The latest issue of my new series through Mad Cave Studios is in Previews magazine and ready to preorder through your LCS! Come see what Emmanuele Parascandolo and I have created with…
SPEED REPUBLIC #2
Illustrated by Emmanuele Parascandolo
Written by Ryan K Lindsay
Coloured by Michele Monte
Lettered by Joamette Gil
Edited by Chris Sanchez
Choose from one of these two covers!
The first issue lands on Feb 02, and this is later in March.
The comic is set in the future where Europoe has formed one nation state, united under the face of The Autocrat – a singular ruler who’s in it for himself, and the few he allows in his periphery. The rest of the nation is slipping into despair and ruin, slowly, painfully, with resources and opportunities few and far between. But once a year the Autocrat runs The Great Race, a kind of gumball rally style epic drive where one winner gets admission to the haven of the 1%.
Sebastian Valencia has entered the race because he’s got little other options left to him. His father is dying, his life very bland, and this is at least a glimmer of hope. Even if the survival rate for drivers is low due to the other racers, and maurauding street gangs, and just the landscape in general, this race is at least a chance for money and safety and life beyond the reach of your arm.
And so we set off on this race, and madness ensues. It’s as much The Running Man as it is Mad Max as it is Speed Racer as it is The Cannonball Run.
Here are some early reviews to help push you across the line to preorder our wild beauty:
Well at least it’ll be better than 2020, we cried into the night, before a few months of 2021, and then we just cried into our cereal.
It’s been an interesting year. We’d come out of Covid and lockdowns and the year started pretty cruisy. Where I live, we had zero cases for months on end and everything genuinely felt fairly back to normal. My teaching game was strong, I was reading plenty, and then Sami Kivela and I had EVERFROST launch at Black Mask and Sebastian Piriz and I had BLACK BEACON launch at Heavy Metal.
Things “looked” good.
Then the Delta variant swept across the nation, slowly but surely, and eventually invaded my ‘hood and we went into another lockdown. When that happens, my teaching load goes through the roof. It wasn’t as bad as 2020, but it was still pretty escalated. My comics kept coming out, I kept teaching, so there was nothing catastrophic.
Then I decided to change up my dayjob a little – I’ve moved from teaching little kids to now teaching English. It’s rad. But it’s taken a lot of mental load and prep to make the transition smoothly, especially as it happened as we came out of lockdown – a strange time to be doing anything, no less starting a new job at a new school.
It did mean I was ‘forced’ to do more reading, though.
I have no clue what 2022 has planned, but looking back on 2021, there’s a lot of good so I’ll spend this space celebrating some of that good stuff. Here goes…
As always, I manage to find awesome comics to read because people keep making pretty awesome comics.
My brain took in a Joe Hill Double Bill.
PLUNGE was one that stood out for it’s John Carpenter vibes and beautiful Stuart Immonen art. I dug the book, it’s a very fun ride, and does what it says on the tin with its 80s horror flick vibes.
I followed it months later with A BASKETFUL OF HEADS, which was one I didn’t know anything about, and I’ll be honest that the cover was giving me the wrong vibes for it. I thought it was some kind of eerie gothic slasher book, and it’s anything but – open it to find it’s another 80s throwback, maybe even late 70s, honestly, about a young woman defending herself against some escaped criminals, and she randomly uses this axe from a house display, and it’s a mystical blade that doesn’t cause death but instead life. So when she chops someone’s head off, it remains living.
A great premise, and a really enjoyable book!
My mate Paul Allor teamed with another mate Paul Tucker to create HOLLOW HEART and it really was something else to touch your heart. A brilliant tale of love and monsters and captivity. Seeing Paul write the kinds of emotional and esoteric stories I wish I could fills me with joy.
TRESPASSERS from Breena Bard was one my kids picked up, but I instantly devoured. A really fun middle grade romp about a forgotten mystery and some kids who think they’ve got the right thread on the sweater to pull. I really do love stories about kids investigating crimes. There’s just something about it as a kid I always loved, and as an adult it still fills me with joy and inspiration.
DAREDEVIL continues to be a comic I enjoy, but I gotta admit I’m getting lost in the monthly churn with it. There’s a chance I might transition to trades on this soon, as I have with most things, because my monthly buying and reading has gone to guano since these last two lockdowns, and I find myself constantly lost in where I am up to, or what’s been going on and for how long.
