Without Fear

Ryan K Lindsay – Writer

Month: January, 2016

ymmv .12 – #366stories

I’ve been writing down a story idea a day for every day so far in 2016 and it’s one of the craziest and wildest and most fun resolutions I’ve ever made. It’s also getting me to pump out a tonne of dreck, so that’s fun too. I wrote about it in the latest ymmv over at Loser City so I could boil down how the process is working, why it matters, and what I came up with in the first 10 attempts.

ymmv .12 – #366stories [LINK]

This column is a fair bit of a process insight, which was fun, and I hope you get something out of it, and maybe you’re even doing the #366stories thing on your own, and if so then it’s hats off to you, lemme know how it goes for you.




Read/download LITTLE MAN IN THE BIG HOUSE: BIG free at Challenger Comics – LINK

I came up with the initial conceit for this book way back in 2012. I wanted to do a story set in a prison for supercriminals, cape villains, and that was where I started. From there, I spent a while breaking story. I thought this would be a mini. I had my lead character, Macbeth, and I knew he’d have the power to shrink, but from there I kept following dead end alleys. I had good set pieces, one ripping action sequence, but the story never clicked for me.

So I eventually shelved it.

If it isn’t working, dump it. After a while – and this was a while – you are throwing good money after bad. So the story got shelved but the idea continued to percolate – as ideas tend to do.

A little while later, it came to me – run this character, this setting through some short stories. It all seemed so right and in quick succession two scripts poured out of me. The first one, Macbeth’s first day on the job, is the one you’ve probably just read. And I must say that all of this in a short does make much more sense to me. It gets to be more flippant, more action packed, more grindhouse, more fun. I don’t generally write ‘action’ stories [my wheelhouse is generally the weepy fatherhood emotional world] and so to just let loose and write a shower brawl and NOT worry about the symbolism of it was pretty bloody ace. And wait’ll you see the fight in the second story, being illustrated right now.

So despite this not being a ‘deep’ comic [and, well, maybe because it is just some sweet sweet action], I thought it could be interesting to delve into how this comic was made and what we were trying to do. We hope you dig.

Screenshot 2016-01-22 14.09.39COVER

Eric Zawadzki is a cover god. I went to him as my very first choice to cover this story and he did not disappoint in the slightest. He actually came through with a different thumbnail, and it was pretty good, but being the guy he is he wasn’t happy enough with it so he retooled and then this came out. And isn’t it gorgeous?

We get a sense of Macbeth’s look, as well as his size, and the location, all in this moody image that represents it all so damn well. I also think those tentacles might have been a post-thumb addition and Eric was totally right about it.

This is how to launch a new character/story/world – thank you, Eric.


Look at Ferrier’s design on this page! Look at this little Macbeth upside down in the top right. This is so keeping in tone with everything I want this project to be, Ferrier is a genius.


Opening silent splash was a bold choice, but once this page came in I shuffled the captions and words and knew this was how it had to be. It’s such a great image from Paul, and if you consider it launching out at you, no context, no sound, no idea, then I hope it’s an attention grabber. And then we fly into the meat of things.

I wrote and rewrote this page dozens of times. No hyperbole, dozens of times. Getting the balance right – I like the left and the right of my page to often hold balance. It feel it tempers out the ideas and pacing better. I probably couldn’t explain it without sounding crazy.

Then I kept rewiring the ending because initially Macbeth’s family die and this propels him to the new job and as Paul’s art came in I realised how goddamn dumb this was. How terrible, really. Why did he need this motivation to make this change? It was lazy, shitty, lazy writing. So I changed it to be the – somewhat better – idea that he was worried his superheroics might put a target on his family’s head and so he’s avoiding that possible outcome by getting out of the game.

This is probably just as bad but I couldn’t introduce his wife and daughter on Page One and have them dead by the last panel of that page. It wasn’t needed so I made the change. i hope it works. I know I want to use his family in future stories so that should work.


That establishing shot is so gorgeous.

Flinders is a figure from Australian history. I love using Australian names in my work.

I also rewrote the first two panel’s worth of captions a tonne of times before getting them just right, and I’m finally happy with what I have – which often isn’t the outcome of too much rewriting, sometimes then you are never happy.

