My friend recently was going through her inventory and look what she bumped into, one of my first endeavors in self-publishing: The Mind's Overflow, Vol. 1! It's a 69-paged anthology that has comics, poetry, short stories, and more comics that my partner-in-comicbook-making-crimes Alan Abbadessa-Green and I put together. You can see also in the pic above that it is "suggested for mature readers." As I remember, it was a massive labor of massive love.
May I remind you of the bars to your right? Do you see the Books I'm In section? Notice that Mind's Overflow has been there all this time? Here's the post all about it.
Inside, you will find an exciting sneak preview of Philip Clark's Quantum: Rock of Ages comicbook series. Philip Clark is soul musician by trade, and trust me, he can rock a soul out of your body. Check out his site for some free listening. I would suggest The State of the Blue-Eyed Soul. But he is an apt writer of comics also. You can read an IGN interview about Quantum: Rock of Ages here, you can read issues #1-4 for free here, and even issue #5 here (with art by James Rodriguez), yes, for freeee! Come on, you know you want to. Give indy comics a read. You'd be surprised how much of high-quality stories are in independent comicbooks. Forget super-heroes; they're so establishment. Indies are in and they're sexy!
Inside Mind's Overflow are also some comic strips by Jeffrey Plotkin. Just do yourselves a favor and go to his link in the last sentence. At face value it looks all cute and cartoony, but his strips are deep when you read into them. He can say a lot in one picture. Here's a random page from his DeviantArt gallery so you can see what I mean: http://emperornortonii.deviantart.com/gallery/?offset=3024.
Alan Abbadessa-Green and I, while planning all the logistics of The Mind's Overflow, came up with a couple of themes, keys and key holes being a central one. So as you can see, the cover has a key hole, giving you the illusion of you peeping inside the book. The cover illustrates one of the short stories, 'A Dying Bird' by Matthew Scott Carr, illustrated by Joe Kelly. All the stories and poems had a front page like this, with the title and credit and a key hole giving a glimpse of the inside of its respective story.
Yours truly was Editor, Art Director, and one of the general illustrators. Alan Abbadessa-Green was EIC. He would read all submissions, sift through the ones he likes so I would read them, I would sift through the ones I selected and we'll discuss the finalists' submissions to select which ones will end up in the anthology. I made the cover design and logo, as well as the design for. Every. Single. Sixty-nine freaking pages! And this is before I knew how to mess with InDesign! Both the designing & illustrating and the editing aspects of creating the book were arduous work for both of us, but I enjoyed it immensely (and I know Alan too). Publishing is something I can definitely get used to. Creating a book from scratch just seems to be what I like to do, and I'd do it again (hint, hint).
Below is an example of some of general illustrations I did for MO. It's from one of the short stories 'Return' by Miguel Ortega.
Step in the fat guy. While at a convention, I see Rammer talking to a fat man sitting behind a desk. I decide to join them and see who the fuck this guy is. It turns out he's a sci-fi/horror/fantasy writer (which I should have known from looking at him). Being the artistic whore that he is (and has to be in this industry), Rammer asks if he can be considered to do artwork for the guy's book jackets. This somehow spins into a conversation about how to make it in the industry. And by "the industry," I don't intend to limit that to comicbooks. Comics are particularly hard because the market is weak and saturated (a bad combination) but the same holds true for novelists, screenwriters, painters, and illustrators. Creators are in for a rude awakening when they first try to send their art into the market. But I'm getting ahead of myself.And I'm passing the advice forward onto you. Be this guy.
Anyway, the fat guy says that if you want to be successful, there is a very easy way to do it... Do it. It's as simple as that. Here I shall try to quote him as best as my memory will allow [yes, a double quote. So what? You're in a house of mirrors here. —Rammer]:
"If you want to be a writer, write. If you want to be an artist, draw. Every night, even if it's just a page a night. In a year, you'll find you have a book. If someone invites you to a party, decline the invitation. If you want to go out on a date with a girl, don't. If you want to have a life, too bad. Hell, if you want to, I'm fine with that. There's already too much competition for me out there and I'd be very happy if you didn't pursue your work. You'd be doing me a favor to sit home and watch TV. But if you want to do it for real, you have to actually do it."
Now, this isn't original advice, but it's true. I'd actually given my brother similar advice when he was having difficulty finding the time to write. I suggested he take baby steps. A page a night. It was advice I had given him but had failed to practice myself. I say this man may have saved my life because he re-instilled that work ethic within me. Now, whenever Rammer and I are tempted to meet at a bar and drink our paychecks away, one of us will always remind the other to "be the fat guy." And it's advice I pass along to any of the inspiring writers and artists out there. Be the fat guy.
Now, without further ado, I'd like to present to you my contribution to The Mind's Overflow, Vol. 1: the comicbook story by the same name, drawn, inked and lettered by yours truly, more drawing and inking by Jeff Ploktin, and with writings by Alan Abbadessa-Green, pre-pressed by moi. I really enjoyed this one. It's very unique. I'll tell you why and how.
First, the main character, Key, man he's something that can only come straight out of Alan's head. "Make his feet HUGE," he tells me. I give him this:
Here's a character design for Molly, Key's girlfriend, just to be fair for both characters.
This is the first segment to 'The Mind's Overflow' comicbook story, starring Key. Another reminder: this is For Mature Readers, don't like cuss words? Please skip the comic. Hope you enjoy it!
Here's a bit more from behind the scenes:
Alan Abbadessa-Green wrote about The Mind's Overflow book and comic too over at his blog Look At All the Happy Creatures, but in completely different take.
I have fond memories of Alan and I going to Baltimore, MD for the not-so Small Press eXpo con. We had tons of material and art work to show, plus MO. I also met a lot of creators that I still am proud of knowing to this day. And guess what. The Mind's Overflow, Vol. 1 ended up in the Baltimore Museum of Art's Cram Sessions: 02 Dark Matter exhibit! That's what pays to go to cons as a creator.
Alas, The Mind's Overflow was an endeavor that ended prematurely. With all of life's demands and anguish, there is no Volume 2. But Alan and I still work together. Since then we've made tons of comicbook short stories that ended in comicbook anthologies. He continues to writes books, like The Sync Book (Vol. 1 and 2), one of which we have work in. We have our 8-page comicbook story 'Desperate Skin' in it, and I have two poems in there. I ended up becoming a poet of sort and host a monthly party and open mic while doing gigs in Graphic Design (if you're interested in my writing and poetry, may I direct you to my writing blog I, Rammer? If you are, thank you and I hope you enjoy it). Comicbooks is still a love of mine. I put comicbooks and graphic design in one set; they're the same to me, just with the same elements re-arranged differently. But that's a topic for another post.
Although The Mind's Overflow, Vol. 1 is out of print, you can still purchase a copy for a measly $6! I have like five of them left, I'm sure Alan has one or two, but there are two copies of The Mind's Overflow, Vol. 1 at NYC's Forbidden Planet comicbook store! Just go there and ask for it.
Hope you enjoyed the post. And if you've been reading and looking and have gotten here, all I have to say is: