RE: Endings & Beginnings
HAPPY NEW YEAR!
It's been sometime since my last newsletter - which I believe was September 2022. It was a busy year - and the last quarter even more so. I felt like I was drowning a bit, and have a few extra grey hairs because of it.
I have many things to catch up with y'all (I think I've been watching too much Yellowstone) about; Kukuburi, Stillwater, a trading card series, and more comics - so I won't blather on too much here. Before we dive in though, I wanted to let everyone know that I will most likely be shifting my newsletter from Mailchimp (where it's currently hosted) to Substack.
Why you might ask?
Well, Mailchimp announced today they are lowering the amount of allowable subscribers on their free platform - which use - to 500. Forcing anyone who has already accumulated more than 500 subscribers into a paid plan.
Not cool if you ask me.
So away I shall go. So if the newsletter looks a little different next month, you'll know why.
I will shift my entire subscriber base over - alternatively https://ramonperez.substack.com is my Substack if you'd like to sign up directly.
Now, onto the fun stuff...
This is a year of big changes. Something I have been working towards for the past several. While I am not where I had hoped to be at the beginning of 2023 - I'm not far off.
I feel like I have been drifting artistically and creatively for the past several years - and really needed to return to my roots. Launching (and funding) Kukuburi on Kickstarter last May/June was my first step in getting me back on the right path - and an inspiring one at that. Thank you all for the support!
The last 10 years have been a wonderful experience working for Marvel Comics alongside a handful of other mainstream publishers, but I always felt like I left something of my own behind. The closest I came, at Marvel, to finding my vibe with the company was perhaps on my first big project with them; John Carter - The Gods Of Mars, which i pretty much did Kirby-style of rending our the whole book based on a few paragraphs from Sam Humphries - the writer on the series. The last was on Nova: Ressurection - as I had a hand in steering the ship as co-writer of the series. I have never wanted to be JUST an artist rendering scripts - my most satisfying projects in the mainstream have been Tale Of Sand and Jane (both for Archaia Entertainment) where I was given greater freedom and involvement from the ground up.
I have lots of stories I want to share. Stories that have been sitting on the back burner for far too long - and I am thrilled to make them my primary focus in the years to come.
One step in this regard has been building and establishing RAID Press as a viable publisher via crowdfunding. Myself and the team at R.A.I.D. have worked tirelessly together to build this little publishing house, and we have our sights set quite high. So please, join me in 2023 in opening up an entirely new chapter in my life and career.
I'm a little bit scared, and a lot excited.
ABOVE / My beloved Payaso from RAID ONE who is coming to his own Graphic Novel near you in 2024
As mentioned in my Kickstarter updates - I've decided to take a little extra time in the fulfillment of Kukuburi: A Cotton Candy World - for, in my eyes, the betterment of the book. Prior to beginning the campaign, and deciding how much of the webcomic volume 1 of Kukuburi would contain I knew I'd be adding pages. I had estimated 30-40 pages - based on where I was "ending" chapter 1.
I had slowly been working on Kukuburi while wrapping up existing projects, so I could give it my full focus. During that time I decided to bring in outside eyes and story sensibilities by hiring an editor to help me through this process. I reached out to my good friend, fellow creator, and Eisner-nominated comic book editor Zack Rosenberg - and thankfully he agreed.
The experience has been wonderful, and the new elements that are being added to the book truly complement the story and, in my opinion, elevate it. The early pages of Kukuburi were written off the cuff, with very little direction - till I figured out what story Nadia was taking me on. With this knowledge in hand, I can now add the necessary foundation to the early parts of the story - and strengthen it.
In the image above you can see me strengthening what I always thought was one of the weaker sequences in Kukuburi. Adding necessary beats, visual tension, and character moments. Since Kukuburi has such a storybook feel, and almost kinetic quality to it - I tend to storyboard it first, writing small notes in the margins regarding story and dialogue.
ABOVE / As I write and re-edit Kukuburi, I have also been designing and ordering all the 'extras' for the campaign - so they're all on hand once the book is ready to be fulfilled; Static clings, stickers, magnets, and more, OH MY!
