Friday, June 22, 2012

Letter of Intent.

Finalizing pages.  Finishing inks.  Lettering.  Getting the format right.  Living our lives at other jobs.

It's been a busy few months for us over here in the "Youth" camp.

For one, because our lives for some reason decided to be incessantly busy, we'll be pushing Issue #1's release back a few weeks.  We're gonna have it ready for you in the middle of the July.  It's a matter of time...we're doing this all on our own, while maintaining our other jobs and we're willing to admit...sometimes life just gets in the way.  But get's gonna be cool.

Don't know if you guys saw this but our good friend Iyane Kane did an awesome render of Jim on his own and it's just too cool not to repost so here it is...
(c) 2012 Iyane Kane
You gotta love talented friends, man.  Too cool.  If you dig this, you'll be totally into Iyane's other stuff, which is jaw-droppingly cool.  Check him out at .

Evan is close to finishing with inks, and we're right on track for our new deadline.  We're also starting to put together a kickstarter page to raise some funds for the book.  Printing ain't cheap, and we gotta buy in bulk for the issues, so keep your eyes peeled for the kickstarter coming up soon.  We'll have lots of cool prizes and such for you, as it goes with most kickstarters, so that'll be up soon.

Now, as it's gone with most of these posts, I wanna hone in on a central thesis rather than just hype the book, because really the point of a blog is to tell you guys what's going on and give you some perspective of where we're coming from as creators of this series.  So, I wanna take some time to discuss the intent of the series.  The "message", if you will...

As much as Evan and I love superheroes, books about them, movies about them, what have you..."Youth" is NOT about that.  When we started this...some 3 1/2 odd years ago...our original intention was to give Evan a story he could draw for a class.  So I wrote him a six-pager...and then wrote a full issue of what would be the first incarnation of "Youth", which for the record...totally sucked.  The original idea was so convoluted, complicated, and unpleasant sounding (especially when I pitched it to Evan), I almost gave up entirely.  I had already brought in too many characters, origins were so messy, etc.  It was aggravating to try and write something and not get excited about it, especially this new style I was learning.  I loved it, but I also said to myself, "I love comics, I love writing...but maybe I'm not this kind of a writer."

So we sat on the idea for about a year, and then one day, I started thumbing through the original inks, the original concept for the series.  I looked at the first issue I wrote...and pitched it.  I mean, I deleted everything, save for the opening scene (the teaser).  I stripped away everything, and brought it back to a simple story, because as a writer I had realized I lost the one thing I should have over a universe I was creating the first go-around at this: Control.  I finished, looked at it, then told Evan I had rewrote the first issue of "The Middle" (original title, terrible)...and it totally works...and "now it's called, 'Youth'."

Evan and I decided very quickly we were going to do this on our own.  We weren't going to wait around for someone to discover it, mostly because that's stupid.  We'd put the issues out ourselves, just to say we were doing it, so if and when someone came along looking to buy the property, we'd have a HUGE card on our table, being that it was creator-owned property, and that we were self-sufficient, putting it out on our own.

Historically, my collaborations have gone pretty horribly.  Fighting, Annoyance, Rewrites (I can't tell you how often I've gotten a re-write back and not found a lick of me on the page)'s never been good.  And then Evan and I starting discussing the story.  Where were we going to take it?  What kind of stories interested us?  That was obvious, but what kind of story would we keep coming back to as co-creators?  The proverbial "well"...was it going to be that thing we latched onto and have a marathon writing session?


We came to the realization quickly that our intent wasn't to give an origin story about superheroes.  It was about people like was going to be about the daily lives of people who are going through the ringer that is High School...and we'd throw some superpowers in there for some fun.  The whole time working up the 'Bible' for the series (which is what you do for TV series so every writer know hows things should go.  here, it worked as our road map for figuring out what was going to happen through the first volume), we realized the mundane details were so much more promising and entertaining story-wise than some huge over-arching concept about these kids being aliens or mutants or orphan billionaires (not that that isn't compelling stuff when in the right context).  We realized that what you go through in high school is just as fascinating and compelling as stopping an alien invasion or taking down an ancient clan of owl worshippers (enjoy that one).

