|"Sentinels" Book 3||Chapter 1, Page 1|
"'Sentinels' tells the story of a second generation superhero team whose parents disappeared when they were young. Determined to follow in their parent's footsteps, each team member has dealt with their upbringing in a different way. Some more troubled then others. When we started the series the team was disbanded after the death of one of their members and found themselves forced to regroup to fight a common threat. From there they found the government after them and then were abducted by aliens. All this seemed disconnected. But when villains who had once fought the first generation began to be murdered, it became clear to the Sentinels leader, Templar, that the team was being manipulated by someone. He believed they were put into these situations. But before he could prove this, he was captured.
"'Sentinels Book 3: Echoes' picks up a little over a year after Templar's disappearance. The team has a new structure and leader as they search for their missing members and continue to act as the country's heroes. With this book, the focus of the Sentinels' main villain will become clear and the history of the Knights Templar is also explained."
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"I'm not a big fan of the darkening of comics nowadays, but I must admit I am enjoying a lot more books today even if they are 'darker.' I see where they're going and know that things will lighten up again soon. With 'Sentinels,' we've always had the story planned out, so if things seem darker with this particular book, it's just this part of the story, not the overall theme."
Superheroics will assume the forefront in Book 3, as the search for Templar heats up, and the team must deal with the repercussions of their last major battle, but readers won't miss out on their favorite part: the soap opera. While "Sentinels" features a large cast, Bernatovech has taken special care to give each character some kind of personal arc and he'll further those relationships in this new book. "This is my favorite part of 'Sentinels,' writing the character interaction. The Sentinels aren't just superheroes and most of the response we've gotten has been about that. Readers enjoy that we put depth into them and their relationships. I love balancing the action with character's interaction. As a writer, I think we all put parts of ourselves into our work, so naturally there's going to be some personal experiences mixed up in there. But the characters seem to write themselves a lot and even if I want to do something with one of them, if it isn't right I can tell."
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Self-publishing "Sentinels" has been a mixed experience at times for Bernatovech, who was ready to sign deals with other companies before those fell through, for various reasons, and he explained the highs and lows of his experience. "Selling 'Sentinels' is honestly the hardest part of everything and in some ways the most rewarding. Right now, it's especially hard to self publish due to the changes in the industry and order minimum amounts being raised by distributors.
"For us, the best thing we ever did was publish 'Sentinels' as an OGN. That gives us staying power on the shelves. If we had been publishing in single issues, we'd have been bankrupt by now. But by going straight to trade, more readers have taken a chance on us. They get more for their money and let's face it, money is tight for everyone nowadays and comics are expensive.
"Going to conventions has been excellent. The amount of support we've seen from readers and other indie publishers has been great. There's a real ground swell beginning in the indie market. People seem to be looking for something new, something that they know won't be negated or 'out of continuity' a year after it's published. It's kind of exciting. But the best part is definitely meeting readers and talking to them. We have a very loyal group started and it builds more everyday.
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Everyone does have their opinion and in the "real" world, which Bernatovech deals with on an intense day to day basis at the New York Times, he admits that the comic nerd stereotype isn't going anywhere soon. "Ah, the comic geek stereotype. Yes, it exists and people do make fun of comic fans outside the comic world. But not so much anymore. Sure, there's still the jokes about the Simpson's Comic Book Guy and jokes about living in your parents basement and living through the Internet. But with movies and TV series based on comics all over, it's hard to ignore the legitimacy of graphic storytelling. The Times has done many stories on comics in the last few years. Yes, it's the same writers over and over, but still it's publicity. And any comic publicity is good for the industry. My main fear is that we are getting too much of the same thing. DC definitely gets all the articles at the Times. But there's a reason for that, they do their PR. Even though a Marvel book like 'Runaways' might be a better book than DC's 'Outsiders,' DC is still going to get the publicity because they do hard PR to the newspapers focusing on Judd Winick's name and John Walsh's 'America's Most Wanted.' That's why papers will print stories like that and a book like 'Outsiders' will get more attention outside comics than a book like 'Runaways.'
"For now, I believe it all benefits the industry. But the things I hear are things like the bigger comic publishers need to start delivering on some of their promises. Getting new readers into comics through the press is great, but keeping them is going to be harder. They have to stop with the stunt story telling."
Fans of "Sentinels" have speculated on spin off potential for several characters, since the cast is so huge, and Bernatovech isn't ruling that out. "We have plans for something after the last Sentinels book comes out next year, but right now our main goal is finishing the story we set out to tell. We've gotten lots of feedback and suggestions for possible spinoffs, so who knows. The only concern I would have is doing a spinoff just for the sake of doing one. We don't want to do that."
|Chapter 2, Page 18||Chapter 2, Page 20||Chapter 3, Page 19|
|Chapter 4, Page 4||Chapter 4, Page 17||Chapter 5, Page 1|
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