Dark Souls II encourages a kind of amazed storytelling about how it was one managed to survive. The game is so large and hostile to the player’s presence every moment feels like a precursor to some cruel twist or miraculous delivery from unexpected doom that could merit retelling. Victories and discovery only become meaningful to an audience who knows how much work must be put into them, and so these player tales are implicitly clouded by the unspoken murk of failure and defeat. This structure of play is ideally matched with a culture of emotionally and socially isolated individuals—still primarily men—who rush toward non-intimate prompts for social exchange, creating the impression of a community without requiring any reciprocal vulnerability nor emotional obligation. Dark Souls provides an empirical baseline to use in describing one’s own experience, which makes admissions of weakness or incompetence tolerable through the impersonal nature of the game’s system. There no psychoanalytic backdrop to distinguish sorcerers from warriors or thieves.

Forbes review of a game called Dark Souls II— videogame people seem quite upset about it and anything that upsets that kind of person is usually pretty worthwhile.  I just like reading “structure of play is ideally matched with a culture of emotionally and socially isolated individuals" in a game review a lot. (via twiststreet)

…Man, Demon’s Souls is one of favorite games of all time - a lot of hours sunk into that.  I still haven’t finished the first Dark Souls and the 2nd beckons but frightens me because of what a huge time sink I know it will be.  Not sure I completely agree with the depressing sentiment above essay - that Dark Souls II (and games in general) are masturbatory and unlike other art don’t don anything but teach you to be good at that game - but it’s a provocative read.

Reblogged from twiststreet

HALO web movie by Neill Blomkamp.

Abhay Khosla (aka TwistStreet) wrote in response to by BSG post: “There was a Halo webseries— I watched some of it because I thought Fincher had something to do with it (he didn’t). It’s VERY bsg influenced, but with Halo-people. Wasn’t my bag but they’d spent some money on it.”

I THINK this is what you’re talking about, a tie-in to the underrated HALO: ODST (about the ordinary troops, not the super-powered Master Chief dudes). It’s not directed Fincher, but District 9’s Neill Blomkamp.  Who I think was supposed to direct a HALO movie produced by Peter Jackson.  I remember being blown away by this at the time, and wishing that they’d actually gone ahead with a feature.  I’d rather Blomkamp direct the next Star Wars film, or better yet, another original film.

One of my favorite experiences on Twitter was talking about my love for 1980s helicopter shows (yes, it was a genre).  I started the hashtag #airwolfvsbluethunder, which I would like to bring to the screen some day.
That not only led to one of the best versus debates of all time, but got me contacted by one of the actual writers of Airwolf who regaled me with stories of what it was life to produce one of my favorite childhood shows.  Despite the fact everything on the Internet is supposed to be forever, I sadly can’t track down the conversation or recall the writers name (maybe it was on DM?).  But it really happened.
Anyway, this picture by aaronmoles, the creator of Channel 101’s late lamented “Switcher”, made brought that back to me…along with pushing my comic and videogame buttons as well:

Past: Comic book. Future: Wrapping paper. (Taken with instagram)

One of my favorite experiences on Twitter was talking about my love for 1980s helicopter shows (yes, it was a genre).  I started the hashtag #airwolfvsbluethunder, which I would like to bring to the screen some day.

That not only led to one of the best versus debates of all time, but got me contacted by one of the actual writers of Airwolf who regaled me with stories of what it was life to produce one of my favorite childhood shows.  Despite the fact everything on the Internet is supposed to be forever, I sadly can’t track down the conversation or recall the writers name (maybe it was on DM?).  But it really happened.

Anyway, this picture by aaronmoles, the creator of Channel 101’s late lamented “Switcher”, made brought that back to me…along with pushing my comic and videogame buttons as well:

Past: Comic book. Future: Wrapping paper. (Taken with instagram)

Reblogged from aaronmoles

What I’ve Been Up To (aka 10 Reasons Why I Haven’t Posted Much Lately)

The fact that my tumblr account was compromised isn’t the only reason my blogging has been light.  I’ve also been busy as hell.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m thankful for all the work.  But a few things have had to give, and one of them has been tumblr.

Here’s just a sample or ten of what I’m up to:

1) GRAVEYARD OF EMPIRES is the project I’m asked about most.  Paul is mostly done drawing Issue 3, which features the most incredibly detailed, complex pages yet.  Those pages are already in the hands of colorist Matt Wilson and letterer Thomas Mauer.  That still leaves editorial work for me (and Paul), as well as writing issue 4 (for me, then comes Paul revenge on me for giving him crazy pages to draw in the form of brutal notes). 

Issue 4’s story has been outlined in some detail for a long time.  While I usually script ahead, I’ve tried to leave room for the changes we’ve made as the story we’ve progressed (remember, this went from a 3 to a 4 issue mini).

Right now, we’re looking at an early December release.  That’s puts us slightly off our bi-monthly schedule, for which I apologize.  Here’s a one of my favorite pages from issue 3 so while you wait:

We had a real scare with the 2) FEARLESS TPB:

For a while, Image couldn’t find the lettered files, and non of the creative team had backups.  I did…until XDrive, where I’d been storing them, was first bought and then closed by AOL.  I of course backed them up on my own hard drive…only to have that hard drive crash. It looked as if I might have personally finance the re-lettering of the book (at something like 128 pages of story).  On some level I might have liked to rewrite the book, but the expense would have been astronomical. 

Image found the lettered files (thanks to Tyler Shainline and Monica Garcia), but it’s delayed the trade by a bit.  We had more trouble because while I had all kinds of sketches, breakdowns, unused pitch pages etc. that I planned on using as extras from artist PJ Holden…those files were never scanned in hi-res.  Sadly, he never kept the originals.

