Tuesday, April 28, 2009

This is the Samaritan-esque Nerf gun we found for $10 today at Target. We're going to age and distress it for use in my wedding costume. Mmm, pulp gunnery.

My first credit.

It's not too major, but my first officially credited comic creation can be viewed over at the Butterfly homepage. I hope you guys all enjoy. And keep your eyes peeled as I should have another strip going up as part of this story arc sometime in the near future.

Thanks for the support friends!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Batman Interlude

I've been hanging out with my buddy Dean nearly every Tuesday for the last few weeks. This past week was our most productive Tuesday yet, as I bounced ideas for my beloved creator-owned superhero project off of him (to much success) and vice versa. Our conversation turned, as it inevitably does, to Batman. In the process of our conversation we came up with an idea that we both thought would make an intriguing one-shot Batman story. Last night I was discussing this with one of the new friends I've made at Dr. Sketchy's and he suggested I write a script for it as he had a friend who loves to draw Batman that wanted some practice on his sequentials. Thinking I could use as much practice on scripting as this guy probably could on sequentials, I agreed. So here's where you come in gentle readers.

I want you to pool your collective Gotham City knowledge and come up with a good villain for me to use in this one-shot. Without giving the entire story away, it involves a climax where Batman is rescued by someone who had been rescued by Batman in his childhood. A villain has somehow managed to get the drop on our fearless Caped Crusader and this boy from his past, now a man, has to help him out. Why? Well, you'll just have to wait and see won't you?

I don't want the Joker, Penguin, Two-Face, etc. Dig deep friends, get into the darker corners of this famous burg, and give me someone truly obscure and truly awesome to pit against the Dark Knight. And don't hesitate to send me some silly ideas as well.

Need a little inspiration? Check this out.

And in case any DC lawyers are trolling the internet looking for people to sue, don't worry. I'm not planning on publishing, selling, or otherwise infringing your copyright. This is just an exercise. If I'm going to be the best Batman writer since Morrison, you'll need me to practice.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Writer's Block? Fire up the Bat-signal.

Around the time the Dark Knight hit theaters, Borders ran a "Buy 4 get 1 Free" promotion on all their graphic novels. Normally I wouldn't buy my trades from a chain bookstore. Normally, I'm not in a chain bookstore unless it's to kill time before a movie or something of the like. This particular day I was on a break from work, had some extra money, and decided the deal was too good to pass up. Borders, in their infinite wisdom, slapped that promotional sticker on every damn book in their Comics section. One such book was the Essential Batman Encyclopedia, a rather weighty tome (which was not a graphic novel) that had recently been released by Ballantine/Del Rey. I purchased it and it immediately became my go-to book for bathroom reading. The editor who compiled this book is a Batman enthusiast like no other. Each entry is painstakingly researched and the book gives you a very rich look into Gotham City and it's people without buying over sixty years worth of comic books.

What does this have to do with writer's block, you might ask? Well for me it has everything to do with it. Now I know that some writers don't even believe in writer's block, that it's just an excuse bad writers use to justify the fact that they really can't tell a story. To be fair, certain writers in this world have I'm sure claimed they had writer's block just about as long as they've claimed they were writers. Pesonally, I believe it exists. Is it the near mythic beast we've made it out to be, only to be defeated by performing some dangerous eldritch ritual? No. But even the best of us get hung up or burnt out, even on our favorite stories. For me, the Essential Batman Encylopedia helps with that.

Why Batman, then? If you were to ask me 100 times what my dream job would be, I would answer you 100 times that my dream job is writing Batman comics. Were I to go back to the very beginning of consciousnesses, to the earliest days of my childhood, and count up from there through all the heroes, fictional and otherwise, that I've encountered, Batman would be the most important. No figure in the history of the written, the spoken, the performed word has had a more profound affect on me than the Caped Crusader. To be able to contribute to the tapestry of his myth would be the most rewarding thing I could ever dream of doing.

