It is a period of civil war.
Chapter 3. Junior slump.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Yet another introduction!
Task Force Z!
The Joker Presents: A Puzzlebox!
The Silver Coin!
What do you want from me?!
Stuff you should support.
What’s this? Another news dispatch? Has it been (indeterminate amount of time) already? Yes, it has.
But this time I actually have news, so that’s a big change from the last one. I have not one, not two, but three new projects to discuss. If you want to know what they are, read on! If you don’t, I have to wonder why you bothered opening this email. Either way I’m glad you’re here.
I’m going to keep this intro brief because there is a lot to discuss today. I will say I finally watched I’M THINKING OF ENDING THINGS last week. I’ve been on a big Jesse Plemons kick for a while, and after watching the last season of FARGO I feel like I’d watch Jessie Buckley in anything she does. But like in all his movies, Charlie Kaufman really stands out from the rest of the creative team, and maybe all creative teams, in such a stunning way. I don’t think there is a single writer working in film today who could write the movies Charlie Kaufman does. He is truly a singular voice. It’s fascinating to watch him try to challenge the audience in new ways as audiences come to expect the unexpected from him. It’s a good reminder that we need more people constantly willing to try new shit. It’s true for audiences. It’s true for creators. Honestly, it’s just true for life in general.
Because a town like Gotham has a lot of good uses for a corpse… TASK FORCE Z!
Starting in August comics legend (I don’t use the term lightly) Darick Robertson, myself, and Diego Rodriguez begin down THE ROAD TO TASK FORCE Z. Who are they? What do they want? How does Jason Todd fit in? You’ll have to pick up DETECTIVE COMICS #1041 and #1042 to find out. With a main story by the amazing team of Mariko Tamaki and Dan Mora, it’s already a must read book. But now? Now you double must read it.
I can’t say much because I don’t want to spoil anything and because my wonderful editors Paul Kaminski and Dave Wielgosz will kill me. I’m not that scared of Paul. But Dave is from Massachusetts and I don’t need to get hit with a bottle and have my shirt pulled over me head for this. But I think I can say that we are beginning a very screwed up and very fun story that will focus on a couple of my favorite characters in all of DC. Bring a shovel.
You can read more about it here!
Who wants to hear a story?… THE JOKER PRESENTS: A PUZZLEBOX!
This one is going to be weird. The G.C.P.D have a mysterious corpse, a magical box, and a murderer's row of the city's most dangerous villains sitting in a jail cell. Now all they need to figure out is what exactly happened. Fortunately, one suspect is willing to talk. Unfortunately, it's The Joker.
Starting in August, myself and a gaggle of my favorite artists invite you to spend a night in the Gotham Central interrogation room for a dozen tales of murder, mayhem, and mystery as told by the Clown Prince of Crime himself. Can you solve this puzzle before the sun comes up?
This is a truly weird and fun book. It’s unlike anything I’ve ever done, and maybe unlike anything anyone has ever done. My amazing editors Katie Kubert and Liz Erickson deserve a ton of credit for helping build and steer this crazy, chaotic ship. But when you all see the scope and madness of what we have planned, I know you’ll agree it was all worth it. And if you’re a DC UNIVERSE INFINITE subscriber you will have the chance to read the chapters starting in June! That’s so soon!
The first issue features chapters drawn by the magnificent Jesús Merino & Ulises Arreola, as well as the great Josh Hixson. Future stories will be drawn by an all-awesome lineup of people like- Keron Grant, Domo Stanton, Dani, Juni Ba, Vanesa Del Rey, Ricardo Lopez Ortiz, and Chris Mooneyham. And the series will have covers by Daredevil writer Chip Zdarsky! Apparently he draws now too.
You can read more about the series here!
It’s time for more of… THE SILVER COIN!
If you haven’t been reading the new horror anthology series THE SILVER COIN, I don’t want to say you’ve been screwing up, but you’ve been screwing up. The brainchild of the amazingly talented writer/artist Michael Walsh, each issue follows a seemingly cursed coin as it falls into the hands of different people and begins to change their fate forever. Each issue is a spooky standalone story written by a different superstar writer. The first two are written by Chip Zdarsky (there’s that name again!) and Kelly Thompson, with more chapters coming from Ed Brisson, Jeff Lemire, and Walsh himself. Lotta Canadians. Like 80%. That feels too high to me.
Well the book has done so well that it is now an ongoing series. But how do you match the awesomeness of the first arc? You get superstar writers like Joshua Williamson, Ram V., and Vita Ayala to write issues as well. But then Walsh felt bad for me because all my friends were getting to write issues, so he asked if I could as well! Another victory for guilt!
