Thursday, May 5, 2016

New Tick comic out on Free Comic Book Day!

This Saturday is the 15th annual Free Comic Book Day celebration at comic shops all over the world. Once again, there's a new Tick book coming out. The cover is above, and it's a take on a classic Adventure Comics cover with Superboy and the Legion of Super Heroes!

Joining me again on art is Duane Redhead, who has done some really nice work for this issue. There's also a backup story with art by Ian Nichols that ties into the main story!

In a few days, I'll be traveling to Boston for the weekend to sign some copies of the new issue with lots of other guests. I'll be at New England Comics' Norwood location from 10:30-5:00 on Saturday. These signings are always fun and it's great to see people and explain that I'm not Ben Edlund. If I have the opportunity, I might try and sneak over to another store after my signing is over. If you're in the Boston area, I hope that you'll stop by and pick up a book!

In other (very exciting) Tick news, the Amazon Prime pilot will be filming soon! Several of the actors have posted updates online, including this picture of the pilot script from Brendan Hines, who will play the new character Superian! I am obviously thrilled that this is happening. Here's hoping that it moves forward to a full series soon!

Friday, April 22, 2016

The birthday haul, 2016

Well, it's that time of year once again where I show off some of the stuff I have. I guess I do that more than once a year. I'm okay with this. Anyway, my birthday has come and gone as it seems to do, and I got some neat things. So you get to see them! But first, check out this sketch of The Tick and Arthur from Rob Crooenborghs! I thought that this was pretty cool.

First up on the docket is the Big Guy and Rusty the Boy Robot hardcover collection from Dark Horse Comics. I'm excited to break into this as I've actually never read the story before and it's, if you can believe it, one of Frank Miller's stranger co-creations. I wonder if the '90s cartoon is out on DVD? Hmm...four seconds of Amazon research tells me that it isn't. I wonder why?

It was recently announced that "Weird Al" Yankovic would be the new co-host and band leader of IFC's "Comedy Bang! Bang!" beginning in season five. This means, of course, that it's time for me to catch up on the series so far, and I got the first two seasons that I'm pouring through. It really is a fantastic program. It's weird and irreverent and it suits my sense of humor just fine.

Also in the stack is a book all about old comic book ads, "Mail-Order Mysteries"! It shows the actual products behind many of the more ubiquitous ads that showed up in comics. It does not disappoint and seems oddly tailor-made to me specifically.

Lastly you'll see "Save the Cat", a book on screenwriting for jerks like me who will one day probably sell out and write a screenplay. If I haven't already.

Next up, we've got some more DVDs, including the second volume of the Conan the Adventurer series, the complete Planet of the Apes tv series, and the first season of very Clone High alumni heavy "The Last Man on Earth".

Just as I predicted, I'm getting sucked into the amiibo fad and now I own two. I keep telling myself that I'm stopping with Pac Man. Who knows if this is true? I also picked up a new audiobook set in the "Ender's Game" universe. "Ender's Game" was such an incredible book and everything afterwards just slowly and unfortunately went downhill. I guess I'm still trying to recapture that initial wonder.

Oh, and I spent all of last month stalking Larry with a fake Twitter profile before revealing it to him with a birthday cake from (of course) Dairy Queen. Revenge isn't the only thing that's best served cold. Ice cream cake is. Because it's made of ice cream. You get it.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

New Teddy and the Yeti at PIX on April 2nd!

The Pittsburgh Indy Comix Expo is this coming Saturday, and I'll be there with a new issue of Teddy and the Yeti!

I went to PIX last year for the first time and had a lot of fun. This one-day convention is a small affair, and most of the attendees are local creators. I just booked a table because I also just got a brand new issue of Teddy and the Yeti back from the printer.

This issue is half the size of a standard comic (similar in size to the Naked Man at the Edge of Time comic) and has art from Pittsburgh's own Meredith Moriarty. I think Meredith did an outstanding job in capturing the characters while giving it her own flair. On colors we have Tomas Marijanovic; Pietro put together the gatefold cover and Joe Badon drew a pinup for the back.

