September is here, and fall is on the horizon! My favourite season with (what I consider) perfect crisp air, a colourful mosaic of changing leaves, and fashionable layers to keep you cozy. All of which combined make for great rides on my motorcycle through Ontario's Northern roads.

Those rides, for now, will have to wait till October 'cause September is BANANAS!

I'm deep in the middle of STILLWATER's third story arc. If you're unfamiliar with my series with Chip Zdarsky, both volumes 1 & 2 are available from Image Comics). On top of that, I have some production work on two upcoming Kickstarters (R4ID, our yearly studio anthology, and To Steal The Sun, a fantasy novel by the talented S.M.Carter) as well as some various covers and pinups for upcoming projects.... and funny enough all deadlines bottleneck at the end of this month.

On top of it all, my dear old pops got Covid. It's all good - he's recuperating and doing much better - but it was a bit of a scare. However, being his only nearby family I felt it prudent to cancel my trip to the 26th annual Avilés Comic Book Expo. I look forward to the day I can return.  

Welcome to the insanity that has been September.


But, there's a silver lining! Mere days post various deadlines I get to escape to our yearly RAID retreat where I chill amongst friends, enjoy tasty drinks, delicious meals, and create.

Till then, let's keep our head down and nose to the grindstone...

As promised last month, I wanted to share some of my process work for my short story' AIR, in R4ID. As with other projects, I do my layouts in photoshop on prefab templates I've created over the years. This allows me to quickly pivot, rearrange panels, and implement new ideas.

AIR is a story about a child born in isolation, surrounded by comfort, that must step in to the great unknown - defying everything that tells them otherwise. It's an idea that was born out of our current pandemic, the manipulation of truth, and how that mental stress affects us and our choices.

If you'd like to discover other creators in the fourth RAID anthology please check out the RAID bi-monthly newsletter!
Initial pass on layouts for AIR
Next step, cleaning up the roughs into "pencils" - this is the furthest I'll go before moving onto the inks stage - wether digital or traditional. 
It's been a long LONG time since I've kept a regular sketchbook --- I mean a REALLY LONG TIME. While I do have a sketchbook that gets carted around from time to time - I find the books often last years before they are filled unlike in high school where I was lucky if they lasted 4 months.
Sketchbooks from high-school to my early days of freelance reside on a bookshelf at RAID

In an effort to draw more I have set up some digital sketchbooks on my computer that I can have open "on the side" and use them to quickly jot down ideas or just play while. I have found this revitalizing - and one of the things I have to thank for this is the MAKE SH!T MONDAYS Livestream I do with my buddy Eric Vedder where we just casually chat with friends and fellow creators - as we just doodle for doodling sake.

And I love it.

I'm using the opportunity to develop some characters for personal projects as well as draw characters I often loved from my early days of comic collecting. Characters like ROM the Space Knight, Alien Legion, or Atari Force! 

I know, I collected weird stuff.

While traversing this memory lane in a MAKE SH!T MONDAYS episode a few weeks ago I drew Dalgoda written by Jan Strnad and drawn by Dennis Fujitake.

Something about Fujitake's art grabbed me, his lines were crisp and weightless and somewhat reminiscent of Moebius. Plus, the peculiarity of a space-faring dog-man attracted me. I've always had a penchant for aliens, Chewbacca was my favourite on Star Wars, while Ookla the Mok stole my heart on Thunder, and the image of Man-Thing was seared into my brain.

Fantagraphics published Dalgoda in the summer of 1984 as a two-part 8-issue mini-series. Dalgoda crash lands on Earth and befriends a Naval seaman who is in charge of keeping him safe. It's a trippy kaleidoscope of fun. They play with the space-time continuum (with a son who is older than his father because of faster-than-light travel), inter-species relationships, and plenty of tongue-in-cheek humour. So yeah, I had to draw Dalgoda.
If you're ever flipping through an old comics bin and come across this gem - pick it up, as I'm sure it will please.
My old friend, Jeremy Smith, is doing a short Youtube series about touring Ontario on his motorcycle (I'm a bit jealous). He's taking this time to re-connect with people that have been a staple of his life and his theatre troupe; Driftwood.  Relationships that came to a pause due to the pandemic and ensuing lockdowns that shut down his travelling summer theatre company. 

In his latest episode, in lieu of ice-cream, he decided to swing by RAID and chat with me. Honestly, I woulda went with the ice-cream...
Where I chat about RAID, the comics community, and motorcycling.
We've had some great guests over the past few weeks; Becka Kinzie, Cary Nord, and a slew of R4ID creators that jumped in last week to help us fill the night! If you're keen you can enjoy all the episodes HERE.

Join us LIVE every Monday night at 8pm EDT and get involved in the conversation, or just draw along! We stream LIVE simultaneously to the RAID Facebook Page and the RAID YouTube channel. Upcoming guests include Gabe Sapienza, and Rossi Gifford!

For those of you who aren't tired of my voice by this point, I wanted to share an INTERVIEW Chip Zdarsky and I did for the Geek-Network. Thomas Sauceda is a wonderful host - and it's always a joy talking shop with him. 

Last but not least, I've mailed out the signed copies of Stillwater #1 to last month's winners! In this month's newsletter, I've mentioned motorbikes quite a bit, and even mention the model of the bike I ride in the aforementioned episode of Motorcycle monologues. 

Let me know the make and model of my motorcycle and this month you could win a signed copy of RAID ONE! The anthology features my PAYASO short story along with a plethora of stories by an amazing array of creators. The contest closes at noon EST. The top 5 people with the right answer win, and all entrant's names get put into a larger, end of year, draw.

Thank you for reading, and the support. Hope you all have a wonderful week!

- Ramón.

PS / I'm taking the time to build out my community and I thank you all for being a part of that - your support is truly appreciated.

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