Wednesday, November 6, 2013

The Future of Charisma Kills Studios?

The Future of Charisma Kills Studios?

As I mention in a CKS facebook post, I have been struggling to keep all of the various projects under control. Unfortunately, I seem to have stretched myself beyond what I can produce. I've taken some time to think of a way to rein everything in. I think I have it. This will change the work flow of the studio and current projects. So, here is what I have come up with.

C.O.G. Comics:( ) Hopefully this new workflow will allow me to get back on schedule with it. Ideally, the C.O.G. Webcomic is scheduled to be updated once a week, every Friday. Because of everything else that has been going on, this became a challenge. I expect that the new system will allow for it to return to its normal schedule; however, this may take a week or two. One thing that will likely change is the art style. I'll try and make these changes gradual. My personal art style has been developing. Kind of like playing guitar, style and “voice” evolves. I've been trying to keep the C.O.G. Art style the same, but doing so is starting to become a hinderance.

Sweet Dreams are Made of Worms and CKS Chronicles:
CKS Chronicles
Since CKS Chronicles is basically telling stories that foreshadow events in SDMW Book 2, I'm canceling CKS Chronicles and moving the Mind Shock story to the SDMW webcomic. This helps in two ways. First, it gives me one less comic to worry with. Second, it provides new material for SDMW which gets over 10 times the amount of traffic that CKS Chronicles gets. The next change here will be color. I swore that SDMW would always be black and white. It has always been a story that dealt with psychology, sociology, and the human condition. Well, color can be a major factor in these subjects. The fact that Ego has two different color eyes and Psychocide is green with purple polka dots are totally lost on the readers. I have 7 pages of Mind Shock already penciled. They just need to be inked and colored. Once I have at least 4 pages of it totally complete, I'll load them into the buffer. That will give me time to work on more. These pages were drawn about a year ago. And done on paper that does not take kindly to ink. I'm not going to mess with them other than add color. After those seven pages, there will be a distinct change in art style and ink.

Apocalypse Pizza: ( )I'm at a loss with this one. Statistically, it remains the most popular of the webcomics. Even though it has only been updated 5 times in over two years, it gets almost the same amount of hits and more return visitor traffic as SDMW. I can't ignore those numbers, but I don't have time to do regular updates for it. I have two more updates that need to be colored. I'll post them as time allows. Hopefully I'll have a plan for it by the time I run out of material.

Printed Comics
All plans to produce print comics have been put on hold. There are several reasons for this, but for the sake of my own sanity, I'm not going to go into them. I will say, take an hour or two of your time and research the future of comics and Diamond Comics Distributors. Successful self publishing is a shot in the dark. In addition to this, I spoke with a publisher at Contraflow 3 that showed interest in printing one of my comics. If this goes through, I will not have time to dedicate to self publishing. I'll know more about this towards the end of November.

Charisma Kills Radio
I have already invested too much time and money into this project to cast it aside. It only takes an hour or two a week. Plus I have over 20 guest lined up and have started recording episodes. I'm just waiting for approval from media syndication.

In other news, I'm pulling a Rodney Dangerfield. I'm going back to school! I already have an associates in applied sciences, but I need more. So, starting January, I will be enrolled at Southeastern going for my bachelors degree in Art with the concentration of New Media and Animation.

SELU has the best program of this kind in the state.
I plan to pursue this full time. So, this will be a game changer for the studio. Come January, I'll have to evaluated and prioritize again. I don't know how much time I'll have to dedicate to studio projects.

And that's the News! I'm open to any comments, suggestions, and advice on anything I've mentioned. If you have anything to add, I'd love to hear it.
-Jessie W Craig

Monday, October 7, 2013

24 Hour Comic Day: The Aftermath

If you've been following me on any of the CKS social outlets, you know we participated in 24 Hour Comic Day at Wyatt's Comics and Cards in Hammond La. Here's how it went!

We stopped in at Wyatt's earlier on the 4th to bring in supplies and such. As usually, the shop was busy and Wyatt was on the move juggling the shop phone, his phone, the register, customer service, and I'm sure forgetting his lunch...again lol. Brain, Wyatt's version of Commander Riker, took the day off so he could man the shop overnight.

After dropping off drinks, snacks, and a case of coffee, I headed back to the studio. Sherri crashed out for a bit while Alex and I packed everything up. I then grabbed a few hours of sleep myself. We got up around 10PM and headed out for some food followed by a quick stop at the cafe, then off to Wyatt's

We arrived about 45mins before midnight. The Friday night Magic tournament was still going on. As I started in on my Super Sonic with cheese, my former sous chef, Rudy, from Worlds End Cafe made a cameo appearance. Not to join the team, but drop off his key to the cafe and run off to do some midnight fishing. Thanks Rudy! He would stop in much later on Saturday after sleeping to make sure I knew how behind I was on the comic... Thanks again, man!