If this also means books need to pivot more towards graphic novels, well, I’m all for that, I guess. The more they make them, the more people will buy them when they come out, and then the more stores will sell them, and then we’ll better get into the habit of buying them, and around and around it will go. I hope.
Speaking of people buying graphic novels as they drop: RECKLESS from Sean Phillips and Ed Brubaker dropped another 2 volumes this year. I read the first [which is the second volume] and it suitably kicked ass. I actually have but have not read the 3rd volume, as I’m holding it off as some kind of New Years treat, alongside a few other things, like NOVEMBER Vol. 4 from Elsa Charretier and Matt Fraction. I had to hustle through two different reporting periods, and then I’ve been reading stuff for next year, so these two are waiting for me and I cannot wait.
Transitioning to another Brubaker book, this time with Marcos Martin, I got myself straight into their collaboration with FRIDAY and found myself loving it more and more as each issue slowly wound its way around this very awesome mystery plot. This book is just the definition of beautiful, so I’m looking forward to more.
Did a cheeky run of rereading and ploughed through DOUBLE INDEMNITY by James M. Cain, FRANKENSTEIN by Mary Shelley, THE GUNSLINGER by Stephen King, THE OLD MAN AND THE SEAS by Ernest Hemingway. All good and interesting reads.
I read THE THINGS THEY CARRIED by Tim O’Brien that’s a short story collection/exploration of the author’s time in Vietnam during the war and it’s a fascinating study. The circuitous way the stories are constructed and present certain key moments, it’s really quite beautifully done.
Benjamin Percy’s THRILL ME is a collection of his essays on fiction and it’s been instantly added to my mental curriculum list of things you should read if you want to be a writer. It takes a lot of his presentations and essays and makes them easy to digest, with examples, and a really strong and engaging authorial voice.
But it was WARLIGHT by Michael Ondaatje that captured me the most. This brilliant story about two kids after the war in Europe struggling to discover themselves, as well as the truth of their family, is a phenomenally well told narrative. The aspects of duality in life, the two sides we have, the truth we never know, the cause and the effect are all explored and brought to light [and hidden in the dark] in this really thoughtful and gripping read.
TED LASSO dropped a second season. Wherein the first looked at Ted slowly winning everyone over, this season went a whole new route – it’s basically just everyone on a journey to combat their inner demons, or sometimes the outer ones. A season of people trying to kick depression in the nethers sounds…ethereal, but it really built and built. It’s hard to compare against the brilliance and surprise of the first season, but I feel like this one stands alongside it as a perfect companion – not a clone, mined for similar but diminishing success, but a new step into something just as challenging and emotionally true as the first.
I really enjoyed WANDAVISION – a superhero show that kinda made you think. It was unlike most anything else from the MCU, and for that alone I was happy. I’ve watched them all, and found FALCON AND THE WINTER SOLDIER to be fun, but that was about as far down as the show could dig, and LOKI was as charismatic as its lead, and WHAT IF…? definitely scratched an itch for me. Good to have one I could watch with the kids, too.
HAWKEYE was a little up and down, but Hailee Steinfeld really grows into the role for me. Yes, another quippy, snarky superhero, who knew?! But she’s so good in the role, I’m happy to see the entire Marvel film franchise end up in the hands of her, especially when paired with Yelena as their scenes in the show were absolute dynamite for chemistry. Give them the reins of the show alongside Captain Marvel, and Falcon and the Winter Soldier, and Scarlet Witch, and Valkyrie, and whatever other younger heroes I’m forgetting, or they continue to amass.
ONLY MURDERS IN THE BUILDING was a fun crime show whose premise and structure was really well put together. Getting to see Steve Martin, and Martin Short, both get decent roles to play and show they still know how to chew up some scenery was a delight.
Feel like I watched more, but specifics elude me.
MITCHELLS VS THE MACHINES has to be movie of the year, right? I could watch it once a week and still find myself laughing my absolute ass off. So effortlessly constructed and genuinely funny as well as moving. Just a masterpiece of family cinema.
BO BURNHAM: INSIDE was a complete earworm of a show, but I thought it was just the right balance of poignant against the esoteric. I found myself genuinely captivated, which for something shot by one guy in his house is very impressive.
