Without Fear

Ryan K Lindsay – Writer

Behind the Panel Podcast 110 – feat. RKL

While at Oz Comic Con Sydney 2014, I was on the Behind the Panels podcast panel where we live recorded a podcast in front of a live audience. It was a fantastic experience. So, if you wanna hear me wax about comics, you should head here:

BEHIND THE PANELS 100 – feat. RKL – and we discuss BATMAN: YEAR ONE


It was an honour to get the invite up onto the stage, and it was such a pleasure to discuss BATMAN: YEAR ONE – I really love that book, like most of early Miller work, and Mazzucchelli art will always float my boat. We get into some depth while also tangenting frequently. Chatting with Richard Gray and David McVay is insanely easy. I am certain you’ll hear more from us in the future.

I hope you guys enjoy the pod, feel free to spread it round to your Bat and Miller friends.

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Phone reading. Life changing. Link baiting.

Kelly Thompson is a good friend and I love her voice – here her voice is used for good – read about why misogyny blows – http://goodcomics.comicbookresources.com/2014/09/01/she-has-no-head-zen-is-still-nowhere-near-the-building/

Jack Kirby and inspiration and legacy and the light – http://www.depthoffieldmagazine.com/2014/09/02/notes-on-jack-kirby-his-influence-integrity-and-endless-inspiration/

Can’t remember if I posted this before, but found it hiding in my iSafari – SHUTTER and SAGA and casual diversity in comics – I stand with everything presented here – http://www.popmatters.com/column/183716-shutter-saga-and-the-private-eye-showcase-the-best-of-what-comics-ca/

Gamer kid sends swat team to his rival’s house – now he’s off to jail – tears ensue – trying to process how this makes me feel – http://www.nymeta.co/15-year-old-swatted-gamer-convicted-domestic-terrorism-25-years-life-federal-prison/?utm_source=acv&utm_medium=cpc&utm_campaign=swattingacv

Louie Joyce is an art monster – his commission sketches are the best – I have three already – http://luilouie.blogspot.com.au/2014/09/ultimate-sketch-commissions.html

Always a sucker for Jason Vorhees – http://dailygrindhouse.com/thewire/mask-top-10-jason-voorhees-video-game-rip-offs/

“at the same time, we can actively change the pace of our thoughts by deliberately walking more briskly or by slowing down.” – and with that one quote, my life has changed – an article on why walking helps us think and write – http://www.newyorker.com/tech/elements/walking-helps-us-think

14 year old girl makes a horror flick and owns us all – http://www.fangoria.com/new/trailer-carver-a-slasher-from-14-year-old-filmmaker-emily-diprimio/

This side-up-everywhere scrolling comic will melt your mind in the best way – truly – http://consequentialart.wordpress.com/2009/01/28/lets-go-for-a-scroll/

Can you communicate only in emoji? – tl;dr not effectively, no – but now I want to write a comic in only emoji – http://www.slate.com/blogs/business_insider/2014/09/02/my_experiment_texting_using_just_emojis_no_words.html?wpsrc=fol_tw

I kinda want to rewatch CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE WINTER SOLDIER right now – a chat with the Russo Bros – http://collider.com/captain-america-the-winter-soldier-joe-russo-anthony-russo-interview/

I love hearing about how creative people do their creative things – a run down of some habits of great writers, fun stuff – http://shortlist.com/entertainment/books/the-daily-rituals-of-famous-writers

Words about WORDS FOR PICTURES – and Breaking In Links

The subheading for this book by Brian Michael Bendis is ‘The art and business of writing comics and graphic novels.’ And that is exactly what you get.

words for picturec over

I get asked at cons a lot about what sort of things can help you write comics. I’m not asked this because I’m anything special but more that I just talk about process so much that people assume I know what I’m saying. Jokes on them but it whiles away the hours on the con floor.

So when people ask me for tips and advice and whathaveyou, I invariably tell them to get Scott McCloud’s stuff and simply devour it. Set up the bbq, decant the HP sauce at room temp, and imbibe those pages like your future career writing Spider-Man depends on it. Because it most certainly does.

