Without Fear

Ryan K Lindsay – Writer

Writing Splash Pages

Splash pages are tricky beasts. Used right, they can be amazing beats. Used wrong, or at least with little effect, and they become placeholders, structural ticks on a checklist of formula, turgid, ho-hum, forgettable.

I don’t write a lot of splash pages. I don’t decompress so rarely find I have the space for a splash page. I say that like I’m bragging when in reality it can be a fault at times, it means I’m trying to cram too much in, I want too many little beats, I want my words all over everything. Sometimes your story needs time and space to breathe.

And splash pages add both – time and space.

Used right, they slow the reader down, make them feel the moment, bring them in and invest them on an emotional level – whether that emotion is awe or infinite sadness or extreme guttural horror. The splash page is the signifier that the reader needs to stop and soak it in for a moment, or maybe three moments.

I’m not here to preach which splash pages are the best and the worst – though I would like to write a future post about which splash pages have hit me hard in the past few years as a writer/reader – for now I’d like to point you to a link and make you think about it in regards to your writing, and illustrating (though I usually speak from the writing/writer’s perspective because there’s no way I’m lecturing about art).

75 ICONIC PHOTOS TO DEFINE THE 21ST CENTURY SO FAR

Yep, this is click bait, but it’s got 75 pics that are pretty good, and I want to highlight a few that might make you think differently about how you’ll write splash pages in the future – however, as always, ymmv.

Classic Majesty

nyc skyline

Look at this shot. It’s beautiful, right? Haunting, emotional, inspiring, and all just with a cityscape. You can use your environment to do this to the reader. Do it.

CHARACTER POSE

bush mission accomplished

Have your character doing something dramatic. Post them with their environment, frame it real pretty like. Have everything point to them and their message, and make it so their message points to them, and they are the central point of their message. Extra points for making their pomp a true farce.

CHARACTER POSE – EMOTIONAL EDIT

reuinited family

Drop that emotional beat. Character posing in maximum emotional mode, tears on display, or anger, or whatever. This is the action shot of their soul. But also, look how this mother’s body frames around her daughter, and the colour juxtaposition, the interlocking human pieces that fit perfectly, this is a pretty shot that also manages to evoke so much. Don’t rely purely on the shown emotion, just because I see tears doesn’t mean I’ll care. Draw me in, use your craft. I also think the business pants guy clearly just walking on by says so much, this lady is melting down, he’s just looking for some java before making his connecting flight. Sometimes these heightened emotional moments are just yours, and no one else cares, we are pockets of hyperfuel for whatever we are feeling and rarely do others get burnt by our flames. That in itself is a fascinating concept about empathy, and time in the day, and just how much emotion we have to give the world and still function.

This shot also goes well with this shot below:

bridge suicide

Look at that body language. Ooof. Masterclass right there from the real world. Capture something as real as this and I’ll read your book.

SCOPE

virginia tech

Use scope and numbers to your advantage. Whether it’s an army, or a family, or mourners, or protestors, make us care because you’re bringing a thousand peeps who care.

Now, this won’t always work – sometimes it feels like saturation and can be numbing – but when done and framed right for the very perfect moment, it can stop us in our tracks.

THAT ONE CREEPY MOMENT

boston bomber

Look at the lighting on this one. If you wanna think about mood you think about the shadows, but only as they juxtapose against the light, and as they differentiate because this pic has pitch black, but also weird greys, with multiple light sources. This is just great.

INNOVATE

kiev independence

Be bold. Tell your moment in a way you have not seen before. Damn the rules.

FIND THAT ONE MOMENT YOU’VE NEVER SEEN BEFORE AND NO ONE’S THOUGHT OF BEFORE – BE FIRST

vancouver riot

Because if you think something is preposterous, or will feel like a contrivance, or not plausible, or will be laughed at, just know something crazier has happened in real life.

But if you can capture those moments, and think about them first, and present them with a modicum of craft, respect, enthusiasm, and talent then the world will love you for the opportunity to share that beautiful moment in space and time.

So the next time you go to write a splash page, consider why you are writing it, what do you want to make the world feel? How are you going to evoke that feeling? Scope of size, or body language, or by bringing something new and worthy of study for just a moment. Because the world has plenty of pages of the Spider-Buggy zoooming through the air, and of cape teams launching inexplicably through the air, but they don’t have enough moments of soul searching on a bridge or macking out in the middle of a riot.

If you are going to stop the reader and make them slow down, give them reason to do it and make them feel that page for hours later.

