Tag Archives: comic books

ACME Comic Con report and Daytona Beach Comic Con

As the weather begins to warm up down here in sunny Florida, convention season is also kicking in to high gear! The ACME one day show at the ACME Superstore on Feb 27 was a smashing success. I was next to my good pals Barry and Jenny Gregory and there were a LOT of comic book creators there. It reminded me much of the great shows I attended in the late 80s early 90s when you could walk by the tables and buy actual COMIC BOOKS from creators instead of just pin-up art. Needless to say, I was very impressed with the show. I was surprised, however, by the fact that none of my “comic writing” students showed up for the event. What a terrific opportunity to meet people actually making comics and they were no where to be seen. What is it they say about leading a horse to water?

ACME produced a “thank you video” after the event and if you’re watching closely, you can spot me and Barry a couple of different times. Here’s that video.

I’m anticipating great things for this upcoming one day show in Daytona Beach. This will be my third time to do a show at Tom Raupp’s fantastic event and I’m super thankful he’s inviting me back. If you’ve seen me post about this show before, you already know my thoughts: fantastic show with a LOT of comics. If you like to buy and read comics, this is the local show for you. There are probably more comics for sale at this one day event than at the “major” shows I’ve been to in the area where the focus in on tv and movie actors. (I don’t have a problem with them, but sometimes don’t understand why they are at a “comic” convention). Here’s the link to the Daytona Beach Comic Convention page on Facebook. Daytona-Beach-Comic-Book-Convention

daytonabeachcomiccon

 

You want to know what my problem with the Daytona show is? Well, thanks for asking—I’ll tell you. Not enough TIME! You see, of course I’m there to sign my books for readers and fans and to promote my work for new readers and fans…but doggone-it, I like to read comics, too! I want more time to shop! I know what you’re saying: “just do it.” Well, there’s usually so much traffic with the creators that I can’t get away that much. This is good thing and not a bad thing, but there are so many comics there that I want to spend more time shopping. Last time I walked away with a stack of about 30 comics!

So, It won’t just be me there, you can also meet comic creators (and my pals) Barry Gregory and Jeff Whiting (who’s running a Kickstarter—click below and go pledge before he’s done! )…and a host of others. Come see me!

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1875051451/extraterrestrial/

Advertisements

2 Comments

Filed under Speaking/Presenting/Appearances

Comic Book Editing

It isn’t unusual that I get asked to read and offer critique or feedback on someone’s work. When I have the time, I very much enjoy it. I’m much more inclined to fill my time with friends’ work than with that of folks I don’t really know. And while I don’t really “advertise,” I also do editing work—y’know, that people pay me for—though I’m very particular on what I take on. Usually if someone just wants a quick “wha’cha’think,” the chances are more likely the lower the page count it. It isn’t that I don’t want to read their 600 page novel, but I just don’t have time.

Of course, that lack of time scares me sometimes. But that’s not what this post is about.

I enjoy comics/graphic novels most of all, and it’s in that format that I get called on most (prose being 2nd…well, only other).

But it’s also that format that tends to aggravate me the most because of the huge misunderstanding of the role of an editor in comics—even by people who have produced them. Please know that I’m mostly talking about those who really don’t what they’re doing even though they’re doing it.

It often happens like this: I get an email asking if I’d be interested in “editing my graphic novel.” I respond with 50 questions (content, audience, etc., etc.) It’s usually at this stage I find out the graphic novel—all 200 pages of it—is already finished. I generally respond, that “oh, you don’t need an ‘editor,’ you want a ‘proofreader.'” We then swap emails with them trying to convince me that no, what they really want is an editor, even though the entire book is already produced.

People, at that stage, the person who reads the book is no longer an “editor.” A “copy-editor,” maybe, a “proofreader,” for certain. And please don’t think I’m badmouthing copy-editors. They are a vital part of the production/assembly line, but that is not the role of the traditional comic editor.

A traditional comic/graphic novel editor is involved practically from the ground floor. Most often, the writer has submitted or finished a plot outline. At this stage, the editor can make broad story suggestions and it is fairly easy for the writer to make changes. From there, the writer breaks it down scene by scene, even page by page (meaning the printed comic page). This is done so the editor can get a sense of pacing; they can see what the writer intends to happen on each page and point out lulls in the story, or places that need more time/explanation. It’s then that the writer goes to script. At this point, the editor has read and commented at a minimum twice. Writing the script almost becomes an act of typing (yeah—not really, but you get the point).

Granted, once the art is done, the editor reads it again…but at that point, it’s almost an act of proofreading.

I enjoy editing…quite a bit. I enjoy helping a writer find that special thing that makes the story jump out.

Proofreading I do…but it isn’t at the top of my list of things I enjoy. It’s more mechanical that creative. There are many better proofreaders out there than me.