There is no denying the dominance of McCloud and his complete coverage of the comic medium structure and the accessible way he lays it all down. That layer and level of craft has been owned and so I was so pleased to see Bendis’ book is not an attempt to go this path. No, Bendis instead delivers the perfect partner volume to McCloud’s work.

WORDS FOR PICTURES treads water in a few ponds and all of them really important.

In fact, I’d go so far as to say this is ‘must read’ stuff for people right when they make the decision that they want to make comics and break into comics. I wish beyond belief that I had this book a decade ago. It’s full of the little tips and tricks about breaking in that I had to hunt around and find or stumble across over the course of years of living the life. Here, this book presents it all to you in one handy weekend read.


There is no way around this, there are lessons here you need to learn. There are lessons here you have no doubt been told by someone else already but you weren’t sure if it was right. It is right. It’s here in this book, please read it a few times, learn it, love it, and then jump into the four colour waters, it’s always warm in here.

To give a quick rundown – this book drops knowledge and science on some of the early tripping blocks creators, and especially writers, face.

The editorial round table on how to meet editors, stay in contact with them, and not be a pest is worth its weight in gold.

The artist round table about what they dig and loathe in scripts is fantastic. Learning how to write for your artist is super hard – and a lot of that is because nascent writers don’t have many artists with which to collaborate and experiment so we have too many scripts written in a vacuum and not considering the collaborator. This chapter breaks down a lot of what you need to hear and the sooner the better.

The page with Kelly Sue’s pitch docs on it is just glorious. These are the sorts of things we don’t see anywhere near enough of. Trying to find, share, download, hack, ask politely for, and imagine pitch docs is hard so here we get a peek into some good ones – especially because Kelly Sue is irreverent in hers and that will free your mind – it did for me.

If you need to learn the art of comics, read McCloud, if you need to learn the art of making comics, read Bendis. I think it’s that simple.

Now, I know the book isn’t without its faults. It almost felt a little too quick to read. I would have liked to see more process about script breakdowns and real craft – though once you start talking about scripting gutters and the like then you run into McCloud territory so I see why this line was drawn. This book might not be perfect in the way McCloud is but I don’t know of anything better, and I know Bendis drops enough knowledge I wish I had five years ago that I know this book is completely worth it.

So the next time someone asks me what they need to help them make comics I am going to send them to this book, in a heartbeat.


If you dig this book, or want to know more about the things you need to be a writer with a level head, click these links.

Bendis runs a process blog – dig it – http://bendiswordsforpictures.tumblr.com/

Bendis also runs his own tumblr where you’ll get a stack of comic art to adore but he often goes on jags of answering tumblr questions and some great stuff can be found therein – http://brianmichaelbendis.tumblr.com/

I have delivered a comic writing workshop before and you can download the presentation here – http://ryanklindsay.com/2014/05/18/comic-writing-101-at-comicgong/

I also run the Process Junkie tumblr with Dan Hill – it wants to be Bendis’ page pretty badly – http://processjunkie.tumblr.com/

The Comic Writer Services 2.0 page, curated by Dan Hill, has enough process links to fill a month – and I heartily endorse you calling in sick for a month and just getting your read and your learn on – seriously – do this – http://comicwriterservices.com/

Chuck Wendig is a guy who writes often and with passion about writing and all that craft jazz – I wouldn’t tell you to try to be like him, only so many people can get away with that sort of malarkey without alienating themselves completely, but he does drop some great grist for the mill – http://terribleminds.com/

Buy Scott McCloud’s books – http://www.bookdepository.com/author/Scott-McCloud

I like reading film scripts – I have scored many for download from this great flick site – http://cinearchive.org/

Stephen King’s ON WRITING could possibly round out my personal holy trinity of books about writing/making comics – http://www.bookdepository.com/On-Writing-Stephen-King/9780340820469

I like my writing craft books to have a personal tone. King’s author writing voice is something I could read for months on end – and I dig STORY (to degrees) and some of those other staples but if you want great ground level sensible stuff that has worked wonders for me, hit up the McCloud/Bendis/King triumvirate.


