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NO, I'M NOT DEAD...YET.

Hello everyone! Yes, it is true that I am a bit tardy on this--my latest blog entry--but I am not dead. I have, however, felt very near the Reaper's deadly scythe lo these past few days. I have been struck down by a very devastating cold/flu bug and been pretty much sleeping since Thursday morning. Kind of sucks. But, I am feeling better now after watching about 8 hours of TV while just laying on the couch feeding my face. A very productive Saturday. Really sucks because we had Grandma and Grandpa set up to have Stella this weekend, too, so we could go out and catch a movie and go to our favorite restaurant...didn't happen. Well, I guess the movie and eating part kind of did...kind of.

This is, what, three blogs in a row where I'm bitching about some ache or ailment?!!! Sheesh! I'M sick of my whining, I can only imagine how disgusted YOU are with it!

So, I watched CASINO ROYALE (Finally!), BATMAN BEGINS (5th or 6th time), and read CAPTAIN AMERICA #25 today. Enjoyed all of them very much I am happy to report. I highly recommend each and every one of them...even if you're feeling well.

I am also delighted to report that I am now only a few days away from putting the final, finishing touches on my book THE LIST and then it's off to the printer so I can send review copies out and, hopefully, get some positive press going. Remember to look in the May Previews catalogue for the listing! Hey! The "listing" of "The List"...kind of cool, huh?...No, not terribly, is it? I was kind of stretching the coolness of that very slight and innocuous similarity wasn't I? sigh...I blame my illness.

ALSO! I noted in my last blog that I was close to signing a couple big deals on a couple new Graphic Novels! Well, the first deal was signed, sealed and now I'm working on the "delivery" part! I have signed on as the artist for a fantastic book written by J.D. (Johnnie) Arnold entitled "BB Wolf & The 3 L.P.s." Johnnie's a newcomer to the biz as a writer (he previously worked the other side of the counter and also owns a store now) and let me tell you...this first effort is nothing short of amazing! I'm so happy he sought me out as the artist on this project and I know it's going to be a big hit.

BB Wolf is a new twist on the old story of the Big Bad Wolf and the Three Little Pigs. It's set in the 1920s and BB Wolf is a poor farmer/blues guitartist and singer. His family is being oppressed by, you guessed it, these three brothers who are some pretty mean little piggies. The story parallels a lot of our country's unfortunate history of the mistreatment of Black America in the south of that time. It's a commentary on racial prejudices and ruthless greed...all done with a wicked twist that I really dig! I'm not going to spoil too much of the story here but trust me, I get a lot of pitches sent my way, most not so good, but this is one knocked my socks off!

BB Wolf will be a 68(ish) page graphic novel done in my "ink wash" style and is tentatively slated for a 2008 release. As I get more details I will share them with you all. I promise.

That's it for now as I see the couch beckoning me once again. I am a total slug. I plan on being my usual fantastic and superhuman (one might say "Godlike") self again by the next column!

'Nuff said! Excelsior! WORD!

R

VIVA LA DUTCH (and the Germans, too!)!

Greetings once again true believers!

This week brings good tidings from Geeksville! Last week I prognosticated about a productive 2007 and since then a couple very nice little things have occured. First, I was (surprisingly) sent a contract by Pub Chris Staros (Top Shelf) for a Dutch edition of my graphic novel, THE KING! This was completely out of left field. And then it occured to me that I remembered seeing articles on the internet last spring about a Dutch version of The King. I remember finding this on the internet last year, inquiring with Chris if it were true, him saying, "Yep, it's true, just waiting for them to sign the contracts", and then never hearing anymore. I had simply thought the deal died. So was this the saem Dutch pub, I wondered? I asked Chris again after receiving the aforementioned contract last week. He said, "Yep, it's the same pub...they just kind of disappeared for a year and now they're back." Huh? I thought. Kind of strange. But, hey, very cool however you slice it! I'm going to have one of my books printed in friggin' Dutch!

