Sunday, December 20, 2009
Right off the bat, I notice that the super-hero book that Yildiray Cinar and I were planning to do never happened. You can probably guess why: Yildiray has been getting work from DC. It started with a couple fill-ins, and led to the Ravager co-feature in Teen Titans, and when that wraps up he's got a big gig lined up. I can't wait until it's announced, because it's the perfect fit for him. I'm hoping to work with Yildiray again, but chances are very slim that it would be on a regular series that we co-created. What's more likely is that I'll twist his arm to contribute to a short story or something like that, in between his DC work.
It's painful to see that Jon Sommariva and I still haven't wrapped up GEMINI. We managed to etch out one issue in all of 2009. Not good.
The crime mini-series that I mentioned with Koray Kuranel is still in the works. He's drawn the entire first issue and is working on the second. I don't feel bad about this one not being out yet. It hasn't been solicited, so we're not late. There's no schedule we're trying to keep. Koray has a busy career as a storyboard artist, so this comic book project is just something he's doing for fun in his spare time.
DYNAMO 5 #25 marked the end of the series as a regular, ongoing series. And it also marked the departure of Mahmud as the regular series artist. But as co-creator of the book, Mahmud will still be involved. He'll be drawing covers and character designs, and he sees all the art for the book as it comes in. As readers of this blog know, the book is far from dead. Julio Brilha is hard at work on DYNAMO 5: SINS OF THE FATHER, an all-new 5-issue mini-series that will debut this summer. It features the Dynamo 5 kids in their new super-hero identities, and the story stems from an important battle in Captain Dynamo's life, which we'll see in flashbacks. And there are lots of cool guest stars.
I also got my first work for DC Comics in a long time in 2009, writing a short Batman story for their latest Holiday Special. My editor on that story was Eddie Berganza, the very first DC editor to ever give me work, way back in 1998 (I think -- it might have been late 1997). It was great working with Eddie again, and I hope to get a chance to work with him again soon.
I contributed to a few Marvel comics in 2009, starting with two stories for their "War of Kings" cosmic event. These two stories (focusing on Lilandra and Crystal) were originally published online, and then collected in the 2-issue WAR OF KINGS: WARRIORS mini-series. My editor on those stories was Ben Morse, an assistant editor in the Digital Department. Ben's a great guy and my stories (along with two written by Christos Gage) were the first stories he actually edited. You couldn't tell, though. Ben handled himself like a veteran editor. And by that I mean he rewrote my story and didn't return my calls. No, no -- I'm kidding, of course. On both counts. Working with Ben was great, and hopefully that wasn't the last time.
Ben actually commissioned me to write another story that hasn't been announced yet. It's too bad he had to pass it off to another editor, because it features characters Ben and I are both especially fond of, and it would've been fun to see it through to publication together.
The editor who ended up with the story is Daniel Ketchum, who I had never worked with before. Daniel's a great guy, and very easy to work with. As this still-undisclosed story takes shape, Daniel also hired me to write a short X-MEN Christmas story which will be published as part of Marvel's Digital Comics line next week.
2009 also marked what I hope is the start of my screenwriting career. In the past six months I've written a movie screenplay, a pilot for a proposed TV series, and started work on a second movie screenplay. I should clarify that these are all specs -- meaning, no one paid me to write these, and for now, at least, no one has bought them. But I'm represented by Circle of Confusion, the same Hollywood management company that reps guys like Robert Kirkman, Ed Brubaker, and Brian Michael Bendis. So these guys know what they're doing, and with any luck we'll see some interest from production companies in the stuff I've written. And while I'm clarifying things, I should also clarify that my interest in screenplay does not mean I'm leaving comics. It just means I'm interested in diversifying, and broadening my horizons.
So that's 2009 in a nutshell. In a few weeks, I'll post my plans for 2010...
Thursday, December 17, 2009
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
It's an 8-page X-MEN holiday story that will run exclusively on Marvel Digital Comics Unlimited. The story goes live on December 23rd. I hope to soon be able to post a page of preview art, but I don't have any to show at the moment.
