More Updates from Jim

So, I’ve been writing again.

In just a few days I’ll have the new version of issue 01 of Volume 01 of Amazing Incredible up. For those wondering, yes, it’s the last great attempt to redo my old “Media Elite” comic in a modern format that’s meant to be read on a computer screen. A handful of folks have seen an advance copy of the first issue and so far the feedback has been positive so I’m green lighting my efforts to finish the project this time.

I know, I know, last year I attempted the same thing with my very first version of “Amazing Incredible” (and to some extent, the year before with “@insanity”), but this time… well, I’m not promising anything. This time I’m writing a coherent version of the events from the very first Media Elite series (followed by “Universe,” “Starshine Downs,” “@insanity” and a replacing the first “Amazing Incredible” with something new), and trying to keep the “52 issues in 2 years or I quit” promise from the last issue of @insanity and subject myself to public humiliation at the hands of one James A. Luciani. I’m well aware that I’ve pretty much wasted a year of that promise and it’s going to be nearly impossible to keep, but hey, who remembers this stuff anyway? 🙂 I’m giving it my best and we’ll see what happens.

The key is that I’m writing and producing comics again. I know I’ve written about it before, but I started writing comics way back in 2001 with the first “One Day at TechTV” comics. I combined screen grabs with captions and created a little world that was only limited to whatever I could do screen grabs of. When copyright issues killed the revival of those comics in 2008, I pretty much parodied it using 3D animation software and cheap comics creation software and the Media Elite was born.

I had NO idea of what I was doing back then. I’ll admit it. There was no plan. I was angry and telling funny stories to try to work out what I was feeling at the time. I went with a standard comic book format (initially releasing 6 to 7 pages every 3 to 4 days), because back then I had big dreams of actually selling these things as comics one day. As more friends gave their faces to characters, there were times I really had trouble trying to fit everyone in so suddenly we had 30 or 40 stories going on per issue and things really suffered for it. I finally had a breakdown towards the end of the series and that was that, we went dark and I’m proud of the last handful of stories for wrapping things up and setting the stage for…

Well, Universe was a mess from the start. Starshine Downs had problems and I really didn’t find my way until I ditched every cheat and started laying out every panel and doing all the lettering myself with the early issues of @insanity. While it didn’t save it from me getting bored with the concept and longing for the Starshine Downs setting, the covers were awesome and it gave me a chance to find my way as a publisher.

Let’s face it, I write comics that no one reads and I’m fine with that. I’ve invested thousands of dollars into this hobby just to give me something to do with my talents. I’m not going to be a big time breakout comic book superstar and I’m totally okay with that. In fact, embracing that has helped me quite a bit this time around as I’ve ditched the traditional “comic book” format and embraced digital.

You’ve seen a preview of the format before. It’s based on a letterbox format (I don’t quite have a 16:9 format but it’s close enough), and I’ve spent most of the last 8 months studying comic book design, real world lighting, set design and more. I’ve studied movies, especially experimental films like ‘Woodstock’ and ‘American Graffiti 2’ which used multiple camera views to fill the frame at the same time in order to figure out how to best use the space that I’ve given myself.

I’ve learned this time that you need to produce on a higher level for things to look good on a screen format. In that, the exports alone are 300 dpi per page and push Photoshop to its limits (and that’s on a system with 16gb of RAM), when I shrink them to the final page size. I didn’t hate my old work, but it was killing me that I didn’t have the original files to work with so what was up in JPG files was it. I could never go back and fix or change things that were bugging me about the issues. They’re stuck forever as they are and this time around I’m not making that same mistake.

The stories are based on the same ideas of the older series but this time I’m doing my damnedest to avoid painting myself into a corner. I’m stripping elements that didn’t work or didn’t make sense or were only there to pander to people who gave their faces. So while my face donors will be in a lot of issues, I’m no longer on a quota. You’ll go in when it makes sense to go in. I know that may be disappointing, but it’s story first this time around. It’s just as hard for me, ever the egotist, as there are things that I loved about the old series that need to just go because they either don’t make sense or they need a modern approach to things. I’m stripping my stories to the core and hopefully everything will be better for it.

The first issue goes live on June 1. It’s written and it’s almost ready to go. I’ll be putting issues up as they’re done, with a new one promoted every month on the first. You can read them at your own pace and I hope you enjoy them. I’ve come a long way over the past year and I can’t wait for you to see my efforts.

With that, another 10000 shifts at work to go before I can sleep. I hope you’re having a happy and safe Memorial Day Weekend.