I’m Back

screen-shot-2016-11-26-at-9-29-47-am

Back in October, I posted a blog stating that I had stopped making comics. I felt that I needed to step away from comics because they “demanded a lot of my time, energy, and money and I just can’t spare that time, energy, and money anymore”. As true as that statement was and in some ways still is, I have found that I am not as busy as perhaps I thought I was, and that I have really missed making comics. So… I’m back.

Don’t get me wrong. My attitude toward making comics has definitely changed. However, rather than saying that I stopped making comics, I think that perhaps a more accurate statement would be that I stopped making comics for profit, or that I have stopped pursuing comics as a career. It’s no secret that I got into comics as a means to a specific Hollywood end, but I have grown to love and cherish comics as an artform and to enjoy making comics simply for the sake of telling the story. So, rather than chasing a Hollywood dream or trying to turn it into a career, I am going to shift my motivation and intent, and continue to make comics simply for the joy of storytelling.

I have two amazing stories that I want to share with the world in The Ronin and Vigilante Project, and I think that it’s high time that I got back to them. Besides, does anything really stay dead in comics?

death-of-superman

So what does all this mean? It means that I have something up my sleeve of course. But rather than talking about it, I am going to just do it. Stay tuned and be ready for something new December 9th.

Self-Publishing… Again

I want as many people as possible to read my work. When it comes to comics, that typically means getting into comic book stores. If you don’t know how comic book stores work, the majority of them order their books from a distributor called Diamond. In most cases, if your book is not available through Diamond, comics stores won’t carry it.

There is the rare store owner that has an independent or small press section for self-publishing folk like myself, but the reach is small and the number of readers is usually modest. Conventions, webcomics, and comiXology submit have helped, but for the most part, the readership is modest. How do you get into comic book stores? You have to ink a deal with one of the publishers/distributors.

unit-share

 

So how do you get with Diamond? You can submit your work directly to Diamond and they  will vote and decide if your work is good enough for them to carry it in the rarely seen (and even more rarely ordered from) Independent section of Previews, their catalog. Or, the other way is to ink a deal with one of the established publishers/distributors that distribute through Diamond such as Image Comics, Dark Horse, IDW, etc.

In the past, I have submitted Vigilante Project (VP) to these publishers/distributors and they passed. No big deal. I know that I made some mistakes with VP, and even though it hurt, I understood. However, this time around with The Ronin, I figured it would be different. I honestly believe that The Ronin is as good of not better than 95% of the comics on shelves right now, so I figured it’d be a no brainer for one of these publishers/distributors to pick it up. So at Comic Con, I met and spoke with quite a few publishers and some were very interested. However, this week I got the final “no” I was dreading from the publisher that I wanted most. The other two I spoke with didn’t even respond (which means no).

So what now?

myself

 

Self-publishing is something that I am very familiar with. All five Vigilante Project books were self-published and we did pretty darn good for a little indie book that could. However, The Ronin is a different animal. It’s an adaptation of a novel and as such I have to deal with rights, minimum print runs, and more. I’ve already spent a pretty penny on Ronin and I hesitate to spend more without getting some input from the marketplace.

So, it looks like I am headed back to Kickstarter to get some help funding book one of The Ronin. If you recall, we did two Kickstarters to get VP printed and out to the masses. Once funded, I’ll get The Ronin on Amazon and comiXology, the people will love it, and the sales will be enough for us to keep going. But it all starts with Kickstarter… again.

kickstarter

 

If you’re reading this, check out the preview of my Kickstarter page here and let me know what you think. It’s not ready to go yet. I am waiting on GC to finish a new t-shirt design reward and then I will record the video for it. But check out the content and help me out of you see something that I should change, or something that I could make better. Thanks.

Stay Vigilant!

 

 

 

ernie

I couldn’t decide between Ernie or Thanos, so here’s Ernie.

Nerd-Love

I am ridiculously busy these days with work, school, and my family, so it is rare that I get to watch TV uninterrupted. However, when Stranger Things debuted on Netflix (much like when Pokemon Go launched) I sensed a disturbance in the force, and I knew that I had to see what was up. No spoilers please as I have only watched the first two episodes, but I am loving it so far. It reminds me a lot of growing up with my friends, playing Rifts, D&D, Ninjas and Superspies, Heroes Unlimited, and more. It reminded me of a screenplay that I wrote a few years back called Operation: Party Pooper.

