Managing Editor of THE PAPER
With assistance by Captain Dusty Harmony
While covering National Fire prevention week, I was able to shake hands with Smokey Bear (there is no “the” in his real name), the famous mascot of the National Forest Service. He took a moment to stop by the Dwight Fire Department, Oct. 9.
Captain Dusty Harmony was with me, and later looked up the legend of Smokey online as follows:
Smokey Bear was born on August 9, 1944, when the USDA Forest Service and the Ad Council agreed that a fictional bear named Smokey would be their symbol for forest fire prevention.
Artist Albert Staehle was asked to paint the first poster of Smokey Bear. It showed Smokey pouring a bucket of water on a campfire and saying “Care will prevent 9 out of 10 fires.”
Smokey Bear soon became very popular, and his image appeared on a lot of forest fire prevention materials. In 1947 his slogan became the familiar “Only YOU Can Prevent Forest Fires!”, which was later updated to be “Only YOU Can Prevent Wildfires!”
Then in the spring of 1950, in the Capitan Mountains of New Mexico, a young bear cub found himself caught in a burning forest. He climbed a tree to survive, but he was still badly burned.
The firefighters who retrieved him were so moved by his bravery, they named him Smokey.
News about this real bear named Smokey spread across the nation, and he was soon given a new home at the National Zoo in Washington, D.C.
As the living symbol of Smokey Bear, he played an important role in spreading messages of wildfire prevention and forest conservation.
Smokey died in 1976 and was returned to Capitan, New Mexico, where he is buried at the State Historical Park, now called Smokey Bear Historical Park.
Smokey is kind of my personal hero, too. As a small child, I had an illustrated story book about the “real” bear found in the forest fire. It’s nice to meet your heroes in person.
A few short weeks ago, IF Comics released Anthony and Myke’s The Magic Press and Other Critter Stories as a e-book digital download exclusively on Amazon.com. (Check it out here.) It did pretty well in sales it’s first week BUT that was not enough for our fans. They wanted a PRINT edition! It’s nice to know that there are still readers and book collectors out there that like to have their literature still tangible!
So in response to Facebook fan outcry, Anthony started working on re-paginating a print edition for sale. After a couple weeks, he finally completed the task!
The Magic Press is immediately available for order for $5.99 plus shipping and handling from CreateSpace.com (Click here to order.) Roughly 5-7 days from the date of this blog release, it will also be available through retail outlets such as Amazon.com as well as ANY book store retailer through special order. A few days after that, it will be available overseas in Europe through Create Space’s distribution.
“This edition is only slightly different from the eBook edition” says Anthony. “We (Ink and Feathers Comics) have always done a print edition of a book. It’s only been the last half year that we just started digitizing our inventory for digital distribution. As I am a starving artist, I thought I would give a “ebook only” release for The Magic Press. I keep forgetting that a lot of our fan base are still traditionalists and like to have tangible books. I did intend to print a print edition later this year (late this Spring). However, our fans just couldn’t wait. IF Comics is not a traditional publisher so we can do whatever we want in terms of printing or deadlines. Plus, I’m huge on customer service and aims to please.”
This “dead tree” version also sports two extra things not available in the eBook edition. One, a back over with a full colored version of one of THE CRITTERS strips done by Anthony (which can be see from the image above) and two, an extra Halloween image with Millennium Bear (Leni) telling the viewing audience that she taught the monster from the Blue Lagoon to rise out of a lake with a Halloween greeting.
“A little extra treat for those that wanted a “real” book and a small thanks for your support”, comments Anthony.
The print edition of The Magic Press is an 6×9, 48 paged full colored cover with black and white interiors. It is priced at $5.99 not including shipping and handling.
If any fans would like to PRE-ORDER a SIGNED copy directly from Ink and Feathers Comics, CLICK THE BUTTON BELOW!
The price for each copy is $5.99 and shipping is only $5.50 for 1-20 copies.
That’s right! A flat shipping for single or multiple copies!
(Up to twenty. Any more, please contact us first for accurate price quote. Price is for Domestic USA orders only. International order, please contact us directly via private messaging on our FACEBOOK page or email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org for price quote for shipping/handling.)
As this is a new publication, expect your copy(s) to be sent out in about two weeks. We will notify your by email when they are being sent out complete with tracking information. We will also include a WHOLE bunch of SWAG at no extra cost! SWEET DEAL, HUH?!
