Thursday, August 4, 2016

A Sneak Peek: Origins Unknown: WHO vol. 2





It's been almost a year since we announced plans to publish Origins Unknown: WHO vol. 2 and I'm quite happy to announce that (FINALLY) production is almost COMPLETE!  I'm simultaneously finishing the lettering for both "No One Believes Me" and "I Make Her Say", with every intention of premiering the new book at Wizard World Chicago or Richmond.

Our faithful followers, got an early look at our first completed tale from this project, "Pursuit of Happiness", this past winter, through weekly updates on our webcomics site.  And not to leave new readers out, a digest-sized preview has been included with every purchase of Origins Unknown: Who v.1 for most of the year.

As we near wrapping up the rest, I thought I'd give just a bit more of a preview of what's to come! 








Layouts for "Pursuit of Happiness"

Character designs from "No One Believes Me".
Be on the lookout for this cover to the second volume!
Character designs for "I Make Her Say"



Tuesday, July 26, 2016

The BIG Reveal -- (Drumroll, please...!)

Over the last few days, I've shared some behind-the-scenes insights on how the covers for Wonder Care Presents: The Kinder Guardians were conceived and executed.  It was fun to retrace our creative steps and [possibly] reveal the hidden-in-plain-sight inspirations that fueled us.  But I have to be honest...that's NOT why I wanted to share those.

It's because of Justin...and how much I appreciate his talent AND patience.

Gearing up to release our fifth installment next month (premiering at Wizard World Chicago!!!), we started working, in earnest on the cover.  In this issue, The Kinder Guardians will meet a mirror-verse version of themselves, only in this case, these aren't evil dopplegangers...  Instead, this Kinder Guardians Too class are a gender-swapped, female strong, iteration (Justin playfully called them the "Gender Guardians", and I'm TOTALLY hoping that sticks!).  At any rate, knowing we're delving into the multiversal story waters, there were a few options of covers to riff.  Ultimately, we settled on this one:

In this truly CLASSIC Justice League issue, (Justice League of America #21; art by Mike Sekowsky and Murphy Anderson) we see the first meet up between the Justice League and their golden-age counterparts, the Justice Society of America.  As good as the other options were (JLA: Earth 2 was high on that list), I can't think of a more iconic cover to represent what we were after!













And here is Justin's first go at it:





It's gorgeous, I agree!  But there was an immediate reaction, when I saw it...a sense of dreaded familiarity.  No, not to the JLA cover...but to one of our own.  The background color, though almost pulled directly, was a little TOO close to the background of issue 3 (Beware the Kid Napper).  I know...it's silly.  I'm a total narcissist when it comes to the V:IP books, always striving for THE best presentation possible, and that includes when the books are laid out together at shows.  And lining up all the WC books together, there wasn't "enough" of a color separation from the two for my liking.  So, I asked Justin for another take...perhaps something a little more indigo this time.











BOOM!  Justin didn't miss a beat:








But there still was something not quite right.  Luckily, he had also sent me the .PDF so I could play with the colors a bit myself...and this is where Justin's patience TRULY should be commended.












After getting some feedback (from my partner in life, Adri as well as my son, and the youngest V:IP artist to date, Matt) this is the OFFICIAL cover to Wonder Care Presents: The Kinder Guardians #5 -- "The UnBEARable LIKENESS of Beings":




And Justin dug it -- like truly dug it!  IF there was any dismay at all the changes, he never said a peep and again, I can't thank him enough for it!  So there you have it folks -- the upcoming issue's cover!  The book itself WILL be available for sale at Wizard World Chicago (Aug. 18-21) and Justin will be available for signing SAT. ONLY!!!  We'll see you there!


