Friday, August 31, 2012

America's New Favorite Comic Book: SCAM

SCAM #1: Written and Drawn by Joe Mulvey

Do you enjoy reading X-Men? Do you enjoy watching Ocean 11? If the answer is yes, we have found the perfect book for you.

"A team of professionals, the promise of fabulous loot, the perfect job – what could go wrong? SCAM is the pulse-pounding tale of a crew of super-powered grifters on the biggest con of their lives… taking down a Vegas casino and getting revenge on a former teammate who double-crossed them.:"

“Scam is packed with exciting moments and offers up enough of a twist on the genre that readers will find it enjoyable and fresh. It’s a genuine treat and I’m optimistic it’ll continue to deliver as the series progresses.”

Miguel Perez,

“I’m not one to often use the word “fun” to describe a comic, but this would be the very definition of the word. I highly recommend this to anyone looking for something different and unique, especially in a team book… Trust me, you want to hunt down this book.” ’Rama Rating: 9 out of 10

Edward Kaye and Jeff Marsick, Newsarama

“There is a certain level of excitement with any new #1 not set in a universe we already know… Scam #1 by writer/artist Joe Mulvey lives up to that excitement and delivers 44 pages of entertainment in what could be one of the best series of 2012.”

Aaron Long, Comicosity


SCAM #1 – August 2012 (Diamond ID: JUN121002)

SCAM #2 – October 2012

SCAM #3 – December 2012

SCAM #4 – February 2012

SCAM #5 – April 2012

The Schizophrenic Cheerleader: Viola Proctor

This is the second ever promo for our incredible, upcoming story: Shepherd. We, once again, have several different options for you to vote on. All of the art is done by the brilliant Kelly Williams. The only major difference is the text, as we tried several different fonts. This is another opportunity for you, the fan, the let us know your opinion on our direction. 





Sunday, August 26, 2012

NYCC Exclusive: 215Ink's Cobble Hill and Southern Dog

Cobble Hill #1

"Written by Jeremy Holt and drawn by Selena Goulding, Cobble Hill is a coming of age story of 17 year old, Samantha Charles – sole heir to her family’s fortune after the mysterious disappearance of her parents."

"Another important character to the story is the fictional historical port town of Cobble Hill. More specifically, inanimate objects that speak to Samantha in cryptic messages which reveal dark secrets about the quiet and unassuming town — riddles she will ultimately solve."




Southern Dog #1

Written by Jeremy Holt, Art by Alex Diotto and Cover Art by Riley Rossmo.

"Inspired by such films as Teen Wolf and Ginger Snaps, Southern Dog examines the unique complexities of race, love, and what it truly means to be a family in the Deep South."




Thursday, August 23, 2012

The David Lynch of Comic Books: Jeremy Holt

Are you attending Baltimore Comic Con in September? If the answer is yes, there is one independent comic writer that you must meet: Jeremy Holt. You will find him at 215Ink's table #'s A66 and A67. Over the past year, Jeremy has become a force of nature on the internet. If you have not had the chance to follow him on Twitter and listen to him on Image Addiction's The Process than you are missing out on something rare and useful. Starting this Fall, 215Ink will be publishing Jeremy's two comic books, Cobble Hill and Southern Dog. Now it doesn't end there. Jeremy also has a bi-weekly column with Multiversity Comics, where he discusses his journey into comics. 

Who is Jeremy Holt?

I’m an Apple computer technician that moonlights as a comic book writer. Amidst several projects that are currently in development--two of which through the small press publisher 215 Ink--I also write a bi-weekly column for Multiversity Comics, as well as host a writer’s podcast for Image Addiction.

Why did you decide to write comic books instead of prose?

Honestly, I never really imagined I’d ever become a writer. I had written short stories in high school, but I had such a difficult time with grammar and punctuation, that it deterred me from seriously pursuing it. I never really understood the structure behind long prose, and my comic book writing started with strong visuals that spawned my first few concepts for a comic. Fortunately with consistent practice, my grammar and punctuation has improved considerably. ;)

To get to the point of your question: The comic book structure is one that feels like a reflex to me. Ever since I first learned how one was constructed, it’s felt like second nature creating stories around that. Plus, the collaborative process as a comic book creator provides that instant gratification when you start seeing layouts, inks, and finalized colored pages of your stories from a talented artist.

There is a close knit community within comics that I wouldn’t trade for anything.

