Without Fear

Ryan K Lindsay – Writer

Tag: deer editor

RKL Annotations – DEER EDITOR #1

The issue that launched thousands of dollars of crowd fundraising for Sami Kivelä and myself. For a dumb comic idea, stemmed from a poor joke about typos, and written on my phone, I feel like DEER EDITOR has taken on a life of its own. And in all the right ways.

This issue was my first foray into crowdfunding and Kickstarter in a solo way, and it felt like another step up in my comic making career. I only had a few credits to my name so far, I was still quite green, and this was my first time dabbling in tablet pages – and I wish I could pinpoint the reason why I went for them here. I can’t remember why, the book has seemingly only ever existed in my head in tablet pages, but I’m crazy glad I did.

Then you bring in Sami and the whole things comes together like crisp morning Lego snapping into place.

I love DEER EDITOR. I love Bucky, and the world he is in, and collaborating with Sami, and I hope one of all of those things never ends. But for now, I want to celebrate what we’ve done and do something new – I’m going to write annotations over 2 years after the issue came out, and over 3 years since I wrote the script.

Let’s see how much I can come to hate myself over the coming pages, shall we?

For those playing at home, I’m going to number tablet pages, and I’m going to read from the Broadsheet PDF [which contained a tonne of extras and fun stuff] – so, drop the needle on them antler noir tunes.



It’s probably stupid to say it, but this cover feels iconic to me now. The amount of times I’ve sold the red cover at shows, the amount of time I spent looking at it, and the quality with which Sami nails it.

I asked him to do something Saul Bass inspired, and this is what came back and I fell in love. That silhouette is killer.

You’ll also notice that Kivelä features after Lindsay on the cover. I asked him repeatedly to put himself first but he just wouldn’t, and the guy who controls the design controls those things. I vowed to get him back for this, and our two follow up series have had his name first, sucker.

But in total, the cover sells crime, death, urgent red, and a hint of an anthropomorphic beast.


I can’t remember whose idea it was, but we went with these chapter breaks in the digital version basically because why not? They look gorgeous – Nic J Shaw designed it simple and elegant – and it’s a PDF, you can go as long as you want, really, within reason.

I feel like the quote sets things up, build intrigue, but doesn’t give anything away.


I’ve come to love establishing shots, but not always of buildings and the usual fare. I want to know about a character, usually, so something about them gets a quiet moment to intro.

As such, Bucky is a journalist/editor, so we open on his desk. I scripted a lot of this, but Sami made it his own. I remember getting this page through and really thinking we were onto something.

I also wanted to denote the snowy Xmas vibe [because Shane Black is my jam – no, honestly, that’s why this issue is snowing] and I wanted to use the lyrics to SILVER BELLS, but I soon realised I couldn’t do that without incurring some hired goons on my doorstep, so I did the next best thing – I ripped the lyrics off and made them my own. Swapping the word time for crime is a personal career highlight.

I also really wanted a subtle double entendre in that opening caption where Bucky says he gets one phone call and suddenly ends up in the morgue because he then goes to the morgue to chase a story, but also because he’s going to ‘die’ in the end of this issue.

I know, Spoiler Klaxon, please, but most of you have probably already noticed that there are more issues in this series. Because Bucky is alive. But this comic initially started life as a one-shot, and I think the OG plan was for Bucky to die. So, had we never gone back to the well – and I assumed Sami would get busy elsewhere, and/or our Kickstarter campaign would do average at best – then I played it like this as all we’d get.

But the campaign did well. And Sami turned away some other work just to keep Bucky alive, so he makes it out of issue #1, but I still liked the foreshadowing of this opening caption, so I like that it remains.

As for the items on the morgue table, I wish I had added some other weird stuff on there, like a can of Spam or a torn out page of MOBY DICK, but I didn’t and now I never can. Oh well, I guess you’ll just have to imagine what movie John Doe saw before he kicked the bucket.


Anyone who pledged for the Radio Drama knows the coroner speaks with a thick Maine accent. Kinda.

I look at this page now and wonder why I didn’t start with the John Doe on the street, and then the Pinto clipping him, and his head getting bashed in. But instead we get another guy talking about all the action. Because I love to start comics hella engaging :[

The biggest thing this page gets right is building the page turn/swipe reveal of Bucky. Otherwise, this guy might as well be named Coroner James Remar [I hope some of you get that reference].


Bucky stands, proud, defiant, aloof. This first panel sets up a whole lot of who he is.

I introduce the sniffing aspect of his character early so we can use it later.

Bucky line of “Goddamn useless corrupt asshats.” still rings tinny in my ears, it’s a mouthful. I think your mistakes do haunt you on the page forevermore.


And so our opening four page scene ends. The casual relationship between Bucky and the coroner is set up, so we can use it again effectively later, but it isn’t the kind of thing that’s a series opener, to be honest. But we live and learn.

This is all good, standard stuff, it works, but it doesn’t elevate. I’d completely restructure these pages now, if I had my druthers. But, for now, they set up Bucky, and they set him on the course.


This page is about introducing the location of Walter’s Bar, but it’s also about introducing some voice for the book. This is a pulp book, I want it to have that prose voice over feel, like you just dug it out of an underground secondhand book store. It’s similar to what I was going for in CHUM, but maybe dialled back one or two.

I think I was still finding my voice with Bucky here, I didn’t have him quite so nailed down as I did by the time I got to scripting #3. I had my ideas about him, but it’s really only after having them go through a few things that you see how they react and how they truly are.


It’s during this scene that we hopefully get the idea that no one cares there’s a walking/talking deer just shooting the breeze.

I also dig the interplay with Walter and Bucky, they work well and he’s a blast to write. And looking back, I can see this issue was about bouncing Bucky through certain pulp levels to get him to gather the info he needs to proceed – like a lot of quality pulp does, and often needs.


I don’t consider myself a funny guy – on the page, in person, on social media – but Walter griping that he’s not a hidden mic and so didn’t record the conversation of two randos in his bar tickles me every time.

But then I come back down to Earth with a thud every time Bucky manhandles that ashtray. Gah, nasty shit makes my skin scrawl.

