2016 in Preview: Symptoms

Last month I talked a bit about a new series I have in the pipeline, detailing the process which will soon lead to me unleashing the wacky science action/comedy Edison #1 (with Giovanni Capurro and Andrew Pate) on the public. (Read that here.) And while new miniseries are fun and whatnot, I wanted to spotlight a short story which will see release later this year.

I try to be selective with my anthology submissions. There are a ton out there, but you don’t want to over-saturate the market or take up real estate where other creators may be able to shine. I like to pitch or submit to collections that have a cool idea/theme, talented creators involved or are backed by a good publisher. All three? Even better.

2015 saw my work published in two anthologies — the Li’l Kaiju antho from GrayHaven Comics, where my short Monster Day (with Randy Z. Ochoa and Jeremy Treece) was the lead story, and the Lost In Space antho from Titan Comics, where my short Adrift (with artist Alex Diotto) also served as lead.

While both collections were very cool, I wanted to seek out an opportunity to do something that was a little more… how do you say… ballsy.

Enter Symptoms.

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Though I’ve sort of pigeon-holed myself over the past few years as the “funny guy” (which I’m proud of… and is infinitely better than being called the “funny-looking guy”) I like to step outside the box when Mercury is in retrograde and the mood strikes.

Running across a superhero-themed anthology online, I was immediately struck with a vivid idea. Normally I steer as far away from superheroics as possible, as those types of stories seem futile when going up against the established heavyweights that Marvel and DC have to offer. But to build a world, a hero and a different perspective across just a few pages? Irresistible.

It’s like jumping into an icy cold lake, then climbing back out and running inside where it’s warm and there’s hot chocolate waiting. With mini marshmallows. You did it once and survived… so maybe don’t tempt fate.

I had my idea… my take… my view…

I didn’t want to be saving damsels in distress with my story. I didn’t want to pull cats out of trees. I didn’t want a nerdy kid to be emotionally scarred with a distorted definition of responsibility when his uncle dies.

Symptoms is about a hero who finds himself losing his powers.

I wanted to explore what thoughts that might trigger inside the brain of someone who goes from powerful to powerless. From top banana to bottom water chestnut. From extraordinary to ordinary.

I went on an artist hunt, talking with several talented people hungry to collaborate, but the search was over as soon as I met Kansas-dwelling Graeham Jarvis, the artist and author of the popular InstaGram webcomic Wasteland Tales, based on the lore of the Fallout video game series (which I regretfully know nothing about, but I know talent when I see it).

With more than 4,000 readers visiting his feed daily I felt bad asking him to focus his energies elsewhere for a hot minute, but his art was too good and too perfect for what I had in mind. Plus, he was looking for a chance to stretch his wings a bit. How could I say no when he offered to draw the story?

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After jamming out some sketches of giant robots and superhero costumes (necessities), Graeham dove in and delivered a short that punched me in the gut and didn’t apologize afterwards. Since the proposed anthology is black and white, a wash of gray set the tone and we were off to the races. Graeham’s work conveyed the exact vibe I was hoping to present and stuck what I thought could be a tricky ending, leaving the reader to consider the story long after the pages were turned.

We submitted to the anthology several weeks ago and got a rather quick letter of acceptance. I’m pretty sure this is going to be Graeham’s first officially published work. Needless to say, I’m stoked for him. Hopefully we’ll get to high five one day at a comic convention.

I’m jazzed for people to read Symptoms, see Graeham’s art, and I look forward to reading the other shorts chosen for the book. It’s gonna be super.

Stay tuned. This one drops in November.

2015 in Review

Hello?

Is this thing on?

Things got a bit quiet around these parts following October. It’s interesting how the busier I get, the less time is available to post about the things that are going on. It’s a vicious circle as my time constantly eats its own tail like some sort of insatiable beast.

As end of the year lists start appearing on news sites and fellow creatives look back at what they’ve accomplished over the past 365, I allow myself to join in not only share what I’ve accomplished this year with readers, but also to remind myself to celebrate those accomplishments, no matter how large or small.

