Adios, 2010

I’ve neglected this blog.  There are a lot of reasons, and they’re the same reasons I didn’t accomplish many of my goals over the past year.  It really only comes down to one thing.  Excuses.  I don’t want them anymore.

I have two goals for the next year.  1) Eliminate excuses and 2) Do the things I’ve never done.

The first part is hard, the latter is easy.  There’s so much I haven’t done, and I’m just talking professionally.  Finish* a screenplay.  Write a novel. Write a TV pilot. None of these require anything but time, effort and solid ideas.  I don’t have to rely on artists or publishers or anyone else to get them done.  So a year from now, when the curtain closes on 2011, I hope to look back and put a check next to each of these items on the to-do list.  Otherwise I’ll know that “Eliminate excuses” didn’t stick, and for that I will also only have one person to blame.  Me.

***

Looking back on 2010, personally it was a great year.  I’ve been surrounded by amazing friends (even though my best friend in LA and a newer buddy both left town, jerks), spent a little time with family, and of course I have this ridiculously amazing girlfriend who doesn’t get nearly enough credit for keeping me sane and motivated.  Professionally, it was a bit of a mess.

I’m about two weeks shy of two years in the freelance trenches.  It’s been harder than I ever imagined, but not quite as satisfying as I once believed it would be.  I’ve been all over the map in terms of what I wanted creatively, and what I needed financially.  It’s made it abundantly clear to me what I want to do moving forward.  I’ve spent so much time chasing paying work that I haven’t taken the time to really develop and get my own ideas out there.  Part of (semi-)resolution #2 above is about getting my ideas out there, but I’d also like to do that in the comic space.

I’ve just recently begun working with a talented new artist – I’m nowhere close to announcing or marketing this one yet – on a project unlike anything I’ve ever done, and that’s the first step in the right direction for comics.  I’m also hoping to begin developing original IP with one of the best, most versatile and most underrated artists in comics in the next few months as well.  There’s always the hope that Bernard Chang and I will finally jam on something as well, but I’m getting ahead of myself.

One of my biggest frustrations with comics over the past two years has been distancing the guy who worked for a publisher and ran an editorial department Me from writer Me.  I see publishers dropping the ball in terms of behind-the-scenes stuff and marketing.  I see editors making everyone’s life tougher because certain little, basic things weren’t done earlier.  This is an industry-wide problem, but having been in that position during my tenure at Top Cow I know how easy some of these things are to avoid, but as an industry there are systemic problems.

One of my greatest hopes is to find an editor who is on my wavelength – someone I’m completely sympatico with – to really support my ideas and make the whole working relationship smoother.  That’s not a knock on any of the editors and creators I’ve worked with thus far in my career, but I’m always striving for better in myself and others. I’d like a working relationship with an editor that feels more organic and free-flowing, the way my relationship with Bryan Hill is.  We connect, plain and simple, and there’s always another layer (or twelve) to make sure I’m speaking the same language with some of the people I work with on WFH projects.

All frustrations aside, I’m very happy with the actual writing work that came out in 2010. The Darkness: Shadows and Flame, Broken Trinity: Pandora’s Box (#1-4), Abattoir (#1-2) and 7 Days From Hell.  On these books I got to work with Jorge Lucas, Felix Serrano, Bryan Edward Hill, Alessandro Vitti, Facundo Percio, Sunny Gho, Tommy Lee Edwards, Bing Cansino, Phil Noto, Brian Stelfreeze, Darren Lynn Bousman and, of course, the one and only Troy Peteri (as well as a few others I’m forgetting).  I couldn’t be more grateful for all of my collaborators and the work they’ve done to make me look like I have some idea of what I’m doing.  This includes the editors, designers and marketing folk on these projects as well.  If they don’t do their thing, nothing goes to press and no one hears about it.  The unsung heroes (Phil Smith being a prime example) are heroes to everyone inside a project, every time.

I’m especially grateful to Top Cow (Filip Sablik, Phil Smith and Matt Hawkins in particular) for taking a chance on 7 Days From Hell and for the readers and critics who really responded to what we did on the book.  Bryan and I were talking about it earlier today, from his initial thoughts getting down on paper to how the book was received, it really did what we hoped it would and people understood it the way we wanted.  Well, technically we designed it to win Pilot Season, but 39 Minutes managed to swing the voters in their favor (hats off to Bill Harms, Jerry Lando, Jay Leisten and Brian Buccellato).  The support we received – solicited and spontaneous – really meant a lot to me.  Having friends who don’t read comics tell you they dug something, or having your contemporaries in the industry give you an earnest pat on the back… it really helps make all the hours alone at the computer a bit more palatable.

This was supposed to be a short post, but not writing for a couple months makes it tougher to be concise.  2011 is going to be a much different year for me.  I’m weighing a number of options in terms of my immediate future, and I might be doing some very different, unexpected things both in terms of my writing and other ventures.  No news yet, but I have many fingers and toes crossed.

Thank you to everyone that’s been a part of a very good year, and I wish you and yours all the best in 2011 and beyond.  I’m gonna kill it next year.  I hope you do the same.

 

*The idea for LYP was hatched as I got ready to go out on NYE two years ago , and I haven’t touched it since July 2009.  And no, it won’t be the first screenplay I finish in 2011…

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