Friday, August 17, 2012

Make Mine VALIANT!

I don't actively promote comics from big name comics. I much rather promote the works of small press but, this is an exception. The comics I'm reading now are so phenomenal I feel I must share them with everyone! So, below you will find my rant about The Sumer of Valiant and why I'm reading monthly comics once again.


Back in the late 90's I stopped actively collecting comics due in large part to the Spider-Man Clone Saga... they just lost my interest. Over the next decade or so I would pic up the occasional Marvel or DC book just to keep up with the characters. Time and time again though, I'd be horribly disappointed. It wasn't always just poor writing and poor art but it was always at least one of those things that just gets to you... that whisper in your mind that says, "You just wasted your money, dude!"

So, I began buying and reading more and more indie comics. Often times I was rewarded with both great art and excellent stories and if not, I could at least feel good that I was supporting someone's dream.

...and seeing others do so, I began making my own comics with the value of quality in both art and story. W.I.C. was born. A few years before a company called BOOM! was coming out with amazing stuff and most amazing of all they were producing comics for kids! I began reading their books and studying how they run their business. I love BOOM! and KaBOOM! and highly recommend a number of their titles! That said, I still wasn't a collector anymore nor a monthly reader of any one series. I'd wait for the trade. I had come to realize there would never be another "mainstream" comic title I'd be so excited about that I would buy it on a monthly schedule... or so I thought... Quality was about to come back to comics in a very epic way...

The Summer of Valiant!

I was excited when I heard Valiant Comics was returning but not even I could have predicted how wonderful these books would be. Sure, they were known for quality art and writing and often heralded as the best of the 90's but, there was that time, not so long ago when Aklaim took a stab at bringing the Valiant titles back and left most of us, if not all of us, disillusioned. So there was some skepticism. I'm very happy to say, it was unneeded. What the guys and gals over at Valiant Comics have done is nothing short of a miracle!

In a period where so many comic companies are struggling to stay alive and thus are constantly re-inventing themselves and characters in one fashion or another (and failing miserably) Valiant has not only managed to successfully re-invent themselves and their characters but also put incredible teams on their comics!

The art is amazing and superior to many other comics, it also tells the story without the words, the way sequential art should! But on top of great art is equally great writing! From the moment you open the #1 issue of any Valiant book you are trapped; mesmerized; encapsulated by the epic tales they are telling! Unlike other companies who have for the past decade or so relied on grand universe spanning "Events" Valiant has chosen to focus on characters rather than events! Not that there isn't an event coming, or so promises the many blurbs out there about what to expect.

They have thus chosen to unite their universe of characters without alienating the reader by making the Valiant world cohesive enough for a day dreaming couch potato as well as detailed and interesting enough for the keenest of geeks!

I can't say enough about how wonderful it is to be engaged in monthly comics again. As a writer of comics myself, the level of quality coming out of Valiant is the mark of excellence I want to meet. The bar has been set. Ladies and gentlemen, let the games begin!

Long Live Valiant!

Monday, June 4, 2012

Press Release


For Details, Contact:
Benjamin J. Kreger


Warrior Innkeeper Comics
P.O. Box 580                                  
Independence, OR  97351

For Immediate Release.  04 June 2012

The Magnanimous Inventions of Ben & Mike #1 Kickstarter

June 4th, 2012, Independence, OR - Warrior Innkeeper Comics is campaigning on for financial backers to bring the comic The Magnanimous Inventions of Ben & Mike #1 to life in print. Your contribution will fund printing and marketing costs for the first issue of the ongoing comic book, The Magnanimous Inventions of Ben & Mike, 24 pages of full-color story telling by creators Benny Jack K. (writer) and Paul Johnson (artist).  Any surplus of funds will be used for development and production of future issues of the comic book.
This is your opportunity to fund a fun filled adventure comic for kids of all-ages!  Backers will receive a reward based on their personal contribution including a pdf of the comic; a signed copy of the printed comic; an exclusive to Kickstarter t-shirt, hardcover special edition of the comic, hand crafted gremlins and the opportunity to be drawn into the next issue of the comic!  Visit the link below by July 17th 2012 to submit your pledge.  Some options have limited availability and will sell out quickly.
Visit this link for more information about the comic on Kickstarter-

What is The Magnanimous Inventions of Ben & Mike?

