Category Archives: Archaia-boom

Spring Time is Convention Time!

Welcome to Spring, 2015.

The time of the year when the snow gives way to flowers and other missing treasures in the front yard. The time of the year when the weather turns mercurial… warm one hour, freezing the next. Also, the time when comics artists gear up for convention season.

Guin and I are gearing up for Emerald City Comicon in Seattle, WA, March 27th – 29th. You can find us in Artist Alley, B-07. Here’s some of the new stuff you’ll see at the con:

2015 Monsters & Dames illustration: Queen Lily sends the Giants into Battle!

We are creating a series of buttons for our book (a new one for each convention we attend this year). The first button is Princess Lily! We are giving them away free with any purchase (or if you ask nicely!)

2015 Appearances:

Ridley Faces the Dragon

World War I is a complex war. A conflict whose roots are unclear to most people; the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand and Duchess Sophie of Austria is the spark that plunges Great Britain, France, Russia, the United States, Germany, Austria-Hungary and almost 25 other nations into war.

But what are the causes of World War I?

Other conflicts in American history are clearly defined–the Revolutionary War was about independence from Britain, the Civil War was fought over the questions of slavery and state’s rights, World War II was fought to stop the Axis nations from invading other nations, even Vietnam was fought to stop the domino effect of Communism.

The roots of this world war range from imperialism, nationalism, mutual defense alliances and even militarism. But World War I also offered the perfect environment to escalate an arms race between nations who had technology to flex. Airships flew during this war in the shape of dirigibles, balloons and airplanes. However, these wondrous innovations gave way to air combat techniques. Keep in mind, the machine gun, tank, and chemical warfare were also developed and refined during this conflict.

In Beautiful Scars, the Great War serves as one of the backdrops to Ridley Shaw’s life. He, like many Brits, enlisted into service because it was the honourable thing to do. In a war where ideology and patriotism create volunteers, Ridley enlisted because, deep down, he feels the need to protect his family. He is a romantic who feels his sacrifices are for the good of his home.

War is not a good thing, much less great. But sometimes, it is a necessity. There is a wonderful editorial illustration created by Winsor McCay for the New York American, in February 7, 1915 urging the United States to face its fear against the concept of war, represented by a dragon. (It is worth noting, prior to entering the War in 1917, the United States remained neutral.) The illustration’s title is entitled: “We Can Be Free Only By Conquering Fear,” and for nations engulfed in this conflict, they faced the dragon they released… or were devoured by it.

Soldiers were thrown into the crucible or war regardless of station or background and fought because it was demanded of them–but if they met in peacetime, they might have become fast friends. Even though these soldiers wore different uniforms, they had similar backgrounds–they ranged from farmers and mechanics to aristocrats and artists. For 30 million soldiers (nine million killed, 21 million casualties), they stared down the dragon and fought in the trenches and in the air with bullets or poetry. There are many war poets to describe the experience of World War I: Wilfred Owen, Siegfried Sassoon, and John McCrae among others. “In Flanders Field” helps to clarify the plight of the soldier:

In Flanders Fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

– Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, MD (1872-1918)

2014 marks the 100th year anniversary of World War I. Guin and I decided to commemorate this milestone with a new cover for Beautiful Scars. In it, Ridley Shaw fearlessly faces Nightshade the Dragon. He is alone in his reconnaissance plane, the Royal Aircraft Factory R.E.8; the rear gunner is absent, evoking the missing man formation. However, to his wing, a Fokker Dr.I Dreidecker Triplane flies in tandem. War unleashes the dragon that every nation involved must face.

This Commemorative Edition Cover is available at this upcoming 2014 San Diego Comic Con. We will wrap Beautiful Scars with these new book covers. They will be free, so stop by and pick up this Comic Con exclusive! Guin and I are located in Artist’s Alley, II-21.

Thank you for helping us to honour the World War I Centennial!

Beautiful Scars: Meet the Generous Jaime Anderson!

Jaime Anderson is a quiet person. However, she speaks volumes through her work which is lyrical, precise, decorative, and provocative. She teaches this way as well.