For those who don’t already know, 215Ink is publishing two of your books (Southern Dog and Cobble Hill) this fall. How did your collaboration with 215Ink come about?

My collaboration with Andrew DelQuadro (Publisher at 215Ink) spawned from an atypical submission process. I submitted two pitches: Cobble Hill and Primordial which Andrew green lit rather quickly. I had actually submitted Southern Dog to him almost half a year earlier. When I asked if he had even received it since I never heard back about it, he said he meant to green light it, but it got lost in the shuffle and he forgot. Primordial is currently on hold due to scheduling conflicts with the artist.

Without spoiling much, what can you tell us about Southern Dog and Cobble Hill?
Well, Southern Dog is a rural noir that modernizes the Teen Wolf story by setting it in the Deep South six weeks prior to Obama’s Inauguration. It examines the complexities of race, love, and what it truly means to be a family.

Cobble Hill is an evolving mystery focusing on one girl’s unique gift (or curse?) to hear inanimate object’s cryptic messages that elude to dark secrets within her historically rich port town. As the Chief Editor of her school’s newspaper, she will use her investigative skills that will aide in her uncovering the truth behind her parent’s unsolved disappearance. Unlike Southern Dog, Cobble Hill’s content is geared towards a YA demographic.

What was your writing process when you created Cobble Hill? At what point did you start the actual script?

Cobble Hill spawned from a high concept that I had been dwelling on for a few months. I’m a big David Lynch fan and absolutely love Twin Peaks. The high concept is Twin Peaks meets Toy Story. I loved how polar opposites those two stories are and anyone who loves Lynch as much as myself, would be immediately intrigued by the unusual mash-up. Once I figured out the synopsis, I started breaking down the issues and the scripting began.

Originally the story was quite dark of a more mature content, but after being introduced by a mutual friend to Selena Goulding’s work, I already knew if I could convince her to join the project, I’d have to revise the tone. Her work has a fun, youthful vibe to it, and she was very honest about having no interest in the dark, ultra-violent stories that get pitched to her all the time.

Tailoring your story to an artist that you want to work with is an excellent writing exercise. It’s also the best way to get an artist to commit to a project, regardless of upfront or back end pay. If an artist is loving what they’re creating, they feel included in the creative process which is what makes creator-owned comics so much fun in the first place.

What is your standard day schedule, when you are writing?

I work a full-time job which obviously interferes with my writing time. I typically save Fridays and Saturdays (my weekend) to devote to writing all day. I carry a moleskin and notebooks on me at all times, so I’m constantly taking notes or scribbling down story concepts and dialogue when I think of it.

All of my outlining and first drafts of scripts are written longhand in a spiral notebook. I can’t work any other way.

We are giving you an opportunity to kill any comic book character. Who would it be, why’d you pick this character and how would you kill the character?

I don’t know, I don’t think about that stuff. I don’t really read too many comics these days, and the ones that I do, I have no interest in killing off anyone because I want those stories to continue!

If you had the opportunity to rewrite an origin for any character, who would it be and what changes would you make?

I’ve always had one solid idea if ever given the opportunity to pitch to Marvel, which would be a re-imagining story in the vein of Millar’s Old Man Logan, but focusing on Jubilee’s story. She’s always been my favorite X-Men for reasons that are completely unknown to me.

Why do you believe in Comic Books? 

I believe in comics solely on it’s massive creative output each month. When TV and Film rely so heavily on recycled ideas that are sometimes less than four years old (i.e. Death At A Funeral), comic books continue to churn out new, engaging, and original stories at an impressive rate. The extremely broad range of genres that comics cover is another thing that more people need to realize--inside and out of the industry.

When I read creator-owned titles like Preacher, Saga, DMZ, Green Wake, Revival, Manhattan Projects, Morning Glories, and Scalped (to name but a few), I’m reminded on a fundamental level of how fun the art of storytelling can truly be. 

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Holy Shit. We Interviewed the Writer of Nightwing, Kyle Higgins

Before there was John Blake, there was Dick Grayson. In the new 52, Dick Grayson returns as Nightwing, which is currently being written by Kyle Higgins. Before this very moment, Kyle kept all his dark secrets to himself. For the first time ever, he tells us the mistakes he made in the New 52, whether or not he could beat Scott Snyder in a Writers Deathmatch and his opinion on a Nightwing vs Winter Soldier fight. By the way, go buy Nightwing #12 at your local comic shop or Kyle Higgins will find you........

