Sunday, October 11, 2009
When last I posted, Unthinkable #3 had just come out in time for Comic-Con. As I write this, all five issues are out, and I'm proofreading the trade paperback, which should be out in the next month or two.
Like most writers, I don't particularly like re-reading my own work. It's a bit easier with comics than with prose, because I get to appreciate how the artist, colorist and letterer brought my work to life. But it's impossible for me to look at old work without thinking of the myriad ways I could have made it better.
Nevertheless, I'm tremendously proud of Unthinkable. I've said before I think it's the best writing I've ever done. I suppose I should be more specific. For a long time, I've struggled with the dilemma of writing something personal that is still something other people want to read. Unthinkable is probably my highest concept, but the execution is very personal.
The protagonist, Alan Ripley, is as close to me as any comics character I've written. He's not only a writer, he's a writer that feels he should be, well, more of a do-er. Particularly when it comes to doing something for his country.
Unthinkable is filled with issues of national security, military foreign policy, my passions. I through just about every terrorist scenario into this series as possible. That may have been a mistake - although I'm very thankful that Boom! gave me 5 issues to tell my story instead of the usual 4 - this is a story I would have preferred to tell in a longer format.
Still, the density of the issues is something that was personal to me as well. My favorite comics - my good friend Brett Lewis' The Winter Men for example 0 are works that don't feel decompressed. They give you your money's worth, and can't be finished before you flush the toilet in a quick trip to the bathroom.
But the most personal thing about Unthinkable may not evident in the work itself. Instead, it's the long journey that brought it from my head to the printed page. And the even longer journey that took me from that of an aspiring writer adapting my fifth spec screenplay (Grounded) into my first comic, to where I am in my comics career today.
I hope to write about that journey a bit more on here soon, hopefully before the Unthinkable trade comes out. I still believe that I can make this blog something that gives interested readers of my work some added value, rather than just spilling my thoughts and promoting my work.
But right now, that story will have to wait. I'm lucky enough to have multiple upcoming projects that demand my attention. I can't announce them yet, but I hope to bring to them the same mix of character driven high concept with a personal touch that I did with Unthinkable. If nothing else, Unthinkable has set a very high bar for my future work.
Tuesday, July 21, 2009
Sorry I haven't posted in a while. Unthinkable, and all the hoopla surrounding it, has taken up most of my time. So much so that I forgot to announce the release of UNTHINKABLE #3, which is IN STORES NOW. (See Paul Azaceta's cover above).
(I also forgot to mention that my TWO-FACE: YEAR ONE mini-series is now collected in trade along with Scarecrow Year One Bruce Jones and Sean Murphy - my unpublished Teen Titans artist. The collection is entitled Batman: Two-Face/Scarecrow Year One and is also In STORES NOW
The script for Issue #3, you remember, is what got me detained by the TSA. boingboing picked up on the story, as did Heidi MacDonald's The Beat blog on Publisher's Weekly, and as a result I've been bombarded with media requests.
But as unpleasant as it was being hassled by airport security, I'd rather focus on the issue itself. I think Issue #3 is the best issue yet. BOOM! Editor in Chief and comics writing legend said he felt it's the issue where I really found the characters voices and "hit my groove", and critics so far seem to agree.
It features an incredibly intense opening, the death of a major character, and a great twist at the end. And oh yeah - the terror scenarios deal with religious extremists of various faiths trying to bring about the Apocalypse in Israel.
I just finished what I hope is the final draft of Issue 5, and the art in Issue 4 is almost completely done. Artist Julian Totino Tedesco continues to blow me away as I throw more and more seemingly impossible things for him to draw.
I also wanted to take this opportunity to mention that I'm going to be at San Diego Comic-Con every day and night, including previews. For the first time in the past few years, I won't have my own table. However, I'll still be happy to sign any of my work - Unthinkable, Batman: Two-Face Year One, Grounded, Fearless, Hazed, Supergirl, Cyborg, Heroes etc. Or just chat about comics.
