I've been horrified by the news coming out of Oklahoma. So here's a little something in hopes of encouraging folks to donate to relief efforts for the people suffering in the wake of the tornadoes.
If you give to the Red Cross or other relief organization of your choosing to help the folks in Oklahoma, I'll send some "Code Monkey Save World" stickers to your US mailing address. A very easy way to donate is to text REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation.
We're working on the honor system here, friends. So just make your donation, then send your US mailing address to codemonkey at pakbuzz dot com and I'll hook you up. If you let me know how much you donated, I'll keep a running tally that might help inspire others to donate as well.
Many thanks and all the best!
2013.05.14 - Jonathan Coulton and Greg Pak live in NYC - final day for "Code Monkey Save World" Kickstarter
"Code Monkey Save World" masterminds Greg Pak and Jonathan Coulton will appear live TONIGHT in New York City on the final full day of their graphic novel Kickstarter campaign! The pair will answer questions and give out free stickers and buttons. And Coulton will sing!
Comic Book Club
Tuesday, May 14th – 7pm
Tickets: FREE! (21+)
105 Eldridge St.
[Btwn. Grand and Broome St.]
Meet Li’l Blue, the Lonely Vampire, inspired by Jonathan Coulton’s song “Blue Sunny Day.” If we hit the current "JoCo Funnies" stretch goal for the "Code Monkey Save World" graphic novel Kickstarter, I’ll draw some comics starring this guy. I'm strongly considering having him step out into the sun and burst into flames as the punchline of every strip.
Hey, y'all. The rumors are true: I'm writing a graphic novel based on the songs of the great Jonathan Coulton. And we've just entered the final two days of our Kickstarter campaign. So now's the time to jump on board!
Please see above for an insane chart of all the bonuses we've been able to add to the project because of the support of folks like you. Stickers! A whole new Jonathan Coulton acoustic album! A whole 'nother children's book based on Jonathan's "Princess Who Saved Herself Song"!
And if we hit the current stretch goal, we'll add the "JoCo Funnies," newspaper-style comic strips based on more beloved Coulton songs! (I'll contribute "Li'l Blue, the Sad Vampire," based on "Blue Sunny Day.")
Jonathan Coulton and I had a fantastic time at the "Code Monkey Save World" event at Bergen Street Comics on Wednesday -- thanks so much to everyone who came out for it! Above are two fun videos -- the first shows Jonathan singing a SFW version of his NSFW anthem "First of May." The second is a medley of some of the songs he sang. Enjoy!
And please feel free to check out the Kickstarter, if you haven't already. "Code Monkey Save World" is a graphic novel written by yours truly with art by Takeshi Miyazawa, based on the songs of Jonathan Coulton. We've recently added some sweet new rewards to the Kickstarter -- including challenge coins and some awesome DIY Code Monkey figurine kits!
Jonathan will sing a few songs! Greg will sign any comics you might bring or buy! And we'll give out FREE "CODE MONKEY SAVE WORLD" STICKERS!
We may also have another special item to give away at the event, but we're waiting for confirmation that the stuff'll be ready in time. So cross your fingers and stay tuned!
Meanwhile, our Kickstarter backers continue to blow our minds with their amazing support. THANK YOU SO MUCH! We're just over $11,000 from the $200,000 stretch goal that will enable Jonathan to record a BRAND NEW ACOUSTIC ALBUM that everyone at the $15 pledge level and above will get for free as a digital download, so please check out the Kickstarter!
All the best and thanks again -- and see you at Bergen Street Comics on the First of May!
Coulton to record new acoustic album if "Code Monkey Save World" graphic novel Kickstarter hits $200,000
If the Kickstarter hits $200,000, Jonathan Coulton will record a BRAND NEW ALBUM of gorgeous acoustic renditions of all of the songs that inspired the graphic novel! And everyone who has backed us at the $15 level and above will get the digital version of this brand new album FOR FREE, as a BONUS.
Songs on the album will include "Code Monkey," "Skullcrusher Mountain," "The Future Soon," "Creepy Doll," "I Crush Everything," "Re: Your Brains," and several more I'm probably forgetting right now because I'm so excited.
We're also thinking about adding a few special guest star singers and musicians -- more to be announced soon, knock on wood!
