8.30.2006

Remember When I Said I Hated Printers?

Yeah, me too. And now I'm paying for it.

Just got our copies of a book that I was basically the only eye on. Things got messed up. I could say it was the printer's fault, but that would be wrong. At the end of the day, it's the editor's fault. We have the least amount of control over anything in the process, but it's still our fault. We're the managers and babysitters of the comic book industry. We may tell people to kill off characters or other stupid things the creators had no intention of doing, but damn it, we're all about the end product. Most of the time.

I fucked up, guys. Call it a printing error, which it is, but basically it's my mistake. I take the blame and the heat, semi-anonymously on a covert Internet blog. And I thought my 7 day EIC stint would be largely everything free. Nope. Aparrently I'm all about mistakes. Ah well, there's always next year.

Unless I get fired. Then it's pretty much just this.

Nothing

That's what I remember after coming home.

I cleaned, I dusted, and then I passed out. A lovely side effect of it being 110 degrees in this place. Anyhow, needless to say, no progress on anything. When I woke up to a phone call at around 10:40, I realized I hadn't eaten dinner.

Read a few comics, but no more how to stuff from the masters. I did find an old story idea and notes though...

8.29.2006

Past Perfect

Some days the Internet can truly inspire you.

Oh, yes. I was a fan...

8.28.2006

The End of EIC and the Beginning of OGN

My seven work day tenure as EIC was fairly uneventful.

It came and went the same as any other seven days. I did my job, I did very little in the way of change, and most decisions were made with an eye or ear toward deferment to others. I may not have been at this forever, but I should learn to trust myself a little more. If I fail, I fail, but if I stand on the sidelines I don't even get the opportunity.

In any event, Renae was back which meant I got to focus on my normal stuff. Trafficking, proofing, contact, and feeling confused. Sometimes you can go home again.

***
I got an e-mail today from someone I've never heard of. The best part was that her name didn't even match her e-mail. Normal gmail addy, but totally different first name on it than her real one. I have no idea who she is, but she knows a thing or two about the OGN I'm working on. One thing she was told, on this e-mail thread in which several people were Cc'd is that there was a treatment for the book. I e-mailed my editor and he told me that yes, the final version of my treatment has indeed been approved.

All that means is say goodbye to the theoretical and start mashing keys for real. It's funny that I never really thought I would end up in comics. I never wrote comic scripts, never tried to draw my own, and never really even conjured fan fiction in my head for my favorite super hero books. I guess after I got offered Bearers, and even before that, I might have thought that working in comics and being respected in other ways might open the door for me as a writer. Well, it has, and now my chance to deliver or fail is at hand.

I reread Alan Moore's Guide to Writing Comics a few weeks back. Just a quick primer to refresh that if I want to be the type of genius he is, it all starts with theme. I went with Plot and Character, in the face of both Moore and Tolstoy. Strangely enough, #1 on the agenda for ol' Leo was transitions. You can thank Stephen Gaghan for that little tidbit.

Anyhow, before I get further off traffic, I'm knee-deep into Will Eisner's Graphic Storytelling and Visual Narrative. If there's a guy who did it well over and over again, it's him. My biggest worry is the actual panel-to-panel storytelling. Because I have a movie background, my sense of timing is a little different. I pay attention when I'm reading scripts and comics, but laying it out on my own from scratch is my biggest worry. Hence Eisner tonight and probably some perusing of Panel One and Two tomorrow. Hopefully I'll be all set to break down my issue one script by pages and then get to the nitty.

The artists search begins. I asked for artist approval, and at this point I think that's basically turned to I can look for anyone and get shot down as needed. I'm brainstorming and googling people I think fit the profile. It's tough to find an artist for a book that's all suits and conversations with a dash of other stuff thrown in. Most people you see want to work on what inhabits the vast majority of shelf space in the direct market - spandex-clad super hero action. Visually I see this book much closer in tone to a psychological thriller, mystery, or crime book than anything else. I'll go with my top couple dudes of Phillips, Lark, and Maleev for what I'm looking for. There are a couple of other guys who I think are on a very similar level in terms of what they can achieve visually, but I'll save their names so prying search bots don't snatch them out of here and give them other, better-paying gigs before I get a chance to nail them down. One of them has been name-checked on this blog, and I met him at SDCC. I flat out told him a few weeks back that I must work with him in some way, shape, or form. Right now I think there's only one other artists that even approaches my level of wanting-to-work-withedness, but it's much less visceral with the second guy.

