Innovation Update #24

My free sci-fi web comic INNOVATION returns with another installment!

We’re closing loops and opening new ones as Chapter 15: Endeavor continues events set in motion with chapter 12 and even calls back to certain moments that happened way back in chapter 3. Just what is in that briefcase that keeps popping up? I think it’s time to answer that question!

Art for this 5-page short was provided by the talented Fludi Stohr, someone I’ve invited to return to the Innovation world as often as he’d like.

Give Endeavor a read by clicking here or on the image below.

Chap15

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.

YIP_Unit44

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).

YIP_Mons

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.

YIP_Adrift

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.

YIP_HVR

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.

YIP_Future

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.

YIR_1_Hoodwinked

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.

YIR_2_TU

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.

Innovation Update #23

Welcome to the final installment of my free web comic, INNOVATION, for 2015!

To date, myself and a slew of amazing artists have created and published 14 chapters (more than 60 pages) of a narrative about the R.D.S.L. Corporation, a group bent on pushing the limits of technology.

When we celebrated the one-year anniversary of the comic in November I decided to share with readers some one-shot stories written by friends of mine that were set in the Innovation universe, but acted as self-contained tales. Last month we posted “Infatuated” written by Brad Burdick with art by Djibril Morissette-Phan and to round out the year we’ve welcomed writer J. Jacob Barker and artist Nick Testa to share their 4-page tale “Delivery.”

Read their twisted tale for free by clicking here or on the image below!

If you dig the comic be sure to support both creators by reading their other comic book work. I appreciate both all the contributors so far for taking the time out of their busy schedules to contribute to this super fun project and for those who are regular readers of the web comic, you might just enjoy seeing what types of things are happening outside the walls of R.D.S.L.

OneShot2

Innovation Update #22

Last month I celebrated a year of my web comic INNOVATION, in which I team up with a new artist for each 4-6 page installment as I weave a tale about R.D.S.L., a mysterious technology corporation who is innovating the world…whether we like it or not.

I’m lucky enough to know quite a few talented writers and artists and I thought it might be fun to invite some other folks to play in the Innovation sandbox and tell some original stories. I asked some pals if they’d be interested in writing a one-shot using the setting of world I’ve created to tell one-and-done stories, and thankfully, the idea was met with much enthusiasm!

To date I’ve posted 14 chapters (more than 60 pages) of the main narrative, but in November I decided to offer our readers a fun one-shot story written by Brad Burdick with art by Djibril Morissette-Phan. Enjoy their contribution to the Innovation-verse by reading their 6-page one-shot “Infatuated.” Click here or on the image below to read it for free!

If you dig the comic be sure to support both creators by reading their other comic book work. I appreciate both Brad and Djibril for taking the time out of their busy schedules to contribute to this super fun project and for those who are regular readers of the web comic, you might just enjoy seeing what types of things are happening outside the walls of R.D.S.L.

OneShot1