PlaNoWriMo

Already at day three, eh?

It’s funny. I never actually participated in NaNoWriMo during the month of November. Instead, I ended up doing my own sporadically throughout the year. I called them “Thirty Day Challenges.” It was the same idea, only in like, January or something.

When I did my challenges, I found that spending thirty days (or more) before the actual challenge just “setting up” to be tremendously helpful.

What’s the point in trying to write a novel if you don’t have anything planned for it?

Sitting down and preparing yourself for storytelling is quite possibly more important than writing the story itself. Why? Because there is so much depth involved within a novel, it would be ridiculous just to go in blindly (especially if you plan on publishing).

It takes practice! Kind of like this guy with his horse:

But not really. . .

When I planned my novel – a science-fiction (and I’ll get a synopsis up here soon, folks) – I had to come up with so much depth: what worlds are used? What’s the technology? Politics? Religion?

But even further: who are these characters and what do they look like? What’s their age? What’s their story? Do they know each other? What’s their history with Character X or Y? Do they drive? Fly a car? How’s their parents? How were they brought up?

Delving even deeper: when Event X happens, how will it affect Character Y? How would Character Z approach Character Y afterwards?

Of course when writing, you’ll invent new ideas along the way complicating things more.

If you have it all written out – or pre-planned – new revelations won’t “shatter” the story as dramatically as you may expect.

While NaNoWriMo is awesome to get the ball rolling with writing your story, planning for it is something not to overlook.

As for me with my recently completed novel, I’m currently going through the first edit. I have lots of work ahead of me still.

Good luck with NaNoWriMo, folks!

Toronto ComicCon Recap!

As promised, my review from the Toronto ComicCon!

But first, I’ve been crazy-busy with work. I thought I would have had this up sooner, so I apologize for being so late. Blame the vikings.

ComicCon

I got to the Con around 11am and due to some unfortunate lack of organization, I didn’t get in until twelve – and that was by purchasing an advanced ticket. While I didn’t whine or complain at all, I knew the reasoning behind it was because this was the first year for the Con. Usually the Con is small and does not cater to so many celebrities, as well as the anime, science-fiction, and horror audience. Alas, I don’t think the people running the Con were expecting such a large turn out. Props to them for keeping their heads cool, despite all of the rage-induced fanboys that went after them.

The workers at FanExpo and the Toronto ComicCon deserve more respect than they’re given.

I managed to get in and pick up some early issues of X-Men for a great price. X-Men #16 and X-Men #19 (last story by Stan Lee) were picked up at an excellent price. However, my prized win was picking up a pretty decent quality copy of Amazing Adult Fantasy #8. Originally called “Amazing Adventures,” the title changed with issue #7. The stories were by Stan Lee, with the artwork & cover done by Steve Ditko.

Seven issues later with issue #15, this title would be renamed “Amazing Fantasy,” and feature the first appearance of a nobody named Spider-Man. With issue #15, the series would get canceled. The rest is history.

AmazingAdultFantasy

While I didn’t bring anything to sign for him, George Perez was there and as expected, had the largest line at the Con.

A few friends of mine lined up for signatures with Mark Bagley, while I met up with Swamp-Thing artist, Yanick Paquette. I got chatting with him and he explained to me a few extremely interesting things about his artwork and how he does it. I won’t go into details here, however. He was a incredibly down-to-earth guy and was absolutely hilarious.

After a few more scores: Uncanny X-Men #201 (first Cable) and the mini’s of X-Men: Phoenix Endsong and Cloak & Dagger volume 1 #1-4, I headed off to see the sketch duel between Paquette and Daredevil artist Paolo Rivera.

Both gentlemen were hilarious at the panel – making jokes and describing their reasonings to why they got into art in the first place.

As for the sketches, they were challenged to draw Spider-Man punching a shark. Yup.

Overall, it was a great time. I wish I had both arrived earlier and was able to go the second day, but alas, work calls!

I’m definitely excited to see what the next Con will bring!

Keep on Space Truckin’!

A Few Announcements!

To keep you all updated with the goings-on with this site and writing, I felt as if I should dedicate an entire post to this.

The Blood Theatre

I’ve taken up the job as a contributing writer to a friend’s Horror Fan website called The Blood Theatre. (http://thebloodtheatre.com/)

I’ll be writing some features (Versus Mode), horror comic reviews, horror book reviews, and film reviews from time-to-time. It’s a pretty exciting engagement to take on. If you love horror films, books, games, or whatever, I highly recommend you check it out. I’ll keep you posted on here when my stuff gets updated or whenever we’re getting something exciting going on that’ll affect everyone.

In fact, I’ll be reviewing DC’s Swamp-Thing and it will be up shortly.

Don’t forget to bookmark the site and join the forums! I’ll see you there!

Blood Theatre

Toronto Comic Con

I’ll be in Toronto this Saturday for their ComicCon (a smaller version of August’s FanExpo).

Legendary creator George Perez will be there, as well as Dale Keown, Paolo Rivera, and Leonard Kirk. Given that I’ll be reviewing Swamp Thing shortly, I’m definitely going to take advantage that its artist, the magnificent Yanick Paquette will be there.

Expect me to post my take on the whole event (and maybe some pictures) when I get back and have the time to update it! I’m really excited for it, but unfortunately will be only able to attend one day. I’ll do what I can!

Novel Writing

As I’ve mentioned last month, I’ve jumped back on doing my NaNoWriMo project. I currently have eleven days left to write and I’ve gotten in about 10k words. I know it’s not a lot, but I’ve actually spent a LOT of time with character and plot development. It’s taken precedence over writing. I had some recent “realizations” that made me have to take a few days off from writing so I wouldn’t botch the rest of the novel. It’s what I needed to do.
One day I’ll explain it all to you.

What Else?

I’ve been working my butt off. Isn’t that enough?!

Keep on Space Truckin’!

Power Girl And Her New Costume

I didn’t see this one coming.

After years and years of Power Girl’s infamous “boob window” being open for all, DC has finally decided close the draft.

Let’s see the new costume, shall we?

Power Girl

No, wait. Sorry. That was the old costume.

Here’s the new one:

Power Girl

Can you even recognize her in this new drawing? Done by the legendary George Perez, it’s definitely a shocker!

What’s even more mind-boggling is how DC is doing such a drastic overhaul to one character while Catwoman still gets the short end of the stick.

This is definitely a lot more tasteful than most comics out there. Psylocke in X-Men still runs around with her ninja thong on, while Starfire is putting DC in hot water. But Power Girl, DC’s stereotypical and clichéd “big breasted hero” is actually getting toned down. It’s not only incredible to hear, but it’s a major step in the right direction in terms of finally making comics more – what’s the word? Oh yeah! Appropriate!

Now I will admit, Power Girl’s “window” defined the character as a sex object to the point where she even would admit to the ridiculousness of her clothing in the comics. It gave her sass – that’s for sure.

Power Girl

But it’s become some what of a joke within comics. The impracticality of the character and her physique – she wasn’t considered so much sexy, as she was more of a joke for the writers and artists to play along with.

And everyone seem to be okay with this?

I think the even bigger joke is, however, the amount of people arguing against the costume. While I won’t reveal who said what, allow me to post some comments against this overhaul with Power Girl’s costume that I’ve read:

“Wow this new costume sucks, as does most of the new DC costumes for the female characters at least, in an effort to pander to feminists they have basically butchered the classic looks of a lot of characters that had been the way they were for decades.”

“I can feel my Inner Feminist crying for what I’m gonna say, but I like PG classic look, it’s you know [. . .] Power Girl looks like a character who likes to be sexy for the hell of it. [This new] one… is not an example.
But at least the new costume is kinda boring and I can just hate it for that. And Heck, this might mean that DC is finally paying attention to criticisms! (I can Dream)”

“She needs the window. That’s one of her signature characteristics, like Superman’s s-shield.

“Hate. I loved her boob window and all the jokes that came with it.”

“P.G.’s too P.C. for me now.”

And yes, some of those comments are from women too. Regardless of their opinions, my opinion says Power Girl’s old costume was objectifying.

Now, I’ll also go to say that there are a ton of people out there who are for the closing of the window, but simply hate the costume. So be it. Personally, I don’t care for the costume either. For example, it took me a few minutes to realize there was a “P” around her neck.

But that really wasn’t the problem to begin with, was it?

Here’s to a small step forward!

The Case Against Gary Friedrich

In case you haven’t heard, let’s get you up to speed:

Back in the 1970’s, writers and artists at Marvel were a “Work for Hire,” meaning they were paid as they were hired for the work they do. They had to sign contracts giving up their rights as creator and what-not – essentially allowing Marvel to generate all the proceeds over whatever characters are created via these WfH folks. This was done with Gary Friedrich in 1978.

Later in the 80’s, when Jim Shooter took over Marvel, he made sure all creators, writers and artists got their fair share when it came to royalties. Unfortunately, this was before Friedrich signed his contract.

