Saturday, February 28, 2009

Quotes of the Week

Strangely, Watchmen is the book that taught me as a teenager not to get wrapped up in the success or failure of someone else's work. By far the most of any work in any form I've ever recommended to other people, Watchmen is the book that's come back to me with a "this was really, really stupid" or some curse-filled approximation thereof. As a 17-year-old with insecurities big enough to keep at least two local psychologists in steak and sports cars, this reaction initially took me back. However, I was also smart enough to know Watchmen had value according to how I decided things had value, and it only took a few seconds to realize that whether or not someone else appreciated something I did wasn't a vote on its overall worth, let alone mine.
--Tom Spurgeon, saying the wisest thing I read all week.


I’m delighted Kate Winslet finally got a Best Actress Oscar, because she deserves it for being so good for so long but also because now that means, pace Halle Berry and Charlize Theron, that she will now immediately make a God-awful action film in which she wears very tight black latex, and I’m all for that.
--John Scalzi, being both wise and funny.

O person like me,
phoneless in your distant café,
I wish we could meet to discuss this,
and perhaps you would help me
murder this woman on her cell phone,
--George Bilgere, in his poem "Bridal Shower," which I really shouldn't quote in full, but you really, really should go read. It's short and awesome (even if you don't like poetry).

..I was under the impression that Warner and DC sat down recently to have a big brainstorming session about how to make a decent DC movie universe, or a least a coherent motion picture release plan, given Marvel's recent box office badassery. If doing Suicide Squad was the end result of that meeting -- if they believe they should be making a Suicide Squad movie before a Wonder Woman movie -- then it is frankly amazing these people can put on their pants in the morning without accidentally strangling themselves.
--Topless Robot, on the news that Warner Bros. is planning a Suicide Squad movie.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Buck Rogers in the 20th and 21st Centuries

Buck Rogers: 1933



From a Kelloggs cereal giveaway (via Golden Age Comic Book Stories).

Buck Rogers: 2009



From the upcoming comic book from Dynamite. Newsarama has an interview with Dynamite's President Nick Barrucci and writer Scott Beatty about their plans for the series. Nothing too shocking in the interview. Mostly just that they're going to update the character while "sticking close to his iconic roots." I don't know that much about Buck (except for what I learned from Gil Gerard), so as long as it's all fun and jet-packy it'll be cool with me.

The Fearless Galaxy Raiders

"The Galaxy Raiders"



By Robert Gibson Jones.

H.M.A.S. Fearless



By Andrew Becraft.

Fixing Aquaman (and other ocean treats)

Bad day to be a pirate.



I don't know who it's by, but I found it at Never Sea Land.

Pirate Queen



By Oliver Vatine. Sent to me by Jess.

Your 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea Pic of the Week



By Alphonse de Neuville.

Crozonia



CBR's got some information about Jim Su's undersea adventure comic Crozonia. Based on the preview pages I don't have incredibly high expectations for this, but it could be fun. I like the character and ship designs.

Aquabusts





From DC Direct.

Fixing Aquaman I: Atlantean Elf

Caleb Mozzocco explains why it is James Kochalka's responsibility as a father to write and draw an Aquaman comic for DC. I concur. That would be one way to make Aquaman cool again. At least for as long as Kochalka was working on the character.

Fixing Aquaman II: Aqualad Mans Up

Ben Morse argues that letting Tempest (formerly Aqualad) inherit the Mantle of the Aqua could do the trick. But he doesn't even really convince himself. (Thanks to Kevin for that link.)

Fixing Aquaman III: Batman: The Brave and the Bold



Aquaman's personality in the DCU may be too established for this to work there, but Batman: The Brave and the Bold has certainly figured out how to make him cool again, proving that it's at least possible.

The bragging, swaggering Aquaman of the BBnB universe is so much fun. He's even winning over die-hard fans of the old DCU version like Rob at the Aquaman Shrine who initially tries to reconcile the two versions before admitting he may be reaching and declares, "All I know is, as this devout Aquaman fan watches this version of the character, it makes me smile." Me too, Rob. Absolutely me too.

The real proof that he's fixed though is when Topless Robot calls him a "fucking badass." High praise indeed.

Hope you're taking notes, DCU.

Adventureblog Gallery: Warrior Women

"Dynasty of the Devil"



By Arnold Kohn.

Damara



By Jason Copland.

Red Sonja



By Gene Gonzales.

Were-cat



By Pierre Alary. (Man, I've got to learn French before that Sinbad book comes out.)

Writing is Hard: Writing for the Fans

Writing for the fans is a subject I keep coming back to. I don't know why exactly. It's not like marketing where I need to keep repeating certain things until I learn them. I know exactly how I feel about this one and don't need to be reminded of it.

And it's not like I have a ton of fans griping about my pitifully sporadic output, so this isn't something I feel personally. I guess it's more of a pet topic, spawned by my irritation at fan entitlement in general as expressed across the Internet.

Anyway, two recent posts by different people illustrate pretty clearly the balance needed in thinking about this topic.

Science fiction author John Scalzi writes about pissy fans and sums up my usual take on the matter by saying:
Some fans do have a tendency to forget that the creative folks they love are not simply black boxes, who produce desired product at regular intervals. They’re actually real people who do other things than just what the fans want them to do, because humans from time to time want to do the things they want to do, not the things other people want them to do. Yes, some fans don’t like that, but you know what, screw the type of fan who thinks a writer (or musician, or actor, or whatever) exists only to provide them with the entertainment of their choosing.
He follow up that post with another one on Ten Things to Remember About Authors. Both are worth reading, especially if you tend to feel entitled about your entertainment, but even if you aren't it's affirming to hear someone else say what needs saying.

On the other hand...

Jessica at the BookEnds Literary Agency reminds new writers that you can't completely ignore fan expectations when writing.

The difficulty you all face when getting published is living up to the expectations of your readers. There is no publicity as good as the publicity you get when you write a great book, and then your next book is even better. Let’s face it, we’re all fickle readers. We have limited incomes and when an author disappoints it’s often difficult to get us to spend our money on the next book.

... Writing suspense? Your readers are going to expect the same level, if not a higher level, of suspense with your next book. What about fantasy? Your world building needs to be just as strong in your second book as it is in your first. The minute you become a published author you are writing for a lot more than yourself. You’re writing for your agent, your editor and, most important, your audience. Does that mean you need to write the books they think you should write? Not at all, but you do need to come as close as possible to matching the expectations you’ve now set for them.

I don't think that either of these posts contradicts the other (especially not when Jessica adds those last two sentences to hers). They're not opposite viewpoints; they're complementary.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Writing is Hard: Comics Marketing

I know. Another marketing post. But I'm going to keep linking to this stuff until I learn it.

Over at Robot 6 (yay!), Ken (Superhuman Resources) Marcus has a lot to say about marketing your independent comic. All of it useful. All of it funny. The funny makes even the advice I've heard before worth reading again. Like, "You’re getting great press when your comic comes out. AKA, you’re ‘effed."

But there's also a lot that I've never considered. Things like:

Get new faces into their stores.
Press releases are a waste of time.
Banners don’t work. I recommend them highly.

I'd say it's well worth reading, but really, it's well worth memorizing.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Robotic predators living on dried human flesh (and other fun)

Long-Haired Giant Monster Gehara



I love the look of this new giant monster. He reminds me of those guys from Dark Crystal only enormous and hepped up on goofballs. (Thanks to Robert Hood for the link.)

I'm in the process of watching Gojira right now with my son.

I've seen the US version with Perry Mason, but this is my first time watching the original Japanese one. We haven't got to this scene yet.



Again, thanks to Robert Hood.

Mecha-Kong



Gimme!

Flesh-Eating Robots are REAL!

More evidence that scientists need to get out and see some movies before they kill us all.

The Femme Noir Collection



Chris Mills announces that the collection of the first Femme Noir mini-series will be coming out in May and reminds us that because of the new Diamond policy about minimum orders, it's more important than ever to pre-order if you plan to buy the book at a comic shop.

Writing is Hard: Convention Etiquette

Here's that last (for now) Joe Konrath link. This one's about how to act like a professional at conventions.

He's talking about book conventions, but it all easily translates into comics conventions too. "Etiquette" probably isn't the best term for the advice Konrath is offering actually. He does have some common sense suggestions like "don't get sloppy drunk" and "don't talk too much," but the real gems of the piece for me are his tips on the effective use of conventions to build your business.

Here are the ones I needed to hear. There's much more though, so take a look and see if there's not something that speaks to you.

