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

Damn

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

Cruisin'



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 CBR.com 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 รก 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. Goodreads.com 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?