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Spotlight: The Metabaron: Book 1: The Techno-Admiral & The Anti-Baron

Friday, September 30, 2016

The Metabaron: Book 1: The Techno-Admiral & The Anti-Baron
Story by Alexandro Jodorowsky & Jerry Frissen, with Art by Valentin Sécher

The Metabaron once single-handedly brought the Techno-Techno Empire to its knees. But in the chaos that followed, a new regime within the Techno-Techno civilization has rebuilt by seizing control of the galaxy's most precious fuel, the Epiphyte. When this tyrannical new force learns that the Metabaron is back and headed towards Marmola, the only known source of Epiphyte, the Empire dispatches its most trusted servant: the notoriously invulnerable and cruel Wilhelm-100, The Techno-Admiral. Can the Metabaron save the universe once more, or has he finally met his match?

Quick facts about The Metabaron: Book 1: The Techno-Admiral & The Anti-Baron:
• A brand new story in the Metabarons saga that has sold more than 1.5M copies worldwide!
• Like The Incal, The Metabaron series are set in the same space opera fictional universe known as the "Jodoverse," in which most of Alexandro Jodorowsky-created science fiction comics take place.

Available below is the desktop wallpaper of The Metabaron: Book 1: The Techno-Admiral & The Anti-Baron. Click the picture to choose your resolution

The Metabaron: Book 1: The Techno-Admiral & The Anti-Baron arrives in bookshops on October 18/19, 2016 with an MSRP of $29.95/£20.99

Tags: Spotlight

Carthago: Character Study Designs

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Before a book gets drawn, one of the steps an artist goes through is to create character studies to outline how a character looks.  Here are several from Carthago.


Carthago arrives in bookshops on September 27/28, 2016 with an MSRP of $34.95/£23.99

Tags: Making Of

Carthago: A Black and White Ocean

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Carthago is available in stores this week!  Check out some of the images below of Milan Jovanovic's work. Presented here in color and black and white.





Bonus: Here's Milan Jovanovic drawing while on vacation


Carthago arrives in bookshops on September 27/28, 2016 with an MSRP of $34.95/£23.99

Tags: Making Of

Flashback: Clockwerx

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Disclaimer: This article previously appeared in 2013 on Facebook.

Q&A with Clockwerx

Getting to know the men behind the machines

With CLOCKWERX's immienant arrival next month, we decided to check in with the brains behind the book, Jason Henderson and Tony Salvaggio. These two have been friends and writing partners for over a decade. We sat down with them recently to pick their brains about their books, writing, advice, and several other topics.

Tony Salvaggio's answers are in plain text, while Jason Henderson's appear in italics.

Q: How did you get your start in writing?

Tony: I had done some writing here and there (mostly design docs and some short stories), and then I met Jason at Maxis South (before the Sims came and got bought out by EA, we were a little outfit making non-Sim City games). We hit it off and decided to try to write something together. We ended up writing several pitches and the Clockwerx script as a screenplay and it took off from there. Doing Clockwerx and subsequently Psy-Comm led to my “Calling Manga Island" column for Comicbookresources and has kept me writing and pitching to this date.

Jason: I started out writing short stories when I was in middle school and sending them in, because I wanted to see my name in print. And I absolutely would submit anything—I was doing movie reviews, columns, whatever I could get in front of readers. But the first thing I actually sold was a fantasy novel, THE IRON THANE, in college.

Q: Were you interested in comic books as kids?

Tony: Definitely! I started out with kids comics, went straight to House of Mystery and the like, then Marvel with some DC books here and there. When I discovered manga in the mid 80s, I started getting even more inspired to write comics, but I didn't know if I would be able to break in to the field. I have to admit that I read much more manga lately, but I try to keep up with lots of indie stuff as well. There are so many great comics out there; it really hurts my wallet trying to keep up with everything.

