Without Fear

Ryan K Lindsay – Writer

Month: January, 2015

Tell Your LCS HEADSPACE Is Coming

El peeperinos, I come to you asking a favour.

HEADSPACE – the Monkeybrain comic by Eric Zawadzki, Sebastian Piriz, Marissa Louise, Dan Hill, Chris Kosek, and myself – is about to be collected in its entirety by IDW and it’ll be in stores April 29.

headspace tpb cover 1

But — it’ll only be in stores if those stores think they can sell the book. They won’t magically order 15 copies and assume you’ll all turn up with fistfulls of cash by the fire drums screaming “500 ON RICHARDS!” – no, they’ll order what they think they can sell. So if you go in and tell them you will buy a copy, they’ll order a copy. Hell, they might even order one more – just in case. If 5 of you hit your shared LCS and preorder with the store, they might order 8 copies to have 3 shelf lurkers – because if this book has 5 peeps pre-keen, then it’ll surely move, right?

But, I’ll stress this again, if no one preorders it, the store will assume this things a bigger fizzer than a bath bomb and will proceed to order none so their business remains financially secure. Fair play, and all that.


Go into your LCS [Local Comic Store] and follow the following script:

“Hi, shopkeep, would you mind ordering and setting aside a copy of the HEADSPACE trade from IDW in April, I’m pretty sure the Item code is FEB150469. Cheers, boss/mate/muscles/cobber/captain/[insert cool nickname here].”

Conveniently, for you, that scripted sequence can just as easily be copy+pasted into an email to your LCS.

I’ve constantly said that indie comics like these live or die on the vine based on word of mouth and I appreciate every kind thing anyone has said about our little story that could.

If you are on the fence, hit the digital issues on ComiXology for 99pence each, or take the word of Christopher Sebela, because he’s a good dude:

“From page one, HEADSPACE takes the quiet life of small towns to some strange places. And once you’ve gotten your bearings, it giddily saws all the legs off your chair and sends you tumbling down a vertiginous hole of guns, monsters, dead folks, betrayal and that inescapable feeling that you’ll never know which way is up again.” — Christopher Sebela (HIGH CRIMES, ALIEN VS PREDATOR)

Or if Sebela has wronged you, sample these fine testimonials:

Zac Thompson at Bloody Disgusting said: “The concept is brilliant and executed with such skill that’ll you’ll barely find time to take a breath. The pacing is perfect and the world building is insane.”

And Pipedream Comics named us the 3rd best Monkeybrain book of 2014 as they said Headspace’s: “-dark fairytale mixes elements of the Truman Show, Hannibal and The Prisoner to create a brilliantly surreal take on the world of a small town sheriff.”


Head to your LCS stat and preorder the HEADSPACE tpb for April. We aim to please.



#fourcomics – Prominent Childhood Comics

The #fourcomics hashtag burst into life – thanks Jim Zub – and it’s the sort of thing I love seeing, and love doing. So, I chose 4 comics I can remember that were prominent in my childhood. I’d love to do plenty of other #fourcomics pieces but time only permits one, and nostalgia is king.

Now, doing this was hard – I cannot remember a time when there weren’t comics around. There is no remembering the very first comic I ever read because by the time memory was forming, everything around the house already felt old hat. But there are comics that meant a lot to me as a kid for various reasons, so let’s get into them.

G.I. JOE #60


One of my earliest memories in life was being dinked on my eldest brother’s handlebars [sounds dirty – totes isn’t] into town and he had this part time job and he’d saved some of the money and he was taking me to the toy store [because back then you didn’t have mega-retailers selling everything, you had to go to dedicated and ludicrously overpriced toy stores] and he was going to buy me one G.I. Joe action figure. I was pretty stoked. G.I. Joe was totally my jam. I cannot remember which one I bought. But I remember thinking my brother was the bee’s knees and having the time of my life. I also remember my mother being in town with me another time and saying she’d buy me one and I think I chose Muskrat. My childhood was pretty ace and filled with amazing family.

Anyway, so onto the comics, so my earliest memory of the Joe comics was with the family on some sort of road trip – could have been around the corner, or interstate, to me all instances of road travel in our speeding automobile were akin to sorcery. So there we are in some road side stop – it felt long, like a split level, and near some stairs was a spinner rack. Now me and the middle brother are looking over all the mostly Marvel titles and I think Mum said we could get one, so we got a G.I. Joe comic. Now I wanna say it was this one but unlike the rest of the world my memory isn’t great. I don’t remember those covers and numbers and stuff others do [NOTE: I always assume they’re lying to sound cool] but I know we got that Joe book and it begat a cavalcade of Joe books in our world.

