Wednesday, April 30, 2008

So anyway...

Sorry about the long gap in posts... So much has been happening lately. Obviously, the Eisner nominations are huge, and we've been really enjoying the attention they've brought to Amelia.

Also, Volume 4 debuted at New York Comic Con to a very enthusiastic response from the crowd at the show. And of course, yesterday was Free Comic Book Day.

If you’re one of the people who discovered Amelia yesterday, welcome aboard! You can download the entire issue of the Eisner nominated story “The Things I Cannot Change” by clicking here. The story is available for free through the Wowio site, which allows you to download all sorts of cool books and comics (Scott Sava’s way cool Dreamland Chronicles) absolutely free.

Also, after a slight delay, Project 21 will debut at tomorrow, and continue every Monday thereafter. it will detail the entire creative process behind the creation of the upcoming Amelia book The Tweenage Guide to Not Being Unpopular.

Now, I know we were in the middle of discussing Volume 4 story by story, but since I’ve discussed “The Things I Cannot Change” in other places, I’ll just point you here, here and here, and pick up with “When the Past is a Present” next time.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Amelia Rules the Eisners!

The nominations for the 2008 Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards are out, and Amelia and I have been nominated for FOUR! This is tied for most nominations by an individual along with Joss Whedon, Brian K. Vaughn, James Sturm, and Fred Chao.

The nominations are for:
Best Single Issue or One Shot: Amelia Rules! 18: The Things I Cannot Change
Best Publication for Kids: Amelia Rules! and Amelia Rules! Funny Stories
Best Letterer: Jimmy Gownley
Best Colorist: Jimmy Gownley

This is a huge honor, and I'd like to thank the nominating committee and I'd just like to say...

Y'know, I really don't know what to say...


Saturday, April 12, 2008


Continuing to discuss the stories in Volume 4...

So, I was pretty pleased with the way "Funny Story" came out. Everyone on "Team Amelia" (Michael, Karen and Harold) seemed to think it was the best issue so far, and I was excited to get to work on the follow up.

We were coming up on the fifth anniversary of the publication of issue one, so I thought it would be neat to do a special issue featuring five separate short stories. This was really me taking my New Adventures in Hi Fi
plan one step further. Short, short stories without any forethought given to how they might relate thematically. But then something weird happened...

As I started working on the stories (and I worked on them all concurrently. I tend to skip around a lot while writing and drawing. I used to worry about that until I read Jaime Hernandez does too.) I noticed that despite my best intentions, they all seemed to be related by the theme of running away. Amelia literally, Tanner from her past, Reggie from school, Rhonda from her nerdy reputation. Plus there was the scene when Amelia literally called Kyle out on running away when she needed him in Superheroes. At this point I thought, well maybe I should take this synchronicity as a sign and tie the different stories together into one big 48 page tale that moved back and forth in time, jumped to different locations, but somehow still all tied together under the general theme of running away.

It took a lot longer than I had hoped, and I once again took heat for a late issue. But you know what? I don't care. This issue came out great, and I was pretty sure that at this point I was on a roll. All the mail and reviews were extremely positive too. The things I like best are the polar bear call back gag, Tanner walking out of the store in a daze, "Why are you here?," the "old paper" effect I used on flashbacks, and Amelia's story about running away to find Snoopy. That part, believe it or not, is autobiographical.

Okay, now next up should be "The Things I Cannot Change," but y'know what? I have a feeling we may be discussing something else on Monday.

I really, really, do...

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Writing a "Funny Story"

Picking up from last Thursday's post.
So anyway...

I realized that a lot of the success of the New Adventures in Hi Fi record came from treating the songs as individual units, rather than worrying about an overall album theme and structure too much. So for my first issue in what was to become Volume 4, I wanted to write a story that was as stand alone as I could make it, but that played off as many of the strengths of past Amelia stories as possible. I made a list of things I wanted to include: Wisecracking jokes, poignant moments, semi-gross humor, Rhonda's jealousy, Pajamaman's coolness, Reggie as Superhero, Tanner's guidance, pop culture references.

The one element I wanted to add was an increased focus on Amelia's relationship with her mother. Once or twice, I'd seen the series criticized for showing a disconnect between Amelia and her parents. I always thought this was weird. The criticism made it seem like this was a flaw that was there ACCIDENTALLY, when to me it was THEMATIC. I mean it's not by mistake that we go hundreds of pages into the story before we find out Amelia's mom's NAME, for cryin' out loud.

"Funny Story"was one of only three Amelia stories that was scripted and thumbnailed entirely in advance of any artwork being produced. It's also one of my two or three favorite Amelia stories.

Next time, we'll discuss "The Runaways."