Jason: Absolutely. I was a huge comics fan, and desperately wanted to write comics, though I ended up writing books and games long before I was able to break into comics! Comics is harder.

I'm still a huge comics fan and have passed it to my two girls (11 and 7) who are really into Archie and classic DC.

03-clockwerx T1 copy

Colored flats and final page

Q: What advice would you give to aspiring writers/artists trying to get into the field of comics & graphic novels?

Tony: Perseverance! That and hone your craft constantly. Write what you enjoy and be mindful of how your work compares to other books you enjoy. There is a thin line between being too self-critical and knowing when something you are doing isn't measuring up, but you have to find that and keep it in mind at all time. As a writer, you have to write, write, and re-write constantly (I need to keep this in mind as well, since I am a horrible procrastinator). On the perseverance side, you definitely need to keep putting your work out there and have a thick skin about it. For example, Psy-Comm (which we wrote for Tokyopop) wasn't right for Humanoids, but we pitched it elsewhere and got it published. Also, be mindful of what tutorials, forums, Facebook pages, and self publishing avenues are out there. It's a lot different these days and there are tons of resources if you are just willing to look around and get into the comics community. I've done whole panels on just this topic, but that's my sort of short answer for now.

Jason: Create your own independent work to get the eye of the Internet and the editors. Create something and produce it, even if it's online—creating samples that editors can read. And even saying that, heck if I know. I have a career that starts and restarts constantly!

Q: What other works would people be able to check out of yours?

Tony: Psy-Comm 1&2 is available through Amazon, graphicly, iTunes, Kindle and most other digital distributors. Physical copies of Psy-Comm 3 are available through RightStuf via print on demand. Also, you can read my first printed prose story in the charity e-book Fables for Japan volume 3. That was the first thing I've had in print that wasn't collaborative which was both daunting and rewarding.

Jason: First off, Tony and I host a weekly podcast on horror movies that is a lot of fun called THE CASTLE DRACULA HORROR MOVIE PODCAST. It is a lot of fun and people should check it out on iTunes! As for my writing—my ALEX VAN HELSING novel series is reasonably popular; it's about a teenage superspy who hunts vampire terrorists. So give it a read and let me know what you think!

Q: What is the writing process like for you?

Tony: For me, lots of writing and re-writing, second guessing and some procrastination if I am writing just for myself. When I'm writing for real, it is a pedal to the metal race to get to the deadline, tons of coffee and over a hundred gigs of iTunes shuffle cranked to 11. I'll often write to movies in the background as well. For some reason, the one that I write to the most is the theatrical version of Payback (Mel Gibson). Not sure why that is the one, but it works. Gundam anime, Big Trouble in Little China, and The Thing (also Kurt Russell!) are also in rotation in lieu of musi

Jason: I have as many processes as I have ties, and I have a LOT of ties. I do novels with an outline and short stories by the seat of my pants. But comics are unique beast. Comic books (even long graphic novels like Clockwerx) you have to plan ahead, really carefully. So when I'm writing a comic I usually:

  • Write a brief outline-- say a paragraph about the story
  • Break up the story into a beginning, middle and end
  • Break it further down into scenes
  • Then start writing out the scenes
  • Q: When coming up with Clockwerx, did you collaborate heavily or did one of you write some and the other would go over it?

    Tony: Clockwerx was highly collaborative. When we started the screenplay version we would meet up late at night at a coffee shop or early in the morning before work for breakfast tacos and hammer out pages and ideas then write during lunch of in between meet ups. We would trade dialog and character ideas and then divvy out the scenes, re-convene and edit each other's work. I think I handled a fair amount of the action sequences because I think about how those are laid out from an animation standpoint and so it comes pretty naturally. For those I would often even draw out diagrams for the scenes in a play-by play manner so that we were both on the same page. The good thing is that I've asked our editors if they are able to tell which scenes were written by whom, and they have a hard time picking that out. I consider that a pretty nice accomplishment. It helps that Jason and I are really good friends and are able to work on each other's sections without ego getting in the way.