At midnight, we hopped to it. We decided on a horror comic. The idea come from an old test play session of the CK Game Studios "wyrd RPG" that took place at Mobicon in Alabama years ago. Between me, Sherri, Derrick, and a little help from Alex, we started in on the characters and translating a 7 hour game session into a 24 page comic (mistake). I took the time to record a brief episode of CK Radio on location. We posted it on the CKS tumblr page. You can listen to it here.

                                                             "CK Radio Podcast  Logo"

Sherri, Derrick, and Alex. And yep. There's Mark Rhodes in the foreground grinding away at his comic.

Once our story was plotted out, I began on the pencils. I was still grossly underestimating the challenge of 24 Hour Comic Day.
                                                     "I had no idea what I was in for!"

After sketching out a few pages, I decided to stretch my legs and visit (Spy *cough*) on Mark and Brian.

                               "Fellow comic creator and Webcomic Underdog ,Mark Rhodes."

       "Brain, when asked how he was holding up and if he was enjoying working all night long."

"Brain, when asked how he REALLY felt... nah, Brain and Wyatt are great guys. I don't think you could ask for a more friendly and knowledgeable staff for a comic and game shop." 

With play time over, it was time to get serious. 

Hours went by and the scope of this project started to come to realization. I've never actually sat down and drew for 24 hours straight. I was quite shocked when it came time to start inking and I looked out of the window and saw sunlight creeping in. I was also starting to feel the physical effects: dry eyes, sore back, cramping legs, fuzzy perception, etc. 

Page one inked. It's a bit hard to make out at the angle, but I'll post it again on the Charisma Kills Studios face book later. For those that have read my web comic "Sweet Dreams are Made of Worms", you may recognize Ms. Tamyra Christmas, Dr. Klein's assistant.

Here's a look at some of Mark's stuff. He was a machine! Unfortunately, the stress of working his day job and coming to participate got to him and he had to bail out early. But Bravo to you Mark for coming and giving your all! Good stuff. I think he will be posting it on his webcomic site.

As for me... I lasted until around 8:30PM with about 12 pages to go. I had nothing left. My vision was blurry, slurred speech, fire in my lower back, and my hand went numb. I literally could not hold the pens anymore. But! I gave it all I had. While I didn't finish, I regret nothing and will be the first in line for next year! I looked back on the event and see several things I could have done and many things I should not have done. I'll discuss this and more on the next episode of Charisma Kills Radio.

I want to thank Wyatt and Brian for hosting the event and I hope we can do it again at the shop next year!

It's currently 4:11AM and I need to get to bed. I leave you with this image of the studio, sans me, and the video below. Goodnight!

Video: Me partially delusional and Mark so tired that the words come out of his mouth before his lips move! Or maybe it's just a bad recording on my part lol.

Friday, August 30, 2013

Whats the deal with Apocalypse Pizza?

Since AP's inception, around 2005, I've had an very specific idea for the way I wanted the world and themes Mad Dog encounters to be. As I've said before, it was initially going to be a "beer and pretzel" style table top role playing game. A lot of the material was written, but assumed to be lost in the fire. It wasn't until just recently, that a friend of mine (Say hello, Billy.), and test player for the game, emailed me an electronic copy of the first draft of the book. I had totally forgotten he had this!

Once I had gotten into making comics, I decided to bring Mad Dog and his world to life in a web comic. In the years between the fire and the rediscovery of the game book, I had added a few more ideas to the concept and developed an idea for making AP more than just a web comic. About the time I was writing up page 5 is when that fantastic email came in.

After reading over the game book for the first time in almost a decade, I had to take a step back and examining the project. Armed with the old, the new, and a vision, I decided to just put it on hold...yet again. It was a very difficult decision. But, I couldn't justify the time and resources to continue with it as is since it was going to get a reboot anyway. 

Now that I have access to everything i need. And  a wealth of information from the world building process of both the game and comic, The development of the new Apocalypse Pizza project has started! I'll keep you posted.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

SDMW, Apocalypse Pizza, and web Comics Update News.

As I mentioned in the last news update, the closure of the cafe will be eating up a lot of my time this month. I want to keep the comics updating on Fridays, but I may have to make a temporary change to Sunday or Monday until the cafe affairs have been dealt with.