I can’t remember what else I saw this year…
I discovered THE KINGSLINGERS podcast, wherein two fellas started reading THE DARK TOWER books, but one has already read them all, and one is completely new to it. As they go through sections they discuss what the newbie thinks is happening and what certain things mean. It’s a great way to unpack certain elements, and was fun to listen to alongside my reread for the first novel, and then to listen to their thoughts on the second one because it’s probably still my favourite of the series.
They’ve moved onto other King works, so I’m going to listen to the ‘SALEM’S LOT eps while I reread that book this month.
I also discovered SMARTLESS where Jason Bateman, Will Arnett, and Sean Hayes interview random Hollywood guests and it’s a fun show. I usually get a solid laugh out of it each time.
It’s been a good year for fun stuff to enter my brain. Here’s to 2022 bringing more good entertainment vibes, as well as creative ones. Keep the brain spinning and swimming!
My next comic is on the horizon – SPEED REPUBLIC is set to launch in Feb 2022, and I am hugely excited for this to hit the stands at 100mph!
SPEED REPUBLIC is a 5 issue miniseries about an epic car race across the future nation state of Europe where the winner gets a safe future, but everyone else risks death and worse along the way.
Art by Emanuele Parascandolo
Colours by Michele Monte
Letters by Joamette Gil
Written by Ryan K Lindsay
Edited by Chris Sanchez
Published by Mad Cave Studios
This is a really fun story where I get to take our leading character, Seb Valencia, and put him through some pretty wild situations. I’m channeling THE LONG WALK by Richard Backman/Stephen King by way of considering how the Coen Brothers layer vignettes into a fine tapestry and in doing so a tale across Europe has unfolded that takes into account the future, what happens when someone has too much power, how people survive, why people survive, and just how weird we can all get if given enough space and desperation.
The book is available for preorder now through your local comic shop, and you should hit them up and tell them you want you want every issue of this set aside for you so you do not miss out. Every issue gets better until we land on very, very awesome final issue sequence. Here’s the preorder info:
We also have a video trailer that you need to see because there are many interesting little peeks into things that are coming in the series. Keep your eyes peeled, because we guarantee you’ll see things here that intrigue you, and will delight you on the page in a few months time.
I am really psyched, and genuinely honoured, to announce that the EVERFROST tpb lands in December with a Foreword written by one of my favourite modern writers Lonnie Nadler!
You can still preorder the trade collection of all 4 issues of EVERFROST at your LCS so it’s ready for you when it hits shelves in early December! Here is all the info you’ll need.
We got two lovely pages of erudition from Lonnie Nadler for this collection, and I asked him along for the ride because he’s someone I massively admire, but he also fit the sensibilities of this book perfectly. It’s a big sweeping sci fi epic told in very specific and formulated chunks across 4 issues. It’s got structure, and huge ideas, and meaning behind it all and that all made me think of Lonnie.
To recap the brilliant work Lonnie has done, which I’m sure you’ve read, let me go through my highlights!
Before any comics were made, I met Lonnie at the Seattle Sheraton in 2013 and he instantly stood out as a Good Bloke. That kind of introduction is something you always file away for later use. And so, later, in 2017, when I’d meet him again, it would be as I tabled at ECCC with Eric Zawadzki who was in the midst of producing THE DREGS with Lonnie and co-writer Zac Thompson [another Good Bloke].
Now, I loved THE DREGS, it’s this insanely smart and disgustingly beautiful homeless noir story that grabbed me by the collar and shook me awake with each issue. So, naturally, I was stoked to make time with Lonnie throughout that weekend to talk comics, movies, and life alongside some burgers or just the buzz of the showfloor.
Since then, Lonnie has continually ascended in comics opportunities and quality. Putting out a few more creator owned books eventually led to some Marvel opportunities for him and Zac, which they both ran with through some wild storylines, and the whole time I could see Lonnie putting meaning into his writing, wanting everything to matter and be quality and use comics as part of the story, not just the final delivery method.
It’s then that Lonnie wrote BLACK STARS ABOVE with Jenna Cha co-creating as artist, and the book absolutely floored me. It’s eerie and beautiful and such a delight for the brain to read. It might be Lonnie’s masterpiece, which says something as it stands atop an already hugely impressive career.
So, yes, when it came time to think of someone to write a Foreword for EVERFROST, there was only one name I thought of. Lonnie had already read the first few issues and given me some lovely feedback in am email, so I took my shot and was grateful he said yes.
