Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Rising Stars and Fallen Angels

I can't imagine anyone with the slightest interest in comic creators rights issues will first be hearing about TokyoPop's new scheme to acquire intellectual property at bargain basement prices in my blog, but Heidi McDonald's got a run-down of (overwhelmingly negative) online reaction, as well as her own run at nitpicking it. Along the way, she zeros in on the one line of the contract (which really needs to be read to be believed) that really pissed me off, which follows up an explanation of how the creator won't be credited for their work if it's decided that giving them credit is inconvenient with the comment "You're OK with this."

McDonald seems to have read that the same way I did initially, which is that T-Pop's telling creators not to care about their credit--"Hey man, you aren't gonna harsh our buzz if we decide not to credit you, right?" Giving the company the benefit of the doubt, it's likely they meant to clarify what that particular clause said--"This clause states that you're OK with this". Even so, it's exceptionally bad wording.

I've signed contracts comparable to this in the past, and gotten less from some of them than at least some of the creators T-Pop brings in with this one will. I rationalized signing those contracts the same way these new creators will: I needed to get something out there, and signing over my rights for a pittance at the start of what will hopefully be a long and fruitful career (half right, so far...) is the cost of doing business.

I've gotten more paycheques from comics work than a lot of people who'd like to get such cheques ever will. In retrospect, what I gave up to get some of them was too much. What T-Pop's asking--actually, not asking, but *telling* its Rising Stars creators to give up is too much.

But some creators will still give it up--happily, at least at first--no matter what I or anyone else says. I hope when the dust settles, they're still happy.

Comics is a wonderful medium, but in far too many ways, it's a shitty business.


Sunday, May 25, 2008

I Was Tempted To Call This Post "Ours Was Better", but I Took the High Road (Almost.)

So one of Tiina's closest friends, Tina, got married yesterday. And I was there.

Being an antisocial person (a claim that this post will go some way towards validating, I suspect), I haven't attended many of the Big Events in other peoples' lives. I think I've been to five weddings, including my own, and around that many funerals (though not the funeral of the person who died at the first wedding I went to) (it's funny coz it's true!).

So I'm not really sure what's standard for a wedding in reality (as opposed to on television). With that in mind, some observations:

-There are hundreds of thousands, if not millions of songs, that aren't "Guitars and Cadillacs", and all of them, EVERY SINGLE ONE, is better. There is no earthly reason for anyone to play that song once, much less THREE times in the course of an evening.

-While I now have a soft spot for Billy Idol, I also question the wisdom of playing "White Wedding" twice at a wedding afterparty (or whatever the meal and dance afterwards is called) where there are no shotguns in evidence.

-With all due respect to an individual's right to religious freedom, I have a number of personal saviours (hi Mum and Dad) and none of them have the initials "JC". And I deeply resent someone getting up in front of a crowd and telling me (and everyone else in the tent) otherwise. More deeply than I thought I would, actually. When I'm in a good mood, I have a policy of believing in everything (except werewolves, because that'd just be stupid) because the world's a more interesting place if there are extraterrestrials, ghosts, inner-earth colonies, fairies, vampires, ESP, and any other thing that anyone taking a purely empirical view of reality would think was silly in it. When I'm in a bad mood, I want to stand up at a wedding reception and tell the old guy at the microphone not to thank his god on my behalf, and propriety can be damned as much as I will be.

-Which isn't to say I was in a bad mood. At weddings, I often find myself assuming the role of the jester, trying to keep everything grounded by poking fun at the absurdity of making a big deal out of something that, by rights, should change nothing (but somehow changes everything.) This time around, I told the bride-to-be that if she wanted to abort the ceremony at any time, all she had to do was say the words "banana hammock" and I'd get her out of there.

-She didn't take me up on my offer. Oh well, she had her chance.

-In discussing my wedding with someone after the ceremony, it occurred to me that our bleeding wedding cake gag would've had much more impact if we'd had what appeared up till that point to be a completely traditional wedding. The ceremony wouldn't have been nearly as entertaining, but it'd almost have been worth it just for that one moment of stunned horror.

