Inform Lord Vader...
Chapter 48: Did Dave Pay The Pizza Rent?
Behold a New Computer!
Kneel before the Storm King!
DC vs Vampires! Crossover! Razorblades! Oh my!
Help out Ivan!
Mixtape! - Late summer days make me listen to country music. I don’t know why!
This week is off to a great start for me because I got a new computer. Well, that’s not entirely true. I bought a new computer over a month ago when I went to save something and, rather than saving, my computer decided to go to sleep instead. For a writer with a lot of deadlines this is, without a doubt, the single most fun thing that can happen. It’s the writing equivalent of driving into the desert at night, stopping to pee, and turning back around to find that your car has exploded. Anyway, I bought the new computer and picked it up from a very confusing gentleman at the Apple store, but then when I got home I had deadlines and deadlines and… long story short- the computer has been in an unopened box next to my desk for a little over a month. But now it’s open and it’s up and running like a computer.
It was definitely time for the old silver box to rest though, so don’t feel bad. My shift key was broken so in order to capitalize words I had to turn on caps lock for one letter. See how EASY it is for me to capitalize stuff now? Anyway, the old girl served me well. (Girl? Boy? Is giving machines gendered pronouns no longer en vogue? It feels not great but I don’t know if that’s because of how needlessly hard society is making accepting people’s gender identity or because machines are soon going to kill us all so we shouldn’t be ‘cute’ with them.)
At some point I will figure out how many scripts were shat out of that ol’ boy but it’s got to be well over 100. 200 maybe? I have literally no idea how many comic scripts I’ve written.
And for you tech nerds that are wondering what kind of computer I got, it was this one-
In other fun news, I took a rare day off over the weekend to visit the Storm King Art Center about an hour outside the city. Despite saying “I should go” for the last many years, I never did. And with both me and James Tynion talking regularly about how we never have free time anymore, I figured we could enter into some sort of mutually assured deadline destruction by making plans to go together. So we took a daytrip up to lovely New Windsor, New York. I sort of assumed it might end up in his newsletter, but I guess his day to day life is more interesting than mine.
If you’re not familiar, Storm King is a giant outdoor sculpture garden spread out over 500 acres of rolling hills, fields, and forest. It also claims to be the largest outdoor collection of modern sculpture in the world. I have no way to verify that, but sure, why not? The collection has pieces from a lot of the most famous modern sculptors that even am uncultured louse like me knows. People like Henry Moore, Isamu Noguchi, Alexander Calder, Richard Serra, Alice Aycock, and Roy Lichtenstein.
My favorite piece was this one, Pyramidian by Mark di Suvero. It really dominates the landscape in a breathtaking way.
It was a really fun way to spend the day and recharge my creative battery, but I realize in hindsight I think I didn’t really interact with the work the way I was meant to. Or maybe not meant to, but the way I wanted to. I sort of treated the sprawling fields and trails like a normal museum and shuffled along from one piece to the next. But the way the art interacts with the landscape transforms the landscape itself, making it part of the art. When I go back I’d like to try and experience the whole place as one giant installation. I’d bring food and a book, some music to listen to, and find some good shady spots to rest, and just be a part of the art and the landscape rather than just trying to ingest it all.
This realization of how I approached the art there sent me down a long path of thinking about how I interact with all of the art I consume and the larger context of the experience. Besides the ritual of the movie theater, the concert hall, and to some extent the comic shop, so much of the creative things I interact with I sort of shotgun into my brain in an unhealthy, or at least uninteresting way. I tend to think of the things I enjoy as immersive experiences, and that’s true, but not wholly true. Where I am and what else I am doing plays a part, even when I just bury myself in a book. I really want to make an effort to take the time to read and listen to music in more dynamic and interesting places going forward. That’s my new year’s resolution… In August.
Also if I go back to Storm King, James and I discussed sneaking in a life size Jar Jar Binks statue and positioning it discreetly in the woods for everyone to… appreciate.
Turns out I have three books out this week. I am as surprised as you.
First up is DC VS VAMPIRES: ALL OUT WAR #2.
Born from my head but made good by the great Alex Paknadel, drawn by the wonderful Pasquale Qualano, and featuring a very fun backup story by Emma Vieceli and Haining, this issue has it all. Batman’s former butler Alfred! Batman’s former lover Talia al Ghul! Batman’s friend Wonder Woman! Batman’s evil son Nightwing! And a whole lot of chaos. Don’t believe me? Check out this lovely preview on Bleeding cool.
