Friday, September 30, 2011

In Less than 24 Hours...

This year's annual Halloween Countdown begins at Midnight, October 1. For each day through October I'll be posting about a variety of things connected to the holiday which continues to have a tremendous influence on myself and my work.

If you can't wait until then, feel free to peruse past Halloween Countdowns by digging through the October archives for each year going back to 2006 in the archives to the right of this post.

Also, be sure to stop by the Countdown to Halloween.

Remember to drop by tonight at Midnight. Wear a costume and bring a trick or treat bucket.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Haunted Heads For Spain


"Haunted" the Femmes Fatales episode I co-wrote with Steve Kriozere was selected to be shown at Sitges 2011, 44 Festival Internacionel De Cinema Fantastic De Catalunya. It will be shown as part of a series of 30 minute films focusing on the femme fatale archetype.

The Countdown to Halloween is Only One Week Away

At Midnight October 1 I'll begin my 6th annual Countdown to Halloween with daily posts of season appropriate material leading up to the holiday itself. You can check the October archives to the right for each year beginning with 2006 to see material from countdown's past. Also by clicking on the surprised face of Vincent Price at top right you can visit the official Countdown to Halloween site to see all of the other blogs and websites which will be taking part in this year's countdown. You can even register to join in yourself while you are there if you are so inclined.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Static No More --- For Me Anyway

I am announcing that I have resigned from the DC Comics series, Static Shock. I'm not giving any details at this time, but before speculation begins I'd like to say a few things which I hope will curtail a lot of unwarranted hostility and placing of blame where it shouldn't be placed.

My decision to leave was of my own choice. I was not fired.

My decision to leave had nothing to do with the character of Static. I think Static is a great character with loads of potential, which I hope will get exploited. Given a lot of people's suspicious feelings regarding the relationship between DC Comics and Milestone Media, I will also warn not to read into this that my decision was based on any decisions regarding the handling of the character by DC Comics. This is not true. I maintain a belief that the folks at DC also share a belief that Static has a lot of potential as part of the DCnU and that they would like the character to remain true to his origins, and established nature.

My decision had nothing to do with DC Comics. I've been very happy overall with my time at DC over the roughly 15 years that I've worked for them and I plan to continue working with them into the future. The feeling is mutual. I'm developing new material for them even as I write this. DC Comics is in no way responsible for my decision to leave Static Shock, and have been very supportive of this decision.

For now, this is all I'm going to say on the matter.

From the Archives 14

This goes back to sometime between 5th grade and 8th grade based on the art "style." Starting in about 4th grade, perhaps a bit earlier, I drew hundreds of covers for my own line of comic books, but only bothered to complete the inside stories for a couple of them. Looking through these covers, there was definitely a kind of continuity and implied storylines, crossovers, and shared universe implications.

Most of the characters were obvious ripoffs of established characters from Marvel, DC, Charlton, and even Dell/Gold Key, but some of the original characters seem like they might still have some potential. Spike Man is not one of them.

If you're curious to see more of these than take a look here and here.

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

STATIC SHOCK #1 On Sale Today

Part of DC Comics' New 52, Static Shock #1 goes on sale today.

Here's DC's solicitation information:

The brilliant, slightly awkward high school student Virgil Hawkins transforms into the cocky electromagnetic hero Static!

A mysterious tragedy forces the Hawkins family to relocate from Dakota to New York City! Virgil embarks upon new adventures in a new high school and a new internship at S.T.A.R. Labs!

As Static, he dons a new uniform and establishes a new secret headquarters! But is he ready to take on the new villains who lurk in New York City's underworld?
  • DC Universe
  • 32pg.
  • Color
  • $2.99 US
On Sale September 7, 2011

You can also scroll through posts here on this blog going back over the past week for various previews of the new series including a look at 5 of the new villains that Static will be facing.

You can read an interview with myself and collaborator Scott McDaniel here, and read a couple of the first reviews here and here.


Tuesday, September 06, 2011

This Blog Turns Six Today

Six years is hardly a milestone, but it's the first year I happened to notice when the anniversary of this blog took place. Initially begun with the intention of solely promoting new work of mine as it became available, this blog quickly morphed into something not quite so commercial and a bit more personal.

