Quotes of the Week

Strangely, Watchmen is the book that taught me as a teenager not to get wrapped up in the success or failure of someone else’s work. By far the most of any work in any form I’ve ever recommended to other people, Watchmen is the book that’s come back to me with a “this was really, really stupid” or some curse-filled approximation thereof. As a 17-year-old with insecurities big enough to keep at least two local psychologists in steak and sports cars, this reaction initially took me back. However, I was also smart enough to know Watchmen had value according to how I decided things had value, and it only took a few seconds to realize that whether or not someone else appreciated something I did wasn’t a vote on its overall worth, let alone mine.

Tom Spurgeon, saying the wisest thing I read all week.

I’m delighted Kate Winslet finally got a Best Actress Oscar, because she deserves it for being so good for so long but also because now that means, pace Halle Berry and Charlize Theron, that she will now immediately make a God-awful action film in which she wears very tight black latex, and I’m all for that.

John Scalzi, being both wise and funny.

O person like me,
phoneless in your distant café,
I wish we could meet to discuss this,
and perhaps you would help me
murder this woman on her cell phone,

George Bilgere, in his poem “Bridal Shower,” which I really shouldn’t quote in full, but you really, really should go read. It’s short and awesome (even if you don’t like poetry).

..I was under the impression that Warner and DC sat down recently to have a big brainstorming session about how to make a decent DC movie universe, or a least a coherent motion picture release plan, given Marvel’s recent box office badassery. If doing Suicide Squad was the end result of that meeting — if they believe they should be making a Suicide Squad movie before a Wonder Woman movie — then it is frankly amazing these people can put on their pants in the morning without accidentally strangling themselves.

Topless Robot, on the news that Warner Bros. is planning a Suicide Squad movie.

Buck Rogers in the 20th and 21st Centuries

Buck Rogers: 1933

From a Kelloggs cereal giveaway (via Golden Age Comic Book Stories).

Buck Rogers: 2009

From the upcoming comic book from Dynamite. Newsarama has an interview with Dynamite’s President Nick Barrucci and writer Scott Beatty about their plans for the series. Nothing too shocking in the interview. Mostly just that they’re going to update the character while “sticking close to his iconic roots.” I don’t know that much about Buck (except for what I learned from Gil Gerard), so as long as it’s all fun and jet-packy it’ll be cool with me.

Fixing Aquaman (and other ocean treats)

Bad day to be a pirate.

I don’t know who it’s by, but I found it at Never Sea Land.

Pirate Queen

By Oliver Vatine. Sent to me by Jess.

Your 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea Pic of the Week

By Alphonse de Neuville.


CBR’s got some information about Jim Su’s undersea adventure comic Crozonia. Based on the preview pages I don’t have incredibly high expectations for this, but it could be fun. I like the character and ship designs.


From DC Direct.

Fixing Aquaman I: Atlantean Elf

Caleb Mozzocco explains why it is James Kochalka’s responsibility as a father to write and draw an Aquaman comic for DC. I concur. That would be one way to make Aquaman cool again. At least for as long as Kochalka was working on the character.

Fixing Aquaman II: Aqualad Mans Up

Ben Morse argues that letting Tempest (formerly Aqualad) inherit the Mantle of the Aqua could do the trick. But he doesn’t even really convince himself. (Thanks to Kevin for that link.)

Fixing Aquaman III: Batman: The Brave and the Bold

Aquaman’s personality in the DCU may be too established for this to work there, but Batman: The Brave and the Bold has certainly figured out how to make him cool again, proving that it’s at least possible.

The bragging, swaggering Aquaman of the BBnB universe is so much fun. He’s even winning over die-hard fans of the old DCU version like Rob at the Aquaman Shrine who initially tries to reconcile the two versions before admitting he may be reaching and declares, “All I know is, as this devout Aquaman fan watches this version of the character, it makes me smile.” Me too, Rob. Absolutely me too.

The real proof that he’s fixed though is when Topless Robot calls him a “fucking badass.” High praise indeed.

Hope you’re taking notes, DCU.

Writing is Hard: Writing for the Fans

Writing for the fans is a subject I keep coming back to. I don’t know why exactly. It’s not like marketing where I need to keep repeating certain things until I learn them. I know exactly how I feel about this one and don’t need to be reminded of it.

And it’s not like I have a ton of fans griping about my pitifully sporadic output, so this isn’t something I feel personally. I guess it’s more of a pet topic, spawned by my irritation at fan entitlement in general as expressed across the Internet.

Anyway, two recent posts by different people illustrate pretty clearly the balance needed in thinking about this topic.

Science fiction author John Scalzi writes about pissy fans and sums up my usual take on the matter by saying:

Some fans do have a tendency to forget that the creative folks they love are not simply black boxes, who produce desired product at regular intervals. They’re actually real people who do other things than just what the fans want them to do, because humans from time to time want to do the things they want to do, not the things other people want them to do. Yes, some fans don’t like that, but you know what, screw the type of fan who thinks a writer (or musician, or actor, or whatever) exists only to provide them with the entertainment of their choosing.

He follow up that post with another one on Ten Things to Remember About Authors. Both are worth reading, especially if you tend to feel entitled about your entertainment, but even if you aren’t it’s affirming to hear someone else say what needs saying.

On the other hand…

Jessica at the BookEnds Literary Agency reminds new writers that you can’t completely ignore fan expectations when writing.

The difficulty you all face when getting published is living up to the expectations of your readers. There is no publicity as good as the publicity you get when you write a great book, and then your next book is even better. Let’s face it, we’re all fickle readers. We have limited incomes and when an author disappoints it’s often difficult to get us to spend our money on the next book.

… Writing suspense? Your readers are going to expect the same level, if not a higher level, of suspense with your next book. What about fantasy? Your world building needs to be just as strong in your second book as it is in your first. The minute you become a published author you are writing for a lot more than yourself. You’re writing for your agent, your editor and, most important, your audience. Does that mean you need to write the books they think you should write? Not at all, but you do need to come as close as possible to matching the expectations you’ve now set for them.

I don’t think that either of these posts contradicts the other (especially not when Jessica adds those last two sentences to hers). They’re not opposite viewpoints; they’re complementary.

Writing is Hard: Comics Marketing

I know. Another marketing post. But I’m going to keep linking to this stuff until I learn it.

Over at Robot 6 (yay!), Ken (Superhuman Resources) Marcus has a lot to say about marketing your independent comic. All of it useful. All of it funny. The funny makes even the advice I’ve heard before worth reading again. Like, “You’re getting great press when your comic comes out. AKA, you’re ‘effed.”

But there’s also a lot that I’ve never considered. Things like:

Get new faces into their stores.
Press releases are a waste of time.
Banners don’t work. I recommend them highly.

I’d say it’s well worth reading, but really, it’s well worth memorizing.