Sunday, March 31, 2024

A Week in Writing #502 - Not a Wonderful WonderCon

Hope everyone is staying safe, and, of course, writing. And Happy Easter, if you're reading this on Sunday night.

In the indie comics game, spring is sort of the unofficial start of Con Season. Every town of significant size will have one or more conventions celebrating culture and/or comic books for the rest of the year. I'm not much of a con goer or a tabler, if that's a word, at least not so far. I don't have the flexibilty for one thing, or the money. And even if those weren't issues, there's getting a table.

I was on the waiting list, or at least, I was informed that I was for this year's WonderCon, which happened this past weekend in Anaheim. And even though I never got off the waitlist, there were still several open spots on the convention floor. I don't know why and, if I ask, I won't be told either. My critique of this year's WonderCon is not based on this oversight on their part or on their slowness to renew our professional status (5+ months), but what I saw at the con. If you're curious about our expectations, that was the focus of this week's podcast. Listen here, available now, or watch here on Wednesday.

Compared to Comic-Con, WonderCon is small to begin with. After doing the floor, which took several hours, there wasn't much else to do. There were no major players in attendance, save IDW. It never bodes well when there is a large non-culture related vendor. In this case, it was a medical college, which seemed very much out of place, but probably paid well for the space. Plenty of vendors and artists and we bought judiciously. There were, of course, panels, but by mid-afternoon, a couple of hours before the next panel we wanted to attend, or at least I wanted to attend, we were all bored, tired and ready to go. I'm sorry to have missed the How to Get News Coverage panel, one that I usually attend, not only to support the moderator, Rik Offenberger, but because I've actually met people who have written about Powers Squared.

We did attend one panel, Independent Creator's Summit, which I had high hopes for, but after about fifteen minutes, we bailed. What I thought and hoped would be a how to grow outside of comics into animation, games, etc., turned in one of those panels that was more about the panelists, or at least that's how it was going. I always look for chances to learn something new, but I'm not interested in a biography lesson. And when one of the creators talks about "many projects" they'll be working on without specifics, even when pressed by the moderator, it didn't promise to be very informative.

There are always positives. We did run into people we knew and were able to ask three creators if they'd be interested in being on our podcast, so there were good takeaways, just not knowledge.

WonderCon also interfered with my writing a review this week. When we got home on Saturday, the most I could absorb was MST3K's take on Village of the Giants, which it turns out we had already seen anyway. We don't review parodies of movies, save for Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Movie, which was a riff on This Island Earth, which we also reviewed.

My review of Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire was the Saturday Morning Review on Trophy Unlocked. The week was the final one for God of War Month on the blog, which included Trevor's Second Look - God of War: Ascension on Monday, his review of God of War (Dark Horse Comic) on Wednesday, and finally his review of God of War: Fallen God (Comic) on Friday.

I did work pretty consistently this week on Skylar, trying, when I can, to get through editing a chapter or two a night. I'm coming up on another new passage, and then there are more rewrites and new writing ahead of me.

Next week, my blog will most likely be a day late. I'll explain then.

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

Sunday, March 24, 2024

A Week in Writing #501 - There's Always a First Time for Everything

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

My writing this week took a twist I hadn't expected. Since our artist on Powers Squared, Julia Canon, was finishing up her work on issue #26, The Great Escape, I sent her the script for the next issue. As a change of pace, this one is more Powers Squared related than about the actual story. In issue #1, we introduced Billy O'Shea, a young boy whom like Marty and Eli, had super powers granted to him by a yokai. Billy came back in issues 16-18, Mocha and Raven, Parts 1-3, accompanied by Raven, the Yatagarasu who granted him the powers for his good deeds and turned protector when Dr. Atlas threatened him. We established in that story that Billy and Raven make a living as a long haul trucker utilizing Billy's powers of super strength and punctuality.

Well, there were things in the script that Julia questioned and after conversing with Paul and myself during the week, it was decided a rewrite was in order, so there goes Thursday night. With the rewrites and editing complete, a new version is ready. If this new storyline turns out to be a go, and we make more, Trevor has also come up with some story ideas that we might use in future.

A comic book is a collaborative process, at least for us who do not draw. We've gotten used to changes being made when the words on the page get turned into images. Rachel Wells, our previous artist, would occasionally move and/or combine panels when she thought it was necessary for the story. Usually, we went along with her suggestions. However, this is the first time we've rewritten a script, like this, for the artist.

