Without Fear

Ryan K Lindsay – Writer

Tag: dark horse comics

NEGATIVE SPACE #4 Review Round Up

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And remember: if you are suffering from depression, please hit THIS LINK to see the access you have to support. No one has to suffer alone. We are here to help you.


NEGATIVE SPACE #2 Review Round Up

negspace2coverNEGATIVE SPACE #2 is on the streets and some people seem to be digging it. here are some reviews of the issue, and I want to thank everyone for taking the time to even side-eye this book. Thank you.

Greg Silber at Adventures in Poor Taste gave us 9.5 outta 10 [LINK] saying “This is one of the most thematically rich pieces of sci-fi that you could hope to read.”

Polo Lonergan at Nerd Undergound gave us a perfect score of 10/10 [LINK] saying “Negative Space #2 is all the more exciting for the blend of eerie artwork and bizarre story and these two creators have found a wonderful balance.”

Wicked Horror gives us 8/10 [LINK] saying “When all is said and done, this is going to be a special comic, I think. One that horror and sci-fi fans shouldn’t pass up.”

We the Nerdy give us 8.5/10 [LINK] saying “I will continue to laud it as one of the most interesting comics out right now”

Amy Brander over at The Frog Queen enjoyed the issue [LINK] saying “The inner monologue of our stories unlikely hero gives this story a more personal quality than most science fiction stories are afforded. ”

Ian Dawe at Sequart stepped in with some love [LINK] saying “I’ve rarely seen a braver book about depression.”

Ed Garrett at TMSmash gave us 8/10 [LINK] saying “NEGATIVE SPACE is one of those rare things in comics – a truly unique premise, one that is highly entertaining.”

Austin Lanari at Comic Bastards gave us a mighty 5/5 [LINK] saying “I can’t think of another book where the art is this unique and aesthetically pleasing.”

Dan Seitz at Uproxx proclaims us the #1 comic of the week [LINK] saying “There’s nothing quite like this on the stands right now, and that makes it a must-buy.”

The Rorschach Rant gives us 8/10 [LINK] saying “that combination of misery and comedy produces an excellent black comedy with depth and emotional resonance”

Chris beveridge at The Fandom Post gives us an A- [LINK] saying “this issue pays off in spades and ups the ante in a great way.”

Karcossa at Graphic Policy gave us 9/10 [LINK] saying “This is a comic where the sum of its parts have created something that is a much greater whole.”

Emma Houxbois at The Rainbow Hub gave us 9/10 [LINK] saying” What they seem to understand better than most is that truly effective horror storytelling isn’t about succumbing to nihilistic impulses, it’s about how harrowing it can be to resist them.” – which is about the highest and most shrewd compliment I can think of.

Gregory L. Reece at Pop Matters gives us 9/10 [LINK] saying “In the midst of all that sadness, however, I find myself laughing through the tears.”

James Ferguson at Horror Talk gave us a perfect 5/5 for all aspects [LINK] saying “Negative Space can scare you and then make you want to go out and hug someone.  It’s a weird feeling at first, but you just kind of go with it.”

And The Read Pile over on YouTube made us Rick’s Pick of the Week – yay [LINK] – slide on in 16 minutes, or just watch the whole thing because it’s ace.

We also scored an ace interview with James Leask over at Comics Alliance where I got asked some very on point questions, enjoy [LINK]

And remember:If you are suffering from depression, please hit THIS LINK to see the access you have to support. No one has to suffer alone. We are here to help you.

RKL Annotations – NEGATIVE SPACE #1

negative space 1 logoNEGATIVE SPACE has landed. With a wet depressed thud. Owen Gieni has slaughtered the game of gorgeous sequential pages with his own coloured magnificence. Ryan Ferrier is our letterer supreme. The story wouldn’t be anywhere without Daniel Chabon editing my brain into shape. And only Dark Horse Comics could take a chance on something this wild.

If you bought this book, dear dark lords, thank you. Creator owned books are hard, and I have no doubt reading this book was a little hard, or at least I hope it was, even if just for a panel.

Below, I present my thoughts on what I wrote, why, how, influence/inspiration, times Owen just nailed it, and any other mental fluttering verbiage I can pin down for you. As usual, I hope you dig the process peep.


