Art finally complete for ‘The Resurrected’ Issue #1!

The art is finally finished for the first issue of The Resurrected comic so we’re celebrating with the first ever public release of a completed page – Page 1 (albeit low res for now). Not only that, but our artist Crizam ZAMORA has shared the entire art process for this page, from the pencils/ink through to the colours/letters,

Line work by Crizam, Colours by Sal Aiala, Letters by Cardinal Rae & Plot/Script by Christian Carnouche.

Introducing The Resurrected’s Xander Calypse!

We’re finally introducing another main character for our comic series The Resurrected. Check this link if you missed the introduction of our protagonist – Cain Duluth

Meet Xander Calypse, the enigmatic CEO of the all-powerful Drexler Nanotech Corporation (DNC), the company responsible for creating the now banned resurrection serum and for developing the weaponised nanobots that obliterated the Australian population in 2032. Although DNC has been heavily criticised for its reckless development of certain technologies, it was also responsible for designing the nano-technologies that eliminated disease, famine and pollution.

Xander is intensely driven and has little empathy for others. He would do absolutely anything to achieve his goals, but what does a man who is wealthy beyond belief still desire?

Introducing Cain Duluth: The Resurrected’s Protagonist

This is a huge moment for us – the first time that we will publicly name the protagonist for our comic book series The Resurrected. In fact it’s the first time any character will be named. Drum roll please……..The protagonist’s name is…..Cain Duluth! 

So who the hell is this good looking dude and what is he doing in our story? The year is 2037 and Cain Duluth, a 39 year old Aboriginal-Australian detective, is one of the world’s last surviving Australians after the population was obliterated during a terrorist attack in 2032. Struggling to rebuild his life after his wife and daughter were killed in the attack, Cain works for the Special Division for the Resurrected (SDR) on the man-made island of Nova Lucis; the newly relocated United Nations just off the east coast of the United States. The SDR’s goal is to pursue and permanently detain ‘Rezzies’ (individuals who have been resurrected from the prohibited resurrection serum). Although Cain would do anything to get his family back, he is against the resurrection serum and similar nano-technologies that he believes were responsible for the destruction of of his homeland.

Thanks to Crizam Zamora for the beautiful pencils and inks and Salvatore Aiala for the wonderful colours. Check in here soon for more previews!

 

 

 

 

From pencils to colours: The Resurrected artistic process

We finally have the chance to reveal some art process shots for our comic book series ‘The Resurrected,‘ pencilled and inked by artist Crizam Zamora, coloured by Salvatore Aiala and written by myself, Christian Carnouche.

Check out our logline if you want to know what the series is all about:

Logline

We’ve isolated one panel to illustrate the process from the very first pencil outlines (which are quite detailed compared to what a lot of other artists provide for their outlines), to the inking – where these outlines are fleshed out, and finally to the colours. This panel won’t be complete until the dialogue/narration bubbles are added by our letterer.

It is quite common in comics that changes are made during the artistic process, as you can see with this panel. In the pencilled page, the imprisoned Indigenous are standing in front of some trees, while – for the sake of clarifying the story’s chronology, we decided to replace this background in the inked page with a prison.

I know I’m a little biased but I’m absolutely stoked with the magic Criz and Sal have weaved into this panel, and the rest of the story for that matter.

 

Introducing Salvatore Aiala: the colourist for ‘The Resurrected’

I’m very excited to finally introduce Salvatore Aiala, the colourist for The Resurrected comic book series.

Salvatore is a regular artist for Dynamite and has worked on popular titles like Z Nation (adapted from the hit television show), James Bond: Felix Leiter, Swords of Sorrow: Black Sparrow & Lady Zorro Special. Check out Salvatore’s Comic Book Database profile if you’d like to see the rest of his titles:

Salvatore – Comic Book DB

And here’s more of Salvatore’s work on Deviantart:

Salvatore Deviantart

The Resurrected is actually reuniting Salvatore with our penciller/inker Crizam Zamora, who both worked on the hit comic Swords of Sorrow: Black Sparrow & Lady Zorro Special.

If you’ve missed our previous posts, here are a couple examples of Salvatore’s and Crizam’s work for our current series:

First ever coloured panels sneak peek for The Resurrected!

We’ll be posting more art previews soon!

Comic book writing experience #5 – No-one will care about your comic book!

Welcome to the fifth installment in my series of blog posts that will highlight the various issues and obstacles that confronted me on the road to creating my first ever comic book series. When it comes to the art, we’re closing in on the halfway mark so hopefully soon I will finally be sharing some sneak peaks.

