Wednesday, September 18, 2019

ENDINGS AND BEGINNINGS: Black Hammer, Frogcatchers and Inferior Five...

Hello, sorry its been a while since I've sent one of these out, I was away this summer, and am just trying to get caught up on all my work. 

Today is a weird day. I have two books out, a first issue and a last issue. I'll start at the ending...



BLACK HAMMER: AGE OF DOOM #12 hits today and it is the final issue of the series. It's the end of the "farm" storyline which has been the spine of the Black Hammer universe, and was the the story from which everything else has sprung from.  Dean Ormston and I started working on Black Hammer in 2014, and here we are five years later, arriving at the end point I had always conceived for the series, and for out main cast of characters; Golden Gail Barbalien, Abraham Slam and the rest. It's always hard to end a story, especially one where you love the characters and the world as much as I love Black Hammer. But this is where the story led me, and this is where is needs to go. 

It's not the end of Black Hammer of course. Dean and I are already working on the next part of what we consider our "trilogy". The follow up to Black Hammer and Black Hammer: Age of Doom will focus on the character of Lucy Weber, as she struggles to live up to her role as the new Back Hammer. It also features a cast of all new characters, and some familiar faces. 


And starting in December we have SKULLDIGGER & SKELETON BOY, a Black Hammer series I am doing with the incredibly talented Tonci Zonjic (look at that cover!!)

I just received this page of inks from Tonci this morning actually...
So, Age of Doom ends, but Black Hammer will continue! We have lots of cool BH stuff planned for the rest of this year and next.



INFERIOR FIVE #1 also comes out today. This one has been percolating for a long time.  I co-write the series with the great Keith Giffen and he draws the main story while I draw 5-page back-up stories in each issue. 

This project was proposed to me back at San Diego Comicon in 2017, and I started working on it pretty much right away. So it’s been in the works for over two years. 

This is sort of a surreal dream project for me. As I said, Keith is a major influence on me. I grew up reading DC books in the 80’s and 90’s, and Keith was a major creator for DC back then. I read his stuff avidly; his Legion and his Justice League stuff, but also Ambush Bug, Heckler and everything else.
 
And, as you may have read, this project is a quasi-sequel to DC’s INVASION event from 1988. It is set in the continuity of DC in 1988, and Keith actually co-wrote that series, and I was reading it. Very weird and surreal, which pretty much describes the whole series.

To celebrate today's launch, here is a sneak peek at some of my unlettered and uncoloured inks from issue 5!

Just a note: All of my original artwork, including art from Inferiror Five, and signed books and prints, are available for sale at CADENCE COMIC ART! 

And finally FROGCATCHERS! My next original graphic novel Is coming out on September 24 from Simon and Schuster and Gallery 13! 

I was a bit overwhelmed, and incredibly grateful, when one of my writing heroes, WARREN ELLIS, read Frogcatchers this past weekend and said some nice things about it in his weekly newsletter...
 
Hello from out here on the Thames Delta, where I am reading an advance copy of the new Jeff Lemire graphic novel, FROGCATCHERS.  It is, as you'd expect, excellent. There's a breathtaking sequence early on where a hand in water morphs into a chest x-ray which morphs again into the face of a man laying on a bed.  Absolutely superb.  So few people are doing the kind of experimental literary work in comics that Lemire does, and fewer still do it this well. I don't have the kind of space to try that sort of thing any more, but others do, and I really wish they would.  We'd all be better off for it. 
Edited to add:  Jeff asked me for a quote after I thanked him for letting me read it, and here it is:
"A perfect miniature of memory and loss, affecting and beautifully told in an outstanding use of the medium.  A haunting dream of a book."
FROGCATCHERS pre-order (UK) (US) - out next month.

Your local comic book store, or book store, may not have pre-ordered Frogcatchers, so make sure you ask them to order a copy! 


That's it for me this week. I am deep in my next graphic novel, a follow up to the above Frogcatchers. I have about 180 pages drawn and I anticipate it will be about 220. I hope to finish this one by early December, when the pre-production on the Essex County TV show kicks into high gear.

Until next time...

Monday, July 15, 2019

BERSERKER UNBOUND! San Diego Comicon and My Workspace.


SAN DIEGO COMICON SCHEDULE
 Thursday, 7/18
11:30a.m. – 12:30p.m.: SIGNING – DC/WB Booth 4545
1:00p.m. - 2:00pm.  PANEL: Image Comics: Bone-Chilling Insight into the Bestselling Horror Comic Book Series, Room: 23ABC
3-4 pm: SIGNING- Simon and Shuster booth

Friday 7/19
11:00a.m. - 12:00: PANEL: Dark Horse. The Writer’s Room: From Outlining to the Finished Page, Room: 23ABC
3:00pm - 3:50pm: Signing: Dark Horse Comics Booth #2615

Saturday, 7/20
10:00a.m. – 11:00a.m.: DC Black Label PANEL – Rm 6DE
11:00a.m. - 12:00p.m: Panel Dark Horse: Creating Worlds: Building a Comics Universe for the Ages, Room: 23ABC  
3:00pm - 3:50pm: SIGNING: Location: Dark Horse Comics Booth #2615
4pm: Signing: Image booth at 4pm Saturday, July 20

Sunday, 7/21
10:00a.m. – 11:00a.m.: SIGNING – DC/WB Booth 4545

BERSERKER UNBOUND! FINAL ORDER TODAY!

So, today is the final day that you can pre-order a copy of my new book with Mike Deodato, BERSERKER UNBOUND, from your local comic book store. I know that you are probably sick of comic professionals begging you to pre-order their books, but the truth is, it really helps to support these creator-owned books,  especially in a marketplace that is so crowded.

So, if you can please let your local shop know you want a copy! The DIAMOND ORDER CODES ARE:
Regular Cover: JUN190273
Mignola Variant: JUN190274

And here is a bunch of stunning art by Mike Deodato and Frank Martin. I was lucky to first work with these gentlemen on Thanos at Marvel, and love that we have branched off to create our own work here. Mike is an incredibly generous and dedicated collaborator. And a cover by MIKE MIGNOLA!! How cool is that?!


SENTIENT

Some of you may have heard that I am also doing a new sci-fi book with the amazing Gabriel Walta (Vision). Gabriel sent this pic of some of the watercolored pages in progress, which I thought you would enjoy...

Gabriel and I are already working on our next collaboration as well!

Sentient is being published by new comic book company TKO. They have some great stuff coming out and a really unique distribution model. You can order Sentient and check out their other books here...

WELCOME TO MY STUDIO...

Thought I would share some photos of my workspace. I've been in this studio for about seven years. It's in an old warehouse building in Toronto's east end, that used to be a shoe factory long ago. I've drawn Roughneck, Royal City, AD: After Death, Trillium, Secret Path, Underwater Welder and about 1/2 of Sweet Tooth here. I have also created  Descender, Black Hammer, Gideon Falls, Plutona and pretty much everything else I've ever written for DC or Marvel here. Though, truth be told, I do a lot of my writing at home. This space is used about 70% of the time for whatever I am drawing at the moment, and, as you can see, to house all my books and artwork.

Here is my drawing desk. I have been drawing at a standing desk since working on Roughneck in 2014. I like the movement it gives me, and I get less tired after a long day of drawing. I do all my artwork traditionally and only use a Cintiq to scan and format my pages when they are done, and to do minor digital tweaks and corrections.

 When I do scan my pages, this is where I tweak and format them. Another standing desk. I draw standing up and write sitting down. Don't know what that says about me?

Some of the original comic art that fills my walls and fills me with constant inspiration. There are too many pieces to credit all the artists here, but I pretty much have at least one piece by all of my favourite artists at this point. Of note here is the original cover art for both Animal Man #1 by Travel Foreman and Descender #1 by Dusting Nguyen. Also a great Michael Cho Adam Strange commission.

More art! And more Michael Cho. Also Joe Kubert, Jae Lee, Paolo Rivera, John J. Muth, Mignola (I really should frame that), and my most coveted piece, a Perez/Ordway Crisis page! A bunch of my sketchbooks lined up there too.

Okay, back to work...The all important white board schedule. I keep track of all the projects that I am writing here. Splitting the months into weeks, I try to work on one project per week to stay on schedule and keep fresh ( I had to blur some stuff that I cannot talk about yet).

Taking one thing at a time, one week at a time, helps to keep me from feeling overwhelmed. As the Giant says to Agent Cooper in Twin Peaks season 2..."A path is made by laying one stone at a time."


Some of my totems of power! Dolls of my characters made by my talented wife, Lesley-Anne Green.


 This was made custom for me by my father. The bottom drawers pull out and hold all my floppies. The top three drawers hold my original artwork. My growing collection of David Lynch and Twin Peaks art is featured here as well. That portrait of Lynch as Eraserhead was done for me by my current Question collaborator, Bill Seinkewicz.

Okay..that's it from me for a month or so. I'm off to SDCC and then vacation with my family. Be good, read more comics and also order BERSERKER UNBOUND!

Thursday, July 11, 2019

JOKER, THE QUESTION and THE FUTURE OF BLACK HAMMER!

BLACK HAMMER: ENDINGS AND BEGINNINGS

As announced today in my interview with The Comics Beat, Black Hammer: Age of Doom will come to its conclusion with next months Issue #12. That will be the end of the "farm story" that Dean And I have been telling since Black Hammer #1 in 2016.  But that will not be the end of Black Hammer...

Black Hammer: Age of Doom#12 is the ending I always intended for these heroes, and this story, and I am incredibly grateful to all the retailers and readers who have supported Black Hammer and allowed Dean Ormston, Dave Stewart, Todd Klein, and I to tell the story we wanted to tell on our own terms, exactly how we wanted to tell it.
 
But, as I said, this is not the end of Black Hammer. It's simply the end of what we consider “Phase One" of the Black Hammer Universe.
 
In the coming months we will announce a number of new Black Hammer comics. This will be the start of "Phase II" of the BHU, and the new books will feature both familiar characters we’ve come to love, and also brand new heroes.

And I am also excited to announce that, as the flagship book of "Phase II"  Dean Ormston and I will be creating a new core series featuring Lucy Weber as the all new Black Hammer for 2020.

So keep an eye out for lots of new Black Hammer announcements in the comings weeks and months.


TWO NEW DC BLACK LABEL BOOKS!

Also announced today, the two projects I have been working on for DC's Black Label imprint; THE JOKER: KILLER SMILE with my Gideon Falls, Green Arrow and Old Man Logan collaborator, Andrea Sorrentino and THE QUESTION: THE DEATHS OF VIC SAGE with the art team from the Question's acclaimed run in the 80's and 90's Denys Cowans and Bill Seinkewicz!

Covers below!




Regarding THE JOKER: KILLER SMILE, I want to assure fans of Gideon Falls that this project will not effect the Gideon Falls schedule at all. Andrea and I are both so far ahead of GF that we were able to take a few months to work on the Joker book without affecting our schedule. So, there will be a double dose of Andrea and I when Joker and Gideon are both published this fall.

And, with THE QUESTION, all I can really say is that this is a labour of love. It's truly my DC Comics dream project. Denys Cowan and Dennis O'Neil's run on The Question in the late 80's and early 90's was hugely influential on my, and specifically on how I approached my own run on Green Arrow. Getting the chance to team with two legends like Denys and Bill Seinkewicz has been surreal and incredible and we have been putting our hearts into this one!


SAN DIEGO COMICON SCHEDULE

Comicon is fast approaching and in case you missed it on my blog or previous newsletters, here is my signing and panel schedule:

 Thursday, 7/18

11:30a.m. – 12:30p.m.: SIGNING – DC/WB Booth 4545

1:00p.m. - 2:00pm.  PANEL: Image Comics: Bone-Chilling Insight into the Bestselling Horror Comic Book Series, Room: 23ABC

3-4 pm: SIGNING- Simon and Shuster booth

Friday 7/19

11:00a.m. - 12:00: PANEL: Dark Horse. The Writer’s Room: From Outlining to the Finished Page, Room: 23ABC

3:00pm - 3:50pm: Signing: Dark Horse Comics Booth #2615

Saturday, 7/20

10:00a.m. – 11:00a.m.: DC Black Label PANEL – Rm 6DE

11:00a.m. - 12:00p.m: Panel Dark Horse: Creating Worlds: Building a Comics Universe for the Ages, Room: 23ABC  

3:00pm - 3:50pm: SIGNING: Location: Dark Horse Comics Booth #2615

4pm: Signing: Image booth at 4pm Saturday, July 20

Sunday, 7/21

10:00a.m. – 11:00a.m.: SIGNING – DC/WB Booth 4545

*I will also be at BALTIMORE COMICON on September. 

