Without Fear

Ryan K Lindsay – Writer

Tag: challenger comics


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

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

So I eventually shelved it.

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

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

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

Screenshot 2016-01-22 14.09.39COVER

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

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

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


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


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

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

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

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


That establishing shot is so gorgeous.

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

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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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


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


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

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


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

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


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

BOUSHK is one of my new favourite SFX.


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

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

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


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


Octo-Kid is such a lame ass.


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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

NOIRVEMBER 019 ~ Ultranova

The way ULTRANOVA plays out and the genres it skirts and bounces off and dances between make it a strange beast to endure and then quantify. But before then, before the words and the hyperbole and the refined brain kicks in, while your lizard brain is still reacting and rubbing your belly from where you just got hit hard, all you can think is how goddamn good this comic is.

ultranova page

Chris Peterson and Chris Ryzowski on art/colours over a Ryan Ferrier script deliver unto us, the weeping masses, a sci fi noir comic that you need to read more than once. And every time you imbibe it, it slams a meaty fist into another internal organ until there’s nothing left of you in your apartment but a black bag of mush holding a comic and the coroner has no idea what the hell happened.

The intro to this story is short and straight enough. A spaceship was out to kickstart a dying star and when they stopped and ceased contact a one-man ship went out to ascertain the problem and lend a hand. From there, it’s a trip down into the darkness by the light of a giant star.

The ship is littered with the bodies of the dead crew, all of them bludgeoned to death and left in pools of their own brain shards and blood. Our lead, Cale, walks through all this and yet doesn’t bail. That’s his first wrong move. You see a spaceship abandoned but for the dead bodies, you bounce. But he’s an upstanding man and watching someone fall because of their righteous and dutiful nature is just more heart-wrenching for us all.

Once his personal ship disengages, and he is stranded, the ship reaches out to him through one of the dead bodies and Cale is lead to the Throne Room where one of the research monkeys seemingly soaked up the star’s version of the Quickening and became an extension construct of the celestial body and now is looking to scatter itself into the cosmos with the demise of the star that will wipe out billions of lifeforms in its solar wake. Yup, heady goddamn stuff.

Cale is confronted with this megascience of warped light haunting and he performs an exorcism of violence without a second thought and it’s this instant reaction that is telling when the final pages are not. The creative team leave our narrative resolution ambiguous, or at least they definitely do not hold your hand through the final steps, as we are left on the images of Cale realising he’s struck down the chimpanzee too late, the shield generator is destroyed, and the ultranova is about to occur. So we close on Cale taking the throne in front of the star’s rays and then opening his eyes to reveal them afire with the light of the star.

Our intrepid hero takes the throne, he accepts the star into his brain/body/soul, he bonds, and with that connection he forces the star to live on. He doesn’t let it die and as such he saves billions of lives and he is heroic in his journey. But he is also left at the end of his road. He must remain bonded to the star. He makes the choice to sacrifice himself in a way that doesn’t end him for the greater good but rather sets himself up to struggle and strain for the rest of his unnatural existence for the greater good.

It’s a huge call and when Cale does this he is reaching up and dragging fingers through the dirt of his own grave as he breathes within it. Then he’s settling in to stare at the inside of his coffin for what will feel an eternity and will actually be one in some metrics of counting. It’s brutal, self-inflicted, and utterly gorgeous.

ULTRANOVA. Noir. Brilliant.

Buy it now for 99c.

ultranova cover

I Want More…Tiger Lawyer

Sometimes you can’t get enough of a book. Sometimes it gets cancelled way early, and sometimes it doesn’t come out often enough. And in those times, I just want more of that thing that I love. Like how I want more TERRIERS, and want more MURDER ONE – but only like the first season, not the second, it wasn’t ‘bad’ but I didn’t die for it like S1 – and I want more New Flesh movies – but I’m kinda scared what they’d be because maybe the return with eXistenZ was a fluke, y’know?

Anyway, I want more of the comics I love and one of the comics I love to death is…TIGER LAWYER.

tiger lawyer 2

TIGER LAWYER, for those who don’t know, is the brain child of Ryan Ferrier and it’s about a tiger who’s a lawyer, or a lawyer who’s a tiger. Either way, it’s kind of perfect. Ferrier has partnered with Matt McCray and Vic Malhotra to craft this trilogy of tails and what comes out is astounding.

