Action Comics #1 in the Toronto Star

Over at the Toronto Star (a very important paper in Superman lore), Sandro Contenta has a really bizarre story about Nic Cage’s stolen copy of Action Comics #1 — with a lot of new information. I provide scintillating background that confirms this particular issue is, in fact, quite valuable. What do collectors really pay for? The paper? What’s on it? Or all the stuff it symbolizes? I saw a copy of AC #1 a couple of months ago in Chicago. It’s cool to look at.

Read the story here.

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Girls Like Superheroes in USA TODAY

I talked to Scott Bowles at USA TODAY about whether or not Hollywood is marketing towards — or abandoning — its female audience. This summer especially, I think that the former is true, especially with Spidey 2 and X-men (which is a movie about Mystique). The exception was Cap 2, which was all exploding helicarriers. What didn’t make the quote is that these are all Hollywood presumptions of what gendered audiences like, and probably not indicative of, you know, real life.

Read the article here. 

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Paperback Writer

Today is a big day — SUPER BOYS is now out in paperback! All the same unbelievable story . . . now at a fraction of the price!

Ok, enough hype. We’ve both had enough of that this year. There are a few changes here and there: fixed typos and so forth. Some wording has changed to reflect the most recent developments, but it is more or less the same book. Except smaller. Friendlier. Pliable. The paperback really turned out well, I think. Love the back cover, especially.

Thanks to everyone over the past year who read the book, wrote to me, walked up to me at a library or comics convention, or just shared a story at some point. You are all the best.

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test pattern / writing process / contagious blogging

I got invited into a ‘Blog Tour’ by my friend Susan Grimm, who writes great poetry (and writes about writing it) over at  The White Space Inside the Poem.  Here are my answers about the writing process:

1. What am I working on? I had a conversation with a writer friend of mine and he said he never tells people what he’s working on. Mostly because the last time he did it, it took several years for him to finish it and people kept saying “aren’t you doonnnne yet?” That makes a lot of sense to me. Things are more powerful when you’re doing them in secret, anyway. I am working on a lot of different things right now, just trying to see what sticks. One of them makes sense. The rest of them absolutely don’t. Here is one that is going to be announced soon. Very excited about it.

2. How does my work differ from others of its genre? Everyone writes differently — genre is just for the bookstores and logic maps on clickable websites with lightning deals and Prime shipping. True browsing between genres is very hard to do now. Even in real bookstores you have to take a brisk walk to get from the Joy of Cooking to Prisoner’s Dilemma. I tried to cross a lot of genres with Super Boys (I even put a recipe in) because I wanted to mirror what the creators did with Superman: they took real life and fictionalized it. I like that kind of stuff.

3. Why do I write what I do? I wrote the Superman book because I felt like I was the only one who could write the book that I really wanted to read.

4. How does your writing process work? There are two answers to this question: the way it should work, and the way it does. When I am doing it the right way, I am writing every day at all times on the computer and on the phone and in my head and in every place. But that is not always the truth even though every single writer knows that is the only way to do it.

Outlines, thinking, scrivening, tweeting: that is your brain procrastinating. Write instead.

Write in spite.

I write in an attic, alone, early in the morning and late at night. Afternoon doesn’t work great for me — starts to get slow and rocky. Lots of coffee. AM sports radio or music. When I get deeper, I work later at night — Indians baseball on the radio and the UFO shows. Lucky sweatshirt. Stars and ghosts.

I’ve asked a few people to continue this, but don’t want to call them out here in case they say “No.” I do want to hear what they say — process is important because it’s what we steal and learn from. Feel free — anyone — to join in. The process of writing isn’t freaking love magic or voodoo or genetic disposition or ancient AP scores or something a guidance counselor once said — it is hard work and trust. There are no real shortcuts. A to B. Short steps every day.

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Prize

So I got some really astounding news last week: I was awarded a 2014 Cleveland Arts Prize. The list of people who have won this award are people I hold in high esteem, so it has been surreal, to say the least. Especially since there are so many good writers at work right now in Cleveland. Still sinking in. Thanks for the support — all of you.

Look out universe: our imagination is carved of rust, stone, and steel.

Read more about the winners and the Cleveland Arts Prize here.

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