Monday, December 19, 2011

Swollen heads, prima donnas, and the ego of the comic book creator

In my many years if trying to make a name for myself in the comic book industry, I have come across a lot of great people. I've met superstar creators that sell hundreds of thousands of books, and I've met indy artists and writers that still print their books at Officemax. From small press to the big two, I found that the overwhelming majority of these good people shared one integral character trait: Humility.

They didn't try to dazzle you with rehearsed charisma. They didn't claim their project, script, or art was the best thing ever. And they sure as hell never bashed other creators work, even if it was from creator with less experience, and ESPECIALLY if it was from someone who has has encountered far more success than themselves.

I read a quote yesterday about artists, and it most certainly pertains to writers as well. "Very few artists look at their work and think it's awsome, and if they do, they're usually wrong." This couldn't possibly be more spot on. Fucking bullseye. There's nothing wrong with taking pride in your work. If you don't, what's the point? But when one's ego is so large, so unaccepting of constructive criticism or input from peers and colleagues, you make the mistake of thinking your shit doesn't stink. Every artist has room to improve. Every artist, no matter the medium, should strive to constantly be getting better at their craft. If you close yourself off from creative input from others, then you are in a sense saying, "I'm better than everyone else, and I don't need to change anything." And if that's the case, you might as well hang up your pen and get a job somewhere other than the creative field.
At the end of the day, us comic book creators are a very lucky gaggle of nerds. We took our love of comics we fostered as kids, and turned it into a way to support ourselves. It's basically playing make believe on a much larger scale. It's also something to be increbly thankful for. So even if there is a writer, artist, or publisher you're not really digging, don't go ripping on their work in public. No matter the quality of the work, they are still a vital cog in the machine that keeps people dropping their ever so harder to earn dollar in your local comic shop. This brings the first post of 2012 to an end. Let's all make this year a productive and prosperous year. Go out and buy some comics. Write some comics. Draw some comics. If you come across something that really isn't up your alley, just don't buy it. It's that easy.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Jinger Bears, Jinger Bears...

The holiday season has descended upon us with the fury of one thousand wombats fueled by Red Bull and anxiety once again. Where a family will spend 42 percent of it's earnings on mostly useless, poorly fashioned, designer merchandise, just to tell the recipients, "I think you're awesome enough to eff up my credit for." Don't get me wrong, I love the holidays. It's one of the few times a year I get to see my parents, brothers, sister-in-laws, and now nephews and neice, all in one place, at the same time. What people should REALLY be concerned with this time of year. NOT wether they can get 30 bucks off the latest Toshihoshi high def TV, or if they nead to assault a 90 old woman in order to secure the last Foot Fetish Elmo. At the end if the day, do you REALLY think that electronics manufacturer or toy company really care if you have a joyous holiday season? Nope. They couldn't care less if you used that flatscreen as a changing table, just as long as your greenbacks make it into their profit column in their 4th quarter wrap up meeting. My suggestion is this. Instead of buying Mom that fancy smartphone that she probably doesn't know how to use anyway, make her dinner. She'll probably treasure that gift for the rest of her life. Way more than a platic pile of circuits that will be obsolete in a week. Buy your dad a few beers, sit and talk with him for a couple hours. It will be infinitely more memorable than that torque wrench that he'll use twice a year. Sure, buy your kids a few fun things...but make sure they know WHY they are getting them. Not because some fat ass who runs a sweatshop in the arctic thinks they're "nice."  My rule of thumb for gift giving for adults is this- ask yourself, "Would it be a good gift after the zombie apocalypse?"

Plumber racing 7 for the latest next-gen video game system?

Nope. Zed would eat you quicker than your labored breathing ass can say "wi-fi."

Two hours at the shooting range with your dad who you see twice a year?

You've just improved your relationship with pops, while at the same time securing your place in a world that is ruled by the undead.

My next topic is this- who is the pretentious jerk off that decided "Merry Christmas" is inappropriate? If someone wants to wish you good fortune, in whatever fashion it may be, is something that doesn't happen nearly enough. If someone wishes you a "happy birthday" if you were cloned in a lab, would you get all salty with them and tell them to fuck off? No, you'd say thank you, and be happy about it, even if you are an abomination of science and nature that lacks a soul.

So if someone wishes you a Merry Christmas, Happy Hannukkah, or Radical Ramadan...and you get offended by it because that doesn't happen to line up with whichever invisible man you pray to, then fuck directly off. You aren't deserving of the kind nature and well wishes a stranger went out of their way to bestow upon you.

