4 RPG & 1 Comic Kickstarter You Need To Back – Monarchies of Mau, Buccaneer: Through Hell & High Water, Route 3, A Delve in the Cave, and The S’rulyan Vault II

Want to immortalize your cat (in art)? Design a pirate or a townie NPC? Ever want to read a comic about the road trip from Hell? Need a map through the mega dungeon? Want to meet fun tabletop gamers? If you answered, yes, then you might be building a RPG resume to go from wanna-lancer to freelancer and these are some of the best vanity press crowdfunding rewards that help you learn the RPG ropes. Let’s count these campaigns down!

 

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5) Monarchies of Mau Fantasy Tabletop RPG by Onyx Path Publishing
Ends on Thursday, June 15 2017 12:00 PM EDT. 

“Contribute to help us create a beautiful traditionally printed fantasy game book featuring cat monarchies – and get it into stores.

We want to talk to you about Monarchies of Mau. It’s a complete tabletop roleplaying game that acts as a companion game to, and is totally compatible with, my first RPG, Pugmire. The Monarchies of Mau is a nation of cats tenuously comprised of six city-states.”

Monarchies of Mau

Egg’s Thoughts:

Cats with Swords!

You either raised an eyebrow and want to click the link to the Kickstarter for this anthropomorphic cat-people in a feline fantasy setting OR you rolled your eyes and thought, “Puss in Boots… bah, Antonio Banderas! My arch-nemesis strikes again…” Clearly, you’re either pro-Planet of the Cats or you’ll be canned as Fancy Feast! There is no third option!

[EDITOR’S NOTE – Don’t listen to Egg. He wrote “cats with swords” and felt it was defining. Make your own decision on this one because he’s going to be Fancy Feast no matter what.
As always, may Gary Gygax keep and protect your dice.
]

As an added bonus, Monarchies of Mau has a pledge level in this campaign to name a feline (or canine) NPC and have it illustrated to resemble your pet. It’s an opportunity to immortalize a member of the family.

Check out Cats with Swords… er, Monarchies of Mau Fantasy Tabletop RPG by Onyx Path Publishing here.

 

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4) 5E Adventure: A Delve in the Cave by Jamie Chambers
Ends on Friday, June 16 2017.

“A curse. A cave. A crawl. 5E fantasy adventure by Jamie Chambers!

Returning to my personal and professional gaming roots with a short adventure for 5E of the original fantasy roleplaying game—a cavern crawl built to please hack-and-slash groups and storytellers alike!

It All Started When …

I accidentally wrote a 5E fantasy RPG adventure! Wanna help me print it? This is a short campaign … it ends on June 16, 2017.”

Jamie Chamber’s Gaming Table

Egg’s Thoughts:

Due to the limited number of details about this cave crawl – it’s for 5e, there’s a curse, and a cave – you’ll need to decide on this project based on the strength of who Jamie Chambers is. So, who is he? Jamie Chambers runs Signal Fire Studios, home of the revised Metamorphosis Alpha RPG, he was a designer and line editor for TSR’s Dragonlance, and a former Vice President on the board of directors for GAMA (Game Manufacturers Association). So, who is he? He’s a gamer with a resume that speaks volumes about his skill. Top that with the fact that I discussed his IndieGoGo campaign last week and suggested that, in a perfect world and since he’s local to me, it’d be cool to meet him. He read the article and said we should make plans. Like so many folks I’ve met through wanna-lancing and gaming and comicing, Jamie’s a nice guy and for that alone this campaign is worth backing.

But, because I’m a wanna-lancer, let me add this reason to back the campaign over and above his resume and affable personality, you can create a NPC and/or playtest this adventure online with Jamie. It’s a nice extra.

You can find the IndieGoGo campaign here.

 

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3) Route 3 by Robert Jeffrey II and Sean Damien Hill
Ends on .

“Centuries old prophecies. Shadowy government conspiracies. Super heroic action. Just a typical day for teenager Sean Anderson. Route 3.

Route 3 is a super-powered road trip from hell. A Stone Mountain, GA teen finds out he’s been granted with a set of spectacular abilities, that he knows nothing about. He’s now on the run from a wide array of folks in a sort of super powered arms race across the Southeastern United States. Explosions, gunfights, telekinetic feats of awesomeness, and a little personal growth are all thrown into the mix.

We’ve collected all three issues of the first story arc into a superb collected edition that also includes a cover page gallery, “DVD” extras, and a forward by the talented artist/ writer Takeia Marie (Contributor to Rosarium Publishing’s APB: Artists Against Police Brutality).”

Route 3

Egg’s Thoughts:

Because Robert Jeffrey is our guildmate, and we love him and Route 3, we’ve shouted out this Kickstarter as much as possible on the Tessera Guild. It’s exceeded its goal (so the collected first story arc is coming) and the campaign is moving through stretch goals. I’m a fan of the series and ready to read more of Sean Anderson’s adventures!

Check out the Kickstarter here – Route 3

 

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2) Buccaneer: Through Hell & High Water for Savage Worlds by Fabled Environments and Yellow Piece Games
Ends on Tuesday, June 20 2017 9:00 PM EDT.

“Pirates, Vodouisants, and Witch Hunters battle each other and beasts of legend in the mystic waters of the Caribbean. Climb aboard!”

Egg’s Thoughts:

Are you a fan of Savage Worlds (2003 Origin Gamers’ Choice Award for best role-playing game)? Oh, you don’t own the rules? Well, Pinnacle Entertainment has you covered because the core rule book is $9.99 in softcover.

To compliment the game and price point, Yellow Piece Games is kickstarting their pirate setting for Savage Rules. For $15, you get a PDF of the setting and customized rules and also a PDF of pirate NPCs that you get to contribute to. For my wanna-lancer resume, this adds experience with Savage Worlds and another NPC, all for a low price point.

Check out the Kickstarter here – Buccaneer: Through Hell & High Water for Savage Worlds.

 

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1) The S’rulyan Vault II by Kort’thalis Publishing
Ends on Thursday, June 22 2017 10:46 AM EDT.

“This project is a file/PDF for a high-resolution, printable map in both old school module blue and white, as well as, parchment color.

Basically, this is a continuation of the first S’rulyan Vault which funded on Kickstarter just over a year ago.

The S’rulyan Vault II is more of the same… but different.  Obviously, there will be a totally new dungeon layout with lots of interesting things going on.  The files can be printed off so you’ve got one massive map or four quadrants in order to easily mix and match them with each other and the previous S’rulyan Vault.

This is the DriveThruRPG product listing for the original S’rulyan Vault.

Glynn Seal of MonkeyBlood Design will be doing the cartography, layout, and file preparation.

As for the accompanying PDF full of useful random tables and such for creating and running your own damn megadungeon!  On the fly, if you wish.  Here’s an example from Draconic Magazine.”

Example Map from the S’rulyan Vault II

Egg’s Thoughts:

Kort’thalis Publishing’s CEO (Cthulhu Excreted Officer) Venger Satanis is another nice soul. When I mentioned that I wouldn’t mind a RPG mentor in an article, Venger reached out and offered helpful advice, wanna-lancing opportunities, and, if everything works out, freelance RPG work.His help has been awesome and I cannot ask for more from a RPG professional.

Through Kort’thalis Publishing, Venger is making RPG magic. His current Kickstarter is an old-school megadungeon map. Do you need one or two system agnostic megadungeon maps? Yes. Yes, you do, and Venger has you covered.

Venger is also offering another opportunity – paid GM’ing. If you go to a con and run 8 hours of games using one of his systems/settings – Alpha Blue, Crimson Dragon Slayer, CDS 1.11, or The Outer Presence – he’ll pay you for in swag or money. You’ll need to read the description first and talk with Venger about it before you go, but being paid to GM is a cool job.

Check out the Kickstarter here – The S’rulyan Vault II. Check out his offer of paid GM’ing here.

 

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There are a lot of great Kickstarters out there so let me add one more to the pile:

Grond 3

Grond #3 by Michael Phillips
Ends on .

“Grond is now Kallok. Obberoth is dead. Valara’s fate is decided by Ugreth. Oublar is close to getting what he desires, being Mok’Dar.”

Catch up on the back issues and support the creation of the current issue on Kickstarter here – Grond #3

 

 

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Egg Embry, Wanna-lancer™

Wanna-lancer™ Checklist T-shirt available at Cafepress

Interested in being a wanna-lancer? Start with the official Wanna-lancer Checklist t-shirt or wall clock or ice tea glass!

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Egg Embry wrote comic book short stories, edited comic book series, wrote and drew a webcomic, and contributed to comic book journalism across the 2000s. Now, he buys the opportunity to write for a variety of tabletop role-playing games in the tradition of vanity press. His purchases have been published by:

Three Comic Book Kickstarters You Need To Back – Section Zero, Route 3, and Grond #3

There is no Section Zero… or UFOs, or monsters, or time travelers. None. Um, rest assured…
Sean Anderson is a threat to the United States government. Or America’s only hope. Or both.
The assassination of the half-orc Grond could prevent an orc civil war. Or trigger the downfall of the Urughukai.

