Kickstart the Comic – Standstill #1

Post-apocalyptic stories come in all shapes and sizes, but what they truly are about is the survivors. Like any good science fiction, they force the reader to ask questions: What if it was me who lived? What would I do to survive? At what point might it all no longer be worth it?

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Standstill #1

From Justin Gray

Justin Gray – Writer

Brox – Artist

Kickstarter campaign ends on Thursday, July 20, 2017, at 10:08 AM EDT.

The Pitch:

At its core, Standstill is the bastard love child of the Americana survival horror genre and a romantic Greek tragedy. The dramatic table is set here in the opening chapter when you are introduced to Mason and Luna, two young people very much in love, but that love is going to be tested under unimaginable circumstances over the course of their story. I say their story because Standstill is big enough to sustain multiple storylines over time and that’s how I’ve been writing it. As it progresses from chapter to chapter, the story is visceral, emotional, and, in some cases, not for the faint of heart.

The Story:

Over 7 billion people live on planet Earth. What if 6 billion of them suddenly and inexplicably stopped moving – like toys that ran out of batteries. What would happen if the world came to a… Standstill.

John’s Thoughts:

The little blurb on the back of the book. The little bit of text where you have to put the idea out there enough so that it will catch someone’s eye. Simple, concise… everything I look for in a story. On the surface, it is the type of idea which could have just as easily worked in a novel format… but as a lover of comics, I’ll happily take what Justin Gray and Brox are putting out there.

Art by Brox. Standstill Issue 1, Page 1

The Rewards:

A couple of things popped out to me:

The digital comic is very reasonable at $3 and you get a copy of the script which, as a writer, is never a bad thing to know a little more about someone else’s process.

The physical copy at $5. Many comics end up charging far more than that even before shipping.

The ability to add a digital ad to the digital version of the comic at the $8 level. At the time of this writing, a small amount of money could get you in front of at least 225 backers where maybe something you write in your pitch becomes the thing which drives them to your story.

Art by Brox. Standstill Issue 1, Page 2

The Verdict:

Justin talks about the idea coming to him if he woke up and everyone else was paralyzed, waiting to die.

That is some messed up thinking… a man after my own heart. I don’t know where the story may end up going, or what the long-term ideas he may have already mapped out, but at least in the initial issue, I am all aboard to see what happens next.

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For more information on Standstill or Justin’s other comic projects, check out his Facebook Page here.

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John McGuire

John McGuire is the author of the supernatural thriller The Dark That Follows, the steampunk comic The Gilded Age, and the novellas Theft & Therapy and There’s Something About Mac through the Amazon Kindle Worlds program.

His second novel, Hollow Empire, is now complete. The first episode is now FREE!

He also has a short story in the Beyond the Gate anthology, which is free on most platforms!

And has two shorts in the Machina Obscurum – A Collection of Small Shadows anthology! Check it out!

He can also be found at www.johnrmcguire.com.

Behind the Comic – Terminus Team Up #2

 

Terminus Team-up #2

Writer – John McGuire

Pencils – Shamus Beyale

Inks – Rich Perrotta

Colors – Ann Siri

Letters – Khari J. Sampson

Editors – Tony Cade & Robert Jeffrey II

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And as I wrote in the intro, I cheated a little with this comic. You see, the point of the Team Up books are to present the character Amber Fox interacting with various other Terminus Media comic books. Issue #1, written by our own Robert Jeffrey II, had her interact with Terra Force.

(And by interact I mean try to steal something from them and pretty much have the whole team hunting her down.)

Issue 2 it was suggested that Amber Fox come to the Gilded Age.

Pencils – Shamus Beyale, Inks – Rich Perrotta, Colors – Ann Siri

I wasn’t exactly behind that idea. Not that I’m against the idea of having other characters pop up in my comics, but more that I wasn’t even sure where to begin with such an idea. At its core, The Gilded Age is a steampunk comic book where the technology level is late 19th Century for the most part. Amber Fox is from a future where she can effectively teleport, she has laser knives as her primary weapon, nanites travelling through her body… how in the world can I possibly make something like that work and not just feel…

Out of place.

