Lissau's workbench (summer 2014)



  • edited December 2012
    As for Doing The Work:

    I haven't started scripting STRANGER yet, but I expect I will today. I've been spending the last few days figuring out which cons I want to attend this year, deleting some and adding others. It looks like Cincy is out because of a family conflict and lack of interest from anyone I'd need to commute with. But I'm adding a one-day con in the south suburbs called Dan Con that I've heard good things about. Justin Castaneda and @markstegbauer have attended and sing its praises. It's in the fall.

    The St. Louis show in September is still on my radar if I can find someone from up here to drive down with. Although, the train is an option, too. Anyone?
  • Registered for Dan Con on Sept. 21. Struck St. Louis from my list -- it's the same weekend. Also registered for the first Appleseed Comic Con in Fort Wayne, which formerly went by another name. Trevor, Steve and I attended this year and I had a surprisingly big day, saleswise. I've juggled some family events and will attend again in 2013, if the organizer will have me back.
  • Summit City (Appleseed, in 2013) was a good one-day show this year. I hope you and Horton have a good time.
  • edited December 2012
    Since my con and store appearances are done for the year, I thought it'd be fun to total my book sales:

    Strawberry Shortcake singles: 98
    SS digests: 174
    Batman Strikes: 12
    Batman Allies:3
    Reading With Pictures tpb: 33
    RWP hc: 13
    Hope tpb: 12 (most of these were to Trevor when he ran out, I think)
    Omega Comics Presents singles: 23
    The Best of OCP trade: 17
    Kagemono: 20
    Criminal Element: 2
    One Last Thing: 30
    Daily Grind: 11

    Pretty good year.
  • I sold the crap out of those HOPE books! Full price, to boot!
  • Writing kids' books would probably land me in jail.
  • I have never sold anything as well as SS, even batman.
  • edited December 2012

    Back when I was actively pitching stories to the Big Two, I had an idea for an X-Men mini... and then they said no more mutants. I let it sit and then reworked it into an OGN concept called SHOUT... and then let it sit. It's been on my mind for the last few days, and I revised it again tonight. What do you guys think of this? It could be my next project if OLD WOUNDS is a hit.

    The high concept: “Carrie” meets “X-Men.”

    What it’s about: A super-powered – but emotionally
    wrecked – teen must find the courage to be a hero.

    The story: Our protagonist is Josh Warren, a
    14-year-old high school student who’s struggling through life. His mom doesn’t
    pay him much attention; the bullies at school constantly give him a rough time;
    there’s a girl he likes but has no luck with women at all. Frankly, he just
    wants to be left alone. Josh’s world take a turn for the surreal when, during a
    confrontation in the boys locker room, he discovers he has psychokinetic powers
    over living objects. In other words, through his thoughts and the power of
    speech, he can control anything that’s alive. Unlike the super-powered beings
    we’re used to reading about in comics, however, Josh doesn’t want to be a hero.
    And the situation gets worse when Josh, is unable to control these new skills.
    Like many bullied and troubled teens, he considers suicide but doesn’t have the
    guts to go through with it.

    Just then, things get even weirder when Josh is visited by a
    team of mysterious people calling themselves Lifeguards who claim to be
    humanity’s protectors. Their leader, a man with incredible psychic abilities,
    sensed Josh’s awakening and can help him harness his power. He tests Josh’s
    powers and they’ve off the charts; the other team members are impressed and
    want him aboard so he can be properly trained. But Josh isn’t interested.
    Frankly, he thinks they’re nuts.

    That changes, however, when Josh and the team are
    unexpectedly assaulted by the Lifeguards’ arch-foe: a gigantic, mecha-robotic
    hero-hunter who’s aware of Josh and wants to scratch him – and the Lifeguards
    -- off his to-do list. Initially cowardly and full of doubt, Josh eventually
    realizes he must act. He can’t control the gigantic robot because it’s not
    actually alive, so he turns himself into a living bomb, leaps to the murderous
    machine and with a single word – “BOOM” – blows it to bits. The effort,
    however, leaves Josh gravely wounded. Fortunately, the team’s teenage healer,
    who’s got a soft spot for Josh, is able to save him; in the denouement, we see
    Josh has joined the team and has finally found happiness and a purpose for his


    Josh is a character readers will identify with, one who’ll
    elicit laughs as well as sympathy. He’s an outcast who struggles in traditional
    society, a situation familiar to many readers. For Josh, his new powers are a
    curse, not a gift – a different spin on the “young man gets powers” tale. But
    eventually, Josh finds the inner strength to save the day – and in the end, he
    gains the self-confidence and maturity he’s lacked. He even gets the girl.