The visual of Macbeth is pretty well based of my brother, a prison guard in far north Australia. Short, stocky, heavy, imposing, so it was cool to have a character come from him in this respect.

The Warden is our James Remar with the expos dump, but at least he gets to say “The situation’s shape, indeed, is a pear.” which in my mind makes him sound exactly like Nixon.


This Warden is so useless, he’s all reaction, not a leader. He cracks me up.

The gag of Macbeth enlarging the paper was something I wasn’t sure would work but when it pushes right into old mate’s face, and he doesn’t budge, and it pushes his nose aside, it’s such a silent moment, and it’s so funny to me.

I also wanted this page to both set up the story’s mission as well as play back story for Macbeth. This took a lot to write to pace well so it wasn’t too lumpy.


More set up on the situation, and then we get eyes into the scene. As far as things go, this page is perfunctory, and I’m not smart enough to know how to do it better.

And it’s beyond the set up and character, now we introduce the foil of the piece – Hard.


Went through a tonne of ways to show Hard as a character as well as exactly what he’s been doing in Cell Block D. Hooper’s tone of voice pleases me for exposition, he’s an annoyed suit, that’s fun in this situation.


This is one of my favourite pages I’ve ever written. I always saw it in my head and tried to script it well, and then Paul just knocked it out of the stadium and into the ionosphere.

This is the selling shot, this is the tone I’m after. Glorious. Put this into the Top 10 Pages I’ve Ever Written List, and it’s silent which makes me happy. I got out of the way, yay.


Paul goes crazy on the colours and this fight scene goes psychedelic. I love the way he shows Macbeth using size manipulation, it’s so clear and cool.

Took me ages to choreograph this in my mind before scripting it. Fight scenes are hard to do, you gotta read a million other comic fight scenes before you script to get that flow going just right.


More fight choreography. Mostly just trying to use his size skills in a cool way. Chopping off hands and then enlarging to make a big sorta bolo-boomerang was fun. I toyed with the idea of having him cut the dude’s head off but that’s just a repeat of the hands cut off, and he really shouldn’t be killing people in there. Non-lethal force and all that.

BOUSHK is one of my new favourite SFX.


The initial script of this had Macbeth beating on Hard and he just repeats the word “YIELD!”

Then I saw Jonathan Hickman use that in an issue of Avengers just a few months later. Took me ages to come up with something new, bastard.

Though I dig Hard saying “Nope.” so straight up. In my mind, he’s Mark Brandon ‘Chopper’ Read in a big degree.


I snuck one YIELD in, figured it wouldn’t hurt here. And the idea is Macbeth’s gigantic body can produce one hell of a giant voice. Don’t ask me how the science on that one works, it’s a story.


Octo-Kid is such a lame ass.


I wanted the Warden to be so useless that despite all the victory and things occurring on his own CCTV, he wasn’t watching, he was having a sandwich.

Tried to tie in this whole ‘big’ aspect to the issue, from them asking for big solutions, and him asking if it’s ‘Big enough for ya?’ It’s not a big thing but I tied back to it when I could.

The final panel was initially silent but I dropped that caption in so everyone knew the story was over, because I worry about stuff like that.

So I hope you dug this. Someone just this very second described this book as ‘The Atom meets an 80s low budget prison film’ and that’s perfectly what I was going for. This is comics as fun. And I love that we can leave the story online but also offer a PDF. That sort of thing excites me when I see it in the wild so I like to give in return.

Macbeth will return in ‘THE MASSIVE’ hopefully later this year, the issue is being knocked out now by another artist and it’s another fight bonanza of fun. And it needs less expos set up, so it’s a real rumble.

And also make sure you noodle around the Challenger Comics site because it’s full of all sorts of really ace things. Some of my favourite short comics are on there, enjoy [LINK]

Order NEGATIVE SPACE tpb and CHUM #1 now!

Please :]

Screenshot 2016-01-23 16.02.33NEGATIVE SPACE gets a tpb collection of the whole mini from Dark Horse, feat. my writing, Owen Gieni’s art, and Ryan Ferrier’s letters. It’s the entire story for $14.99 the order code is JAN160171 and I think you’re going to like it. Hell, you might even love it.

NEGATIVE SPACE made the Best of 2015 list at Comic Bastards and Loser City, and reviewers have said:

Greg Silber at Adventures in Poor Taste gave us 9.5/10 [LINK], saying “Negative Space is the most promising new science fiction series I’ve encountered since Saga.”