The best place to find me is by the BOOM! Studios booth, #2543. I'll be hanging by there the most, and if I'm not there, one of the many nice people at the booth should be able to get a hold of me. Twitter is also not a bad idea - @ me or send me a DM. My twitter account is http://twitter.com/marksable and my Twitter name is, well, marksable. I'm clever like that.
Hope to see you all there, and thanks so much to those of you who are helping make Unthinkable a hit!
Tuesday, June 9, 2009
UNTHINKABLE #2 out THIS WEEK, West Coast Release Party @Meltdown in LA, Collector's Paradise signing in Winnetka, CA
It's a big week for UNTHINKABLE. First off, the second issue is in stores this Wednesday, June 10th. While I'm glad that the reception to Issue One was so positive, the first issue was mostly set-up for the action that kicks off in Issue 2 and doesn't let up. Our hero, Alan Ripley, has already witnessed some of the many terror scenarios he imagined for the (real-life) government Think Tank he joined after 9/11 come true.
Now, it's up to him to stop the rest from coming to fruition. His problem. He's a writer, not an action hero. We're going to finally start to see the comic and tragic consequences of the gap between who Alan is and who he thinks he is play out.
Speaking of writers with delusions of grandeur, (despite my run-ins with the TSA, I'm no Jason Bourne), I'm having a "West Coast Release Party" for the book at Meltdown comics this Wednesday, June 10th, from 7PM on. It should be fun, if for no other reason than there will be free beer and vodka.
If you can't make it, or just can't get enough of me, I'll be signing Unthinkable this Saturday, June 13th, from 12-3PM at Collector's Paradise just off the 101. I'll be playing second fiddle to the extremely talented Marc Guggenheim (writer of Spider-Man, TV's Eli Stone and the upcoming Green Lantern film). He'll be signing his new book, Resurrection.
More info to come...
Tuesday, May 12, 2009
edit: this is my second attempt at posting these, hopefully the font will be readable
conspiracies, with a relatable lead with some real character
incredibly impressed with this opening issue. Unthinkable is a tense,
original, intriguing, and thrilling political drama which really
reflects the times of paranoia and mistrust that we currently live
in." - HYPERGEEK
"Another Hit For Boom Studios"
"...is pretty keen... The book looks quite nice - Tedesco does a good
job with the many characters, and has a flair for action... Sable
does a good job setting up the concept..."
"... entertaining..." - CBR
"Unthinkable" #1 does what a first issue should: it makes you want to
see what happens next."
UNTHINKABLE finally out TODAY, Wednesday May 13th...signing at Jim Hanley's Universe in NY to launch
This is going to be a very short post - I'm exhausted from jet lag, my appearance on Comic Book Club Live, and oh yeah...being detained by the Transportation and Safety Administration and interrogated about the script for Unthinkable #3.
But, Unthinkable - what I think is my best work yet (so far...some very generousadvance reviews agree)- is finally out today.
UNTHINKABLE, my new comic from BOOM! Studios, is a fictional spy thriller rooted in the real world.
After 9/11, many reacted by saying the events of that day were like something “out of a Tom Clancy novel.” Our government took that reaction seriously, and commissioned a think tank made up of thriller writers to come up with worst case terror scenarios, In doing so, we could devise ways to stop these "unthinkable" attacks before the terrorists even had a chance to plot them.
The comic tells the story of Alan Ripley, a fictional young writer who joins this real-life think when his brother is killed on 9/11. Almost a decade later, the nightmare scenarios he imagined start coming true.
I'll be at signing Unthinkable at Jim Hanley's Universe in NYC today from 6 to 8PM along with cover artist Paul Azaceta and some surprise guests. (Two-Face: Year One is also being released in trade along with Bruce Jones and Sean Murphy's Scarecrow: Year One...I'll be signing that as well). I'm sure I'll do an LA signing for issue 2.
