Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Percy and Grimm's Secret Stash

Above is a sneak peak at the chapter intro to our heroes' very first quest: The Gumdrop King! What are they looking at? Is it a bright green caterpillar? Is it some kind of weird hamburger? Is it indeed Grimace, from famed McDonald's commercials? And why is Grimm drooling? And, for that matter, what is Percy holding in his hand? It appears to be some kind of wooden wood. All these questions and more will be answered once Percy & Grimm, the webcomic is launched October 24, 2010!


Monday, September 27, 2010

Percy and Grimm Unveiled!

I haven't been posting for quite sometime now, that's because I have been working on a secret project which I unvelied to the comics community at MICE (Massachusettes Independent Comics Expo) this past weekend. Here's a four panel strip of the main characters:
Percy and Grimm will be an on going series on my new website, www.mischiefcomics.com . However, it's application is harder to use than blogger, so I won't be posting until October 24, 2010, hopefully I'll be used to the program by then.

Percy and Grimm is a hilarious comedy set in a fantasy world. Percy and Grimm travel from town to town looking for quests to make money and gain experience. Percy, the tall one with hair, is training to become a warrior. He is 35-years-old, and is still carrying around a wooden sword because that is where his skill set is at the moment.

Grimm, the portly fellow with a bandana, stives to become the world's greatest theif. He has little dexterity due to his stubby fingers, but that doesn't stop him. Also, eating is Grimm's favorite thing to do. Ever.

Percy and Grimm will be told in small, self-contained chapters. Each chapter builds off the previous one, but they can stand alone as well. Chapters probably won't be more than 32 pages. I plan on updating a page a week. And this comic will be kid friendly. Hope to see you on their first quest, I'll send out e-mails when www.mischiefcomics.com is ready to roll.

I used a brush and technical pen for this comic. It's something I've been playing around with. I might switch to that full time, but the first chapter of Percy and Grimm, The Gumdrop King, is done entirely in techinical pens. I'm trying to settle into the right style for this series. But instead of taking months on deciding I jumped right in and hope to feel out the right style as my chapters progress.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Perils of Picorna Review

I just purchased Perils of Picorna at MICE this weekend. I was really drawn in by the cover, a cute, well drawn, girl who looked like a reluctant hero. I flipped through it and after walking around for a few hours decided that I would regret it if I didn't buy it. I’m glad I swung back to pick it up.

Written by Amy Kaczmarowski and Rick Silva and drawn by Missy Pena, Perils of Picorna is a fantasy Dungeons and Dragons type of world. The story is about a young servant girl, Picorna. This first chapter is about her taking on a daring mission, the first step (I'm assuming) of her becoming a full fledged hero. The world is completely realized, right down to the back story of most of the characters. The writers give us just enough back story without detracting from the current story.

The backgrounds in this book are fantastic. They are rendered with ease, and never seem labored. I always have a good sense of where the characters are in their world. Most of the artwork in this book is fantastic. For being Missy Pena's first published comic, she should be very pleased. Her character designs are tight and fun to look at. Each character has their own distinctive facial features. Character design and backgrounds are definitely Pena’s strong points.

Pena is such a great artist that the cold font sound effects that are pasted over her artwork clash immensely. I cringed every time my eyes slipped over a sound effect, feeling instinctively that Pena could have rendered something much more pleasing to the eye that fit more organically with the rest of the panel. Being on font, the text font was not distracting at all. There were a few odd shaped word balloons, but nothing entirely too distracting.

The page layouts were well thought out and considered. As far as words versus pictures go, I feel like there were a few too many words in some parts of the book. Characters would speak paragraph after paragraph to each other. Five paragraphs on a page and you might as well be reading a novel. People don’t usually talk like that, unless they’re long winded and in which case you might avoid talking to someone like that. There could be some more concise way to get the information and characterizations across. Much of this feels like the writers trying to cram too much information about the world or situation at the reader. I feel that some of it could have been weeded out and put in the back few pages, where there is a page of back story for the two main characters. So much dialog halts the flow of the story. Anything more than three or four sentences in a panel is too dialog heavy.

There are two action sequences in this story and they both felt stiff and rigid. There was little mounting tension in both sequences. And the characters action poses felt wooden and unnatural. I would suggest lengthening the action scenes in the future; really make them count for something. These are big moments, let the readers know that by giving them the space they need. Especially the final action sequence, it’s only 3 pages, one of which is a splash page. I would suggest that Pena study up on some classic fighting comics, anything by Akira Toriyama (the creator of Dragon Ball), to help strengthen future action scenes. And don’t forget the dramatic tension that can be utilized with page turns. The bottom of the right hand page should keep the reader wondering what’s happening next, so that they can’t wait to turn the page. Like a sword slicing through the air, right above Picorna’s head, that would hold me rapt.

The design layout of the book was poor. Some of the panel boarders were cut off and the margins were anywhere from a half inch to one sixteenth of an inch.

Aside from those nitpicky things, I very much enjoyed Perils of Picorna. I am now invested in this character and am anxiously awaiting her further adventures in 2011. I also can’t wait to see how Amy Kaczmarowski, Rick Silva, and Missy Pena evolve as a group.