Monday, January 25, 2010

Monday Morning Musings

Been a damned busy month. The biggest thing was building and launching my new DVD Late Show 2.0 website, especially the finding, revising and re-posting of over 350 reviews, dating back to March of 2005. I think I've got nearly all of the DVDLS reviews up now except for about a dozen that need more extensive reformatting. And, of course, I'm trying really hard to keep new reviews coming on a weekly basis.

If you haven't been by the new site yet, please take a few minutes and drop by. There will be at least five new reviews posted on Tuesday, and I'll be announcing the first new free DVD giveaway of 2010 the same day.

I'm also busting my ass to try and wrap up any outstanding writing commitments before Spring. I'm determined to get ahead on the Kolchak comic and wrap up the short stories I've been asked to write in the next few weeks. Then, hopefully, I can get going on some new projects that have been percolating, both creator-owned and work-for-hire.

Anyway, health-wise, I'm doing better than usual, and have lost ten pounds or so since New Year's. The house is cold, the pets are fine. Financially, things are still pretty crappy, but the wife and I are taking some steps to rectify that, and, if all goes well, things should be getting better on that front this year, too.

I actually managed to get out to the theater last week to see Sherlock Holmes with Robert Downey and Jude Law. Overall, I liked it quite a bit; a few quibbles, but nothing major.

I found a theater in the area that's showing Avatar in 3-D, so I'm hoping to persuade the wife to go with me to see it this week or next. I'm really not all that excited by what I've seen and heard about it, but if I'm going to see it, I at least want to see it in 3-D.

Not much else to report. If you're on Facebook, look me up.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Wednesday Cover: Warlord

Still in a sword & sorcery comics mood, apparently. Here's Mike Grell's nicely designed cover for Warlord #40, with Travis Morgan wearing a bit more than usual...

Friday, January 15, 2010

Tonight's Double Feature:



Ahhh... This is actually how I first watched The Night Stalker - on the CBS Late Movie.

I was too young to be allowed to watch Kolchak when the show originally aired in prime time, but, by my teens, when I could stay up late once in a while, I discovered that CBS ran episodes regularly as part of their Late Movie rotation. Man, TV actually used to be good.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

CAPTAIN MIDNIGHT CHRONICLES on the Runway

The long-anticipated, years-in-the-making, Captain Midnight prose fiction anthology, titled the Captain Midnight Chronicles, is finally taxiing onto the runway in preparation for launch. I'm really proud of this volume, from the striking cover painted by my Midnight co-pilot Richard Clark and designed by yours truly, to the wide variety of the dozen pulp tales lurking beneath it. Some are slightly campy, some are suspenseful, but all of them are hard-hitting, high-flying pulp adventure stories in the finest tradition of the genre.

Moonstone Books has officially solicited the book to the distributors for a May/June 2010 release. There's both a trade paperback version and a limited edition hardcover. The CM Chronicles can be ordered through your local comic shop or you can pre-order it through Amazon. Here's the company's solicitation copy:

CAPTAIN MIDNIGHT Chronicles

Written by: John J. Nance, Stephen Mertz, Chuck Dixon
Chapter Art: Vatche Mavlian

Cover: Richard Clark
224 pages, b/w, squarebound, softcover, 6 x 9, $16.95
10 digit: 1-933076-68-2-----13 digit: 978-1-933076-68-3

234pg Ltd Ed HC = $29.95 1-933076-69-0978-1933076-69-0

Featuring New York Times bestselling aviation novelist John J. Nance! Born in the blazing crucible of war, but sworn to fight for peace, the mysterious obsidian aviator known only by the codename Captain Midnight… flies again! An ace pilot, super secret agent, and astounding scientific genius, the heroic Captain Midnight returns when we need him most, along with his legendary Secret Squadron– to battle spies, saboteurs and the mercenary armies of the evil warmonger Ivan Shark and his delectably deadly daughter, Fury.

Join the Captain and his elite air warriors in eleven all-new stories by some of the greatest adventure writers in the world, as they battle evil and fight for freedom all over the world!

*(HC edition includes a special “history of Captain Midnight” section!)

