Wednesday, May 15, 2019

a Quote & an Invitation

"One of the best cures for a reluctant reader, after all, is a tale they cannot stop themselves from reading." --- Neil Gaiman

Please accept our invitation to visit Flying Colors Comics soon!

Monday, May 13, 2019

Dan Fraga's THE GRAVE: An Interview & an Exclusive Offer!

Dan Fraga's THE GRAVE
Flying Colors Comics is pleased to be working with artist Dan Fraga on an Exclusive Signed Bookplate Edition of his forthcoming graphic novel THE GRAVE from IDW Publishing.

Exclusive signed bookplate editions of THE GRAVE (still at cover price!) are available to preorder order now! Ordering info is below.

The release date for The Grave by Dan  Fraga has been pushed back to early June. So the new deadline to preorder your signed copy is Saturday May 18.

For ordering info, please email

Copies can be reserved and picked up in-store at Flying Colors (THE GRAVE releases in June).

Please note: Mail order copies are available at cover price plus shipping.

As a Contra Costa native now living outside of Atlanta, we wanted to catch up with Dan Fraga to look back at his formative days with comics and to talk about his career now.

FlyCoJoe: Dan, thanks for taking the time to talk bit about your career and your new graphic novel THE GRAVE. It seems your art career really started with a love of comic books. How did you get into comics when you were a kid?

Dan: My interest in comics started like most kids. I got my first comics as a 7 year-old at garage sales, then later at convenience stores. It wasn't until this time at the local Quick Mart that I picked up a copy of The Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe # 5 off of the spinner rack and saw that heroes and villains had first appearances.

I asked the clerk if he had a certain issue in the back because I wanted the first appearance of a character. He explained to me the comics were dropped off and picked up every couple of weeks. Then another customer told me about Comic Shops. I had no idea at that point that there were such a thing as comic shops. Of course I had to go!

FlyCoJoe: Growing up here in Contra Costa County, there were other comic shops here when you were first diving into comics. What do you remember about those shops?

Image from Dan Fraga's THE GRAVE
The first shop I'd ever been to was a shop called The Land of Nevawuz. It was in Pleasant Hill near Pacheco situated next to an arcade and a movie theater. I was blown away at first because I'd never seen a comic shop before. I remember putting Amazing Spider-Man #121 on lay-away and mowing lawns for weeks to purchase it. That shop was all about selling high ticket items and less about the culture of comics.

I eventually found Flying Colors and needless to say, the environment and vibe was much different. For starters, you had an incredible stock of trades, art books, back issues and other memorabilia. The one thing that struck me like a bolt of lightning was your bulletin board where you'd let artists post their work. I fell in love with your shop instantly, as I could see there was real love for the culture as a whole.

FlyCoJoe: I met you first when you were 15 years old in 1989 and you were doing the Comic Talk program for local cable TV. I want to thank you again for shooting the earliest video inside Flying Colors. I laugh now when I look at that video, because there we were-- in a super fun place---and we were both so deadly serious. Why so serious?

Dan: Ha! Yeah, I recall wanting to be taken as a serious journalist! Back then, and even now, when I embrace something, I go all in.

FlyCoJoe: I noticed right from the start you were eager to learn everything you could about comics, comic art and the business of comics. How do you think that helped you back then?

Dan: Honestly, when there's something I'm passionate about, I can't help myself but to be eager and have a voracious appetite for all things involved in whatever it is that I'm into. I think that it's helped me immensely.

That voracity kind of put blinders on me and I went after things full force and without fear. It's how I was able to just walk up to Jack Kirby and ask for his phone number... or to cold call Rob Liefeld on a weekly basis. All when I was just a kid!
Image from Dan Fraga's THE GRAVE

FlyCoJoe: As a comics creator, how important are comic shops to the work you do?

Dan: Comic shops are very important! It's the only place you can actually hold the books and have discussions with like-minded people in person. I find comic shops to be invaluable. 

FlyCoJoe: You were there in the early days of Image Comics. How crazy was it to be a part of that?

Dan: Being part of Image in the early days was absolutely nuts. I met Rob Liefeld when I was 16. I had met Todd McFarlane a few months prior... same with Erik Larsen and Jim Lee. But I talked with Rob on a regular basis. I basically sent him my artwork via fax anytime I'd draw something new.

Eventually, he'd tell me of his plans to start a company with Erik and Todd. That later became Image. My first visit to Extreme was February 1992. The day after I arrived was the day CNN came to the studio to do a news feature on the newly formed Image comics!

