Without Fear

Ryan K Lindsay – Writer

Month: May, 2016

NEGATIVE SPACE #4 Review Round Up

negative space 4NEGATIVE SPACE #4 landed a while back [and this post somehow got lost in the queue]. It seems people were happy with how we closed this tale and there’s a huge weight off my chest knowing that people dug what was a hard conclusion for us to come to – it’s not an easy place to leave your main character, or the audience, so it means the world that people allowed us that much rope.

The reviews were ace, and it’s just nice to still be getting some ink/pixels on the 4th issue of an indie comic.

Andrew McGlinn at Big Comic Page gave us 5/5, saying “an unstoppable tour de force that must be both read and experienced” – [LINK]

James Ferguson at HorrorTalk gave us 5/5, saying “This cements Ryan K. Lindsay as an expert storyteller capable of truly incredible character work.” – [LINK]

Chris Beveridge at the Fandom Post gave us a Grade A, saying “get into serious discussions with friends about [it] as there’s a lot to peel away and dig into with it. Very recommended.” – [LINK]

Jack Johnston at We The Nerdy gave us a 9.5/10, saying “a perfect send off for Lindsay and Gieni’s twisted tale.” – [LINK]

Johnny Hughes at the Comic Crusaders gave us 3.5/5, saying “the conclusion serves as its own metaphor about depression and mental health.” – [LINK]

Ian Dawe at SequArt gave us a thoughtful write up, saying “It does what not enough comics do: it leaves you thinking.” – [LINK]

And now the series is done. The tpb collection will be out on the 6th of July with a glorious Foreword by Christopher Sebela. Tell your LCS to order 1 million of them.

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.

CHUM #1 Review Round Up

Screenshot 2016-01-21 15.22.04CHUM #1 is upon us and it’s an exciting time for Sami, Mark, Nic, Dan, and me. We hope plenty of people dig the surf noir sound we are jiving to, and we were blessed with some good press and reviews so let’s round them up.

Ed Garrett at TMStash gives u 8/10 [LINK], saying “Given Lindsay’s penchant for making a unique premise work exceptionally well, I’m looking forward to the twists and turns CHUM has ahead of us.”

Iron Squid at Slack Jaw Punks gives us a 100% score [LINK], saying “Chum #1 is exactly what I wanted it to be and more…fun, bloody, exciting, and breath taking thrill ride!”

Brett Schenker at Graphic Policy gives us an 8.1/10 [LINK], saying “The first issue is a must get for noir/crime comic fans.”

And Brett made us a Pick of the Week [LINK]

LJ Phillips at Black Ship Books heaps a whole mess of praise on us in a review that’s so incredibly spot on that you’d think he had been reading my scripts and notes [LINK], with one top line being, “A primal, animalistic drive for bloodshed permeates the entire comic.”

Stephen Leitman over at Reading with a Flight Ring drops some lovely noise on us [LINK], calling it “the perfect storm for a story.”

Omnicomic had lovely things to say [LINK], “Each character is illustrated with a sense of purpose to their actions that force the reader to pay attention as the[y] thumb through the pages.”

Isaac Quattlebaum at Comic Bastards gave us a 4/5 [LINK], saying “You know you’ve got an interesting book on your hands when hours after you’ve put it down you’re still thinking about. Chum is one of those books.”

Johnny Hughes at Comic Crusaders gives us a spectacular 5/5 [LINK], saying “What Lindsay does excel at is writing the human condition.”

Nikki Sherman at Comicosity gave us a glowing 9/10 [LINK], saying “What [Sami] absolutely kills on this book is complementing the shiny exterior of the vacation locale with an overwhelming sense of dread.”

Alice W. Castle at Multiversity Comics gave us 7.9/10 [LINK], saying “Ryan K. Lindsay is channelling his best Raymond Chandler with writing that is pulpy and atmospheric.”

James Ferguson at HorrorTalk gave us 5/5 [LINK], saying “Chum presents you with intriguing characters, an interesting setting, and a riveting plot.”

Jonathan Winchester at Bag & Bored drops some kind words on us [LINK], saying “one of the best comics I have read in 2016.”

Matthew Box at Broken Frontier made us a Pick of the Week [LINK], calling it “an original, genre-blending story.”

Anthony at Comics Heating Up also made us a Pick of the Week [LINK], saying “this beach crime book looks excellent.”

