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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.



I think it'd be rather a shame to see the site disappear in its entirety, as I think a lot of the old articles are pretty fascinating reading for anyone with an interest in comics, and can provide some insight for some of the behind the scenes elements of the industry.
What is it about the site that you think really needs fixing?

And if the time sink for overhauling the site's a problem, isn't there a chance you could persuade someone to to do it for you?


We miss your writing and we still hope that you will do it again.

What are you doing now that is keeping you so busy?


Well, this, among other things:


I've been working mainly in Christian ministry and doing some design and web work to support it.

Re-code it *for* me? *Laughs uncontrollably* The code is such a mess, and all the images need to be rescanned and resized. Do it *for* me? Man, that's funny.

For you, yes. Might be a more realistic option than you'd expect. I don't know the market situation very well, but Versaso may be on to something here.


I feel like asking somebody to recode my site is like asking a friend to come over an make my bed. Not that I'm above doing that, of course...

Bill May:

I'm originally a Priest comic fan, but grew to be just a fan. I'd love to hear about your views on almost anything, whether it be CSI Miami (gave it up years ago for sounds like the same reason), barking dogs, or your take on the political landscape. You have a fascinating world view, and even if it is just occasional glances, I'm ready to listen.

Matt Adler:

To echo the comments above, the posts don't need to be anything big or revelatory; I think most of us are just pleased to hear you're keeping busy doing stuff you enjoy. And if you feel like sharing your thoughts on politics, current events, entertainment, or whatever, we enjoy reading that too. For what it's worth, I'm feeling a bit jaded about the business side of comics too, though there is still a lot of worthy stuff out there if you're ever interested in recommendations.


"...making a whopping ten cents off of those properties..."

Priest, if you haven't already, check out Dean Wesley Smith and J.A. Konrath's blogs about the current 'indie' ebook market. With the advent of the Kindle, Nook, etc. you could conceivably make a good deal more than a dime from self-publishing.

And I hope you'll announce here when and if you publish them - you've got a guaranteed purchase from me!


I imagine the cold north is a fun place with you in it. Whatever the future holds, may you stay close to that fleeting peace.

We'll be waiting...

I echo all the above.

Just happy to get updates and can not wait to read your two novels! I've been waiting years for the "unpublishable" one. Also agree with Steven, these things can be bigger than one may expect: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Dies_at_the_End

Mr. Priest,
I'm learning a lot from your in-depth analyses of the comic book business. It seems that your entire comics career, assignment by assignment, has been one long series of behind-the-scenes adventures. These adventures are recounted in such amazing detail, and with such awareness of a broader context, I've wondered if you were taking notes as you went through them. I mean, when I'm p*ssed, I tend to forget the offending minutiae, and see everything through a hazy red soup of vengeance.
Forget that. That was before prison. I'm really here to say that I want more stories about comics, writing, and "geeky" pursuits in general.

To echo what Stephen said about self publishing. I was listening to Jerry Pournelle (sp?) on This Week in Tech a few weeks ago and he said that his daughter's sequel to The Mote in God's Eye made enough money via Kindle that he really doesn't see much reason to *not* publish that way in the future. If you're a name author (which you are, regardless of what you say) you can, in fact, make a decent amount of money because the margins are so good.

You may want to look into Nook and Kindle publishing for your books. I'd buy them both in a heartbeat and I'm sure lots of other people would too.


I hope you do keep the site up. It's a great resource for anyone who wants to know more about the comics industry in general. And its not like there are a lot of places for young minority writers to go to look for advice, information, and guidance.

And you should post more. Even if you have nothing to say about comics, your general views on all things "geeky" and such are very interesting to read.

And I agree with self-publishing your novel as an e-book. You probably won't make a ton of money, but you'll make more than 10 cents.

Evan Narcisse:

From Twitter, via Marvel's Steve Wacker and Ryan Penagos:

Spidey vs. Wolverine is up! And it ties into the recent ASM 655! http://marvel.com/comic_books/issue/41003/spider-man_vs_wolverine_1987_1

A true classic, Priest. Thank you forever for this.


It's a joy to read your writing, whether panel by panel, page by page or blog post by blog post. I've been coming back here every month or so to see if there's new stuff, I'm overjoyed to see an update. I don't care if you don't write about comics, I just find your writing fascinating. Glad to see something up here again.

I do have one question (if you're still checking messages and mind responding to someone you don't know even virtually). I've been trying to find the essay(s? possibly a two-parter) on how you experienced race in the comic book industry. It was personally eye-opening for me on the subject of race, and in the past I've pointed others towards it for enlightenment. I went looking for it recently and wasn't able to find it. Is it still online anywhere?


According To Me

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