Monday, December 31, 2007

Jump

Just wishing a healthy new year to all. Big butterfly kisses to you and yours -- especially to all the moms you guys have given Book of Fate and Identity Crisis to. Still startles me.



And in this new year, try something you're scared of. For me, it was admittedly the head shave. Terrified me. But mattered so much to leap off the plank.



Much leaping to you.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Quiet Lately

Been very quiet lately. It's not because of vacation. Hunkering down here and trying hard to finish a draft of the new novel. Still a ways to go, but chugging along. More news for sure soon.


Also, just spoke to people from DC and Marvel about news plans, upcoming books, gossip, etc -- comics will have a great next year. Some truly cool things are on their way.


Also finally saw No Country for Old Men. The Coens are back. Boy, I missed them.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Happy Happys

Just swelling with some pent up love and thanks for you all. I get mushy this time of year. I'm soft. I'm okay with it. And this morning, I got an email from a younger writer friend who's still trying to break into the novel world. His first novel is being rejected in lots of places. Just like mine. But he's still starting the next one. I can't tell you how much I hope you do the same in your own life. Never never never never let anyone tell you no. It's the only reason I'm so lucky to sit here today typing this instead of still scooping ice cream. So dream big. And love what you love. And thanks for checking in.



Also, early present: got this image from the Italian publisher of an Alan Moore tribute book I contributed to.



Gabriele Dell'Otto did it over Dave Gibbons's pencils.



Gabriele Dellotto

You can see the credits of the book here: (all profits donated/to be donated to AIMA, Italian Alzheimer org. Just a print run of 1,000 copies for the Italian market.)



And something about the Dell'Otto illo creation here:

Thursday, December 20, 2007

I Wanted to Buy This

I promise, this is true: for a moment about two weeks ago, I told my wife I wanted to buy the Magna Carta. Now, let's not let the fact that I couldn't possibly come up with the expected $30 million for it get in the way of a good story. So I even mention this thought to my wife. She tells me I'm a schmuck. But let's examine: you know, just KNOW this thing is gonna go up in value. This isn't comic art. It's the MAGNA CARTA!



And now, I see how right I was. Note to self: next time, buy Magna Carta.




Magna Carta sells for $21.3M in New York
From Tahoo News



NEW YORK - A 710-year-old copy of the declaration of human rights known as the Magna Carta — the version that became part of English law — was auctioned Tuesday for $21.3 million, a Sotheby's spokeswoman said.



The document, which had been expected to draw bids of $30 million or higher, was bought by David Rubenstein of The Carlyle Group, a private equity firm, the spokeswoman said.


Monday, December 17, 2007

JLA Statue

Been waiting for so long to reveal this. I still think the cover to issue 7 is my favorite piece of art Ed did, and now, you get to own it for yourself. I begged them to do this. Of course, I wanted the whole team too, but the financials and tiny details are so hard. Anyway, I think it's a knockout and next to my Dark Knight statue (the first one, duh) and a Charlie Brown one, will be the only one I'll put in my office.




JLA BUILD-A-SCENE STATUE: PART 1
Based on the art of Ed Benes
Sculpted by Alterton Bizarre


(click on image to enlarge)




Ed Benes' legendary image from the cover of JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA #7 stands tall as it becomes a multi-part statue! Sold in three parts, each features two of the world's greatest superheroes and includes a piece of a bonus Red Tornado figure. (To fully assemble Red Tornado, all three Build-a-Scene statues are needed.) All of the pieces slide together to make a complete cover scene in striking 3-D!



  • The first part of the statue includes Batman, Wonder Woman, and the base and tornado portion of Red Tornado.
  • Part two will include Superman, Black Canary, and the torso of Red Tornado.
  • Part three will include Green Lantern, The Flash, and the head and cape of Red Tornado.

The JLA BUILD-A-SCENE STATUE is a limited-edition, hand-painted, cold-cast porcelain statue measuring approximately 8" tall x 14" wide x 10" deep when fully assembled. (Each piece measures approximately 8" tall x 5" wide x 5" deep, except for Red Tornado, which measures approximately 10.375" tall x 8.5" wide x 5.5" deep.) It includes a certificate of authenticity and is packaged in a 4-color box. This limited edition statue is manufactured to order.



Advance-solicited; on sale August 13, 2007 * Statue * $150 US



Minor assembly is required.





Friday, December 14, 2007

Comics for Soldiers

When the war started, I got an email from a soldier on a submarine saying how small their library was there and how much he liked reading The First Counsel. I love that guy. Within a month, we'd gotten a bunch of publishers to donate 40,000 thrillers to the troops (not just mine...we got everyone). The USO helped distribute and fun for all.



All these years later, people aren't nearly sending what they used to. So please take a look at this. Plus, we love Whitney and trust her with anything.




Shipping culture across the globe
via Pop Candy by Whitney Matheson on 12/12/07



I believe no one should be deprived of comics -- when I'm having a rough day, a good book almost always puts a smile on my face.



The non-profit group Heroes4Heroes also appreciates the power of pop culture, and they send comics and other goodies to the troops overseas. Visitors to their website can donate money, send them items, submit a soldier's address and learn more about the organization. The main page includes video from a recent live-art fundraising event, where artists drew amazing portraits of Captain America and other superheroes.



Cheers to the Dallas-based group for "keeping our soldiers culturally tuned in." Next time you head to the comic-book shop, consider picking up two issues of Angel instead of one.


Thursday, December 13, 2007

Juno and KITT

Saw the movie Juno last night and just was won over by it. For fifteen minutes, you worry it's a Wes Anderson or Heathers or something-else rip off, but no need to worry at all. It's so darn fun and good. Plus, anything the studios send me free to screen I automatically love even more (that's my psych disclaimer). Plus, Michael Cera and Jason Bateman? Was Arrested Development the best show after Freaks & Geeks? Yes, Santa, yes it was.



And on that theme, the voice of KITT for the new Knight Rider movie? Will Arnett. I hate when they market to our geek love. And I hate it even more when it works.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Gene Ha

Dinner with Gene Ha was a like a rock and roll tour bus, but without all the blow and women and well, everything. But we had corn bread! Anyway, love the guy -- and loved every waiter and waitress who stopped at the table as I was oogling his art.



Otherwise, much love to this blog post from (postmodernbarney):




Thursday, December 06, 2007
What Nerds Need To Remember


"Made lots of money" is not the same thing as "was good."



"I liked it more than X" is not the same thing as "it was better than X."



"They" don't owe "the fans" anything.



"The fans" did not save it.



"The people who only like it now that it's popular" are not inferior to "the longterm fans."



"Enjoyable" is not the same as "good."



The creators are not beholden to your "personal canon" or fan-fiction.



"They" are not out to personally ruin your enjoyment.



Someone who likes it for a different reason than you do is not wrong.



Someone who doesn't like it is not wrong.


Friday, December 07, 2007

Sharks! And Big Dinner

Saw a great documentary last night -- Sharkwater, which was done by Rob Stewart. I never thought I'd hug a shark, but you have to love this kid's passion. Plus, there's a great interview moment with one of the renegades of the environmental movement. He's talking about how most people don't care what happens in the world. Most people don't want to make a change. Then he looks right at the camera and says, But you only need a few.



Ohh, I feel like I'm in college again discussing theories of the universe. Anyway, trailer is here



Also, after 25 comics pages, and two covers together, tonight I finally get to meet Gene Ha face-to-face. This is the benefit of living where there's warm weather: people come down to get away from the cold. And go to comic conventions.



Now to figure out if there's more work we can do together...

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Dead Man Lives!

I am so obsessed with this story...it just keeps getting better.




Sons of 'Dead' British Man Lash Out at Parents
Thursday , December 06, 2007



Panama City — The sons of "back-from-the-dead" canoeist John Darwin have declared they are the victims of a scam after their mother admitted knowing her husband was alive.



Anthony and Mark Darwin have now turned their backs on their parents.



In a joint statement the sons said: "Having seen the recent media speculation surrounding our parents ever since our dad was arrested, we are very much in an angry and confused state of mind.



"If the papers' allegations of a confession from our mom are true then we very much feel that we have been the victims in a large scam.



"How could our mom continue to let us believe our dad had died when he was very much alive?



"We have not spoken to either of our parents since our dad's arrest and at this present time we want no further contact with them."



Anne Darwin is said to have come clean after a picture was discovered showing the couple in Panama in 2006 - three years after he was declared dead.



"My sons will never forgive me. They knew nothing," the 55-year-old told reporters. "They thought John was dead. Now they are going to hate me."



John Darwin's father Ronnie, 90, was shocked at the news.



"I can't believe his wife lived down the road from me and said nothing if she knew he was alive," he said.



Anne Darwin, who moved to Panama just weeks ago, also admitted cashing in a life insurance policy - but says she got the money in good faith.



And she is now preparing to return to England to face questioning by detectives after Sky sources revealed the couple were involved in a "plot."



John Darwin disappeared in 2002 in a suspected North Sea canoeing accident.



The 57-year-old appeared as if out of the blue on Saturday, when he walked into a London police station and announced: "I think I am a missing person."



He has since been arrested on suspicion of fraud and has been passed fit to be questioned by Cleveland police.


Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Lawyers Ruin Disney World

When I was in Disney a few weeks back, I saw this and almost fell over. Sad part is, they used one of our jokes: What's the mountain's brother's name? Cliff.



Now the bastards own it forever. There goes the toy line and the Macy's parade balloon I envisioned.




Disney lawyers enstupidize ride with dumb legal disclaimer
Posted by Cory Doctorow, November 20, 2007 10:13 AM | permalink





Louis sez, "The Monsters Inc. Laugh Floor in Walt Disney World lets you text in jokes to be used in the ride, a comedy club where CGI characters voiced and choreographed by castmembers backstage do standup and interact with the audience. Disney's lawyers shoehorned this lengthy, decidedly Un-Magic disclaimer into all the signage in the ride, letting you know that Mike Wyzowski, Monsters Inc and, now, your jokes are owned by Disney. Now go have fun, kids!" Link (Thanks, Louis!)



Tuesday, December 04, 2007

JLA: Lightning Saga

Just got the proofs for the JLA hardcover of Lightning Saga. It's just packed with comics -- not just the JSA crossover, but issue 11 with Gene Ha, 12 with Benes and Wight, and issue 0 with everyone. Plus Patton Oswalt doing the intro. And the interesting part is the cover. This weekend, I saw two comics on the main octagons in Barnes & Noble: Dark Tower and Shooting War. Comics are competing for that mainstream eye. So expect a Mr. Alex Ross making a great appearance.



And for those who aren't watching, the next step in the story is taking place in Action Comics right now with Geoff writing. Superman and the Legion of Superheroes. Just check it out. Worth every penny.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Mego Superheroes!

In my 10 years of writing, I've only blurbed I think six books. Here's the seventh. Yes, it's written by a pal (c'mon, you think the other 6 blurbs weren't for friends?), but I so heart this book. When I was little, on New Year's Eve, my grandfather would line up all my Megos and action figures on the kitchen table like they were all celebrating with us. I had Batman and Robin. They were the only ones I was really celebrating with. And I never lost the gloves or boots (for more than a few days). When I graduated college, I used to hunt comic conventions for more Megos. I found Batman. I found Robin. Then I found eBay. It was no fun. I didn't buy a single one online.



And so, here's Ben Holcomb's book: Mego 8" Super-Heroes: World's Greatest Toys!. It's obsessive and beautiful and insane. Just like us. He did this sucker all himself. How do we not support it?



There is a 32 page preview below. And buy away. Best holiday gift/coffee table book this year.





Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Heroes Indeed

Most of you know my love of The Hero Initiative, which gives money to comic writers and artists who need it. Bad. We donate ALL the profits from our t-shirt/whatever sales to them. And here's why. Yes, it's a week after Thanksgiving, but that doesn't mean we stop giving thanks.



Giving Thanks, Indeed
Posted by McLauchlin at 11:09:00 AM


I just wrote checks totaling $3000 for a creator who Hero just benefited. He wishes to remain anonymous, but our Disbursement Committee knows who he is. He lives in an area of the country, where the cost of living is moderately cheap, but still…he and his wife just rolled pennies to buy milk, and they luckily had a coupon for a free box of Cheerios. After the milk, they had $3 to their names.



The creator in question had cancer about a decade ago, and his wife was diagnosed with cancer a few years later. When she found she was going to lose her hair in treatment, she had it cut off and donated to the Locks of Love program. That's just the kind of folks they are. Her cancer is still an issue to this day. It took six years for her to get government help, as with no under-18 children living in their home, they had to get below 200% under the federal poverty guidelines before they could qualify.



Probably needless to say, due to health and mobility issues, finding work is difficult for these folks. The funny part is they're STILL plugging away, still writing and even self-publishing comics. Their spirit is indomitable. Some of the checks I wrote were to a landlord for rent and a propane company for heat. I spoke to said recipient today to tell him the checks went out and he remarked that "The prospect of a warm winter with no bills facing disconnect is more than we hoped for."



And it hit me: He had already resigned himself to the fate that the heat was probably going to get turned off for part of this winter. It was just going to happen. Until us. And until you, reading this.



So there. Just a quick reminder that the work we do, yes, is indeed important. Thanks to all who have donated their money, time, effort, and energies.



And happy Thanksgiving weekend, huh?



Jim McLauchlin


Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Sesame Street - Adults Only

Sesame Street - Adults Only

This saddens me so damn much. Are we really that sheltered?




Sweeping the Clouds Away

By VIRGINIA HEFFERNAN

From the New York Times



Sunny days! The earliest episodes of “Sesame Street” are available on digital video! Break out some Keebler products, fire up the DVD player and prepare for the exquisite pleasure-pain of top-shelf nostalgia.



Just don’t bring the children. According to an earnest warning on Volumes 1 and 2, “Sesame Street: Old School” is adults-only: “These early ‘Sesame Street’ episodes are intended for grown-ups, and may not suit the needs of today’s preschool child.”



Say what? At a recent all-ages home screening, a hush fell over the room. “What did they do to us?” asked one Gen-X mother of two, finally. The show rolled, and the sweet trauma came flooding back. What they did to us was hard-core. Man, was that scene rough. The masonry on the dingy brownstone at 123 Sesame Street, where the closeted Ernie and Bert shared a dismal basement apartment, was deteriorating. Cookie Monster was on a fast track to diabetes. Oscar’s depression was untreated. Prozacky Elmo didn’t exist.



Nothing in the children’s entertainment of today, candy-colored animation hopped up on computer tricks, can prepare young or old for this frightening glimpse of simpler times. Back then — as on the very first episode, which aired on PBS Nov. 10, 1969 — a pretty, lonely girl like Sally might find herself befriended by an older male stranger who held her hand and took her home. Granted, Gordon just wanted Sally to meet his wife and have some milk and cookies, but . . . well, he could have wanted anything. As it was, he fed her milk and cookies. The milk looks dangerously whole.



Live-action cows also charge the 1969 screen — cows eating common grass, not grain improved with hormones. Cows are milked by plain old farmers, who use their unsanitary hands and fill one bucket at a time. Elsewhere, two brothers risk concussion while whaling on each other with allergenic feather pillows. Overweight layabouts, lacking touch-screen iPods and headphones, jockey for airtime with their deafening transistor radios. And one of those radios plays a late-’60s news report — something about a “senior American official” and “two billion in credit over the next five years” — that conjures a bleak economic climate, with war debt and stagflation in the offing.



The old “Sesame Street” is not for the faint of heart, and certainly not for softies born since 1998, when the chipper “Elmo’s World” started. Anyone who considers bull markets normal, extracurricular activities sacrosanct and New York a tidy, governable place — well, the original “Sesame Street” might hurt your feelings.



I asked Carol-Lynn Parente, the executive producer of “Sesame Street,” how exactly the first episodes were unsuitable for toddlers in 2007. She told me about Alistair Cookie and the parody “Monsterpiece Theater.” Alistair Cookie, played by Cookie Monster, used to appear with a pipe, which he later gobbled. According to Parente, “That modeled the wrong behavior” — smoking, eating pipes — “so we reshot those scenes without the pipe, and then we dropped the parody altogether.”



Which brought Parente to a feature of “Sesame Street” that had not been reconstructed: the chronically mood-disordered Oscar the Grouch. On the first episode, Oscar seems irredeemably miserable — hypersensitive, sarcastic, misanthropic. (Bert, too, is described as grouchy; none of the characters, in fact, is especially sunshiney except maybe Ernie, who also seems slow.) “We might not be able to create a character like Oscar now,” she said.



Snuffleupagus is visible only to Big Bird; since 1985, all the characters can see him, as Big Bird’s old protestations that he was not hallucinating came to seem a little creepy, not to mention somewhat strained. As for Cookie Monster, he can be seen in the old-school episodes in his former inglorious incarnation: a blue, googly-eyed cookievore with a signature gobble (“om nom nom nom”). Originally designed by Jim Henson for use in commercials for General Foods International and Frito-Lay, Cookie Monster was never a righteous figure. His controversial conversion to a more diverse diet wouldn’t come until 2005, and in the early seasons he comes across a Child’s First Addict.



The biggest surprise of the early episodes is the rural — agrarian, even — sequences. Episode 1 spends a stoned time warp in the company of backlighted cows, while they mill around and chew cud. This pastoral scene rolls to an industrial voiceover explaining dairy farms, and the sleepy chords of Joe Raposo’s aimless masterpiece, “Hey Cow, I See You Now.” Chewing the grass so green/Making the milk/Waiting for milking time/Waiting for giving time/Mmmmm.



Oh, what’s that? Right, the trance of early “Sesame Street” and its country-time sequences. In spite of the show’s devotion to its “target child,” the “4-year-old inner-city black youngster” (as The New York Times explained in 1979), the first episodes join kids cavorting in amber waves of grain — black children, mostly, who must be pressed into service as the face of America’s farms uniquely on “Sesame Street.”



In East Harlem and Bedford-Stuyvesant in 1978, 95 percent of households with kids ages 2 to 5 watched “Sesame Street.” The figure was even higher in Washington. Nationwide, though, the number wasn’t much lower, and was largely determined by the whims of the PBS affiliates: 80 percent in houses with young children. The so-called inner city became anywhere that “Sesame Street” played, because the Children’s Television Workshop declared the inner city not a grim sociological reality but a full-color fantasy — an eccentric scene, framed by a box and far removed from real farmland and city streets alike.



