Without Fear

Ryan K Lindsay – Writer

Month: April, 2020

Case A –> Case B –> Case C –> Etc.

Got CAVERNS OF THE SNOW WITCH down from the shelf for a play with the kids recently, and it’s a ripper of a book, but it also gave me a solid little lesson.
It’s a small storytelling lesson, but it’s something I enjoyed being reminded of: Start your story/quest/adventure/case/crime small. Here, you go out to hunt a yeti. From there you avenge a fur trapper and hunt a Snow Witch. Along the way, there are other small parts, you meet a servant elf who wants to be freed. It’s all these little pieces leading you towards the end, and not just you setting out to kill a witch. It’s a great way to go, and it plays into crime structure well. You start by investigating case A, but it leads into Case B, and while A is solved, you learn enough to connect it to Case C, and that’s the big case. And if your character doesn’t figure it out, then you have an NPC wander in and bring some small element, and it leads to Case C. Reminds me of the Pixar rule: coincidence to get your character into trouble is fine, but you can’t use it to get them out.
It’s something I’ll take into my D&D planning, that escalating narrative scale, but also into my own writing. And again, this isn’t something new to me, but it’s nice to be reminded. I don’t always carry every one of the 22 Pixar Rules in my head, no less all the thousands of other things I’m supposed to know and use, so a refresher is always welcome.

Story Clocks! Spiders and Lego

I love the Story Clock notebook from Plot Devices. I’ve got the notebooks, I’ve used them, I use the concept in my own storybreaking, and I read every single one they post on their site.
The concept is, you map a story from beginning to end on a wheel, and then you see how things line up, or space out, or get callbacks at certain times. Often, the best flicks have these great structures built in with symmetry of action and occasions.
I never like to be told a regimented way to tell a story, but I love beauty when it appears naturally in the world, and this is that. It’s not one way, it’s just celebrating the ways that got it right.
So tickle me webbed to find out they’d recently done SPIDER-MAN: INTO THE SPIDER-VERSE – only one of the greatest films from the past decade. I love this flick, and shocking no one I had actually just recently mapped out the story of this flick in my own notebook, but had yet to make it pretty, and then they drop this, saving me the effort. But the act of mapping it out was fun, i could see how everything lined up in special little ways.
And then they drop another one on us for THE LEGO MOVIE, and I have yet to sit down with this one laid out in front of me, but I know I dug that flick, and I like the creators of both flicks [the very same creators] so I’m down to check this out.
If it helps you map out your next story, that’s aces. I like it for that call back structure, seeing when things from the first act can finally come back in a way that’s got the most impact. It’s so cool.
Plus, while you’re on the site, scope out the other clocks, the DIE HARD and THOR: RAGNAROK ones stand out fresh in my mind as absolute *chef’s kiss* perfection.
If you’ve got any other structure style hacks you know of, please share them with me. I use this and a Five Act Struture breakdown and they keep me mostly in line and sane.

Fair Lady: Spectacular

An older post from elsewhere: FAIR LADY from Brian Schirmer, Claudia Balboni, Marissa Louise, & David Bowman is an utter delight. It’s a fantasy PI comic that bills itself as “Magnum P.I. in a post “War of the Ring” world” and that’s good – I was thinking it’s where SAGA and STUMPTOWN would meet. Either way, it’s a very good thing. This comic just launched from Image Comics, with 2 issues on stands, and the third around the corner, and I absolutely love it, and want everyone I know to buy it and enjoy the Dickens out of it.
I mean, if the cover wasn’t gorgeous enough with the spot coloud bg, it’s got this stamps which means it’s 100% my jam. Stand alone issues are the world’s finest.
The book also is structurally something beautiful, and something I’ve been studying this past weekend. Look at this splash of the location of the story, that’s just a brilliant idea, gorgeously executed.
And look at this smart use of a double page spread to give details, make the audience linger, and also save the artist some work.
I’m digging the single illo with a wall of text pages more and more, and this one is good stuff. Always a tool in the warchest we should remember.
See again: simplicity of format, saving artist time, and immersing us in a moment. The only thing this moment costs is an extra page, but if you have the ability, I think something like this is a wonderful addition to the pacing of your story.
This DPS was also a good bit of world exploring.
Okay, so if not convinced, here’s #2.
This opening page is absolutely phenomenal in regards to luring us in, selling us tone, and ending on a great hook for a page turn.
And then there are these “splash” moments where the artist can chill, the colourist maybe can’t, but it gives the idea of scope very very simply. Love these pages, I hope these become a hallmark of the book moving forward for scene transitions.
If you haven’t dipped a toe, or had been wondering, then take it from me right now – FAIR LADY is good comics, and it deserves your time, your support, and just as much you deserve this good time.

