Saturday, July 29, 2006

shameless self-promotion


i am not the super-huckster that stan lee was.

i am not good at pushing my own product.

i am not entirely comfortable with that whole end of the business.

the business end.

i like telling stories. i like to make you happy, make you laugh, make you cry, make you think.

i don't know how to make you buy.

stan was awesome at it! stan was the ultimate carnival barker, the guy you trusted immediately, the guy who could actually tell you what you wanted! let me say that again; stan could TELL YOU WHAT YOU WANTED! he was amazing! and it was so simple--he put it right there on the cover!
along with the unique and colorful characters and the dynamic and stunning artwork, one of the most endearing things about ALL those early marvel covers is that they absolutely DRIPPED with hype!
and that was stan! all stan!

and he was right! you COULDN'T miss it! (of course, looking back it would seem that those very words were the hypnotic triggers that created generations of marvel zombies...but that's a different wasn't until recently, some 40 years later, that some of us are finally waking up, saying, "hey, wait a minute...I don't remember demanding THIS?!?!?")

anyway, stan was the man! and we loved him for it! why, i even watched the first ten minutes of that painful, insufferable, superhero reality train wreck the other night JUST TO SEE STAN!! (then i hadda turn it off--it was makin' my eyes burn...)

but i'm not stan. i don't know how to make you think that your life will be an empty, vaccuous void if you don't order the next issue of the perhapanauts. actually, i don't WANT you to feel bad if you don't get it.

but i do want you to pick it up if you want to.
and i want you to be sure to tell your local comic shop owner that they should order a bunch for their store 'cause it's gonna be a good seller. and i do want the word to get out that this series is gonna blow the last series away! and tell your friends! and tell them to tell their friends! and tell them all to call, not just their comic shops, but LOTS of comic shops and just ask if they're going to have it! and i do wantcha to do that NOW 'cause this is the month that perhapanauts:second coming #1 is solicited in PREVIEWS and so this is the time for EVERYBODY to put their orders in!

>> here's how to do that: pick a zip code at random. anywhere in the country will do. call that handy toll-free comic shop locator number listed in every comic book (it's 1-888-266-4226). enter the zip code. and then call the shop or shops they give you and ask them the magic question, "will you be carrying the perhapanauts:second coming in your shop?" (if they ask you if you'd like to reserve one, say yes and tell them your name is 'hugh jass'. then hang up.) <<

also ask 'em if they ordered the perhapanauts trade, first blood.
not only will you have mine and craig's eternal thanks, but you'll get a nice warm feeling inside.

bottom line, perhapa-pals, is that we need the word out and we need it out NOW!!

thank you thank you thank you!

ps. anybody who would like one or both of the previously featured perhapanauts postcards sent to them need only 'e' me with their name and address at i'll put 'em in the mail pronto and you too--along with your postal carrier--will finally be able to read all the goofy stuff on the back! if you want the infamous choopie card that's making mother's nervous nationwide, let us know. we'll find a way to get that out to ya too!

Wednesday, July 26, 2006


quick note here...

my friend, jason (armstrong, not copland) brought it to my attention that in order to log in and post a comment in the comment section at the bottom of these posts, blogspot (our kind and generous host) requires that YOU yourself sign up for a blog to play.
while you DO have to register and they do offer you a blog as part of the whole thing, that blog is only there for you if you choose to activate it. so you really don't have to have that responsibility/pressure hanging over your head. or maybe you DO want a blog and don't know it.
either way, if you don't want to sign up for ONE MORE THING (i can empathize...), then please feel free to send me any comments you might have at and i'll post 'em for you! (or not, if that's what you'd prefer. just write 'not for post' at the top or bottom of your message.)

anyway, as i said, we'd love to hear from ya.
i just want to make it as easy as possible to log in and share your stories, comments, recipes. lucky numbers...


