Tuesday, November 27, 2007

I'm Batman.

For 7 years I lettered primarily Marvel comics and about a year ago I left Virtual Calligraphy to pursue other things and to see if I could make it “on my own.”

This past week I started doing some freelance work with DC Comics and I’ve already got a few books from their Cartoon Network line under my belt. But tonight I started work on my first Big Book.


For the first time in years I feel like a giddy fanboy.

Check out my first Solo Lettering work in Batman #672
Written by Grant Morrison; Art by Tony Daniel and Jonathan Glapion
On Sale December 26, 2007


Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Marvel's Online Back Issues

So Marvel announced their new online comic service today. 1000’s of back issues online for 10 bucks a month or a yearly fee of 60 bucks. It’s getting tons of press, Howard Stern mentioned it this morning and I’m sure the Marvel folks are beaming with joy at the reception their latest online business venture is getting.

What do I think about it? It’s a nice try. Looking back, I wasn’t crazy about DC’s Zuda announcement, but at least you’re getting quality original content by top quality creators for free. Marvel is offering Amazing Fantasy 15 for 10 bucks.

I just can’t figure out what these big companies are thinking. How long can they sidestep the question of bringing in new young readers? Just because it’s online doesn’t make it appealing to kids. The Internet is like television for kids today, there’s cool stuff online and there’s historychannel.com. Honestly do they think they’re going to get kids to stop playing Halo 3 by offering them the first 60 issues of Fantastic Four? Hell, I love Stan and Jack as much as the next geek but is your average 13 year old is going to read that stuff? They can watch or play the video game version of Spider-Man 3 or they can read the issue where Spidey defeated the Sandman with an industrial vacuum.

I’m on the extreme side of the online comics debate. I think they can put the latest issue of Amazing Spider-Man online the say day it hits stands and sales won’t see a massive shift in numbers. The average reader is going to treat these online books like previews or a movie trailer. If they dig the book, they’ll buy it next month at their shop. I can’t remember ever hearing someone say they’d rather read a book online than physically hold it in their hands.

Maybe putting the entire issue online won’t ever happen but how about putting the first 7 to 11 pages online the day it hits stands? Maybe you’d try that book you’re on the fence about. This could even blow up that whole “writing for the trade” thing, as well. No more slow pacing fellas… hook your reader in 11 pages if you want to see a bump in sales.

Nevertheless, at the end of the day I have to remember that online comics are in their infancy and corporate comics don’t have the know-how or balls to take a risk with this stuff. It’ll take someone else to take a risk and get rewarded for it before the Big 2 hop on the bandwagon.

In the meantime, good luck getting a 12-year-old to read an issue of Uncanny X-Men from the Nixon Administration.


Monday, November 12, 2007


So yeah, I haven’t posted in ages. But I have an excuse this time! I just moved. From my cramped one bedroom apartment in Bay Ridge to a palatial 3-Bedroom in Bensonhurst. It’s been quite an adjustment so far. Bay Ridge is a really nice neighborhood with amazing restaurants and bars while Bensonhurst is a more “neighborhood” Brooklyn place. It’s still a safe place and all that but just a li’l more rough around the edges. But in the throws of New York City Apartment Living it’s every man for himself. When a bigger place opens up you have to jump on it. The day we officially took the apartment we were walking out when a car pulled up and asked if the apartment was available. It’s cutthroat, man.

Anyway, I can’t believe I’m actually living in Bensonhurst. I’m a huge Mafia buff, having read dozens of books on Italian Organized Crime and everyone mentioned Bensonhurst. It’s basically Ground Zero for the Brooklyn syndicates. I’m not as sure about what is going on today, from everything I’ve read it seems the Mafia has been really broken up. That’s not to say it’s gone by any stretch of the imagination, it’s just not what you see in the movies.

Bensonhurst has spawned some of the biggest mobsters of all-time. Sammy “The Bull” Gravano was born and raised in Bensonhurst before he became the most famous turncoat since Joe Valachi in 1961.

“Don Vito” Genovese operated in Bensonhurst. Genovese came up the ranks under the famed mobster “Lucky” Luciano. Genovese aided Luciano’s rise to power, which resulted in the creation of the “Commission”, which established the hierarchy of the mob and the “5 Families” that you see and hear about in films such as the Godfather.

Many of the guys who reached fame via Scorsese’s classic “Goodfellas” film were either born in Bensonhurst or in the case of Paul Vario, operated from Bensonhurst. Paul Sorvino played Paul in Goodfellas.

Henry Hill, played by Ray Liotta was born in Bensonhurst.

Tommy “Two Gun” DeSimone, played by Joe Pesci, was every bit as crazy as the film portrayed him. DeSimone, was eventually killed by, according to Henry Hill, John Gotti himself. If you remember the great “Go get your shine box” scene, Billy Bats was a made man in the Gambino Family and Bats wasn’t DeSimone’s only run in with the Gambino family. While it is known that the Gambinos did kill DeSimone, Hill’s assertion that Gotti was the triggerman, is not. That does make a hell of a story, though.

James Burke “Jimmy the Gent” was played by Robert DiNiro in Goodfellas. Called Jimmy Conway in the film, (Conway was his mother’s maiden name) Burke was in foster homes most of his childhood. Incredibly, one of his foster fathers died in a car crash as he was turned around beating Burke in the back seat. His foster mother then blamed him for that, in turn beating him for years after. Reading about Burke is amazing stuff. He was basically a serial killer. He killed dozens of people and almost killed the famous New York City journalist Jimmy Breslin, chocking the writer to near death in public. Years later Breslin would receive letters from the Son of Sam. Talk about a couple of interesting on-the-job hazards.

Well, that’s enough of this little Mafia Lesson for today. Thought I’d give you an update on where the hell I’ve been.

Stay tuned for comics!