Archive for April, 2010

Video vixen

Newsarama’s Pete Lepage caught up with me at the Top Cow booth at C2E2 in Chicago to talk about Magdalena, Artifacts and all the rest of my Cow projects. I seem to be a little bleary-eyed, due to a late night out in Chicago, and a lack of sufficient Starbucks in the morning. But, who knows, maybe I was coherent anyway.



Free Comic Book Day in Boston

And the whirlwind tour continues. I’ll be in Boston for Free Comic Book Day this Saturday, May 1, signing at two New England Comics locations. I’ll be at the Brockton store from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., and at the Harvard Square store from 4 to 7 p.m. More info can be had here.

I’ll be happy to sign anything you bring, but obviously the big item is going to be Artifacts #0, Top Cow’s FCBD offering for 2010. I wrote the story, and my Witchblade and Angelus collaborator Stjepan Sejic provided the art, with some sweet design work by Phil Smith. The story, which focuses on green-haired cyborg assassin Aphrodite IV, serves as a lead-in to this summer’s Artifacts 13-issue maxi-series. If you’re not all that familiar with the mechanics of the Top Cow Universe, this serves as a primer, setting up the important concepts and characters. If you’re already a regular reader, the issue moves the story further along, and drops some hints of what’s to come. A four-page preview can be found here.

We went for a stark cover, hoping it would stand out among the plethora of FCBD titles being offered. Guess I’ll be signing copies with a silver Sharpie, rather than a black one, huh? Hope some of you can make it out to the signings.



Magdalena graces Albany

Had a great time at Sunday’s Albany Comic Con. Caught up with old friends, made some new friends, and signed books from Silver Surfer to Green Lantern right up to Magdalena #1. The GL-centric panel with my buddy Joe Staton was a lot of fun, as we compared notes about our respective runs, and “our” respective Green Lanterns. David Pepose of Newsarama was in attendance, so there should be a report on the panel online sometime this week. David Pepose of Newsarama, who was in attendance, has posted a report on the panel.

The end of the GL panel was interrupted by the local chapter of the 501st Legion, who strode into the room to bestow Honorary Membership upon me. More on that in a post later this week, but suffice to say I was very flattered and pleased. It’s not every day you get a laser-etched plaque handed to you by a Stormtrooper in full armor.

I also got to meet the real Kyle Rayner at the show. He’s 4 years old. His mom and dad brought him by, and I have to admit, I was pretty stunned that someone thought enough of our everyman GL to actually give their child his name (“Kyle Rayner” is his first name and middle name). How cool is that?

The other highlight of the show was a cosplayer named Jen Wicks who wore a kick-ass Magdalena outfit all day. She posed for photos, including this one with me, as well as a group shot of me, Terry Austin and Matthew Dow Smith (who of course provided the art for the con exclusive cover of Magdalena #1). Yes, I know I need a haircut.

One of the nicest things about the Albany Con is the burgeoning local and semi-local comics community that’s developing around it. I’ve known guys like Terry Austin, Matt Smith, Todd Dezago, Joe Staton, Fred Hembeck and Lee Moder (who made it to the conn all the way from Pittsburgh) for years. But it’s been great to meet or reconnect with other creators like Dave Rodriguez, Nick Tapalansky, Saurav Mohapatra, Paul Harding, Declan Shalvey and the Timony Brothers, as well as critics/journalists including CBR’s Tim Callahan and Newsarama’s David Pepose. Virtually all the guests who attend the show end up wanting to come back, so I expect many of them will return for the fall show, which is scheduled for Sunday, October 24. Hopefully the guest list will include a few surprises. As always, you can watch the Albany Con MySpace and Twitter feed for updates.



Saurav Mohapatra also posted some photos he took during the conn on his blog.

