I have been stuck the last couple of days and weeks looking into ways to put my work out there onto an already crowded and talented stage. With artists, developers and publishers pushing their content, I have been sort of stepping back and watching and learning.
Competing against deep pockets
I know I cannot compete with the deep pockets of the comic industry. But, I am a small company so I can move pretty fast and change if and when I need to.
My decision is to not go the traditional publishing route. Instead I will go digital and not charge for the comic is online.
What in the hell is wrong with this guy?, you may be asking. Well, see it from this example.
Insane or not
Print-based comics need a place to sell. Correct me if I am wrong. Is the traditional model of publishing like the gas engine in an electric engine world?
Print-based comics lose any interactive or creative edge once they leave the tablet, screen or computer. Once they leave the electronic medium they are like most paper products, outdated
The digital side of the interactive side is much more robust. Here I can put in my vision for the comic; sounds, motion, voice-overs, special effects, interactive play, and 2D and 3D ability.
Yes! I can infuse my comic with 3D specific tools, thus allowing me to create an environment that has the opportunity
Unity and Panoply
I ran across some software and a couple of examples of the Unity Software just about floored me when I saw it in use. I know the product has been out for a little bit, but I am a little late in the game and now I am catching up really quick.
The whole motion with the comic and the ability to become a 3D effect floored me.
If you look at the product and the software and then look at the whole opportunity, you could do some incredible things with this platform that could be pretty spectacular for small guys like myself.
As I said before…size can help and hinder
It does not matter if you have the most amazing comic in the world. If your voice is drowned out then you will only be a whisper in all the noise.
In order to be taken seriously I have to take steps to make my dream come true. I am going to bet on the digital world and fight the big dogs through tech.
I am in the contact mode for trying to get some questions answered from some Unity Panoply Developers. In addition, I am contacting A-Level artist for some extra work to be done on some of the characters.
Keeping up with technology; how your site runs, making posts, checking different platforms and getting all that stuff developed sucks.
I really do not like it and it TOTALLY takes away from what I like to do. But! It is a necessary evil until I can get this thing launched and flying by itself.
Prior to this site I used guys from India (Capital Numbers). They were pretty good but I found what I wanted cheaper somewhere else.
I actually found my new talent on Fiverr.com site. The tech looks good, let’s see if the creative talent side matches up.
I want from my little comic company is uniqueness in design with the comic, merchandise, story and creative vision. I want the products to be an expression of my passion for this stuff.
One of my goals is to create toys, socks, hoodies and tees as my core merchandise for the ecomm site.
Now I know what you are thinking. Graphic tees and toys? I believe comic apparel is made with the intent of mass distribution little to no regard for wearability.
It is one thing to slap Calvin Klein’s license on some products and wear them. In other words, if you want to stand out and be more than another cog in the wheel, you have to be different.
Attractive and soft
I have been working with my screen printer on just this theory. I asked her about what I want to do. She knows I am interested in high-quality products that look good and are comfortable.
I really believe Marvel and DC apparel resembles how the US car manufactures used to create worthless cars down our throats. We did not have a choice as one of the cogs in the machine.
I have to be as creative as a Tesla, ICON or Fisker and make items and products on my terms.
How in the hell is that possible
Eating oatmeal every day for breakfast can fill you up. It’s not exciting.
Understand, I am not against the Quaker Oats folks or the other brands when I make that comparison. I like oatmeal with a lot of stuff in it, fruit, granola and all that stuff just for your information.
I want to stay nimble and create products that capture the essence of this vision. In order for me to do that I have to challenge myself against normalcy.
Comics are the other medium that many people really do not give a lot of credit to. The world is reading differently. It is with the identification of images, colors, and shapes vs. pure literary works. Comics and written text have their place.
Notably, there are so many top-notch comics, writers and developers out there who are trying to get it done. I am no different. in grinding with them and trying to make mine creative vision as well. I believe the direction I took away from “Normalcy Parkway” is the correct turn. It will pay off over time.
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.
1st Dimension items are a point on a line. 2nd Dimension is the line from left to right and up and down. 3rd Dimension is us, we live with the X, Y, and Z-Axis in our life. So, we can understand and know that there is depth to our 2-dimensional objects.
