Wednesday, April 29, 2009

On Sale This Week - A Pleasant Surprise!

I had no idea that the Spider-Man: Legend of the Spider-Clan - Elemental Evil one-shot that Skottie Young and I did together has now been collected in the new SPIDER-MAN: SPIDER-WOMEN DIGEST TPB, on sale today!

A heaping helping of timeless tales of Your Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man! First, MARY JANE takes center stage as she teams up with She-Hulk, Hellcat, Marvel Girl and some other lovely ladies to take on The Enchantress! Next, see what happens when an old television program that features SPIDER-MAN and ARAÑA (with guest appearances by SPIDER-HAM and the SPIDER-MOBILE) returns to haunt SPIDER-GIRL! Plus, Peter Parker — a.k.a. Spider-Man — is the last survivor of the secret ninja group known as the Spider-Clan... or so he thought. But when Peter is attacked at the gravesite of his Uncle Ben, he goes on a quest to learn the truth behind his origins — and he won’t like what he learns! Collecting material from KING-SIZE SPIDER-MAN SUMMER SPECIAL #1, SPIDER-MAN FAMILY #1, AMAZING SPIDER-MAN MAGAZINE, SPIDER-MAN FAMILY FEATURING SPIDER-CLAN #1. Rated A …$9.99

Proof... don't need artistic talent to work in comics. Writers should never draw!

Would you believe someone tried to sell that Red Sonja sketch card for $100 on eBay?!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Personality Goes A Long Way

Retweeting some of my own posts as everyone else seems to be doing it too. :) Edited and expanded a bit here though to clarify and correct my shitty Twitter spelling and grammar...

Talked with a writer today who's been getting some buzz in the indy world & trying to break into the Big Two (Marvel & DC Comics). Thought I'd share a little.

One critical "x-factor" that rarely comes up when talking about breaking in (to comics) but is extremely important is personality.

It's of the utmost importance, especially for writers, that you're able to get along with your editor, mainly, but also with other creators.

Comics is a very collaborative medium. Especially with the Big Two, where we're all playing in a shared universe with numerous characters.

Editors talk to their writers in great detail, often several times a week, and they need to have an instant bond and shared sense of trust.

An editor has to feel comfortable when hiring a writer, no matter how good he or she is, and know they're going to get along....

...both professionally AND personally. Proving you're going to be easy to work with is almost as important as turning in a great pitch.

Monday, April 27, 2009

A Real Giant Robot

To help celebrate the 30th Anniversary of the hit Japanese sci-fi anime series GUNDAM, they've begun constructing a life-size Gundam robot in Odaiba in Tokyo. Scheduled for completion on July 11th, the finished model will stand 18 meters tall and be open to the public. Some early production shots...

I'm not even a big Gundam fan but I think that's pretty damn cool! All the more reason to possibly head over to Tokyo this summer.

You can find more images and information, in Japanese, here:

On Sale This Week


Written by ED BRUBAKER, MATT FRACTION, GREG LAND, KIERON GILLEN, C.B. CEBULSKI, CHRISTOPHER YOST, MARC GUGGENHEIM, YANICK PAQUETTE & SKOTTIE YOUNG Penciled by GREG LAND, TERRY DODSON, DAVID YARDIN, ANDRE COELHO, HUMBERTO RAMOS, PACO DIAZ & DAN PANOSIAN Cover by ALEX ROSS Witness the biggest shake-up in X-Men history. With the mansion in Westchester destroyed, the X-Men are moving to San Francisco. But it's not just a change in the zip code. Come see what the momentous change in status quo means to the X-Men. Collecting UNCANNY X-MEN #500-503, X-MEN FREE COMIC BOOK DAY #1 and MANIFEST DESTINY: DAZZLER, KARMA, MERCURY/X-23, COLOSSUS, EMMA FROST, GRAYMALKIN & JUGGERNAUT. 200 PGS. $29.99.

Jamba Juice Secret Menu

I've been to two different Jamba Juice joints here in the city this week and neither knew how to make the Sour Patch Kid drink off their secret menu. I guess the menu is so secret they even keep it hidden from their employees. Anyway, on the advice of one of the drink mixers I spoke with today, I found the recipe online and will bring it with me next time I go. And since I went through the trouble of googling it, I thought I'd post it here for you all as well...