Convention in the capital city

I picked up my buddy Lee Moder at the airport this morning. He comes into town for Sunday’s Albany Comic Con, plus a visit to the Norman Rockwell Museum on Saturday. The Albany Con is a relatively new venture in my neck of the woods; this will be the fifth edition of the con, which is held twice a year. The con happens from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. this Sunday, at the Holiday Inn on Wolf Road in Colonie. The show site, with more information, is here

Admission is only $3, which I think is a crazy bargain for a show with a pretty hefty guest list, including me, Lee, legendary inker Terry Austin, writer/artist Matthew Dow Smith, writer Todd Dezago, and artists Joe Staton and Fred Hembeck, among many others. Con promoter John Belskis puts on the show for the right reason – to generate interest in comics locally. Attendance is trending in the right direction, and as word spreads, the show seems to attract people from greater distances each time. It’s very much a grassroots effort, and I’m happy to be involved.

A Halloween-themed Witchblade #131 variant cover by Matt Smith was offered at last year’s con in October. This time, Matt collaborated with Terry Austin and India-based artist Saumin Patel for a Magdalena #1 variant cover (the process of which was chronicled in this blog). Obviously Matt, Terry and I will be on hand to sign copies. I’m told there will also be a cosplayer decked out as Magdalena, posing for photos.

Lee Moder and I have collaborated on a few projects, including a Green Lantern Secret Files issue, Red Sonja #30, and the creator-owned, all-ages Dragon Prince mini. We’ve also begun work on another creator-owned project, Shinku, which is a mature-audiences project presented in a black, white and red format. Lee and I will have copies of the limited-edition Shinku preview book, containing finished story pages plus sketchbook pages, for only $1.

I’ll also be joining Joe Staton for a panel on the past and present of Green Lantern, moderated by Keith Dallas (author of “The Flash Companion”). I told Keith no questions were off limits, so we’ll see what secrets he drags out of us. The panel is scheduled to begin at 11 a.m. Sunday in the Hudson Room.

This isn’t even the complete guest list for the show, but it’s a good sampling:

Terry Austin
Matthew Dow Smith
Lee Moder
Todd Dezago
Joe Staton
Fred Hembeck
Dave Rodriguez
Nick Tapalanski
Joe St. Pierre
Saurav Mohapatra
Peter & Bobby Timony
Declan Shalvey
Bill Anderson
Keith Dallas
Paul Harding
Mark McKenna
John Hebert
Mike Borkowski
Paul Abrams
Ron Marz

There’s also a Magic tournament, and an appearance by Garrison Excelsior of the 501st Legion, for all your Stormtrooper needs. I mean, seriously, all that for $3? It’s almost a crime not to go. And since somebody asked on Twitter: I don’t charge for autographs, and there’s no limit on items. I’ll sign whatever you’ve got. Hope you can stop by.



Holy day

Magdalena #1 hits stores this week. I think it’s a pretty sweet book, but I’m probably a little biased. So maybe I’ll just leave it at saying Magdalena #1 is a book that I’m proud of, and I hope you pick up a copy. Putting a new title on the stands is always a risk, even more so if it’s not a Big Two title. I’d like to write Magdalena for years, but the only way that happens is if we sell enough copies to justify its existence.

I’ve previously linked to Magdalena preview pages and interviews. With the book debuting today, a few more have gone up.

Here’s a video interview that Sara Lima of Comic Vine conducted with me and artist Nelson Blake 2nd at C2E2.

And a podcast interview with Josh Flanagan of iFanboy:

Early reviews have also started to appear online, and I know a few more are due soon. The first batch:

  1. Multiversity Comics:
  2. Comic Addiction:
  3. Broken Frontier:
  4. Cosmic Book News:
  5. Graphic Policy:
  6. Newsarama:
  7. Weekly Crisis:
  8. Geeks of Doom:
  9. Omnicomic:
  10. Comic Vine :
  11. Pendragon’s Post:
  12. The Weekly Crisis:
  13. Quarter Bin:
  14. Crave Online :
  15. Geek Week :
  16. Comic Attack:
  17. Gaming Angels:
  18. NEW Newsarama again:

I found the Multiversity reviewer’s comparison of Magdalena to Buffy the Vampire Slayer interesting. I expect there are similarities, but as I said on Twitter, I’ve never actually seen an episode of Buffy in my life. I can definitely say there won’t be any romances with vampires in Magdalena. In fact, no vampires at all … at least until issue #7.