What are three facts that the average fanboy does not know about Kyle Higgins?
1.      I could eat pizza for every meal.
2.      I’m a diehard Chicago Bears and Bulls fan.
3.      Before writing comics I was a sound designer. 
Let’s say that you own a time machine. What changes would you make in Deathstroke and Nightwing?
Oh, Deathstroke is easy—I would have shown what was in the briefcase at the end of issue 1. In hindsight, we strung out the reveal too long. In doing so, it detracted from the emotional core of the book. It really hurt us (and readers) in that we didn’t really articulate what was driving Slade for the first three issues.
Nightwing is a bit trickier to nail down. There’s a lot that worked… and other things that, depending on your taste, didn’t. Scott (Snyder) and I needed to hit the same Court of Owls twist at the same time (issue 7), and as a result, I think the Raymond/Saiko mystery got dragged out too long. With that in mind, the biggest thing I would change is keeping the book in Gotham rather than having the circus drag Dick out onto the road. I would also rework Raymond/Saiko, using him as a shadowy character in the background (more the Winter Soldier approach) rather than kicking things off with him as the primary villain and A-plot. I’d also reveal his identity sooner, in order to spend more time developing what happened to him.
Having said all that, I’m incredibly proud of the work we did on both books!
When writing previously created characters, have you noticed weaknesses that hindered your storytelling and how did you adapt?  
Actually, I think one of my greatest strengths as a writer is getting to the core of a character. Who they are… what they want… etc. In that way, it’s been a lot of fun. And typically, if there’s a “weakness” to a character, I like to tackle it head on.  
Is Bludhaven still in a state of emergency? Why didn’t you have Nightwing return to Bludhaven?
I have no idea what’s going on with Bludhaven, honestly. As it’s not a place we’re going to be exploring, I haven’t really given it much thought. As for why we didn’t have Nightwing return there, the point of the New 52 was to try and start fresh. Of course, I realize that in a lot of ways my book is a walking contradiction of that, as Dick Grayson is built on the idea of change and continuity… but there was definitely a feeling amongst us all that Bludhaven had run its course and there were more interesting avenues to explore going forward.
Nightwing vs. Winter Solider: Who wins and why?
Depends on which book I’m writing J 
Writers Deathmatch: Kyle Higgins vs. his mortal enemy, Scott Snyder. Who wins and why?
What are we writing? Haikus? Tell me its Haikus. Just say the word and I’ll Joe Namath guarantee this sucker.
Whenever I see your name, two titles follow: comic book writer and film director. What can you tell us about the life you lead as a film maker?
That it hasn’t moved nearly as fast as my life as a comic book writer J
Filmmaking is my passion—it’s what I’ve wanted to do since I was seven years old, when I was making home movies with my Dad and sister. It’s why I went to film school, why I spent years developing skills in everything from cinematography to VFX and sound design… and, most importantly, why I started writing. It’s funny—thinking back to some of the earliest writing classes I took, I always wrote so I would have material to direct. It seemed simpler to me that way—I didn’t have to rely on anyone else. And when I figured out, freshman year of college, that I had an ear for dialogue… well, the rest started taking care of itself.
Fast forward nine years and I wouldn’t trade what I’m doing now for the world. I honestly can’t see a time, going forward, where I’m not writing comics. I love the medium and the art form… I love the possibilities. And I love superheroes. I’m going to start venturing out into more creator-owned arenas in the coming months, and with any luck I’ll be shooting my first feature at some point here, but I’ll always keep a foot in the superhero world. 

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

A Future Superstar (Part 2): Sean Von Gorman

Last week, we introduced Pawn Shop and its writer, Joey Esposito to our fans. This week, we are honored to introduce you to the artist of Pawn Shop, Sean Von Gorman. There is only one word that can describe Sean: UNIQUE. That is all we will say because it will spoil this really fun interview. 

Check out Sean's other work, The Secret Adventures of Houdini:

Who is the man, the legend, Sean Von Gorman? 

I am probably as close to Batman as anyone will ever meet. And getting closer everyday. 

I have also been called the hardest working self promoter in Indy Comics by many a comic pro.

For the past few months, we’ve heard whispers about you handcuffing yourself outside Forbidden Planet NYC. What exactly happened? How long were you handcuffed? Did anyone feed you?  