These three comic book Kickstarters – Section Zero, Route 3, and Grond #3 – offer some of the best in independent comics. Each one is worth checking out. Lets count’em down!

 

Section Zero

 

3) Section Zero by Karl Kesel and Tom Grummett
Ends on .

“MONSTERS! LOST WORLDS! UFOs! The strange and unknown! Karl Kesel and Tom Grummett finally finish the comic they began 17 years ago!

THERE IS NO SECTION ZERO

SECTION ZERO isn’t a secret section of the United Nation’s charter. It does not perpetually fund a team of experts and explorers to travel the world investigating the strange, fantastic, and unknown. The idea that this “team” looks into things such as UFOs, Monsters, Lost Civilizations, Time Travel, Ancient Gods and still-living Dinosaurs is no more than an urban legend. 

After all, none of these things exist.

SECTION ZERO is a fast-moving adventure comic combining the kinetic energy of Jack Kirby with the world of myth, folklore and urban legends. There’s danger around every corner as Our Heroes challenge the unknown and face the fantastic for yet another time. It’s also a story about love— what we’ll do for it, and how far we’ll go to get it back. But with added monsters!

SECTION ZERO was co-created by us— Karl Kesel and Tom Grummett— in 2000 following our successful, fun-fulled runs on DC’s Superboy. It was part of the Gorilla Comics imprint from Image Comics, which also included Busiek and Immonen’s Shockrockets, Waid and Kitson’sEmpire, Perez’s Crimson Plague, and Dezago and Wieringo’s Tellos. It was heady company and exciting times, and we poured our hearts and souls into the project.

But after finishing only three issues, personal matters meant Karl had to step away from the comic, and the book’s tag-line— There Is No Section Zero— became ominously prophetic. But we never fully abandoned our labor of love, and have worked to find a way to bring the book back— somehow, someway— ever since.

Section Zero Trade Mock-Ups

17 years later…

Kickstarter will help us finally finish what we begun. But we can’t do it by ourselves. We need people to make the journey with us, to stand beside SECTION ZERO as we face the Greatest Unknown— crowdfunding! We need your help, and we need your support. In a way, our original tag-line is more true than ever because There Is No Section Zero… WITHOUT YOU.

Egg’s Thoughts:

I’m going to fanboy here – I have NEVER read a bad comic that Karl Kesel and Tom Grummett have done together. Not one. These creators are the comics equivalent of peanut butter and chocolate but with no chance of an allergic reaction! They could write and draw the telephone book and it’d be a page-turner!

It’s $35 shipped in the US to get a 200-page trade that will be worth reading and re-reading and make you open up your comic boxes to fish out their prior productions to re-read. I would have happily paid more and I’m ready to see this comic come into being!

Check out the Kickstarter here – Section Zero

 

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2) Route 3 by Robert Jeffrey II and Sean Damien Hill
Ends on .

Route 3 Page

“Centuries old prophecies. Shadowy government conspiracies. Super heroic action. Just a typical day for teenager Sean Anderson. Route 3.

Route 3 is a super-powered road trip from hell. A Stone Mountain, GA teen finds out he’s been granted with a set of spectacular abilities, that he knows nothing about. He’s now on the run from a wide array of folks in a sort of super powered arms race across the Southeastern United States. Explosions, gunfights, telekinetic feats of awesomeness, and a little personal growth are all thrown into the mix.”

Egg’s Thoughts:

This series is written by Tessera Guild member, Robert Jeffrey II. It’s an amazing story and high on my list to hold in my hot lil’ hands. But don’t take my word for it, check out John McGuire‘s write up of Route 3 here.

That disclosure out of the way, here’s my succinct thoughts. As a comic, Route 3 is as solid as the granite of Stone Mountain and as engaging as politics. As a Kickstarter from an independent comic book creator, Route 3 is kicking as much @$$ as MMA Fighter, Anderson “The Spider” Silva.

Check out the Kickstarter here – Route 3

 

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Grond 3

 

1) Grond #3 by Michael Phillips
Ends on .

“Grond is now Kallok. Obberoth is dead. Valara’s fate is decided by Ugreth. Oublar is close to getting what he desires, being Mok’Dar.

The story starts here….

Grond 3 Cover Pencils

It is dusk on the first day of Krul’suu’luna (The Second Blood Moon). Obberoth Mok’Dar and his two sons, Ugreth and Oublar are strategizing their first attack against the Urughukai’s most hated adversary, King Rolfgar Stonefist. Suu’luna (the blood moon) is the most favored time of year to attack according to the Urughukai history. They believe that the Great Galrog’s spirit, the Urughkan god of war, will join them on the fields of battle to claim victory against the grunnarian race. Meanwhile, the young Grond is training vigorously to prove to his fav’aak(father) that he is ready for battle. Grond will have one chance to earn the title of “Kallok”(warrior) and prove his equality to his clansman or die. Taurok, Juug’la (judge) of the Urughukai and Head Chief of the horde of Clan Bloodtusks is responsible for training and preparing Grond for battle. Par’ Oublar, Ugreth’s brov’aak (brother) has emancipated from clan Bloodtusk to began a new clan by the name of Clan Grotskull. Oublar has not forgiven his father for the decision to spare his brov’aak’s (brother) life for the treacherous betrayal to his father and his clansman for breaking the oath of Grum’vlak, the sacred mating tradition only between the Urughukai. Oublar will get his opportunity to enforce justice now that his father has summoned him and his army to join him against the Fists of the Mountain, the grunnar. Oublar will soon realize that his servitude to his father will be more rewarding to him than he expected. Back at the mountain, King Rolfgar, is fully aware of the fight that ways against him from the powerful Obberoth Mok’dar. He pledges victory once more against the orcan filth and looks forward to seeing Obberoth’s head mounted next to the head of Ukklok Mok’Dar, his father.”

Egg’s Thoughts:

Full-disclosure – I’m working on a comic book mini-series for Midcity Comics (publisher of Grond and the Draconis Project).

This is a fact – There are not enough comic books featuring half-orcs. Like, that’s the one point that we can all agree on as a species, half-orcs need more representation in comics, books, movies, music, video games, and plays! With the exception of tabletop RPGs, their stories are few and far between. To bridge that gap, Grond the comic lives in orc culture using their language and customs to tell of a political power struggle. For the uniqueness of the subject matter of this series alone, help support the half-orc cause, check out Grond!

But let me give you the simplified pitch – “Grond is the tale of a half-orc fighting his pure-blood orc family!”

Either that statement moved you and you’re already looking for the link to the Grond Kickstarter or you were hoping for half-orc/orc love and you’d be better off reading the words of Jeremy Neill. No, none of that half-orc love in Grond, this series is all half-orc fighting orcs in all of its gory glory! Well worth checking out!

Check out the Kickstarter here – Grond #3

 

 

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Egg Embry, Wanna-lancer™

Wanna-lancer™ Checklist T-shirt available at Cafepress

Interested in being a wanna-lancer? Start with the official Wanna-lancer Checklist t-shirt or wall clock or ice tea glass!

* * *

Egg Embry wrote comic book short stories, edited comic book series, wrote and drew a webcomic, and contributed to comic book journalism across the 2000s. Now, he buys the opportunity to write for a variety of tabletop role-playing games in the tradition of vanity press. His purchases have been published by:

Kickstart the Comic – Route 3: Vol 1

Full disclosure – I might have some interest in Route 3’s Kickstarter succeeding. Robert Jeffrey is not only a collaborator on this very site, but is a writing partner and good friend. I have watched him grow into his own as a writer over the years, and I have see how much sweat and blood he’s put into Route 3. This isn’t just a comic for him. This is a story he’s been dying to tell for some time.

With this Kickstarter, he’s going to get his chance.

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Route 3: Vol 1

From Terminus Media

Robert Jeffrey II – Writer

Sean Damien Hill – Artist

Omi Remalante Jr – Colorist

Ann Siri O’Brien – Colorist

Kickstarter campaign ends on Sunday, June 18, 2017 at 3:50 EDT.

 

The Pitch:

We are raising funds primarily to get the completed collected edition, Route 3 Vol. 1, printed.

Let me repeat this:

THE BOOK IS FINISHED. COMPLETE. IN THE CAN.

The Story:

Route 3 is a super-powered road trip from hell. A Stone Mountain, GA teens finds out he’s been granted with a set of spectacular abilities, that he knows nothing about. He’s now on the run from a wide array of folks in a sort of super powered arms race across the Southeastern United States. Explosions, gunfights, telekinetic feats of awesomeness, and a little personal growth are all thrown into the mix.

An explosive scene of action from Route 3 #3. Pencils/ inks Sean Damien Hill. Colors, Omi Remalante

John’s Thoughts:

If you look at the top of this page you’ll see Robert’s name alongside my own. If you look on the Terminus Media Facebook page you’ll no doubt see our fingerprints all over the place. I’ve known Robert now for over a decade. This project, this book, has been one he has clawed and scrapped and promoted and talked about and… this list goes on and on. This book is a piece of him. When the last issue was completed, there was a joy there that can’t quite be fully explained. It’s like finally crossing a finish line after years of hard work.

