Friday, July 31, 2009
End of the Century on Kindle
End of the Century is now available on Kindle. Represent!
Thursday, July 30, 2009
I give up!
Cinderella: From Fabletown With Love
I'm back from San Diego, where I had the absolute best SDCC imaginable, on all levels personal and professional. Among the truly great things that happened (and one of the only ones I can talk about yet) is that the creator-owned book I'm doing at Vertigo with Mike Allred was formally announced, so I can finally share a little bit of the goodness that we've been cooking up with you.
Here's the promo image that Mike drew up especially for the con:
The Vertigo blog, Graphic Content, has a brief description of I, ZOMBIE, which is the basic concept on a postage stamp.
Written by Chris Roberson and with art by Michael Allred, I, ZOMBIE is the story of Gwendolyn “Gwen” Dylan a 20-something gravedigger in an eco-friendly cemetery. Once a week she must eat a human brain to keep from losing her memories, but in the process she becomes consumed with the thoughts and personality of the dead person until she eats the next one. With a posse of vampires who play paintball, a smitten weredog, a swinging 60s ghost and a sexy but demented mummy, Gwen ‘zombie girl detective’ sets out to fulfill the dead person’s last request, solve a crime, or right a wrong.And over on Comic Book Resources there's an interview with me and Mike about the book, and what you can expect. CBR also has a write-up about the Vertigo Panel at SDCC that includes some additional stuff about the book. And if you really want to get the whole scoop, you can listen to the podcast of the Vertigo panel (mp3 link) and hear Mike and I rave about how excited we are about the book (we get started right at the 36:00 minute mark).
I am ridiculously excited about this book, and can't wait for people to see what we've been working on. The ongoing series itself will launch sometime next spring, but if you can't wait quite that long (and who can?!), there'll be a seven-page preview short-story appearing in the House of Mystery Halloween Annual in October of this year.
So how was your weekend...?
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
Hanna-Barbera's World of Super Adventure
I was convinced I'd never seen it before until the announcer got to the line about "...from the funtastic... to the fantastic..." When my DNA started reverberating to that line, I knew this was buried down deep.
Okay, that's it for me. Expect lots of news about I, ZOMBIE when I get back next week. Have fun, y'all!
Tuesday, July 21, 2009
Nobody Watches the Watchmen
I still haven't seen the Watchmen flick, and I'm on the fence as to whether I will. This may be enough for me, actually.
I was reminded of this gag, from around the time the movie hit theaters.
Zombie Girl: The Movie
Here's the description of the documentary from the official site:
Emily Hagins is making a zombie movie. It’s feature-length, it’s bloody, and the zombies don’t run. Just like it should be. But there’s one difference between her film and every other zombie movie you’ve ever seen: Emily is twelve.
ZOMBIE GIRL: THE MOVIE is the documentary from Bob B. Bob Productions, Vacdoomed Productions, and Part Olson Pictures that chronicles the making of Emily's zombie film, Pathogen.
Spook House Dave
Here's the first episode, "Backpack," which introduces the cast nicely.
A boy. A castle. And a bunch of monsters. What more do you need?
FRIDAYOtherwise, I'll be wandering the hall looking for comics, sketchbooks by animators and artists, and toys for Georgia, or over drinking at the Hyatt bar.
5:30am-6:30pm – PANEL: Vertigo Editorial Presentation (Room 5AB)
3-4pm – SIGNING: Vertigo booth
4:45-5:45pm – PANEL: Vertigo Voices: Fables Forum (Room 6DE)
12:00-1:00 Spotlight on Bill Willingham
Monday, July 20, 2009
DC COMICS CLASSICS LIBRARY: SHAZAM! – THE MONSTER SOCIETY OF EVIL HCHot dog!
Written by Otto Binder
Art and cover by C.C. Beck
At last, DC Comics collects the legendary serialized story from the pages of CAPTAIN MARVEL ADVENTURES #22-46 (1943-1945). The Big Red Cheese battles foe after foe as he inches his way toward the malevolent force behind it all: the two-inch long, superintelligent worm known as Mr. Mind!
Advance-solicited; on sale December 23 • 272 pg, FC, $39.99 US
Piers Anthony's Steppe
The book is due out in October, and Planet Stories has recently posted the final cover on their site. And here it is:
New Planet of the Apes novels
Christian is the editorial coordinator of Blam! Ventures, and for a while now I've been sitting on an exciting bit of news about a project that Blam! has been putting together. The press release in my inbox over the weekend means that the news isn't secret anymore.
Blam! is going to be producing illustrated novels spinning out of the original classic, Planet of the Apes. Here's the relevant bit from the press-release.
