Without Fear

Ryan K Lindsay – Writer

Marvel 99c Digital – Fantasy Editor

Sometimes it’s fun to play ‘fantasy comics editor‘ and align creative talent with characters. It’s super lame, I know this, but it’s fun. It’s also a mental game that keeps you thinking and can be done on the side – while doing this I managed to cook up two little story ideas and also get a break on one I’m scripting right now. Any time you are using your brain, that’s good stuff. And for a guy with two little kids, I need all the mental gymnastics to stay in shape I can find.

So, I have to disclaim, the proceeding fantasy comics list is totally just for fun. I’m not pitching the publisher, I’m not being really all that serious, and I’m just having fun. Fun.

I also wanted to have this around for reference to check back on in 5-8 years to see what did happen to all these comic making peeps. So, yeah, just fun, I hope you enjoy.

The set up is: Marvel are doing a line of weekly 99c digital comics on ComiXology. Given my druthers, here’s a line up I’d put forward for the B listers using only up and coming talent. YMMV

THE DEFENDERS – Eric Zawadzki + Paul Allor

This would be the flagship title of the line. The team could be malleable but I’d want Daredevil, Iron Fist, Luke Cage, Jessica Jones, and Spider-Woman on there to shifting degrees. Netflix tie in ACTIVATE, natch.

This is the big team book and it’s where the event type material would go. Paul has shown his chops on team books like TMNT and GI JOE so he seems like a superb fit, and Eric’s art is just so damn good, I’d love to see him cut loose with these characters.

Oh, yeah, if you couldn’t tell, this list will include plenty of my mates. Yes, I am biased.

DAREDEVIL – Sami Kivela + Ryan K Lindsay

Yep, biased. But I wouldn’t give myself this book if I didn’t have something to say. And I’ve got plenty of stories for ol’ Hornhead so this would be perfect fun. I’ve also worked with Sami enough to know that he knows how to elevate my scripts, and he’s great at some dark undertones. This would be the dream gig.

IRON FIST – Louie Joyce + Ryan K Lindsay

I’d want to tie Danny Rand in closely with Matt Murdock, and I know just how I’d do it, too. So to bring the fu, there is none other than Louie Joyce. His page composition, and ability to portray motion and fight in sequential form is second to none. He’d be the rock star of this book, by far.

LUKE CAGE – Johnnie Christmas + Matt Miner

Matt is a sharp dude, can bring emotion and intelligence to the page. Those are the two things I want from a Cage book. As for Mr Xmas, well, his stuff is just always great. Always. This book would be able to flip tone very effectively.

JESSICA JONES – Ibrahim Moustafa + Christopher Sebela

You take the HIGH CRIMES team and throw them at another fantastic female lead. Seems like a no brainer, right? Yep, that’s because it is. I’d pay good bitcoin to see this happen in any reality.

SPIDER-WOMAN – Mack Chater + Paul Allor

Allor writing a smart strong female lead. Mack’s work is so poised to break out that landing him here would be a coup. This would be a very on point street book.

DR STRANGE – Daniel Warren Johnson + Fabian Rangel Jr

Rangel Jr likes the olde school pulp fu. of DOC UNKNOWN and this new SPACE RIDERS malarkey. Let’s get him to really cut loose. Johnson is just magnificently brilliant. Imagine the composition, the insanity, the fun. Man, this is the sort of thing to make anyone giddy.

HOWARD THE DUCK – Valentin Ramon + Ryan Ferrier

If I have to explain to you how the D4VE team crush on this book then you have not been paying attention.

TALES OF ASGARD – Hugo Petrus + Ryan Ferrier

Go read GODDESS. Now imagine them doing Beta Ray Bill one-shots, and Sif arcs as she destroys Frost Giants. Anything Asgardian is game.

SHIELD – Michael Walsh + Ed Brisson

Brisson and Walsh together again. Street level crime with powers. No holds barred. Go.

THE PUNISHER – Christopher Peterson + Ed Brisson

Brisson doing a similar thing, and I’d love to see this crossover with the SHIELD book by having this anti-hero chase the same big bad the agents are in the other book. As for Peterson, yep, he’s ready for a stage like this. He does flowing action so damn well.

NICK FURY – Vic Malhotra + Dan Hill

Dan is a mate of mine (it’s all about who you know), he edits HEADSPACE for me as well as some other upcoming things, and his knowledge of war and espionage and writing is well above par. I’d kick and scream to drag him in on one title and this would be it, hands down, without fail. Plus, dropping Malhotra on art is going to cover up whatever newbie mistakes Dan makes because Vic’s art is just so sublime. Emotion, action, high levels of the fantastic – Vic has us covered.

SPIDER-HAM – Ramon Villalobos + Ben Rosenthal

C’mon, just imagine Ramon Villalobos doing Spider-Ham. Now try and chisel that smile off. Impossible, right? Then I’d hand the writing chores to Ben Rosenthal, a guy building his name doing puntastic books, but who I also know has great abilities at mining emotional depths. And while Howard the Duck would access the Nexus of all Realities and be spread across all space and time, Spider-Ham would be more intimate. In fact, it should just be in NYC. In fact, let’s put the little arachnid-pork bastard on house arrest in an apartment block. Now that could be fun.

