Wednesday, November 23, 2005


Morning, kiddies!

Today has been a good day for the creative writer in me, and only marginally includes any real writing!

Rich Jordan, a very talented artist who I found on, a site that features the work of many fine comic book artists and writers, was going to, a while back, work on a project of mine called STILLETO (or STILETTO, I still can't remember how to spell it). This happened at a time when I was doing some real hardcore shopping for collaborators; I had a number of projects in the works, and was in a frenzy looking for art-guys. Rich graciously consented to draw the project, with nothing more than the promise of publication, since that's about all I CAN promise, but with the hope of some dough somewhere down the line.

Things being what they are in THIS writer's life, I lost track of Rich, after receiving some beeyooteefull concept sketches from him. Loyal readers of this blog will remember that I lost a few illustrators in the last couple weeks, as well as gaining more than a few rejection letters from publishers-that-be. I'd heard nothing at all from Rich, however.

Yesterday, whilst poring over the wounds on my psyche caused by the rejections of both stripes, I decided to inflict one on myself, and write to Rich, telling him that it really, truly was okay if he didn't want to do the project, but that he should just sob, sniff, TELL me!

Rich wrote back, and said, nope, he was STILL INTERESTED! Oh, joy, oh rapture! I quickly forwarded him the character synopses for him to cull sketches from while I finish up a project I'm currently doing, so as to dash off the first chapter of STILLETO (or STILETTO).

I'm happier than a pig in poo, and wanted to share my happiness with all of you (hi, Nicky!).

Lesson learned, even for an old-timer like myself; just when you think you're at the end of your rope, someone feeds you more line! Yay!

More later...

Monday, November 14, 2005

Another One Bites the Dust...

The life of a comic book writer is fraught with peril and frustration. The life of an indy comic book writer is all that, times two.

I just found out that an artist who was going to take over a book from another artist has himself decided not to do the project. The project in question was all set up with a publisher, who put the thing on hold due to an overwhelming schedule of upcoming titles. Now, I got no publisher, and no artist with whom to generate a pitch proposal (publishers really like visuals with their comic book proposals; go figger!).

I don't want this blog to turn into a bitch session home, so please don't feel bad for me; that's not why I'm writing this. Instead, think of RAFWRITES! as a cautionary blog, a place to hear about the trials and tribulations of a long time writer, in a short term memory industry...

more later...

Friday, November 11, 2005

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So, I guess I'm going to really be diving into the world of online comics, or at least attempting to.

For years now, I've been fortunate enough to always have a home, somewhere, in which to publish my work. Times being what they are, or maybe my talent being what it is, that doesn't seem to be the case anymore. At least, not to the extent that I'd like. Too many responses from 'brand new' companies who are somehow overwhelmed with projects through 2010; too many artists who are hungry, absolutely ravenous, about getting published, but don't have the fortitude to actually produce anything, or suddenly decide that they need 'money', in order to finish the book, the book they couldn't get from anyone else, and will now use as a published sample to get work from Marvel or DC or whomever.

I want to be mad; I want to rail at the world and shout "Not Fair!!!" I shouldn't have to work this hard after 20 years! And then I tell myself to grow up, and deal.

The online world has many many perks for comic book creators, and a few downsides as well. The ups are that there are no distributors to dictate what they will carry or not in their catalogs (remember when distributors just distributed?) and thus prevent me from sharing my meager efforts with the rest of the world; the ups are that my work can be seen in color; the ups are that, potentially, that same work can be seen by about a zillion more people (or at least five more) online, than ever could in hard copy form. The ups are that I can see my work more immediately, and get responses more immediately, than I ever could before. Another up is that I can tell a story in whatever length I need to, not have to worry about page count, or nothin'!

The downsides? Well, hell, I still gotta find that artist, and now I'll need a colorist, to boot.

Online comics are still, for the most part, considered a 'wasteland' of some type, or, rather, a 'junkyard', of failed comic projects or, worse, failed comic creators. That's really sad, but it is at least rooted in some reality. It is akin, for me, of the early to mid 80's, during the Indy comic boom, when anyone with enough coin in his or her pocket could get their comic book published, regardless of the quality of the work (this is, of course, before the rise in paper and printing, before the death of the comic book specialty store). And while, yes, there are a great many earnest, talentless people making comics online, there are also quite a number of really, really, awesome people who are having fun and doing great work. And who are being read!!! And those other cats, who aren't quite as talented? I say the same thing now as I did during the 80's; more power to 'em, man! If you can, and you want to, then you should, and let the public decide if they like it or not.

Some very hip online sites you should hit are , moderntales,com , komikwerks , pv comics (just found them today!), and, while I'm sure there are more out there, there are still more being created every day. Check out as many as you can, you'll be glad you did.

And to those naysayers who say that webcomics will never replace paper, I say, yeah? So? We don't have room for another kind of comic book entertainment?

I'll let you know how things turn out, 'kay?

