Tagged: Peter David

MICHAEL DAVIS: The Great Pretenders

For over a decade I’ve been hosting The Black Panel at various venues around the country. The panel has its roots in the Milestone Media panels I once hosted at different comic book conventions in the nineties. I created The Black Panel as a forum to discuss African American pop culture from the inside with the aim of helping more people get inside.

The Black Panel is, I’m proud to say, a mainstay at the San Diego Comic Con International. A reviewer recently called it a “Comic Con institution.”

High praise indeed and I was felling pretty good about the panel after yet another standing room only presentation this past year. However, after a recent conversation with Denys Cowan, I’m asking myself some pretty serious questions. Full discloser: Denys is not only one of the greatest and most original artists to ever work in comics, he’s also my best friend. He also worships Satan and has a $ 10,000.00 a day crack habit.

No, no he doesn’t, but Denys never reads my columns so I can pretty much write what I want, like this, Denys beat up a 10 year-old girl who made the mistake of calling him “Michael Davis” at Comic Con last year.

Again, I joke, I kid! She was 7.

Denys and I were talking about the future of the panel. We got on the subject of who appears on the panel. Denys made a remark that made me think, has the panel featured some guests who could care less about the comic medium but have used the panel simply to promote their current projects?

In other word, pretenders.

Here’s a link to the Black Panel’s Alumni. To this list you can add Peter David, Derrick Dingle and Keith Knight and Phil Lamar. You will notice quite a few entertainment superstars on the list. To be fair to me, my mission statement for the panel is black entertainment, which includes but is not limited to comics and animation.

I stared thinking maybe I have had some pretenders on the panel.

I’m nothing if not honest with myself and if I’m wrong I’ll say so. Just today I posted results from a Gallup Poll on my Facebook page that clearly showed that some of my opinions about the Tea Party were wrong.

I took a long look at the guests I’ve had over the years and lo and behold there may be one that the pretender labels fits. No. I’m not going to name him or her. If it’s a black woman, I might get bitch slapped. If it’s a rapper, I might get shot. By all means if you guys want to play “Who’s the pretender,” have at it.

My name is Bennett, I ain’t in it.

The perhaps they are perhaps they are not pretender for my panel is not the focus of this article. Pretenders in the comics industry are.

I’ve met quite a few over the years and usually it’s someone or some company with an high profile and some bucks who thinks that a comic book project from them is just what the world is looking for. More often than not little if any respect has been paid to the way the comic book industry operates and even less respect to the history.

I was approached some years back from a major music mogul to help him create a comic book line that would feature some of his label’s artists. I told him as a promotional item I thought it would work, as a retail item not so much. He did not want to hear that.

Frankly, what mega rich music producer wants to hear that the music business and the comic book business cannot be approached the same way? I mean, the music industry. That’s a real business not like comics, which is more like a hobby until Hollywood decides to take pity and make a movie out of one of those silly characters.

The mogul decided to get a family member to run the line. I was proving to be too much trouble with my depressing and unimportant comments on silly subjects like distribution, marketing, talent and retailers. His choice from the family had been reading comics all his life. That makes him the perfect choice to create and produce a comic book line.

A year, maybe two later I saw an ad somewhere announcing the line. From what I understand the books never saw the inside of a comic book store.

The ad sucked as well.

On a few occasions I’ve had agents of big name Hollywood action stars send me an idea from or about said star. Most of the time the idea features the actor as some sort of hero in the comic. All of the time the idea sucks. When you tell an agent of a big star that their client has little or no juice in the comics industry they feel pity towards you because of your obvious mental illness.

As far as those who think they can make a quick buck in comics, surprisingly that does not bother me. This is America. Where would we be without those who were just in it for the quick buck? Those who get into the business and have the sense to appreciate the expertise of comics I welcome.

What does bother me are those who get into the business and have no respect, not only for what has come before but make no effort to know, learn or enhance the craft. That bugs the shit out of me.

Anyone else?


Hurricane Irene thread

Read the full cartoon from Meredith Gran at Octopus Pie.

