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Didn’t get to go to San Diego Comic Con? Look no further!

July 24th, 2013 · Uncategorized

Check out the updates, photos and celeb sightings here with my Facebook postings!

Read them here

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“The Lone Ranger” wasn’t that bad?

July 24th, 2013 · Uncategorized

Last night I had the displeasure of sitting through “The Lone Ranger.” Now, I say displeasure not because it was a bad movie, but because it could have been a fantastic movie. If it knew what kind of film it had wanted to be. Comedy? Buddy action flick? It didn’t know and I don’t think the filmmakers did either…

The problems with the film started right away when I knew the move was going to be “narrated” by Johnny Depp in “old man” make-up (which never looks real, no matter how well it’s designed or constructed). He’s lost his mind (crazy old Indian) or has he? as he tells a youngster the tale of the Lone Ranger and Tonto. These moments, usually designed to give the audience a break from the narrative and action by offering insight into the mindset of a main character did nothing but slow the pacing, provide cheap laughs (more on that in a bit) and interrupt some really well acted and scripted dramatic moments.

The character of the Lone Ranger is what most would think of as a bit of a stiff one in today’s world, trading killing bad guys for bringing them to justice in a court of law. Personally, I like that. As screenwriters, with movies like Death Wish all the way up to Machete, we’ve taught our society that justice only comes from the barrel of a gun. That’s not always the case and this movie does a great job of capturing that core character sentiment in John Reid. But what this movie fails to do with all of the major characters is to place what could be seen as much needed levity by adding jokes and gags that destroys the core fibers of what makes them who they are. Each of the characters is dumbed down with stupid gags, pratfalls and sight jokes, crippling the believability of their later heroic actions and efforts. For instance, when we first meet John Reid on a train coming home after graduating law school, he helps a baby get her dropped dolly back. But instead of showing how caring he is by having him hand it back to her, we see what a buffoon he is when it gets unrealistically sucked out of an open window. Why do we need this? Reid’s all about the Law, not an imbecilic klutz, and to show him as such simplifies the character almost to a point of no return.

And Tonto. Weeeellllll… Let’s forget Tonto’s make-up and bird headdress (Depp is after all, Johnny Depp and must find a quirk in every character he plays. The truth is, the make-up is inspired by a painting of an Indian called “I am Crow” – Google it) but instead focus on the stupidity of the humor that is so obviously misplaced that it’s insulting. He goes from trusted friend (kemosabe in this movie means “wrong brother” not “trusted friend”) to insult slinging sidekick who isn’t even a necessity. Why must buddies all hate one another in these films? When did male bonding and brotherly friendship become bad?

To break up real emotional moments with humor does three things: 1. it shows the filmmakers didn’t believe in the truth they were trying to create with the emotion they were conveying, 2. it shows how stupid Hollywood thinks the general public is. No, you’re not allowed to feel sad, introspective or even pity because those are emotions most people are uncomfortable with so we’ll make you forget about the hundreds of DEAD INDIANS and place Silver on a tree wearing a hat, and 3. it proves Hollywood doesn’t trust the property they’re working with. Humor in films like Avengers comes from the archetypes of the character they’re working with. Tony Start is a smart-mouth who uses sarcastic humor to push people away because he’s afraid to let anyone get close to him because of abandonment issues. But the usually stoic Tonto is a very spiritual and serious character (especially in this film – not to spoil it) so the humor really does come out of left field and is wrong to say the least.

What’s worse is at certain times they even poke fun of the classic Lone Ranger elements, as if to say “Yes, we know these need to be in here, but they’re stupid and dated and so are you if you like them.” And it makes those of us who enjoyed and loved these types of films for just that, those moments, in essence calling us old and stupid. James Bond will never have gadgets again? Really? Hell, Batman STILL HAS a giant penny in the trophy room of the Batcave and that’s from the 50’s (it’s called an “homage”). See, what DC has been able to do with some of their characters (and I thank Geoff Johns for this one) is to look at those times nostalgically and say “yes, we had Batman and Robin in space with bubble helmets and jetpacks, but so what?” We’ve progressed with technology and science, so in certain issues Batman even shakes his head once in a while as if to say, “wow how did we survive those times.” That’s not making fun of it, but acknowledging to an older audience that we know they’re there and appreciate their continued support as we build a new fan-base. The 60’s Batmobile is STILL in the comic today.

