Without Fear

Ryan K Lindsay – Writer

SHE – Louie Joyce Pin Up

Asked Louie Joyce for a pin up and instead he delivers this face-melting masterpiece.

Just one reason Louie Joyce is an absolute boss, a great mate, and a titan of Australian art. Go scope his entire brain of art on his site!

SHE is a comic series from Chris Panda and myself that’s a sci fi espionage smash-and-grab about an intergalactic bounty hunter. It’s being published by ComixTribe and is running a Kickstarter to get the printing presses fired up – check it out here!

Alongside offering this die-cut hardcover graphic novella, we’re putting some extra special stuff in and this Louie Joyce pin up is a crucial part of that. You can get it as a metallic print in the Bounty Bundle pledge tier, but cruise along and see what’s right for you!

CLICK HERE TO BROWSE THE KICKSTARTER CAMPAIGN FOR SHE!

I want to take a moment to bask in the glow of Louie’s spectacular work here. The action and motion at play is so awesome, and is so well conveyed through the diagonal composition. The fact She is cutting left across the page, going against the grain, rushing into the action, is completely on point for who she is.

And those colours. The foreground/background balance is wizard level. I always love seeing Louie Joyce artwork, but there’s an extra kick when it’s in league with a project I’m creating.

SHE Live on Kickstarter! Get your sci fi hardcover now! 🚀

SHE: At The Tower Of All That Is Known

My latest comic is a collaboration with Chris Panda, and is it now live on Kickstarter – CLICK HERE TO GO SCOPE IT OUT!

This sci fi espionage comic is about She, an intergalactic bounty hunter who’s sent on a wild mission that becomes very personal, very quickly. If you’re here, and you’ve dug my stuff before, then this book is for you. If you hated my previous stuff, this is nothing like it, this is totally fresh, so it’s definitely for you! :]

This comic is completely done, which is why we’ve spent time getting it ready to print, and as such Tyler James at ComixTribe has organised something special: this will be an oversized hardcover, with a die cut cover. This means it’s bigger than your average comic, and the cover has a hole in it where overlays and art will sit, and the effect is so damn gorgeous.


There are a variety of pledge tiers, but I think if you’re getting in on day one you’ll want to scope out some of the Collector Tiers – where you can get your hands on extra swag, prints, and such, although our one-of-a-kind premiur tier already sold, sorry.

But there’s also a Lego Minifig of She. I’ll post details later, no time to sleep on this now.

This is not a drill. Go back SHE on Kickstarter now and let indie comics know they’re still alive in 2020

I’m really excited about this comic succeeding, so I hope you’ll join us for the ride. If you’re so inspired, please share the link with people you think would dig it, or on any social media places where you push out the good word!

Click here to go see She, and let’s make some great creator owned comics!

#sheiscoming

D&D on my Patreon

When I started playing D&D a year or so ago, I could instantly tell it would be a great balance against my writing. The inspiration is so strong when you play [player or DM] and I’ve found my brain firing constantly thanks to it over the past year.

When I rearranged my Patreon [you can scope it here], I decided to include a D&D Random Character History pledge option and every month I generate a character sheet on dndbeyond.com and then try to work out the character’s life, back story, and possible future. It’s like a narrative puzzle, and it’s so much fun, and then I get to write a short piece laying this character out.

The aim is for it to be fun to read, but it can also be used in anyone’s adventure as a unique NPC, and it’s also a great mental break for my brain. I’m usually writing comic scripts, and story proposals, and plot engines and it’s all large stuff, so this flash writing is just fun for me – as are the 300 Word Flash Fic posts on my Patreon.

In short, my Patreon helps me collect a little bit of money for keeping my writing bones sharp, and it gives me a smile, and hopefully it gives something to my supporters over there. This week I’ve uploaded my latest character, a Dragonborn Fighter with skills on the Glassblower tools, and she was a blast to figure out.

If you dig short-form writing, and supporting writers getting their fingers flowing in their home office, then I think you’d dig what I do on my Patreon.

CLICK HERE TO GO SEE MY PATREON AND FIND THE PLEDGE LEVEL THAT’S RIGHT FOR YOU.

Every dollar adds up and helps me out and I can’t express how thankful it makes me.

2020 Notebooks

If you need me, I’ll be here.

2020 has picked up enough that I’m now busy.

In fact, I’m full.

