DARK MUSINGS #61 – Hindsight is… forward thinking?
by Andrew Zar 4/1/14
I’ve been asked, and I’ve asked myself, on many projects:
Would you have done it differently?
I nearly always answer:
Oh yeah! I’d do it all different knowing what I know now!
But then the next question is more interesting:
So, why not wipe it all clean and do it differently… RIGHT NOW?
The idea is to not just accept that hindsight is 20/20, instead use hindsight to fix it – right here – right now.
And thus, DarkBrain version 8 is coming – a completely new site, built from the ground up. No holds barred – no existing code sacred. In fact, I built the current DarkBrain codebase nearly six years ago and refined for many years… it is time to rebuild it.
And that means everything: site content, comic offerings, mailing list process, membership programs, website code, Tumblr blog, comic bundle sales, sites we promote at, affiliates – all is fair game. Learn from the past, rebuild for the present.
So, what do you think DarkBrain V8 will look like?
Stay tuned for my answer :)
Till next time,
Above art is a single page from Rashida’s Ascension #1 by Amorim and Christa Rosenkranz coming next month in DB Quarterly #9. Copyright 2012-2014, DarkBrain, LLC, All Rights Reserved.
DARK MUSINGS #60 – You are making Zeopatra #3 happen!
by Andrew Zar 3/24/14
Check it out! Sample inks from Zeopatra #3 – our second comic in our new Crowd-Funded Comic initiative: http://www.darkbrain.com/dbe/CrowdFundedComics.aspx
This book is only coming to life because you want it! And that just makes it all the more awesome.
I’ve been wanting to finish the Zeopatra 5 issue series for a long time, it is exciting to see it moving ahead. There is some crazy, action-packed, and sexy zombie action coming your way soon. With the new artist (Dani Calero, who has done Mirror and Church of Two with us already), you can only expect more amazing work to feast your eyes on.
After Zeopatra #3 is fully funded, the next comic up will be Sexy Sundays with Pissy Pussy #18. So please keep contributing and help to make our vision of awesome stories, which happen to be XXX-rated, free for everyone to enjoy.
Till next time,
Above art is a single panel (inks) from Zeopatra #3 by Dani Calero. Copyright 2014, DarkBrain, LLC, All Rights Reserved.
DARK MUSINGS #59 – DarkBrain’s Crowd-Funded Comics – first success!
by Andrew Zar 12/23/13
Zeopatra #2 is now available, FREE, to all of our fans! Made possible by our new Crowd-Funded Comic initiative: http://www.darkbrain.com/dbe/CrowdFundedComics.aspx
This is just the first step for DarkBrain – as more and more comics will be made available via this method. DarkBrain will, in fact, be announcing a bunch more comics going this way soon – it is an exciting time.
This new model has several aspects that are simply not the “normal” way things are done:
This is an exciting model for DarkBrain and the one I hope becomes our future for all our comics. When this model works, the result is a tremendous free library for new readers to enjoy. And there is no limit to the amount of content that be created with this model, it is simply up to you!
Till next time,
Above art is the cover of Zeopatra #2 by Dani Calero. Copyright 2013, DarkBrain, LLC, All Rights Reserved.
DARK MUSINGS #58 – Why does the Book of Mormon have swear words?
by Andrew Zar 12/20/13
The single question I’m asked the most is why my comics have nudity and sex. Actually, it is usually not a question, but an observation that my work simply doesn’t “need” it at all (and, thus, shouldn’t have it I guess). Often done in a mostly condescending tone which is irksome.
I generally ask a few questions myself.
But those questions rarely get through the point of what I’m saying, so….
Q: Why do DarkBrain comics have nudity and sex?
A: Because they do.
A2: And I hope it is offensive to the person asking the question.
Above art is from an upcoming issue of Rashida’s Ascension by Dani Calero. Copyright 2013, DarkBrain, LLC, All Rights Reserved.
DARK MUSINGS #57 – What does kill you makes you stronger…
by Andrew Zar 10/4/13
Shot blog today, but had to share my glee in finally reaching Mirror/Mirror #10 where the basic premise for our whole CORTEX line of comics is shown. What if to evolve humanity we have to accept death as a part of our path? Not an end, but a step that you have to embrace… even welcome?
As a writer/producer, I can’t wait to get out the rest of this story – damn budgets and timing! GAH! I just can’t wait to get through Church of Two (which continues the Mirror story) with our readers and hit our big combination title, Rashida’s Ascension… But I’ve never been credited with patience… it’s not a virtue for me, it’s a pain in the ass!
Till next time,
Above art is from Mirror/Mirror #10 by Dani Calero. Copyright 2013, DarkBrain, LLC, All Rights Reserved.
