Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Flight Explorer, Missile Mouse, and Language

Over at All Ages Reads they give a nice review for Flight Explorer. However she brought up a good point about the language in my Missile Mouse story and it's appropriateness for the classroom. In Tracy's review she says:
"On the Flight blog, Kazu wrote, “After hearing from many booksellers and librarians that there weren’t very many high quality all-ages comics available for their youngest readers, we decided that a volume of Flight containing only the stories with the youngest readers in mind would be a great solution to the problem.” Hurray! What a fabulous idea!

Um, well, it would have been, with one – actually two – very small exceptions. While the stories in Flight Explorer are imaginative, colorful, well-written, and appeal to not only kids but to everyone, I cannot bring it into my classroom or give it to the school library.

In the story Missile Mouse, the eponymous character says, “Holy crap!” and “Oh crap.” That’s it. The same word, used twice, has cut this book out of many classrooms and libraries in America."

I regret that word is in there. When I wrote and drew Missile Mouse it was originally for FLIGHT 4, a book popular with teenagers, college kids and adults. When Volume 4 got too cumbersome Kazu felt this would be the perfect time to make EXPLORER (an idea a lot of us had been pushing for since the first few volumes of Flight came out) with the stories he felt were best suited for younger audiences. My Missile Mouse story was one of the stories chosen for the book and because I was so focused on other stuff I didn't think to go back through and recheck the content for a kid audience. It wasn't until last week when I ordered the book off Amazon (still haven't received my comps) that a coworker was reading through it and said "Hey there's the word crap in here, you don't mind you kids reading that word?" I couldn't believe it. She passed me the book and there it was, I had totally forgot about it. Then after reading through it again I found the second crap, again totally forgetting it was there too. Had I remembered this I would've changed it to "cripes!" or "trousers!" or something funnier. I'm going to push changing the two craps in the second printing of the book.

Anyway, in the bigger scope of things kids have their whole lives to be adults. Anything I can do to protect their innocence is a net gain for society. Because children who are allowed to be children grow up to be adults who act like adults. That's why as creators for children we should be mindful of what we are creating for them.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Monster Evolution 02

Here's the last batch of sketches for this monster. As you can see for a little while there I toyed with giving him legs, but they just didn't seem to fit with what the monster will be doing in the story. "A" and "B" felt a little too serious, and "F" was a little too obscene. So I settled on "G." It's a more refined version of where I was going with "X" in the previous batch. I would have loved to have spent another week on this guy's design, but I have a schedule to keep in order to finish this story on time.






Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Monster Evolution

For the past few weeks I've been trying to come up with a space monster design for Missile Mouse. These are pages from my sketchbook showing the evolution of the beast from "A" in the first image to "X" on the last image. I want the monster to be alien and sluggish, but I feel like all of these skew a little too the goofy side of the spectrum. I feel like it needs to look like a more formidable opponent. Maybe I'll change my mind, but for now I'm not quite satisfied. I'll post another batch of designs when I get closer to the design I want.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Flight Explorer In Stores

While I haven't seen it personally in stores (neither the Barnes and Noble, nor the Borders near me have ordered it) I do know that Flight Explorer is in stores as of last week. I bought mine from Amazon and was super stoked to be finally holding it in my hands. Each story in this book is a little gem. These guys are all the best of the best from the Flight series and pulled out all the stops for Explorer. The book is also a bit smaller than the Flight books. It's more of a digest size and I can see it fitting snugly in a backpack or bookbag. If you have a son, daughter, niece, or nephew pick up a copy for them. I think of it as a gateway comic, perfect for exposing kids to the world of graphic story telling.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

The Karonians

Planet T13-006, as it is known in the Galactic Security Agency's archives, is inhabited by a primitive society of humanoids called the Karonians. Strong, stout, and adaptive, the Karonians have manged to survive and even thrive on a exceptionally hostile planet. In my story for Flight Explorer, Missile Mouse crash lands on this planet and meets Kumo a Karonian sent from his village to search the deserts for food.

Karonians have two enormous fleshy lobes that extend out the back of the head. These store fatty deposits allowing Karonians to survive weeks with out water or food. Karonians also have a tale which is used for balance.

Kumo is outfitted for the hunt. His garb is minimal so as to not interfere with the active nature of tracking, shooting, and retrieving the kill. He carries a leather quiver (A) with 7-8 arrows in it. The arrows (B) are made of hard and light swamp reed. The point is sharpened bone. The chemicrifle (C) is an ingenious device that exhibits the intelligence of the Karonian race. The sphere houses chemicals that when combined during trigger release create an explosion expelling the arrow out the barrel. His dagger and sheath (D,E) is more utilitarian, than defensive. The sharpened bone blade is lightweight and strong.

Kumo's village is strategically located between a mountain range and a small forest of massive trees. The mountains provide protection from the fierce desert winds. The trees provide shade, shelter, and nourishment. The village consists of several thousand people and is lead by a Prophet Seer. He provides direction, council, and judgment for the people of the village. The village is also protected by a Guardian. The Guardian is a warrior chosen by the Prophet to protect the people from outside threats. Among the Prophet's prophecies is the coming of a new Guardian that would deliver their village from the clutches of an evil demon. The demon, having killed the bravest of the village, has left them without a Guardian. When Kumo finds Missile Mouse amongst the twisted wreckage of his crashed fighter craft, it is the fulfillment of prophecy and an exciting yet sacred moment for him.

Links: Flight Explorer