I teach full time, and try to do a damn fine job of it, so that leaves me time to split between family and writing [and D&D (and friends)]. As such, I can’t write 7 things at once, but I can write a few things at once and keep the quality high.

So, as of right now, this is my mental load.

Two miniseries I’m really excited for, both with different publishers I’ve never worked with before.

One graphic novella I’m hoping to spin into more.

One novel project that now gets the glorious position of being my back burner tinker project.

And DEER EDITOR. Always got time to sit and pull strings in that world, even though I have no idea at all when I’ll get to return.

I have my notebooks. I have a brain full of stories and characters and worlds.

I’m ready to write.

Thinking About Miller’s Composition on Daredevil

Annotations on a page from Daredevil Vol. 1 #179 by Frank Miller & Klaus Janson

I’m always trying tot hink about comics. When you make comics, you find yourself constantly trying to figure out how to make the magic happen. Not just how to make it happen, or anything happen, how to make the magic happen.

I find this works best when I just leave my brain powered on, eyes open, and seeing/thinking about the world. Which is why I found myself staring at this page from Frank Miller’s first run on Daredevil and just seeing the simple beauty of the layout/composition.

To best tap this knowledge into my brain, I quickly wrote about it, as seen above. I thought about the jagged composition, and what it meant for the scene, and for the characters. It’s not too intricately thought out, just a depth charge to get your brain spinning, and to hopefully make you appreciate comics, or get inspired to make comics, or just go dig out your old floppies and have an afternoon with them.

Or in my case, maybe all three.

I try to think about comics a lot.

You can support me on Patreon where I store a bunch of this stuff.

Or you can sub to my newsletter, THE TWO FISTED HOMEOPAPE, where I often turn my brain inside out and shake loose this kind of semi-helpful detritus.

May it find you well.

Bookfair Haul 2020, First Quarter

I love the Lifeline Bookfair. A whole giant building just rolling with tables of awesome old books. Just getting to roam and browse and scope out covers and enjoy it all is a beautiful afternoon to behold.

This year I did the Saturday lunch run, so Friday peeps had already pecked the comic section dry, which was a shame, but I managed to snag CITY OF GLASS, which I’m keen to get into. I also got this LIFE IN FIVE SECONDS book which takes a story, or sometimes a concept, and lays it out in a handful of stick figure flow charts. Genius, and I can’t wait to read them all, but also would love to teach this kind of business. Here’s a good one, can you work out what it is?

I was talking to my mate I went with about Corey J. White, and how I dug KILLING GRAVITY, and wanted to get the next 2 books, and then the second book appeared. But then so did the first, so my mate snagged that. Absolutely beautiful bookfair synergy.

I got Mieville’s EMBASSYTOWN because I enjoyed THE CITY & THE CITY, and because these covers are gorgeous. Whereas I got SENSE AND SENSIBILITY AND SEA MONSTERS because I genuinely enjoyed PRIDE AND PREJUDICE AND ZOMBIES and this was $1 so I had to know if it’d hold up [which I’m certain it won’t, but I’ll still get my money’s worth].

The rest were all cheap choices based on covers. Have a look. I could spend an hour just looking through what books people buy and enjoying the experience just as much that way, too. Where’s my bookfair haul insta feed at?

Note: these books are still sitting out in my office, on display, and they bring me joy every time I walk in and see them.

Top 10 of the Decade 2010-2019 – Comics

It’s been an awesome decade in many respects, so I wanted to look back and see some of the stuff I’ve really enjoyed the most. As such, here’s a post of my thoughts and lists of some top times I had imbibing some content that gave me inspiration and joy.

May it find you the same, or remind me of that which you already got.

The following is very much in absolutely no order, I just couldn’t :]

Comics:

It’s been a high quality decade for reading comics, and quite the comic reading journey for myself, so here are the highlights – may they provide you with something new to add to your wish list.

In 2010, I was reading a lot of comics for two reasons. I was writing for The Weekly Crisis, and later for CBR, and about to write a book about Daredevil for Sequart, so I was reading with an eye for extrapolating analysis. Around this time, I was also writing a whole mess of scripts that were going nowhere, and I was reading comics with an eye to imbibe, digest, and internalise in a way that would make me a better writer.

It’s a decade later, and I’m still reading comics to better understand them and as such myself and the place I occupy in making them, but just last month I wrote two critical/analytical essays about comics, so I guess not a lot has changed.

