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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.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Florida Event With Dave Barry And Other People I Worship

This is not a traditional book event. It's simply a way to honor one of the best booksellers (and dearest friends) in the country. When my first novel came out, Mitch Kaplan offered to host a signing for me. I owe him forever for that -- and haven't missed an event there since.

Click on invite to enlarge

Books & Books Event


Friday, August 24, 2007

Batteries in Batteries

Suck it, MacGyver. This is even better than that one where you make a washing machine out of a baked potato at the end of season 2.

From Lifehacker:

How To Get Eight Watch Batteries From a 12-Volt Battery

Do-it-yourselfer Kipkay did a little investigating and found that beneath the shell of a run-of-the-mill 12-volt battery was eight watch batteries. Considering watch batteries cost between $4 and $6 a pop, finding eight of them in a $2 battery makes for quite a savings. I guess this isn't surprising since 9-volt batteries are filled with six AAA batteries.

12 Volt Battery Hack! You'll be Surprised... [Instructables]

Thursday, August 23, 2007


Still weaning off vacation, but came back to two of the nicest gifts around:

First, Alex Ross kindly sent the original pencil sketch (from our conversation) that became the cover for JLA 12 (Thanks, Alex -- truly first class);

And second, Eddie Berganza and DC Comics sent a framed JLA certificate with my name on it (and thanks to editors Adam Schlagman and Jeanine Schaefer who clearly had a hand in it). As I told them, I know the League isn't real. But c' know it is.

Still wiping the tears from my eyes.

Now...onto the novel...

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

CIA Plays Wiki

Not sure if I believe this, but I want to believe it so bad. So I believe it.

From The BBC

Wikipedia 'shows CIA page edits'
By Jonathan Fildes
Science and technology reporter, BBC News

An online tool that claims to reveal the identity of organisations that edit Wikipedia pages has revealed that the CIA was involved in editing entries.

Wikipedia Scanner allegedly shows that workers on the agency's computers made edits to the page of Iran's president.

It also purportedly shows that the Vatican has edited entries about Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams.

The tool, developed by US researchers, trawls a list of 5.3m edits and matches them to the net address of the editor.

Wikipedia is a free online encyclopaedia that can be created and edited by anyone.

Most of the edits detected by the scanner correct spelling mistakes or factual inaccuracies in profiles. However, others have been used to remove potentially damaging material or to deface sites.

Mistaken identity

On the profile of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the tool indicates that a worker on the CIA network reportedly added the exclamation "Wahhhhhh!" before a section on the leader's plans for his presidency.

A warning on the profile of the anonymous editor reads: "You have recently vandalised a Wikipedia article, and you are now being asked to stop this type of behaviour."

Other changes that have been made are more innocuous, and include tweaks to the profile of former CIA chief Porter Goss and celebrities such as Oprah Winfrey.

When asked whether it could confirm whether the changes had been made by a person using a CIA computer, an agency spokesperson responded: "I cannot confirm that the traffic you cite came from agency computers.

"I'd like in any case to underscore a far larger and more significant point that no one should doubt or forget: The CIA has a vital mission in protecting the United States, and the focus of this agency is there, on that decisive work."

Radio change

The site also indicates that a computer owned by the US Democratic Party was used to make changes to the site of right-wing talk show host Rush Limbaugh.

The changes brand Mr Limbaugh as "idiotic," a "racist", and a "bigot". An entry about his audience now reads: "Most of them are legally retarded."

The IP address is registered in the name of the Democratic National Headquarters.

A spokesperson for the Democratic Party said that the changes had not been made on its computers. Instead, they said that the "IP address is the same as the DCCC".

The DCCC, or Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, is the "official campaign arm of the Democrats" in the House of Representatives and shares a building with the party.

"We don't condone these sorts of activities and we take every precaution to ensure that our network is used in a responsible manner," Doug Thornell of the DCCC told the BBC News website.

Mr Thornell pointed out that the edit had been made "close to two years ago" and it was "impossible to know" who had done it.

Voting issue

The site also indicates that Vatican computers were used to remove content from a page about the leader of the Irish republican party Sinn Fein, Gerry Adams.

The edit removed links to newspaper stories written in 2006 that alleged that Mr Adams' fingerprints and handprints were found on a car used during a double murder in 1971.

The section, titled "Fresh murder question raised" is no longer part of the main online encyclopaedia entries.

Wikipedia Scanner also points the finger at commercial organisations that have modified entries about the pages.

One in particular is Diebold, a company which supplies electronic voting machines in the US.

In October 2005, a person using a Diebold computer removed paragraphs about Walden O'Dell, chief executive of the company, which revealed that he had been "a top fund-raiser" for George Bush.

