Here’s the Thing About Dreams

January 2nd, 2015comics, fiction, operation: awesome, video games

Another year has ended (and I’ll write about that soon) and another one has started. All comments about arbitrary date changes aside, the beginning of a new year is as good a time as any other for reflection and declaration.

I’m not one for resolutions—no slight against them—but I am one for goals and dreams. It’s no secret that I love my day job. Writing video games is amazing and Volition is an aces place to work. I love coming into the office every day so much that I’ve become horrible at taking breaks from it. But, as do most creatives, I have ambitions beyond a single outlet. I want to create all the things—and I continue to strive to do so.

Over on Twitter, I posted the following:

Then, a little later, I added this:

Now, for the top tweet, those aren’t all crazy ideas. I’ve finished three novels in my life so far and though none have connected enough to move forward to publication, I’ve learned something with each. I am currently working with an artist on doing our own comic series and we’ll see what grows from that. And I endeavor every day to be a better human being in all relations, especially my familial ones.

But that second tweet, well, that’s a bit harder.

Some folks think because I write for a living (in video games no less!) that I have some sort of power and pull when it comes to getting Big Ideas made. Maybe, inside the confines of a Volition meeting room, there’s some truth to that (though video games are all about collaboration and any “win” I have is balanced by the wins of other people) but not-so in the bigger world.

Truth is, hardly anybody knows who I am. This isn’t a cry for pity or validation; it’s simple fact. My co-workers do, for the most part, and both my tabletop and digital games have fans (who are amazing!) but on the big creative scale, where the movers and shakers do their moving and shaking, I’m just another guy with ambition. Sure, maybe some credits too, but not so many big ones that they have to take notice.

I’m trying for that by making the things I can make and meeting the people I can meet but I’m not there yet. I’m not someone who enters a room and draws attention (outside of usually being the tallest person in the room). So, I’m just another anonymous person emailing a plea for connection and fives minutes of their time. When one of my emails hits an inbox, it’s shoved into the same Will-Get-To-Later-Maybe-Or-Maybe-Not pile as the emails of anyone else who doesn’t have some real clout behind their name.

And it doesn’t help that, frankly, the creative fields are tight, crowded areas. There are SO MANY people vying for the same thing that those who swim in the big pond can’t spend their time combing through all those emails looking for brilliance without a good reason. That good reason being name recognition or a referral from a friend or something that shines a light. I can only imagine being in the position the heads of studios are in when it comes to sorting through the in-flood of Folks Who Want Work.

I followed up the above tweets with the following two:

I wrote a comic, oh, about eight years ago (as I’ve talked about before) and I would love to get back in the field. And I’m doing that small comics project I mentioned earlier but there are some really cool established characters I’d love to take a crack at. I spent a good month putting together ideas for a Josie + the Pussycats reboot that I’d love to work on. Same for Cloak and Dagger. Zatanna’s one of my favorite characters of all time and telling one of her tales would be oh-woah-amazing. I would give blood to work on any of these titles. (And Power Pack too, as my friend Doug Snook reminded me.)

But so would a lot of people. Including folks working in comics right now. So, it’s a long shot. A really long shot. A Hail Mary pass into gale force winds. But it’s a goal. And it’s a dream. And I’m a big believer in having goals and working toward dreams. Once upon a time, working in video games was a long shot for me too.

I see myself as a creative who lives somewhere in the middle of this whole artsy mess. I write for a living but, I hope, I’m not at the top of my potential just yet. I’m just a writer trying to make it. I have my ups and downs, my successes and setbacks, but, mostly, I’m a guy with ambition. A guy who’s trying to do more and be more.

Maybe 2015 will give life to some of these dreams. Time will tell. But I’ll still be here working, no matter what the Fates have in store.

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Free Comic Script Day: The Long Count

May 6th, 2011comics

As you may know, Free Comic Book Today is tomorrow. If you have a favorite local joint (mine happens to be the excellent Westfield Comics), head over to grab some exclusive issues and previews of upcoming titles from a variety of publishers.

But today, at least over here, it’s Free Comic Script Day.


Back in 2007, I had signed a deal with Archaia Studios Press, publishers of Artesia, Mouse Guard, and many other great titles, to write a twelve-issue series called The Long Count. The story centered on famed sports star Carmen Sandoval, her history with the serpent-god Quetzacoatl, and how her personal destiny meshed with the fate of the world and the coming change foretold in the titular calendar. The comic took place in an alternate America known as Colombiana, one where the “Southern Tribes” of the Mayans and Aztecs conquered their northern brethren prior to Europe’s western expansion. So, when the Europeans showed up on the shores of the “New World”, war broke out with the Spanish, Dutch, and English on one side and the Mayan/Aztec alliance on the other. The Tribes pushed back, slaughtering the Dutch and the English, eventually making peace with the Spanish, allowing them access to their land in exchange for weapons, medicine, and other technology. History, primarily told through flashbacks intertwined with Carmen’s story, went on from there.

The story took place primarily in Colombiana’s capitol city, Nueva Cempoala, and incorporated a heavy dose of Mayan and Aztec mythology, history, and culture.

I was proud of the story Leanne, the illustrator, and I cooked up, and the folks at Archaia were pretty jazzed as well. Unfortunately, due to circumstances beyond the publisher’s or my control, the project fell apart, and only one issue ever saw publication. Which is a shame, because I think I did some good writing on the project and I was excited to see it continue. Joe Illidge, my editor on the project, gave great feedback and guidance while the comic fans I let read the scripts really enjoyed the characters, the world, and seeing the plot unfold.

Of the twelve scripts, I finished four of them (and did a fair bit on the fifth) before the project went south. I’ve sat on them for years but, in fit of nostalgia, dug them up recently and have decided to put them online for anyone who’s interested.

Here are links to the PDF versions of the scripts (language warning):

The Long Count #1: The Silence Inside Her Heart, Part One

The Long Count #2: The Silence Insider Her Heart, Part Two

The Long Count #3: The Old Blood

The Long Count #4: The Permanence of Stains, Part One

If you get a chance to read them, I’d love to hear what you think. And if you know anyone hiring a comic writer, feel free to pass them (or this link) along. I enjoy writing comics a lot, and I would love some more work in the field. Perhaps the future holds some.

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