Archive for the 'SuperFogeys' Category

SuperFogeys Commentaries Return! Epsiodes 39-45

Thursday, August 16th, 2007

Sorry and…BIG NEWS!

Hey there. Been a little while. In case you missed it, the first SuperFogeys Collection is hitting the press in a couple of weeks. As you can imagine, we here at Th3rd World have been busting our butts to get it ready and make it something special. You can pre-order the collection right now:

Pre-Order The SuperFogeys Collection One!

Gonna be a lot of great stuff in there including commentaries, an exclusive-to-print backup story featuring art by Mike “Ty” Hartigan and MAD Conk and other surprises I don’t want to spoil here. Gonna be a great package and the price is great too.

Plus, if you order both the Eskimo Dave Collection (with backup story art by Yours Truly) and the SuperFogeys together, you get a terrific discount. Check out the store at the above link for details.

Commentary for SuperFogeys, Episode 39

Jerry was late the party because I needed to remind the audience of his feelings for Spy Gal. I’m sure there was a better way to do that. Not a favorite of mine.

View Episode 39

Commentary for SuperFogeys, Episode 40

Jerry can be a lot of fun to write. Never more so than in this strip. I know Swifty gets all the love, but c’mon…”Jumpin’ Jujubees?” Who else could get away with saying that?

That guy in the background is a character I’ve named “The Thrice Evil.” So far, he hasn’t said a word, but I hope to use him again one day. Might even give him a personality if I’m feeling generous.

View Episode 40

Commentary for SuperFogeys, Episode 41

I knew the back half of this chapter would be light on the Swifty, so I wanted to make sure his last time in the spotlight was a memorable one. Everyone seems to have a different favorite Swifty ailment, but the one I like the best (and the first one I wrote) is the one about sentient varicose veins. Where in my head that came from, I have no idea. Probably why I like it.

View Episode 41

Commentary for SuperFogeys, Episode 42

Yeah, I did a Viagra joke. You almost have to, given the subject matter. I think I did it in the best possible way. It was important to me to have the Healer is so disapproving and grossed out. I think that’s how we all felt the first time we saw Bob Dole talking about his “issues.”

View Episode 42

Commentary for SuperFogeys, Episode 43

I had been looking for an excuse to do a single-panel strip for a long time and this conclusion of the Healer’s interviews with all the SuperFogeys was a good excuse for it. Originally, the dialogue on this one was vastly different. It was a back and forth between the Healer and the Captain; none of the other characters spoke.

However, when I put all the balloons and words together, it just didn’t flow real well and the balloons looked crowded. Looking at the drawing, it looked like whatever was going through Jerry’s and Swifty’s heads must be pretty interesting, so I gave them some lines. I moved most of the dialogue I deleted to Strip 51.

This strip also contains the most perfect drawing of Dr. Rocket I am likely ever to do.

View Episode 43

Commentary for SuperFogeys, Episode 44

This is one of those connecting strips that I didn’t know I needed until I did. Strip 45 was always a story I was going to tell, but before I got to that story I realized that I had nothing leading into it. What would be Dr. Rocket’s final scheme? Why, bunnies of course. Why bunnies? Why not? Think about it. 100,000 bunnies. You don’t think that that would do some serious damage?

The year 1986 was not chosen arbitrarily. It was indeed a “bad year for heroes.” 1986 was the year Watchmen was published.

View Episode 44

Commentary for SuperFogeys, Episode 45

See the bunny? I liked the idea that Dr. Rocket kept one bunny for himself. Of course it begs the question…what happened to the bunny? That answer is coming in Chapter 4.

This strip took a little longer than your average strip. In the end, I think I probably pumped a little too much detail into it. ‘specially the trees. Still, it’s a visually different, fun strip. The only all black and white one.

View Episode 45

Next time…

…will be much sooner. I have the rest of the commentaries for Chapter 2 complete, but I want to space them out a bit. Don’t forget to pre-order! And if you already have–thanks!

-Brock

GIANT SuperFogeys Commentary Update – Strips 32-38

Monday, July 9th, 2007

Commentary for SuperFogeys, Episode 32

This is probably the true first strip of Chapter 2. Dr. Klein is a character that is good for exposition, yes, but also one that I plan on having a lot of fun with in the future. Some people thought his look in the third panel coupled with his German name meant that Dr. Klein is evil. I won’t comment on the prejudices of my readership, but I will say that I did not have that in mind when I drew it. I was just experimenting with what I could do with a panel.

