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Showing posts with label Kindle. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Kindle. Show all posts

Wolf's Head Issue 10 on Kindle


Teaser image for Wolf's Head issue 10 on Kindle

This is a very special story! Why? Well, ten issues in, we see Lauren coming face to face with the antagonist that she’s been dealing with for the past number of issues. And this forces her to make a critical decision, one that will play out over the next few issues.

One of my goals since the series started was to deal with racism in a different way than is usually depicted in comics as well as other media. What do I mean? Well, since Frank McRossiter’s introduction way back in issue 1, I wanted him to be racist without directly saying so. In other words, it’s his deeds that make him a racist, not just his words. At the same time, I wanted it to be relatively subtle; Frank doesn’t wear a Klan outfit. He also doesn’t attend racist rallies, write racist screeds, or any of that. But he is racist and that’s influenced how he’s treated Lauren right from the get-go. In some ways he’s the most heinous antagonist that the series has seen so far and his racism played a key role in that. He’s simply unable to see Lauren as the human being she is. And this is despite the fact that she saved his life back in issue 6.

I’ll leave it to you to judge how I did. I will say that coming up the twists and turns in this issue was a great deal of fun! And I think it pays off a number of plots and character points that I had established earlier. As always, that’s part of the fun of creating comics. Establishing little threads and then paying them off later on. I think (hope!) that it rewards careful reading and works on a lot of different levels.

Elevator Pitch: “Lauren Greene, her dog Sankō, and their young Artificial Intelligence (AI) friend are on the run from a bounty killer with a contract to kill Lauren. Hiding at a friend’s place, Lauren gets a phone-call from a potential new ally named Super Bob Sanchez; he has information that will rid Lauren of her villainous pursuers once and for all, put some money in her pockets, and give her a way out of Detroit… if she can trust him. But before Lauren can sort out her next steps, she discovers that an old foe has kidnapped her best friend; he’ll trade that life for Lauren’s. If Lauren refuses, her friend dies. If she accepts, she dies. Faced with an impossible situation, Lauren must make a terrifying and heartbreaking decision before time runs out.”

Here are the usual links:


And don’t forget that the series page can be found at https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08MTGCS49; and you can just change the “dot com” part of the url with your specific top-level domain. In Canada, changing the “dot com” to “dot ca” means that the series can be found at https://www.amazon.ca/dp/B08MTGCS49. See? Easy!

Lastly, issues 7 through 10 of WOLF’S HEAD form one terrific story arc, full of great characters, loads of change, and a lot of fun… plus, as always, a little bit of heartache, too. If you love the series and know someone who likes great comics, please consider sharing that love along!
Teaser image for the first story arc of Wolf's Head on Kindle

Wolf's Head Issue 9 on Kindle


Teaser image for Wolf's Head issue 9 on Kindle

This issue stars a bounty killer! What?! Yes! And is, in some ways, the most action issue of WOLF’S HEAD yet! Action can be tricky to do well; while it’s such a staple of super hero comics, so much of it rings pretty false to me. Why? Well, the classic stereotype goes something like this: hero is minding their own business with ye olde villain decides to act. The hero, often just wandering by, decides to intervene. And lo! A fistfight is the result.

Can this be fun? Sure. Is it fun when it happens over and over again? For me? Nope. Now, the big question is why? I can only give you answer that works for me; as always with art, how one feels about this is pretty unique and can change with both experience and time. I think the problem with the stereotype is that it makes the villain active and not the hero. Often, the hero just wants to be left alone. This is not a recipe for an engaging story, especially if the villain is of the “one-and-done” variety (i.e.: the villain makes one appearance and then disappears, typically to jail or maybe to their seeming death, only to reappear a year or so down the road).

The big problem is that pesky notion of being “active.” We want — or rather, I want — an active hero. A hero that is trying to do something, something that is clear to the reader. When that’s lacking, when the hero just wants to be left alone, there’s a problem. So, in other words, an active hero combines with an active villain, each with clear goals. And one of the stronger resolutions, not always possible in fiction, is when resolving the problem the villain presents also resolves other issues the hero is facing.

This doesn’t mean that the goals have to be external. Often the best struggles are internal to the hero. Yeah, yeah, a hero could be scrounging up money to by a car and are actively trying to solve that problem. It’s often funner — at least to me — when the hero wants something intrinsic to their character; a simple example could be a fear or phobia.

Does this always have to be the case? Of course not. Sometimes the hero really is just minding their own business, perfectly happy, when the villain appears. If that’s always the situation, however, then I’d argue there’s a problem. One of the things I work very hard on with WOLF’S HEAD is to keep Lauren active. It’s a challenge, but man oh man is it ever rewarding when it works well. I think it did here, though you’ll have to let me know what you think!