2 Comments

Filed under Columns, writing

MidSouthCon 30 report

When I first started writing comics, I lived in Hattiesburg, Miss., and was a regular guest at CoastCon for several years beginning in 1989. The crew was good to me (and the entire Silverline crew), it was close, and it seemed like everyone locally was attending. But I was always aware of MidSouthCon and really wanted to go. I couldn’t go because it was either on the exact same date or the weekend before or after. Being a struggling writer, I couldn’t really afford to go to both. It wasn’t until the late 90s that I had the opportunity to go to MidSouthCon, held in Memphis, the city of my birth.

Thus I didn’t really realize it was the 30th until sometime during the day Saturday (they use the Roman numerals and since I’m not Roman, I can’t read them easily)…and I don’t know if it was that or just that it is a sign of recovery, but there were a ton of people there; it was very crowded at times—which is good.

This was the first year that a)I didn’t set up at a table; b)I didn’t attend the entire weekend (I couldn’t); c)my son, Brett, had the chance to attend a con. Because I didn’t have a table, I felt a bit orphaned. It was a strange experience. Brett seemed to love the experience, though. He played games practically the entire time (though I did tell him he couldn’t spend $60 on a sword), even electing to skip out on my panels!

My first panel of the day was shared with a few folks, including John Jackson Miller and Anthony Taylor. The topic was “Playing in other people’s sandbox,” which is about writing material that belongs to someone else (like Star Wars or Planet of the Apes). One of the common questions there was about fan fiction as it seemed several were under the impression that writing it is a good way to “get noticed.” Miller was quick to point out that the Star Wars franchise folks do not want that for fear of possible lawsuits. So it doesn’t get read by people who would matter. I’ve never really understood the draw of fan fiction and have read very little of it. My thoughts are write something original; create your own world to play in. That, or get HIRED to do the work.

I then had the opportunity to sit on the “Marketing for Authors” panel with such writers as A. P. Stephens, Janine Spendlove, Mike Preston, Peggy DeKay, and Stephen Zimmer. Zimmer was the only one I’d ever met before, but was a good panel with lots of questions from those in the audience. As you might guess, digital publishing was a big topic!

The last panel I did was “Indie Comics” with Sean Taylor and Tom Bondurant. I’ve “known” Sean for several years now, but never had the pleasure of meeting him in person and was nice to finally get to do so. Go visit Sean’s site to learn more about him. Tom writes for CBR.

I would tell you that Dean Zachary was also on the panel, but he bailed! (in his defense, he was making money in the Dealer’s Room) But I did get to visit with him and other artist extraordinaire Jim Hall and Mitch Foust. Actually, I had a more lengthy chat with Mitch on comic story-telling standing in the hallway at the close of the con which was quite enjoyable.

There’s a whole host of folks that I didn’t get to spend nearly enough time with but who I want to shout out to here: A. Christopher Drown (who was the recipient of a Darrel Award!), Alexander S.
Brown, David Blalock, Herika R. Raymer, J.L. Mulvihill, AND, some folks I had the opportunity to meet for the first time: Kimberly Richardson (who is the editor for an anthology to which I’ve submitted AND who said she remembered my story and liked it—so that bodes well for the story), S.P. Dorning (who I’ve swapped a ton of emails with, but had never met face to face), and Bobby Nash.

And since Brittany had the camera with her for Prom…I didn’t get to take any pictures. Still, a good time was had!

Leave a comment

Filed under General

Wizard World Comic Con 2011

Those who’ve known me for more’n a decade know that I’ve been to dozens and dozens of comic book/science fiction (recently turned media) conventions. I first began going as a fan and not long after, as a “guest.” Most of the shows I’ve been to have been in God’s country down here in the Southland: Dallas Fantasy Festival, Atlanta DragonCon, MegaCon (Orlando), NOSFF (New Orleans), CoastCon (Biloxi), MobiCon (Mobile), ChimneyCon and MissCon (Jackson), MidSouthCon and ShadowCon(Memphis), Chicago ComicCon, WonderCon (Oakland), SPE (Small Press Expo), APE (Alternative Press Expo), and a couple I’m sure I’ve forgotten. Most of those named I’ve been to multiple times, CoastCon probably being my most attended show (and the FIRST to ever invite me as a guest).

I say all that to say that when I recently attended Wizard World Comic Con in New Orleans, I had a pretty good idea what I thought I’d expect. Boy was I surprised! The guys at Wizard World—my dealings in particular were with Stephen Shamus—know how to put on a top notch show. I was surprised at multiple things: how clean it was, how smoothly it ran, how mostly family-friendly it was, how professional it was. I don’t know all the politics of it all, but I do know that Wizard World has purchased or is in the process of purchasing conventions all around the nation (they bought a spot in Nashville and I hope I get to attend that show!)

