Yoga Joes

Here to keep the inner peace.

We made a Yoga Comic Book!

Dan Abramson3 Comments

After over a year of weird obsession, Yoga Joe, the comic book, is finally complete! Pre-order now to own a 1st edition print run. It’s the story of a retired U.S. Marine, who gains yoga super powers and defends a Himalayan Monastery from an invading army.

Yoga + Robots + Muscle-Bound Super Soldiers

I approached a writer friend of mine, Chris Mead, to see if he’d be interested in making a comic book about a yoga super soldier, who somehow kicks ass with peace. And presented in a way that wouldn’t be preachy, but would crack us up. Armed with our mutual love for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, we embarked on one of the weirdest projects of our careers. Afterall, we’d never made a comic book before. But suddenly there we were, lovingly crafting a cast of unique yoga characters, inventing this mountain world, and creating a story with giant robots, evil bosses, badass dogs, and mind-bending yoga.

Stacks and stacks of scribbly papers turned into more drafts. Then we threw it away, and started over. Again and again. Until we had story-boarded a 70 page yoga epic. Drawn very, very badly.

Early scribbles

Early scribbles

Chris and I embarked on a world search to find the perfect illustrator to bring this project to life. When we saw PK’s art, we knew that we’d found the right guy - not only was he immensely talented, there was a degree of humor to his drawing style. And he was capable of geeking out with imaginative weapons and fantastical environments. When I saw the first three pages of the comic, it felt like he had crawled into my brain, drew what I was thinking, and then added a little bit extra. It was a weirdly intimate relationship to jump into with a stranger from the internet!

The one, the only, PK Olson. http://www.pkolson.com/

The one, the only, PK Olson. http://www.pkolson.com/

GRATUITOUS YOGA SCENES
With the yoga scenes, I wanted to show people why I like yoga. Not just with a sequence of stretches, but what it ACTUALLY FEELS LIKE to be a sweaty slop of meat, cracking one’s spine and unlocking one’s achiest back muscles. Strange body odors wafting, sweat gushing out of every pore. Yoga doesn’t usually look graceful when I do it, but it feels AMAZING.

COLLAB WITH REAL YOGA VETERANS
After the Yoga Joes action figures, I’d made a lot of unique friends online- fans of the project, who were both in the military and huge advocates of Veteran yoga. They’re experts in this very specific thing we were thinking about - yoga and the Veteran experience. Their influence on the story was invaluable. From all of the little nuances like the specific grade of Ka-Bar knife that Marines carry, to nailing the yoga poses authentically, to the emotions that often come after service. We called them our “Om-land Security Advisors,” and we couldn’t have made this without them.

From the arm of a Jeff Sargent, an Army Veteran I met on Instagram. He's a huge advocate of yoga for Veterans with Post Traumatic Stress, and he ended up being an advisor to our storyline.

From the arm of a Jeff Sargent, an Army Veteran I met on Instagram. He's a huge advocate of yoga for Veterans with Post Traumatic Stress, and he ended up being an advisor to our storyline.

ENTER KEN KELLY
Chris and I had been fans of Ken Kelly’s art for years. Ken is a super decorated artist, and a former Marine as well! He’s created epic art pieces for He-Man, Conan the Barbarian, KISS, and even Star Wars. Specifically, we were admiring a Boba Fett comic cover he’d made decades ago. I remember sighing, “Man, how can we ever do something THAT cool?” To which my girlfriend replied, “why don’t you email him?” Five minutes later, Ken Kelly replied back: “Tell me more about this yoga comic book…”

Boba Fett Inspiration. 

Boba Fett Inspiration. 

Comic books are nothing new, but we wanted to use the medium to tell a story that was both peaceful and funny, while still being action-packed. It allowed us to tell a story with infinite possibilities, explosions, mechanized animal-themed bad guys, and alien metallic rainbow surfaces.

Like all hard-to-make things, this was the culmination of a lot of really talented people. We hope you like it! We certainly had a lot of fun making it.

Namaste,
~Dan & Team

Yoga Joe, the comic book. Issue #1.
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