Without Fear

Ryan K Lindsay – Writer

Month: January, 2014

An Office With A View

I wish my office had a view.

At present, I share my office with the kids’ toy room – it’s okay we are rarely in there at the same time so it doesn’t affect me as much as it sounds.

…wait, I go in with my kids to play, so we are in there at the same time just not while I write. I don’t think waking them at 10pm and making them watch me write is good parenting. Anyway…

I want a good view to accompany my writing. I’m currently at the coast in a holiday house so I’m writing from the kitchen table but I can see a horizon filled with trees and surf and gorgeous space and this morning’s coffee that I left on the balcony rail.

This view calms me, excites me, inspires me.

I’ve never had an office with a view. Ever.

Well, maybe that’s a lie. At uni I lived on campus and my top floor room faced the carpark. My study was often interrupted with hours of people watching for procrastination. It was the best. You’d see friends, foes, gals, and bros all going about their life like they weren’t being watched. It was like an ant colony filled with people you knew. It was reality tv on an even creepier level.

I’d see strange pairings of people going into town to do some shopping – jocks and nerds like cats and dogs. I’d see walks of shame with shoes in hand from other colleges, who picked their nose in their cars, who could afford take out more than twice a week, who parked with friends and cases of beer and cigars and drank til dawn (alright, that last one was me and the boys).

It was all story fuel but I was missing it as I was busy studying. And if I were strapped to the lie detector like Moe Szyslak it’s going BZZZ, studying sometimes, BZZZ, drinking with friends as we studied, BZZZ, drinking with friends. BZZZ, drinking alone, BZZZ, drinking alone while reading about D-Day in a National Geographic, DING (and it was fun and one of my best birthdays ever!).

Anyway, point is, it was wasted on me and now my adult offices either view my front yard or my backyard. And I know that some writers say have no view, no distraction, don’t even play music, but I think those people are lame. And lack self control. I want a beach view, that’s the office dream. So much of my writing is sitting and staring and thinking, I’d love to have something in front of me to make it worthwhile. I want something I can draw stories from. I want that silent interaction with the outside world.

What view does your ultimate office have?

I Hate Ryan Ferrier – ULTRANOVA

I really wish I had written this book.

That’s the highest honour I can bestow upon anything, really. This book is so far in my wheelhouse I wonder if Ferrier didn’t incept it out of me, and the only way I know he didn’t is that he wrote it far better than I ever could 😦

ULTRANOVA is a sci fi horror tale that’s somewhere between Kubrick and SUNSHINE and while feeling influenced it never once feels a slave. It’s lazy to invoke the names above, it’s a high concept sell, when really ULTRANOVA needs to be sold as an experience of cerebral fear where tone and texture play as much a part as narrative and resolution. This book is an experience, and once you finally exhale from after having finished it. True terror is hard to pull off in a comic and here Ferrier scripts it well and then Chris Peterson, with Ed Ryzowski colours, deliver a book where the pages feel haunted and by the end you feel ragged. Id call this book pretty if it weren’t so draining and exhausting. It is pretty but I’d better call the art masterful and effective.

This book will absorb and crush you.

But perhaps the greatest reason yet to hate Ferrier for this book is the fact this isn’t his schtick. He’s the guy who writes TIGER LAWYER and THE BROTHERS JAMES (future IHRF instalments to covers these golden tales) and I feel like I know a Ferrier book when I read it because it’s irreverent and funny while being brutally honest and open. Then ULTRANOVA drops and it makes me realise Ferrier isn’t just beating us all at his game, he’s schooling us at every game.

You should buy ULTRANOVA on ComiXology right now, or perhaps scope the floppy on Challenger Comics.

ULTRANOVA was the best one-shot of 2013, by far, and I hate Ryan Ferrier for that because I released two one-shots in 2013.

Maybe You Can’t Write It Today, But Tomorrow…

Three days ago, I had a scene in a script I didn’t mind at all. It wasn’t the shining gem of the issue but I had worked hard on this scene and I enjoyed much of it.

Two days ago, I realised the scene had to go and I was going to drastically rewrite it. I mapped out a plan and the five pages were planned loosely but in a way I thought was clear and would be fun/easy to write.

