Administrative Edit: This is the last post at this exact url. You can find the new blog at www.erossura.tumblr.com. This blog will remain up so we don't lose all the archived posts here.
I've been lacking in posts lately, sorry about that. I'm in the process of trying to consolidate my online presence and that may involve moving this blog to a new location (with the same URL!). That said, adding things here has seemed like a bad idea, given that I don't know if this particular blog will continue to exist post-consolidation. You'll know when I do. Either way, the way you found this blog will be more or less the way you find it again once I get everything sorted. Just know that there will probably be some visual changes.
That said, I also wanted to talk about some exciting things coming up. I'm currently getting things rolling on a very exciting collaboration that I don't want to disclose fully yet. It's gonna be pretty dang cool though. I'm also putting together an anthology of 5x3, which means wrapping up the story left hanging and tying up everything with a nice neat bow. Along those same lines, I've written a new set of stories about some new characters that I will be very excited to reveal to you in the next couple of months.
Stay tuned! And pardon our dust as we do some virtual renovations.
Sorry about the lack of updates on 5 x 3 for the last two weeks. I've been at home, on vacation between my last two semesters at the University of Michigan. As you may have noticed though, I've been keeping busy. Check out the new galleries under the comics tab to see what I've been up to. Hint: I've been lettering a lot.
5 x 3 will resume once I'm back in Ann Arbor. In the mean time, keep checking the galleries as they continue to grow.
I apologize if you came to the blog last night expecting reviews. I made the decision yesterday to go get my comics despite the torrential downpour and it appears that I've gotten myself sick. I simply don't have the energy to do a good thorough review for you. If you're still interested in what I picked up yesterday, here's the list: AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #6 (Slott, Ramos, Olazaba, Delgado), CAPTAIN MARVEL #7 (DeConnick, Takara, Loughridge), DEADPOOL #34 (Duggan, Posehn, Koblish, Staples), HAWKEYE #20 (Fraction, Wu, Hollingsworth), INHUMAN #5 (Soule, Stegman, Garcia), MS. MARVEL #8 (Wilson, Alphona, Herring), EDGE OF THE SPIDER-VERSE #1, (Hine, Sapolsky, Isanove), and THE UNITED STATES OF MURDER INC. #5 (Bendis, Oeming).
I also picked up Vault of Midnight's "Tactical Book Quest Club of Midnight" Book of the Month: THE DROPS OF GOD vol. 1 (Tadashi Agi, Shu Okimoto).
Hope you all have a much healthier Thursday than I am currently looking at.
Work is finally complete on my first book “5 x 3: All the Wit You Can Fit on the Back of a Note Card.” I’m really quite proud of how it turned out. It collects all of the first two seasons (minus one particular one that didn’t work as well in digital), as well as a handful of extras to fill out the pages.
If you’re interested in buying a copy (at a nice, inexpensive, $1.25), send me a message through the contact form on this website and we can work out how to get you a copy. Unfortunately it's unlikely to be in a store near you, but I’d be happy to get one to you!
In addition to the print book, I’d like to announce the premier of Season 3 next Monday! I’ve shifted to drawing 5 x 3 completely digitally, so no more eraser lines, no smudging, and much more consistency. All things you’ll see in your favorite 5 x 3 comics from the previous seasons if you buy the book (buy the book!). See you next Monday!
My name is E. Ross Ura. I’ve been a comics fan since Avengers blew up the big screen. That summer I picked up my very first single issue (Hawkeye #1, 3rd printing) and now have a fairly robust pull list from Marvel, Image, Dark Horse, and Valiant. I started writing my own comics in the middle of last year, and began writing and “illustrating” 5 x 3 around that same time.
In the pages of comics we find heroes whose values we’re meant to aspire to and admire. There are characters who share our struggles and help us through them. Possibly most importantly, comics provide an escape when the concerns of the real world seem overwhelming. Why then would we deny those opportunities to anyone?
I have the great privilege of being able to open a comic and see someone who looks like me. I have the great privilege of being able to walk into a comic shop and have people be immediately helpful and courteous. I have the great privilege of never having my love of the medium questioned.
Not all comic fans have those privileges and many are treated with open hostility. As a community that embraces the ideals of heroes, how can we tolerate that kind of behavior? Most of my friends are women, people in the LGBTQ community, or both, and many are unlikely to be drawn into this world I love so much because our community is so toxic towards them. This is not right and I will not tolerate it.
