Things and stuff and such.

Here is some random stuff.

Here’s a couple of Long Gone promo pieces. Art by Ted Pogo, colors by Aaron Viel.

lg

long gone pinup abe

Here’s the unused cover to City of Razors. Art by Sean McKendrick, colors by Levi Walton.

city of razors cvr

Here’s a cover for a book called Darker that I was working on a while ago that fell through in a big way. But my buddy Carl Yonder absolutely killed this cover.

darker cvr

Here’s a picture of the Ironworker from Breakneck, by Kenny Winsborrow. Part of the ill-fated Breakneck anthology.

ironworker kenny winsborrow

A design of the Ghostwalker by Michael Tyler, which was part of the ill-fated Breakneck anthology, but got a second life as part of the soon-to-be-released 215 Ink anthology: Ignition volume 1.

ghostwalker michael tyler

Here’s the “negative” version of the cover to Breakneck issue 3, by James Boulton.

breakneck cr 3 reverse

A black and white shot of the alien bounty hunter from Scum of the Earth, by Rob Croonenborghs.

karth bw

Laura Bitch and the True Bastard in black and white by Rob Croonenborghs.

laura true bw

An unused Breakneck cover by Chris McFann. Chris was going to take over the art duties on Breakneck, but became extremely busy killing Kickstarter campaigns. I still love this pic.

breakneck cvr chris mcfann

And Chris McFann’s design for Breakneck’s chief bad guy, the diabolical Doctor Winter.

dr winter chris mcfann

Enjoy the pretty pictures!

Do yourself a favor and go listen to “Halcyon Digest” by Deerhunter. You’re welcome.

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Bits and pieces

So I got a few things going on right now that I wanted to talk about.

First up: FUBAR: American History Z is featured in February’s Previews magazine. My story “The Legend of Mose the Fireboy”, illustrated by Eric Spohn, graces those pages, along with the cream of the goddamn motherfucking crop of independent, small press comicbook creators. I just re-read my script, and man, that story was a lot of fun. I love FUBAR, I love being involved. I love being a Small Press Commando.

This is what the magazine looks like:

previews

 

Today I’m putting together the bones of a new story that I’m going to co-write with my Long Gone and Instinct editor Andrew Brinkley. This one’s waaaay outta my wheelhouse, so I’ll need the steady guiding hand of Dru to work through it. But the idea’s pretty great, if I do say so myself. And I do.

Things are moving with Scum of the Earth and Action Lab. A few more emails have been exchanged. You’ll read it here first, loyal followers, when and if anything becomes official.

I’ve made the decision: I’m going to go to the Baltimore Comicon this year. I’ve heard from many of my fellow creators that Baltimore is the con to go to. 215 Ink will have a presence there, team FUBAR will have a presence there, and I should be able to bounce back and forth, as well as meet and greet and visit with my comicbook compatriots. I’m looking forward to it.

That’s all for today. Sorry to burst your bubble.

Do yourself a favor and listen to “Give Up” by the Postal Service.

Soundgarden – Jan.25th, 2013

So, I’m a lucky dude. My girlfriend listened to me griping about not getting tickets to see Soundgarden. These gripes came about around the end of October last year. She listened and she came through, and for Christmas, she gave me tickets to go see Soundgarden.

The plan was for her and I, as well as her sister and her sister’s boyfriend to go to the concert. But her sister was going to be out of town, so the plan changed, and the four tickets ended up being for me and my three closest friends. While I would have had a ball with Julia, I had a different kind of fun with my buddies, the guys I’ve known for a very long time (one of them going on almost 30 years now).

So the four of us made the trip to downtown Toronto to the Sound Academy to see Soundgarden. I’ve mentioned my love of Soundgarden in the past on this blog. They were THE band for me during the 90s, when almost all of my musical tastes were formed. I love everything about Soundgarden, especially drummer Matt Cameron’s insane skills.

So anyway, we made a quick pit stop at the Beer Academy (no relation), had a few beers, sat around and shot the shit (the four of us haven’t been out together as just the four of us in quite a while), and learned that one of my buddies’ wives is pregnant again. More toasting, more drinking, some great conversation. By the time we left, I was already feeling no pain.

We cabbed it over to the Sound Academy, got inside, and commenced purchasing numerous $8 beers…but they did the trick. The place was pretty packed with Soundgarden fans. We waited an hour, hour and a half for the band to come out.

Now, while we’d been drinking at the Beer Academy, we were discussing songs we did and did not want to hear. None of us were really interested in hearing too much from the new album. I’ve been waiting all my life to see Soundgarden, I want to hear the old shit, you know? The stuff I grew up with.

The first three songs they played were on our “did not want to hear” list. But after that…they kicked things into high gear. They played my favorites, “Rusty Cage”, “Hands All Over”, “Room A Thousand Years Wide”. They played some of the even lesser known stuff, like “Searching With My Good Eye Closed”, and even played “Ugly Truth” from Louder Than Love. I was in heaven. My throat was raw from my drunken sing-yelling.

I heard almost every song I could have possibly wanted to hear, with the notable exceptions of “Burden in my Hand” and “Big Dumb Sex” (which I knew there was NO chance they would play.)

