Friday, April 30, 2010

Issue #1 is out, apparently

Congratulations to Heather White and all you other fabulous Fraggle Rock creators.

I haven't seen it yet myself, but a friend has assured me that it's available and he has a copy. Plus the editor, Tim Beedle, emailed me last night to say that it's been getting good reviews. Hey, hey! Maybe that means people will pick up a copy of issue two! And three. (I'll have stories in both.)

Looks like I'm headed to my local comic book store to make some tax deductible purchases.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Lost - Season 5

I'm finally watching the finale for Season 5 of Lost. And, while I've enjoyed watching it to keep me distracted while on my exercise bike, I can't help but find the plot a little muddy. It feels a lot like reading a Dickens novel, where he goes off at length on different tangents that end up going nowhere. Characters are established and then disappear without explanation.

If you want to really love Dickens, read The Real David Copperfield by Robert Graves (and Charles Dickens, naturally). Graves takes out all the "mistakes" and pandering to the gentle reader and gives you the book Dickens probably would have written if he wasn't creating episodes for a magazine and paid by the word.

Can someone please do that for Lost?

BTW, check out the hair on Mr. Dickens himself. He was quite the sass, apparently.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Smithsonian Magazine

Frances Benjamin Johnston self portrait

I have become fascinated with the Smithsonian Magazine Website. All sorts of gee whiz articles from history. Good topics of conversation for when you're caught out with nothing to say. Great for distracting people from talking about stuff you don't want to talk about. Plus, it's history. History!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Fraggle favorites as a personality test

Marianne or Ginger used to be a question that showed what kind of woman a guy preferred, the sweet country girl or the Hollywood starlette. (Okay, they were both hot, so it wasn't that big of a test.)

Or, who is your favorite superhero? Back when I was dating, I found that I tended to date men who favored Daredevil. (Not sure how that reflects on me.)

At WonderCon, I got to hear a lot about which Fraggle characters were people's favorites. A large percentage of women said Red. A large percentage of burly men said the Doozers. Other guys favored Boober. One woman said Cotterpin Doozer because she always felt she was exactly like Cotterpin.

But, much to my surprise, no one mentioned the Vasco da Gama of Fraggles, Uncle Traveling Matt. Confusing, to say the least.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Heather White Interview!

Heather White, the writer of the lead story for Fraggle Rock issue #1 and the grower of some really gorgeous hair, has generously agreed to answer a few questions.

Here you go:

AA - How did you get involved with working on Fraggle Rock?

I worked with Joe LeFavi over at Henson a while back, and he knew I was a HUGE Fraggle fan, so when this project came up he was kind enough to ask if I had any ideas for short Fraggle tales. I sent him far too many ideas, and it all blew up from there! At the time, I thought there was no chance I would even get a backup story in, so all of this has been a lovely surprise!

AA - How did you get started as a writer?

I started off as a writer at the US Senate, where I wrote speeches, press releases and made up quotes ("quote producer") for lots of senators, who shall remain nameless. It was the weirdest job ever. At the time, I was about 19 or 20 and still in college. It still boggles the mind to think that some of the nation's most important political people were using words written by a young, blond chick with absolutely no political aspirations.

(AA - Wow!)

AA - Of America's famous alcoholic writers, who is your favorite and why, if limited to Fitzgerald, Hemingway, Steinbeck, Twain, or Faulkner?

Well, Hemingway, of course! If you are going for classic alcoholics, he's the tops. In my mind, his body of work (written while smashed) is of the highest quality when compared to other alcoholic writers. Comparatively speaking. Was Twain really an alcoholic? I didn't know that. I knew he had a thing for his pipe...

AA - What book are you currently reading?

I wish I was reading a book right now! I can't really remember the last book I read for pleasure. (Though, I think it was The Body Artist by Don DeLillo). It seems like a common writer's dilemna, you don't have any time to read. Most writers I know are big audiobook fans. I'm fighting the urge to do become one myself, but at least then I could be current on books, and feel like all the time I spend in the car isn't a waste.

(AA - Yes, I admit, I'm addicted to audio books.)

AA - What comic are you currently reading?

I am, actually, rereading the SCOTT PILGRIM series in anticipation of the movie. It is one of my favorite graphic novel series ever, and the thought of seeing it on the screen, being directed by Edgar Wright, is almost too much for my geeky self to bare.

AA - When you were eight years old, who was your favorite author and why?

