Pre-order DUPLICATE

I’m pleased to announce that my next creator-owned graphic novel with artist Andy MacDonald, DUPLICATE, is out from Kickstart Comics this July.  You can pre-order it now from your local comics retailer by using Diamond pre-order code MAY121187.

"An unassuming family man finds out that he’s the stand-in duplicate for jet-setting secret agent Zekiel Dax.  But where agencies like S.H.I.E.L.D. might use robot decoys for combat, Zekiel uses his to to act as the perfect wife and husband while he cavorts around the world, gambling, womanizing and otherwise enjoying his James Bond lifestyle."

When this Duplicate finds out the truth of his existence and that his original is not the stand-up guy he is, he’s forced to partner with his counterpart to save their wife and kids - and the world.” 

If that sounds familiar, it’s because that logline was used to describe DECOY, a project I announced last fall.  You can read more about that in a Newsarama interview here.

Kickstart decided to depart from the digest size we used for books like RIFT RAIDERS, so as a result we’re re-soliciting DUPLICATE as a full sized OGN (but for the same low price).

The art team of Andy MacDonald (Terminator, NYC Mech) and colorist Nick Filardi (GROUNDED, Powers) have done what I think is the best work of their career, and I’m extremely proud of this book.  (Note the logo is a temporary one).

Please check it out, or at the very least re-blog/re-tweet this.

DECOY exclusive preview and interview

Chris Arrant of Newsarama has the first interview with me about and color pages for my new Kickstart OGN DECOY, out in November.  There will be more to follow.

Click here for both.

Decoy is a mix of sci-fi, espionage, and well…fun.  It’s got a similar tone to my Kickstart book, RIFT RAIDERS with similarly striking visuals. 

The art is by Andy MacDonald, and the colors are by Nick Filardi.  Nick was the first colorist I ever worked with.  He did the colors for GROUNDED and FEARLESS, as well as the greys for HAZED.  He and Andy have worked together on books like NYC Mech and make an amazing pair.

I hope you’ll check out Newsarama’s article and pre-order DECOY.  The Diamond Order Code is SEP111131.

KICKSTART Comics signing at Meltdown

THIS Wednesday, July 6th, 2011, Kickstart Comics, publisher of RIFT RAIDERS will be having a signing at Meltdown Comics in Los Angeles at 7PM.

Along with myself, creators signing include:

Adam Freeman and Marc Bernadin (Hero Complex, Monster Attack Squad)

Phil Eisner (Bad Guys, Event Horizon)

Kevin Fox (Ward 6, Lie to Me)

Jonathan Mills (Heavy Water)

Jack Monaco (Book of Lilah)

…and more

Did I mention I’ll be there?  With RIFT RAIDERS, my sold-out teen Time Travel book with Eisner nominated artist Julian Totino Tedesco?  Or that I’ll have copies of my newest sold-out book, GRAVEYARD OF EMPIRES, along with just about any other book you want me to sign?  And I might, just might, have preview art from my NEXT Kickstart book, DECOY, with art from Andy MacDonald like, say, this:

Meltdown is Located at:

7522 Sunset Boulevard

Los Angeles, CA 90046

(323)-851-7223

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)

Free Comic Book Day

This Saturday, May 7th, from 11AM-2PM, I will be doing a free Comic Book day signing at the grand opening of the new Collector’s Paradise in Pasadena.

In addition to signing anything I’ve ever written (including hard to find copies of the currently sold-out RIFT RAIDERS), I will be giving out FREE limited edition FCBD preview issues of GRAVEYARD OF EMPIRES.  They have the 1st 16 pages of the story in it, so much more than has been shown in the press (don’t worry, there are still 16 MORE pages of story in the 1st issue)

There are a lot of great comic stores in LA - Meltdown and Golden Apple being two I frequent.  Collector’s Paradise may not be as well known but is just as well run.  The fact that owner Ed Greenberg is opening a 2nd store in Pasadena in this economy is a testament to that.  The Winnetka Store is extremely kid-friendly (while still having anything a hard-core adult fan needs) and I expect the new store to be the same.

