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Aaron Shaps… this short story about Nick Fury on Christmas, He really made my work easy, one of the best scripts I've read so far :D

"The art here is really engagin', kinda cartoony, an' really dynamic. This looks like it'd make a really nice aesthetic for a animated series for Nick Fury. The story is great too, with a great opportunity for some action, some nice quips an' one-liners from Fury, an' a twist endin' that makes sense an' is even kinda heartwarmin'. This story alone would be worth the price o' admission for this-here comic."

"The star story here is the Nick Fury one. Nice pacing, great internal monologue, fun art and the story (which I wont spoil) actually made me smile, laugh and give a little out loud "huh, wow, cool" moment. Reminds me that the comics version of a short story can be just as effective and powerful as its long-form narrative counterpart...I will keep an eye out for the writer of the Fury story. I like his stuff."

"'Ol' Saint Nick' by Aaron Shaps and Sebastian Piriz was probably my favorite of the bunch...I hope to see more from both the writer and the artist in the future."

"The art is fun and the characterization of Fury is classic."

"This tale, featuring Nick Fury, is the best of the bunch for this Holiday issue. The narration is done in a very verbose style that is reminiscent of some of the old Stan Lee comics of my youth. And Nick Fury's dialog (both inner and outer) is full of some great fun stuff that makes this story of one of the world's most curmudgeonly badasses a blast to read. The tale takes place as Fury is tracking down a Hydra agent called "Scar" who is supposedly one of the rising stars of the criminal organization. Fury parachutes into the Hydra base and begins kicking but on his way to Scar and holiday fun ensues.

The artwork is a bit cartoony and reminded me a lot of the animated 'Venture Brothers' but it's a perfect fit for the tongue-in-cheek vibe of the tale. When Fury finally completes his mission, you'll have laughed a bit, cried a bit, and definitely be in the holiday spirit."

"Each story is well-written and worth reading, but the strongest two are easily 'Cold Hearted Christmas' and 'Ol' Saint Nick.'...'Ol' Saint Nick', by writer Aaron Shaps and artist Sebastian Piriz, is the most fun of the four shorts, melding the dramatic and overindulgent style of old age comics with a modern flair. Nick Fury dishes out punches like Christmas candy and delivers quips that, while purposefully silly, feel fresh and accessible."
A pair of new Marvel creators team-up for a holiday tale Nick Fury style

By Jim Beard

The MARVEL HOLIDAY SPECIAL, currently rolling out for free in four parts on the Marvel Comics app , gives new writers and artists the chance to work with some of Marvel's most famous characters, including Nick Fury, who sees holiday action courtesy of newcomers Aaron Shaps and Sebastián Piriz.

"Nick Fury hits two major bases for me, in that he is a human hero with no super human abilities but has adventures in a fantastic setting, and he is also a spy character," details writer Shaps. "I have always been a fan of characters [that are] essentially ordinary humans that rise to extraordinary heights under extraordinary circumstances. In Nick Fury, we have this American super-spy character, who inhabits this extraordinary universe, so what is not to love?
MARVEL HOLIDAY SPECIAL 2012 art by Sebastian Piriz

"As to why he makes the perfect Christmas hero, I think it's precisely because he seems like he wouldn't be the kind of [character] you would put in a story like this. He is this grizzly, grumpy old hard-ass, and he seems like he would probably be a bit of a Grinch. But of course, even though the heart of a lion beats within his chest, it is also a heart of gold."

Artist Piriz agrees with Shaps as to Fury's perhaps-unlikely appearance in a holiday-themed tale.

"Fury isn't the first character that comes to your mind when you think of the Marvel Universe, but he's without any doubt one of the most interesting," he says. "Just a man telling some of the most powerful people in the world what to do to. Definitively a great character for my first gig at Marvel.
"I'm not sure if he's the best character for a Christmas story, but Aaron made one of the best holiday comics I've read in my life. I'm one of those who think that it's not about the characters, but what you do with them."

Shaps notes that the experience of working on the MARVEL HOLIDAY SPECIAL comes as a heady one, providing a whole new universe of possibilities to him.

