Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Paying money to pay money to get a movie/comic/book/story/whatever...

Hey "Youth"-iverse!

We're prepping issue #2 as we speak.  Evan is finishing up, and we're really hoping to get it out to you soon.  We'll keep you posted for pre-ordering. Details as soon as we're certain when we can get it out to you.  Thanks for sticking with us...it'll be worth the wait.

I know there's a long wait between issues and there's reasons for that, as I've blogged about before, but that leads me into what I wanna blog about today.

As the title may suggest (or not), I'm gonna spend the majority of this post talking about Kickstarter.  Not because we're going to do one...but because we've been asked WHY we aren't doing one, and I want to explain why and then get into what it means to the indie community at large.

To preface...I've used crowd-source funding before.  I wrote and directed a play this year that I raised $3500 for on Indiegogo.  So, before you say, "...The hell does this guy know?"...these are my credentials, and I learned from George Carlin when you start talking about stuff like this, you should always have your credentials in good order, so...those are mine, just so we're clear.

In the last few months, Kickstarter campaigns have become the talk of the town (I'm in Los Angeles, for those curious or needing a frame of reference) because a lot of people are thinking it's going to flip the studios on their heads, and change the model for how films are produced/made/funded/distributed...what-have-you.

Firstly:  I totally disagree.  Studios are necessary, evil or not.

You can't crowd-source a flick like 'The Avengers'.  If you did, it would look like the poster below:

It's real.  So is the one parodying "The Dark Knight".

I think the lightning rod was Zach Braff.  I feel for the guy.  He got the brunt of the anti-kickstarter assault, and I figured it would happen because he's NOT Veronica Mars.

'Veronica Mars' is a brand.  It's a beloved cult classic that a lot of people wanted to see again.  There's dozens of these TV shows, unjustly cancelled before their time, that fans BERATE (and I do mean BERATE, because...well, I'm one of those fans) studios for shutting down.

The difference between 'Veronica Mars' and Zach Braff's flick, from my estimation, is you have a rabid fanbase for a cult favorite TV show begging for a revival, a reunion...

...and then Zach Braff wanting to make his follow-up to 'Garden State'.

The other issue with Zach Braff, and I actually appreciated this...was in his video, he was totally and completely honest.  He didn't want to deal with his financial backers regarding final cut and final casting decisions, so he came to all of us, as anyone trying to make an indie would...and we shit all over him.

Why?  Because he's perceived as a pretty rich dude, which he very well may be.  but I don't think that's the reason.  People hand rich people money all the time.

I think it's the entertainment factor.  Studios make blockbusters and big tentpole movies, and HUGE, billion-dollar franchises because that's what's making money.


And I say this as a writer of things that I believe are fairly 'indie' and someone who loves watching those kinds of movies.  But then, I also love watching the indie flicks...the tiny movies that cost nothing.  I LOVE those flicks.

But ultimately, I'd choose to see a movie in the theatres about a good-looking young gal detective vs. a struggling actor finding his way.  Now, when I'm in my living room...it's different, but spending 13 bucks at a theatre?  You wanna be entertained.  You wanna see shit blow up, lenses flaring, Avengers avenging, Superman...'super'-ing.  At least that's what I think.  I mean, he still met his goal, and so really, this argument of mine is total crap, but all this setup is to discuss why we at 'Youth' aren't doing a kickstarter.

Back before we printed the first issue, we thought about trying to raise about $1,000 for startup.

We didn't because we're partly too lazy.  We just never did it...and partly because I think a video with these two faces asking you for money might seem creepy:

It was New Years Eve Karaoke, Alright!
...But mostly because this us trying to get YOU to read what we've done.  I shouldn't be asking you to finance a book that then you are sort of obligated to read.

We want you to come to 'Youth' organically, and stick with it because you want the story.  Not because you gave us 5 bucks and we need to pony up with the prize.  It's our mission to write you a story you're going to be invested in emotionally, not financially, which is why we ask you to buy the issues, not pay us upfront.  It's what we want for you guys as readers, the experience we want to give you guys.  We're building a business, we're building our careers, and our philosophy (or mine at least...I can't always speak for Evan) is that you guys buy the issues to read the story, not because you know us and feel a moral obligation.

