Rich Koslowski: Writer, Artist, Genius
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THIS BLESSED BLOG!!!

Hello, dear friends!

Holy crap, I mistakingly wrote "Hell, dear friends" first before noticing the error and correcting it! Could this be some sort of Freudian slip...my way of possibly conveying that my life is in some sort of "Hellish" state right now?

Perhaps.

Or maybe the great demon Beelzebub momentarily channeled his evilness through me as I began this blog...yeah! And maybe it was only because I am "The Chosen One"(I am. For those who don't know I was born on Nov. 1st...All Saints Day!) that he was unable to completely possess me--even momentarily--and take over this blessed blog!

Perhaps again.

Makes you think, doesn't it?

Alright then...on with the shiznit!...

Couple exciting updates for everyone out there who has been supremely intelligent enough to be following "This Blessed Blog" for the past year(ish).

First!...I am thrilled to report that my work over at Marvel Comics is coming along swimmingly! The road had a few bumps as my journey began but has significantly smoothed out since and traffic is very, very light. I'm almost ready to set the cruise control, pop in one of the most incredibly awesome traveling albums ever made--the incomparable Chris Rea "Road To Hell" album (Hey! There's the "Hell" word again!!! What the eff?!!), set my seat back a bit and just drive!

Alright, enough with the bad writing/driving analogy.

Basically, The gig's going real good right now and the story's turning out fantastic! Andrea Di Vito is handling the art chores and his work is amazing. I couldn't be happier with John Barber (my editor) assigning Andrea to this story. So please check out Marvel Comics Presents #1 which hits the stands at the end of September. In case you forgot, I'll be writing the "Weapon Omega" segment which centers on the new "Guardian" character who first appeared this last year in the pages of New Avengers.

In other news...THE LIST has generated a good deal of buzz since debuting at Comic-Con a few weeks back. Can't get too giddy yet, but hopefully there'll be good news to share on that front soon. Don't worry, if anything big happens you'll be the fifth or thirtieth to know.

I'm almost done remodeling the bathroom here at casa Koslowski and am happy to report that it looks phenomenal...and only came in $2500 over the estimated $500 we thought we'd spend!!! Woo-Hooo!

Did I mention that owning a house really blows...don't believe them when they tell you differently...they're all liars! And now we need a new friggin' roof!!! $12-14,000.00!!! Might be selling my Avengers #4 signed by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby to finance that friggin' ordeal. Or selling myself on the street corners...That'd be easier to swallow (no pun intended).

Other fantastical news!...Some of you have noticed recently that I've slimmed down and , is it possible?, look even more handsome lately!...I have been very focused since Stella was born 5 years ago on eating better and working out more. I've always eaten pretty well--not alot of junk food or overeating, really--but have really buckled down as of late. And I've always been an exercise fanatic. Never stopped running as a child (that's where Stella gets it from...my fault!), got my first full weight set when I was 11, and was pretty seriously strong by the time I hit middle school. By my senior year I was bench-pressing 300 lbs free-weight and by 25 I could bench 225 pounds 25 times in a row. Then I tore my major pectoralis while trying to bench 400 lbs one day and it all went to hell (Hey?! There it is AGAIN!). I couldn't do squat (well I could "squat") after that injury and didn't work out nearly as much as I had previously...I was depressed. One of my personal lifetime goals was to achieve a bench-press of 400 lbs and I was soooo close.

Anyhoo, I put on a few pounds as I adjusted to eating the same amount of food but exercising less. I never ballooned up to a point where I looked fat by any means but I looked "big."

Since Stella being born I've slimmed down by 27 pounds! I'm under 200 for the first time since before I was married (16 years!). It's a great feeling. People have been asking how I've done it and I'll tell you my secrets right now...

1) Eat better. Yep said that. 2) Exercise. Yep mentioned that too, already. and 3) and most importantly, have a helluva (AGAIN!) lot of freakin' STRESS in your life! I think that's the real key, folks. For me anyways. Some people eat when they're stressed, I do not.

So, to recap...1) eat better, 2) exercise, and 3) stress the shit out of yourself! Oh, and, yes...I mean that part literally as that is also one of the side-effects stress has on my biology. No Bulemia needed for this guy. Nope.

I shall end on that note as I believe it so succinctly sums up another "Blessed Blog" that I so graciously espouse and eliver unto thee each and every week(ish).

Word!

r

WELL, I'M A MARVEL WRITER NOW!!!