"Basically, the story came about because a mutual friend introduced me to Marvel's C.B. Cebulski at C2E2," he explains. "I gave C.B. some samples of my independent stuff and some of the self-published stuff through my own studio, and then I kept in touch with him after the show. Ultimately, I was asked to pitch some holiday-themed stories, and sent ideas for Captain America, Doctor Strange, and Nick Fury. Editor Sebastian Girner contacted me a few weeks later and said he liked elements of the Nick Fury pitch and the Cap pitch, and essentially wanted to combine the two. And to his credit, he was absolutely right, in that I think the elements of the Cap story work much, much better with Nick Fury. I never would have thought to go that route. He's a great editor.
MARVEL HOLIDAY SPECIAL 2012 art by Sebastian Piriz

"As for working with Sebastián Píriz, I have nothing but enthusiastic praise. From the second I saw the rough thumbnails, I was really excited about the art. In comics, there is always that little element of fear for a writer, fear that maybe the artist won't really get what you want the story to feel like, and you'll just end up with something that is nowhere near what you initially envisioned. And with Sebastián, the moment I saw his thumbnails, any fear disappeared completely. I would love to work with him again on another Marvel story. It was a great collaboration and I think he totally nailed it. I think the end result is really fun. I hope the fans agree. If they have half as much fun reading it as I had working on it, it will definitely end up being their favorite retro Nick Fury Christmas story ever."

"The script is great and I had a lot of fun drawing it," concurs Piriz. "I think the pages look great—though as a professional, I already had a list of things I'd fix a few days after the deadline—and I love the retro look the colorist gave to the story."

Both creators also have very definite designs for more Marvel adventures and characters should the call to action come once more.

"I've loved Daredevil since the Frank Miller era," says Shaps. "He's a great character that works really well in gritty noir stories. He also has a bit of a swashbuckling vibe about him, so that is another really cool element. A Daredevil story might be really dark and intense, but there is always that sense of exhilaration as he moves through the city. He is poetry in motion. And a lot of great Daredevil stories have ninjas in them. Like monkeys, pirates, monsters with tentacles, and sexy alien ladies, ninjas are almost never a bad thing to introduce into a story.

"I would love to do a Power Man and Iron Fist series with a retro feel, like the Nick Fury story. I think a story that feels like a blaxploitation movie/classic kung fu movie, true to the real roots of those characters, would be so much fun to do."

"Doctor Doom," states Piriz plainly as to his dream character. "He's the best villain ever. A very powerful character and I just love him; and along with Doom, anything about the Fantastic Four, of course."

More on…
Adventures of Lady Luck

Reviewed by Chuck Moore

Adventures of Lady Luck, Volume 1: Secret Weapons
by Monson, Piriz, Wright
Simon Wright Comics / Awaken Comics

Are you in the mood for secret nazi weapon programs circa 1943, flying saucers, edge of your seat pulp-esque action and some honest small press fun? Let me introduce you to the Adventures of Lady Luck from Simon Wright Comics under their Awaken Comics imprint.

I recently took time out to sit down with a digital preview copy of the weighty 98 page volume (roughly 80 pages of story and 16+ pages of solid extras). I found an interesting early effort from a new publisher that showed a lot of promise. The read itself was entertaining as an honor bound US military corporal finds himself captured by the nazi high command and, eventually, crosses paths with Lady Luck, a brainwashed super soldier created by Hitler to win the war.

The story treads a fine line between campy, b-movie fun and one soldier's occasionally very serious look at his own interactions with the enemy and the atrocities they've committed in the name of victory. Here, honor and the horrors of war are central themes throughout the story that treads near, but not directly on some very weighty subjects.

Given the book's heft, the story is a surprisingly quick read. In this Volume 1, we're introduced to the main character, Lady Luck, as we share her origin, her programming and the turning point where she is liberated from the nazi mind control. Are we left with a clear cut hero here? No, though the reader is presented with a nice cliffhanger ending regarding her final fate. Along the way, we experience the story through her eyes and, later, the eyes of a military officer gone rogue to save a captured friend behind enemy lines.