The way I work with Forewords is I think of the one right person for the project and then I ask and hope. With every book I’ve written so far, I’ve asked just one person, and have usually been lucky enough to get them. If the book has no Foreword, it’s because that one person declined, or didn’t manage to make it in time. I was lucky enough to have Lonnie agree, and step up well before the deadline.
Thanks for choosing to preorder the tpb, indie comics are a small gig, and every single order matters, and tells stores that this book will sell, so then they’ll add another order for 1-2 for the shelf, particularly important as this lands right at the start of the holiday buying season. Thanks for telling your mates, or sharing my good word about the story, or for just being awesome. It is all appreciated.
EVERFROST the trade collection lands in December, preorder from your LCS today to get this epic sci fi tale from me, Sami Kivela, Lauren Affe, Jim Campbell, and Dan Hill, all through Black Mask Studios!
This has been a year of me hyping EVERFROST, so it makes sense we’d close the year with a trade paperback release of the whole story in December.
If you are a trade waited, we got you covered — if you dug the issues, well, it’s just in time to buy a copy for a mate as a holiday season gift [I swear, more people need to give random comics as gifts – gifts aren’t about finding exactly what someone needs and filling that gap, they’re about finding something they didn’t know they needed and then expanding that pocket for them; normalise giving random things you *think* they’ll love].
Anyway, EVERFROST, our sci fi story of heartbreak and a big sword, is being collected in a tpb and it lands in stores everywhere in December and you need to preorder your copy now to ensure your store has one for you!
Written by Ryan K Lindsay
Illustrated by Sami Kivela
Coloured by Lauren Affe
Lettered by Jim Campbell
Edited by Dan Hill
Published by Black Mask Studios
I’m crazy excited about this story dropping in one book. I’ve worked so long on it, and I’ve loved it so deeply for that entire time, so getting it in its final form is going to be a heartwarming pleasure.
I’ll post more about it in the coming month – about our excellent reviews, and why the story is a banger, and the awesome Foreword we got written by an absolute genius – but for now, short and simple: tell your local comic shop you want a copy and prepare yourself to read and enjoy when it drops in december [or to not read but gift it like a boss]. Here are all the details you need!
ONCE UPON A TIME…IN HOLLYWOOD – this flick, it’s interesting and worth diving into. But I think that’s to pick it apart as much to celebrate it. I’ve found the more I’ve sat with the movie, the more I’ve had to discuss and discover, and that’s something I’ll always appreciate from a work of art. The more hours I get to sit with something, no matter what conclusions I come to, the more I feel happy for having engaged with that work. For me: the central binary relationship is captivating, the feeling that the final sequence is not real has had me thinking deeply for a minute.
Initial thoughts are: I definitely liked the movie, there’s plenty to love, but there are slices of it that just don’t gel with my brain. It feels longer than it needs to be, extended shots of people walking, driving, existing do a lot for mood and character, but at over two and a half hours, I couldn’t help but wish some had been trimmed, and I don’t think we’d have lost much in those cuts. Does the bloat ruin the flick? No. But it makes it feel like something else. Just a thought.
The main characters are both captivating, and each gets a chance to shine. DiCaprio plays Rick Dalton, an aging Western star watching the world pass him by. There’s a whole sequence of him flubbing his lines and then coming back to shine that is genuinely beautiful. Watching his panic set in the moment he screws a line is so real, and in the end he’s elated to the point of tears when some tv director tells him he loved a take, and following on that some 8 year old also tells him it’s the best acting she’s ever seen, which is a very specific thing because she’s 8, how much acting has she really seen, and even though she’s precocious, what does she really know from quality? She’s most likely just regurgitating the world around her in a firm voice, as many precocious 8yo’s do, and she seems to at the start when she talks about needing to stay in character on set, even while not filming. But it’s this low level of acceptance that gets DiCaprio’s Dalton teary-eyed. That tells you everything you need to know about the character.
