New Stories: Los Animales, Misha, Boys Noize and Heathers

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We have new pages of Los Animales up this week. The above image is just a taste of what Jeaux J. and I have in store for you on the webcomic front. Find out what happens when Manda and Dani encounter a club creep at Nadarave. 

I’ve been spending a lot of time prepping for Anime Expo, which is next week, and San Diego Comic-Con right now. Still, I had a few other stories published in the past few days. Check them out below the jump.
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Los Animales: Nadarave Starts Today, Plus Two Upcoming DJ Gigs

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(Crosspost with Beatique.net)
Los Animales is back. Today marks the beginning of Nadarave, the second story in the webcomic series that I created with my pal Jeaux Janovsky. I’m really excited about this story. It’s a little different from Fours on the Floor, our first chapter, in that it’s more of an ensemble piece. The characters look a little different too. That’s because we didn’t want the designs to get too static. You’ll see Manda, Dani, Pedro and the rest evolve throughout the series.

If you haven’t read Fours on the Floor, you should do that too.

In other news, I have two DJ gigs coming up this week. On Thursday, I’ll be playing at Zerox. This is a monthly club at La Cuevita (aka Little Cave) in Highland Park hosted by my pal Eric Dead. We’ll be playing a mix of underground ’80s tunes ranging from punk to new wave to ska to psychobilly. I’ll be digging up some of my favorites and hope to play at least a few jams that you haven’t heard in a while. This party is free. It’s also 21+. Check out the Facebook invite for more information.

On Saturday, I will be playing at DEadCADENCE, a monthly party at Roberto’s in Chinatown that focuses on death rock, minimal synth, post-punk, etc. I’ll be joining DJs Tony-X, Andy Smith and Juann Alternativah. There will also be live performances from Death Strip and Secret Society of the Sonic Six. This will be a very exciting show and I hope you can make it. This is a 21+ party and the cover is $5 before 10:30 p.m., $7 thereafter. More info on Facebook.

Big, Hopefully Not Terribly Tedious Update

It’s been a while since my last update here and a lot has happened in the past six weeks or so. Here’s the lowdown.

We completed Los Animales: Fours on the Floor, the first chapter in the ongoing saga of anthropomorphic animals/record store nerds that Jeaux Janovsky and I created. You can now read the chapter in its entirety for free on animalsoundsrecords.com. Response to the comic has been overwhelmingly positive and we’re so grateful for everyone who took an early interest in our project. We’ve managed to earn some early press, including interviews by Geeksmash, Defective Geeks and Ian/Yan. If you’re interested in contacting Jeaux & I for interviews, convention appearances, etc., email us at animalsoundsrecords [at] gmail [dot] com.  The second installment of the comic, Los Animales: Nadarave, starts on Monday.

Last month, I answered an ad that someone I know shared on Facebook and ended up freelancing for KCET. Yes, Facebook is good for finding work. Here’s the first story I did for the local television station’s website:

“For the Weekend: Jane Espenson”

I’ve also started writing more for Geek Exchange, the website for Geek Magazine. In the past few weeks, I interviewed Nilbog, an amazing local band who pays tribute to genre movie scores. I also re-watched The Crow and Chobits.

If you’ve followed my work for a while, you probably know that I’ve done my fair share of interviews with Andrew W.K. The latest one ran last week on Pure Volume. 

I’m still doing a lot of work for L.A. Weekly. In recent weeks, I had the chance to talk to Gilbert Hernandez and the team behind Teen Titans Go! I also checked out the latest L.A. show from Takashi Murakami and a group show dedicated to James Bond. In addition, I’ve been taking party shots for the Weekly here and there. Check out this slideshow from last weekend’s The Smiths/Morrissey Convention. 

On the club side of things, Underground is doing really well. We put together a very successful goth-y party called Shadowplay a few weeks back, in addition to other great events. You can check out my set lists on my blog, Beatique.

Somehow in the midst of all that, my longtime boyfriend and I snuck off to Las Vegas and got married. Seriously! I promised a few people that I would write a story about that experience too. It’s coming. Slowly.

Stay tuned for an update on Monday, as there is more news to share.

Thanks for reading.