The ol’ Elevator Pitch: “With the villains who have been pursuing Lauren Greene and the Artificial Intelligence she’s befriended in the hospital after an abortive attempt to steal it, Lauren feels like she has some breathing room to figure out her next steps… but she hasn’t counted on the anger and racism from one of the villains, Frank McRossiter, who has a personal vendetta against her. Unable to kill her himself, McRossiter hires a bounty killer (!) to do the job for him. And when that bounty killer lands in town and shows up at Lauren’s apartment armed with a gun and an electronic magnetic pulse weapon to deal with the AI, things start to go very badly very quickly. Also in this issue: Can Super Bob Sanchez repair ‘Old Bess’ (his truck!) and get back on the road before police find him?”

Here are the usual links:


And don’t forget that the series page can be found at https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08MTGCS49; and you can just change the “dot com” part of the url with your specific top-level domain. In Canada, change the “dot com” to “dot ca” means that the series can be found at https://www.amazon.ca/dp/B08MTGCS49. See? Easy!
Teaser image for Wolf's Head issue 9 on Kindle

Wolf's Head Issue 8 on Kindle


Teaser image for Wolf's Head issue 8 on Kindle

WOLF’S HEAD is the first time in the series that I’ve tried something a little bit different. This issue is a “split” book. What’s that? Well, it’s an issue with two different stories with two different main characters. In this case, Lauren Greene is the star of the first story and Super Bob Sanchez is the star of the second!

“Split” books fascinate me; back in the 1960s, Marvel Comics faced a unique situation. Due to their distribution arrangement with Independent News Co., Marvel could only distribute a certain amount of titles per month. Why? Because Independent New Co. was owned by National Periodical Publications, the company that owned DC Comics. As Stan Lee noted in an interview, Marvel’s output was “eight or 12 books a month, which was all Independent News Distributors would accept from us.” “Split” books were one solution to the problem this distribution restriction represented. By having two stars rather than one, I presume that Marvel hoped they could gain more sales. Eventually, Marvel grew so strong that they could avoid these restrictions. Characters that rubbed shoulders with one another in the “split” books now could star in their very own titles.

I have a soft spot for a lot of the “split” books, though. Primarily STRANGE TALES, but also TALES TO ASTONISH and TALES OF SUSPENSE. Part of the idea with this issue of WOLF’S HEAD was to celebrate these titles. However, I also faced a practical problem that was tricky to solve. With WOLF’S HEAD, I wear all the hats. I knew I needed to introduce Super Bob into the story, but I wanted his story to run separately to Lauren’s. Well, I could have launched a second title. Yikes! Even if I wanted to launch a second title, I simply don’t have enough time to do it. So what to do? One solution was to “cross-cut” their narratives, basically using parallel editing. While I’ve done that before, this was not my preferred solution this time. Trying to brainstorm a solution, I remembered these ol’ “split” books. And that’s the way I decided to go!

Why did I want to dedicate so much space for Super Bob, a character that Lauren hasn’t even met yet? The answer to that, he says cryptically, will become apparent next issue and even more so in issue 10! So stick around; it’s going to be a great deal of fun!

With that out of the way, here’s the ol’ Elevator Pitch: “Lauren Greene is a young Detroit woman whose life is turned upside down after her mom saves a newborn life-form, a kind of Artificial Intelligence (AI), from a secretive corporation that intended to use the powerful baby for war. When her mom dies, Lauren is left alone to figure out what to do with the new life-form… while also trying to make ends meet in her real life. Desperate for help, she has reached out to ex-scientist, Jack Dhillon, who has a very personal hatred for the AI’s creator. Lauren hopes that Dhillon will teach her to work with the AI, but can she convince him to help? This issue also introduces a new character, Super Bob Sanchez, a truck driver who is not (under any circumstance!) a hero.”

Here are the usual links:


And don’t forget that the series page can be found at https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08MTGCS49; and you can just change the “dot com” part of the url with your specific top-level domain. In the United Kingdom, change the “dot com” to “dot co uk” means that the series can be found at https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B08MTGCS49. See? Easy!
Teaser image for Wolf's Head on Kindle

Wolf's Head Issue 7 on Kindle


Teaser image for Wolf's Head issue 7 on Kindle

In some ways, this is the most important comic I’ve ever written. Wait? Does something world-shaking happen in it? Actually, no, but it still means it’s probably the most important comic I’ve written. Why? Well, to answer this requires a step back to look at WOLF’S HEAD broadly.

