SBL 4/20

So, people love the CHOCK, eh?

Well, Abigail done got chocked this week, and now she’s dead.  We wasted 6 weeks of backmatter just for Dracula to headbutt her, break her arm, then throw her against the wall and spear her with her OWN SPEAR.  Not so gangsta now, are we Abigail?  Now let me put on my weird Kangol hat and suspenders, because I just got George RR Martin up in hurr.

Its Easter Sunday, so happy Easter everyone.  But unlike the Postal service, we’re not delaying the page a day this week.  We’re serving it up at its normal time on Tuesday, get ready!  Next week we’re diving deeper into the nightmare beneath the waves.  Remember, Joe is still down there and if Drac can just merc his mortal enemy without any fanfare, what is he going to do to some stupid kid?

As I do every holiday, I am exercising section 6 paragraph D in my contract and cutting the Lunch short for the week.  Whatever, go find some eggs.

That’s the Lunch for 4/20

To the Future,

 

Evin
@evindempsey(now with all new graphics!)

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SBL 4/13

And so ends the backmatter.

Moving forward, when we do other DAREDEVILS stories, the backmatter will be drastically different (IF the DAREDEVILS survive their run in with Dracula!).  This whole letters back and forth thing won’t be a reoccurring theme.  We chose to do it this way as our ode to Dracula, aping Bram Stoker’s style and updating it to 1938 2014.  It is a fun and effective way to tell a story, allowing the reader to put 2 and 2 together by telling the story around the story that we are really telling.  That being said, its hard to do and it takes a ton of time.  At the end of the day though I think we pulled it off, and I’m actually pretty proud of it as a whole body of work.

The hardest part of the whole shebang was getting all the dates and stuff to line up.  Here is an early flow chart that I made that explains it all.  Note: some of the stuff changed, so this does not reflect the final version of what appeared on the blotter.

Tuesday we return to regular old normal comic book stuff.  Sweet.  This last chapter is longer that the last few.  As a matter of fact, chapter 4 was supposed to be the last chapter in the book, but we had so much extra stuff that we took a page out of Harry Potter and Hunger Games and other teen movies and split the last chapter into two parts.  The rocket going up in the air was a good place to break up the story anyway.  So it all worked out.

Chapter 5 keeps the same tone as chapter 4 for the most part.  Danilo’s art is super clutch and consistant, so no worries there.  Every chapter shows an improvement in our writing process, I think, so the dialog and such is some of our best.  A lot happens here at the end, so hopefully we’ve given it to you in a way that makes sense, and won’t break anyone’s brain.

 

Now that the scripting is all done for the last chapter, hopefully we can get the backend stuff up to date.  Like the archive page and the members stuff.  And we know we haven’t used the members stuff very much…  We know.

That’s the Lunch for 4/13

To the Future,

 

Evin
@evindempsey (follow me for 1 exciting tweet a week!)

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SBL 4/6/14

I’m a big wrestling fan.  You can see it in my barks on Facebook.  I spent my growin’ up years listening to Hogan and Macho Man deliver sweet promos to the camera, and it is in their memory that every Tuesday I pull on my tights and write something that beckons readers to give my comic a try (please!).  I mention this because it is Wrestlemania today, and I’m fired up.

Those old wrestling promos are responsible, in part, for the way my writing style turned out.  The other part is my incredible brain and sexual prowess, for the record.  In those brief speeches the WWF Superstars would do a bunch of things in a small amount of space.  For one, they had to be 1000% their character every time they spoke.  If Hulk Hogan is talking, you better believe , BROTHER, that he’s gonna tell you to about how far around his biceps are and that you should drink milk, pray, and eat vitamins (later he would tell you to believe in yourself, but eat it Hulkster, don’t tell me what to think).  When writing a comic book, you have to do similar things.  This is the EXACT reason Wolverine always shoehorns in the fact that he is the best there is at what he does every chance he gets.  We get it, dude.  It is also the reason McGinty says Crivens, and Joe runs towards danger with a snarky quip, and Doc knows how to do shit with science.  1000% all the time.

