Friday, December 30, 2005

Learn From The Masters

A call for manga assistants has gone out, courtesy of the latest issue of Ultra Jump. Manga-ka such as Tenjo Tenge's Oh Great!, Bastard's Kazuya Hagiwara, Seraphic Feather's Hiroyuki Utatane and DOGS' Shiro Miwa, among others, are all looking for qualified up-and-coming artists to help them out in the coming year. They're looking for people skilled in a number of artistic disciplines, from background assists to inking to screentoning to computer graphics. Unforunately for many foriegn hopefuls, living in Japan is a must!

The subject of assistants is an interesting one in Japan these days and something I've discussed with many manga-ka over the past week. The general feeling seems to be that it's harder and harder to find good assistants these days. In the past, having been an assistant to a working professional manga-ka was almost a requirement for getting your own seires and gaining respect as an artist in Japan. However, these days, with the growing world of dojinshi (self-published mags), it's no longer neccessary. Many editors at the major comic mags now look directly to the dojinshi world for new artists and series. They can usually find young talents who are hungry and willing to work for less money and less ownership, but still more than they would make as assistants. This has lead to much bitching by the established pros, who are having more trouble getting good help and who are worried it's setting a bad precedent for lower rates that may one day come back and bite them. They also feel these "kids" are getting their big breaks too early without having gone through the proper paces in the manga world, leading to big egos, bad attitudes, and an overall lack of respect.

The word "dojin-kusai" is one I heard bandied about on more than one occasion last week. Meaning "stinks of dojinshi", the term is used to describe certain manga mags that now employ a plethora of ex-dojinshi artists. It's also used to describe newly professional artists who were hired by publishers without any prior manga experience.

One manga-ka I know even referred to this new practice as "outsourcing", using the English term, citing the publishers are stealing work away from the "real" manga artists by venturing out into the dojinshi world.

Yet you don't hear these "real" manga-ka complain though when they themselves release their own dojinshi, using their fame to make tens of thousands of dollars off their fans over a weekend! :)

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Manga Bits - 12/29

I uncovered a wealth of good news and gossip while in Tokyo, but made several promises not to make most of it public just yet. A few bits I can share...

With the Witchblade anime coming from Gonzo, there will also be a Witchblade manga. It's scheduled to debut in March in the pages of monthly Champion Red from Akita Shoten. The artist will be Kazuasa Sumita, whose art you can see at his website here: But BE WARNED, like many manga-ka, Sumita-san began his career as an "adult" artist, so the site is heavy on nudity.

Kia Asamiya's JUNK is scheduled for release in English in the U.S. in 2006.

And Kia would also like his fans to know that he's doing much better after his health scare this past summer. He greatly appreciates everyone's concern and well-wishes. He's back at the drawing board and producing again, with JUNK continuing monthly in Champion Red and Kanojo No Carrera bi-weekly for now in Weekly Playboy.

Expect to see some of Square-Enix's manga titles popping up in English in 2006 as well.

A line of mini-figures based on characters from the Range Murata edited ROBOT anthology will go on sale this February.

Akira and Animatrix animator Koji Morimoto's new project is a fully animated music video for the new Hikaru Utada single, set to be released in early 2006 as a cell phone exclusive. (And for anyone who already hasn't, be sure to pick up Morimoto's amazing artbook, Orange Scrapbook.)

And lastly, on a comic book note, popular Bathing Ape designer Nigo has just produced a line of limited edition Marvel Comics sneakers and t-shirts. They're sold in blister packs!

Kirin Update

I just wanted to clarify one thing about the Kirin post I made yesterday. While the word "kirin" is indeed "giraffe" in Japanese, the use of "kirin" in the name of the beer means something different. The "kirin" in Kirin beer is actually an ancient Chinese monster, which can also be romanized as "kylin" or "qilin". This monster's the logo image on the cans and bottles as well.

Also, another fun fact... if you look closely at the depiction of the monster in the Kirin logo, you can find the katakana characters for ki-ri-n hidden in the art.

Chocolate Moose

I bet you thought that title was a spelling mistake, right?

See... it's not! They really are chocolate moose. Or is it meese?

Ice Cold!