Previous to WOLF’S HEAD, I’ve primarily written either stand-alone graphic novels or stand-alone short stories. In other words, stories of variable length that have a definitive beginning, middle, and end. The closest I had come previous to this was my abortive series METAL GODS; while that series did give me some valuable practical experience, it only lasted four issues. And, critically, I had a lot of it mapped out in advance.

The same was true for the first six issues of WOLF’S HEAD. While I didn’t every single issue written before I started drawing issue one, I did have the overall arc in mind that I wanted to do. After that? Well, I had some loose brainstorming ideas… and not much else. Since issue six also resolved a number of storylines, the sky was the limit with issue seven. I could go in any direction. Did I want to keep the story grounded in Detroit? Or did I want to move it to some other location? With Jeremy Hamilton, the main antagonist over the first six issues, sidelined with horrific injuries, who would be the antagonist going forward? Should their even be one? And what about Lauren, the main protagonist? She had faced the death of her mom, the adoption of her mom’s dog Sankō, and the embracing of the young artificial intelligence that her mom had befriended, but where was she going to go from there?

On top of all that, WOLF’S HEAD is an ongoing series. That’s the key word: ongoing. Where do I go from the end of issue six? Figuring that out took some doing and it challenged me in some unexpected ways. That was both fun and a little scary, but I’m extremely pleased with how it turned out. Why? ‘Cuz I think it builds on what came before in logical ways. Lauren continues to grow and change; she’s not the same character as she was back in issue one. That’s exciting to me. I dearly hope it’s exciting to you, too!

Okay, so here’s the Elevator Pitch: “Lauren Greene has begun working with the young artificial intelligence (AI) she's encountered, but is having a difficult time creating a bond. The AI, similar to a child, either does not understand or simply cannot comprehend everything that Lauren is asking it to do. Frustrated, Lauren realizes that she needs help and begins seeking it out as best she can. At the same time, Lauren realizes that her friends are in danger simply for knowing her and she decides to protect them as best she can… with difficult results.”

Here are the usual links:


And don’t forget that the series page can be found at https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08MTGCS49; and you can just change the “dot com” part of the url with your specific top-level domain. In Germany, changing the “dot com” to “dot de” means that the series can be found at https://www.amazon.de/dp/B08MTGCS49. See? Easy!

Lastly, the first six issues of WOLF’S HEAD form one helluva story arc, full of fascinating characters, loads of change, and a great deal of fun… plus a little heartache, too. If you love the series and know someone who likes great comics, please consider sharing that love along!
Teaser image for the first story arc of Wolf's Head on Kindle

Wolf's Head 7, 8, 9, and 10 on Kindle


Teaser featuring issues 7, 8, 9, and 10 of Wolf's Head on Kindle Kindle has just released issues 7, 8, 9, and 10 of my ongoing comic book series WOLF'S HEAD! Not only is this a significant release for the series (matching last week's release of issues 1 through 6), but it also brings the series right up to date. In other words, I'm currently drawing issue 11. What a journey its been! Whew! And don't forget that there's a dedicated website for WOLF'S HEAD at https://wolfs-head.vonallan.com (with previews, a press kit, links to the documentary film I'm in, and more!).

I should add that these issues also represent two complete story arcs (the first is told in issues 1 through 6 and the second is told in issues 7 through 10). That said, one of my main storytelling goals for the series has been to make sure that each issue could be read on its own. In other words, each issue works individually, but when taken together a much larger world is built. And, of course, when the two story arcs are read together, I think they tell one helluva story.

These latter issues also introduce one of my favourite new characters, Super Bob Sanchez. He is a great deal of fun and adds a very different element to the world of WOLF'S HEAD. He cameos in issue 7 and then has a back-up story in issue 8 and 9 before guest-starring in issue 10. One of the things I love about adding new characters to an ongoing series are the questions they allow. For example, can Lauren trust him? Should she? What are the consequences to both Lauren and those she loves if she takes the chance? And, of course, what happens next?

The links to each issue can be found below:
I'm not quite sure when issue 11 will be released, but it should not be too long.

Lastly, doing a full colour independent series is both fun and a major challenge. Aside from supporting the series directly by buying it (and each issue is very affordable), please spread the word and share the love. The only way for a series like WOLF'S HEAD to survive is if readers tell their friends about it. So please, do just that. Shout it from the rooftops!

Wolf's Head Issue 6 on Kindle


Teaser image for Wolf's Head issue 6 on Kindle

Issue 6! A huge milestone in the life of Lauren and the characters around her, but also a milestone in the series so far. Why? Issue 6 represents the ending of a number of storylines that have been building since the very first issue. A number of things that were set-up quite early on payoff here and that, I think, is pretty damn exciting.

I have a philosophy about ongoing comics that is fairly different than a lot of what I see in the contemporary comics publishing scene. I’m a big believer in what’s called “episodic closure.” It’s a bit of a fancy form for a pretty simple concept: the “piece” of entertainment in front of you (a comic book, a TV show, a story, etc…) should be complete in and of itself. It shouldn’t string you along, completely open-ended. A lot of contemporary entertainment does just that; you watch an episode, and it starts in the middle of something and nothing resolves in that same episode. Is that “bad”? Of course not. We’re talking art here and there are no rules to art. All we have are tools to try and create stronger storytelling (however one might define that), a history of what’s come before us, and our own sensibilities on what works and why.

On the opposite end of all this is the kind of storytelling that did have episodic closure, but the closure was so tight that there was no growth or change at all. Think of a TV show prior to the 1980s, especially but not exclusively sitcoms. Many of them could be watched in any order (even switching the seasons up!) because, from the show’s point of view, there’s no change or growth at all. It’s just stasis; a constancy that prevents real change and real growth. That doesn’t mean there can’t be excellent writing, performances, and top-notch direction and cinematography in these types of TV shows. There often is. It just means that the characters, from the first episode to the finale, don’t change much. They often don’t change at all.

The trick with episodic closure, at least with how I approach my work, is to accomplish episodic closure while, at the same time, constantly building deeper and more nuanced characters, the world they live in, and the stories themselves. With WOLF’S HEAD, I think each issue stands on its own. But when you read them in sequential order, something deeper appears. That depth has a name: real change.

Lauren, the main character from Von Allan's Wolf's Head, pitches the series

So, why am I talking about this here? Well, the first six issues of WOLF’S HEAD are full of real change. Lauren, the main character, is not in the same position by the end of issue 6 that she was when the series first started. She’s experienced growth, loss, heartache, and great joy. She’s seen the death of her mom and learned to cope with that loss. Even the dates of the story reflect this; the series starts in September 2017. Issue 6 ends on November 1, 2017. In other words, time moves on and that plays a big part of the story.

Taken together, issues 1 through 6 form a complete arc. Each issue of this arc, however, has its own episodic closure (well, except the very first issue, which ended on a cliffhanger). That’s the kind of storytelling I love. Combining real change with episodic closure. Building story arcs that work collectively, but each “piece” still works on its own. I find that thrilling and it is so exciting to do. I hope you think so, too!

With that said, here’s this issue’s Elevator Pitch: “Just as things are appearing to get back to some degree of normalcy after the death of her mom, Lauren Greene is confronted by the corporate forces who created the Artificial Intelligence (AI) and are attempting to hunt it down. Forced to defend the AI, Lauren’s life and the lives of those she loves are very much in the balance as Jeremy Hamilton and his henchmen will not stop until the AI is theirs once again.”

And, of course, here are the usual links:


And don’t forget that the series page can be found at https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08MTGCS49; and you can just change the “dot com” part of the url with your specific top-level domain. In Germany, changing the “dot com” to “dot de” means that the series can be found at https://www.amazon.de/dp/B08MTGCS49. See? Easy!

Lastly, the first six issues of WOLF’S HEAD form one helluva story arc, full of fascinating characters, loads of change, and a great deal of fun… plus a little heartache, too. If you love the series and know someone who likes great comics, please consider sharing that love along!
Teaser image for the first story arc of Wolf's Head on Kindle

Wolf's Head Issue 5 on Kindle


Teaser image for Wolf's Head issue 5 on Kindle

Whew, this was one tough issue to write and draw. Why? Lauren is dealing with the death of her mom Patty. I wanted to make damn sure I handled that death as realistically as possible. While comics can tell any story in any genre, I feel that for WOLF’S HEAD, realism is what counts. Knowing that Lauren is poor meant having to figure out the costs of a funeral actually are. And how cold and inhumane so much of how our society, both American and Canadian, handles death. While Lauren certainly isn’t naive, she’s still shocked when she comes face-to-face with it, and we see that and feel that in this issue.

At the same time, I didn’t want to wallow in Patty’s death. Lauren is strong and while her grief overwhelmed her, the strength she possesses was something that she could fall back on. That and the love of her friends. That love and empathy forms a big part of the story and is an aspect of the series that I don’t talk too much about. Perhaps I should, but I think it shines through when one sits down and reads an issue or two.

Of course, the death of Patty isn’t a loss Lauren feels alone. And when a certain character also feels that loss, Lauren is shocked… perhaps more shocked then she really ever has been. That was a great deal of fun to do and I think builds very plausibly from what occurred over the course of the previous issues. How will it all play out? Well, that’s something we’ll see begin to unfold over the course of the next few issues. Especially the next one, where the seeds of certain events finally start to grow.

Death is always hard. I’ve dealt with it a fair bit in my own life, some of which I’ve discussed here and here. I wanted to do a story that drives that loss home, but I think in a way that creates a great deal of hope. This issue also represents some of the best art I’ve ever done, especially the light house scene that ends the issue.

With that said, here’s the Elevator Pitch: “Lauren Greene is forced to deal with the recent death of her mom Patty. Trying to place the massive loss, Lauren’s situation is made all the harder as she struggles to come up with the money for the funeral, deals with the disappearance of her mom’s dog, and attempts to communicate with the strange artificial intelligence her mom had befriended.”

And here are the usual links:


And don’t forget that the series page can be found at https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08MTGCS49; and you can just change the “dot com” part of the url with your specific top-level domain. In Canada, changing the “dot com” to “dot ca” means that the series can be found at https://www.amazon.ca/dp/B08MTGCS49. See? Easy!
Farewell to Patty, Lauren's mom and one of the main characters from the ongoing comic book series WOLF'S HEAD

Wolf's Head Issue 4 on Kindle


Teaser image for Wolf's Head issue 4 on Kindle

This issue marks a significant turning point in the life of Lauren, the protagonist and star of WOLF’S HEAD. The problem is that it’s hard to talk about without giving spoilers to this issue. Huh. That’s a conundrum, right? How to talk about a significant event in a character’s life without ruining the reveal of that event. Tricky!

Let me see if I can get at this way. For stories to work — and I mean that broadly, in variety of mediums and genres — readers have to care about the main characters. That goes without saying, right? If a character is just some weird cardboard cutout that we, as readers, don’t give two shits about, then everything else doesn’t matter. The plot might be exciting, full of twists and turns, but if we don’t care about the characters, then all of the other stuff just falls apart.

One of my goals with WOLF’S HEAD was to make the characters as real as possible. Okay, there’s always a bit of a “wink wink nudge nudge” going on here; you know that your reading fiction just as I know I’m writing and drawing fiction. That’s obviously true, but we also have a sort of “handshake agreement” here: for you to lose yourself in the narrative, I need to make sure that the characters are as believable as possible. If I screw that up, then that agreement is broken. So I work really damn hard not to screw it up!

One of my frustrations with so many corporate comics is that they do screw this up. Losses that a character goes through (be it death or other hardship) is often “reset” and the slate wiped clean. I suppose, when I’m feeling generous, I understand it. Corporate characters are literally corporate intellectual property (or IP); for that IP to have “value” (at least to the corporation that owns it), they have to produce value. If a character is killed or otherwise “on the shelf” for a long period of time, that value is often destroyed — regardless of how the readers feel about it.

When I was a kid, the deaths of Marvel characters like Jean Grey (“Marvel Girl”) or James MacDonald Hudson (“Guardian”) really moved me. Ditto for the death of Barry Allen (“Flash”) over at DC. When all of those deaths were “undone” later on, it rang hollow. Unbelievable. Fake.

I’ve desperately tried to avoid that sort of thing in my own work. When you read this issue, you’ll see what I mean. Hopefully you’ll be moved, too.

With that said, here’s the Elevator Pitch: “Lauren Greene has been kidnapped by Jeremy Hamilton, the powerful man who invented a self-aware Artificial Intelligence (AI) that is now in possession of Lauren’s mom, Patty. In trade for Lauren’s freedom, her mom surrenders herself and the AI machine to Hamilton. Freed by Hamilton’s goons and assured that her mother will be released the next day, Lauren returns home to wait. But later that night, she learns, to her horror, that Patty has been suddenly hospitalized in critical condition and the AI is missing. Since the AI has protected her mother in the past, Lauren races against time to find it, hoping that it can save Patty yet again. As she searches frantically, and with her world turned upside down, Lauren must confront an old enemy, dodge new ones, and find the AI, which might not want to be found… before it's too late for everyone.”

And here are the usual links:


And don’t forget that the series page can be found at https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08MTGCS49; and you can just change the “dot com” part of the url with your specific top-level domain. In Germany, changing the “dot com” to “dot de” means that the series can be found at https://www.amazon.de/dp/B08MTGCS49. See? Easy!
Teaser image for Wolf's Head issue 4 on Kindle

Wolf's Head Issue 3 on Kindle


Teaser image for Wolf's Head issue 3 on Kindle

One of the things I love about comics is when you have well-established characters with different goals coming into conflict. To do that properly requires setting up each character so that they are as real as possible. When you know where a character is coming from — what they want and why — then it becomes a great deal of fun to put those goals into conflict with one another.

