"Spire City Noir"
"Spire City Noir Anthology"
"Spire City/Johnny Saturn Series Bible"
"Johnny Saturn No 18"
"Johnny Saturn Planar Eclipse"
"Medieval Book of Lists"
"Name of the Shadow"

Lessons Learned as an Artist

I love art, and my enthusiasm shows. I’m always happy to share my knowledge and help other artists grow. I don’t believe in hoarding knowledge and looking back in fear of those who might (and often do) overtake me . . . I believe in generosity.

Here are my primary beliefs when it comes to fine art and illustration and living an artistic life:

  1. Study Life Drawing: Nothing competes with drawing real people in 3D space
  2. Become a Sketchbooker, and carry a sketchbook with you everywhere.
  3. Style should never be an affectation. It should be drawing to the best of your ability, and your style will emerge naturally. Style is not an excuse for weaknesses in your art.
  4. Develop a critical eye of your own art, and for the art of others. Recognize what you are good at, and learn to identify your artistic weaknesses so you can train for improvement.
  5. Learn to take your time develop images. There is a time to forego prepartion, references, etc., and rush through a picture. Then there are times to give it your all for as long as it takes.
  6. It is not “cheating” to use props, 3D applications, the computer in general, photo reference, or the like. What matters is the end product.
  7. Make a lifelong habit of studying life, ie. paying attention to things around you. Study people of all sizes and shapes, hairstyles, automobiles, brick patters, textures, reflections in glass or chrome, the folds of clothing, and everything else.  This is a way of seeing as artists see, and adopt and use it for the rest of your life. Build a huge “morgue file” in your brain.
  8. Make ongoing study and improving a lifelong goal. Never be smug or overly satisfied with your skills as they stand, but continue to work towards greatness.

Lesson Remembered

I’m pretty good at being miserable.

Conversely, I’m terrible at being happy.

The thing is, it doesn’t have to be that way.

For the last few decades or so, I’ve been pretty good at turning my glass-half-empty world into a glass-half-full one. I’ve learned to take a different stance on my problems, a position where difficulties are best taken on in positive terms. For example, I could pray (yes, I do that) “please keep my terrible temper in check today,” or I could pray “please grant me a placid day of personal serenity.”

Which prayer is more likely to yield a positive response? As far as I’m concerned the serenity prayer is far more effective. I’m looking for a positive outcome, right? Right. No good can come of focusing on what I’m trying to avoid.

Why am I writing about this on what is ostensibly an art, writing, and pop-culture blog? That’s because I’ve gotten into a head-space where doing art professionally for others has become a negative proposition to me. All I’ve seen are the difficulties meeting the requirements of vague, often contradictory briefs, finding time around my full-time day job, finding energy when I feel beat up by the week, and feeling guilty about other responsibilities that I’m not meeting when I’m doing illustration for clients.

I expect it to be hard, so that’s what I get, hardness. I expect to be tired, so I’m worn out. I expect… well, I need not keep repeating this formula. You get the idea. If you are reading this blog, then you are likely pretty intelligent.

All this has had a chilling effect on my creativity, my mood, and my willingness to take on new projects. How could it not? Misery breeds more misery!

(As a caveat, I must say that I have not been miserable pursuing my personal projects. They have been a balm to my troubled soul.)

All this attitude stuff really kicked into gear when I burned out very badly about six years ago. I crashed and burned so thoroughly that it was easier to get a day job than to keep fighting as a freelance artist. Then, when my mother was severely injured a few years later, my downward spiral was on, and I spun out of control. I quit doing the Johnny Saturn comic strip, stopped appearing at comic conventions, and proceeded to do less and less. I was pretty much convinced that it was all pretty pointless.

Jump forward to 2017. My mom is doing great, and my day job has been a positive experience. My self-confidence is better, I get to help support our little family in a reliable manner, my health and fitness haves improved, and I get to be around people. I think it’s high time I reminded myself that I need not be miserable all the time. I’ve stopped listening to the news because the current administration makes my blood pressure boil, and a continuous barrage of bad news makes it easy to be depressed. I’ve stopped watching or reading television shows or series that mess with my emotions. I’ve made a point of being generous and trying to bring light into other peoples’ lives.