I imagine the story will see print at some point, whether it's as a bonus story in a Trade Paperback, or as part of an anthology, but there are no plans currently to print it.
Monday, December 14, 2009
I discovered Robert B. Parker in high school, and his writing literally changed my life. CEREMONY was the first Spenser novel I read (after watching the TV series, SPENSER: FOR HIRE) and it opened my eyes to modern writing. Up until then, any prose I read were stuffy and boring English assignments. But Parker's prose was light, smart, fun -- the works. And it painted such a complete picture. And for far, far too long, I (unfairly) judged every other prose writer by how they compared to Parker.
Case in point: Robert Crais. Crais' first novel, THE MONKEY'S RAINCOAT, was published in 1987, which is just about the exact same time I was discovering Parker. It wasn't until years later that I became aware of Crais, and even then, my first impression was that he was a Parker rip-off ... because he was.
Parker had Spenser, a wise-cracking ex-boxer. Crais had Elvis Cole, a wise-cracking martial artist. Spenser had a strong, silent partner named Hawk, who operated by his own moral code. Cole had a strong, silent partner named Joe Pike, who operated by his own moral code. Even the writing styles were similar. And this prevented me from enjoying Crais, so I didn't really get into him until years later.
Somewhere in one of my desk drawers are some old magazine articles written by Parker, aimed at writers. Stuff about how to write a series character, how to plot, etc. It's fascinating stuff, both because of the actual advice, but also because of how Parker seems to have changed his approach over the years. For instance, in one of these articles he advocates writing an outline before actually scripting the novel. At the time he wrote the article, he also outlined his novels. More recently, however, he seems to have changed his approach. I've seen him interviewed numerous times where he states he no longer outlines. Something about how he's been doing this so long that he doesn't need to outline anymore. And you know what? It shows.
Parker's gift has always been his dialogue. It's always fun, light, and zippy. And he can say more about a character with less words than pretty anyone. But his plots have always been kind of light, especially for a "mystery" writer. The mysteries are far from complex, and more and more over the years, they follow a basic formula. Somewhere in the first third of the novel, Spenser (or his other series leads, Jesse Stone or Sunny Randall) basically deduce the identity of the bad guy through little more than a gut feeling, and spend the rest of the novel following the guy around, waiting for him to make a move. Sometimes, Parker's heroes will make themselves targets, to draw the bad guy out. And in the end, the bad guy will either be killed, or the hero will blackmail the bad guy in such a way as to put him out of business. But the bad guy is rarely simply arrested.
To me, this gets frustrating because Spenser (or Jesse, or Sunny) is never, ever wrong. Like I said, in the first third of the book, Spenser IDs the bad guy, and that's that. No doubt, and he's never wrong. I like a confident hero as much as the next guy, but an infallible one? Not so much.
Which brings me to Robert Crais. To date, Crais has written 11 Elvis Cole novels (plus one focusing on Joe Pike, in which Cole is a supporting character). His second Joe Pike novel comes out next month. His first 7 Cole novels were very Spenser-ish. Written in the first person, featuring the same kind of wit, with Cole and Pike doing their best Spenser and Hawk impressions. But even from the start, Crais' books had much stronger plotting. The mysteries were more complex. The villains' motivations and plans were more original and involving.
But in the 8th Elvis Cole novel, L.A. REQUIEM, Crais blew the doors off of everything he set up previously. Think of it, in comic book terms, of a "bold, new direction." While it's still a Cole novel, the book switches POV numerous times, and works in numerous flashbacks, all to flesh out the tragic backstory of Joe Pike. While the Cole books had been getting better and better all along, L.A. REQUIEM represents a quantum leap forward, and almost transcends the PI genre. I don't mean to overhype it -- it's still simply a thriller novel (albeit, very well done), but it doesn't seem to follow the same conventions of the typical (re: Parker) PI novel.
