Hopalong Camanshii + The Synaptic Kush
Graphic Novel / Animation Series
Hopalong Camanshii and the Synaptic Kush is a graphic novel project that I created, wrote, and illustrated that explores mythology, cultural and ethnic stereotypes, and the effect technology has on our society. It’s told through the lens of a fantastical society where art is a superpower. Told over 100 Books, Hopalong Camanshii and the Synaptic Kush is planned to be published four times a year with book one currently on sale. I also create and distribute clothing and other merchandise to promote the graphic novel.
‘Hopalong Camanshii and The Synaptic Kush’ by Anthony Tyrone Howard, is a “techno hippie cyber sexual adventure” set almost 1000 years in a future Philadelphia – with the first book of the series focusing on the “effect that the cult of fame, the rise of memes and march of technology is having on our society’s evolution”.
By Alexander Aplerku, AFROPUNK Contributor
01. Visual Storytelling
I was looking to take on a project that would exercise muscles that I don’t normally get a chance to flex. I’ve been so busy building my career as a designer that I haven’t worked on a comic in over twenty years.
As I started working I realized how similar laying out a comic page was to design a piece of visual design. Things like leading the eye, color balance, typography, readability are all things that have to shine to create a good page of sequential art.
02. Analog to Digital
The last time that I worked on a comic I was using ink nub pens and an of bristol board. Although I still love the feel of analog art I needed to optimize my workflow.
Using Manga Studio Ex (now Clip Studio) I’m able to duplicate the ink nibs in a digital space to create art identical to hand-drawn art. After creating the linework in MS I import into Adobe Photoshop for coloring, lettering, and effects.
03. Printing and Production
Initially, my plan was to only release the comic as a series of graphic novels and special editions but my existing client workload made any reliable release schedule prohibitive.
This year I decided to release the series as a Webcomic so I could concentrate on improving my art and storytelling page by page with a reasonable bi-monthly release system. Once I finish a chapter I then pan to collect those into printed editions packed with additional sketches and freebies.
Expanding the Universe
I recently started the process of translating the series into animation form. Since the process of animation is so time-consuming, I’ve been developing the series in phases. The first step was creating a version of the characters that were easy to animate so I looked to series that I love including Adventure Time, Total Drama Island, and, of course, Rick and Morty.
The next step was adapting the characters to ‘Rigs’, a digital puppet, that I could then animate in Adobe After Effects.
Marketing and Launch
For the first book, I held a launch party at W Studios on Northern Liberties Philadelphia. With a live DJ, Birthday cake, open mike, and a Burlesque dancer we celebrated the launch of Hopalong Camanshii Issue 1.
I also hand-delivered copies of the book to local comic shops as well as making the book available online via Amazon and Barnes and Nobel.