However, the path of the indy comic creator is full of pot holes. Money runs out, print runs don’t happen, and you’re constantly torn between this odd thing of people devaluing your work (“It costs how much!?!”). This Kickstarter will help push the comic to a place where it can start funding itself… hopefully into an issue 4 and 5 and 6 and…

The Rewards:

The Kickstarter is for the first trade of the series which collects issues 1 through 3. There are the options to get either a pdf or the print version sent to you. At the $40 level a couple of digital prints become available. At the $75 level there is a limited opportunity to not only get Route 3, but you can also get a physical copy of Radio Free Amerika’s trade (which Robert co-wrote) (at the time of this writing there were only 7 of these left available).

If being drawn as one of the mercenaries is more your style, there is an opportunity to do just that at the $300 level.

The Verdict:

What’s that saying? The biggest no-brainer in the history of the world? Yep, that’s what this is. Not only is it Robert, so I’m supporting it, but I’m wondering if I can get him to throw in a special print or something… 🙂

Seriously though – so many comic book Kickstarters are looking for funds to even come into being. That is a different kind of crapshot as you can never be 100% sure the book is going to be completed. This is a FINISHED trade. All this money is going to print costs just so that he can get this out there and into the hands of the people.

Plus, he’s tired of the question – How can I buy the trade?

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For more information on Route 3 or the rest of Terminus Media’s comics, check out their Facebook 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 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.

Sci-Fi! Action! Adventure! Oh My!

First and foremost, posts are coming.

Like, soon. 🙂

Wanted to kick things off though with a new release announcement. If you’re looking for some awesome comic books, and sci-fi adventure check out some new offerings that I’ve written below.

The Scribes of Nyota: Our Voices, Our Imagination, A Compendium 

I’ve got a story in The Scribes of Nyota: Our Voices, Our Imagination, A Compendium, titled The Crossing: Moonlit Skies titled The Crossing: Moonlit Skies.

Edited by Maurice Waters, President of BlackSci-Fi.com and Creator Shawn Alleyne of Pyroglyphics Studio, “The Scribes of Nyota” aims to inspire imagination, while shining a light on a segment of society whose stories aren’t often heard.

Definitely check out the book because there are a collection of awesome stories and art to be found in the anthology.

The Crossing: Moonlit Skies, tells the story of two dimension hopping heroes, who find themselves on the run from crazy moon god worshiping acolytes.

In other words, for our protagonists, a typical Monday.

There’s gun play, hover trains, snappy dialogue, and high action. The story acts as sort of an interlude within a comic book series concept that fellow Tessera Guild member/ novelist/ comic book writer John R. McGuire and I have come up with.

Stay tuned for more news on the comic book series, but for now you can take a dip into the world of The Crossing by picking up the anthology here.

 

Terminus Team Up #1

Who doesn’t love sci-fi superheroics with great dialogue, awesome art, and kick ass stakes?

Not you intrepid reader! You can find all this and more in a story I wrote titled Terminus Team Up #1: Amber Fox vs Terra Force.

A description of the book reads “Amber Fox is just your regular dimension hopping acquisitions expert. But sometimes you end up needing to take a job from the more shady of characters. So when Amber is hired to steal a rare item of note from a team of super-powered individuals known as Terra Force, she may have overstepped her bounds. And let’s just say that Terra Force don’t take too kindly with people breaking and entering…”.

You can also pick up Tessera Guild member John McGurie’s second issue in this series that takes place in the world of his creator owned project The Gilded Age, here.

And more posts are coming, I swear.

Why Collaborate?

Every day that I keep at this – the writing, the editing, the story-telling – I’m hopefully getting a little better. But much like an athlete who trains by themselves, eventually they must turn to others in order to truly gauge how good they are, where their deficiencies might lie, and what things they can do to simply improve overall. They say you can never improve unless you are playing with people who are better than you are.

It’s not that much different on the writing side. Except that writing lends itself more to the solo aspect. You could go days or weeks or months without any feedback on the next project you’re writing. The only comfort you gain is knowing the story is progressing. That, too, can be just as maddening.

I think it is why I not only like to collaborate, but I seem to seek out such opportunities whenever I can.

During the earliest days of Terminus Media, when it was just a group of 5-6 guys trying to figure the whole “writing” thing out. Times where we might not even know what we did not know. Every week was a new potential project, every week was a new idea presented by someone at the table, and we did our best to foster that sharing. You could see where other people were having problems, and hopefully, not make the same mistakes on your own work (you inevitably did, of course).

I started to learn how to accept (constructive) criticism by sharing my words with others. I learned that the best way to learn was to DO the work. If there was a project that needed something written, the following week was spent figuring out how to actually write a short film script, or a TV script, or a comic script.

One week I had no idea and the next, knowledge replaced the nothingness.

Years later, Mr. Neill and I were talking about a serialized possibility. Here we both were trying to finish novels or start new ones, but there was something about getting our heads together and seeing what could happen.

Hollow Empire happened.

The biggest benefit, unseen by me (and probably cursed by Jeremy later) was editing. You effectively add a partner in this realm as well. Hopefully their strengths can fix your weaknesses and vice versa. Perhaps you are a little too sparse in your descriptions and your partner too sparse on the dialogue – now’s the perfect opportunity to learn from each other.

In those first drafts, which Jeremy edited to the bone, my prose got a little tighter. When I got new chapters in from him, it forced me to push to get better. I wanted him to be excited when my emails came rolling in. We all need to be pushed. Having a partner, someone you are accountable to, means that when you aren’t hitting your deadlines then you’re letting someone else down. Building the world through these characters in a way that makes the whole work really about those characters more than about the “Big Events” which may be going on around them.

Getting better with every keystroke.

In the last couple of years, I’ve worked with Robert Jeffrey on a pair of projects. Each of us bringing some ideas to the table and we settled on one idea from each list: The Crossing & Entropy.

The thing is that with another head there, you obviously have double the potential ideas. However, you are really forced to push your own ego aside… for the betterment of the story. When it is only you, it means a singular vision, but it also means you’re pretty much confined to whatever the old brain comes up with. With another person contributing ideas, you have more opportunities to find the best idea. You’re no longer insular… BUT you have to be willing to allow the other person to have that idea. If you are the type of writer who can’t deal with writing “someone else’s story” then you might as well stay a solo act.

To live in someone else’s world where much of the original idea was someone else’s, but you could still be a cog in the machine and help it get further than it could have done on their own. The ability to make something better than one person simply through the ideas being shared and passed back.

But the best part is being able to lean on someone else to help carry a bit of the workload. And when Writer’s Block threatens to show up, you simply give your co-writer a call or email. That way they can talk you off the ledge, getting you back to work all the sooner.

The dirty secret about all of this, whether it is short stories, novels, comics, film, or whatever… it doesn’t have to be such a lonely pursuit. You DON’T HAVE to go it alone. You can help your fellow creators, and they can help you as well.

Hopefully each learning a little bit more through the experience.

 

***

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.

Convention appearance: Onyxcon Infinity 2016

Hi dudes and dudettes. Decided to channel my inner Ninja Turtle/ Bill & Ted lexicon there.

Myself and comic book creator William Satterwhite (creator of the webcomic Stealth, regular contributor to BlackSci-Fi.com) are scheduled to appear on 8/20 from 1-7 at Onyxcon Infinity.

We’ll have copies of Stealth: The Life and Times of Allen White, the Radio Free Amerika: Season 1 graphic novel, and other awesome merchandise!

Heck, if you just want to geek out and talk comics, stop on by our table.

Head here for more information about the event, and spread the word! 🙂

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Terminus Media and the CDC Team Up For San Diego Comic Con

Two of Tessera Guild’s own are excited to announce a project years in the making will finally see the light of day 4:00 PM (PST) at San Diego Comic Con during a panel titled “Using Motion Comics for HIV/STI Prevention”. Robert Jeffrey and John McGuire acted a two of the main writers for the project in which they scripted a series of motion comics with the idea of both entertaining and informing. Episode One of the series will be shown in its entirety for the first time at the panel with a plan to roll out the additional episodes during the remainder of the year.

Below is the press release:

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Terminus Media and CDC Team Up for San Diego Comic Con

Press Release

Atlanta, GA (July 18, 2016) On Friday, July 22nd the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Terminus Media will host a panel titled Using Motion Comics for HIV/ STI Prevention at this year’s San Diego Comic Con. The panel will highlight the continuing collaboration between the CDC and Terminus Media a Creative Services and Entertainment Studio in their efforts to use the medium of motion comics/animation to raise awareness about HIV/ STI prevention.

“With using motion comics to spread “edutainment” our hope is that we will be able to use this medium to better illustrate the facts of this issue, while also highlighting the personal experiences of those affected by HIV/ and STI,” Mark Stancil, CEO and co-founder of Terminus Media explained.

