Teen Titans Go!

Just got my comp copies of the Teen Titans Go! story I wrote, Silicon Valley Cyborg. You can probably guess at the plot.

I am a HUGE!!! fan of the show. Writing this particular comic was actually the most fun writing gig I’ve ever had. I love writing comedy, but so rarely get to.

I think the ish turned out really well, and have to give my editor Alex Antone some credit. He definitely made it a stronger story.

This is my second kids script. I also did a yet to be announced sports graphic novel. Both projects are among my favorites and have my fingers crossed that I will get to do more kid content.

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Is the Chromebook a writer’s paradise?

I usually do my writing on an 11″ MacBook Air. It’s light, fast and it runs my favorite screenwriting tools. But it does occasionally get a bit too warm for my sensitive palms and lap. With Chromebook prices hovering around $200, I thought I’d get one and see if they were good for anything more than just web browsing.

chromebookIf you’re not familiar with Chromebooks, they are low cost laptops running a special variant of Linux called the Chrome OS, by Google. All of the programs on a Chromebook run in a web browser. And, for the most part, only work when you’re connected to the internet. So, with no files and no applications, can you do any real work on it?

The answer is either “sorta” or “no.” For me, it’s a no. Want to know why?

First off, the options for formatted screenwriting are very limited. As in one. Celtx, a web/mobile/desktop production solution for film production. The script writing tool handles the basics and supports import/export, but since I’m writing comics and novels for the most part, and Celtx formatting options are so limited, I had a devil of a time adapting it to my comic book writing workflow. And it really isn’t a solution for novels at all. Celtx also operates on a subscription revenue model. Some people like renting software. I hate it. So there’s that. If you’re really just writing screenplays, Celtx might do the trick, but compared to a dedicated desktop app, it’s lagy and very limiting. But what about novels?

On my MacBook Air I use the amazingly versatile Scrivener from Literature & Latte. What can’t it do? Write for you, but anything else it pretty much has covered. It can handle any type of script formatting as well as doing complex long form prose. The thing that makes Scrivener so awesome is that it allows you to break your project into chunks of text that can be as big or small as you want them to be and they are kept in a hierarchical file order that you can easily move around or disable or flag for revisions. Once you figure out how you want to use it, it is almost impossible to write in any other app. Especially prose. So what is an aspiring Chromebook novelist to do?

Try Scriptito. It is basically Scrivener in a browser. The webapp offers a similar hierarchical file structure of text chunks and the ability to group text chunks in folders. I spent several hours trying to get started on a short story project. It took some doing, but I finally got the hang of using the writing component. Scriptito large does as promised, but the UX still needs a lot of work. There were no help files or tutorials and it took me five minutes to figure out how to create a text container.Scriptito appears to be what I would consider an open beta. You are limited to just five projects and 8gb of storage in the Scriptito cloud and there are no paid subscription options yet. It’s no replacement for Scrivener – yet. But it could be.

So can you use a Chromebook for script writing or novel writing? If you can live with the way Celtx works and charges, the answer to script writing is yes. Kinda. The web version of Celtx really doesn’t hold a candle to any desktop apps. For novel writing the yes is less qualified. There are a lot of linear writing apps – Google Drive to name one that comes bundled on a Chromebook – but if you’ve discovered the writing Nirvana that is Scrivener, you have to pin your hopes on Scriptito’s continued evolution.

If price is the main barrier to you having a writing platform, then a Chromebook and Celtx and Scriptito will get the job done for $200 down and $10 a month. It is the writing that makes the writer, after all, not the tools. Chaucer had to use a quill pen. But if you can choose between a real laptop and Scrivener or a Chromebook, the laptop and installed apps is hands down the way to go.

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Line of Defense Tactics Out Now!

Out today: Line Of Defense Tactics for iOS, Mac and Android! It is the game I wrote, based on the comic I wrote, based on the Line Of Defense MMO that Derek Smart created. And it is in “Best New Games” for both iOS and Mac app stores.

The game roughly follows the storyline from Issue 0 of the Line of Defense comic book series. You can get issue 0 for free via Comixology (link above) or for free as a PDF right here.

screen568x568The player controls Crater, Mash, Roach and Thumper, soldiers with Galactic Command, as they infiltrate an Insurgent controlled planet to nab a weapon of planetary destruction. Over the course of the game you get to fly a space ship in real time tactical combat, operate a massive mech-like armored vehicle and order around four bad ass GALCOM killing machines. Lots of good fun!

First 3 levels are free. You like strategy games? Go download! Then read the comic. Or do it the other way around. Either way you get lots of good free space marine fun.

Writing some new books

New year getting off to a great start.

Signed up to do a new youth soccer graphic novel for a kids publisher which I’m super excited about. The first time I’m working on something my kid can read. About 1/3 the way through.

Also just kicked off a new video game adaptation. A twelve part digital series.

My Batman story “Unnatural Selection” available for download!

My new Batman comic is up on Comixology and DC Comics for digital purchase today.

