Without Fear

Ryan K Lindsay – Writer

Thinking About the Ending to ONCE UPON A TIME…IN HOLLYWOOD

ONCE UPON A TIME…IN HOLLYWOOD – this flick, it’s interesting and worth diving into. But I think that’s to pick it apart as much to celebrate it. I’ve found the more I’ve sat with the movie, the more I’ve had to discuss and discover, and that’s something I’ll always appreciate from a work of art. The more hours I get to sit with something, no matter what conclusions I come to, the more I feel happy for having engaged with that work. For me: the central binary relationship is captivating, the feeling that the final sequence is not real has had me thinking deeply for a minute.

Initial thoughts are: I definitely liked the movie, there’s plenty to love, but there are slices of it that just don’t gel with my brain. It feels longer than it needs to be, extended shots of people walking, driving, existing do a lot for mood and character, but at over two and a half hours, I couldn’t help but wish some had been trimmed, and I don’t think we’d have lost much in those cuts. Does the bloat ruin the flick? No. But it makes it feel like something else. Just a thought.

The main characters are both captivating, and each gets a chance to shine. DiCaprio plays Rick Dalton, an aging Western star watching the world pass him by. There’s a whole sequence of him flubbing his lines and then coming back to shine that is genuinely beautiful. Watching his panic set in the moment he screws a line is so real, and in the end he’s elated to the point of tears when some tv director tells him he loved a take, and following on that some 8 year old also tells him it’s the best acting she’s ever seen, which is a very specific thing because she’s 8, how much acting has she really seen, and even though she’s precocious, what does she really know from quality? She’s most likely just regurgitating the world around her in a firm voice, as many precocious 8yo’s do, and she seems to at the start when she talks about needing to stay in character on set, even while not filming. But it’s this low level of acceptance that gets DiCaprio’s Dalton teary-eyed. That tells you everything you need to know about the character.

Then there’s Pitt’s stuntman, who is the opposite because he doesn’t care what anyone thinks, he only wants to stay with Dalton. He just wants to keep having this one connection, whereas Dalton wants to connect with the whole damn world, though you have to wonder if that’s true. It could just be Dalton wants to be “accepted.” It’s not art he’s seeking, it’s fame. Pitt’s central sequence might be his walk through the ranch where the Manson Family lives, and his determination to check that everything is alright. You have to wonder about his motives here. Does he really give a shit? Or is he genuinely worried that some old Hollywood guy is being taken advantage of? Does Pitt’s Booth worry about being taken advantage of because that’s how he felt with his wife, powerless? His wife who berated him, made him feel like less, and who it strongly seems he killed, and got away with the murder. What is Booth’s motivation except to see that people get their chance to shine. He’s not really about shining himself, he just lives with his dog, works behind the scenes for Dalton, but he wants the best for others, perhaps as he never got that for himself. Perhaps. His character arc feels a little more nebulous for me, he’s more a tool for Dalton’s arc of desperately wanting to feel accepted, to feel worthwhile through external validation. And, I guess, how hard that can be in a world, and an industry, where those external people, their metrics of success, and the whole social climate can continue to change.

As a recreation of a time period, Tarantino perfects every little moment. From the neon signs, to the dog food labels, to the ice maker, to the tape decks. He’s so steeped in nostalgia and wanting to recreate his formative years that it’s impressive, and immersive, but that’s not the story. And I think that’s where I fall over on his work sometimes. He’s so obsessed with not just “what’s cool” but what he absolutely “believes is cool” that he thinks everyone else will care. And it does work. Michael Madsen sipping a soda or milkshake or whatever it was in RESERVOIR DOGS works. The briefcase with the bright light works. The minutiae is his work. But it’s not the story. So I found myself looking past the set dressing and thinking about the two guys at the heart of this story, and I locked into the way Tarantino shows their tension and desperation on the screen, the way they clash with this world they find themselves in, and I can see how genius he is as a storyteller. He drags you into it all, and there are some truly masterful moments on the screen. But they aren’t the whole time, and perhaps that’s too much to ask.

I will say, for the final sequence, I think the story works best if you assume that whole violent nightmare is an acid-induced trip, and not real. SPOILERS: but Booth smokes an acid-dipped cigarette and comes home to trip out and feed his dog at Dalton’s house. Three of the Manson Family enter to kill whoever is in the house after Dalton screams at the group in the street because of their shitbox car. Booth goes on a one-man killing spree that’s exceptionally difficult to watch as the dog can crushes one woman’s nose, and then the dog attacks two of them viciously, while Booth grabs one by the hair and slams her head into every surface he can find.