Then there’s Pitt’s stuntman, who is the opposite because he doesn’t care what anyone thinks, he only wants to stay with Dalton. He just wants to keep having this one connection, whereas Dalton wants to connect with the whole damn world, though you have to wonder if that’s true. It could just be Dalton wants to be “accepted.” It’s not art he’s seeking, it’s fame. Pitt’s central sequence might be his walk through the ranch where the Manson Family lives, and his determination to check that everything is alright. You have to wonder about his motives here. Does he really give a shit? Or is he genuinely worried that some old Hollywood guy is being taken advantage of? Does Pitt’s Booth worry about being taken advantage of because that’s how he felt with his wife, powerless? His wife who berated him, made him feel like less, and who it strongly seems he killed, and got away with the murder. What is Booth’s motivation except to see that people get their chance to shine. He’s not really about shining himself, he just lives with his dog, works behind the scenes for Dalton, but he wants the best for others, perhaps as he never got that for himself. Perhaps. His character arc feels a little more nebulous for me, he’s more a tool for Dalton’s arc of desperately wanting to feel accepted, to feel worthwhile through external validation. And, I guess, how hard that can be in a world, and an industry, where those external people, their metrics of success, and the whole social climate can continue to change.
As a recreation of a time period, Tarantino perfects every little moment. From the neon signs, to the dog food labels, to the ice maker, to the tape decks. He’s so steeped in nostalgia and wanting to recreate his formative years that it’s impressive, and immersive, but that’s not the story. And I think that’s where I fall over on his work sometimes. He’s so obsessed with not just “what’s cool” but what he absolutely “believes is cool” that he thinks everyone else will care. And it does work. Michael Madsen sipping a soda or milkshake or whatever it was in RESERVOIR DOGS works. The briefcase with the bright light works. The minutiae is his work. But it’s not the story. So I found myself looking past the set dressing and thinking about the two guys at the heart of this story, and I locked into the way Tarantino shows their tension and desperation on the screen, the way they clash with this world they find themselves in, and I can see how genius he is as a storyteller. He drags you into it all, and there are some truly masterful moments on the screen. But they aren’t the whole time, and perhaps that’s too much to ask.
I will say, for the final sequence, I think the story works best if you assume that whole violent nightmare is an acid-induced trip, and not real. SPOILERS: but Booth smokes an acid-dipped cigarette and comes home to trip out and feed his dog at Dalton’s house. Three of the Manson Family enter to kill whoever is in the house after Dalton screams at the group in the street because of their shitbox car. Booth goes on a one-man killing spree that’s exceptionally difficult to watch as the dog can crushes one woman’s nose, and then the dog attacks two of them viciously, while Booth grabs one by the hair and slams her head into every surface he can find.
There are a few things that lead me towards leaning on the side of this being a trip hallucination and not real:
Firstly, well, the Manson Family didn’t enter this house in real life, they went up the hill to the Polanski residence. But that’s pretty thin.
Secondly, Booth has his dog’s food in Dalton’s cabinet, and I just don’t get why he’d have it there. I’ve been told Booth housesits for Dalton, so he’s stay there, so he’d have food there, but I don’t quite know if I buy it. It feels like an inconsistency that’s large enough for me to wonder if Booth went home and then made up this violent fantasy to make himself feel better.
Thirdly, this fantasy completely fixes everything for both Booth and Dalton, very sweetly. Booth gets to use his physicality to help/save his friend, literally his job as a stunt double. Booth also no doubt sets himself up to maintain his connection with Dalton after this when the whole point of this drunken night was to say goodbye as Dalton wouldn’t be able to justify having him around anymore for money and marital constraints. Now, sure, they could have remained friends, pals, whatever, but it would have waned. With this bond, they’re forged for life as brothers of war *and* it raises Dalton’s profile, which means Booth in turn will probably get more work with him, too.
This fantasy also allows Dalton to fulfill his fantasy in that by surviving, and killing one of the family members, he’s invited up for drinks to the Polanski house. He’s finally being accepted by the new Hollywood, something he clearly desperately yearns for. So this fantasy wraps both of those character journeys up perfectly for them both.
Fourthly, why the hell would Dalton still have a working flamethrower from a movie he’d previously made? That seems like some bullshit macho made up thing a guy would want to believe, or would hope for, because it’s the most bad ass he’s ever seen his friend in the past and he wants to recreate that heroic moment because letely Dalton only seems to get roles as villains, not heroes.
Fifthly, the sequence is just so brutally violent to two women, and nowhere near as much to the man, and I can’t help but think that suits Booth’s particular flavour of masculinity as we’ve already seen that hated his wife deeply [enough to kill her with a harpoon gun?], and Kurt Russell’s wife, played by Zoe Bell, also hates him and gets him fired. He picks up the hitchhiker who’s clearly a sexual catfish there to lure him to a ranch full of women living a life of duping and manipulating men. Hell, even his best buddy is about to cut their relationship because he’s married some woman he met while filming in Italy. I think Booth isn’t a big fan of women, so him smashing some young hippie girl’s head to paste on every surface in the house check out as a fantasy he’d quite enjoy, especially deep in the acid-unlocked bowels of his brain. He even lets his buddy get into the action by torching the other woman alive in his pool.