Speaking of comic books, we had our 13th Comic Book Club session on Friday's On the Air with Powers Squared. Along with Rachel, Julia, Trevor and Jen Moreno, we discussed The Apothecary Diaries manga written by Itsuki Nanao and illustrated by Nekokurage. Afterward, a tribute to Akira Toriyama, the creator behind Dragon Ball. You can listen here or watch it here on Wednesday afternoon after 2:30 pm PT. Our next book will be Pompo the Cinephile, a Japanese manga by Shogo Sugitani. Read along and join us when we discuss. That session hasn't yet been scheduled, but I'll let you know when here. If you do plan to be a part of it, please have your three favorite films ready as well.

On the subject of the movies, on Saturday afternoon, we watched Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire and I wrote the review, which will appear next Saturday morning on Trophy Unlocked. It's been a busy week on the blog. God of War month continued with Trevor's Second Look - God of War: Ghost of Sparta on Tuesday, and his Second Look - God of War (WildStorm/DC Comic) on Thursday, with more to come next week. The Saturday Morning Review this week was Paul's take on Kung Fu Panda 4.

A lot of my writing this week has been Powers Squared related. In addition to the rewrites, there was  work on the newsletter, which will go out the first Sunday in April. I think, with the exception of some last minute updates, it should be ready to go.

I did manage to do some work on Skylar, but most of it has been rewrites rather than new pages. 

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

Sunday, March 17, 2024

A Week in Writing #500 - Nice Way to End the Week

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

A nice way to end the week is to meet up with someone and have a good talk and catch up. And that's what happened this week on the podcast On the Air with Powers Squared. Lucas Scheffel, a comic book creator from Australia, was our guest for the sixth time, and for the first time in well over a year. We talked about his new comic book Kickstarter, comic book convenstions, Cricket and, of course, Bluey. You can listen to it on our website or wait until Wednesday to watch it here.

Seeing as it's a live podcast, we had a driver issue that delayed us and which Paul managed to work through, but it does speak to the challenges of doing one regularly, so there is some editing involved but nothing of substance edited out, just the rough start.

On the topic of the podcasts, I'm revamping that part of the website. I've been trying to keep a "Best of" section of videos, but that can get to be unweildy. So, I'm thinking of keeping a Best of but also adding separate sections for The Comic Book Club videos, the Taste Testing videos, and one of the conversations we've had with other creators. The videos about particular issues I've been adding to the pages about those issues, which is another way to keep the links on the website. So far, I've only done the section for The Comic Book Club. If you're interested, you can take a look at

Working on the next issue of Powers Squared, which is sometimes a slower go than I appreciate. I really want 8 pages a month from the creatives involved: arist, colorist, letterer, but that is easier said than done. We're getting close to the end with the artwork for #26, tentatively titled, The Great Escape, as the artist is finishing the final pages and the cover.

For Trophy Unlocked, I wrote a review of Main Street After Dark (1945), a definite B-movie that was also the film debut of Audrey Totter. Not sure when it will appear. The blog is still in the middle of God of War month with two new reviews. On Tuesday, Trevor's Second Look - God of War: Chains of Olympus and on Thursday it was his Second Look - God of War III Remastered. The Saturday Morning Review was Paul's for Pompo the Cinephile, a 2021 anime look at making movies.

On the Skylar front, I did make some progress. I'm changing the story a bit, so some of what I've written will be changing, but I'm liking it better.

No querying this month. I think it may be April before I get to that.

During the year, there are several times when real life and family collide with my writing. I'm coming up on one of those in a few weeks. My mother is having a milestone birthday and we're all flying to see her in Houston. We're flying on a Friday, so we're relying on our arist, Julia, to take over the show. But there's also things like the Saturday Morning Review, the uploads and the newsletter that have to be done ahead of time. And, of course, this blog will be late by a day because of it, too. But that's a couple of weeks away.

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

Sunday, March 10, 2024

A Week in Writing #499 - More Issues with GoDaddy


I hope everyone is staying safe, and, of course, writing.

Another banner week when it came to my on-going issues with GoDaddy. Last week, it was an issue with inserting an image. This week, I was trying to create a social post for our upcoming podcast on Friday. However, at least through Google, I was unable to even open the website. I tried to get help, but texting with someone took about three hours. I'm not sure who they think has that much time to wait for help, especially for small businesses. I ended up making the posts myself directly on the social media platforms and when I did get back to the website, this morning, all seemed to be fixed.