James Ferguson at Horror Talk gave us 4.5/5 [LINK], saying “Negative Spaceis a damn near perfect first issue.”

Jason at Brutal Gamer gave us 9/10 [LINK], saying “Dark Horse’s newest foray into the world of horror and the supernatural comes along with one of the most interesting main character’s and plot lines that I’ve read pretty much ever.”

Raisa at Florida Geek Scene gave us 9.7/10 [LINK], saying “One of the most engaging, creative, and well-executed books I have read to date.”

Ian Dawe at Sequart stepped in with some love [LINK] saying “I’ve rarely seen a braver book about depression.”

Austin Lanari at Comic Bastards gave us a mighty 5/5 [LINK] saying “I can’t think of another book where the art is this unique and aesthetically pleasing.”

Emma Houxbois at The Rainbow Hub gave us 9/10 [LINK] saying” What they seem to understand better than most is that truly effective horror storytelling isn’t about succumbing to nihilistic impulses, it’s about how harrowing it can be to resist them.”

Gregory L. Reece at Pop Matters gives us 9/10 [LINK] saying “In the midst of all that sadness, however, I find myself laughing through the tears.”

I’m wildly proud of this book, it’s probably the best thing I’ve ever done, and I hope you can get out there, tell your LCS how good it is, or how much you dug it, or how much you want it, and that would be greatly appreciated.

And if you want to know more about the book in detail, scope these interviews about it:

I chat with leo Johnson at Multiversity Comics [LINK]

I chat with Cardner Clark at CBR [LINK]

I chat with Polo Lonergan at Nerd Underground [LINK]

I chat with Alexander Lu at Comics Bulletin[LINK]

We also scored an ace interview with James Leask over at Comics Alliancewhere I got asked some very on point questions, enjoy [LINK]

And remember:If you are suffering from depression, please hit THIS LINK to see the access you have to support. No one has to suffer alone. We are here to help you.

Screenshot 2016-01-21 15.22.04CHUM #1 begins my surf noir miniseries at ComixTribe with Sami Kivelä art, Mark Dale colours, Nic J Shaw letters, Dan Hill edits, and a reg cover by Sami with a variant cover by Vic Malhotra —>

It’s a 22 page debut issue, with back matter by me, for $3.99 and the order code is: FEB161340

This book is my ode to old Gold Medal crime paperbacks and the sort of things Phillips/Brubaker, and Swierczynski do so well.

Summer Stanwyck is trapped. She tends bar on the island she grew up on, the local cop is about to become her ex-husband, and she’s wasting time screwing the local reefer kingpin. But when a bag full of cash and drugs appears, she sees a way out… and anyone who gets in her way is shark bait.

CHUM is “Pulp Fiction on the sand,” a surf noir story straight off the drugstore paperback rack that will ruin your faith in people.

If you are curious enough to check out more about the book, you can download a Preview Digital Ashcan that’s 24 pages of CHUM glory, feat. 7 story pages, all the covers from Sami, some process pages about inks, and other fantasticality that’ll prove you need this book in your life.


Plus, and let’s get personal here, ComixTribe is a nascent publisher, and one with a quality foot in the door with AND THEN EMILY WAS GONE… and OXYMORON: THE LOVELIEST NIGHTMARE and EXIT GENERATION among their back catalogue. I’m excited to forge ahead with them, and make new ground, and if we do things right I stand to become the best selling ComixTribe book in history. Please help me make that happen.

Get on the horn to your LCS, tell them that ‘surf noir’ is an insta-buy for you and your mates, show them pages of Sami+Mark on art and make them understand this is some pretty business. Or just preorder your book which gives your LCS enough information to know that if one person like it enough to preorder then 2 might dig it on the rack, so they order up.

Indie comics are a game of small numbers, and every damn reader on this book matters to me, so have a think, a cup of tea, and then know you will want this story of a femme fatale doing anything to get off this island.


Just a quick blast to let you know that I’ve got a 12 page short on the Challenger Comics website with glorious art from Paul Tucker [of the recent TET with Paul Allor at IDW] and an Eric Zawadzki cover [my co-pilot on HEADSPACE at IDW], with Ryan Ferrier letters from a script by me.
And it’s free to read and download right now.

