We’ve attended C2E2 – Chicago Comic & Entertainment Expo this past April and are itching to keep this Comicon season going. What better way to continue other than Planet Comicon, Kansas City?!?
CEO/artist Jeremy Mohler and Design Director/writer Ed Lavallee are going to be at Booth #628 the whole weekend [May 20-22].
Get ready for three days of personalized sketches, signings and one daily giveaway exclusive for PCC attendees PLUS another online giveaway opened worldwide. That’s a lot of opportunities to win O.E. goodies!
Want to know what you can find at #OE’s booth?
– Blacklands #1;
– Elflord #1;
– Aegisteel #1;
– Pop Star Assassin #1-2;
– Bleedback #1-2;
– Evolution Cop #1-3;
– Revere (hardcover).
– Stories of Survival and Revenge (Inuit Folklore);
– Jeremy’s Art Book.
An array of original art, prints and sketch covers. Don’t hesitate to ask for a signed copy or for a live sketch while you’re there!
Do you remember Pop Star Assassin? Ed Lavallee has just tup the volume of the campaign: if you back the PSA Kickstarter campaign at the $10+ level from May 20 to 22 you’ll receive a free comic from the Outland Entertainment lineup.
Besides, all Backers attending the Planet Comicon can also stop by the booth for a FREE Pop Star Assassin print while supplies last.
It’s going to be a great weekend!
See you at Planet Comicon!
Ed Lavallee has opened up about how his career began and the way he manages to balance graphic design and comics. And when he breathes new life into one his lifelong projects we cannot sit tight: we have to know more about Pop Star Assassin! And about “Ed Lavallee, the Creator”.
We’ve briefly talked about PSA before, but we need more info! Where did you come up with the concept?
The idea for Pop Star came about as a culmination of all of the pop cultural influences I loved growing up as a child in the 70’s. I loved all types of genre films sci-fi, horror, action/adventure, but the pinnacle for me was watching Black Belt theater on Saturdays. This was usually a double feature with crazy, over-the-top characters, and even crazier Kung Fu action, but at the same time it was juxtaposed by the hilarity of the badly dubbed English. With that said, my hero then and now will always be THE MASTER, THE DRAGON – BRUCE LEE! His movies and everything about him had a huge influence on me. If you haven’t seen the documentary I AM BRUCE LEE – watch it! You won’t be disappointed.
What can you tell us about this universe you created?
Well, Pop Star is set in the 70’s and starts out in Vegas, without giving away too much this first miniseries sets events in motion that will change the face of the planet resulting in a very Blade Runner-esque – the only difference it will be brought with 1970’s low-fi gadgetry and tech. Big, bulky, and unreliable. Ray guns, EMPs, orbital weapons platforms, massive rooms full of giant super computers.
You’re in a safe place here. You can confess: is Elvis secretly your almighty idol and inspiration?
Elvis did play a big part of my childhood. He was larger than life – THE KING of Rock n Roll. His fame was otherworldly, legendary. Part of that plays into the story in the fact that when Elvis died there was so much speculation, an unanswered questions…then the Elvis sightings started popping up and that just added to the mystery and elevated him to god-like stature in the eyes of the world – not just Americans. The tabloids are still running stories about Elvis to this day. Makes for a great story though, huh? 😉 Ultimately though, Bruce Lee is my ultimate inspiration and almighty idol!
Now, seriously, were there any artists and/or authors who influenced you on this particular project?
Well, like i said previously the majority of the influences for Pop Star were all of the things that influenced me in the formative years growing up in the 1970’s, but I would say it is ultimately influenced by everything. No one specific artist or author comes to mind, but if I had to name names, I would have to say Quentin Tarantino, Martin Scorcese, and Francis Ford Coppola.
PSA has a very specific style when we speak about its artwork and storyline. What was your goal?
Really, my goal with the artwork for PSA is the same as my goal with artwork for every comic book project I work on – find the BEST, most talented, and unique artists I can find to bring the story to life. I am very lucky to be working with the brilliant, MARCELO BASILE. A true master of the craft, he is really kicking ass on Pop Star. Each new page of art I receive is better than the previous. He is the visual mastermind behind the look and feel of all things Pop Star Assassin. He is to be applauded. Take a bow, Marcelo!
You work with different artists on this project: Marcelo Basile, as artist, and MattCashel, as co-writer. What did you find more difficult to collaborate in: the artwork or the writing?
