American Psycho

When it first came to cable in the 1990s–and after hearing much hype about the movie–I watched American Psycho with fairly decent expectations. Indeed, Christian Bale–in a pre-Batman role that got him onto the road to stardom–was excellent, but the movie didn’t really work for me. It wasn’t bad, it just didn’t make a whole lot of sense to me.

Fast forward to about a month ago, and it was on again. So I gave it another shot, thinking that maybe this time I’d like it better.

Nope. When it first came to cable in the 1990s–and after hearing much hype about the movie–I watched American Psycho with fairly decent expectations. Indeed, Christian Bale–in a pre-Batman role that got him onto the road to stardom–was excellent, but the movie didn’t really work for me. It wasn’t bad, it just didn’t make a whole lot of sense to me.

Fast forward to about a month ago, and it was on again. So I gave it another shot, thinking that maybe this time I’d like it better.

Nope. I had pretty much the same reaction.

But then I decided to read the book, figuring it would probably be better than the movie. Well, now that I’ve finished with it I can say this:

In the novel, Patrick Bateman is such a grotesque maniac that he makes Hannibal Lecter seem like Mr. Rogers. And that’s no joke. The absolute horror and despicable violence he perpetrates is almost beyond belief. Of course, it’s so over the top that you’re not supposed to take it too seriously–and I kind of didn’t. [i]kind of[/i]; but when he’s disemboweling women while he sprays mace their eyes and cuts out their tongues–it’s hard to find the comedy there.

The thrust of the story is that 1980s Wall Street superficial super ego surface features of a coked-out, soulless generation is to be despised, and the author, Bret Easton Ellis, make it pretty clear how he feels about those people, and how utterly useless he deems them as human beings. And maybe he makes a fair point. American Psycho is written with absolute command of the language, and Ellis seems to really know what he wants to say. I’m just not so sure that you want to read how he makes them.

Re:Y: The Last Man

I read recently that Shia LaBoufe, who’s also playing Harrison Ford’s son in the new Indiana Jones movie, has signed on to play Yorick in the movie version of Y: The Last Man.I read recently that Shia LaBoufe, who’s also playing Harrison Ford’s son in the new Indiana Jones movie, has signed on to play Yorick in the movie version of Y: The Last Man.

Re:The Police in Concert

I just heard that The Police have added two more shows at MSG for early November, so maybe if the stars align just right I’ll be able to grab a pair!I just heard that The Police have added two more shows at MSG for early November, so maybe if the stars align just right I’ll be able to grab a pair!

The Company

If you are a fan of political thrillers and historical-based espionage movies, then I highly recommend catching The Company, the 6-hour mini-series that just wrapped on TNT.

I’m not such a history buff to know just how much of this storyline was fact-based or fictionalized, but it gives an amazing perspective on the cold war between the U.S. and Russia, starting from about 1950 all the way up until the early 1990s. It’s texture and layered, with tons of double and triple agents, as well as If you are a fan of political thrillers and historical-based espionage movies, then I highly recommend catching The Company, the 6-hour mini-series that just wrapped on TNT.

I’m not such a history buff to know just how much of this storyline was fact-based or fictionalized, but it gives an amazing perspective on the cold war between the U.S. and Russia, starting from about 1950 all the way up until the early 1990s. It’s texture and layered, with tons of double and triple agents, as well as pretty intense and gripping battle scenes.

You can really see just how much the two sides viewed the world as a chess board and how they were trying to outmaneuver each other on a grand scale, with seemingly minor moves actually being keys to long-term plans.

And for you Michael Keaton fans out there, he gives a subtle, creepy performance as a CIA researcher that’s probably the best of his career. I’ve never seen him better or more interesting.

I’m not sure when TNT is planning on re-running The Company, but if you like these kinds of stories, then this is for you.

Baltimore Comic-Con ’07: Lots. Of. Beer.

When I rolled into Baltimore last Friday night, two things were made abundantly clear to me. The weekend would be about two things: comic books and beer.

And not necessarily in that order.

When attending a comic book convention as a creator, the goal is to make sales and promote your books. But it’s also fun. Way fun.

It’s a chance to hang out with the guys all weekend, talk about comics and music and movies and women, and, of course, consume mass quantities of alcohol. And I’m nWhen I rolled into Baltimore last Friday night, two things were made abundantly clear to me. The weekend would be about two things: comic books and beer.

And not necessarily in that order.

When attending a comic book convention as a creator, the goal is to make sales and promote your books. But it’s also fun. Way fun.

It’s a chance to hang out with the guys all weekend, talk about comics and music and movies and women, and, of course, consume mass quantities of alcohol. And I’m not a big drinker per se, but when the comic book dudes get together, the beer goes down fast and often.

So me Rich Henn and Rich Koslowski crashed at the Henn house on Friday and Saturday night (in the suburbs about 40 minutes west of Baltimore), and started off the weekend at Henn’s basement bar slugging down beers and all sorts of martini-type concoctions. And I don’t know about you, but I usually don’t sleep well if I’ve been drinking. Going to bed at 2 am doesn’t help, especially when we needed to be up 7 am to get showered and ready and then drive into Baltimore just to set up for the show, and then work the show until 5 pm.

Then we went back to Henn’s place Saturday night to set up for a party he was hosting for a bunch of other comic dudes who know each other through the CGC–Certified Grading Company–which is a company that grades comic books to establish their quality–and thus their value. And the comic book guys at this party mostly know each other from buying and selling older, more valuable comic books on line and through Ebay.

That night we put down a nice slab of catered Italian food–ziti, chicken marsala and crab cakes–and another two quarter kegs. I can’t remember if we broke into the martini concoctions that night, but I do remember getting a better–although not good–night’s sleep, getting up around 8 a.m., and then driving back to New York reasonably hung over.

A weekend with the comic book dudes isn’t just a weekend. It’s a 36-hour party that kicks my butt up and down the street. And while I’d certainly be up for it again, I can use the rest!

Baltimore Comic-Con ’07: Sharing the Madness

The 2007 Baltimore Comic-Con marks my 10th year attending comic-book conventions, both as a creator and a fan. My first show was the SPX (Small Press Expo) back in 1998 in Bethesda, Maryland, if memory serves, when Rich Henn and I were first pumping our comic book, Timespell. But at our first show we didn?t even have the first issue yet. We were selling mini-comics, these little teaser comics to drum up interest for when the issue finally came out.

Many years?and miles?have passed since thoThe 2007 Baltimore Comic-Con marks my 10th year attending comic-book conventions, both as a creator and a fan. My first show was the SPX (Small Press Expo) back in 1998 in Bethesda, Maryland, if memory serves, when Rich Henn and I were first pumping our comic book, Timespell. But at our first show we didn?t even have the first issue yet. We were selling mini-comics, these little teaser comics to drum up interest for when the issue finally came out.

Many years?and miles?have passed since those early days. I attended the SPX almost every year for the first few years with Rich, but he was the real road warrior, also going to shows in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and Columbus, Ohio, as well as a host of other local shows. And I?m sure I?m missing quite a few others. And then, of course, he started heading out the San Diego Comic-Con with his new book, Zoomies.

And through all those shows, packing up the car with boxes of books and fliers and posters, Rich has really become quite the wizard at creating a snazzy booth experience that you just don?t see all that often. God bless Henn, that little maniac, because through his time and effort and experimentation, I?ve started to pick up on a bunch of booth marketing that I?m sure I wouldn?t have come up with on my own.

When you go to these shows, and you see what other creators do at their booths, some are impressive, some less so, but rarely are they as well put together and impressive?without publisher backing?than what Rich does. Because of his 15 years in the printing business, he knows how to create a slick, eye-grabbing 6-foot poster promoting his books. And besides the poster, you have to hang it up somehow. These mini-walls don?t come with your booth. If you want to hang a poster, you have to supply the stand. And you need the proper hooks and attachments and baseboards and collapsible stands and display cases to do so. There’s so much it can drive you nuts!