The concept of the “inner city” — or “slums,” as The Times bluntly put it in its first review of “Sesame Street” — was therefore transformed into a kind of Xanadu on the show: a bright, no-clouds, clear-air place where people bopped around with monsters and didn’t worry too much about money, cleanliness or projecting false cheer. The Upper West Side, hardly a burned-out ghetto, was said to be the model.



People on “Sesame Street” had limited possibilities and fixed identities, and (the best part) you weren’t expected to change much. The harshness of existence was a given, and no one was proposing that numbers and letters would lead you “out” of your inner city to Elysian suburbs. Instead, “Sesame Street” suggested that learning might merely make our days more bearable, more interesting, funnier. It encouraged us, above all, to be nice to our neighbors and to cultivate the safer pleasures that take the edge off — taking baths, eating cookies, reading. Don’t tell the kids.



Points of Entry

Caveat teletor: Volumes 1 and 2 of “Sesame Street: Old School” are available on DVD, which you can sample and buy on Sesameworkshop.org. With a few episodes, extras and celebrity appearances by the likes of Richard Pryor and Lou Rawls, “Old School” sounds harmless enough. But are you ready to mainline this much ’70s nostalgia?



The Way Old: YouTube is great for performance art. If 1969 is not far back enough for you, how’s 1935? The Oscar-winning short film “How to Sleep,” by the Algonquin Round-Tabler Robert Benchley, can be found here in sumptuous black-and-white; search for his name and the film’s title on YouTube.



Come of Age: Marshall Herskovitz and Edward Zwick, the men of “My So-Called Life” and “thirtysomething,” have at last introduced their online-only young-adult series, “Quarterlife.” It started Nov. 11 on MySpaceTV.com, and it marks the first time a network-quality series — a long indie film, really — has been produced directly for the Internet. If the old times unnerve you, welcome to the new times.


Thursday, November 22, 2007

What I'm Thankful For

Here in the United States, we celebrate Thanksgiving, where the tradition is to at least think about what you're thankful for. And so...



  • I'm thankful for my family.
  • I'm thankful for those of you who check in here every day.
  • I'm thankful for those who come every once in awhile.
  • I'm thankful for all the people who hate this nicey-nice and keep us honest.
  • I'm thankful for Charles Schulz and Snoopy, no matter what the new bio says.
  • I'm thankful for Kermit the Frog and making millions of people happy.
  • I'm thankful that when I show my mom the OK Go video on the treadmills (since she was NOT one of the 25 million who already viewed it on YouTube), she loved it.
  • I'm thankful that when my dad watched the OK Go video, he walked away bored after ten seconds.
  • I'm thankful that there are young men and women fighting for this country.
  • I'm thankful that there are people here fighting to get them home.
  • I'm thankful that comic books are cool again (first time since the 1940s).
  • I'm thankful that we get so upset when we think this country isn't headed in the right direction.
  • I'm thankful that we cheer when we think it is.
  • I'm thankful that writers are standing up to the giant conglomerates.
  • And I'm thankful that Oscar the Grouch is still mean, just like the rest of us.

Enjoy the day and love what you love.



-Brad

Monday, November 19, 2007

Writers Strike

I love this email. Reminds me why it's so damn great to have writers on your side.




The WGAE and the WGAW issued this statement in response to the AMPTP's misleading newspaper ads:



Nice try, AMPTP. In the words of the late Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan, everyone is entitled to their own opinions, but not their own facts. The AMPTP's paid and patronizing advertisement in yesterday's New York Times and Los Angeles Times is guilty of what most charitably could be called sins of omission.



The AMPTP maintains, "It is important to make clear that writers currently do receive residuals for digital downloading (regardless of whether the download is temporary or permanent)... The Guild is seeking at least a 700 percent increase over what writers currently receive, and more than a 200 percent increase over what they receive for Internet 'pay per view.'"



FACT: In our abandoned negotiations, the AMPTP insisted that the residual rate for digital downloading be pegged to the current rate for DVDs, a penurious third of one cent on the dollar. Let's repeat that: A THIRD OF A PENNY!!



The 700 percent increase they refer to roughly translates as 2.1 cents, the 200 percent as 2.5 cents. The AMPTP, as the saying goes, uses numbers the way a drunk uses a lamppost - more for support than illumination. Do the math and you'll see what we're asking for is nothing more than a small, fair respectful share of revenues.



The AMPTP states that it "has offered to pay writers a percentage of the revenues the producer receives from licensing streamed content on the Internet."



FACT: The AMPTP "offer" would allow them to continue to air the streamed content FOR FREE for the first six weeks after its initial broadcast release. In other words, the time period during which there would be the most demand from the public and the most bang for the advertising buck. After that time is over, they would throw us a fraction of the bone of whatever's left.



According to the AMPTP, "No labor agreement in history has given writers, actors or directors a portion of advertising dollars."



FACT: As their own ad notes, technology is rapidly changing the way our business works. They themselves admit, "There's a paradigm shift in how entertainment is distributed and consumed." They offer streaming video for free, but make millions for the copious advertising that accompanies the content. It's only fair that the creators, the storytellers that make those revenues possible, get a tiny taste of the pie.



Stop spinning and wasting money on expensive ads, AMPTP. Come to the table and bargain.



Contents copyright 2007, Writers Guild of America, East. All rights reserved.

The Writers Guild of America East


Friday, November 16, 2007

Vanity Plates

A reminder for those wondering what to do this weekend: you can still get a free (FREE) copy of The Millionaires on iTunes. Just go there and download away.



Anyhow. This is so easy, but here in Florida, we have vanity central. Like Dave Barry said, we also have every boat named WET DREAM. And so, the best of the best...




ASSMAN
via In The Pink Texas by Pink Lady on 11/12/07


Out of the nine million vanity license plates, roughly one in 10 are in Virginia. This is not news to me. When I was in high school, my personalized plate on my Dodge colt was "YOU WISH."


Sixteen percent of the vanity plates are issued by Virginia, with New Hampshire and Illinois following close behind. Texas has the fewest, with only a half percent of drivers personalizing their plates. But Texas does have the most American eagle-cloaked-in-flag decals, as well as family names like Gonzalez stenciled on their rear windows.


"I think a lot of people have stories to tell and they really want pieces of those stories out there," said Stefan Lonce, an author on the subject. This is exactly why my license plate says "BLOGGER." I couldn't believe it was still available.


Thursday, November 15, 2007

Asperger's

I believe in this kid. Especially what he saves for the end: that if he could take an antidote to "cure" himself, he wouldn't. How can we not believe in that.
Be You. That's it.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Shooting War

Anyone read Shooting War yet? Yes, it's noteworthy because it's a webcomic with loads of press for now being a hardcover graphic novel. And yes, it's from my publisher (who really does believe that these 'funny books' can tackle great stories). But for me, well...artist Dan Goldman is a great guy and from my old 'hood. And beyond that, he's spent the last dozen years busting his ass to bring his vision to life (life being defined as: as many eyeballs as possible). So take a look. And support anyone from your 'hood (except for the dicks who used to make fun of us).

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Reminder: Today. Free Copy Of The Millionaires. Swear.

Just a reminder about the free copy of The Millionaires available now on iTunes or audible.com.



And how could we possibly do this without a true 'voice out' to the master narrator Scott Brick. He's been with us for four novels now and is the only person who I think captures my voice (and makes me sound far tougher and more baritone than I am). As my grandmother said when she first heard him on audio (true story): He sounds handsome.



Here's the post from yesterday...



Okay, we're no Radiohead, but I'm telling you, we've been talking about this for months, and now the publisher is finally doing it. Starting tomorrow, if you go to iTunes or audible.com, you can get a free (really free -- no catch) audio copy of The Millionaires. It's one of my favorite books I've done, and not just because the last hundred pages go into the tunnels under DisneyWorld. So download it free.



Also, just for kicks, you'll see that the rest of the novels are available for only $9.99, which is also kinda insane. But not as insane as FREE!



So go have fun with the free.


Monday, November 12, 2007

Free Copy Of The Millionaires. Swear.

Okay, we're no Radiohead, but I'm telling you, we've been talking about this for months, and now the publisher is finally doing it. Starting tomorrow, if you go to iTunes or audible.com, you can get a free (really free -- no catch) audio copy of The Millionaires. It's one of my favorite books I've done, and not just because the last hundred pages go into the tunnels under DisneyWorld. So download it tomorrow for free.



Also, just for kicks, you'll see that the rest of the novels are available for only $9.99, which is also kinda insane. But not as insane as FREE!



So go tomorrow and have fun with the free.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Brad Back In DC

Okay, are we gonna get a minyan or not? I'm back in the Washington, DC area this Sunday, November 11th for the JCC's Jewish Book Fesitval (details below). I'll be talking about books, comics, and just about anything. So come and nosh.
And as always, happy to sign whatever you want to bring.



See you then.



