Free Read: Battletoads!

Since it’s always been a goal of mine to one day write licensed comics for various publishing houses, I made a New Year’s resolution for 2016 to write a few in my free time, set in worlds I enjoy, featuring familiar characters I dig.

The trepidation I have with licensed properties is that I figure a publisher will say, “Hey, Wes…come up with stories ideas for this character that starred in a TV show you never saw,” and I’ll be all, like, “Can’t… too stressed.”

Well… let my clarify… I felt like that once upon a time and then a publisher actually asked me to pitch ideas for a pre-existing character from a property I wasn’t remotely familiar with… and it was all kinds of fun. I didn’t get the job, but man, was that good practice.

I’m also of the mindset that practice makes perfect, so I made a list of properties I dug from the 90s through today, writing short comics around them and then finding artists who share an equal love and are willing to help put them down on paper to release to readers for free.

That catches us up to the present.

So today I’m releasing the first of those shorts in the form of the Battletoads (yes, the notoriously difficult video game from 1991).

Check out what artist Loch Ness, colorist Andrew Pate and myself created as the ‘Toads star in our 5-page short, Turbo Tunnel Trouble. Click on the cover to ch-ch-ccheck it out. Or the link in the sidebar. Or the link in the published work section. C’mon… I’m making it as easy as I can here!

If you’re familiar with the Battletoads, then you’re more than likely familiar with the Turbo Tunnel (stage 3, for those keeping score at home) which was the most ridiculous, frustrating and painful level ever constructed by a human brain. Loch and I commiserated over the difficulty of the game and decided to show our love the only way we know how — through the majesty of comics.

Do us a solid — if you dig it, share it up on the social media, maybe tag someone who you know is a fan of the game. Let’s make it a Throwback Tuesday.

Enjoy!

Hipsters Vs. Rednecks lands on ComiXology!

HvR_Cover_web_thumbAfter debuting in September in print and as a PDF download, Hipsters Vs. Rednecks, my 24-page comedy one-shot co-created with artist Tyler Kelting landed today on the ComiXology platform!

Get it right here for just $1.99: www.comixology.com/Hipsters-Vs-Rednecks-1/digital-comic/313537

If you’re in the mood for some laughs, then this might just be the perfect holiday gift for yourself or a friend.

HvR is the story of an outsider, Sloane, who, following the apocalypse, finds herself caught in the middle of an ongoing war between the remaining two factions… the hipsters and the rednecks. Taken in by the hipster clan just as they suffer their biggest attack to date, Sloane must take a stand if she hopes to make it out of New Brooklyn alive.

Here’s what the reviewers thought of HvR:

“If you don’t absolutely love this comic, you are a fool” – ComicsBastards.com

“Seriously, Hipsters vs Rednecks is Adult Swim at its best. More to the point, Hipsters vs Rednecks is what Adult Swim SHOULD be doing.” – ComicsOnline.com

“Read it now so you can tell everyone you knew about it before it was cool.” – ScreenGonzo.com

“If the idea behind this one shot comic sounds even remotely interesting to you, then you should be thinking about reading this comic; it’s a fun look at what could be a disastrous future should these two factions remain in order to rebuild the human race.” – GraphicPolicy.com

I was worried this might be sort of a one-note joke, which wouldn’t be so bad for a one-shot comic, so I’m glad it was actually a pretty damn funny book.” – TheGravyAge.com

This comic is a quick, irreverent read that’s sure to make anyone who rolls their eyes at hipsters or rednecks laugh until it hurts.

Look at it this way… the more copies we sell, the higher the potential for a sequel, so do Tyler and I a solid and help spread the word!

The Temporal – Now on ComiXology!

“Art is never finished, only abandoned.”  – Leonardo da Vinci

Today sees the digital release of my sci-fi comic book The Temporal!

While I’ve been selling this 32-page one-shot at conventions for the past few months, I finally decided to toss it up on ComiXology for just $0.99 and make it accessible to the masses.

The Temporal, with art by Kristian Rossi, is the story of a young scientist who is contracted by the U.S. Military to crack the secrets of time travel. But before he hands the project over to the military, he just needs to make one small adjustment to his past. And of course, that’s where things go bonkers.

This comic book has kind of a neat story behind it and I wanted to share it. Besides, this is my websites, so I have carte blanche to do whatever I want.

Want to hear a secret? The Temporal was actually one of my first comics I made.

Pause for dramatic effect. Cut to reaction shot.

Despite the fact that in our present day it is the year 2015 (I’m serious, check a calendar), this comic book has been complete since 2012.

Temporal_pg01In fact, this is the project that originally brought me together with Argentinian artist Kristian Rossi. I was advertising online for someone to draw my time travel comic and as luck would have it, Kristian was looking to get hired to make a comic book. He was kind enough to read over the script he agreed to come aboard for the one-shot and over the course of several months in 2011 we put the thing together.