And while I used to help Rich with all this back in the Timespell days, it?s been a few years since I was in the throes of it, and even then, Rich was doing all the planning. He already had all the equipment, which just doesn?t appear out of thin air. That means that for every one the items I just mentioned?plus a mini DVD player to play trailers from the videos he directed, power strips and battery back-ups and the remote control?he had to realize that he didn?t already have them, but needed them. Which often comes from being at one show, thinking?damn, if only I had this or that?and then running out and getting them for the [i]next [/i]show.

Being back behind the booth at Baltimore, and San Diego before this?this time not just to help Rich with Timespell but to promote Finders Keepers, my book?it’s amazing to see that Rich had already taken care of this amazing supply of materials that I just didn?t have to think about, deal with or pay for. So I get to learn off the pain and suffering of others! Sweet!

And being there during these shows with Rich Koslowski has also been a good learning experience for me, as he has his own style of manning the booth, with his own little kit of supplies?like a Swiss army knife (which comes in quite handy for box cutting and the like), as well as a supply of Sharpie markers, double-sided tape and Velcro matting. Again, all things I wouldn?t have thought to bring. And he’s a bit of a ball busting sonuvagun, so that keeps things fun!

Being at the show is great. But putting the booths together, getting yourself ready to greet the fans, is one big pain in the you know what. It takes planning and coordination. It is its own brand of madness, and one of the best parts for me is being able to share the madness with great guys like Rich Henn and Rich Koslowski, who not only have their own process down to a science (albeit sometimes a weird science), but are fun and trustworthy (except when we’re torturing each other with practical jokes and a constant barrage of ball-busting). We don?t have to worry about getting screwed over because as much as we?re individually responsible for our own contributions, we?re in it together. We share booths because it?s a team that works. And from my experience, that?s rare. They tell me the same thing.

It’s grate for me to be learning from these guys. Without them, my road with Finders Keepers would be much more difficult and a lot less fun. And as I define my own style along the way, when the day comes when I?ll have my own supply of books ready for the fans–bring it … bring it … in many ways I?ll have Rich and Rich to thank for it. Ball busting and all.

Post edited by: rcolchamiro, at: 2007/09/12 12:03

Post edited by: rcolchamiro, at: 2007/09/13 07:17

Baltimore Comic-Con ’07: Behind the Booth

I?m back from the 2007 Baltimore Comic-Con, and I?m exhausted. Partly from the drive there and back, partly from a full day at the booth on Saturday chatting up attendees about Finders Keepers?and partly from consuming a lot of beer Friday and Saturday nights and getting very little sleep in between!

While the San Diego Comic-Con has morphed into this wild Hollywood-led bonanza, the Baltimore Comic-Con, which started running earlier in the decade, is still just a good, old-fashioned comic-bI?m back from the 2007 Baltimore Comic-Con, and I?m exhausted. Partly from the drive there and back, partly from a full day at the booth on Saturday chatting up attendees about Finders Keepers?and partly from consuming a lot of beer Friday and Saturday nights and getting very little sleep in between!

While the San Diego Comic-Con has morphed into this wild Hollywood-led bonanza, the Baltimore Comic-Con, which started running earlier in the decade, is still just a good, old-fashioned comic-book convention for comic-book fans, filled with booth after booth of comic-book creators?some mainstream, and some less known–which means there were artists and writers of X-Men and Spiderman titles, as well as a whole of host of other books from a new crop of creators just breaking in. Not to mention some comic book writers who also happen to write books–like me!

There were also many, many booths filled with retailers selling paperback and hardcover collections of recent popular comic books, and individual comics from the Bronze Age (from the early 1970s to the mid 1980s) and the Silver Age (from the late 1950s to the early 1970s; mostly superhero titles), which have become a hot item over the years, as they are now are quite valuable, if that?s your thing.

Like at the San Diego convention I was there chatting with attendees about Finders Keepers, sharing a snazzy looking booth with Rich Henn (www.timepell.com) and Rich Koslowski (www.richkoslowski.com), with some killer color posters and individual comics velcroed to the display (I’ll have photos soon so you can see what I mean).

