Tuesday, January 27, 2009

The Article on Page 3 - JoeCanuck's January Newsletter Now Online!

This is a big one, troopers! The first issue of Volume 2 of the JoeCanuck.com Newsletters. Can you believe it's been a year already?

This month's issue has some interesting articles, including one written by me! You can find my review of Chap Mei's Air Force Helicopter starting on page 3 of the Newsletter.

And, as usual, you will find the great opinion pieces, articles, and photos you've come to expect from the JoeCanuck.com Newsletters. Plus, there's even a contest and information on how to submit your own article!

So what are you waiting for? Check out the January Newsletter today!

You can find the Newsletter in .pdf form by clicking here.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Q & Ages 25 & Up #2

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Once again, HissTank.com member and longtime reader Monkeywrench took some time to ask me a few questions about the comic. Here are the questions and answers. Hope you enjoy this Q & Ages session!

Out of the first 22 files that you have put out, which single file is your personal favorite and why?

I like the ones where I tried something different, like PGS-100, where I tried to keep things relatively serious. Plus, I like that last panel: the first clear shot of "Solid Snake-Eyes," and I think the "Plastic Gear Solid: Tactical Espionage Action Figures" line is kinda funny.

My favourite comic so far is Silent Auction. I'm a very big fan of the Joes' silent comics, and even geeked out on silence one night, reading Silent Prelude, Silent Interlude, Silence Between Borders, and Hush Job in one sitting. So I decided to make my 21st issue a silent one, just like the initial Marvel Comics G.I. Joe run's 21st issue.

The premise is silly (at least after the stealthy intro), but it made for some sweet cameos and humour. I like the atmosphere and the ending is just fun. (It's also the second comic the close with a Raiders of the Lost Ark reference, the first being #15, Breaker's Big Score.)

Plus, I love that shot I took of Snake-Eyes hanging from my longbox of Joe comics. If it wasn't clear that I was making a homage to Silent Interlude, that image really drove the point home!

Out of the first 22 files that you have put out, which single file was the hardest for you to complete and why?

When I first started the comic, it wasn't something serious. I'd just take a few pictures, mess around in Photoshop, and post it on the Mandalorian Guilds for my friends to see. I would take months between comics, and it wasn't until #4 - In the Clutches of Death, that I decided to get serious and try to make the comic a weekly thing. In that sense, File #4 was the hardest to make. It's the one where I decided to make a regular, weekly comic. I guess that's why I filled it with big panels and lots of action!

In terms of actual work, the Plastic Gear Solid comics took the most time. The shoot for PGS-103 lasted about 5 hours. Setting up the sets, building things like the prison bar support unit, and making sure the photos came out right, etc. It wasn't easy! Take a look at the comic and you'll see how the lighting drastically changes. The first and last panels look very different! I try to keep my photoshoots in the late-morning-to-early-afternoon period, now.

Is there a figure that you really want to write a story for, or use in one of your comics, that you either don't currently own or just haven't gotten around to use yet?

Up until recently, I hadn't featured Cobra much because I didn't have very many Cobra figures. (Cobra first appeared in PGS-101.) During that story arc, I had to use the Comic Pack Destro as he was the only Destro I had. At least his colours aren't too bad.

Don't despair, Cobra fans. Cobra will take the spotlight very shortly!

In terms of specific characters, I would say Beachhead and Dusty. They're just so damn badass, and I don't know how to showcase that badassness properly. When I featured them in File #22 - Seeing Double, they weren't exactly the tough-as-nails characters I know them as. I mean, Beachhead had to leave early to change his pants, unable to handle Willow's hawtness.

I'd like to write a story with Dusty and Beachhead together on a mission. Maybe their chopper goes down inside of Cobra territory, or something. I don't know, it might be too serious. I'll have to figure it out.

So far, most of the focus has been on the Joes with some great cameos like Indy, Batman and Transformers. Do you plan on having any more cameos, maybe some more Transformers?

You bet! I'm an action figure collector, not just a Joe fan, so I'll try to squeeze in some of my other figures here and there, where appropriate. Or where not, for humour.

There will be more cameos, that's for sure! Just hang in there.

If anyone's interested, here's a list of all of the cameos from the first 22 issues:
- File #4: Microman Sakura [Street Fighter]
- File #5: Microman Batman [DC Comics]; 20th Anniversary Optimus Prime [Transformers]
- PGS-101: Microman Sakura as Bei Jing, again in [LINK] PGS-106
- PGS-103: Captain Jean-Luc Picard [Star Trek: The Next Generation] as the M.A.R.S. Director
- PGS-106: Masterpiece Starscream [Transformers] as Plastic Gear Rex; movie Starscream [Transformers] as Plastic Gear Ray
- File #15: Microman Batgirl [DC Comics], Microman Sakura [Street Fighter], and Cortana [Halo] as strippers
- File #17: Donatello, Michaelangelo, and Leonardo [Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles]; some '70s Fisher-Price figure as April O'Neil
- File #18: movie Arcee [Transformers]
- File #21: First row: my custom Duke Nukem, Indiana Jones. Second row: Faye Valentine, Spike Spiegel [Cowboy Bebop], Revoltech Megatron [Transformers]. Third row: Ulala [Space Channel 5].
- File #22: 25th Anniversary Comic Pack #1 Scarlett as Willow from Dreadstar & Co.

