Sunday, January 30, 2011

RVs Interview

Rob has a great interview on Inanna's Tears right here.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Inanna's Tears Blog

With both The Grave Doug Freshley and Inanna's Tears coming your way within a short time frame, my respective partners and I are taking slightly different tacks in promoting these. RV has set up and arranged graphic design for a blog dedicated to our book, and I've posted a few images and comments already.

This whole promotions thing is something I'm still learning about. What are the best approaches and just how effective are they? More effective than not doing anything, I expect.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

They Are All Great Books.

Most of my books have kind of odd topics. Ramses and Moses. Flood myths. And with Inanna's Tears a tragedy set 50 centuries ago.

Moreover, my art style is distinct in ways that may never make me a fan favorite, although I will immodestly claim that it does have its virtues.

Inanna's Tears is the last of the four graphic novels I drew for Archaia some years back to see the light of day. Rob and I are elated, but also recognize that it is coming at a time that can be difficult for little known books. The same can be said for The Grave Doug Freshley, and Some New Kind of Slaughter (still available), not to mention Omega Comics Presents, Kagemono, Acts of Violence, Spinning to Infinity and your comic as well.

Archaia deserves credit for having persevered to get my books out. They take risks, and make extra efforts, and spare nothing to see that all their books receive the highest production value. I'm proud to be associated with the company, and of the range of material they publish, and for the way that they have supported my own odd ducks.

But seriously, folks, my books are all great reads, you'll love 'em!

Monday, January 24, 2011

The Goddess Lives!

Just got the word that Inanna's Tears will be published next month, that's February 2011. May I say that RV and I have been waiting four years for this. It was the second of four graphic novels I drew for Archaia, the first, after The Lone and Level Sands of three that I drew in a little of a year of creative frenzy. Some New Kind of Slaughter saw the light of day about a year and a half ago,and The Grave Doug Freshley is >ahem< freshly available at Graphicly, as detailed below. And hot on its heels comes Inanna's Tears.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Daddy's Girl Thumbs Up!

Also available is a short that RL and I did for Kagemono, an Australian anthology. This one was rather personal for my partner, and that paid off with a terrific review from the website Scary Minds

"Kicking off the book is one of the better zombie stories you are ever likely to read in Daddy's Girl (story Russell Lissau, art mpMann). Last time I reviewed a Kagemono release I mentioned that Jason Franks had perhaps been giving the zombie thing a wide berth due to there not being a whole lot more to say on the matter. Naturally Franks has left me with egg on my face, as Daddy's Girl takes an idea Romero hinted at and gives it an impactful central focus. Flowers and Skulls is worth investing in for this story alone kids, best zombie story since The Walking Dead enthralled us all."

You can get it here.

OMP 4 Cover

After about six iterations and varied discussions, we have a cover for Omega Comics Presents 4 coming from publisher Pop Goes the Icon home to The Utopian and other great comics. "L'ange De Bastogne seems to be the featured story and takes the cover slot.

Doug Press Release

the press release for The Grave Doug Freshley is up at Archaia.

Both ADL and RL have offered lovely testimonials.

Its Commentin'Time!

JH and I have added comments to the first issue of The Grave Doug Freshley, now available at Graphicly. (They've officially dropped he period in the middle of their name.)

To Many Little Things to Do

And several that I need to devote some real time to. A few are obligatory, but most are things I volunteered for. Those feel as real as the ones required of me, maybe moreso.

Finished the cover for Omega Comics Presents, which I will share once it is approved for release by the publisher. I would like to finish another book someday, I am reading two at the moment...

Need to go run a few errands now, et to the gym, and do the real thing I need to finish, or at least start while I still have a day off.

Days off. Always so busy.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Lifelike at Graphic.Ly

Lifelike can be found here

A collection of stories written by Dara Naraghi appeared on the web some years back, and then in hardcover from IDW and is now available at Graphic.Ly for a variety of platforms at only $3.99.