Last night, I started writing those five pages and found them incredibly hard. I managed to salvage much of the original first page so it cleared smoothly but the other four wouldn’t play ball. I found I could lay out the pages panel by panel but I could not fill them with anything except terrible terrible words. I hacked at these pages like I was taking a machete to the vines in the jungle and eventually went to bed annoyed that I didn’t nail any one of those four pages – and I also went to sleep wondering if maybe I had become a sub-par writer, y’know, maybe I had lost it. Maybe I’d never write a solid page again.

Note: seeing that the Page One still popped because it mostly used words written by a Ryan from weeks ago only seemed to reinforce the fact I had lost it for sure.

Today, while playing with the kids (cars and ramps and water pistols and snacks) I started getting little lines popping. I would periodically look at the woeful script pages I had and let them stew and then I’d get another little snippet. I’d race off and punch in a line, or a phrase. For some panels, I’d have 2-4 possible lines, I was slowly circling what I needed and how I needed it.

Cut to the kids having a nap/rest and I got half an hour to come into the office and so I quickly managed to string some lines together and now one page is nailed and the other three all sit very close. I just need another pass before they’ll feel cohesive and somewhat clever.

My lesson today/this week was; sometimes if you’re not able to write a scene then you won’t ever be able to write that scene…during that writing session. Work on something else, read a book, have a sleep, play with the kids, whatever. Admit defeat, retreat, reroute, and flank that script like it’s your job. Which, if you take this seriously enough, money be damned, it is.

This doesn’t work every time, I’ve broken scenes through persistence, but I also know scenes have broken me through my persistence so you need to allow yourself permission to walk away.

It’s like my knuckle tattoos always say: walk way and live to write another day.

The Rough Truth To Making Comics

Making comics in the early days is hard. You put in all this sweat and time and effort and then people don’t care, on the majority of things. You want to make a ripple but sometimes it feels like you threw a feather and it blew away on the wind and never touched the water.

It’s a pretty brutal octagon to enter and you have to be doing it for the heart of it and reading a recent paragraph from Tim Callahan in his WHEN WORDS COLLIDE exit interview (conducted by Chad Nevett) brought it all home to me. We are foolish, stubborn, insane, and delusional but we’d have it no other way. See what Tim says here about breaking into/making comics:

I’d go back to the creative stuff once in a while and try to fire up some old projects or connect with other folks to collaborate with — I mean, I do have a piece in that “Panels for Primates” anthology that Monkeybrain recently released, though that was written like four years ago — but the amount of work it takes to get a project going and the amount of — not rejection, but apathy you get just makes it all feel pointless. It’s not even frustrating, it’s just — nothing. That’s why the best advice everyone ever gives about “breaking into comics” is just a simple “Make comics, and don’t give up.” Because that’s all you can do. Many of the people making comics should have given up long ago, if they had any sense, and it’s just their stubborn persistence that gets them to the point where some of their work becomes publishable and they can make a reasonable living.

TIM CALLAHAN — WHEN WORDS COLLIDE EXIT INTERVIEW

 

And he’s completely right, you can’t make indie comics for the ‘fame’ or ‘attention’ from it because there really isn’t any. Your book might only gets eyes in the double digits, to begin with. But with each release, each laborious short you post online or one-shot you shill at cons, you gain new double digit numbers, and if you are good enough those double digits of readers tell their friends and some people hit your links or your profile on ComiXology and slowly it all grows. And mind you, this’ll no doubt take years.

Eventually, you’ll find you’ve got a varied and slowly improving back catalogue of work to your name and you’ll be proud of some of it and you’ll have a small clique of people that will try things because of your name and suddenly you’re making comics for an audience. But to get to that point, you have to wade through anonymity like you’re Andy Dufresne. And you only get out the other end because you refused to stop crawling, and refused to go back, and you only know how to keep inching to that rain that will eventually clean you up and send you on your way to another new adventure. Most likely just in a new pipe.

And if you think those early days are the most fun, the most raw, something to remember and cherish, then you’ll probably go far.

I Hate Ryan Ferrier – D4VE #2 Musings

Nearly a year ago I met Ryan Ferrier in person. We were all tabling together at ECCC in Seattle 2013 (him, me, Paul Allor, and Jeremy Holt) and I was right next to him. I spent three days standing there talking smack, selling comics, laughing, musing, planning, and generally having a very rad weekend.