SWMW: I have plans to get the Companion updated with two pages by the end of next week. Also, some of you may have notice some minor changes in Year of the Rabbit. We are cleaning it up, correcting errors, and image quality. 

Apocalypse Pizza: It kills me to put in on full hiatus after just getting started, but the changes to it will require some time. So, to keep it active, I'm pulling the "Mad Dog's Armory" story from CKS Chronicles and putting it in as updates to the current Apocalypse Pizza comic. I hope to have at least One page of that posted by the end of next week. 

Thank you for your time,

Friday, August 23, 2013

New CKS Partnership

We have some very exciting news to announce. Charisma Kills Studios has partnered with the extremely talented Mrs. Mattie Rojas Kupper to add costuming to the studios product line's. Once all of the details have been worked out, costuming and cosplay fans will be able to purchase high quality, hand made, costumes, accessories, and props. Again, we are still working out the specifics, but here are some images of her designs that will be used for the "Steam Punk Genre" line.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Hopefully, everyone has seen the new web home for Charisma Kills Studios. Sherri was able to create my vision for the page almost exactly as I had designed. It was a major project and learning experience, especially with everything going on at the time. I'm very proud of it and her.  I feel that having everything under one roof (a hub so to speak.) makes the studio projects more accessible. We also have the CKS store function. At this time we are only selling prints, but stay tuned. Within the next few weeks we will be adding original art, ACEO original art cards and mini print editions, t-shirts and other items. Thats right, no zazzle, cafe press, or middle men. customers will be dealing directly with CKS which will allow for much better prices.  And now for the news!

Worlds End Cafe: We have closed the cafe. Economic pressure, rising fuel and food cost, and insane taxation in our area made the cafe no longer viable. We do thank all of he customers and those that followed us on the cafe's facebook (which is still up). It will be missed. This has a few effects on CKS,

First: This next month I will be busy with the processes involved with closing all all of the cafe's affairs. I will still try and update all of the comics on Fridays, even if it's just pin ups of guest strips fans or other web comic artist. The exceptions are:
          C.O.G. Comics and CKS Chronicles. These two comics will be updated no later than midnight on Fridays. 
          Apocalypse Pizza. I know I've been a bit tight lipped on this one. Mainly because I'm attempting something fairly ambitious with it. I'm not sure when it will be back up, but, I will post guest strips, pin-ups, and new concept materials for it to keep in alive. I'am am toying with the Idea of doing an e-comics atlas for it that will help set the stage when it returns. 

Second: Selling off the cafe's fixtures and equipment will give me the funds I need to update the studios primary equipment. The nightmare of dealing with the outdated systems has been causing major delays in multimedia and transmedia projects. Most importantly, the CK Radio project. 

Third: If you were and artist that had your work displayed in the cafe, and want it back, arrangements need to be made. But, I must say it's going to hurt returning Tedd Walley's. I'm quite fond of it, lol. 

Event News: I will be an artist guest at Contraflow three which is held in the New Orleans area. I will be giving panels, entering mixed media into the art show, running demos of CKS Game Studio projects, and donating the original Apocalypse Pizza page one to the charity Auction. I will be set up in the dealers area next to the C.O.G. (Yes the Consortium of Genius will be playing!) fan table and The Wyatt's Comics and cards booth. He's picked up a few cool items that Dr. Who fans will enjoy. If you are in the area, come in and say hello. 


Monday, July 15, 2013

It has been hectic here for the past few weeks. So, here's what's going on for you folks that are interested.

Comic updates: It pains me greatly that I finally got Apocalypse Pizza off the ground with weekly updates and now, it's three weeks behind. Between a recent road trip, a back injury (That became so serious I had to walk with a cane), the cafe, commissions, contracts, and trade shows, my time has been consumed.

On the bright side, some good has come out of it. Distribution of a print comic and merchandise in comic shops from coast-to-coast has been set up (Without to use of Diamond Comics or print on demand services). All I need now is to produce a comic lol. The boost in graphic arts projects, and the fact that the studio made more in six hours at the last show than the cafe makes in a day, has made it a potential source of income. Starting in August, I will attempt to operate it full time. I have a daily schedule already worked out, as well as special events and trade shows set up well into 2014. Until then, Apocalypse Pizza may have to go back to black and white in the interest of timely updates.

Also in August: The introduction of the newest webcomic "CKS Chronicles". It will feature the introductory story of C.O.G. before they are unleashed into their own title.

CK Radio is even closer than ever to becoming reality. The show format went though a change as more guest have agreed to do the show. It will also include segments by guest and co-host covering various subjects of fandom. It went from being a 15 min narrative to a full blown production.

