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Why I Love The Idea of Before Watchmen and You Should, Too.

I want to let you in on a dirty little secret about DC Comics: they need to make money. Seriously, they have writers, and artists, and editors but beyond that they have electricity, and heat, and the guy who empties the trash. It’s what we call in the trade, “a business”.


Here is another secret: not all of the books they put out make money. It’s a gamble. If they knew exactly how to print the exact right number of books they would do it. If they knew the formula for combining a creative team with a character and a concept they would do that too. But they don’t.


Some things are safer bets than others. Like if you have the top selling graphic novel of all time and you take the characters and settings from that book, and combine it with some of your top teams, you should sell a few copies. And if this move is considered controversial and drums up tons and tons of free publicity? That won’t hurt sales either.


DC comics owns the characters from the Watchmen and they paid Alan Moore for them. Handsomely, might I add. And he deserved to make a lot of money it made a lot of money for DC comics. But people don’t want to talk about the creative teams on the books that didn’t sell for whatever reason. Because if those books lost money no one asked those creative teams to give their paychecks back.


See, that’s why creators chose to work for DC comics. They want that guaranteed paycheck. Could you make more money if you self published? If the book is a hit, then sure you could. But before the book is a hit you have to eat, and keep your heat on. and you also have to spend money promoting the book. That’s one of the nice things about having DC Comics publish your book for you. They have a marketing department and a publicity department. They add an air of legitimacy to your project just because they chose to publish it. And if your amazing book that you self publish doesn’t sell for whatever reason you will have nothing to show for it other than a stack of unsold comics and a stack of unpaid bills.


I’m glad Alan Moore has enough money to not need any royalties from the Watchmen movie. Dave Gibbons still took them and I don’t believe that makes him a bad person. Another “secret” is that no matter how talented an artist you are you can probably only knock out a page a day. A talented writer can write a book a week. Maybe more. So, as a writer Alan Moore can produce 4-5 times as much work as an artist. And he can write movies if he wants to. Dave Gibbons can’t draw one. But I’’m off topic.


Here’s the point I wanted to make. DC Comics finds a new talent. Maybe it’s you, maybe it’s me. (It’s probably going to be me.) As an unknown quantity it doesn’t make a lot of sense for them to take a chance on me. But they look at their bottom line and they see if they have any profit this quarter. Like say they sold a bunch of Before Watchmen comics. Maybe they can afford to hire me to write a book that maybe won’t sell so well. Or maybe it will be a big giant hit and they’ll make lunch boxes and action figures and a TV series.


I’m all for profit sharing and creators being well compensated. Because well compensated creators are better equipped financially to create their weird niche creator owned property. The cash they get from their corporate work creates a cushion. One of my favorite comic books is called Action Philosophers. It’s terrific. It’s self published. The writer also writes for Marvel. And I’m pretty sure if he wasn’t getting that Marvel paycheck he probably wouldn’t be doing his awesome self published book.


I would love to think that royalties from his corporate work, and sales of his creator owned book would make enough money so he could tell Marvel Comics to go to hell. Because then there would be a job opening there for me.

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WELCOME TO MALLVILLE...AGAIN!

Some said it couldn't happen! Others said it wouldn't! But, like a famous wrestler once said "FINALLY...MALLVILE HAS COME BACK....TO INKBOT.NET! 


Okay, maybe Dwanyne "The Rock" Johnson didn't quite say that. But, i'm sure he would have had he been a fan of web comics. I also think he would've been excited to know that not only is Mallville coming back on Monday December 5th, 2011 (see what I did there), but it is also coming back with a brand new story line AND a brand new artist! 


That's right! This Monday not only is Gary Cohen pressing the reset button on his mallverse continuity, but he is also bringing in the uber talented Mike Shea to handle the art! 


SO, WHAT IS MALLVILLE AGAIN...
In case you had to develop a rare form of amnesia to cope with the loss of one of the funniest web comics of all time (yeah, I said it), Mallville is a hilarious super hero high school strip written by Gary Cohen. It is also the strip responsible for this year's incredibly epic Inkbot.net crossover CRISIS ON INFINITE INKBOTS!





So, if you're at work on Monday, and you find yourself with a case of the Mondays, make sure you check out the new and improved MALLVILLE RULES! 




p.s.
Pay no attention to the fact that the title banner is the same. ITS BRAND FREAKING NEW BABY...I swear :)
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A walk in the park (piece)

I know English today


I never liked soccer


I have many friends


Don't beat on my pillow


I now like to talk


I'm not scared, I'm smiling


I just like to walk


Don't beat on my pillow


My eyes will not shut


My mom can't stop crying


I told her we're playing


I'm not really dying


Those kids do not hate me


I play Call of Duty


I listen to Hip Hop


I shop at the mall


I'm always in love


So when fists were flying


I thought of that girl


Like somehow she watched


Like if I pulled through


We'd go to the movies


And she'd help me through


This hell for the different


This hell for the distant


the laughter


the violence


its just who they are


don't know why they hate me


we made it this far


it just can't escape me


I hate them
I love them
I just want to walk!


Why couldn't they let me


There's blood on my pillow
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Winter's footsteps (poem)

May that umbrella guide you safely
past the ruins of our day,
And may you never stop to question
why all good things turn to shit,
For we never were a good thing,
At best, we made each other laugh
with the notion that we worked,
How could something like that last,
How could something like that hold,
And yet, hold is all we did,
Hold on to what we never asked for,
Hold on to what we did as kids,
So may that umbrella guide you safely
past the corners of my thoughts,
where my anger sells to idiots
who cannot live without their fix.
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Your children shouldn't play here (poem)

My lies rotate the stop signs
Her eyes ignite the street
My words are losing color
She needs to go to sleep


My thoughts dust off the pavement
Her hands rest near my feet
My silence whispers "Thank You"
She needs to go to sleep.
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You Get So Alone Sometimes That It Just Makes Sense.

Okay, I don't really have much to say today.  Cleaning the apartment and working on comics.  If any of you read American Ambition, you're in for some of the funniest shit we've done yet.  If any of you were waiting for more chapter in K, hang tight, it's only getting better.

It's Friday, that means a new poem.  This one is a few years old, written before I moved out.

My Stupid Dog
“There are worse things than being alone,”
-CB


On the couch reading Bukowski
and pissed that I can’t emulate, imitate
or steal a style so simple, so honest.
Direct as a fist
shoved into a mouthful
of teeth.

My stupid dog plops his big head on my lap.

I never wanted a dog,

I want the poems
that smell like the sweat beating
off a reluctantly beating heart.

I want the heart
that burns clear through
the restrictive ribcage.

But I got a dog.
Well, my mother’s dog.

We got him so Dad would put down the
chops and wine and maybe
go for a walk now and then.
But the dumb dog doesn’t walk.
Quakes at the very mention
of leaving the house.
So Dad’s still out of shape
and Mom has a dog
and a derelict son—
two pieces of expensive
breathing furniture.  

He’s not big, but heavy
leans on me and waits.
He doesn’t really like me,
but I’m warm and I’ll do
until his mother gets home.

My eyes move in typewriter
motion across the lines trying
to burn them
somewhere in the soft
meat behind the pupils.

Dumb dog’s eyes are
almost human
and stare right through me.
Reminds me of the eyes resting
gracefully in the sockets
of the girls who laid under me
while they too were waiting
for other people.
But I was warm and I would do.

Dogs want to please
it’s what they do.
He knows I think he’s stupid
and doesn’t care
he wants me to like him
so badly.
I’m not sympathetic
but I know the feeling
of wanting to be liked.

He brings me his toys.
An offering of great importance
to him alone.
And I write
poems people have
as much a use for
as I do rubber bones.

But he’ll keep trying
because he wants to please
that’s what he does.
That’s what we do.
—So lost and so simple
and so very, very stupid.
Big brown-eyed stupid dog.

I never wrote to be praised
but I want those poems.
I want that heart.
I doubt Bukowski wanted
to be himself sometimes,
let alone have imitators.

For a good scratch behind the ears
I’d write a thousand poems,
out-drink Bukowski,
live on park benches
and die at 26.

Did you enjoy this?
I wrote it for you.
Just call me,
I’ll be
your
dog.


 




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New Title, Same Standard of Excellence

I'm proud to admit that we've gotten ourselves to a position where we have a legitimate pile of submissions to sort through after every convention. Unfortunately, more often than not, the piles consist of titles, that for various reasons, aren't a good fit for the site. Still, every so often we come across a gem, a title that's unlike anything we've ever seen or read. Well, I'm excited to say that on Wednesday, November 2nd, we will debut a title that is exactly that, a title so unique that we'd be crazy not to give it a platform. So, without further ado, here's the official description:

Makeshift cities exist on the outskirts of major metropolitan areas. The majority of these cities are inhabited and run by mysterious individuals who do not hesitate to use violence as a means for survival. Lambai is one of these cities.






