Monday Comics – The Bill Collectors

Well it’s time for another Monday Comics, this time featuring some art from my long ballyhooed “Bill Collectors” series.

UPDATE

Sorry about the long wait for part 2 of The Wrath of Old Man Winter, but I got slammed for the last month with unexpected work, and I was also trying to fix some of the 3D issues I encountered on my last Life-Taker series by upgrading to Daz Studio 4.

In addition to that, this site just got completely bombarded with spam over the last month, so I was forced to stop creation process and actually deal with a lot of technical crap. Ugh. Even my responding to comments has been affected by these blasted spammers so sorry if you commented and I haven’t replied yet.

The battle still continues, but for now let’s get on to today’s post!

THE BILL COLLECTORS

I’ve posted many times about The Bill Collectors in the past, but somehow without much story ever actually created. In the past month or two, I’ve been helping other people work out the technical issues for getting their comics printed and I decided that I’ve actually got to get my own work out there for sale.

As you can tell from the Monday Comics series,I have a lot of different ideas, but the Bill Collectors and Kid Hype were always going to be my main foundation comics.

The problem was I never felt my hand-drawn artwork could accurately depict the Bill Collectors the way I wanted. So I turned to 3D artwork to get a little more of the realism that I always wanted.

Even using 3D, you still have to put in a lot of work to avoid the artwork looking cheap and unoriginal. It’s taken years, but I think I’ve hit a point with my 3D work where I feel I could put it out for sale and not be embarrassed of feel like I cheated or copped out.

For those of you who never read those posts, the Bill Collectors are essentially a group of dangerous mercenaries/spies that are each a bit fanatical about a specific cause. They are anarchists of a sort that delight in causing chaos and upsetting the balance of power in the world. They call themselves “The Bill Collectors” because they feel it’s their duty to make people pay for many of the injustices in the world.

Initially they were always at odds with one another until an event occurs that forces them to stop trying to kill each other and work together.

After this they become so much of a pain that the major powers of the world agree to work together to put a stop to the Bill Collectors, and they do. The story picks up 5 years later when the main character, Jackknife Jenkins, unexpectedly returns to plague the governments of the world again.

5 MAIN CHARACTERS

There’s actually 7 members of the team, but I haven’t decided if I’m going to significantly change the 3D models of the last two members or not, so I didn’t do any updated art for them.

So here’s the characters and I’ll just give a quick rundown on what their deal is.

JACKKNIFE JENKINS

Jackknife is a former U.S. citizen who went AWOL from the Marines and never looked back. He’s not quite the leader of the group, since all of these guys would never acknowledge that another person has authority over them. Still, he’s the one that the team tends to circle around and gravitate to.

This happens because of all the team, he’s not specifically tied to any one cause. He’ll tend to jump in on any situation where he feels he can help people and also stick it to some corrupt government at the same time.

Because of this, he’s not as extreme as some of the others, and a lot more difficult to predict. He’s the number one most wanted of all the BC, since he just pops up at random, causes destruction and leaves without any discernible pattern.

I always show Jackknife with these two guns, but he’s pretty much good with any weapon.

MARIE

Marie is also an American citizen. She has a hatred for large corporations, especially when it comes to them exploiting 3rd world countries or displacing indigenous peoples in the name of making a buck.

She can usually be found disrupting their operations and essentially trying to cost them as much money as possible. This puts her in the top 3 of the most wanted list on the team.

Despite being ruthless when attacking corporations, she’s the one member of the team that still retains a lot of human empathy. We’ll see that most of the BC are pretty cold and can only care from a distance. Marie actually can still feel for individual people in addition to just her cause.

About the art, I mentioned in my Life-Taker series that it is sometimes tough to find 3D clothing for women that is not “over-sexed”. I’m having a tough time outfitting her in decent, practical clothing that she might wear if she’s going to be running or fighting.

At least she’s not in the fantasy genre, it seems like your only options at that point are metal bikinis.

GC

GC is French, and is the womanizer of the group. Everywhere he goes he leaves some pissed off woman behind. This has nothing to do with his cause, though.

He’s actually an environmental extremist, and is known to kill many human beings in order to save animals and natural habitat. This tends to dovetail nicely with Marie’s goals, since they both can stick it to whichever corporation is in the crosshairs at the moment.

Although the two tend to clash when Marie is trying to save a village and GC is trying to preserve the habitat for the animals.

GC is the devil-may-care type that doesn’t often plan things out in advance. This annoys any one one of the group that is working with him in advance.

Jackknife, GC and Marie are the closest thing to friends in the group. Everyone else pretty much works together because they have to.

SAMANTHA

Samantha is another U.S. citizen, and the youngest member of the group. Like GC, she doesn’t often plan things, but is very rash and aggressive and just goes in blasting.

She leaves a trail of destruction everywhere and is very “loud”, meaning it’s pretty easy to track where she is and where she’s been.