Original size
12 oz lemonade
One scoop of each sherbert, lime, pineapple, raspberry, and orange
One scoop of blueberries

The other drink off their secret menu they caught my eye was this one:

Soymilk (tell them you want the Protien Berry Pizzaz, and you want
to substitute everything except the soymilk with...
Orange sherbert
Rasp sherbert
Lime sherbert
Pineapple sherbert

Other secret Jamba Juice flavors include:

- White Gummi Bear
- Red Gummi Bear
- Green Gummi Bear
- Starburst
- Sourpatch Kid
- Now and Later
- Peanut Butter and Jelly
- Apple Pie
- Skittles

And a little "legal disclaimer" I found online along with the recipes: "Jamba Juice does not recognize, endorse, or approve any of these smoothies due to copyright and trademark on names. However, the White Gummi, Pink Star, and Strawberry Shortcake have been added to Jamba's register system as well as the employee recipe list, though remains off the menu visible to customers.


Sunday, April 26, 2009

B. Cafe

If you ever find yourself on the Upper West Side of New York City, I highly recommend you pop into our neighborhood's newest eatery addition, B. CAFE. This friendly little Belgian joint has quickly become our favorite brunch spots and we haven't had a bad meal there yet. They have an incredible selection of beers on tap and in bottles, the fries are some of the best you'll find in New York, served with mayo of course, and the helpful & friendly staff makes dining here very comfortable. I went again today with my brother and he became a believer as soon as he saw the beer menu. A couple Kwaks and Tripels later, our amazing meal arrived. I had what's become my "usual", their superb turkey Croque Madame...

(I definitely recommend going with the Madame over the Monsieur as the fried egg makes a world of difference in the taste!)

And Roman went for a nice pot of mussels steamed with garlic, onions, carrots and a few other herbs and spices...

Plus, we discovered that not only have they just started a new delivery service, they deliver all their bottled beers to boot!!

B. Cafe West
566 Amsterdam Ave, New York 10024
(Btwn 87th & 88th St)

Blast from the Past

Me in Red Square in Moscow in 1988...

Screen Savior

The beautiful weather is also bringing out the birds in force, and the cats are going crazy as they land out on our ledges and window sills, as if taunting them...

Clyde's about ready to claw through the screen to sink his teeth into one of them!

I Don't Always Stay Inside

It was too nice outside to spend another Saturday cooped up on the couch reading, so I packed up my comics and magazines and headed to Central Park to spend the day reading there instead. Took a few pics on the way in and out and thought I'd share.

Upon arriving at the Great Lawn, I quickly discovered I wasn't the only person in NYC who wanted to get out and enjoy the weather...

I'm sure the Ultimate Frisbee geeks were crushed as bikini-clad sunbathers covered their turf...

Squirrels and birds are everywhere in the park, but it's not often you come across a raccoon mother protecting her baby in the daylight...

Just thought this contrast of colors in bloom looked cool...

The way the late afternoon sun hit the Rose Center Planetarium gave it this really eerie, ethereal vibe. I just wish my little point-and-click had picked up the light a little better...

For as much as I hate New York sometimes, these first few days of early summer really bring out the best in the city!

Guest Foodie Post

My sister Erika lives and works in Shanghai and recently took a trip to Xi'an where she visited the "legendary" De Fa Chang dumpling restaurant...

Looks awesome! I can't wait to go and visit her, hopefully later this year...

Friday, April 24, 2009

The Wonderlost 3 Soundtrack

Before I start scripting an issue of Wonderlost, I always create a soundtrack to write to, composed of songs from the time period that helps me get in the mood and jogs my memory. I began writing Wonderlost 3 yesterday, which takes me back to high school for more teenage trouble, and here's what's got my mind moving and fingers flying as I relive the late '80s...

Everybody - Tears For Fears
Leather and Lace - Stevie Nicks & Don Henley
Heat of the Moment - Asia
(Don't Fear) The Reaper - Blue Öyster Cult
Always Something There to Remind Me - Naked Eyes
Do It Clean - Echo & The Bunnymen
Rio - Duran Duran
Tiny Dancer - Elton John
The Blue Sky - a-ha
Mothers Talk - Tears for Fears
On The Loose - Saga
Love and Affection - Def Leppard
Wild in the Streets - Bon Jovi
We Belong - Pat Benatar
40 (Live 1983) - U2

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

To Those Visiting For The First TIme


Thanks for stopping by. Hope you'll stick around and read a little and subscribe if you like what you see!

