A personal diary keeping people abreast of what I am working on writing-wise.

Wednesday, April 30, 2003


It sucks trying to get mainstream press for comics.

I opened Portland’s main weekly paper today, the Willamette Week, and they had a blurb on Free Comic Book Day that was, well, just read it: “Jiminy-Jillickers, Radioactive-Man! Free stuff for the Stan Lee army? Better strap on your colored spandex and rev up the Batmobile to beat the bad guys to this super-duper giveaway! Participating comic retailers nationwide to disgorge 2 million select titles ranging from Archie to X-Men. Get adamant to adamantium!”

Not only are these sorts of reviews continually frustrating and insulting to fans and professionals who enjoy and create serious comic books, but they aren’t even clever. Every paper has done them, scads of journalists have resorted to them. You might as well go pick up an Oasis record and write about how they sound like the Beatles, or review a Jennifer Lopez movie and say, “You know what? She has a big butt.” It’s the easy way out. And this is in Portland, Oregon. We have four publishers in this town: Oni Press, Top Shelf Productions, Dark Horse Comics, and Adhesive Comics. We also have a ton of creators living here. It’s a comic book town—but I guess since we aren’t making a noise in our garage we’re not cool enough to get a proper amount of respect. (Steve Duin at The Oregonian and Dave Walker at the aforementioned Willamette Week being exceptions.) I mean, not even a mention of the contributions from our local companies? (Oh, and I would say at least the Radioactive Man reference is within this decade, but then, did no one fact check to see that hyphen wasn’t supposed to be there?) (And by titles do they mean individual copies of comics? The way they phrase it makes it sound like we have a huge selection!)

I actually used to try to turn the tide myself. My primary vocation is being a writer; comics editing is a secondary function. I used to write regularly for the Willamette Week, and I actually got them to agree to fairly regular graphic novel reviews in their literature section. After four or five of them, the books editor said to me, “You know, reviews of comics are kind of dumb. They aren’t very interesting. Maybe you could do stuff where people draw the reviews, so that it might be something people would want to read.”

By this logic, reviews of music should be done in song form, and movie reviews done as video clips? And how should I take that insult? Am I that bad of a writer, or are comics such a terrible art form and I’m putting my time into a known loser? Or am I just working for an unknown one? The fuck-off e-mail that followed is something I wish I had to share with you.

Current Soundtrack: Madonna, American Life


Saturday, April 26, 2003


Finished the first volume of Duklyon this morning. The last chapter was one big long one where the Defenders face off against Man of Many Faces in an epic CLAMP School crossover that actually amusingly makes fun of how no one can see through everyone’s obvious disguises. It was the best bit of the book, so it made it pretty easy to get up this morning and slam through it, leaving me free for the rest of the weekend to do as I may. The script is due next Friday, so all I need to do is give it a read and a tweak sometime this week.

I am actually relatively excited since my friend who has been in Beijing is coming home, hopefully at the end of this coming week (which could get in the way of me doing anything for Free Comic Book Day). It’s a bit bittersweet, since she has to cut her school term short, since she is coming home due to SARS and the changes it is inflicting on that city. But still, it’s nice news. Plus, she may be the number one person when it comes to kicking my ass over The Everlasting.

Current Soundtrack: From Jamaica, With Love, a March 2003 disc of classic reggae/ska compiled by Chynna Clugston-Major (jealous?)


Friday, April 25, 2003


Today in the glamourous world of comics, I bought a plate for me to have in the office. No more eating lunch with a paper towel and the all too frequent leap of piping hot whatever onto my pants. I now have a plate. Only took me four years to figure out it might be useful

Current Soundtrack: New Order, "Pop" disc from the Retro box set


Wednesday, April 23, 2003


Another assignment from Kelly Sue for her forum. This time I am meant to be a literary reporter for a tabloid and have to file my latest column.


Act Like A Writer

What the hell is wrong with the literary community these days? Have we forgotten the mid-‘90s heyday of the finest of our acting community putting fingers to keyboard and jazzing up the world of letters with their finely honed Stainslavsky method writing? From the highest of literary highs in Ethan Hawke’s book, to the Chekhov-like strains of Steve Martin and the populist potboilers of Joan Collins and Carrie Fisher, those of us with discerning eyes were quickly told, “Hey, these kids don’t need words put in their mouths, they have it going on all on their own!”

But now we’re stuck in a wasteland where it seems our only access to the deeper understanding of the human condition celebrities are privy to are tell-alls and reality TV. And that’s just not good enough! I need to know that Catherine Zeta-Jones thinks metaphorically!

So, I say, get off your duffs Hollywood, and show these wannabe Hemingways that their puny prose is really just hemming-and-hawing! Why are you letting such lightweight literati as Michael Chabon and Zadie Smith steal the spotlight when we all know you got it going on?!

Russell Crowe, surely there is a manly manuscript beating in that rippled chest of yours. You’ve got a pirate movie coming this summer, so why not give us a thrilling adventure of male bonding and unnatural love on the high seas?

Johnny Depp, you like to talk about Kerouac, but he was on the road before there were highways. Surely you can give us some true insight into those Los Angeles traffic jams.

Nichole Kidman, you shouldn’t just be playing Virginia Woolf on the screen, but you should put that nose on and sit down at an iMac! I want to know what song your soul sings when it’s not kicking it up at Moulin Rouge!

Freddie Prinze Jr., why are you wasting your time on comic books? Those are so over! Hello, 1963! No, no, no, Freddie—I want to see your name staring back at me in the airport bookshop next time I’m catching a flight to Rio.

The gauntlet has been cast, Tinsel Town! Awards season is over, so you don’t need to be drafting your acceptance speeches any longer. Draft the great American novel instead! Even if you are Australian!

-- Jamie S. Rich

Current Soundtrack: The Coral, The Coral


Tuesday, April 22, 2003


Fanboy Radio conducted an interview with me. If you have a fetish for annoying people with annoying voices, then you’ll love me on MP3. Check it out here.


I started Duklyon: CLAMP School Defenders last night. This one looks like it might be a bit easy, but also a tad unexciting from a rewrite standpoint. Another in the CLAMP School series, it even guest stars the characters from CLAMP School Detectives and Man of Many Faces. But it is probably the most straight forward of the books. It’s a superhero book. It’s Power Rangers. I’ve only done the first chapter, but that seems to be the gyst—guys put on metal suits to fight baddies who attack CLAMP School.

Current Soundtrack: Love & Rockets, Swing EP (from the Love & Rockets reissue)


Sunday, April 20, 2003



This is very unlike me. I am not a sharing kind of guy. I like to work in private for the most part. But what the hell…I think I just need to show my work a little, like a math test, prove something exists—however rough it may be.

A few things. Yes, my cat is a character. You’d be surprised how easy it is to fill a gap by looking over your shoulder and seeing what a furball is doing.

In the middle of the section, there is a quick reference to him speaking with someone named Lori. Don’t be confused. He is actually relating the date to someone, and we have been weaving in and out of their conversation. (These pages are in the 30s in the manuscript.)

And yes, the style shifts in the middle, too. The style shifts more than you’ve seen yet. There are three distinctive narrative voices, all centered around Lance, as well as a couple of extra techniques. The conversation technique is a direct lift from This Side of Paradise.

Finally, please don’t spread it. Don’t like to it. Don’t tell your friends. Just let is sit here. My e-mail is below if you really wanna say something. (Yes, I am deluded with grandeur.)

Current Soundtrack: Aaliyah, I Care 4 You


Saturday, April 19, 2003


My blog got its first piece of random mail from someone I had no prior knowledge of. It was titled "confessions of a real pop fan." It made me laugh, I'll say.

Hi mate,

I was just going to write something in my blog when the name of yours caught my eye. I don't usually click on the links on the side, but I have at various times considered calling my blog Confessions Of A Pop Fan, so obviously I was intrigued.

I've allways been going to call mine that because that's basically what mine is. Me and my mate Michael just write collective amounts of crap on being a Pop fan, being part of the much maligned minority group that we are.

I quickly saw references to Sailor Moon and David Bowie on your site, both personal heroes of mine. However, I see that you have a strong love for The Indie, a genre that we love to diss' (we are also Marky Mark fans), which would make me wonder what sort of pop fan you are matey! An ironic one? haha, I couldn't quite figure it out.

Anyway mate, stay cool then!


