Felt today like posting a little something from an ongoing pet project of mine that I started a couple years back on my own and more recently evolved into trying to make work as an anthology book. As I've been getting a bunch of really good stories turned in, as well as a few small smatterings of art I'm going to use to pitch the project, I figured I'd show a few assorted panels from several of the stories that have had art turned in for the pitch I've been putting together for my romance comic anthology, Less Than Three!
Obtuse, Written by Brian Dervin, art by Joe Eisma
Brian Dervin and I have been long distance friends for so long, I'm not even sure how we first started talking. Dervin and I bullshit with each other via AIM for probably over five years or more by now. Anyway, Brian's been wanting to get into writing comics over the last couple of years and when I told him about my idea for this anthology, he jumped at the chance to try and crank something out for it. Not being overly familiar with how Brian would fair as a first-time writer, I kinda just figured we'd see what happened. I finally got the script in my email and read it that night. It was short but sweet and surprisingly low key. The whole thing takes place in the confines of a single room and the majority of the story is told between the dialogue of it's two characters. One would think this might make for some boring art notes, but no. Brian had some pretty specific art directions that make the whole thing interesting to look at. Suffice to say, the story was good. Really good for a guy with no real previous experience at writing comics. It was the kind of story who would need an artist really capable of capturing facial expressions and that sort of thing. Joe Eisma's still fairly new to the game, but his art gigs have been moving up a bit in profile as he moves along. From drawing the sequel to Jason Burns' A Dummy's Guide To Danger for Viper Comics this year, as well as his and Burns' second collaboration on Devil's Due's Serpo OGN, Joe has had a nack for capturing emotions (usually used for comedic effect) so I figured he'd be a perfect fit with Brian's story.
Fool Me Twice, written by JAn Napiorkowski, art by Laura Zajacz
In JAn's story, he wanted to have a bit of a punk rock feel to the story of a girl trying to investigate the possibility of her boyfriend cheating on her. When I read it, I immediately figured out the perfect artist for the occasion. Laura Zajacz has been involved with me on Less Than Three since the project was first concieved as a web comic. She was going to build and host the site for me, but as the plans I had changed into what they are now, I still wanted to give Laura something to do for her commitment in the past. She does her own webcomic called High-Top Chucks & Bubblegum with the same punk-centric feel to it that JAn's story gave me upon initially reading it. Laura was getting geared up to start working on one of the short stories I'd written for the book, but just before she could, I showed her this script and now here we are today.
The Valentine's Day Massacre, written by yours truly, art by Brenda Lopez
This one's one of my favorite short stories I've ever written. Just five pages of pure, silly, outlandish fun from wall to wall. I've flipped on artists for this one a good bit before the story landed at Brenda's feet. First, I wanted to get my Love Buzz accomplice Michelle Silva to draw it, but with working on Love Buzz and several other short stories for different anthologies, Michelle expressed the idea of wanting to write her own story to draw for the book, so I'm letting her work that out in between Love Buzz pages, and the story she's come up with, while I'm not going to talk much about it, sounds pretty cute. Then the story briefly went to Laura Zajaca before I decided to move her over to JAn's punk-centric story, since I figured it'd compliment her art better. This brought me to Brenda, whom I've been watching like a rabid dog through her MySpace and DeviantArt pages for a couple of years. She doesn't post as much art anymore due to her job as a teacher, but I've been persistantly bugging her about wanting to do something, and I figured that her love for children might help me to get her on board with this story. Every pages I see from her is just panel after panel of mad-cap joy and insanity.
Gillian's Heart: Diamonds Are A West African Warlord's Best Friend, written by Dave Baxter & Gillian Horvat, art by Cal Slayton
From the beginning of putting this anthology together, I told myself I would absolutely not include anything to do with superheroes unless it not only fit in with the criteria of what I wanted for the book as a whole, but also brought something different to the whole superhero thing as a whole, so when Dave Baxter and his girlfriend Gillian told me they had a superhero idea they wanted to pitch, I repressed my initial urge to groan and roll my eyes and gave them my warning of what I was looking for and within a few days, they'd turned in their script. Admittedly, it made me cringe at first. Not due to the writing or the style of it, so much as the fact that the format of the script they turned in for an eight page story came out of my printer as 24 pages of paper. That's like one billionth of a tree, right there. After getting over my initial horror with the thing, I read it. Not without its problems, but still, Dave and Gillian gave me everything I asked for in a superhero story. It's different, it's fun and flighty and has some pretty great dialogue to it. It reminds me of some of the best aspects of Dan Slott's She-Hulk run. With some coaching, Dave and Gillian's trimmed the script down considerably and put it in the capable artistic hands of Cal Slayton and so far, it's the first story with fully rendered art, color, and lettering to be completed. Bravo!
Billboard Baby, written by Josh Wagner, art by Josh Boulet
Wagner and Boulet are a pairing that have worked out exceptionally well. I'm really happy about what's come out of my putting them together. Wagner is a writer I met back when we were both still working at Silent Devil, and he was kind enough to let me crash inside his camper last year at SDCC. His first comic effort, Fiction Clemens is currently being published in a three issue prestige format mini-series from Ape Entertainment. Issue Three should be hitting stands this month. Wagner's writing has a constant flair for being pretty far out there in terms of its weirdness. It's really a must read for anyone whose a fan of LSD or Terry Gilliam movies. I knew pretty soon after I'd figured out what I wanted to do with Less Than Three, that I wanted him to write me a story for it. I was surprised when the story he turned in was a bit more sedated and sweet than I was expecting from him. Not to say a story about a homeless man in love with an inanimate object doesn't fill the Wagner weird quota, but even so, there's something a bit more grounded here. To complement Wagner's work, we went through a list of artists we both liked and discussed them until we came down to Josh Boulet. While we've not gotten more than the first couple of pages turned in from him, Boulet has been cranking out some really cool looking stuff. The things he did with the story logo are exceptionally cool, but we'll save that for when people can actually hold and read a copy for themselves.