Thursday, September 25, 2014

Character Power Meters

The GZ character power meter is a selection of stats that show you just how powerful the character really is (or isn't). Stats in GZ are ranked from 1-10. 1 is your basic human at almost minimum. No one goes lower than 1. 10 is godlike proportions (but there is another scale for gods). These stats fall into 5 categories (pretty simplified).

Strength: This covers not only a characters lifting ability, but some endurance as well. It also tells you how powerful energy blasts can get (though energy types have their own minimum scales of damage that may exceed strength). So if a characters strength is higher than the minimum that an energy type can do, the character can increase the damage of the energy blasts. On this scale you could see a level one lifting around 25-50 lbs with general ease. A level ten has no trouble lifting an aircraft carrier.

Endurance: How long does it take a character to get tired? How long can they hold up that aircraft carrier? A 1 means you may only have a few minutes, while a 10 means you can do it all day long. Its basically how long you can do any one task before you have to stop.

Speed: So how fast can the character travel? 1 is your most basic human speed, maybe 15 mph at the best. 10 is so fast the image of the person lingers after they're gone. Speed is pretty straight forward, but requires the next stat for control.

Agility: From basic balance to acrobatics. This is a characters dexterity and ability to not fall flat on their face when attempting some heroic or villainous feat. While a 1 doesn't make you clumsy, you're no tight rope walker either. A 10 can do a handstand and balance on a fingernail.

Mentality: This is how intelligent a character is and how powerful psychic abilities may be. Problem solving, deduction, and ability to understand what's going on all fall into this stat. Academics govern part of how high it goes. A 1 has general education and understanding, while a 10 has the knowledge of the cosmos.

Coming up I will be doing some Power Meter spotlights so you can see just how powerful some GZ characters are! Compare them with some of your other favorite characters to see how they stack up. I have a complete scale on the the Galaxy Zento Wiki and you can check it out HERE. You can also check out several characters information and power levels on the wiki already! Look up Ankhforce or the Chessmen and see for yourself.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Guest Artist: Ken Davis!

He's a locksmith by day and artist by night. I present to you our next guest artist, Ken Davis! Ken elected to do a version of my Cyborian character Galose and wow. He really knows what he's doing when it comes to mechanical design. I sent Ken a  few interview questions to enhance our presentation and this is how that went:

GZ: How long have you been doing your artwork?

Ken: Since I was a wee child.

GZ: What kind of career would you like to pursue in art?

Ken: When I feel my abilities can produce the story that I have in my head, I hope to self publish several stories that run the gambit from horror to comedy, to science fiction.

GZ: Seeing as you chose Galose, are armored or robotic characters your favorite to draw?

Ken: It just depends on the mood I am in.

GZ: Are you currently for hire?

Ken: Yep, you can reach me at isazacstuidois@outlook.com (Ken also has a DeviantArt page and Tumblr!)

GZ: What are your favorite comics?

Ken: Walking Dead, Invincible, the new X-men, Manhattan Projects, Guardians of the Galaxy, They are my top choices but there are several more.

It is highly advised to check out Ken's range of talents. Pencils, inks, and colors make him a triple threat (or triple treat) in his work. And genre doesn't seem to slow him down at all. Ken's work shows excellent examples of going from superhero to fantasy art.


Check out the range of colors in this piece. I could take tips from him on doing planets and the flame guy is awesome. You can see power in the character and it looks like he WILL command that rocky thing he's standing on to fly him right into space. As raw fantasy images go, this is stellar.







This was a piece he did for someone else, but you have to see it. His form for Optimus Prime is dead on. Lines are solid, view point is sharp and it looks like Optimus is going to jump right out of the picture. He didn't even miss the detailing of the tire treads. On his pages you can see where he does more characters that you will recognize. So don't forget to check them out.







It was hard to chose inkwork to wrap this article up with. I really love this piece. It will take you right to your days of playing DnD in the basement, only way more epic. Look at the detail in the mouth of the serpent and its eyes (click on images for larger view). You just can't miss here.