“Unnatural Selection” part 1 of 2! When a noted cryptozoological collector experiences a break-in, he’s shocked to find only one specimen missing. But he’s even more surprised when Batman shows up to investigate!”

The story combines two of my favorite things – Batman and cryptotaxidermy!

The Dark Knight is the one super hero I’ve always wanted to write so this is literally a dream come true for me. The artist I worked with, Sergio Sandoval, is downright amazing. He’s currently working on Arrow and has done a number of videogame adaptations. His interpretation of Batman, the Batmobile and the Bat Cave are just dead on. Below is a panel with Batman and Gordon, just to give you a an idea of how good the art is.

UPDATE: Part 2 now also available on Comixology. Go get Legends of the Dark Knight #23 and #24 right now! Or I’ll send the Joker to your house for a party.

Batman: LOTDK “Unnatural Selection”

Yesterday DC comics announced the new slate of writers, artists and stories in the digital first Legends of the Dark Knight Batman series.

Why am I sharing this you may ask? Because I make my debut as a Batman writer with the two part story “Unnatural Selection” on November 8th, with artwork provided by the unbelievably talented Sergio Sandoval. You can get the comic on Comixology for just $0.99!

Also appearing on the new slate are past collaborators Jheremy Raapack (Resident Evil) and Chris Sprouse (End of Nations) and Christos Gage (ReVisioned: Tomb Raider and ReVisioned: Activision.)

For dates and the full line up check out the Legends of the Dark Knight post at DC.

Matter Eater Lad

I was just thinking today about what super hero I would most like to write. There are the biggies (Constantine, Swamp Thing, Animal Man) but the character I’d actually really like to write is Legion of Super Heroes alumn Matter Eater Lad from planet Bismoll.

The Buckaroo Banzai of the Legion?

His super power? He can eat anything. Anything at all.

You heard me. And what a power it is!

No jail can hold him – he eats his way out.

No nefarious device can destroy the universe – he gobbles it down before it can go off.

He’ll chomp your gun in two before you get a chance to plug him.

His tagline? “That gives me an appetite! And you don’t want to give me an appetite!”

There’s a Legion story line where MEL eats a super powerful alien device known as the Miracle Machine. No living Legionnaire can destroy it, except the man with the mouth! In the story line, eating the machine drives MEL insane, but I think eating the machine has the potential to open up a story where MEL finds himself in current DC continuity, out of time and space, a bit deranged the way Starman found himself, with an appetite…

You can see where I’m going with this.

Alas, a Matter Eater Lad writing gig is a fantasy at this point, but one day…

For more on the bizarre history of my favorite DC character, check out this link at Major Spoilers.

Line of Defense Comic

My good friend Derek Smart recently posted about a Line of Defense comic being done at DC Entertainment to support the launch of his MMO FPS game coming out this summer. I just finished working on the script a few weeks ago and the artists that we lined up for the comic are already producing some amazing results.

The cover is being handled by a relative newcomer to comics, an artist from the Philippines named Puppeteer Lee. He’s a digital painter with a great sci fi, techy style. My first thought looking at his stuff is that it looks like some of the best work coming out of vintage Heavy Metal Magazine. It is very European in style, and it reminds me of one of my favorite artists, Argentinean born Juan Gimenez, who now lives outside of Barcelona. I’m lucky enough to have one of his pieces hanging in my mancave.

Panels are being done by Brian Ching, who’s done a number of books including Knights of the Old Republic, Gears of War and Arkham Unhinged. Here’s his DeviantArt page. The dude really knows how to draw tech and has taken the script I wrote, which is lots of combat, lots of gadgets and lots of sci-fi vehicles, and made it gorgeous. His ability to take the source material and make it come alive on the page is just amazing. I recently saw the first six completed pages and was just planed stunned.

I can’t post any pics yet of what’s being worked on by these two guys, but WOW is the word I keep saying when I see the work. Looking forward to having the cover and sample pages revealed as the book gets closer.

Latest scripts

Just finished two scripts. One for comic that will be given away at SDCC this year and another for a yet to be announced digital series. Both are pretty exciting.

The SDCC comic is based on an FPS MMO coming out this summer called Line of Defense. Space marines. Big gun fights. Lots of cool tech. Lots of fun to write.

The second comic script is my first shot at a cape. My favorite cape at that. Not sure when I get to talk about it but so excited to have done it!

End of Nations #1 Available Now (Free Issue #0 too!)

The first issue of my End of Nations mini-series from DC Comics when on sale last week. You can get it on your iOS device or online from both Comixology and the DC Comics site.

Issue #0, which was given away as a free premium at San Diego Comic Con 2010 is also available as a free download, so you can get a taste of the world of End of Nations before committing to a purchase.

Issue #0 features the artwork of my friend Cully Hamner on the cover and the super talented Yvel Guichet on panels. The regular series switches to Chris Sprouse on covers.

Go grab your copy now. Who doesn’t like free comics?