Archive for the ‘Comic Books’ Category

Coulda Been “Alien Spotlight: Nausicaan”

April 24, 2009

NOTE: If you haven’t already, you might want to check my previous post — Woulda, Coulda, Shoulda… Writing Possibilities — before proceeding further with reading the post below.

dtnextgenDuring my tenure as an Editor at IDW Publishing, the opportunity to edit the newly acquired Star Trek license was definitely the highlight — as much as I dug what we accomplished with Transformers while I was there. (Ugh, that last sentence could’ve used an editor.) Star Trek has always been the favorite of my geek-habit “children”. Having the opportunity to contribute to the Star Trek galaxy was — as cliché as it sounds — a dream come true. I felt what we accomplished with Star Trek: The Next Generation: The Space Between, Klingons: Blood Will Tell, Star Trek: Year Four, and Star Trek: Alien Spotlight was something really special. In fact, at one time I was set to contribute as a writer to the Alien Spotlight series, but it didn’t work out. I probably phasered myself in the foot with that one.

After leaving my post as Editor at IDW to pursue the “whimsical” life of a freelance writer I still hoped to keep the dream alive and contribute to the Star Trek galaxy. This included an effort in submitting a few pitches for the second Alien Spotlight series. One of the pitches involved the nasty Nausicaans — which were featured prominently in The Next Generation episode “Tapestry” (Season 6, Episode 15), one of my all-time favorite episodes.

Like most writers know, when you throw pitches and stories up against the wall to see what sticks, a lot of what you’ve entertained ends up falling into a pile on the ground. For whatever reason, for better or worse, the following pitch didn’t stick — but, I wanted to share it nonetheless.

Alien Spotlight: Nausicaan – “A Severed Thread”

Opening scene on two young male Nausicaans, equivalent age to a 10 and 12 year-old—Kier is the younger Nausicaan and Zon is the older of the two. They are in a forest and have come upon a cornered boar-like creature. Zon pushes for his younger brother to take on the creature and slay it with the sword he was just given by their father. Kier balks and Zon calls him a coward—an evaluation that hurts the younger Nausicaan. Two decades later, the two Nausicaan brothers are serving aboard a pirate vessel, and Kier has just received communication that he has a newborn son. Zon teases his younger brother that at least his son will have an uncle to look up to since it is unlikely that Kier will ever amount to his level of superiority. The pirate vessel attacks and boards a merchant transport and the boarding party of outlaws is ruthless as they plunder the cargo and harm the crew. Kier again shows a moment of weakness when he hesitates to finish off one of the transport’s crew—an act that doesn’t go unnoticed by his brother Zon, who belittles his sibling by referring to him as being unworthy of owning their father’s sword. Shortly thereafter, the two Nausicaan brothers, in addition to a third Nausicaan, find themselves at a Bonestell casino where Zon cheats human Starfleet Ensign Corey Zweller. This leads to an eventual fight where Kier, in order to prove to his older brother that he is a worthy Nausicaan, stabs another Starfleet Ensign in the back and through his heart with his sword—Ensign Jean-Luc Picard (ST:TNG “Tapestry”). The Nausicaans are arrested and sent to prison for their crimes. Kier ends up serving fifty years, contemplating the actions which led to his incarceration and the lost opportunity of seeing his own son grow. He is eventually released due in part to an early Nausicaan/Federation treaty brought on by a Nausicaan diplomat—Kier’s own son. Upon his release, the much older Kier travels to Earth and surprises now retired Jean-Luc Picard in his vineyard. Kier apologizes for his actions some fifty years previously, but states that his and his brother’s absence from his son’s life—and the lack their violent influences—may have in fact, led to Kier’s son becoming a diplomat and a new beginning for the Nausicaan and the Federation. Kier then presents his father’s sword to Picard and leaves without saying another word.

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Counting Down To Star Trek

April 8, 2009

startrekcountdowntpbIf I was excited about seeing the new Star Trek movie directed by J.J. Abrams — which is warping onto the big screen next month — then my former colleagues (as well as a few newer individuals that have joined the team since my departure) at IDW publishing have only amped the anticipation with the release of Star Trek: Countdown.

I’ve got a month’s wait — May 8th — for the release of the latest Star Trek flick. I have eagerly awaited the release of each and every Star Trek movie since the release of Star Trek: The Motion Picture back in 1979 — three decades ago… Wow! And sure, not every Star Trek film has been exactly stellar, but for the most part they have been enjoyable. And, there’s no denying that the anticipation of each release was always exciting for Trekkies and/or Trekkers like myself.

