Why I don’t care much for Superheroes these days

Alright I said it, I don’t care much for superheroes. Like most people of my generation I grew up with superhero comics and cartoons. A steady diet of Batman, Spiderman, X-men and Ninja Turtles. But, something happened along the way that changed my mind.

Why? Well, I believe it was the same thing that drove me away from comics back in the 90s. Killing off characters just to get sales, reseting storylines and each issue seemed to have multiple foil covers strictly for a collector market. I was always the guy who actually read my comics instead of just keeping them in a poly bag. So you can imagine my dissatisfaction with all the marketing gimmicks.

I got tired of all the crap and walked away from reading comics for years, sticking with novels instead. It was only when I found a copy of Heavy Metal years later featuring Skydoll, that I was given a new idea of what comics could be. Fully painted, weird, sci-fi and anything your heart desires, superheroes were just the gateway to get me in the door. It shouldn’t surprise me that I have moved on. Storylines don’t need to be rebooted and re-imagined every 5 years. A comic story can be self-contained like a novel, a revelation for sure. The birth of the graphic novel happened sometime while I was away and I may have missed out on the genesis of the idea but I’ve come back to see the future.

Over the last few years I have since gone back and read some of the classic superhero graphic novels. Dark Knight Returns, Killing Joke among others but I can’t find the interest in following what Batman is doing now. I have gravitated toward different things like Preacher, Hellboy, BPRD, Conan and Saga. If the library carries it I will give it a try that way I’m not stuck with anything I don’t enjoy. No pressure to finish if the book sucks and only purchasing the stuff that matters to me.

I haven’t totally given up on superheroes just yet. The only two hero books that I read now are Invincible and Savage Dragon. The writing for Invincible is exceptional and Ryan Ottleys’ art is badass as well. Constant twists and turns all created by the same creative team that has a planned ending to the story. As for Dragon I have huge admiration for Eric Larsen, he writes and draws every issue himself and has done so since the beginning. Eric has set the story in real-time so the characters change, age and grow throughout the book. Just like Jack Kirby anything goes in his world. Superhero or not there must be a good tale first.

I guess my problem with superheroes is how they are handled by Marvel and DC. I would much rather read a creator owned title these days. That way you know there aren’t too many cooks in the kitchen messing things up. Story by comity just doesn’t seem like a good idea to me. There is so many great books waiting to be discovered, I won’t be trying to recapture my youth collecting every Issue of X-men or Batman. Give me something different, that is pushing the boundaries of the medium.

Am I Indie enough for Indie Comics

My work seems to be at odds with the majority of indie comics that I have found. They’re not auto bio, humorous, crude or overtly vulgar. Not that there is anything wrong with that, I’m just not into writing that story.

Indie is the realm for the strange, marginalised and crude since anything goes when you can self publish. Working independent of the system may be the definition but there does seem to be some overall styles that pervade. Simple or graphically stylised art that ranges from cartoon-like to realistic, with an emphasis on story or idea. Although similarities between artists do show up in all arenas, due to the same influences, it’s not the defining factor. Just look at the music industry, there is no coincidence that popular musical taste tends to move in cycles. There are the masses of average people creating derivative work and the few extraordinary stand outs. Who doesn’t want to be that guy? The more artists in the pool, the more there are on both sides of the fence.

Throughout my life I have never been one to fit in or follow the crowd. Which I think is a blessing. As a result I think my work will stand apart from others, which is always a good thing in a crowded arena. For good or ill I’m doing something different. The hardest part is finding like-minded individuals creating similar work. As always it would be nice to discuss the challenges of painting a comic with someone who is facing the same problems. The task gets harder the more obscure your project is.

All that aside fitting in is for chumps, we all have different interests and skills. Each making us unique, just like each artists’ style is an amalgam of his or her influences. I think that there is a place for all comics, I not yet sure where my place is. It’s just my own path and I can’t share it, except for my experiences along the way.

Back Story and Underpainting – Art Vlog #35

I’ve been very analytical on my posts here and on my vlog. It’s in my nature and for some reason I have a hard time loosening up and getting comfortable. It takes me a lot of time but I do get there eventually. I tried something different on this weeks vlog, instead of just explaining what I’m doing while painting, I talked about the story itself. I like how it turned out, I’m definitely starting to figure out a system that works for me.

Making My Patreon Great Again!

