Surrounded by Apes

…and we’re back.

First I disappeared to Comic-Con in San Diego, where a good time was had by me, if not all — I pity those poor folks who have to wait in line. But it was pretty cool to walk onto  the floor and see the Planet of the Apes banner hanging over the BOOM! booth. Here’s a photo taken by family friend Jean Yeatman:

And then we tacked on a family vacation that included the San Diego zoo and Disneyland, and then I came home to a lot of work that had piled up while I was gone, and then there was the whole announcement of the television thing. Boy, did that get weird, with the production company issuing denials and asking me to change my blog.

There are a bunch of things I’ve been meaning to pass on, so today I’ll do the apes stuff, and later I’ll do an update on Raising Stony Mayhall.

Continue reading

(pre)View to a Kill

Well, I’m back from the Clockwork Retreat. There was boating. There was talking. There was eating and drinking and the telling of terrible, terrible jokes. There was even a little writing.

We finished the week by doing a signing at the wonderful comics shop, Austin Books. I say “we”, even though the crowd was 90% Bill Willingham fans, and Bill had to sign a metric Jesus ton of stock. Still, Evil Matt Sturges (completely different from regular Matt Sturges, because Evil Matt has a goatee) signed a lot of Dr. Who and Jack of Fables and House of Mystery, and Mark Finn was there signing  Robert E. Howard’s Savage Sword #2 with his El Borak story in it. I even managed to sell a few ape and Dracula comics.

Just some friends dropping in. Click to enlarge.

Speaking of which, we’re in the home stretch with ol’ Drac. Dracula: The Company of Monsters #11 is on sale now, and there’s a free preview on FearNet.  It’s the big vampire fight we’ve all been waiting for. (Well, at least I have, and I know the artist, Scott Godlewski, was aching to draw more than people arguing in board rooms.)  Evan, our previously waffling protagonist, implements the plan he’s been working on for the past 4 issues, and Drac brings out a few friends from the old country. I’m just so happy that people are getting to see what we’ve been building toward. #12 will be the final issue, and we complete Evan’s story.

Also on sale starting tomorrow, Planet of the Apes #3. There’s a free preview on Comic Book Resources, where you can see all three variant covers. We reveal a major secret in this issue. I hope you dig it.

Two simians enter, one simian leaves... (Click to enlarge)

Happy to be your dealer

And now, best blurb ever: “It’s like pages are laced with cocaine, I am so hooked on this damn thing.”

That was Aron Head talking about Dracula: Company of Monsters. I had a BLAST last night talking to Aron and Paul Aponte, the co-founders of the Ideology of Madness website and the podcast Funny Books with Aron & Paulie. Every week Paul, Aron, and their cohort of disembodied voices roll out a rollicking review of the week’s comics. (Which is the  kind of thing I say when I’ve been reading too many Stan Lee comics.)

In the past couple weeks they’ve been catching up on Dracula: Company of Monsters, basically inhaling issues 1 thru 9, and that’s when they gushing started. I usually dislike gushing — where’s the ironic detachment? the cool intellectualism? the hipsterism? — but I make an exception when it’s about me.

The interview will be broadcast whenever they edit out my drunken giggling. (I’d had a lot of really good Thai food before we’d started talking). But on their site now are their reviews.

On the April 24 2011 Episode — “That’s not Bunny Dust!” — the boys discuss the first two trade paperbacks of Drac, covering issues 1 to 8. Tune in around the 55:30 mark.

And on the May 2 2011 Episode — “The Woeful Tears of Paul Aponte” — they review Drac #9 and Planet of the Apes #1. That comes in about 1:14:30.

What I like about their podcast is that they obviously love comics, and like to talk about the books they dig, but they’re definitely not always gushing, and they’re damn entertaining when they argue with each other. I suggest subscribing. They’re coming up on 100 episodes, so they’re in it for the long haul.

The Frostburg Effect

Well, it’s been a productive week here at the Rancho Del Daryl. Going in reverse order, on Friday I finished the final revisions on Dracula: Company of Monsters #12, and I’m really happy with how we used all our ideas — mine, Kurt Busiek’s, and those of our editor, Dafna Pleban — to hit the right notes in this last issue of the arc. It’s been such a great experience working with them on this book.

Then on Thursday I finished the first draft of Planet of the Apes #3, which features some very nice set pieces that Carlos Magno should have a blast drawing. Four words, people: Apes With Gatling Guns.

But back on Tuesday I played the Visiting Writer at Frostburg University, with Andy and Sydney Duncan as my hosts.

 

Andy Duncan

Andy is simply one of the finest writers in SF, and the best readers I’ve ever heard. I once had to follow him in a reading, and it was intimidating.

Sydney Duncan

Sydney, his wife, is one of the organizers of the International Conference on the Fantastic in the Arts. and I met them both when I attended my first ICFA a couple years ago. They’re both faculty in the Frostburg English department, and they invited me in to talk to a creative writing class (taught by  Brad Barkley) and to do a reading.

Plus they fed me! I had a lovely dinner with the Duncans, Gerry LaFemina (also a member of  the English department, who runs the Center for Creative Writing, and who paid for my dinner, despite having to miss dinner himself so that he could help a friend with a dead cat– it’s a long story), the poet Nina Forsythe and her mathematician husband Robert, and Keith — a retired member of the English department whose last name escapes me. Sorry, Keith.

