Strange Attractors


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!

 

 

This has been an amazing week, and it’s only Wednesday.

A huge project I’ve been working on for a while was announced on Monday – I’ll be writing “Superman / Wonder Woman,” an ongoing series for DC Comics that will feature Clark Kent and Diana of Themyscira as the main characters.  Tony S. Daniel is drawing it (and boy howdy is he a talented SOB.) This sort of thing has been done in the past – Batman and Superman in particular have a long history of teaming up in a single title, from “World’s Finest” to the most recent iteration of “Batman – Superman,” written by my pal Greg Pak (the first issue of which hits shelves next week, in fact.)  What makes S/WW different is that the main characters are currently embroiled in a romantic relationship, and the title will explore that angle in a significant way.  It’s not going to just be about that, but they’re absolutely “together,” in every sense.  In fact, that’s what attracted me to the project in the first place – it’s a chance to tell stories about superhero adventures on a gigantic scale with a very personal angle attached to it.  (Although let’s get real here – ANY chance to write a title featuring two of the most popular and significant characters in all of popular culture is nothing to sneeze at.)

So, the announcement hit a few days ago, and the reaction has been fascinating to me.  There’s been a lot of support, but there’s also been a fair amount of discussion (particularly on Twitter) from people who wish that DC would focus on a romance between Clark Kent and Lois Lane.  I haven’t gotten too involved in that on Twitter one way or the other, mainly because I think Twitter is a terrible place for making reasoned arguments.  Blogs, however…

A few things about relationships that I’ve come to believe over the course of my life:

  • You need to date before you figure out how to have a mature, grown-up relationship that will stand the test of time. You learn from your previous mistakes, and then you bring that experience to the one that sticks.  You also come to understand what you want and need out of a partner – none of that will happen unless you have some relationships along the way that do not work for the long haul.
  • A relationship doesn’t have to last for the long haul for it to be valuable.  I still have extremely fond memories of some of the relationships I was in during high school, college, etc.  They didn’t last, but they were all a big part of my own emotional development. Not to trivialize, but a relationship can be like a really great song – some are bubblegum pop that give you a rush for a while until the initial thrill wears off, but others are deep, more complex experiences that you can return to again and again over the course of your life.
  • What the world needs now is love, sweet love. That’s the only thing that there’s just too little of.

In a nutshell, then – I think that exploring a relationship between Superman and Wonder Woman will help both characters grow significantly.  Whatever happens in their futures (and I’m sure it’ll be all kinds of crazy business – it’s comics, after all), this is where they are now, and I feel fortunate to be the one seeing how it all works out.

A couple other notes – first, I’m not dropping any titles that I’m currently working on.  My workload is intense right now, but I can handle it.  I’m way ahead on scripts for Letter 44, and I have a nice backlog for Swamp Thing, Red Lanterns and Thunderbolts.  If it gets to the point where stories are starting to suffer (and I’m sure the Internet will let me know if that happens), I’ll move away from some of that, but right now I think we’re good.

I’ll be attending San Diego Comicon in about a month. That show is always insane, but I expect this year to be crazier than most.  I’ll be doing a lot of signings, panels and so on, and I’ll post my full schedule as soon as it gets locked down.  In particular, I know Oni’s planning to do a bunch of cool stuff with respect to Letter 44, even… just maybe… some show exclusives.  That series is going to be amazing (uh, if I do say so myself – I’m just really proud of it), so this will be your chance to get on the wagon train (to the stars!) early.

Finally, let me thank those of you who have read, reviewed, tweeted about, FBed, Amazon starred, ordered for your shop or otherwise helped to get the word out about my latest OGN Strange Attractors.  It’s been just about a month since it came out, and the reaction has been UNBELIEVABLE.  People really seem to be finding it, and that’s all I can ask as a writer.  If you’re curious about my work on Superman / Wonder Woman, and you to want to see how I handle relationships and character stuff, you could do a lot worse than Strange Attractors.  Here’s a link to the Amazon page, and here’s one to the Comixology page if you’d rather read it digitally.