For those that didn't know, Japan is a beer drinker's paradise. Although there are only four main breweries, Kirin, Asahi, Sapporo and Suntory, they put out new varieties and flavors of beer every month for every occasion. Be it a new "moon watching" ale or a "cherry blossom viewing" lager, you'll never find yourself lacking for choices of brew here. And the can designs are always fascinating as well.

So in honor of the snowy weather here, I went out and tried two of the new winter beers, Kirin's Shirokirin, or "White Kirin", (kirin means giraffe in Japanese, by the way) and Sapporo's Fuyu Monogatari, or "Winter's Tale". After careful tasting, I found the Sapporo too bitter and the Kirin too light, to be honest. But with a little arm twisting, I'm sure I can be convinced to go out and try Asahi and Suntory's winter samplings...

Snow Day!

So I'll go back in time a little bit now to last week and update you all with some pics...

We brought the weather from New York with us this year, as the day after we got here, Kobe had its worst snowfall in something like 15 years. I know I'd never seen it this bad. Granted, it was only like 3 or 4 inches, but in a city where it practically never snows, and never this much, that spells disaster as they have no idea what to do.

Thinking nothing of it, Mutsumi and I headed out to go downtown to buy my Shinkansen tickets and do some shopping. Only we got to the station to find the trains had stopped running due to the inclement weather.

I was not happy standing on the cold and windy platform waiting to see if things would start moving again soon. (Check out my stylish hat!)

But I tried my best to amuse myself...

...and the railways were soon back up and running.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Ran Into An Old Friend

Wherever I go, I can't escape him...

Back in Kobe

Spent a few days up in Tokyo, visiting friends and doing a little business. Internet connections were a little shaky, so I didn't get much blogging done. I'm back in Kobe and will be posting regular reports and lots of pictures shortly...

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Chocolate for Drunks

The Japanese have a reputation of reverse engineering and improving foreign products, but in this case, I think they may be a little off the mark...

Red Wine Kit Kats? What's next, sake filled Hershey's Kisses?

Japanese Sign of the Day

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Manga Bits - 12/22

I've only been back in Japan two days and am just starting to catch up on everything new in the manga world from down here in Kobe. I'm off to Tokyo tomorrow for a week of fun and frolic with all my artist and editor friends and I'm sure I'll have more news and gossip then as beer and sake starts loosening tongues. I'll also be going to a few of the bigger publishers' year-end parties and those are always great fun and great sources of information. But for now, just two little news bits that may be of interest to manga fans...

Hiroaki Samura, he of Blade of the Immortal fame, has a new series that's coming out semi-regularly here in Japan. It's called "Bradharley (sp?) no Basha" and is an British period piece. It's running in a comic anthology called Erotics F, and as you can probably guess from the name, it's a collection that specializes in adult content. And Samura-san's story is indeed adult, quickly throwing young English rose Diana into a world of hardcore bondage and S&M. Three parts have been published so far, in Erotics F 32, 34 and 36 if you're looking for them. Kitoh (Shadow Star) Mohiro and Shou (Madara) Tajima are also regular contributors. Death Note's Takeshi Obata also contributed a full color poster in the latest issue, which supposedly spiked sales.

Also, two new collections of original Star Wars manga tales have just gone on sale, Star Wars Silver and Star Wars Black. With covers by Kia Asamiya, the interiors are illustrated by a variety of eclectic manga artists. The stories are all set in Stae Wars Infinities settings, which are outside of standard Star Wars continuity.

One thing I found rather interesting about these collections though are that they're coordinated by Field-Y and published by TokyoPop here. We've heard about TP's Star Trek publishing plans but any Star Wars news has remained rather quiet. Dark Horse has the Star Wars comic book license in the States, and has released English verisons of all the Japanese Star Wars manga in the past. So will TokyoPop be doing English versions of these new manga adventures? However, looking at the back pages of these new Star Wars manga, it appears TokyoPop is now publishing new collections of all the Star Wars manga in Japanese. Looks like there may have been a change of licensee here. Could this affect the Star Wars manga already released in English by Dark Horse? I'll be asking around...

