Conan the Barbarian series is being developed by Amazon


Amazon is developing drama series Conan, based on the books by Robert E. Howard, Deadline has learned. The project hails from Colony co-creator Ryan Condal, Game of Thrones director Miguel Sapochnik, Fargo and The Handmaid’s Tale executive producer Warren Littlefield, Pathfinder Media and Endeavor Content.

If this is true, this is very exciting stuff.

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How To Make Your Own Comic Book Part 1


Step 1, the idea:

I have decided to re-post this series after many emails from the last one I did.
I started this site many years ago to document my experimental path to making a graphic novel. I have deviated on occasion from the real purpose here, but lately I've been getting back to the mechanics and art of visual storytelling.

This is a multi-part series on how to make a graphic novel based on my own experience. There is always more than one way to do things so keep in mind that if you've done it a different way and you’re reading this now, congratulations! Keep going in the direction you're going and we will both get there together. There is no wrong way of doing things, only a different way.

Sometimes I outgrow my tiny studio and overflow into the dining room.

The professional comic book industry does things a certain way which I will mostly adhere to. However, there are several things that I do differently to achieve the same or similar results. In the end, my book is as professional as anything on the market is today.

Prisoner of the Mind prototype. I have gone through over 100 revisions and counting. It takes a while to get it right. We'll get into more on that later.

The difference is, that I employ time-saving devices to streamline my process. Remember it is only you, not a company full of writers, pencilers, inkers, letterers, graphic designers, and editors. You can see that you will wear many hats in the graphic novel making process.

I like to see things visually, so wall placement is part of my process of elimination.

Throughout this series, I will give you many links and resources to help you. I suggest you read my entire post first, then go back and click on the links for more information. If you click on the links as you go, you might get lost on the way to the light at the end of the tunnel because the tunnel is long.

Ok let's get to work, so, you want to make a graphic novel or comic book. You are creative, artistic and a decent storyteller. That’s good, you’ll need all of your skills to pull it off. First of all, don’t think about anything format related yet, like the number of pages, size of the book or any of that. We will have plenty of time to get into the technical details later. The first and most important step is a good story idea.





 Some of my early character sketches for Prisoner of the Mind

If you have a good imagination, you probably already have several ideas bouncing around in your head. Before you proceed, you need to figure out which one is the strongest. I will approach this in two parts.
  1. You have too many ideas and don’t know which one to develop.
  2. You have no idea what to write.
I have a solution to both problems, let’s tackle number one first.

You have too many ideas. Let’s say you have five different ideas. Take all of the ones you have and compare them to what’s been done already.

If I really need some inspiration I go back through my sketchbook and pluck out one character then develop it further until I have something interesting.

Example; If you have a story about an average character that develops some type of superpower, check out what’s gone before. Chances are you’re not reinventing the wheel here. Spiderman, Daredevil, Hulk You will most likely find it hard to beat those stories without copying them in some way. 

If it’s already been done, cross it off your list. Unless, it really, really, really stands out in some unique way that perceptive comic readers will say hmm. Ok, now after you are down to say three final ideas figure out which one makes the most sense and which is the strongest. Here is what I do to figure this out.

Creating the best idea: Come up with a working title for only three ideas and then write one or two sentences to describe what the story is about.

These are mine:
  1. Prisoner of the mind is a neo-noir thriller set in the near future of New York, the Unforgiving City. An agent accidentally uncovers a seventy-year-old secret, which opens a door that cannot be closed.

  1. Vault of Heaven: The vault of heaven opens once every millennium. A burning star falls to the earth and new life is born.

  1. Ghost Circus: Do you believe in magic, werewolves, or the supernatural? If you came face to face with your disbelief, would you die from fear? Throughout history, one ringmaster has taken his mysterious circus of freaks to one lucky town somewhere in the world. Children watch and believe, without fear when they are young, but when they grow up everything changes and fear creeps in. No matter how old you are, it’s not too late to believe, is it too late for you?

Here is some additional info on writing a story synopsis:

Now that you have three ideas, think about what your main character will look like. Start sketching. Many times, you’ll make two or three sketches right off the bat, and know that this story isn’t your strongest. Great! Save that one for later. Focus on the one that rises to the top of your list. It is all about process of elimination. Once you have it down to one story, then you need to write.

Here is a stack of P.O.M. scripts that I have collected for each revision over the years. Eventually, they will probably be recycled.

