Rachel Dukes



The Deets: Schoolboy Steven, activate! Steven finds himself enrolled in Connie’s school after a show-and-tell lesson goes awry…and things just get crazier from there! Steven is having a hard time fitting in with normal school and Connie just wants to graduate with good grades and a clean record, but when gem and homework collide, who knows what will happen. This is a lesson you don’t want to miss!

On sale 4/6!


A comiXologist Recommends (a great new sci-fi anthology)

Beyond: The Queer Sci-Fi & Fantasy Comic Anthology

Edited by Sfe R. Monster

With Star Wars withdrawals and shakes finally coming down I’ve been absolutely aflutter with the possibilities of the sci-fi and fantasy genres outside of the blockbuster franchise.  There are so many things to read and enjoy–not to mention the all-too-familiar feeling of “Where to begin?”  If you’re facing a similar conundrum, start with Beyond, a superb collection of queer sci-fi and fantasy comics edited by Sfe R. Monster.  

Stories featuring war, space exploration, post-apocalyptic settings, and fantastical pirates are but a few of the downright awesome additions to this collection.  The richness of the characters and shared themes throughout the book create an excellent cohesion despite the wide spectrum of stylizations of its artists.  With most all characters being inherently or assumedly a member of the LGBTQA community it is easy to start identifying the themes they convey more succinctly.  Science fiction and fantasy associate themselves with many themes that involve personal identity, self-confidence, self-image, and challenging overwhelming odds.  These are all things that if you are a member of the community or are close to someone in the community you should be able to identify almost immediately.  These stories actually make them more succinct.

The first submission in Beyond, “Luminosity” by Gabby Reed and Rachel Dukes, tells the life story of two girls who grow up to be an astronaut and a ship’s power source.  They are intertwined by their need for one another if they intend to see the stars. It is a poignant love story that hit me right in the heart of all my feels (pardon the vernacular).  Although it’s hard to narrow it down, my favorite story in the anthology is “The Graves of Wolves.” It is the tale of two men and their alien son living in a tank to protect each other from a weaponized darkness.  One day, scruffy dad takes cricket son out to hunt and they end up fleeing from an all-consuming shadow as it descends upon them.  I want to nerd out about the ingenuity of this story’s simplicity, but I can’t say more without spoiling the ending.  Unfortunately, it’s somewhat difficult to go into a deeper discussion on Beyond without spoiling ANYTHING because it is a short story collection.

The stories included in Beyond are all so sharp and clever in their use of classic genre themes that it is an absolute shame that they run the risk of being branded as simply “queer” as a result of the anthology’s title.  It’s a shame that genres that traditionally pride themselves for being inclusive still require queer stories to announce themselves as such.  

The fact that there is a chance family friendly this book wouldn’t be welcome in a general sci-fi collection opens a lot of room for discussion about the nature of the genres in question.  That discussion, however, can be saved for another time after you read this fantastic collection that combines themes, narratives, and stylizations of art that will inspire and delight anyone and everyone.

Matthew Burbridge is a Digital Editor at ComiXology and his dream is to stop leaving socks everywhere and celebrate by buying his girlfriend one thousand Pomeranians, and then immediately regret it because one Pomeranian is already a lot of work.

wyrmeguy  asked:

Ok another question, how did you get discovered? Or ya know how did you get the opportunity to make comics for adventure time and stuff? Thank you :)

Hey Chris,

Thanks for the follow-up question!

There’s no such thing as “discovered” in the comics industry (Spike wrote about this more eloquently here.) but I can talk about my history in comics and how I finally starting getting regular freelance work on licensed properties.

I’ve been drawing comics and posting them online regularly since September of 2001. There was this wonderful handful of years in the late nineties and early aughts where just about everyone you now that’s working on your favourite cartoon properties (Natasha Allegri, Ryan Pequin, Madeleine Flores, Meredith Gran, Lucy Knisley, Becky Dreistadt, KC Green, etc.) was growing up together, posting comics on Livejournal or Keenspace (an offshoot of Keenspot).

