Tag Archives: blackguard

New BlackGuard Height Chart

21 Nov 14
Jerrod Smith
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In preparation for the upcoming Vendetta story arc, Will’s going to be doing some updated height charts for both old and new BlackGuard characters. Here’s the first. Expect more over the next few weeks.

BlackGuard height chart - Crucial, Odan, Staples, Melanin, Doome, Fro-bot

In other news, the next BlackGuard page will be posted on Monday. After that, we’re taking a short break for Thanksgiving. Hopefully, we’ll have enought time to wrap up “The Hero Plot Trial” before Christmas break.

See ya soon,
Jerrod

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BlackGuard to Be Restructured Soon

14 Nov 14
Jerrod Smith
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We’re approaching the end of “The Hero Plot Trial” in BlackGuard. Once it’s done we’ll be taking a quick break for the holidays. The next you’ll be seeing from us will be updates on the developments of the next story arc (currently title “Vendetta” but not for certain). These will most likely be new outfit and character designs.

Once we start the chapter though, pages won’t be posted the way they used to be. Instead of doing a page a week and posting them one at a time, we’ll be posting multiple pages at a time. We’re doing this because we want to move away from the ‘strip’ style with BlackGuard. In the beginning, BlackGuard was supposed to be a blend of a comic book and a comic strip. Lately, we’ve begun to see it more as just an online comic book. The strip style, though fun and good for bringing in new readers, limits the amount of true storytelling we can do, and considering the next chapter is going to be doing a lot of character and relationship developments, we decided now was the time to make the switch.

You can expect to see this change, and possibly a few others, in the next few months. In the meantime, here’s today’s new BlackGuard page.

The Hero Plot Trial P56

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It’s the BOSC Birthday Month

05 Nov 14
Jerrod Smith
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November is always a big month for us. Not only are both of our birthdays this month, but this is also the month that we came up with the idea for BlackGuard.

It was back in November of 2009 when Will first came to me with the name “Jonnie Staples”. He told me that he saw a Staples truck drive by him and thought it would be a cool name for a character. Of course it didn’t take long for him to decide this would be a character that was literally stapled together. Now this was shortly after Halloween, and that night I threw together a last minute idea for an outfit that involved me tying bandanas around my forehead and face in an attempt to look like a ninja. I noticed I looked more gangsta than ninja, so a little over a week later I thought to myself, “What would be the result of blending a gangsta and a ninja?” And that’s how the first two characters of BlackGuard came to be.

So as we celebrate three birthdays this month, I’ll be blogging short stories about how BlackGuard came to be. Next week I’m covering Darius Doome and Afia Melanin. In the meantime, we kicked this month off with a new BlackGuard page, posted on my birthday. Check out the latest page below to see what happens when the thug ninja faces the hammer of Justice.

BlackGuard: The Hero Plot Trial P55

Also, if you really want to, you can wish us happy birthday by supporting our Patreon campaign!

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Until next time,
Jerrod

New Post Schedule, ComiXology, New Web Design

26 Mar 14
Jerrod Smith
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A Change to Our Weekly Schedule

So let me start by saying first of all, we’re not posting a new page today. If you’ve been following us for the past month or so, you’ve probably noticed we haven’t been sticking as strictly to our schedule lately. This year we’ve been moving in a different direction. We’re beginning to see BlackGuard more as a comic book (that’s available online) and less as a webcomic. Because of that, we’ve been putting more energy into areas other than having a new page every Wednesday and Friday.

That doesn’t mean we’re going to start ignoring the site though. We’re still going to try to post two pages a week, but from now on, they won’t have set days and will most likely be posted between Monday and Thursday. We’ll make announcements the day before each post so you’ll know when to look for a new page.

New Web Design

Going along with the new direction we’re heading in, the website’s about to get an updated design also. I plan to have it done within the next week, so if you stop by sometime in the next few days and the site is down, it’s only because I’m updating things

And yes, I did just redesign our site just last year and also the year before that, but I’m still searching for that right blend of usability (ease of reading pages and navigating site), professionalism (looking like a site you would trust to buy products from) and personality (not looking like every other webcomic site out there). I’ve pretty much wrapped up the main page, which is the most essential part for a site of our nature. Now it’s just a matter of updating the sub-pages to match the new design, something I never got around to doing the last time I changed our homepage’s look.

ComiXology Progress

In the last blog I posted, I said that we were still waiting to hear back from ComiXology. Well we finally got an e-mail back from them yesterday. They haven’t completely accepted issue #1 yet. There are still some problems that need to be fixed before they can accept it. The main problem being pixelation and artifacts, which apparently is the most common reason they reject user-submitted comics.

As far as I can tell, our problem is coming from our TIFF files being compressed when they are converted into a PDF file. I think I figured out how to prevent this from happening again, and, as far as I know, that’s the only major problem keeping us back right now. We’ll be re-submitting again in the next few days. Hopefully it won’t take a month to hear back from them next time.

That’s all the updates I have for you today. Peace.

Jerrod

The New BlackGuard Logo, comiXology

14 Mar 14
Jerrod Smith
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Sorry we don’t have a new page today, but we do have a few updates for you all.

BlackGuard Logo
Back in January, I posted a blog about us working on a new design for the BlackGuard logo. We actually finalized that a while ago. I just never got the time to post a new blog about it. But I have a little time today, so here it is.

BlackGuard Logo Full

BlackGuard Logo Full 2

There are two variations that we’ll alternate between based on the circumstances. We’ve actually already begun using the new logo, which brings me to the next topic of this blog…

comiXology Submit
I’ve been talking about submitting our comics to comiXology since around this time last year. I didn’t do it immediately because I wanted to make sure our stuff was top quality first. After re-lettering every page of issue 1 and designing a new logo, we finally submitted Issue 1 of BlackGuard for review on February 13. We’re still waiting to hear back from them, but here’s Issue 1’s front cover with the new logo.

Issue 1 Cover

Right now, waiting is the hardest part. Regardless, we’ll keep moving forward. We have a lot planned for this year.

Peace

Jerrod

Designing a New BlackGuard Logo

29 Jan 14
Jerrod Smith
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I guess it was about three years ago that Will and I decided that if we were going to have BlackGuard printed as a comic, we really needed a logo to put on the front cover. Actually, to be honest, we may have come up with the logo a little earlier than that. That was sort of a long time ago and my memory’s a little fuzzy. I do know that, for some reason, we needed to come up with something fairly quick. So in about two days, I pushed this out:

BlackGuard original logo

That was only supposed to be a temporary design to use for printing issue #1. I always had plans to redo it, but then I got caught up writing scripts, redesigning our website, making a business plan, etc, and before I knew it, we had completed five issues of BlackGuard using the same logo. A new logo has been long overdue, and with us planning to start selling books on a larger scale this year, it couldn’t be put off any longer.

So Will and I have been tossing ideas back and forth for weeks now. I actually spent about a week working on another logo that followed the same theme as the original with the whole dog-tag look, seen here:

First BlackGuard logo redesign

I was proud of this for about a full day until Will told me about an idea he had for a new logo. I was reluctant to accept that this new idea was better because I had put so much time into the first one, but the more I thought about it, the more I realized I was going to have to toss this design and start over.

So we now have a new design on the way. It’s most;y finished, but we still may make a few changes. We can’t show the full logo yet, but we can give you a glimpse of its basic form here:

BlackGuard basic logo

We’ll post the final version once we’ve finished it. Peace.

– Jerrod

BOSC Comics

When Is Perfectionism Too Much?

16 Jan 14
Jerrod Smith
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I think this is a valid question that anyone with, or attempting to attain, a career in a creative field should ask him/herself. I asked myself this same question more times than I could count in 2013, and I expect I will repeat that habit this upcoming year. I don’t necessarily see that as a bad thing, though.

One of the greatest things about art, in any form, is that there is no such thing as perfection. No matter how good you get, it always feels like you should be reaching higher. One of the worst things about art is that there is no such thing as perfection. How do you know when you’re done? At what point do you stop going over whatever you’ve created with a microscope, looking for problems to fix? I’m a writer and, recently, amateur stand-up comedian, but I’m also a detail-oriented person, so those little inconsistencies in my work that the average reader/listener would never even notice stand out like a sore thumb to me. I feel compelled to address every little issue and in the process, discover more problems. Next thing I know, an hour-long project has extended to four.

Sometimes that’s the way it is. Sometimes you have to work on something longer than you originally planned to make sure it gets done right. But at the same time, if you want to make a career out of your craft, you need to be productive. You have to produce finished products at a reasonable rate, not always at your leisure. That’s hard to do when you keep going back to touch up old projects. I know I’ve been guilty of this numerous times.

With that said, I still plan on re-lettering our old pages because I think it will significantly increase how professional our books look to new readers, but that will be the last time I touch anything from BlackGuard predating “The Hero Plot Trial”. After that, I’m going to attempt to spend a little more time moving forward and a little less time looking back.

Peace.

-Jerrod

What We’ve Been Up to Lately

10 Jan 14
Jerrod Smith
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Since reaching the halfway point of “The Hero Plot Trial”, we’ve been a little quiet. I just wanted to do a real quick blog to let those wondering know what we’ve been up to.

Will, first of all, has been doing a lot of chibi-style drawings. You can find some of those in our artwork page here. The reason for this is that Will and I have been wanting to launch a second title on the BOSC Comics site that is more like a traditional webcomic or comic strip, but we don’t want something that looks too similar to BlackGuard. We feel there should be a clear distinction between the two titles. Will decided that using a chibi style would help make that distinction, so he’s been working on drawing characters in the style for practice. The new title (which we were advertising to come out last year) is called The Great Purging. Hopefully, we will finally start these strips this year.

Meanwhile, I have been spending a lot of time re-lettering old BlackGuard pages. For many of these pages, this is the third time, they’ve been lettered, but recently I learned of a few more professional lettering standards that I didn’t follow back when I first began doing our lettering. Since we are planning to start selling our books in larger numbers this year, I thought it would be worthwhile to go back and try to make the books look as professional as possible. As it turns out, this task is taking me much longer than I planned, but I still plan to follow through with it. For now, I’m taking it one issue at a time.

Speaking of which, I am almost done with issue one, the first half of “Monkey See… Monkey Free?!” Once that issue is finished, we plan on submitting it to Comixology to be sold as a digital comic. For those of you not familiar with Comixology, it’s the leading distributor of digital comics. They sell everything from Marvel and DC to indie creator-owned comics. They even have apps for mobile devices so you can read your comics anywhere. We suggest you check them out.

Last, “The Hero Plot Trial” will resume this month. Since it’s been a while, we invite you all to go back and refresh your memory on what’s happened so far in this chapter starting here.

Peace.

-Jerrod

My Conversation with Darius Doome

30 Oct 13
Jerrod Smith
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Lately, I’ve been having a problem with staying focused. It’s not that I’m losing my passion for BlackGuard. It’s everything else that goes along with trying to make BlackGuard, as well as BOSC Comics, successful. There’s a part of me that feels like there just isn’t enough time in the day, but there’s also a part of me that feels like I don’t use the time that I do have wisely. Sometimes, I’ll plan to use an open block of time to get work done, but instead, I’ll spend the majority of the time zoning out, thinking about everything except what I was supposed to be doing.

The last time I felt I was working efficiently was back in July, when I was writing the script for “The Hero Plot Trial”. I had no problem dedicating a few hours each day to this because it was something I enjoyed doing. I like crafting stories, so much that it barely feels like work to me. Of course, I tell myself all the time that if we plan to be successful, we can’t just always do what’s fun. There’s so much more that goes into BlackGuard than just writing and drawing it. I don’t want to just be some guy who makes comics as a hobby. I want to be a professional. I want comics (or any other form of storytelling) to be my life career. To do this, I feel that I have to be willing to dedicate time to business, networking, research, etc. Yet, when it comes time to do these things, my mind wanders and I end up getting nothing done.

This has been weighing on my mind a lot lately. A few nights ago, I even had a dream in which, amongst all the random events, I was still worrying about how little work I’ve been getting done. At some point in the dream, I ended up in a room with Darius Doome. If anyone new is reading this, Darius Doome is one of the main characters in the BlackGuard comic (seen here). I didn’t seem to notice I was talking to a fictional character, let alone one that I created. I was just impressed as I watched him toying with another one of his genius inventions. With tools in both hands, he was almost oblivious to the world around him. He had completely immersed himself in his work. I finally asked him, “How do you stay so focused?” In typical Doome fashion, he responded without even bothering to look up from his latest project. “This is just what I do,” he said.

I woke up shortly afterwards, and Doome’s answer to my question stuck with me. He is, after all, an extension of myself, so it’s not like I’m just taking advice from some random madman. His response was short, simple, and completely honest. I have many jobs as one half of the Brothers of Spontaneous Combustion, but first and foremost, I’m a storyteller (loosely referred to as a writer). Like inventing is to Darius Doome, storytelling is “what I do”. Yet, aside from tossing around some ideas with Will about the next chapter of BlackGuard, I haven’t written anything in over three months. I’ve been busy making a business plan, re-lettering old pages, and redesigning our website. So my question is, to all the creative people out there trying to make a career out of something you’re passionate about, at what point do you stop spending so much time on everything else, and start doing what comes naturally?

-Jerrod-

Back from Vacation

10 Jul 13
Jerrod Smith
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We’ve been a little quiet for the past week, but now we’re back. We actually took a short vacation up to Myrtle Beach last week to see our parents. It was nice to get away from BOSC Comics for a couple days. We needed a little break before jumping into The Hero Plot Trial. Speaking of which, here’s what Will’s been up to:

These are thumbnails of a few pages of the upcoming BlackGuard chapter. We know it’s been a long time since we posted anything new, but we plan to take our time with this one. We plan for the next two issues to surpass all our past issues in all areas. That includes artwork, storytelling, action and comedy. So be patient, there’s a reason for the delay.

While Will’s been storyboarding, I’ve been slowly making my way through our business plan. I’ve also been looking at a printing service called PrintNinja. They actually have a price calculator that you can use to try out different printing options to see how the overall price varies. You can change cover type, paper quality, binding, dimensions, page numbers, order number and more. They also have various categories from books to magazines to comics to graphic novels. Also, they do their printing overseas, so the prices are pretty cheap. Even with the cost of shipping and handling, it’s still cheaper than printing with Ka-Blam, especially with large orders. They also seem to be known for their support in guiding you through the printing process. Right now, Print Ninja looks like who we want to print with.

On another note, you may have noticed the website was down for a couple days. We apologize for that. Our domain name expired. I’m not sure how it expired since our account was set to automatically renew and there was more than enough money in my account. But whatever, I paid manually, and now everything’s back.

We hope to have some more info on The Hero Plot Trial soon. Until then, peace.

– Jerrod