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Stuff I’m working on

Catch-up con report

Brittany, Chris Ulm, and me at SDCC2017

I haven’t done a con report since MegaCon, and that was back in June. So this will be a catch-up Con report!

In July I did the Orlando Collect-A-Con in Altemonte Springs. It was a fun show and I’m already planning a return there for next year! Also in July, I went out to San Diego Comic Con for the second year in a row (thanks to my buddies at Ka-Blam!). I got to see many old pals, including my former boss and Malibu Editor-in-Chief, Chris Ulm!

Steven Butler, Barry Gregory, me, John Crowther

I was no sooner back from SDCC when my other old pal, Steven Butler was in town for a convention in Tampa. I rode out there with old pal Barry Gregory and we were joined by new pal John Crowther for a fun dinner and lively chat!

In early August, Jeff Whiting and I made the long trip up to Pikeville, KY for the inaugural Pikeville ComicCon. We had a blast. What an awesome first show it was. Got the chance to meet a lot of new people there. Got my fingers crossed for an invite back to the second one—yes, it was that cool of a show!

Stephen Rosys, Jeff Whiting, Cody Barker, Todd Goodman, Mike W. Belcher, Me, Aiden Belcher

In late August, I went to the Orlando Infinity Con. This was my second time to be there and this is one of the closest ones to my home, so it’s very easy to do.

I had planned to do the Lake Collect-A-Con in October, a show I’ve done before and look forward to doing again, but my band chaperone mishap the day before (you can read about it here if you missed it) kept me from attending. Yes, I basically laid around the house and moaned all day. If you don’t believe me, ask BJ. I’ve been to LCAC twice, and I’m looking forward to making the third one next year.

I had help a few weeks later, though, as Brett supplied the muscle to get me in the door at Emerald City Comic Fest, another inaugural show. This one, too, was very good. One thing I really liked about it was that admission was free! Not sure how the show managed to pull that off, but the free admission got a whole host of folks in, some comic fans and some just curious to see what all the noise was about. Met some new folks, but had the chance to catch up with Dave again, who always brings me something to sign when he comes to a show I’m at. I think I’ve signed more books for Dave than any other single person. He brings me books I’ve forgotten I worked on!

Barry Gregory, John Crowther, me!

Another fun thing about ECCF is that The Geeky Mom set up right beside me! (that’s BJ, for those of you with raised eyebrows right now!)

Central Florida is a great place to be if you like comics, comic conventions, and meeting comic creators!

Coming up, I’ll be at Smashcon on November 18th and unless I can work out a show for early December (trying to, but it may not happen), that’ll be my last show for the year.

 

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Happy New Year and looking ahead to 2017

cmcoloredHappy New Year everyone! I know some of you are ready to put 2016 behind you, but I’m ever the optimist so I’m anticipating 2017 to be a great year. I’ll add the obligatory “I can’t believe it’s 2017 already! Where has the time gone?”

I don’t have a lot of convention appearances lined up just yet, but one is fairly immediate. On Jan 19-20, I’ll be a guest at Auburndale City Con (near Lakeland, FL). The other shows I have lined up are: Daytona Beach Comic Convention on April 23, MegaCon in Orlando in May, Wizard Orlando in August. I’ll do something for FCBD (Free Comic Book Day) in May, but don’t have that hammered down yet. Wherever I end up, it’ll likely be with my pal Barry Gregory—three years running. Last year his lovely and talented wife, Jenni joined us, as did Thomas and Rene Florimonte. So, I’ll be somewhere, just not sure where yet. I hope to add a few more shows to the list, and I’ll be sure to let y’all know.

silverblade-cover-posterOn the family front, Brittany is starting 2017 off in LA as she seeks work there. I’m anxious to learn all that she’ll be getting to do this year and anticipate seeing her on the screen before the year is up! Brett will become a senior this year—OH MY!—and he’s becoming quite the young man. I know I’ve mentioned it before, but one of my weekly (mostly) pleasures is my Friday night game session with Brett. Now that Brittany is in LA, she’s talked about joining us…if she can figure out the time difference. BJ’s still working hard on her Young Living business venture and we’re both pretty excited to see what’s in store for her there. If you haven’t “liked” her FB page yet, I’ll ask that you please go do it now: CLICK HERE!

