Page Delay

Hi Planeteers! I am sitting in the Bob Hope Airport in beautiful down town Burbank on my way to my first USO trip with the National Cartoonist Society, thanks to my buddy and NCS President, Tom Richmond. My trip is just a domestic tour, but just as important as the overseas trips some of my colleagues have made (read about some of Tom’s adventures here: http://www.tomrichmond.com/blog/tag/uso/)

I planned to post a new page this week before I left, but due to a mixup in the itinerary, the flight that I though was tomorrow night was actually tonight. So, in the scramble to get ready a day early, I didn’t get the comic posted. But fear not, I leave you with a little Bobalunx biology study below and the promise of a new page when I get back Thursday.

Sorry for the delay, but I’ll be back soon!

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Comic Con 2013

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Hey Red-Heads and Planeteers! It’s Comic Con time and I’ll be there, like many of you, taking in the sights and sounds (and smells…ug!). But this year, there will actually be a time a place that we can meet face to face (and, no, it’s not the line for Starbucks — that’s face to back)!

This year, I’ll be camping out at the National Cartoonist Society’s booth (#1307) on Saturday from 10-12 with lots of some fun Red’s Planet stuff.

I have a handful of the Red’s Planet preview left from 2009 (now a collectors item…maybe. Somewhere.) and possibly some original art for sale. And there are also some great freebies! Free sketches, Red’s Planet Collector Cards and a Red’s Planet mini-poster (actually, it’s just a postcard).

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Even if you are one of those people who don’t like free stuff, come on by any way. I would love to meet any Red’s Planet fans who aren’t my family.


Reviews and Blurbs

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If you haven’t noticed, we’ve posted a page of links to reviews Red’s Planet has garnered over the years. You will find that page conveniently linked in the menu bar above. We have creatively titled it “Reviews”. We think it sounds edgy.

There are also a few blurbs from well-known cartoonists and directors, like Cleopatra in Space creator and fellow SpaceDock 7 member, Mike Maihack, MAD Magazine‘s Tom Richmond, and Phineas and Ferb Co-Creator, Dan Povenmire.

Unfortunately, the gentleman above wasn’t able to contribute, but we were able to send him a copy of the finished work thanks to a man in a blue box (who actually had to travel into the future, pickup the finished book then go back…oh, it’s complicated).

But we’re confident Uncle Walt would have loved it!


Free Comic Book Day 2013

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As many of you know, today is Free Comic Book Day! That once a year celebration when participating comic book shops across North America and around the world give away comic books absolutely FREE.

In the spirit of Free Comic Book Day and since many of you have asked about the Red’s Planet Preview from 2009, I’ve decided to share some of it here with you for today only. Until midnight tonight (pacific time), you can download the first eight pages of chapter four from the Red’s Planet Preview. Remember, these are from an earlier version of chapter four, but I think you’ll enjoy the sneak peek nonetheless.

Enjoy and happy Free Comic Book Day!

 

Download here!

Thanks for coming by! Unfortunately, we’re all out of comics! But, the pages will be posted here online over the next seven weeks, so stay tuned!

 


Cartooning Without A Net

I know many of you love to read about process and, as you probably know, I have no fear of being transparent about how I create.  So after pulling a George Lucas and reworking a few pages in Chapter Three, I thought some readers might be interested in an exhilarating behind the scenes story.

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One of the things that I like most about posting a weekly comic is the immediacy of the feedback and commentary that I receive — an experience in complete contrast to majority of cartooning history. In the golden days of comic books, it would be months after deadline before letters from readers began to pour in and the comic strip artists of the same era were usually months into the next story arc before a strip landed in the funny pages.

I’ve often imagined that doing a weekly webcomic is as close to the experience of performing for a live audience that a cartoonist will ever have. Having done a little bit of stand-up back when my hair was fuller and less gray, I can tell you it can be either exhilarating or demoralizing depending on — well, let’s just say it’s the luck of the draw. I find that stage experience isn’t much different from waiting for the first readers comments to come rolling in, but without the shaky knees and sweaty palms.

I like to call Red’s Planet a “graphic novel-in-progress” and for a long-form comic, it’s been invaluable to be able to judge how my audience is perceiving the story as it goes along; are the characters ringing true, is the plot point clear, am I revealing too much in a subplot that won’t payoff until act three, etc. And, occasionally, I find out that the way I set up a scene or gag isn’t playing at all. And that’s when it’s time to figure out how to fix it.

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Working as a writer and story artist in animation, my scenes are constantly deluged by notes from the producer, director, or even an executive. It’s my job to take their concerns, fix the story, hopefully plus it, then pitch again in a week or two. At which point, more notes come in and we do it all over again until someone dies or they run out of money.

The great thing about notes are, in most cases, the story becomes stronger. With Red’s Planet, I think of my online readership as playing a key role in that note process.  And when a scene doesn’t “play” and there’s a bit of a hint in the comment section, that’s a pretty good indication that I might need to step back, reassess, and maybe go back to the drawing board.

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When comments started coming in on Chapter Three page 37, I began to realize that my concept of a large metal box with pre-dented edges that just happen to fall around Red’s legs without dismembering her, really wasn’t working. Not only did it become

a distraction for many readers, it drew attention away from the most important thing: the story.

So after, a little brainstorming (usually while taking a shower), I decided to rework pages 35 thru 37. The reworked pages not only make more story sense by replacing the metal monolithic box with a teetering pile of junk, but they are much more visually interesting as well. I’ve replaced the pages in the story, but I’ve included the original pages here for comparison.

Making changes is just part of the process. The story can always be stronger, and you should never be afraid to change something. Unless you’re George Lucas. Then, of course, you should just leave well enough alone.