Happy Holidays from sunny California.  I’m on Warren Ellis’ mailing list and he’ll talk about what he’s reading in each email (comes out on Sundays from the Thames Delta) and I’m thinking of going through all the old emails and making a “What Warren’s Reading” list for the general populace.

Things are good.  I’m doing pre-work, groundwork, writing, etc for 3rd Grade Monsters.  I should be able to get one book done (22 pages) before June.  (This is me being really conservative.  That’s a page penciled, inked, and colored a week) – so that should be ok.  I’ll spend December ironing out the script and thumbnails and character designs (nothing toooooo involved, I don’t want to overthink it – but I would like to make a few decisions about the characters (especially with color) early on – so I don’t have to start over or make my life harder.

I’m also thinking of working on environments – getting those “decided” early on – instead of making up a wall with a bookshelf and a picture hanging in it.

After that, I’ll be doing another book.  So, if all goes well (unless I get super motivated and overshoot this goal) I’ll have two books done next year.

In the scheme of things (when you compare yourself to other comic creators) this isn’t very much – but it’s like 500% more than I’ve done before.  I’ve putzed with a few short comics you can find here.  And my original Mini-comic “To Catch a Tooth.”  I’ll probably continue to post short comics as I think of them there under the general banner of: “Same, Same but Different.”  Buuuut — the bulk of my work will be creating the ground work for 3rd Grade Monsters.

What I’ve been reading:

Multiple Warheads:

brandon-graham---multiple-warheads-cover-0

So, for those of you that don’t know of Brandon Graham — you’re welcome.  (Here’s a great interview with him)

I first came across his work via Prophet from Image Comics.  I would routinely go to Skylight Books on Sundays (aka the best book store in LA).  And ask this guy (his name was Dan) (who is since gone) – I would just straight up go, “ok what am I reading today?”

This guy had recommended some crazy cool books I never would have read like: Stone Junction, and Zeroville.  And one day I did this – I said, “what am I reading?”  And he hands me Prophet.

Now this title vaguely sounded familiar (being in high school and very into comics during the dawn of Image Comics and the reign of Rob Liefeld) – but only later did I make the connection that this was like a super, crazy continuation of this 90’s extreme comic.

Now – years later – I’m that guy hunting for Brandon Graham back issues (including the dirty ones).

When I read his comics, I get this urge to do comics forever.  He has this vague sort of F-You stance about the industry and insisting on doing his own stuff.  On Tumblr and Twitter he seems opinionated, but not a jerk, and if you email him, he’ll email back, or favorite your tweet kind of thing.  So – he’s semi-accessible.

He’s, thus far, been an important figure in this journey into comics.  This notion of Authorship and being more intentional about what I want, and where I’m going (there’s a Great Ted talk here that really sums up a lot of what I’ve been thinking about).

I always thought I was a pretty driven, intentional guy.  But, as I looked back on my decisions, I’ve been realizing that, although I’ve been working hard at the writing craft – I’ve been pretty reactive when it comes to opportunities.

People: Work on this DisneyXD short thing?

Me: Sure

People: Opportunity to work on a scary TV show as a writer?

Me: Sure

But – it’s not like I was really headed in a direction.  If you were to ask me my style, or what I liked doing – I kind of liked doing everything.

Lately — I’ve been realizing that one of the reasons why comics are so enjoyable is that the vision is complete with me.  I don’t need any more money.  I don’t need a cast, a director, a producer, etc — just me, my brain, and time.

Short stories and novels, I suspect, are the same.  It’s just me.  And what a great opportunity and way to become an author.

I guess maybe for a long time I was like that people pleasing high school kid just trying to get a good grade – sort of “what do you need, what do you want, I can be that….”

Now that I’m a grizzly old man – I’m starting to solidify some things that are important to me.

Sooooooo….. you’ll be seeing more posts (whoever you are) and feel free to email me, or follow, etc.

Campbell (dot) dylan (at) icloud (dot) com

Ok, see you when I see you.