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

Thursday, July 29, 2010



* Dinner for Schmucks, a good comedy that could have been great had it not played it so safe. Great performances by Steve Carrel and Paul Rudd, though.

* South of the Border, Oliver Stone's documentary about South American leaders...and Oliver Stone.


* The Secret of the Grain, a winning French drama. A little Kitchen Sink, a little Ozu, and lot's of heart.


* Date Night: Extended Edition: Steve Carrel is two for two this week for being in movies that he's better than. He and Tina Fey prove they can make even a mediocre production entertaining.

* The Wind Journeys, a folkloric Colombian movie about accordion masters, including their wicked insult battles.

Current Soundtrack: Dean & Britta, 13 Most Beautiful: Songs For Andy Warhol's Screen Tests - 21 songs, $11!

e-mail = golightly at confessions123.com * Criterion Confessions * Live Journal Syndication * My Corporate-Owned Space * ComicSpace * Last FM * GoodReads * The Blog Roll [old version] * DVDTalk reviews * My Books On Amazon

All text (c) 2010 Jamie S. Rich

Wednesday, July 28, 2010


San Diego Comic Con has come and gone, but in the weeks leading up to it, I found myself regularly answering questions about some of the best ways to show your work and submit proposals to publishers. This culminated in a big post on the Mike Allred message board that took enough time to make me realize, I really should just cut and paste the text and put it in a permanent location.

So, what follows is a slightly altered/expanded version of said post. Note that there is no one method for everyone, and I really can't stress enough that you have to research who you are pitching to and prepare to bend to their guidelines. But this is a pretty standard approach to how to put a comic book proposal together. It's how I pitched Spell Checkers, actually, so it does work.

This is wisdom I gathered from a decade of experience as a comic book editor, and six years as a freelance writer. I know a thing or two about a thing or two.


First things first, sit down and get to work.

The more material completed on your comic book, the better you are. Some publishers might not even take notice if you don't have a completed book, and I think even if you don't have all the art, at least one full draft of the script is a good thing to have in hand. You might have a really good, full outline, but you really learn so much more doing the script and a lot of folks also have problems going the distance. Finish one script, prove you can do it--to yourself included. No publisher is impressed by a short pitch and nothing else.

General rules of thumb for putting a pitch package together:

Half-page of the basic overview of the book. Think of it as a back cover blurb plus a rundown of what kind of book it is in terms of genre, format, creators, page count, etc.

Then a full synopsis. This is a detailed outline of the full story, about 1 page per issue/25 pages of script. Don't be cute, don't hide details to create a mystery. If you end it with "and the killer is...well, you'll have to hire me to find out," straight in the trash you'll go.

Script-wise, a minimum of the first chapter/first issue should be included with the synopsis. That's probably the maximum you want for the pitch, too, you don't want to scare them off by sending in a huge brick of a manuscript. They should be able to tell if they want more at that point.

Art: minimum of 10 finished pages, but anywhere up to, again, the complete first chapter or a first issue. You can maybe do the first 10 inked and the rest penciled, even. Enough, though, to give your potential publisher an idea of what your book will look like. Make sure, also, that they are sequential. Don't just show the exciting fight scenes. It's great that you drew five epic battles, but if you can't show you know how to get from one battlefield to the other, you're not much good to anybody. It'd be like interviewing for a job as a chauffeur when your only driving experience is NASCAR.

If you're an artist who isn't pitching a story, then have a variety of pages, but still include some essentials. Also, don't bring your life history, just bring recent work. I don't need to see that you sucked two years ago to tell that you're good now.

Writers without artists can skip the last stage, obviously, though having an artist on board makes a world of difference. As always, don't decide to draw it yourself. This working out for you is the longest longshot you can come up with.

Include your contact info. You laugh now, but you'll feel like a royal doofus when you forget to do it. Also, double-check who you've addressed the material to. It's easy to mix-up names when preparing multiple packages. It'd be a good idea to find a current comic by the publisher, too, so you're sure you're looking for someone that actually still works there.