Quick side note – how bad ass is this cover – it’s totally just how we’d play with those toys, and I love that the art just makes everyone and every vehicle look like the toys. Also, neither of these guys is firing anywhere near the other, seriously, look at those trajectories. Whatevs…

I can remember reading all about Zoltan, or Zartan, or were they both twins [can’t I just research my own damn thinkpiece – NO! TimE!], and they were dragging people down halls to be brainwashed. I remember all the ninja shenanigans and realising that Snake Eyes was cool but I thought Shadow Storm was just a touch cooler – or maybe I had to think that because my middle brother – who read all these books with me and played all the action figure games with me – always got to be the ‘coolest’ characters, so he was default Snake Eyes and Han Solo and I was always left with the squares or the 2iC’s of cool. I remember reading all those crazy storylines and just loving them.

G.I. Joe comics were a staple of my childhood, and a bunch of artifacts I remember clearly and dearly. I also think they shaped me immensely.

Oh, and a side-story – I can remember playing with the figures with my middle bro – we had them laid out on our massive pool table, Cobra V Joe, epic battle. And a Cobra spy, or maybe the Commander hisself, infiltrated the Joe camp, and my bro was holding the Commander. So he takes a Joe hostage to give himself time to villain-splain to the Joes. While that’s happening, I take a Joe and start sneaking around one of the vehicles hoping to pop a cap and end this ridiculous posturing straight up. My bro makes the Commander tell me/the Joe to quit it. I keep moving. They tell us to quit it for real. I don’t. Cobra Commander whacks this hostage Joe right in the head and everyone freezes. Commander tells the Joes he is serious and not to be trifled with, and then makes his exit. My bro puts the CC away and looks at me and says that Joe is dead now because of me and that we can’t just take it back or resurrect him, he’s out, for realsies. I remember this as being a huge lesson to me in the importance of keeping your villains real, and that dead is dead, there are no easy ways out.

Props to my bro for making a fun game with toys a masterclass in mortality and war.

What If…the X-Men Had Stayed in Asgard? #12


I cannot be certain I ever actually read this issue but I know I spent a whole mess of time looking at the cover. It intrigued me in ways I could not explain. The pink background the fact I knew enough to know this story wasn’t ‘real,’ the giant frog wielding a hammer. This cover is just always something that speaks to me, and I think it’s forever telling me that comics need to be eye-catchingly rad. And I am down with this lesson.

It is also the truth behind What If…? books being the raddest.

Vault of Horror #1 [a reprint]

vault 1

I was in a newsagent with my eldest brother when I saw this. I instantly knew I needed to have it. I was about 12, I considered myself a horror aficionado, and this ‘new’ horror comic had to come home with me. So my bro ponied up the cash and bought it for me [again, rad fam, right?]. I read this issue cover to cover an insane amount of times. And some of the stories aren’t even that great but I loved everything about this book from the hosts, to the tone, to the art, to the fact it led me down the spiralling rabbit hole of tracking down as many EC comics as I could find.

As luck would have it, I was right at the start of the reprint era of all the EC books and I spent the next few years gobbling up as many as I could [Tales from the CRypt, Haunt of Fear, Weird Science, Weird Fantasy, Crime SuspenStories, ALL OF THEM!]. And many I did get. I got them in newsagents, I got them in back issue bins in out of town comic shops, I got them by looking hard and long. I got so many, and I treasure them to this day.

Though I remember getting a mammoth oversized issue of Tales from the Crypt – it was like WEDNESDAY COMICS large, but with a harder cover – and I loved it so. Now…I have no idea where that issue is. Still bums me out. The closest I came to making up for this was buying the JACK DAVIS EC STORIES ARTIST’S EDITION a while back. Book is a bruiser and sits behind me in my office making me smile daily.

Spider-Man: Carnage


This is one of the first comics I bought with my own hard-earned Empire Credits. It was at Minotaur Comics [then the largest comic shop in the Southern Hemisphere and regular train-ride-away comic haunt for me and the bros] and I had recently been sucked into the Spidey vortex of Venom and Maximum Carnage. I insanely loved both [I still have nearly all the issues of MC and so so many issues of those Venom minis they kept pumping out – I doubt I could ever find the heart to part with them] and Carnage was a character I just thought was super interesting. So I snapped up this weird little trade collection – of which there weren’t many at the time – and I read these issues a lot. Looking back, it’s just OTT 90s gorno in spandex but at the time it marked this transition from the Uncle Scrooge stuff I had been reading. It showed I was ‘maturing’ into an ‘adult’ reader, ha, wink.