    Jason: This story came from a Tony Salvaggio springboard. Tony and I were having coffee in Austin and he said, “I'd like to do a script about Sherlock Holmes piloting a giant mech." And when you think about it, that's pretty close to what we wound up with, a story about a Victorian private detective joining a mech team. We worked together a lot and divided the writing, originally writing the script as a feature-length script.

    line up

    Chart showing the scale of Clocks to people

    Q: Do the two of you still write together and if so, how has that process evolved over the years with the advent of technology and your overall experiences together?

    Tony: Jason and I haven't written together in a while but we would definitely do that as soon as a project becomes available. We still bounce our ideas off of each other for pitches and other projects all the time. Our process is pretty much the same, but it is nice to be able to share things in the cloud. We still do email collaboration as well. We just pass a file that has the name of the project, the version and our initials, usually with “track changes" in Word or whatever we are using. Before we flatten our final edits there's often a file like Project_02_TS, Project_03_JH and that still works pretty well.

    Jason: We've done several comics together and use different methods. For instance in Psy-Comm, we traded chapters—one of us would write the first draft of chapter 1, the other would take Chapter 2, with the other writer doing the second version. And sometimes we'll trade off a whole book—one writer doing the first draft of a whole book, with the other writer taking the second draft. And that's a big deal because lots can change or be fixed in the second draft.

    Q: What influenced the idea of Clockwerx?

    Tony: I've been a Steampunk fan for a while, and I wanted to write in the genre. When we started the screenplay in 1999, there was really no big Steampunk movement, no Steamboy, no League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, etc. We just had a love for this mixture of old and new inspired a bit by the original Wild Wild West and stuff like that. The original idea was what if Sherlock Holmes was a mech pilot. However that morphed to a plot involving the early Nazi movement (pre-WWII) and eventually changed to a mech team with a protagonist from Texas. I'm kind of glad it switched though, since not long after we were writing it, the anime Big O came out and it's pretty much Bruce Wayne driving a mech (which is pretty cool!). We already get comments about how we're derivative of other steampunk stuff that has come out since we finished Clockwerx in 2001, so it probably would have been worse. Plus I really dig our team of mech pilots and their opposite numbers in the Golden Shell.

    Jason: Sherlock Holmes, Sakura Wars, Gatchaman, Time After Time, the list goes on…

    Q: How did you first envision the Clocks?

    Tony: Originally they were a cross between all the things I dug about the mechs in Armored Trooper Votoms combined with the submarine THE TURTLE. You can get a taste for how I conceived them in the beginning at my super out of date animation site

    They were all different colors (well the enemy mechs were) and each had special weapons (flamethrowers, exploding caltrops, a hand cranked Gatling gun, a mace that shot out on a chain and had to be reeled back in, etc.) They also communicated through what we called “line drive" which was an advanced tin can phone kind of thing where the Clocks would shoot out a conical device with a round end that would magnetically socket to the other mech, allowing them to speak to one another. However, they had to keep that line together to do so. In my head, these mechs running in tandem and formulating a battle plan, then breaking off to execute as a team seemed kind of cool.

    The mechs in the book are still way cool though. Jean-Baptiste did an awesome job updating them and bringing them to life. I really dig the final product!


    Early concepts for "CLOCKS"

    Q: What was it like working with an artist in Europe?

    Tony: Working with Jean-Baptiste was awesome. Occasionally there were language barrier breakdowns, but his English is tons better than my French, so I can't complain. He's an extremely talented artist and he added lots of subtle touches to the characters. His pencils are pretty amazing, and every time we would get a new art drop, I couldn't believe that this was the book I had written. Just flat out amazing stuff. I felt like a 2 year old drawing with crayons whenever I had to send him a sketch about how a Clock mechanism worked or other note like that.

