JKC's Fantasy Theater worklog

edited July 2011 in Work Logs
Things I'm working on at the moment:

Lady Spectra & Sparky webcomic: A retro-styled mother & daughter superhero team. This is all recycled material from my old minicomix, so all I'm doing is adding color and sometimes redoing the lettering. The current storyline, "City Held Hostage", was guest-drawn by my pal Dan way back when. He did a great job on the villain designs, and his cityscapes are just awesome.

Glorianna webcomic: Sexy sword & sorcery adventure. Also started out as recycled minicomix, but I ran out of old stuff, so now I'm doing a new page each week. "Crucible" is the current storyline, which is meant to be a bit of a payoff for long-time readers...finally getting around to explaining the mysterious prophecy that was laid out back in the first episode.

Lady Spectra & Sparky in "Cat-astrophe": A while back, my buddy Dave asked me to write a superhero script that he could draw up and use as a portfolio piece. He finished the first half, but then got sidetracked with various paying gigs, and we both kinda forgot about it. I recently pulled out the script and finished pages, and with Dave's blessing I'm going to draw the rest of it myself and publish it as a minicomic. Another artist buddy has been after me to let him ink something, so I may recruit his help on this one. Here's one of Dave's pages:
There's no way I could match his style, so I'm not even gonna try. I'll put his pages and mine in separate "chapters", maybe with some other material in-between, so the transition isn't so jarring.

Capella in "The Beast Within": Capella is a super-powered teen who doesn't particularly want to be a superhero. But trouble always seems to find her anyway. In this story, a sinister old lady uses a magic talisman to switch bodies with Capella. So Capella is stuck in the old lady's body, while the lady uses Capella's super powers to wreak havoc. Had a lot of fun trying to work out a semi-plausible way for Capella to defeat "herself". I'm drawing this one solo. The pencils are done, and I'm jumping around inking random bits. Here's the first page:

There's another project, where I was asked to come in and finish off a script that another writer started. Which is kind of weird and awkward, but an interesting challenge. More details on this later, probably.

On the bad news front, my pitch for an upcoming erotica anthology got rejected. Disappointing, but the editor was super nice and encouraging, so I can't feel too bad about it.

On the good news front, my latest Fantasy Theater minicomic (reprinting the Glorianna webcomic "Below") has gotten more gushingly positive comments than anything in recent memory...to the point that it's freaking me out a little. (Does that happen to anyone else? Something gets praised to the skies, and all you can think about is "Crap, I'm never going to be able to live up to that!" No? Okay, just me then.)



  • edited July 2011
    "On the bad news front, my pitch for an upcoming erotica anthology got rejected. Disappointing, but the editor was super nice and encouraging, so I can't feel too bad about it."

    I would like to hear more about this, as erotica is a genre I have an interest in, and no idea what kind of market exists for it.
  • Jason - It was this one:
    But alas, the deadline for submissions has already passed.
  • edited July 2011
    Ah, I'd have to get me a woman to work with, to contribute to that. :)  Which I totally respect as an editorial choice, but it's a shame, because I think I can do some rather female-friendly stories and images on my own. ;)
  • Started sketching out layouts for the unfinished Lady Spectra "Cat-Astrophe" story. The script was written years ago, so it's interesting to revisit it. I over-wrote it, as was my wont back then...a little too much going on per page. I am tempted to stretch the action out a little, let it breathe. But I will probably stick to the script, so the pages will be paced similarly to the ones already drawn.

    Script page:

    PANEL ONE: Spectra points towards the mall. Sparky runs in that direction.

    PANEL TWO: Leopard turns towards Spectra. She is concentrating on the robot.

    PANEL THREE: Spectra runs towards the robot. Leopard stands there looking offended.
    LEOPARD: ... HEY!

    PANEL FOUR: The robot looks down on Leopard.

    PANEL FIVE: Leopard shakes his fist up at the robot. We see a shadow falling over him as the robot's fist comes down towards him.

    The corresponding layout:

    I was amused to see that there's a bit later on in the script that I unconsciously recycled in the current Glorianna webcomic. The context is different enough that I think I can get away with using it twice. It'll give future scholars something to argue about: "Theories abound as to the significance of the recurring motif of heroes clambering up the arms of giants in Mr. Carrier's work..."
  • hah! Smut Peddler

    I was in the first few of those. The group came together out of Sequential Tart, although you didn't have to be a woman or partnered with one to participate. I did two stories with a gay man... I wrote about two woman having sex, which he drew, and he wrote a male/male sex scene which I drew.

