Thursday, September 9, 2010

Amazing Arizona Comics #2!

I love the monsoon.

(I say "the monsoon" and not "monsoons" or "monsoon season" because April Warnecke on Good Morning, Arizona has insisted this is how it must be said.)

When I was a kid in Peoria, Arizona, at the first dark signs of a gathering monsoon, I'd strap on my The Real Ghostbusters plastic proton pack and go outside, looking up at the sky and saying ominously to myself, "This is it! This is definitely it!" Thankfully, it never was it, at least as far as paranormal armageddons go, but the monsoon as a sudden weather system maintained a supernatural element to me that persists to this day. It was one of the staples of growing up in Arizona that I remembered fondly after I moved to California, and one of the many reasons I anticipated living here again. So, when I decided to write and draw Amazing Arizona Comics, I knew I needed a character based on the monsoon.

June Monsoon developed as quickly as Speed Cameron did, in both design and characterization. She did originally have a tumbleweed body, but with a thunderhead cloud for hair, she looked a bit like a desert snowman with the head in the middle, so I opted for a simple sundress for my drawing hand's sake. Until I inked this issue, she wore slippers, but my friend Nathan said it aged her too dramatically, so her bare feet are both a more youthful and more natural alternative. Her personality reflects the childlike mentality I had toward the monsoon, with a naivete that contrasts Speed Cameron's developing cynicism. These two characters have a rich history that will be revealed in future issues, and I'm genuinely excited to tell their tales.

Also, just as issue #1 had a back-up story starring Pirate Steve Nash, this issue includes a second story -- another June Monsoon adventure inspired by my recent trip to the University of Phoenix stadium with my girlfriend for the first preseason Cardinals game. I'm not a sports guy, but I enjoyed the fanfare of the event, and I remembered past sports-related experiences in Southern California -- particularly my old friend Kevin's disgust with "fans" that attend Angels games only when the team is doing well. Thus, the Fairweather Fan was born! With a name like that, he's able to give a little storm system like June Monsoon a run for her money, making for a climactic climate-centric conflict!

This issue was a lot of fun to publish, especially as I perfect the process I use to produce and print these local mini-comics. Interestingly, my last foray into superhero epics, The Successors, published with the amazingly talented Brent Otey as K.O. Comix, lasted only two issues, with a staple male character in the first and a frantic female character in the second, as well. Now, if Amazing Arizona Comics can get to issue three, that'll be a personal break-through, as any series I've started has only made it to two installments (including my fanzine Far & Wee, but I plan to remedy that soon, too). As always, I'm grateful to anyone that's actually reading, to shops like Evermore Nevermore for carrying them, and my girlfriend for enduring the time it takes to single-handedly self-publish these little comics. It's a stormy process, but I'm into it, more than I've been into any other project in recent memory.

This is it. This is definitely it.

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