A month later, other paragraphs and links to stories about the alleged rigging of the 2000 election were also removed.

The paragraphs and links have since been reinstated.

Diebold officials have not responded to requests by the BBC for information about the changes.

Web history

The Wikipedia Scanner results are not the first time that people have been uncovered editing their own Wikipedia entries.

Earlier this year, Microsoft was revealed to have offered money to trawl through entries about document standards it and other companies employ.

Staff at the US Congress have also previously been exposed for editing and removing sensitive information about politicians.

An inquiry was launched after staff for Democratic representative Marty Meehan admitted polishing his biography

The new tool was built by Virgil Griffith of the California Institute of Technology.

It exploits the open nature of Wikipedia, which already collects the net address or username of editors and tracks all changes to a page. The information can be accessed in the "history" tab at the top of a Wikipedia page.

By merging this information with a database of IP address owners, Wikipedia Scanner is able to put a name to the organisation and firms from which edits are made.

The scanner cannot identify the individuals editing articles, admits Mr Griffith.

"Technically, we don't know whether it came from an agent of that company, however, we do know that edit came from someone with access to their network," he wrote on the Wikipedia Scanner site.

A spokesperson for Wikipedia said the tool helped prevent conflicts of interest.

"We really value transparency and the scanner really takes this to another level," they said.

"Wikipedia Scanner may prevent an organisation or individuals from editing articles that they're really not supposed to."

BBC News website users contacted the corporation to point out that the tool also revealed that people inside the BBC had made edits to Wikipedia pages.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Goodbye JLA

That's it...13 issues...well over 300 pages...11 members...and yes, despite Grundy, Amazo, Professor Ivo, Felix Faust, Dr. Impossible, Parasite, Electrocutioner, Plastique, Cavalier, Starro and others, plus the return of the "true" Legion of Super-Heroes, and Wally West, there wasn't enough action, fistfights or villains.

And so, let me answer the most asked questions:

Any regrets?

I wish I would've had Cyborg join. (Wanted to do it, but once 11 and 12 were planned out, just didn't have the room to make it happen).

What was the story with the older versions of Degaton, Despero, and Ultra Humanite?

As you can tell, The Lightning Saga is a smaller story within a bigger story (and it was our story -- Geoff and mine -- not a story that DC pushed on us). Geoff and I talked about whether to leave the villains in or pull them out entirely. Admittedly, this got a bit crunched for space (which is what happens when you have two writers and four different artists working simultaneously to make sure it all comes out on time), but this has clearly not been forgotten and was never meant to be a silly tease. Look at who the third team was. Time travel is a game of dominos.

What about Vixen's powers/Geo-Force/Deathstroke/etc?

Let me say this about all the so-called open threads: for each one, I asked DC: Do you want me to close this? Or would you rather build on it, in which case, I'll keep it open? The ones that are open, they said they wanted open. So check out JSA, and Geoff's Legion story, and the Green Arrow/Black Canary wedding special and, of course, JLA. Is that a ploy to get your money? Only if it doesn't involve great story. So, yes, the last thing I want is to be party to some fake "event" tie-in that simply has red skies in the background. But I feel these stories are in incredible hands, from Reddy to Vixen to Black Lightning to the rest. Even more important, this comic isn't a miniseries that was just for me. It's the Justice League of America, and it's ongoing, and at its best, its consequences should spill over into every part of the DCU.

When are you coming back to comics?

Buffy is next. But right now (and actually for the past year), it's been new novel full-time.

Anything you would change?

Every single story I write, the moment it comes out, I find new flaws/mistakes/words that I can't believe I didn't catch the first fifty times we went over it. But as a whole, each writer should only ever write the story that they have to tell. And these were the stories I had to tell: not about the giant menace (and believe me, I love giant menace stories), but about what makes the hero within. Issue zero, The Tornado's Path, The Lightning Saga, Walls, and Monitor Duty all deal with that same issue head-on. I don't love these heroes for their super-powers. I love them for their greatness within (which is just another way to say their humanity). I love that every day, even though they can die, they keep fighting forward. I love that Red Tornado would risk everything to be closer to his wife. I love that the Legion and JLA and JSA will risk it all to save their universe. I love that Red Arrow doesn't give up even when he should. And I love that the League will exist long after we're all gone. That is what greatness means: to keep never let anyone stop you from what you love doing...even when the most impossible odds stand in your way.