Conflict, from a writing point of view, is not Character A punching Character B. Conflict results from when a character can’t get what they want (or need). I think my favourite definition is by Keith Wilson in his book BODY TRAUMA: “Conflict is the core of all fiction. Without conflict there is no story. When obstacles prevent a character from obtaining his or her goals, there is conflict. It is also necessary that the consequences of not attaining the goal be profoundly significant for the character.” There’s no right way of doing this, but it obviously has to be crystal clear to the reader. If not, then the reader simply won’t understand the “whys” of the character’s actions.

An obstacle can be internal or external to the character. Here’s a simple example: a sixteen year old wants to get their driver’s licence. That’s their goal. An external obstacle could be a lack of money; they just can’t afford to pay for the licence and the driving school to learn. See? Simple but clear conflict. Then it becomes a matter of going through what the character does to get that money. Do they make good or bad decisions? What are the consequences of it? How do they act to overcome those consequences?

An internal obstacle is something intrinsic to the character. In the case of our young driver, an internal obstacle could be fear. They’re scared of driving. Maybe they were involved in an accident as a little kid? Regardless, they are scared and since that prevents them from accomplishing their goal, there’s conflict.

These obstacles can even work in conjunction with one another. Our teen wants to drive, but doesn’t have the money (external) and is terrified (internal). If we throw on another external obstacle (maybe they were offered a dream job, but it’s too far away and public transit is too poor to get there without a car). Here’s another: what if their mom is scared of them driving, too, and can’t face that their child has grown up? See? Now we have a number of situations where the teen is going to have to go through a lot to deal with the conflict and achieve their goals. So, with Lauren and her mom Patty, that’s what we have. Both women have goals, but their goals are different from one another. How that resolves is part of the fun of this issue!

With that out of the way, here’s the ol’ Elevator Pitch: “Lauren Greene and her mother, Patty, have a huge disagreement over the future of a self-aware Artificial Intelligence (AI) that her mom saved from a lab and sheltered from its war-mongering creators. Angry at her mother’s stubbornness and terrified of the world they’re suddenly involved in, Lauren storms out — only to be kidnapped by Jeremy Hamilton, the powerful man who invented the AI.”

And here are the usual links:


And don’t forget that the series page can be found at https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08MTGCS49; and you can just change the “dot com” part of the url with your specific top-level domain. In Germany, changing the “dot com” to “dot de” means that the series can be found at https://www.amazon.de/dp/B08MTGCS49. See? Easy!
Teaser image featuring a feisty Lauren Greene from Wolf's Head announcing the release of issue 3

Wolf's Head Issue 2 on Kindle


Teaser image for Wolf's Head issue 2 on Kindle

This issue picks up immediately after issue 1. Literally moments after. I don’t often do this and I suspect it will be a bit of an anomaly with the series itself, but it was a lot of fun to brainstorm! Especially the opening page, since it picks up right after the final page of the very first issue of WOLF’S HEAD.

Last issue saw the reveal of the weird shape-changing artificial intelligence that Lauren’s mom, Patty, befriended. This issue starts delving into the background of that; how did Patty meet it? What’s their relationship like? And just what the hell is this weird AI “thing” that is now a big part of Patty’s life? Lauren has a lot of questions and her mom — much to Lauren’s frustration — is not exactly forthcoming with answers.

Throw in the other problems in Lauren’s life and it’s a recipe for a lot of drama. Even without her mom’s new complication, Lauren is still struggling to find a job and pay rent. That creates a great deal of pressure on her and her struggle to resolve that plays a big part of this issue. I don’t know about you, but I actually really like grounding characters in reality. One of my immense frustrations with a lot of contemporary stories (regardless of the medium) is when we can clearly see that the lives of the characters are not realistic. Yves Smith on her Naked Capitalism site wrote a great piece on this that’s well-worth a read. She noted, “Not only does TV show how the better-off half lives, TV and the movies regularly depict characters living in better circumstances than the incomes that go with their jobs would allow.”

A reader named Clive then wrote a wonderful comment on that post. A quick (and hopefully fair use) excerpt: “Once I started noticing a phenomena (…) TV houses having unreasonably large rooms or characters having a standard of living not commensurate with their jobs (…) the author has to conjure up some outrageously contrived explanation and scenarios as to how the central characters have the time and resources to participate in whatever story arc they are about to be launched upon. (…) Where do the participants get their money from? If they work, what do they do which gives them the energy to pursue the plot line?”

