Where the Magic Happens

Hey, all! Been working pretty hard to get THE BIG KAHN ready for the printer over here, but wanted to duck in and add to the chorus of working studio photos. Here are two quick snaps of my fairly cluttered drawing table… usually, I script on my laptop from any point around the studio, but when I sit to draw I’ll bring it here:

Items of note:

• Promo poster for Ursa Minors!, the comedy-action-robot bear book I did for Slave Labor Graphics.

• Framed copy of X-Men Unlimited #14, the first Marvel work by yours truly

•  A check from Marvel (not for the aforementioned X-book

• A poster for the MoCCA  “Who Wants to be a Superhero” costume gala, signed by some of the “superheroes.”

• A postcard invite for the Ninety Candles/Jigsaw book release party.

• Baby wipes. For my baby. Not for me.

• Long-arm stapler for cobbling minicomics and ashcans

25 Random Things about this year’s New York Comic-Con

1. Though I did a lot of business instead of selling a lot of books, it seemed pretty clear that the recession wasn’t hitting the convention floor. NBM sold out of BROWNSVILLE, TALES FROM THE CRYPT and more.

2. That being said, to that jerk that stole a copy of BROWNSVILLE: that’s food out of my kid’s mouth, ass.

3. The pro lounge was a saving grace; I need one at my day job with free popcorn, 15 minute massages and free soda.

4. It’s become quite apparent that in order to be working in comix, you’ll need an iPhone. Not just for creating, mind you, but to share apps and tweets. In a slick, wireless world, I fear my low-tech phone is keeping me wired.

5. While SCOTT PILGRIM 5 was, to me, the book of the weekend, I can’t urge you enough to find a copy of Chris Kirby’s Devils Due graphic novel, THE LOST SQUAD. It’s like Busiek’s ARROWSMITH had sex with BAND OF BROTHERS, and uses characters named after the old Chicago baseball triple-play Tinkers-to-Evers-to-Chance.

6. Go digital, Young Self-Publisher. The future is bright and writ large on an infinite canvas.

7. In a comic book recession, consider adding a flask to your convention must-haves. Save a bundle, make a statement, drink the finer things in life.

8. Comics is high school, and I’m not sure where to sit for lunch.

9. How Not to Break Into Comics #1: Be Persistent, yes. Be a Stalker, no.

10. Fun-but-humbling con moment: hassidic dude in kippah paced past my Comic Book Tattoo signing; I turned to a co-writer and said “See that? That was the he’s got a yarmulka/i’ve got a yarmulka drive-by I often see at conventions.” One minute later, as guessed, the guy leaned over to me… and asked when Joe Kelly would be signing. Ouch.

11. There’s nothing more satisfying than introducing your four-month old to the entire comic book industry at once and having them unilaterally tell you that there’s no way you could possible be the father because he’s too damn cute.

12. It’s a thunderous discovery when, halfway to pitching yet another project, you realize that if everything you’ve pitched works out you might just have TOO much work.

13. When a Marvel or DC editor asks if you’d be willing to do some extra work on a project should it get greenlit, you say YES.

14. How Not to Break into Comics #2: When finally scoring five minutes with an elusive and well-known editor you respect and are trying to work with, don’t finish the conversation by mumbling something incoherent and walking away, no matter how tired you both are.

15. Yes, Matt Brady — I see you in the Newsarama skybox and if you’ll come down here, coward, I’ll fight you right now.

16. I never thought it would be possible to fit half a convention inside the upstairs bar of a Midtown pub.

17. At a convention it’s likely you’ll never see certain friends/colleagues at all, and see certain other a lot more than you’d like. The latter probably applies about me for many others.

18. How Not to Break into Comics #3: Don’t be British. Failing that, don’t berate an entire panel about how they’re never going to break into comics.

19. How was it possible that I had more Hollywood meetings in New York than I did in San Diego? And every single one of them was with genuine, quality people? This is the Hollywood I’ve heard horror stories about?

20. Celebrity sightings: Josh Jackson, Joss Whedon (As my manager says, stoned, tired or both?), Scott Adsit (Yes! Hornberger!) and on the way home, the Harry Potter kid.

21. Cold? Dude, this is Michigan summer.

22. Don’t come over to my publisher’ booth while I’m standing behind it and start debating the merits of the books they publish. Because that’s not an argument you’re going to win.

23. Oh, is there a Watchmen movie? I hadn’t heard.

24. Even when I’m outselling them, my pals will always be my pals. Nothing like raising cold ones every night with your friends after a hard day of pitching zombie vampire stories and avoiding dudes dressed like giant ninja bananas.

25. Yeah, unless they change the benchmarks on professional creators, I’ll be back. If not, I’ll see you on the internet.

Neil’s NYCC Signing Schedule

Hey, all!

As most know, I’ll be appearing at this year’s New York Comic Con at the Jacob Javits Center in Manhattan. I’ll be promoting THE BIG KAHN, my upcoming graphic novel from NBM, and signing copies of BROWNSVILLE, Image’s COMIC BOOK TATTOO, my Xeric-winning graphic novella NINETY CANDLES and more! I also may have one or two things to announce.

Here’s my tentative schedule for now — this is subject to change in the next day or so (I don’t think I’m doing both Image signings, but don’t know which yet) but now, here’s where you’ll find me:

FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 6TH:

11AM-1PM: NBM Publishing (Booth 1713)
2-3PM: Image Comics (tentatively)
3-5PM: NBM Publishing (Booth 1713)

SUNDAY:

10-11AM: NBM Publishing (Booth 1713)
11AM-12PM: Image Comics (tentatively)
3-5PM: NBM Publishing (Booth 1713)

Seeya there!

The Big COVER

Spent the day laying out the hardcover book jacket for THE BIG KAHN. Nico’s tying up the inks and tones for the interior over the next month and a half but I have to finish the cover and solicitation before February so that we can get it into catalogs and such.

I really enjoy designing my books, as it lets the graphic designer in me truly own my book from soup to nuts… I designed the BROWNSVILLE jacket and the non-sequential portions (title page, jacket, bio page, etc) and I’m doing the same with KAHN. Nico illustrated the front and back, sent along a high-resolution TIFF file and now I’m just wrapping up the layout and endflaps… but still going back and forth on the front cover title treatment. I really like the first one, because it’s different and really fits in the overall design, but the second one is the standard centered that usually works better on bookshelves or on endcaps. I’ll probably go with the first, but feel free to comment here and try to convince me otherwise: