Written by Manuel A. Carmona
Full disclosure, I've loved comicbooks for more than half my life and I don't see myself not loving them any time soon. My childhood was based mostly around toys: Star Wars, G.I.Joes, M.A.S.K., Transformers and my all time favorite action figure line... Masters of The Universe! That's when my love for comicbooks began. If you ever owned one of those action figures you'll know what I mean, inside each figure came a mini comicbook that introduced you to the universe in which those characters lived in. At the time I didn't understood what the comics said since they were in English and my native tongue was Spanish, but I could look at the illustrations and follow the story without having to read the words; and it dawned on me... I want to make my own comics.
For the next few years I somewhat drew my own rudimentary comics based on my favorite action figures and cartoon characters but never thought too much of it; until I was in 7th grade and my dear friend Frank Rivera (yes, he eventually became the colorist on my comicbook) asked me to skip school and follow him, he needed to show me a small gift shop urgently! A gift shop? Yes, but the gift shop wasn't the important thing; inside the gift shop was a spinner rack with a bunch of comicbooks. Have you ever encountered something at some point and you know that from that moment on you're life won't ever be the same? Well, that's how I felt at that precise moment, and my life was never the same.
Why am I telling you this? Simple, I've been creating comics for a long time and came to the realization that I wanted my comics to have that same impact on a young kid's life that Batman had on me back in 1992. I want some kid to grab one of my comics and be like "I want to draw comics!'. When I first got into comics I wanted to doit for the wrong reasons, I wanted to make money and be famous and be respected; maybe that's why it never worked out like that for me. Everything changed for me once I had my first kid and I realized I wanted to make comics that would inspire him, that he'd enjoy; then everything made sense to me.
So, I focused on making my own comics independently and made sure I'd surround myself with likeminded individuals who loved comics like I did and did it for the right reasons. Comics are a very hard way to make a living if you're an artist, it's long hours away form friends and family, it's missing many gatherings, it's spending lots of money to print books and promotional merchandise and attending conventions with people who don't know and most of them couldn't care less about you or your work; you have to love this or it'll make you bitter. I know how hard it is to be an indie comicbook artist, I understand the sacrifice it entails to "make it"; that's why I try my hardest to motivate and promote as many indie creators as I can.
Many times I've been asked: "Why would you promote someone when you're trying to push your book as well?" or "Why would you push someone's book when they don't do the same for you?". My answer is always the same... it ain't about me. Would I love for people to reciprocate the love I show them? Sure. Would I love for people to push my book as much as I push theirs? Of course! But that's not why I doit, I help them because I know how hard it is and I also believe that the Universe has a way to send back what you put in it; so hopefully the it recognizes my good intentions and decides to give it back to me ten fold. If not it's all good anyway.
With that said, my brother from another mother Alvaro Cortez Ortiz came up with a way to close out this nightmare of a year on a positive note; God knows we all need it! So, it's for that reason and our desire to help the indie comics community that we decided that from this day forth November will be known as #ThanksIndie Month! What does #ThanksIndie mean? Basically it's a month long celebration of indie comics, indie creators and those who shine a spotlight on indie comics like reporters, reviewers and podcasters. It's our way to say Thank You to those indie comics creators who've helped us, who've pushed us along the way; we're all in this together.
Also, as a founding member of Buy Indie Comics Day; I'll be sharing every post throughout the month on all our social media so that the people we're promoting will be seen by as many people as possible. Again we want to thank the indie comics community and more importantly THE FANS; because without your support none of us would be able to continue creating new stories and publishing comics. THANK YOU and remember...
NOVEMBER IS #ThanksIndie MONTH
We want our fans to experience as much of the creative process behind the books they buy as possible, and for that reason we're going to be lifting the curtain and letting you see how the creators of your favorite books bring their stories to life. From rough drafts of different scripts, scrapped ideas, sketches and videos. Today we're going to see Manuel A Carmona's digital inking process. Hope you enjoy it, if you do leave us your comments.