That’s it, now go read something every day, and write something every day.

Go. Enjoy.

RKL Annotations – HEADSPACE #4


Shane tries to do the right thing. He’s racing to protect someone. But he finds so often the world and many of us in it do not want to be saved. Then there’s Max, who doesn’t really understand what’s happening and here meets the woman who set him on this path, and what she wants him to do.

This issue is the midway point of the story, it’s a character study, and it’s also a place where the narratives of Shane and Max change gears, one going up, the other down a gear.

HEADSPACE #4 – get some


We finally get to the white themed cover. I like the way Eric laid out this Max composition. It’s nasty and oppressive, and feels like when Dave Johnson uses design to get across concepts present behind the story. Those piled bodies, man, damn.


If you end the last issue with a cyclopean ogre creating some trouble you can be damn sure we’ll open the next issue with more cyclopean ogre shenanigans. Poor Shane here isn’t loving life. He should just be glad that club swing isn’t liquefying his bones and splattering his skull across the pavement. I love the way Eric has him breaking the panel wall – totally not scripted.

I keep looking at this ogre’s necklace and wondering if those little pendants mean anything? This is proof artists work harder than me, I bet Eric has a whole backstory worked out for that necklace.


This is all just Gulliver’s Travels. The real one, not the Jack Black one…the Ted Danson one.

I’m also fond of that final line.

Oh, and this whole scene is to show that Max’s mind is busy, constantly, dealing with his demons. The Maxs here ignore Shane because they’re busy with something bigger. I wanted to have a moment where Shane sees he’s just a passenger in this huge opera.


I think Eric transitions this page beautifully into the flashback but I’m still worrying I didn’t land this page just right in that structural way. I hope the emotion rings true, though. A man’s inability to cope with insane levels of feelings is certainly a real thing.


That panel of Shane sitting and looking at his punching bag says so much and Eric slays with that body language. This is a man completely lost, completely helpless, completely stuck inside his own form which is unable to express enough to cope with what he’s got. All I can say is, I hope I never lose a kid, because I fear I’d be as useless as Shane is right here.


Now we cut to Max’s story. I hope people don’t mind that rhythm. Some Shane story, another peek at Max, then back to the Shane narrative engine. I’ve crazily liked plotting out the story in such a manner, trying to find the right cut points. It’s been fun.

Do you know why I’ve named the bakery that? A No Prize for anyone who gets it – I don’t think it’s that hard.

And now look closer at that paper. The first headline relates verrrry tangentially to the overall plot, but that second headline, well, that second headline is continuity, son.

Oh, and she totally speaks like Death’s Head, yes?


Yeah, so this sequence is talky. I feel bad for Sebastian, you should see the script pages.


Lois talks.


Lois talks at max.


It surely wasn’t fun to draw but I wanted this scene to be static. So many other scenes aren’t so I thought this one could really slow down because I want you to pay attention to what Lois says, and how she words it. This is all very important and it all comes to a head next issue where a huge bombshell is revealed. This leads up to it.

I love the way Sebastian created Lois. She’s a very good looking character.


My Blue Heaven, ha, I couldn’t resist. That’s the sort of line I could never cut.

I’m a sucker for a silhouette on a clear background.


I loved writing that Lois would be open enough to Max to admit she doesn’t care about him, this has never been about saving him, and that she wants to use him for his specific skill set. Lois is not very nice but at least she tells you upfront how she’ll be.

Who is Zara Blackwell?


Quick, go open HEADSPACE #2 and look at pages 7 + 8. Notice some of the slick parallels Eric drew between this sequence and that one? Yep, that’s all him. He’s just that goddamn good.

I really hope people think I could and would kill a major character here at this point. I hope people turned the page genuinely not knowing what they would find.


To be honest, I’m sure people got that the kid was Max pretty early. Thinking I’d obscured that was probably a little false hope, but I like this reveal, the fact it was a Max memory all along, and there’s nothing Shane can do about this scene, it happened before, will always happen, and that’s just the way it goes down. because, as much as we all knew it was Max, Shane has been on the run through this insanity for about an hour, I guess, so he wouldn’t have known. Shane genuinely was trying to save someone and now he’s thinking maybe he’s inside an unsavable man.