 

Operation Party Pooper Logo

 

I don’t know how Stranger Things ends, but I do know that the appeal is in the casting and the relationships and banter between characters, and you get that with Operation: Party Pooper as well. Geek culture is currently more popular than ever, and celebrating friendships never goes out of style.  If you click the link, you can read about the story, and you can read the actual screenplay by clicking the link at the bottom of the page. So if you’re looking for the next Stranger Things, this could be it.

 

Comic Con Recap

 

IamChrisDickens 2016 Comic Con recap photo - Chris Dickens

 

San Diego Comic Con was a lot of fun. I made some great connections for The Ronin and ran into a lot of good friends. Our panel was a success and I met a lot of people looking to take their projects to the next level. If you came to the panel and want to speak with me for any reason, contact me and I will be happy to help you in any way I can. I am already looking forward to next year. I hope to have some new updated information for you soon. Until then, stay vigilant!

Comic-Con!

San_Diego_Comic-Con_International_logo.svg

Ladies and gentlemen, It’s that time of year again!!! After missing last year for my friend’s wedding, yours truly will be back on panel at San Diego Comic-Con helping my fellow creatives improve their work. The panel is called Full-Time Creative Work on a Part-Time Schedule. The panel will be held on Sunday, July 24 from 4-5pm in Room 24ABC. It’s always informative, and always a lot of fun. So if you or someone you know will be at ‪#‎SDCC‬ Sunday afternoon tell them to stop by. I’ll have a special surprise for them. Click here to add our panel to your schedule.

 

 

Logline

loglines-300x171

What is a Logline?

“A logline is a one (or occasionally two) sentence description that boils the script down to its essential dramatic narrative in as succinct a manner as possible.” – Raindance.org

So why am I posting about it? Well in yesterday’s post I wrote about wanting to share more of the story with you, the readers. The trick is sharing parts of the story to get and keep you interested, without giving too much away. So today I am sharing my personal logline for the Ronin. I know that it isn’t a script or a film (maybe it will be someday), but I still wanted to have a one-sentence summary to share with my readers, as well as potential publishers/distributors.

My Logline

A ruthless Ronin (masterless samurai) causes death and destruction everywhere he goes before finally seeing the error of his ways, but his new life of service is interrupted when a victim turned avenger tracks him down for a final duel.

So What?

So we know from yesterday that I love stories of redemption and that the Ronin character grows and changes throughout the story, but now we know that from the logline that the Ronin tries to turn to a life of service. However, this evolution is halted and challenged by a former victim that tracks the Ronin down to get revenge.

The question is, what happens when the victim finds the Ronin? What did the Ronin do to make this guy dedicate his life to finding and killing him? What could have made the Ronin turn from a life of despicable selfishness to an attempted life of service? What kind of service? There are so many questions that I hope that despite revealing more about the premise, you the reader are still excited to take the journey with the characters.

Thank you for reading. Stay Vigilant!

The Journey

I spoke with a good friend recently and he gave some tough love in the form of constructive criticism about “The Ronin“. In discussing T-shirt designs for my upcoming Kickstarter campaign, he said these words: “What sets it apart from everything else we’ve seen in this genre?” I came back with some details about the story that I feel make it an epic, and then my friend (let’s call him D) followed up with this zinger: “My only interest in the story so far is in supporting your work.”

slap

It felt kind of like this.

That one hurt. Now I know that D wasn’t saying this to hurt me, he was saying it to help me. At the time all that I could muster was a pretty pitiful: “Well, I appreciate that.”

jon snow pout

I’m pretty sure that I made this face too.

The point of all this is that D woke me up. In an effort to protect some of the juicier elements of the story, I haven’t done a good job of explaining what makes it different or makes it so amazing! Now at this point I have two options: I can type up a super long post detailing what I think is so great about “The Ronin” and the story, or I can show you in our work. I am choosing to show you why this story is so amazing by making each and every issue the best that it can be, but I am also making a change in how I present it starting right now.

