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Friday
Dec042015

New Comics at Bit Bazaar this Weekend!


Games are invading Maple Leaf Gardens this weekend aka the Mattamy Athletic Center for the Canadian Videogame Awards Fan Fest. Games are the biggest entertainment industry in the world, blockbusters on every level imaginable, so naturally into this arena I will be appearing with a paper mini comic.


It's not as odd as it sounds--the CVAs have partnered with Bit Bazaar, a combination indie games, comic and food event inspired by the madcap energy of zine fairs. It's organized by Bento Miso, a collaborative workspace for emerging entrepreneurs with a specific focus on games. Its founders Henry and Jen encourage those pursuing what can be largely solo endeavours, so more importantly, they know how to throw a good party. For instance, Bit Bazaar is the only show I know of that serves beer. This is my third time exhibiting with these guys, and I always come away impressed by the vibrancy of the local games scene, capable of all kinds of expression, so many different ways of play, all generated by people in your own city. If you have any interest in gaming, and you want to come out this weekend-- you’re guaranteed to find something that will fascinate you, repulse or attract you. 

I'm showing off my latest completed comic-- Our Chitinous Skin-- or Even Sea Monsters Fall in Love. It's a supernatural romance, about an ocean spirit falls for a young woman who used to live by the shore, who hopes, like the tide, all things return in time. It’s a bit of a departure for me- no twist ending, or final shock ending. Just something strange and beautiful, thanks in no small part to the pen of illustrator Rachel Idzerda and the dreamlike lettering by designer Ted Rouse. I'm just really happy with how it turned out.
The show runs Saturday and Sunday- you can get a ticket here at $20 bucks off with the discount code BentoMiso. If you can't make it, but want a copy of the new book, just message me and I will do my best to send your way. 

Sunday
Jun072015

Freelance Blues is Coming! 

A permanent temp looking for his purpose in life has one unavoidable calling: everytime he starts a new job his bosses turn out to be supernaturally evil, and he's one with the guts to stop them. Sucks to be him:  he can't quit cause ever since his parents disappeared, he's had twin sisters who need a roof over their head. But when a family emergency hits, he's takes his freaky life on the road, and works way towards a job interview with destiny. All this plus giant cockroaches, vampires and some killer cows too. 

That's FREELANCE BLUES: Complete edition coming from Alterna Comics on JULY 15th!

Personally, this is big-- completing a journey with this comic that happened when I first brought it to the New York Comic Con just over five years ago. Publisher Peter Simeti was one of the first professionals to really get what we were doing with this book. Sure it might be a little rough around the edges, but it's got heart (Just like that story of the kid from Brooklyn who got bit by the Spider...)

With any comic book production -- you're looking at collaborating with real people, and sometimes when you're getting that first thing out there it is just gonna take time. Original artist Vicki Tierney has some of the most incredibly expressive, cartoony art around.  Becca TR got us over the finish line. We had kick ass covers by folks like Mike Del Mundo, John Lang and Stephen Sayer. 

And now we're getting out to the wider world through digital-- Comixology, Amazon, Itunes, Apple. Whatever you've got! We're coming your way. 

>*** 

Which honestly is a thrill. A huge exhale after taking the book to more shows in person then you can imagine. It's my first book, I can't say more than I learned so much putting it together-- this was my comic book bootcamp, and it's storytelling skills here that I have never forgotten. And it was even more fun writing this than anything I've done since. Big part of that was collaborating with one of my oldest friends, Mike Leone, who basically introduced me to the Marvel Universe back in the early 90s. 

There's no secret to it-- a lot of what first drew us to comics is all there, baked into the DNA of this book. it's about the struggle. LIFE is a struggle. Every day, every one of us has responsibilities that go beyond what other people can see. And when your 9 to 5 feels like its throwing magic, robots, and undead ghouls your way; and you STILL find the courage to look after the people in your life--well, yeah, then you might relate this too. 

