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Charles Satterlee's Bitter Diary

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Sunday August 7, 2005

Last day.

I got to sleep about 6:00 AM and got up at 7:00 AM, so you can almost say I didn’t sleep.  I also woke up after an hour to find that my voice had completely left me.  I had nothing.  Needless to say, we sold a lot less today.

I did make some inroads with some people today.  I spoke to my agent and got an update on where we are going with things.  I spoke to Mark Waid about a project that Brian Augustyn and I are attempting to do.  Mark was too cool.  I have to really pinch myself to make sure I am really working with Norm Breyfogle...talking to people like Frank Miller, Jim Lee and Mark Waid and for that matter...have an agent.

I think one of the nicest things to happen to me though came from about one of the most unexpected sources.

About ten years ago, I submitted a shitty script to Valiant Comics.  It was a decent idea but poorly written and I had not yet learned that one can infer something happens and that sometimes inference can be your friend.  In this script, I had an eye for an eye type crazed clown figure named Happy Jack who dispensed real world justice. Anyway, I was in New York to talk to Paul Kupperberg at DC and so, I thought I would give this Valiant editor a call and see if I could drop in after my DC meeting.  The editor agreed to have me come up and I was thrilled.  I couldn’t believe it.  I was very excited.  I then met him and he proceeded to give me a tongue lashing like no-one I had ever seen.  He ripped me to shreds.  I felt awful after leaving that place.

For the past ten years, I was of the mind that this guy hated me.  I never even submitted to places where he was an editor because I didn’t want to get the cold shoulder.  I even left comics for a time because of that.  It was a tough lecture to take.  So, I went for a time not submitting to DC and some time not submitting to cross-Gen (but I was out of comic for most of Cross-Gen)

So, I am at my table, voiceless and who comes by?  Tony Bedard.  I almost swallowed my tongue.  Even after ten years, I was afraid I did something wrong and pissed him off again.  I had a moment when I wanted to punch him too. I had a bunch of emotions go through me in the first mili-seconds after he confirmed he was indeed Tony Bedard.  I acted on none of the bad ones and went with the little guy in the white suit and halo on the other shoulder.

He simply came by to apologize.  Honestly...it blew me away.  What an honorable man!  Firstly, how could he even remember that?  I was nobody.  I know that because I still am.  Playing poker with big movers and shakers does not make one a mover and shaker.  I am still insignificant in the grand scheme of things.  Let’s just say that no-one will be placing an memorials in the backs of their comics like we did for Jim Aparo if I kick the bucket.  So, for Tony to remember that day...ten years later...well, that made my year.

I told Tony that I was also wrong for sending such an inappropriate script.

I am so thankful to Tony Bedard for his courage to walk up to me and say that...not knowing how I would take it.  He is one hell of a guy in my book.  Thank you, man.

The day came to a close and we sold just about every book minus fifty or so because I have some comp copies coming.  It was a resounding success.

Now on to Toronto!

 

Saturday August 6, 2005

Day two of Wizard World Chicago.  I had just a few hours sleep when this day started.  I was groggy, but came to play.  Hey, it’s comic-con.  It is to be expected.

We sold a ton more books today.  I spent a lot of time hanging out with the team.  I was able to break free and walk my son, in a Superman Costume, around the con.  We bought some action figures.  It was very cool for me because, while he is only three...he got to live in my world for a little while. 

In the evening, I met Tom Mandrake.  I think it is easy to say that I instantly liked him.  We really hit it off.  I would love to bring something of his to Relative and work together. 

The night went on and on and I ran back into Scott Wherle.  He asked what I was doing and found out that we had an in to go to Jim Lee’s room.  I got there with Scott and a friend of his with Kevin Breyfogle and sure enough, we found ourselves in a room with Jim Lee and Frank Miller.  I was surprised to find that both of them were totally cool people. 

 

Friday August 5, 2007

This was the first full day of the con.  Sales were brisk.  Norm and Kevin came in a bit late but I guess I should have worked harder to make sure a schedule was in everybody’s hands.  Mike Oeming was gracious enough to make some time for us today and sat and signed copies of OBS #1 since his work is on the back cover.  He is just awesome.  I have been a big fan forever and I am really honored that he dropped by to sign.

I saw Phil Hester as well today.  He was signing at the DC booth.  Phil has always been very gracious to me since we met at the Iowa Comic Book Club’s I-Con in June.  It was a great one day show.  (Scott Wirth and co. at I-Con are great people and if you get a chance, you should catch the show.)  Anyway, Phil lives near me and since we are the only one’s that we know of doing serious comic work within two hours, we have gotten together a couple times.  Honestly, I think he is very nice to say that we are both pros...but let’s face it...I am me and he is Phil Hester.  I have a ways to go.  It was nice to see him.  I heard rumors of a poker game later in the evening and asked Phil to help me out.  He said to track some people down and see if I can get in.  I did and I founf the time and the place.  All I had to do was be there at the right time.

My father showed up today with my brother as well.  It was very nice of them considering it was the debut of OF BITTER SOULS #1.  I was glad to be able to spend the time with them.  We all went out for dinner with Adam Fortier and Liz as well as Chuck Maly (letterer). 

I showed up at the right time and right place and happened to see Phil, who walked in with me.  I have to thank Phil and Ande Parks for not telling everyone there I was not even close to supposed to be there.  Anyway, we sat down to play after a while and I find myself playing poker in a room with Phil Hester (Nightwing, Green Arrow, Antoine Sharpe: The Athiest), Ande Parks (Nightwing,  Green Arrow), Gareb Shamus (Wizard Magazine Founder), Kevin Smith (uh...THE Kevin Smith), Jason Mewes (yes...snootchy boochy), Jim Lee and other assorted comic book royalty.  My agent was even there.  It was funny.  I ended up getting knocked out of the tournament by my agent.  Someone made the joke that I just signed with my agent and he’s already taking all of my money.  In the end, my agent’s son took the number one prize.  Gareb Shamus was second and my agent was third.  It made me feel good to see that my agent and his family can bluff.  After that, patronized Knuckles again and met up with some pretty cool people.  I also hooked up with a friend from the comic writer’s forum that I am a member of...Scott Wherle.  We hit it off pretty much from the start.  I said hello to a number of people.  I was out until somewhere around 3 or so.  It was a good night.  I was very happy at the connections I made.  This night afforded me the opportunity to say hello to people and talk to them regarding getting work or maybe getting reviews or press. 

It was very cool today also because Comic Book Resources had a pic of me on their pic parade and Newsarama is carrying an interview with me to coincide with the release of the comic.

 

Thursday August 4, 2005

Wizard World Chicago!!!  We arrived at the convention center at around 3:30 PM.  I was anxious to get everything together because I kept looking over at a box that had the following letters strung together to form the words...”Of Bitter Souls #1”!!!  I told myself that I had to have the whole booth put together before I would allow myself to look at the comic. It took a long time to get the booth up.  I had to change around the booth until I felt I got it right.

The show opened at 5:00 PM for preview night and I must say that I just made it.  I was done as they announced that the show is opening.  That’s when my wife, Chris and Liz Fortier and I grabbed the box and triumphantly opened to find...

The flipbook preview from San Diego...

I checked the box.  It was the right box judging from the outside label.  I picked up the top copies of the books and looked underneath to see if the printer was just f’ing with me.  No...this was a box of free preview flipbooks with six pages of art from OBS and six pages from Smoke & Mirror.  I was so excited to see them in Chicago and so pissed to see them in Chicago!  I kept my cool.  Later, Liz would say that the look in my eyes was bordering on criminally psychotic.

Chris Stone was there too.  He is the creative Director for Speakeasy Comics.  My wife said he was looking around on the ground as if to see if the books might be down there.

Chris my wife was silent.  I was silent.  In fact, I honestly do not remember anyone saying anything for a good minute or two.  Maybe something was said and I might have even said it...but I don’t remember.

Then someone had the idea to check the boxes that were labeled, Of Bitter Souls/Smoke & Mirror Preview Flipbook.  We did.  The full issues were in there.  Crisis averted.  I felt like Ben Stiller in The Mystery Men...rage subsiding...

Then I saw that Sal’s (Atomika Creator) fourth issue was screwed up at the printer.  Sal is a friend and even though he isn’t with Speakeasy anymore, I felt horrible for him.  Then I had a thought I hope he wont hate me for.  I thought for an instance that I was glad it was him and not me.  I mean, I was never happy that his book was screwed and had to go back to print.  Not even remotely happy.  Only an ass would be happy for a friend’s loss.  I just mean that I was relieved that I didn’t have that problem.  I do have a copy of that issue now though so keep up the god work, Sal! When Atomika is selling like hotcakes and then you’re a huge star...someday that issue is getting my kid a college education. 

We had an awesome night.  The book sold well right from the start.  We had a good looking booth with awesome graphics from Erik Enervold and an awesome looking book and good salespeople who aren’t afraid to talk to people.

After the show, I went out with my inker for SMOKE & MIRROR, Kevin Breyfogle.  We had dinner at a Mexican place and proceeded to make our way to Knuckles for drinks.  It was the first night so things were not as huge as I was going to find that they could get.  We met up with some good people and I saw some new friends from San Diego.  I saw Greg Thompson and his wife.  (I am an ass because I can never remember her name.)  I saw Erik Larsen.  Greg introduced me.  He was nice enough but I think I annoyed him.  I don’t know why but I just got that feeling.  I hope it’s wrong.  I would hate to have a bridge burned at Image before one is even set up.  I hope I am wrong.  How can people be annoyed with me?  I am a big fat jolly guy.

 

Wednesday August 3, 2005

At least it was new comic book Wednesday today. It was something to do as I wait anxiously to leave for Chicago tomorrow.  I am so nervous about the book that I am having a hard time sleeping.  Tonight, we packed the car with everything...or at least I hope we did.  We leave at 7:00 in the AM. 

 

Tuesday August 2, 2005

More of the same old same old.  I am working on those titles with Brian Augustyn and we are getting some of the sketches in for our first title.  I’ll have to ask Brian if he minds if we post a little.  More on that later.

 

Monday August 1, 2005

Well, Entourage was on last night and that was a whole lot of hype for nothing.  They just showed us for a few seconds.  It seemed like an awful lot of effort for such a small payoff.  I also felt as if the show portrayed comic fans as Hollywood often does...in a negative light...again...  They sure think we’re freaks but then again, they sure do want to make movies for us as well...maybe we should just stay home on the next premiere weekend for a big comic movie...that is unless my properties get optioned and made into a film...then go opening night.

Not a whole lot getting done right now as we are simply preparing for the release of issue one for OF BITTER SOULS this week at Wizard World Chicago.

 

Sunday July 31, 2005

Brian Augustyn and I have decided to put together a book of titles and properties that we are going to shop around the industry.  We plan on having a large number of properties to sell. 

The cover sketches have just come in for Of Bitter Souls #5.  I love them.  I have chosen which one already with Erik Enervold and even Aunt Janise aggress.  If you’re interested in voting on which one you would have chosen, check out the relative comics forum at the message boards at www.speakeasycomics.com.

 

Saturday July 30, 2005

Tomorrow night is the Entourage episode.  Check it out. 

This was a fairly uneventful day.  I saw Batman Returns for the third time.  It ended the same.

 

Friday July 29, 2005

We have some big news at Relative Comics Studios.

Brian Augustyn is joining the fold at Relative along with some very good artists.

Brian will be writing his own creator-owned title called The Witness.  No official penciler is signed on yet.  The Witness is a new twist on vigilantes and is set in the American Midwest.

Brian and Relative and I will be co-writing a number of projects together.  The first titles will be:

No Other Gods:  When a superhero, who has been given his powers by the Gods, lives in an America run by the Conservative Right, all havoc breaks loose.  What is the one power strong enough to bring down a hero like Apollo?  A propaganda machine.

Flight Versus Invisibility: What would you do if you were offered the choice between flight and invisibility?  This series is a character study in personality.  Using different characters every issue, FvI studies the human condition from a uniquely comic book perspective.

I am also adding a solo written title to the list.  I am working on a title with Marco Magallanes called (working title) Wardrivers.  It is a futuristic sci-fi story where the world’s youth have mutated to be able to jack into the wireless internet signals, cell phone traffic and even other human minds.  Marco is an awesome artist and I am proud to be working with him.

On the Smoke & Mirror and Of Bitter Souls fronts, Lovern Kindzierski (colorist for Smoke & Mirror) is in the middle of a move and is out of commission for a few days.  Claude is working away at Smoke & Mirror #4.  Norm is back and is reading the script to Of Bitter Souls #5 so he can do a cover right away.  Erik is working on the final versions for Smoke & Mirror #1 and Of Bitter Souls #2.  Mike Kowalczyk (colorist for Of Bitter Souls) is working on finishing OBS #3.  I am writing the revised script to Smoke & Mirror #5 and to Wardrivers #1.  Brian and I are working on the other two. 

We are also preparing for Chicago.  This time next week Of Bitter Souls #1 will finally be out there!!!!  We are debuting it in Chicago!!!

 

Thursday July 28, 2005

I am almost ready to announce the small press thing that Erik and I have brewing.  Today, we brought on a ton of creators and titles for this idea.  It is going to be great.  Norm and Kevin are back!  Norm is reading the script for issue #5 and will have some cover designs soon.  I am learning that covers are very important.  We need these done earlier than everything else because we need to solicit so early for everything.  Get this...I just received an e-mail from Speakeasy today asking for solicitation information for the trade paperbacks and we haven’t even released our first comic yet.

ENTERTAINMENT ALERT!!!

This Sunday on HBO at 9PM CST, the show ENTOURAGE will have some very cool stuff.  This past season...the guys in Entourage have been dealing with a possible part in a James Cameron directed AQUAMAN movie.  (this is on the show only and not really happening)   Last week, Vinny, the main character was given the part.

This week, they will be visiting a mock San Diego comic convention.  In the background, you will be able to see a huge Speakeasy Comics banner with banners for their titles including titles from yours truly.  Erik Enervold made the banners and I set up the deal.  Monty Hom at HBO was awesome!

Thanks, Monty!!!

 

Wednesday July 27, 2005

Speakeasy Comics changed the format for their ads this month and I have to say...WOW!!!  This is a much needed improvement.  The ads have been changed to vertical half pages rather than horizontal ads.  I was a bit concerned because the last couple months I didn’t feel that Norm’s art (as well as Claude’s) was being used to it’s potential.

I know it is nit-picking, but I am still disappointed in the ads for one reason this month.  The folks at Speakeasy put Of Bitter Souls #3 next to the solicitation for The Hunger trade-paperback.  Normally...no problem...I dig Torres and Dibari from The Hunger.  They’re great guys.  However...it turns out that their cover is almost exactly the same color background as our cover.  Also, there are severed heads being held by the hair in their cover...and in ours.  It is eerie and I think maybe a bit confusing.

The guys are doing a great job at Speakeasy and they have a lot more to look at and keep track of than I do, but I wouldn’t be a typical creator if I didn’t complain.

I was asked by another creator who is going on their own (I can’t say who or what publisher) to leave Speakeasy and come with them on our own.  I politely declined because I believe in the guys at Speakeasy and I think things are going to be just fine.  Aunt Janise and I both agree that we need to stay loyal to Speakeasy right now.  Adam, Chris, Joe and Liz at Speakeasy are good people who I trust and I tell ya that trust is hard to have in this biz.

 

Tuesday July 26, 2005

It is the calm before the storm again.  We are in kind of a holding pattern right now.  Mike is working on OBS #3 colors and Claude is working on Smoke & Mirror #4 pencils, but we are really still at like half speed.  Once Norm and Kevin get back, things will start rocking again.  I also suspect that we are about to get a barrage of color pages for Smoke & Mirror #3.

Erik and I talked about our small press idea again.  I am stoked about this. 

Good news, we are starting to get covered by the one website I just couldn’t seem to bust through to... Newsarama.  That’s good news.  They are starting to carry news about my books.   While Frederik and the crew here at Broken Frontier are my bros... I still need coverage every place I can get it.

 

Monday, July 25, 2005

Erik Enervold and I are brewing up something that involves a bunch of small press creator-owners.  More to come when we get things going...but it is going to be very cool.

I will have some script pages to send to Marco today for the new sci-fi project.  I keep calling it the sci-fi project because I just do not like the name yet.  I seriously need to settle on a name soon.

This is the week we have a lot going on.  Erik has to have the files for Of Bitter Souls #2 and Smoke & Mirror #1 uploaded to the Speakeasy Comics FTP.  We have ads coming out in Diamond’s Previews.  I have to have Smoke & Mirror #5 written soon as well.

It’ll be a busy one.

 

Sunday July 24, 2005

Not much activity today except for writing.  Sorry for the boring entry.

 

Saturday July 23, 2005

I started writing the sci-fi project today.  It is slow going to be honest.  I love the story, but it needs some fleshing out.  I am working on it though.

George Singley and I continue to talk on a daily basis almost.  I’m considering him a good friend now.  I am learning a bit about the business of comics from him. He has been successful with working with artists.

Brian Augustyn and I are also developing another title.  This one seriously kicks ass.  I asked if we should submit it to DC or something and Brian thinks we should keep it and go creator owned and keep it all for ourselves.

Still no word from grizzly Breyfogle and his kin.  I suspect he and Kevin will be back somewhat soon.  With them going on vacation together, they give me heart attacks.  Apart from the fact that they are my friends...they are also the penciler and inker of Of Bitter Souls and inker for Smoke & Mirror.  That is like 60% of my creative staff in the same car on highways.   I worry too much, I know.

