Not every story turns out to be a gem. Sometimes they are uninspired from the get-go. Other times, what starts as a keen story crashes upon the creative rocks of a misdirected editor, an inappropriate artist, or a thousand other external forces. The projects listed here are the ones that I am happiest with, and think that people will like.
This story appeared in the book Shock Rock II, a rock-and-roll-oriented horror anthology published by Pocket Books in 1994. It's not a "horror" story in the traditional sense; instead, it deals with a musician who finds herself trapped in a world she doesn't understand, a world where things created in fiction (such as the band Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, or the TV show Itchy & Scratchy) are the real things from her world. This book can be ordered on the web.
The first three The Factor short stories appeared in Negative Burn 29, 30, and 31, published by Caliber. I followed that up with reprinting those three stories (as issue 0) and doing about 20 more (issues 1 through 4) under my own imprint, About Comics. This series looks on the effect that the appearance of a costumed hero has on others. This is a serious piece of work that should appeal to fans of Miracleman and Astro City. There are dozens of artists, including talented unknowns and talented knowns like Joe Staton, Steve Lieber, Matt Feazell, Mike Vosburg, and Carla Speed McNeil. These folks must've made me look good, since I got nominted for an Eisner for my work on the book. (You can read the script to the second story on-line!)
A one-issue satire of comics styles that takes one patriotic superhero and tells his origin as it would have been told at six different points during comics history. There's a Golden Age version, an Early Silver Age version, a Post-Batman TV-series version, one from the Relevant Seventies, one from the British Invasion, and finally one from the Im Age.
The writing and the art (by Mark Lewis and Jeff Meyer) for this project was four years old, as an odd series of circumstances has seen this project move from publisher to publisher. It failed upward, eventually seeing print as Big Bang #8 from Image Comics. There had been hopes of it being in color at one point, but alas it came out in black and white, which is just fine because that's what we had in mind when we first created it. I'm real proud of this one, folks, so grab it now if your store still has it!
I did two speculative fiction stories for the TSR title Intruder which turned out pretty well. "Mama's Boy" is a hard-boiled detective story set on a world where everything your mother ever told you is true. This was published as a two 11-page segments in Intruder II issues 3 & 4 (also known as Intruder issues 7 & 8), with art by Joe Staton of E-Man and Huntress fame. The following issue has "Crumbs", about a living gingerbread man on the loose in New York City in the early part of this century. The 11 pages of art by Darick Robertson and George Freeman really bring this to life. None of these comics are still in print, but you may be able to find them at your local comics shop.
For those who have not read ElfQuest before, I recommend ElfQuest New Blood 6 (art by Paul Bonanno and Charles Barnett), for which I did three short stories (and framing material) about the growth of the friendship between two of the lead characters in the series. You don't need to have read other ElfQuest to get something out of that issue. Hardcore ElfQuest fans seem to love "How Not To Write ElfQuest: New Blood", a short story that appeared in the ElfQuest New Blood Summer Special 1993. It's a humorous look at all the wrong ways to write ElfQuest, gorgeously illustrated by the talented caricaturist Brian Buniak. Brian and I both appear as characters in this work. These books can be ordered on the web.
Sophisticated Speed Racer fans might like my somewhat dark vision of Speed's future, offered in issues 21 and 22 of the series published by Now Comics. The art by Mike Ebert doesn't quite live up to what I pictured (and the colorists managed to commit some particularly nasty sabotage on the work), but it's still a solid piece of work--and I'm that much prouder because it was my first comics script.
My low-dialogue issue of Blood Syndicate (18) focuses on the seldom-speaking character DMZ, and deals with the question of the senselessness that often surrounds escalating violence. The art was the first work that Humberto Ramos, now a recognized wunderkind, produced for the US market (although another issue of his ended up seeing print in the month before, as this was a file story and stayed in a drawer until they needed it.)
When the editor of the NASCAR stock car racing comics gave me a call saying basically "We're reprinted biographies of Richard Petty, Bill Elliott, and Bobby Allison, and we need a new story to make it a Christmas package--can you give us 10 pages where those three help Santa Claus?", I was thrilled. After all, you don't get asked to be that goofy that often. What I turned out for the NASCAR Holiday Special was a fun little story that should entertain even the non-racing fan. On a technical note, it was approved by 4 licensers (NASCAR and the three drivers) and the editor without a single word being changed. Scott Shaw, whose ever-changing Oddball Comics slideshow has entertained many at conventions and other comics gatherings, indicates that this story may well qualify to be added to the show in the future.
While working on the Hamilton line of black-and-white horror comics, I did two short stories with Wolff & Byrd creator Batton Lash that stand out. "Wannabe" (Grave Tales #1) tells the tale of a little boy who wants to be a vampire. That one was singled out by Comics Buyer's Guide as one of the two best stories in the entire line. "Monsters 101" (Dread of Night #3) uses a monsters antidefimantion league to expose my views on horror in the modern world.
I've turned out a lot of parody comics for Parody Press, mostly parodying other comics, and largely fairly flawed. However, this one shot parody of the TV show Quantum Leap, illustrated by Ted Slampyak (creator of Jazz Age Chronicles and artist on Neil Gaiman's Mister Hero) rises head and shoulders above the other ones published. If you like the TV show in question, or even know it well enough to have it, read this.
This book is a clear guide to how personal computers work, profusely illustrated, and aimed at those who might be using a computer, but don't necessarily know how they work. I keep getting good response to it from people who find it much clearer then any other book they'd seen, and recently learned it has been chosen by the International Society on Technology in Education as one of a relatively small number of non-ISTE-produced books that they offer, due to its education value. It was also recommended by the Learning Resources Branch of British Columbia's Ministry of Education, Skills, and Training. Unfortunately, the publisher has run out of copies and decided not to reprint it (despite it still being one of the most in-demand general computing books; months after the publisher had run out, it was still charting at #16 on the weekly top 50 General Computing chart published by the book distributor Ingram). It was available in 6 foreign language editions (German, Portugese, Italian, Traditional Chinese, Mainland Chinese, and, ummm, one ot