The sense of pace and visual storytelling here is strong as the scene layout proves really good at sharing that move-like action adventure feel. The dialogue feels a little forced at points but serves the story well overall. Honestly, this is a solid effort from a company finding it's narrative feet. That said, there are times that the story felt as if it were trying to be two things. The dichotomy of campy, fun flying saucers and zany attempts at super science felt a bit at odds with the deeper moments where the writer ties in the memory of Jewish family being hauled off by the SS. Two very different story styles and the creators here did a good job balancing the two.

My review copy of was a black, white and gray-shaded version of the story. As you will see in the preview below, the coloring added to the final version only enhances the final product. I'll be interested to see what volume 2 has to offer the reader.…
  • Watching: Battlestar Galactica Season 4
  • Playing: Machinarium
taken from here:…

And you think your job sucks?

Jimmy Lohman's come to Capital City with hopes of becoming the next big thing in the news biz but when every newspaper, tv station and website turn him down he jumps at the chance to become reporter Grant Godfried's assistant. His enthusiasm is short lived when he discovers he's just signed on to become assistant to the superhero known as Edge so in addition to answering phones and fetching lattes Jimmy's got to worry about keeping the hero from indulging in drunken karaoke, providing cover stories for stood up dates and making sure he has a spare set of keys to the Edgemobile. When one of the villainous Gemini brothers is murdered while in the custody of The League the surviving Gemini vows to blow up a building a day but Edge and Jimmy discover his plans delve deeper: murder superheroes when they're in their civilian identities. The more clues the duo tries to dig up the more the evidence points to Gemini having a partner...on the inside.

Caped by Darin Moiselle and Josh Lobis is an interesting story about the daily drudgery of being an assistant to a superhero who's humor is well balanced with the drama. Jimmy Lohman's beleagured character is resilient in the way that he adjusts to being constantly put into harm's way and still presses on to solve the case when even Edge feels all is lost. There were times where the story's humor reminded me of Drew Melbourne's ArchEnemies which I also really enjoyed. Herrara's art in the first two chapters really set the tone of the story and Piriz made an empressive effort to continue in the same tone while retaining his own style. I have a love/hate relationship with some books that take a tongue and cheek approach to superheroes. Hero Squared and the already mentioned ArchEnemies are examples of superhero satire done right and Marvel's Ultimate Adventures miniseries shows what happens when stories come up short but Caped was a comic that had a good tone to it and didn't try to buldgen the reader with joke after joke.

Extras: Character design sketches by Caleb Cleveland and Caped Inside Covers with blog-like monthly updates

Written by: Darin Moiselle and Josh Lobis

Art by: Yair Herrera and Sebastian Piriz

Covers by: Joe Quinones and Saumin Patel


Rudy T.
Staff Reviewer
  • Watching: The office season 5
  • Playing: Muramasa
My first published work was War of the Elementals, for the Ray Harryhausen line of comics of Bluewater.

As many other artist, I found out (later sadly) that the way of doing comics of Darren Davis means having artist working for free.

I could write a lot more, about the things that he promised and how it ended (with me leaving issue 3 after a few pages done) But I guess this article  I just found will be enough for anyone who reads it to know what to expect.

(taken form… )

Getting In Deep With Bluewater Productions
Submitted by Rich Johnston on September 7, 2009 – 10:00 am (19) comments

Not a Farah Fawcett biographical comic...

Bluewater Productions is a comic company best known today for publishing political biographical comics, initially based on IDW's election comics, with the likes of Hillary Clinton, Sarah Palin, Colin Powell and Ted Kennedy before expanding into dead performers like Michael Jackson, authors like Stephanie Myer and, well, dogs like Bo Obama. They also publish licensed litles such as William Shatner's TekWar and recent titles based on Ray Harryhausen properties.

Publisher Darren G Davis, was publisher of Tidal Wave before it went bankrupt, known for a series of fantasy and superhero titles, and published through Alias Comics, Avatar and Image, the comic 10th Muse then being their highest profile book, which Bluewater continue to publish. But some issues seem to have been left in its wake.

Of late I have heard a number of stories about people working for the company on back end deals, where a creator is paid after the comic is published, out of any profits made. If there are no profits, there are no payments. This kind of deal is usually reserved at publishers for creator-owned or creator-participant comics, which doesn't seem to be the case at Bluewater, and includes ancillary creators such as colourists.