At times, on Friday afternoon, I'm ready to find a new host platform. My biggest concern is having to rebuild the site from scratch and losing the email we have set up. But it doesn't seem like a week goes by that I don't get frustrated with GoDaddy.

We have a new issue of Powers Squared, coming out this coming week, on Wednesday March 13. It's called "Mission: Istanistan, Part 1" and was written by myself and Paul, with art by Rachel Wells, colors by Julia Canon and lettering by Trevor. In this issue, the U.S. Army enlists Marty and Eli Powers to work on a classified secret mission to stop a rogue nation, Istanistan, from completing work on a WMD. The mission seems simple, one will teleport in and do the work and the other will use telepathy to guide them. It's a dangerous mission, but what could go wrong?

We talked about it on this week's podcast, with Rachel, Julia and Trevor all participating. You can listen here, or watch the video on YouTube on Wednesday. There is a preview available to look at and you can order it in print or digital through The Campus Store, where and when available. Oh, by the way, links to all of the issues are available there as well.

It's been a busy week on Trophy Unlocked with the kick off of God of War Month on the blog. Things started off with Trevor's Second Look at God of War (2005). On Wednesday was Trevor's Second Look - God of War II; and on Friday was his Second Look - God of War: Betrayal. I got the Saturday Morning Review with The Last Command (1928). No new review this week from me. We spent Saturday night away from home this week, so that took care of that.

Did some writing this week on Skylar; finally getting to the part I've been wanting to rewrite for the longest time.

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

Sunday, March 3, 2024

A Week in Writing #498 - Newsletter and Podcasts

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

Sort of a busy week, though mostly behind the scenes sorts of stuff.

Every month, like it or not, we publish The Hound Dogs' Howl, our monthly newsletter on all things Powers Squared. Now, a lot of this is rather routine stuff, however, the lead, a feature about twins, A Heard Around Campus bit, as well as a recommendation have to be written. And wait for it, here comes my monthly pitch to have you, dear reader, consider signing up for it by enrolling in San Romero Community College. It's FREE!

This week's podcast features Moni Barrette, the Director, Collection Development & Publisher Relations at LibraryPass Comics Plus was our guest. While we try to have this be a conversation, questions still have to be drafted and reviewed. Moni talked about her career as well as getting comic books in libraries, one of which ways is through Comics Plus, which is what we're doing with Powers Squared. You can listen to the podcast now here or wait until Wednesday and watch it here.

I'm growing more and more frustrated with GoDaddy, which our website uses. Every Sunday morning, I upload the previous Friday night's podcast to the YouTube and the new peek-of-the-week to the website. I then update the website with links to the new video, update other pages related to the peek-of-the-week, especially when it involves the cover and then write and schedule two social media posts to coincide with the new data.

The last thing I need at 7 o'clock on a Sunday morning is for GoDaddy to f### up, which it did today. For some reason, the new color cover wasn't inserting like it should. There had been a black and white ink cover that was being replaced with the colored version. But, oh no, GoDaddy wouldn't do it. I manged, after several attempts to get the colored version to show up on the pages I wanted to put it on, including in addition to the peek-of-the-week page but also The Campus Store and the page about the issue. I try to keep them in sync, as it doesn't make sense to have a peek-of-the-week that is already available elsewhere on the website.

The biggest problem I had was in trying to do the social media posts. The colored version wouldn't insert, but rather the previous black and white one would insert in its place. I tried to remember what GoDaddy had advised I do when things didn't seem to work, which was to clear the cache. This is something I hate to do, since I have relog into every app and, surprise, surprise, that doesn't always go well, as the saved password for whatever reason doesn't match the password it's supposed to be per the site. I'm still not completely logged into X as a result. The better solution, since that didn't fix the problem, was to reload the image; that worked. If anyone has a good suggestion to replace GoDaddy, I'm all ears. Leave it in the comments.

Well, I finished my review of X-Men: First Class and started a new one for Naked Alibi (1954). On Trophy Unlocked, the Saturday Morning Review was Paul's for Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero. And ICYMI, Leap Year (1924) made it to the blog. Just as a warning, we're coming up on March and it will be mostly devoted to the God of War franchise, so buckle up.

I did manage some fictional writing this week, but it probably doesn't add up to 1000 words, but there I did do something.

I still have more of that to do, a review to finish, press releases to write and, hopefully, more pages to review from our artist and colorist.

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