Linkatron 99

Read. Consume. Die.
I love LOST and always will, and this article comes close to telling you the whys and hows of that love – http://grantland.com/hollywood-prospectus/lost-legacy-ten-year-anniversary-abc/

These numbers on the OG TMNT boggle the mind – they also inspire me like crazy – on making your own comics – http://geekout.blogs.cnn.com/2011/08/31/thinking-of-making-your-own-comic-book-read-this-first/

TRIGGER WARNING: dead children in this story – and you might wonder why I read stuff like this but as a teacher, I need to know how some kids/families are doing it, I need to know why some kids come in angry, why they are upset, why they are broken before 9am – that someone could neglect being a parent so hardcore, and yet have 6 kids, does my head completely in – my wife told me not to read this article and she was right, this stuff just makes me angry way before it makes me sad – http://www.couriermail.com.au/news/queensland/case-of-starving-twins-and-how-their-11yearold-sister-tried-to-save-them/story-fnn8dlfs-1227076269742?nk=a5159f14307d0cf9131ba4c68eb564a6

And now for something lighter: the definition of first world problems as people worry about seeing that someone is typing on their end but not knowing what they’re typing/why it’s taking so long/OH GOD, WHY DID THEY STOP?! – this makes me laugh but I also completely feel it – social interactions begin neuroses and anxiety, why we brought social media into our homes, so we could feel this way 24/7 oftentimes baffles me – http://www.nytimes.com/2014/08/31/fashion/texting-anxiety-caused-by-little-bubbles.html?referrer=&_r=2

“On Mars, for example,  sound will be higher in pitch.” – huh, the more you know – and other science/space facts – http://www.iflscience.com/10-space-myths-we-need-stop-believing-ls-currently-fact-checking

I love reading about process and muse and craft from people I admire – Snyder, Cloonan, and Vaughan step up at NYCC to discuss how they make the donuts – http://www.comicbookresources.com/?page=article&id=56171

CHINATOWN will always be my jam – lotta high quality chatter on this page put together by Cinephilia about and around this classic flick – absorb, learn, replicate on your own scale – http://www.cinephiliabeyond.org/the-forty-year-rule-chinatown/?w3tc_note=flush_browser_cache

Proof you can write any plot twists or contrivances you want, because people are nuts and anything can happen with them around – mother arrested after her 4yo took bags of her heroin to school – imagine your 4yo ODing at school because some other little kid brought baggies of horse and your kid didn’t know and hoovered it up thinking it was sherbert – imagine being the parent, imagine being the teacher – imagine – oof – http://www.mediaite.com/online/mother-arrested-after-4-year-old-passes-out-her-heroin-at-day-care/

 

Chatting NYCC Daredevil TV News at The Spire

Steve Morris at The Spire was kind enough to hit me up with some cool Qs and thoughts about the NYCC Daredevil TV announcements and pics.

A DEATH DEFYING DAREDEVIL DISCUSS WITH RYAN K LINDSAY

See what I think of the look of Matt Murdock, why I think Mike Murdock needs to be in the show, why Nuke never should be, and why I’m excited for this Netflix/Marvel jam.

And I truly am excited, I feel like the tone of this show is going to hit us hornheads and scarlet swashbucklers right in our DDs, if you know what I’m saying.

I mean, look at this Quesada art, it’s on point.

dd-quesada-772aa

I look forward to seeing a grounded, urban, witty, violent, fantastic Matt Murdock on my small screen as soon as I possibly can.

Celebrate My Back Catalogue in Pixels

I just realised if someone were to stumble upon me and my work and wonder what I was all about they could drop a tenner on ComiXology and scoop up nearly everything I’ve done so far. That’s pretty insane and pretty cool.

I love finding a new creator and then wanting to dive into more and more of their work. I can remember when Duane Swierczynski took over THE IMMORTAL IRON FIST and I super dug his run so I looked into his back warehouse of words and found a slew of novels, man, I was in heaven chasing them down and devouring them.

I figure, maybe, y’know, it’s possible this might happen to me. Someone sees me on twitter, they get curious, they wonder where to start. Well, here’s the battleplan, and for under $10.

Hit up the Ryan K Lindsay creator page on ComiXology. Then my suggestion is:

HEADSPACE #1-4 – buy ‘em all. This is half our expected tale and it’s a steal for $1 an issue. This book is my calling card, it is exactly what I want to be making and leaving in the world as my legacy. It’s a sci fi/crime/gonzo mash up of pure emotional kindling.

FATHERHOOD – this is a $1 one-shot, self-contained, and it shows my emotional heart. I’m constantly surprised by what a perennial seller this is, online and at cons, and it’s nice that it continues to find the right audience and punch ‘em in the aggats.

GHOST TOWN TPB – get this four issue intro arc, of which I wrote issues #2-4, for just $4, a bargain in anyone’s ledger. Daniel J Logan drops some great action in this high energy thriller.

For $9 that’s a complete arc, half a massive story, and a one-shot. That’s over 140 pages of my love for $9. Or you can pick and choose for less money and sample with more vigilance.

