Saturday, October 31, 2009

My Day Was Fine; Thanks For Asking

My day today...

I spent most of this morning (once I woke up) digging around for some final facts and figures for my book. I did a load of laundry in there somewhere since I didn't have any clean socks.

I had leftover pizza for lunch and watched the Firefly episode "Jaynestown."

I spent most of the afternoon writing. But, hey, awesome -- the bulk of the writing for my book is done! I just have three fan profiles to bang out... once I get some information from three comic fans. (Deb, Joe, Joel -- I'm talking to you!)

Around 5:45, I stopped into a nearby Panera for dinner. I sat and read Invaders from the North: How Canada Conquered the Comic Book Universe for about two hours and stopped by the grocery store to pick up a few odds and ends on the way home.

I've spent the rest of the evening doing some book editing and revisions.

What? No, I don't think I missed anything. Why do you ask?

Friday, October 30, 2009

An Odd Choice

So, I'm reading up on comics history outside the U.S. and I stumbled across this tidbit...

Apparently, superhero comics were banned in Hungary during its communist regime, in part because of Fredric Wetham's arguments in Seduction of the Innocent, which were echoed and expanded upon. The first superhero books weren't published in the country until 1989 when it was on the verge of becoming a democracy.

But here's the REALLY weird bit: the first superhero comic that was published in Hungary was...

Does it seem to be a really unusual choice to anyone besides me? I mean, I can see the potential appeal because it's got a lot of characters in it, which might mean something legally or could be used to test readers' reactions to different characters, but I think they could've picked other stories using those criteria that were better/more powerful. I'm not knocking Revenge of the Living Monolith -- it wasn't a bad story, and it holds a soft spot in my heart as the first "graphic novel" I ever got -- but it doesn't seem like a really great choice either. What about FF vs. the X-Men? Or Secret Wars? Contest of Champions? Or just about any story arc from Roger Stern's Avengers?

Again, Revenge of the Living Monolith wasn't bad, but I'm just saying it's not the story I would've led with.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Keep Your Feeds Updated!

<RANT>

you know, I've seen six or eight different web sites in the past few weeks who've updated their RSS and/or XML feeds, but NONE of them managed to mention it anywhere, as far as I can tell. Certainly not within the feeds that they were retiring! Which means that I missed maybe a month or so of updates because they weren't showing up in my feed readers. The old ones weren't turned off; they just became static.

Bad practice, people!

New Rule: Subscribe to your own RSS feed, so you can see if/when it encounters any problems. Because, unlike your web site, people using feed readers don't come back to your home page to check up repeatedly and they could easily just drop the feed instead of actively trying to seek out to see if a new one has been created.

</RANT>

Aw, Nertz!

So I'm working on the "final" (as in, the last one I haven't finished) chapter in Comic Book Fanthropology. It's just a basic history of comic fandom, and I saved it for last because it's kind of incidental to the rest of my book. And I'm going through my notes and reference material and realize that it's almost entirely U.S.-centric. I've got a few vague notes about Mexico, Canada and the UK, but that's it. All the other European and Asian material I thought I had was all focused expressly on science fiction fandom and not comic fandom.

Guess I need to expand my library. :\

On the plus side, the cover is just about done and looks FRICKIN' AWESOME in a sublime sort of way. Kudos to Colin Panetta's for doing a great job on it. I'll plug more about Colin and show you the cover later, though!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Best Halloween Decorations Ever

An old friend of mine pointed me to these Halloween decorations in a Clevelander's front lawn. The awesome is staggering...


(Faces obscured to preserve some anonymity.)

The Transformers here were made from car parts, wood and styrofoam. Bumblebee is 12 feet tall; Optimus Prime is 17. They're lit from 7-10 pm. The gent who built them is hoping to have 22 foot Decepticons next year.

UPDATE: Before the questions start, it's at 4807 Wichita Ave., Cleveland, OH 44144.

(Hat tip to my high school chum, DKFVP.)

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Comics Cause Juvenile Delinquincy?

