AHEAD OF HIS TIME
MASSIVE SPOILER FOR TRUE DETECTIVE
AND BY THAT, I MEAN, THIS IS HOW I WOULD SPOIL THE SHOW
Ralph Kiner, RIP
To Seth Myers from Gabriel Rodriguez
Awesome. By Gabriel Rodriguez, the immensely talented artist of IDW’s LOCKE AND KEY
The Wolf of Sesame Street
So, yeah. 2013 is coming to a close and I don’t really want to belabor it, choosing to look forward for the most part instead of backwards. But, sure. it was kind of a roller coaster.
2013 started with a good deal of potential—I had a handful off high profile comic book projects on my plate…and I had just been given a sizable promotion at ye olde day job, so I was confident and optimistic…and for the most part, it’s been pretty good to look at it as a year that laid some groundwork, but in which projects came and went, slipping through my fingers due to editorial mishaps and back office logistics beyond my control.
I wrote three anthology stories for 2013. One came out, the MARS ATTACKS Robinson Crusoe mashup which was, in itself, the result of some other back office shenanigans that took some projects from my hands, passing them out along above the clouds, to wherever it is failed projects go. The second anthology story got bumped off from a book whose page count had mutated in size and threatened to devour Tokyo ; I understand it may see print in the anthology’s third volume sometimes late ‘14, but who knows?
The last story was Batman. The less I talk about that one, the healthier I remain. But yeah, I was contracted (and paid to write the first installment) of a Batman story this year that for circumstance beyond my control, did not come out. No worries; I bear no ill will one way or the other. It was just one of those things, and the only thing I regret is that you fine folks won’t get to see my favorite bit of writing this year, a rooftop Batman/Gordon exchange.
And yeah, a few more like that. Graphic novels that came and went. Pitches that were green lit and then put into review. Hell, I got paid to write a MARS ATTACKS TV treatment this year. Who else can say that?
Artists bailed and were replaced. And in the end, I had very little on the shelves in 2013…something I’m working hard to change in 2014 and 2015…and, in fact, am again confident and optimistic that will happen. KINGS AND CANVAS will appear sometime around San Diego Comic-Con 2014. TAPESTRY and a new WWII/horror digital series are both currently in production. There are pitches in play with cautiously positive feedback. And the two largest writing projects on my plate, both for early 2014, aren’t even comic books — a novel and a screenplay, neither of which are spec projects, neither of which I can really discuss yet but both of which could yield in some amazing opportunities. Hopefully you’ll hear about both this Spring/Summer. Unless you don’t. And that’s all right.
I’m also gearing up for a massive overhaul to all three Topps apps — BUNT, HUDDLE and KICK — as well as an exploration into two more, both of which could be really special. So, yeah, the day job is still pretty freaking awesome.
Most importantly, though, I have an amazing family and this year all of them accomplished so much — from the responsibilities Mrs. SodaBlog has been given and the and successes she has achieved, to the educational and emotional growth of all the SodaBlog kids, all three of who are happy, healthy, smart and funny (two of them are sitting next to me as I write this, engaging in a raspberry contest, spitting into each others faces as they giggle and laugh).
So, sure, comics may have raised me up and shot me down…but compared to a lot of other people out there? 2013 coulda been a lot worse.
Aw hell, I should really show you the Batman dialogue…but I might get a chance to use it one day. Instead, here’s some KINGS AND CANVAS, including the dialogue for the above page by artist Dan Glasl. You’ll get more this summer:
Page 1 (2 PANELS)
Inset into Panel Two — Close-up shot of MAMMOTH, laboring and sweating (at what we can’t really see) and we’re looking at him from behind—he looks back at us over his left shoulder, focused on his work but distracted by a question.
1 PENDERS (OP):
Tell us a story, Mammoth.
EST. SHOT—GAOL, THE PRISON CITY, MID-AFTERNOON
Large panel. We’re out in the ruins of Manhattan, moldering and blackened, shattered glass and piles of dirt, broken pavement, demolished steel and garbage everywhere you look. Feel free to go nuts here. This is New York after the world went to fucking hell and now it’s a vast destroyed, discarded garbage dump being scavenged and sifted through by Gaol’s prisoners in teams of four. In our foreground is Mammoth (you remember Mammoth, right? Bald, wiry and muscled, bandages on his knuckles? But here he’s scruffier—rough and tumble five o’clock shadow, dirt and filth on the bare skin visible through prison-issue rags (as is his “exile” tattoo), leading his team as they scrape and shovel through the dirt. They’re using wooden shovels and stakes—no metal, which is KEY—and dripping with sweat and blood. There are three other men: PENDERS (scrawny and shifty, like Steve Buscemi in “The Big Lebowski” sans creepy mustache), SMEE (a filthy looking pirate, shaggy white beard and wooden eye, crossbones do-rag over his skull, boils and sores along ears and neck) and MANCINI (bulky, bearded, short and powerfully built—a dwarf, but that’s left unsaid—and he wears a wooden dwarven charm hanging from a thin, wire cable around his neck. The charm is expertly carved and an arcane rune that’s a little blocky and beautiful. MANCINI hefts his tools with ease). Mammoth digs in, shifting around garbage and decay as his fellow prisoners take a breather, resting on shovels. Behind them, striding like kings atop the broken streets and buildings, we can see guards patrolling and overseeing as if they own the place. Every guard holds a weapon—either a long crowbar or a wooden crossbow—and every guard looks mean and filthy, goblins in human skin. We can see into the background that there are many guards and many teams of four, digging and working and imprisoned in the bones of New York. Far above we see the sky is blue and the sun shining, warming the prisoners with oppressive heat. Whew. That’s a lot of description for a single panel, Time for a drink. There we go. Aaaaah.
Gaol. The largest prison city on the Exiled Coast
This is no place for stories.
Page 2 (5 PANELS)
Penders grin as he wipes his brow, and next to him, Mancini picks up his shovel with an eye behind where we see a pair of hobnail boots making their way down the refuse—a guard coming up from behind, and on Penders unaware.
1 PENDERS :
Come on. The sun’s hot, the work brutal. A story’ll quicken both.
Leave it, Penders. Drop yer trap and lift a shovel, eh?
Close on Penders as he points a peevish finger at Mancini, squinting in annoyance. The guard has come up behind, lifting his crowbar, ready to strike.
You drop yer under-the-mountain, dwarvish mouth trap, Mancini!
Mammoth here tells a fine story, and we all deserve one, so why not—
The crowbar descends, swiftly and viciously, and Penders throws his arms up to try and defend his head. The guard is out for blood and Penders squawks as the crowbar pays it’s due.
—gnyah! Nono, wait…!
Want a story, d’you?
‘ow ‘bout a ‘orror story?
Shot of Mancini and Smee, putting their backs into the work, doing their best to avoid hearing the beating happening behind them. Blood flies in from off panel, tossed off the crowbar. We can see the guard’s arm and the crowbar pulled back, ready to rain down on poor Penders’ head.
8 GUARD (OP): ‘
ere’s one. A lady bore a fool what ain’t worth a monk’s fart, who stole and lied and ended ‘ere…
9 GUARD (OP):
…where I beats him when he flaps his gums, like the fool he be.
Shovels dig into the pile, pushing and shifting pavement, dirt and broken metal.
10 GUARD (OP):
An’ we all lived ‘appily, to the end of our days.
11 GUARD (OP):
Pick up y’teeth an’ get back to work.
Page 3 (3 PANELS)
Inset into Panel Two. Close on Penders—beaten, bloodied, a bandage covering his face, held in place by Smee’s hand to sop up the blood and gore. Penders is smiling through his broken teeth.
1 MAMMOTH (OP):
What kind of story?
Ah, now. Anything. Everything. Villains. Heroes.
EST. SHOT—PRISON CELL, NIGHT
We’re on the ceiling of a prison cell — a dirty room composed of stone bars—we’re looking down at the floor (also made of bars) and our foreground shows two bunks— affixed to the left and right sides of the room—Penders is laid out and recovering on his left-side bunk, bruised and bandaged… Smee on the right, reaching across to hold the bandage against Penders’ face. Past them, below, we see through the bottom of their cage into one below (the prison residences are a series of cages stacked on top of one another, eight across and two down, so there really isn’t much in the way of privacy). The cage below has two more bunks and Mancini is on one, turned away and sleeping, and the other holds Mammoth, stretched on his back with his hands behind his head, eyes open.
Princes and damsels.
Pirates and cursed steel.
5 UNSEEN PRISONER (OP):
6 UNSEEN PRISONER (OP):
7 UNSEEN PRISONER (OP):
Champions and dragons.
Inset into Panel Two. Close on Mammoth’s face, wistful and looking directly at us…but thinking back into memory, into the folds of story.
I knew a man who slayed the last dragon.
10 PENDERS (OP):
You hafta start with “once upon a time.”
All, right. Once upon a time there lived a dragon, and a man nearby who coveted it’s heart.
Seeya in 2014, Soda Nation
"A BIG CAN FOR THE BIG MAN"
Okay, so you’re looking for something to drink in 7-11, and your eyes glaze over the same old same old sitting in the fridge…and suddenly, Shaquille O’Neal jumps out you and your sense of thirst takes a Shaq Attack.
But that’s exactly what happened to Mrs. Sodablog and I this weekend as we trolled for drinks, getting our adventure on with Arizona’s tall Soda Shaq cans. Now, I know that Shaq isn’t exactly what you want to be thinking about when you obey your thirst, nor is his smiling mug the one thing that will entice you to try new flavors…but we are Soda Adventurers and so, the Mrs went for the Orange Cream flavor while I sampled Strawberry Cream.
