Gooooood evening, everyone! Hope you're all doing fine. I just wanted to write a brief blog about one of my most ambitious stories yet: a story that's a trilogy titled Codename: Jericho. It's something I've had in mind doing as a novel, starting off as part of the NaNoWrimo challenge a few years back.
Many personal things came about that made me abandon the challenge after having written 2 chapters, and it always bugged me that I never finished it. Especially since by that time I had successfully done Script Frenzy and an earlier NaNoWrimo. It's been in the back of my head since. I showed my mentor Rigz "Scorp" Jimenez years ago, and he really liked it. And last month I went over the overall story with my coconspirator Manuel Carmona, and he urged me to do the story. So, well, I will.
This one is a long term story in a way, it's not going to be as long as Warlord, but it will be longer than something like DTF6 or the 14 part maxi-series Via Crucis. I don't want to give away too much of the story, but it's basically a world where digital technology is starting to blur the lines between the digital world and the real world. I'm debating how long each story should be, but I should start writing based on the old draft I had started. I'm excited to get this story out there, I will show the work in progress throughout the year, I'm aiming for a release give or take second half of 2022 to start it off. Thank you all so much for reading, catch you next blog, stay safe!
Written by Manuel A. Carmona
Well, this last two days I posted a list of art challenges that will be taking place in 2021 for anyone to partake. I'm sure there are many more challenges that I'm just not aware of, if you know of any feel free to name them in the comments section below; that way we'll edit the list. Granted, these are just art challenges, there are many more creative challenges people can be a part of like writing challenges, photograph challenges, sculpting challenges; etc. I simply chose the challenges that I felt would help my fellow comic book artists level up their skill sets. Maybe they feel a need to improve their inking or maybe they don't feel confident about drawing faces; these challenges will be very helpful for a lot of artists I feel.
But it's not just about others improving, I feel there are certain areas in my work that need improving; so I'm jumping in the art challenge pool. This year I want to really push myself artistically, so I'm going to be taking on an art challenge (or two in some cases) every month starting in February! I made a list by month so you all can get an idea of which ones I'm taking on and see if maybe ya'll want to join me on a few of them.
- February Faces: February Faces is a great way to hone your skills and it'll undoubtedly improve your portraits.
Draw a different face every day the entire month of February. It doesn't have to be a human face.
Don't forget to tag your posts with the hashtag: #FebruaryFaces
- March Of The Robots: This is pretty on the nose, illustrate a new robot every day for the entire month of March. You can draw them or create them digitally, just have fun with it!
Don't forget to tag your posts with the hashtags: #marchofrobots or #marchofrobots2021
- 6 Minute Sketch Challenge: This challenge consists on you drawing one skatch every day, then post your dailies on social media for the art world to see; that's it!
There are no rules, so just draw every day for 100 days.
Don't forget to tag your posts with the hashtag: #6minutesketch
- Mermay: What is a Mermay? Sounds fishy right? ;D Well, Mermay is an art challenge all about illustrating mermaids. Every day in May you'll illustrate a new mermaid using whichever medium you prefer.
Don't forget to tag your posts with the hashtags: #MerMay and #MerMay2021
- Six Fan Arts: Draw six portraits of popular characters – from any genre.
Don't forget to tag your posts with the hashtags: #6fanarts or #sixfanartschallenge
- Fauna Focus: The Fauna Focus art challenge asks you to create artwork of, based on or inspired by a different animal each month. You can use any art medium you desire.
Don't forget to tag your posts with the hashtag: #faunafocus
- The Sketchbook Challenge: Sponsored by the Brooklyn Art Library, The Sketchbook Challenge is a 28-day challenge to fill an entire sketchbook, and is intended to “help you cope with your creativity while you are stuck at home.”
The library will send each participant a blank 28 page sketchbook and then give them a different prompt every day for inspiration.
There's also a 14 day challenge, which is specifically focused on portraits using a different medium than you are comfortable with.
These challenges are donation-based on a “Pay What You Wish” model, and proceeds help support the Brooklyn Library of Art.
More information at brooklynartlibrary.org.
