Friday, December 21, 2007

An artful Christmas

Working in comics and with comics artists affords me one cool benefit: every year I get really nice-looking Christmas greetings. Here are two from companies/people I've worked with.

The first is from Arcana. Sylvia can be seen messing with the lights on the left hand side of the picture.

And the second is from Núria and Estudio Fenix who always send me the most beautiful images.

I'll be traveling to Boise and then to Portland for Christmas and will be absent from this space for a while. I hope that, no matter what holiday you celebrate (or even if you just see this as an opportunity for a long weekend), that this season finds you well.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

It's a boy!

Melissa and I went to the week 20 ultrasound appointment on Tuesday. Everything checked out normal, The Sprout is doing great. The big news to come out of the check uo was that we learned the gender of our wee one. As the headline indicates, we're gonna have a little boy come April/May.

At every step in this process (pregnancy test, hearing the heaqrt beat for the first time, the first ultrasound, etc) the idea that we're having a baby becomes more and more real. Learning our baby's gender is just the latest instance of that.

I had no inkling of what the baby's gender would be, nor did I have any hopes for one sex or another. But now that we know it's going to be a boy, I do feel a bit of relief. If nothing else, we can just concentrate on coming up with boy names.

Below, proof of the baby's gender:

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

My nephew gets it

On the phone this evening with my sister-in-law, Kathleen. She reports that my nephew, Dillon, had only one item on his Christmas wish list. An action figure from a video game, Kingdom Hearts. Kathleen found said figure on ebay for under ten dollars, but the shipping is over twenty.

Anyway, Kathleen told Dillon that maybe he'd want to put some other items on the list. You know, give Santa a whole range of options. Dillon went away and came back later with exactly one other item on the list: a cookbook.

"You want a cookbook, dude?" she asked.

"If I get it, I'll give it to you," he said.

At which point, Kathleen decided he'd get that action figure no matter what.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Better than, "Copy monkey"

The approaching birth of the Sprout has sort of crystallized my thoughts in some areas while, at the same time, it confuses me about others. I'll be talking about one area where I've achieved some clarity.

The writing. I'm 37 and have achieved only moderate success in the field, but I feel like with the right promotion/encouragement/cajoling I could be a lot more successful. I do not have it in me to do these things myself. Some folks with a baby on the way, and in a similar position, might say that they were going to forget about the writing and concentrate on their career as a way of guaranteeing some kind of stable home-life. But not me, apparently. To that end, I met yesterday with a couple of literary agents to talk about representing my work, and me, too, I suppose. I've known these two ladies for a couple of years now and they're always enthusiastic about anything I've worked on. I've suspected they'd like to rep me, but haven't felt the need to pursue that opportunity as getting work in comics never really seemed to need it. But my last few experiences with story pitches, and the fact that I'd like to get away from writing monthly publications and publishers and to start doing work for larger, more mainstream publishers, have led me to think otherwise.

I told them about a couple of comics projects I'd like to work on, they told me about what a couple of publishers they know are looking for. I also told them about an idea for a non-fiction prose book I've had and they seemed really excited by it. They're going to send me a faux proposal that will help me knock my idea into some kind of shape to show publishers. I'm very excited about this. They also are willing to work with me on a project-by-project basis, which is good since I might potentially work on a number of things with different artists and for different venues. It's possible that they wouldn't be able to help with some of those projects.

So, I'm hoping this step I've taken helps me achieve my goal: the ability of the Sprout to one day answer the question, “What does your father do?” with the answer, “He's a writer.”

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Merry Christmas to me!

Last night was the Fox Blue year-end dinner. We made out pretty well as far as bonuses go. Melissa told me that I should take a certain amount and do with it whatever I wanted. So today I went on line and ordered a crap-ton of books and one CD set from Amazon: Absolute Sandman volume 1 by Neil Gaiman; Thunderbolts by Warren Ellis; Scott Pilgrim volume 4 by Brain O'Malley; and "Orphans" from Tom Waits.

Honestly, if you were thinking about it, no one should get me anything for Christmas 'cause I just took care of it myself.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

The Velvet Fog

Ganked from the Gear School blog:

I'm sure that you've said to yourself: "Gee, Adam writes like the unholy union of Hemingway and Chuck Klosterman, but I wonder what he actually sounds like." Wonder no more, true believer. Jake Tenpas, the Corvallis Times-Gazette writer who made me look so smart has given you a chance to hear my melodious voice. He took portions of our telephone conversation and made it into a podcast for your listening pleasure. There's no direct link to the podcast, so go to the podcast homepage, click on "podcasts", click on Jake's name, there I am.

At this rate, Jake is going to keep me in post-able material for a long time.

The one thing I'd like to correct: Eric Haven's book is called Tales to Demolish.

Sunday, November 25, 2007


Ganked from the Gear School blog:

Jake Tenpas is a writer for the Corvallis (Oregon) Gazette-Times. He has, in the past, written well and with passion about comics and comics-related topics. He's profiled Warren Ellis and Garth Ennis, and he's written about the experience of attending a local comics convention. And now he's written a profile about me.

I got to spend a pretty pleasant hour on the phone with Jake a couple of weeks ago and he managed to turn my ramblings into an article that makes me look fairly intelligent. No mean feat.

Tryptophan isn't lethal, apparently

Melissa and I are returned from the Oregon coast where her family did its' level best to kill us with food and drink. We survived the four-day bacchanal, however. Melissa's dad, granddad, aunt and uncle, brother and sister-in-law, and any number of kids were there making for one very full rental home -- a rental home that sat right on the beach. Excellent.

Our quickly growing Sprout was a major topic of discussion. The whole family is thrilled to death that Melissa is pregnant. And they're okay with the fact that I'm the father. All weekend long we were the recipients of baby name suggestions. We are still considering our options.

It's amazing to me how four days of doing nothing much can leave you exhausted.

I hope everyone out there in the Internets had as good a holiday as us.

Monday, November 19, 2007

That's surprising

cash advance

Saw this little number on Eddie Campbell's blog and had to see what reading level my own checked out at. Campbell's is "high school" and mine is "genius"? Something doesn't seem right here....

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Can't trust my brain

Despite there being several things on which I should be working (which I am not), I cannot stop thinking about a new idea. I'm worried that the only way to get it out of my head is to actually write it out.

I am convinced that my brain actively works against me sometimes.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Not the Daily Show

Via Boingboing: This is a very lovely thing. Jason Rothmam, one of the writers on The Daily Show, delivers a Daily-Show-style report pointing out Viacom's hypocritical position regarding the worth of Internet content -- the very thing about which the Writers' Guild is striking.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Gear School review

Ganked from the Gear School blog:

The web site, Jaded Expressions, the same folks that posted an interview with me a couple of weeks ago, have now posted a review of the book. And, wow, they seem to like it. A lot.

In the review, Gear School is compared favorably to the works of both Gene Roddenberry and Isaac Asimov. That is a lot to live up to, folks.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Portland Gear School signing

Dear, Portland, Oregon friends,

This Saturday, at the fabulous Cosmic Monkey Comics, I'll be signing copies of Gear School (and other books, too). Rick Remender will also be there signing stuff. If you're lucky, you'll see a comics-writer-cage-match!

