Unusual Storylines: Thinking Outside The Box

Posted at June 18, 2013 by admin

There’s something you should know about me before we go any further: in addition to being a comics fan, I’m also a music fan.  This leads to some tight budgeting around the house, as I try to squeeze in comics, CDs (yes, I still buy them), and tickets for shows while still leaving cash for items like food and soap.  That’s why, whenever comics and music blend, I’m in heaven–except for the 1997 series Kiss: Psycho Circus. Are we really going to believe that Gene Simmons and gang are elemental beings from the beginning of time?  Not after Gene Simmons Family Jewels, we’re not. Kirby Krackle is a Seattle band that plays catchy rock songs based on comics, such as “Ring Capacity,” told from the perspective of Green Lantern.  In true comic-book-geek fashion, their name comes from the rough circular dots first used by Jack Kirby to represent negative space in different energy illustrations.  The band’s released two albums so far2009′s Kirby Krackle, with hits like “Zombie Apocalypse” and “Tony Stark,” and 2010′s E for Everyone, which features “Ring Capacity” along with “Secret Identity,” “Great Lakes Avengers,” and many (well, 8) more. For those who prefer a little more beat in their music, check out the hip-hop stylings of Adam WarRock.  Named after Adam Warlock, a cosmic character created in 1967 by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby.  His surreal tracks touch on important issues like falling in love with a zombie girl and the problems of being left out of the Dr. Who fandom.  You can download more than 70 tracks from his website, and purchase his debut album The War For Infinity if you feel so inclined.  He also takes requests to perform at local comic shops. Besides musicians singing about comics, there have been plenty of fine comics about music.  One of my favorites is Hopeless Savages by Jen Van Meter, with art by Bryan Lee O’Malley, Christine Norrie, Chynna Clugston, Ross Campbell, and others.  The series is about the Hopeless-Savage family, made up of parents Dirk Hopeless and Nikki Savage and the children, Rat Bastard, Arsenal Fierce, Twitch Strummer, and the youngest, Skank Zero.  Dirk and Nikki were punk rockers in the 1970s and have tried to adapt as best they can to domestic life.  However, their histories, and the individual personalities of each child, don’t always make this easy.  No matter what the struggles are, the family always comes through in the end.  Check out the newly released Hopeless Savages: Greatest Hits for the complete series to date. Also check out Keiron Gillen’s and Jamie McKelvie’s Phonogram series.  Published as two different miniseries, direct tv new haven, the story follows mages who use Britpop music to work their magic.  The first volume, Rue Britannia, follows one main character, David Kohl.  The second, The Singles Club, is a series of one-shots, each one centering on a particular phonomancer during one night at a club.

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Overburdening The Story With Too Much Plot

Posted at April 10, 2013 by admin

Avoid the Syndrome of Too Much Plot
Writing a story needs a central point of view. The point of view isn’t the author’s personal opinion. It’s the opinion of the plot that gives impetus to the purpose for writing a specific story. Writers need to remind themselves they are always writing to their readership. When plot exceeds the necessary limits of detail, readers grow disinterested. They may skip a few important chapters to read on until they uncover the central point of view.

How to Avoid Overburdening Plots
Weighty plots can reveal an author’s writing weaknesses. (more…)

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Characters That Mirror People You Know

Posted at June 27, 2012 by admin

Barbara Pym writes about Excellent Women. Excellent women are single, talented, extremely self sufficient, kind, giving and capable. They rise to any occasion and help generously when asked or when they see there is a need. They are steady, reliable, refined, polite and concerned with propriety.

Society shamelessly uses them. Men sometimes ask outrageous things of them and think nothing of it. “My wife has left me. We had a needless argument and she has gone off, I believe with another man. Will you write to her for me? Ask what we are to do. I am undone by it (more…)

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Personalizing Characters To Appeal To The Reader

Posted at January 5, 2012 by pmirek

Characters, such as a protagonist and a villain are important elements to make a successful story. Protagonists are the main characters, and they will face conflicts and complications before they find the solution or be successful. The obstacles they face come from the antagonists, opposite characters who obstruct the main characters from reaching their goals. Both are necessary to move the plot and to create scenes for your story.