    But the real genius of it, was that everyone got copies of the cover, and digital files to print their own copies. Everyone was responsible for however many they could sell. Keep your own profits.  I see that Spike is taking another approach. Good luck to her.

    Kevin, you had something in it too didn't you? Or do I mis-recall?
  • marv - yup, Karen O. and I had stories in #1 (superhero vs. vampire lady) and #3 (girl getting a tattoo). The DIY aspect of the printing was definitely a clever innovation. Although I remember feeling a little paranoid as I slinked into Kinko's in the wee hours of the morning to run off my copies. ;)

    It looks like they've got a lot of good people lined up for this new version, it should be pretty cool.
  • Brainstorming ideas for Lady Spectra & Sparky, my Silver Age-y mother & daughter superhero team. It's easy to fall into a rut with "Villain shows up and does bad stuff, heroes respond" -- it's a perfectly workable formula, but it's good to occasionally break it up with something more character-driven.

    "The Balance" (title subject to change)
    Paula Carson (aka Lady Spectra) gets called into a conference with Jill's (Sparky's) gym teacher. The teacher points out that Jill is an above-average athlete, particularly in the area of gymnastics. He thinks she's good enough to compete in tournaments, and maybe even make it to the Olympics.

    This gets Paula thinking. Becoming a competitive gymnast would take over Jill's life, and not leave much time for superhero stuff. But maybe that's not such a bad thing. Has she unfairly pushed Jill into the hero lifestyle? She might be happier (and certainly safer) doing something else.

    These musings are intercut with scenes of Jill at school, where we see that she is just naturally the sort of person who gets involved and tries to solve problems. Defends a small kid against a bully, drills a friend on her multiplication tables, etc. Could maybe go a little "heavier" and have her confront someone trying to sell drugs on the playground, or disarm an upset kid who brought a gun to school. The upshot of all this is that by the time Paula gets around to asking the question, it's a foregone conclusion that Jill will say, "No thanks, I like what I'm doing now."

    The biggest drawback to this story is that it's not necessarily very visually interesting. Nobody's in costume, and what action there is will be pretty mundane. Not a problem in general, but in the context of a superhero series, could be a bit of a hang-up. We'll see how it goes.

    "The Wedding Story" (title definitely subject to change)
    This one will be further down the road. I've been building towards a romance between Lady Spectra and her police liason, Lt. Bernie Kominsky. They've flirted a bit, and finally went out on a date. Eventually, it will get serious enough that they will decide to tie the knot.

    Paula and Bernie's official ceremony will be small and private. But then they'll have another one, a big splashy party in costume (with Bernie discreetly disguised in a domino mask) where they invite all their friends in the superhero community to participate. As is traditional for such things, the party will be crashed by a supervillain looking for revenge. In this case, it'll be Spectra's old enemy, the demon called Repo-Beast. Usually, his job is to "repossess" the souls of people who have cheated death, but this time he does the opposite: He tells all the worst souls in Hell that he will let them go free if they help him destroy Spectra & her guests. So you get hordes of Nazis, terrorists, serial killers, the Westboro Baptist Church (Lady Spectra: "But they're not dead!" Repo-Beast: "I didn't invite them, they just showed up."), etc. attacking the ceremony.

    Since I only have a handful of heroes in my little "universe", I'll be going around asking permission to feature as many creator-owned hero-types as I can squeeze in. Basically, a big ol' goofy romp, mass superhero mayhem in the Lee/Kirby tradition. I still have to figure out a climax -- the deciding moment of victory, preferably something achieved by Bernie and Spectra working together. Should be fun if I can pull it off.
  • Re: Your hesitation about "The Balance". The answer lies in the title. A low-action story adds balance to a superhero series. :)

