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The trick to starting off the new year on more solid-footting, begin now.
1) Think about how you'd like 2015 to be for yourself personally (I appreciate how difficult the task to separate yourself out from your family and friends and community at large. For this exercise, try). If the entire year feels too daunting, visualize simply the very best January you can imagine.
2) Write a long-term - 21day -- goal of the skill(s), belief(s), ability(s), habit(s) you wish to take into the new year that best serves your vision. Write the 21-day goal in the present-tense.
3) List specific steps you plan to take, starting today, to position yourself in the direct light of your vision for 2015.
4) Schedule and mark the next 21-days on your calendar the specific steps on your list:
- daily writing
- sitting at your computer for 5-minutes
- unplugging 3 times a day from negative emotions to positive affirmations
- 21 days with a Plot Planner and 10 minutes daily questioning your characters, twisting the action and mining the meaning
- making a Plot Planner for your life with your goal at the highest point (see the Plot Tips banner) and working backwards for what to do daily to move one step nearer to your glory in 21-days.
5) Everyday, check off another success on your calendar. Turn to 2015. On January 4th, greet the new year changed and better aligned with your vision of the future.
I didn’t want to join the Spammy crowd of emails we get this time of year of prolonged Cyber Sales, but I did want to cut a break for my readers and students. So, I give you the
Last Sale of the Year
Sale on my Healing Fairy Alphabet Deck, which is receiving rave reviews. Get your deck for yourself or a fab-u-lous gift for a friend HERE, who will totally dig it. Thank you for those rave reviews, by the way. (I’ve also been developing curriculum to go with the deck for Nature Education purposes.) If you have a deck, consider signing up for the Healing Fairy Alphabet Deck course over here to learn tips and the dress cards’ secrets.
Early Bird Rates especially for new class, Wild Worlds Within, that start in January. Reserve your space now with cool lower rates. Head over to the catalog to peruse. Sale is only until end of Thursday, the 17th!
Poetry and I have never been friends. Although I love to read it and listen to it, writing it is has always been a whole other beast. That said, I decided today, I would seize the day, and take on that beast. Good, bad, or indifferent, it felt great to write it and take a stab at something new.
See You Later, Frustration!
Frustration, Frustration go away
I don’t want to feel you in my body today.
You make my stomach hurt and I feel tight in my chest
Some days it is hard to take you and I need a rest.
My mom says taking deep breaths is the best thing to do
And I try to do that, but frustration, you are making me feel so blue.
My dad tries to tickle it out of me and sometimes that works,
But this time it is not going away, and I still feel it lurks.
Suddenly, my dog licks my foot, and I feel a twinge better
I finally feel able to get dressed and put on my sweater.
My bird on its perch tweets to me a hello
And I take a deep-down belly breath and let that frustration finally go.
Frustration you are not going to get the best of me today
The breath, the tickle, lick and tweet will help me get through this day.
This week Roger talked with living-comics-legend Stan Lee about his new book Zodiac. That made us think of Roger as a superhero: his bow tie doubles as a boomerang! to chase down bad-guys! and retrieve books off high library shelves! It also made us think of Roger in tights and Spandex, which just made us giggle. [Ed. note: You laugh NOW…]
We ask: do you know any superhero librarians? Either librarians who could be existing superheroes (So. Many. Catwoman. Jokes.) or those who could helm their very own, all-new Marvel franchises. Admittedly, Bow-Tie Man isn’t the most scintillating. What are some other ideas?
I’ve always thought K. T. Horning must be able to fly, for example. And Julie Roach is always smiling. But I’m not saying she’s The Joker (though, like Heath Ledger, may he rest in peace, she is cute as a button).
You can also share your thoughts here, by letting us know how you library.
Also, is Stephen Savage’s Supertruck the cutest superhero around or what?
The post Look! Up in the sky! It’s…Super Roger! appeared first on The Horn Book.
Do your kids love graphic novels? Do you know any kid who loves the spotlight or has fun when their friends grab center stage? The Stratford Zoo Midnight Review is a new series of graphic novels that my students are giving a round of applause for the way it combines humor, theatrics, tragedy and puns. It would make a great gift either for comic-book fans or theater fans.
The Stratford Zoo Midnight Review Presents: Macbeth
by Ian Lendler
illustrated by Zack Giallongo
First Second, 2014
Your local library
|"Macbeth, the hero of our story, the greatest warrior in the land."|
When the zoo shuts for the night, the animals gather together and put on a show. The lion makes a natural mighty Macbeth, full of swagger and a taste for power. My students were easily able to imagine why such a beast would want to be king--and Lender's version shares this classic play in a form that is very kid-friendly. Here's how he adapts the witches' famous song which charms Macbeth, setting the plot in motion:
toil and trouble,
fire burn and cauldron bubble.
Eat the king,
the plot will thicken,
go on Macbeth,
he tastes like chicken."
Lendler mixes humor and puns throughout Shakespeare's bloody tragedy, giving young readers a real sense of the classic play but making it very age-appropriate. Giallongo's illustrations capture Macbeth's slide into gluttony perfectly, make light of the witches and add plenty of ketchup to keep the tragedy at bay. My students definitely give this version of Shakespeare a hearty round of applause.
We were lucky enough to have Ian Lendler visit Emerson last week to share his book with our 4th and 5th graders. He starts out his presentation with a loud bugle calling everyone's attention (see below), just as the young boys did during Shakespeare's time. He shares an overview of the story with students, emphasizing some of the lessons of the story. Our kids highly recommend his visit to other schools, especially for kids who like funny comic books and putting on their own plays.
|Ian Lendler at Emerson|
Are you looking for a holiday gift to add to the fun? I know my students would love their own stadium horn to call everyone to their performances. They also might want a mighty robe, fit for a king. Check these ideas out:
The review copies were kindly sent by the publishers, First Second. If you make a purchase using the Amazon links on this site, a small portion goes to Great Kid Books. Thank you for your support.©2014 Mary Ann Scheuer, Great Kid Books
Long Beach Comic Con 2014: Did Cosplay drive up Attendance and Sales?
by Pamela Auditore
Ticket sales for the Long Beach Comic Con held the weekend of September 27 – 28th, 2014 saw a 25% increase, over last year held November 23 – 24, 2013 event, according to LBCC Executive Director, Martha Donato. Putting attendance somewhere between 31,250 – 37,500. Anecdotal information from exhibitors seems to corroborate this increase in sales of comic books, toys and other merchandise.
“In terms of foot traffic, sales were very good,” according to Jeremy Price, Floor Manager for Comic Madness in Chino, CA. “New books did best.”
