Announcement: The Return Of Flying Sparks (Making Comics Great Again!)

Share this post

Over the last few months I’ve been working on comics in tandem with my award winning novel series. I’ve penned several comic issues which are in various stages of development. What I’ve learned in creating comics I that it’s a slow game. More often than not, collaborations with artists don’t work out and you’re stuck with half-drawn issues and don’t really go anywhere.

It’s a difficult business because of that, and that’s why the top tier talent commands such a high price for their art — it’s really hard work and dedication to stick with a project even through a full issue, let alone a graphic novel.

The one artist I’ve loved working with beyond any other over the last decade is Jethro Morales. He’s currently hard at work at my adaptation of Richard Fox’s bestselling military science fiction series, The Ember War, but a lot of folk don’t know that he worked with me before, nor do they realize that I’ve been in this writing game a lot longer than the last couple years.

Comics Are My Passion

I started with comics. My first writing was all comic scripts. I dreamed of doing comics since I was in junior high, but never had the artistic talent myself to do anything other than write. In 2010, I decided to make a go of it. I decided to save a bit of my paycheck get a professional to do a page a week for me, and I created the webcomic, Flying Sparks.

At its base, it’s the story of a hero and villain in love under their secret identities. Both of them get frustrated when the other seems to disappear for their extracurricular activities, and their relationship complicates as they find themselves in over their heads with their super-lives. 

Flying Sparks was wildly successful. I created a fairly complicated superhero universe revolving around a mysterious classic golden age style hero, Meta-Man, and a corporation who is up to some nefarious things. Thousands of people read each week. CBR even wrote it up at one point, stating, it’s the kind of stuff that made me fall in love with early Marvel comics”.

There was a lot of depth to Flying, a lot of plots that were going to converge into something very epic. This superhero world was my baby. I scripted out audio dramas of Meta-Man’s old school adventures, did a backstory issue with him on the side, wrote up a series of video blogs for the main Flying Sparks heroine to document her adventures with. I was ready to go multimedia with it and have a folder full of ideas and stories in this universe.

It’s Hard Out There For A Writer

The only problem was, as a writer only, there was no way to monetize webcomics. Most webcomics are done by artist who write their own scripts, because they can do commissions or whatnot on the side and they use the webcomic to fuel it. By the time I got myself about 6 issues into the series, I saw Flying Sparks was burning a hole in my wallet, and even with its audience, the monetization problem wasn’t going to change. 

But now we’re in a new world, one where #MoveTheNeedle and #ComicsGate is changing the game. Crowdfunds for series are a real viability, and I love my superhero world and would love to be able to finish the story, or take this to the next level. 

Which is why we’re taking to crowdfunding to rerelease Flying Sparks. We’re going to start with the first 3 issues worth of content in a single collection, a 66 page giant special. And the best part is — the art’s already done. We’ll be able to deliver quickly.

What the crowdfunding is for is both for printing costs and to get the book relettered. The reletting is key because I’m so much of a better writer now than I was in 2010 when I first scripted these books, and I’m going to do a “remastered”version, with brand new dialogue to really make the book shine and make it one of the best superhero books out there.

This being by the same creative team that’s bringing you my next comic can also serve as a nice way to check out our work while it’s being completed.  As you can see from some of the sample art I have, his work is pro, and this is going to be a lot of fun.

The Announcement

We’re going to launch the crowdfunding effort around the end of June/early-July. So stay tuned for lots of updates. We’re going to have great stretch goals, lots of cool rewards and potentially swag — and if it does well enough, we’ll be pushing this to the next level by completing the story of Flying Sparks. There’s 8 issues worth of content drawn already, the 9th issue is scripted, and it was planned for about 14 issues total… onward and upward. I look forward to showing you this fun and heartwarming story. 

If you’re new and haven’t checked out my writing before, why don’t you read my award winning novel and see if you enjoy my work? 106 people on amazon have all rated it positively with no negative marks at all, something unheard of with so many people reviewing a book.  Check it out here. 

