3 Reasons To Buy My Books This Wednesday

It’s Wednesday (or should be when it posts, at least somewhere). If you are following this blog, chances are that means you are going to be in a comic book store.

While you’re there, why not pick up GRAVEYARD OF EMPIRES #2 (In Stores Now), or pre-order DECOY (Diamond Order Code SEP111131), by OGN from Kickstart Comics, or the new TPB of my Image series, FEARLESS  (Diamond Order Code SEP110399)

As an incentive, here’s 1) a first look at the 4th (and final) GRAVEYARD cover:

2) A never before seen DECOY page drawn by Andy MacDonald and colored by Nick Filardi:

And 3) PJ Holden’s (Black and White) cover for the Fearless trade:

FEARLESS TRADE IS COMING - Preview on ifanboy

FEARLESS, my Image mini-series with co-creators David Roth (writing) and PJ Holden (art) is finally being collected in trade paperback.  It will be out November 2nd, and you can pre-order it this week in Previews.  You’ll also be able to order DECOY, my new Kickstart OGN with Andy MacDonald in this month’s previews as well.  More on that soon.


FEARLESS is the story of a vigilante born with a crippling anxiety disorder who needs an anti-fear serum not only to fight crime, but to function.  But what happens when his drug supply runs out?  You can find out in the trade.  iFanboy has a 9 page preview up, and here’s a little bonus art for my tumblr followers, since I evidently hit a pretty significant (and quite frankly mind-bogglingly high number today):

It’s always a bit strange to have older work come out - I almost never re-read old stuff.  Without giving anything away, things have heated up again on the Hollywood front with FEARLESS, so I’ve had to go back and read the issues to write a treatment or six with Dave, and I think it holds up.  Trust me that’s not an easy thing for me to say - when I look at anything I published all I generally see in the writing is the flaws.

But this is the second time in the past year that hard to find work is finally seeing print (the first being Teen Titans: Cold Case by Sean Gordon Murphy).  As with Teen Titans: Cold Case, what makes me okay with older material coming out is the work that my collaborators did.

FEARLESS is only the second time I worked with a co-writer (the first being with Joe Kelly) on Supergirl, with Ale Garza on art chores. 

(yes, that’s blood on Supergirl’s hands, but no, she’s not having her period)

FEARLESS is different than Supergirl because, unlike the latter where I was flattered to be asked by Eddie Berganza and Joe Kelly to help create a new origin for Kara Zor El, with FEARLESS it was my call to bring in writing help.

I brought David Roth in to help with what was only the second creator-owned series I wrote because he is flat out one of the best writers I know.  I knew this from both his writing (David was one of the best TV and film writers, and now one of the most creative ad execs you’ve never heard of) and the notes he’s been giving me for free since we met over a decade ago.  One of his many strong suits is story structure, which has always been the hardest thing for me to nail about writing.  I think FEARLESS has the best story out of anything I’ve been a part of.

But the real treat here is PJ Holden.  He’s the UK’s best kept secret.

Hailing from Northern Ireland, he’s best known for his work on 2000 AD and Judge Dredd:

But he’s got mad range, the best example of which is his “Happy Valley Run” on one of my favorite series, Garth Ennis’ Battlefields:

PJ brought more to the book than I can talk about it this space, and his writing speaks for itself.  His costume design I think is the best a character I’ve written has ever had, creator-owned or not.  But the hardest thing he did is visible in the preview pages on iFanboy.

When the protagonist takes the fear drug, the worlds seems less dangerous.  Buildings he leaps from seems closer to the ground, criminals less menacing.  But when he runs out…the reverse is also true.  PJ brings what it’s like to be afraid to life.

The final thing that makes me excited about with FEARLESS coming out in trade is  that it’s by far the thing I’m most asked about by fans who weren’t able to get all the issues.  I literally have so few of the singles I can’t sell them, so clearly it struck a chord.  Whether you had some of drug that is FEARLESS in the past and are craving more, or you are looking to get hooked on something new, I really hope you’ll give FEARLESS a try.  Check out the above art and the preview on iFanboy - the first taste is always free.