And of late, for a number of those non-biographical titles, those profits aren't there and the book can get cancelled before publication, often down to low sales and Diamond's new minimum terms.

The company uses a number of free creators, working for no money at all, seeking exposure, who later wonder if they've been taken for a ride – especially if the work never even sees publication.

Many are not willing to speak out in public or even have their names used, as they fear legal or financial penalty. But some feel otherwise. But Hellblazer and Joe The Barbarian artist Sean Gordon Murphy alleges an unpaid $5000 debt from previous work and Alex Amezcua, artist on The 10th Muse (written by Davis) also alleges non payment. In one long running thread, colourist Goran Kostadinoski talks about knowing several Bluewater colourists, but not one who was paid, himself included. And many others chip in with their own similar experiences.

However, it seems that many of these claims stem from unmanaged expectations rather than simple non-payment. People were recruited by Darren G Davis as work for hire creators, on the understanding that they would be paid from profits. But many seem to have not realised there may not be profits and, despite assurances to me by Davis, those expectations don't seem to have been managed in a number of cases. The contracts I've seen make it clear, creators will be paid 15% of profits on the book, with increased incentives for higher sales, but the realisation that those profits may be far and few between, at least until trade paperback sales, didn't seem to sink in. The phrase "work for hire" in the contract may have led people to be believe that they would be paid for that hire. And I can see their point.

Some people see a greater conspiracy, of sales figures for these titles being misreported, with allegations that Davis misrepresented sales. However, a contraction in much of the comics market, coupled with Diamond's new terms is a much more likely and consistent argument, and it seems that the Top 300 charts are only bothered by their biographical titles right now. One pointed out to me that Diamond allocated orders to certain shops as evidence that not enough copies were being printed by Bluewater to avoid paying profits, when a far more likely experience is that, as with many other publishers, Diamond distribution has certain inefficiences. However those working on the better selling titles such as the biography books have been paid, significantly it seems, from said profits.

Darren G Davis has stated that most issues stem from Alias days and that they never made money at Alias. That he is upfront with creators about back end deals and how and if people will get paid, that people should come directly to him with such issues and that "know that items posted in message boards are slanderous and can be seen as libel" and "What people also do not post is the fact that people that have done back-end deals get an open door to a creator owned book. There are many of them at Bluewater." He also states how these deals aren't right for everyone and that contracts must be entered into with care.

He tells me;

    Everyone is getting paid 100% for what they are owed. We cut checks each week to the production teams and send them a detailed sheet of what the book made. We also offer incentives too and the people that worked on some of the titles got bonus checks. For the people we work with we also have offered to publish their creator owned books for people at our loss. Some people are working on books that sell 574 copies and there is no profit at all on these at this point. This is not a deal for everyone and I explain it all in advance before they take on the book. What they are forgetting is they will make money off the trades, digital and foreign. So when the single book comes out they freak out.

However I understand that certain creators are arranging lawsuits for payment, specifically in the light of Bluewater's recent biographical success.

After talking to Darren, he sent a mass e-mail out to creators asking that they contact me with positive stories about working for Bluewater, and indeed a number did, including Bruce Wayne (I know I know), Paul Salamoff, Clay Griffith. Kenton Daniels and GMB Chomichuk. Who seemed well aware of the Bluewater publishing agreement, profit situation and seemed to be happy to play the long game.

The moral of this story is, don't work for a Bluewater non-biographical comic if you are depending on income from that title, read the contracts carefully and understand their implications. What Bluewater are doing isn't illegal, they certainly do pay people on instantly profitable books and intend to pay others depending on eventual profits. But it's worth picking and choosing your projects. A biographical comic of a high profile individual would be your best bet…

In a statement to Bleeding Cool answering these and other issues, Darren wrote;

    Recently Bluewater has endured a series of attacks regarding its business practices. Bluewater does not engage or condone any such underhanded or untoward activity and refute each and every allegation made against the company and me personally. Much of the perceived conflict comes from a handful of creatives who became disenchanted over the terms of their signed agreements and mistakenly believe they are owed compensation.

