Archive for the ‘Thoughts’ Category

Tim Gunn’s Golden Rules

Tuesday, September 7th, 2010
Tim Gunn's New Book, on sale now

Tim Gunn's New Book, on sale now

Please pardon the interruption from our usual comic book news for this, a moment to talk about someone else’s book, one without pictures, and one that should be required reading.

“In the Internet age, even the word manners seems antiquated. Life moves so rapidly these days that it’s easy to feel justified in being rude.”

That line comes from the introduction of Tim Gunn’s new book GUNN’S GOLDEN RULES: Life Little Lessons For Making It Work and if anyone knows how to make it work, it’s Tim Gunn.  He is the consummate gentleman, an incredibly thoughtful man, and someone who honors everything that has come before worth honoring.  From looks to literature to Legos (yes, Legos), he’s never forgotten what makes things work and what can break a person- in fashion, friendship, and family.  Most of all, he has never forgotten the power of simple manners and etiquette in a time when so many have.  That’s one of the reasons his new book comes at the perfect time and is essential reading.  But that is only one reason.

(more…)

Convention Prep – SCIENCE!

Thursday, June 17th, 2010
What I need right now!

What I need right now!

There’s a lot to going into preparing for a convention – getting ahead on scripts, answering emails, and online check-in for the flight.  But one of the more important things – LAUNDRY.  Which is what I am doing.  But who says laundry has to be boring?  I’ll be back posting more comic-related posts in a jiffy, but here’s a few interesting science facts about laundry, brains, and the Eiffel Tower.  Just because.

Learn after the jump!

(more…)

What Makes a DAPPER MAN? Part 1

Sunday, June 13th, 2010
Me & Janet- Original Dappers!

Me & Janet- Original Dappers!

Most people who visit this site know me as either the former Marketing guy at Marvel (still strange to say “former”) or the writer of HAWKEYE & MOCKINGBIRD.  Both are true, but I have another project that I have been working on for quite some time now – one that people have started to notice.  I’ve been off with one of my closest friends (and REMARKABLE artist), Janet Lee, building a world of kids, robots, and bowler hats.  I’m talking about the upcoming creator-owned original graphic novel (OGN) RETURN OF THE DAPPER MEN, coming out this Fall from Archaia.  Between now and the release of the book, I’ll be talking about the project, giving behind the scenes info, and talking about the process of creating an OGN – from the fantasy of worldbuilding to the practicality of the business side.

So, why start today?  Because I see our book is now on Amazon.com!  RETURN OF THE DAPPER MEN will be available wherever books are sold and at your local comic store, but there is something crazy and mind-blowing about seeing it on a site I use for my own holiday wishlists.  We’ve been on this journey for 18 months so far, but now, as each day gets closer, these milestones drive home that it’s becoming a reality. So check back often for news (and Janet may even pop by, but you can usually catch her by following her on Twitter)  so you know who, what, and why the DAPPER MEN are and why their RETURN is so important.

Tock Tock, Time’s About To Start!

Jim

Movin’ Right A’Long…

Wednesday, May 5th, 2010

So, the news broke today, courtesy of The Beat, that after 6 incredible years at Marvel, I am moving on to pursue my dreams & goal of being a full-time writer.  I’ll keep this brief since I basically said every word in the English language in the interview, but thank you to everyone who has supported me & I hope you follow my journey here and in the pages of the comics and anything else I wind up finding myself writing.

Jim Henson summed it up far better than me:

Movin’ right along in search of good times and good news,
With good friends, you can’t lose,
This could become a habit.
Opportunity knocked once, let’s reach out and grab it,
Together we’ll nab it.
We’ll hitch-hike, bus, or yellow cab it.

Keep reading!
Jim

I always did have to be shown the door...

I always did have to be shown the door...

Thelma & Louise-ing It, Part 1

Thursday, August 14th, 2008

Hey all,

I have a subject I really want to talk a lot about, but I’m still trying to process things myself, so this really WILL be a (relatively) short entry. It’s about being inspired by two ladies from the silver screen. Thelma & Louise-ing it is my way of saying, just jump, full in, no net, with every chance that you will fall on your face…or every chance something amazing will happen.

This week, I did that, in two different situations. Right now, I can talk about one of them. It’s regarding The Project (the thing I can’t talk about that I am working my butt off on that I really want to talk about). Editor gave me 1 note and 1 suggestion. I took them both into consideration and stepped back. Sometimes, when you write something, you think, THIS IS IT! This is perfection. And then someone else reads it… Get out of your own way and listen, especially to your editor. I did this. It was the second draft that Editor was giving me notes on, and both versions were quite different from each other. Then came these ideas from Editor. The two things that had bugged me about the story, that I KNEW were off but tried to cover up with bells & whistles and shiny pretty things, were spotted by Editor. That’s when it hit me. And I jumped.

I took it down to basics and started over. I kept the core ideas and goals but EVERYTHING else changed. I also played with a structure I have never used before. I put it all on the line, didn’t hold back at all. And when I turned it in, it was the first time I actually thought that this is a story that if, God forbid, I couldn’t write it, I would still want to read it. I was able to feel confident that I was proud of every moment, and didn’t need to cover any weak spots. I went for it. And then I walked away to let Editor read & absorb it.

Met with Editor today, and the difference was instantly noticeable. Editor & I were on completely the same page! This story’s structure is completely unique for me but still something I feel passionately about writing, and that combination excited Editor, and me honestly. This is EXACTLY what I wanted to write when I first pitched it, but now I finally found THE way for me to best tell the story.

So what was the difference? I jumped. I Thelma & Louised it. And I didn’t crash. I hit the ground running. And I haven’t stopped smiling ever since.

More on all of this later.

Until next time,
KEEP READING!

– Jim

Get outta the way!!!

Monday, August 11th, 2008

So, you know that research rule I talked about? Yeah, I am dangerously close to tripping over it. In my efforts to do this project justice and right, I am trying to serve many masters (the fans, my editor, myself, and many others who might be reading this upcoming project). In all honesty, the main master I need to serve is the Story. What is going to tell the best story?

I spent 2 hours this evening pouring over a decade’s worth of issues trying to find the right moments, the right dialogue, the right references. A great deal of it probably has little to do with what will ultimately be the final result, and what does make it in will please some and set others into a tirade. How could I address this and not that? How could I leave out this minor reference on page 15 of issue blah blah?! Obviously, I will be a hack to some people. But that’s just it – no matter what any of us do, there will be those who will find fault in it. Every work is flawed. If creative people kept working on something until it was so perfect that no one could complain, nothing would ever be finished.

I need to step back and stop looking at where these characters have been and look at where they are now, where they need to go, and what makes them the people they are. I also need to make sure that I am telling the Story I want to tell. Not in a possessive “this is MY story” way, but the Story I feel I can tell, what voice I bring to the table.

Basically, I need to get out of my own way and get to creating. For those who don’t realize we are all in this industry out of love for the characters and the medium and will hate anything because they can only see the faults, go ahead and buy your tomatoes now. This way, if you don’t like the story, they will be nice and rotten and prime for throwing when the story hits.

To the rest of you, thank you for enjoying and supporting.

Until next time,
KEEP READING!

– Jim

A little help from My Webfriends – Spy Films

Sunday, August 10th, 2008

Hello again today!

Quick change of pace and the possibility of the start of a themed series. A lot of times, message boards can be terrifying pools of snark-infested cyber-water, filled with bile. An update on an old saying should now be: “Those who can, do. Those who can’t, post about they WOULD do it better on a message board.” Sometimes, however, you stumble across sites that are that rare gem, with helpful, intelligent people who actually think before hitting “post” and honestly like people. Two such sites are below:

Brian Michael Bendis’s message board – The main site for one of the top writers (and nicest guys) in the comic book industry.

Twitter – I suggest signing up (super easy) and finding people who you don’t mind “following” as they spend 140 characters answering the question “What Are You Doing” (follow me here).

Sometimes, I throw out questions to the masses (that IS what Web 2.0 is for after all) about a variety of topics. This goes back to the research topic earlier. It’s a way to help tap into the knowledge of all those around you may have on a subject you don’t know a lot about or want to know more of. I like doing this because I learn a lot more not just about a topic, but about my webfriends. As I ask a new question, I will post the results here. These will most likely be entries I update/edit as more roll in, but I wanted to centralize some info for myself (easier to go back to when research times happen) and also for others who may be reading this little sliver of the blogosphere.

Today’s question posed: What are some good Spy/Espionage films?

Answers are below in no particular order. Please keep in mind, these are suggestions gathered from others, not solely from me. I have seen some, have loaded others on my Netflix queue, and will look into the rest. Enjoy!

The Spy Who Came In From The Cold
Ronin
The Bourne films
North by Northwest
Mr. & Mrs. Smith
Manchurian Candidate
The Bank Job
Layer Cake
Sneakers
Three Days of the Condor
Casino Royale
Goldeneye
The Jackal
Spy Game
The Recruit
Mission: Impossible
True Lies
Where Eagles Dare
The Third Man
The Falcon & The Snowman
The Ipcress File
Le Femme Nakita
The Company
The Good Sheppard
The Conversation
The Avengers (TV series, esp the Emma Peel years)
Notorious (1946)
The Parallax View
Defense of the Realm
The Man Who Knew Too Much
The 39 Steps
The Spy Who Loved Me
Spartan
The Tailor of Panama
Smiley’s People (BBC mini)
Syriana
Confessions of a Dangerous Mind
Alias (Especially Seasons 1 & 2)
The Quiet American
Ice Station Zebra
Foreign Correspondent
Charade
Our Man Flint
No Way Out
Marathon Man
Yakuza
To Live & Die in LA
Extreme Prejudice
Le Circle Rouge
Army of Shadows
The Day of the Jackal

Until next time,
KEEP READING (or in this case, WATCHING)!

– Jim

Welcome Aboard!

Saturday, August 9th, 2008

Hello friends, family, acquaintances, fans, and reading-voyeurs,

Surprise, surprise, another blog enters the blogosphere. As you can see in my profile, I make no promises how updated this blog will be, but here’s hoping. “The best laid plans of mice and men oft go astray, and leave us not but grief and pain for promised joy. Well, hopefully my potential sporadic updates (or complete lack of them) won’t leave you with grief and pain, and I cannot promise you joy with every post. What I CAN offer you is that I will be *me* in these entries.

So, where to start? I’d rather not start off with the traditional “I was born in…” exposition. Zzzzz… Details of my youth, history, interests, etc will hopefully come out in more unique ways, organically, as I (hopefully) write new entries.

Brief aside here- just because I have a blog and a Twitter, by NO means should indicate that I am at all web-savvy when it comes to the bells and whistles of these here Interwebs. I will try to post pictures, art, etc where I can…when I can figure out how.

Second aside – this is intended more as my “professional” blog. You won’t find much in the way of personal info here as I tend to keep that stuff off the web. instead, this is to update my experiences in the world of comics, writing, and wherever this crazy path of life is taking me on professionally. That said, I’m not above raving or ranting about current novels, movies, or TV shows. But don’t look for too many rants, you never know who is reading and when/if you may meet them in person. I’d rather not get slapped by anyone from the “cast” of The Hills because I ranted about that show (for the record, never seen an episode).

Back on topic. Work. I work in Marketing/PR/Conventions/”other duties as assigned” at Marvel Comics. Yes, it is my dream company. No, cannot believe I work there (and I just celebrated my 4th year there– it still amazes me). Yes, I do know how lucky I am. Convention season is mostly over and it is sort of bittersweet. On one hand, I never sleep, eat, or stop moving when at a convention, so it is exhausting. But on the other (much bigger) hand, I absolutely love everything else about it. From the thrill of making a great announcement on a panel and hearing the crowd applaud, to meeting fans one-on-one (without them, no one in comics would have a job), to seeing friends from around the world who work in comics too. Thanks to FedEx and the Internet, people can work in this industry from anywhere in the world, which is great. But it means you really only see them a few times a year. One of the greatest things about this industry is that I have been lucky to make some true friends over the years. Anyone who has seen a Marvel panel should know that we are HUGE goof-offs; joking around with each other, snarky (in a good natured way), and genuinely happy to be together. That’s exactly how we are OFF the panel too. Some call me the happiest man in comics. I don’t know if I can claim that superlative (Dan Slott’s pretty darn jolly, too), but I can say that I am the happiest I have been BECAUSE I work in comics.

(Third aside – I had the Olympics on in the background on the USA network while writing this. At some point, they ended and “Psych” came on. I am convinced I just saw the same cave set used in Smallville and the same woods that Mulder and Scully trekked thru in X-Files. Makes me wish TV had a shared universe where all of these characters ran from place to place, encountering each other. I would never turn off the television…)

Obvious personal fact you should have gathered by now: I am very easily distracted. Another fact – I am obsessed with television.

I know I have far more to say, but this is the beginning. I have to leave something for people to come back to. And there’s plenty! From my history in soap operas, to my present job, to writing my first full comic script, to trying to dance between the raindrops of talking about my new project that I can’t really talk too much about. Speaking of, I should run spellcheck on this entry and publish it so I can stop procrastinating (which, truth be absolutely told, was the genesis of this blog- procrastination) and get back to a more necessary form of procrastinating: research!

Until next time, KEEP READING!

Jim