More soon...links to articles and reviews, more about my experience with the TSA, a creator commentary of the ARG etc. In the meantime...I hope you'll check UNTHINKABLE out regardless of whether you can make it to a signing. And I'd love to know what you think.
Monday, April 6, 2009
Boom! Studios has a lot of confidence in UNTHINKABLE, my upcoming thriller coming out in May. So much so that they released not the usual five, but a ten page preview. Why show almost half the book up front? Because we believe that the 2nd half is just that good.
Splash Page Previews
For those of you who don't know, Unthinkable is based on a real-life government program. After 9/11, there were many who felt like what happened was out of a Tom Clancy novel, or a Jerry Bruckheimer movie. Some people in the government took this seriously, and created a think tank made up of novelists and screenwriters. Their task was to come up with worst case terror scenarios. If we could imagine the next 9/11 before the terrorists did - maybe we could stop that.
Where I depart into the realm of fiction is with Alan Ripley, a young Tom Clancy-esque novelist who joins this Think Tank when his brother is killed in 9/11. Eight years afterwards, he finds that the nightmare terrorist scenarios he envisioned have started to come true. Now, it's up to him to stop them. The problem - just because you write about action heroes doesn't mean you can be one.
I've never been more proud of a project, creator-owned or otherwise. Much of that is due to the great work of Julian Totino Tedesco, who does the interiors you'll see on those ten pages. Paul Azaceta, my first ever collaborator on Grounded does the covers. That's the cover for Issue #2 above. Issue #1 however will be out in May.
Unthinkable has been the reason I haven't posted more - it took incredible research, and I put nearly as much into the marketing - which involved an ARG (Altered or Alternate Reality Game) - as I did the comic. I plan on posting more soon - at the very least links to the many interviews I've done, the reviews (which are not out yet, but should be coming sooner than you think), and behind the scenes stuff.
I've agreed to do a "director's commentary" for the ARG. If that goes one, I've always wanted to do one for an actual comic, being a process junkie (or just a narcissist) myself. I think this is a book that lends itself to it, because of the amount of research, ties to the real world and the ARG etc. I'd love to get some others involved - maybe Julian, marketing/gure Chip Mosher and the rest of the ARG team (Dafna Pleban and Ian Brill), Paul, series editors Mark Waid and Matt Gagnon etc. My priority is the book, but I don't want readers of this blog to think I've forgotten about it.
Tuesday, March 17, 2009
The Top 10 reasons to buy my Teen Titans Spotlight: Cyborg trade TODAY:
10.He’s black. You’re not. Racist? Do the math.
9. Find out what’s underneath those steel underpants.
8. This Cyborg not in a wheelchair.
7. tCyborg trade: Man vs. Machine theme not explored enough Battlestar Galactica
6. You don’t need to read Final Crisis to understand it.
5. Surprise crossover with Marvel – he rapes Machine Man Iron Sheik style.
4. @Shaq promises to follow up his Steel performance when movie made.
3. Real reason for Vic's cybernetics – hit with bottle at Comicon
2. Cyborg trade: Sonic disruptor replaced by Sybian.
1. Cyborg trade: Vic finally cured…of being black!
All meant in jest...hope you'll pick it up if you weren't able to pick up any or all of the single issues.
Monday, March 16, 2009
Speaking of interviews, You can see Mark Waid interview me at Newsarama and read a great interview with Jeffrey Renaud at CBR. Finally...I did an audio podcast with the funny folks at Comics on Comics. I say audio because they also do video podcasts, one of which I was lucky enough to do last year.
The Newsarama piece features the 1st five pages of Unthinkable #1 (of 5). To keep to our exclusive arrangement, and take up the entire blog, I'm just going to show you Page 2:
Why not Page 1? Well, it's a splash, and you've seen those before. But the first 3 pages - 2 and 3 especially - are part of a really amazing opening sequence. I basically asked (Unthinkable artist) Julian Tedesco to cram pages worth of material into a variation of the nine-panel grid. He was able to do so without sacrificing detail. It's probably the single hardest thing I've ever asked an artist to do and he pulled it off effortlessly.
One thing I haven't talked about in the interviews is that Unthinkable is a really dense book. Not dense in the "inpenentrable" sense of the word, just dense in that, I wanted to tell a lot of story in 22 pages. For better or for worse, we're living in an age of decompression. But this is an epic, even if it's told in 5 issues, and I want it to feel that way.
Quite frankly, I don't believe the majority of comics right now are giving you the bang for the buck that other media are. Most comics don't tell a complete story...so you wind up paying $3.99 for what would be an act of a 4-act TV episode...when you can get an entire TV episode for $1.99 off itunes.
At the same time...decompression happened for a reason. While the comics of 2o or more years ago told a complete story...much of it was filled with redundant exposition.
In the past, I've written my creator owned books at closer to 32 pages than 22 pages, and I've done so at great expense to myself - both in terms of paying my collaborators and giving up ad space.
I'd think to think I've found an artist who can help me deliver the kind of density of great books from The Dark Knight Returns to The Wintermen, without heavy handed exposition. Ultimately, that means more story for you.
Wednesday, March 4, 2009
UNTHINKABLE is edgy spy thriller with roots in a controversial, real-world government initiative. Shortly after September 11, 2001, the Defense Department commissioned "think tanks" comprised of some of America's most darkly imaginitive writers. Since the 9-11 attacks seemed like something out of a Tom Clancy novel, the Pentagon asked these writers to come up with worst case terrorist scenarios. Their hope was that if our best writers could come up with these nightmare plots first, we could devise defenses before our terrorist enemies thought about, let alone planned, the next 9/11.
UNTHINKABLE tells the story of Alan Ripley, a (fictional) writer who joins this real life think tank, only to find that the devious terror attacks he imagined have started to come true. Realizing someone is using his imagination as a blueprint for terror, it's up to Ripley and his fellow Think Tank members to stop these unthinkable attacks they unwittingly planned from becoming reality.
With covers by GROUNDED artist Paul Azaceta:
And DMZ's Kristian Donaldson:
...interior art by rising star Julian Tedesco , and edited by Mark Waid (Kingdom Come) and Matt Gagnon, there's a dream team of creators helping me bring to life a story I've been researching and dying to tell for for years.
If my pitch isn't enough to convince you, than I'm hoping that THE UNTHINKABLE ARG (Altered Reality Game) will. An "ARG" is an interactive, online game that uses the real world as a platform. The UNTHINKABLE ARG, created by myself and a marketing team headed by BOOM!'s Chip Mosher, is the world's first ARG for a comic book.
Starting now, by going to http://www.wolfpackpmc.com,/ you can sign up to apply for an intelligence position in The Wolfpack, a (fictional) Private Military Contractor. Next week, those of you who are accepted into the Wolfpack's training program will be tasked to search the internet for clues that can help them apprehend the dangerous characters in the book. At the very least, the ARG is a way to get the kind of supplementary material found in books like Watchmen to readers for free. More than that, it gives you a chance to interact with UNTHINKABLE'S fictional players in a very real way. I've spent nearly as much time crafting the game as I have the comic, integrating the world of UNTHINKABLE into our own.
It's completely free to play, and there's a tangible prize for the winner(s). You can sign up for the game NOW at http://www.wolfpackpmc.com/ by clicking the "join" button.
I have had the privilege of working with many talented people on a wide variety of projects, but I can say without hesitation that both the comic and the game are the best work I've ever been involved with.
I hope you'll ask your retailer to pre-order the first issue by giving them the pre-order code of MAR094127.
Saturday, February 28, 2009
In the meantime, I thought I might point out some changes to the blog.