Sunday, November 11, 11:30 am


JCC of Greater Washington

6125 Montrose Rd.

Rockville, MD 20852

(
Google Map Link
)

301-348-3805


Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Patton Oswalt

Just got the introduction for the next JLA hardcover, written by Patton Oswalt, who...c'mon...we love. And not just because he wrote a beautiful intro. The guy yells out, "Hal Jordan" in the middle of his act to signify will power. My hero.



And yes, this last hardcover has The Lightning Saga as well as issues 11, 12, and zero.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Write Your Novel!

Had no idea, but November is National Novel Writing Month. And so, how can I not plug it? I started by saying, "Everyone has one novel in them, so why not take a shot?" I took my shot. The book failed miserably and still sits on my shelf. But I got the bug. So those waiting, take a shot.




More fun here: http://www.nanowrimo.org/eng/whatisnano and on Wikipedia.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Pilot Of Plane That Dropped A-bomb Dies

This guy fascinates me. Especially the, "slept just fine at night."




Pilot of plane that dropped A-bomb dies


By JULIE CARR SMYTH, Associated Press Writer



COLUMBUS, Ohio - Paul Tibbets, who piloted the B-29 bomber Enola Gay that dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima, died Thursday. He was 92 and insisted for six decades after the war that he had no regrets about the mission and slept just fine at night.



Tibbets died at his Columbus home. He suffered from a variety of health problems and had been in decline for two months.



Tibbets had requested no funeral and no headstone, fearing it would provide his detractors with a place to protest, said Gerry Newhouse, a longtime friend.



Tibbets' historic mission in the plane named for his mother marked the beginning of the end of World War II and eliminated the need for what military planners feared would have been an extraordinarily bloody invasion of Japan. It was the first use of a nuclear weapon in wartime.



The plane and its crew of 14 dropped the five-ton "Little Boy" bomb on the morning of Aug. 6, 1945. The blast killed 70,000 to 100,000 people and injured countless others.



Three days later, the United States dropped a second nuclear bomb on Nagasaki, Japan, killing an estimated 40,000 people. Tibbets did not fly in that mission. The Japanese surrendered a few days later, ending the war.



"I knew when I got the assignment it was going to be an emotional thing," Tibbets told The Columbus Dispatch for a story published on the 60th anniversary of the bombing. "We had feelings, but we had to put them in the background. We knew it was going to kill people right and left. But my one driving interest was to do the best job I could so that we could end the killing as quickly as possible."



Morris Jeppson, the officer who armed the bomb during the Hiroshima flight, said Tibbets was energetic, well-respected and "hard-nosed."



"Ending the war saved a lot of U.S. armed forces and Japanese civilians and military," Jeppson said. "History has shown there was no need to criticize him."



Tibbets, then a 30-year-old colonel, never expressed regret over his role. He said it was his patriotic duty and the right thing to do.



"I'm not proud that I killed 80,000 people, but I'm proud that I was able to start with nothing, plan it and have it work as perfectly as it did," he said in a 1975 interview.



"You've got to take stock and assess the situation at that time. We were at war. ... You use anything at your disposal."



He added: "I sleep clearly every night."



Tibbets took quiet pride in the job he had done, said journalist Bob Greene, who wrote the Tibbets biography, "Duty: A Father, His Son, and the Man Who Won the War."



"He said, 'What they needed was someone who could do this and not flinch — and that was me,'" Greene said.



Paul Warfield Tibbets Jr. was born Feb. 23, 1915, in Quincy, Ill., and spent most of his boyhood in Miami.



He was a student at the University of Cincinnati's medical school when he decided to withdraw in 1937 to enlist in the Army Air Corps.



After the war, Tibbets said in 2005, he was dogged by rumors claiming he was in prison or had committed suicide.



"They said I was crazy, said I was a drunkard, in and out of institutions," he said. "At the time, I was running the National Crisis Center at the Pentagon."



Tibbets retired from the Air Force as a brigadier general in 1966. He later moved to Columbus, where he ran an air taxi service until he retired in 1985.



The National Aviation Hall of Fame in Dayton plans a photographic tribute to Tibbets, who was inducted in 1996.



"There are few in the history of mankind that have been called to figuratively carry as much weight on their shoulders as Paul Tibbets," director Ron Kaplan said in a statement. "Even fewer were able to do so with a sense of honor and duty to their countrymen as did Paul."



Tibbets' role in the bombing brought him fame — and infamy — throughout his life.



In 1976, he was criticized for re-enacting the bombing during an appearance at a Harlingen, Texas, air show. As he flew a B-29 Superfortress over the show, a bomb set off on the runway below created a mushroom cloud.



He said the display "was not intended to insult anybody," but the Japanese were outraged. The U.S. government later issued a formal apology.



Tibbets again defended the bombing in 1995, when an outcry erupted over a planned 50th anniversary exhibit of the Enola Gay at the Smithsonian Institution.



The museum had planned to mount an exhibit that would have examined the context of the bombing, including the discussion within the Truman administration of whether to use the bomb, the rejection of a demonstration bombing and the selection of the target.



Veterans groups objected, saying the proposed display paid too much attention to Japan's suffering and too little to Japan's brutality during and before World War II, and that it underestimated the number of Americans who would have perished in an invasion.



They said the bombing of Japan was an unmitigated blessing for the United States and the exhibit should say so.



Tibbets denounced it as "a damn big insult."



The museum changed its plan and agreed to display the fuselage of the Enola Gay without commentary, context or analysis.



He told the Dispatch in 2005 that he wanted his ashes scattered over the English Channel, where he loved to fly during the war.



Newhouse confirmed that Tibbets wanted to be cremated, but he said relatives had not yet determined how he would be laid to rest.



Tibbets is survived by his wife, Andrea, and three sons — Paul, Gene and James — as well as a number of grandchildren and great-grandchildren. A grandson named after Tibbets followed his grandfather into the military as a B-2 bomber pilot currently stationed in Belgium.



___



On the Net:



Enola Gay Remembered Inc.: http://www.enolagay.org


Thursday, November 01, 2007

Halloween Is Us

Judging by last night's costumes, Star Wars is slowing down, and the superheroes and pirates are going strong. Also, a big Harry Potter contingent. But the one thing I noticed more than anything else was the amount of adults in superhero costumes, especially moms as Wonder Womans and Supergirls. Is this just the insanity that is Florida? What'd you see?



Also, for the DC crowd, I'm at the JCC in Rockville on Sunday the 11th. See you there.



Also, after talking to lots of TV writers, when the writers' strike hits, guess where lots of those writers are going? Comics are going to benefit.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Halloween & Green Arrow

Finally just sat down and watched the mini-documentary on Green Arrow that's in the new Smallville DVD set. Loved it (and not just because I'm yapping in it). Just seeing Denny O'Neil and Neal Adams talking about their approach...I was all goosepimply. There are times where comics/novels seem like nothing more than entertainment and rantings on message boards. And times where they remind you they're history. The latter is so much better.. Especially when compared to the guy from Germany who sent me back a copy of The Book of Fate (called Der Code there) with all sorts of curses and insults written on the covers, and telling me how much I suck.



Also, send in your best Halloween pics. I love seeing what everyone's going as. Like I told my wife, the Black Canary costume has BLOND hair with the fishnets.



She won't listen.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Green Lantern Film

Been getting lots of email about the Green Lantern movie since all three principals are Jack & Bobby people. So stop panicking. Michael and Marc will no doubt be doing the good stuff with the ring slinging. If you don't believe me, check out their current runs on Batman Confidential and Wolverine. I can't wait for it. Very excited about all.




GREG BERLANTI TO DIRECT GREEN LANTERN FILM



DC Comics’ Flash has apparently gotten some love in regards to making the leap to the big screen, and now, according to Variety, the Flash’s pal, Green Lantern is making the move as well, with Greg (Dirty Sexy Money, Brothers & Sisters) Berlanti named by the trade as the director for the film.



Berlanti will write the script for the film with Marc (Wolverine, Amazing Spider-Man under exclusive contract to Marvel, Brothers & Sisters) Guggenheim and Michael (Heroes) Green. Donald De Line will produce, with Andrew Haas named as executive producer.



For the director, this will be his second film – he directed The Broken Hearts Club in 2000.



As with many DC Comics characters, Green Lantern has had a long slog to get to this point – many attempts on the character have been rumored to be in the works over the past years, including a more comedic take with actor Jack Black in the title role.



No word was given as to which Green Lantern will be featured in the film, but, given the recent revamp and return of Hal Jordan to the role, the test pilot introduced in 1959’s Showcase #22 would be the best bet, beating out Alan Scott, John Stewart and Kyle Rayner.



Berlanti told The Hollywood Reporter: "To me, this was on the last great comic book movie that hasn’t been made. It was a comic book with a real mythology that you would see in a lot of the space operas and the sci-fi books. The best part about it, anybody can be become one of the Green Lanterns because anyone can end up with that ring.”



And the Reporter confirms that the film will be about Jordan, adding that the director originally pitched a series of GL movies to Warner Bros., the first being the origin story, showing how Jordan became a member of the Green Lantern Corps.


Thursday, October 25, 2007

Breaking In As A Writer

When Doris Lessing was told she won the Nobel Prize for her novels, her response? "I couldn't care less."