While many of the posts were announcements that the latest issue of a comic book series I was working on was now available for purchase, or that a television episode I wrote was airing, more and more of the posts ended up connecting to things that have influenced me and my work over the years, particularly the stuff that shaped me as a child, so suddenly there were posts on children's books that had an impact on me as well as posts celebrating the birthdays of figures whose work had their own influences on me, and the dark reverse side of that coin, posts marking the deaths of those who meant something to me whether I knew them in person or only through their work.

I also began to give a look back stage into the processes that I go through in producing my own work, which led to a companion blog aimed at kids which introduces them to as much material as I can come up with connected to visual storytelling. With that spirit of sharing in the process behind why and how I do things to create my work, for this anniversary I've decided to direct you to some of the material that I've posted here from the past six years that I think is most significant to the evolution of this blog.

1. Fun with Scissors - While 2005 had no posts worth revisiting (or even initially visiting), in January 2006 I began a series of posts that would slowly peter out to a halt at 121 in November 2009. Most of these posts happened in 2006. This was a daily collage of various tv cartoon characters that I created in real time each day until I got too busy with other things and had to let it fall by the wayside. This proved to be a popular series, and if you search for any random cartoon character, you are likely to find one of my collages as an example (sometimes the only example) which made it something of a useful resource. It brought in a regular stream of visitors, some of whom still stop by on a regular basis and led to some sales and some commissions. Many of these collages are still available for purchase at very affordable prices here.

2. The Children's Book Display - I created for the now, sadly, defunct Shaman Drum Bookshop in Ann Arbor,  Michigan. This was the first time I'd ever constructed anything like this and I pretty much made up how to do it as I went along. I also took the time to record and share the process here from start to completion. This was the first time I shared the process of how I did anything. I did many more installations and illustrations for Shaman Drum which can be found here.

3. Countdown to Halloween - In 2006, myself and a handful of like-minded individuals independently posted our own 31 daily posts counting down the days to Halloween (my favorite holiday). Some of us were already in contact with each other, others found us (or vice versa) as the month progressed. The following year a formal list of links of participants was put together, followed by an official blog of its own. It is now an annual online event attracting over 250 participants last year and countless visitors. I'm proud to be one of the founding fathers of this event and to see it grow in popularity year after year.

4. Star Wars 30th Anniversary - In 2007, Star Wars (or as it's now known Star Wars - Episode IV: A New Hope) turned 30 years old. When that movie was first released I was at exactly the right age for it and it had a huge impact on me mostly because it was the first movie I'd seen set in a non-existent place that presented it that location as completely convincingly real. Unlike the usual gleaming, new, sterile white locations of most science fiction, in Star Wars everything looked, and sounded, like it really worked and had been used, and repaired a lot. This was a universe that real characters lived in. Every editor I've worked with, and many of my fans, have praised my world building abilities in my work. Thank this movie for it. For the entire month I put up a daily post on some aspect of Star Wars. In 2010 I did the same for the 30th Anniversary of The Empire Strikes Back no doubt I'll carry on in 2013 when Return of the Jedi turns 30.

5. Semi-Regular Features - Throughout the years, I've tried to settle into a schedule of regular posts of a particular type with mixed results. The first attempt, Random Objects in my Office never came close to having any regularity.  The second of my regular planned features, From the Archives grew out of my occasional postings of odd, or interesting items associated with some past project of mine. I later decided I was going to run this feature every Thursday, but didn't stick to that either. Right now I'm hoping to get it at least on a monthly schedule, and hopefully, bi-weekly. The most successful in both terms of regularly keeping to a set schedule, and usage, is my ongoing Ask Me Anything series, where visitors can literally ask me anything and I will answer. This post goes up on the first Monday of every month except October. My answers follow any time during the course of the month the questions are asked.

6. My second most popular post far above any other in terms of visits, except for this one which brought in more traffic over two days than this blog usually sees in months. Thousands of people stopped in to take a look at that collage thanks to Pee-Wee Herman himself, who kindly shared that collage on his social media sites including his facebook and twitter accounts.