Huh? Oh, yeah, no, don't worry; I'll still work in the paper industry, too. Hell, I'll work for whoever will have me!

Monday, November 07, 2005


Good friend and great artist Juan Arevalo has just informed me that he has yet another calendar girl store set up, this one featuring a dolly who celebrates the New Year! Check out the new store at
Juan is going to be setting up his own premium store soon, so I'll let you know when that happens. Way to go, Juan!

Friday, October 28, 2005


Hey All!

Today I wanted to tell you about my good friend Juan Arevalo, who is a talented beast and a great great guy, who happens to draw phenomenal piccies!

Juan has a new cafepress shop featuring the first in a series of pinup-girl pinups! The series is called CALENDAR GIRLS and the first image, appropriately enough, is a Christmas Cutie!

You can check out the store by clicking here

If you like smart and sexy cheesecake (and who don't like cheesecake?), visit this store today!

Wednesday, October 19, 2005


Hey, all five of you! Check it out! I'm going to be appearing, with my Hyperthetical cronies, Antonio Maldonado and Jonathan Knipping, at the Chicago Comic Book Marketplace convention, on October 30, 2005 (that's a Sunday, right?), from 10 am to 4 pm. It's being held at the Embassy Suites, 511 North Columbus Drive, and admission's only 5 dollah, cheap! Come on down and see our wares, we're gonna have stickers, t-shirts, sketchbooks, prints, mag-a-nets, postcards, all KINDA stuff! Visit the Hype-site at to see some of our offerings.

Or you can just rap with us, and visit our good friends, LaMorris Richmond of B.L.A.M. comics, and painter Doug Klauba, as well as the gang from It's gonna be a rockin' good time! Visit for more info, yeah?

See you there!

Friday, October 14, 2005

IMHO: A History of Violence

So, yesterday I saw 'A History of Violence', the new film by David Cronenberg, starring Viggo Mortensen, Maria Bello, Billy Hurt and Ed Harris...

In my humble opinion, you need to watch this movie. But I warn you, it's an odd one. Cronenberg, like Wes Craven, like Sam Raimi, will now and again go out of his milieu to make a film, the whys and wherefores of doing this being beyond me (but probably just to expand his oevour. BTW, I like using the fancy French words, but have no idea how to spell 'em, so bear with me), but more power to him, and them. The problem is that oftentimes, these directors will bring residue of their horror backgrounds with them, even when they're doing so-called 'mainstream' films. Cronenberg definitely does this with 'History', to interesting, and sometimes frustrating, effect.

Okay, don't freak out, I'm not going to give anything away; no spoilers here.

The movie starts out slowly, but that's intentional. The camera lingers on two men emerging from a motel room. I shouldn't say linger; this camera is LOCKED on 'em. The men have a drawn out conversation, meant to convey some type of laconic, folksy, but ominous portent. I yawned. Then violence happened, or the result of violence, and I freaked, said freaking due more because of the really great special effects than the scene itself. The audience is being primed, you see. We're being told that this film is going to be slow, and peppered with surprising, brutal bits of violence, blood, and kick ass make-up.

And that's exactly what happens for most of the film. We're presented with life in a small town, where apparently only white people live, everyone knows everyone else, and they all say 'howdy' or 'how-do' to each other. This is the kind of small town life best presented in a flick from the 50's or 60's. Here, it's just... distracting. Especially when you see kids smoking weed (I presume, couldn't quite make out whether it was a joint or a cigarette, but if it was a ciggy, then man, these kids were sucking the tobacco right out of it!) in order to let you know that they are hip and with it. This is a reminder that you ain't in Mayberry, I suppose. We're also treated to some rap music, an additional reminder that we're in the here and now.

But then we're shown the teen bully, and I'm pretty sure that I've seen this kid before, in just about every teen angst film of the 80s and early 90s. You know the one; he's got longish hair, is cruelly good-looking, drives a rockin' SUV, and says 'bitch' a lot, as a perjorative, I imagine, and mainly aimed at the actor playing Viggo's son, a sensitive sort who angers the teen bully by-- wait, you ready?-- catching a fly ball!!! No shit, man. That's what he does. Why is this important? It's important because Viggo's son has told us, moments before, that he sucks at baseball, he's not looking forward to gym class, Viggo tells him that he just needs to get under the ball, blah blah blah. And then he catches the flyball, after showing us how bored he is on the field, his team wins the game, and he is now the prime target of the teen bully and his 'come on with it, bitch' dialogue. Yow!

Onto Viggo (and his lovely co-star Maria); apparently, the best way for the King to play this character Tom Stall, owner of Stall's restaurant in Millbrook, Indiana, is to completely wipe any emotion off of his face, set it into a blank stare, and talk as if he is the grown up version of Opie Taylor. If he had said 'Golly' or 'Garsh!', I would not have been surprised in the least.

