So, team Toshigawa has finally emerged from the convention tour we have been on for two weeks. While it was fun to hit Superman Celebration and Anime Blues Con in back to back weekends, it was also exhausting! We also made it out of the art whirlwind that was May and June that saw the release of Jetta: Beginnings from Action Lab Entertainment, Free Comic Book day, and our 2nd MAW Productions Drink N Draw. However, after the smoke cleared and the dust settled, we had two great convention experiences! Here’s a rundown of what you missed.
Superman Celebration was all about family for me and Janet as we took Anakin (our son not the Jedi/Sith) to his first real convention. Things where a little hectic juggling daddy duties and being available at the MAW Productions booth. But, in the end, things worked out well. So, since a picture is worth 1000 words, I got plenty of photos to show you guys.
Anime Blues Con 2012 was all about work, work, work. Some of you guys know that I’m also a convention head for the art track at ABC. What that means is, not only am I set up for the convention at the MAW Productions booth, but I am also responsible for artist alley, the art panels, and the artist guests of honor. It can be a lot of fun. But it is also very taxing. Here are a few photos from the weekend.
Thanks to everyone that came out to both Superman Celebration and Anime Blues Con! You guys are what we do this for and I look forward to meeting you all out there on the convention road! Next stop, Memphis Comics and Fantasy Convention.
The Turra: Gun Angel series is set to see publication in 2013. But, our very own Kevin Williams, sat down with series writer Sean Taylor and talked about his career and what he has planned for our favorite ninja with guns.
Hi. My name is Sean Taylor, and I’m here because I haven’t had a drink in 21 days…
Wait. Sorry. That’s for the other group. Let’s try that again…
Hi. My name is Sean Taylor, and I’m here because Turra held me at gunpoint and made me answer these questions.
I write comics books and prose. And I get paid for it. How’s that? Any more compromising information you want to blackmail me with can be found either at http://www.taylorverse.com/ or my writing blog http://seanhtaylor.blogspot.com/.
I’ll admit up front it’s a mixed bag of goodness and badness. Coming from an English-Lit background, I’m the kind of guy who enjoys reading Shakespeare, Flannery O’Connor, Hemingway, and F. Scott Fitzgerald for fun. I’m also a big fan of Raymond Carver, Annie Dillard, C.S. Lewis, and Zora Neale Hurston.
But I love my thrillers too, and Ed McBain’s work is a huge influence as well as that of Donald Westlake and Christa Faust.
When I turn to sci-fi, I’m kind of old-school, and I prefer to read Vonnegut, Heinlein, and Bradbury, or sometimes Dr. Who novelisations (see that ‘s’ – that’s because it’s British… cool, huh?) from the old series. (And I cut my teeth on C.S. Lewis’ fiction.)
And I’ve recently rediscovered the work of H. Rider Haggard, particularly his brilliant She series of tales, and the exciting Mars saga by E. R. Burroughs.
For comics, I always inspired by books written by Chuck Dixon, Dwayne McDuffie, Steve Seagle, Beau Smith, or Gail Simone. Those guys (and that classy lady) really deliver the goods on a consistent basis.
I got my start in the pages of Shooting Star Comics Anthology. Some friends and I started our own company and took the bull by the horns to show this industry we meant business. I had previously been a magazine editor, so I became the editor-in-chief of the company and helped us to develop publishing plans and publication schedules.
I took up lettering because I was too broke to hire a letterer, so I learned how to do it myself in the stories I had written, and thankfully, there was helpful information all over the Internet.
We had a blast putting out our books and eventually branching out to do other people’s work too, such as the critically acclaimed Children of the Grave and one of the graphic novels in the Jetta: Tales of the Toshigawa series, and I was able to publish my Fishnet Angel: Jane Doe miniseries as well, but when it came time to close up the shop and move on, we instinctively knew it, and we all moved on to find our new places in the comics world. Fortunately several of us have landed in various spots from AC to IDW and beyond.
You know, a list will be easier. Here are a few I’m really, really proud of.
