I’m in the home stretch of prepping for my first convention of 2014, the always incredible Emerald City Comicon in Seattle, Washington. While it’s not the first big convention of the year (Planet Comicon hits before ECCC, for one), it’s been my first con for the last four years running. This makes ECCC #5 for me, which I believe is a legacy to be proud of. I have family in Seattle, but it’s also just such a great town in general. I live in NYC, which I love, but Seattle lets me go for runs along Puget Sound, check out the EMP museum, do karaoke at one of my favorite karaoke places in THE WORLD (which I will be doing on Friday night with several friends I do this with every year, a small, select, talented group – we’ve been planning our song list for literally months), eat great food, hike up in the mountains… anyway, I dig it.
But I’m not just flying to Seattle to recharge my spiritual batteries and gallivant with my creative brethren and sistren in the comics industry. No, I’m also coming to see YOU. I will be set up in Artist’s Alley at table V-12.
I expect to have the following items:
Letter 44 1-5
27 Vols 1 and 2
Strongman Vols 1 and 2
T-shirts (27 and Strange Attractors)
Posters (that awesome Indian Swamp Thing one you may have seen around)
Plus, various issues and collections of Swamp Thing, Superman / Wonder Woman, Red Lanterns, Thunderbolts and She-Hulk, including variant covers. If you’re looking for a particular cover (especially S/WW), chances are I might have one.
TONS O’ MERCH! But I will not just be trying to turn paper with words and pictures on it into smaller, greener paper with words and picture on it. I will also be talking at you. I’m doing a number of panels and signings. Full schedule below:
Friday 1-2 PM, ROOM TCC 301 – Breaking Into Comics the Marvel Way: “Are you a writer or artist? Ever dream of working for Marvel? Do you find yourself thinking “I could do that, if I knew how!” Well, here’s your chance! Join Marvel’s Talent Scout C.B. Cebulski and panelists Jason Aaron (Thor: God of Thunder), Jordie Bellaire (Deadpool), Jason Latour (Wolverine & The X-Men), Declan Shalvey (Moon Knight), and Charles Soule (She-Hulk) to find out how to get your foot in the door at Marvel!”
Friday 4-5 PM, Signing at the DC booth. (Look for the DC comics booth. I’m sure you’ll find it.)
Saturday, Noon-1 PM, ROOM TCC 301 – Marvel: Pint O’ CB: “This is it, Mighty Marvel fans: the no-holds-barred, anything goes, full-of-surprises panel you waited all year for, and it’s here! Executive Editor Tom Brevoort and Marvel’s Talent Scout C.B. Cebulski take on all questions about upcoming Marvel events with guests Jason Aaron, Kelly Sue DeConnick, Joshua Hale Fialkov, Charles Soule and G. Willow Wilson! Plus: find out more about thrilling new series Captain Marvel and Ms. Marvel from the women who write them! This is the panel everyone will be talking about… so head on over and have a pint with C.B.!”
Saturday, 2-3 PM, ROOM TCC 301: DC Comics – The New 52: “New and veteran fans alike are welcomed to be a part of history as the DC team and top-notch talent discuss the books that are shaping this new era of DC Comics! Don’t miss this exclusive look inside the hottest comic line in decades! Panelists include Matt Idelson, Brian Buccellato, Ray Fawkes, Jeff Lemire, Matt Kindt, Ann Nocenti, Scott Snyder, Charles Soule, Alessandro Vitti. Moderated by Larry Ganem.”
Saturday, 3-4 PM, Signing at the Oni Booth! Letter 44 galore! Show up and I will answer ONE question about the series for you. BUT ONLY ONE.
Sunday, Noon-1PM, Signing at the DC Booth!
Sunday, 1-2 PM, Room 201, Writers Unite: “Creator-owned comics are back in a big way and publishers are looking for new stories. Charles Soule (Superman/Wonder Woman) and Jim Zub (Samurai Jack) discuss writing, pitching, and breaking into the business.”
