The mind with 1000’s of thoughts

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. 

Kyle Anderson – oil of Judgment

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.

Reality Check:

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. 

Storytelling

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? 

Look at the three little pigs. We all know the story and know how it ends up. But, how many times have we heard the wolf’s perspective

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.

Judgment Redux

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. 

Example: 

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. 

Rob Brown – Artstation

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. 

Internet resource

Now add anti-gravity machines, huge pyramids providing electricity, and trash turned into building materials, the cities are amazing.

Kickstarter

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.

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Gig Hitchhikers

THE GIG ECONOMY HAS PASSENGERS

Have you have picked up a hitchhiker and wanted to know their story? Why is that person all the way out here, or what in the hell is this dude got going on? 

Okay, imagine that he Jason from Friday the 13th or that he is a little off. But, just a regular Joe walking down the highway and out in the middle of nowhere.

I wonder that sometimes when I see a person walking on the side of the road with their stuff, a guitar and or just their back pack and a dog or something. Where have they been and where are they going?

One time when I was in Canon City, Colorado we were working as Zip Line Guides (that was one of the funniest jobs I ever did) for this organization and we met a man from Italy, Lorenzo. Lorenzo was a photographer and professional kayaker and he would take these insane pics of people who were going down the white water rafting trips. He would get them in action poses and a lot of pics were of people falling out of the boat and for some reason those sold a lot for him. But, we instantly hit it off and we (my wife and I) would have him over at the house, feed him, let him hang out and just talk to this dude. 

Lorenzo (with his shoulder length dreads) had been traveling for 18 years and he had been gone from Italy since he was 16. WTF? He would tell us stories of his adventures, show us his tattoos (from the bottom of his chin to the last knuckle on his toes) from around the world, show us his picks from Nepal and from parts of Asia that I cannot even pronounce. But, Lorenzo hitchhiked his way around the world. No 9-5. No one to answer to, just freedom and the opportunity to explore and be free and work when he needed. 

Now, he had problems when it came to traveling, but they were not like life threatening or put him in too much danger.

I picked up a hitchhiker a couple of days ago. I gave him a ride and a Sonic Slush and we talked and had a great conversation. He was a guitarist who has been playing for about 20 plus years and was on his way to go and find some work and to get out of the hole he was in. All I did was give him a lift and a drink and listened. 

The opportunity to meet, greet, talk and learn was immeasurable. It opened my eyes to what I believe is an issue for some developers and talent out there. 

Like many site owners, or blogger or whatever you may be, when it comes to talent it can be hard to find and connect with the right people at a price that you can afford. There are a lot of people who travel and hitchhike to make a living and there are a lot of people with dreams and desires to make the next big thing, there is just a talent match that needs to happen or a bridge that needs to be laid.

There are a number of places on the Internet that will allow a hitchhiker to rest, make some money and find a little stability while they do what they want. Places like Deviant Art, Directory of Illustration, Fiverr, People Per Hour, Patreon and a few others are the mainstays of the industry. These beasts cater to the artistic talent world and the “Gig” type of talent. 

That Gig Talent is part of the Gig Economy, which is the new way that they describe the Freelancers of this time and space. But, the most impressive thing about this is, we are seeing a morphing of a type of talent into a real world meaning for talented people who are hitchhiking there way to freedom, or march to the beat of their own drum.

So, understanding this, I thought about what that means for me and my small company. I like hitchhikers or Gig (Giggies) or Gig People, and how can my small company be a part of this thing?

When people travel they get a chance to stay in camp grounds or sometimes in hostels for cheap. So, with a little play on words I would like to create a Gig Hostel where artists or talented individuals (tech dudes as well) that need a place to rest can work out a mutual agreement, or barter for services and space or something.

Now, I am not talking about building an IPO or doing something insane like the cra cra stuff that WeWork is doing (not sure that is going to work). But, a place to work, rest and whatever comes along.

Place your work on a site, stay temporarily, do some work for the host site, host your work, get a reference or make some coin and move on. Not sure how it works, but I would like to flesh this out and make something unique. Not an internship, but something unique.

A great example of this is WWOOF or World Wide Opportunities to Organic Farming. They do some cool stuff and people can see the world.

