Without Fear

Ryan K Lindsay – Writer

Tag: ryan ferrier

RKL Annotations – NEGATIVE SPACE #3

NEGATIVE SPACE #3 is late. There’s no two ways about it. It’s a new year and a whole month in and you are only just getting your mitts on this beast. We are all crazy proud of this issue so we thank you for holding on and dipping back into the waters with us.

negative space 3Owen Gieni continues to drop serious A-levels of game and heat in this book so it’s an eyeball feast, and Ryan Ferrier is the letter we need AND the one we deserve.

This is a process post where I try to open up how we broke the eggs for this omelette but it usually devolves into my just gushing about Owen’s work. I hope my weepy collaborator love helps you somehow, let’s dive in.

COVER

Love the fact this is so crucial to the issue/story and yet doesn’t really exactly spoil what’s going on.

Also love the crazy violence peppered throughout the whole thing. We went from one very central image for #1, to a smattering of subtle word things for #2, and now this is just a visual buffet the more you dive into it.

PAGE 1

There’s a joke on this page, you see it, right?

It’s not even that good a joke but I really just wanted to keep it because it’s beyond absurd and so it’s a hint to the whole tone of this thing. Even when it’s serious, and bad, there is time for this moment to occur.

It’s also totally a SAGA style opening splash, no bones about it. Complete swipe.

PAGE 2

Beta makes with some serious James Remar info-dumping to open the issue. Womp.

Poor Guy, so sad, so committed to talking out loud to himself to keep us all on track.

PAGE 3

The way Owen handles Guy’s expression completely sells this whole ‘using a tentacle on a mask to mimic putting a hand up to someone’s mouth to shut them up’ moment.

Pretty much just every way Owen handles this weird landscape and the Evorah in it proves he’s worth more to this book than I ever was or could be. He’s playing with a lot of pieces and he’s making it all work like crazy.

PAGE 4

I’m worried this sequence is plodding but I’m realising it’s just metered tone when taken as part of the whole story. This is my ebb before we get to some serious flow right into the finale of this issue.

All of this is set up for what happens ahead and so I’m glad I took my time here.

Also, look at Beta turn nasty and almost burnt in her blackness in that middle panel. That’s some colour as storytelling stuff going on right there.

PAGE 5

You should get a sense of just how pig-headed and stupid and doomed Guy is from this page and how he handles himself here.

The way this random Evorah shuffles into the room but then doesn’t quite see Guy yet is so superbly well placed and handled by Owen. This sequence was hard to write, and I thought I might’ve blown it, but he really brings it all home. That transition between the final two panels really sells the split second moment Guy has before he’s completely screwed.

Also, that child’s skeleton on the table is totally all Owen. Blame. Him.

PAGE 6

Pretty certain that first panel of Guy wrapped up by some tentacles is completely all Owen and it’s so damn effective. Makes it look like he’s been stitched up, but then you see it’s a showdown…and he’s being saved by Beta. The way she holds him down and leans right over the table is just pure perfect Gieni body language. This is masterful in every sense of the term.

Also, take in them Ryan Ferrier scribble balloons. So ace.

PAGE 7

Beta is so confident, so forward, and she’s literally dragging Guy into it all. And there’s no small metaphor that he’s being taken into and down an unknown black whole.

And that bottom panel of Guy swimming forward to this unknown is one of my favourite panels of this book. If ever there was a Depressionaut, this is he.

PAGE 8

Guy is lost, Beta is too quick, and we all quickly see just where this is all taking place and that the unknown is a scary and ridiculous place.

It’s also so cool to know that when you ask Owen for bioluminescent bubbles then it is exactly what you are going to get. This is an example of writing right into the strength of the artist.

PAGE 9

This is the false beat before the real BOOM.

Wish I could’ve tweaked the dialogue some more on this page, it just doesn’t pop as much as the others.

PAGE 10

This, man, THIS is just far too much fun. Owen obviously throws himself headlong into every square inch of this book and this is wild proof right here. Look at this thing? I had an idea, linked to a YouTube clip, I gave some suggestions, but this right here is beyond my brain. Look into those eyes and despair. Owen Gieni just drained your soul.