Friday, July 22, 2016

Wonder COVERS...Homages to Some of Comics Most ICONIC Covers pt.4

Conventional wisdom says not to judge a book by its cover, but in the world of comics, covers are our first sales point to the masses!  And the construction of the Wonder Care covers has been FAR from accidental -- quite a bit of thought and consideration goes into each design and you're about to get a first look into that process.  With Wonder Care already being rooted in both childhood and comic book iconography (each of The Kinder Guardians can find its inspiration from fan-favorite characters like SupermanThe FlashBatgirlLex Luthor, and Wolverine), we thought to use that same love to mine ideas for our covers.  So, paying homage to some classics, we created these:






The New Kid: Without a shadow of a doubt, Cub was always meant to be "The Wolverine" of our team.  Coming in with a bit more of a rough and tumble attitude, he offered a bit more of an edge (as much as an all-ages title really allows) to the series and gave us a chance to inadvertently tackle the very hot-button issue of bullying.  Of course, knowing that, there were PLENTY of covers to pull inspiration from...the biggest problem was choosing the right one.  While appearing first in the Hulk, before making his big Giant-Sized X-Men debut, neither of those covers really illustrated the first appearance idea we had in mind for Cub.  So, we expanded our scope, to not only look at Wolverine, but ANY characters first appearance.  With luck, we found Fantastic Four #46 (by Jack Kirby and Joe Sinnott)!  In true Marvel form, Black Bolt (who is my FAVORITE Marvel character) made his first appearance in the previous issue, but one featured his first cover spot, giving him ALL the attention, while still highlighting (through floating heads) the other characters of the book.  It was perfect!




But we couldn't miss the opportunity to throw the character inspiration in there, so we took a bead from Uncanny X-Men 207 (John Romita, Jr. and Dan Green), having Cub SLASH down the paper (if you look closely, you can see hints of the first page within the tears.)!














Check out the cover that inspired Issue #3: Beware the Kid Napper

Check out the cover that inspired Issue #1: How Far is Up?!

Wonder COVERS...Homages to Some of Comics Most ICONIC Covers pt.3

Conventional wisdom says not to judge a book by its cover, but in the world of comics, covers are our first sales point to the masses!  And the construction of the Wonder Care covers has been FAR from accidental -- quite a bit of thought and consideration goes into each design and you're about to get a first look into that process.  With Wonder Care already being rooted in both childhood and comic book iconography (each of The Kinder Guardians can find its inspiration from fan-favorite characters like SupermanThe FlashBatgirlLex Luthor, and Wolverine), we thought to use that same love to mine ideas for our covers.  So, paying homage to some classics, we created these:




Beware the Kid Napper: Having already established the idea that we were using classic covers as the inspiration for our own, I absolutely KNEW what I wanted to see with the cover for issue 3 -- Crisis on Infinite Earths #7 (by George Perez)!  To be honest though, that pose/composition is such an iconic piece that I can't guarantee that CoIE was it's first iteration, just one of its most well known.  And to prove it, Justin pulled a similar reference (and ultimately the MOST influential to ours) with Uncanny X-Men #136 (by John Byrne and Terry Austin).  Pulling not only the posed figures, but also the violet-colored scheme in the background, Justin was only getting started with his references with this cover.  Knowing The Kinder Guardians were going up against their first baddie, a sleep monster named Snewz, he went into the archives of cinema, getting more ideas from the movie poster for the 1950's flick, The Monster that Challenged the World!  Marrying elements from the two, formed an amazing piece that Justin readily claims as his favorite!





























Check out the cover that inspired Issue 2: What Can't Your Dad Do? 

Check out the cover that inspired Issue 4: The New Kid



Wonder COVERS...Homages to Some of Comics Most ICONIC Covers pt.2


Conventional wisdom says not to judge a book by its cover, but in the world of comics, covers are our first sales point to the masses!  And the construction of the Wonder Care covers has been FAR from accidental -- quite a bit of thought and consideration goes into each design and you're about to get a first look into that process.  With Wonder Care already being rooted in both childhood and comic book iconography (each of The Kinder Guardians can find its inspiration from fan-favorite characters like Superman, The Flash, Batgirl, Lex Luthor, and Wolverine), we thought to use that same love to mine ideas for our covers.  So, paying homage to some classics, we created these:

What CAN'T Your Dad Do?: A great deal of our characters were modeled after DC character archetypes, but with this story, we were taking a dramatic shift into Marvel territory.  With a story focused on a person's worth as a hero, I thought that the BEST homage we could ever make would be to Spider-man -- a hero whose entire career is built on second-guessing his own actions.  But what Spidey story should we use?  I think we looked at a few options, but settled on the iconic "Spider-man No More!" cover of The Amazing Spider-man #50 (by John Romita, Sr and Mike Esposito).  There was such weight to the Peter, whose vibrant colors created an amazing contrast from the wash of red throughout.  And that ethereal image of Spidey himself -- it was just powerful!  I think because we were still establishing characters, we didn't even consider changing Castor's color schemes for the cover.  But, whenever it's on the table, people DEFINITELY stop to flip through it.

