Sunday, June 29, 2008

Michael Turner, rest in peace

Mike Turner (cover artist on Identity Crisis and JLA) was always smiling. Always. And over the past few weeks – as I wrote to him and knew things were getting worse – I always tried to keep that in my head. He didn’t have a cocky smile (and he’d earned the right to a cocky smile). It was a true smile. A real smile. But writing about smiles doesn’t do him justice, so let me share the one story that does.


It was after we finished Identity Crisis. We knew we would be doing JLA together. That was always in the plans. And then he decided that he was going to start doing covers for Marvel. And so...man, I remember him telling me this story in LA like it was yesterday...he tells me that he’s making this deal with Marvel. And then, the guy who he’s negotiating with from Marvel says (as he should say): The only catch is, if you want this deal with Marvel, you can’t do the JLA covers. You have to be just with us or the deal’s off.


I choke inside because I assume this is where Mike tells me why he can’t do JLA (and listen, I appreciate that that sometimes happens. That’s the business).


And then Mike says to the Marvel guy, “Okay, then I’m out. Deal’s off.”


I can’t believe it. As he tells me the story, it’s clear he means it. He’s fully ready to walk away from his entire deal and the crazy Marvel money.


And then Mike lets loose with this awesome smile – one of the best ever smiles and says, “One second later, they caved. I’m in for JLA.”


I guess that’s where the story was supposed to end, but of course, me being guilt-ridden me, I somehow feel guilty that JLA got in the middle of his negotiation, so I start telling him, “Listen, please...you didn’t have to do that. I’d understand and...”


No, Mike protested. “I made a promise to you.”


And right there...I can picture that moment...I’ll never forget that moment. Right there, Mike wasn’t just some guy who drew the covers and sold some copies. He wasn’t the guy who could do that movie poster feel for your book (look at his first Flash cover), always making every 60 year old character suddenly seem brand new. He wasn’t the guy who made every book we worked on jump off the shelf (think for a moment, he was the only true ‘name’ on Identity Crisis. Why do you think people picked it up from issue one?). And he wasn’t just another superstar.


He was my friend. A good friend. And a friend who would’ve given up something he really wanted. For someone else. In life, those are the friends you treasure.


And I treasure Mike Turner.


I should also say, in all the time he was on JLA -- with all the sickness and all the crap he was going through, he was never late, never complained, never once did anything but be himself and smile.


He has no idea how much I’d taken his lesson to heart – long before today.


So forget the half-mast flag. Wear your smile loud and proud in his honor.


Rest easy, Mike.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

New Author Photo

Here it is. We took 4,000 pictures, and this was number 12 or 13. After that, they realized they could only do so much with “bald and pale.” Best part? The make-up guy actually did my eyebrows for this. Never had that lovely bit of fun done. Thanks to Herman Estevez, photo superman, who at least made it fun (it was like George Michael’s Freedom video, but with me in the Cindy Crawford bathtub. And if you get that reference, marry me).


Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Reunion

I must say, I walked into the reunion expecting to count the facelifts and bad boob jobs (this is still Miami, kids). But as I got there, I ran into a dear friend who reminded me that she kinda disappeared in twelfth grade...left her dad...and was working on her own. In high school. The next person I bumped into was fighting (and thankfully winning) a bout with cancer. At that point, all the high school highschoolness went away and I was back to remembering how lucky I am to have had the high school experience I did. I so loved seeing every person there — even the one woman who told me I yelled at her while we were playing baseball years ago (especially surprising because I shied from the sports). But man, I felt an inch tall, apologizing and apologizing. I really was a bastard loudmouth when I was little.



Also ran into the very first person I ever met in Florida. I had no friends when we moved from Brooklyn, so my Grandmother set up a “playdate” for this other 8th grader to come over to her apartment. That way, when I started junior high, I’d know at least one person in the hallways. When I saw Danny Goldberg on Saturday (after 20 years), I told him, “Thank you for being nice to me all those years ago.” Owe him forever for that.



And by midnight, we had the Rob Bass pumping and I was doing the running man with my high school girlfriend and no one was calling us old and all was right in the suburbs.



If you’re thinking about going to your reunion...go. Go go go. People grow up. They don’t change. But some do grow up.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

High School

My high school reunion is this weekend. I so can’t wait for this. I have two of my best high school friends coming in...I have a full head of hair...I make mix-tapes because I have so much free time...I drive a used Mercury Apri (actually a Capri, but my dad hit someone and the roof dented and the letter C got lost. Apri it is. Don’t worry, the person he hit was fine). And I’m dating my high school sweetheart. I’m 18, bubby!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Marshalls!

Of all the messages and notes I got on my Mom’s passing, the one that made me happiest came just yesterday. It was from Richard Haus, the manager of customer service. At Marshalls. Yes. World HQ of Marshalls. In all the forwarding of my eulogy for my Mom, it made its way to the mothership. And Richard, in my Mom’s honor, sent a huge gift card to be donated to Sharsheret, the breast cancer support group that supported my Mom and so many others.



This is when the world seems right. Love Marshalls even more now.

Friday, June 06, 2008

City Year Miami

The board meeting was wild -- like that scene in Flashdance where she's standing in front of the judges -- but instead of dancing, we pled our case, left the room, and then they voted (okay so we kinda knew the result).



And in September, City Year Miami will launch!



Also found out that if you do City Year, you automatically get an interview if you apply to work at Comcast. Love that.



Gotta think of what you get from me? Free advice for writing your book? Free Yoo-Hoos? I'm open to anything.



Thanks to the real team -- the current corps -- for letting us dream this one. And if you're between 17 and 24, and want to be in Miami, and change the world, go to the site.



Now in a cab in NY and headed for top secret project.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Boston and NY

Off to Boston for today's board vote on City Year Miami. If we get the vote, we're a reality. This has been an incredible year, so hoping for the best. And for those looking for what to do with their year, check it out here.


Then tomorrow, onto NY for a top secret project that we're announcing officially soon.

Monday, June 02, 2008

LA

Just now back from the trip to LA. Went to Book Expo, saw lots of old, dear friends in the book business, signed tons of galleys for The Book of Lies (when will the first hit ebay?), pitched a TV show, snagged tickets to the party for Ted Turner at Larry King's house (so name dropping, but I'm still too much of a loser to get into the party at Prince's house. Yep. Prince's house. Would've killed innocents for that one), got some Kubert art for DC Universe: Last Will, and then ended it all with a great dinner with some comics pals.


Lots of meetings, waiting for lots of answers, and quickly realizing how much of the new tour will be about my Mom, with so many people talking about her. A good thing by me.


As for my event with Freaks & Geeks creator Paul Feig, someone once told me to never meet your heroes because they disappoint. They were wrong. Rarely have I met someone so gracious, so generous, so amazing. I love the show even more now. Plus his wife is so nice. Video coming soon, with geekiness aplenty by all around. And please preoder his new book, Ignatius MacFarland: Frequenaut!


PS Best part? Flight attendant on my flight home played Superman for twenty years at parties and children's hospitals. Still has the build.