WW Texas Day 1

Hey gang,
been a while since I was on, so I decided to post a quick update before hitting the sack. Texas is in full swing, and the first day was not bad. Brisk sales and walk-ups throughout the day, and I had enough time to swing through artist alley. Good buddy/great artist Kody Chamberlain was out dropping the goods (Punks: The Comic) on fans and onlookers, Phil Hester and Andy Kuhn were doing their low key humble thing despite everyone telling them they rock, and Top Cow alums Joe Benitez and Billy Tan are representing for the Cow.

We had a good day with the big man, Marc Silvestri, Mike Choi, Michael Broussard, Kenneth Rocafort, Eric Basaldua and young Phil Hester signing at the booth. Good times had by all, or so it appeared. Fans definitely enjoyed it.

After the show we headed over to the live art + auction benefit Heroes for Heroes (no relation to the Hero Initiative). Marc destroyed a new Darkness piece, Michael tackled the Hulk, Hester rocked Swamp Thing (I wanted to win the auction, but alas I work in comics and money is limited), Eric did Aliens v. Predator, and Filip and Kody teamed for a Blaxploitation jam piece. Mike Choi decorated some wacky doll to look like either a soft venom or a chunky black suit Spider-Man. Filip should have pictures of most of these, so I'll try to get them on here in the coming days.

The night ended with a trip to Waffle House, which was only a mile walk from the hotel, and so worth it. Lest you think this blog is a complete waste, I present a snapshot of the now, showing me giving notes and doing the editorial thing, and Mike Choi doing what he doest best in the background.

More tomorrow, unless the night takes us...


2 General Rules to Better Pitching

1. Be excellent.

2. Learn the difference between it's and its. It's a big one, that much I can promise you.

These rules should also be applied to writing in general as well.


Steven T. Seagle on the State of New Comics

Vertigo's excellent American Virgin ongoing by Steven T. Seagle and Becky Cloonan will cease to go on, but Steve did offer this after the news.

I don’t know what else Becky and I could really do.

Though I have learned some more truths about monthly comics circa 2007:

Doing A Good Book Is Not Enough – You can see what the reaction is from people who actually read American Virgin. And yeah, before the naysayers pop up to post “Well, I hated it,” as they inevitably feel compelled to do – let me just say I didn’t really cherry pick too much here. What you read above is what is out there for the most part. And while I’ve known some creators who ask people to “pimp their rides,” to the best of my knowledge I don’t personally know any of the kind reviewers above – who I thank for their support. They just seemed to really like the book we were doing. But that wasn’t enough.

A Great Launch is Not Enough – Our first issue not only sold relatively well, but it actually sold out a four thousand copy overprint. American Virgin #1 clocked in at around 24,000 units (you never get that from these charts everyone analyzes month in and month out). Our second issue sold out too, and while I thought something would be made of the sell-outs, nothing was. Our bad – a lost opportunity to get some extra juice. And very quickly – despite really great reviews and buzz – and I mean very quickly, we were down to half that amount, and falling. I didn’t worry, because there was a lot of great press about the book and I thought, much like some other launches of the time, we’d get our rebound from the reviews and the release of the collections. But the reviews dwindled off and the second collection never seemed to come out until the writing was on the wall.

Fresh Takes Are Not Enough – I think we’re in an age that really wants fantasy – which American Virgin, obviously, is not. I was delighted that almost every review posted, or email I got, or person I talked to at a convention seemed to mention some variation on the phrase “I have no idea where this is going, but I like the ride.” I don’t want to do comics that are like a hundred comics that have come before them. But when I look at what’s making it in terms of monthlies, the truth is, it’s comics that look like a hundred comics (or movies, or TV shows) that have come before them. The comics I love lately are also dying on the vine because they’re not doing it by the numbers, and I think that’s pretty sad. Still, lesson noted, though not necessarily “learned.”

Letting the Work Speak For Itself Is Not Enough – By and large, I don’t like to get out there and hark about what a great job I’m doing. I always assume that if the work is good, people will notice. But it’s become clear to me that in the age of the super-star creator, it’s important to be yelling about what a f***ing genius you are from every corner. So in the future, when I’m yelling about what a f***ing genius I am from every corner, please remember that I feel as uncomfortable doing it as you must feel hearing it. And when someone posts “Seagle isn’t a f***ing genius” – as they will feel compelled to do - please post a follow-up explaining that I wish I didn’t have to be the person making such claims. PS – Becky Cloonan is a genius to begin with, so please don’t make her yell about East Coast Rising Volume 2, just go out and buy it when it comes out.