Ever since San Diego, I feel a lot closer with my fellow Speakeasy creators.  I seriously miss hanging out with Parick McEvoy (artist for Gatesville Company) and Tiina and Andrew Foley (Parting Ways) and Vito and George.  All great people. 

Speaking of Parting Ways, which was created and written by Andrew Foley... It is seriously one of the best graphic novels I have read all year...or in the past few years for that matter.  It is funny, dramatic, original and deserves an Eisner nomination in my opinion.  Everybody should read this book.  It had slow sales, but if you read it and don’t like it...I would be seriously surprised.  It is brilliant!!!  If this graphic novel isn’t a movie soon, I swear something is wrong.  I want Jack Black to play the lead!!!!

 

Friday July 22, 2005

Man...I cranked out that script for Of Bitter Souls #5.  I worked into the night and it just flowed like butta!  I’m done...at least until edits.  That feels good.  I am also working on a new series with an awesome artist named Marco Magallanes.  It is a sci-fi project.  I am trying to get the first script done for him so we can get going.  I think his stuff is very very cool.  He just did a story with Greg Thompson from Hero Camp for Western Tales of Terror.  I told him I would have at least some script for him by the end of the weekend.  I forgot what it is like to write a first issue.  It takes longer because there are a lot of side notes as you create a world for these characters.  I may be late on my promise.  I also have to have Smoke & Mirror #5 written soon as Claude is cranking out pages.

I am very excited because two weeks from today we debut Of Bitter Souls #1 in Chicago!

I just realized that we are going to have another issue of Preview out next Wednesday!  I can not believe the time!  I’m glad it is going fast.  I want both of the first issues out in the stores.  I honestly can not take it anymore.  Not that I have no patience...it’s just that I am seriously tired of looking at those pages.  I wonder what a band feels like when they are asked to play a song for the billionth time.

 

Thursday July 21, 2005

The covers (front and back) to Smoke & Mirror #3 are complete.  Wow!  What a great job!!!  I just love them and couldn’t be happier.  Lovern did some real color magic.

We redesigned some of the banner and tower ads I have running throughout the internet.  It’s good to do that so we don’t end up losing clicks because people are bored with our ads.

Norm is still lost in America.  I’m sure he and his brother Kevin will be back at some point.  I hope they are having fun because it sounds like vacation Hell to me.

We are getting all geared up for August when we start at full speed again.  This entire month we have basically been slacking off because we are so far ahead.  I think only Claude and Mike (colorist for Of Bitter Souls) really kept working.  Oh...and Erik Enervold...who never stops.

One of the cool things about San Diego was that George T. Singley and I have become friends.  I called my agent and asked if he would take George on.  I hope that works out.  George is writing something like fifteen books right now...most of which will be published at Speakeasy Comics.  I am a lazy man compared to him.

 

Wednesday July 20, 2005

I have to get in gear and write Of Bitter Souls #5.  I promised Norm that I will have a script for him when he gets back.  I started today.

The Speakeasy Comics forum is really heating up by the way.  The number of members, while very small still compared to say...Image...is almost to 300 now.  That is impressive with Speakeasy only being around for six months.

As promised, pages are really starting to roll in now from Claude.  I am including some snippets for you to check out.

 

Tuesday July 19, 2005

Norm is still on vacation.  He went to Colorado and is doing some sort of living off the land mountain man vacation.  That is crazy to me.  I was just camping with Janise and Gabe (my Aunt and Cousin).  It was called a Howard Johnson twenty minutes from downtown San Diego.

Claude is saying he is going to be delivering pages much faster now.  We should see a lot of pages for Smoke & Mirror number four soon.

All in all, I am very happy with how things are going.

I sent William Dennis the proposal that Brian Augustyn and I have prepared for Vertigo.  I have been doing follow-up e-mails all day.  I sent one to Harris telling them how much I enjoyed meeting them.  (That’s the truth too; man...those guys can drink.)

 

Monday July 18, 2005

I was exhausted.  I didn’t even go to work today.  I dropped some of the preview flipbooks I kept off at the two local stores, Alter-Ego and Daydreams.  Mike Kowalczyk is coloring OBS and getting pages off to me, so here are some tastes.

 

Sunday July 17, 2005

Travel day.  We flew into Chicago and back West to Iowa.  It was great to see Chris and Luke.  Luke about knocked me over with his bug run and hug.  He liked his toys.

 

Saturday July 16, 2005

This was my best day of the con...and considering it was my last day, I was glad for that.  Over the past few days, I had a chance to meet with a ton of retailers and that is looking good. 

I also met with my agent today.  That is still hard to say.  Anyway, he wants to shop SMOKE & MIRROR around as a cartoon.  He thinks it has a good shot.  I had a very good meeting with him and we parted ways, agreeing to meet again in Chicago in a few weeks.

My odyssey of getting people to hold up my comics and pose for a picture is getting huge.  If you want to see a bunch of the pictures, go to my forum (Relative Comics) at www.speakeasycomics.com and check them out.  There are a ton.

I also met with some foreign licensing folks today. They are working with Adam and I wanted to know how they work.  They have a good plan.  We’ll see if they do well enough to make Adam happy.  I have to check in with my agent to see his plans for foreign rights. This is all getting bizarre.

Mike Bullock from LIONS TIGERS AND BEARS stopped by to say hi as well.

Patrick McEvoy and I went to dinner at Fred’s Mexican café. Great food!

We had the Speakeasy party tonight.  It was held at Club Rouge, a burlesque club.  The bartender there was a complete ass!  Other than the bartender, it was a great time.  Saebasstian Caisse and I went to the Hustler store to buy batteries for my camera.  I had to switch to internal memory because I had taken so many pictures. 