San Diego Comic-Con

Well, if you read this blog, or are a Facebook friend, or follow my Twitter, chances are you not only know what San Diego Comic-Con is, you’ll probably be there.

I’m going to spend most of my time signing copies of GRAVEYARD OF EMPIRES and just about everything else I’ve written with Paul Azaceta at table #2729 , part of the Image Comics booth.  I’m going to be there from Wednesday to Sunday, with occasional breaks.  If you don’t see me, @ or dm me on twitter, and I’ll run back from whatever action figures I’m staring to chat with you.

Right now I’m drooling over this Marvel Universe Sentinel:

I will also be doing at least one panel for KICKSTART COMICS, where I’ll discuss RIFT RAIDERS as well as officially announce DECOY, my new graphic novel with Andy MacDonald (act surprised).  The panel is Thursday, July 21st 5:30 - 6:30 PM in Room 4.  Besides me, Jimmy Palmiotti, Joshua Williamson, Tony Lee and a host of other creators will be there.  The panel will be moderated by actress and new comics creator Alexa Vega, the daughter from Spy Kids.  The good news is that she has grown up to be a beautiful young woman.  The bad news is she’s married.  But it’s Hollywood, so hope springs eternal;)

If you are a first time #SDCC attendee, I wrote a guide on my Script Shark blog for what writers (particularly aspiring ones) can hope to expect from the con.  There are plenty of guides for surviving Comic-Con (I particularly like Jon Davis’), but mine is focused on what I’ve learned, which is to try to limit your expectations.  At the same time, I try to keep it positive, suggesting ways to maximize your networking opportunities without overstepping your bounds.  Basically, I’m trying to save others from some of the mistakes I’ve made.  Like hitting on celebrities on Tumblr.

I first heard of Joshua Williamson when he I was doing a comics panel for New York Comic-Con a few years ago.  It was a memorable panel for three reasons.  One, it was my first. 
Two, despite having Jay Faerber (Noble Causes) and Jim Valentino (Image co-founder) on the panel, 90% of the people were there to see Claudio Sanchez, who was at the time a comics newcomer, more known for his band Coheed and Cambria.  (I’ve since gotten know Claudio and his lovely wife.  Without ruining his rock’n’roll image, he’s the exact opposite of what you’d expect from a celebrity doing comics: he has a deep love for comics and talent for creating them, and he’s a down-to-earth, super nice guy).
The third reason was Josh.  He wasn’t there, but Jim showed a preview of his book, Dear Dracula, about a kid who write to Dracula instead of Santa Claus.  It was one of those “I wish I’d thought about it first ideas”, and as I found out later, it was well-executed too.
Josh has since gone on to do a number of creator-owned books like Necessary Evil (which my friend and screenwriter Jonathan Davis was adapting for Cartoon Network), write for Marvel and DC, and help launch Kickstart Comics with Mirror, Mirror alongside my book RIFT RAIDERS (yes, only my books get the ALL CAPS treatment).
I don’t know what Xenoholics is about, but knowing Josh it’s a great high concept that he’ll write the shit out of.  When you are ordering Issue 3 of GRAVEYARD OF EMPIRES for October, make sure to pre-order it.
(teaser is from BLEEDING COOL)

I first heard of Joshua Williamson when he I was doing a comics panel for New York Comic-Con a few years ago.  It was a memorable panel for three reasons.  One, it was my first. 

Two, despite having Jay Faerber (Noble Causes) and Jim Valentino (Image co-founder) on the panel, 90% of the people were there to see Claudio Sanchez, who was at the time a comics newcomer, more known for his band Coheed and Cambria.  (I’ve since gotten know Claudio and his lovely wife.  Without ruining his rock’n’roll image, he’s the exact opposite of what you’d expect from a celebrity doing comics: he has a deep love for comics and talent for creating them, and he’s a down-to-earth, super nice guy).

