While the Mayans were incorrect (or the crafty bastards behind the biggest long con in history), 2012 shaped up to be a defining year for this particular wordslinger. It was fraught with peril, poetry (as in “things were pretty cool,” I can’t write poetry to save my life) and publishing, all punctuated with self-inflicted back-pats, head-desks, facepalms, tears, and the occasional game of Candyland and teaching three-year-olds how to deal from the bottom of the deck. It was the year I lost one of my greatest inspirations and gained a modicum of self-respect all the while opening my eyes up to new possibilities and potential.
Here are the highlights of 2012:
• Comics for Film, Games, and Animation: Using Comics to Construct Your Transmedia Storyworld – as if there was any doubt that my debut book with a for-really-real publisher on a subject I’m frothingly passionate about wouldn’t be my number one highlight. Through this book, I was able to chat with people who have inspired me – Henry Jenkins (Convergence Culture), Christy Dena, Alison Gaylin, Bob Orci (Fringe, Star Trek, Star Trek Into Darkness) -and have been lucky enough to continue those chats on the companion website, ComicStoryworld, with extended interviews from the book, digital supplements (like the Script Guide) and chats with the inimitable Megan Abbott and Rachel Deering. ComicStoryworld (for short) is available from Amazon, Barnes and Noble and more, as well as direct from the publisher, Focal Press. If you’d like a signed copy, I have the adhesive technology to make that happen.
• Whiz!Bam!Pow! – A story experience of family, forgery, death rays, secret codes, laundry chutes and the Golden Age of Comics, Whiz!Bam!Pow! has been my baby for years, and in 2012, it finally began to see the light of day. Unspooling as a serialized story from May to August, I released the prologue, A Linen Forcefield, eight chapters of Book One: Ollie (now collected), and crafted three radio show episodes of The Adventures of the Sentinel. None of this would have happened without my collaborators like Paul Klein, Blair Campbell, Paul Montgomery, Kate Dawson Cohen, Wonder Russell, Josh Cline, MJ Slide and Justin Hedges – they helped bring this massive undertaking to life in a way I never expected. This year, I also released a preview of the 2013-releasing Book Two: Frank, which continues and deepens the tale of Whiz!Bam!Pow! by taking us back to 1949. In 2013, Whiz!Bam!Pow! will return with Book Two: Frank and Book Three: Lena as well as the coda (I went to music school, I have to call epilogues codas) and finally, the comic book at the center of it all, Whiz!Bam!Pow! Comics #7.
• I Can See –the first in an ongoing series of short stories that will explore different writing challenges I set myself. In I Can See, my goal was to remove the “I” from my first person storytelling (until the optimal moment) and tell a weird story of small-town life.
• A Perfect Family – another short story, this one inspired by a story my grandfather told me of his days as a banker in a tiny town, of opening up a safety deposit box and finding a brother-sister pair of five and ten-thousand dollar bills. Theirs was the small town epic.
• A Lone Survivor – a collection of short stories penned by sixth graders. In 2012, I was lucky enough to teach a group of sixth graders how to improve their writing. I gave them all the same prompt: two people trapped in a room (or island), only one can get out – and no cell phones!. The stories all were crafted over a three-month period of writing, rewriting, and them putting up with me critiquing them. My first foray into writing education left me humbled and very proud of those kids. Watch out for ’em.
• Penny a Word – everything must evolve, and so did I, moving my blog and assorted ruminations to a new Tumblr blog, Penny a Word. It’s a fun and more free format for me to explore different ideas, ruminations on life and politics, deeper looks at my process and more. The B-sides, if you will.
My Seven Favorite Posts and Articles…
• Cheerleading, Comics, and Noir: A Chat With Megan Abbott / @ ComicStoryworld
• Spoiler Alert – Fans, Foraging, and the Superior Spider-Man / @ ComicStoryworld
• Day 8 in Creativity Tools – The Small Reward / @ Blog Brevity
• The Iconic Crisis of DC Comics / @ ComicStoryworld
• Rest Well, MoMo / @ Penny a Word
A Couple of Interviews…
And coming in 2013…
Whiz!Bam!Pow! continues. Journalism. More ComicStoryworld. More interviews. Word of at least two new projects. Stay tuned – and have a happy and merry. See you next year!