You've likely seen Tom Spurgeon's post pointing to the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Library's digital archive of comic books and comic-related material. If you haven't actually browsed the collection yet, you should, because there's lots of interesting things there. INCLUDING a copy of the interim report from the Senate subcommittee hearings on juvenile delinquency circa 1954. I've only had a chance to skim it so far, but I did catch this particular nugget on page 33...
Yup, somebody added their own commentary to the report, presumably more than a few years after this was first published. And it just amuses the heck out of me that the librarians who scanned this for their site opted to leave it in place.

My dad sometimes bemoans having to deal with not-entirely-all-there librarians a lot, but the ones I've met have all been pretty cool, and I think this scan does reinforce that, if only a little.

Friday, October 23, 2009

I Dig My Library

>So I'm sitting here writing away and come to a point where I want to mention Wally Wood's witzend. It falls into my point easily enough, but I want to ensure that I get my facts straight. I do a few web searches and turn up with some basic info about it, but nothing I need.

"Well, geez," I think to myself, "now I've got to truck all the way down to the basement to grab that biography of Wood."

My next thought was, "Damn, though. That's pretty cool that I've got a comic library with obscure information like that, and I know exactly where it is."

The book was soon retrieved and the information I was looking for was indeed in there.

I dig my library.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

For The Love Of Peanuts

So, you think you like Chuck, Snoopy, Linus, Lucy and the gang? You've got nothing on Caren Pilgrim! I'm not about to say it's necessarily the largest Peanuts collection of all time, but it is definitely impressive. Go look!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Hints Of What's To Come

It's time to drum up a little more excitement for Comic Book Fanthropology, my upcoming book that examines the "why" of comic fandom. How about a selection of art that I'll be using in the book...?


What's that? Why, yes, the manga strip and photo of a Spanish comic con do mean that I'm considering a global perspective. And, yes, the pictures of Jerry Bails and Don & Maggie Thompson as well as the photos of current shows do mean I'm considering the past and present aspects of fandom. And, yes, the Foxtrot strip and manga do mean that I'm looking at comics of all sorts, not just pamphlet books.

By the way, does anyone happen to know the name of The Horror Channel reporter in that last photograph?

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Well, THERE'S Your Problem!


Recently posted on Fandom Secrets. And DC (and Marvel) wonders why they're not able to attract new readers.

UPDATE: Link fixed

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Idiot Or Masochist: You Decide

So I'm working on my book the other night (as I've been doing EVERY night these days) and I thought, "You know, this chapter I'm working on now probably should be broken up into two chapters. The topics flow together really easily, but I think there might be too much there to not break up."

This increases my work a bit because A) I'm trying to keep each chapter reasonably the same length so I've effectively doubled how much time I was going to spend on the topics, and B) that puts in another break between chapters, which I've been punctuating with fan profiles -- meaning I've got another profile to write and another portrait to draw.

Then I was working this morning and realized, "Oh, crap! I totally haven't said ANYTHING about this portion of fandom! I'll need to add another chapter for that!" Which, again, means I have another chapter to write, another profile to write, and another portrait to draw.

So, does that make me an idiot for not seeing those things earlier, or a masochist for adding more work without changing my personal deadline?

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Halloween Is Coming

You know, I've never really cared much for Halloween. I think it's combination of never being able to put together a decent costume and having a fairly nauseous reaction to some Dracula make-up I tried one year early on. But that's just me. It's supposedly almost as popular as Christmas here in the U.S. so who am I to judge?

Anyway, I thought I'd point out that creator Sam Costello informs me that the latest Split Lip horror webcomic, "Termites in Your Smile," has gone live. He ALSO tells me that he's giving away 10 copies of his printed Split Lip anthology. Details can be found here.

On the subject of horror, Paul Horn is running some of his classic Doc Splatter comics throughout October.

Not exactly horror, but still kind of creepy in an October-ish sort of way, Colin Panetta tells me that he just sent the latest issue of Dead Man Holiday off to the printer this past week. I expect it'll be available for purchase in time for Halloween.