Oh goodness, when I was eight... I was reading a lot of Sweet Valley Twins, Francine Pascal stuff. That was right before I fell madly in love with the Star Wars: Young Jedi Knights series by Kevin J. Anderson. I really liked anything that transported me to a life that I would have loved to live - In Sweet Valley, the girls were beautiful and popular (which I was not) and in Star Wars, the main characters were in a school for Jedi! AND they were the offspring of Leia and Han Solo. You can't really get more enviable than that.

(AA - Thank you, Heather!)

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Pig in Boots!

My lovely friend, Buckshot, just sent this to me and I can hardly contain myself. Look How Cute! I'm afraid I don't know where she got it, so I can't credit anyone properly, but all I have to say is, "Genius!"

Really, I'm tired of dogs. Too trendy. Cats have been weird around me lately and I'm not sure why. (Seriously, the last cat I spent any time with kept trying to French me.) But, a pig in boots is just the thing to steal my heart.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Be afraid!

Fraggle Rock Gobo Costume Adult Standard

Be VERY afraid!

Okay, my friend Drew just sent me this and it's a little freaky.

A few of the things that disturb me about this costume:

1) It costs $90.99

2) The guys wearing the costume was probably thrilled to get the modeling gig.

3) There is enough demand that these things have been manufactured.

4) Look at it! I mean, if it doesn't freak you out slightly then... I'm not even sure.

(p.s. - Check out Drew's site. He just landed himself a sweet, steam punk book contract. I've read a chunk of it and it's going to be pretty damn good.)

Friday, April 9, 2010

Hatchet - Gary Paulsen

If you're in the mood for a good wilderness survival story, then pick up a copy of Hatchet by Gary Paulsen. It was a Newbery Honor winner and 1987 and well deserved. There's no farfling around. Paulsen grabs you immediately in the first chapter, checks you for survival skills and then takes you on an intense adventure. Suddenly, you find yourself flung out the other side of the book and you wonder what happened.

I get annoyed with a lot of books that pad out word count with non-relevant descriptions. For example:

Tanya cut the sandwich in half. "Where did they find the body?" she asked, handing one half to Ashley and then licking her fingers.

"In the dumpster by the school," Ashley replied, taking a large bite of the hamburger, a little ketchup getting caught at the corner of her mouth.

"Talk about taking out the trash," Tanya said, slowly chewing a bite of her burger, contemplatively. She took a sip of her ice tea and then took another bite.

This is paraphrasing a scene I read a few months ago and all I could think of was, "Stop it! I don't want to hear a bite by bite description of your boring lunch! Get to the damn point!"

Paulsen wastes none of your time with that kind of nonsense. There are descriptions, but they are relevant descriptions that build the scene. In my opinion, it makes the book a lot more suspenseful. Yes, it also makes the book shorter, but you don't get bogged down by filler.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

John Hancock


Things for me to think about post WonderCon:

I had severely underestimated the drawing power of the free Fraggle Rock mini-poster and was completely caught off-guard. The other creators all seemed to have these marvellous signatures that appeared very artistically on the page while mine was just all lumps and bumps. It never occurred to me to pretty-up my John Hancock, but now I feel like I have to give it some thought.

Also, what to include with my signature? Again, never thought about it. Jake Forbes was a genius with his signing, including personalized, Fraggle-focused quotes for each attendee. I tried to think of something during the show, but my brain refused to co-operate. I think I did much better on the second day when I was prepared for the onslaught.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Joanna Estep Interview

Joanna Estep, the artist for both the Fraggle Rock stories I wrote, has kindly agreed to do an interview for my blog. Not only is she a talented artist, but she's also pretty darn funny.

Here you go:

Quick Facts - BIO:

Joanna Estep is an award-winning comic artist, writer, blogger, and accomplished whateverist. She’s currently best known as the co-creator and artist of the Tokyopop series Roadsong. Her other achievements include short comics under publishers such as Image Comics, ComicMix, and Tor, and her textbook Timing: Expressions of Time in Sequential Art and Design, which received the Charles Logan Smith award for excellence in design. In addition to her work in comics, Joanna is also a co-founder of Milktooth Press, which specializes in the creation of unique art calendars. Presently, she lives way out in the wilds of Ohio, where she likely spends too much time working on her bug collection, and not enough time working on her comics.

1) How did you get involved with Fraggle Rock?

It's a pretty humdrum story. Archaia editor Tim Beedle and I have been friends since I was drawing Roadsong for Tokyopop, and have been waiting for a chance to work together. He contacted me about drawing Fraggle Rock and it sounded like fun, so I hopped on board.

2) Who is your favorite Fraggle and why?

Self-servingly, I think my favorite is Red Fraggle, because her poofy hair is so much fun to draw.

3) Have you done any other Franchise work?

