Happy 2011.

2010 was a year of incredible highs and lows for me.  I won't rehash it - if you want a decent understanding of my year, just flip back a few pages in the blog and catch up.  What I will do is mention a few things I'm looking forward to in 2011: 1. 27.  Issue 2 hits stands this coming Wednesday, January 5, with #3 and #4 to follow in February and March.  I feel that the second half of the story is stronger than the first, and so it's fantastic that most people seem to have been really enjoying the first issue.  A few advance copies of #2 have snuck out into reviewers' hands, and things look promising there as well.  We're definitely doing a trade, for which I just finished a backup story I'm very proud of.  It'll be big, and stuffed with lots of cool extras.  Beyond that, it looks like there will be a sequel, unless I screw it up in the writing phase.  I have a plan mapped out for the rest of 27 - for everywhere it will go - and if I get to tell all the story I've written (that's code for "please keep buying it"), I think it could be something really special.  As much as I love Strongman, 27 is really my breakout title, and I'm still thankful to everyone who helped make it that way.  But speaking of Strongman...

2. Strongman Vol. 2: Oaxaca Tapout.  One of the questions I've been getting a lot in interviews and such about 27 is "This is your first published comic, right?"  As regular readers of this blog know, it is not my first published comic.  I had an OGN out from SLG Publishing in March of 2009, entitled Strongman.  There's a bunch of information about that book in the links to the right, but for those of you new to the blog, it's an action-crime story starring a washed-up 65-year-old luchador (masked Mexican wrestler).  You can see a picture of him up in the banner for the blog - just look up.  The tone is sort of like Sin City, but uplifting.  Anyway, the book was a critical success - everyone who read it seemed to greatly enjoy it - but what I'm learning is that it only had very specific market penetration.  The vast majority of the comics audience hasn't even heard of it.  Still, audience be damned, my team and I created a sequel - Volume 2.  It's set in Mexico, it's about 150 pages long, and it's GORGEOUS.  The artists, Allen Gladfelter and Robert Saywitz, are doing magnificent work.  The book will be out in March, and I can't wait for people to see it.  I think it's truly some of my strongest work to date.  That said, it is CRUCIAL that you pre-order this book if you (a) liked Strongman V1, (b) like 27 and want to see more from me or (c) just want to help me out.  You can do it via Amazon by clicking here or you can call up your local comic shop and preorder it with Previews code NOV100688.  Either way, it matters.  Strongman is a series put out by a wonderful, but small publisher, and grassroots efforts (that is, advance orders) make the difference between them being able to publish a title or not.  Basically, if you want to be CERTAIN you get a copy of Strongman 2, the only way is to pre-order it.  Please do - I want you to read it!  Just so you know what to look for, here are the front and back covers (ignore the text on the back cover - it's placeholder from Volume 1, and will be updated to give you the real story for SM2):

3. The other book. I have a deal in place for another OGN.  I've mentioned it on this blog before, so it's possible that a little leg- and guess-work could let you figure out what it's going to be, but I'm very excited about it as well.  The artist is amazing, the story is one I've wanted to get out into the world for years, the publisher makes beautiful products... no complaints.

4. The unknown. The greatest thing about getting projects into the world, and the comics industry in general, is how quickly new things can pop up.  This time last year, I was making plans to pitch 27, with no clue that Image would pick it up, or that it would hit with something of a splash.  I hope that 2011 brings its own share of fantastic surprises.  I'm going to a bunch of conventions this year, and I think it will be a blast to meet new readers, creators and other people in the industry.  I love writing, and I love that I have so many reasons to tell stories.

Adios, 2010, bring on 2011!

Funny (book) business.