Monday, August 06, 2007

Shameless self-promotion: TEMPLAR

Do me a favor and go check out Templar, a comic book that I wrote and co-created with artist Ken Christiansen, who rules.

Templar is a five-issue comic book series full of automatic weaponry, zombies, fu, silver swords, werewolves, submarines, vampires, a demon, some blimps, and a commando assault on The Vatican. It's got everything you need in a comic, except tits. Sorry, no tits.

We decided to "publish" Templar online in this black and white ashcan format. Why?

Because we are pure of heart.

Take a look, won't you? Let me know what you think - unless you hate it, of course.


Unknown said...

"Take a look, won't you? Let me know what you think - unless you hate it, of course."

That eliminates me I guess.

You've got an interesting premise that's being totally bogged down by a massive dose of standard action movie cliches. Art's kind of odd too, he draws a ton of unnecessary lines on people's faces that hints at over-photo referencing.

Anonymous said...

I liked Templar a little better than m.d. And I'll explain why later - when the boss's not looking. Would be great to have an easy-to-print format.

Anonymous said...

I thought it looked pretty cool, but I haven't read the whole thing. It'd be great to see it colored.

Anonymous said...

Ok, boss gone. So:

*The Platform

It sucks. I mean, I had to open 22 different tabs to read the whole thing. I'm not a techie guy myself, but surely there's a better platform than Blogger for putting comics on the Web?
I mean, having to go from tab to tab and then having to scroll down to see the whole page kind of broke up my reading - a bad thing, since I suppose the first scenes on issue 1 were supposed to develop a rhythm.

*The art

I liked it. Clean, simple, sort of reminds of that guy who did fill in issues in the Ann Nocenti/John Romita Jr. run of Daredevil. Would probably look a lot better inked and colored.

*The story

I only read issue 1, and that's mostly because I didn't realize there was more under "June" and "May". I repeat myself but - bad platform.

So, my comments are only on ish# 1, which means I'm still waiting on the blimps.

Anyway: halfway through that issue, I was thinking of European authors like Jodorowski or Miguelanxo Prado more than US comics, which is weird cause I don't think I've ever read a thing in Dave's Long Box about Euro comics.

It's a huge risk going though the first 14 pages of your comic with your main characters masked. The remaining 8 pages aren't enough for the reader to fully tell the difference between Andrew and Martin, let alone care about them.

The dialogue is only OK. M.D. is right about the overuse of action movie clichés - which would be OK if this was a satire, but Templar seems dead serious:

"We were in the acadamy together, Jacob Andrew and I. Always thought we'd live to see the end of this."

This is not badass dialogue. This could be out of Lethal Weapon 2. Also, unless in the Templar universe "Acadamy" is an altogether different think, "academy" is mispelled.

But hey, I don't want to dwell on the negatives. Overall, Templar was a good read and, most importantly, made me feel like reading issue #2.

Which I'll do right now. Thanks for sharing it for free online.

Anonymous said...

(naturally, the above post where I complain about misspellings in the comic if full of misspellings itself)

Skipper Pickle said...

Wotta buncha poozers you guys are. i've just finished issue 1 and Templar may have its cliches, but it's a worthy successor to "North Sea Hijack" aka "ffolkes". Kudos, Dave! i look forward to finishing the rest.

Jeff Hebert said...

I'm a bit odd since I've never read anything else you've written except this blog, Dave, but I really liked it. I didn't find it too cliche or predictable, it came off as fun and action-oriented. I don't fault "The Ultimates" because it lacks the dramatic nuance of "Beaches" -- I want cool guys blowing shit up and hacking their way through zombies and werewolves. The book delivers on what it promised and makes me want to read issue 2. Which, like another commenter, I didn't even realize was available, so I'm off to read that now. I'm always up for an armed assault on the Vampire-ridden Vatican :-)

Have to agree on the format, though; Blogger may not be the worst venue for publishing an online comic, but it definitely made the list. Perhaps a set of Picasa web albums? It even comes free with Blogger, so your images should already be loaded into the system. You can organize them one issue per album, and put the pages in the right order. The user can then start a paused slideshow to read through the issue.

Just a thought, take it for what it's worth. You got the hard part done already, a good story with good art, delivery mechanisms are nothin'.

The Tensor said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
The Tensor said...

I get that it's an updating of The Saint, but when does Simon show up?

Anonymous said...

Enjoying it so far, just a couple of small things jumped out at me -- 'you're', 'is', the mystery of vol. 4, page 6.

rgl who has difficulty counting

Anonymous said...

Air Wolf.

Hate the outfits though.

Tyler said...

Pretty dopesauce. Posting them as spreads in the future might help. I liked the fact that the action never got interrupted by an ad. I think that qualifies as "Non-Stop Action!"

Andy Goldman said...

I liked issue 1. Like others, didn't realize all five were posted at once. It's very hard for me to tell if I like the art before it is inked and colored. The monsters look cool, the human faces I am not so sure about. I didn't find it cliched. It is like saying a spy movie is cliched because it has a double-cross in it. It's just a certain style. As for the format, since someone is going to do it anyway, you might want to consider just putting them on a site like Zcult in a .cbr format. Anyway, don't let the haters get you down. Most of us don't get off our lazy butts and actually put ourselves out there.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing this with us, Dave! Have been reading an issue per day, savoring it. The action doesn't strike me as cliched, so much as solid, no-nonsense ass kicking. And as noted, it's a great, expansive premise, with a lot of directions you could take future stories in, drawing on horror, espionage, conspiracy, and other genres. I'd definitely be interested in reading more!

Liked the art, especially the larger panels and full pages. Would love to see it properly lettered and colored.

My only complaint is the cover. Something in the drawing and coloring just isn't quite on the mark -- where I want steadfast and grim determination I see a half-lidded daze, as if your warrior monk had gotten woozy on altar wine.

Unknown said...

Read the first issue, and I think it's pretty rocksome. The art is beautiful, though I think it will live or die by ink. I have to agree with the platform issues, but on the whole a very enjoyable comics experience. Keep it up, but don't neglect the long boxes! It's been great to have you back more regularly.

JamesF said...

Not bad, but as many other people have pointed out, I didn't even realize all the issues were available until I saw that fact listed here.

I agree with the general consensus that blogger isn't the best place to show this. It might take some work, but GooglePages would probably work. GooglePages only gives you 100 Meg of space though, so just use the uploaded images from your blogger account and then reference them from the GooglePages.

And as someone else already pointed out, issue four page six is the same image as issue four page five (I've stopped reading there in case there's something crucial that occurs on page 6).

Also, it took my until issue 3 to realize this isn't the world as we know it and some devastated world full of deaders. If I was suppose to pick up on that fact prior to that, I missed it.

gorjus said...

Let me be the first to say that I absolutely, unequivocally love it. And: I hate modern comics so much I quit reading them.

First, the universe is spectacular. Like Max Brooks' World War Z, you've created a fascinating alt-world that's enjoyable to read about and well thought-out. I'd love, love, love to know more about the world--a map would be AMAZING!

I'm also enjoying the Christian angle of the Templars. It's mainly focused on in issue 1 (I read all of them in one sitting), but it's something you don't often seen treated in any fashion in any comic. I would like to see more about Martin's faith.

As far as the art goes--I think it's a clean line masterpiece. One of the reasons I've always enjoyed Perez and Cassady are their mastery over the thin tight line, a respect of architecture, and a willingness to assume that clothes have wrinkles and that every day objects (chairs, phones, glasses) be drawn correctly. This is all that and more. The most obvious triumph are the cinematic landscapes and meticulously rendered technology. Eliot Brown, eat yer heart out.

As far as the format: Blogger is free. It just takes some clicking around to read some kickass comics. If you're going to complain about free comics, you can bite my ass, dorks, and go scribble more on your Valiant fanblogs. And yes: it's in black and white. So is Love & Rockets. Stop crying.

Dave, since the days of the Velvet Marauder (which would be a kickass novel or movie, we all know it), you've been one of my favorite writers. This is another huge step towards mastering the form you love--comics. Sure, there's some spelling flubs, but that can be fixed in literal seconds.

I think this is damn near perfect. Better than anything I've read in months, and I'd pay for it. I'm a Templar devotee.

David Campbell said...

Thanks everybody for the comments. Even if you didn't care for it, I appreciate the feedback.

I'm going to have to look into Picasa or Google Pages or something, I agree the format is less than desirable. And I'll fix page 4.6 - thanks for the heads up.

Anonymous said...

Enjoying it so far. Like the art (I would also like to see it colored some day). Like that we are starting in medias res. Looking forward to finding the answers to the questions the first issue raises.

As a once-Catholic, I am automatically on the side of anyone taking on the church, which I realize isn't a terribly objective criticism, but it did hook me into the story right away.

And, "Gentlemen. Shall we begin?" was a total F%$& YEAH! moment. Nicely done.

Unknown said...

I liked it. Of course I've been looking forward to reading it since you gave me the story breakdown at Daly's 100 years ago. Congratulations on getting it into 'print' after all this time. Certainly everyone has some valid points in their critiques (disclaimer: all speeling errors in this post are completely intentional) but I'm all about the fun. It was fun to read. I just wasted half the workday. :) Thanks Dave!

