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Category Archives: #becominghero

8 Thought-Provoking Quotes from Becoming Hero (About the Comics Character out to shoot his author) #inspirationalquotes #becominghero

Becoming Hero is about a comic book character who shoots his author–lots of opportunity for thinky philosophical stuff amidst the action. Here are some of our favorite quotes:

  1. “Main character is just a point of view.” One of the side-characters challenges the reader, frustrated when she finds out she’s not important to the story. The reader, Jace, insists that the character not let the author define her life’s purpose.

2. This is one of my favorite moments between Jackie and Skye, when Skye’s discouraged–and they talk about the impermanence of life. How at any moment you could get killed off by the author. But there’s beauty in impermanence. (#hiesabi Japanese principle)

3. Jace starts the book being pretty pacifist, and manages to hold his own regarding nonviolence through a lot of struggles. This is his response to his dad telling him to “man up” and fight his own battles.

4. Natasha’s the tough, inspiring superheroine featured in the foreground. This is how she encourages Skye when he’s about to go down.

5. Because it’s a book about a character out to kill his creator, there’s some back and forth about various people with different opinions on God. It’s tasteful–every character is given a chance to be right, without preaching–but it gets intense. Jace is opening up to Skye about his mother’s death.

6. Almost spoilers, but Skye meets something whose writing he likes (it’s not his author). This is what he has to say–I think every reader can identify with the last line.

7. We see what we believe is possible. After working as a physician I believe this is profoundly true. You know people didn’t believe in the radio at first, because it sounded too outlandish?

8. And of course, this is how heroes do.

Okay, maybe the last one isn’t thought-provoking, but it’s still kinda badass. Feel free to share. = P

And if you’d like the first few chapters of Becoming Hero to see what the fuss is about, you can get them here!

Meet Carl – Robot-man, The Ill-Named Genius with Multiple Sclerosis

Robot-man’s the Puerto Rican college kid who started The Guardians. He’s struggling with multiple sclerosis, which drove him to build the supersuit that ensures he can keep moving even on the days he’s paralyzed. At first, he was just trying to keep high schoolers out of trouble by channeling their vigilante energy into safe, armored superhero activity. Now he’s balancing local police with government investigators and adult superhero teams that want information about his teen supersoldiers.

The other Guardians don’t know all that, though. He keeps them out of the politics. His job is to
keep them safe.

So when they start dying, it’s his fault.

Get Carl’s Origin Story
Find out what happens when one of Carl’s superheroes meets his author
Read about Carl for free in the webcomic

Meet Skye – Hurricane-Powered Superhero Out to Get His Author

Skye is the storm-tossed Asian-American superhero out for answers from the author who murdered his family. Every girl Skye’s ever dated is either dead or trying to take over the world, and in the series finale, Skye’s best friend kills him. Or so he thinks. The weapon meant to disintegrate Skye lands him in his author’s universe. With a shot at revenge.

Before that, though, he’s the youngest member of The Guardians, a superhero team that means more to him than anything else in the world. He’s happy-go-lucky and loyal, if a bit clumsy, and he enjoys flirting, physics, and playing with his powers: hurricane abilities built for him by Robot-man.

Get Skye’s Origin Story here
Find out what happens when Skye meets his author
Read an interview with Skye
Read about Skye for free in the webcomic

Nathan Ssagala – Webcomic Artist and Designer

Nathan Ssagala is a Ugandan comics artist with skills in cover design, ad creation, website logos, and various other image creation abilities. He was one of the two comics artists originally supported by our Patreon, which seeks to promote and support education for new, rising creators, predominantly internationally. In 2019, he took over as the full Becoming Hero webcomic artist, t-shirt designer, and marketing imagery designer for a bunch of awesome tools we’re putting together for comics creators.

In November we ran into a huge bump in the road when Nathan was robbed. He e-mailed me recommending that I cut him from Becoming Hero comics, since he would no longer be able to work without his laptop. Around the same time, he sent me some troubling blurry videos, for safekeeping in case something happened to him–videos of police shooting live rounds at his University. Female students started to protest because when they couldn’t afford the new tuition raises, professors pressured them for sexual favors instead. Male students began to protest over the severe beatings that put female protestors in the hospital, aaaand so then for a while all the students at the school had to go into hiding.