The Drone Wars

Back from the C2E2 convention in Chicago. Good show in a good city, even if the attendance was less than anyone predicted or hoped for. Signed lots of books, saw lots of friends, got to do a panel with Bears linebacker and big-time comics fan Lance Briggs, debuted Magdalena #1 to a very positive response. All in all, had a great time.

I usually come away from cons with renewed excitement for the work. Writing in particular is a solitary pursuit, and feedback from the audience is pretty minimal save for the online community (which only represents a sliver of the readership). So getting to interact with readers in person is great. This time I was particularly struck by the contact between the comic show of C2E2 and the other convention that took up space in the McCormick Place facility: the Kitchen and Bath Industry Show & Conference.

The “bath show” was certainly a larger affair in terms of floor space, with lots of big, splashy displays (at least the ones I could see as I walked past). The attendees were a pretty uniform bunch – almost all white, everyone in a suit and tie or at least blazers and slacks, same haircuts. In other words, pretty dull. To be fair, I wouldn’t be enthused to have to look at bathroom and kitchen fixtures for three days either. But none of them seemed happy, nobody seemed excited. They just seemed … like drones.


The kitchen and bath show was held in two huge halls to either side of a wide interior walkway. The drones milled and chatted and stood in line at Starbucks, talking about slate countertops and porcelain sinks. All of which is fine, if that’s your thing. It only became troublesome when someone decided the folks headed for the comic con shouldn’t mix with the “bath bunch.”

In order to reach the C2E2 hall, you had to proceed down that wide walkway between the two halls hosting the kitchen and bath show. On Friday, that was fine. But on Saturday and Sunday, security was stopping anyone with a C2E2 badge from accessing the more convenient walkway. Instead, everyone was funneled to lower levels before emerging again closer to the comic hall. Not a big deal, I suppose, but in talking … uh, arguing … with security guards about it, I got the definite sense that the kitchen and bath people found the comic people somehow distasteful. I heard a few tales of encounters between the button-down bathers and folks in Stormtrooper uniforms or superhero costumes. So the comic people got shunted off to the side, so they wouldn’t sully the corporate-centric kitchen and bathroom displays.

But here’s the point. All the comic folks seemed excited, or at least pleased to be there. There was some joy. The kitchen and bath people … not so much. The comics community is not huge, comparatively. But everyone, from pros to fans to retailers, has a genuine affection for the medium, for what we do. And that’s something to be proud of.



That’s the Chicago way

Yes, that’s a reference to Sean Connery in “The Untouchables.”

I’m headed to the new C2E2 convention in Chicago this weekend, put on by Reed Exhibitions, the same folks who put on the New York Comic Con. C2E2 is being held at McCormick Place on South Lake Shore Drive. I’m looking forward to actually being in Chicago. Wizard’s Chicago convention was/is held in Rosemont, outside the city. Though there are now more hotel and restaurant choices in Rosemont, for a long time attending that show was like being marooned on Comic Island. Pretty much the only other people you encountered were there for the con. Well, except for the year that one of the hotels was also playing host to a Beatles convention, which meant a lot of people sitting in the halls at 3 a.m. playing “Blackbird” on acoustic guitars. Badly.

I only made it into Chicago from Rosemont once, when artist and Chicago resident Gary Gianni picked me up and gave me a tour of the city. We ended up eating at a Thai restaurant not far from Wrigley Field. Great night.

Top Cow will be debuting Magdalena #1 at C2E2. The issue won’t be in comic stores until next week, but we’ll have copies for sale at the show, with a C2E2-exclusive variant cover (shown below). The series artist, my buddy Nelson Blake 2nd, will be at the show as well, and we’ll be signing all three days. I’m pretty damn pleased with how the issue turned out.

I’m also looking forward to meeting Chicago Bears linebacker Lance Briggs, a big-time comics fan, and a Top Cow fan in particular. I’ll be joining Lance for his panel Saturday afternoon, and then he’s going to sit in for the Top Cow panel Saturday evening. Note that Saturday’s programming continues even after the convention floor closes.

My complete C2E2 schedule looks like this:


4:30-5:30 p.m., signing at Top Cow booth with Nelson Blake 2nd.


