Friday, December 28, 2007

Arena #4: The war to settle the score

And the last issue of Arena arrives in stores today, ending what was a fun work month for me. It's been enjoyable hearing the different reactions to the series after working in a bubble on it for so long. I don't have my printed copies of the last issue yet, shipping seems to have been thrown off by the holiday. But I was very happy with the PDF that I proofread earlier this month, I think the ending works well and spins out in a way people won't expect.

To put the frosting on the cake, I did a commentary track of the fourth issue for Comic Book Resources. I'll edit this and post a link when it goes live today/over the weekend.

And that's a wrap...until THE ATOM #19 ships next month.

(Edit) Here's the linkage to the commentary track of #4. It basically spoils the whole finale of the series so, if you care about that kind of thing, I would recommend reading the issue first.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Hamster Droppings #2

Hope everyone out there had a nice Christmas. If you're a friend of mine and didn't get a Christmas card, it may not be because you've been blacklisted. Or it might be but probably night. More than likely, it's because I haven't gotten around to sending them yet. We got Jack's picture taken a little later than usual this year but have every intention of getting them sent out before next Christmas.

Anyway, the second installment of Hamster Droppings went live today at Newsarama, wherein I interview Don Chin. It's the first time I've ever interviewed anybody so I did the smartest thing I could and copied the Vaneta approach, attempting to make it seem as if Don and I were talking instead of emailing.

Here's the link...

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

A potpourri

OK, I have no idea how to actually spell potpourri. Potporri? Potpouri? Ah, who cares.

ARENA #3 arrives at your friendly neighborhood comic book store today. I got my copies yesterday and was really happy with the way it read. Which doesn't mean it's any good, just that I was happy with it. But if you're enjoying the book to date, I don't think #3 will make you my enemy.

In other news, DC announced their March solicits the other day and I've got nothing new shipping in March. However, I was surprised to see:


Written by Grant Morrison & Mark Millar
Art by Stephen Harris, Keith Champagne, Drew Geraci and others

Cover by Howard Porter and John Dell

From writers Grant Morrison (52, BATMAN) and Mark Millar (Ultimates, Civil War) comes Aztek, the visionary hero from the 1990s! In these stories from Aztek: the Ultimate Man #1-10, Aztek fights the forces of evil in Vanity City, where he meets costumed characters including Green Lantern and The Joker!
Advance-solicited; on sale April 30 • 240 pg, FC, $19.99 US

Weird to see this long-ago-cancelled book dusted off and collected out of the blue. I really loved Aztek. As an inker, I literally had no idea what I was doing on each page but it was a very fun, sly read thanks to the two writers, whom you may have heard of before. I have no idea what Drew Geraci is doing in the solicit. He's a really good inker but I don't remember him working on the book, I think every issue is all me. Anyway, I've inked many a comic over the years and when people ask at conventions, I always list Aztek (and Young Heroes In Love) as my two favorites.

I don't expect to have anything new solicited until May, when the project I'm writing now is scheduled to begin shipping. For anyone who cares enough about my career to play detective (Hi, mom!), for reference on my desk, I have copies of Batman: Year One, The Killing Joke, and The Man Who Laughs.

I might do a post about The Killing Joke at some point. It was interesting to read it again after all these years. Holds up pretty darn well.

Hope you enjoy Arena #3. Lewis, I'm sure you'll tell me if you don't!

Monday, December 17, 2007

Hamster Droppings: Part One

Building up to the release of the new Adolescent Radioactive Black Belt Hamsters next month from Dynamite Entertainment, I'm writing a series of four columns for Newsarama, sort of a behind the scenes production blog and interview series to (hopefully) drum up some noise and interest in the book. The first one went live today.

I proofread a PDF of the first issue of the Hamsters this afternoon and I think it's coming together nicely. A little tweaking here and there and we got ourselves a real, live comic book.

Here's the linkage:

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Arena #2: Electric Boogaloo

ARENA #2 ships tomorrow. I think now that the necessary exposition and set up has been handled in the first issue, the second really hits the ground running and the story has room to begin building. So if you enjoyed #1, the second issue is a much better read, at least in my opinion.

If you didn't enjoy #1 (and I read one blistering review-coughfuckyouIGNcough), go ahead and skip the rest. I won't be offended. From my admittedly limited skimming of the Internet for reaction, it seems to be running about 70-30 in favor of the book. Most of the negative opinions seem focused on a disenfranchise with Countdown in general, carrying over those hard feelings onto my project. Nothing I can do about that, I just hope the book is judged on its own merits when all is said and done. There's definitely a second level running beneath the surface of this story and there is an actual story running through the book. Sure, it's Monarch's story but it's more than you might be expecting.

As a little Easter Egg, here's the original version of Page 5 from issue #1.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Blast off!

Bring it on, Internets!

Monday, December 03, 2007

Four, three...TWO

And resuming the cover countdown, here's #2 featuring three fighting mad Green Lanterns.

There was an advance review of ARENA #1 posted on Newsarama this morning, here's the link:

The reviewer had a couple of issues with it and, while it's probably a waste of time, I want to take a second to rebutt a couple of points he made.

REVIEWER'S THOUGHT: "While it’s ably rendered by McDaniel and company, and while Champagne manages to capture distinct bits of characterization from a vast cast that’s drawn from dozens of specials and mini-series from the past couple of decades, it represents in many ways a certain cynical approach (a spin-off mini of a 52-part weekly that you need to read in order to understand parts of the initial 52 parter that won’t actually finish until another mini next year) that’s the worst by-product of plot-first event comics."

KEITH'S THOUGHT: For better or worse, the business model at both Marvel and DC these days is predicated on 'event' comics. Big stories, editorially driven, maximized with spin off books to capture more of the reader's dollar. ARENA is one of those books but, while it is a spawn of Countdown, it also stands as a self-contained story with a beginning, middle, and a definite ending that then joins back up with the mothership to tell the next chapter. I'd like to see it judged on its own merits: Plot, script, art, colors, if possible, and not slammed because the primary nature of its existence is to make a buck.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Variantly yours

Got this in my email this morning. Sure, it disrupts my cover-posting-COUNTDOWN to ARENA #1 but it sure does look nice in color!

From what I've seen, the big head theme runs through Dale Eaglesham's other variant cover too.

I'm pretty sure the actual printed version won't have plastered across the bottom. This must have been lifted from their website.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Wonder Woman powers...ACTIVATE!

And here's Andy Kubert's cover to Arena #3, featuring three very determined Wonder Women duking it out.

For those playing along at home, you may notice that I'm posting these covers in reverse order, (not so cleverly) COUNTING DOWN to the cover of #1 on Wednesday the 5th. Because that's how I roll.

It's been a quiet, low pressure week spent writing the third issue of the Adolescent Radioactive Black Belt Hamsters. I think this is going to be a sleeper book that will surprise a lot of people. Tom Nguyen is knocking it out of the park and with Moose Baumann on colors, it's gonna be pretty. It's good to know that even if I write a lousy book, those boys will save me with their talented ways.

In exciting news, I'm working with Doug Mahnke on my next project for DC! Between Tom and Pat Gleason and now Doug, I'm very lucky to have worked or be working with the trifecta I affectionately call the Minnesota Wrecking Crew. Doesn't get much better!

Monday, November 26, 2007

Now in color...

This is Andy Kubert's cover to ARENA #4 and isn't it great? This is the first time I've seen it in color and I just had to share.

I really love all four covers that Andy pulled off on this series. They're definitely distinctive, no other book will look similar to ARENA next month and that's the hallmark of good cover art. They really stand out.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Why Flash, what a big lightning bolt you have!

DC released their February solicit info today, and here's what I've got cooking for the shortest month of next year.

Written by Keith Champagne
Cover by Freddie Williams II
Art by Koi Turnbull & Art Thibert

Wally West is at a crossroads — now that he’s got a family, how does he provide for them when he’s never wanted to be anything else but The Flash? The question dogs him throughout an adventure high above Metropolis in this moving stand-alone tale by guest team Keith Champagne (GREEN LANTERN CORPS) and Koi Turnbull (SUPERMAN CONFIDENTIAL).

On sale February 20 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US

Usually, it comes down to the writer of any given issue to provide the solicitation blurb for the story but in this case, I think editor Joan Hilty went old school and did it herself. I might have put more focus on the twins but the info provided does the trick. It even says the story is "moving."

Didn't much care for the idea of the twins when I first heard about their role in the new direction of the title but after writing them, I have to admit they were the most fun part of the issue. I'm a softie for kids though.