We look forward to reading your feedback ;)
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Keep Yourself Alive

"Next time the guy at the AT&T store asks you how your phone got damaged, just say "suicide attempt."  It may not get you a discount, but the look on the dude's face is priceless."

Sure we all got problems. As much as I'd love to wake up at five AM and start doing military-style push ups while blasting Christina Aguilera's "Fighter," more times than not, I hit the snooze button and play Gary Jules' version of "Mad World," and pull the covers over my head.
Why is it when we're at our lowest all we want is for one thing to go right or one person to appreciate us; then when we get that very thing we're more upset than before?  Don't believe me?  Ever felt low till someone cared about you then felt even worse when they wouldn't date you?  If the answer is no, you've never been to high school. 

There was a pretty profound quote in the not-so-profound Rodney Dangerfield movie, "Back to School."
In one scene his son says, "I was a lot happier when I was miserable" and while it's probably out of context, I could relate.  When no one read my stuff, I thought having someone draw my stories would be the greatest thing in the world.  Now it's work.  I have to make sure I send Clay quality scripts that are worthy of his time and effort.  After that I wanted fans, and I got a  few and after that I wanted...see the pattern?  Could it be that somehow this constant dissatisfaction is it's own motivation.  It took me years, but I learned that dispair and drive are two sides of the same coin.  You shouldn't be happy and complacent, you should enjoy your life but always strive to make that extra step.

My characters were always men of unshakable optimism.  Sydney Australia, though aware that he's not very good at his job as a leader, is a believer in his purpose.  As odd as it may sound from a story as goofy as American Ambition, he pulls the team through most situations with his blind devotion to duty.  Arsenne never gets down cause he's so totally lost in his own world that no situation is ever serious enough to warrant concern.  I intentionally write scripts so that Johnny Raiker takes a more vicious beating in every issue, and no matter the ass-whipping, he'll always get up.  I think that's why fans like him.  Kelvin is a man who respects only the laws of fact and truth, however, he also believes in the power of variables to shape those truths.  He's cocky, he's uncooperative, he's flat out ornery, but he believes in himself, and will stop at nothing to save you no matter how hard you kick and scream.

I met an ex-firefighter on the subway recently.  He told me about his experience on 9/11.  He talked about his friends being reduced to bodiless legs and unrecognizable heads fused to their helmets.  People he worked with, went to their birthdays, celebrated their kids' christenings.  After that, he just couldn't do it anymore.  He's was a jovial guy and he smiled when he told me, "I think about it every day."  If you ever wondered how a real man carries his pain, wonder no more. 

The only thing I thought to say was, "we owe you a lot." He told me I didn't, the second he signed his contract, he agreed to die for me.  Die for me?  This guy didn't even know me.  If you were to burn your own house down in some sloppy attempt at suicide, this dude would risk one of the most painful deaths imaginable to drag you out of your own mess.  One has to wonder much of their own life really belongs to them.  Do any of us have the right to off ourselves considering the lengths that strangers will go to help us?

Ever walk past a crack in the sidewalk or a roof and see all manner of weeds growing in there?  Life will spring up anywhere there is opportunity and cling tenaciously to its existence as long as there's a hole with some dirt and a few drops of rain.  I don't care what you're going through, if a weed can be that strong, so can you. 

In the words of Jerry Springer, take care of yourselves, and each other. 

Leaving you with a few words by William Blake:

Man was made for joy and woe;
And when this we rightly know
Through the world we safely go.

Joy and woe are woven fine,
A clothing for the soul divine.
Under every grief and pine
Runs a joy with silken twine.


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Everyone's my friend in New York City and everything looks beautiful when you're young and pretty.

"You have the personality of a bowl of potatoes...sit down."

First and foremost, sorry for the delay in the updates, New York Comic Con had me pretty booked all week and after that I had a complete apartment overhaul and ever try changing a refrigerator door without the proper tools?  Suffice to say I was busy.

Comic Con went well, very well, the titles that Clay and I work on sold out, to maintain an air of humility I'm going to say that that's because we were very prudent when it came to printing manageable numbers of comics. Clay made some excellent commissions and I attribute that to the excellent requests by the fans.  I mean, if you have an artist willing to draw quite literally anything for you, why only ask for a pic of you as a super hero when you can ask for a pic of an octopus fighting a unicorn?

