Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Recommended Reads-Infinite Kung Fu and Trilogy Tour II

One of the questions I get asked the most frequently is what I am currently reading.  Because of this I have decided to to do a blog post every week where I will go over the books that I have read that week.  I don't want these posts to be criticism so due to that fact there may be weeks where I don't do a post as quite frankly, there are weeks that I don't like the things that I have read.  This week I read issues #1-3 of Infinite Kung Fu and the Trilogy Tour II one-shot.
One of the greatest things about being a comics reseller is that I am rarely without something to read.  Infinite Kung Fu issues #1-3 was found in a collection that I bought earlier this year.  The issues are slightly smaller than standard comics size so as I was sorting everything out I pulled these and set them on top of another box to keep any damage from occuring.  I didn't give them much thought after that until a few weeks ago when I was recording a podcast with Darkslinger Mafia co-host Robert Diaz.  Robert often goes through the boxes that I have stacked in my room (one of his most annoying traits).  He picked up an issue from this series, flipped through it and then quickly discarded it with the comment that he hated the art.  Robert likes his art fairly straight forward.  I enjoy all types as long as it is in service to the story.  Later that night I picked up issue #1 of Infinite Kung Fu from the stacks, flipped through it and decided to give it a read.  The artwork reminded me of Adam Pollina back in his X-Force days.  I found myself reading the 3 issues that I had that night and loved every minute of it.  The story is about  Lei Kung, a soldier who goes AWOL in a post-apocalyptic zombie filled future.  He accidentally burns a monk, not realizing that the monk is actually meditating.  The monk uses Kung Fu to take over the body of a nearby zombie and starts training Lei Kung in the ways of kung fu.  This isn't the standard kung fu that you would find in the real world though.  The kung fu in this story is more reminiscent of what you might find in Nartuo.   The dialogue in these issues is extremely well done, the plotting is fantastic and the artwork fits the story perfectly.  My only complaint is that I don't have the rest of the issues, but I will be fixing that soon as I will definitely be buying the collected graphic novel for this series.  

Trilogy Tour II is something that I recently came across while digging through 50 cent bins at a local comic convention.  I saw Jeff Smith in the top left corner and immediately purchased it.  I have been planning a large cross country tour for Darkslinger Comics for years and this book has inspired me to do something similar to this when that time finally comes.  This is an anthology title that introduced readers to the characters of each of the creators on the 2nd trilogy tour.
The first story is a short featuring Rose by Jeff Smith and Charles Vess.  I have read this story before in the Rose collected editions but it was great to revisit it.  If you haven't read Rose before, it is one of the companion pieces to Bone.  It features the same great story telling by Jeff Smith that you would find in Bone with fantastic illustrations by Charles Vess.  Reading this made me want to dig out my Rose collection and give it a reread.
Next up was Castle Waiting by Linda Medley.  I have the collected edition of this title but haven't given it a read.  After reading this short I have now added it to the books that I will be reading.  The story involves a nun having a pick nick with a demon at a grave yard.  The nun is apparently from an order that deals with the supernatural and doesn't appear to be directly connected with Catholicism.  While there isn't a ton of information given in this short, there was enough to make me want to continue reading this story.
Next was Scary Godmother by Jill Thompson.  This was a fun light read about a group of monsters having a tea party.  Of all of the stories in this collection, this was the one I liked the least.  It was a well told and well illustrated tale, I just don't think that I am the right audience for this comic.
The next story was a great treat.  It was an Akiko short by Mark Crilley.  I absolutely love Akiko and had never read this short.  Akiko is a story about a young girl that goes on intergalactic journeys with her strange, alien friends.  This story is about Akiko and Spuckler searching for their missing friend, Mr. Beeba.
The next tale featured Usagi Yojimbo fighting a samurai over the right to cross a bridge.  Like the Rose story I have previously read this story but like the Rose story I enjoyed revisiting it and much like Rose, it made me want to reread my Usagi collections.
The last tale is a 2 page Bone story and is the only short that is featured in black and white.  Just like with Rose and Usagi, I have read this story in the past.  But just like with those 2 I had no problems with revisiting it.  This story involves Smiley and Phoney having a conversation regarding greed while cleaning dishes.  Keep this book in mind the next time you are digging through the cheap bins, it is a fun read that features some of the greatest characters and creators to ever be featured on the comics page.  I highly recommend it.

Monday, August 07, 2017

Ghost Assassin-Where has this title been?


The most frequently asked question I have been getting from longtime fans of Darkslinger Comics is where has Ghost Assassin been?  Ghost Assassin was our first title in print and is our flagship title but it has been missing from our line up for the last few years.

The first story that I wrote for Ghost Assassin was a 10 page introduction story that I originally intended as a pitch for an anthology that was published at the time called Digital Webbing Presents.  It was my plan to use this story as a gauge for interest in the concept prior to starting an entire ongoing series.  My plans had to change though as the week that the story was fully completed was the same week that it was announced that Digital Webbing Presents was going to cease publication.  Luckily for me this was around the same time that Print on Demand was really taking off.  At the time the two companies that everyone seemed to be using were Comixpress (now defunct) and Ka-Blam.  After doing a bit of research I decided that the best option would be Ka-Blam.  I decided to release the 10 page story as a short comic titled Ghost Assassin: Prelude (it was 12 pages in length as it featured 2 pin-ups).  I printed a small run through Ka-Blam in February 2006 and had to go back to press within a few days or receiving them as I sold all of those copies to family and friends.
I ended up selling through two print runs before debuting this issue at The Eugene Comic Book Show on May 21st, 2006.  This was my first convention as a publisher.  Luckily for me Ka-Blam was able to get a third printing done before that show.  I did incredibly well at that show.  I sold through my third printing of Ghost Assassin: Prelude as well as some posters and a sketchbook that I had printed up for the show.  I made quite a few contacts, including the owner of PGX grading services, who slabbed a copy of Ghost Assassin: Prelude for me.

