I'm Just Gonna Take a Minute...

Hey Everyone I haven't updated the page in a bit. Things have gotten hectic with the day job and life has just gotten in the way of the fun, creative stuff. But things are moving along, slowly.

Still waiting on word to hear if the Amulet of Isanove has been picked up from anywhere. The publisher I really want to publish this book is still reviewing it, so hopefully that is a good sign. In the meantime I've been slowly working on 3 other projects including working on a pitch with the cover artist for Amulet, Greig Rapson. He and I have a kernel of an idea and have slowly been developing it, although both of our schedules have been hectic lately. However he did send me some rough character sketches and they are all kinds of awesome, so I am hoping we can work on it more soon.

Found an artist to hopefully work on a story of mine called "Rosewood" that I started last year and am also developing a new story with a fantastic artist named Jez Tuya.

So things are in the works and I am slowly moving forward, the past month or so has been a bit more hectic than usual, but I am hoping to get back to it soon. Taking my first vacation in 5 years in the middle of June to see my wife's sister and our niece in California. We are taking her and my daughter to Disney for the first time and I am really excited. Hopefully the break will recharge my batteries a bit.

I hope everyone is doing well.

-jesse

ECCC Wrap-Up

This post is a bit overdue, but I am back from Seattle and had a great time at the Emerald City Comic Con. I was able to pitch the book to quite a few publishers and they seemed receptive. I also showed the book around with a lot of other creators I respect who were at the con like Steve Niles, Mitch Gerads, Jason Howard, Kurtis Wiebe, Jim Zub and a ton more. Everyone had really nice things to say about the book, which is great news. If they felt I had put together a professional looking package, that gives me hope a publisher will feel the same way.

Now comes the hard part: WAITING!

It totally sucks, but it's part of the gig. In fact the publisher I want more than anything in the world to publish this book, IS LOOKING AT IT RIGHT NOW! It's so very exciting and terrifying at the same time. Just waiting for the email that says yes or no.

In the meantime I've also sent the book off to book agents, trying to get representation so they can pitch to book publishers if comic companies pass. So we'll see what happens. Trying to cast a wide net, so we catch something. I really want to see this book come to life.

So all in all, ECCC was a fantastic time. Met a lot of really great people and got to spend the weekend with my dad which was great. He came out, went to his first comic convention and didn't hate it. Then we spent an extra day in Seattle seeing the town and got lucky enough that one of my favorite singer/songwriters was in town so we caught the show. It was a great weekend and hopefully I can go again next year, this time as publisher author.

-jesse

Pitch is Complete!

ECCC HERE WE COME!!!! So excited to finally be able to say, the pitch is complete. The final files will be uploaded to the printer today and this bad boy is ready to shop at Emerald City Comic Con NEXT WEEKEND! The pitch has turned out great. Hannah's pages are so incredible, every time I see them I am in complete awe. She really brought a life to these characters I couldn't have imagined. Thomas's letters and design are great. If anyone out there thinks that lettering isn't important to a book, you could not be more wrong. Proper lettering is so vital to a book and Thomas has done a knockout job with this pitch. And Greig came on last minute and did a killer cover and even a design of the amulet to use in the pitch book. The whole team has been amazing! It's been so much fun putting this together.

I am so excited to share this with people and also very nervous. Everyone has worked so hard on this, I really hope someone at ECCC takes notice. We'd really love the chance to tell the rest of this story. I'll do an update from the con after next weekend and see if I have any good news to share. For now, check out the awesome cover below as well as our logline:

The Kingdom of Roan is at war.  Both sides vie desperately to awaken the last dragon to fight for them, a lost relic whose ancestors were living weapons of mass destruction long uninterested in human affairs.  Whoever controls the dragon will win the war, and the secret to bringing it over lies with two ordinary teenagers who have no idea how important they've just become.

SAGA!

One of the comics I've been most anticipating is SAGA from Brian K. Vaughn and Fiona Staples. Brian is responsible for my current obsession with comics. I first picked up Pride of Baghdad a couple of years ago and was so blown away I had to read everything he wrote. So I tracked down Y: The Last Man, which lead me to Ex Machina, which lead me to The Walking Dead and Scalped and so on and so on until I had turned into a full blown comics fan, something I had never been my entire life. Fiona has been one of my favorite artists recently. Her work on North 40, Mystery Society and others has just floored me. Her art is unreal and the thought of her teaming up with BKV, it was a dream come true.