Right as we finished The Temporal I got word that my crime-fiction miniseries Chambers had been greenlit for publication by Arcana Studio. In a spin of bad luck, the original artist who had done the pitch pages and was attached to the book dropped out. Don’t you hate it when that happens? It was up to me to find a replacement or put the project on the shelf. Working with Kristian had been such a positive experience–super professional, super nice, super talented–so I pitched him the 4-issue miniseries to see if it would be up his alley.

Kristian already had a great dark, noirish style, which was a perfect match for Chambers and after reading the scripts he did a test page to show the publisher he could handle completing the book from the ground up. Between you, me and the walls, the pages Kristian produced knocked the former artist out of the water. He brought this great cinematic eye to the world and I’m still super proud of the series, which came out in 2013.

As a side note, Kristian also helped me through one of the toughest parts of Chambers… the ending. If you’ve read the comic (and if you haven’t, do us both a solid and check it out) you may be aware that it has a whopper of an ending. It was an ending I worried might not be the right one. When I brought up the idea of changing it, Kristian told me that when he read the original scripts the ending gave him chills. Chills! We kept it. And I’m glad we did.

Temporal_pg02With time, budgets and energies being put into Chambers over the course of 2012/2013, The Temporal had to take a back seat. Kristian had penciled and inked all 32 pages and I had every intention of getting it colored, but the funds to do so constantly went toward other things. Once Chambers had wrapped I dove into The Undoubtables. Once that wrapped I was knee-deep in Unit 44. It was quickly becoming apparent that, must to my dismay, The Temporal was going to stay on the shelf for some time. Other things were cooking and since the stove was hot I had to keep putting on the Jiffy Pop. That’s a weird analogy, right there.

Then something interesting happened… as reviews started to come in for Chambers, a recurring theme from the reviewers bubbled to the surface… many offered that Kristian’s line work was strong and could likely stand on its own without color. Several reviewers said they would have loved to have read the crime series in black and white.

As I thought back on that a few months ago, it hit me… here I was just sitting on The Temporal… a Kristian Rossi goldmine of black and white comic pages. While the story is from early in my career, rather than hold the book hostage in a closet, I should put it out there to let fans of time travel stories enjoy the narrative and allow them to appreciate Kristian’s art.

Temporal_pg03While I would have loved to see the book in color, I think the comic is a great representation of two youthful creators who are made something together while having a whole lot of fun. It’s like with rock music… a band has their entire life to write their first album and only two years to write the second. This is why the first album is always favored in the long run: they don’t know the rules. More importantly, they don’t care about the rules.

So it’s done. The Temporal is out today on ComiXology for anyone who would like to give it a read. I owe a lot to the experience of making it.

Look at it this way… without The Temporal there would be no Chambers. Without Chambers, no Undoubtables. No Unit 44. No Hipsters Vs. Rednecks. It’s the butterfly effect in action.

I spent two years working with Kristian and he’s an awesome friend and collaborator. Go enjoy his talents and hard work then give him an e-high five. The dude’s amazing.

Hipsters Vs. Rednecks – Out now!

The apocalypse has arrived. Hipsters Vs. Rednecks releases today in print and digital formats.

HvR_Cover_web_newIn a post-apocalyptic world, two factions have risen to power—the hipsters, who control New Brooklyn, the last known city, and the rednecks, who will do anything to get inside. When an outsider finds herself caught in the middle of an ongoing war, she must take a stand if she hopes to make it out of New Brooklyn alive.

If you’ve ever wanted to see Hipsters and Rednecks battle it out in comic book form, then do I have a treat for you!

Earlier this year artist Tyler Kelting and I hunkered down and crafted a 24-page comedy one-shot exploring just that idea!

If you read and enjoyed Unit 44, then this irreverent book will provide you with another fix of zany comedy. Grab a free sneak peek of the series and order in your favorite format by visiting www.hipstersvsrednecks.com!

While the comic is currently available exclusively through our site, it has been submitted to additional digital retailers and we’ll announce those platforms as they become available.

I’m happy to report that the comic has bet met by solid reception from reviewers so far! Take a look at what people are saying (click site names for the full review):

“If the idea behind this one shot comic sounds even remotely interesting to you, then you should be thinking about reading this comic; it’s a fun look at what could be a disastrous future should these two factions remain in order to rebuild the human race.”GraphicPolicy.com

“Hipsters vs Rednecks is a fun and funny story that sets up some really interesting things. We have The Walking Dead and some other group survival/post-apocalyptic stories out there, but this is the match-up I never knew I wanted.”ScreenGonzo.com

What could possibly happen next in a post-apocalyptic world? If you want to find out, pick up the comic in print or digital and show us you want to know!