Without Fear

Ryan K Lindsay – Writer

Category: comics

Sharing Scripts

I still remember when I started writing comics, it wasn’t even that long ago, not like I started in the 80s or anything, but I remember trying to find examples of what they looked like and could not for the luife of me find many quality examples.

The best one I found showed me the structure, and also happened to be from my favourite writers run on my favourite character:

I printed that page out and had it over my desk since last decade. It helped me find my flow with structuring the page. at first, and you should always be looking for ways to improve your scripting. I know I’ve worked with two comic publishers who had specific formatting rules with scripts, and I stole ideas/layouts from them.

I also remember reading a script Greg Rucka graciously posted on his blog that helped me add the “NO COPY” tag into panels where there was no dialogue so you could consciously see it was my choice to have a silent panel and there wasn’t anything missing – kind of like the comic script equivalent of the “This page has been left blank intentionally.”

I’d hunt down scripts wherever I could find them, because they were showing me what I, a writer, should be putting into my scripts. Over time, I’ve amassed a decent library of scripts, and I share with a crew of mates when we find good ones, and so it’s a natural fit that I also want to share my own scripts.

Why not? Come see how bad I used to do it, and how my words still ended up as gorgeous panels. Come see, come learn.

As such, on my Patreon, where I share my writing and nerdery I recently posted the pdf of my script for FATHERHOOD.

This was my very first published comic; illustrated by Daniel Schneider, coloured by paulina Ganucheau, lettered by Brandon DeStefano, it was my debut onto the scene.

I still dig this comic, I feel like it holds up. It’s not perfect, it never was, nor have I ever been, but it’s a good one-shot. So I’ve shared the script with people on my Patreon in the hopes maybe it’ll help someone on there who is also writing their own stuff.

As an added incentive, I’ve also posted the entire pdf of the comic, so for $3 this month you’re getting a one-shot comic, the script for it, plus the other stuff: two flash fic pieces, one D&D random character history, and I wrote a little something about LAURA DEAN KEEPS BREAKING UP WITH ME, and I also have my best of the decade lists going up over the coming weeks.

I want people who step into my Patreon to feel like they’re getting enough, and I think this month is a banner month to dip a toe. All money from the Patreon helps me fund a lot of comic pitches with colours and letters and such. It also helps me allow myself guilt-free time to be creative, which I absolutely love and appreciate so much.

So, if you’ve ever been curious about this comic, smoething that’s been out of print from me on the con circuit for the last few years, here’s your chance.

JOIN ME AT MY PATREON AND SUPPORT MY CREATIVE WRITING LIFE

I thank you dearly for it!

The RKL List of #1 Issues

I was recently asked to pick my Top 10 Comics Issues with a #1 on them. It proved a difficult and very interesting task. It told me a lot about myself. [NOTE: between the time I initially wrote this and this publication date, I changed one element, s one comic came in, and one went out. Such is the fickle nature of lists.]

You can read a complete rundown of the overall vote/list I contributed to over at Shelfdust!

I had to really stew on this and consider a lot, so here is some of my thought process, followed by my Top 10, with a little commentary!

Daredevil/Matt Murdock is my favourite character, but I couldn’t find a #1 I cared about to go into this list. I own his first appearance, it’s signed by Stan Lee, it’s awesome, but it’s not exactly an amazing comic. It’s also nowhere near the first Daredevil I ever read, nor the reason I fell in love with him. But I couldn’t pick either Frank Miller runs on the main title because neither start with a #1. Kevin Smith and Joe Quesada relaunched well, but it wasn’t in my top 10. If the Lark/Brubaker issue was a #1 it would have been HIGH on this list, but it’s not.

Then I thought about old comics I loved, and while my childhood was spent in Spider-Man territory, and on to Venom, with some X-books amidst it all, it was rarely a #1 that led me there, Venom was in the Spidey titles, and whatever numbers they were up to, and Venom: Lethal Protector might have gotten a #1, but that’s not gonna make the list [though I would be interested to reread that mini, I still have all the issues here in my office]. Same with the X-books, they were floating in whatever numbers they were at – though did AGE OF APOCALYPSE have a #1 issue? Was it an Alpha? Does that count? Either way, close, but most likely just off the list.

