Updates

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. 

Day Four: Perception: Scarcity and Abundance

One of the core concepts of Quantum Physics posits that the act of observation can alter the outcome of a situation. In psychology there is the idea of the self-fulfilling prophecy, which describes a situation in which a person knowingly causes a prediction to come true simply by being aware of the prediction. Perception is … Continue reading "Day Four: Perception: Scarcity and Abundance"
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Thoughts for the New Year

Inspired by #ElianaStrong

Tonight it feels like everyone is talking about how much 2016 sucked and how glad we all are to watch it finally fall away. For most of the year, I’ve been in the same boat. But over this last month I witnessed nothing less than a miracle in the form of my cousin’s young daughter, and it has forced me to change my perspective on saying goodbye to a trying year.

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The Anatomy of “Outrage”

Or, How We Miss The Point Every Goddamn Time

Steve Martin and Carrie Fisher. (Casey Curry / Invision / AP; Chris Pizzello / AP) [via LA Times]

After the news of Carrie Fisher’s death, Steve Martin sent out a tweet that called Fisher, “the most beautiful creature” Martin had ever seen as a young man. He continued with “she turned out to be witty and bright as well,” implying that as he got to know Fisher, he realized she was more than just a pretty face.

Some folks on Twitter found the statement in poor taste, given Fisher’s outspoken nature about how much she hated comments about her body and beauty, whether or not she had “aged well.” A lot of the responses were emotional and some were unnecessarily pointed, telling Martin that his choice to focus on Fisher’s appearance in his short tribute was effective evidence of his disrespect of the woman and her voice. In a wise move, he simply deleted the tweet and said nothing more about it. Martin’s silence is perhaps the result of a fatigue with the limitations of social media, or an unwillingness to defend his relationship with Carrie Fisher to a bunch of strangers so close to her untimely death. Either option is understandable. But the minor media storm that followed, documenting the response to the tweet as “outrage” and encouraging hundreds of commenters to accuse those who took offense to the tweet as “bullies” who were “addicted to outrage” and should “seek help” illuminates a larger problem we have with these kinds of conversations.

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So Long, Space Mom

In Memory of Carrie Fisher

This is how I’ll always remember her: defiant, irreverent, and honest.

I suppose every writer has taken the time to document their personal relationship to at least one of the dozens of deaths that hit us particularly hard in 2016. It has felt like a lot, even though logically we all know it’s not out of the ordinary that our heroes are getting older and succumbing to the ultimate reality of human existence. This year we’ve lost musical giants, fashion icons, shapers of culture and counter-culture, people who reminded us what the point of being remembered is. They made us feel something important and impactful at crucial moments in our lives, and for that we are forever grateful.

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Ship Update 122216

As 2016 comes to a close, I want to reflect on the last few months of our journey through collective collaborative creativity. Momentum is building for the Art and Learning Expedition and I feel we are ready to slingshot into the new year full of fuel to expand A.L.Ex into new realms of success. As the entrepreneurial Captain of this Ship, I’m so excited not only about the future but in looking back and seeing what our Crew has accomplished in such a short time. In addition to our stellar productivity, every day we are clarifying and distilling what the heart of A.L.Ex is, and it makes me so proud of what we are engineering for humanity together.

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Nurturing Potential from Indecision

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What is an Artist and Why do we make Art?

My search for passion began as an investigation into clearing indecision away from desire.

There is a deeper message I want to get across without empowering the fear that the surface emotions express.

As an entrepreneur and business leader there is this traditional notion of what confidence is. The concept that I am embodying a lens that sees clearly down a straight path to success and business expansion. Always knowing the answers, knowing the path, and knowing what to do to get there.

Before starting the Art and Learning Expedition (A.L.Ex) I did not believe myself to be an artist. I wasn’t worthy yet. I wasn’t talented yet. I wasn’t allowed to be an artist. I couldn’t write a book, I couldn’t draw a picture, I couldn’t make a painting. This was the case both from a judgmental and subjective quality lens as well as from my own impatient personality that wouldn’t allow me to sit down to practice. Because of these reasons, I did not consider myself creative or even to have imagination. I’m not digressing down this path to inspire pity, but to demonstrate a paradigm of lack in my self-identification. Our beliefs about ourselves mold our experiences just as our thoughts create our reality. What I mean by paradigm is the world in which we craft ourselves and inhabit in our mind.

When I explored what creativity and passion meant to me I was met with a barrage of indecision and resistance. These two concepts were in complete opposition to how I was socially conditioned. I was taught to be safe, efficient, and automatic. In simplest terms, I was taught to avoid the unknown. This is where I believe a huge portion of people find themselves unable to cross a threshold in their own belief structures and routines. It is in the automatic avoidance of the unknown that we keep the union of spirit artificially separate as cognitive dissonance creates battles in our brain, causing dis-ease and pain in the body and chaos in our environment.

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