As you might expect, among the comic books best sellers, guests were on hand to sign them. At LBCC this year were Jimmy Palmiotti and Amanda Conner (Harley Quinn); Mike Mignola (Hellboy); Mike Allred (Madman, Silver Surfer, IZombie); and Richard Starkings (Elephantmen).
“There’s been steady growth each year,” says Brad Sloan of FVF Comics in Woodland Hills. “While I did four figures last year, I did five this year.”
To what does he attribute the increase?
“Cosplay.” Adding, “the popularity of the cross over of Comics from page to Film/TV media helps drives people’s interest in Comics and to Cosplay.”
In the right costume, anyone can be a Hero and an instant media star. Making fellow attendees whip out their phones for pictures to post to the world via: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Tumblr.
While some Comic vendors interviewed on the LBCC Exhibit floor did grumble about Cosplayers blocking the view of their tables when striking poses for photos, others said the presence of Cosplayers drove people to their booths who might otherwise overlook them. In fact, the one vendor selling clothes, pictured bellow, incorporates Cosplay into her booth.
But, hey, don’t Cosplayers distract from selling comics? Particularly, Vintage Classic Comics, Golden Age, Silver Age, Bronze Age? Like the one’s Brad Sloan sold at his booth?
“Cosplayers bring more people to the show and they buy related comics. The Super Hero, low grade to the mid-grades Keys were were grabbed up.” (“Keys” are generally a first issue of a comic. But can also be first introduction of an famous character into a given publishing company’s Universe i.e., first appearance of Wolverine in Hulk #181.) Marvel Keys sell. Thanks to the movies!”
AbeBooks.com a site that sells used and rare books has revealed its list of the 50 most expensive books sold this year.
The most that fetched the most money was Les Maîtres de L’Affiche (5 vols) which sold for $43,450, followed by a copy of Das Kapital by Karl Marx which went for $40,000. Call for the Dead by John le Carré sold for $22,500. A copy of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll & illustrated by Salvador Dali brought in $20,000. A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway went for $18,000 and Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by JK Rowling earned $15,956 for the bookseller.
The list also includes rare books from Hemingway, le Carre, Steinbeck and Frank Herbert. Follow this link to see the whole list.
New Career Opportunities Daily: The best jobs in media.
Printable Book Plates
Are you looking for a last-minute gift to give to your friends who love reading? Print out a bunch of these bookplates on pretty paper. Then trim them to size, tie them up with a ribbon, and you’re done! Your friends can stick them in all their favorite books. You can print some for yourself, too!
You can find more bookplates to print out here.
Sonja, STACKS Staffer
#bookaday: ALONG A LONG ROAD by fellow Canadian Frank Viva (Little, Brown). Love the simple palette and gorgeous retro-style art as well as the glossy yellow road (you can't help but want to touch the pages) that runs throughout.
More about Frank Viva on his website and you can also find him on Twitter at @VIVAandCO.
More info about ALONG A LONG ROAD on the Little, Brown Books for Young Readers website.
Find out more about Donalyn Miller's Book-A-Day Challenge on the Nerdy Book Club site, and you can read archives of my #BookADay posts.
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, Earth & Life Sciences
, Hatrian defenders
, Humans Fear Loathe Love Insects
, Infested Mind
, Insects as Weapons of War
, ISIS militants
, Islamic State in Iraq
, Jeffrey A. Lockwood
, Scorpion bombs
, six-legged soldiers
, Add a tag
The world recently learned that the Islamic State in Iraq (ISIS) has resurrected a biological weapon from the second century. Scorpion bombs are being lobbed into towns and villages to terrorize the inhabitants. As the story goes, this tactic was used almost 2,000 years ago against the desert stronghold of Hatra which was once a powerful, walled city 50 miles southwest of Mosul. But this historical interpretation might be just a bit too quick.
What we know from the writings of Herodian, who documented the ancient attacks by Hatrians on Roman invaders, is that the people crafted earthenware bombs loaded with “insects.” The favored hypothesis is that these devices were loaded with scorpions. And it’s true that these creatures (although not insects) were abundant in the desert. In fact, Persian kings offered bounties for these stinging arthropods to ensure the safe and pain-free passage of lucrative caravans through the region. But the local abundance of scorpions is not sufficient to draw a conclusion.
Scorpions tend toward cannibalism, so packing a bunch of these creatures into canisters for any period of time would have been (and presumably still is) a problem. According to an ancient writer, powdered monkshood could be used to sedate scorpions, although at high doses this plant extract is insecticidal (how ISIS solves this problem is not evident). But there’s another problem with the scorpion hypothesis.
A Syrian account of the siege of Hatra specified that the residents used “poisonous flying insects” to repulse the Romans. But, of course, scorpions don’t fly. One possibility is that the natural historians of yore were thinking of the scorpionfly (a flying insect in which the male genitalia curl over the back and resemble a scorpion’s tail), but these are small creatures are found in damp habitats, not deserts. Another possibility is that ancient reports of scorpions becoming airborne during high winds account for flying scorpions, although such a remarkable phenomenon hasn’t been reported by modern biologists. Finally, some scholars speculate that the clay bombshells were filled with assassin bugs, which can fly and deliver extremely painful bites.
In the end, it seems likely that the Hatrian defenders and the ISIS militants latched onto the opportunities presented by the local arthropod fauna. But why would scorpions be so terrifying then or now? These creatures deliver a painful sting to be sure, but they are only rarely deadly. The responses of the Roman invaders and the Iranian townsfolk seem disproportionate to the consequences of being stung.
To understand why panic ensues when insects (or scorpions) rain down on a village, we must appreciate the evolutionary and cultural relationships between these creatures and the human mind. Our fear of insects and their relatives is rooted in six qualities of these little beasts—and scorpions score well.
- First, our reaction arises from the capacity of these creatures to invade our homes and bodies. Scorpions, with their nocturnal activity and flattened bodies, are adept at slipping under doorsills and hiding in our shoes, closets, and furniture.
- Second, insects and their kin have the ability to evade us through quick, unpredictable movements. While scorpions might not skitter with the panache of cockroaches, they are still reasonably nimble.
- Third, many insects undergo rapid population growth and reach staggeringly large numbers which threaten our sense of individuality. While scorpions are not particulary prolific, having them scatter from exploding canisters (as described in the modern attacks), surely generates a sense of frightening abundance.
- Fourth, various arthropods can harm us both directly (biting and stinging) and indirectly (transmitting disease and destroying our property). Scorpions certainly qualify in the former sense, as they are well-prepared to deliver a dose of venom that elicits intense pain, sometimes accompanied by a slowed pulse, irregular breathing, convulsions—and occasionally, death.
- Fifth, insects and their relatives instill a disturbing sense of otherness with their alien bodies. Scorpions are hideously animalistic, even rather monstrous being like a demonic blending of a crab, spider, and a viper in terms of their form and function.
