Friday, March 31, 2006

SUPER REAL NOTES - misc 3/31

Lots of updates to touch on, so lets get to it:

Pin-Up-and-Coming Contest extended!

The announced sumbmission deadline for the open call to have your pin-up published in Super Real number 3 was Friday the 31st, however, for a number of reasons, I've decided to extend the deadline.

The new deadline is Friday April 14th.
That gives any aspiring comic artists an extra 2 weeks to work up their pin-ups.

Here's a hint, make them good! ;)
We've already got some good loooking entrants over on the submissions blog...



The latest to crazy nuts for Super Real are the fine folks at
Check out their review of number 2 HERE
or their review of number 1 HERE
Good stuff!


Don't forget to pack up the whole family and load the Winnebeggo full of Super Real comics to get signed at this weekends awesome show in the emerald city, Seattle Washington!

It's the biggest freakin con to hit the NW since, well, probably ever!
Seriously, the folks at ECCC put on one of the best shows, and I'm fortunate enough to have it in my back yard (just a couple hours up I-5).
They pack in more guests at this show than should be promtionally possible, no wonder event organizer and Seattle-area retailer Jim Demonakos got the call up to the big leagues with a fancy job over at Image Comics!

Need more reason to show up? How about issue two variant artist Edward Pun, or maybe even issue two's pin up artist Stan Shaw being at this bad boy?
No, well I won't call ya lame, I'll just point out that Jim Mahfood will also be on hand, and he's turned in a swingin piece for a future Super Real cover!
How's that?!

Read up more on the show and all the guests HERE

If you can't make it, I'll show up next week with a full summary for ya, cuz I'm a nice dood.

That's all for now!

IN CASE U MISSED IT: Larsen shares the secret to...

Ah yes, Eric Larsen tells it like it is, but always with the wisdom of his experiences, the class he carries with him, and the candid humor that gives it that little something extra.

Case-in-point? His latest ONE FAN'S OPINION over on
This time he tackles BREAKING IN TO COMICS

Here are the highlights from the column for me:

Maybe you suck and maybe you don't have it in you and maybe you'll find out that you don't have it in you, but you'll be glad that you gave this a shot because you'd always wonder, right?

This is the main thing for me, get out there and do it, because nothing's worse than regretting what you DIDN'T do...

And there's a whole network of guys that work on amateur comics. Guys who post on the net and contact each other and mail fanzines back and forth. These guys are learning their trade. And some will make it and some won't. But they're all trying. And the important thing here is to try. To make the effort. To get off your ass. To do something.

You can do it.

If you want to make it in the funnybook field you should do it.

And when you're all done...think about me.

But do me a favor, okay? Don't send it to me. Lord knows I don't want to look at your wretched shit.

Check out the full column HERE

Thursday, March 30, 2006

IN CASE U MISSED IT: Movies + Comics = ??

It’s no secret to me what the key to manga’s success in the mainstream bookstore market… I can sum it up in one word – SYNERGY.
I’ve argued for a while now, that aside from all of the other appeals of manga, it’d all be for not if the material didn’t have such a close relationship to other media. Pokemon and countless animes and other media have had manga counterparts virtually identical in terms of content and style, all readily accessible and easily identifiable in mass media outlets. That’s what’s driving people to the market, or at least initially sparking it’s growth.

Don’t believe me?
Have a look at the US industry.
They’ve had countless big screen movie adaptations of their comics in recent years, you don’t see any revolution going on in the US comic book market. Sure, there’s slow measured growth, but nothing like manga. That’s because, I think, the mainstream offerings (bookchains etc) is not focused, or in synergy with the other media. At all. It’s a mess. Different styles, formats, and interpretations of the same characters or concepts all crowd each other out. There’s no easy first step for newcomers.
For the most part.

Now, as reported on Newsarama this AM, there’s a growing trend - comic movies that actually drive mainstream sales of the print material. Sin City last year, and now V for Vendetta, two recent “comic book” movies, true to the source material, and have a focused print offering for the public to find, which coincidently, are seeing real sales growth.

Look, it’s not rocket science, and I’m sure the publishers were aware of it, but hopefully they can build on these real world examples and come correct in the future. This medium has so much more to offer to a wider audience than what it’s currently delivering. I’d really love to see this new trend grow and make a real change.

And I still need to see V for Vendetta!!

Tuesday, March 28, 2006


It's official!
Issue two is on the list just posted for books shipping from Diamond to shops this week (Diamond Order Code DEC05 3203).

It's only one month late, but at last it's officially out!

Can't wait to hear everyone's feedback!
Here's the official forum thread for issue two.
Let me have it!!

And in case you don't keep tabs on the NEWS section, it's already gotten it's first review (and a good one!) on with more reviews to come.