Tuesday, July 25, 2006

anatomy of a comic book page


recently, several friends/acquaintances/exes/relatives/former gambling buddies/and the like have revealed to me that they actually read this blog.
this is both surprising and intimidating to me. for so long now i've been fairly convinced that it's just been me, brian, jason, kojee, and sometimes scott, and that was that. now suddenly i discover that there are those of you out there that read it but who then will never ever comment. or join in. or send me something to post!

hey, send me something to post!

since this is the perhapanauts blog, i do try to keep stories and such to the weird, the unexplained, and the just-plain-scary, but, hey! feel free--make your voice heard! start thinking about the scariest stories you ever heard and send 'em in--it would be great to have some fun/creepy horror stories to post around halloween time.

anyway, that said, i'd thought i'd start bringing things back around toward the perhapanauts again since the trade will be out in september and the new series, perhapanauts:second chances will be hitting the stands in november. (order yours today!)

craig, rico, and i are hard at work on the second issue already and so i thought now might be a good time to give you a sneak peek at issue #1, as well as show you how we do it, break it down so's you can see the steps that go into it.

SPOILER ALERT!! i'm going to show you a page of plot from perhapanauts:second chances, as well as both the rough and finished art for the page, that, while fun, will not reveal any vital plot points of the story as a whole. if ya don't wanna see it and just wanna be surprised, good for you!, but get out now while you can...!

first, of course, we start with a story, and that's my job. i really like to work "marvel style', which means giving craig a plot detailing the story we're gonna tell and a panel-to-panel description of what I'M seeing in my head so that he can bring it to life, turning it into an actual story. i also give some indications of what the dialogue will be and usually the mood/attitude/emotions of the characterss so that he can put the proper expression on their faces, in their body language. (i do see a LOT in my head and i give big credit to craig for being able to sift out the important stuff from the extra stuff...!)
here's the plot for page 13...

Cut to; the CHIEF’S Office, where the CHIEF, JOANN, and DR. TRISH SHEEHAN are holed up along with our two new Drs, DR. BALDEV DAS (an older Indian man responsible for many of BEDLAMs bio-related breakthroughs) and DR. O’NEILL (BEDLAM’S medical doctor and CHOOPIE’S vet-- white hair--looks like a somewhat stocky version of John Mahoney/Frasier’s Dad). They are not scared, more slightly anxious--they’ve all been in situations such as this before. They are intently watching the monitors (where, as with BIG’S realization in the COMSEC office, nothing is happening) as DR. O’NEILL regards the door. The CHIEF is commenting that there seems to be no sign of them anywhere, they’ve disappeared, as O’NEILL points out that he can’t hear them outside the door anymore either.
On JOANN and maybe DAS behind her as she looks up, listening, her telepathy maybe kicking in, as she ominously whispers, “something’s coming…”
On the room, draped in shadows of course for TRISH and The CHIEF, as the 5 of them look around, now nervousness setting in. DAS: "Do you…do you hear that…?"
On O’NEILL as he looks up, listening, as he adds, : "Like something… screaming… " (we can hear a small sound effect of “aaaeeiiii”)
On TRISH, as she says, “No. It’s…singing.”
From over their heads as they look up toward the air vent which they now know is where the noise is coming from and now we can distinctly hear the “dum da dum da dum dum dum”
And, different angle as CHOOPIE kicks through the vent making his dramatic entrance, finishing up his song as he bursts through. The others don’t move, all having grown used to this kinda behavior from their combined years at BEDLAM.

cool, huh?

okay, here's craig's rough layouts/breakdowns for the page, setting both the pace and the mood with cinematic angles and shadows. because craig is going to be inking this himself, he does this in very broad strokes, going back to tighten things up when he inks. (were he doing this for someone else to ink, his pencils would be much tighter/clearer.)

and, as promised, here is the final inked page ready to go to rico to get some masterful colors applied.

even though i'm involved in this process--bringing the characters to life from word to drawing--i still find it amazing each and every time! craig puts so much energy and drama into his every line--it's just great!

i'll post the colors when i got 'em so you can see what rico does with it.

that's it for now!

smell ya later!