There are a few things that lead me towards leaning on the side of this being a trip hallucination and not real:

Firstly, well, the Manson Family didn’t enter this house in real life, they went up the hill to the Polanski residence. But that’s pretty thin.

Secondly, Booth has his dog’s food in Dalton’s cabinet, and I just don’t get why he’d have it there. I’ve been told Booth housesits for Dalton, so he’s stay there, so he’d have food there, but I don’t quite know if I buy it. It feels like an inconsistency that’s large enough for me to wonder if Booth went home and then made up this violent fantasy to make himself feel better.

Thirdly, this fantasy completely fixes everything for both Booth and Dalton, very sweetly. Booth gets to use his physicality to help/save his friend, literally his job as a stunt double. Booth also no doubt sets himself up to maintain his connection with Dalton after this when the whole point of this drunken night was to say goodbye as Dalton wouldn’t be able to justify having him around anymore for money and marital constraints. Now, sure, they could have remained friends, pals, whatever, but it would have waned. With this bond, they’re forged for life as brothers of war *and* it raises Dalton’s profile, which means Booth in turn will probably get more work with him, too.

This fantasy also allows Dalton to fulfill his fantasy in that by surviving, and killing one of the family members, he’s invited up for drinks to the Polanski house. He’s finally being accepted by the new Hollywood, something he clearly desperately yearns for. So this fantasy wraps both of those character journeys up perfectly for them both.

Fourthly, why the hell would Dalton still have a working flamethrower from a movie he’d previously made? That seems like some bullshit macho made up thing a guy would want to believe, or would hope for, because it’s the most bad ass he’s ever seen his friend in the past and he wants to recreate that heroic moment because letely Dalton only seems to get roles as villains, not heroes.

Fifthly, the sequence is just so brutally violent to two women, and nowhere near as much to the man, and I can’t help but think that suits Booth’s particular flavour of masculinity as we’ve already seen that hated his wife deeply [enough to kill her with a harpoon gun?], and Kurt Russell’s wife, played by Zoe Bell, also hates him and gets him fired. He picks up the hitchhiker who’s clearly a sexual catfish there to lure him to a ranch full of women living a life of duping and manipulating men. Hell, even his best buddy is about to cut their relationship because he’s married some woman he met while filming in Italy. I think Booth isn’t a big fan of women, so him smashing some young hippie girl’s head to paste on every surface in the house check out as a fantasy he’d quite enjoy, especially deep in the acid-unlocked bowels of his brain. He even lets his buddy get into the action by torching the other woman alive in his pool.

And sixthly, this whole flick is a fairy tale, and, well, fairy tales are not true. Neither is this ending.

This is completely just a personal read, I’m not trying to state it as fact, but it was fun to analyse and dive into. If I ever rewatch this flick, it’ll be to further analyse this hypothesis from the start and see what kind of a case I could really build.

In the end, there’s plenty to dig about the flick, especially the acting, and I’m glad to have had something to really chew on for a week.

NOTE: an initial version of these thoughts appeared in my weekly newsletter – subscribe here.

ETERNAL Returns to Stores!

ETERNAL is coming back to comic shops in Ocotber, you can preorder a copy through your LCS now!

I love this OGN I created with Eric Zawadzki, and Dee Cunniffe on colours. It’s a haunting tale of a shieldmaiden, Vif, who kills a sorcerer and then a small magical hell breaks loose in her world. This is a squarebound OGN, with high quality paperstock, and a bunch of back matter included. It was originally released in 2018, and now it’s hitting the shelves again so people can get another look at it.

The work Eric put into the art on this book is next level/god tier stuff, and Dee is the perfect partner for every page and emotion we delivered.

If you’ve been enjoying my writing this year – EVERFROST with Sami Kivela or BLACK BEACON with Sebastian Piriz – then I implore you to check out this book as it’s got that same melding of emotion, violence, landscape, and a killer artist!

It was a huge honour to be rated on a whole stack of Best Comics of 2018 Lists – in fact, I’d almost forgotten ust how deeply loved this book was.