    Because Bluewater is a small company, our business model is such that artists, writers, and colorists are paid if and when a property (single issue or trade paperback) becomes profitable. When prospective creatives are engaged to work on a property, they are informed of this up front and are asked to review the terms in the written contract. There is no coercion; no strong-armed tactics, no manipulating industry novices. When a book reaches profitability, defined by a specific number of sales, the creatives are paid according to the percentages contained in their contract.

    It is unfortunate that not every book Bluewater publishes has reached the profitability threshold. Some, in fact, never sell more than 800 copies. Some are canceled by our national retail distributor Diamond. And some are not fit for publication because they do not meet a professional standard. But that is the risk Bluewater and the creative accepts. I respect the labor these artists, writers and colorists put into creating a title, and am more than willing to share in the profits. However, if a book does poorly, it is Bluewater that absorbs the overwhelming majority of the loss. Yes, there is a risk on behalf of the creatives as well, but they at least have a professional entry for their portfolio that can use to get other jobs in the industry.

    It is also unfortunate that certain media types have questioned Bluewater's credibility because they have chosen to take situations out of context or accuse the company of manipulating sales figures. This, of course is impossible, since the sales figures of every issue are a matter of record on the ICV2 site.

    I understand that our business model is not for everybody. I understand that there are some people who feel they have been misled or cheated. However, every single person who is owed money that is contractually due has been paid. Many of the creatives noted in the articles that allege non-payment do not state fully why payments were not rendered. Some were fired from books for non-performance, some worked on titles that never reached profitability or were canceled, some have personal reasons to be vindictive. I feel badly that they made incorrect assumptions that led to ill-feelings and anger. I have, at different times, reached out to each of these people to explain the specifics of their situation. Some go away with an understanding; others do not. Because they disagree with the written terms of the contract or have a different interpretation of the events, does not make me a liar or a cheat. I will accept responsibility for not better managing a creative's expectations, but each is made fully aware of all possibilities. I have never withheld a penny from any creative who was due payment.

    There are also allegations regarding previous businesses in which I have been involved. It is true that TidalWave Productions declared bankruptcy in 2003. Many make assumptions and unbased claims as to why this happened; and all are wrong. The simple truth is that TidalWave could not sustain based on certain partners reneging on contracted terms. At the time, the company was a part-time endeavor and I worked a standard 9-to-5 job. This employment situation was also true with Bluewater until 2008. But the bottom line is people with no knowledge of the company's administration, creative process or financial status make ill-informed or assumptive comments on some forum or blog that are treated as the gospel truth. This is how reputations get trashed.

    Every business has its detractors. And people will believe what they choose. But despite the allegations, accusations, heresay, childish name-calling and angry gossip, Bluewater remains committed to producing quality comic books and graphic novels. It remains steadfast in its current business model of profit-sharing with a variety of talented creatives. And I remain resolute that Bluewater is, and shall continue to be, a reputable business that operates with integrity.
In stores today, Zombie Tales #12 (Boom! studios) I did the art for "Finish Line"

here are the cover and two pages:………

more work for Boom! studios soon :)
  • Listening to: Beatles
  • Reading: nada :(
  • Watching: Fringe
in Spanish, sorry :)

Hace un mes masomenos me contactó un periodista que hace notas sobre historietas (entre otros temas) para Página 12, y este es el resultado :…

Solo puedo agregar que me dio bastante vergüenza compartir una nota sobre profesionales del comic al lado de tipos tan grosos, pero aún así fue una experiencia muy linda.

PD, Muchisimas gracias Andrés :D
  • Listening to: Abuelos de la Nada
  • Reading: nada :(
  • Watching: nada :)
  • Playing: World of Goo
  • Drinking: Speed
Here are two reviews of my work on War of Elementals (one of them is in spanish)……
War of Elementals is on sale now!! get a copy now that is cheap, you'll thank me in some years :D
  • Listening to: KT Tunstall
  • Reading: The mote in god's eye
  • Watching: the comic page I'm doing
  • Playing: Lego Batman with my kid
  • Eating: Marroc
  • Drinking: Cofee, a lot of cofee (with milk)