It all started with MANTA-MAN, which is an irreverent superhero farce about a guy who turns into a manta ray. I posted that weekly for about a year and a half, then I brought that storyline to a close (for now). It is sexy and silly, definitely not for kids. But if you are not a kid, you should go check out MANTA-MAN or buy the collection MANTA-MAN: Swimming with Sharks.
MANTA DAD is sort of a spin-off/prequel, and it follows Manta-Man as an awkward 12-year-old aboard his father’s ship, sharing in his adventures at sea. I’ve switched to a graphic novel format so that I can have more fun with panel layouts and narrative pacing. I kept the style loose and playful, limiting myself to just two hours on each page. You can buy the print issue here!
I’ve also done some surreal stories that follow Manta-Man’s ninja roomate, Sachiko. My PART-TIME NINJA comics are loosely based on Japanese folktales, but they veer off in wild, unexpected directions.
Yes! Finally! Some fan art of HAROLD MANN and Manta-Man! Wowee!
Terry Blas sent me this fabulous illustration of the Manta-Family, which rocked my world. I told him that he’s clearly studied the actual anatomy of a manta ray more closely than I ever have. To say nothing of Harold’s physique! Yowza!
As you might have gathered–from all the random stuff that pops up on my websites and various forms of social media– I tend to be creatively all over the place. I’m not the kind of guy who has just one story he wants to spend a decade telling, or who has one signature style.
It’s good, and it’s bad. I try to re-invent myself with each new project, but that can leave me feeling scattered and directionless.
Lately, I’ve been giving a lot of thought to my comics: what I want them to be, what I want them to do, and how to best share them. Frankly, I’ve been thrilled that things have gone so well with my illustration career over the past year (mostly drawing drag queens, but I’m not complaining!). However, my real passion is storytelling, which leaves me particularly frustrated that my comics work hasn’t really taken off!
Pretty much anytime I start a big, ambitious graphic novel, I overthink it and burn out, resenting all the work and hair-pulling that resulted in a half-finished book. And so I’ve embraced shorter stories, following along wherever inspiration takes me.
MANTA DAD was the first product of that–after a few busy months, I decided to punch out a fun, goofy comic in a month, giving myself 2 hours each night to drunkenly draw a new page. And that worked out surprisingly well! Despite the loose linework, I think it’s a lot of fun and sets up a great foundation for more stories to come.
I had structured the comic so that it worked pretty well page-by-page, and so I decided to post a new page every week as a fairly standard webcomic updating schedule. But I think that was kind of a half-assed decision. A goofy little story that I created in 4 weeks shouldn’t be spread out over nearly 6 months of installments.
People read and enjoy comics in a lot of different ways. I’m one who likes cohesive, complete comics experiences. I’m terrible at checking in every week with my favorite comics, even the ones my friends do! My favorite comics to consume online are often short stories posted in their entirety, like Emily Carroll’s brilliant, artful ones and Eleanor Davis’s brilliant blog posts.
All of this is to say that I’m changing things around here! I’ll be posting a new page of MANTA DAD every weekday until that story wraps up, and then I’ll debut PART-TIME NINJA!
Like MANTA DAD, PART-TIME NINJA is a sort-of spin-off from MANTA-MAN, following Sachiko on strange, sexy, surreal adventures. I’m planning to post that comic in four or five lengthy installments of about 5 pages each. That will let you read a whole scene at a time, finishing the story in just a month!
I’m eager to see how that goes. Work has already begun on the comics after that, which I might post all at once in their entirety. That will leave gaps where I’m not regularly updating my site with new comics, but I feel like we’re living in an age where, if you so desire, you can follow me on Twitter, Facebook, or Tumblr to see the latest stuff I’m up to.
Thanks so much for your continued support, everyone! Please feel free to share your own thoughts below!
So! I haven’t been able to update Manta-Man for a few weeks, and I’m sorry. That’s partly because I’ve been doing another weekly webcomic, but for Rupaul’s All Stars Drag Race! (I know, right??) That’s being posted every week on the All Stars Facebook page, here.
I’ve also been preparing for the enormous indie comics convention SPX, which will be next weekend, Sept. 15-16! So if you’re in the DC/Baltimore area, you should absolutely come! It’s just about the biggest show ever for small press creators like myself. (And yes, I’m terrified.)
I have been writing the future adventures of Manta-Man, but I can’t say for sure when I’ll be able to finish and post them.
Regardless, it’s been a really busy, exciting time! More soon!