“She broke the surface with the second of the princess’ rings.”

We assigned Jaime a moment of the fairy tale that is capture only in prose… this moment is not in the main graphic novel. However, when thinking about who would be great to illustrate the river mermaiden, Jaime was the perfect fit. The mermaiden, the water, the foliage, and the ring had to be orchestrated through a single composition. Jaime’s combination of art nouveau and the decorative creates a wonderful introduction of a major character for a later story. We couldn’t be more thrilled!

For those who don’t know, Jaime brought surface and decorative illustration to Emily Carr. And though she teaches in Minnesota (MCAD), her presence is still very much felt in Vancouver. As a freelancer, you will be hard pressed to meet anyone who can combine pattern and emotion more creative ways! Visit her website, and wear your comfortable shoes as you’ll explore pyramids, heartbreak, and even story time with future hall of famers.

www.JaimeAnderson.com

 

So normally, Guin and I try to include our reaction shots to our friends. However since the book’s release, we wanted to share reaction shots from other people reading our book. This is Mya, Sage and Guin (whose hair can be pretty epic in the morning). You’re welcome.

Launch Day and the Marvellous Mark Smylie!

It’s out. After long last, Beautiful Scars is no longer ours. It’s yours

It’s been quite the battle to get it out, but to our relief the book has at least made it to Indianapolis, Indiana and Vancouver, British Columbia. It is our hope that the book made it to all the cities in between! So over the next few days, weeks, and months, you can tell us if it made it into a comic book store, book store, or on-line purveyor of graphic novels near you.

Spotted in the wild: the Comic Carnival in Indianapolis, IN, USA

And the Comic Shop in Vancouver, BC, CAN

And we truly can’t wait to hear from you.

So it’s fitting to highlight the man most responsible for this book seeing the light of day. Mark Smylie is an amazing illustrator, writer of just-released “The Barrow,” the creator of complex “Artesia,” a skillful gamer/game designer, the CCO of Boom! Comics, and the founder of Archaia Entertainment.

“Captain Gabriel was the casualty of a lone encounter with Nightshade.”

As you can imagine, Mark is one of the most busy individuals that we know. The fact he took the time out of his schedule to create this illustration speaks volumes. He’ll move mountains for friends. But speaking to the illustration, he chose to illustrate a moment that didn’t involve the main figures in our fairy tale. As a creator, he chose a unique way to illustrate the scene—by celebrating an unknown character.

Guin and I are relative unknowns in comics. Sure, we have worked in the industry, but this is our first graphic novel—and as a collaborative venture, no less. He stood by us and he made sure that our story was never forgotten. According to our editor, the title of our book was on the planning board for quite a long time. And even as Archaia evolved into the powerhouse company it is today, we were always a part of the big picture.

Thanks is not a big enough word… we hope we were worth the effort!

Pay Mark a visit at: http://swordandbarrow.com/wp/

Also, as people have a chance to review Beautiful Scars, we’ll try to share the occasional post:

Tom Murphy, Broken Frontiers:
http://www.brokenfrontier.com/broken-frontier-staff-picks-for-april-9-2014/

Melanie Hernandez, Sonoma State Star
http://www.sonomastatestar.com/arts-entertainment/beautiful-scars-a-fairytale-adventure-1.3158741#.U0ZjH61dV40

And a fun post from Rich Johnston, Bleeding Cool:
http://www.bleedingcool.com/2014/04/02/37-thoughts-about-37-comics-the-movement-detective-comics-stormwatch-crossed-inhuman-green-lantern-caliban-starlight-action-comics-field-she-hulk-dead-letters-beautiful-scars-god-is-dea/

Beautiful Scars Fairy Tale: Meet the Rockin’ Ryan Hill

This week, it is my pleasure to introduce Joseph Ryan Hill’s contribution to the fairy tale:

“Firefly hovered low enough for Scars to jump!”

I’ve had the pleasure of knowing Ryan for quite a while… he’s one of my oldest friends. And though he’s been in comics for a very long time (starting at Dark Horse), he’s now one of my favourite colourists working in comics today. However, he’s an amazing artist and one of the few artists who can combine action with flair.