After you've gotten all that done and put the material in the hands of prospective editors and publishers, you're going to need a whole lot of patience. It takes time to read these things, and especially if you hand off the material at a convention, keep in mind how many other people did the exact same thing. I wouldn't halt working on the rest of the book waiting for responses, I'd either keep at the project at hand or start planning the next; you have to consistently be a self-starter if you're ever going to make it in this business.

Webcomics, of course, are a viable option for developing your stories, and a great idea in general because it allows you to build interest in your work and also prove that you have initiative and can stick with something. Start off working on what you need for that pitch package to send to a publisher, and have that in the can as your lead-off in terms of starting your webcomic. Then figure out a schedule for regular updates, and while publishers are examining your pitch package, you'll still be on track and adding more and growing your name. It also gives you a great way to push your work back under any publisher's nose, or even to start the process to begin with.

If you can travel to cons, do it. Nothing like meeting a potential employer face to face. You can bring minicomics or your pitch package with, but if the editor tells you he or she doesn't want to take it because things get lost leaving conventions, listen. In particular, if they say, "Send it to me," LISTEN. Careers have been sunk because some chucklehead failed to follow-up after a convention meeting. They aren't going to come looking for you, because you've just proven you aren't serious by ignoring their invitation.

Again, whatever is in your mini could also be online, and then you have your zine version for sale.

Avoiding digital at this point, though, just seems the wrong option. And unless you are pasting up your zine and copying it all by hand, you're most likely going to have scans of the material anyway. I think if you're traveling to cons, you should have a paper copy, a digital copy, and a place to download the whole thing, and let the potential employer decide what was most convenient. If you can get your hands on some cheap, small flash drives, also cool. Personalize them and hand them out. At this point, C.B. Cebulski from Marvel has even encouraged people to show up with their portfolios on their iPad. Multiple options and ease of access is never going to hurt you.

Remember, this is a job interview and no one owes you a thing. You can be the most talented s.o.b. on the planet, but so what? Be confident, but be polite, and listen to what people tell you. If you get an actual critique of your work, that's a big thing. Pay attention and take in the info, don't get defensive. You can decide later if the editor is wrong and you don't want to take it on board.

Also, before you try to force your material on another working writer or artist, maybe you should read this. I know some people bristled at the caustic nature of the piece, but most of the creative professionals I knew breathed a sigh of relief that someone finally said it. Detractors of Josh Olson's essay often made the blanket claim that each and every working writer or artist is working because at some point someone took the time to look at their material and offer some kind of mentorship, but that's not entirely true--not if you're talking about people who don't have a job requiring them to do so. An editor may be required to read your work, but I am not, and neither is any other comics writer. I never pushed my work on anyone I didn't already have a relationship with. Get to know people, be a human being, and they'll hopefully ask you to show them what you're doing, but don't think you're entitled.

Also, if you're going to reach out for professionals for advice on how to break in, be succinct in your query and don't send the same e-mail to every person on your list under the pretense that it's being sent only to them. I recently had three friends all get the same letter from a wannabe writer seeking advice that not only took three paragraphs to get to the point, but it began with the same "I love your work" opening line. He just changed the names in the salutation. I hate to break it to you, but comic book people talk to each other. We know who you are!


Anyway, I hope this is helpful. If anyone has questions, ask in the comments and I will do my best to answer and maybe update the above to include that, as well.

That said, I don't care if you don't like the way I said you should do it, nor do I want to hear any whining about how much effort it's going to take. If you're thinking of going off, back up four paragraphs and try again. I'm giving it to you as straight as I can, and if you can't take this, you're not ready to get out there and sell your art. This stuff is hard for a reason, and there are plenty of other folks out there ready and willing to do what it takes if you can't.

Current Soundtrack: Professor Green, Alive Till I'm Dead; Los Campesinos!, All's Well That Ends

e-mail = golightly at confessions123.com * Criterion Confessions * Live Journal Syndication * My Corporate-Owned Space * ComicSpace * Last FM * GoodReads * The Blog Roll [old version] * DVDTalk reviews * My Books On Amazon

All text (c) 2010 Jamie S. Rich

Thursday, July 22, 2010



* The Killer Inside of Me, Michael Winterbottom's strange adaptation of Jim Thompson maybe plays it too straight, but Casey Affleck is riveting.

