Showing posts with label Rafer Roberts. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Rafer Roberts. Show all posts

Thursday, March 02, 2017

Q&A with Rafer Roberts about his Valiant work

by Matt Dembicki 

Local comic book writer/artist Rafer Roberts has over the past couple of years made a transition from focusing on self-published work to writing a couple of titles for Valiant Entertainment. Rafer answered a few questions we posed to him about his experience with that.

You transitioned into doing mainstream comics about two years ago (though you still do some DIY work). What’s the biggest different you’ve experience between doing your own self-published comics and working for a comics publisher on a monthly title?

Editors and deadlines! Working on my own stuff, whether it’s PLASTIC FARM or NIGHTMARE THE RAT, is a lot of fun but (I admit) there is quite a bit more freedom in content and speed at which I work.That can be both a blessing and a curse. I am solely responsible for content and making sure that it comes out in a timely fashion, as well as responsible for all the marketing and distribution.

With the WFH (work for hire) stuff, there is a certain amount of back-and-forth between me and my editors, breaking down what the stories are going to be, as well as notes on how to improve said stories and ensure that they fit within the publisher’s larger plans. Deadlines give the creative process a needed sense of urgency. It’s a far different process of coming up with a comic at your own pace and coming up with a new comic every month.

I also get to work with some incredible artists. David Lafuente, Mike Norton, Darick Robertson, Ryan Winn, Ryan Lee, Juan Jose Ryp, Raul Allen, Brian Reber, David Baron, and on and on and on. It is an easy life for a writer when the art teams are as amazing as this.

You mentioned that having regular deadlines are daunting. How do you keep on track while ensuring you continue to be creative in your writing?

Being creative isn’t the problem; but being creative on a schedule can be. You have to treat this like a job and follow some kind of work routine. I get up around the same time every day, give myself the first hour to wake up, and then make comics until I have to go to the day job. Sometimes “making comics” involves actually writing a script, or drawing something, but just as often that can be revising a script, or answering email, or writing an outline or pitch.

The real trick is keeping with that routine. It’s all about inertia. Once you get into a routine, once you get moving, it takes out half the effort required. If I fall out of my routine, if I don’t work for a week or so, then it is very difficult to get up and running again.
Can you briefly walk us through how you pitched yourself to Valiant? How did it pair you with the title your working on?

I had drawn a few DARKSEID AND THANOS: CARPOOL BUDDIES OF DOOM with writer Justin Jordan. Warren Simons, the editor-in-chief at Valiant, saw those and hired us to do similar comics as backups. I found that I really enjoyed working for Valiant and did everything I could to stick around. I gave Warren a few of my writing samples, and a few months later he called and asked me to pitch on a few books. Of those early pitches, ARCHER AND ARMSTRONG was the best fit and a great learning experience. HARBINGER was a much longer process, and one that involved much more back-and-forth during development. The series that is coming out right now bears very little resemblance to the initial series pitch.

What’s on your plate for the next six months?

Mostly writing HARBINGER RENEGADE. We’re building up to a huge event with HARBINGER WARS 2, which is my first event that I get to write. It’s maybe the most difficult thing I have attempted in comics thus far, but also (due to the amazing editors and art teams I get to work with) intensely rewarding. I’m also going to get back to NIGHTMARE THE RAT. I’m real close to finishing the series and want to put out a collection sometime this year. I also have a few pitches and other in-development projects out in the world, but nothing concrete enough to mention.

(Editor's note: The A&A pages are drawn by Mike Norton, colored by Allen Passalaqua, lettered by Dave Sharpe. The Harbinger page is by Darick Robertson, Richard Clarke, Diego Rodriguez and David Lanphear.)

Thursday, January 19, 2017

"The idea was always to go up to the Revolution": Jason Rodriguez speaks about his second Colonial Comics book

by Mike Rhode

The second book in the historical non-fiction short story anthology Colonial Comics was released this week. I met with editor Jason Rodriguez at Lost Dog Café in South Arlington and we chatted a bit about putting both books together. I hadn't gotten a copy yet, so the discussion is a bit abstract regarding the second volume, but hopefully our talk and some pictures from the book will hold your interest, dear reader. You can also check out this 2015 interview on book one from the Washington City Paper.

JR: It’s funny that the second book in the Colonial Comics series is actually thicker than the first one. They changed the paper stock, and the second actually has more pages. The covers are supposed to be continuous. [The first book] has the Massachusetts coastline, the Mayflower coming in, a bunch of Pilgrims parked on the shore, and one Native American overlooking it. The second continues with the same shoreline, but now built up to Boston and more ominously, with the British fleet coming in. When we do a mid-Atlantic version, the drawing is going to continue South (i.e. lower in the cover).

MR: Are there any more books in the New England series?

