Why Talking About Music Gives Me Anxiety

21 Jan Jareth-Dance-Magic-e1422726912434

Last week David Bowie died and I think the most devastating thing I took away from his death was the realization that I’ve been a Bowie fan all along.

Like any queer fanboy I discovered Bowie through the magic of the movie Labyrinth (and his fabulous codpiece which should have rightfully had second billing before Jennifer Connolly.) But even that’s a lie. As a kid I loved “Space Oddity” but I had no idea who sang it.

And so that’s how I discovered Bowie, through bits and pieces over the years. Never fully committing to true fandom, but somehow appreciating such a wide sample of his work—and the amazing things he’s inspired—that it all hit me at once.  But even now there’s a tinge of guilt at the back of my brain buzzing about my co-opting of the word “fan.” I like a bunch of his stuff, but is that enough to call myself a fan?

This has always been how my weird relationship to music works. It gives me anxiety to even think about it.  If you want to torture me all you have to do is gather all my friends and family together and put my music collection on shuffle, without giving me the ability to skip a song or say anything in my defense.

Music is such a personal experience for each individual, but it’s also tied heavily to our shared culture. And the dichotomy between these two aspects creates a breeding ground for social anxiety—especially for creative types.

Music and creativity – the ultimate combo

One day when I was feeling all moody and depressed, my writer friend Chris Meeuwes (of The Naturals) tried to strike up a conversation with me over Facebook about music. And as he started listing off his musical tastes, I got so anxious that I flat out told him “I don’t really get into music.”

Lies. All lies.

I feel bad that I kind of cut him to the quick and I still haven’t apologized because I’m awkward as hell, but the whole interaction made me realize that I kind of deny a part of myself to other people. Music is important to any creative. Anyone who says otherwise is probably some super advanced robot programmed to look human and feign creativity.

I used to listen to music a lot while I wrote, but nowadays I find absolute silence to be the best environment for me. If I do listen to something, it’s usually instrumental, typically classical – music with lyrics just messes me up. If I’m feeling particularly anxious when I’m writing, I’ll often turn to my playlist of Joe Hisaishi music so I can pretend that I’m in a Miyazaki movie.

But music is still an integral part of my creative process. When I’m working on a new comic or playing with a new concept, I’ll often put together a playlist that embodies the spirit of what I want to say in my writing. It’s not necessarily a soundtrack, although I will sometimes pair songs to specific scenes like I’m scoring a film. It’s more like the aural equivalent of a Pinterest board—a bunch of different feelings I want to evoke for inspiration.

But just the discovery of new music itself is an important factor in firing up the creative juices. I often feel like a song collector—dipping in here and there, taking whatever I like and leaving the rest. It makes it hard to pin down my tastes or even talk about it with people. There are some bands that I absolutely love—until I don’t anymore. And there are bands that I’m just discovering and I’m not sure I’m fully committed yet.

All I know is that there’s a large quantity of individual songs that creates the strange mosaic that is my musical tastes. And I know that makes me sound really pretentious, but in actuality I’m just a gay fanboy is all.

Coming out of the musical closet

The thing that people don’t realize about coming out of the closet is you never really stop doing it. There’s always going to be new people in your life that assume you’re straight. And even those who do know and accept you don’t ever really fully grasp what your queer experience is like.

When I was faced with an honest conversation about musical preferences, I went into panic mode because it sometimes feels like another closet I have to come out of.  I like music that you can dance to, that has emotion and drama, to the point of being cheesy in some cases. I like music I can sing along with or that transports me to that creative zen place that makes my imagination flow.

But music can sometimes be a weirdly masculine thing. I grew up with a father who listens to hard rock and does so as loud as possible. I’m surrounded by friends who are into punk, metal, all sorts of things that don’t really blow my whistle. I’m not pointing the blame at anyone but myself—and I can even appreciate some of the stuff my dad is into when there’s the right level of theatrics and camp involved (Pink Floyd, Queen, etc.) And one time my dad admitted to me that he liked that Ace of Base song “The Sign” so at least I know I’m not alone in having an eclectic taste.

I think that deep down, the behaviors I learned growing up to hide my queerness from the world sort of robbed me of being able to fully appreciate music. I just wandered around until puberty not knowing how to even get into music. I mean, I remember one time when I told my mom to just get me a CD that has “Whoomp! There It Is” on it for Christmas.