So together, our Becoming Hero superheroalert squad raised enough money to buy a new laptop for Nathan, who’s already used it to earn money to help support his mother and pay for college. He’s back in school right now, and despite the frequent power outages and other challenges he faces, he’s literally the most dedicated artist I’ve worked with. He returns revisions faster than anyone I’ve known, and that counts even experienced artists who charge more than triple his rates. You will not go wrong requesting an image from him, and his art has improved dramatically over the past year. You can see his improving artwork at our free webcomic, https://www.becominghero.ninja/comic/ or samples like the one below he made for our instagram. His Instagram is https://www.instagram.com/nexus2.0/ and he’s starting his own design business! You can hire him for jobs over his Insta, actually, and help increase our artist funding over at patreon.com/becominghero. Nathan dreams of migrating to Canada and starting a full design business that he can use to support the street children back in his neighborhood. Check him out!

Meet John Krissilas, the voice behind Skye.

John’s our award-nominated voice actor for Skye, the comic book character out to shoot his author. I’ve actually known him almost since this project’s inception, and his feedback about the villain had a large impact on the plot towards the end. You can hear a sample of his voice work in our mixed-media comic, where he narrates the battle between Natasha, Skye, and Zeus! And of course, you can pick up Becoming Hero on audible. First book free with an Audible trial, I’m told.

This is John’s #BecomingHero page, where we’ll highlight a few of his #superheroalerts and achievements as he shares them with us. Krissilas has a TON of his own projects floating around. In addition to writing, directing, and producing, Krissilas leads a creativity consultation business to help you bring out the best in what you make. His background as an archaeologist allowed him to write this awesome sandal punk novel about a street urchin riding hover boards through Greek legend (I’m one of the lucky few who’ve been allowed to read it pre-release), and he’s always coming up with something new. Please visit him below:

You can actually watch the show he just finished making here! Check it out: the award winning webseries MARKED, which he co-created, co-writes, co-produces and acts in. Inspired by classic sci-fi mystery series like the X-Files and Lost, the show follows two former actresses trying to solve the strange death of their cast-mate and discover its connection to a symbol from their past. John plays Hal Stevens, an enigmatic government agent who may – or may not be – helping them in their quest.

Watch the complete first season (Episodes 1 – 6) here:
Visit the Marked website here: https://www.MarkedWebSeries.com

***

Meet Austin Willacy – the voice behind Jace.

Austin Willacy is the award-winning singer, song-writer, voice actor, and activist who joined the #BecomingHero project to voice Jace, the nervous #blerd who must decide between the real world and the comic book world when he discovers his roommate’s a comic book character. Willacy ended up producing the entire audiobook, which you can download for free with a free trial of Audible. He joined the project because of his keen sense of social justice, but his record of award-winning voice excellence speaks for itself.

This is his #BecomingHero page, where we’ll highlight a few of his #superheroalerts and achievements. Please visit his website and Twitter for more updated information.

***

POSITIVE MUSIC AWARD

In 2018, Austin and his co-writer, Ariel Thiermann won a Posi–Positive Music Award–for the Social Justice category at the 13th annual Posi Awards.

The song that won is “Thrive: What on Earth Will it Take”, from the documentary with the same name.

They were nominated by Gary Malkin, the scorer of the film and producer of the song, and awarded by emPower, an organization that was founded to amplify the awareness and impact of positive, empowering art.

In case you’re itchin’ to hear “Thrive” now:

“Thrive” is the theme song to “THRIVE: What on Earth Will it Take”, a film about the Thrive Movement which aims, among other things, to decentralize power from government and corporations to the common man.

***
BUILDING A BETTER WORLD THROUGH MUSIC
In 2017, Austin was the only non-Indian to attend the Yes World India Arts Jam, where writers, film makers, actors, dancers, singers & poets from a number of different parts of India created a space where people could connect deeply, slow down, recharge their batteries, and explore ways to leverage their artistry to create social change.