Share this post

Star Wars Creators, Media Lash Out At Star Wars Fans In Attempt To Sweep Their Failure Under The Rug

Share this post

Ever since Solo debut in the box office, we’ve been hearing rumblings from the media about how the film was a dismal failure. Forbes came out with an article on May 27th calling it a “bomb”, following several articles across the internet where it mentioned Disney was ready for the movie to fail. In some ways, it was set up from the start with production troubles, switching teams midstream, even if there weren’t a disastrous problem with the Star Wars franchise as a whole, movie goers were tepid of this film going in. 

When the movie fulfilled the prophecy where everyone agreed it was going to fail, the internet became a hotbed of analyses explaining why the movie performed so dismally. Perhaps the oddest theory was male feminist and science fiction writer John Scalzi’s tweet proclaiming the movie didn’t do well because it didn’t have a strong female lead. But the majority of the internet’s consensus was that they tuned out of Star Wars because of The Last Jedi’s slap in the face to fans, the film having destroyed the legacy of beloved characters in a train wreck of a plot. 

As the mainstream media reached peak worry for the franchise’s future on Monday, June 5th, with stories of Solo’s failure reaching Drudge Report, it looked like some heads would have to roll within the franchise. After all, anyone with business sense would see that the very expensive Star Wars investment was squandered by people who didn’t understand the pulse of moviegoers.

But like clockwork, the media got involved in what appears to be a coordinated assault on Star Wars fans.

Solo Failed Because… #GamerGate?

On the same day all of the bad box office news was releasing, Last Jedi actress Kelly Marie Tran, who played Rose, deleted her Instagram account. Within minutes of this, director and writer Rian Johnson made an ominous, passive aggressive tweet on the topic:

Manbabies? By the vague post, it appears as if Rian knows he screwed up with The Last Jedi, and instead of taking responsibility, blamed the fans. The timing was very odd for the Instagram account being deleted at the very least, and shortly thereafter, The Mary Sue came out with an article claiming “racist” mobs were harassing the actress which led to the Instagram deletion. NBCNews went on to liken the situation to #GamerGate and actually evoked Milo Yiannopoulos in the article, even though he’s been largely silent about Star Wars. It was strange to say the least, and with Rian Johnson’s follow up tweet, it started to look coordinated:

The Fake News Media Strikes Back

Like usual with the blogosphere, once one group set into motion, the others all joined in. Soon there were articles about how poor Ms. Tran was “harassed off the internet” popping up in the Washington Post, USA Today, Slate, The Daily Beast, all the usual suspects. Their content was all so similar in the articles that none are worth speaking about individually. This was clearly a coordinated effort. The oddest part was not one of these sources actually had a screen shot of any of the alleged harassment and/or racism on Instagram. All of the original articles only referenced Rian’s tweet on the subject and an alleged change to the Star Wars Wikipedia which is called “Wookiepedia” that referenced this about the character Rose (I’ll stress not the actress, the character in the film): 

Childish to say the least, but not nearly a harassment of the actress as the media’s portraying it to be.

After scouring more than 30 articles on the subject, I was unable to corroborate any of the alleged Instagram harassment of Tran. Given that she is a star of a very prominent geek franchise, I’m certain some mean comments were left regarding The Last Jedi, but alleging “harassment” by fans and racism seems to be the playbook that’s used every time there’s a social justice failure at the box office. This happened with #GamerGate, where they claimed poorly made games were due to “sexist” fans. This happened with #ComicsGate where with horrible stories including making Captain America into a Nazi, fans were blamed for “not wanting diversity”, and now fans are being blamed for the failure of a movie. 

Star Wars Creators Lash Out:

It didn’t end there. A new round of articles to keep this media cycle going hit this morning. The tactic by the media seems to be to overwhelm everyone with a blitzkrieg of articles on the topic so that the general public has sympathy for Tran and therefore for the Star Wars franchise as a whole. That way the blame can be shifted away from those who have been in charge of the franchise for the last several years as it’s sank lower with each release. 

