Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Let's Review A Comic Book!

Thanks to the internet and the ease-of-sharing that came with the explosion in social media platforms, there are more reviewers out there than ever, all itching to share their opinions on their topics of choice.

I'm going to talk about comics reviews a little.

Within the past couple of days, I've seen reviews that simply summarize plot (very common), one that gave a book high marks (but not explaining why), and one that simply said: "this was good."

That was the entirety of the review. And those were all POSITIVE reviews.

Negative reviews are often dismissive to show "comedy chops" on the part of the reviewer (or so it seems.) Sometimes it's to pick a nit, or to subtly/not so subtly rail against someone the reviewer feels superior to getting work in comics. (We can usually tell, guys.)

But the reviews, positive and negative, have something in common: the people creating them love comics, for the most part, and want to share their points of view. But so much gets left out. Summarizing? Not a review. Comedy routine about the lack of taste the creators have? Not a review! Focusing exclusively on either art or writing to the exclusion of the other? Not a [full] review! And of course, rating it in any way without supporting text: so not a review.

What I would like to suggest is the old school report/journalism basic "five Ws and how."

WHO.... created and published this book? Let us know the writer, the line artist(s), the color artist, the letterer and the editor. You should. Each of these people influence every book you read. You remove any one, and it's diminished.

WHAT.... is the book about? Don't summarize the plot in full - unless you want to give the writer of the comic credit for writing the bulk of your review for you! - but do give an overview. Maybe a few big points, thematic resonance if you tend to view things that way. Though that might also be considered part of the...

WHY.... should an audience read it? Or not read it? Even if you don't like it personally, if there is an audience for it, it bolsters your credibility to recommend any virtues it may have to that audience while, at the same time, being honest about your own tastes. A fine line to walk to be sure, but looking at something from many angles sure makes for a better review.

WHEN.... is the book coming out? Give it a street date, make sure folks know! If it's a fantastic comic, and your review has managed to sell that sought-after New Reader, they want to know when they can find it.

WHERE.... I know, I know - it's not a typical must for a review, but it sure helps in comics, especially with a book you're pushing. The direct market does not stretch to all corners. Make sure your site has links to sites like comixology, the DCBS, and the comic shop locator! Again, if you want people to look into what you're recommending, give them that chance.


HOW. Know a little bit about how a book is made. Know how to talk about story, art, color. Be able to see the additions good lettering makes. Do not just "rate" something by  your gut and regurgitate some text to go with it -- that's how we get 5 star reviews with an actual 3 star rating.

These are super basic. SUPER BASIC.

Others - notably writer Benjamin Bailey - have written solid "how tos" that cover many of these same points, and often do it better. In fact, we overlap on so many points, I could've just linked to Ben's article and left it at that... but I'm a loquacious son of a gun. Welcome to America.

So read Ben's article, absorb all of these points, and then go forth and enjoy some comics, everyone.

And remember what I said about how-to-find links?

Wednesday, May 4, 2016


I will be appearing at HOT COMICS in Richfield, MN for Free Comic Book Day this year!

Come say hi and talk about all the cool new comics out this year, Ghostbusters International, Back to the Future: Citizen Brown, or the upcoming Tobin's Spirit Guide!

I'll have a few things for sale, and some free mini-prints (while supplies last!)

Monday, April 18, 2016

Pre-Order Tobin's Spirit Guide TODAY!

It'll be in your hands come June, and Amazon has a great deal on it! So snap it up and feast your eyes on Kyle Hotz's killer illustrations, as well as a boatload of information on the supernatural from Drs. Ray Stantz and Egon Spengler... and me!

Just follow this link to preorder your copy:

Tobin's Spirit Guide: Official Ghostbusters Edition

(I'll be signing at San Diego Comic Con, and I'm also shooting to have a few other signings lined up throughout the rest of the summer, too!)

Thursday, April 14, 2016


I'm excited! This Saturday, April 16, I will be at the Bloomington VFW for COMIC CARD, a great little one day show that I had the privilege of attending last June.

I'll be hanging with local comics buddies Otis Frampton and Dave Wheeler, and the legendary Larry Hama will be there, too! It will be a fantastic time!