JR: No more. We’re going to cut it off at the Revolution, partly because a lot of people know about the American Revolution. They learned about it in school.

MR: There’s always more, smaller stories…

JR: Absolutely. There’s plenty we could do, but as far as Colonial Comics, the idea was always to go up to the Revolution. Otherwise, it would be Revolutionary Comics. We wanted to focus on the origins of the country.

MR: Are you planning on working your way to the South now?

JR: The third book is supposed to be mid-Atlantic history. We don’t have any plans to start it immediately. With the first book, we put it out there and started working on the second book. We got feedback on the first that we incorporated into the second, but we want get new feedback before we start thinking about the third book. I wouldn’t expect us to start working on a third book for six months or so.

MR: Fulcrum is enthusiastic about the line?

JR: Yes, although the first book didn’t sell quite as well as either of us wanted it to. When we go to a new printing of the book, we’ll make some changes. The second book is strong and addressed feedback we got from the first book, and should take off quicker. The first one sold fine; it just didn’t sell fantastically.
MR: I think part of the problem with the first book to a certain degree might be the amount of religion that’s a part of the early American colonies – it’s hard to get away from, it’s hard to understand, and it’s far removed from our culture.

JR: Yes, that led to a structural problem with the stories themselves, because from 1620-1750, people know the landing at Plymouth and the witch trials, and when we try to fill in the spaces, a lot of it is based on religion and is dark stuff, like wiping out populations. And for a lot of it, we have to use primary sources because it’s not covered in a book that we can turn to. Because of that we ended up getting a lot of text-heavy stories that was aimed at an adult audience, but marketed to middle-graders and young adults. With the new book, I was much better at keeping people doing things that feel  like comics with actual actions and not just captions everywhere. I think we took a lot of issues with the first book to heart and came up with something much more fantastic.

MR: Did you use mostly the same contributors?

JR: No. There are some repeats. I have my people that I love working with. John Bell and David Lewis are back as assistant editors. They both also wrote a story. There’s a lot of our DC-area folks – Jason Axtell colored a story in the first book, but he illustrated a story this time. Matt Dembicki’s back. Scott White did the cover again, and this time he also did a comic story. Chris Piers, even though he’s out in Seattle now. [Being interviewed in a bar, Jason overlooked Arsia Rozegar, Mal Jones, Matt Rawson, Rafer Roberts, and Carla Speed McNeil who also contributed]. I always use Charles Fetherolf, Josh O’Neill and James Comey. I loved working with E.J. Barnes and Sara Winifred Searle  in the first volume so I invited them back. Jason Hanley has always been my letterer but for the most part I brought a lot of new people on board.

MR: How do you find people?

JR: We had a general call for submissions that several people responded to, including some great finds. That’s probably where Jackie Roche came from and she is phenomenal. She does these fantastic watercolors. Just like with the first book, I wanted to focus on under-represented narratives, unknown stories, things like that, but I still wanted to touch on some of the big stories that we know.

 I wanted to include the Boston Tea Party in some way, and Jackie came to me with a pitch about actually tracing the tea trade – starting in China, following it through India, and then into Massachusetts and tracing the tea as it went into the harbor.

A lot of the stories are ones I just found. Ashley Victoria Robinson wrote “Mercy Otis Warren” about the playwright, and one by nature I guess, because there were no plays in Boston. It was against Puritanical rules to produce plays. Warren wrote revolutionary plays, originally anonymously, but later took credit for them. Ashley wrote me saying she wanted to do a story about nurses in the Revolutionary War, which we weren’t covering, but since Ashley also had some playwriting experience, I suggested Warren. 

Some people I paired with a topic, and some people came in with great things. Kevin Cooney came through the submission process with a story about the Stamp Act obelisk which I think is one of the greatest things I learned. Matt Dembicki illustrated it. When the Stamp Act was repealed, Paul Revere designed this obelisk which was supposed to be a permanent fixture under the Liberty Tree. The problem was that it was made out of oiled paper and wood, and it was lit from the inside with candles and they put fireworks on top of it, so it burned down the first night they celebrated it. Paul Revere’s plates still survive and I actually made an origami version of it for promotion purposes so you could print it out and fold it.

MR: Do you have an editor at Fulcrum?

JR: Yes, Fulcrum assigns me a chain of editors. Rebecca McEwen edits for content and what’s allowed and what’s not in these books. It’s not just sex and violence but language. There are two stories where I had to put a disclaimer noting that “negro” and “mulatto” were common terms. We had to cut out “damns.” There was a little pushback at times from the artists, but we managed to sustain most of it. The copy editor was Alison Auch and she was great to work with. She was very responsive and helped put the book together. She worked really hard in the last month, because I was late in delivering everything. But I do all the design work including the cover and literally deliver them an entire book, so they could just publish it as-is, but they don’t. They fine-tooth-comb it, and have third party people read it, and put a lot of effort into it.

