TATTERS

Caliber Comics is re-releasing the graphic novel Tatters co-created by Aldin Baroza and me!

How ’bout that?

Tatters combines elements from the science fiction, Gothic, and political thriller genres to tell the story of an amnesiac drifter named Peter Collinson who makes some high-powered deep state players nervous as he struggles to recover his past with only haunting memories and what might just be the ghost of his real identity to guide him.

Sound cool? Want to know more?

Well, hey, you can order a copy here! If you do, could you also click here and let me know what you think?

That said, the reason I’ve gathered you all here today — besides hyping our graphic novel — is to give you a peak into what might have been for Tatters if things had only turned out a little bit differently.

ABOVE: Concept sketches for the Tatters graphic novel (LEFT to RIGHT): Peter Collinson, a.k.a Tatters; Clair Goodwin; Opal Chamberlain; the Director of Bureau of Public Management (BPM); the Amphitheater district from America’s new capitol New Columbia, CO. BELOW: Three pages from the Tatters graphic novel. All artwork (c) Aldin Baroza.

You see, two years after originally releasing Tatters, Caliber’s publisher, Gary Reed, asked Aldin and I if we would consider adapting our graphic novel into a series for a shared Caliber Universe. We liked the idea, however, by this time, Aldin had transitioned into animation and storyboards and was too busy to accept, but gave his blessing for me to adapt Tatters as I saw fit.

To work in the CU, however, the new Tatters needed to be set in the present (the graphic novel takes place in 2050) and each story had to run as a four-issue mini-series. These were easy fixes, but Gary also asked if I’d give the new incarnation of Tatters a mask. Again, no problem, but I knew for a fact that Gary hated masks. I always meant to ask him the reason for this change, but kept forgetting.

Anyway, I got busy writing scripts while Gary handled finding artists, and he found one heck of a penciller with Jason Yungbluth (Mad Magazine, This is Deep Fried). Jason’s early concept sketches hit just the right shadowy and intense note, even when he inserted the occasional funny comment or sent me a piece of joke art to lampoon the series like in the accompanying examples. I love sarcastic, self-effacing humor, and so does Jason. Life is too short to take yourself too seriously.

Things only got better when Jason’s pencil pages for the first issue arrived in the mail. I was thrilled how he took my script and ran with it. Somehow Jason topped himself with the second issue, and as I started looking forward to seeing how issue three was going to look, I let myself think we might just have something special on our hands.

“Look out Image Comics! Here comes Tatters!”

Rather my premonition was right or not, the world will never know. The late Nineties was a tough time for the comics industry. After enjoying nearly-unprecedented success for over a decade, sales had been plummeting for almost fives years with no correction in sight, which played a big part in Gary cancelling his CU plans, and, with them, the Tatters reboot.

However, I could never shrug my shoulders and just file the new Tatters away. I keep copies of Jason’s concept sketches and two issues in my convention portfolio, and, when I show them, people almost always react positively. I also incorporate them in the comics writing class I teach and include a few of the sketches and pages in my book Comics Writing: Communicating with Comic Books, but with each passing year the odds the four-issue story ever being completed seems more remote. Now, with the relaunch of the original graphic novel, I would like to finally share all of Jason’s wonderful pencil work with you.

Clicking on the links below will take you to Jason’s concept sketches and the pencils for issues one and two. There is also a link of three pages Aldin drew from the reboot’s second issue script, which provides an interesting take on how these two artists handled the same material.

Concept Sketches               Issue One               Issue Two             Reboot Aldin Bonus Pages

 

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DRACULA Graphic Novel Now Available Through Diamond

Face-front! The Dracula graphic novel from Caliber Entertainment and adapted by me, Robert Schneiders, and Craig Taillerfer, and featuring S. Clarke Hawbaker‘s classic cover, can now be ordered through Diamond Distribution. This is the first full and faithful adaptation of Bram Stoker’s classic novel and his short story “Dracula’s Guest” in any medium. You can read more and place an order here: https://www.previewsworld.com/Catalog/JUL171613.

CLICK HERE TO CHECK OUT THE DRACULA PROMO TRAILER!

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Lovecraft’s Worlds Available Thru Caliber Comics!

Both volumes of my H. P. Lovecraft adaptations are now available through Caliber Comics!

Previously available through TransFuzion Publishing,  Volume One features four stories drawn by the awesome Octavio Cariello:

 

 

 

 

Volume Two features incredible artwork by Aldin Baroza, Sergio Cariello, Rob Davis, Christopher Jones, and Wayne Reid on these five stories:

 

 

All stories also available in individual graphic novels with additional editorial material!

 

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COUNTDOWN TO CRCC III: FEBRUARY 3

What’s this?! It’s the day before Cedar Rapids Comics Con and you’re getting TWO reasons to stop by Table 135?  All my Lovecraft books will be on sale plus ALL PRINTS are selling for $2! THAT’S CRA-CRA!  Just imagine how wild and fun things will be tomorrow when you stop by to see me and Justin Beahm!  What will happen? Tune in (actually come see us) tomorrow to find out! We’re gonna have us a funky good time!

 

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COUNTDOWN TO CRCC III: FEBRUARY 2

We’re getting short! Only two more days until Cedar Rapids Comic Con! And if you stop by Table 135, look at all this cool stuff (and more) you can buy! Pretty cool, eh?

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COUNTDOWN TO CRCC III: FEBRUARY 1

The countdown to Cedar Rapids Comic Con continues with today’s awesome reason to stop by my table (135) this Saturday! Yes, it’s time to do the “write” thing!

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COUNTDOWN TO CRCC III: JANUARY 31

We’re one day closer to Cedar Rapids Comic Con and your meeting Marion/CR’s own Justin Beahm at Table 135! Woo-hoo!

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COUNTDOWN TO CRCC III: JANUARY 30

All right, let’s kick things off for Cedar Rapids Comic Con! Reason #1 you should check out Table 135 this Saturday!

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Steven Philip Jones at Cedar Rapids Comic Con III

It’s time for Cedar Rapids Comic Con again, and you can bet your Quigley I’m going to be there!

Last year’s CRCC was a huge success, and CRCC III is going to be bigger and better with more vendors, programs, games, and a larger venue at the downtown Doubletree Hotel and Convention Complex.

And that ain’t all!

The totally incredible Justice Corps of Iowa and Iowa’s own comics maestros S. Clarke Hawbaker (Table 88), Phil Hester (Table 136), and Eric Gapstur (Table 137) will be there. So will Cedar Rapids’ own Steven Philip Jones — where have I heard that name before? — and I’ll be selling my books, graphic novels, prints, and CDs, as well as giving away free candy. I’ll also be joined at Table 135 by local writer, filmmaker, and actor Justin Beahm, and I’ll be handing out fliers for Sportability of Iowa adapted sports program and the Midwest Geeky Veterans Facebook group.

COMICS AND BOOKS AND CDS … OH MY!

You can also bet I’ll be selling my graphic novels, books, and CDs, including the brand new comics anthology Heroes and Horrors! If you haven’t heard about it yet, H&H gives you nine rarely-seen or never-before-published stories that I’ve had the good fortune to create over my career with a host of wonderful artists. With a foreword by Phil Hester, this anthology gives you your money’s worth in entertainment and then some!

“HEY, THAT’S JUSTIN BEAHM!”

I’m proud to announce that “personal friend of mine” Justin Beahm will be joining me at my table this year. Besides being a lifelong film fan and lover of all things October, Justin is a writer, filmmaker, actor, and all around good guy, not to mention the host of one of the best podcasts going, The Justin Beahm Radio Hour. Justin’s articles have appeared in a number of magazines, including Fangoria and Famous Monsters of Filmland, and he has directed and/or produced a number of projects for Anchor Bay and Scream Factory, but you might know him best from films like Silk, Demonica, No Solicitors, and Sharknado. I also have it on good authority that he is a huge fan of a certain 1958 Plymouth Fury that is bad to the bone. Justin will be selling magazines and blu-rays along with a limited number of hand-signed/numbered posters for his landmark 2012 Halloween documentary You Can’t Kill the Boogeyman, but he loves to meet fans and talk movies, so please stop by and say hi. You’ll be glad you did.

 LAST CALL ON PRINTS!

Just like last year, I’ll be selling prints featuring either cover art from some of my comics, portfolio pieces of some my characters, or artwork produced for proposals I’ve worked on. Unlike last year, though, ALL PRINTS are being sold for the ridiculously low-low price of $2.00! If you’ve been eyeing any of these masterpieces by the likes of Octavio Cariello, Christopher Jones, and S. Clarke Hawbaker for your collection, now is the time to pounce, because it’s first-come-first-served and when they’re gone, they’re gone.

SPORTABILITY OF IOWA

Adapt! Overcome! Sportability of Iowa is a nonprofit organization that provides sports and recreation programs to help people with physical disabilities enjoy an active lifestyle. Basketball! Tennis! Sport camps! And more! Interested? Drop by my table to find out more about Sportability, or check out the Sportability of Iowa website!

 

MIDWEST GEEKY VETERANS

Midwest Geeky Veterans (MGV) is a Facebook group for geeky U.S. Military Veterans who live in the Midwest to share information on geek conventions and events, discuss geeky news and interests that are relevant to the veteran community or intersect with the U.S. veteran identity and experience, and to socialize with other geeky Midwestern veterans generally. You can pick up a flier and find out more at my table. Ain’t that right, Colonel O’Neill?

 

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2016 Writing Review

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times … ”

Yes, it was, Chuck.  2016, I mean.

Our incredible daughter graduated from college this year, and we couldn’t be more proud of her. Meanwhile, if you had bet me last January that my favorite football team would win Super Bowl L and my favorite baseball team would win its first World Series in 108 years, I would have taken that wager (while hoping like crazy that I’d lose).  My alma mater’s football team went 12-0 in the regular season before all this, so 2016 was the best of times for me as a sports fan.

In other ways 2016 has been the worst of times, and one of the cruelest ways was with the untimely death of Gary Reed.  As I’ve written about here and elsewhere, Gary was an outstanding father and husband, a generous friend and mentor to many people, a marvelous teacher, and a wonderful writer.  He was also the respected founder and publisher of Caliber Comics, one of the premiere independent comic book companies over the past thirty years, one I have been proud to be associated with since the early Nineties.

In 2016, Gary was the publisher of all my comics and books, all of which he had a hand in the development.

It was Gary’s idea to reissue my Sherlock Holmes pastiches and H. P. Lovecraft adaptations in individual graphic novels and produce the anthologies H. P. Lovecraft Early Stories and Sherlock Holmes On the Air.

Gary also took it upon himself to commission the spiffy new cover for my Comics Writing book along with the cover and interior artwork for an updated edition of H. P. Lovecraft’s Reanimator Tales.

 

I mentioned in my 2015 Writing Review that my biggest project of the year would be an original screenplay, Max Q, which I completed, and, thanks to Gary, is being represented by Caliber Entertainment.

 

 

My proudest and most personal project of 2016, Heroes and Horrors, was also the most unexpected and saddest. This anthology of short and previously-unpublished comics stories produced over the course of my career was not even on my radar for most of 2016, even though Gary, a fan of anthologies, recommended I do it many times over the past few years. Long story short, I finally agreed to do it last summer, although if I had known how difficult and humbling an experience I was letting myself in for I might never have taken Gary’s advice.  I finished assembling the anthology, which I dedicated to Gary, and sent it to him on October 1, the day before he passed away.

 

As for the future, if things go according to plan, an original Holmes pastiche will appear in a tribute book for Gary. I have also agreed to adapt my audio script, “The Case of the Petty Curses,” into a short story for an upcoming anthology for a British publisher, and my script for “A Case of Unfinished Business” might be appearing in another of this company’s anthologies. I am happy to say that Caliber Comics will be moving ahead, and, although it is too early to go into any details, it appears likely I will have more writing projects coming out or being represented by them in 2017 and beyond.

That’s it for 2016. Here’s hoping 2017 will be more better than worse.

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