@TiltShiftComic (Jose Torres) has another Kickstarter comic worth supporting.  Jose was a combat photographer with a U.S. special forces unit, and “Tilt Shift” is a book that fictionailizes his and other veterans experiences.  In his words:
"TILT-SHIFT marries police procedural intrigue with hard-hitting modern warfare action in its hyper-real presentation of the work done by Special Operations teams throughout Afghanistan. 
More than that, it paints a picture of young Americans rising from their varied upbringings, distinguishing themselves from among their peers and flying to the most desolate ends of the world to quell a violent insurgency that suppresses the freedom of the Afghan people and threatens the security of their families back home.”
If you’re a fan of GRAVEYARD OF EMPIRES and/or you know me, you know that I’m an aficionado of war fiction, particularly modern war fiction.  Not only is this book the real deal, but by supporting it you’ll be helping people who have risked their lives to bring their stories to you.  Click through the picture or click  here to check it out and donate.

@TiltShiftComic (Jose Torres) has another Kickstarter comic worth supporting.  Jose was a combat photographer with a U.S. special forces unit, and “Tilt Shift” is a book that fictionailizes his and other veterans experiences.  In his words:

"TILT-SHIFT marries police procedural intrigue with hard-hitting modern warfare action in its hyper-real presentation of the work done by Special Operations teams throughout Afghanistan. 

More than that, it paints a picture of young Americans rising from their varied upbringings, distinguishing themselves from among their peers and flying to the most desolate ends of the world to quell a violent insurgency that suppresses the freedom of the Afghan people and threatens the security of their families back home.”

If you’re a fan of GRAVEYARD OF EMPIRES and/or you know me, you know that I’m an aficionado of war fiction, particularly modern war fiction.  Not only is this book the real deal, but by supporting it you’ll be helping people who have risked their lives to bring their stories to you.  Click through the picture or click  here to check it out and donate.

For MEMORIAL DAY 2012 - COMICS FOR THE TROOPS

For most of us, Memorial Day is synonymous with vacation, but for those that have or continue to serve in the military it means much more.  In that spirit, I thought I’d take the time to once again mention one small way you can give back to the men and women who continue to serve this country.

One of the most rewarding aspects of working on GRAVEYARD OF EMPIRES has been the chance to interact with so many veterans.  Some helped me research the book, many contacted me to thank Paul Azaceta and I for the book, and others reached out to share their stories.

Paul a I will never forget, for instance, the Marine who after showing us his shrapnel scars, asked us if he could used Paul’s amazing image from Graveyard of Empires #1 as the basis for tattoo.  He wanted to ink the names of the four men in his unit lost in the roots of the poppy plant.

 

If you spend time with anyone who’s served, and hear the stories of what they and their loved ones have sacrificed…you can’t help but want to do something.  I did.  You can too, and it doesn’t have to cost you anything.

If you’re like me, you’ve probably amassed a huge collection of comic books.  You may not have room for them, and it’s unlikely you’re going to re-read most of them.  The secondary market for comics has collapsed to the point where you not only can’t make money by selling old books, you can’t even get most comic stores to take them off your hands for free.

But there are men and women who could use the diversion that comics provide.  War has been described as "long periods of boredom punctuated by punctuated by moments of sheer terror".  There’s not much you can do about the sheer terror short of enlisting, but there is something you can do to help alleviate the boredom.

Donate your comics to Operation Gratitude.

Here’s how they describe what they do:

"Operation Gratitude annually sends 100,000 care packages filled with snacks, entertainment items and personal letters of appreciation addressed to individually named U.S. Service Members deployed in hostile regions, to their children left behind and to Wounded Warriors recuperating in Transition Units. Our mission is to lift morale, bring a smile to a service member’s face and express to our Armed Forces the appreciation and support of the American people. Each package contains donated product valued at ~$125 and costs the organization $15 to assemble and ship.  For safety and security, assembling of packages occurs at the Army National Guard armory in Van Nuys, California. Since its inception in 2003, Operation Gratitude volunteers have shipped more than 660,000 packages to American Military deployed overseas."