It seems to me that there was some other spooky-ish comic update I heard recently, but am forgetting at the moment. Hmph. Like I said, I'm not all that big on Halloween, so I'm actually kind of surprised I remembered this much!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Wertham VS. Kleefeld

I'm still working on my book, Comic Book Fanthropology. And it's still progressing fairly well. I'm a tad less sure about my end-of-November release date, but I'm still hopeful for hitting it. Regardless, it'll still be out in time for Christmas, so be sure to set aside some money for it now. I do have a couple elements in the works with it as we speak that should make for more compelling reasons to buy it, too!

But this isn't a book update post!

As I've been writing, I've been a little concerned that I might end up with a slightly slimmer book than I'd like. I had no intention of making it some monster tome, but it ought to have a little something there, you know?

But today, I finally got my hands on my own copy of Fredric Wertham's The World of Fanzines. He didn't exactly reverse the position he took about comics in Seduction of the Innocent but he gave fanzines a pretty fair shake, as I understand it.

So I started flipping through it and noticed a lot of art in the front 1/3 of the book. Like, every page. Appropriate seeming -- mostly fan cartoons and fanzine covers -- but a lot. But, curiously, I didn't see any in the last 2/3 of the book. So, off to the Table of Contents I go to find...

Chapter One. Introducing Fanzines. Page 33.

The first page with any of Wertham's actual content is page 33.

He then writes several chapters (most of which are each only four pages long) before he starts a glossary on page 61. Which is then followed by a list of fanzines and their states of origin. Wertham starts writing again on page 71 and finishes out on page 133, followed by a ten page, single column index. Plus a few more blank pages at the very end to be able to set the binding properly.

So, out of a 160 page book, Wertham provided content for only 90 pages. Plus, the page layouts could easily fit into a typical 6" x 9" paperback size instead of the larger 7.5" x 9.5" he went with. Meaning there's a lot of white space on every page.

Yeah, I'm not quite so worried about the amount of content I'm writing now. Plus, mine is going to look a heck of a lot better!

Bank Of America Sucks Even More -- Tell Your Friends

Yesterday evening, I noted that the loan from my divorce settlement moved from a fixed rate to a variable rate. I sent a polite, but strongly worded, email to a number of Bank of America personnel last night and received a call today from a Megan Riley from the CEO's office.

She pointed out (condescendingly, I thought) that my terminology was technically incorrect as the Prime Rate is just above 3%. Doing some research after the call, I realized that the 0% I was citing is actually the Federal Discount Rate. The problem is identical, though, since the Prime Rate is based on the Discount Rate. The Prime Rate goes up and down, pretty much in line with Discount Rate. And since the Discount Rate is 0 and can't go down, the Prime Rate ain't goin' down either. Wrong terminology on my part, but the exact same problem.

We moved on to my complaint that I don't feel this is right. She started to cite the Terms of Service, at which point I stopped her. I read the Terms of Service. I know there's language in there that says they can raise the rates at any time. I know they legally have the right to do that under that contract, and legally I have no real recourse. I said that's not the point. The point is that it's unethical of them and unfair to me and all of their other customers. She didn't even try to counter that.

I said that I don't agree to these changes, and I'm perfectly willing to take my business elsewhere. Megan responded that the changes don't affect the length of my loan (which I never brought up as an issue, since it clearly wasn't one, as expressly noted in the change of terms letter) and that the Prime Rate might not actually go up too much. Really? That's the best argument you've got? For me to hope that the economy continues to suck and the Federal Reserve doesn't increase the Discount Rate for the next four years until I can pay off the loan?

I reiterated that it WILL go up. It can't not. If I'm not given a fixed rate like I signed up for, I will take my business somewhere else. Megan said that all customers' rates were being switched to variable rates, and there were to be no exceptions. Bank of America no longer offers fixed rate loans. Period.

