Thursday, January 27, 2011

Final Hoax Hunters Charater Design, Post #100

Don't ask how I noticed this was my one hundredth post, because even I don't know. Nonetheless, this is it, marking not only the hundredth post, but an anniversary of sorts. My very first post came in January of 2009, previewing a three-page short Keith and I created for FutureQuake magazine.

What deserves more attention though is the character design for Jack, the last of JM's sketches for Hoax Hunters.

Jack is the story's straight man--the consummate pro who keeps the team and their work in order. Steve and I knew we needed a balance to Ken and Regan, and Jack fit the mold perfectly. Unlike his teammates, Jack doesn't have any special abilities or powers; he gets by on his intelligence and training alone. He's a bit uptight, but that's where his team compliments him: Ken and Regan keep him in touch with his lighter side.

We developed a pretty cool background for Jack which, unfortunately, won't be touched on too much in this opening arc. But, should Hoax Hunters take off, Jack's character arc will quickly be placed front and center as it is tethered pretty tightly to the overall mythology of the series.

I can't quite believe I'm saying this, but we are less than two weeks away from the release of Hack/Slash #1, and thus the release of part one of Hoax Hunters. Be sure to pick up your copy on February 9, and if you like Hoax Hunters, talk about it! And by that, I mean let Image know that you want more!

Also, speaking of February, it's turning out to be a somewhat busy month. Not only will Hoax Hunters see its release, but I'll be attending two cons. First up is Winter Con 2 at the Comic Vault; I'll be appearing Sunday, February 13 from 12-2 alongside Hoax Hunters co-creator Steve Seeley, Tim Seeley, and the awesomely talented Jenny Frison. Then, on February 20, I'll have a table at Dan Con, the biggest thing to hit Orland Park since the Best Buy on LaGrange Avenue opened.

In the meantime, I'll give a sneak peek of the first page of Hoax Hunters in the next week or so, then that'll be it for previews (the first part is only three pages long, after all). Until then, as always, thanks for reading!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Reincar(Nate) Incarnate

Here's a nice way to start out 2011: Reincar(Nate) has found a home at Viper Comics! Yep, the book I've been going on and on about will, in fact, be produced!

In case you missed it, the synopsis for the book is...

"Nate McCoy is an ordinary P.I. with an extraordinary ability—he can see and converse with prior versions of himself, the people he reincarnated from. With the help of Jameson (a Wild West lawman) and Alan (a 1960s accountant-turned-hitman), Nate works to solve his latest case, the disappearance of Tatiana Kreschen, a young superstar bowler. When Tatiana’s coach is found dead, Nate sees all roads leading to El Panda, local crime figure and reigning bowling champion—and the man Nate believes is responsible for his father’s murder. In his pursuit of El Panda, an unknown sniper guns down Nate, blasting a bullet straight to his head. Nate dies, briefly; when he comes to, he finds Jameson and Alan waiting. Together, they pursue the whereabouts of Tatiana and work to uncover who tried to deliver Nate “the big sleep.” All the while, Nate is forced to consider the grip the past has on him—a grip that also led to the downfall of his past selves.

Reincar(Nate) is a story about life, the afterlife, and the way in which the past—the way, way back past—has a knack of catching up with us."

Check out the first five pages here!

Suffice it to say, this is exciting news and not just for the obvious reason of the book finding a publisher. For starters, I've wanted to work with Viper for awhile now. I've heard so many good things about Jessie Garza, and working with people I can rely on has become a decisive factor in where I bring my work (or at least hope to bring it). I admire Viper's approach, they put time and attention into each book they do, similar to how Harry Markos operates Markosia. I've heard enough produce-and-dump horror stories (or produce and sit on indeterminately) to make me want to dodge those kind of dealings at all costs. Viper has an awesome catalog of titles, including Dead @ 17 and The Middleman, and I'm proud to be in that fold.

Also, having the ink dry on Reincar(Nate) gives me, finally, the opportunity to work on a long project with Keith Burns, who I think is an absolutely brilliant artist (just check out the art posted here for proof). Keith and I have been friends for some time now--he illustrated my first published comic, Rank and File, way back when. We've been trying and trying to get a project off the ground, but the stars haven't aligned. So not only do I get to pair with Keith, but the whole team is pretty awesome--Chris Beckett, who is quickly becoming an exclusive over at DC, is coloring the book, and the trusty workhorse Jim Campbell is on lettering duty.

The book is going to be published digitally initially, which is another nice thing about this project. One I've warmed up to, for sure. I'll admit--and I shared this with Jessie--that I was apprehensive at first. And the reason was based in my own inexperience: I simply didn't--and don't--know all that much about digital comics. I mean, I know how they operate and the main website providers, the nuts and bolts of things, but there's also enough that I don't know that caused me to pause. Knowing how to reach out to that market and promote the book was a big question mark--and I'm still thinking of ways on how to effectively do that. But these worries, like I said, come from my own lack of knowledge; the more I considered the opportunity, the more I realized how unique really is.

I may write a more extensive blog post on this at a later date, but those who follow me on Twitter know that I'm fairly outspoken on the comic industry's need to evolve and grow. Supporting creator-owned works (see a list below for some great ones I'm reading now) and their publishers is of paramount importance, and not just for obvious, selfish reasons; comics need a more diverse marketplace, it needs to bring in more diverse readers. If the industry is stronger, everyone wins. Pretty simple.

And with that fostering of creative diversity, the industry should be utilizing digital technology as much as it can (some publishers have been good at this--others, not so much). As shown last week, the readers purchasing comics digitally are overwhelmingly aimed at creator-owned books. Meaning they are a different audience than the direct-market, comic shop audience. Again, that's a good thing--we should all want more people reading comics.

Anyway, soapbox digression coming to a close: the point is that I'm looking forward to riding the digital wave and, hopefully, being part of a trend that pushes comics forward. Ah, just read what Mark Waid said about this whole thing--he's way more savvy and knowledgeable than I can ever hope to be.

For the time being, I'm floored that the book is going to be released, and that so many people have voiced their support of it. I love the script--the four issue arc you'll see (likely in Fall of this year) goes into some unexpected places and really has some characters that I think are easy to connect with (at least I've connected with them). Until then, keep on the lookout for other releases: Hoax Hunters on February 9, appearing in Hack/Slash #1, and Quarantined in the Spring!

*Oh, those creator-owned books are: The Sixth Gun, Chew, Hack/Slash, Locke and Key, and there's probably others I'm forgetting...