Sunday, December 7, 2008
My apologies for not posting for a while. I've been busy trying to finish up a lot of new projects before the holidays. Maybe when things have calmed down I can talk about some of the exciting things I've got lined up for next year.
In the meantime, for your viewing (or listening) pleasure, the second part of my appearance on Comics on Comics is up. You can watch it here or download a medium or high quality video at itunes, if you're inclined to watch it on your ipod or iphone. Speaking of the iphone, I hope to have AT LEAST one cool announcement about that when the New Year comes along.
If reading is your thing - and I imagine it is or you wouldn't be reading my books, let alone this blog - the Heroes Graphic Novel, Volume 2 (cover pictured above) is now available in stores. The hardcover contains my first two-part story, featuring Mohinder Suresh (before he turned into the fly). It's got fantastic art by Jason Badower. And that's just my story - if you're a Heroes fan it should be a real treat.
And while we are on the subject of graphic novels, it looks to be good news for those of you who may have missed some of my single issue comics over the past year (or for those of you who'd like to re-read them). As I was looking through Amazon to find the details about the Heroes Hardcover release, I was surprised at that just about all my storied from the last year will be collected in trades by DC.
According to the site, CYBORG will be out early next year, followed by TWO-FACE: YEAR ONE, which will be packaged along with SCARECROW: YEAR ONE. I'd strongly recommend you pick up the latter, and not just because I think Two-Face is the best thing I've done in years.
Scarecrow: Year One was drawn by the super-talented Sean Murphy. We collaborated for two as-yet-unpublished (but fully written and drawn) Teen Titans issues last year. It was my first paid work for DC, and as much as I've grown as a writer, I'd still like to see it published because I think Sean's work was amazing.
Plus, it's a nifty little story that ties Brad Meltzer's Identity Crisis to the dark future of Geoff Johns Titans Tomorrow story. And it features the younger titans first ever battle against the Rogues of Flash fame. I'm not just talking about Captain Cold and Mirror Master. It's virtually the scarlet speedster's ENTIRE Rogues gallery, and Sean did some amazing work on the massive fight scenes (one of which is hanging up on my apartment wall). I think Titans fans would dig it.
That's all for now. Rest assured that you're going to see more DC and creator-owned work from me next year, and hopefully much, much more.
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
Sunday, November 16, 2008
To recap POLARITY was pitched as a modern day version of the WONDER TWINS. Two friends (later brothers) who are polar opposites in personality. Through an accident (or was it?) they are granted polar opposite superpowers as well. The catch - the accident has also made it impossible for them to leave each others side. Move more than 100 yards away from each other, and they weaken and die.
I had already developed quite a bit more than that one pager when I successfully pitch Polarity to the CN. I had a fully flushed out world, supporting cast, sample episodes and series arcs. I did more work based on CN's notes, writing treatments, then a draft of the pilot.
I'm know I'm kind of skipping to the end here, but I figure I can always go back and fill in the middle.
Long story short, they liked what I did, but towards the end there was talk of bringing in an experienced show runner. Quite frankly, I wasn't surprised or bothered - I'd never written on staff for a TV show, let alone run one. I appreciated the opportunity I had to give it by best shot, and to refine my craft on their dime.
I'd be lying if I said I wouldn't have liked to have a shot at rewriting the pilot. But I'd a) like to think that a 2nd or 3rd draft may have changed their mind, b) I would have wound up with a better writing sample, and c) most importantly, I think the process of rewriting a network show would have made me a better writer, sooner. (Or is that a bitter writer, sooner. I kid - Cartoon Network and the folks I worked with were great).
Before I was told there would be another writer (there never was), I was asked not to do another draft but to come up with some different takes. Essentially, they loved the concept, but they wanted a different dynamic than two friends that had drifted apart in high school over one's love of comics and the other's desire to put that behind him (something I could relate to).
Below are the three different takes I came up with:
Herc and Zeph are newly minted step-brothers, in a mixed-raced blended family. Herc is the perfect scholar athlete, and Zeph, the cool kid who has better things to do with his time than school. The two are not only forced to live together when Zeph’s mom marries Herc’s dad, they have to move to a new town so their scientist mom can be closer to her work, a solar cell factory. (Note: the fact they are step brother eliminates the need for their powers to have a proximity rule, since this alone will keep them together when they don’t want to be. This hopefully simplifies the rules that define how their powers work).
They know they hate each other from the start, and being forced to go to a new school together, let alone live in the same house together, is driving them crazy. In an attempt to bring the two kids together, their MOM pulls them out of school for Take-Your-Kids-to-Work day.
What THEY don’t know is that Zeph mom is that their mom’s solar panel factory is just a cover for a top secret military program. While they are supposed to stay in the cafeteria, Zeph wanders off. Herc follows, intent on making a good impression on his new step-mom, and afraid Zeph will get them both in trouble. They discover that solar plant conceals a “Project Cadmus” type operation. The government is trying to create a a SUPER-SOLDIER to counter the growing number super-humans. When a cute, 18 year old FEMALE SOLDIER steps into the POLARITY CHAMBER, she is able to fight a captured super-villain or renegade super-hero by gaining their OPPOSITE POWER. The effect is not long lasting, but does last long enough to get the job done.
Of course that’s not what happen when TWO PEOPLE step in the chamber at the SAME TIME. Zeph impulsively decides to try it for himself, and Herc tries to stop them. They’re both locked in THE CHAMBER, which gives them permanent, short bursts of opposite powers while binding them together.
They fight, destroy the facility and with it the government’s only way to counter the growing superhuman threat.
Zeph wants to keep his powers – they’re fun, while the more responsible Herc wants to be rid of them and return to his normal life. Either way they want to be rid of each other.
But while that might be their ultimate goal, they have a responsibility to stop super-villains until Zeph’s mom can rebuild the chamber – a problem they brought on by themselves. They are reminded of this responsibility by the only witness to their transformation, the female soldier who was the first test subject for the chamber. While she feels cheated out of becoming America’s first super-soldier, she agrees to both guide them and keep their secret.
The latter hits close to home, because Zeph’s MOM, in addition to rebuilding the chamber, is assigned to track these two new “heroes” down. It’s up to this unlikely, and seemingly unqualified step-brothers to take down the supervillains, all the while trying to keep their identities secret – not only from their enemies, but from their family as well.
In this take, Herc and Zeph are two kids who just rub each other the wrong way. Herc is the perfect scholar athlete, while Zeph is the cool kid who has better things to do with his time than school. They’d probably get into fistfights in school just because they’re opposites, but when you add DEENA, a GIRL they both like enough to fight over, to the mix, coming to blows is an inevitability.
When they fight over who gets to be Deena’s lab partner in chem, they are instead assigned by her father - their SCIENCE TEACHER - to be LAB PARTNERS with each other.
Because of their bickering, they blow experiment after experiment and are forced to stay after school to complete their lab work. They fight, and as a result wind up trashing the lab and stumbling upon their teacher’s secret.
Their Science Teacher is a former mad scientist now trying to live life on the straight and narrow. But he’s being blackmailed by a LEGION OF DOOM type organization of SUPER-VILLAINS into creating the POLARITY FORMULA for them. The formula is meant to counter superhero’s powers when one person takes it. But when two are doused in it simultaneously, it gives them opposite powers while binding the together.
When the science teacher can’t give his blackmailers the POLARITY FORMULA since his lab was destroyed, the SOCIETY OF SUPER-VILLAINS arrive in town to find the formula, even if it means draining our heroes of their lifeblood to extract the only remaining sample.