Protagonists or heroes, as well as villains, need to be personalized in order to engage the readers. Several techniques can be used to personalize your characters to make them appeal to your readers, such as:

Differentiating their clothing. This can be done using specific colors of the clothing they wear, as well as the clothing design and how they wear it. For instance, the loopy baseball cap and sagging baggy pants.

Showing their physical characterization. For instance, show their height, weight, and a specific hairstyle, such as long or short like an army style haircut.

Differentiating characters through their dialogue. Do they use fragments in their conversations, or do they use long sentences when conversing? Through dialogue, readers are able to recognize their voices and to differentiate them.

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Creating Characters That Are Real And Engaging

Posted at December 24, 2011 by admin

Creating engaging characters and keeping a that story real is is important in any story. There should be something to which the reader can relate. How can your characters stay compelling and real? In a word: details.

Back story can be really important, even if you don’t share it with your readers right away. Where was your character born? What did your character like or not like in school? Did they go to school? What were your (more…)

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Creativity And The Art Of Humor

Posted at December 12, 2011 by admin

The ability to find the humor in the mundane or even not so funny situations in life makes life comical. It takes a creative mind to view life in this way. It’s more than the silver lining. For example, comedian Jerry Seinfeld can find the humor in a conveyor belt, an airline flight and even varying ways of being laid to rest. This creativity is also essential in the retelling of the humor in such a way that others understand (more…)

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What small press comic creators can learn from punk

Posted at January 24, 2011 by www.smallpresscomics.com

Small press comics are directly related to zinesgenerally self-published works with small circulation and a goal of exposure over profit. Most small press comics creators are aware that their properties are unlikely to end up on the front page of www.directstartv.com, but that’s part of the charm of these DIY publications. Many groups have produced zines successfully through the years, from Benjamin Franklin’s self-published literary magazine (distributed at a Pennsylvania hospital) to science fiction authors. One of the best-documented zine communities, though, can be found among punk fans and musicians. These creators set an example of how works can be cheaply distributed in the modern day. (more…)

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“Emitown” re-energizes an indie comics trope

Posted at September 27, 2010 by www.smallpresscomics.com

The autobiographical comic is nothing new in the world of independent comics. Most recently, Marjane Satrapi’s Persepolis captured critical acclaim and was turned into a film. Before that, Justin Green pioneered the form in the 1970s, and Harvey Pekar began his acclaimed series American Splendor (also turned into a film). Almost forty years later, how does one set their series apart? Emi Lenox’s Emitown is a good example of how to do just that.Emitown is an almost-daily webcomic found at emitown.blogspot.com. A typical post is one drawn page with an irregular layout. Lenox’s decision to publish online was obviously not based off of a desire to overuse digital art. Her penciled and inked pages pop with a real sense of style. (more…)

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Two new titles from Ho Che Anderson

Posted at August 3, 2010 by admin

London-born comic artist Ho Che Anderson has made a name for himself with his stark black-and-white drawing style, which takes inspiration from film noir and classic horror. He has also defined a subject matter focusing on African-American culture and liberation, including illustrating the cover to Black Panther Huey P. Newton‘s autobiography, “Revolutionary Suicide”. Anderson’s art is on full display in the recent collection of his defining miniseries, “King”.”King” is subtitled “A Comics Biography”, but those expecting a children’s perspective of the great civil rights advocate will be greatly surprised. Anderson’s work has been acclaimed for returning an air of humanity to a man often considered a legend. (more…)

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Small-press comics by the numbers

Posted at July 1, 2010 by pmirek

For someone new to the world of smaller comics, it can be difficult to know where to start. Diamond Comic Distributors has compiled a list of the top 25 by sales for May 2010. Here, I take a closer look at just a few, but hopefully you’ll be inspired to go and check them out for yourself! (more…)

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