In 7th grade I finally broached the music world when I became a fan of No Doubt, but even then I stole that fandom from my little brother who had purchased their CD for himself (he hasn’t been a fan since.) No Doubt started out being a little bit ska, a little bit alternative, with an in-your-face feminist vibe that was punk enough to be an acceptable choice for a closeted queer kid trying to stay alive in middle school. Early No Doubt was universal, I could appreciate the band and not feel like the weird gay kid because even straight guys liked them. I had my way in.

But it’s been a struggle since.

The K-Mo Mixtape

One of the things I’m finding really important to my writing is maintaining authenticity. It’s something I’m trying to focus on in the coming year. So I thought one of the ways I could get over my anxiety and start creating from my authentic self is to share my weird musical tastes with the world.

I threw this playlist together of 25 songs that have sort of guided my creativity over the last year.  Some of them are new songs I just discovered, others are old songs I’ve loved for a while. One or two of them are from artists  I really love, some of them are artists that I’m slowly getting into while most are just songs I’ve collected randomly.

These are the songs I turn to when I need a boost or need to vent. I’m sharing them both in the hopes that maybe you’ll find one or two songs to add to your own aural inspiration mosaic and because I don’t want to be embarrassed by something that plays such an important role in who I am as a creative.

So listen to The K-Mo Mixtape courtesy of this handy Spotify playlist and get inspired.

What kind of music do you listen to when you create? What songs can you count on to give you inspiration? Leave a comment below and let’s talk music without the anxiety.

Top 10 Actresses Who Should Play Rita Repulsa in the New Power Rangers Movie

14 Jan gathering-of-ritas

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again—I love me some Rita Repulsa.

So when I heard that Saban and Lionsgate were teaming up to bring a live-action Power Rangers movie to the big screen, my first thought was for my beloved empress of evil.  Like everybody else waiting for this movie, I started to think of what my dream cast would be – but then I kind of got stuck on Rita.

We already know which actors are going to be playing the Rangers themselves, so I wanted to share with you my top picks for Rita Repulsa—including the number one actress who I think should take on the role.

I wanted to note that I personally believe the role of Rita should be played by an Asian actress, however when compiling this speculative list I opened up the possibilities to all actresses. Rita is kind of a strange case because she was originally a character directly taken from the original Japanese footage and dubbed over. They eventually cast a new actress when they ran out of footage, but kept the dubbed over voice.

All of the actresses who have played Rita have been Asian and I feel that the producers of this movie should respect that in their casting decisions. However, I’m able to accept another actress as Rita, since the character herself is not technically Asian in origin—she’s a space alien whose brother is a skeleton and father is some kind of demon creature. As such, I cast a wider net when searching for the perfect Rita.

The many faces of Rita Repulsa

The many faces of Rita Repulsa

What to look for in a good Rita Repulsa

I don’t think I’m being melodramatic when I say that the right treatment of Rita could literally make or break this movie. As the movie’s villain she has to be threatening enough to create tension but also close enough to the source material to be familiar.

In the original TV show, Rita was sinister, irritable, flamboyant and funny. She openly reveled in being bad and causing pain with devilish glee. There are plenty of great character qualities for the producers of this movie to work with here.

So when casting my Rita, I kept things in perspective. I wanted an actress who could do the character justice, but update her for movie audiences. In fan casting Rita, I wanted someone audiences could believe as a threat worth imprisoning for ten thousand years, yet could still have a bit of fun with the role.

These ten actresses have the right combination of fierce, funny and frightening to pull off the character of Rita Repulsa.

10. Ming-Na Wen

Ming Na Wen

Photo Source: movieweb.com

Ming-Na Wen has plenty of experience playing heroes like Chun-Li and Mulan, but it’s her role as Agent Melinda May in Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD that puts her in the running for Rita.  Agent May might be a hero, but Ming-Na plays her with such an icy coolness that you never know whose side she’s on. She’s perfected the art of freezing an entire room of people dead in their tracks with just a look—she could definitely play a would-be world conqueror like Rita Repulsa.