That face comparison between two panels was scripted, but Eric is the mastermind who made the father’s face so much wider and more imposing.


This page for me is how good collaboration lifts the work. Eric nails that look of horror from Shane, as well as the red background. It’s very reminiscent of the first issue’s last page.

Those SFX really came out well and get punctuated by Young Max really enjoying himself in that final panel.


I don’t script splash pages often, nor do I do silent pages often. This page clearly means I want you to stop, pause, put yourself in Shane’s shoes, get comfy, realise you can’t because Shane’s life is permanently uncomfortable for the foreseeable future, and then wonder what you would do next in this situation.

I also scripted that specific statue into the page. Who is he and what does he signify?


As always, all hail Christopher Kosek, Designer Supreme of Carpenter Cove.

HANNIBAL has become something I can barely stop thinking about. It’s enthused and inspired me to no end. And with so many TV properties gone four colour funny book lately I can’t help but think a HANNIBAL book cannot be far off.

Go watch OFFSPRING. Seriously, do this.

Barely any #headspacecomic tweets so I guess I can retire that thought experiment that only served to make me think I have no readership. Funnily enough, every time I put out the call for tweets, I’d get a 5:1 ratio of RTs to actual use of the bastard thing.


Dan Hill drops more narrative fuel on your fire, while also subtly hinting at themes of the book. The government can suck hard sometimes.


Man, Sami Kivela has me wanting a Carpenter Cove sheriff’s badge so bad. I love his use of yellow here, the man is a master.

Then we get Justin Greenwood and Marissa Louise bringing some cover level insanity to the game. Justin really went full out on this one and he works so much into it. The man is great, so no surprise he’s doing so much rad work right now at Image and Oni.

Another issue down, and the halfway mark reached. I hope you are as excited as I am. #4 was our crowning achievement and I am so incredibly proud of it, but be prepared for #5 which will punch you straight in the gut, then on the bridge of your nose, and then repeat the experience until your eyes fill up with tears. It’s going to be a dark ride.

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 (ha), 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 #5 real soon. Til then, thank you. If you’ve made it halfway, you deserve a pause, a beer, maybe a counter meal down the pub with us, and it’ll all happen, in good time. Thank you.

HEADSPACE #4 is on ComiXology

You can buy and download HEADSPACE #4 right now!


HEADSPACE #4 with art by Eric Zawadzki, Sebastian Piriz, colours by Eric Zawadzki and Marissa Louise, letters by Eric Zawadzki, back matter and edits by Dan Hill, back matter design by Christopher Kosek, and written by Ryan K Lindsay is the halfway point of the whole story, and in it we stop and really assess Carpenter Cove and the madness around Shane.

This issue is something I’m incredibly proud of, it’s our best to date, and it’s a gut punch of a character portrait so I hope you get it, hope you dig it, and thank you for sharing the link, talking the book up, and giving us feedback.

If you are on the fence, I present a glowing preview of this issue by Tony Esmond that should bring you into the fold: CLICK HERE FOR WORDS.

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More phone reading – enjoy.

A list of quotes about writing for children – I dig Roald Dahl’s, and Steven Kellogg’s has just flipped my head around – http://www.relevantchildrensministry.com/2013/09/15-quotes-about-writing-for-children.html

Barbarella comic (adapted by Kelly Sue DeConnick back in the day) is set for a reprint – this article makes me want toread some Barbarella – and make some Barbarella – the art is gorgeous – http://thisisinfamous.com/barbarella-comic-book-review-space-feminism/

I could stare at this motion header for days – plus, it’s just a well written real life article about earthquake bureaucracy – right up my alley – https://medium.com/matter/the-aftershocks-7966d0cdec66

A coffee nap – man, I wish I had time for both – but this is a pretty nifty idea – http://www.vox.com/2014/8/28/6074177/coffee-naps-caffeine-science?utm_medium=social&utm_source=facebook&utm_campaign=voxdotcom&utm_content=thursday

