Let’s Connect at WonderCon!

I’m a panelist for “Full-Time Creative Work on a Part-Time Schedule” Sunday at 3:30 pm in room 213. If you’re going to be at WonderCon Sunday, stop on by and say hello. Schedule link: http://sched.co/A6tw

The Ronin #1.5?

Kickstarter has recently launched something called an “All In 1” campaign. It’s a 1-week Kickstarter campaign designed for short-term fundraising. Click here to read all about it.

Team Ronin is already planning a Kickstarter campaign for The Ronin #2, but I want to see if there’s demand for a 1-week in-between campaign for something I am calling The Ronin 1.5 that would help speed up production on The Ronin #2.

Go to LionheartComics.com/survey to let me know what you think.

 

Sketch Cards are in! (Pictures)

Here they are. The hands in the picture are Sean‘s. He handled the design and ordering. The Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa posters should be delivered this week.


The Ronin #1 Variant Cover

Behold! This is the Jimbo Salgado variant cover, colored by Team Ronin colorist Jeremy Shepherd. This is amazing! If you pledged $10 or above during our Kickstarter campaign you will either choose which cover you want to receive, or you will get two books, one of each cover. However, all backers over $10 will get this amazing cover as a sketch card. Check it out and tell me what you think on social media.

The Ronin #1 Variant Cover with art by Jimbo Salgado and Color by Jeremy Shepherd

The Ronin #1 Variant Cover by Jimbo Salgado

Check out the Jimbo Salgado variant cover just received this morning. It has been sent for color, but you can see the linework here now.

What do you think!?

Gary Shipman’s Awesome Sketch Card Design and Time-Lapse Video

Hello everyone!

I wanted to share with you the custom sketch card reward from the $6,000 stretch goal. This piece was created by artist Gary Shipman, and is his take on The Ronin character. By hitting our stretch goal, backers at $10 level and above will receive three sketch cards and this is one design.

Check out this awesome time-lapse video of its creation below and follow Gary on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/GaryShipmanArt!

Kickstarter Success!

Our Kickstarter was successfully funded on January 8th! Thank you again to everyone that supported us here on Kickstarter. It was a great experience and now that we have obliterated our original goal, it’s time to get busy. But first, we have to wait.

Kickstarter takes about two weeks to get us the funds. In the meantime we are waiting on the official Team Ronin cover to be colored, and, since we hit our $7,000 stretch goal, we have artist Jimbo Salgado doing a variant cover! Both covers should be complete and both versions of the book finalized before the Kickstarter funds are released.

Backers will be getting your reward surveys within the next few days to confirm the details of your rewards (t-shirt sizes, cover choices) and how they’ll want your name to appear on the Thank You page of the book.

Thank you for being a part of this. I will have a lot of updates for you in the next few days so stay tuned.

Comic Frontline Interview!

Check out this awesome interview from Comic Frontline here. Then, check us out on Kickstarter and support us if you like what you see.

Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa Endorses The Ronin – New Rewards on Kickstarter!

Remember when I said that my friend and I were talking about bad guys and that my friend recommended that I read The Ronin? Well, that friend just happens to be world famous actor Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa!

Known for a variety of films including The Last Emperor, Showdown in Little Tokyo, Rising Sun, and Planet of the Apes, most comic book fans immediately recognize him as Shang Tsung from Mortal Kombat! Right now he’s starring as Trade Minister Nobusuke Tagomi on Amazon’s hit series The Man in the High Castle!

How we met and how Cary got involved is a long story (which you can hear if you click here and listen to the podcast where I first announced his involvement) but Mr. Tagawa has been a friend and advisor to me throughout this process of creating The Ronin. He is the one who turned me on to The Ronin in the first place and now that we’re on Kickstarter he wants to help.

So, I’ve added two special Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa reward levels for backers of The Ronin on Kickstarter. Backers who pledge at the new Tachi or “Great Sword” level will receive all of the rewards for previous levels, PLUS, an 11×17 poster of Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa as The Ronin character, signed by Mr. Tagawa himself!  Backers who pledge at the new Tetsubo (Mace or Club) level will receive a signed, 6×9 version of the poster. Here’s a preview of the poster with art by Gian Carlo Bernal and colors by Jeremy Shepherd.