One of my goals with WOLF’S HEAD was to avoid this. For me, the ordinary day-to-day struggles that characters have are important. It rings true because for so many of us it is true. One can tack on the fantastic on top of that, but that core of realism is a big part of the story. And a big part of WOLF’S HEAD.

Okay! With that said, here’s the Elevator Pitch: “After Patty Greene helps a young Artificial Intelligence escape from a secretive corporation under the cover of a huge research factory fire, she turns to her daughter Lauren for help keeping it safe. Giddy with excitement, Patty doesn’t recognize the danger she has put herself in… but Lauren does and she is terrified. As Lauren does her best to help her mom, the tensions over the Artificial Intelligence erupt between them, leaving Lauren on her own. Broke, down on her luck, and needing a job very badly, Lauren turns to her friends for aid, all the while keeping her mom’s discovery a secret.”

And here are the usual links:


And don’t forget that the series page can be found at https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08MTGCS49; and you can just change the “dot com” part of the url with your specific top-level domain. In Spain, changing the “dot com” to “dot es” means that the series can be found at https://www.amazon.es/dp/B08MTGCS49. See? Easy!
Teaser image featuring an angry Lauren Greene from Wolf's Head announcing the release of issue 2

Wolf's Head Issue 1 on Kindle


Teaser image for Wolf's Head issue 1 on Kindle

I’m so pleased to announce this! WOLF’S HEAD is a new ongoing comic book series by yours truly (ahem, that Von Allan guy from the Great White North) and is now available on all Kindle devices as well as ComiXology. This, for me, is a pretty big deal and I’m so happy to be able to share this series with you.

Let’s get that pesky Elevator Pitch out of the way. Here goes: “Lauren Greene is a young woman who has quit her job as a police officer in Metro Detroit after becoming frustrated with growing police violence. She is slowly becoming more aware of the injustices around her; the divide between rich and poor, racism, lack of opportunity for many people, health and illness bankrupting and destroying people, and more. At the same time, and unbeknownst to Lauren, a secretive corporation has created an artificial intelligence (AI) designed for war. An AI that might actually change the world… but not for the better. Struggling to find work in a tough economy and unsure of what to do with her life, Lauren suddenly has a new problem: her mom, Patty, has found and connected with the newly born AI. And, partially due to that connection, the AI has become empathic and humane, much to the frustration of the corporate executives and scientists who created it. After Patty helps the young AI escape under the cover of a huge research factory fire, she turns to her daughter for help keeping it safe. Giddy with excitement, Patty doesn’t recognize the danger she has put herself in… but Lauren does and she is terrified. Her fear is realized when the two women are confronted by corporate forces who want to stifle knowledge of the AI and keep it for themselves.”

One of the things I love about writing and illustrating a series like this is that it takes place in our real world and also uses real time. Let’s talk about the real world first. One of my favourite quotes about this is by Frank Houston in a piece he wrote on Salon.com back in 1999. Discussing Stan Lee and the rise of Marvel Comics, he noted, “New York City was where the superheroes lived. It was one of those childhood truths, a Big Apple bustling with vibrantly costumed superhumans. Spider-Man lived in Queens, the Fantastic Four in Midtown and Doctor Strange down on Bleecker Street. It was important that Lee’s heroes lived in the real world, and not in Gotham City or Metropolis, because they were real people.” (my emphasis added). That’s it. One of the conceits of WOLF’S HEAD is that Lauren’s adventures and situations are taking place in our oh-so-real world. That’s part of the fun!

Real time is just as easy. The dates that events occur matter. Lauren’s adventures don’t take place in some form of stasis. Far from it! Her stories take place in real time. As a result, time moves and characters age. This is an idea that I think was first seen in Frank King’s GASOLINE ALLEY, but is certainly not unique to it. It is rare in other comics, but certainly not unusual. Frankly, I love using real time because I believe it immediately grounds the stories in change. And change, I’d argue, is what it’s all about.

Lauren is going to change during the course of the series. And not just Lauren, either. The characters around her, too. All of ‘em! Is it challenging to do this? Sure. I think, though, that it really helps cement that notion of realism that I’m looking for. Change happens in our real lives and it will happen to the characters in WOLF’S HEAD. Some of that change may be hard at times, but that’s a part of change, too.

