I’ve been having a good time in Austin having been here one week. The food is great and there has been plenty of entertainment.
I’ve especially been enjoying the Alamo Drafthouse, a very cool theater chain I’ve been hearing about for years. I sent and saw the latest Sin City movie there last week. I liked the pre-show trailer compilation they did, which featured a lot of retro crime movies, cartoons and music videos. They show a lot of old movies which is something I miss about the old days when revival houses were more common.
The whole Spiderwoman variant cover “Controversy” was a hilariously, overblown example of how a bunch of screechy scolds in the press get outraged over nothing while journalists and kids are beheaded by zealots and genocide is making a comeback, while cops with tanks mow down civilians. By all means, lets get angry over a variant comic book cover!
This video makes plenty of good points about the insanity of this whole “issue.”
I got a job offer in Austin, Texas and felt like making the change. I’ve been hearing for years how great it is there. I have friends there and there are all kinds of advantages compared to San Diego for living there, so I’m making the move next weekend. I haven’t been to Austin, but I used to live in San Antonio which is close. Back when I was in the Air Force. That was a log time ago. I’ve been waiting to explore more of the midwest and east and, so Austin is a good place to make a base. I’ll still go to San Diego Comic Con if I’m able, because it’s a ritual with me. But I’m really looking forward to checking out some of the eastern and southern Conventions. There’s one in Austin a week or so after I get there.
I’ll be posting images from my road trip on here or Facebook.
I see I haven’t posted anything in awhile. The world’s going nuts and my life has been kind of a whirlwind of sorts. More on that later but I’ve been busy with everything from working on my novels to cataloging my archives and so on. I decided a while ago to lay off the politics for awhile. People get spun up by the press. So much of what they are told is lies or hysteria and if you try to say something reasonable you get attacked as being insane. It gets tiring. The riots in Ferguson and Gaza have more than one side to them and it’s sad people can’t see that.
In any event here’s a picture of me at Comicon last month signing a book at a friend’s booth. People say I look good, but I still have a bunch of weight left to lose. It’s slowly coming off. I’m determined to get to the mid-200s hopefully by my birthday. It’s doable.
Here’s a picture of myself and Dan Brereton at the start of our careers in comic. I had been in the business about three years and Dan had just finished a book for Eclipse called the Black Terror and was starting on The Psycho with me for DC. We did a signing at Dan’s local comics store, Flying Colors, which is still very much in business and is a leading retailer in the industry. I’m trying to get back to that weight I had. This photo is good inspiration for me.
I’m working on two novels and some screenplays and to keep track of where everything is, how the stories flow and how to see the big picture, it’s important to have a good tool to organize all your ideas and information. For me, this tool does it best and for a great price. Only $15. I can break down my story into acts and create little index cards inside the acts and draw relationship lines between themes, scenes and characters. It’s great. Check out the video below if you’re interested how it works.
Once in a blue moon a movie comes out of nowhere that flies under the radar and exceeds everyone’s expectations in such a way it creates a mountain of good will and becomes a huge sensation. In 1977 it was Star Wars, which was a fun space opera that didn’t take itself too seriously. We all know how that played out. Today we have its successor, Guardians of the Galaxy, a movie that outdoes Star Wars at its own game and is actually a lot more fun and entertaining without being a rip off. If anything, this is one of the biggest surprises of many years because early trailers had me cringing a little at the broad humor and 70s pop tunes. What I didn’t know is those are two of its strengths.
This is one of the most light-hearted, fun adventure films I’ve seen in decades. It’s funny all through the story and yet it has plenty of thrills and excitement. It’s heavy on CGI but the characters keep you so entertained that you really don’t mind. That is something so many modern films fail to get. Movies should be about characters you want to hang out with for the ride. Entertaining movies should be entertaining. But they often feel like chores. This movie is entertaining all the way through but in an unforced, natural way that will have you smiling and laughing.
I remember seeing adults act like kids when the first Star Wars came out because it tapped something inside of people that made them feel young again. This movie has that same magic. It’s not mean spirited or too dark. It has a genocidal villain who wants to destroy a planet and unlike Man of Steel and Star Trek: Into Darkness, the heroes all do their best to risk their lives to save people from harm before trying to stop the villain. What a difference that makes.