Speaking of Strange Attractors, I’m doing a really cool signing event at Bergen Street Comics here in Brooklyn next Wednesday, June 26. Bergen Street is one of the coolest comics shops I’ve ever been to – I’ve been shopping there for years, and I’m honored they asked me to do an event there.  The specifics are here, but in a nutshell, I’ll be having a conversation with the very talented Ales Kot about his new graphic novel Change, while he asks me questions about Strange Attractors.  Ales is a really sharp guy, so I expect the discussion will go to some cool places.  There will also be free drinks, and tons of awesome stuff for sale – it’s a comic shop, after all.  (Among other things, the first issue of my Red Lanterns run hits stands that day, but they’ll also have plenty of Strange Attractors, Swamp Thing and other books around from both Ales and myself.)  Here’s the sweet poster for the event:

Groovy, right?

Groovy, right?

See you soon!

Wow, this has been a long time coming.  I’ve been working on Strange Attractors – my story about New York City, complexity theory and the people affected when they interact – since at least January 2006, and my guess is that I had the seed of the idea back in 2005.  Of course, the most intense period of work was from roughly fall 2010 through fall 2012 while the story was being drawn, but still, that’s a long road for any book.

It hits comic store shelves today, and will be available at bookstores and via Amazon in a few weeks.  I’ve been doing a ton of press for it, so I’m a bit talked out about the premise, but in a nutshell, it’s a real-world thriller with some sci-fi touches, about two genius complexity mathematicians who are able to use extremely high-level applications of the Butterfly Effect to (more or less) make New York City do whatever they want.  One of the reviews that hit today called it “equal parts Ex Machine, Sandman and Planetary,” and that’s a comparison I can certainly live with.

If you’re the kind of reader who likes books by Jonathan Hickman, Warren Ellis or Neal Stephenson, or Christopher Nolan movies that don’t involve Batman, then I think this might be your kind of story.  If you’d like to know more about the story, check out this interview I did with Multiversity.com, a pretty fantastic review from MTVGeek and another lovely writeup from ComicBastards.

Here’s the Amazon link if you think you might like to order it, and your local comic shop can certainly help you out as well – just ask for it.

If my ongoing work for DC or Marvel brought you here, consider trying something on the creator-owned side.  I know the entire creative team is really proud of this book, and we’d love to see people reading it far and wide.

Stay complicated!

This has been quite a week.  Crazy rumors about projects I might be taking on in the new year, the release of the first digital chapter of Strange Attractors (and the first feedback on that chapter…), actually finishing Strange Attractors and turning all of the files in to the publisher, the release of the Mankind graphic novel from the History Channel featuring one of my stories and of course, Christmas around the corner as well as the onset of 2013.

It’s been good.  I’d like to quickly chat about all of this stuff before I delve into a short holiday break – no time for a long one, and sometimes it feels like I’ll never have time for a long vacation again.  But I’m not complaining!

1. The crazy rumor.

No comment!  All I will say is that the rumor generated a lot of supportive tweets, FB posts and so on, and regardless of its veracity, I was extremely touched by people’s apparent faith that if a rumor like that were true, that I could do a good job.  Thank you!

2. Strange Attractors finished.

In case you’re coming to this blog for the first time (which seems possible – I’ve been getting a lot of traffic recently, presumably because of (1)), Strange Attractors is my next big creator-owned project, a story about two complexity mathematicians who figure out how to manipulate all of New York City’s layered systems to turn it into kind of an engine.  It’s very grounded sci-fi, I suppose, and I’m very excited about it.  It’s due out from Archaia this March, as one of their beautiful hardcovers.

Anyway, the book is indeed finished!  The team and I worked overtime over the last few weeks to get everything done, and it feels like we spent as much time on the last minute tweaks as we did putting the whole book together.  That’s obviously not true – the first art for this book came in around July 2010 (most of that hasn’t been used, except for the final cover by Dan Duncan), and the final team has been working on it steadily since May 2011.  Regardless, it’s without a doubt the most complex and time-consuming project I’ve ever done, on all levels, and I hope that people enjoy what we created.  As a taste – there will be plenty more to come, I’m sure – here’s the very last piece of art I got for the book, one of the amazing complexity maps created by Robert Saywitz.  They’re amazing on their own, and even cooler as they’re used in the story.  Check it out:

Gorgeous.

Gorgeous.