View Episode 32

Commentary for SuperFogeys, Episode 33

Ugh. This is my failed experiment. I was trying to take what was essentially two different strips and consolidate them into one. As drawn, panel 3 preceded panel 2, but at the last minute I got the idea to integrate them more. It didn’t work. Not helping matters is last panel. For the record, yes, CS is flying. And yes, I know I should have zoomed the camera out more. This strips gives me pains, even if panel 3 gives me a good chuckle.

View Episode 33

Commentary for SuperFogeys, Episode 34

Like Spy Gal in Chapter 1, I had spent two strips building up the arrival of the Healer. I wanted his entrance to be important and surprising.

Originally, the Healer was going to be an old man in a cloak. Much more like Dr. Strange or something like that. After being comfortable with that for weeks, I suddenly realized that that was a bad idea. It was just too conventional. So, I asked myself, “What’s the opposite of an old man in a cloak?” The answer quickly came: “A young dude in a backwards visor.”

There are a lot of different ideas floating around the Healer. In a way, he’s my commentary on a modern young celebrity like Lindsay Lohan or Britney Spears. Spy Gal is completely enamored with him. Dr. Klein talks about how important it is to give him respect. And yet…does he deserve it? No, unless you count his power. And really, no one cares who the Healer is, it’s the fame he has from what he can DO that makes him so celebrated.

My thinking was: in a community of people where most of their powers lend themselves to destruction and mayhem, how would a punk with the powers of, basically, Jesus be regarded? Sprinkle in some Utah homeboy aesthetic and BAM—The Healer.

View Episode 34

Commentary for SuperFogeys, Episode 35

This strip is all about me as wannabe animator. The SuperFogeys are so stiff and immobile, it was fun to cut loose a little on a character like the Healer. I made it double-sized because I wanted the figures to breathe a little.

There’s some good lines in this one (Dr. Rocket is just sick, sick, sick), but I wanted the last panel to end on a much funnier note. I never figured out what that note should be, so I left it as is. I think it works just fine now. The jokes don’t always have to land in the last panel.

View Episode 35

Commentary for SuperFogeys, Episode 36

More Healer nonsense. You can see how my camera is really changing up now. I’ve left behind almost completely the cut/paste of the previous chapter, something I was real glad to do. What’s with the lack of word balloons, though? What was I thinking?

The Space Pig is always fun to bring back. There’s no way to explain him and his function every time out, so I just pop him in there every now and again and the readers either get it or they don’t. The gag of him having hero worship for the Healer was too good to pass up.

View Episode 36

Commentary for SuperFogeys, Episode 37

I hate the first panel of this one. CS and Spy Gal just don’t look right and I don’t know what I was thinking.

Gene is always a lot of fun to write. He’s a big lug, not much dimension to him, but that’s okay now and again. The entire point of this strip was to establish that Spy Gal is attracted to Dr. Klein. I don’t do anything more with it for the whole of Chapter 2, but it’s something I plan on revisiting later.

View Episode 37

Commentary for SuperFogeys, Episode 38

This is strip I’m really proud of. It’s very much a side-trip from the main story, but I think it’s poignant in a way that SuperFogeys hasn’t been up until now. The fact that I worked in a decent joke about a “City Kitty Ray” in the middle of it is just icing on the cake for me. This is the type of strip I hope to do more of in the future.

View Episode 38

SuperFogeys Book Update

We’re going to start taking pre-orders soon, so keep your eyes on this space!

-Brock

SuperFogeys 29, 30 and 31–Chapter 2 Begins!

Thursday, June 21st, 2007

Commentary on SuperFogeys, Episode 29

A new chapter begins—“Bingo Night.” Kinda wish I’d come up with a better title for the chapter, but it’s accurate enough right?

This first strip in chapter 2 is all about setting up the game and introducing Dr. Klein, an obviously important figure at Valhalla. When I started the SuperFogeys, I always had it in the back of my mind that I would need to create a “man-in-charge” at some point. Dr. Klein, with his german name and broad shoulders, really felt like someone who could hold his own and not be intimidated by the legendary figures surrounding him.

I don’t really know much about the game of Bingo. I’m not even sure it qualifies as a game. Really, when you think about it, it’s the adult equivalent of Candy Land. Hence, Swifty’s comments pretty much echo my own.