Zeph wants to keep their powers – they are fun, and can be used to impress Deena. The more responsible Herc wants to return to his normal life – he thinks he can impress her with his good looks and good grades. Either way they want to be rid of each other. But while their ultimate goal is to get it out of their system, they have a responsibility to stop the super-villains who have descended on the town first.
They are given guidance by their teacher. Even though he wants them away from his daughter, he knows he has a responsibility of his own. Hiding out as a teacher isn’t enough to make up for his mad scientist past. It’s up to him to help our heroes
put the Society of Supervillains out of business for good.
Herc and Zeph. Two kids from feuding families, the Ramseys and the Flynns – this world’s Montague and Capulets, a modern day version of the Hatfields and McCoys. Once part of the same family, they split a couple generations ago over control over the town’s largest employer RAMSEY PHARMACEUTICALS.
Herc is from the well-to-do Ramseys, while Zeph hails from the down-on-their-luck Flynn’s. Herc tries to stand out from his rich relatives by working at the chemical plant even though he doesn’t have to. Zeph tries to stand out from his criminal cousins by staying on the straight and narrow. But neither of them know that about the other – they can’t see past the stereotypes. To Zeph, Herc is just a spoiled brat. To Herc, Zeph is just a bad seed from the wrong side of the tracks.
One night, Zeph is pressured by his UNCLE, the town’s CRIME BOSS, to break into RAMSEY pharmaceuticals and steal what is rightly theirs – the POLARITY FORMULA. Invented by Zeph’s great-grand dad…it’s the secret to the Ramsey fortune. Zeph doesn’t want to do it, but he’s worried his struggling family won’t be able to eat if he doesn’t.
On the night of the break-in, Zeph evades the ROBOT SECURITY GUARDS only to find out Herc is working the late shift at the factory. They get into a fight, and FALL INTO A VAT of the formula.
The POLARITY FORMULA was designed to counter superheroes’ powers when one person takes it. But when two are doused in it simultaneously, it gives them opposite powers while binding the together. Herc and Zeph get opposite powers, have to stay within a mile of each other etc.
Their super-powered fight wrecks the factory and destroys the only sample of the formula. Herc would turn Zeph into his cops, but he learns a deadly family secret. His GRANDFATHER has been selling this formula to SUPER-VILLAINS. The two of them have to team up to fight the super-villains, who return to their town jonesing for more of the formula.
Herc wants to be rid of his powers, Zeph wants to keep them. Zeph thinks Herc only wants to get the Polarity Formula out of his system so that Ramsey Pharmaceuticals can stay in business, keeping his corrupt family rich. In reality, Herc wants to be rid of the evil he now knows his family helped create. Herc thinks Zeph wants to keep his powers so he can be a supervillain himself, continuing to steal for his no-good family. Instead, Zeph want to keep them so he can change what his family name has come to stand for, and make up for breaking into the factory himself – becoming what he hated.
Regardless, they want to be rid of each other, and that’s their ultimate goal. But they realize they have a responsibility to stop the villains first. Moreover, our heroes’ lives are at stake. The villains realize that the only remaining sample of the Polarity formula is IN THEIR BLOOD, and don’t care if draining it from the costs Herc and Zeph their lives.
I particularly liked "THE PROJECT". I particularly liked the idea of doing a mixed-race, blended family, and a kick-ass mom character. Not something you see done on TV, let alone for boys. I would have loved for one of the HEROES to be a girl...but demographically CN believed that wouldn't work (and they evidently had focus group info to back that up).
The truth is, I liked all three. Forcing me to come up with three new takes at first seemed like a slap in the face - "hey, your pilot sucked so bad we want you to start from scratch". But after making many small changes throughout the development process, having to radically rethink the concept recharged me creatively. It's a bitter sweet feeling that I felt like I was really hitting my stride right before POLARITY was killed.
What ultimately killed it was not the content. There was regime change at CN, and with it, a new mandate. They wanted Live Action shows (of course, what else would you expect to find on the CARTOON Network). That brought us back to the same problem we had when we pitched it to Disney...this was not a show that the execs believed could be done at the time in live action.
Hope springs eternal, though. GROUNDED started out as a screenplay I wrote in 2001 (actually, the ideas date farther back than that), and I had to wait until 2005 for it to become a comic. That wait seemed interminable, but the end result was worth it, not just because Paul Azaceta turned my vision into something no director could, but because it launched both our careers in comics. More important than what that would mean for me in terms of work, it also made me realize that, no matter what other mediums I may write for, comics was a place that I wanted to stay.
POLARITY may be dead at Cartoon Network in 2008, but I believe that you'll see it at some point, in some way. At the very least, you'll see some of the ideas in my work (not just the ideas I've shown here, but the many, many ones that are in documents too long to post). Again, the idea of two siblings/heroes (from a mixed-race, blended family) with opposite powers and personalities, physically forced to be together in both heroics and life...I think those elements are too strong not to work SOMEWHERE.
My only fear is that by posting my ideas they'll show up in SOMEONE ELSE'S work. That's the risk of posting, but I feel if I'm going to have a blog, I need to give readers a reason to read them. Sharing stuff like this, that you won't find elsewhere (unless you are in the industry, where I'm sure my script has been passed around).
If you'd like to read more about Polarity, or any of my other work (published or not), write me here.
Monday, October 20, 2008
On the west coast and feel like seeing me? Come to Dream World Comics in Culver City for a live taping of "Comics on Comics", a video podcast where the greatest (stand-up) comic minds meet the greatest minds in comics in a round-table discussion of sequential art.
Given my past performances on radio, TV and the internets, I'm likely to say something so offensive that will jeopardize my career.
In addition to the show, I'll be happy to hang around, sign books, and grab a drink.
The Time: Wed Oct 22 @8PM
The address: Dream World Comics, 12400 W. Washington Boulevard, Los Angeles CA 90066.
Monday, October 13, 2008
I hope you'll check both issues out. I should be back here soon to start talking about next years upcomins projects.
Sunday, October 5, 2008
See Paul Azaceta and I in New York this Tuesday (Oct. 7th) at 8PM in person at Comic Book Club: Live!
The Peoples Improv Theater
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
This Wednesday, September 17th, the fifth and penultimate issue of DC Special: Cyborg is in stores. Illustrated by Carlos Magno and inked by Jonathan Glapion, I'm really excited about this issue because it's not just me taking familiar DC characters and putting them in new situations. I've created a group of new characters - The Phantom Limbs - maimed veterans who were given Vic Stone's cybernetics by the mercenary known as Mr. Orr (from Brian Azzarello and Jim Lee's Superman Run). Their catch - they only get to keep their new limbs if they continue to kill for Mr. Orr - no matter who the target is.
Are these Phantom Limbs (the title doesn't just refer to their literal cybernetic limbs; "phantom limbs" refers to the sensation that amputees have of still feeling their limbs even after they lost them) - friend or foe? Well, the glib answer is read and find out. But what I'm really hoping is that, just like I'm using other creator's characters, The Phantom Limbs will be part of my legacy on Cyborg. That someone else, somewhere down the line have fun with the toys I've added to the wonderful toybox that is the DC Universe.
Speaking of DC, many of you might be wondering where the second issue of Two-Face: Year One is (some of you may even be saying, wait, there's a Part Two?). It was scheduled to come out already, and I'm not sure why it hasn't - I've seen the finished art and lettering - but it's been rescheduled to come out on Wednesday, October 8th. I've said this before, but I think it's one of the best things I've ever written.
