Saturday, December 31, 2011

Digital Marketing for the Print Medium

Comics have always been a visual medium, but much to the dismay of many within the industry, they are also a print medium and that presents challenges that many similar forms of entertainment are facing: how to stay relevant and profitable in an age of increasing digital competition.

Even though comic book companies have seen and acknowledged an oncoming digital presence for their characters for more than a decade now, most are still struggling to define just how they want to represent themselves in an electronic field, and some attempts to branch out are better than others.

Both Marvel and DC, for example, are experimenting with selling digital copies of their comics in the very comics themselves - that is, if you buy a copy of the book, you can download an electronic version as well.  Marvel is, so far, including a download code for free, while DC is charging an extra dollar for the privilege.

This practice irks me at least a little, because behind this good deal (at least on Marvel's part) is a bit of sneaky marketing.  Both companies polybag their combo books, sealing them in until after they're purchased.  On the surface, this is so someone can't walk into a comic shop, scan the code, walk out without buying anything, have the comic on his or her e-reader, and render the one-time code invalid for someone who might actually purchase the book.

It's also, though, a way for companies to boost sales by having some of the more rabid consumers purchase two copies of the same book.  Due to their (perceived) collectibility, some buyers won't want to tear open the bag these comics come in, leaving them with a choice - either seemingly deface their collectible item, or spend twice as much to keep one copy in tact.

Companies obviously are aware of this, and while I won't say it's malicious on their part that they do this, it does seem to me like taking advantage of the psychosis that is collecting (that's consumerism for ya).  In a matter of weeks, Marvel's entire Ultimate Comics line will ship exclusively in polybags with download codes, which will put this practice to the test.

Other practices, however, are more in line with what I think comic book companies should be doing, taking advantage of the new capabilities that technology offers while still remaining true to the spirit of comics.

Marvel's recent relaunch of Daredevil, written by Mark Waid, has been a highlight of superhero comics in 2011.  Not that I'll ever discount Waid's writing, as he's been involved with some of my favorite comics of all time, but DD is really a treat to read every month.

Daredevil has always, for obvious reasons, had a strong following with visually-impaired comic readers, and Marvel finally took advantage of that by releasing an audio version of the first issue, read by Waid and a few others, free for download.  This is both a nice treat for fans in general as well as the aforementioned visually impaired, and is exactly the type of thing that big companies like this should be doing.

The direct link to the file is here:  A little more info is on Marvel's site, here:

USA Today, while not being my favorite site for actual news, has had a pretty good relationship with comic companies over the past several years.  I still wonder why the paper doesn't print daily comic strips, but every once in a while they'll print comics and put them in front of a substantially larger audience size than they'd otherwise get.  When DC put out Wednesday Comics a few years back, the paper actually printed some to promote the series, and it had a strong web presence as well.

Dark Horse Comics went a bit further and released an exclusive digital Conan the Barbarian comic by Ron Marz and Bart Sears, who coincidentally (a hem) went on to produce a two-issue miniseries, Conan: The Island, another example of a company taking advantage or digital means to promote the physical product.

The full Conan story, "Kiss of the Undead", can be read here:

Lastly, Marvel and Toyota have teamed up for an ad campaign that features short Robot Chicken-inspired videos with action figures and the Toyota Yaris.  It's a pretty bizarre combination, and it's beyond tame, but it's just another example of what a comic company can do when management embraces digital marketing.

This video is, of course, just an advertisement when it comes down to it, but it's still fairly interesting.  You can watch more of the Marvel/Toyota videos here:

Friday, December 30, 2011

The haul, 2011

One of the last things that Christmas should represent is overt commercialization - secular or not, Christmas should be about more than the crass act of consumption.  That being said, for Christmas I got stuff.  Stuff that I was excited to get.  So I'm showing it off, knowing full well that the emperor has no clothes, to extend a metaphor.  Gaze upon these works, you mighty...and despair:

I got a boatload of graphic novels this time around.  That's right, enough graphic novels to load a boat with!  Depending on the size of the boat.  Anyway, here we have the Dylan Dog collection, volume 2 of Joe Casey and Tom Scioli's Godland, and the highly anticipated Habibi by Craig Thompson.