I’m also noticing, on this page and seven pages in, that each page doesn’t completely have as much to talk about and dissect as other annotations purely because each page is really half a page, and I didn’t want to jam pack every page because that would be rubbish for Sami, and it’s really not how tablet pages work. The norm seems to be 2 panel pages, with 3 the max, and yet I average 3-4 generally, so here I’m trying to keep it simple, give the page room for text, and make sure I build to some kind of reason to turn the page.


I wonder how many readers still have no idea who/what Jo Malone is? I probably could have worded that whole second panel better.

But the matchsticks led here, so then the credit card has to lead to her.

I also haven’t nailed down why Rachel was in Walter’s. We never explain it, though I know how to make it a few different things depending on what we might need it for down the track.


I really wish this page wasn’t killing a woman. That’s a big change I’d make to the issue, this could most definitely be a dude.

Bucky mentions his smell, again, and then he references John Doe’s key which was there all the way back in Page One.

I love Nic J Shaw’s white balloon against the silhouette.


Sami did great work on this page, considering the density built into it. There are so many little elements – and some of them are like her presence in Walter’s, we can use, or tweak then, as we see fit anywhere in the future if need be. Some of these things are locked in stone, but many of them were me just throwing things against the wall to see what stuck.

Of course, in a room with a dead woman Bucky decides to case the joint. Until the foot creak on the threshold, and this takes place on a real paper page turn, too, so it’s a properly set up deal, as well as for tablet.


Adrian Brody flees the scene, and I love Sami’s designs on ‘other’ characters.

This page is just planting another seed to capitalise on later. Plotting this stuff out was hard work, I remember, ensuring so many things get set up, and connect in ways that might only ever matter to me.

And here the journalism puns begin, with Bucky talking about chasing down a story and having to literally chase this story on foot. It’s not high art, but there are a tonne of newspaper quotes and words in the world, and I slowly wanted to work them all in.


This page is pivotal for me because it shows the parameters of Bucky’s ‘powers.’ He can run super fast, but only in short bursts. Because he’s kind of unfit, the running wears him out. His antlers are pretty bloody strong, but he’s not a superhuman/deer.


I love the way Sami drew the newsroom, the cube farm aspect of it all. The depth and world-building Sami goes to always impresses me.

Here we meet Dan, completely modelled [in pretty much every aspect] on actual editor for this book, and great mate of mine, Dan Hill. Yet again, this scene provides Bucky with someone else to bounce off, but this relationship very obviously feels different to me than Bucky with the coroner or with Walter. There’s actual respect at play here, subtle, but there.

I’ll also make no bones about the fact Dan calls the killer the ‘actor’ and I stole that term from Richard Price who I first saw use it in FREEDOMLAND [a great book, though not his best, that’s still THE WANDERERS].


I dig that Sami went for tall panels on this one, it shows his range when using the tablet page. He’s so good at fitting everything in there and never really feeling crowded.

This two page scene with Dan shows me how much stuff I was burning through in this issue. All overall scenes were mapped out as 4 pages, so two print pages, and this interaction with Dan moves the needle a little and it’s only 2 tablet pages. I tried to get into scenes and bounce out. Partially because the genre demands it, but also because I figured if this was to be a one-shot then I could not dilly-dally, I needed to get things on the page and then move them off. Shit had to be done, so you rocket through scenes, you strip back, and you make shit happen.

This inset panel around the phone was possibly the first inset panel I ever scripted. It’s a device I love to use, I think I first consciously recorded it into my brain from Aja on his IMMORTAL IRON FIST run. Having the phone vibration in the panel gutter is just sublime.


I mean, look at this page, there’s no waddling about, it gets in, gives the info it needs, in a nice and interesting way, and it moves on. I know I didn’t script #2 as tightly, mostly because I knew it’d stand on its own but also form the middle of the triptych I knew I could build. I mean, and this is a long bow to draw, but consider THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK, there’s no need for it to completely pack in and tie up as much as A NEW HOPE did because it comfortably knew it was the middle of the trilogy and it could lob up balls that wouldn’t be swung at until 3 years later in RETURN OF THE JEDI.

I’d love it if all 3 issues were this tightly plotted and delivered, but the 4 tablet pages per scene/sequence rule set up here was actually very hard to do because I was constantly trimming panels and refining dialogue and getting it just right. The next two issues I got to let the characters have moments, to take breath, and that in itself was another kind of challenge as well as favour.

I just scripted something about ‘white noise’ in Bucky’s caption, but wasn’t thinking it’d be actual final dialogue, but then Nic grabbed the idea and put that tv white noise screen into a kind of thought balloon and I fell in love.


Those envelopes are there purely to set up his escape in the third act of this issue. I wanted to seed this idea that people hated Bucky, like a kind of subtle racism going on, and that’s why he got shitty letters and eventually an assassination attempt via the cake. I don’t know who sent the cake specifically, but I know I’ll continue to use this idea in future tales [if we get that chance] because in today’s global climate, well, of course there’d be people who believe Bucky is an abomination.

The cereal test is a phrase used in newsrooms to gauge whether news is fit to print in the newspaper, or on the front page specifically, because if someone can’t stomach it over their morning cereal then maybe it’s a little too far. It was a term I dredged up and filed away in the very early stages and it definitely stuck so I’m glad I got to use it here.

When I started in on this book, I googled around for information about deer and journalism. I like to believe that’s what BKV does before he starts anything, too, so he can drop factoids into his work and look smart. I look smart, right?


Boxing references will always win out. Chess a close second, but boxing is just the greatest metaphor to strip. Plus, I find boxing fascinating. The idea it’s this gentleman’s game when it’s the most brutal form of competition you can imagine, and yet it does hold this rarified air, which fascinates me in its duality. I like duality. The way things are and aren’t at the same time is an endless source of inspection for me.


I love Randy, he’s just one of those scenery chewing characters everyone loves to write because anything goes as soon as they open their mouths. I think I scripted the shirt but that hair is all Sami.

I scripted this grotto scene, because of course Randy rolls like this, but forgot this was set in a deep Shane Black winter. So Sami drew in those column heaters around the place and it’s such a glorious save and solution from him, but it also says a million more words about this guy and his place, and everyone else there, that I never would have known how to string together. Those heaters are one of those pure blinding collaborative moments that you wish for every time you hook up with an artist.

I’ve also realised that Randy is introduced with that thick black background behind him and above and I’m realising Sami also introduces another character in the third issue in the exact same way. I will have to keep an eye out for this trick now, because I love it, and want to be able to script it so Sami knows I pay attention and I care.


Bucky being annoyed by the ‘horny’ comment and correcting to antlers was something that came into the first draft instantly as Randy’s introduction and it never swayed. I love it when a moment comes to you fully formed and survives all the edits and drafts and you still love it two years later.

So we’ve just met Randy and we’ve set up that he obviously knows Bucky, and now we push into Bucky getting to what he needs, and then we build to the page turn.


The absinthe comment I like, but something about it, like 5% of it, just doesn’t quite click into place for me. I can’t even put my finger on it, and I dig 95% of it, but that niggle remains. I wish I knew what it was.

Bucky pretends to be drunk enough to just wander on by and the driver from earlier pulls a Lando reveal so we know he’s there. I love the Lando reveal.


The simplicity of this page, the way Bucky has played the angles, and pulled an audible when the guards where there and he knew they’d know him. I like writing Bucky as the smartest guy in the room. Sometimes.

I’m also astounded at how much Sami put into this page. From memory, I edited this page heavily down from 5, or maybe even 6, panels. Now, the door kicks and we cut straight to them looking out the window – I trust you’re smart enough to imagine them crossing the room in those gutters.

Then Bucky leaps off the roof and my heart swoons. This panel was one of those perfect collaborator moments where I realised I was in love. The body language, the silhouette, that snow, it’s all perfect – it’s also got that DARK KNIGHT RETURNS vibe rolling on and who doesn’t dig on that?


This establishing shot is yet another one of those moments in my writing career where I worked out that artists work way harder than writers. This panel is ace, and no small feat, and it’s also beautiful. All Sami.

Whereas the second panel is a true marriage, my idea, but it totally relies on execution to work, and Sami’s character designs, even for the background, are always so varied and intriguing that I knew this would work. And it totally does, playing the scene out, giving us what we need, and other things.

This panel/page is an exemplary reason of why I like comics, and why comics can do things that only work so well in this medium.


The mechanics of making this page work are all on Sami. Fitting the gun in the hand in shot, showing how the gun is hidden, using that middle gutter to split Bucky but not move him. That’s all Sami problem solving the page of script I gave him.

I also love how Bucky cuts through the shit. He’s straight up, and I think that’s a reflection of how I decided to script the book. If scenes are short, there’s no time for ball tickling. Bucky has to move things forward, constantly.


Now, this gutter divide I did script, so the reader wouldn’t instantly look down, they’d be locked on the guy with the gun in Bucky’s neck, and not glance out of that panel. Then we follow down and realise he’s not in as much danger as you might have been feeling.

Again, notice this guy entered scene only last page, and now he’s gone, having played his part, and the next part of the sequence is about to hit Bucky.

That breaking a story/story breaks you line is another one of those things you jot down early on in the research phase and you know you’ll find a place for it. This one I’m 100% happy with.

Though, strange fact, I initially gave the guy grawlix as he ran off in that line, then I realised all the other shit that goes down in this issue and can’t remember why I thought I’d need grawlix, so you’ve ended up with the full F swear. I hope you’re happy.


I love the black panels, the pause for the words to soak in. It’s a cinematic device to me, the voice over on the black screen before the fade in [or after the smash cut out – or both in this case] but it’s also something that plays different in comics because we aren’t used to having panels devoid of illustrations. So white strips, black space, other colours, I’m having a play with all of them over time.

I seed in the girl’s jasmine scent here so I can speed up her next scene.


The first panel here is set up to capitalise on the hate mail Bucky gets and deliver the coup de grace – the poison cake for later. But look at how Dan delivers it, he knows it’s from Bucky’s hater and yet he’s still all smiles about it, and Bucky is not. In this panel, I’m squeezing in Chekhov’s cake as well as showing the difference between these two men – one optimistic, one pragmatic.

Having Dan hack into someone’s email and then discover someone else is also hacked in there and deleting stuff at the same time is actually a thing I’m quite proud of. Him taking screenshots and getting what he can before it all disappears seems like good journalism to me. I usually don’t feel inventive or even smart enough to come up with cool stuff like this, but this one time I feel like I nailed it.

No, I don’t know how Bucky uses an iPad with those nails.


We have both Bucky and Dan off to chase the next lead, Dan exits, and then the next piece walks in.

This close up of Bucky with the nose bandage, blood showing through it, is my clearest nod to CHINATOWN. We are forever in debt.

The scent moment pays off, and we get one of those good panel/caption ellipsis hold overs. Even better on a page turn, but in this comic it’s all about compression.


I never have Bucky hit her back, he never lays a hand on her. It’s all restraint.

This moment is one of those reversals they say you should do in your stories. Give the character something good, and then take it away from them by making it into a negative. It’s supposed to keep the audience on their toes, they say.

But I’ll be honest, as much as this helps the plot because ‘Jasmine’ here has clearly been affected by something/someone, it’s all just set up for the next page.


Bucky flipping Jasmine over and then pinning her to the wall with his antlers was another one of those things I wanted to see the character do from early on. Antlers would have to be a great restraint, despite the fact Jasmine could be kicking Jesus out of him with her legs, surely.

I also like that Bucky stops her without hitting her, and also flips her completely over his head, somewhat hinting at his levels of strength.

A lot happens in the gutter between these two panels, and initially I scripted it with way more beats so the reader didn’t get lost, but here I think anyone can draw the connection easily and surmise what took place in the gutter for this transition to make sense.


I think this is the only full half page split vertically and silent. There’s no ‘huge’ reason why I left this panel silent, I just didn’t think any caption/V.O. was needed when his body language sells it all so truly.