A complete list of contributors, and their stories from the book, follows:

"Countdown to Midnight" By Christopher Mills
"Captain Midnight at Ultima Thule" By Win Scott Eckert
"The Black Dragon" By Mark Justice
"Shipwreck In The Sky" By Robert T. Jeschonek
"Death master of The Secret Island" By Trina Robbins
"Wind & Rain" By Tim Lasiuta
"Cushy Job" By P.C. Hamerlinck
"Captain Midnight Meets Airboy" By Chuck Dixon
"Fantastic Island" By Robert Greenberger
"The Dark of Midnight" By Stephen Mertz
"Witch of The Waning Moon" By Howard Hopkins
"A Mission In Time" By James J. Nance

PRE-ORDER from Amazon: Captain Midnight Chronicles

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Wednesday Cover: IronJaw

I recently connected with artist Pablo Marcos on Facebook, and that reminded me of this favorite barbarian series from the short-lived and somewhat notorious Atlas Comics -IronJaw. Here's Pablo's cover for the fourth and final issue.

A bizarre amalgamation of Conan and The Mighty Samson, IronJaw was a badass warrior who roamed a savage post-Apocaylptic wasteland, wenching, brawling, killing, fighting monsters, etc. And he had - surprise! - an iron jaw.

Okay, it the jaw was goofy ("goofy" was sort of Atlas' trademark), and stolen - like the name - from a Golden Age supervillian, but it made an interesting, dramatic visual, and Pablo's art on issues 2-4 + the one-shot Barbarians issue, was gorgeous, with the artist's distinctive style and elaborate linework virtually exploding off the page.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Night Stalking in Graphite


Here are three pages of pencils by artist Jaiime Martinez from the new, Kolchak The Night Stalker ongoing series that I'm writing for Moonstone Books. Entirely because of me, this project has taken far longer to get started than anyone wanted, but - I'm getting back on track, and, in fact, am writing a new script this week.

Nice art, though, right? Okay, sure, there's not a lot happening in these pages - it's primarily an expositional scene - but Jaiime does a great job capturing both the atmosphere and real-world nature of Carl Kolchak's universe. I like it and am eager to see the finished product.

More previews soon.

A Week and Half Into Ten

It's been a busy first week and a half of 2010.

Which is, actually, a good thing, as it means that I'm being productive and getting work done. In the last ten days or so, I've wrapped up the script and lettering for the first new Captain Midnight comic book story in decades, plotted another one, and, with very little preparation time, re-built my DVD Late Show site from scratch & re-launched it yesterday with five new reviews. I expect to have at least one - and maybe two - more articles posted before the end of the week.

I'm still transferring old reviews to the site, but there are now almost 250 articles in the archives, dating back to March of '05, when the first incarnation of the Late Show debuted at filmmaker Kevin Smith's now-defunct Movie Poop Shoot site. (If you're curious, that very first review was of the Mexican horror flick Alucarda.) It'll probably take me another month or more to track down, revise and re-post all of my old reviews.

One of my other pop culture blogs, Space: 1970 saw a surge in traffic this past week, thanks to a link on Grognardia, a gaming blog. In less than 24 hours, the blog gained more than thirty new "followers," and countless other new visitors. Who knew there were so many other old guys and gals out there nostalgic for the 70's sci-fi stuff I write about?

Tomorrow, I need to dig in on another Kolchak The Night Stalker script for the forthcoming ongoing comic book series from Moonstone, and once I deliver that, I need to knock out a short crime pulp story for one of the publisher's upcoming prose anthologies. My story pitch was approved yesterday, and I have until march to write it and turn it in. I don't want to say which classic adventure character I'll be writing about this time, but I'll give you a hint: he wears green.

I've also been asked to contribute a story to yet another prose fiction anthology dedicated to a classic pulp hero. That story's due in April, and I'm really anxious to get it in the book. Again, I'm not going to name the character right now; I'm trying to stop announcing things too far in advance of completion - sometimes projects fall through, get delayed indefinitely, or I just drop the ball and blow them, and it's embarrassing when folks keep asking when they're coming out. So, at the moment, I'm just saying that I've been asked to contribute a story, and keep checking back here for further announcements.

So, it looks like if I can buckle down and stay on task, I have enough writing jobs (even if they don't pay much of anything) to keep me busy until late spring. At that point, I expect to have a couple of new projects ready to shop around to publishers. During that time, I have other stuff lined up, too - preparing the Femme Noir online strips for publication in book form for Ape Entertainment, lettering my own Kolchak and Captain Midnight comics, etc. (And, as always, doing what I can to facilitate the long-gestating Gravedigger & Planet X books, too.)