Be sure to add Ken's pages to your favorites and consider his talents for your art project desires. Big thanks to Ken for being a guest artist!

Want GZ to show of your work as an independent artist? All you have to do is a pic of any existing GZ character and get that to me. I'll put together and interview and the next spotlight will be on you!

Monday, September 15, 2014

Galaxy Zento Universe Update!

Lots of amazing things are happening with the GZ universe and it's time to dish out the news! While building my universe and writing my stories, there's no doubt I want this to go as many places as possible! Lot's of ideas are on the drawing board, but these are the most prominent!

Chaos is rising! Yes, my next novel, Chaos Rising is planned for release around the holidays. You see the prospective cover right here! It's about 95,000 words packed with action from cover to cover. It's the first book of a series as the history of the GZ universe. Eventually, characters in all my books will meet and interact with each other. It's also my best written work to date (in my humble opinion). The mistakes that got missed in Chessmen still distress me and I will eventually review. But the going vote has been for me to move forward rather than back. I have a lot of stories to tell after all! So be on the lookout for Chaos Rising!

Games! Games! Games!

Galaxy Zento the Boardgame heads to art design! After much testing we are moving forward on the artwork for the GZ Chessmen board game. It will be the first in an interlocking series of games that can all be played together. Three editions are currently being planned. Not sure how fast Chessmen will be done, but you can be sure of updates right here. This game has been voted, and I quote, "extremely fun" by play testers. In this game you can fight enemies, recruit allies, gather artifacts, or just beat each other silly. Or do it all! We plan to have a meeting this week to discuss art details. You can bet it will be vibrant and full of color.

Galaxy Zento the Card Game has gone through lots of play testing. It's being held back because of the overwhelming vote on the board game, but it's still there. I will still be playing with designs on the side while working on the board game. Plans for the set include three decks of cards and a few extras for deck building. You get the whole set all at once and ready to play. The first set is Chessmen of course and depicts character battles. You're getting a sneak peek at character card design right here, done by Gray Taylor.

Guest Artists!

I have it on good word that there are 3 artists working on something to show off their talents. I'm not going to spoil names at this time. I would rather let their work do the talking as I post their talents and pages with an interview.

These are definitely exciting times and I'm so glad so many of you are along for the ride! Keep it real heroes!

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Why you should be a guest artist for Galaxy Zento

Elkhorn by Joe Garcia
Recently, I posted to several groups on Facebook and Google+ that I am seeking guest artists to write about and interview. The feedback showed me that I  need to explain what is involved a bit deeper. The purpose of this post is help that out. So what's in it for you to be guest artist? Here's what happens:

You visit Galaxy Zento and browse it's characters (or just browse my photos if you are seeing this on Google+). Draw any one of them that catches your fancy and submit it to me on Facebook or at Galaxyzento.gmail.com. In return I will do an article on you, your talents/business in an effort to gain you exposure and basically advertise YOU and your skills. Now, lets dispel a misunderstanding:

Question: Do you just want people to draw your characters for free?:  Absolutely not! What I'm offering is to advertise and showcase YOU on MY page. The name of the blog is Galaxy Zento and you have to admit that keeping with the theme is sound business practice for anyone. So you drawing one of my characters is just keeping in theme and giving me the kick off to start an article on you.  Heck, if I really needed anyone to draw my characters, you wouldn't have access to over 200 illustrations already. Now ask yourself this, what is advertising your talent worth to you?

Nyhtwulf by Robert Mead
Okay, so how good does it have to be? It should show your level of talent accurately. You can just do a pencil sketch if you want. Just make it look as good as your other work because I will want other examples of your work to post right after it. This is about YOU and YOUR talent after all.

Do I have to be professional? Nope. You can be a ten year old beginner and I'll still give you a good write up based on your efforts. Of course, there may be a different category for that eventually. I would love to showcase artists with special talents in the face of disability!

