Categotry Archives: Charlie & Clow

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What Inspired Charlie & Clow?

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charlie and clow the case of the wendigo panel

Charlie & Clow, Charlie & Clow: The Bonus Arc, and The Case of the Wendigo all sprang from one initial idea I had when I was in college.

I want to say it was around 2009 or 2010 when I thought of the original story – in the original, Charlie wasn’t the main character. The story, instead, focused on a red-haired character named Margot.

Margot (pronounced “MAR-go”) was a lead singer in a punk band dating Charlie, who in this story was the lead guitarist. Charlie’s brother, Jared (who in this version was much beefier) was the drummer. All three made an appearance in my first minicomic, Breakfast for Dinner, which is now out of print (and will stay that way).

This version of the story, with Margot in the lead, had two drafts. In draft 1, Charlie was kidnapped by a demon and Margot had to team up with Jared and a guardian angel named Clow to go into the spirit world and rescue her. Draft 2 had the band narrowed down to Charlie and Margot, and both died in a car accident on their way to a gig, and Clow helps them navigate the spirit world.

I finished chapter 1 of both versions and dropped them. Because I didn’t like the directions they were going, which was that they had NO direction. There was no set end goal.

Plus, every time I went to make tweaks, I found myself drawn more towards Charlie than Margot. I wanted to know what Charlie was up to, and in my imagination, she was way more engaging and talkative than Margot ever was. Margot was secretive – Charlie was open and engaging. So I made her the lead.

Margot’s design stuck around, though – she was the inspiration for Claudia’s final design.

charlie and clow the case of the wendigo claudia

The two are very different in personality though. Margot was abrasive, crass, violent – very stereotypical punk. Claudia is more Gothic Lolita in look, but very mature and calm in demeanor.

Jared, Charlie’s brother, makes an appearance in Charlie & Clow: The Bonus Arc, but as an extra – and this time he’s a rock climbing instructor instead of a drummer.

charlie and clow the bonus arc comic strip jared

The drummer aspect was put into Rob, the drummer of Roxie’s band in the Validation bonus comics.

validation roxie bonus comics

So once I did the main character shift, I thumbnailed the first draft of Charlie & Clow…and I LOVED it! I had WAY more fun writing and drawing for it. Charlie was just the main character I was looking for, and the world she occupied was more interesting for me to explore.

charlie and clow comic page 12Of course, a more interesting world couldn’t be contained in only 24 pages. That’s why I made Charlie & Clow: The Bonus Arc, and now I’m making The Case of the Wendigo.

charlie and clow the case of the wendigo comic page 23I actually tried pitching the trilogy under one name to Oni Press, but got rejected – I think that was around the time that the company picked up comics like The Mighty Zodiac and Merry Men, though, so I can’t complain.

Besides, it was a learning experience, and helped me realize that the original pitch was pulling the story too long – the pitch had at least two chapters after The Case of the Wendigo, but I realized they were unnecessary. And by unnecessary, I mean that the characters (Charlie, Clow, and the rest) would have finished character arcs at the end of The Case of the Wendigo. So sequels after that were not needed.

In terms of the visual inspiration, I always wanted to make a comic about punks and goths. I love the fashion choices of both subcultures and always wanted to draw them. I also wanted to pull from my brief experiences in Chicago, but also use set locations from Wheeling, WV – in particular, the Bridge of Suicide Hill (which I talked about before).

The plot really came about after noticing something about urban fantasy as a genre – from Supernatural to Buffy the Vampire Slayer, to the absurdly popular books on the shelves like Twilight, The Dresden Files, and others like them, I noticed one thing…

The characters in too many urban fantasy stories are white. There are so few black girls in them on the mainstream shelves.

THAT was a major starting point for the new draft – again, in my imagination, Charlie was much more open than Margot, and that was a huge plus, as well. I knew that if I wanted to make an urban fantasy story with a black girl lead, that lead was going to be Charlie.

The reason I’ve stuck with this story so long is because of Charlie – I love her as a character. I was inspired to make her because I knew two awesome ladies in college, who were the inspiration for her personality and skill sets. Charlie & Clow, the print book, is actually dedicated to both ladies: Natasha Burton and Tifah Lockhart. If either of you are reading this, thank you. You’re incredible!

I hope this shed some light into what inspires a story to come about – it can be very messy, and long, and lead to dead ends, but it’s all part of the journey. And I’m glad I took that journey, because it lead me to a badass main character and a story I MASSIVELY love to draw.

