October 9, 2017
MAKING CON-TACTS!

Hello again! I’m writing this the day after NEW YORK COMIC CON 2017, where we spent the weekend squeezing our way through publishers, fans, cosplayers, promotions, and comic book professionals. NYCC is pretty nuts.

“Action” Steve having a ferry good time his way to the New York Comic Con.

Weeks before NYCC, AFK Cover colorist (Ziggy B.) and I also attended the BALTIMORE COMIC CON, where we shared a creators’ table in artists’ alley to promote ACTION FIGURE KINGDOM, and Ziggy’s own comic, “SIDEKICKED,” as well as his original graphic novel, “OPERATION PAJAMA PANTS.” I had my most successful con appearance yet — getting ACTION FIGURE KINGDOM into many more readers’ hands, while also networking with all kinds of great people. Baltimore was a great experience and we encourage anyone looking for a real ”comic book-centric” comic con to consider making the trip one year. I certainly hope to go back in 2018.

“Action” Steve promoting AFK at the 2017 Baltimore Comic Con

Besides promoting ACTION FIGURE KINGDOM, I spend a lot of time at the cons (whether I have a table or not) basically “interrogating” other comic book creators to see what is working for them. I am always interested in how they fund their work, where they get their comics & stuff printed, what paper and cover stock they are using, how they have their “merch” produced, how they distribute their books, and all the other things that go on when creating a comic book. Trust me… there are a LOT of bases to cover! I find that comic cons — for me — are both inspiring and intimidating at the same time. Everyone is so talented!

Now that the fall’s two big east coast comic cons are behind us, it’s time to take everything I learned and move forward in the multiple directions it will take to bring ACTION FIGURE KINGDOM to the next level. I have many new ideas to explore!

Thanks for reading! – Action Steve



August 31, 2017
DOUBLE DIGITS!

When we last left ACTION FIGURE KINGDOM, I had just finished putting the final touches on ACTION FIGURE KINGDOM #9 — Part three of the four-part “Blast From the Past” storyline. The 24-pager went on sale — as planned — the week before FREE COMIC BOOK DAY 2017. I also managed to finish-up the 12-Page, ACTION FIGURE KINGDOM FREE COMIC BOOK DAY 2017 SPECIAL — which featured artwork by both me and AFK Cover Colorist, Ziggy B. — just in time to hand it out for FREE on FREE COMIC BOOK DAY at FUNNYBOOKS. If you missed out on the FREEBIE, we will soon be adding it to our “FREE READING” section right here at actionfigurekingdom.com.

Since then, I’ve been focusing on my “day job,” my Comic Book Shop, FUNNYBOOKS in New Jersey — which had it’s 25th BIRTHDAY in June. We celebrated mightily by renting an extra space on the block, and opening-up a month-long “pop-up” discount outlet called the FUNCAVE, where we also hosted our 25th BIRTHDAY BASH with Special Guest, Fan-Favorite Comic Book Creator, Amanda Conner. Ziggy and I also shared a table at the GARDEN STATE COMIC FEST in early July to have some fun while promoting our comics.

During my “free time” I’ve continued to move forward with ACTION FIGURE KINGDOM. I recently completed the full scripts to both AFK10 and AFK11. AFK10 is the 32-page conclusion to “BLAST FROM THE PAST,” the 4-part, “Time Travel” storyline which began in AFK7 with the introductions of CLASSIC ACROBOT, CLASSIC SPARKINATOR, and MISTER BLAST. Meanwhile, AFK11 will be a 32-page One-Shot, which will be the first issue of ACTION FIGURE KINGDOM to be drawn by a guest artist — the formerly mentioned AFK cover colorist, Ziggy B. AFK11 co-stars Ziggy’s trademark character, BLOOD PICKLE, and I think everyone is going to really love this one.

I don’t know about Ziggy, but as of this post, I’ve just completed lettering the rough layouts to the first 16 pages of AFK10 (half the issue). And I’ve finished pencils on FOUR of those pages. I would love to have the issue out by Christmas 2017 — after all, it is a Christmas story — but this time I can’t make any promises… other than to do my best!

Thanks for reading! – Action Steve



May 9, 2017
NOW ON SALE!

ACROBAT and SPARKINATOR get a new JET-CAR in the All-New AFK9!



April 27, 2017
FRECKLES AND LIGHTNING BOLTS!