Another thing those awesome promos taught me is that you have to leave them wanting more.  They would issue a challenge at the end of their monologue most of the time, and it would get viewers minds going.  ”He did NOT just call out Stone Cold!  He’s CRAZY!”  It is obvious we hold this one very dear.  We get 1500 by 1065 pixels to make our case every week.  At the end of that, we need you to be like “They did NOT just do that to McGinty! They CRAZY!”  If we are doing the jobs we set out to do, then right now you’re worried about all the main characters while we jam some backstory in your eyes.

The backstory sections are akin to the old “underwear guy” matches of yesteryear.  Underwear guy matches used to fill the midcard of wrestling events, and they would pit a well known Superstar against just some dude in his underpants.  The guy was probably a amateur looking for a break, but in the meantime he just took this job to lose to a known guy (the insider term for this underwear guy is “jobber.”)  The purpose of these matches was to show how awesome the well known Superstar was.  He’d go out there and land a few jabs and then blast the poor jobber with his super move, 1, 2, 3.  It wasn’t a match so much as it was a showcase for the known guy.  That’s what we’re trying to do with backmatter.  We don’t have to do a ton of setup to jump right into a place where we can start making characters look awesome.  Right now we’re doing it with Abigail, but before we did it with Lord Godalming and Dracula.  As you’ll see next week, we can also use them to flip the whole script of what you think you know about the character.

The last thing that I’ll say we took from wresting is that we live off the crowd reaction.  When the wrestlers of yonderyear spoke their promos, they would get immediate reactions from the crowd.  If your promo sucked, the worst thing that could happen is that nobody did anything, and everyone just stared at you like you were an asshole.  Our comment section is like that, we let it all hang out on the blotter, and if you dig it you let us know in the comments.

Enjoy Wrestlemania!

That’s the Lunch for 4/6,

To the Future,

 

Evin
@evindempsey

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SBL 3/30/14

Again, into the backmatter!

I’m getting sick because Matt’s house is a festering pit of children and sickness, so I’m going to be brief this week and then hope that my immune system can fight off whatever bunkness I caught over there.

The backmatter this time revolves all around Abigail and her exploits after the Holmwood incident described in previous backmatters.  This one will not only tie up the loose ends of all of the other ones, it will also wind up having an ending that affects the way we perceive her character in the comic actual.  Its good.  I know, I wrote it.

So why do we go so far out of our way to give you this story in the style of letters back and forth between people?  It is because this is our 2014 mirror of Bram Stoker’s work.  Dracula was composed completely of letters back and forth between people.  We’re just trying to take advantage of the graphical medium we have, and this is what we came up with.  I’m sure everyone has figured this out by now, but I haven’t said it yet, so back off dude.

Tuesday we get the scoop on what Jehan’s deal is.  It might come as a surprise to some people.

Here’s the picture of Abigail as a kid.  I figured I’d post it real big.  Its a great illustration by Danilo.

Check out the cool header I made for that fake boarding school too!  That one got ate up by all the stuff going on, but I worked on it for a while so I thought I’d give it some air time here in my wildly successful blog.

Speaking of, I totally wrote the blog last week and nobody gave a shit.  C’mon dudes.  No love for your homie?

This Tuesday, there is also a secret code that you can solve RIGHT ON THE PAGE!  It’s cool and it was a pain in the ass to get to work so do it.   Or no more codes, EVER!

That’s the Lunch for 3/30

To The Future,

 

Evin
@evindempsey

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SBL 3/23

Today is the best day.  If you’re looking for the Lunch here this week, you won’t find it.

This week on the DAREDEVILS we gave you a twist, and we thought we were clever…

Yesterday Matt and Amy welcomed a new baby into the world.  We knew it was coming, he’d teased her arrival for some time now in his blog.  But what we never saw coming was that their baby had other plans.  HE surprised us all!

Boooooooooom!  That’s a twist.

I’m not writing the Lunch this week because I want to go spend time with my best friend Matt and his wife and their new baby boy.  I spend so much time in a fantasy world, either writing about submariners from the 30s, or killer nymphos, or making weird art for my weird art classes.  Today I want to celebrate how fucking amazing the real world can be.  Today is just about one brand new person.  My (honorary)nephew.  I’ll see you next week.

 

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SBL 3/16/14

We left the SFX off the last panel on purpose.  We also kept the panel small and in the corner on purpose.

