Striving for Mediocrity

Posted by: on Aug 13, 2012 | No Comments

So! A little update to the “Breaking and Entering” section of Arvidland for this post. B&E is a resource for people interested to breaking into comics. Most of the articles are the results of online correspondences I’ve had with aspiring writers. Following is the latest entry, on the importance of not tooting one’s own horn too loudly. Ahem:

One of the hardest things I had to come to grips with about writing is just how goddam little people care about my scintillating brilliance. I can’t speak for everyone, but I’ll bet if you got most writers drunk they’d admit they secretly thought they were geniuses. Writing, whether it’s comics or epic poetry, requires a certain amount of gumption, after all. If you’re not a little bit deluded, you’re never going to do it.

But one of the deadliest mistakes a writer can make – and I wince when I see people doing it – is to proclaim their story with terms like “revolutionary”, “awe-inspiring”, and, worst of all “mass market appeal”. Ten times out of ten, people who do are just covering up their own insecurities.

I very quickly realized the measure of success for Rex Mundi wouldn’t be changing the world, it would be simply finishing the story. So many comics creators start out doe-eyed and giddy with their first issue – that was definitely true for EricJ and me – but all of that enthusiasm gets sucked pretty dry pretty quickly. Deadlines! Production costs! Delays! Miscommunications! Negative reviews! You’re lucky to make it past the third issue.

Forget “revolutionary” – does your story make sense? Is it entertaining? Is it worth your readers’ money, and, more importantly, their time?

Cobbling together a story without too many holes, or creating characters that are halfway human is really hard. It’s easy to turn off the TV and say “I could write better things in the snow with my pee” … until you actually try it, at which point all that yellow snow starts to look like solid gold. A little humility will get you a lot farther than a lot of self-proclaimed genius.

When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom’d

Posted by: on Jul 22, 2012 | 2 Comments

“Gee! It’s been a while since I posted an update!”

Whenever I see the above sentence (or words to that effect) as the opening statement of a blog post, I know it’s only a matter of time before the entire site goes dark. But I’m gonna buck the trend. While it has been some time since I last posted, I have a very good excuse: the birth of my son. Isaac Edgar Nelson entered the world on July 15th at 4:29 in the morning.

The birth was extremely difficult – about two months ago my wife developed “Cholestasis of the Liver”, a weird, rare disease the eggheads in the white coats know next to nothing about, save for the fact that it dramatically increases the likelihood of stillbirth (!). It also made my wife’s hands and feet unbearably itchy, and no medication would help. That was the worst part for her.

We were almost relieved when we learned the docs wanted to induce labor three weeks early, but after 72 grueling hours of hormones and IV drips and pills and machines that go “ping!!”, we finally decided to opt for a Caesarian.

And it was the right choice. Our little boy scored a perfect 10 on his “Apgar” assessment after birth (next stop: double 800s on the SATs!). He, his mom and his pop are all safely back home, and everything is rainbows and lemon drops.

I cannot even begin to express the fullness of my gratitude to the staff of Coolly-Dickinson Hospital here in Northampton, Mass. Everyone – doctors, midwives, custodians, nurses – was absolutely wonderful throughout the entire process. I literally don’t know what we would have done without them.

For all the details on the birth, as it happened in “real-time”, check out my Twitter feed, @arvidthetwit. Yes, this is a shameful attempt on my part to expand my Twitter followers. Thanks for falling for it.

Ecce Issac!

Rex Mundi for All

Posted by: on May 31, 2012 | 16 Comments

and a new front cover by Juan Ferreyra, too!

It’s officially official – Dark Horse is re-releasing Rex Mundi in a handy, economical two-volume omnibus. The first installment is coming out in September. It’s a great way to get the entire story at a reasonable price… unless you pirate it, but you wouldn’t do that to little old me, would you?

I can’t thank Dark Horse enough for making sure Rex Mundi stays in print. And thanks to comicbook.com for posting a story about the whole shebang. U guys rule! Read the official press release right here. I love you, Dark Horse! Mwah!

Lord of the Jungle!

Posted by: on Jan 18, 2012 | 2 Comments

My adaptation of Edgar Rice Burroughs’s Tarzan of the Apes hits stores today, like a bloodthirsty, horny ape. I have high hopes for this one, I really do! Dynamite paired me with a, well, dynamite artist, Roberto Castro. If you haven’t seen Roberto’s art for Fall of Barsoom… here.

Roberto’s going for an oldskool Silver Age look for Jungle, and it’s paying off hugely. The best thing about his art, for me, is the beautiful, textured backgrounds. You really feel like you’re in the jungle, in every panel.

As usual, Dynamite serves up an awesome panoply of front covers, by Alex Ross, Paul Renaud, and Ryan Sook (featured!). Yes, all the knick-knacks Tarzan is wearing are 100% accurate and in accordance with the original novel. That’s the big idea behind Dynamite’s adaptation of the story – we’re trying to do it the “right way”, as close to the spirit of the original as possible. Newsarama did an interview with me about the whole thing.

The reviews so far are very positive – thanks, Stephen and Jimmy!

Wayne Hall at scifipulse.net has interviewed me twice about all my writing for Dynamite. The latest is online. Whole lotta Tarzan.

The best thing about Lord of the Jungle #1 is the price – $1. Check out a preview right here, and buy three copies of each cover variant. Rest assured, Dynamite is losing money on each and every purchase!

Mundi Digitalis

Posted by: on Nov 16, 2011 | 2 Comments

Rex Mundi is now available as a digital download from Dark Horse! Actually, it has been for some time. I guess for me comics on paper will always feel more… real. Or something. But I’m getting used to absorbing them from a cool, glowing screen. The best part is you can get the first Rex Mundi book in digital format for about half the cost of the print version.

I mean – you could get it for “free” from Bittorrent, but then you’d be stealing from me. And you wouldn’t want to do that! At the very least, wait until I move into a mansion with a bowling alley, an oxygen chamber, a ferris wheel, and laser turrets…

Mmm… laser turrets…

Click on through to buy, Dear Reader…