And here's a BONUS for you... everyone who backs the project at the $35 level and above will now get a FREE POSTER! The posters will be approximately 10.25" x 13" and will be folded once for shipping purposes. They'll probably feature the amazing "Code Monkey Save World" cover art by Takeshi Miyazawa, colored by Jessica Kholinne.
Finally, we're adding an incredibly special $750 pledge level. At this level, you and a guest can come to the studio to watch part of Jonathan Coulton's recording session for the acoustic album live in New York City, probably some time in June. We'll also take you to lunch. Travel/lodging/other expenses not included. But at this level, we'll also toss in all the swag we've announced thus far -- T-shirt, mug, poster, music, stickers. INSANE, am I right?
Thanks so much for the consideration and support! Tell your friends! Call your mom! Hugs all 'round!
This Monday morning, internet superstar musician Jonathan Coulton and I launched a Kickstarter for "Code Monkey Save World," a graphic novel based on Jonathan's songs, written by yours truly, and drawn by the great Takeshi Miyazawa with colors by Jessica Kholinne and letters by Simon Bowland.
The story follows the coding monkey known as Code Monkey (from Jonathan's song "Code Monkey," natch) as he teams up with the supervillain Skullcrusher (from "Skullcrusher Mountain") to save his unrequited love Matilde from Laura the Robo Queen's slave colonies on Chiron Beta Prime.
It's crazy sci fi with a big fuzzy heart and I hope you'll consider backing us. We're ridiculously excited about it and are going to do our darnedest to make it the awesomest thing you read all year.
Thanks so much for your consideration!
2013.04.10 - Greg Pak to guest with Howard Chen on ACV's "Joy Dunk Club" TONIGHT!
Basically it's a Google hangout wherein the hosts and guests talk about basketball with a special emphasis on the Houston Rockets and Jeremy Lin. Tonight's other guest is the fantastic Howard Chen from Comcast Sportsnet, whom you might recognize if you watch the Rockets games.
Many thanks to Keith Chow who hooked me up. See ya tonight!
2013.04.10 - "X-Treme X-Men" #13 and "Dead Man's Run" #4
Writer Greg Pak has two books hitting comic book stores on Wednesday, April 10 -- "X-Treme X-Men" #13, pencilled by Guillermo Mogorron and Raul Valdes and "Dead Man's Run" #4, pencilled by Tony Parker.
The kind folks at the Robot 6 blog then picked this up as their Quote of the Day:
“What makes it compelling as a story and a character is his tremendous backstory, which sets up the character as someone who is different than everybody, but striving to help. That sense of somebody that is an ‘other,’ someone who doesn’t belong but is doing his best to do the right thing all of the time. That’s incredibly compelling and universal. All of us, no matter how much we feel complete, sometimes feel like we’re on the outside, feel like we’re alone, feel like we’re strange and different. That’s why the Harry Potter books and movies are so popular. That’s why the X-Men are so popular. That’s why just about every pop culture phenomenon you can think of is so popular.
It’s amazing how many of the stories we love to cherish explore that sense of being different. That’s a universal human condition. And the reason Superman, in particular, is so compelling is because he’s on the outside, yet he’s doing his best to help everybody. That moral core of the character is something that we all, deep down, want to aspire towards. It’s that struggle to do the right thing that is really compelling. And it’s not easy for him. I think that’s another thing that great Superman writers have explored over the years. This is a guy that — everything should be easy for him because he’s Superman and he can do anything, but he is still in a constant struggle to figure out what the right thing to do is and how to do it.”
– Greg Pak, writer of DC’s upcoming Batman/Superman series, explaining to Comic Book Resources what makes the Man of Steel such a compelling character
The "Batman/Superman" book I'm writing and Jae Lee is drawing starts in June. Please ask your local store to pre-order a copy for you today!
Pak Talks Comics: The scoop on Steven Sanders' "Symbiosis"
Greg Pak: Can you give us the super-short, three sentence version of what SYMBIOSIS is?
Stephen Sanders: It's a book that is part loosely squential story/part world-building bible. It centers around a world/tech style that I'm calling "1940s bio-punk." It's Creative Commons so that anyone can take the material and make whatever they want from it.
GP: The Creative Commons aspect fascinates me. As you know, I've got a CC project mysef -- the "Vision Machine" graphic novel and iPad app. What inspired you to go that route?
SS: I'll be candid, it started out as a lark. But after I started thinking about how authors frequently told me that my work makes them want to tell stories, it made total sense. I also realize that CC makes sense, period. The IP cat is pretty much out of the bag with tech how it is today, and I figure that we might as well embrace that and encourage it in a positive manner instead of squelching it.
GP: Awesome. I see you're releasing under the non-commercial license, but you included a note on your Kickstarter assuring folks that you'll be amenable to considering commercial requests. Do you have plans of your own to use the world you're creating in additional stories/media?
SS: Yeah, basically anyone that isn't a large corporation with money to blow will get a free commercial license. I know how tough small press is, and I don't see any point in adding to the burden further. Just as long as people follow the share-alike. As far as my own stories, probably not. I enjoy world-building more than I enjoy describing how humans interact in these various worlds (I'm also just better at the former than the latter). I do have vague plans for for some supplementary books to further flesh out the world of Symbiosis, but it will still stay rooted in world-building.
GP: So how do you see people using the material? I'm guessing a lot of folks may want to write and draw stories that take place in the world and use the incredible designs you're creating. But can they use your actual art as well?
SS: Yeah, I mean, considering the license, they could take the art, and reprint the book and give it away for free if they wanted to. But, yeah, they can use the art itself for illustrations, or I have people who are wanting to do sculpts of figures and tech from Symbiosis. One lady wanted to cosplay one of the characters in the preview art, and I've heard from a number of people who have plans to use open-source RPG engines like Fate Core to make their own Symbiosis tabletop RPG. Alex de Campi has already written a short story based off of a sketch I released a few weeks ago. It's pretty exciting to see how interested people are in this thing.
GP: Tremendous. It's also kind of beautiful given how the whole idea of sharing and remixing and whatnot via Creative Commons fits in so well with the symboitic theme of the book itself.
SS: IT'S WHEELS WITHIN WHEELS AND BIO-ENGINES ALL THE WAY DOWN, GREG
GP: Ha! So I'm going to have to come up with some kind of mash-up with Vision Machine and Symbiosis art, now. ;-)
SS: That would be kind of amazing.
GP: So you're literally $640 from hitting your initial goal even as we chat. Want to tease any stretch goals?
SS: Good grief. Um, yeah. This will be a big one, we'd have to hit 75K for it, but that one includes a doubling of the page count (and it was my original plan for the book before I calmed down). I'll have to contact the printer to see about options for an additional 50 pages. I've got free symbiosis circle logo stickers as an early stretch, and between those I'm going to be scrambling today. I'm thinking some fold out pages and if I can make it happen fast enough, maybe a web/android/iOS game. But that would be a minor miracle to get together this quickly.
GP: Wow. Yes, a web/android/iOS game would be awesome. A puzzle game! Traveling through the environment, manipulating elements, getting to the next part of the world!
SS: Yes! One of the gentlemen I went to the Kansas City Art institute with is a rather talented programmer, and runs another crowdfunding site called Pledgie. He has an engine ready for this sort of thing, and I'll likely run this by him soon.
A bunch of my books are part of the Marvel #1 digital comics giveaway at Comixology right now. The site's pretty bogged down, so it might be tricky to download everything, but it appears that you can nab the following:
“Red Skull” #1
“Silver Surfer” #1
“Dark Reign: The List: Hulk”
“Hulk vs. Hercules: When Titans Clash"
"Planet Skaar Prologue"
"Skaar Son of Hulk" #1
"Iron Man: House of M" #1
"War Machine" #1
"Chaos War" #1
"World War Hulk" #1
"World War Hulk Prologue" (includes the Amadeus Cho origin story, I think)
"World War Hulk: Aftersmash" #1
"X-Treme X-Men" #1
"X-Men: Phoenix - Endsong" #1
"X-Men: Phoenix - Warsong" #1
A bunch of nice folks have interviewed me about the new "Batman/Superman" book I'm writing. Here are a few excerpts:
CBN: You are working with two iconic characters and at the historic moment of their first meeting. What will this first encounter have over other versions told in the past?
