Wednesday, December 31, 2008

2008 - The Year That Was

It's New Year's Eve as I write this, and I thought it'd be fun to take a look back at my comics career in 2008.

2008 started off pretty quiet for me, as Dynamo 5 was pretty much my only presence on the shelves each month.

But things started picking up in April, when Image released Noble Causes #32, the first issue in our new "5 Years Later" storyline. The first Noble Causes Archives (collecting the first half of the series in one big, b&w phone book-style collection) was released that same day.

April was also the month I attended the New York Comicon, which is where I finally got to meet Mahmud Asrar (artist of Dynamo 5) and Yildiray Cinar (artist of Noble Causes) in person for the first time. It was a bit of a bittersweet experience, however. Due to a mix-up that was largely my fault, we didn't have any comics on hand to sell at our Image signings. It was still cool hanging out with Mahmud and Yildiray, and it was especially cool seeing the Noble Causes Archives on sale at Midtown Comics' booth. That was the first time I'd actually seen the book, and holding it in my hands was a pretty memorable experience. Mahmud, Yildiray, and I will be attending the New York Comicon this year, as well, and we'll be sharing a table in Artists' Alley. And we'll have books to sell!

In May, Jon Sommariva and I launched Gemini at Image Comics. It was released to coincide with the Emerald City Comicon in Seattle, my hometown. We had a special ECCC exclusive variant cover made and I was pleased with how many people came by the Image booth to pick one up. I was also pleased at how easy it was to sell copies of the Noble Causes Archives. All I had to say was, "600 pages for twenty bucks" and most people couldn't pass up that deal. I'm making it a point to have the 2nd (and final) volume released in time for this year's Emerald City show.

The first Dynamo 5 Annual was also released in May. Due to a production error, it doesn't actually have the word "Annual" anywhere on the cover. But I haven't come across anyone who's confused yet. The cover to the annual is one of my favorites, as it has all of the major heroes I've created at Image in one big group shot. Drawn by Mahmud, no less. So you know it looks great.

In July, Top Cow released Urban Myths as part of their Pilot Season 2008 initiative. I created and wrote the book and it was drawn by the amazing Jorge Molina, who's going to be a big name in this industry before too long. Mark my words. Response to the book was overwhelming, and it was a trip to see how well it did in the voting ... until the very end, of course. We narrowly missed the top two slots. But I'm still confident that we'll get to continue Jack Medusa's adventures in one form or another. And I had such a great time working with the guys at Top Cow that I was asked to write the Witchblade Annual for them, as well.

As we rolled into the last quarter of 2008, Mahmud, Joe Keatinge (Image's marketing director) and I started putting our heads together with what to do for Dynamo 5 #25, considering 25th issues are usually some sort of big deal in comics -- especially in independent comics, when series don't tend to last that long. Joe did a good job planting some seeds and then I came up with a way to change the series in a pretty substantial way with issue #25. Mahmud will be handling the necessary designs, and it should be pretty damned cool. We also orchestrated the special #0 issue, which will be released in January with a 99-cent price tag to hopefully entice more people to try the book.

Meanwhile, I also decided to wrap up Noble Causes, as I just found myself having less and less to say about the characters. Critical response was still good on the book, and I'd rather leave 'em wanting more, than have them wanting me to leave, if you know what I mean. It's not the first time I'd decided to end the series, but in the past I've always been talked out of it. Not this time, though. The final issue is being drawn as I write this entry. It's going to be an interesting conclusion to the series, one that's probably going to frustrate -- and possibly even anger -- people. But considering the book's roots, I think it's a fitting way to go out.

And so that brings us to the end of 2008. As 2008 ends, so does Noble Causes.

But there's plenty of exciting stuff on the horizon in 2009. More about that soon.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Wednesday Previews

You know what I'd really like to show off this week? Some of Yildiray's pencils for Noble Causes #40. They're just amazing. He choreographed this fight scene between ... well, I can't say. But it's just fantastic, but showing it would give away one of the surprises we've cooked up for you.

So instead, I'll show you a few select panels from Dynamo 5 #19, on sale in January.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Wednesday Previews

Here's a quick look at Dynamo 5 #19, which is in production now. It should be out in mid-January, followed closely by Dynamo 5 #0 (which is already finished -- we shuffled the production order to make sure #0 was done on time, since it's a promotional tool).

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Wednesday Previews

Yildiray Cinar's just about to begin work on Noble Causes #40, the series finale. I asked him to do a wraparound cover of the entire cast for this special issue. Here's his first layout. I think it's cool, but I'd envisioned the entire cast in one big group shot, not broken up into different panels. Still, this design is strong enough that we may use it as the basis for the cover of the 9th TPB, which will cover issues #32-36, the first story arc set "Five Years Later."