Thankfully, TPB designer Thomas Mauer and I found ways around the resolution issue, which brings me to the good news.  The Fearless TPB will have more extras than any trade I’ve ever done, for no additional cost.  I would say 20 pages worth.  Not just pinups from artists like Rafael Alberqueque that appeared in the single issues.  We’re talking never before scene backmatter that takes the project from inception to pitch to page. Here’s an example:

I’m hard pressed to think of any collection that’s been this revealing in what it’s like to put a creator-owned book together.  If you are a process junkie like me, you are in for a treat.

3) DECOY looks great.   Andy MacDonald and Nick Filardi are one of those special artist/colorist pairs that do magic when they work together.  Here’s what I mean:

I just finished what I hope is the last series of corrections for the lettering.  Actually, now that I look at the above pages without letters, maybe that’s been a waste of time.

Seriously…just waiting on those and we should be off to the press.

4) (MARVEL) SUPER HEROES 23

I mentioned a while back that I was doing a Marvel All Ages story.  I just found it’s going to appear in Super Heroes #23, on sale February 28th.  I’m burying the lede a little bit here, so I’ll have more to say on it later.  For now, I’ll say it features the Super-Skrull and the Fantastic Four (and a MASSIVE guest star), and it’s drawn by Tim Levins.  Here’s the cover, drawn by my former Supergirl collaborator, the super-talented Ale Garza:

The interior art by Tim Levins looks fantastic.  Next to the art, the most exciting thing about this book is that you can actually give it to a kid.  Imagine that - comic books for kids…crazy.

It’s completely done, but doing a lettering pass on top of all the above work has stretched me to the limit.

5) BLUE SKY will be my third creator-owned OGN for Kickstart (following RIFT RAIDERS and DECOY).  It’s still in the writing stage, and it’s based on an idea by a filmmaker who has been a joy to work with (I think of myself as an “idea guy”, so it’s strange, challenging and most of all exciting to be asked to collaborate on someone else’s high concept).

All I can say is that it’s a take on post-apocalyptic world that you haven’t scene before, and a chance for me to create an entirely new world.  Think Bioshock Infinite for an idea of what that world might look like:

6) WAR TOYS

Another upcoming project, with another filmmaker (responsible for one of the best sci-fi movies of the 80s).  It’s in the pitch stage, but it looks like I’m going to be not only co-writing and editing it.  Again, I can’t say too much, but it has to do with drones being used by vigilantes in America.  Given my interest in the military (GRAVEYARD, UNTHINKABLE), technology (DECOY) and, well, vigilantes (TWO-FACE: YEAR ONE and every other super-hero book I’ve done), it’s right up my alley.  And hopefully, if you’re reading this, right up yours as well.  We’re pursuing a dream artist for the book, fingers crossed that we get him.

7) DRACULA: SON OF THE DRAGON

I’m hoping that mid-2012 will mark the start of the Salgood Sam illustrated, super-ambitious historical fiction/horror mash-up web-comic that reveals how Vlad The Impaler became Bram Stoker’s Dracula.  I’ve shown some of the art before:

…but we’re changing the format a bit. 

The idea would be to launch on the web/tablets first, then print later, although we’re not wedded to that.. This is a story I’ve been wanting to tell forever.  It’s a big commitment on Salgood’s part, but he’s already a prolific web creator.  It’s just a matter of waiting until we’ve built up enough content to be able to deliver regular updates. 

No matter what, these vampires won’t have sparkly chests.

8) TEACHING

In addition to my duties as an online screenwriting instructor for Writer’s Boot Camp , I’ve been asked to come in on the ground floor of a visual storytelling program being offered at one of the nation’s best art schools.  If everyone comes to an agreement

9) HOLLYWOOD

Hopefully there will be an announcement about me not only selling one of my creator-owned properties but taking the next step in my career and getting hired to adapt it for the screen myself.

I”m also working on:

BLENDED, an original, CGI super-hero film I was asked by a major studio to pitch.  Very, very early in process.

Writing a spec script for an existing TV show in the hopes of getting staffed in 2012, as well as developing at least one original pilot (that will be in addition to FEARLESS, which David Roth and I spent a good part of this year developing for TV…I’d still like to see that happen)

10) THE ELDER SCROLLS: SKYRIM

No, I’m not writing for the game that entire world is playing.  Yes, I’m sucked in like the rest of you.  Here is a note that The Dark Brotherhood sent me asking me to join their Assassin’s Guild…

…after I murdered a mean lady that was running an orphanage.

I seriously cannot stop playing this game.  But other than training at the gym (which I’ve put on hold for a bit along with my hikes in Runyon Canyon), it’s pretty much the only leisure activity that I’ve had.  That’s included a hiatus from life drawing, although I should still be able to post a bunch of stuff from the last few sessions I did since I last shared anything.

I even canceled a trip to NY, where I missed my beloved Duke Blue Devils Coach K set the record for the most wins in college basketball and, oh yeah, Thanksgiving with my family.

I listed all this in part as self-promotion, in part as apology for not posting (or, if you’re a friend or family member, for not having much contact with you) and in part because I needed to write it all down so I could keep it straight.

I do find balancing an online presence outside of Twitter and writing hard, not to mention the whole leaving my apartment and having a life thing. 

There will be updates on all the above as soon as I have new release dates on the previously announced books and/or I’m allowed to share more about the upcoming ones.  Again, I can’t thank you enough for your patience in the meantime.