Saturday, May 30, 2009

Faction - Small Press Idol - Current Standings and impact

So, it's been a while since I've really talked about the impact of Small Press Idol, so I'm going to go ahead and talk about it once again! Small Press Idol is the American Idol of Comic Books, allowing creators to get together, compete, and walk away with something tangible. For most people, it's a slot in the Mysterious Visions Anthology. For a few, it's a zero issue... For one, it's a cash prize and a four issue limited series published by

There's so much more to the competition, too... Through it, every creator has been exposed to tens of thousands of people. Even if it was a quick click through the Idol page where they see our names, it's more than they had the day before. If they go into the forums, look at the artwork, read about the story, etc, all the better.

For me with Faction and my other projects even, SPI has been QUITE a blessing. I've met a ton of great creators, some of whom would like to work with me on other projects (thanks to Michael as one example), with some it's just networking, and also other people I've met could leave to actual paying gigs! Go figure. ha ha...

So, for Faction.... What do we want from this? Well to win, of course! Round 3 is in full swing now, just a week and a day worth of voting left. The top 3 projects (of 20) get their own Zero issue which WILL BE PUBLISHED... That's great! The sales of that zero issue, in true capitalistic fashion, will determine who wins the whole shebang!

We've got 8 days worth of voting, so bring on the votes! ha ha... Seriously, though, if you haven't been voting for whatever reason, please take the opportunity to sign up, sign in, and vote for your favorite projects by clicking "YES - I am a fan and want to see more" in the the project's round 3 forum. You can vote daily AND you can vote for more than one project per day. Personally, I vote for a few. Of course I would like Faction to win, but there are some other projects I feel are worthy of a cover slot in the Anthology (a few who don't make the top 3 get that) and another I wish could get to the top 3 because I love the book. Do I want to lose to the book? Well, no... but I still like it!

Below are the standings as of this morning.... As you can see, Faction is just below the top slot and based on daily votes, there are a couple of projects making a play for the top. Please help in getting Faction to the top and keeping us there! If a handful of people who aren't currently voting chip in and vote daily through the next week, it could make the difference between first, second, third, and fourth place. If we drop to Fourth place, Faction's journey ends WAY too early... I want the chance to show you why Faction will make a great four issue series, why it would make a great ongoing series, etc... Can't do that without your votes!

1.) 485 Votes (+55) - 114 Voters ( +6) Varsity Squad - Judges Vote: 2 Yes.
2.) 476 Votes (+62) - 123 Voters ( +3) Faction - Judges Vote: 3 Yes.
3.) 392 Votes (+70) - 149 Voters ( +2) The Underground - Judges Vote: 3 Yes.

************** *********The Line for #0/R4 Contention********** *******************
4.) 384 Votes (+41) - 129 Voters ( +5) Steel Rising - Judges Vote: 3 Yes.
5.) 334 Votes (+56) - 158 Voters ( +2) The White Rose - Judges Vote: 3 Yes.
6.) 298 Votes (+37) - 99 Voters ( NC) Hometown Heroes - Judges Vote: 3 Yes.
7.) 251 Votes (+20) - 81 Voters ( NC) The Associate - Judges Vote: 3 Yes.
8.) 248 Votes (+33) - 75 Voters ( NC) The Machine - Judges Vote: 3 Yes.
9.) 233 Votes (+24) - 143 Voters (2NC) Maddie Scientist - Judges Vote: 2 No.
**************** ********The Line for Cover Projects************ ******************
10.) 220 Votes (+14) - 69 Voters ( NC) Diary of a Teenage Heroine - Judges Vote: 3 Yes.
11.) 157 Votes ( +8) - 49 Voters ( +1) Dogman and Lester - Judges Vote: 2 No.
12.) 112 Votes (+25) - 68 Voters ( NC) The Doorknob Society - Judges Vote: 3 No.
13.) 83 Votes ( +7) - 57 Voters (2NC) Haxxor - Judges Vote: 3 Yes.
14.) 62 Votes (+10) - 50 Voters ( NC) Boulder Colorado - Judges Vote: 3 Yes.
15.) 47 Votes (+10) - 53 Voters ( NC) Mr. Man - Judges Vote: 2 Yes.
16.) 10 Votes ( +2) - 30 Voters ( +1) Project Mercury - Judges Vote: 3 NO.
17.) Earthman - Has taken Ill, will eventually be a back up feature.
17.) Dead Duck - Needs personal time, will eventually be a back up feature.
17.) Monsters of Love - Did not turn in pages, will eventually be a back up feature.
17.) Nevil Von Dunst - Did not turn in pages, will eventually be a back up feature.

Ok, so you look at the numbers and think, what does this mean, right? LOL, I know... The first number is how many votes people have right now. The little (+XX) is how many votes they got yesterday... There are two projects heading towards the top who may not have gotten a huge number more votes than Faction yesterday, but if you look through the history, they climbed from the bottom to where they are today in just a few days. Could they unseat Faction in the top 3? Please help prevent that by voting.

As for how to do it, here's the scoop yet again, but basically, it's go to the web site, sign up, sign in, go to the Round 3 forum for Faction, click "YES - I am a fan and want to see more", and then click "Submit". Vote once per day through June 8th.

1. Sign up -
2. Sign in -
3. Go to -
4. Click "Yes - As a fellow creator I support this" or "Yes - I am a fan and want to read more".
5. Click "Submit"

Please help me to keep Faction in the top 3 and, heck, while you're at it, let's make a statement! If everyone who watches my Faction blog even throws one vote in, if everyone in the Faction Comic group on Facebook throws one vote in.... geez, that would just be staggering... Give it a try, let's break some records like we did in Round 2 (we did, by the way, if you didn't hear).