Sunday, June 30, 2019

Happy Canada Day! News and Notes June 30, 2019

Hello from the north where things are heating up, the hockey season has ended, and Canada's birthday is upon us.

Been a very BUSY week, but they all are. Split my time between working on new drafts of the Essex County television episodes, and finishing up drawing a batch of pages from my next graphic novel, as well as inking five new pages of my INFERIOR FIVE story for DC.

I talked to Keith Giffen on one of our monthly story calls. This is how we "write" Inferior Five: I talk to Keith about what he is going to draw this month, give a few suggestions, try to talk him down from killing all the characters, and then wait for the art to come back to discover that Keith has decided to draw about 25% of what we talked about, and gone in totally different direction instead. Then I have to letter it and try to make  sense of it all. Sound fun? Well, it actually is. It's a blast, and the unpredictability of the whole process is giving the story a wild and untamed feeling that sometimes makes me nervous, but mostly just excites me.

I've talked about Inferior Five a lot in this newsletter but that's because it is a real passion project for me.In my mind Keith is a legend. I was at my most impressionable age as a comics reader between 1985 and 1991, when I was 9-15-years-old. I was also a DC Comics super nerd then and Keith was my god. His work on Legion, Lobo, Justice League International and many others made a massive impression on me. And Keith's ever-morphing art style has also influenced my own art greatly over the years. So, getting to work with him on this book, and interact with him as a creative partner, is surreal and amazing. Even if he is just a grumpy old bastard and not the least bit legend-y.

Here is the "un-official" synopsis of the book: 

Set in the DC Comics continuity of 1988, Inferior Five follows five strange kids stuck in a small town in the wake of DC's "Invasion" event (which was published in 1988 and co-written by Giffen). The kids work together to try and escape this nightmare of this town, which is part "The Prisoner" and part "Twin Peaks", but all set against the backdrop of the book DC was publishing back in the 80's. 

Keith is co-plotting and doing the art, and I am scripting it. And I  am also writing and drawing 5-page back-up stories in each issue featuring the character "The Peacemaker". These back-ups are connected to the main story and will all come together (I hope!!) in the end. It's 12-issues and it is as crazy as it sounds. So buy it. It is unlike ANYTHING else DC and Marvel are publishing, I promise. It is available for pre-order from your local comic book store now, so ask for it or no one will order it!

Here is my variant cover for Issue #1. Both its raw inks, and the colored version, with colers by Jose Villarrubia...
Before I move on from DC... a few other notes: I have TWO NEW DC BLACK LABEL PROJECTS and they will both be announced July 8! I've been teasing these for a while, and cannot wait to talk about them more! So keep an eye on comics news on July 8.

Oh, and one more. JUSTICE LEAGUE/BLACK HAMMER #1 is out July 10. You know what to do! 

NEW STUFF...
Another book I have been working on for a long time is FAMILY TREE with Phil Hester, Eric Gapstur, Ryan Cody and Steve Wands for IMAGE COMICS. Phil and I announced the book a looong time ago...then some life stuff happened and we got delayed. But the book is back on track and we are launching it in November. This week was exciting because we now have a COVER for the first issue! And here it is for the very first time anywhere...Cover art by Phil Hester, inked by Eric Gapstur, colors by Ryan Cody and logo designed by Steve Wands. Pretty cool, eh?

Other stuff...

Ascender continues to do well out in the world. Issue #3 came out this past week, and Dustin and I are looking forward to meeting up at San Deigo Comicon in a couple weeks to sign and do panels etc. 

There are TWO big new Black Hammer releases this coming week. BLACK HAMMER: AGE OF DOOM #11 is out by myself, Dean Ormston, Dave Steward and Todd Klein. Here are the covers. The variant by Paolo and Joe Rivera is OUTRAGEOUS. I love it. And this is one of Dean's best covers too, in my opinion. Very iconic.


The other big release this week is THE BLACK HAMMER ENCYCLOPEDIA. Our version of those great old character encyclopedias like DC's Who Who or Marvel Universe. It was written by myself and a talented newcomer that I have been helping out named Tate Brombal (you'll be hearing more about Tate, file away that name). The art is by a murderer's row of talent from old Black Hammer pals like Matt Kindt, Emi Lenox and David Rubin to new faces to the Black Hammer world like Tyler Crook, Marie Anger and Brian Hurtt. And it has a cover by my Gideon Falls partner, Andrea Sorrentino.

