So Long, San Diego!

It’s now Thursday and I’m still not fully recovered from Comic-Con. I’m not sure if this is a symptom of getting older, or simply that I went a little crazier than usual this year. Probably both. Regardless, I had a lot of fun in San Diego. I think having a successful project to promote definitely helps and so does having a lot of friends at the convention. And fortunately, I was very lucky to have both this year.

On the project side, San Diego Comic-Con marked the debut of the Fraggle Rock hardcover. It’s been fun seeing the individual issues come out, but I don’t think it fully struck me how great this collection is until I saw it all compiled into a single volume. That’s a lot of talent in one book, as well as a lot of diversity. The stories are fun and unique, the art is beautiful and lush. People were talking about our book at the convention, and I can see why. It stands out. I’d like to say it was all by design and to some extent it was. Joe LeFavi, Paul Morrissey and I set the bar high when it came to stories and art. However, I didn’t realize how well it would all work as a collection, with all the stories laid out side-by-side. That was serendipity, and it struck in the middle of the Archaia booth at the San Diego convention center.

As for friends, I’m fortunate after eight years of working on comics to have quite a few in the industry, and it’s always nice to catch up with them at conventions. But this year brought several friends to San Diego whom I hadn’t seen in years, including one partner-in-crime whom I hadn’t seen since I was first introduced to her nearly five years ago. That made this more than a convention for me. It was more like a reunion.

You see, for those of you curious about comic book editing, there’s a very simple trick to having a fulfilling and successful career as an editor: work with people you enjoy working with. There are plenty of talented people out there, but not all of them are going to be pleasant or professional. I realize that this isn’t a reality for many editors out there. When you’re responsible for getting a dozen comics to the printer on time each month, you don’t always have the luxury of working only with your favorite artists. But I’m not in that position right now, and one thing I’ve learned is that my limited time is too valuable to waste on working with people I don’t truly like and admire.

And in that spirit, I’d like to thank all of the talented Fraggle Rock writers and artists who contributed to our first volume and helped us promote the series at Comic-Con. They’re all great people and unbelievably gifted at what they do:

Heather White
Jeff Stokely
Adrianne Ambrose
Nichol Ashworth
Sam Humphries
Jeremy Love
Grace Randolph
Bryce P. Coleman
Michael DiMotta
Katie Cook
Dave Lanphear

These guys aren’t just artists and writers. They’re friends, and when you work with friends, you can’t really call it “work,” can you? And for those of you who worked on the book and couldn’t make it to Comic-Con, hopefully you’ll be joining us in New York or at another convention in the future. I need you to sign my book!

This is why one Fraggle Rock writer should never interview another…

Adrianne Ambrose, a talented writer of comics and prose, recently conducted an interview with me to help promote the release of the first Fraggle Rock collection and celebrate the launch of Words That Stay. And as is typical with me and Adrianne, things soon went totally off the rails. If you’re looking for solid info about future issues of Fraggle Rock, you should probably look elsewhere. But if you’ve ever wondered which supervillain I’d most like to be when dining with the spouse of a classic American novelist, follow the below link.

While you’re there, be sure to congratulate Adrianne on the recent publication of her first novel, the YA comedy What I Learned From Being a Cheerleader.


I think of San Diego Comic-Con the same way I think of moving from childhood into adulthood. If you haven’t yet attended Comic-Con, it seems so exciting, colorful and full of promise. If you have the least interest in entertainment or pop culture, chances are good that attending Comic-Con at least once is something that’s on your bucket list. However, once you do, you’ll likely discover what those of us who attend most years already know—it ain’t all it’s cracked up to be.

Oh sure, like reaching adulthood, attending Comic-Con isn’t without its pleasures and positive experiences. There’s a lot to love about it. But for all its flash—all of the movie and TV show first looks, author signings, great costumes, endless swag and everything else that descends on San Diego like a pasty, bloated Toho monstrosity—the best thing most people who attend Comic-Con seem to be able to say about it is that it only happens once a year.