Remember to set goals.

This is something I've been better at my last couple of shows, but I need to keep at it. Even if the goal is just to pass out 1000 free stickers or postcards promoting my work, I need to have something concrete that I can reasonably expect to accomplish.

DO pass out business cards.

How I've managed to do as many conventions as I have without business cards is shameful. Seriously. I've got to get some ordered this week so I have that out of the way for MicroCon.

DO buy books.

This is counter-intuitive to me, but I see what Konrath is saying. I used to spend way too much money at conventions and I've been doing a better job lately at keeping that under control. I think that's still important, but Konrath sees shopping as a networking opportunity. I've never thought much about networking with retailers at conventions, but it makes good sense. After all, they're the primary customer of any publishing endeavor.

I think that buying art is also not a bad way to introduce yourself to an artist whose work you enjoy and whom you might like to work with someday. Of course, if you don't have a business card to offer the artist, what good does that do you?

DO hang out at the bar.
DON'T hang out with the same crowd over and over and over.
DO introduce yourself to strangers.

These three are related.

I love my con buddies. They make the experience for me and I can't imagine going to a show without them. But as Konrath says, "Yes, hang out with them, but don't limit yourself to only them." I need to do a much better job at breaking out of my comfort zone and meeting new people at shows.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Two-Gun Canary



By Anthony Carpenter.

Writing is Hard: Don't Spend Money

Here's the second of at least three posts from Joe Konrath I'll be sharing. Though ostensibly it's a warning against the temptation to try to buy your way into a writing career (whether through writing classes or book doctors or whatever), it's chock full of other great advice as well. I'll be printing the whole post off and keeping it at my desk.

Sample quote:
When you're learning how to walk, you don't take classes. You don't read how-to books. You don't pay experts to help you, or do it for you.

You just keep falling until you learn on your own.

Monday, February 23, 2009

I am a pretty, pretty Amazon Princess



So, I mentioned last week that I was thinking about spinning off all this Wonder Woman stuff into its own blog. I probably never would've done it though because frankly I'm terrified of adding something else to my plate right now. Even though I'm finding a ton of Wonder Woman stuff to talk about lately, the thought of committing to posting about her every day as a solo effort is scary.

Fortunately, Darius over at Adventures in Nerdliness was in a similar predicament and had the brilliant idea of starting a Wonder Woman-centric group blog. And so he has. And he's kindly invited me to participate. And so I will.

So, if you like all the Wonder Woman news, opinions, art, and costumes I've been sharing here, please add Amazon Princess to your RSS feed so you can get even more of that kind of thing. If you don't like it... well, now you don't have to skip over it anymore! (You're still stuck with Black Canary, Zatanna, and She-Hulk though. At least until someone else volunteers to start more group blogs.)

Thanks for the genius idea, Darius, and for letting me participate.

Sky Pirates



Golden Age Comic Book Stories has the whole, beautiful story. (It's the second one in the post.)

Return of the Middleman



If you're like me and miss The Middleman, you're probably wondering what the deal with it is. Has it been cancelled or not?

Well, according to creator Javier Grillo-Marxuach, "Whatever future The Middleman has will depend entirely on sales of the DVD boxed set ... If the DVD sells well, maybe there will be an opening to bring the characters back in some form or another ... history has shown that this is a possibility."

In the meantime, Grillo-Marxuach is revisiting the characters one more time, but in comic book form. Which is cool since it started out as a comic in the first place. But what's extra cool for those of us who aren't familiar with the original comic (and, really, shame on us for that) is that the new graphic novel The Middleman: The Doomsday Armageddon Apocalypse will feature the TV versions of the characters. So instead of these unfamiliar faces...



...we'll get this one.



I miss you Wendy Watson!

My band's first album

Speaking of Facebook, here's another fun meme that Jason Copland tagged me on. You're creating the first album cover for your imaginary band.

The Rules:

1 - The first Random Wikipedia Article you get is the name of your band.

2 - Go to Random Quotations. The last four or five words of the very last quote of the page is the title of your first album.

3 - Explore the Last Seven Days on Flickr. Third picture, no matter what it is, will be your album cover.

4 - Use photoshop or similar to put it all together.

Here's mine. Tolerate the Bitching Of by Sintak.