Thanks for reading the ramble!!!!!!

Faction - Page Eight, Panel 1 script and analysis

And today.... Page 8, panel 1... enjoy!

PAGE EIGHT (Six Panels)

Panel 1. Acker is falling over sideways from the wound and the force of Elam’s blow. Gabriel is lunging forward towards Elam with his sword, catching her in the side, cutting deep, but not killing her. Abigail is moving her hands around to start another spell.

ABIGAIL (Yelling):

If I wasn’t busy bleeding out, I would’ve yelled something; probably “I’m not Asa!”

This was an interesting panel for me. Every character is doing something a little different, you know? We see Acker's back and you might wonder "where's the blood?" Well, this isn't color. :) Kind of like with Elam / Emlin's eyes, they were supposed to be red and the marks on Acker's back should be as well. Personally, I like the effect, it reminds me of some of the comics that got me into the medium (another Marvel nod, actually). As far as the "Asa" this, "Asa" that, well, the Knights all know each other by these Hebrew names. When they are brougt into the Knights, their memories extend back for hundreds of years and they have always known each other as those names, so they often call each other by it. Consider it a code name if it makes it easier for you. As far as Acker is concerned, though, I'd be asking, "What the heck is an Asa?"

Friday, May 29, 2009

Faction - Page Seven, Panel 5 script and analysis

And today... Page Seven, Panel 5!

Panel 5. View from the side as Elam cuts across Acker’s back with her talons, ripping deep. Acker is arching his back from the blow, mouth opened to scream into the air.

ACKER (Yelling):

It felt like it cut me to my spine. A wound like that can paralyze you… if it doesn’t kill you.

In this panel, the wording changed around a little bit because after reading it like a billion times, a couple of little changes made sense. This is one nice thing about lettering your own book ~ you get the last crack at finalizing dialogue and captions! Another fun thing to learn was doing the "AHHHH". Not as easy as it looks! Cary Kelley AKA Mr. Fallen Justice answered a TON of questions for me around the time I was mulling over joining SPI, sent me some tutorials and such. End result was hours of trying to figure out what the heck said tutorials were talking about! I have an old version of Illustrator, so some things DID and some things DID NOT work. In the end, though, I had the text looking like I wanted to and I didn't have to use "canned" SFX. Nothing wrong with them, but it's kind of cool when you can tailor SFX to wrap around your character. As for the artwork, I couldn't have asked for more... I liked the addition of Abigail in the panel (not in the description) with her "oh dead" face on, covering her mouth. That one cracked me up.

Hope you guys are enjoying the "behind the scenes" look at Faction... It has been fun writing, actually, because while you're going through the process, you're just doing it, not really thinking about WHY, it's just about what feels right at the end of the day.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Faction - Page Seven Panel 4 Script and Analysis

And.... Page Seven, Panel 4!!!!

Panel 4. View from the center of the room looking towards the bed again. Elam is lunging at Acker’s back, black starting to coat her body again, starting at the fingers, now talons.

Maybe he’ll understand in his next life.

I get such a Marvel vibe off of this panel... don't know why... I dig it, though, the energy in the movement and such. I prefer the fact that Arnie left out the other participants in lieu of just focusing on the active movement.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Faction - Page Seven Panel 3 Script and Analysis

Today it's Page Seven, Panel 3!

Panel 3. Slightly different angle, same people on the panel, but Elam is visible on the ground, her body hasn’t moved, but her eyes are open, starting to turn colors again towards the fiery orange red they were when she was blackened by a spell. Acker is pointing towards the door with his left hand (of course), looking frustrated. Abigail and Gabriel are looking to Acker, not understanding why he’s arguing with them.

Just get out of here, both of you; I don’t need your Society. I don’t need anyone.

You saw that creature; it was just the first, Asa. More will come.


Come with us and all will be clear. You are one of us.

I love the expressions and body language of Abigail and Gabriel in this panel. The words may kind of get the point across, but the body language says, "come on man, chill out!" This panel I think pretty much covers what I wrote in the script (go figure :P). Notice that Elam/Emlin in the script has her eyes open. What ended up in the submission doesn't make it 100% obvious that her eyes are open... this is where some color would do us some good, huh?

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Faction - Page Seven Panel 2 Script and Analysis

And.... today it's Page 7, Panel 2!


Panel 2. View from the bed looking towards Acker, Gabriel, and Abigail. Abigail is talking, but Gabriel is looking down at Elam, not visible from the angle, his sword pointed down towards her. Acker is shaking his head in disbelief. Beyond them, the black sword is still on the ground, smoking in the light.

Monsieur, we are from the Society of the Enlightened. We were sent to watch over you.

