Jul 13 • 13M

Newsletter #86: Countdown to SDCC

Tons of stuff coming your way in the next week leading up to SDCC 2022!

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*Apologies for the delay, it took a bit to finalize the SDCC schedule!*

Hey guys, it's Scott.

It's Tuesday, July 12, the week before San Diego Comic Con, the first in San Diego since 2019, so you can feel the anxiety and excitement, I think, all across the comic world. I'm going to be there from Tuesday through early Sunday, so there are plenty of chances to come say hi if you're going, and if you're a paid subscriber, you'll have opportunities to skip the main line and have your own shot at getting things signed by me and my Best Jackett, partners. Tyler’ll post all those times soon in a post with a full schedule and then I'll put it up on Twitter and Instagram and everywhere too.

If you're a Founder’s Tier member, Black Jackett member, you have your dinner there, which is going to be fun. I'm going to take you out, show you good time, give you exclusives. And yeah, it's funny, I have mixed feelings about going. I'll get to those in a minute though.

First, just a quick note, Dark Spaces: Wildfire #1 comes out next Wednesday, 7/20, from IDW with co-creator/artist Hayden Sherman, amazing colors by Ronda Pattison, incredible letters by Deron Bennett of AndWorld Design. And it's one of four indie books that I'm putting out next week in print and digitally. It's about a bunch of women who were in the California penal system. They're inmates and they're part of a program that brings them out to fight wildfires. And it's a heist story about a house that they learn about up on the hill that's in danger of burning down that might have some valuable stuff in it. So it's a lot of fun. It's kind of a modern noir. It's about this crazy apocalyptic moment in a lot of ways.

Dark Spaces: Wildfire #1 | Art by Hayden Sherman & Ronda Pattison; Letters by AndWorld Design
Dark Spaces: Wildfire #1 | Art by Hayden Sherman & Ronda Pattison; Letters by AndWorld Design

Also, on Tuesday of next week, we have three books launching from comiXology—books that we've been working on a long time and are the second wave of the eight books that I'm a part of over there with comiXology Originals. The first is Canary, I mean, they all come out simultaneously, but Canary is a horror/western about a mine that collapsed years ago and yet still continues to haunt an area in the Utah territory, and a marshal who goes back out to this town, Canary, and the collapsed mine to figure out if there's something much darker going on there than people suspect. And he has a whole history with this area as he caught a really bad outlaw years ago and saw something that really shook his world. So it's very, very dark. It's one of the darkest books I've done. Dan's art is just out of control. I mean, I think it's the best of his career and I'm honored and grateful to be partnered with him on this one. So you can see that from some of the preview pages that Ty’ll post here:

Canary #1 | Art by Dan Panosian; Letters by Richard Starkings
Canary #1 | Art by Dan Panosian; Letters by Richard Starkings

And then the second one, Barnstormers: A Ballad of Love and Murder. It's with Tula Lotay, an old friend and somebody who I've been talking about doing a story with forever. It’s a story that's been in the back of my head for a long time. It's about a young man who claims to be a WW1 pilot and is barnstorming around the country. Barnstorming was a big fad right after WW1 when pilots could buy their decommissioned Curtiss Jenny biplanes and take them around the country and show people what it was like to ride in an aeroplane or see stunts, all this kind of stuff. And it was a very short lived period where desperate young people tried to do this to make money before it was regulated away and then the Great Depression hit. So it's about a moment in time that exists between two cataclysmic periods, the first being influenza and WW1, before this period of the roaring 20s, and the second being the crash and the Great Depression. So it feels like it has parallels to this moment in a lot of ways, like a quiet moment between really tumultuous times, and it's sort of about the hopelessness or desperation, but also kind of strange feelings of anger and hope that young people can have in moments like this, too. So really, really proud of that one. Dee Cunniffe is helping out on colors and then we have the incredible Richard Starkings on letters. He's on letters in Canary also, but Dan is also coloring himself in that book.