Now, here's a look at Yildiray's rough pencils for the revised cover to #40. I liked everything about it, save Venture being on the front of the cover. I love Venture, don't get me wrong. But he was never a main NC character, so I asked Yildiray to put him on the back cover and put Cosmic Rae in his place.

Now here's a look at the inked cover, followed by the final version, colored by the never-late, always-great Ron Riley.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Wednesday Previews

This time around I'd like to show off some pages from Noble Causes #39, our penultimate issue. We're doing something a little different this time around, with half the story taking place in the present day and half the story taking place back in the 1950s.

The present-day stuff is pencilled and inked by Yildiray Cinar and colored by Jacob Baake (our usual team), but the flashback stuff is pencilled by Yildiray and inked and colored Ralph Niese, who has a great retro style. I don't have any colors from this issue to show off yet, but here are pages from both the present day and flashback sequences.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Digitally Speaking

My friends at Marvel Comics made me the subject of this week's Digital Comics Creator Spotlight, where each week a different creator takes a look back at a Marvel project that's currently part of Marvel's digital library.

This week, I talk about Captain Universe.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Now Hear This

I recently spoke with Bob and John of the Comic Book Page podcast. The main subject of our discussion was the upcoming Dynamo 5 #0, a special 99 cent jump-on point, designed to be attractive to new readers. You can listen to the podcast here.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

RIP: Noble Causes

Last night I finished the first draft of the script for the final issue of Noble Causes. I pitched the book in December 2000, and received the green light from Jim Valentino just days before Christmas that year. It was the best Christmas present I've ever received. The script for the very first issue is dated 03-21-01, so I've been writing the book fairly consistently for over 7 years. That's a pretty significant chunk of time.

Due to the soap opera nature of the book, there was never any "planned ending," like you see in other books like 100 Bullets or Y - The Last Man. Our last issue will bring some closure to some events, but I warn you -- it remains true to its soap opera roots, and the last page will likely provoke some pretty extreme reactions.

It's been a crazy 7+ years, and I don't think it's even begun to set in that I won't be writing these characters each month anymore. But I accept that this is my doing. I chose to end the book, since I was starting to feel like I had less and less to say about the Noble family. But that doesn't mean I won't miss it.

Fortunately, most of the characters will remain available for guest appearances in Dynamo 5, if I ever want to take them off the shelf again. I'm sure that will happen, but I'll probably keep my distance for awhile, just to cleanse the palate.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Wednesday Previews

It's that time again ... time to show off some artwork from my upcoming books.

First off is a page from Gemini #4, drawn by Jon Sommariva and featuring our new colorist, Edward Bola (who could easily become a super-villain if he started going by E.Bola -- thanks to Jon Sommariva for that one!).

Next we've got a page from the upcoming Dynamo 5 #0, a great place to jump aboard the book if you haven't already. This one's by the usual team of Mahmud A. Asrar and Ron Riley.

And lastly is another page from Noble Causes #38, on sale soon. This one's by Yildiray Cinar and Jacob Baake.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

I'm doing Witchblade

Er ... you know what I mean.

Image's February solicitations just came out, and it was announced that I'm writing the first-ever Witchblade Annual. It's a standard-length, stand-alone story featuring Sara and Gleason and, well ... I'll just let the solicitation copy take over from here. Suffice to say, I had a fantastic time working on this character, and with the guys at Top Cow.

-Witchblade Annual 2009
(W) Jay Faerber (A) Eric Basaldua (Cov) Sami Basri, Eric Basaldua

Presenting the first Witchblade Annual issue ever, complete with a new, original self-contained story by writer Jay Faerber (Pilot Season: Urban Myths, Noble Causes) and artist Eric Basaldua (Witchblade/Devi, Ultimate Fantastic Four). Includes a second bonus story!

Beautiful women all over the city are killing men they don't even know, and then claiming they don't even remember the events. When Sara and partner Gleason are assigned to investigate the case, they're thrown head first into the dangerous and deadly world of…plastic surgery?

Cover A – Sami Basri
Cover B – Eric Basaldua

Full Color 32 pages $2.99 annual

Friday, November 7, 2008

iFanboy's Image spotlight

The guys at iFanboy consistently put out one of the best comic book podcasts available, and they frequently devote time to Image Comics. That is especially apparent in the following half-hour video podcast:

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Clearly, I'm an Idiot

In an earlier post, I got the release dates wrong on both Gemini #3 and Dynamo 5 #18. Gemini #3 actually came out this week, on November 5th, and Dynamo 5 #18 should be out on November 19th. It's been done for awhile, but we held it to better stagger the releases, rather than have issues #17 and #18 ship right next to each other.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

The Scariest Thing in the World

It's the day before Halloween, so it's only fitting that I write about what I consider to be the Scariest Thing in the World. And I bet there's a fair number of writers out there that would agree with me. What could strike terror into the hearts of so many? Have a look:

The blank page.