If I’m not enough of a draw, there’s also going to be signings by:

Len Wein, legendary creator of such characters as Wolverine, Swamp Thing, Nightcrawler, Storm, and Colossus.

JT Krul of Green Arrow and Teen Titans, fame

David Petersen – creator /artist / writer of the amazing All Ages book, Mouse Guard.

Jim McCann creator of The Return of the Dapper Men, from Archaia,

Top Cow’s Sheldon Mitchell and Rick Basaldua, Frank Forte of Asylum Press, and rising star Tess Fowler.

Plus sales, and of course, loads of free comic books.

You can click the link to the Facebook page for details, but here’s the address.  Hope to see you all there:

Collector’s Paradise PASADENA319 S. Arroyo Parkway Unit 4Pasadena, CA

Source http

Sidney Lumet, Comics and Style

There’s a lot to say about Sidney Lumet, who passed away this weekend.  But perhaps the most important is something he himself said. "Good style, to me, is unseen style. It is style that is felt."

Although he’s already being painted as a moralist and a maker of social films, Lumet cannot not be so easily pinned down.  I can’t think of another filmmakers whose work spanned so many themes and genres, even mediums (he worked in the theater, and maybe his best work, 12 Angry Men, was directed for television).

When you see a film by filmmakers like Quentin Tarantino, Martin Scorsese, Paul or Wes Anderson (all of whom I love in their own way)…it’s impossible not to tell who directed it.  They’ve imprinted themselves onto their work in an indelible way.

I think, if with no prior knowledge, you were shown Network, Dog Day Afternoon and Running on Empty, you’d be surprised to learn that they were made by the same man.  In Lumet’s memoir, “Making Movies” (which I highly recommend to anyone who creates or wants to create stories for a visual medium), he made it clear that style should serve the story, not shape it.  He was content to be let the actors (Henry Fonda, Al Pacino, John Cazale etc.) be the stars.  Hell, he was one of the few directors to let the writers be the stars (like Paddy Chayefsky and David Mamet).

Those ideas - letting style serve story, letting your collaborators be the stars -are part of a code that I’ve tried to adhere to in my comics career.

The most successful comic creators seem to have a bold, instantly recognizable . You don’t need to look at the credits to know something was written by Garth Ennis, Chris Ware or Brian Michael Bendis.  You can tell their trademark ultraviolence, innovative panel layouts or…characters cracking wise in Yiddish.

Me, on the other hand?  I’m often greeted with shock when a reader finds out that the guy that wrote a story about a kid sent to a high school for superheroes where everyone’s a superhero but him (GROUNDED) is the same dude who wrote a conspiracy thriller that got him in trouble with the TSA (UNTHINKABLE), or a dark comedy about sororities and eating disorders (HAZED).

Don’t get me wrong.  I don’t think I’m o n the same level as the creators I’ve mentioned, let alone Sidney Lumet.  I’ve got no problem acknowledging that Paul Azaceta, Julian Totino Tedesco and Robbi Rodriguez were the real stars of those books.  And I usually take it as a compliment that I can produce diverse material where the story is more apparent than an obvious authorial tone.

But I’d be lying if I said it at least didn’t feel like a problem.  I’ve always sensed that it’s been hard for editors, producers and even readers to pigeonhole me.  Should we hire/read the guy that writes all-ages appropriate teen superhero stories?  Edgy Political thrillers?  Dark comedies?

There are worse problems, to be sure.  Like getting typecast in a genre you don’t particularly enjoy working in.  But it is something that causes me a great deal of anxiety.  I’m not as good as the marketing/self-promotion aspect of comics as others.  I wonder if I should be branding myself better, whether it’s through the press, or picking projects that are more similar to one another or fit a style I’d most like to be noticed for.