Check out the cover that inspired Issue #1: How Far is UP?!

Check out the cover that inspired Issue #3: Beware the Kid Napper!

Wonder COVERS...Homages to Some of Comics Most ICONIC Covers pt.1

     Visit me at ANY comic con and you'll see, one of our most popular titles is Wonder Care Presents: The Kinder Guardians!  It's true -- even the saying the title elicits a smile in even the most staunch of con-goers.  Go 'head, say it out loud for yourself...I'll bet you smiled too.  But it's not just the clever name or even the nostaglia-inducing elevator pitch ("Muppet Babies MEETS the Justice League") that hooks readers, young and old!  We have THE MOST dynamic and appealing covers adorning our stories!  They practically DARE YOU to turn the pages to check out the adventures within.

     Conventional wisdom says not to judge a book by its cover, but in the world of comics, covers are our first sales point to the masses!  And the construction of the Wonder Care covers has been FAR from accidental -- quite a bit of thought and consideration goes into each design and you're about to get a first look into that process.  With Wonder Care already being rooted in both childhood and comic book iconography (each of The Kinder Guardians can find its inspiration from fan-favorite characters like Superman, The Flash, Batgirl, Lex Luthor, and Wolverine), we thought to use that same love to mine ideas for our covers.  So, paying homage to some classics, we created these:




How Far is Up?: While the story isn't exactly a "versus" tale between Pep, our resident speedster or either of the Superman-inspired Ultra-Twins, Castor and Pollux, the minor conflict between them called for a cover reference to that most playful of questions: who is faster, Superman or the Flash?!  There have been a few times when they've dared to answer the question, but few covers stand out to me as prominently as Superman VS The Flash, Limited Collectors Edition, Vol. 5 #C-48 (by Curt Swan and George Klein).  With their fellow heroes cheering them on, the vibrancy of the title characters -- even the use of sky blue (my favorite color, actually), I thought this was the PERFECT cover to riff as we launched the Wonder Care series.

Check out the cover that inspired Issue 2: What Can't Your Dad Do?




Monday, June 27, 2016

2016 (So far), By The Numbers...

As I wrapped up packing the last book from my table at Derby City Comic Con, it marked the official end to the first half of this year's convention run.

How'd I do?

Well, how's this for an answer: 13 states.  14 cities.  9327 miles.*

9327 miles?!  That's further away than a trip to Honolulu, HI (4509 miles...so I could've gone to Hawaii -- TWICE!), Tokyo, Japan (6561 miles), or even New Delhi, India (7545 miles).  I could've gone to Antananarivo, Madagascar (9176 miles) and still had room to walk around a bit.

And while that double shot to Hawaii DOES sound awesome, I couldn't have passed up on the opportunity to do so many AMAZING comic conventions!  Having done SOOOOOOO MANY shows in 2015 (about 50 comic book related events!), the seeds for V:IP readership have been sown far and wide!  I admit, I was a little nervous that retreading those waters would mean disastrous sales, but I was absolutely WRONG!  In many cases, over the 14 shows we've done this year, we've had quite a few repeat readers come back, hankering for more of that V:IP Treatment!

With that, to date, we've had to order more than 800 books to fill our inventory!  Believe me when I tell you, that's a WHOLE lot of comics to move in ONLY direct contact sales!

But we're just getting started!  Already, we're working on V:IPhase2, which will roll out EIGHT new titles over the next few years (while still finishing the current runs of Wonder Care Presents: The Kinder Guardians and Origins Unknown: Who vol 2).  We want to make sure we're giving you something new as often as possible, to keep our readership growing stronger!

Wanna catch me on the next wave of shows?  Check out our tentative convention schedule with the link to the right!




*This figure is based on one-way travel miles, ONLY!