Now, when I first heard that the eleventh Star Trek movie was going to be a sort of a “re-imagined” or “re-tooled” of the original series featuring such iconic characters as Captain Kirk, Mr. Spock, Dr. McCoy, Scotty, et al. there was some uneasy concern that they messin’ with the wrong guy’s favorite science fiction franchise. But, the more I saw by means of photos and trailers, and the more I read via web sites such as TrekMovie.com, the more I began to realize that, “Hey, maybe I won’t be heartbroken after all.”

What IDW Publishing’s Star Trek: Countdown — story by Roberto Orci & Alex Kurtzman,  script by Tim Jones & Mike Johnson, and art by David Messina (who I miss receiving regular deliveries of fresh art in my inbox from) — was able to do was cast aside any concerns that I might have had by neatly and smartly tying Abrams’ upcoming Star Trek movie into the already well-established, and heavily ladened with years of canon, continuity. IDW’s Star Trek: Countdown is really as much of a Star Trek: The Next Generation story as much as it is a prequel to the upcoming movie. Yeah, the new movie will have a different “glossier” look than the original series. Yeah, my beloved Kirk, Spock, McCoy, Scotty, Sulu, Uhura, and Chekov will be played by a cast of fresh faces that would seem to be at home in a United Colors of Benetton ad. But, you know what? It’s still Star Trek.

Thirty days to go — and counting down…

No Heroics Happy Hour

March 21, 2009

noheroicscastukWell, it was bound to happen, the British comedy series No Heroics is flying over the Atlantic to the U.S. — capes and all — to be adapted for a comedy pilot for ABC. The initial announcement was back in February when The Hollywood Reporter announced that ABC picks up comedy pilot ‘No Heroics’. The show is to be co-written by Jeff Greenstein (Will & Grace, Desperate Housewives, Friends) and the British series creator Drew Pierce. The two are also executive producers, along with Andrew Zein. ABC Studios is producing the show.

But, this last week the news was heard a little louder when it was announced that Freddie Prinze Jr. was cast to star in the U.S. adaptation.

“Sigh.” Those of you that are familiar with me and my work know where I’m going to go with this…

As far back as 2002, shortly after the second issue of (Super) Hero Happy Hour — the self-published comic book co-created by myself and Chris Fason — was released I found myself with “Hollywood” representation and I was meeting with various producers and production companies about turning our little comic book about super heroes hanging out in a bar into a TV show about super heroes hanging out in a bar. This was really the first foray into comic book creating and publishing that either Chris and I had ever made. (Super) Hero Happy Hour (Huh? I just found out that Hero Happy Hour has a Wikipedia page. Neat!) It was exciting times. I found myself making the forty minute to an hour drive up to L.A./Hollywood for meetings that I felt completely out of my league with. Back then, the plan was to do Hero Happy Hour as an animated series with big-name talent providing the voices. I was amazed at some of the names that would be thrown about — Bruce Willis, Pierce Bronson — it was crazy. It was almost dreamlike. I thought I had it the jackpot right off the bat with my very first comic book.

But, it was about that time that I received an overnight letter from both Marvel and DC, and I thought, “Hell, yes! I’ve been noticed.” Well, I was noticed alright. I was noticed for trademark infringement. Marvel and DC co-own the trademarked term “super hero” and they weren’t to thrilled with me using it in the title of my self-published comic book that was starting to get a little Hollywood attention. I was served with a cease and desist letter. That is when we changed the title from Super Hero Happy Hour to Hero Happy Hour. Whether there was a connection or not (I doubt it), after a couple of years the Hollywood talks began to slow down to a crawl and eventually dried up altogether.

Then about a year ago or so, I heard about the new British comedy No Heroics — about super heroes hanging out in a bar. Now, I’m the last person who’s going to argue that it’s the most original idea in the world. But, the similarities between Hero Happy Hour and No Heroics caught me a little off guard. And, it was a little show over in Britain — some 5,448 miles away. Now No Heroics is coming over here to my neighborhood, and I can’t help but feel a bit disappointed. It’s an opportunity lost. An opportunity that had it happened could’ve changed my entire life.

But, there’s no point in crying over spilled beer at a bar where super her– Oops. My bad. Sorry Marvel and DC. There’s no point in crying over spilled beer at a bar where heroes hang out at. I still do hope to publish more Hero Happy Hour comic books. I have scripts in the can, and notes and ideas for numerous more issues. Unfortunately, my partner in crime, Chris Fason is unable to belly up to the bar and tackle the artist duties due to being a good father, husband, and providing for his family with a paying solid job. (You go, Chris!) If I’m able to find the right artist to help out there will be more Hero Happy Hour comic books.

