Got a lot going on lately, and, frankly, I'm a bit off my game.
As the journal entry below may suggest, my full-time employment situation is rather volatile right now, and the resulting uncertainty and insecurity has my mind going off in all directions at once, while I try to determine my priorities.
It ain't easy.
If I'm late on a SUPERNATURAL CRIME update, bear with me I may be working on something else that has temporarily taken priority. Or I might be curled up on the sofa in a fetal position, moaning about the unfairness of life& or I may just be blowing off work for a few hours with a beer and a B-movie in order to unwind a twisted psyche you never know.
But SUPERNATURAL CRIME and my other comics projects online and print will not be neglected, and as long as I am able, I'll be keep them going. I just may miss an update here and there.
In other news: In a month or so, in addition to the revamp of ATOMIC PULP as a personal site (incorporating my resume and graphic design portfolio), I'll be launching another, all new website.
www.gravediggercomic.com will be devoted to promoting the upcoming GRAVEDIGGER comic book from Rorschach Entertainment, and other, future GRAVEDIGGER projects. There will be preview art, downloads and other goodies. Hopefully, the site will go live by mid-April. I think you'll like it I'm very proud of how the design is coming.
I may be looking for a job soon. If anyone hears of anything, drop me a line.
Early warnings ...
Hopefully, before the end of May, the ATOMIC PULP website will be transformed. It will no longer be a dusty archive for those Mills webcomics that no longer update, instead, it will be combined with my so-called "home page" (currently known as Big Bad Monkey.net which will disappear completely; the monkey thing just confuses people) and AP will become the official website for all things Christopher Mills.
This site will remain unchanged (although I do hope to get that Pulp Fiction section going). PERILS ON PLANET X the episodes that are completed, anyway will remain archived at the AP site, but I'll probably be taking the GRAVEDIGGER story off-line, since it will be in-print later this year. The new ATOMIC PULP will feature some of my short fiction, a portfolio of some of my design work, and a complete checklist of my published comic books. There will also be periodic updates about any new projects that might be coming out.
So, if you want to pay your respects to the ATOMIC PULP that is, before it's the ATOMIC PULP that was, you'll want to get over there in the next month or so especially if you want to read GRAVEDIGGER: "The Scavengers" again while it's still free.
You've been warned.
The Bastard's Back.
I've just signed a contract to have the online crime comic I did with Rick Burchett last year, GRAVEDIGGER: "The Scavengers," reprinted by Rorschach Entertainment as a 32 page, B&W comic book one-shot. This will be a high-quality print version of the online strip with a new cover by Rick, and is intended to hit the stands hard this Fall. Rorschach is also publishing a three-issue pulp adventure series that I co-wrote with BROTHER GRIM scribe Ron Fortier. It's called CAPTAIN HAZZARD, "Python Men of the Lost City," and is scheduled for a Summer release.
If you're unfamiliar with GRAVEDIGGER, it's a hardboiled crime strip featuring professional thief "Digger" McCrae. "The Scavengers" is a violent caper, loaded with brutal action, sex, lies, and betrayal. McCrae himself is a heartless, ruthless bastard, and is nobody's role model. Oh, and he looks a little bit like the late Lee Marvin.
Even if you have read the story online, the print comic will still be worth picking up. Aside from the vastly better art reproduction, there will be some minor script and lettering changes throughout. The entire story will also be re-toned for B&W printing and to better show off Rick's amazing brushwork. There may even be a new pin-up or two, who knows?
GRAVEDIGGER has received the best reviews of anything I've ever done in comics, with enthusiastic write-ups from various online critics. I also happen to think that it represents some of Rick's best art ever, and that's saying something. I'm very pleased that it's going to see print and reach a new and different audience: hardcore comic book fans that might never otherwise read a "webcomic."
Oh, and speaking of the cold-blooded bastard ("Digger" McCrae, I mean) I'm working on another, brand-new GRAVEDIGGER adventure, with a different artist for a different venue. More details soon.
On a completely unrelated note:
This is for subscribers to the Port Nocturne Eclipse Newsletter: Every time I send out a newsletter, I get a half-dozen or so returned to me as "undeliverable." Please be aware that if your e-mail account bounces it back to me twice in a row due to spam blockers, over-quota accounts or any other reason, you will be removed from the mailing list. So, if you subscribed, but haven't been getting your updates, you may have to re-subscribe with a valid e-mail address to continue getting the mailings.
Being out of town last weekend, and having just survived a particularly challenging week at the day job, has put me a little behind schedule. Nothing serious, but I obviously missed the Friday update. Yesterday turned into errand day with the Moll, but I plan on spending this afternoon getting caught up with SUPERNATURAL CRIME matters, including uploading the next two BROTHER GRIM strips (they're drawn, and have been forever, I just need to re-letter them). Episode 5 of FEMME NOIR, "Chambers of Horror," is already up.
This past week, I acquired two awesome art books. One was It's A Man's World: Men's Adventure Magazines, the Postwar Pulps by Adam Parfrey, which features hundreds of cover scans from the men's adventure magazines of the Fifties through the Seventies. Lurid, outrageous, completely nonpolitically-correct, it's almost 300 pages of some of the greatest action illustration ever done. Highly recommended. (A lot of these covers show up here: Pulp of the Day.)
Also recommended is The Paperback Covers of Robert McGinnis, compiled by Art Scott and Dr. Wallace Maynard. McGinnis is one of my favorite illustrators of all time (he even painted many of the great James Bond movie posters), and although this book is aimed at collectors, with a complete checklist of the artist's covers, the volume includes over 250 reproductions of his paperback cover paintings covering a wide range of genres, from detectives to gothics to historical romances. It's astounding stuff.