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The event will be held at San Diego Comic Con between 4:00 pm-5:00 pm PST, in room 32AB. An official description of the panel is as follows:

4:00p.m. – 5:00p.m PST Using Motion Comics for HIV/STI Prevention

In the U.S., young people (ages 16-24 years) are significantly affected by Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) and other sexually transmitted infections (STI).  Storytelling through comic books has been shown to be a useful method for HIV/STI education and prevention.  The increasing popularity of comic related media and advances in computerized graphics have created new ways of using comics to reach youth with HIV/STI information.  You are invited to come and learn how scientists from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Leigh Willis (behavioral scientist), Rachel Kachur (health scientist,) Ted Castellanos (public health advisor), John Brooks (senior medical advisor), and Terminus Media Mark Stancil (CEO),
Joe Phillips (lead artist) Lexington Wolfcraft (artist) worked to create an HIV/STI focused motion comic which improves knowledge about, and reduces stigma around, HIV and STI, and encourages healthy behaviors by young people.  Attendees will learn how audience feedback, behavioral research and cutting edge comic production methods were used to create the storyline and the look, sound and feel of this motion comic.  For the first time ever, during this session, the first episode of the series will be debuted.  Information will also be provided on how the public can access the full motion comic series and future plans for the series will be discussed.   

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About Terminus Media

Terminus Media is an Atlanta-based Creative Services and Entertainment studio dedicated to identifying, developing and aggressively marketing corporate and creator-owned properties into valuable multimedia assets. In addition to publication of critically acclaimed titles like The Gilded Age, the Glyph Comic Award winning, Route 3Terminus Team Up, and the Glyph-award nominated, Radio Free Amerika. Our Creative Services division assists corporate, government and private-sector clients with visual communication projects ranging from animation and character development to full-scale message-specific publications, including work done for such clients as the Centers for Disease Control, Nitto Tires, and The Atlanta Symphony Orchestra/Alliance Theatre.

www.terminusmedia.com

Terminus Media LLC

860 Johnson Ferry Road, Suite 140

Atlanta, GA 30342,  contact@terminusmedia.com

Behind the Comic- The Gilded Age 2

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Two years is a long time to wait between these posts. The last one was back in March, 2014 where I talked about the origin story of the Gilded Age comic book. So I had hoped to tell this story before now.

Sometimes these things take more time than you realize.

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Here it is, with the character who inspired the setting. Strange to think that without Silas Gideon, the Gilded Age wouldn’t exist, but moreso that this concept has become something bigger (in my mind at least) than that one character. In fact, the main character for the Gilded Age right now is really Hannah (from the 1st issue).

This story is really the tale of 3 characters – Silas Gideon, the war veteran who has seen better days, but still has a need to put food on the table, Keturah, the gypsy who has fallen for her costar, but only manages to learn bits and pieces about him, and Oscar Grant, a man who wants to be KNOWN.

We all suffer in obscurity at times. We wake up, do our jobs, go home, and then do it all over again. If we were to die, our friends and family would certainly suffer, but the world at large would continue spinning the same as it always had. However, when a celebrity dies, we all take some measure of notice. We stop and it is a shared grief stretching far from our circle. Strangers who have never met share the same emotions.

That’s what being KNOWN means. If you pass from this world you leave behind something to note you were there in the first place. Immortality.

And yet, most of us push ourselves to be better than we are. Sometimes that comes in the form of losing weight, or playing cards, or shooting baskets, but we practice these things because we need to have successes.

Now take that to the far edge of things. What if you were the absolute BEST at something? What if everyone who heard your name knew that one undeniable fact?

And what if you wanted the title?

***

The thing about this comic, though, is that I wasn’t sure if it would see the light of day. The thing they don’t always tell you about Indy Comics is that the money is not a river forever flowing thick and strong… no, it is more like a trickle here or there. Other expenses take precedence while paying projects you thought were going to sustain the growth suddenly dry up to near nothingness.

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Much like when in your own household, and you get laid off… the belt has to tighten. Projects that were green-lit suddenly must be put in a holding pattern in hopes that things will be a little better in the new year.

So it was with Gilded Age 2.

The sad thing was pencils had been completed, as had 18 of the 22 pages of inks. Which meant that we were down to the colors and letters, typically not the place you want to come to a complete stop.

But that’s what we had to do.

***

The other thing they don’t tell you about… well, about most things honestly… is that when you come to a complete stop and then the stream begins flowing again, you can’t jump back into action at full speed. There is a slow build up.

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In GA #2’s case it had been over a year of it sitting on a hard drive. Terminus wasn’t even sure what pages they had, what pages they still needed, etc. Add to that the idea of getting the same colorist and hoping he’d have a break in his schedule in order to keep some level of continuity between issue 1 and issue 2.

It meant multiple communications from all parties. Tracking down the right files, and when a couple of those went missing, getting updated versions from the artist. Anything to get the damn thing back up and running.

***

A comic doesn’t exist until it does exist.

What I mean by that is before you see a printed (or complete digital version) of a comic book it just isn’t anything more than an idea. And idea that a writer wrote down, an artist adapted into pictures, an inker refined, a colorist painted the world, and the letterer fit the words onto the page such that everything flows.

But until it is done, every piece is just a piece of something which might be great, might be awesome. The creators don’t really know.

And that’s the lesson of this comic… it’s not a done deal until it fully exists. Don’t assume anything, and don’t take that fact for granted. I know I still struggle with that at times. Just accept those pages the artist sends as really f-ing cool trailers for a movie you HOPE comes to town.

***

But also, when it does sit in your hands… celebrate!

***

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.

 

Convention Update – Atlanta Science Fiction and Fantasy Expo 2016

This past weekend was the second annual (assuming we haven’t all killed the Expo organizer yet after 2 years) Atlanta Science Fiction and Fantasy Expo. Probably the biggest thing that sets this little (though already more than doubled the number of vendors from year 1 to year 2) convention apart is the cost: FREE. You see, it is set up near the food court of one of the malls (North DeKalb Mall, just outside of Atlanta) and so anyone who wants to can take a stroll through the tables and maybe spend a little cash or just keep on walking. And while you certainly can’t beat the price, over the course of the weekend there were tons (I mean, I don’t have an exact number for you… let’s just go with tons) of people who had come for some shopping or the movie theater and found this weird little event going on right in front of them.

And while those random walk-ups may or may not bother to really read any of Terminus’s comics, it was still a chance to expose them to us, to some of the other indy comic guys from the Atlanta (and beyond) area, and to some of the novelists, costume people… all sorts of people really. People who might have tolled over their wares for years.

Now if you read my report from last year (go ahead, I’ll wait) you’ll see that I had very low expectations and then was pleasantly surprised throughout the weekend by the foot traffic we got. So this year I had hopes, expectations about the number of comics we might be able to sell. Of course we had a couple of new issues we debuted at the Expo (and that didn’t hurt):

Route 3 #3

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Gilded Age #2

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But that wasn’t all as we also had a rebranded cover of Terminus Team-up #1 (the comic featuring Terminus’s Amber Fox – a cross between Doctor Who and Laura Croft). In the past, for whatever reason issue #1 of that comic didn’t sell and therefore issue #2 didn’t sell (I mean, who is going to buy only issue 2… it’s all or nothing most of the time)… The new cover turned that around. So many times we had people grab the whole series (Team-up, Gilded Age, or Route 3) all in one purchase. And just that very fact meant that instead of only selling one comic to a potential customer you are easily selling 2 or 3.

Business Aside – I learned something more important than anything else I’ve mentioned in this post. You know how when you get gas there is always a $XX.X9.99 amount to it? Or when you go shopping in general and things are priced $10.99 instead of just saying $11.00. For someone with OCD I could see that possibly driving them nuts (or maybe soothing them, I guess, according to how their particualr OCD works). But the business people all swear by it… people get fooled and buy the item even though there is really no good difference between the price and something one cent more.

That also works just because… math, I guess. We had a sign which said: 1 comic for $4 and 5 comics for $20.

I’ll wait while you determine how much better that $20 deal is.

Got it?

Yeah, its the same amount. Obviously.

Actually, maybe not so obviously. So many people (not quite the tons of earlier… perhaps a different large number) ended up seeing that and buying 5 comics from us… I guess in order to get the “Deal”.

Note – we didn’t put the sign up that way to try and trick anyone. It was only after the other guys had put it there that I pointed out the difference (or the lack of difference between the prices). Still, it was a strange thing to think that maybe those $X.99 guys and gals might have been onto something this whole time.

End aside.

Atlanta Expo-1

Me and Robert Jeffrey II talking about our Funny Books.

 

So aside from meeting people and having a decent set-up, Terminus also was able to have a panel where we not only talked about our comics, but also we had someone from the CDC (Centers for Disease Control) to discuss some of our motion comic footage we’ve been doing for them. This was the project that seemed to really interest people as they started asking questions about the project, about the focus groups, and even about what things they might want to see (one thing I definitely think we’d do if we get to do more episodes). And a member of Shadeaux Media sat in to briefly touched on the Video Game they are developing (using Amber Fox as the star). Plus, if you click on the above link it will take you to their Facebook Page where you can see a little bit of the digital world

I’m not going to lie, shaking hands and… well, shaking hands and talking to people all weekend – you’d think that wouldn’t tire a guy out, but it certainly does. But I’m glad to have done it, and fingers crossed I’ll be there next year, ready to go!

 

***

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.