Quick highlights:

  • Peter David rode out the storm on Long Island’s South Shore and live-blogged all of it. A number of creators are reporting in with various damage all over, from North Carolina to Connecticut, from power outages to floods to downed trees to wrecked homes.
  • Tom Spurgeon reports on flooding at the Center For Cartoon Studies in White River, VT– the Schulz Library building looks to be a loss, but the books and art have been saved thanks to the efforts of volunteers.

As we all try to dry out, use the comments to check-in and report on how you’re doing.

Peter David vs. Hurricane Irene

Peter David vs. Hurricane Irene

Comic book creator Peter David at Midtown Comi...

Image via Wikipedia

Writer of stuff Peter David’s home is on the south shore of Long Island, right in the path of Hurricane Irene– and despite an evacuation order, he’s decided to stay. And even crazier, he’s decided to liveblog it, as long as power and connectivity holds out.

Go visit him there. And hope Peter stays dry and keeps his house in order.

At the very least, it’ll be good research if he ever gets to write Aquaman again.

Photo: Luigi Novi.

SDCC: IAMTW Scribe Awards Announced

The International Association of Media Tie-In Writers presented their 2011 Scribe Awards during Friday’s Comic-Con International Acitivities. The winners announced by co-found Max Allan Collins are:

Best General Original Novel: [[[Saving Grace: Tough Love]]] by Nancy Holder
Best Speculative Original Novel: [[[Warhammer: Bloodborn: Ulrika the Vampire]]] by Nathan Long
Best Adaptation: [[[The Wolfman]]] by Jonathan Maberry
Best Young Adult Novel: [[[Dungeons & Dragons: Aldwyn’s Academy]]] by Nathan Meyer

This is the second time Long has won a Scribe for his work in the Warhammer franchise.

Also, the IAMTW gave their Faust Award to Peter David, naming him a Grandmaster, following in the footsteps of Alan Dean Foster, Keith DeCandido, and William Johnston. David was grilled by Collins for a lively discussion in front of a packed room.

Peter David Writes John Carter Prequel

After years of seeming neglect, now everyone seems to be jumping on the John Carter bandwagon. No, not the Noah Wylie character from ER, but Edgar Rice Burroughs’ classic hero. A Civil War vet suddenly finds himself on a strange new world, with powers and abilities that make him far above your normal human. The Mars novels are great pulp fiction and have longed to be revived for a new generation and that time appears to be today.

Not only is Dynamic Forces producing comics material based on the novels, but now Marvel Comics is jumping onto the bandwagon with a series of authorized comics based on the parent comapny’s 2012 spring release, John Carter. Directed by Pixar’s Andrew Stanton, the trailer was released to universal acclaim.

Now comes word of the October arrival of John Carter: World of Mars, a prequel miniseries from Peter David with interior art by Luke Ross and covers by Esad Ribic.

According to a press release, John Carter: World of Mars #1 reveals the shocking events that transpire before the motion-picture story begins by showing fans just how John Carter, Princess Dejah Thoris and Tars Tarkas are set on the path that would bring them all together. Amidst this brutal thousand-year war, find out what decisions were made that let events escalate this far—and why.

“We’re thrilled to bring fans their first look at the world of John Carter before the blockbuster film wows audiences next year,” said Axel Alonso, Marvel Editor In Chief. “It’s been a pleasure working with Disney, Peter and Luke to craft a powerful story that will appeal to both the legions of John Carter fans and those who are new to this exciting world.”

Stanton adds, “I am really thrilled to be collaborating with Disney & Marvel on this project and look forward to audiences exploring the world of John Carter via this exciting comic offering. I have wanted to see this property on the big screen since I was a young boy and hope that John Carter: World of Mars will excite and inspire fans of the series much like I was inspired many years ago.”

The miniseries debuts in October with a trade collection expected in time for the March 9, 2012 feature film release.

Crazy 8 Press Plans CBLDF Benefit Story

c8-final-logo-300x247-3867144Yeah, yeah, it ‘s a bit of shameless self-promotion but it’s for a good cause.

Hunt Valley, Maryland — They may not be wearing super-hero capes, but members of the new web-based writers’ group Crazy 8 Press will swoop in to help the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund (CBLDF) at the 33rd annual Shore Leave science fiction media convention the weekend of July 8-10, 2011.

