Moving and expanding!

18 01 2010

We’re moving to a new home: Noise Fetish. To be honest I still haven’t decided what will happen to this place. Maybe I’ll just abandon this blog as it is perhaps I’ll change its focus, no idea. Anyway, for now, this place is technically closed.

The new site? I’ll try to post there more often, that is I’ll aim for daily and not less than once a week.

Meanwhile, take a look at my two latest books:

Moon Jade Angel #1: a 48-page full color sketchbook/artbook/short comic anthology hybrid available for 5.99$ through Indyplanet (or Comicsmonkey, for comic store retailers). Preview available at both links.

Inkbook#1: a 52-page black and white sketchbook with my 2009 art (40 pieces done between September-December 2009, 12 older ones) for 4.99$ from Indyplanet (and for retailers, Comicsmonkey).

Enjoy! And see you at the new place.

Amen City Chronicles: Din Krakatau color edition

24 09 2009


Finally, after a long wait, Din Krakatau is available for sale through Indyplanet.

The entire webcomic is collected in this 136 page manga/digest sized trade paperback for 19.99$.

Want it? BUY HERE!


Whoah, look at the time!

15 08 2009

The time that has passed between this and the previous post, that is!

Sorry about that. I kept on having some weird problems with cookies (some WordPress vs Opera issue) that was annoying enough to keep me away from this place. Well, that should change now.

I have finally sent Din Krakatau to Ka-blam awhile ago and it’s being processed by them as I type. The files have been accepted (phew!) and now I’m waiting for the invoice.

More info soon.

“The Djinn Project”: 300 pages written

25 02 2009

…and a little history of comics.

Rather than blog about it, I spent the last two weeks working on a project. I can now announce that I have just finished writing the last 300th page.

“The Djinn Project” is my current working title, as the original two titles were dropped by me. The first one would cause problems with foreign editions (there’s a book named like that already) and the second one stopped being relevant in the end. So I’m currently thinking up a third title, meanwhile for now it’ll be the Djinn project as, you know, it features The Djinn. Lots of them.

There are three goals in this project. One, improve my art even further and initialize a switch into a larger format, meaning I’ll be drawing on much larger sheets of paper than I usually do.

Second, obviously, is to tell a damn good story. And I can say this. From all the scripts I have finished so far, this one’s the best.

And finally… Third, it’s supposed to be a “love letter” to all the great artists I have discovered over the years, but mostly to a group of French artists, with Philippe Druillet being the main one among them.

The summer of year  1991 was the first time I saw Druillet’s art.

There used to be a Polish comics magazine, simply named Komiks (which, interestingly is singular in Polish, komiksy being plural). Not the most original name, I know. But the art inside? Most of it was great. I never got the entire run, but what I did manage get over the years of my childhood introduced me to a lot of great artists and titles. The first issue came out in 1987, originally under the title “Komiks-Fantastyka” and it was a quarterly supplement to a magazine named “Fantastyka” (fantastyka being a Polish word used to dump together both SF and Fantasy. that lasted for about three years and in the middle of 1990, when the publisher changed, they dropped the “fantastyka” from the title and switched to a monthly schedule.

What was inside? A great Polish sf comic titled Funky Koval by  Parowski, Polch and Rodek, followed by Yans (since the original “Hans” sounded too German) by Rosinski (our best “export artist” of that era) and Duchateau. Later,  we were introduced to Jean-Claude Mezieres and Pierre Christin’s Valerian, the Spatio-Temporal Agent;  Le Trende & Loisel’s Pelissa (or the Search for the Bird of Time, assuming this is how it translates to properly, printed as Roxana in English if I recall), Marvano and Haldeman’s  Endless War (or Eternal War), Andreas’ Rork and many others. There were no Druillet or Moebius comics inside though. But… there were articles.

See, it was a magazine after all. While most of what they did was present an entire story each volume, they also used inside covers and two or four additional for various written pieces. And in that particular May 1991 issue (which was couple of months late at this point) there was an article about Druillet.

There wasn’t much. Only three pages total, half of which was taken by art. But what art it was. While at this point I’m aware these weren’t best examples of his art, they totally blew my 11 year old mind. These three illustrations, all from Yragael (one being a nearly full page reproduction, one being a full page shrunk into a tiny panel and one being half of a page with the bottom text part chopped off also shrunk to a panel) totally redefined how I was looking at comics and opened the floodgates of my imagination.