And I see now what Ferrier was doing – he was slowly killing me from the inside with his charm.

But he’s so charming that I ignored it.

And now, with the release today of D4VE #2 by Ferrier and Valentin Ramon, I finally see through his charming and handsome guise and I realise the true heart of my feelings: I HATE RYAN FERRIER.

He leaves me no choices, really. I mean, have you read D4VE #2? If not, damn, click here and purchase your very own copy on ComiXology. Get the first one, too, if you were silly enough to miss it.

Now that you’ve read it, you see, don’t you? You see why I must hate Ryan Ferrier.

How the hell else am I supposed to feel about a guy with this much talent? In the Highlander world of breaking into comics, his quickening could level worlds, liquefy faces, and explode hearts. I’ve read all books Ferrier, and I’ve dug them all. But D4VE #2, man, this comic was the last straw. Do you need me to list why?

  • Who the hell writes a #2 issue that’s actually better than the #1 issue? Especially when the #1 issue was damn good.
  • Who the hell can write comics so funny you literally laugh out loud? Ferrier’s brand of wit and smut and charm are like nothing else on the stands or the tablets. This quality of humour is the real deal and in this issue there are numerous, I’m talking more than one hand, times where I laughed with insane glee.
  • Who the hell would think to write a last page as rad as that? Seriously, that sort of page is a contender for best moment of the year, surely.
  • Who the hell could humanise a bloody robot so well? Or write a hilarious comic that also has heart and major action scenes? WHO?

In total, I’m done with this Ferrier writer who does nothing but make me feel bad about myself. I am done with him.

Until D4VE #3 comes out because holy cats I cannot wait to stuff this issue into my peepers – SQUUUEEEEEEEE!

——-

NOTE: I don’t actually hate Ryan Ferrier. In case you couldn’t read my tone in this post. I count him as a mate, a confidant, an eLover, and a guy who when I think about his writing and career he makes me realise good things happen to great people, nice guys finish first, and that you can have talent without pretension or ego.

He’s the man/writer I wish I could be and I love having a benchmark to make me reach higher.

Thank you Mr Ferrier, for D4VE #2, and for everything.

How Much Passion Do You Have For Your Project?

Breaking into comics is hard; making money in comics is insanely hard.

Well, actually, breaking in isn’t that hard. Just make your own comics. Bendis agrees. But then getting paid or making a living might be the dream but that’s kind of all if will be. At least for a very long time. Again, Bendis agrees.

Many pros have talked about money and comics and the oil and water nature of them at times. Obviously, there is money in comics. If you self-publish books at a decent price and sell them at cons you can make some money. Not a great deal, not enough to go full time on, not always enough to cover cost of con travel/accomm/table, but some money. If you get tapped to write anything work for hire (like I did at IDW), there’s some money there. If you grind for years, hustle, and sell well into a decent fanbase then there will be some money. Money exists in comics, in certain places, it’s true.

You can make money in comics but rarely enough to go full time or retire on. But we live in the dream of maybe making this happen. Y’know, if we land a sweet Image gig, that’s critically acclaimed, and really good, then we’ll make money, right?

Well, let me ask you this: is your book better than CASANOVA by Gabriel Ba/Fabio Moon and Matt Fraction? I’d argue it’s not. In fact, not much anywhere is. Nothing I’ve written comes close. CASANOVA was a critical darling like you’d dream about. It’s sales weren’t great, though, and it’s been said many times that Fraction didn’t see a cent for writing that book for years. Years. He wrote two arcs, 14 issues, and crafted one of my favourite stories/books of all time and yet the whole time he made that book at Image, he didn’t see a cent.

CASANOVA did make some money and Fraction invested it in his artists. Because Ba and Moon needed to pay the bills.

This means, in this instance, two things:

  • There’s not a lot of money in making your first comics, no matter how brilliant they are,
  • And, the artists get paid first. Even when the writer isn’t yet seeing a dollar.

I think these two points are really something to stew on, especially for the rest of us as we make our way up. We don’t have to adhere to them but it doesn’t hurt to consider them with gravity.

Are we expecting big bucks? We might be disappointed.

