Books for Soldiers

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November 29, 2006

How I learned to stop worrying and sell myself

So as I await the February submission date for my first novel, Numb, I find myself dealing with a bit of angst over how to sell myself. I've decided to become a hooker. No, that's not right. I've realized that there is a fair amount of self-promotion in book-promotion, as publishers rely heavily on authors to carry the weight. I spoke briefly to my agent after reading this article from the Miami Herald. I wasn't in a panic, but shared a "what have I gotten myself into" comment. She talked me off the ledge by comparing book-pr to child rearing. It seems impossible before you start, but once you do it sort of all works out. She also pointed me toward this article by David Louis Edelman, an SF writer. I liked a lot of his ideas, and most important I like his attitude. It seemed refreshing to see someone else say "I don't really know what I'm doing but I'll try."

So, in my next life as a hooker, I'll give it my best shot.

-Sean Ferrell

Posted by sferrell at 9:39 AM

November 24, 2006

Comic review: Grunts

gruntsGrunts, published by Arcana Studio, 32 pages, $3.95.

They say war is hell. You'd have to be crazy not to believe it. But, if you had to depend on the depiction of war in a comic book to prove that statement, you could look to the very first issue of Grunts from Arcana Studio to do so.

In said issue, writers Shannon Eric Denton and Keith Giffen give us a battle-hardened band of somewhat ethnically diverse U.S. Army recruits (perhaps draftees; who knows?), as they blast their way through German soldiers, get mistaken for the enemy and shot at by their own fighter planes, and encounter a battalion of seemingly-unstoppable German super-soldiers. In short, Grunts #1 is a war comic hopped up on super-charged adrenaline.

Not only that, but in the midst of all the chaos, the reader is actually treated to interesting characters. No small trick, considering the wall-to-wall in-your-face action. All of that aside, I do find myself hoping for a lot more background on the characters in future issues.

Artists Matt Jacobs and Eric Spikes present readers with a stunning display of talent, as they depict said military madness in a style reminiscent of classic Joe Kubert war books. The flair for visual characterization demonstrated in the renderings of Sarge, Tommy, Demartino, Fatty, Tug and McCann is as astonishing as the individual characters are distinctive. Additionally, the emotionally-evocative tone they set, using a generous amount of black and red, is chilling, and a perfect canvas on which to create the impressive work that is Grunts. I don't know who these artists are, but I'd swear they have many years of art gigs under their belts.

I should also point out that this team pulled off a great war book without the language that some readers and creators believe is such a must for the genre.

Grunts is highly recommended, but only for older readers, due to graphic war-related violence.Find it at comics shops, online retailer and auctions, and at

Review by Suspended Animation's cMark Allen

For information on the exciting Oklahoma Cartoonists Collection and Toy and Action Figure Museum go

Posted by sferrell at 4:03 PM | Comments (1)

November 19, 2006

Comic review: Andrew Pepoy's "Archie and Friends"

Archie.jpgArchie Andrews is 65 years old, but he doesn't look a day over seventeen.

The old codger is joined by his young looking buds, Betty, Veronica, Katy Keene, and Josie and the Pussycats, in the comic book Archie and Friends, and they are all just as hip, er, gnarly, eh, whatever, as the day they were first introduced. Their publishers make sure that Archie and friends never go out of style.

Katy Keene takes the spotlight in this issue and is every young girl's fantasy, i.e., to be beautiful, intelligent, accomplished, and admired. That fantasy is perfectly accomplished by artist and writer Andrew Pepoy who is every fanboy's fantasy, i.e., boy has he drawn everything over the years!

In this issue, Katy is on the red carpet at the VTV Movie Awards, nominated for "Best Kiss", and the place is packed by gently caricatured real actors and actresses whose names have been changed to protect the innocent, er, the publisher.

Pepoy's art is terrific, and he continues the gimmick that has made Katy Keene a cult favorite over the years. Readers design her clothes.

His art is reality based, clean, and attractive. His visual storytelling is fun, crisp and flawless. Pepoy's story won't win the Pulitzer, but Archie comics have never really been about plot. They are all about characterization and the experience of growing up.

Even for this reviewer (who is neither a young girl or a fanboy, despite the rumors!), this story is fun, and Archie and Friends in recommenced for preteen, teenaged, and old codgers who like to pretend they are young again like me. MV

Archie and Friends #101/23 pgs. & $2.25 from Archie Comics/various artists and writers/available at store-
front and on-line comics and book-shops, retail outlets, and at

Andrew Pepoy is an associate member of the Oklahoma Cartoonists Museum.

Order Vance's history of the American Comics Group in Alter Ego #61 at

Interested in the exciting Oklahoma Cartoonists Collection and Toy and Action Figure Museum? Go to

Review by Mark Allen of Suspended Animation

Posted by mferrell at 8:46 AM

November 14, 2006

Comic review: Doug TenNapel's "Iron West"

ironwestcover.jpgIron West, published by Image Comics, 160 pages, $14.99

Cowboys and indians? Robotic cowboys and indians? A giant train monster!? Sasquatch?!? What in the name of the wild, wild West is going on, here? Well, I'll tell ya, pardner. It's called Iron West, and it's just about the strangest, most unique and certainly entertaining graphic novel to come out in '06. And, you've got creator, writer and artist Doug TenNapel to thank for it.

See, there's this here lonesome loser named Struck - wanted for train robbin', cheatin' at cards and makin' a woman wait for commitment. O.K, he may not actually be wanted for that last one, but it adds a little something to the character.

Struck is a loser who's easy to love. Not big on bravery and quite short on chivalry, his quick wit and friendly manner still manages to make him a sympathetic character. The fact that he finds himself running for his life in the middle of a whole mess of strange goings-on doesn't hurt.

During the course of the story, however, readers are witness to a transformation that takes place within good ol' Struck. One that makes him..., well, it makes him a better person. Kudos to TenNapel for the sharp characterization.

But, hold your horses a second, there, cowboy (or cowgirl, as the case may be), cuz that ain't all. That there Doug's a real crowd pleaser. He draws good, too! Ahem. That is, he illustrates great characters with an original art style that conveys action, humor and drama flawlessly. And, yet, if I had to describe that style in one word, the term "quirky" comes to mind. That's not a shot, mind you. It's a compliment. His art looks like no one else's - it's pure TenNapel. Check it out for yourself and see.

I reckon Iron West is fine readin' for just about anyone. Even the young'uns. Find it at comics shops and online retailers and auctions.

(Apologies to readers for possibly painful alliterations.)

Review by Mark Allen of Suspended Animation

Posted by sferrell at 10:15 AM

November 9, 2006

American Ingenuity = No Pants

bib.jpgHow many times have you asked yourself, "I wish I didn't have to wear a shirt and tie to work? Heck, I wish I didn't have to wear pants!" Well, worry no more my friends because has got your back ... or should I say pants. God bless America.

Posted by mferrell at 3:02 PM

November 8, 2006

Britney drops the bomb.

kevin_federline_102406_FRES.jpgAt long last, our long national nightmare is over. Britney, why did it take so long.

Best line from the article:

Spears did not seek spousal support but asked for sole custody of her two sons with Federline, one-year-old Sean Preston, and James Jayden, born September 12.

Is that a F@#$ing joke. "She didn't seek spousal support? Gee. Why not?"

Meanwhile, K-Fed was spotted in an alley, squating over a dumpster, trying to squeeze out his new album, "Playing with Fire."


Posted by sferrell at 9:47 AM

November 7, 2006

I don't want to over sell him...

...but Will Ferrell could play anyone, from anywhere, from throughout recorded history.

Posted by sferrell at 3:53 PM

November 2, 2006

Abandoned troops in Iraq

So let's spend all our time on Kerry. Meanwhile... what ever happened to that kidnapped US soldier?

What, you don't remember him?

Check it out:

Posted by sferrell at 9:39 AM

Pulling a Boehner

So let me get this straight... John Kerry mangles a joke aimed at the President and inadvertantly sounds like he's criticizing the troops in Iraq, so he gets 48 hours of non-stop front page coverage from CNN. Majority Leader John Boehner goes on CNN and defends Rumsfeld by blaming the generals in Iraq, and CNN doesn't bother to cover the story.

Kerry didn't mean to say what he did and gets roasted.

Boehner means what he said, and gets a pass.

Nice job CNN.

Posted by sferrell at 9:35 AM