I came prepared, I had a whole nap sack full of Starbucks Espresso Shots, Power Bars, & Ritz Crackers. This can be verified by the staff. At the end of the excitement, I was chained up for about 8 hours in the cold and rain!

The whole thing started about a month before that. After some change meetings, The co-creator Todd Hunt and I had talked our way into a meeting with none other than the EIC of Marvel Comics Axel Alonzo to talk about the book. He was sent a copy by our good buddy Rich Ross who loved to book and pulled some strings and got us a sit down at Marvel to talk about the project. Obviously this was pretty cool by itself but we were excited to learn Axel loved it and gave us a ton of production notes and spent a good time in his office chatting about the stories we had planned. Then he gave us a crash course on making and selling comics. So we rushed to finish a new edition based on his notes. Soon after we get an email from Forbidden Planet to order books! As excited as we were we had 5 books left of the original printing and had the new books a few weeks away. So we get the books to FPNYC and I jokingly say "These probably won't be here very long" they were gone in the first day and were hounded with phone calls about this book nobody at the store ever heard of. So of course they asked for more. So we said let's do this when we get the new books we do some sort of publicity stunt to promote it. I was racking my brain of what to do. We had no money, and nobody knew who the hell we were. Then it hit me, I should just chain myself to the store until we sell every copy. I pitch the idea, they liked it and it worked. We outsold every book that day except for Avengers and Justice League.

Give us five fun facts about your career as an artist.





5- E. all of the above.

What made you interested in collaborating on Pawn Shop with Joey Esposito?

I had been following Joey on Twitter and he had put out a call for Artists to help him with a horror anthology he was working on (allegedly) and sent him a link to my portfolio. He claims it wasn't what he was looking for at the time, but thought of me when Pawn Shop came about and the rest is Pre- History.

I knew of Joe Joe's other work and it looked to me like a man of action like myself and thought we could do great and terrible things together!
For those who are not aware, your art in Pawn Shop consists of water colors and digital art. What were the difficulties in combining those two techniques?

The method I'm using on Pawn Shop is something very new for me as I'm sort of making it up as I go. I was born and raised in NYC so this story and the look of the city is something that was very important to me to get right.

When laying out the book I started thinking that most people never get a chance to actually come
Here, and only ever see New York through photographs.

So then I started looking at Pawn Shop as more of an Animation Project where I would go around, take digital pictures of the place I live and work and create sort of mixed Media digital backdrops for the characters to occupy. The other reason for doing this is this is 4 different stories all taking place in 1 general location, I figure I can use them again and again.

Pro Tip: It's not cheating if it saves you time and money! It's called WINNING!

When we attempt to describe our characters to an artist we often use celebrity likenesses to compare but often never see that likeness in the finished product. Is that something that makes it easier for artists or does that hinder artists from creativity?

I think it helps to give a general context  for the artist to start from. With all of the BILLIONS of people in the world it helps to know if he or She looks closer to Crispen Glover, or Danny Glover.

What projects are you working on right now?

The major one at the moment is Secret Adventures of Houdini! My public acts of greatness got us picked up by a publisher and will be relaunching November 21st! We'll be in September preview so be sure to pre order at your local comic shops. To promote we will be taking our own brand of Mayhem on tour to comic shops and cons all over the country. So if you see me say hi, I might just let you put me in a straight jacket!

Also look out for my new digital series Sock It To Me Comics also coming soon to Alterna.

 If you had the chance to draw any character who would it be and why?

MADMAN! I feel I could bring a lot to the table on a Madman Project!

Why do you believe in comic books? 

I don't believe in Comics, I believe in Harvey Dent.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Watch Kelly Williams bring Ron Darius to Life

For a year and half, we have been searching for an artist to help bring our characters to life. The biggest problem was when we did see our characters come to life, they didn't look the way we pictured them in our minds. Recently, we discovered Kelly Williams via Twitter. Let us tell you, this man is a blessing. 

As we mentioned, we want the fanboys to see and participate in the creation of "Shepherd". This post focuses on Kelly's creation of Ron Darius. 

In our email, we described to Kelly our idea for the Ron promo: The pin up will consist of our character Ron Darius. Details on Ron can be found below. Here is what we would like to see in the pin up: On the bottom of the pin up is an ocean of cash (quicksand). To the right, just off center is Ron Darius struggling to stay above the mounds of money. The audience only sees Ron from chest up. His arms are flailing, cash is splashing around as he attempts to stay above the cash. Ron looks panicked. Also, Ron is wearing a suit and tie.