Ok, so Elam / Emlin IS visible in the panel, but I like the kind of bird's eye view Arnie came up with on this one. I agree it works better both because it's different and it offers a view of everyone in the panel without taking up too much space. Not a lot to comment about here, actually... I just like how it turned out. I look forward to the end product, hopefully with some smoking from the black sword. Notice that the light in the room centers on Abigail? And that's how it should be. ;)

Monday, May 25, 2009

Comics around San Diego County

So, yesterday I went for a drive around San Diego County, partially inspired by Michael Hamersky's FCBD trip, to hit as many comic shops as I could with my wife in a day. The challenge for us was that we went on a Sunday. Some stores are closed on Sundays and many don't open until 12pm. Wish I had done research a little more before heading out the door! Several of the stores I've been to before and were really cool, but I felt like such a complete idiot when I got to Southern California comics in San Diego (address below). They've been in the same location for like 11 years and I LIVED RIGHT BY THERE FOR FIVE YEARS! I never knew the place was there when I lived in the area, which is ridicuous! When I went in there, my first thought was, "this is a comic shop!" No offense to any other store in the county because they are all charming in their own way, but I compare every store I've ever walked into to Infinity Comics, the first real comic store I went to when I lived in Manassas, VA in the mid-80's. I walk in this place and I'm assaulted by sequential artwork on the walls, blown up comic book posters, walls of new comics, old comics, etc, trades for days, just about anything you could imagine that's related to comics, basically. What really got me, though, is that they have the largest in store collection of gold and silver age books. How often do you get to look at GS X-Men 1, X-Men 1, Amazing Fantasy 15, Spider Man 1, FF 1, Avengers 1, Silver Surfer 1, and dozens of others all beneath the same glass case. I had to close my mouth... And the people who worked there were really cool and knew their stuff. I ended up buying the Helm TPB by Jim Hardison and Bart Sears and a couple other things while I was there. Seems like I had a 2 hour conversation with one of the guys, discussing comics, Las Vegas, and whatever else popped up, which was cool.

Bottom line, even if you don't live in the area and you have a comic shop you frequent and love, go check this place out, seriously... Head there once per month, once every couple of months, or whatever, just go there. My weekly stuff is usually done either through G-Mart or a store close to home (Oceanside is about an hour from Southern California Comics), so I don't see myself going there weekly, but they pretty much guaranteed I'll be back...

Enough rambling for now!

Southern California Comics
8280 Clairemont Mesa Blvd
San Diego, CA 92111
(858) 715-8669

Faction - Page Seven Panel 1 Script and Analysis

And now we're digging into page 7 AKA Page 2 from the Round 3 submission (does that sound confusing to anyone else?).


Panel 1. View from the center of the room looking towards the bed where Acker has laid out Elam. Acker is starting to get up, twisting to look towards Gabriel. Acker’s face is stern, alert, ALIVE for the first time since waking up in the hospital, a glimmer, a threat of vengeance in his eyes. Gabriel is walking towards them, leading with his sword, but it’s pointed down towards Elam. Based on the angle, Abigail isn’t visible.

I don’t know who the hell you guys are, but it’s time to start explaining.

For the first time since being injured, I was me again.

Ok, first difference is really just the fact that Abigail IS in the panel and my description says she's not. One worry here is that with page to page continuity, people might wonder "where did she go?" and when it comes down to it, what's the harm in having her in the shot?

You know, I have to mention that I really dug doing the lettering on this page in particular. Notice how some of the fonts are bigger? Well, the particular font that was used doesn't have a bold, so I used a larger size to emphasize the words. Also, I only really put one word in bold in my writing, but as I was lettering, some other words popped out, so I made them bigger, too.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Faction - Page Six Panels 5 & 6 Script and Analysis

Another day (for me), so more panels... thanks for the support from everyone, by the way! We managed to climb to 3rd place!

Page 6

Panel 5. View from the door looking into the room. Gabriel is engaged with Elam in the center of the room, sword to sword (Elam’s black sword is still smoking) and Abigail is staying out of the way. Acker, looking very annoyed, bursts into the room, running towards her, ready to tackle her like a quarterback.

Me, I always preferred football to karate.

Panel 6. Acker running into Elam, left shoulder first, pushing her back towards the bed on the opposite side of the room. Her sword, still smoking, is just out of her hand, falling towards the ground.

It worked in high school against receivers, so why not against her?

So, you'll notice the first image is from yesterday and the second is new... After seeing the pages, I ended up moving around the captions forward or back a panel, whatever felt right based on the action in the image. Sometimes it just comes down to space, other times it's the action. Since Arnie added a transitional panel in there, I had a little more room to work with, so I spread out the captions and then on the last panel on the page, I put two captions, one at the top left and one at the bottom right... felt right. One thing I really love about the last image on Page 6 is that I REALLY get the feeling like he's doing a full on football tackle. Despite all of the things he was exposed to, Acker still resorsts to tricks he learned in high school to take down the opposition.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Faction - Page Six Panels 3 & 4 Script and Analysis

Ok, another day another panel... East Coast it's technically Sunday, but it's still Saturday by my watch. :)

Page 6
Panel 3. Angle changes to focus on the doorway, which Acker is flying through. He contorts his body slightly, twisting in the air.

-- a throw is a throw.

Panel 4. Angle changes again to focus on Acker rotated and hitting the ground, feet planted, knees bent, and left arm on the ground. He’s looking through the door at Elam (OP).

In training, they threw all sorts of styles your way to see what stuck.

Now we take a look at this and see... wait a second panel 3 is missing! ha ha... There's only so much you can fit into a page. Arnie made a couple of artistic choices on the page I was totally cool with and respect. Heck, I'm confident with what I wrote, but if he feels the action needs to play out slightly different, we talk about it and the result could be what I originally envisioned, what he was thinking, or somewhere in between. I wouldn't be surprised at all if by the time the 12 pages are finished, every page is somewhere in between. Now the "a throw is a throw" thing... Acker is a Marine (once a Marine, always a Marine if you ask any lifer). For him it's all about economy of motion, economy of words, etc.... As a writer, could I have written something more profound? Sure! The caption, though, contains the character's words, not mine. When we're writing, we have choices to make about the "voice" of the book. With Faction, Acker is the voice for the book... I've lived around Marines most of my life, so I couldn't in good conscience take this guy, in the military from a young age, no degree, living and working around others in the military, and give him the vocabulary and grammar of a college professor. ;)

Friday, May 22, 2009

Faction - Page Six Panel 2 Script and Analysis

Another day, another panel...