- Sixth, these creatures defy our will and control through a kind of depraved mindlessness or radical autonomy. Scorpions can appear to be like tiny robots, with their jointed bodies and legs taking them into the world without regard to fear or decency.
Perhaps it is in this last sense that scorpions most resemble the ISIS assailants. Both seem to be predators, unconstrained by ethical constraints, maniacally and unreflectively seeking to satisfy their own bestial desires. Of course, we ought not to dehumanize our enemy—no matter how brutal his actions—by equating him with insects or their kin. (This rhetorical move has been made throughout history to justify horrible treatment of other people.) But perhaps this sense of amorality accounts for our fear of both ISIS and their unwitting, arthropod conscripts.
The post Scorpion Bombs: the rest of the story appeared first on OUPblog.
Winterfrost. Michelle Houts. 2014. Candlewick. 272 pages. [Source: Review copy]
I very much enjoyed Michelle Houts' Winterfrost. This wintery read is set in Denmark. It opens one Christmas Eve. The first chapter starts off with a family celebrating together. That first chapter ends with a phone call and a promise. A promise not to the characters, but, to the readers:
It should have been an ordinary Christmas on the Larsen farm, nestled among the flat, snowy fields of an island called Lolland in the south of Denmark. But it wasn't. And if it had been, well, we wouldn't have much of a story to tell, now, would we?
Bettina, the heroine, is left on the farm with her younger sister, Pia. Every year, her father visits his uncle at this time of year--the week between Christmas and New Year. Her mother is called away unexpectedly with news about a family member's health. (Just who is not mentioned in the first chapter.) So Bettina, aged 12, can take care of a nearly 1 year old and a whole farm, right? Well? Mostly.
In her parents' rush, the entire family, it seems, forgot to put out the traditional bowl of Christmas rice pudding for the nisse. The Larsen family's nisse, Klakke, is NOT happy. Klakke isn't necessarily "bad," just in a bit of a bad mood. But even in a horrible mood, he'd never do anything to hurt any human.
Winterfrost is about what happens when her parents are away. It's about one girl's adventure with nearby nisse. Though traditionally, nisse are not supposed to show themselves to humans, to interact with them, rules are broken in Winterfrost.
It is a fun fantasy. Bettina is a lovely heroine. It is a quick read that I enjoyed very much.
© 2014 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews
I get a lot of questions from fellow artists. Sometimes I answer them with a short message. Sometimes I send them a link to a video I already made covering the topic they asked about - And sometimes I save their questions in a word doc and answer them in video form - like this one...
Read the rest of this post
.@benjaminroffman Anthony Goldstein, Ravenclaw, Jewish wizard.
— J.K. Rowling (@jk_rowling) December 16, 2014
Has Hogwarts School of Witchcraft & Wizardry ever admitted a Jewish student? Yesterday, J.K. Rowling confirmed that the answer is “yes.”
In response to a fan’s message on Twitter, the Harry Potter series author revealed that a Jewish wizard named Anthony Goldstein belonged to Ravenclaw house. We’ve embedded the tweets above—what do you think?
In addition to coming to her fans rescue via social media, Rowling has been a busy bee with adding new content on Pottermore. For the past few days, several new details about Potions Master Severus Snape has been unveiled. (via BuzzFeed)
SPOILER ALERT: If you don’t want to know more, you should stop reading now!
New Career Opportunities Daily: The best jobs in media.
By: Heidi MacDonald
Blog: PW -The Beat
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Big Two Comics
, Breaking News
, Top Comics
, Top News
, free comic book day
, Add a tag
By: Alexander Jones
After revealing the first wave of Free Comic Book Day titles, it was only a matter of time before the rest of them started to pop up. This next batch is very exciting, and full of fun offerings from all your favorite publishers with the big guns like Marvel and DC, along with Valiant, Comix Tribe, IDW, Image, Oni and the mysterious new Legendary Comics imprint that kicked off with Grant Morrison’s Annihilator. DC still has their titles blocked out with the letters ‘TOP SECRET’ sitting on the front page, it’s likely whatever these comics are will be revealed closer towards Convergence. Of course, Marvel is launching Avengers material close to their upcoming Avengers: Age of Ultron film. Included in this silver collection of titles is a lot of material from other media, meant to turn you non-comics reading friends completely addicted to this medium. See if Attack on Titan, Avatar, or Sonic can hook your non-reading friends. Free Comic Book Day is on the first Saturday of May. CBR broke the news this morning with covers, and quick description information. All these titles are considered silver comics, with the gold titles being the first wave of books.
- 2000 AD Special–FCBD 2015 EDITION
- And Then Emily Was Gone–FCBD 2015 EDITION
- Avengers #1–FCBD 2015 EDITION
- Bodie Troll & Friends–FCBD 2015 EDITION
- Captain Canuck–FCBD 2015 EDITION
- CBLDF Defend Comics–FCBD 2015 EDITION
- Comics Festival–FCBD 2015 EDITION
- Dark Horse All Ages Avatar PVZ Bandette–FCBD 2015 EDITION
- DC Comics Silver Book–FCBD 2015 EDITION
- GFT Wonderland Special Edition One Shot (MR)–FCBD 2015 EDITION
- Graphix Spotlight Cleopatra In Space–FCBD 2015 EDITION
- Gronk and Friends–FCBD 2015 EDITION
- Hatter M Love of Wonder–FCBD 2015 EDITION
- Hip Hop Family Tree 3-in-1 Featuring Cosplayers (MR)–FCBD 2015 EDITION
- Ice Bayou Blackout–FCBD 2015 EDITION
- Jojos Bizarre Adventure and Yu Gi Oh–FCBD 2015 EDITION
- Jurassic Strike Force 5 One Shot–FCBD 2015 EDITION
- Kodansha Comics Sampler–FCBD 2015 EDITION
- Lady Justice–FCBD 2015 EDITION
- Legendary Comics Sampler–FCBD 2015 EDITION
- March Grand Prix–FCBD 2015 EDITION
- Mercury Heat Debut (MR)–FCBD 2015 EDITION
- Motorcycle Samurai–FCBD 2015 EDITION
- Overstreet Comic Book Marketplace–FCBD 2015 EDITION
- Phantom Special–FCBD 2015 EDITION
- Rabbids–FCBD 2015 EDITION
- Sonic the Hedgehog Mega Man Worlds Unite Prelude–FCBD 2015 EDITION
- Stan Lee Chakra The Invincible–FCBD 2015 EDITION
- Steampunk Goldilocks–FCBD 2015 EDITION
- Street Fighter Super Combo Special–FCBD 2015 EDITION
- Stuff of Legend Call to Arms–FCBD 2015 EDITION
- Supermutant Magic Academy Step Aside Pops Combo–FCBD 2015 EDITION
- Tales of Honor–FCBD 2015 EDITION
- Terrible Lizard #1–FCBD 2015 EDITION
- The Tick–FCBD 2015 EDITION
- TMNT Prelude to Vengeance–FCBD 2015 EDITION
- Valiant 25TH Anniversary Special–FCBD 2015 EDITION
- Worlds of Aspen–FCBD 2015 EDITION
ALSC Personal Members are invited to suggest titles for the 2015 Batchelder Award given to an American publisher for a children’s book considered to be the most outstanding of those books originally published in a foreign language in a foreign country and subsequently published in English in the United States during 2014. Please remember that only books from this publishing year are under consideration for the 2015 award. Publishers, authors and illustrators may not suggest their own books. The deadline for submission is December 31, 2014.
