Strongman


We’re coming up on New York Comicon, the very first New York Comicon since New York Comicon happened last year.  Much has changed for me since the last New York Comicon last year. (I’m just going to keep typing New York Comicon as many times as I can.)

At NYCC (couldn’t do it) last year, I was a guy a few of you had heard of, but most of you hadn’t.  I had a well-received Image series called 27 in 2010-2011, and prior to that I had a book come out through SLG called Strongman.  While I had deals for two other creator-owned projects (Strange Attractors and Letter 44), neither had arrived yet.  I knew a lot of creators (which remains one of the best things about being a comic book guy, and I suspect always will be), but I didn’t have much of a foothold in the mainstream comics world.  That was fine.  I figured Strange Attractors and Letter 44 would come out, and maybe the next thing after that, and maybe by then my profile would be high enough that I would start having conversations about Big 2 work.  No rush.

And then I was introduced to a DC editor who asked me to pitch on Swamp Thing.  I ended up getting that job – it all locked into place around the beginning of December last year.  Still, it feels to me like NYCC 2012 was where what I’ve been calling the “crazy year” started.  As of the announcement yesterday that I’ll be working on a relaunch of She-Hulk for Marvel with the incredibly talented Javier Pulido, I have six ongoing titles, five with the Big 2 and one creator-owned. SIX.  I say that not in a “holy shit, look how awesome I am” sort of way but more of a “holy shit what is happening???” way.  They are, listed in the order I began to work on them:

Letter 44 (Oni)

Swamp Thing (DC)

Red Lanterns (DC)

Thunderbolts (Marvel)

Superman / Wonder Woman (DC)

She-Hulk (Marvel)

That is a wide spread of material. Realistic sci-fi/political thriller; supernatural weirdness with strong horror overtones; aggressive space opera; street-level antihero super gang; superhero epic with a romantically involved lead couple; and a superhero legal drama.

None of those are like any of the others, and that is, frankly, one of the only reasons I am able to handle this workload. My Red Lanterns mindset doesn’t take up the same headspace as my Superman / Wonder Woman mindset. So, ideas don’t really bleed across books, and I can snap myself into whichever one I need to focus on at the time.  I’ve also become a pretty lean, clean, writing machine. Not a lot of fat in my schedule right now.  Part of that is, of course, my increasingly-mentioned day job, which I discuss in more detail here.  In the abstract, it might sound a little intense and focused and miserable, but in truth it is only the first two things.  Who wouldn’t want to spend as much time as possible doing something they love?

It all seemed to happen very organically.  I could draw you a road map on the way one gig led to the next, which you might find a little bit surprising.  I can tell you that there’s a LOT that goes on behind the scenes that never gets out there, which is as it should be.  Still, the tricks to doing well in mainstream comics seem to be the same as doing well in life in general – be cool, do your best, do what you say you’re going to do when you say you’re going to do it, and help people out when you can.

Another tip – work with great people. The artists, editors, colorists, letterers I get to work with… holy goddamn.  They are magicians, and yet they are mostly humble about their incredible powers. It’s awe-inspiring.

Now I find myself in a strange position.  I have the storytelling platform I have always wanted.  It’s not necessarily about going higher for me right now. It’s about going deeper.  Seeing if I can get better, seeing if I can find new angles.  Navigating the weird waters of having a wide audience – especially one that feels very free to comment on my work to me directly (follow me on Twitter!) Figuring out how much of myself to put out in the world (or in the stories), and how much to hold back (you don’t get to have everything!!)  Thinking about things like the creative impulse, and where it comes from, and how in the world to sustain high-level work over a career.  Thinking about the next round of stories I want to tell.

Strange Attractors came out in May, Letter 44 hits next month (and people seem pretty excited about it, which is awesome), and so I’ve been thinking a lot about the next stories of my own I’d like to tell.  Here’s what I’m mulling over right now:

–A battle of wits

–A common cause

–A story in the water, that will be very hard to draw

–The circus

–A terrifying Thanksgiving

Who knows if any of that will come together, but it’s nice to think that it could.