THE INHUMANS – Ben Holliday + Michael Moreci

Galactic intrigue, familial intrigue, intrigued by all the intrigue? Holliday could rock some rad designs on this lunar family and really bring something to the title that hasn’t been done before. Moreci knows how to do sci fi, and strange goings on, and yet still always put character interaction in the fore. I would be buying this book so hard coins would spray out like Mario was punching the block.

GHOST RIDER – Justin Greenwood + Jeremy Holt

Greenwood on a flame-headed superhero riding a bike, and no doubt other transport. Yep, this is going to work. Bring in Holt’s knack for page flow and structure and you could really have something special here.

DR DOOM – Chris Mooneyham + Frank Barbiere

High fantasy Victor Von Doom. Across multiple worlds. Meeting a bevy of women. Angsting in a variety of tongues. Dr Doom presented as high art and with gonzo ideas coating a core of the analysis of one man. One great man. Yeah, the team behind FIVE GHOSTS can definitely do this.

TALES OF THE FRANKEN-CASTLE – everyone

Every second week would drop an anthology style book all about FRANKEN-CASTLE. Sometimes one-pagers, sometimes a multi-part story of 8 page instalments. Whatever took our fancy. I’d do this title purely because I’d want to read it, I think every creative team here could bring the thunder, and because it would be fun. You could just as easily broaden and offer a STRANGE TALES title but that might encourage people to make stories without Franken-Castle and I just don’t think I could bear that occurring. Not on my imaginary editorial watch.

——-

So, that’s how it’d go down.

I want to include more creative teams, and characters, but I also realise this list is bloated enough as it is. I also know I’ve been doing this during kid’s naps and before sleep, and it’s time to just put the piece to bed. And I also know I’m a massive nerd. I know.

I’d love to know what up and coming creative teams you’d throw at a Marvel B-lister. Hit the comments, or tweet me, whatever. I’d just love to know which characters you dig, and which soon to be superstars you think could cut their teeth on some Marvel stuff soon enough.

I hope you dug it. Later.

Parent Nightmare Fuel Conversation, July Edition

I’m the one who puts my nearly 4 year old son to bed every night. It’s a lovely time of day where I read books with him, give him kisses and cuddles, and generally load him up on my love that he misses daily while I’m at work. After I’ve read him two books, I turn the light off, lay on the bed with him, cuddle him, and we talk.

Lately, he’s been asking me if he can ask me some questions before I leave. We haggle on how many questions, and usually settle on 2-3. Mostly they are just ‘Dad, are there monsters in the house?’ or ‘Dad, are there trees in the house?’ or ‘Dad, are there worms in my room?’ Weird things for a 3 year old kid to wonder but who the hell knows how their crazy brains work, right. He’s usually concerned about possibly nefarious things being in the house that might cause him harm, but not too concerned. I always tell him those things not only aren’t in the house, but I would never let them in the house. I tell him monsters are just pretend, and that trees are out in the garden. The conversation nearly always ends in him laughing and telling me he knows monsters are just in books, etc. It’s all fairly innocuous.

Then, tonight he asked for only one question.

‘Dad, is Gary Loggins in the house?’

I laugh, what a funny name. He nervously laughs with me.

‘No, who is he?’

I can feel the room get colder as I say this. I put on my brave face but my feet are hanging off the edge of the bed, I’m on my belly, I could not be more vulnerable.

Vulnerable to Gary Loggins and whatever agenda he’s running in the dark hours of our lives.

My son then replies.

‘Gary Loggins is no one’s friend.’ – Oh, god, there’s an origin story right there – ‘He’s just a monster. 100 years old, I think. He knocks down houses and he’s a statue above the streets.’

I mumble something about Gary Loggins not being in the house, though pretty clearly my voice gives away the fact I can’t confirm this with hard data of any sort. I leave the room.

I start cleaning the kitchen and about five minutes later I hear three thumps come from my son’s room.

True story.

Throw It All Into The Pot Until You Have Jam

An artist I’ve been wanting to collaborate with for ages recently hit me up about doing so. We’ve been dancing for a while, slow old white man shuffling (maybe with me throwing in some of Elaine’s kicks) but now we’re grabbing hold tight and making some moves.
But, I had nothing in the chamber. I’ve got some pitch ideas being saved for…something. I just knocked another one-shot up a gear with a new artist. I actually just recently got into a space where all projects were kind of looking snug, at least for the time being. So we are chatting but I don’t have a thing to just whip out. Which is weird. I’m used to having a thing in my back pocket, all ready, to just conveniently display and from there it’s easy.
So, I just started chatting with him. What genres would he want to do? What do I think he’d be killer at? What could we make work? Real loose stuff. Reeeaaal loose stuff. Like “Action, yeah, crime, cool.” Loose. Well, not that loose, but loose. You dig?
And again, I can’t stress this enough, but I nearly always have something sitting around ready to sling. I’m never caught out without some ideas. And I haven’t done the whole “What story would you want to draw?” type question before because I can’t be certain I can yield a good story from that. Story, for me, can sometimes take time, so I like to preplan.
So we had our chat and I left to allow percolation to occur. I then promptly passed out at my desk with FEAR AGENT HC VOL 2 in my lap. A sure sign I was overtired.
Somewhere between sleep, being woken up to French toast and coffee, and driving to work, a few of the genres started to mash up. An idea bubbled, a character was trapped in that bubble.
The day might have looked like me teaching and being social to people but really I was just hacking away at the forest of story to find the one strong oak on which I could hang my hopes.
Tonight, in the living room while emailing and prepping an ep of ORPHAN BLACK, then at the desk, and then in the baby’s room with her on the shoulder going back to sleep and me pacing in pitch darkness, it all came together.
My mind is a bower bird and throughout the day it collected strands of things and by the time night came, I was ready to build with the assembled accoutrements.
The outcome: a one-shot with a character, a location, a world with a history behind it, a small supporting cast, a major conflict, an (I hope) interesting resolution, and an overall theme to the story. I never work like this but this has worked. Here’s why.
The Artist – I dig his style, so I broke story down through the lens of him. This helped refine story ideas, beats, paths.
Just Jam, Man – it was us just throwing genres and silly words and ideas out. My brain picked out the best and made them work. I have my storybreaking ways – questions I ask myself (and ask the characters) but that’s another post. For now, the tip is – just throw stuff to the wall, see what sticks. In this case, it started with two key words. Two words and I dreamt a world.
Here’s hoping we can build it. Stay tuned.