I also had a chat with Alex Thomas over at Pipedream Comics and we spoke about the surf noir sound in detail [LINK]

And Wade from Mint Condish dropped a lovely vid into YouTube singing our praises [LINK].

And every word/pixel given to us and our little book is hugely appreciated.

CHUM #1 – Launching the Surf Noir Sound

And with the week of Wednesday the 18th of May, CHUM #1 finally launches.

Screenshot 2016-01-21 15.22.04

This surf noir comic miniseries with art by Sami Kivela, Mark Dale’s colours, Nic J. Shaw’s letters, and my writing from ComixTribe finally hits shelves digital and irl and we all really hope you dig it.

CHUMThe book is a comic about crime on the sand when Summer Stanwyck sees an opportunity for a bag full of drugs and money to pave her way off the island, and beware the fools who step in her way.

For fans of Philips/Brubaker comics, the Parker stories [prose or sequential], and old pulp paperbacks, this one goes out to you.

Hit up your LCS or ComiXology [LINK] and fill your fists with some blood in the water.

We appreciate everyone who takes a chance on this book, indie comics are a word of mouth business, and we hope you’re hooked by the last page and come back to #2 in June.

RKL Annotations – CHUM #1

 

It’s been a long time churning in the waves, but now CHUM #1 hits shelves on May the 4th and I guarantee it’ll be the best surf noir book you pick up this week [maybe even this year].

Sami Kivela on art is always one of my favourite things, and Mark Dale brings his beach colours to life. All that’s left is for Nic J. Shaw to wrassle my script into submission for letters and we’ve got ourselves a comic. So, let’s have a look at it.

For those new to the game, these annotations are a little look into what I was trying to do when I wrote this comic, and it’s also a place for me to praise my collaborators. In the end, I hope you get a little something out of it to make you smile, or give you thought for your own writing.

Also, if you haven’t sampled the book yet, here’s a free Digital Ashcan with covers, preview pages, and other art process stuff for you [LINK]

Okay, let’s talk #surfnoir!

COVER

We originally pitched with a different cover, with Marissa Louise on colours, and here it is.

coloured cover

I thought we should go with a style like old surf music vinyl covers and this was the glory Sami cooked up. It’s great. But Tyler James [the turtle who carries ComixTribe on his back] thought differently. He knew the elements needed on the cover and Sami took it in and this came out.

CHUM_Cover_01

Gorgeous.

The composition, the style, and that red. This came in and I suddenly knew what a sellable cover really was. I love this cover and it’s launched us well.

It even looks ace in white.aCHUM_AshcanCover_01Web

Having Sami rep us on the shelves, and in Previews, and in every piece of press we’ve done in such a manner has been huge for us.

Oh, and the logo – all Sami. And I love it. Took a few goes to get there but man does it match the art perfectly.

VARIANT COVER

ComixTribe kick in a variant cover for most issues and so I got to sit back and consider who I would want and could ask. That Vic Malhotra stepped up and dropped more red beauty on us was superfantastic. I love this dark shot, surf in action, and a focus on Gus who isn’t the centrepiece of the book so I’m glad he gets love here.

CHUM_Cover_01B

PAGE ONE

I remember inks coming through on this first page, and just looking at the first panel.

You very quickly realise how much more artists work on these funny books than us writers. And Sami is a beast for it, dropping little things everywhere just because he can. So much of this panel sets up the entire tone of the book for me. Beach/sand, lazy cars and surfers, and a brooding storm just slowly rolling in.

For a page with no narrative movement, I’m happy with how we introduce the three main characters of this story. I tried the linked captions [s/he was…] and went a little purple with it. I want to clearly indicate right off the bat that this book is pulp noir. And it’s an omniscient third person narrator, something I hadn’t done before, and it was as much fun as it was a challenge to nail it here.

We then slice a small panel to build for the page turn…

PAGE TWO

And then we drop Gus, as well as a small inciting incident.

Look at the way Sami tiles and builds these three panels. All Sami, and it’s genius.

That surfer joke was something I think I stumbled across online and the page wrote itself from there. Because it’s a dumb joke, but, for me, it feels totally right on the page, and it becomes way more intense when you get what he’s saying. Double entendre for the win, I guess.

PAGE THREE

Two interactions for Summer in the one page and I was sweating on the blocking and angles on this one forever. Then I remembered that time in the gutters can mean anything so I assume we can all believe she went from the outdoor balcony to the doorway and inside in a short amount of time.

