An artistic outlet, a dream in the making, a voice, art therapy, a much needed vacation,a reassuring shoulder to lean on, mass produced fine art, self-reflective exercise, collaborative brainstorming, misunderstood for being a ONE TIME contender.






This is how it all begins. Simple thumbnails, most of the time they are illegible to the everyday person but to me they make perfect sense. This is more of a brainstorm for the composition of the page rather than the foundation.


From here I will then pencil the page on a separate sheet of paper or board. I make many of the changes here till I am comfortable with the overall composition and the flow of the imagery.


After the page is drawn it is then inked. I used traditional ink nibs with Higgins waterproof ink for Black Mane. Currently I have been using a variety of PIGMA Micron pens. After I've inked the page I then scan in the imagery and bring it into photoshop to do the initial layout and to fill in all of the large black areas.


I bring the gray areas in with photoshop. Basically just using the brightness function. I'll trace a shape of a shadow with the lasso tool then either raise or lower the brightness. This is actually pretty quick if you set one of your function keys as an action button for brightness control.


Once the grays look good I will go in with any digital enhancements I may have planned. In the above panel I used gradients in strategic places to accentuate the light sources. If there is text I usually do that seperately and place it over the image on a seperate layer.


That's basically it. You obviously do not have to use a computer to make comics look dynamic but it gives it a different feel.





How to purchase books

The majority of the below titles are sold during select small press comics festivals. All books that are still in print can be ordered by emailing the artist directly at mike.lariccia(at)gmail.com. Several titles are offered digitally. Inquiries regarding original artwork may also use the previously mentioned email address.



Vicious barbarian Blood Billin finds himself stranded on a tropical island after a horrific shipwreck. Just as he finds new freedom from his deceased nautical jailers he discovers a new land full of dangers set on testing him. Through three confrontations with inhabitants on the island, Blood is forced to look inward and rethink his life of anarchy. A story of identity, redemption, and purpose.


OUT OF PRINT - Purchase part 1 at graphicly.com








Satori follows the quest of an aging Samurai as he travels to the present day to search for his his sister who has stolen a magic sword. Issue one places him at a swap meet in Tuscon Arizona where he is forced to make some compromising decisions. Written by Dr. Matt Weber with art by Michael LaRiccia


Email publisher for purchasing information at mike.lariccia(at)gmail.com






Welcome to DISCO, a four-on-the-floor bounce house of imagery and words designed to make you laugh uncomfortably and think reflectively. Like disco music, this comic pulls from several different (narrative) genres and showcases a mix of art styles. Each section presents the first chapter of sequential epics,inspired by life experiences and new opportunities.


Email publisher for purchasing information at mike.lariccia(at)gmail.com






The Death of Black Mane and the Feared Self Part I

Out of print. Soon to be released digitally.


Mike, a newly hired Corporate Sales representative for a large chain bookstore, realizes that the new position he has acquired is in fact a bad career choice. He struggles with when and how he will leave the situation, especially without another job lined up. During this time, his overwrought fiancé battles a severe stomach illness while trying to complete a doctoral program at a competitive Ivy League school. At work, Mike’s trainer, Will, who was the previous Corporate Sales Representative, finds his only true happiness when playing online fantasy role playing games in the basement of his parents’ house. He lets off steam by assuming the character of Blood Billin, a savage hulking barbarian who we get to see in action.


All three characters find themselves trapped in situations that they desperately want to escape and wrestle with the reality of how much control they truly have in their lives. Mike’s introspection into his own dilemma takes center stage in the book and is illustrated through an epic dream sequence, portraying a metaphor for his journey in the “real world”. In his dreams, he is a beast hunter who is summoned from a foreign land by a Viking camp to hunt and kill a creature called Black Mane who has been terrorizing and murdering the people of the Viking village. When a leviathan kills all of the Vikings, except their leader, the beast hunter makes the decision to forge ahead with the hunt for Black Mane.


The graphic novel chronicles these characters while critically examining themes of masculinity and identity. These themes are explored through a mosaic graphic language that can be both humorous and somber. Readers will finish The Death of Black Mane and the Feared Self reflecting upon their own lives and challenging themselves to find happiness in their present situation.


Black Mane


LaRiccia makes his comics debut with his 96 page graphic novel. Black Mane confronts issues of race and gender through the authors self-depracating self-portrait. The story is set in Boston Massachusetts during a summer break from graduate school in the midwest.  LaRiccia works at a T-shirt stand on the waterfront and lives in an apartment in Brookline. The banality of his life is contrasted with the consistent presence of volatile male characters: Hyper testosterone jocks, chauvinistic abusers and entitled alpha males.


In public Michael deals with these figures through contemplation and reason; in his most private thoughts he revels in the fantasy of resolving these situations with the immediacy and energy of violence. This resolve is accomplished by his own fantasy hitman, Black Mane, a man/lion hybrid cloaked in midnight black fur.


His frustration and confusion  accumulate even more from the constant presence of racial characterization. Horrifically hot summer days at the waterfront, a camping trip with old friends, a fantasy dream in ancient Greece and a dangerous night in a night club are some of the scenarios which challenge the ideas and values of the main character.


Black Mane incorporates the social potential of comic books to address immediately important social issues. Humor and horror combine to construct a conversation about social constructs of masculinity and the constant presence of racial characterization.


Email publisher for purchasing information at mike.lariccia(at)gmail.com






All work copyright © Michael LaRiccia 2014