So that’s where things are these days. Amazing what a year can do. My next post will be all about New York Comicon (got one more New York Comicon in after all – no, two!), which is just a few weeks away.  See you there!

 

 

New York Comic Con starts tomorrow, Thursday, October 11.  Last year I started con-related events with a signing on Wednesday, which had me three-quarters dead by the time Sunday evening rolled around.  I live in New York, and there were things going on (not everyone from out of town leaves on Sunday – many people stick around for a few days to hang out in town or just take a flight the next day), but the idea of doing ANYTHING other than heading home to sleep for as many hours as I could pull off seemed completely impossible.  Even with skipping Sunday night I still ended up with a nasty case of con flu.  At that point, I made a bunch of resolutions about NYCC 2012 – no Wednesday night activities, don’t go out every night, pace yourself, etc.

It’s Wednesday, so I’ll see you tonight at the awesome panel I’m a part of, preceded by drinks with comic book folks before and after!  And then I’m raging like a maniac all weekend!  Screw you, healthy choices!

Truth is, NYCC’s my hometown con, and if I’m going to do it up anywhere, might as well be here.  Here’s my schedule for the weekend – I hope to see thousands of you over the next few days:

Wednesday, October 10 – Pop Music in Comics Panel at Jim Hanley’s Universe, 7-9 PM.  This one should be awesome.  I’m on a panel with some real grade-A luminaries in the world of music-related comics, like Kieron Gillen, Sina Grace and Jamal Igle.  Plus, there will be free beer and eats – I suspect this will be more of a kickoff party for the con than a panel, but you know we’ll chat comics too.  All the details here.

Thursday, October 11 – the con officially begins at 3 PM, for pros, press and people with 4-day passes.  I’ll be set up in Artist’s Alley at table R6.  This is the place you’ll be able to find me for most of the daylight hours during the weekend.  Keep in mind that AA is in its own area this year, off the main show floor, upstairs.  There should be signs for it all over the place, and really make the effort to get up there – some of the most amazing work at the show will be in the Alley, as always.

7-8 PM – I’ll be signing at the Archaia booth, #1520.  I’ll have some exclusive autograph cards and a VERY LIMITED SUPPLY of the Strange Attractors aschan, which you’ll also be able to get at my table over the course of the weekend.  You can see the cover for the ashcan here - ain’t it pretty?

Friday, October 12 – Again, table R6 for most of the day, starting at 10 AM.

3-4 PM – I have a signing for this cool new story I haven’t talked much about yet.  I wrote a piece for the second volume of the History Channel’s “Mankind” series of graphic novels, which will work as companion pieces to their epic miniseries airing this fall.  I haven’t seen the completed story yet, and I don’t know exactly what I’ll be signing, but it should be interesting.  The art and stories I’ve seen for this so far are fantastic.  Booth #1657

5:15-6:15 PM – The famous Writers Unite panel!  This is the fifth time I’ve done the panel, which always includes a real rogue’s gallery of hot indie writers.  This time it’s me, Cullen Bunn, Ray Fawkes, Justin Jordan and our illustrious moderator/kingpin, Jim Zub.  Our focus is on pitching creator-owned comics, and we usually spitball for 45 minutes, comparing notes on our own techniques, and then open the floor to questions.  It’s always a funny, lively panel CRAMMED with useful tips and tricks.  If you feel like putting out your own comics, or breaking in, it’s a must-attend.  Room 1A14, and more info here.

Saturday, October 13 – at table R6 all day, and signing at Archaia from 10:30-11:30 AM.  I will be joined for that signing, and for the morning in Artist’s Alley, by Robert Saywitz, the creator of the incredible complexity maps for Strange Attractors.  He never comes out to signings, even though he’s local, so if you want your SA ashcan signed by him, this is the signing to hit.

Sunday, October 14 – I’ll only be at the show until about 1.  Signing at Archaia from 10:30-11:30, and otherwise at table R6.

