After taking a leap back to the Hyborian Age of Conan, Mongoose Publishing looks like they’re leaping back to the future to capture the totalitarian world of Starship Troopers. With other adaptations like Babylon 5 and Judge Dredd to bolster their reputation in the field of licensed RPGs, it seems they should be able to handle this sci-fi property. But there’s a bit of a difference from those other licensed properties…this one also includes graphic novels.

Now, this UK publisher’s no stranger to the graphic novel game, but they’re also not a major player in that field. This could be a good opportunity for them though…Heinlein has a big following, which is probably hungry for more stuff even after the Starship Troopers movie. Heck, Hollywood still thinks there’s potential in this particular Heinlein property with Starship Troopers 2 in post-production and sporting a possible 2004 release date. All that press and sci-fi fandom sets things up nicely for Mongoose…all they really need to do is get a high quality product out there to take full advantage of it. Should be interesting to see how it turns out.

From Da H’wood Report-thang:

Marvel Enterprises has met with Pixar and nearly every producer about translating more of its comic book characters into filmed entertainment, said Marvel vice chairman Peter Cuneo on Tuesday. Cuneo, speaking at Emerald Asset Management’s 11th annual Groundhog Day Investment Forum in Philadelphia, said Marvel and Pixar have something in common in terms of their track records in film. “Pixar has an incredible record”, said Cuneo, referring to the company’s five blockbusters in five tries in partnership with The Walt Disney Co. “We’re seven for seven right now,” Cuneo said, referring to movies including “Hulk” and “Spider-Man” made in partnership with various studios. “As long as we continue to make good films, we’ll be successful. It has nothing to do with the genre wearing out.”

I can picture it now…(Fantastic) Four Story…Finding Namor…A Hulk’s Life…Mutants, Inc

I do like Cuneo’s little comment there, “It has nothing to do with the genre wearing out.” It almost feels like a comment handed out from some corporate investor relations committee to throw into statements here-and-there to curb any investor worries. “Hurry! They’re milking the genre dry. We need to jump ship before the stock goes sub-30s!” Sorry, the genre’s been milked, curdled, and made into a lovely cottage cheese to serve to the middle-aged crowd looking to fit into those jeans they wore in high school. But why worry about it…a genre is as strong as its characters and its storytellers. A good character will draw a crowd no matter what. And a good story is a good story–people will generally buy into a good story regardless of genre. They know this…they have the characters, and they have the money to hire the storytellers. So, why toss in a theorized confidence-building comment that could easily backfire and introduce a thought into a nervous investor’s mind that the genre actually could wear out?

One of the forces behind the upcoming Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow–production designer, Kevin Conran–was interviewed as part of CHUD‘s visit to the movie’s set. As the one-man team responsible for all of the artwork for the design of the movie…from robots to costumes to environment. He’s also a big comic book fan, and if there’s a studio/publisher out there interested in putting together a proposal to option the comic book adaptation rights, I think it might meet with some interest (as long as Kevin doesn’t have to draw it).

Q: Are you going to do a book like The Art of Sky Captain? Or how about a comic adaptation?

Kevin: Like I said, I love comics and I think it would be a lot of fun, but I personally have no desire whatsoever to draw a comic book of this thing.

You can check out the two-part set visit here and here.

Title: Shazam!
Logline: A mild-mannered young man becomes Captain Marvel, the world’s mightiest mortal, when he says the magic word “Shazam!”
Writers: Joel Cohen and Alec Sokolow
To be adapted from DC Comic’s 1970’s comic book. William Goldman was previously working on the script in March 2003. Michael Uslan will executive produce. First set up in December 2002.

Hmmm…to go from William Goldman (Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, The Princess Bride, Misery, Maverick, A Few Good Men, and lots more) to the writing duo that made up about one-third of the writing team on Toy Story and also worked together on Money Talks, Cheaper by the Dozen, and the upcoming Garfield movie. No offense to Cohen and Sokolow–they’ve proven they can get the job done, but I was really eager to see what Goldman could do with this character. I’ll wait to see what they do with it, but for now, that eagerness has faded a little. But it won’t completely fade…I spent too many hours in front of the TV watching Shazam! and Isis as a kid. I wonder if they ever considered turning that Isis cartoon into a movie? I know there was a movie sale based on the French novel, “La Revanche d’Isis,” but it’s not really the same.

There was a time…back in the day…waaay back in the day…little bit more…right there where I’m a bundle of youthful optimism and enthusiasm (the only difference now being that youthful part). We had a routine in my family where we’d make a pilgrimage every other weekend from our rinky-dink town to a larger city nearby where they actually had a mall–fascinating place with shopping and toys and games and Chick-fil-a and books. I was a big fan of books, so while the rest of my family wandered the other stores, I went to the bookstore. But I wasn’t drawn to the novels or magazines there. I went straight to the spinner rack.

