Production notes and trivia from my experiences on comic books, fiction, and games including
Star Wars: A New DawnStar Wars: Kenobi Star Wars: Knight Errant
Star Wars: Knights of the Old RepublicStar Wars: Lost Tribe of the Sith
Star TrekMass Effect Overdraft Iron Man & more!

Order the Star Trek Prey trilogy here!

Thursday, December 31, 2009

Welcome to 2010



In the event an embassy for extraterrestrial intelligence attempts to ignite a fusion reaction in a nearby gas-giant, please remain in your seat with your seat belts fastened.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Knights of the Old Republic #48: Questions Answered!


A whole bunch of questions are answered in Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic #48, going on sale in comics shops Wednesday just in time for your holiday reading. How many questions? Well, somewhere short of Avogadro's Number; I don't want to oversell it. But we hit a few Frequently Asked Questions from the last few years.

What's that Demagol guy all about? What was Zayne doing during his summer vacation? What was in that box Demagol brought back to the ship that raucous night on Wor Tandell? What's the story with Zayne's new lightsaber? What's up with Jarael's ears, anyway? And more!

We did something unusual with this issue; anticipating some lettercol questions from folks who don't frequent my blog or the boards, I penned a short essay on "Travels with Demagol: The Care and Feeding of the Monster in the Cargo Bay." I'll still have my usual notes online here soon — I'm hoping for during the holidays — but there's a start. There's also a five-page preview of Mass Effect Redemption #1, shipping to your comics shops Jan. 6! All at no extra cost...

On that score, I have also posted a page for Mass Effect: Redemption #3, which has been solicited for a March release. Remember, you can also get a full-story version of the first issue in the Mass Effect 2 Collector's Edition, shipping in late January.

Update: Holiday repast consumed, I now have some thoughts online about Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic #48. All sorts of little tidbits, like whose voice I hear for Demagol — and detailed instructions for engineering your own superwarrior like Jarael!

Friday, December 18, 2009

KOTOR series retrospective interview on CBR

And the interview wave continues — now with a very nice interview feature on Comic Book Resources, covering my experiences on Knights of the Old Republic. There are also fresh preview pages from issue #48, releasing on Wednesday! Be sure to check it out!

Friday, December 11, 2009

JJM Mass Effect interview on Time's Techland blog

More interviews coming down the pike: The latest is Time magazine's Techland blog, which interviewed me about the making of Mass Effect: Redemption, Dark Horse's new comics series launching January 6. More to come!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Mass Effect Redemption: The Process!

There's an in-depth process interview with artist Omar Francia about our new Mass Effect: Redemption series on Comic Book Resources this morning -- showing how he took a lot of the concept artwork for Mass Effect 2 and put it to use in the comics series launching January 6.

Click through and take a look!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Animal appreciation

We've had costumes and handmade action figures: Now, Zayne and Jarael from Knights of the Old Republic have moved into the realm of feline nomenclature. Comics creator Lin Workman and Nicki Howe, friends from Midsouthcon, messaged me this morning about the adoption of two kittens, Zayne and Jarael.

Jarael's the white one, obviously — and apparently she regularly kicks Zayne's kitten kiester, so everything's in character there.

Thanks for the note, guys — makes me and my kid-named cats ("Pip" "Ghost" "Boo") sound downright uncreative. Enjoy!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Dollar sale on KOTOR at TFAW.com!

Folks, here's a chance to catch up on back issues of Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic you may have missed, or to put together a nice gift package for that fan in your life. Things from Another World is having a giant sale on much of the run of Knights of the Old Republic — for a dollar each!

It appears to run until Dec. 12, while supplies last. The earliest issue available in the online catalog is indeed #1 — I would suspect a later printing — though the later issues in there, beginning with #9, are definitely first prints. Postage and handling, etc., apply — but it's a great holiday chance to stock up on missing back issues.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Star Wars Celebration V announced for Orlando, Aug. 12-15

Good news! Star Wars Celebration V has been announced for August 12-15 in Orlando Florida. The official site is here.


And in what is even better news (for me, anyway), the conflict between those dates and those for Wizard World Chicago, which I usually try to attend, has already been resolved. Wizard is moving its show to the following weekend, citing Star Wars Celebration.

I'll definitely be attending Star Wars Celebration; don't know yet if I can hit Chicago on the way back, but I am glad to know it's an option. Haven't been to Florida since my senior spring break in high school — this'll be fun. See you there!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Mass Effect: Redemption #1 in Mass Effect 2 Collector's Edition

I really don't know any more details than I've seen just now on Amazon — but it looks like the Mass Effect 2 Collector's Edition comes with a limited-edition copy of Mass Effect: Redemption #1. That's the first issue of the new series I scripted based on game designer Mac Walters' plot, with art by Omar Francia. There are XBox and PC versions, according to the site.

I don't have any details about the comic book included — including whether it's the same one we're doing or how it differs — but I'll look into it after the holidays.

Sounds like a nice bonus — there's other things in the package, like a bonus DVD. Thanks to Nate Melby for the heads-up!

Update: IO9 has a variant cover here — not sure if it is the one for the special edition, but it's nifty-keen.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Of Bugs Bunny and Rubik's Cubes

These actually came together over the course of many months, but I have a few thoughts online now about Knights of the Old Republic #47, the first chapter of "Demon." Again, an eclectic stew of comic-book thoughts, touching on Rubik's Cubes, Bugs Bunny, and Fish-Bowl Guy. As noted, thoughts about the larger revelation this issue will appear in "Notes To The Old Republic" in next month's issue — as will, incidentally, a preview of Mass Effect: Redemption. Don't miss it!

A side note: I haven't modified the Shop much because I'm out of stock on a lot of things — which, as of today, includes several of the early issues of "Commencement." I'll make note if sets become available again, but this is not something I'm focusing much on, and some of the older issues are getting harder to locate in any event. Trade paperback time!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Knights of the Old Republic #47: The secret's out!

Which secret, you ask? Ummm... several? Numerous? It's just the start — and it's the start of "Demon," the final storyline in the Knights of the Old Republic comics saga. Issue #47 goes on sale in fine comics shops most everywhere Wednesday. Exercise caution in approaching message boards where the spoilers will be abounding!

I've also finally added the site page for the eighth trade paperback, "Destroyer" — now available for preorder at your local comic book emporium or at Amazon.

Read, absorb, enjoy — and check back here where I'll have some thoughts online about the issue soon. I'll go ahead and say that there are enough revelations yet to come that I probably won't be able to address a lot of questions; later chapters elaborate on a lot of what we see in this issue. But there should be plenty enough to chew on!

This series has been a lot of fun — and the fun is still going!

Monday, November 9, 2009

News about my February comics -- and that's it. Move along...

OK, folks, I hit the road for a few days and things get busy. Here we go, as best as I can post from the road...

The cover and solicitation to Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic #50, the final issue of the series, is now online at the Dark Horse site -- and a page has been established for it on my site here. Benjamin Carre has delivered a cool cover -- just the one I'd suggested. All kinds of surprises in the issue -- of course! (And if you think the solicitation gives anything away, think again -- or better, listen to Magneto: "Are you sure you saw what you think you saw?")

Next -- although actually shipping a week or so before -- is the second issue of Mass Effect: Redemption. The proper preview details are at the Dark Horse site, but I have also finally gotten around to getting a parent page for the series online here. This issue, at least as far as I understand the release schedule, should be the first one out after the release of the video game sequel -- but don't take my word for that. Definitely check with your local retailer!

Just saw the new Star Wars: Insider -- we have a nice interview there about the end of the Knights series. Be sure to pick it up.

And, finally, since you asked, yes, that is a very nice new interview with Dark Horse's Randy Stradley here at TheForce.net -- and yes, he's exactly right that "fellow editor Dave Marshall and writer John Jackson Miller don’t want me to spill the beans about the new series they’re working on." Ladies and gentlemen, start your speculating!

Hmmm. I'm visiting my mom today -- on a day when the word for the day is mum. Coincidence -- or part of a great master plan? Bwa-ha-ha!

(Sorry, in the car waaaay too long this weekend. But stay tuned!)

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Bookending the Cold War at the Churchill Museum

"Where were you when the wall fell?" Well, twenty years ago I was heading with a bunch of folks from the student newspaper to the Investigative Reporters and Editors College Conference in Washington, D.C. -- so around the time the wall was falling, I was actually driving around lost in our nation's capital. (And for all the excitement around the world, it seemed dead as the proverbial doornail that night.)

Thus I missed most of the news that day -- as well as the premiere of the episode of Cheers where Eddie is run over by a Zamboni-brand Zamboni. Fortunately, I caught up on these important events later on. But traveling through Missouri this weekend -- almost twenty years after the fall of the Berlin Wall -- it seemed a good time to stop in Fulton, Missouri, to visit the Winston Churchill Memorial.

If you're wondering about the relevance of a Churchill Musuem here, wonder no more: It was here that Churchill delivered the famous "Iron Curtain" speech. On the campus of Westminster College, the musuem is housed in the lower section of the Church of St. Mary the Virgin, a 12th century church from the middle of London that, after being redesigned in 1677, was relocated to Fulton.

Six panels from the Berlin Wall are on the plaza outside; several world leaders have spoken at the site, including Ronald Reagan, Margaret Thatcher, and Mikhail Gorbachev.

The museum serves multiple functions. There's a lot of material about Churchill the man -- including a look at a replica office and his painting materials -- but then there's also a lot on the history of his times, from the Great War to World War II to the Cold War. Then there's material on the history of the church above. It's a pretty wide sweep of topics for Midwest-bound Anglophiles.

I've read a lot of Churchill's writings over the years -- apart from the inside look at some of the events he personally was involved with, he has a very readable writing style. The six-volume history of World War II is definitely worth a look; they're fairly easy to find online. And if you're in the center of the country, the Memorial is worth a look, too

I don't regret too much being anywhere special twenty years ago; we did get to meet Watergate reporter Carl Bernstein at the conference. So there was a brush with history -- just frmo a completely different period...

Monday, November 2, 2009

The beginning of the end begins Nov. 18!

And Dark Horse has posted the preview from Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic #47, the first issue of "Demon," the final story arc. It's the only three pages they could've selected that don't give something major away — but you can see, the answers are about to begin flowing!

"What's that, Zayne? Serroco? Oh, er, ahem... is that the phone?"

Sunday, October 25, 2009

An update or two

And some notes for Knights of the Old Republic #46 are now online — and I am given to understand that the latest trade paperback, Vol. 7: Dueling Ambitions, has also arrived in stores. I'll put some notes together on that eventually, but I don't recall that we made any changes on that edition. We generally catch just about everything!

Speaking of trades, I still need to get a page online for Volume 8, which was recently solicited. February release, I think...

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

"Destroyer" concludes!

And Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic #46 releases today at your local comics shop — the second part of "Destroyer." It's a particularly emotional issue for our cast — with some wonderful art and one of the creepiest covers we've ever had.

Be sure to check it out... I'll have some thoughts posted on it in a few days.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Fun at Baltimore Comicon, Diamond Summit

Well, Baltimore Comicon has been over for a week, but the Diamond Retailer Summit has only been over for a few days, so hopefully a few notes on it now won't be too late. This was my first time at both events, and it was a lot of fun. I met some old friends and new ones, and got a good look at Baltimore's Inner Harbor area after years of seeing the city fron the expressway.

I even got to sneak out of the convention center now and again for some fresh air — including a tour of the U.S.S. Constellation, seen at right. The trick with it is to remember to duck your head — and debark before Commodore Decker flies it into any Doomsday Machines. (Wait, wrong Constellation...)

Anyway, the convention went really well, with a line on Saturday that went outside and around the building. It was good to see the Dark Horse Comics team at the comicon and the trade show. Star Wars artists Jan Duursema and Dan Parsons were signing at the con, and I got to catch up with a lot of folks in the business and in fandom that I don't always see. Saturday meant Little Italy with Mark McKenna, Mike McCone, Marc Patten and crew. Heidi MacDonald and I compared notes about the industry at the Summit reception at the mesmerizing Geppi Entertainment Museum. I also got to hang out with 24 comics writer Jeff Vaughn, who puts together the Overstreet Comic Book Price Guide. I don't get to have many head-spinningly technical discussions any more about the minutiae of comics collecting these days, but Jeff and I always seem able to pick up where we left off!

I also enjoyed meeting Walter Simonson, whose work I've enjoyed for years — we compared notes on our individual adaptations of Indiana Jones movies. I'd referred back to what he did in the original Raiders adapation plenty in working on the Indy IV graphic novel!

I hadn't seen Steve Ellis, artist on the first three issues of Crimson Dynamo, in a long time; we had a nice conversation about Winter Guard, his upcoming series at Marvel bringing together the most recent version of the Soviet Super Soldiers. It's great he's working in that corner of the Marvel universe again!

When you fly to a comics convention and don't intend to ship comics back, you have to be a lot more selective with what you buy — and when you have room for maybe five comics, it becomes Conversation Piece Time. Nothing I saw fit that description like the copy of Dell's Adlai Stevenson which I found lurking in a box — though pretty much only because of the thought balloon that one of the retailers had stuck to it. (Standing before the UN Building and looking puzzled, Stevenson thinks, "I swear it feels like a large landmark is following me...") I wasn't expecting it and it hit me funny — so the dialogue balloon stays. Yep, I'm an easy customer to amuse...

Having finished writing the last issue of Knights of the Old Republic before departing, last issues of series were on my mind — and seeing artist Dick Ayers at the convention, I spent part of Sunday afternoon finding a copy of the infamous Combat Kelly and His Deadly Dozen #9. Don Thompson had described the comic book to me years ago as one of the great final issues: when writer Mike Friedrich was informed of the series' end, Don said, he basically ran over the series cast with a tank — coining in Comics Buyer's Guide parlance the "Combat Kelly ending."

Anyway, after all these years, I found the issue and it didn't disappoint — not quite a tank, but everyone is wiped out. I was thrilled to get Mr. Ayers to sign my copy. (And, no, Zayne and company needn't worry about getting stepped on by an AT-AT. They have enough problems as it is!)

The Summit was my first retailer show since 2001's San Diego Comic Book Expo (ironically, another show during which I toured a ship, the Star of India) and it was gratifying to be remembered by the folks I met while signing. Dark Horse had the complete first issue of Mass Effect available for retailers to see — remember, that ships the first week of January, so you'll want to order it next month!

All in all, a great week — minus the cold I came back with. (In the depths of my fever, I suddenly remembered that paramedics had come for the guy citing flu symptoms across the hall in the hotel; hope that guy's all right. In any event, I seem to have survived with just a cold.) One of the nice things about attending the Summit was I'd always expected Dark Horse would announce the end of the Knights of the Old Republic comics series there; it was gratifying to hear retailers complimenting the series afterward. It was a very definite contrast from 2004, when the end of my Iron Man run was announced — back then I was fielding responses online, and had only non-fiction projects in the works. It was a lot nicer spending the week where the action was (and knowing I had a busy schedule in front of me)!

That's probably a wrap for shows this year; I'm in for the winter. Back to work...

Finally, a note that we've scared up a spare copy of the out-of-print Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic Campaign Guide, which the Intrepid One has posted on eBay this weekend. I've signed the copy. I'd love to get enough of these things in here to offer them in the shop, but as mentioned before, it's a hard book to price. Strange that my rarest work wouldn't be in a comic book, but a game book!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

JJM on Facebook and Twitter

My Baltimore trade show and con notes will have to wait until my head stops pounding — wouldn't be a convention if you didn't catch something — but for those looking for updates on my work, I'd note there are two ways to get them now: I have a Twitter feed for my fiction site, and after a trial period I'm opening up my Facebook page to visitors of this site.

I'd been hearing from people on the pros and cons of Facebook profile pages versus fan pages — and I finally figured I'd just go with what I had. (If you do friend me on Facebook, please message to the effect of what work you know me from; this isn't any kind of survey, but just a means of trying to cut down on spam. Thanks!)

Time for more Tylenol...

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic: Endings and beginnings

Greetings again from the Diamond Retailer Summit, where I'm appearing for Dark Horse promoting Mass Effect -- and where we finally made it public that, yes, the long run of Knights of the Old Republic is set to end with #50, the last issue of "Demon."

We've been working toward the series' climax for some time, getting pieces into place for the big finale -- where we really have pulled out all the stops. Every question posed in the series (at least to my way of thinking) is addressed. I turned in the last script recently and was very pleased with it -- it wraps things up for this incarnation pretty close to how I'd always imagined it. Dark Horse has given us marvelous support and creative freedom from Day 1 on this series -- and we did everything to make sure things went out with a bang!

For fans of the KOTOR series for its long run, I thank you -- and I can say I'm pretty sure you'll really like where things wrap up for your favorite characters. This has been only one chapter in the lives of these characters; in Star Wars, you never know what the future holds.

From the past to the future: Wrapping up KOTOR clears the decks for a major project I've been working on for some time; as was mentioned in the Summit presentation, it's just not quite ready to announce. There are several moving parts to this project, and there are waterfowl to get into their nice and orderly rows. I can't say more about it now -- but won't be long, I assure you. It really will be something readers haven't seen before! Stay tuned...

Monday, October 12, 2009

Mass Effect preview on CBR

Dark Horse has an exclusive preview online from the new Mass Effect comics title by Mac Walters, myself, and Omar Francia. Check it out by following this link to ComicBookResources!

Still in Baltimore for the Comicon and Diamond Retail Summit. There's a good deal of news in the pipeline on projects you'll be seeing from me in 2010 and beyond: not all can be said right now, but stay tuned on this channel for further news and information. 2010 is working out to be a pretty interesting year -- especially if you're a reader!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Baltimore Comicon this weekend!

I've never been to Baltimore Comicon before, so I'm looking forward to going this weekend. I'll be out and about on the convention floor, but I will be sure to spend some time at the Dark Horse booth, #1503. No set schedule — check with the booth for updates. Be sure to drop by!

I'm also Dark Horse's featured guest later at the Diamond Retailer Summit — I'll be appearing at their booth, #205-206, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Tuesday. My last Diamond event was its retailer roadshow back in late 1995 following all the distribution changes — and my last retailer event was probably the last San Diego Expo in 2001 (I think), so it'll be really good to see everyone again! If you're going to either, be sure to say hi!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

January 2010: Dual duels from Dark Horse

Dark Horse has released its solicitations for January 2010 — a month that includes two comic books from yours truly. First there's the premiere issue of Mass Effect: Redemption (my script on a Mac Walters plot, with art by Omar Francia and a cover by Daryl Mandryk); that should be in shops on January 6. Here's the first look at the cover with the logo...

And, why not, here's some solicitation copy:

"The eagerly anticipated sequel to the blockbuster science-fiction epic that IGN.com named the #1 Xbox 360 game of all time, Mass Effect 2 begins with the disappearance of Commander Shepard. The story of what happens next-exclusive to these comics-will have the commander's companion Dr. Liara T'Soni undertake a deadly mission of extraordinary importance in the Milky Way's lawless Terminus Systems."

Then there's Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic #49, featuring the third part of "Demon" drawn by Brian Ching and sporting a spiffy cover by Benjamin Carré. Jarael and Chantique there on the cover — and it looks like trouble! Some more of that solicitation copy, as we call it...

"It is do or die for former Padawan Zayne Carrick as he desperately tries to save Jarael's life. He'll call in favors from the Senate, the Mandalorian Cassus Fett, and Admiral Karath of the Republic Navy -- but none can prepare him for what he's about to face!"

Plus, there's the news that Knights of the Old Republic #48 will feature a five-page preview of Mass Effect #1! Not exactly a crossover — but they both came from my word processor!

Finally, yes, I will be at Baltimore Comicon this weekend, at the Dark Horse booth — and at the Diamond Retailer Summit thereafter. Schedule details as I have them...

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Destroyer production notes, and a look at #48

And there are some thoughts now on the site for Knights of the Old Republic #45, as well as a page for the creepily-covered issue #48, featuring the origin of Demagol. The eighth KOTOR trade paperback has been announced for February; I'll have a page on the site for that here eventually.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Knights of the Old Republic #45: A Date with Danger!

Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic #45 goes on sale today, and the first part of "Destroyer" answers a whole bunch of tasty questions.

Why is Zayne Carrick imprisoned on a faraway planet and forced to fight for survival? What is the mysterious Crucible all about? What is the connection between deadly Chantique and Jarael — and what's Chantique's interest in Zayne? And what secret has Jarael yet to share with Zayne?

Answers to all these question and more at your local comic-book retailing establishment!

I'll have some notes on the site here later, but in the meantime, enjoy and leave your comments!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

On writers being read: Help from Harlan

Quite a few electrons have been sent hither and yon this past week on the asking of favors from writers. It seems to have started (as much as I can tell from within my bunker) with Josh Olsen's piece for the Village Voice on the reading of screenplays for near-strangers, and the response to it. Harlan Ellison then read a Seuss-ified version of the piece echoing the sentiments. Now, today, John Scalzi has written another piece from the writer's perspective.

I haven't told this story before, but I have an interesting take on it — as almost exactly ten years ago, I sent Harlan Ellison a short story to read.

I was still at Krause Publications then, writing up a storm for Comics Buyer's Guide. At one point, Harlan, a longtime friend of Maggie Thompson's and a regular reader of CBG, called me at the office to let me know that he'd enjoyed one of the longer-form pieces that I'd written. And that I should try to write fiction.

I'd been scratching out fiction at night, submitted nowhere and seen by no one — the short story market being largely out of my sight. But this was diMaggio asking if I'd ever picked up a bat. (Or more accurately, select your superstar who's still playing.) I was energized by the advice, and so I kept at it.

Some months later, knowing that Maggie would be seeing him, I asked Harlan if he could take a look at one of my short stories and share his thoughts. Coming at it from the perspective of someone now writing full-time for a living, I probably wouldn't have done that. I don't really know that I knew any better. In any event, I was very moved when he agreed.

Time passed, and I had largely forgotten about it — when he called me at the office one day, story in hand. Over the course of a couple of hours and several phone calls, he went through several pages of it, relating thoughts and pointers that I noted as quickly as I could. He got a lot farther into it than I would have; it wasn't a completely God-awful story, but I could think of about nine things I'd do differently with it now (if I ever thought of that story at all, which I try not to). My stomach was in a good tangle by the time we were done, but I had a lot of notes for the future, including at least one I try to mind daily.

He went, in all respects, farther than he had to. I was thankful then, and now. Probably more, now, as I've clued into just how special a moment that was. It was one of a number of nice things he did for a kid he barely knew. But I don't write this as advice to send your stories to Harlan, or to any other author. Nor am I writing to say, "well, I did it, but you shouldn't." Now with the Internet, aspiring writers have more access to published writers than ever before — and every writer is different. Some have time and an open door. Others don't. It's my sense that people in all fields (and not just creative ones) are constantly measuring just how much time they have for public outreach — and that they usually give exactly what they have time to give, and still be effective at what they're paid to do.

A lot of us come at it in different ways. When I started writing comics and prose fiction professionally, I committed to doing behind-the-scenes pages on every publication I was involved with. A lot of weeks, after my paying work is done, I have time to do exactly that, and only that — but I want to do it, and I try to do it. I really don't think that many people in creative walks of life think they're guardians at the gates, keeping people out of some walled garden. I'm not sure why you'd see panels with Q&A sessions or blogs with comment buttons, otherwise.

The idea isn't to never, ever ask for help — it's to be respectful when you ask and to be understanding if they decline. And, if they can help, to be a grown-up over what they say, and to be thankful when they're done. Basically, to be decent. That becomes a two-way street.

You may be trying to finish the next great work of Western literature — but they may be trying to do the exact same thing. Being unpleasant strikes me as the one way to make sure neither gets done.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Edge Comicon on Saturday

Wisconsin and Northern Illinois readers, I'll be appearing Saturday at Edge Comic-con, a new one-day show in Edgerton, Wis., along with guests including Jeff Balke, Mike Hoffman, Mike Hoffman, and Art Baltazar. Show opens at 10; a panel on my work is at 4. Click the link for directions.

Not only that, there's a chili championship nearby at the same time. Comics and chili — you can't miss. See you there!

Friday, September 4, 2009

Knights of the Old Republic Campaign Guide availability

I was asked if I had copies of the Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic Campaign Guide I co-wrote last year for sale. I don't, but I was surprised to learn how dear they've gotten. Amazon has only used copies ranging today from $93 to... $475?!

Good heavens.

It appears that eBay auctions are going for lower, but still a good deal over the cover price. I knew the book was out of print — but I'm glad to see that there's enduring interest in what we did! And that I can find a home for my shelf copy if I ever need food! (Seriously, if I find any more copies, I'll try to make them available somewhere. In the meantime, check out my notes on the book.)

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Technical difficulties resolved

Google has resolved the technical difficulties affecting the site. Everything fine now — sorry for the inconvenience!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Behind the tentacles of terror

And there are now a few thoughts online on the ideas behind Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic #44. How were The Beagle Boys, the Star Frontiers role-playing game, and the United States Navy tangentially connected with this tentacle-covered comic book? Read on, Macduff, and learn how!

(Er... there are tentacles on the cover, that is. The comic book isn't tentacle-covered unless you're reading the issue while in the Pike Place Fish Market. In which case, get back to work throwing fish!)

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Yes, I can confirm I exist...

My little brush with historical unreality: I was interested to see the Associated Press had a feature today on Jayson Blair, the reporter who fabricated material in stories for The New York Times and resigned in 2003. His story is less familiar than that of Stephen Glass, who was portrayed by future Anakin Hayden Christensen in the excellent movie Shattered Glass, but it was no less a black eye for the newspaper at the time.

Blair is back as a life coach — good luck to him with that — but one of the things that came up back when all this broke in 2003 was that Blair was a comics fan, and had written at least two pieces on comics for the Times in 2002. I was, in fact, interviewed for one of them — ironically, a piece on reality in comics, inspired by Marvel's Call of Duty line — though as you might see in the article, he got both my name and the magazine we published wrong.

I remember The Beat saying at the time "all the folks quoted in the stories — Joe Quesada, Omar Billal, Prof. Jeffrey Brown and John Jackson Miller — are known to exist and seem to be in character" — probably the first time my existence has needed independent confirmation!

While the paraphrase and quote don't seem familiar, I can't say I didn't say what's in the article — it's been a long time, and it was one interview in hundreds over the years. All I remember about the interview was that he seemed genuinely enthusiastic about comics — and that the Times never contacted me to confirm the interview, which they spent a lot of time doing in the aftermath. Maybe they contacted "Jonathan Jackson Miller" instead! (The other comics story from the month earlier, incidentally, did have problems that the Times found — so it sounds like we were batting .500 there!)

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Knights of the Old Republic #44: Tentacle Wars!

And my latest issue of Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic hits stands this Wednesday — issue #44, the second part of "The Reaping," featuring one of the most unusual space combats we've presented. Surplus Republic warship over here; flying oil platform over there. But be careful which way you bet!

I'll have some notes up about the story as soon as I can catch my breath. It's been a busy few weeks here, and they're about to get busier still. But there's always time to read a fun comic book, huh...?

Star Wars Atlas

I understand the Star Wars Atlas by Daniel Wallace and Jason Fry releases this week; I got an early peek from publisher Del Rey and have to say it's an amazing book. They sought input from lots of people working in the Expanded Universe, and readers of my own work on Knights of the Old Republic and Lost Tribe of the Sith will find a number of places where we compared notes.

The big one touching on the comics, of course, is the Mandalorian Wars map, which inlcudes all the major settings for the comics series so far an some yet to come. But we also get locations for Kesh and a better look at how the Hyperspace War-era Sith Empire looked — including a pretty good cartographical reason for how such a sizable and active community would have been in Shangri-La territory as far as the Republic was concerned. Readers know that when it comes to source material in places like the Campaign Guide I contributed to, I'm a fan of explanations that don't close story doors unnecessarily — and the authors on the Atlas worked really hard in that regard to provide explanations that worked with everything.

Recommended — I know I'll be using this a lot. Maybe I should put mine in a three-ring binder?

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

The trial of Demagol begins in November!

The victims of the diabolical Mandalorian doctor Demagol have waited long enough for justice. The trial begins in November in Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic #47, announced yesterday by Dark Horse on the official Star Wars site. Victim Malak is right there on the cover — but where's Zayne Carrick? It's part one of a four-issue story that's full of surprises, one after another.

And backtracking a bit, I've posted a belated page on the site for Knights of the Old Republic #46, the second part of "Destroyer." This one's special for me because I was able to put cover artist Jim Pavelec, an artist I'd hired years ago to do art for Comics Buyer's Guide and Scrye in touch with Dark Horse — and was delighted to see him get an assignment on my own title. Jim's fantasy and horror art has appeared in many games and in his art book for my old publisher, Hell Beasts — and this is easily the creepiest cover we've had on KOTOR!

Much more news to come. Stay tuned...

Monday, August 10, 2009

Chicago Comicon 2009: Back to the Past

This weekend was my eighth consecutive Chicago Comicon, although in a sense it was my first. Chicago Comicon is the name it was known by before its purchase by Wizard Entertainment in 1998, and Wizard changed the name back this year presumably to preserve its trademark against the new show arriving in town next year, or perhaps to capitalize on the increasing popular awareness of the name after San Diego. The new branding was evident in many places — and to a great degree the show increasingly resembles another Wizard acquisition, the Big Apple Comicon (also now with the same blue logo). Dealers, artists, and media celebrities were the main focus by far.

Which was fine by me, for, while none of my publishers set up, I got to spend that much more time visiting and scrounging the hall for unusual finds. At the cons on the coasts, there's not always time — and if you're not driving in, you don't want to buy a whole lot. At a show like Chicago, the Midwesterner can take that plunge on the Howard the Duck movie standee or whatever thing wouldn't fit in the overhead compartment.

There were plenty of Star Wars folk about, of course: the local 501st had a booth, where I signed a quilt for their Make-a-Wish auction. And immediately on entering the hall on Saturday, I ran into Sarah Hsi and Matthew Bidwill, dressed as Jarael and Zayne Carrick from my Knights of the Old Republic series. That's the first time I've seen them appear as a duo at a con!

Then there was the Comix4Sight auction for John Ostrander — which raised $13,000 on Saturday night in addition to the thousands in donations already raised. There were so many items donated many will continue to be auctioned on the site, so keep checking there.

Hero Initiative put together a T-shirt for John with lots of autographs — and John and I got a chance to catch up on Sunday.

Also talked with Jerry Lawler, wrestler and, now, comics artist who I used to see buying comics at Memphis Comics & Records years ago; he's running for mayor again, he says.

Con Minion Cathe was on hand to help out — I'm now restocked on KOTOR and Indiana Jones trades, thanks to her eleventh-hour find — and I also got to catch up with a lot of friends, ranging from Jim Johnson (whose con report is here) to Susan McNutt, a pal from my Daily Beacon days, who had come into town. Her first comics convention — it's always someone's first!

Four days meant it wasn't all time at the convention: there was a Friday-evening foray to Fado's Irish Pub downtown, amid trains hip-deep with kids going to Lollapalooza.

We later got out to Oak Park, to check out Frank Lloyd Wright's monumental (literally) Unity Temple, which is all about vertical lines rising to the heavenly skylights above. It's an interesting — if warm on an August afternoon — place and worth checking out if you're in Chicago. (But if this fellow at left shows up as your preacher, try the next service...)

Jim Johnson also has heaping gobs of photos from the show here, including all of us at Geno's Saturday night. You can also check out some of the wild costumes he took pix of, including these two...

They announced the show's a week later in 2010, putting it three weeks after San Diego. I would have thought this would have put it against GenCon (which I'm afraid I won't be making this week), but apparently GenCon's been pushed back a week because of the Brickyard race. So it and Chicago have flip-flopped...

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Support Comix4Sight! Auction this weekend!

Chicago Comicon — no longer Wizard World — is this weekend, and I am there but not signing — (Dark Horse is not exhibiting this year). Still, there's a chance for Star Wars comics fans to contribute to a good cause by supporting the Comix4Sight auction for fellow Star Wars creator John Ostrander.

As mentioned earlier, the benefit is to help defray the costs of John's successful glaucoma surgery, and a host of people have come forward to donate items for auction. My own contribution is a lot of Star Wars comics, including my personal copy of Purge, signed by John, and a complete run of Knights of the Old Republic, signed by me. The lot is as follows:

The popular and hard-to-find Star Wars Purge #0, written and signed by John Ostrander
Star Wars Legacy #0-15, written by Ostrander, unsigned
Star Wars Jedi: Aayla Secura, written by Ostrander, unsigned
• and a complete run of Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, written and signed by me; this is issues #0-43, including the rare Knights of the Old Republic Handbook.

That's 62 comics, 45 signed (by my count). And that pales before some of the amazing stuff on auction. Be sure to go to the Comix4Sight page to check out what's available — and be sure to bid!

Sunday, August 2, 2009

TV report from WasFen Con

Attended my first WasFEN Con yesterday — the convention of the Wausau Science Fiction Enthusiasts — and had a great time. A growing local convention, I got to meet a lot of readers and do a couple of panels, including with Tim Seeley from Wildcats and Hack/Slash.

Author Pat Rothfuss, organizer Evan Cass and I were interviewed by the local CBS affiliate — the report is here. No real sign of recession — it was actually pretty close to non-stop. Special thanks to Con-Minion Cathe for helping keep me organized!

Friday, July 31, 2009

Wausau signing this Saturday

For those of you in Wisconsin, I am signing this weekend at WASFen, the annual convention for the Wausau Area Science Fiction Enthusiasts. It's held at the The Plaza Hotel Conference Center, 201 N 17th Ave., from 9 to 6. The website is here.

I have a panel on my work at 2:30 — and also signing will be Pat Rothfuss (author of The Name of the Wind), author Kelly McCullough, artist Tim Seeley, author Kathryn Sullivan, and more. Be sure to drop by!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Lost Tribe notes -- and a San Diego tale

I am pleased to report that I have posted some notes on "Skyborn," the second chapter of Lost Tribe of the Sith, my new e-book available free from StarWars.com and from Amazon. And I'm ecstatic to report that the exodus from Comic-Con International: San Diego is ongoing — that I'm not in it!

Don't get me wrong — I do enjoy San Diego a lot, and regret not getting out there this year; I'm planning on it for next year, for sure, presuming that Star Wars Celebration V, which Steve Sansweet spoke of at the televised panel, doesn't interfere. It's the getting back that's the problem. I was going there for work every year through the 1990s — sweet deal, usually — but then there was 1999.

Oh, the show was fine. But the company had a penchant for booking us on ridiculously early flights — which would deposit us, with the time change, with additional time for networking. That first day ran well into night, and I was so wired on caffeine I considered sleeping in the bathtub so as not to sleepwalk out the Marriott's 17th story window.

One exhausting show later — that was the big Pokémon year, so I was doing both comics and games duty — we were theoretically winging our way back early. But a woman in a wheelchair collapsed in the skyway before we could board, delaying us for an hour — and then the Chicago flight itself got rerouted to Denver because of mechanical problems. By this time my coworker — usually very stoic — was on his last nerve, and as soon as the doors opened, he bolted on a long run to the other end of the longish airport in hopes of catching the last connector out. He ran track, so it was a good ten minutes before I caught up — only to find him railing angrily at the counterfolk and refusing to take any of their make-goods. I slipped through the gawking crowd, smiled gently, and quietly took my ticket and hotel pass, slinking off a bit amazed that I was the calm one of the two of us. No one would have bet that way!

My coworker found his way out later, though he'd missed his chance at getting his luggage back that night — and the day after we finally made it home, he promptly resigned from the company. I guess he liked travel even less. I wasn't that bad off — though next year was the first San Diego I skipped, and in the past 10 years, I've only gone three times. It's always good to let your patience recharge!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Jarael, Rohlan action figures announced at San Diego!


At Comic-Con International: San Diego today, Hasbro did its Star Wars presentation, announcing the line for the rest of this year -- with a few sneak previews from next year. The slideshow -- which can be seen in its entirety on the official Star Wars site here -- contained a surprise for me: early 2010 will see a Comic Pack featuring Jarael and Rohlan Dyre figures, along with (evidently from the image) a reprint of Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic #6!