Hello! It’s me, “Action” Steve, and I’m back in action, so to speak. I recently finished my PT for my RSI, and have returned to drawing — a little at a time, and with some adjustments to my method, including some arm/hand support (compression sleeve and glove, and a tennis elbow band), and some ergonomic improvements (like a new chair – woohoo!). I also have to remember to take breaks and do some stretching. Hopefully I won’t have to go through that again!

I recently put the absolute finishing touches on the upcoming 24-page, ACTION FIGURE KINGDOM #9 (“Blast From the Past” Part 3). Before it goes to the printer, I always look it over one final time, to check for things I may have missed, either in the writing, the lettering, or in the artwork. I call this the “Freckles and Lightning Bolts” stage, because I always check to see if I remembered to always give SPARKINATOR his freckles, and to always put the lightning-bolt over his head — and sure enough, I missed a bunch of freckles. I was fortunate to also catch two (hopefully) final typos, which I hadn’t caught in previous proofreads, and which also fooled my spellchecker. After I made all the necessary corrections, I met with AFK cover-colorist Ziggy B, and we worked-out the final colors for the front and back covers, and then we uploaded it to the printer (I will post the cover as soon as I can – for now, you can see it on our “issues” page, right here at actionfigurekingdom.com). If everything goes smoothly at the printer, ACTION FIGURE KINGDOM #9 will hit the FUNNYBOOKS’ shelves on NEW COMIC DAY (May 3rd), just in time for the Annual FREE COMIC BOOK DAY crowd on May 6th. It’s almost like I planned it that way!

Hope everything is going good with you! Thanks for Reading! – Action Steve



January 23, 2017
AFK TCB

Hello again, ACTION FIGURE KINGDOM Fans! In my crusade to post more often, here I am. And I’m not even sure what I’m about to talk about! Let’s see what happens…

SIDELINED!
I guess, the first thing I should report is, I’ve had to stop all drawing due to a Repetitive Strain Injury which causes pain and severe numbness in my left arm and the fingers on my left hand (yes, I’m a lefty). I’ve been attending Physical Therapy a couple times a week, and that — combined with my suspension of all drawing activity — seems to have helped improved the condition. I will get back to drawing as soon as I can, and I really can’t wait (I was so close to finishing AFK9, and I have some other pieces I’m really looking forward to working on).

SWITCHING GEARS!
Even though I really wanted to keep drawing until AFK9 was completely finished, the injury has forced me to switch gears, and this has actually been a good thing. I am now working on many of the little things — and some big things too — that need to be accomplished to continue to grow ACTION FIGURE KINGDOM. The 2017 “to do list” includes, beginning the coloring process on the interior pages of AFK (beginning with AFK1), making AFK available digitally, planning some con appearances, and brainstorming other ways to get AFK out there. I’ve also used my “no drawing” downtime to organize the ACTION FIGURE KINGDOM finances.

NEW WRITING!
I’ve returned to writing, which I really enjoy. I’ve been working primarily on two scripts, one for the top-secret ACTION FIGURE KINGDOM #11, and one for a Special FREE COMIC BOOK DAY 2017 edition of ACTION FIGURE KINGDOM. The script for the FCBD one is pretty much finished, and I’ve handed it off to AFK Cover Artist, ZIGGY B. who will be illustrating the 12-pager. The FREE COMIC BOOK DAY issue will star every character ever to appear in AFK — and then some!

AFK FAN ART WANTED!
We’ve posted our first new AFK FAN ART right here at actionfigurekingdom.com. We are always looking for new artwork to post, so if you would like to see your artwork here, start drawing. To be considered, your piece must feature a character — or characters — from ACTION FIGURE KINGDOM. E-Mail finished pieces to actionsteve@optonline.net, with the subject AFK FAN ART, or bring your piece to FUNNYBOOKS and we’ll scan it for you.

AFK1 2017 EDITION ON SALE SOON!
Another thing I’ve just wrapped-up is the 2017 edition of ACTION FIGURE KINGDOM #1. I’ve added FOUR pages, (expanding the story to 20 pages), and have also made some minor cosmetic changes, including adding a “RETURN OF THE QUEEN” logo to the cover. The new AFK1 will be available soon, so make sure to put any previous versions in a safe place — They’re collectors’ items now!

Oh yeah… And I’ve also managed to post here twice in eleven days. Not too shabby!

Thanks for reading! – Action Steve



January 12, 2017
ALL ACTION! NO TALK!

SORRY I’M LATE!
In my defense… I’ve been very obsessed with DRAWING — Specifically, drawing the upcoming ACTION FIGURE KINGDOM #9. In fact, the 24-page issue is nearly finished! Expect it this spring!