I believe there is greatness in all of us. And especially in the smallest of us. Every single story I write is about that. Every story -- from JLA, to my novels, to Jack & Bobby -- is about fighting the fight for what you love (whether it's your wife, your universe, your family, yourself, or your team). And the best fights are the ones where you're fighting for who you are. The odds never matter. What matters is who we are underneath. What matters is that we're true to what we love. And what matters is never ever ever changing to be anything but who you are. And that's what I -- again -- learned from the Justice League.

See you on monitor duty. And can't wait to see Dwayne's run. It's gonna be beautiful, and best of all, it's just beginning.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Leaving JLA

Today is my last issue of JLA. I miss it like you wouldn't believe. But I'm leaving the big post/goodbye for tomorrow, just so you have a chance to read it first.

Thanks so much for reading it. Really.

More tomorrow...

Monday, August 13, 2007

JLA & Eternal Sunshine

Last JLA is this week, so looking forward to and so saddened at the same time. Like last issue, this is also a sort of risky experiment (and yes, no fistfights, again), but one that also ties back to issue zero (not the future stuff, the opening sequence). One day of Monitor Duty to show what the League is really made of. It's got extra pages, Eric Wight doing his magic and Ed Benes doing his as well. Plus Alex Ross and the final Turner cover.

Also, this trailer is so fun. If it were anyone else, I'd say the movie might suck. But Eternal Sunshine is a personal favorite, so let's have some faith. The best stories are indeed the ones we tell each other.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Bill Mantlo

If you read comics in the 70s and 80s, odds are you read Bill Mantlo.

So if you're looking for a good way to spend your money, lay off that book that you buy but don't really care about, and buy this instead, which is going to help with Mantlo's medical bills.

Thanks to reader "rockingo" for pointing it out.

Also, the JLA preview for the final issue is on Newsarama.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

What I Believe

I'm not good at sports (like my old mix tape said: I'm a Meltzer Not a Fighter). And I barely follow them. But I love this story about 21 year old college student Matt Murphy, who caught Barry Bonds's record breaking home run ball. Sharing it with his friend even though it's worth half a million? I so love this kid.

From Yahoo Sports:

Murphy, who went to the game during a layover from a flight to Australia, grew up near Shea Stadium and was wearing a Mets jersey when he made the charmed grab.

He told the New York Daily News he planned to keep 51 percent of the proceeds from the sale of the ball and would give the rest to his friend, Amir Kamal, 21, of New York, who was also at the game.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Comments From Previous Blog

On vacation, so a little light this week, but want to respond to this in response to the Ludlam blog:

Jared Rourke said...

"always just amazed that people don't mind buying books that're written by someone beside the author."

I'm really not trying to be smart here, but this coming from the guy who just finished up a run on the Justice League comic. I can't see much difference between that and someone writing a new "Bourne" book, especially since it appears to have been the author's wish (not particularly for Bourne, but for other books of his). I do think there's a major dishonesty in putting Ludlum's name larger than the actual author's... but what else do you expect?

Full disclosure: I've never read a Robert Ludlum book. But I do enjoy a good Meltzer book, Justice League or not.

Jared, totally fair point. And love you for keeping me honest. So let me clarify: my amazement comes from the people who think they're buying a book written by Ludlum and they're just not. If you love Bourne, buy Bourne. More power to you. Just know you're not really getting a book written by Ludlum (who really was a master).

Also, a huge thanks for all the pro-bald crowd. And especially to those trying something they're afraid of.

Monday, August 06, 2007

In Defense Of Bald Men

Been pathetically terrified of making this move, but finally, today I am bald. Went to the barber and asked him to take the rest off (not Kojak, but pretty tightly buzzed). The fear was pumping hard, reminding me of those anxious few seconds in eighth grade when I realized Jen Edwards was dumping me.

The haircut fear lasted ten minutes. Then the barber looked at me and said, "You don't need to ever get a haircut again. Go buy a buzzer. Seeya."

The summer is halfway over. Go do something you're scared of.

Friday, August 03, 2007

Love Your Family

Here're the t-shirt getters (which I know seems utterly silly in light of the bridge collapse in Minnesota). Everyone go home tonight and love your loved ones.

  • David Golbitz
  • John Madigan IV
  • Marcelo Paradella
  • Clydene Nee
  • Trevor Mueller
  • Matt McFadden
  • Clayton Murwin
  • Aaron Curtis
  • Howie Kaplan
  • Fred Hudson
  • Tom O'Hara

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Free Book Of Fate Shirts

Just found 11 leftover Book of Fate T-shirts -- they're black with the book cover plastered none-so-subtly across the chest -- so if you'll wear it and want one, send me an email with your address and L or XL. Plus your favorite My Little Pony and your favorite cookie. Me like Pinky Pie Pony and Milanos.

First 11 size matches win.

Just wanted to say thanks.