Seven or eight tall cans later (I’m not a very big drinker, so I was DONE after that much), the show ended…then the band came back out and hammered us with “Outshined”, which really should have been the end of the show, but they then meandered around some Pink Floyd-esque jam…thing…which, in my mind, was the only weak point of the whole show. I was concerned that Chris Cornell might not be able to hit all those super high notes, but not once did he disappoint. The whole band was right on, as tight as ever.

My buddy Brandon, ever the brilliant and hilarious individual, had brought a small flashlight with him, and as the show ended and the thousand or so people started to flood towards the doors, Brandon flicked on the flashlight, and led us through the crowd yelling “security, security, out of the way”. People immediately moved to the side, letting the four of us sneak right through the crowd and to the outside. It was a genius maneuver.

The rest of the night is pretty foggy. We stopped and had more drinks at a bar somewhere, then made our way home via train and bus. It was cold, that’s all I remember.

But man…I got to see Soundgarden. You know? I’ve loved that band ever since I heard the first call-and-response guitar part at the beginning of Rusty Cage when I was thirteen years old.

So basically, this post is to say thank you to Julia for letting me fulfill one of my life’s dreams. I love you for that and for everything else you do for me.

Do yourself a favor and listen to any Soundgarden album.

Towards-the-end-of-January update

Hey gang, I wanted to run through my current projects (mostly as an exercise for me to see where everything is sitting right now, but also because, for whatever reason, you might be interested as well.)

  • On the submissions front (see https://markbertolini.wordpress.com/2013/01/21/submissions/), it’s fairly quiet, with one exception: Action Lab seems interested in Scum of the Earth. I’m not going to go into any great detail, because nothing has officially been discussed or agreed to, but there is some interest.
  • I got contracts in the mail for another book that was picked up by a publisher I’ve worked with before. I’ll leave it all vague and cryptic like that.
  • I sent 215 Ink some more information on Ghost Lines, which leads me to believe it should be coming out fairly soon – by the New York Times bestselling team of Mark Bertolini and Carl Yonder – who could ignore that little blurb?
  • I’m prepping to start issue 2 of my Apes With Uzis story “The History Lesson” with Rolf and Kurt Belcher.
  • I’ve shelved NRV for a couple of months until Craig DeBoard is available to work on it – we discussed it a bit and he seems interested in a graphic, extremely violent superhero story. The script is all written and ready to go.
  • I found a kick-ass artist for a new project tentatively called “Jim”. I won’t give away any more than that, except the high concept for this idea is pretty awesome, if I do say so myself.
  • Sent some basic notes to my buddy and editor Andrew Brinkley about a new story idea, one that would involve quite a bit of research. But I dig the idea, and want to get his thoughts.
  • I finished the full first issue of Instinct. Hugo’s finished the colors for the pitch package, just waiting for ET to letter it up so I can start making some moves with it.
  •  The artist for the Apes With Uzis spinoff “Thugs Electro” decided to graciously pull out of the project, so Rolf and I need to try and find a new artist for it. It might end up being it’s own stand-alone book, depending on how things go.
  • An artist I worked with on a dead project called The Carriers, Jason Jarava, recently got in touch with a story he’d been working on. He sent me some pages, and man…his stuff is light years beyond what it was a few years ago (and even then it was pretty fucking good.) I’m going to give him a hand working out the story points and the dialogue. It feels good to be working with him again.
  • Carl and I are working away on a new short story, another departure from what people might normally expect from us. Well, not too big a departure…my plan for this short is to pitch it to Challenger Comics http://readchallenger.com/ because there are some really very excellent comics on that site, free to read, by a lot of my buddies. I want in!
  • My lovely and talented girlfriend Julia has been a huge help in getting me to start organizing this stuff better. I’ve got emails out to local comic stores to put copies of my books in-store, offers to do signings, already looking ahead to Free Comic Book Day, making plans for the Toronto Fan Expo in August, and with luck, Baltimore ComicCon in September. I’m going to be striking while the iron’s hot on as much work as I can. Know why? No one’s going to come and find me and hand me the work. I need to show everyone what I (and all my partners, my ever talented collaborators and friends) are capable of.

I’ve been treating comics like a job for a long time, but one of those jobs where you occasionally call in sick, or you goof off on the internet for a good chunk of the day. Not any more. Now I’m treating it as the job where you bust your ass every day, looking for that promotion, making sure your hard work gets recognized.

So that’s what I’m up to right now. Remember to check out my new Tumblr (free comics to read there!) at http://mark-bertolini.tumblr.com/, follow me on Twitter @mark_bertolini, and if you really want, email me at bertolini.mark@gmail.com.

I’m off tomorrow, because I’m going to see fucking SOUNDGARDEN (thanks again my love!), so this is my Friday.

Do yourself a favor and go listen to “Pure Rock Fury” by Clutch.

Blogs you should be checking out.

Everyone these days has a blog. Hell, you’re currently reading mine, you know? But I wanted to spotlight a few fellow creators and their own blogs. I love seeing the behind-the-scenes stuff.