* Salt was the movie, I was the snail. Angelina Jolie is highly watchable, but the movie slips off a rung on its evolutionary ladder and falls down fast.

* Wild Grass, the latest from master director Alain Resnais is pretty goddamn terrible. As I say in my review, it's like a parody of foreign films by someone whose never seen a foreign film.


* Film Noir Classic Collection, Vol. 5, the Warner Bros. series returns, but with its weakest entry. A few good choices out of the eight movies here, but mostly middling.

* Saturday Night Live: Best of Will Ferrell - Volume 3, a new compilation of skits from the funnyman's time as a cast member and also as a guest host of the long-running comedy show.

* Vincere, Marco Bellocchio's bizarre love story of Mussolini and his mistress, with a knock-out performance from Giovanna Mezzogiorno. Mama mia, she's gorgeous!

Current Soundtrack: RPA & the United Nations of Sound, self-titled

e-mail = golightly at confessions123.com * Criterion Confessions * Live Journal Syndication * My Corporate-Owned Space * ComicSpace * Last FM * GoodReads * The Blog Roll [old version] * DVDTalk reviews * My Books On Amazon

All text (c) 2010 Jamie S. Rich

Wednesday, July 21, 2010


Oni Press is setting up their SDCC booth, and James Lucas Jones sent me this photo of the wicked cool Spell Checkers banner.

Go see it at Booth #1833. And ask Nicolas Hitori de what he thinks of Jerry Lewis while you are there.

Current Soundtrack: Mystery Jets, Serotonin

Tuesday, July 20, 2010


It's hard to imagine that it was only a year ago that You Have Killed Me debuted at San Diego Comic Con, an important component of what was easily my best time at the show. That said, I'm not at all sad reading about people packing and preparing to leave for this year's convention, which starts tomorrow. Pffft, you can have it.

And don't forget: Spell Checkers shirts at the show. They sadly neglected to mention them by name in the Oni Press convention schedule. Nico's signing times are listed, though, so get him to sign your book!

Anyway, it's weird that the book is suddenly getting reviewed again. This time, we get a write-up from R.C. Harvey at the Comics Journal (and who I also used to read in CBG as a teen). Harvey is a pretty tough critic who specializes in classic cartooning, so it's not bad, considering:

"This might be counted as a signal flaw in the tale if Rich was regaling us with a simple mystery, but he isn’t. Instead, he’s producing an imitation Raymond Chandler story. The detective is sent on numerous errands, and, like the Continental Op, he picks up scraps of information as he goes, and he’s menaced along the way by some the ungodly, so there’s enough threat of violence to keep us in suspense and engaged. Mostly, we become acquainted with a thoroughly unsavory amoral society, a Chandleresque milieu. And since acquainting us with this lot of failed humanity is the chief purpose of the story, we must conclude that Rich succeeds."

Full review here.

I've noticed a few things about how people respond to the book. I think there are lessons to be learned in how people respond to any of my books, actually. For instance, I'm fascinated by how there was a pretty significant shift down the gender lines in reading 12 Reasons Why I Love Her. Women tended to sympathize with Evan's anger and forgive his bad behavior, whereas men seemed to get really pissed at him. All I can conclude is the ladies are used to men's bullshit, while guys can't handle seeing dudes screw it up with the hot chick (to phrase it in the colloquial).

One funny thing in having written a crime story that has a bit of a "whodunit?" mystery is that folks who got immersed in the experience are excited to tell me they didn't see the end coming, while people who figured out who the killer was early on can't wait to tell me how much smarter they were than me. I have to admit, I didn't try very hard to hide things, because it's something I'm still learning how to do and I wasn't concerned with forcing the story to rely on a big "Ah-ha!" I just hoped people would go along either way.