Okay I exaggerated a little for dramatic effect with the title of this post, people will care about your comic, just not to the same level that you do. This is hands-down the hardest lesson I’ve had to learn while working on this project for the better part of a year.

So why is this the case? If you’re the sole creator, there would no doubt be no-one else who would have injected as much emotion and hard-earned money into the project. It’s the same thing with children, it doesn’t matter how many Facebook updates you post  gushing about how smart and beautiful your child is, people simply won’t feel the same way that you do. Harsh I know but at the end of the day your creative project is similar to having a baby.

How can you get people to care about your project? Well in my case, I’m a writer and had to hire artists to bring my comic book to life. One of my most important decisions was to offer my artists a competitive salary. Sure I could have hired a talented artist for a much lower salary but how invested would they be in the project? What would stop them from throwing my project in the garbage if someone else waltzed in and offered them a better pay rate? Pay artists what they deserve.

I’m also ensuring that my artists see my project as a collaborative effort. I have written full scripts but I’ve also made it clear that I am extremely flexible about my ideas. The creativity of artists must be nurtured and not stifled if you are to see the best possible artistic outcomes.

One of the key things I had to come to terms with as well is that if my comic book is to be successful then I’ll have to promote the hell out of my product to reach potential buyers. The comic book industry is massive and the amount of new comics being published is endless, so why would comic book readers care about a brand new writer like myself? I’m going to have to convince them that my product is top quality and unique (which it is of course!). So I’ll work extra hard to make it happen.

Hopefully that didn’t sound too depressing. My message is that if you want to bring your comic book to life then you are going to have to work your damn arses off, because no-one else will care about it the way you do!

Comic book writing experience #4 – Hiring an editor

Welcome to the fourth installment in my series of blog posts that will highlight the various issues and obstacles that confronted me on the road to creating my first ever comic book series.

Hiring a story and script editor is one of the things that I really got right early on in the writing process. My story outline and script improved exponentially after my editor ripped them apart. I know editors aren’t always cheap but the potential value they bring to your work far outweighs their rate and.when it comes to plot and story, it really is best to hire an editor with industry experience. This is particularly important for beginners. Although I hired an editor to review and edit my story, what I got back was actually double, as she pretty much handed me a lesson in comic book writing 101.

Here are some of the positives my editor brought to my project:

PLOT/STORY

Geez where do I start with this one? Editors and other reviewers bring distance and objectivity to their story reviews, something I had lost after having my head buried deep within the story for six months. Even though I had re-worked my plot numerous times and had several different reviewers look at it, my editor was still able to find a bunch of plot holes that had slipped through the writing process. Thank god for that because you know how much us comic book nerds love finding plot holes!

My editor was also an immense help when it came to mapping character arcs and motivations; which are all essential to being able to engage the reader.

SCRIPTING

While story is important, it is my scripting that made my editor really work overtime. I’ve been writing a novel for a few years now so I’m relatively comfortable with story structure but this was my first comic book project. My editor ripped into my script; hammering the flow, format, panel descriptions,and continuity. I feel that I have now really grown as a comic book writer and will be able to take it to the next level with my next script.

INDUSTRY INSIGHT AND CONNECTIONS

This is often overlooked when hiring an editor. Most editors will sharpen your story and script but an experienced editor will also give the writer a healthy dose of industry insight. 

Industry connections are also important. When I was hunting down a suitable editor, not only did I assess their writing experience and skills but I also ascertained how well entrenched they were in mainstream comics. Why did this matter? My editor has written for DC, Dynamite and other mainstream publishers and has worked with some amazing talent. She was able to recommend some of her former collaborators to me that she thought were a good fit for my project. Using her recommendations, I approached these artists, who are now working towards making my project less of a fantasy and more of a reality. Who knows if these creators would have been willing to work with me without her recommendation.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Comic book writing experience #2 – A White Australian creating Indigenous characters

Welcome to the second installment in my series of blog posts that will highlight the various issues and obstacles that confronted me on the road to creating my first ever comic book series.

This will no doubt be the series’ most controversial topic – that being that I am possibly the whitest guy on the planet and yet I decided to write a comic that features several Indigenous-Australian characters.

While I have undertaken quite a lot of research on the subject matter, I am by no means an expert, so apologies if I have misrepresented Indigenous culture, beliefs or history in this post.

