It’s here! The insanest weekend in the intensest city – New York Comicon rolls around once again. My schedule is packed – I’m tabling, paneling, signing and partying, all of which I hope to do with all of you. I’ll lay it all out here, and then we’ll see what we can see.

First and foremost, let’s talk about this “Curse Words Wizard Party” I’ve been social media-ing about for the past few weeks. As you may already know, the Unsinkable Ryan Browne and I have a new book coming out for Image Comics – it’s called CURSE WORDS, and it’s about a nice, cool wizard appearing out of nowhere one day in NYC and becoming a spellcaster-for-hire. Many twists and turns ensue, not least that he’s actually a nice, cool wizard at all – he’s a TERRIBLE, EVIL wizard who was sent here to destroy the world. Uh-oh! We call it Lord of the Rings meets Breaking Bad, but with magic instead of meth – and it’s kind of funny.

The comic is ongoing, and begins in January. It’s already gotten some really nice coverage in Entertainment Weekly and The Hollywood Reporter, but we want to keep getting the word out – hence the Wizard Party. The amazing people at Image were kind enough to let us take over part of their big NYCC event at Bowlmor Lanes Times Square on FRIDAY, OCTOBER 7. We’ll be in a club room on the 3rd floor called the Luna Lounge, starting around 9. Details:

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Now, what the hell is a Wizard Party? Well, it’s sort of a variety show, featuring:

  • Live music from The Wizard Band (literally a band of wizards, who play songs either about magic or that actually ARE magic);
  • A live-read performance from the book with comedians from the NYC Upright Citizens Brigade Theater (and emceeing from Jeremy Bent, also part of that doughty crew);
  • Wizard Trivia with fabulous prizes;
  • A raffle for yet another fabulous magical prize – everyone who comes to the Image Party gets a ticket, FREE (until we run out):

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Also, assuming FedEx doesn’t mess me up on the delivery today, everyone who comes to the Image Party will also get a pair of THESE BABIES, FREE (while supplies last):

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Ryan and I will also be giving those away at our tables (X-2 and X-3 in Artist’s Alley), free with every purchase of the Curse Words Exclusive Preview comic, a look at Issue 1 of the book in advance of its January debut (again, while supplies last):

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So, that’s the Wizard Party. We’re excited about this book, and wanted to do something fun to get the world out a bit – hope to see you all there.

Beyond that, here’s my day-to-day schedule:

ALL DAYS – I am at table X-3 in Artist’s Alley, sandwiched between Ryan Browne and Alberto Jimenez Alburquerque, the incredible artist of my series Letter 44. Should be a blast. As you read the info below, keep in mind that this is a crazy show, and things happen. If the schedule below changes, I’ll probably tweet it (follow me @charlessoule) or I’ll try to have a sign at my table.

THURSDAY, OCTOBER 6

This is the busiest day. I intend to be at my table from 10-11 in the morning, but then…

11-12 AM – I’m doing the long-running WRITERS UNITE panel with my good friend Jim Zub. It’s a process panel, where we talk about breaking into the business, how to construct a good script, all that stuff. It is A MUST for anyone interested in writing comics on any level. We really focus on useful information, and it’s always fun.

12:30-1:30 PM – BREAKING INTO COMICS THE MARVEL WAY – yet another panel about getting into comics, this one more Marvel-specific. Always helpful and interesting.

2:30-3:30 PM – SIGNING AT THE COMIXOLOGY BOOTH IN ARTIST’S ALLEY – Believe it or not, I have a trading card this year! I’m part of the second series of Comixology-created Comics All-Stars cards, and I’ll be signing them here.

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4:30-6:15 – At my table.

6:30-7:30 – IMAGE COMICS: ADVENTURE – A story-breaking panel with Greg Rucka, Simon Spurrier and some other awesome folks, at which we’ll talk about making tales that really pop.

As you can see, I’ll only be at the table that day for two windows, both a bit short. It gets better over the course of the weekend, I promise.

FRIDAY, OCTOBER 7

11-12 AM – STAR WARS: A WRITER’S ROUNDTABLE – offsite from the main con, at 500 W. 36th Street (a block away), at an event called BookCon. I’ll be talking all things Jedi and droids with a murderer’s row of authors, including Timothy Zahn, Chuck Wendig, E.K. Johnston and James Luceno. Holy crud! This might be my most looked-forward to part of the con – other than the Wizard Party, of course. I can’t believe I’m part of this.

12:30-6 – At my table. Might take the occasional break so I don’t die, but my intention is to be there for this chunk of time.

9 PM – THE WIZARD PARTY!!! (See above.)

SATURDAY, OCTOBER 8

10-2:30 – At my table. I have something to do around 11, but otherwise I intend to be here.

2:45 – 3:45 – MARVEL CUP O’ JOE – long-running panel at which many cool upcoming Marvel things are discussed and teased.

4-7 – At my table.

SUNDAY, OCTOBER 9 –

10-5 – At my table. This may adjust slightly depending on other factors, but generally I plan to be here.

And then, we all pass out. Can’t wait to see everyone!

 

 

 

Hey hey! My fall 2016 convention craziness is about to begin, so I thought I’d toss up a quick blog post to talk about the very latest. I am doing four conventions in the next six weeks:

September 2-4 – Baltimore Comicon

September 10-11 -Rose City Comicon (Portland, OR)

September 24-25 – Wizard World Austin

October 6-10 – New York Comicon

Feels like quite a bit – hell, it is quite a bit. The coolest thing about those shows, though, is that I’ll be starting to pull back the veil on my brand new creator-owned project, CURSE WORDS – an ongoing gonzo fantasy project with Ryan Browne on the art, to be published by the amazing folks at Image Comics. It was first announced in Entertainment Weekly’s San Diego Comicon issue this past July (which was pretty amazing, I have to say). Here’s that coverage:

EW Article

The book is about a very bad wizard from a strange, dark dimension who pops up in modern-day New York City and pretends to be a very good wizard so he can get famous and enjoy all the awesome things our world has that his home doesn’t. Along the way he becomes a defender of our world against various magical threats, but not because he’s a good guy – he just doesn’t want his favorite clubs and stuff to get wrecked. The tone is what I suppose you could call “dramedic” – there’s a very serious story going on, with lots of punch you in the gut moments, but it’s got this surreal, funny element to it as well. Plus hogtaurs and talking koalas and magical derring-do.

While the first issue doesn’t hit until January, Ryan and I put together an ashcan for the first issue, which contains twenty-four beautifully illustrated, fully lettered story pages in black and white (the final book will be in color). I will have that book available at all of the fall conventions listed above, while supplies last – and they’re limited, so if you want one make sure to swing by the table. Here’s what you’re looking for cover-wise:

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Nice, right? Should be pretty collectible, if you’re into that sort of thing. See you soon!

I have four books out today, which is pretty incredible – in fact, it’s moved me to type up a blog post for the first time in a good while. It’s been a very, very busy spring, and the idea of adding words that weren’t strictly necessary to the total I needed to produce felt a little crazy. I’m good with workload – it’s part of the Charles Soule Brand, I’d say – but there were a few moments here and there when even I, gentle reader, yes, even I felt like it might be nice to take a damn break for a minute or two.

But breaks don’t get you four books out in a single day. Those books are:

Daredevil #7 – featuring art from Matteo Buffagni, colors by Matt Milla, letters from Clayton Cowles and a story covering the second half of my Elektra tale. That deadly Greek assassin-lady has always been one of my favorite characters in all of the DD mythos, and it’s been amazing to write her in the title where she debuted. I even own a copy of that issue – #168, part of Frank Miller’s run. I’m looking forward to hearing what people think of the way the issue ends, in particular. Elektra expresses a sentiment that I think is completely in line with her character, but isn’t something we see said all that often. Biggest thing to know about this issue is that it’s far from the last planned appearance from Ms. Natchios in the title. She’s a big part of the overall blueprint for the story I’m telling, so stay tuned.

Here’s the cover for the issue, by the incomparable Bill Sienkewicz:

DD7 Cover

Letter 44 #25 – We made it to issue 25! That is an incredible landmark for a creator-owned series these days. Or, it seems, almost any title that doesn’t have a superhero or a movie or both associated with it. #25 is part four of the big “Saviors” arc, which is itself the fourth chunk of the main series.

Art here is by my good friend Alberto Jimenez Alburquerque, with colors by Dan Jackson, letters from Crank!, and they created one of my absolute favorite covers for the whole series so far:

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Poor, poor Mr. President. Also, the reference for this image was from a self-portrait I took in April, flames and all. April was a tough month.