I just hope that my unusually high productivity over the last ten days or so is something I can maintain. Late last year, I was finally diagnosed as having ADD. In retrospect, this seems so obvious - the behavior patterns and difficulties I've struggled with since I was a kid are textbook ADD - but it never occurred to me before. My doctor and I are experimenting with treatments, and if we can nail down the right one, I'm hoping to experience a serious improvement in my work habits and, well, just about everything.

I'm determined to make 2010 my best year - creatively, professionally and personally - ever.

Thursday, January 07, 2010

DVD Late Show 2.0

After five years of posting my DVD and Blu-Ray reviews at other sites - first at filmmaker Kevin Smith's Movie Poop Shoot, then Quick Stop Entertainment, and, most recently, at Forces of Geek - I have finally decided to publish them exclusively on my own, dedicated website. As of Monday, DVD Late Show Version 2.0 will officially "launch" at www.dvdlateshow.com.

Now, the official launch date is Monday, but the site is "live" now. On Monday there will be a slew of new reviews, however, including looks at the Blu-Ray releases of the technochiller Hardware, the T&A classic Screwballs, Mike Judge's Extract, and the sci-fi horror film Pandorum. And maybe more. :)

There are a number of reasons for this. Among them is a general dissatisfaction with how the "column" version of DVDLS had evolved, and the fact that it didn't really seem to fit in stylistically with the other features at FOG. Also, I confess that I had trouble maintaining the regular schedule. One reason for that was my self-imposed requirement to have a certain word count per installment, and sometimes it took too long to get the necessary number of reviews done to fill a column. Sometimes, there would be a drought of review material, which also made keeping the schedules difficult to keep. And, finally, sometimes I had more pressing assignments that had to take priority over the unpaid gig.

Well, no longer. In the new incarnation, I will be posting reviews as they are completed rather than waiting to fill out a column, which means more frequent overall updating. I will also be free to include Amazon links for the convenience of my readers, in case anyone wants to purchase the reviewed titles. And most importantly, I will be able to archive all my DVD Late Show reviews - several hundred of them, going back to early 2005 - in one place. This last one is very important to me; those reviews represent a whole lot of hours' investment, and I didn't like the fact that the earliest ones were effectively lost.

I am currently moving all of those reviews to the new site. I have over 130 in place now, and I have a lot more to go, but I'm getting there!

PLEASE check out the site, and if you find it entertaining and/or helpful, bookmark it, and make it a regular stop. Spread the word, link to it. If I'm going to need a lot of traffic/hits to make it feasible and keep it going. (This also means pretty much no more DVD reviews on this blog, though I'm sure I'll continue to cross-post on occasion.)

Thanks, guys.

Here's the LINK again.

Monday, January 04, 2010

Black as Midnight

Here's another look at the first page of the Captain Midnight story for the upcoming Moonstone Air Fighters anthology - this time inked by my CM partner, Richard Clark!

Personally, I love the way that Rick Burchett's pencils and Rich Clark's finishes complement each other. It's like one's peanut butter and the other's chocolate - two great tastes that taste good together!

Saturday, January 02, 2010

Fly the Unfriendly Skies!

Well, in the next month or so, the first issue of Moonstone's Air Fighters anthology should be hitting the shelves. Flying formation alongside such (revamped) Golden Age aces as Airboy, The Black Angel, Sky Wolf, The Flying Fool and the Iron Ace will be the legendary Captain Midnight, who stars in his own 8-page adventure.

Titled "Pyramid of Fear," this story was plotted by yours truly and artists Richard Clark and Rick Burchett. Rick B. then provided the pencils and Rich C. expertly embellished them in ink. Finally, I scripted and lettered the action-packed tale. The three of us are working together on the next Cap story for AF #2 in the same manner, while Rich keeps plugging away solo on the CM Zero issue art.

Here's a sample of Burchett's excellent pencils to whet your appetite:

I hope you enjoy this sneak peek, and will check out the book when it hits the stands. Me, I can't wait to see it; I haven't seen any of the other stories (just a few character sketches on the Moonstone website) so I'm eager to see what my fellow creators have come up with!