Another is how often people get the details wrong, especially critics. I understand the latter, because I know that in rushing to review, you often only have one time to examine the material and then the text is due (I get e-mails all the time from readers pointing out detail errors in my movie reviews). I've heard various character traits misrepresented--one writer thought Mercer was from a poor background, for instance--and also various story elements misconstrued--yesterday's reviewer thinking the book was East Coast based. Harvey isn't the first person to wonder why Mercer wasn't dead after reading the title line in the prologue, and it's one question that still surprises me. I never expected anyone would think he really does die. Sorry, I don't consider that a spoiler. It was just meant to be one of those "Dun-dun-dun" openings.

The other thing Harvey misses pertains somewhat to the excerpted quote. I think the fate of Julie is explained in the end. I would go deeper in my explanation on that here, but then I'd really be giving out spoilers. But it's there in the conversation with the killer, and then in the conversation with Tynan, the cop. No, I don't lay it out piece by piece in one go. That would just get me nailed to the wall for being overly expository!

Anyway, just ruminating. I am not grousing at all. Like I said, I find how people interact with the material fascinating and informative. I'm pleased that they are interacting with it at all and willing to ponder the book once the covers are closed. Plus, if someone, anyone, is confused by something, it does give me something to consider in the future when working on the next script. How ambiguous is too ambiguous? I actually hope to build something with Mercer. We'll get to know him more with each book, know more about where he comes from just as we watch him change. Through here lies darkness...

Current Soundtrack: Gwen Stefani, "The Sweet Escape (Konvict Remix - featuring Akon)/Wind It Up/Yummy (Ft. Pharrell) (NRC Step Out Mix);" Gwen & Eve, "Let Me Blow Ya Mind;" N*E*R*D, "Hot and Fun (Yeasayer Remix) & (Boys Noize Main)," both feat. Nelly Furtado; Metric, "Gimme Sympathy/Help I'm Alive (Dayrotter Session)" (download)

The More Vikings Book Review Blog has reviewed You Have Killed Me and given us a rating of 3 Vikings and 3 Burning Huts! Woo!

"The artwork style has a sort of cartoon-esque realism that I really like and which fits great with the setting. They also play with textures in a way that surprised and pleased me. For instance, the main character wears a rough weave tweed suit and they used a dark gray canvas texture to fill the lines of his jacket and pants. And in the one scene where Antonio is driving and thinking, the back window of his car is filled with an old black and white photograph of a period street (that looks, frankly, like San Francisco even though they’re supposed to be somewhere on the East Coast, I thought)."

Read the full review here.

(For the record, the story is West Coast, and that is actually a Los Angeles street.)

Current Soundtrack: The Coral, Butterfly House

Thursday, July 15, 2010


Alex-Imé has sent along this badass drawing of Kimmie from Spell Checkers showing a whole lotta attitude. I'm intimidated, and she's my character.

Kimmie by Alex-Imé

Bigger versions in the link.

I'm starting to think Kimmie is by far people's favorite. Interesting. Joëlle and Nico are in the Jesse camp, I am a little partial to Cynthia, but Kimmie is always the most fun to write.

Check out Alex-Imé's blog, which she shares with yesterday's contributor Damien Cuvillier: http://lepandaroux.canalblog.com/

Current Soundtrack: R.E.M., Fables Of The Reconstruction 25th Anniversary reissue



* Inception, Christopher Nolan's highly anticipated mind bender really, really delivers.

Though, was a Dennis Quaid cameo too much to ask? Really?

* The Kids Are All Right, the funny and touching new family drama with Annette Bening and Julianne Moore. Yup, the moms are all right, too.


A look at the Powell & Pressburger reissues coming out on Tuesday.

* Black Narcissus, the breathtaking movie about breathless nuns.

* The Red Shoes: I gushed over the movie a little while ago, but now a little on the DVD extras.


* Sesame Street...20 Years and Still Counting!, a retrospective so old, it needs its own retrospective.

