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Showing posts with label comics. Show all posts
Showing posts with label comics. Show all posts

Free Comics (Or Welcome To Pirate Von!)

The Pirate Von Bill the Wizard logo by Von Allan

Some of the more observant among you might have noticed a small change on this ol’ site. What is it? Well, for those of you visiting Von Allan Studio on a desktop or laptop computer, you might have spotted a new area of the website called “Pirate Von.” What the heck is that? Well, as much as I’ve given away many of my comics in the past, these have almost always been in the form of webcomics. You can easily find them on this site, but not all collated in the same place. The Pirate Von section corrects that! And it corrects it with gusto, because I’ve enabled easy reading in .cbz format, as well as a few other formats, too.

In conjunction with the Internet Archive, I’ve uploaded my comics to their site. One of the really lovely things about doing so is that it allows for automatic converting into various additional formats. PDF is the big one; creating PDFs on my end can be a smidgen fussy. While I’d like to present more options in that format directly created by me, the reality is that it’s fussy enough to be an obstacle to doing so (as the saying goes, there’s only so much time in the day). If you really like PDF, then the Internet Archive has you covered. Personally, I prefer .cbz, but there is definitely not a right answer for these “format wars.” Just the right answer for you, and that’s what the Internet Archive provides in spades.

Right now three of my collections1 have been uploaded and are ready to go. You can go to the “Pirate Von” subsection and find all the links, or just visit the Internet Archive (right here) and download directly in the format you choose. The Internet Archive also provides torrenting options, so there are not only multiple format options but also multiple download options, too.

What prompted this move? Well, a number of things. First and foremost, Amazon’s decision to absolutely destroy ComiXology was a big one. I won’t bore you with the details, but suffice to say that while ComiXology was never particularly indy-friendly (in my not so humble opinion), incorporating (engulfing?!) ComiXology into the Kindle platform made independent comics basically disappear. In my own experience, even trying to search for my own comics on Amazon was an exercise in futility; you had to have the exact title as well as the exact name of the indy creator(s) to really turn anything up. I gave it the old college try, but enough was enough. I’ve already discontinued sales of the three “Pirate Von” titles that I had “over there.” You can now have them for free. And for those who did spend some hard earned money on my work, then you still have them. My decision to discontinue those titles on Amazon does not in any way, shape, or form effect those purchases. And hell, you can even download those free versions for even more reading options, too.

What about WOLF’S HEAD? Well, having just finished the script for issue 19 (!), my plan is to start rolling the series over to the “Pirate Von” section, too. And discontinuing them on Amazon, as I discussed above. That process will be starting in the near future, so watch the “Pirate Von” section for that roll-out. And when they become available for free, I’ll be discontinuing them over on Amazon, too.

Are there any drawbacks to losing Amazon? Well, the only one is the panel-by-panel view. However, that’s a small loss. Why? First, because creating the panel-by-panel version — something that ComiXology used to do for free, I might add — added far more work for me. Uncompensated work, I might add. And it was pretty fussy work, with very little ability to get any feedback from Amazon directly about any potential questions or even resolutions to pesky problems. The latter point was particularly annoying. I uploaded the last issue of WOLF’S HEAD, issue 18, in October. Someone complained about some issue with the panel-by-panel view and I received an automatic email from Amazon detailing that. I responded, made some tweaks, and waited to hear back from them. I have been waiting to hear back ever since! What… the… hell?! Three months just to determine if the problems have been resolved to their satisfaction? Screw that.

And honestly, you don’t need the panel-by-panel view. Why? Because there are free apps that will do it for you. For example, Fabio Bezzi’s Comic Trim app creates the panel-by-panel view automatically. I bought his app and I find that it works extremely well. It is ideal for reading comics on a cell phone, webtoon-style.

Lastly, for those of you who worry that giving away my comics hurts me, by eliminating a method of financial support, don’t. First, print copies of my work are out there and easy to find. Yup, even on Amazon. Alternatively, if you want to toss a few dollars my way, you can easily use PayPal to do that (I’m at PayPal.Me/vonallan).

And while folks buying my work means a great deal to me, sharing the love is always important. If you like my work, then sharing my comics has just become so much easier. Just download them and send them to whoever you’d like. Or pass them the “Pirate Von” link (https://www.vonallan.com/p/pirate-von.html) and they can download my comics in whatever format they want to. Easy peasy lemon squeezy.

So that’s that. Free comics, no restrictions. Period. Anywhere in the world. Download ‘em, read ‘em, share ‘em.

If anything, I have one regret: I should have done this a long time ago.