The third reason was Josh.  He wasn’t there, but Jim showed a preview of his book, Dear Dracula, about a kid who write to Dracula instead of Santa Claus.  It was one of those “I wish I’d thought about it first ideas”, and as I found out later, it was well-executed too.

Josh has since gone on to do a number of creator-owned books like Necessary Evil (which my friend and screenwriter Jonathan Davis was adapting for Cartoon Network), write for Marvel and DC, and help launch Kickstart Comics with Mirror, Mirror alongside my book RIFT RAIDERS (yes, only my books get the ALL CAPS treatment).

I don’t know what Xenoholics is about, but knowing Josh it’s a great high concept that he’ll write the shit out of.  When you are ordering Issue 3 of GRAVEYARD OF EMPIRES for October, make sure to pre-order it.

(teaser is from BLEEDING COOL)

Sales are low enough now that we can all clam FOR REAL that no one is looking (or buying). So, …where does that put RIGHT now…My opinion? It puts us all — creator, publisher, reader, retailer — in the best possible place. Because we have nothing to lose. Because we have no other choice. And that’s fuckin’ freedom, bitches. That’s what we wanted all along, wasn’t it?

-Joe Casey, from “the back matter” to Butcher Baker The Righteous Maker #3

Why did I pick that quote?  Well, in part it’s to give a little bit of press to Joe, who was nice enough to include an ad for GRAVEYARD OF EMPIRES in his new book.  I’d probably pimp his book anyway, because Butcher Baker The Righteous Maker is one of the freshest, most enjoyable comics on the stands. 

Butcher Baker is starts with superhero called out of retirement from Plato’s Retreat by Jay Leno and Dick Cheney in order to blow up a prison full of super-villains.  I don’t know how it ends, but so far it’s playing out my favorite staple of 70’s movies like Cannonball Run - a hick highway patrolman in a high speed chase with an arrogant trucker across America.  How has this never been in a comic before?

But the plot, even if I could do it justice, is not what makes this book special.  Butcher Baker isn’t a failed movie pitch or the work of some self-hating writer who’d rather be doing crime or sci-fi but is stuck writing superheros.  What makes Butcher Baker great is that it’s unabashedly a comic book.  It’s not afraid to embrace the form or the genre and stick up it’s middle finger to anyone who has a problem with that.

And that is pure Joe Casey.  When I first heard of Joe Casey, I didn’t like him.  He did a column on Newsarama where he bragged about how he was different from other comic book creators, because he was good looking and in a band.

When I first met Joe Casey, I also didn’t like him.  It wasn’t just the fact he wore sunglasses indoors, all the time, for no apparent reason.  Or that he would swagger into Meltdown Comics in LA with Grant Morrison, literally pointing out all the crap books on the shelves (loud enough for creators to hear).  And, when I introduced myself, and mentioned that I’d written my first book (GROUNDED), he said…oh yeah, that had great art.  To a writer, that’s the equivalent of being told you have a nice personality.

It wasn’t long before I realized that all that was just Joe Casey being something most people in LA are not - real.  That there’s virtually no one who has a deeper love for the medium than he does.  And that in fact if you do earned his respect, he can be deeply generous to you as a creator.

(If you haven’t already, I highly urge you not only pick up his books, but check out The Basement Tapes, a back and forth he and fellow comic book genius Matt Fraction did on Comic Book Resources about the comics industry.  I dare you to find a more honest dialogue about what it’s like to write comics in the modern era).

Okay, so big deal - Joe’s a nice guy underneath his sunglasses and he writes both cool comics and comic commentary.  What does the above quote mean?

What I took it to mean is that, on the surface, it appears to be a pretty shitty time to be in comic books, whether as a creator, a reader a critic - whatever.  Sales are down, and big empty crossovers are fighting over what scraps are left.

