DASH ISSUE 1 IS OUT!

DASH issue 1 is officially out! We’re so excited to finally share the entire issue with you!

Dash #1

Here is how you can get it:

Direct from our awesome publisher Northwest Press, you can order a hard copy or digital. (They are having a 25% off everything sale that goes on until September 30th, so go shopping here and then type in coupon code: “pumpkin_spice” when you check out to get the deal!)

On Comixology right here.

In select comic shops all over. If your shop is carrying Dash please let us know, we would love to help them out however we can. If your shop is not carrying Dash well tell them you want them to be carrying it, we’re in the Diamond Previews catalogue every month!

We also want to thank Dustin Cabeal of Comic Bastards for the 5 out  5 review he gave issue 1. You can read the review here.

We’d also like to thank Jen ‘Miss J’ Aprahamian of Comic Vine for the positive and constructive review she gave issue 1. You can read that here.

Don’t forget we’re throwing a launch party in Philadelphia for Dash on October 4th, you can get tickets for that here.

Finally the multi-talented Rich Lee put together another video of Delia and myself talking about issue 1. If all goes well we’ll be doing one for every issue.

 

 

Now that issue 1 is out we can talk a bit more about our process for the first issue as well as show you some preview art of issue 2, and maybe, just maybe, tear Delia away from working on the next issue to post. No promises. So stay tuned, The Case of The Mysterious Zita Makara has just started!

-Dave

 

Dash Comic Launch Party

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In a week from today Dash issue 1 will be out and available in shops and online! It almost seems unreal that Delia and I have been working on this comic for two years now and it’s finally happening. So lets party!

 

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We’ve mentioned that we’re having a launch party for the series before, but here is all the nitty gritty info.

WHERE: The Red Room in The Society Hill Playhouse (507 S 8th St, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19147)

WHEN: Saturday October 4th

WHAT TIME: Doors open at 7pm!

WHAT THE HECK IS HAPPENING:

Doors open at 7pm with live music featuring the singer Deborah Billups and a 3 piece combo of Chris Tolomeo, Jay Ronca, and Steve Bickell.

At 8 pm a live 1940s style radio play of the first issue of Dash starring Peter Zielinski, Sara Luciano, Christopher Tolomeo, Shanna Massad, Jay Mazzola, Cathy Gibbons Mostek, and Rich Lee.

Afterwards we’re going to throw on some big band music and have a 1940’s with a dance party!

HOW MUCH: Tickets are $15.00 which includes a free drink and a copy of Dash 1 signed by Delia and myself.

WHAT DO I WEAR: While it is not mandatory at all, we’re encouraging everyone to come dressed as you would if you were to going to a dance party in the 1940s.

WHERE DO I GET TICKETS: You can buy tickets at the door the night of the event or you can get tickets ahead of time http://dashlaunchparty.brownpapertickets.com/

We’re both looking forward to launching this series in style with everyone!

-Dave

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Our Team Dash pics were done by my sister Meagan Ebersole who is an amazing photographer, check out her photography studio ME Photo & Design

Late Night (early morning) catch up: First Review, Press, Issue 2, and more!

Why is it when you have to be up early you can’t ever get to sleep? Actually with me I can always get to sleep but I wake up about an hour later and just toss and turn, fooling myself that I can make it back to sleep, while checking my phone every few minutes as if something’s going to change. Tonight I figured instead doing that I’d be more productive and write this long overdue blog. As always there’s a lot to catch up on.

 

A few weeks ago Delia came down to Philly and we spent a very productive weekend together. We had a fantastic photo shoot, and spent most of Saturday afternoon filming the first few bits for our upcoming short videos we’ll be releasing on our Youtube page with each issue. Make sure you subscribe to our channel not to miss them. In the next few weeks we’ll be putting a playlist up of videos and clips from stuff that has inspired us as we’ve been making the comic.

 

We had our first review for issue 1 come out on Comics Worth Reading written by Johanna Draper Carlson, which you can read here. It’s always nice when people say nice things, but it’s even nicer when nice people say nice things. Be sure to give her a follow on the Twitter machine @johannadc

 

Josh Middleton of G Philly, a section of phillymag.com, gave us a nice write up on Dash, which you can read here, and officially announced the launch party we’ve been planning for the comic in Philly at The Red Room in The Society Hill Playhouse. We’ll be posting a lot more info about it but for now if you are close to Philly keep the evening of Saturday October 4th open! Also give Josh @justjoshfunk1 AND G Philly @G_Philly a follow on the Twitter machine

 

Issue 2 has been in Previews for a bit. I love this cover so much Delia gifted me the pencils to it. Here is the final version of it.