And I wasn’t the only one. At all times, there would be a half dozen or more kids there circling around the spinner rack and browsing through comics. And we had a blast. We’d talk about what’s happening with our favorite characters, point out different storylines that the others just had to check out, and discuss all kinds of things–movies, games, bikes, and other fun kid stuff. It was a social event that could go on for hours, and we’d enjoy every minute of it. Everyone there was enthusiastic about comics, and they weren’t afraid to tell everyone what was so cool about a book. Some people in the store would look at us funny, some would even try to distance themselves from us, but some would get intrigued and join us in conversation. Comics were fun to talk about, and if one person walked away from that spinner rack with a new book to try out, we were elated.

Then the spinner racks faded away, and the kids found some place else to congregate and socialize. Personally, I started spending more time in the arcade, but it wasn’t the same. I didn’t buy quite as many comic books after that. Without all those recommendations of cool books I should try, I just kept to my normal books and didn’t deviate too much from that. The worst part though–I missed being a part of something special…something magical. A magic that disappeared from the world forever. At least that’s what I thought.

Late one Saturday night recently, I needed to pick up a book for some research, so I decided to check the Waldenbooks at the mall near my house. As I walked toward the back of the store, I noticed a gathering of over a dozen young teens in the corner of the store. So, I took a closer look and saw they were all hanging around the big digest-sized manga display/kiosk in the store–the one with books on every side that you could walk around. They were all flipping through books and socializing like I used to. Telling each other about their favorite characters and stories. Talking about new stuff coming out. Recommending books to people new to manga that came over to check out the display. Talking about movies, books, games and other fun kid stuff.

But I didn’t find my book there, so I went to the Barnes & Noble down the street. And guess what I saw? Another display of digest-sized manga books, and more kids hanging around and socializing. It made me happy to see that kind of enthusiasm again. It’s always nice to have a place where it doesn’t matter if that’s the cool thing or the “in” thing…where you don’t care whether people are giving you funny looks or not. It’s something you enjoy, and you always have a place to go where you know others will feel the same way. A place out in the public where your enthusiasm carries over to passersby. A place to meet new friends. A place where you walk away spending more than you originally intended because someone just told you about a new series that sounds really cool. This place isn’t on an ordinary shelf where people have to wait behind someone else to get to a book…it’s at a display you can circle around and laugh and share stories and have fun…like the warm, roaring fire at camp.

Well, the new Tuesday webcomic at Movie Poop Shoot kicked off today.

Brat-halla follows the comedic misadventures of the Asgardian godlings from their early teen/elementary school days. Enjoy and keep an eye out for more of the brats each week.

This is the first year for Wizard’s new offering in Texas. Lots of good guests, the primary convention hotel sold out a long while back…as well as the Artist Alley tables and Exhibitor booths. There will be lots to see…and hopefully a good crowd to match the event. If there’s a strong showing from the Texas area, this will probably become a regular event. So, if you’re in the Dallas area (or anywhere close) and you like comics, pop culture, anime, and the like…hop on over to Wizard World Texas and have some fun.

A special thanks goes out to all the people who enjoyed the story enough to give it a nomination vote. I’ve received lots of great emails and feedback at conventions about the story, and the artist for the story is picking up pace (he’s taken over the penciling duties on an Image book). “Dungeon Bears: An 80s Parody” did make it onto the final voting ballot, so if you’ve read the story and enjoyed it, please go participate in the voting at the Comic Book Resources message boards (open to everyone…you just have to register with the messageboards). If you’re a fan of comics, the CBR message boards and website also contain lots of great information and interaction with other comic fans (and even some pros)…so poke around while you’re there and see if something in the site or the community catches your attention.

Now, for those that haven’t read Dungeon Bears yet, here’s a special treat for you (and for those that have read it but don’t want to dig it out of your longboxes ^_^)…I’m posting the entire story on my website for you to enjoy. The files are about 170K to 200K each in size (sorry lo-bandwith people, but I wanted to make sure it was still easily legible). The last two aren’t quite as high in quality as the first three (I scanned the last two pages in because I don’t have the lettered files yet). Enjoy!

Dungeon Bears page 1
Dungeon Bears page 2
Dungeon Bears page 3
Dungeon Bears page 4
Dungeon Bears page 5

I’m sure people have heard the sayings–writers write, pencilers pencil, and all that. But the same can be said about the negative aspects of the arts…quitters quit. It’s actually much easier to quit sometimes than go through all the hard work it takes to create comics. Why is that? Well, one big factor is instant gratification. When you quit, you suddenly reclaim time to play more video games, spend more time at the bar, and stuff your face with dessert sandwiches made out of chocolate bars, pudding, and whipped cream. You also have one less project to stress over, so your blood pressure goes down…your hair starts to grow back…and your hypochondria eases up a bit.

Of course, there are instances where it’s nearly impossible to quit…when you’re addicted. Giving up smoking? How about caffeine? Or sweets? Quitting isn’t always a bad thing. When you actually think about it, quitting can be a form of sacrifice to help bring your life in line with your goals. Set a goal and try not to give up anything to achieve it. Want to lose weight? You’ll probably need to give up a lot of your favorite foods and some of your time for exercise. Want to watch a weekend-long MST3K marathon? You’ll lose out on time for other projects, sleep, and you might even sacrifice a little sanity along the way.

