September 18, 2011

A Walk In The Park

I have, for now, given up on Moveable Type and installed WordPress over on my site. I stilt ink MT is very good and maybe the best blogging engine, but itís terribly complex and, at this point, Iíd need to hire somebody to come clean this mess up. WordPress seems simple to style, but I really havenít gotten into the code much, yet, so the WP blog looks nothing like my site. For now, Iíll resist the urge to invest days learning how to style it and just let her be what she be.

I am leaving this blog up as an archive, but will be active across the street on WordPress. See you there. óPriest

 

April 26, 2011

The Fourth Act

Iím not sure who decided screenplays are written in three acts, but thatís what weíve all become conditioned to. Of course, in television, there are four acts because of the commercials, but the beats are about the sameóbeginning, middle, complication, ending. In life, itís good to know there are indeed second acts. At my advanced age, well into my forties now, I presume I am in my third if not fourth act, which has things moving at a brisk pace while we pause for this message from Depends.

I actually keep forgetting about this part of my life. Itís like I ran away to India and live in an Ashram with some Maharashtra natives who have absolutely no clue about STEEL or QUANTUM & WOODY. And you live there long enough, you yourself begin to forget.

I need to completely re-code this website (including this blog which is a spam magnet). The enormity of that task is enough to keep me from doing it. It would probably take me three to six months if I did it a little at a time, and time is simply not my friend.

There was no decision made to stop posting here. I stopped posting, I think, not because I had nothing to say but because I had nothing to say on this particular topic of comic books or super-heroes. I am simply not in that line of work anymore. Nobody chased me out, quite the contrary. I just woke up one morning and didnít want to do it anymore. I still like the art form but, for the most part, do not care much for the business and, increasingly, know less about it.

And itís not like I can post anything here about my personal life because (1) who cares, (2) my neighbors tend to copy things off this blog and pass them around (yes, my life is a Seinfeld episode), (3) other family and friends and British writers use this blog to cyber-stalk me, and posting here becomes an invitation for more stress and nuttiness.

Most writing I do these days I do for me. My most recent project, ď1999Ē for Platinum Studios, went really well editorially but Platinumís business problems delayed it well past our ideal 2009 publishing date (there was a ten-year gag integral to the plot), and the delays turned into my waiting for a bus that simply wasnít coming. No offense to anyone at Platinum, every one of whom went out of their way to make this right, but getting that property back felt like rescuing my children from a burning house. And when you get used to being virtually unemployed for eighteen months, you have increasingly less incentive to run out and sign new contracts. I will likely publish ď1999Ē along with ďZion,Ē my completely unpublishable (my agentís words) novel on my own, making a whopping ten cents off of those properties, at some point. When you take money out of the equation, all thatís left is the fun stuff, what some people call ďjoy,Ē though itís been so long since Iíve experienced it Iím no longer sure of the spelling.

I do, however, feel a CSI:Miami rant coming on, so expect that likely in the next week or so. For reasons too long to go into now, Iíve been watching this series on DVD and am both fascinated and repulsed by it.

As with my filthy garage, I can only walk past the horror so many times before finally losing my mind. Itís possible Iíve lost my mind long ago, but lately this site has been a peculiar eyesore. I should fix it or take it down. I donít have much of an ego about myself or this part of my life, but people entering Act Four are usually thinking about legacy. Itís nice to have something, somewhere, that speaks for you, that tells your story from your point of view and in your own words. So, on some level, I suppose the site, abandoned in orbit for a long time, now, actually serves some purpose and is, therefore, worth the, oh, month and a half it would take me to actually re-code it properly (assuming I did that all day; figure times six if I just worked on it a day a week). Which Iíll probably do, if only because Iím sick of looking at it, now.

I spent long moments searching for some glib greeting to old friends Iíve vanished on, but canít find something clever that also expresses how deeply I appreciate each one of you.

 

April 25, 2011

Dwayne & The Gang

And speaking of DwayneÖ in case you havenít seen it, my main essay about Dwayne and Milestone Media is here.

 

February 25, 2011

Giants

There are few men I've known whom I've admired more than Dwayne McDuffie. Few men whom I have learned more from or wanted to be more like. I am so grateful for his friendship, for having known him, spent time with him, laughed with him, fought with him, worked way past midnight with him. Iron sharpeneth iron, scripture tells us, so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend. In a tough business full of struggle and competition for fleeting moments of achievement, there simply wasn't a more talented creator, a more staunch ally or fearsome foe. There's bound to be a lot of jokes about Dwayne being a giant in the industry. He was a giant outside of it too. I can't begin to describe the inestimable loss Dwayne's passing represents to our work and our lives.