- 12 Hour Comic Book Day: 12 Hour Comics Day is a Worldwide event dedicated to creating a short story from beginning to end in 12 hours or less. Usually participants meet at local comic book shops, schools, and/or libraries however this year (due to Covid-19); the challenge will be online.
Participants can use any medium they desire and the story can be four 12 pages or more, just as long as it's a finished story.
Don't forget to tag your posts with the hashtags: #12hrcomicbookday #12hourcomicbookday2021 #12hourcomicbookdayonline2021
- 24 Hour Comic Day: 24-Hour Comics Day is an annual international celebration of comics creation. On this day, creative folks take on the 24 hour comics challenge: to create a 24 page comic book story, normally months worth of work, in 24 straight hours.
Usually participants gather at official event sites including comic book stores, schools, and libraries. And others take part in private gatherings, and many work on their own.
However, this year, due to the novel coronavirus (covid-19), all the official event sites will be online. (In other words, the venues will host artists online using Zoom, Facebook Rooms, Discord, Google Live, or any other type of video conferencing platform).
- Drawlloween: Drawlloween is one of the most popular art challenges in the United States.
Using the prompts on the website, or your own spooky imagination, just create a new Halloween image every day for the entire month of October. Any medium is acceptable.
Don't forget to tag your posts with the hashtag #drawlloween2021 (with the current year) or @drawlloween.
- Movember: This art challenge is really on the nose... LOL!
Draw a different mustache for the entire month of November. It can be just a mustache, it can be a portrait or it can be a full body illustration. You can use any medium you desire, just be creative and have fun.
Don't forget to tag your posts with the hashtag: #MovemberArtChallenge
- Drawcember: Drawcember was originally created by Disney Creates. It has a huge following, and is well worth your time and effort.
Make a new drawing every day for the entire month of December, using the prompt list posted online in the weeks before December. Many of the prompts are winter/holiday/Christmas related, but much like Inktober or Drawlloween; you can let your imagination run wild. And that's it!
Don't forget to tag your posts with #Drawcember and #drawcember.
Some of these challenges I've taken on in the past with various degrees of success but this year I'm making a commitment with myself to finish what I start. I know it's hard to stay motivated, that's why YOU are so important in this process! I need your fuel, every artist taking on these challenges need your encouragement and your engagement; so please feel free to Comment and Like and Re-Tweet and Share and anything else you come up with to show your support. It truly means everything to us.
I have my own small way to push myself and to justify this year long torture, I will be putting out books based on each and every one of these challenges; it could be digital only or print but it'll be my incentive to keep me motivated. Obviously the 12 and 24 Hour Comic Day Challenges are going to be comic books, but the rest might end up being sketchbooks or even full size books; but it's too early to determine that just yet. I wrote this blog to not only inform you all on what I'm going to be up to in 2021, but also to hopefully motivate some of you to take on at least one of these art challenges; amateur or pro this can only benefit you. In any case, stay safe and as always... keep it Truthful!
Good afternoon, everyone! Today I wanted to write about my most ambitious Spanish language comic yet. The title is Via Crucis, and it's a 14 part maxi-series.My inspiration for this came after gaining confidence in having written a few comics in Spanish.
For anyone that is not aware, over the years I have been writing short stories and comics for Silver Island Studios based in Puerto Rico, headed by my old friend and great creator, Jose Cruz. Aside from Weepaman y Weepito, I really haven't had any other experience writing a comic in Spanish. So I really want to challenge myself as a creator, and Via Crucis was born.
It's a 14 part comic based in al alternate reality Puerto Rico, where an event happened in the 90s that made PR an independent country and is inhabited by heroes/vigilantes. The whole story will take place in the 90s and will have many call backs events and popular culture at the time.
Many of you know that all my creations are love letters to the stories that inspired me, so, with Via Crucis, I want to write a love letter to comics like Watchmen, V For Vendetta, The Dark Knight Returns, gritty stories from the 1980s to early 1990s. I am excited and terrified of making a story of this magnitude and in Spanish, but if I want to continue to grow as a creator and continue to have fun, I have to get outside of that comfort zone and aim for the stars.
I have the basic plot points and how the story will end, I just have to flesh out the script and continue characters designs. I want to have that preproduction aspect done by the end of 2021, start production on it in 2022, and start rolling it out by late 2022 or early 2023. Thank you as always for reading, catch you next blog, stay safe!