The McCray stories are funny and cartoony and puntacular. Whereas the Malhotra storyline is this noir infused crime tale. Ferrier shows us that you can take a character/concept and twist it however you like so long as you do it well. Both sides of Tiger Lawyer are gripping and solid on a craft standpoint and I’ve reread a few of the issues more than once. The McCray pages are funny – like honestly laughing out loud and not just typing LOL, or worse, saying “LOL.” These are funny comics, and then they’re backed up with this heartbreaking downbeat whiskey stinking real gutter crime story. They’re both so damn good.

The only problem is, there are only 3 issues. I know a fourth is coming but I want more, and I want it now. This is the sort of book that deserves to be coming out monthly but because it’s coming from the wallet of Mr Ferrier, it’s taking a while. And I guess I can wait.

If you are curious, you can buy all 3 issues on ComiXology for three bucks and you really really should.

I will leave you with this, a teaser for issue #3 Malhotra did which really got me excited way back when. It still gives those chills only the best of comics and moments can deliver. Tiger Lawyer, I miss you, I love you, and I look forward til next we meet.

tiger lawyer 3 promo

Free Comics from Tomorrow’s Creators

I dig free things. I dig comics. When I find free comics, I dig like I’m headed for China.

But, and here’s the rub, I find that people talk about all comics upon release and then kind of never again. Whether it’s amazing, woeful, high end format, or free, everything lasts for about 7 minutes and then gets washed away in a sea of tweets and likes. And I guess this is the way of the world but we live in, a time where some of my favourite new creators are making names for themselves and rightfully getting paid for it so I thought I’d point my wayback spotlight on some of their old, free, amazing work. Here are just some samples of free online comics that will blow your hair back. I think you’ll get out your shovel and start to dig with each link clicked. Enjoy.

Ryan Ferrier

Yep, I still hate Ryan Ferrier. Digging through his free four colours and I realise how goddamn good he is. Some of these are some of my favourite things ever.

SOUTHPAW – goddamn this is a good boxing noir tale. And I’m writing my own right now and I know I’ll always run second to this (second if I’m lucky). Bah. Plus, y’know, Kevin Zeigler and Neil Lalonde make one hell of an art team. I had the privilege to read the script for this before it was made and I instantly knew it was gold. The completed story only further went on to crush my soul.

GODDESS – this short is stellar and should not be missed. Ferrier and Hugo Petrus craft this weird eco-battle-hymn that’s disastrously operatic and feels like when you first read Swamp Thing by Moore/Totleben/Bissette.

TEAM GOLD FORCE 4 – so silly and yet so well crafted. There is literally no reason why a Golden Girls prequel fanfic comic should be this enjoyable but Ferrier and Felipe Torrent smash this.

Paul Allor

CLOCKWORK – a masterclass of 5 page shorts, and how to break into the game. Start small, write tight narratives to prove you can close. Enlist artists who can fit 5 pages into their schedule. Package it all together, hand out, but also make available online for free. The name of the game is exposure and profits aren’t in the vocab yet. Paul did great work here on many of these shorts, so click the link, incept yourself, and getting writing.

Louie Joyce

Louie has been my co-pilot on a few shorts, most notably THE MANY HAROLD HOLTS OF SPACE AND TIME, and he’s got his own spectacularly innovative and beautiful online comics floating around. Scope this stuff and spread it around, then get lost down the sketch dump that is his site: Louie’s site.

A LIFE IN THE CITY – holy cats, this thing is so damn fine. A side scroller, you really need to see it to believe it.

THE CORNER STORE – another side scroller and by now, you’ll all believe Louie is the second coming. Hint: he’s better than that.

Eric Zawadzki

My HEADSPACE spirit guide and life partner has a slew of pages available online for free and they are all gorgeous. Get in now so you can say you knew him way back when.

THE GHOST ENGINE – I love this complete graphic novel from Zawadzki and Dany Djeljosevic. It’s well written, looks top notch, and it’s a complete story. I hope they kickstart a collection one day because I want it for my shelf.