In the Beginning

Ronin Silhouette

Art by Team Ronin

I absolutely LOVE stories of change, growth, and/or redemption. There is nothing like watching a character change in front of your eyes and “The Ronin” has two amazing characters that evolve and morph as the years pass. The first is the Ronin character himself whom I think is the ultimate bad guy character. Whether it’s theft, murder, sexual assault, arson, or just plain menacing, the Ronin does what he wants, when he wants, and how he wants with little resistance and seemingly zero consequences. There is absolutely no remorse and nothing particularly redeeming about him when the story begins.

Now even if you are one of those people that enjoys rooting for the bad guy, at some point it gets a little boring. “If this guy is so big and bad” you might be thinking, “what’s the point of just reading about a guy kicking butt and taking names?” Because something changes in the Ronin that causes him to see and to do things differently. Remember, this guy is like a 12th century Darth Vader and there’s no Luke in sight, so you’re probably wondering what could possibly happen to change a character like this? Well, you’ll have to read the book. Just know that something happens that gives him pause and sets our “villain”on a different path. Neither the Ronin character or the reader know exactly where this path will lead, but it’s a heck of a journey!

samurai vader

A 12th Century Darth Vader. Who knew?

The second character that we see grow and change throughout the book is a victim of the Ronin that seeks revenge. Now before you classify this with every B movie on Netflix, let me just say that this is not your typical avenger. This person’s life is full of pain and sorrow, and he becomes single-minded in his quest to kill the Ronin. At this point things sound pretty straightforward, right? Wrong! This is just the beginning.

They say that life is a journey. There are millions of cliches, stories, song, films, and yes comics about “the journey” but this story really is about two men on a collision course, and how they each change and grow in different ways. If you recall from my Game Plan post, “the narrative is presented out of sequence, structured around… distinct but interrelated storylines” so you’ll read about characters and events that may seem unrelated, but play an important role in the overall story. Each piece of the journey is revealed through different short stories that all culminate in one outstanding climax.

“The Ronin” is an epic in every way. I hope that this explains a bit more about the story itself without giving it all away. Does it sound like something you’d be in to? I hope so. Thank you for reading. Stay Vigilant!

We’re back?

So, production has started up again on The Ronin. As you probably remember, we were waiting for contracts and the official word to move forward from the publisher, and then at the 11th hour we were thrown a curve ball that made me shut things down.

The Ronin by Chris Dickens © Lionheart Comics

“Grand Opening, Grand Closing” – Jay-Z

But, I couldn’t stay away. After months with no word, I recently reached out to the folks over at Tuttle Publishing and we are once again trying to finalize the deal. I should know something next week. In the meantime, Gian Carlo and Jeremy are working hard cranking out pages. Below is a brand new page from Book Two. In this page, two of the boys discuss their aspiration to become samurai while working in the fields. They are interrupted by a naysaying older brother that just can’t understand their vision.

The Ronin Book Two Page 5 promo

Searching For An Agent

Literary Agent Comic

A friend recommended that I find a literary agent to help me in these negotiations and dealings with publishers and that’s not a bad idea, but rather than blind queries, I would much rather go on a recommendation from a friend. So if any of you reading this (and you all are my friends, right?) have an agent, know an agent, or you are an agent, please shoot me an email or hit me up on social media (links below).

And that’s it. I will keep you posted as hopefully next week we will finally sign the paperwork for The Ronin. As soon as we do, it’s Kickstarter time so stay vigilant!

Thank you!

Long Time No Post

A few people have asked me if I still make comics. Well, that’s kind of a long story but the answer is yes. Here’s a recent page of my book “The Ronin” by artist Gian Carlo Bernal, colored by Jeremy Shepherd, to be lettered soon by Sean Glumace.
Chris Dickens - The Ronin
I’m going to be doing a couple of podcasts in the coming weeks to talk comics and geek culture so if you want to hear what I have been up to, you will have two chances. One with Joshua J called the Geeks of the Galaxy podcast on Monday October 5th, and one with my homeboy Joseph Pavlenko coming sometime this week I believe. So if you’ve wondered why I stopped posting, just know that I will never stop creating and that I will have something new soon enough.

 

Robot Samurai

In this video, science fiction comes to life as a robot wields a katana, and challenges an Iaijyutsu master. If you like this video, you’ll love my book The Ronin! Watch the video below, but be sure to read the write up from TheNerdist.com.