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The issue it self picks up pretty quickly from the major event that happens at the end of issue 1. It gives a small idea of who Dash is, who he was, and the direction we’re headed with this arc and for future arcs as well. We’ll talk more about it when it gets closer, but for now I hope you enjoy the cover for it as much as I do. Feel free to tell your LCS you want it and to make life easier on them you can tell them the Previews code is AUG1567.

 

And finally we wanted to report that the preorders on issue 1 have exceeded expectations! We can’t tell you how much that means and how it inspires us to try and make the best comic we can. We really want to thank everyone who told their LCS they wanted Dash. If you read issue 1 and you want to give us your thoughts on it please feel free to contact us here, on the Twitter machine, or send us an old fashioned email. We’d also like to thank the shops who took a chance on an unknown team with a new comic. If you are a retailer who is carrying Dash in your shops please let us know if there is anyway we can help you out by giving you a mention on this blog, signing books, or anything. Our email address is teamdashcomic@gmail.com, send us a message, we’d love to here from you!

 

Well my alarm is going off, looks like I need to get up, thank you for reading, way more to come soon!

 

-Dave

 

Dash Teaser Trailer

 

We’re excited to present our “teaser trailer” for Dash and to announce our YouTube channel at Youtube.com/TeamDashComic . This fall we’ll be updating the YouTube page as each issue comes out with video commentary, history, and hints about where the comic is headed. If you’d like to be kept in the loop, please go ahead and subscribe to our channel.

The videos are being shot, and edited by Rich Lee. Rich is an actor, writer, videographer, editor, and photographer in the Philadelphia area. We’re grateful to have someone so talented on board, go give him a follow on Twitter @RichLeeNamed

The Dash theme is written and performed by the wickedly talented Christopher Tolomeo. Chris is a music director, conductor, composer, actor, and multi-instrumentalist also in the Philadelphia area. You’ll be able to check Chris out playing music as well as using his acting chops for an exciting event we’ll be announcing soon. His website may have a hint about what that may be, so check it out  http://christophertolomeo.weebly.com/

Finally don’t forget that if you want to see Dash in your local comic shop, please tell your shop to order it! Preview Code JUL141331

It’s Official: Dash Issue #1 Coming In September

It’s official! Dash Issue #1 will be hitting stands September 24!

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We are excited to finally be able to announce that Dash will be released this September as an ongoing series from Northwest Press! After two years of working to make the best comic we can, it’s a thrill to finally be able to get this into shops.

First, we’d love to get Dash into as many shops as possible. It can always be risky for comic shop owners to take a chance on a brand new series but if you tell your local shop you want it, they’ll order it for you.

Dash Issue #1 is in the Diamond Previews July Magazine. You can tell them the Diamond Preview Item Code is JUL141331 or you can just direct them to the link on their website HERE

Remember, we’re a monthly, so if you pick it up tell them to put it on your pull list. And hey, if you don’t have a pull list at your LCS, maybe you should consider getting one. I’m sure your local shop would be happy to set one up for you.

Second, we can’t thank Bleeding Cool enough for their feature on Dash. It was very unexpected and we are very grateful they decided to feature our book. They have some early pictures of stuff we don’t even have on this blog, so check it out HERE

Finally, we’re so pleased that we are being published by Northwest Press. It’s very hard for a company to put an ongoing monthly title featuring a gay male protagonist, particularly in the noir genre, out there. The confidence they have in Dash as an ongoing series is inspiring! Check out the website for Northwest Press HERE

We have much more stuff ahead this summer as we lead up to issue #1’s release. Until then…

 

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How Does A Page Get Made?

Some people were asking me about how I draw comics so I thought I’d write about it. I have no idea how interesting this is to others, but it’s still a process of trial and error for me and I’m always trying to find out how other artists handle the process. Sometimes what I read or hear makes me think, “Duh! That makes it so much easier!” while other times I think, “Hmm, that seems elaborate and frustrating,” or “Sounds like a LOT of paper use/redrawing.”

Let’s use page 4, Issue 1 as an example from start to finish.

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wpid-Script-close.jpgSo first, Dave emails me the script and I print it to read. I like to conserve paper, but I draw my initial thumbnails directly on the script page so I need that hard copy. While the comic issue is 24 pages, the script for the issue is frequently longer.