Man, I said probably more than I need to say about this cover here at the [LINK]

I will reiterate, this cover is killer. So killer. Look at that design, and those colours. The. Best. And there are 3 more where that came from :] [LINK]


negspacepage01colourOpening panels, they are important. This one here, the hand, the words failing, the rejected words chosen. I always say, pay close attention, don’t forget too quickly.

I also just love the way Owen drew Guy’s thumb, and his nails. This panel captivated me when it first came through. So good.

Then we cut to the splash and holy cats does Owen Gieni introduce the world to him, to us, to Guy, to everything we plan to do here in scope and depth and emotion. Look at everything in this panel and think of the life Guy must have had up to this point. I believe in one shot Owen delivers a lifetime. That’s skill and I still love looking into the corners of this panel.

We have one caption in this panel and then as you look down, waiting for more, there’s nothing. Guy is stuck, he’s pausing, he’s screwed.



I gotta admit, coming up with substandard ways to start suicide notes was a weird task. What the hell would you put in yours?

[please don’t reply to me with your answer to that question…]

Guy wanders the town, because Owen really wanted our location to feel and breathe and then we drop what has long been my shortest high concept pitch of this book – “Who the hell gets writer’s block on their suicide note?”

Guy is so alone in his panels. This floating orb of unhappiness :[


That opening line here is some dramatic irony breaking your heart. People need to check their words, for reals. Also, look at Ferrier buttonhooking that balloon tail into the truck. That’s today’s masterpiece theatre for sure.

Woody is Guy’s love interest, and is completely Owen’s design. And I love him so much. That haircut is aces. Hell, everything about him screams ‘barista in a coffee truck called ‘HEY MAN, NICE SHOT of caffeine’’ – totally my name, just sayin’.

I wanted this scene to pop because it’s going to produce some feels later on as we move forward in the issue. It’s rare I write relationships in books, especially nascent ones, or flirtatious ones, I usually just look back at the rubble, so to tease out this tendril of a human connection for Guy, but it’s not yet enough that it’s keeping him afloat, was something I wrote lots of times and hope we came up with something that’s a strong foundation to move us all forward on.


Excuse me while I say I love this page. Writing Rick and Briggs is the release part of this book, their words just spew out of me, whereas getting Guy right is hard, probably how he chooses his own words, too.

This opening panel is insane. The tone on display is off the charts. In my head, I just wanted something that made me ‘feel’ like I was viewing the Tyrell Building for the first time. In a perfect world, this would be a splash. But it’s not, deal with it. Then look at the Kindred logo – Owen is my mainest of main men.

Now before I get into the words, look at the room and colours from Owen. I love how he built this building and brought it to life. Because of course the company making you sad would have a blue scheme rocking, ha.

I tried to introduce these two characters, tease what they are doing to a mild degree, set it up at least, and then end on Rick throwing us into the next page. Love the expression of exasperation Owen gave him.

And Rick is eating an apple.


More exposition, more character in the way Rick addresses it, but otherwise a pause before a sequence that’s a little more hi-octane. This is something I still don’t know if I’m doing consciously or not [which in itself answers the question, right?] but in writing annotations for HEADSPACE I’d notice that I’d write a dense smaller scene right before things ramped up. Because apparently I’m still learning pacing, and landing ass backwards into its effectiveness from time to time.

I also love Rick’s nose in panel 3 and his build in panel 5. Owen’s created this block of dude that’s just never existed before and that kind of alchemy always fascinates me.


I’m in love with coloured bars in my pages. It’s my go to hack move now. I’ve written black ones, red ones, and I have an orange one maybe coming up. I love them because they can mean plenty. Here, this grey means silence, but more on point it’s this weighted silence right before the storm breaks. Metaphorically speaking on the weather and the silence, obvs.

Is anyone else writing coloured bars? I bet they are, and doing it better than me :[

I actually just saw a big black bar from Level/Brisson in THE MANTLE. Bastards.

I honestly have no idea what ‘artisan ice cream’ is and don’t even wanna google it because what my mind fills in is way cooler than the truth could ever be.

8 panels of manipulation, we came up with all sorts of stuff for this. That I snuck in a slushie bathtime was either genius or will have people instantly burning their issue.

Owen was the craftsman to put that statue in the front of Guy’s apartment block in the first place so shrewd eyes would instantly get what was going on. And I got all the love for the way Guy flies out of frame. It’s almost this Looney Tunes moment of chaos and this makes me want to laugh which is the worst possible reaction to Guy :[


We finally drop a splash and Owen fills it with this gorgeous fire. Perfect call.