Written by Manuel A. Carmona
Ok, I'm trying to stay more active with this blog especially now that things are slowly starting to go back to normal... at least when it comes to my art schedule. As you might already know Project: New Wave #1 is now available for purchase on IndyPlanet.com and Project: New Wave #2 comes out very soon! But there's a lot more happening in the art world, especially in the online art community. As we all know September and October are very busy months when it comes to art challenges, so here's a list of the various art challenges you can be a part of this year:
24 Hour Writing Contest- Compose a short story associated with the given prompt and within the word count. $5 entry, token cash prizes available and publication on the site. Saturday, September 27th, noon, CST.
Three-Day Novel Contest- Write a novel in three days. Conducted on Labor Day weekend. There is an fee to enter officially and have a chance for publication because of the contest.
September Novel Writing Month (SeptNoWriMo)- An offshoot of the original SeptNoWriMo. Participants set their own planning, writing or editing goals for September. Challenge has moved to Steve The WriMo Forum, but old data is still accessible at September Novel Writing Month.
NaNoPlanMo- Plan your NaNo Novel for 25 hours. September 1-October 20.
Sketchtember- Create one digital or traditional sketch every day in September.
Shiptember- A recent challenge that started in 2016, it encourages participants to draw a ship per day through the whole month of September.
12 Hour Comic Day- An offshoot of the original 24 Hour Comic Day. The challenge completing a 12-page comic book written, drawn, and completed in 12 hours. Participants may choose to create a shorter page count comic, the idea is to prepare themselves for the upcoming 24 Hour Comic Day challenge.
Inktober- A month long art challenge created by artist Jake Parker that is focused on improving skill and developing positive drawing habits. Every day for the month of October anyone participating in the Inktober challenge creates an ink drawing and posts it online.
Drawlloween- Originated as a drawing challenge to draw a monster a day for the month of October. It was inspired by Jonathan Coulton's "Thing A Week". Drawlloween is about drawing creepy, spooky, weird things all month long.
Drawtober- Created in the spirit of Halloween and hosted by Vonnart, Gawki, and Diandrapopart (with some extraordinary amount of help from a Jonasgoonface). We're just a few people obsessed with the month of October and the creativity that stems from the season and holiday.
Goretober- Draw a gory picture everyday of the month and upload it to social media (if it so pleases you.)
24 Hour Comic Day- 24 Hour Comic Day is the challenge of completing a 24-page comic book written, drawn, and completed in 24 hours. Cartoonist Scott McCloud came up with the challenge in 1990 as a creative exercise for himself and fellow comics artist Stephen R. Bissette. Beginning in 2004, writer Nat Gertler helped popularize the form by organizing annual 24 Hour Comics Days (usually held in October), which now take place regularly in the United States and many other countries worldwide.
I will be participating in the following challenges specifically:
2. 12 Hour Comic Day
3. Inktober, Drawtober and/or Drawlloween
4. 24 Hour Comic Day
Which challenge will you be participating in?
This is a new and exciting era for Truthful Comics because it not only facilitates our jobs but also facilitates YOUR EXPERIENCE as a consumer, and that makes it all worth it. We hope that those of you who were on the fence about purchasing our books and/or those of you who were wondering how you could doit digitally now have a way to doit all in one place and I hope many of you will join our ranks, especially with our digital comics being $0.99 CENTS!!! We can't wait to hear your reactions, we hope to read your comments real soon and we truly wish you have a fantastic buying experience when you choose Truthful Comics in the near future. Thank you all for your support!
Good evening, everyone! Hope all is well for all of you. Recently a few people brought to my attention that they want to read my comics, but don't know where to start. I don't blame them, if I can be honest for a moment.
I've been making webcomics for about 15 years (?!) now. So, now is a better time than ever to do a thorough breakdown of all my comics, where to read them, and if there's any comics that connect to others.
Since I do have a lot of material to go over, I am going to do a blog for each specific title starting with my very first webcomic:
Never Mind is a slice of life autobio webstrip I started say around 2005-06. It lasted 5 seasons, each season containing 12 strips each. The original run lasted to about 2015. There are no running storylines in this comic, so the strips nor the seasons are dependent on one another, so you can read it in any order you would like. There is also a remake currently being uploaded of season 1, but we'll tackle that a little further down this blog, first let's go over OG Never Mind, where I will provide links and recommended strips. Let's start with season one, with the cover depicted to the left.