View Episode 29

Commentary on SuperFogeys, Episode 30

I love Spy Gal. It’s probably the adolescent schoolboy in me, but I have a lot of fun teasing her and putting her in some horrible situations. It’s always fun to see what she’ll do. Gene’s teasing here is a carry-over from episode 10 in the first chapter, something I plan on running with for a long, long time. But…this is Spy Gal we’re talking about here. You just know Gene should be more careful…

And, in case you can’t make it out, the book Spy Gal is reading is called “The Devil Wears Kevlar.” I think I had just seen The Devil Wears Prada on DVD (pretty good movie that should have ended about 10 minutes before it does) around the time I was doing this strip. Spy Gal loves covert ops and romantic comedies, obviously.

View Episode 30

Commentary on SuperFogeys, Episode 31

This strip, and the two before it, form a series that serve to reintroduce the characters. I don’t know if anyone would actually skip Chapter 1 and move right on to Chapter 2, but just in case they did…

Certainly, as far as the art is concerned, Chapter 2 is it’s own thing. Already you can see me playing with the camera a lot more. Just for pacing purposes, changing up the angle is always a good idea. It’s been remarked that this is one of the better-paced strips I’ve done. I tend to agree. I know I write a lot of dialogue, so any time I can find a way to cut back, it’s almost always a good thing.

View Episode 31

Eskimo Dave is Back!

Hey, have you heard? Eskimo Dave, the flagship Th3rd World webcomic about the misadventures of Eskimo Dave and his polar bear companion, Steve, is back as of this week after a too-long hiatus.

Check it out and get caught up!

DVD Watch

Been watching a lot of Angel and Buffy these days. Been watching a few movies here and there, but it’s mostly been about the TV shows. TV’s better than a lot of junk that’s out there these days anway.

Angel- Season 2
“Blood Money” – ***
“Happy Anniversary” – **
“The Thin Dead Line” – ***1/2
“Reprise” – ***

Buffy the Vampire Slayer- Season 5
“Listening to Fear” – **1/2

The Cat in the Hat (live action [my daughter wanted to see it and I was curious, okay? Don’t judge me])- *1/2

-Brock

SuperFogeys 27 and 28, plus Captain Canuck

Thursday, June 14th, 2007

Commentary for SuperFogeys, Episodes 27 and 28

27 is an episode that almost never was. My original plan was to go from strip 26 to the last strip of Chapter 1–what is now strip 28. However, I realized fairly late in the game that I hadn’t really done anything to set up WHY CS and Spy Gal would get back together. I mean, sure, I had established that they had a prior relationship, buy what would draw them back together? I’ll admit that 27 doesn’t offer a very compelling reason–it basically comes down to Spy Gal thinking the Captain is pretty cool–but it works in the world of the SuperFogeys.

The last strip of Chapter One–28–is one that I had planned for a long, long time. Once I decided to do the SuperFogeys for real, I quickly came up with a grand plan. This strip was one of the first elements of that plan, and every strip from 13 to 27 was written with this ending for Chapter One in mind. This plan extends far, far beyond this chapter though. I have certain strips, certain touchstones that the chapters are leading to, written in my head that will take a year or more to get to. One of them comes near the end of Chapter 2. Another won’t hit until the last strip of Chapter 6. Should be fun getting there.

Now, the SuperFogeys were created in September of 2006. Th3rd World Studios didn’t pick it up until April of 2007. One of the first things Th3rd World politely suggested was to redesign Captain Spectacular. When I first created CS, he was a simple Superman analogue, nothing more. His original look told you that right away. Obviously, that wasn’t one of my better ideas. Legal issues and all that.

So, late one night, Michael DeVito (publisher extraordinairre at Th3rd World) and I hashed out a new look for CS. We used two panels from strip 28 as our template:

old cs

We went back and forth on what changed we could make. At one point, Michael had CS as green and yellow. I vetoed that pretty quickly. I felt it was super-important to keep that blue since it was a color I never used outside of CS. It made him stand out. The cloak desing was something we agreed on from the beginning. We had to do somehting radically different there. Here’s what we came up with:

new cs

It took me a good long while to get used to the Captain’s new look, but now that I have I’m really glad I did it. The Superman knock-off just looks ugly to me.

View Episode 27
View Episode 28

Captain Canuck!

My good fake internet friend Riel Langois is the current writer for the long-running Captain Canuck series of comics. Captain Canuck: Uholy War #4 is hitting stores this August. You can check out a 5-page preivew of Unholy War at the offical Captain Canuck Website.

The Diamond order code for Unholy War #4 is JUN073380. Get word to your local comic shop pronto. Saturday is the last day new orders can be taken.