The Chesterfest Online Index

As I continue to post and tweet and e-mail advice to folks about breaking into comics, a number of people have been asking about the best places online where aspiring writers can meet potential artists for their projects, and vice versa. I posted a few of my suggestions today, and the Twitterverse then responded with some recommendations and additions of their own. So before some website or other blog collects all the information, I figured I'd post the list that was generated here...

Digital Webbing:

Pencil Jack:

Brian Bendis' Jinxworld Forum:

Mark Millar's Millarworld Creative Forum:

Concept Art:

Panel & Pixel

Ten Ton Studios:

Comic Space:

Atlanta Comics Creator Group: http://atlcomix.ning

Ronin Studios:

The iFanboy Forums:

Now I'm not promoting or endorsing any of these sites. Some I'd never even heard of or visited myself until today. Which is why I'm not hot-linking them. I'm just posting this list as a resource generated by myself and a few other people who've had success finding creative partners using these sites. Visit at your own pleasure, risk, peril... whatever. And of course, when on any creative forum, be cool and be professional. I'll probably start twittering about the etiquette of making contact and finding the right person(s) to partner with in future Twitter rants. Which will also most likely be collected and posted here. :)

Now go out and make comics. And most importantly, have fun doing it!!

Regarding Deviant Art

An interesting conversation about Deviant Art popped up yesterday that I thought I'd repost and share here:

X-Men editor Nick Love kicked it all off: I love Deviant Art's content, but the interface is just AWFUL! It's so hard to look through artists' work.

To which I replied: Amen to that.

Suburban Glamour artist Jamie McKelvie then jumped in: That's the whole reason I never used it (Deviantart) as a portfolio. Terrible navigation. So many clicks, and counter-intuitive.

I then tell people what I've always told them: I am so gonna keep driving that into new artists' heads: Don't use Deviant art as a portfolio! Start a blog instead!!

Wizard of Oz artists Skottie Young says that as a working pro, Deviant Art is useful to him in constantly building his fan-base and offers sage advice of his own to new artists: Use all the tools. Start a blog, use deviant art, flicker, photobucket, etc. More places, more eyes.

So I clarify my stance: Don't get me wrong, I like Deviant Art and visit everyday. I just don't recommend it as a place to showcase your art to break into comics.

And ian_x then jumped in with some potential good news: DeviantArt have been working on a new Portfolio feature which may change all of that

That's good to hear. Let's hope!

Advice for Writers - 4/20

Collecting my April 20th Tweets with advice for up-and-coming writers here in one place for those who missed them...

One last bit of advice today, for writers: use spelling and grammar checks before sending in your submissions to publishers. Please.

Sounds basic, I know, but simple spelling and grammar errors can quickly turn off editors. You'd be surprised how often we still see them.

Its vs. it's. There vs. they're vs. their. You're vs your. Yes, we all often mistake them when we write, but remember...

...your submission is your job resume. Proof it then proof it again. Check it then check it again. Make it as professional as possible!

In regards to spelling & grammar, yes, I would suggest having someone else proofread your submissions. Trust people over computer programs.

And two responses I got regarding proof-reading that are always good to remember...

@BrigidAlverson: "We tend to be blind to our own mistakes."

@moxiegraphix: "Fresh eyes will catch mistakes you miss!"

Monday, April 20, 2009

Glad No One Spilled

I've been going through the pics from my last three trips today and blog posts about Dallas, Seattle and Sweden will be up soon. But for now I just had to share this gem with you all...

This is a napkin Paul Smith, one of my all-time favorite artists, was doodling on at Von's in Seattle one night. Not sure who the lucky bastard who went home with this amazing collection of sketches was, but it wasn't me unfortunately. Just glad a snapped a picture of it though so I could stare and share.


Time-Lapsed Tokyo

Lisa Katayama posted this video over on her Tokyo Mango site and it's fascinated me enough that I thought I'd share here...

