Our Best Jackett
Our Best Jackett
Newsletter #126: Everybody Have Fun Tonight

Newsletter #126: Everybody Have Fun Tonight

Talking Clear FOC, the start of a new Nocterra story arc, and having FUN while making comics!

Hey guys, it's Scott.

It is Monday, March 13th, and I wanted to do a quick post because I didn't get a chance to do one on Friday. Jeanie, my wife, is away at SXSW with her very good friend (who's our neighbor) and their kid who’s really interested in film. So I got to go away with our 16 year-old, as you know, to Colorado a couple weeks ago and so I thought it would be fun for her to take a trip for a couple days and go explore Austin. So as you can imagine though, it’s a lot of like, dadding with a lot of ordering chicken wings and McDonald's and whatever over here and scrambling to do homework and all of that. So yeah, I didn't get a chance to do one on Friday, so I apologize. I wanted to do a very quick one today and just talk about a couple of things.

First, housekeeping stuff. Today is the Final Order Cutoff (FOC) for Clear #2.

The first issue seems close to selling out. We're really excited. Thank you everybody out there—retailers, fans, reviewers, everyone that gave it such an incredibly warm reception. Francis and I are over the moon. And again, we're like, right in the middle of talks right now for the ancillary rights for film and TV, we're really excited. But seeing the comic reception really was the best part of last week, so thank you guys so much. But today's the last day to order the second issue. It's a three-issue first arc, they're all oversized, like, 50 to 60 pages long, so order from Dark Horse today from your retailer.

Also, Wednesday, in two days, Nocterra is back! The order numbers on that were really strong. We're incredibly grateful to you guys. So we expect it to have a big presence in the comic book stores. But this is the first issue of our third arc, I hope you'll go check it out.

I'm so so happy with how this is coming out. And this is going to be kind of a big ultimate arc. It brings everything together and it's almost like the culmination of the whole first cycle of the series. So everything is going to change after this arc. So we're very excited to see what you guys think. It's dark and twisted and fun.

Which brings me to the thing that I kind of wanted to talk a little bit about today. Tomorrow, I'll answer a couple of your questions, but seeing the DC announcements last week, and I'm still in conversation with with everybody at DC pretty often and I talked to them about going back and doing stuff sometimes. And there's a lot of things that I still would love to do and it's certainly like a really wonderful place for me creatively and I enjoy it and I think they've fantastic stuff going on now. So I knew about a bunch of the stuff coming, but getting more of the details on what it is, like some of the books that excite me the most was really thrilling because it sounds like they're just having fun. One of the things that I think so many of us can forget sometimes, comics can just be fun. And that can take a couple of different forms. I want to just be a little bit more specific and dig into it because it made me think about the way that I like to write Batman and the way that I enjoyed writing Superman and Justice League and Metal. And I think there's the fun of it just being jubilant and funny and having levity and bombast and all of that. And I love that stuff.

Comixology is constantly like, recommending my own stuff to me, weirdly. And on a whim, because I haven't read it in a while and because I've been working so heavily with Rafael Albuquerque lately on our Duck n’ Cover book for Comixology, which is really coming out great, we're working on the second of the four big issues of our first arc now, I took a look at our First Ally arc in All-Star Batman, back at the end of my time doing Batman stuff before we ramped back up to Metal. So it was like, the last part of the All-Star Batman run that I did. And it's really about Alfred and Alfred's past (it was before the Pennyworth show or any of that stuff), so it was a lot of fun because it was totally unexplored territory.

Essentially, Alfred stays as a spy and all of this stuff, but it opens with this whole sequence that I had completely forgotten about where Batman is chasing Hush, and the whole idea was if Batman is not in Gotham in the series, he's everywhere but (to give Tom King room to do Batman stories in Gotham). But he's in Miami, he's chasing Hush, who’s in a helicopter, and the helicopter flies over a baseball stadium to escape, and in the baseball stadium the Gotham Knights are here in Miami playing the Miami Marlins. And both teams have been knocked out of the playoff contention, so it's a really depressing day there, even though it's Bat Day where they give away bats. And so the whole fun of the sequences the they're singing the national anthem and everybody's depressed and all of a sudden Batman like, decides to drive straight through the stadium to eject and catch Hush over the stadium. And Alfred is narrating about how his son always had a flair for the theatrical and how he thinks he got it from him. He likes to think he got it from him because Alfred was a thespian back in the day. But now Alfred realizes that it's a flair that's all his own. And the whole sequence was like, God I had fun on that book. Reading it, just coming up with things that would show how awesome Batman was and how fun the mythology could be and all of it, it was just a joy.

