I had a really nice sit-down with Joanna Connors of the Plain Dealer last week. We also talked about writing, critics, and how to get a girl to move to Cleveland from New York.
Read the entire interview here. Photos from Joshua Gunter.
Marc has been a friend and colleague for a long time. He found the police report so integral to the story of Michel Siegel in Super Boys. I was positive that didn’t exist. Positive. But Marc found it, literally stuck to another file. Its very existence was by chance. The report led to some some first real facts about that case — and my own possible theory of who might have been responsible for the robbery that, some might argue, created Superman.
There are very few people who do the real kind of work we do. I’m really glad Marc is one of them. He has some cool stuff on the horizon, so keep watch. And if you haven’t, be sure to read Bill the Boy Wonder: The Secret Co-Creator of Batman, his book with Ty Templeton. It is the last word on Bill Finger. Case closed.
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.
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.
I’m going to have a signing at the famous Learned Owl bookstore in scenic Hudson, Ohio this Sunday, June 8 from 2-4. Come by and pick up the new paperback version for Father’s Day and support local indie bookstores.
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.
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.