Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Goodbye, old friend!

Word has reached my ears that we've lost a legend - Ye Olde Tripple Inn on 54th St. has closed.

Before Jake's, before The Dead Poet, before Mulligan's, before The Irish Rogue, there was the Tripple. It was the first bar I started frequenting after moving back to New York from Japan and it quickly became a place of comfort. Many a night was lost in the smoky confines of that old watering hole; time well spent, sharing beers, stories, laughs and an occasional cry with friends. We could walk in and sit down and Bev knew our orders and brought us our drinks without even having to ask. There was no better jukebox. That place held a lot of good memories for me and my friends and it's a shame to hear it's gone. Let's all raise a glass and toast the closing of this NYC landmark. Cheers!

The old signage...

Musician Aleecat in their cozy backroom...


What a way to start your Wednesday!

Monday, January 30, 2006

Hanging Up My Controller?

The rule is that I'm allowed to play Dig Dug once a day for "stress
relief". Usually doesn't work out that way as I get so heated at times
that Mutsumi thinks I'm going to have a heart attack. So I promised
her that once I broke 300,000, the Xbox was going away. No more Dig
Dug. Well, as of yesterday...

But getting to level 30 and breaking 300,000 got me curious. What's
the world record on Dig Dug? Well, if you really wanna know...


And the dude beat the game as level 256 is the last level!! Unbelievable!
You can read all about it here:


Sorry Mutsumi... I guess I'll just have to keep training! :)

Marvel Ai Preview

Buzzscope has posted the first preview of my upcoming Marvel Ai comic from February's I (Heart) Marvel romanace event. This is from the first story I did with Tomoko Taniguchi. It looks like a few Hulk pages got mixed in there accidentally, but you skip those can check out the preview at: http://www.buzzscope.com/reviews.php?id=5390

Wednesday, January 25, 2006


EVERYONE should be watching this show! Best comedy on TV, if you ask me. (Sorry, Earl, you're second.) Last night's first episode, the Wizard of Oz tribute, was absolutely incredible! Program your DVRs and TiVos now!!


Tuesday, January 24, 2006

New Mangaverse #1 - On Sale Now

New Mangaverse #1, which marks my return to writing after hanging up my editor's cap, is on sale now.

Please head over to your local comic shop to pick up a copy if you already haven't!

You can also a check out a five page preview here: http://www.newsarama.com/marvelnew/Jan_previews/jan18thpreviews.htm

Back to blogging!

Wow, it's been almost two weeks since I last posted here?! Sorry, folks. Yes, I 've been sitting down and writing, but I guess I should amend that to also include writing for Chesterfest from time to time from now on.

It's been a busy two weeks. since getting back from Japan. (And that excuse is getting old now.) We had to go to CT to pick up Lotto and Clyde. I was at the Marvel Retreat. I was sick for a while. Our sleeping patterns got thrown way out of whack. Dave Finch came to town and we hung out. I had shitloads of comics and TV to catch up on. And of course, there are those pesky comic scripts I have to keep writing!

I'm now knee deep in one that has been taking up a lot of my time. It's for a new Marvel project and I just found out who one of the artists will be and it's freaking me out! The pressure is on as I have to deliver for a guy whose work I love and respect. Talk about nerve-wracking! I think Marvel will announcing this at the NYC Con actually. Until then, my lips are sealed!

I promise I'll be posting more regularly from here on out, so keep checking in! Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

My New Mantra

Just sit down and write.
Just sit down and write.
Just sit down and write.
Just sit down and write.
Just sit down and write.
Just sit down and write.
Just sit down and write.
Just sit down and write.
Just sit down and write.
Just sit down and write.


We're all home.

And happy...

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Jetlag Lag

Given my 2006 Objectives post, a few people have e-mailed to ask about the future of the Jetlag antholigy I spoke about earlier this year. The truth is, it's been delayed until at least Fall 2006, but for very good reasons. You see, I had my U.S. and Japanese publishers all lined up, or at least I thought I did. But when news of this international anthology hit, I was contacted by much bigger publishers on both side of the ocean with much bigger offers to publish it. So I'm finishing negotiations now (part of the reason I was in Tokyo) and it's looking good, so I'll most likely now be able to pay all the contributing artists page rates up front. Now I just have to work out one or two final issues about the rights as I want it to remain 100% creator-owned...

The bigger "problem" this caused was with the Japanese artists I was hoping to be working with, as many committed with the original April/May timeline in mind. Some still want to do work in the States as they have made holes in their schedules to work on short stories, so I'm currently talking to two comic publishers about getting some of these talents some higher profile WFH gigs while we wait for the final contracts on Jetlag. More on this soon...