I guess it’s finally official…I’m writing for Marvel Comics now!!! As someone fairly well-known over at the “House of Ideas” would say––Excelsior!

I’ve kind of kept hush-hush about all of this because I didn’t want to jinx it, but I now see that it’s been officially released in a Newsarama article (http://www.newsarama.com/heroes_philly07/Marvel/MCP.html) by MCP (Marvel Comics Presents) editor John Barber. So, I fear the jinx no more (well, maybe a little). Why fear this “jinx” at all you ask? Well, I have shot my mouth off in the past about gigs at big companies only to be burned and end up making half-assed explanations to people as to why things didn’t work out. Trust me…it wasn’t my fault…some day I’m going to write my memoirs on my dealings with certain publishers and editors in this biz. Not yet, though…not yet!

Working for Marvel has always been a dream for me and I'm not shy to admit it. I've been a rabid reader since I was 5 years old! I'm 39 now, BTW. So, is this lifelong fanboy excited? You betcha. Am I worthy to tread where legends like Lee, Kirby, Buscema, Claremont, Byrne and so many more have blazed such memorable paths? Of course, I'm one helluva guy! Talented as hell too! It's true so why feign any false modesty.

Anyways, I will be debuting as an official Marvel writer on their newest incarnation of the MARVEL COMICS PRESENTS Anthology! I will be starting in the debut #1 issue that's currently being solicited in the Diamond Previews catalogue for September shipping! Go order your copies now (multiples of course!)! I'll be one of the featured writers and my run is going to encompass, at least, the first 12 issues, doing 8 page installments. Now, in the Newsarama article John was reluctant to reveal exactly what I’m writing or which character I’ll be writing about. He wasn’t being coy! At the time of his interview we really didn’t have my story nailed down yet. He hinted that there was a reason and said, “I know one thing it’s not about, and in that lies a tale that we’ll all laugh about years from now, after Rich is the wealthiest and most famous comic book writer in the world, but now’s not really the time to go into that story.” That story might also make my memoir! But as John said, we won’t talk about that yet…not yet!

SO! What is the story I’m writing?! Who the hell am I writing about?! I guess I can spill the beans now…at least I hope it’s okay. I am tackling the very enigmatic and undefined new character Michael Pointer a.k.a. The Guardian (formerly and briefly “The Collective”). Some of you may be making that puzzled “WHO?!” face right now and I don’t blame you. Pointer first appeared in the New Avengers in issue # 17 (I think) or #16 or somewhere around there. Brian Bendis created this poor bastard who was involuntarily possessed by the entity(s) known now as “The Collective,” and the very evil bastard known as Xorn! Michael Pointer is––he did not previously know this but––a mutant with the ability to absorb the powers of other mutants. In New Avengers he was used by Xorn to absorb all the powers removed from thousands of former mutants in the now famous “House Of M” storyline. So, Pointer had absorbed the powers of thousands of mutants making him one very, very powerful dude. Possessed by Xorn he obliterated Alpha Flight, killing all but Sasquatch (maybe). Later, the New Avengers managed to purge Xorn (actually Xorn did the purging really) and most of “The Collective” from Pointer’s body leaving him confused and wracked with guilt over learning how he’d been used and what he was made to do…even though it really wasn’t his fault. It also left him with some “residual power” left over from The Collective…apparently enough that he’s still pretty darned powerful.

So––and this is where it gets kind of hinky––Michael Pointer was forced to join the new Alpha Flight, now called Omega Flight to redeem himself. He is now the new “Guardian.” Project Omega has given him this newly modified Guardian suit to better help him adapt to his newfound powers. He didn’t want the gig…didn’t matter, he got it anyways.

This is where I come in. Pointer’s been thrust into the Marvel universe and then thrust into Omega Flight rather abruptly and rather quickly. John and I agreed that this character deserves to be defined a bit more. Give him some room to breathe and let the Marvel readers get a better chance to learn about this character and get to know him. Hell, he has to get to know himself.

He had a very traumatic entrance into Marvel’s universe and my take is that he’s going to have some serious trouble adjusting. In my outlines I’ve been sending to John (and this very article) I keep finding myself referring to Michael Pointer as the “poor bastard.” After reading my story about him I think you might agree. It’s pretty powerful stuff.

Please give it a try and let me know what you think. Let Marvel know what you think and send them your letters! Tell them just how lucky they are to having a phenom like me to rub shoulders with!