Parker routinely turns out three or four novels a year. 2007 saw NOW & THEN (a Spenser novel), HIGH PROFILE (a Jesse Stone novel), SPARE CHANGE (a Sunny Randall novel), and THE EDENVILLE OWLS (a Young Adult novel). Compare that with Crais, who releases a book a year -- if that.
I've had the pleasure of exchanging emails with Craigs a handful of times (he's a comic book fan), and he confirmed that he thoroughly outlines each book. I don't mean to imply that outlining is definitely better than not outlining. I, personally, never write anything until I've got a decent out of where the story's going.
I realize I may come off sounding too hard on Parker in this post. I still love his books, simply for the chance to revisit and spend time with the characters he's created. And his light prose style is second to none.
But Crais, to me, is the example of an author who continually strives to improve himself with each book. Not to get faster, but to get better.
Thursday, December 10, 2009
I'm still a bit old school, myself. I prefer reading comics in monthly or trade paperback format. But I have to admit, this new media is really starting to grow on me. And for a reading experience you can only get on the iPhone, check out Comixology's exclusive Box 13, written by my pal David Gallaher and drawn by Steve Ellis, the team behind the smash Zuda comic, High Moon. David's had a thing for old radio serials for as long as I've known him, and Box 13 is his reinvention of one of the old classics. I highly recommend it. Plus, it's free!
Wednesday, December 9, 2009
32 pages * FC * $5.99
Monday, December 7, 2009
Jump ahead five years in the lives of the Noble family! Doc Noble has rededicated the Noble family to be the world’s preeminent super-heroes, but even as they take a more pro-active approach to fighting crime on a global scale, they still harbor dark secrets and hidden agendas.
Collects NOBLE CAUSES #32-36
136 pages * FC * $14.99
Monday, November 30, 2009
Monday, November 23, 2009
And speaking of DYNAMO 5, Julio just turned in his pencils for the last two pages, so all he needs to do is ink them and then he's on to the next issue.
Meanwhile, I'm starting to work out how this story arc will end, and how that will lead into the next arc. And I'm considering playing with our publication schedule a bit. The plan now is for this next arc to be a 5-issue mini-series, then we'll take another hiatus while we ready the next mini-series. But now I'm thinking we might do a special one-shot in between the mini-series. I got the idea from DOCTOR WHO, and how that show's schedule would consist of a short season, followed by a holiday special, then another season, then a holiday special, etc. If I applied that to DYNAMO 5, and worked far enough ahead on the scripts, I could get a different artist working on a one-shot while Julio is working on the current arc. Just something I'm thinking about.
Joe Eisma is currently drawing NOTORIOUS, which is a new character we've co-created, who will be appearing in an exclusive back-up series when DYNAMO 5 returns.
I blogged awhile back about a 6-page Batman story I wrote for DC's upcoming HOLIDAY SPECIAL. And I just recently got assigned a Christmas story for Marvel, as well. I can't go into any details yet, but there should be an announcement in the next week or two and I'll be sure to post more about it here. I wrote another Marvel story recently as well. It's something that I had a lot of fun with, with some characters I've always enjoyed. And hopefully that will be announced soon, too.
In between comic book scripts, I'm spending my time working on screenplays. I recently wrote a TV pilot, and now I'm in the middle of a movie spec. These haven't sold yet, of course. But I want to branch out into different mediums, and I've got some great representation in the form of Circle of Confusion, so I figure I should stop making excuses and start making things happen. Considering how much TV and movie influence my writing, it feels right to actually apply that stuff to ... well, TV and movies. I'll keep you posted!
Saturday, November 21, 2009
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
Monday, November 16, 2009
I bring this up because The Hollywood Reporter that Edward Woodward, the actor who played McCall, has passed away.