I’m pretty excited about several things on the creative front. I’m working on two projects with long time friend and artist Dean Zachary. I’ll give you more as they develop, but a peek at them looks like: the first we’re calling SilverBlade and the high concept is Indiana Jones meets John Constantine. Joining me and Dean on SilverBlade is Barbara Kaalberg on inks and Thomas O’Connor on colors. You should see an image on this page somewhere. The second project Dean and I are working on is a revamp of Cat & Mouse, a series I did with the talented Mitch Byrd (and Steven Butler on some of the early issues) back in the late 80s/early 90s. Dean and I have made changes and updates, obviously, but the spirit will remain. The first story is about human trafficking, something I’m pretty passionate about. While Barb inked the image you see on this page, we’ve got another super-talented inker in mind to join us here, and the coloring is done by Kevin Gallegly.

Demon's Tails Ad

Demon’s Tails Ad

I can’t mention C&M without folks thinking about Demon. I’m excited to say that Paul Pelletier has agreed to reunite with me and produce a second Demon’s Tails mini-series. As I write, we’re still working on the story details, and—of course—the story will have to move at Paul’s pace, but I’m excited that we’re getting started on it. Thomas Florimonte has agreed to round out the reunited team as inker. So, yeah, I’m pretty excited about it. Long time pal Barry Gregory colored the image you see here, and we’re currently planning for it to be part of the Gallant Universe where Barry and Steven have just wrapped up their incredible John Aman, Amazing Man series. If you haven’t seen it, you need to check it out!

There’s nothing really specific that I can mention, but I’ve been talking to Barry about some pretty cool comic-related projects. I’m looking forward to more on that end. Sorry about being so mysterious about it. You know that you’ll be the first to know when I can talk about it…but the possibilities are pretty exciting.

Hope your year looks to be as exciting as mine. Happy New Year one and all!

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Tiny Kickstarter and MegaCon

Two things to talk about in my blog today. I’ll be at MegaCon…but please allow me to tell you about the Tiny Kickstarter first!

Cover to Tiny #1

Cover to Tiny #1

Today is the launch of a Kickstarter for a comic project titled Tiny. I talked about it last week here (click here) and told you how I met Deonna and how the project actually came about. This week I’ll tell you a little about the story itself and will ask you to go pledge to the Kickstarter where you can snag copies for yourself.

The basic levels give you the comic—of course. But, for those of you who are art fans, you can get a quick sketch done in your comic by Deonna and you can even get her to do a more finished piece of work. For you serious comic art fans, we’ve had a few super-talented artists kick in a piece of art to help us reach our goal. You’ll find beautiful drawings of Tiny by Jenni Gregory, Jim Hall, and Dean Zachary. And you can own them—but there is only one of them (one from each artist, I mean), so you’d better act fast!

MEGACON16_profileWhile I’m talking about great art, but sure to head over to Deonna’s art page on Facebook and give her a “like.” You can find it at https://www.facebook.com/deonnaherroldart/

So, please go check out our kickstarter and give it some consideration. I think you’ll like what you see. Here’s the link:http://buff.ly/1TFFQXt

DreamWalkercover by Jenni Gregory

DreamWalkercover by Jenni Gregory

ALSO, MegaCon starts TODAY and runs through Sunday. This will be my fifth MegaCon, my fourth in a row. I first attended MegaCon in 1998 when I went to Orlando and visited my pal Tony Fortenberry. He was my tour guide the entire time. Then, when I moved to Orlando, I got hooked up with them again and have been every year since.

John Aman Amazing man by Gregory and Butler

John Aman Amazing man by Gregory and Butler

You can find me in artist alley at A263. Deonna will be there with me and we’ll have copies of Tiny #1 you can pick up from us and get us both to sign it! Also there will be my pals Barry Gregory who does John Aman, The Amazing Man; Jenni Gregory, who does Dreamwalker; Jeff Whiting, who does Extraterrestrial (I’ve got a story in there, too!); and a whole host of others. Come out and see us and get some cool comics! And oh! Autographs are always free!

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Introducing Tiny

Tiny, scared and alone.

Tiny, scared and alone.

I’m very excited to tell you about a new comic project and to give you a peek at what’s to come. But first, let me tell you how it came about.

Comic projects for me have always come about in different ways. Sometimes it’s that I have an idea and I look for a collaborator, but more often than not, it’s that I meet an artist and then the project comes together as a result of a friendship or conversations, etc.

Many of you are aware of my daughter Brittany’s acting—many of you have rallied and given her likes and shares when I’ve asked…and thank you for that…but it’s actually her acting that got Tiny off the ground.

