Monday, November 29, 2010

Best wishes, funny boxing story, overcrowded, and other thoughts on random subjects

Hey Inkbots,

I hope you all enjoyed your holiday weekend. I apologize if my Thanksgiving post was a little dark but if nothing else it gave you more insight into who I am as a person (a bipolar manic depressive lol).

On another note, last week was a huge week for us. We saw the debut of American Ambition #4 and Zomboy #2, and so far both titles have been getting some serious love (the numbers don't lie). We also saw the debut of two classic Allen Shrugged strips (the Thanksgiving strip was priceless). So, if by chance you were overwhelmed by last week's endless servings of turkey and mash potatoes, now is the time to catch up ;)

My moment of thanks: Although we are a few days removed from the holiday of thanks I still want to take this time out and thank each and everyone of you for allowing us to share our art with you. It is a privilege that many do not get to enjoy, and it is one that we certainly don't take for granted ;)

I also want to take this moment and thank all my fellow creators here on the site. With out you guys would be no where near as popular and as relevant as it is today, and Jan and I would be arrested for drawing comics on people's windows ;)

Speaking of creators, I am very excited to announce that is very close to adding another quality creative team, which means that the amount of our creative output will only continue to increase as the months go by. With that I also want to say that this will probably be the last creative team we will be bringing on board for a while, as I do not want to overcrowd the site with too many creators/titles, nor do I want to wear myself thin (since the wife and I make up the whole marketing department). 

This weekend was an excellent weekend for boxing. First we saw Carl Froch's masterful domination of Arther Abraham (something I predicted the moment the fight was signed), then we saw Andre Ward's Bernard Hopkins like performance against Sakio Bika (I am a huge B-Hop fan btw), and lastly we saw one of the greatest technicians in the world named Juan Manuel Marquez overcome the odds by beating his faster and much younger mandatory, Michael Katsidis.  Still this weekend was not all drama and mayhem as I literally almost pissed myself when thinking of a great boxing memory from my childhood. But first, here's a little back story. 

When I was young one of my biggest dreams was to become a professional boxer. I used to stay up and watch all the fights I could with my older cousins Eric and Jean, and argue about who's the greatest boxer, Oscar De la Hoya or Sugar Shane Mosley. So, you can imagine how excited we were when my father signed us up for boxing lessons at the local Boys and Girl's club. At first nothing could stop us from going to the boxing gym. We were totally obsessed with boxing, and my older cousin Jean was just obsessed with fighting. However, as the year progressed.and the regiments increased, so did our desire to try other things. Still, that doesn't mean that our year in boxing was deprived of it's funny moments. 

Funny Boxing Story: Any person who exercises will be quick to tell you that you shouldn't do so on a full stomach. I mean just the thought of having to run a few miles with a thanksgiving like feast in my belly gives me cramps. So, you can imagine how my cousin Jean felt when he was asked to spar with our trainer's top pupil after stuffing his face at the Chinese Buffet. Now, I know what you're thinking "why the hell would he agree to do it then." Well, that was just the type of guy my cousin was. He was as strong as an ox and as stubborn as a mule, and in all honestly he would have done well if I didn't mess it up for him. So...HOW DID I MESS IT UP FOR HIM. Easy, most amateur boxers tend to direct all their blows towards their opponents face, but the moment I yelled "Hey Jean, watch your stomach, YOU JUST ATE," Tony, our trainer's top pupil, and nephew, began to focus all of his attack's on Jean's stomach. So, for three rounds my cousin Jean was trying his best not to go down, which to his credit he didn't, while clearly cursing me out with his eyes.

Random thoughts:
Inkbot cares: The inkbot crew and I have been discussing ways that can give back to the community. I will have more information on what we plan to do in the coming weeks, but if any of you have an idea that you would like to share with us, please do ;)  

For the immediate future Allen Shrugged will only update on Wednesdays, but don't worry Inkbots, American Ambition will soon be joining it (more info on that soon).