Paste Magazine lists us in the Top 25 Comics of 2018
Villain Media lists us as the best comic of 2018
Pipedream Comics lists us as one of the best comics of 2018
Big Comic Page gave us some end of year love
DoomRocket lists us one of the best comics of 2018
Comicon puts us near the top of the list of best graphic novels of 2018
The Off Panel website rated us as one of the 20 best comics of 2018

When we released in 2018, our sales were strong, but since then comic shops have continually told me what an evergreen title it’s been for them – they dip in for a few copies each month, they sell a few copies each month, repeat. Well, this is a chance for a surge.

If you slept on this book so far, let your LCS know you need a copy. If you are looking for the perfect holiday gift, well, this is a graphic novel for $7.99 – I cannot express the value you are getting for that.

If you need a little nudge, here are all of the reviews that loved us:

Comicosity gave us a 10/10

Doomrocket gave us a 10/10

Big Comic Page gave us a 5/5

Multiversity gave us a 9.3/10

Comicverse gave us an 8/10

Black Nerd Problems gave us an 8/10

All-Comics gave us an 8/10

Women Write About Comics loved the book

Pipedream Comics loved the book a whole lot, too

Super Serious Comic dropped some thoughtful notes

Comicon was one of the first to give us some love!

And if you’re in the market to see my spoilery thoughts about every page, YOU CAN READ MY ANNOTATIONS RIGHT HERE!

Okay, now it’s time to just trust your own peepers and marvel at the preview pages!

Preorder ETERNAL with your LCS now so you’ve got your shopping and reading needs sorted!

EVERFROST #2 in Stores This Week!

The second chapter to the sci fi comic miniseries from me and Sami Kivela lands in comic shops this Wednesday!

Love the colours on Sami’s cover!

EVERFROST #2 – Bootleg Fidelity

Artist: Sami Kivela

Colourist: Lauren Affe

Letterer: Jim Campbell

Editor: Dan Hill

Writer: Ryan K Lindsay

Publisher: Black Mask Studios

Van and Eight have stepped back into the bustle of the Precinct to discover her son is still alive, there’s an epic war between the Bloom and the Warlords bubbling over, and time has become a little fluid since she went out to live on the ice. She needs a whole mess of answers, so she goes to the one person she thinks might be able to help…her mother. Join us for a tale of echoes through time we could only call ‘Bootleg Fidelity’ as two key characters meet untimely deaths!

I’m really proud of this issue. The first one did a lot of heavy lifting and world building and brain stomping – so this one slows things down a little, we let van steep in this new world. I think you’ll dig it.

Hopefully you already asked your LCS to set you aside a copy, but if not, they should have some on the shelves so go in this week and get yourself the second issue to this series that’s been another hit for me and Sami!

“I am a huge fan of both Lindsay and Kivela; I love how neither are just settling as creators. Instead they continue to push their talent forward with stories that feel as diverse as any of the big indie publishers output. For a book that mixes scope of environment with the scope of human emotions, Everfrost, through Lindsay and Kivela, surely delivers.” – 10/10 Johnny Hughes @ Comic Crusaders

“EVERFROST #1 is a remarkably well executed debut issue that serves up a perfect blend of dystopian fantasy Sci-Fi with a heavy dollop of human drama threaded through it’s center laced in the tragedy of a world in turmoil and decline. Highly recommended to fans of esoteric Sci-Fi.” – 10/10 Ross Hutchinson @ Comic Watch

“Every page is a delicious treat that leaves one craving more.” – 9/10 Scott Redmond @ Comicon

BLACK BEACON #1-3 Cover Show

The interstellar sci fi comic from me and Sebastian Piriz is coming from Heavy Metal and we are excited about it.

The story is being serialised in the heavy Metal Magazine proper, but they are also releasing us in single issues through their Elements line and the first issue lands next month, but you can ask your store to set you aside the first 3 issues as they land because the third one just went up in Previews.

Here are the cover to what is half of this story, so please speak to your LCS and ask them to preorder and set you aside a copy of each of these as they come out monthly starting in July.

BLACK BEACON #1 – out in July
BLACK BEACON #2 – out in August

BLACK BEACON #3 – out in September

I’m so excited about this story coming out. The single issues are $2.99, and we’ve packed the back with extra materials and information and fun.

Let’s Rewild: Backyard Edition

Been thinking a lot about my garden, how I garden, and why I garden. You see, I read this article:

The world must rewild!

This article talks about how we need to plant more – like, the size of China more – in the coming decade.