It was storytelling for the period and those times are revered by a large number of people, where there was still innocence in the world and people looked up to heroes. But the filmmakers crap all over that here when Reid rears Silver back and shouts “Hi Ho Silver, away!” by saying to the audience that we’re old and stupid because Tonto pipes right up and tells him to “never do that again!” I was so pissed at that moment because it was shot so well and looked really cool, so when Tonto told him to knock it off, I felt as if it was the filmmakers telling everyone in the audience who was waiting for that iconic moment that your old, outdated and an idiot if you ever thought that was cool. It was really, truly insulting.

Technically, the film was shot well and really captured the feeling of the old west. Verbinski does a great job of transporting us back to the days of yesteryear, but is hampered with a great script sabotaged with misplaced comedy. The pallet is perfect, cinematography excellent, the acting solid and the effects flawless (well, for the most part. The exploding bridge was a brilliant practical miniature, but some of the comps were lack-luster and filled with blue-spill).

The humor just ruined it.

Instead of feeling the gravity of a situation and getting the emotional impact of a scene, we are immediately hit with a comedy hammer right across the face to as if to say “snap you out of it.” It’s a waste, as this movie (sans the stupid misplaced humor) is actually a good film and I would LOVE someone to edit the comedy out of the film for the most part – I’d buy that for a dollar!

D – DVD

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Going to San Diego Comic Con? I am!

July 15th, 2013 · Uncategorized

My San Diego Comic Con signing schedule as of right now–

THURSDAY
SIGNING AT IDW BOOTH (#2643) 1:00 – 2:00pm

SATURDAY
SIGNING AT ARCANA BOOTH (#2415) – 1:15-2:00pm

SUNDAY
SIGNING AT IDW BOOTH (#2643) 3:00 – 4:00pm

We’ll have a lot of freebies from America’s Army (exclusive trading cards, comics, and even FREE ARTIST SKETCH CARDS drawn on-site!!) at the IDW booth, so please come on by and meet me as well as Scott R. Brooks, the artist for the series.

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America’s Army comic a huge success!!!

July 15th, 2013 · Uncategorized

Here is a very nice article that mentions my contributions to the comic, as well as discussing the history of the project in whole–

Read it here

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IDW publishing my America’s Army comic!

June 18th, 2013 · Uncategorized

Yep, you read that right! IDW Publishing (Star Trek, Transformers, GI JOE) is now going to be publishing the comic book I’m writing based on the first-person video game AMERICA’S ARMY! It’s a great week! That, closing on a house (thank you, no money down VA loan!), getting the final draft of a novella finished and working towards completing my first major science fiction novel? That’s what I call a great week!

If you’re interested in AA, please check out the free digital version from IDW–

IDW America’s Army

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WonderCon, anyone?

March 27th, 2013 · Uncategorized

Going to WonderCon? Check out the America’s Army WonderCon page! Sign up for the AA newsletter we’re calling “INCOMING!” and make sure to say hey if you see me in the hall!

America’s Army WonderCon Page

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The New Bloodlines Book Cover!

February 21st, 2013 · Novels, Update

Here is the latest Bloodlines cover! Nice work!

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“XCOM: Enemy Unknown” Wins

February 20th, 2013 · News

XCOM: Enemy Unknown, the game I wrote for Firaxis and 2K, won E3 Strategy game of the Year for 2012 and was chosen by the 2012 Spike TV Video Game Awards Best PC Game. Giant Bomb and GameTrailers awarded it their overall Game of the Year award for 2012. GameSpy gave XCOM its Game of the Year award (“Achievements: Game of the Year, High Tension, Making Turn-Based Cool Again”), writing that “few games can deliver the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat in the way that XCOM does.” Excellent work, Jake, Jack, Garth, Scott and the rest of the team!

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Literary Awards for Bloodlines

February 20th, 2013 · News

OH! And by the way this happened. Bloodlines: A Time fro War won two literary awards in 2012: 1. Silver Medal winner in the 2012 Stars and Flags Book Award and, 2.2012 Books of Note – TriState Young Adult Review Committee. This is, of course, added to the 2011 Moonbeam Children’s Book Awards where it won a silver medal. Thanks everyone for loving the book!

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Quick Update!

February 20th, 2013 · Uncategorized

Well, I know it’s been a while since I posted. But that’s what happens when you’re working so much, you just don’t have time for anything else! Let’s list it out: 2 novels, 2 adaptations, 1 OGN, 1 regular monthly series, 3 miniseries, 5 pitch proposals and trying to keep up with my own personal stuff! Yikes! It’s no wonder I’ve always got insomnia! The only thing that seems to keep me grounded is working out. If I skip that, then WHAM! I’m awake until three. Well, that’s the update, back at it!

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