2017 in Review, and looking ahead to 2018 - aka THE LAST BLOG
Happy New Year! Almost, anyway. As I’m writing this, it’s Friday, December 29, 2017, and as I'm posting it, it's December 31, the last day of the year… and then we’ll see what 2018 has to offer. As I like to do from time to time, I thought I’d post an update here on everything I’m working on now, including things you guys don’t know about yet – and also take a look back over the year’s worth of stories. But before I get to that, let me say that this will probably be my last real entry here. I’ve decided that it would be better to move over to a newsletter and a dedicated website. I stopped posting here as regularly because it seems clear that checking blogs isn’t the way people (e.g. you) keep up to date on the work of authors you like. I’m on Twitter all the time at www.twitter.com/charlessoule, and that will still be a good way to see what I’m doing. If you like my stuff, though, and you want the very latest news on my books from Curse Words to Darth Vader to The Oracle Year and beyond, plus sneak peeks, contests, etc., then I would sign up for my newsletter here: https://mailchi.mp/f0a5b413051c/charlessoule
I intend to send out a newsletter about once a month, and then archive them at CharlesSoule.com. I’ll also probably put all of this old content up there as well, so you can see it if you’re so inclined. But really, signing up for that newsletter will be your best bet. I promise to keep it interesting.
Since this is probably the last entry here, I’ll try to make it full of that nice, great content y’all crave. So, what’s going on with me? Well…
THE ORACLE YEAR
This is a big one. My first novel, The Oracle Year will be published on April 3, 2018. You can get more information about it at www.oracleyear.com, but the short summary is this: a person calling himself the Oracle pops up online. He claims to be able to see the future, and starts selling predictions – which then begin to come true. Cut to: the world going nuts. The book looks at the idea of humanity’s reaction to an actual, honest-to-goodness prophet popping up from all angles (pop culture, politics, religion, economics, etc.), but also tells the Oracle’s story – who is this person, what are they trying to do, and how they try to navigate their way through their own future. It’s a thriller for sure – fast-paced, twisty-turny, global in scope, all that good stuff. It’s a book about the future that’s completely unpredictable.
I think fans of Joe Hill and Brad Meltzer would like it, not to mention anyone who’s enjoyed my work in the past. Speaking of Brad Meltzer, here’s what he had to say about it:
Having a novel published has been a dream of mine for a very long time, and I can’t wait for it to be out in the world. If it sounds interesting, please consider pre-ordering at www.oracleyear.com, or list it as “Want to Read” at Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/35230913-the-oracle-year. All of that is tracked, and it provides a bunch of really important early information to the publishers and so on.
2017 saw the debut of my first new creator-owned comic series since Letter 44 dropped in 2013 (man, I really need to do more creator-owned) – the magical, fantastical Curse Words, created with my very good friend and long-time collaborator Ryan Browne. The book is a modern fantasy story about a Lord of the Rings-style evil wizard named Wizord who pops up in modern day NYC and decides he wants to suddenly be a good wizard. Havoc ensues. It’s full of incredible imagery, neon-bright colors, and a mix of humor, drama and pathos that I think’s pretty unique on the stands.
We’ve put out eleven issues since January (including ten regular issues and a holiday special drawn by Mike Norton) – with covers not just by Ryan, but also some of our favorite artists in the business, folks like Skottie Young, Tradd Moore, Ryan Stegman, Mike Norton, Steve Seeley, Jamie McKelvie, Chip Zdarsky, Buster Moody, James Harren, Jenny Frison and more.
Ryan and I also went on tour for the book for a month this summer – got ourselves a van, did it up all nice and drove around the country visiting comic shops in lots of different cities. It was an absolute blast, and we covered the whole crazy saga over here at http://www.wizord.horse, complete with videos, pics and more. Give it a visit, and in the meantime, here’s the van:
The first collected edition of the series, Volume 1: “The Devil’s Devil” is already out, and Volume 2: “Explosiontown” will be out in mere weeks. From there, we’ll just keep on truckin’. Issue 11 is on shelves in February, beginning the next arc in the series, “The Hole Damned World.” This series means a lot to both Ryan and me – hell, we drove around in a van for a month to support it! – and if you like our work, give it a try.
The year also saw the end of Letter 44, my long-running sci-fi epic with another great friend, Alberto Jimenez Albuquerque. Issue #35 hit in June, I believe, and wrapped things up as we’d always intended. We met up in Montevideo, Uruguay to celebrate completing the work, which was a wonderful time in a very cool city. Why Montevideo? Why NOT Montevideo?