Every story is born from this blank page, and yet it's always terrifying. As a reader, I've always preferred ongoing, serialized stories (i.e., TV shows) to finite stories (i.e., movies). I like getting to know a set of characters over a long period of time, and seeing something that happens in episode 2 have a consequence that isn't felt until episode 32.

So I suppose it's no surprise that the majority of what I write tends to be ongoing in nature. Most of my comic books have been ongoing series. Therefore, you're only really dealing with a blank page in the first issue. Each issue after that tends to spring from the one before it, so the fear of the blank page is abated. But now that Noble Causes is wrapping up, I'm at the point where I'm soon going to be faced with that blank page at the start of the new series that artist Yildiray Cinar and I are developing to take NC's place. I've already got a title (I find it hard to begin a story without having a title in place), and a premise, and some notes for the series. But I don't know exactly how that first issue will take shape.

Meanwhile, since I'm caught up on all my pressing comic book deadlines, I'm using this time to write my first feature spec script. I've got a handful of TV specs lying around from a few years ago, but this is my first crack at a feature, and the blank page has never been scarier. What's so scary (okay, "scary" is too strong a word -- it's really just frustrating) is how slow-going the process is at the beginning. I know what the general concept of the feature is, and I know the two main characters and I know their dynamic, but hammering out the actual sequence of events is a painstakingly slow process. It's a mystery story, so I'm basically having to plot from two different POVs -- one from the protagonists' and one from the antagonists'. So for the past week I've been sitting at my desk each and every day, and at the end of the day I may have a few sentences to show for my time. Make no mistake -- those few sentences often speak volumes, and deep down, I know this. I know that this is all part of the process, and each day I'm getting closer and closer to having the entire mystery (and therefore, story) figured out. And once that's figured out, the actual scripting is a breeze. But the Blank Page will always be my personal Boogey Man.

I wonder how you'd go about making a Blank Page Halloween costume...

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Wednesday Previews

Here's a couple pages from Dynamo 5 #18, on sale Nov. 12th, drawn by Marcio Takara and colored by Ron Riley.

Also on sale Nov. 12th is the long-awaited Gemini #3, drawn by Jon Sommariva and colored by Fco Plascencia.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Wednesday Previews

This week I'm spotlighting some upcoming Dynamo 5 covers. Here's the cover to our special 99-cent #0 issue, which comes out in January. It's got a 10-page all-new story, followed by a 2-page text piece that gives a comprehensive recap of the entire series. Perfect for new readers!

Then in February is issue #20, our Valentine's Day issue. We're introducing a squabbling super-villain couple, War Chest and Strong-Suit.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Wednesday Previews

Most of the artists I work with ink themselves, so I don't usually see traditional pencils from them. Instead, they sometimes send over very rough pencils before going straight to inks. These rough pencils are great to look at because of the life and energy they have. Here are two pages of roughs from Jon Sommariva, from Gemini #3.

And here are two pages of roughs from Noble Causes #38, by Yildiray Cinar. Yildiray has a real love of sound effects, so in order to get the exact look he's going for, he's started drawing them in himself, rather than have them done later by our letterer.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

On Sale 10/15

Dynamo 5 #17 is on sale this week, and you can read an exclusive 5-page preview at Comic Book Resources right here.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Wednesday Previews

Clearly, I need to start updating this thing more than once a week. But it's Wednesday, so that means it's time for more previews. This time out, I'm gonna tease some upcoming projects.

First up are two pages from Undying Love, a mini-series that former Noble Causes artist Fran Bueno and I are working on. It looks like this one's going to be published first in a country other than the USA, which is a first for me. I'll give more details about it when I can. Fran is drawing and coloring this one himself, and it looks fantastic.

Next up is a currently-untitled crime story drawn by Koray Kuranel. Koray's based in Turkey, and is friends with current Noble Causes artist Yildiray Cinar, who introduced us. We're still in the pitch phase of this project, but those are some damned fine pencils, eh?

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Wednesday Previews

Let's pretend I posted this yesterday, okay? Gemini #3 is at Image and will be delivered to the printer in a matter of days, and Jon Sommariva is hard at work on issue #4. Here's a look at one of his pages from issue #4, which guest stars Dynamo 5!

And speaking of Dynamo 5, issue #17 should be in stores next week, on Oct. 8th. Here's another sneak peek at that issue.

And lastly, we've got a page from Noble Causes #38, which throws the spotlight on Rusty.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Mahmud takes the spotlight

Brian Cronin, over at CBR's blog, Comics Should be Good, talks about Dynamo 5's very own Mahmud A. Asrar. Cronin says Mahmud is "definitely one to watch!" I couldn't agree more, of course. Read the full piece here.