Season 1 was a very sketchy experiment, this was me dipping my toe into the waters of making webcomics, and it holds a very special place in my heart for it. Season 1 delved into many flashbacks to my childhood and young adulthood. It was mostly funny with some very serious, darker moments sprinkled throughout. There are a few ways to read season 1:
Read now right here on Truthful Comics: www.truthfulcomics.com/never-mind-1.html
Read on The Duck Webcomics: www.theduckwebcomics.com/nVd/4820140/
And if you want to read it as a PDF, you can donate $1 or subscribe to my Patreon for $1 and you can download the PDF of the original printed version (not available anywhere else). Download subscribing to Patreon for $1: www.patreon.com/lancedanger
As of this writing there are no more physical copies available.
Popular strips from season 1 are: Strip 1- Everything that Glitters, Strip 4- Gender Bender, and Strip 9- Condom World.
Never Mind Season 2 (cover depicted to the right) Focused a lot on my family and relationships. Compared to season 1, this season was definitely lighter in tone.
The art style also shifted to a more slick, stylized art compared to season 1, and I started doing digital lettering for it.
Season 2 continued to maintain the momentum from season 1 and has arguably the most popular strip of the entire series.
I still experimented in a strip or two because this series has always been in a way an outlet to experiment more, despite it being a slice of life kind of story.
There has never been a printed edition of season 2. You can read season 2 here:
Read now right here on Truthful Comics: www.truthfulcomics.com/never-mind-2.html
Read on The Duck Webcomics: www.theduckwebcomics.com/nVd/4847788/
Popular strips on season 2 are: Strip 2- Samurai Showdown, Strip 3- Mom vs Cat: Round 1 (the most popular strip of the entire series), and Strip 7- What's Her Name.
Never Mind Season 3 (cover depicted to the left) was more of the punk rock season of the 5. The tone is almost aggressive to an extent. Definitely a season where I dumped out a lot of frustrations through these situations that actually happened.
Perhaps not the most popular season because of that, but in a very personal sense perhaps my most satisfying season I had done of the OG strips.
The art style was a bit of a combination of the first 2 seasons, a bit more slick than season 1, but definitely more of an edge to it compared to season 2.
There was never a physical copy of season 3. You can read here:
Read now right here on Truthful Comics: www.truthfulcomics.com/never-mind-3.html
Read at The Duck Webcomics: www.theduckwebcomics.com/nVd/4942794/
Popular strips from season 3 are: Strip 2- Halloween Christmas, Strip 4- Mom vs Cat: Round 2, and Strip 10- Wrestling and Bachata Don't Mix.
Never Mind Season 4 (cover depicted to the right) was without a doubt the most popular season of the 5.
It was a lot more similar to season 2, going back to being mostly lighthearted, I'd say it's the most lighthearted season of the 5. The artwork also went back to more of a slick style like in season 2.
Season 4 was a lot of fun to do truth be told. If season 3 was my vents of frustration, season 4 was my sigh of relief. To the extent I was pretty sure at the time that I was going to make this the last season of Never Mind, but the creator in me said otherwise and that I was not done with this.
There are no physical copies of season 4. Here's where to read:
Read now right here at Truthful Comics: www.truthfulcomics.com/never-mind-4.html
Read at The Duck Webcomics: www.theduckwebcomics.com/nVd/5069068/
Popular strips are: Strip 1- Cockroach Kiss, Strip 2- Dude, Where's the Party!? (hands down the second most popular strip of the series), and Strip 6- Pig Dragon.
And the last of the OG Never Mind, season 5 (cover depicted to the left).
This season is more like seasons 1 and 3. and for the first time, strips 1-5 were part of one same story.
This season was REALY going to be the final season, so it started and ended on a more introspective note.
I went to a much more similar art style from season 1 to make it come full circle.
Definitely not angry as season 3 or as semi-dark as season 1, it was more thoughtful in a way and more of a personal reflection of not just my journey doing Never Mind, but my journey as an artist and as a person.