Part of me never wants to see a remake of ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK – part of me thinks they could actually do it really well – and all of me thinks two of these suggestions are not so good, whereas Jon Bernthal could be decent but I wouldn’t bet the farm on it – who would I choose to be Snake Plissken? Hell, I’d go with Kurt Russell again – http://www.aintitcool.com/node/68569

What if Christopher Nolan directed THE INCREDIBLES is good value – it’s stuff like this I love about the internet – http://kotaku.com/if-christopher-nolan-directed-pixars-the-incredibles-1628526341

THE BROTHERS JAMES is a great comic – this write up of the grindhouse beast of a book by Brian Level, Ryan Ferrier, and  Michael Walsh is something I completely endorse and agree with – http://neverironanything.blogspot.co.uk/2014/08/review-brothers-james-ryan-ferrier.html?zx=d1e54e7b9c816ff2

Pretty well put together post on how you should all be leading your anti-female hate campaigns online – http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2014/sep/01/how-to-attack-a-woman-who-works-in-video-games

A list of some fantastic hidden gems of the 80s from Marvel – I’m not sure when WHAT IF…?! was being published but I’m certain the 80s run was superb – seeing POWER MAN & IRON FIST here makes me smile, as does SPIDER-WOMAN and MOON KNIGHT – http://marvel1980s.blogspot.com.au/2014/08/eighties-august-8-part-ii-best-titles.html?m=1

Jack Kirby interview at TCJ – just because – http://www.tcj.com/jack-kirby-interview/1/

Black and White Flick List

I wanna talk about modern movies that might be better in B+W.

I recently read an old article discussing 10 modern flicks that would work great in B+W. The list is tight – watch the RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK clip and tell me it’s not better in B+W. They also list THE LAST SEDUCTION which will always win my heart.

Now, if I ever have the chance, I want to watch some other flicks in black and white. I wish I could make some clips up now, but I’m a fool when it comes to this sort of rad stuff, so instead I’ll purely list some titles with some chatter – and I’ve done a few pics because I love you all so much. I hope you dig.


THE PROPOSITION – this Aussie western noir is possibly the best flick this country has ever produced. It is damn good. It’s shot with some amazing colours – all drab and moody – but I’d love to take a stab at it in B+W.

proposition 2

SE7EN – this seems like a no brainer. The flick is already so rainy and nasty, but as a B+W, man, that mood would just drop.

CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE WINTER SOLDIER – This is more an experiment than any sort of guarantee, but I think it’d change the impact of the violence and the tone of the piece and the whole would come out even further grounded and dark. I mean, look below, that’s pretty tight, right?

winter soldier flick

INCEPTION – maybe this would work. I’d certainly be down to see it try.

ENTER THE DRAGON – I actually don’t think this would work, but I am all down for trying. Who knows, right?

BODY HEAT – I had to pause and reflect on whether this already is B+W but it’s not, and it totally should be.


PONTYPOOL – the visuals run second fiddle to the sound on this one anyway, so why not mute them? Make this underground radio station really feel claustrophobic.

PAN’S LABYRINTH – del Toro shoots with such certainty and passion that’s it’s difficult to suggest altering his vision but look at the photo below, tell me this wouldn’t work?


THE EVIL DEAD – another I had to wonder if it wasn’t already B+W. Low budget, one location, spooky jumps – this would work for B+W so well.

MILLER’S CROSSING – this film feels like it would work, so I’ll give it a go, but there is uncertainty in my heart.

VIDEODROME – there has to be a Cronenberg in this bunch. I think this would take on a more weary bleak tone in B+W and that would be just fine.

BRICK – bit of a gimme really. An obvious choice but one that would be so cool to see.


THE LOOKOUT – an oft forgotten gem from Scott Frank, The Lookout is a twisted weird heist flick, and it would only bury deeper into itself with this lack of colour.



THE ROCKFORD FILES – I would watch all of this.


I’d be interested to know your suggestions for some B+W flicks (or TV). I know, for me, thinking of B+W TV reminds me of watching old midday movies with my mother, old Hitchcock flicks, old moody pieces that shaped my pre-teen years. Just looking at the B+W pics above stirs a response in me. I love B+W flicks. I wish I had more time for them.