The final draft by Kelly Williams 

Thursday, August 9, 2012

A Future Superstar (Part 1): Joey Esposito

Are you tired of the same old superhero stories? Are you interested in reading a story about people with real problems? Are you in love with New York City? If you answered yes, I think we found the perfect comic book for you. Pawn Shop is written by Joey Esposito and art by Sean Von Gorman. Luckily for us, these two talented gentlemen gave us the opportunity to interview them. Part 1 of this interview will focus on Joey Esposito and his many dark secrets. Part 2 will focus on the legend behind the man that is Sean Von Gorman. If you click on Pawn Shop, you're given the opportunity to donate a dollar or more to the creation of their comic book. 

Click here if you want to reach inside Joey Esposito's mind

Follow Joey Esposito on Twitter

What are five facts that every fanboy must know about Joey Esposito?

1. I usually like superhero pets more than their owners. 

2. I love the Star Wars Prequels, Superman Returns, Lois & Clark, Superman III, Spider-Man 3's dance sequence and everything else I'm apparently supposed to hate. Like what you like and if people give you guff for it they can go to hell.

3. More often than not I write in my pajamas.

4. I think continuity is silly and is more often a detriment to stories than a boon. Everyone should ignore it. It'll never be perfect and it doesn't matter. 

5. I used to coach youth baseball.

How did the concept behind Pawn Shop come about? Was there a certain event or someone that influenced you?

First and foremost, I just always have loved stories about real people. Family dramas, love stories, that sort of thing. The stories I've connected to most in any medium are all predicated on very basic, everyday life. On top of that, I love the idea of interconnecting stories, and a Pawn Shop in a major city just sort of struck me as an obvious way to do that. People in and out of the store, buying and selling particular items -- it's reasonable to think that one item could act as a thread throughout dozens of different lives. 

And driving to and from work every day, in heavy LA traffic of course, I pass this one particular pawn shop. I do a lot of my creative thinking in the car since I need to kill time anyway, and so I was in the middle of that process when I glanced over and saw this shop lit up all bright and the idea just kind of struck me. Just the basic concept, mind you, of intertwining lives that revolve around a store like that. From there I went on to develop the various characters and how their stories connect. 

Without spoiling much, what can you tell us about the characters that are a part of Pawn Shop?

So there are four chapters in the book, each one following a different character. The first chapter -- some pages of which you can see on the Kickstarter page right now -- follows Harold, an elderly widower who has moved away from his longtime home in the city out to Long Island in an effort to find some solace after his wife's passing. Yet he finds himself on the train almost daily heading back to his old neighborhood, spurned on by the loss of something that disappeared during the move, something of his wife's. Actually, this is all in those preview pages I mentioned -- it's this old mannequin. So Harold's story revolves around him trying to make peace with his wife's passing and the apparent loss of this one seemingly trivial thing that he felt connected him to her most. 

The other characters -- whose names COULD change, given that we've got a reward in which a backer can name some of our characters, but these are the names I've been writing them with -- consist of Josh, a late 30's home care nurse, Lilly, a middle-aged conductor on the LIRR (Long Island Railroad), and Jen, a sweet teenage girl that hangs out with all the wrong people and dates all the wrong guys. I don't want to say too much about how they all fit together, but their stories share important thematic qualities that will hopefully bring the book full circle in the end. 

Since every character appears in each chapter -- you'll see some of the same events from different perspectives for instance -- my hope is that these connections will shed new light on the story when you re-read it. Hopefully it's a different experience the second time around.

What is the secret origin behind your collaboration with Sean Von Gorman?

I met Sean on Twitter, actually. A while back I was looking for an artist for this horror short I wrote with my friend Erik Norris, which will be coming out in an upcoming anthology, and Sean had responded. His style wasn't what I was looking for in that project in particular, but when I finally started to move forward with Pawn Shop, I talked with him and he liked the story and we were off. I can honestly say I've never worked with a more passionate guy. I mean, who else would chain himself outside of a comic shop in the pouring rain as a publicity stunt? And guess what! It worked. Not only do I love his art, but that's the kind of guy I want on my team, you know?

Is Pawn Shop completed or are you still in the creation process?