I had the occasion to sit down with Mike Lilly and the guys from harris comics and told them why I should be writing for them.  Seriously though, we had a very good time.  Those guys from Harris are a bunch of fun.  Lilly and I hit it off and we hung out into the night.  After he went to bed, I went to the hotel bar and had a nice meeting which I will talk about later. (I will be writing for a company everybody knows) I hung out a bit with Buzz and Sam from ATOMIKA.  We discussed the shortcomings of the Speakeasy Booth this year.  I did think it lacked a certain professional look.  I am sure that everything will look great in Chicago.  The main thing is that Adam and company do what they say they will do when they say they will do it.

I also met Will Dennis and asked him if I can pitch him on Brian Augustyn and My Vertigo proposal.  He said yes, so that is working too. 

Earlier today, I did get the chance to shop for Luke, my son. I picked up some comics and action figures for him.  I hope he likes them.

As I go back tomorrow.  This was my last day:

I set up covers for my trade paperback for Smoke & Mirror. (Announcement to be made)
I signed with my agent.
I heard about film company interest in my titles.
I met with Marco, the artist for my new series.
I met Claude St, Aubin in person finally.
I sort of alienated my friend, Erik. (Sorry)
I met some great people.
I picked up writing work.
I sold to retailers.
I gave away EVERY copy we brought for the preview flipbook.
I met with a toy company about possible action figures.
I met with the foreign rights guys.

All in all, it was a very positive trip.  Next year, I’ll try to work a plan.

 

Friday July 15, 2005

Day two of comic-con.  Missy and Erik and I had breakfast and decided to drive separately to the con.

Today, I met Claude St. Aubin in person.  Claude is the penciler for SMOKE & MIRROR.  He is such a great guy.  It was awesome because we were able to sit down for a signing together.  It was really great fun to do that signing.  We got to talk.  Claude made a case to Erik and I for changing the cover scheme now that the first few issues are in the can.  He said he is getting tired of the close-ups.  I told him to take it up with Erik, who really likes that look.  I am in agreement with Erik.  They are really different and they stand out.  Claude is going to have to wow Erik if any changes are to be made.  While Claude and I were signing, Phil hester dropped by and said hello. He said that we’d get together back in Iowa.

I was shanghaied today by Adam.  He had to go to a meeting and Elizabeth, his wife was eating lunch.  I ended up working the booth.  I guess they were impressed with sales because Adam asked if I would sell part of the day for the rest of the show.  I agreed.

My odyssey of getting people to hold my comics and pose got into high gear today.  I have been getting a chance to really get to know my fellow Speakeasy creators.  I think Chris Stone, the SE Creative Director, is a blast.  Elizabeth and Adam are awesome.  As far as the creators themselves, I think I am getting on dawn brown’s nerves because I am so loud and boisterous. She is nice, but I think my personality clashes with her quiet demeanor. I don’t think she dislikes me, I just think she would rather I just shut up.

Click to enlarge    Click to enlarge    Click to enlarge    Click to enlarge

I am very fond of George Singley and Frank Espinosa. I also think Patrick McEvoy and the Foleys are just great people.  This is a great group of people that  Adam has brought together.  Vito is exactly how I pictured him and we are having fun.  He knows everybody.

I didn’t get a lot of business done today for myself.  Mike Lilly, the artist for the MERCURY CHRONICLES, is awesome!  We became fast friends.  What a cool guy.

Ramon Perez and Rob Coughlin from Butternut Squash are hilarious.  Ramon also did a Mrs. Incredible sketch for Luke.

The partying went into the night again.  I hung out with my cousin Gabe for a few hours and then went straight to the hotel parties.  I had some drinks with Atilla, the new artist for Beowulf and made my rounds. Greg Thompson and I got to exchange a few words and I also said hello to B. Clay Moore (whom I met in Iowa).  All in all, this was more of a networking day than anything else.  I got back to the hotel around 4:00 AM.

 

Thursday July 14, 2005

I just couldn’t sleep past 5:00 AM.  At four, I woke up and stared into the darkness.  I was so excited to go to my first ever San Diego Comic Con.  At 5:00 AM, I rose up and took a shower.  I left to go out and get some coffee.  I came back, left again and went out exploring.  Came back and left again to go call Chris.

Finally, it was getting to be a realistic hour and Janise was up.  I told her I’d go get some bagels and such and be back. 

After bagels, showers and such, we were off for the convention center.  We had luck with parking and got into line.  After something like a half hour in line, I realized that we had exhibitor badges waiting for us and that we really didn’t have to wait in line anymore.  That was funny...if you weren’t us!  Anyway, we got in and Janise went straight to a comic book law school panel.  Gabe and I found the Speakeasy booth.  It was nice to meet Adam and Chris.  I also immediately liked George Singley.  Vito Delsante came by as well.  It was great to be meeting the people I have been talking to on the phone and online with for so long.

Gabe was getting the itch and so I gave him some money and my watch and told him to go have fun.

Now...about the con.  WOW!!!!  I can not even begin to describe how huge this thing is.  It is ginormous.  Ginormous is my word and the only word I can use to describe it.

The flipbook preview was at the table.  After so many months, it was cool to see the pages (even if it is just a preview) in print.  Honestly, it was good to see.  In fact, it was nice to see pages from issue #1 of OF BITTER SOULS, which I have had a hard time looking at for a couple months because it is so old to me now. I mean, we were done with issue #1 like three months ago.  I wonder how a musician with a great classic rock song feels?  They have got to be sick of singing something they have had for years.

Other Speakeasy creators in attendance when we got there was Frank Espinosa (ROCKETO), Dawn Brown (RAVENOUS), Ethen Beaver (MUTATION), Freddie E. Williams II (WARGOD, LONEBOW) and a few other guys.

A funny thing happened while walking around the con with my aunt and cousin.  We came across two women standing with a sign.  The sign said that they would kiss for a dollar.   So I asked them if they would do so holding up copies of each book.  They agreed and I took the shot and so began my odyssey.  I decided to get as many people I could to hold up copies of the comics and then take their pics.

