May 15, 2018

Hope you didn’t miss one of the biggest days of the year for comic shops around the world, because FREE COMIC BOOK DAY (FCBD) 2018 is already in the books (you see what we did there?). The extravaganza — which takes place the 1st Saturday in May every year — is designed to get more comics into readers’ hands, and hopefully create some new fans!

AFKFCBD2018
Once again, we here at ACTION FIGURE KINGDOM HEADQUARTERS, produced a special, ALL-NEW, FREE edition of ACTION FIGURE KINGDOM for FREE COMIC BOOK DAY! The ACTION FIGURE KINGDOM FREE COMIC BOOK DAY 2018 Edition was inspired by the realization that FREE COMIC BOOK DAY would fall on CINCO DE MAYO this year. The Mexico-themed celebration sparked the idea for an ACTION FIGURE KINGDOM FCBD storyline that was too good to pass up.

INTRODUCING RRRAPIDO!
I came up with the character, RRRAPIDO, a while ago — A Latino character with speed powers (the three “R’s” indicate “rolling your “R’s”). He was one of a new wave of heroes I was working on who would all be introduced in a “try-out-themed” ACTION FIGURE KINGDOM storyline somewhere down the line. When I discovered the 2018 FREE COMIC BOOK DAY / CINCO DE MAYO connection, I started thinking about moving the try-out storyline to the top of the AFK schedule. I could introduce RRRAPIDO to the ACTION FIGURE KINGDOM Universe on FREE COMIC BOOK DAY, and make him a hero specifically from Mexico. The more I thought about the synchronicity of the idea, the more I knew it had to be done.

¿HABLAS ESPAÑOL?
I knew I was on to something when I came-up with the concept of presenting all of RRRAPIDO’S dialogue in the FCBD issue in Spanish, and utilizing ACROBOT as a translator throughout the story (the standard method used when a comic book character speaks another language, is to put English dialogue in parenthesis, which indicates it’s really another language). Having RRRAPIDO’s dialogue in actual Spanish, was more authentic, and combined with SPARKINATOR’s rudimentary understanding of the language, led to much of the issues humor. As a bonus, the “translation concept” is also somewhat educational — it certainly was for me! I was fortunate to have a friend in Mexico City who was willing to help me with all of my Spanish dialogue, and was also very pleasant to work with – Thank you Regina Sienra!

SKETCH EDITION!
After writing the FCBD2018 script, and seeing I had a 12-page story on my hands, I realized I wouldn’t be able to finish the time-consuming finished pencils in time for a FCBD release. This is when I came-up with the idea to produce a “Sketch” edition instead. Besides being quicker to draw, the sketch version would also give AFK fans something different than a regular issue of AFK, and would also look pretty cool (the sketches always do). Thanks to this decision, I actually beat my deadline and had finished the 12-page story several weeks before FREE COMIC BOOK DAY. This is when AFK cover colorist — and the artist of the upcoming ACTION FIGURE KINGDOM #11 — Ziggy B, and I, came-up with the crazy idea of adding some of his pages from AFK#11 to the AFKFCBD2018 Edition. Not only would this give everyone a preview of the very NEXT AFK issue, but it would also give us the opportunity to showcase the “ACTION FIGURE” element of AFK, since ZIGGY’s pages would feature the AFK kids playing with their action figures – while my story was all “KINGDOM.”

A “kids playing with their action figures” panel from the upcoming AFK#11, by Ziggy B.

THE RACE WAS ON!
Once we decided to include Ziggy’s pages we were back under deadline. Ziggy increased his pace (he had a lot of the penciling finished, but he still had most of the inking to do) and I began lettering his pages (luckily we work well together). The end result is our biggest FREE COMIC BOOK DAY issue ever — 24-pages if you include the covers — 12 sequential pages and a RRRAPIDO pin-up by me, and 6 sequential pages plus a pin-up (the cover to AFK#11) by Ziggy. Thanks to a quick turn around by our printer, we had the issue printed just in time for FREE COMIC BOOK DAY.  – ¡Y el resto es historia! (and the rest is history!).

If you didn’t get a copy of the AFKFCBD2018 CINCO DE MAYO SPECIAL (handed out at FUNNYBOOKS on FREE COMIC BOOK DAY, see below*), you can now read the whole thing right here at actionfigurekingdom.com.Simply go to the “comics” tab and scroll to the bottom of our “FREE READS” section — where you will also find last year’s “4th-wall-breaching” FCBD issue.

TO BE CONTIUNED…
While you may have to wait a while for the rest of the RRRAPIDO try-out storyline, (currently scheduled to continue in AFK#13), you will be able to continue Ziggy’s story this summer in ACTION FIGURE KINGDOM #11. More on that in the next blog.

Thanks for reading! – Action Steve

*Did you know the creator of ACTION FIGURE KINGDOM, Steve Conte (A.K.A. the guy writing this) also owns and operates a friendly little New Jersey comic shop named FUNNYBOOKS (funnyrama.com). The AFK FREE COMIC BOOK DAY 2018 CINCO DE MAYO SPECIAL was offered as a FUNNYBOOKS exclusive on FREE COMIC BOOK DAY this year. A limited number of copies are still available.



March 3, 2018
FORWARD MARCH!

Hello out there, AFK FANS! It’s March 2018 and I’m back to fill you in on everything going on at ACTION FIGURE KINGDOM headquarters!