I’m thankful to have had a decade where I’ve published my own comics [no, none appear on this list, that’s gauche] and I’m thankful to have been around to see so many amazing comics spring to life. My reading appears to have steered away from cape comics and into the indie, and I’ve no idea where I’ll venture as time rolls on, but I heavily vouch for every comic on this list.

So, in no particular order, and with a write up of whatever thoughts I blasted out when I thought it was pertinent, here…we…go…

HAWKEYE

I didn’t even plan to buy this comic when it launched. I have no specific reason for that decision at the time, I think I was just a little burnt out on Marvel books in general, and I just really don’t dig Clint Barton. At all. I still don’t, but that didn’t stop me loving this run for every single issue as it came out.

The level of craft and sheer awesome in this book still blows me away. If this was about Matt Murdock I’d probably hail it as one of the greatest comics of all time, as it is, about Barton, I rate it as one of the finest entries into the craft from this decade.

DEADLY CLASS

I loved this comic from the very first issue. I dig Rick Remender’s work, and I wanted this comic long before it launched. How exciting to then note how good it was, and continues to be. Though fair play, much of this is on Wes Craig’s shoulders as he brought the thunder with his art layout skills on each page.

A wild and violent ride, this comic is always an emotional truth bomb and that’s what I love the most about it.

KILL OR BE KILLED

I mean, maybe my #1 of this decade. Maybe the comic most personally designed just for my brain. Maybe the comic I’ll remember the most after another decade has gone.

This comic is also everything I want to make myself, so maybe there’s that. It’s 20 issues, a killer size, it’s experimental in some page layouts, but it’s also just crystal clear storytelling. It’s a weird violent crime comic with strange devil shenanigans. It’s beautiful and dark and so so damn good.

CRIMINAL: THE LAST OF THE INNOCENT

CRIMINAL might be the best overall collection of stories and pages from this decade, and I’ll choose THE LAST OF THE INNOCENT as the one present here because it’s just so dark and fantastic. This twist on Archie as if he’s living out a noir story is so much more than the high concept it might present as. This is an emotional journey, a haunting tale, and one that just makes you feel a whole mess of thoughts after the final page kicks you.

Okay, I’ll also add in BAD NIGHT just because I love this storyline, too. It’s the one that’s probably my favourite, even though TLOTI is most likely the one I’d identify as “The Best.”

THE BLACK MONDAY MURDERS

Hoo boy, bleak. This comic is such a dark affair, and it’s so intricately put together. Stunning is another word, but jaw dropping is all I can really offer. The concept of this comic is that money is power, and power can be manifest. The people in this comic are horrible, all of them, and watching them stumble and stab in the dark is quite the tragedy.

ODY-C

I love the reach of this comic. The sheer audacity to take THE ODYSSEY and toss it into space, with a gender-flipped cast, and Christian Ward’s insane artwork. Everything about this comic hits me in the inspirational space where I want comics to do new things and be amazing.

UNCANNY X-FORCE

You might think this is another X-book, but it’s not, no, not at its heart. This is a heartbreaking tale of toxic relationships, and second chances, and mental health. This is a cape book that steps above every combat trope and delivers true character exploration and growth. It’s a comic that got me to care about Deadpool, and Wolverine, and that’s not often a thing that occurs.

Raina Telgemeier – SISTERS

Raina Telgemeier basically took over comics this decade, but I had to pick just one of her masterpieces for my list and I went with my instant reaction – SISTERS. This cross-country road trip about family and a changing future is beautiful, and it uses the comic form well, and it’s the one that’s stuck with me the longest.

But, honestly, go buy every single one of her books, and just enjoy yourself and the future of comics.

PARKER books

Darwyn Cooke did something special with these books. Adapting Richard Stark’s pulp paperbacks into small graphic novels that were gorgeous and still packed their punch. These 4 hardcovers will always be something I want to return to.

4 KIDS WALK INTO A BANK

I often think about this comic. An insanely talented level up from nascent Matthew Rosenberg and a wild intro to Tyler Boss, this comic looks like it oozes style, but really it’s craft. This crime comic about some kids and a bank is such a love letter to the things you can do in comics and I wish more books were this smart, I wish more books aimed this high, and I wish more books played with the form like this one.

Rosenberg and Boss have become instant Must Buy creators and I eagerly await their next collaboration at Image Comics.