My Japan Life

Now that I'm all up and running with my laptop and wireless connection here, I'll be blogging as regularly as I can to give you a look into my life when I'm back in Japan. It won't be as educational as other Japanese cultural blogs you can find on the net, but then again, I'm betting no one really comes to Chesterfest for the culture anyway...

I'll start by giving you a little look into our apartment. Welcome to Chesterfest Cribs, Kobe Edition!

Here's our building...

Here's our kitchen...

Here's our dining room...

Here's our living room... Where my Mom can see we display the Cebulski family picture on the right. And that's my mother-in-law hiding under that fashionable cheetah blanket.

And here's our toilet...

The only reason I bring up our toilet is to give you a better glimpse into modern Japanese society, where even the toilets are technologically advanced. From this control panel, which in over five years here I have never used, you can do all kinds of things, from wipe and dry your own ass to give yourself an enema if you're not careful. It pulses, it vibrates, it shoots all kinds of jets of water in different rhythms into different places for God only knows what reasons.

Me? I just sit here and pretend I'm Captain Kirk.

And this is an old model. My buddy has one that's a touch-screen keyboard you can put in your lap and play with while you take care of business!

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Tada Ima!

We made it to Japan! And boy, is it nice to be back! I forget how much I do love it here!!

The flight wasn't too bad; 15 hours but I slept for 8 of them. I had already seen three of the four movies, Fantastic Four, Bewitched and Mr. and Mrs. Smith, all of which I didn't need to see a second time. But it's with much embarassment that I admit I watched Herbie: Fully Loaded. Lindsay Lohan is one of my secret hotties and gave a fine performance, I must say.

My buddy Izumi picked us up at the airport and we went right to my favorite restaurant, Aidoru (Idol), as we were starving. Pics soon...

Got to our apartment, opened the fridge and this is what I found waiting for me:

All is good!

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Third Month, Three Books

By some stroke of weird scheduling luck, I'll have three comics coming out from Marvel this March!

What could possibly convince Spidey to break into Dr. Doom’s embassy? And how will the bad Doctor react to the intrusion? And in the second story, Joe Reitman does a bit of clean-up after everyone’s favorite Web-Head!
32 PGS./Rated A ...$2.99

Written by C. B. CEBULSKI
Penciled by M. D. BRIGHT
The “X-Men of the New Universe” make their grand return to the new millennium with an untold tale from the days of the 80s! On the run from their captors at The Clinic, our Displaced Paranormals take shelter and hope to find the peace they so rightfully deserve on an Indian reservation. However, they soon discover persecution extends beyond those with enhanced genetic abilities and they must side with their Native American brethren to overcome an evil that threatens to engulf them all. Deadwood meets the Seven Samurai in this blast from the past!

Written by C. B. CEBULSKI
Pencils & Cover by TOMMY OHTSUKA
Carol Danvers is a little more than your average S.H.I.E.L.D. agent—she might just be the last hope the world has against the unstoppable forces of the Hand! Led by Silver Samurai, Lady Deathstrike, Sunfire, and the now-evil Elektra, the Hand makes its move! But are any of the heroes left to recover the ultimate symbol of freedom?!

Five Days and Counting...

Sorry for the lack of blogging recently but the past week has been a flurry of activity as Mutsumi and I are leaving for Japan next Monday. We'll be spending three weeks back East with family and friends. It's always great once you get over there, but the days leading up to departure become a pressure filled nightmare!

Monday, December 12, 2005

Friday, December 09, 2005

Today's Fortune - Friday Edition

An hour with friends is worth more than ten with strangers.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Spreading Some Ai

The amazing Kei Kobayashi is rolling along on my Medusa and Black Bolt story for the February shipping issue on Marvel Ai. I fell in love with his style the first time I saw it and I could not think of anyone better suited to illustrate the script I wrote. While I can't show you actual pages just yet, I thought I'd share some of the initial brush designs he did of the characters. Enjoy!

Please be sure to pre-order the issue with your local comic book retailer to avoid missing it! You can go to to find a comic shop near you.

Today's Fortune

Give a kiss to the person who sits next to you.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

I've Done The Impossible!

I've actually just managed to finish responding to every single e-mail I had in both my major e-mail account inboxes! Oh my god! I feel such a sense of accomplishment over something so seemingly simple.