Mark Hamill even was brought into the fold, posting a picture with him and Tran with the hashtag, #GetALifeNerds. It’s not the best look for such a prominent actor to be lashing out at fans and telling them to get a life to say the least. It adds to the appearance of a coordinated attempt to blame the movie failure on fans, and with more lack of evidence in this new round of articles, it makes the entertainment media look very suspect.

Perhaps the oddest of all was Star Wars novel writer Chuck Wendig, who has been under fire the last several years for his shoddy writing in the Aftermath series. He finally lost it on twitter, lashing out at fans, blaming white male fans in particular for both his and The Last Jedi’s failure: “it’s sexism and racism. It’s sphincter-stung white dudes who are so tender, so brittle, they cannot hack that the world is now only 90% about them instead of 95%.” 

Very odd comments to say the least, when the only people talking about race in the contest of the film are the filmmakers themselves and the media who’s pushing the narrative. Wendig’s rant  went on for more than a dozen tweets, reported by Bounding Into Comics. How far he goes to defend this strange narrative is astounding.

Anger, Fear, Aggression, Of The Dark Side Are They

With the hard media push, the strange deletion of any potential evidence by Tran of the accusations, and the creators all lashing out in tandem, it appears as if this is a deception campaign aimed more at Disney’s executives than at fans. They’re framing an argument as if to say “if you fire us, you’re on the side of racists and sexists!” In order to shoo away any responsibility for the fans abandoning the franchise. It’s such a bizarre move that it’s only going to hurt the franchise further, as fans now have been insulted not just by a movie giving them the proverbial middle finger with its content, but by the creators they’ve been following telling them they’re horrible people and they don’t deserve to even watch the films.

Begun, the #StarWarsGate have.

If you like great characters and epic space opera, try my novel The Stars Entwined, on sale for 99 cents this week only. It’s got characters who are true to themselves, and an epic backdrop with world building that blows the current Star Wars iteration away. Check it out here. 

Share this post

Those Who Attack Right-Leaning Art Are Destructive To Our Movement

Share this post

We are in a budding movement. It’s still small and still in its infant stages. We are up against a culture that is lockstep with a fully controlled news media who will print anything in order to promote their culture, and likewise will ignore and diminish ours at every turn. They have a fully controlled big-production industry from comics to publishing to movies, to where they can promote their big names and brands with millions of dollars of advertising revenue, they have Big Tech who will censor our content so it can’t be seen by others and promote who they want to be stars, and they also have a collectivist-thinking legion of fans who are all 100% in lockstep who will attack us on the social level and give “reason” for the three big corporate arms of their media empire to shun us.

It’s overwhelming.

On our end, there are several loose independent coalitions trying to get things done. Whether that’s ComicsGate, the Conservative Libertarian Fiction Alliance, Castalia House and its circle of creators, or others, there are very few of us still in the scheme of things, and we’re all Indy’s, even those of us who are minor internet celebrities.

Whenever I have a story blow up big in the media, which is becoming more frequent, I get detracting comments. “Why would you associate with ______?” “Why are you promoting _____?” “Don’t you care about ______ that ______ allegedly said once?”

I almost always mock these comments or ignore them. I will not attack fellow creators on the right ever. We’re already under immense pressure from above. We’re being banned from conventions en masse. We’re being blacklisted from publishers by threats from industry professionals. There’s no way you can ever get me to talk smack about someone who’s struggling as an independent to create art and make it against these insurmountable odds.

Every time you do it, you are holding our movement down.

I know it sounds counter intuitive, as the media will lambast Person X and make them look really bad! If only we had respectable creators, well then they couldn’t lambast and that’s what we need, right?

It’s wrong. No one on our side is respectable to their media machine or legion of groupthinkers. No one is even HUMAN on our side according to them. So what if we have some ideological differences? So what if the artistic project isn’t my cup of tea? It’s not like it’s some giant corporate promoted propaganda, it’s an independent person doing it on their time, taking enormous risk.

I’m only here to lift up the movement. I don’t care about disagreeing with someone on minor matters, I don’t even care if I love the product they put out. There’s personal reasons their product is done the way they want — that’s what art is all about. Sometimes there’s financial reasons that it looks or feels a certain way as well.