And sixthly, this whole flick is a fairy tale, and, well, fairy tales are not true. Neither is this ending.
This is completely just a personal read, I’m not trying to state it as fact, but it was fun to analyse and dive into. If I ever rewatch this flick, it’ll be to further analyse this hypothesis from the start and see what kind of a case I could really build.
In the end, there’s plenty to dig about the flick, especially the acting, and I’m glad to have had something to really chew on for a week.
NOTE: an initial version of these thoughts appeared in my weekly newsletter – subscribe here.
ETERNAL is coming back to comic shops in Ocotber, you can preorder a copy through your LCS now!
I love this OGN I created with Eric Zawadzki, and Dee Cunniffe on colours. It’s a haunting tale of a shieldmaiden, Vif, who kills a sorcerer and then a small magical hell breaks loose in her world. This is a squarebound OGN, with high quality paperstock, and a bunch of back matter included. It was originally released in 2018, and now it’s hitting the shelves again so people can get another look at it.
The work Eric put into the art on this book is next level/god tier stuff, and Dee is the perfect partner for every page and emotion we delivered.
If you’ve been enjoying my writing this year – EVERFROST with Sami Kivela or BLACK BEACON with Sebastian Piriz – then I implore you to check out this book as it’s got that same melding of emotion, violence, landscape, and a killer artist!
It was a huge honour to be rated on a whole stack of Best Comics of 2018 Lists – in fact, I’d almost forgotten ust how deeply loved this book was.
When we released in 2018, our sales were strong, but since then comic shops have continually told me what an evergreen title it’s been for them – they dip in for a few copies each month, they sell a few copies each month, repeat. Well, this is a chance for a surge.
If you slept on this book so far, let your LCS know you need a copy. If you are looking for the perfect holiday gift, well, this is a graphic novel for $7.99 – I cannot express the value you are getting for that.
If you need a little nudge, here are all of the reviews that loved us:
The second chapter to the sci fi comic miniseries from me and Sami Kivela lands in comic shops this Wednesday!
EVERFROST #2 – Bootleg Fidelity
Artist: Sami Kivela
Colourist: Lauren Affe
Letterer: Jim Campbell
Editor: Dan Hill
Writer: Ryan K Lindsay
Publisher: Black Mask Studios
Van and Eight have stepped back into the bustle of the Precinct to discover her son is still alive, there’s an epic war between the Bloom and the Warlords bubbling over, and time has become a little fluid since she went out to live on the ice. She needs a whole mess of answers, so she goes to the one person she thinks might be able to help…her mother. Join us for a tale of echoes through time we could only call ‘Bootleg Fidelity’ as two key characters meet untimely deaths!
I’m really proud of this issue. The first one did a lot of heavy lifting and world building and brain stomping – so this one slows things down a little, we let van steep in this new world. I think you’ll dig it.
Hopefully you already asked your LCS to set you aside a copy, but if not, they should have some on the shelves so go in this week and get yourself the second issue to this series that’s been another hit for me and Sami!
“I am a huge fan of both Lindsay and Kivela; I love how neither are just settling as creators. Instead they continue to push their talent forward with stories that feel as diverse as any of the big indie publishers output. For a book that mixes scope of environment with the scope of human emotions, Everfrost, through Lindsay and Kivela, surely delivers.” – 10/10 Johnny Hughes @ Comic Crusaders
“EVERFROST #1 is a remarkably well executed debut issue that serves up a perfect blend of dystopian fantasy Sci-Fi with a heavy dollop of human drama threaded through it’s center laced in the tragedy of a world in turmoil and decline. Highly recommended to fans of esoteric Sci-Fi.” – 10/10 Ross Hutchinson @ Comic Watch
“Every page is a delicious treat that leaves one craving more.” – 9/10 Scott Redmond @ Comicon
The interstellar sci fi comic from me and Sebastian Piriz is coming from Heavy Metal and we are excited about it.
The story is being serialised in the heavy Metal Magazine proper, but they are also releasing us in single issues through their Elements line and the first issue lands next month, but you can ask your store to set you aside the first 3 issues as they land because the third one just went up in Previews.