Also out this week is the hardcover collection of the indie horror anthology RAZORBLADES.
If you missed the singles issues of Razorblades, well you’re shit out of luck because they’re really hard to get now. Except that today all of them have been collected in this fancy hardcover book. Razorblades is the brainchild of the aforementioned James “too cool to say he’s hanging out with me” Tynion and Steve “probably would also not admit we hung out” Foxe. It features comics, illustration, and interviews with some of the biggest and best in modern horror comics- James, Ram V., Tillie Walden, John Pearson, Trevor Henderson, Scott Snyder, and more. And mixed in among all those horror giants, Tyler Boss and I have a 10 page story about an armoire that spits out feral children. It has gorgeous colors by Michael Garland and it’s pretty weird. Since it’s only 10 pages I’m not going to share a preview but you can look at this-
Also, since I mentioned Razorblades co-creator and excellent writer of X-MEN ‘92 and ARCHER & ARMSTRONG, Mr. Steve Foxe, I think I should probably point out that he has a great new Newsletter he just launched. Sadly, it is not called FOXE NEWS, but you should sign up anyway. He’s one of the good ones for sure.
And my final release of the day is a doozy.
That’s right. Baby wrote his first 3-D comic and I’m never going back to stupid 2 dimensions again.
So the brilliant maniacs behind CROSSOVER- Donny Cates, Geoff Shaw, Dee Cunniffe, and John J. Hill decided to rerelease CROSSOVER #1 in 3-D, complete with 3-D glasses. But not content to just give you another dimension, they threw in a bunch of bonus stuff for the effort. And some of that bonus stuff is me! My good friend and amazing artist Megan Hutchison-Cates called me up and asked me if I wanted to work on a story with her. I of course said yes because I knew it would be fun and weird, but also I was the best man at her wedding so I am honor bound. But there was a catch. She had already drawn the story. It would have to be written “Marvel-style” which is an industry term meaning “makes everyone’s job harder.” Megan sent me 8 gorgeous, very strange pages that spanned like 6 completely different art styles, and asked me to write a script in a couple of days. I tried to match the wild energy she put into those pages, while also channeling some of the meta narrative of Crossover, while also making fun of me and Donny a lot. Kind of a dream gig, really.
I can’t show you a preview because it’s in 3-D, so if you don’t have the glasses on it would just make you barf and die. But trust me, it’s fun and weird and worth your money.
Ivan Brandon is a great writer and a good friend. Or maybe he’s a good writer and a great friend. That’s not really important now. I’ve known Ivan for a long time. We actually first met years ago at New York Comic Con when I was still a wee unpublished writer handing out my ashcan comics to anyone who would take them. I was a fan of his comic NYC MECH with the great Andy Macdonald. I sheepishly went up to Ivan and mumbled something about being a fan and wanting to give him my comic and he smiled, looked me dead in the eyes, and said “I don’t read comics.” And then he turned and walked away.
I think I muttered something like “Then you shouldn’t fucking make them,” and hurried on my way. I pretty much disliked him a fair amount for the next 4-5 years. Only years later, when we were stuck at some bar together chit-chatting, did I bother to bring up the story. Remembering the look on his face still makes me happy. It was pure horror. The part of the story I missed is that he was, of course, joking. He had hurried back to happily take my book but I was already gone, cursing his name. So I had held this pretty great grudge with him this whole time over what is, in fact, a truly excellent joke. And through his mortified realization and my embarrassingly recanted curses, we became buddies. To this day he still regularly brings it up because the idea that someone would think he’d ever act like that is mortifying to him. And of course it is. Ivan is a tireless supporter of comics and comic creators, a friend to (almost) all that know him.
But none of that is the point of this. The point is that Ivan recently suffered some major health problems and his insurance had lapsed, so he is about to be facing a brutal mountain of bills that no one should ever face. But you can help out by giving to his gofundme page right here-
Jokes aside, Ivan could really use any help you could spare to get back on his feet and not have to damage his body worrying about how he’s going to pay his bills. Besides the above gofundme you can support Ivan by buying some of his books like-
And support him and millions of other Americans in his situation by demanding healthcare reform from your elected leaders. Because we can make sure no one has to go through this, we just have to agree on it.
Literally don’t have anything to say about this song other than it’s a banger and you should play it loud.
Stay safe. Take care of each other. Read a book in a park.