Anyhow, the wheels are spinning on all fronts. I'm going to waste less time on words that don't amount to a paycheck and a published work, so that's all for tonight.

8.25.2006

Crossing Midnight #1 Cover



File that under why J.H. Williams III kicks much ass. The book is written by Mike Carey, penciled by Jim Fern, and expertly inked by my pal Rob Hunter. Other than that I know nothing beyond that I like this cover a lot.

DMZ 4 $Free

DMZ is an incredible book. I wish we were publishing it. In fact, I wish we were publishing anything Brian Wood wants to do. Well, I tried, but I got on that bandwagon a little too late. I was talking to him months before this happened, but we both knew it was going to.

Anyhow, his second Vertigo book is DMZ (the first was Fight for Tomorrow). It's genius, ongoing, and the first arc already collected in a trade. I'll refrain from telling you about it, because DC has made it available free online.

READ DMZ #1 FREE ONLINE HERE
.

You'll thank me for this. And maybe, when he does a book at Top Cow, you'll read it too.

I Hate Printers

You know the best part about working in publishing? Having the printer screw things up for no apparent reason.

Normally I have no real issues. Our books print very well, on high stock, and there are rarely any problems. Occassionally a black plate will print wrong on a single page, but you can only really see this at the right angle. Since I've been here, we've only had one major snafu as far as completely wrong things printing. We printed a Witchblade convention variant cover on Wanted#4's interior, and amazingly its back cover as well. Anyway, freak accident that, and it was for a small run item. That actually makes its value go up in a case such as that.

Anyhow, cut to mid July. We printed quite a few books in June and July to make sure we had them for SDCC. One of them was a book that we had in waaayyy early. It had to make the show. But somehow, the show opened and it wasn't there for Preview Night (and neither were our business cards). Ditto for Thursday, and again Friday. We got it just before the signing of some of the people involved that day. Hot off the presses, and with a blemish. You do everything you can, and then something screws up. There it is, set in proverbial stone, preserved for all time. (Can a book with a blemish, a problem in the printing, mind you, not an incorrect page, actually get a CGC 10.0?)

This week I've been trying to get our books from last week approved with our usual printer. There were some slight switcheroos, and all the sudden I find myself 4+ e-mails deep into this process, and five (four?) days without a single response. I keep getting e-mails from the printer, but none seem to address anything from my previous e-mails. They're waiting on me, but I'm waiting on them. It's this merry-go-round of non-communication that has me loving the fact that not only might two books go later than they're supposed to, but that they might also print incorrectly.

I just want one day where everything makes sense, and where freelancers tell me the truth. I'm actually getting closer to the latter, as my goal is to be the most honest editor in comics, and I feel like the talent is actually responding to that in a small way. Who knew honesty still counted for something? As far as things making sense...

8.22.2006

Who is This Girl?



Didn't you guys read Bearers of the Blade? Aren't you reading Witchblade? You should be...

8.18.2006

ATLimation

The AJC has an article about the animation hub that Atlanta is becoming. One more chance to rep my city, and explore a fallback career when mine ends prematurely at 22.5.



"Not drunk enough..."

8.17.2006

Treated

I spent Sunday night staying up until 3am Baltimore time working on the treatment.

I went totally simplified, writing down scene headings on note cards and buying a $1 coupon organizer from Target to keep everything in its place. A few scenes never found a home (like the random beating and/or rape scene), but overall I think it helped me get a better picture of what I was working with than text on screen. A few days later, and I'm 83% certain that we're talking about an approved treatment. Next stage, scripts.

***
Interesting times at work, as four different writers followed up me with so far this week regarding treatments. No news to report there, not that I ever could (we save the good stuff for cons and press releases). Another writer is showing up regarding yet another pitch tomorrow, and I've had the good fortune of being invited to tag along. I assume the invite includes permission to speak, but I'm playing it close to the vest for now.

And because that doesn't quite qualify as interesting, here's what is. For today through next Friday, I'm acting Editor-in-Chief. I'm not sure if acting or defacto is the proper term, but Renae is taking a much-needed and well-deserved vacation from the business we call show (or comics, I keep forgetting). That puts me in charge of everything I do, everything I should be doing, and a whole bunch of stuff I have no idea about. So far nothing has come from too far out in left field, but the week, and my tenure, isn't anywhere close to finished.

***
Currently reading Grant Morrison's Pop Magic. I'm really trying to expand my mind and make WWGMD more of a mantra than a simple slogan. I'll let you know how it goes. My first foray into chaos magic saw me studying (sort of) Philip Hine's writings on the subject. I couldn't get my mind in the proper place to actually start practicing.

