Tag Archives: comics

Who We Are. What We Do.

31 May 13
Jerrod Smith
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I’ve been reading up on marketing lately. As we approach getting BlackGuard: Volume 1 printed, I realize just printing the books won’t be enough. Even getting them on shelves won’t be enough. We have to generate an interest in the book. More importantly, we need to generate an interest in us. One book I’ve been reading in my spare time, The McGraw-Hill 36-Hour Course: Online Marketing, says pretty early on that you should ask yourself a few questions before marketing yourself or your product, such as “What makes you different?”, “Do you have a story to tell?”, and “Who is your target audience?” I decided a good way to approach this would be to write a blog about it. I’m not going to answer all of the questions exactly, but I do want to try to give a better look into who the Brothers of Spontaneous Combustion are and what kind of comics we make.

I’m not going to go into who Will and I are as individuals, but, moreso, who we are as BOSC. We’re two brothers that grew up loving comics, cartoons, and video games. We read comics, but we were not “comic book geeks”. We watched anime, but we were never “Otaku” or “anime lovers”. We played video games, but were not “gamers”. I’m not trying to say we were too cool to be associated with geek culture. We just always had an ability to step back and enjoy these things for what they were. When one of our favorite comics, cartoons, or video games went through a major change, we didn’t throw a tantrum about it not being “like it used to be”. We adapted. There was always room for change.

Will and I grew up in our own little world. We mostly just played with each other, and even when other kids did play with us, they had to enter our world. If they couldn’t adapt to our world, they probably felt left out. Our world constantly evolved based on what we were into. Ninja Turtles, X-Men, Street Fighter, Dragon Ball Z, Bad Boys and many other things made their mark on its development, but everything we implemented had our own little twist on it. That world is currently the BOSC universe. So far, you’ve only been introduced to BlackGuard, but we have much more in store for the future.

So what does all this have to do with defining who we will potentially be in the comic book industry? Well, first of all, because we were never die-hard fans of any one thing, our comics are never one thing. We don’t box ourselves into any one category. BlackGuard is a comedic comic, taking place in a superhero world, starring a cast of characters influenced by multiple non-superhero genres, executed with a style that blends manga and hip-hop. Try telling someone to write a comic that fits that description and see if it doesn’t make their head explode. We didn’t set out to make BlackGuard that type of comic. We just attempted to make a comic we thought would be fun to work on, and within a year, that’s what it became.

Too many people want to either be a part of the mainstream or above the mainstream. Many comic book creators go into the business saying to themselves, “I love Marvel and DC! I want to make comics just like theirs!” They either want to work on Spider-Man or create the next Spider-Man. Others go in with the thought, “Marvel and DC suck! Those characters are so stupid and played out. I’m going to do something completely different and revolutionize the way people see comics!” These people usually want to make the next Watchmen or Preacher. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to do either of these two things, but there’s only room for so many to succeed at them. Marvel and DC can only hire a limited number of writers and artists, and comics can only go through so many revolutionary changes.

BOSC Comics isn’t like the mainstream, but we are not above the mainstream. We are an alternative to all the comics currently out there. Just because our books don’t star typical superheroes or manga characters doesn’t mean we consider ourselves too good for them. We have something for hardcore comic fans. We have something for casual comic readers. We even have something for the non-comic reader. It took me about three years to realize that our target audience resided on the outskirts of the comic community. Our audience is made up of those people who have an interest in comics but no set definition of what they should be.

So, that was the easy part. Defining who we are and who we appeal to in a blog is one thing. Most of the people reading this are already fans or at least have an interest in us. You all are willing to take a few minutes out of your day to read what I have to say, but we all know that in the internet age, where people are used to instant gratification, time is given sparingly. Not many people who don’t already know us are going to give us a few paragraphs to tell them why they should buy our books. We have, at most, a few seconds to draw them in. We have to figure out how to use a couple of images and as few words possible to convey the message above.