End of Year Check-In: Writers Edition

I like writing. I love writing. Writing kicks all kinds of butt.

Writing for me has always been a way to get these crazy ideas out on paper, to give them some type of life. Ideas of those who save the day, and those who seek to destroy said day. Characters who struggle internally with self doubt, and those who are so full to the brim with cock-assurredness that they drown on it.

Writing about anything and everything is what I like to do. It’s my trade, and I’ll continue to do it for as long as I can.

So in keeping with this, I’m going to do a rundown of some of the writing that’s come and gone in 2015, and what’s slated for the future. Sit back, relax, and read on!

                                                                               2015

 

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Route 3 #3

What began way back in 2013 has now been completed in 2015. 🙂

And I’m darn proud of it.

My wife has been extremely influential in keeping me going with this series (and everything else that I write), and for that (and many other reasons) I love this woman a lot. Living with a creative type is not the easiest thing to do, and I commend her for it. Love you T’.

Without the help of John, Tony, Mark, Tanya, Pete, Sean, Ann, Omi, Anthony, Vincent, Khari, and the whole Terminus Media crew, this book could never have come to fruition in the awesome way that it has. I can’t thank these folks enough.

As of this writing, the third issue seems to be doing fairly well in terms of the reception. Feedback has been pretty positive, as folks are either jumping onto this series for the first time, or have been down with the Route 3 cause from the beginning.

With the completion of this initial story arc, I’ve completed the first part of my goal with telling Sean Anderson’s story. Here’s hoping to have many opportunities in the future to build the story of this potential hero in the making.

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Radio Free Amerika # 3

Once again, major props to creator/ writer/ artist Barron Robert Bell for giving me a chance to play in his sandbox known as Radio Free Amerika. 2015 saw the release of Radio Free Amerika # 3, and a limited print run of the Radio Free Amerika graphic novel, Radio Free Amerika: Season 1.

As in the case of the Route 3 series, the third issue wraps up the first story arc of Mose B and his crew as they struggle to fight the good fight. Reception to the book has been pretty kick butt, and word continues to spread about the series.

On the writing front, it’s been an awesome opportunity to help lay out a world spanning story of war, hip hop revolutionaries, and important current event topics.

Stealth: Vol. 1, The Life and Times of Allen White (Prologue)

stealthTo be asked to help tell the origin story of a hero that you admire is a once and a lifetime opportunity. So when William Satterwhite, creator of the webcomic Stealth, approached me about writing the origin story of Mr. Allen White, a.k.a Stealth in an original graphic novel, I jumped at the opportunity

Add to this the artistic awesomeness known as Jamar Logan, and we’ve got a winner on our hands.

In 2015 we released a 19 page prologue opening the larger story, and once again, the reception we’ve received has been awesome.

The book has  superhero fights, it has an emotional moonlit conversation in a graveyard, it has a little bit of everything. Heck I’ve even got a scene in the book that got my little brother sort of choked up.

 

 

Machina Obscurum

Machina Obscurum: A Collection of Small Shadows

Once again, I’ve got to say thanks. First to my Tessera Guild crew for accepting me into the fold, way back when, and secondly to Jeremy Neill for sending out an invite for me to contribute to Machina Obscurum: A Collection of Small Shadows.

As a kid I started off writing prose. These pursuits began with a time travel novel which will never see the light of day, and numerous short stories afterwards. I kept up with writing short stories in high school, submitting some of them to my literary magazine. Fast forward to college and afterwards, and the focus then became the journalism.

Fast forward a bit more and now I’m writing comics, while still doing the freelance journalism. Prose unfortunately took a back seat, but the desire to go back to what I’d started with stuck with me.

The CrossingSo then comes Mr. Neill with his offer to contribute to an awesome anthology, and I thought to myself “sit your butt down and write”.

Enter stage left The Crossing: Moonlit Skies. This is a short story set within the larger events of The Crossing, which is a comic book series Mr. McGuire and I are collaborating on. The short is filled with adventure, and a bit of action set on a world far, far away.

 

 

 

BSF

BlackSci-fi.com

During the back half of 2015 my output with BlackSci-Fi.com picked up in a big way. Maurice Waters is doing awesome work with his creation, and I’m just grateful to be able to hitch a ride on this awesome website.

The stories that I’ve written have run the gamut. I’ve been able to write about the personal experience of a cosplayer who was featured on a variant cover of the new Marvel Comics series Sam Wilson: Captain America. I also had an opportunity to review a gut wrenching yet timely anthology titled, APB: Artists Against Police Police Brutality.

So all in all I’m really looking forward to what 2016 will bring in the way of future opportunities.

 

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Tessera Guild

This year was a good one with my blogging pursuits, though it could’ve been extremely better. The goal has always been 2-3 Friday posts per month, and I need to start doing better with that.

The great thing about this website (aside from the awesome folks I write with here) is that I can write about any of my creative or nerdy interests. This year was no exception to this, and hopefully my output displayed the fun I find myself constantly having with writing for this website.

To top it all off, I just realized this was my first full year as a Tessera Guild contributer. 🙂

2016

 

 

DATC

Dark Universe II & The City II

My plan is to contribute to the second installments of each of these awesome anthologies, after being invited to play around in these universes.

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Route 3: Vol 1

Next year will bring the collected Vol 1 of issues 1-3 with a brand spanking new cover, bonus Route 3 content, with the ultimate goal of bring the book to a comic book store near you.

Rdio Free Amerika Season 1

RFA: Season 1

Terminus Media’s first collected trade paperback (extra content included) will be released in comic book stores in early 2016, and I’ll be grinning from ear to ear when I see this and Route 3: Vol. 1 on a comic book shelf.

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The Crossing

John McGuire and I are going to wrap this puppy up with a nice bow. Clean up the pitch. Knock out the first issue. Get it to a publisher.

In addition to this I’m brainstorming an original novella set within this world, which will flesh out the early days of Crossing, The Right Stuff style. I had so much fun with the short story, that want to keep things going with the prose in addition to comic book series.

Kaboom. Magic.

Stealth: Vol. 1, The Life and Times of Allen White (Graphic Novel) 

The hope is to have this entire project completed by the mid to late 2016. Jamar’s killing it on the upcoming book as shown below, and I’m focusing on adding to/ refining the current script.

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peyah_with_mask2 (2)The Best (Title is definitely subject to change): So guys and gals, you’re getting an exclusive preview of artwork from a comic that I and the talented Takeia Marie are partnering on. Without giving up too much, the story features alien zombies, futuristic guns, kick butt space vehicles, and an intergalactic war.

Don’t worry, we’re not taking the Michael Bay approach and jettisoning a great story, and strong character development.

We’ve got that on lock.

With me on the scripting duties, Takeia on the art, with us both building the story of this world, we’re going to kick sooooo much butt with this.

Below (and above) is concept art done by Takeia of one of our stories main protagonists, Peyah, and some of the hardware that she’ll be using.

I’m having a ball writing this, and I hope it’s reflected in the final product.

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Terminus Team Up: Amber Fox  vs. Terra Force:  A cleaned up version of the first issue in this awesome series (with new colors/ cover/ logo) will be released for the first time digitally this year featuring my scripting duties, Sean Hill (Dark Shaman, Route 3) on pencils and inks, and Lauren Brown on the brand spanking new colors.

Did I mention the awesome new cover? 🙂

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BlackSci-fi.com: Still reporting on a host of topics for the website. Assisting with a major overhaul of the webpage, and there will be an announcement soon about my work with the website coming soon.

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Well, that will wrap everything up for now. The list is definitely subject to change with additional projects, so I’ll keep everyone posted.

If you want to purchase any of the projects mentioned in the 2015 portion of the post, or even from my earlier work, head to http://robertkjeffrey.wix.com/robertkjeffrey. Thanks for the support, and spread the word.

2016’s here.

Behind The Scenes of The Crossing: Moonlit Skies

Machina Front Cover

 

On December 8th, I’ll have a story called The Crossing: Moonlit Skies published in the short story collection, Machina Obscurum- A Collection of Small Shadows.

Before we jump into this, let me give a little bit of background.

Rewind a few years ago: my fellow Terminus Media/ Tessera Guild teammate, John R. McGuire, and I joined forces and each brought a concept for a story to the table, to collab on together.

For a while I’ve played around with the idea of doing a comic book mini-series which dealt with cross dimensional hopping, high-adventure style. 🙂

So during an initial meeting at Appelebee’s (you’ve got to have great food to generate great ideas. I think Stephen King said that….. yeah we’ll go with that), I brought a concept called The Crossing, which delved into the aforementioned dimension hopping adventure concept. I’d fleshed out some characters, a story, and with the awesome writing/ plotting talents of my writing brother in arms Mr. McGuire, we came up with what I think will grow into an awesome comic book mini-series, heck, franchise.

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We’ve currently got a pitch that we’re prepping to get to publishers.

A kick ass artist in Sean Hill.

Two awesome writers.

A dimensions spanning story.

High adventure.

A diverse cast.

Magic. 🙂

But until we find a home for the series, I’ve had an itch to continue to play around in this universe that’s kept me up many nights.

