Browsing articles in "So-Called Living: The Blog"

Game On!

Oct 16, 2014   //   by Mark Maia   //   So-Called Living: The Blog  //  No Comments

Game On

Game on! Everyday Hero rewrite is complete!

That took a while.

Although I’m still waiting for some feedback on the rewrite, I’m confident enough to start working with Ray on character concepts and blocking out pages. I’ll be posting samples and such as they are created.

To help out Ray, I’m blocking out page panels, and prepping word bubbles (sans tails). Now I know having the writer block out the panels on a page might not be the norm, I want you to keep a few things in mind.

  1. I am an artist myself, and work as an art director 5 days a week, so I do have experience with layout/composition.
  2. Ray and I see each other almost every day and are in close communication about art, layout and framing.
  3. Last but not least, I worked with Ray to come up with a system that works best for him. This is not a case of me imposing my will. I’m all for supporting an artist’s vision, but if there’s anything I can do to help I will. So if laying out panels in Photoshop helps, that’s what I do. Every artist is different, and as a team it’s important that you adapt to each other to figure out a system that works for the both of you. This is what works for us.

Right Side Up

Oct 1, 2014   //   by Mark Maia   //   So-Called Living: The Blog  //  No Comments

Mark Maia - A Quick UpdateLately I’ve been dealing with some serious personal issues. My life has been turned upside down, and working on Everyday Hero has taken a back seat to harsh reality of said life. So now it’s time to get myself right side up again. Although I do have the aftermath of my situation to deal with (a house in shambles), I will be getting back to working on my dream, to write a comic, and have it published. Stick with me through this, and the outcome will not disappoint.

Fan Expo 2014 Pictures

Sep 2, 2014   //   by Mark Maia   //   So-Called Living: The Blog  //  1 Comment

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Brain Farts

Aug 25, 2014   //   by Mark Maia   //   So-Called Living: The Blog  //  No Comments

All work and no play

So, I’ve started the rewrites for my one-shot title “Everyday Hero” (working title). My first sit-down with the rewrite consisted of putting together a new game plan based on the feedback I received: done! Next, I put the plan into action and started writing! NOT so done. I sat with the script for about an hour, working on my opening line and came up with nothing! Well… Nothing usable that is. So, I thought I would share my brain farts with you :)

Here are a few failed attempts at an opening narrative for Everyday Hero. You’ll get the gist of what I’m trying to say with these, but none of them quite hit the mark.

WARNING: These are pretty bad.

  • Sometimes you just gotta play the cards you’re dealt, and as far as metaphors go, I figure that’s one of the better ones. I mean, good people don’t always get the good in life. (WTF am I talking about?)
  • Sometimes I swear, the bad people soak up all the good in life, leaving us good people with all the bad.
  • I swear… sometimes it feels like the bad people are sucking up all the good, and leaving nothing but the bad, for the rest of us to deal with. And it changes a person, but how it changes you is what defines us (Blah)
  • There comes a point in your life when you have to make a choice. Give in to the life you’re dealt, or say fuck it, and become the person you want to be, not what life makes you. (There is nothing good here)
  • There are those of us who crack under the pressure of the shit life deals out, and then there are those keep their shit together, and try to make something of themselves. (derpa derp derp)
  • In life, you either play the hand you’re dealt, and make the most of it, or fold and write bad poker metaphors when you should be focusing on the task at hand.
  • We all have shit we deal with in our lives, but it’s how we deal that defines who we are as a person. So stand up and make something of yourself now, or lay down under the weight of it all, and be crushed. (All shit)
  • Life isn’t always easy, sometimes it can be downright shit, but it’s how we deal with it that defines who you are as a person. (closer)
  • Don’t get me wrong, I love living, but life… that’s a whole other story. Sure, there are good times, but a lot of it is shit; and that’s our test isn’t it? It’s how we deal with the shit that defines who we are as a person. Do you work to be what you want to be, or fall victim to circumstance? (I think I have something here… need to work it out)

FYI: I make those comments as I write, as notes to myself.

Pixel Stix: Answers

Aug 19, 2014   //   by Mark Maia   //   So-Called Living: The Blog  //  No Comments

Pixel Stix Answers
*Click the image to enlarge

Pixel Stix

Aug 14, 2014   //   by Mark Maia   //   So-Called Living: The Blog  //  No Comments

Can you name all of these comic book characters?*

Pixel stix super heroes and villians
*Click the image to enlarge

Hint: Two of them are Spider-Man, and two of them are Kraven the Hunter (Cartoon & Comic book version).

You can find the answers listed here.

5 Comics That Inspire

Aug 12, 2014   //   by Mark Maia   //   So-Called Living: The Blog  //  No Comments

To write comics, you need to read comics. And truth be told, I don’t read nearly as much as I use to, or want to. Why? Because I’m an adult now, and with that comes a string of responsibilities I like to call, everyday life. I know there’s a lot of you out there just like me. Guys in their 30’s, getting tied up in the need-to-do’s,” and setting aside very little time for the want-to-do’s. So, I’m proposing a change in perspective. Move “reading comics” over to the “need to do” list, right next to groceries and cutting the lawn.

Ok, there, it’s done! That was the easy part, but now what? You’ve carved yourself out a nice little chunk of time to get your comic on, but what comics do you read? I’d love to read them all, but that’s not going to happen. So for those of you in the same boat, I’ve created this reading list. It’s a short list, and God knows I could keep adding to it., But, for this post, I thought I would stick to five. Five stories that have inspired me to not just write, but to write better. Because as far as I’m concerned, I’m not going up against indie comics alone. Oh no. To get your attention, I need to go head–to-head with the big boys too. I need to be as good as the best. Now, don’t get me wrong, I know that’s not going to happen overnight. But, I’m willing to put the work in to make it happen, or die trying.

So, enough rambling. Here are five comic book stories/series (in no particular order) that have inspired me to improve myself as a writer.

1) Locke & Key

Locke & key

Writer: Joe Hill

Artist: Gabriel Rodriguez

The gist of it: The Locke family, consisting of big brother Tyler, little brother Bode, sister Kinsey and their mom Nina, move into an old mansion, filled with magical doors and keys. Fantasticle adventures ensue; but what would an adventure be without an evil adversary, determined to use these keys to fulfill its own evil agenda? Leaving it up to the kids of Keyhouse to save the day.

My two cents: Locke & Key taught me that I have a lot to learn when it comes to storytelling. I’m pretty confident with my dialog, but dialog alone does not a good story make.

Locke & Key builds its story from the ground up, and sets up a strong foundation for events that follow. It’s is a story I can get lost in, and a story that I have recommended to anyone that would listen. From the writing to the artwork, there is just so much good in these pages. Pick it up, you will not be disappointed.

2) The Walking Dead

The Walking Dead

Writer: Robert Kirkman

Artist: Tony Moore (Issues #1-6) and Charlie Adlard (Issues #7-present)

The gist of it: Officer Rick Grimes wakes up one day from a coma, and finds himself in the middle of a zombie apocalypse. Now he’s got to learn to survive in a world where everyone and everything on two legs is a potential threat to his safety and that of his family. Who do you trust? Who do you fear? And how do you survive in a world ruled by the undead?

My two cents: I love the setting that Kirkman has built here. It’s not your typical zombie story, but a drama of people trying to survive in a dying world, with zombies as a backdrop. I love his commitment to the story, and if a fan-favorite character has to die to better it, so be it. If there’s anything I want to take from reading Kirkman’s work, it’s his ability to keep the reader turning the page. When I first sat down with The Walking Dead, I was 30 issues in before I even looked up. I want people to get lost in my stories, just like the way I got lost in The Walking Dead.

3) The Ultimates: Vol 1

The Ultimates

Writer: Mark Millar

Artist: Bryan Hitch

The gist of it: Nick Fury puts together a team of metahumans, made up of: Iron Man, Giant Man, Wasp, Thor, Hulk, Captain America, etc.

One day Banner loses his shit, and has himself a Hulk-level temper tantrum through the city, causing some serious damage, and killing many. So, Nick Fury’s recently assembled team of heroes is called into action to stop him. Bottom line, it’s the Avengers, just 100x awesomer.

My two cents: I’m not going to lie, growing up, I was not a huge Avengers fan. They always seemed kind of dated and old fashioned to me. So when this story came out, I was hesitant. But being that I was a huge Ultimate Spider-Man fan, I was willing to give the Avengers of this universe the benefit of the doubt, and man, am I glad I did. I absolutely loved what Millar has done with these characters. Everyone got a much needed update, and it was awesome. I gave up on the Avengers as a source of entertainment a long time ago, but Mark Millar showed me how old ideas could be made new again, and what was once great, can continue to be so, as long as you’re willing to adapt to your audience and give them what they want.

4) All Star Superman

All Star

Writer: Grant Morrison

Artist: Frank Quitely

The gist of it: During a solar experiment gone wrong (thanks to Lex Luthor), Superman’s cells are exposed to a massive amount of solar radiation, which is slowly killing him. Knowing this, Superman sets out to do the most he can with the remainder of his life, and spend what little time he has left with those he loves.

My two cents: A lot of people give superman a hard time, but personally I’m a fan of the Man of Steel. They say he’s hard to write for, maybe they’re right, I don’t know, I’ve never written for him myself, but I’d love to try.  And given the chance, I’d like to think I would take a similar route as Grant Morrison did, with All Star Superman. All Star Superman shows us a different side of Supes. Sure he’s still strong, flies, and pretty much does whatever the hell he wants, but that’s just who he is. And, who he is shouldn’t be looked at as a character design flaw, but instead as a challenge to writers to make it work, and get me as a reader to care, and relate to the world’s most unrelatable man. And that’s what Grant Morrison has done with All Star Superman. If you’re like most Superman haters I know, then nothing I say will make you read this story or change your mind in any way, but if you’re open to give the man in blue a second chance, then make it All Star Superman, you won’t be disappointed.

5) Daredevil: Underboss

Daredevil

Writer: Brian Michael Bendis

Artist: Alex Maleev

The gist of it: The Kingpin’s Lieutenants “assassinate” him, ala Julius Caesar, and there’s a bounty on Murdoc’s head. It’s been a while since I read this one, so I’ll just leave it at that ;)

My two cents: Underboss is the story that brought me back to comics. That’s right; there was a point in my life after I started reading comics, that I just stopped. Why you ask? Life got in the way (short answer). Anyway, during my 4 year hiatus from comics, I was working on a pitch for a Daredevil game, and decided to bone up a bit on old horn head. So I picked up a collected edition of the Underboss story, from Heroes, the local comic book store. And, not to bring up any spoilers or anything, but there was this scene with Kingpin’s wife, and The Rose (their son), that was just… WOW. Well done Mr. Bendis, well done. Now, Dare Devil, is one of those characters that I never got into. As a kid, I found his stories boring, but not because they were bad, but because I was 10 years old. And I guess that idea of “Dare Devil is boring” just stuck with me, so I avoided it, but after reading Underboss, I was hooked. There are few stories in my life that I can remember having had such an emotional impact on me as this one. It was moving, and powerful. When I finished that issue with The Rose and him mom, I was literally left with my jaw open. I looked over at the guy sitting next to me and simply said, “Wow.” So thank you Mr. Bendis, for helping me rediscover comics, all over again.

You might have noticed, throughout that very long post, that didn’t talk about the art for these books or the talented artists responsible; but I assure you, all the art created for these books, played just a big a part in my love for them as the story telling itself. So, big respect for the talented artists that work so hard to make these books happen. I applaud you.

Nick Concept: by Brad Heitmeyer

Sep 12, 2013   //   by Mark Maia   //   So-Called Living: The Blog  //  No Comments

In a previous post, I mentioned a buddy of mine from back at the start of my video game carrier, Brad Heitmeyer (don’t think I mentioned his name before). Anyway, Brad is the guy putting together some So-Called Living pages for his portfolio.

He sent me the picture you see here, about a week or so ago. It’s his first concept of Nick, one of SCL’s main characters. Brad’s style is a lot more realistic compared to the artists that have tried this in the past. It’s not what I expected, but it’s still a nice piece. I’m interested to see where he goes with the rest of it, and how it fits in with the mood of the SCL world. It could be just the thing SCL needed… or not. Either way, we have a new piece of artwork to enjoy.

Good work Brad, I can’t wait to see more. I do hope this works out ;)

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Illustration by Brad Heitmeyer 2013

 

Untitled Project

Sep 11, 2013   //   by Mark Maia   //   So-Called Living: The Blog  //  No Comments

Ray has put together a 2 page spread for the story we’re working on together. He’s not completely done with it, but I thought I would share it anyway. You might remember this robot from previous posts of ray’s “work in progress”

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Project Update

Sep 6, 2013   //   by Mark Maia   //   So-Called Living: The Blog  //  No Comments

So-Called Living

First: A buddy I use to work with (in the video game industry) is drawing up 6 pages of my SCL script to add to his portfolio. If I feel his style matches the story I’m trying to tell, we’re going to use those pages to submit to Image… pretty cool eh?

Second: I’ve been talking to Corey Reid (writer/creator of Reform School Ninja Girls, and crowd founding guru) about auditioning artists to work on SCL. I’m a little tide up at the moment, so it might be a few weeks before I get to this part.

Third: I have to get around to changing the front page of socalledliving.com. Still have Jamie listed as artist on the project.

Unnamed Project (A book me and Ray are working on)

First: I’ve plotted out a story that I like… kinda. I like certain parts, but there seems to be something missing. I got to go back to the drawing board on this one. Anything worth doing is worth doing right.

Second: Ray has been putting together some art work for our little project (which I’ve shared some of in previous posts), but he’s unsatisfied with the outcome and will be headed back  to the drawing board as well.

As soon as I have more info to share about this project I will.

 

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