The Lady Guardian – August 21st, 2014

AND I’M BACK! To all that missed me, I missed you too (I can’t tell you how much I missed my little lappy). As a “welcome back,” I’m posting on a Thursday (also, my buddy Dave said it’s the best day to post) but enough of the chit-chat. Let’s get to it.

As you already know, I’m a huge fan of the Guardians of the Galaxy movie. Behold my surprise when I found out that the original screenwriter, the first credited female writer on a Marvel movie, also came out of the Marvel Screenwriting Program (or whatever they’re calling it, but I’m gonna stick with that name for this post). Ladies and gentlemen, meet Nicole Perlman.

nicole-perlman_headshot

Recently, she did a talk over at Meltdown Comics, sponsored by the Writers Guild Foundation, and she spilled plenty of beans. If I may abbreviate her bio up until the Marvel Screenwriting Program (MSP), she grew up a science nerd, attended NYU as a film production major, wrote a feature script about the Challenger investigation and took a very long water bottle tour across Hollywood until she was invited to join the MSP. It was there that she and her group of peers were given a list of “C” level characters (her words, not mine) to choose from. She chose the Guardians of the Galaxy. BTW, she was not a comic nerd, so she spent her first six weeks reading as many Guardians comics as possible (yes, we can all be jealous).

While there, she wrote a Black Widow treatment, but dropped that to keep working on Guardians.

Black-Widow_Cover_Issue03

An interesting side note, at that time the MSP wasn’t paying by the draft or step, as is customary in Hollywood. They paid an annual salary and in return expected as many drafts as they felt necessary, so Nicole said the road to Guardians is easily littered with drafts that go into the double digits.

Another tangent: at one point, all the MSP writers were asked to take a pass on the Thor script; I’ve met at least two other non-credited writers that have taken a stab at the first Thor. I guess Marvel felt Thor was a big risk so they took every opportunity to source ideas for the movie. Anyway, apparently the Marvel heads loved Nicole’s work on the Jane Foster scenes so they brought her in to polish Natalie Portman’s dialog.

Jane-Foster_Thor

It wasn’t until around Avengers when it looked like Guardians might actually get the green light — you know there must be a stack of Marvel script just waiting to get made, right? Nicole said she was competing against two other Marvel properties for the release date. As there were plenty of rumors of Katee Sackhoff taking Marvel meetings around this time, I’m gonna guess Captain Marvel might have been one of those projects. I mean, you see it too, right?

Captain-Marvel_Cover01_2014

Once Nicole’s script was selected, and James Gunn was picked to direct, heĀ  started doing his own revisions to the script. Two things Nicole said that he brought to the project were his well known humor and Nebula, who wasn’t in any of Nicole’s drafts.

Gamora-Nebula

In fact, Nicole said that she always hoped that she could feature the Thanos / Death relationship (that’s Death, as in Death, not just a girl named Death) in her script but Marvel felt that the cosmic universe was a big enough risk, so they stayed away from their more metaphysical characters, at least for now.

Thanos_Death_Marvel-Comics

Now, I know know some of you are green with envy at Nicole’s meteoric climb but it seems to me that her story is yet another of these overnight successes that took a decade. And in the end, she came out ahead by sticking to what she found interesting and not being swayed by the fashionable or hip market trends.

Nicole, keep kicking ass because I’m dying to see what you do next.

Posted in Industry, Writing

HawkGuy Lays It Out – August 18th, 2014

Okay. If you’re reading this, it means I’ve missed posting to my blog two weeks in a row. Why? Because my computer has been having kernel panics so I had to send it away.

HawkGuy_Coffee

I know, lame.

Posted in Off-Topic

The Giving Guardians – August 11th, 2014

My computer has been acting up all week and it really took a dive this weekend. Therefore, I don’t have a post for today but I wanted you, my reading audience, to know that I’m thinking of you.

GotG

Hopefully I’ll have a post later this week, for sure by next Monday.

