Creating and thinking on paper
The business of comics is a journey especially if you are the writer and the thought behind the story.
I do not draw my own comics, I hire other folks to draw my vision. My task is to describe in words how the character should look on paper or other media formats.
The last artist that I had for the original comic was Lee Oaks. He was pretty good. I imagine he has gotten much better at his craft and done great things.
Back then my need was real due to this incredibly long story that I will make short.
Long story / short version:
The first artist that I had for the comic was ok, but nothing great. I paid him $2500 I think and I had him make my comic.
Well, it was not that good. But I had to do what I could to make it work. But in the meantime, I was connecting with FREAKS like Kyle Anderson. Kyle was working for Microsoft on gaming backgrounds. Kyle and I met through a mutual friend in Austin at a now-defunct company called Red Echo (amazing company). I hooked up with Kyle to do my cover art of Judgment.
I took my cover art, slapped the comic together at a local printer in Laramie, Wyoming (ugggg …Laramie) and sent it off to Diamond Comic Distributors to hopefully be picked up.
I got a response. They told me, “..if your comic art was to look like your cover we would sign you for 100,000 copies. Fire your artist, see if your cover guy can draw it and resubmit.”
Wow, Diamond said they liked my stuff. So, I went and asked Kyle Anderson how much it would cost.
Ladies and Gentlemen! When asking a serious A-Level artist to do some work for you, please be prepared for a price that will resemble a small used car or truck.
Kyle emailed me back and said (from what I remember),”…hey Lance. Man, I am pretty wrapped up at the time but it would be around $5,000 or more. I paint a lot of my art and it’s just me and my time on the concept. Let me know what you if you want to do something?”
Cried like a fat kid
I cried that day. I cried like a kid who just lost his dog. I cried like a kid who got his candy stolen by a gang of angry toddler kids who said you can’t have candy on their turf without paying a price. I cried like a fat kid who just learned that his favorite ice cream flavor was discontinued. I cried hard that day.
I called Kyle (still crying) and told him I had to move on. Still upset about the sitauation I hunted down a local guy named Lee Oaks and the rest is why we are here.
End of a long story made short
The Freaks come out at night
But, over the course of the years, I met another FREAK artist named Hank Jiang. Who hooked me up with the Sentinel pieces and the Warhammer art.
Hank was very cool about it and he was and I imagine is a really cool guy back then. But, the control of the lines is what I like and it is what helps me with my ideas when I can see significant line-art artists.
I have a lot of art that is in my portfolio that I have not been released yet. I am thinking that it may be the time one day to put all that out in a sketchbook and let others know of the thoughts and original concept art.
As time goes the story grows
Over the course of a number of years, I became a better storyteller in regards to the comic. I would actually read various forms of text in order to get an idea as to how the author would describe a subject.
But, the problem was/is, I am not a huge fan of reading books. When I was younger my mom would hear from the teachers that I needed to read more to help out with my lack of reading level and so on. Yes, I was that kid who could not read that well, could not spell for crap and stuttered and had a nasty temper. But boy did I have an imagination.
So, to assist with my imagination and reading ability, I started to read comic books and other graphic types of art media to help me grow in my imagination and vocabulary. As I grew, I read more but they still leaned on the books with pictures. Sports magazines were a big one and comics and art stuff.
When I write now, I like to paint the picture with a canvass that starts in the corners and bleeds to the middle but never gives the full picture. I like to describe details and use foreshadowing to build in a richness and depth to the characters. Or, lots and lots of details that allow the reader to connect and know that character and feel that character’s pains and joy.
Judgment is my idea of what a 4th dimension or heaven and hell comic is about. Along with that, I am trying to open the eyes of people to understand that the world they live in could be more alive with things they can’t see vs. what they perceive in front of them.
I think we have all heard or know of a story from a faith-based book or a cultural tale that talks about something that has been handed down throughout time. Now my question for you is, what you would put a twist or a different perspective on it? What would make that story so unique?
Or how about from the Raven that is sitting on the telephone pole watching it. Or what about the perspective of the animals and other creatures of the Little Red Riding Hood Story. What would their version be?
This is what I am doing with Judgment, trying to take what you have learned and heard as a child, teen, and adult and to give you another perspective, another version and other viewpoints of the world and the spirit world of what we think we know of it.
Updating Judgment is one of the main goals that I have for putting this thing out onto social media, the Internet and letting people know about it.
I have added so much to the comic since it was first written back in 1996 that it is a totally different animal. The shell is pretty much there, but the guts are really different.
The Judgment Universe is set in 2055. The cities are vibrant futuristic and human-kind has figured out how to move beyond the old world oligarchs. There are still remnants of their dark past of former fossil fuel century machinery and older world technology, but they are relics of this era.
New Detroit is a planned city in the comic that is big, urban, green and vertical. In this story
The cities have incredible architecture; AI, colorful walls, 100’s of languages and people from all walks of life. There is a wealth of culture and a smorgasbord of people from all over the world communicating and working and living all over the world. It is not a utopia, but the cities are more aligned for world and inter-colony (exoplanets) commerce than just national interest.
In addition to the cities, I wanted to bring in an aspect of Lily Pads and how they would look in this world.
A Lily Pad is a floating city that houses either businesses, neighborhoods or whatever you can imagine.
Now add anti-gravity machines, huge pyramids providing electricity, and trash turned into building materials, the cities are amazing.
The one thing that I realized about myself is that I do not need to or should try to do everything. Meaning I have to use other people’s talents to help me to achieve my goals accomplished.
The Judgment Redux is the goal and at the level that I want it at, it is going to cost more than self-funding project budget can handle.
So, I am leaning towards the Fiverr.com and Peoplebythehour.com sites to help me make this thing come true. I am connecting with folks who know how to set up, write, promote and organize a Kickstarter campaign for me.
Is it a challenge? Hell ya. Doing anything that is against the grain is going to be a struggle. Making something out of nothing is a task, a monumental task, but it has to be worth it.