MERRY CHRISTMAS!
I was so determined to press-on with the pencils for AFK9, I never even blogged when the 24-page ACTION FIGURE KINGDOM #8 hit the FUNNYBOOKS’ shelves the New Comic Day before Christmas (as promised in my previous post). AFK8 — which takes place entirely on Christmas Eve — arrived just in time to make it the perfect holiday read!

WORLDS COLLIDE!
ACTION FIGURE KINGDOM #8 continues the “Blast from the Past” storyline, which began in AFK7. I’ve been billing AFK8 as the “All Talk, No Action” issue, as the entire book is conversational. I guess that’s what happens when TWO ACROBATS and TWO SPARKINATORS meet for the first time! I’m pretty happy with the way AFK8 turned-out, and I’m really looking forward to telling the rest of the story. You can pick up a copy of the new AFK8 at FUNNYBOOKS (our affiliated comic book shop in New Jersey), or, you can purchase one in our online store — along with all other ACTION FIGURE KINGDOM issues — right here at actionfigurekingdom.com.

HAPPY NEW YEAR!
We have some great ideas for ACTION FIGURE KINGDOM in 2017. Stay tuned!

Thanks for reading! – Action Steve



October 7, 2016
BACK SO SOON?

Hello, ACTION FIGURE KINGDOM fans! It’s me — Action Steve — and, yes, I’m back sooner than later this time!

Having just experienced the very first day of New York Comic Con 2016, I have a lot of new information on comic book production and promotion, and many new ideas for the future of AFK!

I attended NYCC with AFK cover colorist, Ziggy B (soon to be interior colorist as well), and together we represented both ACTION FIGURE KINGDOM and FUNNYBOOKS — Didn’t you know, besides being the creator of AFK,  I also own and manage a comic book store in New Jersey called FUNNYBOOKS? We’ve been around for over 24 years, and amazingly, Ziggy was also my very first customer.

Day one was very rewarding. We got in early for a retailer breakfast (organized by our distributor, Diamond Comics) where we sat with Bob Wayne from the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, and two other retailers — one from Mexico, and one from the Philippines!!! Next was the retailer panel where we enjoyed presentations by Diamond, DC, Valiant, and Titan Comics. We then hit the show floor where we spoke with Image and Skybound, and then Marvel, and, of course, checked-out the scene in general — it’s COMIC CON!!! Next it was off to some panels.

Through the course of the day, Ziggy and I attended four panels —  1) Writing comics and pitching ideas. 2) Breaking into Marvel, 3) Using TUMBLR, and 4) Marketing and promoting your self-published comic book. All the panels were worthwhile, and gave us ideas and inspiration — and also some important reality checks. Thank you to anyone involved in putting together and presenting these panels, and thanks to ZIGGY, who was excellent company for the day.

And thanks to YOU for Reading this — Be back soon. – Action Steve



September 26, 2016
AFK UPDATED!

Although I haven’t written anything here in almost a year, (which is hard for me to believe), I HAVE been pretty productive with the more important — and MORE challenging — job of writing and drawing ACTION FIGURE KINGDOM! And, for the second post in a row, I’ve come back to the blog after accomplishing what I set out to do in the previous post… Which means ACTION FIGURE KINGDOM Fans can now get their hands on the new AFK#5, AFK#6, and AFK#7 (!) and will also be able to snag the New AFK#8 before the end of 2016, as promised.

The New ACTION FIGURE KINGDOM #5 and #6 were formerly know as ACTION ZOMBIE KINGDOM #1 & #2, and have now been re-branded as part of the ongoing AFK series (so, hang on to those issues with the “ACTION ZOMBIE KINGDOM” logo — there aren’t that many out there!). Meanwhile, the New ACTION FIGURE KINGDOM #7 — which begins a time-travel-themed story — includes bits & pieces of the original AFK#5, along with 13 new pages (combining to make a 24-page story opener). Also, ACTION FIGURE KINGDOM #8 (previously AFK#6) is pretty much finished, but is being held for a Christmas 2016 release — which will not only fit the Christmas theme of the story, but will also make the wait for 2017’s 24-page, ACTION FIGURE KINGDOM #9 less excruciating.

Now, that I’ve accomplished everything on that checklist… let’s see if I can add “posting AFK updates here at actionfigurekingdom.com on a regularly basis” to my routine. …I Also have to work on getting more people to read this (so it isn’t just YOU!).

Thanks for reading! – Action Steve



November 16, 2015
BACK TO THE DRAWING BOARD!