A 24 page, full color comic book, written by Benny Jack K. and, illustrated by Paul Johnson.
The year is 1752 and Ben Franklin is about to make a great discovery… but every great inventor needs his muse.  Enter a gremlin named Mike.  After convincing the eccentric founding father to fly a kite during a lightning storm, Ben discovers more than electricity when he conceives of the most magnanimous invention of ALL time!  Join the adventure with Ben & Mike and unravel the mysteries and histories of the Universe as they fumble through Time and Space!

Warrior Innkeeper Comics – Founded in 2009 by Benjamin J. Kreger, W.I.C. (as we fondly call ourselves) is the dream of every comic aficionado.  To realize it came a hefty price.  Serving two tours to the Middle East in the USARMY National Guard, Ben wasn’t left unscathed by the war.  He used his love of the comic medium to lift his spirits and those of others, through the comical adventures of a 10-year-old Abe Lincoln and The Less Than Historical Universe he occupies.  However, he had many more stories to tell and, applying some of the money earned overseas to his dream, Ben created Warrior Innkeeper Comics as a conduit to tell those tales.

Now in its’ fourth year, the small press publisher has produced more than 6 comic books, both in print and in digital formats.  With the help of faithful fans and the generosity of backers from Kickstarter, they hope to continue to delight readers of all-ages for years to come.  For more info on W.I.C. visit us at the URL’s below. -Construction Ends August 29th!

Warrior Innkeeper Comics – Where Story Meets Style & Substance.

Friday, May 20, 2011

What's New Pussycat!

Greetings Warrior Innkeepers!

Last month was a difficult month as you may have read in the previous blog. I lost my first boss in this biz, my mentor, my friend, my brother (figuratively speaking) but Ty will never be forgotten nor will the lessons I learned from him. The most important of which, Never give up.

So here we are, it's May already and W.I.C. is on BACK online that is. The Less Than Historical Adventures of Li'l Lincoln has been updated as well as our new-to-the-web comic The Magnanimous Invention of Ben & Mike! Both webcomics will be updated every Wednesday so be sure to bookmark them or watch our FB page for weekly reminders.

"What about the books your Myspace page mentions," you may ask?

Well, this summer we will be releasing our first Annual magazine Warrior's Inn! Named after our blog it will contain Interviews with all your favorite Indie creators and a couple pro's I'll be announcing in about month, a few journalistic articles related to making comics and... ... well I'm not going to give away all my eggs in one basket but the next time I talk about Warrior's Inn Magazine you'll want to listen (or in this case read!)

Super Vampire Bunny - you've read this on myspace but what is it? Though the project is pretty hush, hush right now I will tell you this. The book follows a teenage boy... who happens to be a anamorphic bunny in a human world... who also happens to be... ya you guessed it, a vampire! Created by my niece Kyra with my brother Josh handling the story and art and me at the helm of the script this book is going to be a can't miss for every vampire and bunny lover out there! We are very excited about this one and are putting all our effort into making it the best book it possibly can be. Friend us on FB if you haven't already for updates on this project and sneak peaks at SVB - Super Vampire Bunny!

As for the growing Less Than Historical Universe we have no release dates yet for the second issue of Li'l Lincoln or the first issue of Ben & Mike. All I can say is Paul Johnson is drawing/inking/coloring every page of both books and they are going to be EPIC!

Before I go I wish to thank everyone for their continued support and fandom. It has been one heck of a ride and I have no plans of getting off this roller coaster any time soon! Thank you all!

So, that's all folks!

-Benjamin J. Kreger
Warrior Innkeeper Comics

Keep your Inn doors open and your Warrior's on guard. Goodnight!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Goodbye My Brother: Captain Cure Creator Ty Wakefield

Ty Wakefield wasn’t the next big thing in comics, though the way he talked you’d think otherwise. He was an illustrator and storyteller with big dreams and even bigger ambitions but the big “K” would see that those dreams and ambitions might never come to fruition.* Today, my friend lost his battle with cancer. All those who love him are mourning yet feel a sense of relief. The battle is at an end, he is finally free of the pain and suffering after 4 years of an exhausting, endless battle with Osteosarcoma, Ty will finally be able to rest in peace.

I was introduced to Ty through his wife, we worked together at the bullet factory in town. When she found out I was a struggling writer, she offered to show some of my work to her husband who had recently started his own comic book publishing business. My first reaction was, “this guy is insane but what balls he has for pursuing his dream!”

A day or so after submitting some of my work to Ty I got a very excited call from him.

