Leftovers From San Diego Comic Con

I would highly encourage authors, writers, and artists if they can afford it, go to the San Diego Comic Con at least once.

Sure there is plenty of eye candy (movie stars, toys, creative costumes, etc) but I am referring to the people you meet and converse with.

There are so many indie writers and artists walking around.

It’s easy to strike up a dialogue. Being an (aspiring?) writer myself, it is helpful to be around so much creativity and get tips on the trade.

I met a few gentleman starting a new comic line called Vault Comics and purchased advanced previews of their books (Failsafe, Colossi, Karma Police, Fissure, Powerless). Good stuff with fresh artwork.

Also of importance, they were just a bunch of cool fellows.

I will be checking out their books when they hit the shelves Feb 2017.

That’s all for now. Stay tuned for the release of Temet Nosce (Know Thy Self) Book Three of the Opportvnvs Adest series. I will dropping tidbits about it in the coming days.

Oh, if you have not checked out the previous two stories, do yourselves a favor and pick them up…….you just may be glad you did.

Peace.

EH

 

The Year of the Superhero

Hello out there, folks.

Just came from a second viewing of Captain America: Civil War and I have to say I like it as much as I did the first time.

If you like superhero movies and TV shows like me, than you are happy because there is no end in sight for the genre with Suicide Squad, Dr. Strange, Thor 3, Spiderman: Homecoming on the way. Flash is still interesting after 2 seasons and Netflix will have Luke Cage, Iron Fist, and the Defenders on the way.

Having said that, we are at the halfway point of 2016 and I thought it would be cool to take a moment and pay a little homage to the year 1966.

Why 1966, you ask?

Well, if not for that year, we likely would not have the comic book big screen entertainment that we enjoy today.

I call 1966 the year of the superhero.

You always had comics. Superman began in 1938 for DC and Marvel really came on the scene 1961 with the Fantastic Four.

By 1965, you had all the biggies seeing print like Spidey, FF, Avengers, Batman, JLA, DD, Cap, Iron Man, X-Men, etc. Good stuff, but comics were still a small niche audience and by my parents recollection and other people I have interacted with from those days, quite a novelty.

Enter 1966

At least 90% of America had a TV in their homes and superheroes took over.

There were Marvel Superhero Cartoons during the week by Grantray-Lawrence that produced Thor, Hulk, Captain America, and Sub-Mariner. Now the animation was…um..terrible and it was basically filming comic book pages, BUT you at least could watch them.

.You had the Super 6, King Kong (yes, they made him into a cartoon) Superman and Lone Ranger.

Still not convinced about 1966?

There was the Mighty Heroes, the Impossibles, Frankenstein Jr, and perhaps the most entertaining of them all, Space Ghost strutting their stuff on Saturday mornings.

All of this opened the door to renewed interest in Manga/Anime.

Astro Boy, 8th man, Kimba, and Prince Planet had all debuted the summer of 65 but the interest was lukewarm. Only Kimba was in color.

Japan stepped it up and gave us two great live action (color) shows in 1966 called Ultraman and Space Giants. A quick note about Space Giants: Do yourself a favor and check it out. It had all kinds of drama and things did not always conclude by the end of the show. If you like Dr. Who, you might like Space Giants.

There was also Marine Boy, a kid with a special suit who could chew gum, breathe and talk underwater. He was also friends with a dolphin and a mermaid.

No kidding.

Remember the cheesy, but beloved Batman TV show with Adam West and Burt Ward? That was in 1966 too. Kapow!

Because of the success of 1966, the networks decided to ramp things up even more the following year. Speed Racer, the Fantastic Four (my personal favorite), Herculoids, Spiderman (artwork by the John Romita Sr!), Shazam (the genie, not Captain Marvel), Super President, Birdman, Moby Dick, Galaxy Trio, Mightor, Samson and Goliath, and Jonny Quest all premiered in 1967. Whew!

DC caught the fever and produced Green Lantern, Flash, Superboy (with Krypto) Atom, Hawkman, Aquaman, and Teen Titans, and the JLA.