I will say, BARTMAN #1 nearly made the list based on how many times I read and reread that issue [and mini] in my youth, but it just got squeezed off. As did THE WALKING DEAD #1, because it might have been instrumental in getting me back into comics as a young professional – shout out to my brother for buying me that trade for my birthday – it was the first trade and the end it landed on that made me a huge fan, not just the first issue.

So, without further ado, here’s my actual list, each served with a little reason why. Enjoy.

10. VAULT OF HORROR #1

This one was a reprint. It collects a variety of stories from other issues. But this was one of the very first comics bought for me, and it started a long-standing tradition of loving everything EC had once put out.

The stories themselves aren’t the absolute pinnacle of what EC could offer, but this issue is one I’ll remember forever because I remember where I was when it was bought, I still remember its cover, I remember reading it over and over throughout the years, and I know it was the first building block of my own comic collection and the place where I forged my own path as a lifelong comic reader.

10. VAULT OF HORROR #1

This one was a reprint. It collects a variety of stories from other issues. But this was one of the very first comics bought for me, and it started a long-standing tradition of loving everything EC had once put out.

The stories themselves aren’t the absolute pinnacle of what EC could offer, but this issue is one I’ll remember forever because I remember where I was when it was bought, I still remember its cover, I remember reading it over and over throughout the years, and I know it was the first building block of my own comic collection and the place where I forged my own path as a lifelong comic reader.

9. LOCKE & KEY #1

The effective hooks of a first issue are many: deliver characters we can connect with, make the premise simple and enticing, have knock out art, have 1-2 moments that grab our collars and shake, do it all with economical use of pages/scenes with no fat. Yep, it’s gotta be all thriller, no filler.

Gabriel Rodriguez & Joe Hill effortlessly bring us into this world they build through really strong character interactions and a hook that’ll catch you for days. It almost seems simple how well they did it, but don’t be fooled, this is arcane alchemy. And it was so good I bought the #1 issue again when IDW offered it with a full script in it. Absolute brain fuel.

8. THE IMMORTAL IRON FIST #1

This is the book that brought me all in on Danny Rand. I previously dug him for the loose Daredevil connection, and the killer yellow threads, but this run from David Aja and Ed Brubaker/Matt Fraction locked me in for life, and the foundation is all laid here in this issue.

Danny Rand is a kung fu master, and there are few better equipped to show that than David Aja. The early double page splash of Iron Fist fly kicking some HYDRA goons in the rain is just stunning [and mirrors the same trick Brubaker pulled over in Daredevil with Michael Lark, and both times they are just as effective].

The whole mythos then gets a little tweak with the introduction of Orson Randall, and the stakes go up, and the tone is set. It’s part superhero story, part gritty 70s action flick, and all billionaire kung fu.

7. CASANOVA #1

I’ve come back to this issue a whole bunch of times, usually when I’m writing my own #1 issue. Maybe it’s because I love Matt Fraction’s writing, maybe it’s because Gabriel Ba builds a whole world in one go, or maybe it’s because this issue covers so much ground and uses so many comic skills that I find it inspiration fuel every time.

I do appreciate the cyclical nature of this issue, and the fourth wall breaking captions, and by the end I know Casanova Quinn, and his job, and his problem. And I know I will read this comic for the rest of my life, no matter what schedule it comes out on.

6. THE IRREDEEMABLE ANT-MAN #1

This is a book no one was asking for. Phil Hester and Robert Kirkman go about building a new super, which is hard enough yakka, but then they make him not very super, and very barely heroic. In fact, he’s a scumbag and by the end of this first issue you want to keep reading because you really want to see Eric O’Grady’s house of cards fall down around him.

And yet I still kind of love him, and have enjoyed reading him elsewhere, but that’s due to the way his character grows over time. In this debut, he’s absolute pond froth. But you just can’t look away at this seedy underside of what goes on behind the Marvel superheroics.

5. SLEEPER #1

Okay, now the list hits the real tour de forces. Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips here start something truly special, and I think it’s their second collaboration, and it’s one of the first comics I bought when getting back into comics and it was the one that completely solidified my fall back into things.

