“Batman: Arkham Origins” Looks Badass

Batman

Ladies and gentlemen, I am STOKED.

This series is not only some of the best Batman ever, it’s some of the greatest gaming ever. My love for it is already a matter of record.

And yet again a CGI game trailer shows that they really shouldn’t need to be waiting for Hollywood to get its head out of its ass to give us good flicks of Halo, God of War, or other great games, not to mention the possibilities for animated comic book fare.

Comics and Me

Comics

Yesterday was Free Comic Book Day. It got me thinking about my relationship to comics.

The comic above,  The Amazing Spider-Man # 119, is the first comic I remember buying. I know I had others before it, but perhaps I didn’t actually choose them myself, but had them given to me. Whatever the case, I remember going into the 7-11 and choosing this comic and reading it. The result was an obsession that lasted for years, and a strong love of the medium that I still retain today.

That said, I can’t recall the last single issue of a comic I bought. I still read bound collections here and there, like the recent “Court of Owls” storyline in the Batman comics. There are some things I buy for my library as soon as they appear, like the incredible cloth-bound library editions of Mike Mignola’s Hellboy, or the “Absolute” edition of Warren Ellis’s Planetary. But mostly, I just don’t bother with comics these days.

I still love them. But they’re like old friends who’ve drifted away. I keep up with them via gossip. “Oh, Superman is seeing Wonder Woman? Good for him.” “Oh no, Damian Wayne died? That’s terrible, Bruce must be in agony.” “Peter Parker’s dead? Oh my god, that’s…actually really fucking humdrum at this point, unfortunately. Tell me when he’s back.”

It’s not that I’m not interested in reading them, because I am. But the reasons not to are so compelling. They’re too damned expensive, for one thing; for ten bucks, I can get two or three comic books I’ll read in under fifteen minutes. But that same ten bucks will get me two hours of entertainment at the cinema, buy me a book or ten that will give me many hours of enjoyment, get me ten songs I’ll be able to listen to forever, or even pay for a month of Netflix. Comics just don’t offer much bang for the buck when they cost so much.

It’s also a chore to keep up with them. The big companies love crossovers, and to be honest, so do I. But I’m too busy and distracted to have to follow all related series, and read the issues every month in proper order, in order to keep up with a storyline. The latest Batman mega-arc may be incredible, but if I have to hop spastically from title to title, and research the fucking reading order online, to keep up, it’s too much work for too little joy. You can’t just buy a single title, in individual issues or trade collections, and get a coherent storyline.

So, these days, though I miss them, I’m fine following the lives of my favorite comic book characters through hearsay. And, of course, through other media. I’m re-watching The Spectacular Spider-Man cartoon at present, and it’s exceptional. Of course, it lasted just two seasons, and now we have Ultimate Spider-Man, which isn’t. DC’s animated efforts tend to be incredible; we watched the animated adaptation of Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns a few weeks ago, and it was great. And, of course, there are the movies. That’s where most people get their comics fix these days, and there, for the most part, the companies are getting it right.

Speaking of which, today we’re going to see the new Iron Man flick. Can. Not. Wait.

Shadowy News For Pulp Movie Fans…

The Shadow

Some news on the Doc Wilde blog for fans of pulp action movies in general and 1994’s film version of The Shadow in particular:

Shadowy News

Which reminds me of one of my better Twitter statuses last year:

Superman’s Rash Solution

The Bottled City of Kandor

Today, in honor of Superman’s 75th anniversary, I’d like to share a story…

Not many people are aware of the fact that the Bottled City of Kandor actually uses kryponite-run nuclear reactors for power, and there is a (relatively) huge mass of the element beneath the city. Naturally, mining the ore can be very dangerous for those of Kryptonian descent, and early on even the best protective measures proved insufficient, as miners continued to develop terrible rashes even when wearing highly shielded suits. Superman ultimately solved the problem, of course, by developing a special cream which completely eradicated the rash and even had a mild pleasant scent. This salve is now sold in pharmacies in Kandor under the name “Kal-El Mine Lotion.”

Thank you! Thank you! I’ll be here all week…

Doc Wilde: The Final Update Before Publication!

A World of Adventure

I’ve been keeping quiet, mostly, since my return from Brazil, and since announcing the “imminent” release of Doc Wilde and The Frogs of Doom at the end of January. This is because I’ve been very busy working, but also because even I’m weary of my pattern of optimistic-announcements-followed-by-some-more-interminable-waiting. That said…

The release of Doc Wilde and The Frogs of Doom is imminent.

I just finished a complete overhaul of the Doc Wilde website, and you can read the details in this blog post there. I’ll be shifting a good share of Doc Wilde-related posts to the official blog in the future, as well as availing myself of the newsletter, which you can sign up for to make sure you get the latest news. Don’t fret, I’m not going to spam you with lots of emails; anyone who follows this blog knows how sporadic I can be. For the moment, the newsletter will be used just for practical updates on the books, but over time I plan to do some fun things with it (though still on a non-spammy basis).

While we’re talking about subscriptions, I may as well point out that you can also subscribe to this blog via the button in the sidebar. This is my personal space, and I’ll continue to talk not only about my writing and publishing adventures, but all the weird and wise and sometimes inappropriate things that occur to me.

Back on the subject of the Doc Wilde site, I’m very pleased with it. Swing by and take a look, check out the gallery of Gary Chaloner’s awesome artwork, read the reviews Frogs of Doom received when it was first published by Putnam, sign the guestbook. Go Wilde…

DOC WILDE ADVENTURE HEADQUARTERS

CHASE ME (A Charming Animated Short)

Chase Me

This is for Nydia…

A lovely animated short from the creators of the classic Batman animated series, silent movie style, all elegant art and sleek action, with a great musical score.

Enjoy.

The Mother Fucking Space Marines

SPACE MARINES

So corporate bully boys Games Workshop are now insisting they own a trademark on the term “space marine,” which first appeared back in 1932 in the story “Captain Brink of the Space Marines” by Bob Olsen. They had a book by writer M.C.A Hogarth kicked off of Amazon for her use of this common, stock, standard, downright cliché science fiction trope.

From her blog:

Today I got an email from Amazon telling me they have stopped selling Spots the Space Marine because Games Workshop has accused me of infringement on their trademark of the word ‘space marine’.

If you go to the Trademarks Database and look up the word “space marine” you’ll find the Games Workshop owns a trademark on the term “space marine,” but it only covers the follow goods and services: IC 028. US 022. G & S: board games, parlor games, war games, hobby games, toy models and miniatures of buildings, scenery, figures, automobiles, vehicles, planes, trains and card games and paint, sold therewith.

Fiction isn’t included in that list, which means Games Workshop has no grounds on which to accuse me of trademark infringement.

I didn’t get my use of that term from Games Workshop. I got it from Robert Heinlein. Apparently the first use of the term was in 1932. E.E. Smith used it, among others. Also there are other novels on Amazon being sold that have “space marine” in the title. I don’t know why Games Workshop decided to complain about Spots in particular, but my guess is because the Kickstarter made it a little higher-profile than the average indie offering.

This is as bad as Marvel and DC Comics conspiring to share a trademark on the term “superhero,” barring all others from using it. It’s pointless and ridiculous and downright unfriendly to the creative community at large.

As for Games Workshop? Fuck those guys.

(Note: Like that cool pulpy cover I posted up there? You can make your own with the Pulp-O-Mizer at Bradley Schenck’s Thrilling Tales of the Downright Unusual website, which is a very cool place to visit…)

A Note From Doc Wilde’s Workshop

Wondering about what’s happening with Doc Wilde?

You’re in the right place. As you may know, I pulled the series from Putnam in order to use the tools of the new indie publishing revolution to produce the books the way I’d originally envisioned them, including covers and a lot of incredible interior art by comics maestro Gary Chaloner. The original plan had been to have three of Doc’s adventures out by the end of this year, but as I’ve explained previously, this plan has fallen to Murphy’s Law.

I’m not at all happy with that, but the situation is what it is. Gary and I are working steadily on getting the first book, the re-release of Doc Wilde and The Frogs of Doom, out in time for Christmas. I’d say even sooner, but such statements seem to like to come back and bite me on the ass.

As you can see above (as well as in previous posts, and in my “Doc Wilde” photo album on Facebook, which is viewable by the public), the work Gary is doing is amazing, and well worth the wait.

In other exciting news, we’ve added a brilliant new member to Team Wilde, taking an important step toward global domination. My lovely friend Nydia Macedo has contracted to translate Doc Wilde and The Frogs of Doom into Portuguese for release in Brazil. The Brazilian edition will include the same Gary Chaloner design and art as the English edition, and will be just the start of worldwide availability of Doc Wilde’s astonishing adventures.

Welcome to the family, Nyd.

PANCAKES

In certain circles, there has been a royal stink the past few days about, of all things, pancakes. I don’t actually know the particulars and feel like my brain cells are better occupied with other things, but as an antidote to that particular venom, and any other you may be suffering from, I offer up this classic Hellboy tale by Mike Mignola. I hope it’s okay to do so, as these two pages are widely available on the net, and I originally read the tale as a free digital comic on the Dark Horse Comics website. If I hear otherwise, I’ll remove it.

Continue reading

Thoughts on THE DARK KNIGHT RISES (No Spoilers)

Walking out of Reign of Fire in 2002, two years before casting for Batman Begins took place, I announced that Christian Bale should be Batman. When he was actually cast, I was naturally pleased, and have loved his performance as Bruce Wayne from the first frame.

Bale captures the surface of the character, the handsome, athletic leading man who can wear the costume well (and has a square enough jaw that he doesn’t need a prosthetic chin to look right in the mask, as Michael Keaton did). But he also masterfully portrays the complexity, and torment, of Bruce Wayne, and over the course of the films we see him struggle in very human ways with the life he has chosen. It’s not as simple as being tragic or sad or brooding, or dynamic and intense and implacable. Bale’s Batman is real.

In The Dark Knight Rises, Bale shows us something truly surprising for a big screen superhero movie: he shows us not only Bruce Wayne’s tragedy and pain, but his frailty. His Batman is a force of nature, but he is also a man who is scarred and beaten by his experiences and by his age. And that makes his battles, and his triumphs and defeats, resonate all the more. Continue reading

And Finally… CATWOMAN!

We finally get a really good look at Anne Hathaway as Catwoman in Christopher Nolan’s next Batman flick.

Gotta tell you, I like.

Of course, I always thought Hathaway was an awesome choice, and I tend to trust Nolan’s choices when it comes to these films. Aside from the ridiculous growly voice Batman used last time, the movies have been damn near perfect.

My one quibble with Catwoman when I saw her in earlier pics was the choice to have her in high heels. Not smart footwear for anyone engaging in active athletic activities, much less catburgling.

But looking closely at this image, I see that the heels are visually set off from the rest of the boots, which makes me think that they may well be detachable, allowing her to go flat-footed when functionality is called for. If that’s the case, that’s pretty damn cool. Nolan will have found a way to keep the over-the-top sexy of traditional Catwoman depictions while also embracing her more practical and realistic current incarnation.

I’m really looking forward to seeing her in action. In the meantime, I’ll be in my bunk…

Buffy vs. The Black Widow, Who Wins? (Joss Whedon Lets Us Know)

In a short Q&A with USA Today, Joss Whedon was asked who he thought would win in a fight between Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Natasha Romanov, the Avengers‘ Black Widow. His response is a very entertaining action sequence all by itself:

Buffy would go easy at first, but as soon as Natasha popped her with a Widow Sting, she’d start bringing some slayer brawn to the fray. Natasha’s fast, but a couple of good connects and she’s wobbling, possibly something broken — she whips out her glock and now Buffy’s dodging — right where Natasha wants her. Natasha shoots the cable holding the steel barrels and they tumble onto Buffy, nearly burying her — Buffy just arcs out of the way, grabbing the splintered cable and swinging directly onto Natasha, a bullet grazing her cheek as her feet land hard on the Russian’s shoulders, sending her back flat — crack! — on the floor, Buffy wrenching the gun away and tossing it, fist ready for the final strike. Natasha, struggling to stay conscious, says the fight’s over. Buffy agrees, but Natasha explains: She poisoned Buffy hours ago. That waitress that brought her salad …? Natasha smiles. The poison is dormant — ’til it’s activated by adrenaline. Buffy’s eyes narrow. “Too bad I didn’t use any.” Wham! Natasha’s out for the count, and Buffy’s heading — slowly — to Willow for a mystical cleanse.

That’d be my first guess.


Wilde Success! (But The Adventure Continues…)

Looking for Adventure? GO WILDE!!!

YAHOO! Today, one week after it began, the Doc Wilde Adventures Kickstarter project hit (and passed) its $3,000 goal!

But that doesn’t mean it’s over. The goal was our minimum target we needed to hit in order for the Kickstarter to succeed; had we not reached it, the project would have failed and no funding would have occurred. But now, the sky is the limit. People can continue to jump on board and contribute, and the more funds we get, the better we can make these books.

Thank you to all our great friends who have given their support to the project thus far! And a special call-out to the guys at Inveterate Media Junkies, who’ve been featuring the Doc Wilde Kickstarter on their site all week and who also made a big pledge that brought us to goal!

To celebrate today’s success, I’d like to dedicate the following tune to all our supporters…

Lil Avengers (A Must See!)

Aside from my own upcoming Doc Wilde releases, there’s no media event this year I’m looking forward to more than Joss Whedon’s Avengers. And I usually wouldn’t share a Target commercial, but this one is just cute as hell and friggin’ cool, so you need to see it.

For Your Batmanny Weekend Enjoyment…

I failed to post this week’s “Free Fiction Friday” post yesterday because I was so swamped with everything I needed to do for the Astonishing Adventures of Doc Wilde Kickstarter launch. For the untold millions who only bought a computer so they could get their weekly fix, I’m sorry.

The Doc Wilde relaunch is off to a great start; just over twenty hours in, we’re at 26% of our funding target (which is the minimum we need for the Kickstarter to succeed, not a maximum amount for the relaunch). If you haven’t already, I hope you’ll visit the link above to see what’s up.

As a special treat to make up for my Free Fiction lapse (which I shall endeavor to remedy later today), I offer you this incredibly endearing and goofy piece of Batmania that someone put a helluva lot of time and money and work into…and which kinda makes me think Bat-Mite is around somewhere… Continue reading

The Astonishing Adventures Of Doc Wilde Kickstarter Is Now LIVE!!!

Click The Pic To Go To Kickstarter!

And, we’re flyin‘…

The Doc Wilde Kickstarter has officially begun:

The Astonishing Adventures of Doc Wilde

I invite you to click the link above and take a look at the cool rewards we came up with for each pledge level. Watch the amazing video, in which I seem subtly unable to wear a shirt correctly and show, once and for all, that, videogenically speaking, I have a great face for literature.

Kickstarter is a system created to make it possible for people all over the world to help creators fund cool projects; in exchange, the supporters get cool stuff and opportunities to interact in assorted ways with the creators. The creator posts a funding goal, and if the goal is met then the project succeeds and the pledge money goes to the creator. But if the goal is not met, the project fails and no money is exchanged. It’s an all-or-nothing system.

I’ve set the project goal at $3,000, basically a grand each for the three novels the Kickstarter is meant to launch. But please understand that this is a minimum goal; once it’s met, the project is a success, but people can still join in (and hopefully will) at any point during the time the project is active. The more the merrier, and the more funds we raise the  easier it will be to produce not only these first three volumes but more books in the series.

The project will run until Saturday, April 28th, at midnight PST.

If you plan to pledge, please do it as early as you’re able. Launching strong is very important for a project because many possible supporters look for projects to support with a high probability of success. If the project is already well on its way to hitting its funding target early, that’s a good sign it will succeed.

If you pledge, we sincerely thank you. Welcome to the pulpy, perilous world of Doc Wilde and his amazing family!

The Big Reveal: The New Cover Art For DOC WILDE AND THE FROGS OF DOOM!!!

 

With just under twenty-four hours before the Doc Wilde Kickstarter project goes live (and I have to tell you, I keep feeling like clicking that launch button early), I’ve decided to go ahead and let you see the great new cover Gary Chaloner has designed for the new, much-improved edition of the first novel.

It incorporates elements from his original mock-up, but does so much more…these are the Wildes I’ve always seen in my head.

The Doc Wilde Adventures Kickstarter Begins This Friday (3/30/12)

It’s getting down to the wire, folks…

This Friday, “The Astonishing Adventures of Doc Wilde” project will go live on Kickstarter.

“In a young adult book market crowded with the depressing and the dour, Tim Byrd’s Doc Wilde swings in on a jungle vine to raise the flag high for adventure. Infused with pace, fun, and all the two-fisted action a reader could ask for, Wilde lovingly riffs on situations straight out of the old pulps, even while making them fresh for a new generation.”
— Zack Stentz, screenwriter, Thor, X-Men: First Class

The Doc Wilde stories are my tribute to the pulp stories I loved growing up, and still love today. Like The Incredibles or the Indiana Jones films, they are suitable for kids and adults both,  full of action and humor and weird science and occult menace and lots of derring-do.

I published the first book, Doc Wilde and The Frogs of Doom, with Penguin/Putnam in 2009; it did very well both critically and commercially, so they asked for more books. But in the three years since, the digital publishing revolution has opened up many opportunities for an author that traditional publishing doesn’t offer, and I decided to go independent with the series.

The Kickstarter project will encompass three Doc Wilde novels, all to be released by year’s end. The books will be available in trade paperback and ebook formats. They will all have gorgeous covers and interior illustrations by the great Aussie comic book artist Gary Chaloner. (At the top of this post you can see the new logo he’s designed — he’s still painting the rest of the cover, which will hopefully be ready in time to debut when the Kickstarter begins).

I’ve regained my rights to Doc Wilde and The Frogs of Doom and it will reappear in a much improved new edition in June, featuring not only the new artwork inside and out by Gary, but my “author’s cut” preferred edit and a new short Doc Wilde adventure.

In August, we’ll release Doc Wilde and The Mad Skull, the long-awaited second book, in which the Wildes face a mind-blowing mystery and a truly bizarre villain.

In November the third adventure will appear, Doc Wilde and The Dance of the Werewolf, a dark tale featuring lycanthropes and witchcraft. At least two more Doc Wilde adventures will follow in 2013.

(If you follow the links above you can read excerpts from each of the books).

For those who may not be familiar with Kickstarter, it’s a modern patronage system for creators in which they present something they’d like to do and supporters are able to pledge funds to help them do it, in return for rewards varying from big thank yous to copies of the items created to interactions of various sorts with the creators. The creator posts his intentions and a target amount of money he is trying to raise; if, within the time the Kickstarter runs, enough money is pledged to hit that target, then the Kickstarter succeeds. If the target amount is not met, the Kickstarter has failed and no money is exchanged.

The target I’m setting for this project is $3,000. But that’s a minimum goal, not a maximum; once it’s reached, the Kickstarter continues and new people can continue to get involved. The funds will go toward art and book design and editing, as well as paying for the writing. Any extra funds will be applied to producing more books down the line.

I’ve come up with reward levels for pledges ranging from $5 for an ebook copy of one of the novels and the supporter’s name on the book’s acknowledgments page, up to $400 for signed limited editions of the books along with a bunch more cool stuff. There are only three slots available at the highest level, and four at the second highest, because they include exclusive one-of-a-kind rewards, so those are first come, first served.

I plan to launch the Kickstarter at noon EST this Friday, March 30th.

If you’re looking for adventure…it’s time to GO WILDE!

“It’s a true delight…Tim Byrd has taken Doc Savage, added in a pinch of Robert E. Howard, a liberal dose of H.P. Lovecraft, and mixed it all together in a well done, enchanting pastiche of the pulps that will appeal to the adult audience as well as the young adult readers. It is an over the top at times, rip-roaring adventure that returns us to the days of yesteryear and leaves us wanting more.”
                                                          —The Baryon Review