In my case, I chose Prisoner of the Mind because I already wrote the first treatment many, many years ago and I always wanted to draw a spy noir thriller so I had a jumping off point. Second, there are too many crappy stories about aliens and ghosts floating around out there anyway. You can only choose one because you are going to be working on it for a long time. Keep the other stories in a file somewhere and when you finish your first one, revisit the others down the road. Write them in a word document, don’t write them directly into your blog. Why, because the web is notoriously unstable and you would hate to lose everything because a server went down somewhere and wasn't backed up. I also print out all of my stories just in case that happens.

Back to problem number two. You have no idea what to write your story about. OK, start by breaking it down.

The Ancients was a story about discovering an old civilization that I started to develop in the 90's.

Is it a story about superheroes, on the other hand, non-superheroes? Is it set in the past, present or future? What era do you want to re-imagine? WWII, Neanderthal, a distant alien planet orbiting a double star? Remember, it’s all about the process of elimination.

Once you have an era or an idea, expand on it. With my stories, I like to include historical facts that are somewhat re-imagined for today. Think Forest Gump or Captain America, both stories had some historical foundation that really grounded the viewer/reader in facts, and then twisted them into fiction.

I am personally a huge fan of Science Fiction, so all of my stories tend to have a bit of that in them. If you’re still hurting for ideas try reading these, and play a little game called.

WHAT IF?

Be creative, what if this didn’t happen, or what if someone else got there first, or what if history got it wrong?
  1. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_science
  2. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_technology
  3. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_physics
  4. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timeline_of_United_States_inventions_(before_1890)
  5. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spacefaring
From this list, you should be able to generate some cool ideas.

Still don’t have any solid ideas? Try this: Writing techniques using the snowflake method: 

Once you have one idea write it down and keep going until you have three. Go back to step one above. You want to start with three ideas then pluck out the strongest to develop your story.

Part 2 Write it down. Coming soon... 


100 Million Year Old Flower Discovered in Amber

Tropidogyne pentaptera

Just look at this thing. You can see all of the veining and tiny hairs on the pedals. It looks like something out of Stranger Things.

Scientists think dinosaurs brushed these ancient flowers into pools of tree resin, creating fossils preserved in amber. A Triceratops bulling its way through a pine forest likely dislodged flowers that 100 million years later have been identified in their fossilized form as a new species of tree.

George Poinar Jr., professor emeritus in Oregon State University’s College of Science, said it’s the first time seven complete flowers of this age have been reported in a single study. The flowers range from 3.4 to 5 millimeters in diameter, necessitating study under a microscope.



“The amber preserved the floral parts so well that they look like they were just picked from the garden,” Poinar said. “Dinosaurs may have knocked the branches that dropped the flowers into resin deposits on the bark of an araucaria tree, which is thought to have produced the resin that fossilized into the amber. Araucaria trees are related to kauri pines found today in New Zealand and Australia, and kauri pines produce a special resin that resists weathering.”

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A Plant That Was Around With The Dinosaurs Has Been Found Alive


The dinosaurs that roamed Earth 66 million years ago might be gone forever, but the plants they trampled through are still with us, as a new discovery in the US shows.

Scientists have come across a prehistoric plant called Lychnothamnus barbatus in North America for the first time, although it has previously been spotted in isolated clumps in Europe and Australasia.


The large, green, stonewort-style alga provides food and habitats for fish and other aquatic organisms, and has been thriving on the planet for tens of millions of years. It means other such discoveries of plants long thought extinct could be possible.

"[Its] survival isn't, per se, ecologically Earth-shaking, but it changes our view of what the algal flora of North America is composed of and inspires us to keep hunting for more new finds," says botanist Richard McCourt from Drexel University in Pennsylvania.

"This means mainly that we don't know as much about what's out there as we could."


The alga was found in 16 lakes across Wisconsin and Minnesota between 2012 and 2016, and while scientists immediately recognised they were looking at something unusual, they had to extract its DNA to confirm it was Lychnothamnus barbatus.


Photo id: 75466 - Lychnothamnus barbatus

Picture modified from Walter Emil Friedrich August Migula - Algen. 2. Teil. Rhodophyceae, Phaeophyceae, Characeae. Kryptogamen-Flora von Deutschland, Deutsch-Österreich und der Schweiz im Anschluss an Thoma's Flora von Deutschland. Band II. (1909)


Gloam animated short fantasy film


I've decided to start of the new year right, with a flashback. Check out the interesting little short film called Gloam, by David Elwell & Gareth Hughes.


Wandering a dark forest, a solitary creature encounters something unknown with only curiosity to lead the way.


We are the forest.




Happy New Year!



May all of your adventures be filled with treasure this year.



The Minds of Plants


At first glance, the Cornish mallow (Lavatera cretica) is little more than an unprepossessing weed. It has pinkish flowers and broad, flat leaves that track sunlight throughout the day. However, it’s what the mallow does at night that has propelled this humble plant into the scientific spotlight. 