Anonymous said...

Nothing wrong with a bunch of action movie cliches. I dig them. Being unable to give into the comic and just enjoy it almost ruins the purpose of reading.

I've always been a huge fan of undead, zombies..the whole un-holy vs the holy genre. Seeing it in comic form is nice, so is the spin on the idea.


I agree with Don Paco. Reading 22 different tabs on firefox isnt so tough but having in on CDdisplay or something would be great. Quick DL and read the entire thing.


As I stated above, I dig it. Big scheme is kind of basic, good vs evil, but its the little parts that make the story good. By the third book, I really liked the characters. The Templars being spec forces soldiers is great as well. You get the feeling they know their stuff and dont mess around.

the art

The art is solid and well done, and I get the feeling it would look better with color than black and white. Other then that, I enjoyed it.

Over all its a enjoyable, solid comic about the good guys vs the bad. You have the jargon down well and it feels real enough, for a world over run by the walking dead. :)

Anonymous said...

Great comic Dave. My interest is definitely piqued. I read the first & second issue and I'm moving on to the next one. I just have a little feedback--please don't sic the Suicide Squad on me.

I agree with m.d. that there's a lot of familiar tropes, almost to the point where I could hear Cartman saying a few of the lines. The premise is good enough that it doesn't need to rely on cliches to grab the reader.

The artwork, it's OK but a little creepy--why no pupils, Ken Christiansen?

Reading the comic: How about the option of downloading a multipage pdf?

That's all. I really do like the series, I am just tossing in my honest opinion. Forgive me, m'lord.

Matt Shepherd said...

I likes it, Dave!

How the hell does one e-mail you?

David Campbell said...

here you go:

Did You Know said...

I loved the concept. Thought it was very well thought out and very creative. Would like to see it expanded.

I thought some of the writing was a tad cliched. Not so much the circumstances the plot, which I quite dug, but a lot of the dialouge was standard action movie stuff. Nothing special.

I liked a lot of the splash pages, the battleship exploding was particularly well done. I thought a lot of the faces looked overly rendered and frankly odd at times.

Overall, I enjoyed it, but with a few tweaks in the dialouge and art it could be tremendous.

Chris said...

I only read the first issue but I liked it enough. It's always hard to do an excellent first issue because you have so much to introduce. I'll click on over to the second issue when I have some more free time, but I say good job.

As for the format, I'd suggest making a multi-page PDF and have it as a download.

Anonymous said...

too much spare time homey

Anonymous said...

Outstanding. The story, the art, the premise. . . all of it.

The economical use of text, and especially the gorgeous text-free panels is like discovering some vintage Mike Grell title that you somehow missed before.

Thanks for sharing the Awesomeness.

Anonymous said...

Wonderful stuff. The themes and the action felt specifically geared to my own personal interests, so I feel like a big fanboy for enjoying it as much as I did. That doesn't stop me from being thirsty for the follow-up, however.
Lemme ask you though....

Did God want you to write that book? Is that it?

Toasty said...

hey dave; rather liked it. the art does take some getting used to as it seems to desire some computer rendered colouring. story is a decent romp.

as for format, i would suggest the standard in online comic book reading... the .CBR format.

Anonymous said...

Ignore the frustrated creators. That story was Great. The art was great. Really liked the universal themes, actual good vs. evil - instead of the morally equivalent angsty anti-hero nihilistic schtick that comics have been stuffing down our throats for 15 years now.

Seriously, this thing was really good.

Don't let the alumni committee at Evergreen find out that you've published something based on traditional Judeo-Christian philosophy - they'll retroactively yank your degree.

Hope you're making another arc - I'd subscribe...

Anonymous said...

I really loved it... the art was very kinetic and fun, and I like that kind of line-heavy art, especially in BW. And the concept was really cool, esp. the whole religious angle. I can't wait to read issue 2.

Anonymous said...

Not a bad dang little book, I say.
Thought the art varied a little here and there from "pretty good" to "in need of the redeeming power of color."
Fun concept, particularly because of the solid good v evil battle going on. As someone else already pointed out, moral ambiguity has its place but it's always fun to see unrepentant squeaky clean do-gooders crusader against and slaughter blatantly evil monsters.
Blogger worked fine for me.
My only two criticisms
1.) Only the main character interested me at all. The "standard issue hero" nature of his character was acceptable as the easily recognized lead. I just expected more in the way of, well any kind of character development or definition or quirks, from most everyone else. I think that stems from the same root as my other critique that,
2.) Dave I think you can write punchier dialogue than that!
As a regular reader of your blog, man, I know, I freakin KNOW! that you can come up with more memorable conversation than what I saw there. No major cliches, yeah, but nothing to inspire clicheing. The closest thing I saw to dialogue fleshing out a character was the repeated rebuking of the cussin fella. But there was nothing in there akin to the exclamation of "That is so Airwolf!" a phraase threatening to take the English speaking world by storm, or even "boobwar." It wasn't bad, it just wasn't at the level of wordsmithing that I expected from the dude with the longbox.
Could be fun to see the world grow and evolve over more issues and looks to have the potential for a solid run.
Good job man. Keep it up.

