Neil appearing at Comic Book Club in NYC 7/14, Prepping for SDCC

Sometimes I wish I had more time to blog these days… but when I’m absent, you all know it’s because I’m doing the work, right? Right.

And, oh what work there is. To quickly update you, THE BIG KAHN has been sent to the printer and will be hitting your local comic stores at the end of the month—-we’re debuting the book at San Diego Comic Con in two weeks, and then it comes to Amazon and bookstores in September. I’ve got a few interviews about to pop in the next two weeks and I’ll keep you updated here. Apart from that, I’m working hard to have the first draft of AMERICAN CAESAR, my next NBM book, done before I fly to San Diego but it ain’t likely… too much excitement and prep for the con!

To promote THE BIG KAHN (which looks ay-mazing, by the by), I’ll be appearing as a guest on tomorrow night’s edition of the Comic Book Club, NYC’s long-running weekly comic book talk show featuring the best comedians in New York talking shop with industry professionals from all corners of the comic book world. Hosted by Justin Tyler, Pete LePage, and Alex Zalben, the show details are:

CBC, July 14th show
@ The People’s Improv Theatre
23rd Street between 6th and 7th Avenue
8pm – Tickets only 5 BUCKS
More information: http://www.popcultureshock.com/cbclub

And don’t forget I’ll be attending this year’s San Diego Comic-Con, showing up Thursday, July 23rd and leaving Sunday, July 26th. While I’m there, I’ll be promoting THE BIG KAHN, catching up with old pals and editors, drinking, and maybe actually seeing some of the city this time around. I’ll post my signing schedule here soon… but for now, just know I’ll be there ready to schmooze, sell, sign and sketch.

The fine people at Comic Book Resource’s Robot6 blog are doing a before/after interview thing with me about my upcoming trip to the San Diego Comic Con. Check it out for a bit about what I’m getting up to at the con and a bit of advice on how to approach editors.

Hope to see you tomorrow night!

Let Slip the Dogs of War

So, with THE BIG KAHN a month from dropping in your hot little hands, I thought I’d duck in here and tease my third NBM book a little, currently titled “AMERICAN CAESAR.”

It’s interesting; BIG KAHN was written before BROWNSVILLE, my first book, and CAESAR was actually penned even before that, but as both a stage play and graphic novel. At the time, I was involved in a local theatre troupe on the Upper East Side where we took the Bard’s more popular works (as well as a few Chekovs and Dickens…es) and reimagined them for various genres and time periods, much like many film versions of old Will’s plays and passages. We set “Midsummmer Night’s Dream” in Central Park, “Macbeth” in Peron’s Argentina, “Romeo and Juliet” in a trailer park, “Merchant of Venice” in 1945 Poland, and “Merry Wives of Windsor” in a seventies-Three’s Company style suburban sitcom. Oh, we also did a mafia version of “Julius Caesar,” my favorite Shakespearean play, in which I portrayed a Silvio Dantesque mob capo who survives the gunplay and helps icepick Cicero in a strip club. Classy.

But I’d always wanted to do Caesar a different way—to me, the intrigue, backstabbing, ambition and greed of the Roman Senate always set me in the mind of Gordon Gecko, Wall Street, the end of the 1980s/beginning of the Nineties and all that corporate America represents. Julius—I’m sorry, JULIAN—Caesar, captain of industry, backstabbed by the bloodthirsty young executives desperate to climb the corporate ladder. How could I resist?

But a play or a comic? Tread the boards or fill the panels? In the end, I wrote it both ways.

In 2005, I was fortunate to hook up with another production company that wanted to workshop the play and after three months of sets, planning, costumes and rehearsals, AMERICAN CAESAR ran for a week at the Second Stage theatre to good reviews.

But a lot of the play had to be edited for technical reasons: on stage, we could only shatter a window so many times. We couldn’t use the technical morays involved with the presentation of Caesar’s ghost. And truthfully, the director cut out alot of my story for her own vision, casting aside scenes and conversations that wouldn’t play on stage that might on paper.

And so, to Rome.