I’m hoping people start to see the small part they can play. It all adds up. Can you, personally rewild a Chinese province worth of plant life? No, but that’s not the point. It’ll be used as a weapon against you, it’ll erode your mind’s resolve, but it’s bullshit.

Everyone should plant something. We should all learn how to tend to things that live in the ground. I certainly want to get better at it. 2020 helped many people discover the joy of gardening, and gave some new skills, and we gotta see the mental health benefits now, right? I know a decade ago I did not care for gardening, not at all. My grass would become a skyscraper horizon for snakes and gnomes, and any proper plants that required care would bellow to the stars when I signed a rental agreement because they knew it was their death knell. I hated gardening – let’s speak the truth. Which is why I find it so fascinating that I dig it now. I’m happy to have pulled a mental 180 on it, and hopefully more people can be inspired to do the same.

I want to do more for this through schools, but for now I’ll take my added brain massage and show my kids, and enjoy what I can. Here’s what I’ve got so far.

THE COMPOST

I love my compost, a stupid amount. I tend to it nearly every day. I don’t always know if I’m doing it right, but I do know I’ve got 2 massive bins absolutely chock-a-block with worms. There’s something stupidly satisfying about turning all the dirt and trash in there and finding it teeming with little worms just going about their regularly scheduled lunch.

We generate a lot of fruit/veg byproduct in the house – feeding two kids their daily vitamins through kiwi fruits and apples, and cooking meals with carrots and capsicums, and making pizza with as many mushrooms will allow it to still be structurally safe, plus my daily smoothie has a banana in it. I put stuff into the compost nearly daily, and it’s taken a solid decade of practice, but I’m finally figuring out how to keep it going. I, personally, manually turn the compost so the new stuff gets covered [which helps keep mice/rats out of it] and autumn has given me an ongoing supply of leaves to dump in when it gets too wet so I balance it out for the slimy critters – you gotta get some brown in with the green, as they say [I don’t know who *they* are].

I’m happy to not send all that fresh stuff into landfill to rot, I’m happy to feed some worms, and I’m happy to let one of the bins settle enough for me to be able to use the compost to fill a vegetable planter, or even just on the bottom of some pots when I plant some seeds.

THE COVERED LEAF PILE

This is a new one. I’d read about how you can collect autumn leaves into plastic bin bags and set them aside for a year and then tear them open to find good leaf mulch, or compost, or soil, or something. We have a lot of leaves, and I didn’t want a pile of ugly plastic bags loitering about, so I tried something I thought was close enough.

I placed all of the leaves, and some grass clippings, into the corner of our property where we’d built a leaf composting structure out of some bits of wood and metal from a decommissioned bed and swing set [separate things, not a bed *&* swing set, that would just be crazy].

The pile was a solid foot tall/thick. I watered the pile a little and then placed a big black tarp over it all and held it down with 4 bricks. That was in April. I plan to crack it open like the Arc of the Covenant in July, but I have taken 2 peeks under the hood so far. One was in May, where I could see it all compacting and starting to turn a little, some signs of worms, it was looking like a fun project, and then once was this month where I unveiled a thriving worm metropolis, the leaves mostly turned to soil, the whole crust of the affair thick and crumbly and delicious to the turn of my pitchfork.

It’s covered again and my hope is to use some of it in the vegetable gardens, and some into the compost bins to give them a little worm infusion and hit of inspiration.

The best part of this is, it required so little effort from me. Just pile it, cover it, and then wait a term – yes, my brain still measures time in school terms.

THE FRESH PRODUCE GARDEN

My wife is amazing, so when we bought this house 5 years ago, she saw the 1 vegetable garden bed this place had and decided we could do better. So, behold, we now have 8 different garden beds in which we can grow fresh produce. Most of them built, by hand, by the wife. A visionary and a hard worker.

When the spring/summer months treat us well, we grow: raspberries at a punnet or two a day, cherry tomatoes at a similar rate, strawberries have had some good years, and eggplants have definitely become a new quality addition to the turnover. We’ve done watermelon with success, and pumpkins quite well. I’ve yet to yield success with capsicum; the one time it grew well it tasted like plastic. Oh, zucchinis usually take hold, both green and yellow, at a rate that’s faster than any human family could consume, so I’ll take spares into work. Or just google random zucchini recipes, like the time I made zucchini nacho floats – my name, not theirs [whoever *they* might be].

In winter, we’ve seen beets and potatoes go well. I really want to try mushrooms, in a separate location. The herbs do well, and I need to get better at working out what fun single season floral stuff I could plant that might help the garden/insects/soil in general.

This garden serves to feed the family, primarily, and ensure we aren’t spending $50 a week on things like raspberries, but instead just invest a dollar a week into their watering – a task I find mindful to do, and really mindful when it comes time to harvest the ripe output at morning or night. And I did do the maths on it, and the watering of a garden really doesn’t cost all that much in the grand scheme of things. Compared to a 5 minute shower, or a family of 4 showering, watering the garden is quite cost effective, and makes you want to cut down your shower times, and you actually get stuff that’ll save you money from the garden. I never once sold anything out of my shower.

I still openly admit there’s way more still to learn than I’ve ever mastered, but I love doing it all with my wife, and hope our kids watch and enjoy and taste and learn from it all.

THE NEW GREENHOUSE

We built a new greenhouse recently, well, I got my son to build it. It’s 2 metres tall, and a metre wide, and it’s an experiment for us to see how we can use it functionally [we’ve never used a good sized one, usually we just slap them over stuff we don’t want the 9 months of frost to kill down here]. We set about filling the greenhouse with stuff we thought would work well.

The first thing, and the inspiration for the possible need of such a contraption/structure, was two kiwi fruit plants, a young lad and lass. Now, they might have died anyway when the temp got down to -6 one time, and I might just be soaking their corpses in the water, but I honestly don’t think we’ll know until Spring arrives and the plant looks alive or starts to rot in the oncoming heat.

Whereas the second thing we put in, a tomato plant that just sprung up out of some composted soil, is definitely dead. It’s still in the greenhouse, I definitely need to take it out and compost it, but that hasn’t happened yet. Because of reasons [laziness].

But the thing that excites me is the success I’ve had planting some seedlings in there. I took some small pots and grew all-season carrots, phlox, and something else. They started as dry seeds, they started to poke up out of the soil, and right now I’ve taken their little soft cardboard pot and put it into a larger proper plastic pot and continued to water them, and take them out for daily sun, and protect them inside the greenhouse every night, and now they’re showing more growth.

I like to believe I’ll later be able to repot them again into something larger, and maybe I’ll be able to make them flower, or something. I don’t *exactly* know what’s going to happen, but for now I’m keeping them alive, they’re green, and there’s the promise of…something…in the future.

MY OFFICE MATES

I have a few little green friends in my office.

I have a beautiful pot plant whose proper name I’ve lost to time, but it has striking red leaves, and they just keep growing up and out. I’m sure I read once that plants indoors create more oxygen, and considering my office is 50% paper, 40% dust, 9% other materials, and I worry 1% farts and carbon dioxide, then I think this plant might be keeping me alive.

I also like to wipe the leaves,and water it daily,and just enjoy the colours. I’m a simple, simple man.

The sidekick plant is a small aloe vera plant that I just nearly killed. I was watering it like a cactus, which it is not, and so it got very frail and almost felt “empty” to the touch. Some water immersion and direct sunlight brought it back to life and it’s looking good now. It’s also apparently a good oxygen producer.

I grew some red basil from seed recently, so that got its own little pot and is going strong. It’s a personal favourite because I like basil, and it’s red – it’s really just that simple.

And this month I planted 4 new seeds I hope to get to a state where I can repot into the greenhouse, like I did the 3 above. These are swan river daisy, which is doing alright. Zinnia, which is going well, as is the salvia. Then the cornflower is going gangbusters, which is the one I have my strongest hopes attached to.

Apparently all 4 of these seed well enough through winter, and should be good to really unleash into the spring sun and climate, which is more likely the time I’ll consider the pot transfer.

These are the trivialities that take up my mind, but they keep me sane, and bring me joy, and hopefully they do just a tiny little thing for the environment. Not much, but even if it just shows my kids how to engage with greenery, then I’m totally fine with that.

All steps in the right direction are, by definition, in the right direction.

Lords Help Me, I’ve Discovered Journaling RPGs

Okay, I’ve fallen down a rabbit hole, and I don’t ever want to come out. It started with this, and I wrote it for the ‘Perhaps You’d Care To Sample’ section of my newsletter:

LOST IN THE DEEP – is a solo rpg game/booklet where you write your diary of the final dwarf lost in some mines and unable to get out. But it’s also still a game with a block tower, and 52 playing cards, and a table of events. It looks like such a cool way to lose a week. It’s got me absolutely dying to try and write a solo writing/rpg.”