Manga Bits - 1/7/06

Two quick bits for y'all today...

An announcement in a special MPD Psycho promo pamphlet seems to indicate the popular manga property is now bound for the big screen, but not in Japan. The opening splash announces "MPD Psycho Goes to Hollywood!" indiciating it will be made in America. Not much other info was given except for the fact that it will be brought to us from The Weinstein Company. As I LOVE this manga, I'm pretty psyched to hear this! Maybe now Kadokawa will finally be able to convince Eiji Ohtsuka to change his mind and consent to put out an English version of the comic!

Also, in talking to Kia Asamiya, he told me that he will be taking the extremely rare step of selling off some of his original artwork! Most Japanese artists never sell their originals, usually for legal reasons actually, but Kia has made a few arrangements and will be parting with some of his penciled, inked and toned pages. It's actually the first time I've heard of a manga artist doing this. He's asked me to help him promote the sale in the States, so I'll have more details about the whens and wheres after I get back and talk to a few art dealers. More soon...

My Favorite Days...

...are days when artwork comes in for stories I've written. I just have to share this incredible page, the splash page from my Spider-Man/Black Cat story that will be appearing in Spider-Man Unlimited 14, on sale this March. This kick-ass image is brought to you by the unrivaled talents of David Finch, Danny Miki and Frank D'Armata! Wow!!

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

2006 Objectives

A few people asked if I'd made any resolutions this year. At that point, I hadn't. I hate New Years' Resolutions because I never stick to them. I was cleaning up my hard drive a few weeks ago and I found a "Things To Do In 2005" list I made. You know how many of the things on the list I actually did? Not one. I couldn't believe it! So why bother for 2006, I thought?

But the the question kept nagging at me. Just what do I want to accomplish in 2006? What do I really hope to get done? So I put some thought in to it. Honestly, I think I'm in a good place in both my personal and professional lives. That doesn't mean I can't improve upon things though. So rather than present a list of soon-to-be-broken promises, here are some of the real goals I want to work on achieving this year...

Focus - I need to focus on what I really want to be working on, where my time and energy will be best spent. There's so much I want to do in the comic industry; I have so many ideas and there are so many artists and publishers I want to work with. But I have to slow down and prioritize. I cannot over-extend myself. I always have trouble in this regard; I take on too much and I burn out. At this point, as far as my writing is concerned, I think I'm doing well for myself. I have my three creator-owned books, Drain, Shiki and Twins, which are moving along. I have a few projects in development at Marvel as well. And I think I have to be honest and tell myself that that's enough for now. I have some open offers from a few other publishers, and I would love to work with these folks as they're my friends, but I have to make sure I can handle the work I have before commiting to anything new. I need make sure that I'm devoting my best efforts to the projects at hand rather than spreading myself too thin. The same goes for my consulting. I have been asked by no less than four companies to join them as a consultant. And again, while I would like to help them out, my creative endeavors mean more to me at the moment than anything else. It will suck having to say "no", especially as these are people I admire and respect, but I would be doing them a disservice by accepting a job I could not devote myself to 100%.

Motivation - I'm one of the world's worst procrastinators. I don't know why that is though. I love to write and enjoy the time I spend at the keyboard and in my own head working on story. But sitting down and getting started is something always have problems with. So it's time to buckle down and set a firm schedule for myself to get things done. I guess this goes hand-in-hand with my goal of focusing on the work at hand.

Honesty - I need to be more honest to myself and to others. And I don't meant this in the sense of telling lies. I mean I have to be more open with my emotions. I keep a lot bottled up inside me, hidings opinions and feelings, not wanting to hurt people or fearing people will get pissed at me for opening my mouth. But sometimes it's better to just come out and be politely honest, to say what I really feel. I think this will help me in better dealing with people in business and in my perosnal life. It will also serve to relieve some of the pressure/guilt I often feel for not speaking up when I had the chance.

Tattoo - And this is my dumb one. I want to get a tattoo finally this year. I've always wanted one but never knew what to get. But now that I'm working with a lot of cool artists on a number of fantastic projects, I know I can have something amazing designed that I will be proud to have permanently inked on my body. In my mind, it will also help me remember these other goals I mentioned above as it will serve as a visual reminder every time I see it.

So that's my list of objectives for the coming year. More more about personal improvement than anything else. I'll keep you posted on how it's going...

