Tagged: comics

“INDIE” IS NOT A FOUR LETTER WORD

“Indie.”  Short for “independent.”  Indie comics, indie music, indie movies. Indie.

It means the creator is not creating for a corporation; they are often a small group, or mostly likely an individual, realizing their vision to their own tastes; following their own tunes, drawing their own images, writing their own stories.

Quite often, I hear the word “indie” synonimized with “bad” or “poorly done”, and that’s just not the case. Are Indie creations less refined than their mainstream counterparts? Sure. Indie folks don’t have the budget for the high-gloss, hi-fi, high-profile presentation that mainstream creations get– but that doesn’t mean the work is “less than.”

What’s disturbing is that we as fans sometimes forget this, and we buy into the hype that this “slickly-presented and lavishly colorful perfect-bound graphic novel available from Big Company for only $15.00” is a better deal than the saddle-stitched photocopy in the Artist’s Alley for $20. It’s not a better “deal,” it’s just less money (and if that is your only criteria for your entertainment purchases, read no further).

I want to share something with my fellow creators for those times when they might feel that they’re not “good enough” because they’re indie and not mainstream:

I was reading a graphic novel put out by one of the Big Two (it’s irrelevant to specify, as the point of this is not to slam anyone but to illustrate a point), and…

…it was bad. I mean, really substandard, to the point where I thought “These pages were turned in, and an editor approved them, and people got paid? HOW??”

This was an 80-page, high gloss, graphic novel product for a very prominent title for the company. It should therefore have been its highest-end content, and yet I saw:

  • Disjointed story with inconsistent characterization, clunky dialogue, fragmented story trails that went nowhere;
  • Confusing visuals where, on several of the pages, I literally could not figure out what was happening on the page
  • Poorly-drawn people that were objectively drawn badly (poor anatomy, misshapen faces, inconsistent body type from page to page

…and it hit me, plain as day: These people are not better at their craft simply because they work for a big corporation. They are not automatically more legitimate, of a higher echelon, or somehow more valid because they have a credit in a “big name” publication.

Yes, they did have to put in the work, the time, the effort, and the professionalism to get there– I’m not discounting that or disputing that.

What I’m saying is that Indie folks are not “worse” at what they do simply because they don’t work for a big company. If any of you out there ever have that little demon voice whispering in your ear trying to get you to believe it, shoo it away, because the truth is that we all find our level. Some of us Indies might never refine our craft to the point of being able to compete in the mainstream, it’s true. But some of those in the mainstream take their shot, get published– and are never heard from again because they simply couldn’t maintain the quality of their work.

Be proud of what you do, and constantly strive to be better than you were yesterday, no matter who you are or at what level you’re creating. Do not think because the mainstream spotlight is not on you today that you don’t deserve to be recognized tomorrow.

Keep creating. Keep improving. Above all, keep working. Let “Indie” be a source of pride, not of insecurity or scorn. Live it. Be it. Create it. OWN it.

–Michael McAdam

THUNDER THURSDAY: What’s coming in 2018

As an Indie comics creator, I know I have to put my very best foot forward when I publish my comics for the world to see; in a vast sea of other creators, all of us vying for a piece of the comics-world readership, I need to bring my “A” game each and every time. And that’s why, as 2017 winds down and 2018 looms on the horizon, with all my plans for “bigger and better” in the coming year, I am very pleased to announce the completely refreshed look for Two Gargoyle’s beloved Canadian hero, THUNDER.

The first four issues (which comprise the THUNDER Graphic Novel) are being completely redrawn with fresh, new art by the incredibly talented Mark Marvida, with scintillating colors by his brother Marvin!

The script will remain (mostly) the same, with minor tweaks and edits for flow– not so dramatic a refresh as the art, but a refresh nonetheless! My goal is to have the Thunder Graphic Novel carried by Chapters/Indigo all across Canada (a lofty goal I’m not 100% sure how to pursue yet, but there it is) and I want to showcase the very best THUNDER that I can!

Here is a sneak preview, a side-by-side comparison of the first three pages! Keep watching for the KICKSTARTER for Thunder #1 Second Edition, coming in the new year!

SWING AND A MISS!

Well folks, our deadline has come and gone and we weren’t successful… THIS time.

Kyle and I have learned a lot from this process, (and hey, this was our very first Kickstarter!) so we WILL be trying again in the New Year.

Currently, we’re thinking March 2018 to re-Kickstart, and in the meantime we’d love to hear your feedback on what worked for you, what you think might work better, and what didn’t work.

There are SO many successful comic Kickstarters out there, we have faith that we’ll get there; we just have some re-tooling and fine-tuning to do! We’re SO grateful for all of you who believed in us, and we hope you’ll rejoin us in March to make Gloaming #3 a reality! In the meantime, keep your eyes on Twitter: @Twogargs and @Kyohazard, and don’t forget our main websites: www.twogargs.com and www.kyohazard.com !

If you want, you can send us feedback through here or at twogargs@gmail.com!

In gratitude,

Michael & Kyle

FLAME CON – The Review!

