Friday, July 31, 2009

The Obligatory Shakespeare Nod


Yes, the name Leontes was taken from The Winter's Tale--but not without some reason (that reason being more than Winter's being one of my favorite Shakespeare tragedies).

Leontes is a character that interested me more and more as I went along with the final half of Quarantine. Other writers often mention how characters they create surprise them at times--this never really happened to me, not until Leontes, at least. The further I got into the book, the more I realized how someone like Leontes would react in certain situations. And truth be told, I wasn't always happy with his behavior, but it rang truer than any alternative. His arc became more and more compelling, more nuanced than I anticipated. And if there every is a part two to Quarantine, I have plans on where his character will go, and it's pretty exciting.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Insomnia Goings On


As always, Insomnia is chalk full with projects on their plate. I have my suspicions that Nic Wilkinson, Insomnia's Creative Director, actually has a small army of oopma loompas at her disposal, though can't back that up with any facts.

Anyway, Burke and Hare (preview page above), the first book on Virgil, Insomnia's bio graphic novel imprint, is set to be released in October. As a special treat, Insomnia is previewing the first chapter as an eBook. I was hooked in these few pages. Check it out for yourself here. What's also exciting about this book--besides it's obvious quality--is the artists who have contributed work for the gallery. Here's the star-studded lineup:

* Frank Quitely (All Star Superman, We3, The Authority)
* Gary Erksine (Dan Dare, Jack Cross, JSA Strange Adventures)
* Colin MacNeil (Dredd)
* Stephen Daly (Ballykissangle storyboards)
* Dave Hill (Gabriel)
* David Alexander (The McBams)
* Alex Ronald (Dredd, Lobo)
* Stuart Beel (computer games)
* Lynsey Hutchinson (Skeptic)

Yeah, all of them.

Additionally, prior to the release of Burke and Hare, Insomnia is publishing MILK, an art portfolio by Stref. Alan Grant, commenting on MILK, said that, "Coming from a virtually unknown artist, MILK contains some of the most beautiful, expressive art that I've seen in a long time. It deserves to be a huge commercial success." There's an eBook preview for this title as well.

Meanwhile, in my own small corner of the Insomnia universe, Monty continues to churn out stellar art work for Quarantine. His attention to detail and character nuance has been especially impressive. I'll be posting his sketch of Leontes at the end of the week.

Monday, July 27, 2009

North Shore Comics Piece

This North Shore piece was one of those rare instances where two of my different types of writing come together (those being comics and journalism). North Shore allowed me to indulge my inner (outer?) nerd, and I think the article turned out pretty well. It was truly a blast to talk comics with Alex Ross, Jeff Moy, and Gary Gianni, three big names here in the Chicagoland area. Moy will be this year's Wizard Comic Con (August 6-9), which I will also be attending. I've got some flashy new business cards to pawn off on unwitting attendees.

The article as it appears on the North Shore site, it should be noted, isn't totally complete--while a spectacular Ross illustration accompanies the posting, Moy's and Gianni's artistic contributions aren't online. To see those, check out the actual issue.

Monday, July 20, 2009

The Hero Shot


Well, "hero" probably isn't the most accurate word when it comes to Henry, the central character in Quarantine. He's the closest thing this book has to a protagonist, I can say that; the best way to describe Henry is as the moral compass of the book. He's compelled towards the good, and when he acts in a way that betrays that impulse, he recognizes it.

Having a flawed cast of characters has always been central to Quarantine, ever since I began writing it. It's a quality I picked up from Alan Moore, specifically in Watchmen (it's been recycled many times over since, sometimes in compelling ways, other times in flat, uninteresting ways). This is taking things a bit off topic, but one of my favorite panels from Watchmen, perhaps one of my favorite panels ever, is when Laurie confronts the Comedian at the party, calling him rapist in front of a crowd of distinguished guests. Blake just looks at her, stunned, bewildered, even hurt, and says "Only once." There's so much emotion and psychology in that moment, but one of the main things to glean from it isn't that Blake doesn't get it--it's that others don't get him or understand the world as he does. You see how exactly deep his personal philosophy goes (not to mention the secret he's harboring) in this single panel.

Back to Henry. Monty did an superb job of capturing the character in this sketch--the solemnity, the focus, even the grief he bottles within. I can't say enough about the skill and work Monty is bringing to this book.

Look for a Leontes preview soon.