from the dust

Why I'm Creating From the Dust

Let Latter-day Saints Decide If They Want High-Quality Family Media

A couple of weeks ago I launched the From the Dust Kickstarter Crowdfunding Campaign. The campaign is all-or-nothing. If I do not reach $14,000 by Christmas Day I will get none of the money that has been pledged and From the Dust may not be able to accomplish its ambitious goals.

For a broad view of what I am trying to accomplish, please read this interview by Ben Crowder of MormonArtist.net. The nutshell of the interview says that the LDS industry doesn’t create family media, but rather creates targeted media for independent demographics (teen books for teens, Mom books for mom, dad books for dad, kids books for kids, virtually nothing that we can share together like a Disney film.) It also states that I am capable of providing that family media and that it is needed now more than ever - especially internationally. My work is different, it’s innovative, and it requires the opening of the minds of Latter-day Saints to a new medium for family media besides TV series and movies. This “new” medium is the comic book series, reinvented for the next generation of Latter-day Saints. 

Why Comic Books are the Answer

The comic book allows me to provide Disney-quality entertainment at a fraction of the cost. In addition, unlike TV and movies, this entertainment can be translated inexpensively and distributed to families all over the world via the Internet. Comics are the most effective medium to accomplish this. I already have my first issue in Spanish and Portuguese, which covers 85% of LDS Church membership. It will be published for free online in January as a service to the 8.5 million Latter-day Saints that don’t speak English and the over 18,000 international fans of my Facebook page.

From the Dust is Self-Sustaining and Financially Viable

Aside from the artwork, the project is founded upon sound and sustainable business practices, but I do not have the funds in its early stages to get it off the ground. Ultimately, I will need about 4-6 issues published before it become self-sustaining. Until then, I have to get creative to make the project a reality.

International Latter-day Saints Need Media in their Own Language

In the words of Monalisa Cavalcante Buarque of Brazil, who has opened this impressive LDS retail store (the second one in Brazil) just last month:

"We needed LDS media in our own language yesterday. Not in two years. Not in one year. We need it NOW! We're starving out here for quality material and America isn't producing anything that we can use!"

Kickstarter is LIVE!!!

If you haven't heard, I'm KICKSTARTING #2!

Kickstarter helps me out a ton because if we can raise enough funds I can publish issue #2! I'm working on finishing it now.

I've promised my fans I would have it for them by Christmas and I'm working very hard to make that happen.

CLICK THIS LINK TO WATCH THE VIDEO!

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In this panel of From the Dust #2, Jeremiah blesses baby Nephi. Their faith calls down the powers of heaven.

Fan Friday Winner!

Congratulations to Courtney Roberson for winning this week's Fan Friday! She won a "Hope Whispers" poster, 19" x 27" of awesome! How to claim your prize: Just message us on the From the Dust Facebook page with your mailing address and we will ship it out!

http://www.Facebook.com/BookofMormonComic

New week starting now! See Contest Rules:

Bad Juggler, Circus Training

Alright folks. I dropped a few balls while trying to juggle this crazy "Salt Lake Comic Con" and "From the Dust #2" and Inktober sketches and client work and more. Sorry about that. Here's what's up:

The Good

I like starting with good news, don't you?

  • I've got interns now at BYU helping me out. They're all trained. That took some time. They help with inking and painting my drawings. I will introduce them if they stick around, which I hope they do!
  • I'm starting to get the business financials in order. That may not be a big deal to you, but it is if I want to survive my first year! 90% of small businesses fail in their first year. I'm not going to be one of them! If I make it to February 1, 2014 (and I WILL!) then I'll officially have gotten through my first year! Feb 1 is when I published From the Dust #1. At that time From the Dust had just 250 likes on Facebook! Now she has over 18,000!!
  • I'm hard at work on #2 and it's looking great! See?

Don't worry it will be full-color! These are just the pencils/inks.

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The Bad

  • I failed on Fan Friday. We haven't had a winner in weeks! But I'm fixing it with the next post!
  • I failed on Inktober. I have about 5 more sketches to do and others to scan and post. Will do so soon! I finish what I start! Just late sometimes.

The Ugly

There is no ugly! Except this guy.

Next post: FAN FRIDAY!!

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comic-con reflection

(Shared with permission)

From Mic Shelton:

"I wanted to take a minute to tell you how I have felt since talking to you. Libby and I stopped and looked out over the room one last time on our way out and we are just so impressed at the glorious creativity mankind has inherited from our Creator. There was such an amazing positive feeling throughout the entire gathering that even the things that might have seemed vulgar or morbid just seemed like another expression of the miraculous power of the human mind and the human spirit. I was amazed, delighted, touched, and soothed by much of what I saw yesterday, but I wanted to let you know that none of it was more inspired or inspirational to me as your little booth and the spirit you carried as you genuinely try to bless the lives of your customers. I have seen many LDS media projects from Living Scriptures to BYU Television over the years, and I find your approach to be carefully considered and carefully executed. I predict we will see it's effects far and wide. To be honest, it felt almost like your project was the whole reason the first SLC Comic Con happened when it did. I predict this Comic Con is a step towards a new age of LDS media and the public's view of the Church in the media..."

