Wednesday, August 21, 2013


This was Heidi MacDonald's question about the Crossed torture covers. You can see the article linked below. But this reaction interests me, because it’s pretty much the same reaction that many people have to two dudes kissing. Or buying a book about someone who likes to dominate other people, or be dominated by other people.

(You can start humming Sweet Dreams now)

But I suspect if someone were to publically say “WHAT KIND OF SICK FUCK BUYS THIS SHIT????” about, say, S and M, then you’d get a much different kind of response. But understand that whether you think enjoying S and M or gay porn is equivalent to enjoying gore, you are essentially judging someone by their taste in fiction in a way that demonizes and marginalizes them. It says that if you like this, you are a fucked up human being. Torture covers are apparently an acceptable target.

Now, I write an extremely violent and gore filled comic and I am writing Crossed which, as you might guess, is ALSO extremely violent and gore filled. So the full disclosure bit is out of the way.

What might surprise you is that I don’t actually like gore. I’ve never been a gorehound, and most of the time I don’t find it all that entertaining. Shit, some of the scariest and most disturbing movies are some of the least gore filled. Note that despite their reputation, the first Halloween and the orginal Texas Chainsaw Massacre are relatively tame affairs from a strictly blood and guts perspective.

But I am a fan of horror, and as mentioned, I do write a lot of extremely violent things, so I’ve had occasion to meet a lot of gorehounds. So I am at least in some position to offer an opinion on what kind of sick fucks they are.

Not sick fucks at all, usually. They are, as most people are, by and large nice and normal people with no particular urge to violently torture and murder people. People that know the difference between real and not real, which seems to be lacking in some people’s ability to imagine stuff.

I do not understand S&M. I don’t. I can’t understand why people would get off on domination or being dominated. I also know that Fifty Shades of Grey made the author just shy of 100 million dollars, which indicates that quite a lot of people enjoying reading about it or, at the very least, aren’t bothered by it.

I could ask “WHAT KIND OF SICK FUCK BUYS THIS SHIT????” because the ideas it supposes are unfathomable to me. But the fact that it is hugely popular leads to the apparent notion that, perhaps, they aren’t sick fucks and I should examine the inside of my own head a little better.

Or, if you want to get a little higher on the transgressive scale, I’ve known at least two woman who have rape fantasies. I say at least, because I suspect I know others who just kept that particular information to themselves.

Again, I do not understand this. I do not understand how something as horrifying as being the victim rape can be turned into a sexual fantasy. But I also know that these women do not want to be raped, and would just as hurt and damaged by the act as anyone else. Because, again, there is a line between fantasy and reality, and because you enjoy something in fantasy or fiction doesn’t mean you want to carry out the act in real life.

It doesn’t make you a sick fuck.

There was an article, which I am not going to link to, I saw last week, where the summary I wish I hadn’t read was this: a newlywed couple was in a car accident, and both of them died. The wife was killed on impact, but the husband survived long enough to receive aid. He begged them to save his wife, because she was pregnant. Their family only learned the couple was expecting when they found the sonogram pictures in the wife’s purse.

This is horror.

And what is worse, this is something has entertained thousands if not millions of people. They don’t think of themselves as being entertained, but these kinds of stories, presented as news? They aren’t news. They contain no information that you need to know, unless, perhaps, you knew the subject. This is real people’s tragedy, packaged as entertainment and used to make a profit.

And while you may have not read this particular story, it’s a near certainty that you have read or watched with rapt attention while someone else’s horror is presented to you as entertainment. I have. I try not to, and I mostly succeed.

So how, exactly, are we not all sick fucks?

Saturday, August 10, 2013

On Contacting Artists

I started out writing five page (or thereabouts) stories as my first thing in comics. Part of this was that I believed (and still do) that getting good at telling stories in five pages would make for a solid foundation for telling longer stuff.

But the OTHER reason I did it was that I reasoned that it'd be much easier to actually get people to draw them damn things if I were only asking for five pages or so. I was not a total idiot - I knew how long it took to draw a page of art.

Which seemed to work. My thinking was that having stuff drawn would make it easier to get more stuff drawn, and this seems to be true. By the time I contacted Tradd to see if he wanted to work on Luther Strode with me, I had somewhere over two hundred pages of work that had been drawn and lettered. Not all or even most of it five pages stories - this ranged from those stories to (mostly) pitches to Zuda entries to full issues of at least one thing.

So having a goodly sized....porffolio, I guess, is one thing. The other thing is refining your pitch, which I got pretty good at. The basic format I eventually developed was:

Introduce yourself briefly, including one or two relevent work credits.

Tell them why you are contacting them - basically "I have a project I think you'd be great for, and I wanted to see if you might be interested in working with me"

Mention where you saw the artist's work and what you liked about it.

Tell them, in no more than one sentence, what the project is and the length it'd be, and if it's just a pitch how many pages you think it would be.

Link to a place where they can see the stuff you've done, with some direct links to two or three things.

Tell them if they're interested you can send more information, and thank them for their time.

And that's it. Basically, this works out to about a sentence for each thing. This is assuming you are contacting the artist completely cold, so you want to be as brief and direct as possible and provide the means to check you out. I don't include attachments, and wouldn't recommend it - I wouldn't open an attachment from someone I don't know, and it would make me suspicious, so I don't do it to others.

Of course, sometimes I don't follow my own advice. I'm going to copy and paste the first email I sent to Tradd here, which follows this format but goes waaaaaay long in the description.

What can I say, I had a hunch.

Hello, Mr. Moore

My name is Justin Jordan, and I really hope you're both a Mr and a Moore, or I'm going to be all kinds of embarassed. I write comics, and I'm having some success with that, and I wanted to see if you were interested in working together on something. I read on your DA account that you're extremelt busy, but I figured it was woth a shot.

First, my bona fides: I've been in a bout a million anthlogies, and I've twice been a finalist in DC's Zuda competition, with the comics Junk and Rumors of War. I've also had a comic with Arcana, but that fell apart when the company changed hands. You see a bunch more of my comics projects by following the links: The Assignment, Overthrow!, The Weird Adventures of Jenny Strange and Red Winter.

The comic project I'd like you to take a look at is called The Strange Talent of Luther Strode, which is about a bullied kid who wishes he had the power to fight back ...and gets it. Luther is a bullied and abused kid who orders an obscure physical fitness course called the Hercules Method from an old comic book.

The book actually shows up, and skinny Luther, who is desperate to buff up and become less of a target, starts performing the book's exercises, which are a strange mix of martial arts, mysticism, meditation and yoga. Much to Luther's surprise, he begins to add muscle immediately. In fact, the transformation is nearly miraculous. Luther gets stronger, faster, more confident.

Unfortunately for Luther and everyone else in his life, the book is actually a manual and test for an ancient murder cult, and following the Hercules method instills in him both the capablity to kill with his bare hands and the desire to use it. As if this weren't bad enough, the cult has dispatched the Librarian, the keeper of the book, to recruit Luther, even if it means killing everone Luther knows.

It's sort of a superhero origin story gone really, really wrong, and features an awful lot of blood and destruction. The series would be six issues but all I'd need right now is enough to pitch - five pencilled and inked pages and a cover mockup. I can provide coloring and lettering, although if you'd like to do either, that'd be cool, too.

Anyway, I've taken enough fo your time, so I'd just like to thank you for taking the time to read this and if you'd like to read a more complete synopsis of the series, I'd be happy to provide.


Justin Jordan