Wednesday, April 29, 2009

calvin and choopie and impulse and...


i get my daily fix of calvin and hobbes from and, while i already posted some the other day, i just get a kick out of this storyline when calvin wanted so badly to be a tiger. and hobbes just made it all sound so secretive and exotic.


so i'm showing sharon how to use google images the other night--she uses a computer and email at work, and likes to play the occasional game of zookeeper online, but she doesn't surf at all--and i typed in "choopie," something i, apparently, haven't done in a long time, and found this cute sketch from last year of our little guy by seth wolfshorndl over on his blog at three trees dot com. (
very cool...!


just another reminder, for those of you who have yet to set your clocks ahead for daylight savings time, this saturday--MAY 2nd--is FREE COMIC BOOK DAY!! won't you stop by your local comic book store and take a comic book to lunch...?
once again, i'll be at


so this is kinda funny...

yesterday i received a box of the new flash: mercury falling trades from dc. this is always a huge treat for me--i still LOVE comics!--and free stuff!--and free comics!! and i opened one up and sat right down to read it. this trade collects the mercury falling storyline that i did in impulse about 8 years ago with ethan van sciver. there is no doubt that this is being reprinted to capitalize on ethan's ever-rising star and thank you so much for that ethan! : ) while there were moments of confusion due to some clunky storytelling (ethan was just learning his storytelling chops...) and some moments of verbosity due to me just not knowing how to be concise (i was still learning how to edit down my own dialogue...) and some truly cringe-worthy moments of editorial re-writing and tampering (don't get me started...), the book actually read pretty well. and after 8 years, it was all new to me!! well, not ALL new, i kinda remembered what sorta happened, but stephen king says that this is really the coolest part of being a writer; being able to read your own stuff years later and be charmed by it. i was.
now why it's called the flash: mercury falling when the scarlet speedster appears on exactly zero pages in the whole book, is beyond me. well, not really--we all know it's hype.
but it isn't a bad story...


so i gotta scoot--
scott's coming up for a visit this afternoon
and i gotta get goin'!
smell ya later!

Monday, April 27, 2009

birthday(s) and blogs


our first submission in our zombie circus exercise is our pal, nic carcieri (portal comics), who sent this over to me the other day! not only a cool idea, but nice layout and all...

nice one, nic!


craig's birthday was yesterday and, apparently, our own brian mulcahy's birthday was last tuesday, so a big HAPPY BIRTHDAY, you guys!!! hope both events were nice.
brian sent over this card that he received from artist kelly tindale who does the "archie snow" back-ups in proof with our pal, alex grecian. choopie's such a cake-eatin' little bastard. nice work, kelly.


a blog within a blog within a blog...

over on my pal nick taplansky's awakening blog, he linked to our blog and here we're linking back as he also links to the DCBS site where you can order the perhapanauts trade for the ridiculously low price of just $8.99!! (i don't know how that works, but i hope we're not losing even more money...)

so check out nick's awakening blog and check oput the DCBS site--and maybe order yourself an awakening trade with a perhapanauts chaser...?


the answers to the
"five for friday"

1. What is the real name of the X-Men's Storm?

Ororo Munroe

2. What was the name of Dr. Mark Green's daughter on ER?

Rachel (yes, Rachel Green)

3. On 'The Honeymooners', what was the name of the fraternal order to which Ralph and Ed belonged?

The Raccoons

4. What was the one substance that the original Green Lantern's power ring could NOT affect?


5. What is the first name of Peter Falk's Lt. Columbo?


smell ya later!

Friday, April 24, 2009

doin' nothin'


gosh--i got this many months back from my pal, nick (awakening) tapalansky--a picture of the ever-adorable perhapa-pals by nick's then girlfriend/now fiance, jackie. i don't know how it got past me. maybe it was during the posts of my old christmas cards and i set it aside to post after alla that was done. i don't know...
what i DO know is that i owe jackie an apology and a huge thanks for these cute kids! saturday morning, here we come!

you can see more of jackie's artwork at

for my little pin-up exercise from the other day, mike estelle asked when and where i wanted y'all to send your entries and the answer is here! send them to me at

and i'll put 'em up here.

brian already pointed out his letter regarding the zombie circus pin-up from way back when. it's reprinted in the comments of the previous post for your reading enjoyment.

was calvin any more magical than when hobbes started training him to be a tiger...?

attend! your
"five for friday"

1. What is the real name of the X-Men's Storm?

2. What was the name of Dr. Mark Green's daughter on ER?

3. On 'The Honeymooners', what was the name of the fraternal order to which Ralph and Ed belonged?

4. What was the one substance that the original Green Lantern's power ring could NOT affect?

5. What is the first name of Peter Falk's Lt. Columbo?

i think my uncle forwards me every email he ever gets. many of them really appeal to seniors and sometimes i just don't get 'em. i thought this one was cute.

have a great weekend~!
smell ya later!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

family visit


so we had matt and suzanne (weiringo) up for a visit last week and now i'm kicking myself that i didn't bring the camera with us everywhere we went! we had a great time hangin' out with our 'brother and sister' and were truly sad to see them go. here are the couple pictures i did get;

i like candid shots myself, but this one obviously wasn't candid. spontaneous, yes, but not candid. suzanne certainly had enough time to smile.

so for a second shot i said, "matt, you could smile, y'know?"
and i got this.

oh, well. i guess squeeze can smile enough for the both of them.

go check out matt's blog for more pics of us at the vanderbilt mansion and, most of all, matt's favorite diner!


so i'm bored.
and when i get bored, i usually try to think of something to do. also, i sometimes like to think of stuff to try to get other people to do. not in a manipulative way--in a creative way. like for example, we have some incredibly creative people amongst us here at the perhapa-blog as we have seen in past artwork and story contests. so i'm wondering how many of you would be interested in doing a little exercise...?
back in high school, i had this great student teacher in english, mrs. hines, who encouraged me to write as much as i could. but i would get frustrated because i just didn't have the time to write all of the stories that seemed, at the time, to be bursting out of my head. she offered that i should just write the scenes or passages that i could focus on at the moment and follow them up with notes so that i'd remember the rest of the story later and make way for the next brilliant train of thought that would be screaming into the station next.
that was great advice.
later, in art school, i had a particularly stern graphic arts teacher (whose name escapes me now) who demanded that we all keep a file of art and images that we found interesting, exciting, pleasing. he felt that these images would be both inspiring and defining of the art we wanted to produce and what discipline we would most likely follow. he referred to these files as morgues. which was cool.

