Without Fear

Ryan K Lindsay – Writer

Month: February, 2015

HEADSPACE #6 Review, and friends

HEADSPACE #6 came out last week. I was happy with it 😀

Thankfully, so was James Ferguson at horrortalk.com who gave it 5 stars and said:

“It’s hard to believe that this comic is only $0.99 with the sheer amount of content included. This is the kind of comic that makes you feel smarter after reading it.”

I love it when someone really gets what we are doing. So exciting to connect that way.

——-

We also got a 4 star review at Comic Bastards from Samantha Roehrig [who has perennially loved the series] and she says:

“Headspace is a very unique read that Lindsay brings all together with the clever writing style.”

Ah, nice words. I am a sucker for thee.

——-

PLUS, I found this discussion of issues #1-5 on Destroy the Cyborg from Zander Riggs who has plenty of nice things to say. One snippet of which was:

“If you’re looking for an emotional story set in the veritable playground of the subconscious, Headspace is the comic for you.”

——-

I also hope you dug #6 because #7 will be up for preorder very very soon. Stay tuned.

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Ryan K Lindsay’s Two-Fisted Homeopape – SUBSCRIBE NOW

I am starting an email newsletter.

The Two-Fisted Homeopape <– hit up, drop your email in, await with happy thoughts

Screenshot 2015-02-19 22.04.49

The obvious question to ask me is…what, WHY?

I’ll be honest, it feels like a hack self-centred arrogant needy thing to do. To expect people to want to read my words enough to sign up, to let me eyeworm into your inbox and dump my blather on you. And it totally is. I know that, it totally is.

But it’s also just another avenue I have to/want to pursue in the effort of taking my writing gig seriously as also a career move. This year I’ve got two titles in Previews – HEADSPACE right now, and the next thing coming soon, very soon [and I’m usually not one to talk out of school but this thing feels pretty good, it is coming, you feel me?] – and so if I want to get the word out, if I want to get people excited, if I want to actually make sales, in totality, if I want to turn this navel gazing hobby into a pseudo-paying meritorious hobby then I need to explore all options.

A newsletter is different to the twitter, to the site, to the notes I’ve been leaving under your keyboard at work [check it out, lift it up now, see if I’m kidding] because the newsletter gets into your inbox. And it sits there and waits for you at your leisure. It won’t get swept away as easily as a tweet does on the holotubes, it doesn’t require your specific link click or navigation like this site does. It’s another way to connect with people, and much as my site here drops information in vastly different ways from the way I use the twitter machine, the newsletter will also be a different beast. This I promise. Or else it’ll be washed out of your Junk Folder in 5 days, no harm, no foul.

At present, I’ve been hugely impressed with the way the newsletters by Warren Ellis and the House DeConnick/Fraction run their games. Both are more rambly than we allow on twitter, more loosely structured than a site post ‘should’ be, they’re personal in different ways, and I can store them up and have them waiting for me whenever is appropriate.

I know, personally, I rarely visit peeps’ sites anymore, and my day job and upside-down timezone and current snowed under deadline superhappyfuntimes are making me a twitter deadzone, and I don’t Like enough posts by others on Facebook to be considered relevant, so I’m giving this a whirl.

Also, and this is important because it makes me sound like more than just some buzzword slinging shill and band wagon jumper [which i am, but I don’t need to sound it], a newsletter is just another media/genre to tackle, and I love all the writings. I love twitter, I love writing posts here, and what I fill the homeopape with is just going to be more fun, man, lexicographical candy for the soul, man, and the chef is always cooking, y’dig?

So, rambly ramble ramble aside, that’s why the newsletter is about to begin. In fact, the first one will go out on the 2nd of March and maybe think about hitting a fortnightly schedule. At present, I’m just drafting a rough proforma for it that I’ll maybe think about following each time.

If you are interested in an inside peek into my writing process, maybe some stuff I’m reticent to share on the public places and spaces but will happily drop into the fireside chat of my own private e-zine, and want to keep abreast of the publishing dates and links and sneaky peeks of what 2015 holds in store for me, then sign on up. If nothing else, it’ll be fun, right?

The Two-Fisted Homeopape – where good soldiers go to fight and valiantly die in the verbose arena of the mind

Write What You…NO!