I've never been a "big picture" writer.  I love small stories about people.  Fractious moments in time...those are the movies (Indies, I guess, in a word) that get me going and those are the kind of moments I write about.  My notebooks are filled with anecdotes about nothings that mean everything.  The scripts I've written, the shorts I've made...they're all about these precious moments we find in our lives.  It dawned on me that the voice I had for this book had to be my own, and  I realized I could write the way I always did, even if it was in comic book form, and Evan was totally on board with that.

In summation...we aren't re-inventing the wheel...just using a different one, and we hope you dig it.


Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Issue #1 Teaser

Hey Guys-

Right to business...Here it is...As promised...The 6-page teaser for Issue #1 of 'Youth.', coming June 2012...Read, comment, let us know what you think...Thanks for all your support and thanks for reading!

(c) Evan Peter 2012

(c) Evan Peter 2012

(c) Evan Peter 2012

(c) Evan Peter 2012

(c) Evan Peter 2012

(c) Evan Peter 2012

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Who is Jim?

(c) 2012 Evan Peter

So, right there for you...this is Jim.  He's one of our chief protagonists and probably one of the most mellow super powered characters ever committed to page.  Yes, I'm just staking that claim.  Reason being is that that's the theme for this blog:  I've spent a lot of time telling you guys what Evan and I are doing to make this comic as real as it can be, and very little time telling you the who's and what's of the comic itself.  I figured I'd leave that to the issues themselves, but it doesn't hurt to give you guys a little character history, especially if it'll make you want Issue #1 even more!  Let me tell you guys about Jim...

Jim is a junior at Aurora High School.  He's in NHS, as well as being a National Merit Scholar.  Smart guy, AP classes, the works.  He's one of those people you know could get into an Ivy League, but won't.  Not for lack of trying, but just he's "not from the right place."  He is an only child.

Jim's family moved to Aurora about 6 month before he was born.  He has grown up with everyone he goes to school with, and has always just been, "that smart guy with the glasses."  Jim is quite private.  He is actually a fantastic athlete, and played basketball when he was younger in the Park league.  However, Jim's disinterest in try-outs and the basic tenets of Middle School in general led him to opt out of playing any school-sponsored sports.  He still plays recreationally, on occasion though. 

Jim refocused on academics as his way "out".  He figured good grades, and academic-oriented extracurriculars would help him get into a good college, and secure a job he actually liked...when he was ready to think about what he wanted to do with his life.  Jim joined Model UN, which he found highly entertaining, mostly because it got him out of school on an excused absence and allowed him to focus on personal tasks.  Jim once quipped to a fellow delegate, "It's like a second spring break."  Jim is well known in the Model UN crowd for consistently putting forth resolutions to absolve the UN.  In the six years Jim has been a part of Model UN, he has put this resolution in eight times as the delegate from Denmark (his personal favorite place to "be from"), successfully absolving the UN, earning him the respect and laughter of his constituents, but the ire of the teachers organizing the event. Jim's penchant for academic mischief comes from his pragmatic approach to anything he encounters in life:  If it's worth doing, it's probably worth doing with a sense of humor.

Jim's spirited attitude toward his academics confounds his teachers and fellow students often.  For instance, Jim has never read an assigned required reading book, save for "The Plague" by Albert Camus and "The Great Gatsby" by F. Scott Fitzgerald (both were instances where he felt he just wanted to read those books).  If Jim does read anything, he reads the synopsis and the first few pages, a few from the middle, and the ending.  Jim attributes his success in English classes to this process, as when he knows very little about the book, his thesis arguments typically can be supported by outlandishly pulled inferences and metaphors.  Jim truly excels at Math though, where as a junior, he is already taking AP Calculus.  Jim enjoys Mathematics, he finds it easy, and also with AP Calculus, a way to avoid a class his senior year of high school.  Jim has only been accused of cheating once by Molly Spooler, a fellow National Merit Award finalist.  He did not cheat and was exonerated based on no evidence to substantiate the claim, but since then, his presence in the NHS particularly, has been minimal.  Jim's experiences with Molly turned him off from a lot of NHS activities, and so he now does the bare minimum required to be in the club.  Jim is also on the tech crew for the school drama department, ascending as far as being the lighting director once for his school's version of "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dream Coat."  Around the time of his issues with Molly and NHS, Jim became closer friends with Stacy.