King of the Ring: Tonight is the King of the Ring wrestling tournament, which I am thrilled about. Here's hoping that my boy Daniel Bryan pulls through ;)

Sweet Sorrow: I love the fact that Boardwalk Empire, Dexter, and Walking Dead are all amazing, but I hate the fact that they are all close to ending ;(

With that, I look forward to posting another blog this Friday (time permitting) and I hope you all have a great week ;)


Thursday, November 25, 2010

short but sweet (Happy Turkey Day)

Hey Inkbots,

Over the weekend I will be posting a longer, more extensive, blog, but right now I just want to share a moment with you guys and then wish you all the best ;)

Over the summer I had the privilege to visit one of the most historical sights in Mexico, Chichen Itza. It was a wonderful trip and a remarkable experience but ironically the bus trip to the historical site had more of a profound impact on me than anything else throughout the course of the trip. You see what I saw,as we made our way through the many unpaved dirt roads that outline the hilly terrain of the region, was a large shanty village in which shoe-less children were playing with tires and uninspired adults were trying their best to sell their artwork, and really anything else that an eager American tourist might purchase. Still, despite this depressing site, what was more alarming was not the fact that my lavish, almost unapologetic tour bus was making its way through this poverty stricken village but that most of the tourists on the bus refused to even look out their window. That's right, it was almost as if they felt that this slice of reality was too real for their fantasy adventure, which, in my view, is a real shame. You see when I was young, my father, who as an educated man came to this country to pick lemons, taught me that I should be grateful for what I have because many people died, and continue to die for many of the luxuries that we as Americans take for granted. So, am I saying that these tourist should have stopped the bus and gave their wallets to all of the villagers, of course not. The systematic break down of a people cannot be repaired with a simple gesture of pity or even kindness, but what they could have done is at least turn around. Yes, by choosing not to ignore the reality of the situation outside of their window they could've at least chosen to acknowledge that although they have most certainly worked hard to get to where they are at in life, many generations of people have lost their lives and their freedom to make sure that the all of the efforts made by these tourist. in their professional lives, were not made in vain. With that said I hope you all enjoy this holiday with your families and may you understand, as hard as it to admit, that in a lot of way we are very lucky. 


Thursday, November 18, 2010

Paper Scissors (an intimate piece)

Tell her I still love her. 

Tell me if it matters.

Tell her I was murdered, as a matter of fact don't bother!

Tell her she's forgiven.

Tell her I'm the monster.

Tell her that she's hopeless. 

Tell her read the prompter!

"Make a dumb suggestion."

"Ask me if I've eaten."

Tell her that I'm leaving!

Tell her whats convenient.

Tell her I don't mean it.

Tell her that I'm dying.

Tell her that the crying is just a sign that I am trying. 

Fuck it, tell her nothing!

Tell her that I'm done. 

Tell her that this gun will shove the pain into my lungs.

Tell her that its broken, and take this as a token that if the word for god is mother then my god has no emotion. 

Friday, November 12, 2010

Tutoring, purpose of the online novel, opening of INKBOTS R US, American Ambition weekly, and much more ;)

Hey Inkbots,

I hope you all had a great week. I'm a little restless right now so forgive me if this blog entry seems like it was written by a sleep deprived manic depressive (because it was) ;) 

There is a lot to look forward to in the coming weeks. This upcoming Monday (Nov 15) we have the next installment of Revolvers, which in my opinion is going to be one of our most memorable weekly updates ever (the pages look amazing). A week later (Nov 22) we have the debut of Zomboy #2, which I believe you're really going to enjoy, and Part 1 of American Ambition #4 (see the promotional cover below). Then two weeks later (Nov. 29)  we have the second half of AA #4 and finally two weeks after that we have the debut of AMERICAN AMBITION WEEKLIES (stay tuned)!!!

Inkbot's Online Novels:
I figured since we're only a few weeks away from the debut of "K" (Revolvers Brent Martone's steam punk epic), this would be as good a time as any to not only explain the reasoning behind our decision to include online novels on the site but to explain what the hell an online novel actually is (come on, some of you were thinking it). 