As that same aforementioned “Fairly well-known” guy over at Marvel would say…

‘NUFF SAID!

r

PAULIE WALNUTS! and THE LIST!!!

What the hell!?!!! I go and give my two cents on the Sopranos series finale a few days back and forget to mention, arguably, the show's most popular character, Paulie Walnuts!!! My bad. I think Paulie lives a long and miserable life. Of course all the misery he suffers is due to his own self-imposed anxieties. He's one of those guys who lives forever, bitching the whole time. He'll live to at least 93 years old. And he'll be kicking ass until he's about 86. And, oh yeah, the silver feathers will always be there on the sides of his head...the top will just slowly disappear.

And poor Uncle Junior...a once great character reduced to a sad shell of his former self. I kept hoping the senility was an act. Apparently not. Uncle Junior was always one of my top 2 favorite characters on the show. He brought levity, intensity, old-school values in kiccking ass and what an incredible actor! His fate on the show was, perhaps, the saddest of them all. It was the saddest.

THE LIST is finally here!!!

My newest book, THE LIST, is going to the printer this week and I am finally ready to take advance orders. It's been a 2 year process since I first started putting pen to paper (actually more!) on this newest book and I am so happy that it's finally seeing fruition. I'll be offering THE LIST here on the website for a special discounted price of $14.00 (regular price $15.95) and all books (as always) ordered from the website will come signed and shipping and handling is free! I'm in such a good mood that I think I'll even go ahead and draw a little sketch in all the books ordered from the website!

Gosh I'm cool.

THE LIST was solicited in the MAY PREVIEWS catalogue and will be in stores in the next few weeeks, but if you missed your chance to order there don't sweat it, man, I am here for you. That's why I've got this snazzy site. And if you are a retailer and missed your chance, well, I'm here for you as well. Retailers should contact me through the site and inquire about discounts and specials on back issues.

Well, that's it for today. A short and sweet entry. We're off to a graduation party at Big Tim's house for his daughter, Kayla (Meister). I plan on eating well more than the few bucks she's gonna get from us and bullying all the little kids in the swimming pool.

Word!

r

NO SHAQ, NO KOBE!...BOO HOO!

The NBA playoffs. Full of intrigue, chaos, excitement, competition, and mercifully, no more Shaq and no more Kobe!!!! Woo-Hoo!!! Personally, can't stand either one of them. Couldn't when they were playing together and can't when they're playing apart. I always say, "The only thing bigger than Shaq is Shaq'a ego!" but maybe Kobe's ego is a close second...at least he makes some effort in disguising it though...Shaq makes no such false pretense. He's an ego-maniac and he makes no bones about it. My big buddy, Mr. Tim "Big Tim" Lyons, argues with me that he's funny. I, generally, share my buddy's sense of humor (we're both pervs and often find ourselves laughing to the point of tears) but on this one we couldn't be further apart. I find Shaq to be annoying, obnoxious, and, again, so full of himself to the point of making me want to vomit. And I have to be honest...half the time he does that "talk so low and quiet in interviews that no one can barely hear me thing" that I can, indeed, barely hear him that maybe he did, indeed, at that point actually SAY something humorous, but, like I said, I couldn't hear him so I'll never know. Maybe Big Tim has super-hearing and he catches the jokes? That's the only reasonable explanation I can conjure as to our vastly differing opinions on Mr. Ego O'Neal.

And what a couple of nincompoops. Together they could have won 12 championships in L.A. but their respective egos were so HUGE they simply couldn't co-exist. Now don't get me wrong...I'm glad they got divorced from one another as I can't stand the Lakers and, of course, the two of them as individuals, so I was elated at the break-up. I'm delighted that apart they will never win as many.

I was stunned by the Mavericks early departure, but the Warriors beat them fair and square and were obviously the superior team. They outhustled the Mavs to the point of ridiculousness! The Mavs settled for 3-pointer after 3-pointer after 3-pointer! And, in case no one noticed, it was because the Warriors were SO aggressive on defense and forced the Mavs to always be out WAY past the three point line! Did you notice that?! Every time the Mavs brought the ball up they were stopped 10-12 feet beyond the arc. And then they would pass to another player who would be forced almost out to mid-court!!! Ridiculous. Great defenseive scheme by the Warriors, pitiful adjustmens made by the Mavs! NO ADJUSTMENTS MADE BY THE MAVS! And I despise Stephen Jackson and think that thug should be in a prison somewhere not on the basketball court, but I wish the best for coach Don Nelson and G.M. Chris Mullen, both good guys and well-deserving of a championship. Will they get one? I doubt it. I picked the Spurs at the beginning of the year and I'm sticking with that prediction. They are solid all-around and have the ability to play fastbreak basketball or the half-court game. And coach Popovich is the best coach in the game.