But (and Joe goes into greater detail in the back of Butcher Baker about this), whenever the industry is in a downturn, that’s when people take risks, and that’s when good work gets done.  Just think of what dire straights Marvel was in before Joe Quesada et al took over, for example.

But with The Big Two now both wholly owned subsidiaries of multinational corporations, it’s now up to those of us doing indie books to take the risks.  I’d like to think I’m doing that with GRAVEYARD OF EMPIRES - Afghanistan isn’t as easy a sell as a planet where guys with green rings get to recite poetry. 

Regardless of the merits of my work, I’m in good company at Image Comics.  It’s not just Butcher Baker.  It’s The Walking Dead.  It’s Chew.  It’s Echoes, NonPlayer, Shinku, Undying Love, Screamland, Blue Estate and at least another half-dozen books I can name.  Books that are not only good, but books that are selling well. 

It’s an exciting time to be in comics, and in particular it’s an exciting time to be doing the kind of comics that Joe does and I hope Paul Azaceta and I are doing.  I hope you’ll come along for the ride.  In the meantime…

ISSUE FOUR OF BUTCHER BAKER IS OUT TODAY.  PICK IT THE FUCK UP!

Graveyard of Empires takes a cue from fellow Image creator Robert Kirkman’s massively successful franchise, The Walking Dead, using a character-driven approach over the typical shock-and-awe tactics of most zombie fiction…Sable shows maturity and restraint, allowing himself and collaborator Paul Azaceta ample time to introduce their gritty, realistic setting and characters, before revealing the true conflict at the heart of their horror story.

The first (and probably last) time I’ve ever been accused of either “maturity” or “restraint”, from another great review of GRAVEYARD OF EMPIRES by Jason Wilkins on Broken Frontier.
TOTAL SELLOUT!
I’m very happy to announce that in less than 24 hours, the 1st issue of GRAVEYARD OF EMPIRES has completely sold out from the distributor.  If you aren’t able to get a copy from your retailer, I’m happy to say you can ask them to order the 2nd printing of issue 1, the variant cover of which is featured above.  The official press announcement is below.
I really don’t want this blog to be about pimping GRAVEYARD OF EMPIRES 24/7, but I’m still overwhelmed by the attention the book is getting.  I’ll still talk about it - I’m hoping to link to some nice reviews, interviews and the like - but I promise I’ll get back to talking about other comics, my trip to China, art etc.
There’s too many people for me to thank in one post, but for now, if you are someone that’s helped publish, promote, reviewed and most importantly read a copy (one that you’ve hopefully paid for:), I can’t tell you how much Paul and I appreciate your support.  The bar has been set pretty high by the response to the first issue, and I promise that both our priorities are to keep making better and better issues as the series moves along.

Official Press Release
Berkeley, CA – 16 June 2011 – The trials and dangers that occur  within the borders of Afghanistan seem like a world away to most western  comic readers, but the new Image Comics miniseries GRAVEYARD OF EMPIRES  has immediately hit home with fans and critics. In fact, this first  issue by former GROUNDED co-creators, writer Mark Sable and artist Paul  Azaceta, has sold out at distribution level, prompting the publisher to  go back to press in order to meet the high demand.
"Doing a war book like GRAVEYARD OF EMPIRES was a real passion  project for Paul and I, and we appreciate Image, retailers and fans  taking a chance on it," said Sable. "It’s been particularly rewarding  hearing from those who served that we got the military aspects of the  story right. So far no word from the zombies on the accuracy of their  portrayal, though."
"We put a lot of work into the book, and I’m ecstatic to hear the  good news," added Azaceta. "Thanks to all, and I can’t wait for everyone  to see what’s up next!"
GRAVEYARD OF EMPIRES offers a daring story mixing very real  portrayals of the horrors of war with more traditional horror elements,  all rendered with the expert restraint of Azaceta’s ink. This first  issue is packed with story pages and Sable uses them all to let his  characters inhabit their dangerous world and develop before the reader’s  eye. The two have set forth to illustrate just what “insurgent math”  means on the front line of GRAVEYARD OF EMPIRES, and so far it isn’t  pretty.
The second printing of GRAVEYARD OF EMPIRES #1 (MAY118033), a 32-page  full color horror/survival comic book that will appeal to fans of The  Hurt Locker and THE WALKING DEAD, is priced at $2.99 and available for  re-order now with an in-store date of July 13, coinciding with the  release of GRAVEYARD OF EMPIRES #2 (MAY110509).

