Featuring the Webcomics and Graphic Novels, Fantasy and Sci-Fi by Mark Oakley!
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What is, Thieves & Kings?

“Thoroughly engrossing self-published black-and white fantasy saga. [. . .] This is a story for fans of Bone, Elfquest, Nausicaa, or Harry Potter to fall in love with; highly recommended for teen and adult fantasy readers everywhere.”

   -The Library Journal

Learn about Mark Oakley and his work!

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Read a 25 page
sample chapter!





Mark’s sci-fi Web Comic!

Stardrop! Featuring the space Princess Ashelle living on Earth.
Bi-weekly webcomic!

Email Me!


or write to. . .

I Box Publishing
#1 - 614 Main St.
Wolfville, NS  B4P 1E8
Canada



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RETAILERS:
Stardrop Book 3 Order Links for Retailers


Past Comments:

Closed Loop - The Pull 2017


Stardrop Pencils


The New Fascism


Tribes and Reality


What's up with all the Anti-Russian sentiment?


How to Stay Sane in an Insane World - Top 3 diet changes (not what you think!)


MadMax and Tomorrowland - Reality Splitting Decisions...


Star Wars the Force Awakens - JJ Abrams is a Lightweight


The Mysterious meta-Jenny


I Will Not Hate Because You Want Me To


Response to Amazon and Kindle Direct Publishing


Art Software Review - OpenCanvas 6


Why Facebook is an unreliable tool for the Self Publisher


Three Questions from a Beginner Cartoonist


Comics in the New Media ~ How to Publish Comics on Tablets and eReaders Without Getting Ripped Off


Mark at the Movies:Superman, Man of Steel. Propaganda to dim the spirit and fan your fears.


Mark at the Movies: What do, Mirror Mirror, Hunger Games and Cabin in the Woods all have in common? More than you think!


Drawing Democracy


365 Days of Digital Cartooning - Drawing Comics on a Tablet PC


UPDATED!
Tablet button bar Button for Photoshop / PaintTool Sai / MangaStudio5


Photoshop CS4 vs CS5 Speed Comparison for Tablet PC


Photoshop Speed-Up Trick for Digital Art


Portable Drafting Board - Drawing Comics Outdoors

 

 
   Stardrop. . .

Connect with me on Facebook!
STARDROP



Please become my Patron! It's super-easy; see Patreon to find out how. -Now, don't worry; everything will remain free to read here, (many of my readers do not have credit cards, after all). But I'm a full-time cartoonist and I need to pay the bills. There are hundreds of folks reading, so those who are able, please consider chipping in with as much or as little as you choose. Even a buck a month would be a blessing! Those of you who have already extended your support, oh my goodness, Thank-You! It literally means the world to me!

Also.., Jenny Mysterious is now LIVE and will have regular weekly updates! Yessss! Been a long time coming. Jump to her section below. Thanks everybody!

New Episode #280 - Next Episode, Thursday April 6th
webcomic Stardrop by Mark Oakley www.iboxpublishing.com

                        

 


Digital Editions Now Available


"High Resolution For Tablets!"
$8.25 CAD
Download Stardrop Volume 1    Download Stardrop Volume 2

-No DRM -No Hassles -Super High Quality -Whole Books with all the extras!

Technical note: I'm using a new sales system for this which doesn't require all kinds of complicated filling out of forms and such. The back-end magic is worked by Gumroad, an awesome new on-line system designed just for digital content; easy payment, reliable delivery, no mucking around. -And holy smokes! They play fair, taking 5% + 25 cents per transaction. Are you paying attention Apple and Amazon? This is how it's done.


NEW! Stardrop eBook
Now Available!

(See the Studio News (below) for the scoop on this!)



Tip StarDrop's cartoonist!

Visit the Australian StarDrop Mirror.
(Thanks to Andrew and Katherine for their wonderful support over the years!)

 
 
   Jenny Mysterious. . .
Read the latest stuff before everybody else. Become a Patron!

Nov 14th, 2017
New Pages posted - 207 to 208
I've decided to publish the long-talked about Jenny Mysterious free on-line, with new pages every week, starting right now! BUT I am asking folks to become Patrons. Please support my comics with as little or as much as you choose with a monthly subscription, (even just a dollar would be fine!). It's really easy. See my Patreon page for details.

-Check out the cool perks!

Thanks everybody!


webcomic Jenny Mysterious by Mark Oakley www.iboxpublishing.com
    

Please Vote! (You can vote for both Jenny and Stardrop without conflict.) Thank-you!
    New: Reader's Art!


 
 
   Thieves & Kings. . .