“I love your script. I want to turn it into a comic. I know I should have asked you for permission first but I already started drawing stuff up. It just unleashed all these images…

Ty was always full of praise and a talented salesman, he sold me on the idea of entering into comics within minutes. The next thing I know I’m showing up in the local newspaper with him. It was a whirlwind of excitement and a thrilling time in my life I’ll never forget. But it wouldn’t be all fun and games.

The big “K” was knocking on the back door.

I found out Ty was a cancer survivor shortly after joining the ranks of his creative team. And before my first comic with him was to be published the cancer was back. For him it always came back... The first time it motivated him to pursue a crazy dream of drawing and publishing his own comics. The second time it inspired something more, something called CAPTIAN CURE!

Ty always swore he would never do a superhero comic; he was a fan of comics like CREEPY, TALES FROM THE CRYPT and his fave, MAD MAGAZINE. However, the Captain wouldn’t be dismissed so easily. As he tells it, Captain Cure was born one day as Ty lay in his chemo bed letting the drugs do their thing as his mind wandered from one random thought to the next. The Captain kept popping up.

It wasn’t until he told the mother of another cancer survivor about Captain Cure that the character would begin to take shape and with her persistence, he got his butt home and started working on it.

Ty went to work on the first issue, putting everything else aside.

“I feel I was meant for this. Every time I am working on this comic, things always seemed to get better,” Ty was fond of saying. Captain Cure was to be his legacy, his mark on the world, his chance to make a difference.

And a difference it did make.

November 30th 2008, Captain Cure Comics #1 debuted at a huge celebration in Lewiston, Idaho to a crowd of 500 people of all ages. He took his comic on tour to Children’s Hospitals and was interviewed on Portland, OR morning television on KATU AM Northwest.

Ty continued his charitable work with the comic and fought cancer both as a guest speaker at conventions and cancer support groups. In 2009, he released Captain Cure Comics #2 and with no delay started the third part in his trilogy detailing in a fictional format his own struggle with cancer.

But unlike many of his readers, Ty did not survive his cancer. The hard reality of it refuses to sink in… In our eyes, Ty Wakefield is Captain Cure and the Captain can’t die… or rather won’t die because Ty has touched our hearts and souls with his creation and he will always live in our memories.

Ty, we love you man and we thank you for everything you’ve done. Goodnight my friend, my brother, sleep in peace.

-Benjamin J. Kreger

*For those not familiar with the animated show Metalocalypse, the "Big K" is in reference to cancer.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

The Lure of Elizabeth Guizzetti's Faminelands of Cookies and Souls

Welcome back to Warrior’s Inn!

It’s been a crazy week here in the desert but I finally got time to deliver the next interview in our fall series to you our loyal readers.

Today we bring you a delightful back and forth with writer/artist Elizabeth Guizette. She is the creative force behind one of my faves, Out for Cookies and Souls as well as the fantasy comics Faminelands and her newest web comic, Lure.

WIC: Hello Beth, and thank you for agreeing to be interviewed for Warrior Inn's, the Inn in Independent comics! Okay, yeah, it's a lame tag line. ;)
So lets start with your origin story; what first attracted you to comic books?

GUIZZETTI: Prior to comics; I was a professional artist/muralist. My own work was not selling well, but I was making money doing baby rooms and churches. Work begot more work, but it was all the same kind of job. It paid well, but I was getting bored of it. I painted so many blue skies with little fluffy clouds... I realized that I was losing my technical skills and even my voice as an artist.
I have always loved horror and fantasy comics. Some of my favorites are the Walking Dead, Dracula vs. King Arthur, [and] The Forgotten Realms/Dritz books. I didn't know anything about how to make a comic and I wanted to stretch myself. So I told my husband that this elf story that I was writing for fun, might make a good graphic novel. It was the beginning of what would become Faminelands.
More than anything, it was a challenge. I had no clue what I was doing and made a ton of mistakes in my first book. Somewhere along the line of writing and illustrating The Carp's Eye, I realized that I didn't want to do murals anymore. This could be my full time job if I threw myself into the way I threw myself into being an artist ten years ago, but I needed help. I cannot self-edit.
I called Maria [Masterson]. She was pregnant with her first child and on maternity leave. I don't think, at that point, either of us knew that it would change our entire relationship. She agreed to proofread, and listen to me hash out my ideas, and a bunch of other stuff. Somehow, she understood that I was serious and became an integral part of the team.
I have written/illustrated two other graphic novels and then the comics. I find each book looks better and better and I am still learning, that more than anything keeps me interested.
PS I thought your tagline was funny.

