Sunday, July 25, 2021

A Week in Writing #361 - I Miss Comic-Con - Report From the Front

Hope everyone is well, staying safe, and, of course, writing.

Every year for the past 12 or so, my family and I have made the trek to San Diego for Comic-Con. What started out as a bit of a lark, hey let's check this out after Legoland, has turned into an annual event and led us to co-create our own comic book, the oft-written about Powers Squared, which has, in turn, led to things like Podcasts, mailing lists, and newsletters, which, if you've read more than one of these posts, have read me writing about more than once.

As part of our yearly trek, I write a Report from the Front, where I detail what I did and what I learned. No doubt, you're aware, that for the second year in a row, the actual event has been canceled and has continued as a website linking you to Exhibitors to buy exclusives and YouTube where the panels take place. So, the front lines are as close as my couch.

Over the years, as we've gotten more involved in the business side of comic books, I've tried to make a point of attending more practical panels, i.e., those that teach rather than hype. (Note: If you've never been to SDCC before, there is a lot of hyping going on. Constantly.) This year, there were fewer days, from five to three plus the random program on Wednesday and Thursday, so there were fewer panels to watch.

If you're like me and you've been working from home during the pandemic you've probably been on a few Zoom calls that you simply watched, i.e., it hasn't been interactive. And imagine if the Zoom call you were watching was pre-taped. If you can do that, then you've had the Comic-Con@Home experience. As exciting as a pre-recorded conversation that you're not a part of, which is often to be applied sarcastically.

Now, a few panels have had some production values but I would put those under the category of hype; Unmasking Snake Eyes: G.I. Joe Origins on Wednesday and the Dragon Ball: Special Panel are examples.

But for the most part, the informational ones seemed more like work than anything else. And I know that whoever puts together the panels usually brings together people they've worked with before, but sometimes you can overdo it when three-quarters of the guests work on the same podcast for example. You're not really getting a universal lesson when everyone has the same experiences.

We watched panels on podcasting and branding, but I don't really think I learned anything new from either. The one overriding truth seems to be that no one makes money on podcasts or comic books but you do it for love. The other is that if you do work in the industry, you have to be two of the three: nice to work with (not an asshole), talented, and meet your deadlines. There, I saved you three days of video watching. You're welcome.

I know this is meant to mostly be about Comic-Con@home, but I did want to give you an update on a query. No, not a new one, and not good news either, but a rejection. One of the queries I made back in April was finally officially resolved, about a month after I gave up on it. The agency said that they take 8 weeks to reply to queries so I took that to mean a pass at the end of June. However, 8 weeks can apparently mean 12 weeks because I received a form letter rejection at 2:33 a.m. on Sunday morning.

Again, this blog isn't here to settle scores but it doesn't get more impersonal than a form letter sent at 2:33 on a Sunday morning.

The takeaway from this, if you're looking for a bright side, is that when an agency says 8 weeks it could really be 12 weeks, so the fact you hadn't heard back doesn't really mean it's a rejection, it just means that they're behind schedule. Best of luck.

And it's never fun to start the day being rejected.

In other news, I did manage to finish the fourth draft of a story idea I had for Powers Squared, Aroma Therapy. 40 pages over two issues. Don't know if it will make it to print but it was an idea I've had for a while and decided to write it this week, yes in lieu of other writing.

And the podcast that the comic book birthed, On the Air with Powers Squared, is about to celebrate its 100th episode. For that show, we got Carla Hoch, the author of Fight Write to be a guest. If you have any questions you'd like to ask about fight scenes in books or comic books, leave me a comment by Thursday morning, we're taping her in advance, and I'll ask for you.

For Trophy Unlocked, in the spirit of Comic-Con, we featured Trevor's review of the video game Blacksad: Under the Sun and his review of The Peanuts Movie on Saturday morning. I'm currently working on a review of Who Framed Roger Rabbit for future publication. Hard to do much writing when you're watching videos.