3. Strange Attractors Digital!

As I’ve discussed here and there in the past, Strange Attractors is getting a Digital First release from Archaia, which means that it will be serialized in roughly four chapters leading up to the release of the hardcover.  It’s set up to be read on your digital devices – e-readers, ipads, etc.  The first chapter is available now, right here.  Totally affordable, too – $2.99 for 26 full-color, gorgeous pages!  Treat yourself – it’s the holidays!

We even got our first review, from the cool folks at Comicosity.  They gave it a 9.0/10, and here’s a representative quote:

“I highly recommend this first chapter in Strange Attractors.”

Whaddya want?  If you need more, click over – I’d love to send them the hits.  Suffice it to say, they dug it, which is incredibly encouraging and gratifying.  Getting something new out into the world is always nerve-wracking, and it’s wonderful to be able to think that the time and effort we’ve put in might connect with readers.

3. Mankind: the Story of All of Us

Over the summer, I wrote a story for the second volume of the graphic novel series the History Channel put together to be released in conjunction with their epic miniseries Mankind: The Story of All of Us.  It’s the biggest production they’ve ever done, a multi-part series covering the evolution of human society over the millennia.  Super cool, and I was thrilled to have a part in it.  I wrote a 16-page story entitled “The Gun,” which deals with the invention and innovation surrounding firearms, mostly in China, and it’s really great stuff.  The art’s wonderful, and the other stories are all amazing too.  You can get it here – I think it might be a great gift for teen readers, if you know any young folks into history (not bad for adults, either!)  Here’s the kickass Neal Adams cover:

Mankind Vol 2 cover

And there you have it.  I’m sure we’ll have a lot more to talk about soon – 2013 is looking like a really big year, and I couldn’t be more excited about it.

 

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!

 

 

At the beginning of the year, I wrote two posts talking about a variety of projects I was working on at the time.  I thought it might be fun to catch up on where all of those things went, and provide a similar set of obscure notices about things in the mix right now.  Some of the stuff developed, some of it didn’t, sometimes I got paid, sometimes I didn’t.  Before I run down the list, here’s the first post and here’s the second one.

Let’s start with the active list from that first post.  I’ll put my update below each one:

1. Strange Attractors – OGN about a guy who turns NYC into a sort of engine, and what happens when he turns the key.  Due Q3/Q4 from Archaia.

***Well, Q3/Q4 turned out to be a little ambitious.  We’re now looking at a Spring 2013 release, just because the book is incredibly complex (in a good way) and everyone involved wants it to be as stupendous as possible.  I expect the actual book to be finished by the end of October, at which point we’ll nail down the exact release date.  I have some really fun ideas for getting the word out about it, and I am THRILLED with how it’s all coming together.  You can see some art and other bits and bobs from the book if you search the blog under the ‘Strange Attractors’ tab.

2. Letter 44 – limited series about the research items I mentioned above.  Coming Q4 from[_________]

***The details on this are going to be announced very soon, I think at NYCC.  I CANNOT WAIT for people to hear about this one.  The artist is assigned and wonderful, and (fingers crossed) it’ll be something people really connect to, especially with some real-world stuff going on that the plot connects to somewhat.  Also, it’ll be ongoing, not limited… although that will, as always, depend on you guys. Obviously not Q4 2012, though.  I think probably Q1 or early Q2 2013?

3. [Project Jazzhands] – 6-issue series being drawn by [____________]. My first foray into superheroes, sort of.  Inspired by old Stephen King books.

***This is still in progress.  It’s mostly written, and the artist is drawing it sort of on the side as he works on other projects.  I haven’t lined it up anywhere yet, but it’s turning out to be a very personal story, so I’m in no rush.

4. [Detroit book] – 5-issue limited series about bringing Detroit back from the brink.  Probably out Q2/Q3 2012.

***Nope! This was a work-for-hire thing, described in more detail in the second post linked up there.  After I turned in my outline, which everyone dug, the client decided they no longer were quite as sure about spending what they’d have to spend to make the book.  I love the story, and I still own it (they didn’t pay), so I suppose there’s a chance this could see the light of day somehow.  The longer I do this, the deeper my drawer of “maybes” gets, but that’s okay – it means I have a deeper bench of fleshed-out ideas I can draw on if I need to down the road.

5. [Untitled Edie Sedgwick project.]  Basically what it sounds like.  Due later this year, I think?