Saturday, November 17
1 - 3 p.m.
Cosmic Monkey Comics
5335 Ne Sandy Blvd
Portland, OR 97213

Coloring Gear School

This is superawesome and everyone must go read it: Over on the Gear School blog, Núria posted an entry where she talks about coloring the book and she includes examples of test palettes the studio tried out to arrive at Gear School's very beautiful look.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Racist Grandpa

I don't know what it is about the copy shop environment that attracts crazy marginal challenged individuals. Lots of folks with grocery bags full of hand-written notes and other ephemera seem to congregate around the copiers. It was worse when I worked at Kinko's (that Kinko's sign seemed to be a flame to many psychotic moths), but even the small shop I now work at has it's fair share of crazy folk. These folks seem to always gravitate toward one employee over al the others. My friend Devon seems to be a beacon for these types and has more stories than you can shake a stick at about his interactions with them. Work at any one location long enough and you'll no doubt gain your own fan.

I now have my own. I call him Racist Grandpa.

Racist Grandpa (RG for short) is of indeterminate age; somewhere between 80 and a hundred at a guess. He's either Polish or German and has a sort of shrunken appearance. Summer and Winter he wears a puffy down-filled ski jacket. He's been coming into the shop where I work since I started there, but in those days he fixated on Deb, a coworker of mine who is in her mid-fifties and displays more patience than I can muster. After Deb left, RG seemed pretty upset. He would ask us all the time if we had any news from her.

After a while, I noticed that I was helping him more and more when he came in. I chalked it up to the fact that my coworkers are bastards and ducked out of sight whenever RG came into the store and I didn't think much about it. But then RG started asking me to come to the front to help him even when someone else was already up there. I realized too late to do anything about it that he'd imprinted on me. Hell.

RG is religious and I spend a lot of time helping him create intricate collages. He brings in photos he asked to have reduced and then then does this really amazing cut-and-paste jobs to produce pictures where, for instance, two children sitting on a couch are flanked by angels and hold the Baby Jesus across their laps. He builds these over time, adding elements to the photos as the weeks pass. He will have the pictures laminated every so often and they eventually get to the point where I tell him that the collage is too think to laminate properly. He then starts a new image.

And how did he get his name? Every time I help him, Racist Grandpa regales me with... well, to be honest, I don't always know what he says because I'm pretty good at tuning him out. One time, not to long after our weird relationship started, I was standing there as he ranted. I stared off into the middle distance and would occasionally nod and make a sound of agreement. And then, for some reason, I started to pay attention. He was talking about Mexicans. I am Mexican and this piqued my interest. He went on and on about how Mexicans were no good: he worked with a whole bunch up in Alaska and to a man, they were all lazy and they cheated on their wives. He finally paused and looked at me and I thought that maybe he'd clued in to the fact that I'm more swarthy than your average Aryan type. But what he did was to lean a little closer and say, "The Italians, too." Since then, he's told me about how gays are ruining the country, Jews run the world, Protestants are all going to Hell, etc. At this point, I'm just hanging on to see how bad it gets.

I don't have a great talent for bestowing nicknames, but after telling that story everyone in the shop started calling him by the name Racist Grandpa.

And now he brings me little gifts! Fruit for the most part. And he can't come in without calling to the counter and whispering something to me with a conspiratorial air. Usually a story relating how the whole damed country is going to Hell in a hand basket. His only redeeming quality is that he has a deep, unwavering hatred of President Bush.

No one is all bad.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Signing this Saturday

If you are in the Salem/Keizer area this Saturday, please swing by Tony's Kingdom of Comics where I'll be signing copies of Gear School and, really, anything else you thrust in front of me.

Saturday, November 10
1 - 3 P.M.
Tony's Kingdom of Comics
5420 River Dr. N
Keizer, OR

There will also be a signing next weekend in Portland. I'll post more about that later.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Gear School web activity

Ganked from the Gear School blog:

Two things have shown up on the Internets, vis a vis Gear School.

The first is an interview with me by Andrew Chung for his fabulous site, Jaded Expressions. Go there now and read, please. Thank you.

The second, is a brief write-up about Gear School at Comic Book Resources. They also have a ten-page preview. Ten pages you've already seen if you've looked at the gallery section of the Gear School blog, but you should all go there anyway to drive up their link-counting thing.

Thanks in advance for that, and good reading.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

100 Logos

This is about the evolution of the 100 Girls logo. I don't know that this will be of interest to anyone but me, but I wanted to document this somewhere and the this blog (depository of ephemera that it is) seems like the best place.

Back when Todd and I were publishing the comic on the Dark Horse Comics website, we needed a logo for the feature -- something that neither of us had thought about much. I asked Todd to draw me a silhouette of Sylvia and I'd work up a logo. It looked something like this:

I say it looked something like this because I actually used ITC Oficina Serif, a typeface that Dark Horse had licensed, but that I have not. But you get the idea. Sylvia replaced the letter "I" in Girls. I liked how clean it was -- it looked good on top of the black and white pages. Todd was less happy with it. I think to him it felt too sterile or corporate. I can see that.

When we got picked up by Arcana Comics for publication, Todd had a go at the logo.

The only similarity between this logo and the first one is that they both have silhouettes of Sylvia. Todd's logo is much more dynamic and more "comic-booky" then the first one. It looks much more like something you'd see on the top of a comic. If I had any qualms about it at all, it was that I felt like it sacrificed a little readability, especially in the "R", the "L" and the "S". I think I told that to Todd at the time, but after showing it to a bunch of people none of them said the had a problem with it, so I dropped it. This was the logo we used for the whole seven-issue run of the first story line as well as the Free Comic Book Day stories, etc.

Enter Simon and Schuster. After picking up the book the asked us to tweak the logo. They also had issues with the readability. Todd asked me to have a go at revising the logo. In revising and re-revising the logo (I was getting constant and good feedback from the senior designer at Simon and Schuster), I noticed something: Todd must have just drawn that logo freehand. Which to me is amazing. However, there were quite a few inconsistencies with line widths, etc. After trying to redraw certain thing several times in photoshop, I gave up and decided that I needed to redraw the whole thing in Illustrator -- converting it from a raster image to a vector. I used elaborate grids to make sure that everything was consistent. I actually love this process. I changed the letter form on the "R" slightly and, after asking Todd's permission, changed the letter forms on the "L" and the "S" fairly drastically. While still keeping the forms consistent with the design of the other letters. Todd also drew yet another silhouette of Sylvia for this new design.

Simon and Schuster finally OKed this version, so now we have a new logo:

This is the new logo that you'll see on the Simon and Schuster collection. We'll also use it on any new 100 Girls stories. I'm not sure what would prompt us to redesign it again. Maybe when they make it into a movie or TV show?

Friday, October 26, 2007

Incremental progress

Were one to go to the Simon and Schuster website and, further, if one were to search for 100 Girls, one would see that they have now posted the cover to the 100 Girls collection they will be publishing next Summer.

But, because one came here first, one needn't go through all of that. Rather, here is the new cover, in all it's glory:

Art, of course, by the talented Mr. Todd Demong. I believe he also did the colors, but I will confirm this.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

I'm okay, at least

So tonight I ran into another car. That is, I was driving and hit another car with my car. I didn't just punch a car or anything.