Click to enlarge    Click to enlarge    Click to enlarge    Click to enlarge

I didn’t get the opportunity to attend any panel discussions today.  At some point, Adam had to go and asked me to man the booth.  I sold a ton of comics and such and Adam and Chris were so impressed that they asked me to do it every day. Erik Enervold and his wife Missy had a horrible time getting to San Diego.  They ended up getting in about six hours later than they had thought they would. After driving Janise and Gabe back to the hotel,  I made my way back to the convention center to hook up with Erik and Missy.  We were supposed to go meet Andrew Foley (PARTING WAYS) and his awesome wife, Tina, for dinner.  When we got to the room, Patrick McEvoy was also there.  Erik and Missy were wasted tired after being up for something like 42 hours straight, so Andrew, Tina, Patrick McEvoy (Gatesville Company) all went to dinner and got served by Wonder Woman.  Captain America was the host.   Across the bar from where we were, there was a private party for Stan Lee.  It was rumored (by the wait staff) that Kirsten Dunst and Tobey Maguire were there as well.

At comic-con, it seems that the real talking goes on after hours.  Andrew was gracious enough to coach me on where to go so I could find all of the after hour parties.  I saw Joe Quesada.  I had made his first website when he and Jimmy Palmiotti were doing EVENT COMICS and ASH.  It was nice to exchange some words with him and I was honored that he rememberfed me.  The evening went into the wee hours as I met a ton of people.  I was trying to look like a pro, but man it was hard when Jeph Loeb is having a beard two feet from you.  I met Josh Blaylock from Devil’s Due.  He was cool.  I also ran into my agent.  (I still have a hard time saying that.)  I ran into Jimmy Palmiotti and thanked him profusely for inking the covers to SMOKE & MIRROR.  He was very polite and said he loved doing it even though I am sure it is a pain in the ass for him.  That’s why he is the nicest guy in comics.

I also met Hannibal Tatu, who handles some things for Speakeasy as well as the American arm of Speakeasy, Joe.

Adam told me about some foreign rights stuff that looked good for me which was encouraging.  He also had a meeting tonight with a movie studio that I absolutely can not name.  He said that the studio was very interested in both OF BITTER SOULS and SMOKE & MIRROR.  I got home to the hotel about 3:30.  I talked with Janise and filled her in on the news and hit the sack.  I had to be up in a few hours for breakfast with Erik and Missy.

 

Wednesday July 13, 2005

This was a travel day.  My Aunt Janise and my cousin Gabe and I all left Cedar Rapids airport at around 5:30 PM CST.  I was able to spend a good portion of the day with my wife, Chris and my son, Luke.  It was nice because this will be the first time since he has been fairly aware of what’s going on that I have been away from him for an extended period of time.  Before the plane left, I promised Luke I would make sure to get him some comic books and action figures.  He is crazy for Batman and for the Justice league.  He’s not so into Teen Titans yet, which I think is coming.

Our plane came into Dallas / Fort Worth on time where we had a few minutes so we all grabbed some sandwiches before the trek to the next terminal.  That flight turned out to be delayed, but when we did finally get on board, we ended up sitting behind Greg Thompson and his lovely wife.  Greg writes HERO CAMP, which he publishes through Image.  HERO CAMP is just great, by the way.  If you haven’t picked it up yet...you need to run to your store and see if they have a copy left. I had so much fun reading it that I wrote my very first ever fan letter, which is posted in issue three of HC.  Greg has the coolest tattoo.  It is a very wicked looking Kirby tattoo with Kirby crackles. Very, very cool.  It has inspired me to really think about that Eisner tattoo I have been thinking about.

We got into San Diego about 10:30 PM and waited forever for a car at Hertz.  They were out of the car class we rented so they gave us a free upgrade to a nice Sedan.  The wait was worth it.  Being a big guy, I was happy for the room.  My only fear for this con is that people will think I am a walking germ tree because of my horrible cough.  I quit smoking cold turkey about a week ago and my lungs are clearing themselves out.  However, I sound like I am dying or something.

We got into the Hotel, which turned out to be forever and a day away from the convention center and downtown.  I never thought Howard Johnson was that bad of a hotel chain.  I was certainly wrong.  Janise was wasted tired and Gabe and I went out for a late night snack at an all night burrito stand.  Then we turned in...big day tomorrow.

 

Tuesday July 12, 2005

I am leaving for San Diego today and will have plenty of pictures and diary when I get back. Look for the Bitter Diary to continue next week!

 

Friday July 8, 2005

I spoke to Adam and Chris at Speakeasy again today.  I swear I am probably their biggest pain in the ass out of all of the Speakeasy Creators.  Anyway, I let them know that I heard from the people at Entourage and the show with the Speakeasy Comics banners and the fake comic convention will be aired in the US the Sunday before the Chicago Comic-Con.

That will be some week.  Of Bitter Souls and Smoke & Mirror get on a show on HBO and we debut OBS #1 all in one week.

I also think I am going to go to Toronto for the show at the end of next month.  The word on the Speakeasy street is that Adam is putting all of us wayward creators up at his house.  Stone said it would be free except for some “favors”.  I don’t know what that means...but I am not proud.  [Laughs]

I have also made the arrangements for the following shows:

Mid Ohio Con: Columbus Ohio
Fallcon: Minneanapolis/St. Paul Minnesota
Lehigh Valley Comic Con: Allentown Pennsylvania

Now that we are just weeks away from having product at any given time, we need to be at as many shows as we can get to so we can sell product and keep the word out there about our books.

Marketing is going well.  Things are progressing nicely.

One other piece of news...I now have my own Agent.  My contract says I have to get permission from him to do a press release that includes his name, so as soon as I get that, I will let you all know who he is.  It's pretty cool, though.  I actually have an agent...and a lawyer.

Now I have people.  So I can truly say, "Have your people call my people." [Laughs]

 

Thursday July 7, 2005

I spoke at length with Brian Augustyn today.  He and I are working on a pitch for Vertigo.  Hopefully, it will sell.  It’s always good to talk to Brian.