It’s time for me to be happy again. It’s a choice, and I choose it. Happiness must be maintained and tended, and it’s high time I got back to it. This goes with art commissions too. I should be happy that people like my work enough that they want to pay me to draw and color pictures for them. I AM happy about that. I need to let all the negatives and hassles and resistance go and enjoy using my gift for others.

This begins again today. I choose to be happy. I choose to share my work with the world.


Hanging Out With The Cat

Hey, Folks:

After lovely July 3 spent with my even more lovely wife, Benita, I’m now settled into my easy chair for the evening with my cat, Dylan. Pollen is floating through the air freely here in Central Indiana, so said feline is breathing and weezing loudly. For those who do not remember, this cat has had severe breathing issues from the beginning of his his wee little kitty life. Well, now he’s a big ol’ Tom, but you get the idea. He sounds like a frog, but I love him dearly.

I just picked up a book on the art and life of Alfredo Alcala, a supremely talented Philippine artist who inked some truly wicked lines over John Buscema’s work in Savage Sword of Conan.

SSoC was a black-n-white magazine formatted comic, and Alcala truly made color superfluous. Check out the linework! Damn.

Today at the antique mall in Westfield Indiana, I picked up four comics published by Atlas in 1975. The titles aren’t all that important, but it struck me how much like Bronze Age Marvel comics they were. Published by Chip Goodman, son of one-time Marvel publisher Martin Goodman; and helmed by Larry Lieber, Stan Lee’s little brother, this short-lived line of comics was made up of x-Marvel Bullpen artists including Gary Friedrich and Steve Ditko, among others. Atlas attempt to bully their way onto the comic scene with lots of money and high-priced talent reminds me now a little of Crossgen comics. Still, 37 years later, these Atlas comics still look pretty good.

Greetings, Salutations, Hola, Hello, Hi

Hey You, It’s Me–Yo!

Greetings from the great Midwest, the home of overly entitled and yet strangely polite people.

In the past, I would have written reviews of movies I’d recently seen, such as Wonder Woman (extremely good) and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2(also extremely good).  I’d have shared my thoughts about the writing, the sets, the color palettes, the camera work, the costumes, and so forth.

I’m not going to do so.

I have come to the conclusion that the movies and television shows I watch are in fact not the same ones that other people watch and comment on. These other film critiques on the web can sum up their opinions into one or two words. The movie in question was shabby, the studio didn’t even try, shit, crap; and that the movie studios in question blew it, called it in, cashed in, or the like. I don’t need to make complete lists of these descriptions–you’ve probably read them before, and maybe made them yourselves.

I take care and actively watch films. I care about the writers’ choices, the work of unseen artists like set designers, costumers, foley, music scores, etc. I don’t see a movie and forget it. I remember it for years, and I think about it for a long time. I don’t issue blanket statements, because I know there were real people who really cared about the product they were making. These people thought long and hard about the creative decisions they made, and they did their best to make good movies based upon the resources they had at hand. People cared, so I care too.

Okay, let’s change the subject.

I’ve noticed that more and more people have left reviews for my books on Amazon. God bless you, you have paid me in greater currency than simply spending money for my works. You are my friends, and I owe you a debt of gratitude.


But, what if you read one or more of my books and didn’t leave a review? For that matter, what if you read any indie creator’s works and remained silent?

I’m not going to shame you. In fact, before I learned how much reviews mean for indie writers, I often read books and didn’t leave reviews. I was that guy. Well, my point is this: if you enjoyed a writer’s work and want them to be able to keep writing books and make more stories, then write reviews. Even just a few lines, like “this kicks ass!” or “wow, I can’t wait for more!” I guarantee that new potential readers who are on the fence about purchasing a book read some or all of the reviews. Reviews make a difference.