3/28 UPDATE:
Another slammin review is in! This time from the cool site

IN CASE U MISSED IT: More French teasers has a litle preview up of another French graphic album from a US artist, Francisco Herrera's ASHES.

You can view the preview HERE

Hopefully American artists working on European books will finally make more people take note of the wealth of stunning material untranslated and imported to the states. Far too few ever get the chance.

Monday, March 27, 2006

IN CASE U MISSED IT: Tokyopop + HarperCollins = ??

Not really savvy about the bookstore market, so I don't know how big of an announcement this is, but Newsarama is reporting that manga publisher Tokyopop has teamed with publishing giant HarperCollins.

Details HERE

With TPop adapting some of HC's teen-centric content to manga, and HC taking on the distribution of TPop to the bookstore market.

I suspect this is potentially big, and further solidifies TPop's hold on the growing manga/mainstream market. (And perhaps gives their OEL initiative more opportunity by default - which would be a good thing).

Anyone know?

Sunday, March 26, 2006

CON SWAG: Wondercon & WWLA part 1

With every bigger con that I attend, I like to look around artist alley or small press for cool stuff to check out. Or I get handed books from other publishers, both pro and aspiring. Unfortunately, I'm so busy, I don't often get to all of it, but I always make an effort.

So, over the next few days I'll go ahead and do some quick reviews for stuff I picked up this last month from Wondercon and Wizard World LA, before I get even more goodies at this weekend's Emerald City Comic Con!

Here's the first two books:

Special Education – Convention Special Edition – 28 pages, $2.99
National Press Comics

Story/Concept – This one starts out with a brief but pivotal 1971 encounter between a hero and his arch enemy, wherein the villain is defeated only to be forced into serving rehabilitation as staff at a school for superhumans founded by the conquering hero. Skip ahead to the now, and we follow a powerless transfer student on his first day at the school.
Along the way we meet the usual archetypes, and familiar school trappings, but it’s all still fun enough to work anyways.

Writing – Like I alluded to, there’s not much in the first issue that breaks new ground, but it’s all done with enough touch that it still works. That’s a compliment mostly to the writing. There are some down right humorous lines here.

Art – Dave Dwonch serves double duty, and his artwork compliments the tone, and manages the same achievement as the writing, bringing enough flair to stand out.

Overall – RECOMMENDED - I could see following this as an ongoing, there’s promise here, in both art and writing. The concept is the weak point, so if the formula doesn’t change up, or have some wrinkles, I could see interest waning. However, I’d still give this one a shot. It’s good.

Mr. Massive – Preview Edition – B&W, 12 pages, $6
Explosive Comics

Story/Concept – I’m not really sure, the preview runs only 10 pages and we’re not treated to any kind of origin. We do know Mr. Massive is a teenage student that transforms into a super being, balancing school with powers. So we’re playing with familiar territory here, a la Invicible, or characters like Savage Dragon’s Mighty Man etc.

Writing (Jeff McClelland) – The writing here was at times great, and others a bit confusing. The book starts off really nice with a big splash entrance, and along the way there’s some witty dialogue.

Art (Artboy X) – As with the writing, the art varies. Overall it’s good, but at times it’s really strong, in the vein of Ed McGuiness, and other times a bit rushed.

Overall – RECOMMENDED(for the series) MILDLY RECOMMENDED(for the preview book at this price point) - This book shows promise in both departments to check out more. As with Special Education, it’s up to where the creator takes things, and if they can deliver on their potential. Especially if Artboy X is complimented by Mike Adams colors as he is in the first 5 pages.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

DeviantArt Update - Mahfood colors and more!

Hey, just got a chance to work up some colors for the Jim Mahfood future Super Real variant cover, and though I may touch them up a bit, I posted the pic on DA HERE
I also did a fan art/pin up for Josh Howard's Black harvest after reading issue four!
I dug the pencils on this, but don't really like the way the colors worked out...
I may go back and fix that.
Check it out HERE

Friday, March 24, 2006

SUPER REAL NOTES - Pin-Up Contest update

In addition to a couple great new entries, I've also added comments to each of the entrants.

Please feel free to leave comments on the Pin-Up Contest blog, but please keep them positive.

I've asked the artists to leave comments if they'd like constructive criticism, otherwise, just keep it positive for the ones you'd like to comment on.

IN CASE U MISSED IT: Lindsay is no Wonder Woman...

No sir, she should be Holly Hood, aka participant #1, in the Super Real movie.

The Beat is linking to a report that young actress Lindsay Lohan is hoping to land the Wonder Woman role in the just scripted by Joss Whedon film due next year.