L

 

The First Los Animales Interview

On February 14, my friend Jeaux and I launched our webcomic, Los Animales. It’s a story that is several years in the making, with about a year-and-a-half going into this incarnation of our vinyl-worshipping, club-hopping animals. Since Valentine’s Day, the comic has taken over my life in the best way possible. That’s not to say I’m not still freelancing. I am. In the past few weeks, I played Geeks Who Drink Trivia, interviewed Kerli and Eric Prydz and have worked on a bunch of other assignments that may or may not be available yet.

The comic, though, has presented some unusual opportunities. Namely, I ended up answering interview questions instead of asking them.

Jeaux and I were interviewed for GeekSmash.  It’s a pretty long interview, but I think it does a good job of providing insight into what we’re doing. Here’s one of my quotes from it.

But we have these characters with one foot in the 90s and one foot in present day. They are stuck in this world trying to adjust to everything that is completely changing around them; with the idea that everything they are doing could very well end up being worthless in five years. And I think that is something people in the creative fields are going through right now. It’s something I feel right now, and I know musicians are in the same boat; they talk about it all the time. So they are kinda nostalgic to this time when they were actually little kids. It would be like Jeaux and I nostalgic to the 80s.

Los Animales Debuts Today

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This has been a long time coming, but I’m pleased to announce that Jeaux J. and I released Los Animales today. We’re doing this webcomic style, so we’ll be posting one page every weekday until there are no more stories to tell. Since today was the launch date, we uploaded two page. Special thanks to Mike Ott who built our website and helped us get familiar with ComicPress.

Read Los Animales.

 

Los Animales: The Countdown Continues

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Meet the latest in a long line of hip rockers named Ian. Jeaux and I have been playing with this character for years now, an earlier incarnation of him appeared in a few of the original Animal Sounds comic strips. Now, he’s part of the Los Animales crew, a frontman who makes frienemies wherever he goes.

We’re only a few days away from the launch of Los Animales and my heart is pounding faster with every word I type. Maybe it’s because I’m listening to “Nerves,” an aptly titled Bauhaus song, as I try to spruce up the Twitter page before handing it over to Manda and Pedro (you caught a glimpse of them here last week).

Jeaux and I spent all day Saturday working on color and lettering. Mostly, he was working on it and I was staring over his shoulder saying, “Yeah, that works.” I’m still rewriting Chapter 2, which you probably won’t see until April. I think.  Technically, I’m still rewriting Chapter 1 too, but I think that needs to end soon. Very soon.

 

Los Animales Debuts on Valentine’s Day

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We’re only a week away from the launch date of Los Animales and there’s still a lot of work to be done in order to get this thing online. Fortunately, we have a good group of friends who are helping us with some of the last minute stuff.

I don’t know if it’s appropriate to say that I’m nervous. Sometimes, I don’t want people to think I’m fishing for attention. I’m not. It’s just an honest– hopefully, normal– reaction. This whole comic thing is a brand new world for me.

The above images are Facebook-sized banners that Jeaux made for us. You’re more than welcome to share these images on your blog or social media site. If you do that, though, please send us the link at animalsoundsrecords@gmail.com

We have had a few questions from people that we want to address. A number of you have asked if we’re having a launch party. The answer is yes. We haven’t locked in the date yet, but as soon that’s sorted, we’ll share the info everywhere we can.

One of our Twitter pals asked if we’re planning a Kickstarter. At this time, the answer is no. Since we’re starting out as a webcomic, we’re able to keep the overhead pretty low. We do have multi-media plans for the future, but we’ll figure out how to attack those hurdles when we get to them. Right now, we’re just trying to get the site up and see if people will actually read this thing.

Thanks to all of our friends who have been really supportive of the Los Animales effort so far. We really appreciate it.

Playing with Crayons

playing with crayons

 

Jeaux has been saying that he wants me to work closely with him on coloring Los Animales. I’m not sure what he means by this, particularly since I have no visual art skills whatsoever. I think he just wants me to help make sure that we have some cool color combinations. Something like that.

