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Welcome to what is now, apparently, my quarterly semi-retrospective on what’s going on with my writing career.  What can I say? Blogging takes time, Twitter is quicker, and it’s rare that I feel like I have the headspace credit to spend on something that doesn’t immediately move me towards getting out from under another deadline or project. This morning, though, I think I do! I wrote late into the night last night with the specific purpose of finishing a big script so this morning could feel a bit more open. And so it does, and so here I am (and hopefully, here you are as well.)

I wanted to write a bit about an incredible thing that happened to me about six weeks ago, which I haven’t really discussed all that much beyond a few cryptic tweets: I sold my first novel. It’s a big, real-deal tale about a man who obtains a bit over a hundred specific predictions of the future about events large and small, all due to occur within a relatively short span of time. The book’s story covers how this fellow’s life changes as a result, how the world nearly shatters once it realizes someone out there can tell them what’s going to happen, and ultimately, the reason he got the predictions in the first place.  It’s called The Oracle Year, and it was acquired by Sara Nelson at HarperCollins after phenomenal work by my wonderful agent Seth Fishman at The Gernert Company and Angela Cheng Caplan of the Cheng Caplan Company. It also looks like it will be published all over the world – six territories and counting, from Russia to Germany to Brazil and more. It’s a big, trajectory-altering thing for me.

It all happened very quickly – if you consider years of work followed by an extremely rapid, intense few weeks “quickly.” The Oracle Year was a project I worked on when I had time, in the background of all the other things that I do (law, the various comics projects, travel, living my life), and it took a while. Years, in fact. It would have been faster (I’m nothing if not fast, thankfully), but I find that novels require a different kind of thinking than comics scripts (or screenplays.) Whenever I write anything, I need to shift my mind into a visual space where I can literally see the events taking place. I see the finished comic in my head as I write it, even if the actual art ends up looking different than I visualize it, of course. It’s usually a bit sketchy, though. The characters are precise, as are their actions and especially their dialogue, but the backgrounds can be loose, like an impressionist painting.

Novels… nope. In order to get to a place where I can write prose fiction successfully, I have to generate a much clearer, more detailed mindscape – I need to be there. The Oracle Year has scenes set all over the US and the world (New York City is the main location, as is the case with a lot of my work, but we also visit Florida, Uruguay, Central Africa, the South Pacific and other diverse locales.) All of that needs to be crystal-clear in my head for each location, but I also have to keep the balance of the book’s overall story and character arcs present in my mind, plus the thorny business of plot – tension and release. It’s very challenging, and it’s not usually something I can just snap into. I can write a comic script in a day, fairly easily at this point. In order to work on the novel, I usually liked at least three days. The first day to get myself back into the appropriate headspace, the second day to do some work, and then the third day to fix the dumb ideas I had on day two.

If you know anything about my schedule over the past few years, finding three open days in a row has been rare. But it got done, and then it got done again, and again (you don’t write a novel once – you write it a bunch of times, through edit passes large and small.) Then, my team took the book out, and I started taking meetings and having calls, and then I had a deal. It all happened in the last week of October and the first week of November – it essentially wrapped up on Election Day. I was in Beijing, half-hallucinating from jetlag and the tension of the world-changing things happening back in the US and the life-changing thing happening for me personally. My mind felt like this:

 

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Actual shot from my hotel window of the Blade Runner-esque smog soup that is often Beijing’s atmosphere in winter.

 

It’s a wonderful thing, a truly, truly wonderful thing – something I’ve been working towards for a long time. I love comics, but I love novels too, and the idea that over the next year I’ll be seeing options for cover art, perhaps walking into bookstores to see that cover on the shelf, and at long last sharing this story that’s been just mine for so long with other readers in the world… it’s still something I’m processing. I’m excited and nervous, and I hope you’ll find it and I hope you’ll like it. I’ll be talking much more about The Oracle Year over 2017 as we get closer to publication (looking like about a year from now, give or take,) so brace yourselves for the self-promotional flurry that’s just essential these days, especially for a first novel.

None it would have happened without my family, who have been hearing about this goddamn story FOREVER, and who very graciously allowed me to vanish from time to time so I could work on it. My early readers were wonderful one and all, some of whom read it more than once, god help them – Amy Soule, Shawn De Pasquale, Matt Idelson, Ben McCool, Ray Fawkes, Carl Marcellino, Michael Pereira, Scott Snyder, David Liss, John Michel and of course Sara, Seth and Angela (if I’ve forgotten anyone there, I’m a bad person and will make it up to you in the actual Author’s Note.)  And of course, thank you for being interested in my work. The fact that I already have a profile as a writer was a component in all of this for sure, and that’s because you gave me that profile – so thank you.

