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We held a rousing Trekker panel at this year’s Stumptown Comic Fest in Portland. I traced the history of the series from its inception in the pages of Dark Horse Comics, through Mercy’s return via the Trekker website, and on to the forthcoming TREKKER OMNIBUS (with its terrific intro by comic’s great Gail Simone) and the brand new stories launching in Dark Horse Presents later this month. Plenty of ground to cover!
I was aided and abetted by editor and panel moderator Jim Gibbons (center), who has helped immensely in making Trekker’s return to print as rewarding and successful as I could ever hope for, and by Trekker ‘s awesome colorist Jeremy Colwell (left). Together, we explored everything from the concept of “world-building” in sci-fi and fantasy to the ground-breaking role Trekker had as an early female-driven action/adventure strip, to the crafting of Mercy’s character and the life-arc that the series is tracing. It took teamwork, I tell ya!
The time flew by, as it will when you are caught up in trying to convey your enthusiasm and commitment to a project as close to your heart as Trekker is to mine. The crowd hung in there, offered some great questions , and stayed after for more conversation. It was all terrifically rewarding.
After the panel the whole Team Trekker was joined by Dark Horse production ace, Allyson Willsey, who has worked with the same dedication as the rest of us to make Trekker’s return sparkle. All together, great group of people to hang out with as well as to make comics with!
Posted 3 weeks ago at 12:36 pm. Add a comment
Hey Everyone– remember to look me up this weekend at the Stumptown Comic Fest! It’s going to be a fun, frantic weekend in Portland and I’ll be doing my part, passing out a new smattering of Con Swag, holding down a signing session, and sitting center-stage for a Sunday afternoon Trekker panel! See you there!
Posted 1 month ago at 10:04 am. Add a comment
Hey everyone– the book won’t be out until this August, but for this month only, you can pre-order the Omnibus at a whopping 30% savings here! I’ve worked long and hard with the good folks at Dark Horse Comics to make this volume the definitive and complete collection of all the original TREKKER stories. Selected stories are here in all-new color, other stories and materials appear with retouched and up-dated color, there’s a “sketchbook” section that is stuffed with rare and unseen sketches, pin-ups, unused pencil pages and more. But mostly, it’s the ultimate way to experience these stories with the smoothest continuity, so they can build and achieve their full effect. Getting all these original stories, over 300 pages, back into print, and continuing on with all-new tales have been my primary goals since launching the Trekker website. I’m thrilled to have it coming together so beautifully.
Posted 1 month, 2 weeks ago at 5:33 pm. Add a comment
A recent note came from a new Trekker fan, complimenting me on the series in general, and the character of Mercy St. Clair in particular. He asked for some pointers on creating and writing a character that has to exist and evolve over a long period of time. Turns out, the question sparked quite a response from me, and I thought I’d share it here as well. I may note that some of these ideas can be traced back to Robert McKee’s excellent book, Story, which is as close to a practical writer’s bible as I’ve come across.
First, the basics. Realize the difference between “character” and “characterization”. The former means what is going on inside your character, what makes them tick, what motivates them, what will they die for, kill for. What do they think is funny, what is meaningless to them. The latter is what a novice writer mistakes for character. Thing like what job they have, where they are from, how they look. All that is surface stuff, and wears thin if there’s nothing substantial going on underneath. Both are important, and they are connected, but keeping them separate in your thinking will help you avoid creating two-dimensional characters.
Most importantly, if you are in this for the long haul with a character, it has to be someone you care about– someone you are interested in and fascinated by. Because that will come across the page, and it won’t get “old” for either you or the reader. Don’t write characters who don’t excite you, for whom you have no empathy, who do not seem alive to you. They will have no “voice”, and will come across like cardboard cut-outs, not living, breathing people. How you achieve this is the question, isn’t it? For me, I observe people in my life or characters from works of imagination who impressed me and who seemed particularly, vividly “alive” in some aspect or another. The equation “garbage in, garbage out” applies here. You can’t expect to turn out work of your own that rises above the environment you are feeding from. If you spend your time with stories that are long on “effects” and “action” but short on vivid, convincing characters performing believable human actions, those are the sort of stories you yourself will produce. Seek out good stories, well-told. It never hurts to start with the stuff that has stood the test of time.