Posted in Off-Topic

I Can’t Draw So I Need You – August 4th, 2014

A few posts back I told you that I wanted to write and draw my own comic strip. Then I saw this…

CoolBear_BMO

Holy Hell! If a fictional GameBoy can make a comic that good, I’m screwed.

Sigh. I have to accept my talents, and drawing isn’t one of them. I can’t draw. Period. I could practice every day but it would take me a couple of years before I’m ready for prime-time. Therefore, I need you… provided you’re an artist that wants to work on a comic strip with me.

What can I tell you about the project? It’s a comic strip, 3-4 panels per strip. It’ll have a punch line per strip, but it might not always be a “funny, ha-ha” punchline; I plan to indulge Dark Tony on this one. It’ll be serialized, I’m thinking 100 strips, at which point it’ll end–definitively. Almost all the main characters are animals, cute animals, with terrible secrets and inappropriate desires.

I know, it sounds crazy, but it’ll all make more sense once I have my pitch fully worked out

Change up: let’s talk about the art style. Right now I’m in love with the work of Jake Lawrence, so in my mind’s eye the characters have this vibe…

Timecowboy_Animals

There will also be humans, with structured situational humor, so some strips might feel like this…

Timecowboy_TeenDog_President

But there’s also a sci-fi / fantastical angle, so I will need someone that can draw monsters and robots, or animal monster robots, like…

Timecowboy_SciFiAnimals

Eventually I’ll post something on Deviant Art but first I want to reach out to my readers. Are any of you artists? Do you have a significant other that’s an artist? If yes, then drop me a line. Let’s talk and maybe we can make beautiful comics together. Who knows, you could be the scissors to my denim jacket.

Timecowboy_TeenDog_Jacket

Posted in General, Writing

Guardians Makes Me Wish I Were 12 Again – July 31st, 2014

Timecowboy_GotG

If the trailer makes you feel that good, the actual movie will make your little nerd heart explode.

Okay, I’m not supposed to say anything about the movie (stupid NDA) but I will say two things.

First, watching Guardians of the Galaxy makes me wish I were twelve years old again. Why? Because, at that age, I would have loved the crap out of the movie.

GotG_Poster

Second, if Marvel can make this a hit, they are officially entering the Pixar phase where they could make anything and not screw it up.

And while I have you here, hasn’t this been an excellent summer for science fiction? GotG is great. Edge of Tomorrow was maybe my favorite movie of the summer and Snowpiercer might be the most ambitious movie of the year.

I know TV has been having its moment in the sun but movies, you’re doing all right.

Posted in Industry

Agents of SHIELD vs Hannibal, VOTE! – July 28th, 2014

In a battle of the titans, the emerald archer clearly wins.

Winner_Arrow

And now were are down to a trio of awesome shows.

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So let the penultimate battle begin!

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While both of these shows are well regarded, there are a ton of naysayers. Many have complained about the molasses-like pacing and lack of superheroes in Agents of SHIELD. Still, Marvel believes enough in the show to build a block of programming around the premise with the addition of Agent Carter.

agent-carter

And they have a new comic book series with superstar writer Mark Waid launching this fall.

SHIELD_1_Deodato

As for Hannibal, it might be the most buzzed about network show that keeps getting renewed despite very low ratings.

hannibal-tv-show

It’s so well regarded that it got show creator Bryan Fuller a shot at adapting Neil Gaiman‘s American Gods, a property notoriously known as being unable to be adapted into television. Just ask HBO. They spent years trying to make a show from this novel before giving up the rights.

So, which is the better show for me to spec next year? Will it be the superheroes or the serial killer? Cast your voice either below of in the sidebar.

Which is a better show to spec, Agents of SHIELD or Hannibal?

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Posted in Writing

The Red Ring of Death: Xbox Entertainment – July 21st, 2014

If you were following the news last week, I’d understand if you thought the world was going to Hell in a hand basket. Beyond the two major news events, you may have heard that Microsoft will layoff 18,000 employees. The first cut: the entirety of Xbox Entertainment Studios.

Xbox-Originals-Logo

That was the TV arm that was developing multiple titles including a much anticipated Halo show with Steven Spielberg.

HaloArt

(Well, “much anticipated” by those of us that loved the heck out of this)

My second reaction after sympathizing with all of those just-hired people that lost their jobs was “could this happen with Sony and the Playstation exclusive Powers show?”

Honestly, I don’t think so. First of all, they’ve started with a modest development slate. Second, Sony knows how to make and distribute TV shows.

Still, the writer in me always bemoans the loss of an outlet. But who knows, maybe they’ll come back leaner and meaner.

One last thing: be sure to vote in my spec showdown. Which is the better show to spec next year? You tell me. Vote!

Which is a better show to spec, Arrow or The Blacklist?

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Posted in Industry

Batgirl Mania – July 14th, 2014

Last week DC announced a new Batgirl and the internet went bats**t with nerdy glee. This is the variant cover that took the net by storm.

Batgirl-35-Cover

Within hours, amazing fan art exploded onto the web. Here are some of my favorites.

Batgirl_Anka

Batgirl_RV

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Undeniably, this character design has massive appeal. She’s adorable, sassy and, well, take a look at the design sheet and pay special attention to the green check-mark and red “X” below.

Batgirl-New-Costume

 

To me, it looks like they really want to stress that she’s a girl, not a woman. I think this could make her approachable to a much wider audience, one that’s grown tired of the over sexualization of female characters in mainstream comics. Can DC honor the promise of this character’s design? A lot of people are hoping they can, me included.

As a bonus, here’s one last sketch of Batgirl by the massively talented (and my new crush), Becky Cloonan.

NewBatgirl_BeckyCloonan

Posted in Off-Topic

Arrow vs The Blacklist, VOTE! – July 7th, 2014

In an absolute drubbing, Dr. Lecter had Professor Joe Carroll for lunch (I couldn’t help it). Our winner…

Winner_Hannibal

Therefore, this is our current standing.

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So why not get to the heavyweight match. This week we have a clash of the titans.

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Arrow is an absolute crackerjack of a show. It’s the reason we’re about to have an explosions of DC superhero shows, such as Gotham (I’ve seen the pilot), The Flash, Constantine, iZombie, and Preacher. In the other corner, we have The Blacklist. It’s the gold standard of procedural shows. I would venture that writing a Blacklist is the new “writing a Law & Order”. Either would be a great spec to have in my portfolio. Cast your voice either below or in the sidebar.

Which is a better show to spec, Arrow or The Blacklist?

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Posted in Writing

Draw Something Terribly – June 30th, 2014

At the end of May, I attended the Long Beach Comic Expo.

LBCE_Troopers_2014_01

There I caught a lot of great panels lead by the likes of Amanda Meadows (and her great data crunch), Josie Kavadoy (she might be my new twitter crush; sorry Amanda), Vince Hernandez, Shaene Siders, Barbara Randall Kesel, Yehudi Mercado and many more but it was a bit from Joshua Hale Fialkov that stuck with me.

Let me back track. If you’re a writer there’s only one way to break into comics: make a comic. Almost every pro I’ve heard on the great Let’s Talk Comics Podcast has said so. It’s just a matter of your entry point. Make your own graphic novel, do a limited run series, heck make a webcomic. It’s how JHF got started.

I’m intrigued by the idea of doing my own webcomic. It could be a good way to go from being a fan to a creator with a minimum of financial investment. It could open a few doors for me, or at least let me be a part of the community. There’s just one big obstacle as far as I can see. I’m a terrible artist. Need proof?

Meet Terminator Chicken

Meet Terminator Chicken

Yeah, practice will make me better but I won’t be winning any awards anytime soon. If I do this, my writing will have to be that much better in order to make up for my art.

So, is a webcomic worth it?

Posted in Off-Topic