Ever so often, someone is brave enough to ask for my opinion on something they've written. I'm a curmudgeony (yes, that a word) Creative Writing teacher -- and not the cute kind of curmudgeon either. My mind is trained to not like what you've written. Not out of spite, but just because there is so much crap out there. Something magnificent, by definition, must be rare. If someone hands me a script, I will always try to read it. Usually, I don't finish. That, in itself, should be taken as a sign. However, if I do finish it, my notes may not be kind, but they will be sincere. If the notes are cruel, be encouraged. It means I care, and I really want this story to be good. Over a year ago, October 20, 2009 to be exact (I keep every email), my friend and colleague Ryan Cody sent me his script for ICARUS, issue one. I sent back 43 notes. I can't claim to have actually improved upon what was already a good story, but let's pretend.

That issue is now available for purchase (click here). Both for digital download and if you want a print copy. You can also read a preview.

Here's the official word on ICARUS:

In 2014, a young child with the ability to look into the future sees an object approaching Earth, a giant spacecraft containing a species intent on invasion and occupation. She locates the most public superhuman of the time, The Golden Templar, and convinces him to take her to a secret group of world leaders. The Ameliorata do not believe her story and cast her away. When she, and other gifted seers go public with their warning, global riots break out and the world is turned upside down with religious and economic collapse. The Ameliorata decide that the superhumans cannot be allowed to roam unchecked and continue to upset the power balance. They order the execution of every known superhuman. Major Fisher Riley is put in charge of exterminating the world’s most powerful individuals. The Ameliorata convince the public that the oncoming object to Earth is only the asteroid Icarus, preparing to make its scheduled pass of Earth.

Icarus is expected to pass Earth on June 16th, 2015.

I highly recommend it. After all, I finished reading the script. The concept is fascinating, focused and well delivered. I've always enjoyed Ryan's art, which I think is particularly well-suited for modern adventure stories -- potent with dark, deep colors.

Read it. Enjoy it. I did.


Here's the first page. With the exception of WE'VE NEVER MET, this is the only thing I wrote over the summer. Like "Fighting David Parrot," it's another autobiographical adventure from my childhood.


Thanks to the plugin Lightbox 2 (javascript/css written by Lokesh Dhakar), I've changed the way you view comic pages on my website. It should upload faster with better navigation. In the past, it was such a pain to create and add previews to my "published works" page. Now I can do it in almost no time. In fact, tonight, I added some pages from SOUVENIR OF DALLAS, WE'VE NEVER MET, and ONE NIGHT STAND. Everything else has already been on my site. Totaling: 202 pages worth of previews. CHECK IT OUT

The one drawback with the added plugin is that the text on that page isn't as clean as it once was. I'll work with it and see if I can create a better arrangement.


Fanboy Radio used to publish a regular web comic illustrated by a group of my friends. One of my favorite stories was the "evil robot twin," created by Jeff Elden. Jeff is such a talented cartoonist. He has great pacing and comedic sensibility. The art is whimsical and simple, in the best kind of way: free of clutter. Amen. I wish more comic book artists would strive for such an approach. It's been awhile since I've seen Jeff and Justin and Jim. Hopefully, I'll get a chance sometime soon. Another road trip?

With Jeff's permission, I'm re-posting the "evil robot twin" comic. Enjoy.


Where have I been? Apparently, I missed the re-launch of TomKurzanski.com. I don't know when it posted, but it looks good. Make sure to check out the comics section. There are some nice excerpts from KARMA INCORPORATED, ANTIGONE, ONE NIGHT STAND, and the guest strip we did for YOU'LL HAVE THAT. Hopefully, Tom and I will have an opportunity to work together again. We've talked a bit about a new series, a genius kid detective living in a small town. Maybe?


Oni Press posted the news on their website. JAM! TALES FROM THE DERBY GIRLS is available for pre-order in the March catalog (order code MAR10 1103). It will arrive in shops this summer June 23, 2010.