This is a phenomenal debut: it gives us a character we can’t look away from, it surrounded them with other people who are interesting and will help/hinder him along the way, and it slowly unpacks why we should care for our character through the main complication of the text.

A spy comic by way of some superpowers, this is hard hitting action and a slew of characters you’ll follow to the grave and beyond. I’ve read this entire series more than once and it only gets better.

4. ELEKTRA #1

I love Elektra. Frank Miller introduced her, he told the best story with her, and he buried her. That really could have been her entire catalogue in story, but I’m glad it’s not because Mike del Mundo and W. Haden Blackmen did something special with her in this maxiseries, and it all starts in this character focused debut.

Elektra has history, so it’s unpacked here in gorgeous detail, and this builds context, which they then quickly move away from. This isn’t yet another story of Elektra circling her boyfriend Matt Murdock. This is her story they want to tell, and she will be the centre of it, so she thinks about the past right before moving forward and taking a bounty hunter style job to find someone. It’s all fairly simple in summary, but the way it’s told is so exceptionally fluid, and it’s juxtaposed against Bloody Lips, a new villain invested here who is truly fascinating.

And then we get the final splash of Elektra descending into Monster Island.

Yes, Elektra, our leading lady/ninja/bounty hunter jumps out of a plane and descends towards Monster Island in her wingsuit. Comics! When they’re this good, they’re better than anything else out there.

3. UNCANNY X-FORCE #1

I’ve not been an X-mark since the cartoon when I was in primary school, so I initially slept on this book. I don’t really follow Wolverine or Deadpool, I knew little of Fantomex, Archangel didn’t feel like anything that had been interesting in a while, and I dig Psylocke but not enough to buy into this comic. But then I started hearing things, so I dug back and got the first issue and didn’t stop pulling it monthly until the run ended.

This issue not only makes me care about an X-team, but it invested me in characters I had little connection with, and made me have to come back to see how it would all unfold over time. The wild adventure style storyline is certainly something a little different, and Jerome Opena elevates it beyond anyone’s wildest dreams. There are funny moments, but also some gore, and the cast selection shows itself to be genius for what is being set up. This run is an absolute titanic force of how good it can get when someone plays with the toys, and it all began in this debut issue I roundly ignored until I realised I had it wrong, and I’m so glad I realised my error.

2. KILL OR BE KILLED #1

Okay, maybe my favourite comic from the past decade, and something so incredibly my specific jam, and the pinnacle of what I’ve enjoyed about what happens when Sean Phillips and Ed Brubaker collaborate.

This debut issue is a masterclass.

Brubaker carries us through this all with a resonating first person caption voice that’s captivating. We see Dylan try to kill himself, and then we rewind to build context, and then we shift again to showcase other pertinent information. It’s all dripped out at a delicious pace, but one that constantly gives us something else to add to the pile to astound us.

Phillips uses gutters to isolate characters, and guide the eye, and make us feel the emotional scope of this character and the world around him he feels so constantly attacked by. I’d love to map out how this issue gives up information, and how it does it. Putting something like this together, giving us so many character interactions alongside our leading man’s state of mind and motivation moving forward is a masterclass in how to give an audience everything they need without them ever seeing it coming or having a moment to feel bored.

Every comic writer should read this issue to see why we should never rest on our laurels. We can always do better.

1. Y: THE LAST MAN #1

This is the cliche choice, the one people are told to read, to seek out, to study. And there’s reason for that.

Yes, this issue is that good. You might not dig the story [I guess, I don’t know how, but that’s cool], but there’s little denying this issue does everything it should and does it with the most simplistic style. If you step back, this issue looks so easy, and doesn’t do much, but it really just pushes information into your brain through conversation and dialogue and that’s not easy to do without making anyone feel like a James Remar Exposition Machine.

Every character for the series gets time here, they all get moments that shine, and by the end of this issue you know them all and have cast your lot in with the right or the wrong ones. The hook in this issue isn’t that all the men on Earth die, that’s just doing what it says on the tin, the masterful magic here is in how much you love the characters and need to know what will become of them all.

