2 for Mr Easter: Midwest Book Review and VOYA

Allen‘s quirky book with its unconventional heroine may not be for everyone, but any teen who has rooted for the underdog, likes fantasy, and doesn’t need a heroine who is shapely and beautiful, will enjoy it a lot.”

Kat Kan in VOYA, both of which are influential amongst libraries.

“Vivid and action-packed, keeps the story moving at a breathless pace. Witty and fun to read.”

Midwest Book Review

NETWORKED: No Escape from Comics

The Gerry half of Markgerry writing this time…

They say once you get comics in your blood you can never get them out. I wrote a lot of comics from the late ‘80s well into the ‘90s, then started shifting toward nonfiction books and screenplays. After the Pokemon newspaper strip in 2000 I stopped writing comics entirely. But ten years later, here I am again.

In my case, what pulled me back was a bit more substantial than just something in my blood. The mistake I made when I left comics was not severing all my social ties with them. I kept talking to Mark Badger, one of my favorite collaborators from my DC days, thinking it was safe to talk about innocuous subjects like kids and politics and our respective careers.

Mark was mostly teaching and coding then, but he fiddled with comics occasionally, some for small publishers and some for political groups. For a couple of years I was writing a book about comics called Men of Tomorrow, so of course we talked about the old medium. We’d even say occasionally it would be fun to play with some of our old ideas, like that Haunted Man thing we did for Dark Horse, although that usually felt like just one of those nostalgic things old friends say.

Then Mark started doing work for a nonprofit group called Privacy Activism. First they hired him to do the art on an interactive game on their website, and after he impressed them with that they started talking about a web comic to encourage high school kids to start thinking about issues like online privacy in their own lives. But Mark didn’t feel like writing it himself, so he asked me if I’d like to play. The work would be light, he said. Just an ongoing comic strip, nothing ambitious.

But as soon as I started thinking in panels and balloons, the old fever kicked in. The story got longer, the characters got more interesting. “Hey, we could turn this into a graphic novel,” we said. And suddenly there’s no staying out anymore.

THE BROADCAST: Anatomy of a Scene, Part 4

Once Noel’s finished his work on a scene it’s time for me to go in and give the dialogue one final polish (I’m something of a perfectionist). Sometimes I don’t need to make changes at all. Usually, however, I do.

For instance, this scene saw the addition of one or two panels on each page. Obviously this means I need to review the dialogue’s placement, making sure it’s still appropriate given the page’s new layout.

From there I want to make sure the dialogue compliments the art. Sometimes Noel’s work isn’t exactly what I pictured in my head. Sometimes it will say enough that I can delete some dialogue. Other times, I need to add a line or two for clarity.

This scene saw a few minor tweaks. The biggest came on page 66. You may remember that initially there was no dialogue in the first panel. When I saw it, however, I didn’t think reader’s would understand the old man was coming out of his desk because he was angry and felt the addition of a line or two was called for.

Once I’ve finished tweaking everything I send a “lettering script” to my letterer with the art. He takes it from there.

Here’s a look at what one of these shortened scripts looks like…

****

PAGE SIXTY-FIVE

PANEL THREE:

Dawson (standing): PLEASE, TIM. YOURS IS THE ONLY HOUSE WITH A STORM SHELTER FOR TWENTY MILES.

TOM (on left): THE CHURCH IN TOWN HAS A CELLAR.

JACOB (far right): AN’ IT’S FILLED TEN TIMES OVER BY NOW.

PANEL FOUR:

TOM: I UNDERSTAND WHAT YOU TWO WANT, I DO. BUT UNTIL MY DAUGHTER IS SAVE NONE OF THIS IS GOING TO BE OPEN FOR DISCUSSION.

PANEL FIVE:

JACOB: BUT MY DAUGHTER’S HERE.

TOM (off panel): I KNOW THAT, JACOB.

PANEL SIX:

DAWSON: CAN YOU LET US DOWN FOR NOW? AS SOON AS KIM SHOWS, WE’LL–

TOM (off panel): IT’S NOT GOING TO BE THAT EASY.

PANEL SEVEN:

JACOB: GODDAMNIT, SHARDER!

PAGE SIXTY-SIX

PANEL ONE:

TOM: YOU KNOW? I THINK I’VE HAD JUST ABOUT ENOUGH OF THIS!

PANEL TWO:

KIM (off panel): DAD!

PANEL THREE:

TOM (far right): OH, THANK GOD.

PANEL FOUR:

KIM: IF I’D KNOWN…

TOM: I KNOW, SWEETHEART.

PANEL SEVEN:

JACOB: YOU TWO JUST REMEMBER WHO WAS HERE FIRST.

****

Don’t forget to pre-order. Also, ELK’S RUN, the book Noel did with Random House, is available for just $10 in the NBM store. Definitely worth a look.

NBM in October: Miss Don’t Touch Me is back!

Here’s what we’ve got coming in October and being solicited for now at your comic bookstore:

MISS DON’T TOUCH ME, Vol. 2
Hubert & Kerascoet
Blanche tries to leave the Pompadour, the high class house of call-girls, but their hooks are in deep. Nevertheless she encounters what could be her ticket out: a very handsome and very respectful young rich man, Antoine. She also reunites with her long-lost mother. It all seems rather idyllic but Antoine may be a little too respectful and how come her mother suddenly reappears?
61/2 x 9, 96pp., full color trade pb.: $14.99, ISBN 978-1-56163-592-4

See the previews.