Now, as I still have a bit of time this morning… I’m going to go read a book. Happy Holidays!

 

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!

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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!

I don’t know if you’re reading this on the main blog home page at charlessoule.wordpress.com or somewhere else, but if you’re at the main page, you can see some links over to the right ——>. Man, I need to update those things. While I think those are all great series, I mean, 27 came out in 2010/2011. I’ve done a fair bit of work since then.

On the list it goes.

Today is a big day! The first issue of my Lando series with Alex Maleev  comes out today, and it’s also the day that the first issue of my Civil War series with Leinil Yu hits. Kind of crazy.

The other big announcement is that I’m writing Daredevil, with Ron Garney on the art, starting this fall. Also crazy. I’ve done a few interviews talking about my take – one just hit at the AV Club, and I did another for Marvel.com with some additional information that should be popping up soon. I’ll try to do a post here with some thoughts soon as well.

Beyond that, just writing, writing. I have a few new creator-owned things I plan to show around a bit in San Diego, and I just finished a pretty substantial draft of a novel called The Oracle Year that I hope will be out in the world relatively soon. That side of things is really complex, though, and it’s hard to say whether it will work out. I’m proud of it, though, and I hope you will get to read it, if you’re so inclined.

Okay, enough with the updates! My schedule for this weekend is packed, with lots of interviews and signings and so on. Here are the highlights:

Thursday, July 9

4:30 PM – Marvel Panel, Inhumans and Mutants, with Jeff Lemire, among others. This one should be interesting – Jeff’s the new head writer for the X-Men side at Marvel, and I’m currently leading the charge for the Inhumans. We will discuss such things.

Friday, July 10

10 AM – Marvel Secret Wars Panel – I’ll be discussing Attilan Rising, Civil War and the state of the huge Secret Wars event. Should be great.

1 PM – Signing at the Marvel booth.

3 PM – Signing at the Oni booth.

Saturday, July 11

1 PM – Signing at the Marvel booth.

2:45 PM – Marvel Cup O’ Joe panel – probably discussing Lando and Daredevil, I think.

4 PM – Childhood Dreams Come True: Writing Licensed Characters – at which I will discuss my childhood dreams.

The other thing – I plan to bring a very limited number of the Lando #1 exclusive variant Alex Maleev and I did (see the post directly before this one for info) and I’ll have them available. How exactly that will work I’m not sure, since I don’t have a table, but if that’s something you’re interested in then I strongly suggest you follow me on Twitter (http://twitter.com/charlessoule).

See you in California!

At Special Edition NYC this past weekend (one hell of a good convention, by the way – completely focused on comics), if you swung by my table, or the table of my esteemed collaborator on the Star Wars Lando Calrissian comic for Marvel, the incredible Alex Maleev, you may have noticed an email signup sheet to get more information about a special cover he and I put together for Lando #1, which will hit stores on July 8, 2015. We think of it almost like our own “action figure” for the book.

However, since it’s quite likely that many of you reading this did not happen to be in NYC this past weekend, I thought I would put up a post to explain. This is a “variant” – a special limited run of the issue with the same story on the inside, but a special, unique cover on the outside. And speaking of that gorgeous, painted cover art from Mr. Maleev, let’s take a look at it:

STWLANDO2015001_DCX51 (no UPC)Pretty damn lovely. We tried to set it up with minimal extra “stuff” on the front – no bar code, etc. (that’s on the back.) The idea was to try to make it seem like an art piece, to the extent we could.

How can you get one, assuming you’re interested? Well, you get it from us. These won’t be in stores (unless stores get some from us, but it’s not a sure thing that your store will do that, of course.) Alex and I are having the entire damn run of these things shipped to us (we both live in Brooklyn), and we’ll turn around and send them back out after signing, re-packing, whatever. Should be a pretty fun day, actually. The expectation is that we’ll have them out around the street date of July 8, with some possible flex there depending on logistics. But we’ll do our best.

If you think you might want one, send an email to soulecomics@gmail.com expressing your interest, and we’ll get back to you with all the details. We didn’t do a huge run here, so it’s first come, first served.

Now, if you don’t want one, no sweat – you’ll be able to get the regular cover everywhere on July 8, both digitally and at your local comics shop. Speaking for Alex and myself, we certainly hope you do!

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