Each year, my goals for writing are simple: Produce more and better content than the previous year.

I’m happy to report that I continued doing just that for a third year running.

A huge thank you to YOU if you purchased/read (hopefully both) any of the stories I discuss below. If you haven’t, perhaps you’ll see something that piques your interest. Fear not, I’ve conveniently added links to where you can purchase all comics mentioned in the format (print/digital) of your choosing.

So what did I release this year? Let’s dive back into the year that was 2015.

Unit 44

Published digitally in issues March-June, and as a collected edition in September.

Having successfully released a miniseries or graphic over 2013 (Chambers) and 2014 (The Undoubtables), it was a personal goal to have another series hit shelves in 2015. After a wonderful showing on Kickstarter, co-creator/artist Ed Jimenez and I were able to bring our sci-fi/comedy Unit 44 to completion and we launched the 4-issue series digitally in March backed by indie publisher Alterna Comics.

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Our silly tale about inept Area 51 employees who forget to pay the rent of the facility’s off-site storage unit leaving the secret contents to be sold at public auction brought a ton of laughs to readers and the reviews were both plentiful and generous.

Through this comic I explored one of my favorite topics (Area 51) got to employ a ton of deadpan humor, sarcasm and got to write rednecks, which is always a blast. Ensuring the comic was funny while still telling a gripping narrative was a challenge, but one I feel we handled gracefully.

Unit 44 was a joy on so many levels to work on. It connected me with Ed, who has since become a good friend and constant collaborator, had great marketing support from Alterna Comics publisher Peter Simeti and has sold like gangbusters at conventions because, let’s be honest, even the logline for this book makes people chuckle.

I’ve always enjoyed comics infused with comedy and to be able to leave a mark on that genre alone was worth all the hard work that went into creating the series. It was also the first project where two creators handled everything. Ed handled the art and colors while I took charge on the writing and lettering. We made the exact book we wanted to, never compromising. And to top it all off, Unit 44 is actually making money. Ed and I won’t be retiring anytime soon, but it’s nice to get a little kickback here and there and see the fruits of your labor, y’know?

While the current project I’m working on is always my favorite, Unit 44 just might be the first comic I can still read now and not see everything wrong with it. That’s gotta mean something, right?

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We’re still hoping to get this book into print at some point, going through the Diamond Previews catalog and into shops, but the more we sell, the sooner that dream can become a reality. If you read the series and liked it, tell a friend!

Sound like fun? Purchase Unit 44: ComiXology

Monster Day

Published in print and digital formats in June.

A lesson I learned this year is that all ages comics can be fun. Despite Unit 44’s cartoony art style, the humor was more geared toward adults,

but when I found out my pitch had been accepted to GrayHaven ComicsLi’l Kaiju anthology, I was excited to write something for a younger crowd.

Now, I don’t have kids nor do I have any desire to do so, but I was in the third grade when I discovered comic books, so when writing something that would be accessible, fun and cool to kids, one can’t help but think about a story that could be someone’s first.

The 4-page story I concocted for the collection explored what would happen when school was canceled due to a monster day, rather than a snow day (for my friends up north) or a hurricane day (for my readers in the south). What artist Randy Z. Ochoa and colorist Jeremy Treece and I ended up with is a charming little tale about one boy’s unlikely relationship with that monster.

The story looked great both in print and digitally and I was further humbled that the tale was used as the lead story in the anthology. If you have a younger sibling who likes monsters and that you’d like to introduce to comics, this could be the entryway you’re looking for. This volume is packed with cute little stories about some big bad creatures. Big thanks to editor Erica J. Heflin and the art team for bringing this one to life.

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Do the Monster Mash by purchasing the Li’l Kaiju anthology: Print | ComiXology

Adrift

Published as a free digital download through ComiXology in June.

In 2014 I went out on a limb and entered the Titan Comics Undiscovered Talent Competition. The publisher was seeking short comics, 4-6 pages in length with a science fiction setting. The official prompt was “Lost in Space.” The contest was run by both the UK publisher and the organizers of the Lakes International Comic Art Festival.