Tiny and the troll mom

Tiny and the troll mom

Brittany had been to Disney a few times to audition for one of the performance roles. It’s an interesting process that I won’t go in to now, but she ended up meeting and befriending Deonna Herrold, who was there for the same reason. I don’t remember exactly how it all came about, but Brittany said she’d talked to her and that Deonna had “an interest” in drawing comics.

Now, because of my time in comics, I’ve heard that…a lot. I’ve also heard people tell me they have an interest in “being a writer.” So when I hear that, I generally just shrug. I’ve got an interest in being an astronaut, too.

But Brittany continued talking with her and eventually showed me a piece of Deonna’s art. I was pretty floored, and after seeing more, I had Brittany ask her how serious she was in her “interest.”

Turns out, she was VERY serious!

One of Tiny's rescuers!

One of Tiny’s rescuers!

The first time I met Deonna, she showed me a sketchbook chock full of art and it was clear to see the Disney influence on her work. So I did what I often do when talking with artists and asked her what sort of story she’d like to draw. She had a lot of interests (what creator doesn’t, right?), but she was very interested in fairy tales. And so because I always want my artist collaborators to enjoy the story they’re working on, and not knowing a whole lot of fairy tales, I did some research.

There are some really strange fairy tales out there, let me just leave it at that.

So I pieced together three that I thought would be fun to do and visually interesting to draw (as an artist) and see (as the reader) and pitched them to her. She selected what is now Tiny.

Baby Tiny

Baby Tiny

But here’s the cool thing—and this demonstrates just how serious Deonna is—the first issue—a full 26 pages—is DONE! This time next week we’ll be launching our kickstarter to get the 2nd issue completed. As you can see from the art samples here, Deonna’s got the chops! We’ll be counting on all of you to help!

So what is Tiny? It’s our version of the classic Hans Christian Andersen story: Tiny must survive the trials of being Tiny and staying alive, all the while trying to find out who she really is.

Stay tuned for more info!

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Looking Ahead at 2016

Okay, I know this is about 14 days behind…but hopefully we’re all looking forward to a great year. I know I am, even if this post isn’t out the first week of January.

I’m still filling in the calendar for convention appearances this year, but so far I’m slated for these shows:

March 20th: Daytona Beach Comic Convention. This one day show is close to the beach, to the Daytona race track, and is on the campus at Embry Riddle. If you like comics, THIS is the show to attend. The last two shows I did here had more comic dealers than any of the “biggers” shows I attended all last year! I’ll be there, so come see me!

April 30-May 1: Lebanon MEGA Con. In Lebanon, Missouri, this is not only the debut of a new annual convention, but it’ll be my first ever appearance in the Show Me state! There’s also a bunch of wrestling guests slated to show up as well as comic artist Val Mayerik! So, for all my Missouri peeps, come out and see me! Lots of fun to be had.

May 26-29: MegaCon in Orlando, FL. This will be my sixth MegaCon, probably the show I’ve done more than any other single show except CoastCon in Biloxi, MS. The first time I did MegaCon was in 1998, then not again until 2012…and every year since. I notice their guest list isn’t updated, but I’ll be back in Artist Alley this year, hopefully beside my pals Barry and Jenny Gregory (maybe Thomas Florimonte?) and Wes Locher. It’s a four day show this year, so make your plans now!

Aug 5-7: WizardWorld Orlando. Yep. You read that right. WizardWorld is coming to Orlando this year…and I’m excited. You already know that I’ve done several Wizard shows and my thoughts on this extremely professionally run show! This is a great thing for Orlando. I expect this guest list to continue to grow—I mean, who doesn’t want to come to Orlando, right?

Nov 20: Clermont (FL) Comic Con. Not sure how long this one has been going, but I heard great things about the ’15 version of it, and so I’m very happy to have been added to the guest list for the ’16 show. All of you central Florida folks who want to avoid the mega shows should check out this one! I’ll see you there!

Creatively, there are a couple of projects that are moving forward that I’m pretty excited about. The first—and we’re planning for it to be available by MegaCon in May, is TINY, a re-telling of the Thumbelina fairy tale by me and newcomer artist Deonna Herrold. Check out some of her fantastic work here. Also, here’s a sneak peek at one of her pages. I’ll be posting more as we get closer. I gotta say this: it’s looking GREAT!

A second project that’s going to happen is one with my pal and artist extraordinaire, Dean Zachary. I’m sure most of you comic folks know who Dean is already—which is why I’m so excited to be working with him. No art for this one—that I can show you—just yet. But you’ll have to trust me on this one…WOW!