Not really. Wait no, I take it back. I've illustrated a few stories for various established universes/storylines, such as Zacherley's Midnite Terrors and Munden's Bar, but for the most part I've worked worked on a lot of original projects. However, it's cool to work on something like Fraggle Rock, because my non-comics-saavy parents finally recognize the franchise I'm working on, and I think they're thrilled to have bragging rights.

4) How did you get started as an illustrator?

I started drawing. That is sounds like an obvious answer, but it's true. I've been compelled to draw all my life, and I think that getting into illustration has been in keeping with the natural progression of things. When I was in high-school I took my portfolio with me to a lot of comic conventions an asked for critiques from the pros. Eventually I got noticed, and started getting work.

5) What original projects are you working on right now?

Too many! I've got several scripts/pitches/stories that are floating around on my hard drive, waiting for a home. Most recently I completed a self-penned short story called "Ghost Medicine" which takes place in the jungle.

6) Who is your favorite Renaissance artist if limited to Leonardo, Michelangelo, Donatello, or Raphael. Does your favorite Ninja Turtle correspond to that artist?

Not at all! I really admire Leonardo DaVinci's work, but I hate Turtle Leonardo. It was Donatello I liked best amongst the turtles. He was my turtle-crush. I always go for the smart ones.

7) Whose career do you wish you could steal?

I'd gladly steal the career of anyone who has no trouble finding work! That's the tough thing about freelancing... I'm always on the hunt for my next paycheck. I daydream about the day where work regularly finds me. Other than that, I daydream of being cool like Wendy Pini sometimes... and I think I'd also happily to steal Becky Cloonan's career. She's so fabulous and so talented and so fast! I'd love to get the kind of jobs she gets, and I'd love for my art to look that hot.

8) What animal do people tell you that you most resemble?

I'd like to think that I most resemble a human. I hope other people think so too.

(AA - Okay, that cracked me up. But also, good point.)

9) When you were little, what was your favorite thing to draw? Do you still enjoy drawing it now?

When I was little, I was thoroughly obsessed with dinosaurs and I drew them all the time. Alongside that was my "ducks" phase, where I constantly drew the disney ducks, like Donald, Daisy, Uncle Scrooge, etc. However, once I'd properly learned to draw people, I didn't really go back to drawing ducks or dinosaurs unless it was really necessary. My tastes change a lot. Nowadays, when I have free time I like to make Star Trek fan art.

10) Do you ever write your own stories or do you prefer to illustrate other people's work?

I do enjoy writing/drawing my own stories, and most recently I published a story called "Happy Birthday Michael Mitchell" with HBMM was later made into a short film by talented student director Kristine Jadyk, and I got to travel to The Factory (a film school) as a guest speaker and help with the shooting. It's been a great experience from start to finish, and I hope to find time to write/draw a lot more of my own stories. I'm a fan of short stories, and hope to be able to compile an anthology of my work someday.

11) Is there anything else you would like to promote, pitch or mention?

I think I've said it all! Thanks!

For more cool Joanna info, check out these links:



PS. if you wanted to add a link to where you can read Happy Birthday Michael Mitchell online, here it is:

(AA- Thank you Joanna!)

Saturday, April 3, 2010

WonderCon 2010

WonderCon  2010: April 2-4 at the Moscone Center South in San Francisco, CA

I may be a bit of a goof, but I had not realized how excited WonderCon attendees would be about the free Fraggle Rock mini-poster available at the show. It was non-stop poster signing action for the 1 1/2 (stretching into two) hours we Fraggle creators were assigned at the Archaia booth.

Friday, I signed with Heather White (issue 1 lead story - fancy!) and Jake T. Forbes (Boober story that is actually a song - pretty darn cool.) And an illustrator/writer named Jeff Stokely who was at the other end of the table so I didn't get to talk to him very much. I'm afraid I don't know anything about to which stories he contributed. Sorry Jeff!

Saturday, Heather and Jeff again, and also Leigh Dragoon (issue 2 lead story - S'nice!)

Our intrepid editor, Tim Beedle, was there for both signings.

Turns out that the lead stories for the first 3 issues, which will eventually be compiled into one graphic novel, are all written by women. Hey, hey!

We even got to sign the pink shirt sleeve of an adorable little girl who was getting autographs from female creators. Fun!

I have to confess, I am a bit overwhelmed with the drawing power of Henson. Impressive.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Different Tastes! - Joanna Estep

Here's a preview of the first page of my Traveling Matt story, Different Tastes! Joanna Estep is the artist and I think she did an amazing job. Check out her website, she's done some good stuff.

Joanna will also be the artist on the Fraggle Rock feature I wrote, Where Have All the Doozers Gone?