Back Yourself – A Study in Gambling, Hope, Diligence, and Luck

In every journey there is an event horizon where it might just be easier to scarper back home and forget the horizon whose milky skies you thought you were chasing. This is true in relationships, in careers, in actual travel, and most definitely while breaking into comics.

For some, crossing that threshold of doubt and worry is all about backing yourself. For others, it’s about having someone back you through it, but I think for most it is fundamentally about backing yourself first to really get into the game seriously. In any creative endeavour, if you can’t back yourself, you’re screwed. The mental gremlins of doubt and fear will shred your abilities in seconds.

The act of backing yourself sometimes means finally finishing a script, or posting a story online, or paying that rad artist to complete the mini and making it a real thing at cons/ComiXology Submit/your LCS/Kickstarter. People have different ways of backing themselves to the point of being comfortable making comics and feeling alright, and I think that gesture comes down to how far out your horizon is. And sometimes you’ll have to back yourself more than once. Doing it in incremental segments is smart because it’s achievable. My first backing of the RKL brand was finishing an 18k short story/novella in 2005 and self-publishing it at a local independent book store. I finally sacked up and put words into the world. But that wasn’t enough, I continued to do this for a while, then I needed to level up. You only level up by backing yourself, however that might look to you at the time.

For me, in 2013, I had to travel to a US con.

As 2013 started, I had published a few comic shorts, I had lined up some pitches, I was hosting The Process podcast (which seems grandly arrogant in retrospect because what the hell did I know…or do I even know now?), and I was enjoying making comics very much on the side. To get to the next level, I had to back myself. I put together a one-shot and a pitch and I flew halfway around the world to see if I could level up.

When I flew to Seattle for ECCC 2013, my comic making career was bubbling along nicely but it was all low level. To fly across with an unknown one-shot and pitch, with two unknown artists, and hope to get any sort of productive attention at all was a gamble.

And this is the hard truth of the matter, backing yourself is a complete gamble.

There is no certainty your gambit will yield results. You might not be good enough, you might be a dick, or you might just be unlucky (all possible key contributing factors to not levelling up). There is no science to extending your reach into the darkness, you don’t know where the next handhold is, and even more excitingly you don’t even know if there is another handhold, and yet you still leap.

I spent let’s say ~$3k on my con experience. Probably less but let’s really round to take into account printing costs, all the food and fine liquids I consumed, everything. You don’t make the trip to go small. So, automatically, I’m gambling some serious coin. Which is hard to do. I had a 2yo son at the time, and my daughter was about 10 days old. 10 DAYS OLD and I’m leaving her, man, talk about some serious internal conversations. I was gambling money they could use, and gambling time to be with my daughter as well as help my wife with her. It was a big call. Luckily for me, my wife is crazy supportive and demanded I go through with the trip – I cannot tell you how long I hovered over the button to buy the flight tickets. It was more than one night, I’ll say that much.

So there I am, gambling money, time, and what feels like love. On what? The chance to meet some people? That’s about all that was guaranteed, that I’d maybe meet some people.

I can tell you, I was excited for the trip, but holy cats did I feel like a monumental idiot/screw up/terrible father/fool as my plane took off out of Sydney. I was certain this was the worst idea ever. Especially because, in new situations, I become an introvert. I have no idea what to do. It’s terrible.

So I flew over the Pacific and landed in Seattle with my books and my hopes and my worries and my goddamn perseverance. I was not going to miss this opportunity.

This was all in March of 2013. And here we sit in June 2014, and was it worth it?

Aw, hell yeah.

I’m not writing Daredevil yet, or Iron Fist, and nor has any publisher offered me a THEY LIVE or HANNIBAL comic, but I went into this gamble with my eyes open. I knew the meagre rewards that awaited me from my trip. To be honest, I gambled on the hopes of just making some connections. That was my realistic goal. Connections. People who knew my face, one of my stories, and were thus more likely to open future emails.

Cut to now, just over a year later, and I have a book with Monkeybrain Comics and a short coming up in a Vertigo anthology and I can trace both of those occurrences back to that weekend. I can remember the exact conversations that led – through more chat, email, and a lot of hopes and luck – to these two publishing experiences I’m in now. I would not have these things in my life if I didn’t pay to strap into a flying tin can to escape the loves of my life for a very long weekend. I wouldn’t have them but I do because I backed myself.

It was a difficult decision, but I’m immensely glad I did. And I’m glad I did it at that time. Any earlier and I was not ready, my work sucked. Any later, and two kids would have drained the bank account so it wouldn’t have been feasible or responsible. I hit the sweet spot and for that I can mostly contribute it to luck. Though I am partial to the definition of luck being preparation meeting opportunity.

From this leap, I got a creator owned book off the ground – seriously, Monkeybrain was a dream, one I didn’t think I’d even get near, but thanks to timing and Christopher Sebela, I got the in. A true dream project and every issue of HEADSPACE that lands confirms what a crazy dream this book is and how much I love it beyond belief. Then the Vertigo short, godsdamn, VERTIGO. Wanna talk about feeling out of your league, man, Vertigo. Never honestly thought I’d be near this imprint for another decade. Decade being friendly. But here I am with 8 pages of my best game, game lifted by great editorial, and then insane finishes by Tommy Lee Edwards and John Workman. All this because I backed myself. To stress the point, I would not have these two things in my life without that trip.

Well, that trip and the years of work I put in before feeling ready to back myself with that trip. Years of crappy scripts, critiques taken seriously, comics studied, books read, online article dissected, scripts getting less crappy, podcasts soaked up, and so many lessons learned. I didn’t go to Seattle with my first stuff, hell, I showed none of it. It was all current work, my best stuff, the stories standing on the shoulders of older dead stories who fell trying to hit summit and couldn’t but provided lessons and knowledge through the scrutiny of their frozen corpses. I spent my years creating, learning, and working my ass off to get into the crosshairs and be worth the pause of attention. That’s why I took the trip when I did.

And from the trip, I’ve spun out more editorial meetings, a handful more pitches, some one-shots and shorts to come, and it all takes time but it’s coming along. Because of these breaks, and because I treat this like a day job now. This is something I do every day, for hours, and there is always more coming.

Now I’m not the greatest success story, others have broken into the Big Two in the time it took myself to get good and back myself to hit the minor leagues, but my point is that you do need to back yourself at times.

You need to believe you are good enough, and believe because you know, because the proof is on the page. Open up the last thing you wrote, you’ll see it if it’s there. And once it is, back yourself, take the plunge – all those hack sayings. Push yourself to the next level because it’s all on you to do anything. You have to be your hardest worker, your own taskmaster, and your biggest fan. It is all on you. So go do it, when you know the time is right.

Vertigo Magenta featuring GLOVES short

The Magenta issue of the CMYK anthology from Vertigo will hit stores on July 30th, and in it will be GLOVES, a short I wrote, Tommy Lee Edwards illustrated, John Workman lettered, and Sara Miller edited.

magenta cover

“The summer issue of the Vertigo Quarterly is here! It’s MAGENTA, the hot pink sky in your sweltering summer, bringing together comics’ most talented writers and artists – both established and new – for an anthology only VERTIGO could deliver.”

I am beyond proud and excited to be bringing you 8 pages of boxing crime from one of the premiere comic imprints we all love. I am insanely proud of this short, both Sara Miller and Mark Doyle pushed me to make it beyond great, and having Edwards and Workman bring it to life is like some crazy dream. And they certainly breathe life into this tale with every panel.

You can preorder your copy of the anthology, it will also feature stories by Fabio Moon, Peter Milligan, Rian Hughes, Matteo Scalera, Nathan Fox, and many others. It is out July 30th, it’s 80 pages, it’s $7.99 and I think you’ll super dig it.

Supanova Sydney Post Game Run Down 2014

Supanova Sydney has been and gone and yet another show was fantastic and fun. I thought you might like some insight so here goes.

Despite the Aus comics furore blowing up mere days before it, the show was marked for me with sheer positivity. Everyone I spoke with was upbeat and rad, both punters and creators alike.

The weekend opened with a Friday afternoon/evening showing and it was…alright. Lotta people lining up for autograph tokens and not buying books. It didn’t really have an air of people browsing, more just them lining up so that was a dud. Sales were low, sure, but it meant I got to do some shopping that night both unfettered and before other people got their greasy mitts through it all. I’ll discuss more about my haul later.

Saturday was a bruiser. Strong sales, lotta game talk, it was pretty damn rad. I was thankful to have my mate Nic J Shaw helping me at my table as sometimes he needed to step in to handle money or chat up a customer or just keep me sane. Saturday is always the titan day of the con and this show held no different. I like the hustle and bustle, having someone to chat to all the time is fun. This is a big part of why I con, to meet readers and share the good word. I could do it every day forever.

Sunday was slower than Saturday, which is something I always find. It was still a steady day but nothing on the mayhem of Saturday. It was a day I could wander a little and not feel guilty.

Overall, combined sales, it was my strongest weekend yet. And I think that’s purely due to having a wider scope of product on my table. Headspace sold huge, Fatherhood did good trade as usual, and Holt pretty well damn much sells itself. Throw in the quirky and all ages lure of Captain Human the Robot and I was selling more across the board than last year with just Fatherhood and a few friends on the side. I left this show with stock of all books but I never want to post a sell out. It sounds fun to be able to say you did so well you sold out but all that says is you don’t know how to manage what to bring and you also missed out on readers and money. I take plenty every time.

So that’s the sales, how were the punters?

Crowds were really friendly. Those who bought usually were down with some game talk and process peeks. I showed a few people sneakies of my next two works. It was fun. The crowds seemed thin but only because my alley of the show was much wider so there was more room for them to spread out. Overall, buyers were constant and always seemed really connected as they bought.

