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!

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Portland, Oregon! One Hour Only!


This weekend, “all corners of comics” includes mine. I’ll be doing a signing at the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund booth this Saturday at Stumptown Comics Fest in Portland, Oregon.
Here are the details:
Where? Stumptown Comics Fest, at the Lloyd Center Doubletree Hotel Exhibit Hall, 1000 NE Multnomah Street, Portland OR 97232.
No, I mean where? Like, once I’m actually at the show! Oh. In that case, I’ll be at the CBLDF Booth, which is Booth #25.
When? Well, the show is Saturday and Sunday, April 24th & 25th, from 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM.
Yeah, yeah. I knew that from your first paragraph, pal. And the signing? 3:00 PM to 4:00 PM Saturday.
What else do I need to know? Like are they charging for signatures, or what? Gee, you’re getting a little belligerent there, imaginary-reader-born-of-my-subconscious. Tickets for the signing can be had at the CBLDF booth itself. Tickets are free, though donations are encouraged. The CBLDF is a worthy cause, and deserves your support.
Any limits on stuff you’ll sign? Just my usual. I’ll sign pretty much whatever, but if you’ve got a big stack and there’s a line behind you, I don’t want those other people to have to wait through it all, so I may just sign a small chunk of ’em and then you can go back to the end of the line or come back later or whatever. If there’s no line, I’m in no rush. I’ll sign, answer questions, chat, whatever.
Why did you let Superman beat Thor? Don’t you know Thor’s magic? They paid you under the table, didn’t they? Oh, shut up. And they mailed a check.
This is, I think, the first time I’ve done a signing at a show I haven’t been a guest at. I go to Stumptown as an attendee, because it’s jam-ful of great cartoonists and terrific comics, and I always find something new and cool there. But I’d feel odd if I had a table there, because it’s such an indy-focused show and I’ve been such a mainstream-y kind of guy for the bulk of my career. So I’m more than half-convinced that I’ll be sitting there for an hour looking sheepish, while Paul Pope fans breeze by, thinking, “Who the hell is he?”
So if you’re at the show, drop by and say hi, even if you don’t have anything for me to sign. The CBLDF could use your help, and it’ll save me from twiddling my thumbs the whole time.
For more on Stumptown or the CBLDF, click the links.