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“Creating Comics Is an Act of Pure Magic” – Kristin’s Story #ComicsEmpower

Today, on the Comics Empower Project, Kristin Kest shares her personal story!

Kristin is the artist on the upcoming graphic novel series, Lost in Dreams. Her story is about how creating the graphic novel empowered her!

Read on:

Kristin

Kristin

Economy of line. Expressive faces and body language. Nonverbal communication. The happy marriage of text and image. Good graphic design. These are the formal things one would expect to find in a well-done graphic novel or comic book.

These things are what keep us glued to the pages and what makes us come back to a story again and again. It’s what makes the graphic novel so much fun to create and so much more of a challenge than anything else I’ve done in my career.

What I didn’t expect to learn being on this side of the creative end, was how to grapple with the compression and expansion of time. Of course, we take for granted the passing of time when we watch movies, as they are literally moving. The idea of time is such a contrivance anyway but to capture its passing in still frames over a series of pages is an act of pure magic.

The graphic novel doesn’t sit still. It is a verb in motion and is the purest freedom of the imagination that I know.

 

About Kristin: Kristin has been s a freelance illustrator for a quarter of a century (yikes!) and this is my first graphic novel. Her other activities include college teaching (illustration) and being a part-time musician in a classic rock band. She’s married, has three cats, and lives in a 250 year-old log house in the big woods of Pennsylvania. Check out some of her illustrations at her website.

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“Comics Were an Exit Visa from the Land of Can’t.” – Bill’s Story #ComicsEmpower

Today, on the Comics Empower Project, Bill Campbell shares his personal story!

Bill Campbell

Bill Campbell

I am far from alone when I say that, growing up, comic books provided a much-needed escape. Being raised in an all-white community in the United States during the 1970s and ‘80s, I often felt like I was imprisoned in the “Land of Can’t.” It seemed that people spent a lot of time telling me all the things I can’t do: you can’t live in this neighborhood; you can’t go to this school; you can’t do well in school; you can’t go to college; you can’t be a writer…

 

Fortunately, those words never really took. My mother would never let them. Also, I had comic books. The Falcon, the Black Panther, Luke Cage. Comic books never inspired me to want to fly or lead a technologically-advanced African nation (though impervious skin may have been nice). But I did love the escape—the chance to explore a world, ever so briefly, where fantastical things such as flying were possible, a world where the Land of Can’t could never be found on the map.

 

This escape, however, was not just imaginary; it was also physical. I started writing and drawing at an early age. Just before high school, my mother enrolled me in a teen program at the Art Institute of Pittsburgh. This didn’t lead to my becoming a visual artist. It did, however, expand my world dramatically. I met other aspiring artists, I met other blerds (black nerds), and comic book geeks.

 

In other words, I found a new home, filled with fellow travelers. These new friends helped develop a belief within myself that anything was possible, and it’s been a creative life for me ever since. While I have spent the majority of my creative life writing science fiction, I have recently returned to my childhood dream of producing comics. I owe comics everything—they set me on my life’s path, expanded my horizons, and provided my exit visa out of the Land of Can’t. I haven’t been back since.

 

Bill was raised in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Bill Campbell now resides with his family in Washington, DC. He’s the author of three novels (including Sunshine Patriots and Koontown Killing Kaper). Along with Edward Austin Hall, he co-edited Mothership: Tales from Afrofuturism and Beyond. He started Rosarium Publishing in 2013. www.rosariumpublishing.com


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“Comics Pulled Me out of the Darkness” – Mattie’s Story

Today, on the Comics Empower Project, Mattie Diem shares her personal story about how comic books inspired her!

It’s very personal, very touching, and worth the long read!

 

Mattie

Mattie

Like some people, I didn’t have the greatest childhood. It wasn’t the best but it could have been worse.

I thankfully no longer have contact with the man I had feared for so long, since I was 12.

For a long time afterwards, I felt as though I was a broken mess, nothing but a statistic who battled with depression, wondering why this awful thing had happened to me.

I didn’t start reading comic books until I was around 20. It was also the year that Iron Man came to the silver screen.

I didn’t know who Tony Stark was, but this movie really looked cool. So, I had to see it.

Back then I dabbled in nerd culture, and went through an anime/manga phase when I was in high school. Yet when the world of comic books was starting to come to theaters, I was intrigued. Since I grew up in the 90’s every Saturday morning I got to watch either Batman, The Animated Series, X-Men, X-Men Evolution and Batman Beyond but I really hadn’t’ heard of Tony Stark or Iron Man.

While watching the movie, I didn’t just get to experience an amazing entertaining storyline and plot; I truly got to see who Tony Stark was.

He wasn’t just a genius, billionaire, playboy, philanthropist; he was a man who was broken and hid behind his womanizing and drinking. His father’s death threw him through the ringer and then he was hit down even more by being captured by bad men who were working for his surrogate father who wanted him dead.

