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What’s happening at Phoenix Prods?

Hello, everyone! Been a few weeks since I last wrote, so I thought I’d update everyone on where things are at.

As predicted, summer has had a bit of a slowdown in production. The kids have been home for summer break, Dad Taxi has been in full swing, we’ve skipped town a couple of times for activities and toe-in-sand time. You know, the stuff of summer. I see this being a bit of a pattern: Max out production in Spring in anticipation of SPACE, then slow things down until school kicks back in.

On the books:

  • Hologram #6 is moving along. William Caddell is working through the art (along with other projects). I saw his layout rough for an action page, and it looks great. The story arc is a slow burn as we set the scene and lay out the relationships, but it’s now getting to the point where things will start moving a little more quickly. It was planned that way; the entire arc is plotted and scripted.
A little Tony Lorenz process penciling for you to admire…
  • Heroes Now #2 is surprisingly close to being complete. 28 pages of hero stories and art!
    • Tony Lorenz is all but done with layouts and pencils on The Patriots chapter 2, and he’s recruited Tom Ahearn to ink his work. Which is awesome.
    • Teri Sue Wood aka Resa Challender is over halfway finished with the entire Accelerator story, a piece that marks her return to sequential comics art for the first time in roughly 20 years. Trust me when I say it looks great. You saw her opening panel, right?
    • David Baf Gallart offers another outstanding cover, and a nice looking pinup, too!
    • Keith Newsome, whom I met briefly at SPACE, knocked my socks off with a couple pinups that I’ll be sharing.
    • Lastly, the beginning of a fun new feature. I’d tell you more, but that would ruin the surprise!
I love this panel from Larned Justin. He nailed the bewildered look I was hoping for!
  • Strange Times #2 is still a little ways away. The target date for submissions is Labor Day (September 5), so I have a few more commitments than actual creative work in hand at this point. Not to worry, what I’ve seen is more than acceptable. The issue’s theme is “Who Are You?” and should be alternately illuminating, entertaining and thought-provoking as we try to tear off the cultural labels that our society loves to apply.
    • Larned Justin has contributed the cover, collaborated with me on a two-page story, developed another brief piece and gave me license to use his art for pinups as necessary.
    • Keith Newsome has a poignant and, I daresay brilliant, painting gallery that I feel fortunate to share. It will be accompanied by his commentary.
    • Iesorno Zines has a similarly insightful and revealing piece in the works. Zines comes out of the Euro minicomics scene (They are British), and I’ll be interested to see if/how it differs from the material I see here in the USA.
    • Andrew Rosenberger is giving us a sneak peak at his Stray Toasters (Not the Moore/Seinkiewicz one) gallery, something I’ve been following for months. Cute and funny, but with a much deeper meaning in our age of COVID.
    • I believe that there are about six other contributors with intentions to contribute work for this issue, but I will hold off on naming names until I have something in hand. Everyone’s busy; stuff falls through sometimes in our little hobby, and I don’t want anyone to feel bad.
    • The book will be a full-size magazine, just like Strange Times #1, but this time will be in color. A number of pieces will be in black and white because that’s what most of us do, but the color pieces will really pop when they appear. I’m also going to let the book breathe a little with some graphic design touches. It should look good when all is said and done.

My initial idea was to release Heroes Now #2 and Strange Times #2 at the same time, but the former appears to be on a faster track than the latter so you might see the heroes sooner. Hologram #6 will be ready within 48 hours of receiving the final piece of art for the issue.

And groundwork is being laid for the next round of books! Heroes Now #3 will continue The Patriots and have, at long last, a story featuring The Light. Hologram #7 is a somewhat unconventional issue from an artistic perspective, and William and I are kibbitzing on how to handle it creatively. And Strange Times #3? Not entirely sure, but there’s a fanzine concept that I’ve been bouncing around in my head that I might slot in.

Lastly, on a personal note, I’ve had a health condition arise over the summer that’s going to take some attention this fall. My goal is to get as much out the door before I go under the knife. Hopefully you will see all three books.

That’s all for now. We’ll see new books soon!


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