In the east? Who the hell knows. I would have to say the favorites there are the Pistons.

I'm saying Pistons and Spurs in the finals with the Spurs emerging as champs in a tight 7 game finals.

But, then again, those Phoenix Suns are looking like a well-oiled machine, aren't they?

In other news...

I've begun the process of sending out my review copies of my newest book, THE LIST! Hopefully I get some positive buzz going as I head into the big summer convention season. Early reviews indicate a concensus that this concept would make for one heckuva great movie and I can't tell you how delighted I am to hear that reaction. From the start, before I even started writing the prose, I said to Sandy that of all my ideas to date this one was the most marketable for commercial aplications...i.e. MOVIES!

If you haven't had a chance yet, check out the "sneak peek" I have posted on this very website. THE LIST is currently in the May Previews catalogue and will be shipped in July!

Word!

r

NO, I'M NOT DEAD...YET.

Hello everyone! Yes, it is true that I am a bit tardy on this--my latest blog entry--but I am not dead. I have, however, felt very near the Reaper's deadly scythe lo these past few days. I have been struck down by a very devastating cold/flu bug and been pretty much sleeping since Thursday morning. Kind of sucks. But, I am feeling better now after watching about 8 hours of TV while just laying on the couch feeding my face. A very productive Saturday. Really sucks because we had Grandma and Grandpa set up to have Stella this weekend, too, so we could go out and catch a movie and go to our favorite restaurant...didn't happen. Well, I guess the movie and eating part kind of did...kind of.

This is, what, three blogs in a row where I'm bitching about some ache or ailment?!!! Sheesh! I'M sick of my whining, I can only imagine how disgusted YOU are with it!

So, I watched CASINO ROYALE (Finally!), BATMAN BEGINS (5th or 6th time), and read CAPTAIN AMERICA #25 today. Enjoyed all of them very much I am happy to report. I highly recommend each and every one of them...even if you're feeling well.

I am also delighted to report that I am now only a few days away from putting the final, finishing touches on my book THE LIST and then it's off to the printer so I can send review copies out and, hopefully, get some positive press going. Remember to look in the May Previews catalogue for the listing! Hey! The "listing" of "The List"...kind of cool, huh?...No, not terribly, is it? I was kind of stretching the coolness of that very slight and innocuous similarity wasn't I? sigh...I blame my illness.

ALSO! I noted in my last blog that I was close to signing a couple big deals on a couple new Graphic Novels! Well, the first deal was signed, sealed and now I'm working on the "delivery" part! I have signed on as the artist for a fantastic book written by J.D. (Johnnie) Arnold entitled "BB Wolf & The 3 L.P.s." Johnnie's a newcomer to the biz as a writer (he previously worked the other side of the counter and also owns a store now) and let me tell you...this first effort is nothing short of amazing! I'm so happy he sought me out as the artist on this project and I know it's going to be a big hit.

BB Wolf is a new twist on the old story of the Big Bad Wolf and the Three Little Pigs. It's set in the 1920s and BB Wolf is a poor farmer/blues guitartist and singer. His family is being oppressed by, you guessed it, these three brothers who are some pretty mean little piggies. The story parallels a lot of our country's unfortunate history of the mistreatment of Black America in the south of that time. It's a commentary on racial prejudices and ruthless greed...all done with a wicked twist that I really dig! I'm not going to spoil too much of the story here but trust me, I get a lot of pitches sent my way, most not so good, but this is one knocked my socks off!

BB Wolf will be a 68(ish) page graphic novel done in my "ink wash" style and is tentatively slated for a 2008 release. As I get more details I will share them with you all. I promise.

That's it for now as I see the couch beckoning me once again. I am a total slug. I plan on being my usual fantastic and superhuman (one might say "Godlike") self again by the next column!

'Nuff said! Excelsior! WORD!

R

VIVA LA DUTCH (and the Germans, too!)!

Greetings once again true believers!