MY FIRST COMIC BOOK SERIES

I’ve yet to announce major details about my comic book series nor have I released any sneak previews of the artwork. This will all happen pretty soon once I’ve decided how I will publish the series. I can say though that the first issue is currently being pencilled and that my creative team is extremely talented and a hell of a lot more experienced than myself. These guys have worked for publishers like DC, Dynamite and Zenescope, plus my header and logo designer is a world famous graffiti artist. Among us, we represent four different continents. So yes, I’m incredibly blessed to work in such a team, especially for my first comic…

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT?

Without giving too much away, I can say that our series is a little like Bladerunner and Almost Human meet V for Vendetta.

In a future where death is not always the end, a brokenhearted Aboriginal-White Australian detective, whose country has been decimated, challenges the world’s most powerful corporation in a clash to save his people from almost certain extinction.

INDIGENOUS CHARACTERS/ THEMES

As you can see, the protagonist is Aboriginal-White Australian; however there is a bit of a twist given that he is half-Aboriginal but has for the most part rejected his Indigenous roots. While the cast of characters is quite multicultural, it does include another two major Aboriginal characters: a male, and a female who is a quarter Aboriginal but identifies solely with her Indigenous ancestry. This problem of cultural and racial identity will be explored as one of the themes of the series.

While there are Aboriginal characters and the comic’s themes link in with the invasion of Australia, the story is also about how individuals respond to death and loss and how this shapes who we are.

WHY THE CONTROVERSY?

Many Australians do not recognise the ‘invasion’ of Australia

The series may be controversial for several reasons. Firstly, the plot parallels the destructive effects of the British invasion of Australia on the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island populations and the extent to which they are continuing to suffer.

This dire situation is not sufficiently acknowledged in mainstream Western media. My story focusses on injustices committed against the Indigenous population and although I don’t want to dismiss the many Australians who support the Indigenous cause, you just have to scroll the comments section of an online media article about Aboriginal injustice to understand how unapologetic many Australians are about the treatment of the original owners of our land. There are huge debates in Australia about these issues, such as the argument about whether Australia was “settled” or “invaded,” whether Australia Day should be moved to a different date (i.e. should we really celebrate a day that many Indigenous mourn?) and whether or not former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd was right to formally apologise to the Indigenous population for the government’s treatment of the First Australians. This isn’t the place to go too far into these issues but I do highly recommend this fantastic documentary series if you’d like to learn more about Indigenous culture since the arrival of the British:

First Australians

I am a White Australian writing Indigenous characters

So why is it so controversial for me personally to be scripting a story which features several Indigenous characters and themes? Well I am white Australian (I use the concept of ‘white’ very loosely, as it can be argued that ‘white’ is a social construct with no grounding in reality), and my multicultural background and experiences will never change that. When I walk down the street in Australia, people see a white man. As they do when I apply for a job, walk into a bar, and so on. You get my drift.

Why does this matter? While I am not of English extraction (phew!), I still represent White Australia and all of the suffering that we as a nation have inflicted on the proud owners of the land. There are huge issues related to someone who represents the colonisers writing about Aboriginal characters and stories. Many of these stories are incredibly painful for the First Australians to relive and I can only imagine that it is even more painful when these stories are told by non-indigenous. One of the main issues pertains to cultural misappropriation, in that creators can use Indigenous characters to add a bit of multicultural spice to their product, but without bothering to consult the Indigenous community or to correctly represent the characters. Indigenous-Australians are often poorly represented in comics and in media as a whole, and when they are, the characters can be stereotypical and offensive. Some great articles have already been published on these issues so I will cease my rambling…

INDIGENOUS AUSTRALIANS IN COMICS

Cleverman – The First Aboriginal Superhero?

The Wombat to Kaptn Koori – Aboriginal representation in comic books and capes

WHY ARE INDIGENOUS CHARACTERS SO DIFFICULT TO WRITE?

Indigenous Australians are not homogenous

A common misconception about Indigenous groups in Australia is that they are homogeneous. For one thing, the definition of ‘Indigenous’ includes Aboriginal groups but also Torres Strait Island groups. These larger groups are then divided into a multitude of smaller groups, each with their own customs, beliefs, cultural artifacts, traditional stories, clothing and so on. I had to undertake a hell of a lot of research to make sure that I didn’t mix up the features of these groups. There are a couple of pages in my story that feature a group of Aboriginals just before the British arrived in 1788. They are Kooris from the Sydney area, so I had to ensure that their images were consistent with what is known of the people from this area at that time. For example, I learnt that (historically) groups in the Sydney area did not use didgeridoos but that some did use boomerangs.