Well enough of that. I wrote it, you read it, that’s enough.

Change of subject…

Yesterday (Saturday 6-24-17) Benita and I went to the Indiana Fiddler’s Gathering in northern Indiana. We’ve always had a good time there, and this year we had a fantastic time. All music festivals are not created equal, but this one was wonderful. The weather was perfect, and the bands were truly entertaining and a joy to hear.

While it is called the Indiana Fiddler’s Gathering, the bands included all forms of acoustic stringed instruments, or at least the most common instruments in American music. There were violins, guitars, ukuleles, mountain dulcimers, mandolins, five-string banjos, cellos, and basses. As far as the variety of music went, it was a mix of bluegrass, folk, classic country, Irish, blues, jazz, and a few other flavors as well. My favorite musician of the day was Bing Futch, a great singer, virtuosic mountain dulcimer player, and a nice guy to hang around and talk to. I plan on digging into his long catalog of recordings. I may have highlighted Bing, but all the acts were good.

Had enough? Me too. Signing out until next time–Scott

Around the Globe in 80 Videos. . .

Greetings, Friends, Colleagues, and Random Witnesses:

My name is Scott Angus Story, and I’m an indie writer, illustrator, cartoonist, and all-around rapscallion. I’ve drawn comics for lots of publishers, done lots of freelance illustrations for a zillion customers, and I also write novels and short stories. You can go to this blog’s link page and fine out more about me than you could want to know, or at least what I’ve done and for who. It’s been a busy couple of decades.

Here’s what I’ve got going as I write this:

  1. Me and my small team of collaborators (Steven P. Doty and Mike Vlasaty) are hard at work on issues 2 and 3 of the comic series “Spire City Noir.” We are creating a standalone tale called the Black Dirigible. It’s cool, and we are making good progress.
  2. I’m busy revising an anthology of Johnny Saturn short stories. Most of these have never been published. This project may get finished sooner than some of my others. Since Spire City Noir has already been taken by a comic series I write, I’m undetermined on the prose anthology’s title.
  3. I am hard at work plotting a novel that, while not a sequel, will be next in chronology after “The City of the Broken Gate.” It’s unofficial working title is “Time and the Tesseract Mystery,” but that is bound to be replaced.

Since anyone who reads my stuff knows I dig zeppelins, here’s a video I just ran across:

Midnight Rambler

Greetings and Hello, My Friends:

There is an interview with me on the Pen & Cape Society’s podcast, Throwing the Gun. It’s a pretty good conversation, really, as Jim Zoetewey proves to be a good interviewer. I had sort of given up that this would ever come out because it took about five months, but I had been assured that I hadn’t killed the podcast, so… Anyway, our conversation covers “City of the Broken Gate,” but it’s also a reasonable account of my early years and secret origins.  Listen, enjoy.

Today is the second day I had planned to see Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, and today it got nixed again due to complications. Ah well, maybe I should stop going to the cinema. Maybe I should just wait for the Blue Ray or whatever to come out. It’s hard to have a full-time job, a creative life, a family life, and all the other stuff life throws at us, and still make it out to a theater to see a movie. Logan was the last movie I saw at the theater, and maybe that should be it. Food for thought.

I’m getting marginally better at painting with acrylics, and I’ve begun a new painting, but I am still not working at a professional level. I took a class on this at the Indiana Art Center, and I showed promise, but then eight years passed where I did nothing. I have pro water color skills, but then I have to remind myself that it took about three years to bring myself up to level on that particular medium.

Well, I could ramble on, and talk about the new glasses I picked out today, or the shirt design I just did for a fiber festival, or the all-nighter I worked last weekend that resulted in a 40 hour work day, or any number of other things. But, I won’t. Instead, I’m going to get back to writing.

Later! Scott

(This song has always been the unofficial theme to Johnny Saturn. At least to me.)

Timing, Reviews, etc.