Ghost Rider

In 2007, that Nic Cage “Ghost Rider” film popped up. It (somehow) made millions and Marvel collected big time. Friedrich sued Marvel claiming the character he created was exploited (as I’m sure the 1978 contract didn’t mention “major motion picture”) at the time. On December 28th, 2011, Friedrich lost his case against Marvel and that was to be the end of it. Alas.

Marvel counter-sued Friedrich over legal fees as well as unauthorized Ghost Rider material such as cards, postcards, shirts, and the kicker: sketches at conventions.

Marvel is demanding $17,000 in lost wages from Friedrich over his unlicensed use of their character. While I can understand that, let’s quote Jim Shooter here:

Gary Friedrich sued Marvel over rights to Ghost Rider. Gary lost. Marvel sued Gary for unauthorized exploitation of their trademarked Ghost Rider property. Gary lost. He is obliged to pay Marvel $17,000.

(Shooter also goes on to explain another great deal of legalities with the case that is quite interesting, so check that out too!)

Currently the internet is in an uproar of disgust towards Marvel (who remember is owned by Disney) for what they’re doing to Friedrich. Friedrich went on his Facebook to state:

Since the various news agencies and websites have reported the ruling against me on my claims against Marvel in the Ghost Rider lawsuit, and the assessment of a $17,000 judgment against me and my company instead, I have read an amazing amount of comments in my support on the internet, and have received many messages of support directly. Although the reports of my employment situation and financial difficulties as well as problems with my health are unfortunately true, I want to let everyone in the comic book world, especially my supporters and fans of the Ghost Rider character which I invented, created, and wrote, that I am going to appeal the Court’s ruling and continue to fight this as long as I am able and that your support of me means more than you will ever know. I have heard your voices. I thank you with alll my heart, and I appreciate your thoughts and best wishes as I soldier on.

Feel free to keep in touch with me via e-mail: fgroovygary@aol.com.

Thanks again and God bless you.

Gary Friedrich

Over at writer Steve Niles’ site, you can donate directly to Friedrich to help him out financially through a PayPal account set up for him.

But like I said – that kicker – no more sketches at conventions. While it’s not in place yet, it’s terrifying to know that at any time, these creators can be buckled down and told that they owe their parent companies money. Conventions have always been another way for a creator to get additional wages to their already-low pay. To take that away from them is down-right mean.

However, on the legal side of things, it’s considered right.

So is Marvel in the right? Is this going to be the new status quo for conventions now – the fear of creators getting sued for making extra cash on the side? If so, then what about fan art and things like Tumblr? I can only imagine it being a real-life SOPA for comic creators.

The Tragic Tale of Bill Mantlo

On Wednesday, November 9th, Bill Mantlo – writer of The Incredible Hulk, Micronauts, ROM the Space Knight, and creator Cloak & Dagger – turned 60.

For his birthday, LifeHealthPro.com wrote an incredible gut-wrenching and saddening story about Mantlo’s fight with Health Care and his current condition.

Bill Mantlo

From the article:

On Friday, July 17, 1992, Bill left work early for the weekend, and made his usual three-mile rollerblade journey through Brooklyn traffic to his apartment near Morningside Park. Just four blocks from home, a car came around a corner and hit Bill. The left side of Bill’s head impacted the windshield. He rolled across the hood of the car, and the right side of his head impacted the pavement. The driver never stopped and was never identified.

The accident jostled Bill’s head so violently that his brain squashed against the inside of his skull, and his brain stem severed. This did not paralyze him, but it would make it very difficult for Bill’s body—particularly his extremities—to accurately receive and process electrical messages from his brain.

The story includes interviews from fellow writer Chris Claremont and Marvel’s past Editor-in-Chief, Jim Shooter.

The last personal entry in Mantlo’s journal, dated Feb. 14, 1995:

“My name is Bill Mantlo. I want to go home.”

Off to the right of the website, I’ve had since day-one, a link to The Hero Initiative.

The Hero Initiative is a organization dedicated to helping comic creators in need whom may need financial aid or support for essentials of life.

Many auctions of books and original art are sold through the site. 100% of all proceeds go to the Hero Initiative. You can also make a direct donation by clicking here.

The Hero Initiative has given to Mantlo in the past. The idea however, is not only to help Mantlo, but all of the other creators – or even every-day-Joe’s in this same situation.

If you can donate, please do so. If they haven’t already, tell your local comic store about the Hero Initiative and have a collection box set up. Even yet, have them order in books which the Hero Initiative has published. I first heard of them with The Hulk 100 Project, when I blindly bought a copy of the book at my LCS.

So for Bill Mantlo and the others like him, please help out any way you can.