Artist Block 02: Production Update on Kunoichi Hime

Ah yes. The beginning of convention season. I seriously think that it gets earlier and earlier each year. This weekend found me and Janet at our first con of the year, Anime Blues Remix. As promised, I had a sneak preview on sale of our new 6 issue mini series, Kunoichi Hime: Ninja Princess as well as our first art print for the con. The preview book itself was an 8 page preview of the first issue. IN FULL COLOR! It went well with the younger demographic of the con and I was excited with breaking into a new audience. So, I think that is a perfect segue into the subject of my next production blog. This weeks update is on Kunoichi Hime: Ninja Princess.


Coming in 2013 from Action Lab Entertainment!

For starters, for those of you that think this is just another Jetta: Tales of the Toshigawa book, think again. Get that outta your head. While the characters are taken from that graphic novel series, this book follows a much younger Shianndrea Toshigawa and a group of young warriors who serve the Toshigawa ninja clan. You don’t have to know the graphic novel continuity to understand who each character is and what is going on. This is it’s own story.


So we got that out of our systems. 


I’m going to continue in… 




 So production wise on Kunoichi Hime, where am I?

As you may or may not know, I’m doing another mini series titled Odin Jones as well. I started on Kunoichi Hime about midway of the third issue of Odin Jones. (We’ll be getting back to Odin soon.) Unlike other projects, Kunoichi production is 95.99% me. (I was going to distance myself as much as I possibly could from this project due to personal reasons. But, I’m staying the course despite the naysayers.) Marvin is doing color flats and I am rendering. So, everything takes me much longer. Still, the first 6 issues in the mini series is completely written and I’m finished penciling the first issue. Marvin is currently flatting page 13 as well. We are working folks!! YAAYY!! 


I’ve always wanted to do a younger story for these characters. Years ago, I started a comic strip called “The Wolfpack” that told the exploits of a young Shianndrea, Kim, Turra, Cyan, and Tochi. It never saw the light of day tho. When I was talking with some of the producers to the Jetta live action movie (Don’t ask. I don’t know.), they said that interest was high in the property from young girls, teens and women. I knew we had a pretty strong female base. But I never thought the characters would connect with girls as well. That got me to thinking about finishing the “Wolf Pack” stories. But, I didn’t have the finances to publish the story like I wanted while trying to finish out the graphic novel. So, the BRILLIANT idea to do a biweekly web comic came up. Awe yeah! I was jazzed for that! I started to write stories that I just had fun with and not worrying about existing continuity too much. I started promoting it as a web comic that was to start in January 2013. 


Remember this?!


So… Where is the Web Comic, dude?!

I didn’t expect it to be picked up by a publisher. I showed my stories to Action Lab Entertainment and Kunoichi Hime was grabbed by them before the web comic started! Even better!! So, here I am working on a 6 issue mini that’s due out at the end of 2013! I’m so excited! BUT, don’t think that I have abandoned the idea of Kunoichi Hime as a web comic. I’ve written over 20 issues in this series. There is a lot of “tween” stories that take place as well as a “second season” past the first 6 issues. I plan on releasing some (if not most) of that online to fill in the release at the end of the year. More goodness coming your way! But, it also means more work.

What’s helping me move forward faster is the illustration/inking process. I’m not inking the entire page this time. I’m only inking the foregrounds and leaving the backgrounds pencil. 

“Well, that ain’t right!”, you say. 

“It ain’t a comic if you don’t ink the entire thing!”, you say.

Well, I’m going for something a little different here. I’m going for a more animated, almost Capcom video game look, rather than traditional comic book. Some of my favorite books are the Streetfighter books from Udon and Capcom. I love how their color mixes the elements of video game and anime into an almost animated cell comic book look. It’s awesome. In a way, this is my spin on that type of color, while still making it part of what I do. By not inking the backgrounds, it forces the focus on the main character(s) in the foreground. When I start to render the background, color helps set the mood of the piece while fading to the background. 

See!! See!!

 Another thing that makes this project different is that I’M NOT DOING ANY COVERS!! YAAAY! While I love doing them, covers are HARD! They have to gain the interest of the passerby as well as hit the demographic that you are looking for. For me, I knew from the beginning that I wouldn’t be able to meet the demographic that we are trying for (younger female audience, manga readers, etc.). So, I enlisted help for these. First up is the uber talented Johanna Tamminen

She is the illustrator of the first issue of the book as will be doing issue 6’s cover as well. 

Next up is the “Media Popper”, Tressa Bowling. She’s a studio mate of mine and Janet’s at LOI Studios (More to come on that soon.) and contributed to the hit indy book “Princeless” published by Action Lab Entertainment. She will be doing covers for books 3 and 5!

Last but not least is my wife, Janet Wade! She has been working hard on different cover concepts and such for Kunoichi Hime and she is my partner in crime for both MAW Productions and LOI Studios! She also contributed to “Princeless” as well!! She’s got covers to issues 2 and 4.

If you are reading this, you should go check these women’s artwork out. Mucho Talented!!

So, there you have it! My update for the week. Don’t forget to check back in with me for definite release dates on all my projects. 

You can reach me in the comments below or on our Jetta: Tales of the Toshigawa Facebookpage. 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 Wade




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