Through the Mail Slot


So, I seem to have been neglecting the blog. Sorry about that. Since last I posted, we’ve done Thanksgiving and Christmas, I’ve spent a week in L.A. pitching a movie, a week in Florida visiting relatives, written a mess o’ comics, read a ton of graphic novels and three quarters of a ton of novels, gotten very productive, gotten sick and unproductive, and now I seem to be getting productive again.
But anyway, let me answer some of the mail that’s stacked up, at least, and I’ll feel a little less neglectful. For a week or so, maybe.

I apologize if this question is at all out of line or a sore point and I’m even more sad I missed the opportunity to talk to you last weekend at Mid-Ohio, but I’ve been wondering if you felt any kind of way about Marvel’s use of your story beat from the Confessor arc of Astro City as the general concept for the Secret Invasion event from two summers back? As a fellow writer, I wholly subscribed to a “my ideas are for the world to use and explore,” but I know I’m in the minority on that one. Was this something that you were addressed with before or is it possibly another happy-accident of creative synergy?
Thanks in advance for taking the time to read this and I hope I get to make your acquaintance on the con-circuit come next year!
I’ll confess to not having read Secret Invasion, but I expect what you mean is that there were shape-shifting aliens infiltrating humanity, right? If so, the idea wasn’t original to me—Skrulls have been disguising themselves as human at Marvel for years, going back to Fantastic Four #2, when they disguised themselves as the Fantastic Four. And of course, the trope goes back to stuff like They Live, The Invaders and Invasion of the Body Snatchers as well.
I’ve also seen people suggest that Marvel took the Superhero Registration Act in the Civil War event from Confession, but that too has predecessors—the Mutant Registration Act at Marvel, the “Last Days of the Justice Society” events at DC, where the JSA heroes were pressured to reveal their identities to the government, the Keene Act in Watchmen, and of course they’re all inspired by real-world examples like the 1940 Alien Registration Act or the Nazi registration of Jewish-owned property, and so on.
What matters isn’t whether ideas are new—most aren’t, after all—but how they’re used. And I’m reasonably confident that Secret Invasion used its ideas rather differently from what happened in Confession.
From MARK:

No question, no inquiry, no request.
Just wanted to say thank you for writing great stories that I really enjoy reading and coming back to again and again.
Reread Astro City Vol 1 again and felt compelled to tell you how much I enjoyed it, again.
Very glad to hear it, sir!

Continue reading

Through The Mail Slot


From Nikko Elliott:
How much longer is the Sterling North Book & Film Festival going to be “Tentative”? That’s your only possible appearance that’s close enough for me to make the drive and this “Tentative” status is driving me insane!
Sorry about that, Nikko. The fine folks at the Sterling North Festival have invited me, and I’ve accepted, but there’s some paperwork they need to send me and I don’t have it yet. Once they send it, that “Tentative” should go away pretty quickly. In the meantime, I’d think you’d be safe in planning to attend. It’s really just formalities that have to be dealt with at this point.
And now, two questions about Redhand, a series of two graphic novels I did with the amazingly-talented Mario Alberti for the French graphic novel publisher Humanoids.
First, from Alix Bergeret of

I was wondering if a volume 3 for your Redhand series was planned, and if so when is it due?
Thanks a lot for your time!
I don’t know what the current plans are, Alix. Mario and I only had a two-volume contract, to start with, and we had intended to do more, but first I was too busy, with the DC exclusive, and then Mario was busy, with the Spider-Man/X-Men mini-series he did for Marvel, plus other work, to the point that we wouldn’t be able to do a third volume on a schedule that was soon enough for the publisher. So we agreed that Humanoids could proceed with another writer and artist, and that’s the last I know of any plans. If they are working on a third volume, I haven’t heard about it.
From David B. Mitchell:

I contacted the publishers of Redhand and they said they have no plans to publish it in English. Do you know if that’s likely to change?
The last I heard, there were plans to publish some of the Humanoids material in English through Devil’s Due. That was part of the reason there was some time pressure to do a third volume—with each volume only forty-some pages long, the feeling was that a third volume was needed to have enough pages to do a trade paperback collection. So it may be that with only two volumes, they elected not to include it in the Devil’s Due program, or perhaps something else happened to it.
Publishing rights are entirely with Humanoids, so it’s up to them—and, of course, any American publishers they deal with—what they do with the material.