Riel’s been a big supporter of the SuperFogeys from the beginning, so be sure and check out his book!

Weight Watchers

Yeah, I’m doing it. I’m tired of being fat. Points system works for me. I’ve been on the program six weeks. Weightloss report? I’m down 11.6 pounds and, most importantly, a whole shirt size. Too cool. I started at 215.8 and I now weight 204.2. I coudln’t be happier about that. I feel like every time I look in the mirror I see an old friend again. I turned 30 this past January. I’m kissing my “Fat Twenties” goodbye. Hello, “Trim Thirties.”

-Brock

Super Fogeys: The Trivia (Take 4)!

Monday, June 11th, 2007

Can you believe we’re already at Trivia #4? I can’t! That means we’ve already given 4 sketches away! AHHHHHH!!! I can’t believe you lousy lot are getting away with that.

Ahhh, I suppose ya deserve it. ;]

Anyway… on with the next round of trivia questions!

You know the whole shebang… I ask, you answer, I announce, winner takes all, you get bragging rights, and I get to sleep. Remember, though, that you send the answers to: contests@th3rdworld.com. Got it? Don’t forget. Did you forget? Okay, good. If you forget, you can’t win… and we don’t want that – at least, you don’t want that. Muahaha!

Oh yes… onto the questions – right, I forgot:

———————————————————
1. Why is Dr. Rocket sorry?
2. What is Captain Spectacular’s Rank?
3. Why Does Swifty want the “#@$% Pig?

———————————————————

That’s it, that’s all she wrote! Now get studying, because you’ll need those answers by the end of the night on Sunday! The winner will be announced on Monday afternoon, so be here or… don’t… be here. But, be here!

Here’s what you might win, should you get the correct answers:

Good luck!

SuperFogeys 25 and 26 – What’s Troubling Jerry?

Monday, June 11th, 2007

Commentary for SuperFogeys, Episode 25

This was a fun one. I had to move the story along, but I also had this great moment between the Space Pig and Swifty in my head which didn’t have much to do with the main story, but that I wanted to do anyway. I’m an insomniac myself, and it was easy for me to imagine that Swifty, not able to expend his energy with his body, would have a mind that’s constantly working in overdrive. Any insomniac will tell you that that’s the biggest problem–the inability to simply let go and stop thinking so you can drift off to sleep. Having the Space Pig utter his first words was just fun. These being the early days of the strip, you just don’t expect that. I know I was surprised when I wrote it.

Jerry’s line about perversion is also a favorite of mine. Really, there’s two strips going on here. A bit of an expriment, but I think it worked out. I would try it again in chapter 2, but with far less success.

View Episode 25

Commentary for SuperFogeys, Episode 26

From almost the very beginning the one question I kept getting about the SuperFogeys was: “When are we gonna get some flashbacks?” My response always was that it wasn’t a priority for me. Marvel and DC do a pretty good job of showing you the flashbacks for the SuperFogeys, and Kurt Busiek’s Astro City probably does it best.

I did a little mini-flashback in Episode 3, but it hardly qualified in my mind. In thinking about the end of Chapter 1 however, I realized I need to set up the final episode better. That’s really what Episode 26 is all about: setting up the final reveal. With that in place, I knew 26 was going to have to be a bit larger than the average SuperFogeys strip. I had been looking for a reason to do a double-sized strip, and here it was.

Young Spy Gal

Designing the look of the younger versions of the characters was a lot of fun. I hadn’t really given it much thought until this episode.

Young Jerry

Jerry’s design was the most fun. Up until now, I hadn’t said much about Jerry. I still didn’t want to, but I felt like I was making it really clear with this flashback that Jerry was not only younger than the others, but also Captain Spectacular’s sidekick! Not everyone got it immediately, but those who did though it was great fun.

Young CS

You’ll notice that CS’s cloak design is different in this sketch. More on that in the commentary for Episode 28.

I never did design a young version of Dr. Rocket. Seemed unnecessary. However, I did do a design for a young Swifty that I still have yet to use (I’m working on Episode 54 as I write this), but I thought you might like to see it anyway.

Young Swifty

View Episode 26

SuperFogeys Trivia Contest Update

Congrats once again to Claudia for her spectacular performance in Trivia Contest 3, without a doubt the hardest challenge we’ve presented to you so far.

Contest 4 is going up later today, so check out the Games/Trivia Forum later today for details on that. Good luck!