Hi everyone! It’s “Action” Steve Conte here, back on the blog with another informative ACTION FIGURE KINGDOM update. As I mentioned in our previous post, I am now working on ACTION FIGURE KINGDOM #7. This should make sense to longtime AFK fans who may have ACTION FIGURE KINGDOM #1-6 in their collections, (along with ACTION ZOMBIE KINGDOM #1, and #2), and have been looking forward to AFK#7. Newer ACTION FIGURE KINGDOM fans, however, may be thinking… “There’s an ACTION FIGURE KINGDOM #5 AND #6?”

Yes! Both AFK#5 and AFK#6 actually do exist (I’ve included pictures to prove it). Both issues, however, are completely sold-out, and there are no plans to reprint them in their current forms. The 16-page, ACTION FIGURE KINGDOM #5 began an all-new AFK story arc entitled, “Blast From the Past,” in which Tommy’s dad gives Tommy the ACROBOT and SPARKINATOR action figures he had as a child, along with his old GOOD GUYS’ Flying Car. The story then continued into the 24-page, ACTION FIGURE KINGDOM #6, in which ACROBOT and SPARKINATOR meet their “classic” counterparts. After the release of AFK #6 (which ended on a Christmas Eve cliffhanger), I put the “Blast from the Past” storyline on hold, so I could work on the 2-issue, ACTION FIGURE KINGDOM spin-off, ACTION ZOMBIE KINGDOM.

With ACTION ZOMBIE KINGDOM now complete, I am now back to work on “Blast From the Past.” However, instead of picking-up where I left off, I have decided to redo ACTION FIGURE KINGDOM #5 (which I was never really very happy with in the first place). During my time working on ACTION ZOMBIE KINGDOM, I spent a lot of time brainstorming ideas on how to make AFK#5 better, and what I came up with is really cool. I don’t want to reveal too many of the details, but I am pretty excited to be working on it, and am moving pretty quickly.

I know, I know… I started this post saying I was working on AFK#7, and I just explained I am re-doing AFK#5 instead. What gives, right? Well, here’s the plan… in 2016, I will be re-issuing ACTION ZOMBIE KINGDOM #1 and #2, as the new ACTION FIGURE KINGDOM #5, and #6 (making the original ACTION ZOMBIE KINGDOM issues highly collectible!). The old AFK#5 (which begins “Blast from the Past,” and which I am now re-doing) will be the new ACTION FIGURE KINGDOM #7, and the old ACTION FIGURE KINGDOM #6 will become ACTION FIGURE KINGDOM #8.

AFK fans should be able to get their hands on both the new AFK#7, and the new AFK#8 in 2016 — Which reminds me… I better stop blogging and get back to the drawing board!

Thanks for reading! – Action Steve



August 31, 2015
SORRY I HAVEN’T BLOGGED IN TWO YEARS. I’VE BEEN WORKING ON SOMETHING CALLED ACTION ZOMBIE KINGDOM!

It is slightly embarrassing writing this, when the last time I posted something was way back in March 2013! I had just arrived home from the Emerald City Comic Con in Seattle, and was recapping everything I had experienced there. In that blog I also mentioned a new project I was going to be working on called, “AZK.” Now — more than two years later —I’m back, and the 40-page, ACTION ZOMBIE KINGDOM, two-issue miniseries is literally “in the books.”

It is kind of neat coming back and reading a post saying, “I’m working on an idea,” when the idea is now a real thing — A comic book (actually two) that you can pick-up with your hands and read. But I really should have been updating the blog along the way. Especially when I put out the 16-Page ACTION ZOMBIE KINGDOM #1 back in May of 2014 — I can’t believe I never even did a blog post about that! #derp

Well, at least I did the important work of actually starting and finishing what I set out to do (which turned out to be a 40-page story). I really think ACTION ZOMBIE KINGDOM came out pretty much as good as I could have done it at my current level of craftsmanship. I worked on it very hard, and I am obsessed with many elements of my story. I hope my obsession translates to an enjoyable experience for anyone who reads it, and leaves everyone wanting even more AFK!

Now that ACTION ZOMBIE KINGDOM is finished (and available at FUNNYBOOKS, and here at our online store), I can get back to work on ACTION FIGURE KINGDOM #7 — Although, it won’t be nearly the same AFK#7 it was going to be before I started ACTION ZOMBIE KINGDOM. I have a LOT of new ideas! Stay tuned!

Thanks for reading! – Action Steve