Plus, that shadow of Standard in the bg of Panel 2, glorious. Gives the setting density.

With this page, I tried to set all three characters up more. Penny is an asshole. Standard is an asshole, and probs a drunk. And Summer manages to put up with these dickweeds being around her.

PAGE FOUR

This is about doubling down on the Summer/Standard connection, tying it to the island, making Penny the outsider – but then tying him in thick between these two.

It amuses me that Standard is calling her blind and stupid while she looks at him, like, “Damn, fool, dramatic irony much.”

PAGE FIVE

This was the last page of our pitch, you can feel how neatly it all wraps up into this sequence. All characters laid out, all lines drawn, all connections formed, all violence and feuds and lust hinted at.

Sami took this page and staggered the panels down, drawing us to a close. That panel of the flunky with his head underwater is amazing [those rain drops, his ‘lead singer of Crazy Town singing in despair’ face], and Mark Dale coloured the heck out of it.

PAGE SIX

There’s method to the madness on the page, I swear.

Gus starts isolated, a man in his own thoughts, so a man in his own white panel.

Then we draw the world in around him, he’s anchored to space and time once more. Sami and I are drawn into the right of this second panel. Awesome.

Then we put Gus into this hollow bar, again, he’s in the middle of a party, which is for him, and yet he’s alone.

Then Summer advances into his white world. She can break through to him, this is important, it holds much of the key for why Gus acts the way he does moving forward.

She is his sole focus, this is why he commits to so much of his stupidity moving forward.

PAGE SEVEN

Summer goes from setting Gus up, to playing him, to handling him all in one page. I don’t know if I’ve ‘nailed’ it, but this feels good. It’s a clear showing of how fast we want the narrative to move.

And that last black scratched panel is so indicative of a hangover that I can pretty much feel it already.

PAGE EIGHT

I feel like I dropped the ball on this page, he wakes, comes downstairs, and gets the note all in one fell swoop.

Either I need more room, or I needed to use this room more wisely. I don’t know, but I know this isn’t my Favourite Page of CHUM #1.

Hrmm.

PAGE NINE

Just to be clear, Summer doesn’t write this note quickly that morning. NO, she scribed this probably the night before. This is where her plan kicks in. The plan started the night before where she saw how useful Gus could be to her.

The way Sami draws Swampy looking and then not looking is so damn good. And we should have made his newspaper THE TRUTH.

That red bar across the page gets across so much info/feeling for me. How Gus is feeling, what he’s seeing, and what’s about to happen. I love a good page of tension mounting before we unleash…

PAGE TEN

…and, oh man, do we unleash.

I scripted this with a few action beats but then laid it out for Sami that if he wanted to go crazy on this page then he could. Sami’s level of design skill and ability to innovate is just intensely delightful and wonderful.

This page delivers on all fronts, it’s a bruiser. I love when comics does something fun/different, AND it pushes the narrative forward.

PAGE ELEVEN

This page is your first signpost to see that the character of Summer is not what you were thinking. And it’s a guide for how to handle her moving forward.

In the words of a better writer; this is her design.

And in true femme fashion, Gus had done all the work, his hands are literally dirty, and all she did was stand there, and yet she’s totally in control. She always will be.

Also, look at Mark Dale’s work on that first panel, man, I love the way he brings gritty emotion to the page.

PAGE TWELVE

Poor Gus, he’s the only character I feel sorry for in this whole book. He’s so earnest, and he just ‘wants’ so much. He finds this cash and feels like fortune is finally smiling down on him. Like Summer didn’t know about it all along.

He even tells her he’ll take care of her. Poor Gus, the fool.

PAGE THIRTEEN

And this is the moment the story escalates. A body, chopped up, two people wrapped into the betrayal. Sadly, only really one plan will be affected.

How Gus doesn’t see/feel it is testament to how blind a guy can get sometimes.

PAGE FOURTEEN

The jump in time is basically me skipping the boring parts. I don’t care how Summer cleaned her booth, I don’t care where people think Swampy has been. She’s got a few cans of Mr Clean, he’s a lowlife who no one cares about. I also wanted to skip over a few pieces of the Gus/Summer plan so they can be revealed later. Trickery or storytelling? You decide.

I like the interplay between Hannah and Standard. It was always fun to write. Maybe because there’s no sexual tension, and they both equally hate each other and kinda have reason to. Fun.