The majority of the friends I have made in comics have told me that the scariest moment for them was either the first convention they appeared at or the moment that they held their first physical product in their hands.  My experience was quite different.  The idea of creating something and releasing it out into the world didn't frighten me.  The way that I looked at it is that people would either get it or they wouldn't.  I had been a vendor at dozens of conventions prior to that show and I really didn't see how that one would differ.  Having something on the table that I created didn't change the experience for me in any major way.  No, for me the scariest parts of creating this comic would slowly be revealed over the next few months.

The story featured in Prelude was created relatively easily.  So easy in fact that it made me think that creating the entire series was going to be just as easy.  On that I couldn't have been more wrong.  I thought that I would have the first issue of the ongoing series out within 6 months of releasing the Prelude issue.  There was just one problem and it was a big one.  Unlike most of the comics I had written (though not published yet) I didn't know exactly how this one was going to end.  The majority of the story that I had flushed out at the point had happened prior to the story featured in Prelude.

Throughout 2006 I hit up as many conventions as possible and signed at any store that would have me (huge thank you to Cosmic Monkey for having me on several occasions).   I added digital sales channels such as Drive Thru Comics and got into as many comic shops as I could, including Lonestar Comics.  While sales varied from convention-to-convention, store-to-store, overall the response to Ghost Assassin was phenomenal.  The feedback I received from readers was extremely positive.  The reviews I had received were positive for the most part (the most common gripe seemed to be a $3 price point for a 12 page issue).  Within six months of releasing Ghost Assassin: Prelude I had my first movie offer.  It wasn't a good movie offer and I am glad that I turned it down, but still, I had my first movie offer.

All of this sounds like great news, right?  It is, but it had an unexpected effect on me.  I was all of a sudden afraid of the story that I had created.  That may sound a little odd but it doesn't keep it from being true.  People seemed to really love this book and I was afraid that the next issue was going to disappoint them.  What if I screwed up everything that they loved about Prelude?  And where exactly was I going with this story?

Having those thoughts in my head instead of the thought of just telling a good story caused me to do the exact thing that I feared.  After a year of thinking on what this story should be and where it would go I sat down and wrote a story of David's childhood that I titled Ghost Assassin: Origin.  I did everything wrong with this story.  Fortunately I figured this out early on and pulled this issue from my convention products.  But that still left me with the question of what to do.  I was experiencing writer's block which was a new sensation for me.  I wrote several Ghost Assassin stories around this time but they were all missing something.


It wasn't until I received a pitch from Michael Colbert in February of 2008 that things started to fully take shape again.  The plot of this story was excellent and I loved the title: In The Cards.  I bought the story from Michael and re-worked it a bit to make the characters seem more like the David and Todd that I had created.  In The Cards will be the main story in Ghost Assassin issue #2.
Working on this story accomplished something huge that none of the other Ghost Assassin stories I had been writing had managed to do, it cured the block in my mind.  Once again I was telling a story that I was proud of.  But I wasn't quite sure where this story would fit in in the overall Ghost Assassin story line that I was telling.  I continued to work on other Ghost Assassin stories.  Stories that would eventually become issues #3, 4, 5, etc....but something still felt like it was missing.

In 2009 (if memory serves) my best friend, Ty Wakefield, was admitted to the hospital because his lungs were deflating.  Ty had been fighting a battle with a vicious cancer called Osteosarcoma.
Our friend, Ben Kreger, and I drove up to Seattle to spend time with Ty while he was in the hospital.  I don't want to go into detail on that but while in his hospital room I started working on a new Ghost Assassin story that would later be titled "Mercy".  The story is about a man that hires David to humanely kill his mother who is fighting a losing battle with cancer.  After writing this story I really didn't know if I ever wanted to release it.  There wasn't anything mean spirited about it but it still seemed messed up, even for me.  A few weeks after Ty was released from the hospital he and I had a conversation in which he asked me what I had been working on.  I told him about Mercy and he asked to read it.  After reading it he demanded that I release this issue.  So I found an artist.  It was around this time that I started working with the immensely talented Joel Cotejar.  Joel was a perfect fit for the story that I was telling.  I wish Ty could have seen this story but unfortunately Osteosarcoma took him from this world before it ever saw print.

In the last quarter of 2010 the glass shop that I had worked at for my entire adult life went under and with it, my primary source of income.  This meant that I had to scale back on the amount of titles that I was working on and the conventions that I could afford to be an exhibitor at.  I had done 42 conventions and signings in 2010.  In 2011 that number had been reduced to a mere 5.  It was clear to me that if I was going to stay in this game I had to start working smarter.

I had heard of a new platform called Kickstarter and thought that it might be a good venue to get my projects into print.  I launched 2 Kickstarters in 2010.  One for the printing of Chronicles of Van Helsing issue #3 and one for the printing of Ghost Assassin: Mercy.  I will admit that I really did not know how to make the best use of the platform at this time.  I went for the exact amounts that I needed to do small runs and just barely made my goal on each of them.  While this was enough to get a small run of Ghost Assassin completed, it was not enough to do a large printing of this issue.

