Tag Archive for Comics

Booze and a Book: Cocktail and Comics

The Booze: An Old Fashioned cocktail

I mixed this one up with Redemption bourbon, simple syrup, and spiced orange bitters from Beehive Bitters. The Old Fashioned has quickly become my go-to cocktail because it softens even the harshest of bourbons without completely killing the flavor. It’s also a great way to enhance a a low-grade bourbon and make it more enjoyable.

I rather like the Redemption bourbon straight or in a cocktail. It has a 21% rye mash, so it has just a bit of a spicy kick to make it stand out from some other bourbons.

A traditional Old Fashioned calls for Angostura bitters, but I won a small bottle of the Beehive Bitters through an online offer and it’s a much better flavor. I’ve been nursing the bottle along, and I’m sure I’ll buy one or two of their other flavors when this bottle is done.

The Book: Mage: The Hero Discovered by Matt Wagner

I first read Mage back in high school when two clerks at my local comic shop told me how much they loved it. It was already done and collected in three volumes by then, so I purchased the first one. Before the end of the week, I’d returned for the second two.

I’ve loved this book since. It’s a modern retelling of the Arthurian legend, and it’s just a very clever, beautiful book. It’s been ages since I’ve read it myself, so I’m long overdue for a reread. My sons have both read it, and if you look carefully you can see some of the pages have fallen out because they even re-read it a time or two. I may have to order a new volume.

The second series, Mage: The Hero Defined, is boxed up in single issues somewhere in my longbox collection. I kind of expected the boys to go looking for it, but they never did. I may have to pick up a collected edition of that, too.

The main reason I chose this book this week, though, is because it’s finally been announced that the final series, Mage: The Hero Denied, will be published at last. It’s hard to believe it’s been 18 years since Defined was published. I can’t wait!

About Mike Oliveri

Mike Oliveri is a writer, martial artist, cigar aficionado, motorcyclist, and family man, but not necessarily in that order. He is currently hard at work on the werewolf noir series The Pack for Evileye Books.

iVerse Media Digital Comics

Now that I’ve had to upgrade my iPod to a shiny new iPod touch, one of the first things I did was download all the free comics offered by iVerse Media via Apple’s App Store. A friend showed me a few of them on his iPhone a few weeks back, and I hadn’t realized anyone actually ported comics over just yet (though I shouldn’t be surprised, I suppose).

There are a few others out there, but I started with iVerse’s offerings. Each comic is a stand-alone app, and the comics are broken down into single panels (or sets of panels) that appear on the screen one at a time. A simple swipe turns the virtual pages. I was surprised how easy they were to read, and at 99 cents a pop, I can see even casual comics readers downloading a few titles. I showed Atomic Robo to my sons, and they instantly picked up on how to navigate the pages. My seven year old can even change the preferences in the comic so the panels will slide instead of curl (he likes the former transition, I prefer the latter), he can use the slider to find the page he left off on after daddy “messed it up,” and he can even open and close the app himself.

In all, it makes an incredible little package.

There is a downside, of course. Some of the comics aren’t so easily broken down into the iPod’s screen dimensions. For example, a couple of the panels were obviously one larger panel cut into two or three screen pages. Half a character isn’t so bad when you’ve got the top half, but when you turn the page to get only legs, it’s kind of strange. I suspect some of this may have been lazy (or cheap) remixing, as not every comic had this problem. It can also be chalked up to the newness of the technology: artists aren’t thinking about the iPod yet, they’re concentrating on the printed page. Why would anyone want to cut up their beautiful art?

The other downside is a device problem. I took it outside and, even standing in the shade, I had a tough time making out some of the panels. Bright panels with a lot of contrast were readable but washed out, and dark panels turned to blobs of shadows and silhouettes. Laptops aren’t much better, so I’m curious to see how new screen technologies from Fujitsu and Ricoh turn out (once they become widely available for an affordable price, that is).

If I could offer one iVerse-specific criticism, I’d like to see them have a universal setting for the apps. I have no idea if this is even possible, but if there were a function call to a central app setting that determined the preferred page transition across all the comics, that would be great. As it is, I find myself having to drop into the settings of each app to make the switch.

Still, it was very cool sitting at my desk at work and burning through a comic book while waiting on some file transfers. If someone were willing to whip out a Kindle to download a book while sitting in a doctor’s waiting room or at an airport terminal, they could just as easily download a comic on their iPhone or iPod touch.

Is it the future of comics? I don’t know about that, but it certainly seems a viable future. Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to go download Atomic Robo #2 for the Midget and I.

About Mike Oliveri

Mike Oliveri is a writer, martial artist, cigar aficionado, motorcyclist, and family man, but not necessarily in that order. He is currently hard at work on the werewolf noir series The Pack for Evileye Books.