In my little space on the Internet, I could benefit from a couple of Gigsters, Gig People or whatever the may be called. My needs represent where I am at in my business and where I am trying to go. I can only imagine that there are people out there with skills that match my needs, and there are things that I have that can help them as well.

Gig Help

  • WordPress Developer/PHP and stuff
  • Comic Artist
  • SEO / Marketing person
  • Creative Content person / writer with a specific gift of gab

So, there is my pitch. I would LOVE to hear from you regarding this subject and to hash out something unique and real. If you want to share it, please do.

lance

Why is this comic any different than anything that Marvel, DC or the other BIG BOX Producers have?

I grew up reading comics, but I hated the old General Motors (Buick, Chevy, Oldsmobile, etc.) versions of characters; Batman, Superman, Wonderwoman, X-Men, and other characters. They were all the same thing over and over again and their stories were predictable.

Early on I gravitated towards alternate comics that held my attention; Power Man, Rom the Spaceknight, Hulk, Iron Fist, Swamp Thing, Silver Surfer, and even DareDevil. They represented the realness of people, community and what being a hero was all about. 

All these dudes were not about huge money, gadgets, incredible tech or unimaginable superpowers (well Silver Surfer is another story entirely).

 They took care of a place or a community and they were citizens of their area. Now Batman took care of Gotham, but there was no way that I could relate to a dude. 

Then there was Flash, who was fast and could run and do all these things while running. Just was so far fetched it just did not resonate. First, it struck me that Flash was again a white guy. Why in the hell would you do this? That is like saying Native Alaskans would be better at the hunting Gazelles and African animals than the Native Africans that lived there. Uggg..! I get it, if you make the vehicle, you can drive it the way you want and sell it to whomever you want. I get it. 

So…I am going to make my own vehicle and drive it and sell it the way that I want.

But, one of the biggest things that bothered me was there were very few super heros that resembled me and my community of being Black, and being in and around Brown People. 

Power Man was one of the few Black guys (yes there was Black Panther). Iron Fist who you would think would be Asian was a white guy. But, he hung out in the inner city with Power Man, so I could relate with him with the whole Heroes for Hire concept.

Even further, there was the same skill set for heros. It became super redundant and the same recurring theme in all the comics.  There was brute force powers, mystical powers, alien and superintelligence. In addition, there were very few heroes that were not white guys, not rich, not business owners, not entrepreneurs, or some type of doctor, lawyer or financier adventurist. 

If you really want to take a deeper look into some of the ’70s and 80’s philosophies, you could see how a lot of what the characters resembled what our education and social system valued and deemed as successful, sexy, handsome and powerful back then. 

It was the American Dream, Leave it to Beaver, the Brady Bunch, Archie, Laurence Welk kind of thinking in my eyes and I hated it. 

Their version of a hero was out of my reach due it only looked like white males who had power, money and or some exclusive technology. As a young Black kid that was not me, I could not relate.

MOVING TO THE DARK SIDE

DC’s the Swamp Thing

So, I gravitated from their version of a traditional hero to other characters that were not perfect, but they were a hell of a lot easier to connect with than the GM Models (no I do not like GM cars. Used to like the Cadillac Brand, but they are so far behind that it is just dumb as to why they have taken this long to move away from Ma and Pa Smith).

Swamp Thing, was the craziest character that I read about back then. This guy (yes a white guy) died and became part of the swamp and had amazing powers due to the swamp. 

Then there was Power Man and Iron Fist. Urban guys who took care of the community. 

Then there was ROM the Space Knight. The dude was an alien guy in a suit and traveled through space and time. I could get with this. 

Marvel’s Power Man and Iron Fist

Then DareDevil. The dude was blind and had made martial arts skills. 

The Hulk was just cool to read about a dude that had serious anger problems and had a clinical DSM-III disorder that he used to his strength.  

Finally, there was the Silver Surfer who could do anything and had the Power Cosmic. He could travel faster than any super being, could scan your weakness, adjust the environment to work against you, did not need food, water or bathroom breaks, and had powers that were off the charts. BADASS!

