(February 25, 2013- Bellingham, WA) – Space Goat Productions, the premier comic book talent management and production company, adds manager Darren Vincenzo and promotes Dave Olbrich to Vice President to handle another busy year of making great comics, growing careers, helping editors and reviewing portfolios. Space Goat offers a full range of services: everything from comic book creation (interior art, logos, pinups, character designs, full-book packaging, etc.) to motion and interactive comics to project consulting and property development.
Darren Vincenzo, longtime Batman Editor for DC Comics, joins Space Goat as Talent Scout and Talent Manager. With a career that spans over 25 years, and includes offering Space Goat founder Shon Bury his first writing assignment, Vincenzo has developed a keen sense for discovering and developing talent.
“Space Goat offers an environment that provides guidance to developing artists. I know what artists need to get noticed initially, how to avoid pitfalls and how to help them hone and polish their work with each assignment,” said Vincenzo. That type of thing doesn’t really exist anywhere else.”
Dave Olbrich has been promoted to Vice-President of Space Goat Productions. A longtime industry professional, Olbrich has worked as a Talent Manager with the company since 2010. He will be assisting in Space Goat’s aggressive plans to build a deeper and more versatile talent roster and extend its reach with art buyers, publishers and producers. His scope includes the American direct-sales comic market, as well as international opportunities.
“Space Goat is a unique company with incredible potential,” Olbrich said. “I have seen the company grow by providing a real service to publishers, essentially making it easier to produce their titles. Shon broke the mold of other comic book ‘agencies’–and now we have set our sights even higher.”
“We feel honored to be able to offer such an outstanding roster of talent, coupled with a high degree of professionalism, to our partners,“ said Shon Bury, Owner and President. “And we’re thrilled to announce these staff improvements. ”
Space Goat Productions is home to top talent, both established and up-and-coming. A look at the roster includes talent ranging from established artists like Yvel Guichet (Pacific Rim), RB Silva (Superboy), and Iban Coello (Justice League Beyond) to the next generation, including Edgar Salazar (Deathstroke), Allan Jefferson (Batwing) and Victor Drujiniu (Justice League Dark). And it’s more than just domestic talent. Space Goat works with creatives around the world, with studios from Brazil, Spain, India and more.
BBXX By Jerry Scott and Rick Kirkman 335 pages, Andrews McMeel Publishing, $35
In the early days of 1990, a brand new comic strip debuted, perfect for parents of young children and universal in its humor. Coming from veteran writer Jerry Scott with art by Rick Kirkman, Baby Blues was a pretty quick hit, still running in hundreds of papers. Now in its 23rd year, Andrews McMeel recently celebrated the success with the release of BBXX: Baby Blues Decades 1 & 2.
Unlike a lot of strip collections, this comes with extensive commentary from both creators, annotating and riffing on what prompted particularly strips, gags, characters, and visuals. As a result, this becomes an interesting look back at the development and evolution of a strip that went from two parents and an infant to a five-member family. It caught fire quickly, earning the Ruben Award for Best Comic Strip of the Year in 1995.
Looking back, Kirkman’s early art for parents Wanda and Darryl is simple, emphasizing oversized heads for the bodies with exaggerated features, notably noses. He provided more background detail at first and has simplified his work to the point where there are now just suggestions of background detail.
Each generation appears to create its own family strip with the Nuclear Family of post-World War II represented by Hi & Lois and Family Circle while today we really have Zits! and Baby Blues. All four continue to run, the former two out of inertia while the latter two remain relevant with their contemporary humor. Scott and Kirkman are devoted to focusing on what it means to raise children from birth through toddler-hood through the addition of siblings. The strip opened in 1990 with the birth of Zoe while brother Hammie was added in 1995 with Wren arriving in 2002. As a result, the parents have aged very slowly, from 20-somethings wondering “Now what?” to 30-somethings trying to juggle three distinct personalities and overflowing schedules.