Dave likes to insert photos that evoke the mood or help him “see” what he is writing (I can’t show an example right now because they’d all be spoilers). I hadn’t experienced this before but I really like it because it gives me a much better view into his head and helps me get into the scene better.

imageNext I thumbnail it with more detail in these rough layouts. I made a template sheet of little boxes to do this, but I had to correct the initial aspect ratio because my math was wrong (ARTISTS!). This is a new step for me; previously I would go straight from thumbnail to working on the full image. It definitely helps me organize the visuals better and solve problems before going to the big page and then having to erase everything. I speak from experience when I tell you how much that sucks.

pencilled_page_4Now it’s time to go to the big page! I freehand the layout onto the big page and then start drawing in detail. Lots of erasing ensues. In early days, I would just use the straightedge on bristol paper to define the borders. If you look closely at the panel borders in “Stan”, you might notice that they’re all ever so slightly crooked.

With “Dash,” I started using these prelined pages and they are SO much better than my crazy handruling. A few manufacturers make this, but I only use the Strathmore. I refuse on principle to use the Canson Fanboy line of products because I think the name is completely stupid and exclusionary. It doesn’t help Canson’s case that I think Strathmore generally makes better products anyway.
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wpid-20130913_130603.jpgStaedtler, Strathmore: sponsor me! 😉

I draw with a non-repro-blue mechanical lead pencil initially, then finish with a Staedtler F pencil. I think a number of artists use H or 2H but I hate how it scores the paper. When I’m drawing regular drawings, I use F to lay out the composition then heavier B pencils to finish.

lettered_page_04 copyNext I scan in a batch of pencilled pages, size them down (the gray border is the gutter, the pink is the bleed), and start lettering. This may seem backwards to some, but it really helps me to (a) see the whole page and fix any compositional errors, and (b) make sure I’m leaving enough room for balloons and captions.

Sometimes the opposite happens and I’ve left too much room; drawing more stuff is a much easier fix than erasing or choosing to obscure some detail I really liked. Then I send them to Dave and he sometimes decides to change some dialogue after seeing it in an actual balloon or caption. For the record, I didn’t letter “Stan” but I’ve lettered everything I’ve done since then. I am a serious control freak and it’s extremely satisfying for me to letter my own pages.

inked_page_4Now it’s back to the drawing table for inking! I actually hate the way this page came out so I plan to re-ink it. I’m still experimenting with the best way to do this stage. Inking is so permanent. When I drew “Stan,” I inked directly over the pencils. I liked the efficiency of it, but I didn’t like how perilous it felt, like I only had one chance to get it right or it would be messed up forever (just like this page!). For the first time, I am inking on separate sheets of paper using a lightbox. I know…this method is not efficient.
imageI’m actually still searching for The Perfect Paper. I was using bristol when pencils and ink were the same, but now that I’m lightboxing I’m using Paris Bleedproof Paper for Pens, with mixed results. I was surprised to learn that a lot of artists who ink their own pencils, draw the pencil very loosely and tighten it up in the inking phase.

They say it’s more “fun” and spontaneous, but even the thought of it immediately makes me anxious so I guess I’m more on the boring side. I need to work out as many visual issues as I can before the permanency of ink, and as you can see that means tight pencils without much deviation.

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color_sample Color is next. I colored the pitch in basic tones but we just confirmed our flat colorist which is going to be a HUGE help. I colored “Stan” all by myself and it was excruciating. Down the line as “Dash” gets rolling, we may hire a finisher as well. I’d love to be that artist who does it all, but the truth is that as a colorist I am slow and not very impressive. Hopefully with time and practice I’ll get faster and amazing like some of the artists I really admire.

If you’re still awake, you can see how a cat was really obstructive in the making of this post.
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SDCC & On-Site Research

I sometimes think everybody from the East Coast has West Coast dreams or envy or whatever. Maybe I’m generalizing here, maybe I’m off base about it, and maybe it’s just me. But it has always been me. Since I started regularly checking out Roman Polanski’s film Chinatown from my public library at the age of eleven (which was abruptly put to an end when I asked my mother how someone could be someone’s sister AND daughter), I’ve been fascinated by California in general and Los Angeles in particular. So last year, after Delia got back from San Diego Comic Con and told me next year I was going with her, there was no question I was counting down the days!

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It’s been a little less than two months since I got back and I think I can say, without a doubt, the trip was one of the most amazing, overwhelming, and inspiring adventures I’ve been on.

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SDCC itself was everything that everyone said it would be: just massively overwhelming, lots of fun, and super informative. Some of the wonderful and inspiring panels I attended: Breaking Into Comics and Staying In; Black Mask: Bringing a Punk Rock Sensibility, Activism, and Wu-Tang to Comics; Writers Unite: Pitching and Writing Creator-Owned Comics; Shattering Convention in Comic Book Storytelling; and Full-Time Creative Work on a Part-Time Schedule.