Of course, tomorrow everyone is going to reply back and I'll have to start all over again. Uggh!!

And if you've e-mailed me over the past two months but haven't gotten a reply, shoot me a new note as some of the e-mail probably got lost or deleted. Sorry.

Today's Fortune

You will be sought out for your diplomatic skills.

More on Insomnia

I almost never have trouble sleeping. I usually go to bed around 2AM and fall asleep immediately. But last night was different. As soon as I start talking about insomnia here on the blog, I find involuntarily myself staying up nights.

Like last night, for example. I hit the sack at 2:10 and tossed and turned until about 3AM, I think. Then the next thing I know, I look over at the clock and it's 4AM and I'm wide awake! So I laid there for about two hours just turning over all kinds of ideas in my head, which, because I sleep with a pad and pen, I started writing down. Unfortuantely none of it had anything to do with any of the projects I'm currently working on, which my artists and editors will not be happy to hear, but I did find it extremely producuctive. So yes, not sleeping might indeed help one get a little more work done.

But boy, am I dragging ass today!

Monday, December 05, 2005

The X3 Trailer Is Up!

I think it looks pretty damn good!

And I love these HD trailers as you can pause it and the picture still look perfect!

Today's Fortune

Your future will be happy and productive.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Pretty Good Weekend

I was about to shut down for the evening and hit the hay when I started reflecting back on this past weekend. And to be honest, it was a pretty damn good one.

- I rewrote a short script for Marvel that had been bugging me.
- I had what I think is a great idea for a new comic series I can write somewhere down the road when I get a few other things off my plate first.
- I had a great chat with the artist of an upcoming one-shot we're working on together and the creative chat helped shake loose a few elusive plot points we needed to nail down.
- Inspiration hit for the revival of an old B-level (maybe C-level) Marvel series that I can hopefully now whip into shape and pitch in the coming months.
- I finally saw Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. (It's still my favorite book, but I liked the Azkaban movie better.)
- I set my new record of 196,880 on Dig Dug.

I feel like I got a lot done.

Willie's Return

We haven't seen Willie in quite a while here on Chesterfest, so I thought I'd post a pic we took over Thanksgiving in CT. Country living still agrees with him and he's friendlier than ever...

No Sleep = Productivity?

I recently posted about how I get a lot of ideas from my dreams... about how my sleeping actually helps my creativity. But I recently heard Martha Stewart talking about how she's an insomniac and how not sleeping actually makes her more productive. She attirubtes a lot of her success to constantly staying awake. It's an interesting point that got me thinking. Are insomniacs able to do more in life as they don't have to sleep? They get 6-8 more waking hours a day and don't get tired. Does that give them more drive? Make them more successful? On the other hand, how does the fact that they don't ever dream affect them? Does it make them less creative? Just a thought...

Today's Fortune

Your happiness is intertwined with your outlook on life.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

White Thanksgiving

Here's a look at what we woke up to on Thursday morning out at my parents' place in Connecticut...

Yes, We're Big Losers

Wanna know why?

Well, we went out and bought two copies of TV Guide last week so we would have two sets of 3-D glasses so we could both watch the special 3-D episode of MEDIUM. Now if that wasn't bad enough, after the show, we thought it would be funny to try and get Lotto and Clyde to wear the glasses...

Monday, November 21, 2005

I Feel Old

I made the trek out to Queens for a party last weekend despite the fact that usually every night in Queens ends poorly for me. I get there after a nice gyro from Pizza Palace in Astoria, grab a beer, and settle in for this little shindig. The evening's going well until the topic of video games comes up after few people bust out their Nintendo DS Gameboys and start playing Mario Cart wirelessly. Of course I try to direct the conversation more towards classic games, which I feel more comfortable talking about. Naturally, Dig Dug comes up and I was about to get into my groove, until one Marvel assistant editor (who shall remain nameless) asks "What's Dig Dug?!" At first I thought he was joking, but it quickly became all too apparent that he, and a few other people there, had honestly never heard of the game before. Turns out it had been created before they were born.

I felt my bones creak as I grabbed my cane and hobbled home to change my Depends.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Mangaverse #2

Thought I'd share the newly colored cover to issue two by Tommy Ohtsuka and Guru eFX...