One of my personal highlights for the show was getting able to visit with and see old pals (picture: left to right: Steven Butler, yours truly, Ken Branch, Dan Nakrosis, Mitch Byrd). Wizard even worked it out so that our tables were positioned immediately next to us. Talk about convenience for our fans! The neat thing was that it’d been 20 years since me, Mitch and Steven had signed copies together and never before had me, Mitch, Steven and Ken ever been in the same place at the same time. Neither here nor there, I guess, still, it was pretty cool. Ken is pushing his hot off the press graphic novel, 35 Years Will You Survive?, a story of global warming repercussions.

I also had the opportunity to visit with Christy Butler, Steven’s wife. I think Christy is a lot like BJ (my wife—for those one or two who didn’t know) in that a little bit of “conventioning” is enough. I tell the story of BJ’s first trip to the San Diego Comic Con, the granddaddy of them all and how she showed up at the Malibu booth and said she was going to look around. Fifteen minutes later she was back and saying goodbye—she’d seen enough of the convention to suit her fancy. And she went shopping in downtown.

Fifteen minutes.

Another of my joys was that my daughter Brittany got to come along with me. She also had a good time. She got to meet several actors and ask them for suggestions about becoming an actress. Most of them didn’t really help her much AND she didn’t get to get any autographs (they were selling signatures. Adam West wanted $60 for his autograph!). However, Ray Park (the guy who played Darth Maul in Star Wars) was incredibly nice to her. And it was funny, cause she—not being a big Star Wars fan—came back to the table to tell me about it and called him the “Sith dude.”

I’ll eagerly do another Wizard World Comic show…and you should check out one in your area!

1 Comment

Filed under Projects

New project!

I’m excited to get to announce that I’ve just signed on to be a freelance Editor for Elfin Kids, a publishing company out of India. I’m very excited about it all.

I first “met” them by bidding on a writing project at one of the freelance writer websites I visit infrequently. I spotted an ad for a company wanting comic scripts…so I bid. After some time, and a few email swaps, we agreed on all the particulars. I was excited, because I was doing a graphic novel (80 pages!) adaptation of a book that I like AND had used in my English 101 classes.

After some time, the publisher asked me about freelance editing. I kinda put her off because we were still in the middle of trying to move and all that. However, after the move we began swapping emails again, primarily about comics in general. Finally, after some time and discussion, I decided–based on what I was hearing from her–that I could put my skills to good use with them. AND–and this is one of the most important things to me now–my kids would be able to see everything I worked on.

So, last week I signed a freelance “Editor in Chief” agreement with them. And they put me right to work! 🙂 I’ll also travel a little with/for them, which should be exciting. One of the most exciting prospects is the idea of traveling to India and working with their staff of newcomer editors to help train them. Hey–that combines two things I really enjoy: teaching and comics! No, it’s not scheduled yet, but I’m already excited about the prospect. If it isn’t too costly, we might even see about bringing the whole family during one of my trips. But I haven’t talked to them about that yet.

So, while I can’t talk alot yet about the particulars, I’m excited to be involved with Elfin Kids. The publisher, Ratna, recently sent out the company’s mission statement to a whole host of creators. It reads: “To entertain and educate young minds by creating unique illustrated books to recount stories of human values, to arouse curiousity in the world around us, and to inspire by tales of great deeds by unforgettable people.”

Looks like I’ll have to get a passport!

6 Comments

Filed under Projects

Who Needs A Superhero?

I recently read Who Needs A Superhero? written by H. Michael Brewer. While I suspect that there may be one or two reading this post who’ve read the book, I suspect that most haven’t. Let me just say that I think every fan of comics and Christ-follower should read this book. In a nutshell, Brewer takes some of the all-time favorites and “finds virtue, vice and holiness” in them.
Without giving anything away, he tackles various heros and heroines and then shows us how they communicate Biblical truths. Characters included and discussed are: Superman, Batman, Hulk, Spider-Man, Iron man, Wonder Woman, Thor, Daredevil, X-Men, Fantastic Four, Punisher, Green Arrow, Captain America, and The Spirit. Quite the spandex lineup!
For those of us who’ve read and loved comics for years, Brewer doesn’t really tell us anything about the characters we don’t already know–however, he does put them in a Biblical light, something we probably haven’t done. I know that I hadn’t, not for the overwhelming majority of them anyway.
The other cool thing is that Brewer really knows his stuff: comics AND Bible. We didn’t get overlong explanations of the characters. I enjoyed the way he summarized what we know about the hero without being long and drawn out…and then brought in Biblical truths revealed by the character and their story. He’s handled it so that the devoted comic afficianado is interested and the casual comic reader is equipped with enough information to understand.Brewer ties both a love for Christ and a love for comics together very nicely.

1 Comment

Filed under Books/reading