10 Years Later – Part One

In 5 days it will have been 10 years since I posted my first blog to this website. At the time there were four of us doing our best to create some content, potentially help raise some awareness about the projects we were working on, and maybe even assist each other in an “the tide raises all boats” sort of way. Over the course of ten years there have been just over 2100 posts made by the various creators. Which is crazy to think about considering it feels like a bit of a fever dream that we actually followed through on doing this.

For me, I don’t know if this ever really moved the needle much for any of my comics or books. Maybe one or two, here or there, over the years, but as time went on I came to realize the true benefit was simply ensuring I sat down at some point during the week (many times very late into Wednesday morning) and actually write something. Writing is repetition. Writing is routine. And on Tessera Guild I managed to do that in spades.

Looking at the stats, I have over 570 posts since that first blog went out all those years ago. Up until last year (I think), I hadn’t missed a week, though in the past couple of years I have done some reposts every so often of older blogs to try and get newer eyes on them.

So in the spirit of looking back, I wanted to highlight a handful of blogs that I am especially proud of:

I Should Have Paid More Attention to C. Thomas Howell

C. Thomas Howell was in a movie called The Hitcher, which was about the bad things that can happen to you when you pick up a hitchhiker. This particular post is about the time I decided to give someone a lift. If it isn’t the dumbest thing I’ve ever done, it is top 10 at the very least.

He’ll See Me On the Flipside

I wrote this as a sort of therapy for myself. A way to try and make sense of who I am and how I’ve gotten to the life I had. It hops back and forth throughout my life, sometimes connecting bits and pieces and sometimes not. But it is a quick look at how to build a me.

(As a side note about this one… there is a moment in the Watchmen comic where Dr. Manhattan’s conciousness bounces around showing how he is living simulaneously throughout the points of his life. And while I have read Watchmen, it wasn’t until a couple of years ago that I saw those comic pages again and then remembered this blog. An unintentional homage, I guess.)

So What’s He Going To Buy With All That Gold?

While I’ve shared other short stories on this site, this one was wholely written for the blog. I’m not 100% on how I managed it, but I think I wrote it over two nights after watching The Hobbit for about the 10th time. It is one of those questions I’ve not really seen asked or answered… we just expect Dragons to have treasure.

Creatures Big and Small

I’ve always been an animal person. I was the kid that pretty much could tame to most vicious animal. That love and caring has carried over into my adult life. And while I wouldn’t trade my time with the animals for anything, I still tear up reflecting on the ones who are gone.

New Myths and Legends

The old gods and goddesses demanded worship from their followers. They gained power as the people fell in line, but over the years those old ones have faded away. However, I think I’ve discovered a new goddess who we all have begun to let control our lives…

My Musical Love Affair: Pearl Jam

If there is something I’ve written about more than anything else other than comics it might be Pearl Jam. They are MY band. In a way, they are the true soundtrack to my life as I’ve grown from a teenager listening in my bedroom to the adult writing this post… they are a sort of constant.

Not Like This

My reflections on the Atlanta Falcons Super Bowl in the aftermath of disaster. Nuff said.

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10 years is a long time, but rather than miss out on some key posts, I’ll have part two next week.

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John McGuire is the writer of the sci-fi novel: The Echo Effect.

He is also the creator/author of the steampunk comic The Gilded Age. If you would like to purchase a copy, go here!

Click here to join John’s mailing list and receive preview chapters of upcoming novels, behind the scenes looks at new comics, and free short stories.

His other prose appears in The Dark That Follows, Hollow Empire, Tales from Vigilante City, Beyond the Gate, and Machina Obscurum – A Collection of Small Shadows.

He can also be found at www.johnrmcguire.com

Behind the Comic: – Anatomy of a Panel – In Our Dreams Awake #1

 

We have about a week left to go on the In Our Dreams Awake #1 Kickstarter, so be sure to check it out!

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Taken as a whole, a comic book represents the input of multiple people, multiple perspectives, and multiple skill sets before the final product is created. I’ve said many times in the past that one of the reasons I love the format is exactly for that reason. You get to feed off of the creatives who you work with. And what begins as one thing can become something completely different in execution (and making the overall comic that much better).

 

In Our Dreams Awake #1 – Page 7, Panels 7 & 8

The Team

Pencils – Edgar Salazar

Inks – Genaro Olavarrieta

Letters – Egg Embry

Writer – John McGuire

 

Concept

This pair of panels represent the end of a larger conversation within the issue. So much of this world that Jason Byron lives (dreams?) in is dictated by the mages who control everything. They ensure the chaos technology threatens to bring to the people can never exist again. They are Order.

And to go against that would mean going against everything they stand for… and that way lies madness.

So what do we see? We see that Edgar made a choice to not allow for any other colors within these two panels, but instead presented them as a pair of black and white moments. Two men, representing opposite beliefs about their world, are separated by the small table.