Friday, November 13, 2009
DYNAMO 5 #25 came out a couple weeks ago. It's our 25th issue, and the finale to a storyline that's been playing out for 6 months or more. It also sets up the next story arc, and changes the characters in a pretty substantial way. As a way to do something extra for the fans, and to go into more detail addressing said changes, we beefed up the issue to include five 5-page stories, each spotlighting a different member of the cast. This more than doubles the size of the book, with all-new, original content. It's not filler. It's not reprints. All the stories were written by me, and are in continuity. Because of the extra page count, we raised the price for this issue to $4.99, which is $1.49 more than our standard $3.50 cover price. That's more than 100% more content for only 42% more dollars.
And yet, there seems to be a disconnect whenever the book was discussed online, on message boards, on blogs, or on podcasts. I'd read/hear people talk about the higher cover price, and then they're shrug it off, like, "Well, it's the 25th issue," or something. The folks making these statements were always very complimentary about the book. Don't get me wrong -- they're fans. And they were talking it up, trying to get other people interested in the book. And I just think that would be much easier if they had said, "This issue is twice as big as a normal issue, and it only costs you $1.49 more."
I love our fans, and I love that people are talking up the book online. And we'll be counting on them to help spread the word when we return from hiatus. I just wish there wasn't that odd disconnect. But it's no big deal. Like I said ... a rant.
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
Monday, November 9, 2009
Friday, November 6, 2009
Wednesday, November 4, 2009
Tuesday, November 3, 2009
It came out in 1987, was directed by Jim McBride, and tells the story of Lt. Remy McSwain, whose investigation of a mob war is complicated by Assistant DA Anne Osborne, who's investigating the entire precinct on corruption charges.
Remy's played by Dennis Quaid, and while I really enjoyed Taylor Kitsch's portrayal of Gambit in X-MEN ORIGINS: WOLVERINE, a better pick would've been to yank Dennis Quaid out of 1987 and use him. With his Cajun accent and his overflowing charm, it's no great leap to see that Chris Claremont was probably inspired by Quaid's character in this movie, and used him as the basis for Gambit.
And I don't blame him. Quaid is just fantastic. His character is admittedly corrupt, but only around the edges. He takes advantage of the "perks," as he calls them (free meals, parking wherever he wants, etc.). But he's a smart investigator, and he's genuinely smitten with Anne Osborne. And it's easy to see why. As played by Ellen Barkin, Anne is smart and likable and has this sexy vulnerability that seems remarkably genuine.
Their first sex scene is one of the best I've ever seen, simply because of the awkwardness involved. These are two people you genuinely like, and are rooting for. It's also interesting to note how early in the movie they hook up. It's not something they build towards until the final act. It happens pretty early, and the rest of the movie is spent trying to figure out -- or even if -- they're going to be together in light of everything that's going on around them.
When I write stories, I sometimes get too bogged down in the plot. I want the mystery to be compelling, I want the twists to be surprising, etc. And those are good instincts, of course. But the best plot in the world will be utterly uninvolving if it's not inhabited by engaging characters. And nowhere is that lesson more evident than in THE BIG EASY. It's got a good plot, don't get me wrong. But the plot isn't what keeps you involved -- it's the characters.
If you've never this movie, do yourself a big favor and check it out. You won't be sorry.
Monday, November 2, 2009
Well, I'm here to show you that progress is being made on the next issue. Our new artist, Julio Brilha, is almost halfway done with his first issue, and here's a look at some of the first colors, provided by the incomparable Ron Riley.
I think you'll agree that Julio's a great fit for this book. He doesn't deviate wildly from the tone set by Mahmud, but he definitely brings his own flare.
Sunday, November 1, 2009
But occasionally, a horror movie will come along that really works for me. I thought PARANORMAL ACTIVITY was pretty good, although a bit gimmicky. I liked THE STRANGERS for awhile, until it turned into that "two act" formula I mentioned earlier. The last really good horror movie I saw was THE DESCENT, which had engaging characters, a truly original premise, and some fantastic direction.
Then came THE HOUSE OF THE DEVIL.
