Comics and Contemplation on the Road

This past weekend I traveled to San Jose for Silicon Valley Comic Con. Last year was my first time at the event as an exhibitor for A.L.Ex Studios’ flagship comic, MANIA, but this was my first time as just an attendee. Having the prior year’s experience under my belt I felt more prepared to tackle the con. It was Space Exploration themed which was really cool. I got to talk with scientists as well as creators and struck up great conversations and made some good connections.

The panels were also very interesting and relevant this year, dealing with things like emerging technology, robots, VR, AR, neural prosthetics, artificial intelligence, and their implications for humanity. A lot of themes that resonate with the vision for MANIA. I went to a very meaningful panel on Saturday called Classroom Crossover Event: Comics in Secondary Education which was a complete revelation. I met with a teacher after who purchased a copy of MANIA and was very enthusiastic about including it in her curriculum.

The themes present at the con really fired up my ideas for A.L.Ex and the new Paradigm of Passion. Another panel I attended on Sunday called The Future of Learning: 2030 gave me a whole new perspective on self-guided education and inspired passion training ideas for the future. All in all, I had a great time catching up with a lot of the creators I had met at previous conventions and I look forward to going back next year.

Silicon Valley Comic Con also provided me with the opportunity to road trip up from Los Angeles and stop at various local comic book shops to get copies of MANIA on store shelves. After our successful Kickstarter campaign it felt important to me to utilize the momentum and further MANIA’s outreach as much as possible. Throughout the round trip, I stopped at around ten comic book shops.

The experience was very rewarding. Not only did I get to chat with comic shop owners face to face but I got to stand there as they flipped through the pages. All the owners that got to take a look at our books were very impressed with the quality. With these guys, it was all business. I could sense their “would my demographic buy this?” type of reaction. But at the same time, I didn’t really have to ‘sell’ MANIA to them. The product really speaks for itself.

What I believe sold the owners who ended up taking a few issues of MANIA was just the human connection and the ability to hold and see the comic. That really makes a difference! The most valuable knowledge I took away from this type of outreach was really understanding the marketing approach that we will have to take with MANIA in order to get it in front of people. The more we learn how we stand apart, the more we can cater our marketing toward the ideal audience that will enjoy MANIA the most.

If you are in the Central-Northern California area, check out the following shops to pick up your copy today! And if you have a favorite comic book shop that you frequent, be sure to #askforMANIA.

Heroes Comics – Fresno, CA

Red Sky Comics – Merced, CA

Legends Comics and Games – Santa Clara, CA

Legends Comics – Fresno, CA

The Message Behind MANIA: A New Perspective on Mental Health

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Throughout the production of MANIA, the entire A.L.Ex Studios team has felt the pressure of what a weighty topic we are undertaking by tackling the concept of mental health. It has been incredibly important to all of us not only to be accurate and honest, but accepting and kind. This is because the purpose of MANIA’s theme is to remove negative stigmas from mental illness and make our small contribution to the large task of normalizing neurodiversity. Up to this point, we have framed the message of MANIA to align with that existing dichotomy of positive and negative. “Mental illnesses, neuroses and fears are not weaknesses but strengths” has been the basic byline. But the more we explore the potential of a comic that wants to change the way we talk about mental health, we no longer feel like restricting ourselves to aligning mental illness with either “bad” or “good,” “negative” or “positive.” Sticking with the existing framework for discussing mental illness just doesn’t suit the ambitious goals we have for the MANIA franchise.

We want to imagine a world where neurodivergence is treated as just another facet of someone’s personality and perspective. We want MANIA to inspire readers to fully know and accept themselves no matter what they are struggling with, because it is only through self-acceptance and love that we can be empowered and happy with ourselves. Our ultimate goal is to see more and more people find true happiness, share that happiness with others, and use it to uplift the whole world. Through MANIA, we want to spread the message that Different is Powerful, and loving yourself and what makes you different will give you the keys to unlock limitless worlds of possibility.

Be sure to pledge your support to this awesome new franchise and help us #KickstartMANIA on Wednesday, February 15th. 

A.L.Ex Studios Brings Light to Common Stigmas of Mental Health in the Latest Release of MANIA

The second issue of MANIA: The Light underscores Art and Learning Expeditions’ mission to develop people, sustain their creativity, and expand their lives

Los Angeles, CA – October 20, 2016 – MANIA takes a fresh approach to superheroes amidst today’s issues of artificial intelligence, mental illness, government authority, and societal conditioning.  After its successful release of MANIA: The Shift, A.L.Ex Studios today unveiled the next step in its paradigm shifting look at superhero entertainment with Issue 002: The Light.

