Chicago, technically, and I’ll be here for a couple more weeks (but I get to fly home for the weekend). But things have kept me from the blog… coding (and in some cases, recoding) 5 websites (yes, five!), working on the comics/webcomics, writing another screenplay, working on some columns, and working on some pitches.

But, I’d rather be out here commenting on The Mutant Chronicles, the CNN Exchange, and the short film/commercial director brought on board to direct the Halo movie. Give me another couple weeks, and I should be able to get back into a regular blogging groove.

Until then… beware the olives.

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In this issue, the team gets drunk, blows up a tree, gets gassed, blows up an old military building, gets a bad head trip, blows up a… you get the idea… Well, you would if it all happened in that order. Join us for the killing, the conspiracies, and the crayon drawings.

Check out the preview to Task Force 1 #2 over at Image Comics!

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  1. Driving up into the parking garage at the hotel and into a wall of smoke where firefighters are dousing a flaming mini-van.
  2. Hearing tales of my little girl at home opening up both ends of a fruit snacks bag to wear them on her forearms like Wonder Woman’s bracers.
  3. Venture Brothers.
  4. Having a team come together for a project I’m co-creating/co-writing.
  5. Planet Karen
  6. The artery clogging, but ever-so-satisfying Monte Crisco sandwich.

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A question about writing TV spec samples…

Why can’t I write a TV spec sample using my favorite TV show that’s been canceled? I just don’t see why it has to be a current show.

Marcie Ross, Sunnydale, CA

Dear Marcie,

Some might think it’s just a big network conspiracy to make sure aspiring TV writers watch every episode of as many current shows as possible while also investing in DVD collections of those same shows. But there’s actually a method to the madness. It’s a means of letting execs see a little variety in the specs that pile up on their desk week-after-week… year-after-year.

Especially after they’ve read a gazillion variations of this spec script…

Read the rest of the article here…

Looks like The Pulse has the the early list of this year’s Eisner winners.

Congrats to Scott Kurtz (Digital Comic), Bill Willingham (Best Serialized Story … Fables) and Zeus Comics (Will Eisner Spirit of Comics Retailer Award). And I want to point out one of the other retailer finalists, Austin Books… both of those retailers are great, and I’m sorry Austin Books was nominated two years in a row without getting the award (I hope you get it next year, Brad).

This trailer almost felt right. The visual style feels more in line with the comic books I remember reading in my youth, but I doubt the story will be as dark and violent as the original comics (you’ll see what I mean when you see the trailer). But I do like that CGI a lot more than I did the costumes of the earlier movies.


For those viewing through news feed readers, you can find the trailer here.

Special thanks to Jason Chalker for his help in bringing this trailer to life.


As thousands of aspiring writers storm into San Diego this week, there’s one big question on their minds… How do I approach editors at a con?

Well, The Creative Adviser shares his foolproof strategies for becoming an instant celebrity at the show (or at least showing up on the 11 o’clock news) in this week’s article, The Editorial Approach.

Task Force 1, the book I’ve been writing for Jim Valentino over at Image Comics is now available.

Created by Jim Valentino, Task Force 1 features artwork by Comic Book Idol II winner and former ShadowHawk artist, Carlos Rodriguez with colors by Joel Seguin and letters by Jason “Jaco” Hanley.

Here are some comments about Task Force 1:

“…everyone buy his book TASK FORCE ONE when it comes out… I seriously am telling you it’s very very good!” –Gail Simone (Birds of Prey, Secret Six, The All New Atom)

“It’s a summer blockbuster movie in a comic book. Definitely on our “must list”. –Sharp Brothers

“I know it’s a soldier story, but geez, the blood starts on the 2nd page, and keeps gushing.” –luna (from the semi-secret Shadowline clubhouse out in the ether)

If it weren’t for the fact that f***er shot me in the wrist with a nail gun, I’d buy this book in a heartbeat. –what one of my buddies from my military days will probably say about this book when he hears about it

You can check out 10 pages of issue #1 here (well, 9 pages plus the inside front cover) and 5 pages of issue #2 here. For even more information, links to interviews with the creative team at Newsarama and Comic Book Resources are also available at those links.

To read about the soldiers of tomorrow today, you can pick up a copy of the first issue of Task Force 1 at fine comic retailers everywhere. To find a retailer near you, check the Comic Shop Locator Service online or call 1-888-COMIC BOOK.