MR: A few years ago, you did an Amazon-only Kindle children’s book and you’re about to launch a Kickstarter campaign for that?

JR: “The Little Particle that Could” is a story about particle physics and general relativity for kids. The original version followed a graviton who was perfectly happy just spinning and pulling things down to earth until a photon catches her eye and she decides to chase it, off the Earth and into a black hole. We wanted to do a print edition that was a bit more special so now we have a new colorist, and Jason Hanley is re-lettering it. We’re hoping to do a hardcover with nice glossy stock, and then stretch goal to a board book because I love them. We just need to raise $5000, and then $10,000 for the board book. I think it’s achievable.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Today: Roberts at X-Ray Comics

Rafer Roberts today kicks off his signing tour as the writer for Valiant’s A&A: The Adventures of Archer & Armstrong. He’ll be at X-Ray Comics in Hagerstown, Md., from 11-6 today.

Photo courtesy of Rafer Roberts

Monday, November 03, 2014

Nov 22: Nightmare The Rat Signing with Rafer Roberts and John Shine

Rafer Roberts invited you to Beyond Comics 's event   Nightmare The Rat Signing with Rafer Roberts and John Shine Saturday, November 22 at 12:00pm Beyond Comics in Gaithersburg, Maryland   Join     Maybe     Decline   Rafer Roberts will be meeting fans and signing his new Nightmare The Rat collection, from 12 to 4, along with Beyond Comics' own John Shine, Nightmare pin-up contributor. Barbara Dale and 26 others are also in the guest list.             Pending Invites (3) Block invites from Rafer?    

Nightmare The Rat Signing with Rafer Roberts and John Shine
Saturday, November 22 at 12:00pm
Beyond Comics in Gaithersburg, Maryland
Rafer Roberts will be meeting fans and signing his new Nightmare The Rat collection, from 12 to 4, along with Beyond Comics' own John Shine, Nightmare pin-up contributor.



Tuesday, November 26, 2013

'Nightmare the Rat' is coming to the web

Cartoonist Rafer Roberts is taking his “Nightmare the Rat” cartoon from the pages of the Magic Bullet comics newspaper to the web, beginning Jan. 1. It will be updated weekly.

According to Roberts on the D.C. Conspiracy Tumblr, the first few weeks will reprint the strip up to date, and around mid-May the comic will start to publish a year’s worth of all new made-for-the-web content. ("It won’t be the larger 'Sunday' strips but a 'weekday' style adventure serial," he writes.) Roberts added that he will continue with the larger strips for Magic Bullet as well work on his comics series Plastic Farm.
Nightmare the Rat, courtesy of Rafer Roberts

Saturday, July 20, 2013

cARToons exhibit opens in Politics and Prose

101_5951 cARToons exhibit
The exhibit at Modern Times Coffeehouse in Politics and Prose bookstore, curated by Theresa Roberts Logan, opened tonight with many of the contributors attending. Here's some photographs, although I eventually gave up taking them when professional Joe Carabeo arrived.

101_5959 cARToons exhibit

Monday, July 08, 2013

ROM remake

The Ginger Rabbit Studio blog is putting together an homage/remake of ROM Spaceknight #1 (Marvel Comics, 1979). Local cartoonist Rafer Roberts has done a page. I believe the entire remade issue will be posted when it is completed.
Courtesy of Rafer Roberts

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Awesome Con day 1 is a success

101_5541 District Comics panelist
District Comics panelists - Art Haupt, Rafer Roberts, Mike Cowgill, Andrew Cohen, Jacob Warrenfeltz, Mike Rhode, Carolyn Belefski and Troy-Jeffrey Allen.

The Con sold out of tickets by about 3 pm on Saturday. They had a good mix of people, and it was bustling. Lots of cartoonists tell me they did well. Nick Galifianakis sold out of his book. Dan Nokes made his table money back in an hour. John Gallagher and Steve Conley were always busy. Bill McKay's commission list went into tomorrow. Shannon Gallant seemed to stay busy with commissions too. Troy-Jeffrey Allen and Jay Payne launched Bamn #4. Carolyn Belefski was interviewed by Comic Riffs today too.

The District Comics panel had about 40 people in it, despite being opposite the costume judging contest. I think this has the potential to be similar to Baltimore CC in a few years.

BTW, New Jerseyan Jeff Shultz is selling his Archie pages for $20 each. I bought a nice volleyball page.

Here's some pictures.

101_5538 Chris Flick
Chris "Capes and Babes" Flick.

101_5537 Dan Nokes
Dan Nokes has a new compilation book debuting at the show.