People complained about too much violence and a lot of those shows went off the air by 1969-70, but the seeds were planted and we are reaping the benefits today.

A special thanks to Hanna Barbara, De Patie& Freleng, Grantray-Lawrence, Osamu Tezuka, Filmation, Terebi Doga, Terrytoons Company, Rankin & Bass, Eiji Tsuburaya. You guys made it happen.

Please let me know if left out any cartoons or shows!

Things for reading and I will talk to you soon.

Peace and goodwill to all.

EH

 

Musings (and Ramblings) from a Comic Book Fan

The dust has settled on Batman vs Superman.

I am not here to say how bad or good the movie was. The general public has already spoken and the movie was not liked.

I want to talk a moment about the DC comic company on the whole.

There was a time when New Teen Titans and Legion of Superheroes was on par with X-Men. Green Lantern had some of the most memorable stories I have ever read.Justice League was pretty good back then too.

I have been a comic book fan/collector since the late 70s and I am convinced DC is  going to remain subpar unless they do a self inventory and go back to what made them good in the first place.

They have been second best to Marvel and to me they always will be. And if they are not careful, Valiant could push them for the number two spot.

Now it sounds like I am being hard on a multi-million dollar company but let’s take a moment and look at their spotty track record with a few quick points.

  1. DC cannot decide on the direction of their comics.  After Crisis on Infinite Earths, DC editors told the readers that everything they read prior to 1986 did not happen.  Characters like the Multiverse, Krypto,Superboy and Supergirl never existed and there was only one Earth. Huh? We were told this change was necessary because the stories were too confusing to readers. Uhh ok.  DC decided to bring everything back slowly over the years, invalidating what they had done before and erasing what Crisis was supposed to fix.
  2. DC has a continuity problem. How many times has DC hit the reset button since 1986? 4 times I believe. The origins of Hawkman are a jumbled mess Which version of Superman should I embrace? How about Flash or Green Lantern. Oh, and they are doing it again this May. Their whole line of books will be starting over from number 1 yet again.
  3. DC has iconic characters and fails to portray them properly. People fall over themselves over Frank Miller’s Dark Knight Returns series. I argue that story stripped what made Batman great and turned him into this evil, unfeeling Machiavellian genius. He has yet to be freed from that label.  You want great Batman? Check out Marshall Rogers or Neal Adams Batman from 70s and get back to me. Good (Wally West) Flash stories can be found by Mark Waid in the late 80s. Ron Marz knew what he was doing on Green Lantern in the 90s. Superman? John Byrne went out of his way to show weak Superman was and writers since then have been reluctant to make him all powerful and the inspiration to all other heroes like before. And can we stop this whole Batman beating him up thing? Every writer wants to do a Miller replay. I don’t get the Superman hate. Alex Ross or Alan Moore please take over!
  4. DC is not good at making films compared to Marvel. Explain to me how unknowns like Antman and Guardians of the Galaxy can be well received and DC cannot get Green Lantern right? Outside of hardcore comic fans, I doubt many people knew about Iron Man before 2008. I suspect the directors of DC movies are not true fans of the characters and that could be why they miss what makes them great. It is the only thing I can think of with after Batman vs Superman was such a swing and miss.

There is hope.

  1. The Flash tv show is a fun romp. Arrow is everything Batman should and could be. Legends of Tomorrow has promise. Supergirl…….well, never mind.
  2. The Suicide Squad movie could change the whole movie narrative. The execs are supposedly doing reshoots after the reviews from B v S. The trailers look good too. Maybe the negative press spur the DC execs the listen to the public and make the movies fun.
  3. Marvel is not perfect. Daredevil was forgettable. Spiderman 3 was a mess. The Amazing Spiderman 1 & 2 missed the mark completely. The Fantastic Four was horrific. The Marvel line of comics have gotten stale with the saturation of Avengers and X-Men books. And there was/is too much Wolverine.

The bottom line is I enjoy both companies and have no skin in the game as to who I want to be better. If both put out good products than it is a win for us all.

Ok, rant over. Thanks for listening.

Until next time.

EH.

 

 

 

David Gallie Indie Author Interview

A special thanks to David Gallie for allowing me to speak on such enjoyable topics.