Inline image 1The story is about Macbeth, once a superhero with the ability to manipulate size, now he’s a guard at a prison for supercriminals, and on his first day he has to quell a cell block riot. It’s a grand slice of grindhouse fun and shower beatdowns.
This comic/character have been brewing for a while and Paul brings it all to life in such a glorious manner. This comic is just fun, pure fun, and I hope people dig it [especially that one splash, whooo-boy!].
And Macbeth will be back, there’s another 12 page short being illustrated by another artist right now, so hopefully you’ll see more soon.
For now, I know short comics are little game, but I will say you should noodle around the whole site because there are some AMAZING shorts on there.

CHUM #1 in Previews

CHUM #1 is officially in Previews for an April launch. This surf noir from ComixTribe harkens to the old Gold Medal paperback era and is certain to ruin your faith in people.

There’s Sami Kivelä’s reg cover, and a variant by Vic Malhotra! Gorgeous Sami Kivelä art throughout with Mark Dale colours on top, Australia’s own premiere letterer Nic J Shaw, and edited by Dan Hill! Then there’s me writing.

Go to your LCS and ask them to set you aside a copy, it’s DIAMOND ID: FEB161340


Sami Kivelä’s reg cover


Vic Malhotra’s ace variant

You can also still get the free 24 page digital ashcan featuring a lotta CHUMness right here [LINK]


Summer Stanwyck is trapped. She tends bar on the island she grew up on, the local cop is about to become her ex-husband, and she’s wasting time screwing the local reefer kingpin. But when a bag full of cash and drugs appears, she sees a way out… and anyone who gets in her way is shark bait.

This is a huge launch for me and we aim to go strong with this surf noir mini so we all really hope you dig the vibe and preorder and tell your friends!

If you dug my work on NEGATIVE SPACE at Dark Horse, or HEADSPACE through IDW/Monkeybrain, then I want you to know this book aims to keep the benchmark just as high. Indie books like this live and die on the vine based around glorious peeps like you, dropping a preorder, spreading the word, and being ace. Thank you for stopping by, it is appreciated.

The Comic Writer’s Cookbook – a free download

I presented The Comic Writer’s Cookbook at the Goulburn Comic Con at the end of 2015. It’s a slideshow of process thoughts/links/tips for you to totally stew on and imbibe. It’s by no means exhaustive but if you are wondering where you should start to learn the name of the game, well, I’ve put together something I think you’ll love – I know I’d love to have gotten my sweaty mitts on this many moons ago. So, here it is, for free download;

Screenshot 2015-08-20 21.07.25

Take the pdf, read it, do some of the things in it, use some of those things on your work, and hopefully see something come of it. If you look at 10 tips and only use one, well, that’s a value add of 1 which is better than 0. Enjoy.

ymmv .011 – Top 10 Writing Swipes from the Books of 2015

I didn’t want to do a best of list [too subjective] and writing about my favourite 10 books of 2015 just seemed like a snoozefest [because it is one] so instead, in the flavour of the column, I wrote about 10 books from 2015 that I would wish to steal something from in my quest to make better comics. As such, I now present to you, for your consideration:

ymmv .011 – Top 10 Writing Swipes from the Books of 2015 [LINK]

If you read these books, then maybe you’ve already done some tracing from them, and if there’s something you haven’t yet dug down on , well, have at it with my Stamp of Approval.

Or if you think swiping is for losers, well, you’re probably right. I’ll just see myself out then.

NOIRVEMBER 2015 ebook coming!

My series of NOIRVEMBER posts from Noirvember last year will be available as an ebook on the 19th of January for 99c on Smash Words from Four Colour Ray Gun. You can pre-order it now, if’n you like. It’s in multiple formats and represents nearly 40k of my thoughts and words and misconceptions about life and art.


I’ve tidied up the posts a touch, and added a CURRICULUM ADDENDUM section at the end of each chapter to give you the boring deets I didn’t want to didactically drop into the essays – plus sometimes some links to scripts and rad pdfs and other cool stuff.

It also features this ace cover from Christopher Kosek!


If you want, all the posts are still right here [LINK] but there’s something cool about being able to have this on your tablet, just waiting for you, or maybe you just buy a copy to share with friends. Or maybe you have that site-to-pdf Chrome extension. Or maybe I die destitute and alone.