Not sure what I'll have solicited next. I wrote an issue of Action Comics but I'm unsure when that will see print. Rick Leonardi is drawing it though, which is pretty cool. Just about to stop inking and get back to writing full-time on a prestige format series for DC but I can't say what it is yet. I guess even if I don't have anything in the solicits for a few months, I'll still be here, working away.

OH, and I should definitely mention that Adolescent Radioactive Black Belt Hamsters #2 will also be shipping in February! I'm loving how this book is coming together, hope you all will give it a try.

(Look, I made it through a whole post without mentioning Arena!)

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Voting results

I forgot to mention that I learned the results of the Arena fan voting a couple of weeks ago. Obviously, I can't come right out and say who won which battles, I do want to work again afterall. But I will say that two of the four winners were the ones I expected, one outcome was a moderate surprise but not completely unexpected, and one was way off base with my own line of thinking. Not that it makes any difference creatively, we have contingencies to cover every possible outcome. Just that in one case, I was completely surprised.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Arena pimpage

As the shipping date for the first issue of Arena gets closer and closer, expect the pimpage to really get sickening...but at least it'll be different kinds of pimpage, I think I'm pretty much done with my interviews at this point.

Here's a link to a preview of #1:

And here's a link to all four of Andy Kubert's glorious covers:

In other comic news, Robin Annual #7 has sold out across this great nation of ours and is going into a second printing. I thought that was pretty cool news! And also, for my millions of New York area fans, I'll be signing at Jim Hanley's on December 6th from 6:00-8:00. I have it on pretty good authority that Big Poppa himself, the mighty Jamal Igle will also be on hand to draw in the female crowd.

Come check us out!

Tuesday, November 06, 2007


I noticed to my surprise today that I have a couple of things hitting stores tomorrow, trade paperpacks collecting some of my writing work from Green Lantern Corps and World War III.

The two pieces (or is it bodies?) of work being collected got a very different reaction from the Internet comic readers which, surprisingly, was exactly the opposite of my own feelings. Funny how that often happens; I think one thing about my work and the rest of the world thinks another.

Green Lantern Corps (#7-9, collected in the Dark Side Of Green trade) was, from what I could gather, pretty warmly received by readers. At the time, I was very happy with the reception the story got, it did a lot to help the powers that be think of me as an actual writer (as opposed to an inker dabbling in scripts). I grew a lot as a writer, figured out some things about how comics workover and Pat Gleason drew the hell out of them but...they're far from perfect. There are nice bits in there but the pacing is a little weird at points and I ran out of room in the third issue (something that also happened to me on the JSA stuff I wrote).

World War III, on the other hand, got a quite chilly reception among the Internet crowd. I feel that if one were to read it now, separated from the hype surrounding the initial release of the book, they would enjoy it much more taken as what it is: A continuity patch for almost the entire DCU, as told through the eyes of The Martian Manhunter.

WWIII will always be the job that made me feel like I was an actual writer and not just an inker dabbling in scripts. It was demanding, full of constant behind-the-scenes mandates and changes, written under impossible deadlines, and tied together fifteen different plot points while finding ways to relate them to the actual war against Black Adam. The assignment taught me to write on demand as opposed to daydreaming leisurely about story beats and tying them together at my own pace (which is how I wrote the GLC stuff).

I loved working in conjunction with John Ostrander and got my first taste of how sharp Siglain is when it comes to story editing. You're only as good as your editor and between Tomasi, Siglain, and rising editorial star Gearline, I was in the best possible hands with World War III.

It wasn't too very long ago that I was ridiculously frustrated and unable to catch any sort of break as far as getting any writing work in comics. So having two things I've written released in collected form on one day is a nice reminder that, while every inch forward is still a battle, when I wasn't looking my career took a few steps in the direction I've been striving for.

And while I've learned to take the Internet with a grain of salt, I hope we have the same opinion about Arena.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Robin Annual #7

Tomorrow, the long awaited (by me, at least) Robin Annual #7 arrives at local comic shops across the country.

I still haven't received my comps so I don't know what the book looks like in color yet but, based on the black and white Jpegs Jason Pearson and Derec Donovan sent along while they were working, I'm pretty confident in saying it's one freakin' beautiful looking comic book. It's always a treat to see Jason Pearson do interior work. Everyone knows how great he is and I feel very lucky that I got to see one of my scripts filtered through his imagination.

The real revelation to me on this book, though, was Derec Donovan. Don't get me wrong, I've enjoyed his work for years but I didn't appreciate how good he was until I got a chance to work with him. His black and white pages are STUNNING and I guarantee this won't be the last time I work with him. At least I hope not!

As I mentioned previously (in the interview with Jen Contino), the solicitation info for this issue, which listed three separate stories, was wrong. There are only two, one featuring Damian (Batman's biological son) and the other an adventure starring Tim Drake (Batman's now-adopted son).

The Tim Drake story was originally intended to be my first issue as the regular writer of the monthly Robin comic. Unfortunately, when Tomasi left staff at DC, those plans changed and the book moved to a different writer. That's comics and DC (and Mike Siglain) have taken good care of me, keeping me writing other work. But I had big plans for Robin and hopefully, I'll get another crack at the title at some point or other, or at the least a chance to do another annual to conclude the grim little tale this one started.

I listened to some mood music while writing this annual so, if you want to get in the same frame of mind as I was, I recommend 'Comfortably Numb' by Pink Floyd for the Damian story and 'Gimme Shelter' by the mighty Stones for the Tim Drake tale. I tried to channel the mood of each song for each story.

This Robin Annual is my first writing work released since WORLD WAR III, so I'm glad the wait is over. ARENA is up next, which is basically going to own the month of December, followed by The Atom in January, The ***** in February, and then a much larger project shortly thereafter.

Can you tell I'm bored tonight? I keep writing and writing.

Enjoy the annual, I hope everyone likes it. And Happy Halloween!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Can't stop talking...

...about Countdown: Arena, this time with Jeff Renaud over at Comic Book Resources. Jeff has an interesting approach to the way he edits an interview together. Some points I make are edited together to give a slightly different context, others answers are quoted verbatim. I like what he does.

Here's the linkage:

Monday, October 22, 2007

Halloween Sneak Preview

The second year in a row I've done this so I think it qualifies as a blogging tradition.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Robin annual interview

An interview I did to promote the upcoming ROBIN annual that I wrote is up at The Pulse. Because I can't link directly to the interview (for whatever reason, one can only link to the main Pulse page), I thought I'd just cut and paste it here.

Thanks to Jen Contino for the interview and for about half of the Quintas family for appearing as characters in the annual. Always fun to work my friends in when I can. The annual ships on Halloween, BTW.


October is horror, so it's the perfect time to add a little scares to the world of Robin. Keith Champagne gave us a treat by telling THE PULSE what it was like writing a handful of tales featuring Tim Drake, Dick Grayson and Damian.

THE PULSE: In the old days, we used to have Christmas and Halloween stories almost every year, but those seem few and far between lately. Whose idea was it to make this Robin Annual with a horror tinge?

KEITH CHAMPAGNE: The blame goes to Pete Tomasi, who originally assigned this issue to me. He told me to come up with a Robin story for the Halloween issue. After he left staff, Mike Marts picked up the pumpkin and we are.

THE PULSE: The Robin Annual seems to be of an October theme with a handful of scary tales featuring Tim Drake, Dick Grayson and Damian. How did you come up with those types of stories? What inspired you to get your spook on?

CHAMPAGNE: The scary thing is that I wrote this right after Christmas, so it was kind of hard to channel the whole Halloween vibe while cleaning up wrapping paper and building toys. But, you know what they say...that's why they pay me the big bucks!

And actually, there's no Dick Grayson story in this annual. That was a mistake in the solicits. Once Jason Pearson came on board, we decided to double the page count of the Damian story to give the world an extra dose of his gorgeous art.

THE PULSE: You really got to work with a variety of characters in this Annual. Which one was the toughest to script?

CHAMPAGNE: I had a hard time finding a voice for Damian. He's a fairly new character and I had only read one issue of Batman in which he appeared. So it took me some trial and error until I felt comfortable with his characterization.

Fun character though, for a testy little brat!

THE PULSE: Which story almost wrote itself?

CHAMPAGNE: Ah, wouldn't it be a beautiful world if that was the way things worked? As far as characters go, I will say that Harvey Bullock, who plays a role in the Robin story, came snarling onto the page and wrote himself.

THE PULSE: What do you personally view as the greatest attributes to Damian, Tim Drake and Dick Grayson?

CHAMPAGNE: With Damian, I sort of feel that deep down, he wants to be a good kid. He's just never had a stable role model to guide him through his young life. But even when he's acting like a little shit, I don't see him as deliberately being a brat. He's just never learned to play nice with others.