SINK

This indie sensation from mates Alex Cormack and John Lees makes me smile with every issue I read. I mean, don’t get me wrong, the content is horrific, but the fact a comic this good is being made by two mates who are blowing up, at ComixTribe, a publisher I love, fills me with hope for the medium and all our places in it.

SINK is a horror comic, and it doesn’t skimp on the horrific, and it’s also a great structural lesson as they make it a series of one-shots, with a two-parter played to maximum effect, and I’m constantly in awe. If you haven’t sampled this comic, you really need to get onto it.

PAPER GIRLS

Enjoyed this from first issue to the last. I trade waited this, and mostly wish I hadn’t. The characters were all so well written I’d have preferred to spend time with them monthly instead of having huge gaps away from them.

GREEN WAKE

I really dug this weird downbeat horror comic from Riley Rossmo and Kurtis J. Wiebe. It was grim and ugly in the most beautiful ways, and I got excited before it was released and got even more excited when it was as good as I wanted it to be. Exactly the kind of comic that felt like it was created specifically for me and my tastes.

Also doesn’t hurt that it formed and built a lifelong friendship between me and Kurtis.

ELEKTRA

This particular Volume, from Mike del Mundo and W. Haden Blackman is a perfect encapsulation of what I want from an Elektra comic, and what I dig about 12 issue maxiseries. Here, Elektra is unpacked and used in a really character driven way, through some insane plot, and by the end of it all she’s been more fully fleshed out.

This book had the very best covers, and is an instant modern Big Two classic from me.

HILDA books

I can’t remember how I got onto these, but I’m so glad I did. I devoured the first 3, and then the Netflix show got announced, and I got excited for that, too. This comic is pure kids’ comic energy! It’s fun and short and well illustrated. This should be a perennial gift to any child in your life whenever you get invited to a friend’s kid’s party.

THE UNDERWATER WELDER

This comic is wild and emotional and like a real piece of literature, if you can believe it, COMICS: BIFF, POW, CHIN STROKE, HRMMMM.

This is like The Twilight Zone in all the right ways and it cemented Jeff Lemire as a writer in my mind I wanted to study and think deeply about and learn how to appreciate.

THOR

Jason Aaron’s epic multi-year run, with many artists, has been a truly monumental achievement. I’ve kept up in trades, and haven’t finished it all yet, but just from what I know he’s managed so far, this is an evergreen example of a superhero comic/story done right.

MONSTRO MECHANICA

This Da Vinci centred comic featuring a killer female partner in Isabel, and a really cool robot, is just the right balance of history, and action, and character work I love. Chris Evenhuis’ art is perfect, and Paul Allor knows exactly how to plot and pace things to bring out the best on the page.

LOCKE & KEY

Not only a genuinely scary horror comic, also a masterclass of form. Between Gabriel Rodriguez’ steam cleaned art to Joe Hill’s beautiful characterisation, this comic is the kind of thing you can recommend to anyone new to comics and who digs a bit of genre malarkey.

SCALPED

Crime comic on the Indian Reservation. So well done, so much heart, so much breaking of that heart, near about perfection, and a fine example of what Vertigo Comics always did right.

CLUE

This superb take on the old property from Nelson Daniel and Paul Allor was exactly what I wanted and never realised. It’s so well structured, deliciously carving out space for every character, and the whole conclusion has stuck with me ever since.

CASANOVA

I just love this comic. It’s 100% my jam. Uberweird spy-fu stuff, constantly trying to utilise the comic form and page, and make readers think.

THE CAPE

Holy hell this miniseries hit me like if someone dropped a bear on me. Read the comic and you’ll understand the concept. Based on a short story by Joe Hill, Jason Ciaramella took it further, and made better, and I’ll forever want to push this into the hands of others.

TIGER LAWYER

I still think about Ryan Ferrier’s anthropomorphic crime comic he made with Matt McCray, Vic Malhotra, and Adam Metcalfe. It’s all I ever wanted, and pushed me to making my own Deer Editor. In a perfect world, both comics went for very long runs, crossed over, and spawned more anthropomorphic working class heroes.

THE SECRET HISTORY OF D.B. COOPER

An alternative history comic from Brian Churilla that’s still pinging around in my head years later. It’s fun, and gorgeous, and completely and totally insane. Everything certain good comics should be.

SOUTHERN BASTARDS

Come for the American Football backdrop, stay for the crime and nasties, and fill your guts with the Southern BBQ recipes.