What else will you use the pics for? Nothing. Well, they'll be posted in my guest artist folders on social media so people can always check them out. See HERE. But past that, I won't use your pic for anything else unless you want me to. The only purpose is to be a guest artist (repostings are possible for example purposes or to remind readers of you and others). You are not donating art to me for use in any other way. So I won't use it for the cover of my next book or as illustrations in any other professional works. You have permission to post them where ever you wish. YOU are the artist after all! All I ask is that you post links just like I will for you.

Victor Darksong by
Brian Rogers
What does Galaxy Zento get out of this? A successful blog needs constant material to stay successful. You will help me increase that material and keep me writing. The writing of the post serves us both equally. You could think of it as a colab with me as the writer and you the artist. If you make sure to share your article you'll give us both extra exposure. We both get the same results.

Finally: My work supports a cause: I want to show youth with disabilities that being disabled is not the end. I have multiple sclerosis and Asperger's syndrome (high function autism) and my son has autism as well. Every time I publish a book I show it to him to show him that Dad being disabled doesn't stop success. I point it out to show that we can always go forward in some way. The more writing I get to do, the more that's supported. So if you have a disability, tell me! I have a special category for that and you can help this cause.

Deadline: There is none. Get to me anytime and just let me know you'd like to be a guest artist with your submission. First come first serve! Timing of your article will be based on how many I have ahead of you and my posting schedule that I intend to increase.

For those of you who are already taking this on THANKS! For those of you who added GZ on  Facebook, THANKS!

See the work of the guest artists above at:

Joe Garcia
Robert Mead
Brian Rogers

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Character change: Black or White?

I've decided to make a character changing decision with one of my villains. Considering that he's not an established character with 50 years under the belt, I doubt this will be a controversial change. I'm certainly not aiming at controversy, but we'll see what happens.

The character is Professor Zombie, a brilliant scientist who became evil when struck down by a flesh eating virus in Africa. He had to rebuild himself as a cyborg and decided he would rather rule the world than save it.

Now I admit, it's because I'm a white guy that I have so many white characters. Not because I'm racist, rather I just don't think about it that much. But times have changed and good stories need characters from all walks of life. I think the Professor is a good place to start. He's from Africa in the first place and he's kind of a play on black zombie legends. Granted some of those legends are Jamaican in origin, but it still works to make him a unique villain.

In the blog fiction, GZ Legends, I portrayed him as you see above, a white man. Now look at this:


What do you think? I think this adds a depth to his character that wasn't present before. It just makes more sense to make him a black man for the cultural and origin possibilities. This makes him a man who was trying to save people in his own nation before the disease got him. That's what this is about, enrichment of the character. As he appears in my next novel, Chaos Rising, I don't make a big deal about his skin color. I let his attitude and activities do the talking. I just think, he makes more sense as a black man.

Go ahead and let me know what you think in comments. Does he look better black than white? You tell me.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Electrode: Meet the Resistor

Scott McCross, better known as Electrode, ran his daily recon of New York City. At speeds of over 360,000 miles per second, his chore didn't take long. He moved between the obstacles of New York hustle and bustle with the ease of breathing. Any criminal element he found, never knew who found them until it was too late.

Electrode would handcuff muggers and thugs in mid crime. He'd put them in a cell before they could blink. He stopped fights with the snap of  his fingers, creating micro-sonic booms.  He even moved people and animals out of the way of speeding cars.

The bank robbery was nothing new. Five men with guns demanded money and Electrode found them in the act. He removed their guns before he noticed the strange attire of the fifth man. He wore a red and orange body suit with goggles over the eyes. Whenever someone dressed like that, it meant they were either a crackpot or someone flaunting powers. Electrode moved in on the man, but an aura of intense heat forced him back.

"I've been hoping to meet up with you." The man said as Electrode paused to look him over. "Sorry, I'm a little hot to the touch. Especially for you."

"Why especially for me?" Electrode asked. He could tell the man wanted to boast.