Obi-Wan & Anakin #5 – Man, I sure do love writing Star Wars stories. Obi-Wan & Anakin is the second of three tales I’ve been lucky enough to create in the SW Universe. My Lando series with Alex Maleev and Paul Mounts was first, and then I got this gig (with Marco Chechetto (art), Andres Mossa (colors) and Joe Caramagna (letters)), and I’m also doing a Poe Dameron ongoing with Phil Noto.

This issue is the final chapter (it was always conceived as a miniseries), and I am so proud of the work we did here, and sorry to see it go. It was a bit of a challenge to write a story set between Episodes I and II, which contain some elements that are, let’s just say divisive within Star Wars fandom. That said, I think the characters that George Lucas created are incredibly strong, and it was my job just to dig in and make them tick. Plus, writing a story set in a period when the Jedi were ascendant – just awesome.

Obi is one of my favorite characters in all of the Star Wars mythology, and getting to give him some lines was a huge thrill. Not to mention Sheev, aka Darth Sidious, aka Emperor Palpatine, aka good old Uncle Palpy. I think the Emperor is my #1 favorite guy in all of Star Wars so far, and I’ll write him any chance I get. There’s also another cameo in this issue, one of the most challenging to write dialogue for – but I think I did okay.

The cover!

OWA5 Cover

Uncanny Inhumans #9 – One of the really fun things about writing Uncanny Inhumans is the way the characters (and there are a bunch of them, all different from one another) let me take sidesteps between different genres from time to time. It doesn’t all have to be huge superhero action – although there’s plenty of that. Issues 5-6 were sort of a farce. Issue 7 was a detective/crime story. Issue 8 was a romance. And now, Issue 9 is a melodrama, set against an epic Marvel Universe backdrop, with a cast of thousands. In a nutshell, the story revolves around the reaction of Crystal, sister of Queen Medusa of the Inhumans, when she learns that Medusa has been secretly dating her ex, Johnny Storm aka the Human Torch of the Fantastic Four. I’ve wanted to write this one ever since I decided to put Medusa and Johnny together, and it was so much fun to do.

Art is by Kev Walker, colors by David Curiel, letters once again from Clayton Cowles, all of whom did a great job with a tricky script. The cover here is by my friend Mahmud Asrar:

UIH 9 Cover

So those are the four books out today! It’s pretty amazing, and I feel very lucky to have such a diverse slate of titles. The stories in those comics call for four very different types of writing, and it’s nice to be able to stretch my muscles that way.

I thought it might be a good idea to also quickly update you on other things I’m working on, just to give you an overview of the entire Souliverse (which is not a thing, except that these stories do all come from the same place, I suppose…)

DAREDEVIL – as mentioned, there’s a big, huge plan in play. You’ll learn more about the overarching idea in issue 9, although there are still many things to be revealed. Ron Garney (the amazing artist with whom I launched the title) will be back with Issue 10, to draw the entirety of an important arc called Dark Art. Here’s the first cover for that story:

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Serious new villain being introduced in this story. After that, another story with a familiar bad guy, then a big story in which we’ll look at how Matt got his secret identity back, and after that… well, the trap will snap closed on Daredevil. Big stuff to come.

POE DAMERON – Phil Noto and I are moving along nicely! He’s just the best guy, too. So great to work with, and he knocks it out of the park every time. I can’t say a ton about upcoming storylines here, but I will say that I was really gratified by the reaction to the introduction in issue #2 of Agent Terex, the series’ main bad guy (so far). He’s more or less an evil version of Lando Calrissian, and man, does he have some cool moments coming up.

I wish I could show you some upcoming art from the series, but I really can’t – so instead, I will give you the greatest gift of all, my own portrait of Poe, done at a recent signing at Acme Comics:

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Incredible, I know.

Daredevil/Punisher – a miniseries I’ve been working on as part of Marvel’s “Infinite” line, which is published first as a digital comic optimized for reading on ipads and similar screens. The reading experience is super cool – each swipe is a transition that changes the image on the page, either to add some element of motion to the existing image, change the dialogue, or bring up an entirely new panel. It feels very cinematic. It is also being published as print comics, however, so you can read it that way too – Issue #1 is already out, and I think #2 will be out at the end of the month. Should run to four issues, I believe, and six of the eight digital parts have already been released. You can get those here.

Layouts on the series have been by Reilly Brown and Mast, with interior art from Szymon Kudranski. It’s a fun story, about Daredevil trying to get a truly bad guy to JFK Airport before Punisher can kill him. Why is DD trying to put this scumbag on a plane? Will Daredevil and Punisher discuss the limits of vigilante justice? Will Blindspot have cool invisiblity moments? Does a billy club get stuck in a tailpipe? Answers: you’ll find out, yes, yes, and duh. Here’s the awesome cover to #2, by Reilly Brown:

DDPUN 2 Cover

UNCANNY INHUMANS – So, we have #9 today, and then #10, which is an issue featuring Reader, one of my favorite new characters that I’ve created for the MU. His superpower is to make anything he reads become real – but he’s blind. So, he carries these little Braille tabs around on his belt, which he uses to fight. He also has an amazing seeing eye dog named Forey. That dog was stolen from him in Issue 7, and now he’s going to get him back, come hell or high water.

This is one of the most narratively complex stories I’ve ever attempted, with lots of fun bits and easter eggs related to Reader’s power and how it operates – I really hope everyone checks it out. Kev Walker went above and beyond for this one, for sure. The cover:

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Once that story’s complete, we move into a huge story connected to the big Civil War II event – my part of that will be the Inhumans vs. Tony Stark, and it’s gigantic, with massive ramifications for the entire Inhuman world (and the Marvel Universe as a whole.) End of #11 is one hell of a moment. I can’t believe I got to do it.

After that… stay tuned. Once Uncanny goes big, it doesn’t let up.

LETTER 44 – As many longtime readers know, Letter 44 was always planned to end at #35. I’m working on the final chunk of issues now, and it’s some sad business – not just because of the story elements, but also because it will be about saying good-bye to a story that’s been a constant companion for years. Letter 44 is the type of sci-fi epic I dreamed of writing when I was 12, and the idea that I actually got to do it still blows my mind. The book has brought me many new fans, trips to far off lands, the chance to work with Alberto Jimenez Alburquerque, the opportunity to make connections at NASA and other space-y places… and I will miss it very much when it’s gone.

The current Saviors arc runs through #27. Then we get another of those focus issues that have appeared every seventh issue, looking at the backstory for Manesh and Kyoko. And then… it’s off to the races. Everything falls down. We’ll see if anything stands back up.

NEW CREATOR-OWNED THING – When one door closes, another opens, I guess? With Letter 44 in its wrap up phase, I thought it was time to dive back into creator-owned waters with a new series. You’ll learn much more about it later this year, but the upshot is that I’m in active production on a title that I can’t wait for you to see. The artist is one of my all-time favorite collaborators (and people) in the business, and I just think he’s a stellar talent all around.

The story is set in the present day (mostly). It has some fantasy elements, but it’s not a fantasy, really. It’s a big tale – we’re aiming for the fences, for sure. It’s scary, and funny, and kind of mean. Way too early to show you much, but I can give you this:

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STRANGE ATTRACTORS!! (emphasis added) – Boom! Studios is re-releasing my creator-owned graphic novel Strange Attractors in five serialized installments starting this June. This is just fantastic, from where I’m sitting, because it means that a story I love, originally published in 2012, has a chance to access an entirely new audience. The book tells the story of two geniuses, one young and one old, who discover that all of New York City is about to be destroyed by a huge catastrophe. They believe that the only way they can save it is to connect all of the city’s many systems and bits of infrastructure into a huge, massively complex machine/engine. The story’s about what happens when they turn it on.

I LOVED working on this book when it came out – I’m a long-time New Yorker, and this is absolutely my love letter to the book. You can see a big interview I did about the re-release here, as well as some nice coverage from Bleeding Cool here.

As you’ll note in those stories, this isn’t just a double-dip. I also wrote an entirely new story that will run alongside the main tale, with art from Soo Lee (also a New Yorker, as are most of the people who worked and are working on the book). That’s called Antithesis, and the idea is to cast sort of a reflection on the original story… make it more complex, in essence.

The first issue is out in early June, and I really can’t wait for you guys to check it out. Here’s the amazing variant cover for Issue 1, by my very good friend Ryan Stegman:

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I have a number of other things in the works – a massive, unannounced thing for Marvel that will be taking up a ton of my time over the summer, some additional creator-owned work, and more. One of the biggest things on my plate is my novel, a project I’ve been working on for quite a while called The Oracle Year. I think it’s done, though, and man, I hope you guys get to see it one of these days. Time will tell!

Thanks for reading, both my books and this way too long post. See you at the comic shop!