 

The Script

Page 7 Panel 7

Annoyed by Peter’s accusation, Jason pushes himself away from the table as if to get up.

Jason – I know all of this, Peter.

Peter – So ask me your question again.

 

Page 7 Panel 8

Same shot as Panel 7 (Jason is still sitting). Jason pauses. No words are needed.

 

Breakdown

As you can see from the script, I actually made a slight mistake between the two panels. In Panel 7, Jason is frustrated/annoyed and pushes himself away from the table. Edgar followed that showing him standing up. His body language is very tense. However, when we come to Panel 8, I note that “Jason is still sitting”…

No, John, he is not.

But Edgar went with it, and I think it actually works in this visual context because of the artist’s choice to make these mirror images of each other (in regards to the black and white). Where Jason was angry in the previous moment, he has sat back down. But instead of either of them furthering the conversation, the darkness envelops them instead pointing two the very ideas that they stand for can not exist alongside one another.

It even mocks the prompt from Peter in Panel 7: “So ask me your question again.” Panel 8 answers that prompt with silence. There is no need to push the issue any longer.

There are no shades of gray here in this place.

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But perhaps there is another world for Jason to find peace? One he can visit while he dreams?

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Please check out the current Kickstarter for In Our Dreams Awake!

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John McGuire is the writer of the sci-fi novel: The Echo Effect.

He is also the creator/author of the steampunk comic The Gilded Age. If you would like to purchase a copy, go here!

Click here to join John’s mailing list and receive preview chapters of upcoming novels, behind the scenes looks at new comics, and free short stories.

His other prose appears in The Dark That Follows, Hollow Empire, Tales from Vigilante City, Beyond the Gate, and Machina Obscurum – A Collection of Small Shadows.

He can also be found at www.johnrmcguire.com

Dreaming

Hoarding…

I’ve mentioned in the blog before that I’m a bit of a pack rat. At heart, I’m a collector. Which my wife can attest to with the comic book collection taking up multiple closets in our house. But it isn’t just physical objects, it’s digital ones as well. I have abandoned short stories cluttering up one of my drives because I know…

I KNOW!

That I may end up using some piece of the story in another project down the road. This mostly means that those projects from back in the day may only need just a little bit of love and maybe they can come back to life.

Which brings me to my next comic…

A couple of years ago I finished up the first four issues of the Gilded Age comic book, and while I am chomping at the bit to get back to writing that project, there was another one that actually existed many years before Gilded Age was ever a thought in my brain. It is something that is both a fantasy and sci-fi comic book. However, for many, many reasons (which I’m likely to touch on in the coming weeks), it was also the project that I couldn’t just let die somewhere on a hard drive.

It’s a project that has been around for some time, and after talking to the co-writer (this site’s own Egg Embry!), we have decided now would be the perfect time to finish it up.

So for now I thought I’d give you a peek at one of the covers (yes, plural) from Edgar Salazar (of Marvel, DC, Dark Horse, and many others fame).

I’m excited for this project to finally get out into the world!

***

John McGuire is the writer of the sci-fi novel: The Echo Effect.

He is also the creator/author of the steampunk comic The Gilded Age. If you would like to purchase a copy, go here!

Click here to join John’s mailing list and receive preview chapters of upcoming novels, behind the scenes looks at new comics, and free short stories.

His other prose appears in The Dark That Follows, Hollow Empire, Tales from Vigilante City, Beyond the Gate, and Machina Obscurum – A Collection of Small Shadows.

He can also be found at www.johnrmcguire.com

 

Dragon Con Art Show Tomorrow!

The time has come! This afternoon I’ll be heading off to Atlanta with a car full of art for the 2016 Dragon Con Art Show. Drusilla and I have been hard at work in the studio preparing for what will be an amazing art show. I kid you not….

Drusilla is a little bummed I’m not letting her attend Dragon Con. She was totally up for a Kiki’s Delivery cosplay, which I admit would have been fun, but I would have to cut my hair super short–not happening. Sorry, Dru. On a more serious note, the 2016 Dragon Con Art Show is going to be an amazing show! This year’s Artist Guest of Honor is Stephan Martiniere, with guest jurors Daren Bader and Scott Fischer. You can check out the complete list of artist guests and participating artists in the show on the Dragon Con Art Show page. Below is where you can find me in the art show. I’ll have art for sale in the Gallery and for sale in the Print Shop.

Art Show Gallery

Art Show Print Shop

If you’re attending, don’t forget on Monday at 2:30 I’m hosting a panel on digital painting. I’ll be taking attendees through my process from sketch to finish!