You may send recommendations with full bibliographic information to the Chair, Diane Janoff at email@example.com.
The award will be announced at the press conference during the ALA Midwinter Meeting in February 2015.
For more information about the award, visit the ALSC website at http://www.ala.org/alsc/. Click on “Awards and Grants” in the left-hand navigation bar; then click on “ALSC Book & Media Awards.” Scroll down to the “Batchelder Award Page”.
Trinity University Press has acquired the assets of Maverick Publishing Company, an imprint dedicated to publishing books about the Southwest.
Beginning next year, Trinity will launch a new imprint called Maverick Books. The line will include more than 40 backlist titles from the Maverick collection and will publish new titles dedicated to the history and culture of Texas and the American Southwest. Lewis F. Fisher, the founder of Maverick will work with Trinity University Press as an editorial advisor, which will include acquiring and writing books for the imprint.
“Trinity University Press has enjoyed significant growth and success nationally and internationally during its first ten-plus years of publishing,” says Thomas Payton, associate director of Trinity University Press. “Core to our mission is a commitment to explore the history and culture of Texas and its peoples, as well as the Southwest more broadly. The Maverick acquisition helps to deepen our catalog of available print and ebook titles.”
New Career Opportunities Daily: The best jobs in media.
Newly formed Rising Bear Literary Agency will represent picture book through young adult authors.
Craig Ferguson will be leaving The Late, Late Show on December 19th. In honor of Ferguson’s departure, Larry King read a “farewell poem” during his appearance. The video embedded above features King’s full performance—what do you think?
New Career Opportunities Daily: The best jobs in media.
Submissions Wanted. Nothing in the queue for Friday, though I will be posting a third pass at a first page for my vampire kitty story then--I hope you'll tune in. If you’d like a fresh look at your opening chapter or prologue, please email your submission to me re the directions at the bottom of this post.
The Flogometer challenge: can you craft a first page that compels me to turn to the next page? Caveat: Please keep in mind that this is entirely subjective.
Note: all the Flogometer posts are here.
What's a first page in publishingland? In a properly formatted novel manuscript (double-spaced, 1-inch margins, 12-point type, etc.) there should be about 16 or 17 lines on the first page (first pages of chapters/prologues start about 1/3 of the way down the page). Directions for submissions are below—they include a request to post the rest of the chapter, but that’s optional.
A word about the line-editing in these posts: it’s “one-pass” editing, and I don’t try to address everything, which is why I appreciate the comments from the FtQ tribe. In a paid edit, I go through each manuscript three times.
Before you rip into today’s submission, consider this checklist of first-page ingredients from my book, Mastering the Craft of Compelling Storytelling. While it's not a requirement that all of these elements must be on the first page, they can be, and I think you have the best chance of hooking a reader if they are.
Were I you, I'd examine my first page in the light of this list before submitting to the Flogometer.
A First-page Checklist
- It begins connecting the reader with the protagonist
- Something is happening. On a first page, this does NOT include a character musing about whatever.
- What happens is dramatized in an immediate scene with action and description plus, if it works, dialogue.
- What happens moves the story forward.
- What happens has consequences for the protagonist.
- The protagonist desires something.
- The protagonist does something.
- There’s enough of a setting to orient the reader as to where things are happening.
- It happens in the NOW of the story.
- Backstory? What backstory? We’re in the NOW of the story.
- Set-up? What set-up? We’re in the NOW of the story.
- What happens raises a story question—what happens next? or why did that happen?
Fran sends a first chapter of Low Flying Dirtbags. The rest of the chapter follows the break.
A coppery metallic smell roused him. He blinked, coughed and gagged. The contents of his stomach churned and rose up his throat. He swallowed the burning bile and willed himself not to vomit. He shivered. He was cold. He tried to lift a hand to his mouth but discovered he couldn't move his arms or legs. He looked down towards his feet. He was naked and appeared to be strapped to a metal table. His legs were raw and oozing a faintly pinkish liquid onto the table. He suddenly felt the pain. His nausea increased. He swallowed rapidly to calm his churning stomach. He closed watery eyes as the fear rose. He quickly wrestled it down. Now was not the time to panic. Was it the middle of the day or night, he couldn't tell? Where was he? What had happened? Think back. Where was he last?
He'd been at his birthday celebration. It had been a glittering, exciting affair, and he'd been happy. There'd been lots of alcohol – so much so, he'd lost count of the number of refills. How had he gone from such a magical moment to this cold, dark place that smelled of copper?
He marked off the evenings events.
A bite or two of food. Somebody had offered him cocaine, but he'd turned it down, (snip)
Were you compelled to turn Fran's first page?
A scary opening, at least for the protagonist, and story questions are raised. Yet I waffled, which leads to not turning the page. I think the problem is two-fold. First is the good old anonymous pronoun person—why not give a name, which tends to make him more of a human than an object? Secondly, I felt the narrative didn’t deliver the intensity of the moment that the character is experiencing. Terrible things have happened to him yet all is calm and thoughtful. Notes:
A coppery metallic smell roused him. He blinked, coughed and gagged. The contents of his stomach churned and rose up his throat. He swallowed the burning bile and willed himself not to vomit. He shivered. He was cold. He tried to lift a hand to his mouth but discovered he couldn't move his arms or legs. He looked down towards his feet. He was naked and appeared to be strapped to a metal table. His legs were raw and oozing a faintly pinkish liquid onto the table. He suddenly felt the pain. His nausea increased. He swallowed rapidly to calm his churning stomach. He closed watery eyes as the fear rose. He quickly wrestled it down. Now was not the time to panic. Was it the middle of the day or night, he couldn't tell? Where was he? What had happened? Think back. Where was he last? We learn later that his arms and legs have “long, deep cuts and blistered, seared skin.” I don’t find it credible that incredible pain wouldn’t be the first thing he’d feel. If fact, I think it would be the intense pain would be what roused him, not the smell of blood. If it did, I also don’t think thoughts of nausea and bile would then be the first thing on his mind. With the nature of the wounds, I think he would wake screaming. Nor do I think he’d settle right down. He later “tentatively” queries if anyone is there. I think he’d scream it.
