PROJECT COMIC-CON (St. Louis) This Weekend

Project Comic-Con has posted a floor map for their show this weekend (click for a much, much bigger view), which is being held at the Westport Sheraton Lakeside Chalet:

Looks like I’ll be sitting next to my pal and collaborator Jeremy Haun. Lots of good friends will be at the show, including a dollop of Kansas City creators. If you can make it, you really should.

I’ll have trades and a few single issues for sale, and previews of upcoming projects (BATMAN: LEGENDS OF THE DARK KNIGHT DIGITAL, THE FURTHER ADVENTURES OF THE WHISTLING SKULL, THE MID-NITE HOURS, ALOHA HAWAIIAN DICK).

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Pre-order available for Project Comic-Con


Hey, St. Louis people…I’m starting to run a little low on trades, but if you want to preorder one (or more) to pick up at Project Comic-Con next week, you can Paypal me and I’ll reserve copies for you.

This is what I have. Just eliminate the shipping costs. (although I’ll still ship books to anyone else who needs me to)

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Proof of Activity

Once again, I thought I’d share a few random glimpses of upcoming projects. The goal these days is to get books in the can prior to soliciting (or, in some cases, officially announcing) them.

So, here. Have some glimpses.

Billy Smoke, art by Eric Kim. From Oni Press.

The Further Adventures of the Whistling Skull, art by Tony Harris. Color by Dave McCaig. From DC Comics:

Aloha, Hawaiian Dick, art by Jake Wyatt. (including a cover glimpse!) From Image Comics, natch:

A Battle Hymn spin-off of sorts, with art by Ben Passmore and color by Erin Wilson:

And, last but not least, a digital Batman story, with art by Ben Templesmith:

See? I’ve been working.


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A Ramble on Roger and Val and the Structure of Floppies and Television


So, I’ve been watching this rather brilliant BBC show called ROGER AND VAL HAVE JUST GOT IN, and it’s really got me thinking about ways to apply its structure to comics. It’s something that the equally compelling LUTHER sparked in much the same way.

ROGER AND VAL is a remarkably brave “comedy” starring Dawn French and Alfred Molina as a married couple, and they’re the only two actors who appear in the show. It takes place in real time, with no music, just after they’ve arrived home from work. They talk about their day, and deal with whatever issues a middle-aged married couple deals with after arriving home from work. The show was created by twins Emma and Beth Kilcoyne

What I find remarkable about the show is that the first two episodes give absolutely no hint as to where things will eventually head. The first real concrete clue that the show is more than it seems comes at the very end of episode three, and then the fourth episode opens things up about halfway through with a sort of staggering moment that changes the focus as well as the viewer’s awareness of the situation.

All of that aside, it occurs to me that almost the only place I’ve seen this structure work is British television. What executive penguins (to borrow a term from Mamet) greenlight a show that, for two episodes, sets up low key expectations, only to turn them around in the next two episodes? Evidently, some executive BBC penguins do.

The existence of creator-owned comics gives comic book creators a chance to approach things this way, but when every first issue is used to judge a series as a whole, is there any way to sustain an audience doing so? Can you hook readers with clever dialogue and engaging characters, and hope that’s enough to keep them around until you twist the knife and ratchet up the interest, a few issues down the road?

Thinking about it, I guess that’s sort of what Jason Latour and I were trying to do with THE EXPATRIATE. We tried to hook readers with a mystery about a man on the run, and then threw the craziest shit we could think of in their faces. Of course, we fucked it all up after that, but I guess it was an attempt.
Maybe that’s the only way to really make it work. Hook people with the appearance of GENRE X and then eventually reveal that it’s really GENRE Y.

With the next couple of books I’m doing, the goal is to provide reviewers and retailers with the complete series prior to release, so they can judge the book’s merits beyond the first issue. More and more I’m thinking that’s the only way to engender trust that things are headed in a direction worth following.

In any event, ROGER AND VAL HAVE JUST GOT IN is another example of British television impacting the way I think about storytelling in comics. And I recommend tracking it down.

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Digital Batman announced

DC announced their new digital first Batman title today, and Ben Templesmith and I created one of the stories that will be featured:

In addition to the Bat/Joker image in that USA Today piece, Ben tossed this awesome Joker sketch up on his blog:


I have to say, I had more fun writing this story than anything I’ve done in a while. Working with Ben was a complete blast, and I’m pretty excited to be writing his first real mainstream superhero work.

More details as they’re announced!


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Planet Comicon – This Weekend

Come join us at Planet Comicon this weekend in Overland Park (suburban KC). Chris Jackson has put together a sterling guest list.

Head to the website to see for yourself:

On Saturday at 2:00 I’ll be participating in a panel on Creator-Owned Comics, with John Layman, Kevin Mellon, Blair Butler and Jeremy Bastian.

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TCJ’s notes on ‘Life at Sea’

Was pleasantly surprised to see this articulate commentary on the Red Torpedo story I did with Frank Fosco and Erik Larsen (“Life at Sea”), from the last NEXT ISSUE PROJECT book (CRACK COMICS #63).

Here’s the review, from the Comics Journal‘s website, and writer Ken Parille:

One of 2011’s least pretentious comics, and one of my favorites, is another superhero story, “The Red Torpedo: Life at Sea”, a five-page tale from Image’s Crack Comics #63, part of  the publisher’s Next Issue Project line of Golden Age-inspired comics. A dialogue and narration-free adventure, “Life at Sea” looks to 1940s adventure narratives, but rejects derivative parody and fanboy homage. Moore, Fosco, and Larsen create light entertainment, a tale attractively inked in ways precise, loose, and blotchy—and nicely colored with a limited flat palette.

Although the Red Torpedo reads Hemingway’s The Old Man and the Sea in the story’s final sequence, “Life at Sea” never strives to recreate Hemingway’s Melvillean plot of Man v. Fish. (The main parallel: an old man fishes). The reference is mostly a punch-line. The tale may get a little extra literary resonance from the hero’s resemblance to Chris Ware’s God character:

“Life at Sea” alludes to Golden Age comics, a literary classic, and perhaps Ware, but eschews grand aspirations. It does, however, possess emotional depth—a gentle and understated pathos. The comic’s solitary hero saves a yacht of party-goers from pirates, only to end up alone as the story closes. When compared to comics like Justice League #1, “Life at Sea” is especially welcome as an underplayed approach to superheroics. Without JL’s burden to introduce DC Comics’ new corporate direction for 2011, “Life at Sea” succeeds as a well-executed, fun, and subtly poignant story. I wish there were more mainstream comics like this.

Here’s a link to the review, along with the Comics Journal‘s thoughts on some of 2011’s more interesting books:

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