Then we catch up by having a talky panel next, the cop and Bucky, sparring, and Bucky getting in his great last line. Bucky, to me, truly is a man from an older time.


And yet, despite Bucky’s reticence, and his shot back, the cop is fine with him. I’m hinting at larger world connections where Bucky clearly gets on well with the cops – until he stops being helpful – and they’re gonna treat him relatively straight.

Bucky writes on the notepad and I’ll cop to me doing this to ensure everyone followed me along for the next two pages. I wish we had Bucky write more on that notepad. Oh, well, live and learn.


This whole locker thing is a personal riff on the locker used in GET SHORTY. How I don’t have Dennis Farina in this comic, as a cameo, just baffles me now.

It took me forever to work out a way to script the fact that Bucky already had a copy of the key made. I must’ve scripted it as like 5 panels and I slowly pared it down and now I’m really happy with how it’s all landed.


The call in by the flunky is a textbook move, so I coupled it with the enigmatic darkened figure in their study plotting danger. I love his gramophone in there.

I fill this page with text but don’t actually show what’s in the bag. I think that’s a rookie mistake. A little touch of what’s there, a hint, something would have felt a little more complete. Though I do like the slab of captions juxtaposed against his one word.

And you can see here that these chapters really end on little breaks, a chance to get up and stretch the legs.


This quote has become the back cover quote for all the print versions and I kind of dig that. I think going through your issue and highlighting the lines you think are top shelf, the ones that sing, that sum up the theme or tone of the piece is a fun exercise. Especially if you can’t find one, because I think that says a lot.

It would probably be a good exercise to go through the comics of others and try to find that one line. I liked how Hickman’s FF run had those quotes on the front cover for the first little while.


I love the building of The Truth. Sami doesn’t really know it, but the building he drew looks like it came straight out of my childhood, it feels like something I know, and that pleases me so very greatly.

A nice silent page, captions aside, that ends with a click. I’m trying to build tone here, I’m hoping you are a little worried. I’m also hoping you dig my whole tree metaphor. Sometimes I feel like I nail a line and that final line here just wraps up so much of what I want to mean about it all.


I hate the word “ain’t” – I always teach my classes that ain’t clearly isn’t contracting two forms of anything and as such it needs to die in a fire. But. I will put the word in the mouth of a character because I think it says a lot about someone if they use it, and also when/where/how they use it.

Again, the ominous tone on the page, the way the thug just walks in and sits down so confidently. It’s the way he carries himself that matters, not what he says. Which is why he says so little, and it’s not a threat. This is just matter of fact business for him, and that’s the biggest problem/sign.


I’m not one for writing a lot of tough guy dialogue, but I clearly hear this guy in my head and it mostly rings true. I can see/hear him going through these motions. I also had to work hard so it felt organic enough that Bucky would be able to introduce the cake into the scene.

Why did Bucky keep poison cake on his desk? Well, y’know, just in case.


He’s saying no to the cake as he accepts a piece of it. That right there says a whole lot about this guy. Then the way he shrugs off his doctor. I like that he has a doctor, that he’s got problems. After writing this page, I felt I knew him a lot better.

Oh, look, Sami dropped another one of those half ink backgrounds.


Did you know deer process toxins differently than us. They do it better. So I figured with Bucky being the weird hybrid he is he can have all kinds of special ‘powers’ and one of them is the ability to really shrugs off toxins.

The caption about them finding his body in the car was a scripting gaffe I tried to fix and failed. It’s meant to imply that Bucky is going to drag the guy down to his car and it was put in there after the art came in and I realised that him leaving the poisoned body on the press room floor might not be good for business. But the art had already come in. I tried to script around it, but nothing fit. Not even what I ended up going with. One of my biggest failures in comics, though it doesn’t kick in the guts as much as I thought it might. Huh, maybe time does work.

Wait, why is the Leaving City sign visible as you drive into the city? Man, I scripted that, this page is not my friend at all.


Randy is so deplorable, it’s fun to write. Though it makes me look like kind of a hack, I’ll admit. Or, I’ll admit to worrying about.

I like that Bucky ignores his surroundings, he’s literally just there to hide out and do his job.

This set up to the page turn says a lot about who I think Bucky is…


Y’see, Bucky’s an arrogant. Fool. He just rushes in, thinking he’s got the info so he’s untouchable. It’s a fool’s play, but it’s the kind of thing people do a lot before thinking all the pieces on the board through. And while I think Bucky is a great journalist, this story is also about him being overly sure and missing the story. It’s about his fallibility, and how he has to fix it.


There are a lot of throwaway lines in the captions that explain away the need for extra scenes, or pages, or even panels. I don’t want to show Bucky threatening the mayor with his story leaking upon his death to establish that Bucky isn’t going to die here. I throw in mention of a ‘standard journalist/scumbag deal’ and it tells us all we need to know. Most of us have seen crime fiction where someone’s information will leak, to the police, or the public if they die or don’t check in by a certain time or use a specific code.

Mayor Jackson also not being worried about Bucky should be his first sign he’s stepped into the brown and smelly. But Bucky doesn’t read that stuff, sadly for him.


Nothing says cocky like ‘telling your villain how it is while munching an hor’s douvres’ cocky. Though Mayor Jackson’s ‘laughing in the face of this shit’ cockiness comes close.


Having Bucky walk his stupid ass right into the trap was a big moment for this book. I think like the pulps of old, I wanted this fallible hero, this fool, who mostly just stumbles into the right things while being beat up for the wrong things, and this page/moment was perfect for that. He never should have gone back, but here he is and here’s how they treat him.

And you’ll notice the crowd doesn’t care. No one ever questions anyone in power, they let all sorts of shit fly.


And with that, the Mayor spits on Bucky [metaphorically] and has won. Because it’s always darkest right before the dawn, right?

That placement of the “I’m an idiot.” caption is just genius from Nic J. Shaw because it’s almost hidden, and a lazy reader will skip it, which they can and the book will still work, but as an aside beat this works perfectly.