Last thing, No more work will be done on the current CKS website. The new website is so close to being done I want scream because its not already up. The biggest holdup has been the acquisition of new skill sets required to get everything done. We have decided to cut the middle man out of as much as possible to reduce cost and increase return. It is paying off, but requiring more time. The new site will be a web entity that will serve as the foundation and hub for the comics, multimedia, CK Radio, CKS store, galleries, blogs, and networking. I also plan to actively pursue transmedia outlets and co-creators for those projects. 

Oh, did I say last thing. The script for Sweet Dreams are Made of Worms is being written! It shames me that I let it go this long. I'm ten pages into the first draft and story boards. I will say this: Get ready for a ride! The story of Ego and the cast will begin showing it's true colors.

Thanks for everything my friends.With the help of your support and readership, this thing that start with 9 pages of a poorly drawn webcomic is starting to come together! Maybe faster than I can control it lol.
-Jessie W Craig

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Progress report. As you know, my mother was in the hospital for some time and I had to take some time off to see to her. All is well now and I have returned to the comics. I had quite a few projects in the works, but I'm just one person. So, many have been put on the back burner for Summer.

Sweet Dreams are Made of Worms:
Book 1: Year of the Rabbit. After nearly three years of set backs, We are finally in motion to get this thing printed. I've looked at several options and I think this is what we have settled on:
      Year of the Rabbit eBook: This version will be formatted for the various eBook readers such as Kindle. To give the reader more value, it will include a short story staring book one's most sympathetic character...the Mega-Mall Marts 2000. I told you he would be back. And no, this isn't just a day in the life of an artificially intelligent cash register. It's got cult's sinister plots, and the next evolution of MMM 2000!
      Year of the Rabbit Print Book: Like the eBook, the printed book will also have additional materials that can only be found in it.

**Both versions will have reworked and re-edited pages, correcting errors, uniform lettering, and cleaned. I would like to point out that the short stories in both are not critical to the main story. Their there to give each version something special.

    Companion Book:
This one is evolving rapidly. Before my mother's surgeries, I had close to twenty pages penciled. I just need to ink and letter them. The first few pages are an introduction to the  comic as a whole. It moves into a short story that delves more into Ego's origins, including the readers first introduction the Team Osiris. Oh, and then there is Mr. Cathy. Remember him?  The Great Cerabrus "Molester of Minds". There is a 10 page short starring him and events that take places within 48 hours of the conclusion of Book: 1. The Last story is one I've been waiting for! As Dr. Kilavox tore the city a new one, he had almost no opposition because the majority of the city's heroes were battling the evil C.O.G. on the dark side of the moon. Well, we finally get to see that battle!

    SDMW Book 2: The script is have complete. I discovered a major error that I need to go and rewrite, as well as finishing up the resolution. SDMW was originally written to be a 12 book series. Wanting to see it finished in my life time, I've shortened it. Now I have to figure out what goes and what stays...which sucks.

Apocalypse Pizza:

I can't believe how difficult it's been to get this comic going. After much debate and input from readers. I have decided to make it a color comic. Once I get a buffer of at least six pages, I'll start it up again. I currently have 2.  

I am sooooo close to having this finished. But, I can't do it, comics, and work at the same time. So, Wyrd has become a Summer project...again.

The Charisma Kills Radio Podcast:

During the times my mother was in the hospital, I downloaded a lot of podcast onto my iPod to listen to. As it happened, I already had most of the equipment and software to do one. I decided to give it a shot. While named after my studio, it's not all about me. It will cover subjects such as comics, games, movies, television, etc. And once the equipment is in place, interviews with special guest and even becoming a live show and allow me to take callers (The 800 numbers are already in place lol). At the moment, the shows are scheduled to be roughly 10mins. As/if it grows the show length will grow to accommodate new features. The first two shows will have only myself and will be mainly used as a test drive. Hopefully by the third show, Ill be set up to have guest. KNOWING, that some of you are comic creators. If you would like to get with me to schedule something, let me know.

Well that's everything for now. Thanks for your readership and support!