What will I have at the show?  How about THIS STUFF:

The exclusive Strange Attractors 26-page ashcan.  This is the first time any SA material has been made available, and the last time until the book is published next spring.  We only have a small number of copies, so if you want one, this is your chance.

27, both First and Second Sets

Strongman, both Volume 1 and the elusive Volume 2 (again, very limited copies – I believe I’m bringing 27 of them (ha!))

Skullkickers #18, which features a short story by me as part of the third Tavern Tales antho.  Again, just a few, and if you want to go on a treasure hunt to get your copy signed by all the amazing writers and artists who contributed work (Justin Jordan, Tradd Moore, John Layman, Rob Guillory and many more), well, there are worse ways to spend your time at the con.  I may even have a very few copies of the sketch variant cover for this, which I literally think exists only in low double digit numbers.

The 27 T-shirt!

Should be a nice, full table, and a nice, full weekend.  See you at the show!

 

 

My 2012 convention season will start up this weekend with the phenomenal Emerald City Comicon in Seattle.  This will be my third time attending the con since 2009 (I had to skip 2010, otherwise I’d definitely be four for four.)  Emerald City is one of the cons on the circuit that’s totally focused on comics (very little in the way of video games, movies, etc., unlike some of the other huge conventions, which have become pop-culture adventures instead of comic conventions).  Artist’s Alley is always filled with some of my favorite creators, and the setting can’t be beat.  I’m actually going to stick around for a few days after the con to check out Seattle.  In years past, I’ve flown in for the con and then left right after, which provides limited opportunities for seeing much of anything beyond the convention center and downtown.  This time, hopefully, I’ll get out into the wilderness around the city.  I understand that if you drive half an hour out of Seattle in any direction, civilization disappears (except for, presumably, the road you’re on.)  For a guy from NYC, that sounds pretty appealing.

I can be found at table C-10, sharing it with the super-talented Kurtis Wiebe, and next to the marvelous Jim Zub.  I will have a bunch of stuff available, including all my previous work (Strongman, Strongman 2, 27 First and Second Sets) as well as a convention debut of a beautiful promo for my upcoming Archaia OGN Strange Attractors, and whatever else I can fit on the table.  Ask me about The Spark, and I’ll show you some killer art for something new I’m working on that hasn’t been discussed anywhere yet.

I’ll be on at least one panel for sure, the “Writers Unite!” panel at 3 PM on Saturday in room 201.  It should be fantastic – the panel includes me, Jim Zub, Kurtis, Joe Keatinge and Ray Fawkes, and we’ll spend the hour talking about how we approach pitching creator-owned projects.  We’ve all had success in that world with various publishers (within that group, we’ve got projects with Image (both Central and Shadowline), Oni, Archaia, SLG, UDON, Marvel and probably others I’m not aware of yet.)  So, it should be a great chance to get some informed perspectives on getting your projects out there in the world.

I wouldn’t be surprised if I drop in to the Archaia panel from 2-3 on Saturday, also in room 201 (after all, it’s right before the writers’ panel, in the same room, so why not?)  Archaia’s putting out Strange Attractors, as I mentioned, and while we haven’t started the full-court promotional press, it might be a good time to start chatting it up a little.

Beyond that, it’ll be about meeting and greeting, trying to get occasional bits of sleep, and reacquainting myself with the insane world of comic conventions.  There’s nothing quite like them.

Apparently I like it, though, because my convention schedule for this year is shaping up pretty nicely.  I’m finding a balance between local conventions and bigger, cross-country cons.  At the moment, here’s my list:

Emerald City (Seattle) – March 30-April 2

C2E2 (Chicago) – April 13-14 (I’ll just be in for a Friday panel, and not tabling, but I’ll be around Saturday for a bit.)

MoCCA (NYC) – April 28-29

Asbury Park Comicon (Asbury Park, NJ) – May 12

Granite State Comicon (Manchester, NH) – June 10

Heroes Con (Charlotte, NC) – June 22-24

That’s “all” I have for the next few months, but SDCC is still a possibility and NYCC’s a certainty.  I’m also thinking about Toronto FanExpo in August and Baltimore in September.  I have a bunch of new stuff hitting in the fall, and I’ll want to make sure that I have some cons at which to show it off!