When all is said and done, the series will be collected in six volumes by the great people at Oni Press. Volume 5 just hit this month, and Volume 6 will be out in March. Here’s what they look like – shiny!
In other great L44 news, the entire series will finally be collected in hardcovers [link], starting with the Deluxe Edition Volume 1, out in July. Here’s the cover for that – it’s packed with extras and lots of great stuff. Pre-order it now!
I’m working on several new creator-owned books right now, all of which are taking a typically long time to move from concept to execution. One is a huge epic I’m working on with a close friend, another is a smaller story, sort of a resurrection of a concept I’ve had kicking around for a while, and the last one is a very unique piece – I’m co-writing it with a long-time friend that I’ve always wanted to do something with. At this point, that’s all I really want to say about these, until they move a tick or two closer to actually existing – but I’m working on it.
I’m writing four series for Marvel at the moment, most of which have been going for a good little while: Daredevil, Poe Dameron, Darth Vader and Astonishing X-Men. Updates on each:
Issue 596 of this title just dropped, which is the 30th regular issue of my run – and when you add in an Annual and a “Point One” story I did, plus the Daredevil-Punisher “Seventh Circle” five-issue story… that’s quite a few tales about ol’ Hornhead. This year saw the publication of the “Identity” arc, which told the story of how Daredevil got the world to forget he was Matt Murdock and gave him his secret identity back, and then the “Supreme” story, which had Murdock arguing before the US Supreme Court for the first time in his long history. I’m really proud of both – Ron Garney has remained the main artist on the series, where he’s been from the start, and has been doing incredible work on everything we’ve done. After “Supreme” concluded, we did “Land of the Blind,” which took Daredevil to China to rescue his some-time protégé Blindspot, and then we came back to New York for the big reveal that Wilson Fisk, the Kingpin of Crime, had been elected mayor. That kicked off the huge “Mayor Fisk” arc, which began with Daredevil #595 and will run through the massive Daredevil #600 – an oversized issue with all sorts of amazing things in it, drawn by Ron Garney.
Daredevil has always been a dream gig for me, and I feel like it’s been running on all cylinders for a while now. The legal side is meshing really nicely with the action/superhero stuff, and I hope and believe that it feels like a unique, cool experience in ‘cape comics.’ Art from Goran Sudzuka, Stefano Landini, Alec Morgan and Marc Laming added to the work Ron did on his issues, Matt Milla colored them all (and making everything work with so many different art styles couldn’t have been easy – I don’t think he gets enough credit) and Clayton Cowles lettered every word (ditto.)
If you haven’t been reading the run so far, you can pick it up at #1 or jump right in with Mayor Fisk at #595. Collections of everything from the start of my run through “Land of the Blind” are on shelves now – and I’m not going anywhere. Cool plans for DD through #600 and beyond – just wait.
I was lucky enough to relaunch Astonishing X-Men this past summer via an all-star cast of broken, wonderful mutants – Psylocke, Fantomex, Old Man Logan, Bishop, Rogue, Gambit and Mystique. We’ve been with them through six issues so far. If you haven’t been reading it I don’t want to spoil the surprises, but the book isn’t just about them. Far from it. It’s a three-act story planned for twelve issues that’s really about one of the most central figures to the X-Men story. He’s been off the table for a while, but the series is designed to bring him back to the forefront in a very cool, unexpected way. Issue 6 concluded Act I: “Life of X.” Act II, “A Man Called X” will start with Issue 7… and then we’ll see what Act III has to offer. More intense mutanting, I can tell you that much. I built this book to have a reveal, twist or surprise in every issue, and I think you’ll have fun seeing where it all goes.
Can’t talk about Astonishing without mentioning the amazing artists who have been helping bring it to life – a different all-star every issue. Started with Jim Cheung, then Mike Deodato Jr., Ed McGuinness, Carlos Pacheco, Ramon Rosanas and Mike Del Mundo. Phil Noto (more about him in a second) drew issue 7, and then we have Paulo Siqueira and more. Clayton Cowles lettered this one too, and then we have a murderer’s row of great colorists and inkers. I can’t wait for the second act of the series to start hitting.