Anyhow, I was at my mom’s house on Saturday and found an old box of crayons that belonged to my brother. It’s one of the big boxes, but it’s also a Crayola collection with a lot of missing pieces. Still, I thought this might help us out. I text messaged Jeaux. He responded, telling me to print out some panels and “go to town trying out colors.” I think I did that.

I picked this page so we can focus on Manda and Pedro, who work at Animal Sounds Records. We knew that Pedro would be a redhead, so I tried out some shades here. I like Bittersweet best. So does Jeaux.

With Manda, hair color is a little more complicated. Ideally, Manda and Dani will change their hair color often. We already know that, at least for Chapter 1, Dani’s hair will be aquamarine. With Manda, we weren’t sure what we wanted to do. We just knew that it should be something kind of dark and passably goth. For this test, I colored the outfit in black, even though she might not be wearing black in the comic, just so the hair and eyeshadow would be the focus.

I like the maroon hair a lot. I’m not quite keen on the thistle eyeshadow with the maroon hair, though. Also, I think that, thematically, it might work better if Manda has maroon hair in one of the later chapters.

The pine green hair and mulberry eyeshadow is my favorite. The hair was partially inspired by a friend of mine, who I thought look particularly fetching with green hair.

I really want Manda to have purple hair at some point, but I thought this shade made her look too much like Triana Orpheus from The Venture Bros. Blue was another strong option for Manda, but this is too similar to Dani’s hair in the chapter. I think, eventually, I would like to try midnight blue for Manda.

 

This Is My Desk Right Now

My desk.

My desk.

This is my desk. It’s all ready for me to work on another rewrite of the second chapter of Los Animales. I think this is the fourth rewrite I’ve done. Maybe more. I can’t remember. The first chapter went through about three or four rewrites and we’re still editing that as Jeaux works on inking. I’m sure will continue editing it after he’s done.

Since we’re doing a comic that revolves around music, I’m basically playing certain bands and albums on repeat as I write. For the first chapter, I worked with The Smiths last, and most amazing, album Strangeways Here We Come as well as Alive 2007, the live album from Daft Punk (one of the only live albums that doesn’t annoy me). For Chapter 2, I’m listening to Pulp, specifically Different Class, The KLF and acid house-era Psychic TV. Right now, I have The White Room, by The KLF, playing through the office.

If you’re on Tumblr, you can keep up to date on our last minute efforts to finish Los Animales. 

 

Hanging Out with Manda and Dani at a Denny’s in Reseda

Manda and Dani from Los Animales. Art by Jeaux Janovsky.

Manda and Dani from Los Animales. Art by Jeaux Janovsky.

Here’s a quick sketch of Manda and Dani that Jeaux did this morning over a breakfast meeting at Denny’s in Reseda. This is our second Denny’s meeting in the past six weeks. The first one was in Granada Hills. I’m starting to think we should just hit up every Denny’s in the Valley. Jeaux thinks we come up with our best ideas there. I think he’s right. Fueled by Moons Over My Hammy and coffee.

I really like what Jeaux did with Dani. It’s kind of like he read my mind. Dani is intended to be Manda’s much cuter friend, the one guys hit on before she mouths off and they move on to Manda. She’s kind of an amalgamation of all of my female friends, every one of whom got hit on before me at the clubs.

Dani’s really energetic and good-natured, though she can be pretty mouthy and has a knack for making awkward situations worse. Manda is surly and bossy. She also has perfectionist tendencies. She bites her lip and rolls her eyes. She may or may not be based on the person who wrote this blog post.

We’re trying to fine tune all of the characters’ quirks right now. Thinking about how they will move. Thinking about how they will speak too, even though we won’t be laying down any voice tracks at this point. I was trying to explain to Jeaux how we should pronounce Los Animales.

“Say it like you would say Los Angeles.”

Say it fast.

Faster.

Short a in Animales, pretend the e at the end is an i.

“Lasanimalis”

I’ve been fascinated with accents and cadence for as long as I can remember. I’m trying to teach myself how to best convey the intricacies of speech in word bubbles without messing  with spelling. I can hear the characters when I write and I want you to hear the same thing. It’s a tricky thing to do, but it’s getting easier to do as I get further into rewriting the second chapter. We’ll see how it goes.