I was driving down Lancaster, a very commercial and ugly street here in Salem, and an SUV turned left out of the turn lane and right in front of me. As I slammed on my brakes, I remember thinking, "there's not enough room for him to do that." And I was right. Though I braked and swerved as much as I felt safe doing on that busy street, I still clipped their rear quarter panel right behind the wheel.

They continued on into the parking lot and I didn't want to block traffic so I pulled in behind them. This sucks but I know how to deal with it. What I don't know how to deal with is the fact that the SUV I hit then tore ass out of the parking lot and down a side street. I watched for a few seconds and then followed them. I also called 911 to report this very strange behavior. After I got the 911 operator (by the way, 911 operators in Oregon apparently answer the phone by saying, "Hello?" and then waiting a very long time for you to ask if you have, indeed, reached 911), I told her what happened and she had to ask me to clarify what I'd just said.

"You just stuck another vehicle?"


"And they drove away from the scene?"

"That's right, baby!" I didn't really call her baby, but I thought it. I also went on to tell her I was pursuing the jackass. She told me to stop. According to her, there's nothing wrong with being hit and leaving the scene of the accident. This seemed wrong to me, but I wasn't going to press the issue. She then asked me the make and model of the car and for the license plate number. I know none of these things. I am not the person you want to have as a witness at your trial, I'll tell you that.

I then just drove home. I was coming down from the adrenaline and I started feeling shaky and stiff. I'm feeling even more shaky and more stiff right now. I'm sure my muscles tensed up right before the collision. I know my sphincter clenched to the size of a purely theoretical particle.

After I got home, I called the police non-emergency number and went through the whole deal again. According to this operator, it is indeed wrong to leave the scene of an accident, even if you are the one that was hit. She also asked for the make, model, and license plate. I did no better for her than I had for the 911 operator. "it was an SUV; tan, maybe gray, possibly light blue?" And it's hard to get a license plate when a car is speeding away from you so fast you can make out the red shift. I gave her all my info and the info on our Saturn and she gave me a claim number to give to our insurance.

The good news is that I could drive the car after the accident. The bad news is the hood and the bumper and the right front quarter panel are toast. And who knows if there's been any damage to the frame or engine.

I just can't stop thinking about why they'd tear outta there. No insurance? Stolen vehicle? A kid driving mom and dad's car without permission?

All I know is the whole affair has left me sore and tired and not wanting to drive anywhere.

I was on my way to buy a Halloween costume, by the way.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

I give you the Kreutz Gallardo sprout

Look what I did. With, uh, some help from Melissa.

No, it's true. Melissa and I have decided to spawn. The attached photo is a scan of our first ultrasound. Say hello to the Sprout. We do not yet know the gender (not until about week 20) and so have no name for our progeny. Melissa just enter the second trimester and is happy that she is no longer constantly nauseated. I am less happy as she is offering me less of the food she can't finish.

As some of you may know, I was a guy who had never even considered marriage until I met Melissa and the thought of having a kid was less than a remote possibility. I feel as surprised by this as anyone. The fact that I am looking forward to raising a wee one. I hope I can do a good job. I know I'll have lot's of help and advice.

I reckon that this space will now be where I work out, in public view, some of the things I'm going through as we prepare for the Sprout. In addition to all of the other things I usually write about.

Speaking of which: I now feel like I have a definite deadline as far as getting some writing done is concerned. We're looking at an April 28th due date. I can't imagine that much will get done when the Sprout first arrives. Fitting the writing into the new life style should prove interesting. Anyone out there doing the same kinds of things?

Wish us luck.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

I'm not complaining....

For reasons that I cannot explain, it would appear that Gear School will be shipping two weeks early and will be showing up in comics shops as of tomorrow. That's if we can believe the Diamond ship list, and I think we can.

I've got to admit that this leaves me feeling like I'm experiencing an anticlimax somehow. Here I've been waiting for a year for the book to be draw, designed, printed, etc, and I was completely ready to wait another two weeks for it to hit store shelves. Well, it's early and I feel... oddly deflated. It's like being given your Christmas present unexpectedly early. I think the excruciating joy of waiting for the day to arrive is a big part of the process for me. Does that make sense or am I just a big whiner?

Don't answer that.

Also, Gear School got a so-so endorsement today on as part of their regular "Can't Wait for Wednesday" feature. I will take any kind of endorsement whatsoever.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Horror Writer May Have Dismembered Women

Via "Cops Find Torso In Closet, Leg In Refrigerator, Draft For Cannibalistic Instincts.

"An aspiring horror novelist was arrested after police discovered his girlfriend's torso in his closet, a leg in the refrigerator and bones in a cereal box, the city prosecutor's spokesman said Thursday."

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Ben is funny and, one hopes, prophetic

Email exchange! Cast includes Ben Stenbeck and yours truly.

Ben: A little bird tells me that Mike R(ichardson) is super happy with Living with the Dead. And I'd imagine they are pretty keen on Gear School.


What's this? Huh?! SHAZAM!! A super awesome proposal from these two hot new-comers??! 'How can I resist?!' says Mike Richardson and rubs our bellies with hot cash and movie deals.

Me: Will super models also be involved in the belly-rubbing?

Ben: I'm sure Mike will be all like, "Nothing's too good for my hotshots -- Heidi Klum? Have you finished warming those $100 bills betwixt your thighs? Yes? Very well, let the rubbing begin!!"

This is just to illustrate that Ben is awesomely funny. Funnier than me. The Living with the Dead Ben talks about is the comic that he drew which was written by Mike R (which hits the street this week and which has a making-of feature on the Dark Horse web site). And the proposal he mentions is the Horror Thing I've mentioned a few times.

About that: I went to the library and checked out a pile of books about World War I so I can seriously dive into writing the notes for the series. Please wish me luck.

Monday, October 8, 2007

I'm going to Hell for liking this, aren't I?

The Internets can be both a blessing and a curse. Sometimes both all wrapped up into one.

My new favorite thing is a set of photos posted on flickr called stripper_polaroids. Before anyone gets up in arms, please be aware that flickr had provisions about decency so none of these photos is too racy. The set's owner gives this bit of explanation:

"This photo came from a collection of over 400 Polaroid photos of strippers trying out for dancing jobs at a So. Cal club. They were taken from the late 1960's thru the early 1970's. I bought the entire collection for $10."

Many of the photos are hi-larious, as one would imagine, but some really struck a chord with me. Perhaps it's my willingness to read too much into people's facial expressions and body language, but some of the photos in this set filled me with a real sense of pathos. Regardless, the photos should prove interesting and I hope the set's owner posts more.

Sunday, October 7, 2007


Alan Moore and JH Williams' comics series (along with inker Mick Gray, colorists Jeromy Cox and Jose Villarrubia, and letterer Todd Klein) began life as a pastiche of super-heroine comics, a la Wonder Woman, but it quickly grew into a meditation on the history and philosophy of magic.

The plot concerns college student Sophie Bangs who is researching a character called Promethea who shows up in a number of stories across a number of media throughout the late 19th and early 20th century. But Promethea doesn't just show up in stories, she also shows up in real life, giving aid and comfort to those in need. As a consequence of her research, Sophie actually becomes the latest incarnation of Promethea.

Book one and two concern themselves mostly with Sophie assuming her new role and learning the histories of the Prometheas who came before her. Books four and five focus on Promethea traveling up the Qabbalistic Tree of Life to the God-head. And in book five, we watch Promethea preside over the Apocalypse and what comes after it.