The verdict: 1 out of 2. Orange Cream has a very Stewart’s Orange & Cream flavor to it but with a slight sour after bite that ruins Stewart’s pleasant, summer afternoon creamsicle experience. While the first quaff was interesting, consecutive samplings proved fairly unpleasant and I had to stop pretty quickly.
The Shaq Strawberry Cream, however, pulled off an interesting feat: it reminded me of one of my favorite sodas, Faygo Redpop, but with a hint of cream on the finish. This can lasted until the final tenth when the cream started to overpower the strawberry bite I dig from Redpop and I had to set it aside.
Still, 1 out of 2 ain’t bad when you’re considering the source — who knew Shaq could give my taste buds a jump shot and —KA-ZAAM—add a new drink to my roster.
Wishing you a happy holiday season…here’s to success, creativity, windfalls, peace, happiness and adventure in 2014. (you will have to click in and possibly zoom in to check out some of the detail on this year’s card…)
Marci Malone: Intern of COBRA, the complete saga! written & drawn by @RyanDunlavey
These ran as alternate covers for IDW’s G.I.Joe vol.3, issues #7-11 and were a follow up of sorts to The Real History of G.I. Joe series I wrote & drew for issues #1-5. The final cover was released earlier this week, so here’s the whole thing! Big thanks to my editor John Barber at IDW for the opportunity to do this and the folks at Hasbro who approved it! I don’t get the chance to write comics very often, but I really enjoy it when I do!
G.I. Joe, Cobra and all related characters are ©Hasbro.
PROJECT-IN-PROGRESS: AMERICAN CAESAR
Inks on a page by Eoin Coveney, hitting graphic novel shelves in 2015 from _______ ________
No, this does not mean that I’ll be handing out alcohol at my signings…but in the vein of recent one word teasers, I wanted to give you a preview of what I’LL be working on this year…and my plans for this weekend’s New York Comic-Con.
I’ll be signing copies of FRAGGLE ROCK, VOL.1 at the BOOM Studios/Archaia booth (#1344) on Friday, Oct. 11th (11-12, 230-4) and Sunday, Oct. 13th (10-1130, 1230-130), and will have copies of NINETY CANDLES and URSA MINORS! on hand for interested parties. I’ll be signing, sketching, discussing upcoming projects and generally being a pleasant creator with whom you can geek out over comics, movies, TV and the like.
Oh! And I have a beard now… so don’t be afraid my evil mirror dimension twin is trying to sucker you into some deadly plot. It’s me, now with added whiskers.
See ya at the show!
Quick soapbox…I normally don’t blog about this kind of stuff, but I’m feeling pretty raw about it, so please excuse this and I’ll get back to comics and soda soon.
I’ve just read four to five random news articles about kids shooting other kids for fun, kids discovering guns in their home and accidentally shooting a friend, father, sibling or themselves. Each article includes someone going on and on about guns and gun safety and how if “someone had just been more careful, my child would be here” and then it states that the child was given the gun for a present, or the parent or someone in the house had stored it in a closet or accessible area of the house, and I’m like…seriously?
I get upset when kitchen knives are left too close to my kids’ hands. I have to explain five times when people wonder why I feel uncomfortable about going to a gun range or skeet shooting. I try to avoid buying toys for my kids that have guns or fire missiles or rockets (though I’m not always successful about this, I’ll admit).
Why? Because MY KIDS ARE FOUR OR UNDER. Sure, they know what guns are and see it on TV and are exposed to shooting and missiles and violence by playing with kids at school or simply by being in the world where gun violence is depicted in books or on television or in movies…I mean, it’s OUT there. I do my best to limit their exposure to it, but boys will be boys and playing superheroes or having a laser will always be more exciting to them than playing with cars or pirate ships (oh, cannons. Whoops).And it frightens me that one day a child of mine will be out of my line of sight, or will at a friend’s or in school or simply out for a run or in the park and because someone had “just not been more careful” or had given their kid a gun for a freaking birthday or simply left a gun or firearm in an accessible location is going to take my child out of my life.
I’m saddened every day when reading the news, and incidents like what happened with Chris Lane or Damon Holbrook in Michigan simply make me want to hold my kids tight and never let them go. And when they do things that frustrate me or make me want to punish them into next year, I sometimes have to calm down, take a step back and remember that at least I still have them and I will do everything I can to keep them from harm.
Okay, I’ve said my piece. Back to posting Dr. Who pictures.
So, my pals at Topps.com are doing Wall Art Prints from our company’s vast archive of classic baseball cards. They made a video to show how it’s done. It’s pretty awesome, so please check it out.