Friday, March 28, 2008

International Intermission

I'll get back to volume 4 on Monday, but I got these
covers in yesterday, and wanted to share them with you. They represent the Italian, Spanish and German editions of Amelia.

Cool, huh?

The Spanish and Italian books are due out in May, and the German edition is out now.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

New Adventures in Funny Stories

Continuing from yesterday's post...

So anyway, I was in the middle of this writer's block. I remember that the block was caused by being depressed about something. I can't remember what exactly, but I know it began in November 2004.

It lasted almost a year... seriously. And then, one day, it was gone. Just like that. Determined not to let it happen again, I was looking for a strategy to approach the next book. I've always been a music fan, and a fan of R.E.M. in particular, and for some reason I began playing their record New Adventures in Hi Fi a lot around this time. I was just looking for some "rockin' tunes" for background music, but it suddenly struck me that this might be the template I was looking for.

For those of you who aren't familiar with the group, one of R.E.M.'s great claims to fame is their willingness to experiment. As a fan, you never quite know what to expect from them. I've always loved artists who were willing to grow and change...The Beatles, Charles Schulz, Brian Wilson, y'know, people like that. But what I found special about this particular record was that it somehow managed to move forward by taking all of the elements found in the band's previous output (strong melody, jangly guitars, brooding lyrics, riff based rock, etc.) and mixing them all up into a new musical stew. Where previously one or two of these elements might be the focus of an entire record, here it was their synergy that made the record pulsate.

So I thought to myself; Can I do that with Amelia? Rather than going off in a completely new direction, as I had tried to do with Superheroes, could I take what people had already come to expect and heighten the work by allowing all of the elements I typically worked with to bounce off each other in new and interesting ways? With that thought in mind (and New Adventures playing in the background) I began writing "Funny Story."

Which I will deal with in greater detail tomorrow...

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

World Premiere of Volume 4 at NYCC!

When the Past is a Present will make it's world premiere at this April's New York Comic Con.This is very exciting for me, as I think this book represents probably the best work I've ever done. It was very pleasurable getting my advance copies, and thumbing through the pages. Ask any artist, and they'll tell you that that is the kind of experience you always want, but rarely get. More often than not, all the creator of a particular work is able to see is the struggle and the failings. Now, to be sure, I see the struggle all over WTPIAP, but it seems somehow less prominent than usual, and that feels great.

So, what I thought I'd do over the next few postings, is go over the book chapter by chapter and talk a little bit about what went into creating the individual stories, as well as the concept for the book as a whole.

See, the thing is, I don't very often sit around thinking; "Man, I just gotta do a great Little Lulu style comic." Or, "Gosh, what would Len Wein do in a situation like this." Even though I like both Little Lulu and Len Wein quite a bit, I'm far more likely to be inspired by something from a different medium entirely. Like music, for example. There must be 4 or 5 issues of Shades of Gray where I was trying to capture the feel of Strawberry Fields Forever in comic book form. Now, when I started planning the stories which make up WTPIAP, I was just coming off a massive writer's block which lasted for months. Up until this point, I didn't really believe such a thing existed, as I had never experienced it before. But having gone through it, I didn't want the same thing to happen while working on Volume 4. The solution I came up with was to go back to writing short stories. But I was afraid this would become a retreat, that I would just be doing easy jokes and stories I could write in my sleep as a means to avoid failure. What I needed was a template. A piece of art that was somehow both reflective and comfortable, but also radical and forward thinking. That was when I rediscovered a wonderful piece of music; 1996's New Adventures in Hi-Fi by the rock band R.E

Check back tomorrow, and I'll explain how you go from listening to "Electrolite" to writing "Funny Story."

Monday, March 24, 2008

No Duh, Right?

School Library Journal has selected the top 25 graphic novels for kids, and Amelia Rules! Volume 4: When the Past is a Present has been selected. The article, which was penned by the great Michele Gorman highlights many other winning books like Josh Elder's wicked awesome Mail Order Ninja and Scholastic's beautiful new Amulet.

Michele is the author of the new guide to kid's graphic novels titled Getting Graphic: Comics for Kids.

Amelia fans should take note of this book, as it has a cover and an original 4 page story by me. The story will most likely never be reprinted, so if you're a completist, you have your mission.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Funny Stories

Funny Stories the Amelia Rules! "best of " digest is being offered in this month's Scholastic Arrow Book Club. So for those of you with kids, or who ARE kids. in grade 4, 5, or 6, be sure to check it out. Also, this special 128 page full color book will be available to comic shops in June. It retails for $4.99, and contains stories from Amelia Rules Volumes 1,2, and 4. It's a really cool little package, and it was the culmination of a dream to have Scholastic Book Clubs and Fairs carry it. I remember way back in '02, I was sitting in a hotel lobby chatting with Harold Buchholz about how I wanted Amelia Rules! in the Scholastic Book Clubs. This was really crazy talk at the time though because NO ONE was thinking about doing quality kid's lit in comics back then, and it was unthinkable that a company like Scholastic would carry something like Amelia. But of course, just because something is impossible, that doesn't mean it won't happen.

Y'know, I remember listening to an interview with Axl Rose years ago where he was talking about how Guns 'n' Roses were going to open for the Rolling Stones some day. He was reminded that, at the time, the Stones had broken up, so this was an impossibility. "I don't care," he said "You wait." And sure enough, a few years later, it happened. So there you go... I'm just like Axl Rose.

Monday, March 10, 2008

The Past and the Podcast

Hi gang, Amelia Rules! Volume 4: When the Past is a Present has shipped from the printers.
It should be arriving in the US in the next few weeks. The book is in the same format as the previous three volumes, and contains issues 17, 18 and 19, as well as the 2006 and 2007 Free Comic Book Day Editions. I think it's some of my best work, and I'm thrilled to see it come out in book format.

Speaking of cool things which are brand new, have you checked out the first Amelia McBride podcast? It's the first of what will be a monthly feature on our sister site, the Tweenie Zeenie. While you're there, click around and explore some of the other neat freebies on the Tweenie Zeenie.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

New Hampshire Rules!

Just a little teaser about the project I was working on this weekend in New Hampshire. It's very exciting. So exciting in fact, that I'm not going to do much talking about it yet, but
check out the image to the left, and let your imagination run wild!

Saturday, March 1, 2008

New Website!

Hi everyone, and welcome to the brand new I'd like to take this moment to thank Leslie Ocko of Glacier Blue Studios, who's web development magic made this new site possible. Thanks Leslie, you rule! If you need some web development type stuff yourself, visit her at

While some parts are still under construction, we're about 90% a go, and I just wanted to pull the trigger and let you all in on what we have cooking here. Please take the time to search around, as there are a lot of nifty new features for your entertainment and enlightenment.

The song that plays when you arrive on the home page is called "Fighting Over Me." It was written by Amelia editor Michael Cohen, and singing the part of Amelia is the mighty Kasey Perkins. This is a new recording of the song that was originally performed in the Amelia Rules! musical "A Very Ninja Christmas" which was performed in Marlborough, New Hampshire this past Christmas. Actually, I'm typing this from Michael's kitchen in Marlborough, where we're working on a very special surprise. Stay tuned to this spot for more details as they develop.

Oh, and by the way, if anyone had trouble emailing me in the past, those issues should be resolved, so drop me a line! Now, go play "Whack a Ninja."