A Dilemma in Power Rangers (2017)

There is something I’ve been thinking about since seeing the new Power Rangers movie that I think is a little fucked up. It’s not as fucked up as, say, the movie Passengers (have you seen that movie? Totally fucked up). There will be MAJOR SPOILERS discussed below. I encourage everyone to see the movie before reading this. I also just plain encourage everyone to go see the movie, regardless. It’s actually pretty great. Probably the most fun I’ve had at the movies since Force Awakens, and the most feels I’ve had at the movies since Lilo & Stitch.

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Honestly a better film than it had any right to be

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Free Comic Book Day 2015 is May 2nd

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James Lynch of Hero Universe Comics (that’s me) will once again be appearing at Lost World of Wonders in Milwaukee (Greenfield?) WI for Free Comic Book Day.

Lost World of Wonders is the best store in the area to celebrate FCBD for several reasons:

1) It’s the largest comic book store in Wisconsin.

2) It’s the best store in the area. This may be strictly opinion, but aside from being large, it’s also well maintained, well stocked, and has a great staff.

3) They give away more free stuff than any other shop in the area. Many stores limit you to one or two free books, LWoW usually sets the limit around 4.

4) They’re having a massive, storewide sale that day. Everything in the shop will be at least 25% off, including back issues, TPB/graphic novels, toys, models, games, books, cards, statues, and other assorted collectibles (excludes new release comics)

5) They’re great supporters of local artists. They’re the only shop in the area with a year round “Local Talent” shelf. Several artists are usually there each FCBD to show off their own comics and creations and do FREE sketches for all attendees.

I personally will be there all day long, from 11AM when the doors open to 8PM when the doors close (the staff sometimes says I stick it out to the “bitter end,” but the last people through the door can often be some of the best). I will be doing free sketches, selling copies of Hero Universe comics, selling art prints (including the newly complete Frozen, Harley Quinn, and Ahsoka Tano prints) and will be holding a special drawing to give away a FREE 9×12” marker commission (I’ll also be taking commissions, if anybody’s interested. My rates are quite reasonable).

You could probably already tell this, but…

To be honest up front, this is not a post I’d hoped to have to write. When this campaign first launched, I’d hoped that we’d meet our goal. I even had dreams that we might exceed it and get to some of those stretches. Even down to the last days, I’d hoped there’d be a late surge in pledging, that word-of-mouth would finally get around, that perhaps a few very generous people with deep pockets would take an interest in this project.

Alas, that did not happen. AngelDemon has not successfully funded. I’ve had a few theories why, and had some floated to me. Maybe it was a bad time of year to launch a Kickstarter campaign. Maybe I just couldn’t get my message out to get as many (or the right) eyeballs on the project as were needed. Maybe I’m just offering a product that not enough people want (I hope it’s not that, but that is a real possibility).

So, AngelDemon will not be going into production right now. It is still my every hope to get it made somehow, and to do so sooner rather than later. But without the funding this campaign would have provided, I don’t know exactly when that’s going to be, or how I’m going to make it happen. But I feel I’ve already put too much effort into laying the foundation for this book to simply abandon it. It’s a story I still believe in, and one that I believe there is an audience for. San Espina is a great collaborator, so when this book finally does happen, I very much look forward to working with him again.

I would be remiss if I did not thank all of the people who tried so hard to make this project a success. Thank you to everyone who did pledge. Thank you to everyone who wanted to but couldn’t, for whatever reason. Thank you to everyone who liked, favorite, shared, and retweeted the many messages about this campaign. Thank you especially to Eric and Brooke Shelley, whose generosity made the finished line art seen on the campaign page possible. I promise that won’t be going to waste.

As I said, I fully intend that AngelDemon will eventually see the light of day as a finished book, and when that day comes, I know you’ll all be there to share in that joy with me. I’ll be doing my best to keep updates coming through my Twitter account (@HeroJamesLynch), our Facebook group (https://www.facebook.com/groups/304179068342/), our official website (herouniversecomics.com), and of course right here. It will definitely be slow going at first, but I hope you’ll all stick around to offer the same invaluable support that you already have.

Kickstarter Update #4

This one’s a big one. How would you like to see two brand new pages from AngelDemon? And how would you like for them to be the first two pages of the book? And you say you’d also like for them to be fully colored and lettered? God, you’re greedy.

Here they are:

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And remember to actually click on through and pledge to the campaign:

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/2079412719/angeldemon

Kickstarter Update #1

Seriously, I never meant to let it go this long. I started a new job last week, and then this weekend my brother got married.

More updates are coming, but I’ll start slow. AngelDemon takes place in Milwaukee, WI, and there’s a church featured. That church will be based upon the church I went to in high school, Our Savior’s Lutheran at 35th and Wisconsin Ave.