Online Novels- according to the Inkbot dictionary, which was created roughly three minutes ago, and online novel is a kick ass story which is updated every month and is sometimes accompanied by illustrations. What separates an Inkbot online novel from a regular online novel is that our novels will be showcased in a specialized viewer AND it is completely free! What's that? Yes you read correctly, in keeping with the tradition of Inkbot greatness, not only will our online novels update on a monthly basis but they are also FREE (saying it makes your teeth white doesn't it)! So, with that said, why should web comic enthusiasts be excited about an online novel, easy, because they will be written by talented writers such as Brent Martone AND they will expand upon some of the great ideas that are covered in the greatest of our web comic collection (which is growing every month btw). Wait, what's that, you don't believe me, well, you don't have to take my word for it. Just check out this sample of Inkbot's first online novel "K."

If you haven't already, make sure you check out the new Revolvers and Allen Shrugged marketplaces, which can be accessed through the store tab on the site. Every month we will be opening a new store for each of our most popular titles, and every month we will add some new and exclusive stuff (including art prints). 

As many of you may or may not know, for the past six months I have been desperately trying to secure a teaching position within an inner city school district (my favorite place to teach), well, I am happy to report that although I have not secured one yet I have joined a great tutoring company which helps underprivileged kids all over Northern New Jersey (yay).  

Random thoughts:
Goldeneye- I got Goldeneye for the Wii last week and I absolutely love it. If anyone out there has a copy of the game, and feels the need to get shot in the face by my virtual shot gun, please hit me up ;)

Boxing- Last weekend was a great weekend for boxing. First Glen Johnson did the unthinkable by knocking out the always uninspired Allen Green (hmm, then was it really that unthinkable) and then Rafael Marquez battled it out, and lost, to the much younger Juan Manuel Lopez. Now, I'm not completely sold on JML just yet (quite frankly anyone who gets hit that much is just asking for a beating from a skilled technician) but I will say that he has some of the most entertaining fights in recent memory. Speaking of entertaining fights, I refuse to pay money for the Pacquiao vs. Margarito ppv, but I'm sure it will be a decent scrap (I told you I wasn't going to make sense) ;)

Comics: I really  need to take some time and catch up on some of the newer comics hitting the stands. I have heard nothing but great things about Grant Morrison's Batman and Robin run (which I believe has just ended) and I'm curious to see how DMZ is doing (I haven't followed it for a few months). 

With that, I hope you all have a great weekend and I promise to post a pair of embarrassing stories about me along with some more great news about the site on Monday. Peace!!!

Monday, November 8, 2010

building on the speech of the year, Inkbot's online novels, INKBOTS R US...

Hey Inkbots,

I apologize for the wait but lets get down to business...

Speech of the year:
A few months ago I received an email from a friend asking me to check out an article containing a transcript of a speech given by Mark Waid about the future of the comics industry. In this speech the extremely talented creator stated that he believed that online publishing was going to reshape how the industry does business and that it would be wise for his peers to embrace the change and thus adapt accordingly (unlike the music industry which has been struggling to deal with piracy and online downloads for years). Mr. Waid also stressed the importance of art in a developing society and explained that the original purpose of the copyright was meant to ensure that future generations would benefit from an artist contributions by providing the artist with a way of making a living. What this means is that copyright ownership was not originally intended to be extended beyond the artist's death, because the original purpose of art was not really to make a profit but rather to inspire society and reshape it for the better (obviously "art"  by this definition was not created during the Reagan era).  With that Mr. Waid also went on to say that piracy, if handled correctly, might end up being beneficial in the long run, as it will help to expose a younger generation to this great medium of ours. A younger generation, he added, that has access to many other cheaper forms of entertainment (online games, music, movies, youtube). Consequently, according to the article, the audience was said to be split in their reaction to the speech, while a few of his peers were said to have been more than a little disappointed with it's overall message. This I believe is a real shame as Mr. Waid made some great points and behaved like someone who is genuinely concerned with the survival and evolution of our medium. 