so i still have a notebook where i write down the vivid, unstoppable scenes that hit me--usually from out of nowhere--from time to time. and i still keep a morgue--both on the computer and hard copy versions--of pictures and images that just catch my eye and say something to me.
and some of those pictures need a story to go with them...

last october, craig and i went to the very first screaming tiki con in ohio. for the show, we thought we produce another one of our exclusive prints in our perhapanauts one-page series. so craig drew up a picture and i wrote the text to accompany it and it was really a lot of fun!


there's no more to the story than what you see (though i do have an idea of how they initially got to the islands and what was going to happen next...), but there's enough there to give the impression that you're catching just a snippet of a larger, more exciting adventure. at least, i hope you do...

so here's the exercise.
back in the very early days of the haps, craig did up a series of solo plates of each of the characters, putting them in some kind of cool adventure/situation to give an idea of what the perhapanauts were, eventually, gonna be all about. we haven''t done anything with any of these (...yet), but here's molly's for you to play with.
so what do you see? what's the story?

smell ya later!

Monday, April 20, 2009

jam-packed with PERHAPANAUT-Y goodness!!!


so the other day i was a bit caught off guard by the arrival of the awesome new perhapanauts trade. yeah, that's right--even though i knew that it was coming out last wednesday, i had been so excited to have matt and suzanne coming for a visit that i totally forgot to give you all a heads up about it. so i thought i'd re-visit that little thing here today...

not that i want to gush or anything, but man--it's nice.

not only is the perhapanauts: triangle filled with the first five issues of action-packed adventure from our new home at IMAGE, it also includes the annual and our five page story from the oh-so-hard-to-get monster pile-up anthology! throw in all the covers, and you've got a pretty satisfying trade there, right?

not so fast, perhapa-fan!
triangle ALSO includes a pantload of extras like miscellaneous promotional items--

deleted scenes, unused artwork, and photos and designs for upcoming specials--

i can hear you saying, wow, todd! that's a LOT!"
but that's not all--you'll also find the infamous perhapanauts one-pagers; trading cards, tiki con promo, and the entire (out of print!) "lost covers" portfolio!!

really, this is one trade that's got it all!
you don't want to miss this!
and, as i always say, the perhapanauts make great gifts!

okay--i'm done shilling...


y'know--i say the trade has it all and yet, i must confess that, due to some circumstances beyond our control--or maybe 'cause we just had too little room--there were two things that didn't make it into the trade that we were sorry we had to put off until the next one.

the first is that the back-up story from perhapanauts no.5--"evaluation"--with beautiful artwork by our pal, jason copland, had to be bumped to our next trade. it was a not-enough-space call, but also, that story will fit much better in with events that will take place in our next story arc...
sorry, jason--the god news is that it will also appear with your other perhapanauts story...

the other miss--and this was due to a miscommunication between craig and i--is that leanne hannah's lovely and funny "karl's plea" pin-up from the letters page of perjhapanauts no. 4 was left out. leanne has done another stunning pin-up for us (which will premiere in the comic shortly) and i told craig i wanted to sve that for the next trade to go along with leanne's other full stories. he thought i meant this one and, well...

sorry, leanne, dear...


here are the answers
to your very special "nixon"
"five for friday!"

1. who played richard m. nixon in oliver stone's nixon?

anthony hopkins

2. who played nixon in the poli-comedy dick?

dan hedaya

3. who played nixon in ron howard's frost/nixon?

frank langella

4. what was the name of the nixon family dog, invoked by the president in a speech geared to endear himself to the american public?


5. what four words did richard nixon utter in a flash cameo on the 60's nbc comedy laugh-in?

sock it to me (?) (yes--he did say it aas a question)

go buy a perhapanauts trade!
smell ya later!

Friday, April 17, 2009

late, late, late...


why so late today, todd...? you might ask.

well, sharon and i just said goodbye to matt and suzanne wieringo who were here visiting for two and a half not-long-enough days! we had a great time with them, checking out the local sites, having some great meals (matt is in love with our local retro-diner) and just having some hilarious laughs! they brought us some very nice--not necessary, guys--gifts and even brought a cool stuffed, snorky hedgehog for jake (which he loves) and a catnippy mouse toy for kayla (which she just can't get enough of). jake and kayla love their uncle matt and auntie squeeze.

mostly we would end each sentence with "bitch, please." but matt's greatest line--and one that made suzanne, sharon, and i laugh so hard we peed a little--when suze showed us a photo from 1986 of matt, mike, and their parents (wearing clothes that we imagined were more circa 1975)
"we were poor. we didn't have money for your big, fancy 80's clothes."
killed us.

you're gone ten minutes but we miss you guys already...!


so not a lot to write today and i'm gonna hafta skip the "five for..." as i need to get caught up on some work and go see my friend blair's play tonight; a production of oscar wilde's "the importance of being earnest."

in the meantime, did you know that the perhapanauts trade finally came out this wednesday?!! i didn't. but it's out and it's huge and it makes a great gift and you should really go out and getcha one...! or two...!


and if that doesn't make this week in comics all that much cooler, another gem hit the stands wednesday in the form of my first ANT-MAN story--MARVEL ADVENTURES SUPERHEROES no.10!!!

and if that cool clayton henry cover doesn't whet your appetite, marvel has been so kind as to post the first five pages for your previewing enjoyment! here's the link. hustle right over there and take a look!

i do have some...

1. who played richard m. nixon in oliver stone's nixon?

2. who played nixon in the poli-comedy dick?

3. who played nixon in ron howard's frost/nixon?

4. what was the name of the nixon family dog, invoked by the president in a speech geared to endear himself to the american public?