The old idiom that a writer should write what you know can really yield myriad results.
You might end up with John Grisham writing a whole shelf of lawyers, or Stephen King creating a bunch of white teacher/writers as leading men. Frank Miller started to write grizzled old men even before he dutifully became one.
So often writers write about what they know, or think they know. Men default to writing male, and writing within their ethnicity, and so often imparting their profession on the characters. Hell. Brian K Vaughan wrote a slacker in his 20s when he was the same, and now he’s a father to young kids and so he writes about parenthood.
But writing what you know doesn’t mean writing about yourself. I think. I take it as meaning to write from the truths you know or have experienced. For instance:
William S Burroughs and Philip K Dick were both drug users [from memory, PKD’s daughter was calling this false in the commentary to A SCANNER DARKLY but I just can’t believe that, sorry]. So we have two writers with drugs coursing through their synapses and we most definitely have them writing about that topic.
WSB goes the route of writing about drug orgies and gratuitously defining and describing the heroin entering the body. It’s barbaric and decadent and insane.
PKD goes the route of writing about space drugs that allow different states of being and have weird names and tie into intergalactic espionage and character journeys of discovery.
Both are writing from what they know, but in wildly different ways. I find that fascinating that the one idea, the one experience, can yield wildly different results.
So, next time you are writing what you know, think about what it is exactly that you know. Can that become the core of a fantasy epic? Could your treaty about adoption fit an anthropomorphic romp as a sub-theme? Because we are human does not necessitate we write human stories, grounded in the same reality as our truth.
If all drug users wrote about using drugs, the story well would dry up quickly. Adapt, synthesise, explore the theme of your truth and then marry it to a wild idea, a fun story, compelling characters, an engaging landscape, and tell the story informed by the theme which plays underneath.

Because I do think it is important to sometimes write about the things you have learned, or are passionate about [it’s why fatherhood turns up as a theme in my stuff so often] but you should also try your hand at other ideas, things you want to know more about, things that scare you. And you need to come at these themes with subtlety sometimes. Be oblique, wash a real character over your truth and see how they react, see what changes when it’s them and not you.
Then, after writing these things, go out and learn more things so you have grist for all the mills.

RKL Annotations – HEADSPACE #6

Blame Eric Zawadzki. Blame him for everything that went right here.

HEADSPACE #6 – 99c – all good.

headspace06_cvr_600px

COVER

Best. In. Show. This is my favourite cover of the series, hands down. So simple, so elegant. I love it, and Eric.

PAGE 1

It was Dan’s idea to match the cyclical redundancy of the film reel ended and spinning constantly with the caption of violence essentially doing the same thing in our worlds. This is why I love him as an editor, he thinks on all the levels.

And once again, Eric nails the emotion. It’s moments like these I’m going to miss getting in my inbox when this book ends.

PAGE 2

Using a black panel as a jump cut to get them from inside the house to outside it, and straight into the next scene. I’m surprised this works as well as it does. I didn’t want to fit some other panel of them going outside, getting outside, bumping into the Maxs. I just wanted the drama, so I reached out and took it. Kinda makes Page 1 look like prologue in retrospect, and I’m fine with that.

I think I wanna add this move to my toolchest and use it in the future.

Dig that red panel, that’s all Zawadzki.

Like Chandler, when I split my infinitives, I mean to split my infinitives.

PAGE 3

Gil speaks Latin. Of course he does.

So excited to script his return. This sequence here, man, it went through a whole mess of drafts before landing here. Originally, Shane spent more time moping inside, but it took up too much time, then he confronted all these Maxs outside and had a huge convo with them. Nothing felt right.

Then Max returned, on the ‘gator, and all was perfect. Sometimes you just know a scene isn’t working, well, you gotta keep punching it in the face – and letting it punch you in the face – before you get something better, something worthy.

PAGE 4

Yet another character based moment for Shane. He is our holy lead, bless him.

Also, yet another colour moment from Mr Z. Always love his choices here.

PAGE 5

Suddenly Gil kicks into convenient wrap up/exposition mode, bless him, also.

This whole page is a transition scene, but totally needed and it wraps a few loose ends up – because I did not wanna pull a “LOST” and ask more than I answer [NOTE: I love LOST, always have, always will.]

