Artist Block 01: Production Update on Jetta: Omega

First, I want to say Happy New Year! I can’t believe its already 2013. Time really does move faster as you get older. If you are reading this, thank you for following us for another year. These Production Updates are meant for you!

So, I finally get the chance to update the site and I honestly don’t know where to begin. I have had to do, deal with and work on so many projects in the past months I felt like I’ve lived in a whirlwind. From alien monsters, to hot babes in a post apocalyptic world, to ninjas, I have been crazy busy with work and life. This production blog will be an ongoing thing where I’ll let everyone know the status of books I’m working on as well as the joys and snags that come up along the way. So… Where should I start?

Alright, let’s start off with the book that has taken me the longest to get out so far, Jetta: Tales of the Toshigawa – Omega. I have to apologize to the readers of the graphic novel series. The original plan was to have the book out at the same time as Turra: Bombs and Betrayal was coming out. That would have put a cap on the end of the Jetta: Tales of the Toshigawa story arc. Through my own fault, I believed that was also a good time to do submissions to other companies to get mainstream attention. The problem with submissions is that you tend to spend all or most of your time creating new artwork specifically for a particular company that you have little to no chance of ever showing or selling. In short, I did a lot of work that no one has or will see anytime soon. The problem with that is, while I was out doing submissions, Jetta just sat there. Because of that, I’ve been having to rebuild my readership a bit. Which takes more time away from the book I need to finish. It’s all a vicious cycle. Good news now is that I am almost on my last chapter of the book penciling. There are some very emotional stuff in this book for me because it’s my last Jetta graphic novel for a while. That is harder for me to deal with than I can express to anyone even Janet and Kevin. And this last chapter is going to be even harder to complete. But, DAMN! I gotta say, this is the most exciting book I have worked on yet. The last chapter? NOTHING BUT ONE BIG BATTLE!! Wall to wall kicks and punches being thrown and I’m loving it. This book is going to top 100 pages easy. I may have to edit it down a bit. I’m not sure. What do you guys think? I’m working on a number of industry pros to contribute art to this as well. So, I don’t want to cheapen the experience. This is the last book and I want to make it GOOD!

 About Jetta: Tales of the Toshigawa- Omega
Jetta: Tales of the Toshigawa is a graphic novel series that centers on Shianndrea Toshigawa. Code named “Jetta”, she is the chosen one of the Toshigawa ninja clan who is meant to defend the world from the demonic army known as the Knave. The leader of the Knave is the godlike Terminus, Emperor of Japan and the father of Jetta. In order to defeat this demon army, Jetta has been forced to leave her family and friends in order to train for the day she will be forced to face her father in combat. However, she only wants to lead a normal life away from the clan and far from any prophesied destiny. But, she is always forced back into a fight that she does not want; a fight where friends die and her hope for happiness continues to slip away.

I wanted to share some preview art for Jetta: Omega and break down the pages a bit so you will know where my head is when I’m illustrating the book for you guys. (Side note: I really want to thank readers like Nate Blasa and Michael Armstrong. If it wasn’t for you guys being vocal about the books, I’d probably not be able to make it through it. lol)

One of my favorite pages is of Kristen revealing herself to the world as the sexy, powerful dark ninja. There is a turning point for her that happens in this book that is a bit drastic for the character. If you’ve read the books from the first graphic novel (Jetta: Tales of the Toshigawa – Last Chances), her progression as a character builds. It’s an undercurrent that you really don’t feel until it’s to late. This is her fully revealed and I love it. If you just picked up reading the stories midway, this may seem out of left field. I’d urge you to look at the books from the start. (Especially now when you can get both Jetta: Crucible and Jetta: Last Chances together in a single volume in full color on comixology! Hint Hint) I’ve been planning this page for far to long. I even did a teaser image a long time ago that hinted at this page.

TADA!! This image also hints at some other things that I will confirm as well. Yes… There will be deaths. No… All of the main characters do not come out of this book alive. Yes… Dead is dead in my universe of characters. Kevin (My editor and, often, best friend when I’m not killing him off in a book) says that I kill off my characters to much. You guys should see how many times Dan (Jetta’s former love interest in the books) died before I settle on how he bought it in Defiance. HAHAH! (Maniacal Laugh) At any rate, the tradition of my head hunting continues! As evidenced here…

(Insert maniacal laugh here).

Alright, one last page for this week.

Ah yes! Omega Suit Jetta!! I’ve been wanting to reveal this one a long time as well. One of the downfalls of publishing a book like Jetta is that it has a very attractive female lead. I purposely made Jetta a busty character. At the time, when I first designed her, that was popular. Witchblade, Shi, Cyblade, even Wonder Woman had a bigger chest area. It was meant to hook the reader. Maybe even fool them into falling for the lead character and then hitting them over the head with a story with heart. What I didn’t think was that the “heart” of the story would be SO covered up by the breasts of the story. People automatically wrote the book off as T&A and we have been fighting it ever since. It has even gotten worse in today’s climate of comic book reader. I always knew that I would “cover her up” a bit more at one point or another and this seemed like the perfect opportunity to do it. I am so in love with this redesign of her. It makes her look like the bad ass that she is; like she should have been seen as from the beginning. I tried to keep her standard look intact. Same color scheme and textures. But, this time, I made it look almost Terminus-like (Terminus is Jetta’s father and main nemesis in the series). There is an underlying current of mistrust among the rest of the Toshigawa clan. Most of them don’t like Jetta at all even though she’s supposed to be their savior. She broke away from the Toshigawa in the last graphic novel before she fought her father in a brutal drag out fight. Now, she shows up with a new suit that reminds everyone who her father is and what he stood for. I can’t tell you how this happens, but, trust me, it’s a good resolution to this triangular feud between the Toshigawa, Shianndrea, and Terminus.

That brings this production update to a close. What are your thoughts? How do you think the story should end? Speak people!!! I want to know!! You can reach me in the comments below or on our Jetta: Tales of the Toshigawa Facebook page. Please like us on there and spread the word of ninja dominance! You can also follow me on Twitter and (SOON) Tumbler!!

Talk at cha’ next week!

Martheus


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