FYI, this last panel is incredibly useful for anyone aspiring to be a comics writer. Jim and I have been doing it for several years, and at this point it’s a finely honed cornucopia of handy, frank advice, with a pretty lively Q&A to boot. Highly recommended for anyone trying to get into this cramazing biz.
And that’s Emerald City! CANNOT WAIT TO SEE YOU!
Last night – probably too late last night, I tweeted this:
At the time, I was watching a movie that featured a few ex-Spetsnaz characters, which got me thinking about the incredible novel REAMDE from Neal Stephenson, which also features one of those scary, tough, extraordinarily competent dudes. I decided to re-read that book as soon as I finished the one I’m on now (which I’m liking but not loving – good thing about books, though, is that there’s always another one). From there, I moved on to a quick mental overview of Stephenson’s entire output (the movie clearly wasn’t really grabbing me) and realized that he’s what I would consider unassailable – everything he’s published is at a certain level of creative excellence, from essays to novels. Not a dud in the bunch. If you don’t know his work, please, see for yourself.
That led to the tweet above, which led to a pretty busy time on my feed. Seems like there’s plenty of brilliance out there (or at least the perception of brilliance). The following names popped up in, in order of posting:
Wes Anderson, Charlie Chaplin, Quentin Tarantino, Jack White, George Carlin, John Williams, Seth**, Alfred Bester, Spalding Gray, Robert Fripp, David Bowie, Philip Seymour Hoffman, David Lynch, Slayer, Twain, Vonnegut, Toni Morrison, Kurosawa, Toth, Paul Newman, Bryan Fuller, Daniel Day Lewis, Manet, Cormac McCarthy, Nikola Tesla?, Jack Kirby, Michael Jordan?, Christopher Nolan, Charles Soule (uh huh, sure), Scott Snyder, Brian Bendis, George Eliot***, Quentin Tarantino, Lewis Carroll, Hitchcock, Alan Moore, Otomo, Warren Buffet, Chen Kenichi**, Shigeru Miyamoto, Randall Munroe**, Bryan Lee O’Malley, Rush, Charles Schulz, Miyazaki, Aretha Franklin, Kate Beaton, Miles Davis, David Bowie, Eminem, Kurosawa, Harryhausen, Orson Welles, Jules Verne, Westlake, Hitchcock, Freddie Mercury, Will Eisner, Frazetta, Jimmy Stewart, Maurice Sendak, Osamu Tezuka*, Tom Waits, Akira Kurosawa, Alastair Reynolds, Bill Watterson, John Cassavetes, Warren Ellis, Tarkovsky*, Jack Cardiff*, Christopher Doyle*, Bach, Bowie, Whitman, Naoki Urasawa**, Shel Silverstein, Theodore Seuss Geisel, Alex Ross, Coen Bothers, Calvino, Saramago, Taiyo Matsumoto*, Hiroaki Samura**, Andre 3000, Phonte**, Madlib*, Mingus, Tolkien, Salinger, Faulkner, Emerson & Fuller*, Flannery O’Connor*, Norman Rockwell, Bill Watterson, David Lynch, David Cronenberg, Daniel Day Lewis, Jim Henson, Coltrane, Moebius, Jack Kirby, Glenn Gould, Mamoru Hosoda**, Philip Glass, Rothko, Vonnegut, Kara Walker**, Hitchcock, Poe, Miles Davis, Stravinsky, Joyce, Saramago, Moebius, Tolstoi, Dostoevsky, Kubrick, Kurosawa, Steve Reich**, Hendrix, Kafka, Kurosawa, Wool*, Dostoevsky, Bach, Rothko, Dali, Goddard, Mozart, Warhol, Trent Reznor, Vandana Shiva**, Leslie Nielsen, Coen Brothers, Bella Tarr*, John Candy, Gregory Peck, Meryl Streep, Rimbaud, Plath, West, Cronenberg, Burroughs, Ballard, Philip K. Dick, Brautigan*, Melville, Lynch, Bjork, Reed, Davis, Jodorowski, Otomo, McCartney, Andy Kaufman, Charlie Kaufman, Tezuka, Alex Toth, Moebius, Louis CK, Plath, Proust, Garcia Marquez, Flaubert, George Lucas, Freddie Mercury, Joe Strummer, Bill Finger, Borges, Metallica, Hendrix, Clapton, Stan Lee, Jim Lee, George Lucas (1977), Spielberg, Trey Parker and Matt Stone, The Beatles, David Lynch, Borges, Scorcese, Scorcese, Alphonse Mucha**, Miles Davis, Coltrane, Osamu Tezuka, Lynch, Kurosawa, Kubrick, Alexander McQueen, Coco Chanel, Edith Wharton, Theodore Dreiser**, The Brothers Quay**, Jane Austen, Hilary Mantel** and… as of this morning, the last pick was, sigh, Charles Soule.
