Category Archives: Projects

Stuff I’m working on

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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Really, it’s nearly August?

Been a while since I’ve been here. The good news is that I’ve been busy doing cool stuff! So I’ll try to give you the readers digest version here, and then longer later.

CitizensProfilePicFacebook

Citizens by Roland Mann and Joe Badon

So I’m happy to announce that Wizard World Conventions have added me to five—yes, that right, FIVE of their upcoming shows. They are: Nashville on September 25-27, Ft. Lauderdale on Oct 2-4, Greenville on July 15-17 2016, Raleigh NC TBD 2016, and Orlando Aug 5-7 2016. Yes, I’m very excited about these shows. I’ve never done a comic show in any of those cities except Orlando.

Others shows I’ll be at: Mt. Dora on Sept 19, Daytona Beach ComicCon on Dec 6, and of course, I’ll be presenting at the Florida Writers Conference on Oct 15-18. SO, mark those dates on your calendar and come see me.

AND, depending on how quickly we can get them done, hopefully there will be some new projects to show you. First and foremost, I’m … just … moments … away … from launching a kickstarter campaign for the CITIZENS graphic novel I’m working on with super talented artist Joe Badon. Oh, trust me, you’ll hear about it here when it happens. I’m told I have to “media blitz” when it’s happening…so, don’t hate me when it happens. Heck, I’m going to depend on YOU to help me.

Panel from an upcoming graphic novel with artist Deonna Herrold.

Panel from an upcoming graphic novel with artist Deonna Herrold.

In a really wild story of how they met, I started working with up and coming artist Deonna Herrold on a graphic novel. I’ll tell you that story later, but here’s a peek at one panel from a page she’s done. She’s all high-tech on the computer, but it’s been very cool to watch her process.

I’m also excited to tell you that I have two new graphic novels now available in either print OR digital.

KreyGN cover

Krey Graphic Novel

Krey collects the five issue mini-series published by Caliber Press, and

DemonsTailsGNCOVER

Demon’s Tails Graphic Novel

Demon’s Tails collects the four issue mini-series published by Adventure. So what are you waiting on? Click the links and go buy a copy!

I’m also working with a couple of other artists that I don’t want to mention yet for fear of jinxing the projects…it’s way early anyway, but I’m still pretty excited about the prospects!

Oh…and I joined a writers group again. First time in a long time, but I’m pretty stoked about it.

Okay, there’s the update. Until next time!

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The Old is…Published: The SadoMannequin

SadoCoversmallOne of the interesting things about creating as a writer is that projects are dead…until they’re not. The one I’ll tell you about today is one of those.

Available now (that’s a hint to you to go click on the link and purchase a copy!) is THE SADOMANNEQUIN. Now, don’t let the sexy image fool you, it’s NOT an “adult” comic. In fact, the story is a very Twilight-Zone kind of story. In a nutshell, a new security guard starts his job at a warehouse and is warned to stay out of the warehouse. Of course, weird things happen and he discovers the moonlight brings mannequins to life. Of course, he’s a dude so he doesn’t just choose any mannequins. He was, after all, warned!

The story is not an original one by me but an adaptation of the short film SadoMannequin by the now defunct PopGunProductions. PopGun was Jim Torres and Corey Hannah, two guys that I met while we were living in Florence, Alabama. The weird thing was Corey was working at the also-now-defunct Blockbuster Video when I first met him. Then, when I met PopGun thanks to Terry Pace, I put two-and-two together (and y’all know that’s tough for me to do).

After I saw some of their work, I immediately saw the talent of the two filmmakers and when they mentioned comic adaptation, I jumped all over it. They were already talking about feature length films and making it relevant to the local area and I was all about that.

Time is too far removed for me to remember the exact details, but my recollection is that they had someone who was about to invest in them, and part of what they were going to do with that money was print the comics. The idea was, of course, to package the comics with a DVD to get some bonus material. There was also to be a short story by a young writer named Mark (something—I can’t remember his last name now). Truthfully, I don’t recall whether Mark ever completed the story or not, but I printed an Ashcan version in 2001—it’s a real collector’s item now!

sadoSTILL3

This is a still from the film

But for some reason the money never materialized and the book sat finished but only existing in ashcan format. It stayed in my files until recently the realization came to me that with advances in technology and the whole digital revolution, there was nothing stopping me from getting this to press.

So that’s how it happened.

The story is adapted by me with pencils by Kris Hsieh (who’s now a lawyer with his own firm!), inks by Chuck Bordell, letters by Mike Belcher with the cover (the art you see) by Dave Roberts colored by Shawn Murphy (who I have no idea where he is now).

Go buy it. Digital or print! It’s a fun read.

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2015 to come

Well, last week I rehashed some of the highlights of 2014 for me. This week, I’ll talk about what I’m looking forward to in 2015. Thus far, I’ve got two appearances lined up, but I’m optimistic more will happen. I’m always on the lookout!

In early April, I’ll be a comic guest at MegaCon and will be in Independent Press Row with my friend and hot new comic writer Wes Locher. If you’re in the Orlando area and you like all things geek, you can’t not be at MegaCon!

My other planned appearance is the Florida Writers Conference in Orlando in October. The details aren’t finalized yet, but I’ll be giving a presentation or two and probably be on a panel or two. Last year was my first and it was fantastic! I’m very excited to be returning.

I’m hoping the new year will bring me some news of the two projects I have floated about: Cat & Mouse and Beah. If I haven’t finished them by the time of this writing, I hope to get two other pitches circulating which I’ve told you about: Citizens and The Rejects. Just click on the titles to go “like” the Facebook pages for each of them where you can find art and updates on the projects.

I’m excited that Trumps has new life in it because Anthony Pereira emerged and is alive and well—and drawing the 2nd issue. Plus, I’m hoping to announce an inker on the project soon!

I’ve hinted at it before, but I’m working with a publisher to try to come to a happy agreement to see The Gifted come to fruition. While I’ve written it as a novel, he’s very interested in pursuing it as a graphic novel. The challenge is to find a way to get the art done for the small press. I’m very optimistic about it because the publisher seems to want it to happen.

I’ve also talked to artist Kevin Tuma about doing a Champion one-shot. Tuma wants to publish the work himself, so I’m excited about seeing that happen.

I briefly mentioned this a few months ago, but I “internet-met” a talented artist who is a martial arts student of a good friend of mine. I don’t know her that well (I did say “internet met”) and I don’t think she’s a huge comic fan, but her pencil work is astounding! So I hope to finish putting together a pitch for a sci-fi piece with newcomer Gabriella Rossetti.

Around Y2K I did a short comic adaptation of a short film by some folks in the Muscle Shoals area. Thanks to the changes in digital technology, I’m going to see that it becomes available. It’s being colored by my old Malibu colleague Albert Deschesne.

Speaking of older work, I’m in the process of collecting some of my older work and making them available as both a compilation and in digital format. Works to be collected will include Demon’s Tails, Krey, and some others.

Something else I want to do is an anthology that collects some of my shorter comic work. I’ve only got a couple at this point, but I’m hoping to get some others done.

I’ve talked to a few other artists who expressed interest in putting something together: Patrick Rolo did some work with me back in the Malibu days and Moye Daniel almost did some work with me…but disappeared. Both of them have reappeared, so I’m hoping we can make something happen.

Lastly, I really hope to finish my Cat & Mouse novel and send it to an agent who has already agreed to read it. I’m more than 30,000 words into it, I just need to get BIC!

So…as you can see, quite a bit of stuff that I’m excited about that will hopefully make 2015 an exciting year!

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