Without getting into the world of Physics (I am not the one to explain that stuff), faith and then other sciences, let us understand that we (current people) can interpret 1D-3D Dimensional items in our existence. 4D is a little different and is not something that we are familiar with or have had a lot of interaction with. But, I think we all have and just do not know it.
Many of us have been involved with, seen or have had an interaction with a 4th Dimension Being in the form of a spirit of some type of entity that you could not explain. Many of us have been involved with, seen or have had an interaction with a 4th Dimension Being in the form of a spirit of some type of entity that you could not explain.
NOTE: While in an Astral Sleep or a Lucid Dream, some people can understand and interact (and remember) that they have met and been in the 4th Dimension.
4th Dimension Example
The 4th Dimension is the encompassing of a 3D World and then seeing through it at the same time. So, an example of this is: take a ball, and a box and place the ball in the box. You know the ball is in the box, but you cannot see the ball in the box. So, if you were a 4th Dimensional Being, you would be able to see the ball in the box, know all the sides of the box and understand what the box and ball are composed of I would imagine.
In addition, the 4th Dimensional Being would be able to know what the 3D Being is doing at any and all times and the 4th Dimensional Being would never be seen or known from the 3D Dimensional Being unless they had a heightened sense or some gift to notice that dimension.
What that means to the SN Characters
All of the SN Characters within Judgment the Calling title are 4D Beings. Meaning, they can see you at any time, be right next to you and you are never able to see them or feel them. BUT! Some of you could sense them with either your heightened 6th Sense or some other Uncanny X-Men ability you would have.
Judgments ability was given to him through a stressful set of circumstances; his family is being torn apart, his wife was attacked stabbed and critical in the hospital. His employer is sending people to kill him for his experiment. His kids are harmed and angelic beings and a metalloid human appear to give him a proposition. All within a day.
Judgment (Shammus Jackson) is super heightened in his ability to understand the 4th Dimension. He can see, feel, smell, taste, hear, interact, call, remove, touch, punch and whatever else you can imagine.
His ability to interact with the 4th Dimension is a unique characteristic of the comic.
All the Judgments (yes there were others) have the ability to interact, manipulate, master, travel and exist in and out of the 3rd and 4th Dimensions. This is why they were gifted with the Armor, and provided the unimaginable powers when it comes to these realms.
Judgment fights beings in and out of the 4th Dimension. But, he is so immature in his role and he gets butt handed to him a number of times. He has to learn and gain experience in order to progress through the hoards and levels (Rulers, Authorities, and Powers) in order to bring balance back to the 3rd and 4th Dimensional beings.
Terrorizing Ghost or Spirits
An example of his powers are as follows: Many people have seen on YouTube (go to 19:00 and watch from there) and heard about the scary stories of beings and ghosts terrorizing humans in the natural realm and humans were just scared out of their fricken minds. Well, that is where this character works, the realms of our world and the 4th Dimension.
He (Judgment) is able to physically interact, manipulate and a whole host of unimaginable things within this realm.
NOTE: One of the things that I will discuss at a later date, is how Judgment is able to ascend to the 5th Dimension and some of that realm is revealed to him.
Why the 4th Dimension…why this for a comic?
As a young man, I saw that there were many problems in the world and with men in general. I would see men and sometimes women just get angry and lose their fricken minds and go from 0-100 in a matter of seconds. I knew that something wasn’t right and there had to be some explanation.
I believe that there were many situations in the world that were caused and increased due to the influence of evil onto men through the harmful spirits that were presented to us humans from forces that are designed to kill, steal and destroy us.
There was no defense for something like this due to many humans believe in only what they can explain through their physical science and what they see. So, in essence, they would not realize or except that there were very bad beings all around them manipulating them to do evil and harm humankind.
We needed an ally that could interact with those beings and take the fight to them.
What About Jesus
Well, What about Jesus you might ask? He was the Son of God and blah, blah, blah….
As I said, this is a comic, this is not Sunday School, or your daily devotional or is it supposed to match up with “any” faith on a 1-to-1 basis.
Just relax and be entertained, its a comic.