Melissa and I collaborated on a story that will be in the anthology, illustrated by TJ Kirsch. You can read it right now, because it's part of Oni's free preview (click here to read our 8-page story). Keep in my mind: the Sacred Laws of Free Previews demand that if you like it, you must pre-order. And I never joke about the Sacred Laws of Free Previews. Digital readers be damned. You can't have your favorite derby girl sign your iPad. You need this book.

Melissa's story originally appeared in my column for Pop Syndicate (click here). It's funny that my first sentence was: "Today's adventure has nothing to do with comic books." I guess now it does. The story is all true. It's Melissa's first derby-related trip to the emergency room. For the Jam! anthology, Melissa wrote what happened in her own words. Then, I asked a few follow-up questions to get the details correct. I took what she wrote and tried my best to covert it into a good script. Editor Jill Beaton (hi Jill!) connected us with TJ Kirsch. TJ's a very talented artist working with Ande Parks on UNCLE SLAM FIGHTS BACK and with Kevin Church on the web series SHE DIED IN TERREBONNE. From our few emails back and forth, he's also a very nice guy.

There you have it. Oni Press and roller derby. Coming June 23rd.


Cal Slayton and I are working with Design-PT on a comics ad campaign to promote their "core," "flex," and "build" IT services. It's a fun project. They've sent over 30 scenarios, which I tried to communicate in three panel, six panel, and nine panel comics. Most of them have a campy super hero theme. Click here to see some of the finished comics: http://calslayton.blogspot.com/2010/02/comic-book-style-ads.html

I wouldn't mind doing more advertising work. While it's not at the top of my priorities, it would be interesting to pursue -- especially to pay a few bills. I certainly know enough talented artists.

To all the small business owners who read my blog, think about it.


The latest WE'VE NEVER MET is now available. Look for it on the last page of Quick, DFW's weekly entertainment newspaper. This one might be my favorite thus far. It establishes everything I want you to know about the story. It flows well, and I love the last panel. Chad's art is personable, expressive, incredible. No surprise there.

click for larger version

I don't say it nearly enough, but thank you to everyone at Quick. I greatly appreciate all the attention this comic project receives. You always put a nice image of Liz (our protagonist) in the table of contents -- and post little blurbs here and there to direct people to it. I'm proud to be a Quick contributor.

Tonight, I'm working on the script through April 8th. These characters are coming into their own, and it's fun to spend time with them.


This week, I've been working on SOUVENIR OF DALLAS for D Magazine's March issue. It's covering affordable dining in Deep Ellum.

In addition to some other freelance work, I'm plotting WE'VE NEVER MET through the month of April. Here's a sneak peek at what's coming, without spoiling too much.

January 14th: Disaster Picnic 2010. Already scripted and illustrated, this one will come out on Thursday. We're introducing another major character, Patricia.

January 28th: Already scripted, this one flashes back to what else happened at Lee Harvey's on New Year's Eve. Keith and Patricia are involved.

February 11th: We return to Disaster Picnic 2010. In honor of Valentine's Day, Patricia and Liz talk about relationship problems. Actually, Patricia does most of the talking.

February 25th: SXSW, part 1. The band loads up and prepares to make the trip down to Austin for SXSW.

March 11th: SXSW, part 2. The band in Austin.

March 25th: SXSW, part 3. The band in Austin.

April 8th: SXSW, part 4. The band returns from SXSW, and they're happy to be back.


In 2003, I scripted this short story titled "Fighting David Parrot." It was part of a project on childhood enemies. The story gathered dust along with a few other scripts (totaling 100 or so pages), that never found an artist -- or the artist never finished. All hidden away on my computer's hard drive. Recently, my friend Phillip Ginn asked if I had any stories he could illustrate. He was itching to work on something. I looked through my files and re-discovered this one. I emailed it to him. Today, he emailed these pages back to me.

I really love his artwork. To see more comics by Phillip Ginn, make sure to visit his website.