Chesterfest Tokyo

A few people have e-mailed over asking when I'm going to post pictures from Chesterfest Tokyo, as rumors of the event seem to have filtered back to the Western shores. The truth is that there aren't a lot of pictures I can show you. The party was divided into two events; first we had a smaller dinner party, then the second party was a larger, and much wilder, drinking affair where beer, sake and whiskey flowed freely. Some of the attendees have asked that I protect their identities, privacy and dignity by not posting the mostly drunken photos from the second party, a request I will respect. But sometimes I think they just don't want to acknowledge that they know me. :)

But here are a few pics snapped at the dinner party...

From the left, that's Tommy Ohtsuka, artist of Slayers and the upcoming Marvel Mangaverse; Tetsuya Aoki, designer of various incarnations of Ultraman, Masked Rider and the Mighty Morphing Power Rangers, among other things; Ben Dimagmaliw, colorist of League of Extraordinary Gentlemen; Aki Yanagi, Japan's leading authority on Amercian comics, Marvel's main translator and coordinator, and my long lost Japanese brother; Mitsuko Mitsuoka, webmistress of planetcomics.jp, where I've found a lot of the talent I've used over the years; and Kunihiko Fujiwara, who does more things in the Japanese manga and anime industry than can be listed here.

And here, from the front moving back, is Sana Takeda, the amazing artist of my upcoming Drain comic series; the host and guest of honor, Chester himself; Kei Kobayashi, whose art blew everyone away and who I predict will be one of the biggest artists in Japan and the states in the coming years; Franck DuBois, owner of Blister, Japan's leading retailer of American comics and pop culture, now with an unbelievable new store in Shibuya; and Fujiwara-san again, who works so hard he's had himself cloned.

Waiting to Pray

After we filled our bellies with "osechi", we went to Minatogawa Jinja, the biggest Shinto shrine in Kobe, to say our New Year's prayers. Trouble was, everyone else in the city of Kobe does the same thing! So we had to wait in a crowd of thousands and slowly inch our way forward from the entrance gate to the actual shrine. It took us about 45 minutes to move about 300 meters!

After a wait that long, my prayers for a good 2006 better be answered!

Big crowds in front...

...and behind.

Almost there!!

New Years Day

We started out New Years Day with a traditional Japanese "osechi" meal. And boy, do I mean "traditional". Take a look at this spread! Fish, shrimp, duck, beef, toro, and all kinds of other things I have no idea what they are. Oh, and sake of course!! All prepared by Mutsumi and her mom over the two previous days... Looked amazing and tasted fantastic!!

A Meow From Home

My parents must have gotten a digital camera for Christmas or my brother must have been visiting as I finally got an e-mail with some cats pics!

I hear that Clyde has fallen in love with snow. He better live it up now though as he's only got a week left in the country!

And Shaker enjoys some New Year's rest!

Sunday, January 01, 2006

A Fugu Sidebar

Just wanted to share a funny story about the first time I had fugu...

It was about 15 years ago now and I went out to a bar with a bunch of my Japanese college buddies. We started drinking beer and then moved into sake, as was our usual pace at the time. (And still kinda is.) One of the guys pointed out they had "fuguzake", or sake with fugu in it, on the menu. I realized it was the kind of fish that could kill you, but as I was half in bag, I figured "What the hell!" and we ordered some. Basically it was just a piece of dried fugu in a glass of hot sake, and there was really no danger in drinking it, but how the hell was I supposed to know that in the drunken state I was in? I thought I was "staring death in the eye", so I drank quite a few glasses.

It was only after we stumbled home that I started to get worried and was afraid I was going to die. So I what did I do? I called my parents to say good-bye! Yeah, I know, smooth move... but it gets better. They weren't home so I left a message on their machine teliing them I had just had fugu and this was the last time they might ever hear from me!

What was I thinking? Imagine coming home to a message like that?! Talk about worried! My mother still gets mad when we talk about fugu. I just got off the phone with her earlier and told her we'd eaten it and she commented yet again how she can't believe we eat that "evil fish".

At least I was sober this time...

I'm Still Standing

Last night, for New Year's Eve, my family and I stayed in and had a traditional fugu feast. Yes, a meal of poisonous blowfish, forever immortalized by Homer Simpson's near-death experience. It's true a few people do die each year from improperly prepared fugu, but the place we always get ours from is still in business, and that's usually a good sign.

Hard to believe this little guy can kill you in seconds...

I prefer to eat it raw, as "tesa".

And once the poison is removed, you can also eat the livers, but not too much, as some of the poison is still contained in them. They will still give your tongue a tingly feeling though.

The main dish is a fugu stew, or "nabe" in Japanese, but I was too busy eating to snap pics of that.

We also had live raw shrimp. My mother-in-law would cut off their heads while they were still alive, split them open, then we would dip them in soy sauce and wasabi and eat them. Sometimes they'll still squrim a bit in your mouth. Fun, fun, fun...