NOIRVEMBER, the ebook, coming January 19th – tell your friends [who don’t already read this site, follow my twitter, like me] – [LINK] for the preorder, or the order if you are accessing this post post-Jan 19.

What is Best in Life? – 2015 Edition

2015, I believed.


DEADLY CLASS by Wes Craig and Rick Remender

Just loved every single panel in this crazy messed up book. It’s a wild idea, wrapped up by a wide array of intriguing characters, in a $10 intro trade, with some of the most nuanced and superb comic making I’ve seen in a while. Just an utter joy to behold – well, in a sense of how it is made…most of the actual narrative is as bleak as leftover coffee the next morning.



Just the best in show for everything, really. This year was S3 and it closed out the show and did it so masterfully that I’m still in awe. This is one of the few things I just keep bringing up to people and gushing to them about. It’s a show I want to share because it represents so many things about storytelling I love, and I wish I could do.

I’d love more seasons but I also love how tight and wonderfully this is all stitched up. This year, everything else paled in comparison.



And I mean hands down, best flick of the year. I crazy loved the idea but the execution was better. With a simple narrative throughline, they then explore emotions in such a deliberate and delightful way that my 5yo man dug it but I was floored by it. I cried twice in the damn flick and then when I got home and tried to explain it to the wife I started tearing up again. She thought I must’ve had a stroke. So good, and who knew we needed HERMAN’S HEAD the kid adaptation so bad?



Yes, a new Sarah Blasko album dropped and she’s still amazing. ETERNAL RETURN has fuelled some words in the last few months.



Every time I listen to this podcast about using Kickstarter for making comics it inspires me to make some more comics. I just get the fire in the gut again. You need to have that fire, and stoke it, and shift it, and kick it, if you’re going to survive this stupid ride we repeat again and again making comics.

The ComixLaunch podcast is just gasoline all up in my bonfire of life. I was also on an ep, dig it, it’s all about kickstarting DEER EDITOR and doing a digital only campaign from Australia [LINK]



This ebook was like two bucks or something stupid and it was a tight, short, very interesting read. And I’m finding it hard to hang on to novels because they are taking me crazy amounts of time to get through so short novella stuff is just right and this book was aces [LINK]

Are there other best things from this year I should be considering? No app jumped out at me this year, and no way could I single out all the cool art I’ve been able to scope in my travels with collaborators, so I think this is it.

2015 was a building block year, and it built in me patience. Hopefully I can use it to calmly slaughter 2016.

CHUM Free Digital Ashcan Preview

I’m really excited to bring you something rad that is totally free. To throw some blood and guts into the water to fuel the feeding frenzy for CHUM [my new book with Sami Kivela from ComixTribe, launching in April], we have put together a digital ashcan preview that you pretty much need to get your peepers on because it’s full of all the four colour good stuff you want and it is totally FREE.

[Download the CHUM digital ashcan process preview now]


Well, why exactly do you need this digital bonanza in your life? I’ll tell you why.

Included in this PDF blast is:

  • 7 preview pages of the tale to wet your whistle
  • Character bios and sketches on all the fiends of Kingsford Island
  • Art process from Sami Kivela, including page thumbs and inks, as well as our original cover inks
  • All 3 covers for the series in beautiful colours from Sami [they are worth all this malarkey alone]

I’m also just excited that Tyler James at CT wanted to experiment with something like this because I think it’s a rad idea that I’d love to see on other comics that I love. Because I can never help myself when there’s a chance to peek behind the curtain. Plus, it’s digital, so we can kinda do anything with this so if it’s successful, I’d think we would do more like this in the future [which genuinely excites me].

I’m certain you’ll dig this PDF and feel free to share the link with your friends because preorders open soon and the book launches in April and we are all crazy excited for this.

CHUMa surf noir book that’ll dump blood in the water this April

Art by Sami Kivela [forever dominant]

Colours by Make Dale [so damn good]

Letters by Nic J Shaw [always doing ace things]

Written by Ryan K Lindsay [Hi!]

Edited by Dan Hill [the genius keeping me in check on HEADSPACE, DEER EDITOR, and other shorts and upcoming business]

Published by ComixTribe

April – 2016

[Download the CHUM digital ashcan process preview now]

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