Here it is, as designed by the amazing April Wenzel --

I have approximately 8 minutes left on our Kickstarter pledge drive. That's 8 minutes left to pre-order ONE NIGHT STAND. I'm visiting some print shops today to get estimates and find the best deal possible. I'm also working on my class for Saturday's ArtLoveMagic workshop. And last night, I met with Geoff Johnston and the editor of DFW's Quick to discuss a project. (Announcement coming soon.)



Comic book retailers in North America have a long committed relationship with Diamond Distributors. They're a cute couple. However, since Diamond will not be shipping any new comics during the week of December 30th, David Hopkins is offering a ONE NIGHT STAND. No strings attached.

Written by David Hopkins, ONE NIGHT STAND is a series of one-page vignettes, a collaboration with 32 artists -- including Ryan Dunlavey (Action Philosophers), Christopher Higginson (Ghouly Boys), Sina Grace (Books with Pictures), Mark Murphy (Tiki Joe Mysteries), and Daniel Warner (Cocopiazo). All the stories center around a theme of casual sex and brief intimate encounters.

"The instant I heard about this project I wanted to be a part of it," says Ryan Dunlavey. "David is one of the most outspoken advocates for indie comics -- and a great writer to boot -- so I knew if he was putting it together I'd be foolish not to get involved."

The goal is to distribute free copies of ONE NIGHT STAND to indie-friendly retailers across North America. The stores can then sell those copies to customers looking for something new on December 30th.

"I realize mini-comics are not the easiest books for a retailer to move, but it'd be nice for an independent comic to steal the spotlight for at least one day," says David Hopkins. "I'm not trying to turn a profit. It's my slutty way of saying thank you to retailers who sell independent self-made comics throughout the year."

Preview page by Nate Bramble, creator of the webcomic Hermit Hill

Funding came through Kickstarter, a pledge-drive website used to support ideas and endeavors. After only three days, Hopkins was able to raise $500 for basic shipping and printing needs. The project site also allows people to pre-order the mini-comic.

ONE NIGHT STAND is part of an initiative by IndyComicBookWeek.com. A retailer does not have to join ICBW to receive ONE NIGHT STAND, but obviously their participation is appreciated.

"It would be great if stores encouraged their local talent to put something together for December 30th," Hopkins says. "End of the year, the economy has been crappy; indie comics seem like the most appropriate way to celebrate."




Brock Rizy posted the first pages of "Koo Too" (click here) on his website. This short story was entirely written and illustrated by Brock. I looked at his script beforehand, but didn't have any notes. We've been discussing the future of Emily and Koo for awhile. "Koo Too" and "Emily Edison Stomps Sassy Pants" fit within our master plan for a second volume. You're getting a few pieces of the puzzle. You may want to re-read volume 1 (I'll have copies available at Dallas Comic Con). There are a few hints tucked away.

The synopsis for volume 2 is more or less complete. We've worked through all the details. The first series was originally conceived as a monthly comic book. Each issue had a self-contained story with a developing subplot that grew to dominate the final issue -- Continuity 101. However, the second series is a much bigger story.

We'll keep you posted on its progress.


You know you want to read this comic. To be featured in HOW TO LOSE BIG...

Logo by Paul Milligan. We're currently searching for an artist. Just emailed somebody awesome (if you're reading this... hi!), hopefully, we'll have some good news to share soon.

PANEL 1. On Princess Bella. She’s wearing a beautiful puffy dress with lace and beads, etc. The dress is torn and dirty. Bella’s beautiful done-up hair is falling in places. She has bruises and dirt on her face. She’s running, looking behind her. There are squirrels, other woodland animals running with her. All scared. Cute little birdies fly behind her, away from whatever terrible menace is after them.

They are in a boarded up and abandoned castle.

PANEL 2. Close on Bella. She looks terrified.

PANEL 3. Bella stops near a hanging tapestry. The tapestry has stitching of princesses and unicorns playing together in peace. Bella’s tired of running.

PANEL 4. Bella reaches into the folds of her dress.

PANEL 5. She pulls out two large semi-auto handguns -- Smith and Wesson 990L 9mm, 4 Inch, double action, stainless steel. Thank you very much.

