void

VOID: The Rambling

I love doing conventions. While I'm usually referred to as "that guy that doesn't talk" in my day-to-day bullshit, I genuinely love going to cons, putting my work out there, and engaging in whatever discussions they bring up. Part of that is because most of the comics-making process involves (for me, at least) working by myself late into the night when it feels like the rest of the sensible world has gone to sleep, and cons are a good way for me to pop my head out and remember that no: I'm not just sitting in an empty room rambling to myself, there is a larger component to this.

So yeah, I really dig doing shows and I love interacting with readers. There are, however, two questions/comments that I and every other creator get that we all absolutely hate:

"I really like (thing you made), it reminds me of (someone else's shit)."

Speaking for all creators (which I absolutely do no have the authority to do), we understand this type of comment comes from the kindest of intentions, and most of us take it with some variety of grace, but ugh...not a fan of that comment. It (albeit unintentionally) undercuts our goal to carve our own niche, to speak in our own voice, etc. We get what you're trying to say and we appreciate it, but... I dunno, phrasing?

"Where do you get your ideas?"

I can absolutely answer that question, but I hope you have some time to kill. I can't speak for other creators, but I don't have this single magical well I tap into for ideas. I can't point to a shady looking chest and say "There. I get my ideas from that box." Each story and print I do comes it's own horrible place. Sometimes they're spontaneous and seemingly from thin air, and sometimes I have a personal goal or idea I want to express, and I have to carve that fucker out. So "Where do you get your ideas?" is problematic for me because I don't want to drop a list on you. A better version of that question would be, "What is your goal for this story/piece?" or "Where did you get the idea for this specific thing?"

And with that, let me get to the real point of this post and ramble about VOID for a bit. The whole story is now available to read on my site, so I thought this might be a good opportunity to show how the origin for a single story can be so unique and specific to the story it leads to that the "where do you get your ideas" question is almost impossible to answer.

Some time last year, I was riding in a U-Haul down I-65 from Louisville back home to Chicago with my boy Bryan. He runs a toy store and I was helping him work a vendor table at a convention in Louisville. The show was over and we were headed home. Now anyone from the area can tell you that I-65 is pretty much a long, boring stretch of nothing, save for this sign:

...and a wind farm closer to Chicago. So we've been driving through this nothing for a few hours now and it's getting dark and we're ready to be home. Then we hit a detour. There was major construction on a large chunk of 65 so now we find ourselves winding through random backroads and empty farmland in the middle of nowhere. This detour went on longer than usual and eventually the sun set.

So it's an hour or two into this detour, and we're driving along and bullshitting (I think we were concocting some nonsense about me and Taylor Swift being the same person and Fight Club starts happening for real, but it's Taylor instead of Tyler Durden...it was a long drive.) and we hit the wind farm. It turns out each of the turbines (?) has a red pulsing light at the top of it, and when you're in the middle of it, it's just red pulsing lights in the sky as far as the eye can see.

So that's where I was at: middle of nowhere on an old country road, all we can really see is what the headlights reach, and countless red pulsing lights in the sky. There was something alien about it. I thought there was a story in that mood somewhere, so I pulled out my phone and took a bit of video that I eventually turned into a teaser for the comic:

So yeah...that's where VOID came from. Nothing else I've done has, or could, come from that moment. Wayward has it's own origin, as does IT LOOKS BACK and Nowhere and everything else I have done or will do. I don't believe a creator has a single idea well they just keep returning to when they're in need of a new idea. These things happen randomly and organically. They can come instantly, like a mood you catch in an odd situation, or they can come over time as they slowly gestate in your head.

And there lies my conundrum. When someone asks, "Where do you get your ideas?" I can tell them this story, then each story for every other thing I've done, but I don't think they have that much time to kill.

-jsb

Dissonance

Hoo boy, lotta shit to cover. Let's skip the intro stuff and jump straight into it.

VOID is done.

For the past month, I've been posting parts of a weird little comic I made up on the webcomics section. It was a fun project and I hope everyone enjoyed it. Perhaps "enjoyed" may not be the right word considering the bizarre nature of the story, but you get my point. If you haven't already, you can check it out here. If you dig it, do me a solid and share it around.

