Wednesday, December 31, 2008

2008 - The Year That Was

It's New Year's Eve as I write this, and I thought it'd be fun to take a look back at my comics career in 2008.

2008 started off pretty quiet for me, as Dynamo 5 was pretty much my only presence on the shelves each month.

But things started picking up in April, when Image released Noble Causes #32, the first issue in our new "5 Years Later" storyline. The first Noble Causes Archives (collecting the first half of the series in one big, b&w phone book-style collection) was released that same day.

April was also the month I attended the New York Comicon, which is where I finally got to meet Mahmud Asrar (artist of Dynamo 5) and Yildiray Cinar (artist of Noble Causes) in person for the first time. It was a bit of a bittersweet experience, however. Due to a mix-up that was largely my fault, we didn't have any comics on hand to sell at our Image signings. It was still cool hanging out with Mahmud and Yildiray, and it was especially cool seeing the Noble Causes Archives on sale at Midtown Comics' booth. That was the first time I'd actually seen the book, and holding it in my hands was a pretty memorable experience. Mahmud, Yildiray, and I will be attending the New York Comicon this year, as well, and we'll be sharing a table in Artists' Alley. And we'll have books to sell!

In May, Jon Sommariva and I launched Gemini at Image Comics. It was released to coincide with the Emerald City Comicon in Seattle, my hometown. We had a special ECCC exclusive variant cover made and I was pleased with how many people came by the Image booth to pick one up. I was also pleased at how easy it was to sell copies of the Noble Causes Archives. All I had to say was, "600 pages for twenty bucks" and most people couldn't pass up that deal. I'm making it a point to have the 2nd (and final) volume released in time for this year's Emerald City show.

The first Dynamo 5 Annual was also released in May. Due to a production error, it doesn't actually have the word "Annual" anywhere on the cover. But I haven't come across anyone who's confused yet. The cover to the annual is one of my favorites, as it has all of the major heroes I've created at Image in one big group shot. Drawn by Mahmud, no less. So you know it looks great.

In July, Top Cow released Urban Myths as part of their Pilot Season 2008 initiative. I created and wrote the book and it was drawn by the amazing Jorge Molina, who's going to be a big name in this industry before too long. Mark my words. Response to the book was overwhelming, and it was a trip to see how well it did in the voting ... until the very end, of course. We narrowly missed the top two slots. But I'm still confident that we'll get to continue Jack Medusa's adventures in one form or another. And I had such a great time working with the guys at Top Cow that I was asked to write the Witchblade Annual for them, as well.

As we rolled into the last quarter of 2008, Mahmud, Joe Keatinge (Image's marketing director) and I started putting our heads together with what to do for Dynamo 5 #25, considering 25th issues are usually some sort of big deal in comics -- especially in independent comics, when series don't tend to last that long. Joe did a good job planting some seeds and then I came up with a way to change the series in a pretty substantial way with issue #25. Mahmud will be handling the necessary designs, and it should be pretty damned cool. We also orchestrated the special #0 issue, which will be released in January with a 99-cent price tag to hopefully entice more people to try the book.

Meanwhile, I also decided to wrap up Noble Causes, as I just found myself having less and less to say about the characters. Critical response was still good on the book, and I'd rather leave 'em wanting more, than have them wanting me to leave, if you know what I mean. It's not the first time I'd decided to end the series, but in the past I've always been talked out of it. Not this time, though. The final issue is being drawn as I write this entry. It's going to be an interesting conclusion to the series, one that's probably going to frustrate -- and possibly even anger -- people. But considering the book's roots, I think it's a fitting way to go out.

And so that brings us to the end of 2008. As 2008 ends, so does Noble Causes.

But there's plenty of exciting stuff on the horizon in 2009. More about that soon.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Wednesday Previews

You know what I'd really like to show off this week? Some of Yildiray's pencils for Noble Causes #40. They're just amazing. He choreographed this fight scene between ... well, I can't say. But it's just fantastic, but showing it would give away one of the surprises we've cooked up for you.

So instead, I'll show you a few select panels from Dynamo 5 #19, on sale in January.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Wednesday Previews

Here's a quick look at Dynamo 5 #19, which is in production now. It should be out in mid-January, followed closely by Dynamo 5 #0 (which is already finished -- we shuffled the production order to make sure #0 was done on time, since it's a promotional tool).

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Wednesday Previews

Yildiray Cinar's just about to begin work on Noble Causes #40, the series finale. I asked him to do a wraparound cover of the entire cast for this special issue. Here's his first layout. I think it's cool, but I'd envisioned the entire cast in one big group shot, not broken up into different panels. Still, this design is strong enough that we may use it as the basis for the cover of the 9th TPB, which will cover issues #32-36, the first story arc set "Five Years Later."

Now, here's a look at Yildiray's rough pencils for the revised cover to #40. I liked everything about it, save Venture being on the front of the cover. I love Venture, don't get me wrong. But he was never a main NC character, so I asked Yildiray to put him on the back cover and put Cosmic Rae in his place.

Now here's a look at the inked cover, followed by the final version, colored by the never-late, always-great Ron Riley.