This article was later followed by two more, written by the same person across the next couple years, both with further illustrations (this time from the short story AAARRRZZZ, one panel from Agorn and three or four images from Vuzz). Now that I look through my old comics that survived from that period (basically one notebook pretending to be an issue of a magazine), I can see how big influence these few pages were on me.

At this point I managed to read (not own, unfortunately) most of short stories that appeared in Heavy Metal magazine, and also had the chance to read The Seven Voyages of Lone Sloane, Delirius, Gail, Urm and Yragael. And, I even managed to buy one, the final volume of Lone Sloane titled Chaos, which right now proudly stands as the pearl of my collection.

“So you’re saying that you’ll be ripping off Druillet in this book of yours?” No, not quite. See, this is just one of inspirations. There were others. A short excerpt of Richard Corben’s Mutant world that appeared in an anthology issue of Komiks. All the weird illustrations that were reprinted together with an article about the Heavy Metal magazine, a gallery by Enki Bilal (showcasing art mostly from “The Town that Didn’t Exist and the Nikopol Trilogy; that scene with violent bloody hockey match still burns bright in my mind) and the Gandahar movie, featuring designs by Philippe Caza.

It came out around the same time as that Druillet article did, and it caused similar creative avalanches in my brain. I don’t know who made the decision to bring over here a movie that’s so strange and features lots of nudity (it’s Caza, so half of female characters don’t seem to know what clothes are) and how did it manage to land on the VHS rental store shelves right next to “Chuck Norris Karate Commandos” (both rented at the same time)… but it was one of the most beautiful animated films I saw in my life. I saw it recently, for the first time with the original French dubbing and it’s still marvelous. A bit slow at times, but that just gives you more time to soak in with the exquisite art.

Was there more? Yes, there was plenty more, but I can’t name half of these things at this point. I’d recognize them if I saw them though.

So all of these will be a deliberate influence on this particular project. These and a lot more, who (like aforementioned Corben) go beyond the francophonic comics market.

Right, that’s out of the way.

Now, the format itself. The story is written with six books in mind, each one being 50 pages long (plus two pages for comments or annotations or somesuch), full color and unfortunately in American Comics size (technical limitations that I have to abide to if I want this printed fairly cheap and easily sellable through an online store). I’m hoping that, if the title catches on, I can have someone print an oversized hardcover edition. That’d be great. But that’s too far in the future, I first have to draw this thing. I’ll try to do the best job ever.

And I still need a new title.

Color and Print on Demand

16 02 2009

When I first started looking at various POD options, I paid attention mostly to the price of color printing. Mostly because the only book I was working on at that time was entirely in color, and I felt that it might be good to print it that way, also another two larger projects were projected to be in color.

Well, Din Krakatau is still not printed (preparing that first book is more difficult that I thought, but that’s okay, I’ll learn something at least), but that’s beside the point. The point was that the price of color scared me away. At this point Lulu was charging 15 cents per color page and it appeared I’d have to charge almost 30$ for Din Krakatau, if I wanted to make any money on the sales. Well, Ka-Blam ended up being cheaper (and only 13,5cent per copy) and over time Lulu raised their price to 20cents, thus making it impossibly expensive. that crossed Lulu off my list.

I decided that I’ll make Din Krakatau in both color and b&w, and then follow with future Amen City Chronicles volumes in b&w only. With much cheaper printing (2cents per b&w page) and smaller format (5×7.5inch) , the price drops considerably. But, this is supposed to be about color.

Recently I pulled out notes to some of my other projects, shocked to see that most of them were left untouched since 2006. How can I claim that I’m working on dozens of projects, if they’re just sitting there in the folders, right? So, I ended up revising and expanding some of them, adding bits here and there. Some got reformatted towards b&w. And then I stopped at WoN (acronym for now). How am I supposed to do that in b&w when this is THE color project that I want to do?

I returned to looking at options, approaching it from a different angle this time. Can’t have large color POD trades, too bad. I wish I could, but it’s not very nice to charge people 100$ for something that traditionally would cost 50$ at most (not to mention it would be done on a much better paper and possibly even in a hardcover for additional 10-20$). So I dircted my attention elsewhere.