This began because in 2013, Austin co-founded, co-organized, and co-facilitated the Artist for Social Change Jam, a creative gathering for people working at the intersection of arts and social change. In 2016, alumnae of the US Arts Jams invited him to co-organize and co-faciliate two international Arts Jams, the Anatolia Arts Jam—in Turkey–and the India Arts for Social Change Jam. Arts Jams are places where writers, film makers, actors, dancers, singers & poets come together; share their challenges and breakthroughs; nurture themselves; support and inspire each other; and explore their identities as artists, activists and whole people. At their respective Jams, artists from all over the U.S., Turkey, and India convene and co-create a space where people can slow down, connect deeply, recharge their batteries, find intersections for future collaborations; build a more resilient network of artist-activists (artivists), and explore ways to leverage their artistry to create social change.

THE HOUSE JACKS

The House Jacks is “the original rock band without instruments” (SF Chronicle). The band’s pioneering innovations laid the groundwork for the current a cappella renaissance. Millions of people listened to The House Jacks worldwide as the sound of The Sing-Off, NBC’s hit live a cappella competition. Their jingles for radio stations in Chicago, Los Angeles and San Francisco have been heard by over 1.5 million listeners.

Their riveting performances, groundbreaking recordings and award-winning songwriting have energized and inspired live audiences in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Belgium, Brazil, Sri Lanka, France, Canada, Puerto Rico, Italy, the Netherlands, Singapore and Japan. They’ve performed everywhere from Carnegie Hall to the World Expo. They’ve appeared in Rolling Stone, on CNN and Monday Night Football (ESPN). They are featured on Sony Sound Systems in Ford vehicles and have worked with corporate clients from Coca-Cola through Verizon. They’ve shared the stage with some of the biggest names in live entertainment, including Ray Charles, James Brown, Train, LL Cool J, the Neville Brothers, Crosby Stills and Nash, the Pointer Sisters, Live, Nia Peeples, Johnny Clegg, 5 Blind Boys of Alabama, the Temptations, George Carlin, Pam Tillis, The Four Tops, The Gap Band, Tower of Power, Starship, Jon Secada, Run-DMC, and many others.

’Til Dawn
`Til Dawn, Youth in Arts A Cappella ensemble is an advanced vocal music program for motivated young artists. `Til Dawn celebrates the value of the arts, encourages positive messages about meaningful social issues, and inspires children of all ages. The group performs a mix of rock, pop, blues, jazz and soul standards and contemporary hits, in addition to original songs by group members.

THRIVE CHOIR


The Thrive Choir was born to sing the music for the revolution. They are a diverse group of vocalists, artists, activists, educators, healers, and community organizers based in Oakland, California – directed by Bay Area musicians Austin Willacy & Kyle Lemle. Their heartfelt and soul-stirring original music is a fusion of gospel, soul and folk.


As part of Thrive East Bay – a purpose-driven community focused on personal and social transformation – the Choir’s music illuminates the joy, pain, and beauty of what it means to be human in this time of systemic transformation. They lift up the house every first Sunday at Thrive East Bay in downtown Oakland; they have performed with Rising Appalachia, recorded with MaMuse, and shared the stage with social justice luminaries Ericka Huggins, Joanna Macy, and Fania Davis; and they perform at marches, conferences and festivals across California, most recently at Bioneers, Blessed Unrest, IONS, and the North America Permaculture Convergence.

Please visit Austin’s website and Twitter for more updated information!

Claim your Smartwatch, super one!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

I’M GIVING AWAY A SMARTWATCH! Do you want it? This is a picture of the box. It’s brand new, and I want you to have it!

Anyone who’s left a review of Becoming Hero on Amazon is eligible! That’s even if you’ve only read the first ten chapters(free right now), and you review them.

You can earn extra “entries” or chances to win the Smartwatch by following the directions above! Have fun!

Jen reads w/out #pants on, Ep. 3 (#comics character shoots his author)

*Read below! Or listen above.*

Pre-order Becoming Hero here:
With comics: https://www.amazon.com/Becoming-Hero-…
Without comics: https://www.amazon.com/Becoming-Hero-…
Elsewhere: http://becominghero.ninja
Skye is the storm-tossed comic character out for revenge on the author who murdered his family. Jace is the math-loving #blerd trying to escape his father’s deadly legacy. When their worlds collide, Jace must choose between the real world he’s always hated, and the comic book world he’s always loved–and Skye must decide if killing his author will save his world, or damn his soul. *Solve Skye’s math puzzle for a chance to win $100, in every book.*

Jace, cont.