I downloaded it on my iPad today because I don't know when I'll actually get into a shop to pick up my copy and I just couldn't wait anymore. Let me tell you it was fantastic. Great story, art was amazing and I'm excited to see where this goes. Also it was about 44 pages and only cost $2.99. That's a pretty amazing price and kudos to Image for making that happen. There is another new book from Oni Press I wanted to try, but they are asking $3.99 for 24 pages. Just another thing that makes SAGA so special. If you somehow missed it, I highly suggest picking up a copy. Can't wait for more!

-jesse

Creator Owned Day

Yesterday was Creator Owned Day across the web and tons of people got involved on Twitter, trying to raise awareness to Creator Owned Books. Since I basically only read creator owned books, I feel like EVERYDAY is creator owned day, but it's awesome seeing people make a push for it. I think we need to see more creator owned books getting made and less of a reliance on the Big 2. I do think there are some great books out there right now from the Big 2 (Synder's new Batman run is pretty great) but I would just love to see books like Green Wake or Mystery Society sell as many copies as Animal Man or one of the 100 Wolverine books on the shelf. The sad fact is most creator owned books don't sell well, which is why most don't continue. If it hadn't been for a creator owned book called Pride of Baghdad, I never would have gotten into comics. And if it hadn't been for creator owned books like Y: The Last Man, The Walking Dead, Scalped and DMZ, I probably wouldn't have stayed reading comics. It's only been recently that I've started to branch out and read some of the Big 2 stuff and the new DC 52 is great because of the few books I've tried, I don't feel so overwhelmed not knowing years upon years of back stories and major events. But for me, creator owned books is where it's at. I think they are telling some of the most interesting stories out there and I think if people knew that comics was more than superheroes, they might be more willing to give them a try.

So yesterday on Creator Owned Day I did not read a Creator Owned Book, instead I spent my time last night working on CREATING my own book. As you well know, Hannah and I are working on a new pitch which we are hoping to have ready to pitch for either Emerald City or c2e2 in a few weeks. Last night I sat down and plotted out EVERY page for ALL SEVEN ISSUES we are hoping to get the chance to tell. This way if the book gets picked up, it will make the writing process that much easier, because I have a detailed outline of what should happen on every page. Not to say things won't change, but this just really helps me out a ton when it comes to scripting.

So you can check out the pic below and keep it locked here. I will be sharing more from the pitch as it gets finished. Hoping to see cover roughs from Greig tonight. Very exciting stuff.

jesse

Cover Artist

After Hannah completed the pitch pages she's been tied up with other work, so we've been looking for someone to do the pitch for the cover. Finally that search is over and we are happy to announce that Greig Rapson will be handling the cover. Greig is an amazing artist, Hannah and I have both been fans of his art for sometime now. Turns out Greig actually knew Hannah's work and had seen the pitch pages before I got in touch with him. It's awesome how small the world can be sometimes. See below for a couple of his awesome pieces and stay tuned for his cover. If you'd like to see more of his work check his blog HERE or you can follow him on twitter @greigrapson[gallery link="file" columns="5"]

Pitch Progress

Thomas finished the first round of lettering for the pitch pages and they turned out great. We still have some minor tweaking to do, but the pitch is getting closer to being finished. Very excited by how this is all turning out. Hannah, Thomas and I are all really committed to making this pitch the absolute best it can be, so we are really making sure every detail is correct. For example one thing we've been trying to decide is the look of the bubbles. Thomas has done them two ways WITH an outline or WITHOUT an outline. I've shared these pages with some friends and it's been a pretty even split between which way people prefer. I guess it's really all about personal preference. Feel free to way in with your thoughts.

writejessewrite at gmail dot com

-jesse

Image

Riley Rossmo

I only started reading comics a few years ago but one of the things that made me fall in love with them is how amazing the people are who are involved in comics. Shop owners, fans, creators, just about everyone I've ever met has always been so nice and welcoming to new people and so easy to talk to. One of these examples is one of my favorite artists, a man named Riley Rossmo. Riley has drawn a lot of books for Image that I really love. Proof, Cowboy Ninja Viking, Green Wake and his latest effort which comes out in March, Rebel Blood. I've had the pleasure of talking with Riley over twitter for the last year or so and he's always been such a nice guy, actually responds to messages (some creators don't) and has been very encouraging and positive when I've shown him stuff from the pitch Hannah and I are working on. It's awesome to have someone you totally respect as a creator dig on something you're working on. I had seen a tweet where he said he loved dragons or medieval kind of stuff and told him the door was always open to him doing a cover or pinup or something for our book if he was so inclined. I knew he was swamped with a lot of projects so I figured he wouldn't have the time.

