Femme Noir: A Gruesome Twosome

 Crime Comics, FEMME NOIR, My Projects  Comments Off on Femme Noir: A Gruesome Twosome
Mar 232015
 

Another peek at the new graphic novel-in-progress. Introducing two new additions to the Femme Noir rogues gallery: Wilhelm Skreem & E.C. “Ghastly” Gaines. (Actually, Ghastly’s appeared once before….) And both of these guys work for Madame Morella MaCabre’s “Ghoul Squad,” of course!

Art by Joe Staton & Rick Burchett, with colors by Matt Webb!

Sneak Peek: The New Femme Noir!

 Comics, Comics Previews, FEMME NOIR, My Projects  Comments Off on Sneak Peek: The New Femme Noir!
Mar 032015
 

I’m pleased to announce that the Femme Noir team – Yours Truly, artist Joe Staton, inker Rick Burchett, and colorist Matt Webb – have begun production of a new Femme Noir miniseries, “Cold, Dead Fingers.”  I can’t say when it will be finished, but I’m hopeful that it will be completed this year, and probably see print in 2016. No publisher yet, but I have been having some encouraging discussions.

To celebrate this new beginning, I thought you folks might like to take a look at the first page of our forthcoming supernatural crime saga. To make it more special, I’m going to share with you the process that we employ in making our Femme Noir funnybooks.

I. It Begins With The Word: In this case, I wrote a detailed plot, breaking down the storytelling in some detail. No dialogue or captions as yet – I write those after I have Joe’s penciled pages in hand; as I am the letterer as well as writer, I basically do both at the same time. Here’s how the plot described this first splash page:

PANEL 1. And here we go…. We begin with a movie poster-styled splash page. In the center of the image is a full-length shot of Le Femme, hat pulled down low, guns in hands, trenchcoat whipping in the wind. Behind her is a sketched in Port Nocturne skyline. On the left, there’s a huge, spookily-lit “ghostly” head shot of our brutish killer – in this iteration, he’s called “Crusher” Corrigan – and below him, a full-length image of mad scientist Dr. Karl Boroff. On the right hand side of the page, opposite Corrigan’s scary melon, is an equally spooky “ghost” head of Madame Morella MaCabre. Below her, opposite of Boroff, is a full-length figure of plainclothes dick Lt. Rod Riley, pistol drawn.

Below that, room for the title lettering – ‘COLD, DEAD FINGERS’ – and a breathless introductory caption.

II. Joe’s Deadly Pencil: From this florid description, Joe draws the page in pencil, employing his considerable talent and experience, working his magic:

FN_CD_01_01A

Joe then e-mails me a lo-res jpeg to review. Once I’ve looked it over, and am sure that we’re both happy with it, Joe then e-mails the page as a hi-res image file to…

III. Putting The Noir In Femme Noir: …inker Rick Burchett. Joe and Rick have worked together numerous times before, perhaps most memorably on the 1980s incarnation of E-Man. In this case, Rick is applying his atmospheric blacks digitally, using his Cintique tablet.

FN_CD_01_01B

Once completed, Rick sends jpeg files to both Joe and I to see if we have any notes. If everything’s cool, as it is here, the image is then sent on to our last teammate.

IV. Dangerous Hues: Colorist Matt Webb gets his hands on the page next, and with the original script for reference (and having colored several Femme Noir adventures before), Matt digitally – and dramatically – colors the page.

FN_CD_01_01c

Nice, huh? Once again, a lo-resolution copy of the colors is sent out for approval of all and sundry. Then, it all comes back to me.

V. The Final Words With the finished page in my e-mail box, I take it into Photoshop and fit it into the appropriate page template. Having scripted the dialogue – or in this case, caption – when I got the pencils, I then do the lettering in Illustrator. Finally, I drop the text in on the page back in Photoshop…  and voilà!

FNOIR_CDF_01_01

So that’s how we do it. Repeat for pages 2, 3, 4 and so on… until the book is complete.

Stay tuned here for future Femme Noir updates, sneak peeks and announcements (which will always appear here first!).

Big GRAVEDIGGER News

 Comics Previews, GRAVEDIGGER, My Projects  Comments Off on Big GRAVEDIGGER News
Jan 152015
 

It was just a little over two months ago that the hardboiled crime comic that I created with artist Rick Burchett, Gravedigger, concluded its online serialization. At the time, I speculated that we wouldn’t have to wait long for the character’s return… and here it is.