Good evening, everyone! Tonight I want to announce a project I've been thinking on doing for a couple of years now. As you might know by now, Never Mind is my auto-bio webstrip, but a few years back after not doing a new season of the strip for a while, I had the idea of one story in particular, something kind of like A Christmas Story, sort of mixed with This Is Us. Then I read the graphic novel Smile, and it cemented my desire to make this story.
Never Mind Presents: Bicycle is a relatively ambitious project since I've never ever thought I'd attempt a long form story in this style. In contrast to the strip which are random glimpses into things that happened in y life, Bicycle is more focused on a particular moment in my life that threads together flashes from the past and more recent moments.
Not only will the art be a challenge, it will probably be my most challenging script to do as a writer as well, to try and bridge different events that leads to a cohesive moment and a coherent story. It will be my most personal story I've ever written, and despite the challenges this projects presents, I am SUPER excited to work on this because of these challenges, and I hope you all look forward to it.
My plans are to finish the script by the end of 2021 and start work on it art wise in 2022. I will be giving glimpses of the story throughout the year. As always, thank you for reading, stay tuned, catch you next blog, and stay safe!
Art Challenge By Month
January - Open**
February - Fairie February, February Faces
March - Magical March, March of Robots
April - Open**
June - Junicorn, Doodlewash, Kaijune
July - Open**
August - Smaugust
September - 12 Hour Comic Book Day
October - Inktober, Drawlloween, 24-Hour Comics Day
November - Movember, Slowvember
December - Drawcember
**Open month to participate in any art challenge or come up with your own challenge.
I know this Pandemic has taken a toll on all of us but one thing that's kept me sane is art. Wether is creating art, enjoying art, engaging in fantastic online conversations regarding art; Art has been a much needed ray of sunshine on this otherwise dark year. As I write this blog I'm one page away from fully inking the third issue of Project: New Wave and in all seriousness, I'm ready to go crazy art wise the rest of this year. My plan is to illustrate at least three different comic books and I'm also looking forward to pulling the trigger on a few art challenges. I want to push myself to the limit and channel Kobe Bryant's Mamba Mentality. I decided to compile a list of art challenges so that maybe ya'll can join in the fun, if you don't want to join me in actually doing the art challenges; ya'll can support my efforts by sharing my artwork and purchasing your copies of the books that will undoubtedly come as a result of these challenges. There are too many art challenges to compile in one blog so I decided to divide them in two: Part - A is the one you're about to read and and Part - B will drop tomorrow. On Wednesday I.m going to share with you which challenges I'll be taking on and I'd love to see which ones YOU are going to tackle this year. So without further ado, here we go...
Hey, there, you! Thank you for coming back! For this blog, I also want to touch on a story for a bit further ahead in the future. It's essentially a reboot of a strip that was originally going to be published, but wasn't due to circumstances beyond my control. I always wanted to revisit this idea, and I will. It is Called Servicio al Cliente, it is a Spanish language story that I always had in the back of my mind to try and do some day.
It's based around the life of a group of people that work at a specific shift in a customer service center. I had originally done this never having watched The Office (UK nor US), though it came out around the same time. Years later I watched the UK version of The Office and really liked it, so it kind of brought it back to my mind again. And then because of the pandemic, I watched the US version of The Office, and after finishing it the first time after watching the whole series multiple times, I have made it my mission to get this story done.
It will be a 4-6 chapter mini series in Spanish with the same basic premise of the original strip of being based around the lives of this specific group of people. I will be banging out the script by the end of the year and start production on it in mid-late 2022 likely after Hell Beneath You is done. This is a story I REALLY want to get out there and I'm excited to finish up scripts and putting this out there. Thank you all for reading, I hope you all enjoy the story once it comes out, catch you all next blog, stay safe!
