Thursday, June 25, 2009

I should really do a blog update.

But I'm not gonna. This last couple of weeks have left me drained and fragile. I am a delicate, five hundred and seventy pound flower.


OK, maybe a quick note on a comic thing...

"Only one resurrection ever impressed anyone."

So said Happy Harbor's Jay Bardyla, in response to the revelation that the Major Announcement Marvel'd promised regarding the mysterious miniseries REBORN was that it would feature the return of Steve Rogers.

I'm sure the story will be good. Brubaker's the guy who "killed" Captain America, and he's the guy who's bringing him back, and I'm assuming he's not having his arm twisted too hard to do so Brubaker brought Bucky back and made it work; Captain America's been easily the most consistent quality read produced by either of the Big Two for ages now. The writer obviously has a strong vision for the story he wants to tell and the art teams, aided by some skillful (if subdued) colouring, have provided a pretty much seamless story on the visual end of things. It's reasonable to expect more of the same with Reborn, and that's not a bad thing at all in this case.

Personally, I think Marvel would be better served by preserving their first really successful legacy superhero story rather than restoring the 70-year old status quo, but that's me--I don't have an upcoming movie to promote. And I'm kind of scratching my head as to how they ever thought bringing back a character killed a couple years ago would make any kind of major media splash. But never mind that.

The biggest problem with the return of Steve Rogers, I mean, the one massive issue, the elephant in the room that I'm sure keeps Joe Quesada awake at night is that, when push comes to shove, I prefer the Fantastic Four to Captain America. There are all sorts of reasons for that--my not being American is certainly a factor--but I don't really feel like going into them. Suffice it to say that, after Doctor Strange, my next favourite Marvel property is the FF.

So I was actually quite happy a year or three ago when the new creative team of Mark Millar and Bryan Hitch was announced for the title. Not because I'm a huge fan of the creative team, but because I figured having the guys who did the first two Ultimates series was a surefire way to raise the profile of The World's Greatest Comic Magazine. I haven't really looked at the sales numbers, but I gather from skimming Paul O'Brien's comments at Publisher Weekly's The Beat that, for whatever reason, they haven't been as awesome as one might have expected/hoped.

Which will happen from time to time. It may be that the FF is a concept whose time is past, that the people who aren't reading it are disinclined to do so for pretty much the same reasons I like the concept. What struck me as odd, though, was this comment from Joe Quesada:

"You try to use (Bryan Hitch) for the biggest projects possible. We try to do that with our very best talents. So when Ed had the idea of "Reborn" and we knew it was going to be a big deal and wanted to get the most out of it, we wanted to use ... Hitch. So it was literally that simple. You want to bring your A-Team for your A-Story and have them bring their A-Game."

Which is well and good for Reborn, but when that statement is made in response to a question that at least in part was made regarding pulling Hitch off the end of Millar's Fantastic Four run...well, maybe it's just me, but couldn't that be read to imply that The Fantastic Four, the book that started the Marvel Age of Comics, either isn't considered a priority for the company, or that Millar and Hitch are delivering less than their best work on the project?

I dunno. Just struck me as weird comment coming from the Editor in Chief.


Wednesday, June 17, 2009

The Following is a true story...

...Only the names have been changed to protect the helpful. Which means Steven's name actually is Steven.

STEVEN, ROGERS WIRELESS ACCOUNTS RECEIVABLE SERVICE (sic) REPRESENTATIVE: Welcome to Rogers Wireless Accounts Receivable, my name is Steven. What can I do for you today?

ANDREW, NOT CHAY TANG, NO MATTER WHAT ROGERS WIRELESS SAYS: Hi, I'm calling about this bill I've been getting every month for, oh, I don't know, three or so years.

S: OK, could I get your Rogers Wireless phone number starting with area code, please?

A: No.

S: I'm sorry?

A: I don't have a Rogers Wireless phone number. That's why I'm calling.

S: You said you're getting a bill.

A: Yes. Well, I keep getting Chay Tang's bill sent to this address. I called about it last year and they told me it'd stop coming after about six months, but here we are, a year later, and I'm still getting them.

S: But you don't have an account.

A: No.

S: Well then I'd advise you return the mail to sender.