Thanks to the advent of digital publishing, The Magic Press can now be seen by a larger audience.
Back in 2009 while Anthony was attending SAIC (School of the Art Institute of Chicago), he put together a short little comic book for one of his class assignments. He was required to come up with some characters and then to do a short comic book story for a final assignment. As Anthony was bogged down with five other classes (all wanting a final project) he decided to cheat. Well, sort of.
He had already been playing with the idea of using some of his toy stuffed animals as a starting point but he wasn’t finding the right voice for them. He still wasn’t too sure what to even call his cast of characters. (Somewhere in the past half decade, he came up with the name THE CRITTERS.) As he struggled to come up a storyline, his mind turned to stories that he remembered from his youth. He had created some fantasy stories for various grammar or high school assignment but none of them seem to fit into THIS particular assignment. Somewhere in his ideal brain, he happened to remember a story that Myke, his father, had once told him, at a young age, when he was home from school due to an illness. Myke had written down the story in a journal many years before but since decades had past, it had been long forgotten. Anthony, remembering where the story was stored, took a trip to his parent’s house and secretly scanned the pages to be transcribed at a later date. Anthony spent a few days trying to dis-cypher his father’s handwriting and finalized a working script. After a few weeks of illustrating, Anthony paginated a 10+ page comic book and turned into one of his final projects. Copies were spread on SAIC’s campus and one copy is now viewable in their artist’s library BUT not many outside of immediate family or SAIC’s community have ever viewed this story. Now finally after five years, this short story is made public.
“I’ve always intended to print this story again when I had the chance.”, states Anthony. “I figured now would good time to get it “out there”. I’ve done several more things since then with THE CRITTERS in hopes of having enough material to put together. A few months ago, I was going through copies of my old original work and there it was. I read over it again and realized that the art wasn’t TOO bad. Especially since I was trying to finish it in a short amount of time. It felt like such a shame that it may never see the light of day again.”
Another issue that Anthony feared was his lettering for the story.
“As I was rushing to reach my deadline of a final project which also required me to print it for circulation, my penmanship, in terms of lettering, started to degrade towards the last few pages. I was rushing. My only excuse was my deadline.”
Anthony decided to re-do the lettering digitally for The Magic Press. It is the only story in this new volume that has digital lettering.
“I wanted to make sure it was readable as the whole story is very important to me. Not only is it a part of my memory as a child/adolescent, but the publication also had special meaning as I made it for my father as a 50th birthday gift. Unfortunately, he got his copy a year late. ”
The gesture was no less dear when Myke finally received a copy much to his surprise.
Anthony added, “Many comic book aficionados may complain that the lettering causes a distraction now as it looks slightly off from the rest of the art. I believe my original lettering would have been more distracting if you couldn’t read what was going on. I tend to favor original hand lettering over digital especially when it comes to indie or my own art. But I think it works. It’s not perfect as my original word balloons are smaller/larger to compensate for my crappy lettering. But if the reader is only focusing on my lettering and that is the only thing that they can comment on and NOT the story after they finish, then why even bother reading? ”
Anthony, after leaving SAIC to pursue freelance work, tried a few comic strips and did to more short stories with the cast of THE CRITTERS. They have been posted on his personal Facebook page as well as an online comic through Comic Fury.com. However, with the release of this version of The Magic Press subtitled And Other Critter Stories, they are all now collected together for the first time.
“I may, at a later date, print a “dead tree” version but for now I want to see if a following forms for these little guys. If so, there may be more adventures on the way.”
The Magic Press is currently available on Amazon.com for digital download to your Kindle or PC/MAC computer/tablet. It features Anthony’s adaptation of Myke Feinman’s short story, The Magic Press plus two other short comic adventures, F.A.S.C. (Free Associated Sequential Comic) and It Happened Halloween Night. It also includes several comic strips , a few one paged two paneled jokes and a couple of pinups. The cover depicts The Magic Press‘s main character of Charlie, an eighty year old newspaper bear who runs his own print shop and newspaper in Depression Era Midwest. It is a children’s comic book/graphic novel and is suitable for all ages. (May have the word “crap” in a few times though.)
Since it’s publication in 2004, we have always wanted to have The Teddy Bear Conspiracies available to the general public as an Ebook. It is finally available for the low price of $0.99. YAY!
