Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Hello everyone~!

In case you were one of the few following this blog, I have started posting on the blogs for Raven Studio on another site:

This blog, while useful, doesn't offer the same tracking and insights wordpress provides. Check it out here:

http://ricktheraven.wordpress.com/

Thursday, July 19, 2012

PUNCH

The Main Heroes of PUNCH - A ROMANCE NOVEL

 Dirk Fontaine (Firebird) - Sexy and smart, Dirk is the kind of blue-eyed, blonde haired perfect male that men and women swoon over. Unfortunately he has no interest in having a personal life, or at least not one with any intimacy. It is not that he is a dark and driven vigilante, far from it. He reaches a point in his personal relationships where he pulls back, unable to commit to any intimacy or physical relations. After his parents died, he simply closed himself to any further relationships that weren't trivial and superficial. Something about Tim though left him feeling something he has not felt in a while, taking the young man under his wing just seemed natural and right. Even though it could go horribly wrong.

Tim Gamble (Kid Razor) - Dark eyes, dark hair and a dark cloud over him, Tim carries a chip on his shoulder with no real explanation of where it came from. When his parents are murdered, he feels guilty over the fact he suddenly feels alive for the first time; that getting revenge for their deaths is the first thing that gave him any direction.

General Jolli Roger - Earning the rank of General for her military service in the eighties, Jolli has a lot of secrets that she is not sharing. She rose through the ranks of the Army Green Berets and cross-trained with Navy SEALS until becoming an instructor herself. Eventually Jolli had enough of the army and shortly after Dirk's parents died, she took the job training Dirk. Remember, to sign up for the mailing list, just drop me a line!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

White Zombie Walk

The 10th annual Toronto Zombie Walk is on Saturday, October 20th. Further details to be announced! This year's walk will be starting at Nathan Phillips Square! More info to come! CLICK HERE for more on the Toronto Zombie Walk! I am going to try and sell a few limited edition copies of WHITE ZOMBIE at the Zombie Walk. The plan is: A limited print run and number of copies specifically for the Zombie Walk as a promotion. The official release date would be a week after, online, through Amazon, just in time for Halloween.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Black Flag's Pouches

What's in Black Flag's pouches? He recently revealed what he carries in this month's CAMPING MANIAC Magazine. - Ontario Knife RAT-7 D2 Steel - Mission Knives MPK10 (Titanium) - Brunton Tag-A-Long Compass - Butane Lighter (with Marilyn Monroe on it) - Strike Force flint and steel - 10 ft of parachute cord - First Aid Kit (in ziplock bag) which contains butterfly sutures, 1 inch safety tape, one roll of gauze, 1 tube antibiotic ointment - Spare Socks, extra shoelaces - Dollar store winter gloves - HotHands hand warmer pads (disposal) - Iodine (for water purification) - Toothbrush - Multivitamins - fishing line with hooks (in matchbox)

Friday, March 16, 2012

Der Verge Creation

I thought I would take the opportunity to show everyone how one of my ideas comes together.

I wanted to do a super villain from space, someone along the lines of Ming the Merciless and Darth Vader, someone who conquered whole planets and civilizations. But I wanted him to be very unpredictable, very multidimensional, someone who was feared for his mind and ingenuity as much as his destructive power.

I used photoshop to create an idea, a shadow of what I wanted, something that would feel like the character I wanted until I found an artist to bring him to life.

http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_m_J3H7YYOlw/Sv8p6MzXVcI/AAAAAAAAAWM/OiMmHWg9T68/s1600/Rvillain.jpg

The name came from the German translation of Space Rapist; Raum-Vergewaltiger, becoming Emperor Raum Der Verge. The sword in the original design was for a double bladed weapon. The character then went into the file with the dozens of others, waiting for his time to come. Some characters have sat for years, others sit no more than a week before being 'finished'.

In this case, Der Verge sat for about two months. During that time Ethan Wright and I got in touch with each other again. We had worked on something before for a Marvel pitch, before I got tired of trying to pitch to a company whose books I couldn't even read anymore. While trying to decide who I could pay Ethan to illustrate for me, Der Verge just seemed to pop up.

Ethan and I talked a bit about costumes we liked. I wanted something between EMPIRE's lead villain and Lars from Tekken 6. Ethan was also a fan of Tekken and so we went with a more down to Earth, fist fighter look. The first draft Ethan sent me was this:

http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_m_J3H7YYOlw/Sv8uybG7bAI/AAAAAAAAAWU/xo8NBo9t6WY/s1600/concept1.jpg

The first concept design that Ethan sent me was very good. In fact the sword was almost perfect. I'd always wanted a character with a Gun-Sword and he seemed the perfect character to use one. At this point I decided to write up an origin on the character, figuring that would help Ethan understand the kind of guy he was. As a character who can absorb other peoples powers, or an empathic mimic as they call it in Heroes, it was important to know which powers he has at the time he tries to conquer the Earth in the Canadian Legion. Here is the history I sent him (more or less):

Emperor Der Verge

Der Verge was once a normal human being living in an alternate world full of superheroes. Born with the ability to absorb superhuman powers, Verge became a hero and often stood against his world's deadliest villains. While still a teenager Verge was known as the hero Echo, while an adult he changed his alias to Mr. Mimic. During those years Der Verge often faced off against an opponent with matching abilities, the mad scientist Joseph Skylark. Their final battle lasted three hours. In a bizarre twist an alien race invaded their Earth as the two men lay exhausted and wounded from their war. Taken prisoner, tortured and powerless, both men made a pact that one would sacrifice themselves so that the other, their arch-nemesis, could survive. It took seventeen months but finally Skylark managed to detonate an explosive device, killing himself but buying Der Verge time to escape. With no superhuman abilities, Der Verge was forced to absorb what he could from the aliens. Their thoughts and alien physiology was terrible to mimic, it changed him down to his very basic form, but with their insect-like abilities at his disposal Der Verge was able to steal a ship. Returning to Earth, Der Verge found the planet completely under alien rule. The moon had become a graveyard for superbeings, a final resting place for hundreds of heroes and villains. Searching the dead for anything that might help him, Der Verge found a gravity gunsword that once belonged to Captain Future.

http://www.robertweinberg.net/gifs/cf/cf09-big.jpg

As a "Man of Tomorrow" and space hero, Captain Future gave me the link between the superhero universe and the pulp era space stories I was trying to mimic with this villain. Of course the original Captain Future didn't carry a Gravity Gunsword, that was completely made up for the character. The Gravity Gunsword has an edge cut by a futuristic laser, the blade is so sharp it actually cuts through the electromagnetic forces of gravity. Not only will it cut you in half but it could send those two halves flying in opposite directions or straight into the air. At this point I was reading about numerous other pulp heroes and I found one more who seemed a natural fit in the story.

Der Verge was able to locate the last surviving rebels, some of whom were well past the point of defeat and united them together. Some of the weaker superhumans were still active, including a former District Attorney named Tony Quinn. Quinn had been blinded and scarred by an alien acid attack and left for dead. Carol Baldwin, the daughter of a man known as The Black Bat, was able to transplant her dead father’s corneas unto Quinn, gifting him with her father’s ability to see in total darkness. Tony then took on the mantle of the Black Bat, using the darkness as a weapon against the diurnal alien invaders. Der Verge had changed drastically, the insect-like abilities of the aliens were solar based, but he was also able to absorb Quinn’s power making them an unstoppable team night or day. It seemed as if the aliens were simply evolved intelligent moths, a race of almost humanoid looking creatures with a society structure beyond human understanding. The Gravity Gunsword make it difficult for the aliens to send in flying aircraft and so they send in hundreds of thousands of ground troops. With each victory more and more humans joined in the fight. Der Verge had no sympathy for the humans who worked with the aliens; he killed them as quickly as their alien overlords. Perhaps it was something in the aliens that drove them to conquer other races, something that Der Verge absorbed from them that turned him into a dominant warlord. The moth-men inevitably fell and Der Verge used their space technology to take the fight back to their homeworld. The aliens civilians had no idea what their government had done but this made no difference to Der Verge. He took the young from the planet and shipped them back to Earth where they were slaughtered and fed to the starving people of Earth. The rest of the population was then wiped out, not a single life remained on their world when Der Verge and Quinn left it. At this point Quinn and Der Verge parted ways. Quinn took over the Earth, building a peaceful utopia. Der Verge and the remaining soldiers left for space to proactively protect their home. As the people of Earth built a peaceful utopia, Der Verge was conquering every alien planet he encountered. His armies soon grew to massive sizes, containing soldiers from hundreds of different worlds. Der Verge realized that a whole multiverse of threats existed. .

Powers:

As Echo, Der Verge was a moderate level fighter who would primarily duplicate the powers of the villains he fought in order to defeat them. The only power he "banked" during the early periods was the power of flight. After encountering his nemesis Skylark, Der Verge was forced to take on multiple powers simply to stay a step ahead and stay alive. At this time Der Verge stopped flying and took more close combat abilities from his fellow heroes. In their final battle against each other, Der Verge and Skylark had accumulated the powers of almost fifty heroes and villains between them, using one at a time but able to shift between abilities. At the time of his capture he had no abilities "banked".

At the time of his escape Der Verge had copied the natural abilities of the moth-men which included superhuman strength, unlimited endurance, resistance to radiation and chemical poisoning, limited need for food and an enhanced healing ability in the sun. After his conquest of the moth-men and the discovery of the Wormhole Nexus at the center of his universe Der Verge encountered a cosmic police force who operated out of the Nexus. They were known as the Cosmic Wave Riders and they almost defeated Der Verge's armies. Der Verge absorbed their abilities, harnessing the Cosmic Wave Energy to make him indestructible. He no longer needs food, drink, sleep or even oxygen to breathe. He still retains the increased senses and abilities of the moth-men and it seems he cannot release these powers the way he can with the others. Defeating a villain of the night who survived the alien invasion Der Verge also gained control over a shadow force, he can use it to create a blanket of darkness which he becomes invisible in. This ability remains active in the cloak he wears. He also possesses a level of mind control and telepathy that has created a labyrinth of locks within his mind and his senses and combat skills are nearly unbeatable. Untouchable at night and almost unstoppable during the day, Der Verge is a powerful force.

One thing I can't explain to anyone is how many combined hours during this process I read about related material; diurnal animals, nocturnal animals, moths, insects, aliens, etc. I can't even recall how many images of masks and costumes, specifically Parisian and Venician, I sent Ethan.

TO BE CONTINUED

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

WATCHMEN Prequels: A Knockbuster 25 Years In The Making

I want to clarify my stance on why I do not think the Watchmen books are going to make any sort of impact in the industry. I like a lot of the creative teams on these books but that is irrelevant to what DC is attempting to do with this project.

The Watchmen Prequels are not intended to be a natural follow-up to the original in the way that a creator like Scott Snyder follows up a creator like Grant Morrison with his own ideas and his own take on the character's mythology.

The Watchmen prequels are intended to be Knockbusters. In the movie business, a kockbuster is a film created with the apparent intention of piggy-backing on the publicity of a major film with a similar title or theme and are often made with a low budget. Often these films are created to be released direct-to-video at the same time as the mainstream film reaches theaters or video outlets.

This isn't about honoring the original work, or claiming it is taboo to touch it. There are some projects that actually benefit from a remake, Battlestar Galactica for example. There are even a few prequels that don't completely suck, although I can't think of any off hand. My opposition to these works is the stink of desperation for success that permeates even the preview ads for these new Watchmen books.



Imagine your mother and father were married for many years. Then your father left and your mother had to raise you alone. She did a good job, worked hard and raised you right. Now that you've grown up, she wants to get back out there and start dating again. This is what DC is trying to do here, get back out there and draw in the readers they have lost over the years. But seeing these books is like watching your mom struggle to fit into her old jeans or wearing a t-shirt that isn't as flattering as it was 25 years ago.

Even worse, I believe they are intentionally trying to intentionally deceive customers into buying the inferior, knock-off product. Now on the shelves next to Watchmen are going to be at least six other little trades and a pirate book. Like the Transmorphers movie they simply create new, similar product and hope for enough add-on or mistaken purchases to sustain the production cost. Nobody who made Transmorphers did it for the right reasons. Nobody, other than the catering company (if they could afford one) had any intention of making a groundbreaking piece of cinema history. Just because the same company that owns Watchmen is doing the Watchmen spin-off material doesn't make it any less cheesy.



Now people will say "this is meant to bring in new readers" but we both know that's a load of shit. It's an attempt to cash in on the publicity and success of Watchmen. If they wanted to bring in new readers, they could have just brought the Watchmen characters into the DCU, Batman VS Rorschach style. How does a Silk Spectre comic bring in new readers? Did someone read Watchmen and decide they wanted to know more about the trampy, messed-up women who bear the Silk Spectre alias? How long until Rorschach meets his long lost father? Or that a mystery for next month, dear readers?

You want to know when a comic publisher is releasing something simply for the money? They hide behind the classic line "It's an attempt to bring in new readers", which is the same thing as saying "our hardcore readers don't really want this, but it's not for them, it's for their imaginary friends". Another way to say it would be to say "we just want to take up more shelf space in the stores and retailers will certainly order it!"

Now some people actually like Knockbusters, in the 80's the Gremlins knock-off HOBGOBLINS did very well. David Hasselhoff starred in an Evil Dead rip-off and C. Thomas Howell has made quite a career on these types of movies, so I guess you can say even a knockbuster can attract pretty decent talent. But I've never watched one in my life.

I just don't have any interest in it. I don't rent, buy or even bootleg knockbuster movies. I don't like B-movies in general. That's not to say they are all bad, that you should not watch them or anything like that. They just aren't for me. I saw THOR, I liked THOR, I don't need to see way the B movie industry has to say on the same character or mythology. I don't need to see what the NEW 52 DC has to say on Watchmen.

This is why I am posting this on my blog, because I am not going to engage in debate about the new Watchmen books by DC. You can argue the artistic merits of Jaws 5 until you're red in the face, it's not going to change my mind.



We've crossed a line here as an industry. This isn't about respecting Alan Moore and tarnishing his work, it's about what we put out there for the world to see as comic creators. We're no longer giving them the song and dance show to get them to read our books; Watchmen prequels is us as an industry putting our faces down and our asses up for money. It changes the comic industry, destroying the burlesque show we were putting on and revealing to the world what a crack whore the industry really is. Why bother with new ideas and building an audience when you can simply offer to suck the audiences dick for money, right? I mean you've loved Watchmen for long time, you must want sucky-sucky, right comicboy? It's a desperate grab for cash and non-readers outside the audience will smell it a mile a way.

When this fails to create more than a short term rise in sales, what then? What does DC do next? When you've hit rock bottom and don't realize it, how much lower can you really go? The long anticipated Batman/Superman kiss?

For decades the comic industry has been losing readers, zombie-like, bite by bite, to other forms of entertainment. Now DC has decided the way to stop that is by cannibalizing themselves.
Maybe I am wrong, who knows. Maybe Snakes On A Train was a great film. I'll never know. Even Twilight knock-offs are making money and getting film options. (http://ohnotheydidnt.livejournal.com/51667718.html)

Maybe I'm just a finicky old man who is looking for some meaning in the stories that I read, maybe my expectations are too high. Maybe I shouldn't expect better than an Adam Hughes/JMS book about the inappropriate relationship between a big blue naked guy and an underage teenager.

Whatever.

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

LEGION UNLEASHED #1

NOW AVAILABLE FROM GRAPHICLY.COM!

http://graphicly.com/raven-entertainment-studio/legion-unleashed/1?fb_ref=homepage