When we print 60 copies of #2, we don't have to pull it from our pockets because we were able to grow our support from an organic place...Granted, most purchases were from friends and family, but there were the odd strangers here and there.  We've got comics in three different stores now!  We've accomplished exactly what we've wanted in this first run, and we're gonna double our output and our fan base with Issue #2.

We're trying new things, story and panel-wise and this book still excites us.  We're hoping it excites you too.

We're gonna get more 'stranger buys'.

We're gonna get more in stores.

We're gonna get more press on this book.

And we're going to do it all without crowd-source fundraising, because we want you to want the book for REAL.

That's my two cents.  Now go fund some kickstarter projects!

A few things to keep in mind:

We've sold out at Paper or Plastik in West LA, but we have comics at these comic book shops still in the LA area:

A Shop Called Quest
101 N. Indian Hill Blvd. Clarmont, CA 91711

House of Secrets
1930 W. Olive St.  Burbank, California 91506

House of Secrets is my 'shop' as it were, so if you go buy there, check it out.  Great friendly staff, huge trade selection, and in general, just a fun place to check out.

I hope you guys are ready for #2.  We're ready to show you.

Stay safe and read "Jupiter's Legacy",

Alex (& Evan by Proxy)

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Ponderings and A Little Thing About Free Comic Book Day...

Hello from the "Youth"-iverse!

We're plugging away at Issue #2, looking at hopefully a Mid-June release.  We're going as fast as we can!

I promise the moment someone calls us and says, "Hey...can you do this monthly?  We'll pay you..." then you'll have a monthly issue of Youth!  Until then, however, our unruly schedules for how we make money and survive will unfortunately reign.

I'm not complaining either.  We're both blessed to have this story, and have anyone read it.  We're lucky to do what we do.  Evan and I spent 2 years developing this so that it was a clean, interesting story to tell and now we're telling it, and to people that wanna hear it.  We both live in Los Angeles, the media capital of the world, and we have a comic book that is selling.  We're on our 2nd pressing.  And your support has pushed us to start brainstorming new things...Evan has been drawing other things while finishing up issue #2.  I sat down last week and, start to finish, wrote a full Dr. Strange pitch for Marvel (when we get there!).

Evan also storyboards.  He's done stuff for Nat Geo.

I write screenplays and direct sometimes.

I've thought a lot about it, and I realize that besides crippling depression (which is always solid for a burst of creativity), it's your guys' support and interest in what we're doing that makes us go and keep creating.  So for that...I gotta say Thank you again.

Wanted to say, that...

So, a couple of housekeeping things:

-We have Youth #1 in two stores right now:

Paper of Plastik Cafe
5772 W. Pico Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90019
-Great Coffee, Great Eats...and they're almost sold out of Youth.  We gave them 5 issues and they FLEW off the shelf.

A Shop Called Quest
175 N. Indian Hill Blvd.
Claremont, CA 91711
-For those of you Inland Empire friends, go check out this shop.  Super cool spot, and they're very down for the cause.

That's California.  To our friends in other states...this is at guerilla as it gets.  CALL YOUR COMIC SHOPS.  ASK FOR YOUTH.  GIVE THEM OUR BLOG SITE SO THEY CAN ORDER.  It's how we get it out there.  Tell your friends if they like comics.

So Great.  Thanks again, Joe.

Oh...hey, I gotta throw this in there.  Last week I bought the debut issue for 'Model Student' from Jake Bell and Joe Bowen.  They do it as a web comic at http://www.modelstudentcomic.com/, and you all should check it out.  I mean, it's just real well-written, lots of fun, kind of violent, and the art is BEAUTIFUL.

If you get a chance, say you're looking for more fresh indie comics after you put down Youth #1...check out Model Student.  Buy the first issue.  Support the indie comic scene.

Also...Jake and Joe are just real swell guys.

On Free Comic Book Day...This is something that interests me.  How do you guys buy your comics?  Now, before I go into this, let me reiterate...THERE IS NO WRONG WAY TO BUY YOUR COMICS...

...But on Free Comic Book Day, places give great deals.  You have the opportunity to read whatever in a lot of instances, so I gotta give my two cents, and take it for what it's worth, but this is what I wanna say:

-Try a new writer.  The way I buy my comics is first based on the writer.  One of my new favorites is James Tynion IV.  Check out his book, "The Eighth Seal" on Thrillbent.com.  Crazy cool stuff.