STUMPTOWN

This one billed itself as The Rockford Files, but now, and a woman, and a comic. It is, indeed, all of those things, and it is those things perfectly.

THE VISION

Taking a C-List character from the bench and putting them into a funky genre choice – suburban horror, of a kind – and dialing it up to 11. The result was an astounding success.

CEMETERY BEACH

An 8 issue chase/action comic. It really shouldn’t work, but every issue pulled me in further.

HEATHEN

Really stunning self-described Lesbian Viking comic, and it’s so well illustrated, and paced, and it has me thoroughly intrigued and engaged.

SAGA

Some see this as the #1 thing, some see it as the cliche choice that’s okay but not amazing, and some hate it. YMMV, but personally, overall, I think this comic is an absolute bruiser. It hits, and it hits you harder than nearly anything else out there. When BKV comes gunning for my tear ducts, he comes with buckets. After all of the highest highs, I will follow this comic anywhere until it wraps its run.

BLACK MIRROR

Scott Snyder has done some great work with Batman, but my heart always comes back to his debut. This story in Detective Comics, with Jock and Francesco Francavilla, was very much a detective story, with some huge fantastical elements, and it hit that right tone of street level and nasty which I usually dig a little more. Dick Grayson as Batman was superb, and the storyline with Jim Gordon was so well executed. This was a promising debut from someone who just kept smashing it out at DC for the next decade.

Top 10 of the Decade 2010-2019 – TV

It’s been an awesome decade in many respects, so I wanted to look back and see some of the stuff I’ve really enjoyed the most. As such, here’s a post of my thoughts and lists of some top times I had imbibing some content that gave me inspiration and joy.

May it find you the same, or remind me of that which you already got.

TV:

At first thought, I’d not have labelled this decade anything special in the realm of TV, but maybe that’s just because I had 2 kids and wasn’t glued to my glowing screen, and maybe also having kids makes you forget things on the surface level, because when I look down this list I see some belters that absolutely stand out as some of my favourite television of all time.


ATLANTA

This show went from strength to strength and that’s largely on the rising star of Donald Glover’s brain – both in front of and behind the camera. HIs presence is amazing, but his scripts on this show are phenomenal. The first season has the invisible car joke, an absolute fav, but the second season brought some thunder with episodes centred around social media and racism that completely blew my mind.

HANNIBAL

How nice of people to gather their collective abilities and resources to make 3 seasons of a show that were just purely aimed at me. Especially when you consider I heard about this show and instantly thought, “Oof, we do not need more Hannibal Lecter things in this world.” And then I avoided it, or just forgot it existed. Imagine my surprise, late late one night when I’m up with a baby who won’t sleep and I stumble across this and my life is forever changed. I was glued for all 3 seasons after watching this one episode and I’ll forever be thankful something like this even got the chance to exist. It’s horrific and heartfelt and I cannot wait to rewatch it in another decade.

THE LEFTOVERS

I wanted to watch this because of Damon Lindelof. But I couldn’t find a way to watch it legally for free anywhere, so I bought the book, and devoured it, and really loved it, so I finally bought all 3 DVD sets with some present money. Then I smashed those 3 seasons and was left feeling like I’d witnessed something truly amazing, and personal, and spectacular. The concept intrigues, but the delivery, exploration, and extrapolation went places I never could have hoped for, and this whole affair got me right in the Emotion Place.

The fact it adapts the novel in S1 so well, but then goes further for 2 more years is so interesting. The themes Lindelof wants to explore constantly get my attention, whether he succeeds or not. He always seems to be reaching. And that scene of Theroux on the bed, with the plastic wrap, is something I thought was such a perfect character moment done in such a bold way.

THE GOOD PLACE

Another show I didn’t know about, and was happy to avoid on Netflix, until my wife popped the first ep on and then called me into the room 5 minutes into it. From that moment on, I fell in love [yes, with the show, but with my wife a little more, too]. The balls on this show, the ideas and scope, and the tip top cast from leads to background made this one of my favourite experiences of this decade.

BREAKING BAD

Utter genius masterpiece on every level. Once the wheels got turning, every piece of this noir clockwork was finely tuned. Watching Walter White break bad, while Jesse Pinkman proved himself unbreakable was a morbid delight.