Wow, right? A few thoughts on that list:
–First, it’s a pretty recent group. You’ve got plenty of 20th century folks, but then it drops off a cliff. Earliest name that I’m seeing as I scan through that is Bach. I think that’s legitimate, though, because we don’t necessarily know Bach’s entire output the way we do, say, the films of George Lucas, or the Coen Brothers. I know Bach was brilliant through and through because I’ve had the pleasure of listening to a huge cross-section of his stuff – same with Mozart and Beethoven. But Homer? I know two works, the same ones everyone else knows. For all I know, everything he wrote other than The Iliad and the Odyssey was a bunch of crap.
–There’s a difference between “genius” and “unassailable brilliance.” I think you could make a case for Star Wars being a work of genius, but I’m not sure I would agree with the idea that George Lucas is unassailably brilliant. Howard the Duck.
–No Shakespeare. No James Ellroy. No Frank Lloyd Wright. No Leonardo Da Vinci. No Michelangelo. No Julia Child. No Dickens.
–Few painters, few fashion designers… the focus was mostly filmmakers, writers and musicians. I wonder if that’s because I framed the original question using those, or because those are the people current society tends to elevate, or because that’s who my feed focuses on? Not much as far as popular novelists, either. I think you could make a case for Stephen King – although I’m sure it would spur fervent debate.
–We seem to really like David Lynch, Kurosawa, Hitchcock, Miles Davis, Hendrix, Bowie, Borges, Rothko, Moebius, Jack Kirby, , Tezuka, Alex Toth and Saramago.
–Here’s the best part about this, for me – every name on that list with at least one asterisk next to it is someone whose work I’m not particularly familiar with. I’ve heard of most of them (although not all), but I just haven’t checked out their work yet. To put it another way, THANK YOU, TWITTER, for giving me a fantastic series of recommendations for the next little while. I’m particularly intrigued by the ones I haven’t heard of. Those folks have two stars. Do I know everything and everyone? Come on – of course not. I’d be an idiot to pretend I do.
In fact, thank god there is more brilliance out there to find. I hope I never find it all.
–George Eliot gets three stars because of this lovely exchange with my friend Jennifer de Guzman:
I knew George Eliot wrote Silas Marner and Middlemarch, and I’m pretty sure that at some point I knew “George Eliot” was the pseudonym of a female writer – but not last night at 1 AM, apparently. I also might have mixed up Ms. Evans with this other pseudonymic writer. Anyway, no shame! I’ll never make that mistake again.
–Finally, I have no business being on that list.
So, last point – man, I love looking at that block of names. Pure distilled incredible. So much of culture is disposable – which is not necessarily a bad thing, as I think disposability serves a valuable purpose – but sometimes, we transcend.
And maybe the best part? Many of those people are still alive.
Who would you add?