My dad and I lived in one of the grey buildings, not a red brick one. Mottled grey exterior, greying warped beige stairs, and grey stained carpeting that scratched like sandpaper against the splintering bottom of our apartment door as I opened it. The mildew even smelled grey.

“I like your couch,” Caleb said right away.

It wasn’t grey. I looked at him, and back at the orange and yellow plaid ratty sofa that held so many memories of my Mom, and I smiled.

“Yeah, it’s ugly, isn’t it?” I smiled. “A superhero team in my favorite comic has the same one.”

“Yeah, uh…I like comics, too.” But he didn’t elaborate. He just stood there, staring at the couch.

Awkward.

“Hey, uh—lemme grab—food—stuff.” I ran to the kitchen. It was so small I could literally put both hands on the walls without straightening my elbows, and so yellow Dad and I called it Twinkieland. (It was supposed to be white.) I snatched the off-brand not-Oreos off the counter, wrapped my arm around two glasses, and yanked the milk jug out of the fridge.

Back in the main room I found Caleb sitting at the dinner table in the corner, scribbling…with my math book in front of him.

Oh crap!

“Whoa, that’s not, it’s, hey!” I almost dropped the milk on the floor in my rush to stop him. My math level was my third-most closely guarded secret, after my dad’s job, and now I’d given away number two and three in one day! I knew I shouldn’t care, but come on. Other guys at school took it like a personal offense that I dared to be smarter, or study harder, or whatever it was I did. If they were nice, they treated me with pity, like I had to have some kind of horrible social deficit to make up for it. Poor naïve Jace, I bet his mom ties his shoes…My school didn’t even offer calculus, so I had to take an independent study period for a correspondence course with the local college just to keep progressing, and I made sure everyone thought I was goofing off.

I tried to apologize for it. “Hey, Caleb, that’s not really, you know, that’s…”

Caleb slid a sheet of loose leaf across the table.

He’d done my homework.

Hey! Hey, a nerd like me!

“Yeah, there’s somethin’ calming about Calc, right?” he said it with a capital C when he said it. “Like it’s the key to another reality or somethin’.”

I chose my words carefully, with a little smile. “Well, technically relationships between all matter run on…differentials of various functions, you know? Math’s the underpinning of the way the world works. It’s the essence and the truth of things.”

“Or it’s our way of describing it, and the world doesn’t work on anything.” A dark glare glittered under the hair falling over his face as he looked away from me.

I swallowed and looked away from him to pour a glass of milk. I felt shut down. Man, who was this guy? Weirdo, liking my couch, and beating up my classmate, and doing my math homework—crap, this guy just took out like ten people in front of me. He could probably kill me with this glass like the Joker in that Frank Miller Dark Knight Returns.

“Hey, I have to study,” I said, trying to indicate that stranger-meet-and-greet was over. “Whole bunch of problems sets I have to finish. So…”

Caleb flipped like a coin. The glare never existed: now he grinned like a little boy freshly declaring war on the girls’ treehouse. “Race you,” he said with twinkling eyes. “See who can finish your problem sets first. If I win, you gotta tell me why you stole that guy’s wallet.”

No man, maybe some other time, I really need to concentrate and stuff, it’s been cool, but—all the words that could’ve come out of my mouth milled around somewhere between my brain and my sinuses. Look at this guy, just so happy about my homework. How could anyone say no to that?

Then again, I’d learned the hard way to play it safe.

Man, but look at this guy’s torn jeans and stuff—torn because he’d worn them too long, not because he bought them that way—and the mud on the Batman backpack he still hadn’t taken off, and the bruise forming over his cheekbone, I mean, who knew what this dude’s life was like? He probably had a reason for feeling like the world didn’t work on logic. And now I was gonna push him out?

I couldn’t imagine God smiling on that.

“Sure,” I said.

