There’s an outstanding profile of my neighbor and friend Rob Chamberlin in this month’s Encore magazine. His life is exactly as magical as they describe it, and every meal or conversation I have with him and his wife Suzanne is remarkable. Rob’s a heck of a guy, and one of the things I admire most about him is that he leaves his life open for miracles and mysteries, and they find him with unerring timing. Check out the article here.
So hey, I know I spend an awful lot of time on this blog talking up all the awesome stuff Paul gets up to, but he’s a pretty legitimately amazing guy who’s always pushing his design abilities and making incredible art. I’m not just saying that because I’m married to him — that’s empirical data, and you can test that stuff in a lab.
He just did an installation for 826 Michigan, and I did a writeup with all sorts of photos and stuff over at the Fiery Studios blog, so you should go check it out.
I’m very sorry to report that I won’t have a table at SPX this year, after all. For more details, please check my post on the Fiery Studios site.
Miss Isabel, with her favorite thing in all the world: a tennis ball. Exercising her is a breeze because she’ll chase it literally as many times as you throw it, forever. She has such strong jaws that she’s already chewed clean through a few of them, even the extra-strong ones they sell at the pet store. I went ahead and ordered a mess of used tennis balls off of eBay — even with shipping, they’re still way cheaper than most other dog toys, and then we don’t have to feel bad when she destroys them.
She’s doing very well, and has come out of her shell in the most amazing ways. For such an old dog, she’s taken to clicker training like a champ, and has learned several basic commands, though we’re mostly working on simple things that will make further training easier, like making eye contact when we call her name. Once she has those down we can move on to more fun stuff — like teaching her to run beside me when I roller skate. Yay, dogs.
So here’s something cool: Paul and I each have a small contribution in a new comics how-to book by our friends, Adam Withers and Comfort Love. Check out the full details at the Fiery Studios blog.
… Two weeks late, but still. I didn’t realize it only happened on February 1st! I’ll be more punctual next time around. Click each image to embiggen.
Miss Carla’s gone and made herself a whole new website, to go with her Patreon. Go check it out, and if you’re so inclined, throw her some support so that she can concentrate more on making her amazing comics.
Last night I drove out to Ann Arbor to pick up the test run of the Old Ghosts print-on-demand edition. I was very pleased with the results (full report on the Fiery Studios site), and celebrated by going out for one of my favorite foods in the world, tonkotsu ramen. Jim Ottaviani and Kat Hagedorn were polite enough to indulge me in my noodle cravings.
To commemorate her retirement from the Gotham All-Stars, here’s a picture of Suzy Hotrod, courtesy of this amazing photo by the equally-amazing Joe Mac.
Have some Kamala Khan and Lockjaw to start your year off right. Gotta say, G. Willow Wilson has totally turned me around on Lockjaw. Always thought he was too dorky.
Good news: Paul’s newest book, a graphic novella, has just been accepted by Comixology, and you can now buy it digitally as a Guided View PDF! Here are the details:
“In 90 minutes, everything can change…”
It’s live and digital and ready to purchase! My latest graphic novella MIXTAPE: 1984 is NOW available to download via Comixology for your phone, tablet or laptop.
This is my first 100% digital release, and I’m excited to see how far it will go! If you have friends who love comics, 80’s music, awkward stories about first love or any combination therein, please share this as far and wide as you can. Your support and help with boosting my signal is appreciated, please and thank you!
We do have a few physical copies here at the house, so if you’d like one, please be sure to drop us a line and we’ll make sure one gets into your hands.
Congratulations, Paul! There’s no better feeling for a comics creator than to release a new book. Hooray!
It’s not about Darren Wilson, though I have a hard time believing that a six-foot-three, 210-pound cop could be tossed around like a “five year old holding on to Hulk Hogan.” I have a harder time believing his story that he “felt that another of those punches in my face could knock me out or worse … the third one could be fatal if he hit me right…” after seeing his photos after the incident.
It’s not about the destruction of property, though in the days leading up to the riot, Michael Brown Sr. called for peace despite his loss, community activists attempted to work with local officials to defuse the situation, peacekeepers embedded themselves in the crowd, and afterwards local volunteers aided in cleanup.
It’s about how treating young men and women of color with suspicion as tiny children affects them permanently throughout their lives. It’s about the fact that our society sees Black men as so inherently dangerous that a twelve-year-old boy can be shot for having a bb gun while a White man can walk around openly displaying a semiautomatic weapon, argue with and insult the cops, and not even be charged with a misdemeanor. How Black mothers must prepare their sons for the way they will be viewed by the police:
“I knew you were home,” he said to his mom when he finally made it home after being frisked. “I knew I was about to get stopped, and I thought about running home to you.”
His mother froze.
“I forgot to tell him,” she said. “I forgot to tell him: Don’t run. Don’t run or they’ll shoot you.”
Her 12-year-old cried when he told her what had happened and asked if he was stopped because he was black.
“Probably, yeah,” she said.
“I just want to know, how long will this last?” he asked her.
That’s when she started to cry.
“For the rest of your life,” she said.
It’s not one man’s action, one man’s death. It’s about four hundred years of accumulated mistreatment, anger, ignorance, and willingness to sacrifice our neighbors’ rights in favor of maintaining our own comforts. About how people react when stripped of their futures by prejudice, their sons and daughters shot down, reaction disproportionate to their actions, without recourse. How it happens with such regularity. About how so many of us do not have the luxury of feeling uncomfortable, and then moving on:
12 things White people can do now because of Ferguson
Ten Things White People Can Do About Ferguson Besides Tweet
After three months of looking — the Gilberts found the stratoballoon! Or rather, a local farmer did, when he saw the orange parachute start to get sucked into his combine. Thank goodness he was able to stop the machinery before the capsule got mangled too badly. Check out the report:
The Gilberts also got featured in this great news story on our local CBS affiliate. But my favorite part is, as I expected, all the beautiful, beautiful data. Mark’s written some in-depth posts outlining all the different metrics they were able to track, and plotting them in fascinating ways. He’s put together 2-d graphs of the flight data, mapped its GPS data on Google Earth, and then gives a writeup on how he got all the data into and out of the SD card that did all the logging. So cool!
Congrats, Gilberts, on a successful end to an incredible, two-year journey! I’m glad to have been a small part of it.
Over on the Fiery Studios blog, I’ve added my SPX Con Report. This is also probably a good time to mention that I’ve updated the layout of the Fiery Studios site The Fiery Studios Store now has a proper shopping cart, and you can download PDFs of all three books for less than on other sites.
You may have noticed that the JanerBlog also got a facelift recently, and now both it and the Fiery Studios site are properly responsive, meaning that you can read them easily on your phone or tablet. The Vögelein and Clockwork Game sites should also follow soon.
Go have a look!
I’ll be leaving tomorrow for The Small Press Expo, my favorite show of all time. This is my first SPX since 2009, and I’m really excited to see everyone again, show off my new book — and of course, enjoy the chocolate fountain. Is there still a chocolate fountain? I hope so.
This marks SPX #6 for me, and I have such great memories of all the previous years — it’s where I met some of my best friends in the field, and every year I meet new, inspiring artists I’ve never heard of.
If you’re anywhere near Washington DC this weekend, come say hello!
Sorry for the repeat info, but I just had to show off this great banner that Paul made for me. We leave for Wizard World Chicago this morning, and we’ll be there all four days, in Artist’s Alley at Table C-41. Hope to see you there!
Here’s Mark’s initial report on the Stratoballoon launch:
The launch of the balloon went off as well as can be expected. The deployment steps I was most worried about – filling and securing the balloon, and stringing all of the components together – went just fine.
The liftoff similarly went very well. We released the components one at a time to prevent any sudden jerks on the line, and then had a countdown when it came to the capsule itself. The girls jointly released that piece. We had very little wind, and a bright, clear sky when we released, so we were able to watch it ascend until it was just a pin-prick – about 2000 feet. We even had a small audience to watch it go up!
Read the rest here — and stay tuned for the thrilling conclusion when I’m back from Wizard World!
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!