As you all know I'm fully committed to elevating indie comics and creators, not just from Truthful Comics; but EVERY INDIE COMICS STUDIO (except Comicsgate)! With that said, tonight I'm doing just that and we're going review Gravestone: Dark Origins issues 0 - 3. Starting from the packaging, Utopixia Studios puts out a high quality product all the way around. The books printing looks beautiful, each book was bagged and boarded, there were stickers and even a letter addressing the reader and thanking them for giving Utopixia Studios a chance; that's how you gain new readers. Gravestone was created by Danny "Dancore" Jiménez. The series is written by Eric "Elrick" Ramos, illustrated by Danny "Dancore" Jiménez and colored by Wilfredo Lopez Centeno.
The first thing that stands out to me about Gravestone: Dark Origins Is that we follow the villain of the story, or at least an anti-hero at best! He's searching for the same things the "heroes" are, but he's doing it for his own purposes. Gravestone observes and rules his section of the Underworld with an iron fist, summoning his minions to do his biding and feeding from humans as he desires. Another thing that stands out to me about Gravestone is how powerful he is. When you see powerful demons and creatures are tearing soldiers limb from limb, when you see them being unharmed by weapons of any kind and you see powerful beings and monsters are basically Gravestone's minions, it gives you a sense of exactly what type of being were dealing with.
I use to have many names. Most recently, I go by the name Tom B. Stone. Remember those times you were afraid of something lurking under your bed? That soft voice that pushed you to do all those nasty things you later regretted? That was me. My strength lies within humans. They feed me. I dare you to make a wish... I might be near and grant it. Are you willing to pay the price?
You can tell this story was well thought out for a long time. Gravestone's backstory, his motivations and his powers are clearly defined; as well as each and every other character in the series... heroes and villains. Not only that, the writer presents a wide variety of characters to the reader, a well defined universe (or worlds) they can really sink their teeth into and it all flows beautifully. Gravestone: Dark Origins is an action/adventure comic book series with deep horror elements in it as well. It reminds me of those old Mummy movies with Brendan Frazier, Indiana Jones or even Tomb Raider; all mixed in with many supernatural elements. Demons, gods, paramilitary forces, scholars... this book reads like an angry demon that grabs on to you and doesn't let go!
They are on this book is really good and it gets better book after book. The character designs are cool, very distinctive and in some cases horrifying. Gravestone has a great design, he looks dashing and handsome; almost hiding how cold and powerful he truly is. His sleeveless trench coat is a different look that you don't see often, the last time I saw a sleeveless trench coat was when the Ultimate Warrior returned to the WWE back in the early 2000's; loved the look back then and love it now as well. The only complaint I have about the artwork is that there isn't enough of it!
Gravestone: Dark Origins is a fun and engaging read from beginning to end! This isn't your typical "big 2" fluff story that drags on for eight months to give you a disappointing finale; when you read Gravestone: Dark Origins you'll need to clear a few hours from your schedule, sit down and really bury yourself in the story; but by the time you read the third issue there's gonna a satisfying conclusion and a great jump-on point for potential new readers. The twist and turns will keep you guessing until the very end. Eric and Danny are doing it the right way! I highly recommend picking up this series!
This book is a bit different than your average comic, you're consuming the story in comic book format but the interior is more like a prose book with an illustration on each page; which I think works perfect for this story. On the other hand, the format could potentially put off a few comic book readers simply because it's not your typical comic book with multiple panels on each page; it's more of a prose book with a full color illustration on each page. I enjoyed it, but other readers might not; especially those old school comic book readers that are set in their ways and won't accept anything other than what they're used to reading.
The only thing that bothered me a bit was the way certain sentences and paragraphs are stacked on the pages. On some pages they're right, but on other pages there are sentences that are cut off in the middle and continue on next space to the far left; and there are some instances where the sentences are on top of the artwork. It's not a huge deal but when you're reading story with great art, you'll notice something like that real quick; and honestly it's something that can be corrected very easily.
Overall, Gravestone: Dark Origins was a fantastic read! It has a well defined backstory, well developed characters, good art and it gives you something to look forward to in future stories. Is Gravestone a villain? Is he a hero or an anti-hero? Is he a god? To answer those and many other questions you'll need to read Gravestone: Dark Origins!
To stay up to date on everything regarding Utopixia Studios and the Gravestone series visit: www.gravestonecomic.com
Good evening, all! Tonight, I want to talk about something that will likely come out in 2022: Christmas is the Icing. It will be an original webcomic mini series. This comic is story taking place in Christmas.