Peace be with you,
Jerrod

Observing The BlackGuard Entry 13: Eli Mercer and Sequoia

06 Sep 12
Jerrod Smith
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I guess every “family” must have a mother figure and a father figure. This leads me to Eli Mercer and Sequoia.

Naturally, I see these two as the parents of the team because they are the two most responsible and level-headed. It has nothing to do with their relationship with one another. After all, Eli is old enough to be Sequoia’s father (or grandfather).

I imagine Sequoia, like many people her age, learned about Eli (as The BlackFist) through history books, television, and the stories of her parents. As the case tends to be with iconic figures, these tales probably presented Eli as a symbol instead of an actual person. It’s always difficult to accept one’s idol for the person he or she really is. I’m not saying that Sequoia thinks any less of Eli since working with him, just that she has had to learn to accept the real Mercer, flaws and all. It appears she is not only accepting of his shortcomings, but comfortable enough to address them sarcastically to his face. I’m not usually one to make pop culture references, but she has become the Geoffrey to Eli’s Uncle Phil, if you must.

Eli heavily depends on Sequoia to help keep The BlackGuard running, perhaps more than he realizes. You see, Eli is a “big picture” type. He has vision. He knows where his people are, and where they need to go, but he is not a fine details person like Sequoia. If I can use a nautical analogy, Eli is the ship and its captain. Not only is he capable of carrying those dependent on him through turbulent waters, but he also commands the crew and leads them from one destination to another. Sticking with the same analogy, Sequoia is both his map and compass. One cannot navigate without some sense of direction and a knowledge of possible obstacles in the path to one’s destination. Of course, this dependency works in both directions, as a compass and map without a destination or means of transportation are of little use.

Sequoia is a very intelligent, responsible individual with a keen eye for detail, making her an invaluable tool in Eli’s plans for the BlackGuard. However, she depends on him, just as he depends on her. Where Sequoia sees a path littered with puzzles requiring solutions, Eli sees a destination that must be reached no matter what, and that is someone Sequoia needs to follow.

– Dr. Hugo Cranium

Next Entry: Melanin and O.D.A.N.

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What’s Next?

27 Oct 11
Jerrod Smith
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I’m going to keep this short, but I thought I should write something to let everyone know what to expect from BOSC Comics for the next few weeks.

So, the page we posted yesterday was the final page of “Monkey See… Monkey Free?!” I’ve been working on the rough draft of the next chapter for a few weeks now, but Will and I still have some fine tuning to do. This time, we want to have a better idea of how the story unfolds before we start it. Last time, we actually cut out an entire segment of MSMF at the last second when we were already halfway through it (the second half of the flashback scene, after Dirk’s death). Everything still turned out fine, but we kind of want to avoid that this time.

I guess I said all that to explain why there won’t be any new BlackGuard strips for the next few weeks. That doesn’t mean we won’t be adding anything new. We’re going to be making updates to the BlackGuard character profiles, which will probably include redrawn profile pictures to match Will’s current style. I have a few blog ideas about BlackGuard that you hardcore fans might dig. I’m sure Will’s going to produce his share of artwork over the next few weeks. And who knows, maybe we’ll FINALLY produce some new strips from The Great Purging during this break.

– Jerrod

Cola-Con, Blackguard Issue #1, and More…

16 Sep 11
Jerrod Smith
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So this is probably the first blog I’ve written in a few months. I’ve gotten behind on my work ever since I took on a second website (I’ll talk about that later). We had to push a few pages back over the past couple of weeks due to our packed schedules. I’ll try to catch you all up on everything the BOSC have been up to lately.

Cola-con

First of all, we went to Cola-Con, a hip-hop and comics convention, about two weeks ago in Columbia, South Carolina. Nothing but dope comics and dope music. We handed out a few prototype versions of the first printed issue of Blackguard and got a lot of good feedback. We also got to sit through two panel discussions, one of which was about the connections between the hip-hop and comics cultures (I couldn’t help but think of Odan and Dirk Sanders the whole time). Oh yeah, and did I mention Talib Kweli and 9nth Wonder were there? We saw them perform live near the end of the event.