The only thing keeping Ming-Na Wen from being higher up on the list is that she works better with a dry sense of humor; we haven’t really seen her go completely nuts yet. She’d be a great choice for a serious Rita, but that’s not what we’re going for.

9. Taraji P. Henson

Taraji P Henson

Photo Source: eonline.com

You might be thinking that I only added Taraji P. Henson to this list based on her role as Cookie Lyons on the TV show Empire—and you’d basically be right. It’s not that I’m hopping on the Taraji P. bandwagon (okay, I am a little) but it’s because everything about the character of Cookie just screams Rita Repulsa to me. I mean, the scene in the first episode where she hits her son with a broom is exactly that kind of energy that would work for Rita. As Cookie, Henson is able to perfectly walk the line between fiery and vulnerable—her anger comes from years of imprisonment, which is something that would definitely translate to Rita.

But Taraji P. Henson’s connection with the character Cookie would also work against her as it’d be hard for audiences to forget about that role when she’s playing a character with a lot of similar personality traits. I also get the feeling that the actress is going to want to go after meatier roles now that she’s got the star power from Empire. She’s already been nominated for an Oscar before; I’m thinking she’s going to want to try for one again. And there’s no way Rita Repulsa is going to be the character to do that for her.

8. Margaret Cho

Margaret Cho

Photo Source: Sprint2thetable.com

 

I feel like Margaret Cho would have an absolute riot with this role. She’s a hilarious stand-up comedian with a lot of energy and a big ol’ mouth. I can easily imagine her screaming about her reoccurring headaches and beating her subjects with her magic wand. Margaret Cho would provide a great opportunity for this movie to have elements of camp and comedy, which just might be what it needs to be successful.

But the problem with Cho is that she doesn’t really work well as a global threat to humanity. I could easily see her playing a villain, don’t get me wrong, but I think if audience see a stand-up comedian coming out of a space dumpster they’re going to have a hard time taking anything that comes next seriously.

7. Helena Bonham Carter

Helena Bonham Carter

Photo Source: misscablackburn.blogspot.com/

 

Helena Bonham Carter is a total weirdo—and I mean that in the most loving way imaginable.  She’s got a thing for taking on twisted, dark, crazy characters like the infamous Bellatrix Lestrange in the Harry Potter movies.  She can be terrifying, unhinged and comical all at the same time, she’s the perfect triple threat to take on Rita Repulsa.

The only problem with Helena Bonham Carter, other than the fact that she’s not Asian, is that audiences seem to be getting a little fatigued by her whole dark and moody schtickt. It doesn’t help that she shows up in every movie her husband Tim Burton makes with Johnny Depp, and there haven’t been a lot of winners in that list lately.

6. Michelle Yeoh

Michelle Yeoh

Photo Source: renaud corlouer

Michelle Yeoh has international acclaim and an acting pedigree that includes hit movies like Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, Memoirs of a Geisha and Sunshine. She even holds the distinction of being a Bond Girl. She’s the type of actress you’d call if you want Rita to have some depth to her. She could make Rita seem powerful, intimidating and sympathetic all in one go.

So the biggest question is—where has she been lately? We haven’t seen much of her lately, although she is starring in the upcoming Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: The Sword of Destiny for Netflix which will bring her back into the spotlight. And even if you ignore the fact that she may not have box office draw, she’s not really known for her loud, brash, funny characters. She’d be a no-nonsense Rita and I feel like Rita has to have at least some nonsense.

5. Sofia Vergara

Sofia Vergara

Photo Source: machetekillsmovie.tumblr.com/

Meanwhile, Sofia Vergara is pretty much all nonsense.  Mostly known for her role on the sitcom Modern Family, Vergara is a loud, expressive, animated comic actress—but she’s no stranger to kicking butt either. Her role in Machete Kills as the leader of a group of assassin prostitutes shows she has what it takes to play Rita—weird metallic bra and all.

But like Margaret Cho, Sofia Vergara might be a little too funny to pull off a serious Rita Repulsa. If the producers of this movie want to crank up the camp factor, then she’s a perfect choice, but it’ll take a lot for audiences to forget her comedic past.