Creative Feelings

Being creative is sometimes like those stories about superheroes whose power is also killing them.

It’s conflicting.

You wish it was easier. You dream of not wanting to be creative, to just use time to mindlessly [blissfully] chill, but you also can’t think of anything worse.

Being creative reminds me that I’m just about smart enough to consciously know how smart I am not.

This panel from WHAT IT IS by Lynda Barry sums up the emotions of writing perfectly.

But, still, there’s nothing finer than creating something and having it out in the world.


LONG RAIN – A Study of Mood In Art

You need to buy LONG RAIN by Artyom Topilin – BUY IT NOW

This one-shot comic is an adaptation of a Ray Bradbury story, and the art in it is delicious. You get a sense of location instantly, which is perfect because it’s set on a planet that hasn’t stopped raining ever, and the astronauts [?] wandering about looking for salvation are starting to show mental fatigue. It doesn’t help that there are weird flower things in the ground that seem, well, they seem about as deadly and certain as time itself.

Just looking at the cover above, you can see the style and tone being laid out. My main complaint is that this is digital, and I want to own this as a beautiful hardcover in my hands.

The opening panel sets up everything by showing us that nothing is what we would think of as normal, the colours are close, but just off. The red shows us danger, but it’s obscured, it’s maybe not clear and present danger, it’s just the natural danger that lurks for us all. We can either chase it, or we can hide from it. But it’ll always be there.

This is a comic that needs you to think deeply, and reflect even deeper, and come to your own conclusions.

If anyone buys it, I’d love to hear your take on anything within its pages. It’s certainly a personal fave for me already, and it’s nice to pay a little money directly into a creator’s pocket.

SHE – Simone Guglielmini Pin Up

Simone Guglielmini: Noir Master

I’ve loved Simone’s work for longer than I can remember. He makes some of the most beautiful and haunting crime comics. I reached out to Simone because he’s a mate, but I wasn’t sure if he’d have the time to contribute, or the desire considering the sci fi bent of this story. Thankfully, he saw the crime angle of this bounty hunter tale and steered heavily into that skid.

You know Simone’s working on something when it’s beautiful and deadly at the same time. His figures and composition are always A+, and I love his design flair here of the falling body down the page. This is as much a poster and a cover as it is a pin up. It’s beyond gorgeous.

This original piece of art will be available for purchase through the Kickstarter for She this week before the campaign ends!

If you or a friend need this art, or just to see it within the oversized hardcover comic it’s assisting, make sure you don’t miss this link below, we are in our final days:


SHE – Sami Kivela Pin Up

Sami Kivela: Art Beast

I mean, he’s just so damn good at *everything*

Sami’s pin up will appear in the SHE HC, on Kickstarter right now!

Sami has been someone I’ve been making comics with for over half a decade. We’ve put out many stories together over the years, and Sami also has a habit of doing me the honour of seeing other characters come to life through his lens.

He’s been insanely busy of late – illustrating ABBOTT at Boom, and MACHINE GUN WIZARDS at Dark Horse and UNDONE BY BLOOD at AfterShock – but he’s such a capital B Bloke, he still found time for this, and I’m so insanely glad he did.

The colours are the first thing that pop out on this pin up, that space sizzle is gorgeous. Then I look to She, and Sami has given her mystery and introspection and a sense of power against the unknown endless before her. Shoulders up, leaning forward, not caring – yep, that’s our bounty hunter.

Sami will always be one of my favourite modern artists of all time, and this piece is just another reminder of the power of comics collaboration, and friendship, and why so many of us make comics.

If you or a friend want to see this pin up in its final state within a gorgeous oversized hardcover comic, clickn the link below and back us on Kickstarter before the week is over:

SHE: AT THE TOWER OF ALL THAT IS KNOWN on Kickstarter, Final Days!

SHE – Alfie Gallagher Pin Up

Alfie Gallagher: so damn fine.

Alfie’s pin up goes up for sale on the SHE Kickstarter campaign soon – be ready!

I love Alfie’s work. Ever since we made EIR together, I’ve wanted to work with him again. And again. His art always comes out so expressive, so fluid, like there’s a real world busy living behind every page he inks. This pin up makes me smile because he’s found the character of She so well in there, and he’s given her motion and location and life.

The way he brings design into things – that sun behind her head – always makes me smile.

This week, the inks for this piece will be available on the Kickstarter page. If you’re a backer, you’ll get an email when the Update goes live, and you can get this piece of art for your home and make me and Alfie happy comic making people.

If you haven’t checked it out yet, or you know a friend who needs more gorgeous oversized hardcover sci fi bounty hunting comics in their life, hit the link:

SHE: AT THE TOWER OF ALL THAT IS KNOWN, on Kickstarter for One Last Week

%d bloggers like this: