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.