Here's a three-page preview of the issue to go with the cover. I'll have it on sale at the convention for the first time - and I might even have a new trading card to give to anyone who buys a copy as well (because I can't resist).

The show runs from 11am-6pm with programs from 7:30-11 at night. There's no charge for parking or admission! So show up! You can find more info here:

Monday, March 7, 2016

Remembering Fantastic Four artist Paul Ryan

Earlier today I learned that one of my favorite artists, Paul Ryan, had passed away at the age of 66. I haven't read anything about a cause, but I was stunned to learn this not only because Ryan was still relatively young, but also because I grew up reading his run on Fantastic Four with Tom DeFalco. Ryan is one of the reasons that I love the FF so much, and his years-long stint on the book is still the third-longest in the title's history, behind only Kirby and Byrne. In fact, I learned today that Ryan's first Marvel work was as an inker on the '80s Thing series!

Ryan drew in a classic style that I've only become more appreciative of as I've gotten older. It was the perfect amalgamation of Kirby, Byrne, Swan, Anderson, and other classic, steady styles of the Golden, Silver and Bronze ages. Back when the extreme (and silly) art styles of 1990s Image Comics were all the rage, Ryan's art was a consistent, solid presence on one of comics' greatest titles. He's known for his work on Superman, Flash, Avengers, Iron Man, DP7 and currently the Phantom comic strip, but he'll always be a Fantastic Four artist to me, and one of the greatest. The above cover to issue #370 was the first issue I bought with my own money, back in '92 at the Uniontown Mall.

I was very fortunate to have the chance to work briefly with Ryan a few years ago, when I contacted him about a commission and some original art. I purchased this page from Fantastic Four #390 for the paltry sum of $100. I decided to press my luck and was able to get some comics signed and, for a little extra, I got this Thing sketch card mailed to me:

The thing I'm most thankful for, though, is that I actually got the chance to commission an original Teddy and the Yeti cover from Ryan. His website said that he wasn't taking commissions at the time, but after talking to him for a little while, he told me that his website developer simply hadn't updated the site and that he was indeed taking commissions.

I jumped at the news and a few weeks later, he sent me the original art that you see here, including a rough sketch and full-size pencils.

The cover was eventually completed by Duane Redhead (inks) and Karin Rindevall (colors). I'm so happy that I had this done when I had the chance. It's a real shame that there won't be any more work out there by Ryan after his run on the Phantom strip ends, but he has a legacy of decades that still holds up and will for years to come.

At a FUBAR signing in 2013, I asked Rafer Roberts to draw a version of the Thing with his helmet, a trademark of '90s Fantastic Four. After I brought up the idea, he immediately said, "oh, you mean Paul Ryan?" Rafer, I think, has a similar understanding of '90s FF and he cranked out the lovely rendition that you see below. I'll miss Ryan and his work. I'm glad that I had the chance to interact with him in a small way.

Saturday, March 5, 2016

At the Central PA Comic Con? Pick up FUBAR: War of the Roses

A few months ago, Jeff McComsey and I put together a new FUBAR story that debuts this weekend at the Central PA Comic Con. Comic shop "The Comic Store" has two locations - one in Lancaster, one in York, and so they brought up the idea of doing a story based on the War of the Roses and the struggle between the two eponymous houses. The end result is FUBAR: War of the Roses (with a cover by Brett Weldele), and there are a few places where you can grab a copy if you'd like.

The first is at the Central PA Comic Con, which started yesterday and rolls into tomorrow, March 6th. You can find out more about the show here:

Afterwards, you can find any remaining copies at either The Comic Store or The Comic Store West.

Lancaster Online ran a nice story about the book, which you can read here:

They even made a video about it:

This is our first exclusive FUBAR book and it's neat to see. Maybe we'll see more in the future if all goes well. Thanks to the folks at The Comic Store for setting this up.

EDIT: The book has been spotted in the wild! Very neat. I hope sales are brisk.

Sunday, February 14, 2016

War of the Independents original art by Don Simpson!

There are a number of really talented and impressive comic artists living in Pittsburgh, and I've been lucky enough to meet a number of them. Over the last year I've had the pleasure of talking with Don Simpson on a number of occasions, and at last year's Wizard World Pittsburgh, Don gave me a page of original art from the upcoming War of the Independents #4.

