Wednesday, October 6, 2010

crossroads

hmm.

next year will be interesting, because for the first time in years i will no longer be catching up with long term projects, or working on any how-the-hell-did-someone-pick-me-for-this projects. i will have the time (relatively) to turn my attention to some long neglected work. the thing is, there are so many completely different things i could do. it's paralyzing!

first off, i will be returning to the award-losing dare detectives. i've worked out a plan, and i've actually done a lot of the scripting for the second dare case, as well as a bit of thumbnailing. the story is much more complex than "the snowpea plot", and compared to almost all of my previous work, it will be a lot less compressed. certainly not decompressed, but a little more space for the characters to breathe, a little less hectic (at times) than the last story. also a lot more room to show little corners of the dare world, from the racism maria faces in a swanky resort to the ruins of the ancient giant civilizations to the return of dare's first foe, red dingo! and yes, this story also has kissing (which apparently offends a lot of people), but then it has tiki zombies too, so make of it what you will.

pictured: not a tiki zombie

there are also a bunch of "manga" stories i've been meaning to tackle. now, i understand that the rest of the world has some sort of rulebook about what is and is not officially manga, i just don't really care. unfortunately, publishers do. so i'm trying to figure out if it's just easier to do my own stuff online and make a living digging ditches or something.
in light of my surprisingly controversial post last month (well, it surprised the hell out of me) several people have asked me about my more female-centric work, which led me to the shocking realization that pretty much all my work is female-centric. at least compared to a lot of what's out there, i guess. maria dare and ann-marie and dolly and alex faraday and WW and the list goes on. i don't know how it happened. i blame masamune shirow. also, women.

blue haired, alien hunting women

but i'm wondering if i shouldn't go with that, and focus on one of my stories that is more... well, not like WW, what's the point of almost doing something? but something along the same lines, in terms of larger than life superheroines and crazy international intrigue and fantasy and all that jazz. the fact is that most of my stories are drenched in that stuff anyway, even most "dare" stories. just in different combinations. anyway, most of my manga projects fit somewhere in this category, so we'll see. there was even one i posted doodles from last year, although i'm afraid that story isn't crazy enough. you know, time-traveling cyber-crocodile jetbike crazy. (one of the things i loved about WW was the sense that jesus, anything could totally happen so you better just smile and go with it. i want more of that.)

you can't tell, but he just punched 1,000 space ninjas

anyway, i'm gearing up to tackle at least some of these projects in the new year. one thing you may have noticed is that a lot of my new art has been very loosely drawn and inked. it's a faster way to work, and right now i want to spend less time finessing each panel, and really crank out a ton of stories. in the end, all people* want is to be entertained, and all i want is to entertain them!

*and by people, i mean small children, mimes, professional convicts, and myself.**

** mostly myself.

13 comments:

Ed Bickford said...

Serves those Pesky Space Ninjas right!
Dude you inspire me. your linework and creativity is quite awesome. Id like to see you do the SUPER-crazy-hyperbole stories.

Rock ons Ben!

Ed in KC

Fabian said...

I can´t wait to see the progress on each of all your new projects! I think your style doesnt look much like manga and i am glad! You have a very beyond cool original style! Great post, Ben!! :)

nad@ said...

I just can't wait to see all these new works !! I'm a huge fan of yours, and have all your books ( snowpea plot, odysseus, draculla and how to's... ) I hopefully wait also for your how to draw manga ( even if it's not pure manga this style of yours just rocks !! ) ...
Anyway any of your book is simply the best for me so go on and do wat you know and by that i mean draw !! lol...
Just had to tell you how i love your work...

Jeremy C. Cooper said...

Well I've been following your work since I first purchase your Fantasy Cartooning Book back in college... I was thought you had a very unique style, that if anything seemed to be more influenced by Western animation than Eastern.. I guess with all the Manga crazed as of late, companies just one to categorize you so they know how to make money... Thinking short term not long term in my opinion... Regardless of that I've always enjoyed your style, and the work you do, and I hope to see more in the future, since I don't see you or just about anyone on the forum anymore... All the Best Ben!

rad sechrist said...

Oh man, I would love to see more Dare Detectives!

Brandon said...

This all sounds like great news to me. Whatever you end up doing, I can't wait to see it. And re: your recent, looser style -- the stuff you've been doing recently is my favorite stuff I've seen from you. The WW pitch pages looked amazing! I'd kill for a whole book that looked like that.

kir bostic said...

you beautiful man, you and your delightful craziness make my head swin in 10-gallon buckets of griffon spit.

I look forward to the Ruins of the Giants. and more Bleu...

Larry MacDougall said...

Yes ! Keep the drawing raw and emotional and focus energy on the story telling - bravo !

erik said...

Would it be safe to say we demand to be entertained?

Steve LeCouilliard said...

I'm looking forward to seeing anything new from you, Ben. That St. Michel project really has me intrigued and I don't know what the hell DC was thinking not letting you play with Wonder Woman. Can't wait to see new Dare Detectives!

ben c said...

howdy all!

ed - we'll see how 2011 plays out!

fabian - well, not everything i do is manga, but some things definitely are. and the fact is that i had to seriously tone down my manga influence about 10 years ago, for work.but there is some amazing work out there, even if you don't like "typical" manga. one title that comes to mind is "vagabond". also a bunch of books whose titles i can't remember (i got them from the japanese used-book store in NYC) but one of them is now translated as "children of the sea".

nad@ - thanks! and manga cartooning will be closer to manga than some of my other work, but probably not manga enough for people who want to draw exactly the same way someone else is already drawing. oh, well. that's why i made them let me do fantasy cartooning first, so i knew i'd get to do it regardless of how people felt about manga cartooning.

jeremy - i certainly have been influenced by western animation, and for fantasy cartooning in particular i made no attempt to hide my love for eyvind earle, don bluth, rankin & bass and the like. however, most modern manga fans forget that manga has been in the US for decades, and i was hugely influenced not only by anime from gotchaman to robotech, but also by books including dominion, grey, pineapple army, mai the psychic girl, crying freeman, nausicaa, and especially appleseed.

rad - me too! then again, i'd' love to see more wooden rivers! so... here we are.

brandon, larry - thanks! i just feel frustrated because i draw insanely fast, but all of the "polish" slows me down a lot, and that's time that's taken away from making the story better, which is what really counts. and especially with something like dare or some of my manga stories, the focus is on zany energy and too much polish works against that.

kir - all in time...

erik - so you are basically admitting that you are a criminal. i thought as much.

steve - well we'll see, it looks like i have more options than i thought for both dare and st michel....

Will Caligan said...

I don't think you have to worry about focusing mostly on female leads. I think if the story calls for the female lead then it is all good. My problem has always been that folks make females the lead for no more reason then sex appeal. That doesn't make a good story. You are a great storyteller. Just let the story determine who or what needs to be the lead. Just my two cents.

I would love to see your manga stuff.

Cult Posters said...

Nice DK2 Superman ripp off!