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Crawling Chaos, Volume One - October 20, 2017


All's been quiet on the Crawling Chaos front since the release of Issue #5. Many people over the past year have been asking how the comics have been going.

Well... here's the answer.

I have been undecided for quite some time now about my next move. I knew it would either be a brand new graphic novel heading in a different direction, or a final reckoning with the existing Crawling Chaos stories. I teetered back and forth for a long time about which it would be, with nothing providing any special impetus towards either project.

That was, at least, until my last convention of 2017, Scarefest. At the end of the con, I found myself in possession of a new clarity of focus, a new energy for illustration, and a near-empty inventory of comics, three of my five issues having sold out (and I only have one copy left of #2!) Faced with the prospect of having to restock more comics than ever before, I found a sense of relief in deciding that that this would be the end.



...of the standalone issues.

It is my great pleasure to present a small sample of the next step in the evolution of Crawling Chaos. These colored pages will soon be joined by all 106 of their companions to assemble Crawling Chaos, Volume 1. All five issues inside of two covers, 100% in color. In addition to the existing stories, I will be including appendices full of bonus material such as concept art, pencil/ink stage artwork, and even a metal magazine feature on main character Lucy LeFanu's band, Oukranos.

This project will be primarily funded by a Kickstarter campaign to come next year, and I am having a devilishly good time thinking up rewards for my wonderful supporters. However, if you'd like to follow the colorization and assembly of the project more closely, I have also JUST launched a brand new Patreon, located at . Subscribe at $2 a month, and you will get to see one completed colored page per week. $5 gets you in-process pics of both the colorized comic pages and new features for the full collection. I will be posting previews elsewhere, but Patreon is the place to be if you want to really watch this thing come together.

I hope you're all as excited as I am as I prepare to take on the single largest illustration project I've ever attempted. I'll still make time for commissions and other projects (if I didn't, I'd lose my damn mind!). But, if you want to know what I'll be up to for at least the next five months, chances are, this is it!

Keep an eye out for promotional spots as well. I may not have another convention scheduled until March, but that doesn't mean I won't be around.

Horns up, and I'a Azathoth!

-Russell




New Stuff, Cleaning Up - August 21, 2017

I just added five new prints to the shop, all designs created especially for the Dark History & Horror Con in Urbana last month. They can be purchased individually or in the complete set of five. These were a lot of fun to work on as history is a passion of mine, one which I've slowly begun to indulge in more with my artwork. I even wrote a little (!) blurb to go along with each one, briefly summing up the lives and legacies of each historical figure.

Next con is Days of the Dead here in Louisville on September 1 - 3, followed by Scarefest in Lexington on September 29 - October 1. This year has marked a big shift in that I'm focused more on horror cons; I'm not even doing Derby City this time around, which is a little sad since that was my first convention ever. But, it's in October this year, and after cranking out all this horror stuff for the last few months, I think it's time to take a little break from cons until next year. It might be a good opportunity to visit as a guest, something I haven't done in a long time.

And, it will mean I can deliver a hell of a show for Lexington Comic Con in March. I intend to.

Recently I also attended a solo show by an artist I hugely respect, Ryan Case (Sink or Swim Art Gallery), which made me think a lot more about putting together a similar show - something I've never done. I've got several ideas, and a small game plan forming. We'll see if I can develop it after con season is over.


New dates for 2017 - April 17, 2017



On Tour! - October 24, 2016

I'm very excited to unveil my new "tour poster" for all of my con/art show appearances:


Into the Light - September 19, 2016

Here it is at last - nearly eight months after it began, Crawling Chaos #5, "Into the Light," is complete and the first print run is in my hands. Now, it's time to see if the anticipation will let it pay for a second run! The issue will be on sale in the Products section of the website as soon as I post this. So, if you're reading it, go get your copy!

I could go on about all the difficulties, snags, and pitfalls that caused the production of Crawling Chaos #5 to drag out so long, but it would be almost as exhausting reliving it as it was to go through it the first time. That being said, I think this is a book that was tried in fire and came out gold. I could not be prouder to put my name on this story, as I believe it to be my best graphic tale yet, narratively and artistically speaking.

For once, I felt the story may have been more daunting than the art. One simple reason is behind this: as scary as the idea of failing to be funny is, it pales in comparison to the idea of failing to be sincere. There are not a great many laughs in this issue, although it certainly isn't a downer to read.

The title is derived from one possible English translation of the title of the Egyptian "Book of the Dead," which is "Book of Emerging Into the Light." Given this issue's heavy focus on Egyptian history and mythology, as well as the structure of the story's two sub-plots taking the reader through darkness and back to light, this simple phrase seemed to suggest everything I needed in a title. But it also refers to the maturation of Crawling Chaos itself; I think, for the first time, this project has truly grown beyond what it was when I created it.

So then, what next? For now, preparation for the Louisville Gore Club Halloween art show on October 16, and then, the next Market for Mischief on November 12 - the first chance to come and buy this new issue from me in person! After that, I may do up to three more events this year, depending on various factors. Otherwise, I'll be gearing up for the cons of 2017, and the next step for Crawling Chaos, which will either be a new issue, or a TPB collecting all 5, plus plenty of bonus material that I already have in mind - which will involve raising some money. Hoo boy.

For now, though, I'm just happy being done with this project, and I hope it will provide enjoyment to all of its readers. Below I'll include a little blurb I wrote on deviantArt about the cover, which was an ordeal in itself - but, again, came out better for all its difficulties.




For my first issue in over a year, I wanted this issue - and this cover - to be something special. I felt I had to come back with a new sense of energy and scope, or not at all, and while the interior art does the job, the cover had to do it even better. Both of the standard elements that make up Crawling Chaos, the cosmic horror and the music, would be touched upon in a big way in this issue, as well as a story set in ancient Egypt; I wanted all three of these composing elements to be present on the cover, which was no easy task. I sketched out 8 - 10 ideas, only to scrap them all; nothing was sticking. I began to despair of finding the right design, and feared resorting to nothing but another character pinup.

Then, I noticed something next to my desk; an authorized biography of Iron Maiden. It had been a birthday gift the previous year from the Louisville Gore Club, but had lain on my shelf since then, untouched. Remembering the band's legendary and dynamic album art by Derek Riggs, I flipped through the book, pouring over every cover, every poster, every stage design, searching for inspiration. The sheer energy packed into every illustration and set matched Maiden's heavy, galloping music speed for speed, and swallowed the viewer/listener up into the world they created.

A new direction and a few more sketches later, I nailed down exactly the design I wanted. It satisfied another desire of mine, too; I have always feared giving Nyarlathotep the lion's share of attention and influence in Crawling Chaos. He was on the cover of issue #1, alone, even though this is just as much the story of Lucy LeFanu. Being the more powerful character, he also plays the biggest role in solving the pair's problems (as well as creating them). With this issue, I put Lucy more in the narrative driver's seat. And it only fits that, though Nyarlathotep looms larger on the cover, the overall style of the illustration is thoroughly rooted in Lucy's heavy metal culture, thanks to the influence of Iron Maiden's visual and musical energy.

After nearly 7 1/2 months of work, I find that, far from feeling jaded and weary, I am beyond excited to release this book.

Up the irons!


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