I love her for that. I love anyone that acknowledges how arbitrary and silly and snobby the literature crowd can be. Indeed, my goal has always been to take the barriers down and to let everyone in -- treating everyone -- and all genres (including snob lit, thrillers, and comics) -- equally. And that's why I love this story below.


I remember when Geoff told me it right after it happened. And I remember saying, "Good for you for taking care of the new guy." I tried very much the same this past summer, and I know my guy will be there soon. So to all the writers out there, I believe.


From Newsarama:




WHO IS STERLING GATES? MEETING THE NEW DC WRITER
by Vaneta Rogers



When the solicitation was first released for this week's Tales of the Sinestro Corps: Superman-Prime #1, the response to the writers listed for the comic was pretty universal. "Who is Sterling Gates?"



The unknown writer was listed as a co-writer on the comic along with Geoff Johns because Gates penned the issue's back-up story, a Tales of the Sinestro Corps installment titled, "Fear is a Baby's Cry!" Everyone knew who Johns was, but nobody had heard the name Sterling Gates before.



Then when we interviewed Johns on Newsarama a few weeks ago about the Sinestro Corps War, the writer kept bringing up this guy Sterling Gates again, even mentioning his work on an upcoming Secret Files issue, which sure enough had Gates listed as a co-writer again. And the questions about the mysterious writer continued.



Now it's time to put the mystery to rest. Newsarama tracked down Gates and found out that his story is one most fans will envy terribly, yet one that anyone who's been to a comic convention can completely identify with. Much like the story told in our recent interview with Matt Yocum, another unknown writer given a chance over at Marvel after literally buying time with Joe Quesada, Gates has a unique story of being "discovered" by a generous comics creator – this one involving a drunk friend, an ice cream sundae and a few awkward encounters with Geoff Johns.



Newsarama: When people saw the solicitation, you know what they said. "Who the hell is Sterling Gates?"



Sterling Gates: [laughs] That was my favorite internet post of all time.



NRAMA: You saw that one too, huh?



SG: I did. I did.



NRAMA: Have you written any comics before? Or are you completely new to the industry?



SG: I did some self-published work in college. Some autobiographical, slice-of-life kind of stuff that I wrote and drew – but this is my first foray into the "big leagues" of comicdom.



NRAMA: But you grew up around comics, right?



SG: Sure. My dad owned a comic book store in Tulsa, Okla., called Sooner Books and Comics, which was this really, really tiny used book store, but we had a big comics section. We owned that for over 10 years, and we finally closed in 1998. And so, yeah, comics were always sort of there and a part of my life from about age 7 onward. They were just around our house everywhere. We had a garage full of comics for as long as I could remember and I would sit and read them for hours, then sneak them under the covers and read them in bed.



And when I got to college, I started working part-time at my local comics store, Speeding Bullet Books and Comics in Norman, Okla.



NRAMA: When you went to college at University of Oklahoma, what was it you wanted to do?



SG: I earned a degree in Fine Arts with a specialization in film and television production. That said, my professors used to get really annoyed because everything I did, I wanted to relate to comics somehow. Like my capstone thesis wasn't about film or television so much as about sequential art theory and relating time theory in comics to our training in film and television. I must've referenced Scott McCloud's Understanding Comics a hundred times in that paper! [laughs]



NRAMA: So you got out of college with this degree, and you ended up in L.A., right?



SG: Well, I worked a little for the Oklahoma Film and Music Commission for about six months and for Speeding Bullet on the weekends, and then one day, some friends and I were talking over dinner, and I said, "So, we've all graduated. What are we going to do with our lives?" And nobody had a good answer. And I said, "Well, I'm going to fly to L.A. next week and get us a lease and we're moving." Then, over Christmas break we said goodbye to everyone we knew, 'cause no one thought they'd see us ever again. Like, I really think everyone thought L.A . was like the 'Welcome to the Jungle' video, and we'd all get off the bus and be robbed and murdered right there on the street. [laughs]



So on New Year's Day 2006, we packed up a U-Haul and we started going west.



NRAMA: But you had no job.



SG: I had nothing. Nothing. I had three months rent, a degree and a prayer. I was going to take over the world!



And then I moved out here and completely shut down for about six weeks. [laughs] Horrible depression. It was just such a culture shock. I just sat on the couch and watched Gilmore Girls reruns for six weeks. And then my friend called and said, "I'm going to go up to San Francisco to WonderCon. Want to come?"



NRAMA: Ah... here comes the story.



SG: You know where this is going. [laughs]



NRAMA: You met somebody in the comics industry that gave you a chance. How did it happen?



SG: On Saturday night at the con, my friend and I went out to dinner, and he tried to sort of hit on our waitress. And she totally rejected him -- rightfully so, I might add. And we went to this bar to console him. We get pretty liquored up, there was a lot of consoling to be done, and go back to the hotel. In the lobby were Geoff Johns and Steve Wacker. They were leaving the hotel as we were coming in. And my friend had a conniption and freaked, freaked out. He's a huge Geoff Johns fan. And he started literally singing praises to him. The Marriott lobby there is this huge echoing structure, so every word he said, I think everyone in every room could hear. It was really, really embarrassing.



I wanted to sober him up, so we walked over to Mel's Diner around the corner. We get there and Geoff and Steve are there, and they recognize us from the hotel from five minutes prior. So that was really awkward.



NRAMA: They were waiting for their table, right?



SG: Yeah. They were waiting outside, and we kind of awkwardly struck up a conversation. And they politely answered our questions and asked us a few back. I told them about how I just moved to L.A., and it turned out that Geoff and I shopped at the same comics shop, DJ's Universal, so we talked about that. We said our "good-byes" and our "nice-to-meet-you's" and then the host sat them, and then came back and sat us at the table literally right next to theirs. A table maybe five inches from their table. And we kind of all looked at each other and I thought, "Can this get more awkward? I doubt it."



But then it did, because Cody, my fantastically drunk friend, every couple seconds, would shield his face from their view with his menu and whisper to me, "Sterling! It's Geoff Johns!!"



NRAMA: They probably thought you were stalkers! [laughs]



SG: Well, yeah! [laughs] I'm surprised they didn't file restraining orders right then and there. And so we went through this whole dinner, and I finally told my friend not to say anything to them and for us to just get out of there because it was so weird. So, the waitress came with our check, and feeling like I should kind of make up for my friend, I got Geoff and Steve's check. I didn't tell them, I just grabbed their check and went out and paid it.



I came back and said, "Guys, it was awesome to meet you. Sorry about my drunk friend. I paid for your dinner. I'll see you at the con tomorrow. Have a great night." And literally, without missing a beat, Geoff looks up from his sundae and says, "Do you want a job?" And Wacker goes, "…What?" And Geoff had Steve give me his card, and told me to email Steve my resume.



NRAMA: That seems like an awfully nice way to respond to an awkward situation! So he knew you were looking for a job?



SG: Yeah, we had kind of loosely chatted about the fact that I'd moved to L.A. and had this degree and didn't have a job yet. I think he kind of, in the back of his head, knew I was looking. But it was pure luck. I emailed in my resume, and I got a call the next week from Blade: The Series. They were hiring for a production assistant for the writers room, and I think Geoff just thought, I'll see if this kid can make the interview. And I went in and interviewed with the entire writing staff, all at once, like a huge roundtable interview.



And I got the job.



NRAMA: You got a job in television because you stalked Geoff Johns at a comics convention. [laughs]



SG: [laughs] Oh, come on. I think stalking is too hard a word. It was just accidentally running into him over and over and over.



NRAMA: It was fate.



SG: Yeah! It was the fickle finger of fate!



NRAMA: So what does a writer's room production assistant do?



SG: Anything anyone asks! I would get the most random requests. My basic duties were making sure everyone had food, and I did script distribution and, you know, stocking basic office things. I drove back and forth to New Line's Television Department all the time. One day I had to find Dodge Chargers on the Internet for Blade to wreck. The next I had to research everything I could about Baron Blood.



NRAMA: For this you went to college, right?



SG: I think everyone, especially in this town, has to start somewhere, and it's always on the bottom rung.



NRAMA: Wait. This all sounds oddly familiar. This story. You know that, right?



SG: Uh... you mean Geoff and [Richard] Donner?



NRAMA: Yeah, because this is Geoff's story you're telling. He took off to L.A. with a group of friends after graduating from college with a film degree. He had no job and too little money. He lucked out getting a job as a P.A. and ended up as Donner's assistant. Then ended up writing comics. Same story. And now you're Geoff's assistant and writing comics. You became Geoff's assistant when Blade ended, right?



SG: Yeah, after Blade was unceremoniously canceled. At the end of the first season, we knew it wasn't coming back. Geoff had written a movie called Naughty or Nice with Matt Senreich from Robot Chicken, and they were interested in producing that film. Once they started moving on it, and once Seth [Green] got involved, things really started to go. Geoff called me on a Sunday and said, "Look, I don't know what you're doing post-Blade, but I need an assistant for this movie. Come on and do that." How do you say no to Geoff Johns? So that's where I am today!



NRAMA: OK, let's fast forward to this comic that just came out this week. How did you go from, "I majored in film and television, I'm working in film and television, so I'm going to pitch to DC." How did that happen?