This was an opportunity. Not only to tell another story, get another Gilded Age “thing” out there, but to find a way to do it that I was happy with. And like so many times when I’m not sure what to do about a writing related problem – I focus on something else. Allow my mind to work on the problem “behind the scenes” for a bit.

I don’t know where the solution came from, but I hit upon the solution for my problem. It would focus on the Time Traveling aspect of Amber Fox, but from more of a HG Wells inspired way. Looking at the cover above, you can get a good idea of what I might be talking about.

More than that, this needed to have something else. A reason for the story to exist beyond “hey wouldn’t it be cool if”.

From Amazon:

Terminus Team Up shows us the continuing adventures of Amber Fox, a woman who is tasked with recovering all manner of strange and powerful objects across space and time. And while she appears in this issue…

This story is not necessarily about her.

Nor is it about Lucas Knight, the inventor/scientist from The Gilded Age.

This comic is about beginnings and endings…

Think about Time Travel for a moment. What would you want to see?  A question pondered by fiction writers and scientists. And if you were a scientist looking at the end of the century? Could be that endings might be on your mind. And here is this woman with the ability to show you things you didn’t even know you wanted to see.

Things started falling into place. There was just one last piece: Shamus Beyale, the artist for the book. Since he came on the book as I was still working on the rough draft I thought it might be a good idea to see what things he might like to draw. I gotta think the worst thing for an artist is to hate drawing something like horses, and then reading the script where every panel apparently has a horse in it.

And bless Shamus, he came up with the last piece of the story. He mentioned how there was a “sense of death in the story” and he’d “like to see right before the end of things/eras”. End of the dinosaurs, Pompeii, the end of the neanderthals… all of this was just golden stuff and was tying the book together in a way hadn’t expected.

But he had one more… something that had a personal connection to him. From one of our emails about the project:

“The next thing would be something related to my culture. I’m Navajo and our people went through a genocide of sorts called the Long Walk. Although our culture didn’t end with it, we barely survived.”

Page 19 – One of the Long Walk Pages

It’s something I wasn’t even aware of, but once I read a little about it, I knew we needed it in the comic.

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More than anything, Team-up 2 served to remind me of the truth about comic books: That nothing is done in a bubble. You have collaborators, reach out to them and see what can get them jazzed about doing a story your constructing. Hopefully, it makes them feel as much ownership of the project as the original creator has. In the end, you will have a stronger final product.

And something you can all feel proud of being a part of.

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John McGuire

John McGuire is the author of the supernatural thriller The Dark That Follows, the steampunk comic The Gilded Age, and the novella There’s Something About Mac through the Amazon Kindle Worlds program.

His second novel, Hollow Empire, is now complete. The first episode is now FREE!

He also has a short story in the Beyond the Gate anthology, which is free on most platforms!

And has two shorts in the Machina Obscurum – A Collection of Small Shadows anthology! Check it out!

He can also be found at www.johnrmcguire.com.

Comic Challenge, Part 8 (29-33)

For the first 7 in this series, check out: 1 & 2 & & 4 & 5 & 6 & 7.

29. Comic That Totally Blew My Mind

The Guilded Age

The Guilded Age

The Gilded Age

Yes, it is a cheat. I don’t care. While I had stories printed up prior to this one, they were not done with the intention of only being an issue 1. Those were self-contained little beasts. Get in, tell the story, and get out. My short story.

Gilded Age is my novel.

Through completing that first script, and then needing to do an issue 2 (issue 2, what’s that?), and #3 and #4… all pointing towards a view to collect them into a trade paperback. It tells me I can do it again and again and again if I persevere long enough. If I’m just too damn stubborn, then maybe… just maybe.

(And of course it didn’t hurt that Sheldon Mitchell, Rich Perrotta, Tom Chu, and Khari J. Sampson  did such excellent work bringing it to life.)