Ken Christiansen said...

Hey everyone, Ken here. Thanks for all your feedback, we really appreciate it!

There's some questions about the art I'll take a second to answer. It was intended to be painted, so that's why there's a few things that are a little odd; the extra lines here and there are meant to be guides for the color, where to fill in the shadows, etc. Sometimes there are no pupils, also meant be dealt with in the color stage. It's also missing graphics here and there, notes and TV screens, etc. And lastly, you guys are seeing it at twice the size it's intended, even a little bigger than the actual art! So expect to see some things that wouldn't make it past the printing stage if this ever got published.

Of course I want to thank Dave, I've held this script hostage for EIGHT YEARS, working on it in my spare time, not even really getting going on it until 2003. Thanks to Dave for waiting on me. Click on over to Velvet Marauder, and see the pinup I made for him as a thank you for taking the time to get this on the web. It's not Templar style, but it has actual color!

So thanks again to Dave, and all the DLB readers taking the time to give us your opinions, good and bad!


Anonymous said...


-some dialog could use firming up
-it would be nice to have it in a more readable format...that said, I read it all
-I like the "raw" art, its a welcome change from over-produced, computer colored "traditional" art.

Anonymous said...

I liked it, Dave.

tkincher said...

I'll elaborate when I've read further than the first ish, but I'll say this so far: definitely digging it, and going to read more!

Josh Elder said...

I had this exact same idea about 10 years ago, but Dave has already done it better than I ever would have. Good show, sir.

There are some definite "first-timer" flaws here, but overall you've put together a pretty excellent piece of work. And the storytelling and figure work is pretty great. A lot of the pencilling flaws could be easily fixed by a good inker and the dialog needs a polish, but you've done a pretty impressive job and you've got a rockin' concept.

My main issue with the first issue is that the characters all tend to blend together. Having them all in masks with identical gear and fairly similar speech patterns is a big no-no.

My two suggestions: Insert a scene at the beginning showing them putting on their masks as they prep for the mission -- think that "getting to know the team" scene from Predator where we got to meet all those badass dudes and actually attach some (limited" personality to them before they became Predator fodder. I'd also suggest giving them slightly different weapons and gear. Every squad of this size generally has one man who functions as SAW or heavy machine gunner, another with the communications pack and generally at least one guy packs a shotgun or similar close range weapon for trench or close-quarters fighting.

I'd highly suggest picking up a few of those coffee table books on the special forces units you can find at Barnes & Noble. I have one and it's been invaluable for both visual reference and figuring out how to write siutations for guys like these. I'd also (seriously) recommend playing a little Socom: Navy Seals and Rainbow Six on your game console of choice. You've got a lot of the dialog and tactics down, but that will help you brush up one things a little.

Good work, Dave. I hope you land it somewhere or self-publish. I'll buy it either way.

John said...

Awesome work as always man. I would have liked to see this in print. I would have bought it at least. I read it a while back and finally figured out a way to get more people to see your awesomeness. I made a blog entry about it. Check it out here .

Keep on keeping on.

Anonymous said...

Let me just say "wow!"

There have been a lot of comments about the art, and the dialogue, and the cliches. And the formatting. So what, though?

Yes, coloring would help immensely. There were times when characters where obviously smiling but they came off as snarling. Genevieve was just all-around creepy looking. But this is a project you've given to us in an unfinished state. It rocks!

It had me hooked, I didn't care if the characters looked the same with the masks on, and I dug it. Hell, there were times when I couldn't tell them apart when they were sitting around the base, but then I'm just a sloppy reader. Josh Elder had a good idea about the variations in gear.

Very cool shtuff, omae!!

Patrick McEvoy said...

Very entertaining! I like the storytelling and I can't wait to see what it looks like fully rendered in color. The faces especially should benefit - although it still looks nice even now.

I can't help but agree that a few more snappy verbal exchanges here and there would really punch it up, but the plot, pacing and general characters are quite nice.

Thanks for taking the time to post this. It made for a great morning of reading, and if I ever see it on the stands I'll be sure to pick it up!

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