Also among the stash is The Book of Genesis Illustrated by R. Crumb.  It's astounding that someone who has spent his life creating psychedelic, counter-culture underground comics can put something like this together and have it look so incredible.  It's ironic that this just might become his best-known work.

I've now got three of four of the Hellboy Library Edition collections.  It's beautiful stuff.

I got some cool Thing-related merchandise as well, including a Thing shot glass that is just awesome.  And I landed a Thing Squinkie without having to buy the entire damn set.

I got some DVD swag, too!  Season one of Conan: The Adventurer, Volume six of Futurama, Weird Al's Alpocalypse HD collection of videos, and the first collection of Adventure Time, a show I'm loving more and more with every episode.

Rounding off the display of cool stuff is a Magic Mouse for the Mac, some brand new Shrinky Dinks (pre cut?!  What the heck!!), and some Pac Man crafty figures.  Pac Man and his ghosts were made by my friend Vicki, who has a photo blog here.  Vicki did a bunch of video game themed figures that would totally sell for cash money on a site like Etsy.  Seriously, Vicki, open up a store.  And make me some Yetis.  I SAID DO IT!

I hope that everyone out there had a wonderful Christmastime.  Here's to 2012!

Friday, December 23, 2011

FUBAR: D-Day of the Dead Signing Tour poster

FUBAR head honcho Jeff McComsey recently released the above image advertising the FUBAR: Empire of the Rising Dead release and signing event, which I'll be attending at the start of the new year.  The image (and what an image it is) is by Steve Becker and, if I'm not mistaken, is the back cover image for FUBAR's second volume.

It seems that I'm holding down the state of Pennsylvania for this mission, so if you're from, oh, anywhere in the tristate area, I hope you'll come down to Pittsburgh Comics in McMurray, PA and check out a copy of the book.  I'll be there signing copies and recording hilarious voicemail messages for all of my adoring fans.

Most of these signings are happening on the east coast, with the one notable exception of Norman, Oklahoma's Speeding Bullet Comics, where Mario Wytch, artist on a story I wrote, will be both signing books and also probably dancing, because he likes to dance.

Postcards with the above image were also sent to these stores, so if you happen to frequent them, you can pick one up, and prints will be available, included with the purchase of this volume of FUBAR.

Let's take a second and address the date of this event, which is Saturday, January 7th.  The plan for me, as I've discussed on here a few times, is to sign on the 7th from 4:00 to 7:00 pm.  This was always with the understanding that the Pittsburgh Steelers would secure a first-round bye in the playoffs and thus wouldn't be playing at all this week.  That is now much less a sure thing, and I realize that no one - myself included - would want to spend time with me in a comic shop when there's a Steelers playoff game on the air, and it's very much a possibility that the team would be playing not only on this date, but also during this time period.

I am going to contact the owner of Pittsburgh Comics this week and talk to him about this predicament. I mean, it's entirely possible that the Steelers will still win the AFC North, and even if they don't, it's possible that they won't be playing on Saturday the 7th at 4:00.  Even so, we won't likely know until the Sunday beforehand, and that's not enough time for promotional purposes.  Once we come to a definitive time and date for this thing, I will post it here for all to see.  But it will happen.

Less than a week now until new FUBAR hits the shelves.  Keep an eye out for it.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Vote early and often...for FUBAR

Remember MTV's "Rock the Vote" campaign?  Or, perhaps a more apt question is "remember MTV?"  I remember watching Weird Al's "Fat" video coming on there one time back in the late '80s...and it was brilliant.  This has nothing to do with that.  This does, however, require love and participation, just like a Weird Al video (see how I brought that full circle?  Amazing).  Oh yeah, and it's about voting.