Tools of the Trade

Tools of the Trade

Originally uploaded by MikeOliveri.

About Mike Oliveri

Mike Oliveri is a writer, martial artist, cigar aficionado, motorcyclist, and family man, but not necessarily in that order. He is currently hard at work on the werewolf noir series The Pack for Evileye Books.

Wulf & Batsy

As long as I’m pimping comics, another friend of mine is releasing a comic in February. Artist Bryan Baugh is putting out his solo project, Wulf & Batsy, about a vampire and a werewolf.

Bryan and I were working on a project together, but between his work for Disney Animation and Wulf & Batsy, and all the juggling I’ve been doing with my own projects, we’ve back-burnered it for the time being. Bryan’s got an old-school sensibility when it comes to horror, and he loves drawing the pulpy stuff and pinups. Browse through his gallery and you’ll get a good feel for what he’s about.

Then tell your comic shop you need Wulf & Batsy.

About Mike Oliveri

Mike Oliveri is a writer, martial artist, cigar aficionado, motorcyclist, and family man, but not necessarily in that order. He is currently hard at work on the werewolf noir series The Pack for Evileye Books.

Just Buy The Damned Comic

It would appear the new The Damned mini series is available for preorder. Wicked cool. My comic shop has my subscription down already. How about you?

Cullen and Brian really don’t need me to pimp their books for them; The Damned kicks all form of ass and pretty much sells itself. Hell, the first series even optioned to Dreamworks. So don’t consider this pimping, call it making sure you’re aware you can get your hot little hands on the book in two months.

Order today. You won’t regret it.

About Mike Oliveri

Mike Oliveri is a writer, martial artist, cigar aficionado, motorcyclist, and family man, but not necessarily in that order. He is currently hard at work on the werewolf noir series The Pack for Evileye Books.

Rockin' Pneumonia

Until this week, I thought only old guys got pneumonia. They go to the hospital, get cut on a bit, then develop pneumonia while their frail, whithered bodies are trying to recover.

Then I got it myself at the buffet line.

I was supposed to eat at a steakhouse Saturday night, so I opted for a lunch of soup, salad and fish off the buffet at a restaurant not far from here. In trying to make a healthy choice, I ran afoul of some miserable bastard who not only couldn’t be bothered to keep his sick ass home, he had to go to a restaurant and put his germ-ridden hands all over someone else’s food.

“But Mike,” you might be thinking, “maybe they didn’t know they had it.”

Trust me, you know you’re sick when this gets a grip on you. The aches and chills started Monday morning, and by Monday night the thermometer hit 101.9 degrees (that’s Fahrenheit, of course) but I was so cold my teeth were chattering out the Morse code version of the short story I should have been working on.

Tuesday morning brought on 102.9 and I felt like I hadn’t had anything to drink for a week. I got out of bed and swore the Wife left a window open, so I threw a sweatshirt on over my t-shirt and crawled to the computer. Ten minutes later I ran shivering to bed and piled another blanket on top of the sheet, blanket, and comforter already there.

Like I said, you know you’re frickin’ sick, and if you have half a brain in your head you know you don’t go out and about when this stuff gets its hands on you, much less go around touching food someone else is going to eat. If there is any justice at all on this miserable planet, the guy who carried it to the restaurant coughed up a lung, choked on it, and died.

When I hit 103.6 I realized it probably wasn’t a good choice to catch up on the last five issues of Fall of Cthulhu. Talk about strange fever dreams…

That night? Diarrhea. Yeah. It really weirded me out, too, until I realized the greenish hue probably came from the knock-off NyQuil I’d been sucking down like maple syrup. I thought if I mixed in some cherry cough syrup I could at least be festively sick, but the Wife disagreed. She also refused to assist in any way, shape or form with my mad experiments and stashed away all the kids’ cough medicines.

I threw in the towel on Wednesday and went to the doctor. The local guy’s name is Dr. Stoecker, and I thought maybe it was a good omen that it’s pronounced “Stoker.” I filled out a half-inch thick stack of paperwork, then waited. And waited some more. Then I was escorted to a room where the nurse took my vitals and asked to wait for the doctor. So I waited.

And waited some more.

While I was waiting I got a phone call. This particular individual’s assigned ringtone is the bagpipe portion of “Amazing Grace” as played by the Dropkick Murphys. I honestly thought I was at my own funeral for the first ten seconds, and a minute later I was still giggling like an idiot when the doctor walked in. This is what I get for deciding it would be a good idea to hold off on the ibuprofen so the doctor could get an accurate picture of my symptoms. In a more lucid moment later that day, I realized this is like refusing a tourniquet for a severed arm so the doctor can find the arteries.

Dumbass.

