Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Free Comic Book Day

I spent the weekend, as well as the last 2 days finishing up the Amelia Rules! Free Comic Book Day 2008 edition. It's looking good, a mix of new and old, with some fun surprises thrown in.

It's snowing now, as it was all day, the first really significant snow of the winter. It's made Harrisburg look very beautiful, and very peaceful...especially since I didn't have to drive in it!

Friday, February 8, 2008

Bonus Friday Blog!

I just saw the printer's proofs for Amelia Rules! Volume 4, and they are gorgeous!
Our printer, Samwha, does an outstanding job, and I think this will be the nicest book we've published so far. Also, a big shout out to Harold Buchholz, for getting this book ready for press.

So, What's the deal with blogging?

We'll pick up with my fascinating life story as soon as the new site is up. Until then, lets take a detour or so.

So, now that I'm blogging, I'm forced to think about... well, blogging. I mean who would do such a thing? Evidently everyone, including, now, me. But of course I have an ulterior motive. I'm blogging, at least in part, to promote my comic Amelia Rules!. But why do other people blog, and even more to the point, who reads them? I heard a news story a few months ago, that the average blog has a readership of one, so maybe the answer is nobody. Then again, you're reading this, so that can't be right.

Who ARE you?

I mean if I knew that, maybe I could tailor the posts to your interests. But really, all I can do is guess.

I can see my adult readers, the ones who found Amelia in comic shops, and supported it for years, reading this when and if they find out about it. But the kids who discovered Amelia through the Children's Book of the Month Club or Scholastic Book fairs, will they find this stuff interesting? When I was a kid, I would have loved to read cartoonists' journals, even if they were only writing about their grocery lists, and I hated the books they worked on. But that was me, and that was then.

My parents will most likely never read this, even though they have read probably every word I've ever had published. They are not, to say the least, of the internet generation. So that's weird.

Karen will read it, even though she's heard all of this before.

I can't see my friends reading this, because, let's face it they probably get enough of my blathering in the real world, so they don't really need a cyberspace version.

On the other hand, I can see old friends, people I haven't seen in years, come across this and peruse a post or two. After all, they probably have no idea what happened to me, and have never heard of Amelia Rules!. That's the beauty and the frustration of the comic book field.
You can sell a quarter of a million books in 18 months (which we have), and still, no one has heard of you.

Well, whoever you are, thanks for reading this, and feel free to drop me a line at Let me know what you'd like to read about here, and I'll see what I can do.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Anything done for the first time...

Hi! This is my first ever blog posting, so please bear with me.

I’m really excited about the new Amelia Rules! website (Should be launching in early March). As we move forward, we will be including all sorts of features like video podcasts, teacher resources, animations and games. So check back often to see what’s cookin’.

To start things off, I thought I’d write a little about my background, and what kind of strange childhood I must have had in order to create Amelia Rules!

So here goes...

I’ve only ever wanted to be a cartoonist. Outside of Jedi Knight, that was the only possible career path that had any appeal to me. This is how I got there...

Girardville Pennsylvania is a small town. How small? Picture the smallest town you’ve ever been to, and divide it in half. There are no streetlights. Not because there’s no traffic, but it’s just that the town is waiting to see if they catch on before they shell out any money.

But I loved it there. Growing up in a place like that allowed me to act very much like Amelia’s friend Reggie, and yet still manage to eventually go on dates. And so, with very little competition between kids, I tried my hand at just about everything from sports, to music, to theater, and pretty much enjoyed it all.

Still, being an only child in a town that size means your going to have some free time. I spent mine with records, books, and most of all...comics.

I was a huge reader, and compulsively read anything that crossed my path.

The very first thing I learned to read were “Peanuts” comic strips, when my mom read the old Fawcet/Crest collections to me.

There was only one store in town that sold comic books, so I was pretty much limited to whatever they had on the rack, but very early on I enjoyed “Marvel Tales,” which reprinted the old Stan Lee/Steve Ditko “Spider-mans” (although I had no idea they were reprints at the time). Later, I loved “The New Teen Titans” by Wolfman/Perez and Alan Moore/Steve Bissette/John Toteleben’s “Swamp Thing.” I also discovered Wendy Pini’s “Elfquest” which became a major favorite. And I subscribed to Frank Miller’s “Dark Knight Returns” through an ad in a “Blue Beetle” comic.

As far as other reading, the books I remembered liking the most were “Harriet the Spy” by Louise Fitzhugh, “The Great Gilly Hopkins” by Katherine Patterson, “Huckleberry Finn” by Mark Twain, and the works of J.R.R. Tolkien.

I didn’t get to see a comic shop until I was 14 and my dad drove me an hour north to the larger town of Wilkes-Barre, to a great shop named Gema Books, where I was introduced to “Love and Rockets,” “Watchmen,” “Zot,” “The Rocketeer,” “The Spirit,” and most especially, “Cerebus.” Cerebus was three things that blew me away: 1.Black and White 2. Hilarious 3. Self Published. I couldn’t believe that something like it existed, and thrived. I was so inspired by Dave Sim’s work, that I decided then and there that I was not only going to be a cartoonist, but that I would produce comic BOOKS, and I would publish them myself.

And so I did.

Despite having no money, no talent, and no clue, I published my first comic when I was 15 years old. It was called Shades of Gray Comics and Stories #0, and I sold it out of my high school locker and around town.

I was on my way! (He said ironically.)

Hey, this is fun. Let's pick up here next time.