“I loved Broadcast, man. What’s next?”
I’ve heard that from comic fans a lot over the last few years.
Response to that first book was more than I ever could have hoped for. Reviews were great, fans enjoyed the work — Noel and I were thrilled. But as I started to hear that question again and again — I’ll admit, my nerves began getting the best of me. The Broadcast was my first published work. Noel had already developed a following of his own, but I was a relative unknown. Readers went into that book without any preconceived notions about me. But with a follow-up? A follow-up to a critical success? That would be different. That would bring something I hadn’t had on the first book: expectations. And expectations can be a very scary thing.
So that’s probably why it’s taken this new project some time to come to fruition. Noel and I have been busy, of course. He illustrated a brilliant comic called Foster. I wrote a short Batman piece for DC and, as most of you already know, published a kids’ series on Amazon’s kindle called The Librarian. We even did a short together in Dark Horse’s Once Upon a Time Machine anthology. That said, we were both knew eventually we were going to collaborate on another full-length graphic novel – we just wanted to make sure this new project was a worthy follow-up to the first.
Family Ties is about an aging Alaskan crime boss with dementia who is looking to secure his family’s future by dividing his empire amongst his three heirs. His cold-hearted daughters jump at the chance to take their spot at the head of the table, but his idealistic son refuses the inheritance. Fueled by his anger, the old man disowns his son only to realize he’s made a tragic mistake when his daughters use their newfound power and influence against him.
Sound familiar? It should — it is a retelling of William Shakespeare’s classic, King Lear.
In school, I struggled with Shakespeare like most kids — probably more than most, actually — but King Lear always resonated with me as a timeless story that was ripe for an update. Family issues are just as common today, after all.
Noel and I are still finishing up, but in the meantime, if you enjoyed The Broadcast, I hope you’ll take a few minutes this week to tell your local comics retailer about Family Ties. It’s available in January’s Previews and is spotlighted on page 320. Thanks so much for your support.
Response to the story I released on Halloween was pretty overwhelming so I decided to write one more Nightcrawler Tale before beginning Librarian 3. I know people really enjoyed the first one, but I have to admit, this is my favorite of the two so far…
A boring shopping trip leads to a fascinating discovery when Ben finds a one-of-a-kind toy hiding in an old antique shop his mother frequents. An avid collector, Ben brings the toy home, sure he’s found a prized piece for his growing collection. Instead, he quickly realizes he’s put his family in danger when the morbid toy goes through a horrific metamorphosis once the sun’s gone down.
Check it out on Amazon today. At just $0.99, these scary little bedtime stories can’t be beat!
Let me preface by making one thing very clear: I can’t wait for Scott Snyder and Jim Lee’s collaboration on Superman. I’m pumped for the book and am sure sure both men will do a phenomenal job. Like so many, I’ve become an enormous fan of Snyder and believe his current run on Batman will go down as one of the all time greats. And Jim Lee? Well, if Snyder’s a legend in the making, Lee is already there. He’s one of the few creators who can get me to buy a book based on the art alone.
But while I’m sure they have big plans, I do hope they’ll address an issue that’s been bothering me of late…
Superman’s a failure.
Sound harsh? Maybe. After all, Superman’s saved humanity more times than we can count. But here’s the real question: is that really why he’s here?
I grew up on the Donner movie. It’s probably the biggest reason I began writing comics. Take a moment to think aboutJor-El’s words to his son in that classic film. “They can be a great people, Kal-El. They wish to be. They only lack the light to show the way. For this reason above all, their capacity for good, I have sent them you, my only son.”
Who among us doesn’t hear Brando’s voice when we read those words? And what fan doesn’t get a chill when he hears that voice? We all have a connection with those words, and yet, imagine what it’s like for Superman. Not only was it the last thing his father said, it was the most important. I can’t imagine he goes a day without hearing those words echo in his mind.
So, I’ll say it again…
Superman’s a failure. His father sent him to Earth with a mission, and he’s failed every step of the way.
And as harsh as that may be, I challenge anyone to argue the opposite. Look around. We’re more jaded and polarized than we’ve ever been. That’s true in the real world, and it’s true in the DCU. It doesn’t matter how hard Superman’s tried, he hasn’t lived up to his father’s ideal. And if we’re being honest, can one man guide us to become better as a people? Is that even possible? Are Jor-El’s expectations just too high?