My mind just doesn’t work like that.  I don’t set out to have a style.  I come up with ideas and try to find the best artists to express them.  It might have been great for RIFT RAIDERS and TEEN TITANS: COLD CASE to immediately follow GROUNDED, or for GRAVEYARD OF EMPIRES to come right on the heels of UNTHINKABLE OR TWO FACE: YEAR ONE.  But I have very little control over which work gets published when. 

I think it’s smart for new writers to have follow-ups ready to follow up their breakthrough books, as Jonathan Hickman and Nick Spencer did.  But when I wrote GROUNDED, I didn’t foresee it’s success, let alone my career.

Maybe my comics have more in common with each other than I realize.  Maybe I’m too close to my own material to see that, or I’m just not in tune with how I’m perceived by the industry.

Regardless of what others think of me or my work, I’m always comforted and inspired by Sidney’s Lumet’s lack of concern for style.  If it wasn’t for him, I don’t think I’d keep challenging myself by trying to write in new genres and mediums, if only to find out what I’m not good at.  And if I didn’t do push myself with little regard for style…I don’t think my work would be very interesting.

In a medium that’s so wedded to superhero fiction, decompressed storytelling and, well, paper, I don’t think I’m the only one that can benefit from Lumet’s lessons. 

"I don’t think art changes anything", Sidney Lumet said.  Let’s all prove him wrong.

The World’s Tardiest Emerald City Comic Con Recap (Part 2)

I recently asked friend/Savage Critic/comics creator/fellow tumblr-er Abhay Khosla if I was “doing tumblr right”.  I still haven’t figured out how often or what exactly I should be posting.  He thought I could have gotten 2 or 3 posts out of my last Emerald City re-cap.  And if I was more timely, what I said would have gotten more media attention. 

Still, even if what I write isn’t newsworthy, I’d feel like I’d be doing a disservice to every one I hung out with if I didn’t at thank or otherwise mention them or their work, even if it’s late.  And for my next post, I’ll cover the Chicago World’s fair of 1893.

The atmosphere was similar.

Where was I?  Friday night, dinner with Paul Azaceta Boom! Editor Matt and Chris Hansbrough, and, among others, Erik Larsen.

Matt has been by good friend for years, starting when he was working at Meltdown Comics, my local comics shop.  Before long, he was editing UNTHINKABLE, and I have him to thank for finding artist Julian Totino Tedesco (who not only drew UNTHINKABLE, but RIFT RAIDERS as well.  And if you think you’ve got a handle on Julian’s potential, just wait until you see the new Kickstart series he’s working on with Jeff Amano.).  Matt’s rise has been meteoric, and for both reasons of competence and character, could not be more deserving of his success.

Chris is a comics journalist, and wrote a review of RIFT RAIDERS that was so nice I’m almost too embarrassed to post a link to it.  Almost.  Here’s an excerpt:

"Oh my Science this book is easily one of the most fun and energetic books I’ve read in a long time. I’ll go out and say it’s easily the best work Mark Sable has ever produced and is quite possibly, my book of the year. You heard me, BOOK … OF … THE … YEAR."

I didn’t have to buy his dinner for him to write that.  Seriously, I put that excerpt up not because I necessarily agree with it, but because RIFT RAIDERS is probably the least exposed work I’ve done.  If only for Julian’s artwork is worth checking out.

Chris is also an obsessive fan of Green Arrow.  Paul drew this sketch for him:

I had to put that up because you won’t find a more gentle, modest human being than Paul…on the surface.

The real star of the night was Erik Larsen.  He’s a founder of Image, and creator of the epic Savage Dragon.  But nothing more epic was seeing him tackle a FOUR POUND BURGER at Seattle’s Lunchbox Laboratory.

That is not a picture of the actual burger he ate, but it’s that size.  He ordered it on an implied dare by the waitress, and when it arrived, looked at it for a good five minutes.  Surely, the only way to eat such a thing would be to unhinge his lower jaw and swallow it python-style.