I will be bringing plenty of comics with me, and, as a first, I'll be bringing buttons from my sister's Etsy store -- including the debut of her GHOSTBUSTERS inspired sets, and an exclusive set (we're talking 10 of each design or less) of Captain America: Civil War inspired buttons.

Look and see (with more of the buttons she's sending found at the link at the top of the image):

Stop by and see me!

I'll also be at the MSP COMIC CON in May, at the MN State Fairgrounds! More on that show in a future post -- I hope to have some new things at the show for you! --but I want to put the bee in your bonnet.

Come on down to the Twin Cities!


Tuesday, April 12, 2016

My Signing at AW YEAH COMICS and my return to COMICCARD!

I finally got to visit Aw Yeah Comics in Muncie, Indiana, and it was made all the sweeter by the curveballs thrown at me in transit!

A bit of background. I've been talking with head honcho Christy about coming to the shop for a signing for about a year now -- so it's been built up -- and it was just a few months back that we finally got the details all ironed out. A date was picked! Travel was secured! Excitement built!

I drove down to MSP airport at 1am on Saturday, April 9. Got through security, got to my plane, boarded... and then... just as we were about to take off... we were waved back to the gate. It turns out there was a spoiler malfunction that had to be addressed. And then fixed. And then paperwork needed to be filed.

That took three hours. At one point, they asked all of the folks with connecting flights to disembark to speak with ticketing agents. While waiting in line, I also phoned the airline... and was told it looked like there was nothing. I could have chosen to go home at that point and scrubbed the signing, but I decided to double check. The ticketing agent in front of me was talking to two guys also heading to Indianapolis; she found a possible flight! Woo!

So we headed onward to Chicago. Where... that flight had no seats. Everything was oversold! I couldn't even get back to MN until the next day...!

But Chicago is only a few hours' drive from where I was going... so I rented a car and hit the road. It was GORGEOUS out! A great day for a drive! Only my anxiety of being late dampened things... but I made it. Only two hours late. There were costumed Ghostbusters on hand, a line of people, and plenty of books to sign -- and I had a fantastic time.

Certainly the most memorable trip to a signing ever...!

I want to thank the Christy, Mark, and Kyle for having me out, Circle City Ghostbusters for keeping things ghost-free, and all of the comics lovers who showed up! (Y'know, Kyle deserves an additional thanks for getting slimed.)

The store is a very keen place. A nice kids section, reading nooks!!! (which are my favorite part of every good bookstore) and an entire second story full of potential that they're already beginning to realize. If you're within a couple hours of Muncie, check it on out!

(I'll dig up some photos soon!)

This coming Saturday, I'll be in Bloomington at COMICCARD! It's a great one day show, and I look forward to it, and seeing fellow pros Otis Frampton, Dave Wheeler, and the great Larry Hama.

If you're in the Twin Cities, please come say hi! There will be comics, sketches, and -- here's something new -- buttons by my little sister! (Oooh, fancy!)

See some of you this Saturday!

Friday, March 11, 2016

TOBIN'S SPIRIT GUIDE -- Final Cover Revealed!

The final cover to Insight Editions' Tobin's Spirit Guide was released this afternoon by editor supreme Chris Prince.

I'm proud of this book! It was illustrated by Kyle Hotz, and written in conjunction with Drs. Ray Stantz and Egon Spengler of the Ghostbusters.

(Which is clearly how I got such intimate details of these investigations.)

The book should be out in June, but DON'T WAIT! Pre-order your copy now from Amazon!

Just follow this link:

And remember: we're ready to believe you!

Ghostbusters: The Board Game II!

The word is out on my latest Secret Project as the news broke today that Cryptozoic and Sony are reteaming for another outing into the world of the Ghostbusters!

The first game, which came out last year, got some rave responses from Ghostheads everywhere. Dan Schoening did the designwork, characters from our run on the comics were used, and he and I also worked on a little bit of an in-universe introduction to the game for the instruction manual...

Well, we're coming back!

Dan returns to do more designs! I'm on another backstory (and I'll be working with maestro Mataio Wilson to even more closely tailor the story to the game!)

I've talked with Mataio about some of the possibilities. He already shattered my expectations -- this game is going to be bigger in every way, from concept to execution.


I'll post word when the kickstarter campaign goes live.


Edit: here's the link to Cryptozoic's announcement!