A: I've done that. And sent it back with "No one of that name here" written on the envelope, too. Doesn't work.

S: Well, as this isn't your account, that's all I can do for you.

A: You can't make a note to not waste a bunch of paper every month sending a bill to someone who doesn't have an account with you unless the person with the account--who isn't receiving their bill--tells you not to send the bill?

S: Correct.

A: That's kind of silly, isn't it?

S: That's the way it's done.

A: But the guy obviously doesn't know his bill's going to the wrong place, because he's not getting it. I am.

S: You should mark it return to sender.

A: Yeah, I've done that.

S: That's all I advise, all I can do unless you're the account holder.

A: I've been getting the account holder's bill for three years. Is that enough?

S: I'm afraid not.

A: OK, so let me get this absolutely straight: the person who lives at the place the bill is being sent, who isn't the person whose bill it is, is telling you the person whose bill it is isn't at this address, but you aren't going to do anything about it unless the person whose bill it is--who isn't here and, as far as I can tell, never has been, certainly not for the last ten years--tells you he's not here.

S: Correct.

A: Oh, I see. That's not stupid at all.

S: Canada Post mails the bills out. You should send it back to them.

A: I don't think Canada Post does send the bill out. I see Rogers' logo all over this envelope, and shining a high-power light through the envelope I got this phone number, which sort of implies that it's not Canada Post sending them out, it's you sending them out.

S: Canada Post is the only one who can change an address.

A: I don't think that's true.

S: It is true and accurate information.

A: Canada Post didn't generate this bill. They just delivered it.

S: That's right.

A: But you, Rogers, sent it out.

S: If you don't want to receive the mail, just write return to sender on the envelope.

A: I've done that and I keep receiving the mail.

S: Please don't yell, sir. I'm just trying to have a conversation here.

A: I wasn't yelling--

S: You raised your voice--

A: OK, now I'm talking in a very calm, cool manner. All right?

S: Thank you sir. Now, I've done all I can for you on this matter--

A: You haven't done anything--

S: That's all I can do.

A: Can I speak to your supervisor, please?

S: Do you wish to talk to him about this?

A: Yes I do.

S: I'm afraid I can't put you through to a supervisor for this.

A: You won't put me through to your supervisor?

S: Not because of this.

A: What's your name again?

S: Steven.

A: Last name?

S: I can't give that information out, sir. Security concerns.

A: Any other way to identify you? Your branch number, employee number?

S: I can't give you any more information.

A: Why start now? OK, Steven, I'd like to talk to your supervisor.

S: I can't put you through to my supervisor unless you give me a reason.

A: Someone asking to speak to your supervisor isn't a good enough reason to let them speak to your supervisor?

S: No.

A: So you aren't going to do anything and you're going to prevent me from talking to anyone else who may be able to do anything.

S: There's nothing I can do unless you're an account holder.

A: OK, you got me. I'm the account holder.

S: You've said you aren't the account holder.

A: Kidding! What, you can't take a joke! I'm Shee Tang--Chai Tang...However you pronounce it, that's who I am, that's me. Mr. Tang. Mrs.? Miss? Yeah, I'm them.

S: You aren't, sir.

A: What's my name?

S: Sir?

A: If I'm not Chay Tang, what's my name?

S: I don't know, sir.

A: I'm telling you I'm Chay Tang. How do you know I'm not Chay Tang? I've been getting his bills for three years, someone over there thinks he lives here.

S: You said you aren't the account holder, sir. I've done all I can do for you.

A: But if I call back and claim I'm the account holder to someone else, they'll help me?

S: You're welcome to call again and see if you can get a different answer from another service representative.

A: So your advice is to call one of your colleagues and commit fraud. You're telling me that's the only way Rogers Wireless is going to stop wasting paper every month sending me a bill that isn't mine.

S: I'm not advising you to do that.

A: You just did!

S: You have every right to call and see if you get a different answer from someone else. You can do that, but the answer will be the same. There's nothing we can do here for you. Is there anything else I can help you with today?

A: You can put me through to your supervisor.

S: I can't do that.

A: You've already said you could if you had a reason to. So you could, you, Steven, are actively choosing not to.