Monday, February 25, 2013

Magic Mini Con Aftermath

Magic Mini Con is over.  It was the first event since the return of Charisma Kills Studios from hiatus. It started off a bit rough, with a mad dash to get new material ready for prints, art cards, and posters. On top of that, we were up until 4AM getting the main page,  , up. It still needs some tweeking but I’m very happy with it. Sherri Craig did a great job on it. Unfortunately, burning the midnight oil caused me to sleep late, leaving no time to get prints made, and missing out on selecting my table. After a few rounds of musical tables and chairs, I got a small spot in the back. This was not a big deal, except I didn’t have room to set up my stuff and still have room to draw.
The venue, Magic Comics & Hobbies LLC, is a comic and game enthusiast dream. If you find yourself in Slidell Louisiana, you have to check it out. It’s located at 727 Robert Blvd. Nope, I’m not getting paid to plug them, I am just that impressed. Comics, tons of toys, collectables, models, very friendly staff, and a large gaming area where the hold officially sanctioned table top games.
There were also lots of people in costume, mostly Star Wars from the 501st Legion. These guys are hardcore too…very authentic costumes and gear. The good “Doctor” was there to with K-9 and sonic-screwdriver. Oh, and Wonder Woman and Aquaman. Hey, don’t laugh. That guy was more Aquaman that the one in the comics lol.  
After the initial stress of getting there late, not having new prints, and missing out on my table, I had a good time. We got a good response on “Sweet Dreams are Man of Worms” and a fair amount of interest built for Apocalypse Pizza. And I actually sold prints! The old standby “Jason vs. Courage the Cowardly Dog” print is always one of the first. It gets them to the table. The lighting was a bit off in the building, so nearly all of the photos I took didn’t come out. I did post some video of the 501st on the Charisma Kills Studios facebook page.
As for the next events, we seem to be squared away with Coastcon for 2014, got an inquiry into appearing at this year’s Contraflow, and Bayou Con. I have been eye balling Comicpalooza in Houston Texas this year too.  We still have a lot more to do to get the Studio to where I want it, but it’s coming.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

I thought I would give everyone a progress report on the Charisma Kills Studios reconstruction. I've been working on tons of new material for both web comics. Mostly concept art, but new pages for Sweet Dreams are Made of Worms and Apocalypse Pizza have been penciled. I'm working on the inks now. I'll hopefully have those out soon. I'm also working on a new run of artist collector cards that includes material for both comics as well as teaser images from the "Wyrd" project. If you recall, that one was going to be a Summer project back in 2011. Well, I'm taking it back to it's original roots. I don't want to go too much more into it until I get the copyright BS taken care of.

The new Charisma Kills Studios web-site is under construction. I don't have an ETA on that, but I'll keep you posted. I know the address is still the same It's just dead space at the moment, but I will put something up, even if it's just temporary.

I've also been looking into creating electronic versions of the books, shirts, online print shop, etc. zazzle and those other middleman sites are just ridiculous.

Here is something that you could help me with if you are interested. I'm making props to bring to conventions to use as both decor and sale as limited edition stuff. Right now, I'm working on an Ego costume to make one of the "thugs" wear. Mad Dogs armor and gun, and Horrorshow's chainsaw (who is this "Horrorshow"? you ask, he's part of the Wyrd project). If anyone has any tips on prop or cosplay crafting, I could use some help.

I also thought it would be cool to start a Charisma Kills Studios channel and show video of things like the conventions I attend, the making of the costumes, and what have you.

So, that's where I'm at now. Thank you for your support and readership.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Charisma Kills Studios On its Way Back!

It's been a long time. If you recall in my last few post, I think 2011...damn. I had mentioned feeling sick, or being Ill. Well, as it turns out it wasn't something simple. While it wasn't life threatening, it was psychologically and emotionally traumatic. On that note, I need to apologize to those of you that came by my booth at Wizard World Comic Con New Orleans 2012. I barely remember the event myself. You likely found me unconscious and drooling over my drawing board with the two hoodlums watching my back between changing out the game cards in their Game Boys. It was unknown at the time, but due to communication breakdowns and misplaced lab work, I was suffering from lethal doses of a medication that can prove quite toxic. Several weeks later I found this out and it took many more months to get straight after that. Needless to say, this put an abrupt stop to my work on Charisma Kills Studios, "Sweet Dreams are Made of Worms", and my other projects. The Good News is, I'm back! Like the song says "I'm not sick, but I'm not well"; however, I've been hard at work over the past two weeks getting the studio back in order and new material ready. So, after much thought, this is the current (Tentative) plan. "Sweet Dreams are Made of Worms" Book I is finished. I'm going to move on to the "Apocalypse Pizza" web comic. While I'm doing this I will be posting "Sweet Dreams..." material under the title of "The Sweet Dreams are Made of Worms Companion". It will contain concept art for both books ! as well it will  have information on the characters, Big City, and a few short stories. I will also start a third title (The Charisma Kills Chronicle)  that will be updated at my leisure so I can devote to attentions and resources to get back up and running.
Thank you