Making Patreon work for me is something that had escaped me for the last few months. I started because I could. It was one more place to put myself out there and expand my readership. After starting it I wasn’t sure where to take it. So, that’s where I left it like a sad puppy wanting some attention all the while I was somewhere else.

I knew it was time for a change and I did it. The whole thing has been revamped, with new tiers, new goals and the look streamlined. I decided that if someone wants to help me achieve those goals I needed to provide more to them than I had originally thought. Now any patron can read finished pages of the Pod before they’re published anywhere. More behind the scenes stuff will be added weekly. Also I wanted something physical that I could offer. So, at my highest tier thus far I offer an exclusive postcard every month with a sketch on the back. There’s more to do, and I’m pumped to get back to work. New ideas are circling my brain just waiting for the chance to burst out.

I just want to thank everyone who has already pledged this month, you are AWESOME!!! As well I want to thank everyone who shared my post about my review on the comic vault. If you haven’t seen what I’m up to take a look at my Patreon page or my Vlog. I have plenty to see and more to come. Thanks again for all the support.

NEW Comic on webtoons and Vlog #34

Specimen X

I have a new comic up on webtoons called Specimen X. I have added it to the Tales of the Damned series I’m working on. Also Forever Green (the first Damned Tale) was Just reviewed by the Comic Vault, rather positively which I’m happy about. Check it out, Jamie Ryder has a cool blog with lots of different stuff there. As for my vlog this week shows me finishing up toning Specimen X with copic markers. It was nice to take a bit of a break from The Pod and work on something smaller for a change. These smaller projects can give a shot of motivation and shake things up. I may be in trouble if they become addictive and slow down my progress on the big project. I guess you just need to follow what feels right and for the moment a distraction seemed to be what I needed.

Finished Pages and a Comic Show

Well I finished painting pages 8 and 9 of “the Pod” this week. It felt like an eternity working on those paintings. I also attended the Vancouver Comic Arts Festival (VANCAF) which was awesome. I showed my work around a little but mostly it was independent artists selling their books. It was inspiring seeing how much work people are putting in to their projects. For myself I can feel overwhelmed at times just thinking about how far I have left to go. At least the stack of finished pages keeps me moving forward. This weeks Vlog shows the last bit of painting and clean up on pages 8 and 9 if you want to check them out. Scanning and lettering are up next. Later

Test Prints & Leveling Up

I’m still at it and nothing will stop me now. I’m Keeping up with my scheduled Vlog updating on Fridays, 31 and 32 are up now. In 31 I make a test prints of the first 7 finished pages of “the Pod” which I plan to show around today at a local Indie Comic Convention Vancaf. Episode 32 shows me working on something a little different. I’m inking a 1 page comic called  “Specimen X” that will be added to Tales of the Damned on Webtoons and I talk about evolving my videos and art. I’ll give some details about the show later and give a heads up when “Specimen X” updates.

Why Make Comics?

Why make comics? Just a short update, in this weeks Vlog I talk about why I decided to make a comic. Starting from failed attempts as an adolescent to building the courage to dive in and do the work. Later.

I’m Run Down, but Still Working

I’m still working at this comics thing. My new Vlog is up showing this weeks progress on my graphic novel “The Pod”. I don’t want this blog to turn into an aggregate for my Vlog but I have so little time as is. Blog posts are getting harder to write. I need to set a schedule for them otherwise they fall to the wayside. Maybe if I change-up the way I use it, to create a journal of thoughts or something similar. I don’t have new ideas for art techniques I use and if I do I’ll make a video. So a change needs to happen and I’m not sure what that is just yet. In the mean time my Vlog is updating on Fridays at 9 am if you are keeping up with my progress.

I missed posting the last couple so here is 27 and 28 as well.

 

Did my Vlog increase productivity?

By starting my Vlog I believe my productivity has increased, despite adding extra work like editing videos. It holds me accountable in a strange way and sets a loose schedule. Making me work even if I don’t always feel like it.

Since October I have finished penciling 2 chapters, inked 13 pages and painted 7. Not too shabby but it never feels like enough. I think in some ways I’m too hard on myself. The desire to see more done can be like a weight around my neck. Dragging me down instead of spurring me on. Mind games with myself is part of the territory I guess. I know the only one holding me back is myself and I just have to push through that resistance. The slowly building stack of pages is the real motivator. Seeing the work finished makes this project become real and I can’t wait to start sharing this story with others. In the mean time you can cheer me on and check in on my progress. Thanks to everyone Liking and sharing.