Stick Cats graphic novel and soundtrack

Monday, April 11th, 2016

Hi! Let's get right to the good stuff, 'kay? Choose your flavor...

Stick Cats: Meta Mayhem graphic novel (PDF, 122 pages, 44 MB)

Stick Cats: Meta Mayhem graphic novel (CBZ, 122 pages, 36 MB)

Stick Cats: Meta Mayhem is a lo-fi all ages digital graphic novel about two stick figure friends, Marmalade and Steve, on an adventure to stop a vicious enemy, the Octo-Kitty!

Marmalade is full of moxie and Steve loves science. They travel through time and space on their escapade, encountering crazy characters like Amazonia, Dexter, and the Manx Militia. Are they friends? Foes? Or both? You gotta read it to find out. 😀

And there are tunes too! A 40 minute instrumental soundtrack (which is mostly acoustic guitar) by Nik Furious (which is, um, me).

Wanna download it? Alright, here ya go partner...

Stick Cats: Meta Mayhem soundtrack (13 songs, 40:33, 87 MB)

Nik Furious - Stick Cats: Meta Mayhem OST tracklist
01. Sticky (5:02, 12 MB)
02. Deco (2:04, 5 MB)
03. Timenado (2:20, 5.5 MB)
04. Recave (2:39, 6 MB)
05. Zoof (5:03, 12 MB)
06. Precave (2:51, 7 MB)
07. Catena (2:37, 6 MB)
08. Catnap (2:33, 6 MB)
09. Detox (4:39, 11 MB)
10. Warped (1:23, 3 MB)
11. Magic (2:59, 7 MB)
12. Impact (4:02, 9.5 MB)
13. Temporal (2:21, 5.5 MB)

How about a quick history lesson?

Stick Cats began exactly five years ago today when I posted the first page of my improvised webcomic that had no predetermined direction and no limits.

My experiment stuck and soon I was printing minicomics, taking them to conventions across the US, and making Stick Cats music.

My tail is told in this order: Act I, Act III, Act 0, and Act II. Why? Because time travel! Marmalade attempts to change the cat-astrophic future by jumping backwards through her reality and reliving the past.

Speaking of which, Act II constitutes all of the new material in this graphic novel. 66 pages to be exact. The first half of this volume comes from the comics I made from 2011-2012 and then there's the heretofore unseen material I drew from 2012-2014.

The songs were recorded from 2013-2016. As recently as this past weekend, in fact! In a perfect world, they're meant to be listened to in order while reading the book.

Well, I think that's about it. I don't have any future plans for more Stick Cats at the moment. I loved telling this story but I also feel like I've told all of the tale that I want to tell for the time being.

I hope you enjoy the free comics and music... and let me know what you think!

it's time to wipe your eyeballs all over the Time Log graphic novel

Thursday, February 12th, 2015

This is a story that had a loooong development process. It began nearly 15 years ago in Pittsburgh, PA. You can read a bit about that extensive history here.

From 2010 to 2012, I self-published four issues of Time Log. These quirky sci-fi comics came in different shapes and sizes. And they traveled with me to conventions in Buffalo, Austin, Toronto, New York City, and beyond.

Originally a one-shot, my collaborators and I followed it up with a 60-page webcomic. When I moved to Long Beach, CA in 2013, I began remixing the black and white pages from the Time Log one-shot into the same color format as the webcomic. Then I went through and remastered the entire shebang.

That's how the Time Log graphic novel came into existence. I intended to sell it through ComiXology Submit, howwweverrrr... it was rejected.

But my loss is your gain! Here's a free PDF of the remixed and remastered story:

Time Log graphic novel (108 pages, 40 MB)

The first half is by Pete Borrebach (writer), Shawn Atkins (penciler and cover artist), and yours truly (writer, inker, colorist, and letterer). Those roles continue into the second half of the story, only some of my duties are taken over by Paige Shoemaker (inker) and Justique Woolridge (colorist) while I become more of an editor.

Here's a preview of the story in case you wanna try it before you buy d/l it:

And here are PDFs of the original Time Log issues:

Time Log one-shot (28 pages, 14 MB) printed in April 2010

The New Time Log #1 (20 pages, 17 MB) printed in March 2011

The New Time Log #2 (22 pages, 18 MB) printed in September 2011

The New Time Log #3 (25 pages, 19 MB) printed in March 2012

(If you're interested in the creative process behind these comics, Shawn and I recorded a few podcasts for the AudioShocker's Sequential Underground that outline different aspects of Time Log's production. You can hear them here.)