Barnstormers: A Ballad of Love and Murder #1 | Art by Tula Lotay & Dee Cunniffe; Letters by Richard Starkings
Barnstormers: A Ballad of Love and Murder #1 | Art by Tula Lotay & Dee Cunniffe; Letters by Richard Starkings

And then lastly, we have Dudley Datson and the Forever Machine, which is sort of an all ages adventure book, a cosmic adventure book. I wanted to try something that adults would love but also that my 11 year old could read that isn't, like, faces being torn off and babies being cooked and eaten and all kinds of stuff like that. So it's got a bit of a brighter spirit, and it's about a young inventor who's sixteen, Dudley Datson, but just can't get it together. And there’s the discovery that there's a perpetual motion machine created by the famed mythological inventor Daedalus that falls into his possession after these bad guys from a group called the Needle’s Eye come looking for it. And it begins this whole series of wild adventures that he's a part of to try and save the universe. So it's got a big Saturday morning cartoon feel. It's huge fun and Jamal's art, like everybody's art, I think is the best of his career. We're trying new things with color with him with the great Chris Sotomayor. Juan Castro is inking. It’s a really special book.

Dudley Datson and the Forever Machine #1 | Art by Jamal Igle, Juan Castro & Chris Sotomayor; Letters by Tom Napolitano
Dudley Datson and the Forever Machine #1 | Art by Jamal Igle, Juan Castro & Chris Sotomayor; Letters by Tom Napolitano

They're all special books, honestly. They're really personal to me. They're done for reasons that I think speak to the priorities that I try to bring to class. They're all about this moment. They’re things that I wish for, fear for about the future with my kids. They’re passion projects, and they're also projects that really pushed me creatively. The first wave certainly did, it was different kinds of projects. And you've seen me do those with familiar creators like Francis and Greg and Francesco, but these books really pushed me out there. I mean, you haven't seen me do historical fiction like Barnstormers, you haven't seen me do a noir like Wildfire, you haven't seen me do a YA or an all ages book, obviously, like Dudley, or, really, a Western. I've done soap, supernatural westerns and horror westerns in American Vampire, but this is much more grounded and dark and about the West, so it doesn't skip eras and stuff. So anyway, I want to try and put my money where my mouth is, show you that I'm trying to do the things I teach in our class together (Comic Writing 101) and push myself to be exciting to me. So I'm really proud of this wave, I can't wait for you to see. So four books to check out. If you have Amazon Prime, all the comiXology books are free.

If you are taking the class and you're a paid subscriber, I'm gonna walk you through Wildfire #1 as part of our class tomorrow night. So that's the other thing, we're gonna do a class tomorrow night if things don't collapse on me here. We have construction going on on the house and with San Diego, I'm teetering on the edge of being, like, “I don't know if I can do class,” but I think I can do it. It might be a little shorter, but we're doing emotional arc vs plot arc and should be fun. We're going to look at Thor: God of Thunder, we're going to look at Wildfire. We're going to talk some movies. And I'm just going to try and get the point across within, like, an hour or so and see what you guys think. So anyway, check that out.

And yeah, it's been wild. So for those of you who haven't been to SDCC and are going for the first time, again, come find me. I love meeting fans at cons. Sincerely, it's my favorite part of it, as you'll find with many pros. There's also a Scottober West Coast party for comiXology subscribers. If you have a comiXology subscription, just run to their booth and get a ticket, and I think it's, like, the first fans or fans by lottery or something. But it's Thursday night, the party, and you get to go and there'll be a ton of pros there, all my friends and obviously the usual suspects from all ranges of comics will be there. So if you want to come, say hi, go get a ticket, subscribe to comiXology Unlimited. Again, those books are also free if you have Prime, and Wildfire comes out a week from tomorrow, so check them all out.