4. Angela Bassett

Angela Bassett

Photo Source: Tumblr

Angela Bassett is a goddess—she could play this role in a heartbeat. You might think I’m basing this decision entirely on her role as voodoo queen Marie Laveau in American Horror Story: Coven—and I won’t lie, that role factors in heavily here. But she has an amazing body of work that proves she’s got the right stuff. I mean, her role as Amanda Waller was the best part of that shitty Green Lantern movie.

There’s almost nothing holding Angela Basset back from being the perfect Rita—she can be commanding, wild, scary and funny all at the same time. The only problem is that her humor tends to be a little more biting that we’re used to with Rita. Don’t get me wrong, Rita’s got attitude in spades, but Angela Basset could cut you with words while Rita would just call you an idiot and smack you with her wand.

3. Tilda Swinton

Tilda Swinton

Photo Source: femaledoctorwho.tumblr.com

Tilda Swinton is the shit you guys. I absolutely love her in everything and she’s great at disappearing into a role. She’d have a riot playing Rita Repulsa, I mean just check out her performance as the White Witch in The Chronicles of Narnia: the Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe if you want to get an idea of what she’d do with a role like this.  Not only that, but she’s played a lot of great goofy characters in the past in movies like Snowpiercer and The Grand Budapest Hotel.  I just really want to see what she’d do with a character like this.

But there’s no way in hell she should be Rita—not after the whole recent debacle when she was cast as the Ancient One in Marvel’s Dr. Strange movie. The Ancient One is typically depicted as an Asian man and a lot of people were upset that a role was taken away from a POC actor to be given to a white woman. I don’t think she’d want to go through something like that again and she’s probably too wrapped up in Dr. Strange to even be a serious contender anyway.

2. Constance Wu

Constance Wu

Photo Source: deadline.com

I have to admit, I can’t take all the credit for this pick. I saw someone on Reddit name her as their ideal Rita and I just had to steal it. Sorry person who I’m totally stealing this pick from, but you were so right about how Constance Wu has the right sense of humor to portray Rita. If you haven’t seen her on Fresh off the Boat yet, you need to stop and go watch it right now, it’s on Hulu damn it!  She can be playfully icy in such a way that would make for an excellent Rita.

The only thing keeping Constance Wu out of the number one spot is the fact that she’s just a little too adorable to be menacing. There’s a great scene in the Halloween episode of Fresh off the Boat where her character is confronting some teen hoodlums in the middle of the street. She’s hilariously furious and it’s one of the funniest scenes on the show so far, but it makes me feel like her portrayal of Rita would be just a hair shy of actually intimidating.

1. Lucy Liu

Lucy Liu

Photo Source: xavierpop.com

Look, I’ve spent a lot of time and energy researching the perfect Rita Repulsa and Lucy Liu is the best pick. She has all the criteria and then some.  She can be campy, badass, funny, icy, commanding, threatening and all at the same time.  If you don’t believe me, just take a look at her credentials. Her iconic role as O-Ren Ishii in Kill Bill is a perfect example of her ability to be kind of campy and badass all at once. Charlie’s Angels is another film where she’s been able to flex both her humor muscles and her action muscles at the same time.

I think she’d have a lot of fun in this role and she’d bring a little star power boost to the cast, who so far are all young actors and unknowns. I could see her menacing a bunch of teenagers, I really could, in a way that would be fun but also have some high stakes tension and drama.

So there you have it. I’m interested to see who they’ll actually pick to play Rita in the upcoming Power Rangers movie.  If it’s anybody off of this list I’m going to personally take credit.

Who do you think should play Rita? Leave a comment below with your top picks!

 

What I Learned From Taking a Year off From Comics (And Why I Wish I Hadn’t)

12 Jan featured1

Which is worse—moving in the wrong direction or not moving at all?

It’s a question that I recently heard on an episode of Scriptnotes, an amazing podcast about screenwriting (and just writing in general) and I’ve been mulling it over in my head ever since. The reason why the question struck such a chord in me is because I feel like I just spent the past year not moving at all, in lieu of accidentally moving in the wrong direction and now that I’m on the other side of it I have to wonder if it did me any good.

Probably not. But at the same time, it wasn’t completely worthless.

It’s not like I went into 2015 thinking “yeah, I deserve a break.” In fact, it was quite the opposite. I remember clearly what my emotional state was last New Year’s Eve. I had big things brewing, big opportunities on the horizon and a lot of lofty ideas about how I wasn’t even going to be the same person in a year’s time. Only one of those things ended up being true and not in the way I was imagining.