FUBAR: Empire of the Rising Dead was nominated by as "anthology of the year", and right now it's up for a vote for a "People's Choice Award".  If you follow the link to IGN's website, you, too, can vote in a manner befitting of the Internet: anonymously and without any threat of recourse.  Let's take a look at the current tally, as of 2:30 am on December 22nd:

Holy...wait, does that mean that FUBAR is winning?  Or that it just has the most vocal supporters?  I suppose I have to wait until January 17th to find out.  But yeah, if you've got a few seconds of time to spare, I hope that you'll (and by "you" I mean you, specifically, beloved reader) head over to IGN's site and vote for FUBAR.  Here's the direct link - - and then scroll down toward the bottom.

UPDATE: FUBAR was just nominated as the best anthology of 2011 by the site  This site is looking at books with a horror slant, and other nominees include Heavy Metal and Dirk Manning's Nightmare World.  You can vote in this showdown as well, should.  Really, do it. Click the following link - - and help FUBAR bring in some awards!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

IGN update; Dark Knight Rises trailer; NFL SuperPro and more!

- A few days ago I mentioned that FUBAR: Empire of the Rising Dead had been nominated by for their "anthology of the year" award.  After tallying the votes, it seems that Rocketeer Adventures from IDW got the nod, and I can't say that it wasn't undeserving, as it was jam packed with top-tier talent.

It looks like FUBAR can grab a "People's Choice Award", however, with some feverish online voting, and as soon as I figure out how to, uh, do that, I will post a link here, and then demand that everyone vote for it.

- The Dark Knight Rises full trailer came out a few days ago, and BOY! does it look good.  I even made it on screen during the Heinz Field scenes, though you'd need a screen as big as a house and a magnifying glass to see me (i.e. I'm a blurry part of the faceless thousands).

One person who does get some good screen time, however, is current Pittsburgh Steeler and future Hall of Famer Hines Ward!  When the filming was taking place, I wondered to myself how much footage of (Super Bowl XL MVP) Ward would make the final cut.  It seems that the answer is "a lot".  Heck of a guy, that Hines Ward.

- Speaking of the NFL, friend of the blog Travis Sengaus drew this pinup of NFL SuperPro, making the character look much cooler than he really deserves.  SuperPro's 20th anniversary was this year, and the NFL Network even ran a short special about the character.

Travis drew a few pages for Image's Haunt #18 - check it out if you get the chance!

- Next we have a cover homage to the classic Fantastic Four #51...made out of yarn.  I have no idea in what context this should be taken.

- Lastly, a friend of mine, Eric Ross, recently started a blog all about mustaches.  As if that weren't enough reason to view it, Eric has posted a few things that might be familiar - Franks and Beans episode 7 (titled, wait for it, "Mustache") and the above Strange Tales clip by Jacob Chabot.  Check out "THE GOOD THE BAD AND THE UPKEEP" here:

- Oh, and happy 400th blog post for me.  Great.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

IGN nominates FUBAR vol. 2 as "anthology of the year"

In what was to me a completely unexpected (and awesome) surprise, has nominated FUBAR: Empire of the Rising Dead for its "Best Anthology of 2011" award.  Don't believe me?  Check out IGN's list of nominees, or just look at this screenshot:

There's an old cliche about it being an honor just to be nominated, but in this case it rings true: to be mentioned right along with Dark Horse Presents, which is just a fantastic publication, is a thrill.  It's even more exciting when you realize that FUBAR 2 hasn't even, uh, been released to comic shops yet, which means either IGN got an advanced copy or they're looking at the convention preview edition.

Speaking of the release date for FUBAR 2, the book isn't listed with Diamond's new releases for today, the 14th, which is when I was hoping (and expecting) to see it in stores.  I'll assume that it'll be out on the 21st or, at the very latest, the week after.

FUBAR also has a new expanded web presence as of today with the launch of, which features a new store, previews of both volumes and a news blog.  If you're looking to see what FUBAR is all about (and you think I've done a terrible job of explaining it), head over there and check it out!  And don't forget the national FUBAR 2 signing day on Saturday, January 7th.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Franks and Beans: the Comic

Franks and Beans, the Internet comedy sensation show came about at a fairly unusual time: after moving to Wilmington, North Carolina, 600 miles from my hometown, I decided that it would be a good idea to create a show with my friend Larry, still living in Pennsylvania.  This, of course, made no sense at all, which just may explain how often logic comes into play during an episode of Franks and Beans.