Oh, and while this post has been con-focused, man, do I have lots of cool news to share.  The final cover and release date for the 27 Second Set trade.  Brand-new Strongman material (not Strongman 2 – that’s done – this is something else, a super cool something else).  27′s first tentative steps out into the world of film.  Info about Strange Attractors and lots of delicate teases for the other stuff I have in the works… but all of that’s for another post.

See you in Seattle.

 

In about 36 hours I’ll be hopping on a plane and flying out to what has been variably called nerd prom, conpocalypse, the biggest clusterf**k since pop culture cons were invented, the most exciting weekend all year for fans of geeky stuff, or just plain old San Diego Comicon.  I’ve only been once before, in 2009, just a few months after Strongman Vol. 1 was released.  I remember it being a pretty epic, intense time for a variety of reasons, but I had a blast.  The scene was all pretty new to me, at least on that scale. I wasn’t running around trying to network like crazy or trying to track down people I knew (as I only knew a handful of people in comics at the time).  It was almost… innocent.

This year, my laws, so different.  I’ll try to see everyone, talk to everyone, have drinks and dinner and lunch and breakfast with everyone, party with everyone, buy everyone’s book, sign everyone’s book, see everything, do everything…

…and try extremely hard not to die in the process.  I hope some of you will be doing some of that with me, and with that in mind, here’s my San Diego schedule as I know it so far (I’ll update it over the weekend as things evolve):

Thursday, July 21

1-2:30 – Signing at the SLG Booth (#1815).  I’ll have a VERY LIMITED set of Strongman 2 advance copies.

4:30-5:30 – Signing at the Image Booth (#2729).  I’ll have the 27 trade available, 27 t-shirts and a sneak peek look at 27: Second Set!

8:00 – I know I’m going to attend the Image/CBLDF party at the Westgate hotel, and we’ll see where the evening goes from there.

Friday, July 22

1-2:30 – Signing at SLG

6:00 – I’m planning to hit the iFanboy happy hour up on the roof of the Andaz hotel, at least to start.

Saturday, July 23

1-2:30 – Signing at SLG

Sunday, July 24

(probably some more time at Image/SLG, but I’ll have to figure out the details.)

I will also make announcements on Twitter (www.twitter.com/charlessoule) and possibly on Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=557991766).  If you want to get in touch with me, those are probably the best two ways, but you can also shoot me an email at csoule at rocketmail.com.

See you this weekend!

I had completely forgotten, but once upon a time the phenomenal Kody Chamberlain did a pinup/cover concept for Strongman.  A bunch of people did them, actually.  We settled on the amazing work from Paul Adam as the final cover, but I think some of these other versions should see the light of day.  (Full disclosure – a few of these made it into the OGN, but they were black and white.  To my knowledge, this is the first time I’ve put the color versions up.)

First, here’s Kody’s very cool image:

Kody Chamberlain's take on the big man.

Scott Forbes, who many of you probably know from the killer work he’s doing on the covers for 27:

27 Cover Artist Scott Forbes' take on Strongman!

JM Ringuet also did a cover take, which we used for the pitch in the early days.  He’s a very talented artist, and I hope to work on something with him someday.

JM Ringuet takes a spin through Tigre's world.

How about that blonde, eh?  Va-va-voom!  He told me he based her on Catherine Deneuve, which I think was a fine idea.

Allen Gladfelter, the interiors artist on the series, worked up a bunch of concepts too, many of which are pretty slick and deserve a little time in the spotlight.  Here, presented without (much) comment:

Very cool take.

This would have had stuff from the old days in Mexico in the background, if we'd gone this way.

It’s all great work, and any of the images on this page were worthy contenders.  The trick with a cover is to pick the one image that perfectly encapsulates the tone of the story, while still being eye-catching and cool.  I had a good time looking back at this stuff – it’s been years.