TOTAL SELLOUT!

I’m very happy to announce that in less than 24 hours, the 1st issue of GRAVEYARD OF EMPIRES has completely sold out from the distributor.  If you aren’t able to get a copy from your retailer, I’m happy to say you can ask them to order the 2nd printing of issue 1, the variant cover of which is featured above.  The official press announcement is below.

I really don’t want this blog to be about pimping GRAVEYARD OF EMPIRES 24/7, but I’m still overwhelmed by the attention the book is getting.  I’ll still talk about it - I’m hoping to link to some nice reviews, interviews and the like - but I promise I’ll get back to talking about other comics, my trip to China, art etc.

There’s too many people for me to thank in one post, but for now, if you are someone that’s helped publish, promote, reviewed and most importantly read a copy (one that you’ve hopefully paid for:), I can’t tell you how much Paul and I appreciate your support.  The bar has been set pretty high by the response to the first issue, and I promise that both our priorities are to keep making better and better issues as the series moves along.

Official Press Release

Berkeley, CA – 16 June 2011 – The trials and dangers that occur within the borders of Afghanistan seem like a world away to most western comic readers, but the new Image Comics miniseries GRAVEYARD OF EMPIRES has immediately hit home with fans and critics. In fact, this first issue by former GROUNDED co-creators, writer Mark Sable and artist Paul Azaceta, has sold out at distribution level, prompting the publisher to go back to press in order to meet the high demand.

"Doing a war book like GRAVEYARD OF EMPIRES was a real passion project for Paul and I, and we appreciate Image, retailers and fans taking a chance on it," said Sable. "It’s been particularly rewarding hearing from those who served that we got the military aspects of the story right. So far no word from the zombies on the accuracy of their portrayal, though."

"We put a lot of work into the book, and I’m ecstatic to hear the good news," added Azaceta. "Thanks to all, and I can’t wait for everyone to see what’s up next!"

GRAVEYARD OF EMPIRES offers a daring story mixing very real portrayals of the horrors of war with more traditional horror elements, all rendered with the expert restraint of Azaceta’s ink. This first issue is packed with story pages and Sable uses them all to let his characters inhabit their dangerous world and develop before the reader’s eye. The two have set forth to illustrate just what “insurgent math” means on the front line of GRAVEYARD OF EMPIRES, and so far it isn’t pretty.

The second printing of GRAVEYARD OF EMPIRES #1 (MAY118033), a 32-page full color horror/survival comic book that will appeal to fans of The Hurt Locker and THE WALKING DEAD, is priced at $2.99 and available for re-order now with an in-store date of July 13, coinciding with the release of GRAVEYARD OF EMPIRES #2 (MAY110509).

Comics is a medium where sound is conveyed visually, and it allowed Paul to create a landscape of cacophony.

Mark Sable in my interview with him and Paul Azaceta about  Graveyard of Empires (via talkingwithtim)

Please check out this interview with myself and Paul Azaceta by Tim O’Shea at Robot 6 on CBR.  One of the first major press pieces about GRAVEYARD OF EMPIRES.  The above quote is about the use of SFX by Paul in Graveyard and is one of the few intelligent things I had to say. 

Seriously, Tim was gracious enough to allow me to open the floor to questions from readers which I’ve been answering.  If you have any, post there and I promise to respond.

(via talkingwithtim)

Reblogged from talkingwithtim