He'd been at his birthday celebration. It had been a glittering, exciting affair, and he'd been happy. There'd been lots of alcohol – so much so, he'd lost count of the number of refills. How had he gone from such a magical moment to this cold, dark place that smelled of copper?
He marked off the evening’s events.
A bite or two of food. Somebody had offered him cocaine, but he'd turned it down, (snip) I cut the remainder because a list is hardly compelling content for the first page. Get on with what’s happening, with him dealing with the NOW of what’s happening—I just don’t believe that, with the injuries and pain he has and awakening strapped to a table that he’d begin calmly reconstructing events. Writhing and screaming is mostly what I think he’d do. I’d have the bad guy interrupt the writhing and screaming on the first page and get on with that dialogue. I’d also like just a touch more scene-setting in the opening page as things aren’t clear as to the nature of where he is and what he sees. He can see injury to his legs, so there must be light. Yet later fluorescents are turned on to light the room. So what is it like, what does he see when he awakens?
For what it’s worth.
Submitting to the Flogometer:
Email the following in an attachment (.doc, .docx, or .rtf preferred, no PDFs):
- your title
- your complete 1st chapter or prologue plus 1st chapter
- Please include in your email permission to post it on FtQ.
Note: I’m adding a copyright notice for the writer at the end of the post. I’ll use just the first name unless I’m told I can use the full name.
- Also, please tell me if it’s okay to post the rest of the chapter so people can turn the page.
- And, optionally, include your permission to use it as an example in a book on writing craft if that's okay.
- If you’re in a hurry, I’ve done “private floggings,” $50 for a first chapter.
- If you rewrite while you wait for your turn, it’s okay with me to update the submission.
Were I you, I'd examine my first page in the light of the first-page checklist before submitting to the Flogometer.
Flogging the Quill © 2014 Ray Rhamey, story © 2014 Fran
knowing it'd keep him wired too tightly. Had someone slipped him something anyway?
Thoughts blurred. He couldn't cut through the misty memories. All he had was the party and then it was dark. Everything in the middle was gone.
It really didn't matter how he got here. What was important was escaping. If there was one thing he was good at, it was cutting his losses. He needed to get free!
As much as he strained against the straps holding him, he couldn't loosen them. He couldn't see anything either, he couldn't make out the room's details. It was quiet except for the sound of water trickling.
"Hello? Is anyone here?'" He tentatively queried.
The panic returned. He turned his head, the room spun, and his stomach threatened to spew. He gulped and forced himself to calm down. Tears filled his eyes and rolled down his cheeks. It would be so easy to surrender. No! He'd never been a quitter. Ever!
Summoning his most arrogant tone, he said, "Answer me. I know someone is here."
The shadows remained mutinously silent and unmoved by his practiced sternness. His only answer was the soft trickle of water.
"I shouldn't be here," he said. "This is a mistake. People are expecting me. They'll call the cops if I don't show. I can pay you whatever you want. I'm rich. You don't need to do this. We can make a deal. I demand to know where I am."
A shadow shifted. He caught the slight movement from the corner of his eye.
"You demand? If I were you, I wouldn't demand, I'd start begging." The whispered words echoed in the dark chamber. He couldn't tell if the voice was male or female.
"What do I need to beg for?"
"Your life would be a good start." The voice remained silky soft and gentle. For a moment, it sounded familiar. Where had he heard the voice before?
"I'm not afraid."
A soft chuckle snaked through the gloom, unsettling him more than a hurled threat.
"You really should be afraid."
"Why? Why are you here? Why what?"
He heard the clip-clop of shoes on concrete as they moved away. He panicked. Was the person leaving him alone in this awful place strapped naked to this table?
Overhead florescent lights clicked on, flooding the room, forcing him to wince from the burning glare. Carefully he cracked his lids allowing the light to leak into his pupils. When his eyes finally focused on his captor, he saw nothing but a pair of blue eyes looking at him with curiosity. The person had draped itself in a loose-fitting, long sleeved, blue hospital gown. Its face, obscured by a surgical mask and cap covering its brows and hair made it impossible to distinguish any feature or tell if it was male or female. Its hands were encased in surgical gloves. Height average.
"Do I know you?"
"Doesn't matter," the voice whispered.
The lightness of its voice told him it was truly enjoying this moment. "Well, we better get started. We've got work to do."
"Work, what work? Where are we?"
"We are far from anyone who might hear your screams of agony or your pleas for help."
He started to tremble. He couldn't control it.
"Where are we?" he stuttered.
"This is where I do some of my best work, my art."
"What kind of art?"
"Body art…look at you." The gloved hands came up holding a long-bladed straight razor with a bloody blade and a small portable table torch. He realized why his legs burned and looked filleted. Now, as he looked closer, his arms, though strapped down, had long, deep cuts and blistered, seared skin. His face burned too.
The blue eyes blazed with anger. "To each his own."
"Please don't do this to me."
"Too late now."
"It's never too late. I won't tell anyone."
"Shhh," it whispered. "This won't take long." As the pain scorched through his body, he embraced it. The pain was proof of life. Without the pain, he feared he'd be lost.
"I want to live."
Gently, it smoothed it's fingertips over his forehead. "Shhh…we can't do that." The gentle touch set off an explosion of tremors. His body shook uncontrollably. His tormentor quickly and efficiently duct taped his mouth shut. Daggett wondered why since it had mentioned no one would hear him if he yelled. Daggett struggled harder and watched as it laid the sharp blade against his genitals while lighting the portable torch.
His tormentor watched the panic grow in his eyes. "I wouldn't shake so much if I were you. I might burn more than your sac." It whispered as searing agony shot through his body while the smell of scorched flesh reached his nostrils. It continued, "My blade might accidently slide… like this… and slice right through your manhood. Oops! Look what you've made me do, Daggett!”
The pain was agonizing. Daggett tasted blood as he bit through his tongue. He couldn't scream. All he managed was a muffled sound of agony. It stared at him as if he was some kind of lab experiment to evaluate as it methodically snapped photos of his reaction.
"Almost done... It won't be long now. How are you feeling, Daggett? Can you relate at all to the agony you caused others all these years? Do you feel remorse, any regrets? Nope… doesn't look like it to me. All I see is anger, pleading for a chance to talk yourself out of your current situation. Too bad! So sad!"