Many cultures and beliefs believe that we are spiritual beings in human shells or vessels. Many people believe that there is something beyond us and that interact with us all the time. Only a few of us are sensitive enough to interact with them.
If that is true (which I believe it is) then that means that the power that our spirit has is very attractive to lower beings who do not have this brilliance or illuminating power. Thus, they are drawn to our power like a moth to a flame or a light. They want what we have and use any means necessary to gain power and absorb that essence for their gain.
Wow! Just realized they could be described as a spiritual vampire. Instead of blood, they want your power, your light and for you to fear them so they can suck your spiritual energy to drain you and feed themselves.
There are countless stories throughout the world, the Bible and other faiths that talk about demons, beings and other entities manifesting within humans or interacting directly with humans and causing some serious chaos.
If you want, look up the Man at Garnesseas, Mark 5:9 and see how they describe the demons called Legion which means (many, or a shit ton of evil). That was a documented case of a dude being possessed by a lot of evil.
Once Again…I’m not preaching
Once again, I am not preaching and or trying to convince you of anything about anything. I do not care what your faith is. We are talking about a comic, and if I must say so, a damn cool comic concept.
I am just laying the groundwork for a comic that I created and it has some pretty controversial topics that need to have a background before I get into the comic writing and to the down and dirty of what I really want to convey.
These character descriptions are for the online version. The graphic novel that SN will produce will have a more detailed version of the “all” the cast of characters.
Not another comic hero
I really did not want to make a predictable hero. I think that all the superpowers and the brute force is so typical and played out within the superhero genre comic arena.
In the comic world I believe that the writers and the developers had sort of a General Motors type of existence. Same kind of character wrapped in a different package or characters that were only going to be for one cycle and then written off.
I think graphic novels (disruptors like Tesla was for the car world) were part of the change that made some of the larger developers and publishers wake up and understand that there is something new and people like it.
These types of companies showed that there is a hunger for something new, creative, visionary and dynamic writing and art. These disruptor types were not the “Buick” or Chevrolets and since they thought out of the box they made amazing products.
The Watchmen was one of those products. It messed up a lot of comic universes with their publishing and some of the characters made the old school developers wake up and take notice of characters that were so unique that the big titles had to take notice of them. Dr. Manhattan was such a character.
My questions for the big publishers was, why not Heaven and Hell? Why not talk about eternal beings and how they use human existence as a chess board?
Not angels with wings, demons fighting priest and guys with guns and swords. But, some real stories that make the reader “question.”
I know there have been stories about demons and how Constantine messes with lower level imps and uses spells and incantations to push the lower level guys around, and Dr. Strange deals and messes with some principal based demons, but what else?
In my mind the fourth dimension is the playing field that overwrites all universes in the comic genre. Du to if you are a being of any level, then you have to be born, hatched or created from the rules that were defined by a higher presence. Or if you were created or appeared, you had to have an origin.
This higher presence must exist any and all places and that presence must be Omnipresent and Omnipotent with any and all universes.
Wait! I am not preaching, just telling you the thoughts and facts that come to my mind.
In all of our cultures and beliefs we have heard of stories; read books, studied through text, learned from our parents, or have heard about a deity that is all powerful and has a significant presence in our lives and culture.
These stories have to have some validity and they have to come from something or someone.
Wars, conflicts and issues from our beliefs have decimated this planet. There has to be a real reason as to why people do the things they do when something as simple as a belief can turn words into physical action and destruction of people and places happens.
But, what about the forces behind those stories? What about demons, imps, and the hierarchy of evil? In addition, what about the angelic side of the coin? What about angels, spirits and those entities that are trying to guide you in the right direction?
This is why I made the Secular…Nought Comics. I was not happy that there was not this complex and huge volume of stories of doctrines and faiths that did not have some person or heroes messing around in it as a full-time series.
So, I made it up and wanted to share with the reader how I see the spiritual world and how I envision some of the attributes that are connected to it.
Also, one of the things that I do use in this comic is a lot of other nationalities and cultures for people to play the leading roles. Black, Mexican and Hispanic, Italian, Middle Eastern and others along with White characters to make this cultural salad of a comic.