As I write this, it's in (very) limited release, but is available On Demand. It's a fantastic, low budget horror movie with almost unbearable tension. It's filmed on 16mm film and set in the 1980s, yet it's not played for laughs. There's not a single wink or nudge to be seen. It's played entirely straight, and has atmosphere and creepiness to spare.
The premise is simple: Samantha, a college student with money woes, takes a job as a babysitter in a creepy house with even creepier owners. That's it. Sounds pretty generic, right? And it could be, in the hands of a lesser director. But Ti West (who I'd never heard of before this movie) does a fantastic job of building mood and ratcheting up the tension as the film unfolds.
Be warned that it's a very slow-moving, deliberate film. And I wouldn't be surprised if today's audiences (the people who like SAW, for example) find the film "boring." But if you're reading this blog, I automatically assume you have excellent taste.
So trust me, and seek out this movie.
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
Story by Jay Faerber, art by Mahmud A. Asrar, Joe Eisma, Anthony Castrillo, Tim Seeley, Andie Tong, and Fran Bueno, cover by Mahmud A. Asrar & Ron Riley
CHANGE IS HERE!
In the wake of Father Gideon's devastating attack, Maddie's darkest secret is revealed – and it will change Dynamo 5 forever!
Featuring 45 pages of all-new material, including five back-up stories, each of which examines a different aspect of the changes that take place this issue and laying the groundwork for the future of the series!
48 pages * FC * $4.99
This is it -- the issue we've been building to for awhile now. Consider it a season finale, if you will. It's a real game-changer, as well as Mahmud's swan song as regular series artist. Following this issue, we'll be taking a break for a few months are our new artist gets some pages under his belt. But don't let the impending hiatus take away from the sheer awesomeness of this issue. We really pulled out all the stops, and I got the chance to work with a great bunch of artists on our five back-up stories. The book looks truly fantastic, cover to cover.
If you can't make it to your local comic shop until later this week, you can read a 9-page preview of this issue, over at Newsarama.
Monday, October 5, 2009
Sunday, October 4, 2009
Friday, September 4, 2009
Friday, August 28, 2009
Thursday, August 20, 2009
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
Tuesday, August 4, 2009
Monday, July 27, 2009
Sunday, July 19, 2009
Gemini #4 (of 5)
Story by Jay Faerber, Art & Cover by Jon Sommariva
Gemini’s journey of self-discovery puts him on a collision course with Dynamo 5!
32 pages * FC * $3.50
After an embarrassingly long wait, Gemini #4 is finally going on sale this week! You can read a 5-page preview of the issue right here, and if you're attending to the San Diego Comic Con, be sure to stop by Gemnini co-creator Jon Sommariva's table in the Image section, where he'll be sketching, selling Gemini comics, and signing autographs.
Monday, June 29, 2009
Wednesday, June 24, 2009
Story by Jay Faerber, Art by Mahmud A. Asrar & Yildiray Cinar, Cover by Mahmud A. Asrar & Ron Riley
Introducing ... the Brain Trust! IQ off the charts? Check. Indestructible super-body? Check. Dynamo 5 in over their heads? Check.
32 pages * FC* $3.50 US
Former Noble Causes artist (and current artist of the Ravager co-feature in Teen Titans) Yildiray Cinar was kind enough to help us out on this issue, drawing 6 pages in this issue. As always, his work looks fantastic alongside Mahmud's. This issue also features the introduction of Flagstone, a brand-new character that was co-created by me and artist Chad Hardin, as part of an abandoned pitch a few years ago. But this particular character was just too fun to leave on the sidelines, so I found a way to work him into the Dynamo 5 series. Unfortunately, I'm an idiot and neglected to credit Chad as co-creator in this issue, as I'd originally promised him. I'll make it up to you, Chad!
You can read a 5-page preview of the issue at Newsarama.
Tuesday, June 23, 2009
As you can see by the cover, this issue guest stars Dynamo 5! It was really cool to see Jon's take on the kids. In just a few weeks, you'll be able to see for yourselves.