Okay, so then a few days pass. Literally just a few (Oh, and I should note that the day the Dutch contract came I was working with good pal, Max Estes, on finishing my new book The List ), and Chris write me that a German publisher wants to do a German edition of THE KING! What the...?! Totally friggin' cool! Needless to say I am elated. My parents are from Germany, I have a lot of relatives still over there and this is gonna make me look like a superstar to them (heh heh!), AND I'm gonna have a friggin' book published in GERMAN!!! I'm not bragging here so don't interpret this in the wrong way at all...after toiling for so many years it is moments like these that "validate" an artist's career. Usually there isn't a whole heck of a lot of money involved in these deals (unless the book sells exceedingly well). It's much more of a "feather in the cap" kind of deal. This is a prestige thing all the way. And you know what? I am totally cool with that.

For now anyways. I'm not going to lie...I want money. And I want it soon. Very soon would be nice, in fact.

But anyways, back to these foreign editions. I wondered why the sudden interest in a book I did 2 years ago? And then it occured to me!...I am great! And I deserve it!...No that's not it, I was just joshin'. I mean I AM great but that's not what REALLY occured to me. What really occured to me was the old "snowball" effect. You see, in December a French Publisher released a french edition of The King. Hence, my theory is that the book has circulated a bit in Europe, perhaps generated some buzz, and the neighboring countries––specifically the neighboring publishers––have picked up on this. I hope I am right and the snowball keeps getting bigger. Sometimes in this biz that's all it takes...one publisher taking a chance and pretty soon the others take notice.

This is all fitting quite nicely in my plans of taking over the world. The pieces, as they say, are falling into place.

IN OTHER NEWS...

Read a few great book recently. Here's what I think you should be reading (so I know you're going to get up off your lazy asses and rush right out to the local bookstores, right?!)...

Rob Venditti's THE SURROGATES! Rob's a pal of mine from over at Top Shelf Productions but that doesn't influence my review...cuz if I thought his book blew I'd just say nothing at all? Alright? Okay. So, anyways, Rob (or 'Berto for those of us who have shared his bed) wrote this wonderful Sci-Fi mini-series which has recently been republished in trade paperback (TPB) form. The story is fantastic, The ar by Brett Weldele is equally fantastic and completely unlike anything else I've ever seen, and the TPB is gorgeous! I am jealous. Rob's premise is that in the future people will live there lives through Surrogates––androids that they are linked up to from the privacy of their homes that go out and do all the mundane tasks or adventures the human host doesn't want to actually physically do themselves. Through a device attached to the host's head that person can operate the android and actually physically and mentally experience what the Surrogate experiences. Sex, drugs, rock & roll...whatever! All the fun and none of the risks. The host can even (and usually does!) purchase a Surrogate that looks nothing like theior actual selves. Why not pick a YOU that looks like a fashion model? I probably would. And why not pick a Surrogate of the opposite gender? Hey, I might even try that!!! The possibilities and fantasies are endless. The world is a better, freer, safer place.

But nothing's real anymore. Is it?

Rob brilliantly shows what would happen in a world where fantasy is a reality. How people actually lose touch with themselves and the people around them by becoming overly dependent on their Surrogates. Reality is that we all get old. Rob shows us what fun it might be to live our lives through a younger, more beautiful body...to not have to punch the clock. yep, it would be fun. A lot of fun!! But he also shows how we'd all lose a bit of ourselves along the way. And how some of us would lose themselves entirely.

The book doesn't have a happy ending (like a lot of the hosts do! Ha!) and that IS REAL.

Well done, Rob.

I am also currently reading a few books sent to me by a friend, Brad Weber. He sent me three novels by CHARLIE HOUSTON, who, I think, is currently writing Moon Knight for Marvel comics. Don't quote me on that. Anyways, the first book is entitled "Caught Stealing" and from the first page you are grabbed (violently I might add) by the throat and for whatever reason you don't want the book to let go! This is intense stuff. Violent, yes, but in a good way. I know...that doesn't sound right. I know. But, violence can be done right and it can be done very, very wrong. This is violence done right. I devoured this book and was absolutely delighted, when, upon finishing it I read the descriptions of the next two books to discover that they are SEQUELS to the first! They take the same main character and, apparently, continue to beat the living tar out of him (both physically and figuratively).