PAGE 11

This turning point for Guy was one of those sad gags I had to throw at him. The fact he’s about to die and instead one of these giants is going to just suck on him like an emotional everlasting gobstopper and could you imagine anything worse in your life? This is why my characters would gang up and mutilate me if they ever gained independent sentience, I’m no good for them at all.

Owen took that Evorah hugging panel and just gave it everything, didn’t he? This one panel is just pure high art right in the middle of the page. And if you look closer, you’ll see Beta struggling to open it up and her body language is again on point.

PAGES 12 + 13

Double page spread klaxoooon.

An emotional vista, and I wasn’t sure it’d work, but then Owen just comes along and slays it like it ain’t no thing. It’s almost like a picture book for just a moment, a dark, haunting, terrible book for kids about why life sucks. From top left to the promise of life to the bottom right and the ‘real’ promise of life, the only promise it can offer, that it ends, and this page actually gets to me a little.

Though I didn’t realise how well this spread would go down. The reviews loved the shit out of this and I thank them for it.

There’s even this weird little colour scheme thing going on that makes me think/feel INSIDE OUT a little and that’s just too damn fine.

I’m also quietly proud of the device at the bottom where we see the happiness bomb charge and it’s exposition but silent. You still have to piece all of this together, keep thinking, keep up.

PAGE 14

The layout on this page is nuts, the colours, the way we move through the motions. Guy smiling is weird enough but this cropped image of him makes it even more ghastly, a rictus of depression.

I love Guy’s body language as he tears into this beast, he’s so victorious. And the colour draining from the Evorah as they change emotion is something Owen just completely nails.

As for the echo of lines in this page from the last, where I flip the meaning, yeah, you know I’m quietly proud of that – though not silent, I’m still gonna tell you.

PAGE 15

This is a page of complex human emotions. I want you to still hold them, feel them, and yet still not fully understand. Because who actually understands human emotions, we are insane, erratic, flippant. That’s what makes us so beautiful sometimes, and it’s really something I want to try and write.

PAGE 16

“This is how angels must feel.” is one of those lines I wasn’t sure would get through but I knew I’d fight for it, though this was completely unnecessary. It stayed through every draft, never questioned, and I’m still really glad with how simply it sums up Guy’s feelings as he essentially annihilates a bunch of creatures.

And how good does that annihilation look against that green? Bloody ripper.

PAGE 17

War is hell and we all lose. Guy’s boot hitting that dead Evorah shell kinda says it all for me. And that Ferrier SFX in there is perfect to make you feel the split second moment.

Beta’s dialogue is so much fun to write, but even more fun against the droll sensibility of Guy. He never reacts or gives anything away and tone doesn’t play on the page against a back and forth so you need to bring a lot to it but if you do, and you get it right, then these two are so fun against each other. Beta never seems to pic up on Guy’s feelings, which is hilarious for an emotionally charged species. I guess happiness drowns and blinds you – which is completely true, btw.

PAGE 18

Owen’s layout on this coda page for the battle just makes me smile. It’s all a pause, a breath, and it leads into that final beat of the issue. These pages are important because you get interplay, you get set up, and you get to slingshot into what comes next.

PAGE 19

Because of course Rick is a mansplainer. And these two are just as much fun to write as the Beta/Guy pairing and that’s been really fun in this book, figuring out how to pair characters up to bring out the best in them all.

This page is filler, kinda, but it’s insight, and it’s also a pause, but it works because we gave Guy/Beta the pause so now Rick/Briggs get one too right before the end. I like getting these pages when I can, to let the characters play and shine. You can’t always show them within the action so you find the beats.

It was Owen who brought the sight gag of Briggs trying to pry Rick off the tablet, which I think plays well to show how absurd this all is. It’s weighted, it’s dark, it all means something, but it’s also batguano absurd, which you have to be fine with.

PAGE 20

It was important for me to have Guy stand up to Rick, and Kindred, verbally first. This isn’t a sneak attack, this is him really stepping up and doing what he is doing. Cutting Rick off came as a happy accident because I couldn’t think of a good Bond villain entrance for him but then realised Guy wouldn’t stand for it anyway, he’s got to do what’s coming.

PAGE 21

And here comes the realisation for us all, the reason Guy survived down there was because the thought of dying just filled him with such goddamn happiness. There was glee in the thought he was so close to the end. It kinda backfired when it killed the creature that would kill him and so then he’s actually not going to die, but it’s what awakens in him the knowledge of how all this emotional malarkey works, and he’s going to go out with a bang, and that kind of agency is important in a suicidal person. It certainly is in Guy.