What about this whole artificial intelligence “thing,” anyway? Why use a fairly common trope? Well, the answer to this is a bit tricky to explain. I’m sick and tired of reading story after story about an evil AI that becomes self-aware and then proceeds — damn the consequences! — to murder every single human being on the planet. While these types of stories can be fun (hell, I’m a big fan of THE TERMINATOR and TERMINATOR 2: JUDGMENT DAY), they’ve become quite repetitive. I wanted to invert the trope and, by doing that, play with it. And remember what I just said about stories set in our real world and featuring real time? That also implies real change. In other words, how the AI changes and grows is a big part of the plot of WOLF’S HEAD. I’m hoping you’ll find this as delightful as I do.

Lastly, why is it called “WOLF’S HEAD” anyway? Some of this will be revealed in time, but here’s a sneaky little hint from Wikipedia: “Caput lupinum. The term literally means ‘wolf’s head’ or ‘wolfish head’ and refers to a person considered to be an outlaw, as in, e.g., the phrase caput gerat lupinum (‘may he wear a wolfish head’ / ‘may his be a wolf’s head’).”

I hope you give the series a shot. As the series proceeds, I’m hoping to collect them into lovely hardcover editions (update: that’s happened!). There’s a great deal of fun, adventure, drama, and action to come! It’s going to be a great ride. Join me, won’t you?

Here are all of the key links:


And don’t forget that the series page can be found at https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08MTGCS49; and you can just change the “dot com” part of the url with your specific top-level domain. In Spain, changing the “dot com” to “dot es” means that the series can be found at https://www.amazon.es/dp/B08MTGCS49. See? Easy!
Teaser image featuring Lauren Greene from Wolf's Head announcing the release of the series
A fun little teaser announcing the next issue of WOLF'S HEAD

Wolf's Head Launches Today on Kindle


Teaser image featuring Lauren Greene, her mom Patty Greene, and their dog Sanko from Wolf's HeadI'm very pleased to announced that the digital comic book version of WOLF’S HEAD has now launched on Kindle. The link to the first issue is at https://www.amazon.com/dp/B089V1DVY7

I should add that Kindle has received and approved issues 2 through 10, so I expect that subsequent issues will be released regularly. The link to the series is at https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08MTGCS49

What's it about? WOLF’S HEAD is the story of Lauren Greene, a young woman who quits her job as a police officer in Detroit and consequently struggles to pick up the pieces and find her place in society. After her mom makes an astounding discovery at a research facility, Lauren must fight for their lives against forces that will stop at nothing to stop them. I think the series is a great deal of fun and also contains the best writing and comic book art I've ever created.

The print editions of WOLF’S HEAD have been making their way to bookstores and comic book shops (both online and off) for awhile now, but this is the first time that WOLF’S HEAD will be available in a digital version. For those who don't know, each volume of the print version contains two issues (making each volume approximately 60 pages in length). The digital version is a single issue and that means the page count for each digital issue is approximately 25 to 30 pages in length.

There's a dedicated website for the series at https://wolfs-head.vonallan.com/. This site includes previews, frequently asked questions, a complete media kit, links to the print editions, and more! https://wolfs-head.vonallan.com/ will also be updated in the near future with Kindle links to each issue, too.

I think that covers it! I'm very pleased to have WOLF’S HEAD out in this format. It's going to be a great deal of fun to have the series roll out on Kindle. Come with me, won't you?

Short Story - The Street


I was recently going through some older stories and came across this one from back around 2015. While I would approach a few things differently now (both in terms of writing and art), it dawned on me that I never coloured it. And since I had a bit of a spare time, I decided to do so!

With that out of the way, here we go!

Page 1 of short comics story The Street by Von Allan

Page 2 of short comics story The Street by Von Allan

Page 3 of short comics story The Street by Von Allan

Page 4 of short comics story The Street by Von Allan

Page 5 of short comics story The Street by Von Allan

Page 6 of short comics story The Street by Von Allan

Page 7 of short comics story The Street by Von Allan

Page 8 of short comics story The Street by Von Allan


This story first saw print in the comic book titled STORIES! 2015 TO 2019 back in 2019. Unfortunately, the print edition is out of print (though you might be able to find a copy using Bookfinder). But! This story — as well as a boatload of others — were collected into a beautiful hardcover edition titled LOVE, LAUGHTER, AND LOSS: A COMICS COLLECTION. More information about that edition can be found right here.

In addition, there is also a digital comic book version of STORIES! 2015 TO 2019 on Kindle that can be read anywhere in the world. That edition is available at https://www.amazon.com/dp/B089QX5LJC.

For more of my comic short stories, please visit my archive of comic books and webcomics.

Wolf's Head by Von Allan

Link to Von Allan's Wolf's Head comic book series

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