WIC: Thanks.
Okay, now where we? Oh yes, you mentioned your graphic novels and other comics but before we dig into those I'd like ask about Z Bee. How did Z Bee Publications get its’ start and how did the name come about?

GUIZZETTI: OK, lets see where to start... I sort of did things backwards and I never really thought about my name or the company until I found out I needed to buy an ISBN for FAMINELANDS: THE CARP'S EYE since it was going to be a graphic novel. The only thing businessy I knew at all during that year was that FAMINELANDS: THE CARP'S EYE would be released at 1.ECCC '08 and I would have a good booth...and even a give away.
Yes, all that happened.
Since I had an art studio already the setting up of some of the business stuff was pretty easy, I didn't even need to get a new business license just filled out a DBA (doing business as) form for the state and city.
I wish I had a better story for this one - While I knew I was writing a fantasy adventure in Faminelands, I was also sure that my next book would be something else and I wanted a name that had longevity- so I figured making it as simple and all encompassing as possible. ZBee is a nickname my mom used to call me. I also like bees. They are useful and cute but not cutesy. It seemed appropriate.

WIC: Speaking of your next book (the one after Faminelands) could you tell us how you came up with OUT FOR COOKIES AND SOULS?

GUIZZETTI: After Faminelands #1, I wanted to create something much lighter, much more fun. I like to put things that are different together and I enjoy stories with moral ambiguity. Poodles dressed like demons; elfin mercenaries. Just like how I wrote Faminelands to be a story I would like to read - I write OUT FOR SOULS AND COOKIES primarily because I thought it was funny.
I was originally inspired by my husband. Together, we make up these epic adventures about our dogs as jokes - nearly as long as we’ve been married. (Before Rosie and Tycho - there was Ginger and her Golden Poodle Pelt) Anyway we were joking that once Tycho was the emperor of Rome.
(FYI: Dennis did not wish to be credited as a co-writer or concept editor or anything, because the comic was so removed from the original idea of the story we made up. When I asked him, he said I was being silly.)
The real Rosie and Tycho are litter mates. Rosie is definitely the brains of the pair. We are pretty sure she is going to take over the world. She trained Tycho to do things for her. She wants to eat, he goes into the kitchen, she wants outside, he rings the bell. All I can tell you is that she is hedonistic and too cute to be stopped, but she loves her twin.
Tycho has a kingly bearing and the poodle version of OCD. He takes these stuffed squirrels and lines them up in a row and chews off their ears. He only wants the ears. I would find lines of earless squirrels under my desk. It was like a zombie squirrel army or something. Tycho's obsession is how Lord Fluffcakes became part of the story.
Anyway we live in Seattle, my dogs love cookies and I am pretty sure demons love souls - so there you go.

WIC: I always look forward to your answers. They are never just answers but stories in of themselves. LOL.
Lets see now, that will bring us to LURE. Could you tell us a little about your new web comic?

GUIZZETTI: Lure is a horror story of two Stampeders, Jack and Tom, during the Klondike Gold Rush. They head north expecting to scoop gold from the rivers and instead come face to face with a family of sirens. It is to be released March 1st, 2011 and debut at ECCC '11.
What was fun about this book is I let the setting dictate the characters. Fortunately for me, the Goldrush Museum as well as the Museum of History and Industry are both close by. I asked my husband for a guy's perspective nearly a million times. I spent nearly 6 months researching and in the best possible sense I tried to make Jack and Tom men of their era. For example, when the book opens, Tom is 18. As a member of the working class, he has been a fisherman since he was 13. He is an adult and is treated as such.
I'm about two weeks away from Maria's final edit of the book, well what we think will be the final edit. I am sure she will find something that needs to be added or taken out. Last time, we did a mockup and realized we were missing a page due to a spread. Opps!
I really must learn to draw these things in order.

WIC: LOL. Yes, drawing things in order probably helps. You've been working with Maria for quite a while. Do you two always see eye-to-eye and how valuable to you find having an editor is to the whole creative process?