Working alongside these talented folks to inspire me, and learning the ropes of comics creation as I went, I formed my own self-publishing imprint (Poseur Ink) in 2003.

For ten years, I ran the small press mini comics and distribution company: selling my own work and work by other indie cartoonists (like Megan Rose Gedris, Colleen Frakes, Box Brown, Josh PM Frees, and Ed Brisson). I regularly updated my journal comic (Intentionally Left Blank) and curated and published the anthologies Side A: The Music Lover’s Graphic Novel (2007) and Side B: The Music Lovers Comic Anthology (2009).

The anthologies helped me meet a lot of wonderful artists who I had never known online before. (Annie Mok, Jon Chad, and Noah Van Sciver to name just a few.)

In addition to creating my own comics and anthologies, I also regularly submitted to anthologies put together by other creators. (The Big Ol’ Book of BIZMARI Saw You…Missed Connection ComicsBig Sexy, etc.)

I tabled at as many conventions as I could: Comic Con International, Alternative Press Expo, Wondercon, Emerald City Comicon, Portland Zine Symposium, TCAF, MoCCA, small local shows, craft fairs, zine/record swaps… in order to sell as many comics as I could and meet other creators. (This gave me the opportunity to meet a lot of my online peers in real life for the first time and strengthen our friendships.)

Even though I was creating new work regularly, creating comics never self-sustained itself financially. So in addition to all the comics work I was also co-running Mod Buttons (a custom button/lapel-pin company) with my partner Mike (who also worked with Poseur Ink), and taking illustration commissions from Cartoon Commune (under the care of Ryan Estrada). [In addition to helping me afford to print and publish comics, the former also put me in touch with even more independent artists and cartoonists. (Michelle Romo, Jason Ponggasam, Carol Burrell, etc.)]

So, I have a long history of working within the indie comics community. I never really broke in, I never really blew up, but I’ve been around, creating for a long, long time.

All the puzzle pieces finally began to fall into place during the last two years while I was at The Center for Cartoon Studies.

I helped work the BOOM Studios table during MoCCA 2012 in order to fulfill some of my CCS internship hours. There, I met BOOM editor Adam Staffaroni, who happens to be good friends with my pal Jon Chad (who happened to be one of my instructors while I was at CCS). There, Adam and I became friends. (Simultaneously, of my CCS classmates, Carol Thompson, had just recently begun working at BOOM as a graphic designer.)

Later that same year, Carol and I ran into each other at a convention and she told me she had decided to leave BOOM. My partner Mike, whose undergraduate was graphic design, applied to take her position. Adam was able to get Mike in as an intern for the position and they later hired him on full time. He started there in September 2012.

While Mike was working at BOOM, we became friends with Shannon Watters and Dafna Pleban. (And learned that Shannon was the very first person to buy Poseur Ink’s shark shirt design back when it first came out.)

In December 2012, Shannon was looking for variant cover artists for Adventure Time with Fionna and Cake and my name came up in the studio. She emailed and asked if I would be interested. (Of course I said yes!)

Having done that cover (and having a portfolio full of Frankie comics) lead to my drawing the Garfield back-up story (edited by Chris Rosa) that will be on shelves this March. (Keep an eye out for that!)

Dafna is to thank for my pairing with Gabby Silang, which is how I ended up in the upcoming Beyond anthology. I have upcoming licensed work thanks to Adam… I have another upcoming independent project thanks to Carol Burrell…

It all comes down to community. Work hard, make friends, create opportunities for yourself and your friends, take opportunities when they’re offered to you (even if you don’t think you have the time)… be kind. Success is contagious and a rising tide lifts boats. For all my years drawing comics, I would not be as accomplished as I am today without the help of my friends.

And that, Chris, is how I got to draw for Adventure Time. :)