 

February 24, 2011

Dwayne

I literally just heard minutes ago. I am beyond words. Be back when I canÖ

 

May 11, 2009

Trek 3.0

(No Spoilers) They got the Romulans wrong. Again. The last Star Trek film, Nemesis, which killed the franchise, made the Romulans stupid. Made them stupid Roman Centurions who get hoodwinked by a piece of bad casting Tom Hardy as Shinzon, a supposed clone of The Next Generationís Captain Jean-Luc Picard. Regrettably Hardy, the actor playing Shinzon, couldnít credibly stand in the same room with Patrick Stewart, the wonderful Shakespearean actor who played Picard for two decades, so the whole ďcloneĒ notion never worked, not from frame one. Had they cast Stewart to play his own clone, weíd have just watched the fifth or sixth Next Gen movie, but astonishingly poor choices were made all around and here we are with this energetic and fun reboot. Make no mistake about it: Star Trek is a fun movie and well worth seeing. But is it really Trek?

As with Nemesis, this new Star Trek places a rogue Romulan at the center and then gets the Romulans completely wrong. The entire point of Romulans are that they are liars. That they say one thing then do another. Duplicity is their stock and trade. It is, ultimately, what makes them interesting. TV Show Romulans rarely, if ever, raised their voice. They spoke with an even, calculated tone while never taking their eyes off you. They polarized whatever room they might have been in. They were thinkers moreso than warriors, and they used their intellect to nefarious purposes.

Here, as in the awful Nemesis, the producers made the Romulans simply stooges. Every Romulan in this film is a stooge who screams and snarls and beats people up. Wrong. Romulans donít beat people up. They outsmart people, manipulating them into beating themselves up. So, right away, I realize this is yet another Star Trek film produced by people whose understanding of Star Trek never makes it far below the Trek epidermis: the bare basics of what the phenomena is about. And, whatís the big deal? many will ask. The big deal is this: the difference between a film and a franchise is how deep the rabbit hole goes. In Star Trek, a fun but ultimately empty-calorie fetish film, that rabbit hole is fairly shallow.

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December 18, 2008

Life According To Maddie

A visitor came to my office at Marvel and, finding the door locked, knocked. The door opened about eight inches to a hard stop at the foot of my assistant editor who scowled through the opening, ďWhat.Ē Material would then be passed through the opening with the door locking securely thereafter. And that was the only way I ever got any work done around there. Thank God for Adam Blaustein.

I didnít know Maddie Blaustein. By the time Adam became Maddie, we were orbiting different planets. There was absolutely no animosity or falling out, more like a falling away, with my moving in new directions and living far from New York. So I wouldnít be able to tell you much about Maddie, who passed away this week, but I can share an awful lot about Adam. These are just a few highlights:

Iíd known Adam for at least a year before it even occurred to me to hire him. He was working as a framer at an art supply store a few blocks from Marvel, and I routinely had things framed for the office. When my assistant, Keith Williams, went freelance, I remember whining to Adam about the politics of replacing him. I caught a lot of grief for hiring Keith, who was black, some people figuring thatís why I hired himówhich wasnít true. Iíd interviewed a bunch of writers and one artist. I hired Keith because he was an artist, because he could circumvent the at-times arduous production delays by closing the door and doing things ourselves. I was a writer, I didnít need another writer in the room.

While waiting on my framing job, Adam suggested himself for the AE position, and I actually tried to talk him out of it. It paid next to nothing and it was often thankless work. I may have been one of the least popular editors at Marvel Comics in the early 1980ís, and I rightly assumed the immeasurable maturity level of most Eds working there at the time would invite hostility toward Adam. If he actually wanted a career in comics, being my assistant was probably not the best way to go.

But, surprise, this Blaustein guy was a comics fan who knew the universe. He became my assistant and, ultimately, one of my best friends. He married my wifeís best friend, and for awhile it was one of those sickening sitcoms with the two guy best friends and the two girl best friends.

He had amazing insight and depth of character and was a constant source of personal and professional advice. He had a great place in Jersey City, where we could climb up on the roof at night and watch the most spectacular view of the New York skyline you could imagine. He got arrested once for carrying a dull sword on a New York subway. That sword is in my house, now.

We tended to close bars even though neither of us drank. Some of the best times of my life, the very best, occurred with Adam riding shotgun on some night adventure in lower Manhattan.

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