We'll be working on it for a while still. Our goal to start shipping out the rewards to our backers is February, with distribution in shops and what not to come after that. I'm still writing -- the script should be locked by the end of August -- and Sean is wrapping up his other book. When he's done, it's onto Pawn Shop full-time. And while he's drawing the hell out of it, I'll be working on the technical stuff. Figuring out how we're going to get ourselves distributed without a publisher -- or finding a publisher, if possible, though it's not really a concern -- exploring the best digital options, building a marketing campaign, etc. Still tons of work ahead, even after the book itself is done.

What was your writing process when you created Pawn Shop? At what point did you start the actual script?

Lucky for all of our $10+ backers, they'll get to see my writing process in the Pawn Shop Script Book! :) But generally I write REAL loosely in my notebook to start. In the case of Pawn Shop, I did a quick breakdown of the general stories for each character and the key points in which I wanted them to intersect. And then I fleshed that out a bit more, with more detailed rundown of each chapter, which I then break down further page by page. From there I take it one chapter at a time, handwriting my rough draft that probably resembles serial killer diaries, and then I take that and begin to type it into an actual script. At that stage is where I'll add much more detail to panel descriptions and flesh out some dialogue and narration and stuff. Doing that rough draft makes the actual scripting so much easier. 

Why did you use Kickstarter and not Indiegogo?

Well, for one thing, I've used Kickstarter before. I'm not really all that familiar with Indiegogo aside from knowing people that have used it. But I had a great experience with Kickstarter -- their staff is great, for one thing -- and was itching to try it again and do it right. My Footprints campaign didn't exactly go as smoothly as I'd hoped, so I took a lot of the mistakes we made with that and fixed them this time around. Kickstarter is a great community too. I'm always on there even when I'm not promoting something; I'm always looking at projects. 

If you could kill any comic book character, who would it be and why?

None, man! No more killing! Life! Mainly because I want to bring Ch'p the Green Lantern back from the dead.

Why do you believe in Comic Books? 

Because there is so much potential in this medium, and I won't rest until everyone and their mother can recognize that. There's something for everyone, and I truly believe everyone's life could be improved if they just found themselves the right comic book. 

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Behind the Writing: Who is Ron Darius?

As we decided to give our audience an inside look at the writing of our comic book, we thought it would be best to give you a closer look at the characters that you will come to love (and often hate) of Shepherd. In the coming months, we plan on unveiling 12 character promos and full character descriptions on these characters so you, the audience, can get to know them a bit before we unveil the full monty. So, GET EXCITED.

A very important term you need to know: Extras- this is the moniker for the serum used to bring out powers in these characters as well as the superpowered group these people belong to.

Last week, we went public with our first ever comic book promo done by the very talented Kelly Williams. The first promo focuses on one of our favorite characters: Ron Darius, the speedster on our team. Since everyone is unfamiliar with him, we thought we would share some interesting facts about him (as we'll do for eveyone).

Ron Darius (Likeness of Donald Glover)

Age: 17

Height: 5’10

Weight: 155 lbs.

Powers: Speed and extremely hard skin.

Weakness: Serious difficulties stopping early on in his development (think Luis in The Mighty Ducks) and high-pitched noises (particularly from his arch-rival, Ricky).

Personality: Ron is consistently light-hearted and ready to make the others laugh. He is the heart and soul of the team and eventually becomes the glue that keeps the group together (although this is certainly not true in the Flashforward).

Favorite Movies: The Shining, The Natural and The Departed

Favorite Music: Childish GambinoRun-DMC, and Bill Withers

Relationships: Best friend- Mary Carter (also an Extra, but she absolutely hates it). Father- Michael Darius (Detective in the Meteor City Police Department). Mother- Sharelle (waitress at the Shepherd Diner). Sister- Dominique, or DeeDee. (older than Ron, goes to North Carolina University as a Political Science major. Who knows, maybe we'll see her again in the future in a political role [possibly villainous? hint-hint wink-wink]). Cousin- Ricky (local gang leader and also an Extra- high pitch noise which causes severe seizures in non-powered people but is particularly effective to the speedster Ron). Classmates- Nate Dunham (amiable relationship, not best friends nor worst enemies), Viola Proctor (practically unknown to her as she is the popular, cheerleader-type), Matt Dunham (familiar face, and well liked to Matt as he is the captain of the football team and Ron constantly tries out but constantly fails) and Alex Reese (mutual disdain between Ron and the chain smoking Alex).