And yeah, so San Diego. San Diego was one of those cons that when I was coming up I enjoyed, because you're almost anonymous there because there's so many big machinations happening. I mean, if you haven't been there, all the movie stars come from Hollywood. I mean, when I started going to San Diego as a fan 11,12, 13 years ago, it wasn't as big, but it was already big. I wasn't somebody who got to go back in the 80s or the 90s when I was a kid when it was something different and more comics-based. By the time I started getting involved, it was already pretty glitzy and overwhelming. So when I started going as a pro, it was fun because I think I could disappear. The first year I had American Vampire there, it was me and Rafael and I remember they sat at a table with Joe Kubert and Rafael literally cried because we got to sit at a table with Joe Kubert. We went and we got to go to the Eisners and we won, and the biggest thing, the thrill was that Walter and Louise Simonson handed us our Eisner, and I just couldn't believe that moment. To this day it’s just burned into my brain. So it was more like being young and new in this massive tent of people that had just shown and were huge and there were stars and all of this.

Me recording an SDCC interview circa 2012

And then as I got bigger in comics, more and more responsibility falls to you within that matrix. So instead of it being a place that you go and see your friends and just kind of lay low because they're bigger things happening for the company you're at, like DC for me, you become part of the bigger things happening. So suddenly, you have to go to the Hard Rock Hotel party, the industry party that's meeting with international distributors and booksellers, and you go to the Barnes and Noble dinner, and then you go across town and you meet with the people that are doing licensing for the DC New 52 backpacks and shirts. And so there's a lot of running back and forth as you become more a fixture of any of the companies that are represented there, and it becomes more and more of a hustle. And again, it's a joy, so none of this is me complaining. I'm just giving you a sense of when you see a pro and what they're going through.

Winning the Inkpot Award at SDCC 2019. This was a big one.

So now I'm back at a point where, because I'm not at DC, because I'm doing my own stuff, I have a ton of behind the scenes meetings, like breakfast and lunch and dinners with comics pros and executives and people that I'm A) sometimes just hanging out with because we miss each other, and then B) getting together with to talk about making more comics, or publishers or retailers or all that kind of stuff. So I'm in a good spot, but keep in mind that most pros there are running around really trying to either hustle to work their way up, hustle to stay where they are, hustle to get ahead, or hustle because they have a lot of obligations for the company they're at. So San Diego's a stressful con for a lot of people, so just be kind if you see creators running around. Again, I have a pretty low key one for all this stuff I have to do just because it's all my choice this year. I don't have to do anything for any one company, so I'll be in good spirits if you see me. But again, cons are places that are work conventions for pros, so just be aware. But if you come to the comiXology party, that's like a party, so you should come in and relax with us.

And it's strange to dive back in. It's just strange. I'm excited, really excited, but I'm also nervous. San Diego is a place where, when I was coming up, I had a lot of anxiety and a lot of difficulty managing it. New York and San Diego both were the cons I would get in the most trouble with where I felt like I would go overboard partying, where I would get into arguments with my bosses, where things would bubble up with the company and you and all of it. So they were always places of high stress, and I'm in a better place now so I'm more excited to enjoy and take my time and just take it a lot easier.

But yeah, I think for a lot of people, myself included, San Diego used to be, for me but I think can be now for a lot of pros, insanely stressful because you have these high stakes obligations for your career, and it's set against a context where you have to be really friendly and onstage all the time for any fan that sees you. And this is not hard to do, but it's hard to do when you're late for a meeting because you can't get across the street because there's a hundred people waiting to cross a single street and the train car goes by and the Gaslamp is packed and all that. So yeah, it has echoes of stress and really good memories and I'm excited for it. And Jeanie just went away with her mom to a wedding in Napa, and I'm glad they got that time because now she's gonna have to manage the kids while I'm out there. So it's just me, come say hi, should be fun. I think you can hear the excitement and the nervousness in my voice. But above all, give these books a shot if you can, because I’m really, really proud of them. Thanks!

S