Although Stacy and Jim had been friends before, they became very close after Jim's issues with NHS.  Stacy, also in the club, thought it was odd that few rallied around Jim.  He and Stacy, from then on, were very close.  Many thought they had started a romantic relationship, but nothing could be further from the truth.  While they had tried sometime in their freshman year to be a couple, they found it odd, and quickly broke up after a month, leaving a gap in their friendship, which lasted until Jim's issues with NHS.  Jim and Stacy were very close, and after the incident that led to them discovering one another had powers, they became inseparable.

Jim's romantic life is far less documented than anything else.  He dated a popular girl, Julie, for quite some time, then broke up for unknown reasons.  Jim in general, doesn't date.  He likes girls, wants girls...but it's just sort of an afterthought at this moment in his life.

Although seeming on the straight and narrow, highly motivated and practical, Jim is still a free spirit in terms of how he lives his life.  His long term goals, past going to college, are not really known to anyone but him, and even he finds them murky.  Jim likes to live in the moment as much as he can, like any high schooler.  He's as basic as they come.  The smart kid...who can fly.

That's a basic idea of where Jim's coming from.  Should be even more fun to see how you guys react!  Stacy and Louis' character histories will follow shortly.  Evan is right now, as we speak, inking page 6 of issue #1.  We'll be keeping you guys in the loop as far as that goes, however...the teaser issue will be coming at the end of the month!  I'll post it here and on our Facebook for you guys so you can check it out and get excited for Issue #1 in June.  Hopefully the teaser will tide you guys over!  Thanks again for sticking with us.  As always, if you have questions, comments, etc...Just ask!  We're an ever-opening book over here.  Until next time, friends...


Monday, February 27, 2012

The Lisbon Girls, Oh The Lisbon Girls...

(Big Ups if you get the reference in the title of this blog)

Well, sorry.  I said weekly, but it happens.  A lot of stuff's going on!

Anyways. with a small vacation and other work coming up, we've had a little time, but we're still fully on schedule for the June release of issue #1!  So, still be excited.

I saw on our facebook page someone 'unliked' our does one do that?  I'm amazed by it and I say to that person, thank you for having the good sense not to just 'like' away on things!  But on a sad note, why did you leave us?

Anyways, last entry I wrote a lot about research and the kind of stuff we're doing...I know I told you we'd be interviewing high schoolers and well...on a fated Friday night, at undisclosed Chipotle in Southern California...we did in fact interview some high school kids.

High school girls in fact.  Six of them.  My fiance came with us to take pictures and also served as our, "We're not 25-year-old trying to hit on high school girls" cover.

Intrepid comic book creators we are.

But to preface why we did this...It had a lot more to do with just relearning a lot of it.  Evan and I obviously both went to high school, but we decided we'd been out long enough to be much more of the mind of "remembering fondly" than any other way.  We don't want "Youth" to be some piece of nostalgia.  From a writing perspective, I want this to feel the way it feels to be in high school, which could be anything from where you stand.  But what I don't want to do while writing is think to myself, "Man...that one time was awesome..." because that's not being true to you guys as readers and not trying to expand myself as a writer.  Remembering is cool, but nods to past are meant mostly for the geography of the book and for (totally shamelessly) cameos by our friends and teachers throughout the book, hopefully.

To start, we learned a lot.  It was crazy.  I was really hesistant at first when we sat down with these girls mostly because knowing myself, I don't want to divulge personal feelings about the life I lead, etc.  But these girls were great!  So insightful, even about stuff that I didn't think mattered in the slightest, which is so much.