Page 6
Panel 2. Slightly different POV as Elam pulls Acker forward, throwing him towards the doorway limply. Gabriel and Abigail twist to avoid the flying body.

ELAM (Yelling):

As I flew through the air, my training kicked in. A little challenging without an arm, but --

Now, first off with the description of the panel itself. Notice it indicates only a slightly different POV than the panel before. Here's where Arnie's experience really kicked in. He added a panel to show Elam/Emlin grabbing Acker's wrist and then flipped the perspective from what I was thinking so Acker is flying towards us instead. I think this ended up much more effective, so I'm not complaining. As for Elam AKA Emlin's comment "We will have this one's skin!"... No, she's not royalty, she's a den-spawn and is actually Tied to a demon, which gives her several abilities. One of those? Super strength, thus why Acker is getting hurled...

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Faction - Page Six Panel 1 script and analysis

So, a couple of days ago, I decided I’d share the script itself for the three pages panel by panel… Keep in mind there was a bit of artistic interpretation on Arnie’s part, which is cool, and some other things are based on discussions. Elam is Emlin, but the way… her other name.

Page 6.
Panel 1. The yellow light has diffused throughout the room now revealing a pretty but extremely pale Elam, thin and deadly, still holding the black sword, which in the holy light is smoking slightly. She is mid-swing with her sword, but yanked partially back as Acker grabs her by the neck from behind with his left arm. He is leaning back, pulling her upper torso close. Abigail is making a reaching motion with her right hand towards the woman, but hasn’t connected yet while Gabriel is pulling his sword back, ready to swing again.

I don’t know what in blazes you are, but I’m guessing you’re not here for my sponge bath.

-- that thing was evil.

This is obviously NOT from the first page, as Spyros pointed out in the forums. This is the first panel in Page Six. What happens before this point you’ll have to wait and see. Two important things to note in here… One is the ‘holy light’. This is Abigail’s power, or at least one of them. So when you see her messing around with her hands or little geometric shapes and such, she’s using her light based powers in some way. In this case, the light which illuminates all of them in the room is also causing Emlin’s sword to smoke. Acker is a no nonsense guy… Whether he’s missing part of an arm or not, he’s not about to sit idle while there’s some freakish looking lady and other weird things going on in HIS hospital room. Can’t get a good night’s sleep, grumble grumble…

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Unfiltered - First look at Elyse Reynolds

Here we go! I mentioned not too long ago that Jason Baroody is drawing Unfiltered. Well, here's your first look at the main character, Elyse Reynolds! The logo is something Jason has beel playing with, too, and I love how it looks... Soon we should have some colors on this image, too, Jason said he's going to start playing around tonight. Good job, Jason!

Faction - 3 pages of Factiony Goodness

So, the votes are in from the judges and all is right in the world... I'll address some of their comments in another post once the Faction Round 3 forum is moved over so people can add comments (you CAN vote even if the project is in the voting area).

In the coming weeks, I'm going to share some pretty specific details on the creative process associated with Faction, which I hope you will all enjoy! For the time being, though, have a looksie at the three sequential pages. You can download them in a nice PDF file by clicking on the Faction logo in the Faction Round 3 forum or go here ~ It's free to download and really kind of cool seeing in comic book format. Also, keep in mind, you're going to get the best resolution this way. It's free (yes I know I mentioned that), you just need to sign up or sign in if you're already a member.

Here are the pages, though! More details will be added and hopefully greyscale before it hits print... Remember, you can really help us out here by voting for Faction in the competition at The winners of Round 3 get a published Zero issue... the winners of the competition get a four issue limited series! I have TONS of Faction material, so I would love to have the opportunity to share it with all of you, especially with Arnie's amazing artwork.

Faction - Round 3 has officially BEGUN for Faction!

Ok, and we're off!!!! Voting is open for Faction. Even while the judges are voting, fans can get votes in. Remember, one vote per day per project... If you don't see the voting option, you're not signed in. If you want to see the actual pages, click on the Faction logo (based on the screen shot below) and download it from the DimeStoreDistro... The pages look AMAZING!

Go here:

And look for the below... Click on "Yes - As a fellow creator I support this " or "Yes - I am a fan and want to read more " and then Click "Submit" and you're done! If you have voted successfully, it will show a new screen with the current voting results.

Faction - Silence & Hitting Round 3 With A Bang

Perhaps you guys noticed I got a bit silent for a while. Besides working to learn how to letter comics with some amount of skill (once I started looking at what I was doing, I kept wanting it better and better), I've had a number of little things going on that have kept my mind a bit bogged down for the last week or so.

1. School! <-- I stay in school part time to improve my craft.... This sememster I was taking Magic and Folk Religion (an Anthropology class that gave me TONS of ideas for future stories) and the Philosophy of Human Nature (around 13 different philosophies including Plato, Aristotle, Marx, Freud, Darwin, Sartre, Confucianism, Taoism, Hinduism, Buddhism, Kant, the bible, etc...). Both were interesting classes to be sure, but with how distracted my mind has been working on comic books, a few things were delayed a bit too long and as a result I was working on six tests and a paper over the weekend and Monday for one class and then prepping for a make up test and a final for the other. The final for Human Nature was last night, so since I was focusing on the Anthro class through Monday, you can imagine my frantic study and prep fest.