Visit TBC page on ifcomics.com for story synopsis and character bios.
Visit Amazon.com for purchase of all editions.
Did you know that ebooks have been around since 1971? Yep! They are now going on 42 years and counting. Of course they didn’t really start catching on until the late nineties. Our graphic designer was working for a major bookstore at the time when Stephen King released his first e-novel in 1996. It took roughly another ten years before the e-craze really hit the market. At this point in time (2013), they are not going away. With an estimated 15,000,000 books published in 2012, it’s a fair bet that books themselves are not a thing of the past . This number that we found on a website is a guess and may or may not include e-books. Regardless, e-book are big business with an estimated gross of $1-3 billion a year.
So, we finally bit the bullet and started “digitizing” our publications. “It’s about time!” some might say but, here is the reality. Ink and Feathers Comics has been a hobby company for us. Our real life “day jobs” come first.
We started working on converting The Teddy Bear Conspiracies late last year (2012). It wasn’t until this past month (August) that the barrier between the technical and interpretation was finally breached. Of course, we here know how to put a “dead tree” (actual printed book) version together with desktop publishing software. Bring on InDesign, no problem! When it came to the technical side of an ebook, we, very quickly, discovered that there is no one uniformed set format for all ebook readers. Does anyone, besides graphic designers, know what MOBI, BBeB, or Fb2 stand for? Strangely enough, they are ebook formats.
The six most popular formats to date are: EPub, AZW, LIT, PDF, ODF, and MOBI. IPads have their own special coding and requirements. Same for the the Kindle and the Nook. Needless to say, we took the easy way out and used the easiest format at this time, the formatting for the Kindle. Why you may ask? Well, duh! All one needs is Microsoft Word. Kindle recommends it and we went with their recommendations. Last October, we started designing the ebook format for TBC in Adobe InDesign. It recommends that you create a book and put each chapter as a separate InDesign document and then link all the pages into the book. For those non-tech people out there who have no idea what we are talking about, that’s ok. It’s actually sightly complicated and confused our graphic designer a bit. And let’s not forget about the HTML code! Did you know that you also need to know some basic web coding to design these formats as well? Our designer even bought a $40 book on how to do the formatting via InDesign. Ultimately, he got frustrated and gave up as he couldn’t figure out how to make the chapter heading into an interactive Table of Contents. See, if you have an e-reader, having an interactive Table of Contents is HUGE. It’s how a user is able to use their finger or click of a mouse to select a specific chapter or header and go straight to it. Much like one does on a CD or DVD player. Without this major component, it just one big document with no control for the user/reader. Boring! So he gave up for months and thought that his expert design skills were too far behind to compete with the big leagues. Ultimately, months later, he took another look and discovered the ease of designing in Word with the freeware Calibre. POOF! In a matter of one day, he reformatted the book, discovered an easy way to create an interactive table of contents, and then uploaded it onto Amazon Kindle. Hence, The Teddy Bear Conspiracies is now available not only in the states but available abroad as well.
Kind of cool if you think about. Anyone in the world can now purchase your book, translated, through Amazon.com. It’s extremely exciting if you think about but then there is the downside. Yes, your book is available to anyone with a Kindle, and yes, people all over the world to get access to it and read. However, this is only one e-reader platform and now our designer, in less than ninety days, has to convert the same book for the IBook, Nook, and any other major e-reader platform. Is it really worth it if you have to design new version for all the different e-readers? No wonder companies charge $200+ for the service of converting your book.
One more downside to discuss is marketing. With or without marketing, your book is one of ten million out there competing for notice. If no one knows about, how do you except to find and read it? So I put it to the readers to decide. With all the available new authors uploading their treasured novels constantly on online, does each author want to take the extra time and energy to promote their “masterpieces’? No, of course not. That’s what agents and book promoters are paid to do. But what if writing and publishing is simply a hobby? Something you do on occasion every four years or so? Then you write blogs, send reviewers sample copies, and promote via social media. Will it work? I’ll let you all know if a few months. In the meantime, check out The Teddy Bear Conspiracies.
Next book for ebook conversion: Superlative Tales
Currently on sale through Amazon.com from September 2nd through the 31st for the low price of $5.00!
For story synopsis’, visit Superlative Tales Page.