Current Soundtrack: Martina Topley Bird, Some Place Simple

e-mail = golightly at confessions123.com * Criterion Confessions * Live Journal Syndication * My Corporate-Owned Space * ComicSpace * Last FM * GoodReads * The Blog Roll [old version] * DVDTalk reviews * My Books On Amazon

All text (c) 2010 Jamie S. Rich

Wednesday, July 14, 2010


Wow, this is gorgeous. French artist Damien Cuvillier sent this Spell Checkers drawing to Nico, and it's way rad.

Take a look at Damien's blog for more of his art. The guy is awesome.

By the way, I'm starting to wonder how people might interpret the title I give to these posts, like it's a little conceited or something. I actually intend the fan tag to go both ways, I am a fan of those sharing their art as much as they might be a fan of our book. It's taken from a compilation of Leonard Cohen covers that came out in the early 1990s, a riff on his title "I'm Your Man."

Current Soundtrack: M.I.A., Maya deluxe edition


Today is a pretty exciting new comic book day, and there are a couple of items I want to call attention to.

To start, my buddy Scott Morse has the first issue of his new IDW series Strange Science Fantasy hitting shelves. Scott has leaked various teases and early versions of the weird and wild stories he has planned for this series, and I know this is going to be a lot of fun.

Check out his original blog announcement for the book.

This is the cover:

Scott has come up with the only reason I am even remotely sad not to be going to Comic Con. I want these movie art prints so bad!

Second, hot on the heels of the highly successful but now impossible to get Free Comic Book Day edition of The Sixth Gun #1 by Cullen Bunn and Brian Hurtt, Oni Press is releasing the retail edition of the first issue and the second issue both on the same day. That's right! If you missed it the first time, you can get a twofer and be all caught up; if you read the FCBD issue, you can finally read what happens next.

Check out the Oni page for the book, complete with a preview.

Finally, I posted this review here a couple of months ago, but I'm doing it again because today is the day The Playwright lands in stores. Buy it!

You can also see a preview in the Amazon link below.

The Playwright The Playwright by Daren White and Eddie Campbell

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The latest from artist Eddie Campbell is a collaboration with writer Daren White, and it's a wonderful, bittersweet melding of pictures and words that is formalist in its construction but charming for being so concise.

The Playwright is the story of a middle-aged English gentleman who has enjoyed some success as a writer, with much of his most successful work being for television. Over the years, he has become rather set in his ways, and his artistic and financial success is offset by an increasing isolation. He is not close to his family due to his mining their lives for material. In fact, many of his prior human connections have become grist for his typewriter. Employing a humorous and matter-of-fact tone, White details the sexual hang-ups and perpetual embarrassments the playwright suffers, gently mocking the man while still remaining utterly fascinated by him.

Campbell has painted the book in his usual sketchy, evocative manner, but the page layout is more like a newspaper comic strip than your traditional comic book. Printed at a rectangular size, each page has 3 or 4 panels, no more. There are also no word balloons or any narration within the panels, White's narrative is presented outside of the picture boxes, and the effect is something akin to voiceover in a silent film. The words serve as commentary, but yet are detached, coming from an omniscient narrator. This allows a break from "reality," and gives Campbell room to roam from presenting what is being said and abstract the material. Some sequences are shown as the playwright's fantasies instead of his actions, and others take on a life of their own, Campbell's expressionistic style morphing and changing what we see until it becomes something else entirely.

The Playwright ends up being more than a portrait of a man and his quirks, however; a story arc develops the deeper we go into the book and things begin to change. The man that was initially greeted with an arched eyebrow and skepticism is given room to grow, and he does so quite naturally. Perhaps it's the simplicity of the storytelling, that a few well-placed lines allow for the kind of character development that is so often lacking in other, more effusive tales. It's not that the playwright has to struggle or earn his happiness, but that by finally meeting life as it comes to him, it affects him at last.

Somewhat ironically, this changes his relationship with his art, and White and Campbell, it turns out, have been crafting a good-natured parody of many cliches about creative life. Must authors be miserable bastards to write? Some think so. In The Playwright we are asked if this being true means it's better to ignore happiness for a little notoriety. Then again, how we perceive the change is also going to be altered to how much we buy into the titular writer being an artist and not some hack. Is he who he is because he bought the cliche? And are Daren White and Eddie Campbell able to be who they are, and to create a comic as blithe as The Playwright, because they haven't?