As far as Tim goes, he's a pretty well defined character at this point. I'd say his greatest attribute is his brain. He's a really smart, clever kid.

Plus, they both know kung fu.

THE PULSE: What do you view as each's Achilles heals?

CHAMPAGNE: I think they're opposites in that Tim is always hoping for the best from people and Damian is always expecting the worst.

THE PULSE: Who or what influenced you the most when you were coming up with these stories? Which storytellers do you think are masters at doing something like incorporating a holiday into a comic story effortlessly?

CHAMPAGNE: "Comfortably Numb" by Pink Floyd was a big influence on the Damian story. "Gimme Shelter" by the Stones set the mood nicely for the Robin one. In fact, I'd recommend listening to both of those while you read the annual.

I think holidays like Christmas are very hard to incorporate into a comic story in a non-cheesy manner. The Halloween atmosphere lends itself more easily to that same purpose. It's a lot easier to write creepy than it is to write heartwarming.

Off the top of my head, I can't think of anyone who was a master at this kind of thing. There's so few of them that are done that it's hard to single out one person who has mastered the form. It's an interesting challenge, though.

I do love both the Peanuts Christmas and Halloween specials so maybe Charles Schultz was on to something there.

THE PULSE: What have you enjoyed the most about getting to tell these types of Halloween stories?

CHAMPAGNE: I enjoyed the chance to stretch beyond writing traditional super hero stories and do something a little darker and more atmospheric.

It was fun to use Tim Drake, I like the character and I feel like I have a good voice for him. Based on the Tim Drake story, I was slated to take over writing the monthly Robin book for a while. However, as they often do, those plans changed after Tomasi left staff.

THE PULSE: When you were younger, what was the coolest Halloween costume you ever wore?

CHAMPAGNE: One year, I was the boogeyman, which entailed dressing all in black and covering my face with oatmeal, mixed with something to make it stick to me. I remember that being a really cool costume.

Oh, wait...that might have been for my second grade school play. It's all a haze so I'll just say...SUPERMAN!

THE PULSE: Which artists do you think are the best at drawing horror? Why?

CHAMPAGNE: It's hard to find someone these days who puts as much atmosphere into a book as Tom Mandrake. I think of the current generation of working comic artists, he's our darkest light. Gene Colan might be the all-time great, based on his Dracula stuff.

I'd be an ass if I didn't say that Jason Pearson and Derec Donovan are doing AMAZING work on these stories. Derec's stuff is, in my opinion, the best of his career to date. I love his pages so much I want to marry them.

And I still have to pinch myself, it's hard to believe that Jason Pearson is drawing one of my stories. Mike Marts sent me some pages from each the other day and we both agree that this Robin annual will be, bar none, the best looking book on the stands in the month of October. These guys are bringing their 'A' games!

THE PULSE: What do you personally enjoy the most about Halloween?

CHAMPAGNE: I like handing out the candy to the kids when they come to the door, checking out the different costumes. I live in an area where we get HEAVY traffic on Halloween, we go through like ten bags of candy. It's great to see them all.

Of course, nothing beats taking my son out trick or treating. Especially now that he's older and can say "TRICK OR TREAT!"

THE PULSE: What other projects are you working on?

CHAMPAGNE: Countdown: ARENA is the big one. Four weekly, double-sized issues covering the month of December.

A LOT more to be announced soon.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Scanner test

I'm getting my work computer back up to speed after a system crash and burn. Here I am, testing my scanner. This is a panel from the upcoming All-New Atom #18, my inks over Andy Smith's pencils.

Monday, October 15, 2007

January Solicits

DC Comics released their January solicitation info today and I've got something shipping that month, so here's the scoop...


Written by Keith Champagne
Art by Jerry Ordway & Trevor Scott
Cover by Ladrönn

When a team of scientists goes missing, it’s up to the Atom to travel far below the depths of Ivy Town for the most dangerous rescue mission of his career! But the underground dwellers of Ivy Town don’t take kindly to strangers of any size!
On sale January 2 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US

First, I don't think these are the final cover colors. These look like the flats and I'd expect a more fully rendered job when the book ships.

Interestingly, I was under the impression I was also inking this issue, mainly because it was a chance to work with Jerry Ordway, who's work I admire a great deal. I was planning on starting in another week or two so I guess I should check in and see if this is a solicit error or what.

I had a lot of fun writing this issue, so much so that I've been trying to worm my way back in and write some more Atom since. In fact, I'd say that if I were to take over a monthly writing assignment at DC, the Atom would be one of my top two choices...the other being Aquaman, which I would love to take a spin on.

Over and out for now...

Friday, October 12, 2007

More Hamster-speak

An interview I did a month or so ago to promote the Hamsters has popped up online over at Comic Book Resources. As always, the linkage:

Not only does it feature the colored cover to #1 (by the mighty Moose himself), it also shows Mike Oeming's alternate cover to the first issue. Also the first glimpse at the four reimagined original hamsters, Bruce, Chuck, Jackie, and Clint.

If radioactive, furry, anthropomorphic characters are your cup of tea (and if they're not, what's wrong with you?), check it out.

In other news, keep an eye out for a weekly (or biweekly) behind-the-scenes production column I'll be writing to lead up to the Hamsters relaunch in January. You won't have to look far, I'm sure I'll post a link to the first one here.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Fallcon 2.0 wrap up and more...

There's not too much to report from the floors of Fallcon, except to say that I am now convinced that global warming is the real deal. There's NO WAY it's supposed to be that hot and humid in Minnesota in October.

Unfortunately, while the show wasn't the most profitable one I've ever attended (and as great as it is to meet readers and talk comics, we comic book people also like to make money at these things), I did enjoy the quality time spent with the Minnesota Wrecking Crew. Thanks to Tom, Doug, and Pat for taking such good care of me and Shawn Moll? I admire your dedication to the pages of She Hulk. I also enjoyed talking with Moira, who got an exclusive sneak peek at Arena #1 (Well, not the ending) just because she's so awesome and because, back in the early seventies, Julie Schwartz liked her Batman idea (which is the coolest thing ever).

Of course, thanks once again to Nick Post and the staff of Fallcon for bringing me out for the show. I hope to be back a third time next year.

Prince Valiant was once again there, hawking his KISS posters. He seems quite fond of Tom but, then again, who isn't? Pat, if you email me his picture from your cell phone, I'll be your best friend.

Since I got back, I finished writing an Action Comics script that, at this point, is my favorite story that I've written. Which doesn't mean it's any good, just that it's my favorite. The idea for the story is something I've carried in my head since my teenage years and it was gratifying to write something I've held onto for so long. The script still needs some shaping before I turn it in but writing an issue of Action Comics is literally my oldest professional dream come true.

Next up, I'll be making a miniature return to inking, working over 11 pages of Andy Smith art for an issue of The Atom, then inking a full issue of The Atom (that I also wrote) over an artist I couldn't say no to working over. Similar to when I worked with John Byrne, it's another dream gig come true (and the easiest way to snag some original art from one of the greats.)

After that, or probably sometime during once the ball starts rolling, the plan is to write a two-issue, prestige format series for DC. Plus the third issue of The Hamsters needs to be finished.

Fun times. Speaking of fun, did you vote for ARENA yet?

Wednesday, October 03, 2007


I guess before I shut down for the day, this would be a good time to mention that thanks to the fine folks behind the show, I'll be appearing this coming weekend (Oct. 6-7) at FALLCON.

The show is a nice, medium-sized convention held on the Minnesota State Fairgrounds in Saint Paul. This will be my second consecutive year attending; for whatever reason, they liked me enough last year to bring me out again for this year's show.

I'm looking forward to seeing the Minnesota Wrecking Crew of comic book creators again, including but not limited to Tom "Black Belt Hamster" Nguyen, Doug "Black Adam" Mahnke, and that prince among men, Pat "Black Ops Green Lanterns" Gleason...and maybe even that strange little guy with the Prince Valiant haircut who was selling homemade KISS posters last year.

There's a great line up of comic book people at the show so even if you don't give a rat's ass about me, by all means come by anyway. If you're a reader of this blog, come up and tell me and I'll give you a free ARMOR X print.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Hamster powers...activate!

And the other shoe drops on Newsarama today, with the announcement that Tom Nguyen and I are reviving the ADOLESCENT RADIOACTIVE BLACK BELT HAMSTERS for Dynamite. Here's the linkage...

Because I can't seem to be too dumb to make links active in the body of a post (Chris Yeoman, where are you when I need you?), anyone that wants to check it out will have to cut and paste.