Huh, I just realised Bucky goes to sit on his car and stare at the horizon to centre himself exactly like Standard does in CHUM #2. That’s subconsciously weird – though I do like to sit at the surf and just look out, so I guess it’s me projecting my own safe/calm place. Who knew that happened?

Bucky drives a convertible because of course he does.

This page is Bucky gathering himself and then firing himself into the final launch, but it really doesn’t read as too stirring. Nope, not at all. When you are supposed to be asking yourself what does each scene/page do, why does it exist, I may have failed on that one. I mean, it allows for the transition to get him to the house, but I think it does it poorly. There should have been something else that sets him in that direction. Lazy.


In the first script, Bucky drives up the street, he screeches his breaks, he reverses towards the woman, and then he gets out. It was just too much. Having him screech his tyres here – subtle as it is – is more than enough. Eliminating that ABCD storytelling and just dropping crisp single letters is the most important aspect of editing/rewriting. Well, it definitely was for a younger Ryan still wobbly on his green legs.

This page has much better build, it goes a new place, builds a new tension. Much better, more effective for the reader.


A big conversation – that took a long time to edit just right – and another build to a tense moment. This final scene at least hits a decent stride.

The idea he can smell and hear the tiniest things that hint at truth, lies, etc means Bucky is my antlered Matt Murdock, and I’ll never shy away from admitting he totally is. I mean, they are actually two very different men, but that idea of the truth at their core, and many of the abilities, is totally swapping over and that’s no accident.

We end on a boxing term, because of course we do. I’ll run out of them eventually. Or I’ll just study harder to find more obscure ones.


I have Bucky react to what he’s figured out, but I consciously chose for him to not tell us. I didn’t want to completely spell these things out. He mentions it about ‘family’ in the second panel and I’m hoping people make the connection, especially if they’ve worked out how much of an influence CHINATOWN is on all of this.

The tiny ‘PFT’ sfx pepper the page, the blood blooms on her coat, and, again, the reader is expected to keep up.I really went back and forth on whether to be so obtuse, but in the end that’s the kind of thing I like to read, so it’s mostly what I’ll always write. There’s nothing wrong with a reader having to do a little work.


We end on a splash, and this moment was always the point of the issue. Bucky is so certain, and he finds the connective tissue he wants, so he takes it at face value and assumes he’s nailed it. But that’s just not how it works, so he’s overly confident and it gets him shot.

Then we end on that red bar, mostly because this was a digital only Kickstarter campaign, and you can do whatever the hell you want with a PDF so putting that red panel isn’t going to alter print prices or specificities so we went ahead and did it.

And that’s the end.


THE TRUTH by Ryan K Lindsay – an essay

I often bang on about how I wrote this comic on my phone while walking the summer streets of my neighbourhood at night with my baby daughter strapped to my chest.

I mention it a lot because it was my moment where I realised I would not accept excuses from myself. It was when I realised I was a writer, and always would be. It was a nice feeling to just power on, despite the world seemingly telling me I couldn’t at that very moment. The world’s a dick, what would it know?

You find yourself in weird places, you have weird places you find within yourself, and if you wanna make those two things connect and make art – then you can.

DEER EDITOR is one of my favourite things to have created, partly because of what it is, partly because of how I did it, and partly because of when it came about for me. But mostly because it started Sami Kivelä off on a relationship that’s lasted a very very long time, and only gets better with age.

I hope these thoughts have been of some help.



Always humbled when artists step up to drop some ink on a gorgeous Deer Editor pin up for our campaigns and some high quality peeps didn’t disappoint with the latest crop for the HACK Kickstarter campaign.

Below are the gorgeous pin ups provided, and what a bunch of backers will have to choose from for me to letter on a captions or balloon or something and email them the ghastly results.

Alex Cormack - Deer Editor Sexy Lamp H

Alex Cormack

Sebastian Piriz - Deer Editor - Pinup issue 3

Sebastian Piriz

Louie Joyce - Deer Editor Pinup_LJ

Louie Joyce

Jeff Martin - Deer Editor

Jeff Martin

Francesco Iaquinta deer editor_pin-up

Francesco Iaquinta

Doug Hills - DeerEditor

Doug Hills

Simone Guglielmini - Dark Deer Pin Up

Simone Guglielmini

Matt Horak - deer editor pin up

Matt Horak


Matthew Dunn


Paul Tucker


Ryan Lee


Scott Kowalchuk

Soo Lee

Soo Lee


Marc Ducrow



For only a $1 pledge, you can get yourself all hooked up with so much good stuff, check it! [LINK]


  • DEER EDITOR: HACK comic issue in pdf – available at conclusion of the campaign
  • THE DEVIL IS IN THE DETAILS: EXAMINING MATT MURDOCK AND DAREDEVIL ebook of essays – available for download right now!
  • THE SHOT HEARD ROUND THE WORLDS comic short in pdf – available for download right now!
  • STUCK IN THE GUTTERS #2 comic magazine file – available for download right now!
  • THE META-COOL OF HOMAGE: Layers of Fidelity with Ultimate Wolverine Vs Hulk essay pdf – available for download right now!

Look at all that content [and so much available instantly for your peepers] for just $1.

There’s a reason we funded in 7 hours, and have blasted through stretch goal after stretch goal to find ourselves over $3600 in under half our campaign.

And just consider what you get for $3

  • DEER EDITOR: HACK in a deluxe pdf with back matter, the script, pin ups, as well as a now unlocked extra 4 page short story, and an Antler Noir prose story.
  • When we hit $4k, we’ll add the chance for all backers to submit a Six Word Newspaper Noir story which will be added to the deluxe pdf.

But, really, all we need is $1 – it gets you so much.

If you’ve already backed, thank you. If you’re about to, thank you. Spread the word, link up your mates, download the free fun stuff, get excited, charge for $4k, and believe in #antlernoir

DEER EDITOR: HACK Kickstarter Launches Tomorrow

All chronospheres set to 4pm EST Australia tomorrow, Tuesday Aug 30, yeah?