FARGO

Every season plays so different, new cast, new tone, and yet each one is a masterpiece in its own design. The ability to do that is wild, and I love every single season so much for that warped Coen Brothers sensibility that feels informs but not beholden.

TERRIERS

Just one season. The world wasn’t ready for this pure bliss and genius. Slacker beach PI shows, may we be blessed with more in the future.

JUSTIFIED

Really loved this show, it’s a fun time to watch, and Timothy Olyphant is a great lead, all around an Elmore Leonard inspired story/approach. I dig it on every level I have, and then I never finished it because the guy who plays the boss cop [sheriff? whatever] came out super-hard on twitter as a troll/bigot and it just made me sad and I couldn’t return. A shame this show gets that mental shade from me just because of one bad actor, but here we are.

THE AMERICANS

I’ve still only seen one season, but that’s mostly because it isn’t on Netflix and I’m lazy and cheap and don’t have the DVDs. I should find somebody with the DVDs.

Anyway, this show is awesome, I love the tone and scripts and characters, and I look forward to the day I come around and finish it.

These are my shows, as always, know that I missed whatever masterpiece you’re thinking of because it’s not aimed at toddlers and I just didn’t have the time last decade. Cool.

Top 10 of the Decade 2010-2019 – Flicks

It’s been an awesome decade in many respects, so I wanted to look back and see some of the stuff I’ve really enjoyed the most. As such, here’s a post of my thoughts and lists of some top times I had imbibing some content that gave me inspiration and joy.

May it find you the same, or remind me of that which you already got.

Films

Presented in a form that matches my brain tonight, at least, here are the flicks from the past decade that really really stuck with me. These are my favourites!

INSIDE OUT

My absolute #1 flick of the decade. Guaranteed to make me cry, a heartstopper of emotional truths for the entire family, and funny as hell on the side. I’ll be watching this one until the day I die because it’s so truly exceptional. The big story, a girl and her emotions, is a great idea, but it’s handled with such deft care and precision. The fact the film is hilarious and also breath-takingly sad shows that it can do what it pushes.

It also has the mind-kicking of the kid’s brain being run by happiness, but the father’s brain being run by anger, and the mother’s brain being run by sadness. And it doesn’t push those points, they’re just there.

INTO THE SPIDER-VERSE

Well, okay, unless this is my #1 flick. I mean, it’s a spectacular feat of storytelling, inspiration, and ingenuity. Taking the broader range of Spider-characters and telling the origin story of Miles Morales, alongside Spider-Gwen, with an amazing soundtrack, and wild cartoon style, leaning heavily into the comics in all the right ways. I get the feeling I’ll watch this flick another 50 times over the next decade as I’ve already watched it half a dozen times just this year.

The key to this one is the script: see how so much gets called back in all the right ways.

THE WINTER SOLDIER

I’m always amazed that Captain America isn’t a character I tend towards loving in the comics but Chris Evans made me absolutely dive into the character in the big screen. So take that actor/character, put them in a more intrigue/espionage story, add some Robert Redford, and I am absolutely all in on this flick. The action is great, the tone and visuals are superb, it’s easily my favourite live action superhero flick and I think it’ll be difficult to top because of how well it matches so many of my personal likes.

Protip: watch it in greyscale, it’s a hell of an old school trip. That elevator scene just gets better.

INSIDE LLEWYN DAVIS

It took me years to eventually check this out, and I have no specific reason why, but boy am I glad I did. This is the Coen Brothers content that resonates with me, it’s quirky, it’s heartfelt, it’s “small,” and it’s got Oscar Isaac absolutely crushing it. This shot up my ranks to be one of my favourite Coen flicks of all time because it’s all heart, emotion above plot, and plot pushing emotion before it does any kind of logic. I often think I saw Barton Fink too young to truly get it, but this came at exactly the right time in my life to stick right in my brain.

BLACK SWAN

It’s a dance horror flick, and not the only one on this list. Darren Aronofsky retells the classic ballet Swan Lake and makes it creepy and sexy and brutal and I absolutely fell in love with this flick. 100%, this was a special piece of art that makes me want to create better stories myself on a visual and a visceral level. It’s a piece that uses colour and music and tone to make you fall in and feel, and that’s so hard to do at this level, and I want to learn how.