Future: Picture Donald Trump's money without the awful hair or douchebaggery. He is the CEO of  your typical Goldman Sachs or Enron. He hung up his ol' running shoes and is now all about the Benjamins. His sister is the Mayor of Meteor City and has created a campaign to round up and covertly eliminate all Extras (as her father was killed by an Extra).

This is all subject to change. Mostly from our input and how the story changes, but also (as this is kind of our mission statement now) from the fan's opinion. So, what do you hate about Ron? What do you like? Do you need reasons/explanations for any of his characteristics? Leave us a comment or email us at

Friday, August 3, 2012

The Amazing Joe Eisma: Morning Glories Secrets

If you're not reading Morning Glories than you better be living under a rock or illiterate. Actually, illiteracy isn't an excuse for not picking up this brilliant comic because... well, look at all the pretty pictures! Speaking of pretty pictures, we had a chance to talk to the brilliant artist of Morning Glories, Joe Eisma and asked him a few questions about his work on the comic. We get his point of view on killing characters, his favorite issue to create and some exclusive, never before heard info about that mysterious figure: Abraham!

What were your fears/challenges going into such an ambitious project?
The schedule was the main concern.  I'd never done a monthly series before this--everything was either a mini-series or just a graphic novel.  Used to be, I had a huge amount of lead time on a project, but I quickly found on Morning Glories that deadlines were coming much sooner than before. 
How did you first come to work on Morning Glories?
Nick and I met on Jinxworld, Brian Michael Bendis' message board.  He'd seen my art that I posted there and sent me a message, asking if I'd like to read his pitch.  I read it and loved it, and started design work immediately, followed by the first twelve or so pages for our initial pitch.
We know Nick Spencer describes the story as Runaways meets Lost. As an artist would you describe the story in a different way?
I actually think that's pretty accurate.  That's how he pitched it to me!  Usually, when I meet people at conventions that haven't read the series, they're generally familiar with Lost, notsomuch Runaways.  In that case, I compare it to Buffy the Vampire Slayer and/or Gossip Girl.
When you first started Morning Glories, did you have all the answers from the beginning?
Nope!  I still don't--Nick keeps a lot close to the vest.
Without saying “no comment”, what can you tell us about Abraham that we don’t already know?
His likeness is based on a young Kevin Costner. 
What is the biggest difficulty you’ve faced in drawing Morning Glories?
The size of the cast.  I really underestimated it early on; the scope kind of overwhelmed me.  As we've gone along, though, I think I've gotten a better handle on all the characters and am really loving designing the new kids.
When we attempt to describe our characters to an artist we often use celebrity likenesses to compare but often never see that likeness in the finished product. Is that something that makes it easier for artists or does that hinder artists from creativity?
Oh, definitely.  It's how Nick and I work, for sure.  I mean, I mentioned Abraham, but when we started the initial designs, he would give me some celebrities he saw as starting points.  A few I can recall are Blake Lively for Casey and Jordana Brewster for Zoe.  It helps the artist achieve the writer's vision when a likeness is given, but it's always better when they're not made to hold to that look exactly.  The most fun is taking that as a starting point and expanding on it.
What has been your favorite issue to draw so far?
Hard to pick just one fave, as there are scenes throughout all the issues that I really loved.  If I had to pick just one, I'd choose issue 10.  Everything about that issue just clicked, I think.
How do you feel about killing certain characters ie; Zoe?
As long as it serves the story, I'm all for it.  I knew going in that given the nature of this story, there would be no way the main cast would all come out unscathed.  I remember when Nick told me about his plans for Zoe, my initial reaction was shock, but as he explained it, I couldn't see it any other way.  It was what had to happen.  She's a popular character, though, and her popularity only seems to be intensifying!
Morning Glories (the last story arc in particular) did a phenomenal job of having the art tell the story. What is the hardest part about telling a story without the use of dialogue?
Making it all seem natural!  I never want anything to look forced or too posed, so I work really hard on expressions and body language to tell the story.  If you read manga or watch anime, you can totally see where I'm stealing these techniques from!  It's all about exaggerating a motion or emotion to the Nth degree, because in a 2d medium like comics, you've got to emphasize movement by any means necessary.
What was your strangest interaction with a fan?
I remember at C2E2 this year, there was a guy that interviewed me for his podcast, or so he claimed, and he did it in a potty-mouthed 'character' of sorts that asked lots of inappropriate questions.  It was really weird, but not really offensive.  Haha.
Why do you believe in comic books?
Why?  Because there's so much you can explore in the medium that just isn't as feasible elsewhere.  Hollywood guys come to comics because they can't get budgets approved for their scripts, and with comics, that's not a problem.  You can be sucked into a new world for a time and just lose yourself when you get a good comic. 