First, I've updated the links and pictures to my published works. You'll notice that both Teen Titans: Spotlight and Batman: Two-Face/Scarecrow: Year One are collected editions of both those mini-series that will be out in March and May respectively. You can order them on Amazon, although I'd prefer if you purchased them at your local comic shop. On a selfish level, it means my sales numbers will be higher. With the economy the way it is, I'd also rather you help a small business than a large one. Plus, you'll get the books a week or more earlier that way.
I've also started to link to SOME of my friends' and collaborators' blogs. If you are one or the other and would like a link, e-mail me or comment on this thread. This is by no means an exhaustive list, it's just a start.
At some point, I'd like to do longer pieces on or with people I worked with - interviews, guest blog posts - whatever they'd like.
In the meantime, I thought I'd introduce you briefly to the first batch:
Paul Azaceta is the artist and co-creator of Grounded, and has since gone on to do work such as Daredevil, Foolkiller and the upcoming Punisher Noir for Marvel, as well as Hellboy BRPD: 1946 for Dark Horse and Potter's Field for Boom! He's doing the covers for my new project and I couldn't be happier to have him aboard.
Jason Badower was the artist on my first Heroes webcomic, "Blackout", featuring Suresh. It's not only in Volume 2 of the Heroes Hardcover, it was reprinted as a 2008 San Diego Comic-Con exclusive (of which I only have one copy). He's got a fantastic, photorealistic, painterly style that he does entirely on the computer.
My friend Jen Grunwald, otherwise known as the "hottest girl in comics", is a Special Editions editor at Marvel Comics. She's very cool, even when she drops names of all the famous comic book creators she knows.
Valerie D'Orazio, aka "Occasional Superheroine", is the writer of one of my favorite comic blogs. It's often labeled as a feminist blog, which to some extent it is (she is the President of The Friends of Lulu, the premiere women's organization in comics), but that label is kind of reductive. She covers anything worth covering in comics, is incredibly prescient as far as where the industry is going and is a hell of a writer.
Salgood Sam is the artist who illustrated/co-created my contribution to Tori Amos' Comic Book Tattoo collection, "Upside Down", a graphic adaptation of the song of the same name. He does a great deal of really inspired creator owned work as well.
Finally (for today), if you don't know who Mark Waid is, you probably haven't read comics in the past twenty years. Generally, skipping the last 20 years of comics might not be the worst thing in the world, but during some of the dark times in the 90s Mark helped re-invent heroic fiction, whether it was his legendary Flash Run, the groundbreak Kingdom Come, or...the list is long, but chances are if you haven't read anything by him, you've read something that wouldn't exist without him. He's now the editor-in-chief at BOOM! Studios, the publisher of my next work. He's the best editor I've worked with bar none, and he's also served as a mentor to me.
I've had the privilege of working with other great artist, writers, creators etc. who I hope to introduce you to soon. Chances are if you like my work, you'll probably like the worked of those who I linked to.
Wednesday, February 4, 2009
In about 6 hours or so I'll be headed to NY for, among other things, The New York Comic Con. I'm going to be sharing a table with artist Paul Azaceta (GROUNDED, FOOLKILLER, BPRD: 1946) in Artist's Alley, Table L7. Hopefully, FEARLESS artist PJ Holden and co-writer Dave Roth will be hanging around the table as well.
As always, I'm happy to talk to anyone, sign anything, and I'll be selling my Image Books. If you want my DC works signed, you're probably going to have to bring your own copies of TWO-FACE: YEAR ONE, CYBORG and SUPERGIRL #16. And if you happen to have San Diego's limited edition HEROES comic from last year, you can be the first to have me sign a copy.\\ If I'm not at my table, I'm likely just taking a walking around break, or doing a signing for Comic Book Tattoo (the hugely successful Tori Amos anthology I contributed a short story for).