I want to make my living in comics, but I refuse to do it in an environment that excludes people who don’t look like me. I Am Comics and I will not allow anyone to deny that opportunity to anyone else.
We Are Comics is a campaign that blew up over night in response to the vitriolic harassment of comics journalist Janelle Asselin and to the general ill treatment of women and other marginalized groups in the comic book industry. For members of these marginalized groups, it grants the opportunity for their voices to be heard and their faces to be seen. For white males 18-39, it gives us the opportunity to stand in solidarity and speak out against the misogyny, racism, and homophobia that plagues our industry.
From their website:
"We are comics: creators, publishers, retailers, readers; professionals and fans. And we are a lot more diverse than you might think.
We Are Comics is a campaign to show—and celebrate—the faces of our community, our industry, and our culture; to promote the visibility of marginalized members of our population; and to stand in solidarity against harassment and abuse."
Last Wednesday I moved out of Ann Arbor and back to my hometown for the summer. While this means I have a break from school and a steady source of income, I am away from my beloved Vault of Midnight. But seeing as I still have my subscriptions there, New Comic Book Day posts are likely going to be moved to Fridays, every two weeks for the duration of the summer (as that's when I can drive out to pick up my books).
Fear not! I still plan on having something to say on Wednesdays. I may review older collections or talk about what's going on in my own work. For example, I picked up about 9 TPBs yesterday through the HumbleBundle Image deal so you can look forward to me talking about that.
Additionally, work is underway on one of my own comics. I'm going to mostly keep hush-hush about it for now, but I'm currently working with an artist on a 4 page script I wrote sometime last summer. I've seen preliminary sketches for the first two pages and I'm very excited. Stay tuned! You'll see it here before anywhere else, I'm relatively certain.
Every semester the University of Michigan's Percussion Studio offers a class focusing on music that falls outside traditional Western concert percussion. Last year the class focused on the music of India. I developed my interest in tabla performance because of this class. This year, DMA instructor Dan Piccolo is back teaching a new group of students. Thanks to the University, the class was given a number of tickets to the Asif Ali Khan Qawwali Ensemble concert at Rackham Auditorium last night. I'd studied the music of Pakistan briefly last semester but never been able to hear it performed live. When Dan offered up some extra tickets to the rest of the Percussion studio I jumped at the chance.
The evening was remarkable. I knew something about the context of Qawwali but was completely unprepared for the energy the performance would inspire. The chorus was animated and the tabla player was inspired. Asif Ali Khan and the solo vocalists displayed a range and power that blew me away. When the group asked the audience to stand and dance for the last piece, I don't think there was anyone still seated. I am so thankful for the opportunity to see this group perform live. I would highly recommend seeing them if you ever have the opportunity.
At the same time as the Asif Ali Khan performance, the Wisconsin-based percussion ensemble, Clocks in Motion, was performing in McIntosh Recital Hall at the School of Music. While I wasn't able to attend, I did catch part of their dress rehearsal earlier in the day. Clocks in Motion is a fantastic group. I first saw them two years ago performing Pléïades, Iannis Xenakis's percussion sextet. The piece features six micro-tonal metallic keyboard percussion instruments known as sixxen. Clocks in Motion built their own set and has since made instrument construction a core part of their ensemble.
Since the last time I saw them, Clocks has been very busy. They've been traveling all throughout the midwest performing, giving masterclasses, and commissioning new works. Recently Clocks completed their first Call for Scores and announced a second competition this year. This group's ethos is very much in-line with my own, so I've very excited to participate in this year's competition. I suspect I'll talk more about the piece as I firm up some ideas. The opportunity to work with Clocks in Motion is simply too good to pass up.
Last night was the premier performance of On Firefly's Wing, my latest composition for solo flute. I thought the performance went wonderfully. Thank you to all of you who came out and for the kind words and congratulations. I couldn't have done it without my flautist, Emily Zacek, who came through in a pinch and put together the piece in a very short amount of time. Bravo, Emily!
As with all things in life a premier of a new piece is the end of a cycle. One piece down, infinitely more to go! I've already begun work on my next piece for the new music group Yukon, for whom I wrote Sofa awhile back. I'm very excited to explore the depths of their abilities not just as musicians, but as actors and performers. More details will surely emerge as the compositional process continues...
E. Ross Ura is a writer, letterer, artist, composer, and blogger active in the Metro Detroit Area.