So much going on right now – pushing a new project forward, doing PR for the launch of the 27 TPB and 27: Second Set, building to the release of Strongman Vol. 2 (in August, I think) and doing everything else – it’s a busy time.  I’ve got a bunch of art to post, and plenty of news, so hopefully I’ll do another update soon.  Until then!

This is going to be one of those scattershot postings done because I feel like it’s time to post something on the blog rather than any particular impetus.  So, buckle in, folks, and prepare yourselves for a number of small updates on various subjects!

The biggest of the smallest is the release of the cover for the 27 trade, which will be available in stores this June.  The book just hit Previews (the monthly catalog listing everything coming out, used by shop owners to decide what they’re going to stock).  If you’re someone who preorders (tells your shop in advance that you want something), you’ll need what’s called the “Previews code,” which is APR110417.  Here’s the solicitation text: “The dark mysteries of rock and roll royalty’s ’27 Club’ are revealed in this collection of the hit series. All the twists, all the action, all the weirdness, in one beautiful package! Full of extras, including an all-new 12-page backup story, it’s the most exciting thing to hit since the Beatles at Budokan!”  Even better, though, here’s the truly amazing cover, once again by Scott Forbes:

Gorgeous cover for the 27 TPB, by Scott Forbes.

The thing that strikes me about that cover is that it’s going to become the image associated with First Set going forward – each of the individual “homage” covers, even that killer cover for Issue 1 (my favorite) are going to sort of fade in the public’s mind.  Unless there’s some sort of omnibus collection at some point, or perhaps a reprint, that is what people are going to see when they think of 27.  (That, of course, makes the pretty large assumption that people will be thinking about it at all – but you can’t go into these things with a negative attitude.)  I wanted something incredibly striking, that would sum up the book’s themes perfectly, and I think this nails it.  Rock star striking a pose while his stage burns down around him?  Bingo.  I’m very happy with the way the trade’s coming together, and I think people will like it.

Other news – Second Set is coming along well, although I’m a little surprised myself at where it’s going.  One thing that’s been interesting to me has been talking to people at conventions who enjoyed First Set (and believe me, that’s been fantastic).  They seem to have taken some things from the book I wasn’t necessarily expecting, and it’s made me adjust my approach to Second Set.  Only slightly, though, and mostly I’m talking about slight adjustments to character beats here and there – the book will be what I planned it to be from the beginning.

Strongman 2: Oaxaca Tapout is all but complete.  Here’s the exact status, as of this morning: all 148 pages have been penciled, and 129 of those have been inked.  119 have been lettered.  Cover is complete (and has been for a while).  I expect the entire book to be finished, top to bottom, within the next two to three weeks.  Based on the publishing schedule for SLG, the current release date is slated for early August.  It’s not coming out as soon as I would have liked, but I am thrilled with the way it all came together, and I just can’t wait for people to have it in their hands to read.  It’s crucial that you preorder this one, so if you haven’t yet, please click on the link at the beginning of this paragraph and give it a go! And if you only know my stuff from 27, the Strongman series is a set of action/crime OGNs revolving around the adventures of an over-the-hill, 65-year-old luchador (masked Mexican wrestler).  It reads like Sin City, but uplifting.

I’ve seen the first pencils from the unannounced OGN, currently scheduled for release in June 2012.  I think it’s going to be very strong, but there’s not much to say about it other than it’s in progress, and I’ll tell you more about it as soon as I can.

The other fun news is that a Strongman movie might be bubbling up again.  As longtime readers know, a script has been in existence for a Strongman movie for years, which I pull out and tinker with from time to time.  I try never to get too excited about things happening on that front (read Brian Michael Bendis’ Fortune and Glory for a great distillation of why pinning your happiness to Hollywood dreams is a fool’s game), but still, it would be nice if it happened.  This week, there was some interest from someone “real,” who could actually get it done, if they chose to.  Like I said, it’s still incredibly unlikely, but on the other hand, it’s closer than it’s ever been, and I have to admit, I’d love to see Tigre clomping his way across the silver screen someday (even it would be more likely that he would first clomp across a TV screen after going straight to DVD.  I’d take it.)

