Friday, September 28, 2007

Another Edition of The Nobody Tells Me Nothin' Files

Things I discovered today that I might have mentioned earlier if someone had bothered to tell me about them:

1) My friend and sometimes co-writer collaborator Scott O. Brown's graphic novel THEY DO NOT DIE! is being serialized online at Ambrosia Publishing. The gritty B&W art (reminiscent of 2000AD/Vertigo artist Carlos Ezquerra) for the project is by his DEATH VALLEY (Speakeasy, not Boom! version) collaborator Horacio Lallia.

2) The sequel to COWBOYS & ALIENS, C&A: WORLDS AT WAR, is being serialized online This is not the sequel I was writing in late '06--that project was canceled after the departure of the Nordling and McLauchlin editorial regimes at Platinum. I'm not familiar with any of the creators involved and haven't had a chance to read the thing yet (other than series creator Scott Rosenberg, of course), but at the very least the art of seen is a cut above what the first one ended up with, and it looks like the story's being constructed in such a way as to accommodate a monitor. If I understand the approach the company's taking to the sequel correctly, this could be an interesting storytelling experiment. If it doesn't lead the editor to go on a bloody killing spree first, anyway--the organization it's going to require is frightening.



In other news, everybody seems to like Nick Johnson's HOLIDAY MEN promo image, including me. We're working on some other promo stuff before we go public with the team shot, but yeah. Things are coming together.



It seems like everyone out there who would theoretically like to see me do a 24-Hour Comic for charity is unwilling or (more often than not) unable to put any cash towards the charitable donation entry fee to take part in Happy Harbor's event.

Apparently, Rupert Murdoch got his start publishing comics, but do I know him? NO! I know a bunch of other people who're busy trying to scrounge up a hundred bucks to do the event themselves. I should moon you all, I really should.

But I love you, so I won't.


Tuesday, September 25, 2007

A Question

Not that anybody's actually reading this blog, but...

Is there anyone out there willing to sponsor me IF I take part in this year's Happy Harbor 24 Hour Comic Book Day charity event?

I'm very on the fence about taking part in this--I don't have the materials I wanted to have next time I tried a 24 Hour book and can't afford them. I don't have a lot of energy. I have a major headache. And I made a vow that I'd never do another 24 Hour Book again the last time I did one.

And yes, I know there's an inherent logic problem with not having the materials to do something I swore I'd never do again. Ignore it, please. That's what I do.

Minimum donation for participation is $100, which will go to Alberta Literacy, but it's going to take at least double that to get me to break my vow.

I'm trying to decide if I should push things even further than $200 and add partial nudity to the equation, but I can't decide if extra donations should go towards my keeping clothes on or taking them off while I utterly destroy my physical and mental well-being.


Monday, September 24, 2007


Not a lot to report lately, but that doesn't mean that things aren't happening, even if "things" means "my manager's getting deported."

Well, OK, no, she isn't--at least, I hope she isn't--but apparently she has been having some Visa issues, which have bumped strategizing over what the hell to do with the pilot spec and supplying notes on the first spec screenplay aren't as high on her list of priorities as I'd obviously like them to be. On the other hand, I'd rather not end up with a manager who's in Brazil, so it behooves me to be patient.

"Behooves" is a funny word.

Been picking away at the second spec screenplay, as well as another spec pilot, the idea for which occurred to me last week, even though I was in the middle of reading screenwriter Kay Reindl's blog Seriocity. Anyone considering getting into television writing should definitely check the blog out, if only because the suicides its perpetually dire outlook on the industry will doubtlessly inspire will make my getting somewhere in the TV writing game a little easier.

The new pilot's going to be a tough sell. Even if I was an established writer, I don't think it'd be easy to get someone involved in Hollywood to sign off on. It's got too strong and too negative a point of view--I sort of want it to be a black comedy, but whatever comedy is there is coming from dialogue exchanges rather than wacky situations. It's not flowing nearly as easily as the first one did, either, but that's to be expected. There's a difference between writing something you've been thinking about for ten years and something you've been thinking about ten minutes. Still, it's nice to put my "mad artist" cap on again for a bit. There's a point of view the artist has--or at least the art student had, back in my day--that provides a certain kind of logic to the most extreme and bizarre behaviour. And extreme, bizarre, but still if you look at it juuust right still logical if taken on their own terms characters are just a lot of fun to write.

On the comic front, not a lot to say. Still waiting for Unusual Project One's publisher to pay up, and ruing the day I accepted work from them. No new assignments (paying ones, anyway) seem to be threatening to rear their ugly heads. Still hammering things out with Manager 2.

