I am HUGELY excited to report that my second novel, THE CESTUS CONTRACT, has been nominated for Best Novel in the NEW PULP AWARDS. This is especially exciting for me because I am a huge fan of a lot of the other work nominated in the same category am honored to be listed in the group.
If you’re a fan of the book or of my work in general, then make sure to head on over to the New Pulp Awards website to grab the ballot. You can either grab the ballot at the link HERE or you can cut and paste the following and email it to the New Pulp Awards.
The other day on Reddit, someone had this to say on subject of me caring about the quality of my writing:
“…I doubt you care, and I use the word doubt clearly, because there is no way in hell someone who cares would release what you release and do so with pride unless they have one big ass case of the Dunning Kruger Syndrome. Genuine 1 to 1 comment – how on earth did you even think of becoming a writer? I just can’t wrap my ahead around the extreme arrogance.”
I get this kind of reaction in certain circles, being a self-published writer and all. Heck, I got that kind of reaction quite a bit from my fellow students while pursuing my BA in Creative Writing form SFSU. Even before seriously started writing all this “genre” stuff, I was reading it voraciously. I had family members and teachers back in junior high and high school ask me constantly, why do you want to read that? So much why, why, why? As if, for some reason, because they can’t understand it, we have to justify why we read it, draw it, play it, watch it, and/or write it.
Here’s my answer: “Because it’s cool, I love it, and I want to.”
That’s the beauty of the world we live in. We artist can do anything we want, in any way we want to do, and put it out into the world just in case someone else might find joy in what we’re doing, ALL WITHOUT NEEDING ANYONE ELSE’S PERMISSION.
This is what DEAD WEIGHT is to me. It’s a big fat can of “Because it’s cool, I love it, and I want to.” When I turned in the very first draft of it for a short story class, a classmate said something along the lines of, “This would never happen. Why bother writing a story about it.” My reply, “Why be such a control freak about fiction.” Yeah, I can be a little snarky. I had someone really close to me complain about all the geek/nerd culture references in “The Tombs.” One: I’m just getting started with those. And, Two: I’m sick of shows/books/movies created for geeks, but exist in worlds where the basis for those geeky things don’t exist. Just once, I want to see a Zombie anything take place in a world where the people frakking know about frakking zombies. Maybe not everyone, but at least some people. Maybe some of their information is wrong, but dammit, putting something into the brain pan of an undead anything shouldn’t be a huge leap of logic.
Even in the very first draft, I had the fantasy references going. Boy Scout humping through Faerie with the platoon of Marines knew about Faeries because he’d read a bunch of books about them. His mother was also a fantasy nut. He made certain choices because of understanding fantasy tropes and clichés. I’ve held onto that little bit through every subsequent draft, putting more references and Easter eggs. At its heart, Dead Weight is about artist across all mediums, and really, these days more and more people, especially artists, are embracing this whole geek thing. And really, the more stuff we geeky folks write/create for other geeky folks should celebrate the geeky stuff that binds us all together. So, while Dead Weight is dark, grim, gritty, and deals with some pretty mature themes, it’s also a celebration of what it is to be an artist and a lover of art. It’s also a celebration of loving things with a passion that really only exists in geek circles, because we are the foundation of fan movements, and fan comes from the base word “fanatic.”
So the next time you’re enjoying something geeky or nerdy that you love, whether it’s as the artist or a consumer, and someone asks you why (usually in that tone of voice that let you know in no uncertain terms that they think you should be ashamed of it), you look them up and down, pity because they don’t grok, then smile knowingly and say, “Because it’s cool, I love it, and I want to.”
M Todd Gallowglas is the bestselling author of the Tears of Rage Sequence, Halloween Jack books, and most recently, Dead Weight: The Tombs. While not up to his ears in homework while earning a BA in Creative Writing from San Francisco State University, he fought crime as a costumed vigilante to relieve stress. Since then, he has returned to his career as professional storyteller at Renaissance Faires. He is currently corrupting his children by raising them with a rich education of geek culture. Shiny!
INTERVIEW with the Actual Roger creator, Hank Tucker!
Tell us a bit about yourself.
I’ve been in animation for 40 years starting at Filmfair – a commercial house in Studio City in ’74 – first packing artwork in boxes then eventually animating. When studios began outsourcing animation i decided to move into storyboarding. Art Vitello (one of the best TV animation producer/directors of the 80′s-’90′s) who I’d befriended at Bakshi’s on Lord of The Rings, recommended me to John Dorman at Ruby /Spears who hired me onto Thundarr the Barbarian. A priceless intro: I was 23 working with Jack Kirby, Doug Wildy, Steve Gerber and Jim Woodring (!) Since then I’ve boarded on many feature and TV projects as well as produced and directed a few shows, including (my favorite) two of the three seasons of The Tick animated series for Fox, another gig Art V. recommended me for after directing over half of the first season himself.
How long have you been creating comics?