The Playwright is being published by Top Shelf in June. Order your copy now!

View all my reviews >>

Current Soundtrack: The Coral, Butterfly House

e-mail = golightly at confessions123.com * Criterion Confessions * Live Journal Syndication * My Corporate-Owned Space * ComicSpace * Last FM * GoodReads * The Blog Roll [old version] * DVDTalk reviews * My Books On Amazon

All text (c) 2010 Jamie S. Rich

Monday, July 12, 2010

HARVEY PEKAR, 1939-2010

Sad thing to wake up to the news of the passing of Harvey Pekar. We took him for granted, because he just seemed like he'd always existed and always would. As a creator, he liberated the rest of us. He is oft-quoted as insisting that words and pictures could tell any story, and his comics were the best proof of that. He turned comics around and said they don't have to be big and bright and about guys knocking each other on the head to be compelling. They could also be about the most minute human details, which in his hands became larger than any world-ending super-villain plot. Because that's real life.

When I got my first comics gig at Dark Horse in the 1990s, I was assisting Diana Schutz and she was editing the American Splendor books at the time. Part of my job was handling a lot of her phone calls, and so I got to talk to Harvey Pekar pretty regularly. Despite his curmudgeonly reputation, I always looked forward to those calls. I never knew what topic Harvey would be on that day, and he'd talk about many things, including his love for jazz and his frustration with what most people liked to read in their comics. I recall one conversation where he explained an entire story to me, panel by panel, that he was planning, all about how Jack Kirby was a talented children's book author and nothing more and that his fans were all children, as well. (Harvey shared similar views about the academic veneration of detective fiction, so he had definite opinions about literature for adults.) I was laughing throughout, but I was also slightly horrified. When he was done, he asked me if I thought he should put that in the next American Splendor. I bit the bullet and told him, no, probably not. Mike Richardson was friends with Jack Kirby's widow, she had been in the office recently to discuss publishing a portfolio of Jack's religious artwork, and so I had serious doubts that the company would want to endorse such a thing. "Oh, well, never mind then," Harvey said. That was how it was with Harvey. Tell it to him square, and he'd respond in kind.

I only met Harvey in person once. He and his wife Joyce Brabner came out to Oregon for some event or other. A group of us went out for dinner, but Harvey wasn't very interested in the food or his fellow diners. He was preoccupied with buying lighter fluid. He had gone record shopping that day, including a stop at Crossroads on Hawthorne Boulevard, a co-op store where individual sellers rented space and sold all kinds of music. They had a bluesman on their hanging store sign--Robert Johnson, maybe?--that looked like it could have been drawn by R. Crumb, so it was really Harvey's kind of place. He'd bought a bunch of jazz records there, but the seller had ensured that no one could swap different records into different sleeves in order to get a cheaper price by putting a second price tag on the vinyl itself. He'd put the stickers in the blank space between the last groove and the label. They had told Harvey that lighter fluid would take off any leftover goo once the tag was peeled, but he didn't believe them and he wanted to make sure he tried it before he got back to Cleveland and couldn't return the discs. His worrying made him withdrawn, and he didn't talk much. It was a genuine Harvey Pekar moment.

Years later, when the American Splendor movie came out, I was working at Oni Press, so I wasn't in on any of the activity that swirled around the film. It was weird to watch it, though, and see this blend of fiction and documentary, to see this guy I knew on screen both in the flesh and portrayed by an actor. There is even a scene where Harvey has a bunch of comics hanging on the wall behind him, and there are a few I am credited in. Viewing the movie became a completely surreal experience, like there was an added layer to the metafiction, I was an extra participant in the goings on. But that was also the greatest enduring quality of Harvey's work--he made us all a part of it. He opened the door to his life and invited us in. His way of talking to the reader, guiding us through his very personal stories, made them even more personal. We were all his confidantes. Every reader was a friend.