This week brings good tidings from Geeksville! Last week I prognosticated about a productive 2007 and since then a couple very nice little things have occured. First, I was (surprisingly) sent a contract by Pub Chris Staros (Top Shelf) for a Dutch edition of my graphic novel, THE KING! This was completely out of left field. And then it occured to me that I remembered seeing articles on the internet last spring about a Dutch version of The King. I remember finding this on the internet last year, inquiring with Chris if it were true, him saying, "Yep, it's true, just waiting for them to sign the contracts", and then never hearing anymore. I had simply thought the deal died. So was this the saem Dutch pub, I wondered? I asked Chris again after receiving the aforementioned contract last week. He said, "Yep, it's the same pub...they just kind of disappeared for a year and now they're back." Huh? I thought. Kind of strange. But, hey, very cool however you slice it! I'm going to have one of my books printed in friggin' Dutch!

Okay, so then a few days pass. Literally just a few (Oh, and I should note that the day the Dutch contract came I was working with good pal, Max Estes, on finishing my new book The List ), and Chris write me that a German publisher wants to do a German edition of THE KING! What the...?! Totally friggin' cool! Needless to say I am elated. My parents are from Germany, I have a lot of relatives still over there and this is gonna make me look like a superstar to them (heh heh!), AND I'm gonna have a friggin' book published in GERMAN!!! I'm not bragging here so don't interpret this in the wrong way at all...after toiling for so many years it is moments like these that "validate" an artist's career. Usually there isn't a whole heck of a lot of money involved in these deals (unless the book sells exceedingly well). It's much more of a "feather in the cap" kind of deal. This is a prestige thing all the way. And you know what? I am totally cool with that.

For now anyways. I'm not going to lie...I want money. And I want it soon. Very soon would be nice, in fact.

But anyways, back to these foreign editions. I wondered why the sudden interest in a book I did 2 years ago? And then it occured to me!...I am great! And I deserve it!...No that's not it, I was just joshin'. I mean I AM great but that's not what REALLY occured to me. What really occured to me was the old "snowball" effect. You see, in December a French Publisher released a french edition of The King. Hence, my theory is that the book has circulated a bit in Europe, perhaps generated some buzz, and the neighboring countries––specifically the neighboring publishers––have picked up on this. I hope I am right and the snowball keeps getting bigger. Sometimes in this biz that's all it takes...one publisher taking a chance and pretty soon the others take notice.

This is all fitting quite nicely in my plans of taking over the world. The pieces, as they say, are falling into place.

IN OTHER NEWS...

Read a few great book recently. Here's what I think you should be reading (so I know you're going to get up off your lazy asses and rush right out to the local bookstores, right?!)...

Rob Venditti's THE SURROGATES! Rob's a pal of mine from over at Top Shelf Productions but that doesn't influence my review...cuz if I thought his book blew I'd just say nothing at all? Alright? Okay. So, anyways, Rob (or 'Berto for those of us who have shared his bed) wrote this wonderful Sci-Fi mini-series which has recently been republished in trade paperback (TPB) form. The story is fantastic, The ar by Brett Weldele is equally fantastic and completely unlike anything else I've ever seen, and the TPB is gorgeous! I am jealous. Rob's premise is that in the future people will live there lives through Surrogates––androids that they are linked up to from the privacy of their homes that go out and do all the mundane tasks or adventures the human host doesn't want to actually physically do themselves. Through a device attached to the host's head that person can operate the android and actually physically and mentally experience what the Surrogate experiences. Sex, drugs, rock & roll...whatever! All the fun and none of the risks. The host can even (and usually does!) purchase a Surrogate that looks nothing like theior actual selves. Why not pick a YOU that looks like a fashion model? I probably would. And why not pick a Surrogate of the opposite gender? Hey, I might even try that!!! The possibilities and fantasies are endless. The world is a better, freer, safer place.

But nothing's real anymore. Is it?

Rob brilliantly shows what would happen in a world where fantasy is a reality. How people actually lose touch with themselves and the people around them by becoming overly dependent on their Surrogates. Reality is that we all get old. Rob shows us what fun it might be to live our lives through a younger, more beautiful body...to not have to punch the clock. yep, it would be fun. A lot of fun!! But he also shows how we'd all lose a bit of ourselves along the way. And how some of us would lose themselves entirely.

The book doesn't have a happy ending (like a lot of the hosts do! Ha!) and that IS REAL.

Well done, Rob.

