Official announcement – Scum of the Earth

So I talked about it briefly yesterday on Facebook. I tied it into the Action Lab Kickstarter getting all of it’s funding, which it accomplished.

It’s official: Scum of the Earth will be published by Action Lab’s “Danger Zone” imprint.

I have no specific details, but I can tell you it’s going to be a 3-issue miniseries published in a digital-first setup. Rob Croonenborghs and I have worked our asses off on this book and it looks amazing. Rob has a few pages left on the third issue to complete and we’re all set. Thanks to Rolf for the inspiration, and to Steven Forbes, who came in and edited and helped me figure out how to turn a 50-page graphic novel into 3 issues.

As things progress, I’ll keep everyone informed. Rob and I just signed the contracts, so hopefully the first issue will come out in the next couple of months. The Danger Zone accomplished it’s goal in the Kickstarter, which means they’ll be moving ahead with the initial batch of books first.

But look for Scum of the Earth to come sometime soon! Also, this:

SOTE promo

That’s two books picked up this year. My goal was four. Two more books to land at publishers. Let’s see what happens next…

Do yourself a favor and go listen to “Seeds” by Hey! Rosetta.

These links were made for clicking…

Today I’m going to pimp out some websites/webcomics/crowd-funding things that friends and colleagues of mine are working on. Yesterday I spotlighted the Kill All Monsters! Kickstarter.

Here’s some more cool stuff for you to check out:

The Sum of Light by Brian McCranie: A Lovecraft inspired horror comic. Check out the dude’s mechanical mask. That’s awesome. http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/brianmccranie/the-sum-of-light-issue-1-a-lovecraft-inspired-horr?ref=live and the Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/The.Sum.of.Light?fref=ts

Here’s the link to Kevin Enhart’s sketchbook crowd-funder. Kevin’s the artist on the upcoming Apes With Uzis spinoff Thugs Electro. Go and pledge. http://www.kisskissbankbank.com/en/projects/girls-girls-girls-and-a-few-boys

Here’s the link to My Life Without a Jetpack by my buddy Magnus Von Tesla, who has lettered several of my comics. http://nojetpack.thecomicstrip.org/ And here’s the Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/nojetpack

Then go check out Cthulhu Holmes by Joseph Pangrazio – a Lovecraft/Sherlock Holmes mashup? Yes please. http://www.cthulhuholmes.com/ And the Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/CthulhuHolmes

Here, my buddy and killer writer Magnus Aspli (who wrote the Markosia-published Vessel of Terror) is organizing a free comic anthology called Outre, set to launch, naturally, on Free Comic Book Day. Check it out, some great talent involved here: https://outreanthology.wordpress.com/

And here’s something fun: a story about Elvis Presley – the King of the Unknown! A fun story with some excellent art by Marcus Muller. Check it out: http://kingoftheunknown.com/about/

Then jump over to Fabian Rangel’s site Believe in Comics and buy yourself all kinds of indie comics goodness: http://fabianrangeljr.bigcartel.com/

I’m sure there’s more I can link to, but I don’t want to blow my load on just one post. Plus it’s nearly lunchtime, so that takes precedent.

Until next time! Go do yourself a favor and listen to “David Comes to Life” by Fucked Up.

A Kickstarter worth your money

So my buddy Jason Copland has been working on a long-running webcomic called “Kill All Monsters!”, with writer Michael May, and letterer Ed Brisson, that is excellent.

And now, they’ve started a Kickstarter campaign to raise funds to print this glorious book. I backed them, and I don’t back many Kickstarter campaigns when it comes to comics. Because the majority of them are god-awful.

But KAM! (with the exclamation point, always gotta have that) is good comics. Giant monsters vs giant robo-suits. Guys in giant robo-suits punching giant monsters. What’s not to love?

Here’s the link: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1854372978/kill-all-monsters-volume-1-ruins-of-paris

Go check it out now. For real, some great rewards and you’re standing up for the independent comic community. Raise your voice, raise your fist, open your wallet, and support books that deserve it. Do you really need three X-Men comics this month? Why not get something new?

Because – this:

kam

 

Don’t even tell me you don’t want some of that.

That’s it for today. Do yourself a favor and go listen to “Push the Sky Away” by Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds.

Creating comics…some advice…?

I’ve been asked, more than once, about tips on “breaking in” to the comic book industry. And my answer is: “Fuck if I know.” I don’t think I’ve broken in. I don’t know what breaking in looks or feels like. I’m not writing Batman yet, so…(and yes, I have exactly ONE Batman story in me that I’d love to tell.)

But…having several books published and being involved in the industry/comic book community, maybe I have some advice to give. Whether it’s good advice or not, I’ll leave that up to you, but here it is anyway.