LostInSpaceTitan2015Not really expecting anything I wrote my script and put a shout out into the internet void looking for an artist to collaborate with as the competition started gaining some buzz. I found interest from Italian artist Alex Diotto, whose previous works include Southern Dog at Action Lab and Mayday at Black Mask Studios, and over the course of a month we nailed down a 4-page story about astronauts who were…you guessed it…lost in space.

Instead of doing something dramatic we put a humorous spin on the whole thing crafting a comic that not only met the guidelines of the contest, but was appropriate for all ages. Then we forgot about it.

In September of 2014 we were notified that our story was one of the winning entries and that we’d be included in the anthology. I gotta say, that was pretty cool. I’m one of the people who never wins anything, so I guess my universal karma has been settled with this publication (goodbye Publishers Clearing House).

The comic was unleashed for free via ComiXology in 2015, coinciding with the next edition of the Lakes International Comic Art Festival. It features six fun space-themed shorts and a wonderful cover by UK art superstar Sean Phillips!

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If you haven’t checked this out, go enjoy it (for free). You may notice that Alex and I even have the lead story! How about that?

Get lost in your space: FREE on ComiXology

Hipsters Vs. Rednecks

HvR_Cover_web_thumbPublished digitally in print/digital in September and via ComiXology in December.

During the beginning part of 2015, artist Tyler Kelting and I were knee-deep in creating the most ridiculous thing either of us had every done. I mean, it seemed like a good idea at the time, and truth be told… we had a lot of fun.

And to me, that’s what my year in 2015 was all about — having fun with comics.

It bears noting that addition to Unit 44 and HvR I actually penned three other comedy-focused miniseries that are either at various stages of production or awaiting the right artist to bring them to life.

I’m not sure if you noticed, but there was a lot of bad stuff happening in the world this year and my comics writing definitely took a turn to the light side. I had enough “gritty,” enough “street level” and enough realism. I wanted to escape through my work. More importantly, I wanted to laugh.

And laugh I did.

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Hipsters Vs. Rednecks 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.

How could you not want to read something so silly and irreverent?

Purchase to see who wins the apocalypse: Print | Digital

The Temporal

tempcovertest - thumbPublished digitally via ComiXology in September.

I went pretty in-depth on this title with a post back in September when the one-shot hit ComiXology. If you’re super curious about it, check that out by clicking here.

This fun 32-page, black and white sci-fi/time travel one-shot (yes, that’s a mouthful) was the first project that brought me together with artist Kristian Rossi, who also provided art for the short Hoodwinked (GrayHaven Comics, 2014) and my crime-fiction miniseries Chambers (Arcana Studios, 2013).

Though we had completed the book and I’d lettered it (several times, in fact, as I learned the craft) I’d always hoped to get the book colored prior to release. I ended up printing a few black and white copies for a convention and they sold really well. Not only did they sell, I got great feedback from readers and people really seemed to be digging the black and white approach to the story.

When you get feedback like that, how can you not want to distribute something to a wider audience? I made the book available on ComiXology for just $0.99 in order to make it super accessible and based on the few royalty payments I’ve seen, people are actually checking it out.

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Plus… who doesn’t love time travel??

Unlike some, this tale of unstable time won’t leave you with a headache. Well, at least I don’t think it will. I could be wrong.

Turn back time by purchasing: Print | ComiXology

Obligatory wrap-up paragraphs

See? It was one heck of a year.

I don’t know about you, but I’m exhausted.

Now, if I were neurotic or some kind of super-dork (or a neurotic super-dork), I might show you how I tracked not only the number of pages I wrote this year, but also how many were published. Heck, if I were super geeky I might even show you how those numbers stacked up against past years.

Thankfully, I’m not like that.

Hah! Fooled ya!

By the Numbers

Pages written in 2011: 223
Pages written in 2012: 473
Pages written in 2013: 267
Pages written in 2014: 352
Pages written in 2015: 318

And how about pages published?