We gave Ryan a moment full of action and he rocked it! Maybe it’s his animation influences (Zelda?) that inspired his choreography of the Nightshade the Dragon, Scars the Troll and the Woodsman on Firefly. Or maybe it’s his comics influences (Stan Sakai?) that pushes his bold linework. Or perhaps it’s the colouring influences (Macross?) that paint a scene that is both vibrant and exciting. Whatever his tools, it’s working and Ryan’s work makes the world a better place!

Sadly, he doesn’t have a website (shakes angry fist in the air). But here’s a couple wonderful writes up on his new Judge Dredd book from IDW, so go get it:

WIRED: http://www.wired.com/underwire/2014/01/judge-dredd-mega-city-two/

MULTIVERSITY: http://multiversitycomics.com/reviews/review-judge-dredd-mega-city-two/

 

Ryan Hill’s rocking illustration makes Durwin go “Oooh!”

Beautiful Scars: Our Favourite Page of the Week

This week’s page is one of my personal favorites. The top panel shows a proud Ridley escorting his lady around in the newly-fixed Panhard. It’s one of the first panels we finished completely, and served as a reference for the styling of a lot of the other pages. The bottom is a dramatic view of the dragon, the first time we get to actually see it in the book! So, it’s a fairly important page to the story and as a reference to the rest of the visual style of the book. I remember having a lot of trouble trying to figure out how to do the bottom panel’s background. It had to be something that wasn’t too busy or overdone, because the focus needs to be on the dragon. Mimicking the style of trees from the top, but simplifying them down to their base elements, ended up being the perfect solution. And now it’s one of our favorites!

We’ve talked a lot about the fantasy side of the book on this here blog, but not about the history side. So let’s remedy that right now!

We wanted Ridley to live through some extraordinary times. And while every era in human history is pretty fascinating, we felt that the early 20th century held a lot of interest for both of us. There was so much happening with innovation in technology, society, fashion, you name it. But, tackling a historical project also means hours of research to make sure our details are correct. Questions like “when exactly were spiral notebooks invented?” (1934, by the way), or “when were crayons available?” (1903!) came up whenever we wanted to put any kind of detail or prop into the story. We both learned a lot, about subjects we hadn’t even considered before starting.

Major details, like the car Ridley is driving above, required some more in-depth searching. We had to find a car that would have been available in England in the early 1900s. Panhard et Levassor was an established woodworking and machinist firm before making their first automobile in 1890, and by 1900 they were one of the largest and most modern automobile manufacturers in the world. No wonder Ridley was so excited about it! When we learned about this car, it jumped out to us as a good fit, and also as a gorgeous machine in itself. It was a little hard to find reference for when we were looking, however. Once, I even found an old advertisement on the wall of a hotel in Victoria, and for a long time that was the best full shot of the car we had. Now, it seems like it’s everywhere! There was even one up for auction recently (although it’s a slightly different model than ours). We ended up finding a video that a car enthusiast had taken during an antiques car show and posted to Youtube as a source of major reference, especially for the engine. Oh well. I guess if we decide to bring it back in another book, we’ll have all the reference we can handle!

Last, the good PhDs at Comics Alternative gave us a shout out on their podcast highlighting the January Previews offerings. At about the 1 hour and 4 minute mark, they talk about Beautiful Scars. And yes, we are both nice and heartwarming! Have a listen

http://comicsalternative.com/2014/01/08/episode-69/

Beautiful Scars Fairy Tale: Meet the Spectacular Steven Tabbutt

For those of you who aren’t familiar with Steven Tabbutt’s work, his work is a study of contrasts. It can be detailed, yet graphic. It can be painterly yet flat. But mostly, his work can be stunning yet provocative.

“Princess Lily was named for the beautiful flowers that flourished on the edge of a terrible wood named the Idyllwild.”

