Holy Productive Hiatus! Public Domain Returns!

bat-lever

Okay, let’s see … turn the crank a quarter-turn to the left, then a whole turn to the right.  Flip those two toggles, pump the handle EXACTLY six times — no more, no less — and check the gauges.

Wait, is that hose supposed to be leaking that weird Day-Glo goop?

Foot on the pedal, count to three, turn the key, hit the start button and …

We’re back!  Welcome to Public Domain! Year Two.

Man, I missed this place.

*Sniff sniff* Although I probably should’ve emptied the wastebaskets before I locked up last month.  Downside of setting up your secret lair deep in an impenetrable underground bunker: no windows to crack open.

I wish I could say I took the month off blogging to relax, slipped off the cape and cowl and into a nice bathrobe, maybe have a drink and snuggle up to my Batgirl, like Adam West here, but that would be a blatant lie.

batgirlbearhugs

October was one of my busiest months yet, and I couldn’t be more pleased.

It started off with a trip to the Pittsburgh Comic-Con on September 28th, where I got a chance to meet comics legend, artist / writer Jim Steranko, and sit in on an incredible ‘fireside chat’-style panel with him.  l also got to meet classic Marvel artist Herb Trimpe, who has had a huge impact on my career as an influence, from being the first artist to draw one of my all-time favorite characters, Wolverine, in Incredible Hulk #180-#181, his overall work on the Hulk as whole — one of my favorite characters / comics as a kid — and then being one of the primary artists on Marvel’s G.I. Joe, which was one of the comics that made me want to pursue a career in the medium.

(I’ll cover my con experience in a separate post soon, including a d’oh moment on my part with Jim Steranko that shows how much of a class act he is.)

One of the best moments of the month wasn’t at the con, but at home the night before, as I was digging through a closet looking for my giant Treasury Edition of G.I. Joe #1 for Herb Trimpe to autograph.  I found it, but stumbled across a completely different treasure in the process: the penciled artwork for an entire 22-page comic I created and wrote in the late 1990s.  We had a publisher set up for the project, and my artist / co-creator went ahead and completed the entire first issue, including front and back covers.

The deal fell through, and while I knew the artwork had been in my possession at one point, I didn’t know if I had returned it to the artist or it had simply been left behind when I moved to where I am now.  I’m in the process of getting in touch with the artist, so if he’s willing, we’re halfway to getting it to print.

I actually did pass around a photocopied ashcan with a pretty questionable homemade lettering job I did myself at the Pittsburgh con years ago, when the publishing deal was still in place, and it got a really great reaction from everyone who saw it.  I put an e-mail address in the ashcan and got not only positive reactions from just about everyone whom I gave the limited amount of copies it to, but I got e-mails from their friends whom they had passed the kludged together rough draft comic along to.

Getting even just the first issue to print will make me happier than Catwoman finding the Ben & Jerry’s warehouse unlocked and unguarded, so fingers crossed on that.

catandthebat

I also completed my first for-publication comics work in years, an eight-page script starring oddball pulp vigilante The Moon Man, which will appear in an upcoming volume of anthology series All-Star Pulp Heroes from publisher Airship 27 Productions.

Moon Man, operating out of the fictional Great City in the 1930s, was police detective Stephen Thatcher, who spent his nights in his alternate identity pretending to be a thief who robbed other thieves and then secretly redistributed the ill-gotten wealth to the city’s poor, making him a Depression-Era Robin Hood.

Moon Man’s unique costume consisted of a black cape over a suit and tie, and his trademark helmet: essentially a fishbowl of reflective, unbreakable one-way Arguss glass that he can see out of, but no one can see in.

Yeah, it’s as bizarre as it sounds.

I don’t think Moon Man’s creator, pulp writer Frederick C. Davis thought the design through very well: not only would it be difficult to breathe in that thing, but one sneeze at an inopportune moment … hay fever, not gun-toting gangsters, might be Moon Man’s ultimate undoing.

To be fair, though, Moon Man first appeared in Ten Detective Aces magazine in 1933, several years before a certain Kryptonian and Dark Knight came on the scene and made masked and costumed crimefighters an American cultural institution.

And nothing beats the chance to channel your inner Raymond Chandler and write some classic hard-boiled tough-guy dialogue, complete with period-specific slang.

My frequent creative partner and DoorMan co-creator James E. Lyle is providing the art for the Moon Man tale, titled ‘Dance of the Black Flamingo’.   Who, or what, is the Black Flamingo?

Stay tuned, we’ll reveal our newest original creation soon.  Until then, I’ll share a glimpse of James’ pencils from the opening of the story:

Art by James E. Lyle.  Story by Michael Allan Leonard. © 2013 Leonard & Lyle.

Art by James E. Lyle. Story by Michael Allan Leonard. © 2013 Leonard & Lyle.

Continued on next page …

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2 Comments

  1. …welcome home , young master, welcome home….


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