In all seriousness, I have known Michael Walsh for years. He did all the main covers for my first creator owned book WE CAN NEVER GO HOME and we have been good friends since even before that. But more than that he is an artist whose work I am so deeply in love with. So I am beyond honored he asked me to play in his screwed up little world. And, as an added bonus, he said if the issue I write sells better than the issue he writes he will give me his dog! So I really need you all to make sure to pre-order some extra copies of my issue when the time is right.
For more SILVER COIN goodness go read this!
Enough of me talking about me. Let’s have you ask questions about me! And remember: If you have a question you want answered by me in a weirdly public way, you can just reply to this newsletter. And if I pick your question to answer here… Well, nothing happens. But it would be cool if something did happen, right? I should work on that.
Thanks so much for the question. So my story is a little weird because my whole family are professional writers. My dad, my mom, my uncle, my brother, all writers. So I knew at a very young age that I definitely did not want to be a writer. I love music a lot and spent a long time doing everything you can do in the music business that doesn’t involve talent. But, to paraphrase Jack Kirby, music will break your heart. So I spent a longtime trying to figure out what else there was that I loved as much as music and was as equally brutal of a profession. Since I’d been reading comics my whole life, writing comics just seemed like the only option. So I set out to figure out how comics were made. I did a lot of research. I studied my favorite works. I read books on craft, books on theory, and interviews with my favorite creators. I saved up all my money and sold a ton of my stuff. And then I started writing comics hoping someone would put them out. Cut to a bunch of years later and I’m guilt tripping my old friends into letting me write stories about cursed money for them.
I will say, and I don’t know your situation, but there is no shame in having a day job and writing. Writing and making a living off writing are two very different things. If you spend all day at your day job wishing you were writing, then go home and write when you’re done. Or on the weekends. Or on your lunch breaks. Or when your boss isn’t looking. Or when your boss is looking. If you want to have written a story, you have to just write it.
Tom addresses me in a very weird way and asks-
Hey Tom Tom Club,
I just announced 3 new projects today. This seems like maybe you’re expecting too much from this newsletter. But let’s address your letter point by point.
-Soon. And don’t call me that.
-It… I don’t…. has it?
-Good news- the artist from DEAD DOG’S BITE is drawing WHAT’S THE FURTHEST PLACE FROM HERE?. Bad news- the writer of DEAD DOG’S BITE is not writing WTFPFH?. Good news- the writer of DEAD DOG’S BITE is drawing WTFPFH?.
It will be worth it.
There will not be free candy.
On to things I didn’t write. Last year I finally got around to reading all 4 volumes of Swiss cartoonist Frederik Peeters lush, expansive, intimate sci-fi opus AAMA. Suffice to say I was blown away and I quickly picked up every book Peeters had written or drawn. Last week I went to the reading pile, or ‘the mountain’ as it is not so affectionately known around here, and I took out SAND CASTLE.
Peeters gorgeous linework once again takes center stage, but this story is written by his sometime collaborator Pierre Oscar Lévy. What’s fascinating is Lévy’s ability to move in the same spaces as Peeters with his storytelling. Immediately the familiar and the mundane crash into the bizarre the grotesque and begin to merge seamlessly until they are indistinguishable. SAND CASTLE is about a few different groups of people who find themselves on a beach that is maybe magical, maybe cursed. From this very simple bottle premise you get a story that captures this dazzlingly wide array of emotions and themes as the cast fight and fuck, contemplate their lives and embrace their deaths, and in all these moments they expose who they really are. It’s a gorgeous study in very simple premise science fiction. But it does what I love for sci-fi to do, which is spend less time worrying about the science, but uses it to elevate and explore the fiction. The simple high concept leads to an emotionally thrilling and exhausting crescendo in the ways that only great drama can. And all along Peeters creates a beautiful world that slowly crumbles before our eyes. But in the end there is beauty in that too.
This is the section where I recommend that you, my dear readers, spend some of that spare change you’ve been hoarding.
Last week the Samir Mansour Bookstore, the largest bookstore in Gaza, was blown up by an Israeli airstrike. I am doing my best to not make this dispatch a place where people will feel alienated or offended. I swear. But it is hard to live in this world and interact with this world and not talk about the things in it that bother you. And it is hard to talk about Israel and Palestine without your words bothering one group or another. But as any writer or any lover of writing will tell you, if there is a roadmap to a better world, it is found in the pages of books.
“But he who destroys a good book, kills reason itself.” - John Milton
If you can spare any money, please donate here to help rebuild the Samir Mansour bookstore.
That’s all from me. See you in 2 weeks where maybe we will try something new and exciting! Or maybe we will do more of this again because new and exciting scares me.
So proud of you hiring Chip for covers, the guy needs the encouragement.