So that’s how I chose to befriend the violent stranger. Caleb cracked jokes every ten minutes or so at first, but after about an hour only the intense fluttering of paper or the occasional curse over a mistake marked his presence. I didn’t say much, and I didn’t make mistakes. I’d never met someone like Caleb; math was part of his identity, like it was mine, our mental martial arts—a way to master chaos with logic.

Jen reads w/out PANTS on (About the #comics character who shoots his author and the math #blerd who might stop him) Episode 2!

Read below to read the text of the story, or listen above, or pre-order Becoming Hero here:
With comics: https://www.amazon.com/Becoming-Hero-…
Without comics: https://www.amazon.com/Becoming-Hero-…

Elsewhere: http://becominghero.ninja
*Solve Skye’s math puzzle for a chance to win $100, in every book.*

Skye is the storm-tossed comic character out for revenge on the author who murdered his family. Jace is the math-loving #blerd trying to escape his father’s deadly legacy. When their worlds collide, Jace must choose between the real world he’s always hated, and the comic book world he’s always loved–and Skye must decide if killing his author will save his world, or damn his soul.

Jace, cont.

New guy stood over me hand outstretched, reeking of banana peels and park benches.

“Hey,” he said, yanking me to my feet. “I’m Caleb.”

“Hey Caleb. I’m Jace.”

“Jace, like Jason?”

“Yeah, but spelled like the son in the Expanded StarWars Universe, not like the second Robin.”

He was the first person I’d met outside of the comics shop who got the reference. “The son of a rogue, instead of the rogue son.” His wicked grin softened. “You okay?” He glanced down at my forearm.

I looked, and regretted it. I didn’t think I was frightened by blood. It wasn’t much—just a scratch, just—just—dizziness swept my forehead and my whole body felt weak because holy crap they almost flayed me because of Dad they almost—! I opened my mouth to say nothing.

“Is that a no?” he asked.

I swallowed. I. Wouldn’t. Make. It. Fun. For. Them. If I wasn’t scared, they couldn’t scare my dad, and they lost.

But I wanted them to scare Dad! I wanted to get out of here! Of this stupid neighborhood, and this stupid high school where my stupid teacher who I trusted let slip in class that I even had a dad, and stupid Jerome, and stupid everyone who said I wasn’t “Black enough” because I was a nerd, as if the math in my brain somehow released neurotoxins that killed my melanocytes because that made sense—oh wait, no, it didn’t! It really didn’t!

“I’m fine. It’s just a scratch.” I broke my gaze away from it to look Caleb in the face, noticing now the industrial bar piercing his right ear. “Are you hungry? Because after that I could eat a bookshelf.”

“Yeah—uh, yeah, I haven’t eaten in a while.” His face colored a little: he meant a very long while. He wasn’t from around here, and he wasn’t dressed well enough to be a lost tourist—not that we got tourists around here on the regs, but hey—so I pegged him as a runaway right away. From where, I wondered?

“Why a bookshelf?” he asked.

“I like books.” I shrugged, and pulled my hoodie up against his inquiring stare and against the frigid wind tickling my hot cheeks. “Come on. I’ll—I have stuff at home.”

And that’s how I chose to bring a violent stranger into my house.

2

JACE

My breathing slowed, and the chill began to evaporate my sweat as we passed dingy brush littered with trash, and dead bushes crowded against the alleyway walls, and the yellowing grass that clung to the cracks in the whitish half-paved gravel…we turned onto another street, past the big abandoned red brick building on the corner, and for a second I didn’t hate West Baltimore.

I always don’t hate West Baltimore when I pass red brick. There’s a lot of that here: the big factory-looking thing, with its lone chimney jutting into the grey sky like a bold unmoving middle finger thrown up against all the struggle and change and turmoil; the rows of brick apartments huddled side by side like tall, thin soldiers, shoulder to shoulder against the cold, some of them rounded with feminine bulges, towers and buttresses, powerful women in a protest line holding together their neighborhood…all old, old buildings. Sometimes a new mural will go up, or street art that actually means something. That day a black phoenix rose against one of the grey-walled buildings, framed in purple fire.