    The cool thing is we also became long distance friends during the course of the book, exchanging emails and ideas outside of the book itself. We don't talk as much lately, but I'd still like to do this idea we had of a road trip across the US, adventuring while writing while he draws where we went. I don't know if Jean-Baptiste would still want to do that, but I think it would be rad.

    Jason: I have worked with lots of artists and Europe and generally it's the same as working with an artist in New York—it's a world of email attachments.

    Q: Any interesting stories from your time developing Clockwerx?

    Tony: It's been quite a while, but I do remember a few things. We used to write at Austin Java Company until they would shut down in the wee hours. Sometimes we would meet back up at a Taco Cabana that was midway between where Jason was working and the video game company I was working for at the time and hammer out script details, take notes and trade sections to edit. It was a labor of love for sure.

    I also remember that Jason fought for a long time to keep this kind of Oliver Twist/Short Round character in the screenplay version. I was hesitant but he grew on me. When we had a reading of the script with our wives (great foils for our geekdom), he was universally panned and excised quickly. Let me tell you, that was a rough set of re-writes, but it made it so much better. We were lucky that we got to really develop the script even more with Humanoids and our first editor Paul Benjamin. It's MUCH tighter than our original screenplay version. There are a couple of action sequences I do wish we could have kept, but I think that's the kind of thing that most creatives think about. I dig how the book turned out overall and this version is the definitive one for Jason and me.

    PAGE 46 copie

    Penciled version next to the final version.

    Q: How do you feel about the Steampunk genre? Has it changed from when you originally developed the idea of Clockwerx?

    Tony: I really dig the steampunk genre, since I was a kid watching movie adaptations of 20,000 Leagues, Journey to the Center of the Earth, and The Land that Time Forgot (one of my all time favorites!). Of course it wasn't called Steampunk then, but that was the kernel of what we have now. There's been a lot of Steampunk literature and even stuff like Origin's Ultima: Martian Dreams and various pen and paper RPGs that paved the way for us and Clockwerx. In 1999, there really wasn't the groundswell of fiction/crafts/costumes that there is now. I think the last Steampunk think I had read was The Difference Engine, and in anime there was Sakura Wars. I remember when I saw that show, I didn't know if we were going to seem too derivative. However, they went in a way different direction, so it was ok. Since then, there really has been an explosion of creativity and plenty of cool Steampunk fiction and culture. It's painful sometimes that it took so long to get the book out, because (judging by some reviews in France) we're seen as kind of also-ran by some people. That's just one of those things that sometimes happens (in Hollywood it's pretty frequent) and you roll with it. Although I don't really wear any Steampunk costuming, I really dig all the creative cool stuff that people do nowadays. I hope that the community digs our book as much as we liked writing and nurturing it over the years.

    Q: Any new projects on the horizon?

    Tony: Jason has been steadily writing novels, video games scripts, and comics but I have been mainly working on stuff with my band Deserts of Mars. I do have a bunch of comics that I want to pitch but have had trouble finding artists for. Lots of stuff near and dear to my heart: horror with comedic pop culture stuff, martial arts and apocalyptic themes, and a few books centered around metal/rock with sci-fi and horror themes. I've gotten close to landing a couple of them, but nothing has finalized so far.

    Of course if Clockwerx or Psy-Comm pick up, I would love to go back to those worlds and write some more stories.

    Jason: Yes—this summer I have a game coming out, Activision's TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES: OUT OF THE SHADOWS, for which I wrote the screenplay. Meanwhile I'm working on a comic book miniseries for IDW that will be announced later, and a return to the SWORD OF DRACULA/ALEX VAN HELSING universe in comics with Greg Scott.

    Q: Could you envision Clockwerx as a movie or possibly a TV show?

    Tony: Since we wrote it as a screenplay first, that would be awesome. I would love to see at least a Clockwerx miniseries. I also have a lot of ideas for adapting Clockwerx into a couple of different video game genres (working the video game industry is my day job) if given the chance.

