Name's Alex Baranov, or Alex Xatchett (pronounced as "Hatchett", it's a long story).
I'm a Russian comic book creator (writer/artist), and I've been making comic books in this severe and unforgiving mildly continental climate for the last 15 years.
Folks back home might remember me for the "The Skunk and the Ocelot" books, which were made in collaboration with my good friend and colleague Bogdan, a comic book legend in his own right.
We're also working together on "Script it! A guide to script writing: what we have no knowledge of but still get paid
Also, my official job is writing for Bubble Comics, and I've been writing the comic book series "Demonslayer" ("Besoboi") since 2014.
But my main project - something that I've been thinking about for 15 years and drawing since 2013 - is the dieselpunk fantasy webcomic "The Unicorn Conspiracy". So this Patreon is going to be dedicated mostly to this particular series.
"But shouldn't you be filthy stinking rich with all those projects of yours?" I hear you say.
Well, no. My own projects ( Script it!, The Unicorn Conspiracy, and the upcoming Skink&Ocelot vol3) are free. Free to read at your leisure.
You see, I am a strong believer in free content that is as widely available as possible, if possible. And if you like it - support the creators and buy it. And if not - why on Earth would you buy things that you don't like?
But since I am mostly busy drawing and writing stuff, I tend to put off the merchandising for a better day. Which never comes. But everyone still gets free comics, so everyone's happy. I hope.
However, I have to take on additional work in order to cover the living expenses and that takes away time from working on the comics. In other words, I'm too busy making free content to worry about making money off of it.
And that was all fine and dandy, before the economy had gone bottoms up.
So here I am. On Patreon.
Let’s talk about the comics, so that you’ll know what you’re getting into.
IN ENGLISH & RUSSIAN
“The Unicorn Conspiracy” is one of those projects that is kind of hard to describe in just two words. At first glance it looks like a story about a megapolis populated by elves, humans, gnomes, orcs, goblins and whatever other creatures you might find in any other fantasy works. And yet it's not exactly a fantasy, but rather a study of various social processes.
As of today there are almost 180 pages, and we're close to the end of the second chapter.
I will try to keep up the same pace with which I update the Russian version - a page per week, maybe two if the wind is right - but there might be delays, mostly on account of the sheer amount of text that I will need to translate (on top of my everyday job). But I hope that with your support I will keep up with the regular updates.
Status: 130+ pages, ongoing.
My input: Everything, story, art, the whole kit and kaboodle.
Rated +18 (just because I don't want anyone telling me "Oh, my five-year-old saw your comic and now he's doing horrible things to our pet hamster!". It might not seem this way now, but the story's going to get dark).
Free to read online (click on the flag).
Please note that English is not my native language and that I haven't spoken it for almost 20 years, so if any of my Patreon friends and sponsors want to comment on and correct my mistakes, I will be eternally thankful and add the necessary changes.
IN RUSSIAN (for now):
"Script it!" is an experiment of sorts.
Some time ago me and my colleagues came to an understanding that we really don't understand anything at all about writing comics (and other scripts in general), and it was about time to organize our thoughts and those scant pieces of experience that we got from working on comics and scripts into something coherent. Thus the idea for this book was born.
Together with my colleague, Bogdan, we've set our sights on exploring the art of script-writing, something that we are only beginning to grasp, to put it generously. It's almost a stream of conscience, and any form of input and commentary is welcomed. We try to touch upon the general issues of script-writing, regardless of what the script is for, but since we're making comics, the main emphasis is on comic books. This is by no means a definitive guide to writing, only a supplementary. So far it's turning out better than we hoped it would be. This is a project that is born in arguments and discussions that encompasses the opinions and comments of many people. I hope it will be useful to other creators.
It's published online as soon as the next chapter is finished, which is usually a month or so.
In collaboration with: Bogdan
My input: Text & Pencils
Status: 50+ pages, ongoing.
Rated PG-13, I guess. (We do have an underclad cat-girl as a narrator...)
Free to read online (click on the flag).
"The Skunk and the Ocelot" is a parody adventure comic book, created by me and Bogdan, about the misadventures of two anthropomorphic critters in a zany world of martial arts monasteries, killer ninja office workers, spaceships and any number of other things that we felt like putting in this mix. Two volumes have already been published by Istari Comics. There remains a final volume that, unlike the previous ones, will be posted free online, chapter by chapter, up until it is eventual published. The series has a long history of publications, and the characters have appeared in various stories throughout the years, including the official introduction to the Kommissia comic book festival. It is currently in Russian only, but we hope that an English translation will appear sometime soon.
In collaboration with: Bogdan! Again! Good man, good man!
My input: Story & Pencils
Status: 400 pages in 2 volumes, ongoing and published by Istari Comics
Rated PG-13 (cartoon violence and cartoon alcohol consumption).
Buy the books (click on the flag) and I'll drop a link on the third volume chapters as soon as we get to posting them online.
"Demonslayer", or "Besoboi" (actually, it's more of an "Imp-Bane", but you gotta admit, "Demonslayer" just sounds cooler) is a monthly comic book series by Bubble Comics, which I've been writing for 4 years as of today (since issue #25).
It deals with a man caught in a war between Heaven and Hell. With artists like Vasin, Kay and Phobs, the series enjoys popularity with the Russian readers, and we hope to get an English version for new and potential readers next year.
In collaboration with: just about every good artist this side of the Mississippi (see above).
My input: Story
Status: 1000+ pages, ongoing, monthly.
Buy the books from the publisher or read the story in English (click on the flag)
PS - I've started my run somewhere at issue number 27. So far there's only 7 issues on comixology, so there's still a long way to go. )
My plans for the future (to let you guys know what the heck am I working on)
- Weekly pages for the Unicorn Conspiracy, bilingual.
- "Script it!", which I plan on translating as soon as possible.
- "The Skunk and the Ocelot" volume 3, in Russian for the moment.
Note: since we're working with Bogdan on both "S.I.!" and "S&O", we can't possibly be drawing both comics simultaneously. So instead we're going to do a series of short chapters for "S.I.!", then a chapter for "S&O", and then back to "S.I.!", and so on and on, and we'll pray to the blood gods that our readers will forgive us.
- "Demonslayer" is published regularly, monthly, so I'll be busy writing the series as well as working on my other projects.
So that's about it.
I'm not setting any rewards here, I don't think that I could manage a lot of extra content since I'll be writing and drawing pages like crazy. But that does not mean that there isn't going to be any. I'll think of something. More on that later.
Oh, and if there are people out there who are willing to translate "Script it!" and "Skunk & Ocelot" comics into English, they will be welcomed with open arms. I mean it. This will free up a lot of time from my schedule. Once again, English is NOT my first language, for all I know I talk like Alex (heh) from "Everything is Illuminated"...
That's about it, then. Back to the drawing board. Thank you for supporting and for stopping by. Cheers.