The day I began Roger was the day I began doing comics. I had some preconceptions about them based on childhood heroes like Kurt Swann, Mort Drucker, Jack Davis and Charles Schulz and I just threw myself into it, occasionally glancing at people like McFarlane and Miller for a “Oh! You can do that too?” lesson or two.
Tell us about “The Actual Roger”. What’s the story about?
The Actual Roger is about a kid whose one time dream of being a superhero not only becomes real but a DUTY, forced on him by a state that demands anybody “super” be registered…and be “heroic”. The conceit is that nobody with super powers would be allowed to just run around un-monitored, but would be forced by law to be heroic. Just like a doctor is legally forbidden to let a guy choke to death at a restaurant (fortunately). They could at least be sued. But the state here is also answerable to a fickle media and public waiting to reward and punish “bad guys” and “good guys”. “Compulsory” heroism! If you’re anything less than heroic when somebody’s iPhone or a web cam or security cam is rolling, you could be in for a social and/or legal nightmare. Roger and his super “mentor” Magnanino have to be PERFECT. This is a pain for them – always being watched – and hopefully a crack-up for us.
How did the idea of the story come to you?
It started with a dream I had when I was nine (Roger’s age); the second most realistic dream I’ve ever had: I was laying on the floor – just like Rog – pushed up and began flying around the house a foot and half high. Years later I wanted to do something light and silly with superheroes and I remembered the dream. Many superhero parodies start with a half-super or not-super fop; a guy who doesn’t realize how challenged he is physically, intellectually or morally (Daffy Duck syndrome). But I thought, what about a guy who knows EXACTLY how un-super he is yet ends up in the spotlight forced to perform anyway. They’d wanna be anywhere else. To me this was funny. “You ‘re ON Rog! Stop that monster! You ‘re super for crying out loud!” My other super realistic dream was I “woke up ” with an arm growing out of my back but I couldn’t think of a series to go with it, though…
Do you have a critique group/partner or beta readers, or do you self-edit?
I criticize myself…very gently and always couched in praise. And I still hate myself. My primary editing is waking up at 4:00 AM shouting, “Crap! That makes NO f-Ing sense!!”
Are you a plotter or a pantser?
I always start as a plotter; a fearful, meticulous, borderline-neurotic one. Then I start drawing. At which point most of that plotting falls apart or bores me stiff and goes out the window. I guess that makes me a Werepantser. Bill Scott and Jay Ward (also heroes of mine) had to put signs up saying “Don’t forget: plot , plot, plot!” I agree plot is important to comedy, too. But what a drag! Even the word sounds like something wet hitting the floor: “Plot!”
What’s the hardest part of creating comics for you?
Oh, just staying in the chair. I’m 58. My back! After that, it’s trying to keep to a plan of where I’m headed story wise and not get mesmerized by every Tom, Dick or Gordon joke that pops up. ”Stay the course !” that sour-ball in my head keeps nagging, “and stay in your chair!”
What do you absolutely have to have nearby when creating?
Coffee, I phone, IPad, Hershey bar, money, Ranch nacho chips, um…did I say coffee?
If you could have any super power, what would it be?
Soon after that childhood flying dream I discovered I had acrophobia. That was about the end of my desire for any particular superpower. By now it’s mostly case by case: I stub my toe I wish I was invulnerable; lid’s too tight on the peanut butter I wish I had super strength; stuck in traffic I wish I was The Rhino, etc.
What’s the weirdest thing you’ve googled?
The history of psychosurgery. I was doing a spec script about it a few years ago and it seemed just fascinating! Couldn’t get enough info. But people – my wife – kept saying it was weird me watching brain surgeries and lobotomies all day. I finally took their word for it. I mean, if EVERYBODY says it’s weird, then that’s the measure of weird.
Finish this sentence: If I’m not writing, I’m probably …
Punishing myself for it or eating.
Here’s the part where you thank the people who are supporting you.
Listen , there are tons of people but to narrow it down : my Wife (Ginny) and my kids; Art Vitello – still there for support, info and a kind word – and my understanding publisher at Alterna, Peter Simeti.
And finally, where can people find you and your book online?”
I’m on Twitter (@HTucker007 and my other account: @8_Tucker ) and LinkedIn for now. And my books are on Comixology
Just type a search for The Actual Roger
After the success of book 1, World Famous Comic Book artist Glenn Fabry has hit back with a second edition!!
68 pages of sketches, paintings and never before seen works. Great art of characters such as Preacher, Hellblazer, Batman, Superman, Daredevil, Slaine, Thor, the Avengers, Zombies, Judge Dredd and many more.
ORDER NOW from your local comic book store!!! order codes below
Artist Bio: Glenn Fabry’s career began in 1985, drawing Slaine for 2000 AD, with writer Pat Mills. He also worked with Mills on the newspaper strip Scatha in 1987. Painted work followed in Crisis, Revolver and Deadline. In 1991 he took over painting the covers of Hellblazer, then written by Garth Ennis.
