MANIC REPRESSIVE STORE OPEN NOW
Opus 3 now up!
Carson Cole; Man of the Sea
Carson was a creation by Joe Ketterer. He is a oceanographer studying the sea and finding many interesting things out of order. He’s a project that hasn’t been able to get off the ground due to finalizing storylines and, of course, time. Still the artwork created for it was pretty awesome. Take a look.
Khozos is a fantasy trilogy created by Joe Ketterer.
Story: There raged an intergalactic war between several planets that span all over the universe. They led a chase to the planet Khozos where they stranded one another. On terra firma, The Allfather, a great spiritual being, manifests himself as two giant translucent hands to stop the war and tell all of the species to get along from that point on. Since they’d destroyed one another’s technology, everyone had to build a new civilization from scratch.
Thousands of years later, the descendants of the survivors have completely forgotten that there was ever anything but the planet Khozos. As technology advances, they find evidence of the long lost war amongst the stars.
Astro-archeologists are created. They are people who go into space to sift through the rubble and wreckage to piece together the histories of all the people on the planet.
That’s all the backstory of the series. The story was broken up into three books:
Book I follows Buck Halisson and his crew as they try to find a particular treasure.
In Book II, Buck’s son, Harris, is introduced and learns a new path, different from his father, that will be needed due to the discovery his father made at the end of the first book.
Book III takes Harris to war in his new role.
The story has been put on hold and is currently under reconsideration and alterations. But here are all the sketches Joe did for character concepts and ideas.
Buck Halisson: Astro-archeologist and captain.
Aracea/Besh: Ship’s medic/cleric. This character went through a bit of a transformation as she was originally the romance interest of Buck. Turning from “Besh” to “Aracea”.
Ffisher: The ship’s thief.
Rex: Wizard aboard the Harlequin. Khozos’ technology is a mix of mechanics and magic.
Listy: Ship’s elvin mechanic.
Cod: Original medic/cleric aboard the Harlequin. Dies in the first comic. Full comment written is “COD A medic without a future”
Methusela: The half-gnoll fighter. Fagan was dropped, as seen by the giant x.
The Ship’s Logo, the Harlequin
There is a rival astro-archeologist that features prominently in the first book, Hal, who was a centaur. Though Joe drew Hal countless times, none of the sketches were clear. But here are the rival crew members.
Carter Haliss, the great-great-great-great-great…etc grandfather of Buck Halisson.
Buck’s half-orc son, Harris
And here are a lot of character designs of the inhabitants, various kinds, of Khozos.
Some finished art:
Buck and his crew:
Hal and his crew:
Alternate cover pics:
Montage of scenes in the story:
And various character shots:
Before the first comic came out there was a prequel starring a gang of children that discover the true origins of their civilization from an amused old person. The scene started with the children playing a game whose meaning they had yet to learn. Joe completed one page of the story and decided it would be best to jump straight to the story where alot of the action was. Here is the sole page of the “Round Boom” game. It was a game that showed all of the cultures knocking one another to the ground, one by one.
In 2008 there was $35,000 of student loan debt and only freelance comicbook work. From 2008 to 2013 there was no income over $30,000.
We were living with family and had two children, a third in 2012. There were brief low paying full time positions outside of the house but the majority of the income came from long distance comic company work. In 2009, the comic company stated we would be receiving no more work from them as they’d run out. In 2010, the comic company decided to send work overseas as well as use US freelances and slash the pay by 2/3. Unable to find work outside the field that would meet all our needs, we began coloring work again. It was a rip off but one that would work well enough to get our debt paid and get us out of the family’s home (if we played our cards right).
No one has respect for you if you make little money, live with family, and are working hard to pay off your debt. In fact, people encourage you to take out more debt and buy a house you can’t afford. And of course the bank’s all for “helping you out” with that.
It took a little over five years to pay off all our debt and almost a year more to save money to move.
How did we do it? In such as the case of infrequent paychecks, we had to pay the loans infrequently but large chunks and we saved the rest to live off of. Because we were living with family our living expenses were incredibly low (only $500 rent/no utilities) and if we couldn’t come up with the money the family was very forgiving. There was no health insurance to speak of, we had doctor’s visits only for the children and then it was state care. We went to the dentist once maybe twice in all that time. We paid for our own food (but was supplemented with what was available in the house in general. I don’t ever recall buying spices or sugar, things like that) and miscellaneous costs, toiletries, car insurance, inc. There was no car note because we’d paid off the car years before. There was only one car. It was a hybrid and conserved on gas, so we only filled the tank once a month. During those years we may have gone out to the movies twice, maybe, maybe three times. The real splurge was eating out. That we did perhaps once a month. Maybe, if we had money. We saved money for trips to Des Moines Iowa from Atlanta Georgia, so the kids and Joe could see the Ketterer side of the family. That was a mandatory once a year trip that we had to forgo two times due to no money.
