A little over a year ago, I posted a signal boost on the JanerBlog about my coworker, Mark and his daughter Katherine, who were working on building and launching a stratoballoon.
As the launch date approached, Mark informed me that the test pilot had been selected: Rainbow Dash. Now, My Little Ponies being a favorite of mine when *I* was a kid, there was only one thing to do: Make an aviator outfit for Dash so she could ride outside the capsule like a boss:
Fast-forward another few weeks to today, and the balloon is ready to launch! Mark’s amazing wife CJ cut a bunch of press releases to the local media, and the results are equally awesome: two local TV stations came out to the house for interviews. Here’s the first:
The launch as been delayed a day thanks to the first thunderstorms we’ve had in two weeks (shakes fist at sky) but a launch date of tomorrow means that I can still be their water-rescue crew in case the capsule splashes down in a lake rather than on land.
If you’re as interested in the SCIENCE! as I am, Mark’s written a fantastic series of informative blog posts about the process of building all the components, purchasing the weather balloon, prepping the capsule — even dyeing the parachute a bright orange for better chances of recovery. Check it out, and check back in a few days for more pictures and reports from the stratosphere!
Hey, everybody! This weekend I’ll be a guest at Wizard World Chicago, all four days, from Thursday August 21 through Sunday August 24. Paul and I will be exhibiting in Artist’s Alley at Table C-41.
I’ll have Clockwork Game trade paperbacks, both Vögelein books, and a bunch of clockwork jewelry — probably my very last batch, too, as I’m running out of gears.
My schedule is pretty simple: I’ll be at the table pretty much all day every day, except for a panel that I’ll be moderating on Friday:
Creativity That Lasts
Friday, August 22
I’ll be speaking with Josh Elder, C.S. Marks, and Jack Reher.
This panel is an incredibly fun, off the cuff discussion about creativity within various mediums such as art, writing, music, design, and more. As an artist, writer, actor, musician or creator, there is nothing more challenging than the development of the creative process. Is art birthed from the spontaneous or is it a result of a carefully crafted rhythm and structure? In this panel, esteemed creators will describe how to overcome creative obstacles and share their keys to unleashing creativity.
If you’re in town, stop by and say hello. Hope to see you there!
It took about a week, but I finally got the sites back up and running. Sorry for the outage — I know some of the images are a bit wonky at the moment, and I’m addressing them now. THanks for bearing with me!
Earlier this year, a fan of mine emailed me to ask if she could cosplay Vögelein at an upcoming comic convention. Of course I said yes, and yesterday I received a bunch of pictures from her that absolutely stunned me. Have a look at the amazing work of art Rebekah W. brought to the 2014 Denver Comic Con:
I mean, look at the detail! A friend of mine said, “A lot of love went into that costume,” and it’s really true. She made the wings, the dress, the prosthetic ears, got a (really good-looking) wig, and even built both keys from scratch.
Seriously, look at all the detail she put into the wings. They’re amazing, and must have taken weeks to build.
This one’s my favorite, though. It really looks like she’s flying!
And then some jerks went and put her in a cage. I’m not worried, though. She can totally break out of there.
I’m so impressed at the job that Rebekah did translating my character into real life. This is only the second time anybody’s cosplayed one of my characters (a friend of mine here in Kalamazoo was the first, a few years ago on Halloween) and I’m just so honored by her work. How lucky am I, as an artist? How many people get to create something, release it into the world, and then find out it affected someone so deeply?
One last note: It turns out an old college buddy of mine, who’s well-familiar with my books, was working at the convention and actually glimpsed the elusive Vögelein on the wing — but she was busy checking in artists and couldn’t stop to chase her down, then lost sight of her forever in the crowd. “At first I wasn’t sure what I saw; just that I recognised it,” she said. “Then it hit me after I had time to let it sink in but I hadn’t any proof.” Fitting, wouldn’t you say?
Hooray, hooray! Fire up a new browser window, because Jim Ottaviani and Leland Purvis have a new book out! It’s the story of Alan Turing’s life, and as you may be able to guess from standing next to me for five minutes, I’m kind of nerdy about history, especially the kind of true story that involves a brilliant, driven man who helped break the Nazi code during World War II:
Our world is one of computers and secure communications, and Turing’s work is at the heart of both. He was an eccentric genius, an Olympic-class runner, a witty and clear communicator about complicated ideas, and open and honest to a fault. The secret he kept to safeguard his country could have saved him; the secret he refused to keep to save himself meant his destruction at the hands of that same country.”