So I urge you, if you don’t like a book or whatnot or someone on our side, don’t say anything.That’s the best you can do. You’re not obliged to promote everything, but don’t squash this movement in its infancy.

Attacking on that level is destructive to us. It is in fighting while the mainstream major media laughs and ridicules and further tears us down. I’m human. Of course I don’t like every person in our movement, but you’ll never see me trying to tear them down in public. It’s crucial we all follow this suit and create our platform to counter the degenerate mainstream culture. It’s time to win.

If you like my thoughts and if you’re down to check out my books, read my award winning novel For Steam And Country. Like anything, it’s my art, but a lot of other people think it’s some of the best of our movement so far. Check it out here.

Share this post

Emerald City Comic Con To White Males: You’re Not Welcome Here

Share this post

The last several months have seen a flurry of discrimination by conventions. Worldcon shamefully and unprecedentedly banned me over my being a political figure, Readercon removed guests over their age, and now ECCC is giving preferential treatment to people based on sexuality, gender and race.

Their programming says it all:

You’ll immediately note what’s missing — any industry mixers for straights, whites, or males. Also none for Christians. As the industry moves more and more to excluding these groups, the conventions are celebrating their lack of inclusiveness.

When asked about it, ECC took their time and responding:

The discrimination is clear. I’ve asked if they intend on having an industry mixer for white males next year and offered to host/moderate. I doubt I’ll get a response.

If you want to help in the fight for civil rights and equality for all, including whites, males, Christians, and other marginalized groups by the publishing and comics industries, you can join in the fight. Support my Go Fund Me to help me take legal action against Worldcon for their illegal discrimination and defamation. 

Otherwise, I live off of the support of folk like you checking out my books or supporting my Patreon. Even $1 a month keeps this blog and my other content going, and at $3 and above I offer exclusive content like short stories and behind the scenes looks at my book creation process. Support today and join a great community that’s fighting for your rights to exist.  

and my new book is released March 20th!

Share this post

Why I’ll Likely Never Work For A Big Publisher – Thoughts On DC Comics’ Social Media Memo

Share this post

Bleeding Cool actually obtained a company memo from DC Comics about their creators’ social media, which vaguely states “mean spirited” tweets are against their company policy. The fake news gossip site itself is every to gleeful to talk about how the policy is meant to “pre-empt” a buzzfeed fake news article which is going to be a hit piece on Ethan Van Sciver, a moderate republican artist with DC.

Ethan’s coming under fire for responding to people who were calling him nazi, this or that, etc. just because he dared speak out about his political views. Sound familiar? He’s a very talented artist and he has a “let’s all get along” attitude about things, but like most human beings, gets a little upset when called such nasty names by those attempting to dehumanize him.

Plenty of Marvel and DC writers/artists are “mean spirited” on twitter. It’s been happening for years. The ones who have done so have called anyone who leans libertarian/conservative horrific names, demean people regularly, and yet this never prompted Buzzfeed or DC to care. In fact, a letterer who works for DC was part of that group threatening to falsely accuse youtube reviewer Diversity & Comics of a crime to harass him out of attending conventions — part of why I was so worried about “professionals” in science fiction doing similar to me at WorldCon.

These companies won’t protect anyone on the right, even if you’re a nice guy. DC is probably looking for ways to  terminate Van Sciver now — despite him being one of the most popular artists in the field — but doesn’t want a wrongful termination lawsuit, and so they’ve started taking these steps. It’s not about niceness, it’s not about stopping mean spiritedness, it’s about silencing certain political opinions to appease SJW hate mobs.

DC is no better than Marvel in this regard. They have a few books where they still care about quality, but their line is SJW converged as well.

Their 1984 style memo:

Dear DC Talent Community –

The comic book industry is a very special creative community dedicated to telling epic and legendary stories of action, heroism and intrigue with a rich and diverse portfolio of characters. Both DC’s employees, as well as its extended family of freelance talent, contribute to our success and are direct reflections of our company, characters and comics.

