Tag Archives: indie comics

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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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Updates for July 6, 2017

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validation clip of strip 403

COMICS

Validation updated today!

Plus, The Case of the Wendigo updated last Wednesday. Patrons see new pages the Tuesday before public updates, and now you can see new pages on Patreon on Thursdays. 3 straight days of urban fantasy goodness!

KICKSTARTER

The funding has arrived! I made a public post about how much came to me after dropped pledges and KickStarter fees, and what’s coming next.

Commissions for KickStarter backers are still a work in progress. Check back later.

CONVENTIONS

My next appearance will be at Not At Con Day, which is July 22, at New Dimension Comics in Saint Clairsville, OH, from 12 pm to 5 pm. There will be new minicomics, new zines, and new 11 inch by 17 inch prints.

I’ve also been invited by Parkersburg Pop Con to make an appearance at their show on September 30th this year. Awesome!

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The First YWCA Mini-Con (And How It Went)

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ywca mini comic con artist alley table

In Wheeling, WV, there’s a YWCA, and they had their first Mini Convention this past Sunday, May 27th. It was like a comic convention, but small and only lasting from 12 pm to 5 pm, and admission was a donation of your choice to benefit the YWCA. Continue reading →

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A Filmmaker Approached Me

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To be fair, at RathaCon this year, this filmmaker came forward to a couple of other creators at the show, asking if we had any projects that could be adapted to film.

I’ve been wanting to talk about comics versus film for a little while now, and the filmmaker’s approach was a good catalyst for this conversation. Especially because after he left, another creator came up to me and we spoke about the dude, and the creator said, “But comics are perfect for film adaptations!” Continue reading →

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Bringing Blog Posts Back!

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rathacon convention artist alley table 2017

Alright! I’m back from RathaCon in Athens, OH. Not a whole lot of sales were made, but lots of folks signed up for the email newsletter and, by the sounds of it, I got a comic shop in the area interested in consigning my books. Plus I got to meet an indie filmmaker looking for pitches (I’ll get to him in the next post), and a T-shirt designer who REALLY liked my Dia de la Gata card design and wanted to get that on a shirt. (I’ll get to that in the blog post after the one about the filmmaker.) Continue reading →

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