Anyway, I still love Carnage [come at me, brah] and this book has not been cracked open in a long time but I know when I do, I’m going to love it with all my nostalgia feels.


So, those are my #fourcomics – they certainly aren’t perfect but they speak miles to me as a young person, and me as a progressive reader, and me as a comics reader and where my foundations lay.

In writing this, I can’t help but wonder which comics I should/would/could have included. Presented because I care [and am certain you do, too] here’s some alternate suggestions.

Uncle Scrooge – I’d have no idea the number, but these comics [and I wanna say some Goofy ones] got me through Year 2 in a big way when I was dealing with my father’s death, had moved towns, and came down with this harsh asthma that was probably more psychosomatic than real but it dropped the ass out of my year either way – but these comics were there to keep me focused.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Adventures #4 – before we’d even seen the show, this comic came into my life because my middle bro moonwalked into a plate glass door. Relax, he was fine, just a few stitches – but he was in hospital and I remember overhearing the call that he was in hospital, and my Mum raced off to see him [said moonwalking took place at a mate’s place] and as she left I just burst into tears. I thought he was gonna die – I obvs didn’t get the idea of a cut leg – but I was calmed when I found out we were gonna deliver some reading material to him the next day. Mum randomly picked out some comics and #4 here got us tracking down more, and then the show dropped, and we never looked back. I dug the show just fine but these comics were gold dust, and only just behind the Joe books for us.

Mad Magazine – again, I’d have no idea the issue # but my middle bro and I inherited the eldest bro’s collection when he went off to join the Army. So we got sucked in, and then one summer we spent countless hours riding from town to town looking in all newsagents for any different Mad mags we didn’t yet have. They were glorious and inform so much of my stupid humour now.

Bartman #1 – I read this issue, and the subsequent 3 that make up the mini, soooo many times. I really wanna read them again to see if they hold up is some sort of way because man was Young Ryan hard into these guys.

And I wanna do more, SuperPro #1 [which I speed reread this week and it is not good], and Daredevil #201 [I think it is, him with the broken arm], and some of the covers to the X-Men Classic issues, but I’m realising with the comics loitering in my childhood peripheral I could rage rage against the night forever.

I will close by saying, I hope you peeps have #fourcomics that shaped your youth in a rad way, and I hope you’ve shared them with the world.

Your Writing Process Will Murder You Dead – BKV Edition

I wish every writer took the time to write about their process, or drop hints, or just describe the shitstorm that is the inside of their cranium because I find all of that stuff so helpful and important and powerful and true.
Even when everyone does it different and feels it different and produces it all different.
No writer is the same, but be damned if we aren’t all a face on some weird dodecahedronical 4th dimensional beast spewing self-absorbed tweets and wondering if we are the only one.

Anyway, enough about me, I wanted to showcase this great Brian K Vaughan piece you can read online and is from the mega-huge superfantastic SAGA HC containing the first 18 issues of the title I love so dearly.
He drops plenty of bombs for your process id to chew over breakfast, I wouldn’t be quoting so much as lifting the piece so instead I’ll link to it here:


But I will highlight one line because it’s the sort of thing I find useful to remind myself, and the sort of thing we should all know/remember/practise and here it is:

I try to force myself to use no more than six panels a page, and no more than twelve balloons of dialogue per page, with no balloon exceeding two typewritten lines of text

Think about the myriad reasons to do this. Think of the letterer, allow that person to do their job sanely. Think of the artist, allow that person to have room to do their job creatively/awesomely. Think of the reader, allow them to not be overwhelmed by the page/words/text-slabs/density. Think of your characters, your pacing, your beats, everything. Paring back is good, assuming the intelligence of your readership is fun, and a good editor once told me that whenever you feel you are finished the whole thing could probably lose 10% easy and not suffer at all. And he was pretty well exactly dead on the money with that call.

I’d been thinking about this all this week because an editor asked me to start numbering all the dialogue/captions on the page [nope, I’d never formatted that way before] and I started freaking out because all my pages were running up into double digits. This made me feel a lot better.

As for panels per page, well, man, this is something I’ve loooong stewed over. I noticed way back when that BKV/Pia Guerra’s Y: THE LAST MAN possibly never ran over 6 panels, and always seemed to average around 4, with some 5, a few 3, and that consistency really got to me. Then I read EX MACHINA by BKV/Tony Harris and that book’s like clockwork for 4 panel pages. And then SAGA is 5 panels most of the time.