All of which means, I can do what I want for a little bit. And what I apparently want to do is THE HOLIDAY MEN. If all goes well, we should have an announcement re: the project coming out in a week or three, along with some promotional material. In the meantime, I've started writing Episode Two: North Pole Dance, and artist Nick Johnson seems pretty enthusiastic, both about the project and his ability to complete two pages of art a week. If we can both keep up the pace, this may actually replace THE TOKEN GOBLIN as my ideal ongoing comic project.

Back to work.


Wednesday, September 19, 2007


Online comics collective THE CHEMISTRY SET has added a couple of new and notable features to their already impressive lineup: THE SURREAL ADVENTURES OF EDGAR ALLAN POO (recently published in a wonderfully packaged album-size trade paperback by Image Comics partner Shadowline), by Dwight MacPherson and artist Thomas Boatwright, and Andrew Drilon's off-the-wall KARE-KARE COMICS. The first strip posted, just for today's debut, has a nice Jasper Fforde quality to it, conceptually.

My understanding is that these are the first of several additions that are going to be made to the site over the next few months. Teaser art for SCOOBY-DOO writer Vito Delsante's FCHS is already appearing in various places.

After a conversation at the Panel & Pixel messageboards re: the economic merit of releasing a miniseries prior to a trade of the same story, I'm seriously wondering if webcomic-to-trade isn't the way to go with non-capes material. No up-front printing costs, audience gets built up online over time, maybe start a few income streams with some merchandising...hmmm...


Tuesday, September 18, 2007


So all day I'd been looking at an e-mail of introduction an editor I've worked with for a few years had sent to an editor I'd like to work with on my behalf, trying to figure out how to follow up.

The problem was that Editor the First considers anything that doesn't involve putting a gun to someone's head and demanding they do what he says is a soft sell. His e-mail made it sound like I'm the Second Coming of William Shakespeare, or so it seemed to the Mr. Self-Deprecation, here. Now the new guy might actually think I'm good at what I do...that cant end well.

Finally I started work crafting a mail that would hit just the right note of humility, humour, and...something else starting with H that means "trying to convey to someone that I like what they're doing without blatantly kissing his ass."

I'll be the first to admit that I'm a little obsessive about e-mails, about any kind of online communication, really. I'm always worried about my words being interpreted in the way they're intended, and bend over backwards to try and ensure that my habitual use of irony isn't read as me being a sarcastic prick.

I mean, I am a sarcastic prick, but I don't like people I'm e-mailing for the first time to know that. Especially people who might give me work. And pay me for it, to boot.

I was about two thirds of the way through my first draft when Tiina bursts in the door. "Put on some pants!" she cried, and right then I knew something was up, because she almost never notices I'm not wearing pants. It's one of the reasons we function so well as a couple.

Tiina's Dad was (and, from the sounds of the phone conversation I'm hearing bits of downstairs as I type this, still is) at the hospital, with a nose that's been bleeding for the last several hours now. This is the second time this has happened in the past week. But it was the first time Tiina (and, by extension, me) could do something to help out.

Fall's coming early this year. All over the neighbourhood, tree leaves are turning all manners or yellow, orange, red and generally not-green. Tonight is the first night in several months that the temperature will dip below the freezing point. And there were boxes of fresh, garden-grown tomatoes--big, heavy boxes, by my Mother-in-Law's estimation--sitting in their backyard.

T thought she needed my help to move them inside to prevent them from freezing. I was so flustered by the pants thing that I went to save my 2/3rds of an e-mail...

...and instead hit send.

Which flustered me further. I rapidly wrote out the final third with a note mentioning that I'd sent the previous note accidentally, and sent it--without a third to sixth polish. I'm not really sure what's in there, and I'm not sure how it's all going to look to Editor the Second.

Well, at least now he knows that I'm not everything the first editor claimed I was. Like, for instance, competent...

No place to go but up, right?



Saturday, September 15, 2007


A bit of a dispiriting week. The guys running the show on Unusual Project 1 have declared they don’t plan to pay the creators until they’ve got the money from the people who’re supposed to give them money. Which the Money People are in no rush to do, now that the film UP1 is based on isn’t on as fast a track as it was several months ago, when there was a huge rush to get as much done before the middle of July as possible.

Trying to salvage some good will from creators who’re feeling a little burned by not having gotten the money they were expecting a month or two ago, the Showrunners have offered to let the writers have their stories back. Stories that were created on a work-for-hire basis, at least sometimes to the Showrunners’ design, based on a specific premise (albeit a fairly flexible one).

In other words, stories that, at least in my case, it’s highly unlikely I would’ve written at all, if someone hadn’t solicited pitches. On the whole, I’d much rather have the money I was led to believe I’d be receiving for writing the stories, than the stories I wrote specifically so I could make some money.

This sort of thing seems to happen an awful lot in this business.

On a semi-related note, it sounds like I and my collaborator will be getting rights back to another story I co-wrote. And unlike the stuff written for UP1, I actually wouldn’t mind getting this one back. Here’s hoping.