Ty passed away in April of 2011.  His funeral was a seven hour drive from my house.  I worked on a Ghost Assassin story for most of the trip.  I needed something to distract myself from the urge to break down.  But after the funeral I think that that is exactly what I did.  I sat down the day after and attempted to finish a Ghost Assassin story I had been kicking around in my head for months.  Upon reading it I was a little shocked at what I found.  This story featured 24 pages of David and Todd talking but it wasn't David and Todd.  It was Ty and me.  This story will never be released.  I put down my pen and didn't touch it again for almost a year.

It took me about a year to pull myself out of the depression that I found myself in, I got back to creating and running the Darkslinger business.  Ghost Assassin was nearly ready to go but I wanted to make sure that I had enough material to finally release this title through a distributor and get into as many comic shops as possible but in order to do this I needed to build up my bank account and I needed a plan.  We had been pitched a title called "Who Will Save The World?" that seemed like it may be a perfect fit for Kickstarter.  It was a full color one shot and had an excellent premise (World War 1 zombies).  The plan was to get the El Bovine Muerte webcomic going again.  Start working on new issues of Ghost Assassin, The Principalities and Chronicles of Van Helsing.  Use Kickstarter to launch Who Will Save The World? and if successful, use it again to launch The Principalities.  I planned on collecting Chronicles of Van Helsing into graphic novel format after issue #5 was released.  El Bovine Muerte would be collected into graphic novel format after the fourth issue.  And for the final part of this plan, Ghost Assassin was going to need to be pitched to Diamond to distribute.  The plan seemed solid enough.  But I made a critical mistake.  Who Will Save The World? was nowhere near complete enough to take to Kickstarter.  Rewards that were set to be delivered in 2012 were not sent until 2014.  A one-shot that was sold as a 52 page saddle stitched comic ended up as a 60 page perfect bound graphic novel.  Shipping costs through USPS had increased (dramatically in the case of international shipping).  Printing costs had increased.  Production costs of incentives had increased.  It seemed like we had made every mistake possible with this Kickstarter.  In the end it was a mistake that ended up costing me every dime I had and nearly cost me my house.
It took me quite a bit of time to build things up to the point where I felt comfortable releasing something again.  I did 1-3 cons per year throughout 2013-2016.  These years saw only 3 releases.  The Who Will Save The World? graphic novel, Chronicles of Van Helsing #5 and a Chronicles of Van Helsing: Sally mini comic that was completed in 2012 but didn't see print until 2016.
By early 2017 it seemed that things were finally becoming fully stable again.  I started doing conventions again.  To date I have done 10 conventions so far this year and have plans to do at least 4 more by the end of 2017.  El Bovine Muerte is back on track, there will be a new page posted this Wednesday.  I am once again working with artists.  Thus far in 2017 I have launched 2 small Kickstarters that were both a part of an event that Kickstarter was having.  One for a Chronicles of Van Helsing Glass and one for a print edition of El Bovine Muerte #1.  Both projects had a low funding goal that they met.  I was able to deliver on both of these projects before the projected shipping date.  This has given me a lot of confidence in my ability to run a Kickstarter that can succeed, not only in the funding stage, but also in the delivery of the product.
It has been the plan for Ghost Assassin to have a larger print run with better distribution and I think now is the time to bring this title back.  I believe that using Kickstarter can help to achieve these goals.  With a bit of luck the Kickstarter for Ghost Assassin should launch in late August.  The state of completion for each issue is:
-Issue #1: The interior is fully done: penciled, colored and lettered.  The Prelude short will appear as a back up tale in this issue.  The cover is currently being colored.  After that I will add the logo and graphic design elements.  The Kickstarter will not be launched until this has been done.  I made that mistake once, I will not make it again.
-Issue #2:  Features In The Cards as the main story, which is fully done: penciled, colored and lettered.  The cover is finished: penciled, colored and the graphic design is complete.  This issue features a new version of Ghost Assassin: Origin as a back up feature.  I have fixed what I perceived as being wrong with the original release of this story and feel that it is now ready to be seen by the (comics reading) world.  The Origin short is fully penciled, currently awaiting coloring.  If we exceed our goal of raising funds to print issue #1 the funds will be used to finish (and print if enough is raised) Ghost Assassin #2.
-Issue #3:  This issue features a story titled "The Dig."  The cover is fully penciled and is currently being colored.  The interior of the book is penciled and is currently awaiting being colored.
-Issue #4:  This issue is written but has not yet started the art phase.

So to answer the question of where Ghost Assassin is in a rather long winded way, it could be out by the end of this year.  With a little bit of luck and a whole lot of support.

I will be updating this blog and our social media profiles with information on the Ghost Assassin Kickstarter as it draws closer to the launch date.  Please consider liking Ghost Assassin on Facebook.  Thank you for taking the time to read this.

Adam Watson
Darkslinger Comics
www.darkslinger.com

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Upcoming Conventions

We will be at the Sasquatch Comic Swap this Sunday, April 30th in Eugene, Oregon.  As this is a dealer oriented show we will be selling primarily cheap comics and graphic novels (50 cents and up).  We will have a small selection of Darkslinger Comics titles available at the table as well.

On Saturday, May 13th we will be at the Fantasticon in Tacoma, Washington.  We will be tabling as Darkslinger Comics at this event but will be bringing a few long boxes of cheap comics to sell as well.  The print edition of El Bovine Muerte #1 should be making its convention debut at this show.