It wasn't a huge popular season, but the people that liked it REALLY liked it and thought it was a nice send-off to the series.
There has never been a physical copy of this season. Read here:
Read now rigt here at Truthful Comics: www.truthfulcomics.com/never-mind-5.html
Read now at The Duck Webcomics: www.theduckwebcomics.com/nVd/5442048/
Popular strips are: Strip 6- Up There, Strip 7- Falling Short(s), and Strip 9- Super Size Heroes (or Heroes Refried!).
What About Never Mind Season 6 from the 100 Days Challenge?
Well, I'm glad you asked! As many reading this know, I have participated in the the 100 Days of Making Comics Challenge, and during one of the multiple rounds I did, I actually did the artwork for a season 6! All 12 strips. And I never lettered it nor published it because I had a lot going on at the time going back to school and trying to get my main webcomic, Fred Peterson The Mighty Warlord, out more consistently. I also had other projects I needed to finish, so I shelved season 6. Will I ever finish season 6? Honestly, I don't know. If enough people ask me to, I'll go ahead and finish it. Deal?
Never Mind Season 1: Truthful Comics Edition (cover depicted to the right) is what's currently being published.
This is a remake of the original 12 strips of Never Mind. With improved art, improved lettering, and improved storytelling.
The main reason I'm doing this is because the original artwork and digital files were destroyed for eh entire series, so despite still having at least the digital copy of the physical copy of season 1, I thought it would be pointless without a good hi-res copy of he rest of the series.
So the Truthful Comics Edition is my remake of eventually the entire series which I intend to also print out physical copies.
The series has started updating on Facebook with bigger success than I EVER thought it would have, with many of the original readers checking it out , and new readers checking it out for the first time! I am SO grateful to everyone who has read and keep reading, you are all the REAL MVPs!
Estimated date of the physical copy for sale: Fall 2020.
You can read here:
The Never Mind Facebook Page:www.facebook.com/NeverMindWebcomic
Read right here at Truthful Comics: www.truthfulcomics.com/never-mind-tce-1.html
Read at The Duck Webcomics: www.theduckwebcomics.com/Never_Mind/5630283/
Thank you all for reading this breakdown of Never Mind! Tomorrow:
All About Fred Peterson: The Mighty Warlord Part 1 (covering the Book 1 Prologue-Chapter 4). Please look forward to it!
Before Fred Peterson, The Mighty Warlord, there was a small webcomic called Never Mind (back then eventually shortened to NVD).
Never Mind was the first webcomic that started running at internet forums in Puerto Rico, PR Comix and later Paquines.com. This webcomic means a lot to mean, it's the most personal comic I've ever done, being an autobio webstrip. So it was at the time one of the first PR webcomics.
I was inspired by the works of Tom Beland's True Stories Swear to God zines. Many times friends have told me that so many outrageous thing have happened to me, that I should make a comic some time. So I did, HA!
But there was a bit more to it. At the time I had already published an extremely small batch of printed copies of Warlord, and I was contemplating uploading it as a webcomic. I started doing my homework on this new way of publishing comics, and I thought "well, I want to keep working on Warlord, but what if it doesn't find an audience online? What if I mess it up?"
So, while I was trying to just get my mind off things, I started binge reading True Stories Swear to God (and the full comic True Story Swear to God). And that's when it hit me. "I'll test the waters with an autobio strip". I was also listening to Nirvana, hence the title Never Mind.
I started uploading the strip on the PR Comix internet forum. The plan was to do 12 strips, and later on collect them into a zine. I was actually discouraged by a few people. "Webcomic!? You mean you're giving away the comic for FREE!?" "Huh, interesting, but this looks VERY indie, it's not going to do well. Stick to doing heroes and sell them, don't do this for free." "Webcomics is amateur hour, kid, no one will ever take online seriously."
I uploaded anyway. It caught on very fast. The post views and comments got big, so slowly others felt encouraged to upload webcomics to the point the forum decided to do a subsection dedicated solely to webcomics. I eventually did do a small print run zine style and took it to the first convention I ever attended as a creator. The zine sold out.
