Last week was the annual conference for my Way Cool Day Job. It’s actually my favorite week of the year at WCDJ, but it does require me to work what are essentially 15-hour days, so not a lot of actual writing got done. But since WCDJ pays the bills right now, and comics don’t, WCDJ wins.
Anyway, that’s why this blog is so late. And so filled with random.
“It’s the same dream every night…”
I keep stumbling across that line, or a similar sentiment, in popular culture lately. Movies, books, music. It’s oddly inescapable. Who the hell are these people? I never have the same dream. I almost wish I did. My dreams are goddamned insane.
Last week I had this dream:
In the dream I was working on a screenplay about cholos who ran a limousine service. As I finished it, I was walking to the park, when I was accosted by a gang of cholos in a limousine. They snatched my screenplay away and used it as a replacement engine for their car. (Dream logic. Go with it.) I got nervous that they would read the screenplay and get made at me for making fun of them. So I turned into Spider-Man and ran away deeper into the neighborhood. Then, in the dream, I realized I was just playing a live-action version of Grand Theft Auto. So I stole a dump truck and ran things over until I woke up.
Analyze THAT, Freudians.
I WAS AT A BAR LAST WEEK
I was at the bar waiting for my drink to come. A visibly drunk guy came staggering over to me and grabbed my shoulder.
“I like your tattoos. They’re cool.”
“Thanks,” I said. Because that’s the polite thing to say.
“What are you drinking?” he asked. And I should mention that it wasn’t a conversational question. It was asked in such a way to imply that the answer would determine whether he punched me or not.
“Diet Coke,” I said. Because that’s what I was drinking.
Now pause for 45 to 50 seconds as you read this story. That is the time period it took him to process my answer.
“WHY?” he asked. And this time the question came out desperate and bewildered.
“I quit drinking a while back,” I told him. This is my quick answer I give at bars when people ask me why I’m enjoying a soft drink. The real answer is slightly more elaborate – I quit drinking because I am diabetic, because alcohol affects me adversely as a result, and because most of the medications I take to combat my diabetes work over my liver like a speed bag, meaning that alcohol abuse is only going to exacerbate an already fragile situation. But it’s easier in a bar to just shorthand it as “I quit drinking”, which usually gets interpreted as me being in recovery.
He grabbed my shoulder again. “I REALLY respect what you’re doing.”
And then he walked away.
I find it so odd that the prevailing mindest amongst people like that is that it’s okay to drink a soft drink in a bar if you have already made such a mess of your life that it has necessitated a 12-step program. But if you just choose not to get sloppy drunk, you’re some sort of asshole.
This is why I prefer hanging out with potheads. The most aggressive question they’ll ever ask you is if you are out of Funions.
READ MORE COMICS
This week’s recommendation is for literally ANYTHING Jonathan Hickman is writing. I’m late to the party on Hickman, having not noticed his early indie work. I started reading his excellent Secret Warriors for Marvel, which is an awesome super-hero/espionage book starring Nick Fury, and displaying an amazing combination of character, continuity, action, and mystery. It also ties nicely into his S.H.I.E.L.D. series – which reveals the secret history of the Marvel Universe, and re-imagines Davinci, Nostradamus, Tesla, and other historical figures as Marvel heroes and villains. S.H.I.E.L.D. is one of the most brilliant things I have ever read in comics. Absolutely breathtaking art and such insanely cool concepts that my mind gets blown just thinking about them. -
Then there’s Hickman’s run on Fantastic Four, which has surpassed John Byrne’s work as my favorite run on the FF EVER. As blogger Colin Bell outlines, in his first volumes, Hickman introduced:
· Council of Reed Richards' from multiple universes striving together to Solve Everything.
· An army of mentally neutered Doctor Dooms lurking underneath the auspices of said Council (surely that can't go well?)
· The advanced passage of time taking place on back-up Earth "Nu-World" and the fates of the New Defenders that live there.
· Future versions of Reed and Sue's children Valeria and Franklin meddling with their past to better their future, working alongside their grandfather, a time-displaced Nathaniel Richards.
· Ben Grimm idolized by Moloid children he rescued from the City of the High Evolutionary, which has now reached the surface of Earth.
· Susan Richards is Earth's envoy to the tribe of Old Atlaneans, who have similarly brought their city above Earth's crust.
· Johnny Storm unwittingly allowing Annihulus to take control of the expanded N-Zone prison city.
· A tribe of Inhumans from other parts of the Universe settling on the moon with the intention of bringing their city ship to Earth.
· Reed Richards forming a think-tank with the genius young minds of the Marvel Universe - their first goal? Curing Ben Grimm of his rock-like Thing state (this could be phrased better)
That, ladies and sirs, is insanely good comics.
So, completely unread, I am going to recommend Hickman’s upcoming Image title The Red Wing – the story of futuristic fighter pilots engaged in a war across space and time. Check it out. I doubt you will be disappointed.
READ MORE COMICS THAT I WRITE
Check out the upcoming Gathering Romance issue (Vol. 5) for a 2-page story by my lovely wife, Jenny Langin, and artist Amanda Rachels (Clown Town). Then make sure to pick up Volume 6, aka The Big Book of Horror, featuring the story “Jack, Unblinking” written by yours truly, with art by my good and trusted friend, Mr. Chris Page.
SUPER BONUS PREVIEW ART!
If all goes as planned Chris and I will have another story coming out next year in the Gathering’s “Sci-Fi” issue. And I should have a five-pager (artist TBD) in the “Western” volume.
Also, work is flying along on my first OGN. The first five pages of art should be done soon, at which time, I will begin the sad, desperate process of sending out pitches to every comic publisher in the world. Fingers crossed, gang.
In addition to all of this, the Mighty Pat Loika has agreed to help me do a small project I've had on the drawing board for nearly forever, which will be appearing exclusively on this very blog! Watch the skies!
Enjoy your 4ths of July. Try not to blow yourselves up.
Hugs and Kisses,