101_5536 Nick Galifianakis
Nick Galifianakis on the way to selling out of his book.

101_5535 Bill McKay
Bill McKay.

101_5534 Dalek vs Dr Who
A good looking Dalek vs Dr. Who. I thought Daleks were upside-down trashcans on wheels?

101_5532 Starro the Conqueror
Starro the Conqueror - I loved this costume.

101_5531 Big Planet Comics
Big Planet Comics et al.

101_5530 Steve Conley
Steve Conley drawing Bloop in a Tardis.

101_5529 Jason Axtell
Jason Axtell.

Monday, April 08, 2013

PR: Awesome Con DC Newsletter - Programming Schedule is Complete!

I'll be moderating the District Comics panel on Saturday. Stop by and get a book and get it signed. 4 other creators will be speaking with me and Curls Studio and Big Planet Comics will both have copies for sale. This book sold out at SPX.

Chronicling the unconventional history of our nation’s capital, District Comics has won numerous awards and has received critical acclaim across the U.S. Join the writers and artist who came together to honor our favorite city during this Q and A panel moderated by ComicsDC’s Mike Rhode.

Awesome Con DC is April 20-21, 2013!
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Important Info:

April 20-21, 2013
Saturday 10-7
Sunday 10-5

Single Day Ticket - $15
Two Day Ticket - $25
VIP Pass - $75
Kids <11 - FREE

Washington Convention Center

Washington, DC 20001
Mt. Vernon Square Metro station (Green/Yellow lines)
Text/call (240)346-0399 for more info

We encourage you to buy tickets early. Lines are expected. If you've already bought your tickets, you'll get in a lot faster. 

We've got the whole schedule right here!  

Awesome Con DC is less than two weeks away, so you better start planning! Besides having a fantastic guest list (Nicholas Brendon, Ernie Hudson, Phil LaMarr, Billy West, Theo Crane, Larry Hama, Herb Trimpe, Ben Templesmith, Justin Jordan, and dozens more!), Awesome Con has a whole slew of activities, panels, presentations, screenings, and more. There should be something for everyone.

Here's the full schedule. Check out our website for more details on each event.

Room 102A
12PM Identity Comics
1PM Star Trek vs. Star Wars Debate
2PM Dr. Sketchy's DC: Anti-Art School, Life Drawing with a Twist!
3PM Sci-Fi Speed Dating

Room 102B
11AM Welcome to the Asylum
12PM Billy West Q&A
1PM Gearing Up. Presented by Steampunk Family!
2PM Phil LaMarr Q&A
3PM District Comics!
4PM Proper Pitching and Promoting Yourself
5PM Hip Hop/Comics
6PM Pro Wrestling Today: How We'd Book It
7PM Harry Potter and the Ten Years Later

Room 103A
11AM 5 Things I'd Do Differently If I Started My Webcomic NOW...
12PM Surviving the Zombie Apocalypse 101
1PM Nicholas Brendon Q&A
2PM Blood/CLAN: Prelude to Vengeance
3PM Costume Contest
5PM Super Art Fight
7PM Awesome Con-cert
(3 music acts followed by 7 comedians!)

Room 102A
11AM The Wonderful Wizarding World of Harry Potter
12PM Writing Fantasy: Novels and Comics
1PM Talking with a Scurvy Dog
2PM The Carolyn and Joe Show Live Podcast Recording
3PM Art with Greg LaRocque

Room 102B
11AM Futurama with Billy West and Phil LaMarr            
12PM GI Joe Comics with Larry Hama & S.L. Gallant
1PM Ernie Hudson Q&A

2PM Broken Continent  Film Screening
3PM Ninjas vs. Monsters Film Screening

Room 103A
11AM Flying V Theatre Presents "Incurable"
12PM Nerdpocalypse Podcast Recording!
1PM TREKOFF Podcast Recording
2PM Comic Book Digital Colors Workshop
3PM Group Costume Contest 


ALL DAY ART STATIONS – Coloring books, crayons, paper, pencils, etc., available all day Saturday and Sunday for kids to work on their art skills! 


1pm – Children's Book Reading
2pm – Kids' Costume Contest
3pm – Creating a Superhero
4pm – Art Show


12pm – Doodle! Scribble! Draw

1pm – Kids' Costume Contest
2pm – Art Show

Mind Of The Geek Game Room

Two days. Ten tables. All-­out mayhem.
Awesome Con DC has partnered with to bring you The Mind Of The Geek™ Game Room! Check out the GAME ROOM website to get all the details and the full schedule. There's just too much going on to post it all. This is a taste of what you can expect:
Warhammer & Warhammer 40K demos, X-­‐Wing Miniatures tournament, The Geeks of ComedyHeroClix tournament, plus you can reserve tables to play your own games!