May 2012


As I mentioned in my last post, I taped a show for Comic Book Club Live on May 15, 2012, down at Piano’s, a cool bar and performance space on the Lower East Side in NYC.  The show has a loose talk-show format, with several hosts/comic-book types as well as two guests.  I was one, and the other was H. Jon Benjamin, comedian and very prominent voice actor.  My favorite of his roles is the title character on Archer, but he’s also currently on Bob’s Burgers, and he had a great (although unfortunately short-lived) live-action program called Jon Benjamin Has  A Van, plus roles on Home Movies, Dr. Katz and more.  In other words, he’s funny for a living.

I showed up for the taping and met the hosts and Jon – he’s a super nice guy, by the way.  We chatted about comics (a little – he hasn’t been a reader for a long time), the Avengers movie, what he does, what I do, what have you.

After a bit, it was time for the show to start and we headed up on stage.  House was packed, which was really cool.  I got to talk about 27: Second Set and Strange Attractors, a bit about my career so far, rock stars (dead and otherwise) and just riff a little.  All good so far, got a few laughs.  Then, they shifted focus to Jon Benjamin, who, again, does this stuff for a living, and… well.  I like to think I’m kind of quick on my feet, but the dude is a master.  It was really impressive to watch.  So, from that point I just sort of floundered, trying to keep up with the other folks on stage – at least one of whom (the guy in the vest, who you’ll see below) was also a comedian by trade – he’s a performer at the Upright Citizens Brigade theater, one of NYC’s premiere comedy workshops.

If you watch the show (and I’m going to embed it below, so you’ll be able to if you like), note that every time the hosts gear up a question to be answered by the guests, they discuss it first.  My thinking is that they did that to give us time to think up a funny or clever response (or at least that’s what I was trying to use it for.)  Did it work?  Well, you tell me.  Sometimes, maybe, a little.  I felt like I was riding a tricycle in a bike race where the next slowest dude still had a ten-speed (and Jon Benjamin was straddling a Ducati.)

But was it fun? Oh my god, yes.  Not to mention that the video’s only been out for two days and as of this writing it’s gotten about 3,500 views.  Not the worst promotional avenue to have taken.

Here’s the embed, as promised:

More soon!

This has been, and continues to be, quite a week.  I have about five things of note to write about, each of which probably deserves its own post.  Here are those things, none of which will be addressed in much detail right now, for reasons I’ll explain at the end:

1. 27 Second Set is out in its collected edition today – the FedEx dude showed up around 11 with a nice box of the trade, and my stars, does it look fantastic.  You can get it in better comics stores near you, or order it online from Amazon.

2. I did a comics-based talk show last week along with H. Jon Benjamin, the voice of Archer, among many other great characters, which just went live on the Nerdist Channel today.  Here’s the video, and the audio version is here.  It’s really, really funny, and a nice way to spend either 22 or 45 minutes, depending on your preference.

3. A short story I wrote a few years ago with the wonderful Robert Saywitz, artist extraordinaire and creator of the complexity maps for Strange Attractors, has been published by Trip City, Dean Haspiel’s online literary salon.  It’s called Sal & Chrys, and tells the story of a self-storage warehouse in Brooklyn that falls in love with the Chrysler Building.  That’s here.  I’m very proud of that story, and glad it found a good home.

4. I did an in-depth interview with Aintitcool.com, which makes for a pretty good read if you’re interested in 27 or my other projects.  Went live on Monday, read it here.

5. Finally, the folks at Trip City also did a podcast with me, also featuring Lizz Winstead, the co-creator of the Daily Show.  I was interviewed by JefUK (aka Jeff Burandt), a long-time friend and fellow Brooklynite, and we went fairly in-depth on the creative process, breaking in to comics, and a bunch of the things I think about where the industry is today and where it might go.  Not just shilling, and I think it’s a fun listen.  Enjoy.

Seriously, each of those items could be, and hopefully will be, discussed in great detail, especially 1-3.  But right now I don’t have time, because I’m off to Bergen Street Comics to buy a copy of the Second Set trade.  I do this with everything I have come out – sort of a ritual.  I keep the receipts in the books, and line them up on an otherwise empty shelf.  When that shelf is full – well, I won’t retire, probably, but I’ll be pretty thrilled.

Until next time!

Aww, I feel bad for this poor little blog – all neglected for the last month, and the two posts before this one were just placeholder “here’s where I’ll be signing in Seattle and Chicago!” deals.  Very little of substance, and that’s just totally unfair to the many people who come here looking for answers to the big questions.  I’ll try to do a little better in this one.

Tonight, this very night, I am appearing on Comic Book Live, the super cool live video podcast taped at Piano’s down on the Lower East Side in NYC.  Should be a bunch of fun.  I’m appearing to promote the upcoming release of 27: Second Set on May 23, as well as talk about the comics issues of the day (literally and figuratively, I think) and probably tease some upcoming projects.  The other guest on the show is H. Jon Benjamin, the brilliant comedian who voices one of my favorite animated characters of all time: Archer, from TV’s Archer.  So, I’m expecting that to just go swimmingly.  My main trick in interviews is to try to be a little bit funny – throw out the occasional line and hope I get a tiny laugh.  Tonight, the other dude on stage (either before, after or with me – I’m not sure about how they do it) is literally one of the funniest guys around.  The only strategy I can see is to hope for the audience’s pity.

But I’m sure it’ll be awesome.  It’s only an hour.  (An hour that will live forever and ever on the internet!)

Have you been reading 27 for free on Keenspot?  If not, it’s there.  We’re running all of First and Second Sets, with a new page every weekday.  I’m intending to start adding commentary to the pages soon, but it seems to require some HTML wizardry that I’m not quite capable of yet.  It’s on my list, though.  I’d like it to be like an entirely new way of experiencing the story.  And if it goes well, I’d like to debut NEW 27 stories on the site as well – but that’s still in the works.

The other big news recently was the official announcement of Strange Attractors at C2E2.  The book is coming along beautifully, and the response at the con was incredibly promising.  I’ve learned not to get too excited about books before they’re done, and before they’re actually read by anyone, but… I’m optimistic.  You can get a bit of a recap on the announcement panel here.  We also did up an amazing teaser poster that we’ve been giving away at cons, but in case you haven’t seen me at one recently and want to print up your own, here you go:

Design by Robert Saywitz. Purty, no?

As cool as that map is, it’s just a fragment of the incredible work the art team is doing on the book.  I’m always in awe of my artistic collaborators on any project, but this one… well, you’ll see.

I think I’m going to head out to get myself psyched up for this show tonight (and if you see this in time, feel free to come out and support), but there will be plenty more to talk about in the next few weeks.  Tons going on.  My 2012 so far = happy exhaustion.

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