The DEER EDITOR: HACK kickstarter launches and Sami Kivelä and I have a month to raise $2000


You can read all about the campaign tomorrow when it launches, but for now:

  • Get the whole DEER EDITOR: HACK issue/pdf for $1
  • Get all 3 DEER EDITOR issues [comprising a full set] for $3
  • Back in the first 24 hours at the $3+ level and also get a pdf of CHUM #1 from Sami and me
  • Have Sami Kivelä draw a fully inked/coloured cover for your comic for $300
  • Every time we hit 100 backers, I’m going to send all three DEER EDITOR issues in print to one lucky backer.
  • And there’s plenty more to enjoy, and hidden up our sleeves. Some of the stretch goals are ace, so stay tuned.

Have a look, back the comic, share with a mate, all is appreciated.

Support indie comics and be a legend for life.

Oh, and enjoy the following pin ups that’ll be featured throughout the campaign and comic because they are amazing.

Alex Cormack - Deer Editor Sexy Lamp H

pin up by Alex Cormack

Doug Hills - DeerEditor

pin up by Doug Hills

Francesco Iaquinta deer editor_pin-up

pin up by Francesco Iaquinta

Jeff Martin - Deer Editor

pin up by Jeff Martin

Louie Joyce - Deer Editor Pinup_LJ

pin up by Louie Joyce

Sebastian Piriz - Deer Editor - Pinup issue 3

pin up by Sebastian Piriz

Simone Guglielmini - Dark Deer Pin Up

pin up by Simone Guglielmini

Matt Horak - deer editor pin up

pin up by Matt Horak

Matt Horak2 - deer editor pin up

pin up by Matt Horak, again


~ See you all tomorrow ~

Get a Sami Kivelä Cover for Your Comic

For those who know and love Sami Kivelä’s ability to draw an amazing cover for a comic, I know you’ll want to pay attention to how you can get him to create a comic cover for your own comic.

For those who aren’t yet in love with Sami’s cover brilliance, bask in this good business:

Screenshot 2016-04-04 21.23.07

Sami has a way of boiling down the tone of your story, and the central themes, and putting out a piece of art that’s just brilliant. These 3 covers were for our series CHUM, at ComixTribe, which was a surf noir tale. He brings the pulp and the violence and the dread to each cover.

And here’s the cover we originally pitched with, that I still love because it looks like a surf music record cover:

coloured cover

This is a cover for a hard sci fi periodical Sami and I will be launching soon called CURRICULUM. It’s an ensemble piece, about isolation and exploration and survival, and he’s nailed that here, with assistance from Marissa Louise’s colours.

Screenshot 2016-08-25 21.03.40

Now imagine you could commission Sami for a cover on your own work. That would be pretty amazing, right?

Well, in the DEER EDITOR: HACK Kickstarter, launching Aug 30, Sami is offering the chance to commission him for one [1] cover that he will ink and colour for your project [his subject approval pending, naturally] and he’ll send you all the hi-res files and such that you can use it for your book and promotional materials for the life of your project.

Sami is only offering one of these opportunities, and for the great cover commission price of AU$300.

The campaign launches next week so you have time to think this over and check your bak account, but you’ll want to decide quickly because this one is definitely not going to last long.

Imagine how good your book would look with a cover by Sami Kivelä on the front…see you next Tuesday.

DEER EDITOR: HACK Kickstarter First Day Gift

Now there’s even more reason to set aside August 30 as International Antler Day in your calendar and mobile device reminders beyond just the fact that the DEER EDITOR: HACK Kickstarter campaign is launching.

Sami Kivelä and I have decided that anyone who backs our DEER EDITOR: HACK campaign [at the $3 pledge level or above] in the first 24 hours will be gifted a free pdf of issue #1 of our surf noir miniseries CHUM from ComixTribe.


The moment trading closes on that first day, we will email a fresh download link to all backers instantly where they can redeem a pdf download of the first issue of a comic series described as “A book tailer-made for any fan of film noir or pulp novels.” by James Ferguson at Horror Talk, and Alice W. Castle says “Ryan K. Lindsay is channelling his best Raymond Chandler with writing that is pulpy and atmospheric.”

We want to launch our campaign with a bang, and that’s why we’re giving you a fortnight’s notice for our launch. We also know that whenever you back a campaign an email will be sent to all people who follow you and that’s just good opening day mojo for us. Let’s get us funded as quickly as possible so we have time to stew over the fun stuff that comes next, right?

If you dig Sami Kivelä’s work, and you want a double shot of it, then set your seventeen alarm clocks to all rattle your molars on August 30 so you can back and have a great new comic in your hot little hand by the end of the day.

Because little else goes with #antlernoir as well as #surfnoir.


DEER EDITOR: HACK Kickstarter Campaign Details

Set aside August 30 in your calendar as International Antler Day because we’ll be launching the DEER EDITOR: HACK Kickstarter campaign that day.


Sami Kivelä and I have set up a blistering 30 day blitzkrieg we think you’re all going to enjoy in order to get this latest and final issue of DEER EDITOR into that small gap your soul has been lamenting for decades.

We need to raise $2000 in 30 days to have this comic become a pdf reality in your world. Yesterday we revealed the basics and gave you a teaser trailer [LINK]:

  • The DEER EDITOR: HACK pdf will be $1
  • The pdfs for the first 2 DEER EDITOR issues will be available through the campaign
  • We have some really sweet Thank You and Stretch Goal additions to the campaign to reveal [some things you’ve all never seen before]
  • There will be a special bonus to those who back in the first 24 hours [TBA]

Today we’ll delve into the campaign pledge level specificities for you:


The HACK story in a DRM-free PDF. Nothing extra, no distractions, just the whole story at an entry level price ready to read on your tablets.

~48 pages, + credits and chapter pages

This level might be my death because if everyone only chooses here I’ll need 2000 backers to make my goal. But I’m a firm digital reader who loves the $1 price point. So, here we are.

$3 – BROADSHEET PDF and the other 2 Tabloid PDFs

The HACK story, with back matter, sketches, pin ups, and script, in a DRM-free PDF, as well as the Tabloid PDFs for #1-2.