This issue of the series features a number of cartoon animals such as Usagi Yojimbo, Felix the Cat, Simpson's own Cowboy Gorilla and....The Tick. There are also some non-animal cartoon characters like Milk & Cheese and the Gumby characters.

I wasn't expecting to get this page so it was a big treat to get a page of art from the guy who created Megaton Man, Border Worlds and other great comics.

 I would absolutely love to work out a Tick/Megaton Man crossover one of these days in an official capacity, but the two characters do actually meet in this issue as well. I'm hoping to see this issue in stores soon!

Friday, February 12, 2016

Geppi's Entertainment Museum in Baltimore

Steve Geppi is the owner of the Diamond Comic Distributors, which is the only major distribution network in all of comics. There's been a lot said about Geppi in recent months, and a number of people in the industry have some strong opinions about the man. All I'll say about the matter is that the industry as a whole would be healthier with more than just a single major distribution system for comics in North America.

I had the opportunity to share a table at the 2015 Baltimore Comic-Con last fall. After the opening night of the show on Friday, Geppi hosted an event for exhibitors and professionals at his very own entertainment museum. I didn't get to Baltimore until Friday evening, but since my hotel was right next to the museum, I grabbed my badge and went over to the museum, which is located right next to Camden Yards, the baseball stadium for the Baltimore Orioles.

Much of what the museum holds is Geppi's personal collection of pop culture memorabilia, and I was stunned at much of what I saw. I had heard of the museum before, but I never knew what kind of things it had on display. I took a bunch of pictures and thought I'd share a few here.

The layout and display of the museum is thoughtful and impressive, and there's a lot of different items to see, but I was of course most excited by the comics. As you can see at the top, Geppi has some of the most valuable comics in existence for all to see, including Action Comics #1 and Detective Comics #27, the first appearances of Superman and Batman. I spend a lot of time trying to figure out if these were even real copies or just facsimiles, and I overheard others asking the same questions. The staff let me know that yes, these are indeed the real things. The books were situated on a display that looked appropriate for the Constitution.

The room held hundreds of comics and pulps from various eras, all the way up to ones that were fairly modern.

There was original art from Frank Cho in one section as well. Other than time periods, there didn't seem to be a theme to many of these sections.

In addition to the obvious aesthetic qualities of this space, the movie posters that lined this hallway were simply incredible. There were posters from 80 years ago that looked brand new. How in the world were these kept for so long in such good condition? Maybe there was a sale at a movie studio lot. There was a wide variety of posters and prints to see.

It seemed like there was always another room to see, each with at least one mind-boggling piece on display.

One thing that stuck with me was just the preponderance of different items from all different eras. The different collections just seemed to go on and on.

Oh, look, Larry. He even has some Dukes of Hazzard items on display.

I saw a lot of movie memorabilia, the result of years of collecting and certainly millions of dollars spent.

The museum also had items on loan, including an entire room dedicated to Will Eisner.

There were dozens of pages on display that spanned Eisner's entire, decades-long career.

And there was even some Frankenberry artwork!

This whole exhibit was just a sight to behold. I showed up to the event toward the end, so I didn't get to spend as much time as I would have liked. I saw Geppi as I was leaving and expressed my disbelief at everything I had seen. It's hard to imagine that something like this museum even exists. If you're in the Baltimore area, you should take a few hours and take in everything that's here on display. It's impressive, to say the least.

Oh, and it happened that the Cincinnati Bengals were staying at the same hotel that I had booked for the weekend. It was odd, seeing coaches, staff and players walks the halls. My wife wouldn't allow me to run through the halls shouting "THE PITTSBURGH STEELERS HAVE SIX SUPER BOWL TROPHIES", but I did announce my presence at least once. After all of the turmoil between the two teams during the 2015 season, I kind of wish I was a little bit louder, but I'd say there would have been a 20% chance one of the players (you know which ones) would have beaten me up by the vending machines. Can't wait until the 2016 championship season is here, Steelers.