And these captions were an 11th hour addition/change and I guess they are new enough that I’m still super in love with them. This is the moment Guy breaks, our narrative breaks open wide, and there’s no turning back. There is only some kind of metamorphosis.


The actions of Blair on this page should start to sell you on the insanity of Kindred, and their people. It might be mildly confusing still, I guess, maybe, but the intent and tone behind it should be clear. These people are nutz and no good.

Pretty certain Briggs is sneakily smirking as she points out what Blair is doing.

And I didn’t notice the arm flying out of that car collision at first. All Owen.


We left Guy in a certain state and now we just throw him into reaction mode. He’s acting before thinking, really. Because when you drive someone down, and then still need them active in the plot, I figured the only way is to give little moments, little reasons to be prompted to movement. The collision jars Guy into action, thoughtless action, and then the baby in the car prompts angry reaction. Guy is being thrown into these moments and we have one more emotional turn for him coming up to control his strings.

Ping – Louie CK cameo seeded for the film adaptation – Ping.

I really wanted to sell Rick’s frantic reaction and he’s the sort of guy to react with his mouth, so that’s always fun to script.


The tone on this page is perfect. Owen Gieni strikes again. I swear, my office gets colder every time I turn to this page.

“Strange how being consumed by fear makes you fearless.” – this is only true in your very last moments alive, I dare say. And even then, it’s usually just making you stupid, ymmv.


negtest3And here Guy finally sees his so called fearlessness for the stupidity it is.

And that crusty homeless face is #nightmarefuel


When you finally see death, it’s never like you might think, or want or fear. It’s finally real and we so rarely see that. This moment is powerful for Guy, it’s him looking at the end of the lane he’s running down. It’s always going to make you pause.


“It’s a nasty business living, but it’s a nastier time leaving.” should be my next neck tattoo. It should also rattle your bones no matter what you’re thinking or feeling right now.

Page turn build…


…and we turn to find nothing. And that itself is the problem. If you paid attention to what Rick was saying when he lost Blair, you’ll know straight away what’s going on here. I wanna seed doubt, especially in Guy himself, but we all know. At least, I hope we do. I always like to assume you’re all paying attention, and if not, well, I lay traps to see if you are. I think that’s the teacher in me coming out.

I’ll admit, getting Guy to go from suicidal, to angry, to utterly confused, and then having him walk out of this page back towards Woody was something I put a lot of thought into. I want my lead to be making his own choices, to be doing things for himself, not just because I need them to happen for the plot. To me, in the state of mind he’s in, I can see why he’s doing this. I mean, his apartment blew up, he just saw a dead body, and his world is flipped, but all that happening to someone in his mental place was eventually just going to break him. So instead of going to the cops, like you or I might think about, he’s off to say a proper goodbye.


Guy overthinks things as much as I do.

The first time we see Guy and Woody touch, they’re passing a coffee. Now there’s no pretense. We get this human moment…so of course I break it…


…because Guy finds the words. And then these spooks find Woody.

Everything on this page from panel layout, facial expressions, that lack of background. Owen might come up with crazy designs and really world build in dense ways but here he shows insane emotional chops that I hope build to break your heart.


Guy waits and Rick loves it. He’s a complete bunghole of a human being.

That final look Guy gives over his shoulder in panel 6, man, he’s just cruising his peepers around, poor bastard.


I love the simplicity of this page, and that Owen broke it into more panels than I had scripted. So simple and that’s all it needed. I think I’ve finally learnt not to overwrite over rad art. I trust the reader to have their heart broken if they have any soul.


Why this movie? Because it’s one of my favourite rom-coms of the past decade. Because it’s about futility as much as it is hope. And because Guy has a mad killer crush on JGL :]


I think this might be my favourite page in the book. It’s simple and does so much for me.


Guy shatters his soul into small enough pieces he can toe down the drain and Rick just kicks back and eats cereal.


Yes, Guy wanted to deliver his note to Woody. From there, well, it wasn’t going to be fun or pretty.


But instead we get this. We finally make good on the cover, and we hopefully propel you into the next issue because Guy most certainly is not dead, or dying, or even knowing what to do next. I mean, look around this room, there’s little to really make Guy think this was his next stop for the night. Poor bastard.