1 These include WIZARDS FOR HIRE — CHEAP!, STORIES! 2015 TO 2019, and SHEBA THE GREAT!

Another Quick Perspective Sketch

I posted about doing this a few months back, but I had some free time so I did another one recently. And it was so much fun that I thought I’d work it right up to colours, but this time doing so with watercolour!

My goal is always the same: just how fast can I rough out a perspective drawing? And especially: how loose can I keep it while having “enough” drawing to be able to ink it? It can be a bit tricky, but the goal is speed, relative accuracy, and fun. Never underestimate fun!

To avoid getting too fussy with details, I do these sketches with ink, using Zebra and Tombow brush pens as well as Paper Mate Flair Fineliners. If I make a mistake, I can fix it when I actually properly ink the piece, not at this stage. In other words, if mistakes are made, I live with ‘em. Who cares?

As many know, I generally ink digitally now, but that’s not always the case and I do “bounce around” between traditional inking and digital inking. For this piece, I went digital to speed things up. I avoid any “tight” pencils or anything like that; I just scan the sketch in, set it up in Manga Studio EX 4 (yup, I still use it!), and away I go to inking.

With this piece, I thought it would be fun to throw some colour in there, too.

I didn’t keep track of total time, but it wasn’t long, which is the whole point and goal. Zip, zip, zip!

Quick Perspective Sketch with Tombow and Zebra Brush Pens by Von Allan
Quick Perspective Sketch with digital inks by Von Allan
Quick Perspective Sketch with watercolour by Von Allan

Oh! If you’ve reached this far, don’t forget: I’m starting to put out free digital copies of my comics. Head on over to my “Pirate Von” section and take a peek! It’s at https://www.vonallan.com/p/pirate-von.html.

The Impossibles (Story Fragment)

A few years ago I submitted the following pages along with a story proposal (titled “The Impossibles” to a publisher of some renown, but the pitch was sadly rejected. I sat on it for a bit, but I liked it enough that I wound up re-purposing a good chunk the story proposal for what would eventually become my ongoing comic book series “Wolf’s Head.”

While I was prepping for a recent art/craft show, I came across the pages and thought they’d be fun to post here. Sadly it’s not a complete story and ends on a bit of a cliffhanger, but if you don’t mind that you might get a kick out of it. And who knows… maybe one day I’ll revisit “The Impossibles” again. One thing I’ve learned with art: never say never!

Oh! Some of you might recognize page 1. What I just said about re-purposing story and art? Well, I took that page and used a tweaked version of it for the cover of my short story collection “Stories! 2015 to 2019” which you can read for free right here.

Have fun!

The Impossible Cover Page by Von Allan
The Impossible Page One by Von Allan
The Impossible Page Two by Von Allan
The Impossible Page Three by Von Allan

Pssst! Click on the image to make it bigger!
The Impossible Pages Four and Five by Von Allan

Christmas Craft Sale 2023 in Ottawa

As has become a bit of an annual tradition, I’ll be one of the exhibitors at the upcoming Vanier Artisans Christmas Craft Sale on Sunday, November 26th. This has been a really fun event in the past and the organizers (led by the amazing Charlotte Taylor) create a really great atmosphere. And the mix of artists is really neat; comics will be represented by yours truly, but there will be a wide diversity of artists and artistic practices at the show. Crafts, clothing, food, art, you name it!

One of the things I enjoy the most is the spirit of solidarity that everyone shares. In some events I’ve done in the past, that spirit has been sorely lacking. It’s hard to put into words, but I’ve certainly experienced a hostile competitive attitude in some of these other events. It’s a shame, because I strongly believe that we’re all in it together and that competition between artists should not be an element of any art show.

I was tasked to come up with a poster for this year’s event. This time I wanted to do something with Santa Claus, mainly because I don’t think I’ve ever drawn the big guy before. The problem with that is that Santa is so iconic it can be hard to “shake” other influences when approaching a design. I did what I could in that regard and came up with something that hopefully captures the ol’ elf in all his glory. With a little bit of wonder thrown in, too. I also included the final pencils ‘cuz I know that some folks like seeing the “process” from pencils to the final piece. It was a great deal of fun to do, too. And it all came together pretty quickly; literally I went from not having any firm ideas — save for the notion of including Santa — to getting in an image in my mind’s eye. That image held through right to the final colours and poster design.

The show will be at the Vanier Community Service Centre (270 Marier Avenue, Ottawa, ON K1L 7H8). And I’ll have not only comics and graphic novels (including WOLF’S HEAD!), but various art prints, cards, and whatnot, too! If you’re in town, why not drop by? It really is a lovely event!