Writing is Hard: Using Facebook and MySpace

I recently discovered writer JA Konrath's blog A Newbie's Guide to Publishing and it's a fantastic source of information and advice for writers.

Take this post on how to make the most of your social networking accounts. The gist is:
First, it enlarges your Internet footprint. The more places you are, the more people are likely to find you.

Second, it makes it easier for people to stay connected to you. The more you remain in the forefront of people's minds, the better off your brand is.
But he has a lot more wisdom to dispense than just that. Not only in that post, but in the entire blog. I'll be linking to him some more in the next couple of days so that I can find certain posts again later.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Music Meme: 1981

Continuing my list of favorite albums from every year I've been alive.

1981

The Oak Ridge Boys: Fancy Free



I know. I know. Last week I was talking about my triumphant discovery of New Wave and then this week's pick goes right back to the country roots I inherited from my dad. I really wanted to pick one of the albums I listed as Runners Up below, but the truth is that I wore this record out. That was mostly due to "Elvira," but I liked the whole thing and it led to my digging a little deeper in the well (so to speak) of the Oak Ridge Boys' back catalog. I think I ended up seeing them three times in concert and even worked backstage at one of their shows when they played at my college.



Runners up:
The Go-Gos: Beauty and the Beat
Men at Work: Business as Usual
The J. Geils Band: Freeze Frame

And as long as I'm visiting the year, here are some singles I loved:
The Human League: "Don't You Want Me"
Soft Cell: "Tainted Love"
Stars on 45: "Stars on 45"
Blondie: "Tide is High"
Sheena Easton: "Morning Train (9 to 5)"

It's nice to see that I hadn't totally regressed.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Fishnet Friday: Yranac Kcalb Diputs

Zatanna

I'm so disappointed with Green Arrow/Black Canary that Zatanna gets top billing this week. So there.

Or maybe it's because groovy art is much cooler than pictures of action figures.

Probably both.



By Ryan Kelly.



By Cliff Chiang.

Varied Canary



I don't know why, but I just like this picture of three different Canary toys.

Dinosaur Destroyer

I don't think any jungle is complete with some man-eating dinosaurs, do you?



By J. Allen St John.

Jungle Queens

Oliver Vatine



Jess Hickman sent me this one. Did I tell you that we're working on a new project together to follow up The Cownt? I don't wanna say too much, but though it won't be a jungle girl series per se, there will be jungle girls in it. I so much want to see these characters in print.

Anyway, Oliver Vatine. He's frickin awesome and you can see more of his stuff here and here. Thanks, Jess!

Sheena







I found all of these in Life Magazine's archive.

The Complete Crusoe



I just watched the final episode of Crusoe the other night. I'm going to miss that show. It had jungles, pirates, man-traps, a forbidden temple, swordfights, a Swiss Family Robinson-style treehouse, mystery, intrigue, romance, mutiny, betrayal, manly men, womenly women, Sam Neill, and Sean Bean (not that those last two aren't also manly men). Unfortunately, none of that was enough to get the viewers, so it's done now.

Still... a mighty fine thirteen episodes. And though there's certainly more story that could be told with these characters, they managed to wrap everything up in a satisfying way. I guess that's why I'm not more upset about its cancellation. I would love to see it continue, but I'm also thrilled with what I got to enjoy. And since the DVD collection is coming out in May, I'll get to enjoy it all over again.

So long, Rob. You were more fun than TV deserves to be.

Meet Wonder Woman

Wonder Woman Sweepstakes



Win your likeness drawn into an issue of Wonder Woman. I remember seeing these kinds of promotions as a kid. Pretty cool that they're still doing them.

Convention sketch



By Cliff Chiang.

Conventionwear



Photo by ÐIÐËO.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

She-Hulk: For Your Thighs Only

Illustration by Andy Kuhn.

Peter David on She-Hulk's cancellation

I keep forgetting to pick up the last issue of Comic Buyer's Guide. Apparently, Peter David does a lengthy postmortem on She-Hulk in it, though readers disagree about what his point was. I'd like to read it and decide for myself.

She-Hulk bishoujo statue?

You know those awesome bishoujo-style statues they're coming out with for Marvel characters? Wizard's running a poll to see not only which character should be next, but which outfit she should be wearing. She-Hulk's in the running, but she (along with everyone else) is currently being whooped by Jean Grey in the green Phoenix outfit.