In a world where most comics end their #1 issue by revealing the hook that’s already been in all of the solicit/prepress material, this comic goes another route. Knowing that Yorick wanted to propose to his girlfriend at the worst moment and got interrupted is the key to this series. Brian K Vaughan never sells this book as a post-apocalyptic tale of every man on Earth dying, bar one. He sells it as the story of the last boy on Earth becoming the last man on Earth. A great reminder than your story isn’t your hook, your hook is there to make people give your story their eyes. Then your job is to make them care.

Reread this issue, see how BKV does it, especially with the world’s finest work from Pia Guerra, and marvel at how he does it. One tip: he has 40 pages, so he’s got that working for him. Good luck to you!

SKYSCRAPER on Kickstarter – First 48 Hour Backer Party

SKYSCRAPER IS LIVE ON KICKSTARTER!


Today my next comic went up on Kickstarter, you’ve probably read about it in this newsletter before, so let me tell you why you should hit the link above [or here] to back it in the next 36 hours.

Y’see, SKYSCRAPER is a one-shot murder mystery comic I’ve put together with Mitchell Collins on art, and Simon Robins on colours, and Dan Hill edited this business to get me into shape. The comic is funky and unreal and we’re in love with it, which is why we’re hyped to get it out into the world.

One of our favourite parts of the book is that every page has the same basic layout/design. It’s the front of a building. But through the magic of Mitchell’s art, and the power of panel borders and gutters, we play with pacing and time and movement on every page to tell a story that spans decades, and paints a whole epic while only ever taking the one angle on it.

I love how comics work, and this is one of my biggest leaps forward in using the comic medium. I think you’re going to dig it.

To respect this concept, we’re printing the comic in newspaper size just so you can appreciate all the work Mitchell and Simon have put into making this wild idea come to life. Just look at this page and see how gorgeous it is.

Now imagine a whole comic of that madness and majesty.

So, why should you back in the next 36 hours?

Well, I’m having a little First 48 Hour Backer Party. For everyone that gets in during that time frame, I’m also going to send them PDFs of:

  • A PDF of BEAUTIFUL CANVAS #1 [art by Sami Kivela], and
  • 2 PDFs of my short comics about a prison for supervillains and a guard with size manipulation powers, LITTLE MAN IN THE BIG HOUSE [art by Paul Tucker, and Francesco Iaquinta]

FREE.

Plus, you’d be joining into an experience that’s good enough for Brian Michael Bendis, and you know he knows good comics, so hit the campaign up now and then sit back and let the good times roll!

Kickstarter works well when projects launch strong, they work well when people get involved and get invested, and they work well only through the involvement of you. This comic won’t exist unless we cross the line, so have a look at the link below and work out what pledge level you wanna get in on.

A $4 pdf is easy, but a discounted early bird print copy of this oversized beauty will be something to really hold for life. Have a browse, find the level that’s right for you, and if you can…please share the link around, I’d greatly appreciate it :]

BACK SKYSCRAPER ON KICKSTARTER NOW!

If you have any questions about the whole Kickstarter malarkey, or you want to ask about the comic, or suggest something, just hit me with a reply. Happy to chat to help you across the line to make this Kickstarter my biggest opening day, my biggest launch overall, and my biggest print haul of comics out to readers yet.

And here’s another page, just for being patient!

SKYSCRAPER – KS Pledge Levels

SKYSCRAPER launches on Kickstarter next week. This is our murder mystery one-shot comic published in oversized newspaper size so you can drink it all in.

So, let’s run down some of the ways you can get your eyes into this goodness.

$4 gets you SKYSCRAPER in PDF, as well as a copy of the script in PDF, and access to other goodies as they drop [especially if you back in the first 48 hours, stay tuned!].

The pdf will give you the story, the art, but not the experience. We’re printing this in newspaper size/format, so it’ll still work on a screen [tablet, not phone], but it won’t be quite as boss.

$10 gets you a lettered pin up of the building where I’ll write something stupid/poignant/stupid on a page of the building, as well as the comic and script in PDF.