Though I assurred Crystal that there was no irony intended, and that I really did love pop music, a quick look at her blog reveals she has me beat. It's actually a pretty fun site once you decide to just roll with its bonza nature. Still can't have the title, though. ;)

Current Soundtrack: Love & Rockets, Express remastered edition


Thursday, April 17, 2003


I started an editorial for my Big Talk column at onipress.com that I ended up ditching. It was a reactionary piece, responding to a third-hand comment lamenting that Oni is no longer the same publisher that published Oni Double Feature five years ago. It pretty much kicked the shit out of the myths about that book and the nature of an anthology in general, as well as the notion that we should be the same publisher as we were back then—but I’ve backed off. Sometimes you just got to be quiet and let the critics have their day and just not worry about it. The defense ended up belittling what was essentially a very good book with very good work by very good people. But if you’re reading this and thinking, “Gosh, I liked that comic,” then you need to realize it’s been gone since 1999 and if it left that big of a hole in your life, you maybe need one in your skull.

Shit, bitterness rising.

I am working out in public again. I want to get the last quarter of Gravitation volume 2 out of the way. I turned in the first half already, and have been whittling away at the next half, and if I can get it done, I can turn it in tomorrow, three days ahead of the new deadline, which is four days ahead of my original deadline. I am using different headphones tonight and playing Spiritualized’s second disc of Complete Works, and I have it loud, and “Medication” is damn noisy—yet my fears that anyone might ask me to turn it down due to any sonic bleed-through are quelled by the fact that this woman the next table over is actually talking loud enough for me to hear her. There are words for her that shouldn’t be typed in polite blogs. (Maybe I should start an impolite one.)

Have you ever noticed how my entries are much more spiteful when I am out among the masses?


I e-mailed Matt Fraction the other day and told him he could have made me a star. Had I taken him up on his offer to do a column for Savant, I’d be announcing a project with Epic right now! Ha!


Gravitation is an odd book. In every same-sex relationship, the boys are all insisting they aren’t gay. “I’m not gay, but let’s fuck.” This is how I imagine it secretly is in frat houses across the country. (I said “imagine,” not “fantasize” – it’s a distinct difference.) “So, Pledge McNutty, I’m not gay or anything, but you wanna cornhole?” Do frat boys put on frilly nighties and have pillow fights?

Plus, one of the boys is a sixteen-year-old monk. Must be some religion, the way he apparently puts notches on the headboard.

I did get to write some goofy lyrics in this section. I ripped the opening line off from Joy Division and then went from there. It was a good start. The original lyrics appeared in English in the untranslated book, and I used their mistakes to my advantage. They had “borden” for “burden,” for instance, and in the funky font it looked like “border,” so I ended up using it that way, making the poetry all the more pretentious.


Today, two people asked me how the novel was going. I joked that calling a book The Everlasting was a bad idea, since it ended up describing how long it was taking to write it more than the book itself. My next novel is going to be called No Time At All.

Current Soundtrack: Spandau Ballet, Reformation, disc 3 (12” mixes); cool J-pop mix from Elin


MORE HYPE: A six page preview of Scooter Girl.

Tuesday, April 15, 2003

HYPE: An article on Tokyopop's site on the CLAMP School universe of books.

Saturday, April 12, 2003


I haven’t really gotten to the writing weekend I was hoping for. I realize that I get derailed from my goals way too easily, but I also have the excuse of a headache that’s been lingering since Thursday night. It was only in full effect the first night, but it’s been hanging around ever since, in the back on the left, at the connection between my neck and skull. It’s a common place for me, and I’ve been keeping it regularly medicated and thus keeping it in check. But it’s still rotten.

I did manage to open an Everlasting file and tinker around a little bit, though.

Current Soundtrack: BBC online, currently playing techno, coz the cat is asleep on my lap and I have to make do withwhat is available to me here


Friday, April 11, 2003


#3 in a series!

My second Marvel proposal, the tentatively titled X-Love, didn’t actually make it very far. The editor liked it and I think tossed the idea around, but I think at that point there started to be questions about me as a writer. I never really understood what exactly was going on, but there was also a breakdown in some rumored activity between that entity and Oni, rumors Oni ultimately decided to undo. (Cryptic much?)

So, what you’re reading is a rough. It likely needs some proofing, but I am lazy, as we know. It was sent in to the editor I was talking to and Chynna, who was going to draw it, to see what they thought of the direction I was taking. The lifts from Peach Girl will be fairly obvious to fans of that excellent manga series, but seeing as the company was looking for new books that would appeal to the teenage-girl manga crowd (yes, Wallflower, there are reasons why I pitch what I do! Ha!), it seemed as good a model as any to look at. Besides, the general plot of Peach Girl is pretty basic romantic soap opera, and the adolescent angst is pretty standard, as well—so it’s not like that book invented what I am taking from it.