 

It used to be that “convention season” ran from about March through October – this year, I’m doing my first show next week, and I have stuff booked all the way through November.

Since the wild ride is about to begin once again, I thought it might simplify things a bit to have all my convention appearances for the year in one place, so I could refer people to them when they ask, and we can all make plans to see each other as many times as possible. With that in mind, here’s the list as it stands right now:

January 27-29 – Festival International de la Bande Dessinée d’Angoulême – Angoulême, France (my series Letter 44, drawn by the wonderful Alberto Jimenez Alburquerque and published in the US by Oni Press, was also published in French for the first time in 2015 by Glenat. Letter 44 is part of the official selection slate this year, along with some other lovely books, so I’ll be there!)

February 12-14 – Amazing Phoenix Comic Con

March 5-6 – Armageddon Con Manukau (Auckland, New Zealand)

March 12-13 – Armageddon Con Christchurch (Also New Zealand!)

March 25-27 – WonderCon (Los Angeles)

April 28-May 1 – Calgary Expo

June 17-19 – Amazing Las Vegas Comic Con

September 2-4 – Baltimore Comicon

September 10-11 – Rose City Comicon (Portland)

September 23-25 – Wizard World Austin

You’ll note that I mentioned that I’m booked into November, but the list above only goes through September. There are several things for the fall that haven’t been announced yet, and I’d like to give those shows the chance to put it out there first – but they’re all cool.

My plan for this year was to hit places I hadn’t been to before, as well as do some shows with friends – always nice. I’ll update this page as more things are announced, but I feel like this is probably about it for 2016 – I learned last year (and the year before that… and the year before that…) that as much as I love doing shows, there’s a lot to be said for being home, too.

 

 

2015 was possibly the best year of my life. Top three, for sure. Bragging about good fortune is ugly, but I also think that failing to acknowledge the good in your life is a sort of arrogance as well. Mostly, I’m thankful – to the people who read my books, the people who sell them, and the people who help me make them. For my friends, old and new. For my family. For inspiration (long may it continue). For energy, and, in general, more optimism than pessimism.

I am also grateful to you, specifically – the person reading this. I don’t know anything about you (unless I do…), but the fact that you decided to read this means you’re at least provisionally interested in whatever I’ve decided to say here – which is still amazing to me. I hope you had a great 2015 as well, and if you didn’t, well, that stupid year is OVER.

I did a similar post back at the beginning of the year to look at 2014-15, and I thought it would be fun to look at some of the projects I described there to see where we ended up. It’s crazy – at this time last year, my runs on She-Hulk and Swamp Thing hadn’t yet ended, I was knee deep in Wolverines, etc. Here’s that post, if you want to review. In there, you’ll see that I was a little coy about some of the stuff I had coming up. I thought I’d reveal what those various books were, since they’ve all been announced by this point.

The Nervewracker – Daredevil

The Oh My God! – Lando

The Tricky One – Civil War

The Romantic One – Attilan Rising

Right now, most of my unannounced stuff is creator-owned, although there is one thing… one huge unannounced thing… I think folks will go crazy for it. The artist is one of my absolute favorites, and it should just be a blast on all sides. I’ve been working on it since… wow, the summer? It’s an ongoing, and continuing the theme in the post I linked to above, the Moleskine I’m using for it is black. I’ll definitely be writing more about this series once the word is out, which I think will be next week.

Beyond that, I’m working away on Daredevil, Uncanny Inhumans, Obi-Wan & Anakin and Letter 44, as well as the novel I’ve been working on for what feels like a million years – The Oracle Year. That last one’s challenging. I’m trying to do something special with it (or, barring that, something I can sell!) The machinery seems to be in place to give it a good push into the world (great agent, strong plan, all that,) which means if it doesn’t work, it’s no one’s fault but mine. The thing I’m finding most difficult is knowing what not to write. I have a trillion ideas, all the time, and the challenge is leaving some of them out. But that’s writing, and that’s what revisions are for. I am hopeful that you’ll see it soon, but I also realize that it’s almost a luxury not to have a deadline on it, and I’d like it to be as good as I can make it. So… typing away.

And then… creator-owned! Letter 44 starts its fourth arc this Wednesday, with Issue 22, the same day that Volume 3 hits the shelves. If you’ve been reading the series in trade, I think this will be a big one for you – it’s where everything really takes a quantum leap forward. Here’s a preview from #22:

 

L44 22 ImageAlberto Jimenez Albuquerque, as always, does incredible work.