Next up to take their place on the interview chair is indie author Ethan Howard. Read on to find out what makes him write:
Why do you write?
It is truly a passion. A great way to express myself and release that inner child. From the very first time I started putting words on the screen, I discovered how much I truly enjoy it. It always allows me to challenge myself mentally in ways I never thought possible. I have no plans of ever stopping.
When did you decide to become a writer?
I had come home from a tour in the Middle East. It was 2009 and I caught up on Alan Moore’s League of Extraordinary Gentlemen and reread short stories from the great Richard Matheson lying on the beach in San Diego. I wanted to try to be at least a fraction of the literary artist these men were/are.
What genre are your books?
Science fiction and fantasy.
What draws you to this genre?
There is a certain freedom with this genre. True escapism. You can explore several different concepts and get away with bending laws of physics and reality.
What made you decide to sit down and actually start something?
It was my wife. She told me that it was time to stop talking and start doing. She said I had always been a man of action and decisiveness, so why hadn’t I done anything. I told her of some of my story concepts and she said, “Great. I cannot wait to read them.”
 
Do you write full-time or part-time?
I write part-time. After spending time with my family, I use late Saturday nights as my time to write.
Do you have a special time to write or how is your day structured?
I have discovered that I am far better at night writing than the day. The later the better.
How do you think you’ve evolved creatively?
I talk to other writers. I read their stories. I review them. By doing so, I have become better. I use the wisdom of others to better myself. There is so much good stuff out there, I feel I improve each time I read someone else’s work.
What have you written?
Tales of the Unexpected (an anthology of short horror stories) Published 2013.
Sidereus Nuncius (Book One of the Opportvnvs Adest series) Published October 2015.
Hostis Humani Generis (Book Two of the Opportvnvs Adest series) due out March 20, 2016.
Temet Nosce (Book Three of the Opportvnvs Adest series) due out April 20th 2016.
Finis Omnium Reum (Book Four of the Opportvnvs Adest series) due out May 20, 2016.
Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer just seeing where an idea takes you?
I always work with an outline first. I have hand written notes with names and personalities of the characters. I also do research on any particular area of the world or subject I am writing on. I outline the chapters almost like scenes in a movie. I do this before I even start writing. I find it makes things much easier for me.
How do you market your books?
Social Media.
Book signings at local bookstores.
Is there any marketing technique you used that had an immediate impact on your sales figures?
I had a book launch party at a friend’s house. My wife is an excellent cook so she made the food and it was a smashing success.
Did you make any marketing mistakes or is there anything you would avoid in the future?
Absolutely. I feel that I should have done a better job on social media as I was crafting my first story.
What advice would you give to aspiring authors?
Never, ever stop writing. Do not do it for money because it may not ever come. Do it because you love it. Be willing to accept criticism. Learn from it and do not let it deflate you.
Give us an insight into your main character. What does he do that is so special?
At the heart of the Opportvnvs Adest story is a man called Quentin. In Sidereus Nuncius you learn he is from the stars with a mission to save the planet Earth. He is noble, thoughtful, and a warrior with restraint. It all sounds simple enough until things unfold and we see there is much more to this being than even HE imagined. Throughout the story, he is on a journey of self-discovery that will take him to dark places. The question to be answered is, can this powerful being return from the abyss and complete the task given to him?