Thoughtful Thursday with Chuck Palahniuk

Thoughtful Thursday with Chuck Palahniuk

“The unreal is more powerful than the real. Because nothing is as perfect as you can imagine it. Because its only intangible ideas, concepts, beliefs, fantasies that last. Stone crumbles. Wood rots. People, well, they die. But things as fragile as a thought, a dream, a legend, they can go on and on. If you can change the way people think. The way they see themselves. The way they see the world. You can change the way people live their lives. That’s the only lasting thing you can create.” ~ Chuck Palahniuk

Painting: Midnight Reading, NFS

Stuck in the Middle with…

*Spoilers for a 75 year old book to follow.*

I finished up my little adventure with The Hobbit a couple of weeks back. With the end of the 3rd movie I actually felt a tug a my heart thinking that there more than likely wouldn’t be any more movies. After over a decade worth of watching the Lord of the Rings trilogy and then the Hobbit trilogy that just seems wrong somehow.

Stranger still is the fact that I didn’t like the Hobbit when I read it. Even walking out of the first movie I turned to a friend and asked, “Was the White Orc in the book… I don’t remember him.”

THE HOBBIT: THE DESOLATION OF SMAUG

This guy, right here. How could you hate that face?

“No, they added him for the movie.”

“Oh… he should have been in the book. I would have liked it better.”

It’s terrible, terrible, terrible that I say any of these things aloud. Though it might be easier to understand if I was anti-Fantasy, but I’m not. In fact, most of my early reading was on the D&D pulp fantasy of Dragonlance and Forgotten Realms. There was probably a stretch during high school where I read pretty much anything TSR put a stamp on. I borrowed books from friends, scrounged extra change to buy the latest paperback, and so on. I immersed myself in those worlds. I loved it.

And yet, I hadn’t read Lord of the Rings or the Hobbit. That was wrong and something some of my friends couldn’t stand for. Here I was reading all these novels that can trace the direct line back to Tolkien and how could I say I liked fantasy when I hadn’t read the original?

(Technically I think that is an argument for a different time. I maintain that you can like something now without knowing everything about how it came to be… and it doesn’t make the experience lesser for you.)

So I broke down. I borrowed the Hobbit and set out to read this watershed novel.

hobbit cover

I got about 100 pages in and put the book down…

for about six months.

I almost NEVER put a book down once I devote 100 pages to something. But I’m sorry, I was BORED. A level of boredom that I have only experienced one other time while reading – Interview with the Vampire where they first reach Paris (nothing happens for like 30 pages). When I finally got back to the book I settled in. I mean, they were off to kill the dragon! I can get behind that.

And then this nobody, Bard, ends up killing the dragon. Who?

What a rip-off!

So yeah, that was my experience with the Hobbit. I never bothered with Lord of the Rings because of that. So when the Jackson movies were announced I thought that I would certainly see them, but it wasn’t Star Wars or something. It would be nice to see something that was Fantasy on the big screen.

And of course I loved those three movies. And when the Hobbit was announced as three movies I didn’t growl and moan because of it… I was happy because there would be three more movies. And when he deviated from the novel I was glad again, because I didn’t like the novel.

And I liked that I could put a face on Bard and at least have some understanding of who he was and why it works if he kills Smaug. The movies add a breadth to the worlds that capture my imagination in a way the book never was able to.

And maybe I was too old to read the Hobbit, being in high school rather than at age 10 or 11 (or possibly younger). After I had finished I told my friends what I thought, and their response was that I should have read Lord of the Rings first as it was the “adult” series.

Sigh.

But even if I loved the novel, I have yet to figure out the reason for the vitriol that people have against the movie(s). They don’t like that certain things aren’t brought in, but then they bitch about the extra stuff. They don’t want 3 movies, but…

I’ve read plenty of books that have been turned into movies and I treat them as different entities. Just because I think movie version of X thing isn’t as good as the book… it doesn’t ruin either of them for me. If the movie was god-awful, then I would just go back and hug my copy (or Kindle nowadays). And if the movie did something better… great.

Movie+vs+book_ff37af_4141429

After Lord of the Rings I expected a bevy of fantasy movies, and I’m pretty much still waiting. Luckily Game of Thrones made it to tv and I was turned on to that series, but overall it is sad that in all these tomes and texts nothing else has been adapted and taken off. And a part of me wonders if it is the fanboys (and girls) who have complained it to death? More than likely that’s not the case.

So my journey through Middle Earth is at its end. I still do have on my to-do list a Saturday session where I watch all 6 extended versions of the movies and not leave my house for the day. Maybe, maybe after that day I might be ready to leave those movies behind.

But probably not.

 

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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. Each episode is only $0.99. But you can go ahead and purchase the full novel (all 6 episodes) right now for $4.99 with the above link!

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

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

Art Print Sale on Etsy

Makepeace Studios

Everything in my Etsy shop is marked down 25% off! That includes all art prints, pendants, canvas prints, framed art and my newly listed bookmarks. If you follow my Facebook Page then you may have a coupon code you can use too! I’ve listed my sale with Etsy on Sale. Follow this link: http://www.etsyonsale.com/shop/makepeacestudios to see the before and after prices for every item in my shop.

Art Bookmarks by Amanda Makepeace

 

Sale ends January 2nd at midnight.