The series’ fourth arc is called “Saviors,” and it really starts to bring things home. Letter 44 will end with issue 35, and I’ve written through issue 27, which means I really don’t have that much left to write for it. I know what happens in every one of those remaining issues (pretty much), and that is a strange thing. I know what the series will be when all is said and done, and the emotional experience I’m trying to create. I knew the ending when I started, but the path has certainly had some twists and turns, and the feeling of it isn’t necessarily what I expected. I set out to write a huge sci-fi epic, and I think it’ll be that when it’s done, but there’s more to it. It’s like a song, about inevitability. I hope, if you haven’t already tried the series, you’ll give it a shot. You may notice that I’ve updated the links to the right – you can now find a direct link to the Letter 44 page on Amazon, which will be updated with Volume 3 as soon as it’s out. Really looking forward to hearing people’s reactions.

In other Letter 44 news, the series was chosen as part of the official slate (it’s a selection officiele) for the 2016 Angouleme festival in France later this month. That’s hard to process – it means that the book was picked as one of the best comics publications in the French language this past year. (My friends at Glenat, the French publisher for the series, did an amazing job putting the book out there – which is self-evident.) It’s an honor and a thrill and it makes me nervous, but it’s also part of that incredible 2015 I mentioned at the start of the post. I’ll be heading to France in about three weeks to attend the fest, which everyone tells me is magnifique indeed. I’ll brush up on my French, too – I’ll be doing some signings in Paris, and it would be nice to chat with people over there. (Like a silly-sounding three year-old, perhaps, but I will make the effort.)

Shifting gears to Daredevil, I have been so incredibly thrilled with the reaction to the new series I’ve been doing with Ron Garney and Matt Milla. It seems like we’ve got a good springboard to tell some awesome stories about ol’ Hornhead, and I hope you’ll stick along for the ride. Here’s a tease of Issue 3 – Ron really had a workout as far as fight choreography for this issue:

DD 3 stripI’ve completed two stories in the run so far – the Tenfingers tale you’re reading now, and a new one about Elektra. I’ll start scripting the third story this week, which will introduce another new character that I hope will be a great new foil for Daredevil.

The first issue of Obi-Wan & Anakin appears on stands this Wednesday, with art from Marco Chechetto. It is beautiful, as you can see:

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It’s a 5-issue mini, and tells the story of an adventure Obi and Ani had between Episodes I and II. I tried to do a similar thing here as I did with the Lando series – digging into the characters and thinking about what they might actually be thinking and feeling at this point in their lives, around three years after Phantom Menace. Anakin’s been in the Jedi Temple for a little while, and Obi’s been training him for all that time – but they’re both starting to ask questions. Big ones. I hope you’ll check it out.

Uncanny Inhumans! Steve McNiven finished the first big story arc a bit ago, and the final issue of the huge adventure that began all the way back in April with Uncanny Inhumans #0 will conclude soon with #4. Here’s a little taste of that, with Randac and Kang the Conqueror in an epic staring contest:

Uncanny 4 PreviewMan, isn’t McNiven great? Inks on this were from Jay Leisten (also super great), and colors from Sunny Gho (who, also, is wonderfully great!)

All-New Inhumans is featuring some great work from James Asmus, and all in all, I couldn’t be happier with the way things are going in the Inhumans corner of the Marvel U. Some very long-term plans are going to start to kick in a little later this year, but I’ve said it before and will say it again – anything can happen in the Inhuman books, especially Uncanny. The concept is broad enough to support a million different kinds of stories, and that’s what we’re planning to tell. The second arc, running through issues 5-7, has a different tone than this first story – less of a Shakespearean superhero tale and more about modern life in the Inhuman world. Brandon Peterson’s drawing that, and he’s also just nailing it.

I’ll wrap up with new creator-owned, since that’s an area I’ve been working to develop for a while now. The wheels move slowly, but I had some serious movement on that front just before the end of 2015, and I’ve got a ton of stuff that seems like it’s pretty close to appearing. With Letter 44 in its wrap-up phase, it’s important to me to get new material out, and unless I screw things up, that should be happening in the next twelve months. More about all of those projects when it’s all a bit more locked down.

So there we are – see you on the other side!