I will give a more detailed review when I finish all three. I shan't take overly long I think. Not if the greatness of the first book is any indication.

OTHER THAN THAT...

Other than that I think it's time for yet one more plug on my new book, THE LIST. It is, for all intents and purposes, completed! It will be solicited in the May Previews catalogue for July shipping. BUT! Because I love you all so much I will be posting a preview here in the very near future! Look for it. I think you will likey.

Word!

r

2007 PROGNOSIS POSITIVE!

Greetings all! I write to you today from my humble abode nestled here on the windy shores of the beautiful Lake Michigan. The sun is shining and the weather's...well...it sucks, quite frankly. But my outlook is positive today! And here is why...

In late 2005 I had a premonition...hopefully an "epiphany"...time will tell. But my premonition way back then was that in 2007 great things would happen for me and my little family of three (as some of you know 3 is my special number). Now, I lent a bit more credence to this premonition because I didn't feel 2006 was going to be special...no, I skipped ahead an entire year. So, I wasn't just being an optimist saying the usual, "Next year will be OUR year!" thing...I was projecting an entire year-and-a-half ahead. And in retrospect it appears that skipping ahead a year was a good thing, because "career-wise" nothing much happened for us in 2006.

So, here we are in 2007. AND it appears that some big things are, in fact, on the horizon. In addition to the BIG news a couple weeks back about the upcoming 3 GEEKS Movie (still tickled pink over that one) I have my new Illustrated Novel, THE LIST, coming out in July. THE LIST will be solicited in the MAY Previews catalogue, so make sure and look for it there under my 3 FINGER PRINTS banner. I tell you, I've been working so hard on this latest book making sure that everything is done just right. Me and good pal, Max Estes, have been assembling the book the past few Saturdays and I can't tell you how excited I am seeing the book come together the way it has. It's looking fantastic! Everything's set to go with the distributor, my printer, convention schedule...everything. I have dotted my "Is" and crossed my "Ts" so many times on this one there just cannot be any problems. I know, I know...there will be something. Hopefully it's something minor.

Keep your eyes peeled for a special "preview" of THE LIST right here on this very website. I'll be posting a short "teaser" here and I'm also going to be making that available to a few websites like, MileHigh.com; IllustratedFiction.com; Newsarama; Comic Book Resources; and hopefully a few more! I'm currently working on a promotional attack including a very cool postcard that I'll be sending out to a slew of comic book stores.

SO! That's another BIG thing in store for 2007!

Additionally, I am on the precipice of signing on to do two major graphic novels with two seperate publishers. Don't want to––and never try to––count my chickens before they're hatched but at least one, if not both, of these deals looks very, very solid. If the one happens it is going to be "through the roof" HUGE! It's a project I've been after the writer of the story (true story) to do for years! If this project happens it will make my premonition in 2005 come to fruition, even IF the 3 GEEKS Movie and my book THE LIST weren't to have also happened. I'm truly sorry I can't elaborate more on this project as it isn't quite "official" yet. Stay tuned.

SO! 2007 is, indeed, shaping up to be a potentially great year career-wise for me. I certainly hope so...it would be nice to pay off some bills. Lately we've been a slave to our bills (Lately?! the past 10 years!) and it's getting pretty old. I'm funny that way...don't dig being in debt all that much. Lately, I must confess, the strain of our finances has been weighing heavily on me and the stress they've incurred has been mounting. 2007 HAS to be a big year. Ther's really no alternative...is there still "Debtor's prison"?

IN OTHER NEWS...

Just a couple quick reviews for those interested in my brilliant opinions...

