Archive for May, 2008

May 31 2008

Comic Book Art: How to Make Speech & Thought Bubbles in Photoshop

Published by under Art,Comic Books,Making Art

I provide advice about how to write novels, comic books and graphic novels. Most of my content applies to fiction-writing in general, but I also provide articles specifically about superhero stories.

In this article, Jacob walks you through how to illustrate speech and thought bubbles for comic books, webcomics and header art.  He also has a few free samples for your convenience.

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May 30 2008

The Office of Special Investigations Does Clue!

Mike challenges Agent Black and Agent Orange to a game of Clue. Question: if the victim was killed by a noose, was it murder or assisted suicide?

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2 responses so far

May 29 2008

How to Write Origin Stories

Here are a few tips to help you write better origin stories for characters in superhero novels and comic books.

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902 responses so far

May 28 2008

Lol Gator 3

I think he’s going to feed the gator more than he intended.

Picture c/o simplydumb.com, caption courtesy of me (inserted with the help of ICanHas Cheezburger.com

One response so far

May 27 2008

Quote of the Day: Halloween Ideas

Agent Orange: Greetings, Mammal-Black! I have an excellent costume for our upcoming office Halloween party. It makes full use of my mammal-frightening teeth and reptilian horror factor and this pleases me.

Agent Black: Godzilla?

Agent Orange: IRS agent.

Agent Black: That’s a terrible costume.

Agent Orange: Don’t make me take 28% of your candy!

No responses yet

May 25 2008

Gator Art

“It’s not mine, officer, I swear!”

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May 24 2008

Return to Jim’s Gunz and Mattresses

Agent Orange, the mutated alligator, has a conversation with Agent Black about a firearm he purchased from Jim’s Gunz and Mattresses.

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May 23 2008

And other exciting new defense technology developments…

Dr. Darpa: I heard that Russia is now patrolling its nuclear-armed bombers 24 hours a day now.

Captain Carnage: That’s right.

Dr. Darpa: That could destabilize US-Russian relations, if we thought there were any conceivable chance Russian bombers could get close enough to attack Chicago or Seattle.

Captain Carnage: I’d say at least 50%.

Dr. Darpa: 50%, hah! Not after you see what I’ve been working on: Project Unmutually Assured Destruction. It’s the largest surface-to-air missile site ever built. It was so colossal that I could only fit it in Yosemite National Park.

Captain Carnage: An antiballistic missile site in a national park?

Dr. Darpa: Now, the only remaining task is to name it. I present to you: the Yosemite SAM Site.

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May 21 2008

Taxes! Taxes!

The main difference between the IRS and a robber is that the IRS makes the victim an accomplice to the crime.

–Agent Orange

Hey! Don’t make me audit you.

–Agent Black, formerly of the IRS

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May 21 2008

Future Cops, 1. Academics, 0

This is an excerpt from an interesting article on college.

I assigned a research paper. This time around, the students were to elucidate the positions of scholars on two sides of a historical controversy. Why did Truman remove MacArthur? Did the United States covertly support the construction of the Berlin Wall? Their job in the paper, as I explained it, was to take my arm and introduce me as a stranger to scholars A, B, and C, who stood on one side of the issue, and to scholars D, E, and F, who were firmly on the other—as though they were hosting a party.

A future state trooper snorted. “Some party,” he said.

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May 20 2008

How to Format WordPress Text (A Photographic Essay)

This article will teach you how to change the space between paragraphs, create internal links, add footnotes, and a few other tricks applicable to WordPress.
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May 20 2008

Gator Art 4

slowlearner.jpg

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May 20 2008

Are you writing a story or an atlas?

Published by under Writing Articles

When fantasy novelists begin a novel with a world-map, that scares me. It is too tempting then to begin the book with a lengthy list of the places in your world, such as the Plains of Woe or Agraria or the kingdom of Lucinel or the Mountains of Rockiness or wherever. Unfortunately, readers don’t really know much (if anything) about these locations and they aren’t very engaging. As a novelist, you have at most three sentences to make us want to keep reading and Lucinel is a word that means literally nothing to us.

When readers pick up a fantasy book, they do not want an atlas. They want a story. Places do matter, but they are most assuredly not the meat of your story. Instead of telling us Lucinel is west of the Plains of the Hobgoblins, tell us about a Lucinel resident who will interest us. “It was only slightly before he saw the elf’s face explode that the reporter had begun to regret signing up with The Lucinel Muckraker.” This immediately immerses us in a story and gets us asking questions. Who’s the elf and why did his face explode? Who’s the journalist? What’s wrong with the Muckraker?

By contrast, introducing a slew of locations raises no questions except for “why should I care about this location?” If readers have to ask themselves why they should care about your writing, they’re probably imminently about to stop reading. Don’t let this happen to you!

10 responses so far

May 19 2008

Featured Quote of the Day: Bring the Kids!

Agent Orange: Kids today are so hard to please.

Agent Black: I don’t even want to think about how you might know that.

Agent Orange: Yesterday…

Teacher: Class, today our guest speaker is Agent Orange.