It keeps the same noirish tone of the first issue, and spotlights the cops that Ed Brubaker and Greg Rucka created in - Gotham Central - they're Jim Gordon's "untouchables", the only honest cops in the Gotham City Polic department. But the story moves away from Two-Face's origin and deals with Two-Face running for D.A. against a corrupt former mob lawyer. And if an election-themed story sounds boring, don't worry - it's fulled with bullets, Batman, and more Bat-villains than I thought could an artist could fit on a page (sorry, Jesus...and by Jesus, I mean artist Jesus Saiz). Did I mention it's got Batman.
It looks like I'll be doing an appearance in NY the day before Two-Face hits, on October 7th...more on that as it gets sooner.
The following Wednesday, October 15th, the sixth and final issue of Cyborg should be in stores. That's where I pit both Cyborg and The Phantom limbs against The Cyborg Revenge Squad, a team of supervillains designed specifically to take out, well, cyborgs. I also wrap up everything, and there's a major change in Vic's personal life.
Finally, on November 19th, Wildstorm will be printing the first two-part webcomic I did for NBC's Heroes as part of a hardcover collection. In additon to featuring stories by my good friends Pierluigi Cothran, Christine Boylan and Heroes writer/editor Chuck Kim, Heroes Vol. 2 will showcase the print version of my Suresh story, "Blackout", illustrated by fan-favorite Jason Badower. (Interestingly enough, that story was published in a special issue at Comic Con this year, of which I only have one copy. If anyone wants to give - or sell me a copy - please e-mail me).
And that wraps up my publishing schedule for 2008. It's been a pretty remarkable year. I've had at least one book come out every month with the exception of December. Fearless and Hazed from Image, Cyborg and Two-Face: Year One from DC, as well as stories in BOOM!'s Cthulhu Tales and Tori Amos' Comic Book Tattoo. And that's not even including my Heroes webcomics...
I'm not sure what next year will bring. I'm working on at least one creator owned series, for one of the publishers I mentioned above. Hopefully, the work-for-hire offers will continue, and there will be good news about the pilot for Cartoon Network I've been working on.
I mention this not to pat myself on the back, but to thank all the talented collaborators I've worked with, and more importantly, all the readers who've continued to follow my work. I promise you that whatever comes next will be full of surprises and better written than what's come before.
Thursday, August 21, 2008
Issue 4 of D.C. Special: Cyborg, has been available since Wednesday. As you can see from the cover, supervillains kick the Teen Titan's ass while Cyborg does nothing but weep for them. Actually, while the supervillains (Wildebeest and Equus) take on the Titans and Teen Titans, Vic learns he's not the only cyborg in town, and goes in search of wounded soldiers forced to use his stolen technology.
After this, there's two more issues of Cyborg coming out in September and October. Also in September, the second issue of Two-Face: Year One arrives in stores. It's been a pretty busy year so far - I don't think there's been a single month yet where I haven't had a graphic novel, comic or webcomic published.
I'm now working on my next round of creator owned projects, as well as pitching to the big two, and hope to have some announcements here soon.
Thursday, August 14, 2008
Friday, August 1, 2008
Still not recovered from Comic-Con yet, but nevertheless, I'm headed to Golden Apple Comics in Los Angeles tonight, Friday August 1st at 6PM to sign copies of Tori Amos' Comic Book Tattoo anthology (along with Cyborg, Two-Face and anything else if people ask). I got to meet Tori at Comic-Con, and she was extremely gracious. She talked about how much the song "Upside Down", which I adapted with Salgood Sam, meant to her. Of our story, she said "how brave", and I think the fact she picked it to promote the book on MySpace Comics (click the link to read our story FREE, in its entirety) is testament to how happy she was with it.
From my end, it was a blast to work with Max (aka Salgood), a true collaboration in the best sense of the word. It was an honor to not only work with Tori but to be included with contributors of such talent. And most of all to work with Editor Rantz Hoseley, who killed himself to make what I think is one of the most impressive comic anthologies in the history of the medium.
Again, while you can read my story for free by clicking on the MySpace link above, I encourage you to buy it. Whether in hard or softcover...this book is something to be seen. 12x12 (LP size) and I don't know how many inches thick, this book is a tome, and you're not likely to see art presented this way for such a reasonable price.
Tuesday, July 29, 2008
Just back from San Diego, and still too exhausted to post about it. But I wanted to let you all know that the third issue of my mini-series DC Special: Cyborg is out this Wednesday. For those of you who have been reading, a certain someone long thought dead is back as Vic Stone's cyborg enemy. This issue will reveal how he was saved from certain death, became a cyborg, and why he's been attacking S.T.A.R. Labs facilities. There will also be lots of cyborg on cyborg fighting, plus more action from the Titans, teen and otherwise.
This issue is also the debut of Carlos Magno on the book, who is replacing the great Ken Lashley as penciller for the duration of the series (issues 3-6). I think Carlo's work is great, and since the inker is still Jonathan Glapion, there shouldn't be too much of a transition.
One thing I will say about San Diego is that I got to meet Bill Walko. He runs a website, http://www.titanstower.com, that's the place to go for all things Cyborg and Teen Titans on the web. His site served as a tremendous resource for me (as it does for a number of DC creators and editors), and if I could have given him a thank you in the book, I would have. It's good to know he's a great guy in person as well as a dedicated Titans fan.
In Two-Face: Year One news, the response has been great so far. Please check it out, it's still on the stands (which you may have missed if you were at or headed to San Diego last Wednesday).
Monday, July 21, 2008
Above is Mark Chiarello's awesome cover to the first issue of Two-Face: Year One, which is finally out in stores this Wednesday. It's 48 pages, prestige format, with art by Jesus Saiz and Jeremey Haun, inks by Jimmie Palmiotti and lettering by my friend, and great comic creator in his own right, Sal Cipriano. It's a deeper exploration of Harvey Dent (for those of you who don't read comics, Aaron Eckhart's character in the wonderful Dark Knight), as much a hard boiled crime story as a Batman superhero tale. And I'm more proud of the writing on this as just about anything I've ever done.
It occurs to me as I write this, that despite the many interviews I've done for this book, I don't think I've talked about how much my dad was an influence on this project. Like Harvey Dent, my father is a former prosecutor (Federal, not state), and a lifelong civil servant who remained honest despite the sea of corruption that often categorized the REAL Gotham, New York City. Unlike Harvey, my father never crossed over to the dark side, but he did provide me with a plethora of stories about cops, lawyers and mobsters that found their way into this project. When you read the joke about a cop being assigned a two-thousand year old murder case, that's my dad and his humor right there. Although I may not have followed in his footsteps (I have ga law degree but have never practiced law), he's still my hero.
As for San Diego, I'll be at Comic-Con this whole weekend. I'll be at the Image table, primarily, either signing my own books - Grounded, Fearless and Hazed, or signing Comic Book Tattoo with my fellow contributors to that Tori Amos anthology. Of course, I'm happy to sign Two-Face, Cyborg and Supergirl, my DC projects to date, or the award-nominated Image anthologies Popgun and 24/7 Volume 2.
(note - if you're reading this, and are looking for a particular issue of Grounded or Fearless, let me know and I can make sure to bring it).
EDIT: Signing (and sketching) with me will be Grounded's Paul Azaceta, Hazed's Robbi Rodriguez, and Fearless co-writer Dave Roth (Dave probably won't sketch).
Also, evidently there is a special edition Heroes comic for the con that features my two-part Suresh story from last year. Not only will I be happy to sign that, but if anyone can snag me a copy I'll happy to pay you for one and throw in some free stuff as well.
