Well, here it is. My first printed comic book since 2002! I’ve actually done a lot of comics since Feldspar, but none of them really made it to book format. They were either singular comic strips or web comics. Ninja Guy 1, “Felt Friendships” is the first actual comic book after a very long hiatus.
So why now? Well, a self-publishing comic book-making friend of mine that I used to trade with, Billy McKay, contacted me in August to say he was making comics again (Peculiar Paper People—Check it out!), and encouraged me to do the same. He put me in touch with his friend, D. Blake Werts, (Copy This!), and suddenly I was reading about the current whereabouts of all these folks who make their own comics that I used to correspond with. Fast-forward three months later and I’ve completed Ninja Guy. You could say that I caught the bug.
The process of creating Ninja Guy 1 wasn’t very clean or thought out. I didn’t sit down to map out the plot until I had already completed 13 pages. I kind of just jumped in. And even now, I only have a vague idea of where to take the next issue. This lack of planning resulted in a lot of re-do’s. The first 3 pages were completed on simple copy paper, and I ended up re-doing the first page (replacing Ninja Guy’s cigarette with a rope).
Eventually I realized I needed to get better paper, so I switched to a fine tooth surface 9×12 paper stock. I didn’t want the book to look “super slick” so I steered clear of smooth Bristol board like I’ve used in the past. Another new material I’m using are gray tone markers. In all, I’m using about 9 different types of pens. Ninja Guy, however, is filled in with a simple Bic ball point pen (it’s kind of a tradition).
For the logo, I asked my mother, Joyce Kruse, to create a font style in Old English. I wanted a sort of “scimitar” swoosh below the letters. She sent me 12 different fonts with a total of 18 variations. Ultimately I went with the one you see on the website with the motorcycle drawing. This is probably the best thing about his whole comic book.
Of the three characters in this issue, only one is new: Petro Del Shanko. He is supposed to be either Hispanic or Eastern European. I can’t really decide which. His look is supposed to be a cross between Benicio del Toro and Jemaine Clement. In other words, there’s something really wrong with his mouth. The other character in the book, Ido, has been following Ninja Guy throughout all of his incarnations. My friend Keith Douchant invented Ido. He’s sort of the bastard child of the ego and the id. Every thing he says ends with the punctuation !?! to confuse the reader’s understanding of the intonation (is this a statement or a question!?!). This character got its start on post-it notes in the video arcade we used to work at in high school. You’d open the cash register and there would be Ido with a note telling you to balance the books carefully!?! Or he would be on the mop head in the janitor closet telling you to clean, not just the floors, but the mop head too!?! And on and on.
Ninja Guy, in the past, was usually a collaborative effort (more on that later), and so to honor that original idea, I asked my friends to contribute ideas for the book. The text for the first page was written by Keith Douchant and the second page by Ryan Buller. Neither of them knew what I was going to draw to go with their text. Other contributors included my wife, Aicha, Sherry Buller and Billy McKay. They each submitted ideas for failed Apples tech inventions (used as a plot point in the book).
I’ll follow this post up with a brief history of Ninja Guy (when I have more time). For now, I hope you enjoy the new issue of Ninja Guy!