Are we (and I mean writers, because that’s what I am) hoping to split profits evenly with our art team? Well, that might not work out the best. Especially not if we want people on the level of Ba/Moon who could/can/and will take paying gigs elsewhere because rent and food come first. And there are breaking in artists on that level, for sure, they are out there. Perhaps, and this might feel painful, but perhaps we need to invest much more into the artists with that early profit. Perhaps we need to fulfil their page rates first and foremost.

Of course, this then begets a new discussion about pay in comics that this post isn’t really about. What is this post about?

Matt Fraction created CASANOVA for 14 issues, garnered the highest praise possible, put out a book that is insanely well crafted, and didn’t make a dollar for it. And yet he did it. One can only assume because he had passion for the project.

That’s what this comes down to – how much passion do you have for your project? What would you do to see it become real?

Ghost Town TPB in March 2014

The GHOST TOWN TPB collection hits stores in March 2014 for just $11.99.

It collects issues #1-4 of the Action Lab Danger Zone title about a bomb sent through time that will land in Washington DC but no one knows when. Issue #1 is oversized with Justin Greenwood/Dave Dwonch goodness and then Daniel J Logan, Brian V Dyck, and I jump in for #2-4 to tell a tight 3 issue tale of Nate Lawson, a man who extracts precious items out of the Rad and in this case has clearly not thought through his task. Scope the cover below for the trade by Justin Greenwood and Dan Jackson.

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This is a hell of a title, created from a concept by Rob Ruddell, beat up by Dave Dwonch, and then massaged into this tale of a man by Dan and I. We had a lot of fun on this arc and we hope you’ll think about letting your shop know you’d like a copy. Indie books like this survive on word of mouth so any help given is always mammothly appreciated.

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You can also buy all the single issues now on ComiXology for just 99c each – crazy quality bargain, GO!

As always, thank you for your consideration.

What Is Best In Life? – 2013 Style

It’s always educational to reflect on the year you just imbibed. I have to admit, having a new baby (and it making two for the house) and scoring some larger writing gigs meant my pop culture intake was down a lot this year. I kept abreast of the best comics around but everything else suffered. Nonetheless, here’s some stuff I dug in 2013.

Top Comic – FATALE

I read the first 3 issues of this and then completely fell off. The singles I bought kept stacking up. The more I hadn’t read the more insurmountable it felt to catch back up, but I kept buying the floppies and I know I’d get there one day. And holy cats am I glad I did.

FATALE is the sort of comic that does what it does exactly as it should so if you want a crime horror comic then this is quite simply perfect for you. For my wheelhouse, this comic is king. I spent a sick day off work reading like 14 of these issues in a row and it was insane how good this book is. I’ve long been a fan of SLEEPER/CRIMINAL/INCOGNITO and this book ably joins the gang as a perennial favourite. Philips is just at the top of his game now where he’s stacking these panels densely and with intense purpose. The writing from Brubaker is airtight with every word feeling like it slipped from an aging paperback. The pacing and plot are great but there’s a tonne of little lines and moments that will stop you and inspire you. I wanted to go write for days straight after reading these issues.

I’ll also say, yeah, I dig this book more than SAGA. And I dig SAGA a lot but this book is just that touch more perfect, and more perfect for me.

Honourable Mentions

HAWKEYE – the top cape book right now (sans capes). This book does so many things right and it’s a process treasure trove.

THE MASSIVE – I love the singularity of this book, it’s like nothing else. The characters all pop, the art teams are so damn fine, and I’m liking the whole painting this story provides.

SEX CRIMINALS – I did not see this coming at all. This romance comic (and that’s what it is) is so damn real and beautiful. This should be the only Valentine’s Day present anyone ever needs again.

LOCKE & KEY – it finally ended and I’m so damn sad.

EAST OF WEST – another entry I was dubious about and yet caught up on the first trade’s worth of floppies and my oh my this book is tight. Hickman delivers a slew of simply amazing lines and Dragotta’s always been great.

ULTRANOVA – my favourite indie one-shot this year, Peterson and Ferrier drop a cerebral sci fi tale that stuck with me all damn year. Buy it on the cheap right here and thank me later!

HIGH CRIMES – the best Monkeybrain book by far this year, Moustafa and Sebela craft this beautiful and intricate character study amidst high altitude crime shenanigans. Also, possibly the best covers of the year.

