Monday, March 31, 2008

Now for the hard part

Ganked from the Gear School blog:

I have received word from everyone to whom I sent the Gear School outline: The word is "go."

I would like very much to have this script written before the arrival of The Sprout on the 28th of April, so I think I'm going to need to put my head down and really focus. That could mean a scarcity of posts here for a little while. Again.

This sort of reminds me of writing the script for the first volume, actually. In that case, I had about a month to write the script before I got married and went off on my honeymoon. I manged it with a couple of days to spare. Maybe I'll manage t this time, too.

Wish me luck.

Good news, bad news

There was a good question left in the comments yesterday by a reader named Jeff. He asked:

I see (on the Comic Con web site) there is a portfolio review for artists and there is lots of detail on the web about that, but I see nothing for a review for writers. Is there someplace at the con a writer can go to drop off his two hopefully interesting sample scripts?

Here's the bad news about cons and writers, Jeff: No one is going to want to read your script. Lot's of editors are willing to review art because it takes just a few minutes and you can do it while being half-distracted by the show, but no editor can take the time out of a show and devote themselves to reading your script. Also, no editor will want to take your script from you and lug it back to their offices with them.

So, here's the good news: save the money you were going to spend to run off copies of the script, and save your back because you won't be lugging all of those scripts around with you.

Rather than trying to get your script in editor's hands, what you want to do is hook up with an artist, or artists. You want to work up a pitch document (a one-page synopsis, some sample art from your artist(s), and a sample of the script. You will not be able to get all of this together before this year's show, and that's okay. Here's what you will do at this year's show: you will met potential editors with whom you would like to work. Introduce yourself, be nice, ask good questions about what thy might be looking for. In this way, you can build a list of editors to whom you would like to send your pitch once you have it finished. And every editor you approach will be wondering while they talk to you whether you are just being social or if you want to get work out of them. I think it's okay to tell them that you might like work from them in the future. You might even talk to them about your idea, but don't mention to them that you happen to have a copy of the script with you, etc.

As a writer myself, I realize how much it sucks that you cannot use the con in the same way as an artist, but you can still use it.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Appearances of note

Despite the quickly approaching arrival of the Sprout, I am still planning on making some appearances in support of my comics. Here's what's in the hopper as of this moment:

Portland Comic Book Show
Sunday, April 13, 2008
Memorial Coliseum
Portland, OR, 97227
Show website
I'm a featured guest at this show -- the first ever, so it should be fun.

Free Comic Book Day
Saturday, May 3, 2008
Danger Zone Comics
1326 State Street
Salem, OR, 97301
(503) 364-7980
I'll be giving away copies of the Arcana FCBD comic (which has a new 100 Girls story in it) and selling a slew of other stuff for your reading edification.

Comic Con International
Thursday, July 24 through Sunday, July 27, 2008
Preview night Wednesday, July 23, 2008
San Diego Convention Center
San Diego, CA 92101
Show website
The big daddy of comics conventions; this will be my tenth year attending and the first where I actually get a table. Come down and say hi to me (and Todd, too!) and buy me a drink. I'll need one.

My being at the first two shows is dependent on my wife not being in labor on those dates, but I'm going to do my damnedest to be there.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Picture time!

After a long absence from Flickr, I posted a bunch of photos there, in case you're interested.

The first group is a series of photos showing the growth of our still-unnamed baby, The Sprout. Stare in amazement as Melissa's belly grows to awe-inspiring proportions!

The second group chronicles the creation of a mural in The Sprout's nursery. This week, some friends of ours, TM and Katie, have been staying with us and one of the gifts they gave us was said mural, painted by Katie. It's a lovely bit of work and something we'll be happy to share with the Sprout for years to come.

Truth, Justice, Finally

Via Heidi MacDonald's The Beat: Earlier this week a judge awarded the heirs of Jerry Siegel copyright for material printed in the historic Action Comics #1. Jeff Trexler's blog, Uncivil Society (which I think will quickly become required reading for me) has commentary and links aplenty.