I had a few people come up and tell me how much they were loving Headspace on ComiXology so that was cool. I had a few others come back on Sunday after Saturday purchases and tell me how much they loved the books. There’s a certain thrill I get of knowing someone spent their Saturday night of the con reading my books. Those people are the best. I even had one tell me Holt was the best Aus book of the con. I disagree with him but it’s superbly rad to hear it. It’s this sort of direct feedback from the cons that keeps me afloat.

Hanging with other creators was fun. I’m finally starting to feel like a part of the Aus comics scene. I’m listed as a guest (mostly off the back of the MLP issue, though that’s now in the past) and now I’m there but without the success of those around me nor the amount of time out into the game as those waiting their turn to be a guest. Well, not as much time playing the game on the Aus scene circuit. I wrote my scripts at home, kept them to myself, then hit twitter well before I hit cons, so on the streets, I’m a fresh fish.  It feels like I kinda sit in this nebulous zone between worlds but this year I put all that garbage out of my head and just had fun and fun was had. The fact that all Aus creators are super rad was strictly reinforced this year.

It’s nice to hang with a tight few over the weekend, like a family reunion. Nic was at my table, and boy did he stick around, stand up guy that he is. Ben Rosenthal made it across from  Adelaide and we’ve known each other forever now but only get to catch up at cons so that was fun. Jasmine, the lady who puts up with him, is such positive company and his mate, and my mate, Osty is a true back issue bin diver. It’s always good to see each other, properly catch up, and just get to relax face to face. And I should also say, I’ve read some of Ben’s upcoming scripts and damn is he showing his best side to come. Some really levelled up business.

I got to see Dan Fell who is a guy I know on twitter who talks a good game so we catch up at the Sydney con. It’s an experience like nothing else to expand these circles where you wouldn’t get to catch up or know each other were it not for comics and the cons. Having beers with Felly was a highlight for me.

Louie Joyce was at the con and his art just keeps improving. He’s my favourite current Aussie artist and I’ve seen what he has coming up and you’re going to be keeping an eye on him and remembering him very soon. I scored two sketches from him on the weekend, a Daredevil and Elektra, and they are going into a trio piece with an old Iron Fist of his as soon as I can frame them. It should also be said that Louie’s fine lady friend is just about one of the funniest lady’s as far as existing in my comedy wheelhouse goes. They’re a fantastic pair.

Paul Caggegi is a man I’m coming to respect and admire the more I talk shop with him and get to know him. Dudes like him are what the scene needs, passionate, informed, fun, rad.

I also got a chance to rub shoulders with Dan and Andrew Tribe, Hayden Fryer, Patrick Purcell, Paul Abstruse who always makes me smile. Martin Abel and Jamie were fantastic table neighbours. It’s so nice to have such support and friendship at these periodical weekend skirmishes. And I’m certain I’ll miss someone – sorry in advance.

I have to stress that Tom Taylor is far nicer than he needs to be. He’s always been very quick to support me, my work, and help out wherever he can. He gave me a quick introduction this weekend that meant the world to me and really lifted my spirits.

I did a panel with Martin and Abstruse on the Sunday arvo at 4:50pm, which is a crazy dead slot to field. It was wicked fun with smack talk aplenty and the very few who attended it loved it. I just wish it was earlier in the weekend because I always find – ALWAYS – that panels generate a lot of post-sales for me. Panel goers will often come find my table after seeing how open I am to talking process. I got a few quick sales but it was a shame it was too late in the game. Maybe next time.

The big draw for the weekend for me wasn’t Stan Lee but rather Chris Ryall and Ted Adams. I love that cons down here are drawing Editors and such because that’s really helping the creators out. I know I made the trip to Melbourne two years ago purely because Scott Allie from Dark Horse was there. It’s an opportunity we cannot get otherwise. So I managed to score a little time with Ryall at his booth and he was fantastic to chat with. Things were said that pleased me greatly. It made my weekend feel productive.

My con haul was tight. Bought some notebooks made from old comic annuals with the spines torn off and binding put on with heaps of extra paper as well. They’re super cool things and I did buy more than one. I bought some local books – looking forward to delving into LEFT HAND PATH and WHISKEY – and I did some back issue bin diving. Got some sweet Elektra and Typhoid back issues of their standalone books, and sampled some weird DC Silver Agey type stuff. Could maybe be interesting. It was just nice to shuffle through those bins and soak up the goodness.

Don’t think I bought much else, trying to keep spending to a minimum, where possible.

I guess that covers the con, so let’s look at the nightlife. It was fun.

First night saw me reuniting with my favourite Thai peanut noodles with some mates and beers. Then it was the Novotel bar for more beers and such. A good night that ended with me passing out while talking process and how to break story. Pretty well standard stuff for me.

Then Saturday night saw the con teams fracture. A party offsite for the guests, a swathe of creators hitting an offsite Hooters, and then me and some intimate peeps staying local, drinking at the local pub, then hotel lobby, then back in our room to make sure I felt like packing a bottle of Stones was a good idea to go with Osty’s Cards Against Humanity. A 2:30am finish would make Sunday interesting but no less awesome.

I’m enjoying the con nightlife as everyone relaxes, talks a little game, and it’s just wholesome good fun.

Gotta say, this con has me itching for OCC in Sydney in September. If it can replicate sales and good times then I’m all over it. My table is already booked.

I just read back up, man, this post will be boring for everyone expect like 5 people. Eh, these can’t all be winners, guys. Seriously.

