As a young child I read a lot of comic books, mostly DC and Marvel Comics, looking for a superhero to identify with. I looked for new comics as they were released that featured my favorite characters. I would read them and trade with friends. When Sac-Con came to town on Sunday, June 2, I made my way to the event to find out how the comic book industry has changed.
As with many other young collectors with similar experiences, my comic books and baseball card collections were thrown away by my mom.
Although many things change, comic book collection remains the same in many respects. Readers and collectors purchase a printed comic (they don’t cost 10 cents anymore).
The comic book heroes of DC and Marvel have made noticeable changes. The creation of a whole new industry in the movie business has made its impact. Now you can most certainly expect a superhero movie to open the summer season of blockbuster movie releases.
Sacramento has hosted Sac-Con since the summer of 1986, and attracts many spectators. The next Sac-Con has grown to a two-day event to be held Sept. 28-29, 2013.
Most of us don’t really know what goes into creating a comic book, and as one such person I interviewed Jason Dube, who published Scattered Comics’ new release of Blinth no.1, vol. 1, June 2013. The release was made especially for the June 2 Sac-Con.
Question: Can you give me an overview of what process is followed in creating a comic, or in creating Blinth?
Dube: Blinth is a brand-new, premier issue Blinth number 1 written by me and drawn by Noel Serrato. This character actually is from my “Scattered” series, and was a minor character that became so popular that we had to give it its own series.
Question: Can you tell us what goes on when creating a comic?
Dube: When creating a comic book the first thing I do is, obviously, is try to figure out what kind of a story I want to tell. The key to doing a comic book is to always have a beginning and an ending and make sure you know where it’s going. If you’re lost while you’re writing the story the reader is also going to get lost and no one is going to care until maybe they pick up the next issue.
Once you have the story, for this particular comic I had a script and I sent it over to my artist, Noel Serrato. He will do thumbnails, which are really like if you’re doing a movie you use storyboards, that’s kind of what thumbnails are. He’ll show me the basic layout with little scribbles; If it looks good then he’ll go in and do a beautiful pencil drawing. If anything is missing or I want to change something I’ll give him feedback and go to the next step.
I’ll approve the pencils and then we’ll go to ink. Then we go and send the ink to our colorist who, for this project, is Vasco Sobral. After the colors come in I’ll go and drop in the text in the design.
When everything is done I put everything into a nice packaged PDF and send it over to the printer. That’s pretty much how it works.
Question: How is your comic different than others?
Dube: That’s a tricky question to answer without sounding superior because everyone does really beautiful art and beautiful work and everyone has stories to tell.
I think my stories are different because I’m trying to tell them mostly from things that have happened in my life. So in a way a lot of the people who buy the comics can relate to them because things that have happened in my life have probably happened to others who can relate to them. At the same time I’m telling a personal story. So I think that’s how it will be different from everyone else since they all have their own story.
Originally this character Blinth came from “Scattered,” which is the very first comic book I ever did 22 years ago.
I want to represent a lot of the cultures and religions and beliefs. Blinth includes a lot of Egyptian mythology. It includes characters like Bast and other mythological characters and I wanted to include them. I also just didn’t want to rip them off but do my own thing, so I created Blinth, which is kind of a mesh of different characters, and I wanted to use a cool-looking god.
I included Blinth in “Scattered” but he was more of a minor character that helped move the story along and wasn’t really a main focus but people loved him. People just wanted anything else with him in it so in the first series I killed him off, much like Boba Fett from Star Wars. He was kind of serving a purpose and then I just killed him off. Now I have to figure out, without giving too much away, how he will be returning to the “Scattered” series. You can do that with spirits and gods you know; they’re a little bit easier than with humans.
For this new series first thing I want to do is reignite the character for those who don’t know him. I create the story of Blinth and he actually is the offspring of Anubis and Bast. So we find out that he’s the offspring of Anubis and Bast and then later on find out a little bit more about his relationship with Lucifer and hiatus.
Question: How long did it take to start and complete this project?
Dube: Noel is a pretty fast artist. The only thing that set us back was the colorist’s schedule, otherwise this was wrapped up probably within three to four months. It was pretty quick and that’s on top of the other titles I’m working on.
Question: How long have you worked with Serrato?
Dube: This is actually our first collaboration. I gave him a test page because I wanted him to eventually take over my “Scattered” series as artist. I have to do this because I have so many titles going on and I draw them all. I want get these titles out in a quick enough space to get them out to the fans.
I probably should tell you; he used to own a comic book store and I met him because I went to that comic book store and I wanted to teach comic book classes. So I used to teach comic book classes out of his store. So that’s actually how we met.
After we started talking we noticed that we walked around the same comic book circles. He used to work with an artist named Billy Martinez who is a published artist very well known for “Heavy Metal” and “Wildflower,” so he showed me some of his portfolio work and I was like “Wow, you’re really good,” but it took a while to the point where I was ready to start bringing in other artists. That’s the hardest thing you know to trust someone to draw your characters.
I’ve done writing, drawing everything except the coloring. I tried my hand in it. Unless you want a comic every 20 years, I am not a colorist. I did everything so I had complete control. Now I have a colorist and I have an artist. It was hard to let go completely. It was my baby but you have to do that for the good of the story, you want the fans to have something that keeps moving forward and not wait a bunch of years for every issue to come out.
Question: Now that you have a family and all that, how do you manage your time?
Dube: You know that’s kind of a trick question, because in a way you have less time to work on the comic books. But you know what, when you have that one hour or two hours when my son takes a nap during the day you knock out all the day’s work in that time. If I have the one hour I know I have to finish these three pages of work, that’s it.
You also have deadlines, clients to contact, so you actually get faster because you have to. You have less time to get it done but for some reason you find the time to get it done.
Those were my last questions I had for Dube, but being as humble as he is he suggested I meet Serrato and ask him a couple of questions.
I took Dube’s suggestion and spoke with Serrato. Serrato began drawing in junior high, following in the steps of an older brother yet not wanting to walk in his brother’s shadow, and developed his own style. Besides his brother, Serrato shared that friends who created graffiti art influenced him.
“As far as Blinth is concerned, Jason gave me, not 100 percent, but he gave me a lot of space for creativity to work with a couple of characters especially Blinth,” said Serrato. He continued, “He gave me a lot of leeway; he said, you know what, make it your own character even though it is Scattered Comics, and play with it.”
Serrato complemented Dube, saying, “He opened the door for me basically for being creative. It’s a joy plus I didn’t have to write it, I didn’t have to color it, all I had to do worry about was penciling and inking and that’s a joy for me. I love that.”
Do you have any ideas about creating your own comic? Do you have a story to tell? Do you have the creativity to draw, ink or color? Would you like to create and publish your own comic book? Visiting Scattered Studios, created by Dube, can answer all these questions for you. Scattered Studios brings together artists who can help you create, publish, print and market your own comic book.
Scattered Comics’ 22 years in the comic book industry continues to bring fantasies to life. Attend the next Sac-Con, renamed Super Sac-Con, Sept. 28-29 to learn more about the comic book industry. Better yet, come dressed as your favorite fantasy or comic book hero and join this ever-growing community.