S: I'm going to end this conversation now, sir. Have a nice day and thank you for choosing Rogers Wireless.

A: I didn't choose Rogers Wireless, you--




JEFF, ROGERS WIRELESS ACCOUNTS RECEIVABLE SERVICE REPRESENTATIVE: Welcome to Rogers Wireless Accounts Receivable, my name is Jeff. What can I do for you today?

A: Hi, I've been getting someone else's bill sent to me for three years now and I've tried returning to sender and writing "Nobody of that name here" on the envelope and I even called a year ago and they said it'd stop eventually, but it hasn't and I'd like it to, please.

J: Did you open the envelope?

A: I did not. On this occasion, I did use a high-powered light to read its contents, though, because this is getting silly.

J: So you have an account number?

A: I do. It's (Chay Tang's account number).

J: And what's the address it's going to?

A: (Andrew and Tiina's address, mostly), and that's here, except the postal code is off.

J: (quiet snort) It's a miracle it got there at all...OK, I'm looking at the account. This is strange, it's been paid.

A: Well, for all I know it's getting paid automatically or every month or something and the guy checks his bill digitally or something. So maybe I'm getting a new, different bill every month. I don't know. But I do keep getting a bill for someone else.

J: What I'll do is put a "hold bill" on this and make a note saying you called and said it's the wrong address. That should stop the bill from showing up there and maybe we can get in contact with the client to get the right address.

A: With the account number you could probably phone them...

J: Yes, we should be able to do something. You should know that there's no liability on your part for any bill received in error, if that was a worry.

A: It wasn't. It's just--four or five pieces of paper and an envelope a month for years, you know? It's wasteful.

J: I understand. I'm a conservationist myself. OK, I've put the hold bill on it and written the note. Is there anything else I can do for you today?

A: One other thing. I'd like to make a complaint about a colleague of yours, Steven. I called you guys earlier, and he swore up and down that there was absolutely nothing he could do about this.

J: Well...technically, I'm not supposed to do anything if you aren't the account holder. But you gave the account number and the address, so I fudged things a little.

A: So if I complain about Steven and they notice you were actually helpful, you could get in trouble. I get it. OK, then. Well, Jeff, thank you for the effort, I really do appreciate it.

J: Have a good day, sir. Thanks for choosing Rogers Wireless.


A: Yeah, like that's EVER going to happen now...


Sunday, June 14, 2009

My new word.

In Art College I had a teacher, Derek Besant who, as a student in art college (or university--not sure where he was educated, actually...), had a teacher who took an idiosyncratic approach to yardwork. As I recall, when this other teacher's neighbours complained about the length of his lawn, he had all his students come over to his house one weekend, cover the yard with cement, and paint it green.

Even at the time I first heard this story, many years before I'd be fortunate enough to marry someone who came with a yard I'd come to call my own, this struck me as a good idea.

As the guy who's spent a stupid amount of time this last week and a half tearing dandelions with root systems that even your average redwood would have to grudgingly acknowledge as impressive, pouring concrete over the whole damn mess strikes me as not just a good idea, but something I'm actually kind of stunned isn't the norm, at least when it comes to people who've got better things to do with their lives than root around in the dirt (and if you aren't rooting around in the dirt for the purposes of feeding yourself, your family, or me and my family, you've got better things to be doing than digging around in the dirt. Like reading. Or eating. Or watching paint dry.)

Transforming my yard into something resembling the world's smallest detonated minefield one #*&%ing batch of dandelions at a time has become something of an obsession for me now. Originally, as part of the prep for this coming weekends Temple of Fondoom party, I'd wanted to get the back yard looking like someone had done something to groom it sometime in the last five years, which was a tricky proposition, as no one had. Well, Tiina might have. I was too busy reading, eating, and watching paint dry to notice.

Clearly, there's no way the lunar landscape out back is going to be anything remotely resembling presentable by the weekend--I've slowly come to realize that what I naively thought of as "the lawn" was actually thistle, while "the yellow stuff" turned out to be the grass. But still I continue, consumed by the desire to purge all dandelions from the backyard.