This level is for those superpeople out there who want to see this happen, they want to support, but the print options are a little more expensive, or perhaps you just prefer the digital experience.

$20 is the Australian backer price to get your hands on our gorgeous newspaper-sized comic, as well as all digital pledges listed above, with postage and shipping included.

$30 is the International [non-Aus] backer price for the comic + digital accoutrements, with postage and shipping included.

Wanna buy 2 copies? No problem, there’s a secondary pledge level that’s just an extra $10 for your extra copy, postage and shipping still included. Easy.

Later, I’ll post about some of the high end pledges, the kind of fun stuff you can only roll out on Kickstarter – the OG art, the script annotations, the OOP back issues of mine, etc.

We cannot wait to deliver this comic, so hopefully people are feeling this energy.

SKYSCRAPER – 5 Page Preview

SKYSCRAPER is coming to Kickstarter next week. It’s a one-shot murder mystery comic presented in newspaper size so you can soak in the glorious Mitchell Collins artwork.

There are five unlettered pages below, have a scroll, you’ll see why the entire team is excited to drop this goodness in super-oversized format, and forevermore place Collins in your heart as a rising star to watch. Every page uses the same format, but we play with space and time through the panels. Each tier might only move a second forward, or a few decades behind. It’s a wild ride, and you can see from Mitchell’s art, and Simon Robins’ colours, that this is a labour of love.

 

To find out more, stay tuned right here as info rolls out until next week.

SKYSCRAPER – Meet Mitchell Collins

Hot damn, Mitchell Collins.

He’s a local talent, a little bit of Samnee and Mazzucchelli and genius and youth all mixed together. He’s the main reason our new comic, SKYSCRAPER, even works. Every page has the same structure, but then Mitchell’s job is to break it up in slight variations, he’s drawing zoom circles one moment, cutaways the next. His characters act and emote in a variety of scales, across timelines, and he never misses a beat.

Working with him is a true delight, so I can only imagine how fantastic it’s going to be for you to discover him while reading this beauty of a story.

SKYSCRAPER launches on Kickstarter next week – find out more here. It’s a murder mystery one-shot presented in newspaper size as a print beauty you won’t want to miss. There will also be a chance to commission Mitchell to draw you something, or someone, so get in quick because these opportunities won’t last long.

SKYSCRAPER: Coming to Kickstarter

SKYSCRAPER is a mystery one-shot comic we’re bringing to Kickstarter, and we are crazy excited about this one.

I’ve written this story, and I’ve pushed myself to do something different with it.

Mitchell Collins has illustrated this and he’s definitely going to be your new favourite when you see how fine every single page is.

Simon Robins has coloured this beast so well he actually used a spreadsheet to keep it all in check. Absolute boss move.

SKYSCRAPER is a one-shot comic, it deals with a death in a major corporate building. Or more accurately, right in front of it when the victim came flying out of a window from the top floor. To tell this tale, we decided to employ an interesting structure: every single page is a front shot of the building, and it’s sliced horizontally into panels. Mitchell does amazing work zooming in on certain moments, and carving cutaway sections on other moments. I’ve mapped it out so different panels can show different time periods, sometimes jumping forward five minutes in the floor below, sometimes showing a flashback a few decades ago on the ground floor.

It’s fun.

We’ve also decided to make this structural behemoth oversized, making it a newspaper sized item.

To help print this oversized wonder, we’re going to Kickstarter to hit a funding goal and get this comic out into the world. You’ll be able to order the comic, posted directly to you, as well as adding some other additional items which we’ll unveil in the coming weeks.

The Kickstarter launches on September 24th and will run for 3 weeks.

Indie comics is a game of passion, and we’re 100% here for this story and we cannot wait to share it with you.

ETERNAL Short Listed for a Ledger Award

Humbled to discover our little OGN that could, ETERNAL, has been short listed for a Ledger Award.

ETERNAL gets the props it does on the backs of Eric Zawadzki’s art and lettering, Dee Cunniffe’s colours, Dan Hill’s edits, and Courtney Menard’s gorgeous wallpaper – and big ups to Black Mask Studios for putting out something this different [European size, oversized one-shot format].

