5/31/2012

Bringing Tart to Life, Part 2

Last week I filled you in on all of the effort to create a Tart costume for our friend Viktoria to wear at SuperCon this year.

I'm thrilled to report that we're much closer to that end today than we were yesterday.

Renuka at Niki's Creations (http://www.nikicreations.com/) called to tell us the outfit was ready for a fitting. As you may remember (or you can scroll down two posts if you don't), I bought a "Sexy Stewerdess" costume that seemed close enough to be altered into Tart's Battle Outfit and we brought it to Niki to see what she could do. The original costume was a one piece dress. We asked her to chop it in the middle, and create a two piece outfit with a jacket and a skirt.

It was up in the air to see if it would work.

When I called Viktoria she agreed to come up even though she'd been laid up with the flu for 6 days. She's still so dizzy from lack of sleep that she didn't trust herself driving so her father drove her up.

Thank you, Dad!

First things first, the jacket is amazing. I think it would be the easiest part of the costume to fizzle in real life. But it looks very nice from the front and the back.

The skirt was a little off, however. Viktoria suggested pulling it in a bit to make it tighter around her hips and legs, and we all agreed. So Renuka went upstairs to do some last minute adjustments.


I'll be honest, I think it freaked her out that I took pictures of her working. Oh well, that's the price she pays for working in the big league comic world of independent publishing.


I should have gotten a picture of the jacket from the back. It looks great.


After the Skirt was taken in we put the hat on and checked out the entire outfit (that's Viktoria's Dad in the background).


That hat is... less than ideal. There are moments where it sort of droops down and looks more like a turban than a... a... what the heck do you call those kind of hats airline attendants wear? hmmm? Don't know. I guess it should just be more airline attendanty and less turbany. My wife bought some modeling wire and we're going to try to use it to prop the hat up to give it a more defined point.

Other than that, it works very well. We have a beautiful girl. A sexy, eye-catching, colorful costume. And most important, a book that's worth all this effort. If anyone is enticed to check Tart out with this idea, I know our stories won't disappoint them. 

Before I left, I asked Renuka if she can do costumes from scratch and she said yes. If we ever do this again, I think I'll have her design straight from Ludo's drawings. I like what's been done. I like it a lot. But I think it being 100 percent our own will make it that much cooler.

Next week we're going to try to get to a film company "Cliffhanger Studios" to get some high quality photos of Viktoria in the costume. We'll put those up when we have them.

What do you all think?




5/28/2012

About six months back I was forwarded an email with some of the  coolest photos I'd ever seen. They were photos from deep sea dives in an area of the Pacific Ocean known as Truk Lagoon. The email subject heading was "Wreck Diving the Mysterious Ghost Fleet of Truk Lagoon." 


This is just one of the photos that entranced me. To see them all, please click over to http://www.lovethesepics.com/2011/06/wreck-diving-the-mysterious-ghost-fleet-of-truk-lagoon-33-pics/

It's ok. Take your time. We'll be here when you get back.

Truk Lagoon was the site of a World War II naval battle known as Operation Hailstone in 1944. The battle lasted nearly three days and littered the water surrounding Truk Island with the wrecks of over 50 ships and 250 destroyed planes. If you're a history buff, and would like to know more, the wikipedia page can be found here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Hailstone

For almost 70 years these ships and the unfortunate men caught on them have sat at the bottom of the lagoon. They ships: rusting. The men: resting.

In 1969, Jacques Cousteau filmed his team diving the wreckage and turned Tuk Lagoon into a top tourist destination for sports divers from around the world. With the combination of eerie images, the last resting place of hundreds of men and an unexplained drumming sound, a rumor has sprung up that Truk Lagoon is haunted.

Now I don't know if it really is haunted. But I do know one thing: in issue four Tart Acid is going to find out:


What will Tart find? Who is she with? You won't get any answers here. I just wanted to show you one stunning page from the issue Ludo has penciled and inked, and figured introducing you to the location was best way I could go about doing it. He's sent me 10 pages and they're his best work yet. Which is really saying something with what we've already seen from him in issues 1-3.

Speaking of issues 1-3, we're days away from the Trade Paperback collecting them being available for preorder over at http://whatthefluxcomics.com/ I'll post the exact url, and specific details when I have them.