There is a time for promotion, and a time for creating new material. For the past year and a half, more or less, I’ve been doing nothing but promoting. Nor for a turnabout. For the rest of the year I’ll be creating new content. That means prose, posters, maybe even new comics. I’m feeling pretty positive that this is what I need to do. I’ve already gotten started, and I’ve been writing on no less than three different stories at the same time. I’m weird like that.


I’ve been revising an old short story today, one set in Spire City. It’s a good story, but events in the ongoing comic threw it out of continuity.
So, now I’m trying to restore continuity. It’s not big deal, because this is one of my many unpublished short stories. I’m gathering all the short stories up, putting them together in chronological order, and going to publish them as a Spire City Noir/Johnny Saturn anthology.
All the prose stories I wrote in this setting, excepting City of the Broken Gate, will be in it. CotBG is it’s own thing. Anyway, it should be pretty cool. It will also have Benita’s story, Being Johnny Saturn, which was published in Johnny Saturn: Homeland Insecurity.
I ran into author buddy Mike Wolff last night, and we briefly discussed writing projects. I am at work researching another paranormal/science fiction/superhero novel that will be set soon after CotBG. It’s not a continuation or sequel, really, but it continues with several of the main characters (Tara and Johnny himself). Maybe it is a sequel. Maybe not. Hard to say.

Available Now!

Spire City Noir no. 1 is available now on Comixology, DrivethruComics, and Indyplanet. Follow these links, buy it, and I’ll be happy, and you’ll enjoy it, and it’ll be a win-win.
The Kindle guided-view edition of Johnny Saturn: Intelligent Redesign is available for a mere $7.99. That’s 200 pages of the best damn comic I’ve ever made.

New Review on Johnny Saturn: Synns of the Father:

5.0 out of 5 stars
What Makes Indy Comics Great
on May 1, 2017
Format: Kindle Edition
Thanks, Scott Story and Benita Story, for offering this compelling graphic novel that introduces the world to Johnny Saturn, a hard-nosed street hero in a world of full-blown superheroes. From the moment we’re introduced to Johnny — in a really unique way — to the unpredictable genre mashing as the graphic novel moves along, you get a tense and exciting piece of work.
You’ll find plenty to like in this graphic novel! Johnny is the Batman-esque hero everyone loves — no-nonsense and laser-focused. We’re also introduced into a whole universe of superheroes that come in every variety. Many of those heroes don’t survive, either, because this story brings a brutal reality to the dangers of being a superhero: Sometimes you’re simply not equipped to counter the threat you’re trying to stop!
I’m not sure who wrote the story or who did the art in Synns of the Father, but I was impressed with them both. As a fan of truly independent comics, I can tell you this ranks up there with the best. The plot is clear, the dialogue is crisp and the art is compelling.
Some people might offer a few gripes about the art — “It’s not as good as Spider-Man comics” — or that it rolls through so many genres — police story, vigilante story, high-powered superhero story, supernatural story, underworld story, slum story. But you know what? That’s what makes indy comics great — freedom to do what you want with what you got! Keep them coming, Scott and Benita!

Sneak Peek

Hi, Folks–Here’s a sneak peek of the as yet uncolored cover to Spire City Noir no. 2. Art by Steve Doty, Inks by Mike Vlasity, and colorist tbd. (Note: The blue tint is only there to make the other elements pop. It’s a temporary thing.)

Liminal Reflections

Good Morning, Friends & Readers!

It’s a dark and stormy morning here in the Midwest, and a good time for personal reflection. This is not a blog post about publishing efforts and events.

For the last two-and-a-half years I’ve put most of my creative pursuit time into packaging and promoting projects I have completed already. I’m not done (you are never done), but I’m proud at what I’ve gotten accomplished on this so far, and my improving online sales confirm that. Now, however, it’s time to take a step back and create some new content. That means novels, comics, posters, etc.

I’ve already been practicing with acrylic paints and alcohol markers because I intend to paint a lot and color future covers with traditional media. I know I have a lot of promise with digital media, and some people really like what I do, but at some point I hit a wall and realized that I just didn’t enjoy painting or coloring that way. So, from now on I’ll save digital art for all my pro illustration work, and traditional art for personal projects. Sound good to you?