You will realize when you observe people closely, and/or read substantial, great books, or watch movies by real masters that we are all complex animals. We are mixed bags with strengths and weaknesses, blind spots and inconsistencies. That’s part of what makes us unpredictable and endlessly interesting. But, if you just make a list of these traits and characteristics and then “assemble” a character from them, you are working from the outside-in. Best to trust your observation and intuition as to which traits seem to work together to create a character that seems alive to you.
At some point in this process, you will find it invaluable to create the character’s “back story”– their personal history. Whether that is ever revealed within the tales you tell or not, the fact that YOU know the events and elements that shaped your characters will help you to stay consistent in your treatment.
It’s often said by writers that at some point, they stop writing the characters, and the characters begin to “write themselves”. I find that’s true. Something has been internalized and the character is “alive” in me and indicating what they are likely to say or do. That’s a pretty strong indication that my story is on the right track.
Posted 2 months, 2 weeks ago at 11:24 am. Add a comment
This weekend, Friday Feb 28- Sunday March 2 I will be at the ECCC, with my Periscope Studio mates in booths 2621/2617! There I’ll be handing out all-new Trekker goodies, and talking about the just-announced Trekker Omnibus that Dark Horse Comics and I will be bringing out this coming August! Come by for Sketches, swag, and scuttlebutt about our favorite “retro-futuristic” bounty hunter!
Posted 2 months, 3 weeks ago at 8:01 pm. Add a comment
I’ve created a Facebook Trekker page where I’ve begun posting news, updates, sneak-peaks (like this work-in-progress snapshot,) and conversations about Trekker as we move to the return to print! Please check it out– Likes and Shares greatly appreciated.
Posted 3 months ago at 3:30 pm. Add a comment
For those of you who will be able to attend the excellent Emerald City Comic Con and/or the thriving Stumptown Comic Fest this Spring, you will find me tabling at both shows and offering various Trekker items to trumpet our impending Return to Print! On hand will be both a free full-color post card and also a free mini-comic featuring a generous sampling of glimpses from the brand-new “The Train To Avalon Bay” epic which will begin its run in Dark Horse Presents #24 this May!
Also available will be high-quality prints of the Trekker illustration that appeared in last years ECCC art book “Monsters and Dames”, original sketches done to order at the show, and other fun items, both Trekker-related and otherwise.
Posted 3 months, 1 week ago at 9:35 pm. Add a comment
For anyone curious about my specific work process, over at trekkercomic.com I have just posted a new blog entry where I walk through the steps I used in creating my illustration for next year’s Emerald City Comicon charity book, “Monsters and Dames”.
Posted 5 months ago at 8:47 am. Add a comment
This March 1-3, Trekker and I return to the great Emerald City Comicon. I’m honored to have another piece in the Monster and Dames convention book this year. And once again I was lucky enough to have Jeremy Colwell provide the terrific colors to my black and white drawing. I’m amazingly lucky to have Jeremy’s contributions to the new Trekker stories in the works right now.
The Monsters and Dames book is done each year as a benefit for the Seattle Children’s Hospital and is available exclusively at the convention. It’s always a popular, sell-out item. All the artists represented in the book will be at the show and happy to sign the book. It makes a great souvenir of the show and is a classy collection of great art pieces on top of that.
That’s not the only reason to attend Emerald City by a long shot. ECCC is one of the most fun and best-run conventions in the country, and it’s a high-light of my convention season each year. I’ll again be sketching, signing and sharing the latest news on Trekker and my other projects at through the whole show. So drop by and say hello!
Posted 5 months, 3 weeks ago at 1:28 pm. Add a comment
Beginning this week at trekkercomic.com, I present another key tale in the life of Mercy St. Clair. When TRIAL BY FIRE was first published, my only regret at the time was that the color and printing was far darker that either I or the colorist (monster-talented Moose Bauman) had intended. It was early in the days of digital color, and we just didn’t make proper allowances for the transition from the brightness of an image on a lit computer screen to that on the printed page. So, with apologies to Moose, I have taken the chance here to tweak things a bit, shifting levels on the over-all color, and changing the panel border color from the original green/brown/gray to the starker black. Above is a side-by-side comparison of page 1, as it first appeared, and how it looks after my meddling.
Apart from that one concern, I remain proud to this day of the story, which contains a major event in the life of our young heroine as well as, I hope, a tolerably brisk and engaging adventure.