Apparently, according to The Man, all you need to do is declare yourself a magician, and then do it. I quote:

"Simple. Declare yourself a magician, behave like a magician, practice magic every day."

Now back to your regularly scheduled metaphysical programming.

8.11.2006

Progress Reported

My flight was delayed. I had already finished Duncan Rouleau's existential masterpiece, The Nightmarist. The only thing left to do was read the other six books in my bag, or buckle down and get to work on the 85% final version of the treatment.

So I did. I busted open my virgin Moleskine and a pack of note cards and I did what I couldn't do staring at a computer screen. I wrote out every note that popped into my head, questions and possibilities as well. In between thoughts I wrote down scene ideas. I'd call them headings, but they seem more like ideas, images of what could be, than actual headings (murder scene, rape scene, etc.). Anyhow, I still have a whole bunch more cards to write, decisions to make, and then type the revised version up, but I'm moving somewhere. Last week I was pretty much treading water.

If it isn't a breakthrough, at least it's progess.

8.10.2006

Outlining

I don't know why I can't just move on.

Deleting that folder was the worst thing ever. Now I'm on an alternate computer that may or may not have the fonts, but I can't get Font Reserve to stop crashing in order to activate them. I'm dying here.

Thanks for the extra mile, Troy. Want to write my book for me?

8.09.2006

Failure Comes in 7s

Clicking this link will take you to what was supposed to be the opening page of my very much still and soon to remain defunct website. Yeah, that's some classy stuff right there.

Between two busted computers, one useless brain, and a lack of motivation to do anything but lacerate important parts and get black-out drunk, I'm really going full steam ahead on everything in the world I have to do.

I'm so far behind on life, that it will be a wonder if I ever get back to even. Damn con season and lack of prolification. I'd love to be one of those guys that just loads up a ream of paper and knows when to change acts based on how much paper remains. I can barely type two coherent sentences without boiling, and the only thing I'm excited about is the web comic I have no artist and no scripts for.

I'm going to start writing it right now. And then the phone rings...

8.08.2006

Artist - David Aja

This guy is really good.

Upcoming Iron Fist and Daredevil work on the site or here at Newsarama.

WW Chicago (the short version)

Chicago was a good show.

Compared to San Diego, I still felt alive when I left. Maybe it was the fact that we tossed the booth so breaking down was easier. Maybe it was the fact that I didn't have hour-long meetings lined up every day and no one pitched me anything. Well, a few tried, but we've got that established creators only rule...

Anyhow, I had a lot of fun, met a lot of great fans and creators, and now I have to go back to work, where it seems like a totally different gig. Expect a rundown of who I met, tales of flaming shots, and the best picture of Superman ever in the coming who knows how long.

***
The page one (or two...) rewrite of the treatment for my book begins today. Here's hoping I can excite or surprise myself with this draft. It's dark and sexy material I hear. Why don't I just write sex scenes with no lights?

8.01.2006

Work For-Hire

So I'm writing this treatment. Again. And the more I look at it, the more it doesn't work for me. I've got a co-writer, so here's hoping he can salvage it. If not, back to page one.

My biggest struggles will be the pacing, choosing how much info to impart in each issue/page and keep the story moving at a decent clip. I already know that. What I didn't know is how hard it would be to make all four of my leads work within the confines of the story. The idea was pitched to me as two male characters, who were actually close to characters, and two chicks. Literally, those words, "two chicks." I wrote up some bios and stuck them in the story, but that's really all I did. They got backgrounds and were literally plugged into a story, but I'm not sure that story needs them. One is a romantic interest to some degree, but the other is literally another character pathetically asking for screen time.

Not to mention me wondering whether the concept is going south on me. Is it a concept I can't execute? Is it so hollow that I, in my infinite prowess as a writer, can't inject the life into it? Or maybe it's what I'm suspecting is the case. I'm not sure what story I'm trying to tell. I guess I want to sit there and focus on these really quiet moments in bars and behind closed doors, but I'm not concentrating quite enough on the world of the book. It's the big picture I'm ignoring so that the small can live. Or something like that.

It's late, I'm tired, I didn't get enough positive work done, and now I'm angry about all those things, including my 6:05 am shuttle pickup.

I'm thinking about doing the note cards thing. Just writing out scenes I want to happen regardless of plot, then assembling them as needed. I'll start with scenes, then build more for each characters as needed. Doesn't matter that I don't know if it will work. It's something I can do on a plane...