Thursday, November 17, 2005


This would piss me of...

"According to the Hollywood Reporter, the producers of ABC's Lost planning to shoot 20 mini-episodes of original content each lasting several minutes long that will play exclusively on mobile phones sometime early next year. No word which carrier will air the hit series."

I hate cell phones to begin with! So to watch my favorite show I'd have to buy a high-priced new phone and then subscribe to some ridiculous service? No thanks! Sure, they'll most likely be on the DVDs, but it's the principal that bothers me. Even selling the content on iTunes would be better than this lunacy!

(Sorry about the rant, Damon!)

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

BKV Agrees!

Perfectly timed with my post about nothing but bad Mexican food in NYC, Brian K. Vaughan backs up my claim in the new issue of Runaways. Having tasted a local burrito, Gert proclaims, "For a town that supposedly has so many good restaurants, their Mexican food is a crime against humanity."

"AI" Is In The Air This February

Comic solicitations for February 2006 just hit and Marvel announced my new one-shot, Marvel Ai. It's part of their I (Heart) Marvel romance event, just in time for Valentine's Day.

Written by C.B. CEBULSKI
Cover by GEZ FRY
Marvel puts the theory of "love is an international language" to the test this issue, as three Japanese illustrators bring their craft to our I (Heart) Marvel event. Tomoko Taniguchi lends her shojo stylings to the Scarlet Witch as she shares the truths about what it's like being in love with a "robot". Kei Kobayashi lends his graphic flair to a touching tale about Medusa and the complications of being married to a man who can never open his mouth. And in the third installment, Atsuko Mori takes a tongue-in-cheek peek into a superhero love triangle as Black Widow and Elektra duke it out over Daredevil's affections.

Here's an early version of the cover...

It's been a blast working on this book and I'm pleased as hell with the scripts. And to give you a quick rundown on the artists...

Tomoko Taniguchi is not only an old friend, but one of the most prolific shojo manga artists out there. You may know her work from titles like Princess, Prince, Aquarium and Spellbound. And now I finally get the chance to work with her!

Kei Kobayashi is someone whose work many people may not know. You can check out his site at He takes Japanese line and brush work to a new level, combining influence from Sienkewicz and Toppi for something totally unique and original.

Atsuko Mori has been recruited to bring her wonderful bounce to Daredevil, Black Widow and Elektra. You can see some of her work at It's in Japanese, but if you scroll down you can find the galleries.

And it will all be colored by Chesterfest regular poster Christina Strain. You rock, CeeCee!

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

I Dream Of...

I've been longing for tacos for over a week, so Mutsumi and I finally hooked it up last night with a homemade Mexican feast. I still find that good Mexican's the one food it's hard to get here in NYC. But last night's meal all stemmed from a dream I had. You see, last week I dreamt that my friend Mark Paniccia was lamenting leaving California and we were commiserating over teh fact there were no good Mexican joints or taquerias on the East Coast. But he'd heard rumor of an authentic place out in Jersey and drove me, Mike Marts and someone else there where we found this amazing buffet of Mexican food and fix-it-yourself tacos. I woke up craving Mexican.

Yeah, I dream a lot. And I usually remember most of what I dream about once I wake up. I'm one of those people who sleeps with a pad and pen by their bed and jot everything down. A lot of good (and plenty of wacky) story ideas have come from my dreams. I have notebooks filled with the stuff. Such is the blessing of an overactive dreamer, I guess. Common in all writers?

Last week I had this weird one where Andy Schmidt and Nick Lowe became auxilliary firefighters just so they could score free beer and sausage at the NYFD social functions. When they were accused of this, they flew in Brian Bendis to sign copies of Ultimate Spider-Man for kids at a charity fund raiser at a firemen's festival. I told you it gets weird...

I usually always dream in color, but once I had this incredible animated dream. I woke amazed!

And then there was the time I was eating fries with gravy at a diner with Jim Morrsion and James Dean. I even wrote down the entire conversation when I came to that morning. I have to dig it up!

Another Embarrassing Revelation

The second season of Laguna Beach: The Real Orange County has just ended. I'm sad.