There I was with the pantheon of comics' greats... watching history happen in real time. Later after the news crew left, we all went to get Chinese food. I remember sitting there with Marat Mychaels and the seven Image founders and thinking "How the heck am I even sitting here?" It was literally a dream come true.

FlyCoJoe: Since your early days at Image, you have taken your art into other media. How did your experience in comics help you when you were an animation director?

Dan: The last full comic I had on stands was August 2002 Black Panther #50. I left comics to pursue work in the entertainment business.

I found that working in comics prepared me in a few ways. For one, having a sense of storytelling was essential, and for another, dealing with deadlines and production teams was also an asset. I started off storyboarding commercials, then later features like Transporter 2 and The Fighter. Later around 2010 I started directing on The Ricky Gervais Show, then I moved over to Mattel to help direct Monster High, Max Steel, and Hot Wheels.
Now, I work on the Doom Patrol TV show as their storyboard artist. I found that my experiences in comics have been very useful, almost in a Swiss army knife sort of way. My skills, like drawing, storytelling, time management, and teamwork were all forged in comics. Those have all been used in the work I do now.

FlyCoJoe: What current projects are you working on?
Dan: Currently I'm back at drawing storyboards. I'm the regular board artist on Legacies for the CW, Doom Patrol for DC Universe, American Saga for Hulu, and Tales for BET. I also storyboard music videos for Taylor Swift, and recently drew the Nacho Fries campaign for Taco Bell.

FlyCoJoe:That brings us to THE GRAVE. It's an unusual project for any comics artist because you drew it one panel a day for an entire year. What led you to work this way?

Dan: I worked that way out of pure necessity. I was working a full time job, I had a three-hour commute... and a wife and three kids at home. The story had to be told and I needed to tell it.

I found a book called The War of Art by Steven Pressfield in which he talks about having no regrets creatively. That we must create, that we shouldn't wait for giant blocks of time, but use the time we do have to make our projects happen. I knew I could manage a panel a day, so that's what I did.

FlyCoJoe: How does the story in THE GRAVE circle back to your own coming of age years? 

Dan: There are a lot of real-life tidbits in THE GRAVE. There are conversations and events that managed their way into the story. I based a lot of the locations on places in Martinez. I used to get my comics at a corner store called Case's where the boys in the story get theirs... etc. I remember going from junior high to high school being a major step at the time for me. THE GRAVE is a story about the transitions we go through in life and making an effort to live life to its fullest... without regrets.

FlyCoJoe: Did I see something about you returning to Black Flag which you created for Image 25 years ago? What can you tell us about this and any other projects you have coming up?

Image from Dan Fraga's THE GRAVE
Dan: In my free time, I've been working on bringing my comic Black Flag back.

 There seems to be a demand for it. I get requests on a daily basis to do something with those characters. I've heard the requests and I've written a story arc that'll be sure to make the fans happy. I hope to announce it officially

I've also got a YouTube channel and Instagram called Couchdoodles. Where the mission is simple: To illuminate and empower creativity in others through example.

The show features interviews with creative professionals, and also has reviews, tech talk and how-to-draw segments. I am very passionate about Couchdoodles. It's my way of giving back.

FlyCoJoe: I love it! It's like Comic Talk from your high school days except with the added richness of experiences you've had over the last 25 years of your career and a mission to empower creativity. That's full circle!

For fans of coming-of-age stories similar to Stephen King's The Body; the movie based on it, Stand By Me; IT; Stranger Things; and E.T.

Drawn one panel per day over a year, follow the story of three boys who discover a
Image from Dan Fraga's THE GRAVE
grave while on a weekend camping trip. But that's just where the mystery begins. The unexpected find reveals a cigar box containing seven mysterious items: a knife, a coin, a pocket watch, a rare baseball card, a gold ring, a silver spoon, and a strange manga comic. How are these items connected? Whose body lies buried? Find out in this once in a lifetime tale of friendship, mystery, suspense, and growing up.

Ordering instructions:
If you can pick up THE GRAVE graphic novel in person at Flying Colors Comics in Concord, CA please PayPal $20.00 for each copy to
If you are in California and need to have THE GRAVE graphic novel mailed to you, please PayPal $27.50 for one copy to Please add $20 for each additional copy.

If you are outside of California and need to have THE GRAVE graphic novel mailed to you, please PayPal $25.50 for one copy to Please add $18 for each additional copy. 

We ship securely via USPS Flat Rate Priority. 

Please note: These prices are for shipping in the United States only. Due to excessive shipping costs and extra time & paperwork required, we are unable to accept international orders.