Blam! has launched a dandy new website in support of the project, with loads of news and images about the first novel in the series. Check it out, won't you? And if you'll be in San Diego for Comic Con this week, swing by their booth and pick up some swag.
The first-ever original novel based on the classic POTA film series, Conspiracy of the Planet of the Apes will hit both the direct market and major book and retail chains in spring 2010. BLAM! Ventures' Creative Director, Andrew E. C. Gaska, along with Editorial Coordinator Christian Berntsen and Developmental Director Erik Matthews, serve as the writing team for Conspiracy.
More than twenty artists are expected to offer their amazing talents to this project. The first on board are legendary artist Jim Steranko (Raiders of the Lost Ark, Bram Stoker's Dracula, Nick Fury: Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D.), renowned book cover painter Ken Kelly (Conan, KISS), Joe Jusko (Savage Sword of Conan, Tarzan), Sanjulian (Errie, Vampirella) Mark Texiera (Ghost Rider, Wolverine), Leo Leibelman (Heavy Metal), Matt Busch (Star Wars, Battlestar Galactica), Brian Rood (Indiana Jones, Star Wars), Tom Scioli (Godland), David Hueso (G.I.Joe: Storm Shadow) and newcomers Dan Dussault (Critical Millennium) and Dirk Shearer (Mouse Templar).
Fans interested in getting a first peek at the novel's artwork can do so at this year's San Diego Comic Con International, to be held on July 22-26, 2009. BLAM! Ventures will display a gallery of images at booth #2547, as well as making available for sale limited-edition prints of two Conspiracy paintings, entitled Alpha and Omega (from artists Joe Jusko and Sanjulian, respectively), as Comic Con International exclusives. BLAM! will host artist signings and answer questions regarding the upcoming novel, in addition to giving away a limited number of special Conspiracy of the Planet of the Apes promotional items, including character bio trading cards and replicas of Landon's dog tags.
Sunday, July 19, 2009
I was just thinking about Frankenstein Jr. the other day, actually. As I do about once every month or so, I was trawling through YouTube looking for old cartoons, and came across the opening titles of Frankenstein, Jr. and the Impossibles.
And then yesterday, Georgia and I were drawing robots, superheroes, and monsters in the morning, using Jay Stephens's wonderful how-to-draw books for examples, and I was grooving on the "Garganto" robot, which you can see on the right hand side of the cover image, with the little kid driver in his head--a total Frankenstein, Jr. homage.
(Stephens did three of these how-to-draw titles for Lark Books, Robots!, Heroes!, and Monsters!, and they are all worth their weight in gold. Georgia loves these things, and the nice thing about it is that the emphasis on construction lines and building up complex characters from simple shapes and curves means that she's actually learning how to draw from fundamentals, and not just copying images. Okay, end plug.)
Anyway, where was I? Oh, right, Frankenstein, Jr.
Saturday, July 18, 2009
Chris Sprouse, Modern Master (and Saving Tom Strong)
There are two points I'd like to make, at this juncture.
First, go out and pick up a copy of Modern Masters Volume Twenty-One: Chris Sprouse, already. What are you waiting for? The interview is fascinating, and the gallery at the end is worth the price of admission all by itself.
Second, in the final pages of the book-length interview, Sprouse has this to say about the forthcoming Tom Strong miniseries he's doing with Peter Hogan, Tom Strong and the Robots of Doom (which I've mentioned a time or two before). Mr. Sprouse, he say:
If this series does well, the plan is to do Tom Strong "Hellboy-style," as a series of self-contained mini-series, none of which will be solicited until they're completed so none ever ship late.What does that mean for you, loyal reader? It means that when Tom Strong and the Robots of Doom is solicited in the next month or two, you need to march into your local comic shop and ask them to order you a copy, of the first issue and every one after that. And then when those issues hit the stands, you need to go back in that very shop and buy that comic, each and every month.
Why? Because you must, that's why. I don't simply desire more Tom Strong, I require more. Sure, I can reread the collections I've got for the tenth time, but then what? I need more, I say! And that means that this new mini-series needs to sell well.
But you don't have to buy just one copy of each issue. I understand that Tom Strong comics make great stocking stuffers, and the holidays are just around the corner...
Friday, July 17, 2009
Planetary #27 cover
(Click here for a giant version)
My love for Planetary knows no bounds. I was in the early stages of working out the whole Bonaventure-Carmody world as the book was originally appearing, and it turned into a significant influence on the way that world developed. It remains my favorite of Ellis's work to date, and a book I recommend unreservedly to any sf/f reader who hasn't yet tried it.
