East Coast Dispatches: November 23, 2021
The One Where I Talk About My Day-Timer Too Much
Greetings from rain-soaked Halifax.
It’s been a few weeks since the last newsletter, largely because I’ve been buried under deadlines. I went from having a very casual and laid back schedule to having one that is…less so. Not that I’m complaining. After the nightmare of 2020 (and most of 2021), I’m happy to be busy again.
At current count, I have eight projects on the go, each at various stages — some already written and in the artists’ hands, some that are just starting up or just waiting on a schedule, and some I’m actively writing. Of those eight, five are creator-owned and three are work-for-hire. Three of the creator-owned should be announced sometime in December or January, the others won’t be announced until early next year.
In terms of my workload, I’ve tried to divvy up my schedule so that I’m only working on two projects at any given time. I want to give each project the attention that it deserves and so have been paying heavy attention to my available bandwidth. I’ve scheduled myself so that I’m never overburdened with work, as that’s been a problem I’ve had to deal with in the past and have no interest in revisiting. Thankfully, I’m ahead of schedule and so have some flexibility to take on interesting projects when they land in my lap, without fear of burning out. It’s a difficult balance to maintain, but something I know I need to keep up. I’m not happy when I’m in a situation where I need to bang out two scripts in a week. And, if I’m not happy writing it, I can’t imagine anyone would be happy reading it.
To help keep myself on task, I returned to using a day-timer to schedule my days. I have to keep everything on it, otherwise, I’ll forget. This includes everything in my day — from taking my vitamins to walking the dogs* to taking an exercise break to outlining and scripting and even writing this newsletter. It sounds like overkill, but since adding “vitamins” to my daytimer, I’ve yet to forget. Before, I forgot to take them more than I remembered. (*Impossible to forget to walk them, but helps to account for the time regardless)
There’s a satisfaction to crossing things off my list in my day-timer—a tiny dopamine rush that keeps me focussed on what I need to achieve before I can call it a day. It’s I won’t say my success rate is 100% using a day-timer, but it’s certainly in the 85-95% range.
Anyhow: day-timers. I’m for them!
Last newsletter, I promised I was going to do a write up for the first disastrous promotional tour that my friends and took back in the 90s with our first self-published book. However, I had an 11th-hour idea that I think will make it that much more interesting for readers, but need the time to pull it together. Next newsletter, I promise to give you all the nitty-gritty details of the HARDCORE COMICS TOUR OF 1994!
Okay, on with the show…
Table of Contents
• Beyond The Breach #5
• Murder Book: Catch & Release Update
• Best Movies 2021?
• Reader Questions
• I Know You’re Only Here For Lasagna
Beyond The Breach #5
Beyond the Breach #5 is out this week!
It's complete chaos as interdimensional bounty hunters descend upon Vanessa and crew. One of our heroes will sacrifice themselves, but will it be enough? Will Vanessa manage to get Dougie home? Is there even a home to return to? And what will happen to everyone else?!
This issue is the end of the first chapter, but not the end of the series.
The creative team and I will be taking a bit of a break while we plan out the next leg of the adventure. I don’t know how public that’s supposed to be, so let’s just keep that secret between us, yeah?
I’m grateful to Mike Marts, Christina Harrington and the rest of the Aftershock crew for giving us the greenlight on this book during the pandemic when it seemed like every other publisher was closing their doors to new projects, unsure of what the future held. I’m thankful to all of you who picked up this book and sent kind words and made it possible for us to continue beyond the initial five-issue run.
And, of course, I am blessed to have the opportunity to work with Beyond The Breach co-creator/illustrator Damian Couceiro, colourist Patricio Delpeche, and letterer Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou.
Murder Book: Catch & Release Update
Unfortunately, there’s not much to update anyone on. The books are still on a boat somewhere. They were supposed to land a month ago, but shipments are backed up and cargo ships are apparently sitting idle in California, waiting weeks to unload.
I’m praying that they’re offloaded soon and that books will land in people’s mailboxes by Christmas, but we’ll have to wait and see.
Best Movies 2021?
I’m curious to know what everyone else out there is watching and, as we get close to the end of the year, what’s your best of 2021? Doesn’t have to be a film released this year, just something you saw this year. Click on the word balloon at the bottom (and maybe top?) of this newsletter and let me know!
A few of my favourite watches from this year (so far):
I went into Shiva Baby blind, so had no idea what to expect. Was pleasantly surprised at this anxiety-inducing, claustrophobic comedy about an aimless 20-something who runs into her Sugar Daddy at a shiva.
I’m a sucker for a good western about a past-his-prime cowboy, so this one was an easy like for me. Tim Blake Nelson is superb in the lead as Henry. He needs more starring roles.
A24 strikes again. A quiet, meditative horror about isolation and grief. The less you know going into this film, the better.
Not a perfect film, but engrossing nonetheless. Sometimes leans into revenge tropes a little too hard but never forgets that at the center of the lead’s quest for revenge is overwhelming grief.
A high school love story with exploding bodies. Surprised this one isn’t talked about more.
This is the year that I discovered David Lowery, roughly 10 years after the rest of the world did. Ain’t Them Bodies Saints feels like Lowery channeling Terrence Malick and that’s fine by me. This, A Ghost Story and The Green Knight are all excellent films that you should seek out if you haven’t seen them already.
I’ve only managed to scroll back through the last 100 films I’ve seen, so I’ll be sure to add to this list in the next newsletter.
Somehow, I’ve let these get backlogged, so I’m going to rapid-fire through a few here:
Big fan of your work. My question is, will you be doing any more ongoing series work for either of the Big 2? If not, any minis from either company you’re working on?
If you see this I appreciate the time you might give me in answering
So, yeah. Over the last year, I’ve not done as much Big 2 work as in previous years. That’s changing in the upcoming year (as mentioned above), but there’s not much I can say right now. All I can say is that I’m very excited about what’s in store for 2022.
That said, I am working hard to ensure that I have a healthy balance between creator-owned and work-for-hire. I’ve turned down a couple of work-for-hire books in the last year because the titles didn’t feel like a good fit. In the past, I’d taken on books that I was unsure about, assuming I’d find a way for me to connect to the material and it hasn’t always worked out. I’m only taking on things that excite me and passing on those that don’t.
Recently I picked up Batman Secret Files: Peacekeeper such a great story, so I was wondering have you ever thought of writing stories like Peacekeeper about other villains and anti-heroes for an entire comic run or even a mini-series? I always find your work fascinating, just out of curiosity.
My first mini-series for either of the Big 2 was Bullseye: The Colombian Connection, which is just that — a five-issue run following the antics of a psychopath. I was thrilled with how the series came together, it was a great opportunity for me to flex my crime writing muscles, while also leaning into some over-the-top Bullseye antics. It felt, and still feels, like this is my sweet spot for Big 2 comics. Guillermo Sanna was pitch-perfect on art, check out his two-page spread from #1 below.
If you haven’t read it, please check it out.
If you have any questions, you can either respond to this email or click on the little word balloon icon at the bottom of this newsletter.
I Know You’re Only Here For Lasagna
Okay, that’s it for me. I’ve got to cross off “newsletter” on my day-timer and move on to the next item.
Hope you’re all keeping well.