Evan and I were enamored with just how they spoke, the fluency they had between several conversations and how they moved from subject to subject without hesitating.  I think in general, we all assume high school kids know pretty much nothing because they haven't "experienced" anything yet.  But if there's something they do know, better than anyone else in the world, they know themselves.  Even at a young age, these girls are willing to sit there and discover things about themselves.  Be adventurous, make changes and mistakes...learn.

No topic was off limits.  We asked everything, even stuff we had assumed we'd get false answers for (Boys, Drugs...the naughty stuff) and they answered with all the sincerity in the world.  It was everything we could have asked for and more.  And these girls were just so different, each one of them, it was the best demographic.

I asked them all to write something off the top of their heads into my notebook.  This girl wrote "I have Bieber Fever".  High schoolers with a sense of irony.

 A few things we learned about how it is now in high school:

1) Twitter and text are the big thing.  NOT FACEBOOK.  weird.  Did not expect that.

2) Very surprising: Guys are much more interested in the curvy body type than the "Keira Knightly" look.  I found that really interesting and kind of relieving.  Maybe all that self-image stuff is finally seeping down to where it should be...  Most of the girls Evan has drawn so far fit into that body type, with the exception of a couple characters who have the look of just being naturally skinny.  Good to know we're on the right track.

We found out this girl is the younger sister of one of Evan and Andrea's friends from high school.  Small damn world.

3) Text message talk is tough.  And people say these words out loud and just know.  I don't think of it as death to the English language...It's just a new version.  Also, no one's texting gossip like passing notes.  It's always about making plans, etc.  Gossip is much less prevalent than I expected, actually.  I was pleasantly surprised by that.
We asked for smiley faces  These are all used in texts.  Crazy.

This gal to the left was a fountain of information.  The one smiling was the quiet one.  Evan and I were astounded how much of a dead ringer she was for one of the characters we've already written.
4)  One thing we found really interesting was when we asked the girls to name specific famous people they find inspiring.  On a personal note, until that day I didn't find lady GaGa interesting at all, but then one of the girls pointed out, "I'm inspired just by her originality and her willingness to be herself".  What a cool answer from someone whose often considered "too young" to be listened to! Such an interesting answer.  It really got me thinking about the pop music and other things I don't understand, and how I can employ that into the comic.

 It was such a cool experience to have people on board with what you're trying to do.  From the deepest areas of our hearts, Ladies...Thank you so much.  It might not seem this way, but being open about hopes and fears and all that...just incredibly brave.  It was so cool to hear the honest truth.  Some of it was what we already knew but getting it fresh puts whole new spin on it.  I've been struggling to map out this third issue, and after these girls sat down and talked to us, I have a much better idea about plot points.  It's amazing what research can do for you!
This is my fiancĂ©'s little sister on the right.  She put it together.  Thanks Jules!

Now, what does this do for us?  We've got these scribbled notes, some audio interviews...where do we put this?  The answer is everywhere.  This kind of stuff, the research we do, helps put us in the moment.  From a writing perspective, when I feel like I'm not getting into the place these characters are, all I have to do is listen to an interview, look at pictures or read over my notes and it helps.

From Evan's perspective, it's a bit more complex.  We have these pictures, and the memories.  Evan can think of a facial expression, or some sort of fashion sense these girls put in front of us, and take it from there.  But Evan's visual research is as relevant hearing these girls talk.  It's all about the vibe we're putting out with the book, and that's what we're after.  The right vibe.

So a treat for you guys to get excited about...

Evan and I are going to release a teaser book!  We'll be putting the first six pages out at some point this month for you guys to look at, and get revved up for the rest of that issue and the whole series, really.  We'll have more stuff coming up, you just gotta give us time.  We're doing it all on our own, so it's gonna be slow.  But it's coming.  Thanks for being patient and sticking with us.  It's gonna be an exciting year and we'll keep you informed along the way.  Thanks for reading guys.

Until next time,


Monday, February 13, 2012

Commit This to Memory

Hello All-

Well, we've got some hopefully teasing images up.  In the coming weeks, you'll see more character sketches and other goodies we've been working on as we gear up for the big release in early summer.  Hope you guys are as excited as we are.