PAGE 6

RAND International. Behind it all. We should have known.

Sebastian asked me if I would mind him playing with this page. Look at that middle spread, so gorgeous. As if I would ever mind. The more Sebastian and I worked, and the more time we took, the greater things started to pop. The guy is amazing.

And wordplay was a fun idea to play around with, and a science I could completely make my own to serve the narrative. I love sci fi.

PAGE 7

So much happening, Max is unstoppable. Seb does a masterful job of packing all of this in. That final panel is fantastic.

I wanted Max to feel like the terminator, unstoppable, like he’d decimated everyone before it all even really started. I think Seb nailed that speed and efficiency.

PAGE 8

Loooove that double head tap. Great flow, great colours from Marissa. Perfect moment.

Shout out to Tim McEwan 🙂

Also love that helmet, makes me think of Christopher Walken in BRAINSTORM, ha.

PAGE 9

Slow burn set up page for the page turn. A small quiet moment for Shane before we turn up the volume.

PAGE 10

And our volume goes to 11.

When I came up with this idea, I instantly saw it in Eric’s art and I know it’d be immense. Eric did not fail to deliver, this is so grotesque and gorgeous. I figured the Id needed something bombastic, a real entrance, and here it is.

Also, look who is on the very front of the boat? Everything comes together, from the first page to the last. Poor Laura.

PAGE 11

A Bond villain moment ruined by…something strange. I like that the moment is completely interrupted by something different and no one knows what’s going on, not you, not Shane, it just happens and ruins a moment that is building. I like messing with that structure.

And it’s this end that’s all Eric’s idea. I had the script for #6 already written and he said that Shane should get out of the Cove, he should get what he wants, so here we leave him. It’s fantastic drama.

PAGE 12

Salvation, the most key term on this page…except for those of us who know the face of that guy waiting for Shane 😐

BACK MATTER

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

Seriously go hunt out the back matter, all the back matter, for CASANOVA. Thank me later. And see what a ersatz version you’ve been steeped in here, go guzzle the real deal.

Ambient Yeast link.

ESSAY

Dan Hill makes me hate the world and fear the future – and that’s how I know I need to read his stuff and drain his brain.

PIN UPS

Sandy Jarrell draws Gil and my heart swoons.

Matt Horak, with Marissa Louise colours, just becomes this black velvet/black light poster I wish existed.

——-

This sends us into the final reel. From here, two issues to go, and the business gets real.

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. 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 #7 very soon, we’ve already completed and sent the issue in. Til then, have a think about our trade collection from IDW bringing you the entire story at the end of April. Talk to your LCS about preordering it from Previews now, and tell your friends how much they need this in their life, and just stock up for Xmas, or get in for an Xmas in July now.

HEADSPACE #6 Out On ComiXology this Wednesday

You are not ready for the end of HEADSPACE #6. But you must still prepare, for it drops this Wednesday and we wish for you to consume it. As the solicitation text tells you, “It’s time to find out what happens out on the water beyond Carpenter Cove.”

Also, dig this cover.
headspace06_cvr_600px
HEADSPACE #6 up for preorder on ComiXology.

With art from Eric Zawadzki, Sebastian Piriz, colours by Eric Zawadzki, Marissa Louise, letters by Eric Z, edits by Dan Hill, back matter design fu by Christopher Kosek, and words by me, and published by Monkeybrain Comics via ComiXology is yet another issue I am insanely proud of.
This issue shows us Shane right after he’s hit rock bottom. We also get to see Max up to his usual worst – though maybe we see that in a different light now, no?
The issue is 99c – as are all the issues – the final pages are pure insanity, and the pin ups are by Sandy Jarrell and Matt Horak.
Tell your friends, download one and punt the iPad into the sun, pick it up on subscription then ignore it, whatever, I’m not here to be the boss of you, but mostly just enjoy the story.
We thank you for listening, you may return to your normal broadcasting frequency now.