The show is something I like to do and a creative outlet for some of my stranger ideas, and let's face it, it was only a matter of time before I did something comics related with it.  So I'd like to proudly present the two page comic, which is titled "Larger than Life".  Read it, won't you?  No, seriously, read it:

In this comic, I tried to keep the same feel of a regular episode of Franks and Beans while doing things that couldn't be done (without one of us striking it rich at random) in real life, thus the giant muscleman look for me and the wanton destruction that happens throughout; I also tried to squeeze as many jokes and references to actual episodes in these two pages as I could.  I'd like to think that I accomplished both goals.

Art for this beauty is by none other than Alan Gallo, who meticulously recreated Larry's kitchen on the page, not to mention capturing the likenesses of me, Larry, Larry's mom and superfan Mark Moncheck.  Colors were provided by Michael Wiggam, and it took me SO LONG to letter these crowded panels.

Beyond simply being a vanity project (which, I'll admit, plays a part in this comic's creation), Larry and I are going to include this as an insert in the third volume of Franks and Beans DVDs.  We're also going to print out copies of this comic, at full size, and hand it out at conventions.  I'm also posting it online for free.  The marketing push begins!  And this, apparently, is at the forefront as an advertisement.

Franks and Beans also has a new website...with exactly the same URL as before.  A while ago, when I was having trouble with the main Teddy and the Yeti website, the F&B site was experiencing the same problems.  It's since been wiped clean, and the long, tedious process of rebuilding it has begun.  As always, though, I've been given the opportunity to streamline and make some things better, so hopefully this is all for the best.

If you haven't (it's not like I haven't promoted it enough, a hem), check out the Franks and Beans website at and the F&B YouTube page at  They're both good AND good for you!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Four and Baldy

I haven't done enough work on comics lately.  It's true.  But I'm getting back into the swing of things, I promise.  Above is one of the things I've started recently - lettering for a potential webcomic titled "Four and Baldy", a spoof of Thor (and his warrior brother, Balder) by writer/artist Grant Perkins.  Grant is, I believe, having some pages colored, and if everything works out, this may end up as an ongoing webcomic.

I know Grant from his Digital Webbing days, and it's cool to be involved in something with him, even at such a tentative stage.  If you haven't seen his work before, check out his website at - he's got a lot of great art on the site, including some incredible paintings.  If Four and Baldy makes any progress, I'll post it here.  Or you could just Google the term every single hour until you see something.  Either works.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Superman's beef bourguignon recipe

Superman is a meat eater.  I know that may ruffle some feathers, but it's been a part of his mythos for quite some time.  In recent years he's been portrayed as a vegetarian, and in all honesty, that makes a lot of sense.  Here's Superman, a god-like character who protects every living creature on the earth, someone who doesn't necessarily have to eat (or sleep), but does to appreciate the human experience.  You think he's going to just start eating birds and rabbits and sheep because other people are doing it?  Come on, Superman.  We humans do it because we have to eat to survive.  And also because it is delicious.  We're flawed beings.  But you get all your sustenance from the Sun.  You were cutting edge before solar power was cutting edge.

In any case, omnivore Superman's favorite dish is beef bourguignon.  Specifically, he eats it with ketchup.  This is something that was established decades ago, but like anything canonical (or semi-canonical) with Superman, it keeps reappearing.  In recent years, it became something of a code word between Lois and Clark, a phrase Superman could pass along that let Lois know he was okay even in the grips of some universe-shattering conflict.

Within the DC offices, it became something of a euphemism for sex between the two characters.  "Beef bourguignon with ketchup" is rather suggestive, if you think about it in the right (or wrong) way.  And though I haven't been able to find it after LITERALLY MINUTES of Internet searching, I know that there's a song where Superman references his love for meat.  Perhaps it's from the play "It's a Bird...It's a Plane...It's Superman"?  Someone help me out with that one.

