Robert E. Howard Panel goes BOOM!

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Whoops! Just to be complete, I’m posting to let people know about a change in San Diego panel plans.
Due to some sort of unforeseen circumstances, the Robert E. Howard panel on Saturday at 3:30 is no more. Crom ate it, or something. But I’ll still be there, at the same time and in the same room. And I’ll even be up there on the dais with Matt Gagnon of BOOM! Studios. But who else will be there and what we’ll be talking about has changed.
The panel is now:

• 3:30-4:30pm – Editing Comics the BOOM! Studios Way, Rm 24ABC
“BOOM! Studios Editor-in-Chief Mark Waid and BOOM! Managing Editor Matt Gagnon talk with Kurt Busiek and Daryl Gregory about putting together their upcoming BOOM! series Dracula: The Company Of Monsters. Don’t miss this in-depth look into the editing secrets of one of the comic book industry’s leading independent publishers. Join moderator Mark Waid (author of the Eisner Award-nominated Irredeemable, BOOM! Editor-in-Chief) and panelists Kurt Busiek (author of the Eisner Award-winner Astro City), Daryl Gregory (acclaimed sci-fi writer, author of The Devil’s Alphabet), and Matt Gagnon (BOOM! Managing Editor) as they discuss editing do’s and don’ts of today’s comic book industry.”

Tales of editors! Tales of vampires! And how to tell the difference between the two! Don’t miss it, if only to hear Mark Waid say, “Ah, the freelancers of the night, what beautiful comics they make!”
The rest of my panel/signing schedule can still be found here, or in the Find section.

Through the Mail Slot

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I’m just back from the Emerald City Comicon in Seattle, and fighting off a sore throat while I try to catch up on sleep. Since I’ve sort of hit the wall for productive work today, I figured I’d attend to the e-mail that’s been coming in to the site.
To start off, David Bieger writes…

Thanks for the insightful article about breaking in without rules.
I went to Syracuse back in the 60’s and had trouble following the rules, too. In fact, we shut down the campus following the Kent State shootings. I lived on Marshall St. and worked part time at Siegel’s Drug Store.
Fast forward, to San Diego. I’ve been here since 1977, and teenagers in a Korean church’s youth group reintroduced me to the wonderful world of comics. They wanted to go to the comic-con but their parents would not take them, so I did.
And I was hooked. My first collection was Marvel’s John Carter, Warlord of Mars. (Frank Miller actually drew one of those issues, before Daredevil.) I also have quite the collection of Marvel Age.
Fast forward again, and I am now on staff at the Con. I work for Clydene Nee in Artist’s Alley. We have been friends for over 15 years. And I have a godson (Joseph, 16 yrs.) who enjoys comics almost as much as he enjoys theater. He’s on staff as well.
We have a story we made up when he was around 7 years old. We call it “The Boy of Seven Wonders.” We’ve also written “Zombies…Twice in a Blue Moon,” and a short story about the Thing and a visit he made to the Black Panther for help with a personal problem.
Kids are great. It’s easy to make up stories when you are around kids.
Your article has encouraged us to make the trip upstairs to the Sails Pavilion this summer and present our work to any editor who will read them.
Thanks for the boost. Hopefully, I’ll run into you this summer at the Con.
Best of luck with it, David—though in my experience, while it’s easy to show art samples at a convention, writing samples work better through the mail. But whatever works. I’ll be a special guest at San Diego this year, so feel free to drop by and say hi to a fellow Syracuse attendee.
And from Sam Fitzpatrick…

I was recently given Astro City volume 1 & 2 for Christmas and thought they were brilliant. I was wondering, though, is there anywhere you can buy posters or prints of Astro City online because there aren’t many comic book shops in Sheffield, where I live.
Thanks for any information you can give.
Very glad you like the books, sir!
But I don’t think we ever did any Astro City posters for commercial sale. There were some promotional posters we did that might turn up on eBay now and then, and there was at least one lithograph—of Alex Ross’s cover to vol. 1 #2, featuring the Silver Agent and Elliot Mills. It’s long ago enough now that I can’t remember whether we did it through Graphitti Designs or Dynamic Forces, though. I really should try to put together a list of all the stuff I’ve been part of—not just books, but things like the Astro City T-shirts, refrigerator magnets and promo items—and catalogue it here on the site somewhere.
In my copious free time.
I did take a quick look at eBy, though, and found these:
Astro City movie poster
Another Copy
Promo Poster
And another copy
Hope that helps!
And the fine folks at ScoopThis.com, who were behind the mystery Avengers parody I posted about a while back, write to say…