Thursday, August 2, 2012

The Man Behind the Top Cow Curtain: Matt Hawkins

Matt Hawkins is the President and COO of Top Cow Comics (The Darkness, Witchblade, Artifacts and Pilot Season) and the writer of Lady Pendragon, several Pilot Season titles and Top Cow's upcoming hit: Think Tank. Despite being one of the busiest men in comic books, he was kind enough to answer a few questions for our humble blog. He and Marc Silvestri (The Darkness) have also created a revolutionary Kickstarter project. Their idea is to give away the first five issues of the newly rebooted Cyberforce (a fantastic superhero team from the early '90s) for free in an attempt to get some non-comic readers into the stores and hopefully getting some brand new long term comic fans (like the best drug dealers, they give out a sample and get 'em hooked). So, please donate anything you can to this awesome cause by going HERE.

What are three facts that the average fanboy does not know about Matt Hawkins?

I love peanut butter, have a Masters in Physics and much prefer brunettes to blondes.
What exactly does your job consist of as President & COO of Top Cow?For one day only, we are giving you a time machine. What changes would you make to Top Cow during your tenure that you never got a chance to do?
I run the day to day business operations here at Top Cow overseeing all of the company business.  I write the checks and do the movie and TV pitches.  I review and comment on all the legal documents and deal with the government and try to prevent them from taking too much of our hard earned money.  On the time machine thing, there are half a dozen projects that I would not do, but none that we passed on that I would!  Some things never turn out quite the way you expect.  I think I would also work harder, earlier (98-2002) to get better writers like we have today.
 How did the concept of Think Tank come about?
I was reading a manual for a weapon system called Metalstorm.  It's a weapon that shoots 30,000 bullets a second.  Basically a wall of bullets whose purpose is to be mounted on the front of Naval vessels and other areas to destroy incoming ordinance (missiles, whatever).  In this manual as a footnote it also says that this weapon is "good for crowd control."  I stopped and stared at that for about 2 minutes flabbergasted and then started writing some notes in a notepad.  I know some dudes that work in Think Tanks and have visited some of them.  They are pretty cool.
 What is your writing process when creating a new story? At what point do you start the actual script?
I tend to write plot first then write the dialogue after the artist does the work.  If I had the time I'd write full scripts, but I don't, so I can't.  For me I'm still pretty old school, I write outlines and a lot of notes in yellow legal pads and try to figure stuff out that way.
 We were huge fans of the Pilot Season title Theory of Everything, but it came in second place. Any chance we’ll see anything from that?
Nick Nantell and Dan Jinks brought that to us and they are active TV producers and have plans for it.  I think if they get something going on the TV front then the answer is 100% yes!  If not, dunno.
Where will the comic book industry be economically in 2013? Better or Worse than in 2012?
Why do you believe in Comic Books?
Because comic books are awesome.  I think there are still a LOT of people that read comic books that just don't pay for them anymore.  The torrent sites get enormous volume of downloads. Our whole Cyber Force Kickstarter venture has been designed specifically to address that and try and get more people into comic book stores.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

99 Problems but a Title Ain't One

Wow, it's finally here: our 100th post. As many of you know we created this blog as a means to introduce our story. Here we are 100 posts, 37,000 views and 9 months later and we're finally kicking it into gear. We'd like to thank our fans, family, fans, friends, fans, groupies and lovers (....Brian truly hates this term).
Recently, we had a contest for our fans to vote on the title of our comic. Well here it is; congratulations to the voters and, I suppose, congratulations to us. Our comic's title is Shepherd! We love this title, it really resonates with the theme of our story and we really couldn't be happier with it.

Now that we have a title, we wanted to get some art and therefore some buzz about our actual story. So, we contacted artist Kelly Williams about doing a possible promo for us and well, it kicked ass. We have four possible prototypes for Kelly's incredible promos, each featuring a slightly different depiction of our title and promotional line. For additional information on the character featured in our promo, Ron, see his description in our Artist Deathmatch.

If you have any questions about the promo, the character or what we're trying to do here, please feel free to email us at extras2124@gmail.

Please vote for your favorite promo to the right ----->