I've often thought, for whatever reason, she'd make a great choice for the title role in the Super Real film. Others come to mind, but she seems to have the right vibe for the character, the right starpower to be a good fit, and is likely to be looking for more mature roles to break out into (as the press release confirms). Call me crazy...
Now if I could only get to that treatment I'm supposed to be working on...

Thursday, March 23, 2006

I SAW IT ON TV: Roundup 3/23

Time to check in with the boob tube...

Speaking of boobs...

Hooray!!! Chicken Little is dead!
In perhaps the most surprising American Idol results conclusion yet, the much maligned contestant best known as Chicken Little finally got what was coming to him, the ax!
If only they'd have pulled a real stunner and had the sky fall on him and Bucky...
(Yes, I'm ashamed, but it's true, I'm watching Idol this time... and enjoying it! Go ahead, let me have it!)

Next up
Lost returns

Not a bad little episode, Sun's got more secrets, and the mystery man in tha hatch may just be an "other", or he may not, guess we'll have to tune in next week.

Big Love
Finally caught the first episode of the new HBO paligamy series with Bill Paxton on-demand this week. It was interesting, but not enough. We won't be back for more.

Amazing Race
Amazing Race 9 equals number 1 for me - as in the first time I've watched.
I'd caught bits of it before, and was intrigued, but never the first episode, and since this show really hits the ground running (literally), it took catching it from the start to get into it. Fun stuff.

The Real World
This looks like one of the better seasons, from the cast with some real standouts, to the location, and the weather. I've missed the last 2 weeks, but hope to catch up today.

This had an interesting cast, a great director behind it (Doug Liman - Mr. & Mrs. Smith, Bourne Identity, Swingers, etc), and an interesting premise - one big heist planned and executed throughout the season, with the thieves and the cops out to get them as the focus.

The first episode last night (reruns on Friday) lived up to most of the promise, but at times the dialogue came off a bit too zingy (either overwritten, or under-acted).
I look forward to more.
Give this one a shot.

Surreal Life 6
This show is hit or miss, when the chemistry is right, as this season appears to be, it's quite entertaining. How can you go wrong with Sherman Hemsley (Mr. Jefferson) and Florence Henderson (Mrs. Brady) sharing space with burnt out rockers, playmates, and hollywood transgenders?
The reality-tv stud pageant selection was a nice touch for the final cast member selection (with Real World's Ace and AI's Paula-humper coming up short as usual).

And last...
Battlestar Frakin Galactica baby!

I'm a little late to talk about the season 2 finale, but wow!
They really flipped the script (I'm not 100% on board with the direction, but will certainly give them the benefit of the doubt here, if nothing else it's ballsy), and left us with a big cliffhanger.
The bad thing? Frakin' October for season 3?!?
Fuck, er, I mean... no, I mean FUCK!
Good television, sci-fi or in any genre, it's just that good.

If I'd only learned French

There are so many incredible European Graphic Albums that never make it to the states, it's a crime.

I want to stockpile them, language barrier be-damned, at San Diego this year, but I'll likely not have the funds.

Anyway, that's an image from the Humberto Ramos penciled album that's just out from Soleil.

I really don't understand why more of this stuff doesn't get translated and see release here.

IN CASE U MISSED IT: The Rey VS Buzzscope

Okay, so it's not a fight, and I don't think they're officially called Buzzscope anymore, but over HERE there's a lengthy interview with one of comics more exciting young talents, who's all about the fight comix, Corey (The Rey) Lewis.

Sharknife and Peng were a couple of the highlights from last year, so dig on his stuff if you haven't, or learn more if you have.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

IN CASE U MISSED IT: Wizard World LA, a story told with pictures

Here's the one pic of myself you'll likely ever find on my website...
Damn I'm handsome! (an rockin' some new Super Real threads)

The always awesome Jonah Weiland photo parade is up on HERE
It's must see TV for the comic book kids!

Monday, March 20, 2006

IN CASE U MISSED IT: Tilting at Indies

A column that came out over the con weekend, that I haven't made comment on yet, but really want to, was Brian Hibbs Tilting At Windmills on Newsarama.

I follow the column regularly, and generally agree with Brian's assessments of the industry, and comic book retailing. However, this time, I think his summary of a quick study of some market numbers is a bit short sighted, or perhaps misleading.

In the column he takes a look at a Diamond order form from 1989 and compares publishing numbers to today:

it looks like Diamond was soliciting a grand total of 685 items back in '89. That includes comics, books, magazines, all merchandise like videos, shirts, games, and so on. The '06 order form has 4390 items with MAR06 codes - some six times as much.

In 1989, DC offered 60 items, Marvel comics offered 65. That's 125 books from the two publishers. Every other publisher combined offered 262 new titles.

Flash forward to 2006. Same criteria for counting. Marvel and DC are each offering 105 new comics/TPs for sale, for a total of 210 between the two. Every other publisher? 462 new titles.