Have a great week everybody.

5/22/2012

Tuesday Gift

New wallpaper.
It's never easy to work when your boss is watching you.



5/21/2012

Bringing Tart to life with an eye on Super Con

About two months ago Ludo and I hopped aboard What the Flux Comics. With that agreement we all set our sights on Super Con in Miami June 29th - July 2nd as Tart's sort of coming out party. You all have had the chance to read her adventures, but when it comes to getting her adventures into the collective consciousness of the comic reading public, a convention is our best bang for the buck.

With Super Con just a half hour south of me, I've requested off of work (I have to warn you now, that the tone of this site will turn slightly negative if that request is denied), and plan to be there introducing as many people as possible to Tart Acid and The Toxic Fruit Universe.

But people aren't just going to line up to try out a new title they've never heard of. We need something to draw them in. Some way to draw attention toward our character and what she represents.

So I thought back to my time walking around the Orlando Convention Center during MegaCon. Who was getting the most attention? Cosplayers dressed up as any number of comic book, fantasy or horror characters (For those outside of the loop, Cosplay stands for Costume Play, and it's basically a community of people who go to incredible lengths to dress like they're favorite characters. Sort of like semi-professional  masquerade attendees) . Of those dressed up, who got 99.9% of the attention? 

Pretty girls.

It's not surprising. In the least. So the solution is simple. Find ourselves a pretty girl. Dress her up as Tart and ask her to roam the convention, meeting, greeting and enticing interested readers to check us out.

I needed two things. A pretty girl. And a physical outfit.

I contacted one of my old friends Viktoria - who models and does promotional work - and asked her if she could help. No problem she said.

It is at this point in the story I got cocky. If finding a pretty, outgoing, funny, friendly, smart girl willing to dress up in a skimpy outfit and talk about my comic book took one Facebook message, then getting the outfit was going to be easy, peasy.

Nope. I have two very good friends who design clothing professionally. Both are very nice. And both are even busier than they are nice, so no dice there. One of the two contacted another friend who she said would "be perfect." This other girl is a punk rocker who splits her time doing music and creating cool, funky clothing. I had to agree. She did sound perfect. But within a few days I heard the bad news. This punk rock chick, was a real one. As in, she was on tour with her band, so any free time she might have had was out the window.

Never fear I told myself. I have a friend at work named Alisha who does Cosplay (Cosplays? Is a Cosplayer? Not sure what the correct term is?). She'll know somebody, I figured. She did. I contacted the first person and he answered my email immediately. That was a month and a half ago. He hasn't replied to an email, a Facebook message, or a voice mail since. I may be jumping the gun a bit, but I'm not sure he's reliable.

I asked Alisha if she had any other contacts and the second person was the height of professionalism. Though, his brand of professionalism was immediately telling me no. He's in the midst of opening his company, and wouldn't be up and running in time to help out in June (This was written just to present the facts, not to complain. I truly respected his honesty).

So that's when my wife Janet and I turned to another trustworthy friend: Google.

Unable to get anyone to build a costume based on Ludo's original design seen here:


we compromised. Instead of building an authentic battle outfit created straight from Ludovic's drawing, we did the next best thing. We decided to wing it. We searched the internets to find a costume that could reasonably replicate it. We eventually found a turquoise "Sexy Airline Attendant" outfit that was close. The next day I visited a costume shop and bought a slightly different one that will still work. It's a one piece, so something else had to be done to approximate Ludo's vision as closely as possible.

This is Viktoria in the original Halloween outfit. Those are her boots, by the way. I would never force a friend to wear boots like that. She assures me she can walk ten miles in them, no problem. I'm skeptical, but they're her feet.


The plan is, to have seamstress cut the dress at Viktoria's midsection. She'll then use the top portion to create Tart's jacket. She'll then take the remaining material to make a matching skirt.
 

I'd hoped to make shorts out of it to be more true to Ludo's design. I was looked at with pity, when I said this. I told them a skirt would do.

It's all in the seamstresses hands now. I hope to have photos of the finished outfit in the next week or so. In the meantime I'll leave you with this photo. I think it's right about the moment that Viktoria realizes exactly what she's agreed to do for me:


Have a great week, everybody!

Oh, and one other little thing. Since I haven't been able to find one, does anybody have a knife holster I can borrow that we can put around Viktoria's leg?