RAID: CREATOR VISIONS | Series One
Currently LIVE on Kickstarter is our premier RAID PRESS campaign to kick off 2023; RAID: CREATOR VISIONS • Series One! It's not a book as you might expect, but rather a trading card series featuring some amazing independent creators and micro-publishers.
I'm really proud of this one.
Our goal is to introduce you to dynamic new characters, their thrilling worlds, and the creators behind them! We've teamed up with LETHAL COMICS (Mother Trucker, Death Transit Tanager), PEGAMOOSE PRESS (Angora Napkin, Halls of the Turnip King), ABOMINABLE BOOKS (Abominable Charles Christopher), GROUP OF 7 COMICS (Group of 7, Peregrines), DEREK LAUFMAN (The Witch Of Wickerson, Bot 9, Crimson Fall), and our very own creators at RAID PRESS (Forest Folk, Kukuburi, Aardehn, To Steal The Sun, Cauldron, Blackmouth) for this 100-card SET of 100 FRESH & EXCITING CHARACTERS!
I will be contributing 10 Kukuburi cards to the set, along with a half dozen other cards focussed on some of my other upcoming comic projects and graphic novels.
Please check out the campaign, pledge if you can, and discover some amazing creators!
STILLWATER: SERIES FINALE
It's hard to believe Stillwater is coming to an end. It launched during the early days of the pandemic, and as we slowly emerge the series comes to a close. Chip had always plotted the series as a finite one - and the ending is the one he presented to me when I first signed on to the series.
Stillwater 18 - The Series Finale is set to release in March from Skybound. I am honoured to have collaborated with Chip Zdarsky, Mike Spicer, Russ Wooton, and our great editorial team of Jon Moisan and Amanda LaFranco on such a great series.
Snag this issue at your local comic shop!
ABOVE / For the final cover we decided to compliment issue 1.
I've been alluding to this one for a while... and I'm happy I can finally share the details.
The just-announced Deep Cuts is penned by Kyle Higgins and Joe Clark and is a story spanning 60 years, exploring the people and the deeply human connections in music and culture that ultimately inspire each new generation.
The series is six double-length issues featuring a different creative team on each.
Artists on deck include Danilo Beyruth, Helena Masellis, Diego Greco, Juni Ba (Monkey Meat), Toby Cypress (The Gravedigger’s Union), and myself - I'll be tackling issue 4, the 1940s. All issues are coloured by Igor Monti (Radiant Black, Inferno Girl Red, Supermassive) with interconnecting series covers by Chris Brunner and Rico Renzi.
The series launches in April from Image Comics.
ABOVE / Cover to DEEP CUTS #1 by Chris Brunner and Rico Renzi
CONVENTIONS & COMMISSIONS
I'll be attending a slew of conventions in 2023 - swing on by and say hello. Officially on the roster, in order of appearance:
FAN EXPO VANCOUVER / Vancouver, BC • February 18 - 20
ECCC / Seattle, WA • March 2-5
TORONTO COMICON / Toronto, ON • March 17 - 19
C2E2 / Chicago, IL • March 31 - April 2
TCAF / Toronto, ON • April 29 - 30 (Sitting with RAID PRESS)
Not Officially booked, but on the radar:
HEROES CON / Charlotte, NC • Jun 16 - 18
FAN EXPO CANADA / Toronto, ON • August 24 - 27
If you are interested in a commission - please reach out to me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. I am limiting my commission lists this year - so the earlybird gets the worm!
ABOVE / WILD, WILD PLANET is a 1966 Italian science fiction film directed by Anthony Dawson and written by Renato Moretti and Ivan Reiner. There is something wonderful about sci-fi films from the mid 60s to just prior to the release of Star Wars in 1977. The kitsch and camp is just delightful - I cam across this poster (and eventually found a copy of the film) and had to share. Post '77 there are still some gems however they all begin mimicking Star Wars (see Star Crash with a youthful laser-sword weilding David Hasslehoff!) at that point.
With algorithms, curated content, and ads it seems like growing your community has become increasingly difficult on most social platforms - unless you have money to throw at them. Thank you for reading, if you enjoy my newsletter or my work ing general - please share! Your support is truly appreciated.
You can also support by…
Backing a Kickstarter from RAID Press or myself.