The Ruby Files Volume 1, Airship 27 Productions, 2012
Price of the Missionary’s Gold: The New Adventures of Armless O’Neil Volume One, Pulp Obscura (Pro Se Productions), 2012
Blackthorn: Thunder on Mars, White Rocket Books, 2011
Dreams of Steam II: Brass and Bolts, Kerlak Publishing, 2011
Lance Star: Sky Ranger Volume III, Airship 27 Productions & Cornerstone Book Publishers, 2011
Pro Se Presents #1, Pro Se Productions, 2011
Required Reading Remixed, IDW Publishing, 2011 (Wal-Mart exclusive)
Show Me A Hero, New Babel Books, 2011Zombiesque, Penquin/Daw Books, 2011
Classics Mutilated, IDW Publishing, 2010
All-Star Pulp Comics #1, Airship 27 Productions and Redbud Studios, 2011
Feline Force, Mini-Komix, 2011
Adventures of the Bad Girls Club: An Illustrated Episode #0 , IDW Publishing, 2011
The Invisible Man graphic novel adaptation, Campfire Publishing, 2009
Gene Simmons Dominatrix Trade Paperback, IDW Publishing, 2008
Gene Simmons House of Horrors Trade Paperback, IDW Publishing, 2007
Fishnet Angel: Jane Doe #1-2, Shooting Star Comics, 2005
Shooting Star Comics Anthology #1-6, Shooting Star Comics, 2002-2005
Working with Gene was actually a lot more fun that I had previously been led to believe by others who had either worked with him or known people who had worked with him. He was usually very quick to approve the stories I submitted to him, and typically only with minor changes. I think the only major change he made to a pitch I sent him for Dominatrix was to change the lead heroine’s civilian name from Danika (my preference) to Dominique (the one in the books). Other than that, Gene’s ideas for the book must have really meshed with mine. Either that or my editors had all the fun of butting heads.
I did get to meet him once during the book’s run, and that was at San Diego Comic Con. I remember that moment because I learned something about him that I’ll remember and try to emulate until the day I die — that man really loves and appreciates his fans. Even when it made life hell for the people trying to organize the line around the various booths, and even when it ticked off the other booth owners (even the big two), Gene insisted that all the fans in line got to see him and that he only did his signing in an area where the fans could be easily accessed.
I usually write at Starbucks. That way I can simulate the “office” experience and stop every now and then to talk to the folks at the counter. I’ve tried writing at home, but there are just too many distractions unless I’m writing late into the night. Maybe it’s my ADD and the voices in my head that compel me to check out what new movies have been added to Netflix. Or, maybe it’s the “Dad, what do you think about this?” or my wife’s thinly veiled threats of what might happen if I don’t stop long enough to help her fold the laundry or set the table for dinner. (And yes, “thinly” was used sarcastically, for those of you who don’t pick up on this kind of thing naturally.)
For editing though, I have to lock myself at my kitchen table and turn off everything in the house that makes noise except ambient music really low. Then I just work until I hear my kids’ buses drive by the house.
Primarily I listen for clues that might surprise me in songs and from other media. About two years ago I was listening to “The Beautiful Ones” from Prince’s Purple Rain soundtrack and it hit me what a cool comic book title that could be. From there, a sort of War of the Worlds meets Sex and the City plot entered my head and the characters naturally developed from there. Or there is the time I went to a comic book creator get-together wearing my Hot Rod Girl t-shirt with the art from the old movie. A guy asked me if Hot Rod Girl was the new comic book I was working on, and I thought for a moment, then said, “It is now!”
If I already have a character I have to write, then the process is a little different. I never use a set formula, but I do pull from a similar group of tools. For example, I used to fill out questionnaires as my characters or answer a list of questions about them or even fill out a credit card application as the character (but never sent it in, of course), but I no longer have to do that because after a few years, those kind of things became internalized and a matter of habit when I pre-write. When you know those kinds of things about your characters, the story ideas naturally begin to flow. And if I ever get stumped, I just ask, “What’s the worth thing that could happen to this character at this point?” Those always turn into some fun tales for me to write.
I think that whatever genre I’m writing in, I tend to funnel everything through the same well, funnel. It’s a weird amalgamation of character-driven pulp action writing. I just can’t get away from it.
I’ve worked in so many genres and enjoyed them all: pulp, sci-fi, fantasy, super-heroes, mystery, drama, literary, horror, steampunk. What I really enjoy, however, is throwing combinations of them in a blender and seeing what develops.
• A steampunk horror tale with sci-fi overtones? Sure.
• A literary horror tale about saving a marriage after the dead rise? Why not?
• A pulp tale of time-displaced hero on Mars battling snake women who question what it means to deny their culture and make an individual choice to be a better person? Absolutely.
• A literary sci-fi tale about whether a baby is a curse, a blessing, or merely an organ? Is there a better way to explore such an idea?
• A love story about two supervillains who just want to be good neighbors in their subdivision in spite of their choice of career? Of course.
That said, comedic writing (other than characters quipping one-liners) is definitely not my forte. I bow to Erik Burnham’s superior ability in that genre.
The first time I met Martheus was at Mid South Con several, several, way too many years ago. Scott McCullar introduced us and recommended that we bring Martheus and the Jetta book into the Shooting Star Comics fold. After I saw the book, how could I argue with him? And that, as they say in Casablanca, was the beginning of a beautiful friendship.