ROME on HBO. Man, if you've missed this series I pity you. I know HBO is more well-known for their shows THE SOPRANOS and CURB YOUR ENTHUSIASM but ROME has been their best these past few years with The Sopranos running out of steam. DEADWOOD has also been fantastic but Rome's been our favorite. An absolutely riveting series on the rise and fall of Julius Caeser and the other prominent figures of that time...most specifiaclly Marc Antony, who is portrayed brilliantly by actor James Purefoy. They blend historical fact with a good dose of a few fictional characters that add a great deal of fun to the show. Most notably the two characters Titus Pullo, played by Ray Stevenson, and his "brother-in-arms" Lucius Vorenus played by Kevin McKidd. These two characters are the "heart" of the series showing the life of the soldier/slave during those times. They live very rough lives but do so with great honor and bravery (there a roman era version of Klingons).

ROME (and DEADWOOD for that matter) is the best thing on television right now and, sadly, there are only two episodes left. The show has been cancelled after this year because the enormous production costs just can't justify the 7-8 million people per week watching. Sad that even 8 million viewers aren't enough. BUT! The show coming to an end earlier than they had expected has actually had a positive effect in that the creators have had to really focus the storylines resulting in the tightest, most riveting episodes of any show I've ever seen. So, maybe ending after two seasons isn't the worst thing in the world. At least it was 2 seasons of brilliance. Not a show that goes on too long only to peter out towards the end and fade away into oblivion.

When this series comes out on DVD rent it! Better yet, BUY IT! You will not regret it.

Word!

r

THICK GREEN SNOT!

Okay...last week it was my friggin' knees that were killing me. This week it's waking up with horrible cotton-mouth caused by having completely plugged up nasal passages and then blowing these horrible, thick, green ropes of snot once the shower's steam loosens them up properly! Yes, I know, it's disgusting. And the puzzling part is that, for the most part, I feel fine during the day. So, It's not a cold. it only seems to affect me while sleeping. I should also mention that my right ear feels slightly plugged and achey. What the hizzel is it? Sinus infection? Ear infection? Mold? Dust?

Don't Know.

But it is the thickest, greenest snot I've ever seen.

I'll be selling it on ebay this week!

THE OSCARS!... I watched about the 75% of the Oscars last Sunday...just missed the opening half hour. Personally I thought the show was pretty lackluster. It just didn't have any rhythm. Ellen Degeneres was okay, but there just wasn't enough (apparently!) time for her to do a whole heck of a lot. And the montages seemed irrelevant this year and superflous. The shadow people thing was clever the first couple times but after while I was like, "Okay, unless they do an homage to Jenna Jameson's film career somehow, I don't care anymore!" And for a show that's always trying to "trim the fat" and save time why do they keep cooking up this type of hooey?! The "costume" category shtick with the people strutting around was annoying as well. And I whole-heartedly agree with Entertainment Weekly's observation that the writers of the show flat out stunk! Their intro for Seinfeld was cited as a complete failure and I'll agree..."You wonder where he's been..well, here he is!" It was some such crap. This beautiful turn of phrase was constructed by a TEAM of professional writers! I also didn't dig the guy who took us to commercial breaks. What was up with that? He was like some Horsetrack oddsmaker giving us the lowdown on how to hedge our bets. Hokey. And Al Gore winning an Oscar? That was just weird. And before you jump to any conclusions, I completely agree that there's a problem with pollution and it is a very real threat to our environment...not sure what the extent is, or not, but it does make sense that pollution is not a goosd thing. But still, Al Gore won an Oscar...like I said, weird.

I liked the choices for the wins for Best Picture, Director, Actor, Actress, Supporting Actor. All well-deserved. I was especially happy for Alan Arkin. I've always been a fan of his work.

Speaking of movies, a couple other great movies I've seen recently have been...STRANGER THAN FICTION, THE ILLUSIONIST and THE QUEEN. All brilliant in their own ways. Was thrilled to see Will Ferrell stretch his amazing talents in this toned down role.