Tuesday, July 15, 2008
Since my days at Howard Stern, where I got to work with the late, great Hank the Angry Drunken Dwarf and Beetlejuice (although sadly, not Eric the Midget, er, Eric the Actor), I've dreamed of bringing the midget experience to the page. More specifically, the untold stories of the midgets who tamed the west. My first (but hopefully, not last), midget Western, "They Shoot Ponies, Don't They?" (illustrated by Rob Guilroy), was published in Image's Popgun anthology. Not only was "Ponies" groundbreaking work, it's now being recognized for it's brilliance.
So far I've been published in two comic book anthologies (not including Comic Book Tattoo, the Tori Amos project out soon). And so far, both have been nominated for major awards. 24/7 Volume 2, edited by Ivan Brandon, is nominated for an Eisner.
Now, Popgun Volume 1, edited by Mark Andrew Smith and Joe Keatinge, is nominated for a Harvey. Coincidence? Let's just say if you're putting together an anothology, I might just be your good luck charm.
Seriously, I was flattered to be in both anthologies. Ivan, writer of Cross Bronx and NYC Mech, helped me on all my creator owned projects, whether he's been credited or not, and helped me get Grounded to Image, launching my career. Mark, the writer of Amazing Joy Buzzards, Aqua Leung and Kill All Parents was one of the first pros I've met, and is both exceedingly talented and down to earth. And Joe, now marketing director at Image, has been my behind the scenes champion there, promoting my work, making sure it gets out on time, and handling the thousands of crises that pop up when you trying to get a comic out on time.
So I'd be remiss not just to thank these guys publically, or encourage you to buy their books, but in the case of Popgun, to vote for it so it's not just a Harvey nominee, but a Harvey award winner. You can do so here.
Coming soon, word on where and when I'll be during San Diego Comic-Con, word about Two-Face: Year One (out next week!) and my new creator-owned project.
Thursday, July 3, 2008
Back in December, comic book creator and all around great guy Rantz Hoseley, who I met on Ivan Brandon's message board, asked me to contribute to a top secret comic book anthology. All it took were two words to get me to say yes in two seconds - Tori Amos. Aside from being a phenomenal singer songwriter, she's the inspiration for Delerium in Neil Gaiman's Sandman series, my all time favorite work in any medium.
After I said yes, I realized I was coiming in late in the process. It looked like all the cool songs were taken, as well as the good artists. My initial excitement quickly turned to panic. Luckily, I was wrong on both fronts. The song Upside Down proved incredibly inspiring, and I got paired with artist Salgood Sam (aka Max Douglas), of Therefore Repent and Sea of Red Fame. You can see a page of his art from the story we adapted from Upside Down above.
Aside from the fact that that Tori Amos is involved (and by involved, she didn't just stick her name on it, she treated this like one of her albums), this is a special anthology for many more reasons. It's a a limited edition hardcover, 12" x 12". Despite the fact that (or perhaps, because) Tori is a gifted storyteller those of us involved were told not to do literal adaptations, but let the songs be jumping off points, and the resulting diversity is amazing. Add to that an all-star list of creators...this is one of the greatest projects I've had the privilege of being involved in.
That honor became even more flattering when Tori decided to pick a story that best represented the book for MySpace Comics. She chose Upside Down, and as a result, you can read our story in its entirety FOR FREE here.
Monday, June 16, 2008
The second issue of my six issue Cyborg series, is out this Wednesday, June 18th. For long time Titans fans, it's got a hell of a twist at the end. Between this, Two-Face: Year One, my Tori Amos/ Comic Book Tattoo anthology story and a Cthulhu Tales anthology for BOOM! Studios, I should have at least one comic out every month from now until October. Hopefully there will be some more announcements soon.
The fifth issue of Cyborg is now available for pre-order (That's the cover to #5 above, not #2). Here's the solicit info:
DC SPECIAL: CYBORG #5
Written by Mark Sable, Art by Carlos Magno & Jonathan Glapion, Cover by Mike McKone
Meet The Phantom Limbs, an elite team of wounded soldiers saved by Cyborg's technology. The catch? The only way they can keep their new limbs is by killing for the mercenary Mr. Orr. Will Vic be able to save them from this Faustian bargain – or will they kill him first? On sale September 17 • 5 of 6, 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US.
Wednesday, May 28, 2008
The second part of my two-part Webcomic for NBC's hit show HEROES is now up, and available for free here. It's about a mother-daughter team of agents that work for the show's mysterious "Company" and should provides a little comic relief from this summer's ongoing story.
Thursday, May 22, 2008
Never mind the bollocks! This comic book thing is getting more and more surreal. This Friday, I'm going to be on Jonesey's Jukebox, one of LA's most popular radio shows, hosted by Steve Jones, guitarist of the Sex Pistols. Along with SCUD's Rob Schrab and GODLAND'S Joe Casey, we'll evidently be judging the weeks newest tracks (something I am excited for yet completely unqualified to do) and to promote HAZED. You don't need to be in the LA area to hear me if you've got one of those internets. Press release below.
SCHRAB, CASEY, SABLE ON JONESY'S JUKEBOX 05.23.08
This Friday, SCUD THE DISPOSABLE ASSASSIN's Rob Schrab, HAZED's Mark Sable and GØDLAND's Joe Casey will appear on INDIE 103.1 FM's Jonesy's Jukebox, from 12 to 2 PM."Jonesy's Jukebox is a one of my favorite radio shows so being part of it in time to celebrate the end of SCUD is surreally awesome," Schrab said. "It's a perfect way to cap off over ten years of the series."Jonesy's Jukebox, hosted by Steve Jones of the Sex Pistols on what Rolling Stone declared the best radio station of 2008, airs every Friday from Noon to 2pm with the first hour repeating at 6pm. Each episode features four guests panelists talking about and judging the newest tracks to hit the radio with this week's including Casey, Hazed and Schrab. In addition, they'll be discussing their latest projects such as the Eisner-nominated GØDLAND CELESTIAL EDITION, CHARLATAN BALL, HAZED and SCUD THE DISPOSASBLE ASSASSIN: THE WHOLE SHEBANG. Joe Casey added, "Big Steve Jones fan. Huge guitar sounds hit me just the right way. Moving into the last year of GØDLAND and launching of CHARLATAN BALL, this is a very cool way to get the word out."Jonesy's Jukebox will air Friday, May 23rd from 12 to 2 PM. Listeners out of the Los Angeles area can listen via http://www.indie1031.fm/4045_Listen_Live.php?id=27. GØDLAND CELESTIAL EDITION (MAY071862), a 360-page hardcover for $34.99, and HAZED (DEC072052), a 160-page graphic novel for $14.99, are available now. SCUD THE DISPOSASBLE ASSASSIN: THE WHOLE SHEBANG (TP - APR082180/HC-APR082181), a 786-page black & white collection, will be available June 25th. CHARLATAN BALL (APR082158), a 24-page full color comic book for $2.50, will be available June 11th.
Wednesday, May 21, 2008
Well, the first issue of my new six issue mini, DC SPECIAL: CYBORG, hits stands today, Wednesday May 21st 2008. It's the first solo series for one of the most popular Teen Titans in his 28 years of existence, and I'm really excited to see your reaction to it.
The above cover is for Issue 4, which hits stands August 20th. You can pre-order it while your in the store picking up Issue 1. Here's the solicit:
The mysterious Mr. Orr has transformed one of Cyborg's friends into a killing machine! But is Vic's friend the only victim?Orr has cloned two of the world's deadliest super-villains to prevent Cyborg and The Titans from finding out.On sale August 20
And while you're pre-ordering, why not get Part Two of Two-Face: Year One. Check out this amazing cover by Mark Chiarello:
Here's the solicit.
TWO-FACE YEAR ONE #2
Written by Mark Sable
Art by Jesus Saiz & Jimmy Palmiotti
Cover by Mark Chiarello
The election coverage continues as Two-Face throws his hat in the ring! It’s the shocking conclusion to the tightest race in Gotham City history, and it’s only the beginning of Batman’s struggle with a man who used to be his best friend — and the monster within.On sale August 13 • 2 of 2, 48 pg, FC, $5.99 US
No slight to Cyborg or any of my creator owned works, but I think Two-Face: Year One is the best thing I've ever written. Hopefully it will get a boost from the Dark Knight sequel, which opens the month before. You can read about how I put a "Dent" (as in Harvey Dent) in Two-Face on CBR.
Between Cyborg and Heroes this may be the most readers I've ever had. Huge week, and more to come...
Tuesday, May 20, 2008
Last fall, I was privileged enough to write a two-part story for NBC's hit show, HEROES, starring Mohinder Suresh. This week, the first part of my new webcomic, FACES, starts, starring a mother-daughter team of Company agents of my own creation. You can read it FOR FREE here.
Like the last online graphic novel, this one is considered just as much a part of the Heroes canon as any episode. And while ties into this summer's over-arching story that leads into this fall's new season, you can read it without having any knowledge of past chapters. Hell, you can read it without having watched a single episode of Heroes.
With CYBORG coming out this Wednesday, and the second issue of TWO-FACE: YEAR ONE now available for pre-order, this is shaping up to be a huge comics week for me.
Friday, May 16, 2008
Wednesday, May 14, 2008
Next Wednesday, May 21st, the first issue of my six issue CYBORG series debuts. This Saturday, May 17th, at 8:30 PM EST, I'll be participating in my first ever live chat.
I'm happy to talk about Cyborg, my past work on Supergirl my unpublished Titans issues (featuring the first ever meeting between the Titans and the Flash's Rogues Gallery), my upcoming Two-Face: Year One mini-series, and anything else you want to ask me about.
(As a disclaimer, this is not an official DC chat, and anything I write is my own opinion, not DC's etc.)
I'm truly honored to get to contribute to the legacy of one of comics greatest characters, and I think old-school fans will be happy with what Ken, Carlo, Jonathan and myself have done with Vic.
As for how it's going to work... you need to have aol or aim to get in on this chat , just make up a screenname. Then either instant message teentitan2002 (who is gracious enough to host this chat) on aim or aol, or reply to this thread on DC's Teen Titans messageboard maybe one lucky fan might get a surprise after the chat.
Monday, May 12, 2008
When I go to a new city, I like to do the most obnoxious, touristy thing possible, as revenge for having to take friends to the Walk of Fame in Hollywood and direct out-of-towners to Ground Zero when I lived in New York (disgusting how quickly that became a tourist destination). In Seattle, home of this past weekend's Emerald City Con, that meant visiting the world's first Starbucks. How can you tell this Starbucks is special? Check out the logo behind me. Unlike the traditional, ubiquitous mermaid, this one's nipples are exposed.
There were no exposed nipples on display in Seattle, despite the presence of Slave Leias (mandatory at any con) and The Suicide Girls (who I think are teases...have any of them actually killed themselves? Or even tried? They should be like Menudo, but instead of simply being kicked out of the band at age 16, there should be a Logan's Run like rule that they must off themselves as a career capper).
There was something even better on display, however. What's that shirt Marvel editor (and hottest girl in comics) Jen Grunwald is wearing next to Ed Brubaker's trademark Fedora at the Mondo Marvel Panel?
Why it's a HAZED t-shirt. All the cool kids are wearing them, and you should too.
Of course, you'll have to wait for San Diego if you want one of these suckers, as Emerald City will be my last con until then. In order to tide you over, I'm going to give you one of my trademark extra long con re-caps.
Emerald City was definitely one of the better cons I've been to. I'm starting to appreciate smaller cons (at least small relative to SDCC and NYCC) that are more focused on comics than other media, where you don't have to hear Spike TV blasting wrestling music or gamers mangling Rock Band covers.
What struck me most about ECCC were the fans. I did better than expected business-wise, but most of my interaction with fans was not trying to sell books, but rather readers who brought copies to sign, and more importantly, came to discuss the work. I think the strangest thing for me was how many people brought copies of the one issue of Supergirl that I co-wrote with Joe Kelly. Granted, that issue (which is collected in Supergirl: Identity trade if you want to contribute to my royalty fund) features a new origin for Kara Zor-El, but I didn't realize it had made anyone's radar. I don't know how much the increased recognition was a function of the show, or whether I'm slowly but surely building a fan base, but I've never seen a more engaged group of convention attendies.
What's cool was that it wasn't all "I love your work/what are you doing next". Not that I don't appreciate either of those sentiments, but oddly enough one of the best experiences I had was from someone who read Hazed, liked it, but was offended by my portrayal of fraternity and sorority life.
I give the guy a lot of credit for having the guts to come up to a creator and express their feelings in person, without the safe anonymity of the internet. That said, his argument essentially boiled down to two things. One, his fraternity (AEII) wasn't like the one I portrayed in HAZED. Ironically enough, when I was at Duke, I got in a bit of trouble for ridiculing that particular frat. I had a satirical weekly newspaper column, and I wrote, having attended the self-styled "Jewish fraternity's" lame "Disco Inferno" party, that I haven't felt this sorry for the Jewish people since Schindler's List. I'm a Jew, so I thought it was okay to say that, but evidently the letter-writers calling me a KKK hooded Nazi and the phone callers who threatened my life disagreed.
His other criticism was and that I should have shown the "good side" of fraternities. Which - if you are looking for a fair and balanced portrayal of the Greek system, Hazed isn't for you. I don't think it's my job as a satirist to be even handed. It's my job to make you laugh, and tell the truth, even if it's ugly.
The reaction to Hazed has been pretty much what I thought it would be - extremely polarizing. People seem to love it or hate it, identify with it or find it completely incompatible with their own experiences...and not much in between. As a writer, I think that means I was successful. I'd much rather readers have a negative reaction than no reaction at all. I felt proud that I was able to engender such a strong reaction from someone, and he walked away with a free copy of Grounded #1 (the least offensive thing I could think to give him).
The more intimate setting also allowed me much more quality time with fellow creators. Ed Brubaker was nice enough to play host to a bunch of pros visiting from out of town by showing us some of his hometown drinking establishments. Ed may be the last person in comics in need of a plug, but Criminal is without a doubt the best crime book out there, and it's a book that's worth getting in single issues because it's got some of the best backmatter in comics.
I was a bit nervous meeting Ed, because Two-Face: Year One features the first appearance of many of the characters he and Greg Rucka created for their classic series Gotham Central. In Two-Face, Jim Gordon and Harvey Dent assemble those characters as a team of the only honest cops in Gotham to bring down the - their version of "The Untouchables". I was afraid to mention to Ed that I was mucking around with their creations, so I didn't bring it up. I did get to speak to Greg Rucka, however, and he was extremely gracious, encouraging me to use his characters, essentially saying that's what they are there for.
Other pros I got to drink with Ivan Brandon, editor of the Eisner nominated anthology 24/7, and his girlfriend/my letterer and designer Kristyn Ferretti; and Jerry Duggan and Phil Noto, writer and artist respectively of the Einser nominated book Infinite Horizon (the Odyssey retold in modern day Iraq). So, I was the token non-Eisner nominated creator, which probably explains why I was not allowed to speak unless spoken to.
Dan DiDio and Ian Sattler of DC were nice enough to host a big DC dinner for all their creators in attendance. There to make me feel small were Kurt Busiek, Bill Willingham and Gail Simone. I got to sit at the kids table with Ian, Phil Noto and Rick Remender. There, Rick suggested that we share our most embarassing stories. Phil's involves a hurricane, Rick involves an enema. Sorry Rick, but I love the idea of people coming up to you at cons asking you about it. If it makes you feel better, everyone should check out his Crawlspace book XXX Zombies...a zombie story set in the porn industry - it's like a grindhouse film in comics form. And my story involved pushing a retarded girl in the subway.
Other pros I should mention - new Birds of Prey writer Tony Bedard and DC mainstay Tom Peyer were cool, and it was great hanging out with Dark Horse's Rachel Edinin, who invited me to participate in a feminists in comics lunch (yes, despite the fact I enjoy writing about sorority hazing rituals like circling the fat and group purging, I consider myself a feminist). Josh Williamson, who I met at Meltdown a few months ago, a comics newcomer who has a great book coming out from Image/Shadowline called "Dear Dracula" about a kid who writes to Dracula...I think it's going to be huge.
Coolest of all , however, was Bryan Lee O'Malley, creator of Scott Pilgrim. He did an amazing sketch (which, like my NYCC sketches, will have to wait until a new blog entry when my scanner is hooked up)...for free. He actually refused money, which I then spent on his tablemate Hope Larson's book Salamander Dream, which I highly recommend.
Hopefully you enjoyed this recap as much as I enjoyed the con. Sorry if this was overly name-droppy, but I feel like plugging others work balances that out karmically. Certainly, you've learned quite a bit about me: I think I have a free pass to make Holocaust jokes, I push retarded women on the subway, and if you come up to be at a con and tell me my work sucks, you can get a free book.
Wednesday, May 7, 2008
It's official - a week after the release of Two-Face: Year One (July 16th), and the same week as Cyborg #3 (July 23rd), Comic Book Tattoo, an anthology dedicated to the songs of Tori Amos that will be released. It features a story by myself and artist Salgood Sam (Sea of Red, Therefore Repent) based on a song which I am not allowed to name yet.
If you don't know who Tori Amos is, she's not only an incredible singer/songwriter, but a comics afficianado who was Neil Gaimain's inspiration for Delerium in his Sandman books.
This is my third anthology story, my others being my Midget Western "They Shoot Ponies, Don't They", drawn by Rob Guillory in Popgun Volume 1 and my paen to New York, LA and Grand Theft Auto entitled Coast2Coast, drawn by The Amazing Joy Buzzards Dann Hipp in the Eisner Award nominated 24/7 Volume Two (if you are a pro or retailer, you can still vote for it.)
Newsarama has a good story on it here - http://forum.newsarama.com/showthread.php?t=156091, featuring the full track list of creators. Like my other anthology work, I'm surrounded by yet another stellar cast of writers and arstists, for which I have to thank editor/mastermind Rantz Hoseley for including me. This book is something special though, a 12” x 12” 480-page anthology.
Friday, April 25, 2008
For years it was mind boggling that New York, headquarters to Marvel and DC and largest media market in the world, never had a comic convention to hold its own with the likes of San Diego and Chicago (although the Big Apple Con, which I attend as frequently as possible, is probably the most creator- and fan-friendly con around). This changed two years ago, with demand exceeding capacity. In this, the NYCC's third consecutive year, the only two knocks against he con - overcrowding and frigid February weather - were eliminated in heavily attended, well spaced con spread out across a beautiful weekend.
Of course, the change from February to April coincided with the Passover holiday, so I had to divide my time between fans and family seders. It meant that I had to miss out on some networking and partying, but compard against the ten plagues that might have been visited upon me if I hadn't gone home, missing a party or two seemed miniscule. I am the first born in my family, and really didn't feel like being slayed this year.
My weekend started the Thursday night before the con, with a great party thrown by DC Comics. Too nervous to really talk with Darwyn Cooke and Grant Morrison, I nevertheless got to say hi to Cyborg editor and assistant editor Eddie Berganza and Adam Schlagman (sporting a Sodam Yat soccer jersey, Green Lantern fans). I got to thank Two-Face: Year One editor Jeanine Schaeffer for not only giving me the dream job of writing the hard-boiled story of Harvey Dent's fall, but for discovering me two years ago at the very first NYCC when all I had was a few issues of Grounded to my name.
I finally met Bat editor Mike Marts, story editor, Ian Sattler and the amazing Jann Jones, who deserves a big thank you for throwing a party where you could actually talk together together before the madness of the con. I didn't get to thank Jimmy Palmiotti or Mark Chiarello. I just learned last week Jimmy will be inking over Jesus Saiz's pencils for Two-Face (can you ask for a better inker - answer: no), and that Mark will be doing the covers (which are NOT what you've seen solicited).
The highlight of the party though was meeting Geoff Johns. Geoff's work, particularly on Flash, brought me back to reading mainstream DCU titles after a long hiatus. He's a writer I try to emulate because he balances boundary pushing creativity (52, Sinestro Corps Wars) with a real respect for what's come before. It's very rare when someone you admire is as nice you imagine, but Geoff fit that bill or was at least nice enough to pretend to. Having written a seminal run on Teen Titans, he's got a lot invested in Cyborg. Between that and Dan DiDio telling me Two-Face is his favorite Bat villain, I'm either going to be the most popular writer at DC by the end of this summer...or blacklisted.
Friday, I began the job of running back and forth between my artist's alley table with Grounded artist Paul Azaceta and signings at the Image booth. My first signing was with Killing Girl's Glen Brunswick. Great crime book (with art by Frank Espinoza and Toby Cypress), great guy.
I took a break to attend the "Women in Comics" panel, arranged by Occasional Superheroine blogger/Friend of Lulu President Valerie D'Orazio and featuring writer Gail Simone, artist Becky Cloonan and Marvel Editor (and official "hottest girl in comics") Jen Grunwald. I had hoped they would all gush about how the best comic about women was in fact written by a man (that comic being Hazed and that man being, well, me). Instead, it was a refreshingly positive discussion of the contributions being made on every level by female talent despite the barriers to entry this industry makes for women, be they writers, artists, editors or fans.
Still, could no one have worn a Hazed t-shirt? See me for a standing offer of a free trade/t-shirt if you promote/wear one on a comics panel. Yes, I am that shameless.
Saturday was a first - I was a guest on a comics panel. Image: Brave New Worlds, was a panel featuring members of different generations of Image Comics, from founders Erik Larsen and Jim Valentino to longtime Noble Causes/Dynamo Five writer Jay Faerber, to rock star/indie comics writer Claudio Sanchez of Coheed and Cambria/and The Amory Wars, to, well, me.
Jim and Erik were the trailblazers, taking a huge career risk in the 90's to establish a home for creator-owned material. Jay represented the next generation of established big company talent to bring smart, original superhero work over. Claudio is doing something completely different, adapting rich fantasy world he's created in music and translating to the page.
Me...I guess I fit somewhere in between - I love doing original superhero work like Fearless and Grounded for Image. There really was no second choice for me when I pitched those books. And it's hard to imagine any other publisher taking a flier on a dark comedy about sorority hazing rituals.