In the meantime, until No Heroics makes its U.S. premiere feel free to check out these issues and collections of Hero Happy Hour that you can find and/or order online…

gpnk-00001_sHero Happy Hour #1 — Written by Dan Taylor. Art by Chris Fason. Cover by Scott Morse. Imagine pulling up a stool to the bar and sipping a frosty pint of your favorite beverage as you listen in on the conversations of the “regulars” that frequent the neighborhood tavern. But, this establishment is unlike any other bar. The Hideout Bar & Grill caters to the super heroes of First City, and provides more than just a place to wash away the troubles of serving and protecting society as crime-fighting crusaders. For these regular heroes it is “a place where everyone knows your name” — secret identity or not. Available for free at wowio.com.

gpnk-00002_sHero Happy Hour #2 — Written by Dan Taylor. Art by Chris Fason. Cover by Jim Mahfood. It’s Tuesday night, and it’s Ladies’ Night at the Hideout Bar & Grill, the local watering-hole for the super heroes of First City. Join a quartet of super heroines as they let down their hair, deconstruct the “boys club” of being a super hero, and unwind after a hectic day of saving the world from madmen, maniacs, and monsters. Available for free at wowio.com.

gpnk-00003_sHero Happy Hour #3 — Written by Dan Taylor. Art and cover by Chris Fason. It’s time for “Another Round” at the Hideout Bar & Grill, the local watering hole for the super heroes of First City. The evening starts out quietly enough with the crime-fighting duo of Night Ranger and Scout joining Guardian and new-super-hero-in-town, Randal. But, that’s all about to change when a less than desirable clientèle shows up to ruin the heroes’ happy hour. Available for free at wowio.com.

gpnk-00004_sHero Happy Hour #4 — Written by Dan Taylor. Art by Chris Fason. Cover by Ragnar. Could it possibly be last call at the Hideout Bar & Grill? Phantom Dread and a band of super villains show up to crash the Hero Happy Hour. Add six parts super villains, five parts super heroes, one part nervous bartender, shake well, and you’ve got… the ultimate barroom brawl. Available for free at wowio.com.

gpnk-00005_sHero Happy Hour #5 — Written by Dan Taylor. Art by Chris Fason. Cover by Dave Crosland. Worlds collide when reality television invades the Hideout Bar & Grill in “Reality Shots.” The loyalties of the “dysfunctional duo” of Night Ranger and Scout are put to the test when they’re personal agendas, as well as their own unique (if not skewed) perceptions of reality clash with one another. Available for free at wowio.com.

gpnk-ssf01_sHero Happy Hour: Super Special Flashback — A bunch of comic book creators walk into a bar… The Hideout Bar & Grill. Join Tom Beland (True Story, Swear To God), Dave Crosland (Everybody’s Dead), Scott Morse (Soulwind, Southpaw), Todd Nauck (Wildguard, Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man), Steve Niles (30 Days of Night, Batman: Gotham County Line), Gail Simone (Birds of Prey, Wonder Woman), Ben Templesmith (30 Days of Night, Wormwood Gentleman Corpse), Dan Wickline (1001 Arabian Nights: The Adventures of Sinbad), and many other comic book writers and artists as they belly up to the bar to offer their take on patrons of every super hero’s favorite hangout. This collection contains all of the original stories from the Hero Happy Hour Super Special 2004, as well as an additional healthy pour of bonus material. Available for free at wowio.com.

idw-00006_sSuper Deluxe Hero Happy Hour: The Lost Episode — Available at last–the long-lost episode, “The Fall and Rise of Kingfish,” with bonus material and special features! Return to every hero’s favorite watering hole, The Hideout Bar & Grill, and join Guardian, Night Ranger, Scout, Rusty the Bartender and the rest of the regulars as they defend First City from the marauding Shadow-Soldiers from Dimension Z. Happy hour turns sour as one of their own loses their life in the line of duty and the group has to come to terms with the loss of a colleague. This re-mastered “lost episode” includes never-before-seen specially enhanced scenes, interviews with the cast, outtake and blooper scenes, and additional bonus material. Available for purchase at IDW Publishing.

ind0omni_sHero Happy Hour: Omnibus 01 — Did you miss any (or, dare we say, all) of the first five issues of Hero Happy Hour? Well, unlike missing out at “last call,” you’ve got the chance to partake in all five of the original rounds with the super hero gang from the Hideout Bar & Grill. This special digest-sized collection contains the “super” feature stories from the first five fan-favorite issues. “I actually wish I would have thought of it.” – Brian Michael Bendis. “With a concept that’s as ingenious as a two-for-one happy hour and laughs that hit faster than a shot of Wild Turkey to your dome, HHH won’t leave you skunky.” – Wizard Magazine. Available for purchase at Indy Planet.