However, this morning I got the most amazing email in my inbox. A beautiful dragon design from Mr. Rossmo. Feast your eyes on it's goodness below! To see more of Riley's books, check out his website or follow him on Twitter: @rileyrossmo1

And please do yourself a favor, if you haven't read Green Wake, check out the trades. The final issue of the series comes out soon so you can catch up with the trades. It's an amazing book. Also, his new series Rebel Blood comes out in March. For now I believe it is a 4 issue mini-series (I could be wrong and apologize if I am) but I've read the first issue and it's great!

Have a great weekend!

-jesse

Pitch Pages Finished

Hey Everyone

Sorry the posts have been few and far between. The day job has been killing me and I am sure Hannah as well. However we've been plugging away on the pitch pages for the dragon story and I am happy to say that the 10 preview pages have been completed by Hannah. She did a great job with them.

Thomas Mauer, our fantastic book designer and letter guru is working on the letters now. So we are getting that much closer to this pitch being wrapped up and ready to go off to publishers.

I don't want to share too much yet until we have the project a little more final but I will share more as we get closer. I don't really believe that everything has to be so secret. In the meantime check out the final splash page to our pitch and the first chapter of the book. This is one of my favorite pages. Enjoy!

-jesseImage

Gia's Book is Finished!

So excited that Gia's book is finished. Mike Roll killed the book, knocked it so far out of the park I can't believe it. This turned out so much better than I could ever have hoped for. Everyone loved it when I gave it to her for her first birthday on Jan 13th. She doesn't understand the book yet, but I know she'll appreciate it as she gets older. A big thanks to Jason and John for doing some pinups for the book, they turned out great. Check out the final book below.

Enjoy!

jesse

P.S. - I know there is one small typo which I will have fixed.

To view please click HERE.

Love Getting Art In My Email!

If any writers happen to swing by here, I'm sure you'll all agree with me when I say there's not much better than getting new art pages in your inbox. It's one of the most exciting things about the process of creating comics. I love the process of bouncing off ideas, brainstorming, writing, but that moment when you see that page and your idea has come to life, wow there just are no words for it. I feel like a kid on Christmas everytime. It never gets old. I can only imagine how awesome it must be to be one of these huge creators working on multiple projects who is always getting pages in. This week I got an amazing Page 8 (of our 10 page pitch) from Hannah. She is doing a great job and we are getting that much closer to the end. I am very excited for Page 10, it will be a beautiful splash page and the one I've been most excited to see since we started this. Then Thomas will begin lettering and designing the pitch.

I also got a pinup from my good friend Jason Gurley for the book I am doing for Gia's birthday. It's a really cool image of Gia in her Bear costume floating over some trees, hanging on to some balloons. I'll post it soon enough. Also for Gia's book, artist Mike Roll sent over some rough sketches of a handful of pages and they look awesome. I am so excited to see this come to life and I know this is going to be a special thing for my daughter. Once we get some more pages completed I'll put some more art up here.

I've also started working on a potential new pitch with a new artist. We are taking an old idea from the Saint James days and going to try and re-work it a bit. Waiting for character designs to make sure the artist is the right fit and then we'll go from there.

If there are any artists dropping by, I am always interested in working with new people. I have a few ideas that need artists but I also really loving brainstorming and coming up with ideas, so feel free to hit me up if you're interested in working on a project.

I hope you all have a great weekend!

-jesse

writejessewrite at gmail dot com

Children's Book

Hey Everyone Sorry for the lack of posts. Hannah and I have been busy working on the dragon pitch. Only a few more pages to go. Once we get some more things finished, I'll post some more art here, but trust me when I say, Hannah is killing these pages. I've gotten great feedback from quite a few pro artists I really respect which is great. Just hope my writing doesn't ruin the whole thing.

The other thing I've been working on is a kids book. Not just any kids book, but a very special kids book. My daughter is turning 1 in January and I wanted to give her a special present, something she could keep forever, so I decided to write a little book for her and have it printed. After a long time looking for an artist I was putting away some comics in my longbox and came across an old comic I picked up at a con a couple of years ago called "Apooka, The World's Most Adorable Zombie". It's a fun little read and I loved the art by Mike Roll, so I got in touch and he came aboard to do the art.

