Greetings Loyal Airmen, Val and the Air Chief are wrapping up our two week stay in Ft. Myers, Florida and next week will be back home in Fort Collins, CO. For now, as we did last week, we are going to offer up a little report on the amazing chain of events that led to what is easily the busiest time in our comics writing career. Which is nothing less than God’s blessings for sure.
JIN & TONIK –
Almost two years ago artist Cesar Felciano came to us with this idea about a story dealing with two amazing killers, professional assassins. One a martial arts expert and the other an enhanced human being. Both of whom would eventually meet and share a mutual epiphany that would transform their lives and as Obi Wan Kenobi would say, turn them to the “good side.” For this we scripted 80 pages of story and Cesar started doing sketches. Then he moved from Massachusetts to Florida, which really back things up. Then early this year Cesar got caught up with his other obligations and started work in earnes on that first chapter. He’s almost finished with that. The plan for this is to fund it via a Kickstarter Campaign. People who have seen Cesar’s pages are ranting and raving as it is clearly some of this best work ever.
BOSTON BOMBERS Vol 2
Many, many, years ago we wrote an alternate world pulpish 5 issue mini-series called. The Boston Bombers and sold it to Caliber Press. Sadly, after only three issues, the artist on board flaked on us and the series was cancelled. Then years later, Alpha Productions out of Maine signed to produce the last two issues. With those completed, it became possible for us to collect all five issues and my amigo Rob Davis opted to do just that and publish the graphic novel his own Redbud Studio imprint. While doing so, Rob naturally read the books and ended up becoming the story’s biggest fan. Enough so that over the years whenever we discussed doing another big comic book project, Rob would press me to sit down and write the sequel to that first series. Okay, so in 2019, with no cons due to Covid, and plenty of time in the office, we sat down and began writing Boston Bombers Vol 2 – We penned two issues worth of scripts and set them aside. Rob was at that time doing a mini-series for Roland Mann’s Silverline Comics. That has now been completed and a few weeks ago Rob began work on that first issue. We’ve seen a couple of pages and they are beautiful.
THE BLACK BAT
So way back in 2018, Rob and the Air Chief were invited by artist Mike Belcher to be guest at his hometown comic convention in Kentucky. We went and had a blast. The biggest take away being meeting and his wife and son. Mike is a gifted artist who draws in a style reminiscent of the Golden Age of comics and writes and draws his own independent comic book series, “The Man in the Mask” which is just great. Anyway, Mike and the Air Chief kept in touch and eventually did two short comic strips together, both of which appeared in various black and white anthologies. We also began talking every single week via Skype. As our friendship grew, Mike became more and more aware of what Rob and the Air Chief were about with our pulp publishing Airship 27. He loved that stuff and those characters and did up a really beautiful piece featuring the Black Bat and Domino Lady. When we saw it, we were bowled over and told him so. To which he responded, “Let’s do a Black Bat comic together.” The Air Chief was beside himself. What an opportunity. Initially we went into this thinking we’d do a simple 22 or 24 pg one shot telling, for the first time ever, the origin of this classic pulp hero. Alas soon into writing, it became clear we’d need a whole lot more pages than that to do the story justice. Upon telling that to Mike, he simply shrugged and said, “Write as many pages as you need. We’ll do it as a graphic novel.” End result, we wrote a 103 pg script and Mike started working on it. He’s doing the pencils and inks, while his super talented son Aiden is doing letters and colors. After doing four or five pages, last year, Mike had to put the project on hold as he and his family ended up moving to another town in Kentucky. At the same time he is a part of the Silverline Comics group and they keep him hopping all the time. As of this writing, Mike will soon be back to the Black Bat project. When done he will self-publish it via Barry Gregory’s comic printing outfit, Ka-Blam.