It was shot by photographer Samuel Cockedey and you can see more of his work over at his website,


Sunday, April 19, 2009

Paving the Way for Obama

Watching President Obama's news conference from Trinidad and Tobago today, Mutsumi pointed out it looked like he was speaking from the balcony of the Hilton, where we stayed when we traveled down there in 2005. This then reminded me that I actually met Trinidad and Tobago's President George Maxwell Richards before Obama did! So I had to bust out the old pic...

I remember the joke at the time being that the look on his face clearly indicated he didn't appreciate my Hawaiian shirt. :) Hopefully Obama dressed more to his liking...

Saturday, April 18, 2009

New From Me This Week

The "What If The Runaways Became The Young Avengers?" back-up stories that Pat Spaziante and I did that ran in all the issues of last year's WHAT IF? event are now collected into one single story in this week's WHAT IF?: SECRET WARS TPB...



Marvel once again poses the question, "What If...?" What if Iron Man had died instead of Captain America? What if the Scarlet Witch had said "No More Powers" instead of "No More Mutants?" What if Mary Jane was shot instead of Aunt May? What if Dr. Doom kept the Beyonder's power? And finally, what if the Runaways became the Young Avengers?


Friday, April 17, 2009

Taco Bell Creative Teams

Here's a list of the four creative teams that worked on the original stories you'll find in the comics that are part of the Taco Bell Kid's Meal promotion...

Written by Joe Caramagna
Illustrated by Cory Hamscher
Colored by Chris Sotomayor

Written by Paul Tobin
Illustrated by Allan Jefferson
Colored by Chris Sotomayor

Written by Joe Caramagna
Illustrated by Scott Koblish
Colored by Chris Sotomayor

Written by C.B. Cebulski
Illustrated by Sara Pichelli
Colord by Val Staples

And each issue also features an original Mini-Marvels back-up feature by Chris Giarrusso!

ECCC Interview

I had the pleasure of speaking with Ron Richards of iFanboy at Emerald City Comic Con in Seattle a few weeks back. Here's what my fast-talking, fat ass had to say...

And it's a good thing I got a haircut the day after the show ended. Boy, did I need it!

Taco Bell Clarification

As there seems to be a little confusion around the net in regards to these Taco Bell comics, allow me to clarify one thing... these are NOT reprints of older comics! While the covers have been used elsewhere in the past, the stories in each of these comics are all new & original and were written and drawn exclusively for this Taco Bell promotion.

Also, the guys over at Comic Impact posted a pic of the actual display from their local Taco Bell...

And their "Yo Quiero Comic Books?" headline was much more original than mine was. :)

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Never Been In a Kid's Meal Before

Starting today, if you pop down to your local Taco Bell and buy a Kid's Meal, you'll receive one of four original Marvel comics, one of which, the Fantastic Four comic, is written by me and illustrated by the incredible Sara Pichelli...

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

S.A.S.E. - Send Another Submissions Editor

As I continue to travel from con to con on my never-ending quest to find the best talent the comic book world has to offer, I get asked a lot of questions about breaking into the biz, especially in regards to portfolio reviews. Eventually, someone always ends up asking about the worst portfolio review I've ever had/given and I usually chose to tell one of five stories that were particularly memorable for me. So memorable in fact that I once wrote a story about them all. A story that was even drawn and published! Then just yesterday, after inevitably being asked the same question at Reverie down in Dallas, I told a few of the stories, mentioning the fact that they'd once been published, when someone else inquires, "Have you ever thought about republishing the comic online so people can read it?". As this was a thought that honestly never occurred to me before, I immediately called the original publisher and got his OK to share the story with internet audiences everywhere!

So here now for your reading pleasure is S.A.S.E. (Send Another Submissions Editor), illustrated by Rob Guillory, artist of Image's upcoming CHEW series with John Layman, originally published in the Hero Initiative's ACTOR COMICS PRESENTS anthology in the Fall of 2006.

After reading this, please visit the Hero Intiaitive's website, find out about how they're so graciously helping comic creators in need, and donate to their cause if you can.

Thanks to Jim McLauchlin of the Hero Initiative for giving me his blessing to post this, to Rob Guillory for so beautifully illustrating my crazy con adventures, and to Randy Gentile for putting the words in my mouth with his impeccable lettering.


Tauntaun Sleeping Bag

I so wish this wasn't an April Fool's Day joke as I would buy one in a second!