What else… I had a great time in Chicago at C2E2, although I really think I spent too much time chasing editors and other meetings and not enough at my table.  I did fine, but all the running around turned the con into more stress than fun.  Emerald City was much more relaxing.  Still, Chicago gave me a chance to run into some of the great creators I’ve become friendly with, talk to fans of my work, meet new people, and enjoy Chicago a bit (including, particularly, late-night ribs at the Twin Anchors with two of my favorite people in the world, Gari and Jack.  If you’re ever in Chicago, don’t miss that place.  Fabulous.)

MoCCA in about a week, here in NYC.  I’m looking forward to a con I can just take a subway to.  I’ll be hanging out with my Strongman 2 inker and good buddy Robert Saywitz – if you’re there, stop by and say hello!

 

2010 was a year of incredible highs and lows for me.  I won’t rehash it – if you want a decent understanding of my year, just flip back a few pages in the blog and catch up.  What I will do is mention a few things I’m looking forward to in 2011:

1. 27.  Issue 2 hits stands this coming Wednesday, January 5, with #3 and #4 to follow in February and March.  I feel that the second half of the story is stronger than the first, and so it’s fantastic that most people seem to have been really enjoying the first issue.  A few advance copies of #2 have snuck out into reviewers’ hands, and things look promising there as well.  We’re definitely doing a trade, for which I just finished a backup story I’m very proud of.  It’ll be big, and stuffed with lots of cool extras.  Beyond that, it looks like there will be a sequel, unless I screw it up in the writing phase.  I have a plan mapped out for the rest of 27 – for everywhere it will go – and if I get to tell all the story I’ve written (that’s code for “please keep buying it”), I think it could be something really special.  As much as I love Strongman, 27 is really my breakout title, and I’m still thankful to everyone who helped make it that way.  But speaking of Strongman…

2. Strongman Vol. 2: Oaxaca Tapout.  One of the questions I’ve been getting a lot in interviews and such about 27 is “This is your first published comic, right?”  As regular readers of this blog know, it is not my first published comic.  I had an OGN out from SLG Publishing in March of 2009, entitled Strongman.  There’s a bunch of information about that book in the links to the right, but for those of you new to the blog, it’s an action-crime story starring a washed-up 65-year-old luchador (masked Mexican wrestler).  You can see a picture of him up in the banner for the blog – just look up.  The tone is sort of like Sin City, but uplifting.  Anyway, the book was a critical success – everyone who read it seemed to greatly enjoy it – but what I’m learning is that it only had very specific market penetration.  The vast majority of the comics audience hasn’t even heard of it.  Still, audience be damned, my team and I created a sequel – Volume 2.  It’s set in Mexico, it’s about 150 pages long, and it’s GORGEOUS.  The artists, Allen Gladfelter and Robert Saywitz, are doing magnificent work.  The book will be out in March, and I can’t wait for people to see it.  I think it’s truly some of my strongest work to date.  That said, it is CRUCIAL that you pre-order this book if you (a) liked Strongman V1, (b) like 27 and want to see more from me or (c) just want to help me out.  You can do it via Amazon by clicking here or you can call up your local comic shop and preorder it with Previews code NOV100688.  Either way, it matters.  Strongman is a series put out by a wonderful, but small publisher, and grassroots efforts (that is, advance orders) make the difference between them being able to publish a title or not.  Basically, if you want to be CERTAIN you get a copy of Strongman 2, the only way is to pre-order it.  Please do – I want you to read it!  Just so you know what to look for, here are the front and back covers (ignore the text on the back cover – it’s placeholder from Volume 1, and will be updated to give you the real story for SM2):

Strongman 2 Front Cover by Paul Adam.

Strongman 2 Back Cover by Paul Adam.

3. The other book. I have a deal in place for another OGN.  I’ve mentioned it on this blog before, so it’s possible that a little leg- and guess-work could let you figure out what it’s going to be, but I’m very excited about it as well.  The artist is amazing, the story is one I’ve wanted to get out into the world for years, the publisher makes beautiful products… no complaints.