Over the course of the nearly 800 strips in this collection, the last of which is from their 19th year, 2009, you can watch subtle evolutionary changes. Not only in Kirkman’s art but in the gear parents tote around, the technology being used and the children’s fascination with ever grosser objects or fears. The one constant has been their minivan; the same model has been used from the outset. We also get a hilarious breast milk gag that was done to amuse the creators and which was accidentally sent to the editor, who was out that week so it went out to the newspapers. The gag raised nary an objection, much to their surprise. The Los Angeles Times, though, asked for a substitute strip which is reprinted here for the first time.
Hammie was added largely because Scott finally had a child and Kirkman was experiencing the tribulations of having a second child. “There’s a noticeable shift in the strip that began to take place when Hammie arrived. The characters started to become a little more complex, and the situations, broadened.” This is another reason why the strip grew, endured, and remains entertaining after two decades.
Scott notes in Chapter Three, the period when Wren was introduced, as showing the parents had actually learned a few thigns along the way, making new mistakes instead. He noted “as with real parenting, things inevitably even out to a steady DEFCON 3 or 4. At least until middle school.” We can hope they allow the characters to reach that level and see what happens next.
The book contains some great insight into how the strip and its characters were developed with interstitial Scrapbook sections throughout this entertaining collection. The final chapters look at their critics and the creation process so you really get a nicely rounded look at this universal family and their place in the comic strip world.
New Pulp Author Van Allen Plexico’s latest novel is the first in a series of Military Science Fiction New Pulp Space Opera adventure novels called The Shattering, published by White Rocket Books.
Press Release – For Immediate Release
THE SHATTERING: LORDS OF FIRE Arrives in Trade Paperback!
Plexico Brings Military SF/Space Opera to the world of New Pulp!
(January 28, 2013) White Rocket Books proudly announces the release in trade paperback format of Van Allen Plexico’s THE SHATTERING, LEGION I: LORDS OF FIRE!
Stripped of his authority by the Emperor of Mankind and assigned to duty in deepest space for failing to prevent the greatest robbery in history, former Colonel Ezekial Tamerlane believes his career as a soldier is over. But strange forces are at work, urging the Emperor to set out on a journey fraught with dangers into a nightmare realm a universe away from our own; and Tamerlane, like it or not, is going along for the ride. What he and his high-tech super-soldiers find along the way will shake the Empire to its very foundations, and unleash a crisis of galactic proportions that not all the armies in creation can hold back…
“Plexico is the master of space opera.” –Pulp Fiction Reviews
LORDS OF FIRE begins a new galaxy-shattering adventure from the author of HAWK: HAND OF THE MACHINE and LUCIAN: DARK GOD’S HOMECOMING, and bridges the divide between those two novels and universes. Here we see the fallout from the war of the gods in LUCIAN, and the growing crisis that will lead to the creation of Hawk and the other Hands of the Machine. Futuristic armies clash, godlike beings manipulate empires, and the gateway to the Underverse of the Below is reopened, unleashing slavering demonic hordes upon an unsuspecting galaxy!
Plexico’s previous novel, SENTINELS: METALGOD, reached #1 on the New Pulp Best-Sellers List in December 2012. “Nobody—not even Abnett and Lanning—does cosmic superheroes like Van Allen Plexico. Nobody,” said Barry Reese, creator of the Rook and Lazarus Grey.
“I wanted this book to kick off the new “Shattering” saga with a bang—with action from start to finish,” says Plexico of LORDS OF FIRE, “and that’s exactly what it does. I have no doubt that my loyal cadre of longtime readers will enjoy it, and I’m confident it will appeal to a new readership of bold Military SF enthusiasts who like a mash-up of high-tech combat and supernatural menaces in the vein of the Warhammer 40,000 books.”
White Rocket Books is a leader in the New Pulp movement, publishing exciting action and adventure novels and anthologies since 2005, in both traditional and electronic formats. White Rocket books have hit the Amazon.com Top 15-by-Genre and reached #1 on the New Pulp Best-Sellers List, and have garnered praise from everyone from Marvel Comics Vice-President Tom Brevoort to Kirkus Reviews.