The doc prescribed some heavy-duty prescription cough syrup and set me up for some chest x-rays. I was rather disappointed to discover the cough syrup was clear. Later, during the x-rays, I refrained from making Bruce Banner jokes. The nurse wrangling the nuclear isotopes was rather hot, see, so I thought of two things:

  1. Any nerdy comic book references from a chubby dude sweating steadily and radiating his excessive fever heat to a distance of five feet will probably have come off as significantly less than clever.
  2. Hot young nurses aren’t within the comic book demographic, so the joke would have been lost on her and will probably have come off as significantly less than clever.

Lose-lose situations mean keep your mouth shut. While I’m sure it would have been a great story to tell had I ripped off my shirt and screamed “Hulk smash!” in the middle of the radiology department, I’m sure mace would not have contributed in any positive way to my pneumonia.

That night I looked at the side effects for my two new drugs. In the left hand, diarrhea. In the right, constipation. Safe! Then I read a later section in the pamphlet that came with the antibiotic, a section labeled PRECAUTIONS:

General: Quinolones may cause central nervous system (CNS) events, including: nervousness, agitation, insomnia, anxiety, nightmares, or paranoia.

And I have seven more doses to go.

This Christmas is going to rock!

I’ll give the antibiotic credit, though — it knocked the fever out yesterday. By that evening I was ready to eat again, and today I was back at work. Not that it did a lot of good; we had early dismissal today and the two-week winter break starts Monday. I guess I just have to wait at home for the nightmares and paranoia to kick in.

I asked the Wife if she noticed any anxiety or agitation in me yet.

“Oh, yeah,” she said. “It started about eleven years ago.”

About Mike Oliveri

Mike Oliveri is a writer, martial artist, cigar aficionado, motorcyclist, and family man, but not necessarily in that order. He is currently hard at work on the werewolf noir series The Pack for Evileye Books.

Comic Book Gu — Er, Dude

I once told a coworker I read comics. She gave me a funny look and said “But you don’t live in your mom’s basement.”

Things took a stranger turn a month later, when someone I’d never met called me at work and said they had a box of comics I’d love. He dropped the box off at my house a week or so later, and he told me it was all great old stuff from the 50’s and 60’s. If I found anything of value, I was welcome to it.

I doubted it. But hey, comics are comics, right? I opened the box and sifted through it.

Yeah. Comic fans start knife fights in the convention aisles over adaptations of The Scarlett Letter and The Courtship of Miles Standish. I could probably talk a kid into Romeo & Juliet or Last of the Mohicans, but if I tried to hand them Silas Marner, they’d roll it up tight, shove it up my ass, and light the end on fire.

And I would deserve it.

If Frank Miller adapted it, that would be different. Maybe. Or hey, what about The Secret Life of Walter Mitty? Mitty at the end, standing in the rain with his cigarette in that wicked-cool Sin City style…

I digress. I brought the box to the school I worked for at the time, thinking it would be a quick and easy way for the scholastic bowl team to choke down some literature at practice or before matches. It had to be at least as good as a Cliff’s Notes volume, no?

Non-dweebs assume if a man reads comics, he must be an expert on the subject. Their expression when I say I don’t read superhero comics must be the same stupefied expression I gave an older gentleman when he found out I was a writer and asked if I’d ever submitted anything to Reader’s Digest. If I read comics, I must reliably be able to appraise their collection.

Just like another co-worker who brought me a box of comics. She knew next to nothing about them, only that they were from a relative who used to have a newsstand at a store she owned and this box contained a couple months’ worth of comics from that newsstand. I doubted there was anything of value in there, and if there was, it was probably crushed and mangled beneath the unbagged, unboarded, sloppy pile of crap on top.

But hey, comics are comics, right? I opened the box and sifted through it.

Ah, Brigade and Youngblood, twin scourges of the industry. I’d probably get another fiery comic book enema for those. Beneath them were more and more comics from the era, the first few months of 1993. These were during my Dark Ages, right before I got a new job and stumbled back into a comic shop for the first time in two or three years.

I did find some fun stuff, though. Lay your peepers on this:

T-Force, Sucka!

Yeah! Bust out the Mr. T cereal and Mr. T cartoon and we’ll have ourselves a massive nostalgia deathtrip. In fact, I think I’m going to give my dog a mohawk right now. Gotta love that bling on the cover, too. He looks like a disco ball with muscles.

Next I found a hero I’d never heard of:

Who?

Dom assures me he was a successful cartoon character, but I can’t shake the feeling he belongs in a bad WB sitcom. With that hat, he looks like Spike Lee in a Black Bolt costume minus the wings. “You don’t start none, there won’t be none?” Sounds like good advice to make sure the book fails.