SuperFogeys on Drunk Duck

The SuperFogeys just launched on Drunk Duck! So far, early reviews are good. Th3rd World is still your one-stop shop for all things SuperFogeys, but I hope you’ll stop on my Drunk Duck and spread the word in the forums if you get a chance, or just leave a comment on your favorite strip! Every little bit counts!

SuperFogeys on Drunk Duck

-Brock

SuperFogeys: The Trivia (Take 3) – WINNER ANNOUNCED!

Wednesday, June 6th, 2007

Okay people… I was going to call this a no-win and continue on with some more questions for a new trivia, but I’m going to give someone the benefit of the doubt, because she was really close (and still start up another trivia tomorrow). ;]

Here are your questions/answers:

1. Who is the Anesthesiologist at Valhalla? The Space Pig

2. Approximately how long was Spy Gal unconscious and alone in Dr. Rocket’s room before she woke up? Approximately 2.5 hours

3. What three things has Dr. Rocket done to get Spy Gal unconscious and into his room? Hoped, Wished & Prayed

4. In strips one through seventeen, how many times is the name “Spy Gal” spoken? 17

The winner for this trivia, who was only off by .5 hours on question 2, is: Claudia and she is the winner of:

Congratulations Claudia! Your sketch shall be underway, as soon as I receive your address information.

If you’re a member of the forums, feel free to PM me, or just E-Mail me. I’ll be contacting you shortly. =]

SuperFogeys 22, 23 and 24 – SuperFogeys: The Sitcom

Wednesday, June 6th, 2007

Commentary for SuperFogeys, Episode 22

“Wait a minute…aren’t episodes 21 and 22 the same strip?”

I don’t blame you for thinking that. They do look a lot alike. Okay, they’re almost the same. More on that in the commentary for episode 23.

As for the story here, this strip was important to me because I had a very real fear at the time that it was going to be perceived that I had a hatred towards women. Dumb, right? I mean, Dr. Rocket is a character, he doesn’t speak for me, but just in case anyone had any questions about it, Spy Gal gives you the lowdown on what love and respect is. Over two strips. With essentially the same art.

The last panel was entirely inspired by the Michael Scott character from the US version of The Office.

View Episode 22

Commentary for SuperFogeys, Episode 23

This was a pivotal episode in the development of the SuperFogeys in a number of ways, but before we get to that I just want to say that, for me anyway, 22 and 23 are at least funny enough to give me a smile months after I originally did them.

Too bad the art doesn’t support them properly.

At the time, I thought I was being a genius. Look at how much time I saved! Two strips in a row where I didn’t have to draw a thing, all I had to do was take pieces from previous strips and put them together and BAM, instant strip! What a time saver! I could do 3 or 4 a week this way!

Except that…the joy of doing the strip went right out of it. But isn’t that what webcomics do? The truth was: yeah, they do. The bad ones. It was easy to see why I was suddenly getting criticism when previously people were nothing but enthusiastic–I had stopped a vital part of the creation of the strip.

I was defensive at first. I wanted to do things my way and if it helped get the jokes and the story out, wasn’t that the most important thing? Except…as I went back through and read the strips, I found myself barely able to look at the ones I had so obviously made from spare parts. They weren’t fun to read, no matter how good a job I thought I might have done on the dialogue.

Oops.

From Episode 23 onward, things began to change.

View Episode 23

Commentary for SuperFogeys, Episode 24

I do believe this strip marks the first close-up I’d ever done in the Superfogeys. After 23, I began looking for ways to change the camera around and push the framing into the storytelling more. It was just one panel, but it was a start. It would take a few more strips before I really figured out how to shake the strip up.

This episode marks the end of the Three’s Company shenanigans in Chapter 1. Just in time, too. I don’t think I’d want to push it much further than I did in that last panel. Seriously, people…don’t cross Spy Gal.

View Episode 24

SuperFogeys 21 and “Comic Book Challenge: The Judges Respond”

Thursday, May 31st, 2007

Commentary for SuperFogeys, Episode 21

Me: Hey, I’ve got a great idea.

Me: What’s that?

Me: You know how we could get a lot of strips done quickly?

Me: How?

Me: We could just cut/paste all the best bits from previous strips and add only minor alterations!

Me: Genius.

Future Me: I beg to differ.

