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Secrets of The Sire

The fine folks at Engima Bookstore in Astoria Queens hosted myself and a collection of comic book creators like me for a panel discussion and signing this past Saturday. In one word: AWESOME! Always a blast talking comics with fans, peers and new friends.

Joined by

joined by Jared Barel, Oliver Mertz and Mike Isenberg – See more at: http://mikebooks.com/Enigma_Bookstore_Signing_and_Panel_Discussion#sthash.197J2FuY.dpuf

Jared Barel, Oliver Mertz and Mike Isenberg the four of us dished about our comics, storytelling in general, self-publishing and more. The highlight for each of us I would imagine is actually reading (and in some cases actually ACTING out the scene) from our comics. Have you ever tried acting out your own comic? Or even reading it out loud? Gotta admit it was actually refreshing that when i read from The Sire TP the dialogue didn’t sound corny or cheesy (at least to me 🙂 If there’s one takeaway for up and coming writers I would suggest you do just that. You’d be surprised. Here’s a shot of my fellow creators:

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Jared (in mid bite), Oliver and Mike.

Other highlights besides talking about myself (who doesn’t love that :-P) was learning about some cool projects from other creators. Jared Barel has two graphic novels completed, the most recent being “Brielle And The Horror.” It tells the tale of a sixteen year old born with a demon inside of her and let me tell you, the artwork is GORGEOUS! Can’t wait to read beyond the scene Jared read from at the panel.

The other project was “First Law Of Mad Science” by Isenberg and Mertz. It tells the tale of a future where cybernetic eye implants change humanity…and also causes folks to hallucinate like Shatner on an airplane. Are the demons people with implants are seeing real? The creators have a ticking clock to find out just that. The interplay between the guys was fun and as someone who has collaborated in the past, it’s interesting to see that dynamic take shape in others.

All-in-all a fun night was had by all. Got any questions on self-publishing or writing comics and couldn’t make it out? Let me know! I’m more than happy to talk shop. I mean, heck, it beats working…

Want to check out some of the comics mentioned above? Follow & on Twitter!

So picking up where I left off last week, the bottom line for making it in comics is by DOING COMICS. Drawing, writing, coloring, lettering, sketching…you name it. If you aren’t actively doing stuff you aren’t gonna go past your mom’s basement. With that being said, the best way to acheive this is by setting some modest goals for yourself to acheive. Now, mind you these will be amended as I’m working on a paid coloring assignment for  as we speak, but for the purpose of this blog, here are mine:

1) Color 3 Pages Per Week: Again, doing a paid gig right now, so this is pretty essential for making the deadline of mid next month. Not always easy to accomplish with the day job and all (see my previous post for more on that) but hopefully I’ll knock it out as planned. Following the gig, this is getting reduced to one page per week.

2) Blog Once A Week: Um, check. Some will be articles like this (which really are just secretly my way of holding myself accountable mwahahaha). Others will be pages I’m working on, like Sire #9 for example. But once a week you’ll be getting a Secrets of the Sire, a Pipeline or a Convention Sketch Blog (depending on if I’m at a show).

3) Post 2 Web Comics A Week: Is it web comics? Or webcomics? Ah never mind, point is, I’ll be posting 2 per week. Which actually won’t be difficult since I’ve got tons of back material pre-formatted and scheduled to release on the post date. And with 9 issues of material to publish while working on current material I can build a real big head start that will keep this site chock full of content-y goodness for months and months.

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4) Write 5 Pages Per Week: Not sure if this includes lettering since I’m currently lettering a book for and working with  and on a new project soon to be announced. So for now, I will. But after Cruzader is wrapped up, I will separate letters and actual writing. Believe me, I’ve got a dozen different projects swirling in my brain (see photo above) that I can’t wait to put to paper. Gonna be a busy year.

5) Be Social: Once a week set my darn Hootsuite to post out all the goodness. And also, stay on top of Twitter. And Facebook. And ESPECIALLY Deviant Art. Feel like that’s a big one.