From this he concludes that the big publishers aren't really crowding independent publishers out, as is often theorized in today's market, and that smaller publishers shouldn't blame bigger publishers for their struggles.

While I'm not sure his first conclusion is entirely correct (I'd at least like to see some more comprehensive data to come to that conclusion), I agree with the last part, I certainly don't look to blame the big publishers for conducting themselves as a business. I do wish the industry leaders weren't just tiny arms of large corporations that are forced to execute short-sighted business plans that do more overall harm then good, but I understand why they do, and I can't blame them for it. It's just an unfortunate truth of today's US comic book industry, the industry leaders have no ability to actually lead the industry.

Any way, he goes on to make the point that independents are their own worst enemies, and that if there is overcrowding, it's at the hands of the independent publishers.

Again, there's truth there.
In the last year we've seen several startups, all dump multiples of titles on the market:
and more spring to mind.

I guess the part of his argument that really falls down for me is this one:

In much the same way, there are certainly retailers who pretty much only carry Marvel and DC books – but it is a fallacy to believe that if there were less Marvel and DC books that these stores would magically start carrying indies. Not going to happen, chief. They’re limiting their racks choices not because they’ve somehow been brainwashed by the dazzling array from the “Big Two”, but because either that’s the type of material they want to focus on (and like it or not, it is their choice to make) or because they believe that they have to (and long-held beliefs are the hardest to change).

He's keying in on volume here, arguing stores wouldn't likely spend more time or money on smaller publishers if the volume from the big guys decreased is, which is debatable, or certainly questionable, but I think beside the point. I think retailers really ARE dazzled by the big two's current event-driven, big book, reprint, variant heavy output, and it can't help but impact their focus on smaller publishers, irregardless of the ratio of big to small publishing. (And again, I'm not faulting anyone here, just making a logical conclusion)

I think it's up to the independent publishers, as Brian also suggests in the article, to come up with their own solution. To take the fight to the big guys, and not just let them divert everyone's attention from our creative fair to their latest business-driven offerings. We have quality, true creative vision, and if there really are so many of us, and our output does vastly outnumber the big guys, numbers too. So of course there's strength in those numbers, if we utilize it.

It's something I've thought on a lot, and why I jumped at the idea of the Independents Day Campaign.

Also, aside from multitudes of independent publishing resources that could be pooled together, there are tons of disparate indie-publishing-centric websites and associations working to bring attention to smaller publishers. We just need to perhaps tie them together.

Okay, I'm rambling, it's late.
It's just that there really is a growing call to arms, and a need for it in independent publishing, for many reasons.
Hopefully someone, or something, can leverage that.

I'll keep doing my part.

IN CASE U MISSED IT: Super-silly

Apparantley the case between Marvel/DC and Super-Hero Happy Hour (a late great indy book of a couple years back) has closed or something because the suits suddenly all over the news.


It's a weird case, and one that hits kind of close to home...

IN CASE U MISSED IT: Pin-up pile-up

Hey, just updated the Pin-Up-and-Coming Contest entrants blog - HERE

We had some entries come in in the last few days while I was away.

We've got Kit in costume, and out, we've got baggy clothes, and er, lack of clothes...
Have a look

Keep them coming in folks!


I'm back from La-La-Land.

Traveling to conventions, especially alone (as the case may be sometimes for me), is kind of like stepping into a giant blender... you wake up early one morning to catch a flight, and things start moving really fast.
You lug your luggage (loaded to bear with show supplies), check bags, make flights, catch cabs or shuttles, check into hotels, drag your luggage to the con hall, check in, find your space, set up, and get it all done in time for the show. All in the space of a few hours.
Some times there's connecting flights, sometimes there's lines at the con to get your credentials/etc, sometimes there's items shipped to your hotel to wrangle, rental cars, valets, cell phones to keep hold of, information to have handy...
the list goes on and on...
Then the show starts, bam!
You meet your neighbors, catch up with friends, network, fans start to trickle, or sometimes rush in, sales begin, questions, sketches, more networking, panels, more friends, lots of new friends, more networking, more fans, more sketches.
You get the picture.
This goes on for 1 to 5 days, with varying levels of speed and sound (man the PA was all kinds of f'd up in LA). Sometimes things come to a crashing halt, artist alley gets no traffic, your aisle placement may be at the back and get very few people for a while. It messes with your mind, you become almost bi-polar, riding high on the peaks, and ebbing low on the valleys.
Then it's over, time to pack up and make another flight, lug more luggage, wrangle more transportation, etc, etc
It's a 2 hour flight from LA to Portland, but it took over 6 hours to get home, just to give an example of all the drawn out steps.
It's a marathon... (speaking of marathons... how bout that LA marathon going by Wizard World on Sunday? Cool cool!!! Nothin' like holding a con at the center point of an event that shuts down the city!).
It's a marathon.