DARK MUSINGS #56 – Another setback for The Vat
by Andrew Zar 9/4/13
The Vat was one of the first stories I ever created, and one of the most challenging to draw. Hiring Ernie Chan to do the first four issues is one of the high points in all my DarkBrain work. His performance, his personality, and his talent made it all work – The Vat came to life with Ernie’s charm.
I truly wish I had the funds to have finished the series with Ernie, but I did not. Ernie could have easily done the entire 17 issue run. But after the first four issues, the “capital building” phase took so long that we lost Ernie. In fact, just before his difficulties and passing, he was on board to draw the last issue of Grace Comes Home as a “placeholder” as I continued to try to figure out a way to make The Vat happen. Oh how I wish I could have seen Grace’s snakes done “Ernie style.”
It is bittersweet to remember – but having seen Ernie put out four to six full pages of pencils+inks every day was truly incredible. And having seen him do art at the Pittsburgh comic con, where we shared a booth, was amazing.
The Vat, as a story, took a long two year break. I often thought of leaving the Vat as it is, but there is a critical problem – it is just a chapter of CORTEX and The Vat is actually interconnected to Locked Out, Columbia’s Underbelly, God Play and Too Important – telling one story. The entire plan requires The Vat – especially as the stories collapse together. So it needed to be completed, painful as it might be.
Easing back into it, I hired an artist and got back to work. After six months of difficulties, that effort was abandoned. Another break and I found another artist and had him successfully do another mini-series (the shorts in Columbia’s Underbelly called Clemency). Very successful, I had him start on The Vat. The initial pencils and colors are truly outstanding.
But the project lagged, six months (a theme?) and it finally failed. The artist’s situation had changed, the project no longer worked. And now it is abandoned again. Another setback for The Vat. And, again, I’m in “capital building” phase. I have an eye on the artist I feel will finally finish this series, but it will be another year before the project is ready to go.
So I reflect and try to learn from this. I have to learn that although I’m the creator and the producer and the financier, I am not fully in control. I have to accept that. I have to accept my own limitations in finances, timing, and capabilities. And I have to remember this is a marathon, not a sprint. The Vat will be completed as I know I am that tenacious – I just don’t know exactly when.
But, most of all, I have to have peace that these breaks and delays are all important, somehow. Maybe to honor Ernie or simply that filling his shoes is just *that* hard? I am not sure, but I have a respect, not an anger, towards these delays.
Till next time,
Above art is from the second failed attempt at Vat #5. Copyright 2013, DarkBrain, LLC, All Rights Reserved.
DARK MUSINGS #55 – Taking a moment
by Andrew Zar 8/15/13
Wow, been a while since my last blog! Just taking a minute today to bask in the fun of being in the middle of the latest Mirror/Mirror book. Sometimes I forget to do that, as I am so focused on books in heavy production.
Our current workload is huge with Church of Two wrapping inks and is off to colors as a full novel, Rashida is starting with a new artist, Envoy 82 is cooking along well, Butcher is in #10 pencils, SORTAN #10 is about wrapped, Pissy Pussy is making me nervous as usual and about 10% done with #7, Brandi is on her second to last issue for the whole series as she wraps with #8, and writing is deep in several titles including Zeopatra, Haunting Ivy, Church of Zero, Mirror/Mirror Apocalypse, The Witches Three, and others.
But today, I re-read the final Mirror #8 and smiled. Very, very fun to enjoy the finished product of so many years of work. I love Dani, Lya and Celestin’s art on this series. Everett provided some clutch storytelling and I picked it up myself in upcoming issues. It is an important transition for the readers too, as we start to show how several series are connected to – actually, symbiotic with – each other. It is here we see The Witches Three now matching up with Brenna. Later Church of Two will continue.
It is pretty damn exciting to get these to pull together at last, realizing the vision of the different novels as a single, complete story. Not cross-overs, just one big story. Hope you are having a fraction as much fun as I am!
Ok, back to the grindstone…!
EDIT: Tumblr does a horrible job with this image, but you can see it easily in our free gallery here: http://www.darkbrain.com/dbe/Gallery.aspx?G=mirror08
Till next time,
Above art Copyright 2013, DarkBrain, LLC, All Rights Reserved.
DARK MUSINGS #54 – Fuck Google Glass
by Andrew Zar 6/4/13
Today Google bans “sexually explicit material” from Google Glass. This is just another (obvious) step for Google, as they have already enacted this ban on other services such as Google+. They are, of course, legally allowed to do whatever they want with their own products – so you can expect more morality-based decisions like banning firearms or philosophical discussions or breastfeeding mothers or art from Picasso or anything that indicates you are more than a sheep.
