When we announced last year (2017) that we were making changes to Ragnarok Publications, the intent was to maintain Ragnarok as an imprint of Outland Entertainment. But as we started to move forward, it became more and more obvious that there was just too much negative press associated with Ragnarok. None of which really had anything to do with the current team behind the company as it stands.
So, rather than try to continue publishing with one arm tied behind our back, we’ve made the decision to absorb Ragnarok into Outland. It also helps to bring everything under one banner in terms of management and production.
We’ll be maintaining these titles from the Ragnarok catalog –
- Blackguards: Tales of Assassins, Mercenaries, and Rogues;
- Genius Loci: Tales of the Spirit of Place;
- Hath No Fury: Tales of Strong Women;
- Kaiju Rising: Age of Monsters;
- Mech: Age of Steel;
- Neverland’s Library.
We’ll also be maintaining our distribution relationship with Independent Publishers Group (IPG). We love working with them and they have been more than supportive with all the changes we’ve made.
Moving forward, we’ll be taking on projects that we intend to develop into trans-media IP (intellectual property). Meaning, before we take on a project, we’ll be looking at how we can develop it into fiction, comics, and games, or some combination of those three items. It’s a slightly different approach than Ragnarok had previously, but we have a pretty extensive background not only developing fiction (whether it’s anthologies, novels, or novellas), but developing comics and game projects through our creative services as well.
We also have a deep and abiding love for all things fiction, comics, and games!
So as 2018 progresses, we should have some fun announcements to make about the projects that are currently in development. Keep an ear to the ground and if you haven’t already, be sure to sign up for our newsletter at the bottom of this page!
Interview with Warlock 5 Writer Jimmy Z. Johnston
We’re excited to feature Jimmy Z. Johnston, writer for the Kickstarter-funded revival of Warlock 5!
What was your first contact with Warlock 5?
I picked them up new off the shelf in the late 80s. I remember seeing the cover to issue one and thinking it was the most amazing thing I had ever seen.
Why did it capture you?
100% the cover. I bought it because that cover was one of the most incredible I had seen. Issues 2-6 had fully painted covers featuring the face of each Warlock. And they stand the test of time today as being some of the most striking covers of their time.
Did you have a favorite issue?
In many ways, the first issue holds that honor. It did such a wonderful job introducing the world.
How about a beloved character?
I have a ton of art I did through high school, and there is one montage I have of dozens of characters I loved from various works. Argon is in that montage, if I find it I will share it.
Did these change once you picked the books up to work on the project?
When I read them years ago, I never thought about the idea of where their story might go if I was writing it. It was a few years later that I began thinking about these things in earnest. But rereading the original series now is a tough thing to do. Because it is very much a product of the time. Storytelling was different back then. In issue 3 (I think) Zania sets off a nuke in Grid City. In issue 4 they don’t even acknowledge it. There is no way a writer could do something like that today, the fans would be all over it. They did resolve that eventually in the trade, but if you only get the issues you don’t see the resolution.
As for characters, when we started writing the series, I spent a lot of my time working on the new character Lycia, so my view of the original characters didn’t change much at all.
The original work must have cast a heavy weight, but what other influences did you have?
Clive Barker is my biggest influence. He tells stories in ways that no other writer I have ever read can compare to. I do find it interesting, having read comics spanning all eras, how storytelling in comics has changed. I worked on Micronauts with Cullen Bunn, a series that originated with Marvel in the 70s. I have talked to fans who wish we were writing stories like the ones Marvel did. But the reality is that nobody could write like that today. Readers wouldn’t be interested in it. There are many readers who seek out the older stories like that, but the nostalgia factor lets them be read without worrying about the storytelling. Neil Gaiman’s Sandman series is one that stands the test of time. He did such a fantastic job telling the stories he told, that they will always be relevant examples of how to tell a story.
The writing process is a collaboration between you and Cullen Bunn. How is it to collaborate with other artists? Is there too much compromise?
In spite of what Cullen says, we work really well together.
But seriously, we sit down and talk out the idea. Then we write up a page by page outline. Sometimes that could be one line “FIGHT” or it could be a paragraph with dialogue we want to make sure we use. Through this process we make sure we don’t have too many scenes we are trying to fit in. In this case it was a 60 page script, so when we finished the outline, we talked about scenes we “wanted.” Cullen really wanted the Savashtar investigating scene, so we blocked that out for him. After we do that it is usually pretty close to an even split on the workload.
When we finish our parts, I combine it into one unified script and we both go over it. This part is fun because we get to revel in the genius of our parts and rewrite the stuff the other guy did. I joke about it. Usually it involves tweaking a few things here and there, but not too terribly much.