Now, personally I dislike single issues. They’re short, annoying to handle, require some stupid bags and boards to keep them safe and their price is inflated. But in this case, it seemed the only way to go. Especially, since I noticed that the higher the page count, the cheaper price per page (since there’s a basic fee included in there too  that otherwise would be multiplied among a larger number of issues) and there was another thing. For some reason, at Ka-Blam, stapled books cost a lot less to print than trades do. Yes, lower page count etc. but that’s not what I’m thinking about. The price per page is lower.  Now, it is difficult to calculate the actual price per page in this case (as it seems to fluctuate a bit), but it appears to be somewhere in the 4.5-5cent range. And a color page in trade paperback format costs 13.5cent!

That’s a BIG difference!

This made me look over the stories and come up with a pretty simple idea. Do it as 48-52 page issues. This way the comics have a considerable page count, enough to tell a nice chunk of the story, the issue count is kept fairly low (basically halved) and I can keep the price at a level of let’s say 6.50-7$.

This idea also  opened another possibility for me. Single issue self-contained tales. Color Graphic Novellas? Perhaps I could call them that.

As I am writing this, I’ve been looking through unfinished scripts for yet another project, and it seems it would fit perfectly into a 7 chapter long series formatted that way. Another one fits into 13 chapters, and there’s perhaps 20 or 30 others that would form nice separate books.

This is something I’ll have to look deeper into.

Options chosen…

5 09 2008

It appears my great POD search is over for now. After asking here and there and reading through several websites, faqs, blog posts and comments, forum posts etc. I have decided that right now (and hopefully in half year when I’ll be assembling Din Krakatau into a book form) there will be two choices to go with.

Ka-blam and Lulu.

Now, why these two? Well how about why not any others?

I’ve looked quite extensively into Blurb as a potential place to produce an artbook for myself, perhaps offer it for sale too. Their wonderful 13×11 landscape hardcover format looks… well, wonderful. I’ve heard their quality is pretty high and that now they ship worldwide and all. Except there’s one catch. No paypal.While getting a card that’s accepted for online shopping is not impossible, I am certainly not going to publish books through them as they currently pay only through checks. Well thank you very much, but if I sell two books in a month and make let’s say 20$ on them, 15$ will be eaten by whatever local bank agrees to accept the foreign check. Fuck that, I’ll wait.

That leaves me with Lulu for all my artbook/hard cover graphic novel options. While they don’t have 13×11, they do have 8.25×10.75 casewrap hardcover which comes out roughly 3-5$ cheaper than the quite similarly sized “Blurb Portrait 8×10 hardcover. I’m also missing out on the 7×7 square format, but Lulu has two similar square formats except in softcover. Well, whatever, got to make some losses.

Meanwhile, I have also crossed ComiXpress off the list of potential comic book publishers. Apparently their expertise shines in single issue format, while their trades come with various issues, often are being shipped late and they’re also very very slow at adding the book to their online store (and that very slow can turn into never) and with filling the orders from that store. While these might be complaints from a loud group of unlucky customers, I don’t want to risk my nerves to make sure whether it is so or not.

That leaves me with much pricier Ka-blam (which is still waaay cheaper for color printing than Lulu). While they don’t offer hardcovers, they do offer custom sizes, so the format stops being a problem there.

Other places I visited over the last few days either had no online store (and basically offered to me only the possibility of ordering some amount of books for sale myself, not wise if I want to operate on a foreign market… foreign for me anyway) or had other limitations. Createspace search for example generated a large amount of “promo press releases” etc. all over the web… and also a couple blogs, mostly filled with quality/payment complaints from customers. Not to mention that I’d have to register with IRS (which supposedly means complicated paperwork for a foreigner, especially me who’s always lost in these things). Other places were for photo prints only, and one of these had so outrageous prices that I could do nothing but laugh at that and close the browser.

Or just the tab.

So, Din Krakatau shall be printed through Ka-blam. Further color projects… we’ll see, depending on their nature. If they’re more traditionally comicbooky, sure. If a bit more experimental or single, very labour intensive volumes that NEED to be in hardcover, then perhaps Lulu?

I know that my b&w volumes shall be collected through Lulu (once I draw any that is, haha). As for artbooks, I guess the 8.25×10.75 hardcover is the only choice here. Switching to the 6×9 format just to save 3$ doesn’t appeal to me, especially since most of my Digital artwork is created in a large enough format for the big hardcover.

Ok, I am starting to ramble randomly, time to switch this off.