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BratCat Productions is now BratCat Comics

I’ll be updating with the details in a bit, but Janet and I would like to officially welcome Flip Knox and others to BratCat. There’s lots of cool stuff coming up, so ya’ll come back now, y’hear!

Be a Hero, Help a Hero event in Pleasanton California

Have You Done Anything Heroic Today?


Jim Cravens Jr. and Catherine Benefeld deDood, the owners of Heroes and Villains Comics in Pleasanton are giving you the opportunity to be a hero and help a hero. On September 6, 2014, they will host a book-signing, raffle, and benefit for the Hero Initiative, a nonprofit organization helping comic creators in need.

If you have ever been captivated by Spider-Man, Batman, Superman, or Iron Man; you have people like Chris Ivy, Chris Wozniak, Steve Gerber, Josh Medors and Gene Colan to thank. These artists, writers, and inkers created the stories that have given us so much pleasure. As freelancers, they have no safety net. When disaster strikes–in the form of cancer, pulmonary fibrosis, herniated discs, or a tornado destroying both home and studio–these creators of heroes are in need of a hero. Since its inception in 2001, the Hero Initiative has granted over $500,000 to over 50 comic book veterans who needed emergency medical aid, financial support for living expenses, and an avenue back into paying work.

Who? Michael Rhodes, author of Manga Studio 5 Beginner’s Guide (Packt Publishing Ltd.; Birmingham, UK) will be signing his book, answering questions, and demonstrating Manga Studio 5 on his computer. Before Manga Studio, comic creators had to spend $500 on Photoshop and spend hours struggling with the program, because it was not designed for comic creation. Manga Studio was the first software program designed from the ground up for comic creation. Mike refers to Manga Studio as “my Star Wars. It changed everything….I could see the entire story…on the computer!”

What? If you want to be a hero, you can buy a book or buy a raffle ticket. Tickets are $3 each, two for $5.  The grand prize is a copy of Mike’s book, a downloadable copy of Manga Studio 5 software from Smith Micro, Brushes by Frenden, and five hours of one-on-one tutorials with Mike in how to use Manga Studio to create comics. You can also just drop by the store to say hi, and drop a dollar in the donation jar labeled Hero Initiative.

When? September 6, from noon to 5 pm. The drawing will be held at 5 pm.

Where? Heroes and Villains Comics; 264 Main Street in Pleasanton

Why? To create your own web comic, become the hero of your own story, or just to help a hero. Perhaps Robin summed it up best in “Never Scratch a Cat,” Batman#355–“We are responsible for each other. That’s part of being human– isn’t it?”

About The Hero Initiative

The Hero Initiative is the first-ever federally chartered not-for-profit corporation dedicated strictly to helping comic book artists and craftsmen in need. Hero Initiative creates a financial safety net for yesterday’s creators who may need emergency medical aid, financial support for essentials of life, and an avenue back into paying work. It’s a chance for all of us to give back something to the people who have given us so much enjoyment. Since its inception, The Hero Initiative has had the good fortune to grant over $700,000 to the comics veterans who have paved the way for those in the industry today. For more information, visit or call 626-676-6354.

About Heroes and Villians Comics:

Heroes and Villains Comics is not a typical comic book store. Owned and operated by Pleasanton residents and comic book fans with over 25 years of comic retail experience. We are a bright and welcoming specialty boutique comic book store that caters to all things comic and pop culture. Our knowledgeable staff will make your shopping experience like no other by providing superior customer service and a friendly atmosphere.

About Smith Micro Software, Inc.:

Smith Micro Software provides solutions that simplify, secure and enhance the mobile experience. Our portfolio includes a wide range of applications that manage broadband connectivity, data traffic, devices, voice and video communications over wireless networks. With more than 30 years of experience developing world-class client and server software, Smith Micro helps the leading mobile network operators, device manufacturers and enterprises increase efficiency and capitalize on the growth of mobile-connected consumers and workforces. For more information, visit (NASDAQ: SMSI)

About Ray Frenden:

Ray is a mercenary drawing arm for folks like Nickelodeon, Nike and Burton. He also makes and reviews digital art tools. For more information about his work and to purchase his brush sets for Photoshop and Manga Studio visit He’s active on Twitter @FRENDEN.

The Book is Done!

After about a year, Mike’s finished with the Manga Studio for Beginners. It’s written for Manga Studio 5 (or Clip Studio Paint 1) and is aimed not only for the total beginner, but also for experienced pros who want to learn more about Manga Studio and how it fits into their work flow.

Go to to look at the cover and to buy a copy today!

In the coming week or so, there’s going to be a website for the book, so watch this space.


Just look for that cover, if you search for it on Amazon.


Things are happening

Behind the shroud of this website, there’s improvements and additions coming. Michael’s working on some artwork and modifications to this, and sites. First will be more frequent updates and posts.

If there’s any weird things happening to this site, it’s probably due to some changes that haven’t been implemented properly. A page refresh should solve some issues.


Michael Rhodes