Channel the entity "Jeff Parker" from beyond the Ether

Monday, July 31, 2006


I don't think I ever posted THIS LINK, which will give a preview of the first pages from the first AGENTS OF ATLAS. Courtesty the fine folks at Graham Crackers Comics. Some who have seen early versions of this preview came away thinking that the story takes place in the 50's (and that it will be full of Nazis saying "Schvein", but that's really just the first few pages), but it all mostly happens here in good ol' 2006. Wednesday! In your local comic shop, I hope!


Friday, July 28, 2006

Get Ready... 

Sorry I gave no follow up to San Diego, it's just a blur of people to me now. My last real recollection is me up on the Mondo Marvel panel not being clever enough because I was out of steam. I should have pointed out how Gorilla Man is twice as good as Punisher because he can hold double the machine guns. Rob Liefeld kept distracting me by messing with the Onslaught figure who's arm kept falling off. I just referred to Onslaught as a "who", so I must still not be recovered. Next week is going to be me pushing AGENTS OF ATLAS harder than ever because it's coming to stores Wednesday. We need to get in there and clean those shops out so it gets reordered fast! Come on everybody, let's all knuckle down and get to work!


Monday, July 24, 2006

Toth Book Heads Up 

While the Toth Doodle Book turned out very nice, it looks like a batch of misbound copies made it into these initial shipments. The printer is pulling those out now. If you've gotten a copy with 24 pages repeating, I'll see that your copy is replaced with the real thing! You can send the cover (or just a chunk of it in an envelope) to:

1634 NE 49TH AVE.

My apologies for the inconvenience, and those will be replaced as soon as possible.


Sunday, July 23, 2006


As packed as the place is, I'm able to cross the floor easier this year simply because I'm close to the door and can walk outside to the other end of the center and walk back in. I did that when going to chat with Mark Schultz, Dave Johnson, Aaron Lopresti and others. Piles of trash are building up in the middle aisle of the room to add to the traffic chaos. I met some great people associated with Alex Toth like Disney animator Tom DeRozier, who shares my worship of Milt Kahl as well.

That evening was the Toth tribute panel moderated by David Armstrong, and it went as well as you could hope. Not too much of people proclaiming their connection with The Herculoids. Irwin Hasen was a laugh riot, talking about Alex at 16. John Hitchcock got to tell some terrific stories like Toth chasing a speeder down the freeway. Paul Power described Alex's time in Australia as boss of his group of animators on Superfriends, and Mike Royer told of Toth meeting Al Williamson. Sculptor/animator Ruben Procopio filled in other bits of Alex's life and I think the audience got a good shared view of the man this way. What I was most grateful for was that Toth's son Eric and daughter Dana sat on the panel and told some of what their dad was like at home. How he'd drag them to the model airplane store constantly, and shoot hundreds of pictures of any common object lying around the house that interested him visually. I couldn't help but feel for them as this reminded me of last year when my dad died. Then suddenly lots of people are coming up to you telling you things about your own father you didn't know and you're still putting together a big picture of just who this person was. I talked quite a bit with his other son Damon, and was happy to hear that Alex got to see his youngest granddaughter who was born just in time. There's no getting around the fact that a tribute like this is essentially a funeral service, and it was a very good one, full of poignant moments and laughter. Tothfans Webmaster Jeff Rose got a lot of pictures that will no doubt be on the website soon, and maybe there'll be a way to hear the audio of the panel.

Back at the hotel I thought of how hungry I was and how everyone was probably filling the Hyatt bars now. As I sat on my bed trying to decide whether to eat or go to the bars, I passed out. Now it's morning, and time to go back into the monster. If the show keeps growing like this, the only option I see for it is to spill out into the city itself like Angouleme. I'm being serious about that.


Saturday, July 22, 2006


So for the past few days the Toth book was sitting in the Montreal airport, along with a few other books nervous publishers were hoping to have for the show. I spent a good chunk of the morning writing WHAT IF? and then called down to see if Fed Ex had come by. Why yes, of course they have. You have four boxes. !!! Could no one call me with this trivia? Maybe the Omni is more concerned with the amenities for actor Jason Statham who I saw in the lobby yesterday, wearing a suit I would have to take out a loan to buy. Anyway I bolted down there and grabbed two of the boxes and went to the Convention Center. Fortunately Mercury Studio intern Rich Ellis was nearby to take one of the heavy boxes once I got there.

It was nice to see people with pre-disappointed faces lift their eyebrows with that "Ah- it's actually here," look. I believe the first customer was John McCrea. It moved briskly from that point, and John Hitchcock (THE Dear John of the title) came back and sat for most of the day to meet people. I don't have adequate signage, so I'm often holding the book over my head to give folks a view.

