by admin on / Blog

I like to think of the last few weeks as Nic’s ‘Red Period.’  This lighting effect still blows my mind.  Nic continues to give the scene a tremendous level of detail, even though the color is washed out.  I think this shows just how good Nic is- but I’m also a little biased.

I think we can all agree that Vexx is a serious badass.  The final panel is, in my opinion, the pinnacle of the comic so far.  This panel stands in a stark (and cool) contrast to the splash on PAGE FOUR.

To honor our bladed bass player, I think we should go with No Doubt’s ‘Just A Girl.’  Honestly, it’s also for my sister in the Bay who will think the choice is hella good.

I sort of went on a bit last week, so I’ll cut things short this week.  First, I presented a challenge to name the Combine trooper’s flesh-melting weapon last week.  I think I like Brian’s suggestion, especially the Ares company name.  I’m gonna modify it a little though: the Ares Industries Mark III Pulsed Plasma Rifle.  Or, ready for this, the APP Rifle.  Because when the shite hits the fan, at least there’s an APP for that.  Brian- shoot me your address (no pun intended) and I will mail you out a freshly made print.

Finally, we are proud (and lucky) to have gotten a great review from a fantastic blogger and true sci-fi connoisseur, Total Fan Girl.  I love her blog and I recommend you follow her on FaceBook.  I say this, not because she gave our little comic a nice review, but because she loves the Clone Wars as much as I do.

Continue Reading


by admin on / Blog

The last page of 2010.  And a bit of a sudden end for a number of unfortunate passengers.  We get to see exactly what a MK. 6 Combine Pulse Rifle does and it isn’t pretty.  I’m still really digging the red lighting effect; it is perfect for the chaotic tension of the trooper’s attack.

Now, again, Nic and I have a difference of opinion on this week’s music pairing.  Nic likes Metallica’s cover of the Misfits song ‘Die, Die My Darling.’  It makes sense, and I do like the Metallica version.  However, my choice this week is maybe a little obvious:  Broken Bells, ‘Vaporize.’  The laid-back tone of the song provides a nice counterpoint to the violence and chaos of the page.  I also think the Broken Bells had one of my favorite albums of 2010.

A few things.  First, if you are a fan of the comic and don’t mind a little tame nudity, you need to hit the deviantArt link up there on the right and check out Nic’s last piece of 2010.  It is a slightly risque version of our drummer, Samantha Darkness.  Sam has an “exotic” day job in Volcano City and Nic wanted to do an illustration of her at work.  So, again, if you’re interested you should check out Nic’s dA page.  The piece will eventually end up in our B-Sides section.  Twitterers already got it.

Second, we wanted to wish everyone a Happy New Year.  Nic and I agree that we received three amazing gifts this year.  The first two are named Benicio and Charlotte- Nic’s amazing son and my daughter.  The second gift was the opportunity to put this project together.  We were really lucky to have found each other and I couldn’t ask for a more talented and, frankly, telepathic creative partner.  ‘Free Mars’ and the Martian punk band Sisters Grimm were based on a ten year old screenplay, but it wasn’t until I saw Nic’s work that I realized the potential to tell the story in this medium.

Nic and I also want to thank our “fifth Beatle”, Chris Borer.  Besides being a multiple Slayer Sword winner (I’m sure some of you know what that is), Chris is also a fantastic editor.  He gets to read everything first and his often vehement criticism has been invaluable to the process.

And finally, at the risk of sounding overly naffing sentimental, today’s my birthday.  And the best gift I’ve gotten (besides baby Charlie) are all the emails and posts from you guys.  You, ladies and gentlemen, are awesome!  So thanks for reading.  See you in 2011, gremmies.

Continue Reading


by admin on / Blog

“When Earthers ask why we don’t celebrate Christmas on Mars, I usually tell them it’s because Mars doesn’t have three wise men.  We probably don’t have any saviors and we definitely don’t have any virgins.”  -Vikki Grimm

PAGE TWENTYTWO.  Interior commercial freightlifter.  Things continue to go a little south for the passengers of TK-421, including our heroines.  Trapped between a MLF ambush and a slightly maniacal CSC colonel.  Lynch, a veteran of the Ice Wars, is definitely a total bastard.  Moving troops covertly, under the cover of a civilian transport, seems questionable.  Though I suspect the CSC kleptocracy wouldn’t give a document-dump if this tactic were Wikileaked.

Vexx strikes me as someone who doesn’t like to wait in a queue and would probably send back food in a restaurant.

Nic proposed the red “lighting” effect and I agreed that it was appropriate for this scene.  The script called for “warning/emergency lights”, in the vein of ‘A L I E N S’ or ‘Event Horizon’.  It’s tough to do a strobe effect (every other panel is black?), but the red-wash definitely gets across the change in lighting and reflects a real move to a more ominous atmosphere.

