Some comic book artists use traditional approaches and materials; others prefer using a fully digital method. In between these two approaches, one finds artists such as L Jamal Walton who combine the traditional and the digital processes.
L Jamal Walton’s use of traditional techniques and available technology began twenty years ago while he was self-publishing his first comic. “I self published the comic by learning how to use the copiers in the copy center and running the job in the off hours.”
Today, Walton is a web designer and programmer as well as a highly accomplished and respected self taught artist. His work has appeared in publications such as DC, Marvel, Image and Digital Webbing Press.
Walton’s skill set is as impressive as his resume. He draws, inks, writes, letters and colors comics for his own titles and also for hired projects. Both his professional webpage (ljamalwalton.com) and his webcomic page Ungoodwise display page after page of these impressive skills.
Borrowing the name “Ungoodwise”, from George Orwell’s 1984, Walton titled his site as word play for his work. “My defining phrase for years has been, “Welcome to my madness” so I think of Ungoodwise as meaning “not well in the mind” aka “madness.”
If Walton’s words are true, then madness has never been so entertaining, as Ungoodwise is a comic lover’s paradise. Anyone who visits Ungoodwise will find that Walton provides readers with a wide variety of titles and great characters.
Along with this wide variety of titles, a host of strong characters, bold art and clever writing, Walton’s titles range from the social commentary in Freedom is Slavery, (with the brooding character Ratsa), to the crazy adventures of Captain Evil and Diabla.
Walton keeps his work strong, often crossing titles over one another, yet they are independent through their distinct characters and storylines. This will often give Walton ideas for other titles, “I had these two characters (Captain Evil and Diabla) that my girlfriend Maureen encouraged me to draw that were just pure fun. Realizing that Evil and Diabla would work as an animated show within the world of Ungoodwise was a rare stroke of genius and the story Big Brother is Watching resulted from that.”
With the pressure of such a heavy workload, so many stories and characters, some artists would feel overwhelmed or unable to consistently produce quality work; but not Walton. “I find doing so much actually relaxing. Each (project) has its challenges and my mind seems to work through those challenges better when my body is focused on something else.”
Walton works in traditional and digital formats at the same time to challenge himself. “That’s something that I’m experimenting with now as Captain Evil and Diabla (CEaD) are purely digital while Ungoodwise will be pen and ink on paper. “
The result is a seamless blend of the two approaches, which both stimulates Walton and provides quality entertainment for fans.
Currently, Walton’s titles appear in an online strip format, but he does have plans to develop them further into their own books. “The online strips are designed to be books so Freedom is Slavery, Big Brother is Watching, Ignorance is Strength, War Is Peace are designed with a few other similarly titled stories to be one Ungoodwise book entitled 1984. Then, Ungoodwise graphic novels will follow from there. The first one is Abyss and then Babylon and so forth.” Walton continued, “Every CEaD story works as a stand alone tale. The first one To the Extreme is available for purchase from my online store. More will come, but the general idea is that the larger collection will feature new art to smooth out the CEaD stories a bit.”
Outside of his Ungoodwise work and professional webpage, Walton is currently lettering and coloring the graphic novel Crispus Caesar, (a title set in the early Roman Empire) which will be available in June. He also colors and letters the two Edgar Rice Burroughs, LLC comic strips, Monster Men and The Outlaw of Torn
Some of his Ungoodwise and Captain Evil and Diabla work will also appear in a gallery show in Holly Springs in August 2016.
John Goodale is the author of ‘Johnny Gora’ (available through Amazon.com), and a number of articles here on TMRZoo.com. His monthly column ‘Indy Comics Spotlight’ appears here and through his blog Indy Comics Spotlight