Newsletter #96: Opening the BOOK OF EVIL
PLUS some Memphis stories and your last chance to join the re-opened Black Jackett Club Founder's Tier!
Hey guys, it's Scott.
It is Wednesday, September 27, and as you can probably tell from my voice, I got back very late last night from Memphis Comic Expo after a couple canceled flights, but it was completely worth it. I had a blast. I'll talk a little bit more about it in a minute, but first I just wanted to mention a couple exciting things we have going on at Best Jackett right now. Yesterday on io9 we made a big announcement that we're releasing a new book called Book of Evil by Jock and me digitally on Tuesday, October 4!
We'll have it in New York Comic Con through Comixology Originals. It is a really special one. It imagines that not long from now, 92% of the population start being born sociopaths. Nobody knows why, nobody knows if it's a toxin or a mutation or evolution. But suddenly, the vast majority of people being born present as sociopaths when they hit adolescence. So when you're about 13 or 14, you switch over into either being part of the majority, a psychopath, or you're one of what they call ‘subs,’ a ‘subhuman’ person who still has the vestigial limb of empathy or compassion or a conscience, and you're relegated to the terrible hard labor of this world. So it's a really dark book. I'm very, very, very proud of this one. It's prose with spot illustrations and it's presented as the journal, like an artifact by a kid in this world named Homer, who's growing up with his three best friends in the slums that they keep kids in until they present one way or another. And it's about an adventure they have to try and escape all of the terrors of this future.
So it's kind of the culmination of a lot of work, not just on this book, but a lot of other work as well over the last five or six years. If you follow my stuff from the beginning to now, you'll see that, or you already know, that I kind of work through themes. I have a certain theme or something that's really on my mind, and really, really under my skin for a couple of years and I try and approach it from a bunch of different angles, explore different aspects of it, really pick it apart from very different approaches. And sometimes, like when I was starting on Batman, it will have to do with history, it will have to do with legacy, it will have to do with how you recreate yourself into something that matters given all of the pressures and the systemic challenges that exist in front of you in different ways. And then, around 2016, I started working this theme about human nature, about whether or not we're designed to be cruel and selfish, and that goodness and collectivism is kind of a fallacy or something that's unnatural to us. Or whether or not we're designed to be altruistic and that these other things, these sorts of worst impulses of ours, these base impulses, are things that were meant to shed, or that we’re meant to overcome. And so you'll see that theme in Batman Who Laughs, it's certainly a big part of Justice League and Lex Luthor’s argument in that, there's a big part of it in Wytches and some other books. But this is the last book that I'm going to be doing about that, because it's the purest. It's the one that encapsulates all my thoughts on it in one place, and I'm really, really excited about it.
So now, if you notice, some of the books that I'm doing more recently are more examinations of the things that cause particularly difficult cultural moments. So Clear is one of those books, Canary winds up being one of those books, and Nocterra, ultimately, is about finding your way through some of these dark times in different prescriptive ways and the ability that we have to sometimes create something even better on the other side of a particularly difficult moment. But this one, Book of Evil, is the last really piercing, dark look inside human nature in a way that, again, I hope you really love, because we're super proud of it and can't wait to see what you think!
Also, the Black Jackett Club. Thank you guys so much for signing up. We already have more people than we expected, which means that we can't keep it open much longer. We only have room for a handful of people in this. This, again, is our premiere Founder’s Tier level subscription. You get all kinds of extra bonuses, we can list them here, Ty you can put up the graphic again:
One fun thing that we'll be doing is at New York Comic Con we have a dinner for everybody in the Black Jackett Club, you can pick either San Diego or New York to go to it. We feed you, we go to a fancy restaurant, we also give you two drinks, special prizes, special guests, it’s a really good time and we have people already signing up for it. So it’s if you're in the Black Jackett Club already, you didn't go to San Diego, and you're going to be in New York on Sunday. We're going to be doing it Sunday night. Really good restaurant, it's going to be a blast, come by. If you're thinking about signing up, please do it, because we could close those doors at any moment as soon as we get to our quota. We just can't handle more than a certain amount of people right now until we grow our infrastructure at Best Jackett, so please take advantage of it for the dinner alone and the VIP event. You go to the dinner, you go to the VIP event, and you already are exceeding the cost of the subscription and what you're getting back, but sending your ten books, there are like ten ways of exceeding the cost, honestly. So I promise it's a good deal for you. Anyway, thank you guys again, everyone that signed up. I hope anyone that wants to do we'll do it right away!
And yeah, Memphis Comic Expo. It was such a good time! For one thing, there were so many great creators there. I mean, there were a lot of old friends like Mark Waid, Ron Marz, Dexter Vines, Marc Bernardin, and Mike Norton. It was just really great.
And a couple of new faces, people you should completely check out, rising talents in the industry like Ashley Woods and Ariel Diaz. And it was just a good feeling. It was a friendly feeling all around. But we also got to go around the city a bit, me and Greg Capullo, his wife Jamie, Jon Glapion (our inker on Batman and We Have Demons and all kinds of stuff). We're all family at this point.
But we went to the Rock and Soul Museum the first morning, which was unbelievable. If you're ever in town, you should check it out. It's this incredible testament to the rich musical history of Memphis and the way that that musical history represents these big socio-political shifts, culturally, throughout not just the history of that area, but the history of the country. It goes into all these interesting ways that sharecropping culture in the 20s and 30s where whites and blacks and people from all over were living this incredibly hard life on the farm, how they exchanged ideas, musical ideas, political ideas, and then many of them wound up moving to the city in the 30s and 40s when mechanization displaced them, and then they shared those ideas in a bigger way. And it winds up really presenting an incredibly prismatic and rich picture of this vibrant culture, this challenging, volatile, inspiring culture that Memphis offered up all throughout that first half into the second half of the 20th century seen through the lens of music. And it's just a wonderful ride, you should check it out.
And it's also a great reminder of the ways in which the country has found its way through incremental, if glacial, tiny steps to really difficult moments. So I found it incredibly inspiring. I think that if you're ever in Memphis, you should check it out.
And then of course, we went to Graceland, which was a blast. Me and Greg went with Jamie.
And it was nerve wracking for me, sharing a place special to me with a friend, because I usually go there by myself. And I was nervous because I haven't been there in a while, and the last time I really went earnestly, it was a very different place. I used to love to go in the 90s in the early 00s when I was a kid. It was before Elvis Presley Enterprises, so the whole place was a bit of a circus. There were vendors everywhere, and everything was independently owned, and it was kind of like “Elvis is an alien,” “here's the Velvet Elvis,” “Elvis is fighting crime with JFK and here's my conspiracy theory,” and strange homemade crafts about Elvis. And there were bootlegs, big bootleg conventions, and impersonator festivals. And now it's much more sanitized and it's run by Elvis Presley Enterprises, which at first was a big drag, at least in my mind, but they've put together a really fantastic complex. And the exhibits are really breathtaking of his jumpsuits and of all of the kinds of artifacts dating back to the very beginnings of his career and life.
And they also present a very good picture of a lot of the musical influences, a lot of the musical climate that he grew up in, all of that. And it was just great to share it. It was one of the highlights of my life, honestly, to get to go with a best friend and be moved together by so much of it, so it was great. We went to Beale Street, we heard some great music. If you're ever in town, please explore Memphis. It's a fascinating, really inspiring city for its history and for its present, and I can't say enough good things about what an interesting crossroads of a place it is and how worth it it is to go check out. So thank you again to everybody there, the organizers and to everybody who participated. It was such a great reminder that I get to wake up and do this job and make things that I love with people I love and then get to go celebrate them with the best fans in the world.
So thank you for everything!