I am also currently reading a few books sent to me by a friend, Brad Weber. He sent me three novels by CHARLIE HOUSTON, who, I think, is currently writing Moon Knight for Marvel comics. Don't quote me on that. Anyways, the first book is entitled "Caught Stealing" and from the first page you are grabbed (violently I might add) by the throat and for whatever reason you don't want the book to let go! This is intense stuff. Violent, yes, but in a good way. I know...that doesn't sound right. I know. But, violence can be done right and it can be done very, very wrong. This is violence done right. I devoured this book and was absolutely delighted, when, upon finishing it I read the descriptions of the next two books to discover that they are SEQUELS to the first! They take the same main character and, apparently, continue to beat the living tar out of him (both physically and figuratively).

I will give a more detailed review when I finish all three. I shan't take overly long I think. Not if the greatness of the first book is any indication.

OTHER THAN THAT...

Other than that I think it's time for yet one more plug on my new book, THE LIST. It is, for all intents and purposes, completed! It will be solicited in the May Previews catalogue for July shipping. BUT! Because I love you all so much I will be posting a preview here in the very near future! Look for it. I think you will likey.

Word!

r

2007 PROGNOSIS POSITIVE!

Greetings all! I write to you today from my humble abode nestled here on the windy shores of the beautiful Lake Michigan. The sun is shining and the weather's...well...it sucks, quite frankly. But my outlook is positive today! And here is why...

In late 2005 I had a premonition...hopefully an "epiphany"...time will tell. But my premonition way back then was that in 2007 great things would happen for me and my little family of three (as some of you know 3 is my special number). Now, I lent a bit more credence to this premonition because I didn't feel 2006 was going to be special...no, I skipped ahead an entire year. So, I wasn't just being an optimist saying the usual, "Next year will be OUR year!" thing...I was projecting an entire year-and-a-half ahead. And in retrospect it appears that skipping ahead a year was a good thing, because "career-wise" nothing much happened for us in 2006.

So, here we are in 2007. AND it appears that some big things are, in fact, on the horizon. In addition to the BIG news a couple weeks back about the upcoming 3 GEEKS Movie (still tickled pink over that one) I have my new Illustrated Novel, THE LIST, coming out in July. THE LIST will be solicited in the MAY Previews catalogue, so make sure and look for it there under my 3 FINGER PRINTS banner. I tell you, I've been working so hard on this latest book making sure that everything is done just right. Me and good pal, Max Estes, have been assembling the book the past few Saturdays and I can't tell you how excited I am seeing the book come together the way it has. It's looking fantastic! Everything's set to go with the distributor, my printer, convention schedule...everything. I have dotted my "Is" and crossed my "Ts" so many times on this one there just cannot be any problems. I know, I know...there will be something. Hopefully it's something minor.

Keep your eyes peeled for a special "preview" of THE LIST right here on this very website. I'll be posting a short "teaser" here and I'm also going to be making that available to a few websites like, MileHigh.com; IllustratedFiction.com; Newsarama; Comic Book Resources; and hopefully a few more! I'm currently working on a promotional attack including a very cool postcard that I'll be sending out to a slew of comic book stores.

SO! That's another BIG thing in store for 2007!

Additionally, I am on the precipice of signing on to do two major graphic novels with two seperate publishers. Don't want to––and never try to––count my chickens before they're hatched but at least one, if not both, of these deals looks very, very solid. If the one happens it is going to be "through the roof" HUGE! It's a project I've been after the writer of the story (true story) to do for years! If this project happens it will make my premonition in 2005 come to fruition, even IF the 3 GEEKS Movie and my book THE LIST weren't to have also happened. I'm truly sorry I can't elaborate more on this project as it isn't quite "official" yet. Stay tuned.

SO! 2007 is, indeed, shaping up to be a potentially great year career-wise for me. I certainly hope so...it would be nice to pay off some bills. Lately we've been a slave to our bills (Lately?! the past 10 years!) and it's getting pretty old. I'm funny that way...don't dig being in debt all that much. Lately, I must confess, the strain of our finances has been weighing heavily on me and the stress they've incurred has been mounting. 2007 HAS to be a big year. Ther's really no alternative...is there still "Debtor's prison"?

IN OTHER NEWS...

Just a couple quick reviews for those interested in my brilliant opinions...