In a way, this indicated where my thoughts on art have developed in recent years. As a longtime comic artist, I began my career with the feeling that the only art that “counted” was that which was published and distributed over a wide market. Anything else wasn’t worth the effort. Then came the internet and webcomics. I was suddenly able to show my art to a wide market of readers and enthusiasts and reap the benefits of it that way. Nowadays, I don’t care about the art’s reproducibility as much—it doesn’t have to be on paper or the web. What matters is that a lot of people see the work and that I’m compensated. A good example of this would be the holiday card I make for a favorite customer every year—its mailing list is only in the hundreds, but people see the art and enjoy it, and some of the recipients frame and hang the card. That is satisfying.



OK, I usually write about art and publishing, but it need not be that way, so it’s time to touch on some more esoteric stuff. I saw today the mug shot of a minor criminal with all black eyes. Eye-tattooing is a thing, apparently. But, for those people with a keen interest in the paranormal and Fortean world of the weird, black-eyed people are well-known and quite frightening. I’ve never encountered such an individual, but I’ve always considered them a distinct possibility. These “people,” if such they are, fall roughly into a class of beings that include men in black, alien-human hybrids, shadow people, and non-human entities that can often pass as human. This can be scary stuff, a strange, liminal world that fills a gap between folklore and the very real.

Are you a hard-core materialist that believes only in accepted science? Not the cooky “out there” science that lives on the fringes, or that which often gets turned into New Age wish fulfillment as has quantum physics, but textbook science that believes only in what is quantifiable and repeatable? If that is the case, then my ramblings will certainly seem like magical thinking and ignorance to you. If you have had personal encounters with ghosts or witnessed some the world’s fringy weirdness, then you probably can dig some of what I’m talking about.

I’ve always wanted to create a blog about my experiences, but life is short and time is at a premium.


Other Cool Stuff:

Imagine this used as body armor!

Finally, check out this video of the coolest flight suit yet.

Publishing News!

Hello, Brave Readers!

It is I, Scott, here with news of heroic publishing and daring do!

I just hit the “publish” button on’s Kindle book listing of “Johnny Saturn: Intelligent Redesign.” It warns that it takes about 72 hours to post, and longer than that to get matched up with its print edition. It’s hard to be patient! I want it available now!

And, available it is, on Drivethru Comics! It is published as a PDF, a CBZ, and now a beautiful guided-view Kindle mobi file. It sure looks pretty, popping by frame by frame, on the backlighted and oh-so-high resolution Kindle Fire!







In other news, “Spire City Noir: Hauntings” has waited in line at Comixology for a while, and it should be up for sale on April 26. Like all Comixology comics, this will be in guided-view format.

Have a great week! Scott




Keywords, Fringe, Media, and Guided View

Hello, Most Excellent Readers!

I’m taking advantage of one of my days off today, and getting a bunch of things finished or (in some cases) begun.


Johnny Saturn: Intelligent Redesign

On this graphic novel, I’ve finished the Guided View Kindle edition, and I’ve already uploaded to Drivethrucomics this  morning. I’ve got ths edition uploaded but not yet published on, because I’m letting the wonderful application known as Kindle Samurai sort through potential keywords. Keywords are important because they help people find the book with organic searching.

After much consideration, here are the keywords I’ve arrived at:

Corporate Espionage
Crystal Skull
Domestic Terrorism
Fallen Hero
Manic Depressive
Pseudo Science

I’ve been living with this book for the past week as I’ve gotten it ready for publication, and I fell in love with it all over. Is it OK to love our own books? I sure hope so. Most of the time we spend so much time with our creations that they become sort of background noise to the creator, all but invisible in a way. Enough time has passed since I last worked on Intelligent Redesign that I was able to re-discover it much as a reader would. It is a truly satisfying, cathartic reading experience. The guided view presentation is just awesome, as always.