  • Good start. I think it needs some sort of twist or a bit of the unexpected, as the story seems to play out how you'd expect a story like this to play out. It's an OGN, so don't be afraid to kill him at the end.

    How would control over living objects allow him to be able to destroy a robot in that way?

    Could the protagonist be a girl and the healer a boy? How does his lack of control over his powers worsen his depression?

    I could see a Todd Nauck or a Skottie Young type artist illustrating this.

  • In the xmen version, he did die... And wolverine left a class pin on his gravestone.

    As for the robot issue, that's the big POW: he has to blow himself up to destroy it. Sacrifice.

    Could be a girl... But it started out autobiographical so I saw it as a boy.
  • Y'know, they brought mutants back. Not to discourage you from doing it creator-owned at all, just a heads up that you have the Marvel option again.
  • From social media:

    Hello, friends!

    In recent days, artist John Bivens and I have announced the future publication of OLD WOUNDS, our second project together and our first graphic novel. The book -- a mystery about a man who is not what he appears to be and the ghosts that have come back to haunt him -- will be published by PJ Perez as part of his Pop! Goes The Icon line of independent, creator-owned comics. It's the same company that puts out the OMEGA COMICS PRESENTS anthology that I've contributed to over the past two years. The book will come out in late 2013 or early 2014, and we're damned excited about it. You will be, too.

    Next year, likely in the summertime, we're going to announce a Kickstarter campaign to help fund the production of OLD WOUNDS. I've been part of two successful Kickstarter campaigns, and I've contributed to several others that made it and a few that didn't. I've got a pretty good handle on what makes a good campaign -- and part of that is reaching out to the fanbase early to get them excited about the project. And that's where you come in.

    Our goal will be relatively low, probably in the $5,000 to $10,000 range. The money will help pay for things like: printing and distribution costs; quality paper and cover; shipping the books and rewards we sell through Kickstarter; and promotional materials that we'll give away to fans at cons and other appearances (bookmarks, for example). The highlight for you, I hope, will be a limited-edition hardcover that will ONLY be available through kickstarter, probably limited to 50 copies or fewer.

    We're not going to do the Kickstarter now, because we want to get OLD WOUNDS substantially completed before we start taking pledges. That's important to us: OLD WOUNDS will happen with our without the Kickstarter; the Kickstarter campaign will make it better, and it well get special things (like the hc edition and bookmarks and sketches and autographed OLD WOUNDS scripts) into the hands of our fans, whom we adore.

    We'll be counting on you to promote the campaign and OLD WOUNDS. That's an important part of a successful Kickstarter campaign. The best ones have a buzz created by supporters of the artists in question. If you see our notes and repost them in your own social media accounts, this can explode.

    Another important part of a successful Kickstarter campaign is the list of rewards. So let me ask you: What would you want as a reward for pledging anywhere from $5 to $500 to help us make this project successful? Original commissions? Personally autographed scripts? Sketch cards? Naming rights to characters? Original art from previous projects? Art from friends of ours who support OLD WOUNDS? Visits to your LCS for signings? Visits to your school for presentations about making comics? Breakfast meetings at a con (a personal favorite of mine)? YOU TELL US. Seriously. Right now. Tell us what you'd like as a reward, we'll try to make it happen.

    And that, dear readers, is it for now. Stay tuned to learn more about OLD WOUNDS as it develops, and let us know what you think.

    Happy holidays,

    Russell Lissau

  • I plan to start writing STRANGER today while the girls bake cookies.
  • Page one of STRANGER is done. Good to get the muscles working.

    PAGE 1, panel

    top row.) Exterior, space. Establishing shot of an enormous SPACE STATION in the
    vastness of space. It’s an intergalactic boarding school for privileged,
    multi-species youth from around the universe. (Dirk, design as you wish:
    Circular? Tower-like? A big ring? A Borg cube? Have fun.)

    protagonist, Candy, narrates in a caption.

    1. CAP
    (CANDY): A lot of people on Earth think space is a grand frontier -- a vast
    opportunity for exploration and adventure.