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There. That’s the image that let me know I’d be in fantastic shape art-wise for my run on Daredevil – the long-running series from Marvel Comics that commences its next chapter with a new #1 issue today. I wrote it, Ron Garney did unbelievable work penciling and inking it and Matt Milla colored it. The image above is one of the very first things Ron drew as we were talking about the series. I knew that a lot of the action (at least early on) would be set in Chinatown, due to the fact that Daredevil’s new apprentice – a fellow named Sam Chung who goes by the hero name Blindspot – was based down there. In addition, Matt’s new job, as an Assistant District Attorney in Manhattan, is based downtown as well. So, Ron was able to put together this little mockup of what that might look like… and wow, right?

We’ll get more Chinatown-set action as the series continues, but this is where it began. So… I knew I’d be more than good on the art, all I had to do was write the damn thing.

Daredevil is a challenging gig. It’s known for really sophisticated, thoughtful takes on superhero-ing, the psychological impacts of vigilantism, the cost of the costumed life, and so on. It’s boasted some of the best writers and artists in comics history, from Stan Lee to Alex Maleev Frank Miller to Chris Samnee to Brian Michael Bendis to Paolo Rivera to Ed Brubaker to David Mazzucchelli to Ann Nocenti to Kevin Smith to Michael Lark to Joe Quesada to Klaus Janson and many others to… the guy I get to follow on the title, the amazing Mark Waid. Many of these folks are heroes of mine – the Bendis DD in particular was a seminal run for me in my “modern phase” of comics reading. Following all of that up – not easy.

There’s also the fact that I’m an attorney myself, which hypothetically *should* translate into me being able to write a great book about a superhero who is also a lawyer. I dunno about that bit. I know a lot of lawyers, and very few of them are running around on rooftops after hours smacking criminals around. They’re generally too beat from 60- 80- 100-hour weeks. But I don’t want to be disingenuous – my experience in the law *should* allow me to explore some new angles in the many trials of Matt Murdock. (HA! Get it? You won’t get THAT kind of business from a non-lawyer DD writer!)

Anyway, lots of pressure – Daredevil is a signature gig, and with the TV show airing on Netflix right now, the character’s exposure is possibly at its highest peak. If I get it right… all good. If I screw it up… not so good. So… how did I approach it?

First thing, I had to put aside pretty much everything you’ve read so far in this post, except knowing that I had the art in my back pocket. I had to step aside from everyone else’s take and find my own. I didn’t (and never) want to just ape someone else’s approach. What’s the point of that? I’d rather go down in flames for doing something I believed in, that was mine, than coast along by relying on the goodwill generated by another writer’s take. I LOVE Waid’s Daredevil. I’ve read that first issue over and over again – it’s perfect. But there’s more than one kind of DD – that’s part of the beauty of the character. So, I knew almost from the start that I would go a bit darker, a bit weirder. You’ll see as the story continues that the villains are odd. It’s not a supernatural book by any means, but it is a creepy book, from time to time. I don’t want it to feel safe.

That said, with a new #1 I think it’s smart to give readers a taste of what they might be expecting before going too far off the deep end – so Matt is back in New York City. He’s lawyering again – although now a prosecutor instead of a defense attorney. He has his secret identity back. He has this new apprentice kid, Blindspot.

(By the way, one of the early previews of the cover for Issue 1 had some people thinking that Blindspot was actually Gambit, a heavily Cajun-accented X-Man known for macking on any lady within arm’s reach. I was amazed that people would think that – what the hell kind of book would a Daredevil-Gambit story even be? Why would Gambit become DD’s apprentice? Just made me laugh – but then I thought about it, and if there’s ever a chance to get Gambit into a story during my run, maybe I’ll do it. I doubt Gambit fans would be too thrilled with the idea I’m currently playing with, though…)

Anyway, Daredevil #1 is designed to be a mix of what you know and what you don’t know. I’ve changed a lot about his setup – but yet it still should sort of feel like the Daredevil you know, the one you’ve been watching on Netflix. That will evolve over time as we move deeper into DD’s new world.

I see the run as a huge novel – I’ve currently plotted out through around Issue 24, the first two years on the title. So, things that happen in these early issues (and before this, in the eight month gap that’s taken place between the end of Mark and Chris’ run and this new #1) will have ramifications and resonance as we move forward. (How did Matt get his secret identity back?) We’ll interact with heroes and villains new and old, and we’ll see members of Matt Murdock’s supporting cast from prior runs (people like Foggy Nelson, Kirsten McDuffie and more.) I’m working on a big Elektra story right now. The way Matt is with them won’t necessarily be the way you’re used to – but I don’t believe my job on Daredevil, or any book, is to give you what you’re used to.

