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Wednesday, December 26, 2018
Sunday, December 23, 2018
Thursday, December 20, 2018
Friday, December 14, 2018
Some people say that writing novels is better than writing comic books. That being a novelist is better than being a comic book writer.
I’m a novelist. And I’m a screenwriter. And I’m also a blogger. And over the last 25 years as I’ve written and published over eight novels, six nonfiction books, two screenplays, scripts for two seasons of a TV series, three series of novelettes and hundreds of articles I always held out hope that one day I’d finally get the opportunity to write a comic book.
I never thought it was a step down writing comics like some elitists in the literary crowd believe them to be. I never thought that novels were better than comic books. For me, comics, novels, and movies were all the same thing: stories.
As I see one medium isn’t better than another. It’s how a writer tells a story in that medium that makes it great. A great writer can use the same storytelling approaches in comic books that they use in a novel. And they can utilize many of the great story elements like irony, foreshadowing, symbolism and in a comic book the same way they do when they’re writing a novel. It’s the skill of the writer that makes the story great, not the medium they tell that story in.
A bad novelist like E.L. James can give us the Fifty Shades books. While a great comic writer like Alan Moore can give us Watchmen.
When I was four years old, my brother’s comic books were my gateway to reading. And as I got older they were my motivation to start writing. The main reason why I started writing when I was nine because I couldn’t draw the pictures in comic books. So I made the pictures with words. And as I learned how to translate the pictures I imagined in my head into words on a page I always wondered what they’d look like on the page of a comic book.
When I couldn’t break into the comic book industry in my twenties I spent over two decades refining my craft writing novels, screenplays and blogs working towards the goal of writing comics one day. The way I see it writing novels, nonfiction, screenplays and blogs over the last 25 years doesn’t make me a better writer than a comic book writer. It doesn’t put me in higher position than a comic book writer. It’s just how I learned the craft of storytelling.
What most people don’t know is most of my characters like Isis, John Haynes and E’steem were originally supposed to be comic book characters. But because I couldn’t get work in the industry I wound up turning them into characters in novels instead.
Over the last four years I got a chance to see what my words would look like as pictures in a comic book on all the covers that Bill Walko designed for the Isis series and the covers Mike Williams designed for The Legendary Mad Matilda and JohnHaynes: A Conversation With Death. The story for those covers came from the words I wrote (and crappy drawings) I drew. And those stories got comic fans and everyday people paying attention to my stories and buying my work.
Seeing the stories being told on Bill and Mike’s covers showed me that I could use all the skills I learned from working on novels and screenplays to tell a story in the comic book medium. And I believe could be part of a team that told a great story in a comic book if given the chance. As I was writing Isis: All That Glitters novelette I took everything I learned from screenwriting and writing novels and started working on my first comic script. And with the Isis: All That Glitters Graphic novel I wanted to give readers a comic that was like an Isis series book come to life in pictures. I studied everything I could about comics as I worked on that script so that it could be as well crafted as one of my Isis series books.
What I’m working towards now with the upcoming Isis indiegogo is the opportunity to finally see how one of my stories would be told from comic panel to comic panel. With the reimagining of the oldschool bank robber comic book story in Isis: All That Glitters I want to give readers the action-packed all-ages comic book I used to read when I used to go to the grocery store in Junior High and the newsstand at Times Square when I was 14. The kind of comic that turned me into a lifeflong comic fan. And the kind of comic I hope will make readers longtime Isis fans.
Tuesday, December 11, 2018
Last week I got the final cover art for Isis: All That Glitters And E’steem Goddess of? from Bill Walko and they look AWESOME!
Bill did an AMAZING job on both these covers. The action on the Isis: All That Glitters cover is just like I imagined it in my head when I wrote the confrontation between Isis and Golden Shine in the first chapter. The evil grin on Golden Shine’s face has me worried for the goddess next door! How’s she gonna get out of this one?
I love all the little details in this picture that tell the story, from the broken silver safe to the contrasting gold walls and the sparkling floor to the worried people looking out the window. The scared little girl and her mom and the people recording the upcoming carnage tell a compelling story in a single image that screams BUY ME to the customer. And you definitely want to buy this one because it’s an updated take on the old superhero vs. bank robbers story!
All I can say about the E’steem Goddess Of? cover is that it’s a MASTERPIECE. This one reminds me of the old 1970s Marvel Comics I used to read in my brother’s comic collection.
There’s a great story in this picture. The Island of Solitude looks serene, but the action between E’steem and Avarisk The Tormentor is intense! With this cover Bill took an idea I imagined and took it to another level!
You literally feel like you’re on vacation in the South Pacific looking at this cover. The bikini clad E’steem looks like an animated version of Salli Richardson Whitfield (the actress who inspired E’steem) and Avarisk, The Tormentor’s costume POPS off the page like an oldschool Marvel super-villian. This cover screams BUY ME to the reader and tells them come back for the next book and the back issues too!
Looking at Bill’s work on both these covers has me anticipating what his work would look like in the pages of an Isis Graphic novel. Bill tells a great story with pictures and his images are so dynamic it’s like they’re animated! I would love to see what he does with 62 pages of a comic book! I’m hoping everyone donates to the upcoming indiegogo for the Isis graphic novel next year, because the comic I want to share with you is going to be a CLASSIC!
Thursday, December 6, 2018
|Coming in 2019!|
I definitely want to hire Bill Walko to do the art for the Isis graphic novel. Bill has done an AMAZING job on all the Isis and E’steem series covers and people just love his work. His art is bold, dynamic and puts a smile on readers’ faces. I believe if we work together on this project we can tell a great story that showcases my writing and his art.
To comission Bill it works out to about $9300.
After Bill does the art, I also have to hire a colorist to color Bill’s work. Most colorists charge about $100 a page. That’s another $6200.
In addition to I have to hire a letterer to do the special effects and the word ballons. That’s about $50 a page. That’s about $3100.
Then I have to hire a proofreader to look the finished files over. Their rates can be anywhere from $10-100 an hour depending on who I hire.
Once I’ve hired the creative team and they’ve finished their work, I have to get the books printed and shipped to all the donors. So that’s another couple of thousand dollars. More if international buyers who have read my work in places like the UK and Germany pick up the book.
Crunching the numbers I’m going to need to raise about $30,000 to publish the first Isis graphic novel on indiegogo. If I can raise more than $30k, I’d love to set up some stretch goals like a variant cover or a couple of posters and prints. I’d love to offer a Josh Howard variant cover or a couple of prints with the book, he’s an artist I’ve been eager to work with for YEARS!
It’s been a challenge laying the foundation for the Isis graphic novel and I’m learning a lot as I go. Writing and publishing Comics is completely different than novels, screenplays or nonfiction. I’ve always wanted to work in comics ever since I was nine years old, and people say my Isis series stories read just like comic books. I’d love to finally see one of my stories turned into a comic book by one of my favorite artists.
I’m hoping to launch the Isis graphic novel indiegogo in 2019. And I’m hoping it’s as successful as Josh Howard’s T-Bird & Throttle, Ethan Van Sciver’s Cyberfrog or Richard C. Meyer and John Mailin’s Jawbreakers: Lost Souls.