-"Guitars and Cadillacs". Worst song EVER.

-I was going to tell you the other things I promised to do for the bride, but it occurs to me that there's an outside chance her new in-laws might catch wind of this blog (as unlikely as that is). So I won't.

-The maid of honour wore a suit and the best man wore a dress. Which would've had more impact if the maid of honour was a woman and the best man were male. Even so, got to give props for breaking with tradition.

-Same goes for the catered hot dog dinner. And the female priest, which I'm led to believe isn't that odd these days, but is still a first in my experience. She was such a girl, too--she just went nuts over how good the rings looked, and she did it in the middle of the ceremony.

-That personal saviour thing REALLY bugged me. To the point that some personal examination may be required.

-Tiina knew it bugged me. She actually put her hand over my mouth while the guy was talking. Which I suspect drew more attention than me quietly seething to myself would have, but I guess she didn't know whether I was going to seethe quietly or loudly (it would've been quietly) (probably.)

All that stuff is of course secondary to the primary concern, which is that Tina has a happy and fulfilled life. She certainly seemed happy yesterday (I don't know if I've ever seen anyone cry because they were happy before. I always thought it was the kind of thing that only happened on TV, like the bride shouting out "banana hammock" and a burly guy bursting through the crowd and dragging her out of the ceremony.)

I hope it lasts. She deserves happiness. Everyone I like deserves happiness.



Too many people whose work I admire have been dying lately.

The Edmonton Public Library doesn't have even a single copy of ANOTHER FINE MYTH on the shelves. Which is just wrong.



"If I ever mention the possibility of blogging about the art and craft of lettering ever again, please do me a favour: catch a flight to Edmonton and put a bullet in my brain. I'll make a special dispensation in my will to ensure that your flight and legal expenses are reimbursed after I'm confirmed dead." - Me, talking to a colleague about a particularly difficult editing blog post I wrote last week. Strictly something for the Comic Process Junkies, but the post is here, if you're interested.


Monday, May 19, 2008

Old News, No News, Bad News

Align RightFor those who actually wanted to read the editing blogs but couldn't get through, this link SHOULD work:,com_myblog/blogger,Andrew+Foley/Itemid,110/
Then again, I thought the last link would work, so take that for what it's worth.



T snagges the Veronica Mars S3 DVD set from the library for a non-extendable week. This would've hurt my schedule bad enough on its own. Making it worse? I've discovered the bleak joy of Battlestar Galactica and am no hooked on it, too. I'm trying to convince myself I'm recharging my creative cells, but it isn't really working.

Haven't gone back to do the revision of the first movie spec, though. Instead started work on an animated pilot spec based on something John Keane and I are working on. Even soft-peddling the more disturbing bits for an animated audience, this'll never get past any adult in authority who has kids. Which is a shame, because I'm positive the kids would love it. It's an interesting exercise, anyway, and at least I'm writing SOMEthing.



One of the retailing side of the comics industry's brightest lights passed away today. Rory Root's store, Comic Relief in Berkeley, was so very well thought of by pretty much everyone whose opinion on the matter I ever heard. I know many looked at it as an almost ideal comic book shop; it certainly sounded that way to me. I talked to Rory a handful of times in San Diego and that's pretty much it. I had great respect for him, but I didn't know him. Even so, I feel a real sense of loss right now, as I suspect many in the industry do or will when they hear the news (word of his medical troubles followed by his passing spread through the online comics community like wildfire this afternoon/evening, which I think further points to the high regard in which he was held.)


Saturday, May 17, 2008

Catching Up


Tiina spent about thirty seconds playing the boxing game on her brother’s Wii before feeling the need to phone me and tell me she wants one. This will not end well.

I spend a stupid amount of time in front of the television and/or monitor. The last thing I need is another thing to distract me from working. Especially not one I can’t justify as being work-related.

I’ve got a blog. That should be enough for anyone, really.



