2015 in preview

We took a look at my 2014 in review, but now it’s time to look into the future (The future, Conan?) at the various projects I hope to bring to light in the New Year (did you get that reference?) along with a couple of sneak peeks at what’s to come (it was stupid).

Unit 44
My 2015 will lead off with the release of Unit 44, my silly and irreverent comic created with Eduardo Jimenez about inept Area 51 employees who forget to pay the rent on the facility’s off-site storage unit, leaving the secret contents to be sold to a couple of rednecks at public auction. Ed and I Kickstarted the first issue of this back in 2013 and after a really, really positive response, ran another crowdfunding campaign this year that let us produce the remaining three issues of the series.

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The four issue miniseries is now complete and will be released digitally in Q1 of 2015 through publisher Alterna Comics. This sci-fi/comedy epic is meant only to make you laugh and I’m absolutely in love with that Ed and I created. Every comic writer has a title that they could write forever, if given the opportunity, and this is mine. You can read five pages of issue #1 for free by clicking here. Get excited.

Monster Day
In mid-2014 I was selected to participate in another GrayHaven Comics anthology called Li’l Kaiju. This round, the focus was on all ages stories that somehow featured Japanese Kaiju monsters. I was thrilled with the tale I came up with and the 4-pager was drawn by Randy Z. Ochoa. Editorial decided that this collection would be printed in color and my story, Monster Day, was colored by the very talented Jeremy Treece (artist of Dynamite Entertainment’s Mandrake the Magician series).

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The collection was edited by the very talented Erica Heflin, writer of Zenescope’s Wonderland and Dark Shaman series and creator of such fine books as Flesh of White, The Black Hand, Mother and Son and the upcoming Antithesis (an absolutely gorgeous book). I haven’t seen any of the other contributed stories for this anthology, but knowing some of the the talent that Erica picked up for the volume, I am super excited to get my hands on a copy of it. I don’t know an exact release date, but will share news when there’s news to be shared.

Adrift
This 4-page all ages short about lost astronauts was submitted as part of the Titan Comics Undiscovered Talent Competition, a contest run by the staff of the Lakes International Comics Art Festival held in October 2014 in the UK. For this piece I teamed up with artist Alex Diotto and we contributed the silly humor-filled short comic for consideration for the competition. All entries had to fit the theme “Lost in Space” and just a few short weeks after sending in the finished pages we found out we were one of six winning teams and would be included in an anthology to be published by Titan. Organizers of the Comics Art Festival narrowed the entries down to several semi-finalists and allowed the Titan Comics editorial staff to pick the final winners. Needless to say, Alex and I have been pretty pumped about this.

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The book was supposed to come out this year, but delays happen and they’re currently shooting for an early 2015 release through Titan Comics. The anthology will be released exclusively on the ComiXology platform. Not only am I excited for folks to be able to read this, I’m anxious to see what the other winners brought to the table.

Innovation
For the first few months of the Innovation web comic, which debuted in November of 2013, we kept a steady flow, releasing new short comics every other week, but as the project has progressed we switched over to a monthly schedule that would allow plenty of time for each contributing artist to develop their tale that fits in with a mysterious overarching story. I’m thrilled with the level of artistic talent I’ve been able to work with on this project and I look forward to wrapping up volume 1 this year and closing out the story we started. I’ve recently welcomed several other writers into the fold to pen short one-shots that take place within the world, but outside of the main narrative, and I couldn’t be happier with the work they’ve produced. There are a lot of big plans for this project, so I’m hoping to see it continue to grow and welcome more talent to participate.

YIP_Inn

We currently sit at chapter 14, roughly halfway through what I have planned for the first installment, so for those readers who have been following along, there are more answers and more mysteries coming your way soon! I just need more artists to help tell the story. If you draw, or you know anyone who does, send them my way. There’s so much fun to be had.

While the projects above are guaranteed to see the light of day in 2015, below are some other completed or in-process comics that may or may not come out this year, depending on how schedules line up with artists and such.

Say hello to the big “Maybes”…

The Temporal
I actually had this on my list last year as well. The Temporal was the first project that brought me together with artist Kristian Rossi (artist of my crime-fiction series Chambers and my short comic Hoodwinked), and hilariously enough, the last of our collaborations to be released. This 32-page one-shot, completed in 2012, is a story of young scientist Justin Sharp who is contracted by the military to crack the secrets of time travel but before he hands the project over to the military, he decides to make one small adjustment to his past. This story stands alone as a self-contained adventure but sets the stage for what happens in the narrative of Innovation.

YIP_Temp

This comic has been complete for some time, but I’m still waiting on the right time to release it. In the world of comics, you have to keep your name out there to stay relevant, and luckily, I haven’t had any slumps yet that needed filling. If and when I do, this will be the comic that fills the void. I recently re-lettered the book and it’s looking absolutely gorgeous! Who doesn’t love time travel and the paradox-associated headaches they bring?