PARTING WAYS and DONE TO DEATH were both rejected by the Big Publisher. It was a nice rejection, all things considered. Neither of them are really in the memoir/lit niche the publisher is currently carving for its graphic novel program, but on the upside, I’m welcome to pitch stuff that is in that vein. Maybe there is hope for AS REAL AS MONSTERS after all…

Supposed to be hearing back from media manager on both the specs this coming week. This can’t happen soon enough for me. Hopefully at least one of them will “go out” in the next ten days, probably the pilot, if I’m reading things right. In the meantime, I continue working on the romcom screenplay--or I will be continuing work on it shortly. Over the last couple days I got a bit distracted by a reworking of an older idea I had to give up on that I thought might have some potential in a different form.

I’m not convinced I’m wrong about that, but after a few hours trying to break the first storyline, I’m ready to go back to stuff that’s already in progress. New ideas are always welcome, but this isn’t the time to be trying to develop them. I’m not in a good writing mood, which is the exact time to be working on scripts for stories whose beginning, middle and end I already know. What I end up with will probably suck, but once it’s there, I can begin fixing it. On the other hand, trying to come up with story beats when I’m feeling like this…well, it’s not the way to go. I am not feeling particularly receptive to inspiration; perspiration’s what’s called for now.


A fairly interesting thread on Maple Ink Comics this week started out as a discussion of various scripting/plotting methods for writers who aren’t also artists, moved into questions of theme and the purpose of stories, and then somehow morphed into talk of how to visually organize fight sequences. Who knows where it’ll end up next? (I’m planning to return to the “purpose of stories” thing with my next post, but I planned to do that with my last post, too, before getting caught up in the fighting talk.)

Meanwhile, Canadian Geek and Happy Harbor Comics Shepherd Jay Bardyla ponders the diminishing returns on his TALES FROM THE HARBOR anthology. Original post here, and some response here, in about the middle of the page and onto the next one.


Got a chance to see some of the work Nick Johnson’s done for his latest comic piece. THE HOLIDAY MEN is gonna look gooooood…


Tuesday, September 11, 2007

"It's like 'Johnny Mnemonic' with masks and swords!"

I probably shouldn't be as snarky about the idea of a sci-fi Zorro movie as I'm instantly inclined to be.

It's not necessarily automatically a bad idea, as much as I've got to think it's going to be a disaster. There's something to be said for using a character with recognizable cultural/mythic weight in a new environment--I don't think League of Extraordinary Gentlemen would be perceived as positively as it is if it were using analogues for Mina Harker, Alan Quatermain, et al, or even wholly original characters. Same thing goes for Dark Knight Returns and Batman Beyond. Of course, on the other hand you've got Rocket Robin Hood...

Is Zorro public domain?



In other news, it looks like I and my co-writer will be getting all rights to THREADS returned to us. THREADS is high up in the list of favourite scripts I've worked on, so getting it back--if we actually do, I believe nothing until the paperwork is signed--is definitely a Good Thing.


Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Well, La-dee-frickin'-da.

A pall of grey desperation hangs over the household. I'm stressed, but that's hardly a plot twist (I think I'm affecting T, though, which is worrisome...things get bad when we both bottom out emotionally at the same time...). I feel like I'm on the edge of...something. Whether it's some measure of progress or a bloody killing spree remains to be seen.

In spite of everything, I'm moving forward, albeit at a pace a sedated turtle would find laughable. New outline for the first volume of MAXXED OUT! (still dont like the extra "X" in Maxx, it reeks of a bunch of old people trying desperately to be hip and failing miserably...) done and off. Spec Film Screenplay II is underway. Want to feel the momentum I did on the first one, but no luck there (yet).

TANGENT: While putting the new spec together, a thought occurred to me, which was this: it's not possible to love someone unless you're satisfied loving no one. You've got to be comfortable with your life before you can seriously hope to bring someone else into it and have it work (and they've got to be satisfied with theirs, too). Then the love that develops is built on a solid foundation, and not desperation. Or something. It felt like I was onto something at the time.

MEANWHILE, BACK ON THE JOB: Working out ideas for a new project, losing artists (the VANQUISHED guy just decided to stop with the whole comic thing, even the project he originated, the guy I had lined up for ERSATZ needs for two other projects to get rejected before he can actually commit to mine), talking to lots of people about lots of things, most critically the New Manager, who's ready to go out with THE SPOOKY KIDS once we lock down the representation agreement.

Meanwhile, the Media Manager has actually given me what may be the first accurate estimate of when she'll get back to me on something; unfortunately, that means I'm in Limbo on that front until late next week...

No excuse not to be working, now. None at all. Lots of stuff is almost happening, but nothing's quite there, yet. But they will get there, sooner or later. THEY WILL.

"Credo quia absurdum."