That being said, I would like to introduce the main characters of Secular…Nought, Judgment – The Calling.
This is an oil painting of an artist that I happened to meet while in Wyoming. Great concept and imagination.
Judgment (Shammus Jackson) is a normal family man who was selected to carry the Armor of God (Ephesians 6:10…) into battle against the Forces of Evil (F.O.E.). This selection was at a significant price, not just in terms of human value, but of dimensional importance.
More than one
The Judgments are selected since the beginning of time and they are behind the scenes intermediaries for life around creation. They have carried many shields around on their chest (The Cross is for this Earth) and they have had to remain in the shadows of the spiritual and natural realms due to the human and humanoid products were not mature enough in the development of their spirits to handle their presence in existence.
But this time something has changed and the Judgment and the rules have been rewritten. This battle is for the survival of all morality and has dimensional implications for the universe.
Judgment has received the Armor of God (Ephesians 6:10) and has been commissioned to defend the pathways (Voids) from the Rulers, Authorities and against the Powers of these dark worlds.
F.O.E has discovered a way to travel between dimensions and their physical presence on a human plane would bring catastrophic, Armageddon types of calamities if gone unchecked.
His task is to defend and if needed battle, in any realm the F.O.E. and send them back to their places of origin.
Since he is human, he has weaknesses and he is vulnerable, but that is to be discussed in the comic
Sin is the ultimate leader of the Forces of Evil (F.O.E, War, Death, and Temptation) and his very presence out of his chambers brings confusion, and chaos into any world or universe.
He is the culmination of the sin of man or beast. We know him through his low-level tactics of being evil. But Sin is crafty. He uses manipulation, lying, blackmail, and whatever else he feels like, to make his victims commit sin and alter the timeline to his desires.
Voids are the key
He is a dimensional being with immense power. In is physical form if he was to pass to a natural realm without a Void would cause confusion on a scale that cannot be described. He could only appear for a short while before he is cast back to his dominion. This is why he is seeking a Void that will allow him to manifest from one dimension to the next.
War is an aggressive spirit that leads other demons and imps to carry out his plans. He appeared on the earth as a conflict within small tribes. But, he grew to have a physical timestamp within human literature.
But, many of Earth’s origin documents are still lost, and those occurrences that happened prior to the Great Flood are yet to be rediscovered.
War has very few who can equal his strength, knowledge, and power. His forces that reside under him know the power that War holds. Even his own troops have tried to capture the throne he has kept for eons, but none have succeeded.
Death is a spirit of no hope and mortal sin (suicide). He whispers in the ears of his victims, egging them on to end their lives. By doing this, he also cancels out any plans that God has for them in the future. He prides himself on prematurely destroying life and handing the victim’s loved ones an unbearable situation.
Not sure how powerful
Death is powerful. He is not just a one-to-one direct spirit, but he can release imps and demonic forces into a situation that will cause havoc and chaos. He, insights fear and anger and accelerates the irrational actions of beings to hack on the whispers.
Death can project any type of voice into your subconscious. Along with this, he and can “hypnotize” people into carrying out or inciting radical and heinous events thus shifting people away from normalcy and into chaos.
Much like Sin and War, his presence is only from what we can decipher from the Great Flood Documents.
Wt: Unknown lbs.
Origin: Outer rims of the galaxy
Sentinel is a mercenary. They have a backstory, but his tribe’s whole purpose (Sentry Vreeslose) in life is to protect the Voids; battle demons, Rulers, Authorities, and Principalities (you may want to look up those three words) of the 4th DimensionalVoids.
Plus, when they are not busy they take care of their home planet Primaria, a habitable planet that circles the (bigger than Earth) Great Planet of Jax like a moon.
The folklore about the Sentry comes from a promise of a human mother and a Hybrid type Nephilim father (Maltuse) along with a small group of repenting Hybrid type Nephilim during a period of great stress. There are many people and scholars who only wish they knew and understood who these Nephilim were and how many of them repented under the original Falling.
But, they are not heartless. They are extremely family-oriented and underneath all the biometal, they are large humanoid beings that love and have families and are very grounded to the planet and are more like the characters in the movie Avatar.