I hope to hear from more readers of it soon. 

yours from the trenches, 


Ian 

 

 

 

Monday
Mar232015

HAPHEAD: Lizzie Blitz! 

Spent some time last summer bringing together two worlds that I work in. I've made web videos and documentaries for over 10 years professionally, and explored comic writing and science fiction longer than that. And only NOW have these come together on the screen. 

How to do it? 

Step one- find a solid production team on the rise. Step Two-  Jump in head first. Step Three- Knit your parachute on the way down! 

The good thing about working on a film set is that there is no fooling about deadlines-- your script, your actors, all the elements, they are either ready or they're not.  And with the right people and a little luck you get: 

Haphead - was an honest to goodness cyberpunk serial, shot in Toronto last year by the new production company Postopian Films. And while the company just officially launched this January, the team has been building their engine for some time

Haphead- Lizzie Blitz! tells of the adventures of a futuristic Video Blogger, played by real life blogger Nicole Coenen, who infiltrates the party scene to bring her own take on it. It was part of a group of narrative elements that expand the world of Haphead; creating alternate characters, storylines, and more that create a greater breadth than you can do in a single film. 

We shot on the margins of the mainset, working off a single camera and sound kit, and a single work light. And it was amazing! 

 

 

 

 

Thursday
Jul032014

Making Charcoal - or- There's A Trick With A Knife I'm Learning To Do. 

There's a funny thing that happens when you live with a story for a long time.

You forget what is at the core of it.

Like scenes that require the phrase 'trigger warning', which didn't even exist back when this story was first thought up.

This isn't just an artistic collaboration, no this presents actual graphic images of self-harm. 

It's there. 

So let's talk about that.

Charcoal is a comic book published by the American sci-fi publisher Tor.

It's based on a true story.

When I was in high school there really was a girl who had her house broken into.

Then the kids who did it switched schools and were now sharing a classroom with her.

They were bad kids. Smirks and grins. 

So she made a painting to get her revenge on them. I don't know if they ever saw it. But it hung up in one of those student art alcoves.

There was another girl I knew. One day after school I took a long cut, heading around the outside of the building instead of through the hallways to get to my locker.

And lying on the concrete round the side, that's where I found her. Pale white. With an orange and an X-acto knife lying by her side 

I didn't stay with her. I ran to get help. Emergency vehicles arrived.

A few days later her whole gang were gathered round at her house, as she smiled, played with a puppy. Still freshly bandaged.

And I walked around wondering--could no one else see what was wrong?

That there was a profound split between the sort of shared experience we all agree to, the day to day, and this other thing. The wilful negation.

There was no reconciling it.

Except here. In the pages of a short story. Decades later.

There is always going to be a leap that you have to make when you come into contact with that terminal edge. The howling why. There's always that first time.

And it comes with no warning.

+

I'm really grateful that I got to tell this story with the people I told it with.

It really started as a simple hinge, give and take horror, a = b revenge. There's something else here now. 

A little haunted. A little fucked up.

A large part of that was Ho's knack for the uncanny, a real ability to pull deep from the subconscious. I left Stella's sketchbook up to his design, with just the guidance to find what would be monsters and demons for her.

Kalman gave the story shape, and the clock-ticking percussion in those opening images. And Liz Gorinsky was hard on the language, on the beats to make it ring true. Not to mention lighting its spark in the first place.

More to come people.

Thanks for waiting.

 

Ian 

 

Sunday
Sep152013

FLB: THE END 

 

It's an incredible thing to make it to the end. That moment when you realize that you've made it! This journey you've been on, this goal you've been driving towards relentlessly is there, completed, in front of you... funny how that applies to me as much as it does the hero of the comic series I've been publishing. 

FREELANCE BLUES- 6 issues that took six years of work for myself and my co-creator Mike Leone, an incredibly ambitious goal for self-publishing, before the age of kickstarter and indie-gogo even. Crazy to think even. At times we thought the end would never arrive. Yet now it's here. And you want to know how it feels? 

For the final issue, John Lang made this amazing cover. 

It feels just like that.