Saturday, February 28, 2009

Cover layouts

Here are the first cover layouts Brad T put together before he started working on the final version you that was eventually submitted for Round 1 of the contest.

This is the first one, but we both felt it needed something a bit more dynamic.

So it evolved into this, with the cool "worms eye" view you see on the finished cover.

And, just for fun here's a work in progress version, and the first completed cover art that I got to see. I think all this waiting is the hardest part of being the writer. Those artists guys have all the fun.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Round 2 progress

Not a lot I can actually share due to the contest rules, but our material for Round 2 is coming quicker than I expected.

This round requires a 360 degree view of each main character (we have 5 main characters) and also three action poses for each.

The first two 360 poses are done and headed off to the inking phase.

There's still a lot of work to do, but considering these aren't due until April 1, I think we're off to a great start.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

The Official “Name Our Project!” contest

Hey everyone,

As you can see from earlier posts, our project, currently titled “Steel Rising”, has been voted into Round 2 of the Small Press Idol 2009 competition.

We’re all very excited, and have gotten some great comments and feedback so far.

But the one thing everyone agrees needs to change is the title! We think we have something pretty good starting here, and we want a title that really says something about our book.

And that’s where you come in, our hopefully soon-to-be fans. That’s right; we want you to help us pick a new title.

Now, you’re probably asking, “What do I get for helping you?”

Well, here’s what you get if we choose your title:

1. If our project makes it Round 4 of the contest we will have #0 issue published. You will get a signed copy of our #0 issue if we make it that far, plus
2. a minor guest character based on you to appear in one of our 4 issues if we get the grand prize
3. and if we don’t make it to either, you’ll still get a huge Thank You, and maybe a signed print of one of the pieces of art from Round 1 or 2

Please send your entry to: and put “Title Contest” in the title. A winner will be picked when the entire creative teams agrees on one title we all want to use.

And check out the current status of “Steel Rising” on the Small Press Idol forum at

Friday, February 20, 2009

Round 1 submission

Here it is, our entry from Round 1. To read the judges and other members comments, go to

Steel Rising

What if every fantasy novel you ever read…was true! Elves and dwarves, orcs and dragons, and many others all existed side by side with man and many a great adventure was had.

Now the forests and villages have faded, replaced by cities and highways. The world has moved on and The Races moved with it. Dwarves are successful businessmen, Orcs and Trolls fill the ranks of the military and police, and dragons sleep under the Golden Gate Bridge.

But the transition was not so easy for some. The Wood Elves have taken refuge in nature reserves and national parks, doomed to watch helplessly as industrial advances threaten their beloved forests. The Dark Elves, Goblins, and other dark Races have retreated to the comfort of the sewers and subways.

However, the hardest hit are the Mages of all Races. With the rise of modern technology the Magical Arts began to fade. Then during World War II the Mages were once again called upon to unleash the full extent of their power, reminding the world of their devastating potential. The war was followed by a period of fear, paranoia, and suspicion. In 1954 the Mage Control Act was passed, declaring Mages a danger to all normal beings. Since then Mages have been hunted, imprisoned, and killed. The few remaining are deep in hiding, afraid to reveal their power to the world.

But when the mysterious and powerful Black Ruby is unearthed, only a Mage can unleash its power, and only a Mage can stop it. Now the race is on to find one of the last remaining Mages. Will her power be used to save the world, or to destroy it?

Characters and concepts (c) 2008 Brad Huffman-Parent and Brad Thingvold

Round 1...

We submitted our Round 1 entry on Wednesday 2/18.

What a day.

The first judge left his comments and vote within an hour of the project going up. And it was good! Here's a little excerpt:

"There's real meat and potatoes here, folks. And I suspect we have one that other contenders should really be worried about if it makes it to future rounds.

Do I have confidence in this project?

Yes-- Unquestionably. "

Nice way to start the day. But, then I had to head off to do some work for the real job and got to spend the next few hours wondering how the other two judges would vote. That was not fun. This project means a lot to me, and it was torture to have to wait to find out how it was going to go.

Luckily I came home to find that another judge had made his decision. Another Yes!

"so far, i think this project is the front runner!
of course we have quite a few still to see.
keep up the high quality of work gang.

my vote


That was enough right there, 2 out of 3, unless the third judge absolutely hated us. But the third judge was another "Yes", although not as enthusiastic as the rest.

And we're moving on to Round 2...

Welcome... the the home of the project currently called Steel Rising. I say "currently" because that title is going to change, but I'll talk about that later.

Steel Rising is an entry for the 2009 Small Press Idol competition. For those that don't know what SPI is, the easiest way to describe it is as American Idol for the independent comics world.

The creative team consists of:

Brad Huffman-Parent (me): creator/writer
Brad Thingvold: pencils
Joe Armour: inks
Michael Summers: colors

So, there's the basics. What's next? Well, quite a bit. I'll break things down round by round throughout the contest(the contest consists of 4 rounds, and I'll explain that in more detail later, too) and keep you all updated on the status of things as they come.