For a while we did not tithe because there was not enough. I know there is a tithe cult that says ‘you won’t get more unless you tithe’ but I heartily disagree. The Almighty who created all things does not need your pennies to survive. God is not standing idly by, tapping his foot at us wondering where his slice of the pie is. He does expect us to care about the church the same way we care about our little old mothers, grandmothers, struggling sisters, disadvantaged brothers, cousins that are in a bind, or anybody in need. I do not for one second believe God is mad at the poor for not being the poor widow who gave two pennies, which was all she had in the world. If you can’t give cheerfully, don’t give. If you can’t give easily, don’t give. This may seem to be against giving to the church but it’s not. Anybody that cares about the church will contribute to it. You take care of those you love. But for a couple of years we were not able to tithe and during that time God richly blessed us by our receiving help from others, without our having to ask. I will always be grateful to God, all the family in my life, the Davises and the Ketterers, and the simple government institutions that were in place because we would not be where we are without them. That being said, once we added the tithe like another bill into the budget we worked a little harder at saving, not spending frivolously, and making a little more. It upped the ante.
If you don’t have a budget because you hate them you will lose. Money knows better magic tricks than Houdini on crack. Houdini was not the master escape artist, money is. It leaks out of your household like water. Pin it to paper with a budget and at least see where the leak went.
One thing that we did repeatedly was horrify ourselves by paying the loan first and seeing what we really had to work with once that was done. Nothing makes you work harder like a huge deficit for food costs. Good gracious I hate oatmeal, but it is a staple in hard times. Vacuous slop is better than air sandwiches any day.
If you are an artist, writer, general creative person, and you are in debt, you can get out. But it may take some time. It will take some help. And it would be easier if you had humility about it. Don’t give up. Put a piece of paper, drawn as fancy as you like, with your debt on it and subtract it slowly.
The moment our debt was paid off it was a giant anticlimax. With the debt gone there was a hole that you’d think would automatically fill up with cash. Well, it didn’t. Working for money was still hard and buying necessities out of our pockets instead of asking the government (we started paying for doctor’s visits with cash–still cheaper than insurance, so we still practice that) and soon it felt like we didn’t accomplish anything at all. So we went to Disney…because we hated ourselves and wanted to stand in long lines in the hot, hot sun. I don’t totally regret it because the kids loved it. But that money would have been better saved. So we had to discipline ourselves to treat our savings like a giant loan, putting large amounts, albeit infrequent, into savings when we were paid.
Regardless we began to save money slowly to be able to move out…
Moving out when you don’t have a job anywhere is hard but is alot easier when you don’t have debt. With our new learned skill of living off savings until another chunk of income came in, we crossed state borders and moved to SC to be closer to a beach. Goose Creek, SC, was approximately 1 1/2 hours from the beach. Joe found a job, full time, where he made next to nothing. Since he could much easier make next to nothing at home with comic freelancing, he quit and returned to full time freelancing.
Let me stop and back pedal– Manic Repressive was thought up back in 2006. I know, I have file dates on logos that prove it to me. I had been creating little pictures, one booklet since way before then. Being both artists, we were both usually drawing–before children showed up–and projects abounded. The projects weren’t defined in any real story like way. I had little stories that I would write and Joe wrote up multiple story ideas. The website started out as Creative Pen and Mouse. Shortly afterward it was changed to Manic Repressive…
The name describes the feelings in us. A manic, excitability about creating, artwork, and God, but a need to repress it, smash it down, to not appear too cray or unintelligible. First thing we made was a logo.The logo was an overlap of three circles atop sat MR, the three circles having religious meaning. Then the opening page to the website. Where all the characters we’d created up until that point were super imposed on a flattened, far away perspective cross.
From 2008 to 2013 Manic Repressive was worked on very, very slowly, bit by bit. We tried to do as much as we could but income always called us away.
