Somewhere outside of time and space lies the Akashic Library, its phantasmal shelves stretching off endlessly into the distance. What esoteric lore shall we uncover there today?
Hello, I hope you're well! I'm feeling pretty good, which is exciting, because I was sick for about a week and a half at the beginning of the month. I made it through the school year--hurray!--and went on a trip out of town with my wife and kids, ready to have some fun, and then I started to feel very, very tired. Even after a full night's sleep I felt groggy and really didn't want to go anywhere other than the couch. I took a test and, indeed, I was Covid positive. Overall I was lucky, I barely had any symptoms, just a mild sore throat and fatigue. But the fatigue kept me from doing much of anything other than napping and reading. I read a lot of comics. Man, I love comics. Hey, speaking of comics . . .
FEAR IS HERE!
I had planned on having printed copies of Matt Kish’s mini-comic Fear to sell at SPACE last month, but sadly the printer was delayed, world-wide supply chain problems and so on, and the books didn’t make it in time. Since then I’ve gotten the books, and they look good! It's a solid, handsome volume. The book just went on sale last week and I am happy to report that it had the best first week of sales in Spandangle Press history! If you want one, you can order a copy here.
Fear is, like the subtitle says, a Laser Brigade story. Laser Brigade is my comic about a team of space mercenaries in the future. In the first volume, a member of the team named Zars is lost in a wormhole, where he dies and is reborn (that's him dying on the cover there.) The rebirth happens off panel, in between chapters. I asked Matt if he'd be willing to write and draw the story of Zars's transformation. Thankfully he said yes; the end result is much more beautiful than Laser Brigade volume 1, which you don't need to read to enjoy this story.
When I pitched this comic to Matt, I told him to imagine that the story was based on an obscure toy line from the 1970s. I think this is what sold him on the idea. Matt is best known to the public for his brilliant work illustrating Moby-Dick and Heart of Darkness, but he is also a man who deeply adores the work of Bill Mantlo, the writer who turned simple toy lines like Micronauts and Rom: Space Knight into epic comic book sagas. In Fear, Matt follows in Mantlo's mighty footsteps.
DOES WHATEVER A LIGHTNING CAN
I debuted my comic Lightning Man at SPACE, and as of this week it's also available to purchase online. You can order a copy here, if you are so inclined.
You know, when I was sitting there at SPACE trying to sell Lightning Man--this is going to sound self-deprecating at first, but hold on, I'm going somewhere--I reflected that, from a marketing point of view, it's a pretty terrible concept. It's a black-and-white indie comic, drawn in a minimalist art style, and it's a superhero story. Indie comics fans tend more toward, you know, autobiographical comics, humor, that sort of thing. A wide variety of genres, but usually not superheroes. Superhero comics fans tend to want color, detailed artwork, precise lettering, all that stuff. If you were to get a small press comics fan interested in a superhero story, it would probably be a satire, or some fresh twist on the genre. But reader, there is no twist to Lightning Man, no high concept, and no satire; it really is the story of a teenaged boy who gets lightning powers and then decides to be a superhero. Also, the name "Lightning Man" is really generic. What can I say? I didn't approach this from the angle of what the public wanted. I started drawing Lightning Man on index cards, back when I was drawing little pictures on index cards all the time, and I decided I wanted to draw a comic about him, and this is how I draw. It evolved organically. If I told you "It's about a teenager with lightning powers!" I really wouldn't blame you if you said, "Oh, so it's like Static Shock, but less professional looking?" There is something distinctive about the approach and the way the story is told, but it's not something I can easily articulate. If you give it a chance and you read it, I bet you'll say, "Oh, that is different!" I guess you'll just have to trust me on that. The lovely thing--I told you this wasn't self-deprecating, I'm ending on a positive note--is that I am totally satisfied with how the comic turned out. The story, the print quality, the cover, everything. Though it may not attract a wide audience, it's a sincere labor of love, and I'm happy to share it with those who are interested.
AKASHIC TITAN: BLUE BOLT UPDATE
Akashic Titan: Blue Bolt is the project that's taking up most of my time these days. My goal is to finish layout by the end of June; I got started late because of Covid but I've been working steadily since I became a functional human being again. There are eight chapters and two appendices, and I have laid out chapters 1-5 and 7, so only 6, 8, and the appendices remain.
In order to make the layout for Chapter 5 work I needed a few more illustrations. Fortunately I'm the main illustrator for the project, so I was able to assign the job to myself and get it done fairly quickly. One of those illustrations was of the ferocious Croco-Tiger. I did this recreation of a Golden Age comics panel: