Friday, April 4, 2014

Brand new business venture and more!

BEYOND MORTALITY TOYS N MORE HAS LAUNCHED!  Come on in and check out my newest business venture, collectible and playable toys and graphic novels!  Lots more than meets the eye with constantly updating stock and prices!

Friday, November 29, 2013

Dustfall LAUNCHES!

Once again Facebook is being putzish when it comes to where I'm forced to currently host the DUSTFALL WEBCOMIC SERIES.

Check it out!

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

The Fear of God........

"The Fear of God is the beginning of wisdom...."  (Proverbs 9:10)

I never really understood what this particular proverb meant.  I never really tried to understand.  I never sat down and thought about it in the way I needed to in order to internalize it.  Until last night, as I lay there praying and dealing with insomnia.  (The insomnia thing is a whole different subject.)

Let's understand WHO God is.  HE is the CREATOR of the UNIVERSE.  EVERYTHING you see here was CREATED by GOD.  Nothing was created WITHOUT HIM.  His will is what shaped the world, and all the creatures upon it.  He created the cosmos--the universe.  With His will He created man and woman.

And with a single thought, He could snuff all of it out of existence.  But He doesn't.  Why?  Because He loves US.

More on that in a minute.

Now let's examine another minute fact.  If we were to see God face to face (and this is why I have problems with people that claim to have seen God......Not Jesus, but GOD.) we would be destroyed.  His Glory would obliterate us.  Basically his HOLINESS would destroy our sinful bodies in less than a microsecond.  But because Jesus came, we are able to be FORGIVEN by this being and not obliterated or sent to Hell for eternity due to our stiff necks and sin.

Jesus.  Jesus is the Son of God.  One part of the Trinity.  Jesus performed miracles, healings, raising people from the dead (as did the apostles).  Jesus Himself was put to death, buried, resurrected, and then ascended into Heaven.  Now this same Spirit (The Holy Spirit, that empowers us and that inhabits us, also called the Great Comforter) inhabits US.  The Holy Spirit, the Spirit of God Himself that raised Jesus from the dead and by which Jesus did His miracles (as Jesus IS God in flesh form) inhabits US!

Whoa.  When I realized this, plus the thoughts above about just how powerful our Heavenly Father is......I began to understand what HOLY FEAR is.  I began to FEAR THE LORD.  I'm not AFRAID of God in the "there's a monster in my closet" way.  But a Holy Fear of RESPECT for WHO He is and WHAT He is.  What HE could do if Jesus had not died on the cross for us, and what HE WILL DO as we read at the end of the book of Revelation.

To truly understand this is humbling.  To try to internalize it goes against much of our natural instincts as sinful flesh.  But isn't it cool?  That we serve such a power and Holy God?  That "Loved us so much, that He sent His only begotten Son?"

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Rambling on Publishing and Multi-Media

After sitting in on what is admittedly just the first of what should be many conference calls about building up a publishing company, I wanted to make my opinions public about several different topics.  I wanted to share my vision in one place where people could see what my ideas are and how I feel that things could go if we wanted them to.  The thing is, these ideas aren't just for Christian Comic Books, but could be merged with ANY business plan to publish comics.  It's a bit of a manifesto, a bit of a venting, and a bit of a plan all rolled into one.  This is NOT a how-to.  It's more of how I envision what's out there and what we can do.  I hope you enjoy it.

I want to start out with the big part.  The publishing area.  The printing, marketing, distribution angles.  Then I'll move onto other subjects.

Publishing is really a four-fold area.  You have to think about the production of the book, the marketing of the book, the physical printing of the book, and the distribution of the book.  Each of these parts is equally important to any company that wants to do comics, from the smallest of small press to the big guys that rule the industry.

A)  Production:  You've got an idea.  You want it to come to fruition.  But you want QUALITY.  How do you get quality?  FEEDBACK and get QUALITY people to work on your book.  There's a lot of garbage out there, done by fanboys with a dream but no reality.  I'm sorry to be so harsh, but it's the truth.  So how do we do quality?  Well, first of all YOU PAY THE TALENT.  This is VERY important.  Non-paid talent are unreliable, don't have passion for the project, and well.......If you say you'll pay them with a back end deal you're basically saying "If I make money, you make money.  And if I cancel the project, all your work is for nothing."  And if your book doesn't make money, they take it in the back end.  (Thanks Will for that illustration)

So what do you do?  You talk with the talent.  You find out what they might accept.  Be it $10 a page!  That's $220 for a 22 page book.  Well, if your guy does everything.  It may be more if you have a writer, artist, colorist, and letterer.  And that's if you do your pre-press yourself.  But I digress.  Some people pay $400 per book, some less.  Some even barter with their talent, giving them supplies or comics they may have in return for the work.  However you do it, it's up to you.  But pay them on time, what is agreed, period.  Otherwise the word of mouth will go around that you're undependable, non-paying, jerkwad.

Next is the marketing/distribution/printing.  I feel that all of this is related since it all works together to sell your book and make it available.  One option, and the one that I'm going to concentrate on and then blow out of the water, is to go with Diamond Distribution.  (Which is what you want if you're trying to get into comic shops, but there's always a catch.)

Marketing is getting yourself known.  At conventions, online, through social media, and ads in other comics or banner ads on places like CBR or Bleeding Cool.  Getting known so that when you solicit through diamond (appear in their previews catalog for retailers to order from) you'll actually sell some issues.  It also works if you're only selling through your online site or a series of online sites.  I'll cover that in other options.

Now you've got the marketing going, you've got a quote from a printer, you've set your cover price, and you're soliciting through Diamond.  Let's break down some numbers.  I'm kinda moving fast here, but bear with me please.

Okay.  Your cover price is gonna be $10 per book for a B&W (black and white) graphic novel with gray tones.  The cheapest to print.  You've decided your only option is Diamond and direct sales from your website.  That means that you need at least a 2,500 book minimum run to be carried by Diamond.  Say that's $1.50 per book print cost.

So we're already up to $3,000 you've got to shell out.

Now to be carried by Diamond, you have to sell to them at at least 60% off your cover price.  So you'll make from Diamond $4.00 per book.  That's a possible $8,000 plus right?

But you didn't sell your print run.  You sold half of it.  Suddenly you've only got $4,000 coming in.  $3,000 immediately goes to pay your printer (or to pay off the credit card debt you incurred).  Cool.  $1,000 profit right?  What about Shipping and Packaging to get it TOO diamond?  what about the storage of the other 1,125 books?  Suddenly you start to see what profit you may have had disappear.  Your costs mount and your return lessens.

And because you didn't make minimum, Diamond drops you.

Of course this is worst case scenario, but being pessimistic will help you open yourself to other options.  Diamond is NOT the only place to sell your comics, though it is the biggest one if you want your book in actual shops.


#1)  Sell directly to retailers.  Give them a decent amount off per issue if they're a retailer so they can make money.  You can make more for your own company doing it this way.  It's harder, MUCH harder, but well........It's an option.

#2)  Print on Demand/Indyplanet/Amazon.  With print on demand you can print your books through lulu or kablam or even amazon's print on demand/self-publishing service.  This is a good option in my opinion, one I use.  Again, it's an option.

#3)  Direct sales through your website and at conventions.  This one is a must no matter what.  Cover all your bases.

Basically all I'm saying, and this isn't with doing any major research online for OTHER distributors of comic books, is that there are MANY options we can look at.  And without putting a whole ton of money into a print run that we may have to store in our attic or basement when it doesn't sell-through.

"it's real expensive to get into multi-media"

Not exactly fully true, but partially.  If you're using the above publishing idea as your springboard, you can be ready to go into multi-media as soon as you are able to.  Just acknowledge that it is one of your goals.  Think of your project as an animated series, or movie, or TV series.  Think if it would work or not.  This way you can be prepared for this eventuality.

When Todd McFarlane created McFarlane productions (and helped createImage Comics) he had a multi-media vision.  He knew his character could branch out into more.  Now he's been in movies, cartoons, and action figures.  All because his original vision INCLUDED this.  Don't EXCLUDE it unless all you want to do is publish comics.  Embrace it as part of your vision as I do.

Don't ever say to yourself "Oh that's too much" or "I'm reaching too far".  If this is your vision (and in the particular place I'm writing this from:  I believe that my vision has come from God in response to prayer about where I'm going with my life) then don't ignore that part of it.  Work it in, know that's one of the goals you have and plan for it ahead of time.

Just keep yourself open to all avenues, not just one.  There are more options out there than you may realize.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

What's right with Christian Comics

I wrote several months back (or maybe last year) a post that was a source of some controversy.  I wrote about what I thought was wrong with what is commonly called "Christian comics".  That is, comics that are written and drawn from a Christian worldview with the meaning to, through art work and writing, witness and/or teach on Christian principles and salvation.  Some choose to do this using superheroes, others choose to do this using other types of stories.  (Testimonies, True to life, etc.)

Now I have to say that I probably short changed a lot of your efforts with my words.  That was not my intention.  This blog is the first in a series about what I feel is right with the efforts of EVERYONE out there!

First and foremost:  THERE ARE PEOPLE DOING IT!  There are many that are writing, drawing, and publishing their work!  They don't let people's words stop them.  And that's a huge thing.  That's something important.  If you have your passion in comics, and want to reach people using them, DO IT.  You can find many of us on facebook and other places that are just like you.  We want to reach people for Christ using the comic book medium.  Some others are going even further, producing animated shorts.

Just realize that it's a battle.  I made a posting about prayer and how important it is to our work.  Don't underestimate that.  Don't underestimate how much prayer will impact not only your life in Christian Comics, but also your life at large.  Paul wrote for us to "Pray without ceasing".  In other translations it reads as "Pray in all things."  So basically, no matter the situation, if you have a question or reach a crossroads:  PRAY!

I'll write more soon.  As it stands, I wanted to get started on this particular series of postings ASAP.  As this series progresses, I will be interviewing people who are out there DOING IT.  Who are using comics to spread God's message of salvation and hope!  (As well as entertaining!)

Thursday, December 13, 2012


I'm sitting here and thinking, and realized something that a lot of us may miss when we embark upon our projects, especially the projects for Christ.  (Such as "Christian Comic Books").  This realization came after accepting and dealing with the spiritual warfare attached with Brian Bradley's project which is to summarize books of the Bible.  I don't know about you, but I've had TREMENDOUS difficulty with this project, which led to scripture and prayer on the subject.  This is what I've found, and I want to share it with you.  (This will be cross-posted on my blog)

First of all, any time that we undertake a mission from God (if I may borrow from the Blues Brother's blasphemy and turn it to faith) is that not only do we need to pray it up personally, we need to make sure we have prayer COVERING US and THOSE INVOLVED with the project in any way!  This isn't just PERSONAL prayer, but a communal agreement to pray for each others projects, to fast if need be.

To borrow from military games that I've played, we need COVERING FIRE in order to correctly assault the strongholds of the Enemy.  No General puts ground troops into a situation of a frontal assault with both air and naval support gunning ahead of them.  This is sadly something that we as Christians do when we embark upon a project.  We do personal prayer, but neglect to get an adequate and ongoing prayer COVERING.

What I propose is simple.  For all of our projects, lets assemble PRAYER TEAMS both out of our local church and the members that we may find on Facebook and through our websites.  These teams will give us covering fire when we embark upon a project, from start to finish we become the target of prayer.  So many times we neglect this part of the process except when we hit difficulty, then we reach out. NO!  We need to reach out BEFORE there's difficulty!

So why do our answers about our projects come so late in a season so to speak?  Let's look at Daniel.  Daniel prayed and fasted for 21 days for an answer from the Lord.  Then an angel appeared unto him, and what did the angel say?  "I was dispatched from Heaven when the Lord heard your prayer, but was held up contending with the Prince of Persia."  What?  "It was only when Michael (archangel) came that I was able to come to you."  So what does that tell us?  Let's going to Ephesians 6:12:  (paraphrase)  "For we battle not against flesh and blood, but against the powers and principalities and the rulers of the darkness of this age and the spiritual host of wickedness in high places."

So therefore put on the whole armor of God.  Yep.  Ephesians 6:12-18.  The Sword of the Spirit, the Shield of Faith, the Breastplate of Righteousness, the Helmet of Salvation, The belt of Truth.  The feet clad in the preparation of the Gospel of Peace.  We can shield each other with prayer.  We can agree in prayer on a project in order to protect ourselves (and others) from spiritual warfare.

In closing I wanted to share a few experiences I've had in the past decade of salvation.  Many of you know I haven't completed many projects.  Many of you know that my financial situation is well........poor.  I rejoice in these tribulations though, because through Christ when things improve HE MAY BE GLORIFIED!  But how to get through it?  How to finish a project finally?  PRAYER and PRAYER COVERING.  It's not just a concept that Frank Peretti came up with, it's there in the BIBLE!

I'm sorry that this post is so long, I just hope that many of you will read it in its entirety, because it is truly from the heart and from prayer.  God Bless!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

What's wrong with Christian Comic Books?