We will be adding several more convention appearances to our schedule in the weeks to come.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

El Bovine Muerte Kickstarter and a Convention

We are currently running a 7 day campaign on Kickstarter for a print edition of issue #1 of the El Bovine Muerte webcomic.  It can be viewed at https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/darkslinger/el-bovine-muerte-issue-1-print-comic-1-week-only  If you are unfamiliar with El Bovine Muerte a brief synopsis is: El Bovine Muerte is an ongoing color webcomic series that tells the story of Le Mime, a brilliantly insane industrialist and his greatest invention, Muerte.  Muerte is a cow that is genetically engineered to create the world's greatest cheese.  Muerte's cheese is so great in fact, that just one bite will leave erase your mind.



El Bovine Muerte can be viewed online at www.darkslinger.com/elbovinemuerte

We now have the Chronicles of Van Helsing Vampire 15 Ounce Glasses in stock!  The glass features a beautifully grotesque image by Tony Morgan.  They can be purchased at http://darkslinger.storenvy.com/collections/22754-all-products/products/19560262-chronicles-of-van-helsing-15-ounce-mixing-glass


We will have a limited supply of Darkslinger Comics titles available at The Comic Shop table at the Vancouver Vintage Toy and Record show this Saturday in Vancouver, WA.  The main focus of what will be sold at the table will be vintage toys and comics (and a few records).  We hope to see you there!

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Chronicles of Van Helsing Glasses

We are currently running a campaign on Kickstarter for Chronicles of Van Helsing 15 ounce glasses!  This is the first in what will become a series of glassware that will feature images and characters from the Chronicles of Van Hesling comic series.  Each backer will receive a digital edition of a Darkslinger Comics title of their choosing as a special bonus for purchasing a glass through the Kickstarter.  The Principalities Issue #2 will be available for the first time ever through this campaign as a digital download.  A print edition of this issue will be available later this year.




Friday, August 12, 2016

Northwest ComicFest and Chronicles of Van Helsing


Darkslinger Comics will be attending Northwest ComicsFest (http://www.northwestcomicfest.com/) this weekend in Salem, Oregon.  The event will be held at the Salem Convention Center located at 200 Commercial Street SE.  We will be located at B10.  To see a map of the show floor (as well as the other exhibitors that will be in attendance) visit this link-http://exhibitors.northwestcomicfest.com/
In addition to our previously published works we will have a limited edition Chronicles of Van Hesling: Sally mini-comic for sale at our table.  This issue is making its debut this weekend and will be available at this show before it is made available anywhere else.  It features writing by Adam Watson, interior artwork by Joel Cotejar and a cover by Alan Bennett.  

Tuesday, January 05, 2016

NW Comics Talk, Show and Fest


Back in April of 2015 I was invited to speak at the first Northwest Comic Talks.  The premise of the event was fairly simple.  Seven different speakers were given the opportunity to give a ten minute talk on the topic of their choice.  For my talk I chose the topic of starting your own career in comics.  The talk centers around this topic as well as hurdles that I have faced being the owner of Darkslinger Comics. 
Due to time constraints and the fact that I am not used to public speaking, I did not cover everything that I had originally planned to.  This is the video for my talk:

Here is the original written speech, which goes into slightly more detail:
"For those of you that are not currently familiar with me, my name is Adam Watson and I am the owner of Darkslinger Comics as well as the writer of Ghost Assassin, Diary of a Dead Man, Chronicles of Van Helsing, The Pauper, The Principalities and El Bovine Muerte as well as several other upcoming titles.
            The most common question I get asked when exhibiting at comic conventions is how can I do this?  Tonight I would like to talk to you about that and hopefully answer some questions you may have or at the very least help you avoid some of the pitfalls I have experienced in my career.
            If you are interested in becoming a comic creator the first thing you must decide is what kind of a creator you want to be.  Are you a writer, an artist, an inker, a letterer or do you feel that you can do it all?  Do you want to self-publish?  Do creator owned through an established publisher or maybe you would prefer to work on preestablished characters?
            You can save yourself a lot of time and headaches if you clearly define your goals at an early stage.  When I first started out I did not have my goals clearly established and that cost me several years that could have been better spent working on my own characters and further establishing Darkslinger Comics.
            I have known for most of my life that I wanted to work in comics but it wasn’t until 2001 that I would begin to comprehend the exact career that I would end up pursuing.  From a young age I wanted to be an illustrator. Some of my earliest memories are of drawing Cobra soldiers killing GI Joes.  After discovering comics at around the age of ten it seemed obvious to me that this would be the field I would eventually go into.  I think that most children dreaming of a career in comics are dreaming about being an illustrator.  It seems to be a common thing for people, even comic fans, to not properly realize what it is that a comic writer does.
            Even after I discovered that comics often had more than a single person working on an issue, I still thought I could do it all.  However, at the age of seventeen I got into a head-on collision that caused me to receive a shattered wrist and lose the ability to draw as I could no longer hold a pencil correctly.  As it turns out that was for the best as I am a much better writer than I ever would have been an artist.
            I still wanted to work in comics in some fashion and at the age of 18 I thought I had figured out how.  I started my first business doing online comic retail.  That went fairly well until Nine-Eleven.  Like many things at the time, the comics collector market tanked and caused me to go completely broke.  On the plus side I had plenty of comics to read.
            I don’t remember the exact moment where I decided to try my hand at writing but it was at some point around this time.  I went back to work at a normal job and began writing at night and during my lunch breaks.  If this is something you are serious about doing you will always find the time to work at it.  I spent countless hours writing out stories and cover letters for submissions that I would send to Marvel Comics, Avatar Press and other established companies.  And I have an entire folder filled with rejection letters to prove it.  If this is something you really want to do you will need to get used to hearing the word "no."  There will be times that it seems that everyone in the industry has a job that consists solely of telling you that particular word.
            In hindsight I am glad that none of those submissions were accepted.  I do not believe that I would have been content to be the four-thousandth writer to tell a Batman story.  No offense meant if that is your career goal, we need writers to work on Batman, The X-MEN, etc….  That just isn’t what would make me happy.
            When you are first starting out you should always have someone who is objective to look over your work.  When I first started out the person who did that for me was a good friend of mine named Russell Roy.  Every time Russell read one of my stories he would point out that I spent more time writing about a character I had made up for it than I did on the pre-existing character that the story was supposed to be about.  He constantly tried to convince me to start my own company and to work solely on my own characters.  But to be perfectly honest at that time I was too afraid.  The sting of my first business failing was still fresh and if you are going to make your comics a reality you need to be as fearless as possible.
            In 2005 Russell died and that was the last push that I needed.  Life is too short to not follow your dreams.  Later that year I formed Darkslinger Comics, purchased a domain name and started the long process of deciding which of my stories would be the first to be published.  In February 2006 we published the first chapter of Ghost Assassin as a 12 page one-shot.
            The second most asked question I get at conventions from aspiring creators is “how much does it cost to produce something that looks like this?”  Unfortunately that isn’t a question that I can give an exact answer to as it would involve divulging page rates, prices that I have negotiated with printers, etc….but what I can say is that it costs over a thousand dollars to properly produce a single issue of a comic that looks like ours.  Keep in mind that there is no guarantee that you will sell even a single comic.  You should be prepared to lose money for at least the first few issues you release.  If you can manage to get preorders you may be able to cut the costs down dramatically but be careful not to solicit too early.  You don’t want people waiting for a year or two for a product they have already paid for.  A mistake we have made in the past.
            In my opinion one of the greatest skills you can have as a publisher is the ability to do basic math.  If the thought of working with numbers makes you queasy then you should seek out someone to help you before you start your first project.  In order to be successful you will need to be able to set budgets for your projects as well as estimating your costs for conventions you may plan on attending, gas costs to get to signings, marketing budgets, etc...Make sure to keep accurate records.  There is no way of really knowing how successful you are becoming if you have no clue what your profits and/or losses are.
            Before you can really begin you should figure out the specs of your project or at least have an idea in your head of where you are going.  Is this going to be an ongoing story, a mini-series, an 80 page graphic novel or maybe a weekly updated webcomic?  I made the mistake of not knowing where I was going with Ghost Assassin when I released the first issue.  In contrast I had a very good idea of where I wanted Chronicles of Van Helsing to go and have managed to produce almost twice the amount of issues in that series in a much shorter amount of time.
            The third most frequently asked question I get is from writers specifically and it is "How do you find an artist to work with?"  The good news is that the internet has made this a much easier process than it would have been in the past.  I recommend posting clearly written ads on sites like Deviantart, Digital Webbing and Linked In.  You may also be able to successfully network at conventions but do not pester anyone.  If you start to annoy creators at the show it will get around and no one wants to be that guy or girl.
            After teaming with an artist the steps will vary depending on what you intend to do with your project.  You may need to hire additional creative’s such as an inker, colorist and letterer.  If you are going the print route you will want to shop your project around.  Do not make the mistake of talking to only one printing company.  Learn printing terminology if you can as knowing the proper language will save you a lot of headaches.  A good printer will help you out in whatever ways they are able but remember their job is the printing part.  Yours is to make sure they receive the files formatted correctly the first time.  Most printers charge a fee if they need to do any major adjustments to your project before printing.
            Before you can decide on a print run size you will need to decide what type of distribution you want to do.  Do you want to offer your book through a distribution service like Diamond or would you prefer the do it yourself method? If your plan is to mainly use conventions as your distribution method you may want to try a print on demand method.  The per issue costs are higher but it will save you from having to store multiple boxes in your bedroom.  We used this method for Ghost Assassin and The Pauper, our first two titles.  Using this method helped me in building a reputation and a fan base while keeping my costs affordable.  If you are using conventions as your main method of distribution do not make the mistake of packing up every copy you have printed.  Take only what you think you can sell.  Trying to transport five hundred copies to California and back is the quickest way to damage your inventory.  I know several self publishers that have learned this lesson the hard way.
            The last piece of advice I would like to give you may be the most important.  After you have published your first work, take a look at it and recognize your accomplishments.  And then get back to work.  You will find that people will be more likely to come by your table at a convention if you have more than one thing on it.  In addition, people will start to skip over you if they assume they have seen everything you have to offer.  It is important to continue to market your first work, but recognize that your second, third, fourth, etc….are every bit as important.
            Thank you very much for your time.  I hope I have answered some of the questions you may have.  If you are interested in learning more about our books please visit www.darkslinger.com"

 Shortly after the NW Comic Talks the event's owner, Casey Ocupe, invited me to appear on his comic themed talk show titled "Northwest Comic Show."  The episode I appear in can be viewed here:
In addition to the Northwest Comic Show and the Northwest Comic Talks Casey also owns the Northwest Comic Fest which is an annual event that takes place in Salem, Oregon.  He is currently seeking funding through Kickstarter to make this year's event completely free for patrons.  If you are interested in learning more about this project please visit it at:
The Free Comic Conventions Project

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Christmas Cards of the Past

Since 2008 Darkslinger Comics has created a Christmas Card that we give out to our fans, friends and retailers.  We were unfortunately not able to produce a card in 2014 or 2015 because of time constraints.  We are currently in the process of sorting out the various ideas for what the 2016 card may be so that we do not have a repeat of this in the future.  As it is now officially Christmas Eve I thought it may be fun to take a look back at our holiday cards of the past.