Where do your ideas come from? 
League of Extraordinary Gentlemen
Greek/Roman/Norse Mythology
Grimm’s Fairy Tales
Twilight Zone
Outer Limits
What is the hardest thing about writing?
Stopping and going to bed.
What was the hardest thing about writing your latest book?
Patience. I know exactly where it is all going so I have to use patience getting there. Sometimes I just wanted to skip parts and get right to the revelations. There are many twists and turns to the story so it is important to leave the proper foreshadowing (or breadcrumbs) so the reader does not feel cheated.
Which writers inspire you?
Alan Moore
Richard Matheson
Ernest Hemmingway
Stan Lee
H.G. Wells
Ray Bradbury
Washington Irving
Henry James
I guess I should stop there.
What do you do to get book reviews?
I beg. Seriously, I ask on various media forums.
How successful has your quest for reviews been so far?
It has brought fair results. Folks who have gone to my books have put a few on Amazon and Goodreads. The sales far exceed the reviews. I am still searching for a better way.
What is the current book you are promoting? 
Sidereus Nuncius. Even though I want to say Hostis Humani Generis is due out in a few weeks.
Who is your favorite character in your book and why?
Quentin. I can relate to him on the level of having gone on missions for the military. I found myself questioning the purpose of it all but still loyal to the cause. Like Quentin, I did a lot of soul searching.
Who is your least favorite character and why? 
Rex Talion. He is pure evil and he just might be the worst bastard in the history of literature!
If your book were made into a movie, who would you cast? 
Quentin: Idris Elba
Regina Tate: Rachel Weisz
Rex Talion: Billy Zane
Dante Tate: Take your pick of a 12 year old (African American) male actor
What is your next project? 
The Anti-Life Manifesto. It is an 8-page story that leads directly to Hostis Humani Generis (Book Two of the Opportvnvs Adest series), which focuses on the rise of Rex Talion, the villain of the series. The Manifesto gives you a snapshot into the motivations of Rex Talion. It is written from Talion’s perspective and gives you a glimpse into the mind of this madman.
I just finished it up and have sent it out to people for free. The reaction I have gotten so far has been: “Holy crap! You weren’t kidding about Rex Talion! What a bastard!” It even shocked my wife.
Who is your favorite fictional character and why?
Heracles from Greek Mythology. He was fearless in the face of danger. He had a sense of honor and was uncompromising when it came to completing a task.
What one person from history would you like to meet and why? 
John F. Kennedy. He made such an impact on the world in a short time.
If there was one thing you could do to change the world, what would it be?
Homelessness. Everyone should have a safe haven to go to at the end of the day.
Who inspires your writing? 
The little boy in me.
Where do you come up with your stories? 
The wonderment of what is beyond Earth. I try to make sense of all the questions I have had since I was child.
Who is your favorite author? 
There are just too many to name. If am forced to give one, I will say Alan Moore.
What is one great lesson you have learned as a writer?
It is grind. If you want eyes on your book you have to hustle and even then there is no guarantee to getting a positive or negative response.
Tell us something unique about you
I listen to alternative and nu metal to write. Smashing Pumpkins, Godsmack, Deftones, Crossfade, CKY, Sevendust are just a few. Good stuff. Something about the music brings out the odd, creative side to me.
How can readers discover more about you and your work?
Come to my blog or email me directly. I enjoy dialogue on a variety of subjects.
Email: ethan@ethanhowardauthor.com
Thank you for allowing me to share this with all of you. See you back here soon when I release the Anti-Life Manifesto for all to read.
Peace.