    Jason: Absolutely. We really wanted it to feel episodic—meet the hero, have the team come together, then have their adventures begin. We really wanted this to be like a regular hero team book!

    Q: How did growing up in Texas influence you as writers?

    Tony: Hmm, I'm not sure if it was Texas directly that influenced me although spending my first few years in the hill country and a formative couple of years in Kerrville where I spent tons of time in their awesome library and going to the cool downtown movie theater there certainly influenced me. I spent my summers in Texas with my grandparents and my dad and didn't have many friends my age during that time, so I read a lot and watched tons of movies thanks to them taking me to the theater a lot. That was definitely the foundation of me stretching my imagination and getting into making up stories and creating worlds in my head. So, for that I have to thank my grandparents, my dad, my aunt Vita who was a teacher and always gave me books (actually all my aunts and uncles were cool that way), as well as the time I spent reading and dreaming in Hearne, Bryan, Houston, Dallas, and Matagorda.

    Q: Favorite writer? Favorite Artist?

    Tony: I don't think I can definitely answer either of those. I would like to thank all the comic book writers from the 70 and 80s and all of the numerous novels over the decades that lead to the ground work for this book. I can't even begin to name the countless authors that have influenced me, but I appreciate them all! As far as artists, I'm pretty partial to the ones I have worked with on Clockwerx and Psy-Comm (Jean Baptiste, Shane Granger, and Ramanda Kamarga) but that isn't really fair is it? There are many artists that I really really dig, but I'll name a few (and my apologies to the dozens of other I might miss) of Michael Golden, Bill Sienkiewicz, Bernie Wrightson, Tim Eldred/Ben Dunn/Adam Warren (for showing me Americans can do manga styled comics!) Katsuhiro Otomo, Shotaro Ishinomori, Hayao Miyazaki, Kow Kokoyama, Leiji Matsumoto, and one of my all time favorites Yoshikazu Yasuhiko (his art books and the latest Gundam: The Origin hardcovers [Vertical is ruling them!] are amazing. Plus he's had a hand in a large swath of the anime and manga I enjoy).

    Jason: Grant Morrison and Greg Scott, who should work together!

    04-clockwerx T1 copy

    Rough flats and final version

    Q: On process and tricks of the trade.

    Jason: We worked a lot in Excel on Clockwerx-- really! Because we knew we could have a big page, lots of panels, say 8 or 9 panels on the page. So we would create a spreadsheet with a set number of panels on every page and a set number of lines of dialogue-- these represented the maximum we could put on a page. And then we'd fill it in. It was cool, too, because by rocketing down the rows we could see how the story was working, how long scenes were taking. I recommend using Excel if you have to have a very strict script size.

    Q: Who wrote what?

    Jason: If you want to know who wrote what, Tony and I basically wrote the first 3/4 of the book, with writer Izu writing the last quarter from our notes and a much longer version. And then of course when it all got translated into English, Tony and I did an edit of the whole script again.

    Q: What else do you and Tony have in store?

    Jason: There are a few projects that would benefit from us working together, because when we work together we each bring our skills. Tony is mister logistics on big and small scenes alike, he can really figure out how something is going to work and how action can be choreographed. I bring a sense of pace, if anything-- what scenes need to go where. One project we want to do together is a big, scary horror that is an homage to Euro Horror like Jess Franco from Spain and Jean Rollin of France. I really want to do that book someday.

    Word Association


    TS: Steampunk, Collaboration, Friendship, Long Strange Trip

    JH: The X-Men with Victorian Robots instead of super-heroes


    TS: Thanks, Breakthrough, Teamwork, Awesome Artists

    JH: Home of Quality


    TS: Home

    JH: “The sun is ris', the sun is set, and we is still in Texas yet."


    TS: Creativity, Wonder, Adventure

    JH: The kingdom from David Bowie's dreams


    TS: Mystery, Adventure, History

    JH: Home of the Tower.