And yes, once again I was using Chynna for my own selfish ends. It's good to surround yourself with your famous friends. If you go into battle, you take the best weapons, yes? (I actually tried to get Christine Norrie or my pal Duncan Rouleau considered for the Cypher & Warlock stuff.) Truth be told, I only have my Tokyopop work because Jake originally was looking to talk to Chynna, and I wedged my foot in the door and wouldn't take it out until they gave me something to do. Without her, it seems, I am nothing.

Current Soundtrack: inbetween choices


It’s good to be back on Gravitation. I started book 2 on Wednesday, and did the whole first quarter. Going to work my way through the second this evening before knocking off for the night. My deadline is 4/25, but I’ve been asked to deliver early if I can. Yeah, I know, if it were me I’d feel like an idiot if I asked a freelancer that—but I am sweet and adorable and just might do it, if only to save my editors from their secret inner shame. At the very least, I could give them half the book on Monday.

Simon & Garfunkle, Sounds of Silence

The characters in this manga have a much more natural feel. There’s a lot more flexibility to the story and their speech, as well as a higher grade of emotion. It’s a more satisfying exercise, writing-wise, than Clamp School Detectives was. I also think I feel a bit more free since it’s not as big a book popularity-wise. You know the CLAMP fans are watching your every move, and you have to be careful. Not only do they know the material already, but they know it in multiple languages, and they’re inspecting every syllable for a misstep.

Current Soundtrack: OMD, Organisation (UK 2003 remaster)


Tuesday, April 08, 2003


Ladies and gentlemen, Scooter Girl!

Current Soundtrack: Stereophonics, "Pick a Part That's New"

Monday, April 07, 2003


Okay, well, at least two of you want to read these, and for all I know, that's most of you, so here are the first of my Marvel pitches. They are actually two versions of the same pitch, for a series starring Cypher and Warlock in the Marvel Mangaverse, which I assume now has been superceded by Tsunami. The first version is what I initially turned in. I basically wanted to take these two characters and mash together two manga genres--the boy and his robot, and the girly hero manga. The former came with the absent father subplot, and the latter I tried to turn on its ear by messing with gender. Consider if Sailor Moon were a man, and Tuxedo Mask was a woman. That's what I was going for.

The second version here is actually the third version overall, after some fine tuning done with the editor. The name Warlock was dropped, as apparently there might be some itnernal prejudice against the character thanks to its involvement in some bad story line or other. It has also has a new, computer-oriented name. I don't recall it being too amazingly different than that, though, and I am too lazy to read these again. The plan was to eventually reveal the character as Warlock for those who didn't get it, but we would try to slide it under the door this way.

The biggest tragedy of the book never happening is it would have pissed off Matt Fraction, who had some kind of twisted take on the same characters. For all I know, though, the joke is on me and he's sold the concept to Epic.

Current Soundtrack: Spiritualized, The Complete Works, volume 1, disc 1, UK version


Friday, April 04, 2003


The Who, Who’s Next: Deluxe Edition, disc 2

I’m writing on the evening of April 3, though most likely this won’t be posted until the morning of April 4. I’m working away from home, and I doubt I’ll fire up this machine again when I get home. I got attitude from the Starbucks barista. I ordered a grande chai, and as I considered a snack, she asked if I wanted to enhance my chai with anything. “Yeah,” I said, “milk.” She laughed and said, “Well, it comes with that.” Not gonna enhance the tip jar, now, am I?

Writing today comes in waves. Sometimes I can get some momentum rolling, but then I slam into a particularly dense page and it slows everything down. Not sure why I find Clamp School Detectives so difficult. Maybe it’s not girly enough for me. Perhaps it’s the sheer one-dimensional nature of all the boys. They all have one flat tone—different tones, but just one tone each—that is suggested in their dialogue already, leaving little for creativity. I got the first printed book from Jake the other day, and it’s an impressive package—thick and slick. I know I would enjoy this if I were reading it, and it could be a particularly fun anime, but as an assignment…well, let’s say I’ll be glad when I’m done tomorrow and it’s the last volume.