Here are the cover to what is half of this story, so please speak to your LCS and ask them to preorder and set you aside a copy of each of these as they come out monthly starting in July.
I’m so excited about this story coming out. The single issues are $2.99, and we’ve packed the back with extra materials and information and fun.
This article talks about how we need to plant more – like, the size of China more – in the coming decade.
I’m hoping people start to see the small part they can play. It all adds up. Can you, personally rewild a Chinese province worth of plant life? No, but that’s not the point. It’ll be used as a weapon against you, it’ll erode your mind’s resolve, but it’s bullshit.
Everyone should plant something. We should all learn how to tend to things that live in the ground. I certainly want to get better at it. 2020 helped many people discover the joy of gardening, and gave some new skills, and we gotta see the mental health benefits now, right? I know a decade ago I did not care for gardening, not at all. My grass would become a skyscraper horizon for snakes and gnomes, and any proper plants that required care would bellow to the stars when I signed a rental agreement because they knew it was their death knell. I hated gardening – let’s speak the truth. Which is why I find it so fascinating that I dig it now. I’m happy to have pulled a mental 180 on it, and hopefully more people can be inspired to do the same.
I want to do more for this through schools, but for now I’ll take my added brain massage and show my kids, and enjoy what I can. Here’s what I’ve got so far.
I love my compost, a stupid amount. I tend to it nearly every day. I don’t always know if I’m doing it right, but I do know I’ve got 2 massive bins absolutely chock-a-block with worms. There’s something stupidly satisfying about turning all the dirt and trash in there and finding it teeming with little worms just going about their regularly scheduled lunch.
We generate a lot of fruit/veg byproduct in the house – feeding two kids their daily vitamins through kiwi fruits and apples, and cooking meals with carrots and capsicums, and making pizza with as many mushrooms will allow it to still be structurally safe, plus my daily smoothie has a banana in it. I put stuff into the compost nearly daily, and it’s taken a solid decade of practice, but I’m finally figuring out how to keep it going. I, personally, manually turn the compost so the new stuff gets covered [which helps keep mice/rats out of it] and autumn has given me an ongoing supply of leaves to dump in when it gets too wet so I balance it out for the slimy critters – you gotta get some brown in with the green, as they say [I don’t know who *they* are].
I’m happy to not send all that fresh stuff into landfill to rot, I’m happy to feed some worms, and I’m happy to let one of the bins settle enough for me to be able to use the compost to fill a vegetable planter, or even just on the bottom of some pots when I plant some seeds.
THE COVERED LEAF PILE
This is a new one. I’d read about how you can collect autumn leaves into plastic bin bags and set them aside for a year and then tear them open to find good leaf mulch, or compost, or soil, or something. We have a lot of leaves, and I didn’t want a pile of ugly plastic bags loitering about, so I tried something I thought was close enough.
I placed all of the leaves, and some grass clippings, into the corner of our property where we’d built a leaf composting structure out of some bits of wood and metal from a decommissioned bed and swing set [separate things, not a bed *&* swing set, that would just be crazy].
The pile was a solid foot tall/thick. I watered the pile a little and then placed a big black tarp over it all and held it down with 4 bricks. That was in April. I plan to crack it open like the Arc of the Covenant in July, but I have taken 2 peeks under the hood so far. One was in May, where I could see it all compacting and starting to turn a little, some signs of worms, it was looking like a fun project, and then once was this month where I unveiled a thriving worm metropolis, the leaves mostly turned to soil, the whole crust of the affair thick and crumbly and delicious to the turn of my pitchfork.
It’s covered again and my hope is to use some of it in the vegetable gardens, and some into the compost bins to give them a little worm infusion and hit of inspiration.
The best part of this is, it required so little effort from me. Just pile it, cover it, and then wait a term – yes, my brain still measures time in school terms.
THE FRESH PRODUCE GARDEN
My wife is amazing, so when we bought this house 5 years ago, she saw the 1 vegetable garden bed this place had and decided we could do better. So, behold, we now have 8 different garden beds in which we can grow fresh produce. Most of them built, by hand, by the wife. A visionary and a hard worker.
