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A Shared Universe?

A Shared Universe? published on

A Shared Universe means that all of the creators involved with it are contributing to it

The following are the rules/guidelines/suggestions for dealing with this.

  • The tone and direction of the universe are set.  While there is room for infinite expansion within that, we are not going to change what has already been established.  Evolution will happen.  For an example, there is room for anything from a grim, gritty, depressing Noir style story to a blue-skies, optimistic feel-good story.  There is not room for something that completely ignores the boundaries of reality and exists on slapstick or extreme parody/satire.

 

Artist’s Guidelines

Artist’s Guidelines published on 2 Comments on Artist’s Guidelines

These are guidelines for the most part, but there are some rules tossed in here as well.  For the most part, these apply to any art being done for the site, and the reasons are stated.  The goal of this site is to put story first, not writing or art, but story.  While you are an artist, your main role is actually that of a storyteller, using the unique medium of comics to tell that story in conjunction with a writer.


  • The goal for any comic on this site is eventual publication.  Why?  The site is a CO-OP.  In order for the site to work, projects must be set up in such a way as to generate multiple revenue streams.  One of those streams is publication.
  • You are encouraged to do pitches to the Editorial Board.  Even pitches that you have no desire to write, but would just like to see someone do something with them.
  • Art Style?  You are not limited here.  We have no ‘company style’ and welcome any style that meets with editorial approval and the approval of the writer.  The tagline for the site is Comics for people who don’t read comics, so the ‘comics style’ is only used if that is what you want to use.
  • If you are the first artist on a title, you are going to have more freedom that if someone has already established the looks of the characters.  You are expected to stick to the designs that have already been drawn, unless you, I, and the writer all agree to the changes.  We are not wanting to have the fans have to deal with major redesigns every time the artist changes.  This is not about the style of art, only the look of the characters.
  • Deadlines.  Just as the writers have no deadlines, the artists have no deadlines.  Just remember, you have to set your own priorities, and one of the reasons we are a CO-OP is so that we contribute to the buffer for the site, rather than our own individual books.
  • Respect your writer.  As the Line editor for the site, I am rougher on writers than I am on artists.  Why?  Frankly, because there are more writers who think they’re hot than there are artists who think they are hot.  There are also fewer writers who have done the practice, study, and analysis that the average artist has, so part of what we do here is get them to start looking at story telling using comics.  But by the end, what get’s posted on the site for you to look at and maybe draw has been through the wringer.  And they are going to go through more when you start picking it apart from an art point of view.  So please respect them, as they respect you.
  • If you are doing Traditional art, it is recommended that you do the work on traditional comic boards which are 11X17 with a 10X15 actual work area.  You retain ownership of the original pages, and can sell or do prints of them without violating any terms here.
  • If you are working digitally, the pixel size of the art work is 1988X3056.  This is a full size comic book page at 300 DPI.  We will resize for web publication, but we need this size for print work.
  • Leave room for the words!  This has actually turned out to be a problem.  You have the script in hand, make sure there are dead spaces for the balloons.  For that matter, make sure that the characters in the panel are arranged so that the balloons can be situated where the flow of the words and the speech makes sense to the reader.
  • The more pages you can turn in at a time, the better.  Our buffer not only depends on this, but crowdfunding works better if people are being told that they can have the book in their hand before it finishes updating on the web.  This is not a requirement, but it stands to make more money for you and your writer.

What is NO-Earth?

What is NO-Earth? published on 4 Comments on What is NO-Earth?

Part of the purpose of NO-Earth is to correct or avoid some of the problems that we see with other comic book lines.  This article lays some of those out, and our response to them.

Our posting schedule is currently weekly, with a new page going up each Monday for one of our comics.  We are an independent publisher and as our comics start hitting print, they will do so in advance of their posting schedule here.  So the way to keep up will be to buy the print copy.

NO-Earth is a single universe.  There will be no comics set outside of our Time Line.  We believe in crossovers and cameos.  However, we will not put you in a position where you have to read an issue of a different title to continue a story line.  We will tell the same story in both titles, and you will be able to read it with differing viewpoints depending on which title you’re reading.  We want you to read all of the titles, so there are easter eggs to encourage this, but we will never sacrifice story for sales.  If there’s only a single title you want to read, you will never be punished for not reading something else.

Time passes on NO-Earth.  Characters age, they get hurt, they  die.  Legacies are passed on, new characters inhabit old names and costumes.  The timeline does not slide like Marvel, and there will be no re-boots as at DC.  Our characters are not static.  They will change, and the changes will not be retconned out when a new creative team takes over the book.

Retcons are a fix no one wants.  The last thing that we will do within the NO-Earth world is retcon a problem.  It will be done only if there is no other way to fix the problem, and then done with surgical precision.  Since our entire universe is on-line, along with a time line, we will keep all of the factoids possible on the site, so that both you and our creative team can see how things fit together.