It’s to do my job.

“I’m glad you’re back. This city needs you. And I think you need this city, too.” – Steve Rogers, Daredevil #4

 

Wow – you’d think this blog and I are no longer on speaking terms, for the frequency with which I’ve been posting here recently. That’s not the case – it’s just that I’ve been spending my writing time elsewhere. Given the choice between a script or a blog post, I’ll always take the script. Still, there’s a lot to talk about – my 2016 is looking quite interesting, and 2015’s not done yet, either. Maybe I’ll find a few minutes here or there to write some of that up.

For the moment, though, it’s New York Comicon! This year promises to be super crazy nuts, in a good way. I have a new series being announced on Saturday at the Marvel Cup O’ Joe panel, my band is playing a show at the Oni Press / New York Super Week Rock ‘n’ Comix party Thursday (that’s tonight!) and I have plenty of other panels, interviews, etc.

The most important thing to know is that I’ll be at table W15 in Artist’s Alley for the show when I’m not at a panel or whatever. I will have some help at the booth, so even if I’m not there, someone should be able to let you know when I’m back, and sell you stuff if you want it. I’m going to try implementing a new policy this year, which is that if you buy something when I’m not there, you’ll get a little ticket which will let you skip the line when I’m back and get it signed right away. We’ll see how that works.

I’ll have lots of Lando, Civil War, She-Hulk, Letter 44, Strange Attractors, Death of Wolverine, Swamp Thing and other items, including some very rare variants (such as the Maleev/Soule Lando #1 “red cover” exclusive.)

THURSDAY

At the table all day, other than a signing at the Marvel booth from 2-2:45. I have an interview right after, so I’ll probably be back to my table at about 3:30.

Then, Thursday night, starting at 7:30 at Rock Bar (185 Christopher Street, a very quick subway or cab from the convention, and a slightly longer walk), it’s the Rock’n’Comix party! Thrown by Oni Press, hosted by Albert Ching of Comic Book Resources, what you’ll be getting is a bunch of performances and live readings by a lot of cool folks. My band is playing (Charles Soule and the Rocket Fuel), for the first time out in a while (sort of the same theory as the blog), which I’m excited about. I’ve been working on a lot of new material and a whole new vibe for what we’re doing over the past six months or so, and this is the debut. In addition to that, you’ll get performances from Americans UK, Dean Haspiel, Antony Johnston, Ted Naifeh and Run by the Gun. Doors at 7:30, cover is $5, and I would guess we’ll be on around 9/9:30. Come on down – it would be awesome to have a full house for this!

FRIDAY

I should be at the table all day, except for a break around mid-day for lunch. Again, that’s W15.

In the evening, I can be found here: https://thepit-nyc.com/event/co-ed-geek-girl-slumber-party-2/, for the Co-Ed Geek Girl Slumber Party (note the Co-Ed – it’s open to all!) It’s a variety show/improv comedy thing, which promises to be quite the amusing time. It’s hosted by Lorraine Cink, who you might know better as Marvel’s The Watcher, from many live videos and coverage of cool things.

SATURDAY

This is the busy day – I’ll be at the table in the morning and the afternoon, but there’s a gap from about 11-3:45 where I have a bunch of panels and interviews and so on.

11 AM – Writers Unite! The long-running panel, hosted by Jim Zub (www.jimzub.com) of Wayward and Skullkickers fame, in which he, often me, and other great writers lay down some serious truths about breaking into the comics business. This year, we’re joined by Marguerite Bennett and Steve Orlando – should be fantastic. For all you aspiring writers or process junkies, this one is not to be missed.

2:45 PM – Marvel Cup O’ Joe! This is one of the big Marvel Q&A panels, at which I’ll be talking about Daredevil, Uncanny Inhumans, other Inhumans stuff… and I just may have a new series being announced. Actually, there’s no just may about it. I will have a new series announced here.

SUNDAY

11:00 AM – Marvel Unlimited! This is always fun – a super secret panel for members of Marvel Unlimited, with sneak peeks at cool new things from all facets of the Marvel Multimedia Empire, from comics to TV to movies.

And then, a few hours later, I collapse. The show should be prettttttttty wonderful this year, and I hope to see you out!