It’s been half a year since our last Sugar Ninjas update about the release of volume three. Why the long delay, and whatever happened to the interviews with Sugar Ninjas creators that were supposed to be posted many, many moons ago. The truth is that I was simply exhausted from three straight years of working on Sugar Ninjas, writing and illustrating my soon-to-be-completed graphic novel (ANA TEACHES KITTENS DRAWING AND DESIGN), and searching for another school interested in starting up a comics-based Sequential Art program. Despite being unemployed for the past three years, I still managed to fall victim to overwork and the dreaded “s” word: stress. Coupled with the relatively poor printing quality of far too many copies of volume three, I found that all I could do was temporarily shutdown and hope my batteries would recharge with time…and so they have!
My trusty assistant editor, Gally Articola, has been working with me to produce another version of Sugar Ninjas volume three, which will soon be made available at Amazon.com. Unfortunately, we couldn’t use the 9 x 7 inches format, so we had to settle for 8.5 x 8.5, which was just as tricky as you can imagine. But the superior printing quality (and finally being listed on Amazon) forced our hands. We will also finally be re-releasing volume one for Amazon, too. We may have even discovered yet another on-demand printer that can produce quality books at even cheaper prices, but more about that later.
This year’s Sugar Ninjas Vol. 4 books will be a big departure in another way, too. For the first time, we will be using a larger 8.5 x 11 inches format, allowing for larger individual comics pages and illustrations (the print area will be 8 x 10.5 inches). The goal is to provide a better showcase for some of the more detailed artwork, especially some of the manga pages, with their intricate toning work. Other than that, we will still be featuring a mixture of comic book stories, comic strips, picture book stories, fantasy illustrations, text-only stories, and more. Also, we will still be open to pretty much ANY sort of genre or story you’d like to tell, whether alone or with a partner. All we ask, as usual, is that all you don’t use anyone else’s copyrighted characters (no fan-fiction, please).
The deadline for this year has been extended all the way to 11/10/12, giving people five months to come up with something for either the Sweet book (all-ages) or Spicy book (18+ material may be included). As always, you can feel free to submit material from previously posted web comics or work you’ve also submitted to other anthologies. The copyright of all material remains yours and will labelled as such right on the very first page of each copy of Sugar Ninjas Volume Four.
Oh, there’s another way that this year’s Sugar Ninjas will be different. For the first time, we will be letting Sugar Ninjas creators choose the artwork for both the Sweet and Spicy books, via a late summer voting contest (details coming very soon).
A lot of girls have been writing to me and telling me how much they appreciate the work we’re doing with the Sugar Ninjas, giving female artists/storytellers an opportunity to showcase their skills in a collection that gives them complete and total freedom to express themselves. We have never been about making money, but we ARE about proving again and again just how much untapped talent is out there and how diverse it can be. After the months and months of inactivity on my end, I would not be surprised if many of you don’t bother participating this year…but I’m hoping that there are enough of you out there who will once again want to be a part of something bigger than ourselves, and possibly contribute to making this best volume of Sugar Ninjas yet.