In 2015, I realized that the website was suffering from neglect. There were still people coming to the website looking for…well, I guess our stories, updates–but they weren’t getting them. You see, from 2013-2015 we’d moved and were just trying to adjust to life and our own family, which grew to six in 2015. Manic Repressive does not make money, yet money is what we need to keep surviving on our own. We’ve been trying to figure out how to create an alternate stream of income from our stories. By 2015 we’d put out a few books, one comic (Khozos), one graphic novel (Race War), a children’s book (Honest bird) and a few romance stories. There had been a few purchases but nothing noteworthy. The “if you build it, they will come” was not working. We had to focus on gaining income to support ourselves rather than create content for the website. And yet we’d kept the website and paid for it faithfully. In August 2015, I gave myself a birthday present: a challenge. The challenge was to put up content every week for a year and see what happened.
As you can guess, people came to the site to see what little had changed. So in 2016 I determined to keep going no matter what was going on in our lives. In our lives we’d moved again, back to Georgia where Joe found full time decent paying work.
Now it’s 2017 and we have managed to move again, to be closer to Joe’s job, and lessen the commute so he may have more time for more work besides the 9 to 5.
Slowly we are working. Slowly we are working on the website and building product. These things take time and money. Both of which are in low supply, hence the slowness.
And throughout this time Batman has been there, needing his tight grey leggings colored. So we color them, get a check, and put another dollar into savings. It’s slow going ya’ll but it’s better than standing still.
FAN ART! Old, Old, OOOOLLLDD Fan Art…
Back when we were much more into paper than computers we created fan art. Thought you might get a hoot out of seeing some really old stuff that we did out of sheer fandom. Many of these things come back from college days.
Joe did lots of sketching in book after book. In between creating character after character he’d occasionally pop in a character most people knew. Like:
He created these pages while still in school for an assignment:
And here’s a painting he did after graduating while working for DC.
Davis can barely remember doing these pictures. But here is where her fandom lay:
The above influences obviously being more Japanese.
There was one show that greatly affected both artists enough to draw. But it was expressed in their own ways:
Coming Soon! (Or Soonish…)
by Davis Ketterer
Soon is a very relative word. Soon could be as soon as tomorrow or soon could be in a few years. It really depends on how badly you want to get something done. Life will certainly stop you from getting too far too fast if you don’t dig your heels in and say, ‘Now wait a minute! When I said Tuesday, I meant Tuesday! Even if that means I don’t sleep Friday, Saturday, Sunday, or Monday!’
How often do you say that to yourself? Yeah, me neither. Still, I do try to make deadlines and I do try to stick to them.
It has been on the table for awhile. It’s a short story with spot illustrations. We’ve been trying to get audio production to go with the pictures, but the files size was off and everything ended up either not loading because it was too big or being fuzzy because it was too small. And now that its been so long that I want to redo all the pictures of the entire book!
On the plus side none of the characters have changed. They have looked this way from the very beginning,
But the scenes change bit by bit. For instance,
And yet still I would like to back it up and redo the background more intricately. It’s all highly influenced by Indian architecture and I admittedly have to practice alot more. So, you’ll just have to have patience with me. Deadline TBD.
Swirled: a Pride and Prejudice Story
It is the next romance story set to come out at the end of August. It has its own page, for more detailed info go here. There’ll be more information coming out each week and an excerpt posting within the next month.
TEDDY BEAR FAMILY
As you see this is in the preliminary stages of development. This is the proposed Daddy Bear. Joe Ketterer is working hard on other projects (namely BLOW UP THE OUTSIDE WORLD) and this is the next project on the roster. This will be a short series of children’s books featuring a family of teddy bears having adventures together. Tentative launch of early 2018.
This is a sci-fi graphic novel reimagining of the book of Jonah by Joe Ketterer. Here are a few throw away pages that have been drawn up and discarded due to…well, he just didn’t like them. But they give you an idea where he’s trying to take the story. He says he always liked the story and thought it would lend itself well to the sci-fi genre.
Some initial Jonah sketches…
Here’s hoping he can get it done in the next year or so.
Miyazaki Fridays: Loser of the Pack
by Davis Ketterer
I’ve gotten into the habit of putting on a Studio Ghibli movie to end the week on a beautiful reminiscing kinda note. Today’s feature film will be Howl’s Moving Castle.
Joe Ketterer has actually read the book on which Howl is based but I never got around to it. According to him, there’s alot more family involvement, or rather negligence, in the story.
I used to wonder, when I was small, how families could break apart, grow apart, not talk or even like each other for years. As I move along in age I realize how it might happen: no longer forced together by close quarters, people stop caring about one another, if they ever cared much at all.
It occurs to me that I have always been the loser of the pack in my family. In fact, I could probably say whatever I wanted to say, frankly, about anybody in my family online, name names, and dates, and none of them would ever know. They don’t have a clue what I’m up to online, or writing, or anything (except for one, on occasion). None of my friends do either. I was always that weird girl that was into weirds things and created little weird stories but no one knew much of the details of my mind. As far as they were concerned there were no details, I was a nonentity.