Gotta go.

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Things around the web I’ve read, dug, and wanted to share – YMMV


The Time I Spent On A Commercial Whaling Ship Totally Changed My Perspective On The World – possibly one of the greatest articles online you will ever read – oof – http://www.clickhole.com/blogpost/time-i-spent-commercial-whaling-ship-totally-chang-768

A quick chat with Vincent D’Onofrio as Kingpin in the upcoming DAREDEVIL Netflix series – man, I am so pumped for this, it’s like a dream come true – D’Onofrio looks fantastic as Fisk in that photo – I really should write something about the show before I see it, then something after it – http://screencrush.com/daredevil-vincent-donofrio-interview-kingpin-exclusive/

Frank Miller talks about writing for Hollywood – he might be a little koo-koo but his general idea of not seeing Hollywood writing as the ‘step up’ is great, it might be more pay, but it won’t be anywhere near as satisfying, or true to creative vision, and I think that’s important to know – I now need to get my hands on Playboy for this interview – I love Playboy interviews – http://moviepilot.com/posts/2014/08/20/frank-miller-bashes-the-dark-knight-superman-and-hollywood-2208725?lt_source=external,manual#bJeJK6

SHOWRUNNERS – some excerpts of tv showrunners talking about breaking in, and ending stories – Damon Lindelof and Steven S DeKnight among them – http://shelf-life.ew.com/2014/08/22/damon-lindelof-showrunners/?hootPostID=fc1895fdf79c9913bb318faaf50b0b70

 Talking the visual style of SHUTTER, SAGA, and THE PRIVATE EYE – thinking about the density and diversity of background – an interesting read – http://www.popmatters.com/column/183716-shutter-saga-and-the-private-eye-showcase-the-best-of-what-comics-ca/

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Some stuff I read, probably on my phone, while dealing with slow IT or a sleeping child.


Never ever ever ever use two spaces at the end of a sentence, peeps. C’mon! – http://www.slate.com/articles/technology/technology/2011/01/space_invaders.html

A large article on Frank Miller by Sean Howe. I was always going to find the time for this. – http://www.wired.com/2014/08/frank-miller-sin-city-a-dame-to-kill-for/

A discussion on women in Marvel films – and I truly hope they are right about Medusa leading the Inhumans flick because that needs to happen. – http://multiversitycomics.com/columns/inhumans-and-female-representation-in-marvel-films/

A list of modern flicks that work better in black + white – THE LAST SEDUCTION blew my teenage mind, and works so damn well in B+W – http://flavorwire.com/181969/10-modern-movies-that-are-better-in-black-and-white

Matt Fraction talks about ENTER THE DRAGON at 44 minutes for just a few minutes. Do this, and never forget. – https://overcast.fm/podcasts/episode/41048240763451

An artistic discussion and analysis of the Land and Manara covers for the upcoming SPIDER-WOMAN. I agree on many points, though understand art isn’t always going to be anatomically correct. But I wish it was less exploitative and less unattainable for physiques. – http://www.themarysue.com/controversial-spider-woman-covers-redrawn/2/

Sometimes I believe I’ll kinda read anything about CASANOVA, it just makes me want to reread the entire run again – Also, not enough people reference the fact the whole thing started off as a failed Marvel pitch for a ‘Son of Dominic Fortune’ story. – http://sequart.org/magazine/49068/living-like-a-comic-book-casanova-vol-1-luxuria/

HEADSPACE #4 up for Preorder on ComiXology

HEADSPACE #4. Our best issue yet. The final pages will knock you for six.


headspace 4 cover small

Who am I kidding, you’re all already subscribed, aren’t you? It drops in two weeks on Sept 3rd, here’s the solicit text:

“Shane comes face to face with the twisted black heart of Carpenter Cove, and watches it win. Max finally tracks down the lady who started this whole mess and she says something he can’t ignore.

The critically acclaimed book Pipedream Comics are calling “a smartly written, surreal thriller”” hits its emotionally charged middle point.”
Spread the good word, get ready for fun, and thank you eternally.



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