SG: I really wanted to be a television writer when I moved out. And working in the writer's room on Blade, I was talking a lot about ideas I had, not just for Blade but all sorts of other shows. So Geoff knew I was interested in writing.



One day, we were talking about comics, and I said, "You know, I used to write comics in college." I hadn't told him that ever before, because when you're around Geoff Johns, you don't just blurt out, "Hey! You write comics! I've written some, too!" But he said, "Really? Can I read some?" And I gave a little nervous laugh and said, "Um, sure, you can read my comics…Geoff…Johns…" [laughs]



I had a couple up on the internet and I sent those to him. And he gave them a read and said they were really great. He asked if I wanted to write comics, and I said I would love to write comics. I would kill to write comics! And that was over a year ago, and nothing seemed to come of it. I thought it was just an idle conversation. I figured I'd just still pursue writing TV and feature scripts and that was fine.



But then, once Sinestro Corps really started taking off, I really got inspired by it and wrote up a pitch for five or six different Sinestro Corps members' stories and brought them in to work. And I said, "I know this is really weird, but can you read these?" He read them and said, "These are awesome. Let me send these in to [editor] Eddie Berganza and we'll see if maybe we can get some of these stories told." So, a whirlwind trip later, and my first story hits this week.



NRAMA: Let's talk about the story. It's about Kryb. She was first seen in the pages of the Sinestro Corps Special. Why did you pick her?



SG: Ethan [Van Sciver]'s designs are incredible. He is a genius, especially with his designs for the Sinestro Corps and all the different aliens and creatures. They're incredible. I started looking at that spread in the middle of Sinestro Corps Special #1, and I realized that the one that instantly visually scared the crap out of me was Kryb. Her collection of babies is one of the scariest things I can think of, because where did they all come from? Where do you find that many babies? And so I started thinking about that, and the things that frighten me. One of the most visceral basic threats, I think, and one of our biggest fears is the threat to family. So it clicked. Kryb targets certain, special children across the galaxy and uses them to instill great fear in their parents.



NRAMA: It's a really creepy read. You have a very twisted mind.



SG: Thanks. Wait, is that a compliment? [laughs]



NRAMA: And on your first published work at DC, you got to work with Jerry Ordway! How was that?



SG: Jerry's amazing. I really think he's one of the best pencillers of all time. He's so good. When I found out he was doing my story, I really freaked out. You know that scene at the end of 40 Year Old Virgin where everyone's singing 'Aquarius' and dancing and stuff? That's what I did. [laughs] I was really, really psyched.



NRAMA: Going forward, are you writing more things? Are we going to see your name again?



SG: The next thing, and I think it's hitting stands December 19th, is the Green Lantern/Sinestro Corps Secret Files that Geoff and I are co-writing. For all accounts and purposes, it's a Who's Who of all the Green Lanterns -- even all the dead ones. And we cover all of the Sinestro Corps, too. So it's like 250 guys in a 54-page comic, which is the most bang for your buck you can possibly get.



Also in that Secret Files is a Tales of the Green Lantern Corps story I wrote revealing the origin of the Green Lantern crypt-keeper, Morro. Joe Prado did some wonderful art for it, just did a bang-up job on it.



And I'd also like to take a quick second here and thank Eddie Berganza and Adam Schlagman, who've been working extra hard putting together this Green Lantern Secret Files. Those guys are fantastic, and I really appreciate their efforts to get it made. Oh, and a super special thanks to Eddie Berganza, for giving me a chance to tell Kryb's story. Eddie rules. Period. [laughs]



NRAMA: What does your family think of this?



SG: I called my mom way, way early in the process and told her I was going to be doing some comics stuff. She said, "Oh, that's amazing. Your father would be so proud of you, God rest his soul." But I didn't tell her anything after that because I knew it would be a much bigger impact if one day she opened the door to a Fed Ex box full of comics with my name on them. And so, I've neglected to tell her anything at all about it. So, no one tell her. [laughs] Anyone reading this, please don't tell my mom until after Superman-Prime #1 hits the stands and I have a chance to send it to her.



NRAMA: So she'll see it Thursday?



SG: Yeah, I'm going to overnight it to her, so she'll get it Thursday morning.



NRAMA: With all the experience of being around writers at Blade and working with Geoff, do you think you've grown as a writer?



SG: Absolutely! We had some of the best writers in television on Blade. Dan Truly, David Goyer. Some very, very talented guys to be around and learn from. And Geoff's been very interested in seeing me grow as a writer. I kind of wonder if he sees -- especially given the parallels between how we got our start-- a little of himself in me. Not that I would ever claim to be as good a writer as Geoff! The man's legendary. [laughs] But, I think Geoff really cares about fostering good writers and hopefully, knock on wood, he sees a good one in me and would like to see me continue to grow.



NRAMA: There really are way too many similarities in your stories.



SG: The creepy thing is, I found out about Jerry Ordway, and I went into Geoff's office, and I said, "I got Jerry Ordway on 'Baby's Cry'!!" And he said, "Wow, Jerry Ordway gave me my start in comics, too." Little did anyone know, but the first thing Geoff ever had published was a Jerry Ordway interview he did for Comic Shop News. And he said, "It's kind of come full circle. That's so weird." And he's right, it's bizarre.



But you know, it's also very cool. It's really, as someone who's living this life, it's odd to see parallels between what's happening to me and what happened to someone whose work I really admire and respect. And I think, as both my and Geoff's cases show, you really have to make that decision to take the plunge and follow a dream. It might not always work out exactly how you thought it would, but hey, seeing just how it works out is half the adventure!



Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Junot Diaz

Been rooting for him since my first publisher Rob Weisbach told me about him years ago. This means even more. You know the highbrow/lowbrow debate gets me more riled than just about anything. As do "literary" snobs who want to use and embrace comics, but refuse to lower themselves to go into a comic shop and buy anything current. So Diaz is officially my new hero.



(full article on Newsarama)



JD: Well, I know I’m going to get slammed for this…you know what? I’m just going to get into it.



I think the problem is that when you see literary people sort of dabbling in comic books, it’s kind of uni-directional. In other words, we literary types can go dabble in comic books, but it doesn’t change the fact that we’re still considered “high literary” writers. We can go through and rummage through this material and talk about supervillains, and we’ll still get nominated for Pulitzers and other awards.



Now…the same thing really ain’t true when you’re a comic book artist. Let’s say you’re a comic book artist, you draw superhero comics. It’s not like your average Superman artist (at least at this moment) going to gain mainstream literary acceptance doing comic books. In other words, I dream of a day when the guy who’s writing the Hulk is up for a Pulitzer, and not just the literary writer who jumps in and writes a novel about the Hulk.



It’s almost as if the literary writers have an American passport, and we can go into the third world of comic books any time we want, and we can come back fine. But comic book writers are like holding passports from North Korea, and when they try to enter the pearly gates of the high literary nation, they’re always stopped and blocked and stripped and denied access.



It’s an interesting thing. I think this kind of mashup between high and low culture is good, but I don’t want anybody to hide the privilege and the power that one has over the other. Michael Chabon writes a book about comic books and everyone’s on his jock, but Michael Chabon is never going to be competing with the poor guy who’s writing Sinestro Corps for an award of high literary merit. And I’m like, “Why not?”



There are superhero comic books – and I know people will laugh at this – there are superhero comic books that are as strong as the literature that’s given awards! There’s just this kind of bias against these people being on the same fuckin’ award table, you know?


Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Video Games

I hope they catalog the old invisible dot from Atari's Adventure (still the first great Easter egg ever). Also, anybody ever hear of an old Commodore 64 game called Impossible Mission, with a hero who would do flips over everything? Even better than a night of bootlegged Zaxxon and Castlevania.


And just for the record, my old bulletin board name was Nightwing. Don't laugh. I was 13.



Library of Congress to begin cataloging video games
via Digg on 10/22/07



The Library of Congress is teaming up with major universities across the country to begin a 2-year initiative with the sole intent of figuring out just how institutions can preserve video games for years to come, while making the content accessible for use and study.


Friday, October 19, 2007

State Of The Industry

Heidi is really good at this sort of temperature taking. I'm not sure I agree that only 2 series still exist (Ex Machina is one more that jumps to mind). And I also don't think that you can blow off Wildstorm and the imprints. Especially when some of their titles are exactly what's working. But well worth the insightful read.


Something is coming...


And my belief? It's the next turnover of creators. Always happens. Out with the old, in with the new. The kids have the steering wheel. Watch.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Meeting Your Heroes

I never met Jim Henson. Or Mr. Rogers. Or Will Eisner (who I was asked to do an event with, and I sadly missed the opportunity). But I did finally get to meet Jerry Robinson. He's not a hero because he created the Joker, or named Robin, or any of the creative stuff. He's a hero because he fought for Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster to get credit for creating Superman. And he still fights for Bill Finger as a true co-creator of Batman.



And so...highlights from last night's event:



  • Robinson telling the story of reading Dark Knight and seeing Robinson Park -- and not realizing it was named for him.
  • Any story he told of the old artists and writers cramped in some old room (at DC, he sat next to Kirby, Siegel, Shuster, etc).
  • Bill Finger's granddaughter showing up at the event
  • Seeing the original art from many of the WWII Superman covers (including the one with the eagle perched on his arm).
  • And the oh-so-impossible feeling that I was somehow a tiny part of this twisted, incestuous, obsessive, introverted and spectacular world we call comics.

