Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Briefly

Today will be the first day that Oscar and I go it alone without support from Melissa. Wish us luck.

Also, The Mister weighed in at 14.8 lbs yesterday at the doctor's office. He's getting bigger and bigger all the time.

More later...

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Comic Con 2008: the tweets


Because I don't feel like creating anything new right now, here is every twitter I posted while in San Diego last weekend:
Saw vanity plate on way to airport. 'JEDIBUS.' Good omen. Saying good-bye to Melissa and Oscar sucked. Even worse than the security check. Plane on the tarmac for the last half-hour. May have to de-plane. What the F? Finally wheels down in SD. On to hotel, then convention center. 75 degrees is a lot warmer when you're carrying 50 lbs. So far, with all the lines, Comic Con is a lot like Disneyland. Where's Mickey? 'No, I'm not here to buy anything, I just want to touch it all with my greasy paws.' Got exciting news last night, but can't talk about it 'til August. Made the con for me! All good news! Kristin ran the booth for us while we signed. Sold the hell out of some books. We may offer her a job. Just met Johnny Johnny of Tiki Lounge fame. Cool, funny guy. Talked with Eddie Campbell for a few minutes at the show today. Another cool, funny guy. Read his books. Just uploaded my photos from first two days at con. http://tinyurl.com/5no4zx
It's amazing how much better even five hours of sleep can make you feel. It is a cargo shorts kinda day. Nearly sold out of Gear School and it's only Friday. Man. I can actually feel my soul being crushed. Beer was able to repair my soul. Thanks for asking. Saturday and I've woken up tired. Could be a long day. Could be great, too. Waiting for a cab to take us to the show. Trying to find my game face. Unlike a lot 'artists,' I can't wait for the chance to sell-out. My gameface, while not absent, is certainly capricious. It is likely to leave me w/out warning. Trapped behind the table, I am getting no good photos of costumes. Of course, I've been underwhelmed by the costumes I've seen. Comics Foundry has a prominent sign: '2008 Eisner Award Loser.' Love it when folks who bought the book come back and tell us how they liked it. Ego bump. Melissa is send├Čng me photos & videos of Oscar. It's killing me how much I miss them. To think -- I considered not going to the Hyatt this year. I believe that the convos and contacts made on Saturday night are worth having come to SD again. Maybe I should only come on Saturday night. Last day of con. I've had fun and all, but THANK GOD. 'You're not my real dad!' A random stranger just went and got me a Shermy pin from the Peanuts booth. Very nice! Booth babe directing people to us. This signing going much better. Time to head to the airport. It's never a good sign when the bartender asks how much you've had to drink today. That last tweet wasn't about me. They've started boarding the plane. End in sight. On the plane. Ready to turn off phone & sleep. One more SDCC under the belt. Home again. I'm so tired, my brain hurts.

Monday, July 28, 2008

San Diego photo parade

The last of the photos from San Diego are up now on the flickr page. At some point, I suppose, I shall break it down here in prose form.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Yes, sorry

I meant to blog continually throughout the show, but I was not in the mental space to do so. Something about this show really took it out of me brain-wise. I will play catch-up in a day or two after I've inserted myself back into my life and have spent at least 24 hours holding my wife and child.

All in all, however, good show.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Let's take another shot at that...

Our lovely model is wearing the shirt that I made as a gift for all the folks I'm meeting in San Diego that have had a hand in 100 Girls success. The shirts also come in black with white type. They are a wonder to behold. No, I won't be making any more, than you for your interest.

OK, Let me try this again. Even getting about five hours of sleep makes the world a little more understandable. And here's the thing: half the decisions about what movies will get made and eventually show up in your local cine-plex, they get made here in San Diego during the con. That means that the American entertainment industry is running on four hours of sleep and is fueled by over-priced alcohol. Think about that the next time you're plunking down ten dollars to watch a movie.

Anyway, I'm going to try to do this as linearly as possible so as not to get derailed. Again, the atmosphere at the show seems to prohibit clear thought. I can only write this because I'm outside the one-mile wide zone of influence.

Tuesday saw me get into town a little late. The plan sat on the tarmac for around an hour. This was a cause for much complaining until I started to hear other folks' travel horror stories. All one needs to stop whining is a little perspective. I will complain about my poor planning, however. Once in town, I went to the hotel, checked in, freshened up, then went and retrieved the boxes I'd shipped to myself. More than fifty pounds of awkward boxes, my backpack, and me. I hit several people in the head with the box containing the banner as I walked along and get apologizing. I thought one mom was going to rip my throat out when I pumped her girl. Thankfully the crowds that already clogged the sidewalks made pursuit difficult.

