blog archives

4th Oct 2011, 9:19 PM

#3 - You Always Have To Be Different, Don't You?

It's something I get accused of a lot in various aspects of my life - from my dress sense to my attitude to my musical tastes. In all of these there is a little bit of truth - let's face it you don't wear a T-shirt with a picture of Frank Zappa on the can to your dayjob unless you want your colleagues to think you're a little bit odd. When it comes to the format of the webcomic here those accusations are totally unfounded.

Sure most webcomics update a page a day, or a page a week or even a page a month. It's not the norm to post a bunch of pages all at once - usually it's drip-feed setup to get the pages out quicker and the readers interest invested. There's two reasons I didn't go for that setup - one is sadly practical and the other is a bit more dewey-eyed and sentimental.

The practical reason is that there's no possible way the Better Angels team could churn out one page a day, or even a week for that matter. For both myself and Jordan this project is a labor of love (or warm fuzzy fondness at least). We've both got jobs, other projects, and various other things from social lives, wives and hungry babies conspiring to rob us of our time. So timescale-wise 3 pages a month just seemed eminently more sensible.

The other reason is because - hell I grew up on comic-books stories that ticked over at three pages per chapter. I can't be the only UK comic-book guy around these parts that got bit by the comic-book bug by EAGLE. Y'see my comic-book diet as I was growing up consisted of whatever I could borrow (a.k.a. swipe) from my older brother's weekly comic-book purchases once he had lost interest and gone off to play football or something. There were a few Marvel reprint magazines here and there, the obligatory BEANOs, DANDYs, maybe a WHIZZER & CHIPS, ROY OF THE ROVERS (blech - Spandau Ballet's Martin Kemp playing football, I don't think so) and of course the mighty EAGLE.

EAGLE was a boy's adventure comic sporting the adventures of  British comic-book icon DAN DARE on the coloured centre pages while the rest of the black & white pages were dedicated to classic strips like DOOMLORD, THE COMPUTER WARRIOR, DEATH WISH and later more modern strips like SURVIVAL and my beloved STORM FORCE. I didn't know it at the time but a lot of those strips were created and written by 2000AD and DC legends Alan Grant and John Wagner.

Each strip got three pages per issue to move the story along and keep us hooked. While the strips were only three pages at a time some of those little tidbits of story have really stuck with me over the years. Whether it be alien DOOMLORD Servitor Vek of Nox having his final battle with his bad seed son ENOK in his lunar castle, COMPUTER WARRIOR Bobby Patterson smashing up his ZX Spectrum with a cricket bat so he's never tempted to use its 'real life' code again for fear that he'll end up in the dreaded Nightmare Zone like his hapless friend Martin or DAN DARE winning a last deadly battle with evil, green-afro-sporting space pirate DARGATH on a ship full of blood-thirsty mercenaries before succumbing to his own wounds. Just talking about those moments takes me back to many happy days spent reading and re-reading those awesome stories.

So when I began considering a webcomic and I knew a daily or weekly schedule would be an impossible feat, I decided to do it up Eagle-style. It's been really challenging breaking my story down into little self-contained three page chunks, making sure each one moves the story along, but it's been a lot of fun too. With my second web comic project - tenatively titled MARINE - already in the works I'm hoping to end up with my own little Eagle style motley crew of monthly strips capturing you for three pages at time.

So for the fact that we're here, nine pages in, on Better Angels #3, I owe a tip of the hat to good old Eagle.

The comic-book world is a slighly drearier place without you.

31st Aug 2011, 8:16 AM

#2 - What's In A Name...

"I am loathe to close. We are not enemies, but friends. We must not be enemies. Though passion may have strained, it must not break our bonds of affection. The mystic chords of memory, stretching from every battle-field, and patriot grave, to every living heart and hearthstone, all over this broad land, will yet swell the chorus of the Union, when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature."

That's a quote from Abraham Lincoln's first inaugural address, and as the eagle-eyed among you may have spotted (or any American History buffs may have already known) this is where I took the name for the webcomic. I'd love to say that I'm one of those guys who reads an Abraham Lincoln quote and is inspired to write a book with lofty themes about the human spirit and 'lifting yourself up by your bootstraps' but sadly in my case it was the reverse. I wanted to write a comic about a cool chick with a bad attitude caught in a battle between the sparkly forces of Heaven and the infernal forces of Hell, couldn't come up with a good title, stumbled across Honest Abe's quote and BAM! The rest is history.

I should own up to the fact that the 'history' in question is littered with many, many false-starts and aborted attempts to get the story of Faith Emory out of my head onto the page (or the web as it turned out). 'Better Angels' is a story that's been rattling around in my brain for quite some time. It's gone through dozens of revisions, changes and re-imaginings - it's even been touted to a publisher once or twice under a myriad of less than stellar titles (I think I may pitched this thing to Shadowline at one point under the title 'Angel-ish'. You know, the opposite of 'Devil-ish'? Eeeewww, that's just nasty!).

Nothing really clicked and so the story never made it to the top of my 'work in progress' pile much. It's tough to get inspired to work on a story you know can't go anywhere because it's got a lame title. When I came across the Licoln quote it just fit perfectly. After that I was polishing up scripts and hunting down artists until finally I came across Jordan who turned the first few chapters around a lightning speed - and now here we are publishing chapter 2.

The Lincoln quote made everything fall into place because it was such a perfect fit for the series. I mean it obviously ties in nicely with the high concept of the series but what really did it for me is that it fits perfectly the disposition of our protagonist. Behind all the bluster, bad attitude and 'colourful' language Faith Emory is someone totally ruled over by the 'better angels of her nature'. As the story ramps up and gets going you'll see that no matter the fix she's in or how easy it would be to extricate herself at someone else's expense she can't bring herself to do anything but the right thing. The 'devils on her shoulder' are invariably shouted down by the 'better angels of her nature' everytime.

So if any of your fellow web-comicers in the audience find yourself stuck for a name to get your series rolling, you could do worse than a lanky, dead white guy with a dodgy hat and an awesome beard.

That's all from me. There'll be more BA related yakking from me next month.

Enjoy Better Angels Chapter 2.....and don't forget to leave us a comment.

Nuff Said


29th Jul 2011, 8:25 AM

#1 - Welcome To BETTER ANGELS...

Welcome to the inaugural installment of YouAreComic's very first webcomic project BETTER ANGELS.
Be back here on the first Tuesday of every month to keep up to date on the latest goings on in the world of Faith Emory and her colorful cast of friends, family and jerks (angelic, demonic and otherwise).
It's worth checking in on the old blog here from time to time for interesting tidbits of the creation/development of the series, need to know facts about our wacky cast and creators and lots of other juicy behind the scenes gossip you might want to know.
Speaking of our creators you can follow both our scripter/letterer Tony McVeigh and our penciller/inker/colorist/artistic mastermind Jordan Kroeger on various interwebby type doohickeys.

Check out the links:
Links for Tony:


Links for Jordan:


That's all for now. Enjoy Better Angels #1.
See you next month.

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