"Because you're Electrode, the nuclear electric man. I'm the Resistor!" He held out his fists as he glowed red. Electrode could feel the heat like being too close to a bonfire. "Your power will only make me hotter, so get out of the way. You can't do anything to me without risking the lives of everyone around us."

"Then you can't rob the bank either. You'll burn up the money."

"You fool. Why do you think I brought these men with me? Are you going to make me burn them too? I don't think so. You're an agent of good, Mr. Hero, you couldn't have that on your conscience. And you give of a natural charge that you can't turn off. So getting close to me means heating things up." Resistor laughed.

Electrode grimaced and vanished. Resistor laughed some more. People in the bank looked at each other, wondering where their savior had gone.

"He can't save any of you! Now stay where you're told and you might live to see another day. Men, collect that money."

Electrode raced to the Powers Institute where FBI Agent, Anthony James was working.

"Sorry to interrupt." Electrode said to let the man know he was there.

Anthony sat up from the machinery he was partway under and adjusted his eyepatch. He had a wrench in one hand and grease on his jeans.

"You're always a surprise, I'll give you that. What do you need?"

"I need to borrow something and I need to do it fast."

Across town the men loaded money bags into a van. Sirens sounded in the distance, but they wouldn't be there in time. Resistor smiled as he stood watch over his million dollar haul. The smile faded as all four of his men's bodies launched into the air in different directions.

"Couldn't stay away, eh?" Resistor called out.

A slap to the face spun him to the ground. As he tried to stand, another on spun him the other way. Electrode stopped a few feet away. He wore a rubber face mask with goggles and a different body suit.

"Insulated rubber suit. It's heat resistant too. What do you think of it?" Electrode vanished from sight and hit Resistor again.

Resistor's face jiggled back and forth as mini-slaps battered him. Resistor staggered and fell over. He looked at his hands and found strange handcuffs on his wrists.

"Those are inhibitor cuffs, made by Agent James. You're powers won't work with those on." Electrode pulled off the rubber mask. "Sure gets stuffy and hot in this thing."

"I will get you." Resistor mumbled in a daze.

"What's that?" Electrode responded. "I'm sure you'll try. You know, you did your homework on me but made one crucial mistake. You assumed that I don't know my own powers or how they work. You assumed that your powers would trump mine. And you're a boastful idiot. As soon as you explained yourself I knew exactly what to do. Have fun in prison."

"Next time, Electrode, you won't get the chance."

"You're singing an old tired song. Not interested." Electrode waited for the FBI van to come and pick up Resistor. Agent James had a special cell ready for him.

Electrode returned the suit and went back to work in less than a second. He finished his patrol and went for a cold drink. The forecast called for a hot day after all.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Guest Artist: Jack Lopez

Usually, guest artists draw a picture of an already existing GZ character and I post about them and their work. Jack Lopez had a different approach and challenge. He drew up a made up character ( no name or powers yet, just looks) and said, "Here, see what you can do with this". I thought, "colab?" sure why not? So I set to work on digital ink and color to see what would pop out of my brain. The results are below.

Before we get to that, let's talk about Jack. He's an aspiring comic artist with a cool page of work for you to check out at COMIX Illustrated Studios. On page he has over 300 posts of artwork. His style varies based on what he's drawing. He can duplicate looks or use his own flair. I picked a couple of my favorites off the page to show you. He's equally talented from pencils to inks to colors. I think you'll agree.




This is Ironman of course. Colored pencils. He says this was his first run this way and I say he knocked it out of the park.









Venom! Strong inking work. Click on any image for a closer view.





Now for what he sent me. Here are his pencils on this randomly put together guy that he just drew while messing around one day.

Here is what I did with the digital work.


This is the first guest artist colab I have ever done. Was kinda fun really. So there you have it, the work of Jack Lopez. Be sure to like his page (he's only at 100 right now so let's give that a boost). Remember to enjoy independent artists. They are the untapped talent of the comics universe and you never know what you'll find. Be a fan, I am!