Written by Joel T. Lewis
Amanda McLeod was the very first comic book artist that I ever got to talk to face to face. Walking the floor of Artist Valley at Denver Comic Con in 2015 I kept circling back to a particular booth with a sketch that I couldn’t get out of my head. It was an eerie, reed-like, and skeletal robot creature like nothing I’d ever seen before. Watching my bank account trend all too quickly toward zero throughout the weekend, I finally drummed up the courage to step up to her booth and ask about the character.
I was nervous. New to the 3-day experience at Denver Comic Con and having never talked directly to a comic book artist before, I wasn’t sure whether I would get a sales pitch or a moody creative who would brush off my inquiry. I got neither. McLeod was an excited and earnest creator who was so happy to have somebody to talk to about her work! This experience, this instant link through excitement and creativity was the perfect snapshot of what Comic Con is about. Nerds excited to meet Nerds who create Nerd things and Nerds who’re excited to share the Nerd things they’ve made.
I got my very first commissioned sketch and my first self-published comic book ever from Amanda. The following year I scoured the booths in Artist’s Alley searching for issue 2 of Blue Skies and White Clouds but to my sorrow it hadn’t been produced yet. Having given up hope for issue 2 in 2017, imagine my surprise as I caught sight of the same fascinating character that stuck in my mind two years ago. I stopped dead, whirled towards the booth, and got to catch up with Amanda. Having taken a year off to complete her Master’s Thesis, Amanda was back with issue 2 hot off the presses and was as earnest and excited by my fan-boying as she was the first time. I was far less tentative as I spoke to her this year, as my surprise and excitement bubbled up by the sight of the 2nd issue.
Amanda is an exceptional artist and an ambitious writer whose first two issues set up a narrative filled with mystery, technology, and magic. We follow the misadventures of Amy, Mariano, and the Azure Thief (the skeletal robot) in a tale of curiosity, identity, and secrecy. Amy and Mariano bring to life the junkyard robot they’ve been fiddling with and adventure ensues as the Thief tries to reconcile memories with reality while avoiding discovery and capture. I don’t want to give away anymore of the plot than that because both issues of Blue Skies and White Clouds are available online and I’d love you to be able to discover for yourself the talent of an artist who made Denver Comic Con special for me.
The first two issues of Blue Skies and White Clouds are available online at http://blueskiesandwhiteclouds.smackjeeves.com/