Being Strategic

I’ve seen a bit of chatter recently where people talk how to get started in comics, or how to break in, and one thing always seems to strike me, and it got me thinking.
You have to be strategic.
Making comics, as a professional, is going to become your business. You can’t just hope and want and glide about on dreams of a starving artist. You have to clearly plot out how you are going to do it, or at least try. Now, that plan will be decimated dozens of times, but that just means you recalibrate the plans, you don’t just cast your ancient runes to the wind and hope they’ll guide the way.
“I want to tell the stories I want to tell, how I want to tell them.”
Of course you do, we all do, but there are limits to this sentiment. I’m not telling you to start writing fanfic of Fifty Shades because you think that’s hot right now, I am telling you this:
Just because you have this rad 60 issue epic in your head, doesn’t mean you’ll get to tell it, or that you should even try. Here’re a few reasons why.
No publisher will back you – you’re pitching this beast before proving you can tell any sort of tale, why would a publisher back you for a 5 year gig when they don’t know you can stick the landing on a 5 page gig? Again, this is business, you aren’t viable yet.
No audience will follow you – there are literally trillions of comics released every month across the globe. Literally. Readers are flooded with some amazing content, why are they going to invest 5 years and hundreds of dollars into your tale? What have you done to build/earn such an audience? What makes you think this is sustainable on any sort of level?
By the time you get to the end, your start will be embarrassing – if you’re still breaking in, you are no doubt not yet fully formed – I’m still like a BrundleFly of the writing game – and so if you did manage to somehow churn out this 5 year gargantuan beast, man, you are going to grow and improve over those 5 years like crazy. And yes, everyone improves over half a decade, but that first learning curve is steep. Your book will go from ‘not ready for prime time’ to ‘maybe ready for prime time’ and the disparity will always be there, and it will haunt you, and you don’t want none of those ghosts haunting you for life.
Any time anyone asks me about breaking in – and let’s be clear, I know very little, though I know a few things NOT to do – one of the first things I tell them to do is to chuck that 60 issue epic out the window, for now. And every time I do, I see that glint in their eye dull a little, and their frothy surf of loathing come churning for my face, but on this I stand staunchly unmovable. You can’t start that big.
Go small.
“But if my story wants to be longer, I want to stay true to that.”
Yep, if that’s the comeback, I feel all is lost. Yes some stories must be long, yes some stories should not be truncated just because, but your job is to find a story you can do right in your current position. If that’s 5 pages, then do it, if it’s a one-shot, rock that biz. Shelve the long con tale, flip out something punchy and shiny and something everyone wants to touch.
Editors mostly want – and this has been supported everywhere from interviews with Stephenson to Bendis’ book on writing [including an editorial round table] – editors want to see completed comics. They want to know you can produce, and you can close. If you can do this in 5 pages, you’ll get their eyes. If you send them samples, it’s a crap shoot, if you drop a tantalising issue #1, that’s cool, but they’ll want more, and only then if it’s any good. If it’s not, they won’t read the rest. Trust me.
Editorial time is scarce, you gotta give them your best.
So, yes, that means being strategic. Shelve the glorious 5 issue mini – because making that off your back is going to be hard, and getting a random slush pile greenlight is also on that end of the spectrum, and just rock out something decent in 22 pages or less [though there are peeps who prove this wrong, like Sam Read and co on EXIT GENERATION, and Ryan Ferrier’s slowturning but always amazing THE BROTHERS JAMES, and Craig Bruyn’s FROM ABOVE – but there are also examples where someone made 2 issues and never came back and that’s gonna hurt them, even if just in small ways]. Do something manageable, finish it, and it’ll get eyes, it’ll check all the boxes those eyes need to see, and it’s achievable to make off your own back.
That’s a strategic decision.
The more you do this, the more your brain will pop up short stories, and break them naturally. Which is in itself, a huge skill to sharpen.
It’s not selling yourself short. It’s not selling yourself out. It’s selling yourself, and that’s your job.
I have been strategic in my time. I made a one-shot, I did a handful of shorts, I made another one-shot. Then my first pro gigs were a one-shot and a short. Amidst all that, I did a mini. Can you guess which works have helped me the most with editors and getting more gigs?
Yep, I don’t even need to say it.
Read all of the above with all your grains of salt. Everyone’s path is unique, as are we all. I spoke in sweeping statements above because constantly couching every statement in the exceptions at every turn is a fool’s game. Modality is heard, anything less is brushed off. Go hard or go home, y’know?
But if this helps one person – and I know I’d have killed to read the above 5 years ago – then I’ll be happy.
I hope you are happy, too.

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