I am really excited for this. Originally I was going to do a generic story that could be read by anyone, but as I sat down to write it it started becoming clear that the story need to be very personal about Gia. The script ended up being sort of a poem that details her first year of life. Right after Gia was born, one day in the hospital I was holding her while she was sleeping and for whatever reason it just slipped out, but I called her my Gia Bear. My wife thought it was cute and it stuck. From that point on we called her Gia Bear, which eventually became just Bear. At one point we called her Bear more than Gia and we decided that wasn't the best idea. We didn't want her thinking her name was actually Bear. For Halloween this year my mom made a Bear costume for her, so I thought the character in the book should be her in her Bear outfit.

Attached are some of the character designs Mike sent over, which look really great along with some of the reference photos I sent of Gia for comparison. I am really excited to see what Mike comes up with for these pages and can't wait to have this completed. I think this is going to be something she'll enjoy for many years. I'll post the finished version of the book up here once it's finished so everyone can see. I've also asked some of my other artist friends if they would be willing to contribute a sketch or drawing to the book, giving their take on Gia and her birthday. If you're an artist and interested in contributing a drawing, the book will be 9X7, FC. Send me an email and let me know. writejessewrite at gmail dot com

-jesse

Page 1 Finished

See below for the amazing Page 1, along with the original rough layout. Hannah really knocked this out of the park and I can't wait to see the rest of the pages. She is doing some amazing work and I'm really excited to see this pitch come together Back to writing!

-jesse

Script is Locked!

Hey Everyone I am excited to say that the script has been locked and we are moving forward on the pitch. Everyone is really happy with the 10 pages we'll be putting together for the pitch and I for one am really excited to see this come to life. Hannah spent last week working on the layouts for the pages and they look great. Check out the rough for Page 1 below. This is one page in particular I am really excited about seeing fully drawn. I think the first wide shot will look pretty sweet and I'm loving what she did with the temple.

I'll post the final page once it's finished so you can see the comparison. But for now enjoy!

-jesse

Art Update!

Hey Everyone I want to try and keep this page updated as much as possible, so I thought I would share a test page from the pitch I am currently working on. If you've looked at Hannah's blog, she has a really amazing style and we've been experimenting with a couple of different styles for the look of the book. She has what she calls a "line" style and a "no line" style. She did the first test page in the "line style" and it looked great, but the page was a little dark and it felt like something was missing. So she did the page again in the "no line" style and all I can say is WOW! The new page is amazing and I am really excited to start working on the actual pitch pages. So check it out for yourselves below. The original page is on the left and the new page is on the right.

Hope you enjoy!

-jesse

Pitch in Progress

Still plugging away at the new pitch with Hannah. Finished another draft of the script for the 9 pages we'll pitch last night and just waiting to hear from a few people if I've nailed it on this pass so we can start getting the pages drawn. I think this new version is much better than previous drafts, so I am confident we'll be starting drawing soon. I really can't wait to see Hannah bring these pages to life. Also we just brought the incredible Thomas Mauer on board to do design and letters. Thomas is the fantastic letterer for a bunch of Image books right now, including two of my favorites, Gladstone's School for World Conquerors & Graveyard of Empires among many other titles. You can check out his work here. I can't wait to see what kind of design he comes up with for the pitch. We also need a title. As I said the story is about dragons and the title that popped into my head that sparked the idea for the story was "The Last Dragon", but this has been used in a film, book and also another comic book Dark Horse put out this last week. So we need something new and different since our story is nothing like these other stories.

Hannah has been working on a test page, trying out some different styles for the art and I think this latest style is the one we'll go with. Really loving the way this panel has turned out.

Hannah should be finishing up this test page in the next day or so and once we lock the style of art as well as the script, we are off to the races. I'll keep you posted throughout the process.

-jesse

Casey at the Bat - With a twist

Hey Everyone. So I thought I'd share a script I wrote last year. Viper Comics had a writing contest and you had to write a 5 page story about an established character, but if I remember it correctly they wanted to see this character (or characters) in a different type of situation than they are normally in. Unlike a lot of aspiring comic book writers, right now I have no desire to write Marvel or DC characters. I much prefer coming up with my own stories and creating something original. But in this situation, I was forced to use an existing character. I wasn't sure what to do and thought about it for some time and then it hit me. I've been a big fan of the story "Casey at the Bat" since I was a kid. I loved the cartoon they showed when I was younger, it's just a cool story. To me, Superman immediately stuck out as being the perfect "Casey", so I decided to do a spin on the poem pitting a Marvel team vs. a DC team with Superman playing the part of Casey.