Dynamo 5 #0

We're offering a special 12-page, 99 cent #0 issue of Dynamo 5 in January.

“The tagline we're using in ads and on issues #0 through #25 is ‘Change is Coming.’ And what's great is that because this is Image, ‘change’ can mean anything. Since [artist] Mahmud Asrar and I own these characters, we can do whatever we want with them. We can kill one of them off. We can turn one of them evil. We can redirect the entire series if we want to. And because the book is still relatively new, it's not like there's a ‘status quo’ we have to maintain. Truly anything can happen.”

I spoke with Michael Patrick Sullivan at CBR right here.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Runner's High

I had a lot of false starts in trying to get into the habit of running every day. My dad's a runner, and he's been encouraging me for most of my adult life to take up the sport/hobby. I was on the Track team in high school in my Senior year, and I ran occasionally in college and in my 20s, but it wasn't until I moved to Los Angeles in 2001 that I really became a runner. I guess it was the warm weather, which enabled me to run pretty much every day. I averaged about 3 miles a day (and still do), and it quickly got to the point that I'd feel bad if I missed a day of running. Up until that point, it was a chore to make myself run each day.

When I moved back up to the Seattle area in 2003, I still ran, although it required a bit more motivation, what with the cooler weather and all the rain the region gets. But before long, I found a new motivation: working through story points. There's something about the increased blood flow or heart rate or something ... but whatever it is, if I set off on my run with a specific story problem in mind, I almost always work it out on the run. It enables me to see things in a different way, or from a different angle or something. It's really satisfying, and pretty amazing when you think about it -- the way the mind is unlocked through that kind of exercise. I still have a bit of a hard time getting myself out on the road when it's dark and rainy out, though...

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Wednesday Previews

It's Wednesday, which I've decided is Preview time! This week, we're gonna take a look at the artwork for some back-up stories we have in the works for Dynamo 5. Some of these stories feature Dynamo 5 characters, others are just bonus stories that are completely separate.

First up is a page from a Captain Dynamo flashback story which was pencilled and inked by Neil Edwards. This will be appearing in Dynamo 5 #17, on sale soon!

Next up is a page from a Dodge's Bullets story story, drawn by Joe Eisma and colored by Paul Little. It's slated to run in Dynamo 5 #18, and is a sort-of sequel to a graphic novella I did a few years ago. It's a straight mystery story -- no superhuman or fantasy elements whatsoever. I was so pleased with how this story turned out that Joe, Paul, and I are working on a new project.

Lastly, we have a page pencilled and inked by Alex Serra (who's worked on some Johnny DC titles). It's from a Slingshot solo story that will probably run in Dynamo 5 #19.

Friday, September 19, 2008

The results are in

Yesterday, Top Cow released the results of the 2008 Pilot Season contest, and Urban Myths unfortunately didn't get enough votes to be continued as a series ... yet. As anyone who followed the voting knows, Urban Myths was consistently in the top two slots, so there is a sizable demand there.

If you want to read more Urban Myths, you need to write to Top Cow at and tell them so.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Preview Time!

Time to show off some of the amazing artwork that's coming your way in Dynamo 5 and Noble Causes.

First up are two pages from Noble Causes #37, with art by Yildiray Cinar and colors by new colorist Jacob Baake. And yes, our special guest star is none other than Invincible.

Next up is this double-page spread from Dynamo 5 #17, by Mahmud A. Asrar and Ron Riley.

And lastly, we've got two pages from Dynamo 5 #18, by fill-in artist Marcio Takara and Ron Riley.

Off to see the Wizard

Dynamo 5 #16 is on sale this week, and Wizard ran a feature about it on their website. It's got some preview artwork, and some tidbits about the future of the book.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Listen up!

Ron Richards, of iFanboy, just posted a podcast featuring a lengthy chat between the two of us. We talked mostly about Noble Causes, but also about Dynamo 5, Gemini, and Urban Myths. You listen to it right here.

And speaking of Urban Myths, there's less than a week left in the voting, and at last count, Urban Myths was in the lead! But that's no excuse to slack off. Every vote counts! You can vote every day until September 8th, and I urge you to do so! Vote here.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Dynamo 5 has got you covered!

We've opened an online store for Dynamo 5 apparel. Cool, huh?

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

The return of Dodge's Bullets (sort of...)

Ever since I published DODGE'S BULLETS, back in 2004, I've wanted to revisit the character. Problem is, the original book didn't exactly burn up the sales charts. So, the character has sat idle. But lately I've had the itch to do more crime stuff, so I'm dusting off private eye Webster Dodge for a special 5-page story that will run as a back-up in an upcoming issue of DYNAMO 5. Art and color will be supplied by Joe Eisma, and here's a look at some sketches he did to capture the feel of the character.