 2008 card.  For this card I wanted to showcase the Darkslinger Comics as a slightly dysfunctional family, pitting them together in a way they had never been shown before.  It features David, Todd, Melissa and Scotty from Ghost Assassin; Malcolm from The Pauper and Robert Van Helsing from the Chronicles of Van Helsing.  This was the second time Robert had been illustrated and predates his first comic appearance in Chronicles of Van Helsing #2.  This was illustrated by Bruno Oliveira.
2009 card.  This card featured Robert Van Helsing being made into a snowman by Scotty from Ghost Assassin and the main character from Diary of a Dead Man (he has no name).  This card features an early version of the main character from Diary of a Dead Man and looks quite different than the final design for the character, which will hopefully see print in 2016.  This card also features an earlier version of Robert Van Helsing as it also predates Chronicles of Van Helsing #2.  This was illustrated by Nicholas Larsen, inked by James Taylor and colored by Ray Dillon.
2010 card.  This card features Robert Van Helsing in a Santa/Cowboy outfit, delivering a sack full of "goodies" to 2 little vampire children.  This card was fully painted by Chronicles of Van Helsing artist, Tony Morgan.













2011 card.  This card features Le Mime as Santa delivering presents to 2 shocked children.  This was clearly not the Santa they were expecting.  This card was fully illustrated by El Bovine Muerte artist, Paul Johnson.
 2012 card.  This card features David, Melissa and Scotty from Ghost Assassin.  This card is a take on "I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus".  It was fully illustrated by Diary Of A Dead Man illustrator, Marco Roblin.

 2013 card.  The card has several Darkslinger elements in it.  Le Mime is holding Scott (from Ghost Assassin) as he places an angelic topper on the Christmas tree.  The topper is Prosien from the Principalities.  The Christmas tree features several Darkslinger logos on the ornaments.  In front of the tree are Sally with Mr Muffkins from Chronicles of Van Helsing and Bethany from El Bovine Muerte.  Bethany is holding a plush toy of The Pauper.  This card was fully illustrated by George Leon.

Saturday, December 19, 2015

A Return To Our Roots...Of Sorts

    I have been a comics re-seller longer than I have been a comics publisher.  In fact, the first convention I ever tabled at, clear back in 1999, was as a re-seller.  The first show that I sold products created by Darkslinger Comics didn't come about until 7 years after that.
    In 2006 I debuted Ghost Assassin: Prelude at the Eugene Comic Con.  Not knowing if I would sell even a single copy of that book I decided to purchase a vendor table instead of opting for artist's alley.  A bit cowardly?  Perhaps, but at the time I couldn't risk all of the gas money and table costs without a definitive plan for making my money back.  I split the table in half, showcasing the small sample of Darkslinger products available at the time on one side while featuring half off graphic novels on the other side while filling the under the table area up with 50 cent comics.  The show turned out great.  I had fun, made money and met some great people (my first meeting of Black Box Comix owner, Alan Bennett, was at this show).  After totaling my earnings I was shocked to discover that I had actually made more off of the Darkslinger Comics products than I did off of the items I brought for reselling purposes.
    The next show I did was strictly as a comic publisher and the results were the exact opposite.  Sales were sluggish, the crowd did not appear to be having fun and worst of all the con runners kept turning the lights off in the area we were in.  At the end of the 2 day show I hadn't cleared enough to pay the parking expense let alone the table and gas costs. This made me question everything about being a publisher and a writer, but in the end it did not deter me.  More than anything else it made me question where I fit in this industry.  The only way to answer that was to get out there and do more shows.
    Over the course of the next year I did shows and signings at the rate of about 1 per month.  Sometimes these shows were as a retailer, sometimes as a publisher.  When I was showing primarily as a re-seller I would still stock at least a quarter of the table with wares created by Darkslinger Comics.  Results varied but more often than not I was coming out ahead, making new friends, making new contacts, making new fans and overall having a good time.
    In 2010 I did a record making (in my head at least) 42 shows and signings in a one year period.  To say this left me completely exhausted would be a severe understatement.  I didn't just have con fatigue, I had total con burnout.
    2011 was a hard year.  The comic industry lost a great talent and I lost my best friend, Ty Wakefield.  It was in this year that I decided to majorly cut back on the amount of conventions I was doing.  Since then I have done a small smattering of shows as a publisher but only one as a vendor.  
    Over the last few years it seems like things have gotten off track.  While I am still completely committed to Darkslinger and to doing everything in my power to make this insane dream a reality things have felt disconnected somehow.  So starting today I am taking a small step towards getting things back to where they should be by returning to what I did in the beginning. I will be tabling today at the Twin Oaks show happening at Mall 205 in Portland, Oregon.  And I will be doing it as both a vendor and a publisher.  This is the first in what will hopefully be a string of conventions we will be exhibiting at over the next year.  I know that doing it as a re-seller is cheating a little, but sometimes you need to bend the rules in order to get where you need to be.
    Stay tuned as future blog posts will be discussing our titles and when you can expect to see more of them.  If you are in the Portland area please consider coming by the show.  There will be several vendors selling various collectibles including comics, trading cards and action figures.

Friday, November 27, 2015

Darkslinger Comics Black Friday Sale


Darkslinger Comics is having a Black Friday (through Cyber Monday) sale on nearly every product in our store!  You can save up to 67% on in stock products, starting at just 99 Cents.   Visit now for these deals:

-Who Will Save The World? Shot Glass     Reg. Price: $6.99         Sale Price: $6         (14% Off)

-Who Will Save The World Button Pack    Reg. Price: $3.99       Sale Price: $3.49       (13% Off)

-Who Will Save The World? Graphic Novel   Reg. Price: $7.99    Sale Price: $5            (37% Off)

-Chronicles of Van Helsing Value Pack            Reg. Price: $15.99      Sale Price: $10          (37% Off)
Contains issues #1-5 of Chronicles of Van Helsing.

-Chronicles of Van Helsing #5                            Reg. Price: $3.99         Sale Price: $3.49      (13% Off)

-Chronicles of Van Helsing Poster Pack 6       Reg. Price: $60             Sale Price: $20         (66% Off)

-El Bovine Muerte: Le Mime In Cheese Hell Poster    Reg. Price: $10   Sale Price: $8           (20% Off)

-El Bovine Muerte: Le Mime in a Flower Field Poster   Reg. Price: $10   Sale Price:  $5   (50% Off)

-The Pauper: City on Fire Poster        Reg. Price: $10          Sale Price:  $8    (20% Off)

-The Pauper Black & White Poster    Reg. Price: $10     Sale Price: $8        (20% Off)

-The Pauper: 2 Guns and Fire Poster   Reg. Price: $10   Sale Price: $8   (20% Off)

-Ghost Assassin: In The Cards Poster   Reg. Price: $10   Sale Price: $8   (20% Off)

-Ghost Assassin: Love on a Motorcycle Poster   Reg. Price: $10  Sale Price: $8  (20% Off)

-Ghost Assassin: David in a Black Sniper Scope  Reg. Price: $10  Sale Price: $8   (20% Off)

-Ghost Assassin: David in a White Sniper Scope   Reg. Price: $10  Sale Price: $8    (20% Off)

-Ghost Assassin: Melissa Pin-Up Poster   Reg. Price: $10  Sale Price: $8  (20% Off)

-Ghost Assassin: The Family Poster   Reg. Price: $10  Sale Price: $8   (20% Off)

-Ghost Assassin: David’s Angry Fist Poster   Reg. Price: $10   Sale Price: $8  (20% Off)

-Ghost Assassin: Todd in Sniper Scope Poster  Reg. Price: $10   Sale Price: $8   (20% Off)

-Chronicles of Van Helsing Vampire Skull Poster          Reg. Price:  $10       Sale Price: $8            (20% Off)

-Chronicles of Van Helsing Vampire Wolf Poster            Reg. Price: $10        Sale Price: $8            (20% Off)

-Chronicles of Van Helsing Robert Van Helsing Poster      Reg. Price: $10       Sale Price: $8            (20% Off)

-Chronicles of Van Helsing Sally’s Feeding Time Poster       Reg. Price: $10    Sale Price: $8            (20% Off)

-Chronicles of Van Helsing Brother VS Brother Poster          Reg. Price:  $10    Sale Price: $8         (20% Off)

-Chronicles of Van Helsing Mr Mufkins Poster         Reg. Price: $10         Sale Price: $8            (20% Off)

-Pauper Rough Cut          Reg. Price: $3             Sale Price: $1            (67% Off)

-Darkslinger Sketchbook 1       Reg. Price: $3             Sale Price: $1             (67% Off)

-Darkslinger Sketchbook 4       Reg. Price: $3            Sale Price:  $1            (67% Off)

-Chronicles of Van Helsing #1         Reg. Price:  $3            Sale Price:  $2.49      (17% Off)

-Chronicles of Van Helsing #2          Reg. Price: $3            Sale Price:  $2.49      (17% Off)

-Chronicles of Van Helsing #3           Reg. Price: $3            Sale Price:  $2.49      (17% Off)

-Chronicles of Van Helsing #4          Reg. Price: $3            Sale Price:  $2.49      (17% Off)

-The Principalities Servants of the Devil Poster    Reg. Price: $10  Sale Price:  $8           (20% Off)

-The Principalities: Angel Vs The Antichrist Poster   Reg. Price: $10  Sale Price: $8   (20% Off)

-Diary of a Dead Man #1 Poster            Reg. Price:  $10           Sale Price:  $8            (20% Off)

-Diary of a Dead Man #2 Poster            Reg. Price:  $10           Sale Price:  $8            (20% Off)

-Who Will Save The World? eBook             Reg. Price: $3               Sale Price: $.99        (67% Off)

-The Principalities Con Ed     Reg. Price: $3.99    Sale Price:   $2         (50% Off)

-Chronicles of Van Helsing eBook Pack         Reg. Price: $4.95               Sale Price:  $2           (59% Off)
Contains downloadable eBook copies of Chronicles of Van Helsing #1-5

Monday, August 27, 2012

El Bovine Muerte Contest!

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

EL BOVINE MUERTE CONTEST: ASK A QUESTION, WIN ART

08.27.2012  Molalla, OR-Darkslinger Comics is offering readers a rare chance to win a piece of El Bovine Muerte Original Art.  To enter the contest readers need only submit a question to the star of El Bovine Muerte, Le Mime.  All questions must be sent to contest@darkslinger.com and must be received by September 5th, 2012.  The first place winner will have their question answered by Le Mime within the pages of the El Bovine Muerte webcomic, a piece of original art by El Bovine Muerte artist Paul Johnson as well as an autographed copy of the print edition that their question appears in.  Two runners-up will also have their question answered by Le Mime as well as receiving an autographed edition of the print edition that their question is answered in.

