Sunday, February 12, 2017

North Force Alpha Cover Reveal!

North Force Alpha was among the projects I'd said we'd be keeping an eye on when this site was basically rebooted.

It seems to be motoring along quite nicely. The book is now expected to be available in April and the first coloured images are being displayed on its dedicated Facebook page.

...The book has expanded to 16 pages. More art and story for the same price! 
Also, the first 500 orders receive their pick of character profile card. Available cards include; Shania Magic Fox, Jack Wildmane, Patriotfire, Gabrielle Coldspell, Matthew Quickclaw, and the robotic Steel Knight
Reserve your copy today by responding (on Facebook). $10 for signed hard copy (includes shipping and handling). Special offer to first 500 members: $10 one time small fee for all 2017 title digital releases! 
Follow Pete@ 
SERIES SYNOPSISThis group of "special beings" is based in Canada, a country that is divided into the territories of the Elfen Empire (northern Quebec) , The Domain of Ogres, Wolfen Territories, and human existence spread throughout. 
A team (NORTH FORCE alpha) is formed outside the control of the law to combat the growing terrorist threat known as "The Octagon". The team will confront their many technological terrors and also the agents of Octagon....They will have to learn to put their past conflicts and (biases) between their people behind them to grow and learn to function as a team.
Profile card? I'll have me a little Gabrielle Coldspell for the collection, s'il vous plait.

Arrowhead Merchandise Now Available

If you're a fan of the True Patriot books and characters (and if you're reading this, it's hard to imagine you aren't) then you might be interested in the merchandise being offered on TeePublic.

The Canadian super hero from the pages of TRUE PATRIOT in a very Canadian design... ARROWHEAD with maple leaves and a nod to the the vintage AVRO conspiracies that his origin is inspired by!
TeePublic also offer phone and laptop cases as options. Nice way to support the True Patriot projects(s) and creator Jay Stephens in particular.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Two-Chapter Review: Captain Canuck - The Terror Birds

I seldom wrote reviews on the previous version of this blog. I described the contents of books frequently but seldom expressed an opinion as to the quality of that content. Not only is quality a very subjective thing but having never published anything myself, I don't think it's my place to criticize those who have.

With the relaunch of this site, I wanted to be a bit more vocal. I won't review every single item I read but if one specific aspect of a book can illustrate a point I consider to be potentially valuable to creators, then I shall comment on it. It's just a different method by which to be supportive, but one I find very tricky, frankly.

And with this in mind, let's take a peek at the Captain Canuck: The Terror Birds novel.

The title of this post is quite literal. I've only read two chapters of Terror Birds. Yet I've already come across an issue that seems to be becoming more and more common; A lack of proper editing.

Did every editor on the planet suddenly drop dead? Is there no one out there available to point out errors in punctuation and/or grammar and/or spelling anymore?

Hey, mistakes happen. There are probably a couple in this post! They seem to be more and more frequent in the material I read these days, however.

I've been told that finding errors is not the purpose of reading books. Of course it isn't. I know this. I don't WANT to find them. That's exactly why this post is being written.

Here's why I consider these small errors to be an issue, even as just a fan.

  • They're distracting. Imagine watching a movie and the screen goes black for one second every minute. Would that not partially prevent your from being totally engrossed? Can you really enjoy a song when the recording skips? Errors have the same effect.
  • They can cause the story to be unclear. One story I read recently (not Canadian, mind you, just used here for the sake of example) used the word "hanger" instead of "hangar" repeatedly in a chapter. They are totally different things, aren't they?
  • They can make you look second-rate. Your delivery can take away from your content. When you read a comment to a newspaper article from someone who can't get "there/they're/their" sorted out, do you not question the writer's credibility just a bit?

Here are a couple of examples from Terror Birds.
...Redcoat tried to unsuccessfully to conceal a yawn.
Obviously the underlining is mine. This is probably a matter of attempting to improve a sentence after it was written and inadvertently going in the opposite direction. Later, a sentence begins "Their current was position was well outside...". Probably an easy mistake to make.
He always did Mr. Bobo had no problem with authority he was very susceptible to praise.
Wouldn't punctuation have made the above sentence far more clear?
The creature tore out a draw.
Or a drawer, rather.

Here's a big part of the problem; spellcheck won't draw your attention to that error because "draw" is a word. Someone attentively reading your work should be able to point it out to you.

The following sentence is in reference to a heated debate in a First Nation council meeting.
It was this warrior's name that in the end quieted the descent. 
I believe that the last word should be dissent, a synonym  for disagreement. In context, "descent" makes very little sense here.

No one expects perfection. But these are four examples of a variety of errors within the first 30 pages. There are several others but they are similar in nature.

So all that being said...
  • Do I regret buying this book? Hell, no. I love that Chapterhouse is using as many methods as possible to tell their stories. 
  • Do I think Neil Dougherty is a terrible writer? Of course not. I can tell in only two chapters that there's a cool story building here. 
  • Do I think Chapterhouse released an inferior product? Not really. There is no editor credited, however. I think it's more accurate to say that I think they skipped a step in the process. 
Here's what I do think; Spellcheck is NOT equivalent to an editor. Spellcheck can't tell when you mean "descent" and when you mean "dissent". I thought it would point out the missing apostrophe in "...when she read the senders name..." but perhaps not.

No matter how good this book turns out to be, it would have benefited from another set of eyes. If you're currently working on this type of project my suggestion, for what little it's worth, is to find that set of eyes prior to release. You're about to present yourself to the world, find someone willing and able to tell you when your fly's down. You don't want a number of small errors to distract from your wicked story.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

True Patriot Present #2 Available On Wednesday!

Combining sales pitches from the Chapterhouse and True Patriot Facebook groups respectively below.
This Wednesday, be sure to grab True Patriot Presents #2 from our page on ComiXology featuring, Arrowhead, the beginning of a new Dominion Jack arc and an all new feature: Crude!
This digital first issue features the introduction of CRUDE by Fred Kennedy and Dave Bishop, the first of a three-part DOMINION JACK story by Jack Briglio and Dominic Bercier, plus the continued adventures of Arrowhead by Jay Stephens!
Love me some Dominion Jack so this will be a release-day purchase for me, with the hope that interest justifies a print collection.

Monday, January 9, 2017

A Glimpse of The Force from Advent Comics

Advent Comics are not a Canadian publisher. I believe they are based out of Maryland, USA. However, their output of Canadian characters is about to explode.

I bought an Advent book in July 2015 on the basis of a Canadian character named Lynx, a member of a UN-sanctioned team called G-8. That's them below, and you probably don't need me to point out that Lynx is at top right.

While providing a greater degree of detail about Lynx at the time, Advent made me aware of a group called The Force (also known as The Canadian Shield, natch) that they intended to include in their comics universe. The plan, at the time, was for the team to be featured in the fifth issue of their Advent Spotlight book.

I have no idea whether having The Force be the focus of that specific issue is still in the works. But a mention of Advent Comics on Twitter on my part resulted in the publisher sharing the image of the team below (to my great gratitude, I might add).

Just a teaser, but encouraging to see that The Force is still on the publisher's radar.

These aren't the only Canadian characters soon-to-be-published by Advent, however. On December first, Advent posted (in part) the following text on their Facebook page.
...Advent Comics will be offering other indie creators and publishers access to Advent Comics’ distribution network in a creator-owned imprint. This imprint should not only help bring worthy creations to life but also shine a light on some of these projects and publishers by getting them out to the masses.

First (and most importantly), this is CREATOR-OWNED!!! The creators of the books will retain all rights - the only purpose of this imprint is to bring their stuff to the masses. Advent Comics is not interested in acquiring these book or characters (but with that said you may see a crossover with Advent Comics characters though). 
There are four initial titles that have been selected for the UNBOUND REALMS Imprint: 
4. Jim Hachey’s SUPERNATURAL AGENTS – Featuring the Dawn of A New Age of Superheroes.
James Hachey's Water Front Studios are based out of Saint John, New Brunswick. For that matter, I believe the Supernatural Agents are as well.

Water Front has been sharing art from the SNA book on their own Facebook group of late, but most of it is of a back-up story about a character named Stunray, based out of Toronto.

Some high-energy stuff from artist Demi Mandir.

Before taking that in, it may be helpful to know that background material about the Supernatural Agents and Stunray can be found in the third issue of Manga Ganda, published by Red Leaf Comics.

You could almost consider that book to be a "zero issue" to the material that Advent will be publishing. Of the 32 pages in Manga Ganda 3, the Agents and Stunray each get eight. The rest of the book is mostly pinups and some brief sci-fi stories, but those 16 combined  pages pack all the history you need to be aware of to leap into the Advent books.

While the Supernatural Agents are going to be the headliners, Stunray will continue to claim eight pages per issue, at least for the first couple. The book is available for pre-order at the moment on the Advent Comics website and expected to be released at the end of this month.

Sunday, January 8, 2017

The Grenadier Returns!

Of course he does. Can't keep a good man down. He's been doing this since Vimy Ridge, you know.

Late last month, Zenith Comics tossed an interest-finder on social media in regards to publishing a third issue of its Heroic series. The book first debuted in early 2014 (if my memory is sound) and the second issue was released in June 2015.

Evidently, Zenith was pleased with the feedback generated because not only are we getting a third issue but also a fourth, a fifth...Here's how Zenith broke down its future plans on Facebook this weekend.
So looks like HEROIC #3 will be 32 pages... 16 pages of HEROIC and two 8 page back-up stories that show other parts of the Zenith Universe. As soon as the specifics are settled, I'll announce who those writer/art teams will be! 
The plan is for these 8 pagers to be 4 parts (up to issue 6) and one will cover everyone's favourite Canknucklehead the GRENADIER!
The cover at right may not suggest much Canadian content and truth be told, there isn't (well, aside from writer Andrew Collard being from Montreal). The first issue begins with a funeral in Washington D.C. for a character named The Guardsman, the "premier hero of America", and a eulogy by his closest ally, Lady America. The second half of the book takes place at the other end of the country, Washington state. There isn't a drop of maple syrup to be found!

So what's this about the Grenadier?

During the project's early days, in October 2012, even prior to the Kickstarter campaign being launched, a design sketch (by Alex Williamson) was displayed for a character named The Canadian. The image was displayed again just after Canada Day in 2013 but this time the Grenadier name was applied to it.

The Grenadier appeared briefly in the second issue of Heroic as Lady America announces that the Guardians superhero team needs to disband. The Grenadier serves as a voice of reason during that scene and a supporting shoulder when Lady America find herself a little discouraged by recent events.

And that was the last we saw of him.

Yet for all that there is little material about him, he does seem to have his little cult following. I believe that the design struck a chord with Zenith's followers.

I also like to believe that the interest shown in the Grenadier on social media helped encourage Collas to increase the character's exposure. For all I know, the short story to come has been in the planning stages for years, but the wording copied from Facebook above makes it seem like a recently-hatched plan.

Regardless, the important takeaways are that Heroic is on the way back, and Grenadier is getting his beam of the spotlight. Follow Zenith Comics on Facebook to keep up to date with the project. You can also get digital copies of the first two issue on drivethrucomics.

And if you appreciate the character's look and want to support Zenith further, you can get Grenadier-based merchandise from Teepublic by following this link.