Speaking of artists, the disgustingly talented Annie Wu and the equally impressive Miao Yun Kuang came to visit the table and it was great to see them both. Check out their sites, send them emails, buy their stuff.  They are a kind as they are talented and I consider a great honor to be considered their friend and..well, I'm not a visual artist, so I won't say "compatriot" but you get the idea.

That being said, despite my Strategic Communications education, I learn every time we go to one of these cons that I am no salesman.  I don't buy into the "I'm a writer, so I'm supposed to be eccentric" load of horse shit, but if I got along with people on the whole, I wouldn't have spent most of my high school career teaching myself how to write.  Unfortunately, as much as I love the people at the conventions, a lot of them aren't terribly comfortable just rolling up to a table and talking to creators...on the other side of that, I'm not comfortable convincing people to buy my stuff.  What conspires is a horrendously awkward Vaudevillian sketch that ends with me talking like a drug dealer, saying "relax, we're just talking" repeatedly. That's when Chris told me I had the personality of a bowl of potatoes...I don't know what that means, but he didn't high-five me afterward so I'm guessing it wasn't good.  Honestly, things would go a lot smoother if we were allowed to pass out shots. 

Lastly, A girl rolled up and wanted to know when we were going to make K into a comic.  I was elated to see someone reads it, I know that people don't really go to a webcomic site to read prose.  That being said, I worked hard on it and I apologize to anyone that was reading it before I stopped.  Good news is that I'm firing it up again, next update will be Monday, 11/07.


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Finding the Right Dick

"You know why these kids have jobs?  Because they suck the right dick or bend over for the right dick."

Just one of the truth bombs dropped upon me by the balls-naked 56 year-old-man in the locker room of my local gym.  Well, it used to be my local gym until I moved.  Now it's my 20-minutes-on-the-2-train gym.  Like I didn't have a hard enough time finding motivation to get there.

Regardless, one of the interesting things about the crappy economy is that it allows strangers to get into conversations about how bad they have it with one another.  I don't pretend to be well traveled, so I don't know how it is in your hoods, but in New York City, people only speak to each other to ask for directions or money..sometimes sex,  but mostly money.


I forget what the context was but this dude and I start talking and while I'm speaking of my plight, (working a part time, freelancing, and scraping whatever I can from unemployment...impressed, ladies?) he strips down bare-assed and proceeds to simply hold the towel in his hand while talking to me.  Why wouldn't you wrap that around your waist, if for no other reason than to free up your hands?

Anyway, while looking up and to the left the whole time I did hear enough to understand the guy's situation. Three degrees, former writer for a local paper which tanked, and miffed about going on job interviews where kids old enough to be his "judge him."

And that's when he blew Confucius out of the water and told me that the reason people have jobs is because of their luck concerning fellatio and/or sodomy.  I see his point...I mean, I work (part time) at a place where nepotism and cronyism is so widely practiced and accepted that it's become a long-running joke.   One day one of my co-workers spun around in her chair and casually asked, "so who did you know to get this job?"  After I heard that I blacked out a little and came to with four people trying to pry my fingers from her neck.

I don't have that much pride..I don't mind people "judging me" in an interview, but I'm afraid I do have a rather over-active gag reflex.  So I'm thinking it'll be some time before I find the dick that's right for me.  In the meantime gotta keep working hard on the things and for the people that you care about.  Money's fun and it'll come eventually, but it's not all that important.  I like living in my studio, it's comfy and I only got one ass, which can only sit down in one room anyway.

We all do stuff we're not particularly proud of while we wait for the world to shine it's love down upon us.  Hell, check this out.  That's right, kiddos.  That's young Trent Reznor on keyboards for some new age horseshit on AM Cleveland.  The guy had to eat while writing Pretty Hate Machine so he took the job when it was offered.  Do I think he was taking dick working with Slam Bamboo (ironic name for a conversation about taking dick)?  No, he was working hard.  If it's good enough for 2 time Grammy and newly crowned Golden Globe winner Trent Reznor, you aren't above doing what you have to to get by.  PS..Reznor also worked as the janitor for the studio he used.

I saw an old interview with Leona Helmsley, for those of you who don't know her she was a raging twat that had enough money to buy the moon, prided herself on being a horrid employer, and went away for tax evasion, saying "only little people pay taxes."  Sure, maybe her dick never wanted for mouth or ass, but not one person on the planet stepped up to be her character witness during her trial.  When she told John Tesh that she had never been happy in a 1993 interview, I believed it.

Anyway, that's all I got for now.  Poems will be posted every Friday until I run out of them. Till next time, keep your head up and towel around your waist.
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