Click on through to see a picture of this fine building : https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/2079412719/angeldemon/posts

How to Draw Hands

A question I’m asked from time to time, and I know plenty of other artists get this as well, is, “How do you draw hands (and sometimes feet) in comics?”

In my capacity as a wizened(ish) comic sage(-esque non-sage guy), I would like to pass on to you the advice that really helped me in this particular aspect of comic art. I cannot remember for the life of me who this advice came from, but I think it was in a how-to column in an old issue of Wizard Magazine. And it goes (paraphrased) thusly:

Look at a hand. Draw what you see. If you’re trying to be a professional comic artist, chances are you have at least one hand. There’s no shame in being your own model.

I think sometimes aspiring artists want to think that everything they draw has to come from their imagination. They see some sort of stigma attached to using reference materials. Or maybe some young artists have just never thought to do so.

There’s an anecdote I remember about the late, great Michael Turner (one of my personal favorite comic artists of all time, and a guy who could sneeze out a perfectly drawn hand). His first day at Top Cow, he was working as a background artist for company founder Marc Silvestri, and by lunch had drawn a skyline that looked like a bunch of loaves of bread stacked on end. Silvestri thought the kid would wash out and be gone by the end of the day, but gave him a reference book about skyscrapers to peruse over lunch. When Silvestri came back, Mike had drawn one of the most amazing skylines Silvestri had ever seen. When asked what had changed over lunch, Mike shrugged and said, “No one ever told me to look at references before.”

For nearly inarticulable reasons, hands (and feet) are a major part of human anatomy that are particularly troublesome to draw. Some big name artists simply won’t do it. When I’ve seen tutorials on the matter on other websites, things get very complicated. Measurements and formulas and graphs and charts are brought in. Math. Honest-to-God math in a “how-to-draw” tutorial. Which strikes me as insane, but if it works for some, it works (who am I to judge? I’m writing a “How-To-Draw” column with no pictures). If you’re interested in that sort of tutorial, I’m sure it wouldn’t take you long to find one online.

What works for me, though, is that advice I read in Wizard all those years (decades? Crap I’m old) ago: look at a hand, draw what you see.

Comic Book Copyrights and Trademarks: You’re Doing it Wrong

By my own admission, I’m no legal expert. I’m not an intellectual property lawyer. But, that doesn’t mean I don’t have any advice for aspiring comic book creators on the subject of copyright and trademarks.

As I mentioned, I’m not an expert in the legal field. I don’t know every in and out of how to protect your intellectual property. And I’m certainly not going to tell you not to. What I am going to tell you, is that if you’re worrying about copyright and trademark before you have anything to protect, you’ve got your priorities backwards.

I recently saw a posting on Facebook by an aspiring creator. He was looking for artists, but couldn’t pay them, because he didn’t have much money, and needed those funds for printing costs, advertising, and copyright and trademark filings.

You know what else he didn’t have? A story. Characters, a plot, a title, designs, to say nothing of a script or artwork. He was worried about protecting intellectual property he didn’t even possess.

This brought to mind a scenario that I encountered at one of the first comic conventions I ever attended as an artist. There was a guy going around looking for talent in artists alley (if you know artists alley, you know there’s a lot of people there, a fair number quite good at what they do, and most of them are hungry for paying gigs). This guy would go up to an artist whose work he liked (he was also looking for writers, but don’t ask me how he was trying to identify them), and pull out a business card, proudly proclaiming that he was the trademark owner of what was on the card. The card read “BYCH” in a kind of circuitry-looking font. So this guy owned a trademark on a homophone of “bitch.”

That was what he owned. Much like the person I described above, he did not have an artist attached to this project. He did not have a writer. He did not have a plotline, or characters. He had one word on a business card. He had done, from his perspective, all the hard work, coming up with the oh-so-clever title. He just needed some people to fill out the details, like what BYCH actually was and how a story could be built around it. A quick Google search indicates that the trademark has since been abandoned. Which makes sense, since, in order to maintain ownership of a trademark, you have to show continued use. I’m not sure this guy ever had any use of it.

But that’s the problem some creators have (and, in the case of the BYCH guy, I’m using the term “creators” very generously): they have this notion that protecting intellectual property is more important than creating it. Any idea they have could be gold. They might have the next Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles on their hands. Even if they do, you know what? Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird didn’t just come up with a fun sounding name for a book and run off to the trademark office. They actually made a damn book.

Protecting your IP is absolutely necessary, no doubt about it, and like I said, I’m not the guy to ask for advice about the ins and outs of that stuff. But if you’re the guy who’s more worried about trademarking a symbol or copyrighting a name than you are about actually crafting something worth protecting, you’re going about creating comics completely backwards.