The very statement "I write and draw Christian Comic Books" garners me some strange looks.  The fact that I'm a Christian who works in the comic book field isn't strange in and of itself, but when I say that I work on religious fiction people begin to back though I was about to preach at them ad naseum.

I think that this particular mindset about "Christian" comic books is a problem that we all face.  (We all being those who work on books that are Christians, and that have a bit of a Christian message to them.)  People are afraid that our work will preach at them.  Or that it'll be sub-par (as so many are).  What I'm trying to say is that what's wrong with Christian Comic Books is that they ARE Christian Comic Books.

Before you start making the hangman's noose, let's talk about this a bit.

To be a Christian Comic Book too many believe that it has to be blatant from start to finish.  You have to give your message over and over and over again, no matter how irrelevant it may be to the story itself.  Let's look at the opposite end of the spectrum, a comic book called SPAWN.  Written and created by Todd McFarlane, this particular book is about a resurrected assassin.  Or at least it used to be until he blew his own head off.  He was a soldier of hell.  Yet it was entertaining because even though he was a soldier of hell, he kept on trying to break out of that mold.  At the end he committed suicide.  RIP Al Simmons.  Now Toddy boy is an admitted atheist.  But he doesn't preach that in his book.  He has angels, demons, lords of hell and angels of heaven.  And even God him (her?) self at times.

So what can we learn from this?

#1)  Our first job, unless we are working on religious tracts such as the infamous Chick Tracts, is to ENTERTAIN.  So many of us forget this.  I've read Christian comics even as far back as my pagan days, when I was trying to move in two different circles.  Most Christian Comic books suffer from taking themselves too seriously.  If you want a comic to sell, be a CHRISTIAN CREATOR, one who has morals and their beliefs, but can still be relevant and entertain.  Which moves me on to #2.

#2)  If we're tackling a subject, we must be RELEVANT.  We can preach salvation until the cows come home and our readership uses our books as toilet paper while out hunting, or we can be relevant as we entertain.  Show Christians struggling.  Show the change in the life.  But do it in an entertaining fashion.  If you stop the story to do this huge preachy thing, people will be like:  "If I wanted to be preached at, I'd have gone to Church last Sunday."  Let's use our abilities to entertain, and if we need to make a statement, be relevant and............

#3)  Don't overdo it.  Work it into the storyline.  Make it an integral part of the plot.  If it takes you out of the story, the escapism that is our entertainment medium, then you're not doing your job.  Entertaining, Relevant, and knowing that people are reading these for a form of escapism.  Green Arrow dealt with Heroin.  Spider-Man had three drug relevant issues.  But they didn't take you OUT of the story.  They kept you in it, making it integral and moving.  It was part of the story, and in some issues THE story, but it still entertained, was relevant to that timeframe, and didn't remove you from that "escape from reality" that people plunk down their hard earned money for.

And finally........

#4)  Make sure it's as professional a package as you can make it.  If it won't stand up next to the titles that are out there from the secular companies, put it online as a web comic.  A hobby that people can surf to.  If you can compete, go for it.  But keep all this in mind.  Most distributors won't touch Christian comics because:  THEY DO NOT SELL.  Not as they are.  The artwork and writing is sub-par in probably 90% of the books I see advertised.  The storylines are fanboy dreams that these people have had since they were kids.  In fact some of the character designs are from when they were kids.  It won't work man!  You gotta see what's going on our there, and COMPETE.  Just because God said do it doesn't mean to do it crappily.  If God said for you to do it, and you've tested the spirits to make sure it is God.  (Something the Bible tells us to do.)  Then make the best danged book you can.  Hire an awesome artist, don't expect us Christian artists to work for free just because it's for God's Kingdom.  The Bible itself states "A workman is worth his wages."  If you can't afford to pay the artist, save up then do your project when you can.  Or work out a satisfactory payment arrangement.  If you think you have a concept, but can't write it.  See above.  Save up, pay the writer, then save up, pay the artist.  Then save up and print.  Or do it online.

Look, I'm not trying to bring you all down who are doing comic books from a Christian perspective.  God knows even I'm gearing up for another go at it.  These are thoughts and feelings that I have prayed on for quite a while now.  These are things that I've seen wrong since I was 16 buying Archangels:  The Saga. I want Christian perspective comics to sell, and for us to bring this to the world at large.  But we gotta be realistic in our views as well.