At San Diego, reports had 100,000 attendees, while at Baltimore we had a few thousand attendees–still a very respectable number and a lot more manageable for us–with big lines at many booths, mostly filled with fans who wanted to get their books signed by their favorite writers and artists. It was a two-day show. I was there all day Saturday, while Rich and Rich also were at the booth on Sunday.

Even though the Balitmore show was a little slower than we expected, with sales down for a lot of creators, all day long I felt great talking to folks about Finders Keepers–maybe even better than ever–seeing that ?Wow? look in their eyes when they heard about it. And for now, that?s what I?m after. Getting the word out about Finders Keepers, building a potential audience, keeping the buzz growing and growing and growing.

While I keep plugging away to land an agent, Finders Keepers is taking on a life of it?s own, building a reputation as a book that people want to get their hands on. And as I continue talking to a few people who have read advanced copies?or are still reading?the feedback is universally top notch. Which of course just gets my juices flowing and wanting to get back out there and letting the whole world know that Finders Keepers is coming.

That?s all for now, but I?ll be blogging a few more times this week about the 2007 Baltimore Comic-Con, so stayed tuned for more, including pictures from the show …

Post edited by: rcolchamiro, at: 2007/09/10 21:18

Post edited by: rcolchamiro, at: 2007/09/13 07:17

Post edited by: rcolchamiro, at: 2007/09/13 07:28

Heading Off to Baltimore Comic-Con

By the time most of you will read this I will already be on the road to the 2007 Baltimore Comic-Con, which takes place near the inner-harbor in Baltimore. Once again I will be setting up with partners-in-crime Rich Henn and Rich Koslowski, with my last copies of Finders Keepers available for sale–and promotion.

The thing about this show compared to the San Diego Comic-Con is that the Baltimore Comic-Con is about comic books. This is a show for comic book readers who want to by comic booksBy the time most of you will read this I will already be on the road to the 2007 Baltimore Comic-Con, which takes place near the inner-harbor in Baltimore. Once again I will be setting up with partners-in-crime Rich Henn and Rich Koslowski, with my last copies of Finders Keepers available for sale–and promotion.

The thing about this show compared to the San Diego Comic-Con is that the Baltimore Comic-Con is about comic books. This is a show for comic book readers who want to by comic books and graphic novels, and meet the creators. Which is perfect for me, since I wrote Finders Keepers specifically with a comic-book style, with my target audience the same people who like comic books, and TV shows like Heroes and LOST, even before they were TV shows.

And there’s the scope. The San Diego show had about 100,000 attendees. The Baltimore show will probably have a few thousand. That’s still a lot of people, but it’s also more intimate and fun. San Diego is great, but it’s incredibly overwhelming. At the Baltimore show, you can talk more with the fans, because they’re there to interact with the creators. And I’ll also be selling copies of Timespell with co-creator Rich Henn, so that’s a natural hook–and segue–into Finders Keepers.

They’re likely won’t be any Hollywood-type agents and producers there, although you never know, so it’s also a bit more relaxing from that standpoint. It’s more fun because it’s more interactive with the fans, who are also there to spend money on our stuff! So that’s also great.

As with the San Diego show, I will blog throughout next week about my experiences in Baltimore, and will take pictures and get them posted as soon as I can. I’m hoping to be up again on Monday with lots of new tales about Finders Keepers …

Have a great weekend!

Behind Every Good Man …

The old saying goes that behind every good man is a good woman. Truer words could not be spoken in my case.

As Liz and I are coming up on our fifth wedding anniversary (Nov. 2), I find myself reflecting quite a bit on the years we?ve spent together so far, and the many more that lie ahead. I feel blessed that the gods brought us together. I am truly grateful.

And in regard to Finders Keepers, and my writing overall, Liz has been an absolute champ, constantly supporting me, believing inThe old saying goes that behind every good man is a good woman. Truer words could not be spoken in my case.

As Liz and I are coming up on our fifth wedding anniversary (Nov. 2), I find myself reflecting quite a bit on the years we?ve spent together so far, and the many more that lie ahead. I feel blessed that the gods brought us together. I am truly grateful.