I plan to do a full post just about VOID, but that'll have to wait 'cause I got other shit to cover.

Indy brought the ruckus.

In my post-C2E2 2016 entry, I wrote the following:

"This show was so good that I'm suffering a crisis of pessimism. To everyone that came out: thank you for that crisis.

The question I'm asking myself now is can I maintain this momentum. Next month is Indiana Comic Con - a show I've never done before - so I guess I'll find out there. Come on down if you want to check out my work and watch a man be delightfully confused."

If Indiana was any kind of indicator, it's starting to look like this isn't a fluke. I'm going to try to stop doing this sappy shit in the future, but oblige me here, this shit is still new to me. I extensively prepare myself for failure to the point where it's practically expected. The problem with this approach, however, is I've never prepared myself for success. The amazing reception I've been getting at these shows is forcing me to face a reality I've never contemplated before and it's legitimately fucking me up. There's an initial shock that I'm still reeling from, but I've gotten my shit together for the most part and I'm starting to form an idea of where this needs to go next.

tl;dr: These shows are getting better and better and now I'm scheming.

I will be at Flashback Weekend.

This August I'll be throwing comics at people at Flashback Weekend. This will be my first horror convention. I suspect this is way overdue, and I should have been doing horror conventions since the start, but now I'm working on making up for that oversight. If it goes well, it'll open up a whole new genre of conventions for me and I'll find myself a significantly busier goon. I'll post more info as the show gets closer.

I don't know how to store.

It was brought to my attention that I had a bunch of stuff missing from the Store, so I'm working to fix that. I've added all five issues of Wayward (how the hell did I forget that?) and The Orphans print series. Go check it out and buy stuff maybe if you want to, I dunno.

-jsb

F5

Indiana Comic Con is coming up in a few weeks and I'm all stocked up and ready to go. This is my first time doing this show, (hell, my first time doing a show in that state) and there's always a strange sense of anticipation with a new show. I feel like I'm going in blind to a group of completely new people and I can't wait to see if they dig the horrible things I've drawn.

I'll be at Artist Alley table F5. To help you remember my table number, here's a handy GIF:

I've heard nothing but good stuff about this show, so I'm looking forward to hopefully becoming a regular there. If the Hoosiers like indie horror comics, of course.

Void begins next week.

During the Scratches Kickstarter, I put together a weird little comic called Void. It eventually became a stretch goal for the campaign, but I always created it with the intention of making it available to read here. The first part will go up this Monday, with each following part going up each consecutive Monday.

I really hope you all dig it. Here's a teaser:

Housekeeping

Everything is officially back in stock over at the Simon Store. Whether or not that'll still be the case after Indiana Comic Con is currently up to fate.

So come back next Monday, warn your friends, check out the store, and get your ass to Indy.

-jsb

This is how I die

I came in to work today and had this waiting for me:

What you're looking at is three massive boxes filled with copies of Scratches and VOID from the printer. There's a lot of them. Now the funny thing about comics, books, or basically any kind of thing with pages is they tend to be very light by themselves, but when you pack a box (or three) full of them, they get surprisingly heavy. Now a couple things:

1: I got these shipped to my work because I've had packages disappear from my apartment lobby.

2: As you can see, there are three of these boxes, and they're massive and heavy.

3: I don't drive. During the summer I bike to work, during the winter (like now) I walk and take a train.

First thing this morning I took this picture and sent it to Jon, Leo, Angel, and Nicole. They all asked "how are you going to get that home?" to which I replied, "that's a good question". So far, I have two possible solutions: take a taxi, or carry them home, one per day. Right now I'm leaning towards the latter option cause I'm poor and it'll give me a good justification for skipping the gym this week, as I'll be getting my workout through alternative methods.

Once I get these home I'm going to get together with the rest of the crew to do have a massive sign, pack, and get-everything-ready-to-ship party; and then I will slumber for a thousand years.

INDIE COMICS YO!

-jsb