-Look at the art.  Whether you know it or not, can floor you.  It can completely change your feelings for a book and your interpretation of the text, be it penciling, shading, coloring...even the way characters are drawn.  For instance, Olivier Coipel has drawn Thor in some of my favorite stories, and now...that's how I expect Thor to look.  If we had released "Youth" the way Evan had originally drawn it in it's first iteration, the vibe for the book would be completely different.

-Try something you normally wouldn't.  I really don't like Vampire stories.  That's 80% Twilight issues, and the other 20% being no one has floored me with those kinds of stories...until I read Scott Snyder's "American Vampire"...holy shit.  Just go check it out, because it's awesome...and the art...blows you away.

So, essentially what I'm saying...on a day where you can get cool stuff for a great price...try something different, whether that's based on writers/artists/storylines/characters...just try something bizarre.  Who knows?  You might love it.

Anyway...this was a little ranty...but hey, Thanks for reading!  We'll have issue #2 for you soon enough!!!!!!  Thank you for everything, from the bottom of our hearts!

-Alex & Evan

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Issue #2 Teaser/Youth-iverse Updates

Hey Everyone!

Hope you're all well.  Sorry, we've been away, but we've been doing stuff!

Evan has been going to town on issue #2, trying to get it prepped for lettering by Manny and I've been working on Issue #3, cleaning up my first draft, and prepping my Illustrator draft.  I sent it to Evan and this was his response after reading through it:

My years in college spent studying writing: validated.
So...that should give you a taste of what's to come in #3.  We're working hard over here.  How are you guys?  It's been a crazy few weeks for us.  Stories?  We got 'em.  here goes:

-We completely sold out of our first pressing.  We printed 60 issues, and burned through them in under a month.  Floored.  We had to go buy new issues.  So, we're all set for the 2nd pressing, no worries.  If you're still looking for one, that's fine, we've got the PayPal set up, and we're both carrying those "Squares" that run credit cards.  So, let us know if you want an issue or anything and we shall provide.  We aim to please. Thank you for your continued support.

-This week we are submitting to Image Comics, Dynamite and Dark Horse.  Keep your fingers crossed they like us, and want "Youth" so you can start seeing it in your local comic shops!

-Speaking of that, we sold our first issues to a retailer, which was pretty cool.  If you find yourself in West LA, near Fairfax and Pico, go check out Paper or Plastik Cafe (http://paperorplastikcafe.com/).  They bought four issues, and according to their employees who keep an eye out on that stuff for us (i.e My wife, Andrea), there's only two left.  Guys, this is how the book gets bigger.  Go to your shops and ask for Youth #1.  If you give them our info, they'll order, and we get the word out.  This gets bigger and bigger and soon, we're doing this full time and blasting out issues as fast as you can read them.  So, thanks to our friends at PoP for their support.  Also, apparently famous people go to the cafe so...people watching.  Boom.  Done.  You're welcome.  I saw Gunn from "Angel" in there one time so...that's pretty much a selling point right there.

-WONDERCON was so much fun!  We met some crazy great artists, hung out with Manny, saw the twin towers of Gotham, Scott Snyder and James Tynion speak at the Batman panel, saw Ivy Doomkitty dressed as Jessica Rabbit, and reaffirmed my distaste for every single Star Trek panel at every Con ever.  Trekkie friends, do they ever ask anything other than, "if you could redo the series, how would you make it better?"  Ugh...that's gotta be frustrating, and I totally DIG Star Trek!
The Marvel Universe...with like, 30 Gambits.
Keep in mind, those Nikes are CRAZY expensive.
If there's one time for Evan
to pay for an overpriced autograph...
it's this one.  Tron himself, Bruce Boxleitner.

So yeah...good times.  Leading up...
-Youth Release Party!  Good time.  We sold a bunch of issues, and some posters.  Evan and I were wondering...would you guys be interested in buying the posters we have?  Let us know and we'll start putting them up for sale on the PayPal site.  More pictures below:
The real life Jim.

What was so great about the party is it really let us know that people were really interested in the story we were telling, and that's, all along, what we've been wondering.