ROME on HBO. Man, if you've missed this series I pity you. I know HBO is more well-known for their shows THE SOPRANOS and CURB YOUR ENTHUSIASM but ROME has been their best these past few years with The Sopranos running out of steam. DEADWOOD has also been fantastic but Rome's been our favorite. An absolutely riveting series on the rise and fall of Julius Caeser and the other prominent figures of that time...most specifiaclly Marc Antony, who is portrayed brilliantly by actor James Purefoy. They blend historical fact with a good dose of a few fictional characters that add a great deal of fun to the show. Most notably the two characters Titus Pullo, played by Ray Stevenson, and his "brother-in-arms" Lucius Vorenus played by Kevin McKidd. These two characters are the "heart" of the series showing the life of the soldier/slave during those times. They live very rough lives but do so with great honor and bravery (there a roman era version of Klingons).

ROME (and DEADWOOD for that matter) is the best thing on television right now and, sadly, there are only two episodes left. The show has been cancelled after this year because the enormous production costs just can't justify the 7-8 million people per week watching. Sad that even 8 million viewers aren't enough. BUT! The show coming to an end earlier than they had expected has actually had a positive effect in that the creators have had to really focus the storylines resulting in the tightest, most riveting episodes of any show I've ever seen. So, maybe ending after two seasons isn't the worst thing in the world. At least it was 2 seasons of brilliance. Not a show that goes on too long only to peter out towards the end and fade away into oblivion.

When this series comes out on DVD rent it! Better yet, BUY IT! You will not regret it.

Word!

r

The List! New Illustrated Novel set for release!

Greetings and salutations dear readers! I write this column for the second time today! The first time I was done, finished, spent a good hour on it, was proud as hell and then hit the wrong button and Ka-PLOOEY! GONE! Erased! Talk about the proverbial pisser.

So, to recap...

Been extremely ill the past 24 hours...puking my guys out, nauseous, etc. Many of you probably have caught the same bug recently and I'm sure the rest of you will soon. In fact, if you're reading this I can guarantee it as I am about to spread the virus to you...K-Fed is getting $25 million from his divorce settlement with perennial "Mother-Of-The-Year" candidate, Brittany Spears (BTW, remember when she gave that interview a few years back about how important being a mother was to her? HA!). $25 Million. And, the news today reported that he's apparently seeking even more.

More.

K-Fed.

Begin your vomiting now.

These are the headlines that truly convince me the end of the world is very near indeed. Forget about Al-Quaeda, we got K-Fed and Brittany. Oh god!...here it comes again! where's the bucket?!...ugh...

Now, onto much more important news...My new Illustrated Novel, THE LIST, is officially slated for a July 2007 release! It will be solicited in the May Previews catalogue under my 3 FINGER PRINTS banner (For whatever reason Previews has it listed as 3 FINGER PUBLICATIONS. Don't know why, don't ask.). THE LIST will be making its convention debut at this year's Comic-Con International in July as well. Be there!

Now, many of you aren't privy to the basic gist of what THE LIST is all about. This is because the details have been kept "Top Secret" as there are those scurrilous scoundrels skulking about out there that look to do nothing but prey on the ideas of others. Yes, it is true. Yes, they are bastards.

Anyhoo, here it is in a nutshell...

THE LIST is an adult look at Christmas and the question "What if all those beloved characters we all grew up watching were real? Really real?" I take these characters and do a bit of a "Rudolph" meets "Lord Of The Rings" thing. I've written an epic (I hope) tale that has those beloved characters facing the harsh reality of our world and corporate greed and governmental corruption. For, after all, if Santa and his friends were, indeed, real, can't you just imagine the people out there who'd try to horn in on the business of Christmas?! So, the battle begins...Santa and his noble friends are forced to fight for the soul of Christmas and the innocence of the children.

THE LIST will be approximately 200 pages long and include 36-40 beautiful B&W ink-washed and full-color illustrations. And I do mean beautiful, folks!

There is also the off-chance that the newest 3 GEEKS comic debuts at the same time. We're just in the process of deciding whether a double listing would behoove us as small publishers or if we'd be better served spreading the listings apart. Don't know. Never done it before. Help.

We will, of course, keep you all posted.

Word!

r

P.S. A special "best wishes" to friend and fellow comic book geek, Sean Scott, over at Mile High Comics. Sean's been battling cancer this past year. It has been my privilege to have gotten to know Sean and the entire Mile High gang but Sean is special. He's one of those guys who always has a smile on his face and a few clever witticisms to boot. Even now, faced with this terrible illness, all he had to say when we spoke yesterday was positive things. The world, and the comics biz, needs more Sean Scotts. "Courage" barely begins to describe Sean's character.