In addition to these few clips from various Superman comics, there's a great scene in Kingdom Come (the extra pages added for the collected edition) where Clark sits down at a Planet Krypton restaurant and inquires about beef bourguignon.

The dish itself is fairly time consuming, but not something I'd necessarily classify as "fancy", French pronunciation aside.  It looks pretty hearty, though:

There are recipes strewn across the Internet, and they're all fairly similar, but the following is the one I'm going to try out in the next couple of weeks.  Rest assured, there will be pictures.  Who's up for eating Superman style?  Don't forget to add the ketchup.

(This comes directly from

Beef Bourguignon


            6-8 ounces salt pork, cut into 1/2 inch chunks
            4 Tbsp unsalted butter, divided
            4 pounds trimmed beef chuck, cut into 2-inch cubes, patted dry with paper towels
            10-12 shallots, chopped, about 2 cups
            2 large, peeled carrots, 1 chopped, 1 cut into 2-inch chunks
            4-5 garlic cloves, chopped
            1 ounce of dried porcini mushrooms (optional)
            2 Tbsp tomato paste
            1/2 cup brandy, plus 2 Tbsp
            1 bottle Pinot Noir, or other red wine
            Beef Stock (low sodium), at least 1 cup, quite easily more
            1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
            2 bay leaves
            2 teaspoons dried thyme
            4 whole cloves
            24 pearl onions, fresh or frozen
            1 lb fresh shiitake, cremini or button mushrooms
            Beurre manie: 3 Tbsp flour blended with 2 Tbsp butter

1 If you are using them, pour 1 cup of boiling water over the dried porcini mushrooms and allow them to rehydrate for 30 minutes. Remove the mushrooms and chop coarsely. Pour the soaking water through a paper towel (to remove any dirt or debris) into a bowl and set aside.

2 In a large sauté pan, pour enough water to cover the bottom by about 1/8 inch. Over medium heat, cook the salt pork in the pan until the water evaporates, stirring occasionally. Once the water is gone, reduce the heat to medium-low, and continue to cook the salt pork until much of the fat has rendered out of it. Add a tablespoon of butter and continue to cook the salt pork unti the pieces are browned and crispy. Use a slotted spoon to remove the salt pork pieces to a large Dutch oven or other large, thick-bottomed, lidded pot.

3 Increase the heat to medium-high. Working in batches so that you do not crowd the pan, brown the beef. Leaving space around each piece of sizzling meat ensures that it browns and does not steam. Don't move the pieces of beef in the pan until they get a good sear, then turn them so they can get browned on another side. Take your time. This will take 15-25 minutes, depending on how large a sauté pan you have. Once browned, remove the beef from the sauté pan and place in the Dutch oven with the salt pork.

4 When all the beef has browned, add the shallots, the one chopped carrot, and the chopped porcini mushrooms if using. Stir in the pot to remove any browned, stuck-on bits in the pan. Cook for 2-3 minutes, then add the garlic and the tomato paste. Cook another 2-3 minutes, stirring frequently.

5 Add the brandy and stir to combine. Boil down by half, then add the strained mushroom soaking water (if using). Scrape any remaining browned bits off the bottom of the sauté pan and pour the contents of the pan into the Dutch oven.

6 To the Dutch oven add the bottle of wine and enough beef stock to almost cover the beef; the beef pieces should be barely poking up out of the liquid. Add the parsley, bay leaves, thyme and cloves. Cover and bring to a bare simmer. After 1 hour, add the second carrot, peeled and cut into chunks of 1-2 inches. Continue cooking for another hour, or until the beef is tender.

7 Meanwhile, trim the tough stems off the shiitake, cremini, or button mushrooms and slice into 2-3 large pieces; small mushrooms leave whole. Prepare the pearl onions. Boil them in their skins for 4-5 minutes. Drain and submerge in a bowl of ice water. Slice the tips and root ends off the onions and slip off the outer skins.