Then I discovered Marvel may be mining their archives for current storylines:

Punisher Becomes Cap

See, Captain America is dead (for the moment). One of the characters to pick up the shield? That’s right, the Punisher. And here we are with What if The Punisher Became Captain America? from 1993. I wonder if that writer got any royalties. No? Oh, yeah. Work-for-hire contracts rock like that.

In the end I advised her to take the box to a comic shop down near her place. There were some Batman books in there that might raise an eyebrow, but most of it was quarter box fodder. Even if the owner gives up twenty bucks for the whole box, he could come out ahead and the teacher has less clutter in the house. Pack it up and good luck.

Worst. Appraiser. Ever.

On a side note, I just had to give her a hard time for unwittingly bringing six of these into an elementary school:

Smokin' Poker Deck

I’m still trying to puzzle out the subliminal message behind the pearl necklace. I can see the smokes thrust in the player’s face, but the pearls? What’s Joe doing here, offering a woman a choice? Telling guys to give their lady a necklace and enjoy a smoke? Now with that mindset, take a closer look at the car. One’s blowing a harmonica, and the other’s slyly pointing at his crotch. Are they telling me I’ll get a hummer if I smoke a Camel, or do I have to smoke a camel to get a smoke? Either ad people are weird or I need to get more sleep.

I can’t wait to see what comes my way next. I just know someone somewhere is dying to show me their old collection of Strawberry Shortcake comics.

If I have to peel the pages apart, I will call the police.

About Mike Oliveri

Mike Oliveri is a writer, martial artist, cigar aficionado, motorcyclist, and family man, but not necessarily in that order. He is currently hard at work on the werewolf noir series The Pack for Evileye Books.

Enough Tech! How 'Bout Writin'?

I’ve been blogging just about everything but my writing the last few weeks, so it’s high time I at least mentioned it before people start to forget that’s what I really want to do in the first place. Here’s a status report on several projects:

I’ve been thinking The Malice Engine may see life as a graphic novel rather than a prose novel. The content lends itself well to a visual presentation, and to be perfectly honest, it will probably see print a lot faster that way. I also think it would make a kickass animated feature if I can figure out a way to pitch it that way sometime. I’ve been sitting on a complete chapter-by-chapter outline for some time now.
The German edition of Deadliest of the Species is being shopped to German and Austrian book retailers this month. The publisher is seeing a lot of growth and is doing well with their current products, so I have a reason to feel good about my chances. I’m hoping to be of greater help to the promotion efforts once the book hits.

The top secret book still comes out next year. I still need to write a novella that will go on the back of the book, but it appears we’ve got an artist on board. I don’t even want to say who that is, but I will tell you that if you’ve been following the horror small press, you’ve seen his work.

The wrap-up to the story started with “To Fight With Monsters” in 4×4 and continued in To Travel Among Men in New Dark Voices is now officially two novellas. The first draft of the first novella, To Confront the Enemy, has been sent to two prereaders and one has given me good feedback already. The second novella, To Rise from the Ashes, is fully plotted out and just needs to be written. If all goes according to plan, the final published package will be the short story, the first novella, and these two novellas all combined to form the complete To Fight With Monsters saga.

There has been some interest expressed in Powerless, my next novel (unless you call To Fight With Monsters a novel). Not a solid sale, mind, but the potential is there. I’ve taken stock in what I have so far, and I have more finished than I thought. Some cleanup and a solid synopsis and I should be able to drop a pitch on a desk early in the new year.

Patrick Hoover, the artist of Wounded Gods, and I may be working on a different project soon, something more suited to his style. He’s got a few big events in his family life right now, but I hope we can tell you more about it in another month or two. I’ll be talking to a few other people about Wounded Gods in the near future.

Remember Muy Mal? Contrary to popular opinion, John, Weston and I do, too. Honest. We all just happened to get sidetracked by larger projects at the same time. In that respect, I guess we can call Muy Mal a success. The three of us are currently discussing a relaunch with an eye to complete the existing stories and wrap up the shebang. It’s patently obvious we can’t do this indefinitely as we originally planned, but we sure don’t want to leave everyone hanging. I’ll have more on this when we get it all nailed down.

I’m finishing up a zombie short story this week. It’s tentatively titled “My Husband the Zombie” and it will be submitted to a publisher I’ve been working with recently. I don’t want to say who until it’s officially accepted, but the good news is I was invited to the anthology and the plot has already been approved.

That’s the bulk of it. Not a major change from my previous updates, but I have moved forward some. There are a few other things in the works, but nothing near solid enough to be worth mentioning. Unfortunately I’m finding my keyboard time for December dwindling more and more, but January’s looking good.

More to come with the New Year.

About Mike Oliveri

Mike Oliveri is a writer, martial artist, cigar aficionado, motorcyclist, and family man, but not necessarily in that order. He is currently hard at work on the werewolf noir series The Pack for Evileye Books.