2. Career Day <-- So, yesterday I went to my niece's 2nd grade class and talked all about comic books. I know it's not my day job and I'm only just starting to make money, but I do consider myself a freelance writer now. To a second grader, you can imagine how cool they think it is that I make comic books. I described some amount of the process, how things work in the internet age, how every subject you touch (in school) affects your ability to write AND draw, encouraged some kids who actually do draw (one was surprisingly good for his age ~ I wish I was drawing that well at 8). In the end, I passed out an accumulation of FCBD editions of some kids books I managed to score over the weekend (thanks to some stores, especially Invincible Ink in San Marcos for the help). Anyway, bottom line they thought it was really cool and I think the teacher appreciated that I didn't put the kids' heads in the clouds. I had fun with it, but I kept stressing the importance of education, but not to let it stop you from following your dreams (as in, start writing now and drawing now, but be sure to keep getting more education).

3. Small Press Idol Round 3 <-- Well, round 3 started on Sunday for Small Press Idol over at Arnie and my plan was to drop the pages in on Sunday and get the ball rolling, but life got in the way. As a result, I've spent days nailbiting, overthinking, and just generally stressing. Finally, last night, we send our three pages for Round 3 to Ian, who should post them this morning. I'll post again later with instructions on how to vote since things changed around a bit. Can't wait for everyone to see!!!

4. Lettering <-- As mentioned previously (and I showed some examples in a prior post), I'm trying to learn how to letter. It is SO much more challenging than I thought. Some people think it's just slapping letters on a page, but it's not so simple. There is an artform to it. I'm glad, though, that I DID decide to do it myself because I was able to split things up that logically needed splitting up based on the art, to add tension, or whatever. I learned how to make my own SFX, crop bubbles at panel borders, combine objects into one nice pretty object, filling, gradients, etc etc etc... Oh and NOT to use standard Windows fonts. ;) Special thanks to Cary Kelley (Fallen Justice and all around great guy) and Michael Nelson (The Associate) for being available over the last couple of weeks while I was learning to give me some tips, smack me around, or whatever it took to get such a nice result.

Anyway, I feel like garbage today, but I'm up, I'm motivated, and it's time to get to work!!!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Faction - Just one more day until Round 3

I know everyone has been eagerly awaiting Faction's Round 3 entry... Well, the wait is almost over! Round 3 starts with a bang on Monday, May 18th... There should be at least 10 of the 20 entries that made it to Round 3 posting tomorrow, so we're all excited to see what the other teams have brought to the table. I just finished up the letters this morning for the three sample pages for Faction, so I'm just waiting for Arnie to finish up his stuff and send 'em over so I can format and "ship" to Ian. Looking forward to seeing Arnie's magic at work! I have seen the roughs (duh) and used those for letters, but I know everyone will be blown away with the end product. If you haven't checked out his site, the link is here on my blog, just scroll down, looking on the right side for his name.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

A Blessed Return and Playing with Letters... God help us all!

Some good news (with some sad news) and some rambling kind of news (my favorite kind)...

First off, I want to send a "shout out" to Sachin Nagar, the artist for my detective/noir/late night cop drama meets DareDevil/BatMan... He has been kind of off the radar for a while and I found out yesterday that he has actually been extremely ill, in the hospital etc... I'm glad he's feeling better now. He's actually back with a Vengeance and has sent me a completed page and an updated mock cover for our submission package... check this out!

Pretty sweet, huh? Sachin has some serious skills and it's just a matter of time before he's in the big leagues, definitely. In the meantime, we're working on things and I'm very happy to have him on one of my teams!!!!

In other project news, I'm teaching myself how to letter so I can take care of that portion for Faction... Round 3 is just days away and Arnie is working through the pages for our submission, so I have to be ready to letter the darned things! After some stumbling I have a couple of samples of what I'm doing... God, it's so much harder than it looks! Note: These are not Faction related images, they're from other projects I'm working on... And yes, I'm sure they could be better, but I'm learning here! HA HA...

What do you do when life catches up with you

Being a freelance writer on top of my normal job is fun, probably one of the best decisions I've made in the last year or so, but man does it stick my brain in the blender sometimes. It's fun and I love it, but there is this little thing called "work" that creeps into the fun. Let me get to the point before I lose you... I work 40 or more hours per week at my day job, ride the train to and from work, etc. During the time I'm physically at work, my brain is all about my day job. As soon as I clock off or take a break, the comic me kicks in, taking the reigns of my brain and running with it. What time is left for the brain to unwind? Well... it's not there! Oops! My trip to Vegas was intended to help detox my brain, but instead with every slot pull, I was filling in ideas for plots, counting the minutes until I could get back to my room and type. While sleeping, I was crunching data, processing all of the great ideas into some amount of cohesion. In otherwords, my brain needed to catch up on things.

Hit the wall when I came back from Vegas as far as exhaustion goes but today I hit the wall in another way. Man, I feel sick! Slept through my alarm and just feel generally like crap today. Alas, it happens sometimes, but usually my body waits for the weekend to give out on me, you know? On Friday afternoon it says, "ok, can I be sick now?" Today it didn't give me a choice. Wah wah wah waahhhhhhhhhh (gameshow sounds, not crying).

Anywho, in news of sickness, I found out last night that India, where the amazing artist Sachin Nagar lives, has been dealing with a severe typhoid outbreak! Living in the US, we get rather, um, sheltered as far as the full scope of world news goes, which is a shame. I'm horrible myself, making me wish I turned on the news more than once every few weeks. Even in the internet age, I rarely check news beyond comic book related. So a message to Sachin and I think all of my followers out there join me in saying hope you feel better soon and hope everyone (friends / family) are all doing well!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Dreams and dreaming...