Instead of being swallowed up by his grief and sorrows for himself, he rose above it and became better than it. He became a superhero and saved many people. Even in his newer films, when the world was against him he still stood up for what was right and is still overcoming his past. It shows the strength I only wish to have minus the alcoholism and all his other problems.

That’s what I strive to do, not to become a superhero but to continue every day to rise above what I had survived. To no longer let it control me or dictate what I do.

Since then, I’ve dived into the world of comic books, movies, television shows, conventions and action figures. I even was offered to write for a local to my area website, www.girlsofgeek12.com , a website for all your geeky needs which I absolutely love.

I can only wish that one day it becomes my day job.

Until then this will continue to be, as my mother puts it my “hobby.”

Comic books and Comic book movies have changed my life for the better. It has pulled me out of darkness, seeing that no matter who or what you are you can make a change in yourself and the world.

 

You can follow Mattie at Girls of Geek. Their Twitter is @girlsofgeek12. Mattie’s Twitter is: @Mattie_LD. Happy geeking!


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“Illustrating is like acting for shy people.” – Vincent’s Story #ComicsEmpower

Today, Vincent Kings shares his personal story!

The Comics Empower Project is all about real people sharing real stories about how comic books empowered them!

Before we start, you should know that Vincent is a comic book artist, working on our flagship title, Wynter.

It’s long, but it’s worth reading! Here’s Vincent’s story:

Vincent KingsI’m a lucky man.

I get to live life twice – once as it happens, and again as I reinterpret things I’ve seen and felt into artwork.

Comics are often labeled escapism, but I figure the real value of fantastical stories is the perspective you get to return to your everyday life with.

Favorites like Daytripper and I Kill Giants do that for me.

Making comics is also as good a way to deal with fears and insecurities as I’ve been able to find.

Even a supremely crappy day can be dissected for material; every screw-up I make brings more honesty and vulnerability to the characters I’m drawing. On the bright side – a moment of bliss can last forever in a good painting.

Illustrating is like acting for shy people – I get to put the artwork between me and the you. If I do it right you’ll feel it as nakedly as if I was some classically trained thespian on a stage and not a grubby kid in sweatpants working on a laptop with his old Wacom tablet. You probably don’t wanna see that side of it, and I don’t want you to. Like any good performance, ideally you forget that there’s an actor in the characters.

The danger here is that I get way too into my work and forget to go outside. I haven’t figured out yet how to quiet the maniac in my head who berates me about all the comics I haven’t drawn yet, and if you know somewhere I can escape from him please lemme know. He might be me.


 

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“Personality Traits Not Intrinsically Bound by Gender” – Pandalion Death’s Story

The Comics Empower Project continues!

This time we asked the artist known as Pandalion Death to tell us what empowered her in comic books.

Here’s what she said:

Pandalion Death

Pandalion Death

Whenever anyone complains about wanting novels to have pictures, I ask why they aren’t reading comics.

Comics play out in my mind as films or episodes in literary form.

As a gluttonous reader, devouring Nick Spencer and Joe Eisma’s ‘Morning Glories’ has been akin to binge-watching tv shows.

At first glance, the comic looked like another prep school horror cliché until the questions piled up and the teenage stereotypes displayed character. Who doesn’t like a good mystery?

A stirring moment occurred when a character in quandary displayed admirable ruthlessness. Merciless personalities already exist in the story but this development was welcomed.

It was delightful to see such opportunistic rationale adding depth to a supercilious exterior. Question marks continue to arise: Are they who we think they are? Are they haunted by their choices? Are they a catalyst or pawn of events? Their actions are reminiscent of Claire Underwood from House of Cards, who is arguably one of the most nuanced television characters ever written.

No spoilers here, so you better read the comic and watch the show pronto.

The comparison ends there but what remains is the appreciation for Spencer’s writing.

Personality traits are not intrinsically bound by gender, race, or any other sociological classification, but we’ve been conditioned to think otherwise. Categorisation is necessary but not to the point of diluting complex comprehension altogether. It is therefore invigorating to encounter complexity in a comic where there is more than meets the eye.

 

Pandalion Death is a self-taught illustrator and graphic designer for garments, accessories, and household furnishings.


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“I Finally Realized What it Meant to Be a Superhero” – Casey’s Story

The Comics Empower Project continues!

This time we asked Casey Walsh to tell us what empowered him in comic books.

Here’s his story:

 

Casey Walsh

Casey Walsh

Casey Walsh

When New Worlds Comics asked me to tell you guys a story about an instance or moment when comics empowered my life I was extremely concerned I could deliver.

One because I have a terrible memory (mostly due to a crazy couple of years in college) and the other is because I don’t think one singular moment empowered me.