You see, it’s all good and well to be a creative person, writing and drawing little stories, if you are successful. Then everyone will want to meet you, talk to you, know every little thing about you. But to be that creative person writing and drawing and not successful–well, no one even wants to admit that they know you.
So I watch myself in Howl’s Castle, a very competent Sophie sitting in a back room making dazzling hat creations that no one will ever wear. And there I am, Sophie still, shocked out of my little hat world by marriage and children, and no one sees me as anything past a little old lady who cooks and cleans.
My former family no longer recognizes me as one of their own and stopped telling people that they had a young creative person in their family. Only my husband, Howl, sees the real worth in me, and only my children, shown in the small boy Markl, revel and cheer in my small competencies and share their excitement for life with me. However,myhusbandhasn’thadhis heartstolenbyademonandIhaven’tbefriendedthewickedwitchofthewastewhoturnedmeold. Details, details.
Creativity is a lonely activity and I will think on that a little as I sit and pine for Sophie’s youth, when she seemed to matter more to everybody.
10 Artists that I Admire
by Davis Ketterer
There are about a zillion better artists out there and I’d just like to bring your attention to a few of them that are so awesome that they can bring tears to my eyes.
- The Creator. Without a doubt at the top of the list is GOD. Would any of us even know what beauty was if it had not been created for us? Just walk outside and view the real nature that all of artwork is trying its hardest to imitate. Nonplussed? Then try to create a tree. If you can’t be impressed with anything on earth, take a glance out in space. Now make a moon.
2. Juanjo Guardino. If you have never heard of Blacksad then I am proud to introduce you to Juanjo Guardino. Despite his position on the list he is not second to GOD. GOD takes up places 1 through 5. Still the ex-Disney artist gives a very good impression of what the Creator does naturally. Just check out this impressive shot:He and author Juan Diaz Canales have created a beautiful 30’s film noir detective story featuring a black cat as the detective.
3. Gian Lorenzo Bernini.
Not really coming after but alongside of Juanjo Guardino is a really, really old, dead guy called Bernini. Bernini was a painter, architect, and one crazy good sculptor. His statues look like they could move at any moment.
4. Frank Frazetta. Frazetta not only painted scenes well and modeled bodies well, his pictures bring with them their own feeling. He combined technical know-how with sentiment. Compare these two.
5. Hayao Miyazaki. Studio Ghibli’s movies also give deep unsaid emotion with their eloquently painted backgrounds and simplistic but highly dramatic characters. Personal favorite: Spirited Away. There’s just something extra moving about a girl crying over her parents being turned into pigs while she eats giant rice balls, that I can totally relate to.
6. Al Hirschfeld. Al Hirschfeld was called the master of line and just a glance at some of his caricatures will tell you why. With such a simple instrument, the plain line, he created an impression of a person that tells you all you need to know about that person to make you feel as though you’ve met them.
7. Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio. The master of shadow and light was born in the 1500’s during Italy’s Baroque period, and his name was Caravaggio. When I was in college, I would sit and stare at his paintings in books. My favorite was The Conversion of Paul.
8. Katushito Otomo. Katushito Otomo created the Akira series. The books body slam the movie into the ground. The panoramic views of the city and buildings are pictures that the reader can sit and muse over for a good thirty minutes.
9. Takehiko Inoue. Inoue may be well known for his basketball series Slam Dunk, but it was Vagabond that brought him to my notice. He has an impressive inking style, leaving lines disconnected or unfinished which miraculously use the reader’s mind to fill the gaps and go with the flow of the picture. Much of the inkwork is dark and zig zaggy giving a violence to the picture even if Miyamoto Musashi is standing still.
10. Akira Toriyama. Bringing up the rear, but far from being a bottom feeder, is Akira Toriyama. I tell you, I used to love me some Dragonball Z! And of all the artists (save GOD, who influences everybody) Toriyama has certainly deeply affected me more than the rest. I love the clean lines, the simple expressions, the straight-to-the-point scenes that never fail to deliver their meaning. His machinery keeps a light feeling, not being bogged down by too much detail. He knows when to stop.
I found this picture some time ago and had it as my desktop picture for the longest time. I love the two lizard men carrying away someone to a sewer who stop to admire the raging monster in the background. The first says “Whoa” and the second says, “Cool”.
This list is not all of the artists in the world that have left me awestruck, but they are certainly the ones that came to mind first.