I told her that I have no qualms leaving them. It's a pain in the ass for me, but A) the new rate doesn't take effect until December and B) the Fed indeed isn't likely to raise the Discount Rate much, if at all, for a while after that. So I've got a little time to secure a new loan. "So just let me confirm this: you are completely unwilling to negotiate the terms of my loan?"

"We are not offering fixed rate loans for any of our customers."

"Then I will be taking my business elsewhere."

"I'm sorry to hear that, Mr. Kleefeld, but I hope..." Click.

Comic-related updates will resume shortly.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Bank Problems; Wouldn't Mind Some Assistance

I just deleted a rambling, curse-filled post about how much banks are pissing me off these days. I decided that it'd be better for me in the long run if I didn't throw that kind of vitriol online for the world to see. So let me try to sum up my situation with two pieces of advice...

1) Never get a mortgage from Chase Manhattan. They have gone out of their way to make the loan assumption process literally impossible. Seriously, how do you "lose" one side of a two-sided sheet of paper? And forget to tell anyone until all the deadlines have expired? And then lose the same sheet of paper again after I've sent it for a fourth time? I've been fighting with them on this for the past 18 months! Although I can't prove that everything they've done has been deliberate, it's clear to me that they're acting illegally in order to ensure I can't assume the mortgage on my house. Even though I still have to make the mortgage payments to stay in it.

2) Never get a loan from Bank of America. The loan I had to take out to pay off my ex-wife from our divorce settlement switched (without my consent!) from a fixed rate to a variable rate, tied to the prime. While the initial variable is on par with my fixed, they neglect to mention anywhere that the prime rate is currently zero and has nowhere to go but up. Which means that the $700+ I pay towards this loan every month is going to turn into $800+ and $900+ and...

Since playing by the rules CLEARLY isn't working, let me ask that if anyone out there happens to work for either of those institutions and can pull any strings for me, I would be greatly appreciative.

Thank you.

Marvel Editorial, 1983

Recently posted in (and swiped from) Walt Simonson's Facebook gallery...
Standing in the Back: Jim Shooter
Top Row: Archie Goodwin, Louise Simonson
Middle Row: Denny O'Neil, Mark Gruenwald, Carl Potts
Bottom Row: Larry Hama, Al Milgrom, Tom DeFalco, Ralph Macchio

Favorite Panel

One of my all-time favorite comic book panels...
From Batman #237.

Brunner's Alice (NSFW)


Classic Dr. Strange and Howard the Duck artist Frank Brunner has a series of Alice in Wonderland paintings up on his site. Except Alice is nude in all of them.

(h/t Boing Boing)

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Ratner On Crazy Fans

In a recent interview, director Brett Ratner spoke about some of the negative fan reaction to X-Men 3. I seem to recall seeing these or similar quotes before, but they struck more poignantly today since I just happened to finish some writing on exactly this topic for my book. (Have I mentioned that I'm writing a book? I am. No, seriously.)

While it's certainly frustrating for creators like Ratner to deal with this sort of criticism, fans do actually have something of a point. Each fan has his/her own version of the X-Men in their head. Maybe based on Stan Lee's writing, maybe Claremont's, maybe Lobdell's, maybe Morrison's. But each reader has a view of what the X-Men is and should be that is absolutely unique to him/her, and no one has the exact same version in their head. So when Ratner puts his version on screen, fans cry out, "Ratner betrayed who and what the X-Men are!" Which is completely and totally valid, provided they include two more words (which they rarely do): "to me".

Try the same quote again with those two words added: "Ratner betrayed who and what the X-Men are to me!"

Seems much more reasonable now, doesn't it?

What fans seem to forget is that the version of the X-Men (or any character) in their head is NOT the same one that's actually on the page. They, as readers, have interpreted what the creators put down on the page, patched it in with all of their own biases and past experiences and worldviews and whatever else is rolling around in their heads, and come up with a version of the X-Men that is wholly unique and, more significantly, inaccessible to anyone else. So of course Ratner betrayed that vision -- he couldn't have possibly known what that even was to begin with!