From Nancy Laing:

"I wanted to say how nice it was to meet you and how impressed I was with your Comic. I read it all the way through on the way back home to Idaho Falls and the only disappointment I had was that it ended!! So get busy buddy cuz I can't wait for the next one!! It's worse than waiting for a movie I'm dying to see.
I LOVED LOVED LOVED IT!!
I really loved all the extra education you add. It's such an informative and fun way to educate about the scriptures and I'm so enthralled with the history. I love history and the scriptures but to see it from your unique, fun way, it made it so much more enjoyable.
I'm showing it to all my friends!!
I love the animals and your art. One thing I can't figure out is what animal Lehi and Laman are. I can see that the rest of the family are cats but maybe you can enlighten me. (We've had family discussions on this one).
So, thank you Michael for sharing your amazing talent for art, and writing, and for giving people such a delightful way to read these incredible powerful stories.  (At times, Scriptures can be boring all by themselves you know).
I'm so grateful for people like you in this world!"

From Dustin Orgill of Digital Hippos:

The stunning art work of Mike Mercer from Spider Comics was one of the most attractive booths out there. From bright colors and amazing design, From the Dust is more than impressive, regardless of the genre or subject. Seriously, even if you don't care about religion or Biblical topics, Mike's talent is a force that has to be seen to believed. Debuting in both print form and iPad app, this series is a breakthrough in more ways than one. Plus, Mike is a super cool guy running a one man show!

 

400 books sold Comic Con!

We thrashed our sales goals!

I hate worrying about business stuff, but it's necessary if you want to stay in business! We had a goal of 300 books sold and we blew it out of the water! Over 400 sold averaging a book every 3.5 minutes.

That's about as fast we could talk!! 

Check out our photos!

Check out all our photos on our Facebook page! >>

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Me and my friend Griffin. He runs a dance venue in Provo @ Enliten Bakery & Cafe on Friday nights.

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Ronita with Jack! Ronita is good with money. I am not.

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The amazing duo - er - trio: Matt, Gollum, and Maria!

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Me talking to a crowd of superheroes. We sold an average of a book every 3.5 minutes.

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Better picture of the booth coming soon! We had a pro photographer friend drop by and take some.

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Yes that is a dinosaur walking down the aisle folks!

UNIQUE SEAL for COMIC CON!

To celebrate From the Dust's debut into official professional comic book life, I've redesigned all the art prints to include this rad seal:

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The Paleo-Hebrew ring reads "Property of Baruch ben Neriah"

Who was Baruch ben Neriah?

For those that don't know, From the Dust uses seals inspired by

a real artifact found in Israel

- the Seal of Baruch ben Neriah, the scribe of Jeremiah the prophet.

Baruch (BAH-rook, rhymes with Luke) is one of the many unsung heroes of the scriptures. It was his faith and determination that helped Jeremiah's prophecies be heard in the temple, in the throne room, and elsewhere in Jerusalem at the time of Lehi.  I would not be surprised if, when the full story is told (after this life when we die), he contributed much to the writing of the Book of Jeremiah as well as other books of the Old Testament.

In an Old Testament chapter strikingly similar to many sections of the modern Doctrine & Covenants

, Baruch is both chastised and promised special blessings by Jeremiah, who is clearly the mouthpiece of the Lord to all the true believers of that time.

Comic Con Booth Update

I have over 50 fine art prints that I have never offered before. All of these will have the special Seal of Baruch on them. To accommodate this multiplication of artwork, I've had to custom-design towers and furniture that can be transported in your average vehicle but assembled to look very professional.

Right now it's a mess.

This is my living room:

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I promise to have everything in order by Thursday!!

See you then!

Why Spider Comics? Part 2.2

SEE ALSO

PART ONE OF THIS POST

.

My best friend,

Matt

, studies spiders. He specializes in a common but unique spider called the jumping spider (genus salticidae for you science nerds). He's taught me a lot about this cute little oddball of the arachnid world.

They have style.

When I say cute, I mean it. They're adorable!

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Yes those big black things are its real eyes. It sports 6 additional, smaller eyes as well. Their vision is unusually keen for arachnids, and I'm pretty sure it makes them better artists. Just look at their fashion sense: You don't see that kind of pizazz pulled off very often.

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They have honor.

Rather than being gutless sissies that set traps (typical spiders) the jumping spider is a noble warrior that hunts down his prey honorably, and then -- you guessed it -- jumps on them! A dual to the death commences, just like a lion and its prey.

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They have strength.

One of the chief characteristics of the jumping spider is his tiny size -barely the size of your fingernail (and that's the big ones). And yet packed in him is remarkable speed, agility, and strength. They set a high standard for their counterparts to compete with.

To sum it up:

In a world full of trap-setting, blood-sucking assassins, jumping spiders are the little guys that fight fair and pack a lot of punch. As a new addition to the comic book industry, we kind of identified with that. You see? Not all spiders are gross. 

From the Dust #1 Multi-Touch

At long last, no more scrolls!

Are you tired of carrying around those huge Isaiah scrolls? Does finding chapter 60 cause a huge mess?  Well, look no further! We've got the world's greatest advancement since papyrus!

Introducing the Multi-Touch version of From the Dust, sporting a beautiful back-lit LED display that makes our high-quality, colorful artwork rival the beauty of Egyptian hieroglyphs - nay, it surpasses it!

Perfect for that scriptorian you love so dearly but that struggles under the weight of 10,000 scrolls.

We're just waiting for approval at Apple's iBookstore, then it will be available in the U.S., Canada, UK, Austrailia, and New Zealand for just $14.99 for over 220 beautiful images.

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From the Dust #1: The Last King of Judah is officially on its way to the iBookstore!

Check out these screenshots!

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Why Spider Comics? part 1.2

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Our company mascot is a destructive, easily-agitated jumping spider. In our current logo you can only see his glowing eyes, but here's an older version.

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Our mascot's story is innocent enough. He was once quite cute, until an unfortunate series of events occurred. Here's the story:

Gob Frank Mank Na-Na

A young, struggling alchemist sneaks into his Master's laboratory in an attempt to redeem his pathetic grades, but things go terribly wrong.

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New Website! Finally got it right.

New Website!

I know it must seem like I keep redoing the website rather than finish the Multi-Touch and make issue #2...but...as it turns out I have links in the Multi-Touch to the website. After realizing this, it made sense to just redo the website and then finish the Multi-Touch (which is, by the way, very very close!)

Multi-Touch has just one week left of work!

My guess is the Multi-Touch of #1 is about a week's worth of work from being finished. Unfortunately, I have to finish a client job this week. :\

Preview of new www.BookofMormonComic.com

The good news is I finally got the website "right." It loads and looks beautiful on desktops and mobile devices and is really easy to read and use on both as well. I think it is a step in the right direction!

Please note you can get the first 10 pages of From the Dust #1 as a free PDF download on the website, too!

Visit the website >>

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Website might be a little slow loading

Please note that I'm hosting locally so the download may take a second. I still have to optimize everything so just be patient with it! Hopefully it won't take too long!

Getting antsy for Issue #2

I've had a lot of time to ponder From the Dust #2 and it's going to get a little more story added to it. I know fans have been dying for more than 2 minutes of comics to read (believe me, I am too!). Just remember From the Dust is designed to have a whole team of people creating an issue per month and right now it's just little old me... and I have to run everything else, too! Yuck.

To this end, however, I'm toying with the idea of using all of issue #2 for story and having just one or two pages of educational features in it. Anyway, we'll see! It's just an idea...

RadioInterviews on KTALK AM630!

A wonderful and short 15-minute radio interview giving the overview of From the Dust. 

February 2013.




A longer 45-minute radio interview that provides a lot of peripheral information on the creation and history of From the Dust.

April 2013.

the biggest story has never been told.

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Jerusalem was tragically destroyed as recorded in the Book of Jeremiah in the Old Testament.

A fascinating "hidden" goldmine of scripture.

One of the facts I bring to light in From the Dust #1 is that a huge portion of our scriptures were written during about a 40-year time period immediately prior to and after the destruction of Jerusalem in 587 BC.

The prophets during this time period were so prolific that their combined writings are as long as the entire New Testament -

doubled

A forgotten tale forgotten no more.

And yet this important part of history is often neglected by the Christian world. When I conducted polls I found about one in ten Christians could tell me a line or two about the prophet Jeremiah. (He was in Jerusalem when it was destroyed, FYI.)

Now, I’m not one to claim that this story is more important than the stories we Christians do focus on - the stories of Christ - but I am here to claim that from the Latter-day Saint perspective, this story is a vital prelude to His coming. Indeed, for Latter-day Saints the story of the destruction of Jerusalem - one of the most heart-wrenching and tragic stories in all of history - is no tragedy at all, but a triumph of human perseverance and the Divine’s inspiring loyalty to the Covenant People.

Why hasn't it been told before? The Bible is the world's most-published book!

The reason why no one has told the story of Jerusalem’s destruction is, in my opinion, because most people see this story as only a tragedy. The Book of Mormon, however, dispels many of the mysteries surrounding Jerusalem’s destruction (but not all, of course) and anyone would be wise to understand how it illuminates the story of the destruction of Jerusalem. Combining the Old Testament and Book of Mormon accounts reveals a dying culture with strong motivations that “make sense.” Without the Book of Mormon, it is not as clear what exactly was happening in Jerusalem immediately prior to its destruction.

Girl's Camp Fundraiser

From the Dust raises funds for girl's camp in Lincoln, Nebraska!

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My younger sister, Maria, was put in charge of raising funds for her ward's girl's camp. With only 10 days advance notice she put together a spaghetti dinner auction that had over 100 attendees! Now that's cool. She had numerous items that she was able to get donated for the auction. Of those items were some issues of From the Dust! From the Dust raised over 10% of the auction's total, raising well over $100.

If your ward has fund-raising needs I can make a deal that will provide ample profits for your ward. Just email me at michael@spidercomics.com!