These are the questions I wanted answered in my Superman comics. Sure, I want epic battles and dramatic showdowns. But I also want there to be something happening between the panels. Eventually, I want Superman to realize our fractured society has become his greatest adversary. I want to see how he responds. I want to watch as he comes to realize there’s a really good chance he’s going to let his father down. And eventually, with a little help from Scott Snyder and Jim Lee, I want to see him bring us together the way Jor-El imagined. Who knows? Maybe a book like that is just what we need these days.
Hopefully this message finds you well on your way to a great evening. If you’re a young fan, you’re probably putting the final touches on your costume before braving this weather to play the game of “Trick or Treat” with your neighbors. Or, if you’re one of my adult followers, you’re probably loading up on candy and sneaking a few bites for yourself. Regardless, I wanted to take a few minutes to let everyone know that I’ve just launched a new series to Amazon’s Kindle that can be enjoyed by kids and adults alike — and its perfect for Halloween.
NIGHTCRAWLER TALES is a series of short stories inspired by old, black-and-white television shows like The Twilight Zone or Outer Limits. Each tale contains a chilling story that can be consumed in thirty minutes or less, perfect for that magic hour between sunset and bedtime when the nightcrawler reveals himself and begins planting nightmarish ideas in our minds.
Now, to be upfront, some of these stories will be scary. Some will be a little violent. But all of the stories will come with an appropriate warning letting you know just what kind of scares to expect. None of the NIGHTCRAWLER TALES will have material that would push a movie out of a PG or PG-13 rating. Truthfully, they’re the kind of stories that I was always excited to read as a kid.
But here’s what makes NIGHTCRAWLER TALES really cool…
Each story comes with a writing prompt to get kids started on their own NIGHTCRAWLER TALES! When finished, kids can send me their story. I’ll give it a read and let them know what I think. Then, the best of these kid-written stories will be published online when the Nightcrawler website debuts this spring, offering asipiring authors a chance to see their own stories become a part of the Nightcrawler universe!
I’m really excited for this series and hope you’ll support it! THE LIBRARIAN has inspired a lot of kids to read more and pick up the classics that inspired that series. I’m hoping this series will help get kids to pick up a pencil and start writing in the exact same way.
Here’s a link to the first story…
Enjoy! And Happy Halloween!
I know, I know. It’s about time, right? Some of you have been waiting for this since Christmas. For a while there, even I wondered if it would ever be done.
Well, it’s finally done, and trust me, it’s been worth the wait. The second book is almost twice as long as the first and is far more epic in scope. Click here to visit Amazon’s site where you can read a sample of the book right now.
Thanks so much for your patience, guys! I can’t wait to hear what you think. I’m really proud of this one. You’re going to love it!
Some of you know I run a reading club for fans of The Librarian. It’s a small club, but the kids are great. Each month they read books of their choice then take quizzes on their books for a chance to win gift cards, autographed books, graphic novels — all kinds of stuff.
Anyway, while I don’t update my blog nearly enough, I did want to jump in here and publicly tell all these kids just how proud I am of their work. Last month was our best yet! The kids took more than TWO HUNDRED quizzes in July! That’s craaaaazy! While everyone else is sleeping ’til noon and watching re-runs through the night, these guys are kicking butt and taking names!
Job well done, guys! Keep it up! Let’s make this next contest even better!
The Librarian has taken up a lot of my time of late which means I haven’t been able to spend much time on the graphic novel projects that I have in the pipeline. They are coming. Noel and I have finally decided what we’re going to do as a follow up to The Broadcast. And while we can’t talk about that one just yet, I can announce that we will have a story in the giant anthology book coming out from Dark Horse this fall called Once Upon a Time Machine…
For the book, each creative team took a classic fairy tale and re-imagined it in a future setting. Noel and I adapted an old Hans Christian Andersen story called “The Puppet Show Man” that has a few nods to Ray Bradbury hiding in there as well.
I’ve seen a lot of the work in this book. If this 400-page behemoth isn’t nominated for an Eisner I will be very, very surprised. Editors Andrew Carl and Chris Stevens have done a masterful job putting it together. I’m just happy they invited Noel and I along for the ride.