(Saaaay, that's pretty insightful. I'd better write that down so I can use it in my book!)

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Depicting Real Women In Comics

The S.O. points me to this article in which the author questions the depiction of Twilight creator Stephenie Meyer in the upcoming Female Force comic biography. In short, is it okay for a comic to depict a plus-size woman as if she were skinny?

In an effort to avoid a long-winded answer, I'd say yes, they have that right. HOWEVER, doing so damages their credibility. If Bluewater wants to continue to produce biographic comics, it seems to me that they should try to adhere to the people's actual biographies as much as possible. Otherwise, it WILL get around that they take wild liberties which will ultimately hurt overall sales, even on their attempts to cash in on the popularity of the celebrity du jour.

Congrats, Harvey-ites

For what it's worth, congrats to Dave, Steve & Scott and Mark. If it means anything, I voted for you.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Desk, Part 2

I'm still chugging away on my book and, as I predicted last month, my desk is continued it's downward slide towards entropy...The coffee table is looking worse, too.

Friday, October 09, 2009

The Lesser Gods

I came across this flyer in my files for a proposed series headed up by Joe Edkin. He was plugging it for a while around 2002, but it never materialized. I asked him about it a few years later and he said that the folks he had lined up to work on it were all opting for gigs that actually paid them, instead of potential future money here that might come in if the book actually sold. Freelancers -- go figure!

Anyway, I was intrigued by the proposal and am disappointed it's never made it to fruition. So here's what you all have missed...

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Hatter M Updates

A couple weeks back, I reviewed the latest installment of Hatter M graphic novels. Today, I received the following message in my email box and, given the informative nature of the response, I thought I'd share the whole thing verbaitum...
Hi Sean, (Critical Illuminator)

Many thanks for the insightful and enthusiastic review of Hatter M: Mad With Wonder. The members of the Hatter M Institute for Paranormal Travel, my co-writer Liz Cavalier, artist Sami Makkonen and I would also like to thank you for your recent review of Hatter M: Mad With Wonder. From your review we gathered that there were some concerns about the dramatic trajectory of Hatter’s search. Let me emphasize that we hold to the academic and aesthetic view of criticism and believe you are working on behalf of readers and fans to interpret, analyze and shed light on Hatter’s quest. This is an invaluable service and we deeply appreciate your assistance as Graphic Guides and Mythos Interpreters.

In turn, we also depend on your criticism to measure our own efforts. When questions are raised or clarification sought we immediately roundtable the review and work to address the issues. After an intense examination and debate our unanimous consensus is to distribute the following overview for the planned 5 Volume graphic novel series as both answer and update for reviewers who would care to join us in shedding extra light on Royal Bodyguard Hatter Madigan’s realm jumping adventures.

WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON?!
Anyone who has read the Looking Glass Wars or even the introduction to the first comic book knows that Hatter is eventually successful in finding Alyss and bringing her home.

NO mystery there.

But at the heart of Hatter’s search there is a mystery. As Volume 2 unfolds readers should start to realize that the mystery of this planned 5 Volume parallel series is the path that Hatter follows both consciously and unconsciously. Before he can master the final challenge of finding the Princess he must first, like all of us, realize there is something he must learn from his ordeal. Operating from the metaphysical rule stating: Everything Happens for a Reason we have begun to track and eventually reveal this mystery.

WHERE IS THE RESOLUTION?!


There is a carefully plotted method to our madness and we wish to assure our readers nothing is extraneous to the ultimate storyline. Clues are being laid down and characters established with our collective eye on the finish. This information may or may not have resolution in volume 3 or 4, but Volume 5 will complete the revelatory map.

When readers encounter Hatter in Volume 2: Mad With Wonder it is 1864 and he has been searching our world for five years. Volume 2 provides the reader with a historically accurate timeline of 1864-1865 for the American Civil War as well as the revisionist revelation of Wonderland’s involvement in the final days and battles of the Confederacy’s Lost Cause. BUT NOT UNTIL the forthcoming Volume 3: The Nature of Wonder will readers discover the conclusion of this hidden historical episode. Warning! This information is not available in any government issued textbook. You will only find it here.