Yes, I was a fan of the show. (And I know a lot of you were too, but just won't admit it.) At first I thought it was pure cheese and couldn't stand the kids. I originally tuned in out of the pure desire to laugh at these punk kids and their "horrible" lives, but then it grew on me. Kristin, Jessica, Jason and the crew started to remind me of a lot of the stuff that happened to me in high school and had me reflecting back on shit I went through. It's always good to reminisce and the show actually got some of my memories bubbling, as dumb as that sounds. Different coast, different generation, but the similarities were there, be it in the relationships or friendships. Something clicked and it helped me with some writing actually...

But never fear, there's more Laguna Beach on the way. Two new shows starting actually!

The first is Laguna Beach Season Three, which stays in the same high school but now follows Lauren's sister and her friends. They aired the preview yesterday and it looks like a "real-life" version of West Side Story with rich girl gangs. It's all about the popular white shirt girls vs. the gothy black shirt chicks. Ooohhhh... Looks a little more ethnically diverse this time as well. Some of the girls who stayed in Laguna Beach, like Jessica and Alex, look like they'll be appearing too.

The second show is called The Hills and follows the post-high school adventures of Lauren, who was one of my least favorite characters on the show. But as she's a real person, can she be considered a 'character'? She moves to L.A., moves into a Melrose Place apartment with a ditzy blonde roommate, goes to fashion school, hobnobs at all the Hollywood hotspots, and gets an internship at Teen Vogue. Gee, I bet MTV and daddy's money didn't have anything to do with that! I'll tune in for a bit to see how she does, but this one looks more staged than any "reality show" yet.

And you better bet I'll be posting reviews!

Monday, November 14, 2005

How Old Were You?

Here's a link to a new British ad that asks celebrities how old they were when they lost their virginity. Pretty interesting, funny and revealing. Little Rachel Bilson, not so innocent...

Sunday, November 13, 2005

A New Day Has Dawned

Well, I did it. After seven months of broken promises and excuses, I finally went and joined a gym!

Healthy living, here I come!

Celebrity Sightings of the Day

Mutsumi spotted Richard Belzer, Law and Order: SVU's Detective John Munch, having brunch at French Roast on Broadway.

We also passed by the premiere of Walk The Line at the Beacon Theater later and spotted Joaquim Pheonix being interviewed. About a minute after that, when we were further down the street, we heard the crowd erupt into cheer, so Reese Witherspoon must have just arrived.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Like Strawberry Quik...

For years now, I've been looking for the Butch Vig remix of House of Pain's song Shamrocks and Shenanegins. I'm not the biggest fan of the band, but this is one of the greatest remixed songs EVER! Carries a lot of memories for me as well.

So you figure with all the MP3s and music downloads that're available to us over the internet these days, this would have been easy, right? Wrong. It was like an episode of the Twilight Zone for a while there where I thought I was the only person who remembered this song and it had been erased from the collective conscious of the rest of the Earth. Then my buddy Steve Pakula and I were out at the Dead Poet last week and Meredith, our new favorite bartender, actually played it off her iPod! Needless to say, I freaked. The beers and Jamison in me only helped increase the levels of my excitement! The song did exist! I was no longer alone!

Turns out Steve had it on his iPod too and when he got home (and sobered up) he was kind enough to e-mail the MP3 over to me. Now I can listen to "Boom Sha Lak Lak Boom" over and over to my heart's content.

"Is it Erica Boyer or Marcia Brady?"

I just want to know why?

Even though I hated it, SAW made over $100 million worldwide and I can totally see why they made a sequel. SAW II is on its way to take in over $100 million domestically, so I'm sure there'll be a SAW III. It's when a movie sucks AND does poorly at the box office that I question the logic of doing a sequel. And when that sequel bombs, why not let the franchise just die instead on wasting money on what's sure to be a disastrous third part? Case in point:

Constantin Film and Davis Film announcing plans to produce a third big screen installment in the Resident Evil franchise titled Resident Evil: Afterlife, following the heroine's battles to save humanity from the Undead, a race of human clones.

Unvbelievable! What are they thinking?! Guess it really is all about the DVD sales.

Well, at least we get more Milla...

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Happy Monday!

A Clyde pic to start your week off right!