I did not win the contest, obviously, but I was pretty happy with my script and thought it would be a fun thing to actually see come to life. So I've been casually looking for an artist for this but have had no such luck as of yet. So I figured I'd at least put my script out in the world if nothing else just to share the idea and maybe get some feedback on the script. If any artist reads this and would be interested in drawing it, let me know. writejessewrite at gmail dot com

So here is the script. I hope you all enjoy!

-jesse

See the finished comic HERE.

Old Pitch

Thought I'd share some of the art from a pitch I did last year with Patric Reynolds and letters by the incredible Jeff Powell. Jeff has done book design and lettering for just about everyone but I first noticed his work on Olympus from Image, his lettering on that book was outstanding. Patric is currently doing work for Dark Horse. He did an Abe Sapien one shot, a Serenity one shot and just completed the Let Me In adaptation. Patric is an amazing artist and during some time in-between projects last year, he was kind enough to do these pages. Sadly we couldn't get anyone to bite. [gallery]

The story is called "Blinded" and was to be a three issue mini-series. The story centers on a man named David White who has protected the city for the last 25 years as the superhero, The Blue Bomber. David is retiring and being honored at a banquet for his service to the city. Everyone who is everyone is at this banquet and during his acceptance speech something in David snaps and he uses his powers to take the entire room hostage. The three issues deal with finding out what caused David to turn on the people he's spent his life protecting while the police to try to figure out to diffuse the situation and ensure no one gets hurt in the process.

Patric's art on these pages was everything I had hoped for with this series, however looking back on it now, I think we chose the wrong 5 pages to present. These five pages really make the book like your standard superhero book when that couldn't be farther from the truth. Anyone who knows me knows that I don't read many super hero books. My pull list hardly ever has anything from Marvel or DC in it. As a writer, right now I really have no desire to ever write those kind of books, that's not my goal in comics. I would only do a book about superheroes if I could do something different and I thought I did something a little different with Blinded.

One of my favorite writers is Aaron Sorkin. Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip remains one of my ALL TIME favorite TV shows. After watching that I got hooked on the West Wing and then hooked on Sportsnight and Blinded has something in common with all three of these shows. While all three shows were about a specific subject matter (politics, late night sketch comedy, sports) that's not what those shows were about. And while Blinded has superheroes in it, it's not a superhero book. In fact the few pages we pitched are about the only pages in the entire three issues that actual show him doing any superhero kind of stuff.

To me, Blinded is the struggle of a man who's gone through a horrific event in his life and is trying to deal with it. This man just happens to have super powers. These pages are a flash back to one example of him doing his job (yes in this world, being a hero is a job. He has a desk, he works for the city and he has weekends off...) because I wanted to show people what that was like for him, but the story really is about who David is as a person and being a hero is part of what makes David who he is, so we had to show some of that.

So looking back on it, I think we should have chosen different pages to pitch because I don't think the true nature of Blinded came across in the pitch. Patric suggested the pages because they were the few pages in Issue #1 that actually had some action. But you live and you learn.

However working with Patric on these pages, seeing him bring this story to life, even the very short life it had has been one of the most fun times I've ever had as a writer so far and I can't thank him enough for taking time out of his crazy busy schedule to do this. It means more to me than I think he knows.

We were rejected by my first choice publisher, but another major publisher said they really liked the art and the writing, they just don't publish superhero books.

Who knows maybe one day we can find a way to bring this story to life?

-jesse

See the pitch pages HERE.

New Project

I am working on a new comic book pitch with a fantastic artist named Hannah Christenson. All I can tell you about the story now is that it has to do with dragons. See below for some sketches she's been working on and stay tuned for more info. If you want to see more of Hannah's amazing work, check out her blog. [gallery]

Hello world!

Thanks for stopping by. I'll update this blog from time to time with updates on my writing projects. I'm mostly working on some comic book pitches right now. Also a couple of years ago I started a comic book company with two of good friends called Saint James. If you're interested in what we worked on please visit: www.WhoisSaintJames.com -jesse