New Life
This four issue sci-fi miniseries has been in the pipeline for a while, but with each passing month we get a little bit closer to completion. Artist and co-creator Logan Miller and I now sit on the precipice of completing the third issue of the series. The story is about a loner in an overpopulated city that wins a lottery drawing allowing him to bring a loved one back from the grave. Before he can have his recently deceased wife reinstated, he’ll have 48 hours to kill someone else to take her place.

YIP_NL

While it’s definitely been a long time coming, I’m keeping the fingers crossed we’ll be able to complete the book this year. If we do, it’s possible the release date might creep into 2016. While I’ve had the pleasure of looking at these pages as they come together, as soon as you see the finished series you’ll understand why it took a while for the project to be developed. Logan is producing some amazing, gorgeous art, and this is one of the most visually-striking projects I’ve ever been part of. Logan is penciling, inking and coloring this beast. What can I say? He’s a talented fellow.

Hipsters Versus Rednecks
A fairly new project that has only gone into production within the last month, artist Tyler Kelting and I have hit the ground running with plans of bringing you one of the silliest one-shots of 2015. What can I really say about this comic that isn’t in the title? We’ll be releasing a 24-page comic full of jokes, action and cracks on both groups mentioned in that title spot. Will some people find it funny? I hope. Will others misinterpret it and subsequently try to beat me up? Assuredly. That’s how people are.

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The game plan is to self-publish this comic right to ComiXology and buy mansions with the millions of dollars Tyler and I are sure to make from such a groundbreaking book. (That’s a joke, ICYMI.) I’m a full believer that you should make your art for myself. I would definitely want to read this comic.

While those are the main projects on the plate in the coming year, I have several other finished scripts with artists attached and as soon as something starts to happen with them, they’ll be announced on the blog. It’s going to be a good year, and who knows what else may pop up over the next 365 days.

Other stuff!

In 2014 I wrote a couple of video games as well! Who would have thought, right? You know that one guy who made a million dollars from writing comics? Me either. Probably because it hasn’t happened since the 90s. Because the funny-books aren’t exactly a lucrative business, occasionally I write other things that help keep me afloat. Two of my extracurriculars will also (likely) be released this year.

Video game writing is something I’ve enjoyed trying my hand at and it flexes some different muscles than the old comic books do. These projects allowed me to tell fun stories in a new medium and I’m hoping that the finished products are enjoyable enough that I can gain additional opportunities to write more in the future.

Future: Uncertain
You know what the gaming industry likes? Nondisclosure agreements. Because of that, I’m going to be choosy with my words here, but in short, I’ve written a fun and silly interactive narrative for a San Francisco-based game company. Think of it as a visual Choose-Your-Own-Adventure type story that you’ll be able to play on your smartphone or tablet. Future: Uncertain is (loosely) about what happens when inhabitants of a city receive messages from their future selves and how it affects the core characters. That’s right…you give me an opportunity and I’ll bring in time travel. That’s how I roll. The first three installments of the serial series are complete (I’ve played them!) and if they do well on the app, it will lead to more opportunities to expand on the story.

The image below isn’t from the actual game, but since I can’t show off anything, I feel it sets an appropriate tone.

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Resequenced
I’ve also been neck-deep in writing Resequenced, which is a full-featured action RPG experience to be released on Mac, PC, PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4 (geez, no pressure, right?). I was hired by the developer in mid-2014 to not only write the story based on the locations they had picked out, but also help design quests and items for the game. Let me tell you…that is no small feat! It’s been interesting to be able to play various builds of the game, which combines action, weapons and a whole lot of snark. The developer wanted a funny game and by God, I’m giving them some hilarious stuff to work with. I’m only midway through my writing duties but am looking forward to finishing everything up in the new year. It’s been a lot of work, but it’s also been a lot of fun. Hearing voice actors read the dialogue I’ve written? Priceless.

YIP_Resequenced

Players will take control of Lux Hart, a college student who finds herself in over her head when she learns that her parents were agents of a super secret government organization known as The Redaction Commission. Now Lux’s parents have gone missing and only she can help track them down. To help her do so, the organization harnesses the power of DNA resequencing giving Lux some wild abilities. Much hilarity and action ensues. If you enjoyed games like Tomb Raider or Borderlands, you’re going to want to check this one out when it’s released.

I don’t know for sure when the game will be released (it turns out that these things take a while to code) but I’m being optimistic that it will come together cleanly. If not, you’ll see this again on next year’s list!

Whew…I think that’s everything.

For those who supported me in any way in 2014, whether it was by backing the Unit 44 Kickstarter or purchasing my books online or at shows, I owe you a deep and sincere thank you. You helped me pay my rent and gave me lots of encouragement to keep doing what I’m doing.

See you on the other side!