I’ve driven hundreds of comics, graphic novels, books, dvds and videogames over to their HQ and the Van Nuys, CA National Guard Armory.  I’m not saying that to brag, but rather to give you an idea how easy it is.

My poorly taken photo doesn’t convey the massive volunteer operation they have going, but I felt uncomfortable taking pictures at a military installation, even with permission.

But everything you see here, and more, gets sent directly overseas to the troops:

(Those are Marines standing by a Cobra gunship like the ones in GRAVEYARD)

You don’t need to drive to Van Nuys, you can mail your comics there.  They don’t need to be comics…You can donate candy, cellphones, cars, even cash (here’s a more complete list of things you can do, including volunteering your time).  But do something.

Trust me…I’m lazy, self-involved and practically a shut-in, and I did.

At the very least, please re-blog, re-tweet and re-post the hell out of this on Facebook so others can.

P.S. Although I hate making this at all about me, for those of you asking where GRAVEYARD OF EMPIRES #4 is, Paul is completely done with the art, it’s just waiting to be colored and lettered, so it should be out in June.  Here’s a never page from the final issue to whet your appetite:

Hope you all had/have a great Memorial Day.

HIJACKED!

You might be wondering why I haven’t blogged on tumblr for a while.  Here’s why:

I’ve been jacked!  No, I’m not in trouble with the TSA again (that I know of).  Someone hacked my tumblr account, it was flagged for “suspicious activity”, and I haven’t been able to access it for days.

Yes, I know, it’s incredibly poor taste to use photos of the 9/11 hijackers to illustrate the point.  Although not as poor taste as the French cover to UNTHINKABLE:

(It still bugs me that not only have I still not been paid for that, nor was I given comps - I had to buy them myself…but that I wasn’t consulted on an adaptation of my own work.  It really is a disgusting cover, but I’m still proud of what’s inside.)

Unthinkable was, among other things, a commentary on how despite the fact the world was supposed to have changed on 9/11, life didn’t change for most of us here in the U.S.  This page, drawn by Julian Totino Tedesco illustrates it perfectly:

The protagonist, screenwriter Alan Ripley, is working out at Crunch in LA when he sees the towers fall.  The actress/model types next him don’t even bother to look up from their treadmills.  (Sadly, much as the world has learned little from the War on Terror, I have still not learned to stop dating actresses from their war on my sanity).

I was living in New York during 9/11, a story for another day, but the above scene was related to me as a true story.  Even if it’s not literally true, I think it has a metaphoric truth.  The day after 9/11 I went uptown to check on my ex-girlfriend (a real person, not an actress). She’d lost a firefighter friend we both knew in the attacks, a Vietnam vet who could never bring kids into the world after what he’d experienced over there). 

We had dinner around the block from her apartment, on the same street where Howard Stern lives.  As Manhattan is only 12 miles long, it was a only few miles from Ground Zero.  You could see the not just the gap in the skyline, but the plume of smoke and ash.  Worse, you could still smell that unforgettable (and likely toxic) smoldering.  Yet people were out drinking on the Upper West Side as if nothing had happened.

Maybe I’m judging them too harshly…maybe New Yorkers needed a drink more than anyone.  But it occurred to me then that if people were already forgetting this close, that soon…most of America was not going to be affected by the worst terror attack in our history.

There are exceptions, people who are affected proudly - our men and women in uniform and the families that support them.  Working on GRAVEYARD OF EMPIRES has affected me profoundly, and I’ve gotten to know a ton of veterans through the book’s research and reception.

In a later posts, I’m going to talk more about that, and more importantly, about how you - particularly as comics readers - can help those veterans.  Then, don’t worry, I’ll get back to self promotion and sharing my attempts life drawing.  In the meantime, sorry to hijack your Tumblr/Twitter/Facebook feed with something serious - but at least once a year, it’s worth it.