Thursday, July 20, 2006

support your local comic book!


two posts back, my pal scott suggested that, while standing on my soapbox suggesting that everybody check out the let's-call-them-"smaller" (indicating their print run and/or exposure in the marketplace rather than, of course, their stature as prime examples of the comic book art...whew!) comics being published these days, we make a list of books that you all are reading and recommending. i guess the only pre-rec is that they not be published by marvel or dc--again, nothing against them, just that they have it so easy.

truth, justin, and the american way

so here's the list and i'll update/compile as we go so post your picks in the 'comments' section located at the bottom of this entry.

death jr.
digital webbing presents
doomed mag
fear agent
ferro city
flaming carrot
the goon
hero squared
liberty meadows
lions, and tigers, and bears
midnight sun
mouse guard
shaolin cowboy
strange girl
truth, justin, and the american way
walking dead

hope you're havin' a nice summer!


Monday, July 17, 2006

diane's ghosts


i have this dear friend, diane. she lives just outside of philadelphia and is a licensed hypnotherapist and life coach. and a really wonderful person! her intuition, insight, and remarkable compassion make her, not only good at her job, but a great friend as well. she's a lot like our joann in the perhapanauts too; part den mother, part calming force, seeing the inner beauty in everybody.

and she's got ghosts.

now i've had this argument (or, let's call it a discussion) many times with people, that if there are ghosts and ufos and bigfoots and stuff all around, how come more people don't see them. and why, especially, aren't these spirits, entities, whatever, being seen by skeptics, more reliable witnesses, ie; pragmatists. my argument is that we--those of us who WANT to believe--are wired differently. we are open to the possibilities of there being more there than what we see. we don't dismiss things as fantasy simply 'cause we cannot touch or feel or verify them. a bump in the night is just the house settling to a scully. but it's a world of possibility to the mulder.

so diane has lived in this house for years. she says that she has always felt the presence of others. a man and a woman.
and a cat. she's seen the cat. many times. at the end of a hallway, out of the corner of her eye, shooting across the room.

"My dog and I always hear someone walking up my stone driveway, only to look and find no one there. My daughter has seen the man in my driveway. My cousin asked to sit in another chair in my kitchen, because she could see someone walking out on my deck."

"Someone tells my dog to sit and stay. She won't move and sometimes I have to say, release her, and walk up to her and tell her it's ok and to come."

diane told me that, when she first moved in, she would often smell smoke and drive herself crazy walking all around the house trying to find it. at one point, her friend, linda, announced to the house to stop with the smoke because it was frightening diane. she hasn't smelled it since then.

we've chatted a lot about this--as well as a ton of other things--but the subject came around to the ghosts again and she told me this.

"My most frightening experience was when I was on vacation, my husband and I were staying in an old cabin and I was reading one night in bed. As I read, I felt someone get into bed with me. At first I thought it was my husband, but was confused because I was facing the door and he hadn't come in, and the other side of the bed was by the window. I jumped out of bed because I thought someone had gotten in from the window. There was no one in the room. and the window was locked."

spooky. and it made my other friend, liz's, hair stand up on the back of her neck.

so here's the thing. some people would say that diane is seeing things due to an overactive imagination. they would scoff and bluster and write it all off as nonsense. they would say that she makes herself see these things because she WANTS to believe.
i think that's part true.

i think she sees them 'cause she's open to it. part of it is her natural sensitivity, she is gifted with better eyes for this. she can sense their energy. pragmatists can't do this. they either don't have the tools or they do but just won't take the time to develop them.
the other part is that diane is open to this. she makes herself open to it. yes, she wants--she wants to be open to every possibility.
we can all do that.

thanks for sharing your stories, diane!
talk to ya later!