1) Don’t be a dick. This is probably the biggest piece of advice I can give. Don’t be the guy no one wants to work with, don’t cultivate a bad reputation, don’t be unreliable.

2) Learn to accept rejection. Yeah, it sucks, but this is comics – there are a thousand other guys in the same position as you that want the EXACT SAME SPOT YOU WANT. You’ll get rejected more than you’ll get accepted. You’ll bust your ass on a pitch only to get told “it’s not for us” over and over. Learn to roll with those punches, or you’ll drown. If you can’t deal with rejection, you can’t deal with making comics.

3) Treat it like a job. For a lot of us, making comics is a hobby and is treated like that. That’s fine, if you want it to be a hobby. But if you want to pursue something more in comics, then treat it that way. You want to have a career in comics? Treat it like a career. Do the work. Put in the hours.

4) Don’t put all your eggs in one basket. You might have the world’s greatest comic book idea…but what happens if that one doesn’t get picked up? What else have you got? What else are you working on? Have you created something else, something new? Making comics is like throwing shit at the wall to see what sticks. Keep creating new shit.

5) Show a commitment to your work. This question gets asked of me a lot: how many pages should my submission be? First off – read the submission guidelines of the company you’re submitting to. They’ll tell you what they want to see. But in my opinion, there’s only one way to do it: you want a company to publish your comic? MAKE YOUR COMIC. Create a full issue. Show you can do it, show you’re reliable, show you have a commitment to your work, that you can be counted on to create a full comic book. This might not be the right advice for everyone. Especially if you’re a writer, because that’s a big commitment to get an artist to agree to. But in my opinion, it’s the only way to go. For example: 3 of my published works had full first issues completed when I pitched the ideas to the publishers.

6) Know your story. This might sound like a no-brainer, but it’s not. Know your beginning, your middle, and your ending. Don’t go off half-cocked on something because you had a great idea for a comic story, or a great piece of dialogue that you just HAVE to get out. I’m as guilty of this as anyone, and the work suffers. Know what you want to do, where you’re going, and how you’re getting there.

7) Don’t bite off more than you can chew. Don’t take on a ton of work if you can’t get it done a) on time or b) at all. Again, I’m as guilty of this as anyone. I try to pride myself on getting scripts written in advance, to stay far ahead of the artists I work with, so that no one is ever waiting on me to finish something. It doesn’t always happen, because I over-extend myself. I need more self-control over saying “Yes, I’ll do that”. I’m sure I’m not the only one.

8) That epic you have? Don’t start there. Start small. Write self-contained stories, 6-8 pages, get them into anthologies, get your work noticed and get your name noticed. You’re not going to land that 100-issue epic story you’ve been cultivating since you were thirteen. It’s just not gonna happen. To be honest, the way the industry is now, you’re probably never going to land that 100-issue series. Work on a smaller scale. You’ll have a lot more success that way.

9) Work with an editor. This one’s mostly for the writers. If you don’t work with an editor, find one. It’s of the utmost importance. You want your story, your work, to be as good as it can be, right? Why wouldn’t you want a second pair of eyes on it? I used to be absolutely convinced every word I wrote was pure gold. It didn’t take long for me to realize that was bullshit and I needed help. We all do. Even the big-money-making pros get their work edited and sent back and corrected and re-worked. Don’t make the mistake of thinking you’re better than that, because chances are? You’re not. I know I’m not.

10) Get involved. Comics is a community. I preach this all day long: get involved in it. Don’t sit in the dark corner and expect things to come to you. Get out there, see what others are doing. Cultivate relationships. Encourage and support your peers. Generate hype for yourself and your collaborators. Make things happen. Be involved, and you’ll be rewarded for it every day.

Sorry if that came off a little rant-y. It felt that way, but it wasn’t intended to. And as much as I wanted it to be “advice”, the list came off more as a “what not to do”, which I guess can help too. Maybe I’m not as good at the advice thing as I think I am.

I’ve been extraordinarily lucky in the comic book industry…but I’ve also worked my ass off. I’ve made sure that my name is associated with quality. That’s not easy, and I work hard at it every day. Because I love comics, I love making comics, I love creating. I’m involved.

Happy Friday. Do yourself a favor and go listen to “In the Aeroplane Over the Sea” by Neutral Milk Hotel.

Find my comics at Comixology!

If you’re reading this and you’re a fan of comics, you’ve undoubtedly heard of Comixology, the biggest (as far as I know) digital platform for reading comics there is. All the major players have their books come out digitally through Comixology.

And those major players are about to be joined by…me.