In the meantime, I am trying to keep up weekly blog posts, keeping you all in the loop on what we've got going on over here.  This week, I'm gonna talk about the research Evan and I are doing for this book.

Now, you might be wondering what the hell we'd need to be researching...we both went to high school, college even, and we were young once right?  Oh, sure.  But the thing is, we're not now, and rather than have every single teenager in the book sound like a 25-year-old, we decided that we needed to go back and figure out exactly what the deal is, because see...the world's changed since we were in high school.  Kids carry their phones around, text rather than pass notes, among other things.  I'm not saying we're dinosaurs ready with the, "In my day..." speeches, but life moves quick, and the kids these days do thing a bit differently.

For instance, from my end, I have no idea how kids do the text-speak this.  "OMG", "SMH", etc...I can't do it.  Call me the old-fashioned kind, but I use full sentences when I text.  So, for the phone promo image for instance (As seen below here):

...I had to ask my little brother, who's just finished high school, how to write like that.  What would you say?  What does this stand for?  What's the proper use for smiley faces?  These are questions I had.  It's research.  Investing time in learning to write like someone else, which from a dialogue perspective, can be difficult.  Hearing these voices is important as well.  Evan and I are interviewing high schoolers we know currently just to get a sense of what's important, the trends, the speech patterns.  It's all to get a sense outside ourselves, so we're not just writing about us, but more about people we can make up.

A huge portion of the research is also dedicated to location.  It never crossed my mind that Evan might have a hard time understanding what I was talking about in terms of location for the school because he went to a high school that had prominent outdoor facilities.  Being from the Midwest, particularly Northeastern Ohio, my high school was completely indoors, classroom-wise.  We walked halls, and only went outside to go to our cars.  

Last weekend, Evan and I (along with my fiancĂ© Andrea and my dad, Pat) went to IHOP.  We ate our pancakes and respective meals, and then I pulled my iPhone out, got Google Earth up and running and showed him my home town high school.  For those of your A-town alums and such out there reading, 'Youth' is set in the very non-fictional town of...Aurora, OH.  All people are fictitious of course, but the setting and geography is as close to what I can remember as possible.  Below are a couple photos of Evan and I going over the schematics via Google Earth of the geography of the high school, which is where most of the action in the book takes place.

My dad in the background there.  He's looking up AHS while I show Evan  the route Jim flys to school.

Evan draws from my description of the Interior of AHS
Basic mapping of a few miles of Aurora by Evan.  That's from the high school to the movie theatre, I think.

Explaining where the Movie theatre and Starbucks is in relation to the school, where Jim and Stacy live in relation to the school...It was a quick jog down memory lane.  Then, describing the interior of the high school. In the Midwest, it's common practice to add on to the facility existing to accomodate a larger student population.  My high school graduating class was around 250, so the ultimate count in the school was somewhere around 1100, maybe (no way of verifying that)?  But, additions to schools change the interior geography so much that it's hard to describe without it sounding like something from an MC Escher sketch, so trying to describe where certain stairwells go, and how they connect to other parts of the school was a challenge...but Evan is obviously a great visualist and understands the basic geometry of even a place as added on as good ol' AHS.

Research, in every avenue of creative work, is of the utmost importance.

Now before anyone throws a fit, no one from real life shows up in "Youth" with the exception of a teacher cameo from my high school days in Issue #2 (I'm not telling, mostly because I have to ask them for permission to use their name, perhaps likeness.)  But I picked Aurora because I wanted it to be a tangible place and I wanted to give Evan something very real to draw from.  It's my homage to where I grew up, and my thanks for the way it made me.

What we've tried to map out in "Youth" is a story that relates to very basic needs in the high school sense.  Whether that be acceptance of any kind, happiness, hubris, all the other latin words...I think that by and large these are not just high school emotions, but the basic driving forces behind any human personality.  We're hoping you guys latch onto any of that, and allow us to take you through this story from your perspective, and make it something as palpable as can be.

Alright...that got a little preachy.  Anyway, until next time friends, keep up with us on our facebook page and ask us questions and whatnot.  We like that!  Talk to you soon.


