Archive for April 18th, 2012



C2E2: The Place To Be in April

Written by on Apr 18, 2012
Filed in: Zimmertainment  |  2 Comments »

Brian Azzarello is a real stand-up guy......

 

This past weekend I attended C2E2 for the first time in my life. Not only an amazing event, I also came home with a bag of stuff I would not have been able to get elsewhere. Inside the bag, I got sketches from artists such as Cliff Chiang and David Finch, autographed comics from the likes of Scott Snyder and Kyle Higgins, and I also got some cool t-shirts (Batman Beyond and The Dark Knight Rises). I also argued with David Finch stating I believed Batman: The Dark Knight to have had a vision in his first arc on the series’ relaunch. However, that is not what I am here to talk about.

For an upcoming freelance writer, this con gave me a lot to write about both journalistically and for my scripts. I got ideas from talking to writers, and I was also able to get their background stories of how they broke in. In that sense, it was an amazing experience. However, there was more to the event than just that. There were a lot of announcements and exclusive things only goers of the event were able to privy too.

One such example is the ability to see a comic before it is released to the public. Though I do not want to say too much (as I told Dan DiDio I wouldn’t), I got to see the first issue of a major series that is being launched as a part of the New 52 Second Wave in May. Needless to say, it blew me away, and the fact it is written by one of my all-time favorite writers along with an artist I love that I am glad is finally being given work after an hiatus since her fill-in work on a certain Man of Steel comic just made it even better. Besides being able to see comics before they are released, I also got to hear some cool announcements and see some upcoming art for DC’s latest and greatest.

Hearing from Chris Burnham what he and Grant Morrison have planned in Batman Incorporated is making me go crazy. I want to hold the first issue in my hands right now as I was able to decipher some of the plot from him. Mr. Burnham is a wonderful guy to speak to, and anyone who attends the next con he is at should definitely stop by to see him. I also got to hear about what will be happening in DC’s books including a lot about the Night of the Owls event that Scott Snyder has got my so excited about.

Beyond speaking to writers and artists, it was great to be back in the city of Chicago. I have not been there for a couple years, and the opportunity to go back was quite an exciting prospect. Driving five hours was not a big thing for me but the hotel was. The hotel I stayed at was terrible, and I am definitely staying somewhere else. They were not very accommodating, and the woman at the front desk when I left was a bit snarky. Hoping that never occurs again as I plan on staying at the Sheraton next year. Beyond  that, sitting next to a girl who says I am complaining that I had to move my stuff because I was talking to my parents about how annoyed I was the bus wasn’t moving was an experience in itself.

However, all in all, I cannot complain. If you are in the Midwest, you should definitely check it out. It is certainly the biggest con in the area, and if you do not want to deal with the insanity of New York City, go there. It will definitely be worth your while. On another note, I found out absolutely nothing about The Dark Knight Rises from DC’s execs unfortunately….




The Avengers Storm Utopia In AVENGERS VS X-MEN #2

Written by on Apr 18, 2012
Filed in: Marvel Comics News  |  1 Comment »

The Avengers Storm Utopia In AVENGERS VS X-MEN #2

The Avengers Storm Utopia In AVENGERS VS X-MEN #2 – ON SALE NOW!

The war is here! Today, in Avengers VS. X-Men #2 by the blockbuster creative team of Jason Aaron and John Romita Jr., Captain America leads the assault against the X-Men in a brawl that no-one will forget. The Mutant Messiah, Hope, is the target and Earth’s Mightiest are not leaving Utopia without her. But to get to Hope, they’ll have to go through Cyclops and his team of X-Men who are putting up the fight of their lives.

Plus! Join the Marvel ReEvolution as Marvel brings fans a new comic reading experience! Every issue of Avengers VS X-Men comes packaged with a code for a FREE digital copy on the Marvel Comics app.

And that’s not all! Take the Avengers VS X-Men enjoyment even further by unlocking access to exclusive behind the scenes extras utilizing special augmented reality technology with the Marvel AR app powered by Aurasma. This is exciting bonus content that you cannot access anywhere else!

Which team will reign supreme? Join the conversation on Twitter with #AvX!

Here comes the pain as all your favorite super heroes enter—and only one team will emerge victorious! Don’t miss out on this once in a lifetime comic event in, Avengers VS X-Men #2, on sale now in comic shops everywhere, on the Marvel Comics app, and the all-new Marvel Comics Webstore!