THE SHATTERING, LEGION I: LORDS OF FIRE is a $15.95, 6×9 format trade paperback from White Rocket Books. 316 pages. ISBN-13: 978-0-61575-419-2 ISBN-10: 0-61575-419-8 (6×9” Trade Paperback)
Writer Ron Fortier and Artist Rob Davis will be guests at this year’s Oklahoma Writer’s Federation Conference to be held in Norman, Oklahoma May 2-4. Further details can be found at the organizations website.
Fortier and Davis will be presenting two 90 minute workshops on the creation of a graphic novel. The primary example of their presentation will be their own 108 pg. erotic horror graphic novel, DAUGHTER OF DRACULA published in 2007 by Davis’ Redbud Studio.
The team will be using a visual power-point slide show to illustrate the various technical aspects writing comics and the artist interpreting a script and bringing it to graphic life. Copies of the graphic novel will be on sale at the conference as well as this recently produced book version of the comic script.
“It seemed like a natural thing to do,” Fortier explains. “We thought writers having attended our workshops would benefit from not only having the graphic novel but the script from which it was derived as well. This way they could compare pages from the scrip to the completed art in the comic thus underscoring the points we will be making in our presentations.”
Matthew Holness first rose to notoriety with his character of Garth Marenghi; author, dream-weaver, visionary, plus actor. He’s a perfect creation, all the insufferable genre authors boiled down to one. Holness has returned with another author and another genre, and takes the story in the opposite direction. A Gun For George, available for viewing at Britain’s Film4 website, is a short film featuring a down on his luck author who’s angry at the world for the loss of his brother, and his popularity.
Terry Finch is the author of the (once) popular Reprizalizer series, a two-fisted vigilante, taking to the criminals of suburban England. He’s self-deluded, down on his luck, and angry at the world about it. While you laugh at garth and look forward to someday seeing his head trapped in farm equipment, Matthew makes you feel for Terry. His books are clear Mary Sue fiction, but with the world of Men’s Adventure series as their base, series like the Mack Bolan books that emerge from Gold Eagle press with astonishing regularity. Terry is hanging onto life by his nails, trying to sell his books door to door to make enough to repair his car, George, named after his brother. But when an old fan bequeaths him the contents of his council flat, including a loaded revolver, the implication is that Terry may finally erase the line between reality and fantasy.
Holness is a contemporary and collaborator with the gang from The Mighty Boosh, as well as popular comedians Richard Ayoade ([[[The IT Crowd]]]) and Matt Berry ([[[Snuffbox]]]). It’s a darker comedy than the Marenghi work, and features none of his past collaborators. Marenghi is an ego-trip on two legs, while Finch is a poor and desperate man, unwilling to admit that his books are a thing of the past, if indeed they were ever much popular at all. The film switches between modern day reality and Finch’s revenge fantasies, filmed in the style of a seventies “One man against crime” film trailers. Terry’s past is only alluded to, but it can be easily inferred that his books are an impotent strike back against the real assault of his brother George, which is why they are so important to him.
Holness is representative of a lot of British humorists who don’t feel the need to crank out non-stop product of questionable quality, preferring to take their time a craft the work to perfection. This short film is an example of why that can be a very successful process. No news on if we’ll see any more of Terry Finch in the future, but what we have seen here was well worth the wait.
SyFy (formerly known as the SciFi Channel) has acquired the US broadcast rights to the K-9 solo series, produced in Australia in 2010. They will run the entire 26-episode series in a 13-hour marathon on Christmas Day.
Featuring an updated K-9 design and a new group of characters, the series has been shown in many countries since its initial premiere. The US is one of the last regions to see the series on TV. The series is live-action, featuring a streamlined CGI K-9, voiced by John Leeson, the original voice of the “tin dog”.