PAGE FIFTEEN

Penny finally looks and acts like a druglord. Albeit, a dumb reactive one. Emotional, probably paranoid, he’s to be feared because he’s bad at his job, not because he’s so effective.

I was constantly thinking about CARLITO’S WAY when I wrote this page.

This page is also one I’ve often shared because it’s such a visual shorthand for the #surfnoir sound we are trying to capture.

PAGE SIXTEEN

The transition of the flunky getting capped into the surf as chum and the boiling tomato sauce here on this page is a very tv sort of transition, in my mind. I actually wonder if most people will notice it. If you are reading on ComiXology with Guided View then I’m sure it pops, otherwise the panels aren’t near each other so I bet it doesn’t quite work like I want it to.

And Penny is back to being a tool and it’s almost, almost sad. It’s also interesting that he doesn’t realise what Summer is, either. Yet another blind guy around her.

That final caption still makes me laugh.

PAGE SEVENTEEN

The negative space in the knife panel is a great focus point, thanks, Sami.

Man, that Penny is going to go make her a sandwich shows exactly how much she’s got him on lock down. I can only imagine what all the other nights they’ve spent together have been like.

PAGE EIGHTEEN

I wonder how many people will connect the clothes and mobile phone here to later. I didn’t want to have Swampy all chopped up and displayed here like some EC comic because that would be crazy obvious.

Ah, subtlety, it always scares me.

This scene is all about showing how kinda messed up Standard is. The guy is unhinged, he’s no hero cop. Not at all.

PAGE NINETEEN

I specifically had Penny put down the knife here to show that he had it in his hands the whole time, and he didn’t use it, he never would have dared. Which interests me greatly, especially in this kind of story.

That look on Summer’s face as Standard drops the divorce papers off is heartbreaking. It’s not a huge moment, and we see this all play out in the coming narrative how she wants it to play out, but in this moment you can see it’s hitting her. This one little moment is getting through her barrier.

Enter, a new character for the page turn.

PAGE TWENTY

Standard, a dick AND manspreading all over this conversation. Again, he’s not our hero lead.

And right here I want people building to the finale. I hope it’s building.

PAGE TWENTY ONE

This opening panel and everyone’s taking a silent moment, everyone is recalibrating course whether they realise it or not.

I kept trying to get rid of that “Yep, go fuck yourself.” but Standard just kept saying it. It was his only response to her, no matter how many times I edited this page.

I like that Summer makes a quick-thinking power play to piss Hannah off and ditch her.

And everyone leaves the page in a very different way to the manner in which they started it.

PAGE TWENTY TWO

I’m still quietly fond of the ‘broken shards’ captions across the two pages. So sue me for being a fan of my own work :]

Man, this ending fucked with me for ages. It’s such a quiet beat, it bodes such ill, it’s heavy, lead lined, but it’s this very quiet moment and it was bugging me. Until I realised what I was doing.

Look at the page again, now, right as the phone starts ringing, just image that soft music they used at the end of every episode of THE WIRE playing us out to black. That’s what I want. I’m not certain I’ve nailed it, or if it works as well in comics [obvs, we don’t actually have the music], but this is the tone of the page. It’s playing us out with a gut punch. I hope someone out there is now pausing with no breath.

BACK MATTER

Man, once I came up with our back matter title, there was no turning back.

The Six Word Surf Noir Stories was an idea that came to me late in the game. I initially thought of getting some pin ups from art mates that were just of the beach. No characters, just the beach, but I was already chatting to mates about DEER EDITOR pin ups, so I didn’t want to wear any friendships dry. So I tried to think outside the box and then this appeared. And I couldn’t be happier.

Reaching out and getting six word surf noir stories from the likes of Christopher Sebela, Ed Brisson, and Duane [!!!] Swierczynski was a dream come true. They nailed it, and I loved doing it, and it was crazy fun. That we pushed it out to include many of the readers was pure icing.

And this brings to a close a story I started writing about 3 years ago and am just finally seeing in print. We’ve come a long, long way together, and it’s totally worth it to get this beast out into the world.

If you got it, thanks, if you dug it, aw shucks, and if you wanna stick around, well, #2 is right around the corner.

Sami pulled out all the stops for the #2 cover:

CHUM_Cover_02

And the Joe Mulvey variant with Jules Rivera colours is one of my favourite things ever.