With Episode 21 and the next few after, I really pushed the copy/paste thing to the limit. Actually, I even went past the limit (but more on that a little later). Change was definitely coming…

View Episode 21

The Comic Book Challenge: Judges Respond

In my last entry to the Th3rd World Studios blog, I shared part one of what it was like for me as a semifinalist for the 2006 Comic Book Challenge. Now, the pitch has been made and it’s time for the judges to respond…

***

Oliver Jones, People Magazine: Your concept seems to have a lot of heart. That’s something that can be hard to do with these kinds of stories.

Me: Yes, that’s exactly right. This is really about the two boys and their friendship.

Oliver Jones: I like that.

I was grateful that Mr. Jones had keyed into what I thought was the essential ingredient of my story. Of any story, really. If all they saw in this was me ripping off Groundhog Day, then I would have failed completely. Of course, I did fail… just not completely.

Gale Anne Hurd, Hollywood Producer: Are we going to see flashbacks to the 1800′s or Roman times as the story goes on?

Thinking back over the pitch, I realized later that I was an idiot and should have been shot for being unclear on this point. Lesson 1 in how to torpedo your big Hollywood pitch: when explaining a story that utilizes time travel (or something like unto it), be sure to use very few words and make sure those words are as vague and temporally unspecific as possible. This was the lady who’d produced the Terminator movies for cripe’s sake. And I’d lost her.

Me: No, not exactly. McKay’s life always starts over back in 1988, the moment when he’s born. However, yes, we would see flashbacks to prior lifetimes as the story went on, but they would solely be variations on our present day.

Gale Anne Hurd: Oh, okay. Now, who is the villain? Is there a villain here?

She was trying to put me into a box but I didn’t mind. I had the essential ingredients and I knew it. Plus, she’d just given me the perfect opening to talk about something that I had wanted to be a part of the pitch but could not find a way to work it in.

(It should be noted that at this time, and indeed throughout the pitch, I was not processing who I was talking to. I have this strange disease where by myself or in front of a mirror I get all all jittery and fumble my words. However, put me in front of a vast audience or a panel of judges who hold my creative fate in their hands and I get this odd confidence and calm. I don’t know if I have any charisma whatsoever, but if I do that’s when it comes out to play.)

Me: Yes, there is a villain. (Holds up second poster again.) It’s that man right there with the gun. Who he is and what he’s doing there is a big part of the second half of the story. In fact, this one event will eventually result in McKay getting caught up with the Mafia again. In previous lifetimes he ran the mob and now, as the story goes along, he’ll be forced to involve himself again and they certainly will play a villain role also.

Gale Anne Hurd: So, it’s like a sci-fi/crime story.

Hadn’t ever thought of it that way before but…

Me: Yes, exactly.

Gale Anne Hurd: Now, is McKay a super hero or… what are his powers?

There was that box again. This question I was expecting.

Me: Well, he’s not a super hero in the traditional sense. He doesn’t have any tights or a cape. However, he does have a superpower. His power is his knowledge. In that sense, he is a superhero because knowledge is power and he uses it to help others and carry out his goals.

Whether she was genuinely interested or not in my ideas, she certainly seemed satisfied by my responses. At this point it must have been clear to her that Jim Cameron was a total hack who could learn a thing or two about compelling story construction and interesting twists from a suave, Fresno, Ca native like myself. How did Skynet come to be in the first place if the original technology came from the hand that the first Terminator left behind when he came back from the future?

Oh, yeah. Who cares?

Scott Mitchell Rosenberg, President and Publisher of Platinum Studios (the company hosting the event): This is a well put-together pitch. You really hooked us in with the surprise halfway through. Great Art.

Me: Thanks.

Scott Mitchell Rosenberg: However, you did commit the cardinal sin of pitching.

My mind was racing. What had I done? Would they hold it against me? I had never done this before! What could I have possibly done?

Scott Mitchell Rosenberg: You assumed that we all had read your stuff before we got here and you never do that. Never assume anything. In fact, 99% of the time the people you’re pitching to will not have read or seen a single thing you’ve done.

It was true. I actually had said, “I know you’ve all read the synopsis and seen the preview art but…” But, but, but… it was an incidental remark! A connecting phrase to lead me to my next point! It didn’t matter. I would have given the same exact pitch even if I knew they hadn’t read anything. And besides… didn’t they send an email to me saying that the judges would see our work before we pitched it? Look, look–I’ll prove it to you…

“The judges will be seeing the synopsis and sample art that you sent in with your submission that morning for the first time. They will have that in front of them when you appear to give your pitch.”

Aw, crud. For a writer, I don’t read so good.