Daggett’s tormentor dragged the sharp knife blade over the tender flesh of his neck. The pain was sudden and searing. Warm blood and a renewed coppery smell drained quickly from the wound. He inhaled, but his lungs refused to respond. He tried to pull in another breath. Nothing! Panic exploded as he directed his energy inward towards his lungs.
A gurgling sound rose in his chest as the air already in his lungs seeped out through the wound. More blood began to pool around his shoulders. He struggled to cling to his final hold on life.
His tormentor smoothed its fingers through his hair. "Don't fight this. Fighting only makes it worse. It won't be much longer, it'll be over soon."
Daggett’s vision blurred. His lungs and body burned while gentle fingers continued to stroke his brow.
"So pretty. I think you are my best work yet, Daggett." Delight danced in its blue eyes. The more Daggett struggled to breathe the greater his tormentors’ enjoyment. Blackness leaked into the edges of his vision, and as the seconds counted down, his constricting pupils seeped out more light, leaving only darkness behind. The darkness won.
It stared down at Daggett's empty shell. This killing was a treat, a well-deserved reward. Dirk Daggett had begged in the end. It was always enjoyable to bring the arrogant, know-it-all ones down a peg. It clicked on a portable light and studied Daggett's face. As it gazed at Daggett's remains, it felt no remorse, just unfulfilled. It was tired of living in the shadows, tired of hiding behind someone's protection, tired of wanting things and not being able to have them, weary of denying it's true self. It wanted the cops to know what it could do. It wanted to be feared and to be that terrifying bedtime story the kids told each other when they needed to feel dread.
Soon they would know. Daggett’s tormentor would alter the game and force them to pay attention. Maybe it was foolish to poke a stick at the cops. It had been quietly killing for many years…why the need for attention now? It paced its workroom while considering its sudden need for more. Why was the mutilation no longer satisfying? Why did it need to taunt authority and risk exposure?
The seconds ticked by as it contemplated its options. There was no sense of panic just a residue of excitement. As it paced and moved about the small room, anticipation grew and grew until it overwhelmed the killer completely.
Should it rethink this game plan? No. It needed this. It needed recognition. It had been hiding for too many years. It was always careful. There would be no trace of its presence on Daggett's body, no evidence to link his remains back to the killer. There would be no more hiding in the shadows, no more living in the background. It would forge new ground and become a household name.
The cops, once they found Daggett's empty shell, would eventually put a name and face to the remains. They'd learn what they could about him. They'd ask his family and friends who could have done such a horrible thing. But, in the end… they'd come up empty-handed. No one would link Daggett to its other self. No one had seen them together in a very long time. There were no emails, faxes, or texts exchanged.
It thought about the cops running around in circles like rabid dogs trying to figure out which end was up. They'd growl and foam at the mouth, but in the end they'd find nothing but their own tails. The notion that the detectives assigned would have another unsolved case – another blot on their records – had some appeal. It chuckled deeply while contemplating the consequences of moving forward with this new plan.
Later, it would add Daggett's pictures to the ever-growing album. The stories the album provided were something to reminisce about while sitting in a cozy chair, in front of a warm fire, sipping hot chocolate, on a cold winter's night.
Dear Friends,The holidays can be so wonderful but I know that there are also those who struggle at this time of year with poor health or loneliness so I hope you will join me and remember to reach out to those in need not only at Christmastime but all year round.
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Data journalist Niall McCarthy has created an infographic which explores the current state of eBooks
Charted by Statista, McCarthy shared the infographic in a post on Forbes. Check it out: “Today, 23 percent of all male adults and 33 percent of all female adults in the United States read e-books. In fact, the global e-book industry is worth a whopping $8.5 billion.”
We’ve embedded the entire graphic after the jump for you to explore further. (more…)
New Career Opportunities Daily: The best jobs in media.
Filmmaker Ram Devineni has concerns about the rise in violence against women in India. So he created a new comic book hero to help inspire Indians stand up to against rape.
Her name is Priya. After being sexually attacked, Priva travels the country to speak out against victim shaming.
NPR has more:
After months of traveling around India talking to all sorts of people, including rape victims, about sexual violence, Devineni decided to create Priya. Shunned by her family and village after she is raped, she takes refuge in the jungle and is stalked by a tiger. Parvati, a Hindu goddess, comes to her aid and grants her special powers that include fearlessness and a magical mantra that she uses to change people’s minds.
New Career Opportunities Daily: The best jobs in media.
Things are beginning to heat up. Mock Caldecotts are being decided; best-of-year lists continue to be released; over at Fuse #8, Betsy Bird has made her final predictions.
It’s time to talk about a book that’s been one of my favorites all fall: Marla Frazee’s The Farmer and the Clown.
I find it difficult not to gush over this book. It is so simple and yet so profound: the classic “stranger comes to town” story brilliantly re-imagined and re-visioned. It works for me on both an intellectual and emotional level, so much so that I can start out discussing the composition of a particular page, say, and end up talking instead about the definition of family; love and loss. The search for belonging. What happens when we reveal our true selves to others. You know, the whole human condition.
So to prevent me going off the deep end, I’ll stick to bullet points and simply highlight some of the strengths of the book; some of the things that make it worthy of Caldecott consideration. I hope you will help me fill in the gaps in the comments.
- THE EXPRESSIVENESS of the characters, through body language and facial expressions. To quote the Horn Book “Fanfare” citation: ”Rarely has posture been used so well in a picture book, here used to wordlessly portray the kindness of strangers who are thrown (literally!) together by happenstance but then changed forever.”
- THE TENSION. The story itself has built-in tension — how are these seemingly opposite characters going to get along? will the farmer be able to comfort the child? will this be the child’s new home, or will the circus train come back? — so does the visual storytelling. As a reader/viewer I am pulled in two directions. I want both to linger over each spread to catch every nuance AND to turn the page to see what happens next. The picture book storytelling is perfectly balanced here.
- THE LANDSCAPE. This has got to be one of the sparest landscapes ever depicted in a picture book. The horizon stretches unendingly beneath vast skies. There is no vegetation aside from the one tree on the one knoll. There aren’t even any haystacks to break up the emptiness (though there seems to be plenty of hay to make them with). The color palette is equally austere: brown, sere, desert-like. Does the empty landscape echo and make manifest the heart of the farmer? Or does it serve to keep the viewer’s focus on the characters, their interactions and emotions? I would say both.
- THE ENDING. It is just open-ended enough. You close the book satisfied but also with a little room to fill in details yourself. It’s not the mind-blowing, drop-the-reader-off-a-cliff ending of Sam and Dave Dig a Hole. But the questions asked by the ending can be answered by a the story you’ve just finished reading. It’s a very organic, very satisfying kind of open-endedness. The answers are all in the spot illustration on the last page: in the farmer’s posture (relaxed, upright, hands in pocket — he’s contemplative, but not unhappy), in the hat he’s wearing, the hat HE chose to swap with the little clown; and of course in the presence of the circus monkey, the same size and shape and dressed the same way as the departed little clown.