We assigned Steve the start of the fairy tale, thinking that he would create a simple portrait of Princess Lily. I don’t think we were prepared for the beautiful piece that he turned in (and on hindsight, I don’t think he does “simple”). This lead image distills some of our goals with the fairy tale. Narratively, it displays the strength and resolve of the princess. Visually, it plays with decoration and detail. It’s a fantastic way to open the fairy tale!

Steve is one of those artists that successfully balances both a fine art gallery practice as well as a busy illustration career. He exhibits in gallery shows in New York, Paris and Tokyo. But, if you can’t go to one of those openings, you can find his work for such clients such as the New York Times, the Smithsonian Art Museum, and even the Grammy Awards. And now you can find his work in comics! Visit his website, and prepare to be knocked out. Again.

www.steventabbutt.com

Edit: It wouldn’t be an artist post without a ridiculous reaction photo! Guin freaked OUT when she saw the detail of this piece. Still cannot believe how this guy is able to do what he does. He’s a magic man, I tells ya.

ridiculous face

WHAAAAAAAA

 

Beautiful Scars: Our Favourite Page of the Week

And… ACTION!

Continuing the tour of our upcoming graphic novel, we wanted to share an action sequence.

This is a fun page to show off because, amidst all of the action, we get to reintroduce Scars the Troll. In the top section, Ridley is flying high in his DIY racer, but in the bottom story, the Princess and Woodsman are being overwhelmed by the Dragon’s minions. Our goal in running concurrent storylines throughout the graphic novel was to blend Ridley’s memories with Maddie’s fantasies. When two moments line up, we illustrate the idea that one memory can directly affect an idea. We wanted to counterpoint young Ridley’s exuberance against Scars’ stoicism (in reality, the troll is happy on the inside!).

Our book made the cut for CBR’s January Flippin’ Through Previews highlights! March 11th can’t get here fast enough!

http://goodcomics.comicbookresources.com/2014/01/04/flippin-through-previews-january-2014/

Beautiful Scars Fairy Tale: Meet the Dynamic Chris Moeller

Continuing the series of fabulous artists who contributed to our book, we are pleased to introduce the dynamic Christopher Moeller!

In addition to being a fount of both wit and talent, Chris is a painter par excellence! You can see his work on the covers of Lucifer and Shadow of the Bat. You can play with his paintings via Magic: The Gathering and World of Warcraft (you can even play an all Christopher Moeller Magic deck I am told). And to cap things off, he’s an amazing writer as well, having written and illustrated JLA: A League of One and Cold Steel. However, the project that is nearest and dearest to his heart is his EPIC  Iron Empires universe. Recently, he successfully launched the Kickstarter project Void.

We assigned him a moment that didn’t exist in the graphic novel, but existed in the Fairy Tale. The prose work we wrote allowed us to bring to life details and story that we couldn’t fit in the comic. Chris painted the scene: “The banshee sensed the return of the woodsman and the screeching began anew.” His sense of colours is spectacular, ranging from with the woodsman lurking in the shadows to the Banshee’s screams illuminating the scene. My favourite part of the illustration is the backdrop–the forest is believable, from the trees to the river. You can’t have a story without an environment, and the Idyllwild never looked so dramatic!

Please visit Christopher Moeller’s website and prepared to be amazed! And if you have a chance to, your should play a round of Magic with him–he’ll be carrying his own deck.

“Wow. Simply, WOW.”

Beautiful Scars: Our Favourite Pages

Guin is overly excited!

Happy New Year! 2014 was kicked off with a bang when we went to our local comic book store to pick up a copy of Previews. To our delight, we were surprised to find an ad for Beautiful Scars on the inside front cover.

As we countdown to our March 11th release, we want to share some of our favourite pages from the book. So, we’ll be sharing a page a week until the big day arrives! (Launch Party TBD)

We like this page because, on the bottom, it shows Princess Lily as a bad ass and introduces the Dragon’s minions! Also, up top, we get to show Ridley’s childhood nemesis (the one-eyebrowed baby, for you Simpsons nerds).

Last, IGN named our book as one of the “Best of the Rest” for March 2014.

http://ca.ign.com/articles/2013/12/20/march-2014-solicitations-the-best-of-the-rest