Hours before the dawn, it springs into action, turning its leaves to face the anticipated direction of the sunrise. The mallow seems to remember where and when the Sun has come up on previous days, and acts to make sure it can gather as much light energy as possible each morning. When scientists try to confuse mallows in their laboratories by swapping the location of the light source, the plants simply learn the new orientation.

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Happy Holidaze!


Happy Holidays, may all your fantasies and adventures come true.





Black Angel to be released in 2018?


I've been hearing about a Black Angel movie for years. After a successfully funded Indiegogo project 2015, it appears that it is now going to be released in 2018. If you've never heard of Black Angel than you are not a child of the 80's.

35 years ago, Star Wars Set Designer Roger Christian came to George Lucas with a script called Black Angel. Lucas commissioned it on the spot.

That 25 minute short, made with a tiny budget and an even smaller crew, played in front of Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back screenings in England, Scotland and Australia. It went on to inspire a host of fantasy cinema classics, from Star Wars itself to John Boorman's Excalibur. And then it was lost.

Having been found after 35 years, and released on YouTube to a fantastic reception, we’re bringing Black Angel back as a feature film.



Think Game of Thrones meets Valhalla Rising, Excalibur meets Lord of the Rings. A powerful tale of ancient Celtic magic and Nordic Paganism, it’ll be gritty, dirty and heroic – everything great fantasy should be.


The story follows a knight as he journeys deep into the dark underworld with the daughter of a rival king, to meet the face of evil itself and fight the Black Angel in combat. Full of drama, action and heroism, pure light is pitted against eternal darkness and damnation. 



"In making this film, we want to return to the visceral physical action of classic fantasy films, like Conan the Barbarian and the original Star Wars. We will mainly rely on practical effects to bring the world of Black Angel to life, with CGI integrated into the film only when absolutely required." Says Roger Christian.





Check back for more updates. Let's see if it happens.






New Godzilla Anime Trailer Out! UPDATED!


The upcoming Godzilla: Monster Planet anime movie coming to Netflix features the largest King of the Monsters ever. At almost 1000 feet tall, it crushes the others!

Artist Noger Chen posted the picture below, comparing the height of Godzilla in all of the previous Godzilla films.

The original 1954 Godzilla has a height of just 50 meters (164 feet), while the 2014 Godzilla came in at 108 meters (354 feet), and the most recent to appear in Shin Godzilla comes in at 118.5 meters (389 feet).



Godzilla Planet of the Monsters.


The Godzilla anime trilogy is now on its second film, and thanks to the series' official website, we just learned that there's a new name for the "super gigantic" version of Godzilla that we met in the first film, Godzilla: Planet of the Monsters. The official name is "Godzilla Earth," and we'll see Godzilla's take on Mechagodzilla in the second installment, Godzilla: The City Mechanized for the Final Battle ("Godzilla: Kessen Kidō Zōshoku Toshi").



Godzilla: Planet of the Monsters opened in Japan last month and the film is slated to start streaming on Netflix soon. I can't wait, this looks really cool. I am a huge anime fan anyway, but with Godzilla... Get out! If you can't wait for the release, check out this anime Blame on Netflix. It's dark and trippy, but awesome.


Here's the official story summary: 

The planet is beset by the emergence of colossal creatures that roam the earth, and king among them is “Godzilla”. For a half a century, these beasts engage in ferocious battle with each other and mankind. But humans, unable to compete, prepare for exile from their home planet. In the year 2048, a select few humans are chosen by the central government's artificial intelligence infrastructure to set out on an interstellar emigration vessel, the Aratrum, on an 11.9-lightyear journey for the planet Tau-e in the Cetus constellation. But when they arrive after 20 years of space travel, the remnants of mankind find the environmental conditions on Tau-e to be much different than expected, and basically uninhabitable by humans.


One youth on board the emigration vessel, Haruo, had seen his parents killed by Godzilla before his eyes when he was only 4 years old. Ever since, he has thought of nothing but returning to Earth to defeat Godzilla. With the doors to emigration now closed, Haruo and other crew spearhead a “return to Earth” decision despite severely attenuated and hazardous conditions on board for such a long trip back.

Somehow, the Aratrum makes the return journey in one piece, but the home they return to has become an alien planet. 20,000 years have elapsed, and a new ecosystem has emerged with Godzilla atop the food chain. Can mankind take back its native planet? Will Haruo get his revenge?


Godzilla: The City Mechanized for the Final Battle will open in Japan in May, 2018. 

Update's soon when Netflix releases the film.