- THE MULTILAYEREDNESS of the wordless narrative. One of the most brilliant parts of the book is the very first page where Frazee uses a clean white background rather than that mottled sere brown — the page just after the little clown has been jettisoned from the train. Read it one way (with makeup in place): a little clown seeks to entertain an audience. He does a little dive move, he doffs his cap, he takes a bow. All part of a performance. BUT. Read it another way (if one could see through the makeup to the scared baby/toddler beneath): he points desperately to where he came from; he mimics how he fell from the train, he bends over in despair; he runs to the farmer to plead for help. I’m not sure I know of another picture book that accomplishes this layered interpretation.
- THE VISUAL LINKS BETWEEN THE CHARACTERS. There are many. Even when they look like complete opposites — tall skinny old farmer all dressed in black; short round young child all dressed in red — there is a relationship between them. Note the reverse symmetry of the small clown and the tall farmer: the clown’s tall pointy hat is the farmer’s long pointy beard, in reverse; the clowns horizontal ruffle around his neck is the farmer’s flat hat on his head. Then when the truth comes out and the little clown’s true self is revealed, the link becomes closer and nearer: we see their equally bald heads, and the farmer’s red long johns match the child’s red clown suit. And at the very very end, the link between them is cemented when the farmer swaps their hats, placing his black hat on the toddler’s head and donning the tall red cone hat himself.
- THE STORY’S DEPTH. This would have been just a sweet little story of friendship and love/loss/love…but the addition of the painted-on smile of the little clown asks SUCH deeper questions and adds so many deeper layers. And so by the end of the book, this reader, anyway, is entirely emotionally invested. Look at that oversized arm on the final double-page spread (the long horizontal arm balanced compositionally by the long horizontal train, by the way). Is the farmer’s arm waving goodbye? or reaching out, trying to hold on? There’s a phenomenal amount of feeling in that disembodied arm. I am not sure many other artists could invest so much emotion in an ARM.
I’ve heard that The Farmer and the Clown doesn’t work for two- and three-year-olds. Well, no. Is it supposed to? Do people think that because the clown is a very young child, the book also must be for very young children? The age of the baby/toddler clown does not determine the audience for this book. It’s for reader-viewers who are interested in determining and decoding the situation, reading the postures, the facial expressions, watching the specific yet universal story unfold.
And no, it’s not all that funny. Again, is it supposed to be? I am not sure that all Marla Frazee books have to be laughfests. The book does have small moments of humor (the juggling eggs sequence, for instance), but it’s the kind of humor that might evoke a smile rather than a guffaw. I think readers are too involved in the pathos of the situation, the drama, the tension, to want or need to do a lot of giggling. But since the Caldecott committee is charged with looking only at the books of 2014, a comparison to Frazee’s earlier work should not apply.
Can the Caldecott committee ignore their expectations of what a Marla Frazee picture book should be? Will they see the genius of this book?
The post The Farmer and the Clown appeared first on The Horn Book.
Another Christmas fun - Idea by Coconuts - Titled: Coconuts and her per monkeys (AKA Us - her humans)print available @ http://goo.gl/8TYkHS
Cute doggy paw print Christmas ornaments made by Coconuts, I help with decoration
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After a lengthy hiatus, the creative team behind Image Comics’ EGOs is back in action and ready to serve up more interplanetary crime drama with their upcoming fifth issue. Writer Stuart Moore and artist Gus Storms were kind enough to take some time to chat with the Beat about their series, in addition to humoring some ill-fated Beyoncé puns.
Comics Beat: So let’s start with the basics. Give us the gist of what’s going on in EGOs for new readers.
Stuart Moore: EGOs is basically about a superhero team in the far future, but what’s it’s really about is a marriage between two of the founding members. They’ve been together a long time, and they’ve had a lot of ups and downs, and it’s kind of a show business marriage because they’re both stars in a way. Deuce, the leader, is a former pretty boy who now uses a thing called an “imager” to make his face look younger than it is whenever he’s on camera. Pixel was very young when she joined the team, and she’s become her own brand and has sponsors and products and stuff like that. So they both basically have their own lives. In the course of the first storyline which is collected in the first trade, Quintessence, Deuce decides to re-form the team. Mostly because of a huge threat to galactic peace, but also because he wants to be relevant again and he kind of feels Pixel slipping away from him, and thinks this could be a way to bring them together again.
CB: And what will be going on in the forthcoming issues?
SM: So having set all that up, in this arc we’re setting up a big galactic conspiracy – a sort of invisible threat to the entire galactic economy. And in the course of investigating that, what happens is we meet a lot of new characters, and it becomes a bit of a mystery. Some combination of these characters are behind this gigantic plot, and it’s up to the two EGOs teams on two different planets to unravel and solve this mystery. So what we’re doing with the two main characters, Deuce and Pixel, they were together in the first story, but now they are completely apart. Deuce is involved in the core of the conspiracy on Earth, while Pixel is leading a stealth team on the remote, lawless planet of Tortuga with a subset of the team. So they’re off in two different places. It’s kind of weird because their relationship is still the heart of the story, it runs through every page of the book, but we’re really seeing them do their jobs here, and we’re seeing them do it separately. So it’s this weird mix of superhero and science fiction and in this story, crime drama.
CB: There’s quite a time gap between the release of the last issue and the date for the upcoming fifth issue. What caused the extended break?
SM: Well, I needed time to rethink the thing. Gus isn’t quite a monthly comics artist, he needs more than a month to do a book. And it ended up being a little longer than we planned because the two of us are doing a two part story for DC as part of their Convergence storyline. So that wound up delaying our return a little bit. But it should work out nicely since Convergence will come out during the middle of this EGOs run, so hopefully people will notice the two things together.
CB: Is there anything different about how you’re approaching the making of the book this time around?
SM: The biggest difference for me is that it’s a much longer, more extended storyline. I had to plot it out in great detail. The first part is sort of a teaser, issue six is almost a little self-contained story within the story, and then it’s full-barrel to the end with a lot of twists and turns for the next three issues.
Gus Storms: I had fun with the art – it’s totally more terrestrial. It’s more location based and there’s nothing I love more than drawing location, as in the people in it and world-building. So I didn’t approach it differently, I just think that art-wise it’s more in my bailiwick and my natural inclinations.
SM: I actually had Gus in mind for Tortuga, which is a former prison planet that’s now sort of a lawless trading world. A lot of the long-time inhabitants are missing limbs and have artificial limbs and I thought that was just right for Gus. “Shankers” are a mass produced sort of artificial limb, and they’re a very important element to the story, as in who has them and what they’re used for.