Through the years I would do four more "seasons" of Never Mind. I was planning on doing zines as well, but a string of bad luck happened.
The CD where I saved the files for the first 2 seasons shattered inside the disc drive in my PC. Then a storm hit PR that caused floods, and it damaged the original artwork. So I gave up on publishing it and decided to just post it online. But by the time I was doing season five, I was burning out, and the bad luck bug hit again.
I had moved to NYC and the PC I was using to work on the strips broke down. Then the apartment flooded twice in the span of a week and it destroyed the original artwork I had done and the laptop I was using got it's hard drive fried, so I went on a extended hiatus with Never Mind season five just starting out.
After a few months and getting my footing again updating Warlord, I started feeling nostalgic for Never Mind. So I resumed updating season five every moment I could spare the time and one year later I finally finished season five. It's been nearly six years now since I've worked on Never Mind.
I was catching up on other webcomics that eventually I finished due to participating on the 100 Days of Making Comics challenge, and I got the bug again.
During the challenge, I actually did a sixth season of Never Mind. I did the artwork of all twelve strips for it, but I kind of didn't like the art side of it. And it made me think back to the first season.
That's when I started thinking about redoing it from the start. I had already started the first steps in remaking early Warlord comics, so I thought "why not?" There would be no Warlord today if there was no Never Mind.
So here we are, I am remaking Never Mind into the Truthful Comics Edition. Reworked art and editing the dialogue. I am uploading it once again as a webcomic and will print it in zines as well again.
I am excited to be working on a comic that means so much to me personally, especially now that the art and story is a lot closer to how I originally envisioned it and never did due to lack of time and in a way the discouragement I had initially received. And hopefully you all will enjoy it as well, wether you read the original ones or for the first time, thank you all SO much, I will keep doing my best to keep improving and growing.
-Alvaro "Lance Danger" Cortes Jr
Written by Manuel A. Carmona
-MC For my first #FridayFlashback on the website I'm going back to the time I got a first look at my inked pages for Phazer #6 featuring Captain Action and Action Boy. I remember vividly how excited I was at the chance to work on a character like Captain Action and so many public domain characters like El Gato Negro, Black Terror and many others.
What should've been the beginning of my art career in comics, working for other publishers quickly evaporated and I realized the grim reality of the comic book industry; that many people are in this business to take advantage of creators. What sucked the most to me was that the person in charge sold me on the idea that they were gonna do things the right way because like me, they hated what Marvel did to Jack Kirby throughout his career; so they were gonna make sure creators were treated fairly. Yeah... right. Lesson learned though.
Regardless, it was a valuable experience and the main catalyst for me to go out on my own and make Truthful Comics a reality alongside my brother Alvaro Cortez Ortiz Jr.; so for that I'll be forever thankful... in a messed up kind of way. Now I'm curious, from the creators that are reading this blog; do you remember your first professional work in comics? Which comic book series was it? Was your experience more enjoyable than mine or was it a nightmare? What lessons did you learn from working with a creative team compared to working solo on a project?
As always... keep it Truthful.
Written By Manuel A. Carmona
This morning as I browsed through my emails I noticed one from Natalie Sifuentes, the Youth and Family Coordinator at the Morgan memorial Library in Suffolk, Virginia. It was in regards of the status for their upcoming convention Iconicon. I opened it immediately hoping for the best but fearing the worst since the event had already been postponed, needless to say my fears were warranted; but there's a silver lining to all of this.
It sucks that yet another comic convention has been cancelled because of Covid-19 but at least they're trying to be proactive and reached out to the creators to lend a helping hand. That is much appreciated. I replied with my information and informed them that because of their efforts and being up front about the situation I'd like to be involved with their events moving forward because that type of dedication and responsibility deserves to be rewarded. So, count me and Truthful Comics in for Iconicon 2021... unless we get hit by another Pandemic or life altering event; we'll be there!
As always... keep it Truthful!