FIVE GHOSTS – Man, this pulp massacre is just fun to read and so pretty to look at.

DAREDEVIL – Samnee and Waid brought me right back into the fold this year. Some great stories and always gorgeous.

THE WAKE – this is basically an action movie with solid characterisation and I’m digging these mermaids.

SAGA – it is a very good book, don’t you know?

STRANGE NATION – I know I write a column in it, but that doesn’t stop this book thoroughly entertaining me with every issue.

D4VE – only one issue dropped but it was so good. Ramon and Ferrier are doing a book like nothing else, and the sort of thing that should insta-open any door in the industry.

BLACK SCIENCE – I finished reading this and could see the problems with it and yet didn’t care because it was so much fun. I like fun comics.

Special Shout Out

FEAR AGENT LIBRARY EDITION VOL 1 – I finally read this beast and it was beyond brilliant. The art at that size is like nothing else. Remender feels really pure and raw in these pages. It’s pulp sci fi. There is every reason for me to love this book. I don’t even mind that Vol 2 keeps getting delayed. if it’s going to come out this good, I’m happy to wait.

Top Book – Fiction – JOYLAND

This tight pulp thriller from Stephen King through Hard Case Crime was better than I had expected. King is back on a high for me after the very very good 11.22.63 so I hoped for this and he really delivered. The overall plot isn’t too insanely intricate, and parts of the resolution do less than wow, but the craft with which King plans and executes his chapters is like a study of razor precision. There are many great lines in this book and that’s something I really appreciate now – someone who beyond plot knows how to use their words.

This also has me hoping for DOCTOR SLEEP to be good. I’m a fifth of the way in, and I’m enjoying it, and I’m such a fan of THE SHINING that it has to prove itself as good enough to exist so here’s hoping for the coming weeks/months.

Top Book – Non-Fic – MARVEL COMICS: THE UNTOLD STORY

This was a stellar read. I’m kind of the ideal audience as I love comics but also love the behind the scenes malarkey just as much but I cannot state enough how interesting some of the history of Marvel Comics really is. As someone who kind of knew some of this, and knows all the people and characters, this was a perfect read. Sean Howe did a very good job assembling this.

Top Movie – PACIFIC RIM

I’ll have to admit, I think these are the only two flicks I saw at the cinema this year. Admitting this makes me so sad. And while iron Man 3 might prove out to be the better film, I give this to PACIFIC RIM because it was just so enjoyable to watch. I haven’t felt that happy and in awe for a while so it made for a very rad night out. And sometimes I just want a flick to entertain me on the purest level. It’s like PREDATOR, brilliant because it entertains. This flick, the same thing. Though this screenplay was a touch more off in places (really off in some) but I could overlook the cheese and obvious set ups and logic holes just so I could get on with enjoying the show.

Honourable Mentions

IRON MAN 3 – a Shane Black cape flick that plays out exactly how you’d imagine such a flick to play out.

Top TV – BREAKING BAD S5 Part 2

Really, how could there be anything else? This show is the great American novel written in front of us over 6 years. This show had the best writing of any and the character arcs were beyond anything else ever attempted and the writing offered it up but every single actor nailed it. The show ended on a perfect noir note. There will be little else this good in our future.

Honourable Mentions

HANNIBAL – this show is my selection to take up BREAKING BAD’s throne. Deft writing, creative cinematography, superb acting, and an end note that if they can stick it right in S2 will show the world this series is a true contender. And I wasn’t even going to watch this show because who the hell needed more Lecter in our lives? I humbly rescinded my first opinion and now cannot wait until February.

THE WALKING DEAD – I continue to enjoy this show.

Special Shout Outs

TERRIERS – whoo, boy, this show was built for me. I really hope it gets kickstarted one day VERONICA MARS style because that would be immense. I also wish it was a comic, and I could write it.

THE WIRE S4 – I finally watched this. It seems THE WIRE is taking me years to watch. But when I pop a season on, I shotgun the hell out of it. And this one was about teaching so it hit me very hard.