But the real treat will be getting a sketch from Paul Azaceta, who does kickass - well, everything, but particularly Daredevil. And you'll never see him more excited if you ask him to draw Darkhawk.
Looking forward to seeing old friends and making new ones.
Tuesday, February 3, 2009
Although I'm not promoting anything (yet), my good friend Mike Le (pictured above) conducted what I think is the best interview I've ever done. Not just because he asked really insightful questions about the comics medium and my writing process. But also because he somehow got me to talk about my embarassing Bar Mitzvah memories, the best strip clubs in LA, and why going to to Tijuana during the San Diego Comic Con would be a bad, bad idea for me.
In addition to being a friend, and the best wingman in LA, he is VP of HQ Entertainment (Tyrese's production company), an accomplished screenwriter, and the creator of the must-read web comic "Don't Forget to Validate Your Parking". It's about the trial and travails of being an assistant in Hollywood, but you don't need to be an industry insider to appreciate it's absurd humor.
Doing interviews with my many talented friends and collaborators has been something I've been thinking of doing here when it's a slow news day/week/month for me. What do you guys think?
Saturday, January 31, 2009
Kansas City, MO (January XX, 2009) – Grounded, Mark Sable’s coming-of-age superhero tale with a clever twist, is available now on iPhone and iPod Touch through Uclick, the #1 distributor of comics and games on mobile phones. The first three issues of the acclaimed series are available for download on the iPhone App Store at $.99(US)cents each.
Grounded, written by Mark Sable and illustrated by Paul Azaceta, starts with the classic superhero-in-training premise, but quickly turns that premise on its ear. When Jonathan Shepherd discovers that his parents are secretly superheroes, he is sent to a special school for kids with superpowers, despite the fact that he has none himself. While other teenagers might wilt under those circumstances, Jonathan remains determined to prove he has the makeup of a hero.
“Some comic books only claim to have an everyman hero,” said Uclick CEO Douglas Edwards. “Grounded really has it. Jonathan is a hero in a way anyone can be, but few actually are.”
“Grounded is a six-issue character study that takes place in its own brightly colored, self-contained universe,” said Edwards. “Above all else, that makes it instantly accessible – a perfect fit for the Uclick iPhone player, because instant accessibility is what our player is all about.”
Uclick has created dozens of comic apps for the iPhone and iPod Touch in recent weeks, including Bone, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Godland, Halo & Sprocket, as well as webcomic collections Pibgorn, Basic Instructions and We the Robots and the manga hit Dramacon.
The iPhone Uclick apps feature tap-and-swipe, panel-by-panel controls. The large multi-touch screen on the Apple devices enables clear, high-resolution presentation, but users can also utilize the zoom feature to get an even closer look at any panel.
To get Grounded and other favorite comic books, manga and graphic novels for the iPhone and iPod Touch go to the new Uclick Web App by typing Uclick.com into the Safari browser or visit the App Store on the iPhone or on iTunes.
UCLICK® is the leading digital entertainment provider of humor, comic strips, manga, graphic novels, editorial cartoons, and other content for desktop, web and mobile phones. Uclick is also the leading creator and distributor of crosswords, and other word and number puzzles. Partners featuring Uclick content include the leading consumer portals Yahoo!, MSNBC.com, New York Times, Slate.com, washingtonpost.com, CNN, USA Today, and AOL. Uclick features include the top brand franchises Garfield, Doonesbury, Calvin and Hobbes, Paul Frank, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, TOKYOPOP, USA Today, Pat Sajak, Wyland, and many more. Uclick creative content and services are available through the GoComics.com website, U.S. mobile phone operators, the iTunes App Store, and other distributors worldwide. UCLICK, LLC is a division of Andrews McMeel Universal, the leading newspaper syndicate and publisher of humor books and calendars in North America.
For more information on Uclick, visit http://rs6.net/tn.jsp?t=mumq4ucab.0.0.mrm4ttbab.0&p=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.uclick.com.