With Christmas just one short week away, make sure you take the time to appreciate the people in your life. If you're like me, and Jesus is more of a "Really cool hippie who helped a lot of people with no concern for self" rather than a personal savior...then Christmas really isn't about religion. It's about showing your Family, Friends, and various other characters that bring a little light into your life that you actually care.

Take care Townies, and I'll check back in after this holiday turned zoo is over.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011


It doesn't happen much this time of year, so you have to make it yourself.

What's up world... Been a few weeks since my last blog entry, so I thought I'd update everyone on what's happening in the world of Townies.

First, Townies Got accepted to This is huge. For those of you that don't know, Kickstarter is a website that helps independent creative projects raise funding for what they need. In my case, that would be printing funds, advertising, art supplies, and hardware. They help fund pretty much any type of creative projects, from music to art, so if you have a project that may need some funding, check them out.

Second, I'm on the tail end of finishing up a project I started a few years ago, called Kozmik. I did the Pencils, digi-inks, and colors for the first 40 pages back in '07, and I got hired a few months back to complete the pencils for the rest of the book. Hopefully You'll be able to pick it up sometime next year.

Third, The Projects at Ravenhammer Comics I've been working on for the past couple years are on indefinite hiatus, For me anyway. Due to various legal reasons and creative differences, My partner and I have decided to part ways, and pursue our own projects. I'm imagining he'll continue with Lucius Hammer, so for all of you Hammerheads out there, fear not, the show goes on.

For me however, I've decided to take the workload on my own shoulders, and write and draw my own material.

Anyway folks, That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Unfortunately, there is no new art to go along with this post, so here's a little ditty that picks me up when things get grey.

Friday, November 4, 2011

We all have one.

It could be a neighbor. A teacher. A bully. In some of the worst cases, a family member.

One person that inspires such frustration, such disdain for their mere existence, you wonder how such a life form could even have come into existence. How on a cellular level, two very shallow ends of the gene pool come together, and create such an abomination. Almost as if it were some cruel sociological experiment crafted by two evil beings to create the devil himself.

The unfortunate soul on this page that is getting the tar beat out of him is just that evil creation.
Richard P. Cockwood was born when in 1962, his father successfully mated with a Billygoat. (Or so the legend goes.) Other stories have the Dicker being raised by mutant grubs in a series of tunnels under Toledo, Ohio.

Fast forward 59 years, and he becomes the CEO of Wireless Widgets, and also, Our Main Character's Boss. Will he get his just desserts? You'll just have to wait and see. But if I were a betting man, I would bet a strong YES.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Black and white Vs. CMYK. FIGHT!

There is a certain attitude some people have that black and white books aren't as good as color books. Now, most of the time, I will never blast one person's opinion. But for those jackasses that think black and white is inferior to color: You're stupid.

Some of the very best books ever produced were in black and white. American Splendor. Anything done by Crumb. The Walking Dead. Sin City. Hell, Japan sells BILLIONS of dollars worth of Manga every year, most of which is in black and white.

Nobody can argue that anything was lost because the previously mentioned titles lost anything due to them being in black and white. In fact, one could argue that if they were in color, they wouldn't have the same appeal. I sit on that side of the argument.

Among the amazing books I read as a youth, the ones that shaped my perception of comics, one stood out, head and shells above the rest. TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES. The pen and ink, coupled with the tones used, captivated my young mind, and still resonates today. This is one of the reasons that Townies will skip the ever so popular four color printing process, and opt for a more economical, yet still very effective black and white technique. It's faster, easier, and has a certain appeal that color books don't.

And hey, if you're colorblind, you get a double bonus.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Keepin' it real.

Have you ever picked up a comic, watched a TV show, or seen a movie, and thought, "People just don't talk like that. They don't behave like that." Yeah? me too. It gets rather frustrating at times. At the other end of the spectrum, there are those instances where you come across characters so real, that you think "I swear, I've MET them."

As a teenager, I had already decided that I was going to make comics. It was pretty much set in stone from an early age. Many a forty ounce of fine malt liquor was consumed as my friends and I bullshitted about the kinds of comics i would make when I actually "made it." I was of the school of thought that X-Men, Spider-Man, or Batman was really the only route to take. And I was perfectly fine with that. sometimes, we would joke that I should make a comic based on us. Our group of friends. For so many years i dismissed that idea, as a bunch of alcohol and dirt weed filled teenager just talking nonsense. Nobody would read a comic about that. Or would they?