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I got to stop by the Prism Comics booth too and chatted with some awesome creators there, and picked up a pretty great book called Artifice by Alex Woolfson and Winona Nelson. Everyone I met at the Prism booth were some of the nicest, warmest, and most generous people at the Con!

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While I loved every crowded, jam packed moment of Comic Con (and I’ll admit I now understand what “con-exhaustion” is), hearing other creators talk about their work only wanted me to work harder on mine. So on Saturday Delia and I skipped the Con and took a train up to LA to do some real onsite research for our comic.

Dash is a comic set in Los Angeles in the first few months of the year 1940.  And while I can’t get there without a time machine (one day, one day!), upon visiting the city– all of the pictures, maps, and websites I’ve spent long hours studying suddenly became real.

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Our train pulled into Union Station and we spent a good hour just walking around and taking as many reference pictures as possible. What we discovered poking around is that Union Station opened its doors on May 3rd 1939, about eleven months before our comic starts.

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With a building as historic as Union Station (considered one of the last “GREAT” American Stations), we couldn’t ask for more of a time capsule of what it would’ve been like in LA at the beginning of 1940’s.  It was the next best thing to being there.

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There were a few sections closed to the public. One was what seemed to be a lunch counter/ restaurant; the other– the part of the station where people could originally purchase their train tickets. In this latter section there was a big modern screen…more on that later.

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From there we took the Red Line to the Westlake/ Macarthur Park station. Once here, we took a stroll around Macarthur Park, called Westlake Park in 1940. After looking at so many references pictures of the park, it was surreal just being there. Image

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Nothing seems to have changed inside the park except for the passing of time. There are a lot of important events that happen in the park in our comic, and it’s a shame this really gorgeous park with a lot of hidden landmarks is still trying to shake the rough reputation it’s attained since the 1980’s.

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One of the hidden landmarks we came across was this engraved artwork in the pavement which says Crazy as a Pair of Waltzing Mice. After some research I hit myself in the head: it’s a Raymond Chandler Quote from Farewell My Lovely. This park is ripe for a noir story; it’s engraved in its sidewalk!

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From there we walked up the hill to the Park Plaza Hotel. The building was completed in 1924 by The Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks (that’s the BPOE for you cool kids.) It’s was later sold and is now used primarily for wedding receptions and is one of the most filmed at spots in the city. I’m in love with everything about this building and it holds much significance to the larger story we are telling.

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Walking back to the train station, we passed two other landmarks that will pop up in the comic: The Asbury, which used to be host to luxury penthouses; and The Westlake Theater, which used to show vaudeville shows and movies. While not prominently featured in the comic, you might be able to catch these two in the background in a few of our panels!

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From there we took the Red Line up to Vermont and Sunset and caught a shuttle to a rather well known site in the city, The Griffith Observatory. The Observatory will figure hugely in a future case in which our Private Investigator will get embroiled.

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But it also holds a huge significance to me personally, being a huge James Dean fan. I tried not to let that show too much to Delia as we were there and I think I did a decent job. She probably has a different take on my James Dean geek-out. Either way, it was an amazing landmark to capture and we got another round of fantastic reference shots.

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I’d like to point out here that reference pictures for me as a writer are just as important as they are to an artist. As I write a comic script, I really try to think in visual terms for the artist (in this case Delia) with whom I collaborate. I sometimes can’t get a certain page written if I don’t have the right reference shot. The right reference shot can make your point better than paragraphs and paragraphs of description–and hey that’s kind of what comics are all about anyway, right?

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After that we took the Red Line to Hollywood and Vine and Delia and I parted ways for the day. We would meet back at the Con on Sunday for the amazing Full-Time Creative Work on a Part-Time Schedule. I spent the rest of Saturday with my cousin Jen and her two amazing kids Phoenix and Gigi.  She showed me Hollywood Boulevard and we walked around Grauman’s Chinese Theater, which I didn’t think would impress me much. However, the first handprints I saw were Gloria Swanson’s (if you don’t know who that is, go eat some hot sauce), and I was hooked.

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At the end of the evening, my cousin dropped me back off at Union Station to catch my late night train back to San Diego. Then I saw the purpose of that big screen I had seen earlier in the day: Downtown Film Festival LA was showing a free screening of Chinatown.  At age eleven, this is the one film that started my fascination with LA, noir, and private detectives. I was smiling ear to ear as I boarded the train and took my seat.

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As I was looking over Delia’s freshly printed pages to our first issue, I realized I couldn’t have written a more perfect ending to my daytrip to the City of Angels if I wanted to.

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And what made this day, and trip, matter more is that I got to experience it with my amazing co-creator. – Dave