 

Spread the word and make sure that your reward level qualifies you for this limited edition, signed poster of Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa! Thanks for reading.

Click here to support us on Kickstarter!

Diversity in Comics and the Ronin on Kickstarter

I am a storyteller. Whether it’s in the church, on a sales call at my day job, or writing comics, I love to tell stories that make people think and that call people to action. This endeavor with The Ronin is no different. The Ronin also has a lot going for it in terms of diversity. In a time where we crave diversity in comics and in film, The Ronin has something for everyone. What do I mean?

  • The Ronin is based on a Zen myth.
  • The Ronin is unapologetically Japanese.
  • The Ronin was written by a gay man and LGBT rights activist.
  • The Ronin comic book is being written by a black man.
  • The Ronin comic book is created by a diverse team of artists from all over the world.

 

The Ronin is based on a Zen myth, but it is also a Zen Koan. A Koan is defined on Wikipedia as “a story, dialogue, question, or statement, which is used in Zen practice to provoke the ‘great doubt’ and test a student’s progress in Zen practice.” Yes there is a lot of action in The Ronin and that’s great, but it is thought provoking as well, and hopefully will make you think. It’s a phenomenal story with a lot of action, but the story is also about redemption, and I hope that readers will think and grow in reading it.

The Ronin, though written by a white man, is unapologetically Japanese. It is clear that the author William Dale Jennings spent significant time learning and studying the culture. The characters are all Japanese, the story takes place in Japan, and in this day and age of whitewashing characters in comics and film, that to me is refreshing.

 

 

What about The author Dale Jennings was a gay man at a time when being gay was literally illegal. He was an early member of the Mattachine Society. From Wikipedia:

The society sought to gain acceptance through greater communication between homosexuals and heterosexuals… and proclaimed homosexuals to be one of the largest minorities in America.

In the spring of 1952 Jennings was arrested for allegedly soliciting a police officer in a toilet in Westlake Park, now known as MacArthur Park. The trial that took place drew national attention to the Mattachine Society and membership increased drastically due to the decision of the Mattachine Society to help contest the charges brought against Jennings. William Dale Jennings was one of the first homosexual men to contest charges such as this one. Most homosexuals at the time pleaded guilty so as not to be publicly scrutinized. His decision to fight back was a pivotal point in the movement.

Say what you want about homosexuality. As a pastor, I have heard it all. But as a follower of Christ, I am called to love my neighbor first, so whatever your personal position, keep it to yourself. I love everyone and will accept you as you regardless of lifestyle, ethnicity, education, political affiliation, etc. With that out of the way let me say that William Dale Jennings was the man! This was 1952! To stand up and fight for his rights and his identity as a gay man was (and sometimes still is) groundbreaking.

 

The Ronin is being adapted to comic book format by me, Chris Dickens, and I am a black man. This doesn’t sound like a big deal but in a day and age where the average comic book fan cannot name 7 black comic book characters, let alone black comic book writers or creators, this is important. The black voice is largely absent from the comics spectrum, but I am blessed to be a part of this black nerd (or blerd) community, and to be doing something I love which is writing comics. Oh, did you think I was exaggerating about the not being able to name 7 black comic book characters? Watch this:

Finally, Team Ronin is diverse. You have a black writer, a white colorist and letterer in Jeremy Shepherd and Sean Glumace respectively, and our artist Gian Carlo Bernal lives and works in the Philippines. So when you read this comic, you’re reading work and inspiration from

So when you read this comic, you’re reading work and inspiration from Japan, from the LGBT community, from a black nerd, the white creative community, and the Philippines. To me, that is impressive and important. All creative teams should be so diverse.

So when you support the Ronin, you’re supporting diversity in comics. I hope that explains my multiple hashtags and one of the many reasons I am excited about this book and this Kickstarter campaign. If you haven’t already, check out The Ronin on Kickstarter by clicking here, and if you like what you see, support us with a donation. Thanks for reading!