And I didn’t realise how this page/idea would be taken by some people. I won’t spoil it by laying out exactly what’s happening here, Woody will do that for you at the start of #2 but needless to say, peeps took this page a different way than it’s intended and them getting it wrong suddenly makes the start of the next issue way cooler. I did not plan any of that at all. A happy accident.

negtest1Now I’ll close by saying this – we crafted this issue as something that built character and drew you deep in. We want you to care, we want you invested. I always strongly believed the best horror stories were the ones where you cared if people lived or died. If you didn’t care, where was the tension, the drama, the engagement?

This issue has been slowly getting drawn up that steep climb at the start of the rollercoaster. From here, we go to some insane places. The second issue drops some history, it sends us on a spiral, and by the end, man, you’ve fallen through that initial drop and are hitting the first bend on the coaster, wondering if maybe your bar isn’t on tight enough, wondering if maybe it’s possible you’ll slip out and say goodnight. Or maybe you do slip out, but not until the end of issue #3. Or by that stage, are you climbing out?

But I’m getting ahead of myself. For now, thank you for getting down on this issue. I hope you dug it. Though if you’re reading this I doubt you’re the kind to go this far into hate-reading a comic. I guess.

Indie comics live and die on readers caring, so thank you for taking the time. It means the world to all of us at NEGATIVE SPACE HQ. Stick around, see what drops next month, and remember:

If you are suffering from depression, please hit THIS LINK to see the access you have to support. No one has to suffer alone. We are here to help you.


Owen Gieni is an art monster. And while pretty well everything he’s done for NEGATIVE SPACE has proven this fact, I want to take a moment to talk about the covers.

Y’know, these beasts right here.











negative space 3negative space 4









That’s 1-4 right there and it’s insanely gorgeous. With #4 now in Previews, all our cover art is live in the world. It’s a cool thing to have, like we’ve reached a little milestone on our trek up the arduous and thorny mountain.

From weird, to sad, to hinting at redemption, to just a flat out END to it all. Tonally, these pieces tell the story in broad beats, they hint and entice and draw, but they also leave well enough off the table so there aren’t really any spoilers. There might appear to be some but I know the story, this isn’t really ruining anyone’s reading experience.

Looking over these, I like the colour variation, there is no real ‘theme’ on our covers. We go from hot pink to muted around orange to a weird sea of blue to this dead pink explosion that actually relies on a lot of negative space [truly only realised this on typing this up right now].

I think maybe our theme is portraits, because 3 of these covers are kinda waist up shots of people. An Evorah, Guy, and Rick, whereas 3 isn’t but it’s kinda a portrait of Kindred and their peeps. That’s actually pretty cool and it makes me happy.

That cover to 1 is so damn eye catching. But I spoke enough about that here [LINK]. As a lead for our series, it is everything.

2 is one of the first things we came up with for the book. Owen’s idea for the subliminal message was and remains genius. My only input was the name of the book shop. Because THE DIVING BELL AND THE BUTTERFLY absolutely floors me every time, so I couldn’t think of anything sadder to reference.

3 is wicked for all the little details. The nearly POV aspect of it with the gun up the front, the broken mask screens and brutal violence within it all, the circles around Guy hinting at…something. Hell, just his pose, I dig it. Owen brought that kinetic action with such a subdued palette that it makes me smile every time.

As for 4, yeah, this is nasty. Out of all the thumbs he sent in this was my beauty from the very first instant I laid eyes on it. I don’t even think I need to explain it, though I hope people have all looked closely to see those aren’t brains flying around, yeah? Good, there’ll be questions at the end of this tram ride, kids.

As a whole, it’s a glorious thing to see all the covers for this book come together. It’s an art alchemy the likes of which I’ll never understand. I am no good for cover ideas, I babble when I give notes on them. They are just these magic illos that make my life that little bit brighter.

I think covers are important to a book and having a tight cover gallery can go a long way to holding interest right up until the end. We only have 4 issues but it’s still a long period of time with scores of other comics lining those shelves so you do wanna stand out as best you can. I believe Owen has put the best NegSpace foot forward into the world we could hope for. This gallery excites me and amazes me and Owen deserves a victory lap atop the shoulders of giants as we all look up and sigh.

To Owen, mate, I love you, and thanks for providing my world with the 4 images above. Our book is rad because of you.

To those who dug #1, thanks a trillion, and I hope you’ve all now got #2-4 on your standing order at your LCS. Drop them a line, confirm it, and enjoy the roll on into the pointy end of 2015.