I may mention more highlights at the center since it seems to have wifi. Line I actually said to some obnoxious young guy: "You're not big on the social skills, are you?" The Hyatt bars were very, very busy Friday night, and as a result it all escapes me now. Later...


Thursday, July 20, 2006


You can just call it "Another Day Without Toth Books" for me. It looks like I'm not going to be breaking even with this trip, because I just checked and the books have JUST NOW left Quebec. Great.

Having nothing, I stayed in my room this morning and did the final lettering touch-ups on AGENTS OF ATLAS #2. Then I got to the Center in time to sign at the Marvel booth for an hour. Sat next to Joe Quesada, Tom DeFalco and Paul Jenkins while an undending line of people came by to get signatures on a promotional freebie. I kept signing on Marko Djurdjevic's excellent first cover of X-MEN FIRST CLASS, giving Bobby an icy word balloon that shouted my name. Afterward I cruised up to Artist Alley and saw AGENTS artist Leonard Kirk, who floored me with a bunch of brilliant layouts for issue 3. After that it was time for the outing of the day, the DC/MARVEL Charity Softball Game for ACTOR.

All the players for DC had matching orange shirts with numbers, very efficient. We had a choice of a few Marvel brand shirts, most were black with either a Punisher skull or a Venom spider. I opted for one of the few Fantastic Four "4" shirts, because I wanted to reflect the hot sun as much as possible. On the bus ride over ACTOR/Top Cow's Jim McLaughlin broke down the rules for us and told us to "carb up" with several boxes of animal crackers. I don't know that shortening bread is the best sports energy snack, but we ate them. When I played softball with the cartoonists in Chapel Hill years ago, I usually pitched, so I'm not a pro at playing the bases. Fortunately Mark McKenna (1st base) and John Romita Jr. (Shortstop) coached me a bit about how to play 2nd. I got off a good hit to a Jann Jones (who just got promoted at DC) pitch the first time up, but I still was caught out. Later some DC staffer I tagged out started running again for some reason, confusing everybody. My next time at bat I got on 2nd, and I forget who knocked me in. Mark Waid got on first by the skin of his teeth in the last inning and worked his way home.

We ended up winning something like 26 to 8 so we didn't finish beyond six innings. Which everyone was fine with, because it just kept getting hotter out at Balboa Park. I got to talk a lot to PLANET HULK writer Greg Pak and a lot of people I didn't know yet, so that was nice. Since I had absolutely nothing to sell all day, playing softball was really the best thing I could have done or I would have just hung around sulking about losing money. Everyone had a lot of fun. The best of part of the game was near the end when Esad Ribic got up to bat again. A big Croatian who really doesn't know much about baseball or any similar sport, Esad cut an impressive pose, shirtless and smoking. Then he got off a pretty good hit which brought some of our guys in, but he himself was tagged out because he didn't know he needed to run to first, he just kept watching where the ball went. That was pretty awesome.

Now I think I'm going to take an unprecedented nap and get up and write later. I really can't imagine those books making it here tomorrow either at this point, so I guess I'll just let go of that idea. I believe I am going to be sore tomorrow, too.



What the heck, I'll blog this con since I have all this wifi coursing through the hotel room. So. If you live in Portland, Comicon actually begins at PDX airport. Upon reaching my gate I found Linda Medley also (Castle) waiting for the same plane. She told me the best Gary Groth story about how Fantagraphics came to publish her work, but I feel it's not my story to tell and get credit for, so ask her sometime. You can ask her at the Fanta booth almost every day if you're at the show, she's always signing at the end of the day.

Then we see Paul Guinan and Anina Bennett, and illustrator Lee Moyer. Everyone begins the comics talk thousands of miles away from the Convention Center. I board the plane and see Paul and Anina again, smugly sitting in first class. I make a face.

Once in San Diego I taxi over to the Omni where my roommate Jim Ottaviani has already checked in, and left me a present: a GT Labs baseball cap, with the logo I designed. Perfect, because I have to play in the charity softball game tomorrow and I didn't bring a cap. I make the mistake of looking at the room rate for our ritzy digs right across from the Convention Center. I take a deep breath- oh, the price I heard Jim quote was per person, not per night. I'd originally thought we might be generous to the absent Steve Lieber who chose to stay home and meet his deadlines, and let him off the hook with his share of the room. No way.

Over at the show I get my Exhibitor badge which allows me to take up to 1 life per day without penalty, and mainly not get pushed out of the room by high pressure water at the day's end. I say hi to all my neighbors at Cold Cut's Indy Island (under the palm tree, 1901! Can't miss it!). There's Redd Skull owner Kelly Dowd, and there's Earth 2 Comics' Carr D'Angelo. Hey, Krypto writer Jesse McCann is already here. Over at the DC booth, the enormous DC booth, Newsarama's Matt Brady and edgy writer Greg Rucka are laughing it up. Kurt Busiek comes up and gives me a Cimmerian-style greeting (kind of a grunt, really).