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Kickstarter reflection (or, part 4)

Did you miss me? I missed me. As I tell my students and writers conference attendees, there’s no real good reason for not writing. And while I don’t really consider this blog my “writing,” it is part of my writing process, something which helps keep my creative juices going.

Well, that…and reading. Reading a lot.

But it seems one thing or another has kept me from writing here. One of those things, I think, was wrapping up the Kickstarter segments. For pure transparency, I was a bit bummed we didn’t make it…and then afterwards, Joe had to move on to other projects, which effectively kills Citizens as is. That said, I DO have good news on other projects fronts, and I hope to be talking about two of them very soon!

But even though I finished the posts, I wanted to actually reflect a little on the campaign.

One of the telling things about running a Kickstarter campaign is that it becomes very clear where the “support” comes from. While you can get anonymous donors (I had a couple), most support and then get on board to help the campaigners get the word out. The supporters of Citizens did just that. There were some who I felt went above and beyond trying to help me and Joe make our goal—I saw multiple posts from them telling people to go check it out. Of course, I’m incredibly thankful for those people!

I think the biggest surprise to me from the entire thing was the overwhelming lack of support from the Christian community. Most of you here know that about me. I don’t blog a lot about my faith…I try to live it more than talk about it—though sometimes I do. Of course, you know too, that I fail a lot on “being” a Christian. I guess that’s just part of my path. But after my “religious conversion,” I tried to immerse myself in the “Christian creative community.” As a new believer, I wanted to be a part of it. I bought books, comics, movies, and music that I didn’t know existed. Most of it really bad, but I wanted to support it so that I could see it improve. Sad to learn it’s a one way street.

Will I do another kickstarter? Yeah, I’m pretty sure I will. In fact, I’m already thinking of them. One KEY factor is that the art is going to have to be mostly done so that the delivery date is closer. That, and I’m going to push harder for earlier pledges. So if you pledged to Citizens, I’ll be coming to you again asking you to support the next one. If the project looks interesting to you, I’ll ask that you pledge early–because it helps generate heat on the KS campaign.

Okay…now back to writing…and grading. Lots of grading.

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I’m counting on all of you!

CitizensProfilePicFacebookIf all goes according to plan, next Tuesday I’ll do something I’ve never done: I’ll launch a Kickstarter campaign to raise the money to fund my new graphic novel, Citizens. In a word, yeah, I’m a little nervous about it, but I’m excited at the same time.

For those of you who don’t know about Kickstarter, it is one of the premier “crowd source funding” websites. (One of the other major sites is indiegogo, but I found there were more film projects there and more comic/graphic novel projects on Kickstarter) Kickstarter is an all-or-nothing deal. Which means, we either get all of the money we’re trying to raise…or we get none of it.

I say “we,” because Citizens is a collaborative effort with artist Joe Badon. Joe’s run several campaigns before and has been very supportive of all my nervous-nelly emails. He hasn’t come right out and said it, but I keep expecting him to tell me, “Chill, Roland. It’s all good!”

Some of you might be thinking: why do you need money? Just do it. It takes time to pencil, ink and color a graphic novel—and that’s what he’s doing. Which is really the lion’s share of the work. Yeah, yeah, writing it is hard work, too, but it takes me much less time to do it than it does those three jobs—and Joe is doing ALL THREE of them. He can’t just stop his life not get any money! How would he pay his bills? How would he eat? THINK OF THE CHILDREN!

cover to the CITIZENS graphic novel

Seriously, though, I wish I could tell you I was independently wealthy, but that’s just not the case. If it were, I’d just “hire” Joe and be done with it. But then I’d still have to PRINT it and SHIP it…and that costs money, too.

So basically Kickstarter acts a bit like a “pre-order” system. We’ll crank up the campaign and then you’ll decide which “level” to pledge: each level comes with a “reward,” the focus being you get a copy of the Citizens graphic novel. So yeah, you’re pledging money, but you’re also getting something for that money…and you’re helping me and Joe get it done.

So, it comes down to this: I’m going to be depending on YOU to help us make it happen. That means, yeah, I’d like you to consider pledging—as a writer, I’m really hoping you’ll enjoy the story—but I’m REALLY going to count on your telling YOUR pals via your social networks to go pledge. Tell them you know me and I’m a pretty swell guy (most of the times)…and that THEIR cool factor is upped if they support one of your friends!

It should happen Tuesday…so expect to hear from me again. 🙂

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