I was empowered by comics when I finally realized what it meant to be a superhero, whether it was Captain America standing against his friend in Marvel’s Civil War or Batman coming out of retirement to once again save his dying city in The Dark Knight Returns, or the countless heroes who have sacrificed themselves to save others.

I learned to be a superhero in comics and in life you had to be the best you possibly could be no matter what.

Comics empowered me by teaching me what it means to be the superhero I dreamt of as a child; to stand up for what is right even if the world is against you, to put others before yourself friend or foe, to stand against the impossible and still believe in the possible. Comics empowered me to be a better person, husband and father, and they continue to empower me with each and every panel.


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A Family Empowered by Comics – #ComicsEmpower

Welcome to our Comics Empower Project!

Here, people share how comic books empowered them!

Here is our first post: a father and three daughters – empowered by comics!

 

Taylor

Taylor

Jess (Artist name: Taylor-San)

How and why comics and heros inspire me…

At a young age I realized how messed up this world is, and I found the fantasy of comics healing to whatever bad was going on with me. Whether it be a comic of comedy, tragedy, or romance, if it had superheros in it, it made my reality seem better.

Indulging in a comic book or movie of heros makes me feel like I’m with them fighting or saving people. And to make my own heros and villains is even better. Some take after me and my family, and some are just work of my imagination.

But no matter what they are, they are the thing that gets me through good days and bad days. They inspire me to live a fun and creative life, through drawing, reading, movies and cosplay. Without the fantasy of comic heros, life would be a lot worse. Plus, who wouldnt want to be a super-powered being!

Thanks Dad for introducing me to the universe of supers.

 

Berny

Berny

Berny

Comic books have always been a huge part of my life.  Reading about humans that had these amazing abilities and chose to use them for what was right (usually) greatly influenced me.

Although I knew that I didn’t have super strength the ability to fly, etc., I did know I have the ability to always try to do the right thing.  Especially when it came to other people.

My favorite hero is Hawkeye.  I admire that his background wasn’t squeaky clean, and yet he turned that around to do good.  He also is a superhero because he pushed himself to be the best at what he does, and feared by those on the other side of his arrows.

That has always spoken to me because it made me feel like if I just push myself to be the best I can be and not ever give up, I will reach any goal I set my mind to.  I’m overjoyed that my father introduced comics to me.

 

EricaErica (Artist name: Malee)

When my dad showed me comics, I looked at the pictures in amazement, not knowing who was behind that beautiful art when growing up.

I looked at the art more than the story, always telling my dad Why doesn’t everyone read or at least see a comic book sometime in their life.

We look at these books and hear the amazing stores of Batman, or the X Men and do not really think about all that went into making that story, all which went into making it come alive.

I would love to be one of those artists one day. I would sit, look through all the pictures, copy exactly what I saw and did that over and over practicing to become the artist I wanted to be. But while doing this I could see that these heroes are awesome they fight daily for the betterment of mankind.

That is what I love and inspires me from comics.  I try to do and be my best most of the time.

I even speak up for those who are too shy or afraid to speak up.

Comics are never ending, and take you wherever you want to go, who wouldn’t love that.  Keep rockin’ the comics, keep rockin’!

 

Pascus

Pascus

Pascus Smith (Artist name: Telemikus)

Comics have been my passion since I was a kid probably around 9 or 10 years of age.

I even had a subscription to the X-Men comics for about 3 years. I was always anxious to get the next issue.  Every Saturday morning I was up at 7ish to watch cartoons.

Even after school I was ready for G.I. Joe, Super Friends, Centurions, Bionic Six, Mighty Orbots, Transformers, Spider-Man and any other superhero cartoon available.

While watching or reading them it always empowered me to always dig deep when I felt beaten. For example if I was hurt playing football I would think of the pain a hero went through and kept going, then I would suck it up and keep playing.

I would use their example of rising to the challenge almost on a daily bases.  Not allowing me being the minority be a bad thing, but turn it into a strength, not a weakness or an excuse to do less cause that is what was expected.

Even supervillans inspired me, because they had such focus, after being beaten time and time again, they would look for another way to accomplish their goals. Always a method to their madness.

Comics are great for so many reasons.

It’s help for that loner that doesn’t quite know where they fit in, because it shows them that they don’t have to fit in anywhere, just be strong, proud and happy standing alone.  It helps give that inner strength that few know they have, because they never tapped into it.

It shows that kid that gets picked on that they can handle it and come out shining, maybe not at that moment but their moment to shine is coming, just stay focused.

It gives imagination beyond the right now, beyond your city, beyond your state, beyond your planet and beyond the stars.  That kind of imagination is what inspired me to draw and keep drawing, I could create my own places, people and universes.  That’s reasons it was empowering for me all these years.

 

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