And with any luck, it won't take us as long to put together issue #5.
Sunday, June 21, 2009
At the most recent Emerald City Comicon in Seattle, Jeff was telling me about a new creator-owned book he had developed with Steve Lieber. If I recall correctly, he was asking the best way to pitch the book to Image. I told him to just show the material to Eric Stephenson, and I was reasonably sure Eric would greenlight it on the spot. Later, I told Eric to swing by Jeff's booth to see the book. Eric did, and in fact, he greenlit it on the spot.
If this sounds like I'm trying to take credit for Image publishing Jeff and Steve's new book, UNDERGROUND, that's exactly what I'm trying to do.
Okay, not really. But it is fun to see just how informal and fast Image's approval process can be, when confronted with a book as cool as UNDERGROUND, by creators as skilled as Jeff and Steve.
According to the solicitation copy, UNDERGROUND is a five issue color series beginning in September from IMAGE COMICS. Written by Jeff Parker, drawn by Steve Lieber, and colored by Ron Chan, the story follows Park Ranger Wesley Fischer as she tries to save Stillwater Cave-- and then has to save herself.
The book is scheduled to launch in September, which means it's available for pre-order right now. You can see all sorts of behind-the-scenes material -- and even read a complete b&w copy (the series itself is in full color) -- at their new website. Do yourself a favor and check it out.
Saturday, June 20, 2009
Thursday, June 4, 2009
Wednesday, May 27, 2009
Friday, May 22, 2009
Thursday, May 21, 2009
Wednesday, May 13, 2009
Wednesday, May 6, 2009
Tuesday, May 5, 2009
Noble Causes Archives Vol. 2
Story by Jay Faerber, Art by Various, Cover by Cory Walker
Concluding Jay Faerber's epic super-hero series! This volume features the introduction of the Blackthornes, a family of super-villains, as well as a leap forward 5 years into the future! Together with the first volume, these Archives collect the entire series, start to finish!
778 pages * B&W * $24.95 US
We had the 2nd Archives volume printed early, so I've had my copy for a month or so now (and so have some lucky attendees of the Emerald City Comicon), and I can't tell you how cool it is to look at both volumes sitting on my shelf. The idea that I (along with an extraordinarily talented group of collaborators) put out this huge body of work is pretty wild.
Witchblade Annual 2009
Story by Jay Faerber, Joshua Cozine, Joe Henderson, Art by Eric Basaldua & Sheldon Mitchell, Covers by Eric Basaldua & Sami Basri
Presenting the first ever Witchblade Annual issue, complete with a new, original self-contained story by writer Jay Faerber and artist Eric Basaluda. 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?
Plus an additional story featuring Ian Nottingham by newcomers Joshua Cozine & Joe Henderson, and artist Sheldon Mitchell (Freshmen Summer Special).
My story in the Witchblade Annual turned out much better than I could've hoped, and I owe it all to Eric Basaldua. That guy can draw! You can read the first few pages of our story right here.
Wednesday, April 29, 2009
Wednesday, April 22, 2009
Thursday, April 2, 2009
Monday, March 30, 2009
UNDYING LOVE, a new horror / crime / romance mini-series from me and my old pal, Fran Bueno, will be serialized in a the pages of GALIMATIAS, a new Galician comic book magazine.
If you read Galician, you can read more about the project here.
And yes, we do plan to publish the book at some point in English, as well.
Sunday, March 29, 2009
Story by Jay Faerber, Art by Yildiray Cinar, Cover by Yildiray Cinar & Ron Riley.
Series Finale! Race and Liz return as the long-running superhero saga comes to a close. We’ve saved the best surprises for last! With a special wraparound cover featuring the entire series cast, past and present.
32 pages * Color * $3.50 US
On Sale April 1, 2009
This is it ... the last hurrah for a book I've been writing for going on 8 years! And you can read the first 6 pages right now at Comic Book Resources. But I warn you, there's spoilers!