When the spring/summer months treat us well, we grow: raspberries at a punnet or two a day, cherry tomatoes at a similar rate, strawberries have had some good years, and eggplants have definitely become a new quality addition to the turnover. We’ve done watermelon with success, and pumpkins quite well. I’ve yet to yield success with capsicum; the one time it grew well it tasted like plastic. Oh, zucchinis usually take hold, both green and yellow, at a rate that’s faster than any human family could consume, so I’ll take spares into work. Or just google random zucchini recipes, like the time I made zucchini nacho floats – my name, not theirs [whoever *they* might be].
In winter, we’ve seen beets and potatoes go well. I really want to try mushrooms, in a separate location. The herbs do well, and I need to get better at working out what fun single season floral stuff I could plant that might help the garden/insects/soil in general.
This garden serves to feed the family, primarily, and ensure we aren’t spending $50 a week on things like raspberries, but instead just invest a dollar a week into their watering – a task I find mindful to do, and really mindful when it comes time to harvest the ripe output at morning or night. And I did do the maths on it, and the watering of a garden really doesn’t cost all that much in the grand scheme of things. Compared to a 5 minute shower, or a family of 4 showering, watering the garden is quite cost effective, and makes you want to cut down your shower times, and you actually get stuff that’ll save you money from the garden. I never once sold anything out of my shower.
I still openly admit there’s way more still to learn than I’ve ever mastered, but I love doing it all with my wife, and hope our kids watch and enjoy and taste and learn from it all.
THE NEW GREENHOUSE
We built a new greenhouse recently, well, I got my son to build it. It’s 2 metres tall, and a metre wide, and it’s an experiment for us to see how we can use it functionally [we’ve never used a good sized one, usually we just slap them over stuff we don’t want the 9 months of frost to kill down here]. We set about filling the greenhouse with stuff we thought would work well.
The first thing, and the inspiration for the possible need of such a contraption/structure, was two kiwi fruit plants, a young lad and lass. Now, they might have died anyway when the temp got down to -6 one time, and I might just be soaking their corpses in the water, but I honestly don’t think we’ll know until Spring arrives and the plant looks alive or starts to rot in the oncoming heat.
Whereas the second thing we put in, a tomato plant that just sprung up out of some composted soil, is definitely dead. It’s still in the greenhouse, I definitely need to take it out and compost it, but that hasn’t happened yet. Because of reasons [laziness].
But the thing that excites me is the success I’ve had planting some seedlings in there. I took some small pots and grew all-season carrots, phlox, and something else. They started as dry seeds, they started to poke up out of the soil, and right now I’ve taken their little soft cardboard pot and put it into a larger proper plastic pot and continued to water them, and take them out for daily sun, and protect them inside the greenhouse every night, and now they’re showing more growth.
I like to believe I’ll later be able to repot them again into something larger, and maybe I’ll be able to make them flower, or something. I don’t *exactly* know what’s going to happen, but for now I’m keeping them alive, they’re green, and there’s the promise of…something…in the future.
MY OFFICE MATES
I have a few little green friends in my office.
I have a beautiful pot plant whose proper name I’ve lost to time, but it has striking red leaves, and they just keep growing up and out. I’m sure I read once that plants indoors create more oxygen, and considering my office is 50% paper, 40% dust, 9% other materials, and I worry 1% farts and carbon dioxide, then I think this plant might be keeping me alive.
I also like to wipe the leaves,and water it daily,and just enjoy the colours. I’m a simple, simple man.
The sidekick plant is a small aloe vera plant that I just nearly killed. I was watering it like a cactus, which it is not, and so it got very frail and almost felt “empty” to the touch. Some water immersion and direct sunlight brought it back to life and it’s looking good now. It’s also apparently a good oxygen producer.
I grew some red basil from seed recently, so that got its own little pot and is going strong. It’s a personal favourite because I like basil, and it’s red – it’s really just that simple.
And this month I planted 4 new seeds I hope to get to a state where I can repot into the greenhouse, like I did the 3 above. These are swan river daisy, which is doing alright. Zinnia, which is going well, as is the salvia. Then the cornflower is going gangbusters, which is the one I have my strongest hopes attached to.
Apparently all 4 of these seed well enough through winter, and should be good to really unleash into the spring sun and climate, which is more likely the time I’ll consider the pot transfer.
These are the trivialities that take up my mind, but they keep me sane, and bring me joy, and hopefully they do just a tiny little thing for the environment. Not much, but even if it just shows my kids how to engage with greenery, then I’m totally fine with that.
All steps in the right direction are, by definition, in the right direction.