I just reread the series to date (and all of Ellis's interconnected work for Wildstorm, as well) at the beginning of the year, and it's amazing how nicely all of Planetary hangs together as a piece. I've been nonplussed that DC/Wildstorm hasn't kept up the hardcover collections, but hold out hope that the publication of this "epilogue" will see them collect the whole thing in a few of their "Absolute" editions or something similar.
Bad News, Everyone!
New Kim Newman novella online
Disapproved by the Comics Code Authority
Well, depending on how you define a couple of those terms, the forthcoming I, ZOMBIE pretty much runs the board there. Not that a Vertigo book would ever have passed the CCA, of course, but it's nice to know that we're ticking off all of the prohibited monsters and activities in one fell swoop.
Scenes dealing with, or instruments associated with walking dead, torture, vampires and vampirism, ghouls, cannibalism, and werewolfism are prohibited.
Thursday, July 16, 2009
Tim Doyle's Cult Weapons
How many can you name? You can try your luck, matching each weapon with its corresponding movie and emailing your answers through the link above, and the winner gets prints for this year's show. How awesome is that?
Tim Doyle, who as it happens is an Austin resident (or used to be, at any rate), is himself made of awesome. I've never met the man (though I used to snatch up every issue of his Amazing Adult Fantasy mini-comic I could lay hands on), but ever since I passed up the chance to buy his "Mr. T's The Last Sucka" at a gallery show I've regretted it. Take a look and you'll see what I mean.
For more of the amazing Mr. Doyle, check out his site.
Wednesday, July 15, 2009
Not Free SF Reader on Book of Secrets
The Book of Secrets starts out with a journalist deciding to pursue a story about a wealthy recluse, and gets progressively odder from there, to the point where you have pretty much ended up in something Simon R. Green might have come up with, Nightside style. Thanks to the title object, that is. Being a vaguely hardboiled journo, he likes the booze, of course.
His grandfather has also died, and left him a box of papers - which includes multiple adventures of a hero called The Black Hand - from the era of The Shadow, the Lone Ranger, pirates, highwaymen and more. Always a Black Hand, though, even if not as consistent as The Phantom down through the ages. Excerpts of these different styles of adventurers and stories are actually presented in the novel, which is fun.
Tuesday, July 14, 2009
Luke Reviews on Book of Secrets
Roberson mixes the elements of an action-thriller with pastiches of pulp-era crime and western stories, and succeeds incredibly. His short stories contained within this novel are fun and wonderful. The story of Finch moves along at a very nice pace as well, with plot elements popping up left and right. As the book flew along, leading to a bigger and bigger puzzle, I couldn’t be happier with how this book was going along. It was lots of fun.
And look, here's episode 2:
Monday, July 13, 2009
Expect much more about this after San Diego.
In 2010 Vertigo will release I, ZOMBIE, a new ongoing series by co-creators, writer Chris Roberson (author of this Fall’s CINDERELLA and occasional contributor to HOM and JACK OF FABLES) and New York Times bestselling artist Mike Allred.
I, ZOMBIE is the story of Gwendolyn “Gwen” Dylan, zombie girl detective. Think graveyards, ghosts, vampires and werewolves with a twist.
More on this new series will be discussed at San Diego Comic Con 2009.
Trick or Treat?
Friday, July 10, 2009
What I Did On My Summer Vacation, Part II
Our lovely friends Alan and Jude (of Borderland Books fame) put us up for the weekend, and Liza Groen Trombi (of Locus fame) and her husband Matt had us over for a backyard bbq with their friends on the afternoon of the Fourth.
This being our first proper family vacation with just the three of us, where we weren't visiting relatives or attending a convention or something, we quickly had to strike a balance between the things that Allison and I wanted to do, and the things that would appeal to Georgia.
Essentially that meant stopping frequently for food and drinks in our favorite restaurants for the grownups, and things involving animals and stuffed toys for Georgia.
Here we are, waiting on food at our favorite restaurant on the planet, House of Nanking (we had coffee and wine across the street at Cafe Zoetrope while Georgia ate a pizza, as there was nothing on the menu she would touch, sadly).
Here's me and Georgia outside the gates of Chinatown. As we had come in from the Columbus Ave side, though, we were on our way out, and exhausted. (I always overestimate the stamina of my travelling companions for walking, and underestimate the distance from one spot to another in SF--a side-effect of living there for two years without a car and getting too used to walking everywhere--and as a result I spent a lot of time carrying Georgia on my shoulders that first day. On day two and further, we put the rental car to more use.)