11:30-1:00 p.m., signing at Top Cow booth with Nelson Blake 2nd and Troy Peteri.

3-4 p.m., panel with Chicago Bears linebacker Lance Briggs, Phil Hester, Mark Waid, Nelson Blake 2nd and Matt Banning.

7:15-8:15 p.m., Top Cow panel with Filip Sablik, Phil Hester, Nelson Blake 2nd and an appearance by Lance Briggs.


11:30-12:30 p.m., signing at Top Cow booth with Nelson Blake 2nd.

If you’re at the show, please come by and say hi. More info on C2E2 here:



Two new previews

Preview pages for Angelus #3 and Magdalena #1 were just released.

Issues #1 and #2 of Angelus sold out at the distributor level, so hopefully that’s a good omen for issue #3, which includes appearances by Jackie Estacado, a.k.a. the Darkness, and Tom Judge, who seems to have something of a cult following in the Top Cow Universe. It’s still very much the story of new Angelus host Dani Baptiste, but the issue also lays a little groundwork for this summer’s Artifacts series. It also contains one of my favorite lines of dialogue I’ve written in a while, something that would not be printable in a family publication. You can check out the Angelus pages, with art by Stjepan Sejic, here

The Magdalena preview shows pages 1-4 of issue #1, which is a sequence that was added after I completed the first draft of the script. We decided to include an introduction that would be the Magdalena concept more accessible for new readers. So these four pages serve that purpose, as well as introduce a plot thread that will pay off later in the series. The art is by Nelson Blake 2nd (pencils), Sal Regla (inks) and Dave McCaig (colors). You can check out the Magdalena pages here.

Angelus #3 will be in stores April 14, while Magdalena #1 will be in stories April 21. Advance copies of Magdalena, with a con exclusive cover, will be available at the C2E2 convention in Chicago, April 16-18, which I will attend along with Nelson and other members of the Top Cow herd.



Cold Comfort

The late, lamented CrossGen Comics really missed Hollywood’s love affair with comics by a few years. There was interest, discussions, even some scripts generated, but none of the CrossGen properties ever made it very far in the development pipeline. Some of it was timing, some it was the screwball manner in which CrossGen’s big boss man wanted to negotiate film options. But at least one CG property made it to film … even if it was a short film.

Brandon Peterson and I collaborated on the four-issue Chimera mini-series, a hard sci-fi concept set on an ice planet. It was Brandon’s initial concept, and the overall story itself was a joint effort. I provided the dialogue, and Brandon provided the art, which included some of Brandon’s forays into building props or environments as 3-D computer models. The first mini really felt like a first chapter, but obviously we never got to go back and do more with it. A planned collected edition, which would have included additional pages, was never released.

Brandon was also the driving force in the effort by the Orlando-based DAVE School (Digital Animation and Visual Effects School) to turn a scene from Chimera into a CG animated short. Students from the school, with plenty of guidance and input from Brandon, produced the six-minute short, which you can see here. If I remember correctly, Brandon also provided the voice acting for the evil emperor.

Not bad at all for a bunch of students, huh?



Empire State Book Festival

Empire State Book Festival

I’ll be doing a panel discussion and a signing at this Saturday’s Empire State Book Festival, held at the Empire State Plaza in Albany, NY. It’s the first event of its kind, and boasts dozens of authors, including the likes of Gregory Maguire and Mary Gordon, for programs and signings. There will also be numerous publishers and book sellers setting up as exhibitors for the event, which was organized by the New York State Library Association. Best of all, it’s completely free.

I’ll be doing a panel on graphic novels from 11:45 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., along with my buddy Matthew Dow Smith, Jerry Craft and Barbara Slate. Then from 12:15 p.m. to 1:30 p.m., both Matt and I will be signing in the Meet & Greet area. A book seller will be on hand with copies for sale. I believe they’re bringing in volumes of Witchblade, First Born, Broken Trinity and Samurai: Heaven and Earth, and I should have some promotional comics and goodies to give away as well.

Check out the official website for a complete listing of authors, events and the full schedule.

Organizers are hoping for a first-year attendance of 5,000. Hope you’re one of them.



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