It’s been a bit, but it’s become pretty clear to me that unless things slow down, that blog posts will be a luxury for a while. Perhaps I’ll just assign blogging to of the clones I keep being accused of having, but I prefer to save those guys for the books. Blogs need the personal touch, I think.
Anyway, I decided to take a few minutes to type something up today with respect to a new milestone in my writing career – and for once, it’s not about a new project I’m taking on. Nope, this one’s about the first book I’m leaving.
As was reported this week, my time on the very cool Marvel series Thunderbolts will be coming to an end with issue 26. I took the book over from the infinitely capable Daniel Way with issue 12, and I will be succeeded by the equally skilled Ben Acker and Ben Blacker (of the Thrilling Adventure Hour podcast, among other delightful things.) When all is said and done, I will have done sixteen issues with the ‘Bolts, a little over a year’s worth of work (Marvel double-ships some titles, which means they put out more than one book per month on occasion.) Three hundred and twenty pages worth of dark action/comedy featuring some of my favorite characters in all of comics, including the Punisher and Elektra, not to mention newer faves like Red Leader and Johnny Blaze, the Ghost Rider. Tbolts scripts are always a joy to write – it’s work, sure, but it’s work I look forward to every month (or every three weeks, really – double-shipping, remember?)
So, if I like it that much, why am I leaving the book? Ultimately, there are a few reasons, but mostly, it’s workload. I am currently on seven titles (that we know of), and that is a tremendous amount of material to generate. I’m up to it, but here’s how I think about it – if I’m carrying everything I can, then I can’t really pick anything else up, you know? You guys know what my Tbolts is like – and so do I – but it’s also a song I’ve sung, at this point. To stick with the musical metaphor, I think of Thunderbolts as a track on my first record (my first MAJOR LABEL record, anyway…) but it might be time to think about what my second album is going to sound like.
Change is good, development as a writer is good, and part of that is setting new challenges for myself ALL THE TIME. With that in mind, here are a few thoughts on that second album…
1. SWAMP THING – still love it, still love that people love it.
2. SUPERMAN / WONDER WOMAN – Issue 6 is a HUGE issue. It’s out Wednesday, March 12, and it’s stunningly drawn by Tony Daniel and the crew. I know everything in comics is “Big, Amazing, Don’t Miss!!!” but this really IS. It pulls together everything from the first five issues and really, really goes out with a bang. If you haven’t picked up any issues of this series, get this one. I feel like that once word gets out about what we actually DID in this issue, Twitter will crack, Tumblrs will tumble, Faces will Book… you know.
3. SHE-HULK – wow, you guys dig this book. So do we. THANK YOU.
4. INHUMAN – Coming soon. Bunch of info and incredible colored Joe Mad art just released yesterday – see it here! Very pleased with how this series is coming together. The scope is huge, and it feels like a different kind of layered “powered people” storytelling than we usually see. Err… if I do say so myself.
5. RED LANTERNS – Mustache Guy! We’re building to a huge crescendo in this story of our space biker gang ruffians. The response to the Green/Red flipbook issue was tremendous, and I want to thank everyone who’s been supporting the book. If you miss my Tbolts when it’s gone, you really might enjoy my Red Lanterns, starting with Issue 21. Different, of course, but in the same family.
6. LETTER 44 – oh yeah. Big things coming. First trade’s out in July, there’s plenty of big news about this series that has been hinted at before… buy a ticket on the rocket. It’s going all the way.
7. KICKSTARTER – I’m doing one, pretty soon. What it’s about… you’ll have to see, but it’s related in part to a project I’ve talked about before on this blog. Nervous about it, and it’s a lot of work, but still very exciting. I hope you guys support it when it launches – I know KS is a little bit of a roll of the dice, but I won’t let you down.
8. THE GREY BOOK – Biggest thing I’ve ever done. You’ll see.
9. CASH – Soon.
10. SHIPS – Soon.
So, yeah. Plenty going on. And don’t worry about sophomore slump. None of this.