Tag: carnivale

new Carnivale pages 175-179

Yes, you read that right.

Back in April, I had an idea for how the sequence starting on page 175 of Carnivale should be revised. I had always felt that the original sequence was too small and short. But back in 2013 I was eager to finish the story, so I didn’t revise it. Well, seven years later I finally did.

Here it is…

What struck me as I went to do this was how much my pencilling has changed in seven years. Not only do I use colored pencils in the process, the drawing overall has gotten tighter.

Old 175 pencils versus new 175 pencils.

original Carnivale beginning

I started thumbnailing Carnivale: a Kit Kaleidoscope Story in March of 2004. I got to work on the first finished page in August of 2005. Yet that original beginning didn’t feel right. I was trying too hard to force a Toulouse-LauTrec biography on Kit, having them use sex workers as art models. Upon reflection, I felt that it didn’t seem true to their character and the scene itself felt forced. So I re-thumbnailed the beginning in February of 2008 and started the finished pages that March. That meant that I had fifteen pages that I was throwing out. Some of those pages got reintegrated into the finished story, but the ten-page intro didn’t.

I was thinking about those original ten pages recently. While I still don’t think they work story-wise, I like some of the art in them. So here they are.

The Year (and Decade) in Review

2019

The Lost Cause of Poetry came out.
The digital version came out in September.

“Lounger” was released on Tapas.
Then later I also released it on Webtoon.

 

Defrost on Tapas

Tony Ez Esmond wrote a review of “Defrost” on Never Iron Anything!

I went to both TCAF and VanCAF one weekend after the other.

 

I started to do Inktober this year, but then found it was too distracting.

 

Citizen 13660

I also taught Citizen 13660 again this year.

Then in December, Tom Spurgeon died.

– – –

For 2020, I’m hoping to finish “Lounger.” I have a lot of other stories in the planning stages, but the one I have most fleshed out is going to be called Callisto 7 and is an existentialist sci-fi fiasco. I feel like This Wasn’t the Plan went as far with personal, realistic fiction as I want to go for the time being. I really want to move in new directions and break my own restrictions about the kinds of stories I “should” and “shouldn’t” do. 

The Decade

Looking back on the past decade, the biggest thing was finishing Carnivale. The first printing came out in March of 2014. I started it in late 2005. I worked on it while being a new parent and a new college teacher. It was an act of faith. I serialized it on the old version of the nijomu website and got some feedback and some mentions on different sites. Yet when the book was done and printed there was almost no reaction. It was a blow. Getting rid of the old website was part of that reaction. I know that there all kinds of lessons about expectations and marketing that can be made, but from my initial perspective it was the biggest book I had ever made and it had taken years of my life. And I was excited about it. And that was met with silence. It took me some time to recover.

I decided that I should try to put my energies elsewhere. I have often mentioned that in high school and college I wrote poetry, only submitted work twice, and was published on the second try. So I thought to go back to that and try to get published in literary anthologies. That proved to be challenging. Most literary anthologies don’t accept comics and the ones that do often have strict requirements about format. And kind of like putting books on consignment, submitting to various anthologies required a lot of logistical work that took time away from actually creating comics. Still, I like some of the things that I created in that time. Those works can be found in The Lost Cause of Poetry.

Of course, there are also the three works that comprise This Wasn’t the Plan. I think that I’m still too close to them to have insight about what they mean yet. But I used the book to try a different publishing angle. I even got a nice review through Foreword Reviews and a blurb in The New York Review of Books. But none of that translated into sales.

Of course, all of this begs the question: maybe my work just sucks. Maybe my work’s lack of attention is just what my work deserves. I even considered sending my books out to successful comics artists and asking them: “does this suck?” Then I realized that it wouldn’t matter what they told me; at the end of the day I’d create comics anyway. On the one hand, the only way not to suck is to keep going and create something that is worthwhile. On the other hand, it is the act of creating and the satisfaction of completing comics that drive me.

So at the end of the decade I don’t feel that I know anything more than I did at the beginning. Though in some ways I feel better about the idea that what I care about is creating comics. Yes, I’d like those creations to communicate to more people, but it’s the act of creation that is most important to me. Comics is a practice. And I want to focus on the practice. The effects of that practice are a side benefit and my trying to force those effects seems to lead me only to frustration. So I guess I’ve just spent the last decade confirming my original stance. It’s only the work that matters.

Carnivale: a Kit Kaleidoscope story

Now the second edition of Carnivale is not only available in print, but also in pdf format. You can get either version through Gumroad. The print edition is nice (and I prefer print personally), but the pdf is cheaper. $9.99 versus $19.95.

Now that Gumroad allows selling physical products, I’m doing everything through it to simplify things. I’ve added the appropriate links on the books page. You can also see everything I have for sale on Gumroad here: https://gumroad.com/nijomu

Link

Starting today, Carnivale: a Kit Kaleidoscope Story will be serialized weekly on Tabulit.

If you don’t know, Tabulit is an online comics reading subscription service. It works a bit like Netflix; you pay a monthly rate and can view all the stuff you want. The artists get a cut of the monthly subscriptions.

I serialized Carnivale here a few years ago. The version on Tabulit is basically the same, except I have updated all the tones. Instead of flat shading, I dropped in ink washes. Also, the full ending will be posted on Tabulit.

https://www.tabulitcomics.com/carnivale

new second edition of Carnivale

Straight from the printer today, the new second editions of Carnivale are here!

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The changes from the previous edition are slight, but make it a better looking book. One, it’s bigger: 6×9 versus 5×8. The images fill out the pages more (I’m learning about book layout). And it finally has a spine. The difference that took a long time, though hardly anyone will notice, is that I swapped out the flat tones with scanned ink washes. It just gives the images a bit more texture. I was toying with this idea a long time ago and people advised me not to do it. But, slowly in spare moments, I did it anyway. I like the way it looks, even if it’s subtle.

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I’m taking the new editions to the APE, but they’ll also be available to buy from me here. Click on “Books” above.