People that really know me should know I am not a huge fan of Christmas, so this one may come off as a bit of a shock, but believe me, no one is more shocked than me! But when a story randomly comes to you, what else can you do but write it and see where it goes? And for some reason this random idea just spoke to me and without warning a plot and characters and the world they inhabit just came to life.
I can't give away too many details yet, but I can say it will be a romantic comedy. There's plenty of that in Warlord, but I haven't written anything strictly romantic comedy since that old script writing challenge I wrote years ago called From Single to Married, from the Scriptfrenzy challenge, where you had to write a 100 page screenplay. I did it in 3 days, with a concussion. I might do something with that eventually, but for now, to borrow from a series I love so much, Winter Is Coming. But this time, it will be delicious.
Thank you all for reading, as the year goes along I will be posting updates, so stay tuned! Catch you next blog, stay safe!
Good evening everyone, welcome back to another blog! Today, I want to touch upon a comic mini series I'm SUPER excited about, Hell Beneath You.
This was supposed to come out for halloween of last year, but, well, the pandemic, the cries for social justice, and my day job were all at it's peak here in NYC, so I had to put this story to the side because I barely had time to even work on Warlord.
If my main comics are a love letter to all the comics I grew up reading, Hell Beneath Us is a love letter to all the horror/terror/suspense movies I grew up watching.
My family, especially my mom, is a HUGE fan of horror movies. Even when my mom was pregnant with me, she'd go to special screening of horror movies in theaters, so I guess I literally grew up with horror movies. Halloween was a big deal in the little apartment we lived in at Williamsburg, in a very different time before all the coffee shops and artsy shops that are now all over there. Nightmare on Elm St, Halloween, CHUD, Silent Night Deadly Night, Psycho Cop, Witch Board, Hell Night, Prom Night, all the classics ranging from Stephen King classics to b-movie level movies, I watched it all and was a staple in our home.
Hell Beneath You is my love letter to all those movie and family moments I had growing up. I never have done a straight up horror story though some elements seep through sometimes in Warlord and eventually in Exorcist as well. I had always planned to do a horror comic, but, and I have never spoken about this, back when I was younger I actually used to go to church, and I was kind of talked out of it nicely at the time, and at that moment it made sense to me, so I shelved my horror ideas. Until a few years ago.
I was at SVA majoring in cartooning, one of my classes was with industry legend Klaus Jansen. Our last class project was illustrating a story we came up with. Since it was just something for school and just for myself, I did a small story with huge horror/suspense undertones, a small ghost story that was very personal. I was encouraged afterwards by Jansen to pursue a career in writing, and that planted the seeds for Hell Beneath You. I was hesitant at first, but when I made the first mock poster and presented them to TC president and cofounder Manuel, he was ALL IN for the comic!
So I worked on character designs, more mock poster, and came up with issue titles. I have the basic plot done and was about to start the script writing process until everything had to come to a halt.
My goal for Hell Beneath Us is to finish the script writing process over the summer and start production on the comic over the winter, and premier it in fall of 2022. I want to take my time with this one because it's become a very close story for me, in a way it's a nod to the me years ago that was too afraid to put out this kind of story because of outside pressure and self doubts. If I want Warlord to be my lasting legacy, my crowning achievement, I want Hell Beneath You to be one of the crown jewels of my comic career, even if it doesn't become this big thing or not many people will read it, I want to selfishly put this one out for me, for my family, for those of us that ever held back from doing something but held back because of fear of what others may think, or doubted themselves for one reason or another.
I have been very vague about the story for this comic, so, let me just give a small plot point as a gift for reading this far if you've gotten here.
The story revolves a family that after a tragedy, moves from their home to a small, sleepy, unassuming town, that is filled with secrets around every corner, and some of those secrets turn out to be serious. Deadly serious. This is an 8 issue mini series that deals with family, loss, horror, and survival.
The one thing I'm not sure of, if this will be like Project: New Wave, as a strictly for sale comic, or as a webcomic first and then a physical comic. If you're reading this far, maybe you can give me your opinion either in the comment section here or wherever I share this on FaceBook?
In any case, thank you all SO much for reading, catch you all next blog, stay safe!