Having a lot of fun writing this book. It's a great chance to write something silly, yet with a lot of heart underneath. Tom has been waiting a long time for a chance to really dig in and do the complete art on a project and he's going to open a lot of people's eyes on this one.

Two posts in one Look at me go.

Yet another...

The blogging machine that I had become seems to have broken down somewhat when I ran out of things to say. Luckily, Newsarama's Lois Lane, AKA Vaneta, conducted yet ANOTHER interview w/ me about the upcoming ARENA (which I always mistype as AREAN, and then have to backspace and fix). This one covers the fan voting aspect of the project, as well as some thoughts on the characters featured in the four main match ups.

At this rate, I'm going to have to give Vaneta a percentage of any royalties I might make on Arena. She's working harder than me.

The project that Tom Nguyen and I have been secretly working on for Dynamite might be announced today, too, which will give me something else to blog about.

Here's the link...

Thursday, September 20, 2007


I got this picture in my email tonight and I thought it was amazingly beautiful and should be shared with my tiny little community of blog readers, who I know are the sorts who appreciate amazingly beautiful things.


Monday, September 17, 2007

ARENA solicits

Look at me, I'm a blogging machine lately!

Here's the solicit information for ARENA, arriving in stores the month of December, beginning on Wednesday the 5th. As most writers seem to do these days, I wrote the solicitation copy for the books. Still, I'm surprised to see DC insert (JSA) into my name as an example of a past credit. I guess I'm glad it's still relevant but hopefully, one day I'll be known for more than my work on JSA. Still, I guess it was a more popular choice than World War III.

Just this morning, I got a Fed Ex w/ Scott McDaniel's pencils for #2. I'm really, really happy w/ the work he (and Andy Owens) are doing. I wish these books were out today, I'm really excited that they're coming together so well.

Written by Keith Champagne
Art by Scott McDaniel & Andy Owens
Covers by Andy Kubert
Variant covers by Dale Eaglesham

Get ready for COUNTDOWN: ARENA — a 4-issue weekly event written by Keith Champagne (JSA) with art by Scott McDaniel & Andy Owens (GREEN ARROW) that pits the DCU’s greatest heroes against themselves!

The villainous Monarch begins the last chapter of his campaign against the Monitors, combing the entire Multiverse to enlist the most powerful — or deadly — heroes and villains from throughout existence to join his army. The abducted must battle one another in Monarch's specially constructed Arena, where only the strongest will survive to join his battle against the Monitors.

Carefully selected from worlds throughout all 52 universes, including characters from SUPERMAN: RED SON, DC: THE NEW FRONTIER, BATMAN: GOTHAM BY GASLIGHT, JSA: LIBERTY FILES, JUSTICE LEAGUE: THE NAIL, and TANGENT, among many others, three versions of each hero will walk into the Arena, and only one will walk away. Welcome to THE ARENA, where Monarch’s only rule is to survive at all costs.

Retailers please note: Each issue of COUNTDOWN: ARENA will ship with two covers. For every 10 copies of the Standard Edition ordered, retailers may order one copy of the Variant Edition.

Please see the Previews Order Form for more information.

#1 on sale December 5; #2 on sale December 12; #3 on sale December 19; #4 on sale December 26 • 48 pg, FC, $3.99 US

Sunday, September 16, 2007


C'mon, how sweet is Andy Kubert's cover to ARENA #1?

Friday, September 14, 2007


The voting website for COUNTDOWN: ARENA went live this afternoon and I wanted to throw the link out there for anyone that might not be aware.

I have to admit, I'm absolutely tickled by the existence of the website. It looks cool, it's easy to use, and my name is splashed (well, scrawled at least) on the front page.

While it may be a conflict of interest, I went and voted tonight. My choices will remain my own but there are definite versions I would hope to see win. I will say that Christopher Kent, the bald futuristic Superman is my favorite man of steel. Not too many times in life does someone get to create a brand new Superman, after all, and he's all mine.

So get out there, have some fun, and pick your favorites!

Thursday, September 13, 2007

The round up

I dipped my toe back in the inking pool this week, teaming up with one of my fave pencilers and all around nice guy, "Big Papa" Jamal Igle, on a two-page Countdown back up origin. It was good timing, in the back of my mind I've been wanting to do something small just to keep my hand in practice. This little assignment was actually the first time I've inked anything since early July, when I did a Robin cover with another of my fave pencilers (and all around nice guy) Pat Gleason.

I can't say that I miss inking all that much but I have to say, Jamal's pencils are a lot of fun to work over and I do kind of miss working with him on a regular basis. He's the best kind of guy to work with: Talented and so not a pain in the ass. There are definitely worse jobs to have than inking Big Papa.

All in all, I find myself feeling a little disenfranchised with comics this week. I've found over the years that it's kind of a cyclical thing where, for a while, I'll be really happy and excited about the work I'm doing and then I'll go into a phase where I start to wonder what I'm doing with my life.

I think this particular phase is basically down to not nailing down a substantial project to write since I finished Arena about a month ago. I've been floating along, writing an issue here or an issue there of different books for DC, plus a couple of issues of a project Tom Nguyen and I are doing together for Dynamite. So it's not like I'm unemployed, I just feel like I'm...drifting...a bit.

Arena is going to do a lot of business for DC, plus aside from the fact that it should sell handsomely, I feel confident saying that it's turning out really, really well. I'm proud of the story, Scott McDaniel and Andy Owens are chugging along and Andy Kubert's covers are simply STUNNING. Maybe my problem is that I'm never satisfied. It's easier to focus on not knowing what my next DC project might be instead of feeling a sense of accomplishment in the strides I've taken over the last year in terms of my writing career. Between World War III and Arena, I've been lucky to write two HUGE projects this year and not a month has gone by when I haven't written at least one issue of something, even it it all hasn't seen print yet. But there have also been bumps in the road. I've lost a lot of work this year at DC for various reasons, including my first monthly assignment due to an editorial restructuring. But I also had one approved, something I'm cowriting with Pete Tomasi. So...two steps forward, one step back.

I guess it's just human nature to bitch instead of bask. Or maybe I'm just broken? Either way, I have a feeling I'll be a little edgy until I nail down whatever comes next. There's so much cool stuff being put together at DC right now, maybe I'm just afraid I'll slip through the cracks.

Friday, September 07, 2007


I haven't posted anything about MMA in a while so here are my quick picks for the main fights on tomorrow's UFC card.

Dan Henderson over Rampage.
Cro Cop over Kongo.
Bisping over Matt Hammill.
I also like Houston Alexander over Alessio Sakara.

I'm not going to predict rounds or KO's or anything, just who I think will win. Let's see how I do.

Monday, September 03, 2007

Curious George

I'm going to try a little experiment here, working under the 'Seven Degrees Of Separation" theory.

My son Jack really enjoys Curious George. It seems like not a day goes by when we don't read him a CG book or two. So in the back of my mind lately, I've been thinking about writing a Curious George book for him. Which I could do just for fun, but if I do, I'd like to take a shot at getting it published.

The Houghton Mifflin Company is the organization that currently publishes Curious George. So what I'm hoping to find out there in Blog Reading Internets Land, is somebody from Haughton Mifflin--or who knows somebody from Haughton Mifflin--that I could speak with about submitting a story. I'd like to skip their submission process and talk to someone directly if I could because, frankly, after reading over their submission guidelines tonight, it sort of reminds me of the frustration people must feel trying to break into comics.

So if anyone out there can throw me a bone, I'd be glad to scratch some backs in return. My email address is available on my profile here, or just leave yours in the comment section and I'll touch base soon.


Saturday, September 01, 2007

The original

Thanks to Mike Negin for digging this up and emailing it to me, the original Hawkman house ad that I copied all those years ago. It puts my little 15 year old effort to shame but then again, it's kinda supposed to.

As a cryptic aside, when the GL: CORPSE series ends up seeing the light of day, think back to this post. You may find a connection between Mike and the deadliest group of Green (black) Lanterns known (secretly) to exist.

Thanks, Mike!

Thursday, August 30, 2007

May 11, 1985

I found this piece recently and thought I'd share it with the world. It should give you a pretty good indication of how I filled my time one afternoon in detention from Biology Class on May 11, 1985. I got a lot of detentions in Biology Class, Mr. Friedmann and I never got along all that well. Probably because I was a wiseass and spent most of my time in Bio either passing notes or drawing in my notebook.

The funny thing is, in spite of the fact that this piece of art is 22 years old, I actually remember laboriously copying this from a DC house ad for the new Hawkman title that was coming out. I'm pretty sure the background was supposed to be all black with eyes peeking out but, even back then, I hated backgrounds.