What you're about to read is the first soon-to-be-published work by the young author Jason Alexander Carmona. He wrote this as a fun "challenge", to see if he could come up with an original story based on some prompts his mom and dad picked for him. He quickly began to develop a story with elements that didn't necessarily fit, but because of the "challenge" he had to make it work; we think he succeeded. But it's not up to us to judge, it's up to the audience to say if he did a good job or not. So, we decided to post his story for everyone to read, after you read it; please leave him your thoughts so he can get his first taste of what being an author is all about.
PS. This story is going to eventually be published as an illustrated children's book.
The Endless Forest
There was once an endless forest, dark and mysterious like the night; evil dwells there. There were giant bats hiding there as well as well as dangerous pirate. he had a patch over his eyes, long dirty hair, tattered clothes, a sword, two pistols... and very teeth! He wasn't too bright but he was astute, he talked loudly and often but never said too much about things he cared about; like his treasure.
But the pirate wasn't the only one living in that forest, two mean witches lived there as well. One of the witches had just one ear, the other had none; nobody knows why. Very few people go into the forest these days, the witches scare them away which makes the pirate very happy; less people go wondering in the forest... less chances of anyone finding his treasure! Oh, remember the giant bats hiding in the woods? Those were the witches' pets! Not surprising.
So the witches hid alongside their giant pet bats and walked the forest looking for food and scaring people away, they didn't want anyone to know where they lived; or what they did. The witches were bad, the giant bats were bad, the pirate was bad; but the forest was good. That's another reason why the witches and the giant bats hid away, the forest would hurt them because it knew they were evil; and he wanted them gone!
Just outside The Endless Forest lived a good man, someone kind to humans and animals alike, someone who even the plants recognized and protected; The Ancient Emperor! He was once a great sorcerer who protected travelers trying to get across The Endless Forest and who fell victims to the evil witches. The sorcerer had two loyal companions, a red monkey and a dragon! The dragon had saved the monkey from snake years ago, breathing fire and scaring the snake enough that it let go of the red monkey; after that day the two were inseparable.
Legend has it the red monkey only eats a special kind of apples that only grow in The Endless Forest, so even though it's very dangerous for anyone to go through the woods; the red monkey has to go or he'll starve. So the dragon found out about this and he gets apples for the red monkey every day and brings them to him. They're best of friends. On one occasion, while the dragon was picking apples for the red monkey, the witches trapped the dragon and if it wasn't for the sorcerer it would've been fatal for the dragon. Thankfully the sorcerer is very powerful so he could fight off the witches wh ran away into the woods not to be seen again for a long time.
The sorcerer's power comes from a powerful warlock named Jayden The Great! Jayden The Great was slain in battle fighting the evil witches when one of them attacked him from behind, but before dying he transferred his power to the sorcerer and from that day forward; the sorcerer became the protector of the land. The End?
Written by Alvaro Cortez Ortiz Jr
Comic books have been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. I learned to read thanks to comic books and picture books before I even started going to school as a child thanks to my father.
My father, who migrated from Mexico to New York, did not speak English too well, just well enough to get by. But he would buy picture books and kids comics and would read them to me as a kid because my parents of course wanted me to grow up knowing English.
My parents divorced by the time I was around five years old, and though I saw my father much less, I still kept that hunger of wanting to read more books and comics. My mother would occasionally buy me comics, which were mostly Archie Comics, Muppet Babies, and these digests that had a bunch of different titles all in one big comic, like Monster Balls, Alf, Heathcliff, and other kid friendly characters.
One time while I was exploring in that small Williamsburg apartment where we lived, I ran into a big trash bag in the closet, and when I opened it, it was full of of comics in Spanish, translated versions of Archie Comics, Little Lulu, Memin, Casper, and some more adult comics that actually belonged to my mother when she was a kid and as she grew up.
Comics are a connection. They're a connection to my father, to my mother, to my best friends I grew up with and still have contact with, a connection to many, many talented peers, a connection to other fans, to people I'm getting to know and to people I'm yet to know.
To all the people that I know, that I have collaborated with, to the people that I love, to this medium that I love, thank you. For as long as it is humanly possible, I will always try to give back to comics what it has given to me, and hopefully to all the lone wolves out there, don't feel too lonely, you are always welcome in my pack.