I swear that it seems that all of us Speakeasy Creators are whores for getting our name out there.  My good pal, Vito Delsante, now has a similar column to the Bitter Diary at SBC. Give Vito a look.  And, if you’re going to San Diego, don’t forget to stop by the Speakeasy booth and get some of the con-only stuff like the OBS/Smoke & Mirror flip-book preview comic, Vito’s Mercury Chronicles preview, Rocketo #0 and more.

I have received word from Claude St. Aubin that he will be in San Diego as well, so things are looking very god there as well.  I have not yet met Claude in person.

 

Wednesday July 6, 2005

Things are going well.  I heard from the powers that be at Speakeasy that they are going to go all out for the booth in San Diego.  I distinctly heard the word...karaoke.  That will be something.

I haven’t seen any more pages from Mike Kowalczyk for issue #3 of Of Bitter Souls. 

Absolutely everything is done for San Diego except buttons.  Everything I am bringing is now completed.  The big problem with a Monday holiday, by the way...is that comics arrive a day late.

 

Tuesday July 5, 2005

I am beginning the marketing process for Smoke & Mirror #1.  I didn’t have that big a chance today, but tomorrow it begins in earnest.

We have been going through the reams of paper that we have printed so far and cutting out little circles of people’s faces for buttons.  We should have 500 buttons for Chicago.  We’ll have 500 copies of OBS #1 and a ton of t-shirts and lithos, so hopefully, we’ll do alright.

Big time marketing starts up again tomorrow.

 

Monday July 4, 2005

Most of the day was a lazy one.  I obviously didn’t do much.  We did have lunch with Erik Enervold, the Art Diretor/Story-Editor for both books.  He and his boys and wife, Missy, were traveling from Des Moines to Morris, Il.  They stopped on the way and we all ate at Bennigans in the Coralville Mall near Iowa City, Iowa.

Later in the evening, I had a long conversation with George T. Singley.  Goerge is the creator/writer for a ton of books coming out from Speakeasy in the near future.  Currently, he has Wargod and in a couple of weeks, he will have Mutation ( a monthly ongoing) as well and those will be followed up by Longbow and Super Crazy TNT Blast.  George was a big help and it was interesting to see how another guy is running his studio.

We ended the day with Fireworks.  My son, Luke, fell asleep during the finale.

 

Sunday July 3, 2005

We were able to stop by the Valpariaso University Chapel to see our very good friends, Jim & Tracey, baptize their new baby, Gabriel.  That was great.

Chris then went to visit her Grandmother in the hospital.

Needless to say, the rest of the day just sucked. We drove home right away.

 

Saturday July 2, 2005

My family and I left for Indiana today.  My wife, Chris’ grandmother is very ill and might possibly pass away.  We stopped on the way from Iowa in Morris, Illinois and had a nice afternoon with Mike Kowalczyk (colorist for OF BITTER SOULS) and his wife Annie and their two boys, Nicky and Joey.  It was a very nice time and I must say that it was good to just sit around and talk.  Chris and Annie also hit it off quite well.

Later, we met up with Chris’ Sister and Brother-in-Law.  That was quite an experience.  Chris Brother-In-Law seemed to be in a bad mood from the start and it took everything I had to hold my tongue. The fact is that we have almost never gotten along,  none of us.  So the four of us getting together is sort of like a powder keg being hung in a furnace.  

Eventually, you’re going to get an explosion.  Other than my young nephew throwing up in the restaurant, Chris and I held our tongues.  At one point, Chris’ Brother-In-Law, who is a 3-D artist of some kind, made a back-handed remark about how he thinks Lions Tigers And Bears, by Mike Bullock is a really good comic.  Now, I am as big as big a  fan of Mike’s stuff as the next guy, but Chris’ Brother-In-Law was using LT&B to knock my books. First off, you can’t compare my books to Mike’s.  He also has a track record and I don’t.  Our books are totally different, but that is Chris’ Brother-In-Law for you.  He must be trolling the Speakeasy Comics Forums.  Man, he was annoying.  He also spent a few minutes knocking one of the two jobs I got for him in my time.  I got him a job back in the day as a graphic designer making ads for a yellow pages company and all he could talk about was the smoke.  I mean, never once did he EVER thank me for getting him two jobs.  As much as he hated the job, it paid bills for the time he was there. Ultimately, my Mother-In-Law, who pretty much owns them, called and said she needed some help moving some furniture.  Chris’ Brother-In-Law bolted out of the house faster than The Flash.  He never came back.  With all due respect, that was fine with me.  I don’t wish them ill-will or anything, but they do not treat Chris or I with even the smallest amount of respect.

 

Friday July 1, 2005

Today is Canada Day!  I am so glad to have a long time friend who made me aware of the day.  I wished Adam at Speakeasy a happy one.  I also spoke to Lovern today and totally forgot to do so.  I feel bad about that one.  I’ll e-mail him.

The cd’s are done for the most part.  They’ll come in handy in San Diego.  I can’t believe it...San Diego is in just a couple weeks.

Not much happening today.  Lovern is done with coloring Smoke & Mirror #2 and is starting #3 soon.  Norm is inking Of Bitter Souls #4.  Mike is coloring OBS #3.  We are very far ahead and a lot of the team is taking the month of July off.

I’ll try to keep the diary somewhat interesting during that time.  Here’s something to look forward to...Norm Breyfogle will be painting the Of Bitter Souls Trade Paperback cover this month.  That will be sweet!

 

Thursday June 30, 2005

My wife’s Grandmother had a stroke and a heart attack it seems.  I’ll be leaving with her and my son to travel to Indiana tomorrow or Saturday.  This has been a streak of two bad days now.  Ugh...

I did get work done on the cd’s for passing out in San Diego.  I have all of the labels printed and everything is ready to burn.  I even have a cool self-extracting cd menu builder, which will give a professional quality to the giveaway item.