If anyone out there can find the actual house ad this was drawn from, feel free to email it to me. I'd love to post it up here.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Arena interview

I was out all day today but when I got home and surfed the net to see what I missed in the world of comics, I noticed that Newsarama had posted the ARENA interview that Vaneta conducted with me last week. Here's the linkage:

I scanned through the interview and comments section and I'm happy with the way it came out. Vaneta always does a great job at making these things seem casual and conversational. The comments section mystifies me, though. It's easy to see why so many comics creators avoid reading Internet opinions. If you guys hate comics so much, or hate the direction that DC is going in so much, stop buying. That's the most effective way to bitch. Arena is much more than anybody is going to expect though, so keep an open mind.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Obscure Champagne Trivia

I posted this on the Taco Trio blog earlier this week but thought I'd slap it up here too, because I don't have much new to say at the moment.

It's a little known fact that my first real gig (aside from background inking for Tom Mandrake and Ken Branch) was a brief stint as a colorist for Valiant. I was young, kind of nervous about the whole thing, and didn't feel good enough to be working full-time so I handled my insecurities in the most mature way possible. I just stopped showing up and went home to CT for the summer instead.

Valiant called me about a month later, finally figuring out that the quiet kid had disappeared for a while. I forget what excuse I made up, but they got the message that I wasn't coming back. I'm sure I was never missed and, luckily, I gained a little self confidence the next time I got an opportunity for professional work--inking X-books for Marvel, which is where I got my start as an inker.

Here's a coloring sample reminiscent of my brief Valiant days. This was painted with Doc Martin dyes on photocopy paper, which was adhered to a thicker piece of cardboard to keep the paper from curling up and warping.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Countdown: ARENA!

For anyone interested in checking it out, DC and Dan Didio have announced the big project I've been laboring on the past several months, a little something called COUNTDOWN: ARENA.

Here's the linkage...

I completed a follow up interview yesterday, so I assume that will be posted over the next few days to give out a little more info.

Friday, August 03, 2007

Just not fair

I thought I'd throw up a caricature that Tom Nguyen drew of me while we were in San Diego. Tom managed to whip this out in one of the rare moments that he wasn't hospitalized or swarmed by rabid fans.

Looking at this, all I can think is that it's just not fair that one man gets to be so goddamn good looking, is it?

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

San Diego: The Return

Well, I took the redeye flight home from San Diego Sunday night, arriving back in good ol' CT about 9:30 Monday morning, bleary eyed and sick but glad to be back home.
After a couple of days to recuperate, be a dad, and get caught up on life, not to mention see The Police in concert (Sting sounds better than ever), I figure it's time to detail my convention exploits. The truth is, there aren't many exploits to exploit here for the sake of my blog and it's 14 faithful readers, give or take about 800 hundred.

The thing with Comic Con is that it's gotten so damn big, somewhere along the way, a lot of the fun of the show got lost in the crowd. In terms of my career, I don't know if I accomplished anything that I couldn't have just as easily done through email or phone calls. Sure, it's helpful to get some facetime with different editors or meet people from different companies but when that facetime is interrupted 30 times in five minutes by vast throngs of people saying hi, it's not doing much good.

Still, I enjoyed catching up with rarely seen friends like the great gentleman that is Pat Gleason or the legendary Brazillian Kid, Sergio Cariello. I bumped into an old Kubert School classmate, Mr. Dan Curto (, and spent a half an hour catching up and reminiscing. I got to reconnect with former DC and current Wildstorm editor Scott Peterson for a few minutes, who I'm now developing a pitch with. I paid too much for Mrs. Field's cookies and diet Coke, saw Jessica Alba from thirty feet and behind just as many security guards, did a triple take at the sight of the one-legged model dressed as the one-legged character from Grindhouse (she's got the market cornered for that job), and spent some time with a young actor named Bret Harrison (starring in the upcoming series The Reaper), who is a friend of my friend and talented writer, David Baldy (Keep an eye out for their upcoming JSA Classified story, it's gonna be great!).

And of course, there's the Taco Trio, who I didn't see that much of, all told. We all seemed to be going in different directions: Tom was, unfortunately, hospitalized for a chunk of the show and Andy had a busy agenda himself. There was the almost-brawl after dinner one night, a great meal at the Brazillian BBQ joint I always try to get to, and of course...the softball game, where Marvel defeated DC 15-9 (and because it was a charity game, I won't dwell on some...dubious...umpiring that cost DC the game in the 5th.)

And there's more, but this is already getting plenty long and more boring than I intended.

I do think it's funny how, when you're walking around a convention center with 140,000 other people, it's odd how I tend to bump into the same five or six every day. I do enjoy the fact that I've cultivated a nice group of friends and acquaintances through the convention circuit over the years that I can now count on as smiling faces far from home. And overall, I think anyone with a true love for Pop Culture should go to San Diego at least once, to take in the madness and tell their tales from the belly of the beast.

As for me, I think that unless DC for some reason (at this point there's not much of one), some day wants to bring me out to promote something at the show, I would definitely go again. But I've been there and done it at this point, many times over. I think next year, I might try Wizard World Chicago, the SECOND biggest show, just as a change of pace. It's more about comics and less about pop culture, and as amazing as it is to experience, San Diego is really less and less about comic books each passing year. It's morphed into something else entirely.

Thanks for reading.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

San Diego update

Just a quick update to my schedule in San Diego.

Like I mentioned before, I'll be playing in the DC Versus Marvel softball game at Balboa Park on Thursday afternoon. The rest of the intrepid Taco Trio, Tom and Andy, will also taking the field, all to raise money for The Hero Initiative.

Speaking of, also as mentioned before, Andy and I will be appearing from 10:00-11:00 on Friday morning at the Hero Initiative booth.

In brand new scheduling news, I'll be appearing at the DC Booth from 10:00-11:00 Saturday morning, and will most likely pop up on one of the DCU panels that same day. I believe I'll also be at the DC booth sometime on Sunday at a time still to be determined. I have a few different meetings scheduled throughout the course of the show but I should be left with a bit of time to enjoy the actual convention itself.

I have no idea what kind of panels and presentations are scheduled this year but I'm interested in checking out the presentation for the Iron Man movie, so I'll be keeping an eye out for that one. I also try to attend as many Marvel Universe panels as possible; it's always good to keep up with the latest projects and to keep track of what creators are newly exclusive, who's working on what etc. Working in the industry, I find that's important stuff to keep abreast of.

If you're going to be at the show, please come and say hi. See you there.

Monday, July 16, 2007

October Solicits...

DC released their solicitations for October today. I figure I should get in the habit of highlighting things that I've done for any given month when they're solicited--because this is my blog and it's mostly all about my silly little career in comics. So, here goes.

First up, is...


Written by Keith Champagne
Art by Jason Pearson and Derec Donovan
Cover by Pearson
A special issue tying into next month’s Batman event, “THE RESURRECTION OF RA’S AL GHUL”! Fan-favorite artist Jason Pearson illustrates “The Festival of Angry Ghosts,” featuring Damian. Plus, in "The Great Pumpkin," Robin races the clock to solve a series of Halloween-themed murders so grotesque, they leave even the most jaded detectives in Gotham shocked. Plus, a special “Times Past” story focusing on Dick Grayson's first Halloween as Robin.On sale October 31 • 48 pg, FC, $3.99 US

Then, there's...

Written by Keith Champagne and John Ostrander
Art by various
Cover by Ethan Van Sciver
Collecting the 4-issue miniseries WORLD WAR III! Chaos has broken out across the globe, and the grim reality leads to the loss of a Teen Titan. The fate of Aquaman is revealed, a hero is reborn, and the DC Universe bands together against the wrath of an ancient evil! Advance-solicited; on sale November 7 • 128 pg, FC, $17.99 US

And, while it's listed incorrectly in the credits, the Pat Gleason cover I mentioned inking a couple of weeks ago is for Robin #167. I'll probably post up a copy of that on the Tacotrio blog.

There's actually a really long story behind the story for the Robin annual which I'll probably tell either in an interview or on the blog as it gets closer to publication. I'm happy to say that, although I've kept busy writing, the annual will be the first thing I've written that's due to be published since World War III shipped in April. That's kind of a long time to be gone from the stands so I'm happy there's an end in sight for the drought.

I'm excited to have WWIII collected. Talk about long stories behind the stories, that was about as twisted and hectic a process as they come and I'm very proud of that project.

Unless something I've done is reprinted for November, I actually don't think I'll have anything solicited, either as inker or writer. I'm not sure about this but I think that might literally be the first month in almost ten years that my name hasn't been attached to something. What a crazy, Cal Ripken-like streak.