Thursday, July 13, 2006

empty chamber


in the past, i've gone on about how hard it is in the current comics market, for any book NOT published by the big 2 to have any kinda presence on the shelves. with cross-overs galore and all the ad space being monopolized by marvel and dc, its tough for ANYBODY to get noticed! right, todd--we've heard it before, blah, blah, blah...but this time i'm not talkin' about the perhapanauts.
there are tons of other books; small press, independent, call it what you will, clever, unique, innovative stuff, that are drowning out there in a sea of same old, same old. i go through previews each month and skirt the dc section (well, i do go back and look--i still LOVE these characters after all and i still read some of their books) but my first priority is to see all the new stuff, the personal stuff, the passionate stories/comics that are just DYING to be looked at in the independent section of the catalogue. this is where most of my actual ordering comes from--trying out something new, something that's caught my eye, something fresh...marvel and dc are gonna be fine if i decide to spend my wampum on true story, swear to god instead of civil war: part 29. or electric girl! or e-man:recharged! or death jr! or empty chamber!

which brings me to empty chamber...
perfect example. despite the cool art, despite the thrilling story, despite the added good fortune of having matt brady write it up in a plug on newsarama (with six compelling preview pages! check it out!)

this book is gonna get eaten up.
sorry, jason. sorry, a..
in the current climate, sadly, a gem like this will be overlooked by far too many people.
the industry these days is all about hype. (well, really, these days, what ISN'T?) and if you don't have the money or the corporate support team to build that hype, you're gonna get lost in the sauce.

but enough about the biz--that just makes me frustrated.
i've read this book. well, the first issue. jason was kind enough to send me a preview copy a month or so ago and i really dug it. it's a great little thriller and from page to page i wasn't really sure what was unfolding in front of me. empty chamber is the kinda tale that invites you in...and then slams the door behind you once you're over the threshold. played out like a movie, it begins 'in medius res', and i don't know who are the good guys, who are the bad guys, who's that girl, where'd THAT guy come from.
it's really well done.
and you'd like it.
how do i know? 'cause two months later i still find myself thinking about it, wondering, from time to time, what's gonna happen? how are they gonna get outta THAT?!

check it out.
check 'em all out.
i'm not saying stop being a marvel zombie.
or a dc...whatever.
but there's gold out there...

smell ya later!

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

urban legends


i love, love, LOVE a good urban legend!
after "the big book of the unexplained", "the big book of urban legends" is my favorite!
and with the advent of the internet, they get around SO much faster!

now i always say that i WANT to believe. in myths, legends, cryptid creatures, ufos, and ghosts. i WANT to believe that this is true too.
but i don't know...
that's what makes it so scary.

this is what i got from someone i KNOW believes it's true!

have fun!


This was written by a guy from KVLY-TV in Fargo; see bottom of msg.

This is true. Scary!

This is something that happened to us on the way back from vacation last week.
At first I didn't think much of it until now. The reason we were a little suspicious is we had been riding in a jeep all day with 100 degree temps and we stopped at a truck stop for something to drink. When I was leaving, a young girl followed me out and asked what kind of cologne I was wearing. Well, after 7 hours in the car sweating, I don't think you could tell if I was or was not wearing any cologne. We just got in the jeep and said no thanks.

Then it was about 3 weeks ago, I was at a service station in Birmingham getting gas. It was about 9:30 pm. I was approached by 2 men and 2 women in a car. The man that was driving asked me 'What kind of perfume do you wear?' I was a bit confused and I asked him 'Why?' He said, 'We are selling some name brand perfumes, at cheap prices.' I said I had no money. He then reached out of the car and handed me paper that was laminated; it had many perfumes on it. I looked quickly at it and gave it back. I said, have no money. He said it is OK, we take check, cash, or credit cards. Then the people in the car began to laugh. I just got in my car and said no thanks.

Then I received this e-mail yesterday and it sent chills up my spine.
Please read this. It is no joke. Here is the e-mail I was sent:

Dear Friends:
I know not all of you are women that I am sending this to, but am hoping you will share this with your wives, daughters, m others, sisters, etc. Our world seems to be getting crazier by the day. Pipe bombs in mail boxes and sickos in parking lots with perfume. Be careful. I was approached yesterday afternoon around 5:30 PM in the Wal-Mart parking lot by two males asking what kind of perfume I was wearing. Then they asked if I'd like to sample some fabulous scent
they were willing to sell me at very reasonable rate. I probably would have agreed had I not received an e-mail warning of a "Wanna smell this neat perfume?" scam. The men continued to stand between parked cars, I guess to wait for someone else to hit on. I stopped a lady going towards them, pointing at them and told her about how I was sent an e-mail at work about someone walking up to you at the malls or in parking lots and asking you to SNIFF PERFUME that they are selling at a cheap price or at least compare to which one you like best.