Still, let’s celebrate the things worth loving, shall we? Especially since I’ll be there for nearly all of the show and I don’t want to scare any of you out of going.

Yes, I’ll be at San Diego Comic-Con from Thursday through Sunday, promoting Fraggle Rock, Legends of The Dark Crystal and Return to Labyrinth, catching up with industry friends and trying to find at least one open bar each evening I’m there (if any of you have any tips, please let me know!). Most of the time, I’ll be either wandering the floor or in the Archaia booth (#2635), but I do have a few other events I’ll be participating in.

Legends of The Dark Crystal Signing & Poster Giveaway
Thursday, July 22 5-7 p.m.
Small Press Booth #O08

On Thursday, July 22nd, I’ll be taking over the Return to Labyrinth booth with the rest of the Legends of The Dark Crystal crew to sign and give out free posters with writer Barbara Kesel and artist Heidi Arnhold. The posters are fairly limited and once they’re gone, they’re gone, so be sure to stop by and get yours! Of course, if you have Legends of The Dark Crystal and would like us to sign it as well, we’ll be happy to.

ARCHAIA: The Jim Henson Company panel
Sunday, July 25 11 a.m.-12 p.m.
Room #25ABC

If you’re a Jim Henson fan and a comic book lover, you’re absolutely not going to want to miss this panel. I’ll be discussing Fraggle Rock and the exciting new projects Archaia and The Jim Henson Company will be releasing in 2011, including the new Dark Crystal and Labyrinth comics, with the other talented people making these books happen. Other panelists include Archaia Editor-in-Chief Stephen Christy, Editor Paul Morrissey, Consulting Editor Joe LeFavi, Fraggle Rock comic creators Heather White, Heidi Arnhold and Sam Humphries, and legendary illustrator and conceptual artist Brian Froud.

In addition, we’ll be giving away free Fraggle Rock posters at the Archaia booth and selling the Fraggle Rock Vol. 1 trade hardcover for the first time anywhere. Plus, we’ll be hosting nonstop Fraggle Rock signings throughout all five days of the convention, so if you do pick up a poster or the trade hardcover, come back throughout the show to have it signed by the different teams of creators who worked on the book!

Yes, it should be a fine weekend for all of you lucky enough to score passes this year and a hotel room that doesn’t require traveling by air to get to the convention center each morning. I really do hope that you get to see all that you want, and that I get to see all of you. But if it doesn’t work out that day and all we’re left with on Monday morning are several sizable bar tabs and a newfound case of PTSD…well, at least San Diego Comic-Con only happens once a year.

Forgotten Friday: Save Ferris “The World is New”

Today, I’m introducing what I’m hoping will become a recurring feature here on Words That Stay that I’ve decided to call “Forgotten Friday.”

As many of my close friends and family members can tell you, my memory doesn’t always seem to run on all cylinders. I’m often unable to remember names of people that I’ve been introduced to, conversations I’ve had with friends or important dates like birthdays, anniversaries or parole hearings. However, when it comes to remembering the most inane pieces of entertainment or microscopic blips on the pop culture radar, my memory functions with almost encyclopedic clarity. I can summarize episodes of bad television shows I watched in my youth and quote entire Fresh Prince lyrics. I can tell you that long before David Duchovny was searching for the truth with Gillian Anderson, he was introducing softcore porn on Showtime’s The Red Shoe Diaries. That Bruce Willis had a musical alter-ego in the 1980s called Bruno and a modest radio hit with his cover of “Respect Yourself.” That Stephen Spielberg’s first Hollywood directing was for Rod Serling’s Night Gallery. That some of the darkest and most widely remembered episodes of Alfred Hitchcock Presents were based on short stories by Roald Dahl, the author of some of the most popular children’s books ever written.