In fact as I was checking out chiaroscuro (the treatment of light and shade in drawing and painting), I saw Vermeer and I was tempted to bump Caravaggio for the Dutch painter but I stopped. Caravaggio did catch my attention first. And each one deserves a little attention from you, if you ever have the time.
Ideas are driving me crazy!
by Davis Ketterer
On Manic Repressive the world gets a very limited peek inside my head. The current online projects: Seven, Storytime Fridays, Heirs, Opus 3 (Honest to goodness I’m working on getting that put up) is a small sampling of what has already gone through my head.
I’ve written many stories before those that’ll never see the light of day. Sometimes I think back on them with some amusement but mostly with relief; I got the story out.
One of the bigs one was…it’s been so long I don’t remember the name of it!
But it had Stanti (pictured) as the main character. She was a soldier in the imperial army in a country/land/world-whatever, that made it illegal to be a woman. So she dressed up as a man and moved up the ranks to eventually help defeat the insane emperor. That story was the first long one I had to get out of my head. Once I managed to write it out (and I do mean write, not type), I lingered on it for a little while but then moved on.
You see, I constantly have a stream of stories running through my head. I write down the gist of the plot to refer to at a later time so I can clear my mind enough to try to get my current project done. Problem is, I have a pile on my list and all of them are chomping at the bit.
Let me try to explain.
It takes time, you know, it takes time to get a story out. It takes time to figure out the whole plot, craft the characters, construct the scenes, and then actually write it all out. Sometimes I wish that was all I had to do, but it’s not. Like most of you, no, like all of you, I have a life I have to attend to and it is always begging for time. I need time to make the meals, to eat the meals, to pay the bills, to plan the birthday surprise, to cut my fingernails, to clean up vomit–whatever, anything, everything! And like all of you, I only get 24 hours in a day.
Anybody wish they had more hours in the day?
I don’t. I don’t think that would solve my problem anyway. The more time I have allotted to me the more life swoops in and pecks at it.
If I get anything written or drawn it is because I have forced it into the day. And I force it into the day everyday, somehow, someway.
Sometimes dinner isn’t cooked, it’s raw. Raw celery is hard to take but , hey, I needed the time. Sometimes the toys stay scattered because I need the time. Sometimes the movie was missed because I need the time. Sometimes the mail stays in the box, the cell phone runs out of battery and dies a miserable death, the laundry piles up and up, and sometimes I forget to turn on the computer at all because I needed the time.
Is it worth it? Stealing snatches of time here or there to pick, pick, pick at a story or a picture that I dump in a box when I’m done and scurry on to the next one?
Absolutely! In fact, it’s imperative. If the stories are left untold they eventually curl up in a corner of my mind and vanish. And bit by bit a part of me, that I’ve always enjoyed, will die. So I rush to finish them but I swear time is shrinking.
How is it that the older you become the days of the week drag past but the months roll along and the years run?
Let’s see…there’s Seven–thank heaven she’s already done. I’ve had her written out since the early 2000’s and I got the pencils done last April. Each week I spend some time slapping ink and flats on a page…there’s Opus 3–that’s written and even drawn, though I am reconsidering drawing more elaborate pictures. If I can get around to it. It’s on the back burner due to sound…there’s The Problem with Hope which has totally been stopped because I switched off to… Swirled is done writing and I have a few pictures for it but I want to add a voice for an audiobook…Cassandra Parker was started, had a pretty good start, but was put off because…My children requested a story from me and I wrote The Sugar Thief. That short story finished but it was so enjoyed and so enjoyable a task that I began the continuation which is where I am currently stuck.
Can I sit down and just write it out? Sure can, but rarely do I have a ‘just sit down and write it out’ day. There is freelance comic book work to do, small but very time consuming, a family to take care of, lessons to teach, and sleep to obtain.
But the stories are all there shouting now but soon to be quiet…
Cassandra Parker, Partime Detective, The Problem with Hope, Ben and Venus, Pharmland, The One, Total Rebellion…
Ai! I forgot Moonman and Kimbi’s song! They are written and waiting to be drawn.
How will I get it all done?
Bit by bit. Crumb by crumb.
Blow Up the Outside World has been on Page 33 for a while… Here’s page 46, the last of the dream sequences. Took me a while, but I’m fairly happy with it.
I’ve been drawing the pages and stockpiling them, so that once the story is complete, I can get them plugged into the system and have them post with some regularity. Currently, I’m fiddling with the pencils for page 51. There are only 54 pages in the story, unless I get crazy and add one or two at the last minute.
Thanks for being patient, Blow Up will resume soon, and post regularly until the end…