Here’s what they said of the 1st one which is presently sold out, back to press for October as well:

“Would make a heck of a movie. Hubert’s writing is first-rate, Kerascoet’s storytelling and character designs are vibrant, and the overall look of the book is delightful. That’s why Miss Don’t Touch Me earns the full five out five Tonys.”
-Tony Isabella, Comics Buyers Guide
“A more orthodox piquancy infuses Miss Don’t Touch Me, a charming, Gallic twist on the murder mystery… and anything but prudish.” -Carlo Wolff, Boston Globe
“Call me twisted, but this book is, in fact, charming. Kerascoet moves the story forward breathlessly, and his disarming simplicity keeps “MIss Don’t Touch Me” feeling like a light-hearted bedroom farce when it could easily veer into into horror or soft-core porn.”
-Andrew “Capt. Comics” Smith, Scripps Howard News Service
Miss Don’t Touch Me is really nothing more than a murder mystery and period piece, but it sure is a good one—so good, in fact, that you may find yourself needing to be reminded how un-ambitious an unpretentious it actually is.”
Newsarama
A BOOKLIST TOP TEN GRAPHIC NOVEL 2009.

New From Eurotica:
The Diary of Molly Fredrickson:
PEANUT BUTTER, Vol. 4
Cornnell CLARKE
Molly’s back in San Diego studying, falling into amazing orgies with the basketball team for one, including some seriously hot women but boy is she missing her hot latina bff Erica… Clarke’s fully painted art just keeps improving to amazing new levels!
81/2 x 11, 48pp., full color trade pb.: $11.99, ISBN 978-1-56163-595-5

See previews in Coming Up in Eurotica.

——————————————————————————–

Meanwhile, over at Papercutz, the Hardy Boys have an all-new look and new great writer, Gerry Conway:

THE HARDY BOYS THE NEW CASE FILES #1 “Crawling with Zombies”
By Gerry Conway
Paulo Henrique, artist

In an all-new harder edged series and new format featuring legendary writer Gerry Conway! Frank and Joe go undercover as the Living Dead to infiltrate a “Zombie Crawl” that has acquired a notorious reputation for potentially deadly accidents. Will the Undercover Brothers and Agents of A.T.A.C. become the next victims? As if this weren’t enough – there’s something dark and sinister happening while everyone’s distracted by zombie madness! Could this be linked to the eerie events also occurring in River Heights, home of Nancy Drew?
6×9, 64pp., full color paperback: $6.99
ISBN: 978-1-59707-219-9

PLUS: a new Geronimo vol.6 and a boxed set of the 1st 3.

All available through your comics bookstore now! Or you can order the NBM books online here or all these books via our 800 886 1223 number (M-F 9-6 ET).

Graphic novel sale

A reminder that, besides our $3 sale on many fine NBM and Eurotica graphic novels, we also have a 50% sale going on on graphic novels from Pantheon, First Second and others!

These include CHRIS WARE, EDDIE CAMPBELL, HARVEY PEKAR, FLIGHT, BEN KATCHOR, ART SPIEGELMAN!

Some great books at truly fantastic prices. Quantities are very limited.

And our $3 sale has seen books sell out but we still have graphic novels by MATTOTTI, KUPER, SCHUITEN, PRADO… besides plenty of goodies in Eurotica…

get ’em before they sell out!

THE BROADCAST: Anatomy of a Scene, Part 3

This one doesn’t require much explanation. Once Noel and I are both happy with the layouts, he goes to work. A few weeks later, I end up with something like this waiting in my inbox…

I know, I know. Someone shouldn’t get to work with an artist THIS talented on their first book. But hey, someone has to be the exception that proves the rule. Might as well be me. 😉

Be sure to pre-order your copy of THE BROADCAST today. Time is running out!

THE BROADCAST: Anatomy of a Scene, Part 2

Yesterday I shared an excerpt from THE BROADCAST’s script, today I want to give you a look at the next step — layouts.

Essentially, Noel takes the script and does a very rough version of the illustrated page. It’s a vital step in the process because it gives us a chance to make sure the story is being told visually.

While you want the art to work hand-in-hand with the dialogue that will eventually be included, a good artist will tell the story without a word on the page. Just look at the first set of layouts…

Already, we know three men are meeting behind closed doors (see how Noel stuck that panel in — and rightfully so).

We know that two of these guys are here to see the old man, and we know they’re pressing him about something (see how one of them is leaning forward, hands on the desk?)

We know it isn’t going well. Just look at the body language in panel five. Even in these rough drawings you can see he is getting upset.

And finally, we know the situation reaches a boiling point when the young guy finally snaps and pounds a fist onto the desk.

You’ll notice Noel added two panels to the second page. The last panel is a particularly important addition.

I initially wrote this page to end with Jacob’s dirty look — but showing Gavin and Eli as they watch Jacob storm away is a far stronger moment to end with. After all, Gavin and Eli are two of our most important characters. Leaving this scene without showing their dumbfounded reaction would have been a huge mistake.