From there, I started looking at how other comics rolled – obvs WATCHMEN is the 9 panel grid, Frank Miller would rock the 16 panel grid, I noticed the widescreen layout of Hitch on ULTIMATES and Parlov on FURY MAX and soon I can’t read something without counting the panels with the hand behind my back.

But what does this for me? Knowing all this is no good unless it informs you, maybe even elevates you. So for me, I started looking at what my go-to was for panel count on a page. I seem to sit ~5-6 for most pages, on default. But in editing I’m always looking to drop a panel if/when/where I can. I’m doing this tablet view book and I noticed I definitely love 3 panels per tablet page, so 6 per art page. Whereas I’ll skew to 5 if I’m scripting just a plain full page.

Suddenly, you start looking at the splash pages you do – should you do a Brian Wood and pack the pages with density so you can afford that double splash of Conan sitting down [still one of my favourite double splashes of all time, because it’s about emotion] or do you eschew the splashes entirely, like Phillips/Brubaker on CRIMINAL who only ever dropped 1, and it was a guy looking up at a star filled sky.

Panel count is so important because it’s the control you exert over the reader, over time, and over the way the story reads and feels. If you aren’t thinking about it then what the hell are you doing this in comics for?

Anyway, sometimes rules like this are great because they give you a guide, a starting point, and something to keep you on the straight and narrow and not making the crazy noob mistakes [some of my early early scripts called for some insane 11 panel pages, and worse – and you can go way higher than that, but not with the amount of dialogue and people I also wanted in those panels :(].
Then, as always, remember it’s just a suggestion and if you wanna go crazy with a 25 panel page, or a silent page, or silent issue, or splash with no art, or whatever, then at least you’re probably one step closer to doing it with meaning. Because the old saw of not breaking the rules until you know them and show you can use them is so so very true.
Anyway, also read the post because thinking about BKV stressing over his words and hating on himself makes me fell better about myself in all sorts of nasty mental ways.

What is Best in Life? – 2014 Style

It’s been a good year, let’s steep in the high octane feels.

Best Comic


This book is just an insane process bonanza near on every single issue. I enjoy this book, but also feel I’m learning from it. That’s exactly how I want to spend my time right now. And I bought in mainly for Aja’s art so it says a lot that Annie Wu’s issues are just as pleasing for me on every single level. This book is a true bruiser, you need it in your life.

Best TV


Love everything about this show. The chaacter performances/arcs, the writing, the slowburn pacing, the way it does not ever pander, and even the messed up horror. This show always makes me want to go out and create.

Best Movie

winter soldier flick

Didn’t see this on a lot of Top 10 lists and was floored by the absence. This flick rocked me so hard I actually saw it a second time. In a year where I only really watched like a dozen flicks, I watched this twice. And did it in black and white the second time and it was superb.

Best Book
WORDS FOR PICTURES by Brian Michael Bendis

words for picturec over

Not so much levelled at actual craft but moreso at all the other parts of the game that fall in between the cracks. Dealing with editors, writing for artists, etc. Book is supremely readable and just flat out great. I’d put this in my #makecomics 101 basket every time.

Best App



This news aggregation app really helped me keep in contact with the world at times (for the little things and thoughtpieces twitter failed me on) and it broadened my scope a little. When I go to bed, I get my zite and my tumblr on. It’s good stuff.

Ha, just realised, with all the swiping on articles and such zite is pretty much the tinder of articles.

Best Music


A lot of my 2014 writing output was scored to this soundtrack. The Lemurian Star track just tells me to SUMC (shut up and make comics)

Best Decision

A Career…Deviation

For years, I’ve been in and out of teaching at an executive level (as an assistant principal). I have decided, for 2015, to step away from that level of work. It’s a step away from money – but one project lined up will cover a little of that missing moolah, thankfully – but mostly it’s just a step away from having a cluttered brain. Being a classroom teacher AND having to organise other school ventures and things is a lot of work, plus wanting to be an engaging husband, and have two kids, and y’know, the whole writing dealie.

So, for 2015, I’m stepping back to just being a classroom teacher – a gig I can do standing on my ear – and the rest of my mind can focus on the writing a little more. Which, again, is starting off well with an announcement of a sweet book coming at some stage which I think you’ll all dig, and see why I wanted to give it as much grey matter as I possibly could.

As for going writing full time – a-hahahahahahaha – yeah, that might take a little while longer. Maybe if I lived with my mother, leeching her wifi, and had no lady options, then I could afford such fancy things. For now, writing is not coming close to teaching money so we’ll just keep the kids in new shoes, okay?


I hope your 2014 was full of many ‘best’ things. Here’s to all the best things – huzzah. And roll on 2015 – believe.