Here's the three of us looking at sea lions on Pier 39 the next morning. Georgia is hiding in part because she's being shy in the face of the helpful young lady who offered to take our picture, and because sea lions well and truly stink.
Here's the ladies at the "little" aquarium on Pier 39 (Georgia is carrying the panda she got in Chinatown, one of only nine animal toys she got over the course of four days).
And here's Georgia the next day upstairs from the "big" aquarium at the California Academy of Sciences, riding a brass Galapagos Tortoise. (She is carrying the plastic rat that she got in Noe Valley at breakfast--it's red with white hearts, naturally--and wearing the Hello Kitty hoodie she got at the Sanrio store the first day.)
And here's Georgia entranced by the "upsidedown jellyfish" (my hand to god, that's what the sign said), in the aquarium downstairs.
We flew back crazy early on Monday morning, by which point all of us were pretty well exhausted. We'd brought loads of DVDs and books to distract Georgia, but we were flying JetBlue with their little TVs built into the chairs. There was a Spongebob marathon on which kept her occupied for most of the flight, with visits to Cartoon Network for Chowder for variety. (On the traytable in front of her, along with the reading I was doing for the WFAs, is the rubber lizard she got at the California Academy of Sciences.)
We took along our new Flip UltraHD camera (which is awesome), so I may load little video clips later on when I figure out how to upload them. But for now, that's the highlights. Not featured are all of the other meals we didn't document in photos, including the best Thai I've had in ages at a joint at Castro & 19th, our trip to Berkeley, the fireworks, the two stops in at Borderlands to load up on books, etc. Great trip, great fun, and exhausting as all get out. I need a week off now to recover from the vacation...
Bruce Ross's "Last" Doc Savage
Well, Ross is at it again, and claims that this is the last version of the character he'll be doing. (But allows that he may tackle the character again, at that.)
Thursday, July 09, 2009
Tom Strong and the Robots of Doom
On his blog this morning, Sprouse shares the news that the recent reprint of Tom Strong #1 (part of the whole "After Watchmen What Next?" promotion) contains a full-page ad for the new miniseries, which apparently is coming in fall 2009. And here the ad is, for your delectation.
Wonder Twin Powers, Activate!
Tuesday, July 07, 2009
Holly Black shares the news that she and Ellen Kushner will be editing a revival of the Borderland shared world anthology series. Here's the quote from Publishers Lunch:
Holly Black and Ellen Kushner's WELCOME TO BORDERTOWN, a return to Terri Windling's groundbreaking urban fantasy shared world featuring new stories from many of the original writers including Emma Bull, Charles de Lint and Will Shetterly, as well as new works by writers who were inspired by the original series, including Cassandra Clare, Cory Doctorow, Kelly Link and more, to Mallory Loehr at Random House Children's, at auction, for publication in Summer 2011, by Barry Goldblatt at Barry Goldblatt Literary and Christopher Schelling at Ralph M. Vicinanza (NA).
(image ganked from BoingBoing)
I picked up the first of these within a week or two of its release in May, 1986, and snagged the second the minute it hit the shelves in October of that same year. I remember reading and rereading these all through that year, the last half of my sophomore year of high school and the first half of my junior year. I was obsessed with them, folks. Not until the first volume of Wild Cards came out in 1987 did something occupy the same sort of fanatical attention from me. These two anthologies were a revelation for a kid from suburban Texas, not only the way the authors contemporized fantasy and staked out new territory on the frontiers of the genre, but also in the countercultural setting through which the characters moved. It would be a few years until I ventured out into the wide, wide world and encountered people and places very much like those in the Borderland stories for myself, but reading those first two installments in the series served as my introduction to the idea that, just as the world of Faerie lived alongside the world of the mundane in Borderland, so there were parts of the real world that existed in parallel to the comfortable suburban existence I'd known for my first dozen and a half years.
I continued to follow the series through the subsequent installments (and followed cover artist Phil Hale, too, wherever he went), as the series moved from publisher to publisher, and spun off standalones like Emma Bull's Finder and Will Shetterly's Nevernever and Elsewhere. I've got them all in a place of honor here in my office, only a few feet away from where I'm sitting now.
When the rest of the Clockwork Storybook gang and I cooked up our own shared world, the city of San Cibola, I know that Bordertown was a proximate influence for me, and possibly for the others as well.
Inside me there's a sixteen year old who is incredibly stoked at the news that there'll be more Borderlands stories in the near future (and a thirty-eight-year-old who burns with jealousy that he's not going to be one of the writers involved... of course, he's still bummed not to be on the new Wild Cards team, too). I wish Ellen and Holly the best of luck with the new venture, and I'll be first in line to pick up a copy!