For me, Promethea works best when it acts as a magical primer. Moore can slip easily between scenes of action and instruction. Those few chapters that are purely plot or action driven feel the weakest to me.

Special attention has to be given to the art team of Williams, Gray, Cox and Villarrubia. Moore's scripts make so many demands of them and they are up to all of them. During the sequence where Promethea climbs the Tree of Life, each issue is drawn in a different art style; no mean feat for an art team.

Part of me, a small part, wishes it was this series, not League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, that was going to be continued by Top Shelf Publishing. But then, where else is there to go after the world ends?

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Simon and Schuster loves 100 Girls

We've (Todd and me and Arcana Comics) been waiting for the contracts to be signed before making any kind of official announcement, but Simon and Schuster have scooped us. As that sparsely detailed page shows, Simon and Schuster's Aladdin Books imprint will be publishing the first 100 Girls collection, "The First Girl", next Summer.

I've been referring to this here on the blog as "the book thing." I've collected a ton of extras materials and sent them off to S&S, Todd is busy drawing a new cover for the collection, and we are both preparing for untold fame and riches. That's how this works, right?

Some kind of official announcement/press release likely to follow.

That sketch, by the way, is of Sylvia, our main character, and is by Mr. Todd Demong.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Stumptown de-brief

I attended the Stumptown Comics Festival in Portland this past weekend and... man, it wasn't a good experience. Personally. I know a lot of folks there had a great show and sold lots of stuff, but for me not so much.

Part of it is probably that I didn't really have any new stuff to sell. But I think a larger part of it is that the comics I write are not in sync with the Stumptown vibe. This is the only show I sell at where attendees are looking for lots of small, indy stuff. Everything I work on is pretty slick and, at least, mainstream-seeming. The art is very polished, the stories are genre and, worst of all, it's in color. I actually saw at least one person propel themselves away from my table as if mainstream comics were a disease you could catch like the God-damned SARS. It's hard to begrudge the indy folks for dominating this show; at every other show I go to, the indy crowd is relegated to a dank corner far from any of the other displays.

Anyway. Saturday I sat there fuming, really considered not even coming back on Sunday, but then I figured I just needed to change my outlook. I came to terms with the fact that I was not going to sell a million copies of my books. Sunday then became an exercise in retail therapy. I spent many, many dollars buying lots of interesting stuff. It was fun to go around and introduce myself to the folks making comics and to help support them by actually making some purchases. I spent maybe thirty bucks on comics zines and walked away with some really interesting stuff.

Other highlights of the show were attending the after-party at Cosmic Monkey Comics, which is a great store in Portland. Free beer and PB&J sandwiches. Nice. Melissa and I had dinner with Philip Simon and his partner Kate and they put us up for the night. Sunday night before we came home, we had dinner with my friends Devon and Jon, and their friends (and comics people) Mike, Miriam Libicki, and Camilla D'Errico. It was Camilla's birthday and we got the waitress at the Mediterranean restaurant we were at to bring us some baklava with a candle in it.

In situations like this, I can generally turn around a shitty situation if I can just get to a place where I realize that it's my own negative attitude that's making things so bad. So, the con wasn't so bad, but my attitude was. I recognize that.

But I still don't think I'll do the show next year.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Things to do: writing (sort of)

1) Finish 100 girls #8 script
2) Write ideas for "Horror Thing" I want to do with Ben Stenbeck (at this point that just means putting all my ideas regarding possible characters, themes and plot into a document and throwing it at Ben for his consideration)
3) Come up with an actual title so we can stop calling it "Horror Thing"
4) Work on proposal for the novel, which, I hasten to add, is one-third written
5) Finish assembling materials for "Book Thing" (parenthetically, we are still waiting for the contract on this. It has been weeks now since we requested changes and The Company said they would make those changes. Why does it take weeks? End of parenthetical.)
6) Bug Dave Land about "Dalton" (or should I wait until announcement about "Book Thing"?
7) Stop using Internet as a work-avoidance technique

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Magic or Madness

Young Adult novels are so much better now than I remember them being when I was an actual young adult. I recall reading some S.E. Hinton, but not much else.

The "Magic or Madness" series by Justine Larbalestier (Magic or Madness, Magic Lessons, and Magic's Child) is one of the best fantasy trilogies I've read; YA or not. All of the books are well-paced, exciting, and feature well-drawn, believable characters.

The story focuses on 15-year-old Reason Cansino who discovers very suddenly that magic is real. More than that, she is a magic user. In the word of the books, however, magic is a double-edged sword. Use it and it will shorten your life; but if you don't use it, you'll quickly go mad. For the most part, we watch as reason figures out how to use her magic, and how she avoids other magic users who would steal her magic so they could lengthen their own lives.

Besides Reason, there's a whole host of supporting characters, some who wield magic, some who don't, but all who lend their support in making this an exciting story.

I would pay heed to the Young Adult label and would share this with kids who are at least in their teens, as there are some plot elements that might raise uncomfortable questions from a younger reader. But once your kids (or you) have finished the Harry Potter series, this is a great series to pick up next.

Monday, September 17, 2007

It cures what ails ya

I stayed home sick today. The first of many, many colds I'll experience this year, I'm sure. When I'm sick, there are a couple of things that never fail to make me feel better: 1) Get plenty of rest 2) drink lot's of fluids and 3) Read comics!

Hellboy, volume 1: Seed of Destruction
by Mike Mignola with script assistance by John Byrne

The first volume of Mike Mignola's awesome Hellboy series. It's amazing to me how much of the series is in place here. Often with a first series you'll feel like the author is trying to find the right tone, the voice of the characters, the correct pacing. But this book sings right out of the gate. This volume shows us some of the origin of Hellboy; introduces many of the characters that will be important later in the series; and shows his first battle with the terrible Rasputin! This is great, Pulp-inspired fun.

Street Angel
by Jim Rugg and Brian Maruca

You are required to love a comic that features a rogue geologist as a villain. Yes.

Street Angel is the story of a homeless 13-year old world-class skateboarder and ninja fighter. She lives in a world of (the aforementioned) ninjas and scientists, but her world is also chock full of Aztec gods, Conquistadores, Irish astronauts, Satanists, and the headaches that come with being homeless. This volume collects the five issues of the series as well as short stories, covers, and a wealth of pinups and sketches. And it is a thing of beauty.

The stories in Street Angel happen free of context and, blessedly, continuity. Each story seems to happen in its own little universe of fun. I suspect that Rugg (artist and co-writer) and Maruca (co-writer) weren't so interested in telling a grand, linear story; they were mostly concerned with figuring out how comics work. They needed to figure out the rules, and then they needed to break them completely.

The collection I own is called "volume one" in the indicia. I pray that there will be a second some day.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

The gene pool gets an upgrade

Woke to news that my friends Stefanie Knowlton and Aaron Marvin gave birth last night. Okay, Stefanie did most of the heavy lifting on this one. Alex Christopher Marvin is 19 inches long and 8.8 pounds. Mother and baby are doing great and dad sounds like he's over the moon.

Congratulations to all.

Welcome to the world, Alex.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Poetry will save you

I read the new entry by my friend Kevin today (there's no premalink, so look for the entry called "Driving at Night"). I immediately thought of this poem.

For My Daughter in Reply to a Question
by David Ignatow

We're not going to die.
we'll find a way.
We'll breathe deeply
and eat carefully.
We'll think always on life.
There'll be no fading for you or for me.
We'll be the first
and we'll not laugh at ourselves ever
and your children will be my grandchildren.
Nothing will have changed
except by addition.
There'll never be another as you
and never another as I.
No one ever will confuse you
nor confuse me with another.
We will not be forgotten and passed over
and buried under the births and deaths to come.

UPDATE: It occurs to me that some context may be in order.

I first heard this poem recited on NPR's The Writer's Almanac, which is hosted by Garrison Keillor. As I listened to Keillor read, I unexpectedly found myself weeping. I thought about my father, about my mother, about my sister.

Ignatow writes about being "buried under the births and deaths to come." Sometimes it feels like we can be buried beneath those that have already happened.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

This is not my beautiful life...

For reasons that I cannot mention, I find myself in the mind-numbing position of having a vested interest in how much business Resident Evil: Extinction does this weekend.

This, of course, is the (supposedly) last installment in the zombie/video game franchise starring Mila Jovovich. I quite liked the first one, but never saw the second. But a quick check on IMDB shows me that the second film did even better business than the first. If this trend holds true, this is good news for me.

So if you had any inkling at all to go see this film this weekend, please do.

How the hell did my life get to this place?

UPDATE: Okay, the movie opens next Friday, but still, you should go see that sumbitch.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Like the Negev of writing

Tonight I delivered the first half of the next issue of 100 Girls to Todd Demong. This after months of not being able to write a word. Or at least that's how it felt. I wrote several drafts of this script previously and threw them all away. But I like this version, and I can see the rest of the issue fairly clearly in my imagination; always a good sign.

I go through these periodic spells of writer's block (or writers insecurity, more like it) and I try to think about what I once heard William Stafford say at a reading. Someone asked him what do you do when you don't like anything you write? Mr. Stafford's answer: "I lower my standards."

I don't really have any tricks for getting through it myself, except for getting through it. When I'm in the middle of bout of writer's block, I feel like T.E. Lawrence slogging across the Negev desert. I just plod on long enough and eventually I come out the other side.

Hopefully there will continue to be another side to these things.

The bright spot here is that this version of the script came easily, I enjoyed writing, and I liked the end product. To quote Lawrence: "We've taken Aqaba."

Friday, September 7, 2007

My Daemon: Update!

My daemon has been a spider for the last couple of days. This pleases me better than either the mouse or the ladybug into which it had transmuted, albeit briefly. But I still wish it had remained in its original chimpanzee form.

Lord, I'm a geek.

I probably look like I need it

This happened a few days ago.

I was walking from my work to pick up our car and drive home. As I walked, I passed a homeless man. Older guy, actually pretty nice. Salem has more than it's share of scary homeless people since it's the location of the State's mental hospital.

Anyway, as I walked past, the man asked if I had any extra money. I said no; truthfully, I might add. He considered this for a moment before looking at me and saying, "I have some money, do you need a cup of coffee?"

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Shameless and repetitive

I wrote about this over on my Gear School blog, too, but I'm happy about it so you get it here, as well:

There is an eight-page Gear School short story at the Myspace Dark Horse Presents page. If you have any love for me at all, you will stop reading right now and make with the clicking.

For those of you with no love for me, I'll mention that this "issue" of DHP also features a short by Tony Millionaire and the next installment of a short written by Mr. Joss Whedon. Mr. Joss Whedon is, of course, a gigantic influence on my work. That I get to be in the same issue as him pleases me to no end.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Oh, Lord, I think I want this, too...

This omnibus edition, The Dark Horse Heroes Omnibus, collects the ill-fated Comics Greatest World and Will to Power series. If you were into comics in the early '90s, you may remember these.

I was working at Dark Horse when these originally came out and I remember that quite a few of us were very excited by what these comics could have been. We apparently didn't understand either the comics market or what the company's strengths were. Not that I could have swayed any opinions if I'd had an inkling; I was a lowly production employee at the time.

There's a perverse part of me that wants this collection. I remember some of these books were cringe-worthy, but I also remember there were some truly inspired bits here. And the talent they got to work on these is pretty amazing: Doug Mahnke, Paul Chadwick, Eric Shanower and Adam Hughes to name a few.

I'm sure I will get this, and when I do, I hope it's more than just a curiosity piece.

I am so pre-ordering this

I'm having a hard time containing my excitement over this one:

Kick-ass astrophysicist and guest star on both The Simpsons and Futurama, Stephen Hawking has penned a novel along with his daughter, Lucy, and the French astrophysicist Christophe Galfard. The novel, George's Secret Key to the Universe, is the first in a planned trilogy. It's a sci-fi story that will explain astrophysics to kids, using a group of children as its main characters.

One hopes that this will sell as well as Hawking's previous book, A Brief History of Time, but that it will actually be read by those that buy it.

I ganked this from Here's a link to the original article on the Cosmos Magazine site.

Saturday, September 1, 2007

My Daemon

I saw this on Lani's blog and had to get my own.

Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials trilogy came out during the height of the Harry Potter craze, so you may have missed it. They are, in my opinion, much superior to the HP novels and I would recommend them to anyone who enjoyed HP, or who enjoys kid's fantasy lit in general.

This daemon thingie comes from the website for the first film based on the series, The Golden Compass. Maybe now that a film is coming out based on the books, more people will give these great books a read.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

All the cool kids are downloading these, you know

The fine folks in Dark Horse's internet department (I consider myself lucky that I was once among their number) have designed and posted a bunch of really nifty desktops for Gear School.

So, you know, if you want to show your undying allegiance to me get your Gear School geek on, you should definitely go here and get to downloadin'.

I currently have the image above adorning my very own computer screen.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Uncharacteristic Optimism

I occasionally get feelings out of no where. The sensation I most often feel is one of being thwarted. For no reason whatsoever, I feel as if someone is actively working against me. I couldn't tell you who, or in what capacity, but there it is.

Today I am feeling an odd coupling of optimism and as if I have pulled one over on someone. Like I'm totally getting away with something. Couldn't tell you what, but it feels good, really. And there are a few reason why these feelings are sort of odd. There's my last post; there's work, which for me personally is at a low ebb right now; there's the fact that my laptop died and that the data on its hard drive is most likely unrecoverable. All my writing and photos for the last year are now so many memories.

Though there are some reasons for the optimism, I guess: After nearly a month of waiting, a contract for "100 Girls book thing" has finally arrive. Once it's signed by everyone involved, I'll explicate. And the other 100 Girls thing is getting interesting. And Melissa's home once again. So, you know, things are looking up.

It's just uncharacteristic that I actually recognize that fact.

Monday, August 27, 2007


Scott Fuentes was a buddy of mine back in the old Dark Horse days, this was back in '92-'96. He was a designer there when I worked in the service bureau. he was a small guy who had this manic, somewhat menacing, energy about him. Like a pixie (bearing in mind that pixies and elves and fairies are all scary little folk in the original folk tales), but he was always quick to laugh if things were funny. We used to have conversations about movies and books and other things, too.

I remember him always being around in those days, the way all of us at Dark Horse were around all of the time; at parties; going out drinking; at work, of course. It seemed like I saw all of my coworkers seven days a week back then; an impression I'm sure is untrue, but there it is.

And, yeah, I'm speaking about Scott in the past tense. Last week Scott was in a single-car accident and he died. Apparently, he wasn't wearing his seat belt. Which is so sad and stupid it makes me furious. Furious the way you get with people who've died because they're no longer in your life and they're never coming back. I "found" Scott on myspace a while ago and kept telling myself that I'd contact him when things were less crazy. There's another brilliant plan that'll never come to fruition.

I have a friend, Bryan, and last Saturday night I got an email from him asking if I knew a Scott Fuentes who worked at DH. Bryan works in a funeral home and this kind of general question from him makes one suspicious. I even asked if his question was funeral-related. I remember that as I typed it, I felt uneasy. "Don't put a name to your troubles." When he got back to me, though, that was exactly what it was.

More than a few people very close to me have died in the last few years, and I'm not going to over-dramatize my relationship with Scott and say we were close. We weren't. We hadn't spoken in years, but it brought into sharp relief my tendency to leave things unsaid. Every one of those people who've exited my life should have heard me tell them things; things I was just too weak or afraid or selfish to say. I wish I could vow to be better about this. I wish I could say that from today on I will say all those things to my friends and family that I should, but I think I know better than to make those kinds of proclamations.

But I will try.

Here's to Scott Fuentes. I wish we'd had at least one more conversation.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Signing this Saturday

Repurposed from the Gear School blog:

Not Gear School related, but certainly me-centric, so I'm posting it. For those of you reading this in the Salem-or Portland, Oregon area, I'm doing a signing this weekend. Here's the info in a handy list:

* Tony's Kingdom of Comics
* 5420 River Rd
* Keizer, OR
* (503) 463-1142
* Saturday, August 25, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

I'll be signing copies my Star Wars book as well as 100 Girls. I'll also have a preview of Gear School with me. Randy Emberlin, he of Spider-Man, will also be signing and there'll be a barbeque and raffles and, oh, so many fun things to do!

Hope to see some of you there.

A note regarding the poster: I have no idea why the poster's designer saw fit to use a photo of me eating ice cream. Since, you know, there are so many of me frolicking with super-models to choose from. Just saying.

Sunday, August 19, 2007


A confluence of events reminded me of this song about a week ago and I immediately had to go to youtube and see if I could find it. God bless you, youtube. I've been watching this video nonstop and just bought the single from iTunes. You can count on seeing it on my end-of-year mix.

Ever since I was a kid, Mike Nesmith's career has interested me. I was a fan of The Monkees TV show, and his post-Monkees life has been interesting, too -- an innovator of music videos, he inspired the creation of MTV; he produced two of my favorite cult movies: Repo Man and Tape Heads; and he's made several successful solo recordings.

Here's to you, Mr. Nesmith.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Diary of Indignities

Patrick Hughes got his start at the brilliant, yes brilliant, Bad News Hughes. This book is a collection of the best of those blog entries with a few extras thrown in. Hughes documents the absurd, painful and humiliating episodes that seem to hound his life. The back cover describes the book as, "Whimsical stories of soul-melting shame," and that about covers it. It can be amazingly funny (I can't remember laughing out loud so much as I read a book), but be warned; it can also be extremely profane and crude. This book s seriously not for the faint of heart. But for all his bluster and bravado, Hughes always manages to give these stories a lot of heart and some of them can be heart-breakingly bitter-sweet. Don't let that wimpy last line lull you into a false sense of security, though, because the moment you start thinking he's a softy, Hughes will bring you back to reality with a story about something like frying a turd. And God bless him for it.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

How things (barely) work

Found this on journalista today: Required reading for anyone who'd like to know how comics publishing works. Steven Grant's Master of the Obvious column has been running for years on and it is never less than interesting. Mr. Grant has been writing comics for dog's years and so he knows of what he speaks (besides that, he's the author of one of my single favorite comics, the Kennedy-assassination themed Badlands). Read this entry and marvel (pun intended!) at how the comics industry manages to stay afloat.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Be careful what you wish for

Man, I wish this latest round of madness were done with, vis á vis, Hollywood. I'm dying to write about it. It's chock full of comedic value. Or it makes me want to cry. One or the other.

For some reason, it keeps dredging up memories of Jr. High dances...

Good Reads

I become easily obsessed with social networking sites. I spend way too much time on myspace and I belong to about a dozen other similar sites which I infrequently or never visit. But I just found a new networking site that feels like it will become my new obsession. was recommended to me by my friend Lani, she of Sometimes I Think I'm Clever. It's a social networking site, but it has a very narrow focus: books. You can enter books you've read, plan to read, are currently reading, and keep up with the same from all of your friends. Amazing, and useful. I'm always looking for book recommendations, and now there's a site where I can get them without having to pester people with emails.

Truly we live in an age of marvels.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Crooked Little Vein

This is a nasty little book. Anyone who has read the comics of Warren Ellis will find themselves on familiar ground with this, his first prose novel. The story is simple enough: Mike McGill, our hero, must search through the sordid underbelly of America to find, well, a McGuffin, really. The true highlight of the book isn't the plot, it's watching Ellis debate with himself, using the voice of the book's main characters, about whether or not the future is headed toward hell in a handbasket. Ellis has interesting ideas about the future of our culture and watching that debate can be a heady experience.

Reading this novel brought home a point that I'd always suspected but never quite grasped before: like the best mystery writers, and despite the cynicism and bravado on display in his prose, Ellis is a Romantic. One can see evidence of this is his best comics series, Planetary, Transmetropolitan, et al.

If I have any complaints, it's that this very brief book is paced too quickly. Ellis is writing about the great expanse of America, but the pacing barely gives any sense of the country's size. And the pacing also makes the climax of the book slide by almost unrecognized. But this is a minor quibble and wouldn't keep me from recommending it. This book is not for the faint of heart, but for those who can stomach it, it is well worth the read.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

The waiting is the hardest part...

Over the last few years (three?), there have been occasions when Hollywood (not all of Hollywood, but you know what I mean) have expressed interest in 100 Girls. Because you're not reading about me in Entertainment Weekly, you can assume that nothing has happened with these flirtations. So far.

I have a very neurotic outlook on all of this stuff. I get excited for about an hour, a feeling that is then followed by a combination of anxiety (as we wait to hear if Hollywood will validate our existence by throwing ginormous piles of money at us), despair (at the thought that if we don't get the deal, it will have been my fault), and, perhaps worst of all, elation coupled with uncontrollable fantasies. Shit, I'm like a real-life Tin Cup.

In the moments of excitement, I will tell Melissa, and that's about it. She spreads the news far and wide before I remember to ask her to keep a lid on it. One thing I hate is having to explain to people why any given deal fell through when they ask me when they can expect to see the 100 Girls movie/TV show/video game/what-have-you. Sometimes I will hint to people about these things, but it's not me being coy; it's me trying to save face before the fact. If that makes any kind of sense.

Ugh. Any guesses why I'm bringing this all up?

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Congrats Teri Mae and Katie!