Also a heads up! There will be some big new Black Hammer announcements on Friday July 18! Want to know where the Black Hammer universe is heading, all will be revealed!

SAN DIEGO COMICON SCHEDULE

As mentioned, I will be attending San Diego Comicon in a couple weeks. Here is my signing an panel schedule:

 Thursday, 7/18
 
11:30a.m. – 12:30p.m.: SIGNING – DC/WB Booth 4545
 
1:00p.m. - 2:00pm.  PANEL: Image Comics: Bone-Chilling Insight into the Bestselling Horror Comic Book Series, Room: 23ABC
 
3-4 pm: SIGNING- Simon and Shuster booth

Friday 7/19
11:00a.m. - 12:00: PANEL: Dark Horse. The Writer’s Room: From Outlining to the Finished Page, Room: 23ABC

3:00pm - 3:50pm: Signing: Dark Horse Comics Booth #2615
 
Saturday, 7/20
10:00a.m. – 11:00a.m.: DC Black Label PANEL – Rm 6DE

11:00a.m. - 12:00p.m: Panel Dark Horse: Creating Worlds: Building a Comics Universe for the Ages, Room: 23ABC   

3:00pm - 3:50pm: SIGNING: Location: Dark Horse Comics Booth #2615

4pm: Signing: Image booth at 4pm Saturday, July 20 
 
Sunday, 7/21
 
10:00a.m. – 11:00a.m.: SIGNING – DC/WB Booth 4545

*I will also be at BALTIMORE COMICON on September. 


THOUGHTS ON VERTIGO
And finally, a thought or two on what Vertigo meant to me. Recently DC announced that it would be folding its long-running Vertigo imprint. I said earlier in this newsletter that my most impressionable age as a comics reader was 1985-1991. And that's probably true. I was a kid then, and the stuff I read meant a lot to me. But it was Vertigo that kept me reading comics when I stopped being a kid and became a teenager and adult. Finding books like HELLBLAZER, SANDMAN and DOOM PATROL in 1992-1993 was a gift. Books like those, which became Vertigo,  kept me engaged in the medium at a time when my interests could have drifted elsewhere.

And to think that I would end up working with Vertigo one day? Crazy. I pitched Sweet Tooth on a whim and a prayer to Bob Shcreck and Karen Berger at Vertigo in 2008, never expecting that it would get greenlit. But it did. And I ended up writing and drawing that book for four years, my longest running project to date. And that let to all sorts of other things, like me writing comics for DC.  Creatively, Sweet Tooth and the freedom Vertigo gave me to be myself, was huge. But personally it was also incredible to become a part of the legacy of Vertigo and to become friends with Karen and so many of the other creators who had books during that period. Jason Aaron (scalped), Scott Snyder (American Vampire), G. Willow Wilson (Air) and Josh Dysart (Unkown Soldier) became like a little family, and I still feel deeply connected to them all and to Vertigo.  I also feel incredibly grateful to Keren Berger, and all the editors I worked with at Vertigo. I love them and I love Vertigo and I always will. 

So, I guess when Sweet Tooth is reprinted in the future it will have "DC Black Label" in the spine. Nothing against DC Black Label, whom I enjoy working with now,  but we all know the truth. Sweet Tooth is Vertigo and always will be. And so am I.

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

FROGCATCHERS New Graphic Novel-September 2019

Experience a surreal descent into one man’s psychosis in this haunting and chilling graphic novel from the New York Times bestselling author of Roughneck and Sweet Tooth, “the Stephen King of comics” (Maclean’s).

A man wakes up alone in a strange room with no recollection of who he is or how he got there. The padlocked doors and barren lobby reinforce the strangeness of this place. This is—as he reads from an old-fashioned keychain beside his bed—the Edgewater Hotel. Even worse, something ominous seems to be lurking in one of the rooms.

But when he meets a young companion—the only other soul in this vast, enveloping emptiness—his new friend begs him not to unlock the door. There must be something behind it…but what?

A haunted hotel on the edge of reality, an endless bridge spanning an infinite ocean, and a man and a boy looking for a way out. This is the setting for a boundary pushing, genre-defying new work of fiction by one of comics’ master storytellers.

Preorder here on AMAZON!

Read more about FROGCATCHERS here!