So why did I fall off the face of the comic world for a year? The answer is something that I think all comic book creators go through at some point in their careers.

happy-new-year-crappy-old-year

The Little Red Hen Syndrome

As a comic book writer, I often liken myself to the story of The Little Red Hen.  If you’ve never read the story as a kid, the Cliff Notes version is that this little red hen wants to make some bread, so she goes around the farm asking the other animals to help her out. She’s all up in their face like “Who will help me make this bread?” And nobody wants to help her.

So she goes about all of the labor by her own damn self. I mean, this chicken is straight up planting wheat for this bread. She’s harvesting and milling her own grains and shit. And every step of the way she asks the other animals if they want to help her out, but they don’t. In the end, she makes this delicious bread and all the animals want to eat it, but she’s like “Fuck off, this is my bread, I’m the only one who worked for it.”

I always liked this fable because it shows how something as simple and ordinary as a loaf of bread requires time, patience and hard work to create.  Before you can even make the dough a bunch of things have to happen: wheat has to grow, eggs have to be laid, yeast has to—yeast up or whatever it does. And as a comic book writer, I often feel like that little red hen, running around all like “Who will help me make this comic?”

Continue reading

What Comic Book Artists Need to Know About the Writers They Work With

8 Apr featuredimage

Comic book artists deserve to be paid.

But here’s the hard truth nobody wants to ever deal with—so do comic book writers.

Lately I’ve watched as the conversation about paying comics book artists has shifted into a dangerous direction, with artists essentially declaring that they’re most important member of the team while simultaneously dismissing the contributions that writers bring to the table.

And as much as it bothers me, I understand why it’s gotten to this point, because I think artists get the wrong impression about what comic book writers actually do and what we have to go through to work in this industry.

This is in no way my counterattack against artists (though ya’ll have done plenty of attacking on writers lately) instead it’s me doing my thing—writing about the world the way I see it. And I hope that by sharing my perspective with my fellow comic book creators, we can all get back to making comics together like the badass super teams we are, instead of the divided front we’ve created recently.

my-so-called-comic-book-writer-lifeA little about my perspective

So I don’t know how other comic book writers do it and I don’t even know if I’m doing this right. All I can do is share with you my story thus far to give you a better understanding of what I’ve had to go through to work in this industry. I’m not saying my story is typical, just that it’s mine. Continue reading

Find Out Who Mystery Club Meddled With Last Summer in Snack Attack! vol. 2

16 Jun I Know Who You Meddled With Last Summer Mystery Comic
I Know Who You Meddled With Last Summer - art by Jesse Hughes

I Know Who You Meddled With Last Summer – art by Jesse Hughes

 

Mystery Club (and their talking dog) are all about solving mysteries and meddling with folk they ought not meddle with.

 

There’s no way that a lifestyle chasing after unsavory business types

 

Today let’s take a closer look at the second story in Snack Attack vol. 2, a story of betrayal, sabotage and good ol’ fashioned mystery solving- I Know Who You Meddled With Last Summer. This collaboration came together in a different way in that I picked the idea to match the artist and vice versa.

Me and Jesse Hughes of Plummy Press go way back together, we’ve been making Science Girl together for a few years now, but we’ve never had a chance to collaborate on something different. We try to fill Science Girl with as much of the kind of fun cartoony stuff that we grew up with, but it was nice to branch out even further and try something new together. Meddled is based off our shared love of Scooby-Doo and while most of the Snack Attack! stories are influenced by cartoons or kids shows that I grew up with, this is the first story where I just decided to do a straight up parody instead of an homage.

In Meddled we find our heroes, the plucky young gumshoes of Mystery Club, dealing with a mystery that hits close to home. Someone is threatening them, destroying the things they love and leaving behind notes that say “I know who you meddled with last summer.”

But as mystery-loving teens tend to do. Mystery Club has pissed off a lot of shady business people in the past and there’s a long list of potential suspects.

I Know Who You Meddled With Last Summer Rube Goldberg Trap

Mystery Club employs complex Rube Goldberg traps to get things DONE.