From a very young age, I had extremely vivid dreams. The most vivid I can recall was a nightmare I had when I was living on Oahu as a child where my family was chasing me around our house, trying to kill me. My mom woke me up that night, telling me it was just a nightmare, but man it was vivid. Fast forward a lllooonnnngggg time.... I went years with only occassionally remembering my dreams, but more recently since my creativity took a spike in a good way, my dreams have been extremely interesting once more. I find that since I spend so much time thinking about storylines I've come up with during the day, I will process a lot of details at night while I'm sleeping, taking a quick trip to places that only exist in my head. Unfortunately, I can't remember many details of these dreams, but it "settles" things in my brain, allowing me to cough up TONS of pages of script in a short period of time. In a lot of cases, I end up writing kind of stream of consciousness and then go back and format in some way. The results sometimes are a bit chaotic, but from time to time, I end up with a little nugget of gold.

So, recommendation to everyone out there... Dream or daydream, resting or napping, sleeping or tossing and turning, if you have ideas, get them written down no matter where the source. I haven't tried writing when I'm feverish because I haven't been that sick since I started writing again, but next time I am, I'm going to see what comes out!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Rambling, hard decisions, and Faction news...

Today’s one of those days you don’t know whether to clam up or shout at the world. Over the last few days, I’ve had to do quite a bit of thinking in regards to “the comic book thing” and make some hard decisions and react to what has been thrown my direction. It made me start thinking about hard decisions in general and when you need to finally make those decisions.

The easy decision was deciding to pursue comic books with the further I put into my day to day job. I consider it easy now, but at the time I was afraid that by putting my work ethic into it, my creative passion would dwindle and die. I know I’ve mentioned that before, bit it was a valid consideration I had at the time. Looking back on it, though, I think it was just an excuse not to jump in for fear of rejection or something ridiculous like that. If you have a dream, don’t let something silly stop you from going for it. The only difference pre-decision and post-decision is that I became more determined and actually came up with more ideas! I dedicate time more often to writing, fighting the urge to fall asleep on the train or on my break sitting in my car (really hard on a sunny day with a nice breeze). “No,” I yell at myself, “you’re supposed to be writing!” I get ticked at my cars now when they give me grief, causing me to drive home from Irvine or to Irvine from home because it takes away from my “train time” to write, which seems to be my most productive. So I guess my point here is that if it’s your dream, it SHOULD be an easy decision. There are absolutely no guarantees that you will “make it” to whatever capacity you have decided for yourself. As I mention in another post a while back, I want to tell my stories… If it means a large indie or DC/Marvel, great, but I’m perfectly content to self publish if that’s what lies in store for me. In fact, there are some things I bet would be better if I DO self publish. Don’t consider self publishing to be a last resort… I’ll say it a billion times, every copy out there in the world of your book, physical or electronic, is a circulating resume. So what if you don’t sell 100k copies… You only need to sell one to the right person.

Picking an artist for a project… I rambled about this the other day, but it is a hard decision and I respect any writer who has to go through the difficult process of finding the “right” artist for a project. When you write a script, do you have a specific style in mind or do you just envision the characters as real people conversing in the real world with any changes required to make it however fantastical the world in the book is? That’s how I do it… I don’t, however, limit myself to using “realistic” artists… Every book has a personality of sorts, just like an artist’s style. The trick is matching up the two. Do you go for hyper-realistic or loose and abstract? All things you need to consider. When I use the steps I talk about to create a world, characters, situations, etc, the only place I really start thinking about art style is when I’m creating the characters because they’re more important than anything else. It’s kind of like an actor in a movie. A line is only as good as the actor reading it, right? What makes a good character and a good book is the right mixture of writing and artistic style. Would Powers work with another writer and artist? Well…. Maybe with another writer, but the world really fits with Oeming’s style. No discredit to Mr. Bendis, though, my point is just that his world has been created so if someone else played in it, there would be a different flavor perhaps, but not a bad thing. Would you put Jim Lee in charge of art for Powers, though? Heck no! You would need to find someone else with a “different” style that would fit it well. Anyway, point here is that you need to find the right style and “feel” for the book and a critical element of that is the right artist. Clean or dirty, realistic or cartoony, etc…

Finding the right time to say goodbye… Probably the hardest thing I’ve had to do over the last six months or so is decide when it’s time to say goodbye to someone on my creative team. Considering not a single book has been published yet, it’s kind of funny for me to say that, but it applies anyway. Take the example of my fantasy book, for instance… I have discussed with probably seven artists over the last few months working on the book and none have panned out, mostly because I didn’t feel they were right for the book for whatever reason. Writers are artists, too, though they may not have the skill to put it into form, they can into words, which means they envision something. If an artist brings something different to the table, the writer has to decide how to make it work or decide that the artist is wrong for the project. With other projects, it was something else missing that was making the partnership “not work”. In other cases, it’s a simple matter of time. An artist’s worst enemy is time, especially if they are working on multiple projects, have a full time job, etc… Sometimes in the end things work out and sometimes they don’t. How do you decide when it has reached that point? This is something I’ve discussed with my wife in several instances and look to others for counsel and guidance. In the end, I have to make that decision, but it’s never something done lightly.