My two cents on the Print vs. Digital debate:
If there is one thing thing that annoys me most about our medium is that many creators truly believe that online comics are trying to kill the print business. Of course not only is this ridiculous, since we all grew up with reading prints, but it is also a short sighted thing to say (as most web creators sell printed versions of their web comics.) Also, the reason why many creators took to online comics in the first place is because it is an affordable way to reach a broader audience. Now, before I continue, I need you think about that for a second, because many years ago comics could be found everywhere. They were carried in pharmacies, convenience stores, supermarkets, specialty shops and even "bodegas" (small inner-city Hispanic grocery stores). Now, aside from Barnes & Nobles, comic shops carry the bulk of independent comics and they are disappearing at an alarming rate (which began happening way before the boom of web comics by the way.) So, with that in perspective, what is an independent creator to do? Should we continue creating in a small bubble that seems to shrink more and more the further we move away from the golden and silver ages of comics? Or should we try our damndest to make sure that our medium doesn't go the way of the dodo by making it more accessible to those who love it and to those who forgot it existed? I think the answer is clear and furthermore I think it needs to be said that if the blame of declining print sales should be placed on anyone, it should be placed on our industry leaders' inability or unwillingness to adapt to the modern market place, much in the same way that Blockbuster has failed to adapt to theirs (Netflix anyone). I also want it to be known that I am of the opinion that as our mostly printed medium continues to adapt to a digital world, printed books will be seen as somewhat as a collectors item, the way television series are packaged on dvds , which will force retailers and creators to change the way they do business and to change the way serial comic books are written (which I believe will be for the better). So in conclusion, KNOCK IT OFF, we love this medium as much as you, and we're certainly not trying to kill it (I mean, you guys already did a fine job of that in the mid-nineties) ;)

Random Thoughts...

One week postponement:
Zomboy and American Ambition will be released on the 22nd instead of next Monday. However with that expect some great surprises and the introduction of their respective stores ;)

It took us a while, but we finally delivered as promised. Today marks the official opening of INKBOTS R US, and leading the charge is Revolvers and Allen Shrugged (our two awesome weekly titles). So, make sure you show them some love and buy an I Love Johnny Raiker thong or something ;)

November 20th is shaping up to be a truly special day for us, as not only will we post the 16 PAGE finale of Odessa Arc 1, but we will also debut our first online novel named "K" (from the writer of Revolvers). 

Sunday nights is really the mecca of great television right now as between the hours of 9-11 one can see Boardwalk Empire, Dexter, AND The Walking Dead!

Its great to see that so many people showed up to the rally to restore sanity. Now, here's hoping that we keep that momentum going and not bring this country back to pre-civil war times.

I am happy to announce that will be hosting a few charitable events in the near future ;)

Boxing finally has a good month on its hands.

I've been so busy as of late that I still haven't seen the social network. Is there any chance that it's still in theaters?

I hope you all have a great week and as promised I will try to post by week's end. Peace!!! ;P

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Embarrassing Stories and Random thoughts

Hey Inkbots,

I hope you all enjoyed your Halloween weekend. Halloween is my favorite holiday of the year but sometimes it has also been my most embarrassing.

