I've finally finished re-lettering and revising the first FEMME NOIR serial, "Cold, Dead Fingers."
All of the dialogue has been re-lettered with the custom font that Nate Piekos designed for me ("Port Nocturne"), and much of it has been slightly re-written. I think it looks and reads much better now in fact, if it's been a while since you've read that epic, why not go back and read it again? I think you'll find that the flow is somewhat improved.
It took me way too long... but it's done now.
Let's see... what's next on the "to do" list...?
Backstage at SUPERNATURAL CRIME.
Made a few small revisions to the website this weekend:
I've redesigned the COMICS index page to load faster and be more consistent with the design of the site.
I've finally uploaded the CREATORS page with pix and bios of the criminal masterminds behind the comics on the site.
I've re-lettered and updated a few more pages of the original FEMME NOIR story, "Cold, Dead Fingers," to bring it in line with the more recent strips.
And I've archived the first month's worth of these JOURNAL entries. If you want to go back and read them, you'll find a link at the bottom of the page.
Now... I have to redesign the PULP fiction section which I've never been happy with upload the rest of Ron's BROTHER GRIM sagas and those NIGHTMARK prose stories, and get a new message board up and running. Once those tasks are completed, the site will be pretty much where I want it, and I'll be able to completely concentrate on the comics... which is the whole damned point of this endeavor, after all.
Hope somebody out there appreciates all this...
Changing the subject entirely...
Artist Steve Lieber, whom I was fortunate enough to have worked with back in my short-lived professional comics editing days, was kind enough to send me a copy of his and Max Allan Collins' ON THE ROAD TO PERDITION graphic novella, SANCTUARY. I'm a huge fan of Collins in general and the PERDITION books in particular, and I liked the previous volume, OASIS, drawn by the legendary Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez, a great deal. But I liked this one better. Steve's art just seems to perfectly suit this kind of material earthy, gritty, unromanticized. It's perfection itself. He tells me that on the third volume, he'll be inking Garcia-Lopez, and my mouth waters at the thought
Do yourself a favor. Pick it up.
The Wings of Victory fly at night.
Well, many of the supporting characters in the FEMME NOIR strip are clearly homages to various classic characters and character types. Police detective Rod Riley, for instance, is a pretty specific homage to another trenchcoat-wearing comic strip police detective. This week's new arrival in the SUPERNATURAL CRIME universe and entry in the pulp culture homage sweepstakes is Don Devlin, The Midnight Eagle, a/k/a the Flying Spy.
Now the Eagle isn't a take-off on any specific character, but rather, he's a homage to an entire genre, a genre now pretty much a part of distant pop culture history: the aviator hero.
Flying is taken far too much for granted today. Aside from the persistent threat of terrorism and the risk that entails, there's really no adventure in flying anymore, never mind romance. But that wasn't always the case, and from the Twenties up through the Sixties, America had a major love affair with its aviators real and fictional. Lindburgh, Earhart, Yeagher... and Captain Midnight.
If the Midnight Eagle evokes any particular characters, it's probably Captain Midnight and Blackhawk, both products of WW II. The good Captain was a radio and TV star who also had a successful run as a comic book hero for Fawcett Publications (home to another famous Captain, a guy named Marvel), and Blackhawk was the star of Quality's MILITARY COMICS for years (he and his wingmen are owned by DC Comics nowadays). But there's a bit of pulp hero G-8 in there as well the WW I ace who fought the Huns and their secret weapons scientific and supernatural high above enemy territory for a good long run.
We don't really get to find out much about the Eagle in this story he's shown up too late for anything but the climactic gunfight, I'm afraid but I've got plans to bring him back someday, and we'll all learn a lot more about him then. In fact, the tentative title of his first solo adventure is: "Mission: Frankenstein!"
Hope you enjoy!
Ooohh the colors, man! The colors!
Starting with Episode 16 of "An Eye For A Spy," Brandon J. Carr will be taking over the coloring of the FEMME NOIR weekly strip.
Brandon is a talented and highly regarded artist, and one of the creators associated with the new, very cool, very promising PV Comics subscription site. In fact, instead of writing a bio for him, I'll crib his from the PV site: Brandon J. Carr entered the world of webcomics with a bang in late 2001 with his surprisingly popular strip Between The Panels. Brandon followed up his grueling four-strip Between The Panels run with Crater City with Jeff Kidd in a format that allowed him to experiment with various styles and presentations. Brandon is currently creating tangential toons in his strip Iago's Scrambled Tales for PVComics and is the artist for Chuck Morrison's Quantum.
In theory, bringing Brandon aboard as the new NOIR colorist will free up more time for the Crimeboss to concentrate on his writing and ultimately generate a lot more creative content for SUPERNATURAL CRIME. I have a list of writing projects as long as my arm to get to, and while coloring the strips may not have been the only thing keeping me from the keyboard hell, it wasn't even the biggest thing I now have one less excuse for not getting writing done.
So welcome aboard, Brandon! I promise it won't be boring!
Back when we had a SUPERNATURAL CRIME Forum (and we probably will again, eventually) I tried to post a scan of a particularly lurid pulp magazine cover every week or so. Looking back at those sordid covers was a peek into a different world a politically incorrect, gloriously unhibited, romantic and thrilling world and people seemed to enjoy seeing the gems I managed to unearth.
Well, this guy has that beat: Pulp of the Day.
I repeat: I love the Internet.
Bitch. Moan. Whine.
For the past week, I've had really frustratingly bad insomnia, and just plain haven't felt well. I'm tired, uncomfortable and damned grouchy. (I resolved not to be "grumpy." I didn't say a thing about "grouchy.")
Nonetheless, I'm determined to get some work done, and I have. Yesterday I put in nearly a full twelve hours working on the script that I promised a special guest artist he would have back in October. I still only managed to get it about half-done, but I think it's turning out okay. Hopefully the artist and you guys will like it.
Only about half done, though.
This past weekend, I also managed to line up a very talented artist to take over the coloring duties on the weekly FEMME NOIR strip theoretically, this will enable me to spend more time and concentration on my writing. Expect an "official" announcement later this week.
Yesterday I picked up Dan Simmons' latest "Joe Kurtz" novel, HARD AS NAILS,at Borders. I really enjoyed the first two novels in this series, HARDCASE and HARD FREEZE, so my expectations are high. We'll see.
Man, I hope I sleep tonight.
The Noir Web.
I got a great e-mail today from Frisco shutterbug Jim Ferreira, who specializes in "film noir photography." He had some nice things to say about SUPERNATURAL CRIME, and wanted me to know that he'd added a link back here from his site. So, I point-and-clicked my way over to his webpage to check out his work& and was completely blown away. I think the Moll and I are going to have to take a trip to the city on the Bay when we're ready to have some formal portraits shot this guy's the real deal. Classic Hollywood-styled glamour and choice noir atmosphere& the man truly evokes a lost era with his camera.
So there I was, drooling at this guy's camera work, when I decide to check out some of the other links on his site and there I found a link to Eddie Muller's NOIR CITY home page.
Now, Muller wrote one of the best books on film noir I've ever read DARK CITY: THE LOST WORLD OF FILM NOIR. And this Christmas past, the Moll treated me to the oversized, utterly gorgeous collection of classic crime movie poster art: THE ART OF NOIR& also put together by this Muller guy. The mug knows his way down those black alleys, and if you want to find out more about this sordid genre of darkness and despair& well, Muller's the man to go to.
I love the Internet. I really do.