Monday, January 30, 2017

PLANETOID: PRAXIS

PLANETOID: PRAXIS #1 goes on sale this week (on 2/1)

I wrote a postscript that will appear in the back of the comic.

So, rather than rewording it as a blog post, I figured I'd just post it here in it's entirety...

Also, I'm now on instagram: @ken_garing

More soon!

...





Greetings!

If you're reading this that probably means that you've both purchased and (more importantly) read the comic book you now hold in your hands. So first off, above all, thank you! This comic has been a long time coming...
PRAXIS is a sequel to my previous mini-series PLANETOID, which was published by Image in 2012-13. Four years is a much longer gap of time than I would have liked. But, as tends to happen, life gets in the way. Over these last few years I've traveled, lived in Japan for a bit, got married, and worked on a handful of different projects. As PLANETOID wrapped up, I jumped into a series of comics projects with different publishers. Some of which did not come to fruition and a handful that did.

It was always my intention to create my own original comics, but the offers from other publishers and writers to work on licensed projects seemed worth exploring to me. So that's what I did. I got a real education in comics during that time. But when the dust settled I was left without a project and no work on the shelves for months on end. I had to go back to the drawing board, literally.

PLANETOID was meant as a stand-alone story, but while working on it new characters and story possibilities kept popping up. When I decided to return to working on a new creator-owned comic, PRAXIS was already laid out in my mind.

Some of my early motivation for PLANETOID came from my observation of the lack of science-fiction comics on the market. By coincidence, PLANETOID saw publication around the same time as PROPHET and SAGA (both critically acclaimed sci-fi comics published by Image). Image has gone on to publish even more great science-fiction titles since. Of course, soon after, every other publisher followed suit. Now the market seems to be saturated with science-fiction comics.

But that's a good thing. We're living in weird, uncertain times and we need venues for artists to explore, question, and express their ideas. If that can best happen in the pages of new creator-owned science-fiction comic books, then I'm all for it.

My only hope is that PRAXIS won't get lost in the weekly avalanche of new titles. So, to that end, if you liked what you read here, please pre-order future issues, tell your retailer, tell your friends, make noise online... every bit helps! I know that with PLANETOID, whatever success it had was due entirely to the support of readers and retailers on the ground.

Also, I'm curious to hear from you guys and maybe publish some letters or fan art in these back pages (email me at: kengaring@gmail.com). I'm also going to try a little experiment in future issues by running some of my own short stories and art in these back pages.

And lastly, for those of you who have not read PLANETOID Vol.1, the collected trade paperback is available at comic shops and book stores as well as online.

Alright then, onward!

Ken Garing
January 13, 2017
San Francisco, CA



Wednesday, October 28, 2015

TMNT


I recently drew two issues (#51 and #52) of TMNT for IDW. The first issue is on sale today, so I thought it might be a good excuse to write about my history with the Turtles.

Over the last year, I've been working on the sequel to my 2013 series PLANETOID (Image Comics). I'd made a lot of progress but I was feeling kind of burnt out and bothered by the fact that it had been so long since I'd had any work out on the shelves. Coincidentally, around this time, I got an offer from the always affable Bobby Curnow (IDW) to do some fill in work on TMNT ongoing series.



I'm wary of working on licensed properties (based on past experiences) but TMNT is a special case. The IDW series is a rare thing in comics. The series seems to be doing everything right in terms of how to manage a licensed property. It has reached the milestone of 50+ issues and garnered a loyal readership and the talent involved in the series has remained top notch throughout it's run. But most importantly (to me) the series has the blessing and participation of one of the original creators, the great Kevin Eastman.

As a kid I read a lot of random Marvel titles, but the single comic book publication that made me want to draw comics myself was the color edition of Eastman and Laird's original series published by First Publishing.



At the time, the TMNT craze had just begun, and I was hooked on the cartoon and toy line, but what's special about this particular volume is that it collected the original TMNT comics which were essentially creator-owned, underground comics. Even as a kid I could tell the difference from the Marvel/DC comics. As a result, I began drawing my own characters and stories rather than copying existing characters. 

All the hype aside, Eastman and Laird's original TMNT are simply very good comics. The storytelling is bold and sure-footed as is the art itself. The Turtles themselves are probably the most iconic and well designed post-Kirby superheroes. Even the lettering (by Steve Lavigne) is very good. But above all, I loved the world-building in those original comics. Usually world-building refers to fantasy environments, but Eastman & Laird's grittily detailed New York City stirred my imagination as much as any other world I've experienced in fiction.



Also, (and this may seem like an odd thing to focus on) the introduction (by Stanely Wiater) in Vol.1 also had an impact on me as a kid because it went into some detail about Eastman and Laird's inspiration. In the introduction, three comic book artists are named in bold; Jack Kirby, Richard Corben, and Frank Miller.



These names stuck out in my mind and from a young age I had my eye out for their work (this is pre-internet, mind you). Eventually, I got my hands on Miller's RONIN, Corben's DEN, Kirby's KAMANDI, etc. Years later, as publisher of HEAVY METAL MAGAZINE, Kevin put out a anthology of Corben short story work, that again, was a revelation to me at the time.

I could go on about all the ways in which TMNT influenced me (Jim Lawson's work on the TMNT ADVENTURES series needs mention) but I'll just say that it's quite literally a childhood dream realized to have worked on the series and say thanks to the IDW crew for letting me onboard. It was fun drawing these two issues. A lot was learned. 

I'm now back at work on PLANETOID and the work is coming easier to me now...  and I hope to have an announcement soon! Till then, be well.



Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Update

I have a story in the new DC Vertigo anthology, VERTIGO QUARTERLY: CYAN.  On sale tomorrow, April 30...


I did some art for a TMNT cover a while back. It will appear on issue #35 (out in June, I think). I don't plan on doing much more work on licensed characters, but the turtles are an exception. Eastman & Laird's original TMNT was (and is) a huge inspiration for me.

 
...and here's an alternate color version of the cover (which I prefer).


Also, the collected PLANETOID Vol. 1 is now available on Amazon


My primary focus now is the PLANETOID sequel. I also have a growing collection of short story work that I hope to have published sometime soon...!








Friday, April 6, 2012

Science-Fiction Scrapbook

Here's a slideshow of some recent science-fiction related illustrations... enjoy!