People are already asking about the Toth Book, and all I can do is make goofy shrugging gestures. I've heard they'll arrive at my hotel Thursday morning, so I'll try to appease the FedEx Gods and curry their favor. Not a lot of point in me walking back into the building until I have them. And while I'm here, I have to finish an upcoming issue of WHAT IF? that Aaron Lopresti will be drawing. Especially since he's here and can give me reproving looks until he has the script. I know he is too, because I saw Terry Dodson and he said so, just before that same intercom woman from the past 10 years came on to amuse and delight us all with her message of "LEAVE."

Drew Johnson and David Hahn (arm still in sling from stunt-biking) are also checking out the latest displays, like the giant snake mouth tunnel promoting Snakes On A Plane, which just can't be as fun as its concept-in-a-name, because such things never are.

Before I pass out for the night, I thought I'd throw in a convention tip that I didn't see anyone mention. Every year, if you're set up at a table, you'll eventually be approached by someone with a DV camera who's "making a documentary." You'll spend 30 minutes talking to said person, and then never see where that footage went. Send these folks away unless you want to use the opportunity to practice your pitch skills. I haven't seen one of these people yet, but they'll be there. Oh yes.

G'night, talk to you tomorrow.


Tuesday, July 18, 2006


That's right, it's all about me. I look forward to meeting all 90,000 of my fans over the next few days. But hey, go give the movies and games producers a little of your time too please, we don't want them to feel left out. Anyways, you can find me:


Most of the time, except for when I'm signing at

Thursday, July 20, 12:00 am to 1:00 pm
Sunday, July 23, 2:00 am to 3:00 pm

Possibly briefly at the

Sunday, July 23
11:30 – 12:30
Room 6B

(In Japan it's known as DC vs. Marvel)

(which is news to me, I thought it was on Coronado)

And if you squint, you might just see me at


as well! Remember, once you're there- you're there! See you soon.


Monday, July 17, 2006


Hey, you can see a few more pages from Dear John: The Alex Toth Doodlebook over at THE PULSE. And if you're going to Comicon International in San Diego this week, look for the Cold Cut Indy Island palm tree as you walk in. There you'll see me waving at you, with a big stack of the books if everything goes right. And Cold Cut takes credit cards! Tomorrow I'll post my schedule for the show and leave it up the rest of the week in case you want to plan out your travel path during Comicon. Many people do now, we just have no choice. I hear the show will be offering guides and search parties soon.


Thursday, July 13, 2006

Toth Book. Nerves. 

It's close to the wire, and the printer may actually have Alex Toth Doodlebooks for me to sell next week at San Diego Comicon. I'll give you an update shortly, and also let you know my show schedule in case you're going to be there. I will likely not have time go get lunch so don't ask, even if you were going to pay. Sorry, this show is so stressful I have to get started stressing a full week in advance or I won't be able to fit all the stress time in.


Monday, July 10, 2006

Broken Frontier Interview 

Hey, Fletch Adams and I talk about Agents of Atlas, Marvel Adventures books, and X-Men over at BROKEN FRONTIER today. This one's pretty good, go read it please.

I wanted to talk about SUPERMAN RETURNS but haven't had time yet. Brian Hibbs of Comix Experience in San Francisco really echoed closely my feelings on the movie at his Savage Critic site. I loved all of the effects and action scenes, Superman fighting crime. But I'm just mystified (hence this blog's name) at some of the story choices, mainly Lois' kid and new boyfriend. I'm glad they didn't make Cyclops a jerk (I can't remember his name, but he's Cyclops) because that's too easy and never makes sense, but his presence automatically makes him the underdog because he's compared to freaking SUPERMAN. So when he does something nice or heroic, it counts way more than Superman does it. Also Routh isn't given many lines, so a lot of what he does do is fly around staring creepily at people. I don't think the new relationship offered any interesting opportunities, instead saddling the characters with continuity baggage they won't want later. It feels like the kind of mistake that would be made in comics after the 300th book and everyone's out of ideas, honestly. The movie is still very entertaining, but it did remind me of all the humanity that Christopher Reeve brought to the role. Routh probably can too if they'll simply give him something to say.

I've recently read some books I want to talk about as well, maybe later this week. Okay, you're free to go.


Thursday, July 06, 2006

The Wizard of Atlas 

Hey, did I mention that Wizard article? I just want an excuse to put up Coker's Marvel Boy cover. Ground control to Major Tomm...


Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Heroes Pix 

That was supposed to sound like "Hero Clix". Anyway, once again I have to live vicarously through Pat Sun, who documented the living S out of Heroes Con last weekend. He's a menace with that camera. Good shots, like our friends Heidi and Colleen enjoying some beverage that may have come from those mysterious mason jars on the table. What IS that stuff?


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