Here's the meat of the decision:

After seventy years, Jerome Siegel’s heirs regain what he granted so long ago – the copyright in the Superman material that was published in Action Comics Vol. 1. What remains is an apportionment of profits, guided in some measure by the rulings contained in this Order, and a trial on whether to include the profits generated by DC Comics’ corporate sibling’s exploitation of the Superman copyright.

This corrects one of the greatest injustices in comics history. Siegel and his partner, Joe Schuster were paid $300 for the rights to Superman by National Publications, which later became DC Comics. They were kept on the book for a while, and found piece work on other publications. And then they were largely forgotten. Remember, this was a time when it was common for a creator's paycheck from a big publisher to have a work-made-for-hire agreement on the back. Which meant that in order to cash the check, an artist would have to sign over their creation to the publisher.

This decision is incomplete (the ruling judge specifies only Action Comics #1), but it is an important first step in the Siegls' fight.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

The Thermals, part 2 of Infinity

I've written here before of my love for The Thermals. I am not alone, apparently. have produced a short intro to the band that I liked a bit.


Tuesday, March 25, 2008


More busy-ness at stately Kreutz Gallardo manor. Melissa and I are rushing (in relative terms) to get the house ready for the arrival of the Sprout. To that end, we've had a bit of help. Over the weekend, my brother and his family and Melissa's dad and grand-dad all came over and helped out with various projects. The degree to which these people rock cannot be overstated. My brother and I put together the new wardrobe from Ikea and mounted it to the wall (I say "and I" but really I was relegated to fetching tool and holding things when asked -- this is the same role I assumed whenever I "helped" my dad with some project). My sister-in-law and her kids helped Melissa organize the basement and Melissa's male forebearers fixed our leaky tub faucet and raked the yard. Man.

And we kept going after they all left, too. We washed the walls in the baby's room, and I taped it up and did a coat of primer and a first coat of paint.

Besides that, I finally finished the full outline on the second volume of Gear School and shipped it off to all the parties involved. Now I await their comments and will hopefully move onto the script soon. My goal had been to have it written by the time the Sprout made his debut, but I don't know if that'll happen. I'll still shoot for it, however.

And to top it all off, the Hollywood thing I mentioned a couple of weeks ago has still not resolved itself which means I get to expend enormous amounts of mental energy on that despite the fact that I can't effect the outcome.

I need to lay down.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Comic Con '08

Just found out yesterday: Todd and I got a table for this year's Comic Con International (July 23 -27). We'll be in the Small Press area pressing the flesh, selling our wares and generally looking bewildered and out of place. We always put on a good show. I'll mention this more as we get closer to the event, but, you know, mark your calendars.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Garfield minus Garfield

Oh, this is... this is brilliance.

The website Garfield minus Garfield posits that by removing Garfield from his eponymous comic strip you get a much better comic strip about the mental decay of Jon Arbuckle. I dare you not to read it compuslively.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

My, what a busy week

I've been absent from this blog because real life insists on impinging on my virtual life. Here's a brief rundown of what's been happening (I think the kids call this giving you the "411"):

The week really started last weekend with a little painting project. Melissa and I want to install a new wardrobe system in the bedroom, so, of course, this necessitated a new paint job. I dare you to follow that logic. Stupidly, I thought that I could do it all by myself (being as she's with child, I don't want Melissa anywhere near the place) in a single weekend. I now laugh ruefully at my naive thinking. I also used to believe in fairies and unicorns that would bring you beer on demand. By the time we cleared the room of furniture and found places for that furniture that wouldn't prohibit us from actually, you know, living in our house, all we were able to accomplish that weekend was to wash the walls down.

Also Sunday night, I finished up the lettering for the 100 Girls Free Comic Book Day story and uploaded them to the publisher's ftp.

Monday night is lost in the ether of my memory, but on Tuesday we went to child birth class in Silverton. We watched a video made up of a dozen or so births. Just that experience left me drained. I really need to buck up for the actual birth of my child.