5/15/2012

Happy Tuesday

How's everybody? Things are going along swimmingly in Tart land. Ludo is working on issue 4 and together we're devising updates for this website which will hopefully entertain you while filling in some gaps of the story that don't quite fit into the pages of the comic.

The first one is likely to be put up next Tuesday (possibly earlier as the art is almost finished) which stars a present-day John Martin. In it, you'll get some clues of how his life was affected by the events of issue 1. Might want to be sure you've read all of issue 1 before you dive to deeply into this one.

Because we don't have it quite ready to go, I wanted to finish something I planned to do long ago. Thank a few of the local comic shops who allowed us space in their stores to advertise Tart. Not every shop said yes, but we won't hold any grudges (especially since we'll still try to get on their shelves when we have a book to sell). Who knows, maybe they'll see this and say yes to the next group of creators that ask for help.

And since these three stores allowed us free advertising, we're going to return the favor with a little free advertising of our own.

So huge thank you's (in alphabetical order so no one thinks we're playing favorites) to CJ's Comics in Oakland Park, Comics and Games in Pembroke Pines and Tate's Comics in Lauderhill.

Well, that seems lame. Just a thanks? Nah, not our style. How bout this:

CJ's COMICS



CJ's is the classic comic book shop. The owner and proprietor, CJ (what an amazing coincidence) is a lifelong comic reader who can discuss nearly every story from every era of comics you want to bring up. 

When I first thought of writing a comic book I had a Daredevil story in mind. CJ helped me find nearly 100 affordable DD comics so I could really understand Matt Murdoch and his history. Obviously, I haven't got a Marvel gig yet, so you'll have to wait a bit to read that one.

He'll happily hunt down whatever you need and have it sitting for you the next time you drop by.

CJ also agreed to haul hundreds of our Tart cards up to MegaCon in Orlando and stuffed them into his bags, so every customer he sold to received an advertisement for our site. Very cool guy. Very helpful. Check his store out if you're in the area. Here's his card for any info you might need:


Along with Comics, CJ has very affordable action figures and accessories.



COMICS & GAMES


The staff at Comics and Games is incredibly friendly and helpful. When I drove around to retrieve our Tart ads (they promised three full issues, and I didn't want anyone to come to the site and be let down now that the full issues aren't up), they didn't have any on hand. They'd handed out every one I'd left. 

It's a nice, diverse shop with comics, an area for Role Playing Games or card games like Magic The Gathering, and for a guy who's gateway drug into comics was baseball cards, a beautiful area of the store exclusively set aside for Collectible Cards:


You can find Comics and Games at 7641 Pines Blvd, or give them a call at (954) 962-3322

TATE'S COMICS



It's too bad "Last, but not least" is such a cliche, because Tate's is definitely not least. In my life I've been in only two bigger comics shops: Midtown Comics in Manhattan and Forbidden Planet in London.

I'm not certain there's anything remotely related to fandom that Tate's doesn't have, or at least can't get. Their manga section, Star Wars action figure section, Comic Section, Graphic Novel section, etc are all massive. And most specifically important to this blog, it was their Independent Comics shelf (most shops don't carry an independent comic, much less devote an entire section to them) that I first ran across What the Flux Comics titles such as Dakota and Red Angel.

Tate's is also a very strong supporter or the local arts scene in Fort Lauderdale.With an upstairs section devoted exclusively to original art.


But just because they support the little guy doesn't mean you can't get your Marvel and DC fix at Tate's:


Tate's has a website, so head over there for any information you might need:  http://www.tatescomics.com/index.html

Again, to all three of these stores. Thank you. We hope to be hitting you up for more help very soon!!!

5/11/2012

Tart is an Eisner Award...

...vote recipient!

Ok, some of you might not even know what an Eisner Award is, so just think The Oscars of Comics and hopefully the joke will work.

But seriously, I got a message from someone who is allowed to vote in the Eisner Award nominating process and he let me know that he wrote in Tart for "Best Webcomic." We're new. We're little. We have next to no chance to get a second vote this year, much less win, but I don't care.

