Wednesday, December 5, 2012

A Comic Book: Team Up is out today!

I am pleased to announce that A Comic Book: Team Up is out today! You can buy it in print exclusively at Orlando, Florida's A Comic Shop, or digitally with two bonus stories for half the price. Not only was I the Editor-in-Chief on this 60 page anthology featuring 21 creators, but it also features my first-ever published comic, Super Duper Trio. Check it out!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

I’m a Comics Editor for Hire

I want to be your Editor. Making a comic book, anthology, graphic novel, funny book, or propaganda pamphlet? I’m your man. But why would you share your precious with me when I could very well drop it in Mount Doom? As Gollum showed us, there’s no coming back from that, so let me share why my professionalism, constructive feedback, and labor policy are the perfect combination to help you make your perfect comic book.


I will be clear and upfront with all of my feedback. I will make everything concise and to the point so no one’s time gets wasted. And I will make myself conveniently available to you whether by email or phone or messenger pigeon, all while conducting myself with the candor of a five-star hotel concierge. That said, if you fall behind on schedule then you can fully expect me to go from Jeeves to Miss Trunchbull.

Constructive Feedback

I’ll provide you with a detailed analysis of your story’s one-line synopsis, treatment, outline, and script, offering solutions to plot holes, pointing out inconsistencies in character, and keeping continuity airtight. Remember in Avengers vs. X-Men when the Avengers heroically jumped off the Helicarrier in one issue while in another Magneto chucked Colossus through it causing everyone to haphazardly abandon ship? Under my watch, that will never happen to you.

Also know that I’m no slouch on art. No comics are immune to linework that is too light, colors that could use refining, or word balloons that don’t flow properly, so I’ll be there to catch those mistakes to make your visuals as top-notch as can be.

I’m a grammar whiz, too. Not one single error can be found in this entire post. Your copy will be so clean that not even Batman will be able to uncover a hint of grammatical wrongdoing.

Free Labor!

Well, maybe not, but it’s all relative. If you need an Editor for your passion project, but you can only compensate me by putting my name in 6 pt font at the bottom of the credits page, that’s perfect. More than anything, I’m in this to help you create your best quality work of art possible, not a fat paycheck. Then again, if you sign a deal and get a fat paycheck, I would most certainly appreciate a little kickback. The leatherbound books that line my shelf aren’t cheap.

For those of you who like resumes, here’s a short one of those. But if you ask me, the most interesting material is just after where you learn a little bit about me.

Resume including Fancy Titles for Names of Things — and Dates!

Editor-in-Chief (formerly Editor) for A Comic Book Anthology — May 2011 - Dec 2012
Hilarious personality for Flame On! Podcast — June 2011 - Present
Critic for IGN Comics
August 2011 - Present 
Serious Grown-Up Job Writing Instruction Manuals for US Military — 2009 - Present

BA in English with a minor in Film from the University of Central Florida — 2009

Skilled in story structure, sequential art, and Star Wars

Personal Deets About Me

I love comics. You can thank Mark Waid’s Unthinkable story arc from his Fantastic Four run for starting what has been a joyous hobby-turned-career for me. I genuinely just want to make comic books. All the time. Full-time. For a living. For me. For you. For everyone.

I’m on a podcast because I love talking about comics and movies. I write for IGN because I am under the notion that I know a thing or two about comics. I work my 40 hours a week writing instruction manuals because I love telling people what to do. That last one might sound bad, but I only have a job where I’m allowed to do that because I know what’s best. And what other kind of quality would you want in your Editor?

If you’re reading this you either have a magic idea that you want to bring to beautifully printed fruition, or you’re my mom and you’re scanning for an email address to send me those pictures of the dogs.  

If you're the former, then shoot me an email and let's do this:

(Mom, I love you, but please don't use my professional email address. I'm content with the last one you sent me.)

Sunday, November 25, 2012

IGN: The Comics We're Thankful For This Year

"Thank you, Astonishing X-Men." - Joshua Yehl
I am thankful for all comics. I really am. Even the ones without Doop! And while I am also thankful for the horror of Locke and Key, the sexploitation of Saga, and the Hawk-blocking of Hawkeye, there’s one kind of comic that I am most thankful for: ones that are about me...