At the moment, it’s serializing on Tor.com, and will update daily for its entirety.
What’re you waiting for? Go read!
We had a really nice turnout for the Vault of Midnight event — despite the weather, the Ultalounge was packed! Lots of kind folks braved the cold and rain to see a cast of characters perform several scenes from Pete Sickman-Garner‘s newest book, Hey Mister: Come Hell or Highwater Pants.
My talk was also well-received, despite being a lot less funny, and having 100% less Satan. Regular readers will be pleased to note that I still remain utterly incapable of keeping my eyes open while someone is photographing me.
Best of all, I was greeted by lots of old friends, including Jim Ottaviani, Kat Hagedorn, Dan and Katie Merritt (of both Green Brain Comics and Kids Read Comics fame) Steve Lieber and Sara Ryan! (And some guy with a ponytail and his wife who keep showing up. Love you guys!)
It was a really nice time, and I’m so grateful to the folks at Vault for inviting me to be a part of the festival. Thanks so much for having me!
Sorry for so long an absence — the wrapup from the Kickstarter really took a lot of energy, and I’ve been taking it easy for the last month or so.
This week marks a return — I will be doing an Author Talk this Friday evening from 7pm-9pm at Vault of Midnight in their Ultalounge as part of the Ann Arbor Book Festival‘s 2014 Book Crawl! I’ll be there along with Pete Sickman-Garner, of Top Shelf’s Hey Mister comics. If you’re in the area, come on down! Thanks again to Curtis and Liz and all the Vault crew for having me in. Can’t wait!
Here’s a photo of a test run of the spine lettering, courtesy of Maryvonne:
We’re getting close!
Paul and I were lucky enough to be asked to join the fifth show of comics art to visit Eastern Michigan University, this time called KAPOW! Comics Return to Eastern! Professor Rubenfeld, whom I first had for Art History twenty years ago (cough) is still extending his generosity to us after all this time, and he’s also managed to get art from lots of other talented artists, including David Petersen and Jeff Smith.
The show runs from March 10 through April 16, 2014 in the University Gallery at Eastern Michigan University, located in the EMU Student Center at 900 Oakwood Street, Ypsilanti, MI 48197. You can visit the show Mondays and Thursdays 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m., Tuesdays and Wednesdays 10:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m., and Fridays and Saturdays 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.
It’s also not too late to take in ‘Demented Detroit: Contemporary Cartoons and Comics from the Motor City‘, the show put together by Sean Bieri that’s being hosted at Henry Ford Community College. Its last day is Friday, March 21st, though, so hurry if you want to see lots of art by some great artists!
When I was still in high school, one of the coolest things I could think of to do in Ann Arbor — after going to Dave’s Comics and Dawn Treader — was to hang out in one of the two big art stores, Ulrich’s and Michigan Book and Supply. I’d stay in there for hours, picking out Prismacolors and wishing for fancy sketchbooks. I never left without a copy of The Metro Times, the free weekly newspaper that introduced me to alternative radio, Matt Groening (before The Simpsons, that’s how old I am, guys), and best of all, Lynda Barry. So you can only imagine how excited I was when I got a call from one of the editors at The Metro Times asking me to contribute a comic for an upcoming issue. It arrived this Wednesday, and I’m still on cloud nine about it. Big thanks to Walter J. Sports and Runway Photography, Colin Johnson and DB Family Photography & DJ who all generously allowed me to use their photos for reference for the comic, and to all the skaters who volunteered their words and likenesses!
One of my kind Kickstarter supporters just emailed me to let me know that he sent word about Clockwork Game to an editor at Bleeding Cool, who liked the book enough to add it to her weekly roundup of new Comixology Submit reviews! Thanks so much, Nicholas! I am very lucky to have such generous readers like you, who are willing to give me such great word-of-mouth recommendations. I literally couldn’t do it without you!
Additionally, Clockwork Game is now available on Comixology, and I hope to have the Vögelein books up there soon, as well.
Clockwork Game is now available on Amazon, Powell’s, Barnes and Noble, and Chapters/Indigo — and is also on GoodReads! If you liked the book and would be willing to do so, a review at any of these sites would be an enormous signal boost for the book. Thanks go out to Kickstarter backer — and fellow EMU alumni Stewart Tame for my very first review!
Brigid Alverson, writing for School Library Journal, was also kind enough to give Clockwork Game a nod in her recent article on new teen-friendly graphic novels for Spring 2014. Thanks, Brigid!
