Hello once more from the heart of Our Lady of Grace.
Above is a picture of an exclusive offering for the Conceptual Heist Kickstarter, no you can’t buy Matt ladies, but you can buy a great shirt designed by Matt.
One of the offerings for our Patreon is an exclusive series of “Movie Posters” they are reimaginings of classic film posters with the Conceptual Heist characters. We plan to offer a few at cons as prints, but only through our Kickstarter will you be able to pick up STAR HEIST, with what is known as the reverse Frazetta pose between Noble and Jemma. Star wars is an important influence, although not necessarily with Conceptual heist unless you count the fact that both stories revolve around space stations. We currently have a list of about fifteen posters we’ll be doing and have on offer as wall papers. If you can think of any cool posters let us know.
Speaking of Conceptual Heist, something I’ve been meaning to address for everyone is the unique problems that I face when writing the strip. This weekend I finally got the chance to read all of chapter 1 in one long for as Matt is finishing off the PDF and getting the pages ready for our colourist so work on the colours will be ready as soon as the Kickstarter is funded. It was very cool to read it as one single book, right now the reading experience on line is slightly broken as a major fight sequence has interruptions between each panels as it was during one of our slow down periods, reading everything as pages was a very unique experience as this series is a master class in the focal nature of comic book writing.
Now everyone knows this is a longer story but as of this point you, and I, read the series panel by panel, strip by strip. When you write you are almost always working backward to forwards, you start with a major over arcing story, then you divide up and work the beats of the story to chapters, and then you work your way back to the whole of the story sentence by sentence. You don’t necessarily think of it that way, but this is how the whole of a story is most often created. Sentences make paragraphs, paragraphs make chapters, chapters make stories.
Conceptual Heist is a focused version of that layout. I have a rough idea of what is going to happen for the over all series, and book 1 has an out line, even if that outline has the note “Funky stuff happens here” near the end of it. However when I’m writing the strips I am constantly working on three strata: 1) Does the strip function solo? 2) Does this work for the page? 3) Does this work for the chapter? 4) Does this work for the story?
Each strip I write has me juggling these three balls, sometimes I will drop #1 in favour of making sure the other balls are kept in the air. Once of the things about the comic is that I’ve been adding a bit more humour to it. I’ve done this to help keep the single panels enjoyable in the mindset of keeping the whole story running. But I’m also calculating if it is the first second or third strip on a page, if it’s the third do I have to switch focus on the next page, change scenes? How does that page fit within the whole chapter? And am I staying too long in a situation? Can I get to the point faster without losing the story thread? Am I addressing something at is important to the overarching plot of the series? There’s been a lot of little nods to things that will come up in later chapters and it’s important not to get let that be left of the cutting floor as there is a much more expansive story to be told.
So yeah I’ve been kind of focused on how the layers of this story are working out these days. But the kickstarter will have an offer where you can get behind the scene commentary for Chapters 1 & 2 of Conceptual Heist as I talk about what I was trying to do in each panel of the comic.
My reading has slowed up some as of late, but I still have some recommendations.
Salgood Sam on Taptastic: You would be hard put to find a more skilled penciler in comics these days than Salgood Sam. As Scott McCloud has said: “Always liked Salgood Sam's compositions. Always a bit delirious.” And you’d hard put to find someone who knows comics better than McCloud. A veteran with skills that have often gone unnoticed, Salgood’s work is well worth checking out:
Clarkesworld: Honestly they are the premire short fiction publishers in science and speculative fiction. Their podcast where their short stories are read by the skilled Kate Baker who does lovely renditions of each tale. The stories range between 15 minutes to almost 2 hours in rare cases. Go check them out here:
Comics Manifest: The upbeat host Aaron Williams gives us 2-3 interviews every week with some of the best talents in the comic world. He runs off of a standard set of questions coupled with questions that are customized for each creator. Aaron gets some great answers, but not only that he’ll get you thinking about your own creative journey whether you are a part of the comics world or not. Some interviews can be downers, or make a career in comics seem like madness, but he reminds listeners that if comics are your passion there is little point in doing something else in your life. Give Aaron a listen to here:
Story Grid Podcast: Each week Shawn Coyne and Tim Ghral make their way through Tim’s first novel (now second attempt after abandoning the fist completely). It’s a close look at what it is like learning to write a novel. It sounds easy at times as Tim has Shawn guiding him along the way, but most of us don’t have a guide to help us along. The whole point is to help the listener become a better writer: You can jump in here:
Escape Pod: The other high bar for science fiction. These stories are well curated although the narrators can sometimes be a hit or miss. If it’s a miss you can skip it, but when they have a hit you don’t want to miss it. Most of the episodes are around 30 minutes in length. Follow along here:
24 Legacy: I try not to do negative reviews here too often as I’d rather raise up than tear down, but I’m going to have to speak out about this: A week after the terrorist action in Quebec with the killing of six Muslim men, Fox proceeds to air a TV series that seems to justify the action perpetrating the completely unfounded and unjustified fear of Refugees and Muslims. This is nothing but propaganda against Muslims and justifies hate. Turn it off and tell Fox why you’re turning it off. They should be ashamed of themselves. Trump is terrible, but shows like this make his fearmongering easier to sell.
Ghostbusters: The highly disputed reimagining of the classic films was much better than I anticipated. I don’t think it reached the heights of the original film but it was fun, funny and inventive. I think the weakness in the movie is a symptom of it being a modern film where studios are more concerned with maintaining the spectacle over ensuring the story works. This movie does offer something the originals didn’t as it works as a treatise of friendship and loyalty. I’d say it is well worth watching, and a must watch if you have young girls in you life as they deserve to see it to know they can be heroes too.
That's all for this transmission.
Be well and take care.