Since NO-Earth is a relatively recent creation (The earliest version dates from 1985, and has been re-written since then), and has had diverse input since its creation, ‘diversity’ is not an issue.  No character in NO-Earth will ever be re-written in order to meet an artificial ‘diversity’ requirement.  This is not a ‘politically correct’ refuge.  Any changes to characters will be organic and part of a story, not something ret-conned in to try to appease a vocal minority that can never be pleased.  On the other hand, If you are not happy with diversity within your comic world, this is not the place for you.  Our characters include male, female, people of all colours, ages, religions, political beliefs, sexual orientations, and even non-human intelligent species.  Since character and story are our goals, stereotypes, caricatures and biased cliches are not going to be found here.

We are here to tell stories, hopefully ones that you come to know and love, and that means that everything else takes a back seat to the unique and lovingly crafted story.

There are some places within the NO-Earth world that are not nice.  The Confederate States of America has institutionalised racism, sexism, and species-ism.  There are some rather violent places.  Parts of the world are very ugly with horror, crime, and suspense being some of the styles of stories we serve up.    None of these are put into the NO-Earth world to glorify or praise these things, but to provide the conflict that good storytelling requires.  While we will attempt to provide you with warning labels, in the end, this site is for mature readers, and occasionally things that are a touch ugly will slip by.

Just so you know, mortality is real.  Characters are mortal, even the immortal ones.  Anyone can die, anyone can fall.  Our plots are laid out issues in advance, and some of the titles currently on the planning board are designed to be limited series with drastic changes to the characters within those arcs.  And when we kill them, they will stay dead.  Doing anything else destroys the very emotional core of the story in which they died.  If anything else is intended, then the clues will be in the story that there is something funny about the death.

Twists and plot turns are part of good writing.  They are also things that have been abused within comics for ages, and we will attempt to overcome that.  A good involved plot is going to do more for you, the reader, than the trickery some companies try to pass off as plot.  Expect twists and turns, but also have the reasonable expectation that none of them are being done for shock value, but to further legitimate story needs.

While we have characters and creators of every political and social bent, any stories done will present multiple viewpoints.  We will never preach at you, or try to convert you to a particular point of view.  Good stories should cause you to think, not stop thinking.  They should cause you to examine beliefs, not simply reinforce them.

NO SPANDEX!  Seriously, even though a slang term for Supers on NO-Earth is ‘Tights”, you will rarely see that as part of the world here.  Clothing is supposed to be functional, it protects, carries things, and conceals things.  It can even make a fashion statement, but spandex is a rather rare way of doing it.  Armour, sure.  Leather, yeah.  Cloaks and capes, occasionally.  But spandex?  Just think of how few Cosplayers you’ve seen pull that look off!  Heroes are likely to want something that is more rugged.

Motivations.  Frankly, the whole idea that someone acquires powers of any sort, and suddenly has a desire to put on a costume and go either fight, or commit crime is not something you are likely to run across a lot in NO-Earth.  People are more likely to put the powers to other uses, such as what Mockingbird does in The Shadow War.

Eagle’s Blog: Professional?

Eagle’s Blog: Professional? published on

This is something that I have seen as a trend, and one that somewhat disturbs me.  A person will call themselves a professional comic artist or writer in a post, and I’ll think “Cool, a possible learning experience and/or contact” only to find out that this is just a label the person has applied to themselves.  It always sets me back on my heels, and raises the hair on the back of my neck.

A professional, by definition, is someone who has a profession.  This means making a living doing it.  Look it up, there is no other accepted definition.  If you are not making a living at it, you are not a professional.  Getting paid once does not make you a professional.  I have been paid for both my writing and my art.  I have had both published.  That makes me published, it does not make me a professional.   I am a professional Web Developer.  I make my living doing it.  I am not a professional comic creator, but I want to be.  I am working towards that with every spare moment I have.

Now, there is another word.  Professionalism.  A person can show professionalism without being a professional.  For that matter, in any profession, there are bound to be a number of professionals who do not show professionalism.  It means behaving in a professional manner.

So why does this bother me?  It’s not just dishonest (which always bothers me) but also causes part of the problems we are seeing within the webcomics/comics community.

People have developed the mistaken impression that they are worth a certain amount of money due to the time that they are putting into the enterprise.  Often, this is figured off of minimum wage, or some other equally arbitrary number.   This is a sense of entitlement that amazes and depresses me.  At one point in time, I mentioned the things I did while paying my dues to become a published author.  I was told that was the old way, and dues no longer had to be paid due to the internet.

So here’s the simple truth.  If there is not a publisher paying you a living wage, or if you are not making a living off of your webcomic, or if your freelancing isn’t paying your bills, you are not a professional.  You might have professional standards, treat people in a professional way, and display all of the professionalism of an exemplar of your chosen profession, but you are not a professional, and need to realise that.  It’s about the money this time, and don’t bother arguing with me, argue with the dictionary, since that’s what I am going to refer to.  Words mean things, and that one has a very specific meaning.

I am not a professional comic creator.  YET.  I will get there.  Anyone attempting to do this for a living has to have a plan, and I am following mine.  But I will not add that label to myself until I have earned it.

Eagle

(Amateur status intact)

NO-Earth Comics