We’d almost reached my dad’s apartment when we passed a different strain of graffiti. This tag was about cops, and my shoulders sagged.

I caught Caleb watching my reactions.

“What?” he and I asked at the same time.

He laughed. I sighed.

“You got opinions about that,” he nodded back towards the angry wall-scars. “Mind if I ask what they are?”

“Man, I don’t even know,” I said. “My first day out in driving class I got a DWB, with my teacher in the car, with the car marked Student, and they still made us get out while they patted us down and yelled at me and searched the seats because I ‘fit a description.’ That guy you just whupped, Jerome? His older brother was shot by police who broke into the wrong apartment for a bust.” I paused, wondering if I should really tell Caleb why Jerome hated me. Caleb waited, listening so intently, so openly, I kinda had to: “My dad’s a police officer,” I said.

“Ah. So you’re caught in the crossfire.”

“There’s no crossfire. I’m minding my own business.” I sealed my lips, and he minded his own, too.

Becoming Hero: a chance to win $100 by preordering a book. #freereads #Comics character kills his author!

BECOMING HERO IS AVAILABLE FOR PRE-ORDER NOW! (RELEASE: AUGUST 31)

SKYE is the storm-tossed comic character out for revenge on the author who murdered his family.

JACE is the math-loving #blerd trying to escape his father’s deadly legacy.

When their worlds collide, Jace must choose between the real world he’s always hated, and the comic book world he’s always loved–and Skye must decide if killing his author will save his world,
or damn his soul.

Pre-order the book now, with, or without comics. Written by award-nominated world-traveling scifi author Jen Finelli, with comics by the illustrious Annie Chen and a cover designed by Marvel/DC cover artist Lawrence Reynolds, it’s the meta mixed-media sensation that raised over $4000 on Indiegogo during its initial funding. Audiobook, coming soon to Audible, will feature the award-winning and award-nominated voices of Austin Willacy as Jace and John Krissilas as Skye.

Inside every book is a chance to win $100.

So what are you waiting for?
Pre-order now.

If you’d rather browse free stuff, click “About” above, or check out the webcomic, where you’ll set the background for the 2017 novel as you follow Asian-American superhero Skye and his team of Guardians through the whacky tales that make us love comics and the ugly tropes that make us hate them. Superhero diversity in its whack meta finest!

Subscribe so you don’t miss an update?

Jen Reads Without Pants On — Ep. 1 #becominghero #freereads

I’m sharing the first part of the book with you–in audio above, and in text below!

Pre-order Becoming Hero here:

With comics: https://www.amazon.com/Becoming-Hero-…

Without comics: https://www.amazon.com/Becoming-Hero-…

Elsewhere: http://becominghero.ninja

Skye is the storm-tossed comic character out for revenge on the author who murdered his family. Jace is the math-loving #blerd trying to escape his father’s deadly legacy. When their worlds collide, Jace must choose between the real world he’s always hated, and the comic book world he’s always loved–and Skye must decide if killing his author will save his world, or damn his soul.

*Solve Skye’s math puzzle for a chance to win $100, in every book.*

Text, below!

JACE

For me, the beginning starts the first time I opened a comic book and knew I had to have that, be that, get in that, somehow. But for you, it starts the first day I met Caleb.

The day ten guys with knives chased me down a shadowed street. My skinny legs burned; my lungs wheezed as sweat popped across my forehead. Bitter voices shouted curses about my dad. Crap, so who—?

My head turned for a better look—

Bad move. My grey sneakers skidded across the pavement. I tried to catch my balance—my knee impacted the unfinished, gravel-strewn sidewalk—I rolled over, scrambling on my butt as my fastest attacker stumbled into me. His creepy gangsta-fied Looney-tunes t-shirt loomed over me as my attacker fell, suffocating me with Bugs Bunny’s cotton smirk. I imagined the cartoon rabbit twirling that bling around his finger: “What’s up, doc? You thought you could outrun us?” I gagged as a hand landed on my neck.

“Hey Jerome,” I choked at the one person I recognized: my pissed-off classmate standing a few feet behind the massive human on my threat. “Who’s the Colossus?”