Greg Pak: The great thing about telling this story at this specific point in time is that we're dealing with the Batman and Superman of the New 52 at a very early stage in their careers. They're young and raw and cocky and, frankly, dangerous. We've seen great writers in the past depict their relationship as wary and guarded -- that great Byrne story in which Batman makes a kind of crazy bomb threat is a prime example. But these young heroes are even more unpredictable. In particular, the young New 52 Superman is much cockier and more rash than any other Superman I can recall. Throw him together with Batman and sparks are absolutely going to fly.
CA: What does influence your take on those characters? Who influences your take on them as a team?
GP: Definitely, the Morrison Action series is key for me. That's the series that has defined the young Clark and the young Superman in the New 52, so that's a very important touchstone. One of my big early jobs in comics was Phoenix: Endsong, which really relied a lot on the Joss Whedon run, but also the Morrison run, so I have a lot of respect for Grant Morrison. It's always fun working on a project when I get to read a lot of Morrison books for reference.
But that's a very interesting version of Superman, because he's young and he is figuring things out, and he's brash in a very interesting way. He's the young idealist, but he's got a bit of swag, which is interesting. It's distinct from the older, more mature Superman, who's got a little more gravitas. He's a little more considerate of others. The young Superman has a little more attitude, which is fun, and totally makes sense, and it's appropriate for this character. I think that's a very interesting character to use as a foil for Batman.
For Batman, I think Batman: Year One is a big influence, probably on everyone who's written Batman ever since. But definitely because I'm looking at Batman in his early years, that's not just one of the best Batman comics ever, but one of the best comics I've ever read in my life. It's certainly a book I look at a lot. The Scott Snyder books are amazing, and he's been a dream to talk with. He's a great guy, and it's been a lot of fun talking about these characters with him.
Pak feels that Superman's appeal as a cultural mainstay since 1938 is the same as what's behind the popularity of Spider-Man, Harry Potter and the X-Men.
"They're all about outsiders," the writer says. "As you grow up, you try to find your place in the world and you don't belong and you struggle, and that's the story of our lives, at least our adolescence.
"When you combine that with somebody who chooses to help, that becomes very powerful."
That he always sticks up for the underdog is another attractive quality to Pak.
"We want to be that strong and do the right thing and rise to the occasion. Superman gives us that kind of hope," he says. "And then also he can smash whatever he wants to smash and he can set things on fire with his eyes. That's pretty cool."
DC Comics has released the cover to "Batman/Superman" #1, drawn by Jae Lee and colored by June Chung. Official solicit information below -- the book hits stores in June. Ask your local retailer to pre-order it for you today!
Written by GREG PAK
Art and cover by JAE LEE
1:100 B&W variant cover by JAE LEE
1:25 BATMAN variant cover by KENNETH ROCAFORT
1:25 SUPERMAN variant cover by GUILLEM MARCH
“We Can Be Heroes” blank variant cover available
On sale JUNE 5 • 32 pg, FC, $3.99 US • RATED T
Combo pack edition: $4.99 US
A new epic begins with the debut of this new, ongoing series! Don’t miss the first fateful meeting of Batman and Superman in The New 52!
This issue is also offered as a combo pack edition with a redemption code for a digital download of this issue
Interesting exploration of the Hercules/Howlett relationship in "X-Treme X-Men"
Big news! I'm writing a new ongoing "Batman/Superman" comic book for DC Comics! The book will be illustrated by the great Jae Lee (check out some concept art above) and the first story arc will show the very first meeting of Superman and Batman in the new DC Universe.
The huge attraction of this story to me is the chance to explore who these characters are in their very early, raw years. So this story begins around the time of Morrison's Action #1, when both of these men are young and wild and dangerous. Anything can happen. They've never even heard of each other before – never even heard the word "superhero."
So how will Clark react the first time he sees an insanely dangerous combatant dressed like a giant bat? And how will Bruce react at the sight of an alien with the power to bend steel in his bare hands? It's a hugely fun place to dive in with these characters.
The atmosphere and strong image depth of Lee's drawing style — colored by his wife — is key for a series like Batman/Superman "where you've got these two complementary and contradictory figures who are coming from two very different places," Pak says.
"The idea of Jae Lee drawing Batman is sort of a no-brainer. That makes total sense. (But) he's doing some cool new stuff and when you put these two characters together, they've got different palettes and environments."
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