Aaaaand that’s how the con went down. I hope your Supanova was just as rad. I hope you dug the books you picked up. I hope to see you there next time.

RKL Annotations – HEADSPACE #3

HEADSPACE #3, you got it?

If so, dig in.

We give Shane a little light and then we bash him in the face with a black light LED on strobe. Poor guy. I really dig this issue as it gets Max moving and pushes Shane around when he just wishes he could get from point A to B easy and quick.

headspace03_cvr_140519

COVER

Seriously, Eric is pushing himself on these covers every single time. He refuses to rest on his laurels and he wants every one to be better than the last, all of them. It’s a tough ask but when he’s pulling it off with such aplomb I will not stand in his way. The map was something that came up in email discussion between Eric, Dan Hill, and myself. Eric then added the three figures so creatively placed.

Then he popped in some black background and it all came together. Getting these in my inbox is one of the best parts of this gig.

PAGE 1

Well in, Sebastian Piriz. Joining the team on the first page of your first issue, no pressure. Ha. Sebastian is taking over the Max IRL sequence because Chris Peterson has had to leave the project due to conflicting levels of mega-success. It’s sad to see him depart but we all wish him well and we know Sebastian will round out the creative team here at Carpenter Cove HQ.

This page is a pretty standard piece of business. It’s just setting up location, action, waiting for the page turn. The captions talk of other things, and people, though, so do pay attention.

I also really like those MUNCH sfx because they make Max look insane.

PAGE 2

The way Sebastian lays out Max inside his own head. The flow of those letters from Eric. Marissa’s gorgeous green pants on Max. Everything here is just as it should be.

PAGE 3

A touch, a past, an inevitable series of bad mistakes that you’ve been rinsing and repeating your whole life. Yep, just another day being human, guys. I really dig the way Sebastian draws Max with all those arms, and Marissa making those inset panel edges a colour is fantastic.

PAGE 4

This whole Max IRL sequence is just a vignette. Something to throw you off your pace. I wanted to show Max as a human. As a man with a real life, and interactions with normal people, and a possible shot at hope though it seems it’s just something he can’t take, or won’t manage to align. Either way, I wanted to humanise Max here and I’m really happy with this sequence. Max might be a killer but he’s also human. Sometimes a person can be both so I wanted to show that. I believe sometimes you can pause the jetpack narrative to slow and look and feel and touch.

PAGE 5

Now here we return to the Cove as Shane is told many a truth as we see the location, and see how weird it is. This is where Max’s memories are being harvested. I love the turning track/path Eric drew onto the page leading down. I also super dug on the DHARMA jumpsuits from Eric, yeeaaahhhhhh.

PAGE 6

Talking. Heads. I tried to boil the exposition down and maybe we were successful. I really like the body language given to Shane and the Librarian, these two guys are really interacting. I’m also always a sucker for someone taking off their glasses and cleaning them on the page.

PAGE 7

This page is so important. The Librarian reveals a foolproof plan to leave, the unconscious aspects of the Cove are explained (right back to that very first page, I told you to pay attention so don’t give up now, there’s more to come), and we see some of the grim reality around what’s happening.

I’m also impressed that Eric gets to recycle half an old page of art. Well in.

PAGE 8

Those red garbed foreground people in that panel of this page really set a new tone. It’s great because it’s a spot on way to do it. You should also look closely at what the Librarian says and if there are any nuances and how and why.

PAGE 9

I scripted this beat down but Eric really added some gravity and funk to it. This guy is a hard bastard and I almost don’t want to turn the page…

PAGE 10

The first panel really packs that punch in. Then panel two shows the man so angry he will barely remember who else was there after. Shane has to run after both of them absconding. This is the heart of Shane, his blessing and his curse – he’s a ‘leave no man behind’ kind of guy and doing that means you’re constantly running back into that which you have already escaped. It’s not the smartest battleplan.

PAGE 11

I love Max in the limo. I love how insane this scene gets really quickly. It’s a whole mess of things converging, a whole scatter shot of emotions on display and parts of Max’s brain around them all. I also really dig Panel Four as the limo speeds away from Shane. Eric drew that really damn well and shrewdly.

PAGE 12

This final image floored me when it came in. Mostly it’s the red sky but it’s also the posture of that beast. The way he’s weirdly stumbling through the building. I’m going to go out on a limb and say he’s drunk.

Also, this big guy only exists because Eric drew him in that splash of Shane flying above the Cove in issue #1. I saw him there and knew I had to use him later. So here he is, you’re welcome.

And as far as final splashes/moments go, I’m really happy with this one. It ups the ante from the normal-but-escalating scene we’ve just followed. And in a perfect world it’d be a full splash page but Eric’s time is money and I can’t keep him forever drawing my fancy pin ups. Plus, I kinda like it on this scale with some story beat above it, too. I have zero complaints.

BACK MATTER

As always, all hail Christopher Kosek, Designer Supreme.

TRUE DETECTIVE really did blow me away and inspire me to want/need to do more. I love a good slice of fiction that propels me into more of my own.

ESSAY

I love Dan’s title for this essay: Dirty Wars & Messy Minds – We can forget that for you wholesale.

As for the actual content, man, whoa, its intense. Dan’s always pushing me to think more and really analyse the world around me. He’s good like that.

Another issue down, albeit a touch late. Thank you so sincerely much for wading this deep into Carpenter Cove with us all. This story is really getting murky and we cannot wait to show you the funk with issue #4. Trust us, things get deep and dark and will affect you.