Wizard implies that the statues' manufacturers are actually going to use the results in their decision-making.

The Fantastic She-Hulk



Since she's losing on that list, it's nice that She-Hulk did so well in Topless Robot's Six Best Fantastic Four Members Who Weren't Really the Fantastic Four. (They also list the six worst.)

Mantle of the She-Hulk



I'm kind of embarrassed to be saying this after that huge butt-shot there (though I'm guessing that most of it will be covered up by logo on the actual comic), but I'll for sure be buying All-New Savage She-Hulk. I was already leaning that way because Fred Van Lente's writing it and he's awesome, but knowing that the real She-Hulk is also involved removes all doubt.

Although... I'm a bit worried that she appears this early in the series. I'm guessing that she doesn't beat up the new girl and star in the rest of the story herself.

The solicitation for it goes:
ALL-NEW SAVAGE SHE-HULK #2 (of 4)

Written by FRED VAN LENTE
Penciled by PETER VALE
Cover by J. SCOTT CAMPBELL

As the all-new, all-different She-Hulk continues her relentless rampage through New York, the mysterious target of the desperate mission that brought her to our time period is revealed -- and it's a doozy! Only one thing stands between the daughter of Hulk and Thundra and the object of her quest -- her name is JENNIFER WALTERS, and she won't let the She-Hulk mantle be taken away from her without a catfight that measures 10 on the Richter scale! And no matter what the outcome, the DARK AVENGERS wait in the wings to take on the winner! Plus, 8 pages of Director's Cut-style extras!

40 PGS./Rated T+ ...$3.99
Geez. The use of the word "catfight" is even more embarrassing than the butt. Way to keep it classy, Marvel.

Wonder Woman vs. She-Hulk

I got too busy last week to do a Wonder Woman post and now I've got way more material than will fit comfortably into a single entry. So, I'm gonna spread this out over a few days.

I keep thinking that I should probably start a whole different blog with nothing but Wonder Woman stuff.

Wonder Woman vs. She-Hulk



By George Perez.

Wonder Woman Books and DVD

Former Wonder Woman-editor Paul Kupperberg reviews some Wonder Woman novels (and an anthology) for Bookgasm. I didn't realize there were so many.

One of the novels Kupperberg talks about is a novelization of the new, direct-to-DVD, animated Wonder Woman movie. Apparently, it's pretty good. The reviews I've read have all been positive and most echo CBR's opinion that it's the strongest of DC's animated features yet. Which is pretty cool since I really liked The New Frontier.

I won't be able to see it until it comes out next month, but animator Bruce Timm talked about it at New York Comic-Con and it does sound very promising. According to Geeks of Doom, Timm said, "We kind of look back at the entire history of the character and sort of cherry pick the things we like about each version... then smush them all together to see if they work. So there’s stuff in there from the Linda Carter series, there’s stuff in there from the Greg Rucka run, stuff from the Perez Run, and even stuff from the very first Golden Age stories."

Geeks of Doom also reports Timm as saying that there was originally some bondage elements in there as homage to the Golden Age, but DC asked them to take that out. If I'm reading the report right, Timm didn't have a problem with its being in there, but he also didn't care enough about its staying to make an issue of it. Sounds like the right call to me too.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Oooh, Batman. Burrrrrn!



Rocket burns Batman so bad in Justice League of America #30 (by Dwayne McDuffie and José Luis). I'd forgotten how much I missed her.

Valkyrie Eleison



Speaking of Gene Gonzales, here's his version of Marvel's Valkyrie in her non-metal bra costume.

Viva la Space Pulp

I was invited to submit a story to a time-themed anthology and it's given me the opportunity to dust off an old space pulp character I created years ago. It's also got me excited about that genre, so you'll probably see more posts about that kind of thing for a while.

Blackstar



Over on the Perils of Planet X production blog, Chris Mills reminds me about Blackstar, a Saturday morning cartoon I enjoyed as a kid. It came out just as I was getting too old to ignore it's goofier aspects like the trobbits and the laser-blasting sword, but I still liked the heroic John Blackstar and his dragon-mount Warlock. It was no Thundarr the Barbarian, mind you, but it was entertaining.

Space Girl



By Gene Gonzales. (Who - though this isn't from it - also happens to be illustrating Perils on Planet X. See how that all works out?)

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