Evil Personified

666

Hello there.

I left off the last blog saying I would discuss some of the characters in Book Two of the Opportvnvs Adest series.

For now, I only want to focus on Rex Talion.

Much of the book is devoted to him and his rise to power.

Now I read comics and watch action movies like many of you out there and we have seen a number of great villains. I said in the previous bog, Talion is the worst of the worst and I mean it.

Now you may ask: What separates this guy from a Lex Luthor, Dr. Doom, Loki, or classic Bond bad guy?

I would answer there is a likeable factor with them. Many of those baddies have things you  like about them. A nobility, a sense of honor, reclaiming past glory, or a protective nature that leads some misguided and sometimes terrible actions.

Ultimately those bad guys want to RULE.

Rex Talion wants to kill every living thing on the planet and grind the world into dust. Hence the title Hostis Humani Generis (Enemy of the Human Race)

Talion does not talk about his plans to an adversary or create exotic deathtraps. No, if you are on his radar, there is only one outcome. Pure and simple. No compromise.  Every human is plaything waiting to be destroyed by his hand.

He is THE Apex Predator among man.

You get the idea.

Let us go a little deeper.

There are three things that determine just how much damage a bad guy can and will do. Those things are means, motive, and opportunity.

Going with real life here for a moment. Ted Bundy was certainly evil by most standards. Research states he had a tumultuous childhood and a number of sexual issues. He was a predator who deeply hated women but limited to traveling in a beat up VW bug and doing odd jobs. He was also considered an attractive man with a gift of gab. Thank goodness we did not have the internet back in the 70’s.

Now take someone like that and give him money, power, and fame. Mix in tactical brilliance, a superiority complex, and a group of allies from hell (literally) and you have Rex Talion.

. Book Two gives you Talion’s origin. What would turn someone into such a monster? The story will lay it all out. As I was writing it, I was forced to look at myself and ask, how would I react if I were put in similar  circumstances. Could I retain the goodness I claim to have?

Now nearly every megalomaniac, spree killer, etc., has a written document explaining the reasons for their actions. Talion is no different.

Before Hostis Humani Generis is released, I will be putting out something called the Anti-Life Manifesto.

This little 3 page story will outline the aforementioned  means, motive, and opportunity for Rex Talion in his own words. It will be a great set up for Hostis story and give you a view of the world  through the eyes of a madman.

Oh…..and its free. It will be released on various sites soon. Stay tuned. Check it out. You will not be disappointed.

Until next time.

Peace.

EH.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Alan Moore & Jess Nevins : Their Impact on a Writer.

Greetings.

Last time I wrote about Crisis on Infinite Earths and how it helped me crafting a story.

This time I want to say a few words about the legendary comic scribe, Alan Moore and another talented man by the name of Jess Nevins.

Mr. Moore certainly needs no introduction from me, but what the hell. I am going to give him one anyway.

If you read comics, there is little doubt you know who this man is. If you don’t, I am sure you have seen his works on the big screen. Mr. Moore is responsible for Batman: The Killing Joke, V for Vendetta, From Hell, various Swamp Thing stories, the last pre-crisis Superman story, Watchmen, and the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (LOEG). That is just to name a few.

It is the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen  I want to touch on.

Forget what you saw in the theaters, LOEG is one amazing piece of work in its singular form and its totality. Moore takes starts out with an assembly of Victorian characters and weaves a mystery story. It gets even better with his other volumes. In other words, Moore created an alternate universe using pre-established and recognizable characters from Sherlock Holmes, the Invisible Man, to James Bond, and later Harry Potter. Moore even created an Almanac for all of the references.

Absolutely brilliant!

When I finally sat down and began typing out the Sidereus Nuncius, it was only going to be a short story with an ambiguous ending. Then it struck me that I should  borrow from the master storyteller.

The lead character in Sidereus is an alien who calls himself Quentin who comes to Earth with a message to the human race of an impending disaster . In the original draft, he falls in love with a human woman and decides to remain on Earth and face the doom with the humans.

Standard fare, I thought as a love story. Thanks to Moore, I started giving Quentin a backstory. Who are his masters and why do they even care about Earth? Are there other protectors/messengers out there? If there are benevolent aliens, then there has to be bad ones, right? Maybe aliens have been coming to our planet all along, helping or hurting us.

These races who lived on other planets needed names.

Suddenly I had a growing universe.

I invented a number of characters from scratch but I also took many from previous legends, myths, fairy tales, and works from well known authors and gave them a new spin. Why reinvent the wheel when there is so much rich literature to draw from?

Opportvnvs Adest is like peeling back an onion. The further along you get, the more characters and worlds you discover. So many that I created an encyclopedia (A-Z) for the all the events, worlds, weapons, and characters. I also put together an Earth time that begins 4.6 billion years ago and culminates in 2020. It took a great deal of research mixing and changing real life events over the centuries to fit my alternate universe, but I have to tell you it was quite enjoyable.

I believe you will feel the same after reading them.

Jess Nevins is an award nominated author and a librarian. He is responsible for annotating LOEG various volumes. This man has successfully identified every character, every building, every veiled reference in the stories. After reading his exhaustive work on Moore, I was completely  sold on the creative talent of both men.

In some ways, the Opportvnvs Adest series is a way of saying thank you to them for unlocking whatever creativity I attempt to claim.

Thanks for checking in.

Have fun because in 2020 Earth will….whoops can’t say that yet!

Until next time.