Enter stage left The Crossing: Moonlit Skies. Sort of an “interlude” within the larger story being told in The Crossing, we get a snapshot of the crazy, and tense multiple dimension travels that series our protagonists find themselves caught up in.

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Ever since watching Greg Rucka expertly wind his world of Queen and Country between comics and prose, I’ve wanted to try my hand at doing the same. Having an opportunity to expand the larger story of a property across many mediums, with original stories, is a goal that I’ve wanted to accomplish, and The Crossing: Moonlit Skies is the end result.

 Many thanks to Jeremy for allowing me to add this story to the mix of Machina Obscurum: A Collection of Small Shadows.

Dec 8th. Mark your calenedars.

 It’s going to be bumpy ride. 🙂

The Gilded Age as a Radio Drama! This Weekend!

That’s right. On February 21, 2015 at North Dekalb Mall, the site of the Atlanta SF & Fantasy Expo, the Atlanta Radio Theatre Company is going to do a dramatic reading of The Gilded Age Issue #1!

Cast your mind back to an age where you gathered around the radio and actors on the other end created worlds and adventures with little more than their voices and special effects in the form of sounds. That’s kinda what this is going to be like, except they are going to have the panels from the comic displayed behind them as they work their way through the story.

I honestly don’t even know what to expect, but I’m really excited to even have the opportunity to have something of mine transformed in such a way.

So if you happen to be in the area and want to experience something different and new, swing by 2050 Lawrenceville Highway, Decatur, GA 30033 at either 3:00 PM or 7:30 PM.

Or if you want to meet Robert Jeffrey II or me, we’ll be manning the Terminus table for the better part of both days. Come by and chat!

Gilded Age-Atlanta SF Expo

Creative Interview With Comic Book Artist Sean D. Hill

Continuing in our creative interview series, next up to bat is comic book artist/ fine art illustrator Sean D. Hill. Sean is the talented artist behind the pencils/ inks of “Route 3”, ” “Jaycen Wise And The Secret of The Rose” and is the current penciller on Zenescope Entertainment’s critically acclaimed “Dark Shaman”. Let’s get things rolling!

Tell us about yourself, where you’re from and any training you’ve had in the visual arts, comics medium.

Well I’m from Washington DC, born and raised. As far as training goes my grandfather began showing me stuff from an early age. After that, when I was in 4th grade, I was introduced to an artist named Kofi Tyus.

Sean Hill's "Lineage"

Sean Hill’s “Lineage”

Kofi quickly become my mentor and I even got my first sketchbook from him. As I got older I went to an arts high school called the Duke Ellington School of the Arts, where my major was Visual Arts or VA as they called it. I had great teachers like Bill Harris, Cathy Cann, Mel Davis to name a few. I always wanted to be a comic book artist ever since the Spike Lee Levi’s commercial featuring Rob Liefeld.

I pretty much stuck to fine art until I started dating my wife, and she was going for a Media Arts and Animation major. I learned everything I know about comic illustration and storytelling from her and the classes I would sit in with her.

What is the first thing you remember drawing?

The first thing I vaguely remember drawing was KITT and Michael Knight from “Knight Rider”. I was obsessed with that show as a kid. I would show the pictures to Grandpa and he would tell me what I had to work on and then I would get excited to redraw it again because I’d learned something new.

A page of Sean Hill's work from Zenescope Entertainment's "Dark Shaman"

A page of Sean Hill’s work from Zenescope Entertainment’s “Dark Shaman”

Can you tell us a little about your process and your choice of medium?

I work mostly digital nowadays. I use Manga Studio 5 for my software and I draw on a Yiynova MSP19U, which is a screen that I draw directly on, which is  similar to a Cintiq.

I still do stuff traditionally though when I get the itch. My favorite traditional tools are my Pentel Brush pen that I never leave home without , and I love my Zebra G Pen nibs. The best Bristol I have ever used is still the 500 series Stathmore Smooth 4ply. It’s great stuff.

A page of Sean Hill's work from Zenescope Entertainment's "Dark Shaman"

A page of Sean Hill’s work from Zenescope Entertainment’s “Dark Shaman”

Are there subjects you find yourself drawn to again and again in your art? Are there any particular artists who inspired you to work in the comic book medium?

The stories I seem drawn to the most are ones with a lot of character development and a lot of action. I love stories that take in the aspects of blockbuster films also.  The artists who inspire me are numerous, though ones I think mentioning are Mshindo Kuumba, Ivan Ries, Lewis La Rosa, Brian Hitch, and Jason Fabok. It’s a pretty long list.

What are you working on now? Where can we go to view/purchase your work?

Right now I am working on the final issue of Zenescope Entertainment’s “Dark Shaman” mini series. It’s a story steeped in a lot of Timaucuan Native American lore which I love. You can order the books from your local comic shop if they don’t have them on the shelves already, or through the digital comic book distributor, Comixology.

I am also very proud of the work I have done on “Route 3” for Terminus Media which is available for digital download on Amazon, and the Comics Plus app.

Sean Hill's "Lineage"

Sean Hill’s “Lineage”

 

You can view all my work at:

www.nazirstudios.blogspot.com

https://m.facebook.com/sean.hill.777?ref=bookmark

http://instagram.com/seandamienhill

Route 3: The Movie

Remember when Wizard Magazine would do their dream movie casting feature for comic book movies? It was one of the sections of the magazine that I honestly got hyped about, with the hope that these flicks might one day see the light of day.

Sure, these features were probably little more than staff writers having their chance to play a little bit of fantasy casting. But at the time, when casting news wasn’t available at the drop of a dime, this was a big thing for comic book fans like myself.

So following in the footsteps of Wizard Magazine, and my fellow Tessera blogger J. Edward Neill, I’ve decided to do my own fantasy movie casting for my creator owned project, “Route 3”.
Route 3 Logo

 

These are the actors and actresses that immediately jump to mind when I think of the “dramatis persone” of the epic tale of Sean Anderson and company. As the story expands in future issues, I’ll come back and add more actors and actresses.

But for now, think of this as my big Comic Con announcement for the casting of next summer’s blockbuster, “Route 3”.

 

Sean 3

Sean Anderson: For our main protagonist, it’d be a toss up between Donald Glover (“Community”) and  Tyler James Williams (“Everybody Hates Chris”)  I know Sean’s age would have to be adjusted for the sake of the flick in Glover’s case (maybe make him a senior in high school), but heck, if Toby McGuire can play a high school student in his early 30’s, why not Glover? Childish-Gambino

 

Williams would also make a great Sean Anderson, as we’ve already seen him play a down on his luck teen in Chris Rock’s “Everybody Hates Chris”. Add to this, such roles in “Dear White People” and an upcoming stint in “The Walking Dead” I think Williams could put on an awesome performance.

Tyler+James+Williams+bLQBrZrrfnLm

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sean 2

 

316 2316: If Marvel or Star Wars won’t have him, “Serenity’s” scene stealing actor, Chiwetel Ejiofor, can join the Route 3 ranks as Sean’s main nemesis.

 

 

CE1I loved this guy in “Serenity”, and “Inside Man”, and would love to see him do his thing in this epic flick.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Richard Nathenson: Adding to the list of Sean’s list of antagonists, comes the puppet master himself, Richard Richard Nathenson 2Nathenson. He would be played by Neal McDonough. McDonough is a guy that you’ve seen in just about everything including “Terrier’s”, “Captain America: The First Avenger”, “Walking Tall”, and “Minority Report”.

 

Neil M

 

 

 

 

He can bring definitely bring it when playing the Washington D.C. power broker, who makes Sean’s life a living hell.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Charles Punching

Charles Reily: No one, and I mean nooooo one would fit this role better than Mr. Liam Neeson (I almost pulled a Key & Peele and called him Neesons). Neeson would be able to bring the kick-assery of “Taken”, with the TAKEN 2dramatic gravitas of “Schindler’s List” to the mysterious, and lethal figure at the heart of Sean’s tale.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Samie 1

Samie: Sean’s potential love interest would be played by the talented KeKe Palmer. With such credits as “Akeelah and The Bee”, and “Grey’s Anatomy” she’d be a perfect fit for the Route 3 universe. Just imagine this scene between Palmer and Williams. Box office gold.

 

 

KeKe Palme

 

Khenan & Salma: Rounding out 316’s covert ops force would be Malcolm Jamal-Warner and Michelle Rodgriguez. Sure, most folks remember Malcolm Jamal-Warner from “The Cosby Show”, as Theo Huxtable. But K S 1he had a great leading role in the post-apocalyptic television series “Jeremiah”, and other roles in “ Community”, “Sons of Anarchy”, and even “Dexter”.

Michelle Rodriguez personifies bad-assness in everything she does. “Resident Evil”.  “Girlfight”. “SWAT”. “Avatar”. “The Fast and The Furious” series. You’d be hard pressed to find a more epic action movie actress than Ms. Rodriguez.

 

MJW

 

MR2

Khenan and Salma 1

 

 

Larry Anderson:  Idris Elba. “Pacific Rim”. “The Wire”. “Luther.” “Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom”. “Thor.” Lenny 2Dude is a talented, talented, ta-len-ted actor, and he’d be able to bring a set of supreme acting chops to “Route 3”, playing Sean’s father.