I'm Pathetic

I've always had my video gaming under control. I play games but don't get addicted to them. I can easily stop and turn off any game at any time. Until now.

I think it was Smitty who e-mailed me over that there was a Namco Museum 50th Anniversary collection out for XBox. And lo and behold, there is. And I now own it. And it's sucking me dry.

I make no bones about the fact I'm a Dig Dug junkie. I used to compete in a "tournament" every fall, on the original stand up machine. I was the champ for three years running. And now that I have it at home, I can't stop playing! Arrggghh!! This wasn't supposed to happen! I've got to get rid of this thing! The reason I can't put it down is because I can't even break 100,000 on this system! It's the damn controller! I need a joystick not some dumb four-way thumb button!

Mutsumi can start playing X-Men Legends again while my blister heals...


As we're intrigued by the trailer for SAW II, Mutsumi and I rented the first SAW this weekend as we'd never seen it. Doing this fortunately saved us from wasting $20 at the theaters on the sequel as SAW was one of the worst movies I've seen in a long time! The set-up and plot had promise, but in the spirit of brutal honesty, I have to say that Cary Elwes gave one of the most pathetic, unengaging, plastic, painful-to-watch acting performances ever captured on film in the last 30 years! This guy cannot act his way out a paper bag. Totally ruined this movie, making it laughable at times, and I will question ever going to see anything he's ever in. Don't believe the hype on this one. If you haven't already SAW, don't waste your time.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Laughing to the Bank

From Variety...

"A funny thing's happening at Paramount -- new studio president Gail Berman wants to boost its output of comedies.
"Comedy, comedy, comedy, comedy," Berman responded Tuesday when asked what kind of projects she's seeking. "I love comedies."

To that end, Berman told Daily Variety Paramount has greenlit a sequel to MTV's 2003 "Jackass the Movie," which was the studio's most profitable film that year, with a gross of $65 million; the film cost less than $5 million. The aim's to get "Jackass II" into theaters during the 2006 holiday season."

This is good news as most of the movie treatments I have are comedies, which I've always been told are harder to sell as Hollywood is still fixated to horror/suspense/thrillers. Looks like the times are a changing though! Thank you Wedding Crashers and 40 Year Old Vrigin!

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Just Do It

I don't wear Nike sneakers, but their simple tagline still sneaks into my life. It really is one of the best marketing slogans ever when you think about it. Anyway, yesterday, I just did it.

I've been putting off writing two short 12-16 page scripts for a few months now. The artists aren't ready, so I just kept waiting. I had the stories written in my head and all I had to do was sit down and type them out, but for some reason, I just couldn't make myself do it. As more paying freelance work kept coming in, I kept making excuses that the money came first. Trouble was, I was in love with both short stories and constantly thought about them. Why couldn't I write them?

Looking at my schedule, it's gradually been filling up, which is a good thing. So I knew if I didn't write these two stories soon, I would never have the time. I had to do it. I wanted to do it. I had to get over the mental block. So yesterday I put everything else aside and started writing. And wrote and wrote and wrote. I finished the first 15 page script around and sent it off to the artist around 3PM. The second one was 14 pages and wrapped around 1:30AM. I'd done it! Wow! It felt good too!

Head down, imagination open, fingers flying... Hopefully I can be this productive everyday!

Two Comics You Must Read!

I realized I haven't recommended any comics recently, so I thought I'd talk about two new "must haves" for any collection...

BLACKSAD by Juan Diaz Canales and Guarnido
This one should be on everyone's radar already as it's been getting much-deserved hype for a while now, but as I had the French editions, I never read it in English. I was over at Skottie's in Chicago and saw he had the English versions from iBooks and made a mental note to pick them up. Simply awesome, awesome stuff! An engaging hard-boiled detective story where all the characters are animals with some of the most amazing art you'll ever see! Who knew animals could be so expressive?

MBQ by Felipe Smith
I've known Felipe for years and have always been amazed by his enthusiasm and single-minded desire to break into comics. Well, he's done it and done it with a bang. MBQ is a riot! And it's unlike anything else you'll find on the stands today. It's a semi-autobiographical story about a wannabe comic artist in L.A. and the eclectic cast of characters that surround him as he tries to live his life and get into the comic biz. It's a great hardcore slice-of-life comic, a little on the mature side, that more people should be reading!

