Tuesday, September 25, 2012
In one day, Godstorm #0 will be released in comic shops all over the country. To celebrate that, and maybe tease you a little bit, I'll tell a little tale of how the series came to fruition.
Last April, Ralph Tedesco (editor in chief at Zenescope and co-creator of Grimm Fairy Tales) asked me to write theGrimm Fairy Tales 2012 Annual, which told the stories of Greek and Roman gods in the GFT Universe. Based on Joe Brusha's outline, I spun a yarn about the gods of old living in modern times. Some of them have adjusted quite well - Zeus is living as a business man named Gregor Brontios, Venus is a fashion icon, and Ares is... well, still loving war, and there is no shortage of that in our world. Others... not so much. Neptune has become a homeless wanderer, and Hades has been locked in the underworld after refusing to join Venus in her plan to reclaim their former glory and take over Earth. And that really was the crux of it - Venus, not content with her fortune and fame, was rallying the troops for a war against humanity... and I was the guy that got to set it up. Very gratifying.
(GFT Annual 2012)
The issue debuted at Wizard World Philly, the first show where I hung out at the Zenescope booth. I was in my glory - the GFT Annual was out, and the day before, Raven Gregory had called me to give me the job writing Robyn Hood. At that point, I knew nothing about the book. The conversation with Raven had gone, "Pat, GUESS WHAT YOU'RE WRITING! Robyn Hood! New flagship title for Zenescope! It's all you, man!" Annnnd that's all I knew about that book. It was called Robyn Hood and I was writing it. I was approached by Dave Franchini from Zenescope, and he congratulated me on getting that gig. "Man, I love Robyn Hood. So, you know, don't fuck it up," he said (which was the best advice I'd gotten about the book - Ralph and Raven would later repeat that to me). He told me what he knew about the book, which was that Robyn was a lady (I'd assumed, and honestly hoped, because I'd already crafted a voice for the character) and that it was spelled with a "y." Compared to what I knew about what the book would be, that was a veritable wealth of information. Then, off-handedly, he said, "Yeah, with that and Godstorm, we're gonna have some cool stuff." Before he could even explain, I knew what Godstorm had to be. The series that I set up in my annual - Venus going to war with the other gods and humanity to reclaim her former glory. He said he thought Joe Brusha would write it, and all I thought was, "That's going to be one hell of a story."
Fast-forward a bit. I'm writing Robyn Hood, and going through a bit of a personal issue. The writing was going well, but I was in a pretty bad place. I was talking to Raven, who had quickly taken on the role of more than an editor but also a personal mentor, and he was giving me advice. He was like, "No matter what goes down, just look in the mirror and be like, 'I will get over this. There is no one like me. I'm Pat fucking Shand and I'm writing Robyn Hood. And probably Godstorm too. No one else can say that!' Bam!" After I'd processed the advice, I asked him, a bit nervously, "Wait, what? I'm writing Godstorm?" He laughs. "I think!"
A week later, I've got the gig and I'm crafting a story arc from the ideas that Joe gave me and Raven. I had the freedom to really make this story, which has a giant impact on the GFT Universe, my own. It follows through on the promises we set up in the annual, but it's also a crime drama; there is the epic battles of supernatural powers you'd expect from such a title, but it's also about a regretful father and a woman who turns his vengeful son into a weapon; it's a completely modern story that I was able to lace with everything I love about classical literature; it's at once the biggest, most action-packed story I've ever written and the quietest character piece I've done; it's a strange, weird mix, and I'm pumped to see what people thing. Reviews have been strong so far, and I honestly feel good about the book, and the characters have all forced their way into my heart and brain to the point where... well, just about every day, I think, "What would Zeus (or Hades or Neptune or so on and so on and...) do if I put him in this situation..."
If anyone enjoys the book nearly as much as I enjoyed writing it, I'll be very pleased indeed.
Godstorm #0 hits shelves tomorrow. For more information, follow this blog and my twitter, or visit www.zenescope.com
Thursday, July 12, 2012
So, I'm not at SDCC. To keep myself from being too depressed about it, I'm going to be announcing a few projects that I have, until now, kept hush-hush about. The first announcement is...
You heard it here first - this is my first superhero comic, my first work with Big Dog Ink, and my first time playing in the Critter universe! For those unfamiliar with Critter, check out this brand new superhero universe from Big Dog Ink right here. Created by Tom Hutchison, the ongoing Critter series is the flagship title of Big Dog Ink, and it is putting the fun and adventure back into superhero comics.