HELL OR HIGH WATER

I also missed this one at first and can’t remember what made me watch it, but I caught it on my flight to Seattle for ECCC and I swear I talked about this flick all damn weekend with all sorts of creators. The script is airtight, the performances are pitch perfect, and the whole flick just reminds you how damn sad male toxicity is, and how it doesn’t stop and will consume you eventually if that’s what you commit to. It also inspires me in that the plot itself isn’t too intricate, but the way the characters honestly and openly navigate it all is what makes this sing.

LOOPER

This is a weird inclusion, because I recognise it isn’t perfect, but it’s something I just personally dig so so much. The decision to put JGL into the Bruce Willis face is jarring and isn’t something I love, but I love the commitment to trying it out. The concept and the script and the performances are all wins for me.

INCEPTION

Another one where I won’t say this is Pure Cinema™ but I will say it’s something I dig so much because it sits right at the intersection of things I always enjoy wholeheartedly on a variety of levels. The cast is quality, the concept is hugely my jam, and I dug the layers of the script [whether they always made sense or not]. It’s fun AND leaves you thinking and spinning, what else can you ask for?

KNIVES OUT

Only saw this the other week, and yet still, I know this belongs on the list. It’s just so damn well constructed and executed. I know counteless mystery writers no doubt fill shelves with business this good every year, and it’s nothing new, but it felt so fresh on the screen. It’s not a franchise flick, it’s a genre you don’t see all that often, and it’s so damn enjoyable the whole way through. There are dozens of classic little moments that are going to stick with me a long long time, and that’s often what I love most about cinema. I saw this with my wife and then went to lunch and we spent most of it just talking about this flick.

This is another script I’d love to map out and deconstruct. The way things are revealed, and obscured, and hinted at, the balance is near on perfect.

CAPTAIN MARVEL

I absolutely fell in love with Captain Marvel on every level. The flick, the tone, the character, and the actress. Yet another notch in the Crazy Enjoyable Marvel Movie column, I don’t think it’s perfect, or a piece of high art, but it is something important. Hot on the heels of Wonder Woman, it showed a huge appetite for female-led cape movies because you could see the eighth quippy smirking white guy with abs in another costume, or you could see this, and people overwhelmingly showed they wanted to see this. And not because it’s legacy, Captain Marvel was once a dude no one knew about, and now it’s Carol Danvers, who realistically no one knew about, so you’d think she’d perform less than a founding Avenger [Ant-Man, let’s say], but she didn’t.

Brie Larson was key to this as she stone cold nailed this role, able to carry the action and the desert dry humour, and I will happily watch her lead the MCU into the next decade.

THE HATEFUL EIGHT

By the time this came out, I was well burnt out on Tarantino. Django Unchained did little for me, and while I can see Inglorious Basterds is quality, it just wasn’t my jam. Hence why I didn’t catch this until stuck on a plane years after its release, and even then it took an entire trans-Atlantic flight to get through this while pausing constantly to walk my kids around, but by the end I knew this one was going to stick with me. Maybe it’s Kurt Russell. Let’s be honest, it probably is. But it’s also the script, something a little more back to basics in his approach, characters in a locked box conversing, and Tarantino made every character shine in their own sick way.

THE IDES OF MARCH

Gosling, Clooney, old school politics. I knew this one was for me from the shot with the title card. Just a good political thriller to stand up there with some of the best, and this script is really engaging. The kind of thing that’s just words and faces and it doesn’t need theatrics and helicopters and pyrotechnics, it just needs quality acting.

SUSPIRIA

This was some nasty business. Saw this with my two brothers, all three of us veterans of video nasties, and we all walked away quietly contemplative. It’s not just the gore, but it’s the overall tone. This is some dark business, and I never thought I’d want to see Argento updated, but this worked on so many levels, from camera angles, to colour, to pacing.

Plus, that score on vinyl.

THE NICE GUYS

If this had come out earlier in my life, I would have seen it 20 times. Cracking script, great buddy leads, the plot is great but it’s the airtight structure that gets to me. The kind of movie that should come with a six pack to enjoy it all the more.

SPOTLIGHT

Right in my wheelhouse of great journalist stories, this is exceptionally well made, but also treats the plot and subject matter with the tone it deserves. Everyone fired on this, it felt like the kind of thing to stand up there with Zodiac and JFK.

SNOWPIERCER

Brutal stuff, a great adaptation. Chris Evans reminds us he has range, and the grime oozes off the screen. It’s not always an “enjoyable” flick, but the themes will cut close to home, and you’ll wake the next day still thinking about it, and, yes, you absolutely should hunt down the original comics, utterly grand stuff.