Thoughts? Agree? Disagree? What are your goals? Seriously, let’s get the convo going. Then click on my ads so i make money 🙂

-Mike

So many of you are in the same boat as me. You want to do comics BUT you also need to pay the bills. And you’re trying…believe me I know. Whether you are a writer, artist, colorist or swami, the delicate act of balancing comics with making a living is tough. Unless, you reach the ultimate dream, and combine the two. Here’s my plan for doing so.

1) New Years Resolutions Are For Jerks
Well, ok, they’re NOT. But only if you actually keep them. We hate you people that do so. You’re all, “I’m making comics for a living now because I stuck to my resolution to devote one hour a day no matter what to improving my craft.”

Ugh, you’re the worst. You’re also on to something…

2) Devote One Hour A Day, Five Days A Week To Improving Your Craft
I don’t care if it’s 2am, the kids and wifey (or husbandy or doggy or whatever) is asleep and you’re on 5 cups of coffee. The single greatest piece of advice for doing comics is DOING COMICS. Seriously.

3) Stay On Top Of Things
2 years ago I made a resolution to stay on top of all my work-work. But then I stopped doing comic work. So I said “eff it!” to work-work and resolved last year to blow off work in favor of doing comics whenever the choice presented itself. But then that got a tad overwhleming, what with clients calling wondering when their sites were going to get finished. So this year my resolution is to BOTH stay on top of things at work AND make comics.

Really just reinforcing point number 2. Find the time. Set goals. And go out and do em. Everyone needs to devote time at home, to their personal life, to their job. But come on, put that episode of the Kardashians on hold if you haven’t drawn a page all day. Stop watching binge watching Breaking Bad if your script is still on page 14. There’s enough time. Like the Strokes said in this past year’s single All The Time:

All the time that I need is never quite enough / All the time that I have is all that’s necessary

Onward!!

So it’s not even officially launched but I’m blogging on a Friday night. Thanks to @brianbish for inspiring this. (Or is it the Miller lite?)

But 2014 – oh yeah! Feel really good about where things are at – where things are going – and where things can be in the future. But even more important is how renewed to being creative again has felt over the past year. I genuinely enjoy trolling Twitter on a Friday night and looking on at what is going on in comics in 2014.

@HackinTimSeeley posted a great article on diversity in comics on Twitter tonight: http://comicsalliance.com/10-diversity-resolutions-for-comics-2014-dc-marvel/

Lotta fodder to discuss there. But I’ll leave it to folks to comment and I’ll comment back. After all, it’s back to the Twitter feed for me…

Hey folks, long time no chat. Just got a sugarload of PSD pages from our penciler. And happy to start trickling new Sire info your way. So here’s the low down. I’m hard at work on Sire #9 as we speak (script AND art duties mind you) The target date is October to release it (at NYCC, which btw, I’m still working on getting a table to that show). Then early next year there will be a Sire related War of the Independents crossover special…and it will look GOOD.

Can’t say more than that, so in the meantime, go check out my interview on Comic Addiction here: http://comicaddiction.net/2013/07/29/talking-about-our-issues-episode-16-mike-dolce-interview/ See you soon -with a brand new web site to boot!

Hey folks, So i posted pencils of a panel I was working on (i’ve since colored it but i’ll show you that later) but damn if i didn’t eff the chick (whose character’s name is Shatter) up. So i redrew it on a separate sheet of board and thru the magic of photoshop will enter it in. Let me know what you think – new version is on the bottom! -Mike

Brace yourselves folks. I’ve got a new Blog Site coming devoted strictly to pretty much everything I’m doing. In the meantime, as a follow up from last week, check out the finished colors to the panel i drew. I’m going to redraw the female character (Shatter) though. Wasn’t overall pleased with how she turned out. So stay tuned for that too.

Taking a moment to dish on some of the comics out there keeping me warm this holiday season while I’m hard at work on new issues of The Sire, the Sire App, and our daily web comic stream that’s coming soon!