The music pairing this week is the result of a minor coincidence*.  When I got the pencils, I was listening to this particular song and it sort of made sense thematically.  So, at the risk of sounding like a car commercial, I’ve gotta go with Kasabian and ‘L.S.F’.  You’ll find that I tend to return to my Britpop roots every few weeks…

Continue Reading


by admin on / Blog

PAGE TWENTYONE.  Interior.  Commercial freightlifter.  Cargo hold.

The attack begins and we see the damage done by the MLF missile.  We also get to see that Kessler’s information was right and there is indeed a squad of CSC Shock Troopers.  Finally, we’re introduced to one of the ever-growing collection of antagonists.  Colonel Lynch.

Nic has been hoping for some action sequences and now I see why.  He’s nailed it.  The CSC vehicle flipping in the background, thrown by the impact explosion, is awesome.  The next few weeks will see the action continue as the battle unfolds…

Nic also recommended this week’s musical pairing, and I wholeheartedly concur: Rage Against the Machine’s ‘Wake Up.’

Xaviar Xerexes, the mind behind ComixTALK, ran a story on our name change

Lastly, the prints are at the shop.  We are maybe a week away from offering 3-4 different pieces of art.  We’ll have a limited amount of signed stuff and maybe even some original work for sale.  If this first offering goes well, we’ll continue to make more prints and t-shirts available, culminating in a whole range of stuff for C2E2.

I’d also like to take a quick opportunity to wish everyone a happy holidays from Nic and I and, as always, thanks for the support.

Continue Reading


by admin on / Blog

PAGE NINETEEN.  Interior com ‘lifter TK-421.  Sam makes a joke while Vexx takes her skills very seriously.  As the writer, I have a very specific relationship in mind between Sam and Vexx.  Sort of like an older/younger sister dynamic; part antagonistic and part genuine friendship.  And while I can get some of that across with dialogue, Nic really makes it come alive through his art.  Sam can keep an expression something akin to amusement while Vexx holds a mind-bogglingly dangerous weapon to her throat.  There’s obviously a trust there.

Panel 3.  First, the color really works here, methinks.  It is a very cool contrast to the ubiquitous red.  And again we see Nic’s obsession with detail.  There’s so much going on here.  To give you an idea of how Nic brings the comic to life, here’s the original script (notice the panel number got edited slightly):

Panel 5.

An ominous panel.  It is a wide shot of the ‘lifter through a binocular view-screen.  The ‘lifter has a target on it and there are all sorts of readings, distances and other numbers.  Very sci-fi.

The music pairing this week in a bit of a SPOILER ALERT.  It is also so obvious when ya think about it, for a couple reasons.  Def Leppard.  Pyromania.  Comin’ Under Fire.

Finally this week, some very cool news.  I figured we should try and attend a convention next year, so I applied to get the Sisters a table at C2E2.  I figured it was a long shot, since their Artist’s Alley is only so big and it is THE comic event of the Midwest.  Plus, it’s not like we’re Axe Cop or Dr. McNinja.  However, I just got the news that we’ve been invited to attend.  This is huge for us and I take it as a sign that we’ve got some real potential here.

However, it does also mean that I need to get working on getting some material printed.  I’m hoping to have a few different prints available and I might even have some original art for sale and display.  Might even have a 28mm model.

The only bad news is that Nic can’t make it this time, so you’re stuck talking to a lowly writer (boring).  But, if all goes according to plan and the gods of Mars continue to favor our endeavor, he’ll come up for 2012.  Just as the Mayans predicted….

Continue Reading


by admin on / Blog

PAGE 11.  Girls in transit.  Living in Sub-Dome 4 seems like it has some positive and negative aspects.  Obviously, there’s a public transportation system, which is nice.  But it looks a little like the Red Line here in Chicago, which isn’t particularly nice.  I suppose that kind of thing is relative, I mean, in the SD4 transit tubes, you have to put up with some nefarious characters, but at least there aren’t any drunken Cubs fans.

The Sub-Dome itself seems to be perpetually leaking like the engineering section of the Nostromo.  We’ve had a few discussions about condensation and we’re sticking with our Ridley Scott atmospheric system.  On the bright side, there seem to be a lot of “recreation centers.”  Nic also demonstrates the PG-13 nature of this comic, though he’s gonna be pushing for that R soon, I suspect.

Two Moons.  Besides being a notable Martian micro brew, it is also a common Martian expression.  It means worthless.  The original script had an asterisk on this phrase Vexx uses.  It had to get cut for space (we’d rather show you more art) and we decided to include it here:

Mars’ two moons, Phobos and Deimos, are generally considered worthless rocks.  Neither boasts any mineral resources to speak of and only Phobos is currently populated, serving as a maximum security CSC penal colony.