Tweet Your Own Adventure

There is a choose your own adventure game you can play on twitter – click on this account and then follow the links in the tweets: @wnd_go

I ended up at:
“The night is bitterly cold. In the morning, they find your frozen body.
They snap your fingers off for fun.”


I love this because it’s proof that great ideas are out there. In every advancement, every avenue people label as dumb, whatever, there are ways you can bring superb art into this world. And there are people out there thinking about this stuff. They say there’s only 7 stories you can tell, they say every chord imaginable has been played, but they don’t know the human need to innovate. And not always for profit but rather just to prove we can. We invented Rubic’s Cubes just so we could test ourselves. And I dig that people view life as a Rubic’s Cube sometimes and they twist and turn until they find something strange/unique/beautiful/fun/whatever.

Whenever I create, I try to image I’m about to do something that’s never been done before. And sometimes I fail, but I then try to edit it into something new. And if you wanna get real deep on it, you can perceive that the act of trying, and the way I go about it might be the first time it’s been done like that in the universe. Or maybe it’s the only way that moment will ever exist in this universe because there is no other life around and won’t be until we mechasupernova, blink back to nothing, and hope some new atoms rub into a different and maybe less violent and racist and problematic Big Bang. Who knows, but it’s fun to imagine, and play with, and twist, and create.

You can think about all that, or you can just go to this twitter account and read the entire RESERVOIR DOGS screenplay as a series of tweets. For realies.

Twitter, I love you. That’s what this post was about, right? Twitter? My love of twitter?

I’m off to go tweet, where’s the Publish butto–


A Writer as a Sack of Self-Involved Guano

I’m reading the back matter in the new CASANOVA Vol 2: GULA HC and it contains reprints of all the back matter from the original issues, as well as current annotations of that back matter – like someone doing a ten years later audio commentary over their audio commentary – it sounds insanely meta-navel but is kinda exactly the stuff I wanna read, hence me skipping straight to it and reading.

Therein, I find this perfect little bit, I had to share.

Back then, Fraction writes:

“Summer: lost in Robert Schneider’s pop symphonies, walking the dogs in blast furnace heat, thinking about baseball and CASANOVA. When I figured out the Big Secret in 14, the apples were on. It was Friday; me and Kel went out for sushi. I was distracted.”

Annotating Fraction now writes below:

“I RUINED A DINNER because I wouldn’t push pause on the idea. That was the end of my belief in the writer’s saw about the work just taking over. Bullshit. You’re being rude, antisocial, obnoxious, or receding from social obligations. Don’t talk about writing like your ideas are malevolent spirits. You just don’t want to do shit and like being alone, jackass.”


I love this, because writing so often breeds an air of sensitivity, dare I say it — pretention. And everyone loves to be that writer – that lexicographical mystic who can’t even. And most people let that person get away with their shit because no one who is not a writer understands how we do this stuff. It’s alliterative algebra alchemy, and I think they know if they upset the routine, or the precious time, that the writer is no doubt petty and sore and goddamn unbearable. I know I can be. Fraction identifies and exemplifies that stereotype I think many even want to be, buuuut–

I love this, moreso, because then Fraction calls himself out on this bullshit. He speaks the truth of it. It is fun to write, it is fun to be in solitude playing with your mental toys. It’s the bee’s knees, and we’ll find any way to choose it we can.

But we should never let the apples burn.

Wife/kids > family > writing.

Don’t be a poser, don’t die for the deadline, don’t be ridiculous, manage your time, manage your mind, be realistic, be real, have fun, and allow others around you to share it with you.


A Few Review Links

I love reviews. Good, bad, helpful, snarky, whatever. A review gives me something to work with, and that something is external feedback, an extra set of eyes. A review is always fascinating to me.

And, yes, I do read the reviews. I want people to read my work, it’ll do me well to know if I’m serving them well in my role.

So I have some reviews to link to below, and one of them I didn’t see for weeks. You’d be surprised how much I do not google myself. As such, if you review my work, drop me a tweet @ for it, or something. I wanna know your thoughts, and am happy to share them.

Without further ado – the links.

DEER EDITOR #1 gets a glowing review from Zander Riggs over at Destroy the Cyborg

He says, “But this is the kind of story I wait for.  This is the kind of story that I search desperately through the release lists for. This is the type of comic I wish would get more attention. This is Deer Editor.

Consider me stoked.

HEADSPACE #5 gets a 9/10 review from Ed Garrett over at TMStash

He says, “Issue #5 takes the story into territory that is both heartbreaking and horrifying.


