Welcome back. Huddle up, gang. Shoo away the vermin and take a knee.
In print this week for the first time is Project Shadow Breed issue #4 and with it comes the debut of everyone's soon-to-be-favorite fetish suited South African villainess, the Red Hyena. PSB #4 had premiered digitally on ComixCentral so eager folks have caught early glimpses of our girl here. Issue four of the series is the most bonkers installment of the whole shebang, hands down. Not just because the Hyena appears, but because of all the weird turns taken in the narrative. Mad scientists, S&M dungeons, unexplained Native American chiefs in spacesuits. Somebody spiked our drink this month.
When writer Justin Bartz brought me onto his comic book he always gave me a lot of visual freedom and never moreso than with this script. But we did have a lot of conversations about the presentation of the Red Hyena. Justin had decided to create her based on my complaining that we weren't exploiting enough female characters. We had no idea what we were doing. Her initial stages were a jumble of mixed schizophrenic and mutually exclusive descriptions. We wanted her sleek and feminine but at the same time she would need to be all bulked up with hardware to wield a mandatory jet propulsion engine on her back for a citywide aerial robot fight. I drew some horrible ideas. Justin pulled the reigns and tossed out my Rocketeer and Robocop designs.
In Hitchcock movies, it's the blonde that draws the eye into the suspense film. In comics, it's red haired women for action. My breakthrough on her development was throwing out my preconceived notion that she had to be a pale freckled Irish lass and instead pushed her into becoming the tasty anarchic South African villainess with whom we're enamored today.
And we found a way to have our cake and eat it, too, outfitting her with a big powerful mech suit to battle the hulking robots above the city but slinking down to a vinyl red jumpsuit when dealing at the human level.
She's an exuberant character who takes over every panel. Check her out and tell us what you think on Twitter at @ProjectShadowBr.
I bring you Eric Callahan who has just rolled out the first installment of his theatrically created digital story Pete and Black Duck. He describes his creative process and the inspiration for his new story which is only available on his website because he decided against limiting himself to the standard comic book format when he knew he had different ideas about what one should expect from the digital experience. And it's beautiful.
The first images I saw from Callahan last year had me hooked with their mood and timing. When I tracked him down, he surprisingly said that he had been a fan of Project Shadow Breed and we hit it off immediately. Callahan talks about the merits of taking his time and putting out a first comic that he can be proud of rather than rushing too soon and later being regretful.
Take a look at what he's got up his sleeve.
From the mean streets of Los Angeles comes graffiti artist and Indigenous revolutionary Votan. This interview was months in the making but Votan was generous with his time. I managed to get his thoughts on Indigenous comic book culture, tips on hijacking the mainstream to implant your own subversive messages and his collective influence on the newest crop of graffiti bandits.
Check out his clothing line NSRGNTS and meet back here next week for the full scoop on the Comix Voodoo Hayride.