Archive for the ‘Message from M.A.C.’ Category

Fate of the Union—Covered

Tuesday, June 30th, 2015
Fate of the Union

Here’s the cover for FATE OF THE UNION, the second Reeder and Rogers political thriller from Thomas & Mercer. The first, SUPREME JUSTICE, was one of my bestselling novels ever, so I’m hopeful this one will do well, too.

Whether it will engender the same kind of political controversy as the first remains to be seen. I can’t see any reason for conservatives to get their panties in a bunch this time around, or progressives either; but you never know.

The cover process at Thomas & Mercer is fascinating – they provide a number of possibilities and give the author great input into the final product. I think this one is very good, and that it makes a nice fit with the SUPREME JUSTICE cover.

You’ll note that Matt Clemens shares byline this time around. That’s only a cosmetic change, because Matt was a collaborator on SUPREME JUSTICE as well, and the previous Thomas & Mercer novel, WHAT DOESN’T KILL HER. I wanted to include him on the byline of those, but was discouraged from doing so, because some people make the unfortunate assumption that when a secondary byline appears with a (fairly) well-known author’s, that means the book was ghosted.

Those of you who follow these updates know that Matt and I are genuine collaborators. Our process is one we have shared openly. I usually come up with the basic premise of a novel, and we then – in several sessions – come up with a plot. We both work on a chapter breakdown/synopsis, and then Matt writes a shortish rough draft, which I polish and expand into a longer novel. It’s a synthesis of two writers, and it’s worked very well for us for a long time. We developed the approach on the very successful CSI novels and have continued it elsewhere.

I’m proud and pleased to share cover credit with Matt.

And this book represents, in both our opinions, our best work together. It comes out next November.

* * *

Check out this terrific review of THE LEGEND OF CALEB YORK from the great book review site, Bookgasm.

M.A.C.

Batman — Second Chances

Tuesday, June 23rd, 2015
Batman: Second Chances

Nobody at DC Comics informed me of this, but a collection of all of my BATMAN comic book stories has been published. A small box of comp copies arrived the other day, my first contact with DC on the book. Its pub date is July 21, but comic book shops may have it sooner.

It’s a handsome volume, but I haven’t sat down to read it yet. That experience will no doubt be bittersweet, because my BATMAN comics were not well-received by a significant number of fans. Even today, I’m one of the least popular BATMAN writers on many comics chat sites.

My position has always been that I did a good job, but was undone by poor editing. The latter is hard to prove, because I no longer have my scripts and my memory is fuzzy – I just know that certain explanatory captions were dropped and several sequences that were cross-cut got reassembled in a more linear, boring fashion. Back in those pre-Internet days, contact with an editor (in this case, the legendary Denny O’Neil) was strictly through the mail and the occasional long-distance call. I’ve come to think that Denny and I were not a good fit because, ironically, we both respected each other’s work so much that we didn’t want to step on the other guy’s toes.

What really turned me into an also-ran on BATMAN was the inability of O’Neil to pair me with an artist for longer than two issues. Sometimes the second part of a story would be drawn in an entirely different manner from the first, and apparently minus any reference material having been provided to the second artist to keep character visuals consistent with the first. There are eight comic-book stories by me in this volume (a handful by other writers are included) and for those eight issues, I had six artists.

Among the ironies of my brief tenure on BATMAN is my Toys ‘r’ Us success. That company went to DC, wanting to put together bags of BATMAN comics; the Toys ‘r’ Us people looked at about three or four years of BATMAN…and picked out my issues. I made a lot of dough from those reprints.

I’ve also been told that my material has been a source for animated BATMAN adventures.

The most famous thing about my version of Jason Todd is that fans voted to kill him off, like Andy Kaufman getting voted off SNL by phone. I should say that the writers who followed me (notably Jim Starlin) did not take Jason Todd’s story in the direction I intended and had set up.

BATMAN – SECOND CHANCES is complete as to my comic-book stories. But it does not include the first continuity of the BATMAN strip that I did before the Tribune forced me to step down at the threat of a lawsuit (the great Marshal Rogers was the artist). I did a final comic-book script about my Mime character that was never produced, but I turned it into a BATMAN short story. My two BATMAN graphic-novel projects – SCAR OF THE BAT, Eliot Ness Meets Batman; and BATMAN – CHILD OF DREAMS based on the Kia Asamiya manga – constitute the rest of my body of work on the Dark Knight, and represent my best work there. And it speaks well of Denny O’Neil that he recruited me for SCAR OF THE BAT after all we’d been through.

For the record, I was not fired – I quit. Now, I probably quit about fifteen seconds before I would have been fired…but I beat ‘em to the punch.

BATMAN – SECOND CHANCES represents a second chance for my comics stories on that character to be reappraised, and I’m pleased to have these stories gathered in one place.

M.A.C.

Mid-Year Movie Wrap-Up

Tuesday, June 16th, 2015

I haven’t written as much about movies this year as in previous ones. That’s in part because Barb and I haven’t been going quite as much, having been burned too many times. But some of you enjoy my opinions on film, which this time I have lazily reduced into this look at most of the films we’ve seen in the first half of 2015.