8 When the beef is tender, use tongs to remove all the beef and the chunks of carrots; set aside in a bowl. Strain the contents of the Dutch oven through a fine-meshed sieve set over a medium pot. This will be the sauce. Boil the sauce down, tasting frequently. If it begins to taste too salty, turn off the heat. Otherwise, boil down until you have about 3 cups. Turn off the heat.

9 Heat a large sauté pan over high heat and add the mushrooms. Dry sauté the mushrooms over high heat, shaking the pan and stirring often, until they release their water, about 4-5 minutes. Add the pearl onions and 3 tablespoons butter and toss to combine. Sprinkle salt over the onions and mushrooms. Sauté until the onions begin to brown. Remove from heat.

10 Returning to the sauce, reduce the heat to medium and whisk in the beurre manie. Whisk in a third of the paste, wait for it to incorporate into the sauce, then add another third of the beurre manie, and so on. Do not let this boil, but allow it to simmer very gently for 2-3 minutes. Stir in the remaining 2 tablespoons of brandy. Taste for salt and add some if needed.

11 To serve, coat the beef, carrots, mushrooms and pearl onions with the sauce and serve with potatoes, egg noodles or lots of crusty bread.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The most annoying comic book ad ever conceived

The above image is, without a doubt, the most annoying comic book advertisement every printed.  This isn't something I say on the spur of the moment.  It really is true and the pronouncement comes after seeing hundreds of bad comic book ads.  I've seen the Starburst "a square peg for your round hole" (really?!) ads.  I've seen the Honda Civic ads placed at the very front of books.  I've seen the Strydex ads ("That's not Mt. Fuji, that's a humongous zit!").  I've seen the "Tobacco is Whacko (if you're a teen)" ads (but if I'm 20, it's okay?).  I've seen MDMacro's vague, obscure "Beats for Reading Comic Books To" ad.  I've seen horribly irresponsible ads selling monkeys and other animals in comics books.  But none measure up to the above advertisement for the Gap.

Just look at this kid.  What's he doing with his hands?  What's he doing with his face?  What's he doing in a neon orange sweater?  WHY IS HE LOOKING AT ME LIKE THAT?!  Everything about it is preposterous.

In addition to just how exasperatingly terrible this ad is, it appears that I can't escape being subjected to it.  It seemed like this ad ran for five years in a row around the late 1990s, and every third back issue I buy has this kid plastered on the back of it.  I pulled out Superman: Man of Tomorrow #11 to scan the letters page for yesterday's post, and what do I find staring back at me?  This damn ad, all over again.

I hate it.  It's the most annoying comic book ad I've ever seen.

Monday, November 28, 2011

My Lex Luthor Baldy Award no-show

A while ago I wrote about the time I won Marvel's No-Prize (and managed to misspell my own name in the process); at the end of the post, I briefly mentioned DC's Baldy Award, given out to "letter writers of the week", or something to that effect, in the back of Superman-related titles.  My comic book organizing has finally made it down to the "S" boxes, so when I flipped to the short-lived Superman: Man of Tomorrow, I made sure to grab a few issues and search for the one in which I had a letter published and managed to win that week's Baldy Award (please, no jokes about how prophetic that title would soon become).

Above I've posted a scan of the letters page from Superman: Man of Tomorrow #11, in which my letter is published regarding issue #9.  Even though I hadn't read the letter in 13 years, I remembered that it was pretty embarrassing as all I did was give effusive praise to a book that, honestly, didn't have much of a purpose over its publishing history.  But looking back at it now, holy cow was it sycophantic, to say the least.  I should have just wrote in and said "I love you!  Give me a prize!"  They did, though, at least in print, and I suppose I accomplished my goal in that regard.

At the end of the letters column, Superman editor Mike McAvennie writes "And because you were such a trooper for waiting 20 weeks and listening to this long-winded explanation, we hereby grant you this month's Baldy award, guaranteed to show up pretty quick!"  And then he writes something about Mike Piazza, which in hindsight is pretty funny.  If I remember correctly, he had a really good year in 1998 but was traded twice before winding up with the Mets (who will never, ever win the World Series again, much like the Pirates).