K-9 is one of the most popular companions from the classic series of Doctor Who, with two different “models” traveling with The Doctor from 1977 – 1980, and making quite a few appearances afterwards.. Making his first appearance in the Bob Baker / Dave Martin adventure The Invisible Enemy, K-9 was the creation of Professor Marius, who built him as a replacement for his own dog back on Earth. After the adventure, Marius asked The Doctor to care for K-9, as he was returning to Earth and would not be able to take him on the ship. The original K-9 traveled with The Doctor and Leela for some time, and chose to remain with her on Gallifrey after the events of The Invasion of Time. The Doctor built a new model almost immediately, and he was a companion of The Doctor and fellow Time Lady Romana for another three years, until they chose to remain in E-Space with Romana at the end of Warrior’s Gate.
A third K-9 unit was sent to Sarah Jane Smith as a gift from The Doctor, and became her adventuring confidant for many years, up until she met The Doctor again in School Reunion. K-9 Mark III sacrificed himself in that adventure, but The Doctor was able to salvage enough to build a mark IV, which he left behind for Sarah Jane. The spin-off series The Sarah Jane Adventures was green-lit almost immediately after this adventure, but Bob Baker had already made the deal for this new series, which is why K-9 appeared only in limited cameos for the first two series of SJA.
K-9 has had quite a few appearances in the prose and Big Finish audio adventures as well. In the Gallifrey series of adventures, Romana returned to her home planet with her canine companion, and came to meet Leela, and HER canine Companion. K-9s Mark I and II, humorously, did not get along, and often argued with each other.
While Doctor Who cannot be explicitly be named, the K-9 of the new series is clearly the same K-9 from the original. Specifically he’s K-9 Mark I, who survives and escapes the Time War, and winds up on late 21st century Earth. After a brief fight where he is seemingly destroyed, he “regenerates” (a new system apparently installed for him by the Time Lords” into a new streamlined design. There’s a second series of the show in the planning stages, in which the producers have promised another redesign, responding to feedback from the fans.
Creators Bob Baker and Dave Martin collaborated on all the Doctor Who TV scripts, as well as numerous other projects in British television. Dave wrote four K-9 solo adventure novels in the early 80’s, and passed away in 2007. Bob Baker has had some small success away from Doctor Who as well – he co-wrote three of the Wallace and Gromit shorts, as well as the feature film The Curse of the Were-Rabbit.
With K-9’s appearance, we’ve seen every Doctor Who-related series in the US, save for the aforementioned Sarah Jane Adventures, starring the glorious Elisabeth Sladen. While there’s no news of that show being picked up, needless to say it’d find a welcome audience.
The K-9 marathon runs Christmas Day from 10 AM – 11PM. The show is not yet scheduled for a regular time slot after the marathon. More info about the series can be found on its website, k9official.com.
The greatest creation of Theodore Roscoe is collected for the first time! One of the most popular writers to ever appear in the pages of Argosy, Roscoe penned the adventures of Old Thibault Corday of the French Foreign Legion, who appeared in more than twenty stories from 1929 to 1939. Volume 4 collects the last four stories of the series, from 1938-39.
186 pages Approx. 6″x9″x0.5″ Approx. 0.9 lbs.
Learn more about The Heads of Sergeant Baptiste: The Complete Adventures of Thibaut Corday and the Foreign Legion, Volume 4 here.
Agent Pendergast, the creation of Authors Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child returns in a brand new novel, TWO GRAVES, arriving in bookstores today, December 11.
About Two Graves: After his wife, Helen, is brazenly abducted before his eyes, Special Agent Pendergast furiously pursues the kidnappers, chasing them across the country and into Mexico. But then, things go terribly, tragically wrong; the kidnappers escape; and a shattered Pendergast retreats to his New York apartment and shuts out the world.
But when a string of bizarre murders erupts across several Manhattan hotels–perpetrated by a boy who seems to have an almost psychic ability to elude capture–NYPD Lieutenant D’Agosta asks his friend Pendergast for help. Reluctant at first, Pendergast soon discovers that the killings are a message from his wife’s kidnappers. But why a message? And what does it mean?