~110 pages, + other extras as we unearth them :]

~96 Tabloid pages

This Broadsheet is the deluxe package, this is the sort of PDF I’d lose my mind for. Process junkies, those wanting a peek behind the curtain, this is your place to be. I also think this price is fair but a gamble to get us across the line.

Inside you will find the entire story, plus some back matter written by me, then some sketches and thumbnails by Sami, as well as some pin ups of Bucky (by ???), some designed prints by me, at least one ink sketch by me, as well as the full script of this issue. You can see some examples of these things at the bottom of the page.


Okay now, this is FOUR! PDFs. You get the BROADSHEET PDF for HACK, and also the RKL SCRIPT #3 PDF, feat. scripts of MANY of my other projects, as well as the Tabloid PDFs for #1-2.

The script PDF will contain scripts to:

NEGATIVE SPACE #2 – my book at Dark Horse with Owen Gieni – CHUM #1 – my surf noir mini with Sami – CAPTAIN HUMAN THE ROBOT: AFTER HOURS EDIT – a short story that’s for the adults in the room that I did with Jin Chan Yum Wai – and HEADSPACE #7-8 – the conclusion my book with Eric Zawadzki through Monkeybrain/IDW – and maybe anything else I might find that would be to your interests.

I love reading comic scripts, they certainly help hone my own writing, so I hope some process junkies out there really dig on this beast of a package.


Select one of the pin ups by our amazing guest artists and I’ll write a word balloon/thought bubble/caption and I’ll dirty letter it myself and JPEG it to your inbox. Comes with the BROADSHEET PDF for HACK + RKL SCRIPT #3 PDF, as well as the Tabloid PDFs for #1-2.

You can choose from those available [which I’ll send to you in a detailed list at the end of the campaign but you can see them listed below]. I will then write something ghastly and superfantastic to be lettered onto the pin up and we’ll send this one of a kind digital keepsake straight to you. And I must admit, writing these is a great challenge and a whole mess of fun.

example Talking Pin Up 


Ryan will record an audio commentary of the issue that you can listen to as you read the book in realtime. The audio files will be sent to you. Comes with the BROADSHEET PDF for HACK + RKL SCRIPT #3 PDF, as well as the Tabloid PDFs for #1-2.

I love audio commentaries on DVDs, and I love reading people’s annotations, so this is a lock, right? Well, also consider what backers at this level got last campaign in total by the end of the campaign [LINK]

$60 – TYPE PLATE EDITION – limited to 3

A copy of the DE HACK script, printed, with stains and red pen annotations through it by Ryan. Comes with the BROADSHEET PDF for HACK + RKL SCRIPT #3 PDF + AUDIO COMMENTARY, as well as the Tabloid PDFs for #1-2.

Because this sort of thing is special. From me, to you – and last time I did a little CHUM sketch cover on the back of the final page and it was fun!


$80 – EDITORIAL ASSIST – limited to 3

A full issue script analysis by Ryan K Lindsay, with a one hour Skype rundown post-game. Comes with the BROADSHEET PDF for HACK + RKL SCRIPT #3 PDF. + AUDIO COMMENTARY, as well as the Tabloid PDFs for #1-2.

I’m no Computer Who Wore Tennis Shoes but I have some mind for comic writing. I also know how important it is to get another set of eyes on your writing so I’m happy to help out, make some notes on a full issue script of 24 pages max, and chat them through with you. I also have a lovely bearded face for Skype, so, y’know, that alone might be worth it.

$90 – SAMI DEER PIN UP – limited to 6

Series artist, Sami Kivelä will draw a Deer Editor pin up for you at A4 size and also send it to you all for this glorious price. Comes with the BROADSHEET PDF for HACK + RKL SCRIPT #3 PDF. + AUDIO COMMENTARY, as well as the Tabloid PDFs for #1-2.

I mean, look at the gorgeousness he dropped last time this was on offer?



$140 – SAMI OPEN PIN UP – limited to 4

Series artist, Sami Kivelä will draw a pin up of any character for you at A4 size and also send it to you in the mail. Comes with the BROADSHEET PDF for HACK + RKL SCRIPT #3 PDF. + AUDIO COMMENTARY, as well as the Tabloid PDFs for #1-2.


We hope you start to budget now, and set your sights on what you might want/need from us, and if you have any questions then please reach out and ask [twitter LINK // facebook LINK]

Tomorrow we’ll drop by and show you some of the pin ups we’ve been gifted so far in prep for the campaign. We really think you’ll dig them pretty hard.

DEER EDITOR: HACK – coming to Kickstarter August 30

Tell your friends and lock up your daughters.

The latest, and final, issue of DEER EDITOR from Sami Kivelä and me, with Nic J. Shaw on letters, is complete and ready to begin a wild September ride on Kickstarter for your entertainment. Here’s a quick teaser trailer for it.

DEER EDITOR: HACK needs to raise $2000 in 30 days to become a reality. We will reveal more tomorrow in specificity, but for now all you need to know is:

  • The DEER EDITOR: HACK pdf will be $1
  • The pdfs for the first 2 DEER EDITOR issues will be available through the campaign
  • We have some really sweet Thank You and Stretch Goal additions to the campaign to reveal [some things you’ve all never seen before]
  • There will be a special bonus to those who back in the first 24 hours [TBA]

We hope you’ll mark off Tuesday August 30 as International Antler Day in your calendars, join us for the launch, and stay tuned here or on the DE tumblr [LINK] where we’ll be filling your heads with information about the pledge levels, the special extras, the art teases, and why you need this comic in the lives of you and your loved ones.

DEER EDITOR #1 raised over $2k, and smashed its initial goal in ~25 hours

DEER EDITOR: FEARLESS raised over $3k, and smashed its initial goal in ~12 hours

Here’s hoping we can rally ourselves for one final digital-only campaign to smash the $4k ceiling, and hit our $2k goal in the first week.

In #antlernoir we trust.