WHY THE FLASHBACKS?


Interwoven with this external timeframe are Hatter’s flashbacks to his formative years as a Cadet at the Wonderland Millinery under the tutelage of an older brother. Dalton Madigan is an iconic influence on Hatter as well as being his only family. Dalton raised Hatter and taught him to fight while guiding him through his Millinery training. As the flashbacks reveal, Dalton is never far from Hatter’s thoughts. In moments of self-doubt he conjures Dalton, fearing he cannot complete this quest alone. Without slipping any spoilers let us emphasize…no detail is extraneous.

THANKS!
In closing, I would like to emphasize that as a writer and creator I depend on your enthusiastically imparted knowledge to ensure that readers are provided with the necessary critical magnifying glass to fully enjoy and comprehend my work. That said, I am always available for questions, theoretical debates, interviews and tours of the Hatter M Institute.

Madly yours,


Frank Beddor

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

The Cosmic Monkey Tour

Cosmic Monkey Comics posted a video tour of their store. I've never been there, but it looks like they've got a really nice set-up; one that I daresay many other shops could take some notes from...

(h/t Aaron Albert)

Monday, October 05, 2009

Me & GNR

Graphic Novel Review has just posted my review of Josh Neufeld's A.D.: New Orleans After the Deluge in print. I was shooting for more of a gonzo review than I normally do here. Go check it out!

My Life At Transylvania Polygnostic U

I stumbled across these two pages, documenting some of my time at Transylvania Polygnostic University, and thought I'd share...
If you're not able to discern as much from the contents of the first letter, this was during the time when Girl Genius was only a printed pamphlet comic and hadn't been migrated to an online one. Sadly, the TPU website is no longer online; I never heard exactly what happened but I suspect it had something to do with the increased funding that had been given to the Department of Death-Ray Physics.

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Egad! Air!

An almost random, un-retouched panel scanned from the Zot #31...
Notice anything... "off"? Or seemingly out of place? How about I zoom in on a tighter cropping for you...
There are three white circles in the black areas that don't appear to belong there. See them? One in the lower left corner, one in the upper right corner, and one on the left side up towards the top. Those weren't put there by artist Scott McCloud.

Those are actually accidents that occurred during the printing process.

Traditionally, printing involved making a mirror version of the image you wanted to produce, carving it in relief so that all the areas that were to be printed were raised, covering it with ink, and then pressing that down onto a piece of paper. Basically, the same process as a rubber stamp. For professional printing, they generally used metal plates, though, as rubber didn't have a tendency to hold up very well on large print runs that you might find in, say, comic books.

In the 1980s, other materials were found to be used that were more flexible than the old metal printing plates but still durable enough to remain viable for larger print runs. The process was called flexographic printing, or flexography. The major benefit of this was that, due to the type of materials used, printers could use less viscous (i.e. thinner) inks than they could with metal plates. The thinner inks dried MUCH faster than before, thus making comic book production much quicker and cheaper. That was one of the reasons for the rise in the number of self-published comics during that time-period -- it was simply more affordable than it had been.

The down side to using thinner ink, though, was that it was more likely to allow air bubbles to get trapped within it. The problem with having air bubbles in your ink is that, when the ink is pressed onto the paper, you don't get any ink coverage in the spots where air bubbles have formed. Which means that the large black areas that are supposed to have lots of ink coverage get little white circles in them like you can see in the example above. The problem tended to be more prevalent in indie comics, but I recall seeing at least a few Marvel issues that had similar problems around the same time.

Of course, printing technology has changed radically in the past 20 years or so, and you don't see much of this any more. But it is a curious artifact of a specific period of time in comic history and, as I noticed it while riffling through some older comics, I thought I'd elaborate for anyone else who might come across the problem and wonder where the heck those circles came from.

