Welcome back those of you who've visited before, and thank you to those checking out for the first time. If you've happened to stumble upon my third installment of "Welcome to Eternity," then you're in for a treat for this one.
I've begun writing this on Thursday night. I've freshly put down a most beautiful book, one that I'll discuss later, and I'm craving some emotional energy. I've been piling up the shorts for the newsletter, and it's already bursting with stories. Ones I cannot wait to share with you, but first...
As I mentioned previously, I've been busy with quite a few projects. I've got some art to show you guys, and it's superbly fantastic, so we'll start with Vanessa Fantinati, and I's short, "Breathe." It's a five-page comic following two boys on an English spring day. In the middle of summer, the idea came to me when I had taken a stroll to the beach. There had been this energy in the air, and I knew I needed to tell a story. A story about taking the time to breathe: it had been a stressful week, mentally that is, but it's still "stress," whether it's mental or physical. Anyway, you probably get the gist. The art can show for itself. Vanessa is stunning with her magick.
Next up, Brody Cole and I are chipping away at the final pages of the previously mentioned "Last Moments." He's turning in some gruesomely dark pages I know you're going to love. Also mentioned in the last installment, I've convinced Brody into a partnership with me, for a longer story. I can't reveal much yet, but we're gearing it up for a mighty fine pitch to the big-boy publishers. It'll be a 5-Issue Miniseries full of magickal wonder and cosmic terror. More news next time.
David Strahan and I are also hard at work. We've been in on-and-off creative meetings since November, and the result is getting there. You saw some early pencils last time around, and now he's begun to ink the pages. Once those are finished, we'll start coloring. Once that is completed, David and I will be sending those precious pages of art to the big boys. Comic industry, here we come!
"The Cave Beneath Seaside Manor" has entered full-swing since Monday morning. Max Deimas and I have turned one of my prose shorts into a 16-page comic, and man, is it a black-and-white masterpiece. Max is a massive fan of indie books, and I also, and this is our premiere stamping into that realm. For fans of Drawn + Quarterly, Fantagraphics, & Top-Shelf, this will be a story for you. Here's a preview of page one!
Jeff Hutchison continues to chip away at Rogue Comix's digital-first, "Tales of Your Destruction." He's currently in the middle of a diner fight scene, and the bloody coffee pot has taken a ripe beating. Expect more next time!
"8.26" just wrapped this week with some great final inks. This short is my collaboration with Johnnie Evans, and he shipped out those precious art pages yesterday. Hopefully, the post does me right, and I'll have them in my hands this coming week. 8.26 will also be my first short to undergo hand-lettering, and I couldn't have chosen a better artist to work alongside. Johnnie nailed the atmosphere and tone perfectly, and I can't wait to admire his work in person. The full story will debut in the coming weeks in digital and physical formats. Full details next time!
As mentioned previously, JJ Dzialowsky and I are working on a pitch for a 64-page magazine-sized story titled "To Maggie." It's my love-letter to lost children and monsters at the end of the lane. JJ turned in the pencils today for the pitch pages, and HOLY WOW, am I excited to get this small project off the ground. It has some mighty fine legs that need to be stretched and exposed to you, the lovely audience.
And last but not least, there's Adam & Eternity. Dominic Pinto is halfway through our oversized 64-page finale, and by god, are these some of the best comic pages I've ever seen. I've given him free rein, with a little input here and there thanks to the scripting, but man, oh man, am I bouncing off the walls with our final installment of a story that means the world to me. This issue will finally deliver on all the questions procured since the first issue. Jake Gustafson's colors have truly redefined how vital the fourth dimension is to the silent page. He carries just as much emotion with a stroke of neon delight as Dom does in an inked stroke. The final issue of Adam & Eternity out on January 6th, 2021!
Here's a preview of the first page.
Thank you to those who've picked up any of the previous issues thus far. I couldn't have done it without you. Pre-Orders for Issue 4 are up at roguecomix.com/shop, as well as all previous issues.
In publishing news, The Streets Ran Red will officially be in my hands by next week! I cannot wait to get my author copies, check those off, and send them to mass printing. The Streets Ran Red will be my third novel published this year, and for fans of crime noir and the occult, it'll be a must-read. Here's what the paperback will look like on the shelves!
Thus, wrapping the news. Next up, a reflective short.
This one is titled "Survival?"
I’ve come to realize a few things in my short life. I look back now, and it doesn’t feel like long ago, but I remember floating lost in an ocean with no beach in sight. The waves afar tackled me, pulling me into the abyssal deep. I was lost, drowning in a world that thought survival to be the only effect of living.
Between the empathetic and the evolutionists, evolution wins. The compassionate die out, and now we’re left with a world full of predators. What happened to the hope we gleamed across the horizon? What happened to the smile we gave strangers passing by? How can we be human if all we do is survive?