Colossus didn’t take the compliment. “Jerome don’t answer to you. He answers to me.” He lifted me by the throat like Vader. Wonderful, always wanted to have something in common with Captain Antilles. “And he told me who your Daddy is.”

“Hahaha, well, you sure you believe Jerome?” I normally avoid the sass—sass is a one-way ticket to the ‘ville where they serve your butt and only your butt on a shiny silver platter—but I had to talk them away from my dad, and if it meant a whupping from Jerome tomorrow that was a whole lot better than a stabbing from his boss today. “You know Jerome’s lied to you about how much product he pushes at school, right?” Is that what they called it? Product?

“No he hasn’t.”

“Okay, but he’s lying about my dad. I don’t even have one of those. What’s a dad, even?”

“You trying to get smart with me?” The grip of the Colossus tightened on my neck, and my eyes bulged with the oh-gosh-where-the-air-at—note to self, “Grip of the Colossus” sounds like a sweet book title.

“No, I really don’t know what a father is,” I wheezed. “Mine’s too busy to play that game.”

“I’m not your shrink, boy,” Colossus smirked. “Could be your surgeon if you want, though.” He drew his knife. From the looks of him, he was the only one whose mamma told him not to run with sharp pointy things—everyone else had theirs out already. “We’re gonna write a lil message to your old man, and you get to be the postcard.”

Well crap.

I bit down to hold my mouth shut. The writing was on the wall—and soon to be on my skin—so if this had to happen, I wouldn’t make it fun for them. Please don’t whine, please don’t cry, don’t say any freaking thing…

“You got anything else to share, smart guy?”

Nope. Nothing. Silence was my weapon. I pursed my lips and ground my teeth as they held me down, and all I could think about was Jerome, this guy standing right here, blade over my arm, like—this guy was in my class! We grew up in the same neighborhood, almost the same street, so like what chain of events ended with him becoming that guy and me becoming this guy, at opposite ends of the knife?

The first blade nicked my forearm.

I managed not to scream.

Enter the hurricane.

It wasn’t much of a meeting, actually. More a series of bone-crushing splinter sounds and screams as I watched in HD clarity while a ripped Asian-looking kid tore Bugs Bunny off me and hurled him into the others. Colossus never had a chance to get back up. The new kid pounced, Batman backpack swinging on his shoulders with the intensity of his punches. He whirled to take out two or three sets of knees behind him with one nasty roundhouse kick, and leapt like a bolt of lightning from person to person, jerking someone’s joints the wrong way each time he left them.

Welp.

Colossus’ wallet peeped out of his back pocket. ID is the key, Dad would say in his corny way. He wasn’t wrong. I scrambled forward, yanked out the wallet, and dashed back, pocketing the leather bulge with my heart pounding and my breath held. I knew I looked as suspicious as a four-year-old alone in a candy aisle, but thankfully no one cared about me…me and my pocket full o’ justice.

The stranger cleaned up. Knives zinged through the air to clang against the nearest telephone pole, all missing the hurricane. The scent of urine stung the air—someone had pissed his pants. Someone else screamed a threat—back-pack dude interrupted with a foot in the face.

When I blinked, we were alone.

Get Natasha’s Rings! #comics #superheroes

Natasha is my Thunder-powered teen goddess (lower case g) from Becoming Hero, and these are raw stone rings: colorful, sturdy, beautiful, and down to earth, like her.

And you get them if you solve this puzzle: becominghero.ninja/skyes-puzzle/

#becominghero #art #comicbooks #drawing #comic #illustration #sketch #artist #geek #comicbook #artwork #nerd #draw #cartoon #comicart #love #instagood #tbt #look #bestoftheday #instacool #stoneworking #jewelry #superheroes

Bits N’ Pieces: COVER REVEAL #becominghero (#comics character shoots his author)

W00t! That thing on the left there, it’s the cover image for the novel! The novel that’ll have the comic book in it!