Its such a big moment though.  Torpedoes tearing through the water, impacting a submarine carrying two of our crew members.  In fact, the whole Pitch Black Day story pretty much rides on that last panel.  So why were we satisfied to have the moment we’ve all been waiting for to exist on such a small panel without even one of our wonderful letterer’s SFX over the top of it?

We wanted to moment to seem far away, out of reach.  Not adding the SFX gave it more gravity, what we’re seeing is the very point of impact, and that moment has sucked the life out of more than just the two crewman aboard Dracula’s sub.  The Captain, who we don’t even know that much about at this point, save for he was part of some crazy accident that left him bisected, had a huge problem giving this order.  He knew what the choice was, and he’d make it a million times over if he had to.  But that’s the point, he had to do it.  That choice gutted him, and the moment shown on that last panel is very much from his perspective.  Far away, out of reach, un-take-backable.  In that terrible moment he’s not hearing the sound of burning oil and twisting metal.  It’s hard to hear anything when a part of you is dying.

In our minds, it would be too easy to have the Captain be some unfeeling hardass who makes super hard choices and then just lives with them because that’s his job.  Our Captain isn’t that man.  Yes, he’s a hardass, but the people that populate his submarine matter to him.  Even the redshirts that died earlier in the book.  The end of Cajun Caper showed that he wasn’t some machine, despite what he may look like.  He’s a man who has lived a life like any of our own prior to whatever tragedy happened to him.  All we do know that he’s impossibly old and that he fought for the South.

Hopefully this page will help develop his character a little bit.  He’s stuck on the sub all the time no matter what, so it’s easy to forget about him.  Hopefully we can give him as many of these powerful, meaningful moments as possible so that his “screen time” is important, if not often.

Well, Chapter 4 ends on Tuesday.  I’m not even going to give you a hint as to what its about.

That’s the Lunch for 3/16

To the Future,

 

Evin
@evindempsey

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SBL 3/9/14

#meowmeowbeenz

This chapter has so much going on, there’s four different locations that we’re switching in between, its a lot to get to.  But Matt figured a way to get three storylines to a cliffhanger on a single page.  The countdown timer is a great addition too, adding overall tension to the whole shebang.  On Tuesday we’ll see the fourth location, and you’ll know why it needed its own page.

Pitch Black Day is a much more ambitious story than the last two.  Cajun Caper really only followed a single story thread the whole time, and Secret of Beaufort Sea had two.  Pitch Black Day is all over the place.  Spreading our story telling wings Flexing our story telling muscles Getting more ambitious with our story telling is something we really wanted with this third story, we’re very confident in Danilo’s ability at this point, and more than that we’re confident in ourselves.  The backmatter sections (which we’re currently slogging through) turned out to be a big pain in the ass, but really worked well in the story telling department.  All of that came into play on this week’s page.  It is informed by the backmatter, it is ambitious in its design, and it uses Danilo’s art as a means of exposition that isn’t reliant on our dumb words and dialog to get the point across.

Dracula used a trick out of the novel where he can turn to mist.  Why it is pink mist is a question we may never know the answer to, and why he can “pamf” around like nightcrawler with the ability is also up in the air.  Probably because it looks awesome.  OH.  That was the answer, nevermind.  Also, kudos here to Danilo for making Drac look so gnarly.  He’s in bad shape, man.

Docula is nuts.  Its clear that the vampirism has completely corrupted him to his core.  Everything that was good and kind about the old Doc is gone.  In the beginning of the story Doc gets pissed that Abigail is having a bit of fun at Joe’s expense, showing off his compassion, but that dude is gone, bro.  He’s fixing to choppy chop chop up his kid friend without remorse.  He’s even making dry, British-like jokes about it.  Nobody likes that, the British version of the Office was awful.

Then we have the two megabros McGinty and Deveraux.  McGinty scaled that scaffolding fast, huh?  Whatever, that dude’s upper body strength is crazy legit.  He scaled it like he was Thunder from American Gladiators, so there.  Don’t bring it up again.  The important part of their triptych is that McGinty starts dropping some backstory hints.  What was the promise he made on the day they met?  Why is that promise now being thrown in his face by a super dickish Deveraux who is now mega strong.  He’s one arming McGinty who’s pushing a quatro.  No way he’s fitting on a sub in real life.  Good thing the Custer is super bad ass.