In all, I’m really happy to have this place where you can binge straight into what little work I’ve done so far.

Not to mention, if your wallet is fat and luscious with the skins of prior hunts:

OXYMORON #3 – the Oxymoron anthology was broken up into parts for digital consumption and I was stoked to land in with Aaron Houston and Paul Allor for this $1 issue.

MLP RAINBOW DASH – if you want to see me get my all-ages anarchy on, get this Rainbow Dash issue for $2.

SCAMTHOLOGY – the entire SCAMthology was uploaded in one chunk, so it’s more doubloons, but it’s more pages and more talent. Get into it.

VERTIGO CMYK MAGENTA – again, a whole antho, so more expensive, but here you get the Vertigo quality. And my tale has Tommy Lee Edwards art and John Workman letters. I can’t think of a reason you shouldn’t buy this.

So this is a way to digitally work out who I am, what my work is, and if you dig it. Buy in $1 at a time, if you like, in the order given.

And once you’re done with me, hit up other creators, other books, bounce around. Find fun stuff, try new stuff, get into some good stuff.

Digital comics are a great low cost/low risk way for you to test the waters on people you are discovering. Get into it, and enjoy.

Your Read Pile

What are you reading monthly right now?

Tell me why?

Are there any books you aren’t enjoying anymore? Are there any titles you are only buying out of habit?

As a creator, your read pile needs to be supertight. You need to only be spending your time on the finest of four colour quality.

I operate on the 80/20 rule of creation to consumption. YMMV but you can’t waste time on hot garbage. Ever.

This year I took a New Years resolution to read, at least, one comic issue a day. On top of this, I’ve started grading what I read in a notebook. I soon started to see some patterns.

Most of what I read gets an 8 out of 10 or above. Nothing gets under a 7 and stays on my read pile. Then anything in the 7 zone is somewhere in a nebulous place. And this is where it gets interesting.

I’ll keep a book in the 7 zone if I dig the creator or the character, but I’ve dropped some books in the 8 zone if they don’t have that spark. And a book is allowed to be very good and just not be for you, that’s cool, never forget that.

9 and up is pretty damn safe because I’m either really enjoying the pants off it, or I’m learning something from it, or both. Sub-7, no matter the creator or character is a waste of my time. 7-8, yeah, you gotta earn those stripes every month. And I never thought I’d set such a high bar, an 8 out of 10 should be celebrated, but I found with limited time I really scrutinised my reading habits. It’s been good value.

I’m now left with only issues I’m passionate to dig into. It also means I’m surrounded only by things that are craft gold mines. When I sit down for my daily dose and it’s HAWKEYE or THE FADE OUT or HIGH CRIMES I feel good because I’ll never feel like I’m wasting my time. I’m going to enjoy those pages, and I’m probably going to steal some little craft pieces from it.

So, what are you reading monthly right now?

Tell me why?

Comic Structure is Your New Fantasy

If you are writing comics then you absolutely must be thinking about comic structure.
The whole idea of page construction, panel layout, gutters, page turns, etc is why comics is so exciting as a medium. That idea of control is like so few other media. I always say comics are like a sonnet in iambic pentameter and this is why, the structure of it is key.
A comic with superb structure is usually indicative of an artist and writer being on point.
So, I can only assume structure is something you are thinking about a lot. You’ve no doubt read McCloud/Eisner/Bendis (which are my trio of start up #makecomics guides) and now you’re branching out, finding your voice/style, becoming a comic structure citizen of the world. As such, let your thoughts be informed by much, read plenty, dissect it all, and if you need a hand, start here:
HAWKEYE by David Aja + Annie Wu + Matt Hollingsworth + Chris Eliopoulos + Matt Fraction, from Marvel.
This book is an insane structure dream come true. This book is must read material if you are looking to level up the ways in which you make your comics – and don’t worry, I was beyond ambivalent about the character of Clint Barton before this title started up. In fact, I wasn’t even pulling the title at first and then reviews dropped and so I had to sample and now I think it is the best book craft-wise being put out right now. So if you even downright loathe Hawkeye, still consider dipping into this.
As an example, I offer up HAWKEYE #20 – a Kate Bishop tale of her taking on Madame Masque. Read the issue.
Now read it again.
Now marvel at how Wu/Fraction use time. They bounce all over the place, from locations, to times, and back again, and around, and they never tell you how, when, or where, they just do it. They assume the reader is smart enough to get it. They don’t pander with non-diagetic captions for reference, they believe half the fun, half the beauty, is just making you do the work. They play a conversation across two pages, the first page, and the last page, and you only get one side of the conversation on one page, and then you wait until the final page to get the other half of the conversation – and everything in between informs what Kate has to say. It’s a brilliant move and one that made the process junkie here start salivating.
Moves like these takes guts, and precision like you’re shaving someone on the moon with a laser from earth. You have to be bold, and sure, and you certainly need to plan like you’re invading Russia in winter. Structure doesn’t just happen, you do it, you make it, you force it into the world like you won’t settle for the standard mediocrity.
Now read the issue one more time…
…and start to think about how you structure your comics. I’m not saying you need to play fast and loose with time like some drunk wizard, but I am hoping you’ll think about the myriad ways you can tell your story. A-B-C-D storytelling might get the job done, but if I want someone to get me from home to the holidays I guess they can drive me in their beat up Datto, or they can sling me into a private jet and let me sip G+T while listening to ELO while I’m pondering my ETA, you down with OPP?
And this should come as no shock, Matt Fraction has been an out and open process junkie for years. He tears apart the work of others so he might drink from its soul and redefine his own process. Think about his Reverse Engineering script activity, or the things he wrote about BORN AGAIN. It should come as no shock that Fraction thinks this much and this hard about comics and then his books are just this good (and for the quality debate I lay at your bare feet: CASANOVA, IMMORTAL IRON FIST, SEX CRIMINALS, and HAWKEYE – argument over).