We’d also appreciate it if you spread the good word. Indie books live and die on the vine due to exposure and word of mouth. Hit up twitter with #headspacecomic to share your thoughts, and possibly end up in the back of an issue, too. Chat with myself @ryanklindsay or Eric @ericxyz and let us know your thoughts. We love to chat about the stuff we create. Or just about other stuff. Tell your friends about the book on Facebook, or in person, actually phone a friend to talk about Headspace, or gift the comic to someone. It’s all appreciated.

We’ll see you for #4 soon. Til then, face front, true detective…I mean, true believer.

Sydney Supanova 2014 Klaxon!

Hey all, I’m assuming I’ll see you in Sydney for Supanova on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, right? Right?

I’m tabling at Table 05 (I think) and I’m apparently overloaded with comics you need to buy and read. Let’s go down them in order of whether you’ve got them yet or not.

HEADSPACE #1 – $5

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The first time this will appear in print as a single issue, and possibly the only time. I thought it’d be fun to do the first issue up as a con exclusive, so we’ve got the full issue, plus back matter, plus the Brian Level pin up on the back. I’m incredibly proud of this book – available through Monkeybrain Comics on ComiXology right now with #3 dropping just this week, so head on over – and I think some people are going to love holding this in their hands. The print job has come out really nice.

THE MANY HAROLD HOLTS OF SPACE AND TIME – $3

Holt_Poster

The famous short by Louie Joyce and I comes to you as a special ashcan comic. If you ever wondered what happened to Harold Holt that fateful day we lost him in the waves, wonder no more. We have Atlantis, we have Russian jetpacks, we have aliens, and it’s all building to a royal rumble on Cheviot Beach of all the many Harold Holts of space and time. This, you will enjoy.

CAPTAIN HUMAN THE ROBOT – ALL AGES AND AFTER HOURS EDITS – $2 each

CapHumanRed-1CapHumanBLUE-1

This book makes me smile like it’s my job. The same art by Jin Chan Yum Wai accompanies two wildly different stories. One for the kdidies wanting some Adventure Time style randomness and another for the more discerning adult who likes them grawlix and crude ‘tudes up on the page unrestrained. Or, y’know, both to compare how the hell I managed to script two different tales from the same art.

FATHERHOOD – $5

fatherhood_final1_cover

By now, odds are you already have this. My standby one-shot that still packs all the emotional feels you know me for. By it for someone else.

BLIND DATES AND BROKEN HEARTS – THE TRAGIC LOVES OF MATTHEW MURDOCK – $5

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A 20k word treaty on the love life of Matt Murdock. Pretty much the apotheosis of who I am as a writer. And I only have a few copies left. I do believe I’ll sell out this weekend and then I’ll probably not restock for cons, so get in now.

LEE – $15

lee cover

The fine folks at Crime Factory let me write about old man Lee Marvin street racing death in a short story in this rad collection. Another perfect personification of who I am as a writer. And the whole book is pulp tales about Lee Marvin, I’m pretty sure we all need this book in our life.

——-

I’ll be at the table as much as humanly possible so I hope I’ll see you there, we can chat comics (I’ve been digging D4VE, SEX CRIMINALS, HAWKEYE, THE MASSIVE, STRANGE NATION, RAT QUEENS, DAREDEVIL, HIGH CRIMES, BLACK SCIENCE, DEADLY CLASS, FIVE GHOSTS, FATALE and I’m so down with someone to chat HANNIBAL with, please).

It’s going to be a great weekend, I’ll see you there. Right?

HEADSPACE #3 Lives!

You can scarper on over to ComiXology right now and click/purchase HEADSPACE #3 for your peepers right now. Enjoy.

headspace03_cvr_140519

HEADSPACE #3, from Monkeybrain Comics, holds within it art from Eric Zawadzki and Sebastian Piriz, with colours from Eric and Marissa Louise, and Eric lays the letters down from the writing which I have wrought. Back matter is written by me as well as a slick essay from Dan Hill that will have you questioning the world around you, and it’s all designed by Chris Kosek.

I’m very fond of this issue as Sebastian draws an ethereal and emotional Max IRL vignette while Eric brings the pain to Carpenter Cove as Shane finds a way out and home but can’t stop himself detouring into doing something he knows is right but is going to go so so wrong. The scene escalates very quickly – look closely in that limo – and the final page is jaw dropping stuff.

I do believe you will dig what we’ve got for you. So click on over and enjoy.

Here’s a sweet Owen Gieni pin up while you wait!

Owen-Gieni-Headspacepinupfin-small

——-

To extra convince you, here are some sweet blurbs from fantastic reviews from across the world:

Headspace is one of those mind fuck comics. But believe me it is a damn good fuck.” - Comic Bastards
 
“A science fiction infused comic version of an unwritten, undreamt Rogers Waters concept album fueled by insomnia and Red Bull about a shred of “The Truman Show” that’s been soaking in a tepid Twilight Zone bath, this story truly is wide open.” - CBR
 
The complete package is a deal that’s too good to resist.” - Geeks of Doom
 
“The final panel plays the Abrams-Lindelof game of teasing us with a new mystery having just solved an older one. It’s a pretty good twist, too, one which has me interested in what happens next.” - Bleeding Cool
 
It is a weird sort of sci-fi psycho-drama that will leave readers wondering, “What happens next?!”” - Newsarama
 