Top Music – ENTER THE DRAGON OST

I discovered Spotify and my life has changed. Man, they have everything on there. So I’ve fiendishly been making playlists for projects but I also set up a list titled OST madness and it’s got a tonne of soundtracks on there, and first up is the ENTER THE DRAGON OST. It’s just great, for starters, but I also wrote a kung fu one-shot you’ll be seeing this year and the dna of this music is infused to its pulpy core.

Top Podcast – LET’S TALK COMICS

This is a late entry but it’s kind of the perfect podcast for me. It’s not shilling, it’s just career talk, process chat, open words. Great creators come on and discuss how and where they started and then every step along the way to breaking in and staying in. It’s fascinating stuff. It’s like the best parts of Word Balloon, which I still love.

Honourable Mentions

NERDIST – with the right guest, this show is amazing.

NERDIST WRITER’S ROOM – I find I don’t even know half the names but it’s all writing process (mostly tv but it all rings true). They also now have a comics themed segment of eps on the pod, and it’s pretty good.

WORD BALLOON – always good, Siuntres knows how to do his job.

VODKA O’CLOCK – this gives smaller creators the chance to chat (myself included) and I like that view from the underground, plus Amber is a top host and superb person.

POP CULTURE HOUND – another great interview show, and they get a wide variety of good guests.

COMICS EXPERIENCE MAKE COMICS – this started on the iFanboy podcast and is now it’s own thing. Good, short, clear, snippets of process talk focusing on one section of the game at a time.

THE Q+A – film chat pod where Jeff Goldsmith asks all the right questions.

FATMAN ON BATMAN – when they have the right guest, and Smith doesn’t get in the way, this can go some really interesting places.

Top iApp – WUNDERLIST

A late discovery but something that’s clearing up my head. It’s just making lists and you have the ability to tick off what you’ve done and it moves down but you can still see it all. You can also add due dates, this helps me not freak out too much. It’s also free, which means the world to me because I am cheap.

Honourable Mentions

ComiXology – gotta love the sales.

Zite – an intriguing media reading aggregating/personalising app that’s bringing me new content to read (when I ever have the time).

Coffitivity – this sounds like such a stupid app, but I kind of love it 😐

Dropbox – perfect for viewing the pretty art people send me on the fly.

Top Kid – My Second One

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She is gorgeous, adorable, cute, insane, and constantly learning little things (tonight she played peek-a-book with her towel and my heart grew three sizes). The perfect person to round out our little family.

So, that’s been my 2013. I hope yours was just as rad 😀

GHOST TOWN #1-4 Review on Bag & Bored

GHOST TOWN #1-4 gets a glowing review from Brad Gischia where he says, “Action Lab has a great book with Ghost Town. The future has not often looked so fascinatingly grim.”

Read the review here!

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I particularly like that Brad notices the difference between the Greenwood/Dwonch #1 which is concept and action to the Logan/Lindsay run of #2-4 which is much more character based. I thought that was one of the most fun and interesting things about our run.

If you want to check out all 4 issues for just $4 (that’s the same price as only one Big Two issue) head over to ComiXology now and snap them all up for 99c each. If you want the issues, hit up your LCS, and if you want the trade collection of all 4 issues it drops in March and I’ll post details very soon (but you can scope the trade cover above).

Thanks for the support.

THREE CAR MONTE – Download A SCAMthology Short Now

The upcoming SCAMthology is a collection of stories set in the SCAM universe as created by Joe Mulvey at ComixTribe. I have written a tale for the book called THREE CAR MONTE, it features art by Adam Masterman, and colours by Vasco Sobral. It’s a sharp and fast tale about three of Yakuza boss Chiyoko Hashimoto’s briefcases are stolen by the crew and she’ll do anything to get them back, including running three high speed, high flying chases through the streets of Las Vegas. But are the contents of the cases what the con men are really after?

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The SCAM page on facebook just received over 250 likes and so my tale was released early and free as a single download. This tale is a tease of what the book, featuring many tales from far more awesome creative teams than me, will contain. You’ll hear more, and find out how to secure a copy, in the coming months.

You can download THREE CAR MONTE here.

You can go to the SCAM page and tell Mulvey and co how much you enjoyed my tale.

Please, feel free to share this link, spread the PDF, tweet/facebook/tumbl to your hearts desire. Smaller press books like these survive on word of mouth.

Thank you, and enjoy.

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