Monday, March 29, 2010

2010 Spinetingler Award

When I say this came as a surprise, I'm not being modest. The excellent Paul Brazill shared the news that I'd been nominated for a Spinetingler Award via a wall post on my facebook page. Up until that point, I had no idea I was even in the running. Nonetheless, I'm absolutely thrilled and honored to have been nominated. Spinetingler Magazine is an excellent publication and, again, I can't believe my story was chosen.

The story in question, "Blurred Lines" is one that was published in A Twist of Noir way back in September of 2009. (It's funny how a Chicago winter can make everything before it seem like the distant past.) Anyone who knows me knows that noir is one of my favorite genres, and I'd been dancing around it for some time. "Blurred Lines" was my actual first dive straight into noir (though my forthcoming graphic novel, Terminus, is futuristic noir).

So, the way the Spinetingler Award works is like this: the 10 nominees are selected by an editorial panel (from my count, there had to have been hundreds of stories to choose from, when taking into account The Drowning Machine, Beat to a Pulp, and other noir fiction sites). The winner is chosen by a reader vote. This means that you, dear reader, can help me win this award--if you like my story, that is. The 10 nominees are all of the highest order, and it's a bit intimidating for me to even be in the same running alongside them. There are some published novelists here, and writers who I've been a fan of.

But if you like "Blurred Lines", then by all means, cast your vote later this week. I'll have an update when the polls open.

Sometime I'll get to writing that noir novel...

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Listen to Me!

No, seriously, listen to me. I'm on a podcast (see where I was going with that? clever, eh?).

Anyway...yes, I made my podcast debut on Nerd City, and got the opportunity to sit down with two hilarious pop cultural phenomenons, Max and Ben. Also in attendance was Brian Crowley and my wife, Alissa (who can occasionally be heard laughing in the background--a laugh that says "what have I gotten myself into?"). So for those who want to hear me talk about Quarantined, C2E2, Donny Amazon, the talented Monty Borror, and why I hope Iron Man 2 doesn't Wolverine us all, then follow this link here. Or, you can download it the podcast from iTunes, and take the sweet monotone sound of my voice with you everywhere.

By the way--listen to Nerd City weekly. Max and Ben are seriously a laugh riot.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Giving It Another Go

Third time's a charm, right? Let's hope so--because this will be my third attempt to run a graphic novels course at the Newberry Library. The first two times, the course didn't fill and was thus canceled. I'm optimistic for this summer's edition.

Here are the specifics:

The Graphic Novel
Thursdays, 6 – 7:30 pm
June 10 – July 15
6 sessions, $155

Hang a picture on a wall and it’s art. Write words on a page and it’s literature. Yet the idea persists that combining the two in the comic form creates something less. We will work on revising this assumption by tracing the history of graphic novels in the United States and considering their place in American literature. We will read texts that explore how comics function as well as some of the form’s most notable graphic novels, including Will Eisner’s A Contract with God and Alan Moore’s Watchmen.

Course registration isn't open yet, but should be soon. I'll have an update when that happens along with more information on all the texts we'll be covering over the six weeks.

And, because I like to always have art with my posts, here's a shot of the Kalibak action figure I ordered just this past weekend (Kalibak comes from Kirby's Fourth World series--look at that Kirby design!).

Monday, March 1, 2010

Reading With Pictures

This post is long overdue. That being said, I'm just going to get straight to it.

A few months ago, Josh Elder was gracious enough to offer me a position on his organization's Board of Directors as the Media Director. With a package that included fortune, fame, and free pizza, I couldn't decline. Plus, I believe in the merit of what he is doing with Reading With Pictures. So there's that as well.

Reading With Pictures is a nonprofit organization that is working to get comics into schools and schools into comics. We have a lot of ambitions and projects in mind, all of which are based on the belief that using comics as a tool for teaching children reading, science, math, and the arts is a very, very good thing. We work with academics to conduct groundbreaking research into the role of comics in education; we collaborate with cartoonists to produce exceptional graphic novel content for scholastic use; and, most importantly, we partner with educators to develop a system of best practices for integrating comics into their curriculum.

And right now, through, we are taking orders for our very first all-ages anthology. The book will have a cover by Jill Thompson and contributions from Fred Van Lente, Jeffrey Brown, Gabriel Bautista, Chris Giarrusso, and a whole bunch of other people, including myself.

If you're interested, please check out the Kickstarter site for more information. Hey, Rainn Wilson from The Office has contributed!

On the RWP blog, in fact, there's a preview of the contribution from Andy and I, The Replacement Heroes in: Civic Service! The blog has a story synopsis, a fantastic pinup (seen at right), and a few other extras that will not be in the RWP book.