And I think that those are my best memories of being a DC, or doing that on Court of Owls when he comes out in the big suit and he's like, “get the hell out of my house.”

Batman #8 (2012) | Art by Greg Capullo, Jonathan Glapion & FCO Plascencia; Letters by Richard Starkings

Or in Zero Year (all of Zero Year’s that kind of out of control stuff) and even Endgame. And so one of the things is as your writing comics, all you aspiring creators out there, whether you're doing indie stuff, whether you're doing DC/Marvel stuff, don't be shy about having fun. The exception is if it doesn't fit the book and obviously if it's artificial, sure, but I'm saying levity—even in Wytches right now, in the writers room, there's a scene, it's one of my favorite scenes, in the second episode where Sailor is discovering the truth about wytches and it's a really funny sequence where she and her friend wind up in a basement where all this information is about wytches. And when they go down, there's pigs in the basement because they were being fed to wytches, and they trigger this system that douses the pigs in this stuff that, because the pigs have been treated to be fed to the wytches, makes them dissolve and burst. And Sailor and her friend think that they're being dissolved by acid and they're in a serial killer basement, but they're not. And the whole thing is just ridiculous, but one of my favorite things, and it's it's twisted and gross but it's funny.

And I'm just saying like, it's okay, if it fits your story, to allow yourself to just have fun and go bonkers. And that's part of the DNA of comics. That's Kirby Krackle, man. Again, one of my favorite lines in Death Metal is when Wonder Woman explains the plan to Batman and he's like, “well that's either a plan or you're having a stroke,” because it's like, “we're gonna get the Death Metal and fire it through the heart of the universe and do this and that.” That's comics.

Dark Nights: Death Metal #2 (2020) | Art by Greg Capullo, Jonathan Glapion & FCO Plascencia; Letters by Tom Napolitano

But also like, to take a slightly different tack, fun can also be just leaning into the priorities of your book and going to the maximum. So fun is also, on Wytches, that opening sequence to me that's incredibly dark where this kid is playing, his mom suddenly appears in a hollow of a tree. She's trapped in a tree behind him and she begs him to go get a rock and help her because she's been pledged and break the tree open. And he gets it and then he bashes her in the head and says “pledged is pledged.”

Wytches #1 (2014) | Art by Jock and Matt Hollingsworth; Letters by Clem Robbins

There's nothing fun about that scene in a traditional sense, but it was fun for me because it embraced the priorities of the book and leaned in and pushed very hard at the limit of what I thought the book should be. It was very pure. It's a horror book that's going to show you the darkness between parents and children that's going to show you all the stuff beneath the surface you don't want to look at. And so it needs that extreme opening that touches on all those ideas and themes.

The same thing with Clear. Clear, in the first issue, has Dunes injected with a drug that essentially forces him to see multiple filters every second so that A) Francis can draw eight hundred different crazy filters he's seeing the world through, and B) we could just have the story take this insane turn, and it felt perfect for that book.

Clear #1 (2023) | Art by Francis Manapul

It's not a huge, important part of that sequence narratively, but it's also like, showing you the extreme of what the book can be visually, storywise, everything. It's embracing the priorities and the sensibility of the book. So it's not just like, funny fun. It's fun in the way that it's using the high concepts, the characters, all of it, to the maximum. It’s thinking of the best way that you can embrace all of the things, the DNA of your book, and just go to the extreme with it instead of hedging your bets and playing it quiet. It doesn't mean that a quiet book can’t do the same thing. You can completely lean into the priorities and have fun on something that doesn't have that level of insanity. I'm just saying that fun, to me, is about embracing what your book is and then pushing that to the maximum in some way.

So anyway, again, thank you guys so much for the strength on Clear and Nocterra and everything, and also, we're going to do a class next week. So we're having material this week for the class which is a week from Thursday. So maybe tomorrow we'll put it up, but we'll put it up soon, so I’m really excited about it! We'll have a blast. And yeah, that's it. Thank you guys so much again!


1 Comment
Our Best Jackett
Our Best Jackett
Anything and everything BJP, from new projects to exclusive deals and merchandise, variants, classes, ALL of it