But you know what?
It's great!
Sure it's a challenge of the body and spirit.
Sure it can be difficult, or frustrating at times, but it's ultimately exciting, and rewarding.
Meeting fans, making new fans, talking to fans about your book, doing sketches for them, meeting fellow creators (aspiring and pro alike), making friends, making contacts, meeting retailers, seeing celebrities (comic or Hollywood), and taking in the spectacle that is a comic book pop culture event (dj's spinning on 2 level booths, karate chicks performing, camera crews filming).
It's a blast!! A real fucking blast!
I love it!

Oh, and oftentimes, being a creator at a comic show is a lot like being locked in a candy store... you're surrounded by all of this stuff you love 24/7, only problem is, it's like you have diabetes! You can't take it all in, that's not why you're there. You've got a long list of things to accomplish, and checking out the con floor is last on the list. Damn!
Any ways...
The consensus on the floor for the 2006 Wizard World LA con was that it was generally underwhelming, not too heavily attended (did I mention the marathon?), and not too profitable. Lucky for me it was perhaps my best con yet! I debuted issue 2 at the show, and sold lots of copies (people seem to really like the Edward Pun variant!), and continued to sell many copies of the 2006 sketchbook (less than 10 remain, looks like I'll have to print up something new, just for SDCC) and issue number 1.
I had a great show, and want to thank every one who stopped by!
It was a pleasure meeting and talking with everyone who stopped by my table!!

And a big thanks to my pal Javier for helping me out on Saturday and taking me to little Tokyo. It was good times! (alas, the manga bookstore was already closed) How can you beat talking about the craft, industry, and love of comics into the early AM at a Japanese kareoke bar, after a kickin day at the show?! (El Muerto number 3 is looking really good btw! I got a peek at the in process pages over dinner. Check out the advance of it at APE Con next month!)

Whoops, and how can I forget the rain?!?
I've done WWLA 2 years in a row, and it's rained both times!
What's up with that?!
And let me just tell you, from all to real, all too funny experience, it's very true about Los Angelino's in the rain... Let me just say, HA!
Next year it better be sunny!

Now it's only 2 weeks to the big NW show, Emerald City Comic Con on April 1st and 2nd. This time, the wife and chihuahua are going, and we have a nice hotel with extra nights. So it should be a much more relaxing affair.

See you at the shows!!

Thursday, March 16, 2006


I'm off to LA tomorrow AM, 6:30 to be precise.
Means I have to get up at 4AM.
Last year for my trip to WWLA, I skated in to PDX about an hour before the flight, and was greeted with a horror show... it was spring break-ish, and packed. Lines here, lines there, lines everywhere.
It took a sprint the length of the airport to make my flight.
So tomorrow, I'm trying to avoid that.

The reason I'm flying early?
Well the show opens at 1PM, and I want to get to the convention hall early to set up.

I really like to spend as much time on the show floor as possible, to maximize my opportunities. So the perpetual tardy, last minute guy that normally operates my body, turns into one punctual dude. Go figure.
I must love the shit out of this stuff.

Hope to see some friendly faces in La-La-Land, and make some new ones.
I know my good buddy Jav (Javier Hernandez to all who haven't met the good man), creator of El Muerto:
will be helping me out Saturday (what a stud!).

I also plan on picking up the original from Mr. Mahfood for his swanky Super Real cover.

Here's the info: Wizard World LA - Friday March 17th thru Sunday 19th, artist alley 1315B (link on the side)


Yes, it's here.
After taming the waves of the mighty Pacific ocean, and getting shuffled off to a Seattle warehouse, the copies of our exciting second issue were boosted today by yours truly!

See, long story short, I needsed thems like yesterday times 10, so I trucked up I5 to get em, so's I could ships em out to you fine folk at the comic shops round the world (and still meet my contractually obligated distribution schedule thingy).
Plus, BONUS, I now have them in my hands for WWLA!!!

Otherwise the books would've made their way down to Portland, and Super Real (aka - my house) on their own next week.

I'm dedicated.
Besides, after driving to San Francisco last month for Wondercon, 175 miles each way was nothin!

So yeah, issue two is now in the online store, en route to Diamond (should reach shops Wednesday the 29th), and available from me, in person, at Wizard LA tomorrow!

I'm off to bed to get 5 hours rest...

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

300 POSTS!!!

Here we are, almost on the one year anniversary of TSL (it kicked off April Fools of '05), and I've reached a huge milestone in blogging... 300 posts!!!

Okay, it's no huge accomplishment, but I would like to take this chance to say thank you to all the readers, and especially those who take the time to comment!