For more on Avengers VS X-Men, please visit http://avx.marvel.com

AVENGERS VS X-MEN #2 (FEB120534)

Written by JASON AARON

Pencils by JOHN ROMITA JR.

Cover by JIM CHEUNG

Rated T+…$3.99

ON SALE NOW!




Creator of Paradigm Shift Takes Chicago!

Written by on Apr 18, 2012
Filed in: Comic Book News  |  2 Comments »

Webcomic pioneer and graphic novelist Dirk Tiede celebrates this weekend his return to Anime St. Louis, the Midwest’s leading anime convention. This appearance is just the first stop in a parade of celebrations for the Chicagoan turned New Englander.

On the heels of the conclusion to Chapter 4 of Tiede’s online graphic novel, Paradigm Shift, the popular convention guest will appear all 3 days at Anime St. Louis, greeting fans and sharing his books and artwork. Tiede is also scheduled to present two workshops to Anime St. Louis attendees. On Friday from 9 to 10pm, the experienced artist will discuss Digital Comics Techniques for Photoshop. On Saturday, Tiede is scheduled from 5 to 7pm to teach How to Draw People & Figure Drawing. Both programs are ones Tiede has presented at other conventions across the country.

Anime St. Louis is scheduled for April 20 to 22 at Gateway Center in Collinsville, IL.

Following his appearance at Anime St. Louis, Tiede will make a limited appearance at neighboring Anime Central in Rosemont, IL the following weekend, April 27 to 29.

In June, Tiede will make his next guest appearance for the very first time in Dallas, TX at A-Kon. Slated for June 1 to 3 at the Sheraton Dallas Hotel, A-Kon is the oldest running anime convention in the country. Tiede will be on hand all weekend and will be presenting an assortment of panels and workshops to be announced closer to the show.

All of these appearances lead up to a long-awaited conclusion to Tiede’s current chapter of his paranormal graphic novel, Paradigm Shift. The long-running online graphic novel focuses on Kate McAllister, one of the best detectives in Chicago who faces some pretty big changes. Paradigm Shift is a modern police thriller that collides with classic werewolf tale when Kate and her partner are kicked off a juicy gun-running case to investigate a series of bizarre animal maulings. But as she begins to develop strange symptoms and powerful, frightening abilities, Kate realizes she may know this beast better than she could possibly dream.

Plans are being made to bring this most recent chapter a roaring conclusion in the Fall of 2012, as Tiede’s convention season comes to a close. Until then, fans of Tiede’s artwork can satisfy their craving on Sanotarium, a card game from Asmadi Games scheduled for a May/June release.

Paradigm Shift is available in print and webcomic versions at http://paradigmshiftmanga.com and on iPad and Android mobile devices via the Cloud 9 Comix app.




Dave DeVries and His Art Movement, on CBS This Morning

Written by on Apr 18, 2012
Filed in: Comic Book News  |  1 Comment »

Who: Marvel / DC Comics and Videogame Artist Dave DeVries

What: Dave DeVries and His Art Movement, “The Monster Engine” featured tomorrow on CBS This Morning

When: Wednesday, April 18th, 2012 at 8:45 a.m. ET

Details: Dave DeVries is creator of The Monster Engine art movement, which has received worldwide attention from the day BoingBoing.net’s Cory Doctorow praised it and G4 Network’s Attack of the Show featured it. The Monster Engine answers the question: “What if children’s simple monster drawings were painted realistically?”

The Monster Engine kicked off innocently enough one Jersey Shore summer when DeVries’ young niece Jessica grabbed his sketchbook and began filling it with her own monster etchings. DeVries decided to paint them realistically, to ghoulish results. In an ironic twist, today DeVries actually teaches art to his niece Jessica at the Fashion Institute of Technology in NYC where he is an adjunct professor.

CBS This Morning’s segment will include the following:

Time lapse of Dave DeVries painting in his studio

A brief interview with DeVries’ niece Jessica and DeVries’ own family

DeVries teaching at NYC’s Fashion Institute of Technology

DeVries performing his live one-man art demo show before the Warren Point Elementary School in Fair Lawn, NJ.




America’s Got Powers #1 Review

Written by on Apr 18, 2012
Filed in: Comic Book Reviews, Image Comics Reviews  |  8 Comments »

America's Got Powers #1

Rating: 5/5
Publisher Name: Image Comics
Publisher Website: http://www.imagecomics.com

Writer: Jonathon Ross
Pencils: Bryan Hitch
Inks: Andrew Currie & Paul Neary
Colors: Paul Mounts
Number of Pages: 36
Price: 2.99
Color: Color
Safety Content Label: PARENTAL ADVISORY – 15 years and older. Similar to T+ but featuring more mature themes and/or more graphic imagery.