So now, for the years to come, and in an ongoing effort to improve this blog, I ask you what you'd like to see that I haven't done yet, what you'd like to see more of that I have done, and what you'd like to see less of. Brutal honesty is best here.

STATIC SHOCK - Sneak Peak at the Villains: part 5

For the last villain preview before tommorrow's release of STATIC SHOCK #1, here's Scott McDaniel's initial designs for Guillotina who will make her debut in issue #4. Her origin story is a bit of a surprise, but Guillotina is something akin to a stainless steel shark. Stroke her from head to toe and she's smooth, shiny, sexy, warm steel. Stroke her the other way and your hand will be shredded to the bone in seconds. Her entire body is covered in overlapping scalpel blade scales, which she can flex to make stand out, or even throw. Her hair is deadly razor wire. She is one of Static's most lethal new foes.

Monday, September 05, 2011

Ask Me Anything #13


It's the first Monday of the month and time for the 13th edition of "Ask Me Anything." So, if you've ever had something you've wanted to ask me, wondered about an aspect of a particular project of mine, been curious about something I said, or did, what I thought about a particular movie, or pretty much anything at all, now's your opportunity to obtain the answer you've been looking for.  

Head down to the comment section and post your question. I'll either post my answer in the comment section as well, or answer it in a special post all its own sometime later in the month.

Please take the time to view the previous questions so that we don't wind up with a lot of repetition. I've been asked a lot of good, thought provoking questions in the past as well as some really banal ones. all of which I tried to answer. You can see the previous questions by visiting Ask Me Anything  #1#2 ,  #3#4#5#6 , #7 , #8#9,  #10  #11 and #12.  Answers not found following the questions can be found in the archives section for each associated month.

Ask Me Anything will not appear in October, but will return on the first Monday of November. 

Now ask away.

Friday, September 02, 2011

STATIC SHOCK - Sneak Peak at the Villains: part 4

Picking up with a look at some of the villains to be featured in Static Shock, which debuts next Wednesday, September 7th, here is a character with a resemblance to a familiar, and extremely popular Batman villain. This is no coincidence. The Pale Man is Joey Piranha's right hand man. He claims that he was once a member of the Joker's gang and accidentally inhaled a non-lethal dose of Joker gas which transformed his appearance and also caused a couple of side effects. The Pale Man is perpetually tense, willfully trying to contain an inner violent rage as well as a Tourette's syndrome like urge to laugh, something that creeps out of him more when he's anxious, or emotionally stimulated, but often punctuates his speech.

Everyone else who works for Piranha is creeped out and afraid of the Pale Man. He's a physical reminder of the darkest corner of the criminal world.

Thursday, September 01, 2011

From the Archives 13

Continuing with the lead up to the release of STATIC SHOCK #1 on September 7th, I thought it was time to bring out a look at the cover to Kobalt #7 from December, 1994. Published by Milestone Media, this issue features the first time I wrote the character of Static. This was a done in one story in which Kobalt's bumbling sidekick, Page, sort of teams up with the much more competent, Static to deal with the aggressive, Blowfly. The story was very light, and comedic in tone and played off some of the cliches of the teenage superhero as well as some of the drawbacks of being a hormonally activated teenage boy wearing a skin tight costume. Blowfly wasn't really a villain per se, but a student who had been transformed into a disgusting human fly and was more of a danger because of his condition and less of a threat through ill will.

The art was by Jamal Igle, who has grown tremendously as an artist and become one of today's superstar comic book illustrators.

I'd always wanted to revisit the character of Static, and this story was supposed to generate a sequel about a villain who was disappointed that the future that was promised him was never delivered as we approached the year 2000 and didn't have flying cars, moon bases, or underwater cities. When the kids at Static's and Page's high school decide to put on a production of Hair, the villain snaps and decides to punish the play. With the cancellation of Kobalt and the winding down of Milestone, the story never came to pass.

Again, this was to be comical in nature. The story could never happen now. Not only was it really tuned towards the upcoming millennial change and the traditional notion of the year 2000 always having previously seemed so futuristic, but now with aggressive litigation and rights issues, we'd never be able to use a real, known musical, such as Hair as a central plot element.