Text (c) 2010 Jamie S. Rich

Thursday, July 08, 2010



* Coco Chanel & Igor Stravinsky, another biopic of the French designer, this time with the gorgeous Anna Mouglalis as Chanel.

* The Complete Metropolis, the restored version of Fritz Lang's 1927 masterpiece. Opens this week at Cinema 21 in Portland.

* The Girl Who Played with Fire, the disappointing second part of the Millennium Trilogy. Still worth it for Noomi Rapace, though.

* Predators, the fun but flawed third installment in the sci-fi adventure franchise.


* The Only Son/There Was a Father: Two Films by Yasujiro Ozu, a double-set from the Japanese master, featuring cover art by Adrian Tomine. (Also at DVD Talk.)


* Chicago: The Original 1927 Film Restored, the original adaptation of the story of Roxie Hart, with Cecil B. DeMille in charge.

* The City of Your Final Destination, the latest from Merchant Ivory never quite takes off.

* Saturday Night Live: The Best of Tracy Morgan, an expanded reissue of the funny man's compilation.

Before I go, check out this hilarious Girl Who Played with Fire trailer. It totally tries to remodel the film as some slick Hollywood thriller.

Current Soundtrack: Rihanna, "G4L;" Kelis, "Acapella;" Scissor Sisters, "Invisible Light;" Sia, "The Fight;" No Doubt, "Hella Good;" Kylie, "Boy"

e-mail = golightly at confessions123.com * Criterion Confessions * Live Journal Syndication * My Corporate-Owned Space * ComicSpace * Last FM * GoodReads * The Blog Roll [old version] * DVDTalk reviews * My Books On Amazon

All text (c) 2010 Jamie S. Rich

Nico let the sartorial cat out of his fancy bag on his blog last night, so I'll post it here, too!

Oni Press has put together a Spell Checkers T-shirt that they are going to start selling at Comic Con. I'm very excited. This is my first official, mass produced merchandise for one of my books!

This is the design for it:

Spell Checkers T-Shirt  SDCC 2010

You can click through to see the image bigger, as well as look at the inks and the pencils. The Spell Checkers logo is going to be on the sleeve. The design was done by Keith Wood.

Nico will be at the Con, so you can buy a shirt, buy a book, maybe commission him to do a sketch. All at the Oni Press booth. Makes a great companion to that Scott Pilgrim Volume 6!

To be clear, Joëlle Jones and I will not be at San Diego. Your next chance to meet us will likely be at New York Comic Con. We're securing an artist's alley table and making all our plans right now. There's a good chance Nico will be there, too.

Further details on where the shirt will be available after Comic Con will likely be forthcoming from Oni. I honestly don't know, so no point in asking me.

Current Soundtrack: Ash, "A Life Less Ordinary" CD single

e-mail = golightly at confessions123.com * Criterion Confessions * Live Journal Syndication * My Corporate-Owned Space * ComicSpace * Last FM * GoodReads * The Blog Roll [old version] * DVDTalk reviews * My Books On Amazon

All text (c) 2010 Jamie S. Rich

Saturday, July 03, 2010


Last October, my book club read Stephen King's On Writing. I was reluctant, because I generally don't like writing books and I've never been much of a King fan. To my surprise, King's instructional memoir was quite good, weaving practical advice into anecdotes about the writer's life. It wasn't some self-serving collection of bullet points for success, but instead was a humble explanation of how King does what he does, advice to apply as necessary. It goes alongside Hemingway's A Moveable Feast as my favorite book about being a writer. Craft is something any hack can analyze; it's altogether something else to be able to communicate how it is to be and to do.

I guess there is a 10th anniversary edition of King's book coming out, and NPR took the occasion to rerun an old interview with King and Terry Gross, including an excerpt of King reading from On Writing. You can listen to it here. Coincidentally enough, I also just discovered that there was an A Moveable Feast: The Restored Edition published last year, and it's coming out in paperback this month. I'm going to have to read that.

The NPR program reminded me that I started the writing challenge that King poses in his book. He suggests the reader take the standard story of "estranged husband loses his mind and comes back to kill his wife and take his child" and reverse the roles, so the woman is the one posing the threat, and see where it goes. I gave it a try.