And finally, if you are suffering from depression, please hit THIS LINK to see the access you have to support. No one has to suffer alone. We are here to help you.


NEGATIVE SPACE #1 News and Reviews

If you took the time to buy/read NEGATIVE SPACE #1 from Owen Gieni, Ryan Ferrier, Daniel Chabon, and myself from Dark Horse comics this past week then thank you X one exact million.

negative space 1 logoThis book means the world to us all so it was insane to see it garner a lot of advance praise [LINK] – where we got 19 glorious reviews pitched at 8/10 or above and matched with some spectacular words of praise and criticism.

Over the past week, we’ve also got some press, reviews, interviews, and such, so here is the round up, which landed us an aggregated 9.0 on Comic Book Round Up [LINK] and made us the second best reviewed comic in th land for our week, beaten only by the ARCHIE reboot from Staples/Waid.


Nick Hanover dropped a straight up smart review of the book over at Loser City [LINK], saying “Negative Space is well on its way to proving itself as a far more emotional and profound high concept work than the bulk of its competitors, making it a more than worthwhile break from the sad and lonely pits of your Facebook feed.”

Patrick Hess gave us many sound words to ponder over at Nothing But Comics [LINK], including “Negative Space is nothing like you’d expect, even after you’ve adjusted your expectations and there is something really special about that.”

Pierce Lydon over at Newsarama gave us 8/10 [LINK], saying “Negative Space is another great comic book from a couple of creators who should soon be household names.”

Ed Garrett at TMStash gave us 8/10 [LINK], SAYING “You really need to check out NEGATIVE SPACE – it’s a wild ride very well worth taking.”

Matthew Jent at The Comics Beat dropped some considered words [LINK], saying “Every place is distinct, even when changing locations panel to panel, and in a story about the harvesting of emotions, Gieni wisely lets facial expressions reveal the intricacies of the characters’ inner lives.”

Jack Johnston at We The Nerdy slays us with a flawless victory score of 10/10 [LINK], saying “I’d like to say that this issue managed to successfully set expectations for itself at the beginning then shatter them by the end for me. I’d highly recommend this series to anyone and I highly look forward to reading the rest of the story as it come out.”

Ross Sweeney at Big Comic Page gave us 4/5 [LINK], saying “there’s a beautiful, dream-like quality to Gieni’s gauche visuals.”

Steve Morris at Comics Alliance blessed us with ace words [LINK], saying “It’s a really careful story, and one that plays off the considerable strengths of the creative team.”

Miz Caramel Vixen at Vixen Varsity dropped insanely glowing words on us [LINK], saying “As I read Negative Space, the tears didn’t stop”

Ray W at Review Brew dropped 4.5 out of 5 Kindreds on us [LINK], saying “The art helps with the tone of the issue and keeps you engaged the whole time.”

Chris Beveridge at The Fandom Post grades us A- [LINK], saying, This opening installment doesn’t give us easy ideas of what the world is, but there are tantalizing clues to be explored as it progresses and that’s exciting to think about.”

Robin Burks at Tech Times gives us 5 stars [LINK], saying “What makes this story work are the characters, very deftly written by Ryan K. Lindsay.”

Ian Simpson at Geek Syndicate gives us 4/5 [LINK], saying “There is no wasted space here.”

JAdam at Comic Buzz scores us a perfect 10/10 [LINK], saying “From the first page, an immediate sense of hopelessness blankets the reader.”

Over at the Rorshach Rant blog we get 8/10 [LINK], with them saying “the book has a rare spark of creativity, of originality about it, has hooked me.”

Mike at Fellowship Geeks enjoyed the issue [LINK], saying “The art goes a long way toward setting the mood”

Chris Melkus at Destroy the Brain spread the good word [LINK], saying “If we need (and we do) a comic book version of a Spike Jonze movie, Negative Space does the job nicely.”

Austin Lanari at Comic Bastards gave us a stellar 10/10 review [LINK], saying “Rarely do a writer and artist come together to present such a singular vision.” and “That all of this was achieved within a first issue borders on upsettingly fantastic.”


Sam Wildman at Nerdophiles gave us a 5 star reviews titled NEGATIVE SPACE IS KIND OF THE GREATEST THING EVER [LINK], saying “I might have my new favorite Dark Horse series here, people. It’s that good.”

Walt Richardson at Multiversity Comics gave us a 7.5 [LINK], saying “it is rare to see a serialized comic these days with as few solid-background panels as this one, even a miniseries. This extra touch brings the dour world of “Negative Space” to life in a way that few comics manage to reach in debut issue.”

