Thursday, February 14, 2008

Reader Poll on Comics Retailing

Alan Doane at Comic Book Galaxy is conducting a reader poll about people's experience in comic shops. The best responses get a comic prize pack valued at about 50 bucks. Entries need to be received by Sunday, though, so get clicking.

It's a pretty neat little exercise, even if you aren't interested in the prize pack.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Hype of Reilly Part VIII

I’ve got some good news for you all. This has probably been the busiest couple weeks of working on The Life of Reilly since I first made up my mind to actually do the book.

I’ve been in a very good rhythm lately and I’m trying to use it to my advantage and just keep working while I have the energy and the time to do so. This has involved a few very late nights and some early mornings, but there has been a great deal of progress, which pleases me to no end.

And based on the feedback that I’ve been getting over the past couple Hypes and the ‘One More Day’ piece, you’re all very anxious to have me getting this thing going. Actually, I was surprised by how many of you were mad that I took some time off of the project to work on the ‘One More Day’ piece. I know you all want this book to come out and I’m doing my best to stay focused. I only had two lazy days in the past few weeks and that’s because Cerebus creator Dave Sim was making the rounds on the net to promote his forthcoming Glamourpuss title. I would kick myself if I didn’t make the attempt to be online while he was taking time out to answer questions about his career, controversial beliefs and his new book.

But I digress.

I’m knee deep in the interview process with both JM DeMatteis and Bob Budiansky, and a lot of information going on with both of them. DeMatteis is one of the creators that fans of the old LoR column were dying to have feedback from and I don’t think that they’re going to be disappointed. My interview with him is actually growing much longer than I thought it would be because even when he answers a question that I thought was open and shut he sheds light on something that makes me want to follow up even more.

JM DeMatteis has long been one of my favorite writers and one of the top 3 Spider-Man writers in my opinion, but conversing with him about this story and how he constructs a scene and gets into a character’s head just gives me an entire other aspect to respect about him. I’m very pleased with this part of the book and how it’s going. Now, I’m not even sure when I’m going to be finished because there’s just so many new questions that I have with every segment of the interview that the thing has taken on a life of its own.

Bob Budiansky was an essential piece of the Clone Saga puzzle for me. Being the one who inherited the storyline in the middle of the run, it puts him in a very unique situation. While most of the people I’m interviewing for the book are being asked questions pertaining to their own work on the Clone Saga, I’ve found that a lot of what I’m discussing with Bob is more of a commentary on the original commentary. That’s not to say that we aren’t tackling new subjects and things from Bob’s individual perspective, but this is the first time (so far) that there are responses to Glenn’s original column commentary.

For those fans that preferred the parts of LoR that focused on the events surrounding the seemingly constant changes in direction to the storyline, Bob’s section is going to be your favorite.

Mind you, I’m not saying that the Budiansky material negates Glenn’s commentary, but there is another perspective involved now and new details that are filled out that explains things in much greater detail. Like the DeMatteis material, the Budiansky stuff has expanded further than I thought it would and there’s even more to go.

I also had a new addition to the book that I hadn’t planned on previously. George Khoury, writer of Image Comics: The Road to Independence from TwoMorrows Publishing, will be answering some questions of mine and helping me get some facts straight when it comes to a very important part of The Life of Reilly. George has done some great research on different facets of the industry and knows a great deal about the speculator bust of the 1990s.

Hopefully, he’ll be able to add to the evidence that the Clone Saga had nothing to do with the crash of Marvel and the industry. It’s been a popular misconception since the Clone Saga ended that everything bad in comics was a result of that storyline and it’s false. A lot of the creators that are contributing to the book will have ways to support that, but George will have a lot of facts on hands, too.

What all this means is that there is a slight danger of the book skyrocketing in page count. My latest estimate was pushing 300 pages. And remember, until we get a definite word back from licensing, this is 300 pages without art. This is also before we get to key commentary and interviews with Danny Fingeroth, Terry Kavanagh and Howard Mackie, which is probably going to be one of the biggest sections of the book.

Final editing of the original columns (particularly my synopsis of the issues) will have to be done once I’ve completed gathering new material. While I don’t think people would mind a thick phone book style trade paperback, I want to try and keep the price of the book as affordable as possible. That’s something that’s still months away from worrying about, so I won’t focus on it right now.

One important fact is that I’ve finally begun the transitioning of the columns to book form with the new material in place. That was the big hurdle that needed to be crossed. These aren’t going to finalized until all of the interviews are completed, but now the first few chapters are complete with ‘placeholders’ designed for ease of execution when it’s all wrapped up.

In the next couple weeks, I hope to finish up the DeMatteis, Dezago and Budiansky segments and start on the grand finale of new material with Mackie and Kavanaugh.

Another update in a couple weeks…give or take.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Ride for Kids Charity Event

Ride for Kids ( was started back in Atlanta in 1984 by Mike and Diane Traynor, when a child of a friend of theirs was diagnosed with a brain tumor. They sought help from their friends in the motorcycling community to raise money to help find a cure for the disease. Their success in the first event led to expansion in different cities across the country, and in 1991 Mike and Diane started the Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation (, devoting all of their time to fundraising efforts for more research into pediatric brain tumors.

Since 1991, The PBTF has been the official charity of the Honda Riders Club of America. The program has raised more than 30 million dollars since its inception, and has become the largest non-profit source of funding for pediatric brain tumor research outside of the government.
The goal of the PBTF is trying to isolate the cause, find a cure and make the quality of life easier for those that are fortunate enough to recover from brain tumors.

Artist Tommy Lee Edwards has taken up the cause for the past several years. He recently had this message for those interested in helping the PBTF: “Dear friends and family. Last year, hundreds of North Carolina bikers and I travelled the triangle area and contributed to a national fundraising total of $4.5 million.

Giving my time as a motorcyclist was my way of showing support for those families battling every day with childhood brain tumors. This year, my hope is to shatter last year’s fundraising efforts by donating not only my time to ride- But also my professional background as an official Star Wars illustrator. I’m thrilled to have the support from Lucasfilm on this truly inspiring fundraising endeavor.

This year Lucasfilm has offered to sponsor me by helping me create a limited edition (300 count) run of Star Wars lithographs. I’ve set up a website for this endeavor ( With every $30 donated on this website, people will get this exclusive Star Wars print sent to them, and know that their money (thru ride for kids) is going DIRECTLY to the Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation. Sticking with the theme at hand, I've created an all-new exclusive illustration of speeder-bike troopers for this one-time exclusive print. It measures 30" x 15", and is printed on a high-quality 80# coated stock.

With help from many of you, I was able to raise $2000 for last year’s ride. I plan on smashing last year’s total by offering up this incentive that will hopefully catch the attention of my fans, comic fans, Star Wars fans, and people who just want to help some families battling pediatric brain tumors.”

This is a great event and a great cause and for those of you who are able to donate at least 30 dollars, the lithograph is a wonderful keepsake.

Please feel free to cut and paste the information here and spread the word about the Ride for Kids Charity Event.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Life of Reilly 35.5

The 'One More Day' special edition featuring a Q&A with Marvel Comics Editor in Chief Joe Quesada.

This didn't delay the LoR book by more than a couple of weeks, but a lot of fans were asking if I was going to comment on the 'One More Day' story so I figured I might as well say something about it.

While not a true continuation of Life of Reilly, it was a nice, brief distraction.

You can read the column back where it all began at Comic Book Galaxy here:

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Book of the Week 1-30-08

Y, The Last Man 60
Written by Brian K Vaughn and illustrated by Pia Guerra
Published by DC/Vertigo

Y is one of only a handful of stories that I was able to read from the very beginning and follow the series through to its conclusion. Preacher and Bone were the others. While I was a big fan of Sandman and Cerebus, too, I had started reading those series several issues into their runs.

There’s something special about being with a series from start to finish. In a time when fans are blasting reboots and retcons of their favorite longtime characters from Marvel and DC, the lure of a finite series like Y is that you know that there is a definite story to be told along with an ending in mind. It keeps the filler down to a minimum.

Y, The Last Man focuses on Yorick Brown, the only male left on a planet after a plague kills everyone on Earth with a Y chromosome. What would the world be like if there were no more men left? Could society function at all? For over five years, Vaughn and Guerra revealed their new world to us and managed to entertain and make us think.

Like the Preachers and Sandmans before it, fans of Y were speculating on the end for some time now. After the cause of the plague was seemingly explained, Yorick’s reunion with Beth and the death of 355, there didn’t seem to be any huge revelations or shocks that the book could have left. The cover of the final issue was revealed several months ago and everyone had a guess on the possible outcome and I think everyone was proven wrong.

Vaughn certainly didn’t go the route that I expected, but maybe I’ve become too cynical as a comic book reader and didn’t believe that someone could pull off the great finale. As much as I liked the Preacher series I felt that the final issue was a bit of a let-down. Same goes for Cerebus. But the Y finale works on many levels.

We don't get any answers in terms of the plague, but the cause of why all the men died was never important to the story. It’s all about how Yorick and the rest of humanity survive afterwards. It’s about a young man and his relationship to the women around him. It’s about the effect that these different women have on Yorick as he experiences life. In the first issue, there is a moment where Yorick is talking about how he’s become almost agrophobic and doesn’t want to leave the house anymore. Interestingly enough his journey to save the world took him across the globe.

The book was always more about the characters than the actual 'gimmick' of the plague and Vaughn ties up all the plotlines with those main characters in a very believable way. The finale of this series is filled with moments of laughter, grief, and despair, but most of all, this issue is about hope. There were a few moments in the book where my emotions almost got the better of me, particularly with one of the main 'goodbye' scenes.

Given the events of the previous few issues, it was going to be impossible for readers to get a fairy tale like happy ending, but the final image in this epic story is as memorable and uplifting as any fan could hope for. Y, is a modern classic and the creative team gave us a series finale worthy of this legendary run.