Publisher’s Blurb:
Welcome to AMERICA’S GOT POWERS! It’s the biggest TV show on Earth, where the chance to win fame, fortune and get laid are dangled in front of a generation of super-powered teens. All they have to do is WIN. Who is the fastest, the strongest or the greatest? Who survives? Young Tommy Watt’s dreams of being the greatest hero of them all might just be shattered when the greatest show on the planet begins to reveal its dark heart.

Reviewer’s Comments:
Based on the title, cover, and blurb, I expected this to read as a spoof on shows like American Idol, but with super-powered battles in place of high class karaoke. I wasn’t too far off in that sense, though it was definitely done better than I thought possible. I was ready for some over-the-top cheesy humor. Nope. It turns out America’s Got Powers is a pretty deep and dark read. That’s not to say that it was unfunny, just that it is very far from being a comedy. This is a perfect example of what comic creators should aim to do with the first issue of every new series, regardless of genre. We get to know our characters, particularly our main character, Tommy Watts, by the choices they make. More importantly, we get to know them at a natural, unforced pace. We get to see enough of the world around the characters to firmly grasp what is happening in the story, yet there is still enough mystery to make us want to rush out and get our hands on issue 2. Superb writing, Mr. Ross. Couple that with Bryan Hitch’s amazing artwork, sense of storytelling, and his uncanny ability to clearly display even the most subtle of emotions and you got yourself the makings of a fine, fine comic book.

The story starts in San Francisco when a mysterious crystal floats down from above. The crystal touches ground and radiates a bright light in all directions. Every pregnant woman in the area gives birth instantly. The super-powered offspring of this massive birthing are the heroes. They’re also the stars of the show. Based on the quality of this book and the recent success of the Hunger Games books/movie, children maiming each other and/or being maimed otherwise may very well be the future of entertainment!

Honestly, I can’t do this first issue justice with words. If you like super hero comics, even a little bit, do yourself a favor and pick it up. It’s a 6 part miniseries, so it won’t even be a lot of work to keep up with. Pick it up. Read it. Love it. Thank me later.




Right Place at the Write Time #2: Writers Gonna Write

Written by on Apr 18, 2012
Filed in: Right Place at the Write Time  |  7 Comments »

Before you can fancy yourself as a comic book writer, you first have to be a writer.

There’s a great quote on this, and I’ll likely butcher it, but here it is to the best of my memory:

How to be a writer:
Step 1 – Try to succeed at something else. Anything else.
Step 2 – Fail miserably

Pretty accurate in my opinion.

BACK TO BASICS

I’ll go ahead and hope that before jumping into comic writing, you’ve written other stories of your own creation. If not, I highly suggest you write some. Find your voice. Find the genres you enjoy writing. Read a lot. Write some really crappy stories. Read some more.

Also, if you hope to make it as a professional writer, you must have an understanding of basic grammar. I’ll assume that we all went to school, but with time sometimes these lessons fade. Make sure you take some time to refresh yourself on the basic rules. Nothing will ruin your credibility faster than being abusive toward the English language. If you can arrange it, have an English teacher mother and a Journalist father. That turned out pretty well for me. Also, don’t steal the awesome time travel story I just came up with there.

Consider this — comics are a visual form where the pictures and illustrations are infinitely more important than the actual words. You need to have a strong understanding of character, dialogue, conflict, action, and resolution. A prose piece can be as long as it needs to be to tell the story with as much description and dialogue as needed, whereas a comic book is (usually) limited to 20 or 22 pages an issue and must contain a beginning, middle, and end. There’s also a giant limit to the amount of words that can fit on a panel and a page. Brevity is your friend. Brevity is also the soul of wit, I hear.

So go write some short stories, and if you already have a stockpile, go re-read them. Make sure they’re well-told and follow the classic three act structure. Re-write them to improve your craft and take chances and paths you didn’t in the original version. Don’t make edits — start from the ground up. Remember that any short story you’ve written can be later turned into comic book format, but before it can be converted and seen visually, it’s important to have a beginning, middle, and end.

The simple version of the three act structure:
Act 1 – Get your character into a tree.
Act 2 – Throw rocks at him.
Act 3 – Get your character out of the tree.

So I’m going to assume that you’re either off writing some short stories, or you already do so on a regular basis.
Let’s move on to time management.

TIME MANAGEMENT

If you want to cut it as a professional, you must write every day. It must become part of your routine. Part of your life. Olympic athletes train every day to be the best in the world. People work out every day in order to stay fit and healthy. Professional musicians play their instruments every day in order to keep up their physical dexterity.

Why should writers be any different?

Sure, we can’t all sit down every day and force ourselves to produce amazing fiction, but we can make some adjustments in our everyday lives to put us on the right track to do so.

Find the time of day in which you’re feeling most creative and set aside some of it to write.

Personally, I like to write in the morning before going to my day job. The advantage here is that I feel that my mind is fresh and hasn’t picked up any stress from the day. The downside is that that sometimes I have to wake up at 4am or 5am to write before heading to work at 8:30am, but big deal… I can sleep when I’m dead. Besides, this is why coffee was invented — to help writers be productive*.

Start off small. Find 10 minutes here, or 30 minutes there. Don’t make excuses for why you can’t write. Your wives, husbands, friends, and children love you and should all understand your passion and be supportive. If you’re passionate about it, they’ll give you that time. If they aren’t supportive, then get some new friends/wives/husbands/children immediately.

Find a place to write in which you feel comfortable and creative. Some folks prefer the hustle and bustle of coffee shops while others like to sit in their beds with a laptop. Personally, I have a small office with a great desk where I can go to concentrate.  I need silence though to work as I am easily distracted. Before I set up my home office, I’d done some of my best writing with my laptop on the dining room table while my wife was asleep. To each their own. Stick with what works. Find a dedicated place that you can go each day. You need a place that when you sit down, your brain knows that it’s time to work… time to focus… time to write… time to stare at a blank page… time to get frustrated… time to throw things… time to clean up the broken glass… time to apologize to the cat**.

Know what you’re going to write before you write it. The biggest enemy of the writer is that darn blank page. If you get the germ of a story idea, let it marinate for a few days, weeks, or months prior to sitting down and trying to jam it out. Often times, I’ll figure out my beginning, middle, and end, before I ever type a word. This helps prevent writer’s block and much frustration.

To that same tip, when you are writing, do not write yourself dry. Stop and take a rest when you still know where you’re headed. This ensures that the next time you start up, you’ll be able to resume right into the flow and your brain can easily pick up where it left off.

Write great stories and write awful stories. You’ll learn a lot about yourself from both. If you stink at one genre, try another. Force yourself to try new genres. Write a sci-fi story. write a crime story. Write a romance story. Seriously. Try everything.

Ask your friends and family to read your stories. Know that they will love everything you put in front of them. I once sent my mom a story that was the word “poop” copy and pasted 100 times on a page. She compared it to Shakespeare***. After you’ve gotten your ego boosted, show it to a co-worker, your boss, and the dude who makes your venti mocha-java-pretentioso at Starbucks. At least they’ll be honest with you.

Don’t put yourself in a box. Sometimes you start writing with one genre in mind and all of a sudden your characters will come to life and put you on a completely different track. Don’t fight it. Roll with it. In 2009 I wrote a humor book called Musings on Minutiae. I had intended to simply write funny short stories but it ended up becoming more of a humorous memoir.  It turned out great. Let the writing guide you.

Write all kinds of stuff. In addition to my comics work, I’m currently writing a second humor book and I also provide comic reviews for an online entertainment site. Having multiple projects going will allow you to shift your mindset when you get stuck elsewhere.

If I’m having trouble with issue #3 of one of my comics, I’ll go write some humor instead and come back to the comic once I’ve had a break. Don’t get frustrated, just go do something else. Don’t forget to go outside once in a while. Be sure to take showers.

Oh, and while I’m thinking about that…

Take Showers. Don’t feed into the stigma of the unwashed, antisocial comic book reader that we’re all trying so hard to break.

Hopefully some good advice here? You probably knew most of this already, but I believe in positive reinforcement and reminders. And showers.

I have some ideas on where to go from here, but as always, I welcome your feedback. If you see someone in the comments telling me how great this article was, assume it’s my mom.

* I can’t back that up.
** The cat is fine.
*** This didn’t really happen, but if it did, it would totally play out as written.
Wes Locher
April 2012

weslocher.com
twitter.com/weslocher
weslocher@gmail.com


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