Monday, March 21, 2011
For the foreseeable future, I'm going to be shifting my blogging over to http://marksable.tumblr.com/.
It seems that's where all the cool kids are at these days. I reserve the right to come back here if that changes, but I think I'm reaching more people there. I hope to be posting there a lot more frequently than I have here, and really make it a destination worth coming to more often. If you haven't had a chance to check it out, please do. And as always, if there are things you want me to post (process stuff about a particular comic, for example), let me know.
Friday, March 4, 2011
GRAVEYARD OF EMPIRES (and GROUNDED, and AMAZING SPIDER-MAN) artist Paul Azaceta and I will be at Emerald City Comic Con in Seattle THIS WEEKEND, March 4-6 2011, at Table G-25.
We’ll be showing off art from Graveyard, Paul will be sketching, and I should have copies of all my books for sale. That includes RIFT RAIDERS, my Kickstart book with Julian Totino Tedesco (pictured above). Rift Raiders sold out from Diamond, and while it will be re-solicited, if you are there this may be your only chance to to get a copy until June.
If there’s anything you’d like me to bring in particular (some single issue of GROUNDED or FEARLESS, for example), let me know. But as much as I like to sell stuff, the reason ECCC is one of my favorite cons is the fan interaction. It’s more comic-centric than most cons, and while well attended it’s still intimate enough to actually converse. I’m always happy to chat comics, please come by and say hello.
I should also mention there will be a number of my collaborators there besides Paul, including Sean Murphy (Teen Titans: Cold Case, Joe the Barbarian), Jeremy Haun (Two-Face: Year One) and Matthew Southworth (What If? Spider-Man, Stumptown). Matthew did fill-in work on Spidey which I've never gotten to thank him for.
All will be happy to sign. Too many friends to name, and overall one of the strongest talent lineups I’ve seen.
I'll be reachable and try to update my goings on via Twitter.
(Sorry - this is pretty much the same post I put up on Tumblr, but I'm not fully packed and I'm leaving for the airport soon).
Thursday, March 3, 2011
I think it's both of our best work, and in many ways it feels like my career is coming full circle. Five years after GROUNDED, with a lot more work under our belt, we bring a lot more to the table. This is also a collaboration in the true sense of the word. Paul has had significant input into the story, and I'm hitting him hard with reference and trying to push the boundaries of what either of us has done on the page. Definitely a case where the whole will be better than the sum of the parts.
Here's the solicit:
Afghanistan. Marines face a never-ending onslaught of Taliban. But even hell can get worse. The dead are coming back to life in The Graveyard of Empires, and only together can both sides of today’s conflict survive tomorrow’s undead assault.
It's full color, with 32 full pages of story at the incredibly low price of $2.99. DC and Marvel titles at $2.99 will only give you 20 pages of story these days.
We're looking at "Criminal" model for this book. Basically, to publish it in volumes or seasons. This volume will be 3 issues, and offer a complete story (which will be the equivalent of at least 4 22 page issues), with a beginning, middle and end. If there's demand for it, we have plans for sequels.
This is not just another zombie book. Yes, if you like zombies, you'll get them, and you'll see them used in unique ways. But this is first and foremost a war comic. Paul and I did an incredible amount of research, and I think you'd be hard pressed to find a comic that depicts the reality of war in Afghanistan.
(It's crazy to me that at a time when we are fighting two wars there are little or no war comics -"Garth Ennis' Battlefields, set in WWII, is a notable exception - let alone contemporary ones.)
The pitch for this was "Hurt Locker" meets "Dawn of the Dead". The first issue is certainly closer to the former than the latter. And, like Dawn of the Dead, while it is a genre piece, the zombies serve as a metaphor for something called "insurgent math".
Kill an insurgent, and you are likely to create 10 more - you've pissed of his family and friends, and possibly caused collateral damage to civilians he may be hiding among.
Kill someone in an area where the dead are returning alive, and they'll come back as a zombie, biting and infecting you and your friends, creating more zombies and perpetuating a different kind of endless war.