Slipstream: Origin, written by me with art by the wonderful Owen Gieni, is the latest in a series of one-shot Critter spinoffs. It'll hit shelves in December 2012 (for those keeping up with the things that've been announced so far, that's the same month as Robyn Hood #4, Unannounced Project #3, and probably Super Unannounced Project #??). A cover will be coming soon but, until then, here is a Critter cover by Slipstream: Origin artist Owen Gieni.
Slipstream captures the same sense of fun that Critter embodies, but with a sci-fi twist. I won't spoil anything, but when I started plotting the comic, I was inspired by how much freedom Tom was letting me have with Slipstream, so I decided to make the comic about Slipstream building herself up from nothing and becoming the hero that we see in the monthly Critter title. It's completely standalone, but I hope it'll make folks eager to read more of Slipstream's adventures, because that character has been in my head for a while now.
Now, because I'm a fan of hearing about the writing process, I'll give a bit of background on how this comic came to be. It's funny that I'm announcing this in my Not at SDCC blog, because this tale proves how important it is for freelancers to go to cons. I met Tom Hutchison at NYCC 2011. I had only had one comic published at that point (Angel: Yearbook at IDW), but my work on Zenescope's Grimm Fairy Tales Holiday Edition 2011had already been solicited. Wanting to showcase my first work in the industry, I made a business card that had my contact info and little images featuring cover art from my soon-to-be-published comics. I found the Big Dog Ink booth, and was fascinated by their titles. I gave Tom my business card, and he recognized the Grimm Fairy Tales comic on it - funny sidebar, Zenescope editor and all around great dude Raven Gregory was checking out the booth too, and heard us talking about GFT. So I met Tom and Raven at the same time! Anyway, I asked Tom if I could pitch stories to him, read up on Critter, and wrote some ideas for one-shot stories. Tom dug Slipstream, and the rest is history. Moral of the story? Cons are important. If you can go, go. I hope to see you at NYCC 2012, and surely SDCC 2013.
PATRICK SHAND writes ROBYN HOOD, GRIMM FAIRY TALES, 1000 WAYS TO DIE, and more for Zenescope. He has written ANGEL for IDW, SLIPSTREAM for Big Dog Ink, and short stories published in various anthologies by Pill Hill Press, Rainstorm Press, and Wicked East Press. His plays have been produced in Manhattan and he currently teaches screenwriting and scriptwriting at Five Towns College.
Monday, June 18, 2012
So here it is. The big news I've been teasing for a while and, really, the coolest thing I've done in my career thus far. I am writing Zenescope Entertainment's new flagship series, ROBYN HOOD. I've been plotting and chatting about this with Raven Gregory for a while now, so it feels good to finally be able to let the world know! More will be revealed this week as we continue to tease, but this series encompasses everything I love about comics and I can't wait for you all to read it.
I promise all you Robin Hood fans out there, while this is clearly a new take, I'm as into the original ballads as any English major can be. Hell, when we're able to reveal the title of the first issue, I think you'll be assured that the Robber in the Hood is in good hands.
Wednesday, June 13, 2012
Grimm Fairy Tales 2012 Annual, which I wrote, comes out today. I drove to the comic shop, bought some copies, grabbed the rest of my pulls, and headed home. I just finished reading the book through and, even though I've obviously seen the completed comic before, it still felt a bit magical (cheesy as that is) having it in front of me like this. It's my fifth comic in total and my third time playing in Zenescope's Grimm universe, but I just can't get past the sense of excitement. I've got comics coming out nearly every month from here on out, and I hope to never lose this sense of joy of getting to participate in the grand, epic, longform story that is Grimm Fairy Tales.
Writing comics really is the best job in the world.
From now on, I think it'll be cool to write something here every time I put out a comic. Whether it be commentary, a reflection, a story about the comic, or something else entirely, it'll be a fun way to celebrate.
I actually knew about the GFT annual before I knew I was going to write it. I'd seen Sean Chen's cover to the issue and Mike Debalfo's cover to GFT: Angel one-shot (which continues some story threads from my annual) around the time I was finishing up co-writing this year's GFT: April Fools with Ralph Tedesco. My thought upon seeing those covers and hearing what those books were about was, "Man... it would be awesome if I got to write one of those." Very shortly after, Ralph reached out to me about scripting the Annual, and I enthusiastically agreed.
For those familiar with the Grimm universe, this issue finally puts the spotlight on Venus (who will go on to co-star with the other devious GFT villains in the BAD GIRLS miniseries, coming next month). Zenescope has been building to a big Greek/Roman god arc for a long time now, since introducing Venus in the back of the ninth Grimm Fairy Tales trade. Raven Gregory built on the mythology of the gods in his recent arc on GFT, and it was an honor to spend this Annual with the diabolical Venus as she puts the final pieces of her plan together.