Because, to Google, you are just that – sheep to generate ad revenue. And Google Glass is a play to make ads appear in your daily life, in everything you do - ads, ads everywhere! But, remember, it also means you will be censored and rendered docile. Because docile, thoughtless sheep make for the best ad revenue.
I will think of that every time I see anyone with Google Glass. Just another thoughtless sheep – if a dramatic example of it. Maybe that’s a good thing – because I can use my own “filter” and just actively ignore those people? It’s still a free country to do that… for now… until the powers that be realize I’m not a good sheep…
Till next time,
Above art Copyright 2013, DarkBrain, LLC, All Rights Reserved. But feel free to post it wherever the fuck you want.
DARK MUSINGS #53 – Yahoo will castrate Tumblr
by Andrew Zar 5/20/13
There are precious few honest Internet companies who see their users as people – adults who can choose what they want to do (as long as it is legal, of course). The trend is to not do that, but instead establish a new set of morality and rules for user under some context of making the Internet “safe.” This is why, for example, FaceBook bans art by Picasso, Rembrant and Dali – and payment gateway Square bans any purchases of legal firearms or ammo - and deviantART bans logos from companies they don’t approve of. Other companies with a hard on to dominate and control users are Apple and Google.
Why? The reason boils down to a core fact: the people in control of Internet content are the advertisers. Not the users. Advertising is the game now – people are the commodity. Even though the people have the money (AND all of the valuable content to begin with), the advertisers have found a way to take the controlling position. They dominate companies trying to approach topics with free speech. And, what is most mind-blowing, is that the people agree – they will be nice little controlled Internet sheep and also pay for that privilege.
So the, very, very few Internet companies with the balls to have true ethics – to not bow to the advertisers – remains a very small set. Of the most known, I would say Twitter and Tumblr are the two largest. Each has millions of users, each promotes a hardcore free-speech mantra, and each has been very successful.
BUT, today the rumors have become true: Yahoo will purchase Tumblr. This, unfortunately, means Tumblr will succumb to the advertising gavel and thousands of adults using Tumblr will (eventually) be banned. It is 100% inevitable.
Why? Because the ONLY reason Yahoo purchased Tumblr is to “monetize” it. And to monetize means to advertise. And, advertisers will not welcome any “adult” content on Tumblr – this is how it has gone with every single other Internet company who bases their model on advertising dollars. So a great purge will occur. No idea when, but it’s coming.
Yahoo will not have the fortitude to put ethics above money – they will cave – and Tumblr will cave. It is inevitable.
And there will be many people who do not see it coming. But study the motivations – if you understand the motivation, you will understand (and anticipate) the action. (Take a read of Freakecomics – a great case study about motivations and behavior). Yahoo has zero intention of being labled an “adult” brand – there is no upside for them in supporting free speech. It is better to let the fringe (those of us who like to actually act like adults, not cattle) just move on and to monetize the masses.
So, to all my colleagues who use Tumblr for free expression – best start building your own blog. I would guess than when the ban comes, they will also purge and delete all of your content – years of it – in an instant and without notice. Just as FaceBook and deviantART has done in the past.
Till next time,
Above art is from DarkBrain.com’s series Mirror/Mirror by Dani Calero, Lya and Celestin. Copyright 2013, DarkBrain, LLC, All Rights Reserved
DARK MUSINGS #52 – A Bold New Series: Envoy 82
by Andrew Zar 5/11/13
Next week, on 5/15/13, we launch our new sci-fi series Envoy 82. It is a bold new artistic direction for DarkBrain with Nic Giacondino doing pencils, inks and colors. The style is unlike anything DarkBrain has done before, a real treat. The style is magical and I can’t wait for people to enjoy it.
The first issue is free, to let our current fans – and new fans – get a solid feel for what the series will bring. The series is seven issues and a self-contained storyline. The story I’m very proud of. It started with my usual plotline brainstorm – one that grabs me and forces itself to be finished when I really didn’t have time or even space in our schedule. I’ve learned to just let that happen. Other series started this way too including Pissy Pussy and SORTAN-VALTA.
After working with the plotlines a bit, I decided it deserved to be written… even if I didn’t produce it. So I got Crystal Storm on the case and she took the plotlines and made it a story. Not all that unexpected, but after the script was done I (reluctantly?) decided I had to re-work the DarkBrain production schedule to make room… (Why do I keep doing that to myself? I dunno.)
Then the search for an artist was about as brief as possible – I already had Nic working on The Witches Three. His style was such a natural fit for Envoy, it had to be done. The Witches Three was pushed in the schedule to make room, and here we have it – our new series.
So take a peek at our intro video and get ready for Wednesday’s launch!
Till next time,
Above is the cover for Envoy 82 #1 by Nic Giacondino. Copyright 2013, DarkBrain, LLC, All Rights Reserved