And in regard to Finders Keepers, and my writing overall, Liz has been an absolute champ, constantly supporting me, believing in me. She reads pages for me when I ask and she listens to ideas when I need a sounding board. I don?t always need?or even expect?a lot of feedback, but it?s great just to have someone who will listen.

And when I have those days when I?m frustrated and down, Liz is there to tell me that she believes in me, that sooner or later things will indeed take off, that tomorrow is another day, and many great things can happen in just one day. It?s those moments in particular that mean so much. And it isn?t that Liz is a big rah-rah cheerleader type?she?s not. It?s her soft smiles. It?s her understanding of just how important all this is to me.

Liz backs me by being there, day after day, week after week, year after year. She laughs with me when I?m up and she?s gentle when I?m down. She allows me to be me, and all that comes with it.

What else could I possibly ask for?

Post edited by: rcolchamiro, at: 2007/09/06 13:47

Agents Update: Russ Smash!

The last few weeks proved a real test for me. I was very energetic, gearing up for another wave of query letters?including sending sample pages requested by a local agent?when my trust printer started getting wonky on me.

I got a message on the read-out that said the color ink cartridge was out and needed replacing. I looked at the message curiously, as the color cartridge was fairly new. Still, I replaced it. And yet the message was still the same. Not good.

So after doing some onlineThe last few weeks proved a real test for me. I was very energetic, gearing up for another wave of query letters?including sending sample pages requested by a local agent?when my trust printer started getting wonky on me.

I got a message on the read-out that said the color ink cartridge was out and needed replacing. I looked at the message curiously, as the color cartridge was fairly new. Still, I replaced it. And yet the message was still the same. Not good.

So after doing some online research, I found that I needed to clean the printer heads, which were likely filled with pools of ink gunk. I did as instructed, getting red, yellow and blue ink all over my hands and arms, and then started the printer back up. Same deal. No dice.

So I went back and did yet more research, and found a bunch of other people who all had the same problem. The reality was that my printer had simply crapped out. The ink heads were done. Toast. And when that happens, it just isn?t worth the money to replace them. It?s time to buy a new printer.

Normally I would have gotten really upset. At least two weeks had gone by without being able to print out letters and keep the momentum flowing on Finders Keepers?something I can directly influence?but I decided to take a more patient approach than I?ve had in the past when these kinds of problems arise, which is me getting angry and petty, yelling at a machine for not functioning properly when I decide that it should. After all, getting upset wasn?t going to magically fix the printer, although the thought did cross my mind to smash it with a hammer until the pages started flowing. But I allowed reason to lead the way, and simply stayed calm. Patient.

In total it took about three and half weeks until I had a new printer in place, but now that it?s up and running and working like a charm, I?m back at it. Over the last week I?ve sent out a dozen query letters?including those sample pages to the agent who requested them?and have several more to go.

And yet I have to admit that a part of me missed not throwing a little tantrum over the faulty machinery?for some reason, acting so petty sometimes makes me feel important; ego stroking, I suppose?and yet the other part of me felt really satisfied that I didn?t let those petty, immature impulses dictate my attitude or my actions.

It?s amazing how much my fate can be tied to a hunk of machinery like a printer, but this is how it goes. Sometimes the printer dies, sometimes the computer dies. It happens. It?ll happen again. It?s just that being a writer in this modern age has me so dependent on these electronic gadgets?gadgets that usually work well?that when they konk out, I get frustrated. But worse, I feel helpless, which is where I think the petty tantrums come from. It?s my lashing out at my lack of control. For the most part, I don?t have the technical expertise to fix these gadgets myself?and to get instant relief from my frustration. To a certain degree, I am at their mercy.

Technology can be wonderful. And sometimes not so much. But at least the flow of agents letters is finally back on track. The buzz is flowing on Finders Keepers, and I?m back in my rhythm, feeling good.

Post edited by: rcolchamiro, at: 2007/09/06 06:51

Post edited by: rcolchamiro, at: 2007/10/16 05:43

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