I'm not very happy with how it turned out. It's not very efficient, takes too long to get into the nitty gritty (I'm still only on the beginning, five pages in), but it was kind of fun. It went way off from where I thought I was going, the woman got a little more "crazy" than "menacing." Alas, I had no ending, and I eventually let it go.

But, here it is all the same, just for the hell of it:

Stephen King Writing experiment/Jamie Rich manuscript.

Note: This hasn't been proofread all that well.

Current Soundtrack: UNKLE, Where Did the Night Fall

e-mail = golightly at confessions123.com * Criterion Confessions * Live Journal Syndication * My Corporate-Owned Space * ComicSpace * Last FM * GoodReads * The Blog Roll [old version] * DVDTalk reviews * My Books On Amazon

All text (c) 2010 Jamie S. Rich

Friday, July 02, 2010


Stupid reference photo for July 1, 2010.

Trying to demonstrate to Nico a gesture I am looking for. The red pen cap is standing in for a cigarette. Took about ten tries to snap the pic while it was in the air.

Current Soundtrack: Erykah Badu, "Fall in Love (Your Funeral)"


* Cyrus, another uneven Duplass Bros. movie is elevated by excellent performances. Marisa Tomei, I'd write you a good script if you ever wanted one. Call me.


* By Brakhage: An Anthology, Vol. 2, Criterion's second collection of the experimental filmmaker's short films. This one nearly broke me, I'm not going to lie. (Also at DVD Talk.)

* Everlasting Moments, Jan Troell's expansive, touching family epic set in early 20th century Sweden. (Also at DVD Talk.)


* Life on Mars - The Complete Collection, the excellent time-travel cop show from England now all in one set.

* Mad About You: The Complete Fourth Season, the Paul Reisher/Helen Hunt television series has a banner year. One of the best of the sitcom format.

* A Single Man, one of my favorite movies of last year, Tom Ford's film is now on DVD.

* Soul of a People, a fascinating Smithsonian Network documentary on the Federal Writers Project and the New Deal. Put me to work, FDR, I'm ready!

Current Soundtrack: Kylie, Aphrodite (streaming at NPR)

e-mail = golightly at confessions123.com * Criterion Confessions * Live Journal Syndication * My Corporate-Owned Space * ComicSpace * Last FM * GoodReads * The Blog Roll [old version] * DVDTalk reviews * My Books On Amazon

All text (c) 2010 Jamie S. Rich

Thursday, July 01, 2010


New Spell Checkers fan art!

This time from Salomé Seisson, an artist I am told is only 12 years old. She's well on her way to a comics career, I'd say! When Nico falls down dead from old age, she'll be ready to take over the book.

Check out Salomé's website: http://salomexxgalerie.skyrock.com/

Current Soundtrack: La Roux, self-titled


This week's Portland Mercury has an article by Alison Hallett exploring the realities of culinary seduction. I am one of the people who contributed his own personal humiliation to her column inches. Read about all the failure here, or just take a gander at my sad tale below:

From a nerd's point of view, cooking seems like the kind of thing that would earn you points with a prospective mate but ultimately ends up being another tool for a predatory partner to take advantage. As a well-known doormat, my incredible baking skills or occasional forays into cooking are just another way in which I've put myself out there only to get nothing back. The home economics class I took in junior high paid off with a skill for making incredibly huge chocolate chip cookies for my high school "sweetheart," but chocolate orgasms were all either of us ended up with whenever I put on an apron. Likewise, making my dad's curry recipe for an adult gal pal filled my house with a tantalizing smell, but never the smell of sex. Satisfying her appetites left mine unattended. Apparently, a doormat in the kitchen is equal to being a doormat in the bedroom. If only I had a fetish for spike heels, then I'd finally get something out of being walked all over. --JAMIE S. RICH

Next time I have a girl over, her meal comes out of a box. A box of condoms, that is! (These are the jokes, folks, settle down!)

Current Soundtrack: The Dead Weather, Sea of Cowards