So from all of us here at TSL...


There's a crisis going on in comic shops across America, and indeed the world, the big two publishers are releasing infinite spin-offs, crossovers, and variant covers to squeeze every last hard-earned dollar out of the existing fanbase. It's up to people like me, in our tireless crusade to bring you something different, something independent, something good. This is a list of such items.
Read on, explore, and enjoy!


Planetary Brigade #2 - I've never really read any Giffen/DeMatteis books, they were big durning my dark period. I have signed up for Hero Squared, and if I like that, I'll give this one, their team book, a shot.

Black Harvest #4 - You've gotta give it up to Josh Howard. Not only does he have style, and storytelling chops, but he's also reliable. His books come out on a regular basis, and at a good pace.

Delete #3 - It's a top-heavy chick in a comics-of-the-90's vein, but with a little something extra to make it worth checking out (though it's taken about 2 years for 3 issues...)

Archaic #2 - Met the creators of this interesting goth-tech fantasy title at last year's WWChicago. Check this one out.

Body Bags: 3 the Hard Way One-Shot - Oh yeah, new Pearson baby! Sound the trumpets!!!
Girls #11 - I'd missed 9 and 10, but just picked them up, and it's still a fun read...
Looking Glass Wars: Hatter M #2 - My wife loves the book this is based on, and from what I've seen of the website, this concept is very cool.

Monday, March 13, 2006

IN CASE U MISSED IT: Distribution, where for art thou?

As had been widely reported on comic news sites, and now Newsarama, FM International appears to have closed down. FM being the last distributor to offer new comic books material to direct market comic shops, outside of Diamond.

I'd met Wayne, the owner/operator of FM at some cons, and was looking forward to working with him on Super Real, but as my book came out, their troubles escalated, and nothing ever happened with them.

I've heard talk of various other services that exist, but really only ever heard of FM and COLD CUT as actually doing any real kind of business (outside of Diamond) to the direct market.

I recently, a bit late, sent a pack of books to Cold Cut to potentially set up distribution with them, they offer books that have already been released to their accounts, but I've not heard back from them.

Two groups or services come to mind, as potential new distribution into the DM:

1) Self Publishers Association - they've built, worked on, or been working on a catalog/system to offer product to direct market accounts, but in the going on 3 years I've been aware of them, it's an endless cycle of rebuilding/retooling.

2) ComiXpress and/or Ka-Blam - Both are print on demand (POD) services that offer either stores, or talk of models of distribution in their future. Recently, Ka-Blam was created, and has driven the costs of POD down. Perhaps POD can keep improving and becoming more cost effective, giving it a real shot at a new distribution model into shops. It really needs to develop either a broad and strong list of products to offer shops, or a big title to force retailers to use them though, to have any real chance at making an impact. At this point, they're really just a means for web creators to get in print, or aspiring creators to generate con or online sales.

Hmmm, perhaps one of these POD services would be interested in printing a fully distributed book, along with prominent ads for their service, as a loss-leader to attract more sales (from both creators, and retailers)??

Sunday, March 12, 2006

SUPER REAL NOTES - Pin-Up Contest update

Through the magic of Blogger, and our first submission for the Pin-Up-and-Coming Contest, we now have a page to easily view, and comment, on all of the submissions!


Take a look, and get those pin-up submitted!

IN CASE U MISSED IT: Dead@17 the movie?!?

This is scary folks
Looks like there's a film that borrows the premise of Dead@17, and uses the trademark (not literally) image from the book to sell it...
without giving any credit to, or being associated with it's creator, Josh Howard.
If what Josh is saying is true, what's a guy to do, sue?

Go HERE for the full details.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

SUPER REAL NOTES - Want to be published?

Okay, I know how I recently had my first work published...
Super Real #1?
Well yeah, sorta, but the same week issue one hit, so did Dead@17 Rough Cut number 3, and well, I had a pin-up in that book. The first thing published of mine, in this case by someone other than me. It was pretty cool, and I know there are plenty of other artists out there waiting to get their break, or foot (or toe even) in the door...

That's why when I started the book I'd always planned to include at least one pin-up per issue. Thing is, I wanted it to be special. I'd thought up different approaches, unique themes, wild fantasies of luminary talents contributing, but I settled into a different approach (maybe if I'm lucky, I can get to these other ideas too). Now when I say settle, I don't mean compromise, I mean nestle gently into an idea that fits perfectly, like an old baseball glove...
Okay enough with the flowery prose...
I chose to feature an unpublished artist each issue. Now, I don't profess to be the only one to do this, heck, most books likely feature mainly unpublished talent on pin-ups. I just made it my direction.
Initially, it was to fit the center "pull-out" section of the book. You see I say it fit perfectly, because I'd already decided to have rising and indy talent provide the variant cover each issue, and run that variant art as a center 2-page poster in every copy of the book. Along with an interview with the artist. Covering three of the four center pages of the book. The pin-up-and-coming artist was to fill the fourth page (the backside of the poster).