Viva La France!

Man it feels good! I have waited over a year and a half to see my graphic novel, The King––or should I say "LE KING"––printed right! As many of you know, my book, The King was released in the summer of 2005 and there were some errors made in that printing. Now, don't get me wrong...the book turned out okay,and the readers still enjoyed it, but overall it was a disappointment as I put so much effort into the book and then it comes back with some pretty serious printing errors. Regardless of the printing errors, though, there were a couple of very nice french fellows who picked up a copy of The King out at Comic-Con and expressed how much they liked the book to me. They then informed me that they were publishers and would like to do a french edition. I was extremely excited. I thanked them for their complimentary words but then pointed out that there were some printing deficencies with the Top Shelf edition they held in their hands. I remember vividly the one gentleman closing his eyes and softly shaking his head saying, "No worries...we will print it right".

One and a half years later and a package arrives at my door. When i opened the box and pulled out this magnificent, hardcover book that said "Le King" on the cover I could hardly believe my eyes! It was huge...and a friggin' hardcover! Then I paged through it. The printing was flawless. The colors popped, the blacks were BLACK! The print job on this version was beautiful...the way the book was supposed to look like when it came out here in 2005. I got more than a bit verklempt! To see my work look so nice...I'm not ashamed to admit that I got choked up. And not only was the quality sweet but they went and made the book BIGGER! It's bigger, thicker and really stands out! A very, very proud moment for me as an artist.

So please accept my most heartfelt thanks everyone at Treize Etrange (the french pubs)! And to all my fans, please check out the french version if you get a chance (i'll be lugging copies around to all the shows). At the very least to see the difference. Check out the french publishers website at: http://13etrange.com

In other news... We have FINALLY finished cutting, bagging, labeling, boxing, sweating, crying, etc. the "Jim's Jerky" comic/jerky combos and will be shipping the 6000 copies out tomorrow to Diamond!!! They will then, in turn, be shiping them worldwide to all the comic shops and into the salivating gullets of comics geekdom! Thank Odin that task is finally done! Three weeks of Jerky is enough. Seriously.

In other, other news... I am a huge music fan. Have been since i rollerskated around the furnace as a 5 year old boy listening to my 45s of Elton John's Crocodile Rock and KC and the Sunshine Band! Hey, the basement "roller rink" seemed HUGE to a 5 year old. Anyways, I'd like to "turn you on" to a group that has been grossly overlooked since its debut back in the early 90s. The band Jellyfish. A little Queen, The Beatles, Beach Boys combined with a heavy dose of pure magic. You really cannot properly describe their music as it is totally unique. Their harmonies are beautiful and flawless, they rock, the lyrics are so inventive and clever they make me, as a writer, jealous and awe-struck, and their complete originality was what made them a sensation for a brief time and also, regrettably led to their demise in a totally unoriginal 90s radio market (this was well before satellite radio was available). They only put out two albums before disbanding due to artistic differences and, I have to believe, a record company that simply did not know how to properly market their extraordinary music. These two albums however, Bellybutton and Spilt Milk, are two of the best albums I've ever heard if not The Best! And this is coming from the biggest Queen fan on the planet, man!

So, when I heard that there was a very limited, 4 disc box set of their music that came out a couple years back I was elated! There was previously unreleased tunes, concert recordings, demos, interviews!...elation!

Then I tried to find a copy. Elation gone. No record stores had one and it was then that I learned it was a very limited release and quickly sold out to the small, but very devoted, base of fans. So I went on ebay, of course. For the past 2 years I have been outbid on that box set (called "Fan Club" btw) and have seen it go for as high as $405! Out of my price range, unfortunately. But I knew one day my ship would come in if I excercised enough patience. Alas, my ship docked last week and I couldn't be any happier. And the docking fee was $199.00. Do I like what I paid for? Was it too much? Well, I've already listened to it about 12 times. It makes me happier than I can describe when I listen to it and sadder than I can express for the "what could have been" factor. Unbelievably sad that these geniuses couldn't make it work. But, on the other hand, happy that they were able to put out 2 perfect albums. Perfect. And now this box set of previously unreleased material. A little more magic after all these years. A merry Christmas for me, indeed, this year thanks to a band that broke up over a decade ago.

Now that's a Christmas miracle. If you need one I highly recommend seeking out some Jellyfish.

Word! r

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