I took the day off on Wednesday so I could paint. After taping the hell out of the room and making a couple of trips to the paint store, I only managed to prime the room. I failed utterly, in other words. Actually, this left me totally demoralized. I tried to think of what I could have done differently to gain more time, but honestly, it's like I screwed off all day. It's just that things take longer than I thought they would and, maybe this has something to do with it, I'm not very competent. I vowed that I would finish it up on Thursday even if I had to stay up all night.

And that's what happened. By 2 in the morning I finished the second coat of paint. I cleaned up as much as I could without waking up Melissa and then I crawled into bed.

I spent the next day at work trying to stay awake and would like to publicly apologize to my co-workers, not that any of them read this blog, but, really, it's the thought that counts. I missed prenatal yoga with Melissa Friday night because I just couldn't stay awake any longer. I took one of those naps that leaves you feeling hung over without the benefit of drinking. And then I got to help Melissa clean madly for a bit to get the house ready for her book club meeting. I got out of that a little early because I had a 7:30 phone meeting with one of my managers (did I mention that there's a new Hollywood Thing in the works and, on top of everything else, I got to deal with that all week long?). After that I grabbed a quick dinner and then back to the house to share my thoughts on the book club's selection (the book was Alison Bechdel's Fun Home, and since it's a graphic novel, Melissa thought I could lend some sort of insight -- she's funny).

Saturday was Melissa's baby shower. While that was going on, some friends, who all happen to be husbands of women at the shower, took me to a fantastic barbeque lunch in Portland. Then I got to help haul Melissa's and The Sprout's embarrassing number of gifts home. Then her out-of-town friends, Beth and Tanya, her mother and I all joined in a birthing way ceremony with Melissa. This was Beth's idea. This all sounded a bit -- I don't know -- a bit too something to me, but I actually liked it. Having rejected all of the institutions that give us access to ceremony, I understand the drive to create them for yourself. It left me feeling a bit more focused and in the moment as far as the birth is concerned.

Today was blessedly free of obligations. Melissa and I went to a late breakfast; trolled the book store and treated ourselves to a movie. Later, we went to dinner and ice cream with friends and now this.

This week, in addition to catching up on all the writing I've slacked on (like the plot for the new Gear School), I need to start prepping the baby's room for painting. And I want to start researching low-residency MFAs.

And I may sleep at some point, too, but I'm not hopeful.

Monday, March 3, 2008


I posted this at the Gear School blog earlier, in different form. Please excuse the repetition.

The fine folks at Nokia have teamed with Cambridge University and are developing nanotech gadgets. Morph is one such machine. The posibilities for nano are, of course, exciting, and this video is pretty dazzling.

As I said, this first went up on the GS blog, despite the fact that it's not really relevant to what I'm doing with that book -- I have, (I think wisely) avoided the use of nanotech in the story. It would have been too much for my little brain, I think. Though, in the future, I'd love to do some kind of nano-influence sci-fi story.

Anyway, hopes you like the video.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Poetry reading

I am making my slow way through Jane Kenyon's Collected Poems (Graywolf Press, 2005), bought with the gains from selling a box-load of books to Powell's a couple of weeks ago. And I say slow way because I only seem to be able to read a handful of poems at a time before I reach some emotional crisis point and I have to put down the book. This happens every time I read a good poetry collection. Or, if not good, one with which I really connect. When I was a kid, I could read poetry all day and never have it affect me at all. Either I'm getting softer in my dotage, or I didn't comprehend what I read when I was younger. Maybe it's a combination of the two.

Anyway, for your evening's reading pleasure, here is a poem by Ms. Kenyon:

Cleaning the Closet
This must be the suit you wore
to your father's funeral:
the jacket
dusty, after nine years,
and hanger marks on the shoulders,
sloping like the lines
on a woman's stomach, after
having a baby, or like the down-
turned corners
of your mouth, as you watch me
fumble to put the suit
back where it was.

Down there by the train

Listening to Johnny Cash as I clean the living room, this lyric jumped out at me. Cash is singin Tom Waits's "Down There by the Train":

"There's no eye for an eye
There's no tooth for a tooth
I saw Judas Iscariot
Carrying John Wilkes Booth"