Well, wouldn't you know it, reality got in the way (no pun intended), and I was short on ad space for issue one and two, and the pin-up-and-coming artists got shuffled off to the editorial page, in an embarrassingly small postage stamp sized feature (sorry fellas, I'll make it up to ya). So, with issue three I've vowed to change that. The pin-up-and-coming artist is back to page four of the center section, a full page! How do I know I'll have space? Because I just told the world...

Check out the new CONTEST PAGE on the website for details if you haven't, but I've got an open call to any and all upcoming talents striving to break into the biz... Give me your pencils, your inks, give me your Photoshopped masterpieces, and I'll give you a printed page in a comic book. Your very own pin-up in my fine publication! Your very own opportunity to ride.

So there you have it.
Sure, I could keep filling the page with cool folks I meet at cons, but I thought I'd step it up for issue 3, shake some trees, beat the bushes, what the hell. You never know what might fall out.

Now don't let me down!

Wednesday, March 08, 2006


I had highlighted Jason Berek-Lewis' (or JBL as we like to call him, cuz his name's a mouthful) call to arms, Independents Day, last week in light of Speakeasy's collapse. Basically, JBL ( columnist, and aspiring writer) was inspired to take the news of another failing independent publisher as a chance to highlight the need for fans to be sure and give smaller books a shot, with an idea called "independents day". Basically offering that everyone take a look at the new books released last week and seek out something from someone besides the big four publishers.

I thought it was a great idea, borderline ingenious, but not so much the actual proposed action, that's great, but it's been done, in different versions around the web, and it's not enough. What I thought was so promising, was the spirit of the idea, capturing the zeitgeist of concern for small press, and tying it to a perfect name, and the potential that had. I took it one further and suggested Independents Day should be a movement, an event or cause, for fans, creators, publishers, and retailers to rally around, or build on. Other folks chimed in, and JBL promised to run with it.

Well one week later, Wednesday, new comic book day, and JBL is back, with a brand new blog INDEPENDENTS' DAY CAMPAIGN A blog dedicated to the idea of creating a movement to raise awareness for independent comics.

Pretty kick ass hunh?
A man of action, in one week it's a start, pretty cool.
Now, I haven't spoken with JBL, and he’s slim on details, so I don't know what exactly he's got cookin’, and I know there are other independent publishing initiatives, but like I've said to him, and made clear here on TSL, I'm fully down with the cause. It's exactly the kind of thing I've been looking for. As a new creator, releasing my first self-published comic, in today's market, the direct comic book market of NOW, I know all to well the challenges smaller publishers and creators face, and I've quickly recognized we need a tool to help penetrate the marketplace.

I urge anyone who's a fan of comics to bookmark the IDC website, again HERE, and jump on board to help start this movement. The time is now. If we can gather up all the bloggers, columnists, creators, and publishers posting online, already highlighting the small press, and work towards a goal, we can acheive it with ease.

I know there are already websites like Buzzscope/PopCultureShock, ComicAvalanche, and TheComicsReview etc, or associations like SPA (Self Publishers Assoc.) making noise, and working plans of action, but I don't know of any one thing that has the reach we need, like a Free Comic Book Day or an indy Previews. We need something big, a way to get this idea, or something related, in front of everyone.

Even if we just build a network that brings all of these parallel activities together, it's a start.

Let's do it!

SUPER REAL NOTES - Mahfood!!!!!!

Yes, it's true, the great indy artist sensation Jim Mahfood was cool enough to agree to a cover for the book, and here's a peek at the artwork, straight from my inbox to you, my TSL friends...
We got some go-go action goin on there... Yayyyyyyy!!!!

Tuesday, March 07, 2006


There's a crisis going on in comic shops across America, and indeed the world, the big two publishers are releasing infinite spin-offs, crossovers, and variant covers to squeeze every last hard-earned dollar out of the existing fanbase. It's up to people like me, in our tireless crusade to bring you something different, something independent, something good. This is a list of such items.
Read on, explore, and enjoy!

Bomb Queen #2 - It embraces and plays with the edge, and has lots of fun along the way. Not nearly as superficial as it appears, issue one was a solid read. Check this one out.

Hysteria: One Man Gang #1 - Mike Hawthorne's a great artist. He oozes storytelling off every page, and every shot he renders. I'm looking forward to this one.

Invincible #29

Socom: Seal Team 7 OGN - This looks like a good action flick through a comic book lens. I'll be at least peeking at this one if I can... (seems like I signed up for it though, back when it was solicited through AIT).

