A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away...
Chapter 1. Baby's first newsletter.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
(I Saw Kieron Gillen did this in his newsletter, and I liked that, so I stole the idea.)
An Amazing Spider-Man!
What do you want from me?!
Stuff that makes me happy.
More stuff that makes me happy.
Stuff you should support.
That’s it because I’m trying to make sure you open the next one.
So… Here we are. My first newsletter. I asked for people to sign up for this, which is always a weird feeling. But you did, which is always a nice feeling. And then I realized that now I actually have to write this thing. Back to weird feeling. As you can probably already tell this was not as carefully thought out as either you or I would like. But I’m going to power through that and hopefully things will get better as we go. Or maybe get worse. That might be fun too. Let’s find out.
Let’s start by talking about me…. If I’m being honest here, which I hope to be at least 10% of the time, there is not a lot going on with me. I haven’t gone anywhere or done anything in a really long time. But I got vaccinated and so now, if my understanding of science is correct, I am biologically immortal. Like a lobster. First thing I did after getting vaccinated was go to the Bronx and get some really dry cookies from a bakery I like on Arthur Avenue. That was also pretty much the only thing I’ve done since getting vaccinated too. But someday I’ll leave my house again. Probably to get more cookies. Imagine what this newsletter will be like then…
But the good news is, while locked in my apartment, I’ve been writing a lot! And that’s probably what you are signed up to hear about. But maybe it was the cookies. I don’t know. So what have I been writing? Well, that’s complicated. I got to co-write an arc of AMAZING SPIDER-MAN with stylish dresser Nick Spencer and a plethora of great artists. That was just released in trade paperback.
It is amazing getting to writer Peter Parker, Miles Morales, and all of them but honestly I enjoyed writing Spider-Woman the best.
But my main gig right now is bringing a little guy names Cole Cash to a big city called Gotham. Also known as Grifter from The WildC.A.T.S., Cole is exactly the kind of character I love to write. He’s badass, charismatic, incredibly flawed, and bound to get in way over his head. After writing a 2-part Grifter story set in the future in FUTURE STATE: DARK DETECTIVE #1 and #3, I am now doing a 5 issue story about the lovable dirtbag in the anthology book BATMAN URBAN LEGENDS #1-5. With the amazing Ryan Benjamin on art, my old colorist collaborator Antonio Fabela on colors, Saida Temofonte on letters, and the great Ben Abernathy running the show, we’re having a great time bring Grifter into Batman’s city and causing as much chaos as we can. We have lots of guest stars, Grifter kicks Batman in the junk at one point, and all sorts of cool stuff happens. Also long time Wildstorm fans should be keeping their eyes peeled for some… surprises.
BATMAN URBAN LEGENDS #1 and #2 are in stores now and have a lot of amazing other stories about cool folks like Red Hood, Oracle, The Outsiders, Harley Quinn, and… umm… Batman. But you can tell your local comic shop you’re buying it just for Grifter and they will give you a discount! (No, they won’t. Please don’t do this.)
I finished working on this newsletter the other night and was all ready to send it and then, as they say “man plans, the Joker laughs.” It was just announced that I am coming in to guest co-write issue #5 of DC’s truly excellent Joker series. If you haven’t been reading it so far, just know that it is James Tynion IV and Guillem March doing a horror noir procedural about Jim Gordon hunting the Joker across the globe. It’s like Silence of the Lambs meets… well, Batman I guess. It’s outstanding.
Anyway, James in his infinite foolishness, asked me if I wanted to step in and script a flashback issue while he and Guillem catch their breath. So with the expert guidance of James, along with my wonderful editors Dave Wielgosz and Ben Abernathy, we set out to tell the story of the Joker’s first night in Arkham Asylum. It’s a fun little standalone story that also feeds into the bigger tale James and them are telling in the book. And the best part? They got the legend Francesco Francavilla to draw it! I know!
This issue will be in shops July 13th and, in addition to the above, will have gorgeous covers by Kaare Andrews, Riccardo Federici, and Sean Phillips! But that’s not all. In addition to our fun flashback in Arkham, the issue also has another chapter of the very fun Punchline story by James, my mortal enemy Sam Johns, and the incredible Sweeney Boo. Why wouldn’t you ask your local comic shop to get you a dozen copies of this book?
As for other things I’ve been working on… I can’t talk about any of them. But I promise they are cool. And you shouldn’t want to hear about them now anyway. I have to save stuff for the next newsletter, right?
Which brings me to the section of the newsletter I’ve named “What do you want from me?!” because a) I think that’s funny. b) I want you to enjoy this newsletter too. If you’ve ever had the displeasure of sitting next to me at a dinner you know I talk a lot. But this is the place where you have the opportunity to try and steer this runaway train. Got questions you want answers to? Want to know secret things about comic books? Have a specific thing you’d like to see or hear me ramble about? Well you can shoot me an email response to this here newsletter (I think…) and if your question isn’t incredibly stupid or intimidatingly smart I might answer it here. That’s neat. It’s like all the worst parts of twitter with none of the convenience! So send in your questions!
Often people ask me what I listen to when I write. And the truth is I listen all different stuff. But the one thing that seems to always be true is that when I answer with any musician, the person who asks seems really disappointed. I don’t know what they were hoping for but I seem to never say that.
Lately I’ve been listening to a lot of Leonard Cohen. It safe to say he is among the greatest lyricists of all time. Bird On A Wire remains one of the best songs to listen to if you’ve been writing all night and then you notice the sun is coming up. It hits all the write depressing notes.
I try to read a lot, especially comics. It’s how I relax. It’s how I inspire myself. It’s how I do research for new projects. So basically, I read a lot. Going forward with this little newsletter I feel like it would be fun to highlight some of the stuff that I’ve read recently and enjoyed. So here goes.
Bastard by Max de Radiguès is a stunningly good book. Somehow both wonderfully full of thrills and twists and yet charmingly simple in its execution, it is exactly the type of crime story I love. The simple black and white line art conveys both incredibly concise and efficient storytelling without ever sacrificing emotional beats or big action. It had been on my ‘to read’ list for a very long time and I was mad at myself for not getting to it sooner while simultaneously being sad I had finished it. I highly recommend it.
Writing a whole thing just about myself feels really gross, so I wanted to use my very small soapbox here to promote some good causes that I believe in. If you have some extra money and want to support some good organizations, please consider helping out.
The National Bail Fund Network is a directory of over 80 different community run bail and bond fundraising organizations. You can sort by state, type of org, or even just donate to the emergency fund. Freedom shouldn’t be a privilege of the wealthy, so supporting these organizations that are helping to provide the same rights to all people in this country is a great thing to do.
Okay. We both know you’re really here for free stuff, so here you go.
You can read the 1st issue of my creator-owned book WE CAN NEVER GO HOME right here. Written by myself and Patrick Kindlon, with art by the great Josh Hood, colors by Amanda Scurti, letters by Jim Campbell, and covers by Michael Walsh, this was our love letter to screwed up teen superheroes, dark 80’s coming-of-age films, and road/crime movies like Badlands, True Romance, and Bonnie & Clyde. We made it a few years ago but folks are still discovering it now, which is a nice feeling. If you’ve never read it, give it a read and see if you dig it. There is a trade paperback out now for $10 and there was a short story for Free Comic Book Day a few years ago. Maybe someday we will do more.
That’s it. Thanks for reading and subscribing to this. I promise future newsletters will be shorter… or if not shorter they will be infrequent. Which comes to the same thing, if you think about it.