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 .
The big day is here!
We’ve been working on this for months and we’re excited to announce the launch of the Kickstarter for the Shotguns & Sorcery RPG! This is your chance to help us fund the project and publish it, not to mention get your hands on the game itself.
There are a lot of incredible things happening with this – first off, Matt Forbeck, the creator himself, will be handling the majority of the writing chores on this. And to round out the writing team is amazing game designer Robert Schwalb to help integrate the rules system. I don’t think we could have possibly found a more amazing team!
We’re also the first third-party publisher to license the Cypher System from Monte Cook Games, which just by itself is pretty amazing. We’re really excited to be working with MCG and integrating the Cypher System with Matt’s setting.
This is also going to be one of the first books I’m fully illustrating myself! I can’t wait to dive into the work.
We’re also revealing the full color version of the cover as well – full art by me. Check it out below –
Here is some information about the project as well –
Outland Entertainment wants to make it possible for others to explore the fantasy noir stories of author Matt Forbeck’s Dragon City through the Cypher System, the game engine behind the Origins and ENnies Award winning games Numenera and The Strange. Whether you are playing as your favorite character or unraveling their mysteries for the first time, this hardcover, 300-page core book with 20 pages of full color artwork includes all the rules for game play, allowing you to explore Dragon City and its outskirts as never before.
Shotguns & Sorcery will be the first third-party standalone game to use the rules system featured in Numenera, The Strange, and the just announced Cypher System rulebook. You don’t need to purchase any other books to play.
In a way, this is full circle for Matt and Monte. They first worked together back in 1990 on one of Monte’s first assignments as the Hero System editor at Iron Crown Enterprises, editing Matt’s Western Hero sourcebook. We’re extremely excited to have them joining forces—even indirectly—again!
We also have acclaimed game designer Robert Schwalb on board to help integrate the Cypher System seamlessly with our setting! Robert came to us highly recommended by both Monte Cook Games and Matt. In fact, readers may recognize him as a contributor to the Numenera Character Options and Technology Compendium: Sir Arthour’s Guide to the Numenera. He also has years and years of experience working on Dungeons & Dragons, A Song of Ice and Fire Roleplaying, Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay, and his upcoming Shadow of the Demon Lord. We’re extremely fortunate to be working with such talent!
Let us know what you think about the project and please, help us fund it!
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!
Another project we’ve been working on for the last couple years is a webcomic called Flight of the Binturong from writer Sal Crivelli. Outland was hired to handle the art for this project. Here’s a little bit about the project –
IT’S THE FUTURE
But don’t worry. A lot’s still the same.
No evil Empire. No oppressive theocracy. No galactic struggle. The government’s too bureaucratic for all that noise.
The Binturong is a mechanic ship with a crew of four. In the heyday of interstellar repairs, if your ship needed fixing, rigs like The Binturong would come to you, make repairs, and send you on your way. Nowadays, newer ships (along with most technology made in the last few years) have self-diagnosing AI that assesses, isolates, and self-repairs. It makes for safer, further space travel (and longer unemployment lines).
Flight of the Binturong is a once-a-week comic, which will update every Tuesday.
Inspired by the works of James Cameron, John Carpenter, and Joss Whedon, we’re hoping to bring you a comic that invokes that old feeling of cool, gritty space, while hopefully taking you on some new, exciting adventures.
If you would like to read more about the project and see more samples of the artwork we completed, please head over here or check it out on our portfolio page!
Bleedback is an ambitious comic project that we are working on in conjunction with Scott Nihill and his company Embreate.
Scott was writing an epic sci-fi story and looking for help converting it into a 5-issue comic series. Outland came on in 2012 to manage the project. We handled all of the art including pencils, inks, colors, letters, and design. We’ve since partnered on the project and it’s become a joint venture. In 2013, we successfully funded our Kickstarter to print the first issue. As of July 2014, we are hard at work on issue 2.
So, a little about the project itself:
It’s New York, 2065. Both our dependence on and fear of technology has reached a critical moment. People are playing, fighting, shagging in virtual worlds, robots have become so advanced they might eliminate us. And then comes Bleedback … when activity in the virtual world seeps into the real world with sometimes terrifying consequences. Our central character Andrei, suffers the power of Bleedback firsthand.
The story follows Andrei, brilliant enough to captain any robotics lab but whose criminal record has barred him — on pain of serious prison time — from ever again wielding his gift. So he’s forced to work underground as a Breaker, a specialized hacker able to crack the most sophisticated government mandated robot restraints.
A bike mechanic by day, Andrei moonlights at The Beast, New York’s hottest nightclub, where every desire can be fulfilled … for a price. What free time Andrei has is spent keeping his daughter Angela out of the Global Revolutionary Movement (GRM) and on the right Life Path. Andrei’s comfortable life is turned upside down when a love bot he cracks goes haywire at The Beast. A shadowy military group snatches his daughter and he is hurled into the dark recesses of the global Robo slave trade.
Read more about it and see some of the finished artwork over here! Or read more about our other projects over here!
One of the more fun projects that we worked on last year was a game for Game Salute called Magnum Opus.
Here’s a description of the game –
Magnum Opus is a deck-building game in which each player is an Alchemist trying to be the first and only scientist to complete their life’s great work by successfully fabricating the ultimate alchemical substance– the Philosophers’ Stone.
Unlike most victory point-oriented deck-building games, Magnum Opus is goal-oriented and plays more like a traditional card game but with a deck-building twist. Players collect different alchemical ingredients, called reagents, over the course of the game and combine them in a series of experiments in order to discover the mysteries of the Philosophers’ Stone. The Discovery Matrix is where all of these experiments are conducted and the random selection and placement of Research and Discovery cards in the matrix insures that no two games are ever the same.
Earn the gold you need to purchase your reagents, gain experience from your failures and knowledge from your successes, transmute the physical and mystical elements into the Philosopher’s Stone and you will go down in history for your Magnum Opus.
If you would like to read more about the project and see more samples of the artwork we completed, please head over here and check it out or see more of our projects on our portfolio page!