Speaking of the Sub, we’re heading there on Tuesday, where the Captain has got something to say about this whole doomsday missile situation.  Its nice to get the Cap some screen time.  Since he’s stuck aboard the sub all the time on account of him being half a dude, its hard to include him in hijinx when it goes down outside the sub.  Even in the first part of the story he was relegated to viewscreens, but that was because he didn’t want Abigail to see the state he was in.  That kind of thing gets questions asked, and he ain’t got time to suffer that bologna.

If you thought this week’s page was crazy, hold on to your potatoes, because the art we’re getting in from chapter 4 is some of the best stuff we’ve ever seen.  We raise the bar a super lot, and it will make you shit your mindpants.

That’s the Lunch for 3/9

To the Future,

 

Evin
@evindempsey (don’t twitter me)

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SBL 3/2/14

I love you, Indy!  You’re my best friend!

We’re delving into the relationship between McGinty and Deveraux again.  We need to sell that these two guys are best friend and brothers.  We do what we can in the supplemental material by beating it into your face that they are best friend/brothers, but we can’t be certain that people are seeing the Facebook posts or the Twitter tweets, or even reading the blog that Matt writes at the bottom of every comic.  We certainly can’t bank on people reading this thing.  This story thread started way back when McGinty asked the Priest about Deveraux in the war room, and then joined Joe in the foolhardy away mission to storm Dracula’s castle.  Later, when McGinty abandoned Joe and Abigail in the middle of a huge fight (which was a dick move, bro), we learned that Deveraux’s safety was majorly important to the giant Scotsman.  Now, with Deveraux in his sights, he tosses away his gun and pleads with his friend to stop being evil.   Of course Deveraux ain’t having none of that, he totally vamped out.  When you get vamped out you’re super evil even if your homeboy tells you to stop.

Within Deveraux’s answer is a baby little tiny clue into his past.  He’s back doing deeds for the devil again, implying that he was once a bad guy, presumably before he joined up with the DAREDEVILS.  We do touch on this on the cast page, and actually tell a little bit of the story in the member’s page, but the Cajun’s past is mainly a mystery when it comes to the comic pages.

In the coming weeks, we’re going to explore this relationship further, hopefully providing some character rounding and development along the way.  Pitch Black Day still has about 20 pages left in the tank, so we’ve got plenty of room to accomplish this.

I like creating the relationship between these two guys.  If we’re doing our job right, they should be relatable to folks out there because most people have that one person out there, their best friend, that they can speak to in their own special language.  That’s why these guys dialog is so unabashedly out there.  McGinty with his thick Scottish, and Deveraux with his French laden Cajun, have hard to understand conversations with lots of weird (mostly dick) jokes thrown in.  Pages with only dialog between them get crazy with the amount of translating a reader has to do to understand just what the hell is going on.  This could be a disaster (and was the first time we did it), but over time we’re hoping that the hard to understand banter these guys have will ingratiate them to the readers instead of alienate them.

We’re getting art in for both the final chapter of Pitch Black Day and the next DAREDEVILS story every day now, and we’re really excited to move forward into the future with these characters.  Smilton is killing it so far, and the ~20 page adventure he’s drawing is looking to be another awesome installment in the DAREDEVILS franchise.

Hopefully we’ll have some news we can actually share about a project we’re part of  soon.  Its exciting and man, do we want to let everyone know about it.  Unfortunately it isn’t moving forward very fast yet, so we have to keep holding our tongues.  Nothing is worse than when you tell people about something you’re working on and then it diarrheas the bed and you’re left standing there looking like an asshole.  So in an effort to avoid that, we’re keeping our lips sealed for the time being.  I kind of want to post art from our cancelled project that we excited blathered about last time I told you we had new stuff.  I’ll ask the guys if its ok.  If not then you’ll never hear anything about it again.

In other news, Matt’s baby is due in like 3 weeks.  Crazy.   Make sure you give him congrats about that.  Two kids seems like a pain in the ass.  That’s why I have dogs.  Dogs are the shit.

That’s the Lunch for 3/2

To the Future,

 

Evin
@evindempsey

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SBL 2/23/14

The S.E.A. Drive!  But what does it stand for?!