Embarrassing Halloween part 1:
My wife almost pissed her pants when I told her this story so I figured I’d share it with you guys. About twenty years ago I was poorer than I am now (not by much, but still poorer). My mother had to work two jobs at two different factories to pay the bills and when it came time for Halloween she of course had to look for what was on sale. Well, luckily her favorite store at the time, TJ Maxx, was selling cheap Halloween costumes at a cheaper price (think about that one for a second). So, she didn’t have to travel far for a costume, but, she did have to wait a while. Why? Well, considering that all the costumes were as bargain basement as you can get (practically a few inches above hell), and that they were being sold at a store that normally doesn’t sell cool things for kids (aside for 5 hour videos of Warner Bros extensive library of racist but sometimes funny cartoons), the makeshift costume area of the store was a cluttered mess, AND I was determined to find my Batman costume (from the first Tim Burton Film for those who care to know). Unfortunately for me it just wasn’t meant to be (my childhood nursery rhyme) because within a few minute my normally ill tempered mother grew even more restless with what she considered to be my clear inability to pick out a costume.  So, what happened? Well, what do you think; she picked out a costume for me. And now, many years later, my wife is laughing her ass off to a picture of me wearing a plastic Sailor Kermit costume with A LIONS HEAD for a mask (I wish I was making this up). So there you have it ladies and germs, whenever you see a kid trick or treating with no costume don’t make them feel bad (because they’re probably dirt poor) ,but if you see a kid with a non-matching costume then please, PLEASE, laugh at them all you want as they might grow up to manage a successful blog someday ;)

Embarrassing not really a Halloween story, but it involves a mask so screw you part 2:
I always pop and shake my head whenever I see a brutally honest little kid because it reminds of one my worst/best memories as a kid, the day I shattered my little brother’s dreams (its even worse than it sounds).

It was my little step brother’s maybe sixth birthday (he’s now the size of the incredible Hulk btw) and he was eager to show off his brand new ninja mask. You see at the time not only were Halloween costumes considered to be a luxury that we sometimes couldn’t afford, but gifts in general were too.  So anyway, here I come, equally eager, to begin my weekly weekend visit with my father’s side of the family when Chino (our nickname for him) runs up to me and says “bro, you’ll never guess what my mom got me for my birthday…..(the inevitable what)….a ninja mask.” “Oh shit, really (yes we knew how to curse), well let me see it.” Chino takes me upstairs to the second floor of the abandoned house I called my second home (I swear, it really was abandoned) and shows me…a ski mask. Yes, ladies and germs, my brother thought that he have been given a rare ninja mask for his birthday when in actuality he had been given a typical Newark, NJ ski mask (an inside joke for those who know about my native city). So, what was a big brother to do, should I allow him to parade around in his ski mask thinking that he might be mistakenly taken for the Panamanian Shinobi, of course not, so I did what all asshole big brothers do, I shattered his dreams. “Dude, are you a fucking idiot, that’s like a three dollar ski mask. They sell that shit at the bodega down the street.” Well, needless to say my brother and I haven’t spoken since….no I’m just joking. But he WAS pretty broken up about it, that is until my step mom felt so bad that she ran out at got him something better ;)

Random thoughts:
Revolvers: I hope you guys checked out the amazing finale to Revolvers second issue. I never get tired of saying just how hard working those guys up at up comics are and just how much of an important part they are of the Inkbot family (as you are my fellow Inkbots).

Allen Shrugged: I will go on the record and say that this week’s Allen Shrugged Monday strip was the best that I’ve seen from the series thus far. I believe that anyone who has been to New York or has simply ridden a train will appreciate its remarkable simplicity. So please, if you haven't already, I strongly urge that you check it out.

Odessa: I want to say thank you again to everyone who check out the fourth Issue of Odessa. We are only one issue away from finishing the arc and I gotta tell you IT’S BEEN ONE HELL OF A RIDE!

Zomboy: I’m really amped up for the second issue of Zomboy, which debuts in two weeks. It is told in a quicker pace than the first, but it still retains its bleak psychologically disturbing undertone, which I enjoy very much.

Next Blog: This Friday I’m going to talk about the infamous Mark Waid “web comic speech,” which he gave a few months ago. So be sure to tune in when I give my two cents, as a web comic creator, about what was said, the future of web comics, and whether it is or isn’t detrimental to the comic industry at large (btw, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out what I’m going to say about this matter, but you might be entertained to read about it anyway).

With that, I hope you all have a mildly interesting week and I hope you all have a chance to check out the rally to restore sanity. Peace!!!