Editing, mostly. And blogging about editing, though not on these blogs because I’m not sure if my contractually-obligated editing blogs are considered property of the company I’m working for (remember Zeros2Heroes?) or not. If you’re actually interested in seeing me blather on about my Favourite Editing Topic (which is “How I, as an Editor, Like To Do As Little As Possible”), the blogs are here. Be warned, a couple of them are pretty wordy, even for me. For the comic process junkies and no one else.



“…audacity is what has always been good about comics.” Steven Grant in his Permanent Damage column

“Nitpicky donkey biscuits.” The Future of Comics (II), John Keane.

On a semi-related note, I managed to talk John into making my life as an editor really easy for a second time (the first time I had the good fortune to work with him in an editing capacity can be found here--actually, I better OK that with John before I go giving the url out for that one...). The Future of Comics (I) Fiona Staples’ star is on the rise (and it's about damn time, I say). But as of yet, no comic bigwig has backed the Money Truck up to John’s place and made him an offer he can’t refuse. Get with it, people! If you don't move fast you're going to lose him to animation or videogames or something that isn't comics...



…to my friend and fellow ChemSetter Vito Delsante, who wrote this week’s issue of Superman (with an Alex Ross cover, no less.) I’ve gotta figure out a way to get on his coattails…



I doubt Steven Grant was thinking specifically about Dan Schaffer’s career-making gothpunk sex farce DOGWITCH when he was talking about audacity. But he certainly could’ve been. I’ve been waiting for this concluding collection of the (sadly ended) series for a couple years now, I think. And it’s almost here! The order code is


Order many copies and give them to people you love. Kinky people.



And, when I’ve not been editing, I’ve been working on my own stuff, albeit not at the pace I might prefer. I’ve got two chapters of the YA novel sample publishing editor wanted me to write for an editor who was, for some reason (I could speculate on the reasons, but then certain other editors would kill me, so I won’t), more interested in a prose version of what I think is a very comic book idea. It’s been years since I wrote anything longer than a couple hundred words in prose form, and it’s just as frustrating a process as I remember it being. But an editor’s expressed interest. What am I gonna do, just ignore that? No. Not yet I won’t…

Working on another comic concept for Nick Johnson, a fantasy-comedy currently titled THE NEXT BEST QUEST. It’s taking awhile to gel. I could probably have forced the thing into a workable form, but I don’t like to fight with what I’m writing if I can avoid it. And an interesting (to me) narrative device for the story has occurred to me that I don’t think would’ve occurred to me otherwise, so that’s good. In the meantime, Nick’s started work on THE HOLIDAY MEN in NORTH POLE DANCE, or FOR WHOM THE SLEIGH BELL TOLLS.

Got most of the first page of THE LITTLE BROTHER in from the artist. Need to get back to him on that, soon.

Revised spec pilot script #2 per Hollywood Manager’s notes.

Still need to do the major revision to spec movie script #1 per HollMan’s notes. That’s probably next up after I finish this.

Which I just did, I think.


Sunday, May 11, 2008

E-Mail to my Mum


So we have this fairly lengthy talk and I hang up and I'm thinking
there's SOMETHING I was supposed to say and then Tiina tells me that
we're going to her parents' on Sunday for lobster tails, and I say,
"Lobster tails? What's the occasion?" and she looks at me like I'm kind
of dumb and says, "Uh, it's Mother's Day...?" with that rising tone at
the end that indicates her question is actually an answer being given
to a person who's kind of stupid and I say, "Oh crap, I should've
wished Mum a happy mother's day while we were talking," and she says
"Yeah, you really should've" and then I say "Your Dad's cooking lobster
tails?" and she says, "Have you ever met my Dad?" and I say "So who's
cooking the lobster tails?" and she says "My mom," and I say "Your
Mum's having us over to her house so she can cook lobster tails for us
on MOther's Day?" and she says, "Yeah," and I say, "You're joking," and
she says, "Have you ever met my Mom?" and I say "Oh. Yeah."

So we're going over to the in-laws' place for lobster tails tomorrow
and all you get is this lousy e-mail, which might not even get to you
in time for you to read it before you take off to Kiev but I hope it
did and I've been drinking a lot of Coke Zero recently so sorry if this
mail's a little disjointed but have a happy mother's day or if it's
already past I hope you had a good one.