5. what four words did richard nixon utter in a flash cameo on the 60's nbc comedy laugh-in?

have a great weekend!
smell ya later!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

comics am good.


well, i don't know where YOU'RE planning to be on saturday, may 2rd--otherwise known throughout the galaxy as FREE COMIC BOOK DAY!!--but i will be hanging out at a lovely little comic shop in the ballston spa area called EXCELLENT ADVENTURES COMICS! the owner, john belskis, is the cool guy who also organizes the bi-annual albany comics show and, when i was unable to make the spring show last sunday, he asked what my plans were for FCBD. i told him i'd be thrilled to come up and hang out with him, so if you're in the area (adam? walt? bob?) come on in a say hey!

here's the cool though somewhat embarrassing poster that john put together...


every week over on the perhapanauts forum on the image comics message boards there is a thread called THIS WEEK'S COMICS (and then, in parenthesis, the date. like, April 1, 2009). this thread was first initiated by my pal, scott, back when the forum was first put up--thanks, scott!--and continually maintained by him, though from time to time other members of our 'gang' have beat him to it. it's all good. it's a place to share with the group what comics you're reading, what comics you're curious about, what books you're excited about.
i never post there.

mostly 'cause i don't get my comics on a weekly basis.
don't get me wrong, i love comics and, back in the day (i hate that expression), i used to be that guy, first one at the store on wednesday (or friday, back in the day. or monday, again, back in the day...), eager to get my hands on the week's newest offerings. when i worked at a comic shop...back in the day... i volunteered to be the guy to stay up late on thursday nights, waiting for the call to run down to the store and meet the distribution guy--tony--and sort and stock the comics. usually tony got there sometime between 11:00 and 1:30, but a couple of times he didn't get there 'til three.
didn't matter--it was comics! and i got to see them--and set mine aside--first! those were great times.

but now i live...i'd say rather rurally, but really it's out in the middle of nowhere. my "local" comics shop is 45 minutes away, and so, over the past five years or so, i've tried to economize and be more efficient with my trips to the store. i get there every three or three and a half weeks or so and so, by the time i get my few weeks of comics, i feel like i'm too behind the times for the thread. so i don't post.

but i will tell you the books that i'm reading, the ones that i'm excited about, the ones that i'm curious about!

though i tend to pick up all kindsa different books off the rack each time i go in--maybe 'cause i'm curious, maybe something about them caught my eye, sometimes just a cool cover!--my pull list goes like this;

~a huge mike mignola fan, i always pick up hellboy and bprd. that's a given.

~ eric powell's the goon is always fun to jump into! the story sometimes rambles about, but the artwork is just so pretty!

~ i'm also all about the conan series at dark horse! kurt did a hella job with it while he had it and now tim truman is keeping the legend alive!

~ at dc, i always pick up the spirit (a long time fan and i enjoy how they've updated him) and jonah hex (jimmy and justin aare just awesome storytellers!) i also pick up many of the showcase tomes--that's just fun comics!

~ at marvel, i get most of the marvel adventures books--to keep up with what's goin' on--and pretty much everything jeff parker's writing. as i said, i LOVED that sentry series! i'm really diggin' kurt's eye of the camera/marvels series--but i usually dig anything kurt does.

~ i also pick up anything mark (waid) writes and am all over the invincibles, and his hot new book, irredeemable (although wasn't that what kirkman called ant-man...?)--as well as boom! studios' other neat acquisition, the muppets!

~ add to all of this the stack of old archie's from the 60s and 70s that terry austin and kc carlson have been so very kind to gift me with--picking up one of those is like stepping right back into a saturday morning from my childhood...

~ i don't know why so many people refer to this as a guilty pleasure (...because of the gore-strewn violence? because of the bodily fluid covered sex? because it's garth ennis?), but the boys from dynamite is...dynamite! what a fun, sick book. i dig it. and as if to prove what a schizophrenic garth is, his battlefields books--a great carryover from his beautifully poignant war books over at dc/wildstorm--are just wonderful! his love for the second world war and the human drama that he brings to it makes this easily one of my favorite reads. check 'em out.

~ and, of course, i have kelly's amber atoms on the list, nick tapalansky's awakening, proof, and, though not found in your lcbs YET, scott's after school agent! *

i know i missed something...

* NOTE: scott's recently made after school agent into a webcomic!!!~
now you can check out the thrilling adventures of high school freshman gordon levitch FOR FREE!
go there!

gotta run!
matt and suzanne are here and we're goin' siteseeing!
happy wednesday!
smell ya later!

Monday, April 13, 2009

building a story pt 4


so here is where we add the dialogue. as i mentioned before, since this was done in full-script, the dialogue was written well before the artwork was drawn. had we been working "marvel style," i'm sure that the dialogue would have been much different.

several people have commented on how redundant it sounds that marvel now requires full-script rather than marvel style, the style that stan developed way back when and that made marvel great. true, stan started working that way when he was writing all the books--i think about 16 a month at the time--and he started writing just plots to keep all of his various artists busy, all those plates spinning. jack needed a few more! arnold drake was done with what you gave! that worked back then, for stan, doing it all, writing, editing, smiling, etc. these days, each editor at marvel is juggling about 35 books at a time, contacting the talent, editing the story, coordinating the traffic of the various elements of the story--script, pencils, inks, letters, colors, etc.--going to meetings, getting approvals for projects. writing a story marvel style involves adding an extra step into that potential quagmire as the art has to go back to the writer and then waiting some more for the new script/dialogue. so i can definitely see the reasoning behind going to full-script if for nothing else then to maybe protect the editor's sanity a little while longer.

me, i still love working "marvel style."

in a few weeks, i'll post this same step-by-step process again using a perhapanauts story, to show how craig and i do it "marvel style."


Panel 1
On the two of them, looking up at the fleeing DRAGON MAN, eyes wide as the PROWLER points--

Prowler: THAT!! That’s the thing that’s been breaking into my stuff!

Spidey: Why would that–? You weren’t storing truckloads of Purina

Gargoyle food in there, were you?

Panel 2
Closer on DRAGON MAN as we focus on the loot it has in it’s hands--inventions and devices from HOBIE’S shop--as, from off-panel PROWLER exclaims--

Prowler (off): Hey! It’s got my stuff! Those are my inventions!

Panel 3
As PROWLER makes the huge leap up to the roof of the nearby warehouse, pursuing DRAGON MAN, SPIDEY is momentarily startled, not believing that the PROWLER is actually going to chase that thing...!

Spidey: Wait a minute! Where are you–You’re not going after that thing!

Are you cra––

Spidey: Okay.

Panel 4
Wide as SPIDEY chases the PROWLER chasing the flying DRAGON MAN across the top of this new warehouse. Once again, we can see that the PROWLER is about to run out of room.

Prowler (small):

Panel 5
With DRAGON MAN still oblivious to his two pursuers, we see the PROWLER once again make a huge leap out, his glider kicking open--

SFX (cape tech) (small): click click click


Panel 1
Medium on the PROWLER; In mid air, he has his hands outstretched, reaching, reaching, reaching with every fiber of his being--

Prowler (small): Come on! Come on! You can do it! You can––

Panel 2
Similar shot as he falls just short, DRAGON MAN’S legs flying away and up as the PROWLER falls away and down--failed.

Prowler (small): No!

Panel 3
From over his head as he looks down at the street--which is very far away and tightly boxed in by buildings--and his glider isn’t going to have room to maneuver. This is going to hurt!

Prowler/thought: Wow. That ground is a long way down--and the buildings are too

close for me to be able to maneuver my glider...

Prowler/thought: This is gonna hurt.

SFX (webs) (from off): Thwip! Thwip!

Panel 4
BIG panel; Wide shot as we see the PROWLER looking up to see that he has been webbed by SPIDER-MAN who is hanging onto a web line attached to the leg of the still-hasn’t-seen-them DRAGON MAN.

Spidey: Sorry. Just thought you looked like you could use a web up!

Spidey: And the good part is, the big, purple Dragon-Man-thing doesn’t

even know we’re here!


Panel 1
Big Panel; From below them, both of them looking up--uh oh--as DRAGON MAN suddenly DOES notice them, it’s eyes burning with annoyance!

Dragon Man: ?

Dragon Man: RAAHHRRR!

Spidey (very small): why? why did I have to say anything? why?

Panel 2
And SWAT! as he roars and thwaps them both with his mighty, massive tail--

Dragon Man: RAAHHH!

SFX (tail): WAPPT!

Panel 3
--sending the two into a chimney on yet another rooftop!! This one is an apartment building, the rooftop is about 50’ by 50’, metal roofing, and on it is one of those awesome way cool water tank/towers. Both of them are momentarily stunned.

SFX (chimney): CRUNCH!

Spidey: Uhff!

Prowler: Ohhh!

Panel 4
From over DRAGON MAN’S shoulder, looking down on the coming-around SPIDEY and PROWLER, SPIDEY’S eyes are wide again and his Spider-sense is going off as he reaches for the PROWLER to wake him up...

Prowler: Rrrrr...

Spidey: Yikes! No time for nappin’, Prowly--

Prowler (small/weak): unnnh...


Panel 1
Wide as the angry DRAGON MAN breathes a blistering stream of fire at the space where the two costumed heroes were as SPIDEY makes a huge leap out of the way, jerking the startled PROWLER with him, just in time!! (Unfortunately, we can see that he is leaping them right into a corner...)

Spidey: --We gotta move!

SFX (fire breath): FWOORRSSH!

Panel 2
From behind them, both of them awake and alert now, as DRAGON MAN turns and prepares to hit them with another stream of fire, bellowing as tongues of flame crackle in it’s mouth!--

Dragon Man: RAAAHN!

Spidey: Oboy.

Panel 3
Close on the PROWLER’S pointed gauntleted fingers digging into the flat metal roofing--

SFX (fingers into metal): CRUNK!

Panel 4
And WIDE; as DRAGON MAN lets go with the blast of fire which is, of course, being deflected away from them by the wave of metal roofing that the PROWLER has pulled over them to protect them!

SFX (fire breath): FWOORRSSH!


Panel 1
Wide on the rooftop as SPIDEY and the PROWLER step out from behind the makeshift shield, SPIDEY looking after the departing DRAGON MAN, PROWLER surveying the rooftop which is dotted with a series of small fires!

Spidey: That Dragon...Man must’ve been satisfied that he’d bar-b-qued us. He’s


Prowler: Yeah, but he left a roof full of fire! We gotta put this out!

Panel 2
Wide, different angle, as the PROWLER watches, impressed, as SPIDEY tips the water tower/tank, sending a wave of water out to extinguish the fires!

Spidey: Not a problem, Edison. Not when you have the proportionate strength of

a spider. Too bad we lost your big, purple playmate. Now we’ll never find

it in–

Prowler (off): Not a problem, Spidey--

Panel 3
On the two of them, as the PROWLER holds up a small little disc--about half the size of a dime--between two of his pointy-gloved fingers, the disc is purple and green like his costume. Now it’s SPIDEY’S turn to be impressed.

Prowler: Fortunately, I was able to tag our big, purple playmate with one of these

tiny GPS transmitters. That monster can go anywhere in the world--

Panel 4
Cut to, BIG panel; sometime later, from behind SPIDEY and the PROWLER, perched on an adjacent rooftop, as they see where the big purple MONSTER ended up--we can see a sprawling, fenced-in facility with a big ROXXON sign on the roof, lit up for the night.

Caption/Prowler: “--and we’ll be able to track it down!”

Spidey: Roxxon, huh? Didn’t you say...

Prowler: ...that they rejected my inventions when I brought them here?



the answers to your
"five for friday!"

1. fried up with garlic and salt, what delicacy is also known as the "caviar of cambodia?"


2. what 1984 movie, featuring scenes of a knife-wielding mom, prompted the MCAA to create the PG-13 rating a year later?


(hey, adam~!!--your brother's sorta right though...both poltergeist and indiana jones and the temple of doom caused so many shocked parents to make a stink about the beyond PG graphic images that the MCAA began to consider a higher rating. but it was the classic kitchen scene in gremlins, with mom protecting her house and her family by dispatching of several of the little bastards with a blender and a microwave that was the final straw!)

3. what movie about the beginning of world war III was the first to bear the PG-13 rating in 1985?

red dawn

4. what (jazz)singer/songwriter wrote the monkees #1 hit "i'm a believer?"

neil diamond

5. what is the name of the green lantern who looks like a squirrel?


smell ya later!

Friday, April 10, 2009

building a story pt. 3


the plot
this is where i really sit down and start to do the work--plotting the plot. we want to give clear and concise descriptions about what each panel should contain to tell a very smooth and not too complicated story. tom defalco is an absolute master at this, spinning fun and exciting visuals for his artist using, usually, single sentence steps.

i tend to be a little...wordy.

i think that's because the first authentic comic book script i ever saw was for the watchmen and alan moore is, well...insane.

so i always start out with a disclaimer, apologizing to the artist, whether i know them or not (with these marvel adventures spider-mans, for example, i didn't know who would be assigned to which issue), and explaining that none of it is written in stone, that i tend to describe the story the way i'm picturing it in my head, camera angles and all, and that, as the artist, they should feel free to let the story unravel the way they see it.

now i, personally, love to work "marvel style." that is, the writer writes out a plot for the artist to follow and then scripts/dialogues it with the art in front of him. i feel that that tends to be a much more collaborative process and brings the art and the words together in a much more meaningful and effective way. these days, however, in an attempt to cut down on time and traffic, marvel requires full-script and so that's what i do. i still write the plot first and then go back in and dialogue it after, but it's so much cooler--and more fun--if you can SEE the action, the characters, the drama. (when mike and i worked on sensational spider-man, and later on tellos, we would try to trick each other to keep it fun and new. i'd tell him what the story of that issue would be and then, in the plot, try to surprise him with how the story would unfold, what twists and turns i would throw in there to get to that end. he would then get real creative with layout and camera angle, trying to surprise me with how he told the tale. it was just a joy to see the acting that he'd put on the faces, the emotion. sometimes it would change the way i was planning to word the dialogue or drop it altogether.)

so, here are the first 7 pages of just plot, my hopefully clear and concise descriptions of what I'M seeing in my head. i try to keep it down to three or four panels per page, remembering that these stories are usually collected into digest sized paperbacks and the artwork and dialogue will be considerably reduced.

if you're following along in the comic book, see how sanford chose to interpret the script.


As a copy of today’s DAILY BUGLE is thrust into our face by a smiling/snarling J. JONAH JAMESON as he lectures the off PETER PARKER (us) about taking pictures for the Bugle! The paper features a photo of a surprised PROWLER clinging to a wall outside the open window of an upper story apartment building! He has been caught both by the camera and by Police spotlights and looks guilty as hell, his purple cape billowing out behind him as he clutches a file folder stuffed with blueprints in his other hand! The headline reads; MYSTERIOUS PROWLER EVADES NYPD! (Please leave room above for character blurb, “Bitten by a radioactive spider...” and below for title and credits. Thank you!)


Panel 1
Wide panel as we now see a view of JONAH’S office, big desk, walls lined with framed front pages of the Bugle, each one touting Spider-Man as a Menace! JONAH is tossing the paper on his desk as he raises his hand in the air to punctuate his point, railing at PETER about photojournalism.

Panel 2
Medium on JONAH, gesticulating ask he lectures, telling PETER that he needs to broaden his horizons, explore new subjects... (Room for caption to introduce JJJ...)

Panel 3
On JONAH’S hand as he gestures to several of the Bugle front pages enlarged and framed on the wall, each one showing Spider-man in some compromising position. One of them shows SPIDER-MAN in exactly the same position, almost the same shot, as the front page featuring the PROWLER.

Panel 4
On PETER, looking small and a little dumbfounded as he stands beneath /next to a poster with a grainy close-up of SPIDEY reading “WHO IS SPIDER-MAN?” (Room for caption to introduce PETER/SPIDEY...)

Panel 5
Wide as JONAH escorts PETER out of his office, pointing to one of the journalists working at a nearby desk, several photos laid out for his inspection.


Panel 1
Closer on PHIL SHELDON as he answers his cell phone as JONAH continues to sing his praises from off. We can see a sign on his desk with his name plate.

Panel 2
From outside JONAH’S Office as JONAH slams the door on a defeated PETER, who is left now in front of BETTY BRANT’S desk, BETTY looking up sympathetically at PETER.

Panel 3
On PETER and BETTY as PETER confides in her that he needs to sell some pictures, needs to help Aunt May out with the bills, etc. if JONAH doesn’t want anymore Spider-Man...BETTY reassures him that JONAH will change his tune--he always does.

Panel 4
From over PETER and BETTY’S shoulder as they watch PHIL leaning into JONAH’S open door, yelling into JONAH that he just got a call from his source, someone’s spotted that PROWLER character again--he’s on his way!

Panel 5
From over PETER’S shoulder as he watches PHIL grab his coat and camera as he races out of the newsroom, room for his thoughts as he worries that PHIL might be heading for some real trouble and that maybe he should go along to watch out for him...


Panel 1 SPIDER-MAN!!! BIG Panel; as we see our favorite, friendly neighborhood SPIDER-MAN swinging gracefully above the streets of Manhattan! This is December and it is twilight, early evening, and people are rushing to get home! The streets are filled with cabs and buses and trucks...

Panel 2
From above the swinging SPIDEY as he watches PHIL get out of a cab in a warehouse district, a Police car or two can be seen nearby!

Panel 3
And from over SPIDEY’S shoulder as he sees PHIL talking with a POLICEMAN, beyond them, we can see a Police Van and car and several OFFICERS crouched down, ready for action as a pair of search lights scan the rooftop of a warehouse. A huge section of the corner of the warehouse looks like it’s been caved IN!


Panel 1
Wide shot; As PHIL focuses his camera, a POLICE OFFICER points to the hole in the building where we can see a small figure scrambling out, creeping along the wall like a bug.

Panel 3
The POLICE are yelling from below as he springs/hustles up onto the roof, keen to escape--

Panel 4
From over the giving-chase SPIDER-MAN as he swings above and behind the fleeing PROWLER who is tearing across the long and wide rooftop (it has few features rising up here and there; several big metal vents and air conditioning units, etc.), looking back over his shoulder---but not up...!


Panel 1
As the PROWLER races toward the camera, we can see an ominous SPIDER-MAN diving down from above--

Panel 2
--And make the tackle as the two tumble and roll across the flat, football field sized rooftop and into one of the aforementioned vents, WHAM!

Panel 3
Reflexes flexing, SPIDEY regains his feet quicker, crouching atop the dented vent and thwipping a wide web-net over the momentarily dazed PROWLER.


Panel 1
Close on the PROWLER as he holds one of his pointy-fingered gauntlets up in front of his face--

Panel 2
Same panel; as four, diamond-shaped, razor-sharp fletchettes, a satisfied look on his face--

Panel 3
Wide; as he swipes the blades across SPIDEY’S webbing, tearing it to shreds, as SPIDEY leaps back a little, impressed with the villain’s resourcefulness.

Panel 4
Wide; as SPIDEY jumps back a little farther this time, as PROWLER thrusts his other glove before him, where a cloud of think white smoke creates some cloud cover for the PROWLER to get away!

more on monday...!


and to make an already long post longer...
here are your "five for friday!"

1. fried up with garlic and salt, what delicacy is also known as the "caviar of cambodia?"

2. what 1984 movie, featuring scenes of a knife-wielding mom, prompted the MCAA to create the PG-13 rating a year later?

3. what movie about the beginning of world war III was the first to bear the PG-13 rating in 1985?

4. what (jazz)singer/songwriter wrote the monkees #1 hit "i'm a believer?"

5. what is the name of the green lantern who looks like a squirrel?

have a great weekend!
smell ya later!

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

building a story pt. 2


here is part 2 in our "building a story" series entitled "beat sheet." this is where, mostly for my own use, i map out how the story will unfold and how many pages it'll take to do that. it's all about condensing--for most scenes i could usually add another page or two. this is where the self-editing takes place, where you, as the writer, pick and choose what works best for the story and for the scene. and try not to cram too much into it--your poor artist has to draw this, remember...

speaking of the artist, this story was done by my pal, sensational cover artist, sanford green!! i'll be dropping in some of his sweet pencils as the construction continues...

Jumping To Conclusions
“...Everything You Read.”
outline/beat sheet
todd dezago

Page 1
SPLASH! A copy of today’s DAILY BUGLE featuring a surprised PROWLER being caught leaving the scene of a crime being slapped down on a desk, as JONAH’S off-panel voice announces, “Now THAT’S what I’m talking about!”

Page 2
In Jonah’s Office as Jonah reads PETER the riot act, telling him that with him it’s always SPIDER-MAN, people are sick of Spider-Man, HE’S sick of Spider-Man! Jonah gestures to the large, farmed covers of the Bugles that adorn his office walls, each one exclaiming Spider-man as the menace and freak that he is! Peter needs to be like him (indicating Phil Sheldon in the bullpen), a REAL photojournalist! Now get out, Parker--you’re wasting my time!

Page 3
Dejected, Peter talks with Betty, her telling him that JJJ will change his tune, he always does, Peter explaining that he’s gotta keep this job; it’s the only after school thing he can do to get the money he needs to help Aunt May out with bills. Overhearing Jonah tell Phil to get more on this Prowler guy, Peter worries that Phil might be in danger, and that maybe Spider-Man ought to tag along to watch out for him!

Page 4 and 5
...And he could do that best as SPIDER-MAN! It is early evening now as, from above, Spidey watches Phil gets a tip on his cell phone and then is friendly with the Cops on the scene--a warehouse that looks like one corner has been blown in. As Phil gets yet another shot of the Prowler evading the Cops, Spidey goes after and catches the fleeing criminal!

Pages 6 through 9
Spidey and the Prowler mix it up a bit, both showing off their amazing talents, when Spidey let’s slip that the Prowler must be a bad guy, he read it in the Bugle!

Page 10 and 11
They have a bonding moment here when the Prowler asks Spidey if he ever thought that maybe the Bugle has it wrong?, Spidey sheepishly apologizing as he remembers all the front pages with his own picture, himself labelled a menace. The Prowler explains that he is a young inventor, that he had been very protective of his work, and that after he was rejected by the Roxxon Corporation ( rejected by the insidious Dr. JONAS HARROW ), he found both his home and his workshop broken into by what he thought were thieves looking to steal his devices. The first break-in was at his home, the second, here, is his workshop.Spidey asks, well, if it’s not you then–-? as a large shadow passes over them, blotting out the moonlight.

Page 12
--DRAGON MAN! And he’s got a few of the Prowler’s inventions!

Pages 13 through 16
As the two costumed “menaces” go after the fleeing Dragon Man, they find that the giant Gargoyle is mighty and breathes fire! They save one another from the Beast,
creating a mutual respect and admiration for one another and showing some nice teamwork!

Page 17
They follow Dragon Man back to a Roxxon subsidiary to discover the android (now we know!) with his secret puppet master--Dr. JONAS HARROW, a Roxxon scientist bent on developing a new flight technology for Roxxon as they investigate new forms of transportation.

Pages 18 through 20
Harrow sics Dragon Man on the two costumed adventurers, and they play hide and seek with the Creature, sensing an almost playfulness in it, but realizing that Harrow controls the Beast with a painful remote control device! Getting control of the device, they bring the Doctor down and reclaim the Prowler’s devices.

Page 21
The two heroes bond, shake hands and wish each other the best as SPIDEY takes a picture of them saving the day--and exonerating the Prowler--before they go!

Page 22
Cut to; the next day. On the cover of the Bugle is one of the other photos from Peter’s camera, one showing Spider-Man and the Prowler hanging from the escaping Dragon Man beneath a headline tying the three of them together in the crime wave!Peter argues with Jonah, who tears him up, telling Peter that this is his paper and he’s not about to clear Spider-Man’s name on the word of some snot-nosed high schooler!! Now get out of my office, Parker--You’re wasting my time!


more tomorrow!
smell ya later~

building a story pt. 1 & my uncalled for opinion


well, apparently, my little unintentional review of the watchmen movie last week--and i didn't mean it to be that. my opinion, of all peoples, shouldn't count for anything there--got a lot of people asking me how i liked other movies, the aforementioned batman begins for one and, in particular, the spider-man movies.
i don't know why.

so if you care, read on.

when the first spider-man came out, of course, all my friends were eager to know what i thought about it. i liked it, it was fun--the swinging effects were stunningly cool, if not, at times, too vertiginous--but it was missing something, something that i eventually identified as "the essence". it was lacking the essence of spider-man.

in my opinion.

for me, the essence of spider-man--or peter parker, really--is that peter loves his aunt and uncle. a sensitive kid, he sees and feels how much this (older) couple have sacrificed for him, to take him in and care for him as their own after his parents were killed. peter sees this. he sees their love and generosity and he adores them for it. this needs to come through in any spider-man story--it is the essence of the character. great power and great responsibility are part of it, but he really puts that costume on every night to honor them.

so if, in the movie, the only real scene we see with peter and uncle ben is them arguing in the car just before ben gets shot, we've lost some of that essence. that's all i'm saying. they kinda made up for it in a flashback scene in spider-man 2, but still.