Crazy 8 founders Peter David, Michael Jan Friedman, Robert Greenberger, Glenn Hauman, Aaron Rosenberg and Howard Weinstein will raise funds for the CBLDF by tag-team writing an original story on the floor of the convention at Baltimore’s Marriott Hunt Valley Inn.

Fans will have a chance to participate by contributing possible opening sentences, one of which will be randomly chosen as the story’s starting point. First-sentence candidates can be submitted in advance through the Crazy 8 Press Facebook (www.facebook.com/pages/Crazy-8-Press) page, as well as at the convention on Friday evening. The finished work will be sold as a low-cost e-book, on sale through Amazon, Barnesandnoble.com and other internet booksellers.

Profits from this story will benefit the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, a non-profit organization fighting censorship and defending the First Amendment rights of comic book professionals. All of Crazy 8’s founding writers have worked in the comic book industry and David currently serves on the CBLDF board of directors.

Crazy 8 Press, which announced its formation in February, is a home for its established authors to sell original novels directly to readers through online book retailers. Together, Crazy 8’s founders have written hundreds of books and comics over the past 35 years, with combined sales of more than 15 million copies. The group has set a first-year goal of presenting at least one new novel-length title every other month.

The first new novel will be Peter David’s The Camelot Papers. Aaron Rosenberg’s novel No Small Bills will follow in September. Information on these and all future Crazy 8 Press projects can be found at www.crazy8press.com. All new stories (and some older, out of print works) by the Crazy 8 writers will be available for purchase through online booksellers including Amazon and Barnesandnoble.com.

Friedman described Crazy 8 Press as a natural response to upheavals in book publishing. “With publishers and retailers under pressure,” he said, “distribution channels are shrinking. We’re offering our readers a way to receive our work that’s not dependent on any third party.”

“Until now,” said David, “we’ve been at the mercy of book store buyers, who would tell publishers if what we wrote was suitable for their stores. Now that barrier is down. We’re coming to readers pure and unleashed, with stories they would never have seen in a traditional publishing environment.”

“Science fiction has always been a community where writers and readers enjoy a close relationship and exchange ideas,” Greenberger added. “The Crazy 8 platform allows us to make that relationship even closer and more interactive.”

Crazy 8 Press Releases Second Preview of ‘The Camelot Papers’, On Sale July 8th

In a case of the shoemaker’s children going barefoot, we didn’t mention anything beyond the teaser on Monday, but: ComicMix contributors Robert Greenberger, Glenn Hauman, and Aaron Rosenberg have joined with comic book writers Peter David, Michael Jan Friedman, and Howard Weinstein to form Crazy 8 Press, while we saw numerous writeups from The Beat, Bleeding Cool, and io9.

However, we can advance the story a bit further: a second preview of the first book, The Camelot Papers by Peter David, has been added to the Crazy 8 Press Facebook page. Just go there and like the page, and you’ll get access to Chapters 2 and 3. (Chapter 1 is still available on the Crazy 8 Press website.

The Camelot Papers will officially go on sale on July 8, both to tie in with the “8” and the Shore Leave convention in Hunt Valley, MD, where all six founders will be in attendance– and doing a special comic related project together which we’ll tell you about when the time comes.

Rictor & Shatterstar

Peter David Wins GLAAD Award for ‘X-Factor’

ORictor & Shatterstarn Saturday night, Peter David won an award from the the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation for his work on X-Factor and the portrayal of Rictor and Shatterstar. The Media Award recipients were announced in 25 of this year’s 32 media categories at the 22nd Annual GLAAD Media Awards presented in New York. Other winners included Russell Simmons, Ricky Martin, the HBO drama series True Blood, the NBC comedy , and CNN’s “Anderson Cooper 360″ for its series on gay teen suicides.

We asked Peter for his reaction.

ComicMix: So, first off, congratulations. Do you have an acceptance speech? We took the conductor’s baton away, so you have all the time you want.
Peter A. David: I guess I’d say that we’ve come a long way from when the Comics Code Authority forced DC to remove what the CCA saw as a lesbian kiss in an issue of Justice League Task Force I had written, even though it was a kiss between a woman and a shapeshifted J’onn J’onzz. I’m appreciative of Marvel Comics allowing me so much latitude in X-Factor, particularly Joe Quesada’s unequivocal public support when Rictor and Shatterstar first liplocked.  I note that the award only names me, and I think that’s shortsighted, because there’s been a host of artists and editors along the way who have done a terrific job to bring the stories to the public.  And ultimately I look forward to the day when this award is utterly unnecessary because the positive portrayal of LGBTs is simply so commonplace that it’s no longer newsworthy.  It’s just the normal state of things.

CM: We have the perennial question: so when did you first know that Rictor was gay?  And what was it like coming out to the rest of the comics community?

National Graphic Novel Writing Month, Day 14: Creating Characters: The Nature of Heroes and Villains, by Peter David

Characters for an Epic Tale

Peter David, writer of stuff, wrote a book about writing comics and graphic novels called Writing for Comics and Graphic Novels with Peter David
(certainly clear in intent) from which we take the following:

If you ask anyone you know whether they need someone who is going to make their life difficult, you would unquestionably get a resounding “no.”  No person would say that he measures the success of his day by how soundly he manages to overcome an implacable opponent. 

And yet, many of us do have “villains” in our lives.  Be they oppressive bosses, obnoxious co-workers, bullies at school…on any given day we may find ourselves in a position where we have to outthink, outwit, and outmaneuver those who are in a position to make our lives difficult. 

Push comes to shove, we may even find ourselves with our backs against the wall and have to slug it out with them.  In such a situation, it helps to remember that comic book heroes are able to avail themselves of everything from super-science to healing factors in order to bounce back.  We, being mere mortals, tend to break far more easily.  So even as we discuss the ways and means of depicting heroes going toe-to-toe with villains, it helps to remember that talking one’s differences out is definitely the way to go.

Curiously, we tend to think of the hero as the mover and shaker, the protagonist.  Yet the opposite is often true:  It is the villain who actually drives the plot.  He’s the one with the plan, he’s the one with the goal—anything from robbing a bank to world domination.  There’s a variety of possibilities and directions that the villain’s foul schemes can go to satisfy his needs.  The hero, on the other hand, exists for one reason only:  To thwart the villain.  On an average day, the Avengers sit around playing pinochle, waiting for the activities of a villain to spur them to action.  On an average night, Batman is either hanging out at the Batcave dodging falling bat guano, or else he’s patrolling the city looking to find a villain whose endeavors he can thwart. 

So as a writer, not only do you need to have a hero with whom your reader can connect, but you also want the reader to understand—and perhaps even sympathize—with the villain’s goals as well.

Is such a thing possible?  Sure it is.  Alfred Hitchcock once pointed out that an audience could be watching a scene in a movie wherein a handsome burglar has concocted an elaborate and clever scheme to gain access to a vault inside a wealthy couple’s home.  As he is working on opening the safe, unbeknownst to the burglar, the couple is on their way home unexpectedly because they left their theater tickets on the bureau in the room he’s burgling. 

Tension mounts as the burglar continues to crack the safe while the couple draws closer and closer to discovering.  And what, asked Hitchcock, is going through the audience’s mind during that time?  They’re mentally urging the burglar, “Hurry!  Hurry!  You’re going to get caught!”  Yes, that’s right:  They’re rooting for a bad guy. 

It is the ingeniousness of his plans, after all, that are being asked to seize the audience’s imagination.  If the villain’s plan is lame, if the villain is someone who fails to engage the reader’s attention, then not only will the reader not care about his evil doings, but the hero’s eventual triumph over his opponent will seem unimpressive.

That’s why it’s impossible to invest too much energy in either crafting new heroes and villains, or choosing unique ways in which to interpret or reinterpret already existing characters.  Your stories stand or fall on your characters.  If the reader doesn’t connect with the characters, then the most ingenious plot in the world will make no difference at all.

Artwork by Tom Gauld. And remember: you can follow all the NaGraNoWriMo posts here!