I'm putting this up here for three reasons: 1) you guys are the ones that gave us a shot, I want to share our little successes with you as we have them, 2) I wanted you to understand why my business cards will now read: Kevin Joseph - Eisner Award for Best Webcomic (vote recipient), and 3) in the hopes that it brings a smile to Ludo's face even half as wide as mine.

We don't know what the future will bring, but stuff like this I'm going to enjoy to it's fullest. We got a vote in the Eisners. I hope something little, and unexpected, and awesome can happen for you soon as well.

5/08/2012

Once Upon a Tart.

Hi everybody,

Last day to read the webcomic for free.
But Kevin and I will remain active on the blog and we promise to continue to bring you a share of tart every Tuesday.
Today will be the watercolor to the winner contest  and the first EXCLUSIVE previews of the issue 04!

Enjoy!

Ludo








...And the first previews for Tart issue 04:







5/04/2012

And the winner is

From the moment we started, Ludo and I have wanted to do things with Tart that not only brought attention to the project, but rewarded those who gave us that attention.

That's why we came up with two contests where the winner gets free, one of a kind original art. Our first winner, Carrie was nice enough to change her facebook profile pic to Ludo's painting for a good month or so, which was sort of touching. The second, well we'll find out what they do (I know who it is, but need to stretch it out a bit to increase the tension).

But first, this might get repetitive to you, but Ludo and I can't say it enough. Thank you for giving us a chance. Time seems to be the rarest commodity we have nowadays. Anyone reading this took their time and gave it to us. I hope they were repaid with interest, but every reader will have to judge that for themselves. 

Another minute or two before I announce the winner, so instead let's dispense with some business. This website is going to change a bit as we move forward. The continuing Tart comic will not come up every Tuesday as we've done for the last three months. Instead, thanks to the people at What the Flux Comics, Tart is going to be an honest to goodness comic book. 

Now the details of that comic book are still fluid. We know this: The first three issues will be collected in an electronic book format and in a physical trade paperback format. Each will have some bonus material that hasn't been seen anywhere else (actually, each has DIFFERENT bonus material to give something extra to those who want to own both). I don't know if I can give out prices yet, but I will say this: What the Flux will have a deal for the first group of people who buy, where you basically get the electronic book for free if you order the physical one. 

As for the continuing tale, Tart #4 is going swimmingly. The script is off, and Ludo has started the first pages. He may just tease some of the visuals this Tuesday. In order to be certain the Ludo stays sane while continuing to draw, ink, color and letter Tart, we're going to start off with the publishing goal of four issues a year. We're thinking of it as a Tart per season.

We do not yet know if individual issues will be printed, or if they'll only be available electronically. If they are not printed, we will do a yearly trade paperback with all four issues. The best way for us to get issues printed is for a large audience to demand it, so get your friends to check us out.

As for this website, please keep coming back. Ludo and I are brainstorming ways to get you extra stories here without breaking his back artistically. We're getting closer, but the end result is that questions left unanswered in the pages of the comic will be explored here. So if you want to own the internet boards when the subject of Tart comes up, be sure you keep checking this space out.

With all that out of the way, why don't I just get out with it. The winner of the original art is...

hmm... this might work better with video:

video

So there it is! Troy, you've won free, one of a kind, original Tart art from Ludovic Salle. I have a guess at who Troy is, and if I'm not mistaken, he's one of the hosts of CompletelyComics.com podcast who has been kind enough to check us out, and put us in his show multiple time. There were no shenanigans involved, but I'm happy that such a strong supporter of the project ended up with the art.

Thank you all for commenting. Thank you Vienna for choosing a name. Thank you Troy for winning. And most of all, thank you Ludo for doing all the work to make this happen.
 


5/02/2012

Some of these day.


I just participated in a contest on the threadless website. The goal: illustrate front and back of a Tee-shirt from a poem by Neil Gaiman. AWESOME! Thanks to Kevin who gave me the link of the contest.

So you can visit this page http://atrium.threadless.com/CBLDF/subs/#/submission/some-of-these-day/
to see more details of my work (and possibly the other ones but what interest) and give me support!

Thank you.

Ludo

About the challenge : http://atrium.threadless.com/cbldf/?utm_medium=social_profile&utm_source=twitter.com 


If I named my work 'Some of these day' is because just when I had to pick a title, I  heard this from my Itunes :

http://youtu.be/5h2Mv5hNUEs

it seems match.