Yup, you can start to find my comics there. Long Gone, my Original Graphic Novel (note the caps, yeah?) from Markosia Entertainment, has been available on Comixology for a while now. But my first-ever released series, the supervillain comedy/action series Breakneck, is now available. You can download the first three issues (the story arc is called “Knives Out”) right now. Here, here’s the link, to save you some time:

http://www.comixology.com/Breakneck-Vol-1-Knives-Out/digital-comic/SUB000181

You can get all 3 issues for $3.99. That’s how much ONE of those issues cost as a physical print copy, so that’s some significant savings on some excellent reading material.

Don’t believe me? Think I’m biased? Here’s some links to some reviews of Breakneck. Read the reviews, then read the comics. Did I mention that issue 1 and issue 2 are SOLD OUT ON ALL LEVELS AND THIS IS THE ONLY WAY YOU CAN READ THEM? No? Well, I just did.

Here’s some reviews:

http://johnleescomics.wordpress.com/2011/01/11/review-breakneck-1/

http://johnleescomics.wordpress.com/2011/01/17/review-breakneck-2/

http://johnleescomics.wordpress.com/2011/02/16/review-breakneck-3/

And just so you don’t think Mr. John Lees is biased either, here are reviews written by other people as well.

http://www.comicsbulletin.com/reviews/1914/breakneck-1/

http://comicrelated.com/news/11575/breakneck-1

http://www.geekyuniverse.com/comic-reviews-breakneck-2/

http://ingenre.com/2011/04/men-in-tights-reviews-breakneck-diabolicus/

So yeah, please check Breakneck out. Breakneck is poised to come back in a big way soon, so getting caught up on what’s already happened will become necessary!

Also, do yourself a favor and go listen to “Helplessness Blues” by Fleet Foxes.

100 posts! That’s a lotta BS I’ve written…

100 posts.

That’s a lot, isn’t it? A lot of jibber-jabber about music and comics and comics and music and mostly comics.

I promised some interesting stuff today, and I never break a promise. Well, almost never. Not more than once a week.

First up: the first-ever double-page splash any artist ever did for me, courtesy of Mr. Joël Seguin.

Page 6-7

Look at that beast! This wasn’t planned as a double-page splash (I don’t think I’ve ever planned a double-page splash), but Joël took the two individual pages and meshed them together in an orgy of eye-pleasing detail. This is from our sci-fi book called The Argus, which we might be making more headway on as we think we’ve found a colorist.

Next up: A page from another project in the works by Mr. Ken Perry.

jim page 2

This is for a project called “Jim”. It’s a pretty high concept piece: Jim Morrison, former lead singer of the Doors, faked his own death to become an agent of the CIA. Years later, he’s given one final assignment before they’ll allow him to retire. This is based on some testimony of Morrison himself, where he claimed to be an Intelligence agent, as well as some of the mystery and conspiracy surrounding his death.

Here we have some preliminary sketches for a project called Dog Catcher, by the ever-talented Mr. Matt Mossman.

MBMM_01

MBMM_03

Dog Catcher is an idea that came from a few different places, but true story: the title of the book came from a dream. Years ago, I dreamt I was in the comic store (that’s how much of a comic nerd I am, I dream of the comic store), and I was all by myself and could check out any comic I wanted…except all the titles and covers were blurry. The only one that was visible was called Dog Catcher. The title’s stuck with me for a long time, and bits and pieces of story have coalesced around it. The final piece of the puzzle struck when Matt contacted me about putting together a sci-fi story. Matt and I have tried to work together a few times in the past, but we’re running and gunning now.

There you go, exclusive art from three new books I have in the works. There’s one more super secret thing I would love to tell you about but I can’t, not yet. Don’t want to jinx it.

Thanks for reading, thanks for making me feel like writing 100 posts worth of stuff. I have to thank my love, my Julia, for making me get off the fence and turn this into a viable blog with real information and content. I started it and sort of forgot about it, and when early reviews and things were linking back to my blog…well, it was a pretty desolate place. But I’ve been able to buckle down and make this a real thing.

Remember to follow me on twitter @mark_bertolini, and check out my tumblr (which has some free comic samples up) at http://mark-bertolini.tumblr.com/

Do yourself a favor and stick around for the next 100 posts, because I promise some great stuff is coming down the pipe soon, and I don’t want you to feel left out.

Thanks everyone.

My 99th post…

Wow, that’s kinda shitty since I started this blog over a year ago, but what can you do?

So I need to do something big for my 100th post then, huh?

Maybe preview some never-before-seen art? Discuss a couple of new projects that I’ve held off talking about? Something like that?

Well…tune in tomorrow then. Wednesday is new comic day, but it will also be my 100th blog post celebration!

I have some cool stuff to show and share. Be here, same Bat-time, same Bat-channel!

And do yourself a favor and go listen to “Good News for People Who Love Bad News” by Modest Mouse.