Oh, and to Jeff Greenstein and Drew Pierce… Feel free to pick up a couple of issues for yourselves. Let me know if there’s anything in there that you like. I’ve got more, plenty more. And, to be honest with you, I would might writing for a television show with a subject matter that I’ve already done years (not to mention pints) of research on as well as being very dear to my heart.

Cheers!

Comic-Con Registration, Check!

March 17, 2009

comicconlogoHow did I spend my St. Patrick’s Day (well, night actually)? I took care of my 2009 San Diego Comic-Con International Professional Online Registration. The letter showed up over the weekend and registration opened up on Sunday. Friends and colleagues have mentioned that they’ve begun the process of getting ready for the “big show” — a process that does take four months to get prepped for.

If there is one thing that always rings true in regards to the San Diego Comic-Con, it’s that it somehow shows up before you know it. Like many other “professionals” I’ve spent the months before previous Comic-Cons getting ready to promote and pitch. When I’ve had a table or booth in the past months of preparation would take place in regards to the look and function of the set up — including building an authentic-looking mini-bar with a bank of four beer taps in order to promote Hero Happy Hour. I’ve had t-shirts and stickers printed to offer as giveaways. There are the countless printings of mini-comics — both constructing xeroxed copies of ash-cans as well as keeping your fingers crossed that your print-on-demand order shows up on time. And, of course, there are the business cards — do not forget the business cards.

But, this year I’m doing things a bit different. Although, I’m all signed up as a “professional” I’m going more as a fan, as well as using the opportunity to see old friends. The last couple of years I’ve prepped to promote myself, armed myself with pitches, and busted my ass to arrange meetings with editors and publishers. Then there were the years that I worked at IDW Publishing and had a booth to attend to. The three years before that, I had my own table/booth to manage to promote GeekPunk and Hero Happy Hour. Now, while those may have been the most rewarding years, I’m looking forward to going to this year’s con with more of a vacation state of mind.

And, let’s not forget about the hotel room. Any regular attendee that has made the pilgrimageto San Diego for the Con know that securing one’s lodging for the show can often be more challenging to obtain than the most exclusive of convention-only exclusives. You think getting your hands on that ultra-rare, limited only to 500, repaint action figure that you have to enter a raffle for and get your pass punched is a challenge? Luckily, this will be the third year that I’ve arranged to bunk with friends at a condo, as opposed to a hotel room.

Odds are San Diego will be the only comic book convention that I’ll be attending this year. And, now that I’ve got my lodging taken care of, my professional registration done, and not having to worry about all that prep work in order to promote myself to publishers and/or editors that would have a cigarette outside or be in their own pitch meeting trying to sell their latest property to Hollywood.

Looking forward to seeing everyone in San Diego in July. And, of course… There will be drinks.

Pirat Tales Available For Download

February 19, 2009

pirattaleseagleoneSo, you say you missed out on getting a copy of and reading the comic book, Pirat Tales: Legend of the Cat O’ Nine Tails — created and written by yours truly. Well, avast, ye rattie. Ye be in luck. Issues one and two of Pirat Tales: Legend of the Cat O’ Nine Tails is now available for electronic download at Eagle One Media.

Not only that, but Doomed #2, in which I adapted Robert Bloch’s short story Warm Farewell, is also available for download. So, do this humble blogger a solid (or three) and download one (or all three) — and be sure to let me know what you think of ’em.

Below is the official press release…

IDW Publishing and Eagle One Media Join Forces to Give Comic Fans an Innovative New Way to Enjoy IDW’s Unique Library of Titles

(San Diego, CA; February 18, 2009) – IDW Publishing, known for its wide array of comic books and graphic novels, has partnered with Eagle One Media to start a comprehensive backlist on the Web. Featuring a range of books from the Eisner-nominated artist and co-creator of 30 Days of Night, Ben Templesmith, to the Presidential Material: Barack Obama and McCain comics, to work by acclaimed artist Ashley Wood, each title will be available for download as a PDF for a minimal $1.99 fee.

Eagle One Media’s President, Eric Reichert, is excited about this new relationship. “Being able to work in partnership with IDW to make a significant number of their comics available for download to fans worldwide is a great opportunity for us. We’ve simplified the process so that comic fans can easily and quickly download complete PDF-style issues to their computer. They can also print the issues and save them to more than one computer if needed.

“Plus, with a sales price below the printed books, we give fans the opportunity to discover and try out comics which they may not have had access to in the past, in an innovative format. IDW joins our growing list of publishers who have made their comics and graphic novels available in our retail download store at: www.eagleonemedia.com.”