CHUM_Cover_02B

We hope to see you back in the surf in a month’s time. Until then, feel free to spread the word. Indie titles rely on word of mouth, and one red hot tweet don’t cost nothing but a smile.

Thanks for taking a dip, see you in 30.

Top 100 Flicks List

Man, this took me far too long to put together.

I’d take a few minutes each night to consider what my top 100 flicks of all time were, and the list filled up, I ran past 100 quickly and easily, but then I had to cull. And then I’d remember one I’d forgotten and things would shuffle. And then I could never align the order.

This list, right here and now, is correct at time of publication but can and will change instantly as soon as I hit Publish, and it should. Trying to line up where OFFICE SPACE fits on a list somewhere alongside APOCALYPSE NOW brings up all kinds of sweats. But the flick is definitely on my list, no question, so it becomes placing it in the ‘right’ spot. bah, like art, this list wasn’t finished, it was abandoned.

For all of this, I blame John Lees – the Scottish gent put up his 100 list and my brain wouldn’t let it go [go see his here – LINK]

This list is an insight into my brain. It’s a wholistic picture of things that inform me, that make me smile, and that I dig. This isn’t trying to state what’s ‘best,’ nor what should be here. This is me across ~200 hours of cinema. I hope you dig, and maybe find something new to tuck into.

100 AMERICAN HISTORY X
99 28 DAYS LATER

98 TRADING PLACES
97 PSYCHO
96 THE RUNNING MAN
95 THE SHINING
94 MOON
93 BORN ON THE FOURTH OF JULY
92 COMING TO AMERICA
91 THE ‘BURBS
90 SE7EN
89 OFFICE SPACE
88 A CLOCKWORK ORANGE
87 ETERNAL SUNSHINE OF THE SPOTLESS MIND
86 WILLY WONKA AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY
85 PREDATOR
84 DIE HARD
83 COOL HAND LUKE
82 DAY OF THE DEAD
81 BUTCH CASSIDY AND THE SUNDANCE KID
80 THEY LIVE
79 FIRST BLOOD
78 ZODIAC
77 ZOOTOPIA
76 THE WOLF OF WALL STREET
75 THE SOCIAL NETWORK
74 THE CONVERSATION
73 THE INCREDIBLES
72 IRON MAN
71 ARMY OF DARKNESS

70 BOOGIE NIGHTS
69 DONNIE DARKO
68 THE EVIL DEAD
67 LOOPER
66 IN BRUGES
65 BONNIE + CLYDE
64 AMELIE
63 CITIZEN KANE
62 THE DIVING BELL AND THE BUTTERFLY
61 OUT OF SIGHT
60 FLETCH
59 CASABLANCA
58 BLACK SWAN
57 ALL THE PRESIDENT’S MEN
56 THE PAPER
55 THE FLY
54 THE BROOD
53 ALIENS
52 SHAUN OF THE DEAD
51 APOCALYPSE NOW
50 STAND BY ME
49 LEON: THE PROFESSIONAL
48 GOODFELLAS
47 VIDEODROME
46 TRUE ROMANCE
45 12 ANGRY MEN
44 THE TOWN
43 FIGHT CLUB
42 THE IDES OF MARCH
41 BRAVEHEART
40 THE FRENCH CONNECTION
39 STAR WARS IV – A NEW HOPE
38 RESERVOIR DOGS
37 THE GOOD, THE BAD, AND THE UGLY
36 THE DARK KNIGHT
35 GOOD WILL HUNTING
34 THE PRESTIGE
33 ENTER THE DRAGON
32 ALIEN
31 INCEPTION
30 ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK
29 STAR WARS V – THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK
28 HALLOWEEN
27 KISS KISS BANG BANG
26 REAR WINDOW
25 JFK
24 THE GODFATHER
23 CHASING AMY
22 RAGING BULL
21 THE BIG LEBOWSKI
20 RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK
19 THE SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION
18 BODY HEAT
17 [500] DAYS OF SUMMER
16 MEMENTO
15 INSIDE OUT
14 THE PROPOSITION
13 M*A*S*H
12 TAXI DRIVER
11 THERE WILL BE BLOOD
10 CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE WINTER SOLDIER
9 VERTIGO
8 CHINATOWN
7 THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE
6 AN AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON
5 JAWS
4 BLADE RUNNER
3 PAN’S LABYRINTH
2 MILLER’S CROSSING
1 THE THING

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