I think it's pretty obvious and well known that Clutch is your favorite Joe. Who would be second and why?

It's probably going to sound clich├ęd, but my second-favourite Joe is Snake-Eyes. Despite being whored-out excessively (he is, after all, easily the most iconic character in Joe history), he's a very deep and interesting character. Hell, I owe my being a Joe fan entirely to him.

When I was younger, all of my Joe toys were second-hand and I never got a read a filecard, so I had no idea who the characters were (hell, I thought my loose, vehicleless Tan Clutch was some kind of Middle-Eastern soldier, and this is coming from probably the biggest Clutch fan on The Tank!). Intrigued, I started reading the comic book, starting with the Snake-Eyes origin story in issues #26 and 27 of the Marvel run. To me, Snake-Eyes embodied the soldier in terms of honour, of personal sacrifice, and in just plain badassness.

Anyway, shortly thereafter, I began reading the Marvel Joe run in order and became the huge fan I am now. Also, that's how I fell in love with Clutch: his appearances in those early issues still make my laugh. But that's another story.

A huge thank-you to HissTank.com member Monkeywrench for taking the time to ask these terrific questions!

If you want to know more, feel free to ask some questions of your own. You can use the Comments section, the Official Ages 25 & Up Thread at HissTank.com, or email me. Let me know what you think!

Here's what HissTank.com member Gungho-joe had this to say about Ages 25 & Up:

"There is some comfort in knowing that when NBC cancels Days of Our Lives next year I will still get my fix of humor, sex, drama, and plot lines right here."

You got that right, Gungho-joe!

Have a good week, gang. New comic goes up this weekend.
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Friday, January 23, 2009

COMIC - File #23: "Sibling Rivalry"

Hey, guys! Hope you've had a good week. Mine's been kinda rough, but I'll just take a multi-vitamin and walk it off.

Last week, we met Scarlett's twin sister Willow (formally of Dreadstar & Co.). Short on luck and options, she decides to take after her sister Scarlett (again) and join the Joe team.

When we last saw her, Willow was getting ready to head to a Motel 69 with Clutch. Uh oh.

Here's this week's comic!

After reading the comic, click here to view its Archive entry.  [OUTDATED; NOSTALGIC USE ONLY]
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Friday, January 16, 2009

COMIC - File #22: "Seeing Double"

After the success of "Silent Intermission" (thanks to all who let me know they liked it!), I'm not sure how I can post another comic and even think it's entertaining.

Well, here goes anyway. This is the second part of the 'Scarlett's Sister Willow' story arc. Keep in mind that it's a little less PC than usual. It's lonely down in the Pit, okay?

One more thing: big thanks to Imperial_Serpentor of the HissTank.com forums for pointing out that I hadn't introduced Willow yet when I used her in a previous comic. The plot hole is now fixed!

Here's this week's comic.

After reading the comic, click here to view its Archive entry.  [OUTDATED; NOSTALGIC USE ONLY]
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Saturday, January 10, 2009

Q & Ages 25 & Up #1

First Q&A!Next Q&A
Welcome to very first question-and-answer session! HissTank member and longtime reader Monkeywrench asked me a few questions about the creative process, and I thought I'd share them with you.

Just curious, how many strips do you work on at a time?

I try to just work on one at time, but since the comic-making process involves several different steps, I don't mind overlapping two comics, as long as they are both in different stages.

Right now, I'm working on the editing of one comic, I've just taken the photos for another, I'm writing the script for a third, and I'm developing the idea for a fourth. I guess that's a little more than one...

Do you ever make one and then scrap it?

I've never scrapped a completed comic. I've shelved a few, but that's it. Example, The Scarlett Letter came out as #20 but I originally intended it to be #18. (I decided to postpone it because I didn't want to have to interrupt the Willow story arc twice - once for the holiday special and again for the silent 21st issue.)

As I mentioned, there are many steps that I take to make a comic. If I were to scrap one, I'd scrap it during the developmental phase or while I was scripting it. If I didn't think it'd be good enough, I wouldn't go through all the trouble of shooting and editing it just to throw it out, you know what I mean?

How long does it take you to make them?

I try shoot the comics on the weekends and edit them during week, taking breaks to write some more during the editing. So, ideally, it should take a week per comic. But hey, that doesn't always happen.

What I do is keep a backlog of comics to try to stay a few weeks ahead so that I won't miss a deadline. Despite that, I still managed to botch up the holiday special, posting it a day or two late! (Again, sorry about that, guys!)

Those were some great questions, Monkeywrench!

If you have any questions, comments, or concerns, don't be afraid to speak up. You can use the Comments section under each comic, post on the Official Ages 25 & Up Thread at HissTank.com, or shoot me an email.
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Friday, January 2, 2009

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