When I set out to write the script for Meddled I really wanted to play to Jesse’s cartoonist style, which is something I don’t always get to do when writing Science Girl. So I knew right off the bat that there were two different things I wanted to include in the script. For one, I wanted to include a scene where we see all of the suspects– just so I could have fun coming up with different monster/ghost ideas and that Jesse could have fun coming up with different designs for them.

The other idea I wanted was a Rube Goldberg-esque trap sequence. I always loved those as a kid (with Pee Wee’s breakfast machine being my all-time favorite. ) You might as well call Jesse by the name Kevin McAllistar from now on, cause this dude is a master at setting up traps. He nailed that trap scene– and the rest of the story too. He really brought his cartoonist pencil with him and I’ve always felt Jesse’s a little more of a Disney and Warner Bros. style than a Hanna-Barbara style, so it was cool to see his unique take on a Hanna-Barbara inspired story.

I Know Who You Meddled With Last Summer Mystery Comic

The character of Casey was based off of Shaggy from Scooby Doo and was named after the late Casey Kasem, who voiced Shaggy for many years.

It’s a little strange to be promoting this story now, right after the passing of Casey Kasem, who was the original voice actor for Shaggy, a role he played all the way until 2009. There is a character in Meddled named Casey, who I named as an homage to Casey Kasem. At the time when I wrote the script, I was just doing it to honor a great voice actor that I grew up enjoying (and I always loved it when he showed up on Saved by the Bell, too!)  But now it serves a sort of memorium to the actor.

Will we ever see the likes of Mystery Club again?

Maybe.

I’ve actually considered a sort of weird head-canon that connects the world of Science Girl to Mystery Club, so it’s possible those two worlds could collide sometime in the near future. But for now, you can read all about their exploits in Saturday Morning Snack Attack vol. 2 which is available in the legendary K is for Komics store.  Or of course, you could always read Meddled for free online on the Plummy Press Blog

Abigail Astoundo is Busting-Up Beasties in Snack Attack! vol. 2

4 Jun Abigail Astoundo: Beastie Buster

Abigail Astoundo: Beastie Buster

When there’s an evil beastie messing up your house, who you gonna call?

Nope, not the Ghostbusters. They couldn’t handle this business. Only Abigail Astoundo, 11-year-old Beastie Buster has what it takes to save the day.

Today we’re taking a look at the first story in Saturday Morning Snack Attack! vol. 2, a tale of action, adventure and flying llama creatures– Abigail Astoundo: Beastie Buster.

Despite her young age, Abigail is ready to take on the Astoundo family business of busting evil beasties using her family’s legendary sword, the Beastbane– a mystical blade that has the ability to turn into whatever a monster is weak against. Abigail might be strong, brave and confident when it comes to fighting beasties, but she’s about to find out there are worst things than monsters lurking in the woods– like teenage boys.

Abigail Astoundo just might be the world’s last beastie buster, but it seems her kind is about to be replaced by beastie trainers– people capable of capturing and controlling monsters using magic gauntlets. Only 11-years-old and Abigail’s already finding out that her job skill is becoming obsolete and that the world is moving on without her. But there’s still plenty of work for a beastie buster to do–because sometimes, an evil beastie is really just an innocent creature being manipulated and controlled by a beastie trainer.

 

Concept art of Abigail Astoundo by Rose McClain

Concept art of Abigail Astoundo by Rose McClain

Rose McClain, the artist for Abigail Astoundo: Beastie Buster is an up-and-coming superstar who also works on the educational comic Solution Squad and the webcomic Scoundrels. I met her at Detroit Fanfare when I was premiering Snack Attack! vol. 1 and she was there to promote Solution Squad. She picked up a copy of the book and we got to talking and she said she was an artist who’s always looking for new work. When you’re a writer and you hear those words, you don’t hesitate. I immediately got in touch with Rose for the next volume of Snack Attack! and I knew she’d be the perfect artist for Abigail Astoundo.

I got the idea to write Abigail after watching the Adventure Time episode “Fionna and Cake.” I loved the idea of the gender-swapped Adventure Time characters, but the episode kind of irked me because I wanted to know why the show couldn’t just have a female lead from the start. Abigail Astoundo was created from that frustration. I wanted a high-energy adventure story with a spunky female lead (and of course, her fabulous flying llama friend.)