In short, while I seem to have a really tough time recalling the things that really matter in life, I have no problem recollecting the most inane, trivial shit I’m exposed to.

I’ve seen this as a real handicap over the years. But in the interest of making lemonade out of this particular lemon, I’m going to use this little quirk to occasionally write and remind people about movies, songs and possibly TV shows that were once fairly popular, but have since started fading into obscurity. Of course, for many of you, this may be the first time you’re hearing about some of these things. So while the name may be Forgotten Friday, I anticipate that for some of you, this will be less of a reminder and more of a beginning.

Whatever it is, I hope you enjoy it. And that if I forget your name at the next convention or mixer, you cut me a little slack.

So how many of you remember Save Ferris?

The year was 1997 and ska was enjoying a bit of a pop resurgence thanks to SoCal-bred bands such as No Doubt and Reel Big Fish. We can argue about whether it was a good thing that the resurgence was short-lived, but it was certainly fun for awhile, and Save Ferris looked and sounded like they were having an absolute blast.

The band was led by the energetic Monique Powell, and was one of the many alternative groups to emerge out of the late nineties Orange County music scene. Monique always struck me as the drinking man’s Gwen Stefani. She managed to look both sexy on stage and approachable, with a rapid-fire lyrical style and an easy, confident grin.

Of course, the No Doubt comparison didn’t end there. Save Ferris actually sounded a lot like No Doubt, which may have been their biggest handicap. More than a few people have gotten the two bands mixed up, and while Save Ferris may have been exciting to watch onstage, they were inconsistent in the studio. In fact, their biggest radio hit was actually a cover of Dexys Midnight Runners’ “Come on Eileen.” Save Ferris released a total of two full-length albums before breaking up in 2002.

The first time I ever heard Save Ferris, I was at a college party. I had just arrived and was making my way to the bar when someone put on their first album, 1997’s “It Means Everything.” The energy and hooks found in that album and particularly its first track, “The World is New,” were infectious, setting the perfect vibe for the night. I don’t remember many college parties, but I remember that one and I still clearly remember that song. I don’t think that’s a coincidence. Save Ferris may not have been around that long, but they knew how to make an impression…and they sure knew how to have a good time.

Here’s “The World is New,” in case you’ve never heard it:

Welcome to Words That Stay

Welcome to Words That Stay, my little corner of the web. And considering the web is now comprised of over 27 billion websites, it is a VERY little corner indeed. But small or not, it’s mine and if you’re here, I need to assume you have interest in my life, career or in reading about professional camel racing, which are the three topics I tend to blog about the most. That’s unless you wandered into this site expecting to find the old Words That Stay. The one where I used to call myself Morpheus.

Yeah, that doesn’t exist anymore. Sorry.

Regardless of why you’re here, I’m going to assume you know who I am. If you don’t, you can read my bio page or look over my past projects. And if you know me, you probably know about what to expect from this website.

Then again, maybe not. You see, one of the reasons I created a website for myself is because most of my professional writing has been in the comic book medium, but that’s not all I write. In addition to comics, I also write a lot of short fiction and humor, but until Apple gets into the short story business, there’s never going to be much interest in short fiction. Not from publishers, at any rate.

So while I doubt I’ll be posting all of my short fiction here, I will be posting some. In fact, I’ve already added a couple of short stories and one attempt at David Sedaris-like autobiography (written long before he was publishing). They’re all in the fiction section. I’m hoping this website gives you a chance to see a type of writing from me that you may not be accustomed to. And if some of you are reading it, I might just have motivation to write more of it as well.

Of course, I’m not only going to be writing short fiction here. I’m sure I’ll be blogging about things as the mood strikes me, sharing previews of my current projects, discussing books and comics you should be reading, movies you should be watching and black magic rituals you should be performing with your mates the next time you’re bored on a Friday night. I also expect this site to change and evolve over the months ahead. After all, if I expect you to spend time sitting in this little corner, it’s up to me to keep things interesting.