This is not the only project you two have partnered up for. Why did you start working together?
I met Cullen in 2003. He met me in 2004. There is a story there, but this isn’t the day for that. We were both at a horror convention for writers in New York (in 2004). Found out we lived very close to each other and when we got home started talking and hanging out more. He was working on writing prose, and I had discovered an innate talent for editing. I did an edit for him on a story and he really liked what I did. That was the start of working together.
Are there any specific scenes or narrative developments you want to include in this continuation of the 80’s comic?
We are looking at this as a continuation of the series. 30 years later, these 5 are still defending reality from threats. They have changed, but the dynamics amongst them are still pretty consistent. Zania and Argon are the “bad” pair, while Tanith and Savashtar are the “good” pair, leaving Doomidor in the middle as the balance between them.
The only thing I really pushed for was doing a cover based on the original issue 1. We are technically working on the fourth run of the series. The second run was a short mini series that did a new version of the issue one cover. The third run did not, but it deviated massively from the original concept. I am glad that we got to use a version of the original cover. Jeffrey Edwards did an amazing job on it, and on every page that will be between the covers.
The five main characters are extremely different and layered. What was the biggest challenge bringing them to life?
Anytime you have an ensemble cast it takes time to develop the individuals. It is much easier to write a story with Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman because you don’t need to establish who they are. You see the S, the Bat cowl, the lariat, and you instantly know who they are.
We have 5 main characters we are essentially introducing to readers. Along with a handful of new characters to the series. That takes time to develop. Being able to do a 60 page issue helps massively with the character development aspect.
Is it turning out the way you’ve envisioned it?
I am still pretty fresh in the comic world, so I am loving the process. Seeing thumbnails come in, then pencils, then inks, then colors. . . Seeing my words and scenes turned into comic pages is amazing. It is so much better than I envisioned it. I love it.
In these shaken times do you try to embed your work with some subliminal criticism or do you keep it detached from the outside world?
Oh, I am constantly putting Easter Eggs into things. Many of which go unnoticed. Cullen is always telling me not to worry about things like that because no one will notice. The secret is, I am putting them in for me. I am ok if no one else ever notices!
I am guessing though that your question is leaning more towards the current political and social climate in our country. And that is something I try and avoid. I don’t need to make enemies right now as I get started in writing. Many writers and artists are taking positions publicly about their support or lack of support for our current administration. I will leave that to them for now.
Anything you can tell us without giving out major spoilers?
We start out seeing the Warlock 5 fighting against an incursion into Grid City, but we will be showing them in their own worlds. And a portion of this first volume is going to take place on a new world in crisis. This will be creating a dilemma for them as they have to choose between helping an individual world or pulling back to Grid City and simply protecting the Grid. It goes towards the question of what are you protecting. It is all good standing guard over a forest and making sure it doesn’t succumb to a forest fire, but when you let a lumberjack in to cut down a tree. . . well, it sucks if you are that tree.
Thanks Jimmy for opening up about the future of Warlock 5!
About WARLOCK 5 KICKSTARTER
Five guardians protect the multiverse against the chaos that lurks outside the boundaries of reality. There’s only one problem: they hate each other.
A mystical nexus, a crossroads connecting all times, all realities. Along the ley lines of the Grid, the multiverse clusters. To move along the Grid is to move from one reality to the next. To harness the power of the Grid is to harness the awesome might of creation.Five touchstone realities exist at focal points along the Grid. From each of these realities, a Warlock is chosen to act as one of five Guardians.
Savasthar, a shapeshifting dragon-like being.
Doomidor, a warlord from the Dark Ages.Argon, an advanced cybernetic organism from a techno-hell.
Tanith, an ageless sorceress.
Zania, a power-mad, machine gun necromancer.
Together, the Warlocks protect the Grid, thereby protecting all of space and time. They are the last line of defense against the awful forces of chaos that lurk in the darkness outside the Grid.There’s only one problem.They hate each other.”
Originally created by Gordon Derry and Denis Beauvais, Warlock 5 was published by Barry Blair, a Canadian comic book publisher, artist and writer, known for launching Aircel Comics in the 1980s. A fierce advocate for innovation in the themes, genres, and types of illustrations, Blair helped to bring titles to life that broke the narrative and graphic boundaries at the time — including Warlock 5.