Agent Orange: I’m a Special Investi-Gator.

Teacher: Could you explain what it is you do?

Agent Orange: Are you sure? There are kids here.

Student 1: Have you ever killed anyone?

Agent Orange: Laws need claws or they’d just be words.

Student 2: How many people have you killed?

Agent Orange: The confirmed score or a rough estimate?

Agent Black: …

Agent Black: Suddenly I have questions of my own.

One response so far

May 18 2008

Atheism, Religion and Mutated Alligator Drivers

Published by under Comedy

AGENT ORANGE: Greetings, Mammal-Black! Do you remember that time I seized your driving wheel when we were set upon by hoodlums armed with rocket launchers?

AGENT BLACK: That time you nearly destroyed half of Washington from the passenger seat of a government-issued sedan? Yeah. That was last week.

AGENT ORANGE: (If your reflexes were as sharp as your memory, perhaps you could drive next time). In any case, it has come to my attention that the Vatican has named me a Defender of the Faith.

AGENT BLACK: I didn’t know that you were Catholic.

AGENT ORANGE: Indeed. My heart beats only for the Gator Gods.

AGENT BLACK: So how…

AGENT ORANGE: I’m an 100% effective cure for atheism!

AGENT BLACK: …

AGENT BLACK: What?

AGENT ORANGE: Well, when I took the wheel apparently everybody prayed.

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May 18 2008

What!?!

Published by under Comedy,Commentary

The US government has introduced a fitness test for adults. Did you know that the government thinks it’s “normal” to have a 500-inch waist circumference?

I’m going to go out on a limb and say that if you have a 500 inch waist, you probably do not have a 24.1 BMI.

One response so far

May 15 2008

I’ve got a bad feeling about this?

Published by under Comedy,News

In Britain, a man dressed as Darth Vader has been spared jail-time for drunkenly attacking two Star Wars fans (“Jedi worshippers”) with a metal crutch.  Ah, Britain.

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May 15 2008

Gator Art

Intuition

Picture c/o http://www.bastroplibrary.org/mckinneyroughs06/rough500gator.jpg .

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May 11 2008

Missouri Celebrates! The Funeral Day Robber is Caught

Published by under Comedy,News

And other strange, strange news from the heartland.

  • The “Funeral Day Burglar” has been caught in Platt City, Missouri.  He targeted his victims by checking the obituaries and funeral schedules, figuring that the homes of the deceased would be vacant during their funerals.  No word yet on whether his home will receive unexpected visitors during his arraignment.
  • A Pennsylvania judge has banned four women from Pennsylvania malls after saying “they descended on Pennsylvania like a plague of locusts.” Fortunately, West Virginia and Ohio, those lands flowing with milk and honey and lightly guarded shopping malls, are still open to them.  But will the judge let those people go?

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May 11 2008

Are you worth reading?

This brief article will help you design a premise for a novel or blog that sells better.

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May 08 2008

Quote of the Day: Sports

The biggest suckers in football are the Jets. In basketball, the refs. In soccer, the spectators.

— Agent Orange

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May 07 2008

I have a question about loveable superheroes for you

Three questions, actually. Which is your favorite superhero and why? Finally, what are three things you associate with that hero?

Thanks a lot for your feedback; I’m writing an article on how to make superheroes loveable.

48 responses so far

May 07 2008

Quote of the Day: Questions

Agent Black and everybody’s favorite mutated alligator, Agent Orange, have a strange conversation about killing terrorists with sponge-cake. And other questions you never thought to ask!

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May 06 2008

Quote of the Day: Sports

Soccer can teach us a lot about Europe. There’s a lot of running but precious little action, and violence is always liable to break out at any moment.

— Agent Orange

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May 03 2008

Adios, Don Gato

Agent Black and everybody’s favorite mutated alligator, Agent Orange, have a heated argument about one of America’s most popular daily comic-strips, Don Gato.

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May 02 2008

Hits and Misses

Published by under Comedy

Yetisburg

Pro: More respectable than Battle Cattle.

Con: What!?!

Hat-tip to Progressive Ruin.

The New Adventures of Abraham Lincoln

Pro: Cool concept?  It looks substantially less weird than Yetisburg, in any case.

Con:  It looks like the cover was done in about 2 hours.  And the replacement of Abe’s head with his presidential portrait was not a good move.

Hat-tip to Scott McCloud.

Santa Cthulhu

Pro:  Obviously awesome.

Con:  Nothing I can think of.

No responses yet

May 01 2008

Writing a Strong Introduction for a Novel

Published by under Writing Articles

This article will help you write an opening for your book that develops the characters, plot and world.

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327 responses so far

May 01 2008

Effectively Promoting Your Book: Getting the Most out of a Booksigning

Some starting authors expect that their work is over when their manuscript gets picked up by a publisher. No, not even close. Once the book is published, it falls largely to the author to market his work by running promotional events like book-signings.

Learning to host an effective book-signing is as crucial for authors as a good hand-shake is for a politician. Here is some advice on how to hold an effective promo event. Continue Reading »

15 responses so far