He has continued his association with Ennis, painting the covers for his Vertigo series Preacher, and drawing Ennis-written stories in The Authority and Thor. In 2003 he drew a story in Neil Gaiman’s Sandman anthology Endless
One of my favorite new comic book finds recently is THE ACTUAL ROGER by Hank Tucker and I’m excited to see that issue #2 was released from Alterna Comics over on Comixology earlier this week.
Here’s what Hank has to say about the series:
A light adventure/comedy about a nine-year old kid whose sudden ability to fly gets him sucked unwillingly into the superhero world as side-kick to a crabbily resentful superhero forced by “the powers that be” to keep him along as a disarming public relations tactic.
ISSUE 2 SYNOPSIS: Somewhere in suburban L.A., a freak cosmic event suddenly enables nine-year-old Lakers nut Roger Beaman with the ability to fly.
In the old days when those things happened the newly empowered could slink off to arctic fortresses, bat caves or newsroom closets and be “heroic” when and how they chose, or not at all – well not any more! On his maiden flight, Roger is stopped by authorities, removed from his home and forced to play side-kick to an actual super-hero who really doesn’t seem to want him around. Can things get any worse? Oh yes. Oh yes they can.
If you love great, solid, fun adventure stories, then do yourself a favor and check out THE ACTUAL ROGER. You won’t regret it!
BIO FOR HANK TUCKER: Hank has been in animation for over three decades both as a story artist (most recently the new Road Runner Theatrical Shorts for Warners and Planes for Disney) and as a producer/director on several series including two of the three seasons of The Tick animated series for Fox.
Synopsis: In the wake of global catastrophe caused by magnetic pole reversal the race is on for power and control of the world.
A doctor finds herself alone and begins a journal as she makes her way in the changed world.
Armed with heightened sensitivity to the new supercharged energy in the air she attempts to reach her family and finds herself inadvertently redirected to the newly risen continent of Atlantis to defend every belief she holds true about her country and herself.
Bio: Megan Sebastian is a native of Oklahoma who currently resides in Denver, CO. Having lived all over the United States, from Atlanta, GA to El Segundo, CA (with a lot of time skiing in-between) she has always pondered what would happen if there were planet wide catastrophe. The planet is in constant movement after all, a molten wobbly egg, spinning and hurtling through space.
In the US alone, if simultaneously the New Madrid seismic zone shakes the Midwest as the Yellowstone volcano erupts in the West, and the Cascadia fault produces a huge earthquake and tsunami on the
(This post originally ran over on the Genre Underground site)
Two years ago, when I sat down to start writing on my first novel, THE CESTUS CONCERN, I had it in my head that I was going to be writing a futuristic cyberpunk novel loaded with science fiction. After all, the book was populated with high tech bionic men with abilities far beyond the norm, cybernetic rewiring of brains, and computer controlled minds.
Doing research over the past few months for my second novel, The Cestus Contract, I realized that most of what I had assumed was science fiction had become science fact. Now that book two is out, I’m not quite as sure how far off the science really is…and the realization has blown me away. Full Story →
Readers of my first two novels, The Cestus Concern and The Cestus Contract, will already be familiar with the man behind today’s offering. In the books, David Zuzelo (or “Zuz”) is the slightly paranoid computer programmer sidekick for Malcolm Weir. What you probably don’t know is that Zuz is based loosely on a real guy and friend. The real David Zuzelo is, like me, a hardcore action-adventure fan and his posts on Facebook were some of the things that kept me going during my writing process on The Cestus Concern.
David is also a music fan who was kind enough to put together an insanely badass playlist of music that can help get you in the right mindframe for reading the insane action of my Weir Codex books. If you’re ready to have your face melted off, then check out the selection of music in David Zuzelo’s Cestus CyberCrash Soundtrack!
Enjoy the music! Oh, and if you haven’t checked out my bestselling science fiction, action, cyberpunk novels, now is your chance!
A question I get asked a lot about my new novel, THE CESTUS CONTRACT, is “where does it come from and what are your influences on it?” Okay, so that was two questions squished together. Usually, once they’ve posed the question, the asker will then go on to start guessing at those influences. The most popular guesses have been The Six-Million Dollar Man, Terminator, The Bourne Identity, Wolverine and The Matrix. All good choices and all things I am a fan of — all things that have probably added to what I wanted to do with the work itself.
However, the single biggest influence on the Weir Codex books is the work of a man absolutely no one has offered up as a guess. The man in question is Japanese manga artist and creative genius, Shotaro Ishinomori.
Mat Nastos has been a film/tv artist, director and writer since the early 1990s. His work has been published by Marvel Comics, DC Comics, Warp Graphics, Playboy and Highlights for Kids, and has been seen everywhere from the SyFy Channel to Cinemax to the Disney Channel.
He is the author of the Amazon.com Best Selling novel, THE CESTUS CONCERN.
All material on this site is copyright 2012 by Mat Nastos, except where otherwise indicated. All rights reserved.