Monday, December 21, 2015

Mad Mad Modes for Moderns Mondays - A Tradition of Fashion Illustration

Happy Monday, everyone! A big thank you to everyone who took the time to read my last post. Your excitement for my book is extremely encouraging and will help keep me moving forward!

As I mentioned in the post, I'm working with an illustrator to bring the book to life. I've been on Pinterest quite a bit lately pulling together images for inspiration for the look of the book. As I fell further and further down the rabbit hole that is Pinterest, I couldn't help but notice that so much of the fashion featurettes from the romance comics were in the tradition of classic fashion illustrations. Take for example this 1969 "Mad Mad Modes for Moderns" extolling the virtues of (fake) fur:

"Mad Mad Modes for Moderns" 
Secret Hearts #135
(April 1969)

Doesn't really look all that different from these illustrations depicting fur from decades prior, does it? 

1915
Illustration via Flickr

1936
Illustration via Flickr

Styles and hemlines may change over time, but the essence of fashion illustration has essentially stayed the same. Though comic books have had a tendency to be considered lowbrow, "Mad Mad Modes for Moderns" helps make the case to elevate them as serious contenders for the title of art.

Need a last minute gift for a romance fan?
Visit my Gumroad store or Amazon shop!

Thursday, December 17, 2015

I'm Writing a Book - Progress Update #1

One of the things I’ve always loved about romance comics is the vulnerability of the beautiful women with tear-stained faces. Many people who’ve perused the genre have mistaken that vulnerability for weakness. I strongly believe, however, that when it comes to romance comic book characters, were they merely weak, they would not be open to love at all. It is vulnerability and strength, not weakness, that makes the romance characters take chances at love, story after story. It is that quality of being brave enough to display their vulnerability that for me, makes the romance comic characters so darn relatable and admirable.

As many of you know, I’ve been working on a book for some time now. I’ve mentioned it here and there in passing, but as of yet, I haven't spilled the beans. I’ve even had some of you fine readers asking me to go into more detail about the book, but to be honest -- I’ve been immobilized by fear. I didn’t want to share anything about this enormous project until the book was near done and as close to perfection as possible. Luckily, I’ve had a change of heart.


I recently finished reading Daring Greatly by Brené Brown, a book that gets at the core of human vulnerability. It, along with the bravery of the optimistic romance characters, and the realization that I was equally as nervous about starting Sequential Crush in the first place so many years ago made me realize I have to share the process. And so, I turn to vulnerability and answer some of the questions I've been asked so far.

Why a book?

I actually started Sequential Crush back in 2009 because I wanted to write a book about romance comics. I figured I would use the blog as a testing ground for my ideas, as well as a way to network with other romance fans and build an audience. But, I became so enraptured with blogging that too many years passed before I started working on a book project in earnest. In 2013, I wrote a book proposal that I shopped around to a few agents and publishers. After a series of rejections, I thought to myself, why spend more years on rejection and gatekeepers when I could just self-publish? The decision to self-publish this first book is not a declaration that I will never aim for traditional publishing (because I most certainly will), but at this moment in time, self-publishing is the best way to get this material out into the world.

I'm also increasingly excited about this book because I feel like it's in line with the new mission I'm developing for Sequential Crush. Not only do I want to continue to preserve the history of the genre, I want to move the romance comics into the NOW and bring the spirit of the vintage romance comics into the present for an audience that wouldn't normally pick up a comic book from the 1960s or '70s.

What is the book about?

The book (final title in the works) will be about one of the most neglected aspect of romance comics -- advice columns. Some of the most riveting content in the romance comics came in the form of text advice and I'm super excited to share those juicy tidbits with you in an illustrated book format. I think the advice columns get glossed over because people just see a wall of text and move on. It's within these texts, however, that foundations for the stories rest. I believe that much of the advice from the romance comics is timeless and can benefit many of us even today.

Who will the book be for?

Fans of Sequential Crush first and foremost! I also hope to draw in a new audience of people who will fall in love with the romance comics just as much as those of you already here.

Where are you currently in the book's process?

I've written the entire book, and I'm currently working on editing the third draft. I've also started to work with an incredibly talented illustrator (more on her in a future update!) who is just as excited about the project as I am.

The research and writing have been challenging, but the true challenges are ahead. Self-publishing is not only time-consuming but expensive. Therefore, I will be running a Kickstarter campaign to presell the book and all the fun merchandise that my illustrator and I are dreaming up.

What is the timeframe for completion?

As we all know -- time is one of the most precious resources. It has taken me way longer than I had hoped to actually write the thing, but as anyone with a day job such as myself knows, having time to work on passion projects are few and far between. For the past two years, I've worked on this project in the cracks of the day, the evening, and on the weekends. My goal right now for completion includes a February/March Kickstarter campaign, with a June launch. Assuming everything goes off without a hitch, I plan to debut the finished product at HeroesCon. I'm not really one for New Year's resolutions, but finishing the book is my main goal for 2016!

How can I support the book?

Why, I’m glad you asked (okay, you didn’t, but I'm going to take the liberty of assuming here)! First off, joining the mailing list is a great way to support Sequential Crush and the book because you will be kept in the loop via your inbox. Click here to join. Another way you can help is to visit my Gumroad store and make a purchase (holiday gifts, anyone?). May I also suggest a visit to my Amazon recommendations? Any revenue generated will go straight to the book.

Phew! I am glad to get that off my chest! It feels great to share this with all you Sequential Crush followers and everyone who's supported my efforts for so long. I hope you enjoyed this update and that you will continue to check in for future ones. If you have any questions, please feel free to ask away in the comments. Thank you, each and every one of you who took the time to read this -- you are the best

Credits: 1.) I love organization (and washi tape) so when I started the book I had to make a binder to collect all my thoughts. 2.) "Leave Me Alone" Falling in Love #60 (July 1963) Art by Bernard Sachs 3.) There's been a lot of coffee involved in the creation of this book so far. I definitely see more in my future. 4.) "I Won All the Battles... and Lost the War!" Career Girl Romances #74 (April 1973) Pencils: A. Martinez, Inks: J. Zuniga 5.) "I Dream of Love" Love Diary #67 (July 1970)