When the kidnappers strike again at those closest to Pendergast, the FBI agent, filled anew with vengeful fury, sets out to track down and destroy those responsible. His journey takes him deep into the trackless forests of South America, where he ultimately finds himself face to face with an old evil that-rather than having been eradicated-is stirring anew… and with potentially world-altering consequences.
Confucius once said: “Before you embark on a journey of revenge, first dig two graves.” Pendergast is about to learn the hard way just how true those words still ring..
Now available at Amazon and wherever your favorite books are sold. Learn more about Two Graves here.
About the authors: Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child are the coauthors of the famed Pendergast series, including the first two books in the Helen Trilogy, Fever Dream and Cold Vengeance. Preston and Child are also the authors of the Gideon Crew series. Preston and Child’s Relic and The Cabinet of Curiosities were chosen by readers in a National Public Radio poll as being among the one hundred greatest thrillers ever written, and Relic was made into a number-one box office hit movie. Doug Preston’s acclaimed nonfiction book, The Monster of Florence, is being made into a movie starring George Clooney. Lincoln Child is a former book editor who has published five novels of his own, including the huge bestsellers Deep Storm and The Third Gate. Readers can sign up for The Pendergast File, a monthly “strangely entertaining note” from the authors, at their website, www.PrestonChild.com. The authors also welcome visitors to their alarmingly active Facebook page, where they post regularly.
It’s Friday night and I’m standing on the crowded floor of a packed concert with friends when suddenly, it hits me: the perfect little plot point to tie together two parts of the first storyline for the new comic I’m working on. Naturally I immediately have to make some notes before I forget the idea. Five minutes later I’m back to the show, but kind of wishing I could be in two places at once so I could enjoy the rest of the show and be working on the new idea at the same time. Too bad reality doesn’t work that way.
Instead, we all have our own little difficulties and stumbling blocks to get over when it comes to creating art – like procrastination, or writer’s block, or fear of failure, or what-have-you – and I’d just been hit by one of mine, which is definitely distraction. Or, to put a more positive spin on it, the way my brain seems to like multitasking all the time. Sometimes it can be a good thing – like when I haven’t worked on a story in a bit and suddenly an idea comes to me out of nowhere. But other times, the distractions come at all the wrong times, like when I’m in the middle of working on the story and something else comes along; or when I have a great idea but no good way to preserve it or to start working on it right away. (Thank goodness for the notepad-type apps on smartphones, at least, which have helped a little with that problem!)
Creating is a funny process. Sure, there are some universal fundamentals to it, but everyone does it differently. Some writers are prolific, while others take years to write one novel. Some comics artists want a detailed script from a writer, while others like a loose framework they can play with. Some people like to get feedback as they go; but others don’t want anyone else’s eyes on their work until they think it’s perfect.
No matter how different each person’s process may be, though, everyone has to face their own hurdles as they create, because, let’s face it – it’s not easy. Sure, sometimes it may feel easy – you’re barreling through a story or a page of art and everything is flowing out like it’s never going to stop; but then it does, or you get stuck on one paragraph or frame of artwork for a ridiculous amount of time; or you look up at your clock at three in the morning and wonder if everything you just made was terrible. Or maybe none of these things happen to you; but I guarantee something in your process feels like a struggle from time to time.
At times like that, I find it helps me to be painfully aware of my shortcomings, so that I can remind myself of ways to overcome them. The reminders may be deceptively simple – e.g.don’t get distracted; that other thing will still be there when you’ve run out of words to write about this idea; you need to stop doing everything else and get back to the story – but just by owning the flaws and actively calling my brain to attention to overcome them, I have a much easier time actually doing so.