When you sniff it, you'll pass out. They'll take your wallet, your
valuables and heaven knows what else. If it were not for this e-mail, I probably would have sniffed the 'perfume' but thanks to the generosity of an e-mailing friend, I was spared whatever might have happened to me. I wanted to do the same for you.


Ladies, this happened to me yesterday and I didn't smell the perfume
either, thanks to this email. This is true. Believe me, I know. I was over by Big Lots in the parking lot at lunch time when I was approached. So either day or night, it does not matter. There were 3 guys together when I was approached. I called the police when I got back to my desk.

Like the email says above, LET EVERYONE KNOW ABOUT THIS - YOUR
FRIENDS,FAMILY, CO-WORKERS, whomever. It helped me. The first thing that popped into my head was this e-mail warning.

Rhonda Tennyson
Girl Scouts of Northeast Mississippi
P. O. Box 1145

okay, so sharon just walked in and told me that she heard about this on the news a few weeks ago.

more later!

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

back and beat...


got back from charlotte on monday.
fourth of july with my brother, dad, jake and sharon yesterday.
pick up my mac from the repair guy this morning.
and trying to write a blog before i fall asleep tonight...

charlotte, as always, was a blast! and twice as big a blast this year as the professionals came out to support shelton and the show in the wake of wizard's (crappy) attempt to squeeze him out! didn't get to hang and chat with everybody i'd hoped to see there, but had a great time with those i did and a hysterical time with my buds, craig and mike! (we were cracking up over--and annoying everyone else with--lines from the "little britan" dvd we watched upon arriving at mike's house on thursday. if you haven't seen the show--and like inane british humor, don't miss this!)
as usual in charlotte, we got to hang with mike's brother, matt, and sister-in-law, suzanne. i think the 5 of us came a lot closer to being thrown out of the very nice restaurant (harry & cheese) than we'd care to admit, laughing at our waiter who looked like jon heder and sounded like gary cole in 'office space'.

the show...was AWESOME! as i've said, it's one of the last true all-about-comics comics shows! the charlotte crowd is easily the friendliest, most hospitable bunch of people i will ever meet. familiar faces--and some new ones!--everyone was happy and excited to have us there! like coming home...

the response to the perhapanauts was...wonderful. inspiring. encouraging. thank you. thank you all!

rico was with us at the tables and had done a truly incredible job with our previously mentioned banners and postcards! he also had some way-cool booklets of his way-cool coloring that EVERYBODY was eager to get their hands on! many of the pages showcase rico's work with his kickstand kids partner and studiomate, chris brunner, but also features some pages by david williams, rick leonardi, frank cho, and casey jones.
oh, and craig rousseau!
if ya wanna check it out or get your hands on a copy, check out rico's stuff at .

and my friend, scott weinstein, came down to hang with us but was so totally overwhelmed with the whole heroescon experience that we saw very little of him, just an occassional appearance at the table, a huge smile on his face like a kid who's discovered some secret buried treasure, and then he'd be gone again! ha, scott! toldja!

unfortunately however, like mike over on his blog, i didn't get any pictures of the show at all. well, actually mike got one (of craig and me at his house before the show) and he put it up on his site, but, mike, i don't think that counts...

i do have pics from last year's show though and promise that i'll take pictures to share at the baltimore show in september. sleazy, incriminating pics...

mike, matt, and suzanne

craig and me in a camera showdown

me and megan (man, even standing next to a beautiful [super]girl can't make me look better...)

note: megan has been our assistant/intern/gofer at heroescon since she was, like, 10?
ah, how our little girl's grown up...

that's it for now--this got waaaaay longer than i'd planned...
more next time!