Upon further examination of the pieces at work here, Headspace #1 is magnificent.” - All Comic
 
“Throughout it all, [Ryan K Lindsay's] passion for the story is clear, and it’s quite infectious.” - John Lees
 
“The concept is brilliant and executed with such skill that’ll you’ll barely find time to take a breath. The pacing is perfect and the world building is insane. It’s as good as first issues get, and it sows the seeds of an infinitely more interesting world to come. I can’t wait to see issue 2.” - Bloody Disgusting
 
“Yes there is still intrigue by the shed load but Headspace balances it against the narrative rather than being led by it.” - MOMBcomics
 
“Headspace is the spray paint that’ll graffiti the names of Lindsay, Zawadzki and Peterson to the walls of your mind.” - Stash My Comics
 
“I actually look forward to reading more so I can solve the mystery.” - Word of the Nerd
 
I can’t remember when was the last time I read and looked at something equally weird and subconsciously disturbing.” - Trash Mutant
If you can spread the word, tweet it out, tell your friends in the boardroom tomorrow over lunch, whatever you can muster, it is all appreciated. Indie comics live and die on word of mouth and good vibes so as we trek into the depths of this story we’d love it if you’d all come along.

32

Not sure where I thought I’d be by 32. Once upon a time, it sounded so old. Yet I still, mostly, feel so young. I think.

Once, 32 sounded accomplished. Yet, mostly, I feel like I haven’t done anything. Or anything near enough.

32 was Karl Malone’s number. A Ryan from history past cares about this confluence of life/math.

Sometimes I feel like I’m still in my 20s then I realise I’m 32. That’s a lot of years to starjump in a moment. it can rattle the brain. I’m probably in my last year of being ‘early-30s.’ When I was young, I thought anyone post-30 must know it all, and must be on the right track and have everything figured out, man, post-30 were the real adult years. Ha. I’m looming closer to the age my father killed himself, and my son is very nearly the age I was when that happened. I’m noticing streaks of grey in all sorts of places. I have not been carded in years. People assume I know stuff about stuff just because of my age. I’ve been married nearly half a decade – I never even had a relationship last that long before, no less be so serious and legal for this amount of time. It won’t be long until I’m looking at my 40th like it’s some monolith at the end of the hall just waiting silently for me. Most of the kids I teach weren’t born when I started teaching.

Age, it always makes me think.

Above it all, one thought crushed me this week. The kids learning to drive on the roads with me are now officially half my age. That’s something.

So I thought I’d put it all into perspective and context by writing an open internet letter to my 16yo self. I’m going to open up a hole in the flat circle and cast my words through.

Ryan,

You’re about to learn to drive, you have a girlfriend, high school will be over soon. In a few years, none of these things will be big things at all. They’ll be memory blips in your rearview and you’ll be looking forward for more, always more. And I want you to keep doing that. One of the reasons you will succeed – and you will at times, I’ll discuss below – is that you keep moving onto the next thing. You keep looking upwards at 45 degrees. Don’t ever stop. Don’t get stuck reworking the same thing. Don’t get stuck trying to fix the broke thing to make it work when you can just build something else to get the job done better. Don’t settle or stagnate.

Right now, at 16, you are looking to the future and it’s murky. You want to write. You know you will teach. You want happiness and fulfilment and to be challenged. You will get all those things. But you’ll have to forge through other happiness that might be fleeting or not what you were expecting. There will be failure. There will be hard choices. And sometimes things will be easy. Your job is to work out which is which, and before it’s all too late. But you’ll inherently know how to do this. It’s your young superpower.

Enjoy each year for what it is. And each year will come to stand out as something for a special reason before they eventually blur to paste in front, beside, and all around you. You will have a year where you feel incredibly blessed, and a year where you work bloody hard, and a year where you test what you can achieve. Each year is something special, so hold onto it all. Eventually, you’ll come to miss those lazy days. Purely because you’ll never have them again. But that’s a good thing.

I can’t give much advice to you because that would cause a temporal paradox and then I wouldn’t exist to type the advice to you and then you wouldn’t do it and then I’d be here – and then we’d be looping. But I will say this, because maybe it’ll make me do it. Strive to be the best person you can be. Compliment others, share, shout a drink, smile, don’t gossip, don’t ignore people. Think about the best men you can think of – now emulate them. Be one of them. Always. Not just sometimes, always. When you’re tired, when you’re frustrated, when you’re drunk, bored, angry, happy. Always be someone you can be proud of.

The other piece of advice: whatever you want to do or be, just do it. Permission is not needed. There is no ‘right time.’ Just do it and know you won’t be able to at first. You’ll suck, it’ll take time, but the fact you are trying means the world to most, and the fact you’ll slowly get better should be all you need to know.

As for your future, I won’t spoil the fun stuff, but it’s going to be fun. And I think it all works out. Even just this far, you marry the best person in your life, your kids are perfect, you’ll be a great teacher and you’ll love it, and you’ll also write. A lot. By the time you’re 32, you’ll have work published in more massive publisher’s books than you would have ever dared to dream. So remember where you came from, and how much you wanted it, and don’t ignore the success to focus on the next step. Take a second, enjoy the victory, and realise it’s something you should be proud of. Each level up is something you didn’t even think possible before you did it so don’t brush it off, soak it up. Then work your ass to the next summit.

Everything turns out a little better than you could have imagined. So enjoy getting here.

 See you soon.

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