Scott Mitchell Rosenberg: You should just assume that the people you’re pitching to know nothing and proceed from there. Even if, say, they had read it, you don’t know how much they retained. You need to be selling it for the first time with the pitch.

Wait… was he actually taking time away from my story in order to give me advice about pitching? Something I’ve never done and am likely never to do again? Now? Now is a good time for this? I felt like I was in a Twilight Zone version of what I imagined my morning would be like. It was like I had the most important thing in the world to say and all anybody wanted to do was talk about muffins.

I nodded my head. Somebody save me a blueberry.

Scott Mitchell Rosenberg: Also, I don’t like flashbacks. If we end up publishing it that’s something we’ll have to work on toning down.

Me: O-okay…?

Scott Mitchell Rosenberg: Thanks very much for your time. Nice job.

Me: Thank you.

And with that I was excused. My moment in the sun was (thankfully) over. On my way out I handed each of the judges a copy of the mini comic Alan and I’d put together. Our hope was that they would look it over and that it would serve as a reminder that they had heard the most awesome idea in the history of comic book pitching.

Or not.

As we all know, Alan and I didn’t win. We got beat about by “The Six Sinners,” “Hero by Night,” and “Lesbian Pirates from Outer Space.” “Hero by Night” took home the gold.

Was it my mediocre pitching skills? Was it the flashbacks? “I don’t like flashbacks.” Not, “I don’t like flashbacks because…” just “I don’t like flashbacks.” Let it be known now and forevermore that Scott Mitchell Rosenberg does not like flashbacks. Just not his thing. That’s right, 20 million LOST fans. Eat that.

As for me, I like flashbacks like Superman likes pink. I like flashbacks very much.

Plus, as Alan would say, we do flashbacks right. They make sense as part of the story. But who knows what the criticism there was? For all I know Mr. Rosenberg just doesn’t like compound words utilizing the letters f and b.

But all of this is just sour grapes that I’ve (mostly) given up on. Fact is, at the the end of the day, I still believe in our story and our collective talent. It just wasn’t a good fit for Platinum Studios. It’s our first rejection. And it’s only a half-rejection at that. As semi-finalists, we were part of an elite group of 50 people, representing 0.5% of the total people who entered.

I have a certificate. And a t-shirt.

***

Need I remind you that I wrote the above account almost a year ago? Things turned out well for me afterwards. A couple months later I created the SuperFogeys and, well, here I am. The Two Hundred and Fifth is still my passion project and I still hope to find a publisher one day, but I can’t complain about my experience with the Comic Book Challenge. I got a fair shake and learned a lot. Can’t ask for more than that.

The Video of the Pitch

This is something I’ve only discovered recently. I guess Platinum decided to post the video of all of last year’s pitches to give people a sense of how it works. Now, I can’t vouch for this video. I haven’t been able to watch more than the first minute of it before breaking out in hives and a cold sweat. I didn’t have access to this when I wrote the above account of my pitch, so I have no idea how accurate my memory of the event was. Perhaps you can enlighten me. I just can’t watch this:


Comic Book Challenge 2006 The Two Hundred And Fifth By Brock HeaFunny bloopers are a click away

*By the way that’s my partner and penciller, Alan, in the background for a lot of video. He’s the half-japanese/half-hispanic guy in glasses shielding his eys. Yes, those are his real muscles.

-Brock

SuperFogeys 20 and The Comic Book Challenge

Wednesday, May 30th, 2007

Commentary for SuperFogeys, Episode 20

I love this strip. I think this is the one where you get the best sense of the relationship between Captain Spectacular and Jerry. The first panel alone–I think if the entire strip were just that panel, I’d be happy. I don’t think anyone else laughs at that first panel (That’s not where the joke should be!), but I do. Every time.

What the rest of the strip is suggesting is a little risque, but it works for the characters. I’m very careful to have heroes be heroes and villains be villains. That even extends to the sex jokes. Still, we’re closing in on the line of acceptability and I knew it. Chapter 2 would see this type of humor almost completely absent.

View Episode 20

The Comic Book Challenge

As promised, here is my tale of pitching THE MOST BRILLIANT IDEA FOR A COMIC BOOK…EVER to the judges at the 2006 Platinum Studios’ Comic Book Challenge. Out of thousands of entries, I was one of the 50 semifinalists. Still a loser, but I got to spend a lot of gas money gaining my beta status, and that makes me special, right?