PANEL 6. Close on Bella, looking straight at the reader. She’s tough as hell. There’s a blue bird on her shoulder.

BELLA: Let’s go to the ball.


While Tom and Marlena were finishing the art on KARMA INCORPORATED, I kept myself busy by hunting down pin-ups to include in the back of each issue. I accumulated more than I could possibly use.

It's been a few years, so I thought I'd repost the art on Flickr. Click here to see the entire set.

Thank you to Joshua W. Cotter, Derrick Fish, Jim Lujan, Melissa Erwin, Martin Abel, Nicc Balce, Ryan Cody, Jim Crosley, Phillip Ginn, Ted Lange, Paul Maybury, Brent Schoonover, Sean Stephens, Scott Zirkel, Cal Slayton, Brock Rizy, Stephen Buell, Jamar Nicholas, Mike Young, Nelz Yumul, Jim Mahfood, TJ Colligan, and Wes Molebash for your contributions. There are other artists I'm missing. I can't find the jpg files. Once I do, I'll upload those as well.

If any other artists want to add to my KARMA INCORPORATED Flick set, go for it. I wouldn't mind. At all.

And just because, the video that started it all.


Brock Rizy re-launched his site BEEow dot com. He plans to add new content on a regular basis -- CATBEAR TRAFFIC CONTROL, MINOR INVESTIGATIONS, OH NO POGO (that should look familiar to some of you), PYROTECHNIC PORNO BABIES, more EMILY EDISON, and KOO.

To start off everything, we have a brand new EMILY EDISON short story:


This story introduces a character Oscar Monkhouse who will play an important role in our next book. Yes, we are making plans for a second EMILY EDISON comic. Brock has been very patient, allowing me to finish the scripts for FRONTIER and HOW TO LOSE BIG before we jump into it. Brock and I already have a rough outline and some cool ideas floating in our collective brain-meld. If you could stare into the dark pit of our brain-meld and see what we have planned, you'd say, "Wow. I didn't see that coming." Then dark pit would respond: "Ha. Neither did we."


Here are some pages from our graphic novel FRONTIER, courtesy of Michael Shelfer.

I've been busy on the script, and it's coming together insanely well. This story has floated in my head for so long -- all that time has helped, now that I'm finally writing it.


Yesterday, I posted a page from OH NO POGO. Today, I wanted to share something from the main story in HOW TO LOSE BIG with art by Paul Milligan. Panel borders need to be drawn in. Also, there's a little bit of photoshop needed for lettering and to place studio logo on the front banner, along with the comic book covers. However, that's not the point; Paul let me share this, and I wanted to show off how awesome it looks.

Oh yes, it's happening.


For our epic Hopkins/Milligan project HOW TO LOSE BIG, as mentioned previously, there will be two comics-within-the-comic. One is PRINCESSES VS. UNICORNS, illustrated by Erin Riggs. And the other is OH NO POGO, illustrated by Brock Rizy. Brock sent the first page, unlettered. I really like this "Brock Noir" style. OH NO POGO is my attempt at something involving secret super agents and monsters.

Update: Paul and I finished the synopsis for HOW TO LOSE BIG. It's been a good collaboration. We both kept each other entertained with the insane twists in this story (the climax, oh man), but also there is a message about the strained relationship between commerce and artistry, professionalism and friendship.


PopGun Vol. 3 is available for pre-order (as mentioned). I wrote "50 Miles to Marfa" for this anthology, illustrated by Daniel Warner. I'm also fortunate to be working on Vol. 4 -- a self-contained prequel to 50 Miles called "The Heist and the Heart Attack." Artist Evan Bryce posted the character designs on his blog, and said some nice things about me. Thanks!

These short stories were so much fun to write. Warner and Bryce are incredibly skillful. I'm drooling at the opportunity to work with them again. If there's a PopGun Vol. 5, I have a third and final short story in mind to complete my West Text Caper. Also, Evan and I will be sharing a table at Dallas Comic Con next weekend, January 24th and 25th.