Hi all,

I wanted to take a moment and discuss the AUDIO COMMENTARY pledge level because it’s the one I love the most – hit the campaign here to scope it out [LINK]

DE2_Media2_bY’see, I love process [those who know me already know this, and Paul Allor just eyerolled so hard his peepers are still spinning] but it’s true, I dig the world of and around writing as much as I love writing. I listen to writing podcasts all the time, I read interviews from creators I dig/trust, and I love getting my hands on back matter and extra material in comics, especially when it pertains to how the book was made – logistically as well as a peep inside the creative mind.

I grew up reading a lot of non-fiction about entertainment, books about slasher flicks, books about 70s cinema, Stan’s Soapbox [ha]. If you find the right stuff, and if you dig deep, you’ll learn and level up every single time. I read movie scripts, I love Stephen King’s Author’s Notes because they are all fascinating insights into great ideas and minds, and Ed Brubaker is my back matter northern light.

Then for me, I get specific with the process content I can find and will really inform me on a deep level. If Matt Fraction writes something on his tumblr, man, you best believe I’m all over that. This trend of writer’s writing Commentary on their works is great because it gets under the skin of the best – and it’s also why I choose to do it: it’s fun, hopefully someone learns something, and I usually get a new understanding on my own work/process, too [LINK]

Now, I’m not saying I’m a Fraction/Gillen in this world [Allor’s eyes just stopped rolling because he started nodding in agreement with me]. I will never be as good as them, and that’s fine, but I wish more people who were as good as them were as open with their process. I wish people shared scripts and notes and deconstructions and ways to do things. And I figure if I do it, then maybe someone else will get the idea to also do it. And then we have a culture of analytical sharing.

It’s why both of my Kickstarter campaigns so far have had thick script pdfs offered, and why Stretch Goals often unlock pitch material or other analytical works. I put out what I wish to see more of in the world.

And this is why I’m so excited about the Audio Commentary. It’s all this stuff I’d write but then also not afraid to go into crazy tangents, because it’s spoken and I can rattle this stuff off with only a thought. To type it all would be insanity. But to ramble into the mic, well, that’s just going to be fun. And hopefully informative.

I know if Fraction dropped an Audio Commentary for $20 I would be all over that business. But, again [yes, Paul, yes, I know] I’m not Fraction. And I’m aware of this. Which is why, for that $20, you will actually be buying:

  • DEER EDITOR: FEARLESS [with full back matter activated]
  • RKL Script PDF #2
  • Down Under PDF – a short from Owen Gieni and I
  • CHUM Preview Ashcan – the up-coming surf noir series from Sami and I from ComixTribe
  • Blind Dates and Broken Hearts ebook – about Daredevil’s lovelife
  • The Secret History of Paul Keating PDF – a comic short from Matt Lesniewski and I
  • Noirvember ebook – 30 essays about noir
  • HEADSPACE pitch doc – for the process junkies to see how Eric Zawadzki and I got that book off the ground
  • STUCK IN THE GUTTERS #1 magazine pdf – made by Leo Johnson, feat. many comics and essays, incl. one from Dan Hill and I about FURY MAX: MY WAR GONE BY
  • Audio Commentary files [hour/s of fun]

That’s 11 different things to download which works out to less than $2 per thing, not to mention that’s using the Monopoly money currency of Australia which converts into ~$15US. I gotta say, that’s some pretty wild value.

Photo 28-02-2016 10 15 36 pmNot to mention, do us a solid and get us to this $3k zone and if you’ve backed $3+ then you get to submit a 6 word antler noir story and it’ll end up in the back matter [discretion allowed if you decide to be offensive of Allor-inflammatory].

OR, bump us to the $3500 stretch goal and I’ll also unlock a PDF download of the #1 issue of a new series from Sami Kivelä and I [and many friends] called CURRICULUM and it’s an absolute ripper.

I know the Audio Commentary sounds high end, and it is, but it’s going to be some serious back matter truth bomb strafing for your ears, and it comes with this absolute slate of other downloads from more comics to ebooks, magazines, pitches, and the chance to worm your own bad self into the comic.

I hope you see the value and the fun of it and consider this pledge level because at the end of the day, the lion’s share of this campaign’s funds will go to Sami and he deserves every single damn penny for the amazing job he’s done on this book.

OH, and there is now going to be an Antler Noir prose piece in that thick PDF for FEARLESS and it opens like this:

A Refined Palette for Murder

Written by Ryan K Lindsay, Illustrations by Sami Kivelä

Someone once asked me if I could smell human emotions. Like I’m some sort of freak. Or god.

I politely told them I couldn’t smell them, deer can only smell certain poisons and delicious meals, but I told him I could read them. I’d know if you were nervous from fifty yards. You couldn’t hide your seething frustration from me if I was driving 180 miles an hour past you.

I’m a journalist, I get to the truth every time, but I don’t use Super Olfactory Mojo to get there. I just sit down and watch and think.

It shocks me how many people don’t think anymore.

Take this party I went to last weekend, for instance.

DE 2_coverI’m looking forward to bringing this campaign to a close, I can’t thank you enough for believing in our insanity, and we all here at The Truth HQ wish you an ace end to your day and week.

Believe in antler noir – [LINK]

ymmv .15 – Writing the Love of your Life

The latest ymmv is up and it’s an ode to DEER EDITOR and why sometimes you should just write what you love. Because that passion will shine through, and maybe even rub off, and you’ll feel happier for it all.

I mean, c’mon, who knew a story about a deer journalist fighting mayoral corruption and then facing vampires would be a Kickstarter success twice? It’s only through force of will that anyone cares about this dumb idea, I’m sure, and I’d like to think my passion behind it, my crazy love, makes people believe it’ll live up. It also keeps me working really hard on it, in weird ways, to keep it afloat and support it and make it a reality.

READ ymmv .15 – Writing the Love of your Life – LINK

I honestly believe that writing something you are dying in love with is important and also so damn good.

And if you believe in this as much as you will believe in antler noir then hit the latest DEER EDITOR Kickstarter [LINK] – for just $1 got the 48 tablet page comic, or level up to get the previous issue also for a buck, or an audio commentary, or some OG Sami Kivelä art.

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