What a comment response we got on our little webcomic this week!  I couldn’t be more pleased with the level of reader participation.  Its a great feeling to know people give, at least what appears to be, a shit.

Increased comments is a great byproduct of the reader interaction experiment that was the S.E.A. Drive, it proves that you guys are invested, and adds some decoration to the bottom of the page that I love to see.  I’m not opposed to the idea of doing something like this again to spur reader interest.  It’ll be interesting to see if the comments stay busier than normal on Tuesday.  If so, that’s a clear sign that we should try to do some reader interaction more often.

So what does the S.E.A. drive mean?  Well, it means that the tech we’re dealing with is even more fantastic than we thought previously.  Its no secret that the DAREDEVILS are working on a whole different level than what was realistically available in the 30s and 40s, what is a secret is how they get such crazy stuff.  Unfortunately, that’s going to remain a secret for the time being.  Sorry.  Please continue to speculate however, the answer might be as simple or complex as you think.  Every theory is on the table.

Pitch Black Day is about halfway through the fourth of five chapters, and we’re really happy with the way things are coming along.  The art has maintained a great level of quality, the midchapter backmatter sections have turned out better than we originally imagined (more on that later), and the readers have been really active in their comments.  Running a webcomic is difficult at times because there isn’t a real, clear way to judge readership.  We get new subscriptions all the time at Comic Rocket, so thats good.  We get votes like crazy at Top Web Comics, but the analytic programs that you can see how many people visit your site are baffling to me.  Most of the internet is baffling to me though, and I internet pretty hard.

I’m going to try to get some fan art on the site soon.  My art classes have really opened me up to some great artists and I thought it would be cool if we got some new art for everyone to look at.  These won’t be industry professionals, but some are aspiring to be, and others are just great artists in their own way.  We might not be a very big dog in the world of webcomics yet, but if we can help get someone else there, that would be great.

That’s the Lunch for 2/23

To the Future,

 

Evin
@evindempsey

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SBL 2/16/14

Face meltification!

Abigail had that thing around her neck the whole time!  It was filled with weaponized garlic in the final version of the script, but Danilo included the vial around her neck with the intent that it was to be filled with holy water.  We couldn’t find a place where it was important enough to use to merc a single vampire with it, and we already did the holy water schtick with the priest guy before, so we made the change to weaponized garlic.  What is weaponized garlic?  That’s a British secret that SISX has developed in secret.  I doubt they even knew if it would work.

Some other changes happened to the page as well.  Check out the pencils:

As you can see, we added Doc grabbing and hiding under the curtains into page to make it clear that he is protecting himself from the weaponized garlic, which he for some reason could tell was coming.  He’s super smart and sniffed out that area of effect attack no problem.  He also calls them fools now, which is awesome.  This kind of small storytelling change happens all the time, and credit to Danilo, he’s great at making changes that we suggest – most of the time making them better than what we asked for initially.  I’ve said it before, but making a comic, at least the way we do it, is always a great compromise, and in the end we’ve been really happy with the way things have turned out.

So now that Drac’s face has been meltified, Abby should just roll over him right?  Well, you’ll have to wait a few pages, because this Tuesday we switch our focus elsewhere.  Just when you get focused on one thing we come in and totally distract you!

Speaking of switching focus, your boys at the 315 have been busy writing and yelling and fighting over a new script for another property entirely.  Will it work out?  Maybe.  Last time I told you about a project we were working on with the Weirds that project too a shit really hard.  I’ll play it closer to the vest this time around, because last time was rough, and as excited as we were, we blew it big time.

Next week is the first time in DAREDEVILS history that we’re asking for audience participation!  You’ll get to take part in something that will last as long as the DAREDEVILS!  Matt will fill you in on the blog on Tuesday, but rest assured its great.  Especially because something incredible happens that you might not have been expecting.  Just note that the Custer is a wonderful ship, and it’s wonders have barely even started to be shown to you.

I’m hard at work at school, and I’ve entered into the honors program, so my time is being chewed up with art, of all things.  So excuse me if the Lunch gets cut short in the coming weeks.

That’s the Lunch for 2/16

To the Future,

 

Evin
@evindempsey

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