    PAGE 1, panel

    horizontal, second row.) Interior. With the camera at a soft angle, we’re
    outside Candy’s CLASSROOM. I’m imagining a pair of clear glass sliding doors
    that will withdraw, Star Trek-like, when someone approaches. Through the doors,
    we can see a HUMANOID TEACHER standing in front of a digital or holographic
    blackboard, giving a lesson.

    The narration

    2. CAP
    (CANDY): It’s been three hundred years since mankind established relations with
    other worlds.

    3. CAP
    (CANDY): In that time, humans have gone deeper and deeper into space, some
    spending their entire lives living far from our solar system in the name of
    interplanetary peace and harmony.

    PAGE 1, panel

    third row.) Cut to inside the classroom. HUMANOID ALIENS and few HUMAN BOYS, all
    pre-teens, sit at desks or workstations, listening to the teacher. CANDY is
    prominently at the center of the shot, in the front (although not actually the
    front row of the class, if you know what I mean). She is the only human girl.
    Make the aliens as alien as you want, as long as they’re intelligent humanoids.
    (Think DS9, B5, the Star Wars cantina, etc.)

    4. CAP
    (CANDY): Take me. I was born on Earth, but I’ve pretty much lived my entire life
    out among the stars.

    5. CAP
    (CANDY): Pretty cool, right?

    PAGE 1, panel

    left.) Change POV so the kids are in the foreground and the teacher is in the
    background, looking at Candy and asking a question.

    6. CAP
    (CANDY): Think again.

    7. TEACHER:
    -- and the name of the Meltzarian scientist who designed the first
    faster-than-light speed engines was… Candy?

    PAGE 1, panel

    right.) Tight on Candy as she fumbles the response. Her eyes shift; she
    scrunches in her chair. She’s visibly uncomfortable as she tries to come up with
    the answer.

    8. CANDY:

    9. CAP
    (CANDY): It stinks.

    10. TITLE AND


    Russell Lissau

    and Letters: Dirk Tiede

  • Two pages written now, and they really establish the frustration the protagonist feels being the only human girl at this boarding-school-in-space. I'm onto something, here.
  • Four pages of STRANGER written -- one fifth of the story!
    Anyone want to sponsor a character? I have an alien gym teacher, three alien preteen students, the alien inventor of faster-than-light travel and the name of his race so far, all in need of names.
  • Seven pages of STRANGER written. At this rate, it could be done by the time we leave for Florida (Friday), which will let me edit on the plane. The second act began on page 7, and the chief female supporting character is being introduced. All is proceeding nicely.
  • Page 8 of STRANGER written; and it occurred to me that ALIEN NATION would be a better name for the story if it weren't already a movie and tv show.

    Regardless, it's 1/3 done.
  • Two more pages of STRANGER written tonight. I expect to do the final four on the plane Friday morning.
  • First draft of STRANGER script is complete. Not sold on the denouement, but I'll review it over the next few days.
  • With STRANGER written, there are a bunch of characters whose names I'll open up for sponsorship. If you ever wanted to be a comic book character or to have your child/husband/friend be a character, now's your chance. They are:
    1. A female humanoid alien teenager, one of several antagonists in the story.
    2. Two make humanoid alien teens, also antagonists
    3. A female humanoid gym teacher (think Jane Lynch in Glee)
    4. A female humanoid science teacher
    5. A male, human (!) teacher
    6. A male, humanoid teen (a good guy)
    7. The inventor of faster-than-light travel
    8. That inventor's alien species
    9. The alien species of Nikka, one of the protagonists of the story.
    If you're interested, email or PM me.
  • Handwritten STRANGER pages transcribed. First draft done. Still not crazy about the ending.
  • As I mentioned on Facebook, I'm noodling with something new: a zombie story called SIEGE, that focuses on a small band of survivors holed up in a warehouse store like Costco. It will be narrated by a WWZ survivor who was a child during this experience and possibly the sole survivor, like Newt in Aiens. I don't think that's been done before. Meredith wants to cowrite with me, which brings a fresh perspective, too.
  • It looks like SIEGE has an artist. But also a potentially new name: CLEANUP IN AISLE Z. Good if its a short story, crappy for the title of a comic.
  • I like the "Cleanup in Aisle Z" better than "Siege."
  • "CLEANUP IN AISLE Z" Really hits a tone.

    I like it.

  • Me, too, as does artist @markstegbauer. But it may be too funny if the story is dark.
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