What's that got to do with writer's block? Plenty. As some of you know and others of you don't, I'm writing a story set in the Old West that is largely influenced by Beowulf. As only two of you know, I am also currently working on character design and plot points for a superhero comic I hope to write for a very, very long time. Beyond that, I am a very popular if not prolific essayist at cc2k.us, a writer of short fiction, and a now occasional contributor to Dean Trippe's Butterfly. I have plenty of things to work on, but even I struggle from the onset of ennui. Being unemployed can give you tons of time to work on creative projects but it can also just as easily sap your will when you start thinking about all the stress it causes. Batman saves me from all that. These days, whenever I get bored or discouraged or "blocked," I just pick up that Batman Encyclopedia and a notebook and go to work. I'll find obscure characters with rich and interesting details, cross-reference them to other characters, places, events, and begin to weave my own rich stories around them, my pen rapidly filling up lines in a composition book marked plainly as the "Batman Book."

What's the point of all that if I don't even work for DC Comics? What's the point if writing Batman is something only a very lucky few get the chance to do? Because I'm a damn juggernaut, that's why. Because I'm an unstoppable tornado of will, luck, and goddamned obstinance. Because someday I will get a phonecall from the editorial staff of DC Comics asking me to provide them with a few pitches for some new Batman stories. When that day comes, I'll be ready, because I let the Bat be stronger than the block.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Read 'em and...um...enjoy. Don't weep, there's no need for weeping.

So, in case those of you out there in the beard-o-sphere were wondering what was on my reading list this week, here's a quick rundown. (Which I apparently know a lot more about than Jim Halpert, just sayin'.)

Green Lantern #39 - For those of you on teh webs hating on this because, "gah, it's still not Blackest Night? Ugh, how long do we have to wait?" Just take your Cheetoh's stained fingers from the keyboard and enjoy the ride, huh? Suspense is what good writers try to build in order to make a rich and engaging story. If you want nothing but surface, go read 300.

Ghost Rider #33: I know I'm a couple of weeks behind on this but egads what a book! Occasionally something comes along that you feel like was written right at you, and that was this book for me. I've been enjoying the hell out of Jason Aaron's run on GR, but with this issue Tony Moore took over and the art jumped a few hundred notches. At least in my opinion it did. But beyond that, Aaron gets deep into the Spirits of Vengeance mythology and deep into his own badass influences. Seriously, Jason Aaron and I must be best friends in some possible future. It's the only explanation for how similar our tastes are. There is a goddamned Bandit and Snowman Spirt of Vengeance team running down a vampire Buford T. Justice and son. Gah!

World of New Krypton #2: Talk about building to something! The Oans finally decide that it's time to dispatch Hal Jordan (don't ask about continuity, just don't) to this new planet that's just popped up in his sector. Meanwhile, Superman does some good ol' fashioned cattle wranglin' (so to speak) and things get a little Marxy with the Labor Guild. This issue ends on a great cliffhanger and it's in danger of becoming my favorite book in the whole New Krypton arc.

Superman #686: I know I'm behind on this too, but whatever. Yet another great book coming out of the New Krypton story-arc. I really like what's going on here and I love how Robinson, Rucka, and Gates are writing the Super Family. I subscribe to the "Grant (Morrison) and Geoff (Johns) know more about Supes than anyone" club, so I have pretty high standards. These guys continually meet them. I loved this issue because we got to see Superman tying up all his loose ends before he leaves for New Krypton. Seeing him set Mon-El up to act in his stead is awesome. I really like the team he's assembled to help him acclimate to his new life. Steel keeps an eye on him, Jimmy helps him decide what it really means to be Superman, and The Guardian sets him up with an awesome secret identity. The issue also leaves you with the slightest bit of dread that maybe Mon-El won't be as good at this as we hope, that possibly this power could go to his head? Hmmmm. I can't wait to see.

Wolverine: Weapon X #1: I have to agree with the general consensus around the net that this issue just felt too short. Aaron did manage to pack enough into the truncated space to get me seriously excited about what's to come. We all love Wolverine. He's one of the most recognizable icons of the Marvel Universe and the X-movies have done wonders for his cross media popularity. So it would be easy to make him a a tired collection of one-liners and silent action panels, but that's not Aaron's style. Wolverine is Jason Aaaron's style, and it shows in this book. The pencils are incredible too. Ron Garney is really flexing his artistic muscle on this book. Given Aaron's propensity for going over the top, I can't wait to see what he'll have Garney pencilling over the next four issues. If this had been a bit longer it would have been my favorite book of the week. As it stands, I want a little more. But that's what good stories do, they leave you wanting more.