I'm happy to say that DC's December solicits will contain not one, not two, not three, but FOUR books I've written shipping that month. I believe it will all be announced in San Diego next week so I'll have more details soon.

Take care, thanks for reading.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

San Diego

If you've noticed the lack of updates over the last week and a half, it's because things have been increasingly hectic as the San Diego convention looms ever closer.

Which seems like a good segue to mention that I'll be bopping around the San Diego Convention Center two weeks from today--which is surprisingly soon, I didn't realize the con was so close.

I don't know my appearance schedule for DC yet and I won't be set up in artist's alley. I do know I'll be playing on the DC softball team in the charity game against Marvel on the 26th at Balboa Park. I'll also be appearing from 10:00-11:00 Friday morning (joined by Andy Smith) at the Hero Initiative booth, which is a great charity and worthwhile cause. Aside from that, it'll just be meetings and signings, catching up with my convention friends ( the guys I only get to see when I bump into them at a show), and trying not to get trampled by the 80-100,000 people converging for the convention.

In other news, I picked up the Eternals hardcover at Borders the other day, which has confirmed for me that John Romita Jr. might just be our greatest American Superhero artist. He just does everything right, plus has a 'power' to his work that can't be taught. It's either there or it isn't and JRjr's got it in spades. Danny Miki is an interesting choice to ink him and y'know, that Neil Gaiman guy ain't no slouch either. I read the first chapter so far and I enjoyed it quite a bit.

That's all for now...

Tuesday, July 03, 2007


Seems like it's been a while since I've actually posted anything more than short notes to the blog so...this is what I'm up to.

It's been just about two months since I started writing full-time on this mystery project for DC. Up until this past weekend, I hadn't even touched a brush or pen to ink anything but on Friday, Mike Marts offered me a Pat Gleason ROBIN cover to ink and I said yes. I love Pat's work, plus I like working with friends, and it seemed like a good time to dip my brush and keep my hand steady. Pat's stuff is never easy but I found this to be a particularly hard cover to ink. I like some of what I did, like Robin's face, and am not as pleased with other bits of it like the blood.

Oh yes...there will be blood.

I'd post a scan but I don't think I'm allowed to yet. The cover should be released in the Diamond Previews for October which, coincidentally, will also contain something Robin-related that I wrote for Halloween.

I'm about 3/4's done with the mysterious, unknowable DC assignment at this point. I'm having a lot of fun writing on a full-time basis but I have to say, there's been an adjustment period. There's a very different rythym to writing and inking. When I ink, I'm a soldier. I get behind my table and grind away the long hours until a book gets done. With writing, there's usually a bit of down time while I wait for an outline to be read, or to get permission to use such and such a character or, kill another off.

I don't do well with down time; I've been programmed over 14 long years of inking to keep slaving away, whatever it takes to meet the deadline. So I find that instead of waiting for an outline to be approved, I just start writing the script to stay busy and hope it all works out in the end. Which is stupid and counterproductive because eventually, it won't.

I think the lesson here is I need to learn to relax.

I'm taking a break from the DC project this week to write a sixteen-page back up story for an upcoming annual. On Friday, I'll be heading to New York to go over some things with my editor and to meet with Dan Didio, hopefully about what comes next after this project is wrapped.

All in all, to date, it's been a good summer.

Sunday, July 01, 2007


Just wanted to take a second to once again pimp out the group blog that Tom Nguyen, Andy Smith, and I contribute to over at

Lots of cool videos, sketches and the like--plus with three of us posting, it tends to be updated more often than my blog here.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007


Sometimes, checking my email is a lot like Christmas morning.

That was definitely the case this morning when I got this little gem in the (e)mail from Moose Baumann, who was gracious enough to color Andy Smith's black and white art for the cover of the upcoming collected edition of ARMOR X.

It's pretty easy to see why Moose is one of the top color artists in the business today.

I'm not sure when the collected edition of Armor X is supposed to ship. I would assume it will be printed in time for either the San Diego or Chicago conventions. I've been redialoguing bits of it in my spare time so the collection will be along the lines of a remastered version. Hopefully, if it sells fairly well, Andy and I will finally get to do the next chapter.

Thanks, Moose!

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Chris Benoit

As a wrestling fan, I'm stunned by the deaths involving Chris Benoit and his family.

As a father, I'm sickened and completely at a loss. I just don't understand how anyone could do something so horrible to their own child.

Just stunned.

Thursday, June 21, 2007


Back from the Disney vacation in Florida.

Around the time my wife Melissa took this picture, I remember thinking to myself, "Why am I carrying every single F'n bag, dripping with sweat, and making sure Jack doesn't run diving into the pool while Melissa just lollygags around ten feet behind us, fiddling with the camera?"

But it turns out she was taking one of my favorite vacation pictures and I was wrong to be annoyed--as usual.

The whole Disney experience is fun but I'd definitely recommend going in April or October, when it's not quite as hot.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007


I'm one of the people who loved the finale of the Sopranos the other night. I felt the entire show was in keeping with the character of the entire series, and that the ending, while ambiguous, was spelled out clearly enough to provide the show with some closure. It just takes a little thought to put the pieces together.

Personally, I subscribe to the theory that Tony was whacked at the end. In the second-to-last episode, there was a deliberate flashback to a conversation between Tony and Bobby (who had just been whacked), talking about what it must be like to be killed. Bobby's point was that one would probably never even hear the bullet that did the job.

To me, that means Tony never saw or heard it coming.

A second train of thought that popped into my head is that, if Tony is still alive, the last five minutes of the show is some masterfully done television that conveyed, for a few seconds, what it must be like to be Tony. The tension that the viewer felt while watching the end of the show, waiting for something to happen and not knowing where it was going to come from, must be a lot like the minute-to-minute existence of Tony himself. He's always looking over his shoulder, always a marked man, never knowing when his life of crime is going to catch up to him.

Either way, I loved it.

Saturday, June 09, 2007


I got a link in my email this morning to a newspaper write up of some of the various after-hours activities at AdventureCon. The author, a fella named Terry, was one of the many nice people I got to meet while in Tennessee, he was a pretty cool cat. Here's the linkage:,1406,KNS_360_5574970,00.html

He's definitely on the money about a couple of things: Ethan Rom from Lost was a really nice guy and Billy Dee Williams did indeed seem to be a prick.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Quoth The Raven

I met a few interesting people while I was at Adventure Con last weekend. One of them was the guy in this picture, a professional wrestler named Raven. Turns out that he's a big fan of comics and buys most everything from the big two, and was even familiar with my work.

I've met a few wrestlers over the years and they all seem like cool guys, Raven included.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

The Taco Trio Rides!

In the wake of Adventure Con...
Andy Smith, Tom Nguyen, and I have started a group blog together at
Tom was nice enough to set it up and the blog is now live. We named it the Taco Trio after a menu item on a restaurant we dined in while in Tennessee.

Because I barely have enough to say to keep this blog going, I'll probably cross post between the two blogs and try to think of some unique content for both periodically. I'm sure Tom and Andy, who are both much better artists than myself, will post up sketches etc. from time to time, as well as stories about the business and news about their careers.
If you're interested, by all means add the site to your links and check it out.
Taco Trio...ASSEMBLE!!

Monday, June 04, 2007

Lost in Translation

Back from Tennessee, where I had a nice time at Adventurecon. I'll blog about it later this week when I get caught up on things.

Out of curiosity, does anybody out there know how to say "Boy Scout" in Russian or "goddamn" in German? I'm not having much luck with online translators but I'm thinking super geniuses (geniusi?) like Mr. Ninja or Brad Brown will know...because they know everything and can make up the rest.


Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Ready for Adventure

I'll be appearing this weekend, Friday June 1st through Sunday, June 3, at AdventureCon in Knoxville, Tennessee. Here's the link for all your AdventureCon info...

I'm kind of jazzed that Irvin Kershner, the director of Empire Strikes Back, will be at this convention. You know, a person gets pretty jaded after he sees his millionth Stormtrooper walking around one of these shows. Even the actors that played Chewbacca and Darth Vader are such pretty much standard operating procedure. But it's kind of rare to have one of the actual filmmakers pop up, especially the guy that directed the best of all the Star Wars films. I think that's pretty cool.

I believe I'll be sitting next to Tom "Microscopic Fury" Nguyen and Andy "I shave my head on purpose" Smith. If you have trouble spotting me, I'm the one who looks like Brad Pitt's ugly cousin. So stop in, get a book signed, a commission inked, flip through some artwork, talk some comics, and have a good time at the show.

Friday, May 25, 2007

That Cat Is Wild! MEEEEEEEOWWW!!!