 

 

Idris

 

 

Shane 1

Shane Watkins: The head of the Watkins drug cartel, Shane would be played by who I think would be a wild card to most: Dule’ Hill (“Psych”, “The West Wing”).

Hill was a hilarious straight man on “Psych”, but it was on “The West Wing” as Charlie Young where his dramatic acting skills shone. I think he’d be able to pull off the business minded, ruthless antagonist who gets caught in the wake of the epic “Route 3” story.

 

DE2

So Hollywood, look how easy I just made your job. I’ve done the casting, and have given you a template for a script.

Just need you to cut a check so we can make some magic.

P.S If you want to read the book before seeing the potential movie, head here to pick up the current three issues of Route 3.

Sean 1

Behind the Comic – Misusing TIME and Being STUBBORN

behindthemusic-thumb-3

 

Making comics is a tough business. Maybe the big companies have all the little things figure out, but when you are one of the little guys there are a lot of bumps in the road. And I have come to the conclusion that there are three assets that will serve someone who aspires to create comic books (well there are more… a lot more, but these are the three I’m focusing on).

The first is to be realistic about TIME.

Dragon Clock

What does that mean? Well, what it really means is that you need to get a decent idea of your own abilities and not oversell what you can or cannot do. When someone asks you how long it is going to take to do a script or to draw your pages or to ink those pages or to color those pages or to letter those pages… well, for the sake of everyone else on your team, just be realistic about the amount of time it is going to take.

Back in the prehistoric age (about 8 years ago) Terminus Media (an Atlanta based comics company) decided to dip their toes in the comic book world. It made perfect sense, we had artists and writings sitting mere feet from each other on a weekly basis. None of us had any real credits to our comic resume, so it was a win-win situation. Plus we were meeting in a COMIC BOOK STORE for Heaven’s sake. If that wasn’t a sign to get to work, I don’t know what would be. So we got together and made a black and white anthology comic book. It worked so well we ended up doing another one, and then we did a color one, and then we did one more color one.

So what’s the problem? What does this has to do with TIME?

It took almost 7 months for that first anthology to get done. Four stories of 8 pages each took 7 months. This wasn’t 1 writer and 1 artist, this was 4 artists and 4 writers, teamed up.

Evolution-Book-one-cover-lo

So why did it take so long? Honestly? Because people have lives that they were trying to live. School or work and everything between and when you are doing something for free, deadlines go out the window for many people. But mostly it was because these creators didn’t know how long it was supposed to take. And so they said that they could deliver their script or pages or whatever by X date… and then not do it. It is hard to make something work when you have no idea if someone is going to be true to their word. It sucks to have to hound and probe and needle and stand behind someone with a wooden spoon to whack them on the back of the head yelling “Work faster!” (Why a spoon? Because its dull, it’ll hurt more!).

With the second anthology we had learned all these lessons from the past. We knew what the big mistakes were, we knew that when someone said it would only take X time to do a task we would secretly (mentally) assume 2X to do it. “Oh, it’ll take you 3 weeks to draw those pages?” (writes down 6 weeks). We were going to streamline things… no 7 months for us!

It took 9-10 months to put out the second issue.

Why? Well the TIME thing was a big one. People said 3 weeks and we figured on 6 and it took 12 (if we were lucky). But the other thing we learned was that some people liked the idea of being in comics more than the actual “creating” of comics. They talked a big game, but when push came to shove, nothing ever materialized. And they left some of their co-creators in a huge lurch searching for a replacement.

Be PROFESSIONAL.

I’m not talking about whether you get a page rate (though that is nice), but I’m talking about how you treat the people you are creating with. Don’t waste their TIME. If you aren’t serious about the project, if you don’t care about the story or the art or whatever, and are just doing it as a goof… and are always just minutes away from disappearing from the face of the Earth, then don’t bother. All you are doing is pissing people off and showing that you cannot be trusted with deadlines.

It wouldn’t be a problem if I could just chalk it up to the idea that these guys and gals weren’t getting paid, and sometimes life gets in the way, but I’ve seen it time and time again over the last decade. I’ve seen people with talent, REAL TALENT, just not give a damn. These are writers who seem to have no problem talking about a story that is amazing, but never putting fingers to the keyboard to actually write the damn thing (Just Finish It!). These are artists who I would swear should be drawing Spiderman and Batman right now, but just won’t spend the TIME in front of their artist’s tables doing the work.

When you get a team together that cares about the project and act like they are professional, it is a glorious sight to behold. And suddenly TIME doesn’t seem like quite as big a deal.

The other piece of the puzzle, at least as far as I am personally concerned, is being STUBBORN. I’m the guy that can’t give up. When it was taking 7 months to get that first comic out, I fought and emailed and sometimes just showed up to give my support, and eventually the planets aligned and the comic happened.

Of course, being STUBBORN means that as a writer you are going to get to have a lot of scripts on your hard drive that never get off the ground. You’ll have an idea, but no artist. You’ll have an artist and struggle for an idea. You’ll have the artist and the story, but then he/she decides that they cannot do the project. Or they fall off the face of the Earth and you have to start completely over with a new team.

Over and over again until you feel like you could scream.

But I won’t give up on people. Had I given up The Gilded Age wouldn’t exist. Had I given up I wouldn’t have done Tiger Style. I wouldn’t have multiple shorts in a handful of anthologies. I wouldn’t have completed The Dark That Follows. STUBBORN. Too damn stupid to know any better apparently. INSANE, because I keep doing the same thing over and over expecting a different result… and yet, while there are many failures or aborted projects or things that just don’t get off the ground, I’ll continue to agree to doing these things. I’ll continue writing outlines and full scripts and 8-pagers and whatever else someone wants me to do if I think there is a chance it will work out. How could I not?

Shark Fishing

Because I never know when that next thing might be the one that hits. So I put as many lines in the water and wait for that fish to come.

***

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.

Illinois Corn, Comics, & Sound Direction

A few years ago (maybe 2006, 2007) my mom’s side of the family, the mostly Chicago based Stephenson clan, decided to hold a family reunion in Monticello, Indiana. Monticello has great vacation spots/ campsites in the area, including a hallmark of Midwest fun times, Indiana Beach, a local amusement park/ waterpark.

Now if you could ignore the various “Anti-Meth dealing” warning signs we saw on various back roads, this place is one to visit.

Emmy-winning meth.

Emmy-winning meth.

In the surrounding area you’ll find picturesque woodlands, replete with nice lakes, small towns, and great places to just barbeque, and while away the day. We were able to snatch up a set of cabins for the entire family, and spent a five day vacation just catching up and having fun.

Our folks had come from all over to commiserate: Atlanta, Sacramento, San Francisco, Jackson (MS), Los Angeles, Chicago.

Heck, there was some family I hadn’t seen since the second Rodney King trial verdict.

Basically, it’d been a while since I’d seen half of these people.

So being Atlanta based my brother (Brandon) and I decided to forgo the sensible option of getting plane tickets to Chicago, and catching a ride with the family to Monticello which was just a few hours away.

Nope, being the guys that we were (and wanting to have some wheels while on vacation), we’d come up with a decision to load up in my 2001 Nissan Altima, and take the 9-10 hour drive to the reunion. Added to this, with the work schedule that I had at the time, we had two options on when to leave: exactly after I got off of work, which would have been around 9 or 11 pm, or wait until the next day.

roadTrip_night_news

Road tripping how it should be done. At least for insomniac’s.

Needless to say, we decided to tap into our inner insomniac and hit the road, caffeine/ Red Bulled up to the gills.

For me night driving is fun, and a bit relaxing. I enjoy being able to see the world when it’s basically asleep, and just catch the sights as most folks are winding down for the day. Our nocturne route took us through Georgia, Tennessee, Illinois, and then Indiana.

Alternating between blasting OutKast, Kanye West, Esperanza Spalding, and Red Hot Chili Peppers, my brother and I took turns with the driving duties.

It was when we hit mid Illinois that things got interesting.

At the time, I was driving, rolling through moon drenched rows upon rows of corn.

Endless-rows-of-corn.

Though I’d gotten use to this from previous road trips to Chicago, to say that endless rows of flat farmland can lull you into a chillastic state is an understatement.

So guess what I had to break me from this stupor?

Police lights ahead of us. A lot of them. Blocking the whole two-lane interstate.

You would’ve thought that damn Dr. Richard Kimble was on the loose with all the lights that I saw.

No caption needed. This scene was just all sorts of awesome.

No caption needed. This scene was just all sorts of awesome.

First thought I had: Damn.

Second thought I had: Damn, damn.

Third thought I had: Our current situation playing out like the one from “The Five Heartbeats” when the cops pull the main characters over on a lonely country road

Check the movie out and you’ll catch my drift.

So I wake my brother up, who’s a much cooler dude than I am. He tells me to just chill, and we hit the roadblock.

I rolled down the window and the officer asks for my license and registration. As I’m handing it over I decide to ask why the whole freeway is closed down at the latest hour known to man.