Anyway. This was written last summer, less than a week after the whole thing went down. If you detect some bitterness…well, I guess I kind of was. No one likes to lose. Bear in mind that this entire experience–in June of 2006–predates even the creation of the SuperFogeys. I had no idea good things were just around the corner for me. Enough with the preamble.

***

We arrived in Downtown San Diego at 7am. The “secret location” of the pitching was the NBC Studios at 225 Broadway. Big building for a local affiliate. At around 8am all the semifinalists were outside and waiting for someone to take charge and tell us what to do.

At 8:30am we all signed in and were randomly assigned a number that told us what order we would go in. We were number 4. I knew that by 9:30 that morning it would all be over. We weren’t first, that was the important thing.

With cameras ready the pitching began. The whole operation took place outdoors, under some canopies that had been set up. It was hot and I was glad we got to go early if only so we could avoid all the weather drama. The first few people kind of stumbled due to mic issues. Third guy sounded pretty good–he knew his stuff. (Future Brock Editorial Note: The third guy? Yeah, that was eventual winner and creator of Hero By Night, DJ Coffman.) However, I knew that no one (so far) had as polished a presentation as I had.

The night before, Alan and I must have run through the pitch a dozen times or more. The first time I did it it was 5 minutes long. I had to get it down to 2.

I got it down to 1:53.

I took my mark (only one of us was allowed to pitch) and a guy named Dan announced, “This is Brock Heasley from Fresno, CA.”

“Hi, Brock,” replied the judges. Sitting in front of me were Scott Mitchell Rosenberg- Chairman of Platinum Studios and former owner of Malibu Comics; Marc Silvestri- Head of Top Cow Studios; Gale Anne Hurd- Producer of Aliens, Terminator 1, 2, and 3, X-Men and many others, Chris Marlowe- Entertainment Correspondent for the Hollywood Reporter; and Oliver Jones- Correspondent for People Magazine. They all had pleasant smiles on their faces, even that People Magazine guy who looked a little too hip and snooty for the whole affair.

In my hands were two posters. I held up the first one and read the text from memory:

“What if you could unlock the lives of the people around you?
What choices would be most important?
Who would you save? Who would you bring to justice?
What would you do with your life if you knew what was going to happen from start to finish?
And what if things… went wrong?”

(I swallowed hard, shoved aside my awareness of my own body and posture and launched into it:)

“The story of The Two Hundred and Fifth is the story of McKay Stevens. McKay is [seemingly] an average 18-year-old boy who is in reality thousands of years old. When McKay dies, his life starts over again from the beginning and he has all the memories of his previous lifetimes intact.

“McKay is friends with Josh. Josh is your typical teenager from Anywhere U.S.A. He’s brash, impulsive and young. Why would someone like McKay be friends with someone like Josh? Why would Josh be friends with McKay? At the heart of the Two Hundred and Fifth lies that story–the story of the friendship between Josh and McKay, something which will be explored through flashbacks and throughout the events of the day of this first story.

“I know you all have read the synopsis and seen the preview art that we submitted, but if you’ll allow me to take you a bit further into the story…

“When McKay and Josh leave the Junior High School, McKay tells Josh his true nature. He tells him about how he repeats his life over and over again. Josh doesn’t believe a word of it, a response many of us would have. He starts asking McKay some hard questions and he says, ‘If you know so much, then tell me about my future. I bet you don’t know anything about what’s going to happen to me. I bet you can’t even tell me what I’m gonna do tomorrow.’

“McKay looks at Josh and responds, ‘No, no. It’s not how you think. I can’t tell you about your tomorrow because…’

(Cue second poster.)

(The judges looked surprised. Some of them nodded in approval.)

“And this is when we begin to understand the true scope of the Two Hundred and Fifth. The scope lies within its themes. Death, Love, Faith, Revenge, Hope, Redemption. Friendship. The idea that someone could repeat their life over and over again is really just a device to wrap the human drama around.

“McKay Stevens hasn’t always been a good person. He’s been a criminal, he’s been someone you really wouldn’t want to know. But now he’s past all that. He’s a good person. The Two Hundred and Fifth is the story of the journey he takes as that good person and what happens when he tries to do something different and things go wrong.”

Yep, believe it or not I did all that in 2 minutes. There was an awkward pause as I stopped talking and waited for the judges to respond. I had no idea what kinds of questions they might ask. I just hoped their smiles would continue. Finally, one of them spoke…

In the next blog: What the judges said and a video of the entire pitch (which I have never seen; we’ll se just how good my memory is).

The Two Hundred and Fifth Copyright 2006 Brock Heasley