Rick and I have just signed with Action Lab Entertainment’s “Danger Zone” mature readers imprint, to bring the two existing Gravedigger sagas – “The Scavengers” and “The Predators” – to both print and digital formats in 2015. The stories will be presented in a three-issue comic book miniseries format and as a digital edition on Comixology. Action Lab will be making their own announcement soon, and there will be more details revealed then.

The release dates haven’t been set yet, but you can be sure I’ll be plugging the hell out of the book when the time comes!

The End of GRAVEDIGGER

 Crime Comics, GRAVEDIGGER, My Projects  Comments Off on The End of GRAVEDIGGER
Nov 172014
 

After about ten years of work, and a year-and-a-half online serialization, the hardboiled crime webcomic by Yours Truly and Rick Burchett, concludes today. That’s right – Gravedigger is done.

At least for now.

“Digger” McCrae will probably be back, though. He’s a tough sonuvabitch. I’m already talking to publishers about print editions and digital download versions of both “The Predators” and “The Scavengers,” and I’m hopeful that we’ll be seeing said versions sometime soon.

Rick Burchett and I do hope to complete at least one more Gravedigger comic (tentatively titled “The Marauders”) sometime in the future. First, though, we have a different comics pitch (kinda like Gravedigger, but not) that we’re putting together, and Rick will be inking Joe Staton’s pencils on a new Femme Noir graphic novel that I hope will be finished next year.

Gravedigger has been – and still is – my love letter to old Gold Medal crime pulp paperbacks, 60s and 70s caper films, and all the great Hollywood tough guys. It’s been a real pleasure collaborating on it with Rick off and on over the last decade, and I’m grateful that the strip – and its protagonist – seems to have garnered a loyal cadre of fans.

Interestingly, the strip received a very in-depth and thoughtful write-up by Timothy Cramer on his excellent blog just this past week. The Gravedigger comic has gotten a fair number of positive reviews over the years, but I was quite impressed by Cramer’s analysis of the storytelling of the strip. It actually makes it look like Rick and I know what we’re doing!

In any case, check out the final page of “The Predators” here.

It Came From Outer Space

 Comics, My Projects, Space Opera  Comments Off on It Came From Outer Space
Sep 292014
 

Here’s another sneak peek at the “secret” space opera graphic novel I’m working on with artist Peter Grau (which is still probably a year or two from completion).

This little fella (we haven’t settled on the color yet, thus the multiple hues – though I’m leaning toward the green) is an interstellar critter known as a “globlin.” They cling to spaceships and get stuck in the jets. This particular specimen’s name is “Kooba.,” because of his affinity for a certain 22nd Century soft drink brand.

More – much more – to come.

PERILS ON PLANET X: The End Is Nigh!

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Aug 222014
 

After about a year and a half of regular weekly Friday updates, the first (and hopefully, not last) Perils On Planet X graphic novel, “Hawke of Terra,” is nearly completed (just two pages/weeks to go). This project has been in the works so long (almost 15 years!) that I can hardly believe it’s almost finished.

I’m pretty proud of the story, which is my take on classic interplanetary swashbucklers like John Carter of Mars and Flash Gordon, and am especially pleased with the visual storytelling of my artistic collaborator and partner, the amazing Gene Gonzales. The importance of our colorist, Ian Sokoliwski’s,  Technicolor hues cannot be underestimated, either. I’ve been very fortunate to have such talented collaborators.

If you haven’t kept up with Perils On Planet X – or worse, haven’t read it at all! – you can still read it from the beginning, for free on the site. That link will take you right to the first page. Our future plans are still up in the air, so this might be a good time to take a few minutes and catch up… and maybe post your thoughts on the book.

Hey Kids! Comics!

 Comics, FEMME NOIR, GRAVEDIGGER, My Projects, Online Comics, POPX  Comments Off on Hey Kids! Comics!
Apr 232014
 

I know I haven’t been posting to this blog much in the last few months, but Spring is here and all the distractions that plagued me over the Winter From Hell™ are receding in the rear-view mirror, so it’s time to get back to the “shameless self-promotion and pop culture commentary” this site promised.

Let’s begin with  the “self-promotion,” and a long-overdue look at the Atomic Pulp line of webcomics. If you’re reading this, then your almost certainly aware that I write, and publish online, three weekly, serialized webcomics (did I mention that they’re free?): Gravedigger, Perils On Planet X, and Femme Noir.