But between that paragraph a few days ago, and now, I’ve fallen down a deep rabbit hole of solo, and specifically journaling/writing, role playing games.

I’ve long loved solo games. I grew up on Fighting Fantasy books, I used to read the cards out of Trivial Pursuit on my own, making a little column graph out of how many correct answers I could get out of 6, I recently fell in love with the DEEP SPACE D-6 solo board game.

Realistically, I don’t know how I’ve not fallen into this before. Considering I got into D&D over the past few years, but I acknowledge that finding time to sync up with mates and energy to get out can make it difficult, this looks like the perfect blend of a lot of these things, plus it’s just creative writing superfuel.

Okay, to explain, for those who might not know…

A solo RPG game is one where you have a little scenario and a rule set and some prompts and then you craft an adventure on your own. I like the ones where it’s specifically built for you to journal.

It’ll give you a character – like the last dwarf in a dungeon, or a trucker on a long haul ride in 1983, whatever – and then you craft their adventure, sometimes over hours or even months, using prompts found in the resource.

It’s usually like a small zine, or pdf, and you roll a die on different tables, or sometimes even draw from a 52 deck of cards, and then you write out what happens in those situations. The result is this written artefact that sounds amazing. There are also map making ones, and you can also sometimes just play them verbally, with a group even, and make it up on the fly.

But I like the writing ones, because you can really take your time, you get into your character’s head. You make something beautiful.

Naturally, I want more time so I can “play” all of them. But I also want to use them in class, so I’m thinking ahead for educational benefits. The ability to get students writing amazing prose pieces, or finding other ways to structure such stories: evidence boxes, image blended slidedecks, Flipgrid diary videos.

Some of my favourite ones I’ve found include the following scenarios: building the history of a weapon, exploring different planets on your space ship, inheriting a haunted house, living with your retired mech technology.

And, really, the sky is the limit for situations you could concoct, and ways you could explore them. To go through some of them sounds fun, to make my own sounds awesome, to take students through some sounds inspiring, to get students making their own sounds like the future.

All I can think of is taking a small notebook and dedicating it to one of these RPGs and then just building a library, or a class resource.

I need more notebooks.

Bought Two Books: An Important Update of Importance

Waiting on my kids so I went for a wander to the local thrift shop and walked away with these two books:

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One’s a series of small essays about weird science – I’m sure the internet is packed with this kind of thing, but who wants to keep staring at a damn screen anymore?

The other one, though, DARKWORLD DETECTIVE, was just the kind of mash up to catch my attention. It was available for a single coin, so beyond anything else, it’s a tax write off and a donation to a good charity, so I walked away with it, and looking at the opening line, I think I’m really glad I did. Or maybe this is shame I’m feeling…you decide.

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There’s a beauty and a science to the world, and I believe both are sometimes in harmony.

EVERFROST #1 Launches Today

Okay, this is a big day.

Everfrost has been so long in the making, I’m now wildly excited to see it finally hit the shelves, and there are all kinds of emotions coming to the surface. The usual excitement mingled with fear is natural. Relief, pride, maybe even contentment. I’m really proud of this book, and it coming out heralds another new complete story I’ll have put into the world.

Getting the chance to tell a story is no small feat. I don’t want to brush over this, I never want to brush past this. Creating a full world, populating it, and finding some moments worth a damn that you want to share – that’s the alchemy of writing.

I really hope you like Everfrost, but honestly, I hope any of you get a chance to love it as much as I do.

Comic shops will have their copies this week – whatever day you head in, I hope you find a copy on the shelf [or you wisely preordered so they’d put one aside for you and you have no risk of missing out]. Buy it with a smile, tell your comic shop retail magus how excited you are to read it – I bet they love hearing that kind of thing. Comic shop peeps aren’t in it for the millions of dollars, either, they just love seeing stories connect from one human to another.

This sci fi heartbreak is full of passion and creativity and hope and lived experience and desire and energy and I could not have asked for a better team than Sami Kivela, Lauren Affe, Jim Campbell, Dan Hill, and Matt Pizzolo at Black Mask Studios to help bring it to the page.

Thus begins our 4 issue miniseries, each issue packed with fun back matter pages, and our whole walking hearts. Keep your eyes out for this cover, and if you get a chance let us know what you think.

Where My Thinking Efforts Lie

I do a lot of thinking. I recently got to thinking about where I let these efforts lie, because I think it’s mostly on twitter, and in my newsletter.