I got a few e-mails about my MegaCon report (below). Apparently, I came across too positive and kiss-ass. What can I say? Everybody really was great, and it's the first and only, in my experience convention I've ever been to where nothing bad happened. Hell, I didn't even get lost trying to find my hotel and I always get lost looking for my hotel!
Is FEMME NOIR NeoPulp?
(Thanks to Grant for the link!)
Dropping names all over the place...
The Moll and I spent the weekend in Orlando, where we attended the MegaCon comic book convention. I've gone to the show for the last six or seven years, and each year it gets a little better, a little bigger, and lot more exhausting. Since I really didn't have anything to shill this year, I eschewed an Artists Alley table, and decided to go free range, roaming the floor, shopping and taking a little time to meet and converse with various people renewing some old acquaintances and making a few new ones.
Arriving early on Friday made all the difference. Even though it was a big crowd for a weekday, it was nothing compared to the surging sea of humanity that filled the cavernous Hall C on Saturday. I could actually stop and talk to creators for a few minutes without seriously inhibiting traffic or delaying the autograph seekers.
First off, the Moll and I ran into our pals from AC Comics, Mark and Stephanie Heike. We only had a few minutes before they had to run off to their table to finish setting up, but we managed to stop by and visit with them periodically over the rest of the show. Talented artists, both& and good people. I always enjoy hanging with them.
I spent some time talking to inker extraordinaire Andrew Pepoy. Andrew is another great guy (you'll be reading that phrase a lot in this account), and a top-flight ink monkey. I may even have persuaded him to ink one of the covers for the proposed FEMME NOIR miniseries. (Actually, he insisted. When you're talking Joe Staton pencils, it's not at all difficult to find eager embellishers!) And speaking of ink monkeys (and I mean that in the best possible way), I also managed to have a short conversation with CrossGen art director Rick Magyar who can sling that ink like nobody's business. Rick's another great guy, and one of my favorite inkers remember his inks on The Question? Things seem to be going well for him, and I'm hoping that we'll find an opportunity to work together on something someday (another phrase you'll probably be seeing here a lot).
While hanging around the CrossGen booth, I managed to visit briefly with Paul Pelletier, artist of CG's Negation and The War. Paul and I go way back we worked together for four or five years in the early 90's for an indy comics company called Alpha Productions and he's an extremely talented guy. His work at CG has raised his profile considerably, and I'm glad to see him doing so well.
I also finally met and spoke to Chuck Dixon, writer of the acclaimed CG pirate comic, El Cazador. Frankly, Chuck's probably my second favorite comics scribe of all time. (Don't feel bad though, Chuck the only name above yours on my list is the late, great Archie Goodwin.) I've always admired Chuck's ability to spin compelling adventure tales, loaded with two-fisted, gun-blazing action and yet rich with characterization (See: Evangeline, Airboy, Nightwing, etc.). He writes the kind of comics I love to read& and the kind I try to write. In the last year or so Dixon has said some nice things online about my writing on FEMME NOIR, and has even plugged this site in the pages of CrossGen's comics. It was great to finally meet the man, and share a few minutes talking comics and comics writing& probably the high point of my weekend.
I renewed my acquaintance with Brian Stelfreeze, who painted covers for my late, lamented NOIR Magazine about (God!) ten years ago. I hadn't seen or spoken to him in that time, but he was still as cool and friendly as ever. I'm hoping that we'll get to work together again someday& the man's a class act.
A few booths later, I picked up a copy of Thom Zahler's self-published graphic novel RAIDER (which I'd promised to buy from him last year), and complimented Bob Ingersoll on the great Star Trek novel he recently wrote with Tony Isabella, The Case of the Colonist's Corpse. It's a wonderful murder mystery set in the classic Trek universe, and if a guy like me who's sick to death of all things Trek liked it, I'm betting you will too.
I've never been starstruck by movie or TV stars, so as a rule, I'm generally not impressed by actors and actresses at comics conventions. But I have to say, there was one actor at MegaCon I was impressed by: the Beastmaster himself, Marc Singer. The Moll and I were just passing by his table when he leapt to his feet with a big smile, shook our hands and asked us how we were enjoying the show. Maybe because it was still early, and he hadn't faced the real crowds yet, but he seemed genuinely pleased to be there and meeting new people. He was pleasantly surprised when I mentioned that my favorite one of films was an obscure private eye movie he did for TV in the 80's, and almost seemed embarrassed to charge me for the signed photo (or maybe he's just a damned slick salesman). In any event, despite the posted signs saying that the celebs wouldn't pose for pictures, he noticed the Moll's camera and enthusiastically agreed to be photographed with me.
Christ, is he tall.
Anyway, I'd always liked him in B-movies and TV shows, and now I'm a real fan. He seemed very warm, genuine, and (here it comes again) a great guy.
Webcomics were represented by the indefatigable Steve Conley, who graciously provided me with the issues of Astounding Space Thrills I was missing, and Barry Gregory of 01 Comics, which offers downloadable comics at affordable prices, using BitPass. We spent a little time discussing the vast potential of online comics, and I had the feeling that we were all pioneers, blazing new trails and braving the new frontier. It was cool.
Ultimately, the Moll and I spent a few hours at the con on Friday and few more on Saturday, roaming the room. I spent way too much money, but I had a great time, and am looking forward to next year, when with luck I may have some new stuff of my own to shill...