***See (4).  I believe the client still wants to do it, but he has a lot going on.  The story’s a lot of fun, and my pal JK Woodward’s on board to do the art if we get a greenlight.  I spent a lot of time reading about Ms. Sedgwick, and I think it would be fascinating to tell the story we came up with, but what are you gonna do?

6. [AR] – sci-fi action adventure.  Just about to start scripting, probably 6 issues.  Release date unclear.

***This was actually the project referred to in the second post linked above, which I ended up bailing on.  Subsequent to that, the friend of mine at that production company left as well, and it seems as if I may have dodged a bullet.  Still no regrets.  I’ve been told that you take any gig you can when you’re getting started, and I see the logic in that, but time is an irreplaceable resource, and there are certainly projects that aren’t worth taking – as long as you spend that time on something that is worth doing, like one of your own stories or a higher-profile work for hire job.

And now, some new stuff…

A. [Revival of once incredibly popular, now somewhat obscure property] – VERY VERY excited about this one, but there’s not much I can say about it yet.  I’m on board as the writer, based on several rounds of pitching and a super detailed outline that was well-received.  There are some outside factors that need to come through before it gets the full greenlight to be produced to series (or an OGN), but I’m hopeful.  Even though I’m being vague, cross your fingers for me.  It would be a very high-profile, name-making gig for me, so I’m holding my breath on it a bit.

B. [Original crime thriller sort of thing] – working on this with my friend Palle Schmidt, a very talented Danish artist.  The story’s a bit of a departure for me, but I think it’s important to stretch new muscles writing-wise.  We’ll have this out as a pitch at NYCC, and I’m hopeful that it will get some traction.  Kind of an intense story, but that’s what will make it fun.

C. [YA Adventure series] – in the works, with an artist I’ve worked with before (hmm…) and really admire.  I have a feeling that the pitch for this won’t be ready for another few months – he’s busy – but hopefully it’ll something I can talk more about in 2013.

D. Short story for the History Channel’s MANKIND series of graphic novels – THC is doing a three-volume series of big graphic novels to accompany the release of their MANKIND miniseries this fall.  The series will cover the history of humanity from a man-on-the-street perspective.  Instead of telling the story of Washington crossing the Delaware, it might be the story of one of the guys pulling an oar (for example.)  I did a story for Volume 2 related to the invention of firearms in China.  It was a blast to use my China background for a story, and what I’ve seen of the art is sweet.  The editor on the series is Joan Hilty, who’s been absolutely lovely to work with.  I’m not sure when this actually appears in the world, but I think it might be before year-end, possibly.

E. Other stuff… there’s another big work-for-hire thing I have lined up for the fall, a new 27 short story that should hit before Thanksgiving, a short film based on the 27 story “Crossroads Blues” that will hopefully go, more Strongman and more.  I’ve got more to write than I know what to do with, which is the way it should be.
Next post, NYCC!

 

 

I put together a big proof PDF today of the first 100 or so pages of Strange Attractors, my upcoming graphic novel from Archaia.  Seeing it all (mostly) assembled like that really just brought it home that I’m very lucky to be working with the team I have on this book.  In case you’re wondering, that team includes:
Greg Scott -Pencils/Inks

Art Lyon -Colors

Matthew Petz -Colors

Thomas Mauer -Letters

Robert Saywitz -Complexity Maps (this will make more sense when you get the book.)

They’re all knocking it out of the park.  Most are NYC natives, too, which makes a big difference for this particular book, as the city is one of the story’s most significant characters.  But don’t take my word for it.  Here are two gorgeous, finished and lettered, pages, presented for the first time anywhere, from Strange Attractors.

It’s like you’re right there at 42nd and Park, isn’t it?

Give me half a chance and you know I’ll work in a music reference somewhere.

Just gorgeous, right? And, I’m thrilled to be able to say that these are just the tip of the iceberg. Can’t wait for you guys to see more.

 

To improve your Monday somewhat (or whatever day it might be when you stumble upon this post), I present an uncolored panel from my upcoming graphic novel Strange Attractors.  This is the marvelous work of Greg Scott, who is nearing the finish line on this epic.  It’s one of the most complex projects I’ve ever done, and to see it come together is really something.  Here’s the panel:

A truly bad day in the market.

Why are those dudes so upset?  What’s happening on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange that’s so terrible?  You’ll find out soon enough! (Fall 2012, if everything keeps going as it seems like it will.)

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!

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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