Her cause is a deep abiding hatred for organized military bodies. She makes constant attacks on occupying military forces all over the world no matter their country of origin, although she concentrates the majority of her attacks on U.S. forces.

She has disdain for the other Bill Collectors since they all dislike working with her. If she feels they’re trying to tell her what to do there can be violent consequences.

I changed the model on Samantha because I felt she was too cartoony before. Now she seems to fit in better with the other characters.

DR. LING

Arguably the worst one of all, Dr. Ling is from China. He’s a psychiatrist who seems to delight in revealing other people’s mental anguish and tormenting them with it.

Ling concerns himself with toppling governments from the top down. He may spend months working his way into the inner circle of those in power, only to destroy the person at the top with their own insecurities or mental deficiencies.

He’s always trying to gain information on his fellow Bill Collectors. As such, he is trusted by no one on the team. When their goals align, however, he’s a good person to work with, as he is extremely knowledgeable and skilled.

Ling is in the top two of the BC most wanted. Most governments have a standing kill order on him, as it’s believed to be too dangerous to try to hold him. Ling inevitably talks his way out of any captivity and leaves a lot of destruction in his wake.

PRINTING THE BILL COLLECTORS

So with the actual character models mostly done. I need to actually make this and get one printed.

I decided to shoot for a fall release date and see If I can make that happen.

There’s plenty of places I can get a comic printed these days, including:

Ka-Blam Digital Printing

ComiXpress.com

Lulu.com

Of these services, I’ve used Ka-Blam and Lulu before. I recently tried to use ComiXpress and I found it to be needlessly difficult to upload and order a comic so I probably won’t use them. I just thought I’d list it in case anyone out there wanted options.

The thing about these services is since they’re “print on demand” the prices tend to be a little higher than what you would normally see from a comic produced by a traditional offset printing press.

What this means is that you have to really be careful of how much you mark up the item from the base cost because it can get prohibitive really quickly. So you might have to sacrifice a little profit on the backend to keep costs low going in (by avoiding paying for a traditional print run).

THE GOAL

So essentially my goal here is to create my works, and have people feel that they’re good enough that they would be willing to pay for them. Just like Scott Adams or George R.R. Martin or Grant Morrison puts out work, I’d like to do the same thing and make my living that way.

Doing this will not be easy, since there’s a million other people trying to do it, and getting through all the glut of stuff out there is a very difficult proposition, indeed.

Still, the first hurdle is actually getting a viable product completed. Now that I feel I’ve overcome some of the more difficult challenges of the 3D artwork workflow, I think I’ve got a decent shot at making a comic people might actually pay for.

It’s been 5 years since I made my first hand-drawn Bill Collectors preview issue (download link), so I have to finally do this and see what comes of it.

If you guys have any comments or suggestions for me I’d love to hear them!

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17 thoughts on “Monday Comics – The Bill Collectors

  1. Hey JG,

    I think your work is good enough to accomplish your goal. Part 2 of “The Wrath of Old Man Winter” was okay, but I really like the concept behind the Bill Collectors series. I like the art work on the French guy GC, he’s kind of like me because I usually don’t plan things in advance either.

  2. This looks awesome! I especially love that you’ve created tension between some of the Bill Collectors, that they don’t just all get along which would be pretty boring! It’s always interesting to have protagonists that border on being unlikeable at times. I like GC the best, but that may be because he looks like a ladies’ man! :)

  3. Hi John, I just want to share my excitement! Your works are amazing! I like “Samantha”, she looks very realistic, full of emotions and simply beautiful! Good luck with your cool comics and with all further startups!

  4. I like the model on Dr. Ling. You can really see that there is something sinister about him. Seeing him like that would make anyone think twice before crossing paths with him.

  5. John, this is fantastic. I never read about the Bill Collectors – if I did, I have forgotten about them. I’ve got to introduce you to a friend of mind in the “biz”. You shouldn’t have to struggle with the marketing.

    Cheers,

    Mitch

  6. Hi John,

    You’re very talented, I think your work is great. I’ve never heard of the Bill Collectors before so it was nice that you gave a little background and introduced the main characters. I think Samantha is cool and yeah I agree with Cindy she does look a little like Rihanna haha.
    Good luck with your work!

    – Cristina

  7. This is great stuff, keep it coming JG!

  8. Hi JG,
    You put alot effort in comic world and your hardwork and determination reflects in your work.I like charachter of SAMANTHA and rest of the characters are looking so natural.

  9. Hi JG, I always appreciate your work and nodoubt charachter of SAMANTHA looks strong and bold .The charachters are very closed to a reality and I am looking forward to your new comic.

  10. Quite a group of anarchists you’ve created there. Their personalities seem to work nicely together in the story. This is interesting to me because I’ve got a niece who is getting a degree at college in hopes of doing the very thing you are doing. It’s not my thing but, through her, I’ve discovered there is an amazing artistry and complexity I was unaware of. Also impressive is the new mediums being used. Cool stuff!

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