These characters were huge in my foundation. They were some of the cornerstones of what I believe was cool and what should be in a comic. 

ROBOTECH – Oh, then there was Robotech and that whole thing got me so twisted up that I would twitch and giggle when it came on. I never missed a Damn episode when I was in 5th grade and I must have watched that thing two or three times. But, that level of creativity changed me.

So, when I made the SN Brand and the Judgment Comic, my original thoughts resonated around a character that was not the normal perception of America. He was smart but his smarts did not impact his great powers. Almost nothing he had or would become or be equated to his greatness from his previous life, economic or socio-economic condition. The only thing that I would say migrated over from his original self was his love for his kids and his immense focus on their safety and desires for them to be happy and successful based off of their definitions of success.

This was sort of me throwing my real-life desires for my kids into the story. My story as I mentioned was not the picture-perfect story. So, I made sure that even though I was in a crappy marriage, I made a promise that I would make sure my kids were able to know success and happiness even though I did not have it. It was my goal that they never venture down the emotional and relationship struggles that I encountered. 

The SN Brand of Hero that I am defining is not laced with traditional super-powers in the sense of brute force, technological skills, gadgetry or powers from an alien ring or craft. He would have skills and powers that came from a higher being and would be based on how he communicated with this higher being at first. So, yes they are off the charts and they make no sense to the human world.

Yea, you could say a Shazam or some other character resembles this, but I tried to stay clear of a lot of that type of character presentation.

DC’s Shazam

In my world, we play with the spiritual side of the planet and we deal with how God would provide a human or extraterrestrial beings greatness and significant powers to carry out insane missions while in His service.

The Judgment character is pretty heavy in spiritual power and Biblical references. Some of his powers are directly from what specific books in the Bible. 

An example is The Full Armor of God in Ephesians 6:10. If you read this verse, in any version or translation, it talks about how you have to figuratively put on specific garments and gear in order to do battle with rulers, authorities, and powers. That example is not an example of one type of force, but different levels of power or progressions of evil that you have to deal with. In this case, they are levels of bosses that you have to battle in order to be successful. 

This specific focus on defending against something talks highly of the power and influence that the forces of evil have upon this world. 

We all know the climate in 2019 with the issues of people shooting random people and causing significant chaos. We know what they tell us about the world stage and how the struggles for freedom and land where they can be free of violence is so crucial that people will do amazing things to get this peace. 

To me, these forces of good and bad are around us at all times. They, directly and indirectly, influence our world to either take us down to another realm of pain, misery or provide us with a glimpse of freedom and peace with immense sacrifice.

FINITO

So, to wrap it up, the SN Brand of Comics is different with its first title, Judgment, because it is a focused comic on the fourth dimension or the spiritual realms all around us and how they impact our lives on the daily.

In a nutshell, we made our first comic series that deals with the spiritual realms, good and bad and our focus is on how we see these battles and forces of good and evil do their work within our natural realms and the spiritual ones as well.

lance

All that to tell you this…

I made the first comic called Judgment the Calling in 1996. I wrote about the concept and it just took time to develop the thoughts and the ideas that surrounded it.

The comic was like nothing that I had read or heard about and I did not have the knowledge to do the things that I am doing now to push it forward.

Judgment the Calling is not about you getting saved and filled with the Holy Ghost or you learn more about the Christian Faith. In fact, it is comic about what I believe to be a way that the spiritual forces around us interact and try to impact our lives on the daily.

The comic is meant to be “rough” and not a pretty gospel choir kind of picture book. I wanted to comic to be very real and to reflect the problems that I had, others around, talk about the pain of losing and gaining love; the problems that life, money, sex, drugs, lust, and power can bring upon you if you are not grounded.

What I mean by grounded, is you are mature enough to know right from wrong and you have a way to decipher the voices in your head as good and evil.

The comic is going to become my life’s work. By that I mean it will be the things that I do. I have laid on this thing for a number of years, written tons of stories and collected a crap ton of artwork that I will display, sell and place on merchandise.

If you become offended and feel that I am wrong, you as many others are welcome to your opinion and I have learned to respect that. I just do not have to acknowledge it or be part of your beliefs. Remember, it’s a comic!