    Re: Westboro Baptist. :)
  • So I noticed that this week's Glorianna webcomic is getting more hits than usual. Turns out I got linked on a message board for bondage enthusiasts. No biggie, whatever floats people's boats is fine by me. The funny part is, as I was drawing the scene where Glori is tied up, I was specifically thinking, "I should make this as matter-of-fact and unglamorous as I can, so it doesn't look like I'm pandering." Apparently, it didn't matter. ;-)
  • Everything is pandering, its just a matter who you're pandering to :) You can pander to readers of subtle profound literature. You can pander to bondage fans. If you're really good, you can pander to both!
  • So, I submitted a guest strip to Girls With Slingshots...me and 107 other people. :-O
    Ms. Corsetto has promised to put them all on the site, but only 5 will get the coveted "top of the page" feature spot. I don't think my odds are very good, but what the hell...
  • Re: the above, Danielle has put all the guest strip submissions up in a Flickr group, including mine:

  • Good deal!  And I like the bit about doing the taxes.
  • A webcomic I really like, Al Schroeder's MINDMISTRESS, recently ended. So I thought I'd do a pin-up as a congrats to Al for a great run. It's not finished yet, but I thought I'd show my process. This is all done in Photoshop:

    1. The rough. Very loose and scribbly, just trying to establish the pose and composition. Lots of moving and resizing elements until it feels right.

    2. The pencils. I know a lot of artists would do another pass to tighten up the details before going to "ink", but this is about as far as I usually carry things. Trying to keep some of the spontaneity through the process. That's Mindmistress herself in the center, natch, with her alter ego Lorelei Lyons on the left, and her A.I. "sidekick" Vicki at top right.

    3. The outlines. New layer, starting to "ink" in solid black. This is the part I enjoy least, very technical and tedious. Spotting blacks comes next, and that's the fun stuff.

    4. More outlines. I ink the other characters on separate layers, in case I want to move them around or put a "fade" effect on them or whatever.

    5. Here's where I'm at now. Lots of tweaking still needed (Lorelei is looking a little "google-eyed", etc. etc.)
  • edited July 2012
    Nicely put together.
    Your inks on Lorelei changed the distance on the nose and eyes from the pencils, but it still works.  I suffer from changes like that in my inks.
  • Starting to spot blacks, trying to get that "segmented chrome" look to the armor:

  • image
    So I finally got the inks finished, and threw on some text. Debating whether I want to go the extra mile and color it...
  • image
    And there's the colors. We'll see what Al thinks of it...
  • I was hanging out with my pal Steven Myers (F.E.D.S., Mutant Elf) at a con a few months back, and we talked about collaborating on something. He joked that we should do it "Marvel style"...he'd be Jack Kirby and do all the work, and I could be Stan Lee and take all the credit. I thought he was kidding, but I check my email the other day, and the crazy fool is doing it:


    All I have to do is deface it with sappy dialogue. "Face front, true believers!"
  • Here's another Steven Myers page, with dialogue added:


    In the last panel, Godmother is wielding the "D-Lobe Rifle"...which of course, is an anagram of "Rob Liefeld". Yes, we're having way too much fun with this.
  • So, Danielle Corsetto has put out another call for guest strips for "Girls With Slingshots", this time with a Halloween theme. I wrote up two ideas, and I was going to solicit you guys' opinions as to which I should go with. But in the cold light of morning, I think I'm pretty well set on Version Two. Version One is a) a little too in-jokey, b) kind of out-of-character, since Hazel isn't particularly geeky, and c) Danielle just did a Doctor Who joke in today's strip, so phooey. I still think it's funny, though.

    Opinions still welcome, natch.


    HAZEL and ZACH have just walked into Hazel's apartment. Both are a little tipsy. HAZEL is dressed as Doctor Who, in tweed jacket, bow tie, and fez. ZACH is dressed as Rory the Roman, in cheap plastic centurion armor. ZACH is starting to take off his helmet. HAZEL points at him accusingly.
    Woo. That was some party.
    Don't you dare take that costume off yet!

    HAZEL leads ZACH by the hand towards the bedroom. Both have silly grins on their faces.
    Come along, Pond, we've got slash fiction to re-enact!

    In the bedroom. HAZEL is sitting up on the bed, her jacket discarded and her bow tie untied. ZACH is leaning over her, holding a large vibrator, poised to do something naughty. Both of their heads are turned to look at the bedroom door, as something catches them by surprise. The distinctive shadow of a DALEK looms over them.
    Quick, Rory, use the sonic screw...