In one of the more counterproductive things I've ever seen, while I was doing my cardio at the gym this morning, there was an obese woman walking on the treadmill while munching on a bag of Skittles.

Strangely, I kind of admire her.

Anyway, I had a nice time at Granite Con last weekend. Thanks to Chris and Scott for taking good care of me while I was there, the hotel they put me up in was one of the nicest I've ever stayed in. Not only did each room have a flat screen, HD TV but the hotel also overlooked a really beautiful minor league baseball field. One could sit out on a patio and watch a game from center field. Pretty neat.

I enjoyed spending some quality time with the roguishly handsome, devilishly sideburned, non-breakfast eating Pat Gleason, who is the only person in the world who will understand what the title of this blog entry refers to. Aside from just being a really nice, easygoing guy to hang out with, I really enjoyed watching Pat sketch at the show. My drawing skills are strong enough where I can make sense of most any pencils I ink but it's always fun to watch someone who can REALLY draw go to town. Pat's one of those guys and it was cool to watch how fast and easily he could bust out some nice sketches. The Michaelangelo of erasing, he is!

Thanks again for the GLC art, Pat...I'll be buying you dinner for life!

I also got to meet Jimmy Tournas, whom I'm acquainted with from an inking list that I used to belong to. It's funny how you can know people for years through the Internet but never even know what they look like until you meet them. Good to meet you in person, Jimmy, and keep working on your inks. You keep getting better!

Speaking of inks, I finished my last page of Nightwing yesterday. It was a really stressful, grueling week but I got the issue done. Today officially marks the first day of my drawing table hiatus to focus on writing for a bit. So far, this blog entry is the only thing I've written. I spent the morning w/ my son, then went to the gym, and then organized my desk into a streamlined station of writerly fury. Now, I'll get to work.

I can't reveal what I'm writing but it will ship in December. If anyone wants a tease, I can say that for reference on this project, sitting on my desk right now are copies of Gotham By Gaslight and Kingdom Come. It's a VERY cool project so long as I don't screw it up.

Next weekend, I'll be appearing at AdventureCon in Knoxville, Tennessee. More on that next week.

Friday, May 18, 2007


It's probably a good time to mention that I'll be appearing this Sunday the 20th at GraniteCon in downtown Manchester, New Hampshire.

I don't know much about GraniteCon, except that there must be something wrong with them if they actually want me to guest there. But from the hours of 10:00-4:00, I'll be appearing w/ Pat Gleason at the Radisson Center on Elm Street. I'll have artwork and trade paperbacks for sale and will be signing and sketching and generally trying to leave a good impression of myself. I'm toying with the idea of inking commissions while I'm there but it seems like a pain in the ass to lug my inking tools around. So I haven't decided on that yet.

Ron Frenz, an artist whom I admire from his work on Spider-Man and Thor during my impressionable teen years, is also appearing and I'm looking forward to meeting him.

If you're relatively close to the area, by all means pop in and say hi.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Fan mail

Yo Keith,
I just read the first issue of WWIII. Q has them in his cubicle. I don’t know anything about most of the characters because I didn’t read a whole lot of comics as a kid, but I loved it. I was like…whoa, wa oh who’s that guy, is he good or bad?! I liked it when he ripped off Time’s face. I hope the little green guys decide to help the earth.

I’ll bet that’s the most basic three year old level critique you’ve ever gotten from a 33 yr old man!!


Friday, May 11, 2007

A bit scary

This week, I arranged my schedule to take a couple of months away from my drawing board, brushes, and pens and to dip my toes into writing full-time, at least for a bit. The project I'm currently writing for DC consists of four 38-page issues, scheduled to ship weekly in December.

It's a lot of work and, while I could ink by day and write these books at night, I don't want to split my attention on this project. It's a big project and I want to give it 100%, as well as have time to finish up Green Lantern: The Corpse and at least get started on my JSA Classified and Superman Confidential work, as well as a couple of other projects on my plate after that.

Also, I'm tired. I've been writing almost every night since January, including most weekends and I need a break from the grind. Now that the weather is nicer, it seems like a good time to have a little more of a life.

I may come back to ink Nightwing in a couple of months or I may not come back to the book (or inking) at all, at least not for a while. I'm going to play things by ear for a bit and see what happens. I do really enjoy working with Jamal and we've talked recently about switching things up and working as writer/penciller and opposed to penciller/inker.

It's a little scary but I've been working towards this point for a long time. So it's time to test the waters and see how it feels.

Wish me luck!

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Civil War

So, now that the hype has died down and all the late shipping books are out of the way, I picked up a copy of the CIVIL WAR trade paperback from Amazon. If you're a comic fan, you know what Civll War was. If you're one of my friends or family reading this, Civil War was a big, multi-part crossover that redefined the Marvel universe.

Mark Millar is a fine writer. I'm a fan of his and have been since he co-wrote a book called Aztek that I inked long ago. His Tangent Superman is a book I remember being really impressed by, I loved his Wolverine run, and I've enjoyed Ultimates. In other words, he's got a good track record as far as I'm concerned and I have a lot of respect for his writing. Which is something I can't honestly say about 90% of the writers working in comics.

But Civil War didn't click for me. Reading the core mini-series over the space of a couple of days, there were just too many beats missing. And yes, I realize that the series acted like a spine, more or less, and that something would be insinuated, and then huge chunks of the story were told in the various spin offs. But you know what? The central book should still tell a complete story. This felt very incomplete.

The art was solid enough but it didn't knock me on my ass. It's nicely drawn and competently inked but without the coloring, it would have been very flat. With the coloring, it was pretty overdone. Digital painting is probably the wave of the future but I felt that, while the coloring gave the book a really distinctive look, it was a little too...worked. Out of all the characters represented, I liked McNiven's Spider-Man the most. He had a lot of movement.

There's a pretty telling line of dialogue in the seventh issue that I think says it all, sort of a read between the lines apology from the writer for the numerous missed shipping dates etc. To paraphrase (because I don't have the book in front of me), Reed Richards is writing a letter to his wife and he makes a point that she'll, "never know the pressure we were under, to create or revamp so many heroes..."

To me, that's a comment that can be read in a lot of ways. I think when the writer takes the time to subtly break the fourth wall and apologize to the reader, that says a lot more than my little blog review ever could. I'll look forward to Mark Millar's next work but this one didn't rock my boat.

If you're looking for a good collection, try "COBB: OFF THE LEASH" by manly man Beau Smith and Eduardo Barretto. More testosterone and character per page than most men can handle. Good, pulpy stuff and I give it a recommendation.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007


First off, here's something that made me laugh. If you do a search on Youtube for Burger boys, you'll find a bunch of these. Chances are, if this makes you laugh, the rest will too.

I had a couple of day trips last week, one to my old stomping grounds at The Joe Kubert School in New Jersey, the other a couple of days later to the DC offices to meet about a new project. I had a lot of fun meeting with the students at the Kubert School as well as catching up with some old classmates and teachers. I have a lot of affection for the school and think fondly of that time in my life where, for three years I was completely dedicated to learning how to create comic books.

I'll be doing a little more travelling than usual over the next couple of months, appearing at GraniteCon in New Hampshire later this month, then down to Knoxville, Tennessee the first weekend of June for the very first Adventure Con. Then it's a family vacation at Disney in the middle of June, followed by the big San Diego convention at the end of July. I'm pretty much a homebody so for me, this is quite a busy schedule. I'll post links to the actual conventions a little closer to the dates of the shows.

Spidey 3 this weekend!

Saturday, April 21, 2007

80's movie question

Anyone out there remember a movie from the (early) eighties (I think) about a guy who accidentally designs a pair of jeans with two holes cut out where the back pockets should be? The ass-revealing jeans start a fashion craze; everybody is wearing them, and wacky hijinx ensue from there.

Ring any bells? I've got 3-1 odds Mr. Ninja comes through. I remember watching it on HBO like fifty times w/ my brothers but I can't remember what it was called.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

The cycle begins anew...

Well, today is the big day for World War III and the most exciting day so far for my little writing career. I'm going to give it another day or two before I try to find any online reviews and see what people think, but I hope everyone enjoys the war. John Ostrander and I really did work our asses off to make this more than an 'event'.

I really came to admire John and his work, by the way.

While I've been lucky to line up enough writing work to keep me busy until 2008, none of it has really felt like an 'official' follow up to World War III. I guess that changed today.

Serendipitously, Dan Didio and Mike Siglain both called me today to offer me a pretty exciting project. It's...big...enough that I'm still wrapping my head around the overall concept, but there definitely seems to be plenty of room to do something memorable. and if I have my way, it'll make this World War look like a couple of school kids scuffling in the playground.