Anyway, perhaps McAvennie's guarantee was meant to be ironic, because I NEVER received any Baldy Award, to the point that for a long time I assumed that it was an award in name only, and not something that people actually received.  The advent of, well, Google, has taught me otherwise: the Lex Luthor Baldy Award is a handwritten postcard "from" and signed by Lex Luthor, congratulating you on the achievement.  A quick image search provides a look at the front of the card:

I can only say that while this award is merely a mass produced postcard, an inexpensive marketing stunt on DC's part, it is also something that, as a comic book fan, would be so awesome to have.  So winning the award is a notch in any Superman fan's belt, but MAN, I wish that I had the physical prize for my stupid letter to go along with it.  Mike McAvennie, if you happen to read this post and just have stacks of these lying around, it's not too late to correct a 13-year-old omission.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

FUBAR 2 Q&A with Jeff McComsey

FUBAR: Empire of the Rising Dead hits comic book stores next month, at which point everyone can stop listening to me rail on and on incessantly about this World War II zombie anthology and go buy a copy for themselves, afterwards I will probably begin railing incessantly about the quickly developing volume three.  One thing at a time, though.

I recently chatted with FUBAR Commander-in-Chief Jeff McComsey, the brains behind this undead operation, and below are the results of this session, interspersed with preview pages from the new collection of stories from writers and artists from around the world.  In this interview, McComsey announces that while the book ships from Diamond to stores in mid-December, there will be a nationwide signing event taking place on January 7th, 2012.  As I mentioned a little bit earlier, I'll be signing copies of this book at Pittsburgh Comics on this day, a Saturday.

McClelland: Even though I got involved with FUBAR at the tail end of volume 1, it's still been interesting for me to see the notable growth of the concept between then (early 2010) and now with volume 2.  How has the concept of FUBAR changed between its inception and what it is now?

McComsey: The concept as far as it being a World War 2 zombie anthology has stayed pretty much the same. What has changed is its size. We went from roughly 17 contributors in volume one to roughly 40 creators for volume two. The scale of the project has been for me an immense source of pride for me. Through this monster I've gotten to work with a veritable army of Small-Press Commandos. I think we were all waiting for a project and FUBAR just happened to be it.

McClelland: What's been the reaction to FUBAR so far, and how has that reaction shaped the development of FUBAR in its current state?

McComsey: The creators involved have been consistently gung ho about helping finish and promoting this project.  We do a lot of conventions with this book and the reaction has been phenomenal, [especially] after doing the handful of cons that FUBAR attends and seeing that we have some legitimate fans. I always say this will be the last volume until we get the book out for sale and the reaction always has me immediately planning the next.

McClelland: We're dealing with a fictional universe filled with zombies - on the surface, anyway, this isn't something that hasn't been been done before.  How do you find a way to craft stories that make the tried-and-true idea of the dead come back to life fresh and vital again?  Is there a formula for success when it comes to zombie stories?

McComsey: There are, for me, two types of stories we do in FUBAR. First, there are the stories that are meticulously researched and carry the seriousness and respect due the grim subject matter of World War 2. The second are completely bat-shit crazy seat-of-your-pants style WW2 zombie bashing tales, reminiscent of "Inglorious Basterds". If submitted stories fall anywhere in those two neighborhood, I’m a happy camper.

McClelland: For the most part, the stories in volume 1 seem to be contained within their own pages - that is, I didn't get the idea that these stories shared the same "space".  The first story in volume 2, though, seems to imply at least a basic cohesion, or at least a link between volumes.  Do the stories of FUBAR vol. 2 share the same "universe" as that of vol. 1?  Should they?  Are these stores best considered as individual pieces or part of a larger whole?

McComsey: I wrote the first story as a kind of bridge between the two volumes, but overall, the stories all exist in their own universes. In the first volume we had a rough timeline for the outbreak, but with the nature of the Pacific Theater of WW2, a timeline would have been problematic, so we opened the entire conflict to the writers.