Ergo: you also need to think this hard about the books you are reading, and then the things you are writing. Again, good quality is no accident.

Structure, it’s the difference between a one-bedroom basement dwelling and a liquid labyrinthine Hogwarts dorm-frat funhouse.
You wanna make something as good as HAWKEYE, think about the structure.

CRIMINAL – a crime podcast

I just discovered CRIMINAL, a podcast about crime. Well, when I say discovered, I mean Dan Hill told me about it. Because he’s a guy with feelers out in the wild. Unlike me.

CRIMINAL  – a crime podcast you need to get into

Criminal_Podcast_Logo_medium

I love a well curated podcast that inspires and informs me. This American Life and RadioLab are the two golden standards. They cover random stories and science and they deliver the goods every time. I now add to them something else that’s perfect for me because it’s about crime. And I dig crime. I certainly write about/around it, so I know the months to come of listening to this podcast will truly keep my brain ticking along.

Criminal is like This American Life if every story/episode were centred around crime in some way. In other words, this podcast is perfect for me. It’s well spoken, well structured, interesting as all heck, and isn’t that long each episode. The ability to tune in quickly – usually while doing housework lately – and get a little strange crime in my ears is perfect. I don’t have time to trawl sites anymore, or keep up to date, or heaven forbid read a crime book, but I can get my podcast on while other things get done and this keeps my brain in the right frame of mind, my reference levels constantly overflowing, and my pulse racing.

So thanks to Dan Hill for putting me onto it. I’m so impressed I’m writing about it just in the hope anyone like me out there finds it as soon as possible because you need it in your life. A great crime podcast, I didn’t have one in my life before, now I have one for life. I hope it runs for 100 episodes, and many more.

Linkatron 0.15

Phone. Middle of the night. Sanity held in check. Maybe. Kinda.

What to never say to a writer – Chuck Wendig has a great way of couching the truth in hilarity, but it’s still all true – all true – watch your words – http://terribleminds.com/ramble/2014/09/16/ten-things-to-never-say-to-a-writer/

Writing as mental therapy – always – http://muchtomydelight.com/2014/09/writers-block.html

Twitter helps solve a crime – a modern day THE DAUGHTER OF TIME – http://www.addictinginfo.org/2014/09/17/hate-crime-twitter/

Daredevil: Born Again – I was here for the splashes – I stayed for the solid commentary – http://wednesdayshaul.com/wordpress/2012/08/30/apocalypse-purgatory-pariah-a-visual-reading-of-miller-and-mazzucchellis-daredevil-born-again/

Every Stephen King novel summed up in one tweet each – funny piece – http://litreactor.com/columns/every-stephen-king-novel-summarized-in-140-characters-or-less

Drawing connections between LOST and social media, the way the ‘net embraces things now, but also tears them down – LOST debuted 10 years ago – never forget – http://qz.com/267903/how-lost-changed-the-way-the-world-watches-tv/

Breaking into comics is hard to do – here are some tips on what to do, and equally important for what not to do – from C.B. Cebulski – http://robot6.comicbookresources.com/2009/03/the-tao-of-breaking-into-comics-according-to-cb-cebulski/

 

So apparently there are only so many poster designs available to brain spaces on this planet – seriously, super crazy to see the same design used so often for some of these – here’s 10 posters that keep popping back up – http://twentytwowords.com/10-movie-poster-cliches-with-plenty-of-examples/ – and here’s another 5 – http://twentytwowords.com/5-more-movie-poster-cliches-with-plenty-of-examples/

Enjoy.

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

BTP-iss110-Featured-607x284

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.

Linkatron 3.15

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

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