To say I’m flattered by great reviews undersells it. I’m flattered when someone remembers my name. I’m floored when someone digs my stuff.

So, these have both found their way to me in 2015 and made me happy and excited for make more comics. Which I’ll go do now.

Cold Brewed Writing Fuel

I finally succumbed to the jittery devil of caffeine. So if I’m doing it, I’m doing it in style.

I’d managed to teach a decade without really ever having coffee. But I guess being an Assistant Principal, father of two, husband to one, tweeter of lots, and writer of things all at the same time finally stormed my defences and made me realise what true tiredness felt like. I was brought low, and then handed the solution.

Coffee helps me focus. It tastes great. It’s fun — what, I can stop any time I want…!

Anyway, Judgey McJudgerson, so I love me some coffee. But in the Australian summer, I can’t go gargling something that’s liable to make my body temp spike and cause me to burst into flames. Those flames would only attract flame eating drop bears who would slay my family and steal whatever coffee reserves I have left. Aw, hell no.

So I did what any respecting addict would do – I adapted.


^^^That up there is the solution. I’ll get my writing Gaul potion to match the environment, but how?

I considered just making coffee and letting it cool, but I’ve consumed the cold dregs from the mug before and they did not satisfy.

Then I thought about making iced coffee, but after some googling (and finding out people are out there making salted caramel iced coffee in their homes – which, as good as it sounds, is probably the equivalent of being able to lick yourself like a dog, you’ll just never leave the house and fall into twitter irrelevance) – I finally did what seemed most obvious, I went to a coffee guy and asked.

Luckily for me, great mate and Aussie comic writer Ben Rosenthal makes coffee his living so I dropped him a line and he gave up all his secrets. So, below, presented for the first time, is my modified recipe for home brew iced coffee RKLstyle. Enjoy.


Geddit, because it sounds like ‘brew’ but also makes the beverage sound a little European and fancy schmancy.



Coffee – really, whatever floats your boat, I’m currently in a tin of AVALANCHE, ymmv

Cold water – I use what’s been boiled before and cooled in the kettle because I assume it’s the cleanest water in the house, again, ymmv

Sugar – I rock a Low GI Raw Sugar that I find is kindest on my system – too much refined and processed sugar is my mortal enemy

Caramel syrup – I use Bickford’s, but am currently rocking some homemade from my sis-in-law – you may not even want caramel, whatever, make your own recipe, jeeeeeez

Milk – I will not prescribe, I’m using whatever is available in this house – which on any given day can be dairy (nice), oat (nice), rice (relatively nice, surprisingly depends on the brand), almond (blech), and I’ve even spied soy and just lactose free (have yet to use)


Cup – I use a 500ml tupperware sealable soup mug

Spoon – I use a cafe spoon because I’m super fancy like that

Kettle – see above


Sounds fancier than ‘Steps,’ right? See, I told you — ‘fancy’

I put the coffee into the mug – I use like 4 spoonfuls for this mug, it’s going to make two large drinks

I put the sugar into the mug – whatever level of sweetness you like – coffee is just an intricate sugar delivery system for me, so I won’t embarrass myself by saying how much I use

Add the water to the mug, seal, and put in the fridge

Do all this at night for tomorrow’s drinks

The next day (I drink mine at night to fuels the words, so mine gets ~20 hours to soak/steep but you can do less, it’s fine), pour the coffee into a drinking receptacle – I use a glass stein, pictured below, and I pour enough coffee in for half the stein, which is half the mug gone, cioncidence? – and you can use a filter to really get the party started, either a real filter, a piece of paper towel, or maybe just your ironic xmas sweater t-shirt

Add milk to taste

Stir in caramel syrup

Consume cold – you could probably add ice, I’m too lazy and the drink never lasts long enough to need it


I have found this iced coffee to be insanely quick and easy to make, delicious, and it’s doing the job – these words were typed in about 80 seconds, I counted.

I hope you dig. Feel free to change it up, add that salted caramel to your world, but I wanted to post this here so someone out there might be emboldened to try their own and not feel the fear I was consumed by, drinking my steaming coffee in desert conditions, and ruining countless keyboards with the sweat dripping out of my beard.


Cue the ‘real home baristas gang,’ with their filter/bandannas slung low, telling me I’m doing it wrong in 3…2…..1….

Best Comics of 2014

I like to read comics, I like to share what I’ve read. I like to, where and when possible, expose people to new books. I hope this post does this in spades because 2014 was a bloody ripper of a year for comics.