This weekend I went to the Bay Area to witness the marriage of my friends Teri and Katie. Melissa and I drove down from Salem with Sean Sweeney. Melissa co-officiated the do with another of TM and Katie's friends, Tara. The whole weekend was a blast, the wedding was beautiful (note: I am a crier), and the Bay Area will bear further investigation.
Some highlights of the weekend:

  • Spending five days on the road with Sean and Melissa. My first real chunk of time to spend with Sean and he's a great guy. I always worry about how I'll like a person before I spend great chunks of time with them. Those worries were unfounded in this case.
  • The Hungry I. I promised myself that the one thing I would do in the Bay Area was visit City Lights Booksellers. The closest I made it was the strip club across the street where Katie had her bachelor party. Take it from me, if you make it to the Hungry I, ask for Sadie. You will not be disappointed.
  • Meeting TM and Katie's families. To a person, they were all interesting and nice and couldn't be happier that TM and Katie were getting hitched.
  • The wedding itself. Cried like a baby, commented on (favorably) by lots of people. What can I say? I am a softy.
  • Spending our first night back on the road at Sean's aunt's place. Kathy and her husband Phil were great and they like their wine. Yes.
Now I am returned and work is crazy and I am tired and cranky, but it all feels worth it. I should go to more wedding.

Photos of the wedding weekend can be seen on my flickr page.

Friday, August 3, 2007

With. Not from.

Dateline: San Francisco:

Is it wrong to get a lap dance with your wife?

Is it wrong to enjoy it so much?

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

San Diego break-down

I told my manager, Julian, that sometimes I fear my Hell will be just like an endless Comic-Con. He said I should really be worried that it might be my heaven. Here's my wrap-up:

Friday started at 3:00 a.m. after having gone to bed at about 1. I just had to stay up and read the new Harry Potter. After showering and such, I dragged Melissa out of bed and made the trek to the Portland airport. I finished HP on the plane and found it very satisfying. The best book in the series? I was on the ground in San Diego with luggage in hand a few minutes after ten. The cab I grabbed was only able to get me within four blocks of the convention center. I paid the cabbie and joined the crush of humanity making it's way to the convention. Mind you, I was dragging my luggage behind me and wearing a backpack which contained my laptop. I sweat a lot at the best of times; I'm just saying. By the time I got to the convention center, I most closely resembled someone who had drunkenly jumped into a pool with all their clothes on. A pool full of sweat, of course. But the blessed rush of super-chilled air hit me like a promise and it was with a renewed bounce to my step that I made my way to the registration counter to pick up my badge.

I should mention here that I have been attending the convention under the auspices of Arcana Comics for the last four years now and in each of those previous years I have not been properly registered. Each time I have to step out of line and start making frantic phone calls to get Sean up there to help sort things out. So I would have to be naive in the extreme to be surprised that it would happen again, right? Call me Pollyanna! I was completely blindsided be the absence of a badge with my name on it. I swallowed my anger and went and had a seat and started leaving more and more heated messages on Sean's voice mail (or so I thought). One nice thing, I got to see a lot people I know as I sat there. Greg of Tugboat Press fame came by and sat with me for a while. Dave Land, Gretchen and Bernadette. Good times were had by all. Except me, because I couldn't get in the damned show. Dave Land finally came out and gave me an extra Dark Horse badge that I could use until I got things sorted with Sean.

The hall floor is just wall-to-wall people. And I don't like crowds so much. Below is a sample shot of what the crowds can be like.

Seriously, there are times when that is all you can see. I fought this crowd to where the Arcana booth was. Or, should have been. There was a large Arcana banner hanging from the ceiling, but no Arcana booth was actually in evidence. I was starting to panic. No one was answering their cells, no one looked familiar and lots of strangers were jostling me. I was on my way to a grade A panic attack. And then a familiar face! A guy named Gerrin, who also writes for Arcana, came out of the crowd and said hello. I asked him a little desperately where the Arcana booth was and he pointed to the nearest booth -- one that in no way resembled the Arcana booth -- and said, "right there." He didn't have a lot of answers. Didn't know where Sean was, didn't know where Todd was, or where all the Arcana books were for that matter. And just as quickly as he came out of the crowd, he disappeared back into it.

When Sean and Todd showed up, I got the lowdown. All of the books that Sean had shipped to SD for the show, including all of the copies of 100 Girls, they all just didn't arrive. No one was sure where they were, but we all knew where they weren't. This was quite a blow. I was used to spending my time in the booth, safe from the crowd, doing my best to get people to at least pick up the book and look at it. Hard to do that when you've got no books. I felt another panic attack threatening. Fortunately Michael and Julian, my and Todd's managers, showed up to whisk us off to lunch. This was the first time for me to meet Julian in person and I found him to be a really funny, engaging guy. Easy to talk to. Although it was him that suggested Sean come to lunch.

Listen, I'm not vindictive; I know that the badge thing was a mistake and the books getting lost and some other people taking over the booth wasn't really his fault, but I wanted to hold onto my grudge for a while. And Sean, if you're reading this, I really did forget all about it by the time we were done with lunch. Maybe because it was such a good lunch. And I don't mean the food. There are several things in the works for 100 Girls, all of which are very good and exciting and all of which I refuse to mention in more detail until we sign contracts. After two years of exciting things almost happening to 100 Girls, I've learned to be a little tight-lipped. Though we did get a deal memo today which nearly caused me to crap my pants, but that's for another post.

Suffice to say, after lunch everyone was my buddy again and I was invigorated by the thought that with no booth to man, I would get to experience the con as basically an attendee. Something I'd never done before. This consisted mostly of Todd and me wandering the floor looking at cool shit and saying hi to people we know and that we only see at the con, and taking pictures of folks in costume. Speaking of which, I have posted photos of the con up at my flicker account. Go there and marvel at the heights of nerdom. But be gentle, these are my brethren.

Spending so much time with Todd was nice, I must say. He's a great guy and I count myself lucky the day Phil Amara introduced us. Enough mushy stuff.

Both Saturday and Sunday, Todd and I had dinner with Will and Kristen Miller, truly the coolest couple in coupledom. I met them last year and was looking forward to seeing them again this year. And did I mention drinking? Comics is the drinkingest industry there is and every night was spent at the bar at the Hyatt. There I ran into a guy named Ron I-can't-remember-his-last-name-but-he-was-in-Strip-Search-and-he's-very-cool. He's doing well for himself, got a gig drawing a series for Vertigo and as soon as I find his card, I will add a link to his work.

Saturday was a repeat of Friday, minus the really cool news.

Todd left first thing Sunday and I went to a couple of panels, one on the explosion of book publishers introducing graphic novel lines and the other a debate trying to resolve whether or not we should call graphic novels literature. They were both fun and informative and never having attended panels before, I was very impressed. In fact, the comics as literature panel may warrant a post all on it's own. I made a few purchases and snapped up a cool Harry Potter bag (for Melissa, you know) and generally watched the con wind down. That night I grabbed a drink with Devon before he headed back to Portland, had dinner by myself (by this time I was ready for some alone time) and took myself to see the latest HP movie. Again (God help me). Then it was back to the hotel, where I stayed the night with Sean and his wife and kids. His kids are super cute, by the way, and his wife, Shell, is a sweetheart. Next thing I knew, it was Monday morning and I just had time to get breakfast, walk the streets of San Diego for a while, and then head home.