 

30. Favorite Comic Book Couple

I love Peter Parker and Mary Jane.

Wally West and Linda Park.

Bruce Wayne and Selina Kyle.

But those are romantic couples, and I think the spirit of this one goes more to the team-ups which make comic books great. So in that spirit my choice is:

guardians_of_the_galaxy_groot_and_rocket_raccoon-wallpaper-640x960

Rocket and Groot

When the two of them appeared on the cover of a book I was considering getting, I rolled my eyes. Seriously? A f#$@#$#ing raccoon and a big tree? What is this crap? They pay people to write this stuff?

Etc. Etc.

4 issues later I realized how wrong I was.

And everyone else found out the same thing when they saw Guardians of the Galaxy. I betting there were a lot of “A raccoon? Ugh.” before walking out of the theater with a “Rocket and Groot ruled!”

Yes. Yes they do. Welcome to the club.

 

31. A Comic You Plan on Reading

invader zim comic

Invader Zim

If you’ve never had the pleasure of watching the cartoon, you owe it to yourself to do so. The story of an alien trying to take over the earth along with his idiotic sidekick – GIR, he finds that he must enlist in school and suffer as all kids must do.

I reread the above and realize I didn’t do the best pitch, so here it goes again:

Zim is a jerk.

GIR loves taquitos.

Dib is an f-up who is trying to expose Zim as an alien.

Ok. That’s probably confusing.

3rd time is a charm:

It’s awesome.

And now there is a comic.

Nuff said.

 

32. A Comic You Thought You’d Hate But Ended Up Loving

watchmen-cover

Watchmen

An odd choice to appear on this one, I know. Typically this would show up under Favorite Comic, Favorite Writer, Best Comic of All Time, Best Twist, and so on.

However, I didn’t read Watchmen right away when it came out (I would have been about 10). In fact, I was 23 or 24 before sitting down to read it. You know that thing where one person tells you something is great, and then you read someone else loves that thing… but instead of thinking “awesome, something new to love” you think “I’ll be damned if I’m going to like that THING.” Don’t know why it triggered that way.

So I avoided it for as long as I can. But at some point if you like comics you should probably read the damn book.

And of course I loved it. It’s great. It holds up really well to the passing of time. And if you view it for when it actually came out… wow. Just wow.

Obviously nothing new here to say about the book. Just happy to have been wrong in this case.

 

33. An Ongoing Series You Wish Was Still Being Published

Sometimes when we talk about series that we miss, we’re really talking about missing the way a series “used to be”. The comic may actually exist in some form or fashion, but it no longer lines up with what we had hoped for. So for this one I have a particular version of a comic (as it has come back in a few different iterations):

new warriors 1

The New Warriors (original team)

This was my favorite comic for as long as it existed. There was about a year or so during college where the only two comics I could afford to collect consistently were The Flash and The New Warriors. I don’t know if it was the Teen Titans feel in some ways and yet that idea they were not sidekicks by any means. Maybe it was the fact that the whole thing opened with Night Thrasher holding a powerless Richard Rider (Nova to you and me) and dropped him from the roof in an effort to restart his powers (and he wasn’t sure it was going to work). Maybe it was Speedball, a throw-away character suddenly given a voice. Firestar, one of my favorites from the Spider-Man and his Amazing Friends cartoon.

I don’t know exactly why, but I just know I looked forward to it every month.

So that’s it, with a couple of extra thrown in, and it only took a year to get through. 🙂

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John McGuire

John McGuire is the author of the supernatural thriller The Dark That Follows, the steampunk comic The Gilded Age, and the novella There’s Something About Mac through the Amazon Kindle Worlds program.

His second novel, Hollow Empire, is now complete. The first episode is now FREE!

He also has a short story in the Beyond the Gate anthology, which is free on most platforms!

And has two shorts in the Machina Obscurum – A Collection of Small Shadows anthology! Check it out!

He can also be found at www.johnrmcguire.com.