I hope all the American-types reading have an enjoyable 4th of July. Here are some quick (okay, semi-quick) tidbits…

• Next week, Task Force 1 from the Shadowline imprint at Image Comics hits the comic shop shelves. It’s an exploration of the psyche of the American soldier a generation or so in the future when technology turns top spec ops soldiers into a deadly team with a mission… become the terrorists’ bogeyman. It has guns, explosions, comradery, and my love of really messing with characters’ heads to rip them down until we find out what they’re really made of. For the sake of the world, let’s hope the military was right about the psyche profiles for the members of this team.

• Related to Task Force 1… U.S. Elite Forces Face Shortfall. Here’s an interesting snippet from the article…

–The Navy. It has 2,352 SEALs but is authorized for 2,684, says the Naval Special Warfare Command. Another unit of special warfare combatants has 563 people; it is authorized to have 653.

–The Air Force. It has filled 504 of 616 jobs for combat controllers who direct airstrikes; rescuers of wounded troops behind enemy lines; and combat weather forecasters.

–The Army. It has acknowledged a shortage of troops but won’t give a precise number. The Army Special Operations Command said this year that it would take a few years to return “Army special forces units to full strength.” The Government Accountability Office, the investigative arm of Congress, reported in 2005 that the Army had filled only 2,922 of 3,834 spots for sergeants in four Special Forces categories: intelligence, communications, engineering and medical.

When I first entered the Air Force (way back in ’90), I was in the training pipeline for combat controller. At the time, I believe the washout rate was 85% for the course. 60+ airmen would enter and less that 10 would move on. It was rough, and even if you had the endurance and physical abilities to get through the training, one blown knee (or in the case of one of my best friends… stress fractures in your shins that make them resemble jigsaw puzzles) can ruin it for you.

After I decided to try out for combat control during basic training (go out and take the PAST), I told my mom about it (she was former Air Force). She stopped by the recruiter’s office back home and chatted with him about it. “Your son? The math and physics nerd?” She made a bet with him that I’d get in… conveniently forgetting to mention to him that the math and physics nerd also played on a Texas semi-state finalist football team, competed in regionals for track, and was a sectional runner-up for the swimming & diving team. And even with that background, I barely qualified to make it into combat control training. I think less than a dozen of us qualified that day out of nearly a hundred airmen trying out (getting them to try out wasn’t a problem… basic trainees will do anything to get away from the squadron for a “vacation”).

So, let’s see… maybe 5-10% of all the eligible airmen tried out that day. Approximately 10% qualified to go to the training, maybe 50-75% of those passed the flight physical and/or actually decided to give up another career field to pursue specops, and less than 15% of those will actually make it through the course to become a combat controller (or pararescueman… they both trained together at the time for a significant part of the pipeline). Really, really roughly, that gives you 1/20th of 1 percent of all new recruits. With a 24,000 new recruit cap for 2005, that would have been about 12 new combat controllers/pararescue for the year (18 back in 1990 when the Air Force had 36,000 new recruits). There’s a little play there from cross-trainees (and cross-service cross-trainees) and injured people washing back to the next class to attempt to go through again, but still… when your manpower’s 112 short to begin with, that’s not looking good for getting caught up. I know they changed the program (the changes were starting while I was in training) to make it easier to qualify and a little (stress on the “little”) bit easier to complete the course. Even if they double their throughput, it’ll still be tough to make up those numbers.

And back to my initial comment that this was related to Task Force 1… not only do you work on missions no one else can know about, take on jobs normal soldiers don’t qualify for, and have to constantly maintain proficiencies, but you also have to do all that in a career field that’s undermanned. Even in normal civilian day jobs, a person in an undermanned position is more likely to burn out and have a nervous breakdown without having to deal with bullets and IEDs. Something to think about… I know I do when I’m writing this book. ^_^

The Creative Adviser updates with a question about impersonal rejection…

Why did the rejection letter I got back from my submission to a major comic publisher feel so impersonal? I took the time to add personal touches to my submission… why can’t they do the same?

Jay G., Central City, NE

Dear Jay,

We’ve all run into this scenario at some time, but I just so happen to have a friend (distant friend, in fact) who actually received a personal response from an editor at Marvel Entertainment. It doesn’t happen often, but it does happen. You just have to strike the right chord with an editor and give them a reason to respond. Let’s take a look at his letter…

Click here to read the rest of the article.

The Top Cow Myspace blog is promoting a screening of the short film “Blame” at the Dances With Films Independent Film Festival. The film was put together by some names familiar to Top Cow (and also stars Renae Geerlings… Top Cow’s current Editor-in-Chief). If you’re in LA the week after San Diego Comicon, you should swing by Laemmle’s Fairfax Theater and give it a looksee.