The new Warlock 5 Kickstarter funded this continuation of the Aircel Comics classic fantasy masterpiece. This 2017 reboot is written by CULLEN BUNN and JIMMY JOHNSTON, illustrated by JEFFREY EDWARDS with colors by ANDY POOLE, letters by ED DUKESHIRE, and designs by EDWARD LAVALLEE and SHAWN T. KING. This saga of rivalry, betrayal, magic, dragons, and killer robots is aiming for a 60-page full-color (hard cover) original graphic novel.
Although you were all very shy when it came to take a selfie at our booth on Planet Comicon last week, you did enter our Rafflecopter giveaway.
Nearly a week has passed since you shared, visit our page or tweeted the giveaway. But was that enough to get you the winning entry?
Well, Ok. We think you’ve suffered enough.
The winners of the Outland Entertainment Planet Comicon Rafflecopter Giveaway are…
*drum roll, please*
For the awesome Outland Entertainment’s Digital Comic Bundle:
!! Becky Budden !!
And who got the Discount Code for O.E.’s Online Store?
!! Karrie Millheim !!
Congrats! You’ve won!
We will get in touch with you very soon!
If you’re not Becky nor Karrie, we’re sorry for you but don’t despair! There will be other great opportunities to win some free Outland Entertainment goodies.
But if you can’t wait, you’re more than welcome to visit our online store.
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!
As you might have read either on our “We’ll be at Planet Comicon this weekend!” post or on our newly refurbished newsletter, this weekend we’ll be an awesome time for comic fans and specially for OE’s addicts.
As a way to celebrate #PlanetComicon, Kansas City, we’re giveing stuff away!!
There are two main opportunities to win Outland Entertainment goodies!
1) Enter our online Rafflecopter Giveaway, open worldwide until Monday:
a Rafflecopter giveaway
2) If you’re one of the lucky peeps attending Planet Comicon you have an exclusive chance!
Tweet your #selfie at the OE’s booth [#628] with the sketchcover you want to win! Use #OE & #planetcomicon / #PCC to enter the giveaway. The winner will be randomly picked using Random-ize and announced here on the Outland Entertainment website and on our Social Media outlets.
Best of Luck aaaand get cracking those entries!
As I told you on the first article of this new segment, I Was a Comic Book Fan All Along and I Didn’t Know it for quite a while.
Things sort of slowly became clearer during my college days, but it wasn’t until starting to work in the biz that I truly began to dip my toes back in the dynamic comic book waters.
I still remember the moment of opening the folder with all the projects in the pipeline and flying through them all. One of the stories that was more developed at the time was Ithaca. I read it all in one go and was hungry for more.
At Outland Entertainment, I was presented a huge array of creatives each one with a very unique voice, be it as a writer or an illustrator. Mars 2577, Nightfell, Blacklands, Aegisteel, these are all projects that showed me the different facets of comic book creation.
It wasn’t just sci-fi or violence: no, there was room for a multiplicity of genres and visual styles of every kind.
When some of our IPs started coming out as webcomics on a weekly basis, I had to do some market research of what was going on in this field. That led me to multiple webpages like HiveWorks. And there I was baffled by the choice! So many artists, so many genres and styles of writing and artwork.
It was a big turning point: no longer did I had to rely solely on my friends reviews, but I had first-hand overview of so many projects! I got to interview all the creators from O.E., here for the blog. I have always loved the backstage! How someone became who he is professionally? Where did the idea of the story come from? And I was lucky enough to ask all these questions. In return I dare to say that my knowledge of the comic book universe increased exponentially!
And where has that lead me? To a huge appetite for reading more and more comics, of course! It wasn’t instantaneously, but I found myself perusing the comics section of the bookstores not only “out of professional interest” but because I found them inspiring.
This must be obvious for most of you , but before starting at Outland Entertainment, I didn’t know how similar the cinematographic language was to the one used in comics. They remind me of a really fancy and detailed storyboard. I know, I know! They’re much more than that! They’re an artistic medium of their own. But through the eyes of someone who came from an audiovisual production background they really hit home.
I suppose that being a transmedia creative producer also feeds this need. I’m now itching to work up a universe where a comic book will help explore things even further. And if you ever attended a book fair, you’ll see that all of these artistic forms are connected nowadays. Take the London Book Fair, for example. They run the London Book and Screen Week simultaneously. You have professionals from game studios at the actual fair and lots of extra events that join this two worlds, once so further apart, of pages and screens. Comics are finally being increasingly recognized for the dynamic and expressive format they are.
But I’ll talk about these changes further along the line!
Now, take a moment and check out the interviews I mentioned! There are a lot of creatives: authors, illustrators, designers…whose stories will inspire you.
And if you haven’t read the first post of this series give it a go and learn how I Was a Comic Book Fan All Along and Didn’t Know .