Using a film analogy, the Image founders seem to me like Coppola, Scorsese and Lucas, doing these epic but personal movies that redefined comics. I kind of feel like I'm closer to the early Kevin Smith/Tarantino generation. Inspired by what came before, we maxed out our credit cards making comics instead of films.
Not that I had a chance to say any of this. Most questions were from Coheed and Cambria's rabid fan base. The only line I got that received any coverage was when Jim Valentino said that Image was for those who wanted more than "guys in panties punching each other." I said that Hazed fit that bill exactly, since it was girls in panties punching each other. Thus, erasing the strides made in the previous day's Women in Comics panel with one fell swoop.
Closed out the weekend nother signing with Nixon's Pal's artist Chris Burnham. I hope to have a sketch of his on here soon. I also got great sketches by Nikki Cook, with whom I hope to work, Aqualeung's Paul Maybury, and best of all, Salgood Sam. Salgood is illustrating an adaptation of a song I wrote for Tori Amos' Comic Book Tattoo anthology. More on Comic Book Tattoo later, but it may be the best project I've been a part of.
With all the signing, sketching, paneling and networking, I didn't have as much time to hang out with my artists as I'd like. Joining Paul and me at our table were both Hazed's Robbi Rodriguez and, all the way from Northern Ireland, Fearless' very own PJ Holden. My writing skills are far too meager to convey how entertaining PJ is in person. He did some great Hulk sketches which Marvel seemed to take some notice of. Here's hoping he gets the attention he deserves.
I'm leaving way too much out. It's always most gratifying to meet readers, so thanks to all of you who came out, whether it was to say hi again or try my work for the first time. I continue to be really moved by people who are so affected by Hazed, particularly. The highlight of the weekend, though, was the kid who told me he almost got kicked out of church for laughing so hard the copy he'd snuck in. It's nice to know that I'm putting youth at risk of not only of moral corruption but spiritual damnation. I've really got to keep my out for those ten plagues...
Monday, April 14, 2008
And the solicit:
DC SPECIAL: CYBORG #3
Written by Mark Sable
Cover by Tony Daniel & Sandu Florea
Art by Carlos Magno & Jonathan Glapion
Victor Stone thought he was the only man to deal with the power and pain that comes with the name Cyborg. Now, he's learned that someone long thought dead is using Vic's deadly technology to battle the Teen Titans. Can Vic stop this new enemy and learn the dark truth behind his foe's creation?On sale July 23 • 3 of 5 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US
More to say on Cyborg later too.
What, that's not enough? What if I told you that 24/7, the anthology where my story COAST2COAST with art by the Amazing Joy Buzzard's DAN HIPP was nominated for an Eisner. And EISNER! I said this on Editor Ivan Brandon's forum, but it was an honor to be asked to be part of a project with so many great creators (Ashley Wood, Adam Hughes, Jason Aaron...the list is staggering). Ivan edited GROUNDED and was the de-facto editor of FEARLESS and HAZED. It's not an understatement to say I wouldn't be in comics if it wasn't for his time, wisdom and patience. He's incredibly deserving of this award, so if you're a voter or a judge, reward him for putting together a phenomenal book.
There's more. I'll post more details soon, but I'll be at New York Comic-Con this weekend, April 18-20th, along with my collaborators Paul Azaceta (GROUNDED), PJ Holden (FEARLESS) and Robbi Rodriguez (HAZED). I'll have a table in artist's alley (K6 to be precise), I'll be signing at the Image table from 3-4 on Friday and doing a panel on Saturday afternoon as well:
Brave New World - Image Comics
SAT 2:00 PM - 3:00 PM Room 1e16
Three generations of Image creators, including Image founders (Publisher Erik Larsen), established creators (such as Dynamo 5 and Noble Causes' Jay Faerber) and all-new creators (including the front man of the insanely popular prog rock band, Coheed & Cambria, Claudio Sanchez, who is establishing himself as a writer in The Amory Wars and Mark Sable from Hazed & Grounded) will spend the hour in this exclusive New York Comic Con interview.
Believe it or not, still more news to come...
Tuesday, April 8, 2008
In my short time as a comics pro, I’ve been a part of many signings, both by myself and with others. But I think it’s safe to say that none were as successful as “Pledge Night”, the West Coast release party for HAZED, my dark comedy about sororities and eating disorders illustrated by Robbi Rodriguez.
We had massive turnout. I would say somewhere in the neighborhood of 200 people were there over the course of the evening. But it wasn’t just the numbers of people, it was the quality. Meltdown comics in LA has become a hot spot for art shows as well as comic signings. My non-comic book geek friends from law school, college and “the industry” were all shocked at the fact that these were smart, hip, good looking people who were could converse on topics other than whether Captain America is a Skrull.
Not all of the guests were there for me. Many were there for our co-hosts, Brian Lynch and Dave Crosland, creators of IDW’s “Everybody’s Dead”, about the last fraternity on earth following a zombie invasion. I’ve know Dave for a long time, in fact we discussed doing Hazed together. He and fellow Silky Bureaucrat Jim Mahfood did live art to the beat of DJ Expo.
The idea, if it’s not apparent, was to take two college-themed comics and have a frat/sorority party. We had a keg. I shot down the idea of Dave Matthews music. Unfortunately, everyone else shot my idea of hiring a model to stand there and let girls circle her fat.
Pledge night also marked the debut of the official HAZED t-shirts, one of which I’m wearing in the photos. The unisex version says “Stop the Spread of STDs” (STDS being the name of the fictional sorority in HAZED), a source of much amusement to former sorority girls in attendance.
Thanks to everyone who came out, to Asahi beer for sponsoring it, and especially to Meltdown Comics. I also want to single out Matt Gagnon, who organized the party at Meltdown, and is now an editor at BOOM! He’s been a great friend, and while I’m sad he won’t be there every Wednesday to chat comics, I’m happy that he’s finally going to be able to use his sharp comics mind to shape the medium for the better.
Wednesday, March 26, 2008
My CYBORG special is not one, but SIX issues, and the second issue (on sale in JUNE), is available for pre-order now. Below is the solicit, which neglects to mention there’s a hell of a reveal on the last page of his issue for long time Cyborg fans.
DC SPECIAL: CYBORG #2
Written by Mark Sable
Art and cover by Ken Lashley & Jonathan Glapion
Vic Stone has sworn that he'll never let anyone undergo the horrific process that transformed him into Cyborg. Now it appears he's on a nationwide rampage taking out S.T.A.R. Labs. Are not one, but TWO teams of Titans enough to stop this madness?
On sale June 18 • 2 of 5 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US
Monday, March 24, 2008
This Saturday at 8:00PM, March 29th, Meltdown Comics here in LA is hosting “Pledge Night!”, the official college-themed release party for HAZED (as well as Brian Lynch and Dave Crosland’s “Everybody’s Dead”, an hysterical book about the last fraternity on earth during a zombie invasion).
HAZED artist Robbi Rodriguez will be there, Jim Mahfood and Dave Crosland will be doing live art to the beat of DJ Expo.
And oh yeah…OPEN BAR courtesy of official sponsor Asahi Beer.
Meltdown (7522 Sunset Boulevard, Los Angeles CA 90047) is not only within stumbling distance of my apartment, it’s one of the cooler stores and party venues in LA (their Y: The Last Man Party was amazing). Which means it’s suitable for taking your non-comic fan friends and significant others.
Sunday, March 16, 2008
Who is Cyborg?