Thank you for reading.

You. Are. Awesome.

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So I Might Make a Game. Maybe. Possibly…

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validation webcomic panel
This panel is from Validation (written by Christian Beranek, drawn by me)

I like games. Video games are cool, but right now, my love is for tabletop games.

If you want to understand why I love tabletop games, especially Dungeons & Dragons, so much, I highly recommend you watch this TedTalk about why D&D is good for you, and this Cosmonaut Variety Hour video about Dungeons & Dragons.

Of course I’ve played other tabletop games, too: Evil Baby Orphanage, King of New York, Settlers of Catan, We Didn’t Playtest This At All, Quelf, and Pathfinder are all games I’ve trod the table for. But Dungeons & Dragons is my big favorite right now, especially 5th edition. 5th edition is really the best beginner’s version of Dungeons & Dragons that’s out right now (aside from the Starter Pack).

With that said, I’ve been wanting to make a new game for quite a while now.

Not just a new D&D 5th edition campaign (I’m already in the process of brewing one). But a new tabletop game.

Christian Beranek and I have been throwing around the idea of finally making Tiny Unicorn, which is a game mentioned in our comic Validation. That’s great. I don’t mean to discredit that.

No, I mean, making a new game.

The idea I’ve had for a little while is something based on the world of Charlie & Clow and The Case of the Wendigo. In my mind’s eye it would run off a D20 system, partly because I’m most comfortable with that, and partially because…

Ok look, I know there are games based on existing comics, movies, TV shows, etc that generally favor the Fate System as a root to base the game on. But I’ve looked at the Fate System and I just don’t like it. It’s too complicated and nonsensical, especially when it comes to how characters in the game take damage. While there are aspects of the D20 system that can make a game easy to break (by overpowering characters, spamming certain spells, etc), I still find it preferable to the mess that is the Fate System.

So anyway, yes, I’m thinking of brewing a tabletop game based on the world of Charlie & Clow and The Case of the Wendigo with the d20 system as its base.

I’ll be updating here on the blog if I finally get the chance to start this thing.

Thanks for reading!

You. Are. Awesome.

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What Is The Case of the Wendigo?

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Let us rewind to Charlie & Clow.

CharlieandClow_cover_new_small

Charlie & Clow is the story of Charlie, a college student who is walking home from class one day when she encounters a demon. She partners up with Clow, a mysterious goth man, and together they save each other and the city from this supernatural threat.

It was a black-and-white webcomic that aired on October 29, 2014 and then became a book on Storenvy.

Then came the follow-up adventure in 2015, Charlie & Clow: The Bonus Arc. This was the story of life with the punky duo that newsletter subscribers got to read until it, too, was gathered into a book.

charlie and clow the bonus arc cover

On October 18th (next Tuesday), the final installment of Charlie & Clow, The Case of the Wendigo will launch…and unlike the previous two chapters, this new chapter in the story will be in FULL COLOR.

case of the wendigo promo

I’m really stinking excited for this new chapter because there will be romance, and new haircuts, and rogueishly handsome demons, and cosplay, and music, and OH MY GOSH I’m looking forward to making this!

Patrons on Patreon will get to not only see comic updates a day early, but also see how the comic gets made. So if you want to subscribe to The Case of the Wendigo, just check back on the Charlie & Clow site. If you want to SUPER subscribe, check out the Patreon.

Again, the story launches October 18th. Get hyped!

Thank you for reading.

You. Are. Awesome.

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Charlie & Clow’s Book Is Now Available

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charlie and clow comic books

Awww yeah, the comic book copies of Charlie & Clow are finally here and ready to ship out of the Storenvy shop. The books are 26 pages of action with remastered lettering and behind-the-scenes sketches of the making of the comic.

If you haven’t gotten the book already, go get it by clicking here.

Now that RathaCon has wrapped up, I’ll be sharing more new stuff from my shop. There were a bunch of new things made for RathaCon, so if you couldn’t make it (or you made it but couldn’t get it), don’t worry – I’ll highlight the new stuff for ya over the next few days here on the blog.

That’s all for now. Thanks for reading!

You. Are. Awesome.

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“Case of the Wendigo” Print Now Available

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charlie and clow case of the wendigo print

Now available on Storenvy. Don’t worry – Charlie & Clow: The Case of the Wendigo will begin in October of this year. There will be more prints and things on the way before then.

I have one new print idea in mind. I’ll be working on that soon… Continue reading →

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