In regards to changes and such, I do have an announcement to make in regards to Faction. KT and I had a heart to heart this weekend and because of added responsibilities at work and his push to make a career change very shortly, there’s a change in the works. Arnie Gordon, another amazing artist in San Diego County, has agreed to take the artist’s helm and steer Faction through Rounds 3, 4 (crossing fingers), and beyond if that’s where we are guided by your support and votes. This is a mixed blessing for obvious reasons. KT is an amazing artist and is very familiar with the Faction world from our countless emails over the last few months. Arnie, however, is amazing as well and ready to show us what he can do… I’ve seen examples of his sequential work and I’m blown away by it. I’m confident that although this brings turbulence to the path Faction has taken, steady thus far, the book will be stronger for it. I thank KT for all of the work he has done so far to help get Faction to the point it is today and wish him luck on his desired career path… With his skills, I’m confident he will do well. As for Arnie, everyone please help me to welcome him into the Faction family… I believe whole heartedly that you will be stunned by what’s in store for Round 3 and beyond. Both Arnie and I share a passion for the comic book medium, which I have met in very few since I got started down this path.

Thanks to all again for the support and to quote Arnie, “peace out.”
Erik Hendrix
Writer – Faction and some obscene of other things I’m cooking up…

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Faction - Changes?

More news to come, but there may be some changes coming to Faction in the coming days... I'll explain later.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Unfiltered - From concept to comic

A few months ago I entered some little contest on CBR looking for character concepts. I threw Unfiltered into the mix... Did I win? Well, no I didn't, but that's no big deal. I was confident of the concept and I kept it on the back burner, but now it's going into production. I'll reveal more information as time moves forward, but Jason Baroody of Ten Ton Studios has signed on to draw the book, so there we go! Of course, hmmm.... I have to write the script, but I've got a lot of info to work from, so that's just a mere technicality... Well, if you know how my brain works, you wouldn't be worried.

Below is the original concept for Unfiltered. Things are changing a little bit, there's a decent cast of characters, etc, but this will give you an idea of what she's all about.


Elyse Reynolds is Unfiltered. Born and raised in the humdrum world, educated to be just another cog in the machine, Elyse was bored with life; she just didn’t know it yet. While working in a biotech firm on the next generation of biochemical weapons for the military, Elyse managed to knock over their latest untested nerve agent and several other containers, while walking through cold storage. She died, or so everyone thought. When she awoke, it was to the darkness of a coffin, pitch black and claustrophobic. “I have to get out,” she thinks to herself after her voice is gone from too much screaming. She pushes with her hands, willing the pressure to lift off of her and her psychokinesis kicks in, blowing a hole above her through the coffin and dirt. Arising from the grave, born again, Elyse Reynolds is determined that she’s not going to waste this second chance at life. Since everyone thinks she’s dead, she changes everything, reinventing herself into someone who does what they want when they want, so good luck if you get in their way. Tattoos, punk rock, sex, drugs, and superpowers… this is Unfiltered. Armed with various psychic abilities unlocked by her exposure to a nerve agent cocktail and a sharp wit, Elyse will be damned if she’s going to let anyone, especially criminals, get in her way of a good time.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Ramble on....

Ok, not totally comic book related... actually not comic book related at all, but finally catching up on AI with the wife. Rock night... yeah... Night started off wrong with Kara (sp?) wearing this studded leather thing. Is she rock or is she pop? Rocker or wanna be? I would dare say, oh no, total wanna be... Of course you can't exactly have rock and American Idol together now can you? Pop show (with very few artist exceptions over the years) trying to "rock out". I dig Slash and give him props for showing up on there, though. I'm guessing (haven't watched it yet) that he must be performing on the show tonight (Wednesday) or he wouldn't be on the show. I don't care how much success he's had in GNR or Velvet Revolver, I wouldn't dare ever call Slash a sell out or anything. He's a world class blues based rock god, period. Just getting that cleared up... I don't care if he riffs for Michael Jackson, he's still ok in my book (that's Slash is ok in my book, not MJ).

Anywho, in Small Press Idol news... KT is still working on art, I'm still stressing on lettering, and I'm excited for Round 3 to start up!

In other project news... Something is getting ready to "pop" that I'm excited about. I should have another artist I'm working with on something special. A few people out there may have an idea of what I'm talking about, but I'm not spilling! Let's just say that it involves a character inspired by my wife and an artist who I haven't spoken with in months but seemed to be a perfect fit for the project. :P

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

The challenge of finding the "right" artist for a job

Since November, I've literally spoken with over 100 artists of various styles looking for the perfect fit for my projects. Some are good, some are not so good, and some are so amazing it blows your mind. The problem is always finding the right one to match up with your (the writer's) vision of how things should look. The two that have been the biggest challenge so far are my detective / noir book (the late night cop show meets Daredevil/Batman)and my fantasy novel turned comic book. I don't know if it's that I'm being too specific on what I'm looking for or no one is going to "fit" for a while. Now, after some stumbling around, I did find the perfect artist for my detective book, Sachin, but I still haven't had any luck with the fantasy book. I've had a few artists I've spoken with, some who even tried to take a crack at it, but the "vision" of the book hasn't been met by any artists. Shoot! For me, the fantasy story is one that HAS to be told. It's a different approach to a fantasy tale and I also interpret some things in the genre a little differently. That's probably because I've read so many fantasy books since I was six that I need to do something different or I'll see myself that I'm being derivative.