Check out the rest of my entry and what everyone else had to say on IGN.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

IGN Holiday Gift Guide 2012

I generated half the content for the Comics and Collectibles section of the IGN Holiday Gift Guide, so check it out so you know the best stuff to get the nerd in your life. Don't miss my favorite entry, the one for Saga.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Why Do We Love Lightsabers?

In my last post I started to talk about Disney buying Star Wars, but I ended up talking about my fascination with lightsabers. I'm sure I'm not the first fanboy that's happened to. But I think I was onto something. What is it about lightsabers that makes everyone go gaga over them? Fans have made countless YouTube videos of the various movie light saber fights, bought or made light saber replicas of their own, and filmed themselves fighting with them against their friends in the backyard.

In the original trilogy, a lightsaber was truly something special. There were only four different sabers in the entire trilogy and only three people who could use them. A majority of the action centered around the use of blasters and space fighter ships, with lightsabers only making an appearance in special encounters. Luke used a blaster most of the time, even after his Jedi training on Dagobah in The Empire Strikes Back. It wasn't until he had mastered his abilities by The Return of the Jedi that he depended on it exclusively.

That was a gross error of the prequels. Everyone had a lightsaber. Even the kids! Although I wager those were non-lethal training sabers, assuming there is such a thing. But lightsabers were so prevalent that they lost their impact as the weapon of a highly skilled warrior. Did you notice how Gandalf rarely used magic in The Lord of the Rings? He hardly seemed like a wizard until that bit with the Balrog in The Fellowship of the Ring, but man when he cut loose it was awe-inspiring. That's why when dozens of Jedi were running across the screen with lightsabers in Attack of the Clones it didn't feel as awesome as it should have. In fact, it felt depressing to see so many "highly skilled warriors" go down while wielding everyone's favorite glowing sword. How special could those Jedi have been if they went down so easy?

Lightsabers go beyond Star Wars as to why they are so loved. Throughout all manner of story and legend, special swords are a recurring theme. Most notable is the Sword in the Stone from Arthurian legend. A special blade with great power destined to be wielded by a single owner. The same sort of feeling came when Obi-Wan Kenobi gave Anakin's lightsaber to Luke. It was a sacred family heirloom. A continuation of a legacy. Something that was unique and important because it was destined to be passed down to Luke when he came of age. And only Luke could wield it because of his predisposition to the Force. It's not the exact same story as King Arthur, but it has the same basic principles.

The list of important swords goes on: Link's Master Sword, Lion-O's Sword of Omens, Aragorn's Narsil reforged into Anduril, Harry Potter's Sword of Gryffindor. But where the lightsaber trumps other blades is how it looks, operates, and cuts. A glowing blade looks cool enough as it is, but imagery of a sword of light can be found dating all the way back to ancient times. Old paintings show angels wielding fiery blades to banish sinners. The lightsaber has religious undertones resonating off of it without even trying.

It's sleek and compact silver handle is easy to store and even hide up your sleeve, like we saw Emperor Palpatine do in Revenge of the Sith. And who do you know who hasn't made that "tssch" sound of a lightsaber igniting and the "bzzz" of its laser hum? It's practically alive with sci-fi magic. The lightsaber can cut through anything but another lightsaber, enforcing that its wielder can overcome any obstacle. One who uses a lightsaber can also deflect the laser bolts of lesser men's puny guns. It's a weapon of supreme power in both symbolism and practicality. You can imagine why so many fans, myself included, lost their shit when Darth Maul whipped out a double-bladed lightsaber. All that stuff I just talked about TIMES TWO!

If Episode VII is going to be a success, it's vital that they tone down the lightsabers. Make the movies about something else than different scenarios that call for the characters to whip them out. This problem might solve itself simply based on the fact that Luke is a lone Jedi in the universe. It's hard to say how much time will have passed in between films VI and VII, but even if in that time he set out to rebuild the Jedi Order, there couldn't be more than a handful of Jedi. And all for the better.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Moar Star Wars

Disney bought Star Wars. We're getting Episode VII, which is Episode 7 for those who don't speak Roman. That's huge. The only true Hollywood earthquake in recent memory.