Happy Birthday, João Lemos

Everyone's favorite SHIKI artist becomes a year older today! Happy Birthday, João!

Monday, October 31, 2005

Drain Details

The full eight page preivew of Drain, including some comments from me, has been posted on the All The Rage column over at Silver Bullet Comics Books. You can check it out here:

Also, just to set the record straight, I know how to spell Erik Larsen and Eric Stephenson. The interview was done over the phone so I'm not taking the blame for the spelling mistakes.

Happy Halloween!

Almost forgot today's Halloween!

Unfortunately, no costumes, partying or trick-or-treating for me this year. :(

However, for your viewing pleasure, as I assume many of you haven't seen this, here's my Axl Rose costume from a few years back.

Catching Up

Has it really been one week of blogging silence?!?! Damn, times flies... Forgive me. It's been a busy week.

I finally finished that 11 page story that was kicking my ass. And thankfully, my editor seemed to like it. He gave me some great comments back and I revised it. He still wants to go over some of the dialogue, so we'll probably do that over beers in the next few weeks. The script is in the artist's hands now though, and as a fan of his work, I'm excited to see what he does with it.

I know some people hate the editorial process, but I actually enjoy it. Not sure if that has anything to do with me having been and editor myself, but I enjoy having a sounding board to bounce my ideas and scripts off of. Sometimes I get so close to a project that it becomes hard to look at it objectively, and I always welcome the input of outside parties. I do the same thing with my independent projects; I show them to friends and trusted colleagues for their comments and critique. The work often turns out stronger because of it as they can point out things I may have missed, like wonky transitions, bad dialogue, an overabundance of panels and/or missed opportunities. I think it also helps to show scripts to artists as well, as they can point out storytelling aspects I never would have noticed.

Some of my time this past week has been devoted to playing X-Men Legends II. Or I should say Mutsumi has been playing with me directing. She works the controller and I offer advice and guidance. Given my rather intimate knowledge of the X-Men, I can tell her who can fly, teleport, shoot beams from his eyes, or freeze things when she needs characters with those powers. I want my turn on the control soon though.

Met with a few of my Japanese editors who were in town on business this week as well. Both secret Japanese projects go well. The release date has been set for one - February 18th, 2006, the day after my birthday. Looks like there'll even be a release party in Tokyo that day and once all the details are set, I'll let you know.

I watched The Interpreter over the weekend. I thought it was pretty good. The chemistry between Nicole Kidman and Sean Penn kinda bothered me though. I didn't think it came off naturally and felt almost too forced in places. The extras were cool though. I thought the alternate ending was the better ending, and the documentary with Sydney Pollack gave me newfound respect for the man. He had some great things to say about the creative process.

More soon...

Monday, October 24, 2005

Back from Chicago

I had a blast hanging out with friends and talking comics, art and writing all weekend. It's wonderful being able to sit with like-minded people for hours and hours just discussing this medium we all work in. I'll be posting a full report soon.

For now I recommend you check out Takeshi has a great site and he posts a new sketch everytime he updates his blog. Enjoy!

Friday, October 21, 2005

This sounds disgusting...

...but tastes surprisingly good.

Butterscotch Whiskey was the drink of the evening here in Chi-Town; Canadian Club mixed with Butterscotch Schnapps.

I would have never tried it unless I was already half in the bag, but it actually goes down pretty smooth.

Ask you friendly neighborhood bartender for one this weekend!

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

But if you're sick of cats...

How about some Incredible Hunks?

I picked this up as a joke at a flea market recently and thought I'd share. B.J., Poncherello, and one of the real Duke boys... now that's a cover!

And check out these high-tech 80s home entertainment systems inside!

Don't Blame Me

I've been trying to finish a script for the past two days that's just been kicking my ass. I must've rewritten it three times already. It's only 11 pages, but it's the short ones that can be the biggest bitch sometimes. All my attention has been focused there so I forgot to blog. Sorry. I'm gonna just drop you a few quick pics now and hopefully I can finish this script before morning or my editor is gonna kill me. More soon...