    The open bedroom door, as seen from ZACH and HAZEL's POV. MCPEDRO THE CACTUS marches in, carrying an egg whisk and a toilet plunger, in imitation of a DALEK.
    Exterrrrminate! Exterrrrminate!

    MCPEDRO, dejected, walks back out of the bedroom, dragging his props behind him. ZACH and HAZEL's hands can be seen pointing out of the doorway.
    Ach, try an' enhance the mood, an' see where it gets ye...


    HAZEL and JAMIE sit on the front stoop of their apartment building, with a large bowl of Halloween candy sitting on the step between them.
    Passing out candy? Really? It just seems so...suburban.
    C'mon, it'll be fun. Cute little kids in adorable costumes...

    A similar shot, but now a TRICK-OR-TREATER appears in the foreground. We can't see much of him yet, just the back of his head in silhouette. HAZEL views him with suspicion.
    T-OR-T #1:
    Trick or treat.
    What are you supposed to be?

    Now we get a good look at TRICK-OR-TREATER #1, from Hazel's POV. He's 14 or 15 years old, clearly too old for Trick or Treating, and hasn't bothered to dress up...he's wearing baggy jeans, a flannel shirt over a t-shirt, and a backwards baseball cap. He has a bored, arrogant expression. Standing a little further back behind him is his friend TRICK-OR-TREATER #2, who is similar, dressed in jeans and a hoodie. Both are carrying generic plastic grocery bags half-full of candy.
    T-OR-T #1:
    A sullen teenager who will egg your car if you don't cough up some damn candy.

    Closer view of HAZEL and JAMIE. Their expressions are deadpan as they give each other sidelong glances.
    Dang. He means business. Better give him one of the *extra-special* treats.

    The two TRICK-OR-TREATERS walk away from the building. T-OR-T #1 is rooting around in his goodie bag.
    T-OR-T #2:
    What did you get, man?
    T-OR-T #1:
    Couldn't see, but it was pretty big. Better not be an apple...

    Close up of the plastic bag as MCPEDRO THE CACTUS pops out, yelling angrily. We can see TRICK-OR-TREATER #1's hand in the frame, with several cactus needles sticking out of it.
    T-OR-T #1:
    Git a job, ye baggy-trousered delinquent!
  • So I'm taking inventory of story pages, with an eye towards collecting them into TPBs. With print on demand, there's no reason not to, right? At worst, nobody ever buys any and the only thing I've spent is the time to assemble them.

    I've got upwards of 400 pages of Lady Spectra material, which is enough for 2 or 3 good-sized books, depending on how much supplemental material I want to include. Or, since the series isn't heavily continuity-based, I could cherry pick and just do one really solid "Greatest Hits" collection. I'm torn...existing fans would probably want the whole ball of wax, even the cruder early stuff. But you want to put your best foot forward to win over new people. Hmm.

    Anyway, I was playing around with cover ideas. This would be a manga-size digest book.

    Front cover:


    Back cover:

    I was thinking if I did go the multi-volume route, each one could have an alliterative sub-title: "Monsters & Madmen", "Friends & Fiends", "Sense & Sensibility", that sort of thing.
  • Another bit of fan-art, this time for Alan Evans' wrestling strip "Rival Angels":
    I'm trying to do more of these, since they always give a nice boost to my pageviews. But only for strips that I am actually a fan of...I may be a crass opportunist, but I have my limits! ;)
  • One more bit of fan art for the year:

    When I realized that the last page of the current Glorianna storyline would go live the Friday before Xmas, I adjusted it a little to make it appropriate for the season:
  • Putting the finishing touches on Fantasy Theater #23. It's gonna be a bigger than normal issue -- 52 pages -- and I'm probably going to go POD with it (instead of the usual photocopying). Interiors are all done, just need to sort out the covers. Steven Myers pencilled a fun piece for the front, which I just finished inking:



    Still need to color this, and come up with something for the back.
  • Just so you know... I added your Lady Spectra  / Bomb Queen pin-up to my deluxe trade edition (I think it'll be out in April).

    I'll send you a copy when I get my comps.

    Speaking of trades.... you're right to think about putting something together for Fantasy Theater.  400 pages of material is nothing to shake a stick at.
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