As such, DC expects that its employees and freelance talent community maintain a high level of professionalism as well as reasonable and respectful behavior when engaging in online activities. Comments that may be considered defamatory, libelous, discriminatory, harassing, hateful, or that incite violence are unacceptable and may result in civil or criminal action.

In addition, comments that may be considered insulting, cruel, rude, crass and mean spirited are against company policy and guidelines. We ask, and expect, that you will help to create an online environment that is inclusive, supportive and safe.

Below you will find the most current version of the company’s social media guidelines. If you have any questions, please contact DC Talent Relations department so that we can be of assistance.

DC Entertainment Social Media Guidelines for Talent

This policy has been developed to empower DC Talent to participate in social media activities, represent their creative endeavors well and share their passion for DC’s characters, stories and brands. We recognize the vital importance of online social communities and this policy reflects our commitment to the best possible use of social media. Below are DC’s recommended guidelines when partaking in social media.

Stay positive when you post and we also recommend that you avoid negative comments in this very public forum.

You may want to refrain from engaging with individuals who may be speaking negatively about you, other talent, DC, our fans and the comics industry as this is a no-win situation.

If there has been a personal threat to you or those around you then in addition to alerting DC, please involve the proper law enforcement authorities.

Use good judgment when posting, reposting and liking comments, photos and videos as these may have unintended consequences.

Talent should take special care when using social media to ensure that comments and postings made by you are not associated with DC.

Under all circumstances, please indicate that you do work for DC, but that your comments are your own and do not reflect those of the company.

The internet is permanent regardless of “privacy settings” or other limits you may try to place on your posting. Think before you post, comment, retweet or like something.

Do not reveal plot points, storylines or launch timing — including photos or video of in-progress assets, artwork, story outlines, scripts, panels, announcement details, etc. without coordinating with DC Publicity. Members of the press may follow you on social media, and your posts can — and probably will — become news.

Don’t break news on social media. If you have any questions on what you can or can’t post on any platform, DC Publicity or Talent Relations departments are available to assist.

If you’d like to share DC news on your social pages, we recommend sharing news from DCComics.com, DCE-sanctioned social media pages and other news widely reported on credible news outlets.

If you are contacted by members of the press or asked to participate in an interview about your work for DC, please coordinate this with the DC Publicity department so that news can be rolled out in an orchestrated fashion and elevated on DC digital and social channels as well.

And finally, we recognize that there can be a dark side to social media and to that end if you feel that you are being harassed or bullied through social media channels because of your work for DC or your association with us, please feel free to contact the DC Talent Relations department so that we can be of assistance.

Of course some people’s mean spirited speech will be more equal than others.

DC wouldn’t hire me in a million years, because I don’t toe a company line, I am an independent thinker, and they don’t allow those in t he comic industry. It’ll be interesting to see how it goes later this year when my The Ember War adaptation hits amazon. If/when that sells well, what then?

Even a smaller publisher like Angry Robot doesn’t care about anything other than their political signaling. They didn’t even dignify me with a response when I emailed Mike Underwood about The Stars Entwined, which I’ll be putting out March 20th. Of course, I’m blocked by him on twitter — despite sharing a drink with him at a convention several years ago. It’s all about the political signaling, even if I outsell the vast majority of their titles already.

Talent doesn’t matter to these companies, nor does sales as the decline in market has shown over the years. They’re cowards. Remember, this is the same company that removed Orson Scott Card from writing superman — remember that? That was the original #comicsgate before we were organized against them. OSC is one of the greatest writers ever, but have a “wrong” view about a political topic, and you’re blacklisted. I hope this isn’t the beginning of this for Van Sciver, but the way the company’s going about it, it sure looks like it.

This is why it’s imperative to build your own platform if you want to have any semblance of free speech. You can’t do it through these companies, they’ll never let you. They hate you at the end of the day, and this is how they begin to show it.

If you like my independent work, check out my fiction in For Steam And Country, the very popular steampunk book that’s revitalizing the genre. I write from the heart in both my fiction and non-fiction, and it comes cross, just look at the reviews.

Share this post