Fast forward about 11 years. I'm in my late 20's, and i have my first real paying comic gig. It was a fun, superhero sci-fi adventure. I kept telling myself that I loved doing it, which in many ways I did. There was still something lacking though. I didn't know any kid when I was ten that got an alien super suit and defended the planet. I didn't write the book myself either, so there was already a disconnect for me.  I yearned to create something that was a little more real, a little more personal.

One night, at the bar with those very same friends I used to drink with underage in undisclosed locations, the idea came up again. "Colbs, you still need to make a comic about us."

That night, Townies was born. The idea for it anyway. I had no idea of a story, of how I was going to include my vast network of friends and experiences into an entertaining read.  A few years later, I came across a book titled "Off Road" By Sean Murphy. A black and white graphic novel. No capes, no tights, no super powers. Real characters, and realistic events. Good dialogue. Funny. To top it all off, Sean Murphy's skills with a brush are out of this world. He successfully created a world that was believable, but wasn't "realism" by any means. For the first time, I thought, "I can do this."

But I didn't have anything to base it on. Nothing interesting anyway. Fast forward another few years. I had gone through a couple jobs, a couple girlfriends, and MANY life experiences crammed into a short time period. During a late night session of inspired writing, (and most likely a few drinks) the first chapter of Townies was born.

Trying to create realistic characters and a story that people will be entertained by has been an incredible experience. The verdict is still out on whether or not it will resonate with you, the reader, but I suppose that part isn't up to  me.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Better not bring your kids...

One thing that is certainly a hot button topic in comics is the use of adult situations and language.
Sure, you'll never see Superman bending Lois Lane over, or Captain America calling The Red Skull "a worthless pile of Nazi shit." Mainly because these characters represent something bigger, ideals that represent the best in all of us. It's not what the core audience is looking for. There are lines of comics from the big two that cater to a more adult audience, with graphic violence, sexual context, and language, and their covers are labeled with a "mature readers" logo.

Townies isn't a book for kids. (Unless you are a terrible parent.) It contains adult language and situations. Mind you, there isn't any graphic sexual content, or over the top violence, but it does deal with scenarios that anyone under 16 probably shouldn't be exposed to. It's a loose autobiographical tale, and my life hasn't always been sugar coated. Sure, a lot of awesome people and events have adorned my existence. But there isn't a day that has gone by where I don't hear "fuck, shit," and various other colorful verbiage. People drink, smoke, and have sex. They make crude remarks. It happens. And there is absolutely no way i could in my right mind keep that out of Townies.

So, in short, if you are easily offended, invest in some earmuffs.

Back Home.

Welcome to the very first post dedicated to Townies, the comic book written and illustrated by yours truly. Townies is more than just a comic. It's about life, love, work, friends, and everything in between.
There are no superheroes flying around. No time vortex wielding villains with a plot to destroy the universe. The characters and events are all based (albeit loosely) on real people, real happenings, and real situations. Now don't get me wrong, I love spandex clad adventurers just as much as the next geek. I would probably sell my soul to work on Batman, or cut off my left pinky to draw Spider-Man. But nobody has a costumed vigilante actually patrolling their city. I don't know anyone personally that has gotten powers from a radioactive spider bite. If I do, they certainly are doing an excellent job of keeping it a secret. With Townies, I wanted to create a story that when you read it, you can identify with it. When you pick it up, I want readers to think "hey, I know a guy JUST like that!" or "that very same thing happened to ME."

Every character in Townies is based off of someone i know, or a combination of people. I didn't sit down and think "Okay, this guy is going to be six foot four, and have the ability to split a car in half with his pecker... 'Cause THAT would be COOL." I had the intent from the beginning to create an experience that provides escapism without being unrealistic. That being said, don't think that some crazy, off the wall, "Damn, that would NEVER happen" moments don't pop up. Did the main character really dump his ex-girlfriend for starring in a donkey show, and posting the video to the world wide web? Probably not. Is that out of the realm of possibility? Nope.

It's not all dick and fart jokes either. Creative, witty dialogue, poignant situations, and life choices are peppered throughout the journeys of the inhabitants of the fictional college town of Bradleydale.

Over the coming months, I'll be updating this blog with artwork, stories, and anecdotes that all go into the creation of Townies.

Thanks for reading, and stay tuned.

Townies. Based on a true story. Kind of.