Disclaimer: I have not read all books from the past 12 months. In fact, my reading has been sparse, though I’ve been hitting at least one floppy per day, just because I like to show the kids how you can set a goal that’s achievable, thank you New Year’s Resolution. Anyway, as I was typing, I haven’t read them all. I need to catch up on plenty, and I surely will. One day. So there is no EAST OF WEST because I have to get back in, etc.

The following books are ace. Get into them. I am safely vouching for them.

HIGH CRIMES – Mt Everest action in 99c chunks from Moustafa/Sebela
BATMAN – just flat out fun cape comics, top shelf high concepts from Snyder, superb Capullo art, lots to love
ELEKTRA – really dig the vibe/tone of this book, and the art is pretty top notch most of the time, plus those covers
STRANGE NATION – quirky and smart conspiracies from Romera/Allor
DAREDEVIL – always good, has shied away from great for me, lately, but is always so close, or gets there on occasion (I sound like I’m complaining, it’s a good book, ‘kay, Ryan, jeeeeez)
BLACK SCIENCE – very good, just missing out, I’m always enjoying the structure and pacing from Scalera/Remender
COPPERHEAD – came out of nowhere, has made me intrigued instantly
SOUTHERN BASTARDS – very good low level crime stuff from the Jasons (Latour/Aaron) – EDIT: on NYE I caught up on issue #4 and am now wondering if this should have been in the Top 10, it probably should/would/could have, but I’m lazy with my edit fu
THE FUSE – digging this low key high space procedural from Greenwood/Johnston
NAILBITER – enjoying the smooth flow of this serial killer jam from Henderson/Williamson
DEAD LETTERS – really intricate and insane stuff from Visions/Sebela
THE PRIVATE EYE – digital-only book from Martin/Vaughan is consistently well crafted, paced, structured, and fun
LAST BORN – weird and frenetic jam by Zawadzki/Meaney
AMBIENT YEAST – dysfunctional apocalyptic funtimes from Pat Grant
ORIGINAL SIN – I really dug the first two-thirds of this Marvel event from Deodato Jr/Aaron – the structure of the end was different – nature of the beast – but there’s a lot of fun stuff to dig on here, I think I was mostly just impressed that the Orb got to headline an event, man, what a world in which we currently reside
THE WICKED + THE DIVINE – a book I’d not have said would be in my wheelhouse but this McKelvie/Gillen jam is just bloody well told
BIG TROUBLE IN LITTLE CHINA – this was way more fun than I’d expected, thoroughly digging delving into the Churilla/Powell pages every issue
SOLAR: MAN OF THE ATOM – a really slick take on an old propety from Bennett/Barbiere
PRIME 8s – I wish there’d been more of this Latino/Moreci insanity

I love great creator owned DIY comics. Below are some books that have been made because their owners screamed at the world and demanded to be heard. They’ll be hard to find, but they’re ace.

DUNGEON FUN – Slorence/Bell really pack in the fun and cool in this all ages fantasy romp
EXIT GENERATION – great interstellar hijinks and 80s action from Oliveira/Read
FROM ABOVE – an intriguing Aussie superhero dystopia from Craig Bryun that I think shows us a great creator on the scene down here
THE BROTHERS JAMES – the best grindhouse fast car revenge comic you’ll find anywhere in the world, Level/Ferrier are suh-laying it on this one
PROPELLOR – a superhero concept played low key and for the character beats, the pacing from Mo is on fire, and the art from Muriel is captivating

Aaaaaaaaand, now for the big show.

The Top 10 Comics of 2014

by Johnnie Christmas + Ed Brisson

Yes, I write essays in the back of this book, no, it’s not bias showing through. SHELTERED is just damn good comics. The pacing is great, the voices are clear, and Christmas with Shari Chankhamma colours is just all sorts of beautiful. This story of a prepping community gone wrong is pretty spectacular and wild, and with the recent events as we wind into the final reel, I truly cannot wait to see what happens next. And that’s the perfect sign of a damn good book.

by Chris Mooneyham + Frank J Barbiere

I come away from every issue of this book wanting to go back, read it again, and take my time. Because Mooneyham and Barbiere make each issue look easy, they make it seem simple. But the structure is key. The way stories are broken, the way pages are assigned, this book is a process nightmare for me because it does all the things well that I believe I can’t do. The dialogue is sparse. The iconic visual moments are plenty. And yet the story still hangs. I always worry I cannot do these things but FIVE GHOSTS gives me hope.

8 – SAGA
by Fiona Staples + Brian K Vaughan

I know this isn’t the best book on the stands. I know this, and so sometimes I worry I steer away from it just to prove this to myself every month. It gets adored like everyone knows it’s made with magic pixie dust and I don’t see it that way so I almost tell myself maybe it’s not that good. Like some sort of four colour hipster. And I do this because I am a BKV a acolyte and I want to make sure the book is this good.