The cop hands back my information and doesn’t give a reason. At all. Just hands it back. Then asks where we’re headed.

Yeah....our cop wasn't Mr. Smiley.

Yeah….our cop wasn’t Mr. Smiley.

I told him Monticello, and then ask is there an alternate route we can take to get back on the highway we were on.

The cop mumbles something about taking a nearby exit, follows up with something else unintelligible, and then backs away ready to direct the next car in line.

So as I prepared to barrage the officer with more questions, my brother, sensing that this dude wasn’t going to be too forthcoming, instructs me to keep rolling.

So we follow the officer’s “directions”, and all we see are rows of corn.

We drive in another direction, and see rows of corn.

No indication of how to get back on the freeway. None at all.

So this goes on for maybe, 30, 35 minutes max. As far as gas, we’re doing alright, but not spectacular.

I started imagining thoughts of my mom getting a call from the Illinois State Patrol:

ISP: Ma’am, we’re sorry to have to inform you that, well…., ma’am, your son’s got lost and gorged themselves to death on corn.

Ma: Oh….. God….No….

ISP: The truly tragic thing about it miss, is, well…. there was a McDonald’s not but a step or two around the corner from where their bodies were found.

Ma: Noooooo!

So as we’re driving my brother points into the distance.

“BJ (my nickname), look.”

I look in the direction he’s pointing and see a convoy of taillights. A semi-truck convoy.

“Who would you figure might have the best idea on how to get back to the interstate?” Brandon asked.

I figured, heck, we’re not having any success so why not follow them?

Keep on truckin'.

Keep on truckin’.

Relying on faith, and the sound judgment of Brandon, we struck pay dirt. Following the truckers lead we rolled through a small town, sleeping neighborhoods, took a bunch of side roads, and within a bit of time, we were back on the freeway.

After hitting the interstate, we were good to go. Heck we even got to the vacation spot before anyone else in the family.

One thing I learned from that situation and in countless one’s before and since, is it’s sometimes good to follow the lead of others. Not those folks who don’t have your best interest at heart, but those who care enough about you to set you on the right path.

On the nerdy/creative front it’s happened a number of times.

Some of Ms. Butler's most awesome sci-fi works.

Some of Ms. Butler’s most celebrated sci-fi works.

My Dad introduces me to the awesome work of Octavia Butler, a talented sci-fi novelist to whom I now look for inspiration on the writing front.

One of my closest friends Oscar gives me a copy of Alan Moore’s seminal work, Watchmen, and this writer’s mind is blown. An awesome friend, Patrick, loans me his entire of collection of Preacher to read, and I devour the books in the span of a weekend.

 

 

 

A man of many talents.

A man of many talents.

One Saturday afternoon I get a package from my Dad in Atlanta, and was introduced to the mind-blowing universe of Milestone Media, and another writing inspiration, Dwayne McDuffie.

My mom picks up a copy of “The Amazing Spiderman” from the drugstore (remember those days folks?), and my world is forever rocked by the exploits of a certain web slinger who often had problems paying the rent on time.

 

 

 

 

 

I meet up with the folks of Terminus Media, who teach me the ins and outs of writing/ creating comics, and I’m now a published comic book writer.

A little comic I created.

A little comic I created.

Through the instruction, and direction of my editor/ brother from another mother, Dennis, I got a firsthand instruction on what it took to be a successful freelance journalist.

Heck, the often maligned Wizard Magazine got me pushed in the right direction of another writing inspiration, Greg Rucka.

Tara Chace. Her Majesty's Bad Ass.

Tara Chace. Her Majesty’s Bad Ass.

So if you get the gumption, take a chance, and follow the direction of those folks willing to offer a helping or a guiding hand. Makes things fun, heck even easy in some cases.

I’m still doing it, and think I’m all the better for it.

If you don’t you might find yourself stuck in endless rows of corn.

 

Behind the Comic – The God That Failed

Of the four of us who write on the Tessera Blog, I’m the comics guy. Though that is a bit of a misnomer as I know both Chad and Amanda read comics as well. However, on the writing side of things, until my novel comes out next month, the only thing I’ve ever gotten published is in the comics field, so…

The first comic book story I ever wrote was composed while I was at my day job in about 10 minutes time. I’m not talking about the basic beats of this 8-page story, but the full script was furiously jotted down on scrap paper to the point that the rest of the world no longer existed (probably a good thing my boss didn’t walk by me at that point, I wouldn’t have noticed him). This idea of a superhero story that wasn’t just the typical story that you’d normally get. That’s what I was shooting for. That and something that could be told in a short form (8 pages).

Now forget that I had no idea what a comic book script was supposed to look like format wise… at least not really. I had this vague idea that I’d need to break this plot down into pages and that those pages would need to be broken down into panels, but for some reason I either couldn’t or just wouldn’t do that. Instead the script that I delivered to the artist was mostly composed of narration and some vague attempts at “Hey this would be an interesting image to appear somewhere on this page”.

But of all of the things I’ve written, The God That Failed holds a special place in my heart. Most likely because it was the first thing I got published in a comic (it appeared in Terminus Media Presents: Evolution Book 1), but I think it also was that first spark which showed that maybe, perhaps, this dream I had since I was all of 10 years old scribbling ideas in a blue spiral notebook might be attainable.

Evolution-Book-one-cover-lo

Since the internet loves a list, here are 10 things (Why 10? Because that’s how many I came up with!) about my first comic that might strike your fancy, a behind the scenes, if you will:

1- The story is online, for free at Terminus Media’s webpage. Click here to give it a read and tell me what you think in the comments section below (on Terminus’s site or on this very blog).

2- John Etienne was the artist on the story. The only reason that Etienne was my artist is because I had approached him a couple of months earlier, before the idea of doing an anthology was even a real thought in anyone’s head. However, it wasn’t because I had this story lined up. No, instead I had wanted him to draw an 8 page Moon Knight story for me (not sure what my goal there would have been). Lucky for me he didn’t have time right then to work on anything, and when the anthology project was finally launched I had a story of my own.

3- John Etienne happens to know my Mother-in-Law. She played a trick on him once the comic was out by telling him that not only had she gone to Dragon Con, but she had bought this comic book and wondered if he was the artist on it. “I always go to Dragon Con, and I love comic books”. After a few dumb-founded seconds she fessed up, but both of them later relayed the story to me (and the look on his face as he wasn’t sure if he’d stepped into Bizzaro world or not). I believe Etienne’s words were to me that he just couldn’t see her at Dragon Con. Though, I would pay good money to see her downtown on Labor Day weekend.

4- There was some debate about the order of the stories within the book. I generally like to be the nice guy about most things, but by my thinking I believed you either wanted to be the first story or the last story in the book (actually we all may have thought those spots were the best). I ended up with the last story position, but when the first story ended up delayed (or abandoned, I can’t remember) everyone agreed to put The God That Failed into the first position. Again, I have to thank Etienne for actually being the first one finished with his pages which made the choice fairly easy plus they looked pretty damn good as well, which did not hurt our cause).

5- I mentioned in the last blog that my favorite superheroes are Spider-Man and The Flash. The God That Failed was my idea of what would happen to a guy who received the abilities of The Flash, but that power was burning him up inside.

TheFlash

6- In my original script, page 7 was actually page 6, and page 6 was page 7. Given the way the narration was done the story wasn’t as much linear as it was a guy talking about his friend who was disappearing from the world. When I actually saw the finished pages I had those two flipped given the way the story played out. That being said, page 7 is a “what if” moment, not something that the character actually did (he didn’t need to get more power, he already had way too much).

7- Though I love the serialized format of comic books, this was always a stand-alone story… a cautionary tale, a new myth or something. Thus began my apparent need to tell complete stories (done in one) in comics. That continues today with The Gilded Age. But the real reason that I didn’t want to have him as a new hero for future stories was that I had no idea if or when I’d ever get a chance to do more comics. And as a reader there is nothing more frustrating than buying a comic that says “To Be Continued” and then not ever finding the rest of the story.

8- The main character’s name was John Smith; however, it wasn’t because two Johns worked on the story. I wanted a generic name, someone who might be easily forgotten regardless of all the good deeds he might have done. That fear is something that I know I have and I was channeling that fear into John Smith. This is really summed up to me on pages 5 & 6 but mostly in panel 4 on page 5. John carving into the Easter Island statues is not him destroying something precious; it is his attempt to prove that he existed at all. I sometimes wonder if he did that all over the world.

9- The title is taken from the title of a song on Metallica’s Black Album. I just liked the way it sounded, and since superheroes many times are considered gods, it fit exceptionally well in my mind.

Now I probably owe them money or something.

10- My favorite page of the story is the last one. I think (I hope) that I dodged becoming too preachy by having that last panel thrown in there. I love the idea of another what if… this one being, of course, what if John Smith had lived. The shot of The Fruit Fly conjures up memories of a 10-year old me. I think he would have gotten a kick out of that.

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So there you go, a few bits and pieces about the story… my own commentary track. Sadly it is not like the old VH1’s Behind the Music because at no point could I really say “And then tragedy struck”.

Or maybe not so sadly…