This has been your comic book production blog post of the day.

Friday, October 02, 2009

Comic Book Fanthropology Status Report

Because I've gotten so many questions about my book (either that or I can't think of anything else to blog about) I thought I'd provide a status update on the book I'm working on: Comic Book Fanthropology.

The research and writing is going along fairly smoothly. A tad slower than I'd ideally like, but I'm going to cut myself a little slack as it's my first book. I've been pleasantly surprised, though, that every time I get to a point where I'm not really sure where to go next, I can set it aside for a day or so and I'm able to come up with a good transition or example or whatever it is that's needed right there. At least, I've done well on that so far; we'll see if I can keep at it successfully. At the rate I've been going, I figure I'll be done with all the writing and most of the editing by the end of the month.

Interior artwork has been going surprisingly well too. I've found more pieces than I'd hoped that are both contextual and metatextual; not only do they refer back to the text I'm writing, but most of them are also commenting on it in some fashion as well. PLUS, I've had good success in getting black and white line art for everything, so it should reproduce better than greyscale scans of full color pages. When I run into a writer's block, I've been able to switch over to digitally touching up the line work to make sure it's the cleanest I can get; so I think the interior illustrations are going to look really sharp in the end. (And, hopefully, they'll mostly be from things you haven't seen before.)

I've haven't really tackled the fan profiles yet. To those of you who've offered assistance on that front, I'll be contacting you as soon as I have a better idea of exactly how I'm going to format those pieces. I have been drawing illustrations for the various profiles that I know will be scattered throughout the book, and those have been going relatively well. (My attempt to capture Tom Fagan's likeness is to the right.) I'm not 100% happy with one of the images so far, but I've still got plenty of time to keep playing with it.

I do have a cover artist: Colin Panetta, the creator of Dead Man Holiday. I think we've got a pretty good handle on what the cover will look like, but Colin's putting the finishing touches on his next issue of DMH before he puts pen to paper for this. We're currently shooting for the tail end of October for having this ready. I'm eager to see his initial sketches.

All of which means that, if I'm able to keep everything together and move according to plan, I'll be able to really start promoting the book around the middle of November, and have it for sale by Thanksgiving. (That'd be November 26 for those of you outside the U.S.)

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Action Comics #495

This is the first comic book I actually purchased with my own money. I recall seeing it on a spinner rack in a local drug store while Mom was picking up whatever it was that she picked up that day. I had been interested in comics for at least a few years at that point, but I had only recently started getting an allowance. I definitely remember being attracted to the cover, possibly because of the obvious Clark/Superman duality being expressly shown. (I know I liked the cover to Superman #268 for that reason.) I thus made the decision to make my first "major" purchase.

The story was entertaining enough, if a bit far-fetched -- even in the context of a Superman comic. I do recall liking it, though, because it did have all the "classic" Superman elements I was aware of. The villain appeared to be from Krypton (Superman's home planet) but was in fact an alien from a world Superboy had saved years ago (continuity). It featured Clark and Lois as Planet reporters (key characters and traits) but occurred in Smallville (Clark's boyhood home). There was a brief discussion of the original S-logo Clark had toyed with (alluding to the historical elements of Superman's history in the real world) and the mandatory Clark-pretending-to-be-scared-so-Lois-won't-discover-his-dual-identity routine. Plus some out of this world logic (Superman throwing the villain's sword all the way around THE ENTIRE PLANET and catching it as it came back) and a decent fight sequence. And, oh yeah, the whole thing was drawn by Curt "Best Superman Artist Ever" Swan.

Apparently, from what I can tell right here and now, that story or the alien race depicted in it, has NEVER been referenced before or since that issue. So, c'mon! Who's with me in writing to new DC head honcho Diane Nelson to help back the Zoltams, Gnmod, or the Xaka sword? Let's get everybody on board this and make it a real grass-roots movement to honor the great legacy of DC stories! Who's with me? C'mon!

Anyone?

Anybody...?

Hello? Is this thing on?