As I said earlier, I first read the book at Mid South Con quite a few years ago. I immediately recognized a sort of rough genius in the book. Sure, Martheus was still coming into his own as a story teller, but geez, the art was gorgeous and talking with him about the characters… well, the passion was clearly a driving force for him. I think the thing that resonated with me and helped me connect with the book was more Martheus’ passion about it.
It’s like of like the story of the person who didn’t like jazz because they didn’t give it a fair shake, then after watching a true jazz aficionado listen to jazz, he learned to enjoy it as well simply by observing the passion of the aficionado.
Mostly I listen. (For once in my life, yes.) Then I ignore whatever Martheus has said, throw out some crazy idea like riffing on The Most Dangerous Game or raising hillbilly zombies from the dead, and then let him tell me how to fit my strange ideas into his universe in a way that doesn’t degrade the glue that holds it together. And I do keep our boy Martheus on his toes that way. Trust me.
It’s going to be all about fun. Jetta had the weight of the world (literally) on her shoulder. Turra, on the other hand, has Cyndi Lauper’s “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun” playing on repeat in her head. Turra has a lot of responsibility to live up to in her role leading the Toshigawa in Jetta’s absence, but she’s not going to mop about it like her best friend did.
Not just fun for Turra though. I’m trying to think visually also and ask myself, “What would be fun for Martheus to draw?” That’s where the lingerie shoot-out in a busy mall came from. And I ask, “What would be fun for readers to see?” That’s where redneck zombies and bikini gunfights come from. (For the record, the redneck zombies is from a fan, and what a great idea it was.) Then every now and then, I hit on some ideas I really want to play with, like the potential papal assassination to prevent a one-world government. You know, fun stuff like that.
Turra’s definitely not going to be stuff in Japan and America. Her frequent flyer miles are going to rack up as she explores what the world has to offer the current leader of the Toshigawa clan.
For Jetta, I hear lots of thump like the soundtrack to Blade, well, that and about anything heavy by Linkin Park. But for Turra, it’s mostly pop stuff. Where Jetta broods, Turra’s the type to dance around the homestead to the radio in her underwear, then turn on a time and drop you with a single shot to the forehead for sneaking up on her.
It’s unfair because I’m writing her, but I really do connect with Turra. She’s just so much the kind of character I live to and love to write. A tough as nails female buttkicker. We really don’t share any personality traits at all, since I’m basically a pacifist, but I can dream, right?
Hell no. I’d best serve as cannon fodder.
Be on the lookout for the book. It’s gonna be incredible. And don’t miss any of the other projects Martheus and I are working on, including A Stitch in Time: The Return of the Invisible Man for IDW Publishing.
And please hit up my blog as often as you can. It’s been a labor of love and a lot of fun. It’s at seanhtaylor.blogspot.com and it’s all about not just my writing, but also tips for up and coming writers, and even markets looking for submissions and lots of interviews with other writers and artists.
And be sure to bookmark my official website too at www.taylorverse.com.
Since the Jetta: Tales of the Toshigawa graphic novel series is considered a males dream, I love to see reviews from female readers about our beautiful leading lady.
Check out what some of our female readers are saying about the Jetta: Tales of the Toshigawa series. Our books where reviewed over at Space Gypsies http://spacegypsies.com/archives/6204!
Big thanks to the site for an awesome review!
There is an excellent and very in-depth interview with Martheus Wade about Jetta: Tales of the Toshigawa, Turra: Bombs and Betrayal and Fate vs Free Will over at ALL PULP! Some great stuff dealing with his philosophy on life and what it all means. Check it out!
This is such exciting news. As you know, our very own editor, Mr. Kevin L. Williams, is a HUGE Muppets fan. In September 2007, Martheus & I, along w/ Mr. Lin Workman, got to accompany him for a Master Replicas Kermit photoshoot to Leland, MS, Jim Henson’s birthplace.
Here are a few photos Lin and Kevin directed and shot from the trip…
And here’s the piece we were all very proud of.
Doesn’t it just speak volumes about the man and his creations? We all can relate to the joy Mr. Henson brought to us in our childhood, and even into adulthood. Everyone’s trying to find their Rainbow Connection, am I right? I’ve seen this image pop up a few times on social networking sites like facebook since posting these photos online. And that’s ok; you can’t keep happiness like this to yourself.
Ok. Fast forward to today, or more specifically, about earlier this week. Somehow this touching photo made its way to an Aussie TV spot during an interview for the new “Muppets” movie. Click on this link to visit the site and watch the video. Fast forward to about 3:44 & you’ll see it!