WONDER WOMAN

Still remember walking out and my wife declaring, “Well, that was better than The Avengers.” I think time’s going to stand with her on that one. Gal Godot joins the few of this earth who will now forevermore embody the superhero they brought to the screen. Even with a janky third act, this flick is so enjoyable elsewhere that it gets a pass.

BLADE RUNNER 2049

Matches the original in so many ways: music, tone, moments. Maybe not overall as good, but certainly a worthy addition and something I’m excited to revisit. And, yes, everyone says it, but it’s true, the colours are insane eye candy.

ZOOTOPIA

The best crime flick masquerading as a kids’ cartoon…ever? Another script where I want to map it out and study it, for its brilliance, for its simplicity, for its smart joy. Animals and wonderful character arcs and real world commentary: yes, please.

MAD MAX: FURY ROAD

Yeah, not the top of my list. Not even close. But this flick is so good I understand why people declare it #1 – it’s a masterpiece, but it’s down here because it’s not something that completely resonated all the way through me. I mean, the bass did, but there’s something about this flick that has made me hesitant to revisit it. I will, because it’s stupidly great, but it’s not like the things above it.

10 CLOVERFIELD LANE

Oh, man, did this flick ever surprise me. I mean, I haven’t even seen Cloverfield yet, but this was so damn tight I had to give it a go, and I’m very very glad I did. I was completely caught on the edge of my seat, never really knowing, and I’ll forever love the script for that. Tension + characters + wild premise + John Goodman + that final scene = all my love.

That’s the list, hope you dig it – either by agreeing, or wanting to chase some down. If I missed something you dug, know that I probably just didn’t see it, or that I hated it and we should battle, as per the Rules of the Internet. Be seeing you.

Sharing Scripts

I still remember when I started writing comics, it wasn’t even that long ago, not like I started in the 80s or anything, but I remember trying to find examples of what they looked like and could not for the luife of me find many quality examples.

The best one I found showed me the structure, and also happened to be from my favourite writers run on my favourite character:

I printed that page out and had it over my desk since last decade. It helped me find my flow with structuring the page. at first, and you should always be looking for ways to improve your scripting. I know I’ve worked with two comic publishers who had specific formatting rules with scripts, and I stole ideas/layouts from them.

I also remember reading a script Greg Rucka graciously posted on his blog that helped me add the “NO COPY” tag into panels where there was no dialogue so you could consciously see it was my choice to have a silent panel and there wasn’t anything missing – kind of like the comic script equivalent of the “This page has been left blank intentionally.”

I’d hunt down scripts wherever I could find them, because they were showing me what I, a writer, should be putting into my scripts. Over time, I’ve amassed a decent library of scripts, and I share with a crew of mates when we find good ones, and so it’s a natural fit that I also want to share my own scripts.

Why not? Come see how bad I used to do it, and how my words still ended up as gorgeous panels. Come see, come learn.

As such, on my Patreon, where I share my writing and nerdery I recently posted the pdf of my script for FATHERHOOD.

This was my very first published comic; illustrated by Daniel Schneider, coloured by paulina Ganucheau, lettered by Brandon DeStefano, it was my debut onto the scene.

I still dig this comic, I feel like it holds up. It’s not perfect, it never was, nor have I ever been, but it’s a good one-shot. So I’ve shared the script with people on my Patreon in the hopes maybe it’ll help someone on there who is also writing their own stuff.

As an added incentive, I’ve also posted the entire pdf of the comic, so for $3 this month you’re getting a one-shot comic, the script for it, plus the other stuff: two flash fic pieces, one D&D random character history, and I wrote a little something about LAURA DEAN KEEPS BREAKING UP WITH ME, and I also have my best of the decade lists going up over the coming weeks.

I want people who step into my Patreon to feel like they’re getting enough, and I think this month is a banner month to dip a toe. All money from the Patreon helps me fund a lot of comic pitches with colours and letters and such. It also helps me allow myself guilt-free time to be creative, which I absolutely love and appreciate so much.

So, if you’ve ever been curious about this comic, smoething that’s been out of print from me on the con circuit for the last few years, here’s your chance.

JOIN ME AT MY PATREON AND SUPPORT MY CREATIVE WRITING LIFE

I thank you dearly for it!

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