Thanks to those who came. Will try to get the video soon.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Jerry Robinson, Rags & Bair

Tonight is the event I'm doing with Jerry Robinson and I have to say, my spidey-sense is going wild. I honestly haven't been this excited for an event since...I must've been fifteen. This man is a hero. And a pal in comics told me never to meet my heroes. That it always ruins it. But with this, I'm risking it. More back here tomorrow -- and I'm hoping that the video will be available.



Also, I always get asked about Rags and where he's been since Identity Crisis and Wonder Woman. Gossip no further. Rags and Bair are back. Back as a team. Back in comics. Back on Nightwing. They just sent me some early art and it's -- as always -- incredible. So so happy to see this going.



Event Details


Jerry Robinson & Brad Meltzer: Discussing the Past and Future of Comics


Where: The Jewish Museum Of Florida
301 Washington Avenue• Miami Beach • Florida 33139 (Google Map link)


When: Tuesday, October 16 at 7:30 PM


Monday, October 15, 2007

Meet Brad and Jerry Robinson Tomorrow Night

Last reminder (at least until tomorrow) -- and yes, of course, I'll sign anything you wanna bring.




Jerry Robinson & Brad Meltzer: Discussing the Past and Future of Comics


Where: The Jewish Museum Of Florida
301 Washington Avenue• Miami Beach • Florida 33139 (Google Map link)


When: Tuesday, October 16 at 7:30 PM




Also, let me plug one of my favorite interviewers -- and nicest guys around: Jim Hall, who does Cult Pop. You can even see me yapping away at www.cult-pop.com. Go. See. Fun.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

49-Up

Not sure how many of you like documentaries, but this may be my all-time favorite. Judd and I saw 35-up in college and fell in love with it immediately.


In Book of Fate, I wanted to show what it's like when life doesn't turn out how you planned. I have to believe this series beat some of those ideas into me. So go rent the full series from the start. Well worth it.



'7-Up' times 7 equals a complex look at midlife



By Peter Johnson, USA TODAY


When 7-Up, Michael Apted's documentary about kids from diverse backgrounds in England, first aired in 1964, childhood friends Sue, Jackie and Lynn voiced aspirations that probably were typical of working-class girls at the time: to find decent jobs and good husbands and make a go of it.



But in subsequent 7-Up films, in which Apted checked in with his subjects every seven years, showing flashbacks at each stage, the girls' initial half-dreamy, half-realistic hopes had been sharply altered by life's harsh realities.



By 42, Sue and Jackie were struggling single mothers. But Lynn, whose ambition had been to work at Woolworth's, had become a librarian.



That's the way life works, says Apted, whose seventh installment, 49-Up, airs tonight at 9 ET/PT on PBS' POV (times may vary; check local listings). "You can't have life all laid out and just walk through it."



In 49-Up, Sue seems happy, having finally found stability with Glen. Jackie lives in Scotland with her three boys. She suffers from rheumatoid arthritis but says wistfully that her public-housing neighbors remind her of the close-knit world of her youth in London's East End. Lynn, now a mother of two, is devastated that her job as a children's librarian — her life's work — may be abolished.



She complains bitterly on camera to Apted about how painful it is to have his cameras intrude on her. "It's too much." Jackie gets angry at him, too, calling some of his questions "insulting." Apted, off-camera, gently soothes her. "I like it when you shout at me."



Apted says maintaining a documentarian's emotional distance is virtually impossible with a project like this because he has known his subjects for more than four decades — "longer than I've known most people."



"I had to give up long ago the idea that this was some sort of objective, cool-eyed approach," he says. "What they do — putting their lives up for examination every seven years — is a very brave thing to do, and it gets more emotionally draining as the series continues." (Two bowed out, 12 remain.)



Apted, whose feature films include Coal Miner's Daughter, Gorillas in the Mist and last year's Amazing Grace, checks in with his Up subjects once a year and, when he can, invites them to the film opening "so I'm not just asking them for something, I'm giving them something." But otherwise, he tries to keep his distance. "Some freshness, some objectivity is good."



Apted, 66, shot the first 7-Up when he was 22 and his subjects were youngsters. But as the years progressed, "our age differences diminished. I'm 15 years older than them, and 15 years can be a lifetime when you're in your 20s and 30s, but when you get to be our age, it's almost collegial."



49-Up is "made with great affection. There's a tenderness to it which is wonderful," says Simon Kilmurry, POV's executive director. "One of the greatest achievements of the film is that you have grown old with these people and you grow up with them."



Apted says he relates most to Nick, a farmer's son who, at age 7, wanted to learn about the moon. He's now an engineering professor in Wisconsin. "We both left our roots and tried to build our careers here."



Apted is impressed by Tony, a would-be jockey at 7 who worked most of his life as a London cabby and now has a vacation home in Spain. "He's done pretty well for himself and his family."



Apted draws no grand conclusions, but "one thing I've learned is that a 7-year-old personality probably doesn't change that much. If you're an extrovert at age 7, you're probably still going to be that, and vice versa."


Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Simone Bianchi Interview

The best part of this is that the ONLY artist DC didn't let me approach for JLA 0 was Simone Bianchi. At that point, I'd just seen his 7 Soldiers stuff and said, "He's the next big gun. We have to get him." And that day, I heard he left for Marvel. I still give Loeb crap for stealing him away.



One day...



Full interview with him here.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Jon Stewart v. Hardball

Silly and small, but here's what's right in the world right now. Someone calling out what politics has become.



YouTube link

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Jerry Robinson & Brad Meltzer: Discussing the Past and Future of Comics

Where: The Jewish Museum Of Florida (301 Washington Avenue• Miami Beach • Florida 33139)


When: Tuesday, October 16 at 7:30 PM



This is going to be a lot of fun and I look forward to seeing all those that can attend. For those of you who don't know about Jerry Robinson, see below.




Jerry Robinson was a pioneer in comic art and began his cartooning career in 1939 illustrating the Batman comic books for which he create "The Joker," comics' first supervillain, and named Batman's partner "Robin," even designing his costume. He curated the exhibit, Zap! Pow! Bam! The Superhero: The Golden Age of Comic Books 1938-1950 which opens at the Museum on October 16.


Tuesday, October 02, 2007

My Agent's Agent

Why do I love Randy and Jason Sklar? Because we went to college together? Yes. Because they helped me win "Mr. Greek Week" by writing a comedy bit for me made completely of sock puppets? Yes (swear). And also because they do genius stuff like Cheap Seats (ESPN Classic), and their new web series LAYERS, about a Hollywood agent who only represents other LA agents? Natch.



So please do go and check out LAYERS. The first episode was just posted on www.superdeluxe.com (which seems to be screwy with it's Adobe Flash, but is well worth it when you get through).



Time Out NY picked it as one of three web series to watch this fall, and Variety editor, Cynthia Littleton praised it too. Anything that screws with agents is beautiful.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Furries vs. Klingons

HOLY SH**! Who wants to go to Atlanta this weekend? IT IS _GAMEDAY_!!!!!!!!



Furries vs Klingons bowling tournament this Sat in Atlanta


via Boing Boing by Cory Doctorow on 9/25/07





This Saturday, Atlanta's Midtown Bowl will see the second annual Klingons vs Furries bowling tournament, in a mighty subcultural clash. It's like Quadrophenia with furrs and trekkers instead of mods and rockers. Link (via Global Nerdy)


Thursday, September 27, 2007

Living Biblically

Yes, I know him and yes he's a pal, but I wouldn't kiss his ass if the book wasn't spectacular. So do yourself a favor and go buy a copy of AJ Jacobs's new non-fiction book, The Year of Living Biblically.



He spends one year trying to observe all the laws of the Bible. Yes, it sounds like a bad movie (and I'm sure it'll be a bad movie), but AJ and the book are tops.



As an aside, I read this (real) headline today (really): "'Ninjas' Suspected In Two Orlando Jewelry Store Robberies".



PS here's a good Newsweek interview with AJ.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Baseball

I rarely blog sports stories. Except for the ones that make me tear up in the end. And father-son references always help.



From The Austinist



Austin Accountant Does the Right Thing with Historic Homer



When Will Stewart of Austin bought a ticket in the outfield seats for the Chicago White Sox-LA Angels game on Sunday, he had no idea he was about to become a part of history.



But he was in the right place at the right time as Jim Thome's game-winning home run bounced off the rows behind Stewart and into his hands. It was Thome's 500th career home run, a mark that only 23 players in baseball history have reached.



Memorabilia like that home-run ball can fetch thousands of dollars at an auction, but Stewart, 28, chose to return the ball to Thome. In return, the White Sox offered Stewart two season tickets for the 2008 season and an autographed ball and bat.



Stewart, however, chose to donate the two season tickets to the charity of Thome's choice. The tickets will be auctioned off during the Joyce Thome Benefit for the Children's Hospital of Illinois, an event named in honor of Thome's late mother.



The team said they will fly Stewart out from Texas with a group of his friends to sit in Thome's box during one of the White Sox-Cubs games next season.



In the days leading up to the record homer, Thome said he wanted the ball back and planned to drive with his father to deliver it to the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, NY.


Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Geek As The New Cool

I hate being the guy who bitches when his favorite obscure band gets big, but I have to say, this just saddens me. Do I love the "geek as cool" thing in culture? Of course (means less of us get beat up). Do I love seeing comics and sci-fi and all the other goodies we love being embraced by the mainstream? Of course. But labels like the below just make me feel like we're a flavor of ice cream that ain't gonna be around in a few months.




NBC: "Geeks are the new cool" for Fall TV


via Digg on 9/24/07


And, "We are all gravitating towards the underdog." So, geek TV shows like The Big Bang Theory, The Sarah Connor Chronicles and a retooled Bionic Woman make up roughly 20 percent of the major networks' new prime-time programming for the 2007-08 season.


Monday, September 24, 2007

JLA Movie

Heard this a little bit ago and was very excited. Please let this be the thing that opens up DC's movie vault.




George Miller to direct Justice League movie


via Blog@Newsarama by Kevin Melrose on 9/20/07



Warner Bros. has confirmed that George Miller will direct the big-screen adaptation of Justice League of America.



Variety reports the movie is a priority for the studio, which is rushing the project into production before a potential talent strike effectively shuts down Hollywood next summer. To make matters more complicated, Warner Bros. has to juggle its other superhero projects.



According to the trade paper, the next installment of the Superman franchise "has taken a backseat to Justice League in part because Warners is so keen on the Justice League script by Kieran and Michele Mulroney." That would seem to answer the question that's been dogging the planned sequel to last year's Superman Returns.



Despite earlier rumors that Justice League would be made primarily with motion capture, it looks as if it'll be a special effects-driven live-action film.



In addition to the Caped Crusader and the Man of Steel, Variety says Justice League likely will feature at least Aquaman, Wonder Woman and The Flash. It's being viewed as a launch pad for movies starring the latter two.



Miller, who most recently helmed the hit Happy Feet, also directed the Mad Max franchise.


Friday, September 21, 2007

Audio Books

Starting this week, my book publisher is putting The Book of Fate on eMusic.com as an audio book.



All the novels are already on audio CD and tape, but this is their first toe in the water in the battle to compete with iTunes (which is why eMusic is priced so much cheaper), and as The New York Times says, this is only 1 of 15 books they're playing with there.



So if you want a deal, download away...

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Torch

When I was researching The Zero Game, one senator had an old Olympic torch laying around on an old desk, like it was some crappy plaque some group gave him. Here's someone who would kill for the torch. Please vote for her if you have a sec. My pal says she deserves it, and Pansy doesn't lie.

Vote for Laurel

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Smallville DVD

Smallville DVD is out today, so whoever sees the Green Arrow commentary/flick, let me know how it came out or if they reduced us all to two-second snippets of "Ollie's cool" and "Comics are wicked."

AmeriCorps

Headed to Washington, DC today for a double event: first, a celebration of AmeriCorps, the national service program that was my first real legal job. The highlight was co-writing the oath of service that AmeriCorps members are sworn-in with -- and then seeing the President administer it.



Also speaking at Big Brothers/Big Sisters as we launch a beautiful initiative with them in Texas with The Zero Game. As a former Big Brother, well...the whole day and the going home brings a flood of mushy tears, especially as I think about Eli Segal, my mentor who got me into all this and passed away last year. These are for you, Eli.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Magical Thinking

I love magic. I really do. Because I so want to believe the impossible is possible. That's Velveeta cheesy but it's so darn true. And I so love magicians for being able to keep the secrets secret without the use of the law, courts, etc.



Via Boing Boing


Magicians innovate without IP law

Posted by David Pescovitz, September 12, 2007 3:38 AM




Jacob Loshin, a law student at Yale, drafter a paper exploring how stage magicians protect the secrets behind their tricks, and continue to come up with great new ideas, without getting caught up in the insanity of intellectual property law. Basically, magicians police themselves based on a set of norms for treating secrets, presentation styles, and techniques of making magic. Violate the norms by, say, stealing a trick or not giving credit where it's due and you'll be shamed and shunned by your fellow magicians. From the abstract:


Intellectual property scholars have begun to explore the curious dynamics of IP's negative spaces, areas in which IP law offers scant protection for innovators, but where innovation nevertheless seems to thrive. Such negative spaces pose a puzzle for the traditional theory of IP, which holds that IP law is necessary to create incentives for innovation.

This paper presents a study of one such negative space which has so far garnered some curiosity but little sustained attention - the world of performing magicians. This paper argues that idiosyncratic dynamics among magicians make traditional copyright, patent, and trade secret law ill-suited to protecting magicians' most valuable intellectual property. Yet, the paper further argues that the magic community has developed its own set of unique IP norms which effectively operate in law's absence. The paper details the structure of these informal norms that protect the creation, dissemination, and performance of magic tricks. The paper also discusses broader implications for IP theory, suggesting that a norm-based approach may offer a promising explanation for the puzzling persistence of some of IP's negative spaces.


Link (via TechDirt, thanks Sean Ness!)

Thursday, September 13, 2007

No Body

This is completely in sync with the best rule in soap operas/comics/and any movie ever: If there's no body, there's no death.


Though we all still know Cap is coming back. C'mon...



Pics or it didn't happen
via Digg on 9/9/07


The top 10 stories from Digg when somebody commented, "Pics or it didn't happen"... and someone else came up with the goods for all to see...


Tuesday, September 11, 2007

9/11

I have to admit, I worry about all the different ways 9/11 gets used and sadly abused. But only a fool wouldn't stop and remember. For me, we were living in Washington, DC, and that morning, Cori was on her way to her job in the Capitol. When the first tower went down, she stopped and had a bad feeling about DC. Then decided to turn around and come home. But the worst part of the day was when we heard that our neighbor, a dear woman named Michele Heidenberger, was one of the flight attendants on the plane that hit the Pentagon. For me, that will always be one of 9/11's worst wounds.



So to all who lost -- and that's all of us -- we're thinking of you.

Monday, September 10, 2007

City Year

Haven't mentioned it in a bit, but we're still working hard to bring City Year to Miami. Had a big meeting last week and very excited to see all the local support. It's a wide view inside the nonprofit world, but Cori and I keep repeating the mantra. This is how you change the world...



If you don't know City Year, check out their site. One year. That's what they ask. Give one year to change the world.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Humility

Every day we need to remember where we're from. This email arrived this morning, after I recently spoke at a posh private school here in Miami. Thanks -- I so loved waking up to this:



i saw you today at greenfield. No offence but you didnt talk very excidingly, in other words you were BORING. next time talk more lively.



There are just so many great things to write back. Add you own here...

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Michael Moorcock On Watchmen

Yes, it's a blog link to a blog, but I love this one. And what I love is Moorcock admitting that he was a snob about comics -- how he saw them as lowbrow dreck.



Thanks to the Smoky Man for the link.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Welcome Back

With the end of summer comes the beginning of work/school/or whatever it is you do. I'm back and working on the new book. And also can now say that it looks like Jerry Robinson and I will be doing an event together in Florida. Really hopes this works out.



Of course, you're invited.



Also, hope your own return to work/life brings good things. Missed you all.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Hickman Is Back

The next generation of creators is arriving. Hickman is one of the few I'm most excited to watch. Nightly News was a clear favorite of mine, so I can't wait to see the new book. And very glad it's going in a totally new direction. He's brave. Brave!





Press Release
Jonathan Hickman, the innovative creator behind the critically acclaimed NIGHTLY NEWS, brings his unique sensibility to science fiction this November in PAX ROMANA, a four-issue, full-color miniseries.

"PAX ROMANA is probably not the book people expected next from me," says writer/artist Jonathan Hickman. "In many ways, it’s a better end product than The NIGHTLY NEWS, and I think people will be pleasantly surprised at the evolution of both my storytelling and art. And sure, there is the obvious difference: THE NIGHTLY NEWS was, more or less, grounded in a reality and PAX ROMANA is historical science fiction, but you’re also going to find the same amount of research, hard work and passion – just in a better package. I’m extremely proud of it.”

While THE NIGHTLY NEWS was a gripping, media-centric thriller with an edgy political slant, Hickman is best known for utilizing an art style consisting of double page spreads which married traditional comic art with elements of graphic design. With PAX ROMANA, Jonathan will again be pushing the boundaries of storytelling while telling the tale of 5,000 men sent on an impossible mission to change the past and save the future.

Image Comics Executive Director Eric Stephenson says, "Like The Luna Brothers before him, Jonathan Hickman submitted THE NIGHTLY NEWS to Image through the mail, and his distinctive voice and unique approach to storytelling was a true revelation. As impressive as as that first series was, though, PAX ROMANA is even better; Jonathan's really raising the bar with his new work and his creative vision has only become bolder."
PAX ROMANA #1 (SEP071955), a 32-page full color four-issue mini-series with a cover price of $3.50, will be available for order in the September issue of Previews and will go on sale November 28th.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

What I Believe, Part 3

On my list of heroes, Mr. Rogers is right at the top. The very top. And this speech is why. I saw it a few years ago, and every time I see it, I love it even more. Everyone's from central casting -- except Mr. Rogers.



Plus, you get to see him take on Congress.