As seriously as we took the research, this should still be a fun, action-packed book.
I will have more to say and post about this soon, both here and on my new Tumblr blog. Paul and I will also be at Emerald City Comic Con this weekend at table G-25, March 4-6, 2011, where we'll have art to show you and be happy to chat about this.
Sunday, February 20, 2011
Ever since I've had an apartment in LA, Meltdown Comics on Sunset has been my primary comic book retailer. Yes, it helps that I live a few blocks from there. But, as dorky as it is to admit...the fact I could walk to a comic book store did play a role in picking where I live when I'm on the West Coast.
Picking up comics on Wednesday (for those of you who don't read comics regularly) can be what helps you make it through get over the hump of a long week. It gives you something to look forward to Monday and Tuesday when Friday seems so far away.
But for me, Meltdown isn't just a place where I pick up my books, it's a destination. I work from home, primarily, so it's an excuse for me to get out of the house. But even if it weren't for the comics, or the oasis it represent from work, it would still be a great place to hang.
There are great events there, from signings to art exhibits to comedy shows. Most of which have free alcohol. Having grown up in an era when comics were dorky, it still blows my mind that it's considered a cool place to hang out, even for - maybe especially for - civilians. You can take your girlfriend there without having her feel out of place.
(Let me take a quick break here to say that Meltdown is by no means the only great comics store in LA. I'm sure I'll leave some out, but I'd note that Ryan Gottlieb's Golden Apple on Melrose is super well stocked and run, and Ed Greenberg's Collector's Paradise in Winnetka - the valley - is as well, in addition to being kid friendly. And when I'm in Manhattan, I always love stopping by Jim Hanley's Universe in the shadow of the Empire State Building, where Vito and friends have included me in some fantastic signings. I promise I'll give them some ink here at another time, as they've been great to me as well.)
As much as I enjoy the events (particularly when they are about me and my work), it's the weekly conversation I look forward to the most. It's rare to walk in there and not run into a fellow comic creator. In an industry where we're spread all over the world, and in a city when people don't like to travel very far, that's no small thing.
My favorite conversations are with staff, although the line between staff and comics professional is a blurry one. It started when my good friend Matt Gagnon, now the frightfully young and talented Editor in Chief at BOOM! Comics was manager. Caleb Monroe has been behind the counter for as long as I can remember, but it hasn't stopped him from writing books for BOOM! and Archaia, including UNTHINKABLE artist Julian Totino Tedesco's American debut.
Caleb is still there, but now I spend much of my time talking to manager and fellow New Yorker Chris Rosa. Yes, we spend an awful lot that time commiserating about our Knicks and Jets, or Chris' obsession with Namor, the Sub-Mariner. But Chris is also the host of one of, if not the best comics podcasts in the business - THE MELTCAST.
Along with Caleb, former MySpace comics guru and current CBGB/Fraggle Rock writer Sam Humphries, and engineer Aaron Brewer, they've recreated the same atmosphere that makes the store so much fun. The Meltcast is many things - smart, funny, wide-ranging...but more than anything, it's just a great place to talk comics.
They were nice enough to have me again on this past week. Like always, we talked about what's new in the world of comics and about our trade paperback picks of the week (mine were James Robinson's STARMAN Omnibus and Brian K. Vaughan's EX MACHINA, both drawn by Tony HARRIS) - which are offered to Meltdown customers at a substantial discount.
I also got to talk about my work. Because I don't have anything new for sale, it wasn't about plugging, it was a chance to look back at the process of writing TEEN TITANS: COLD CASE and WHAT IF? SPIDER-MAN. I didn't have to shill, and instead I thought I could share some insight on the challenges that come along with writing continuity heavy titles for Marvel and DC.
It's a great episode of a great podcast, and you can listen to it for free here. Since it's not a call in show, I'd love to hear your opinions, and I'm happy to answer whatever questions you may have.
Thanks to the entire Meltcast's, er...cast, for letting me go off on tangents and find my way back, and for not letting me burn TOO many bridges.
Next post: updates on what I'm working on, with art!