Now Tom is absolutely in synch with his Mayberry, RFD surroundings, even though his restaurant, small as it is, employs like, 4 or 5 people aside from himself. His wife, meanwhile, is firmly in the here and now, gang. Maria Bello plays a lawyer, we know this because a character tells us so, not cause we actually see her lawyering. And why is she a lawyer in this film? ... ... ...dunno. I guess, cause she has to be something? Aside from hot? Now, don't get me wrong. Bello is a fine actress, she does a great job in this film, but it bugged the hell out of me that she had more balls than Viggo's character (we find out later why). It felt like they were in two different movies!

'History' is based on the graphic novel of the same name, published by a now defunct division of DC comics. The same division that published 'Road to Perdition', by the way. I hope that Andy Helfer, who headed up that imprint, is laughing his ass off, and demanding his line of books back. The Paradox Press line of digest-sized books was way ahead of its time, and deserves to be brought back. And Andy, if you're reading this, I need work, so when my little blurb here makes all that good stuff happen for you, gimme a call, yeah?

I didn't read the comic, but I know the work of John Wagner and artist Vnce Locke. I am absolutely certain that the storyline played beautifully in the comic book medium; it's only in the translation to film that it suffered.

So why am I reccomending you watch this movie? 1. cause when it's good, it's really good. 2. the sex scenes are some of the most intense I've seen in years, outside of porn and french films. 3. there are some camera moves that are gorgeous. 4. ed harris, bill hurt, viggo have all done great work in the past, and they seem to have a lot of fun in this one, with plenty of scenery to chew up (even Viggo, after... well, you'll see), and, shit, it's Cronenberg, man. He always entertains, to one degree or another.

Check out History of Violence with your friends. Don't take your mom or a date, though; some of the scenes will freak you out, some will embarrass the shit out of you, in my humble opinion. Oh, and by the graphic novel!

Thursday, October 06, 2005

And So It Goes

Ahh, the life of an independent comics writer...

I have, to date, over a dozen projects in the works. Some, I know have a home, others, I wait, with a jittery patience, while the artists pull together sample art, so that I can pitch to various publishers. The bitch is, most of the publishers that I want to pitch to now have posted on their sites that they are no longer accepting submissions.

So I have a bunch of work that need homes, but what to do? Where to send them? I keep reading about new projects being published from all sorts of publishers, but have no idea how to get their attention (the publishers, that is).

And so I find myself looking at other avenues in which to present my work. Self-publishing is an option, certainly, but not a very good one; I don't have the wherewithal (aka $$$) to make as big a splash as I'd like. I could try to put some of this work online at Komikwerks or one of the other online comics sites, but will my artists agree to it? I could try to put the books together and offer them on cafepress, but there again, the marketing problems arise. And my current publishers are jammed with books from various creators that they are putting out, and have no room for another of my titles.

Maybe I should hit Europe? Will Italian or French publishers, whose titles I feel an affinity with, be more receptive to the kinds of stories I want to do?

I know there's an answer somewhere, just gotta figure it out...

Anyone else out there in the same boat? Share!

Monday, October 03, 2005

It's a hard knock life

Morning, all!

Am at my day job, a lovely place that inspires me to absolutely nothing! My boss and my co-workers are great, though, and the boss knows my bent; that is, he knows I'm a comic book writer, and he is quite cool about letting me do some of my writing here.

I wanted to let you know about an interview I did recently with a Spanish blog; Toni Boix, a Spaniard, wrote to Moonstone, one of my publishers, to praise my work on Damnation Game, my two-part Phantom story. Moonstone forwarded the email to me, and I wrote Toni back, thanking him for the kind words. Toni then asked me if I would agree to an interview. Requests like these come very seldom for me, so I readily agreed.

The questions arrived via email, in Spanish, and I translated 'em, using Babelfish. I then responded in English, which Toni translated back into Spanish.

The interview, as well as a little bio of me, ran last week, and garnered a lot of favorable responses, including a couple people offering to head up a petition to DC demanding I write a Superman story, and some others sending the interview to Spanish publishers, in hopes of them reprinting some of my work in Spanish!

It was, and is, a great experience, and I'm very grateful to Toni for the interview and all that's resulted from it. You can find the interview at

along with my bio at

Keep in mind two things, though: 1. the interview and bio are in Spanish, so if you don't read it, you should translate it via Babelfish. 2. zona negativa, or negative zone, the blog, has some rather interesting and naughty pop up windows that show up at absolutely the worst time! So be very careful where and when you open these bad boys, okay?

I hope to have an English version of the interview up on the Hyperthetical site in the next couple weeks, for those of you interested enough to read it, but no so much that you'll tackle the espanol version.

That's all for now, excepting to tell you that you should definitely check out the links for the Hyperthetical site, as well as the blogs for my friends Antonio Maldonado and Juan Arevalo, found over to the right there.



Saturday, October 01, 2005

here's me!

How ya doin?

Here's my blog, hope you like.