 

New Life Update #13

Ready for some fun news? The second issue of my sci-fi comic NEW LIFE, co-created with artist Logan Miller is complete!

All 22 beautiful pages of our second installment are lettered and they look absolutely stunning (if I do say so myself). Logan is already producing pages for the third issue and he’s cranking everything up to eleven. This dystopian comic of ours…it gets crazy, and it gets crazy fast.

This 4-issue comic book miniseries was originally written in 2012 so going back over the scripts armed with the knowledge I have now has been a real joy. Issue 3 got a complete overhaul and came as a tightly-written, action packed romp and over the weekend I completed my final revision on the fourth issue script.

After reading back over the finale chapter, I’m stupidly excited about this book. I think Logan and I are bringing you something familiar but different. Just the way the entertainment industry loves it. It’s going to scratch an itch for a lot of sci-fi lovers and then subsequently punch them in the gut. That’s how we roll.

But don’t take my word for it… check out what we have in store for you:

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What Ever Happened to: New Life

In this week’s edition of WHAT EVER HAPPENED TO… I thought I’d spotlight a comic that I’m hoping to release late this year or early next year entitled NEW LIFE.

Need me to refresh you on the plot? No problem.

In an overpopulated city, a loner wins a lottery drawing that allows him to bring a loved one back from the grave. Before he can have his recently deceased wife reinstated, he’ll have 48 hours to kill someone else to take her place.

This 4-issue sci-fi romp through a dystopian future in which the world has reached extreme overpopulation was co-created by Logan Miller. In addition to being one hell of an artist, Logan is also talented at painting, coloring, sketching and graffiti. I guarantee that he can also tie both of his shoes simultaneously with different hands.

We started working on this project about a year and a half ago during which time we did a 5-page short and pitched it around to several publishers. While the responses were all positive, we only had one taker in Philadelphia’s indie darlings 215 Ink.

Since that time Logan completely retooled the art from the ground up and let me tell you — he came out with guns blazing and it’s going to blow. your. mind.

We completed the first issue in mid-2013 but since Logan and I are both students we both got extremely busy and progress ground to halt. Here we are, fresh into 2014 and I’m happy to report that the train is moving again. Logan has penciled the entire second issue, inked more than 20 pages and even colored the first handful. Once art is complete it gets tossed back to me for lettering and we start all over again on issue 3!

These comic things take time!

While we continue on with production, here’s a sneak peek at some of that mind-blowing artwork I mentioned:

NL2_2.26.14_Snip2

New Life Update #12

It’s been about a month since the last update on my upcoming sci-fi comic book NEW LIFE. I figured it was about time for an update to share what’s been happening since work was completed on issue #1. (You DO know that it’s done, right?)

Series artist Logan Miller has been working his tail off on the book and things have been progressing wonderfully. We are officially knee-deep in issue 2!

I’ve seen thumbnails for the entirety of the second installment and Logan has already penciled and inked several pages. I have to say… I thought that the inaugural issue couldn’t be beat but I have the privilege of watching Logan take the story, characters and medium to the next level. His layouts are going to blow your mind and we got up the courage to try something I’ve never done in a comic before. How’s that for a cliffhanger?

In our never-ending attempt to make this book look as professional as possible, Logan crafted a very cool interior credits page for the book and he even re-worked the cover of the first issue to include an updated character design, view of the setting and a killer new logo.

I’m so excited to get this series into people’s hands. It’s going to be such a wild ride. Hang in there!

Have a look at the new cover for the first issue of our upcoming series.

New-Life-Cover-Issue-1

New Life Update #11

Big news in 3…2…1…

The first issue of my sci-fi comic book NEW LIFE is complete!

After many hours of coloring by Logan Miller and lettering by me, we’ve finally brought together the first 22 pages of our four-issue epic to be published soon by 215 Ink.

It’s been a long road, but we’ve finally made it to the end of the first finish line. Now we just have to do it all over again three more times. (Don’t kill me, Logan.)

As an independent comics creator one of my biggest pet peeves is when comics start with a number one issue but either take a year to produce a second issue or worse, never make it to the second issue at all. Logan and I are very determined to maintain a monthly schedule with this book and bring you a story that you’ll be able to enjoy knowing that the next chapter is only 30 days away.

We’ve also made the decision to have the comic hit the digital stores alongside the print product so that you can get the book in a format that is best for you and your reading habits and neither party will miss out on having access to it.

Because we’ve chosen this path, it’s likely that the first issue won’t be released until the final issue is complete or very nearly so. It’s a challenge because as a writer, I want to share it with the world and have everyone appreciate Logan’s art as I have been behind the scenes for the last few months, but I promise that the wait will lead to a better payoff and a better reading experience!

Until then, expect more news, more updates and more sneak peeks at the fun to come.

I promise, once New Life gets here, it’s going to be a wild ride.
Sound good?

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