George Lucas gives his toys to a new owner.
But after you get over the initial joy, you think about the poor performance of the prequels. I loved them as a sixth grader, but as the criticism sunk in over the years, it became apparent to anyone that they were storytelling failures. I like things about them, like the Boba Fett-esque Darth Maul, detective Obi-Wan Kenobi, and the ascension and transformation of Emperor Palpatine, but anyone would be hard-pressed to admit that they got everything they wanted from those movies.
Detective Kenobi

I remember back in high school I would watch Episode II again and again. I'd have it on in the background while I was doing homework or talking on AIM. Remember AIM? Yeah me neither. I'm not sure why I watched it so much because the more it seeped into my brain pores, the more it disillusioned me. There was no magic in that movie. I love light sabers as much as any fanboy, yet even though this movie was absolutely packed with them, I never felt impressed. 

That was the one thing that Episode I did right: light sabers. They captured how deadly and precise Jedi could be. I say deadly, but rarely did the Jedi ever kill anything alive. They sliced up a fair few amount of flying bug creatures in Episode II, but those were hardly humanoid. No, Jedi almost exclusively battled cold hard steel robits. That drained a lot of tension from the movies because the fights felt imbalanced. Both sides didn't have something of merit to lose, and the droids were hopelessly outmatched, until a Destroyed rolled up. (Why not produce all Destroyers and other shield-based droids knowing you're going to war with Jedi?) Droids were shown being assembled in mass quantities, while Jedi were slowly trained with patience from youth. That's why the slaughter of the Jedi at the end of Episode II never felt right. These warriors were trained to BLINDLY deflect lasers from CHILDHOOD yet there were dozens of them laying dead on the ground from laser beam death.


That's why Darth Maul made such an impact: he straight up murdered Qui-Gon Jinn. The character was dull, but Jinn's death meant a lot because it brought a weight to the otherwise dry story. (Did you really care that Naboo had been taken over when we never saw even one Naboobian starve, suffer, or die unfairly?) After a whole movie of meaninglessly destroying droids, a light saber sunk into someone we truly didn't expect to die given how invincible he had been for the entirety of the film. That's a lesson for Episode VII -- get rid of the battle droids, tone down the light sabers, and only bring them out when the characters mean business.

Okay, I totally got away from my point, which was, you might have hated the prequels, but let's say they are a 3 out of 10. Keep in mind that while you think there's nowhere to go but up from there, there's always a chance that Disney will turn in a 2 or a 1.

Okay, that's not what my point was going to be. I'm actually super excited about these movies.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Captain America Goes Sci-fi

I covered the Marvel NOW! press call for Captain America today. Check out what Rick Remender, John Romita Jr, and Tom Brevoort had to say on IGN. That's right, I'm great at typing out what people say.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Quote Me, Again

I was absolutely ecstatic to see that I was quoted on one of my all-time favorite comics, Locke and Key, specifically the back of the Clockworks hardcover. And I can't be mad at the Dancer quote, either. Although, my film criticism professor would flip her lid if she saw that I used "is" in both of them -- the weakest of verbs that can always be replaced by something better. As Rudy Rhod would say, BUTWHOCARES?!

I used to never pay attention to pull quotes, but now every time I pick up a book I seem to find one of mine. As the cashier of my shop pointed out, too bad they always attribute it to IGN without naming the reviewer. I'm the only one who knows I said it, but it's still pretty cool.

Locke and Key: Clockworks

Dancer vol 1

Thursday, October 18, 2012

A Comic Book: Team-Up Preview -- Super Duper Trio

Me and some other local creators who all frequent Orlando, Florida's A Comic Shop have been putting together a comics anthology with teamwork and togetherness as a theme which, unsurprisingly, we called A Comic Book: Team-Up. Among many other splendid short comics, it will feature my first ever published comic. We are only distributing the print version locally, but the anthology will soon be available digitally on A Comic Shop's website.

Since my story is only six pages long, providing only a one page preview seemed apt. Shout out to the wonderfully talented Jennifer McKeown for nailing the Power Puff Girls vibe I vehemently demanded with wide eyes, spit flying from my mouth.

Click here for readable size.

Super Duper Trio preview

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Quote Me, Quote Me, Say That You'll Quote Me

At the shop today I saw that I was quoted on four new graphic novels (the ones attributed to IGN below). I had only ever been quoted once before on FF vol 2, so it seemed almost silly to me that there were now this many, three of them released on the same day.

Green Lantern: New Guardians vol 1
It's a strange feeling being a critic and having your review used to promote a book. There's a sense of pride that you get from it at first, but then that quickly fades when you realize that you got one sentence published and the guy who wrote the book has a whole comic's worth.