I illustrated two of the stories, apage of which can be seen here.

This stuff was all done some years back, but I gotta love the way Dara has kept it out there.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

On the Form of Digital Comics

One of my problems with the digital display of comics is that it tends to be an effort to adapt comics designed for print first and foremost to a medium that is markedly different. Digital features lower resolution than print; and while phones and e-readers came be both landscape and portrait in orientation, computer screens are overwhelmingly landscape, while traditional print has a portrait orientation. Hand held digital devices are mostly smaller than printed books as well.

Many of these new digital publishers advertise how their applications show the comic "the way the creators intended." And it is clear that the creators intended it for print. The result is scrolling around from panel to panel, either automatically or by hand, and popping individual panels out because they are too small to be comfortably read otherwise.

Now admittedly I'm old. The first telephone I used, you spoke to the operator and told her the number. I'm rather slow to pick up new technologies. But for me, scrolling and popping is not how you read anything, let alone comics. Your mileage may vary.

But I'm not so old that I can't think about how to take advantage of this new tech, this new medium, and create art that is designed for it, and takes advantage of the strengths and limitations it offers. This is exciting, the beginnings of things are where innovation can begin. It will change the form of the art, just as comic books changed comics from the pace and shape they used in newspaper strips. This is a time for innovators and thinkers to re-invent and have an impact on the medium.

So I want my digital comics to be clear and readable at a glance on a screen, large or small. Especially small, because if it can be read small, it can be read larger. For Okita and the Cat, I cut a story designed for print up into tiers of 1-3 panels, each intended to represent a kind of thought or sentence or exchange in comics terms. maybe it was just a reaction shot to the previous screen. Maybe it was a back and forth, call and response. Maybe it was an entire conversation. I made the text larger than usual, because the lower resolution wouldn't support text that was too small. But Okita wasn't written or drawn with this in mind so there were compromises.

I will be drawing a web comic called Head Mechanics for Serene Hamzawi, and another project with Josh for Longbox called Black Flies. And my thought is this, although I may have to modify it, as conditions dictate in the field.

Each screen consists of a horizontal tier of panels, drawn at 6x9 inches. The text should be large enough to be reduced to smartphone size and still be readable. The art should be simple enough to be unconfused at that size, yet detailed enough to look good on a device like nook color with its 7 inch diagonal. (I sell these, BTW) and even on something like an iPad or your computer monitor. These tiers could then be stacked, two a page for print. That results in a 3x4 magazine aspect ratio and may not be ideal. But it is possible and is intended as a secondary usage.

These conditions drive the way the story is written. Larger text means fewer words, so the writer has to be concise and the shorter duration of each passage, means that there needs to be... well not necessarily a hook, although that remains an important story element, but the completion/resolution of a thought, an idea, the way a sentence or a paragraph completes an idea in prose.

Just as the daily comics strip calls for a different pace of storytelling than a comic book (read a big chunk of Terry and The Pirates at a sitting to see what I mean, it has a lurching pace that reads well in small daily doses, but seems odd at a sitting) so this type of presentation calls for a different pace of writing as well.

And I find that to be an exciting challenge.

Now I fully expect that over time, this plethora of new devices will shake out and standardize, and we will settle into something perhaps different from what I am attempting here. These are still early days, but late enough that we can now see that comics designed for pamphlets translate awkwardly to the small screen and we can be exercising our creativity to adapt to the possibilities before us.

Monday, January 3, 2011

The Change

Right Here.

Noel Tuazon's take on my bit of dialogue makes the emotional exchange crystal clear while adding mysteries through the character and production design.

So It Was Settled

Right Here

And Jason Copland's take on my short script can be found here. Jason just keeps getting better and better.

Other artists versions can be found at PnP Right Here.

Quantum Vibe

quantum vibe

Not my work, but certainly a new webcomic to watch from Scott Bieser, so I am sharing it with you. Check it out.