Anyway, that about does it for me. Keep writing and I'll see you next week.

Sunday, July 18, 2021

A Week in Writing #360 - What am I doing?

Hope everyone is well and writing. At least, that's what I think I've been doing.

Have you ever had weeks like that, when you look back and realize that you hadn't done everything you wanted to do? I know that feels like me every week and, sadly, this one is no different.

It wasn't until I sat down to write this that I realized I hadn't worked on Skylar at all this past week. I don't think I'd ever really thought about it, except in passing and apparently didn't work on it at all. This doesn't mean that I'm done with it, only this past week I never had a chance to work on it.

This entire week, I felt like I was losing time, and as we know, there is never enough of that to go around. The fun part is that I can never remember where the time went. I mean, I sit down every night and something gets done but when I look back it seems like nothing got done.

Of course, no new queries. Thursday night, the night I set aside for this, was a no-go this week. I'm not going to promise anything this week as I hate to disappoint. But when I do again, I'll report back here, but no more empty promises going forward. I feel like I'm letting you down along with myself.

I finally finished my review of Ace in the Hole, which was harder than I expected. Now I'm working on one for The Trouble with Harry. As per usual, no ETA for when these will appear. Things got a little shook up on Trophy Unlocked this week. On Wednesday, instead of a video game review, it was Trevor's review of JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Diamond is Unbreakable - Chapter I, a movie. And on Saturday, it was Paul's review of the documentary The Cartoonist, about Jeff Smith, the man behind Bone. Sunday, was a bonus review of Space Jam: A New Legacy, which we had the misfortune of watching on Friday night.

So, don't be shocked, the rest of the week was spent on Powers Squared. Some of it was spent on reviewing pencils for Issue 19 and some of it was spent working on another idea I had for a future book. I'm calling it Aroma Therapy and I'm not going to explain, at least not yet. I've written a first draft or two of the first 20 pages.

We had our monthly group meeting, or what our colorist called "our monthly 'We're Not Dead' Podcast". These are usually my favorites as it's everyone involved in the book. We discuss what's going on and what we're working on. You can listen to it here. We're only about three away from our 100th podcast. It may sound like we're crossing streams, but we're trying to line up Carla Hoch, the writer of Fight Write, as our guest.

Next week, we're having Lucas Scheffel live from Australia to discuss his new Kickstarter for his Angry Fred comic book.

Speaking of next week, it's time for San Diego Comic-Con, though once again, it's @home, which takes the stuffing out of it. I will be "attending" and will report on whatever it is I learn.

Well, that's a good place to stop. Keep writing and I'll see you next week.

Sunday, July 11, 2021

A Week in Writing #359 - Short Week

Hope everyone is staying safe and, of course, writing.

Let's start with the bulk of the work, which seems to always be about Powers Squared.

For some reason, the issue we're working on, #19 Kamaitachi, has been more time-consuming than usual. Part of it turned out to be communicating what we were looking for in a couple of panels, which affected three pages of the first eight. It came down, believe it or not, to the orientation of a stairwell, which plays a big part in how the story works.

Part of the problem was that she had no reference for what we were talking about. The only example we could think of was in front of the San Diego Convention Center, something we had experienced at Comic-Con. Of course, we had no photos of that particular stairwell, I mean, who takes photos of stairwells?

Using Google Maps, I was able to get a street view of the Convention Center and then Snip got the image and sent it to her. All good now.

We also had some work on character designs. Minor things, in a way, but important details. Again, we managed to get it all worked out.

With Rachel, we sort of re-lived that part of the week on our On the Air with Powers Squared podcast, available on our website, if you want to listen to it, or watch it on It's part of our plan to spend one or two shows each month on the process of putting together an issue.

We also discussed working on a cover for our BD for the Artithmeric Kickstarter, which is now tentatively scheduled for mid- to late- September. We need a new cover as well as an image for the back. My goal is to have everything done by the end of August.