Spire City Noir 2: The Black Dirigible

Me, Steven Doty (penciler), and Mike Vlasity (inker) have been hard at work on this project for a long time, but we are really close to pulling the first issue together. After some discussion, we decided that the story would be better as two normal sized issues rather than one oversized one. In any case, it’s time for the lettering and coloring to commence. As far as drawing and inking, we have 17 out of the 20 interior pages of the first issue done.


What Media Am I Consuming?

After finished up Marvel’s Iron Fist, I was ready for some time off from fiction. That led to -binge watching documentaries. I’ve watched specials on UFO’s, World War II, Steven Greer and C-Seti, Sacred Geometry, Conspiracy Theory, Noah’s Arc, and Declassified Government Documents that contain some mind-blowing information. Last night I listened to a radio broadcast about the United States Pentagon’s ongoing use of soldiers with psychic ability for information gathering. I was surprised to find out that these kind of operation are rooted in  experiments from World War II, and these mostly secret programs continue to this day.

(From what I’ve gleened, our government gave up trying to keep UFOs and the paranormal secret decades ago, and let public disclosure soft-peddle its way into popular knowledge through Freedom of Information Requests. It sounds like the government doesn’t care who knows what, especially since it is only a fringe element of society that really cares.)

Miscellaneous Errata

Hello, Friends!

I like to keep you up with my creative pursuits, but this has been a week without much of that. Work has been physically challenging, and I’ve been doing things I didn’t think my muscles were capable of, but it has left me worn out. Having said that, I do cram a lot into my day off every week. Today, for example, I finished a commission for a customer, painted with alcohol markers, and prepped three canvases for future acrylic painting. (By “prepping,” I gesso, sand, gesso again, sand, etc. Then, I kill the white by putting down a neutral base color.) Now I’m blogging, and later I will be working on keywords for my graphic novels.

I’m  doing my best to stay off my feet, because I wear my legs out every day, and leg and foot pain can be . . . considerable. Strangely enough, those same legs look like weight lifter legs these days! Yesterday, for example, I walked 16,00 steps, being nearly seven miles walked, and did 33 sets of stair cases. No wonder my legs hurt!

I want to draw your attention to a Kickstarter that my good friend A.P. Fuchs is involved in. A.P. has been a close ally of mine in the indie publishing world for many years, and his influence can be felt through many of my of creative projects, and visa versa. He’s done writing and edits for me, and I’ve done covers for him, and it’s a partnership backed up by real friendship. So, please check out his Kickstarter!

I finished the script to issue 2 of Spire City Noir, aka the beginning of the epic “The Black Dirigible.” This story will take two issues to tell, and it’s a mix of actual UFO lore from the 19th century, as well as time travel, shadow people, steampunk, and of course my characters from the Saturnverse and Spire City. Johnny Saturn doesn’t make an appearance, but the Utopian, Staff of Life, and Hotfoot share the spotlight, as well as a bunch of new characters. If you like the mix of history, mythology, paranormal, conspiracy, and genre literature that I usually create, then you will love “The Black Dirigible.”

Recently I’ve been studying why we cannot remember whatever we see in detail and simply draw it from memory. Kim Jung Gi seems to be able to do this, for example. I’m pretty sure Michelangelo and Jack Kirby had this ability as well, and I strongly suspect Gene Colan had a serious measure of it. Well, here is the article that finally made it all clear for me. I draw most of my pictures in this way, using my memory as sort of a live reference, although I am not comparing my skill level to that of people who have this anomalous skill in full. What Kim Jung Gi does is virtually a super power. Check him out here and here, and prepare to have your mind blown.

I finished watching Marvel’s Iron Fist on Netflix, and I’m sorry to say that my opinion expressed in my last blog post has not changed. It’s a shame.

Also on Netflix, I have been watching Unsealed Alien Files. These cover a lot of well-trodden space, yet each episode also has some updates with new information I had not heard before. It is clear to me that the religion of Ufology is alive and well. Why do I call it a religion? Because it’s a collection of interrelated narratives that survive through the believer’s faith. More on this in the future.