I think this same concept can be applied all the way through the process – from the very beginnings of your creation through to the part where you’re hoping to share it with the world (presumably in a profitable way). And since all of us experience the process of creation and sharing that creation in different ways, I thought it would be neat to see what some successful folks in the comics industry might offer as their best advice for successful writing or making art; giving us a window into what these creators find most important to keep in mind throughout the process (or possibly what they’ve learned by overcoming their own challenges), and providing us with some helpful thoughts, reminders, or encouragements as we work on our own art.
Thanks to the handiness of Twitter, through which I solicited advice, these contributions are all coincidentally in the form of handy, bite-sized little mantras that we can memorize, put up on a Post-it somewhere, etc. as needed to help keep us all on track as we make good art amidst the busy whirlwind of life. So without further ado, here they are!
@VictorGischler: Know yourself. Look inward and identify in which direction your enthusiasm lies. Also coffee. Lots of coffee.
@GailSimone: No one looks back and says, “I wish I’d taken fewer chances.”
@Reilly_Brown: Have a clear goal in mind from the start. “Success” is if the audience gets your point.
@MikeSHenderson: Keep challenging your weaknesses, and never stop acting like a professional.
@AletheaKontis: My Best Advice = Shut Up & Write.
@FredVanLente: There can always be one more draft. Have fun. Be a good person before a good artist.
@Janet_K_Lee: Sit your butt in the chair is #1. #2 Be fearless. Always try to learn and try something new.
@PaoloMRivera: I always tell everyone to sculpt. As for writing, just make people care. That may not be advice, but that’s the goal.
@JimMcCann: Allow yourself to fail every once in a while. Then make it better. :)
@kabalounge (Georges Jeanty): Make sure you are telling the story and not just trying to show off your artistic skills.
@MOWheatley (Mark Wheatley): Write. Draw. Do it again. Do it a lot. Keep doing it. Do it some more. Then do it again.
@brubaker (Ed Brubaker): My advice would just be keep doing it. You can’t control success.
@BenMcCool: Work hard, often & with abundant passion. Also, resist urge to drunkenly hassle editors. [ESW note: This is very wise.]
@jpalmiotti (Jimmy Palmiotti): Don’t listen to others’ BS, and stay focused.
@DennisCalero: Write and draw as much as you can and take it seriously.
@SkottieYoung: Do it a lot then do it more after that. Then, you know, keeping doing it.
@jerhaun (Jeremy Haun): Honestly @skottieyoung has it right. It’s all about being the guy that just doesn’t quit.
@GeneHa: @skottieyoung Exactly. Dave Sim said everyone has approximately 10K bad drawings in them. Keep drawing until most are outta your system. Also look for people who draw things differently than you do. Why does it still work, or even work better?
@PatrickZircher: Marry money. [ESW note: Hee!] Also, read any interview in which a mature comic pro talks about the work itself.
@JeffParker: Keep it short, be extremely clear to the extreme. Directness is harder than it looks.
@PaulTobin: Don’t stop. Choose what you love, not what you think will sell.
Also, study what you love. Understand why. Give your voice freedom.
@JoeKellyMOA: Do what you do every day. Intentionally do bad drafts so you get to good ones. Know when to take a nap. Go out for inspiration.
@LForLloyd (David Lloyd): There are really good books recommended by professionals here, but practice makes perfect, too… : )
@JamalIgle: Be yourself. Cliché, I know, but I’ve had more success when I listened to my gut. Your voice is precious; hone it, shape it, no one can take it away from you.
@DeanHaspiel: Live. Love. Make. Don’t hate. Be true. Show up. Commune. Commit. Deliver. Repeat.
@ColleenCoover: Read comics from before you were born. Don’t keep trying to redo stuff if it’s not perfect. Learn from mistakes and move on.
@FrankTieri: Also, get used to hearing “no” a lot. Even after you break in.
Excellent words of advice from great creators, all of whom share their work and wisdom on Twitter (so I’ve provided their usernames in case anyone is wondering where to follow them). I hope you all find them as helpful as I do!
Thank you to everyone who contributed to this column, and until next time, Servo Lectio!