Signing posters and comics.  Drinking Beer.  It's the con that should always happen.

My wife and her friend, Gina, served up drinks and then forced us to give speeches, but it was a great time.  Evan and I are really lucky that my wife forces us to be out there with what we do, so for that...well, I'm sure we'll owe her money some day.  how did she get Gina to do this?  Amazing.  She's amazing.  Sorry, had to gloat real quick...my wife is totally cool.
Anyways....it's been busy.  All that and I just finished directing a play I wrote.  Crazy days.  But anyways...last but absolutely 100% never least...as promised...Here's a teaser for Issue #2.  Thanks and we'll see you soon!

It's gonna get good!

-Alex & Evan

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Overwhelming Friendship...Thank Yous all around.

Well, we're two weeks after the release of Issue #1 and the response has been overwhelming.

The box is almost empty.  You guys did that.
By my calculations we've sold somewhere close to 30 issues!  Thank you everyone for all your support.  It's kind of crazy.  This idea that started as a class assignment for Evan at the Kubert school has spun into 10 issues of a story we're now in the thick of.

Evan's got inks done for Issue #2's preview pages for the release party.  Speaking of, it's gonna be:

When: Saturday, March 30th, 8-11pm
Where: Project Gallery
            1553 N. Caheunga Blvd.
            Los Angeles, CA 90028

We're gonna have drinks there...I think?  I don't know.  The things I KNOW we'll have there are issues of #1, and preview inks for Issue #2 up for your viewing pleasure.  We'll be there after a day at WonderCon so good times and reverie for all!

So, what I wanna do is take the time to thank EVERYONE we know whose supported us in this endeavour.  Evan probably has some add-ons and I'll let him do that, but this is what I've got so far:

Our Families-  Donna, Pat, Ken, Sue, Yoly, Hugo, Grandma, Grandma, Grammy, Mimi, Megan, Pauli, Karla, Julia, Andy, Jack, Larry, Julie and every ounce of extended family whose cared for us, given us food, lent us a hand, or told us we weren't crazy.

Our Friends- Ben, Carolyn (Cara), Joey, Janelle, Louis, Luis, Matt (several, actually), Brett, Frank, Cynthia, Kelly, Kevin (Kian), Molly, James, Miles, Justin, Neil, Jon, Nicole, Andy, Chris, Scott, Geof, Jake, Rob, Casey, Kaleigh, Ryan, Diana, Dusty, Erica, LindsEy, Matt, Kyle, Noah, Melody, Zach, Simon, Julia, Joe, Manny, Wes, Sam, Aaron, Veronica, Tim, Ben, Liz, James, Craig, Jen, Matt, David, Lauren, Jeff, Zach, Whitney, Ward, Thomas, Tanya, Steve, Stefan, Stacey, Preston, Shanna, Gina, Megan, Darrell, Sarah, Ed(gar), Ryan, Nick, Mario, Kristiana, Michael, Kelly (again...several), Julie, LindsAy, Jason, Jeramey, Joe,  Kevin, Hector, Gayle, Billy, Chad, Chris, Chris...that's close...there will be more later.  Unsure.  If I missed you, consider yourself thanked.  I, We, Love you.

Now some personal thanks, things I gotta say to some people in particular:

To the graduating class of Aurora High School 2005- You have no idea how much you've helped me.  Thanks in advance, because by the end, you might hate me.

Mr. Norton- You are still one of the best teachers I've ever had.  I wish I had better ways to honor you than a comic book cameo, and you have students who have gone on to do WAYYYY better things...but you had a huge impact on me as a kid and this is all I got, so thanks for everything.

Neil Kendricks- You're the only writing teacher I've ever had that didn't massacre story for sake of format.  Thanks for letting me do whatever the hell it is I do, and telling me to keep going, because quite frankly, if I hadn't taken your screenwriting workshop class after failing to get into the film program my first try...I probably wouldn't be doing what I do now.  The world needs, no, REQUIRES more teachers like you, sir.

The Kubert School- I was never a student, but Evan was.  Thanks for requiring Evan to draw someone's else's script.  Probably the best idea I ever had.

Aurora High School (Aurora, OH)- Thanks for the geography of boredom!  It means I have to write better stories.  In truth, the experience I had my 8 years of living in Aurora, and my four years at AHS have pretty much shaped everything that "Youth" is about...save for superpowers.

Ryan Schumaker- I can't wait for everyone to realize you're Jim.  Thanks for helping us with this.

Louis Kastelic- You're not as tall or lurpy as ours...but the name is with you in mind.  I hope you like being in comic books.  You're a great guy.  Thanks for being that and I hope you like what happens in "Youth".

Guys and Girls who were dicks to me in high school and now are going to wind up in this comic book- God, I bet you wish you had been shitty to a physicist now, right?!  Kidding...water under the bridge.  Sorry for being a dick too!  It would be hilarious if I was vindictive like that.

Jeph Loeb- Thank god for you including that alternate scene.  I'd have been lost without it.

Robert Kirkman- Thanks for writing "Invincible" and making me not afraid to write extraordinary stories into ordinary life.  It's continually great, and I hope you don't mind us aspiring to be like you.

Batman- You aren't real.  But you're the reason Evan and I get along so well.

Griffey- Besides Evan, you are the only creative partnership I've trusted over the last year.  You're a great writer, an even better friend, and soon, you'll have to deal with the same rules I do!  We write movies together and that's something important in the coming months, years...you know.  Thanks for not being a jealous mormon wife with "Youth" and letting this "Big Love" continue.  "The Garden" is next...and it's going to be awesome fun.

Lastly, and more important than almost anyone above though (and yeah...this is gonna get pretty sappy, so...I don't care, live with it.)

My Wife/Best Friend/Girlfriend/Fellow Writer/Evan's Best Friend/Inspiration for most women I write, Andrea- NONE OF THIS would have happened if you hadn't had class that day and made me meet up with Ben and Evan even though I am fully terrified of strangers who know people I know, which is why I can confidently say that any success I have in my life is a direct result of knowing and being with you.  You're an amazing human being, and there's no one I trust, love or turn to more.  You're just a good person, and that is all I could ever ask of someone I'm spending the rest of my time with.  Thanks for letting me sulk, piss and moan, bitch about movies, bitch about writing, and be poor as hell.  It will all come back to you in the form of shoes (That's what you want, right?)  Truly blessed.  You introduced me to one of my best friends, and someone I'll work with forever.  Reading over this, it feels trite.  My words still fail me.

That's about all I've got.  I'm sure we've missed people...we'll get to you, trust me.  Thank yous are never complete.

Thank you for everything.  Keep buying Issue #1.  We've got a lot in store for you.


Tuesday, March 12, 2013

In Which We Explore Unsettling Things...Like Writing.

(Before I launch in...Thank you EVERYONE who is buying Issue #1.  Means the world to us.  We love you.  Stay tuned.)

I suppose this is only unsettling if you're me.

So, I finished my first draft of Issue #3 last night.  Late into the night, I'm typing.  I keep telling myself, "cut yourself off", and then it's 12:45am, I have to be up in 4 hours, but I have a finished working draft.

My "process" is punishing myself into working, it seems.  But it got me thinking...what is my process?  What do I do to get pages out.

I do other writing too, besides comics.  I went to film school, so I write screenplays a lot, and I'm currently figuring out what my process is for writing a TV pilot, which in my opinion, is about as hard as writing comic books.  But I'm going to dive in a little today about what it takes for me to write an issue of "Youth".  First I'll talk about formatting a little, and then I'll get into content and my basic "process".

To begin with...Comics do NOT have an accepted format, like screenplays and TV does.  There's no set way to do it, you just...do it.  For instance, Alan Moore, the god among men in the comics world...

I have read the first 10 pages of Alan Moore's script for his Batman one-shot, "The Killing Joke".  Now, I say 10 pages because that's what the THIRTY-FIVE pages of script he wrote cover, comic book-wise.  It's insane.  Look for it sometime, because it's pretty incredible.  but when I started writing comics, I knew that wasn't going to be me.  I have the patience for description...but I'm not Alan Moore.

Teasing Issue #3.  My desktop is that Teddy Bear Meme.
The format I use (which is mine as far as I know) got it's basic idea from pages I saw in my trade of the legenedary Loeb/Sale Batman story, "The Long Halloween".  Loeb kindly placed some pages at the back, showing an alternate ending to the story.  I saw this, and assumed that was the accepted format.

I went to film school...we learn that it's either "you format or you die!!!!!!!!!"

So, imagine my happiness when I found out my way of writing comics was...perfect, in a sense.  It was joyous.  We were off.

Evan, of course, doesn't care, because he's drawing it.  But there's times when he asks me about panels, and the action I've described.  Here's the tricky part about comic writing...

...you gotta pick your spots.

You pick the wrong image, and it's gonna come off wrong.  You pick the wrong movement, and people are going to be lost.  Film School has been a great stomping grounds for this issue.  In my head, it plays like a cartoon.  So I know what images I need to tell the story.  but I'm not infallible, and Evan and I are close enough where he'll say, "yeah, that needs to change."

Describing panelling can be difficult.  It's a good exercise for anyone who is married to dialogue, like I am.  Because the visual component is the most important part of comics, picking that out and putting it into a panel is going to be the most important part of your job as a writer.  Same goes for other writing...problem is with comics, you get one shot.  It's one look, and there's ways to manipulate it, but I'm as clueless as anyone is on how that works.  That's for Evan to know, and luckily, he does.

The benefit of us co-creating "Youth" is while it's my job to write the scripts and move us through that way, Evan and I worked on the story first.  We took a cue from TV shows we love, and we have a 12-page PDF file that we call the "Bible" for series 1.  It maps out everything that needs to happen in each issue, and how the events unfold.  There's things we already need to change, but that's essentially the idea of writing a bible for the series...we can change it and not look sight of anything in the larger scope because it's all right there.

And each issue is challenging in it's own way.  Issue #3 for instance, the timelines and story events for these characters happen simultaneously, so I had to, at least this first draft around, figure out how I wanted to do that.  I'm the first person to admit I have a lot of weakness as an overall storyteller, but one of my main issues is muddying timelines with too much focus on a single character.  It's a habit I have because sometimes I fall in love with one story as opposed to the others, and "Youth" is no different.  But it's all about the give and go.  I'm learning, and I hope you guys will forgive when you think it's an issue, and love us when it's not.

So my process for actually sitting and writing varies for each thing I do.  I write with a partner a lot for screenplays, and that involves a lot of pots, yes POTS, of coffee and scribbling in my notebook.  It's good to learn to work with others because when you get the chance to work with yourself, you savour it a little more.

Evan and I's sock choices.  It's telling.
For "Youth", Evan is usually working on the art on his own, and I write alone.

It's hard for me to sit down and write.  I'm the kind of person that isn't distracted, just annoyed with my ideas.  I have a fairly bad habit of "logic"-ing my way out of stories I want to tell, and that presents a problem of thinking anything I write is total garbage.  For the record...I don't.  I think I'm a competent writer, with a lot to learn.

The takeaway is the thing that sets me up as a writer in the first place:  Courage.  I have the courage to sit there and write something that not everyone is going to like, including me.  And I'm nobody, by the way.  I'm not published outside of "Youth", I've never sold a screenplay, so my words here are with a whole salt lick.  But it's my opinion that 90% of anything worth writing is having the courage to write it, and that's usually how I approach "Youth".  Evan knows what kind of a writer I am.  If I can entertain him, give him something fun to draw, then that's my goal first and foremost.  He'll tell me if it sucks.

All that being said, it helps to have a series bible to look to and say, "Oh YEAH!  That was a moment I really liked that we came up with."

What I usually do is sit at my computer, and look at the final draft document for a little while.  I type "Youth", the issue number, and then think of a title.

Listen to it again when Issue #3 comes out.
Now, this is something important...I do NOT listen to music when I work.  It distracts me (probably left over feelings from being in a band in high school) and always impedes or muddies what I'm writing.  What I do, is find a song that sets the mood for what I want to start with.

For Issue #3, for instance, I listened to Brand New's first record, "Your Favorite Weapon", which sets me up in a pretty good, "high school" head space.  I hone in on one track ("Logan to Government Center" here) and then I turn it all the way down and put it on repeat...

...and then I start writing.

It's a fairly simple process.  I've written scripts in a week before, which is probably my record.

Editing is a different thing for me.  Some people just want to get a draft done, however shitty it may be.  I usually edit as I go, so by the end I have a workable draft to send to Evan for notes.  After that, I take it back, and REALLY polish what I've got, fix a few things here or there.  This is where I pay a lot of attention to the dialogue I'm writing, because the words are so precious in the bubble.  Thank God for twitter.  It's taught me to choose my words carefully to get my point across.

So it's polished.  That is the draft I send to Evan and that's what I title an "Illustrator's Draft."  That's essentially how I do it.

Everyone is different.  Some are better, some are worse.  It doesn't matter, as long as you finish.  Finishing is the other 10% of writing for me.  Courage and Finishing.  Just get it done.  You did it.  It's yours.

That's about as much as I need to say on the subject.

WonderCon approaches.  We'll be there all days.  We're having a release party, thrown by my wife and all the details are here:


We'll have Issue #1 there for sale and a 3-page preview of Issue #2 to take a look at.

Finally, follow me on twitter @alexdandino.

See you around, friends.  Thanks for your support.


Saturday, March 9, 2013

The Wait is Over...Now what?

        Well, Issue #1 is out.  It's available.  It's in the known universe.  The alternate universe versions of us are already more accomplished, so I don't know or worry about them and their lives in Manhatan (Fringe reference...you're cool if you get it...it's a club.  Don't worry about it.)

          There's always a lot of hoop-la about getting something started, and Evan and I feel INCREDIBLY lucky that we were able to produce the first issue.  There's 50 copies in the world of Youth #1 right now.  That is a weird thought.  We've put something out there, from our collective conscience, to be judged by you, the audience.  It's a strange thought, to have produced something for the world at large.

My usual emotional state when I see
something I've written.
          Creating a story seems like such a selfish act for so long.  We've been in the "Youth"-iverse for so long now that we can't really tell if it's good anymore.  I have no frame of reference.  Evan texted me the other day with, "Dude...I just sat down and read Youth #1 again, like really read it...it's a good comic, man."  This is a week after printing, about a month after finishing final touches on lettering and inks.  It takes us that long to gain any kind of perspective.

           Evan's better at it than me.  I rarely can look at things once I'm done with them.  From a writing standpoint, I am never happy with what I've produced, and rarely do I look back on something and consider it the best representation of me as a writer.  I nitpick myself worse than anyone, but that's not to say I need constant assurance what I do is "good".  I know I'm a good writer...somewhere in my brain there is a neuron that fires ever so quietly that surfaces and tells me so.  Regardless, it's nice to know the other half of this creation thinks what we're doing is good.  I do too...it's just hard for me to put it in perspective.

Her name is...?
(c) Evan Peter 2013
         But hey....Issue #1 is out there in the ether.  Ready to be read.  Ready to be consumed.  Ready for anything...and Issue #2 is going right now.  Evan is putting sketching the pages, prepping them for inks.  And I'm writing Issue #3, which as I've said in my last blog, is by far my favorite issue for you guys yet.  I'm so excited about showing you guys this universe.  Oh, speaking of...you guys want an Issue #2 tease?  Real quick?  It's cool...I know you want to...on your right, friends!

You haven't met her yet...but you will.  And she's gonna be real important.

So, I'm gonna finish up by plugging my twitter feed (@alexdandino) and a couple comics you guys NEED to check out by indie peoples like Evan and Me:

(c) Joe Bowen
Model Student (http://www.modelstudentcomic.com/).  Model Student is a comic you NEED to be reading by our friends Jake Bell & Joe Bowen.  It's brilliantly plotted and they JUST started printing too.  I'm not gonna give anythign away, you just gotta check it out.  They have a web comic they've been doing but support them too and buy issue #1 at their website.  It's good stuff!

(c) Gavin Smith 2013

Human City (http://gavinpatricksmith.blogspot.com/) is a new book by our friends Gavin Smith and Orion Zangara.   Here's the basic idea:

"In a world that's been overrun by mutants, the last remaining super-hero must get a baby who may be mankind's last hope for survival across the country!"

Come on...I mean, how awesome does that sound?  It's great art, great writing...everything you need.  The link provided has the issue up for sale through PayPal too.  Go get it!

Manny Hernandez (Not a comic book, but overall...)
(c) Manny Hernandez 2013
Manny is our dear friend from the way back.  He lettered the first 5 pages of Youth #1 and he's just insanely talented.  This is one of his projects he's working on and

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

PRINTING!! and...

My Friends-

We've sent it off to the printers.  Yes, "Youth" Issue #1 is off to the printers and will be back just in time for Evan and I to storm WonderCon 2013 in Anaheim!  

NYE 2012...We had just started rewriting the series.
Important info for the Con (March 29th-31st):

-We'll be there all three days (Fri-Sun)
-Our letterer, Manny Hernandez, will be there on Sunday with his own table, so go hang out with him and say hi because he's a sweetheart with a hand of gold. Find his stuff at: http://mannyhernan.blogspot.com/
-Evan and I will be all over twitter and facebook so we'll keep everyone (who cares) informed of our whereabouts throughout the day. (I'm @alexdandino).
-We will have copies of Issue #1 with us for sale for $5.
-We will thank you and hug you free of charge, obviously.

That is all the basic info for us at the Con.  We'll obviously be roaming around checking stuff out and admiring everyone's work as well as watching for what I hear is some insane cosplay.  Can't get enough of that.  It's like real life action figures.

Look for this at WonderCon!
(c) Evan Peter 2013
For those of you guys we need to mail to, our printers do online ordering...but we're not quite sure how it works yet.  So, hold tight, and we'll let you know soon how to purchase through them so you can get a copy in your hands.

Now, we've got the first issue on it's way and you're saying, "That took a long time guys...but it's great.  Worth the wait..." (Right?)..."Where's Issue #2 at?"

I turned in my final draft for Issue #2 a week ago, and Evan is already in the midst of drawing.  Hopefully we can get this issue out to you guy's quickly so you won't have much lag time between issues.  It's a fun issue, and gives you guys a little more insight into our world...and I love these first two issues, I do...

But Issue #3...it was the one we least mapped out and I realize now the reason for that was because it's SOOO much better than what we originally came up with.  I'm probably excited about it because we're working on it now and I have all these ideas, but...I think Issue #3 will be the punch you guys are looking for after 1 and 2.

To put it in context...Evan and I found that working on the overall story together and the arcs for the 1st series helped us determine visuals a lot easier and the big twists and turns we needed.  So we'd sit in a room, eat shitty food (Except that time Evan's mom made ribs...just awesome), and hammer out plot details and toss lines out here and there.  It was good because it allowed us to explore the avenues we could go, and then hone in on the main story thread.  It was great.

For absolutely no apparent reason, despite every issue having copious notes and inserts and whatnot...Issue #3 was relatively barren.  We just had "Homecoming".  Literally, the word "homecoming" written under the heading.

Now this seems like a long explanation for this, but I write better when I have a title in mind.  It helps me put a theme to stuff, and also influences the music I listen to when I write.  So, I took a cue from my favorite canadian teen melodrama, "Degrassi: The Next Generation" (Sorry, OG Degrassi), which is why Issue #1 is called, "Derivative Opener" which is a song by one of my favorite bands in high school, Fairweather(@fairweatherDC).  It was an opening track title I liked, lyrically it hit me, and I thought, "well, this is a nice little joke that works for me."  It informs the whole series, much like a 1st track informs the rest of a record.  Issue #2 is titled, "Everything in it's Right Place", which if you've been living under a rock, is by Radiohead.  The title, for me, says a lot about the issue and again, the lyrics made sense for what I was writing, which from my perspective is about settling into this new and uncomfortable concept of the unknowable (My take.)

Issue #3 wasn't going to be called "Homecoming" or "Teenage Dream" because 1) I wouldn't be able to look at myself or the issue without laughing and 2) That's not what the third issue (at this point) is about.  I'll explain more after Issue #2 is out, but #3 is currently titled, "Logan to Government Center", which is a song by Brand New.  The title has less to do with the overall theme of the issue...the lyrics, however, are very different and actually have a great deal to do with the issue.  It'll all become clearer...I promise.  but I mean, I gotta tease you guys a little bit, right?

Excited to see and hear what you guys think.  if you have questions/comments/wanna say hi...what have you, you can now e-mail us at youthcomicbook@gmail.com.

We'll see you all soon!

-Alex (& Evan)