Dorothy #5 - I was neighbors with them at the recent Wondercon, and I was literally blown-away by the photo-artwork in the current issues! This is a lush visual treat, well worth the price of admission!

Friday, March 03, 2006

DeviantArt update - Issue 3 page 4

Here's the latest page from issue 3, not sure it's 100% finished, but close...
I'm goin a little slow, but I've already got a jump on page 5...

Thursday, March 02, 2006

IN CASE U MISSED IT: More Daughters of the Dragon has a brand new preview for Marvel's butt-kickin bail bondswomen - Daughters of the Dragon. I'm really enjoying this series, the whole package, story, characters, and especially my man Khari Evan's artwork!

Looks like issue 3's a mere 3 weeks away, go HERE to check it out!

IN CASE U MISSED IT: Body Bags!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Jason Pearson is one of my all time favorite artists!

and the original Body Bags series one of my all time favorite books!

New Body Bags material is almost upon us!
At last!

Click the pic for a link to the 3 the Hard Way one-shot preview on

IN CASE U MISSED IT: Bookstores at what cost?

An interesting column on today, the current installment of Moonstone publisher Joe Gentile’s HOWLING @ THE MOON looks at smaller publishers having to deal with bookstore returns, something one doesn’t have to consider in the comic book direct market.

So much is said online about the growing graphic novel market in bookchains and mainstream retail, but little is said about how fundamentally different that market is in terms of how it works, and the potential impact that has on any future publishing landscape. Returnability is a different animal.

You can read the column HERE

This all brings up an important point, yes bookstores offer an in to a potentially infinitely larger market, a real tool to grow the industry, but it does come at a price, the bookstore market is a completely different business model. It may be more beneficial to retailers, and buyers, giving them the opportunity to offer/see a wider range of product, at little to no risk, but it definitely has an impact on the publisher. Specifically, can the little guys play in this market?

Or, does this drive a completely different pay model for creators who partner with publishers moving in this market, and take away from the creator rights the comic book market has acheived? And is that a bad thing, or a necessary evil (see TokyoPop OEL contracts etc.).

Lot's to think about...

As I do think about it though, in terms of a self-publisher, and how brutal the direct market is... How would eating returns in the bookstore channel compare to the problems faced in the direct market? One of the biggest hurdles to the direct market is getting retailers to stock you book, and take a chance on it, you have to spend time and money to claw your way in. Perhaps with bookstores, there would be less of that and more opportunity to offer your product to a wider audience, with all of the risk being on the back end. That is to say, instead of killing yourself for sales in the direct market with a product you feel can acheive if only given the chance, and most likely coming up short of your potential (at a high cost), you have maybe an easy in at the bookstore market, and if your product is as strong as you think, less of a concern about the back end (returns)...

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

IN CASE U MISSED IT: Another Speakeasy take...

Another interesting take on the Speakeasy situation on Steven Grant's column, Permanent Damage/Master of the Obvious

IN CASE U MISSED IT: Independents Day

Jason Berek Lewis is an online columnist, aspiring creator, and stand up guy (I mean hell, he loves Super Real, he's aces). He's got a weekly column on - Industrial Evolution. This week's topic is the recent news of Speakeasy's demise, but he takes the publishers bad news, and spins it into a positive outreach for the industry, calling for an "indepents day":

On Independence Day, take a stand. This coming New Comics Day, give up your copy of Uncanny X-Men or Adventures of Superman and consider instead Coffee and Doughnuts Graphic Novel, Elsinore, Free Fall, Lexian Chronicles Full Circle, Red Sonja or Wall After Wall.

All these books are shipping this week!

If you like any of these books, tell a friend, tell 10 friends. Jump on the net, go to 10 different message boards, and start a thread explaining why you enjoyed the book and why you think others should give it a go.

If you have a blog, or you write for a website, or you are a popular person with plenty of friends, spread the word. Most indy companies don’t have a lot of money to splash around on promotion; they rely on word of mouth (these days, do we call it “word of keyboard”?).

If you hate the book you tried, pass it on to someone who might like it.

Try to do this every week. If you can’t, do it once a month.

The point is folks, just make an effort, if you don't already, to give small stuff a shot, there are indeed scores of quality books deserving of more attention. And by all means SPREAD THE WORD!(this can not be stressed enough)

Don't get me wrong, I love mainstream comics too, but with the "big 2's" current dollar sucking initiatives, and Diamond's new thresholds, it's not just about over-aggressive mid-level publishers failing, the independent comic book itself, as we know it, is on watch. It would really be a shame to lose that facet of the medium. It's up to all of us to ensure that doesn't happen.

Check out the full article HERE