And it is. It is this good. Because when this book is on fire, nothing can stop it. It succeeds, and this’ll come up a lot for me, because it’s a genre dirty bomb, taking in lots of things, heating them, and throwing them in your face. And the fact, at its core, this book is about parenting just double makes me smile.

by Roc Upchurch + Kurtis J Wiebe

I never would have said I needed some sword and sorcery comic in my world. I never played D&D as a youth, though did dig the cartoon and played my fair share of GAUNTLET. But this isn’t a genre itch I ever needed scratched and yet Wiebe lured me in and then I realised what this book is. It’s about the characters, these women, and their relationships, and their connection to their world, and their ability to kick ass and be funny.

I never thought I needed this book but now I’m so incredibly happy the whole world gets to enjoy it.

by Garry Brown + Brian Wood

This book has that density of world building I loved in DMZ, and it has strong characters like all his work, and it has Garry Brown on art with Jordie Bellaire colours and that’s always a treat for the peepers.

The idea of a post-post-apocalyptic book was intriguing, that it also then became something more is pretty damn cool. This is a character deconstruction of what we can become with a clean slate ahead of us but only the same old skills available at our hands. And from there the book goes to places I did not see coming. It is nice to be surprised.

by Chip Zdarsky + Matt Fraction

Another book I was pretty certain I didn’t need. And then it landed and completely defied my expectations. A time stopping sex comedy sounds like fun but instead what was delivered was this beautiful and haunting deconstruction of the minutiae that makes up our relationships, our sex lives, and the ways in which we see and categorise ourselves. Instead of some His Girl Friday with time stopping spunk we got a love story. A real love story. With problems. And laughs. And all the inappropriate stuff you shouldn’t mention. And it’s funny.

It probably goes without saying for all my top books but this book has some seriously fun and inventive craft on display. The way Zdarsky and Fraction use a page, or where words come from, or how to frame a joke is something worthy of being studied. You will be a better wholistic person for having read SEX CRIMINALS.

by Sean Phillips + Ed Brubaker

This weird fiction horror noir came to a close this year and I’m sad to see it go, though I’m also happy to see a series run a decent course without needing or go to 60 issues. The messed up story of Josephine though the years was a true noir pulp classic and it will be sorely missed, though THE FADE OUT is already filling that Phillips/Brubaker sized hole I keep in my heart.

3 – D4VE
by Valentin Ramon + Ryan Ferrier

At least now you’ll know why I hate Ryan Ferrier. He is this good. D4VE is another book skirting between a score of genres, and in the end defining itself as its own island in the seas of narrative conventions.

This is easily one of the funniest comics I read this year, while also having some kick ass action moments, and it was all strung together by dense, fun, and well acted art from Ramon. The story of D4VE’s midlife crisis amidst an alien invasion is so perfectly done. For $4 all up on ComiXology, I defy you to find better value.

Also, this book has been picked up by IDW for issue distribution before a trade collection in 2015. Get on that.

by Wes Craig + Rick Remender

This book came out of nowhere and sledgehammered me in the face. But that’s not fair, it didn’t come out of nowhere, I saw it coming the whole time. BLACK SCIENCE was the Remender jam I was looking for – I’m a child of EC comics and I super dug his FEAR AGENT. And I am enjoying that sci fi romp over there but here, in the tumultuous school for assassins where Remender dumps all his youthful truths, I am at play with the synapse fireworks of a god.

And if the delightfully truthful teen yarns cranked up to eleven in the stakes don’t do it for you, then bloody well sit down and let me introduce you to Wes Craig. His art in this book is another process cache where we see scenes play out in different ways, pages used in the most experimental ways. I love everything about this book. That’s the gods honest truth.

by David Aja, Annie Wu, + Matt Fraction

A weird yet sublime crime comic mashing up other genres…yeah, ‘You rannngggggggg?’ — this is exactly where my wheelhouse lays its foundations.

But seriously, this book is a process wonderland. And it’s funny. And it handles action perfectly. And it made me care about two leads I could not have cared less about for all the last three decades of my life. HAWKEYE is the book here I’m most looking forward to dusting off my old floppies of and revisiting in a few years’ time. This is a four colour storm in a teacup and we all need to be glad it’s been captured, and then learn the subtle lessons on display.

And so, these are my choices for books I dug this year. I hope you have a tidy list of 10 at hand. Tell a friend, they’ll thank you for it.

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