name out of respect, I don't want to tarnish is reputation. I didn't take it personally since he was honest with me about why he flaked. But hey, that's indie comics for you.

Now dissecting Page 1. I put a summary at the top which is really a writer's note to the artist. It paints the overall picture/tone. This could've been in an email as added info alongside the script. Or better yet, weaved throughout the subsequent panels. The backstory of Diner Man (ex firefighter who lost his leg) was inspired by an actual guy that waited on me a few times at my local diner. In my mind, he's the quiet hero, holistic, who worked the night shift to pay the bills.

Page 1 Panel 1, sets up the world, customers sitting and eating, we see bits of their dialogue, just a peak into their lives (because everyone from all walks of life need to eat).

Page 1 Panel 2-4, the introduction to the interest, the young woman in the hoodie. With limited real estate, I couldn't devote too much time to developing her so in this case she is the short lived object of affection. (Yeah I know, women shouldn't be seen as objects, it's a figure of speech!)

P2p1 (short hand for Page 2 panel 1) Diner Man's the nice guy in this, not trying to flirt but likes her right away.

P2p4 - the inciting incident. It's subtle I know, but the creeper just honed in on an un-assuming girl. And our hero sees that. Also I don't know remember why I called the creeper Left Man, because he doesn't stay on the left side of the panel for too long...ugh.

P3p2 - As you noticed, there's 6 panels listed in the script but 9 panels on the comic page. This harks back to when I was still unsure about pacing and action. An artist can only take snap shots of a nuanced scene like this and for this page specifically, the artist rightly added more panels to contrast the seemingly normal night of a busy diner with the looming danger of our central story.

P3p6- this was pushed to the next page, as an insert panel.

P4p2 - Our hero watches and rather than waiting to see what happens, he intervenes. He senses malice and the potential threat in Left Man. And the fact that we now know that creeper/Left Man has a name, that means he's a regular there. Perhaps Diner Man knows Frank is an ex-con. Again, everyone has to eat.

P4p5 - Not only is this not a wide angle, but it's panel 7 on the comic page. In any case, I love this last shot. It's the superhero shot. Diner Man is a protector who doesn't say a lot (adding to his mystique), has overcome obstacles (lost his leg), who's humble and human.

Overall, given the last time I even looked at this script back in 2013 I'd like to say my writing has improved (especially the layout of the script). And yes the pacing definitely needs improvement. Four pages is not a lot, so there's not a lot of time to waste. The inciting incident could've happened earlier.

The good news is, I still love the premise. It's rooted in reality, the everyday, where there are people who may harm us, but some may help us.

Saturday, August 25, 2018

Made At Meltdown Event

Hi Everyone!

It's been a while we know, but we've been really busy this year. But, there's an event happening in Downtown LA tomorrow called Made At Meltdown, in reference to Meltdown Comic Shop that closed earlier this year.

Way back when, the first comic I made (By The Slice) was created while taking a class at Meltdown U, taught by Jim Higgins. So everyone who took that class and has since then published other comics will be at A Shop Called Quest from 2-5.

Thanks to Rylend Grant who put this all together, we'll be signing, doing panels, podcasts, and there's food trucks as well.

So come on out and enjoy!

First Debut at the now defunct Meltdown Comics

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Podcasts, Conventions, Comics and more!

Hi all!

This is our first post of the year, yay!

We've been radio silent for a while now but that's because we're busy cooking up new comics.

Hopefully soon we'll revamp our website but for now, this space and FB is all we have.

Most recently, Rob and I were on The Fanbase Weekly podcast chatting about Black Panther, SpaceX rocket and our favorite trailers. Check us out in Episode 54.

Today we attended our first con of the year, Long Beach Comic Expo. It was great bumping into old friends and meeting new ones. We even picked up some awesome books too.

That's it for now but we'll roaming the aisles in WonderCon in March. If you see us walking around, wave us over to say hi.

Fanbase Headquarters (and chocolate)

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

My mini-comic in Advanced Death Saves

Josh Trujillo's Kickstarter for Advanced Death Saves is now live!

It'll be going until November 9th.

I contributed to the tabletop gaming anthology and my short comic is called Tit For Tat. It's about a group of girlfriends playing a game but the emotions run high as the dungeon master is out for blood.

The artist, Adrian Bago Gonzalez and letterer, Taylor Esposito made it all possible.

If you want to buy the pdf or hard copy of the book, log in and pledge any of the tiers.

FYI - I'm also in the video, but don't mind my acting...seriously. That's why I'm a writer.