Did some more writing on Skylar, including close to 1000 words during one session on Saturday. I think I'm making good progress for a change.

Other than that, I feel like I've been falling behind. I did some more agent research during the week but, once again, didn't send any queries. I just didn't really have the time, and I know I know that's my old excuse.

I also started a review, Ace in the Hole (1951) but I'm not as far along as I'd like to be, so that's one more thing I need to work on this week. I did write and publish one this weekend, Black WidowWe watched on Disney+ rather than in the theater. Still not sure yet when we're going back.

Speaking of Trophy Unlocked, the other reviews this week were Paul's review of the video game Night in the Woods on Wednesday and his review of Kingdom Hearts: Melody of Memory on Saturday.

Well, that about does it for me. See you again next week.

Sunday, July 4, 2021

A Week in Writing #358 - I Know, I Know

Hope everyone is staying safe and writing. For those of you in the U.S., I hope you had a Happy and Safe Fourth of July.

The subtitle isn't about my knowing the answer to an unasked question but rather my own realization that I mislabelled the post. I had it as #157 instead of #357. I don't know what I was thinking and just happened across the error sometime mid-week. If you ever see something like that again, please leave me a comment or something. So embarrassing!

So, confession time and we should get this out of the way right off the bat, I did not send out any queries this week and the ones I have out have probably expired on the vine. My goal is to do those on Thursday night but that turned into a couple of hours of reviewing thumbnails and character designs for Issue #19 of  Powers Squared.

I know I talk about that every week and it is days like this past Thursday where it takes over my schedule. We're starting to work on a new issue with our artist and I don't want her to think we're ignoring her efforts by not looking at what she sends us. The exception to that is anything sent on a Friday doesn't get looked at right away, 'cause hey, it's Friday.

And I know last week I was bemoaning the lack of pages that had been colored and that, at least for now, has been rectified as we're finally up to 8 pages. When we started doing the book, I envisioned it the artist drawing eight pages each month with the colorist about a month behind and the letterer a month behind that. Of course, it's never worked out that way and right now, the colorist is a couple of months behind the artist.

I don't begrudge her or anything. She did just start working full-time and needed to get back into a rhythm with the coloring. Hopefully, we're back on schedule, though, as I wrote about a month or more behind. It's not like we have a tight schedule since we're about seven issues ahead of the releases.

Even though it's the fourth, we still had a newsletter to write and we did get it out this morning. As always, I hope one of you reading this might sign up for it. It's FREE and it only comes once a month. You can sign up for it by enrolling at

We had a good OAPS show on Friday, with Julia joining Paul, Trevor, and I as we did a table read of Issue #19. I thought it might be fun to really go into more depth on how we put together an issue. While a table read isn't really part of the process, it is a chance to introduce the script. You can listen to it at

We're about five away from doing our 100th podcast. I think it's like the first Friday in August. We're not sure what we'll do yet but it is a sort of a momentous occasion. Don't worry, I'll be reminding you of this several times before we actually get there.

If you read Trophy Unlocked during the week, you'd notice that I sort of took over the blog, at least for five days as we gave a salute, of sorts, to pre-code films. Monday's film was Her Man (1930), followed by Chances (1931), followed by The Last Flight (1931), followed by Trouble in Paradise (1932) on Thursday. We finished the week with The Sign of the Cross (1932), Cecile B. DeMille's ode to debauchery and Christianity.

And now for something completely different, on Saturday it was Paul's review of Holes to round out the week.

I started work on another review, Crime School (1938) but I'm not as far along as I'd like. Really got tired last night before I could get very far.

During the week, I did manage some more work on Skylar.  With this version, I'm up to 16,598 words and I think it's going better than previous rewrites. I try not to set too many goals, as I never seem to make them, but I'm hopeful I'll get further along. I feel like I'm on a roll this time (and I know I've said that before, but this time for sure).

Well, I think I've covered the main topics.

Keep writing and I'll see you back here next week.