The cover was made by the talented and amazing Lawrence Reynolds from vividfury.com. He’s formerly made stuff for DC and Marvel, so I was really lucky to get him on board for this project. Check him out! He’s got a few lovely alternate-history StarWars posters I love, including one very lovely one about Leia training with Yoda. #rockon

Please like and share! You’ll get a better picture of the cover (I cut off a little bit of his hand in this picture because I was trying to fit 640*640 size) on the book itself, nudge nudge. = P

Bits n’ Pieces: Slooow going #makingcomics #becominghero

The coloring really added to this. Butterfly is quickly becoming my favorite hero to draw, with her big eyes. I have a soft spot for ladies who look like her.

It’s funny, because when I originally created her I had a grudge against her, since she’s the antithesis of Natasha, who is my unqualified coolest hero. Natasha’s a purist. She’s tough, and strong, and she’s not afraid to hurt feelings to fix things. She’s kick-butt and she doesn’t want any special treatment: she’s the kind of feminist I am because she’s all about the facts, and even her insecurities are oriented in the right direction.

Butterfly’s very much a syncretist, who’s blended a lot of ideas that I dislike into her personal ideology, and she can be the SJW we all get tired of at times. She can be floofy, and foolish, and she’s uber-polite, the last to speak her mind, and gentle to a fault. If Natasha’s a soldier, Butterfly’s a millennial hipster, the effeminate modern girly-girl who likes beautiful things…like little paper shoes, and handbags, and flowers.

I created her to balance Natasha, and to represent the women I don’t always represent in my fiction. My women are always more like me–kick-ass rebels with our middle fingers in the air. I’m trying to grow as a writer.

Which is why I’ve spent so much time with Butterfly. Her origin story is probably the longest, and I’ve drawn her more than any other character in this comic with the exception of Skye. I recognized that I need to get to know her, to understand her, to understand where she’s coming from. Why doesn’t she believe in heaven and hell? What’s under the hijab, and why does she wear it, if she’s supposed to be this modern liberated woman? What does she really believe, beyond the stereotypes of “liberal” that exist out there in society? Why does she make the mistakes she makes, and where are her strengths?

I’ve really enjoyed focusing on her strengths in this comic. Unbridled compassion is something all of us–even the Natashas–need, and I think her special friendship with Robotman (which comes out more in her origin story) really emphasizes her self-sacrifice. Both in this comic, and in her short story, I’ve set her up as a Jesus figure, because while I think Yeshua would really hate some of her ideas, he would really connect with her love for others. I need to learn to see him, and his hand, in those who are not like me. I cannot love my opponents until I do. So as I’ve written and argued and played with Butterfly in my head, I’ve been preaching myself to really love and respect the people and potential she represents.

Writing shouldn’t be preaching to others: it should be a product of preaching to ourselves.

So Butterfly’s come a long way since Rabia voiced her at her lamest back in Traitor #9. I think we had a major breakthrough when I got to see her relationship with her boyfriend–I’m sorry, friend who is a boy–back in Traitor 19. And then, seeing her vs. July, the compassionate “friend of sinners” vs. the bad-ass who brings in bad guys to torture them, in Traitor 23 and 24, really hammered it home for me.

So this scene makes me sad. Also, Mark in the background. ;_; I’m working on his origin story right now and it is a doozy, poor guy. I’ve still got a lot to do on today’s comic, so most likely will post Friday. The audio this time around will be done by the talented, hilarious, and brilliant Luso Matiti, so look forward to that.

Bits ‘n Pieces: Working on Tomorrow’s Comic! #makingcomics #superheroes

So, so rough! I can’t always make up my mind for the line art, whether to use dark, dynamic lines that change width via pressure, or those soft sketchy lines I used on Jun outside of the panel in the second row. For this particular comic, since it’ll be hopping back and forth between inside and outside the panels, I decided I’ll use soft sketchy lines outside the panels, and “comic-ish” lines inside, except for the Vision, who’s that new guy in the lower corner of the page. I’m not sure I want to introduce his face, like I’m doing in this panel, so I may actually just shadow it out after coloring. His face is kind of based on my friend Luso, who’ll be doing the voice for his character.

Yup, this one’s gonna have voices, again! This time, I’m going to incorporate all of the Vision’s dialogue into mp3s below each panel, in response to the dialogue that’s inside the panels. It’s gonna be pretty crazy, so I might be super-late this week, we’ll see.

What are you working on?