MANIA takes you to the year 2052 in New Renard, an automated super city where biotechnology, virtual reality, and artificial intelligence have become integral parts of daily life. However, a class of citizens rejected by this system – the Supermanics – is lurking, preparing for a clash with New Renard’s totalitarian government run by the tech corporation, Fahrenhiet. Fahrenhiet’s compulsory biotechnology, the ARC, seeks to suppress the individuality of anyone who doesn’t fit in New Renard’s perfect system. The Supermanics have been gifted incredible abilities because of their neurodivergence, but these powers have left them detached from the rest of society. Led by the hacker known only as Alex, the Supermanics struggle to reclaim their place in a city that wants to see them stricken from memory. To purchase your copy of Issue 002: The Light, visit A.L.Ex Studios’ website.

“MANIA is a story about people, about how what society commonly perceives as flaws – disorders, neuroses, stigmas, and fears – can be transformed into strengths,” said Jeremy Lasman, founder of A.L.Ex. “Research from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention finds that only 25 percent of adults with mental health symptoms believe people care and are sympathetic to them. However, it’s what makes us different that truly gives us all our power. We are cultivating a community that embraces what we perceive as flaws and turns them into strengths that better our society.”

A.L.Ex Studios is the premier Mindful Entertainment module of the new Art and Learning Expedition (A.L.Ex) organization launched by Lasman, a former SpaceX technologist. A.L.Ex is a creative organization made up of leaders and artists from all fields, dedicated to prioritizing passion over money and developing individual talent through freeform collaboration. The end result is cultivating, empowering, and expanding a community of individuals pursuing their passions to revolutionize the way the world thinks about work and play.

A.L.Ex consists of several modules that take its members on a journey of self-discovery, empowering them to take charge of their own education amidst a paradigm of business, powered by passion and creativity. The modules include:

  • Studios: The premier Mindful Entertainment module of A.L.Ex, Studios makes engaging art that speaks to more than just appealing aesthetics, giving food for the mind as well as the eyes.
  • Dojo: An innovative passion training experience, the Dojo is inspired by the Montessori educational environment and martial arts training to empower individuals to trust their own intuition and creativity.
  • Agency: The creative facilitator of A.L.Ex, the Agency draws on its robust network of artists to make clients’ passion projects a reality while simultaneously enabling members to hone their skills and level up their Artistry.
  • Labs: At the forefront of research in the vastly unexplored field of metascience – the study of the relationship between the physical world and realm of the metaphysical – Labs’ mission is to upgrade humanity to a future where science and metascience work in harmony.

To learn more and join the Expedition, visit www.alexllc.org.

About A.L.Ex

A.L.Ex is a creative organization made up of leaders and artists from all fields, dedicated to prioritizing passion over money and developing individual talent through freeform collaboration. The end result is cultivating, empowering, and expanding a community of individuals pursuing their passions to revolutionize the way the world thinks about work and play.

A.L.Ex Contact Information

Name: Elyse Wietstock
Title: VP of Communications
Email: elyse@alexllc.org
Tel: (805) 886-2253

Behind the Screens: The Making of Issue 002 – The Light

cover_photoWe are constantly striving to streamline our creative process with each issue of MANIA. But due to the fluid nature of art, there are always certain intangibles to grapple with. As many are probably aware, we missed our initial deadline and had to push it back a few weeks. We take great pride in A.L.Ex Studios’ tagline “Mindful Entertainment” as it represents the culture of care and attention to detail we put into anything we release. We will not rush a product just to meet a deadline.

In our experimentation with this process, for Issue 002 we worked a lot more “solo,” letting each artist do his part at their own pace at home. We didn’t collaborate at the Studios nearly as much as we did with Issue 1 because after doing the initial brainstorming and layouts, we felt as though we each had a handle on our individual contributions. This was also because of our new streamlined approach to getting to the ‘solo work phase’ of Issue 002. Locking in the script and layouts went much more smoothly this time around. We also got well underway with Issues 003 and 004 with these new methods, hopefully ensuring speedier releases.

Communication and synergy are vital with any collaboration and because we were mostly solo during the process, there was perhaps a loss of momentum that played into the missed deadline. But personally I feel deadlines are more for motivation than for harsh completion timelines, especially when it comes to art. Deadlines keep you focused. Without them, procrastination seeps its way in like a virus. As we learn, grow, and evolve our talents and formulas, I am confident that our passionate pace will get faster. By utilizing more strategic collaboration, we can get each release to our fans sooner and sooner.

“The Light” at the End of the Tunnel

A.L.Ex Studios is abuzz with activity as the #MANIA team gets Issue 002 – The Light to the finish line!

MANIA Comic

The #MANIA team has been hard at work fine-tuning Issue 002 for its new October release. You might say the energy is electric! 💡💡💡 #comics #art #lettering #crunchtime

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New Release Date for Issue 002

 

Important announcement, Maniacs! The #MANIA team has decided to push back the release of Issue 002 to #October1st.

We’ve been putting so much time and care into Issue 002, and we want to continue making it the best it can be rather than rush to meet a deadline. Art takes time, and honoring this process while promising our fans the best possible content we can create is of the utmost importance to us.

We know this is a slight inconvenience, but we hope you understand why we have come to this decision. We’re so excited for you to see “The Light” in October, it’s sure to be our best work yet!

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