Summary of El Bovine Muerte:
A story about a cow...but not just any ordinary cow, this is a genetically altered cow that has been created in a secret lab overseen by a delusionally mad mime on his quest to create the world's most perfect cheese.  However, the cheese has dangerous side effects and now a war has errupted to control the power of the cheese.  Will all of humanity suffer due to one mime's persuit of happiness?
El Bovine Muerte is a totally free webcomic that currently features over 70 pages posted.

To find out more about El Bovine Muerte, please visit:
www.darkslinger.com/elbovinemuerte

Darkslinger Comics first hit the scene in 2006 with Ghost Assassin. Since then, we have gone on to publish Chronicles of Van Helsing, El Bovine Muerte, The Principalities as well as several other titles. To learn more about Darkslinger please visit www.darkslinger.com

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Who Will Save The World? Kickstarter

As of this writing there are just 65 hours left to get the Who Will Save The World? incentive you want on Kickstarter!  Several of the reward tiers are limited to Kickstarter, meaning in just 65 hours these items will never be available again!
We still have these limited edition reward tiers:
-Being drawn in as a soldier in the book
-Tattoo Design by Stefano Cardoselli
-Original art page from the book
-Original art to the Variant cover for the book
-Kickstarter Exclusive Variant Cover
-Kickstarter Exclusive Hardcover
-Kickstarter Exclusive Sketchbook
-Print and digital editions of the book and so so much more!
If you are interested in becoming a backer, simply follow this link:  http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/darkslinger/who-will-save-the-world-a-ww1-zombie-epic

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Big Wow, El Bovine Muerte and Who Will Save The World?

We will be at the Big Wow Comic Fest this Saturday and Sunday in San Jose, CA.  Visit us in the exhibitor's area.  www.bigwowcomicfest.com

El Bovine Muerte is up to Page #7 from Chapter 3 (over 60 pages now posted, completely free to read!)
www.darkslinger.com/elbovinemuerte


Who Will Save The World? is going strong on Kickstarter, but we need your support to make our goal!  We have some great incentives starting at just $1!  http://kck.st/HOWleb


Adam Watson (Owner of Darkslinger Comics) was recently interviewed by Lip Service podcast.  To hear the interview click the following link: http://kissmecomix.com/podcastgen/download.php?filename=2012-05-13_lipservice24.mp3

Saturday, May 05, 2012

Free Comic Book Day Signing

Adam Watson and Tony Morgan will be signing today at Cosmic Monkey Comics in celebration of Free Comic Book Day from 11 to 2.  Stop by and get some great comics!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Who Will Save The World? Press release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
WHO WILL SAVE THE WORLD? ON KICK STARTER

04.24.2012  Molalla, OR-Darkslinger Comics and Azurek Studios are campaigning on Kickstarter for financial backers to bring Who Will Save The World? to life in print. Your contribution will fund printing and marketing costs for Who Will Save the World? a 52 page Color one-shot, written by Rita Gorgoni and illustrated by Stefano Cardoselli. Any surplus of funds will be used for development and production of other Darkslinger Comics and Azurek Studios collaborations.

This is your opportunity to fund a massacre and the war that follows.  Spoils from this war include  a limited edition trading card, becoming a soldier/zombie in the comic, original artwork, a variant cover, a hardcover, a limited edition statue, the comic itself and much more.  Click the link at the bottom by June 19th, 2012 to submit your pledge.  Some options have limited availability and will sell out quickly.

Summary of Who Will Save The World?:
The Western Front. September 12, 1914. It’s early morning in the French trenches. Two soldiers eat as rain drowns the land. A strange green cloud covers the land as the sun rises. The smell of death grows as a sinister shadow is cast upon the trenches: the Germans are attacking. The French quickly arm themselves and open fire on the approaching enemy soldiers, but their bullets might as well be spit balls. The German soldiers who do fall, rise instantly and continue their approach. What ensues is a morning of massacre, the French had no chance. When the Medical teams arrive, all that remain are pieces of what were once soldiers: devoured by an unknown weapon.
As the French tend to their dead, the Germans are just a few miles outside of Paris. The Germans have harnessed a chemical formula that instantly revives their fallen soldiers. Germany now holds the most dangerous weapon on the planet. They call their new army “The Green Skull.” It doesn’t take long for Germany to overwhelm and overthrow all of France and Italy, the rest of Europe is next. The Empire is winning this war and now they prepare to take Britain. In an attempt to combat the quickly approaching attack, Britain calls on the US for assistance.  Who Will Save The World from this undead army?

Click the link for more information and to support Who Will Save The World? on Kickstarter:

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/darkslinger/who-will-save-the-world-a-ww1-zombie-epic

Darkslinger Comics first hit the scene in 2006 with Ghost Assassin. Since then, we have gone on to publish Chronicles of Van Helsing, El Bovine Muerte, The Principalities as well as several other titles. To learn more about Darkslinger please visit www.darkslinger.com

Azurek Studios was born in 2000, and was the brain child of Stefano Cardoselli and Rita Gorgoni. In addition to their work with Darkslinger Comics, Azurek has also worked with Heavy Metal Magazine, 2000 AD, Blue Water Comics, and WarriorInnKeeper Comics.  Darkslinger Comics and Azurek have worked together on the Chronicles of Van Helsing, 100 Points of Hate and Down Stone Cold. To learn more about Azurek, please visit http://www.azurekstudios.com/


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