Without revealing too much, Peter Quill (Chris Pratt) is Star Lord. He is a member of the Ravagers, a group of Space pirates lead by Yondu (Michael Rooker), a kind of space hillbilly who loves figurines for his dashboard. But Star Lord is going it alone when he finds a mysterious orb he wants to sell in some ruins. A group of bad guys show up to take it from him but he gets away. They put a bounty on him and he soon ends up in prison with a bunch of other characters who team up with him to escape the slammer. And when they do he convinces them to join him to sell the orb because an insane zealot named Ronan the Accuser (Lee Pace) wants it to destroy a planet.
Quill has a mix tape of old tunes that used to play on the radio when I was in high school. It’s all he has to remind him of his home where he was abducted as a child. The music and his comments about earth culture provide some great jokes because the aliens don’t know what he’s talking about.
And personally, one of the pleasures I got from the film was seeing so many friends of mine get credit in the closing credits for creating characters in the movie. I especially loved the bit at the very end of the credits which shows a character no one was expecting. Then the names of two good friends of mine show up. That was very cool.
If you want to have a good time, go see this movie. It will cheer you up. This is a secret ingredient so many films today are lacking. The Feel Good factor. I suspect it will be one of Marvel’s most successful movies of all time.
I had a great time at Comicon this year. I got to meet a couple great writers, Joe Abercrombie and Patrick Rothfuss. And I got to hand them my novel. I even got a signed copy of Abercombies new book Half a King!
On Sunday I did a Secrets of Writing panel and my friend, writer Dr. Terry Cronin helped out. We mainly discussed the secret of creating a good logline and why it’s so important. We had a pretty good crowd.
I took lots of fun pictures which you can check out on my Facebook page. Now, it’s back to the real world.
He was one of the great American actors of his time. So natural in his acting style you just took him at face value. Most of his success came from television but he was in plenty of good movies. What I can’t believe on reflection is he didn’t work with Clint Eastwood more often other than Space Cowboys. I guess they were kind of old when the cop buddy picture came into vogue and Clint was way more successful. But they had worked together on Maverick and I think they could have done something great in their prime if they script was there.
Still, it’s sad to see Garner go. But 86 is a decent run, I suppose.
Starting Wednesday night through Sunday till it closes I will be at the con. If you need to find me I will be around booths 1901 or 1909. I will also be teaching my writing seminar on Sunday at 4PM. This year should be very interesting for me as I have a bunch of business at the con and look forward, as usual, to seeing a bunch of friends I only get to see once or twice a year at conventions.
It’s a nice change of pace from my day job as an internet engineer. I usually get creatively revved up after the con. So much energy there. So much to see. I plan to post pictures here.
I was hoping to have a booth this year, but they were sold out. There is a backlog on booths. I will try again for next year.
In the meantime, if you are at the con feel free to say “Hi”.
I will be teaching my well received writing panel at Comic Con this year. Here’s the Info. It will be on Sunday.
Acclaimed comics writer James Hudnall (Harsh Realm, Espers, The Age of Heroes, Lex Luthor: The Unauthorized Biography) explains the secrets to better writing and making a story that matters and reveals seven key secrets that can turn an ordinary story into something special. He is joined by author Dr. Terry Cronin (The Skinvestigator, Students of the Unusual) for a discussion on how to make the most of your fiction.
Sunday July 27, 2014 4:00pm – 5:00pm
The Leftovers is a new HBO show with an interesting premise, What if an event like The Rapture happened and 2 percent of the world population disappeared. The series follows what happens to other people left behind. It’s set in a small town so it can focus on a community. You can watch the whole thing for free here. They are streaming the first episode for free.
To be honest I was pretty bored through a lot of it because of Lindenhof’s (the show runner) penchant for mystery over substance, but as it reached the climax of the episode it started to get interesting. Basically up until the end of the episode people left behind had been in a three year grace period where things went on pretty much like before. But now, it’s about to get real. There are several mysterious cults up to what may be no good. One of them is a Heaven’s Gate type group that dresses all in white, doesn’t speak and chain smokes as part of their religion. Another group is out in a desert compound and seems quasi Koresh-like.
I’ll watch it for awhile to see if it gets better. I have to give them credit, it’s a clever idea for a show that’s fairly original.