Finally, this week’s soundtrack is Broken Bell’s ‘The Ghost Inside.’  It has a nice eerie, electronic vibe.  And if you haven’t seen the video, it is amazing.

Continue Reading


by admin on / Uncategorized

PAGE EIGHTEEN.  Interior commercial freightlifter TK-421.  First, since it’s still technically Thursday in parts of the U.S., Happy Thanksgiving!  When the first colonists settled Mars in 2128, they celebrated their first year’s algae harvest with a feast. And though their hab unit violently depressurized later that evening, most Martians continue to honor their ill-fated celebration to this day….

I know I say this every week, but I absolutely love this page.  First, and this is admittedly my fault as the writer, we’ve seen quite a bit of brooding and anger from the girls.  This week, however, Nic gets to show our heroines having some fun; relaxing.  I think the panel with Sam laughing is great.  Second, Vexx’s vibro-blade came out perfectly.  It is the right amount of baroque combined with the right amount of techno.

This week’s music pairing comes from Nic:

“Jardin de Cecile from ‘Juno Reactor’. It’s got a very nice electronic-alien vibe, and I actually inked and coloured this listening to it.”

Finally, I said last week I would list a few of the webcomics I’ve been reading regularly.  I’m probably like many of you and I tend to go back and read online comics once a month, but these comics have definitely kept me coming back.  In no particular order:

Spy 6 Teen

If you liked Buffy (or any other Joss Whedon show for that matter), you’ll dig this comic.  Tim Simmons does a great job keeping this genre fresh.  This is a great example of art and story working together.

Girls in Space

It is hard to describe James Spence’s sci-fi comedy.  I like to think that Samantha from SG would read this comic and love it.

The Horror of Colony 6

The guys at Webcomic Factory do some great work.  They are naffing prolific as well.  And while I read most of the site’s offerings, I am a total sucker for sci-fi horror.  It has some great atmosphere and B movie quality to it.  Is that Vincent Price?

Continue Reading


by admin on / Uncategorized

I sort of envisioned this as the stowage class on the Titanic (foreshadowing?).  Refugees, miners, and punk bands on the lam would use commercial transport as a cheap alternative to the more expensive mag-lev lines.  Or the ultra-extravagant passenger liners, like the Cyclopean Wind mentioned here by Sam.  Probably also a good mode of transport for the more nefarious types; I don’t think you need to go through a body scan to take this trip.  Nic captures the gloomy, industrial feel of the cargo hold of this hauler perfectly.  Not a environ Vexx is used to.

In webcomic news, the 2010 Webcomic List nominations are open.  I’m not going to tell you who you should vote for ‘Best New Comic’, but if you’re involved in the comics/webcomics industry (there’s a webcomic industry?), I recommend voting for whichever comics you’ve enjoyed this year.  I think the more nominations they get, the better it is for webcomics in general.  I’m certainly no expert, but next week I’m going to compile my favorite webcomics of 2010, if you’re interested

Continue Reading


by admin on / Uncategorized

The girls are “on the lam.”  Though, at this point, I think they see it more as an excuse for just getting out of town.  I really love Sam’s outfit here.  Nic enjoys changing up the “costumes”, while retaining a specific thematic look for each character.

The commercial freightlifter foot note is a little tribute to HHGttG.  I’d like to include more of these as the series progresses.  Whataya think?  I hope they give Mars some additional depth/character.  Sort of like our background pages.  Speaking of which, we sould have a new one of those soon on the Martian Mining Guilds

Continue Reading


by admin on / Uncategorized

PAGE FIFTEEN.  Track 2 begins with a cool shot of Olympus City’s harbor.  This is really the Red Planet’s hub for travel and commerce.  I think Nic has nailed the bustling chaos of the main spaceport here.  The scale really works, too, with the Martians dwarfed by the various liners and cargo loaders.

Nic was a little worried about his vehicle designs, but I think he was unnecessarily concerned.  They’ve got a cool “boxy” look.  And their engine configurations have a little of the Betty (Alien Resurrection) going on.

I also love the girls’ “stealth” fashion.  This is their idea of keeping a low profile.

Fashion, in general, is a big part of the comic.  Nic and I have talked a lot about what the characters wear and Nic has an almost Euro sensibility.  In fact, I like to think that Luc Besson would dig this comic.  I realize I just sort of referenced Luc Besson twice.

In other webcomic news, Warren Ellis has invited webcomic creators to post a few pages and a synopsis on his Whitechapel Forums.  I’ve looked through a few of the pages and there is some very cool stuff.  If you get a chance,

Continue Reading