4. The unknown. The greatest thing about getting projects into the world, and the comics industry in general, is how quickly new things can pop up.  This time last year, I was making plans to pitch 27, with no clue that Image would pick it up, or that it would hit with something of a splash.  I hope that 2011 brings its own share of fantastic surprises.  I’m going to a bunch of conventions this year, and I think it will be a blast to meet new readers, creators and other people in the industry.  I love writing, and I love that I have so many reasons to tell stories.

Adios, 2010, bring on 2011!

Robert Saywitz, the magnificent inker for Strongman Volume 2: Oaxaca Tapout, lives in Brooklyn, just a few neighborhoods over from me.  That makes him eminently qualified to have table space at KingCon, Brooklyn’s very own comic convention.  It’s happening November 4-7 this year, at the Brooklyn Lyceum (4th Avenue at President St.), just where it was last year.  It’s only the con’s second year, so I hope people support it.  KingCon seems to be primarily focused on small press from Brooklyn creators, but there are exceptions, and it seems like there will be some big names this year as well.

Anyway, Robert and I shared a table last year for the first con and had a good time, so we’re doing it again this year.  Rob was just a newbie to the comics industry back then, and now he’s a grizzled veteran, so it will be fun to see how he approaches the con differently this time around.  We’ll have a lot of cool stuff available, including a book of my short stories called “Whirlybird Eggs,” and the image you see below, an amazing Strongman poster Rob put together.  Check it out:

Strongman, looking rough, as drawn by Robert Saywitz.

My band will also be playing the after-party (which is actually before the main part of the con on the weekend, but whatever) on Friday night, also at the Lyceum.  We’ll be doing just one set, from about 9:15 to 10, so check it out if you can.  You may have heard that I have a book coming out the Wednesday after the con entitled 27, all about musicians and such who died at that age, so you can be damn sure we’ll be playing some songs by those luminaries.  It’s a cross-promotional hyperstorm!  We’ll be sharing the stage with an amazing band fronted by another comics creator, Jeff Burandt (aka Jef UK) – the Americans UK.  I can’t wait to see them live.  They put together their own little promo poster for the event, which is also supercool – here you go:

KingCon Afterparty Poster!

I think that’s plenty for the moment.  Hopefully I’ll see some of you this weekend – it’ll be a blast.  And of course, I hope you check out issue 1 of 27, out November 10 from Image Comics/Shadowline!  The book has been getting some amazing press coverage, and buzz is building, which generates its own interesting reactions for me.  Really, though, anything that helps people find the book is okay by me.

Well, I’m glad to have that behind me, to be honest.  New York Comicon, or NYCC, is a massive endeavor, both to prepare for and to experience.  As I mentioned in the last post, I had a good number of signings scattered throughout the weekend, which were wonderful in that I was able to talk about my books (both in existence and upcoming), meet fans, run into old friends who walked by the table, etc.  Shadowline (the Image imprint publishing 27) and Indie Spinner Rack were fabulous hosts, and my only regret is that I didn’t take more pictures.

The other side of any con (or at least cons for me these days) is networking.  Seemingly just about everyone in the business came out to New York (I know that’s not true, but it felt like it), and so it was a great chance to meet and re-meet folks who I might get a chance to work with one day, if all goes well.  It’s always something of a tricky balance – you have to know, or intuit, the right way to approach and talk to people at cons.  Editors are always busy at cons, and they’re also always being preyed upon by creators looking for work.  My rule with editor conversations is to keep them VERY short and sweet, unless they give you an opening that suggests they’re up for talking a bit more.  The idea is to make just enough of an impression that you can follow up with an email later and they’ll remember who you are.   (Which reminds me, I have to start getting my con follow-up emails out!)  So, that’s editors.  Creators, on the other hand, are always up for conversations.  Everyone wants to talk about what they’re up to – which is usually fantastic stuff.  As I’ve continued to work in this weird/awesome business, it’s been my extreme pleasure to meet and in many cases become friends with talents so extraordinary that their brilliance blows my hair back.  Creators gossip, too, which is fun.

