Here are some selected panels from a recently finished job for Cengage Publishing. A little comic story about a young girl and her family’s journey from the war-torn Congo, through refugee camps of Rwanda, and finally to the USA.
The next part in my Shadow Rumble story is getting published in Book 2 of the epic Home Brew Vampire Bullets (available in digital ad print-on-demand).
I was pretty quiet with the lead up for the first part. I remember my younger brother went to see From Dusk Till Dawn at the cinema not having a clue what it was about. (I’ve no idea how this happened). He thought it was just a Tarantino crime-story so when the vampires appeared he lost his shit.
I thought it would be pretty cool to attempt this surprise reveal. I’ve no idea if it worked on anyone and I might’ve lost some marketing appeal with all those vampire and werewolf fans out there by selling the story as “Bloody history. Big business. Class warfare. Power, community, monsters. Melbourne.” That’s the definite themes of the story I want to tell but I wonder what would’ve happen if my tag was just “Werewolves Vs Vampires in Melbourne”.
So with Part 2 It’s pretty much balls-to-the-wall werewolf/vampire action.
Without giving away spoilers (by now you should either know or don’t care that there are socialist werewolves & conservative libertarian vampires running around in Melbourne), here are some SALES POINTS about part 2:
I’ve got a product placement! That T-shirt is one of my favourite T-shirts created by Doug Holgate. There’s a great back story to why Doug created the shirt and why he gave it to me (but I won’t bore you here). You can buy your own here.
Loads of werewolves fighting vampires & cool sound effects!
I pretty much love my last page!
GO BUY THE BOOK!
HBVB #2 is choke full of awesomely bonkers content by a group of switchblade sharp story tellers!
'(Home Brew Vampire Bullets is) like a super-sized Dark Horse Presents for the southern hemisphere, and a great roadmap for the future direction of one of the most talented groups of artists on the planet'. - Newsarama
Earlier today I handed in the first part of an ongoing epic comic story called Shadow Rumble. I plan to write more about it later, but these are 4 things that inspired me and got me through the process.
The Home Brew Vampire Bullets crew are running something of a scavenger hunt for people in that great, scary, wine-enthused town of Adelaide. The prize is the BOLT! poster by Kate Moon and myself. (Kate did the art, I did the design).
It’s been beautifully etched on metallic stock and signed by Kate & myself. The print job on this is stunning! (Really tempted to get one for myself.)
Here’s the catch! South Australian Cultural Ambassador and Minister for Mens fashion, Mark Selan, is in charge of this hunt!
What you have to do is:
STEP 1. Find the HBVB Flyer that has the word "BOLT" hand written on it.
STEP 2. Take a photo with you and the lucky flyer at the location then tweet/Facebook/Instagram it with the #HBVB tag/mention/ whatever.
Let me firstly declare that I’m into Viking films (as well as fantasy, medieval and stuff with swords and maps). Sadly most of these productions are terrible. But when a title from this genre comes through our work, I try and put my hand up for it.
So….. this is the epic journey of how I designed the Australian release of the tele-movie Thor: Hammer Of The Gods. At first we thought it might be a Marvel comics Thor production, but soon realised it was a viking story. These were the ONLY assets I was given:
(Actually a nice, hi-res image)
Thats THE hammer! (72dpi 237kb)
And here’s our Thor (with hammer): (72 dpi 1500x1000 px)
Yep, thats Zachery Ty Bryan. The kid from Home Improvements. What a bro!
All pretty useless to use. So after a bit of internet digging I came across this image:
Couldn’t get a hi-res version so I had to make do with this one. (Thats 72dpi 512x768 pixels). It was something I could build on though.
This was a rough first draft. I’ve got the basis of a title-treatment, a stitched together background and you might notice that our Thor is starting to look a little bit more like the legendary Nordic warrior. I’ve given him a great Viking shield, a cape (!) and 2 big swords!
And here’s my finished first draft! I thought it would be pretty weird to not see the hammer on the cover, considering the title. So I went back to that dodgy screen shot and weaved some dark graphic design magics and whipped up a Hammer (and a new arm).
Feedback from our Sales department was that they wanted to get rid of the woman, move Thor into the center, pull up the viking ship and to add MORE lightening and stormy skies! So with this GREAT direction from Sales, we got to here:
(Don’t ask me where I got the viking ship from!)
At this stage I’d pretty much gone over time budget for what would be a cheap selling title. I didn’t think it could look any better then this considering what I had to work with. But then I didn’t reckon on our Sales department!
They didn’t like Zac’s FACE! I tried to explain that that IS his face, and it’s pretty much the ONLY thing on the cover I haven’t built from scratch and remains true to the actual production.
Had to build this cover from scratch. It’s something of a homage to Peter Benchley’s other titles- Jaws,The Deep & The Island- which all feature something threatening coming from the bottom half of the image.
And a slightly different take:
No surprise that the more traditional/conservative design was selected.
And speaking of conservative design, here’s a cover that got rejected:
This Australian TV series (starring a young Jack Thompson) was released for the first time on DVD. I think both volumes are only available in the slipcase (which had an embossed cover- WOW!).
With absolutely no assets or images to work with- I had to whip these up using screengrabs and a library of collected assets (textures, explosions, guns etc). While the show is about a highly trained espionage team known as SPYFORCE I don’t think it’s as exciting as I made it out on the cover. I added guns to everyone and might’ve been a tad excessive with the explosions.
I had the "pleasure" of designing the JACKIE COLLIN’S HOLLYWOOD WIVES dvd release. It was a good exercise in trying to make something come across as cheap & trashy, but still look “good”.
Here is my first design, which I was actually quite happy with. Nice trashy big hair women mixed with some pretty nice typesetting and some interesting colours and textures.
On presenting it to our Sales department they felt it just wasn’t “trashy and cheap” enough- which oddly is a big selling point to a title like this.
So this is what we came up with:
While I personally much prefer the 1st concept, I conceded that this hit the right trash/cheap market. So off it was sent to the licensor.
Unfortunately it was only at this stage we were informed of the strict billing restrictions on this title. No cast member could be billed above any others, and if we were going to show 1 cast member then we had to show all of the billed actors. Of which there were 13! Clearly that wouldn’t work so we went for a text only treatment in the vein of Jackie’s book covers.
Here’s a quickly whipped up idea:
This idea was then fleshed out with the lips getting ditched in favour of more diamonds!
This was on the right track, but still felt like it wasn’t “feminine” enough, so finally I came up with this design (which is what went to print):
Normally I’d loathe a crappy title like this that had this many versions and super-restrictive licensor conditions… but I have to admit for some reason I actually like this design! I think it hits all the right objectives and has some nice (trashy) aesthetics going on!
I find caveman films intriguing so I really enjoyed this french film. It’s a touching odyssey that follows Ao, the last living Neanderthal in his quest to find survivors of his clan- in particular his lost twin brother.
Those fine people at Found Item Clothing (who’re responsible for some of my favourite tshirts) are holding a poster competition for one of THEIR favourite cult 80s films- REAL GENIUS, starring a young Val Kilmer.