(a pet peeve of mine about the movie, too, is that i never thought toby maguire to be the best choice for peter parker. james franco woulda been a better choice for peter. i've dug toby maguire in a lot of films, but to me, the guy only really has two expressions; wide-eyed naivete and shocked surprise. my friend, terry, says that he always looks like he's about to bust out crying. but that's not the pet peeve. this is. during the announcements that they were making the movie and casting, toby maguire lobbied for the role hard. he went on record saying that he loved the comics, read them all, and that he wanted to do peter parker justice for all the fans. he got the part and did an adequate job--i'm still thinking james franco--but on the night of the premiere, as a guest on the late show with david letterman, one of dave's first questions was, "so what did you know about the character before you started this?" toby looked at dave with a condescending laugh and a smirky, sarcastic grin and said. " 'bout as much as you, dave." thanks, toby. thanks for validating all of comicdom. you $#!%. )

sorry, that's my bile for the month...hopefully, for the whole year.

thank you for letting me vent.


a week or so back, someone suggested that i go through the process of writing a story for comics (the post was called "the story is the boss" and the suggester was LegendsCrazy/dale) and matt seconded the motion--though i don't know why; matt's had to work from one of my rolling, rambling, undecipherable plots/scripts himself and probably cursed my name all the way through...

anyway, over on craig's blog (bliggety-bloggety-bloo--link is over there, on the right...) he decided to take us through
the steps that go into one of his gorgeous canson sketches, so i thought i might as well reveal my own random, totally unprofessional, mind-numbingly boring process of banging together a comic book script...

it starts, of course, with an idea...

SPIDER-MAN assumes that the PROWLER is as bad as the Bugle says he is, only to find that they are both in the same boat.

( i can't find my original pitch that i sent into nate for this story, but i think it went something like this...)

Spidey crosses paths with the Prowler when he (Spidey) assumes that the Bugle's reports of him (Prowler) are true. Spidey soon learns that things aren't always as JJJ sees them and teams up with the Prowler to recover his stolen inventions.
(actually, that sucks. it had to've been better than that...)

i then put together and outline to act as a framework for me to build on as i plot the story out.

Seeing the PROWLER (being vilified) on the front page of the Daily Bugle, PETER (who can’t seem to sell any photos of SPIDEY to JJJ) decides to secretly follow Photojournalist PHIL SHELDON in hopes of picking up a few tricks of the trade (beyond getting Spidey pics, which are so easy for him to come by…).

Responding to a tip from a friend on the Force, Phil once again gets some great shots of the Prowler fleeing a break-in as cops arrive. Spidey goes after him…

The two mix it up, Prowler finally asking Spidey if it had ever occurred to him that what he’s read in the Bugle may be wrong…?! Spidey has visions of headlines that paint him a menace.

As the Prowler begins to explain his situation (as Hobie Brown he is an inventor and, after being turned down by Roxxon, suddenly finds his home and workshop being broken into by…), the enormous, impressive DRAGON MAN blots out the moon above, fleeing the scene of the crime. The two give chase.

Arriving at a Roxxon subsidiary, the two discover Dragon Man’s mysterious master--DR. JONAS HARROW, a Roxxon scientist bent on creating an army of android soldiers! Harrow sics Dragon Man on Spidey and Prowler, who, after playing hide and seek with the fire-breathing gargoyle, destroy Harrow’s hold on Dragon Man and defeat the good Doctor!

Spidey snaps a picture of the two of them saving the day--hopefully absolving them both of their bad reputations--but when Jonah runs the picture, only the PROWLER can be seen as the hero…

once that's approved, i move onto a more fleshed out "beat sheet" which i'll post here tomorrow...'cause this is getting long.
this story appeared in the recent MARVEL ADVENTURES SPIDER-MAN #47 if anyone's interested in picking one up and following along...

smell ya later~

Monday, April 06, 2009

a new week.


sometimes i look at this blog and feel like it's just me rambling on for no good reason at all. i imagine all of you out there reading this saying, "what the hell is he going on about now?" (usually i'm imagining it's brian and so he does this in his very polite and cordial way, in his wicked awesome boston accent, but still..."what the hell is he going on about?!"...)

today's one of those days that i really don't feel that i've got much to say.

so i'll hit you with this email my friend bob sent me and i thought was funny (especially the last part...). you may have seen it before--many of these things make the rounds--but if not, enjoy...


a. If Laura, Kate and Sarah go out for lunch, they will call each other
Laura, Kate and Sarah.
b. If Mike, Dave and John go out, they will affectionately refer to
each other as Fat Boy, Godzilla and Four-eyes.

a. When the bill arrives, Mike, Dave and John will each throw in $20,
even though it's only for $32.50. None of them will have anything smaller and none will actually admit they want change back.
b. When the girls get their bill, out come the pocket calculators.

a. A man will pay $2 for a $1 item he needs.
b. A woman will pay $1 for a $2 item that she doesn't need but it's on

a. A man has six items in his bathroom: toothbrush and toothpaste, shaving cream, razor, a bar of soap, and a towel.
b. The average number of items in the typical woman's bathroom is 337. A man would not be able to identify more than 20 of these items.

a. A woman has the last word in any argument.
b..Anything a man says after that is the beginning of a new argument.

a. A woman worries about the future until she gets a husband.
b. A man never worries about the future until he gets a wife.

a. A successful man is one who makes more money than his wife can spend.
b. A successful woman is one who can find such a man.

a. A woman marries a man expecting he will change, but he doesn't.
b. A man marries a woman expecting that she won't change, but she does.

a. A woman will dress up to go shopping, water the plants, empty the trash, answer the phone, read a book, and get the mail.
b. A man will dress up for weddings and funerals.
c. Men wake up as good-looking as they went to bed.
d. Women somehow deteriorate during the night.

a. Ah, children. A woman knows all about her children. She knows about dentist appointments and romances, best friends, favourite foods, secret fears and hopes and dreams.
b. A man is vaguely aware of some short people living in the house.