As we're walking back from T's parents' place after the Mother's Day Supper (which was delicious), T says, "Did you wish your sister a Happy Mother's Day?" and I say, "Oh, $&*%."



For those who are interested in hearing a different side of some of the tales I tell, Tiina's started her own blog, which can be found here:

Note on the May 9 post she made: I'm not going to say anything against coffee--one whiff of the stuff should give anyone everything they need to know about its unending horrors--but I do find it somewhat alarming that T wondered why her coffee was lumpy for three days before determining that it wasn't just an awful drink but that the creamer she'd been mixing in the awful drink wasn't as fluid in nature as one would hope. Not that it comes as a surprise that she couldn't tell the creamer was bad simply by the taste--it is coffee, after all, so it tastes pretty vile to begin with.


Thursday, May 8, 2008

I won't I won't I won't I won't

Not gonna fall asleep not gonna fall asleep not gonna fall asleep not gonna fall asleep not gonna fall asleep not gonna fall asleep not gonna fall asleep not gonna fzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

I've got blisters on the inside of my nose

Having a cold sucks.

Still, got to start catching up with the blogging sometime. So, some bullet points:

-the Vicious Ambitious launch party at Tubby Dog was a lot of fun. Tubby Dog makes insane hot dogs (including a peanut butter and jam hot dog and a wasabi-covered hot dog), but the really frightening thing they produce is their onion rings, which feature a thread of onion wrapped in a pillow-sized chunk of fried dough. I'm convinced I'm still breaking out because of those things.

-setting up a small but essentially functional comic shop at a remote location is a pain in the butt.

-Went to bed early the Friday before the Calgary Comic Expo. Note to self: going to bed early isn't an effective strategy if you're going to wake up at 5 in the morning. I wouldn't make that mistake again. The next night I didn't go to bed till 2 in the morning. And I still woke up at 5. This is one of the major reasons I don't like traveling.

-The Calgary show was good. For the first time I can recall, people brought stuff they'd bought earlier to a convention specifically to have me and Fiona sign it. That was very cool.

-The third or fourth last thing Darick Robertson did in Calgary the Saturday night/early Sunday morning of the show was draw me drawing him (a scan will be forthcoming). The fourth or third last thing Darick Robertson did in Calgary late Saturday night/early Sunday morning of the show was chug down two pints of guinness at frightening speed. He claimed this ability was not unrelated to his getting the job drawing Garth Ennis' THE BOYS. The second last thing Darick Robertson did that night was draw someone else who was also drawing him. The last thing he did that night was catch a plane out of town. Somewhat later that morning, I was told he'd left town early, skipping the Sunday part of the show. I didn't really believe it, at the time. However, as no word of his alcohol-poisoned corpse surfacing in Calgary has been forthcoming, I guess he really did just leave town.

-About three hours into the show on Sunday my hand gave out. I was doing sketches of myself (the only thing I can draw semi-consistently) in the Charity Art Book I didn't have any other art in, and suddenly I'm coming out looking less like a neanderthal and more like late-era Charlie Brown. My hand was trembling uncontrollably. I was pretty punchy after getting maybe eight hours of sleep over the previous three nights, so I found this hysterical, rather than terrifying.

-Fiona Staples is the Future of Comics. She's also pretty cool to hang around with for eight hours a day on the weekend.

-There was this guy named Tom who was the coordinator for the volunteers looking after the CCEE guests. My enjoyment of the show had a huge amount to do with him and his colleagues. Judging by the way they treated me, I might as well have been Mark Waid or Greg Rucka or one of the other creators who people who aren't personal friends had heard of who attended the show.

More later. All this typing has devastated my currently pathetically fragile constitution. Hopefully Tiina will return home soon with some of the Good Cold Medicine.


Sunday, May 4, 2008

An Observation

Maria Shriver looks like Jane Fonda's decomposing corpse.

Normal blogging will resume when I get rid of this #*&%ing cold.