Which is, by almost any measure, not what I should be doing over the next week. Mowing, sure. Cleaning the house, definitely. Even plugging away at the spec screenplay revision (Emmy-Winning Hollywood Producer sent another round of notes in) and the script for NO MORE PARENTS, if I can't possibly avoid writing something more ambitious than a blog post. But what I should absolutely not be doing is ripping up great sections of the yard trying to eliminate the pestilent weed that the majority of my neighbours--while impressed with my nobly misguided efforts--seem to agree is something you've just got to live with.

So of course, that's all I really want to do at the moment. It's not a case of the grass being greener on the other side of the fence--the grass is also yellow out there. It's a deadly combination of addiction and procrastination. I call it procraddictination.

Actually, I don't call it that. I just came up with it as I typed the last sentence. But I might start calling it that now.


Thursday, June 11, 2009

Irony, thy name is Racist Moron

"The responsible white separatist community condemns this. It makes us look bad." John DeNugent, responsible racist, on the Holocaust Museum shooting.

I'm reasonably sure that quote contains everything necessary to build a really tasteless sitcom starring Jim Belushi.

I'm saying Jim Belushi is a racist, mind you. But something about the ten minutes of ALL ABOUT JIM I watched that one time I couldn't find the remote makes me think he could play one really well.

Has Dick Cheney been arrested yet?


Wednesday, June 10, 2009




OK, OK. Calm down, Foley. It's not the end of the world. It's just another HAAAAATE!

The Future of Comics (I) Fiona Staples' first Wildstorm work, a tie-in to the film TRICK 'R TREAT, is finally being released this October. That's a good thing. Yes. And then there's this...


Nope. Happy for Fiona and Dan, but still foaming at the mouth pissed at Canada Post.


Oh, I do NOT believe this...

First they misplaced my letter to Platinum triggering the reversion clause that will eventually get me control of CONVICTION and JEST CAUSE back. Now it appears that Canada Post has lost my last set of DONE TO DEATH. I wonder how many packages of mine got lost before I wised up and started making sure to get a tracking number? Not that having the number's doing much other than frustrating the hell out of'd think they'd be a little careful, knowing that people can actually observe their incompetence, but no. At least, not if the person doing the observing is me, apparently. I'd be better off using carrier pigeons. I might even be better off tying packages to whatever bird happens to be handy. At the moment, I'm having a hard time seeing them do the job worse...

I have to go seethe furiously now. Good night, world.


Monday, June 8, 2009

The Workblog post with the really uninspired title.

Time's just streaking by lately. Expanding my "real job" to three days a week at the Harbor has been good for the bank balance (not good enough for it to actually, uh, balance, but having x number of dollars coming in with some regularity is extremely comforting, esp. when the writing and editing work isn't coming in as fast as I'd like.) But it's killing an extra day a week of writing time, and blogging takes the hit because, with the occasional exception of my mum, nobody's bugging me for the next installment of Journey to the Centre of Andrew's Bellybutton (more's the pity.)

Up until Friday, this last month. The teen gross-out horror comedy is off to Emmy-Award Winning producer, the spec pilot's been revised per managers' instructions, and what will likely be the next spec screenplay (based on a very old story) is being broken.

Got a phone call from an independent Canadian producer a couple weeks back, asking after the rights to an old project of mine--one he was a little surprised to discover I'd actually written a spec screenplay for. He generally writes his own material, but after I'd made it clear I understood that film is a collaborative medium and I was open to input, he told me to send the spec over. So I did.

First thing the next morning, he phones me to tell me he really likes the script, but is passing, because it's a ten million dollar script as written and he didn't think he could raise more than six mil for financing (and even that would be pushing it in the current climate. Managers told me anything more than two mil's a fight in the indie world these days.) I asked him if he had any suggestions for ways I could alter the screenplay and make it a six million dollar film. He told me I shouldn't do that--the screenplay was good as written, it just isn't something he personally could get made at this time.

I took advantage of the situation to pump him for info about the industry, but at the end of the day, all he could really offer me for advice was to hang in there. In his estimation, with a solid spec and effective representation that's setting up meetings with real, honest-to-god producers who have a reasonable chance of getting something made, I'm ahead of 90-95% of the would-be screenwriting pack. He noted, accurately, that that might not feel like much of an accomplishment as I'm not making any more money off this thing that the 89% below me, but I'm on the right track.

