So I’ve put my entire 210-page graphic novel, The Front: Rebirth, on Issuu. For those who haven’t heard of it, Issuu is a “digital magazine” service through which you can upload a medium-res PDF of your comic, book, or magazine to be displayed in a somewhat intuitive reading interface. They have an Android app and promise to release an iOS version soon. I was playing around with the website on an iPad recently and the books look pretty good there. I would imagine they’d only look better on a dedicated app.
Due to the recent blogging about Steve Lieber’s experience with piracy, discussion has been renewed on the subject of obscurity, not piracy, being the real danger to independent content creators. I look at guys like Kim Holm, who sells his comics in print while simultaneously giving them away for free as a high-res PDF. Dani Jones recently blogged about how more of us comics creators should be releasing our stuff in PDF for viewing on tablet devices like the iPad. These things all got the fire lit under me to get more of my stuff out there in as many ways as possible.
But I also wonder about the negative side. I have books downloaded from the iBooks store, the Kindle store, and using the Stanza app. It’s kind of a pain in the tuchus to manage a collection of books across so many apps and libraries. As Dani suggested, it’d be nice if we cartoonists could find and embrace one format to distribute our digitized works to everyone, akin to music’s mp3 format. So perhaps using Issuu only helps confuse things. But you can download a PDF of the book from the Issuu page. If it means a few more people can discover and enjoy my work, it’s worth it.
I drew my first comic in 1st grade. It was a parody of Star Wars called Steer Wars. No, it wasn’t about wild animals fighting with light sabers. My little 7-year-old brain wasn’t even that sophisticated. It was called so because the Death Star in my story was shaped like a big steering wheel. I must’ve been influenced by the Hardware Wars parody that came out shortly after what came to be known as Episode IV.
But unfortunately my home burned down when I was a kid, and that comic was a casualty of the event.
But in 5th grade I drew a comic with actual characters that I made up myself! Silver and the Natural Resources was going to be the comic I’d draw well into my adult life. I remember telling my friends that my kids would read it and love it.
Well, I didn’t draw the series for the rest of my life, but I did re-imagine the character and premise with the help of friend Sara Turner back in 2005. Silver and the Periodic Forces saw two issues, and I hope even more someday.
So I thought I’d share the pages here in all their craziness. Prepare yourself for a world filled with talking and tempermental lizard men from space, elemental aliens made of fire, faceless men who can endure being sent to the center of a volcano, and giant transforming robots (Hasbro’s not reading, right?) that dwarf the very earth.
I beg you not to spoil the ending for your friends!
Gave my students an assignment in decompressed storytelling this morning. Had them tell a story in six panels last week, and this week they were to take that same story and tell it in twelve panels.
While they worked I stole a few minutes to doodle a little ink and crayon sketch of Blitzwing from Transformers: Animated.
I always thought that TF: Animated’s reinterpretation of Blitzwing was downright simple and brilliant. Like the TF:A version, the original character was a triple-changer (turning from tank to jet to robot), but there wasn’t a whole lot going on with his personality in the G1 cartoon. Sure, there were some cute moments in the episode “Triple Takeover”, but not anything terribly memorable.
The TF:A creators, on the other hand, did a few simple word associations and came up with an interesting new take on him. The voice actor Bumper Robinson simply assumed he was German (with a name like Blitzwing, why not?), and writer Marty Isenberg added a triple personality to go along with the triple form (a stereotypical German Nazi officer for the jet personality, a parody of Arnold Schwarzenegger for the tank personality, and a deranged jack-o-lantern personality for the third) . Add the great character design by Derrick J Wyatt (love the monocle on the “jet” face!), and you have a truly memorable character.
I talked with writer Marty Isenberg about Blitzwing’s development a bit during an interview with him on the Art & Story podcast some time ago.