Pages published in 2011: 0
Pages published in 2012: 3
Pages published in 2013: 119
Pages published in 2014: 147
Pages published in 2015: 157

If I were a numbers person, which I am not, these numbers might indicate a modicum of success over the past year. While the number of pages written is slightly down (I’m stressing quality over quantity) I was able to publish 10 more pages of work in 2015 than I did the previous year. After all, isn’t that what it’s all about?

If you picked up any of the comics listed above (or any from 2012-2014) please know that I appreciate your support!

For my next post:

2016 in Preview

Stay tuned for what’s on the horizon in the new year.

Monster Day now in print!

Last year I contributed to another anthology from the fine folks over at GrayHaven Comics, and today the book has finally hit the shelves.

LilKaijuCover2Consider picking up the new Li’l Kaiju anthology, an all ages comic, which features the work of some awesome and talented folks. My story is a 4-page short called Monster Day, which features art by Randy Z. Ochoa and colors by Jeremy Treece. The book was edited by James O’Callaghan and the steadfast Erica Heflin, one of the nicest people in indie comics.

Monster Day tells the story of what happens when instead of a snow day, students at an elementary school experience their first monster day. Much hilarity ensues.

Forget for one moment that I have a story in this collection… you’ll also get tales by my pals Chip Reece and Marc Lombardi and a cover by Donal Delay (who contributed a great Unit 44 pinup that appeared in the back of issue #3).

How could you pass this up?

I’ve read a few of the stories and I think this volume will really shine. I’m looking forward to grabbing the finished product.

Get your hands on a print copy of this 33-page collection for just $3.99 over at the GrayHaven Comics webstore.

Grab some other books while you’re there. You can’t go wrong. (If it helps, I also contributed shorts to their Public Domain, Spies, Survival, Crime and Sci-Fi 2 anthologies.)

Comics!!

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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

 

2014 in review

Over my last few years in comics, I’ve really come to understand the idea of working ahead. This may come as a shock, but comic books don’t come together overnight. It takes man hours of pecking away at a keyboard for writers, many hours at the drawing board for artists, and many hours in front of Photoshop and Illustrator for colorists and letterers for even 22 meager pages to come together into a complete narrative. Even though everyone is working toward a common goal, it often takes a year (or more) from the day a project begins to when it sees the light of day (sometimes even longer if the project goes to print). What I’ve learned is that each year, you’re essentially working on what you hope and plan to see the light of day the following calendar year.

Though this year was small for me on the release side, 2014 brought several projects to the shelves that I was very proud of. Though they were completed over the course of 2013 (and some even 2012) I couldn’t be happier to watch them come to life as I worked on the comics that will ideally be thrust upon the world in 2015. (More on that later.)

Hoodwinked
Shortly after my crime-fiction miniseries Chambers (released in 2013 by Arcana Studio) was complete, artist Kristian Rossi and I started looking for something else to work on together. Indie publisher GrayHaven Comics, who has made a personal mission to promote up-and-coming creators, accepted my pitch for its The Gathering: Public Domain anthology. While I originally had dreams of writing a Zorro short, I instead went with Robin Hood and put my own twist on the classic tale by bringing the rogue into the present day of New York City, rather than keeping him in Sherwood Forest.

Because the comic would be printed in black and white, I envisioned the finished product as having a dark, gritty overtone and I pitched it to Kristian for consideration since his work on Chambers proved through and through that he was the man for the job. Thankfully, he was on board to draw the comic and we were off to the races. The final 4-page short was published in May. The 32-page anthology is still available in print for just $1.99.

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The anthology features the talents of many up-and-comers along with Ray Goldfield, Kelly Williams, Eric Grissom and Phil Sloan, all of whom I really admire. You should check this collection out. It’s probably the best anthology I read all year.