Chris Ryall, IDW’s Publisher/Editor-in-Chief, added “I love seeing our comics expand into areas that allow readers to sample books that are new or unfamiliar to them. Eagle One’s formatting is clean, quick, and easy for anyone who wants to read comics on their computer, and when you consider that you can download an entire issue of the 72-page Doomed magazine for $2, a great value, too.”

This pairing ushers in a brand-new platform for fans to enjoy IDW’s extensive backlist, with titles to appeal to a wide array of fans. Currently available for download are Blood-Stained Sword, Cobb, CVO, D’Airain Aventure, Doomed, Everybody’s Dead, Grumpy Old Monsters, Igor, Lore, Lost & Found, Pirat Tales, Presidential Material, ShadowPlay, Singularity 7, Snaked, and Zombies!: Feast. This already impressive backlist will be frequently updated at Eagleonemedia.com.

Pirat Tales 3 — Not To Be

January 6, 2009

If everything had worked as planned the third issue of Pirat Tales: Legend of the Cat O’ Nine Tails would probably be hitting shelves of your local neighborhood comic book shops. Unfortunately, things don’t always work as planned. Due to low sales, Pirat Tales: Legend of the Cat O’ Nine Tails issues three, four, and five will not be setting sail.

Of course, being the series’ creator and writer, my opinion of the comic book series is somewhat biased — but I had really high hopes for this title and the series as a whole. Unfortunately, not enough readers shared my optimistic view. Maybe the comic book reading public wasn’t ready for swashbuckling rats. But, I’m not sure if the comic book reading public really knew much about Pirat Tales to begin with — there wasn’t a whole lot of promotion. I tried to get the word out as best I could, but in today’s market creator-owned, non-franchise, non-superhero, or non-licensed titles face an uphill battle.

I do appreciate the retailers and readers that did take a chance with Captain Blacktail, first mate Peeve, the young mouse Pip, and the rest of the crew of the Vile Vermin. Below I’ve posted images of what was to be the cover of issue three of Pirat Tales: Legend of the Cat O’ Nine Tails, as well as a couple of interior pages by artist Orlando Baez.

pirattales3_coverpirattales3_pg5pirattales3_pg7

And, since issue three is likely to never see the light of day… The script for Pirat Tales: Legend of the Cat O’ Nine Tails issue three can be downloaded here. Avast, ye ratties!

Help Wanted At The Hideout Bar & Grill

January 5, 2009

Just quietly sneaking this out there for any artist types that might be interested in drawing an issue or two of Hero Happy Hour and happen along my blog before I go more public…

Drop me a line if that might be you.

Super Spike Happy Hour

January 2, 2009

No, this isn’t a post about a comic book crossover event featuring Joss Whedon’s character Spike interacting with the regulars of the Hideout Bar & Grill from Hero Happy Hour. Though if this was something that IDW Publishing would be interested in pursuing their Editor-In-Chief knows how to contact me.

What I’m referring to is the strange event that occurred over Christmas. Up until then, my blog averaged a humble 120 to 140 views a day. Then, out of the blue, my view count jumped from 130 to 15,596 on December 25th. Then the next day there were 24,191 views.

blogstats

Almost all of the views were in regards to one particular post — Hmmm… Super Heroes Hanging Out In A Bar… — a post about Hero Happy Hour and the new British sitcom No Heroics. With the surge in traffic I was thinking, “Hey, maybe were finally turning the corner in regards to Hero Happy Hour finally hitting the big time.” Wishful thinking. Turns out it was some sort of foreign-message board-spamming-bot deal. Ah, well… Someday.

Pirat Tales Issue 2 Out December 4th

December 3, 2008

Hey! It’s a new post! That must mean I’ve got something to plug. And, if that’s what you’re assuming, then your assumption is right. The second issue of Pirat Tales: The Legend of the Cat O’ Nine Tails hits comic book shop shelves tomorrow — Wednesday, December 4th. If you’re new to my blog, I am the creator and writer of Pirat Tales — the comic book about swashbuckling rats setting sail upon the high seas.

pirat_tales_2_cover_shadow

While it’s great to see the second issue come out, it is bittersweet. More on that later. But, if you did pick up issue one I hope that you seek out and enjoy issue two. Thanks for the support.

Pirat Tales: Legeond of the Cat O’ Nine Tails Out This Week

November 10, 2008

This Wednesday, November 12th, the first issue of Pirat Tales: Legend of the Cat O’ Nine Tails — created and written by yours truly, and published by IDW sets sail. Check with your local comic book retailer. Thanks for the support.

pirat_tales_1_cover_shadow