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Hanley’s Signing: 10/7/2009

For the release of X-BABIES #1, I was invited, along with artist Jacob Chabot, to appear at Jim Hanley’s Universe at their Manahttan location. The good news was we had a great time, met a lot of people interested in X-Babies, did a lot of drawing, and sold the store out of all their copies of X-BABIES #1.

The bad news: they sold out of X-BABIES #1 and some folks weren’t able to get copies. BUT, they might have more copies this Tuesday, the 13th, so not all is lost.

For those of you who couldn’t make it, here are some photos from the event (thanks to Mike for manning the camera):


Signs outside let passers by know the who and the what.

X-BABIES #1: Official Release Day!


And so, after many months of preamble and build-up, previews and chatter, X-BABIES #1, my Marvel Comics writing debut, is finally available at comic shops everywhere…and that’s pretty cool.

You’d think having drawn Marvel Comics already…and having written and drawn SpongeBob comics…and having written and drawn my own comics, it shouldn’t be such a big deal. But it’s a different thing now as I’ve not drawn anything this time. I’m the writer, a credit I’ve never really had. Or rather, I’ve never had anything published that I wrote but didn’t draw myself.

It’s generally accepted that in the already difficult task of “breaking in to comics”, it’s harder to do so as writer than as an artist. An editor can assess the skills of an artist, be it pencils, inks, colors, even lettering, very quickly by looking at it. But writing…writing requires more time and attention from an editor, time and attention editors aren’t always able or willing to give. As an assistant editor at Marvel I sometimes didn’t have a chance to read plots and scripts for books I was working on, let alone submissions. Add to that that one writer can write several comics at once, where as typically an artist can work on one book at a time, it means there are fewer opportunities for new writers to find a slot.

So to have somehow gotten to the point now where a comic I’ve written is being released, today and for the next four months, it’s pretty cool. On top of that, for this comic to be drawn by Jacob Chabot, a good friend whose talents as a cartoonist and storyteller are such that I don’t need to sweat it, that’s even cooler. And on top of that…the story we’re telling and the characters we’re using, some of whom haven’t been used or even seen in over 20 years…again, that’s wicked cool.

I guess at this point I can only hope that readers think the comic…the story, the art, the dialogue…that that’s all as cool as we tried to make it.

In the coming days I’ll post links to whatever reviews might pop up wherever they may pop up, be they positive or negative. Hopefully they’ll be positive.

And if you’ve picked up the book and found your way to this site, feel free to leave comments; I dig feedback.

P.S. – If you’re in NY, I’ll be at Jim Hanley’s Universe (4 West 33rd Street)  from 6pm to 8pm tonight, 10/7.

X-BABIES: 5 Page Preview

So October is here, which means X-BABIES #1, long discussed on this news feed, arrives…in just 3 days! Very exciting.

Meanwhile, Marvel Comics has released a six page preview of said comic book, so if you want to read the first six pages of X-BABIES #1 before you can get the whole thing on Wednesday, 10/7, click HERE.

The October Plan – 2009 Edition

As of today, we’re two weeks away from the release of X-BABIES #1. October 7, 2009. If you haven’t marked your calendars, mark ’em now!

But wait, that’s but one piece of the big October ahead. With the release of X-BABIES artist Jacob Chabot an I will be on a whirlwind mini-promotional tour, if you will.

On release day, 10/7, Jacob and I will be appearing at Jim Hanley’s Universe in New York City (4 West 33rd Street) from 6pm – 8pm, signing copies of our first issue. Drop by and say hello and buy a copy; we’ll sign it!

The weekend of 10/16 – 10/18, we, along with Chris Giarrusso and Tim Smith 3, will be in Artist Alley at the Big Apple Comic-Con at Pier 94 on 55th Street at 12 Avenue in NY. Jacob and I will be at Table 24, doing sketches and commissions as well as selling and signing copies of X-BABIES #1.

The weekend of 10/23 – 10/25, a whole mess of us cartoonist folks will be descending on Greensboro, NC for Acme Comics‘ the “G-MAN’S GREENSBORO CAPE CRISIS with Chris Giarrusso, Jacob Chabot, Gregg Schigiel, Brian Smith, and Art Balthazar” event. The folks at Acme have been big supporters of our work and are helping us celebrate and promote X-BABIES #1 as well as Chris Giarrusso’s G-MAN: CAPE CRISIS book (in which I’ve been doing the Pix: Teenage American Fairy back-up story). So if you’re in the vicinity of Greensboro, stop by. is also home to the weekly comics discussion column I write with Stephen Mayer, “Re: Comics”, in case you want to read more about what I think of stuff (recent discussions have included collected editions and original graphic novels, superhero cartoons, and Marvel Comics’ Star Comics imprint from the mid ’80s with characters featuring prominently in X-BABIES (see how it’s all connected?)).

And THEN, October’s capped off by an appearance by Jacob and I at The Peoples Improv Theater (The P.I.T.) on Tuesday, 10/27, as guests on Comic Book Club, “a weekly comic book talk show featuring the best comedians in New York talking shop with industry professionals from all corners of the comic book world.” I’d be considered an “industry professional”…not one of “the best comedians in New York”…in case that wasn’t clear. Tickets for that show are $5 and are available at the theater web site.

And that, folks, is October…at least until I have new announcements to make (anything’s possible).

In the meantime, as a prize for patiently getting through all of this self-promotional-promotion, here are some random panels from X-BABIES #1, colored by the very talented Emily Warren (think of this like a movie trailer but without any dialogue, soundtrack, or movement):


In the event you haven’t been paying attention (and shame on you for that), G-MAN: CAPE CRISIS #2 came out on September 9th, featuring Part 2 of the 5-part Pix: Teenage American Fairy story, “The Most Dangerous Donut”. Did you miss it? Well, go to a comic shop and get a copy. Come on, people!