Along about this time, Rob informed me he was going to be drawing a 4 issue mini-series written by writer R.A. Jones that would be produced by Roland Mann. Roland was an old pal from way back who now lived in Florida and was starting up his own comics company to be called Silverline Comics. All projects done at Silverline would be financed via Kickstarter Campaigns. We were intrigued by all this and soon learned Mike Belcher was also involved with Silverline doing lettering work for them. Eventually we dug out an old 48 pg. script we’d written long before about a Chinese professional burglar named Satin Wei who immigrated to the states and opened an art gallery on the Northwest Coast. We endured many ups and downs trying to get this book published over the years and so wrote Roland a letter of inquiry. Roland replied asking to read the script. We sent along, he read it, and then said Silverline would publish it in two parts. All we had to do now was find an art team. At first Roland found a young lady who did up a few sketches, but she ended up bowing out. We then recruited another artist who was eager to do it and even drew a short six-page Satin Wei story we’d written for the Silverline Christmas Special anthology. Everybody loved it. Then that artist bowed before doing a single page off the big story. Frustrated once again, we posted our need for a reliable, professional level artist on the social business site Link-In. Twenty-four hours later, Philippine artist Crisanto Moreno responded saying he’d like to take it on. Above is an early sketch of Satin at work, and a rough for Pg # 4 of the script itself. Crisanto is fully committed to project and we couldn’t be happier.
BEYOND THE STARS –
So along about this time, while checking out the post on Link-In one day, we came across is full drawn and colored comic paged depicting some sci-fi sequence. (See three of them above.) All were by the work of Italian artist Andrea Bormida. We were instantly taken by his art and wrote asking what this story was all about. To which Andres replied it was loosely based on a tentative idea he had for a comic project and asked if we’d like to look at his outline. We said yes emphatically, at which point, when sending it along, he suggested, should we be inclined, that we might add to it or alter it into something concrete. I.e. a real plot from which a series could be developed.
We were thrilled with the offer and soon had embellished Andrea’s slim outline into a full proposal. That night, we contacted Roland Mann. Considering he’d been happy to have our “Satin’s Ways,” we wondered if he might not like something totally new from us. In our inquiry we explained hooking up with Andrea and showed him those six pages. Much to our surprise and delight, Roland texted us back that very night stating, and we paraphrase here, “I’ll do more than that. As long as each issue is only 22 pages long, Silverline will publish Beyond the Stars.” Wow. The very next day we contacted Roland and he was totally on board with us taking the six part series to Silverline. Then we brought in Mike Belcher to letter the project we were rocking and rolling. As of today, issue # 1 is 99% completed and we completed script # 2. Expect to see this one launched really soon.
CHIVALRY, INC –
Finally, another idea we came up with long – long – long ago was CHIVALRY, INC. It is the story of a Montreal police detective named Valerie Chevalier whose colleagues nickname her Chivalry. After being shot in the head during an assignment, she survives only to discover she can now read people’s thoughts if they are within 20 feet of her. Sound like a cool ability? Not really, when you consider the thought as to just how do you shut out these “other” thoughts than your own? After first coming up with the idea, we wrote up a comics proposal and various artists signed on, some even doing a their own artistic interpretations of Val and her supporting cast as seen above. One on the left is by Matt Haley, the one on the right by Olivier Raymond.
So as time goes by we have a folder filled with images and a partial script. Okay, so along about the time we lost our artist on Satin’s Ways, we suggested to publisher Roland Mann that he contact artist Javier Lugo, also of Florida. We’d done a 16 pg comic with Javier way back when and hoped to one day work with him again on another project. So Roland contacts Javier. Meanwhile Crisanto Moreno comes along and signs on to do Satin’s Ways. Seems like we suddenly had more artists then projects. When Roland asked what we should do, as Javier had been receptive to his reaching about doing something with Silverline Comics. We immediately told Roland to mention Chivalry, Inc. to Javier….which he did. And lo and behold, Javier liked the concept and agreed to sign on and do it with us. And so project # 6 in our packed schedule is CHIVALRY, INC. by yours truly and Javier Lugo, with Mike Belcher doing letters and Aiden Belcher doing colors…for Silverline Comics. Above are several of Javier’s loose pencils.
Six amazing comic projects with six fantastic, super talented artists. Each of them is a pure joy to be working with. Which ones will come out first? You’ll have to wait and see on that, Loyal Airmen. Thing is, in reflecting on all this marvelous good tidings, we are all too aware each and every one of them comes from God, Our Loving Savior. God, the greatest storyteller of them all. And the Holy Spirit who blessed us with this wonderful gift. More than ever, our prayer remains that every one of these comics will do Him glory and honor. AMEN.
That’s it, Loyal Airmen, by the time you read this, we’ll have 4 days left in Florida. See you back here next Friday. Till then, take care and as always, God Bless.
Ron – Over & Out!