Man, this series has turned into something! I started working on it with my long-time collaborator Phil Noto back in 2015. We both flew out to Lucasfilm to get a sneak peek at Episode VII, which helped us figure out what we’d be doing on the series. Cut to… today, when The Last Jedi is in theaters and we’ve released 22 issues of this series (plus an Annual, written by Robbie Thompson and drawn by Nicole Virella.) Twelve were drawn by Phil, and the rest by the amazing Angel Unzueta, who’s still on the series now, along with Phil on covers. Arif Prianto colors, Joe Caramagna letters, and I have to say, I feel like the team just sings at this point.
I’ve seen a ton of questions on Twitter and so on asking if the series is planned to end at #25 – the answer: no. It will continue to #26 and beyond. We’re doing something extremely cool with the book starting with #26, though, and I think anyone who likes Poe or his friends in Black Squadron will have a blast with it. The idea with Poe Dameron has always been to add in color and context to the stuff we see in the movies – not just with Poe, but tons of additional characters: Threepio, Artoo, BB-8, Leia, Lor San Tekka, Phasma, the First Order, the Resistance and more. If you like the new trilogy era of the timeline, this is the book for you.
Volumes 1-3 are available now, and the single issues hit each and every month.
Holy dark side, you guys LOVE evil space wizards. Issue 1 of my Darth Vader series with Giuseppe Camuncoli, David Curiel and Joe Caramagna hit in July to some really nice notices, and it’s just continued moving forward, as implacable as the Dark Lord of the Sith himself. We just put out issue 9, and Volume 1 of the collections is out too.
The book is set right after Revenge of the Sith, and tells the story of Vader’s earliest days in his suit of deadly black armor. The first arc told the tale of how Vader got his red lightsaber, then we moved on to talking about his time hunting Jedi and running the Emperor’s Inquisitorius death squad, and from there… well, it’s a new Empire at this point in the timeline, and there are a bunch of cool stories to be told. The book has connections to every part of the Star Wars storytelling universe, from the Prequels to Rebels to Clone Wars to the Original Trilogy and beyond… and of course, the novels and comics. Lots of lightsaber battles, lots of Force feats, and lots of Vader barely talking and murdering people for looking at him sideways. It’s a hoot!
Volume 1 was the #1 bestselling graphic novel to comic shops in November, and that’s… well, that’s pretty fantastic. After Kieron Gillen’s recent, masterful run on another Darth Vader comic set just after A New Hope, I know we were all a little nervous about jumping in here – but it seems to have worked out. Team Vader loves creating this book, and it’s just awesome to see that you folks seem to like it too.
THE STUFF I SHOULDN’T BE TALKING ABOUT YET
I’m never really comfortable unless I’ve booked myself into enough projects that every waking moment is consumed with writing or thinking about writing, and the end of 2017 is no exception. I’m working on a number of additional things I’m excited about and circling others. I can’t get into too much detail, but here are a few thoughts:
What do you when you finally have a novel coming out? You write the next one. Novel 2 has a title, but I’m keeping it under wraps for the moment. It’s not a sequel to The Oracle Year, but that could happen too, especially if TOY ends up doing well. It’s ambitious, and tough to write – multiple narrative POVs, but done in a way I’ve never seen before. It has a genre element, but in many ways it’s similar to what I tried to do with TOY – take our world, change one thing and see what happens next.
I’m squeezing this in around the edges, making time when I can around everything else I’m doing, but progress is steady. The halfway point is in sight, and I’d like to have a first draft done by the time The Oracle Year hits on April 3. That wouldn’t be the end, of course – as they say, writing is rewriting – but definitely a good milestone.
Big Marvel Thing
Yes, there’s a big Marvel thing in the works. I think you will like it. Trying to take an existing character and let them be seen in a fresh way. Not easy, but definitely wonderful. Very very excited to work with the artists on this.
This could be the year you see some of my work adapted to another medium (other than the Marvel characters I’ve been lucky enough to have seen on various screens – Flint, Inferno, Iso, Lash, Auran, etc.) – but we’ll see. Talks are ongoing on three projects, so we’ll see. It always takes a lottery-ticket level of chance to make anything happen in TV or film, but you never know!
AND THAT, my friends, is it! This took me quite a while to put together, so I hope you enjoyed it. If you’d like more updates like this (but perhaps a bit shorter!) please do considering signing up for my newsletter here: https://mailchi.mp/d9013dd0991a/charlessoule See you in 2018!