Also had some solid conversations with some press folks, but if there’s one area in which I feel like I screwed up the con, it’s that.  While I hung out with some great guys in the comics press, including Josh Flanagan from iFanboy, Charlito from Indie Spinner Rack (link above), and Brett Schenker from Graphic Policy , I didn’t network the press guys like maybe I could have, and with a book in Previews right now (that’s 27 Issue 1, for those who don’t know), I should have tried to set up interviews and so on.  Ah well.  I did okay.

One issue with all that networking, I didn’t have a ton of time to actually walk the floor.  There are whole sections I never got to see, and while I bought some books I’m very excited about, I didn’t get much else.  The merch selection at the big cons is usually pretty amazing, so it’s a shame to have missed it.  Next time, I suppose.  Oh, another negative – it was insanely crowded.  Getting from one place to another took forever.  That’s probably why I didn’t walk the floor as much as I ordinarily might have.  On balance, though, it was a great time.

I’ve posted before about my occasional tradition of getting artists I know to draw Tigre, the  main character from my Strongman series.  NYCC garnered me a killer new sketch from Rodin Esquejo, the fantastic cover artist for Nick Spencer and Joe Eisma’s Morning Glories series, which I have the great pleasure of posting here:

 

Tigre, by Rodin Esquejo!

 

I also realized that I never posted another Tigre I got, from the wonderful Bobby Timony of Night Owls fame.  He drew this for me at C2E2 in Chicago last April.  However, I hung out with him a fair amount at NYCC, so I think it counts.  Enjoy:

 

Tigre, by Bobby Timony!

 

And that’s that!  I am hoping to be able to have some great things to announce soon – as I said, it was a productive weekend.  In the meantime, though, onward towards the 27 release date – less than a month away!

One of the things about the hype cycle leading up to a new book coming out is that you have to find new bits and pieces of news from time to time in order to keep people chomping at the bit during the last few months before the book hits the shelves.  This is that.

With no further ado, it gives me extraordinary pleasure to be able to announce the final, formal title of the sequel to Strongman, last year’s biggest aged-masked-wrestler success story:

STRONGMAN VOL. 2: OAXACA TAPOUT

And here’s the cover, nice and big, by the always phenom Paul Adam:

The Cover for Strongman Vol. 2!

You may be thinking… “Oaxaca Tapout”?  Uh, yeah…. awesome?  Let me assure you, YES IT IS.  Here’s the deal.  SM2 is influenced in small part by the films of Andy Sidaris.  You may be thinking… “Andy Sidaris”?  Uh, yeah… awesome?  Let me assure you, YES HE WAS.  SORT OF.  Andy Sidaris made incredibly cheesy action films in the 80s, filled with bangs (all kinds), boobs and bullets.  They were mildly amazing to 11-12 year old me, when I could catch the uncut versions on Cinemax or whatever, but they’re really sort of terrible.  Bad acting, no plot, no budget – but the female leads were usually Penthouse Pets or Playboy Bunnies, and sometimes you don’t need much more.  Really, all you need to know about his stuff can be found at his official site.  Anyway, while those weren’t the best movies of all time, they did have a sort of hard-driving chutzpa to them, and they all boasted kickass titles.  Kickass titles that were essentially nonsense.  Check them out:

HARD TICKET TO HAWAII

MALIBU EXPRESS

ENEMY GOLD

GUNS (that’s it, just “Guns”)

and my personal favorite, PICASSO TRIGGER

So, that’s where I got the title, basically.  It’s set in Mexico, hence Oaxaca (even though the book probably doesn’t take place in that wonderful state), and Tapout because Tigre is, of course, a wrestler.  I hope you guys like it – not long now until you’ll get to see it for yourselves.

(Other news… just got back from a wonderful weekend at Baltimore Comicon.  Plenty of stories to share, which I will try to type up as soon as I can.  I’d also like to possibly do a little series on advice for indie creators – not that I’m so awesome, but I do think it might be nice for me to organize my thoughts on that subject a little.  And of course, more about 27 and Strongman Vol 2: Oaxaca Tapout!)

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