Presently, I’m working through my second redraft of the 128 page graphic novel and while we’re making offers to a few artists, we’re stilling casting about for my collaborator. We’re hoping to have this one out next year, but it truly depends on timing, schedules and the like… but here’s a quick peek at a page:

Page 44 (5 PANELS)

PANEL ONE
Caesar turns to the table, explaining his position.

CAESAR:    MALCOLM SILVER MISHANDLED DECIUS SOFTWARE; ROME LOST A FORTY-FIVE MILLION   DOLLAR COMPANY TO MICROSOFT AND THOUSANDS OF JOBS WITH IT.

CAESAR:    IT WAS A BUSINESS DECISION, MICHAEL, AND HAD TO BE MADE.

DAVIS (OP):    THE DEADLINE WAS TIGHT, JULIAN, AND THEIR BUDGET WAS –

PANEL TWO
Caesar turns to Davis and BREUER, who are pleading. He points a finger, adamant. Cassius has his head down, staring at his lap.

CAESAR:    NONE OF MY CONCERN. THAT’S SOMETHING HE SHOULD HAVE CONSIDERED.

CAESAR:    I WON’T BE SWAYED ON THIS. KEEP IT UP, MICHAEL, AND YOU’LL JOIN YOUR BROTHER AT THE UNEMPLOYMENT OFFICE.

PANEL THREE

Close on a pissed Silver, hands cleched, white-knuckled.
SILVER:    AND IS THAT THE SORT OF TYRANNY WE SHOULD EXPECT FROM NOW ON?

CAESAR (OP):    TYRANNY?

PANEL FOUR
Caesar leans in to Silver, getting in his face. Silver rises a little – they are facing off with one another.

CAESAR:    THAT’S LEADERSHIP! MAKING HARD DECISIONS IS NO EASY TASK, BUT I MAKE THEM FOR THE SAKE OF THE COMPANY. HOW ELSE WILL ROME SURVIVE?

SILVER:    SO LET’S BE CLEAR. THE POLICY IS ZERO TOLERANCE? FAIL, CHEAT, STEAL AND YOU’RE OUT?

PANEL FIVE
Caesar pulls away, collecting himself.

CAESAR:    ABSOLUTELY. EXCEPTIONS LEAD TO PRECEDENTS AND THAT LEADS TO ANARCHY. ROME WASN’T BUILT IN A DAY; YOU CAN BE DAMN SURE I WON’T LET IT FALL IN A WEEK.

DAVIS (OP):        BUT JULIAN, SURELY YOU –

CAESAR:        I SAID ENOUGH, DAVIS.

Gripping, no?

Neil Kleid’s AMERICAN CAESAR. Coming from NBM Publishing in the near future.

Cry havoc.

May PREVIEWS closing: Preorder THE BIG KAHN from your retailer today!

Just chiming in to remind you that the month of May is almost over and with retailers finalizing their orders, it’s time to get in your preorder for THE BIG KAHN, my new graphic novel for NBM Publishing using Diamond Order Code MAY090988

Rabbi David Kahn has lived a forty-year lie: he is not, nor has he ever been, Jewish. When at his funeral, the “rabbi’s” grifter brother reveals the truth, it forces the Kahn family to struggle with grief and betrayal as their congregation examines their every move and they question their very faith. Rabbi Avi Kahn, the heir apparent whose future is on the line, spirals into a tryst with his rebellious sister Lea’s non-Jewish roommate. Lea rethinks the religion she’s run from, religion strong enough to alter her father’s life, while Eli — the youngest Kahn — inherits his father’s long-forgotten legacy. Somehow, with the help of the uncle he never knew and his slowly re-awakening sister, Eli attempts to return faith and order to his family, community while reinstating his father’s good name. This July explore a family secret so well-hidden, even the family didn’t know about it until it was too late.

Illustrated by Nicolas Cinquegrani and hitting shelves in July, THE BIG KAHN, a 176 page black and white graphic novel, is currently available to preorder via Diamond Comics Distributors (Order Code; MAY090988) and through bookstores (ISBN 978-1-56163-561-0) at the low price of $13.95.

Click here for a ten page selection from the book, available at the NBM website