Blackguard Issue #1

The original plan was for us to have the first issue of Blackguard (the first 24 strips) printed to hand out at Cola-Con. Little did we know how much work it would take to make each page print-ready. It also didn’t help that I had no idea what I was doing (I still don’t quite understand margins and bleeding). After fumbling with the files on and off for about two weeks, we realized the only way the issues would be ready in time for Cola-Con was if we payed about one and a half times the original price and had submitted it a month ago. That’s when we made a last minute stop by Fed-Ex and made about six sample printings.

The upside to this is that we originally would’ve printed those first 30 or so copies without printing a test issue. But because we’re not in a rush anymore, we did print one, which arrived in the mail just a few days ago.

Blackguard Issue #1

This copy looks good, but there are a few changes we’d like to make before printing more. We also plan on looking into making this issue available for fans to purchase online.

New Sketchcards

If you’ve been following our artwork updates, you’ve probably seen the images from the “Sketchpad” series. Well we’ve got three new additions to that series: Geronimo Jones, Crucial Da Ape, and Dirk Sanders. You can find these at the Artwork Page

Overflow Festival

So what’s been keeping me so busy the past few weeks that I haven’t been able to keep our audience properly updated? I started working on a website for a local event here in savannah called Overflow. It’s a festival designed to showcase the many artistically gifted people in the area. The event will have something for people of all ages and is being setup as a family event. For those of you in or near Savannah, Georgia, it takes place October 9 at Daffin Park. Check out the website here.

Blackguard’s “Monkey See… Monkey Free?!”

We’re approaching the finale of the MSMF story arc. We posted Part 42 last week, and Part 43 should be up by next week. The storyline will be wrapped up within the next few pages, and then it’s onto the second chapter, tentatively named “Group Therapy” (That name’s Probably going to change).

That’s all I can think of right now. I’ll try to use this blog a little more frequently to keep everyone updated on the weekly activities of The Brothers of Spontaneous Combustion. That is what it’s here for after all. See ya.

“Monkey See… Monkey Free?!” Part 26

11 May 11
Jerrod Smith
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So, originally, we said we would have a new page from The Great Purging this week instead of a new Blackguard page. And yet here we are, promoting MSMF: Part 26 instead of a new TGP page.

Well, there are a few reasons for that, but the main one is that the characters of TGP needed a makeover. The Great Purging was our earliest idea for a comic strip, created around five years ago. When Will first designed the characters, he was just beginning to adopt a more cartoonish look. In the years since then, he’s come up with a unique style, and the old designs didn’t fit this style. So instead of a strip, the week was spent working on the updated look of the cast.

That brings us back to Blackguard. This week we give a very brief account of how the team ended their first mission and, at the same time, lay the seeds for a few plot points to come. So pay close attention to this page when you read it. Click on the preview below to see the whole thing.

MSMF Part 26

Peace.

– Jerrod

“Monkey See… Monkey Free?!” Parts 22 & 23

13 Apr 11
Jerrod Smith
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This week we have two new pages of “Monkey See… Monkey Free?!”, with Part 22 and Part 23.

We found some new fonts recently, so the lettering on these two latest pages looks better than ever. It’s funny looking at these pages and comparing them to the ones we were posting less than a year ago.

– Jerrod


“Monkey See… Monkey Free?!” Part 20/21

07 Apr 11
Jerrod Smith
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We got a late start on this week’s post because we had trouble deciding on the layout of the page. Finally, Will came up with the two-page spread. The combination of having a late start and having tow pages to color caused us to have to push the post back to today. But better late than never. Check out this week’s installment of Blackguard here.

-Jerrod

Back From Megacon With “Monkey See” 19

30 Mar 11
Jerrod Smith
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So Will and I went to Megacon over the weekend. With our job being a little short-staffed, we had to work extra hours Monday – Thursday in order to get the weekend off, which is why we didn’t post anything new last week.
But this week we have Part 19 of “Monkey See… Monkey Free?!” Below is a preview shot of the page.

We’ll post a blog later this week with some pics from Megacon.

– Jerrod