Stoked to see this strong line up of Australian comic talent, so go have a look and track down whatever you’ve missed so far.

I still love this book, and hopefully one day we can get back to doing more of the same – not a sequel, but more a companion piece.

Until then, good luck to everyone at the Ledger Awards, and keep reading good comics!

*NEW* THE JAM SESSIONS and ETERNAL Available Online

I sell all kinds of comics and four colour paraphernalia on the Ownaindi storefront!

I’ve put up some new stuff and if you don’t have any of these then now is the time to strike.

Buy ETERNAL for the first time directly from me online – each copy is signed, and has a sketch of a Viking weapon inside. This OGN from me, Eric Zawazki, Dee Cunniffe, and Dan Hill is one of my very best works yet, so dive on it while stocks last.

Buy THE JAM SESSIONS for the first time in the world – each copy comes signed and with a suggestion for something you should read in 2019. This magazine format book is over 30,000 words of me and Dan Hill [my creator owned editor] talking about how a few comics and tv/film favourites work and why they resonate with us. It’s a complete process deep dive bonanza, and you will absolutely love it. Probably only do this one print run, so get in while you can, these have been selling well.

Buy my back catalogue [INK ISLAND, EIR, STAIN THE SEAS SCARLET, all 4 BEAUTIFUL CANVAS issues] and I’ll sign them all. Y’know, help a brother out, splash some cash so I can afford to make more comics!

You can also get 10% off everything this week only if you subscribe to my newsletter and read this week’s missive!

Thanks, and enjoy. Also: if you see other cool Aussie content on Ownaindi, definitely buy it.

Making Things in 2019

They say you should start things the way you want to finish them, so I guess I want to end 2019 doing a whole mess of work.

Here’s a quick visual guide for how I played the first week of 2019.

MAKING COMIC BOOK STUDY GUIDES

I read BEOWULF by David Rubin and Santiago Garcia and it is just utterly stunning.

I instantly knew I had to write a Comic Book Study Guide about it for my Patreon, so I launched into it with vigour, the above image showing what the front cover will look like.

I’ve enjoyed running the Patreon to create study guides to help thinking around comics, and explicit use in the classroom, and I’m putting together some plans and ideas for 2019 which should make it an exciting place to be and thing to do.

Support my Patreon now to help me make study guides, podcast episodes, and lesson resources for bringing comics in the classroom!

 

WRITING AN UNDAD ANTHO STORY

I’ve been brought in by Shane W Smith to contribute a story to his UNDAD series, whic is aces, and so I’ve been breaking all kinds of thoughts on this, circling around the exact thing I want to say with this idea of a suburban dad becoming a zombie and trying to reconcile that with the man he still is.

Oh, Newsletter, My Newsletter!

Every week you’ll find me writing my newsletter, in which I discuss my writing week, my process, my thoughts, fears, ideas, everything. I also dive into links for other good things for other good creative brains, some Kickstarter love, and hopefully you think about something differently, or get a smile from each weekly missive.

Subscribe to my email newsletter about this writing life right now!

A Novel, My Novel

Dipping my toes back into prose, just to feel that power once more, and I’m enjoying the change of pace this brings. I don’t know where it’ll go, but I clearly don’t know where anything goes.

This story is always going to hit the back seat for the other comics writing, but it’s nice to have in my back pocket.

The Shiny New Project

I write lots of shiny new projects, but this one has really caught fire and spread throughout my brain. I can see and hear the lead character, which I’m loving, and it’s been a genuine treat to write this past week. You never know where that feeling comes from, or for how long it will stay, so I’m off to enjoy the good vinez.

Cubby House Library Fort

I took the kids to the local library, and we stocked up on all kinds of goodness, and then we returned home to tidy the cubby house and decorate it as a reading place. I need to get to hiding up in here way more often.

Every child deserves a reading space in their lives [so do most adults].

So, that’s been my first week, roughly – I didn’t want to screencap all of the many emails I’ve dealt with, and sundry other things.

For now, enjoy your first week into 2019, may it be productive, or restful, or relaxing…or whatever it is you need.

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