So yay me, I guess...?

The last few days and the forthcoming few weeks are going to be all about comics. I have a phone meeting with the head of a major entertainment company's new comics initiative tomorrow morning, where I'll be presenting my "take" (that being the general direction I'd take a story based) on a property they're looking to develop.

I've offered takes before, but never over the phone. And to make matters worse, the material I received on Friday to base the take on was pretty much the document I'd generally offer as my take on a property being developed. Much more detailed than what I've usually had to work with in the past. And of course the managers were busy producing their new TV show to answer my questions in time for the answers to help shape what I had to come up with. So there's me, working without a net, creating something I've no clue is appropriate or not. Guess I'll find out tomorrow morning (or possibly tonight--apparently the managers are going to contact me prior to the meeting to prep me.)

Once that's out of the way, I plan to dig into the new project I'm doing with my HOLIDAY MEN collaborator and Future of Comics (III) Nick Johnson. I was going to sit on the details, but he dropped the following over at his Nick Soup blog:

"I put in my three weeks notice ... to prepare for a stay at the Creative Kids Museum (at the Telus Science Centre.) Here I will be the resident artist for a limited stay, manning a small exhibit called COMIC WORLD! More details to follow, but basically, it'll be a little place where I will display the history, process and magic of comics, along with my comic work.

"Even more exciting, is I will be working on the spot to complete a brand new all ages story called NO MORE PARENTS! Based on an idea I had last year, this exciting romp will be written by Andrew Freakin' Foley and drawn before your very eyes, at the centre, by myself."

I'm faintly hopeful he'll be able to squeeze out some THE HOLIDAY MEN in "For Whom The Sleighbell Tolls" pages too, when the Innocent aren't around to be Seduced (or at least their parents aren't around to complain about their minds being twisted in exciting new anti-authoritarian directions.)



I could describe the ins and outs of this Altered States meets Superbad mashup, but it's pretty much all there in the title, life's too short, and I should really be working on NO MORE PARENTS right now, anyway. The sad thing is, I'm pretty sure if I mentioned the title to the manager, she'd think writing it was a good idea.

Which it might well be, for someone.

But not for me (knock on wood.)


Tuesday, June 2, 2009


I can't help it: every once in awhile an idea for a story pops into my head that's just completely stupid. Not silly--I like silly ideas--but stupid, the kind of idea that makes me feel like I lost an IQ point just by conceiving it. An idea like...


Otto Mellon likes to pick up chicks dressed up as a giant pink squirrel. His attitude: if you've got a problem with that, well, tough.

Several Harry Potter fans actually do have a problem with that, at least when he's hanging around with his similarly attired buddies stinking up their favourite sci-fi con. As a prank, they jump Otto, tie him up, and dump him in the local chemically-polluted reservoir, their theory being that it won't make him smell worse.

The reservoir's ooze has a chemical reaction with Otto's sweat and his squirrel costumes synthetic fibres. When Otto crawls from the muck, he discovers he's bonded with his costume on a molecular level--he can't take it off.

From here, we could go two ways, superhero or horror. In the case of the former, Otto dons a cape and fights for "his people's" right to party. If we want to go horror, we modify the title slightly to THE FUR(R)Y, have Otto go insane and take horrible vengeance on the fantasy-lovers who tossed him in the gunk.

Either way, shortly after I finish writing the story, I cut my own fingers off as an act of penance.



The thing that was bugging me last week? Chris Handley, a long-time manga collector and by all accounts not a pedophile at all in Iowa, is facing up to fifteen years in prison for attempting to read wholly fictional material.

If that wasn't enough to get my blood boiling, Dick Cheney's out and about not getting arrested for coordinating the torture of real people while Obama's done an about-face and decided not to release photographic evidence of rape of prisoners in Abu Ghraib.

If real people being really raped qualifies obscene (and I kinda think it has to), it follows that the President of the United States is in possession of real obscene material.

But it's a comic collector who's likely going to prison, because drawings of things things that don't exist having intimate relations with each other, well, society's got to draw the line somewhere, right?