The fit, the strong, the powerful.
Is this how it ends?
I don’t know anymore. I struggle to find those around me who notice. Are there those who question this natural scheme? Are those who label themselves as sympathetic to man's cause not meant to shine those lights the brightest? To give where others have lost. Their influence gathered power and strong nature to guide others onto the shining path...
I’m not sure anymore.
I used to think being a predator amongst the prey was the only way to live, but all I saw was emptiness when I looked inside myself. I’d lost the child inside me that gifted me hope, love, imagination. Those traits that I now revere with utmost sincerity.
But I guess that’s the point of growing up. To realize we aren’t alone and that survival isn’t just about living. Survival is getting to share those final moments with a loved one or giving that last sip of water to the one who needs it most. To place my right foot forward and make sure my left follows. It is sacrifice to some and others,
"It is worth every moment."
Am I too poetic? No. Sometimes, we need a bit of beauty to wake us up.
So, ask yourself this. Will you survive being strong? Or will you love and let your heart grow warm from the touch of another. I think that’s what makes one strongest.
What's Robby reading?
Well, that's an excellent question to wrap this installment of "Welcome to Eternity." As mentioned earlier, I wrapped "Kill A Man" by Steve Orlando, Phillip Kennedy Johnson, and Al Morgan. Plain and simple, if you're a fan of Rocky, Cinderella Man, and The Wrestler, this is the book for you. Kill A Man delivers on both the professional and personal sides of the next UFC title-fight. The emotions are felt from the get-go from the brilliant opening sequence, all the way to the final bout. It's a structurally simple story but shines astounding on the emotional scale. Once turning onto the final page, I realized this is how to tell a story that matters. Steve, Phillip, and Al poured their souls into this. It has so much heart, and you can't help but well-up with tears at its closing. It's beautiful, humbling, and above all, focuses on a simple truth. Identity - Accept who you are because that's what makes you shine.
Despite the amassing pile of brand-new books sitting on my shelf, I took this week to hop into some long overdue rereads. I have always enjoyed going back into some of the stories I've previously loved. The rereads help spin a different perspective with each goes around. Here's a list of some:
Absolute Batman Incorporated - The culmination of Grant Morrison's work on Batman. It was brilliant literature. Grant plotted the idea of Batman across the globe to enforce justice. But to further the brilliance, Grant asked what justice is? It highlighted how much a hero, like Batman, can be spread too thin. From its opening issue in the first season to the Burnham era of the New 52, Incorporated brings devastating defeat and a deeper understanding of how Batman has influenced so many heroes worldwide. Batman is everywhere.
Absolute Wonder Woman by Azzarello & Chiang - It's beautiful, immense with Greek/Roman mythology, and stays true to Diana's essence. The Princess of the Amazons shines despite the New 52 reboot. Wonder Woman carries on strong and proves a must-read for any fans of the agent of truth.
Tokyo Ghost - One of my personal Remender favorites. Tokyo Ghost is dystopian, sci-fi action at its goddamn best. I couldn't imagine another artist other than Sean Murphy delivering the promise of Neo-Tokyo and the Isles of Los Angeles. It's a hard-hitting romance spun with techno-terror—a must-read for any fans of Rick or Sean's work.
Green Lantern Season Two & Blackstars - Again, Grant Morrison and Liam Sharp identify the "who" and "what" of Hal Jordan. From the cosmic scope of space sector 2814, and the massive ideas throughout each of the anthology-style stories, Grant and Liam deliver willpower we haven't seen since the Geoff Johns era of Green Lantern.
Daphne Byrne - A solid story from Laura Marks, but the work's highlight is Mr. Kelley Jones. He's an artist in a generation, and the horror he can produce on a single page is mind-boggling. It's creepy and demonic, leaving us wanting more from the characters. It ended too soon.
The Dollhouse Family - Mike Carey and Peter Gross are one of my favorite duos in comics. From their work on Lucifer and The Unwritten, I've consistently been marveled by their craft for storytelling. Their narratives are complex yet human—the best horror, in my opinion. Of the Hill House Comics collection, this is my favorite.
Next week I'll get back to reading the new batch craving desperately for my attention. Here are some of the next ups!
Lone Wolf & Cub Omnibus One by Kazuo Koike & Goseki Kojima
Essex County by Jeff Lemire
Three Fingers by Rich Koslowski
Royal City Complete by Jeff Lemire
Thank you all for tuning in. I hope you enjoyed it. I'll see you in two weeks. Enjoy the holidays till then. Drink some warm cocoa, spend that precious time with your families. If you're a fan of the cold, play with some snow. But most of all, keep being you.
Read. Write. Love.