A security guard let me set the boxes down near him while I negotiated the check-in process. This process was time-consuming, but seamless. Then on to the convention floor and my first crisis. You see, I had gone along planning that the table we'd be at was eight feet long. I designed out banner to be that long, had ordered a backing that length to go behind us (for the banner). Problem was, the table is only six feet long. So we nixed the backing (and got a complete refund, thanks Freeman!), and the folks behind us let us hang the banner off their steel pipe display. You can't see the whole banner, but the logo is prominently displayed. See photo.

Set up was easy. Mostly just me and Todd throwing things on the table and moving them around until they had some sort of pleasing semblance of order. We got done pretty much right when the doors for Preview night opened. So then all we had to do was sit back and try to give off the whiff of desperation. That first night, we made a few sales and talked to a few people, but the crowd on Wednesday night is a different animal than the crowd on other days. You can only get in on Wednesday night if you've bought a pass for the entire four days of the convention. If you are that hard core, then ou have planned your visit. You know exactly what booths are giving away exactly what exclusives. And you are making a bee-line for those locales/events/items. Folks like Todd and me, and nearly everyone else in the small press area, have no con exclusives that got listed in the program, so we just get those few folks who want to meander through the hall when it is relatively free of crowds.

After the show, a large group of us went to dinner. Todd's and my friends, Will and Kristin Miller joined us, which was nice. The Miller's are some of those friends that I see only at the show and they are truly one of the reasons I come down. I felt a little bad because for a while, Todd and I got caught up in conversation with Sean, our publisher about this thing. About which I can't talk yet. So we spent a few minutes having this cryptic talk that excluded the two of them and we couldn't really explain it to them. Other than that, the dinner was great. And we were in bed fairly early.

That catches us up to the first day and seems a good place to stop. More later.

Rambling


Hello, Internets, did you miss me?

After a two-day separation from the world wide web, I am back in business.

The show is going well. Very well. Todd and I received news last night that makes us very happy. We are not yet cleared to speak of it, so I won't. But soon. Happy.

We're chatting up some folks, selling some books, eating some excellent food. The food in San Diego is stellar. Even better than the food are the people that I see only once a year while at the convention. Our friends Will and Kristin are always a highlight.

It's one in the morning and I don't feel very coherent right now, but I felt I should write something here.

Maybe I should just mention that there are photos from the convention floor up on the flickr page. Go there and partake in the sweet madness that is Comic Con.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

We're off on the road to Comic Con


I am leaving early tomorrow morning for what has accurately been described as Nerd Prom, San Diego Comic Con. This is my tenth Comic Con in a row, and my first to attend on my own rather than under the auspices of a publisher. I'll be manning the table with my good friend and collaborator, Todd Demong.

If you are not attending the convention and would like a taste of it, keep checking back here. I hope to make an entry every night of the con to wax poetic on the day's events. I'll also be uploading photos to my flickr account every night. And, throughout the day from the convention floor, I'll be logging brief accounts, more than likely nonsensical, via twitter. That's probably more than any one person would want to know about the show, but one never knows.

If you will be at the show, here is my schedule, please come by and say hello:

Homebase: Table M9 in the Small Press Pavilion.

Other signings:
Thursday, July 24
1:50-3:30 (Arcana Comics, booth 2514)

Friday, July 25
12:50-2:00 (Autograph area, AA1)
4:20-5:30 (Arcana Comics, booth 2514)

Saturday, July 26
4:20-5:30 (Arcana Comics, booth 2514)

Sunday, July 27
12:50-2:00 (Arcana Comics, booth 2514)

It's a banner day!


Just wanted to share with you the banner I created for Comic Con. If you're there, look for it. If not, um... I don't know -- don't. Just try and imagine this sucker eight feet across. It looks pretty good, I just have my fingers crossed hoping it's still going to look good after it's been at the mercy of UPS for four days.

{Once again, I apologize for using a pun in the entry title.}

What could have been


This is an interesting little story from the world of comics in the 1990s. Marvel and Disney were once teamed up to buy poorly performing Marvel Comics. I remember being at Dark Horse at the time. The sense of everyone there was pretty much, "This will never happen, but if it did, it'd be sooo cool...!"

This story, like the photo, comes from the new, and looking to be indispensable, LA Times pop culture blog.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Photo parade










New photos, mostly of our trip to Washington state to see Dave and Naceem get married, are now up on our flickr page. Let me just say, we clean up real good.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Me @ Comic Con

It occurred to me that I should mention where you can find me at next week's Comic Con. This is the first year that Todd and I have rented a table and for most of the show we'll be hanging there, looking out at the crowd, desperate to make eye contact and hawk our wares. But, we do have a few signings set up, so if you don't find us at the table, make sure and look for us elsewhere. Here's the rundown:

Homebase: Table M9 in the Small Press Pavilion.