Though ScoopThis.com isn’t “officially” open, it could use more beta testers. So rather than wait for the official launch, why not give Kurt Busiek fans an advance heads-up about the two parodies we were discussing not too long ago.
Here are the links to them:
THE AVENGERS in “Is There A Doctor In The House?”
VISION & THE SCARLET WITCH in “Hexual Healing”
There’s no nudity to either of them, but I would think the second on is Not Safe For Work, at least for certain workplaces. For mine, where I’m sitting here in a bathrobe, drinking lots of water to try to rehydrate myself and awaiting my wife’s return from the puppy pokey with our dog, it’s no problem, but you probably don’t work here.

Wisconsin Weekend

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Just a reminder to let people know that I’ll be at the 2009 Sterling North Book & Film Festival in Edgerton, Wisconsin this weekend. If you’re in the area, feel free to come by, attend my panel, say hi, and so forth. I’ll be doing a primitive slide show in PowerPoint format (my first time using PowerPoint; don’t expect wonders) as I discuss my career and the craft of making comics.
Schedule, map and other such info can be found at the official site, which has been updated with this year’s details (it still says “2008” at the very top of the window, at least in Safari, but the rest of it’s right, I think). I’m still sorry I missed Edgerton’s Chilimania! festival in September, but with guests including Malachy McCourt, Leroy Butler and others, this should be an engaging event on its own.
See some of you there, I hope!

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In other convention news, I’ve just accepted an invitation to be a guest at Comicon International 2010 in San Diego, California, which runs July 22-25. More details as they become available.

Our Big News

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Back from San Diego.
Sure, Marvel bought Marvelman and DC bought the THUNDER Agents and Dark Horse is having Jim Shooter re-do the Gold Key heroes and Johnny Depp crashed the con and all kinds of stuff. I, personally, was thrilled to get a chance to talk with Peter S. Beagle and tell him how much his work has meant to me, am glad to have a copy of Darwyn Cooke’s magnificent new The Hunter graphic novel, and had a very good time talking with old friends and co-workers—and new ones, as well.
But pff. It all pales next to the biggest news in comics.
That’s right—we’re going monthly. We were monthly for our first five issues, back in 1995, and we’ve been monthly for brief stretches thereafter, and now we’re going monthly again. For longer stretches, I sincerely hope!
[What do you mean, that’s not the biggest news in comics? Pipe down, this is my site!]
Astro City: The Dark Age Book Three #4 comes out next month. September and October will see the two-part Astra character spotlight. Then there’ll be a two month break. Then 2010 kicks off with Astro City: The Dark Age Book Four, followed in rapid succession by a Silver Agent character spotlight tale, wrapping up all the Dark Agery—and then, at long last, Astro City #23. And onward from there.
It’ll have been only a decade or so since #22, and a multitude of minis, specials and such in between, but it’ll be good to get back to Astro City as an ongoing series. My health has been slowly improving, the yearlong Trinity proved that I can handle a large and sustained workload without my fatigue issues knocking me out for a week or two at a time the way it used to, and I’ve been able to write the kind of material Astro City needs to feature. Brent, on his part, is starting to shift to digital artwork, drawing his pages largely in the computer via a Wacom tablet, which cuts out a lot of repetitious in-between steps and will hopefully speed him up as well. The results so far look gorgeous, and he’s got the rest of this year to get comfortable with it.
And we’ve got lots planned—from a look at the inner workings of Honor Guard to the origin of Winged Victory (as part of a story that involves Samaritan and the new Confessor as well), to an exposé into the secrets of the decades-long N-Forcer program, and even, at long last, that talking-gorilla story I’ve been threatening for years. Plus other cool stuff and some format surprises as well.
Mark your calendars!
[And since we love irony here at Busiek.com—no, really, we must love it, since it’s around so often it’s like one of the family—I have to report that no sooner did we announce that Astro City is going monthly that the news came in that Book Three #4 will be a week or so late. Not due to any schedule failure on our part, I assure you—Brent’s several issues ahead, and cruising along. It’s just one of those production glitches that leaps out of nowhere when you were wondering if there’s any carrot cake left. It was Dealt With and Steps Were Taken, and with any kind of luck at all, will hopefully not recur.]