I also read Batman: Battle for the Cowl #2. It was nice to finally see Dick Grayson accept his responsibility. I suppose I'd just hoped, as I'd fantasized about this moment since childhood, that a better writer would be the one helping Dick get there. This book just bores the hell out of me and I find the dialouge to be completely unrealistic. Nobody talks the way Tony Daniel has them talking. Anyway, it's almost over, and once it is we get Grant on a new Batman title and Rucka on Detective. What's that? Judd who? I assure you I have no idea what you're talking about.

I'm also catching up on the Alan Moore stuff I've neglected over the years. Mainly it's the America's Best Comics stuff, but I also got around to reading Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow. Great stuff. Can't believe it's taken me this long to read it. This week I finished Tom Strong Book 1 and Top 10 Book 2. Both were excellent, as is to be expected.

That's it for today. Keep reading and having a good time!

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Was Superman A Spy?!

This is a new book collecting Brian Cronin's columns from http://comicbookresources.com . The column is infinitely enjoyable and the book will make a great addition to any coffee table, bookshelf, or bathroom.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Howler monkeys.

Jaguars are still in the running, but I'm really leaning monkey.

That means Delaney will probably never read it, but that's a chance I have to take.


Wednesday, April 1, 2009

I spent the last couple of days hanging out with Dean, being relatively unproductive while I watched him being relatively productive. It's been fun to sort of watch the coloring process unfold in between glances at the TV for No Heroics (Great!) and Punisher: War Zone (Abysmal!). He and I are getting pretty close and it's awesome. It's nice to have a friend that is on the same wavelength as me creatively, but it's also nice to have someone new in my life that I can really trust. People like that don't come along too often and I'm thankful for it when they do.

As far as advances in the quest for comic stardom are concerned, I've been doing research on my Wendigo project. I'm a big fan of the Western genre in both print and screen so being able to do research for my own piece of that mythological tapestry is really rewarding. I tell you, research is a lot of fun when it's not for a fifteen page term paper. Most of my research recently has been on Native Americans and their interaction with settlers and lawmen in the Old West. Like most Americans I was well aware of how we'd treated the native people of this land, but I was shocked at the sheer tenacity and maliciousness of it. Duplicity on a grand scale, as we crawfished on nearly every deal we made with them. Pretty despicable stuff.

Anyway, research for that project is coming along nicely and I honestly think I'll be to a point where I can begin the roughs for the first script soon. At this point I'm just finding ways to flesh out the environment and the characters. Once that's done, I'll be ready to start on the scripting process. I'm excited!

So this week I only picked up a few new books. I grabbed that new Seaguy number one by Grant Morrison and Cameron Stewart. You really can't ask for a better team on a book. Morrison has become my favorite writer working in the medium and Cam Stewart is just phenomenal. His work on Brubaker's Catwoman is some of the best comic art I've ever seen. I'm going to wait to read this newest Seaguy though as I haven't read the original series. Being that I'm a completist, I'd like to read the other first.

I also picked up Flash: Rebirth which was good but not great. Ethan Van Sciver's art has never really knocked me over. Dean put it well when he commented on how Van Sciver tends to make the scenes meant to depict superspeed seem so damned static. Also, vomiting lightning is not awesome. I'll stick with it, because it's Geoff Johns writing Barry Allen, but I wasn't blown away by the first issue.

I was however blown away by Mark Waid's Irredeemable. It's the new superhero series from Waid and BOOM! Studios. Advanced reviews of the story were very favorable and I can see why. In one single issue Waid manages to build a rich world full of intriguing characters while filling you with absolute fear and dread at the thought of a superman gone mad. Really excellent stuff (as usual) from Mark Waid. There's a really great afterword by Grant Morrison in the back. It's definitely worth a look for anyone who loves Morrison or Waid.

That's about it for today. I'm off to read some more comics. Take care!