Venom vol 4
But there are no major awards for comic book journalism, so this is as good as it gets. Right now, I just need to be careful not to wind up like the pull-quote guy on MadTV who says fabulous things about terrible movies just because he loves being quoted.

Mind the Gap vol 1
I, Vampire vol 1

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Year One: My Time at IGN

One year ago today I was brought on to do freelance writing for IGN Comics. There are many people that I owe this success to, including my Editor Joey, the head of IGN Entertainment Chris, and my friends who listened to me drone on about it forever (Drew, Brian, Christian, Alex, Aaron, Byran, Eric, and Jason), but I’d like to think I also had something to do with it. I'm the one who has to read the comics, after all.

When I got the email from Joey last year after San Diego Comic Con, I did a fair amount of jumping around before calling my dad. He’s not into comics or anything, but he’s the smartest person I know and he always supports whatever crazy goal I’m reaching toward. He’s a quiet man who goes to church and believes in a hard day’s work, so imagine my surprise when I told him the news and he nearly blew out my eardrum with “THAT’S AWESOME!”
I had wanted to write for IGN for a while, but it was when IGN's Jack DeVries wrote a piece on gay video game characters in April of 2011 that I got truly inspired. I was shocked to see IGN run the “controversial” article, on the front page no less, and it proved to be a revelation for me. It showed me that even at a place like IGN -- known for hardcore gamers, features about hot babes, and a user base akin to a wretched hive of scum and villainy -- there was a place for someone like me. (Take a second to go support Jack’s Kickstarter for GaymerCon!)

Flash forward to today and I’ve done countless comic book reviews, covered Marvel press calls, and written all sorts of features. I was even quoted on the back of a hardcover graphic novel. But the real highlight of my time thus far at IGN came when I wrote my own gay feature, The State of Gay Characters in Comics. It got the expected reaction from the aforementioned IGN commenters, but on Twitter I found a different kind of response. People suddenly began following me by the dozens and gave me mad props for writing the piece. It felt good knowing I could write something that had such a positive influence on so many people. It also showed me that IGN was not afraid to “go there.” The support from Joey was incredible. Not only did he give me feedback on my writing, but he asked me to go further and give him more. And so I did.

A different sort of highlight came when my high school newspaper teacher Mrs. Weiss asked me to give a presentation at this year’s Florida Scholastic Press Association, the statewide convention for high school level journalism. It’s all thanks to Mrs. Weiss that I don’t make a complete jackass of myself when I interview someone or write a news story. She’s one of the first people who stopped to tell me I was a good writer. Seeing how my one recognized skill before that moment was playing Yu-Gi-Oh!, I thought writing would be a nice step in a direction that would lead to something more than social ostracization. The title of my talk was “From Blogging to Batman” and was about how to use social media to develop your professional image, make contacts, and help you get cool jobs in the field of entertainment journalism. As you can imagine, I used many examples concerning IGN.

If I’ve gained anything from writing for IGN, it’s the insanely talented people I get to work with. Joey has been the utmost professional of editors. He will proofread my writing and all that, but he’s also good for chatting over a beer when we meet up at conventions. I am embarrassed to say that I’ve promised him a few beers that I still haven't bought him despite the fact that we’ve gone to several bars together over the past year. One day soon, my friend.

The review crew Erik, Jesse, Poet, and Ben have all been amazing standout guys who not only do a bangup job every week reviewing comics and writing features, but by putting out such knockout content have challenged me to up my game. To say something smarter, to be funnier, to make more poignant references. As Gandalf would say, they’re the balls.

Okay see I'm still working on that reference thing.

And working behind the scenes like Emperor Palpatine is Chris, who I genuinely appreciate for always making time to chat with me despite his busy schedule and the knowledge that after enduring a conversation with me, he will have lost not only his patience but quite possibly his sanity. He talks about the industry with an overwhelmingly impressive amount of intricate knowledge and understanding, and so after I hang up the phone with him I can’t help but wonder if I really know anything about entertainment journalism at all.

I’m pretty sure I do. If not, then shit, I’m doing a good job at fooling everybody. Here’s to another year of being a Skrull at IGN! =)

Thursday, June 28, 2012

IGN Reviews 6/27/12

Check them out!

