Sunday, April 26, 2015

What It Is – week ending 26 April [2015]

With apologies to Dave the Thune (as well as Mike Baron & Steve Rude).

Every day.  1000 words.  That’s the goal.

Been working on my pitch for Oni, which shared the guidelines  for their upcoming open submission period.  They can be found here.  An interview with the editorial staff can be found here , full of good information for others looking to send in a comic proposal.  And they have been answering questions through their tumblr account, in order to clarify exactly what they are looking for. 

For me, this is pretty exciting.  It’s been years since Oni has allowed unsolicited submissions, and they have published a lot of amazing titles I’ve enjoyed, through the years, including Queen & Country, Oni Double Feature, Volcanic Revolver, and The Bunker.  So having the opportunity to share my work with them and know that it will get a proper assessment is stellar. 

This is also the point where I can try and “make my own luck.”  I admit, I didn’t fully understand this phrase when I first started writing and submitting stories to publications and editors.  To my mind, it made me think of those stories where people use a bit of subterfuge or “hutzpah” to get an in with a publisher, and having gotten their foot in that door are able to prove themselves worthy of the opportunity.  But now, having been working at my writing for a few years, I realize it’s far more than that.  I have a backlog of stories on my hard drive, in various stages of completion, as well as published stories to my name, which means when an opportunity of this nature comes about, I probably already have something that will fit – which I do.  At this point, I’m already ahead of the game because I’ve been working on this story for a while.  I just need to hammer it into a pitch that will engage the editors while making sure it fits with their guidelines.  If I were starting from scratch, I would be hard pressed to get anything in by the deadline.  Making my own luck, as best I’m able.

So, I’m reading The Adventures of Tom Sawyer for the first time, and I’m really enjoying it.  I love Mark Twain’s use of language – in the dialogue, in the descriptions, in the quiet moments – it’s all beautiful, almost elevated in its poetic nature, while still feeling authentic.  Not sure now why I have not read this book before. 

Xenozoic by Mark Schulz.  This was a favorite comic of mine, back in the day, that sadly did not come out often enough, for my taste.  Schulz may be one of the best illustrators ever to work in the medium, but it came at the price of anything resembling swiftness.  His pages, and the panels on those pages, are beautiful and he doesn’t short change readers at all, with a wealth of details all painstakingly delineated with a precision that is jaw-dropping.  This guy can draw.   And what he drew—dinosaurs in a future, five hundred years after the cataclysm that threatened to bring about the extinction of the human race.  But now we live alongside these giant beasts from the past, as one man, Jack Tenrec, works to keep the balance with nature that can ensure humankind’s survival, while a beautiful ambassador from a neighboring tribe comes to lay the groundwork for a peaceful coexistence that might also be mutually beneficial to both tribes.  Of course, the two become enamored of one another, but Schulz keeps that simmering within the subtext, for the most part, crafting a mature relationship between these two strong characters that is engaging and distinct, for these aspects of it.  I forgot how much I enjoyed this book.  It was great to re-read these stories again.  Well worth seeking out, if you’ve never read them before. 

District 9 from director Neil Blomkamp, co-written by Blomkamp & Terri Tatchell.  This continues my foray into “recent” science fiction films I missed.  I enjoyed this.  I found the story engaging, even if the metaphor (though a worthy one) was a bit heavy-handed.  The effects were well done.  I appreciated the design of the aliens.  The villains were a bit one-dimensional, but what are you going to do?  Not great, but definitely worth watching.  Next up, some Val Lewton classics. 

Something I managed to forget to include in the last “What It Is,” was the latest offering here at Warrio27:  A Fistful of Single Issues – Superhero Comics.  These are 6 (had to have an honorable mention) of my favorite single issue cape comics, the ones I go to when I have to read something exciting that will get my inner child all giddy.  Including work by Alan Moore, Grant Morrison, Todd McFarlane, Larry Hama, and a host of others, these are the comics I would bring with me to that theoretical desert isle.  And they would keep me pumped about comics for a long, long time. 
[interestingly, though unsurprisingly, three of these books were published in 1984, when I first began collecting comics, while the other three were published between 1988-89, which goes to prove the adage that a comic collector’s “Golden Age” is usually that period when they first began reading]

As always, check out my friends – Brad& Matt, Darren Smith (with Bryan Young on accompaniment, when he’s available)  and Don McMillan, as well as Dan’s foray into podcastdom, the Potato League Podcast, for their own weekly recaps on things comic-y and geeky, and we'll see what's what in seven.  


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