CB: So does a lot of research go into the writing for this, science and space-wise?
SM: Well, I try and make it a little more plausible than a lot of comics! I have sort of a background in science fiction, and my father was a nuclear physicist, so I don’t come from that side of the family at all. I don’t understand any of that stuff, but I like bashing my head against it every once in awhile. So I try to keep current, but at the same time I’ve written stuff much more hardcore sci-fi than this. This is at core a superhero story with a science background, and when you get down to people’s powers… there is only so plausible it gets. In terms of the story-telling approach, I want to work as drama first, and then make it as plausible as possible, rather than the other way around.
GS: And this one is more cyber-punk than space opera. The first one is really sort of a more space opera, and this one is dystopia noir.
SM: That’s interesting, I hadn’t thought about it as cyber-punk, but it probably seems that way because of the noir influence. There’s a pretty hard edge to issue six when you meet some of the suriviors of the Crunch War. One of the new characters, the Commander, fought it in. What that war did to these people, and these planets, is a crucial part in where the story is going. I’m very fond of an old subset of noir that focuses on damaged WWII veterans and the crimes they committed, and it was something people were writing a lot about in the 1950’s and that influenced this story as well, but in a more futuristic context.
CB: So in to your first collected trade, you had an essay on why you took on the mantle of writer/editor and how Gus is also sort of an artist/editor. Are you sticking to those titles this time around?
SM: So what I said, for those who haven’t read it, is that I very purposefully gave myself the title of writer/editor on this book, which I got some criticism for, and I expected. But I did it for a couple of reasons. One was there are projects I do where I need an outside editor, I could absolutely not do without one, and then there’s EGOs where I pretty much know where I’m going. Gus backstops me, he’s absolutely invaluable in story matters, and so does Marie Javins who has been our co-publisher and co-editor all along. But I don’t really need a traditional editor on this book. I’ve been a comics editor myself, I’ve edited a lot of books, so I pretty much know what I’m doing. More than that, it was almost a little tribute to the fact that in the 1970’s and 80’s when I start really reading comics, a lot of people had that title, and a lot of the best comics published were under that title. Howard the Duck, Firestorm, Conan, even things like Spider-Man and the Fantastic Four were done that way for awhile. It fell out of favor partly because most of the major companies don’t work that way anymore, but it’s kind of my way of showing that this can still be a valid way to work on the right project.
GS: We don’t have a lot of continuity stuff to manage, which is a big part of the Big Two editorship. I think [Moore] needs an enforcer, you need someone to hassle the artist more.
CB: So let’s talk about the art. It’s been great seeing it develop across issues and tighten up to where it’s at now. It seems like you draw a lot of inspiration from French comics and the like, so did you have anything in mind when you started creating these designs?
GS: The process of the artist is just trying to shore up your deficiencies. So I’m just trying to occlude my poor drawing as much as possible. As far as inspiration… definitely a lot of the European guys. I like static shots. Not a huge fan of the forced perspective, sort of fish-eye lens type comics bombast you see in American mainstream. Lifetime Moebius devotee, and Darrow and Quitely. I always have trouble with people – with drawing handsome and attractive people. I find them way less interesting than the weird, grotesque side characters. Part of the evolution of EGOs art wise is that EGOs started as my first all-digital thing, working on the Cintiq, and there’s a big learning curve there. The most recent book has a lot of zipitone, and you can just sort of throw it on willy-nilly, so that’s sort of a different look. I like in particular the bar scenes. I would just draw weird back-water bars all day if I could.
SM: When I plotted out the first storyline, Gus wasn’t onboard yet, but I had him much more in mind on this arc.
GS: I found a lot of difficulties in the first one, there was just so much “people floating in space.” I had a hard time making that interesting. And some people can do it so well, like aerial fights. I had to figure out how to do it.
CB: Tell me a little about what it’s like to design such unique characters. Masse, for example, seems like he would have been very difficult to take from concept to execution.
GS: Yeah, that was maybe the most design discussion we had. I had originally wanted to make him more ambulatory – give him sort of malformed arms or something. But I think Stuart guided us in the right direction with that. He was a lot of fun. The other one I really enjoyed was Quark, which is the pink, constantly-shifting, energy dude. And the most high concept design guys come a little later in the story, and they’re an interesting… firm-type thing.
SM: Oh yeah, the Quantum Trust. This story is a little more grounded, as we said, and most of the characters are human or humanoid. But there are some pretty strange looking people coming.
CB: Is there anything you hate drawing that you found yourself having to improve on this series? Maybe something that you’re now good at drawing?
GS: I meannnn, I don’t think I got GOOD at drawing any of the stuff. This is my first job pretty much save for one little comic project I did out of school. And in school, when I was drawing, everyone was just really ugly and monstrous, so I guess I just had to draw allegedly attractive people. You know, Deuce and Pixel are supposed to be good-looking – they’re celebrities. I did have to focus on trying to make people look comely.
SM: I’ll add one other thing – these are not easy scripts. One of the games with EGOs for me was to pack as much into each story as I could without seeming crowded. That was one of the things I really wanted to do. Partly because I think if you’re going to do an original indie comic where people aren’t buying it for Batman, you need to really give people their money’s worth. If people are going to pay three dollars for an issue of this comic, I want them to walk away thinking they really got an experience. And that means there’s a lot of scene-changes, there’s a lot of characters, there’s a lot going on. These scripts are not easy to draw, and Gus has done a beautiful job at every stage.
GS: The best part is design, and it’s just been an option to constantly design little pieces, like Shara’s home world that you see just for a second. That kind of thing is all over the comic, which is a real treat.
CB: Anything else you’d like readers to know about what’s to come?
SM: Well, there are a lot of twists and turns. Not all the characters will necessarily survive… Basically what I had wanted to do with this story is do a large-scale epic where the villain is hidden. The villain is not out in plain sight, you don’t know who it is. And kind of bring some of the ways a good police procedural story work into this and see what happens. Hopefully that’ll work, hopefully people will like it…
I’ll just say one more thing. When it came time to decide whether or not to continue this book, and how long to continue it for, I plotted out the story and I sat down and wrote issue five. I know I’m too close to really know, but I think it’s the best script I’ve ever written for comic books. And then issue six is good, but I think issue seven is even better. So if people have read my stuff this is the one I would recommend, because out of all the comics I’ve written, I’m as happy with this one as anything I’ve ever done.
GS: I second that. I love it. It’s been a lot of fun to work on. It’s a great story, it’s exactly the type of thing that I like to read.
EGOs #5 is due out February 4th from Image Comics. Item Code: DEC140641