For newcomers, and I hope there are a few of you, I tried to write the Annual as if it's the epic first act of badass fantasy movie. At it's core, it's a story about rebuilding and feeling out of place - the time of gods is over, so what does that mean for the gods? What is their place? Where do these epic Greek/Roman mythological figures fit in? Do they assimilate or do they destroy?
I was an English major in college, and spent a lot of time studying, reading, and writing about these myths. It's a dream come true to get to write comics in general, but a special privilege to write a comic with Venus, Zeus, Hades, and more. You really can't get more iconic than these characters, and I hope I've done them (and Joe Brusha's epic plot) justice. If anyone has as much fun reading it as I had writing it, I'll be pleased.
Friday, May 18, 2012
Wednesday, May 2, 2012
Wednesday, March 14, 2012
Wednesday, March 7, 2012
Thursday, March 1, 2012
Saturday, February 18, 2012
Tuesday, January 31, 2012
Here’s a preview page from my upcoming graphic novel THE COMIC CON TALES. Inspired by Chaucer’s classic “The Canterbury Tales,” this graphic novel tells the story of a group of friends who take a road trip from New York to San Diego Comic Con. Along the way, they each share a tale. This is the first page of “The Fangirl’s Tale: Professor Whom and Detective Sherrock,” illustrated by Oly Pelaez.
Of course we can’t say the names, but we’re pretty clearly parodying Doctor Who and Sherlock fanfic. The story gets pretty… well, you see, it’s from the mind of a character who writes some pretty intense fan fic, so I think anyone who has been really involved with fandom will get a kick out of it.
Comment if you want to see this happen! THE COMIC CON TALES is made up of many, many stories, comedic and serious. Every story is illustrated by a different artist, and the script is the strangest most diverse thing I’ve ever written, and I’m pretty proud of it.
Hope you dig it. Tell your friends!
Wednesday, January 25, 2012
Thursday, January 19, 2012
Originally posted 1/18/12 on my Tumblr.
This morning, Facebook pissed me off. A bunch of my friends were equatingcaring about SOPA to not caring a real problems such as AIDS, starvation, cancer, etc. I posted some snarky statuses to get across the point that being vocal about the dangers of Internet censorship doesn’t equate to being a heartless monster, but I was silly about it. EricaCV pointed out, though, that I may be better off using my “writerly influence to spread further knowledge and understanding about the situation.” She’s right - on Facebook I went for the lulz, and that was a bit of a mistake… because I think one of the fundamental misunderstandings about SOPA/PIPA and those of us who are against it is that we are merely scared of losing the Internet as a source of mindless entertainment.
It’s a hell of a lot worse than that.
Now, here’s where I stand. Piracy isn’t a shiny beacon of awesome, and I’m not for it. Obviously. I work as a writer in the comics industry, and it’s one of the most grating things to see how often our (incredibly cheap) books get pirated. Hell, take this for example. A few weeks ago, my latest comic (Grimm Fairy Tales: Holiday Edition 2011) came out, and I searched it in Google. (Yes, I self-Googled, I’m weak.) The first result wasn’t a fan’s reaction. It wasn’t a review. It was a site that offered an illegal download of the book that had literally only been out for a few hours. Bummer, right?
I started thinking. I used to run a review site. On that site, I would talk about all things Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel. I would review the comics, I would post pictures of stuff that was coming out, and I would make stupid little parody images on Paint. I used Google images to pepper the site with covers from the comics to make the site prettier. That site is how I got noticed. By making friends with some of the people who worked on the Angel comic and showing that I cared about the character and that I could write, I put my foot in the door. I later wrote a story for that comic, and have since been building a career in the comics industry. The seeds for all of my current success grew from that blog… which would have been shut the fuck down in an Internet governed by SOPA/PIPA.
So would this Tumblr. Likely, so would your Tumblr. So would countless other sites that have provided entertainment, offered education, and decreased World Suck. Yes, it’s true that the pirates would get shut down, but I say this as a man trying to make it in an incredibly rough industry… it is absolutely not worth it.
For more information (and I can surely say more articulation) you can check out what Neil Gaiman, Patrick Rothfuss, Steve Niles, and many other great writers are saying all over the Internet. Look around, and see if you agree with them. It’s your prerogative. Your freedom. My point is this: without a free Internet, I wouldn’t have published a thing. And I’d wager that I would be a hell of a lot less informed about the world as a whole than I am now.
The world is at your fingertips. Don’t let them snatch it away from you.