Stuart Moore:
Blog, Biography, Bibliography

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Termite Blues!


This is one of the weirder projects I have coming out: December will see the second issue of CREATURE FEATURE from Th3rd World Studios -- and I've got a story in there called "Termite Blues." Or, to use its full title: "Humphrey and Gutts in: Termite Blues -- in COLOR!"*

As themed anthologies go, CREATURE FEATURE is pretty self-explanatory. Editor Mike Raicht, whom I've known since the Marvel Knights days, set up a great assemblage of talent and basically told us to have fun. I took the concept a disco-step to the side and wrote an homage to '70s cop shows, which I love, as long as I don't actually have to sit through a lot of full episodes.

We were lucky enough to get Alberto Ponticelli as artist. I've worked with Alberto before, and he's an unsung talent in this country. Look for that to change in October, when UNKNOWN SOLDIER by him and the also-underrated Josh Dysart launches from Vertigo. For now, all I can say is: Nobody draws junkies, 'fros, and giant insects like Alberto.

So for thirteen pages, travel back in time to 1978, when two crazy cops took to the street in search of giant insects and the deadly new ghetto drug called "Advil." It's fine, baby. SUPER-fine!


*I don't know if the story is actually in color.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Wolverine Noir


Another project announced at the recent Diamond summit: WOLVERINE NOIR, by me and CP Smith. CP and I have collaborated on two Wolverine stories before; I love his graphic, photorealistic style. Those two previous stories -- "The Healing" and "The Package" -- are collected in the trade paperback WOLVERINE: BLOOD AND SORROW.

The panel above is from "The Package," and features a very different Wolverine than you'll meet in the Noir miniseries. The assignment here was to recreate Marvel characters in a more realistic, crime-story milieu; our book is set in the 1930s, in New York's Bowery district, at the time one of the country's worst skid rows.

WOLVERINE NOIR is scheduled for early 2009. I hope to have some art to show soon.

That Old Work for Hire Thing

This is one of the strangest arguments for creator-owned comics I've ever read. I don't know Noah Berlatsky, but he's obviously a keen observer of the comics industry. Still, his comparison with the music industry is a little misleading. I get checks from both Marvel and DC on an irregular basis for past work done with both of them. "Work for Hire" does not automatically mean "one check and then nothing, ever, for your work again." Both major companies have structures in place to pay for reprints down the line, though neither system is perfect.

But that's a side issue. The main thrust of this piece seems to be that creator ownership is desirable because it allows the creator to keep tight control of the "brand" and make sure the characters stay consistent and on-point. I'll grant that there have been creators (Berke Breathed comes to mind) who've exercised very tight control over the licensing of their popular characters over the years. But traditionally, major entertainment companies have had an enormous interest in keeping characters "on-model" and consistent, to the point of having entire quality-control departments to ensure this. If it isn't happening in one or two cases in the comics industry, that might be a glitch in the machinery, not an overall trend.

And I can certainly cite you independent comics that went off the rails -- for a large part of their readership, anyway -- as they went along. All respect to the creators' right to do whatever they want with their creations -- that's the whole point here -- but CEREBUS is probably the biggest example. FISH POLICE was a little rough toward the end, too. I'm sure there are others.

More to the point, though: Why do we care about branding anyway? Don't we want creator-owned work because it leads to original, inspired comics, not because it means the Joker will look the same every time he appears?

As a writer and occasional editor, I wish the market were more open to original properties. It takes a hell of a lot of work and time to get a creator-owned project going these days. But work for hire can be sharp, clever work too. It all depends on what you bring to it.

Thanks to Dirk Deppey for the link.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Shadrach Stone - Update


I blogged just about a year ago about SHADRACH STONE, a political science-fiction thriller I've been putting together with artist Jon Proctor. It's a story about the biggest liar in the world, and how a traumatic, world-changing event opens his eyes to a multitude of realities, and the unique part he plays in the scheme of things.

Now I'm pleased to announce that we'll be doing the book with Penny-Farthing Press, who published my title PARA a few years ago. I couldn't be happier -- they're a great bunch of people and their production work is absolutely the finest in the industry. A class outfit all around.

Penny-Farthing announced the title at the recent Diamond summit in Baltimore, and both they and I will have more details to come. But for now, here are a few more teaser images. Jon and I have been working on this for a while...I promise it's going to be something special.




Sunday, September 14, 2008

Nightmare Factory - Back For More!


The new volume of THE NIGHTMARE FACTORY is out, featuring four stories adapted from the works of cult horror legend Thomas Ligotti. My two stories are:

"The Chymist," illustrated by Toby Cypress
"Sect of the Idiot," art by Nick Stakal

There are also two other pieces:

"Gas Station Carnivals," by Joe Harris and Vasilis Lolos
"The Clown Puppet," by Joe Harris and Bill Sienkewicz

As with the previous volume, this is a gorgeous package courtesy of HarperCollins and Fox Atomic Studios -- lovely paper, lush color throughout. My two collaborators really did a fantastic job, and you can't go wrong with the rest of the talent on the book.

Heidi Macdonald, editor of the volume, talks about it here . You can read a couple of early reviews here and here.

We'll be doing promotion around Halloween -- I'll post a schedule when I have it. And I've got more projects to announce soon, so watch for this blog to get a lot more active (he said, filled as always with fresh hope).