The team over at Comics Bulletin rave about our issue [LINK], saying “one of the most affecting books I’ve read this year.”

Kazmataz at Talking Comics said you need to pick this up [LINK], saying “Lindsay’s writing is breathtakingly harmonious with Gieni’s visual portrayal of Guy.”

Magen Cubed at ComiConverse gave a stellar review [LINK], saying “Negative Space is raw, honest, and respectful in its portrayal of depression, in ways rarely seen in comics with similar themes.”

And we got a great talk up by Tor Athena on her YouTube channel, so hit that stuff up and enjoy [LINK]

We featured on the Comics Should be Cheap feature on Multiversity twice [LINK], with Leo Johnson saying “there’s a small moment that will break your heart.” and Jessica Camacho flooring me with “It’s a beautiful debut that sets up what could easily be the best miniseries of 2015.”


Amy Brander took time to chat with me about the book at her site The Frog Queen [LINK]

Edward Wendt sat down with me to discuss how the donuts got made at Graphic Policy [LINK]

Nick Hanover and I got deep into this whole malarkey over at Loser City and it was a hell of a discussion, in two parts – I [LINK] II [LINK]

And if you need to be tipped over the edge, soak up this video trailer on the DH instagram [LINK] – so pretty and moody.

negspace2coverAs always, if you’re going to follow us down the rabbit hole on this crazy story, I have to thank you. Independent comics live and die on the vine based on word of mouth and preorders. If you spread the word in cake writing, sign language to the blind, or anything else, I’m grateful. All good things are great things to us.

#2 is right around the bend so I hope it’s on your pull order and you’ve told your LCS al about it, and #3 and #4 are right around the bend, too.

And finally, if you are suffering from depression, please hit THIS LINK to see the access you have to support. No one has to suffer alone. We are here to help you.

NEGATIVE SPACE Coming Out Your Boom Box

NEGATIVE SPACE has a Spotify list [LINK]

Screenshot 2015-06-02 22.38.40

So if you wanna know what kinda jams bring me completely low enough to write a suicidally depressed guy then get down on it.

For those wondering about purpose, I often use music to get in the writing zone for certain projects. When writing HEADSPACE I found listening to ‘Harbor Lights’ by The Platters instantly put me in Carpenter Cove. For Guy Harris, I find hearing ‘Everyday’ by Buddy Holly puts me in this weird place where I feel his pain but also desperately want it to feel better for him. It’s heartbreaking and perfect to get in the right place to bring him to live on the page.

From there, the highlights of the list so far are:

EVERLONG [ACOUSTIC] – Foo Fighters – because this song is amazing and when done acoustic and slow, my lord, it’s soul rending stuff.

THE GREAT PRETENDER – The Platters – imagine your old man was a huge Platters fan, then imagine this was one of his favourite songs, then imagine he kills himself, and then imagine years later you suddenly see the saddest irony ever that your childhood was spent with him singing this song like it was something grand when it was the most subtle cry for help you ever missed.

IN YOUR HONOR Disc 2 – Foo Fighters – because Dave Grohl is my depression spirit guide, haha. This second disc of the album is one of the best things to Fooeys ever did. It’s gorgeous, crazy, insane, and I could listen to it on repeat forever.

Sarah Blasko – seriously, anything she’s ever done, haunting. She’s always writing fuel but for NegSpace she was a supreme goddess.

And I’ll continue to add to it over time because even just writing press [or this post] it helps to keep the brain in laser focus.

As always, if you’re going to follow us down the rabbit hole on this crazy story, I have to thank you. Independent comics live and die on the vine based on word of mouth and preorders. If you spread the word in cake writing, sign language to the blind, or anything else, I’m grateful. All good things are great things to us.

And finally, if you are suffering from depression, please hit THIS LINK to see the access you have to support. No one has to suffer alone. We are here to help you.

NEGATIVE SPACE Page 1 Script/Art Leak

NEGATIVE SPACE is coming. In July, Owen Gieni and I are going to drop some emotional bombs on the world with our tale of Guy Harris, the poor sap who sits down to write his suicide note and gets writer’s block. Only Dark Horse Comics would take a chance on such a story, gobbless ’em.

You can find more information about this book here [LINK] and you can preorder this book now at your LCS using this order code: MAY150012

So to tantalise your riveted and emotionally nasty synapses, we found this leak of the first page script and accompanying coloured art. We hope you dig.


Screenshot 2015-04-20 23.26.26

INKS BY OWEN GIENI – this is the part where he takes my ramblings and turns them into something special. Go back and forth, see his detail, see the world he crafts. Purely amazing.

Y’know when writers say they work as hard on the comics as artists do – yeah, ha…HA.


COLOURED ART BY OWN GIENI – for me this is when the page comes to life. Like Owen moulded the clay above and here he breathes into it once and it’s a real world. And all that sadness becomes real :[


That poor bastard, and we’re only going to make things worse in some really weird ways. He’s stuck in a Polanski adaptation of a PKD book with a Nick Cave score and del Toro visuals, because the genre demands it.

We also hope you dig Owen’s hard work here, you can tell he spends the time on the pages to get them just right. He is the best to work with. I mean, I gave him some words in the script but he turns each word into three dozen lines. This whole book works that way with a script:awesome ratio off the charts.

To those preordering, thank you. Indie comics live and die on the vine based on preorders so you are making a huge difference in our lives.

And to those who identify closely with the thought of depression or suicide, please HIT THIS LINK and see all the resources and places available to you. You are not alone. We are here to help you.

NEGATIVE SPACE #1 Cover Process

negative space 1 logoNEGATIVE SPACE is a creator owned miniseries with Owen Gieni published by Dark Horse and the #1 issue debuts in July.

You can preorder the book through your LCS right now, or whichever other channels you score your four colour funnies through. The preorder code is: MAY150012, and all the details are at this [LINK]

NEGATIVE SPACE is about Guy Harris, a depressed man who sits down to write his suicide note and gets writer’s block. He goes for a walk to clear his head and soon uncovers a century-old conspiracy dedicated to creating and mining the worst lows of human desperation. Think of a Philip K Dick book adapted to the screen by Polanski, with del Toro visuals and backed by a Hermann score. If that sounds like your jam then you’re gonna love this book at the same time as it kicks you in the nethers.

This book means a lot to the whole creative team so we knew we had to lead strong with a high quality cover that brought everyone in. As such, Owen, Daniel Chabon [our editor supreme], and I spitballed a lot in the discussion process and finally spiralled down into the sublime cover you see above.

I wanted to share some of this cover building process because I think it’s good process. We hope you dig.


Owen is amazing and starts with a wide variety of options. He said some of which were inspired by [LINK]. He thumbs them and sends them through.


I love Owen’s cover thumbs, the way he ties in colour quickly and loosely really builds the image for you to decide upon, and the variety he offers. He’s a man with ideas. He said #5 came to him in a dream.

So from this set of thumbs, we thought #1 and #2 looked best [though #3 is amazing and I kinda hope it resurfaces somewhere], so then Owen fleshes them out a little and we get these sketches, plus other thoughts.



^Super creepy, and sombre. I feel this underwater silence, this sense of being stared at, stared through. This is tonally perfect, if a touch subdued. We needed something just a bit more kinetically grabbing.



^We discussed the idea of doing split covers but thought it might end up more confusing than helpful. I dig the idea, because I like something different, but it wasn’t right for this book. Plus there’s the rub of finding decent logo placement on these things.


And I’m certain these same problems come from ^ this cover, but be damned if it isn’t still beautiful.


^Then Owen threw this in just to scare the crap out of us, I assume :] – dig that white empty around him. And those eyes. Damn.

And while we dug all these, our eyes instead came back towards the thumbs for the other cover idea:


^I like that this sketch got us to this background, but…


This thumb quickly became the real winner. Creepy, in your face, and those colours, even at a thumb, we knew Owen had something special. Daniel especially told us this was the golden egg, and be damned if he wasn’t right.


So then Owen scurries away and a day later has somehow sold his soul to produce these pencils.


Look at the level of detail on that. It’s absurd what Owen can do on the page. I also dig that separation of foreground/background by the level of intricacy. I remember it’s when this turned up that I really knew what I was in for. I’d seen some of Owen’s pages, and his character/cover sketches, but this was the moment I absolutely knew he was going to crush minds with his work here.

But this was all prelude until the actual cover dropped and we all slow clapped our screens [well, I can’t vouch for the others but I paused and tried to start a moment – I looked crazy]. But seriously, just look!