Frostburg’s a lovely town, and I was jealous of their independent bookstore, Main Street Books, whose owner Fred sold books at the reading. (Well, not very many. Sorry about that, Fred.) I read my story “Unpossible”,  as well as the short-short “Digital,” which is about a man whose consciousness moves from behind his eyes to the index finger of his left hand. Thank God people laughed.

What I most enjoyed was sitting around in the afternoon at Sydney and Andy’s house, petting various dogs and cats, and talking about writing, Clarion, and teaching. They told me about the Harry Potter Effect they’re seeing — almost all their creative writing students are writing YA, and by that they mean fantasy YA. One of the students in Brad’s creative writing class told me that they’re all writing genre fiction. This is a complete turnaround from just a few years ago.

The students in the class asked a lot of questions, but here’s one of the most interesting. We were talking about cliches and genre conventions, and the student asked me, If you subvert all the cliches, isn’t that a cliche in itself? This started us talking about the use and abuse of cliches. I said that you always had to be aware of cliches, but they could also be used for effect. I wasn’t sure where my line was, of which cliches I’d allow in to a story and which I’d rule out, though I could talk about some of the cliches I’d intentionally subverted in my own work. But I couldn’t articulate what my line in the sand was, what I would allow or not allow. And I didn’t differentiate between the different kinds of cliches. Were we talking about genre conventions, plot conventions, cliched characters, cliched language…?

I wish I’d given them a better answer. I’m going to think more about this.

Vampires! Apes! Vampire Apes!

Okay, no vampire apes. But that would be cool.

Dracula: Company of Monsters #8 is on the stands now. The Horror News Network has an 8-page preview. I’m excited for people to see this one. One, Scott Godlewski’s artwork in this issue kicks ass. He gets so much emotion out of Evan, our main character, and in this issue we put Evan through the wringer. For eight issues, Evan’s been pushed around–by Dracula, his uncle Conrad, and Marta the vampire hunter–and in this issue he is finally pushed to the brink. This is the  issue that ends act 2 of the story, and launches act 3. The rest of the story arc proceeds at a dead run. (Which would have been a good subtitle for this book.)

And this week, the “official” press release for the new Planet of the Apes book went live, and I’m now drowning in PR tasks. Coming up in the next two weeks, I’ll be doing a dozen email interviews, as well as podcasts, forum chats, and one radio interview — with Sohaib at Fictional Frontiers. I love Sohaib’s show, which is broadcast from Philadelphia, but can also be listened to on the web. He’s had me on to talk about my first novel and had me on again for Devil’s Alphabet.

Oh, about that forum chat. If you’re a POTA fan, you might dig the POTA Community Yahoo group.  You wouldn’t believe all the resources this group has collected. Rare images, trivia, audio files…  And they’re extremely active. You want to talk apes 24-7, they’re there for you.  And I’ll be there for you, at least for an hour.  I’ll be doing a live chat on the forum on Wednesday, March 30, from 4-5pm Eastern.

One more thing — they’re about to release the preview for Apes, and Carlos Magno’s art is unbelievably beautiful. When it comes out I’ll post here, because you have to see it.

Going Ape

Well, news of my secret comics project has hit the internets.

POTA Cover 01a

And here’s the blurb for that first issue:

Get your hands on these damn dirty Apes! Beginning an all-new series that takes place before the original 1968 Planet of the Apes movie in the continuity of the first five films! Ape society has reached a new golden age. But there are ripples of dissent in both the ape and human ranks. Tensions will rise and soon all will be caught in chaos! And amidst all this uncertainty, what is the fate of The Lawgiver?

Yes, that’s a lot of exclamation marks, but that’s how we roll in the comics industry. I’ll be handling story and script, Carlos Magno will be doing the art, and Ian Brill will be editing. It’s an ongoing comic, and the first issue comes out in April, with covers by Karl Richardson and Chad Hardin.

I’ll be able to talk more about this soon, but I can say we’re going to show people a Planet of the Apes they’ve never seen before — the coolest, meanest Apes we can make — while respecting everything that’s come before.

I’m stoked. I mean, Stoked!!

Written by Daryl Gregory, art by Carlos Magno, covers by Karl Richardson and Chad Hardin.

Get your hands on these damn dirty Apes! Beginning an all-new series that takes place before the original 1968 Planet of the Apes movie in the continuity of the first five films! Ape society has reached a new golden age. But there are ripples of dissent in both the ape and human ranks. Tensions will rise and soon all will be caught in chaos! And amidst all this uncertainty, what is the fate of The Lawgiver?

Written by Daryl Gregory, art by Carlos Magno, covers by Karl Richardson and Chad Hardin.

Get your hands on these damn dirty Apes! Beginning an all-new series that takes place before the original 1968 Planet of the Apes movie in the continuity of the first five films! Ape society has reached a new golden age. But there are ripples of dissent in both the ape and human ranks. Tensions will rise and soon all will be caught in chaos! And amidst all this uncertainty, what is the fate of The Lawgiver?