The Undoubtables
After an extended gestation period my action/heist series The Undoubtables finally hit physical and digital shelves. The series had been picked up by UK publisher Markosia Enterprises near the beginning of 2012, and co-creator/artist Emre Ozdamarlar and I worked on this book for roughly two years. Emre was in comic art school throughout the process so it was a fascinating process to watch him apply what he learned as he continued through the book and he was able to truly come into his own by the time we reached the end. The project was colored by Kefas Armando, who had colored Chambers the previous year, and Kell Smith provided us with some wonderful colors on the cover.

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Originally pitched and picked up as a miniseries, The Undoubtables read much better as a standalone piece and thus the decision was made to translate it directly to graphic novel format. It wasn’t my call, and I didn’t agree with it at first, but I actually believe it’s better for it. The 88-page adventure about career thief Spencer “Spade” Shelton and his crew robbing banks while dodging deadly mobsters and evading police was published in July and is available not only in a beautiful paperback, but also through just about every digital retailer you can name. It was my love letter to the heist genre with a crew of colorful characters overcoming impossible odds and outsmarting their enemies. The OGN can be picked up ComiXology for just $4. It’s a steal! Pun totally intended.

The series received several really great reviews across the internet and readers really seemed to enjoy how much fun this comic is. From the time the book starts it’s a wild goose chase between cops, robbers and some unpredictable mobsters who aren’t afraid to pull a trigger. I can’t thank Emre enough for the time he spent drawing and inking this book and it’s a project I’ll always look back on fondly.

In the Drink
My final physical publication of the year was a 3-page short in The Gathering: Survival anthology called In the Drink. Yet another project for indie publisher GrayHaven Comics, my pitch was accepted by the book’s editor and I turned this project around super quick with the help of the ever-talented artist Robyn Seale and it was published in September. I enjoy contributing to anthologies because it typically allows me to experiment with ideas and concepts that I may not want to dedicate an entire series to. With Hoodwinked I was able to work with a public domain character while dramatically changing the setting, and I decided that for this tale I would write a comic short that was completely silent.

YIR_3_Drink

When there aren’t any words on the comic page, the artist must shoulder the load of telling the story and I think Robyn did an amazing job with translating my outline to the page. Even though this is one of the shortest comics I’ve ever written we were able to establish a beginning, middle and end and still leave the reader with an emotional gut-punch. My idea for a Survival-themed anthology was simple…what happens when two people involved in a car accident come face to face. And more importantly, what happens if that interaction takes place underwater.

At the time of this writing, I haven’t seen the finished anthology with my own eyes, but it’s available in print from GrayHaven for just $3.50 and contains nearly 40-pages of comics from upcoming creators.

Innovation
After starting my sci-fi web comic in November of 2013, I tried to keep the train rolling and since the project debuted online, myself and a rotating stable of very talented artists have delivered a new short comic each month. Though each installment is drawn by someone different, the narrative keeps going, constantly building upon itself and hopefully setting up quite a mystery for those who are actively reading it.

YIR_4_Inn

This year we published 52 pages of the comic online (that’s a page a week!) with plenty more still to come. I’m thankful that the participating artists have donated their time and talents to keeping the story going and I’m keeping my fingers crossed that we can finish out the first volume in 2015. A big thanks goes out to contributors Stan ChouDamon Threet, Crisuadi Crasmaru, Jay Hernandez, Paul McCallan, Harpreet Brar and Fludi Stohr for lending their talents, along with my pals Brad Burdick and J. Jacob Barker who contributed one-shots set in the same world.

So how does 2014 stack up in my comics career since I started writing funnybooks in 2011? Let’s take a look at the numbers.

Pages written in 2011: 223 (They weren’t very good)
Pages written in 2012: 473 (These were better!)
Pages written in 2013: 267 (These were publishable!)
Pages written in 2014: 352

And how about pages published?

Pages published in 2011: Zero. Zip. Zilch. None.
Pages published in 2012: 3
Pages published in 2013: 119
Pages published in 2014: 147

What’s that? Who keeps track of stats like that? Not me…that would…uh…that would be uber dorky.