Elbow, Asleep at the Back. A woman near me says, “You don’t go to Starbucks when you just want a cup of coffee. That would just be a waste.” She talks so loud I have to turn my music up to keep her tone from riding underneath it.

At one point the bad guys call Suoh a punk. I want to get a hate letter that tells me that he’s no punk and that I need to stop exploiting punk culture. Like the guy that went off on Hopeless Savages on Newsarama way back when. You know, the good ol’ days.


One thing that came out of a discussion on the Oni board about Wednesday’s Confessions post is that I did leave off one non-ego element of my pitch to DC—I didn’t think my own skills were my true key to success. To be perfectly honest, I was hoping to ride Chynna’s coattails. I figured she was the golden ticket into the Chocolate Factory, that it would be her they’d want the most. She’s opened other doors. Everyone wants Chynna. Anyway, it seems that people liked seeing a stillborn idea, so I may unleash my Marvel pitches in the coming days if you guys want. Drop me an e-mail, let me know.

Current Soundtrack: David Bowie, Heathen


Wednesday, April 02, 2003


My cat cares nothing for my freelance life. My untranslated copy of Clamp School Detectives volume 3 is in my bag in the other room. She is asleep on my lap—fast asleep, and it’s just too cruel to move her. Normally, if she tries to sleep on me, it doesn’t last. I’m too fidgety, and it annoys her. But at my desk, we can usually come to some kind of agreement. Usually, I’d say I’d hang on until the music I was playing ended, but we aren’t even halfway into Erasure, so it could be a while. (And I always forget how brilliant this album is. I mean, I know it’s really good, but then I put it on and realize my memory can never serve me completely. They really were doing something special here…)

Anyway, looks like she’ll at least get the length of this journal entry for her nap.

It appears my mainstream comics career has hit a wall again. I am not superduper eager to be a superhero writer or anything, but opportunities are opportunities. I like to try, to see what is there, and if someone asks me to pitch, then we’ll tango. C.B. Cebulski at Marvel is a great guy, and he has been really helpful. I’m a tough business, because my ideas are limited in that area, so I can’t toss tons at him until one sticks. I’ve tried three so far, and we just can’t get them going. This last one was a Jubilee story, and it appears to be a no-go. The others were ideas for new series that, really, gave them what they wanted for their Tsunami line, but gave it to them over a year ago. I know that it sounds terribly egotistical, but I believed in the books I was constructing.

But then, maybe that’s been my problem all along. Maybe there is too much hubris in how I approach these things. Outside of two pitches for the Buffy the Vampire Slayer line of comics at Dark Horse, my only other real proposal in the last few years was for an Elseworlds thing at DC. It was also the only thing I wasn’t asked to put together, but I used some connections to get it in. Chynna Clugston-Major was going to draw it, and I did my best to deliver an idea that seemed to be perfectly suited to what it is she and I do. I wasn’t giving them something inappropriate that no one would want to see from us.

I also thought I was giving them a fresh idea, something young and vibrant that would really stand out in a tired line of Green Lantern pirate stories and Superman westerns. Like I said, hubris. I thought I had the goods.

Anyway, Young Justice: Ready, Steady, Go! is the only story in my arsenal that I know is 100% dead, so I share it here and you can be the judge of it. I haven’t even read it over again to post it. It’s a distant memory. If it seems folk like seeing it, maybe I’ll look into putting up some of the others.

Current Soundtrack: Erasure, Erasure


Tuesday, April 01, 2003


In Powell's the other day, I picked up the big F. Scott Fitzgerald hardcover short story collection for $6.95. I have a lot of paperback collections, but never had the big book. Elin and I had been talking Fitzgerald and I suddenly desired to have this and keep it by my bed so I could read some stories whenever the whim struck. Maybe it will give me back my ability to actually write short stories, too, which seemed to be taken away by Cut My Hair.

While at Powell's, I visited the rare book room, just to see, and they had a copy of All The Sad Young Men, which I have always coveted. I think I wrote about it on the Oni board, as I was tracking some on eBay and they were selling for massively high prices. It was a title I was always jealous of, and it has "Winter Dreams," but it's not in print anymore, and that saddens me for some reason. This one was only $300 with no dust jacket. I held it in my hands, and it was lovely...but not to be right now.

Current Soundtrack: White Stripes, Elephant (which on first listen is sounding okay, but not really special)