Rudy Rucker Interview
Stephen Welch on Here, There & Everywhere
HT&E is as I said a book that I just love to re-read when I ever get the chance. And when I do it always seems fresh and new but at the same time like visiting a old friend. Between the first and last page Chris Roberson has written a truly classic science fiction tale while never forgetting at the heart of all science fiction isn't the science but the people and their humanity that drives the story. And it is Roxanne humanity that drives the tale. She is smart, independent add to that her love for adventure and to learn makes her a character that is likable and one would love to have has a friend.
Thursday, July 02, 2009
What I Did On My Summer Vacation, Part I
Georgia went swimming for the first time (she hadn't before now because of the tubes put in her ears a couple of years ago).
Georgia went fishing.
Georgia caught a fish on her first attempt.
Oh, and Georgia went to the beach.
She also got to celebrate the first birthdays of her three baby cousins, my sister's twins Maggie and Grace and my brother's boy Michael.
In a few hours the three of us head to the airport for a first real family vacation ever, the kind where we're not visiting relatives or doing any business on the side. Four days in San Francisco and the Bay Area in general, visiting friends and doing touristy stuff. Expect another report on my return.
"Change the negative things into positive"
“We have to change the negative things into positive. In today’s Japanese film industry we always say we don’t have enough budget, that people don’t go to see the films. But we can think of it in a positive way, meaning that if audiences don’t go to the cinema we can make any movie we want. After all, no matter what kind of movie you make it’s never a hit, so we can make a really bold, daring movie. There are many talented actors and crew, but many Japanese movies aren’t interesting. Many films are made with the image of what a Japanese film should be like. Some films venture outside those expectations a little bit, but I feel we should break them.”One need only look at the sales figures for the majority of prose science fiction and fantasy (and comics, too, for that matter) to start imagining how such a sentiment might translate into other media...
San Diego Comic Con Programming
Mmm. It seems that my name shows up a couple of times, but without a title in parentheses after my name. The only other person who doesn't have a title listed after their name is one Mike Allred. What a strange coincidence...
Death Ray on Book of Secrets
"We're on more familiar narrative ground with Chris Roberson's Book of Secrets. Originally self-published as Voices of Thunder in 2001, this mash-up of 1930s pulp fiction with dreams of a secret heritage accessible only to the chosen is far more self-aware and entertaining than The Da Vinci Code. Born of Roberson's deep affection for radio serials, comic strips and writers like Michael Moorcock and Gray Morrow, this affectionate look at finding oneself and finally coming to terms with one's roots is accessible, entertaining and made two hours whip past almost unnoticed. In line with the conventions of the genre, girls are accessories here, but it would be churlish to take offence when the story is so entertaining. THREE & A HALF STARS"
Ernie Hudson is... "The Ghostbuster"
Somewhere, Consuela is happy.
They didn't give him enough to do, but he would have been a great ghostbuster if they had given him a great ghostbuster job and said, "Go do that and be successful with it."
Wednesday, July 01, 2009
Alisdair Stuart on Book of Secrets
Chris Roberson’s Book of Secrets heads up the second pair of releases, scheduled for the 6th of August. Spencer Finch is a reporter searching for a book that everyone from cat burglars to mnks seems to want. It’s a difficult case, a rabbit hole that he finds himself running headlong down and that appears to have something to do with a chest of golden age pulp magazines left to him by his grandfather. Something terrible is bound up in the book of secrets, and whether he likes it or not, Spencer’s life is intimately connected with it.Stuart has also reviewed the other three initial Angry Robot titles in the link, so check it out.
Expanded from Voices of Thunder, one of Roberson’s earliest novels, Book of Secrets incorporates many of the author’s favourite tropes. The love for golden age pulp is here as is the idea that books hold power, that ideas have weight and shape and form. It’s a fascinating book, paced at breakneck speed with a hard nosed first person narrative and some great offhand jokes. A lost Greek play is referred to as ‘No Mr Nice God’, armies of masked vigilantes parade across the page and the true history of mankind is revealed. Which isn’t bad going for a journalist who just wants to file a story.
The real star here is Roberson’s easy going prose, that carries some big ideas along with elegance and grace and places the story in a unique hinterland somewhere between steampunk and action thriller, weaving Spencer’s life into ancient Greek literature and the pulp stories written by his grandfather. It’s arguably the most commercial of the four books but that isn’t to say that it’s the least. This is a smart, literate thriller written by an author whose love for the form is clear.
What Jay Said
I don’t need to be a faster writer than I’ve been before, I need to be a better writer than I’ve been before.Amen.