GUIZZETTI: We have always worked well together. I tend to be intense where she is laid back and vice versa. I don't have many artist friends close by and having someone to flesh out ideas with has been integral. She is a good listener; she knows how to ask questions to help me think of new ideas. I am able to take her criticism.
We have the same goal as a company, which is, to create books that interest us and stretch our skills. That being said, Maria and I do not always see eye-to-eye in every detail of the books.
If I love something and Maria has a negative reaction to the characters or the story lines, ultimately I make the final call. However often her concerns have made a story-line that much stronger, because it often just means I need to do more research or recheck a fact or explain something better.

WIC: Is there anything you'd like to share with our readers about entering the wide world of independent comics?

GUIZZETTI: If someone wants to enter the wide world of indy comics, I say go for it!
However, I will say the juggling of business and writing/drawing can be difficult, so be sure that you actually like to write stories, or draw, or ink etc. Be sure you are ready to pound the pavement for your books, because no one else will.
As an artist you need to grow a thick skin. Just remember, there are a lot of different genres, writing and art styles, not everyone is going to like yours and just because somebody hates it doesn't mean the next person isn't going to love it.
Get to know other artists and writers. We tend to be incredibly supportive; because we know how hard it is to do what we do. We cheer for each other and help each other find good sources for printing, getting bookmarks made, and whatever else...
Especially for independent comics - the profits are so low that more than one of us are on the razor's edge of folding any given year. Ask artists what mistakes they made in the beginning: I probably could list a handful of stupid moves that I made. Ask them why they choose the pencil they use or which paper or how to save money of poster pockets... or whatever you need.
It's great fun.

WIC: Okay Beth, what was the most educational blunder you've had since this adventure began?

I have been trying to come up with the biggest blunder, but I can't. So I'm giving you four.
First off, I have no real regrets; but I do wish I had spoken to more people prior to jumping in. I wish I hadn't been so shy in the beginning, because the following lists are all things others would have shared:
1) Total inventory. My first run was 250. I made bookmarks, stickers, etc thinking I would hand them out to everyone who passed me by when actually only about a quarter of people were interested at a convention and that includes the people who just wanted a freebee. So I had tons of excess inventory in my one bedroom apartment.
2) The amount of inventory to carry to a show. We used to take everything we had in stock to a convention, we lost a lot to damages that way and if we are flying - books are heavy.
3) How to approach stores:
In '08 I did six conventions, but no other type of appearances. I wasn't in any comic book stores. Why? I did not know how to approach them. I emailed and called and rarely got a response, until one day Adam Watson [Darkslinger Comics] said, "hey you guys should go here and see if they want your book."
The idea that I could just walk into the store never occurred to me. Maria and I sold three books that day.
4) Finally this one, I just had to learn on my own:
Not only are Maria and I a great creative team, but we are also a great sales team. Doing non-local events without her has been the cause of more hassles than any other mistake I have made. (Funny I am saying this when I am going to Jet City this Saturday without Maria, but that's a one-day show, two miles from my house.)
When we went to San Diego in '09, we traveled separately. I did the first day alone and the second half of the last day alone. That was a huge mistake. Maria's luggage ended up being over 50 lbs on one side. That was 50 bucks down the tube. I was exhausted and by the time I left on Sunday. I couldn't get everything in my luggage. I ended up giving a display to a local and dumping 20 books of OUT FOR COOKIES & SOULS #1. Just handing them to random people as I walked back to my hotel, because I knew I couldn't afford another $50 overweight luggage fee.
In '08, I did APE in San Francisco. (Originally we had planned that she would go, but Maria could not get a sitter for the whole weekend.) I did the convention with my brother. He was great, but he did not look at this like a business trip. He even wore a badge that said Maria Masterson on it. It felt like I was constantly nagging. I didn't know anyone so I didn't feel comfortable approaching people to ask for help. And once again, I exhausted myself; between a days’ drive each way, a ten hour day, and a seven hour day.
On the other side, Maria can't do a con without me. It's a booth fee wasted. There is no way to say this without coming off as stuck up. One of the reasons, people buy books at conventions is to meet the artist and author, Maria gets a lot of flack from people who don't consider the editor important enough to talk to or feel she doesn't understand the process. (I wish I was making that up.)

WIC: I can see that as being true, editors rarely get the attention they deserve. This has been fun and educational, something I never thought I’d say when I was just a teen in high school. And speaking of editors, Maria was unable to join us for this Q&A due to being a bit to prego right now. I’d like to thank Beth and wish Maria good health!

But it’s time to get this posted up on the net, already a week behind, yikes!

1.Emerald City Comicon hosted in Seattle, Washington every year since 200?