I spent a lot of time just staring at this and I came to the following thoughts:

Man, I couldn’t even think of this, no less script it, Owen deserves every $ on this gig.

Look at the guy in the opening of that building. Super creeper.

Look at the apex of the building – I often find myself wondering if that’s a real guy, a human, dragged down and mummified. What an end.

And look at the top of those columns – that’s gotta be Guy’s face, right?

H.R. Giger is a spirit guide to this book, for sure, del Toro, too.

Oh, look at those little fish swimming around down there.

And seriously, again, look at that detail. This right here is the image we needed to launch and lead a campaign. In Owen we trust.


To those preordering the book, thank you. Indie comics live and die on the vine based on preorders so you are making a huge difference in our lives. The publisher sets the print levels to match the preorders and change.

And to those who identify closely with the thought of depression or suicide, please HIT THIS LINK and see all the resources and places available to you. You are not alone. We are here to help you.

Preorder NEGATIVE SPACE from Dark Horse Now!

NEGATIVE SPACE is a creator owned miniseries with Owen Gieni published by Dark Horse and the #1 issue debuts in July.

You can preorder the book through your LCS right now, or whichever other channels you score your four colour funnies through. The preorder code is: MAY150012

negative space 1 logo

I spoke with Cardner Clark at CBR all about it [LINK].

I also chat with the Behind the Panels crew about it on their podcast [LINK].

NEGATIVE SPACE is about Guy Harris, a depressed man who sits down to write his suicide note and gets writer’s block. He goes for a walk to clear his head and soon uncovers a century-old conspiracy dedicated to creating and mining the worst lows of human desperation.

This miniseries is about depression, and the reality of emotion in a manipulated world, as well as the superdense core within responsibility. How much do you serve yourself over serving others, and vice versa?

This is an emotionally concentrated storyline wrapped up in the spectacle of wicked visuals Owen Gieni cooks up for our antagonists, and their underwater masters.

Like AFTER HOURS if directed by Cronenberg, if you dug my work on HEADSPACE [an emotional journey of fatherhood and responsibility amidst flying monsters, club-wielding ogres, government killers, and a fridge full of crows] then this book will kick you in the same places that story’s end did. Somewhere between a Philip K Dick book, a Hermann score, and a Polanski flick with del Toro visuals, NEGATIVE SPACE is something I hope will make you sit back to take in the scope while feeling the pinpoint white hot infinite feelings within it.

If you’re going to follow us down the rabbit hole, I have to thank you. Independent comics live and die on the vine based on word of mouth and preorders. If you can tweet it to your friends, that’d be ace. If you wanna slip the title into your next care package to your off-shore accountant, go for it. Actual watercooler chat at work, aw, yeah. All good things are great things to me.

And finally, if you are suffering from depression, please hit THIS LINK to see the access you have to support. No one has to suffer alone. We are here to help you.

ECCC Announcement: NEGATIVE SPACE from Dark Horse in 2015

NEGATIVE SPACE is a 4 issue miniseries from Owen Gieni [art/colours] and myself, with Ryan Ferrier letters, and edited by Daniel Chabon. It launches at Dark Horse Comics later this year.



Guy Harris sits down to pen his suicide note and gets writer’s block.
He goes for a walk to clear his mind, and only finds a world more confusing.
Thinking along the lines of a Cronenberg/PKD mash up, this emotional story delves into corporate greed as we observe Rick, a superior agent of Kindred Corp, having Guy tailed and anxiously awaiting his final note. For what reason, well, it’s worse than what you could imagine. This warped tale packs in deplorably low lows and insanely chaotic highs.

I spoke with CBR all about the book, what it’s about, why I want to write about feelings all the time, and how much Owen Gieni is crushing on the art.

The creative team for the book is this emotional heist crew:

negspace2coverOwen Gieni is the colourist for SHUTTER, MANIFEST DESTINY, and DEBRIS at Image Comics.
Ryan K Lindsay is the writer on HEADSPACE [a Monkeybrain original collected into tpb at IDW and out on April 29th with art by Eric Zawadzki and Sebastian Piriz], DEER EDITOR [a one-shot at his own Four Colour Ray Gun imprint he kickstarted to great success and featuring Sami Kivela art], and FATHERHOOD [a one-shot at Challenger Comics with Daniel Schneider art].
Ryan Ferrier is everyone’s favourite person in comics.

Stay tuned for more news on NEGATIVE SPACE over the coming months as we prepare to launch.

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