Beliefs about death

I also had to take into consideration Indigenous beliefs about death. If you’ve watched a recent film that features Indigenous characters, you may have noticed that there is often a warning to the viewer that the programme may contain images or voices of the dead. This links in with traditional Indigenous sensitivities to depicting or naming the dead for a specified period after their passing. Although not all groups follow these protocols these days, some groups still do.

When I first penned the characters for my story I named two of them after famous Aboriginal warriors.  I later decided to change their names out of respect for cultural beliefs. I didn’t want to risk offending any of the Indigenous groups. When in doubt best to delete…

Require permission to use traditional stories

My research also led me to realise that if I am to use any specific Indigenous stories, then I must request permission from the traditional owners of these stories. Although I do not plan to use these stories, a spirit from Indigenous Dreaming stories will make a short appearance later in my series, therefore I am still researching whether or not I will need to request permission to use its image. This won’t occur until later in the story so time is still my friend.

This is an excerpt from an excellent article on the use of Indigenous stories:

Who Owns Story by Terri Janke

Intergenerational trauma

What does this mean? Intergenerational trauma is when the first generation of trauma survivors pass down their experiences to future generations. This is particularly significant in relation to Australia’s indigenous population, who were (and still are) the victims of the horrific effects of colonisation; such as violence, loss of their land and culture and catastrophic government policies (for example the forced removal of children).

Read more here:

Intergenerational Trauma

How does this affect my story? While I completely avoided telling specific and personal stories in my comic book, I did touch on some of these traumatic episodes, such as the ‘stolen generations’ and ‘deaths in custody.’ One of my Aboriginal friends, who works in the Indigenous community, warned me that I need to be aware that writing about these harrowing subjects can upset survivors. This honestly wasn’t something I’d taken into consideration when initially plotting the story. When I suggested that I delete the references, he disagreed and said that awareness of these events still had to be raised. He himself is the child of parents who were forcefully removed from their family.

HOW DID I TRY TO OVERCOME THESE OBSTACLES?

I desperately wanted, no needed, to tell this story.The plight of Australia’s Indigenous population disturbs me and I am anxious in general about the rising wave of xenophobia that is sweeping the world. I grew up in an area in Sydney that has a large Indigenous population and I have witnessed the racism and prejudice that many of them experience. I want the world to be more aware of this situation and I have tried to present the characters in an honest and positive light.

The brutal truth is, I’m pissing myself about how this series will be received by the Indigenous communities in Australia. Considering I am not Indigenous myself, it is almost certain that I will be criticised to some point. However, I have carried out due diligence in regards to my treatment of Indigenous issues and I truly believe in my mission, which is to raise international awareness of not only the negative effects of colonisation but to also highlight the absolute strength and resilience of our Indigenous communities.

Although I am no dummy when it comes to Indigenous culture and history, I still had to undertake extensive research. In addition I had my story and script reviewed by several members of the Aboriginal community, who reported that the Aboriginal characters are positive community role models and that I was not misrepresenting their cultures. This is a tricky one though, as Indigenous group in Australia do not necessarily share the same beliefs and customs.

An example of feedback from friends in the Indigenous community is when I showed the very first pencilled and inked page (which was set in Sydney in 1788) to one of my old friends. He told me bluntly that the paint on some of the Aboriginal faces made them look more Pacific Islander than Aboriginal and he went on to describe how Aboriginal body paint should be presented. So we dealt with this straight away. This was a good lesson for me. No matter how well I think I know Indigenous culture or how much research I do, an Indigenous person will always be able to pick these things up better than me. What if you don’t have any Indigenous friends to whom you can show your work? Well honestly, if this is your situation than you might want to reconsider writing Indigenous characters…

In addition to listening to what my friends had to say, I reviewed the established protocols relating to writing about Aboriginal characters and stories. I recommend the below link to anyone who is planning to write stories with Indigenous content :

Ethical Publishing Guidelines

Well I could go on and on about my process and the associated issues but I think it is pretty clear what the main issues were. I by no means believe that my process was perfect or that I’m beyond reproach. For example I would have loved to have spent time talking face to face with Indigenous Elders, however living in Europe made that less of a possibility. My series does though consist of five issues and we are only creating the first issue at the moment, so maybe that opportunity will present itself in the near future.

Thanks for reading and would love to read your feedback!

Thanks to Leroy and Meriam for the reviews and edits.