But here is why I admire Larsen so much.  Anyone man found comic’s only true creator-owned company, or keep an independent superhero book thriving in today’s comics climate.  But only a genius could cut this Gordian knot of burgers. He remove the middle two patties, at them with a knife and fork, and then ate the comparatively smaller 2 pound burger with his hands.

A real tumblr-er would stop there.  But if I were to stop now, that would mean this con re-cap would extend to Emerald City 2011.  And so I perservere.

***

One of my goals at ECCC was to re-connect with past (and hopefully future) collaborators.

One of those was Jeremy Haun.  He drew the flashback sequences in my favorite work-for-hire comic to date, BATMAN: TWO-FACE YEAR ONE

I’ve been a fan of Jeremy’s since Battlehymn, his Watchmen-meets-The-Invader’s book written by B. Clay Moore.  He brought a great noir style to Two-Face that we planned to carry over to a Riddler/Two-Face one shot tied into Batman: Battle For The Cowl.  Alas, that project got scuttled (it might be fun to post, if not the script, the pitch or breakdown for that book, which despite featured Penguin suicide-bombers, wasn’t dark enough for DC at the time).  I still hope to work with him again, and congratulate him on his exclusive contract with Top Cow.

Ryan Cody is another collaborator, but chances are you haven’t seen any of our actual collaboration.  Best know for his Viper Press book “Villains”, we did a pitch for a creator owned crime-superhero book called BLACKMAIL.

It was about a street-level vigilante caught stealing from the drug dealers he preyed upon, and - you guessed it - blackmailed by the kingpin of crime.  That by itself might not excite you, but the plan was for each issue to be divided in two, with one half from the vigilante’s perspective, the other from the kingpin’s.  Still not aroused?  The two stories would meet in the middle with a double page spread that served as the ending for both stories. 

How that would work in a trade I’m still not sure…but he also had the ability to make men lose control of their bowel functions (the vigilante, not Ryan, to my knowledge). 

Again, hope to work with Ryan again, if not on Blackmail than on something else.  In the meantime, I strongly urge you to check out his new creator-owned book, Icarus:

There happened to be a good number of collaborators present at the con (meaning artists that worked with me, not French who helped the Nazis…although I believe some of those to have been disguised as Stormtroopers).  Not just Jeremy Ryan, but Sean Murphy and that Paul Azaceta guy.  And Ivan Brandon, who edited GROUNDED.

But I also dig getting to meet my peers, writers I admire.  More on that in my third and final post-post-post-post ECCC recap.

Emerald City Comic Con Rift Raiders

GRAVEYARD OF EMPIRES (and GROUNDED, and AMAZING SPIDER-MAN) artist Paul Azaceta and I will be at Emerald City Comic Con in Seattle THIS WEEKEND, March 4-6 2011, at Table G-25.

We’ll be showing off art from Graveyard, Paul will be sketching, and I should have copies of all my books for sale.  That includes RIFT RAIDERS, my Kickstart book with Julian Totino Tedesco (pictured above).  Rift Raiders sold out from Diamond, and while it will be re-solicited, if you are there this may be your only chance to to get a copy until June.

If there’s anything you’d like me to bring in particular (some single issue of GROUNDED or FEARLESS, for example), let me know.  But as much as I like to sell stuff, the reason ECCC is one of my favorite cons is the fan interaction.  It’s more comic-centric than most cons, and while well attended it’s still intimate enough to actually converse.  I’m always happy to chat comics, please come by and say hello.

I should also mention there will be a number of my collaborators there besides Paul, including Sean Murphy (Teen Titans: Cold Case, Joe the Barbarian), Jeremy Haun (Two-Face: Year One) and Matthew Southworth (What If? Spider-Man, Stumptown). 

All will be happy to sign.  Too many friends to name, and overall one of the strongest talent lineups I’ve seen.