Monday, February 6, 2012

First Promo Image and some Ramblings

Hey Guys-

Well, we at least made it to a 2nd blog post.  Evan and I are proud to unveil the first of a few different bits of promo art for "Youth".  Here it is...

(c) Evan Peter 2012

Pretty sweet, right?  Quick, to the point.  Hope you guys dig it.  If you read the mini, you'll recognize the three characters.  If not:

Stacy:  The strong girl.

Jim:  The flying guy.

Louis: The guy going through the kid with the ball.

All will obviously be explained.  Here's the first page of that explanation!

But, in Youth-iverse news. Evan and I have mapped out the entire first ten issues for the series.  It's going to be a lot of fun, I think.  I hope you guys like it.  There's a lot of charm and wit in what we've got in store for you guys.  I've got two issues down, writing wise, and now I'm cleaning up out overall arc and figuring out exactly what's going on in issue #3.

Funny thing about Issue 3 is when we started mapping out the story, Issue 3 was glossed over for some reason.  We have the basic plot points and such, but it was far less fleshed out than the other issues.  Whereas we'd devoted entire pages to Issues 7 and 8, really getting to every single plot and how we were going to move through the story, #3 has, on my computer as I type this and look at it...3 plot points, in single sentence framing, to cover.  So, that will be what I'm working on in the coming weeks, fleshing out those ideas and getting details down on paper.

Speaking of what we're doing, have you guys seen 'Chronicle' yet?  If not, go check it out.  Seriously, one of the best movies I've seen this past year.  Evan and I cringed at some points because we feared that the plot of the film would almost come too close to what we're doing with "Youth", but luckily, where Max Landis veered, as did we the other way.  But it's not bad to know that we're on the right track, right?  That there are other like-minded cats out there?  Anyways, it's a fun flick.  Go check it out for sure.

That about wraps it up for this one.  We'll check back in as the other promo images emerge.  Again, if you guys have questions or anything, ask away!  We'll answer as they come in the blog posts here.  Check us out on Facebook too (unless you got here from already know that.)

Talk to you guys soon.


Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Past, Present, Future Tense

For anyone reading this....

Welcome to the blog for the comics series, "Youth".  This is a new experience for both of us, so we'll try to keep you updated as much as possible.  We're really excited to get an issue in your hands and see what you all think, but for now, we'll just blog about our experiences putting out a comic on our own, this comic.

In case you're curious...About two years ago, Evan approached me to write a mini for him while he was still at the Kubert School in Jersey, the assignment being to draw from someone's else's script.  So I obliged, and wrote the first six pages of what you will see soon as Issue #1 of "Youth"...and the rest is pretty much history.

In the Present...Evan is hard at work on drawing, inking and coloring Issue #1 and we plan to have it in your hands by early summer.  I've just finished up a draft for Issue #2 while Evan and I have been hashing out the story arcs for the rest of the first series, and should be starting rewrites on #2 any day now.

Ultimately, the most important thing for us is getting it out to you.  But we want you kind of involved...that way if we hit you up for money later, it'll be less awkward...then it is right now writing that...

So, we'll give you updates as they come.  We'll throw in some sketches, pictures of the issue as they come up, maybe even some photos of us during our late-night, all-nude writing/drawing marathons! (That never happens.)  We'll keep you guys up to date on what we're doing to promote too.  We're going to try to get down to WonderCon this year (March 16-18) and then perhaps even the great Comic-Con of San Diego, but we'll see.  In the meantime we'll keep working and hope to get a few of you interested in what we're doing.  IN closing, here's a basic synopsis for "Youth", a book about what to do when extraordinary is sort of not your thing....

Teenagers with superpowers.  It's something we've seen before, something we'll see again.  But these kids are always finding themselves in amazing places, filled with criminal activity.  But...what about the other ones?  The kid with the power to leap tall buildings in a single bound...who lives in Davenport, Iowa?  When you don't have supervillains looking to take you out, what's left?  Kiss the girl, Ace the test, go to bed.  "Youth"  is about the other super powered teens: They're not trying to save the world...just trying to survive it.