Monday, April 21, 2014

A Quick Update

Staying busy. Hope you all had a nice weekend. Our garden is going in and the flowers around the house are happy so far, too. Writing and editing stuff:

  • Going over the first 50 pages of The Cold Distance for The Writer's Tank contest.
  • Revising another story before it goes to my editor.
  • The first two stories I gave her are S L O W L Y being prepped for electronic release. I'm hoping they'll be out after the coming weekend. Who knew it was so much work?
  • Also writing another story that has to be finished so I can: 
  • Finish the last 25 - 30K words of another novel.
  • And then I can work on one of the three ideas I have for a follow up to that one.

So there we are. More coming soon.

Saturday, April 05, 2014


Mephisto by Neal Adams and Joe Sinnott from Thor #180.
I'm with people who rail at DC and Marvel for their gross mistreatment of creators like Siegel & Shuster, Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko when it comes to proper crediting and compensation. There really should be more of a hue and cry from the comic community. Yes, there should be. When Stan Lee and current creators are dropped in for cameos in the Marvel films, fans love that stuff yet they fail to understand why it's another slap in the face to those who feel under compensated.

That said, I'm in the crowd who's been waiting for these Marvel movies for decades. Ever since the days of Stan's Soapbox in the 70s where he hawked potential Spider-Man and Silver Surfer films. Remember that? I do. That's why when I saw Sam Raimi's first Spidey film I was a ten year-old kid reveling in watching the webslinger swing through the canyons of Manhattan. The X-Men grabbed my attention, too. That was my favorite comic, the Claremont/Byrne/Austin/Orzechowski/Glynis run.  I was a subscriber and my comics arrived mailed flat in a brown wrapper that slid right off. The cover reveal was almost always a 'holy shit' moment.

But the failure to compensate beyond token credit was already in full swing and Stan himself was taking credit for nearly everything. And he continued to do so here and there. The beginning of the Internet saw revisions of history presented as fact.

Is it bad that I want to see the Marvel movies despite the failure of Marvel as a company and now their owners as a corporation haven't made these things right? That in fact they are actively fighting against sharing anything other than a token 'created by' credit in the films? Yes.

I go see the films anyway. I've even purchased a few of them. I'm a Marvel Zombie when it comes to this, I can't help it.

I'm also with the Northwestern football players who want to unionize. All they really want, it seems to me, is to ensure that if they're hurt they are taken care of and even allowed to finish getting a degree. Scholarships aren't free rides to college. They aren't even guaranteed four years any more, apparently. They're renewed from year to year. And some of the guys who get these scholarships are reading at a third to fifth grade level. Some of them are enrolled in a course of study they didn't choose.  And some of those classes don't even meet.

Go figure.

The common denominator is money. Big Money. BIG Big Money. Think about how many people fill those football stadiums - tens of thousands. Those tickets ain't cheap, folks.

The box office for the Marvel movies is huge, too. The comics not so much, but the movies rake it in hand over fist. The ancillary items (shirts, toys, etc...) also rake the money in.

But the creators of the comics the movies are based on and the players who draw the crowds don't see much, if any, of that BIG Big Money. They are treated as sub-contractors or employees and have no health care, no benefits beyond the pay. When your career is over, it's over and done. The creators and the so-called student athletes are getting short shrift and the general public don't want to be informed so they don't have to care.

Because if they cared they would be denied their entertainments. We would be denied our entertainments.

If I'm honest, I cringe every time I sit down to watch a superhero movie whether it's Marvel or DC. But I don't stop because I love the characters and I'm drawn to the movies. Every college basketball game I watch I should turn off because I know some of those guys aren't getting the education that they should, even the ones who leave after a year or two. In fact, they didn't get an education going into college. They're woefully underprepared for college. But they can play ball.

So I should stop. I really should.

But I can't. Well, I probably won't. But I should.

Wednesday, April 02, 2014

A Kind of Anniversary

Nine years ago I ventured into blogging on my own. Previous to that I shared a blog with a friend and we talked about trying to break into comics. Or comix as we called 'em at the time. It was a lot of fun and led me to try my hand at a lot more things. LiveJournal was a thing at the time and lots of people had one. I think not so many any more. Prior to that I had a blog-thing that existed on GeoCities where I had to learn html in order to get it online. THAT takes me back a little. It's gone now and thank goodness.

It's not all that interesting to go back and see what I was working on nine years ago because none of those things panned out. Or maybe it is because none of those things panned out. It's interesting that as long as I've been blogging I've been exploring writing prose stories, even when I was trying to make comics. I wish I could do comics but I don't want to be that guy who can't pay the artist and who can only offer an interest in a property I created. Best to create my own things all by my lonesome until I can offer proper payment for an artist's hard work, don't you think?

At Planet Comicon this year I reconnected with an artist I was trying to get something started with back then so that's a good thing. It was nice to see him still developing a lot of stuff, showing new stuff and working toward his own storytelling goals. He actually inspired me to branch out a little in my own artistic way again. I suppose that's a good enough reason to note that it's been nine years I've been blogging on-again and off-again.

Enough looking backward. I've got stories to write. Will fill you in as things happen.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

The Writing of Things

Of course some whiskey will be involved.
The resting period after a convention is always a good time. Where thoughts zip around and around and collide into one another mashing themselves into more interesting ideas...

Which means that I'm writing. I can hear you ask what I'm writing. Here's the lowdown:

What I'm writing now, this week and next,  is a third installment of one of the Actionopolis series. It's moving along swimmingly and when it's done and out in the world you will wonder if there will be more. On that score we will see.

The day job is keeping me pretty busy with writing chores. Nothing I can to point to, but I mention it to let you know that I'm writing a lot more than you may ever see. I know quite a few writers who do that and so I don't feel like I'm being a lazy slug when I don't want to write more of my own stuff at home. That said, even when I don't want to write I am opening the files and typing away because that's what needs to happen. That's how books get written.

I'm editing a couple of short stories before I send them to my editor for searing insights into why I'm still trying to tell stories. In April I will release into the digital wild my first short story, Prospects, and then in May you'll get The Masking Job. Four more, one each month through September, will be announced as they're readied. You should have the complete list sometime in July. Or before. Maybe before. We'll see.

I'm finishing one novel on slow pace and planning another. Also thinking about a third novel. I'll have to figure out which of the two I'm going to write come fall. Various short stories are presenting themselves for consideration and notes, scribbles, vague phrases are being kept. Notebooks are piling up.

On another note about writing, as I consume the various articles and posts about Planet Comicon and other conventions around the country, I notice that there's a lot of focus on the cosplayers (as there should be) and on the media guests (by default). Some people are cool mentioning the actual comic creators in attendance but almost no one talks about Artists Alley. I know for a fact that thousands of people wandered through the aisle my table was in and I talked to hundreds of people. And that's just me.

So what I'd like to see is a comic website - any comic website - that goes to a convention do some real coverage of what's going on in Artists Alley. Where the creators of tomorrow are working away at making something that you might want to read. Can someone make that happen? Maybe start with your local con or even San Diego if you have to but do it. Spend a day with the unknowns and find something that can rock your world.

Getting off my soapbox now.

Finally, it seems that I may be at another convention in the fall. If that comes to pass I will let you know. In the meantime, assume that words are being slung. Updates as they're appropriate.