It was always really important to me that even at this stage of the tale we have Guy still be suicidal. He’s not cured, this isn’t him fixed. And then we have him use this weird happiness over his own death emotional whirlpool to attack Kindred. This is where his arc is going.

PAGE 22

This is just a page to behold. I was initially going to hold it over until the next issue but Chabon convinced me to have it here and he’s so right, it’s a killer ending. Because – and I cough out some clickbait – you won’t believe what happens next. We still have one full issue to make all of this count, and count it all certainly does.

But, again, look at this page. Just…thank you Messers Gieni+Ferrier.

And this is where the final chickens come home to roost for everyone. One. Issue. To. Go.

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 to wrap all of these shenanigans up, which I guarantee you is a worthy and gut-kicking finale to the whole mess.

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.

LITTLE MAN IN THE BIG HOUSE – BIG Free to Read/Download

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

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

NOIRVEMBER 019 ~ Ultranova

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

ultranova page

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

ULTRANOVA. Noir. Brilliant.

Buy it now for 99c.

ultranova cover

I Want More…Tiger Lawyer

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

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

tiger lawyer 2

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

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

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

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

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

tiger lawyer 3 promo

Free Comics from Tomorrow’s Creators

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

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

Ryan Ferrier

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

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

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

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

Paul Allor

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

Louie Joyce

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

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

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

Eric Zawadzki

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

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

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

Dan Hill

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

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

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

Rob Harrington

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

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

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

Ed Brisson

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

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

Nic J. Shaw

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

Jesse Young

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

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

Ryan K Lindsay

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

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

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

——-

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

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

I Hate Ryan Ferrier – D4VE #2 Musings

Nearly a year ago I met Ryan Ferrier in person. We were all tabling together at ECCC in Seattle 2013 (him, me, Paul Allor, and Jeremy Holt) and I was right next to him. I spent three days standing there talking smack, selling comics, laughing, musing, planning, and generally having a very rad weekend.

And I see now what Ferrier was doing – he was slowly killing me from the inside with his charm.

But he’s so charming that I ignored it.

And now, with the release today of D4VE #2 by Ferrier and Valentin Ramon, I finally see through his charming and handsome guise and I realise the true heart of my feelings: I HATE RYAN FERRIER.

He leaves me no choices, really. I mean, have you read D4VE #2? If not, damn, click here and purchase your very own copy on ComiXology. Get the first one, too, if you were silly enough to miss it.

Now that you’ve read it, you see, don’t you? You see why I must hate Ryan Ferrier.

How the hell else am I supposed to feel about a guy with this much talent? In the Highlander world of breaking into comics, his quickening could level worlds, liquefy faces, and explode hearts. I’ve read all books Ferrier, and I’ve dug them all. But D4VE #2, man, this comic was the last straw. Do you need me to list why?

  • Who the hell writes a #2 issue that’s actually better than the #1 issue? Especially when the #1 issue was damn good.
  • Who the hell can write comics so funny you literally laugh out loud? Ferrier’s brand of wit and smut and charm are like nothing else on the stands or the tablets. This quality of humour is the real deal and in this issue there are numerous, I’m talking more than one hand, times where I laughed with insane glee.
  • Who the hell would think to write a last page as rad as that? Seriously, that sort of page is a contender for best moment of the year, surely.
  • Who the hell could humanise a bloody robot so well? Or write a hilarious comic that also has heart and major action scenes? WHO?

In total, I’m done with this Ferrier writer who does nothing but make me feel bad about myself. I am done with him.

Until D4VE #3 comes out because holy cats I cannot wait to stuff this issue into my peepers – SQUUUEEEEEEEE!

——-

NOTE: I don’t actually hate Ryan Ferrier. In case you couldn’t read my tone in this post. I count him as a mate, a confidant, an eLover, and a guy who when I think about his writing and career he makes me realise good things happen to great people, nice guys finish first, and that you can have talent without pretension or ego.

He’s the man/writer I wish I could be and I love having a benchmark to make me reach higher.

Thank you Mr Ferrier, for D4VE #2, and for everything.

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