AFK#11 IN PROGRESS!
I’m pretty excited about the upcoming ACTION FIGURE KINGDOM #11. It’s the first AFK issue illustrated by a guest artist — AFK cover colorist, ZIGGY B — and he’s doing a great job. ZIGGY is a talented artist and his style is very well suited for the sometimes-silly nature of ACTION FIGURE KINGDOM. AFK#11 will introduce several new characters to the AFK Universe — including ZIGGY’S own creation, BLOOD PICKLE — and will also feature a new costume design for SPARKINATOR! AFK fans can watch Ziggy work LIVE on TWITCH TV every Tuesday night at 8pm at https://www.twitch.tv/fakemccoy. Pretty cool!

Panel one from the upcoming ACTION FIGURE KINGDOM #11 — Guest-illustrated by AFK Cover colorist, ZIGGY B!

FREE COMIC BOOK DAY ON THE WAY!
While ZIGGY works on AFK11, I’m busy working on the 2018 ACTION FIGURE KINGDOM FREE COMIC BOOK DAY SPECIAL — an all-new 12-pager set to introduce a new AFK hero on FREE COMIC BOOK DAY, (Saturday May 5th / CINCO DE MAYO — And let’s just say this new character’s first appearance is appropriately timed for the annual Mexican celebration!). God willing, the AFK FCBD 2018 SPECIAL will be available for FREE at our affiliated local comic shop, FUNNYBOOKS Comics & Stuff (in Lake Hiawatha, NJ) on FREE COMIC BOOK DAY, and then will join last year’s FCBD issue at our “FREE READS” section on the “COMICS” page at actionfigurekingdom.com.

Cover sketch for the ACTION FIGURE KINGDOM 2018 FREE COMIC BOOK DAY SPECIAL.

COLOR THEORY!
My search for an interior colorist for AFK continues. I thought I had found the right person, but things fell through, so I am now looking at new options. The plan is to color the 40-page ACTION ZOMBIE KINGDOM storyline (from AFK#5 & #6) first — hopefully in time for HALLOWEEN 2018. Stay tuned.

CONS!
Ziggy and I have committed to several upcoming comic cons this Spring. First up is the Kid’s Comic Con at Bronx Community College on Saturday, April 21st. I attended this last year and it was a lot of fun. The following week on April 27th, 28th & 29th, Ziggy and I will be spending the weekend in Artist’s Alley at EAST COAST COMIC CON, at the Meadowlands Exposition Center, in Secaucus, NJ. I’ve heard good things about this con, and this will be my first time attending. If you are planning on going please look for us there.

AFK OFFICIAL
Finally, with everything going on, I’ve decided it was time to take ACTION FIGURE KINGDOM out of its “grass roots” stage, and form an official company. ACTION FIGURE KINGDOM LLC was formed on February 12th, 2018 — my Mom’s 80th Birthday! Happy Birthday MOM! — Without her and my dad, ACROBOT and SPARKINATOR wouldn’t even exist.

Thanks for reading! – Action Steve

MOM’s looking Greaty at 80!



January 28, 2018
MILESTONE ISSUE!

“A powerful and gruesome archenemy from 30 years ago has resurfaced, and once again has his sights set on destroying the GOOD GUYS! Will even the combined might of two ACROBOTS and two SPARKINATORS be enough to defeat MISTER BLAST?”

Find out in the all-new, ACTION FIGURE KINGDOM #10 — Now on Sale!

In the comic biz, certain issues are known as “milestones.” Generally every 25 issues seems to trigger the milestone tag. But for a comic book adventure just starting out, hitting double-digits also qualifies! Another “milestone qualifier” is the content of the issue itself. There should be something special — more epic — than just a regular issue of the title. ACTION FIGURE KINGDOM #10 definitely fits that bill!

Not only is AFK#10 the second-longest ACTION FIGURE KINGDOM issue ever — weighing in at a pleasing 32-pages (only the 48-Page, AFK#4 is lengthier) — but it also wraps-up “BLAST FROM THE PAST” — a four-issue story arc years in the making — and features two ACROBOTS and two SPARKINATORS in an epic battle against ACTION FIGURE KINGDOM’s most powerful BAD GUY, MISTER BLAST. AFK#10 also continues the evolution of AFK’s “real-world” framing sequence, which sets ACTION FIGURE KINGDOM apart from other superhero stories. In AFK#9, the “kids playing with their action figures” scenes were shuffled-in throughout the issue — Instead of being presented in multi-page sequences, usually at the beginning or end of an issue — and this continues in AFK#10.

ACTION FIGURE KINGDOM #10 also represents a new beginning for AFK. Now that I have TEN issues completed — enough of a head-start for two graphic novels already — I am exploring ways to take AFK out of its grass roots stage, and to a wider audience, by contacting agents, specific publishers, and even some comic shops, and looking at some digital options. I’ve also lined-up several convention appearances for spring and summer 2018. Meanwhile, I’m working with some colorists to produce the first, full-color, AFK story, and I’ve returned to writing new material, including the script to ACTION FIGURE KINGDOM #11, the first AFK adventure to be drawn by a guest artist — AFK cover colorist, Ziggy B. I’ve handed Ziggy the script, and he’s already working on it. I can’t wait to see his pages!

For me, ACTION FIGURE KINGDOM #10 also represents a personal accomplishment. The “BLAST FROM THE PAST” storyline is something I planned a while ago, and seeing the whole thing in print is very rewarding (and also somehow surreal). Reaching double-digits is like getting to the end of long race — or more like the end of the first leg of a longer race, because there are still many ACTION FIGURE KINGDOM stories to tell. Stay tuned!

Thanks for reading! – Action Steve



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
AFK10 ON THE WAY!

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 script for AFK10 and the first draft for 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 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.

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