THE HARVEST – This is a short with Ed Brisson on the Challenger Comics site. It looks all funky and will make your skin crawl.

Dan Hill

A trusted friend, my editor on HEADSPACE (and other things), and a writer I admire. Dan understands story, and process, and the fact we all need to keep learning. He’s a zen master of process fu. He’s also a superb guy.

COME WITH ME – this tale is nuts, just like the creative team. Invest in the fractured narrative, enjoy the flow, figure it all out as it happens.

FLESH AND BLOOD – this grimy Viking tale is just fantastic. Ripe with tone and nasty intent, you’ll dig this slice of black heart on display.

Rob Harrington

Some days I wake up wondering why I don’t have more Rob Harrington books in my life. The man writes a hell of a page.

CLOWN FIGHT – this story is just about perfection. Deliciously funny, twisted, awesome, and so well paced. You need to read this.

RAINBOWBEARD – this short on the Challenger Comics site is well put together and thought out. Download the PDF now.

Ed Brisson

Yep, dollah sign Briss makes the list. Before tearing up Image books, Marvel crossovers, and every franchise taken from tv, Ed was pumping out his own product and quietly proving himself a master of the form. His Murder Books are the template for how many are doing the game of breaking in. Ed never asked permission, he just made his own damn comics and what crime masterpieces they are. Ed sold them at cons, kickstarted their asses (because IndieGogo’ed ’em doesn’t sound as boss), and he was also wise enough to put them all up online for free because he too knew the power of having work available for hungry peepers. Give ’em a taste now for free and they’re hooked for life later on.

MURDER BOOK – every single one of these chilling stories will stick with you. Also, look at those artist names and tell me they aren’t all now titans in the field. Ed knows how to spot talent. Start with this link, the first tale, and then follow the rabbit hole down with the rest of the stories. You will not regret this.

Nic J. Shaw

ACTION JOHNSON – Nic’s another guy doing it smart. He’s a letterer, so he’s meeting loads of rad artists, and he’s writing some very cool stuff on the side. This whole Action Johnson character/schtick pleases me, and the artists he’s bringing on for these affordable and sensible 5 pagers are amazing. Stay tuned for more because it’s most certainly coming.

Jesse Young

FORBIDDEN LOVE – dear lord, Arytom Trakhanov’s art is drop dead stunning. This short packs a short punch and is well paced out using panels and colours and gutters superbly well – click through for making the beast with two backs and two spurs, Western style.

THE DARING ADVENTURES OF ANDROID JONES – another fun ongoing character, a pulp sci fi adventurer, with Ryan Cody art. Dig. And dig some more.

Ryan K Lindsay

Yep, I even get in on the action. And I’m proud of this story.

SURVIVOR – a terrible sci fi tale that’s actually about fatherhood…which you probably saw coming.

CAPTAIN HUMAN THE ROBOTALL AGES EDIT / AFTER HOURS EDIT – this whacked out jam comic i did with Jin Chan Yum Wai is some of the only comedic stuff I’ve ever done and I’m happy with both versions of this tale where the art is exactly the same but I wrote two completely different scripts over it. Hopefully, if things align, there will be more of this one day.


So these are just some online free comics you can get your peepers into. I will admit, I haven’t scoured the entire internet for every single one, I’ve mostly included mates, and things I knew about already and had at hand. I am also running little sleep, swamped at the day job, so please don’t be offended if I’ve missed YOUR free shorts 🙂

If you know where any more free online funnies reside, drop them in the comments below, and share everything you like, and tell the creators, they’ll love you for it. Then go buy work by these creators if you dug their free stuff, because we’re all making other things and working hard to shake our four colour money maker for your pleasure.

FATHERHOOD – 99c Digital Download on Challenger Comics

FATHERHOOD is now available digitally on Challenger Comics.

Go to Challenger Comics and for 99c get yourself a shiny DRM-free digital version of the one-shot book I have written. Daniel Schneider slays it on art, Paulina Ganucheau’s colours are off the charts, Brandon DeStefano’s letters are magnificent, and Christopher Kosek’s design work is THE best, hands down.

Just look at this cover, how could you possibly resist?


Download FATHERHOOD now!

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