FF #19
X-Men #31
The Flash #10
Green Lantern: New Guardians #10
I, Vampire #10
Justice League Dark #10
Superman #10

Monday, June 25, 2012

IGN Reviews for 6/20/12

Check out my IGN reviews for this week!

Astonishing X-Men #51
Dark Avengers #176
Green Lantern Corps #10
New Avengers #27
Secret Avengers #26
Uncanny X-Men #14
Venom #19

Thursday, June 14, 2012

IGN Reviews for 6/13/12

Check out these here reviews that I gon durn for Eye-Gee-Enn, ya here?

Batgirl #10
Green Lantern #10
Amazing Spider-Man #687
Avengers #27
Fantastic Four #607
Uncanny X-Force #26
X-Men #30

Thursday, June 7, 2012

IGN Reviews 6/6/12

Check out my reviews on IGN for 6/6/12!

Animal Man #10
Earth 2 #2
Stormwatch #10
Red Lanterns #10
Dark Avengers #175
Ultimate Comics Spider-Man #11
Morning Glories #19

Thursday, May 31, 2012

IGN Reviews for 5/23/12

Check out my reviews on IGN!

The Flash #9
Green Lantern: New Guardians #9
I, Vampire #9
Superman #9
The Amazing Spider-Man #686
Astonishing X-Men #50
Fantastic Four #606

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

The State of Gay Characters in Comics

Whether you’re President Obama, a member of the Human Rights Campaign, or a guy on the side of the street holding a sign, everyone has an opinion on the issue of gay rights. In light of Marvel’s big same-sex wedding announcement for Northstar and his longtime partner Kyle (read our review of the issue here), as well as DC teasing that an “iconic” formerly straight character will be re-introduced to the New 52 as gay, we decided to take a look at the current state of gay characters in comics.

Check out the article on IGN!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

IGN Reviews for 5/16/12

Check out my reviews on IGN!

Locke and Key: Clockworks #6
The Avengers #26
Uncanny X-Men #12
Venom #18
Fantastic Four #605.1
Green Lantern Corps #9
Dancer #1

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

IGN Reviews for 5/2/12

Check out my reviews on IGN!

Animal Man #9
Red Lanterns #9
Stormwatch #9
Worlds' Finest #1
The Amazing Spider-Man #685
Venom #17
Mind the Gap #1

Monday, April 30, 2012

Top 50 Avengers on IGN!

IGN users cast over 2 million votes to decide on the Top 50 Avengers of all time! I covered half of them, so check it out!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

IGN Reviews for 4/25/12

Check out my reviews on IGN for these titles!

The Flash #8
Green Lantern: New Guardians #8
I, Vampire #8
Superman #8
FF #17
Secret Avengers #26
Ultimate Comics Ultimates #9

Thursday, April 19, 2012

IGN Reviews for 4/19/12

Check out my IGN reviews for these titles!

Justice League #8
The Incredible Hulk #7
Thunderbolts #173
Wolverine and the X-Men #9
Star Wars: Dawn of the Jedi #3
Manhattan Projects #2
Witchblade #155

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

MegaCon 2012: Nerds, Doctor Who, and DC's FCBD Plans

MegaCon 2012, located at the spacious and pristine Orlando Convention Center, welcomed tens of thousands of people this year to rejoice in their mutual interest in comics, anime, and - more so than ever - Doctor Who. Check out my full report on the con at Broken Frontier!

Monday, February 6, 2012

Marvel Comics Cites Me

So now that this is on the back of FF volume 2, that means my opinion is fact, right?

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

IGN: Marvel's Secret Superhero Teams

Heroes aren't always out there in flashy outfits getting their picture taken while helping people out of a burning building. Sometimes they have to rely on subterfuge, spying, and dirty tactics to help serve the greater good.

With Uncanny X-Force currently being better than ever and a new team of Secret Avengers coming soon, we wanted to take a look back at Marvel's best secret teams -- just don't tell anyone, or we might have to kill you.

Check it out at IGN! 

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

The Best Superhero Movies Ever: Where Do Thor, Cap, X-Men, and Green Lantern Rank?

Thor dropped the hammer for a slew of comic book superhero movies this summer and was followed by X-Men: First Class, Green Lantern, and Captain America: The First Avenger. Each movie made a distinct impression – both good and bad – and now the time has come to rank them amongst all modern day superhero movies.

Check it out at Broken Frontier!