I’m a fairly laid back guy when it comes to collaborating with other creatives – I think this comes from working as a production artist/graphic designer as my day job. As part of a team it is all about compromise. I tell all of the artists. I work with that my script is just a loose outline of what I see happened, and to feel free to change things up if there is a better way to something visually. After all they are the experts. I will make points in y script if there is something specific that needs to be seen, but other that I like to leave most of the heavy lifting to the artist. Writing collaboratively, is much the same, but more back and forth with dialogue and moving the story forward in a way that is interesting and makes sense. Compromise is key.
Did you find yourself on the spot, having to make many concessions or was it a smooth ride?
It is a fairly smooth ride. Marcelo is a consummated professional, and is always willing to make edits to art if there is something I need changed. though it is pretty rare that I ever want to change anything. I mean C’MON, have you seen his pages! Perfection!!!
How did it feel to get such positive feedback from Jimmy Palmiotti?
Jimmy P is the hardest working professional in comics today. He is also the coolest, most genuine, and nicest guy you will ever meet at a comic convention! I am truly lucky to have Jimmy’s endorsement. Meant a LOT to me for sure.
Having personally financed the first 2 issues of Pop Star Assassin, you’re now running a Kickstarter campaign to help fund issue #3 and beyond.
What do you think attracts comic book fans to PSA?
Well, I know for one thing the art if out of this world, but I hope that readers see PSA as the total package. After all, what’s not to like about Sex, Drugs, Rock-N-Robots, right? We believe strongly in the story and characters and come hell or high water we will get this first 6 issue miniseries finished!
You offer many variant covers for PSA, from an array of comic book artists. How did you manage to get so many different artists interested in the Pop Star Assassin universe?
All of the artists doing variant covers are either people I have worked with in the past or people who I admire and would like to work with in the future. We truly are lucky to have so many talented artists doing covers for the campaign. Most of them I just asked.
What can we expect from Pop Star Assassin in the future (besides its 3 other issues!)?
Pop Star is a far reaching story and was originally planned as an ongoing series. As we reach the end of issue 6 the world will be turned on its head. We are trying to build a deep universe of characters and sub-plots that can really go in any direction. We will start to see some of that with Norma and a new character that debuts in issue 3. Stay tuned!
Have you ever considered seeing it adapted to an audiovisual format? If so what would you choose: live-action or animation? Movie or TV-series?
The ultimate dream of most comic creators getting that option! While I can honestly see PSA as a full-on, over-the-top, live action blockbuster, I feel that the depth of the story and its characters could only be done justice with a live action TV show on a premium cable channel – HBO, Showtime and Netflix are all doing stellar work. Game of Thrones for me, is my favorite show on televisions right now. Season 2 of Daredevil was pretty kick as also though!
We know you’re hyper focused on PSA right now, but what other projects can we expect from you in the near future?
Well, I currently have a few irons in the fire so to speak. I am working on Backlands with Jeremy Mohler and Erick Marquez – issue 1 is complete with issue 2 in production. I am working with artist Rudy Garcia on Julia Cruz: Evolution Cop. We are putting the finishing touches on issue 3 right now
Fans will be able to find you at Planet Comicon this month! What are you most looking forward to that weekend?
Conventions are always a creative re-charge for me, catching up with old friends, making new ones, and seeing all of the new comics and art is always super inspiring for me. It’s always fun hanging out afterward with everyone, having a few beers and talking shop. But ultimately, I am there for the fans and hope to make a lot of new ones! Without them, we are nothing! Putting a smile on someone’s face is what this is all about. Stop by and see us at the Outland Entertainment booth.
Any surprises planned?…
Thank you, Ed, for killing our curiosity about this “lysergic trip to the heart of American conspiranoia” that is Pop Star Assassin.
P.S.: Don’t forget to check out PSA Kickstarter campaign! (At least have a look at the video and spread the word: Ed’s rock’n’roll look is worth it!!)
So, recently I had the pleasure of doing some design work for Goodman Games on a couple of different Dungeons & Dragons 5E game modules: Glitterdoom, The Fey Sisters Fate, War-Lock, and The Pillars of Pelagia.