    A "CLOCK" closer to final version

    Tags: Humanoids - Spotlight

    Spotlight: Carthago

    Wednesday, September 14, 2016

    Story by Christophe Bec, with Art by Eric HenninotMilan Jovanovic

    The megalodon, the prehistoric ancestor of the great white shark was the most ferocious predator of the seas, an 80 foot killing machine extinct for millions of years… But when divers drilling in an underwater cave are attacked by this living fossil, oceanographer Kim Melville discovers that this creature may not only have survived, but thrived, and is reclaiming its place at the top of the food chain.

    Quick facts about Carthago:
    • An international hit now available for the first-time in English
    • Appeals to fans of cryptozoology and Jaws.
    Christophe Bec won the Albert Uderzo Prize in 2005 (Best Young Talent for his series Lent)
    Sanctum, also written by Christophe Bec, was nominated for best comic/cartoon album at both the Jules Verne Film Festival in Paris and the Detective Film Festival in Cognac.

    Available below is the desktop wallpaper of Carthago. Click the picture to choose your resolution

    Carthago arrives in bookshops on September 27/28, 2016 with an MSRP of $34.95/£23.99

    Tags: Spotlight

    Spotlight: Metabarons Genesis: Castaka

    Monday, September 12, 2016

    Metabarons Genesis: Castaka
    Story by Alexandro Jodorowsky, with Art by Das Pastoras

    Before the Metabarons there were the Castakas, a clan of lawless pirates - this is their story.

    On a small planet lost on the edges of the galaxy, a war rages between two rival clans, the Castaka, and the Amakura. During a ferocious battle, Queen Castaka is kidnapped and raped by King Amakura. From this  brutal inception will be born Dayal, the first ancestor of the Metabarons.

    Quick facts about Metabarons Genesis: Castaka:
    • Builds on the universe of the bestselling Incal and Metabarons series.
    • From ground-breaking writer (The Incal, The Metabarons, The White Lama) and cult director (The Holy Mountain, El Topo) Alexandro Jodorowsky.
    Das Pastoras is most well-known for his work with Marvel including on Wolverine, Thor: God of Thunder, and Deadpool.
    • Features afterword by Jason Aaron (Thor, Southern Bastards) and Katsuya Terada.
    • Jodorowsky received the 2013 International Adamson Award from the Swedish Academy of Comic Art.
    • Jodorowsky continues to be a recognized name with the 2014 documentary "Jodorowsky's Dune" widely acknowledged as snubbed by the Oscars.

    Available below is the desktop wallpaper of Metabarons Genesis: Castaka. Click the picture to choose your resolution

    Metabarons Genesis: Castaka arrives in bookshops on September 20, 2016 with an MSRP of $29.95/£19.99

    Tags: Spotlight

    Spotlight: Clockwerx

    Tuesday, September 6, 2016

    Story by Jason Henderson, Tony Salvaggio, & Izu, Art by Jean-Baptiste Hostache

    London, 1899. A series of mysterious deaths on the shipping docks have an ex-Scotland Yard officer on the hunt for clues. What he uncovers is a war between a huge corporation and a renegade group of individuals, with both parties fighting for a powerful new energy source. A cross-Atlantic collaboration between American authors Jason Henderson and Tony Salvaggio, and French illustrator Jean-Baptiste Hostache.

    Quick facts about Clockwerx:
    • The steam punk favorite now available in paperback!
    • Includes a making-of art section!
    • From Jason Henderson, the author of the Alex Van Helsing series (Harper Collins) named the best of 2010 by VOYA!
    Jason Henderson & Tony Salvaggio are two of the co-hosts of the Castle of Horror podcast.

    Available below is the desktop wallpaper of Clockwerx. Click the picture to choose your resolution

    Clockwerx arrives in book stores and comic shops on September 20/21, 2016 with an MSRP of $19.95/£13.99

    Tags: Spotlight