We did get a new pin-up today from a wonderful artist named David Murdoch.  You'll be seeing more of him to be sure.

 

Wednesday June 29, 2005

Previews is out today!!!  Smoke & Mirror #1 and Of Bitter Souls #2 are in the Speakeasy Comics section with half page ads.  Also, just as Of Bitter Souls was a spotlight pick last month, Smoke & Mirror #1 is a spotlight pick this month.

I have to start all over again with marketing.  I’ll be re-starting for Smoke & Mirror #1 after the July 4th holiday.

I counted 14 solicitations from Speakeasy this month.  The guys are certainly growing. I think it has been smart and steady growth, which is great.

I’ve been IM’ing a lot with Glenn from thecomicsreview.com, he’s a great guy and he also has an online store, canadiancomics.com, where you can get great prices.  I was surprised when I visited the review site and found the statue from OBS #1 on the masthead next to Hellboy...what an honor!

I also picked up a ton of comics today, but the one that got me jazzed the most was The Grimoire #4.  Why?  Well, there is a full page ad for OF BITTER SOULS #1 in the back.  It was very cool to see it in print for the first time, the cover that is.  It was a lower res version, but I think it is going to look great when the high-res is printed.  The Hunger #2 was also very very cool.  Jose and Chris are really drawing me in.  I like their new colorist and letterer too.  And the cover...holy crap was it cool!

I feel bad not marketing much until after the fourth, but this is an odd month to market a book.  Everybody is gearing up for San Diego and Chicago or owners are on vacation.  I have been concentrating on getting my personal cd ready for SD so I can hopefully hook an editor and get a job in addition to my two titles.

This was a bad day in the end, however.  I mean a really, really bad day.  In fact, this made me feel worse than arguments with other publishers and all.  One of my friends, whom I helped get a gig with another one of my friends, called me up and said he was quitting the gig.  This sucks.  He is under the gun financially and all, but it sucks none-the-less.  I feel really bad for my friend who lost him.  This is a circumstance that will force this friend of mine to have to wait for another year to get his series out.  However, the old artist is still attached...he just has another gig.  So, all good things and all that.  I just feel bad for him.  I was seriously worried that my friend who got the short end of the stick would be pissed at me, but he took it in stride.  I mean, I vouched for the friend that quit and all.  If this were the mob, I think I’d get whacked.  But it isn’t and my friend was cool.

The incident really took the wind out of my sails today and nothing else really happened.

I am officially a jaded comic creator now.  I asked if there was a pool on the Speakeasy forums. 

 

Tuesday June 28, 2005

Norm finished up the pencils for Of Bitter Souls #4 today.  They are awesome.  I seriously need to go check a thesaurus to get some new words to express my excitement.

Claude is done with the pencils for Smoke & Mirror #3. 

I am feeling good about being so far ahead, but it also gets a little scary at times.  My Aunt Janise has been so cool, but this is a large outlay of cash.  The good news for her investment is that the books are most certainly NOT going to ever be late unless there is an act of God or something and a delivery truck gets in a crash.  Oh God, did I just say that?  Ok, God...please no self-fulfilling prophecies here...ok?  Anyway...late books are death and we are not going to be late...EVER.

Erik Enervold is working on getting a flipbook/preview together for San Diego.  Adam at Speakeasy said he’d print a bunch of them so we can hand them out there.  I am getting so jazzed for my first ever San Diego Con.  I’m even going to get to meet Claude St. Aubin, the penciler for Smoke & Mirror, for the first time.  Hopefully, Lovern Kindzierski will be there too.  Erik is coming with his wife, Missy.

Chicago will be even more fun, however.  I have received word that we will be most definitely debuting OF BITTER SOULS #1 at Wizard World Chicago!  That’s my home town (just moved to Iowa) and I have a lot of friends there.  It’s going to be great!  I ordered a bunch of t-shirts and lithos for folks to buy if they want.   Erin from Alter Ego in Marion, Iowa is also making me something like 500 buttons too!  Thanks Erin!  On another local retailer note...when I had everybody at my house for a cookout when Norm was visiting, we came up with the idea to get a bowling tournament together between Daydreams Comics in Iowa City and Alter Ego in Marion.  That is going to be good fun.

 

Monday June 27, 2005

The color pages for Smoke & Mirror are rolling in from Lovern Kindzierski!  They look absolutely beautiful!  For those of you who aren’t familiar with Lovern, check out his current series, Grimjack and Jon Sable from IDW and Conan The Jewels of...from Dark Horse.  Lovern also is widely regarded as the father of modern computer color.  He also founded the now defunct, Digital Chameleon and has pretty much worked on every major character for every major publisher in the industry.

I also noticed that both Norm and Lovern worked together before on the DC Elseworlds book, HOLY TERROR.  I love that book.

I didn’t get the about.com gig, apparently the folks at about feel I don’t know anything about comics.  Go figure.  Oh well, I wouldn’t have had the time anyway, probably.

I am working like a madman on the cd’s for San Diego.  Andrew Foley, who wrote Parting Ways, which is coming out in July from Speakeasy, told me not even to think about approaching editors.  I am glad I have the CD’s to just hand to people instead of a script.

I’m looking forward to Wednesday.  Both Of Bitter Souls and Smoke & Mirror will be solicited together for the first time! Now if I can just get those numbers for OBS #1...the wait is killing me.

 

Sunday June 26, 2005

Erik Enervold stayed up all night last night working on stuff for the comics.  He is way dedicated.  I can’t believe that he works so hard.  We are to deliver a file for a preview book to be distributed in San Diego next month and we will certainly hit that deadline thanks to Erik’s work.

I also picked up a bunch of blank CD's and labels and DVD cases and DVD labels and such so I can have CD’s made in time for San Diego.

Starting tomorrow evening, I have to make that final push to retailers for Of Bitter Souls #1.

 

Saturday June 25, 2005

We had a mini emergency in the

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