MOVIES WE WALKED OUT ON:
HOT TUB TIME MACHINE 2
FAR FROM THE MADDING CROWD
THE AGE OF ADALINE

MOVIES WE SHOULD HAVE WALKED OUT ON:
TAKEN 3
RUN ALL NIGHT

INTERESTING INDIES:
EX MACHINA
IT FOLLOWS

MOVIES THAT WERE BETTER THAN THEY HAD ANY RIGHT TO BE:
McFARLAND USA
FURIOUS 7
JURASSIC WORLD

MOVIES THAT WERE WORSE THAN THEY HAD ANY RIGHT TO BE:
AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON
JUPITER ASCENDING
(Nate disagrees on both of these)

MOVIES THAT SHOULD HAVE SUCKED BUT DIDN’T:
POLTERGEIST
SAN ANDREAS

MOVIES I HATE THAT I WILL NEVER SEE:
MORTDECAI
PAUL BLART: MALL COP 2
HOT PURSUIT
ALOHA

BEST ACTION MOVIE IN YEARS:
MAD MAX: FURY ROAD

BEST COMEDY IN YEARS:
SPY

* * *

Here’s an advance look (sans type) of the cover by Stephen Gardner for the upcoming Dover reprint of A KILLING IN COMICS. Nicely moody, I think. Very happy to have the first two Jack and Maggie Starr’s back out.

A Killing in Comics

Along those lines, here’s a short but sweet write-up on the reprint from Dover of STRIP FOR MURDER.

And check out this interesting piece on why the DICK TRACY movie didn’t get a sequel (yet), touching on my novelization and the two follow-up novels.

M.A.C.

Shamus Nay, Scribes Yay

Tuesday, June 9th, 2015

The Private Eye Writers of America announced their nominees for the Shamus awards and, alas and alack, my entries (the novel KING OF THE WEEDS and the short story “It’s in the Book”) were not among them. My congratulations to the nominees, but you’ll have to look elsewhere for lists I’m not on.

Better news for the same two titles comes by way of the Scribe awards. This is a trifle late, having been announced elsewhere a couple of weeks ago, but here goes just the same:

The Ninth Annual Scribe Awards

The International Association of Media Tie-In Writers is pleased to announce the Scribe Award Nominees for 2015.

Acknowledging excellence in this very competitive field, IAMTW’s Scribe Awards honor licensed works that tie in with other media such as television, movies, gaming, or comic books. They include original works set in established universes, and adaptations of stories that have appeared in other formats and cross all genres. Tie-in works run the gamut from westerns to mysteries to procedurals, from science fiction to fantasy to horror, from action and adventure to superheroes. Gunsmoke, Ghost Whisperer, CSI, Star Trek, Star Wars, Shadowrun, Underworld, Man from UNCLE, Doctor Who, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, these represent just a few.

The Scribe Award winners will be announced at ComicCon San Diego in July. The exact day, time and location of the Scribes Panel including the award ceremony will be announced shortly.

IAMTW congratulates the following nominees:

BEST ORIGINAL NOVEL – GENERAL
24: Deadline by James Swallow
Murder She Wrote: Death of a Blue Blood by Don Bain
Mike Hammer: King of the Weeds by Mickey Spillane and Max Allan Collins
Homeland: Saul’s Game by Andrew Kaplan
The Killing: Uncommon Denominator by Karen Dionne

BEST ORIGINAL NOVEL – SPECULATIVE
Sleepy Hollow: Children of the Revolution by Keith R. A. DeCandido
Grimm: Chopping Block by John Passarella
Star Trek: Disavowed by David Mack
Star Trek: Foul Deeds Will Rise by Greg Cox
Grimm: The Killing Time by Tim Waggoner
Pathfinder: The Redemption Engine by James Sutter
Fringe: Sins of the Father by Christa Faust

ADAPTED NOVEL – GENERAL AND SPECULATIVE
Dawn of the Planet of the Apes by Alex Irvine
Noah by Mark Morris
War of the Worlds: Goliath by Adam Whitlach

YOUNG ADULT – ALL GENRES, ORIGINAL AND ADAPTED
Spirit Animals: Blood Ties by Garth Nix and Sean Williams
Battletech: The Nellus Academy Incident by Jennifer Brozak
Penguins of Madagascar by Tracey West

SHORT STORIES
Pathfinder: Hunter’s Folly by Josh Vogt
Mike Hammer: It’s in the Book by Max Collins and Mickey Spillane
Stargate: Perceptions by Diana Botsford
Pathfinder: Queen Sacrifice by Steven Savile
Tales of Valdemar: Written in the Wind by Jennifer Brozek

AUDIO
Dark Shadows: The Darkest Shadow by Nev Fountain
Dark Shadows: The Devil Cat by Mark Thomas Passmore
Blake’s 7: Fortuitis by George Mann
Doctor Who: Iterations of I by John Dorney
Pathfinder Legends: The Skinsaw Murders by Cavan Scott

The awards will once again be presented at San Diego Comic-Con International. And there will be a 40th anniversary of Quarry panel at the con, as well – details for both are forthcoming.

Here’s a nice little article about Barbara Allan and ANTIQUES SWAP.

And here’s a good take on SWAP from Not the Baseball Pitcher.

Finally, here’s a so-so review from Library Journal of THE LEGEND OF CALEB YORK – always good to get reviewed in the trades.

M.A.C.