Gravedigger is more than halfway through its action-packed second continuity, “The Predators.” Over the last couple months we’ve had some scheduling issues due to various circumstances on both my part and multiple-award-winning artist/co-creator Rick Burchett’s, but it looks like we’re back on track now, with new installments every Monday. Once “The Predators” wraps, we plan to move right into the third – and biggest – Gravedigger caper, tentatively titled, “The Abductors.” Like “The Predators,” this one is brand-new, and has never been available in any format before.

Every Wednesday sees an episode of Femme Noir, drawn by my pal, Joe Staton, who is currently shaking up the funny pages as the artist on the Dick Tracy newspaper strip. At the moment, we are re-presenting previously-published stories while we gear up to produce a new graphic novel.

The most popular of the Atomic Pulp webcomics (in terms of monthly traffic) is Perils On Planet X, which updates on Fridays. This swashbuckling interplanetary adventure, which is illustrated by the immensely talented Gene Gonzales, and colored by Ian Sokoliwski, has updated like clockwork for more than a year now, with no missed weeks. We’re about a third of the way into Chapter Three of the first storyline, “Hawke Of Terra,” and looking toward the future. We’re working on plans for a collected volume (and maybe some crowdfunding to pull it off) of this first “Book,” as well as discussing future stories.

We appreciate all comments and feedback from our readers. We also appreciate every link and referral, because the more readers we have, the easier it is justify keeping them going. So thanks, to everyone who’s helped spread the word… and if you haven’t read them yet: why not?

Dinosaurs In Space

 My Projects, Space Opera  Comments Off on Dinosaurs In Space
Apr 132014
 

It’s been a long time since I first mentioned the secret comics project that I’m working on with artist Peter Grau, but that’s mostly because I didn’t get much of my part of it done over the winter. It turned out to be a hellish few months, with too much else going on. Now, though, I’m back to work on the script(s), so I thought I’d post another preliminary sketch from the pulp space opera epic by my amazingly talented collaborator.

Still no schedule or target date for the finished project; it’ll be done when it’s done. I will be keeping interested folks posted on our progress though, here on my blog.

Into The New Year

 My Projects, Personal  Comments Off on Into The New Year
Jan 022014
 

I didn’t get everything accomplished that I wanted to in 2013, but I’m proud that I was able to launch both Perils On Planet X and Gravedigger online in February, and haven’t missed a weekly update on either comic.

A big shout-out is due to my amazing collaborators on those projects: Rick Burchett, Gene Gonzales and Ian Sokoliwski, who helped make sure we stayed on schedule. Both comics serials will continue in 2014.

I also began re-presenting Femme Noir stories online this past Summer, in anticipation of a new graphic novel that Joe Staton and I (with inker Rick Burchett & colorist Matt Webb) will be putting together in 2014. I’d hoped to have this mostly written by now, but it’s taking me a bit longer than I expected. Hopefully, I’ll have script pages to Joe shortly after New Year’s.

I’m also moving ahead on my graphic novel “secret project” with artist Peter Grau, which I also hope to get put together in 2014.

Sincere gratitude to all of you who have supported my comics efforts this year, especially those who spread the word and shared links. I am genuinely grateful.

As to 2014, I intend to keep plugging away on my comics, maintaining a stellar updating schedule, and working toward eventual print editions of my comics properties.

Outside of my comics efforts, the second half of 2013 saw a decline (due to blogger burn-out) in my sci-fi blogging (Space: 1970) and my writing of DVD and Blu-ray reviews (DVD Late Show). I plan to return to both with a renewed enthusiasm and energy in 2014, as long as I believe that people are getting something out of my efforts.

That all said, I want to wish all of you a very fine 2014. May we all see our goals realized, seize our victories wherever we can, and be relatively untouched by tragedy and misfortune.

Happy New Year!!

Webcomics On A Card

 Appearances, FEMME NOIR, GRAVEDIGGER, My Projects, POPX  Comments Off on Webcomics On A Card
Nov 082013
 

It’s tough to promote webcomics (Femme Noir, Perils On Planet X, Gravedigger) sitting behind a table at a convention, but I made up a bunch of postcards for this weekend’s Coast City Comicon that I’ll be handing out, with all the website info printed on them. Maybe a few folks will go online and check ’em out after the show….