We had the opportunity to be reviewed by Markus Seaberry, a lifelong geek, actor, podcaster, blogger, longtime veteran of the Indie Memphis film scene and reviewer for Live from Memphis! This was an awesome review of the book that stays spoiler free! So, you are safe to read it without ruining anything! Take a look HERE!
This past week, I had the honor to be interviewed (and named artist of the month) by the guys and girls over at Beaucoup Pop, a podcast about everything pop culture! I got a chance to talk Turra and Jetta as well as pump up the awesome team that brought you our wonderful stories! Join Kerry, Justin, Matt, and Tressa as they talk about their loves in life; movies, comics, music, books, anime, video games, TV, manga, board games….the list goes on. Sit down. Plug your ipod in. Relax with you headphones. And listen! Thanks for the interview. I had a blast!!
Since this is an all Turra month, we wanted to take the time to sit down with Micah Riley, the model many of you have seen running around as Turra at conventions and Facebook!
Martheus: So Micah, tell us a little about yourself.
Micah: Man I have always hated this question…Hello my name is Micah, and it’s been 6 days since I beat someone up! I’m halfway kidding…I was born and raised in Memphis TN. I’m married and have a beautiful 9 year old daughter and have many pets! I have been training in different martial arts since 1994. In my spare time I like being with my family and friends.
When & how did you get into cosplaying?
When my daughter was born we got big into dressing up on Halloween. Characters such as; Vampire Willow, Borris Offee, the Village People, and Batgirl among others. After being at many cons I decided to dress up myself. Still being a nerd in training, my husband helped me research characters and we came up with Donna Troy. She was my first Cosplay at Superman Celebration 4 years ago.
How did you come to find out about Turra?
Being friends with the fine folks at MAW Productions and following the Jetta series for years; at first I only knew her as a back up character.
Turra is vastly different from Jetta. Do you feel more closely to Turra because of that?
Yes in some ways…I’m definitely not a chosen one, but I’m not the black sheep of my family either…I’m more of an outcast.
What traits does Turra have that you most identify with?
Of course being a martial artist, but I can be a flirt at times too!
What’s it like working with MAW Productions?
We have known each other for sometime now, and have been to some cons together. So, it’s not much different than before. It does feel great helping out my very talented friends. The best part of the group is..you will always leave with a smile on your face or at least pee your pants laughing about something!
I don’t like to see myself as being in the center light, but before I just got to just beat people up, get pictures taken, or walk by in a video. It’s going to take me awhile to get used to talkong to the public and being interviewed on the spot!
Tell us about your first public appearance as Turra.
October of last year was my first Con as Turra at the Memphis Comics and Fantasy Con. I was so nervous at first, but when I heard there was a school field trip coming there I told myself “I got this!” I’m used to being around a lot of kids teaching martial arts plus Muley was there to help out! Besides little kids asking me if I was Lady Gaga, my favorite moment was when Kevin had to save me and my all white costume from a kid with Cheeto fingers giving me a hug!
After reading the books, which Tales of the Toshigawa character is your most fav & why?
Well duh…Turra! Seriously it’s a toss up between Gaudient and Turra. Turra for being so different and hardcore, and Gaudient for the inside joke that he is based on our karate/kickboxing instructor.
Which character do you hate the most?
Hmmm. That’s a hard question…but Gin keeps popping in my head. I think because I don’t know much about him, or understand why he’s there.
Oh, he has a reason to be there. All will be revealed soon. HAHAHAHA!
OOOOOOh! A superman pistol whip! Just to be mean and show off! I can see her get so mad at someone but not want to waste her bullets!
Where would you like to see Turra go from here?
To be bigger than Justin Bieber! It would be awesome to see an animated series of Turra!
Kevin usually asks a weird “paper or plastic” question. Janet asks her zombie question. Here’s mine. If you where facing down Terminus, Slash and a host of evil ninja, what would you bring to the fight?
Jetta and some Guns!!!
Since Jetta: Full Circle has been going through pre-orders, Kevin, Janet and muself have been featured on some great podcasts. Here is a run down of some of the interviews where we talk about Jetta, MAW Productions and self publishing Jetta for 17 years!
Ben and Zack of the Mystery Solved Comic Book and Podcast have a chat with Kevin Williams, editor of Jetta: Tales of The Toshigawa. Enjoy! LISTEN HERE.
On the PKD Media Black Box, Martheus and Janet Wade are interviewed about their latest Original Graphic Novel, Jetta: Tales of The Toshigawa – Full Circle. LISTEN HERE
Bob Bretall of The Comic Book Page talks to Martheus Antone Wade, creator, co-writer & artist of Jetta: Full Circle. LISTEN HERE