Rose fell in love with Abigail immediately and I knew it was a match made in heaven. We started to collaborate together on how to bring the story together and we decided to do something new, something I hadn’t yet done as a comic book writer. The designs for the characters were all created by me and then tweaked by Rose to look more appealing.

Original Abigail Astoundo concept by Kris Moore

Original Abigail Astoundo concept by Kris Moore

It took me a long time to get Abigail’s look down right. I knew I wanted her to have some sort of monster skin cape/scarf with a hat to match, but it took me forever to get it right. Eventually I came up with the giant monster paws, which Rose took even further by giving the paws a kind of life of their own. They can hang behind Abigail like a cape, cover her own arms like sleeves or move on their own to express emotion. I’m not going to lie– I wish I had a cape like this in real life. I would wear it all the time and embarrass my family and friends.

You may have noticed that Abigail’s sword, the Beastbane, has a giant bite mark taken out of it. The bite was my idea– I wanted the sword to look old and beat up, since it was passed down in the Astoundo family for generations. I figured at some point, some monster had taken a chomp out of it.

Rose picked up on the idea and took it even further by adding a little bite mark or missing section whenever the Beastbane transforms into another object. When you’re reading the story, try to find all the little hidden bite marks.

Here’s hoping that you’ll see more Abigail Astoundo in the future. Rose and I have already talked about continuing with Abigail’s story. Where does she go from here now that she knows beastie trainers are out there, taking control of monsters and making them do bad things? How do you survive in the world when your profession of choice is dying out? These are the questions we look forward to answering.

But for now, you can find Abigail Astoundo in Saturday Morning Snack Attack! vol. 2 now available for purchase in the K is for Komics store.

 

Saturday Morning Snack Attack! vol. 2 Will Make You Nostalgic for a Big Bowl of Sugary Cereal

3 Jun Snack Attack! vol. 2 cover by Crystal Mielcarek.

N is for New! Snack Attack vol. 2 is now for sale!

If you were a kid growing up in the 90’s you had to face a Sophie’s Choice moment every Saturday morning– either stay in bed and sleep in or wake up early to watch cartoons. Thanks to Saturday Morning Snack Attack! you’ll never have to make that decision again (well, that and the invention of DVR.) After over a year in the making, the second volume of Snack Attack! is ready for your consuming pleasure, so grab a bowl of your favorite cereal and settle in for a sugar rush you won’t soon forget.

Saturday Morning Snack Attack! vol. 2 features four short stories written by yours truly and illustrated by some of the best artists I’ve ever had the pleasure of working with. I’ll be giving each of the stories in the anthology an in depth look later this week, but at a glance here’s what you can expect from this next volume.

 

Abigail Astoundo: Beastie BusterAbigail Astoundo: Beastie Buster

Story: Kris Moore

Art: Rose McClain

When Abigail Astoundo takes on the family business of busting evil beasties, she discovers the worst beastie is not a monster at all, but a teenage boy who can control creatures with a magic gauntlet.

 

I Know Who You Meddled With Last SummerI Know Who You Meddled With Last Summer

Story: Kris Moore

Art: Jesse Hughes

These mystery-loving teens and their hungry dog meddled with the wrong criminal last summer– and now he’s back to get his revenge by taking away the things they  love the most: their stuff.

 

GigasbiologyGigasbiology

Story: Kris Moore

Art: Edwin Domingo

Letters: Brandon Williams

Dr. Lacey Harper is a gigasbiologist– a scientist who studies giant monsters– and the proud adoptive mother of a giant monster of her own, a bat creature named B.B.  Through Dr. Harper, B.B. has learned how to communicate with humans, but can she also learn what love is?

 

 

Sugar & Spice vs. Everything NiceSugar and Spice vs. Everything Nice

Story: Kris Moore

Art: Brandon Williams

Special Thanks: Martina Sic

A sneak peek at an upcoming webcomic by Kris Moore and Brandon Williams!

Sugar and Spice thought the Five Fingers of Death had killed someone important to them, but now that they’ve found out he’s alive they’ll do whatever it takes to get him back.  They say girls are made of sugar and spice and everything nice, but they’re not– they’re made of guts!

 

Snack Attack! vol. 2 cover by Crystal Mielcarek.

Snack Attack! vol. 2 cover by Crystal Mielcarek.

Of course, what would a comic book be without a cover and the cover for Saturday Morning Snack Attack! vol. 2 has an interesting story behind it.

The cover was created by Crystal Mielcarek of Smushbox.net, a local Michigan artist and a long-lost friend of mine. About a decade ago, Crystal was dating one of my friends and the two of us hit it off well thanks to a shared love of cute things and being weird. Well, as things go when you’re in your 20’s, we lost touch after she broke up with my friend but it seems fate would bring us together once more.

I was shopping for Christmas presents at the Rust Belt Market in Ferndale, purchasing handmade soaps for the ladies in my life and as I was paying for them this adorable painting of Sailor Moon caught my eye. The minute I was done with the soaps, I sidestepped directly over to the adjacent booth to meet the artist who painted my homegirl Usagi and wouldn’t you know it– it was Crystal!

So we not only got to reunite after all these years, we also had the chance to collaborate for this volume of Snack Attack! I knew I wanted to show Mr. Snacktime in a sort of school lunch theme and Crystal’s art was the perfect match for what I had in mind. One of Crystal’s signature series are paintings of food cuties so I knew I was in good hands.

Do yourself a favor and check out Crystal’s artwork. She’s shown me some of the comic projects that she has in the works and I’m certain they will blow your freaking mind. I can’t wait to collaborate with Crystal again, but I’m afraid I’m gonna have to wait in line behind a whole bunch of other people who got there first.

Of course, Crystal is just one of the awesome artists I got to work with this time around on Saturday Morning Snack Attack! and each one of them is going to be getting their moment in the spotlight, so stick around this week and learn more about all the talent that went into making this anthology come to life.

K is for Komics 2.0 – Now with a store and header sass!

2 Jun header sass

So you might have noticed a fresh coat of paint on the place– it was just one of those moments where you look at your blog and go “no, tear it all down.” The new style of K is for Komics is designed to represent my identity as a writer using text as a visual component.

header sass

An example of some of the “header sass” you might randomly encounter on the site.

There’s a new feature for you to play around with, I’m calling it “header sass.” Depending on your web browser, each time you visit a new page, a randomly selected sassy subtitle will appear under the K is for Komics header. There’s 20 in all, so come back often and see if you can catch them all.

But the best feature of all is the fact that the K is for Komics online store is finally open. So now you can buy my comic books and even buttons from the comfort of your own home. You might notice there’s even a new product up in the store– Saturday Morning Snack Attack! vol. 2 is now for sale.  I’ll be spilling the beans all about this new anthology tomorrow, so come back and find out!

Find me at Detroit Fanfare this weekend!

23 Oct
Detroit Fanfare

Don’t miss Detroit Fanfare, one of the best comic shows in town!

This weekend is the big-one for K-Mo. It’s Detroit Fanfare season! This is one of my favorite shows to go to because the second year of the show was the first convention I ever had a table at.  If you like comic conventions with a dedicated focus on comics and comic creators, then you don’t want to miss this one! And for only $20 for the weekend, it’s practically a steal.

I am proud to say that I attended the first-ever Detroit Fanfare convention, but as a con-goer, not a creator. There I got to meet Stan Lee for the first time and I got to sit in on a live discussion of Write or Wrong by the incomparable Dirk Manning.  That was a game-changing convention in the course of my career and the very next year I was set up at Detroit Fanfare with my trusty artist partner, Jesse Hughes selling our very first issue of Science Girl.

This is my third year at Fanfare and though I won’t be premiering any new books this year, I will have plenty of copies of Science Girl and Saturday Morning Snack Attack! on sale. Come by, say hi and participate in the coolest convention in town.

Doodles from Motor City Comic Con 2013

22 May

I’m a writer first and foremost, but I still love to draw and doodle. Being at a convention for an entire week, there is plenty of downtime and so the doodle bug gets to you after awhile. I thought it’d be fun to share all of my crazy convention doodles with you guys and gals.

always a bee

These two look like they’re up to no good.

batman is the night

I was excited for Game of Thrones.

cosmicat can always be cosmic

Jesse Hughes’s Cosmicat is getting a little sassy. I wonder what’s in those pouches on his utility belt. Catnip?

crazy beatnik renegade

He sure is.

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