All in all, it was a strange con. It started with disappointment that was quickly supplanted by ridiculously good news, and then I just wandered the show floor for two days. It wasn't how I expected to spend the weekend, but I'm happy with how it turned out.

Damn, this has been a long post....

Monday, July 30, 2007

Home again, home again

Finally am home. It's always a mixed bag being in San Diego for the con -- it's fun being there, but by Sunday I'm always more than ready to come home.

Tomorrow or the next night I'll post an update about all my con doin's. It'll have to be tomorrow or the next night since I'm driving down to San Fransisco on Thursday.

It's strange not being surrounded by lots of people in home-made superhero costumes...

Sunday, July 29, 2007


I have another blog over at which is a way for me to promote my new book from Dark Horse comics. From time to time I plan to repurpose things I wrote there here on this blog. For example, here's a bit of good news that was announced this weekend regarding Gear School:

Dark Horse Presents, DHP to the uninitiated, was the first title ever put out by Dark Horse Comics back in 2000. DHP was an anthology title that saw some of the most amazing and acclaimed comics series published within its pages. The original Sin City story first appeared there, for example. I was truly sad when the book ceased publication and it after if closed shop that I decided to start up my Stripsearch project.

One of the big stories from the con so far is that DHP is back as a web comic. Dark Horse have teamed with to bring us the electronic equivalent of a comics anthology.

The big news for me and for Gear School is that September's issue will include an eight-page Gear School story! Finally. A bench mark I'd given myself when I first had an inkling that I wanted to write comics was that I'd have a story in DHP. I guess I get to mark that off my list....

Never trust a pirate

Have survived another year at Comic-Con. Spent a large portion of my day today waiting in line to put in an application to be an exhibitor at next year's show. Todd and I have decided it's time for us to do our own thing with 100 Girls next year. Will explain more later.

For now, I'm going to call it an early night then have a leisurely morning before flying home in the afternoon.

It'll be nice to get home -- it always is.

One for the ladies

Personally, I've been disappointed in the quality of the costumes this year, but these guys looked pretty good.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Survived Day One

Dateline, San Diego: I'll write more later about all of this, but for now I'll say that the first day here had definite highlights and definite lowlights.

And as for the first picture of the con, well, I'll let the photo speak for itself:

Thursday, July 26, 2007

It is ridiculous to think that this is new to us

Yes, that is George Clinton. And yes, Mr. Clinton is standing next to a middle-aged man in a diaper.

You have never seen so many white people getting funky.

Tomorrow I am up at the ungodly hour of three to make my plane to San Diego. Once there, I will join my brethren in what has accurately been described as "Nerd Prom."

Pray for me.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Please, tell me more

I get perverse pleasure out of reading spam. Probably the same part of me that gets off on watching accident footage on the news.

Anyway, in case you weren't aware, is a treasure trove of spam. Here's one I got tonight:
"Believe it or not you can make $150 TODAY! Let me tell you what its about. Basically companies pay individuals like yourself for whats called "data entry." You can get paid to type at home."
Beyond the typos, I really love the fact that data entry is in quotes like it's a brand new concept from future which will make all of our lives so much better; comparable to the microwave oven, say. I'm surprised they didn't write "data entry (patent pending)".

Although, $15o sounds pretty sweet...


Last night I forwarded to a few people about one-third of a novel, currently called Crunching Numbers. I have been working on this third for about, what? Two years? Working and reworking those same pages. Not two years straight, mind -- but two years of grabbing a minute here and there when I wasn't writing other things, working the day job, making the word safe for Democracy, etc. The thinking is that if I polish up those pages real good (that's an example of my writing style) that we can use it to attract an agent and then, of course, start earning some of those big publishing dollars. This is a realistic expectation, right?

The process of writing prose is a lot different from that of comics. With comics, I can't even start writing a script unless I've plotted the story to within an inch of its life. With prose, I don't want to know from a plot. I just dive in -- which may cause some problems, but still feels like the way I need to approach it. When I first started writing the book, I thought it would be about just one main character, but now find myself splitting the story between three main characters (and several peripheral characters, too!).

Now that that section of the book is polished, I'm looking forward to writing the next section. And one hopes that I'll move at a faster rate on it. I already have another book in mind, but there's no way I'll start until I have this one finished.

Getting a polish on those pages was one of the things I wanted to finish before leaving for San Diego. The second thing I'd like to do is write the script for the first issue of the next 100 Girls storyline, tentatively called "Living Rough." I may not finish that one up, unfortunately. But I feel newly energized to work on 100 Girls. Todd and I got some potentially interesting news regarding 100 Girls and it has inspired me to actually sit down and start putting words on paper. If and when details on said news firm up, I'll let you in on it.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Dabbler, maybe?

I am something of a design dilettante, or maybe amateur is a more generous term...? Regardless, ever since I went away to college and lied charmed my way into a job for which I was not qualified which involved doing layout on a newspaper, I've been interested in design. I've taken a few classes, but nothing serious.

Despite this lack of formal training, I've done the design on all on several things, literary magazines in college, fliers, all of the design on the 100 Girls books(!), and, my favorite thing so far, my business cards. The previous incarnation of the cards were somewhat elaborate: I did eight different designs, each one with a different piece of Todd's art, and with the 100 Girls logo. I liked them and received several compliments for them, but I always felt they were a little busy. A little too much. Apologies to Todd who is still using these cards as far as I know...

With San Diego coming up I felt like it was time to do a business card redesign. the main reason is because I now have a new book under my name and I wanted to highlight that. I went for a much simpler design -- nothing but an image and my truncated contact info.

The back of the card is a maroon color field (the same color as my name) with white text giving the URLs to my two books.

And I just thought of one reason I like design: it's an amazing work-avoidance technique. You know, you don't want to be doing any of the writing your obligated to do; why not design a sales flier?! That's useful, right? That'll help, right?

I hate to admit that can envision this blog taking the place of design for this purpose.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

This just in

I will be in San Diego next week along with half of comicdom for the International Comic Con. I'll be there Friday through Sunday and spending most of my time at the Arcana Comics booth (publisher of my 100 Girls). Arcana are located at booth #2514 in case you'd like to drop by and say howdy. The fine folks at have put up an interactive map so you can find any artist, publisher, etc. that you want. Here's the map.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Impending violence

I am a grown man and I my biggest fear at the moment is that some mouth-breather is going to spoil the ending of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows for me. I should be ashamed, right?

I remember when HP and the Half-Blood Prince came out; there were reports of spiteful dipshits yelling at the people waiting in line to buy the book, "Dembledore dies!" (Sorry to anyone who hasn't gotten around to reading book six yet.) Here in Salem, there was a guy driving around town with a big sign on his car proclaiming the shock ending.

The charitable part of me wonders what awful things must have happened to people like that to turn them into such douche bags killjoys. And I worry about my reaction should I meet one of them. This Friday will be the first of the midnight releases that I go to and, if someone shouts out or otherwise reveals any of the resolutions to the myriad loose ends, I think I might be capable of violence. I might just grab a fake wand from the nearest 12-year-old and shove it somewhere life-threatening.

Will they allow me to have my copy of Harry Potter in the pokey?

Ugh... There are any number of things I should be writing, or at least thinking about writing, and still I spend my time worrying about Harry Potter. What is it that is wrong with me? This is meant as an introduction, by the way. Hello.