Vanier Artisans 2023 Christmas Craft Sale Poster by Von Allan

Pencil version of the Vanier Artisans 2023 Christmas Craft Sale Poster by Von Allan

Wolf's Head Issue 18 on Kindle

Panel examples from Wolf's Head 18

I’ve pleased to announce that WOLF’S HEAD 18 is now available worldwide on Amazon’s Kindle platform. Now, if you’re asking yourself if this issue was later than normal, you would be right! The last number of months have been difficult to say the least and a lot of things went on the backburner. The big one was, of course, the death of my oldest friend Dave. In fact, this issue is dedicated to him. He had read quite a bit of WOLF’S HEAD and really enjoyed it. It was actually harder than I thought it would be to complete this issue, mainly because I know that he isn’t around to read it. So it goes and all that, but I’d be lying if I said that I wasn’t thinking of him quite a bit while I was working away on this issue.

There have been a number of other events that compounded with Dave’s death to really slow things down. That said, things are back on track now and I’m very pleased to get back to WOLF’S HEAD, a series that I adore. One of the things that I love about serialized storytelling (as opposed to working on a “beginning-middle-end” stand-alone graphic novel) is that the story takes one in unexpected directions. Back when I was working on the early issues of the series, I never thought that Lauren, SankĊ, and their friend the AI would have some of the adventures they’ve wound up having. That some of these events have surprised even me is pretty cool. I think (well, hope, anyway!) that this helps keep you (dear reader!) a little unsure of where things are going, too. That really is part of the fun of doing a series, regardless of its form. Back when I was working on those early issues, did I ever expect Lauren to be in Alaska and have the adventures she had there? Nope! Did I know about her road trip back down south, with her wonderful VW van and all of the rest? Nope! Did I know about the characters she’d meet along the way? Chuck Freight, Foolbert Bong, Fang Ting Him, Maggie Vraic, and all the rest? Nope! And did I know that Richard Blairstone, a bit of a “throwaway flunky” back in those early issues, would become the “heavy” he has? Nope!

Finding joy and being surprised in unexpected turns of events is amazing! It really is! I hope you find that, too, and with that in mind I’ll ask you this: if you enjoy WOLF’S HEAD, if you love it, please help spread the word about it. Review it! Tell your friends and family about it! Talk it up! Write me a letter telling me what you love and — gulp! — what you don’t! If you’re receiving this update via email as a subscriber, forward that to people you think might like the series and my work. Partner with me and help get the word out!

Folks, don’t forget this very handy tip: if you are shopping from somewhere other than the United States, simply replace the amazon.com part of that link with your preferred domain. For example, in Germany the “dot com” becomes “dot de” — therefore, the series can be found at https://www.amazon.de/dp/B08MTGCS49. Nice and easy, eh?!

Before I forget, here’s the trailer I did for the first hardcover edition of the series, collecting the first six issues. This book is beautiful to hold and early reviews have been very positive! This one, for example! There are many ways to engage with the series, but there’s something about holding the physical book in your hands that is pretty special.

Ottawa’s Digital Arts Resource Centre and Comics Creator Von Allan team up for an Exhibition

Photo of the Von Allan display at DARC

Von Allan, an Ottawa-based cartoonist and comics creator, will be exhibiting artwork from his ongoing comic book and graphic novel series ‘Wolf’s Head’ at the Digital Arts Resource Centre (DARC) in Ottawa’s historic Arts Court building. The exhibit will run from September 22nd through to October 20th and will take advantage of DARC’s 2.13m (7ft) LED display. Rather than being a static display of artwork from ‘Wolf’s Head’, the artwork presented at the exhibition will be animated, transforming ‘Wolf’s Head’ into a unique and altogether different format that readers of the series have never experienced before.

“Presenting artwork from the ‘Wolf’s Head’ for the LED exhibit was a wonderful opportunity to experiment and play with artwork from the series,” said Allan. “It gave me a chance to not only animate some of the characters and sequences from the story, but also to recombine my art in a way that is very different than its original presentation in graphic novel form. That part was exciting, but also a challenge: could I reconstruct disparate elements from the story, present it to viewers of the LED display, and still create a narrative flow? That took some thinking and experimenting, but I’m really pleased with the result. I think it will give viewers a chance to see my comics in a unique way. The LED display is different than the ‘normal’ experience of reading comics and I think the reaction of passersby will be fascinating to see. And, of course, the sheer size of the LED display is a big part of the whole experience; no one, including me, has ever seen my art presented that big.”

Wolf’s Head’ features Lauren Greene, a young woman who quits her job as a police officer in Metro Detroit after becoming frustrated with growing police violence. At the same time as Lauren is quitting, a secretive corporation across town has managed to create a seemingly perfect AI for war and profit; however, before the corporation can use the AI, Lauren’s mother, Patty, a janitor at the corporation accidentally finds it. Patty is literally the kindest person the new lifeform has ever met and, as a result, it bonds to her, rejects its purpose and creators, and orchestrates a huge accident to cover an escape. Patty, overwhelmed, asks her daughter Lauren for help. Despite being broke and a bit lost herself, Lauren agrees to help; two humans, an AI, and a dog versus a warmongering corporation.

“One truly unique aspect of the exhibit is that it’s presented without sound,” added Allan. “And so I had to be sure that all of my artwork and storytelling could be followed without sound. In a way, adapting my art to the digital format felt like a bit like it must’ve felt for artists adapting work for the old Silent Film Era. As part of that adaptation, I also got to experiment with the use of intertitles to help connect various aspects of the narrative. In a way, I’m familiar with the idea of intertitles; comics and graphic novels often use words to do exactly this when it comes to panel and scene transitions. But, doing it for the LED exhibit meant that I had to be careful about the number of words used and the amount of time each sentence would show on the screen. The project was a really fun challenge and I’m thrilled to be able to see it on display.”

Von Allan's Wolf's Head Logomark

About Von Allan: Von Allan was born red-headed and freckled in Arnprior, Ontario, just in time for “Star Wars: A New Hope.” The single child of two loving but troubled parents, Von split his childhood between their two homes. Additional information about Von Allan can be found at https://www.vonallan.com/.

Von was featured in “I Am Still Your Child,” a documentary film (http://iamstillyourchild.com/); was the recipient of the Corel Endowment Fund for the Arts Award in 2014 and the CBC Trailblazer Award in 2019; and was a finalist for the 2020 Peter Honeywell Mid-Career Artist Award. Von also received two separate rounds of grant funding for ‘Wolf’s Head’ from the City of Ottawa (a $4,000.00 grant in 2020 along with an additional $4,000.00 grant in 2022, both in the Literary Arts — English category).

Digital Arts Resource Centre (DARC) logomark

About Digital Arts Resource Centre (DARC): Digital Arts Resource Centre (formerly SAW Video) is a not-for-profit, artist-run media art centre that fosters the growth and development of artists through access to equipment, training, mentorship, and programming. Our mission is to support a diverse community of media artists empowered by technology, programming, and the exchange of ideas.

Our core principles are independence of expression, affordable access to all, and paying artists for their work. Digital Arts Resource Centre values diversity and actively promotes equity for all artists regardless of race, age, class, gender, sexual orientation, language, or ability.

The Digital Arts Resource Centre is located at 67 Nicholas Street. Additional information about DARC can be found at https://digitalartsresourcecentre.ca/.

Cover of ‘Wolf’s Head’ Book 1 in hardcover:

Cover of the hardcover of Wolf's Head Book One graphic novel by Von Allan

Halloween-Themed Craft Sale in Ottawa

I was tasked by the ever-wonderful Charlotte Taylor to design the latest poster for the upcoming Emond Park Craft Sale here in Ottawa, Ontario. Charlotte has been shepherding this event for a number of years now and it's always a great deal of fun to participate! And it's extra fun to do the poster art, too! This time the event will have a Halloween tone and I wanted to make sure that theme came across in the poster design! As an added bonus, I also included a quick photograph of the raw pencils and final inks. I don't always work this way, but when I do it does give me a chance to share this art process with you folks. Well, to some extent, at least!

The details of the event are on the poster, but it'll be on Sunday, October 1st from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm. Emond Park is in the heart of Vanier, a neighbourhood of Ottawa, and is very easy to find.

The Facebook page for the event just went up, so local folks (and not so local folks) can find additional details at https://www.facebook.com/events/867926031418097. It should be a lot of fun!

Poster illustration and design by Von Allan for the Halloween-themed Emond Park Craft Sale event in Ottawa, Ontario

Pencils and Inks comparison by Von Allan for the Halloween-themed Emond Park Craft Sale event in Ottawa, Ontario

Interview with Barney Smith of StoryComic fame

Barney Smith of the fantastic StoryComic site (https://www.storycomic.com/) was nice enough to have me on his show! And unlike some other radio/podcast shows, this was actually done live in front of the camera! Video! Shocking!

What is truly amazing to me is that Barney has now done 289 (!) episodes of his show. That’s 289 interviews of all kinds of writers and artists, many working in comics but certainly not everyone, and he does it with humour and grace along with a boatload of great questions, too. And since he’s based in Vermont, he’s also done a special subset of episodes that deal with creative folks that live in that state (I think about 42 episodes in that category). That is one hell of a lot of work and, as I noted to Barney, I’m not sure how he does it. A love of the medium certainly helps and he has that in spades, but still… I get tired just thinking about how I’d handle that many interviews, especially given all of the research and energy that goes into it.

And, of course, The Center for Cartoon Studies is based in White River Junction, Vermont. That’s important because the school, as they note on their website, “centers on the creation and dissemination of comics, graphic novels and other manifestations of the visual narrative” as is one of the few that do that sort of thing in North America. See? How cool is that?!

So, what do we chat about? Well, not only my background in art and comics, but also how I approach telling the stories I do. We’re talking art here (and by art I mean “art” that’s very broadly defined). In other words, there are no right and wrong answers to how one makes art. There are just tools and different approaches and a great deal of learning. Whew, boy, the learning truly never stops and that’s one of the joy (and, okay, one of the occasional pains) about art. I was delighted that Barney was interested in talking about this, mainly because I think it’s one of those things that can kinda get glossed over. In other words, how one (as a creator) thinks about and approaches the story they are trying to tell is very important. It’s very easy to confuse or otherwise lose the reader and, at least for my own work, I rarely want to do it and never want to do it by accident (for those interested, one of my most abstract stories is this older one, that really needs to be read at least twice to really “grok” what it’s about).

And, of course, we take a pretty deep dive into WOLF’S HEAD, my ongoing comics series, too. (and pssst! Don’t forget to check out the new snazzy trailer for it, too!)

Okay! With that out of the way, here is the interview itself from YouTube (and if this doesn’t play for you, you can jump directly to the interview on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7P-TMAfNxMY). Alternatively, there’s also a terrific podcast version that you can listen to — or even download the .mp3. That’s on PodBean at https://storycomic.podbean.com/e/episode-289-wolf-s-head-when-an-ai-baby-teams-up-with-an-ex-cop-von-allan-exclusive-interview/

I hope you enjoy it! And many thanks to Barney for having me on to talk about a medium I love so much!

Wolf’s Head Issue 18 Page 1 Process

I thought it would be fun to share some of the ol’ “process” behind a recent page from WOLF’S HEAD. In this case, it’s the first page to issue 18. And hey, 18 issues in for an indy comic book series is not too shabby, folks.

This page features Lauren Greene and Super Bob Sanchez chit-chatting in a diner in Alberta. The page also builds off of issue 17 and the various struggles that Lauren is currently going through. While I don’t think there’s any “right” or “correct” way of starting a comic, I’ve long been partial to opening with a splash page to get things going. This is especially useful here because the preceding panel in the previous issue was actually very small. So if one is reading these issues in sequential order, it should be fun to leave off last ish with a tiny panel and then start this one with a biggie.

I’ll start with the final coloured and lettered page and we can work backwards to the initial layouts. Oh, one important caveat: while some pages take a bit of visual brainstorming, in this case I knew exactly where I was going (building from last issue, right?) so I didn’t need to do that. That’s often not the case and many pages take a bit of thumbnailing (usually tiny thumbnails) to work out mentally how I want to approach a page. This is often especially true for covers; considerations of logos and whatnot influence how the page might look. In other words, sketching and “mucking about with page design” is a tried and true way to go.

WOLF'S HEAD issue 18 Page 1 Final Page illustrated by Von Allan

Next are the final inks, including screen tones (or, if you will, Ben Day dots or what I long called “zipatones”). Generally I do not include the lettering in the final inks (well, at least for colour work) and that is reflected here. Inking is one of my favourite things to do and this page was a blast to work on!

WOLF'S HEAD issue 18 Page 1 Final Inks illustrated by Von Allan

Next up are the final tight pencils. There is a bit of visual cheating going on here. I actually rarely rough out a page like this as one individual unit. Rather, I actually do various pencil sketches (and sometimes even inked sketches) on different sheets of paper, scanning them into my computer and finalizing the pencil layout that way. I like that approach, mainly because it allows me to isolate various parts of the illustration and work on that. In this case, the diner is a good example: isolating the perspective drawing from the figure drawing allowed me to play around with some ideas, something a bit harder to do if everything was on one sheet of Bristol board.

WOLF'S HEAD issue 18 Page 1 Tight Pencils illustrated by Von Allan

The next two illustrations showcase more of what I mean. First is the tighter pencilled perspective sketch of the diner and that’s followed by the very loose sketch (this time with my trusty Tombow brush pen) as I loosely laid down some ideas. These actually follow part of the same process I described here, but in this case I did do a round of tighter pencils rather than just go into final inks because I needed to be sure of a few different things. The trade-off is time, but I felt it was worth it in this case.

WOLF'S HEAD issue 18 Page 1 Tight Background Pencils illustrated by Von Allan

WOLF'S HEAD issue 18 Page 1 Loose Background Pencils illustrated by Von Allan

Not included here are the separate figure sketches. I generally do loose little gestures, often in ink, and then scan, check, print out, and tighten into final pencils. You can see the final result in that first sketch above.

Some pages are slow, some go surprisingly quick, and this one was somewhere in the middle. It was a lot of fun to do and hopefully starts off issue 18 in an engaging, intriguing, and beautiful way.

What? Free Comics by Von Allan? Yes!

UPDATE! While the Amazon deal described below has expired, I have decided to start making my comics freely available to all. Please visit https://www.vonallan.com/p/pirate-von.html for more information and download links!

For a limited time, eight of my comics formatted for Amazon’s Kindle are available for free! These are free anywhere in the world (well, at least those places that have access to Kindle). If you have been on the fence of trying my comics, this is a great way to give them a try. And, if you know people who might like my comics but have never tried them, please pass this along. Sharing is caring and all that and, of course, one can’t beat free.

The titles in question are as follows:


STORIES! 2015 TO 2019

And the first six issues of my ongoing series WOLF’S HEAD. Oh, and please do not forget this: since the first six issues are available for free, buying the entire series in digital format (17 issues!) is now about $12.00 US cheaper than normal. In addition to that, these first six issues also make up the first collected hardcover volume, so if you’d like to try the series out but felt that the hardcover was too pricey, this is a great to “dip a toe in the water.”

I’ll put the links to both Amazon.com and Amazon.ca below. For those of you visiting from other parts of the world, please note that all you need to do is replace the “dot com” or “dot ca” with your own regional domain and you’ll be taken to that Amazon site. For example, if you are in Spain and use Amazon.es, all you need to do is replace the “dot com” part of the link (for example, my author page at https://www.amazon.com/Von-Allan/e/B002BM77EM/) with “dot es” (https://www.amazon.es/Von-Allan/e/B002BM77EM/). And voila! There’s my author page for Amazon Spain!

With that out of the way, here we go!


WIZARDS FOR HIRE — CHEAP! — https://www.amazon.com/dp/B089QXBYY9

STORIES! 2015 TO 2019 — https://www.amazon.com/dp/B089QX5LJC

WOLF’S HEAD Issue 1 — https://www.amazon.com/dp/B089V1DVY7

WOLF’S HEAD Issue 2 — https://www.amazon.com/dp/B089V7356R

WOLF’S HEAD Issue 3 — https://www.amazon.com/dp/B089VJYMT2

WOLF’S HEAD Issue 4 — https://www.amazon.com/dp/B089X8Q7WN

WOLF’S HEAD Issue 5 — https://www.amazon.com/dp/B089XFBPFL

WOLF’S HEAD Issue 6 — https://www.amazon.com/dp/B089XSTJKC

WOLF’S HEAD Entire Series (Issues 1 through 17, with issues 1 through 6 free) — https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08MTGCS49

Amazon.ca (Canada)

WIZARDS FOR HIRE — CHEAP! — https://www.amazon.ca/dp/B089QXBYY9

STORIES! 2015 TO 2019 — https://www.amazon.ca/dp/B089QX5LJC

WOLF’S HEAD Issue 1 — https://www.amazon.ca/dp/B089V1DVY7

WOLF’S HEAD Issue 2 — https://www.amazon.ca/dp/B089V7356R

WOLF’S HEAD Issue 3 — https://www.amazon.ca/dp/B089VJYMT2

WOLF’S HEAD Issue 4 — https://www.amazon.ca/dp/B089X8Q7WN

WOLF’S HEAD Issue 5 — https://www.amazon.ca/dp/B089XFBPFL

WOLF’S HEAD Issue 6 — https://www.amazon.ca/dp/B089XSTJKC

WOLF’S HEAD Entire Series (Issues 1 through 17, with issues 1 through 6 free) — https://www.amazon.ca/dp/B08MTGCS49

Teaser Images

Here are some teaser images for all eight comics!
Teaser image for Wizards for Hire - Cheap! written and illustrated by Von Allan
Teaser image for Stories! 2015 to 2019 written and illustrated by Von Allan
Teaser image for the first digital edition of WOLF'S HEAD issue 1 written and illustrated by Von Allan
Teaser image for the digital edition of WOLF'S HEAD issue 2 written and illustrated by Von Allan
Teaser image for the digital edition of WOLF'S HEAD issue 3 written and illustrated by Von Allan
Teaser image for the digital edition of WOLF'S HEAD issue 4 written and illustrated by Von Allan
Teaser image for the digital edition of WOLF'S HEAD issue 5 written and illustrated by Von Allan
Teaser image for the digital edition of WOLF'S HEAD issue 6 written and illustrated by Von Allan

Short Story – Sheba the Great!

Well, this is an unexpected treat! A treat so unexpected that I’m going to take a moment to explain it first.

I first wrote the following short story, titled “Sheba the Great!” back in 2004. Almost twenty years ago… the mind kinda boggles at that. Anyway, at the time — and as I’ve discussed in the past — my drawing skills were not that strong. As a result, I wound up deciding to not draw the story. Instead, I shelved the story and moved on to other projects. Fast forward to the spring of 2015. My drawing skills had really improved and, looking around for something to draw, I stumbled across my old short story from, at that point, a decade before. So I did! It was a fun project and turned out really well. I didn’t colour it, but I did pencil and ink it.

And then something kinda goofy happened. I was in the process of working on a number of short stories (you can see some of those here) and once I finished “Sheba,” I moved on to other things. Shortly after that, I wound up having a pretty spectacular computer crash. Now, I back up everything regularly and I try to keep some of my key art files off-site, too. When I restored everything, “Sheba” had disappeared! I remember being extremely frustrated, but I was faced with a quandary. “Sheba” was seventeen pages long. Did I really feel like re-drawing and re-inking the entire thing? I decided that the answer was a pretty firm “No.” Part of that was my frustration, of course, but I also really didn’t feel like going backwards and re-working something I had felt that I already completed. Moving on felt right. And so I did.

Since the past year was pretty chaotic (to say the least) and as the holiday season was approaching, I wound up going through a couple of old hardrives that I had thought had “given up the ghost.” I was able to partially get into one of them and (drum roll please!), I discovered that I did have a copy of “Sheba” after all! What a pleasant surprise!

Looking over my art and storytelling, I felt that the story and my approach to it held up pretty well, all things considered. I wound up having some spare time over the holidays, though, that gave me the perfect opportunity to finally complete it. I spent a little bit of time tweaking a few things here and there (‘cuz, you know, one never stops growing with art). And, of course, it had never been coloured so I needed to do that from scratch. Plus lettering the whole thing, too. I was able finish the entire thing just before New Year’s Eve. That just left it for my erstwhile editor to give the story a final pass and the official “go ahead.” That has now been done. And so, here we are!

“Sheba the Great!” is a light-hearted sci-fi comedy that was a great deal of fun to write and a blast to draw. And it’s probably the oddest story I’ve ever presented you, dear reader. Written in 2004, drawn in 2015, tweaked in late 2022, and finally coloured, lettered, and edited also in late 2022. In other words, different aspects of me, working together across time. Kinda weird, but kinda wonderful!

“Sheba” also wears its influences on its sleeves. In a way, “Sheba” is a love letter to certain stories that I grew up. It’s the best way I have to say thank you to creators like Pedro Henry, Steve Dillon, Harry Harrison, and so on.

I really hope you enjoy it!

Update! I’m very pleased that people are having fun with this story! To thank everyone and to give a bit of content back to the greater comics community, I’m releasing the story as a free download in .cbz format. Actually, I’m doing it in two versions: a low-resolution version and a high-resolution version and both are available through Dropbox. The low-resolution version is here and is about 20 megs in size. The high-resolution version is here and is about 75 megs in size. Oh, once you have downloaded either version, you’ll need a .cbz reader to actually read it. If you don’t have one, Wikipedia has some suggestions right here. As always, please be careful downloading anything that you’re not sure about. Please do your own research to find the one that best fits your needs.

Page 1 of the short comic book story 'Sheba the Great' written and illustrated by Von Allan

Page 2 of the short comic book story 'Sheba the Great' written and illustrated by Von Allan

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So, there you have it! I hope you enjoyed reading it as much as I did writing and illustrating it! And don’t forget to visit the rest of my archives. There are a number of other short stories that you can read for free right here. And my long-form comics project, “Wolf’s Head,” will also be debuting as an ongoing webcomic very soon! If you’d like to keep up to date with all of my art and comics, you can sign up for my mailing list. Thanks!

Von Allan Studio's Graphic Novels for the Holiday Season

With the holidays just around the corner, I thought I'd take a moment and summarize my two hardcover graphic novels that were recently published. Why? Well, I think that they both are perfect gifts for the holiday season! I'm very proud of both of them. I think they both are the best representations of my art and writing that have ever seen print. Both books are beautiful and I'm extremely pleased with how they both turned out.

Both hardcover graphic novels are available pretty much everywhere in the world. One of the remarkable things that the internet has brought us all is the relatively easy way to find and buy books. I still remember, back in my bookstore days, how tricky it was to actually books. And if one goes back any further, prior to the internet, finding specific titles, especially indy books from indy authors, was extremely difficult. One would have to search local stores, reach out to fellow fans in other towns and cities, and even write to stores in other countries to track down a title. Now? It is so much easier. It really is a remarkable change. For an independent comics creator like me, it is a huge change.

With that said, here we go!


For WOLF'S HEAD BOOK 1: WE ALL WANT TO CHANGE THE WORLD, you can find a listing of stores carrying it by visting https://www.vonallan.com/2021/12/wolfs-head-book-1-in-hardcover-worldwide.html or by visting the Von Allan Studio Shop Page. Plus there are online stores like Amazon.com, Bookshop.org, IndieBound, Barnes and Noble, and so on. Previews of the graphic novel can be found right here and there's a tremendous review by Frank Plowright over at the Slings and Arrows Graphic Novel Guide site.
Cover of the Wolf's Head Book 1 hardcover

WOLF'S HEAD BOOK 1 collects the first six issues of the ongoing WOLF'S HEAD comic book series in full colour. The graphic novel version is 176 pages long in full colour. And what's it about? Well, here's what my illustrous editor and I wrote for the synopsis:

Lauren Greene is an ex-police officer who turned her badge in after becoming frustrated with the police force's corruption. She's had enough of violence and is thinking about packing her bags and hitting the road to see how she can make a difference out in the larger world, when her mother Patty shows up at her door with a complication. It turns out that Patty's employer — a secretive military corporation — has created an artificial intelligence to fight humanity's wars. Unfortunately for the corporation, the AI fell in love with Patty's humanity and orchestrated its own escape through her. Giddy with excitement, Patty brings the AI straight to Lauren for help, not realizing the danger she's putting herself and her daughter in. But Lauren has dealt with people like this; she knows what they're capable of and she is terrified. Her fears are realized when she and her mother are confronted by corporate goons who want the AI for themselves and are willing to do anything to get it. As Lauren does her best to keep herself, her mom, and her family safe, the tensions over the AI erupt into violence… and suddenly Lauren is on her own.

The new little life form doesn't want to go back to the corporation and Lauren realizes it cannot be forced to live out its life as a war machine. There is already enough corruption, inequality, and violence in the world; the AI has to have a chance to help humanity — peacefully — while figuring out its own existence. Together with the AI, an eccentric cast of friends and family, and her dog, Lauren must figure out her next steps… while keeping herself alive.

And here's a fun little teaser I did that showcases some of the themes and art from the collection:
Wolf's Head Book 1 teaser that showcases art and writing from the hardcover graphic novel

It really is a fun graphic novel with all kinds of twists and turns. I'm very proud of it and I'm extremely pleased with how sharp the printing turned out.


Next up is my hardcover short story collection! Like WOLF'S HEAD BOOK 1, this is available worldwide and is widely available online at sites like Amazon.com, Bookshop.org, IndieBound, and Barnes and Noble. Photos of the graphic novel collection and more links can be found right here or by visting the Von Allan Studio Shop Page.

Love, Laughter, and Loss: A Comics Collection front cover art

Unlike WOLF'S HEAD BOOK 1, this is a short story collection featuring some of my favourites. All of these short stories are available for free on this website (you can find the links to each short story in webcomic format here). Frank Plowright also did a great review of the collection at https://theslingsandarrows.com/love-laughter-and-loss-a-comic-collection/.

Here's the short synopsis from the book:

This collection contains nine short stories by Canadian writer/artist Von Allan that, together, represent the best and worst parts of life; love, laughter, and loss. Travel around the world (and sometimes even off world!) with average people, heroes, cowardly adventurers, and even a dog. While these stories were previously published in two periodical collections ("WIZARDS FOR HIRE-CHEAP!" and "STORIES! 2015 TO 2019"), this marks the first time they've appeared in a premium hardcover format.

And here's a teaser image from the collection!

Love, Laughter, and Loss: A Comics Collection teaser that showcases art and writing from the hardcover graphic novel collection

Like WOLF'S HEAD BOOK 1, this short story collection is perfect for fans of comics and graphic novels. The short stories really range in tone and theme and I'm extremely pleased with how they look in print.

So, that's that! Two beautiful graphic novels that fans of comics will fall in love with. If you need a gift for someone (or even just yourself!), please do consider them. You won't be disappointed!

Wolf's Head by Von Allan

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

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