First up is Wes Locher. Wes will have a 215 Ink book coming out called New Life. He’s got some great ideas, and I dig his blog: http://westonlocher.wordpress.com/

Kyle J. Kaczmarczyk is running a series of tutorials about “how NOT to write comics” that are pretty informative. Check them out here: http://hownottowritecomics.blogspot.com/

Dan Hill always has something interesting going on at his blog. Also, he posts a lot of stuff about cool music. Follow him at http://dan-hill.org/

Eric Grissom writes the 215 Ink book Deadhorse, which is awesome, and you should see the things that go on inside his head: http://ericgrissom.com/

Jeremy Holt writes a lot of excellent comics. He also maintains a blog at http://clumpoftrees.wordpress.com/. But you can also find his very readable and interesting “breaking in” story at Multiversity here: http://multiversitycomics.com/columns/strange-love-or-how-i-learned-to-stop-worrying-about-breaking-into-comic-books-part-1/

Jeff McComsey is the main man behind the FUBAR zombie anthologies. He’s like the General in the Small Press Commando army, but the kind of General who’s down in the dirt with the rest of us dickheads. Check his blog out (and see all kindsa cool FUBAR-related goodness) at http://mccomseycomix.wordpress.com/

My main man Carl Yonder has a website devoted to his art, from his fine art to his comics work (a lot of it with me, I’m proud to say). You can see more for yourself at http://www.carlyonder.com/

Magnus Aspli was one of the first comic creators I got to know, from our time at Digital Webbing. We’ve both published books at Markosia, and we’ll both have stories in the upcoming FUBAR: American History Z book. Check out his stuff at http://www.magnus-aspli.com/

John Lees continues to craft the most in-depth comic book reviews it’s been my pleasure to read (including a few of my own books.) Read them here: http://johnleescomics.wordpress.com/

There are tons of other blogs that are well worth your time, but these are the ones I check out on a (semi) regular basis. Lots of interesting stuff there, enough to waste a good chunk of your workday and probably get you fired.

No, scratch that – it’d be worth getting fired.

Do yourself a favor and go listen to “Robbers and Cowards” by Cold War Kids.

Submissions

Yeah, submissions. They can be a nightmare. They can also crush the spirit and the life out of you when they get rejected. BUT…if you’re creating comics, you gotta be ready for it. You gotta handle it and move on. I’ve had my fair share of rejections. More than I have fingers to count them on. But submission packages and pitches are a part of the game.

So, I’m going to do something here that I wasn’t sure I wanted to do, but I thought maybe it would be helpful, who knows? I’m going to track my submissions here.

I’ve had some pretty great success with submissions packages in the past. Long Gone was pretty much a blind pitch to Markosia. As was Breakneck to 215 Ink.

So in the spirit of sharing knowledge, let’s take a look at what I’ve done this year so far (in 21 days, no less…)

1) Submitted Antihero to Arcana Press. I’m familiar with a few of Arcana’s books and vaguely know a couple of people over there. Plus, they’re a Canadian operation, which makes sense for me.

2) Deep Rest – submitted to Avatar Press. I know I’m aiming pretty high with this one, but what the hell have I got to lose? Deep Rest is a disturbing sci-fi/horror book, in my mind, similar to what Avatar currently publishes. Maybe a little less graphic.

3) Old Ghost was submitted to Titan Comics – the new comic imprint of Titan Books. They had some submission guidelines on their Facebook page, and I had OG ready to go. Old Ghost has a more European feel to it, so hopefully that gives it a bit of a leg up…

4) Scum of the Earth – submitted to Action Lab’s “Danger Zone” imprint. I actually got a response from them, wanting to see the complete GN. Rob’s closing in on the last batch of pages, so once it’s all ready, back to Action Lab it goes.

Now, I feel the need to explain something here. I love the publishers I work with. They’ve treated me exceptionally. They’ve published my comics, I owe them a ton. And me submitting new comics to other publishers is not a slap in the face, it’s no disrespect to them in any way, shape, or form. I’m a believer in networking. I’m a believer in getting my name out there. I’m in this for the long haul. I want to make this a career, if possible.

215 Ink and Markosia are excellent publishers, and I will be working with them both again – new books are gearing up even as I write this. Things are in motion, behind-the-scenes.

This is just me spreading my wings a bit, seeing what else is out there. Maybe nothing will come of any of it. But the chance to have multiple comics published by multiple publishers just creates a bigger presence for my partners and I. Comics is a small industry at heart, and I’m a small fish in that pond. I’d like to become a mid-size fish eventually.

Do yourself a favor on a cold Monday in January and listen to “Modern Guilt” by Beck. It reminds me of the summer.

Second column I wrote for ComixTribe

Here’s the story of Breakneck, written for my buddies at ComixTribe.com. This was the second part of two columns I wrote, the first one can be found here: https://markbertolini.wordpress.com/2013/01/14/a-column-i-wrote-for-comixtribe/

This column describes the gestation and birth of Breakneck. Hope you dig it.

http://www.comixtribe.com/2011/07/13/the-breakneck-story/

It’s Friday, have a great weekend, and do yourself a favor and go listen to “Transmissions from the Satellite Heart” by the Flaming Lips.