Other signings:
Thursday, July 24
1:50-3:30 (Arcana Comics, booth 2514)

Friday, July 25
12:50-2:00 (Autograph area, AA1)
4:20-5:30 (Arcana Comics, booth 2514)

Saturday, July 26
4:20-5:30 (Arcana Comics, booth 2514)

Sunday, July 27
12:50-2:00 (Arcana Comics, booth 2514)

Also, keep checking this space while I'm in San Diego. I'll be blogging and posting photos from the convention floor. Should be a magical time.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

No, really, I'm blushing

I just read the most flattering review of 100 Girls. Ever. If I didn't know better, I'd think I had written it. Though I don't think I could be that unrelentingly positive...

Read for yourself and see if I'm wrong.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Photo parade


More photos of the wee one up on our flickr page. Make with the clickee.

Neal Stephenson speaks clever










Not sure how many of you will care about this, but since this blog is really for me anyway...

This is a video of SF writer Neal Stephenson giving a talk last May at Gresham College in London. His subject is whether or not genre distinctions really matter anymore, or if the conventions of genre fiction have been embraced by the mainstream (or "mundane" as Stephenson calls it) and rendered the distinction mute. This is a subject near and dear to my heart and, while I find his delivery a bit plodding, to topic and ideas discussed are fantastic.

By the way, Stephenson's next novel, Anathem, will be out in September. It's already on my must-read list.

Friday, July 11, 2008

The Umbrella Academy

There's a lesson here for me, I think:

When The Umbrella Academy was first announced, I made a point of ignoring it. It was written by a rock star after all. A rock star from a band about which I knew nothing. If this were a movie, you'd call it stunt casting. But all of that changed after I visited Dark Horse Comics with my family and managing editor Davey Estrada gave me a bag of books to take home. Once I unpacked the bag, I found a copy of The Umbrella Academy waiting for me. I figured I'd give it a read before putting it on the shelf and forgetting it forever.

Well, I was blown away. It's inventive, anarchic, angry and funny--a few of the things that comics can do well if they're done right. My friend Phil and I used to talk about how we wanted to do comics that were big and dumb, but that had a core of truth or meaning in them that would give the whole enterprise a depth it wouldn't have otherwise. The Umbrella Academy is that kind of comic. While, ostensibly, it appears to be about a family of superheroes (one of whom has a transplanted gorilla body!), it's really about family dynamics and how children pursue the love of a parent even after that parent is dead. In its way, it's actually quite touching.

Another big turn-on for me is the art of Gabriel Ba, who I know as the artist of the equally anarchic Cassanova (The Umbrella Academy actually reminds me of Cassanova in a lot of very favorable ways). His art is stylized and expressive and fluid. Throw my buddy, Dave Stewart's, colors on top of all of that and you have a near-perfect comic.

I'll tell you honestly, I despair that I could ever write a comic as good as this one. If you're even casually interested in adventure comics, The Umbrella Academy is one to read.

Oh, and the lesson I learned? Stop being a judgmental ass and give things a try.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

To sleep, perchance, etc...

I don't dream a lot. That is to say, I don't remember many dreams that I have. When I was a kid and young man, I had a very active dream life, but don't think that I miss it. Most of those dreams were nightmares of one sort or another. They ranged from simple stress dreams to full-fledged night terrors that would wake me with my heart racing and a drenching sweat. So, no, I don't miss dreams too much.

Here's an example of a recent nightmare (which actually occurred during and afternoon nap):

I dreamed that when we took Oscar home from the hospital, they gave him to us in a jar. This was normal apparently, and we weren't concerned about it at all. The problem came when he was grown and it was time to take him out of the jar. Oscar slept through this process, his hair waving in the fluid that looked like pickle brine. The jar had a strip around its circumference and the instructions on the jar saids to tap this strip gently with a hammer.

The moment I touched the glass with the hammer, it shattered into a million shards. Oscar was covered in needle sharp lengths of glass. I remember being unable to do anything but stand there and hold his arms so that he wouldn't rub his tiny eyes with his fists, since both were now covered in glass. He bled from a thousand tiny cuts and his screams were deafening.

I woke up, heart pounding. I couldn't even get up and check on him since melissa had taken him out of the house. After a long time, my heart settled down and I was able to get back to sleep. Dreamless, thankfully.