When I decided to get serious with my writing, I gave up a lot of my late nights playing games to make time for it. I also gave up an hour of sleep each night to get up early and work on my craft. My TV watching dropped to minimal levels as well, but that’s to give myself more time with the family (so they don’t feel left out when I’m locked away in my office writing).

Unfortunately, giving up so many different things to go after a goal also helps make it easier to quit later on. Think of how much you had to quit to go after a single goal. That’s a lot of practice, isn’t it? And if you have time to work on your projects, then you’ve been practicing how to quit other things correctly. You need to put that kind of practice into your creative endeavors as well, or you’ll be tempted to fall back to something you’re good at…quitting. But you can practice all the time and still feel the urge to quit.

So, how can you increase your odds of not giving up and falling back to all that well-practiced quitting? You get yourself addicted. Give yourself time to enjoy the rush of creating something new. Reward yourself whenever you stick to your goals and when you do a good job. Take a break every now and then to do something weird with your artwork…something fun. Set yourself up, so that you always feel your creativity overwhelming you to the point where you have no choice but to follow that path. Get yourself to the point where you stop thinking about how much you’re giving up and sacrificing to be a creator and start filling your thoughts with your creations instead.

Let’s flip back to the creative side real quick. You’re now addicted to all that fun creative stuff. You write or pencil all the time. But if you don’t take the effort to tear apart and analyze your work and guide all that practicing towards improvement, you’ll just be spinning your wheels. If you write and draw all the time, but do it wrong, you’re just reinforcing all those bad habits (and making them more difficult to break later on). So, it’s not enough to just write or draw all the time unless you constantly review your work with a critical eye to push yourself to improve your craft. Get the most out of the time you’ve made for yourself. To paraphrase from George Leonard’s book, Mastery–practice perfectly.

So, be a quitter! Quit the things you can afford to sacrifice to reach your goals, quit viewing the world through a pessimistic lens, quit worrying about your big break not showing up, and quit reinforcing bad habits in your craft. Quit those things, so you can reclaim the time, develop the positive attitude and practice the skills you need to reach your goals.

One of the greatest assets of the artistic creator is…well…creativity. Whether they work in a medium of words, pencils, ink, colors, or nifty sound effects and logos, creativity is a crucial part of the process. When the creative thoughts don’t flock to them, they stumble into a block and find themselves staring at the blank page for what seems like an eternity. And many just sit there…staring…waiting for their muse to enlighten them and lead them to the promised land of creative genius. Why? You can’t just sit around waiting for inspiration–it’s too sly and evasive for that. You have to hunt it down. So, grab your orange reflective vests and your camouflage socks and get ready to track down some creativity out in the wild.

Know where to find your prey. If you’re in the middle of the wilderness starving to death, it doesn’t do any good to set a trap or spend your time hunting in an area with no animals. Is there a water hole nearby? Is there a trail leading to it with a variety of different tracks along it? Guess what you might find there? Our prey is a little different. It’s bits of fashion or culture or psychology or science or history twisted around into something fresh and exciting. It’s information and observations tossed into our brain blender and pureed into an imagination smoothie. So, where does this information come from? A blank page? Not hardly. Stop staring at it and track down the fruit you need to squeeze for those creative juices. It lurks in pictures, conversations, news articles, history, scientific advancements, nature, events, and anywhere else you can learn something or spark a response from your senses and emotions.

Follow the trail. When you find a source of information that looks promising, don’t just stop there–follow the trail. If that bit of information whets your creativity appetite, chances are good that it could lead to some bigger game. Let yourself get lost in a sea of ideas, whimsies, data, and imagery. Let yourself leap freely from one intriguing tidbit of information to the next. Explore as much of the trail as you can and gather the resources you’ll need to capture your prey.

Tag it. What about when you find something that sparks your interest or triggers some thoughts and emotions? Tag it. Write it down, clip it out, or sketch it…and then file it away. If it triggers some reaction in you now, it will do the same later on. Build a file of ideas, thoughts, and possibilities that you can snack on whenever your mind’s starving for creativity. Leave yourself a trail that allows you to wander those paths you found again…and again…and again.

Corral those ornery critters. You have all this information now that’s running around wild and free like a pack of animals. You can just browse through some of this data and try to spot the inspiring information, or you can attempt to corral those ideas and put the one you want within reach. Just take a few random bits of data from your file, and let them run wild across the plains of your mind. Now, figure out a way to logically pull them together and guide them along. Let the ideas feed off of each other until you can shape the strange or opposing ideas into a logical, cohesive pattern. Take the chaos of the world and find a way to guide it into a premise that people might think, “If things were just a tiny bit different, this could really happen.” Practice pulling these stray ideas together and train your mind to constantly look for the creative patterns in the ideas around you.


What? You thought we were going to actually hunt creativity with rifles, shoot it and drag it back to the house on the hood of our truck to carve up into creativity chops? But that only provides you with a limited amount of ideas…if you want your creativity to grow and be easily accessible, you need to have a lot of lively ideas at your disposal. Be the smart hunter…capture and secure them in a place where they’ll grow and spawn even more ideas. Ideas that are easy to get to and will last for a long while.