Look, Time Log's not perfect. It has plenty of inconsistencies. It can be confusing at times. And there are lots of things I'd like to change.

But it was an invaluable learning experience for me. As a new comics creator, it taught me the folly of my hubris and helped me understand the extensive journey of taking a long story from concept to completion.

UPDATE April 2018...

The AudioShocker website is gone now, so any old links to the Time Log archives are sadly dead and gone (beyond using the Wayback Machine, that is).

But the far more important news happening this month is that the Stephen Foster statue has been removed from a busy stretch of Forbes Ave in Pittsburgh! University students and people headed to the city's main library branch no longer have to see this racist mess as they go to and from places of learning, and I'm thrilled about this development.

Why My eBooks Are Free

Tuesday, February 26th, 2013

Yesterday, I made PDFs of my digital comics and eBooks available for free. But... that wasn't always my plan.

See, I wanted to relaunch my online store replete with links to purchase all of my digital comics directly from me. You'd pay a few bucks through PayPal and receive an immediate email with download links. Easy, inexpensive, and reliable.

If only!!! That's not gonna happen unless I shell out $$$ ahead of time for a service like Linklok to facilitate my digital sales and content delivery. It's not an overpriced service, but the $30 or so it would cost me to run it on my site is still more than I've made in sales since I started selling eBooks almost three years ago.

When I first found out that the Amazon Kindle Store could sell digital comics, I was psyched to get the Time Log one-shot on there. I spent all of Memorial Day weekend in 2010 researching and formatting the book for the Kindle.

And then? Zip. Zilch. Nada. My ensuing sales were shit. Back then, almost everyone who owned a Kindle had it because they loved reading novels, not comics. (And that goes without mentioning how Amazon degraded the quality of the Time Log eBook with its conversion process and then forced me to sell it for no less than $2.99 because of the file size. Ooooooo! A whopping 10 MB!!)

Though I've sold a few copies of Time Log for the Kindle over the years, it's not enough to coerce me to sell all of my digital comics on Amazon. Aside from the first Stick Cats eBook, I've opted to use other services for digital sales.

Like DriveThruComics, for example. They were the first digital comics storefront on the web, and -- sadly -- it shows in their site design. As bad as my sales have been on Amazon, they've been even worse on DriveThruComics. I've never sold a single copy of the Time Log one-shot through that outlet.

Here's what my classy DriveThruComics listing for Time Log looks like today!

Last year, I discovered UploadNSell, a free service that would allow me to sell eBooks from my website. There were plenty of catches, so it's not like I found the perfect digital delivery service. But it was still good enough to try it for the initial release of my Super Haters eBooks.

I made a few sales through UploadNSell, but not enough to maintain every single one of my files on their servers (items need to be purchased once every 90 days or they get automatically deleted). Plus, as I've learned recently, UploadNSell wasn't secure. There are plenty of hacks.

Soooo I was back to square one. I researched my ass off this month trying to find a digital sales service that would:

1. allow any file size
2. cost me little or no money per sale
3. not charge an unrealistic monthly fee
4. email customers a download link immediately following a purchase

The only thing I found was the Easy Digital Downloads plugin for WordPress. Seemed like a perfect fit! I got it all set up and prepared my downloads. As recently as last Friday, I thought I was ready to roll with EDD here on this blog. But testing showed me that the service was inconsistent and often didn't work at all.

Frustrated, I took a step back and looked at the big picture. I'm not selling many eBooks through legitimate channels and I'm not selling many eBooks through questionable channels and I'm stressing myself out about it. And with what end result? Limiting my readership while I make next to no profit on these things.

So I said "FUCK IT!!" I've decided to give my eBooks away for free. I'll make new fans while eliminating any worries about the customer experience.

Also, tweeting "free #ebooks" tends to get you all kinds of RTs and mentions.

Ironically, I've figured out a pretty solid solution for selling eBooks in person. My digital comic cards aren't setting the comics industry on fire, but I still sell a few every time I set up at a convention. (Granted, most of my customers never redeem their Dropcards download codes, which is beyond me why they would buy something and then not use it. But that's their prerogative!)

Honestly, I'd love to sell my digital comics as eBooks on the web. But there are few easy ways to do it, and even fewer ways that give me optimal control of the storefront without charging me an unrealistic fee. So for the time being, I'm happy to give away PDFs of my comics. I hope you enjoy 'em!!!