In my day job as a writer, I come across many people and companies who understand that.
In my fun non-paying job as a blog writer, it has, for the most part been a means to just see how many interesting people I can meet...
Meet Jean-Paul Deshong, a profesional artist who has published books for Dynamite Entertainment (Damsels [Mermaids]), Zenescope Entertainment (Grimm Fairy Tales, Neverland, Tales from Neverland, Dreamweaver/ Neverland crossover), Image Comics (Hack n Slash), Arch Enemy Entertainment (Big Bad Wolf) via USA Today , as well as Dark Horse Comics (Dream Thief).
He has also co-created, drew and colored an independent book, Goddammit Baby, this is Soul, that is now available through Comixology and other digital domains.
So... he's done what I have always dreamed of doing as a comic book writer.
Now, Deshong has created a solo graphic novel... the self-published Sons of Fate, which is about feudal Japan.
Comic books, Japan and history? You had me at 'comic books'.
Deshong has kindly allowed me to promote him - I actually contacted HIM to ask if I could - by presenting 10 pages of story from the opening salvo of Sons of Fate - Origins.
Sons of Fate is a three part trilogy graphic novel. The first part is Origins.
Honestly... I read the first couple of pages and already knew I liked it. And the art! You can tell he's not only a professional, but a very good professional.
Deshong has kindly provided us with a synopsis of the story, which I will present here, before presenting the actual story. So... spoiler alert.
After the comic pages below, should you wish to own your own copy of the story - and to see how it all comes together. Okay? Okay. Hajime. Let's begin.
It is the Tokugawa era. The Shogunate having suppressed the constant rebellions of the nation now sets its sights on expanding their dominance throughout the world. In doing so, General Daiki Jinjaku is commissioned
to lead a small fleet seaward in order to gain new trade routes, and charter waterways to new lands. The general having the utmost pride towards his duty towards his nation triumphantly goes forth, leaving his
beloved wife and young son Omo behind. Omo, wanting to grow up in the honorable ways of Daiki promises to work hard in everything he does in order to reach his fathers greatness. Daiki promises that one day he will return to his homeland to see the pride of Japan his son has become. Many years later, on the way home from their mission, the samurai are overwhelmed by obstacles obscuring their journey. This mission, almost form the onset is met with great catastrophe and most of the fleet is lost. Eventually, only Daiki reaches mainland, as the only survivor,
and manages to settle in his new home, where he is now stranded. That land is Africa. Through circumstance, he meets a young and impressionable boy named Kamau, who wins Daiki’s favor through sheer will. From the onset of the mission, Daiki has not understood the tragedy in his life. His failures’, far outweighing his success, his only option is to press forward. Not being able to see where his destiny is leading him, he questions his actions and how they lead to his comrade’s death. KNOWING that he may never see his wife and child again, Daiki finally realizes his purpose, through the child Kamau, Daiki decides to take on the child as his apprentice, teaching him
EVERYTHING he has learned in his life. Doing this as a tribute to his son, his son, in the time span form leaving Edo to arriving in this foreign land, is now a man. A man he knows he may never see again.
Yes, I know there are 12-pages, but I included his awesome cover (if I had the moolah, I'd buy that!) and frontspiece.
Visually, the story looks stunning. I am not a huge fan of the standard nine-panel comic book page, so I like Deshong's use of rectangles - horizontally and vertically, odd-shaped word balloons, and all the insets.
His coloring is pretty good, too... drab tans, exploding oranges, cherry blossom pink for the family scenes with the mother and son... I think people often overlook color when producing their own book, but not here.
If I might suggest one thing... add in translations in boxes within the panel so everyone understands EXACTLY what is being said. Not everyone is familiar with the Japanese.
Ordering? Sure... you want a copy!
On blackberryjuice.net, anyone visiting can view the web series Fishing With My Father, a prequel story to the Sons Of Fate - Origins story. The first story of the web series revolves around the protagonist Jinjaku, Daiki, and his outings with his father, a lowly old fisherman, and their adventures. This ( as well as those who follow ), as made not only for the reader to gain a greater understanding on Sons of fate, but the characters within the story, and their reasons of who they are and who they become.
These series serve as branching series to interconnect the three graphic novels. Some stories will be told as before and after the events of the main series, while others will serve as interludes. In short, Sons of Fate looks to be more than just the standard graphic novel but as an event told by branching stories through multiple lives and even affecting the feudal history of Japan itself.
The Sons of Fate graphic novel is sold through normal physical and digital channels, with blackberryjuice.net the ONLY place to purchase the definitive version of the book along with the ongoing free web series, free desktop themes, pin ups, as well as "pay what you want" digital downloads.
Jean-Paul Deshong - ganbatte, ne (good luck, eh).
Oh, and speaking of sons of fate, today is my son, Hudson's, birthday - 9. And, friend, co-worker and new reader Julien also celebrates on this date. Happy birthday, boys!