Because I haven't posted much lately, there are a bunch of random things I have tucked in the back of my head. I guess the first one I'll throw out there is that lately, I've started thinking about expanding my blog into a full-fledged website. I registered a couple of weeks ago and now I'm sort of waiting to come up with some good ideas to make an actual website a little different and fun. If anyone has any good ideas, feel free to leave them in the comments section and I'll be happy to steal them.

Anyway, time for dinner. Talk to y'all soon.

Sunday, April 15, 2007


World War III begins (and ends) this Wednesday the 18th. I've been anxiously waiting for these books to ship and I hope everyone will enjoy the blood-soaked fruits of our labors.
I'll have more to say about World War III on Wednesday so for now, this is just a reminder to...

Check 'em out!

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Sorry for the unexpected hiatus. For whatever reason, I haven't been able to sign into my own blog for the last week and a half. Finally, I downloaded Netscape and this worked so maybe it's a problem with IE, I don't know. I've had more computer problems in the past month then I've had since I first got my Commodore 64 (Bard's Tale still rocks!)

Back shortly. Today is a deadline day but I have a ton of posts to catch up on, starting tonight or tomorrow.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Interview time

With World War III fast approaching, I've been doing the almost requisite interview rounds again.

Vaneta Rogers does her usual nice job over at Newsarama and I've learned she does not suffer fools who do not include her byline. So here's the link:

And here's an interview on Wizard about Book II, conducted by Brian Marmoth, mostly concerning Aquaman. He does whatever a fish can plus more, you know.

Back shortly with more Batman pages.

Interview time

With World War III fast approaching, I've been doing the almost requisite interview rounds again.

Vaneta Rogers does her usual nice job over at Newsarama and I've learned she does not suffer fools who do not include her byline. So here's the link:

And here's an interview on Wizard about Book II, conducted by Brian Marmoth, mostly concerning Aquaman. He does whatever a fish can plus more, you know.

Back shortly with more Batman pages.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Happy Birthday to Wags The Dog.

In about another 45 minutes, it will become March 30th.

Three years ago, at 5:03 in the morning on March 30th, my very best friend and favorite person in the entire world was born.

Happy birthday to my dear son, Jack, AKA Wags The Dog, AKA The Woofie Machine, AKA Scoots or Big Boy or any of another half a dozen nicknames.

Over the past year, Jack has reminded me how much I've forgotten about life. Simple things like:

Why walk when you can run?
Why run when you can jump?
Why jump when you can climb?
Why climb? Why not?

The sky is really, really blue and at night, it's full of stars.

Snow is much more fun than I give it credit for.

Cardboard boxes make the best toys of all.

Most importantly, there's nothing I love more in this world than being his daddy and no one I love more than my little boy.

Happy birthday, Wags!! Daddy loves you.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Broken Master: Pages 6 and 7

Sorry for the delay in putting these up. Not only am I sometimes a himbo, I also have other things on my plate that steal my tiny attention span away. Plus my main computer refuses to boot up anymore, preferring to taunt me with a bright blue screen and enigmatic words like "physical memory dump." I don't know what that is but it doesn't sound good.

Anyway, here's a couple of more pages of script. I enjoyed writing faithful butler and Jiminy Cricket-like Alfred quite a bit.


Cut to the Bat-cave where Bruce Wayne is standing atop some thick scaffolding, hunched over the cockpit of the Bat-plane, hard at work running through a systems check.

There are a couple of workbenches covered with tools positioned at the base of the scaffolding.

ALFRED approaches. He’s carrying a tray of food: A thick steak, baked potato, and a glass of milk.

1- CAPTION: Later.
2- ALFRED: Master Bruce?
3- BRUCE WAYNE: Almost done, Alfred. The throttle was sticking but I’ve got the kinks worked out.
4- ALFRED: Have you left any time in your last minute preparations to EAT or did this poor cow I cooked lose its life for nothing?


Bruce springs off the scaffolding, flips in midair, and lands next to Alfred.

This is one of those action sequences where we should see a couple of different ghost figures of Bruce in various stages of motion, ending with him landing next to his butler.

5- BRUCE WAYNE (atop the scaffolding): What would I do—
6- BRUCE WAYNE (lands next to Alfred): --without you, old friend?
7- ALFRED: Starve to death, most likely.
8- ALFRED: Will you be eating upstairs in your stately and magnificent DINING ROOM or down HERE, in your dank and humid cave?


Bruce takes the platter of food from Alfred, a wry smile on his face.

9- BRUCE WAYNE: You’d probably have a heart attack if I actually took my meal upstairs.
10- ALFRED: Will you require anything else before I retire, sir?


Bruce, having set the platter of food down on a nearby workbench, begins to eat. Alfred stands nearby.

11- BRUCE WAYNE: Just a talk, perhaps, while I eat.
12- ALFRED: Very good, sir. Shall I try to read your mind or would you rather tell me what’s on it?


Angle on Bruce, pensive.

13- BRUCE WAYNE: Bane.


Bruce takes a slug of milk. Nearby, Alfred begins to dust off a computer console with his handkerchief.

1- BRUCE WAYNE: At one point, I thought we had reached an UNDERSTANDING. I was skeptical he would turn over a new leaf but still…I had HOPE.
2- ALFRED: Never put your trust in a man who almost crippled you, sir. My grandmother always SWORE to that and it’s never failed me yet.


Angle on Bruce. He’s cocking an eyebrow towards Alfred.

3- BRUCE WAYNE: You never joke this much, not unless you’re worried about me.


Angle on Alfred, focused on his dusting.

4- ALFRED: Ridiculous. I’m merely distracting you from the fear that’s doubtlessly clogging your arteries.
5- ALFRED: I’d imagine this sort of situation--where you don’t have the slightest idea what you’re walking into—could be unnerving.


Bruce takes the handkerchief from Alfred’s hand.

6- BRUCE WAYNE: Bane doesn’t get to hurt anybody else. Not if I can help it. It ends with Judomaster and it should never have gone THAT far.
7- BRUCE WAYNE: That MONSTER may have beaten me ONCE but ultimately, he only made me STRONGER. I’ve proved it every time we’ve butted heads since.
8- ALFRED: As you say, sir.


Bruce begins to ascend back up the scaffolding towards the Bat-plane. He’s looking back down at Alfred.

9- BRUCE WAYNE: One last thing, Alfred.
10- BRUCE WAYNE: I’ve got a LONG flight ahead. Would you mind packing me a doggie bag?
11- ALFRED: But of course, sir.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

BROKEN MASTER: Pages 4 and 5


Batman steps up onto the ledge of the roof, his cape flickering in the wind and rain. His back is turned to The Question so he can keep an eye on Gotham City while they converse.

1- BATMAN (caption): Judomaster.
2- BATMAN (caption): Few have fought so long and hard to make a difference as Ripley Jagger.
3- BATMAN (caption): His back was broken trying to take down BANE. One of MINE.


Closer on Batman; he’s looking over his shoulder back at The Question.

Lightning flashes behind him.

4- BATMAN: You’ve got my attention.


The Question steps up onto the ledge next to Batman. Neither one should look at the other while they speak. Both stare out over the city.

5- THE QUESTION: Slippery up here. You should be careful.
6- BATMAN: Get to the point, Sage.
7- THE QUESTION: A few of us are heading to Nanda Parbat to do what we can for Judomaster. Bronze Tiger. Richard Dragon. Myself.


Close on The Question. Big drops of rain pelt off his mask.

8- THE QUESTION: He asked for YOU, too.


Looking up the exterior of the precinct house at Batman and The Question, standing on the ledge high above ground.

10- BATMAN: I RESPECT Judomaster but…Nanda Parbat is halfway around the world. I’ve spent too much time away from Gotham. Away from my responsibilities here.
11- BATMAN: What does he need ME for when he’s already got the three of you?
12- THE QUESTION: Is that rhetorical or are you showing off your MODEST side?


Batman ignores the Question. He shields his eyes from the rain with a hand and squints out at the city.

13- BATMAN: I hear SIRENS about six blocks NORTH.
14- BATMAN: Make your pitch. I'm needed elsewhere.


The Question turns his head, looks over at Batman.

1- THE QUESTION: To the point it is, then.
2- THE QUESTION: Ripley Jagger asked for YOUR help, same as he asked for OURS. After all he's done to make this world a better place, I think he's earned a little LATITUDE.
3- THE QUESTION: Pull the bat-stick out of your ass and lend a hand.


Close on Batman, stoic, pelted by rain. He's lost in inscrutable thought.



Batman leaps off the roof and out into the night, leaving The Question alone on the precinct roof.

3- BATMAN: I’ll meet you in Nanda Parbat.