Now that that’s out of the way…

A lot of people ask me what my process is for creating comics. And by “a lot of people” I mean hardly anyone if anyone at all, and by “ask what my process is” I mean people, when they ask, like to ask things like do I use a computer for everything now, do I also put the words in the “little bubbles”…things like that.

But regardless, I thought I’d take the time to give you a tour of how page 5 of “The Most Dangerous Donut” came to be.


It all starts with the writing. When I’m drawing my own story, the writing happens in three basic stages. First is all in my head, where I think about the story, picture pages in my mind’s eye, and figure out the basic beats and some of the dialogue and how it’ll all fit together once drawn.

Stage two is the layouts, and this is maybe the meatiest part of it. Here’s where I lay out the pages, panel-by panel, including a rough sense of dialogue and where it’ll go. Here are my initial layouts for page 5:


And now, to make up for a nearly month of absence, here’s a nice long one for ya:

In 1999, as an assistant editor at Marvel Comics, I had, aside from my duties as an assistant editor, drawn a few comics, pitched a few ideas that went nowhere (i.e. – Deadpool/Spice Girls – and yes, that’s for real; I’ll talk about that another day), and had written letters pages and a few things that never saw print.

So I was pleasantly surprised when I suggested an idea to editor Mark Powers and he responded with, and this isn’t an exact quote despite my using quotes, “That’s hilarious; let’s do it…if you write up the new project memo, I’ll sign it”. [By way of explanation: a new project memo was just that, a form you submitted to decision makers when proposing a new series, mini-series, one-shot, etc. On this form you indicate the creative team, title, concept, page count, etc.]


G-MAN: CAPE CRISIS #1 – On Sale Tomorrow

I mentioned this a bit ago but am just posting a friendly reminder that tomorrow, 8/12/09, G-MAN: CAPE CRISIS #1 will be on sale at finer comic book shops everywhere. I mention this not only because it’s a wonderfully fun and funny superhero comic…and not only because it’s by my friend and fellow cartoonist Chris Giarrusso, but also because Chris let me contribute four pages of material. So when you pick up that issue you’ll get three pages of PIX: TEENAGE AMERICAN FAIRY and a brand new SAFARI JUNIOR HIGH SCHOOL comic.

And if that’s not enough, Chris also invited others to contribute material. So you’ll get a page of THE MIGHTY SKULLBOY ARMY by Jacob Chabot (the artist on the oft mentioned X-BABIES mini-series), THE BASICS by Brian Smith (not to be missed; The Basics are awesome), MISERY LOVES SHERMAN by Chris Eliopoulos, and PATRICK THE WOLF BOY by Art Balthazar.

That’s a can’t miss roster in a can’t miss comic book. It’s the first of five issues and it starts on Wednesday. If your local comic shop doesn’t have copies, ask ’em to order them.


Coville’s Clubhouse

One of the little joys of conventions is putting faces to names and meeting people who you until then only knew over the phone or e-mail, etc.

At this past Comic-Con in San Diego, I finally put a face to a name I’d first encountered nearly 10 years ago: Jamie Coville.

At the end of 1999 I was an assistant editor at Marvel Comics. I had pencilled a series of anti-drug Spider-Man comics that appeared in every Marvel Comic for several months. I was going to both write and draw a recently approved special project for Marvel. And shortly thereafter I was offered a job as a full-time illustrator for Nickelodeon in their licensing department. Lots going on. And amidst all that, a guy in Canada e-mailed me asking to interview me for his web site.

That guy was the aforementioned Jamie Coville and from the time of that request to the time the interview was posted (March 2000), I had officially left Marvel Comics to start work at Nickelodeon and the special project that was approved was summarily cancelled as I was drawing page six.

But the interview remains online as a kind of archival relic of where I was nearly 10 years ago. For those interested, patient, or bored enough to read it, it’s quite thorough, covering everything from how I got started to the day-to-day of an assistant editor to influences and long-terms plans/dreams. As this was the first time anyone had really shown any interest in me as a professional, I was quite a chatty Cathy.

And there was this now hard-to-believe-in-2009 question: “What kind of cartoon is SpongeBob SquarePants?” and my answer. Hard to believe there was a time where people didn’t know what is now the phenomenon of SpongeBob SquarePants (who is currently celebrating 10 years of being on Nickelodeon). Weird to realize I was kind of, in a way, part of that so early on.

So, if you’re bored and want to read more of my ramblings (albeit from a while back – though much of my thoughts still ring true to me), check it out here.

And more to the initial point, finally meeting Jamie Coville was great. I’m not sure in the moment at the con that I was properly able to convey what that time was like for me and how much fun and how flattering it was to be part of that interview. Jamie has, over the years, established himself as a comics historian with several web sites documenting the history of comics. You can find a couple of those here and here. and I guess I’m happy to be even a small blip in that history, thanks, in part, to Jamie Coville.

It was a pleasure to finally meet him face to face. Thanks for stopping by to say hi, Jamie.

San Diego Comic-Con 2009: DONE.

Every year it comes, and every year you think you might be ready for it…but you never are.

The crowds and the scene in San Diego and at Comic-Con were once again bigger and more intense than the year prior. And again the same refrain was uttered: “It’s not even about comics anymore!” But, from where I was sitting in Artists Alley, comics were very much what it was about. Comics, comic art, superheroes… Way back in the southwest corner of the San Diego Convention Center – hundreds of feet from the big booths and displays set up by the various television and movie studios and video game companies – people were into getting sketches drawn of their favorite characters and meeting and chatting with the guys and gals who create the comics.

At least, that’s how it felt from where I was sitting:

aatable_pov(POV from my table in Artists Alley – A moment of calm – Sunday, 7/26/09)