It’s also coming up on the last chance for comics stores to order Clockwork Game in the February 2014 PREVIEWS catalog from Diamond Comic Distributors! If you know any independent-creator-friendly comics stores that you think might be interested in stocking the book, please let them know about it in the next week or so. It’s Diamond Order # STK635961, and is on page 334, right between Fantagraphics and First Second in the green Comics and Graphic Novels section. I’m really grateful to all the folks who’ve already emailed me to let me know you’ve already helped spread the word. Thanks, you guys! You all know who you are, and you’re awesome.
I’m super excited to announce that I’ve been invited to be a guest at this year’s Wizard World Chicago (aka Chicago Comic-con)! The show will be held from August 21-24 at the Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont, IL, just north of the city. This is the first time I’ve ever been granted this honor at a comic convention, so I’m really feeling blessed right now. Hope to see some of you there!
Hey you guys, want to see how the Clockwork Game Deluxe Hardcovers are going to be made? Check out this tour of Bessenberg Bindery that I posted as an update on my Kickstarter! Jon Buller was gracious enough to let me completely geek out all over his workshop and take a ton of pictures. I have always been fascinated by seeing how things are made, so this was a real treat, and I’m excited to share it with you.
I’m excited to report that Clockwork Game is appearing in the February 2014 PREVIEWS catalog from Diamond Comic Distributors. It’s on Page 334, right between Fantagraphics and First Second in the green Comics and Graphic Novels section.
If you shop regularly at your local comics store, I would be so grateful if you’d let them know — word of mouth is what always drives my sales. I’ve sent copies to the stores who’ve supported me throughout the years, but it makes a huge difference whenever someone introduces my work to a new store. Thanks in advance!
While I was signing books at Green Brain Comics, a reporter from a local newspaper stopped by and did this nice interview with me, complete with video. Thanks, Dave!
Man, there’s so much great stuff going on with Clockwork Game right now that I’m having trouble deciding what parts to talk about first.
So let’s start with the time-sensitive information: Unless the weather suddenly rises up and makes the roads impassible (again) I’ll be making two appearances in the Metro Detroit area this Saturday, January 18th!
The first will be at Green Brain Comics from 11am-3pm. Dan and Katie Merritt will be hosting me while I sign books and talk comics — there’s even a Facebook page for the event if you’d like to let us know if you can make it. We’d love to see you there!
After I’m done at Green Brain, I’ll be swinging by Legendary ConFusion where I’ll spend the evening hanging out in the lobby and hopefully running into lots of old friends. I won’t be on any panels, but I will be around. Drop me a line if you’re going to be there and would like to hang out!
One of the nicest things about wrapping up an enormous, time-consuming project like Clockwork Game is finally having the time to visit with folks again, instead of being stuck in front of the grindstone for months on end. I’ve got the box of Kickstarter rewards packed up and ready to deliver to my generous Metro Detroit Area backers, and I look forward to seeing you all again and getting the chance to catch up. Yay!
Missed the Kickstarter and want a download of Clockwork Game before the physical version hits stores? Good news – it’s now available as a PDF at the Fiery Studios Scribd Store! It’s high-quality at 200dpi, and costs $12.95, which is $7 less than a print copy will be. Enjoy!
Sorry for the long delay between updates, but I’ve got great news! I’m pleased to announce that the Kickstarter PDFs are ready, and best of all, they’re done ahead of schedule! If you’re a backer at a level of $10 or higher, check your inbox and get ready to download your copy.
In other news, all the proofs are approved and the book is headed for press. I should have the copies in hand within the next two weeks or so. This part of the process always makes me super nervous.
I’ve sent out the surveys, and while I’m waiting for the books to be printed, I’ll be doing things like signing the Vögelein books in the FIERY STUDIOS LIBRARY backer levels, filling out customs forms, and chewing my nails down to the quick.
Till then, I wish you all the happiest of holidays, and send hopes for lots of tranquil time with your loved ones.
Not a lot to report yet on the Clockwork Game Kickstarter progress — not enough to merit a proper Kickstarter Update anyway — I’m mostly getting all my ducks in a row so that when the books arrive I can get them to the post office with as little trouble as possible.
So far, I’ve:
- Sent files to the printer (YAY!)
- Ordered 300 cardboard mailers and stuck return labels on them
- Slotted over 200 acid-free boards into their bags
- Started drawing the pencil sketches in the Vögelein hardcovers
- Matched all the original art with its prospective owners, bagged and boarded and labeled
So if you’re a backer, definitely know that the wheels are turning. I should have a more formal update for you soon!