Going Out With A Bang Will Have To Be Enough – No, our ending is no surprise to me. I actually called my original editor, Shelly Bond, about a year ago and said, so when are we going to get axed? In actuality, I’m surprised we got this long. So thanks to Shelly, Karen Berger, Vertigo and all my esteemed collaborators on American Virgin over the last couple of years for making it this far. Becky and I have one story left – “69” – and you’ll have no idea where it is going…but you’ll like the ride.

Who knows, maybe if enough of you like it – buy those trades, my friends – we’ll be able to come back some time and do a little more with Adam and the seriously f***ed up Chamberlain clan.

Steven T. Seagle

He's right, of course. Not to shit all over the whole industry, but the fans are scared. Scared of new ideas. Scared of taking chances. Sad, sad state of affairs...


Writing Report - Early October 07

Well, as much as the day seemed like it would never come, I've actually managed to make some progress on Wight. Issue 3 is in the can, and that means we're just two issues away. The series doesn't move at a breakneck speed with tons of action, it's moody and atmospheric and a little heavier on talking than I would like, but it's the nature of the genre. Well, one of the genres. I'm really excited for the last two issues because... things actually happen. Questions answered, people making decisions, all kinds of things.

3 down (barring notes), 2 to go.

Troy and I have been on a mini hiatus with our project. We were on a good roll and were pretty close to having most of the main story beats worked out to the point where we could put together a pitch for the damn thing, but we got derailed by life and work. Anxious to get back to that as well, but he's leaving town next week so... I think we should (and need) be able to get that locked down before Wizard World Texas in mid-November, so that's my goal. Once we land a publisher, I'll be able to discuss more.

I don't know what I want to write. I'm in a funk, and I want really loose assignments. I've still got what I think is a really solid screenplay floating around in my head, I just need to commit it to paper, and I've a few comic concepts I dig but I'm not sure I want to spend the time to develop.

I've been in a funk of late, and it has me questioning whether I want to write about what I thought I wanted to write about or write about what I know (which is basically all the themes I always right about). Melancholia and angst pretty much cut to the heart. I really just wish I had some kind of direction. The good news is, the two comic projects which have borne fruit have been very different. The thing with Troy, also quite different. It's not like things are getting stale, quite the opposite, I just feel lost and bogged down creatively. I want to know where I'm headed.

If anyone wants to have me write anything for them (publishers with money) or develop something from a nugget (artists with talent), let me know. I'm in a weird place and seemingly only getting weirder.


Buy My Books (on Amazon)

I opened up a storefront to try and burn off some of the crap that's lying around my house.

For now it's just one box of old American Lit books, but eventually it will be comics, DVDs, and who knows what other trinkets I can dig up. I wonder what dignity fetches these days.

Anyhow, if you want to help me make some tiny bits of scratch and clean my apartment, please help.

Buy My Books




I want to read this book, knowing little more than seeing this cover image.

Damn you, American comics.


Positivity is the Key to Reality

That's what my friend used to say back in high school. It never made sense until it did.

By clicking this link, you can read about our delays in scheduling and some of what we're doing to fix it. Filip Sablik, our illustrious VP of Marketing & Sales, gives the dish.

Let me just reiterate that we are busting ass, spending every working hour trying to get ahead, get on time, and get things back on track. There are a lot of reasons why things fell behind in the past and are behind now. Thing is, those things are always going to come up. We have to find a way around them. Will we be 100% on time in 2008? Doubtful. Even if we do everything right, there could be a print error or a shipping delay or any other thing we literally cannot control no matter how timely our output is.

But we're trying. It frustrates us not to have regular books out there month after month. More than it does the readers even. It's going to get better. This isn't just hyperbole.

Hang tight. Things are looking positive.


"You Will Be Able To Penetrate Her Deeper"

the spam I get on my work e-mail is so much better than my personal one. Not only is there less of it, but man oh man do they know what I want. I mean, for years I searched for the answer. And now I have it. I can have the ability to shoot across the room (always handy at cocktail parties), speak in tongues, and learn about the escapades of Courtney Love.

"Dude, don't let your wife find out about this!"


Truer Words

"I think a genuinely funny movie always has a shot at doing well, because so few movies are really funny," Judd Apatow told The Associated Press.

Is it that hard to figure this stuff out? Good story + good writing + good acting = good movie. Forget formula and stars and marketing stunts... Just make it right, get it out there, and people will respond.