McClelland: What are some of your favorite stories from volume two, and what should readers look forward to when they pick up the book in December?

McComsey: It’s hard to say for me. I’m very proud of the short that Jorge [Vega] and I did called “Wild Blue”.  Jim McMunn illustrated not one, but three shorts in this volume. Those are some of my favorites. The thing that fans of the first volume will dig is that this book has over 100 more pages than the first volume. This second volume is absurdly huge.

McClelland: FUBAR has made a number of convention stops in the past months.  What appeals to you about setting up at a con?

McComsey: I love doing conventions. We go all out for the booth set up, and watching it draw people in is always amazing to see. That combined with the sketches we do in the front of the books for the people who buy them makes my FUBAR con experiences very memorable.

McClelland: You've put out word of a big signing event at various points around the country when the book is released.  What stores are you planning on visiting when this book goes on sale?

Yes, we are organizing a large signing event for January 7th at several shops across the country. I will be at "Comic Book Jones" on Staten Island holding it down with my partners in crime, Dominic [Vivona] and Steve [Becker].

McClelland: Lastly, here's a random question that nevertheless demands and answer: who was/is your favorite Ninja Turtle and why?  WHAT IS THE SECRET OF THE OOZE?!?
McComsey: That’s a toughie. I clearly remember being a Raphael fan. His weapons were the worst but he was a smartass and somehow as a kid that endeared him to me. The secret of the ooze is that while it looked awesome in the JC Penny’s catalog, your parents were way too smart to give you a pile of viscous neon green snot substance for Christmas.

Many thanks to Jeff for putting up with some of my more asinine questions for the second time.  To learn more about FUBAR: Empire of the Rising Dead, go here:

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

War of the Independents #3

I got my first look at both covers to War of the Independents #3 today, and both of them are very impressive.  In addition to Todd Nauck's cover, I'd like to highlight the above by none other than G-Man and Mini Marvels artist Chris Giarrusso.  Featured rather prominently, between the Tick and G-Man, are both Teddy and the Yeti!  I knew that at least one of the characters would be on this cover, but to see both and in such prime location is quite a treat.

As the issue works its way closer to the stands, I hope to get a little more information to pass along, but in the meantime, here's the official solicitation info direct from Diamond:
Title: The War of the Independents #3 
Plot &Art: Dave Ryan 
Cover art: Todd Nauck 
Flip cover art: Chris Giarrusso 
Script: Robert Sodaro 
Colors & Letters: Wilson Ramos Jr.  
Imprint: Red Anvil Comics 
Rating: All Ages  
Format: Comic (32 pgs) 
UPC: 609224530005 
Price: $2.99 
The Story: The War of the Independents raves across the multiverse, and in this issue the supermen are on their way to Norway to locate the fabled hammer, belt and gloves of Thor, the legendary Norse god of thunder. Meanwhile the villain, Maldestrak — a being of godlike power who is pure evil , and bent on the utter destruction of all forms of life — arrives there first acquires the magical items as well as their incredible power; then proceeds to kick everyone’s butts. Guest stars this issue include the Tick, Atomica, Karna and El Gato Negro, as well as many others.
Be sure to check out this book once it reaches stores!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Comic-Con International 2012

I just got some great news in the form of an envelope and...what was inside that envelope.  Just a week after I thought my chances of exhibiting at the 2012 Comic-Con International in sunny San Diego had been squelched, I got word today that my application has been accepted.  That's right - Wagon Wheel Comics will be exhibiting at Comic-Con!!

Our booth will be in the small press section, row Q, table 11.  Take a minute to search the vast floor plan below for our location:

...or just check out this cropped and photoshopped version with a helpful arrow:

As I said, this is great news.  There's lots of planning and comic book making to be done before the show takes place from July 11th through the 15th.  I have a bit of previous experience with CCI, having exhibited there in 2006.  This was before, however, I had a clue about what to expect.  I will be infinitely more prepared for the 2012 show.

More to come!