In an attempt to at least put something on the blog on a semi-regular basis, I didn't have any specific thing to discuss or get off my chest, so figured I'd put up some random thoughts. It's a lot easier for artists to maintain a blog as I see that most of them put up whatever piece of art they're working on and it's interesting to see the works in progress. I don't think anyone wants to see page 11 of my next script... A Murder of Scarecrows (from Desperado Publishing) should be in stores shortly. It's printed at the smaller size that seems to be in vogue nowadays but I'm not sure if I like it. I don't dislike it, but it just feels...small. Work on future projects is suspended for a month or two so I can catch up on some other things and most of my summer is planned to cuddle up with the Deadworld novel and finish that off although I should have a few comic type projects interspersed. After that, which means towards the end of 2009, I don't really have anything planned in the comics world and will be shifting towards the science world more, I think. One never knows where things will go. I would like to please ask people to STOP sending me emails to vote for them in the Harvey Awards. Yes, I know the nomination process is going on now and people want to get nominated but it's getting a bit silly. I must have had 15 emails from creators, some of them I don't even know, to vote for them. I see pleas over all discussion boards shilling for votes. The Harvey Awards still have some respectability left to them and having been nominated a few times, I did really appreciate it...but I'd hate to see it turn into a frenzy of groveling in order to obtain votes. It was bad enough with all the people asking for votes in the Small Press Idol (and again, most of the people I didn't even know) that I just automatically delete those emails without opening...I'd hate to see the Harvey Awards go the same route. I was thinking of the convention schedule for this year. I try to figure things out at the beginning of the year and I'm running a bit behind. I can't do New York or Wonder Con because of my teaching schedule. I just found out (yeah, I keep up with the news...) the Wizard World LA was canceled (excuse me...delayed)and although it was never in my plans, I do wonder what impact it will have on the Chicago convention. I know that the people putting on the NY show are moving into Chicago next year and everyone seems pretty geeked about it. The new Chicago show will be downtown as opposed to the airport and many are excited about that...but I don't know, I liked the location of the current show. I do wish there more places to hang out but when I go to a con, I don't want to spend my nights in bars with music so I can't hear someone I only see once a year. I have no idea if the new show will be better but I think most people are going to bail on Wizard at the first opportunity so I think we'll probably be reading about cancellations...er, delays about the Wizard Chicago show for next year. I don't even know if I'm going to Chicago this year. I have to decide soon. Last year I only did Chicago and the Motor City convention. I don't think I'll be attending the Motor City Convention this year. I've been getting quite a few emails lately because of the activity of Deadworld in the film world. MTV released this Splash Page News about the Coraline producer discussing Deadworld. Again, shows you how "up" I am on things, the activity and posts were going on for over a week before I knew about it. Although I'm happy to see some kind of movement, I remain totally jaded on the Hollywood front as I've been done this road many times. Until I get a big check that I can endorse, I refuse to get too excited about things. Speaking of Hollywood, for some reason, it seems the entire comic industry is going to be attached to the success (or lack) of the Watchmen movie. I don't know, but it just has that vibe... if the movie tanks, especially critically (ala League of Extraordinary Gentlemen), it will be a severe blow to the comics industry. Just a feeling with little rationality behind it but somehow this film "feels" crucial to the comics industry. Talking with a few comic publishers and it seems they're getting slammed with returns from the book market. It usually happens at the beginning of the year but even moreso this year, especially from Borders, I'd guess. I have a Borders and Barnes/Nobel near me and both of them have drastically cut down the number of graphic novels they carry. You see a lot more of the books face out instead of spines. My local Borders store looked like someone just scooped up half of all the graphic novels as the shelves were pretty bare. With Diamond's announcement of cutting back on products offered based on dollar volume, a lot of people are talking about the avenues of distribution in the book stores. I mentioned this in the previous post that most of the time, the returns are going to kill you. Just because the books get in front of a large audience, doesn't mean they're going to sell. I tend to ignore the message boards where you have a lot of creators go on ad nauseum that the Diamond decision is actually good as it will release all the creative juices and product and rebuild the industry. Sorry, most of the books that won't make the Diamond minimum won't make it for a reason. There just isn't a mass audience who is waiting to discover these works. The current fanbase obviously has no interest and the "rest of them" don't seem too interested in comics at all. I have to admit that I can't remember where I saw recently an old editorial by, and I hope I'm right (pretty sure), Kim Thompson of Fantagraphics. It was a few years old but essentially he said that for the comics market to be successful, we need more "crappy" books. He went on to explain that by crappy, he was referring to ones that appeal to the mass market...a comparison would be novels by Robert Ludlum, Dean Koontz, Patrica Cornwell...etc. So, not crappy in terms of production but not critically acclaimed. I couldn't agree more. If comics are to "grow", they have to find appeal with more than the current "fanboy". They have to go beyond superheroes and develop the genre fiction...crime, mystery, horror (besides just zombies), science fiction, fantasy, and even drama. People identify comics with superheroes and it should be clear as day that they have no interest in reading about the superheroes. They will have to be introduced to comics with other material. Watchmen? Maybe, but its still superheroes...just grown up ones. There has to be more of an effort to connect films like A History of Violence, Road to Perdition, From Hell, etc. to comics to break that illusion that comics = superheroes. Unfortunately, they still have that link in most comic shops. And just wondering, if the economic crisis, which seems to get worse each day, hits Diamond (which has already been hit) really hard...what is going to happen to the comics market?