Our first Twitter contest: A Home for Mr. Easter!

Starting today and running through September 30th we’re going to be running our first promotional campaign on Twitter, to celebrate cartoonist Brooke A. Allen‘s A HOME FOR MR. EASTER.

To participate, please tweet about this book @NBMPUB, and be sure to use the Hash Tag #READMREASTER

And if for some reason you haven’t read A HOME FOR MR. EASTER yet, now is your chance to get it at 20% off at the NBM site through August 31st (or call us at 800-886-1223, M-F 9-6 ET, mention code EAS for the discount)

The contest is simple, the top three people promoting the book will each win a copy of a NBM published book of their choice and the person who promotes the book in the most interesting way (including reviews, blog entries, etc.) will win an original sketch from Brooke.

 Viva la comics!

 Stefan Blitz, social media publicist

Elephant Man: “Come for the art, stay for the derangement”

What they’re saying of Elephant Man , Greg Houston’s latest:

“Come for the art, stay for the derangement, and release most notions of “plotting.”

SF Site

“Cheerfully grotesque. Has its sweetly offensive moments.”

Bill Sherman, Blogcritics and picked up by the Seattle Post Intelligencer.

And this one just in!

“I can see it now: “I am not an animal! I am a superhero!”

You’d think turning John Merrick — aka the severely deformed, so-called Elephant Man — into a comic-book character would be tasteless. And in Greg Houston’s ELEPHANT MAN, it certainly is. But it’s also fairly hilarious, so consider some slack cut.”

Rod Lott, Bookgasm

THE BROADCAST: Anatomy of a Scene, Part 5

So we’ve gone through all the motions. Script, layouts, artwork, a new script. After all that, this is what the final result looks like:

For me this moment is always somewhat bittersweet.

There’s nothing better than seeing your story come together. At the same time, this is when I have to lock it in and move on to the next scene. No more scripting, no more notes for Noel. This is the point where I have to let go and be happy with the work we’ve done. Probably the most difficult step of all.

THE BROADCAST should hit shelves in comic stores next week, but you can still pre-order through the NBM website.

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.