To my point... finding "the one" for any project is something that I think some people don't put enough thought into. No disrespect intended, but it seems like a lot of artists have genres they fit a little better into so why force them into something that doesn't fit them perfectly? I'm not saying that writers should steer clear, I'm saying that if you find an artist you like but they don't fit the book you wanted them for, why not make something that does fit for them... collaborate on something that fits their style while still something you love, too. One recent example for me is Arnie (not trying to pick on you - ha ha). Arnie has an AMAZING style but he's into a certain kind of story, which is his right. I didn't have anything "on the pot" that really seemed like a great fit, but we both wanted to work together. The solution? We're creating an original superhero universe from scratch. It's taking a little bit more time since we're both starting from nothing on it, but that's part of the fun, we're going through the creative process together. When all is said and done, we'll have something original that we both poured ourselves into.

So... if you're looking for a specific style for a specific book, don't settle for anything less than what fits your vision. If you stumble upon an amazing artist and you two want to work together, find something for them or set them free. Don't stick them in something that they're not 100% into and you're not 100% sold on.

Another recommendation... don't put all of your eggs in one basket. We all have these ideas that are "the next big thing", right? What happens if you A) don't find the right artist, B) people don't see the vision as you do, or C) you do all that work to find out it's been done before? The solution, always have something else you're working on. I started with one idea, now I have almost two dozen. Why? Because once you get into that creative mode, things keep on coming, and that's a good thing. If you have an idea in the middle of the night, get up and write it down, get a notepad by your bed. If you have a particularly vivid dream, write it down and see if it's something you can use in a story. If you're driving with someone, ask them to write it down or text it to you... Don't let the ideas escape you! Faction, for example, was a brainstorm from November combined with a notebook from over a dozen years ago! I didn't know when I was going to use it, but when the time came, I was ready.

Ok, shutting up now... ramble done!

Monday, May 4, 2009

Insomnia, sleep deprivation, caffeine, sugar, and a clean pair of socks

Ok, I don't know how all of the title here fits in, but I'm going for it! It's about 9:49 pm right now and I've been up for 18 hours and 20 minutes. Wahoo! I'll be up again in about six hours, which actually isn't a bad amount of sleep... I know I need more but I seem to do ok with that much. I'm not an insomniac or anything, but it seems like I never get to sleep any earlier. Don't get nearly enough time together with my wife, so when I get home (or she gets home depending on who's working later), we make dinner, shoot the breeze, watch some tv, and go to sleep. Right now Amanda is cramming through a five page paper on some medical class she's taking. Not my cup of tea, but she's really good at it. Me, I'm taking Magic and Folk Religion (an Anthropology class) and the Philosophy of Human Nature. Now that's what I'm talking about!

Trying to get some of the cobwebs out of my head from Vegas this weekend. Great ideas are only great if you can get them on paper... Hard to do when you're sleep deprived, methinks... I'll get over it, though. I'm kind of wishing today like it was the old days when I was chugging regular Coca-Cola all the time with the blessed caffeine and sugar. When I could find it, I would pick up a six pack or two of Jolt. Oh my god, I loved that stuff... Many a late D&D sessions in high school were Jolt powered. There was this liquor store in Fallbrooks that sold it, so the guys and I would run to the store and stock up. It wasn't for everyone, but it really had me going high octane! We would end a long weekend with a massive pyramid of soda cans. Yum! Now, though, I'm usually only getting the caffeine side with Diet Dr. Pepper or something. Not that I've got a major aversion to sugar, just don't need to down such large amounts in a drink, you know? ;)

As for the cleain pair of socks comment? I work from home a couple of days per week and the first thing I do when I wake up is find a clean pair of socks, get a soda, and get my allergy medication. The routine is the same when I'm working in the office, but I usually wait until I get there to drink soda. ;)

Anywho, off to sleep! I've got a ton of things to write over the next couple of weeks, so I'm hoping some rambling will clear the cobwebs...

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Small Press Idol, Vegas, and Writing like a Madman

My wife and I escaped for Vegas on the last day of Small Press Idol Round 2. It wasn't a statement, just timing. My wife had a couple of days off in a row, so off we went! My intent was to take some time over the weekend and get some writing done... I have several projects I need to get some pages written, but... well.... yeah, that didn't happen. As soon as we arrived at the Cal (the California off of Fremont St in the old strip - best place to be IMHO). We were there for maybe 15 minutes, hopped on our first machine and BAM, my wife won $400! Nice! So, we were able to do some more gambling over the weekend and some shopping. There was also an awesome Hawaiian festival in one of the parking lots by the Cal celebrating May Day.

Anywho, writing writing writing... With Small Press Idol, KT is hard at work on the art for Round 3... I, of course, am still trying to teach myself lettering with Cary on speed dial to ask questions. Ok, not speed dial, but you get what I mean. He knows what he's doing and he responds to emails which makes him #1 in my book. As for other things, I had a BRILLIANT idea for a new story while on the road heading to Vegas late at night. Everyone in the car was asleep around 8pm and the ideas started flowing. I had to nudge my wife awake and I had her text things to me so I wouldn't forget them. A few other ideas popped in my head over the weekend, too, but the one... dude, I wish I was the sharing type! Sorry about that! I did manage to brainstorm on some other projects, too, but nothing substantial.

I suppose this weekend was a much needed break for Faction fans (thanks for tolerating my posts), my wife, and I... People have asked me when I sleep and I started to wonder that myself over the last couple of weeks of the competition. Geez, it was definitely like Ian said, a marathon, not a sprint. In the end my lead managed to keep me on top as well as the dedication of my voters, but I'm expecting Round 3 to be a COMPLETELY different ballgame.

That's it for now! Expect some exciting things in the coming weeks and look forward to being impressed by our Round 3 submission on May 18th!