If you don’t follow either, you might consider me without thoughts. If you know me better, you’d know that thoughtless is probably more accurate.

I leave my thoughts in those two locations because those are the two places I like to get them from other people. I sub to twitter/newsletters of everyone I admire. But it made me think – when you put your work into platforms you don’t own, then they can disappear. I am the generation that lost every midi-file haunted MySpace page of hard, curated work.

So what happens if twitter eventually shuts down? It sounds like a silly thought, as if it could ever happy, but not every titan stays on top. Cycles come and go, and things get spat out all the time. You stick around long enough, you see it all, and while Geocities or Snapchat or Tumblr or Bing or Ello or Mastodon feel like the future living in the now, everything passes.

I started blogging years ago as a form to feed my writing addiction. It gave my writing a home otuside of my head, and a possible audience of peers and enemies who might enjoy it. It was fun, and it still is – though I do it less frequently. With comics to write, a twitter presence to maintain, a newsletter to launch evey week, a class to teach, a family to be in the moment with, I have found this site lacking.

Now, this isn’t a post where I make a claim to start blogging daily/weekly/regularly. It’s just a thought out loud – why not use this resource as the public housing of my brain that it is? Instead of A+ High Quality Thoughts farting into the wind of social media, why not give them a home here, too? Why not own a little of what I’ve done – well, I’ll share ownership with WordPress, I guess. But at least things can be exported from here easily [right?].

As such, I just need to rethink my longterm strategy – and make my work discoverable, and searchable, and everlong – by housing some on this site. I don’t have the energy, or the charming intellect, to make it frequent or enjoyable. But I can make it not transient. I think/hope.

As such, I’ll try to sometimes send stuff here like that warehouse in Raiders. Maybe I’ll leave something pretty, ricvh, or rare here. Maybe you’ll open a post and your face will melt off [metaphorically speaking]. Maybe.

For now, enjoy my notebooks in progress, this is the other place where my thoughts live, and they are not public – and won’t be until the stories get told. May I be buried with these monstrosities one day.

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BLACK BEACON launches in Heavy Metal #306

Today is the day, race to your comic shop right now to get your hands on my latest sci fi masterpiece with Sebastian Piriz – BLACK BEACON!

Just nab a copy of HEAVY METAL #306 – with two separate covers, I dig that B cover!

JAN211381 - HEAVY METAL #306 CVR A LURK (MR) - Previews World
the A Cover
Heavy Metal #306 (cover B - Carpenter) - Westfield Comics
the B Cover

Why?

Well, Seb and I have the first chapter of our latest collaboration contained within the filthy hallowed halls of the world’s most awesome sci fi and fantasy magazine! BLACK BEACON is a huge sci fi story that’s playing with two lead characters on the largest scope we could possibly conceive of. There’s an intergalactic space station out there bigger than our solar system where someone wants everyone to come along and meet up. The beacon made it sound like a utopia, but what Niko finds upon her arrival is a lawless expanse where everyone is out for themselves and she’s so late she doesn’t even have a seat at the table. A story of survival, truth, and experience lies in front of Niko if she can figure out who to trust and what to do before the secret of her journey catches up with her.

I like to say – what if CONTACT led us to SAGA?

And we go big with that thought. We open on Niko crash landing on the sphere, and things going sideways instantly. From there, we try to find her a home, some safety, but the worlds that have combined to make this central meeting ground are clashing, and it’s all in a pretty depreaved and iniquitous state.

I gotta tell you, though, Sebastian Piriz has gone HUGE for this book. His alien designs, his technology, his emotion – all are on display in a masterclass of art meets discovery meets creation, meets epic.

I am incredibly in love with what he’s brough to this world, and every issue he seems to level up. Page layouts and beats within scenes and character thoughts all shine in just the right sequence. This book is The Piriz Showcase, and don’t you forget.

I’ve loved writing this story/world for the past year, and I’m hugely looking forward to showing people what we’ve got in the full 6 chapter plot. But it all starts here, finally, and I hope you dig how we kick things off. It’s going to be a wild ride, but hopefully we strap you in tight enough to stick around, but maybe also tight enough so you gotta work for each breath.

HEAVY METAL #306 is in stores from May 12 – pick up your copy now for the launch of BLACK BEACON, the new wild frontier of sci fi.

A sneaky peek at Page 1 – enjoy.

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