Sample Chapter from, Thieves & Kings, Volume 3, "The Blue Book"

Thieves & Kings, page from the graphic novel series by Mark Oakley www.iboxpublishing.com

Thieves & Kings is not a webcomic. It's an all-ages fantasy/adventure graphic novel series which I've been working on since 1994. It is nearly done; I hope to wrap up the story in the 7th volume, (currently in production). The chapter featured here offers a good example of what it's like to read Thieves & Kings. --It's a peppy sequence, and it contains both regular comic pages, and some text pages. It doesn't show much of the title character, (Rubel) and none of the Shadow Lady, but Heath and Varkias carry the show quite nicely. I do hope you enjoy this sample of my work!

 
 
   The Walking Mage. . .

The Walking Mage webcomic #2 - Fired

The Walking Mage is a complete story. Originally it was done in black & white, (which you can check out here, if you like). I wanted to experiment with color and so began by using a computer to color the Walking Mage for its print release. After a few panels I decided that it would be a lot more fun to paint it by hand, and so switched to water-color around episode six.

The story itself is quite a good little yarn; funny and pointed in many places, as political satire ought to be. I was actually quite surprised to learn this! I found myself laughing out loud in several places. --I don't know why this story in particular was so hard for me to accept, but it was. I avoided reading it for several years after it first went to press. The ending is rather abrupt, but it was a serial strip, after all.

So anyway, after having let this web-comic languish in the digital attic, I've decided to pull it out and post it again for all the world in its full-color glory. This is the first time the Walking Mage has been available in full color on the web. I hope you enjoy the adventures of Quinton and Varkias. Cheers!

 
 
   News From the Studio. . .

Ghost in the Shell ~ A Teacher Slides Away...
 

April 02, 2017

It's funny how movie reviewers have to use the words "Manga" and "Anime" when telling us what they thought about Ghost in the Shell. -There is a decided discomfort and lack of knowing as to how to really deal with that alien-feeling black sheep media style from Japan.

Anime is like looking into a bird's eyes. The plumage is beautiful, complex and wondrous, but... My friend and bookshop guru Hilary Drummond described the chickens in her backyard in this way and it stuck with me;

"You look into its eyes and realize that you're truly seeing the Other. A mind completely different from your own. You're looking into the eyes of a dinosaur."

Now.., that's not to say Japanese culture is a dinosaur. God, no! But its differences are always sliding sideways from our casual Western understandings, and I am sure, this is felt in kind.

The original animated Ghost in the Shell film, which came out.., long ago now, was... okay. Mostly a mood piece trying to be Blade Runner -minus Harrison Ford and a compelling story. But it was very cleverly animated with some neat ideas. Maybe. I think...

I have this love/hate thing going with Masamune Shirow. (The original manga artist.) His early work is one of the reasons I got into comics! I learned how to draw by replicating some of his pages. So this kinda cuts home for me...

Shirow was one of those brilliant comics guys who drew fabulous worlds, invented new ways of thinking about design. -That's rare! To come up with new design ideas? That just doesn't happen very often, and when it does, it changes the world. Heck, Apple Computers owes him a creative debt I think.

But then.., he failed to put any focus where it was truly needed: On his Characters...

A story is about the people. The people! -Sure, you need to have interesting world mechanics BUT if you don't care what happens to the people.., if you don't hope they find happiness in the end, if you don't hope they grow and learn grace.., then you don't have a story. -You have a gamer's role-playing manual. (And not even that, I would argue, in Shirow's case).

One of Shirow's best works, "Appleseed" offered probably the closest thing to a real cast of characters. They were interesting people, full of promise and vibrancy. -I still remember their names! But as the story progressed, they slipped away and more and more became strangers only glimpsed from afar. Not even casual acquaintances.., just people you might recognize in a crowd. -Always running around on confusing, violent adventures -and this is the most disconcerting part... Their world and all their personal discussion was propelled by obtuse, socio-political hot air jargon which I'm almost 95% convinced existed for the sole purpose of distracting readers from the fact that all Shirow really wanted to draw was naked girls and robots. -Which he did extremely well. No question. But jeez, dude! We have tons of guys drawing soft porn and machine guns. Why you? What a damned waste!

It's sad/funny because it was a decades-long career curve he was on. As his art skills grew, it was like his soul slipped away. I followed his progress through comics and graphic novels, watching as his psychology shifted. He went from character focused stories, and drifted further and further into pure design and sex. He lost me completely with his later stuff as he drowned in the sensual. Too bad. And to hell with him! He had art skills and career fortune which could have been spun into amazing things.., but instead...

Well, "Ghost in the Shell" happened about half-way down that slide.

A sexy robo-chick has an identity crisis in a flat, friendless and depressing Blade Runner world of hyper sense stimulation.

I wonder if that is an accurate reflection of Shirow's mental landscape?

Bleh. I've already written too much about this now.

Sorry folks.

It's like a beloved teacher lost his mind.

At least I can say I've learned one last lesson from him. -What I do NOT want to become.

 

Mark Oakley
Wolfville, NS
April 02,2017

 

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