Jeremy Thew and Michael McAdam at Flame Con 2017!

Flame Con was held at the Brooklyn Bridge Marriott in Brooklyn, NY on Aug 19 & 20, 2017.

WHAT.  A.  BLAST.

Being an LGBT-focussed comic con, Flame Con greeted me at the door with an immediate feeling of inclusivity, celebration and joy.  The staff were all “superheroes”– they all had capes tied at the neck with velcro– meaning the capes could be shared with volunteers, making anyone associated with the con immediately visible and identifiable.  Clever, fun and reassuring!

Steven, one of the people who directed us to the registration line had a rainbow beard.  “Now I know I’m in the right place,” I said.

Billing itself as the “Largest LGBT Pop Culture Convention in New York”, it’s easy to believe– last year’s attendance boasted over 3, 400 people and this year was apparently larger, though no numbers were available at the time of this writing.

The greatest thing about this convention is also the most fundamental and basic: I never once had to explain myself, my comics, or the art prints at my table. Not once did someone flinch as they saw muscular men in speedos, or an A to Z of superhero groins. No one turned up their noses at Cyclops embracing Iceman, nor did they look uncertain as I described my LGBT superhero, Spectrum, or for that matter my tongue-in-cheek comic, Diaperman, where all the heroes and villains are fetishists. Heck, I didn’t even have to define “fetishist” to anyone.

In short: Everyone at Flame Con “got it.”  All-inclusive.  We Are Family.  In The Club.  That sort of thing.  And the feeling– it’s amazing. It’s knowing you belong, knowing you’re doing something that appeals to people, hearing feedback on your work that’s very positive.

Speaking of which, I met gay comic icon Paul Charles, the Gay Comic Geek (Warning: Link NSFW) who read Spectrum and gave this amazing review!

I would describe my convention experience as a success: I sold out of Spectrum, and my now-famous Superhero A to Z groin posters.  Other popular prints were Hogwarts Swim Team, and Jeremy’s female Gambit. Our comic Twilight Detective Agency also sold well!

Too, there was a Saturday Night shindig at a local bbq joint/bar where Exhibitors got in free after 9:30; It was called Camp Fire and there was a themed comic-and-pop-culture drag show which was fabulous (but when they did the Bette Midler number from Hocus Pocus– “I Put A Spell On You”— I was having none of it! I have secretly choreographed that number in my own living room for years, and I was not gonna let someone else do it (so I quietly did it in the corner of the bar for an audience of one, as Jeremy found my antics amusing).

I got to meet Greg Fox of Kyle’s Bed and Breakfast, a fantastic series of excellent graphic novels about a gay B&B; he was our table neighbour.  We traded graphic novels and I read his stuff on the plane ride home (review to follow at another time).

Challenges for this show were:  Travel, primarily.  Schlepping the con gear and merchandise across the US Border is ALWAYS tiresome, troublesome, and downright inconsistent. On this particular trip I was told I wasn’t allowed to transport merchandise by air, though by ground was fine. They let me through anyway, but it’s just another inconsistency in the grand world of US Customs.

The second was cost:  New York City is a spendy, spendy place. The hotel convention rate was $300 US a night, which was just not in the budget for Jeremy and I.  We ended up staying further away, still in Brooklyn but at a nice little pseudo-B&B slash hostel called “J-Stel.”  Three floors, each floor had a shared bathroom; air conditioned rooms (thank God). I didn’t mind it; I’d stay there again.

Warning:  DO NOT TAKE A CITY CAB FROM THE AIRPORT TO DOWNTOWN. I used Uber (which is always wonderful, I love Uber) and paid $40– Jeremy took a cab and paid $197.00.  Almost two hundred dollars!  DO.  NOT.  USE.  CITY. CABS.  Period.

The con was extremely well-run, and well-organized; check-in took us maybe five minutes and they had time slots prepared for those folks that needed to use the loading dock so as to avoid congestion.  It was wonderful.  Also, the staff were always checking on the vendors, seeing if we needed anything, being around and being visible.

And the music– god yes, the music. They played fun, light, pop music from the 70’s and 80’s in the dealer’s room with various famous gay anthems and fun songs, which really brightened the room– and had me dancing and singing all weekend. What a way to improve the mood and interest of the crowd and potential buyers! Anytime I can groove to the Go-Go’s is a happy time indeed.

I want to support this convention and return next year, as it attracted an excellent calibre of creators and fans; it will take some consideration though, as the travel and costs are prohibitive. Definitely will require consideration. However, if you can get to New York, you owe it to yourself to experience this joy!

Life’s a rainbow,

Michael

HAPPY CANADA DAY– 150 YEARS!

At Calgary Expo this year, Jeremy Thew drew a wonderful picture of my half-Norse God, half-Canadian hero, THUNDER, meeting his hero, Captain Canuck.  I showed the sketch to Richard Comely, the creator of the good Captain; today I have coloured it and present it to share with you my joy of being Canadian, and to share a couple Canadian heroes with you.

HAPPY CANADA DAY!

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