Die proud

No one with any brains or sense of reality gets into comics because they think they’re gonna make a fortune. That’s just crazy talk. You do comics because you HAVE to do comics. You HAVE to tell stories no matter how long it takes, how frustrating it can be putting it all together, how stressful it can all get when the Self Doubt monster comes nipping at your heels late at night when you’re trying to write a scene and imagine how everyone in the scene is reacting while making sure important story information is being conveyed without sounding like a Star Trek episode packed with exposition.

It might not be as physically demanding as hammering nails into wood or carrying 80 lb bags of cement but it is hard work nonetheless. Physical labor takes no thought, only strength. There’s very little room for failure. You hammer the thing your boss tells you to hammer, you move the boxes where you’re supposed to move them, whatever the case may be, and every two weeks you get your thanks in the form of a paycheck. There is no threat to your ego, your sense of self worth…nothing of the kind.

But at the risk of sounding like a pretentious artist, there is much to be said about having a sense of pride in what you do. Something that cannot be given to you no matter what they tell you or how much they pay you.

I love comics. I grew up on them, but I also love animation and film and music and ALL of those things have worked their way into War Dogs.

If I NEVER get to make a film I can still die proud knowing I made this graphic novel series. Everything I’ve learned from studying film on my own has made its way into these pages. Whatever I’ve learned about story-telling from the masters, either through podcasts, articles, or DVD commentaries, has made its way into the story.

And some personal pain as well. This graphic novel took a lot out of me and I never saw it coming. I thought I was just going to tell a cool gangster story in the vein of the Asian action films I’ve loved, illustrate it all, and be done. You know, pout it out there for sale and see what happens and not worry too much.

I couldn’t have been more wrong.

These characters are all based on real people; design wise, but some of who they are in real life has been worked into the dialogue. It’s mostly me but it’s still partly them.

I wanted to quit so many times during the writing phase because I lost confidence. I thought I was wasting my time. Thought Asians would look at this thing and wrinkle their noses. Feared it would just go ignored and I’d have wasted a few years of my time on it.

But the creative process changed at some point and went from being stressful to being fun and exciting and full of surprises.

The feedback on the teaser (available in the Gallery) couldn’t have been better if I paid for it. So I’m taking it as a good sign for the future.

And still, no one has done anything like this yet…not with / for Asians.

To anyone who’s read the teaser and been hooked right away, I guarantee you, you have NO idea what’s coming. There’s some serious character development and some fucked up shit goes down with Xue and the rest of the cast.

You will get mad at certain characters and your loyalties may switch before the book is done. In the end this story will stay with you and will feel like you just watched an intense Asian Action Drama like Oldboy, No Tears For the Dead, or The Raid; Redemption.

You will be moved.

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