Other than that my daughter Stella celebrated her 5th birthday this week and we had a party with 7 of her friends (screaming friends) yesterday. This was her first party with classmates. Last night Sandy and I chugged a bottle of wine to soften the screaming echoes burned into our brains.

Sandy also turned 40 this week. She is old. It's very disturbing.

Word!

r

MY FRIGGIN' KNEES HURT!

Ugh! My knees are killin' me. As some of you may remember, I play basketball on Wednesday nights--this is how I suffered my horrible eye injury in 2003 (And YES I wear protective eyewear now! I'm not a complete imbecile). Anyhoo...now my knees are achin'! First it was my feet, then my back, now my knees. I am quite possibly facing the inevability that at 39 years of age I am not quite the unfreaking unbelievable human speciman I once was...It's close! but maybe I am not quite Superman anymore. Of course you may feel free to correct me on this if you'd like. I won't stop you.

But god my knees are hurtin' today.

NOW, HOW 'BOUT A REVIEW?!

Like many of you I just finished the last installment of Marvel's CIVIL WAR 7 issue mini-series. I have been thoroughly impressed with this series...up until the last issue. God help me but I actually thought there might be some CLOSURE. Nope. Seems the whole thing was just a set-up for an ongoing "situation" "event" that'll continue on for god knows how long from here. Kind of ticks me off to tell you the truth. And that's taking nothing away from the fact that the CIVIL WAR mini-series, in general, was nothing short of magnificent! I LOVED IT! Riveting storyline, awesome idea, fantastic art...everything one could possibly hope for in an event of this magnitude...except for the slight fizzler of an ending. Well, it really wasn't an ending at all now was it. And that's too bad. It could have and should have been! Remember the old days when these mini-series "event" stories had a beginning and an end within the mini-series? I do. SECRET WARS, CRISIS ON INFINITE EARTHS. What the hell happened?

Sheesh!

Still...It was really, really cool. It was. Seeing Hercules crush the Thor clone was a fanboy wetdream! "Gleeee!...."

On a different note... One of the comics industry's true "good guys," Sean Scott of Mile High Comics, passed away last week at the very young age of 37. In 2006 he was diagnosed with a very aggresive cancer and less than a year later he's gone. He wasn't somebody that a lot of fans of comics will know but his part, and his place, in the comics industry was immeasurable. He was a great spokesperson for Chuck Rozanski and Mile High Comics...someone that the other retailers liked and trusted. He was kind, funny, self-depricating (all the way to the end, in fact!), had great taste in comics, loved to have a good time and was someone I considered a friend. I'll never forget all the good times we had playing poker at the cons. The best was the time Sean pulled FIVE ACES in a "guts" wild card game––for those not familiar with "guts" games, the pots get notoriously high! Sometimes, and quite often in the $60, $70 and even upwards of $100.00 a pot!––and was extremely excited! Gloating and celebrating! There were five other players at the table with Sean and he didn't seem to notice our complete shock at his joyous celebration. It was very quickly (mere seconds!) after his initial exuberance that I quickly pounced, bursting his bubble with a loud guffaw, pointing out that the pot was at its lowest possible point, as it was the very first hand dealt! Sean's face went from pure elation to stark and solemn as he immediately snapped back to reality realizing the pot was a piteous One dollar and fifty cents! Yep, $1.50! We all had a good laugh(s) on that one. Even Sean.

I had the good fortune to speak with Sean the week before he passed away. I expected a weak, sad, broken person on the other end...I should have known better! For even though he knew his days were short he was the same exact Sean I'd met years earlier. Upbeat, happy and, of course, still knocking out plenty of his patented self-depricating humor. You'd have never guessed how sick he was.I am so glad we had a chance to talk before he died. It was only for 20 minutes but it was a 20 minutes of my life I'll never forget and always cherish.

I mentioned many of the good qualities Sean had up above...I learned he had one more when we had that last conversation...Courage.

Now go give someone you love a hug, dammit!

Word!

r

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