A married man should forget his mistakes. There's no use in two people remembering the same thing!

SO, send this to the women who have a sense of humour and who can
handle it, and to the men who will enjoy reading it.

Proof that Men Have Better Friends.

Friendship among Women:
A woman didn't come home one night. The next morning she told her husband that she had slept over at a friend's house. The man called his wife's 10 best friends. None of them knew anything about it.

Friendship among Men:
A man didn't come home one night. The next morning he told his wife that he had slept over at a friend's house. The woman called her husband's 10 best friends. Eight confirmed that he had slept over, and two said he was still there.


and here's a statue that someone made of one of my favorite cryptids--the dover demon!

have a good monday!
smell ya later!

Friday, April 03, 2009

end of an ERa


i didn't think i'd be so emotional...

so last night was the last episode of ER.
although i can't say that i watched it from the very first episode, i can say that it has been a staple of m,y must-see-tv thursday nights for the past 12 years at least; the frenetic, emotional, unpredictable, moving medical drama to cap off a night of what was usually some pretty good comedy. for the longest time, thursday night was the ONLY night i watched any television; friends, seinfeld, will and grace, all those wannabe hits in between...and ending with the ER staff and patients at county. it all was part of the package, part of the experience.

i might have said before how the show first grabbed me. living with my then-girlfriend, dani, we had watched the comedies and would leave the tv on in the background as we would talk and do other things. we were just sitting there chatting, vaguely aware of what was going on on the show, when a very violent trauma rolled through the ER doors--a man had fallen in front of a train on the elevated tracks outside the hospital. the body was a mess, unrecognizable, but when the docs tried to page one of the interns who was supposed to be there...the pager went off on the body.
dani and i hadn't even realized that our conversation had dropped off as we were both drawn into the intense action, and we both breathed incredulous gasps as the horror unfolded. incredible.
we were hooked.

thursday night now had an anchor on the other end and we would watch religiously. our friend, drew, started coming over every thursday for the ritual and we three soon realized how much these characters meant to us, their ups and downs, their successes and failures, their lives.
my folks watched it and my mom and i would discuss it each week. mike and i watched it and had great in depth conversations about the characters the storytelling, the good story lines and the bad. about four years ago, when abby (maura tierney) was going through such a sad time and the show was actually kinda depressing, we agreed to stop watching, both of us too sensitive to watch our friend have to go through anymore of that. three weeks later we admitted to each other that we were still secretly watching, that it was too hard to tear away. couple of wusses.
craig and i watch it. we do the rundown of all the thursday night shows on friday morning, reliving them and reciting our favorite lines from the comedies and telling how much we love the characters on ER.
since sharon's moved in, she's watched it with me and i've had a chance to enjoy it all all over again when i have to give her the backstory on this character or, lately, returning character.

i'll miss ER. because it's become a part of me. i'll miss the characters, i'll miss my friends.
when my mom was dying three years ago, hospice had come in and set up a bed in our living room where we could all be around her and where she could watch television. from 10 am 'til noon TNT ran back to back reruns of ER and my mom wanted it on. the show, for all of it's intense emergencies and graphic surgeries, was comforting. it is. we would say, "are you sure you want this on? stories about dying and, especially, cancer?" she did. because the show wasn't about death and dying, it was about hope. i also think that, as my mom slipped away from us that sad january morning with an episode on, that she felt that she was surrounded by her family...and friends.

i watched the show last night with tears in my eyes. it wasn't that it was such an emotional episode--it was nice--but i was sad for the end of something special. special to me, anyway. yes, like any show, there were good seasons and bad, ups and downs, characters that i loved and others that never did anything for me. but it's 15 year run has coincided with a really exciting period in my life; i first started writing comics 15 years ago. ER has been my friend through my ups and downs, my successes and failures, and especially, my wins and losses.

thank you, ER. i will miss you.


4 baby asian otters

tv land
"five for friday"
name the following classic tv series...







not the show; name the actresses...

(i was always partial to sabrina...)

have a great weekend!
smell ya later!

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

the story is the boss


so, now that i'm on facebook as well as myspace, i've been friending a lot of people, mostly because of spider-man or impulse or tellos or, hey, even the perhapanauts! it's great to "meet" these people (i say that i've "intermet" them--can i coin that phrase, make it mine? trademark it like pat riley did with "three-peat?" and when they say "coin a phrase," can i actually make any coin on it?)

anyway, it's nice to be known. and even nicer to be known by such nice people.

i try to respond to comments, messages, and questions, but sometimes it's tough--that there are so many of them or so little time (i'm working on a lot of stuff right now...)

one question i get a lot is "how can i become a comic book writer?" or, better still, "how do i become a good writer?"
(i always say, i don't know. when i become one, i'll get back to ya...)
i replied to one of these the other day and while i was writing, i thought that maybe i could post this on the blog and not have to rewrite it so often. that or at least have something new to use for today's post.

either way, here it is.

mike asked "I was wondering if you have advice that you could give me about writting my own comic."

hi, mike~!

good to hear from you--hope things are good!

here's what i always ask/tell people when they ask me about writing; what's your story?
now, i don't mean that I wanna know the story, i wanna make sure that YOU know the story.
'cause the story is the boss.

people only read (comic books, novels, short stories, etc.) for one thing--they want a good story. as a writer, you are there to be in service of the story, you are responsible for presenting that story in the most interesting and unique way you know how. it should be clear and it should feel new. that's your job. the story is the boss.

so, i ask you--do you know your story? are you ready to tell it? is it a COMPLETE story (with a beginning, a middle, and and end)?

that's what you gotta know.

it also helps to take a writing or story structure class, not a whole semester, but if you check out the adult ed or continuing ed flyer that your local high school or community college sends out, you can probably find a night or weekend course that covers the basics.

so--figure out your story.
don't let it be too long or overwhelming.
make sure it's a complete story.
and then just have fun!

hope that helps!
good luck!


here are a bunch of cool pictures that i was sent the other day and thought i'd share.
i dig this first one 'cause i'd love to lean against water.


right after i mentioned him and his wonderful new comic the other day, kelly sent me this cover to amber atoms #3--so you'll know what to look for!

have a nice day!
smell ya later!