So, no, I don't miss dreams much at all.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Congratulations, again!

Melissa and I just received word that our friends, Teri Mae and Katie, whose commitment ceremony we attended last Summer, were legally wed in San Francisco on July 2. Teri Mae, Katie, I am so happy for you both!

Thank you, California Supreme Court.

The definitive interview

This month's Arcana Comics newsletter features a brief interview with Yours Truly. I don't think I say anything to embarrass myself. You should read it.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

I'm a traveling man, don't tie me down...

Oscar, Melissa, and I did a fair amount of traveling and socializing this week.

On Tuesday, Sarah and Stuart brought us dinner and we sat around talking for a good long time. Sarah is just returned from her first grad school residency. She seemed really jazzed about about the whole program, though the amount of work she has to do is daunting to say the least. Good luck to her.

We had a pediatrician's visit on Wednesday. Oscar clocked in at 12 lbs., 13 oz. and 23.5 inches long. Melissa and I had a list of questions and concerns for the doctor (most having to do with his poop) and the doctor did her best to assure us that, based on Oscar's weight gain and obvious happiness, we're doing everything right and that he is, in general, just fine. It's always nice to have that little bit of hand-holding.

Thursday found us traveling to Portland where we visit my old stomping grounds at Dark Horse. I was on the phone a couple of weeks ago with DH's managing editor, Davey Estrada, and he suggested that I come visit and bring Oscar to see the joint, so I figured I'd take him up on it (annoyingly, our camera's battery ran out and we have no photos of Oscar meeting all of these folks). I got to say howdy to some folks I hadn't seen in a while (Mike Denning, a curmudgeon from way back, couldn't wait for a chance to hold the baby -- it was super cute), Davey bought us lunch, and I walked out of the office with a stack of books nearly as tall as Oscar. One of the highlights was when Katie Moody, editrix extraordinaire, hung out with us in an empty office the whole time that Melissa nursed Oscar. I've always liked Katie and haven't spent nearly as much time with her as I'd like, so it was cool to have so much of her time.

Because we were in town, and since Oscar was doing so well, we decided to visit Melissa's grandpa, Craig, at the assisted living facility where he lives. We called and asked if was available and he told us he was and that the facility was having a BBQ. He'd get us tickets to attend. Great, I love me the grilled meats. Normally the trip from DH to the facility would take fifteen, twenty minutes, but when we hit a wall of traffic more than a mile from the freeway entrance, I knew we were in trouble. What we didn't know then was that there had earlier been a high-speed chase involving a bank robber and half the police in Clackamas County. This resulted in a crash that shut down all North-bound lanes of traffic on I-205. Long story short; that fifteen minute trip took more than two hours. But when we finally got to the facility, the BBQ was still going strong, we ate some incredible food, and were serenaded by an actual oompa band. These are experiences I don't have every day.

Friday was the fourth of July and that meant a parade in Monmoth. Oscar's first, though he slept through it. Maybe next ear he'll be sitting with the other kids, scrambling out to get candy thrown by the floats and firetrucks and whatnot. Or I may have to do it for him if I want to make sure and get some of the good stuff.
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Later that evening, we went to another BBQ, this one at Sarah and Stuart's. Our friends, Jim and Stephanie, were there, too, and we were joined by a friend of Stuart's, Shannon. It was nice to sit outside, sip some beer, eat some good food (even if it was tofu!), and talk with our friends. We feel amazingly lucky that Oscar's temperament allows us to do that.

Saturday and Sunday, we stayed close to home, only taking a little time to meet Vicki for breakfast at the Original Pancake House, the restaurant that serves crack coffee. I'm not kidding, this coffee is so good, it has street-value.

Other than that, I finished the Gear School script (about which I have previously written)and sent it off to my editor and I got a good start on the proposal for the next book I want to write.

I swear, it seems like the good days just keep piling up.

Mr. Ellis does the thinking for you...


One of the many reasons I like Warren Ellis, or at least why I like his writing and his website, is how much he thinks. And he is willing to share with his audience the process of his thinking. In the last two days alone, he has written pieces I like about working for Marvel Comics, Harlan Ellison and the future of the Internet.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to go look up Tumblr.

(That photo, by the way, stolen from the flickr page of Gunnar Bangsmoen.)

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Done

Briefly, I finished the script for the new volume of Gear School yesterday. Today I gave it a light polish and sent it off to my editor.Put that one into the done column.

Next up, one of the many proposals I want to complete. I've got to drum up some more business.

Extreme close-up!

More photos on our flickr page. And another Oscar-centric update tomorrow, or the next day, or....