I had to come up with a cover dress and interior page layout. For the cover dress a title, sub-title, and 5E icon were needed. When working, I always start with font selection to try and nail down the right feel for everything. In this case I was going for a classic “fantasy” feel. I used a mix of font families: Mason, Adobe Garamond, and ITC Franklin Gothic, so I could have all of bases covered when it came time to do the interior page layout. I recommend using a font family that has multiple font options: regular, book, italic, semi-bold, bold, heavy etc. This helps in keeping a consistent professional look throughout the work.
After fonts were finalized, I chose colors and fooled around with some different layer effects in Photoshop to come up with the final layout for the cover. Once the first layout was approved, I set up a layer template in Adobe Illustrator with all of the elements in place making it easy to do a simple edit and replace with each of the cover art pieces and then editing the copy on the title text, module number, level, and author name. I exported each cover from their individual layers and sent them out for edits/approval.
The interior page layout was a little different in that I didn’t have any actual content, but had to cover all of the various instances where a different font style would be used. I used a two column format, looked at examples of existing modules, and created a header and footer for the page. Look at the fonts used on the page layout image to see all of the options I provided.
All in all it was pretty straight forward cover and page layout. If you have any questions about my process or design in general, feel free to send me a message. I would be more than happy to lend a hand.
Until next time…keep on, keepin’ on.
You might know Ed Lavallee from his work as a graphic designer, but he’s also a published author working on numerous comic projects. Let’s pick his brain, shall we?
Ed, what came first: graphic design or comics?
Comics all the way. Comics have been a huge part of my life for as long as I can remember. I started out pretty young just looking at the pictures, then reading, then collecting. Comics have always inspired and amazed me. Definitely influenced me in making my decision to study art and design in college. It was during my time at Stephen F. Austin State that I started writing comics. I guess for me the two have always gone hand in hand. Kind of a no brainier really.
Would you ever choose only one or do they somehow complement each other?
The two have always complemented each other. The design side of things is actually what got me my first pro comic gig as a letterer. I lettered “PARADIGM” and an issue of “EXPATRIATE” from Image. If I could make a living just writing comics I would, but design provides me with the glamorous lifestyle I’ve become accustomed to.
As a kid and teenager what was your favorite activity?
As a kid I was always outside playing in the woods by my house, building forts, riding bikes. I had a very active imagination. Loved to be outside adventuring.
Did you begin to show your artistic talents early?
I don’t know if it would be considered talent, but I always loved to draw and create when I was young. Whether it’s comics, animation, drawing, film, Art has always been there for me in some form or fashion.
What was the first project that made you realize you wanted to be part of this graphic world?
Not sure I can pinpoint a single project that led me on my path into graphics specifically. It was more out of a need to make a decent living doing something I enjoyed. I was originally a sculpture major in college, but I could never see myself making a living as a fine art sculptor. I changed my major to graphic design in my junior year and finished college with enough credit hours to have a double major. Been working in design ever since, publishing mostly. The rest is history.
What about references? Do you have any favorite artists that inspire you?
Da Vinci and the artists of the Italian Renaissance. Mike Mignola… I’m a huge fan of the Hellboy Universe he has created. Frank Frazetta. Quentin Tarantino. Martin Scorsese.
Is there a project that touched you in a deeper way?
“REVERE: Revolution in Silver” will always be my baby. It was my first professionally published work as a writer.
How does it feel to create a brand image, a logo, like the new one for the “Shotguns and SorceryRPG”?
Working on the S&S logo has been fun and exciting. It’s pretty cool to think that the work I did on the logo will be on all future S&S products. I’m looking forward to seeing everything take shape with the upcoming KS launch for the S&S RPG.
Is the process of finding the right logo for a brand straightforward or is it too subjective?
I try and use the same approach every time. Sometimes it is pretty straight forward, other times it is more of a creative evolution. Each step adding a little something in the process to get you to the final finished version.
What is your method: meticulous research or diving right into experimental sketches?
I think all projects are unique in their own way. For some, the lightbulb goes off right away and I can jump right in. In other instances it’s lots of research, sketching, and asking questions of the team/client involved.
What can we expect to see from you in the near future: graphic design projects or comics?
Well, I have an active hand in the majority of the projects set up here at Outland. We just finished up the S&S logo, and an RPG supplement. The S&S Kickstarter is launching soon. So a lot is happening on the design front. I have a few different comic projects as well, “REVERE vol. 2″, “POPSTAR ASSASSIN”, and “BLACKLANDS” are all in the works as we speak. Exciting times are on the horizon, stay tuned!
Thanks Ed for shedding some light on your work!