He’s the most popular superhero never to have his own series. Until now.
Why should you care?
Because starting May 21st, D.C. Comics is publishing the first ever solo series starring The Greatest Teen Titan of Them All, and I’m writing it.
But seriously, dude, who is Cyborg. I’ve never read a comic book before.
Where do I start? Before the horrific accident (or was it?) that transformed Victor Stone into Cyborg, he was an Olympic class athlete and a genius with an IQ above 160, torn. An African-American torn between his gang-member friends and the (then) emerging black middle class that his family represented. He was rife with conflict even before he had Molybdenum steel grafted to what was left of his maimed, scarred body.
Once he became Cyborg, both power and pathos were added to the mix. With an indestructible body and limbs capable of transforming into an assortment of weapons, he’s physically more than a match for most of the Justice League, let alone their villains. And because he’s half-machine, he still carries around the whole Ben Grimm/Thing angst about whether he’s a man or monster.
The analogy I like to use is that if the Teen Titans are DC’s X-Men (their group of young, edgy characters), he’s their Wolverine.
Follow my logic here. The New Teen Titans were created at about the same time as The All New, All Different X-Men. While others might have been content to keep the Titans a book of sidekicks like Robin and Kid Flash, creators Marv Wolfman and George Perez decided to create new characters. African Americans like Cyborg, women like Raven and…well, orange aliens with big breasts like Starfire.
Okay, I get it, he was a revolutionary character. But the revolution was never televised. What makes you think he’s interesting NOW?
When you read a superhero comic, we’re always being asked to suspend out disbelief. But for me, I’ve always had a nagging question. In a world with not just super-heroes but super science…why can’t everyone have a goddamn flying car?
A lot of creators have sought to answer that question. In Grant Morrison’s Fantastic Four run, he said posited that each of Reed Richard’s devices was a work of art that couldn’t be mimicked. In Warren Ellis’ Planetary, he answered that question by creating an evil FF analogue who purposefully kept their secrets to themselves so they alone could have the power. In GROUNDED, I just made the argument that superhero parents were selfish and self-absorbed.
The idea for my Cyborg run came by asking a more pointed question. In a world where Vic stone can lose his limbs and have them replaced by cybernetic weaponry, why don’t ordinary humans, particularly soldiers in this time of war, have access to Vic’s technology?
If I asked these questions, then certainly they must have occurred to greatest fictional minds in the DC universe…and possibly the more devious ones. Without giving too much away, Cyborg series is about what happens when someone uses Vic’s technology in a way that anathema to who he is and what he stands for.
Wow, that sounds deep. No, really. But I want to see him punch things.
Don’t worry, he punches lots of things. Fan favorite supervillains. “The Phantom Limbs”…an all new characters I’ve created who share Cyborg’s technology and may or may not be on Vic’s side. And not one, but TWO groups of teen Titans.
Oh yeah, and he also punches himself. Chew on that one for a while.
Okay, okay, you had me at African-American Cyborg. Where and how do I get this book?
You can pre-order it now at your local comics shop (comic shop locator link?) from March PREVIEWS. It’s called DC Special: Cyborg, and the order code (I think) is MAR08 135.
Sunday, March 2, 2008
Two years ago you were GROUNDED. Now…prepare to be HAZED!
On Wednesday, March 5, the comic world changes forever. On that day, HAZED, my masterwork, will be unleashed upon a largely unsuspecting public. Expect rioting to ensue.
A satiric graphic novel about sororities and eating disorders illustrated by Robbi Rodriguez, some have compared it to the films “Heathers” and “Mean Girls”. I find these comparisons to be shamefully inadequate. My work is incomparable.
Just where did this work of genius come from, you might ask? As many of you know, I attended Duke University as an undergraduate. Duke is known the home of the greatest college basketball program of all time, as well as the most infamous lacrosse team. It is also known as the “Harvard of the South”, on par with or better than many Ivy League schools.
But from the minute I set foot on campus, I found myself asking the following question: how is it that the some of the smartest women in the country, who have so much going for them besides their looks, decide to revolve their entire identity around their sexual desirability the second a frat boy asked looked their way?
HAZED is my politically incorrect answer to that question, in comic book form. I know I’m going to take a lot of hits on this, a male writer not just writing about issues like date rape and eating, but writing about them in an over-the-top comedy. But, as one reviewer put it, I’m not making fun of these issues; I’m making fun of the “people and societal pressures behind them.” That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.
Keep that in mind when you’re reading about girls circling each other’s fat, or purging so often that their dorm drains are clogged with vomit. Also keep this in mind: when I set out to write this book years ago, I used a lot of artistic license. I took the worst urban legends about sorority life and exaggerated them further. And yet sadly, often my imagination was matched, if not exceeded, by stories told to me by sorority sisters. Nothing hurts so much as the truth.
All hyperbole aside, this is a boundary pushing book. At the same time, I’d like to think it’s also hysterically funny, not least of which because of Robbi’s art. I think his cartoonish characters help soften the darkness of my writing, while at the same time he pushed the comedy to the very edge of good taste (Robbi’s favorite three words: abortion sight gag). This is “Animal House” with girls. How could that NOT be fun?
I hope you all will pick up the book this week. Whether you are repulsed, convulsing on the floor with laughter, or both, I’d love to hear what you think (there’s a comment’s section here, as well as a Mark Sable message board). I’m ready for anything. I hope you are.
Wednesday, February 27, 2008
This week, the fourth and final issue of FEARLESS, my mini-series co-written by Dave Roth with art by PJ Holden (2000AD), hits comic stores everywhere.
If you’re coming to this site because you’ve read about my work on CYBORG, HAZED or GROUNDED, you may not know what FEARLESS is all about. FEARLESS is the tale of a vigilante who is dependent on an anti-fear drug, which he needs not only to wage his one man war on crime, but to function as a human being as well. The story starts when someone cuts off his drug supply, and things get worse from there
If that Hollywood log line doesn’t sell you, here are some reasons to check it out:
ORIGINALITY: At the risk of being immodest, it’s one of the few original superhero ideas to come along. While I think execution trumps concept, if you start from someplace no one’s been before you’ve got a leg up on the competition.
MORE BANG FOR YOUR BUCK: In this age of decompression, you rarely get a complete story in four 22 page issues, let alone one. The shortest issue of Fearless is 28 pages, the first and last are 32 pages each. Do the math, and you are getting about five or six issues worth of story for the price of four. And that’s not including wonderful pin-ups by the likes of Rafael Albuquerque (BLUE BEETLE).
PJ HOLDEN & “THE FEAR EFFECT”: Artist PJ Holden kicked some major ass on this book. He’s not just a hired hand, but co-creator. His costume design alone is worth the price of admission. But what really makes this book sing is how he and colorist Nick Filardi (POWERS…as well as every creator owned book I’ve done) handles the sequences where our protagonist runs out of the drug. We don’t just see fear kick in, we FEEL it. Vertigo kicks in as leaping off a one story brownstone in a suit of impregnable battle armor becomes a death defying free fall from a skyscraper. Pathetic henchmen become more muscular, better armed, more numerous. The arch villain becomes, a mere mortal, becomes truly terrifying…it’s as if the protagonist is creates his own Jekyll and Hyde in his mind.
Check it out, let us know what you think. And if you like it, let Image know what you think…while this is a complete, self contained story, we’ve got more FEARLESS stories we’re just itching to tell. And nothing will help that like strong sales and letters, e-mails and board posts telling a publisher you haven’t had enough of our anti-hero yet.