Amazing Spider-Man

Dan Slott is making me jealous. No really, for years I lay dormant waiting for my chance to fix Marvel’s flagship title. Obviously, with The Sire there are nods to Superman, but my real bread n’ butter fave has always been ASM. And here comes Dan Slott pumping out bi-monthly the kind of comic I’d not only want to read, but the kind I would WRITE too. Yeah, kind of jealous. I dig Guiseppe Camuncoli (moreso I’d say than Humberto Ramos whose best work was Crimson a few years back anyway) but not so much with Klaus Janson’s inks on top. Don’t get me wrong, big fan of Janson, but his work is a little too gritty on top of Camuncoli’s smooth line work for my liking. Still, not enough to distract any attention away from the storyline involving one of Spidey’s old time foes The Vulture. It was buzz that got me into the book and buzz that I happily pass along to anyone reading.

X-Factor

The only consistently good X-book out there. Don’t get me wrong, there have been parts of Guillen’s Uncanny run recently that felt like X-men, but not since Morrison or Whedon has someone hit what makes a good mutant team book as much as Peter David. And he’s been doing it for a long time.



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The Sire

No, I’m not reviewing my own book, just dropping some knowledge on why the darn thing has been so late! So, way back in 2008 I had a Sire Annual commissioned and drawn. But by the time I was going to release it in late 2008, I’d already started work on Image Comics’s M-Theory as colorist. That stint was followed by my own creator owned comic Descendant. Then 2010 came and i was BURNT out (my secret identity is as a web designer as well and business had boomed) So by the time I was ready to relaunch the Sire in 2011 I felt I needed to beef up the story. So the annual became issue #8 and a new #7 needed to be written. I was working toward completing it in the fall of this year when, once again I took stock and realized the story wasn’t set up right. The opening battle sequence (drawn beautifully by Michael Bencic) revealed a plot point that I didn’t want to OPEN the new arc. (Catch it now because those pages are coming down soon.) I invariably had to go BACK to the drawing board yet again. Which is where I’m at now. 6 pages shy of finishing. Simultaneously, our books have been up at Graphicly.com for some time now and getting a great response. We’ve also been working on The Sire app as well which promises some cool features. Plus working on a few new pitches as well that will blow you away. Soooooo, i’ve got some excuses, lol. But seriously, hang tight. The best is yet to come. Viva la 2012! -Mike

Happy New Year Everyone! As I write this, I’m putting the final touches on the all-new Sire #7 before I send it off to the printer. To say this is a long time coming is an understatement, and I appreciate everyone’s patience and support in getting this new issue completed. (Subsequently, all pre-orders will be filled within the week!) But enough about the past, there’s plenty to look forward to in 2012! First, the release of the new Sire issue will give way to a brand new weekly web comic version of the series. Broken into panels and running each week for free on mikebooks.com, we’re moving ahead into the new digital age of comics. Once we’ve tallied enough material, we’ll package it up and make it available on our web site as the newest issue of the series for anyone jones’ing for a print copy (with a few extras thrown in as well). This will also ensure we don’t release anything before it’s ready so you print loyalists don’t have to wait so darn long for your copy. Announcements on when all that will happen are forthcoming. Simultaneous with the print copy, we’ll have each new packaged issue released on GRAPHICLY.com in super deluxe digital format, where you can use their app to toggle between the finished pages, the artwork underneath, the pencils and even the script! (There may even be some audio commentary as well, but we shall see.) All this will be available on their site for just 99 cents a download per issue. And if that’s not enough, right now, you can read the first two issues absolutely FREE as well as catch up on any issue you may have missed. Just visit: http://graphicly.com/mbd-studios/sire for more! A lot of excitement coming down the pipeline! While you’re at it, be sure to like The Sire on Facebook: http://facebook.com/SireComic And follow me on Twitter: http://twitter.com/Michael_Dolce