Not being at the con -- or keeping extensive tabs on the entirety of the Star Wars licensing universe -- I was initially puzzled when reader Austin Conway dropped me a line about the figures earlier today. But there they are, right near the end of the slideshow. There doesn't appear to be anything saying that they're exclusives for any one retailer -- but I'm just going from the slides, and that information may not have been included. So I think you'll need to check closer to the date. That's Legacy #7 on the left

This is a first for this series -- and a nice first for Rohlan, who missed the cut for the KOTOR miniatures set in 2008. This is one of my favorite issues and covers, as well. Buy two -- one for the collection, and one for the desktop!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

JJM scripts new Mass Effect comics series

Busy news day! In advance of Comic-Con International: San Diego, Dark Horse Comics comics today announced a joing partnership with Bioware to produce comics based on the hit Mass Effect video game. Launching in January, Mass Effect: Redemption is written by Bioware's Mac Walters, drawn by Omar Francia, and scripted by ... yes, yours truly.

Part of the Dark Horse announcement:

"BioWare™, a studio of Electronic Arts Inc. (NASDAQ: ERTS) and Dark Horse Comics today announced a new comic book series based on Mass Effect™, the blockbuster sci-fi action videogame that IGN.com rated the #1 Xbox 360™ game of all time. In Mass Effect: Redemption, the story takes readers through the treacherous events leading up to Mass Effect 2 which opens with galactic hero Commander Shepard having mysteriously gone missing and left to fight for survival. What unfolds next will expose readers to new locations, aliens and extended storyline in the Mass Effect universe. Mass Effect: Redemption is scheduled to launch on January 6, 2010."

Dark Horse adds from Mac Walters: "Fans of Mass Effect are going to be pleasantly shocked by the events in these comics," Mac said. "We worked very closely with Dark Horse to make sure this story was built in to the Mass Effect 2 arc, right from the ground up. Reading the series won’t just add to your experience of the universe, it will change the way you look at Mass Effect 2 . . . and beyond.” Mass Effect 2, of course, is the sequel to the award-winning game — and it is scheduled for an early 2010 release.

I'm thrilled to be working on the project, helping to bring Mass Effect into comics for the first time. I'd already had the chance to admire the storytelling handiwork of Bioware's team on Knights of the Old Republic, and I've really enjoyed playing Mass Effect and getting into the milieu. Everyone's working together to make this a project to look forward to!

There will be more to say later, of course — I have a page on the site here, for after the book releases. And there's more right now in the press release. But in the meantime, Mac and Omar will be autographing a Comic-con exclusive Mass Effect signing card at the Dark Horse booth (#2615) on July 24th at 4:00pm – 5:00pm at Comic-Con International 2009 in San Diego, Calif. Be sure to stop by!

Update: Mac Walters has an interview here on IGN.

Lost Tribe of the Sith #2: Skyborn is out!

I expect this thread will be updated as it appears more places — presuming my hosting company doesn't go down again as it did this morning — by Star Wars: Lost Tribe of the Sith #2 is now available for free download. It is currently on Amazon in a Kindle edition; it is also now available for simple PDF download directly from the StarWars.com site. It's also available from Sony.

The ebook contains a preview excerpt from Troy Denning's upcoming novel, Fate of the Jedi: Abyss.

I'm really pleased with how this one came out; you can also find the links to download the first part here. I'll have some of my own thoughts on this second story online in a few days. For now, it's your turn: Let me know what you think! (And if you like them, please pass them along to new readers and share your support on the various online bookstore review pages. The more support there is for these kinds of works, the more of them will happen!)

Monday, July 20, 2009

New podcast — and new webcomics

Another episode of the Fictional Frontiers radio show aired this weekend with an interview with me on my work on Star Wars comics and prose; the podcast is now online.

Also, Dean Zachary, artist on Knights of the Old Republic #38, has launched his new webcomic, Selena of Sparta, today — be sure to check it out. And Chuck Fiala's and my Sword & Sarcasm begins its sixth storyline today, as well. Busy day!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

The Man in the Moon

My thoughts on Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic #43, now online, gave me a chance to reflect on my own interest in space — and so it was ironic that the news of Walter Cronkite passed just as I was writing them. For you see, he's the man in the moon. And I'm not speaking figuratively.

Here's how: I was far too young to pay much attention to the coverage of the Apollo landings; I don't remember anything before Apollo-Soyuz, some years later. But I do remember as a child watching the CBS Evening News, often with Walter Cronkite next to a graphic of the moon. And so as a child, when people would tell me to look for the "man in the moon," I always imagined I saw Cronkite! I guess since I was watching far more television as a kid than I was actually getting outside at night, I just drew some subliminal connection. Strange — but it still happens, sometimes.

Anyway, earlier this year I read his autobiography, A Reporter's Life, which I strongly recommend for some surprising stories about the very early days of broadcasting. I'd had no idea that he'd cohosted a morning news show with Dick Van Dyke of all people (it didn't go well). And I love his stories of broadcasting sports events as if they were live — when he was really reading from a wire ticker and just making up all the colorful stuff in between.

There's probably some lessons there for the Web, as it's also in the improvisational, let's-see-what-works phase as a medium. A strongly recommended work from someone who'll definitely be missed.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Lost Tribe #2 for Tuesday!

It looks like the free downloads for Star Wars: Lost Tribe of the Sith Chapter 2: Skyborn will begin on July 21, just in time to provide you San Diego Comicon-bound folk with reading for the plane. (Unless, of course, you look around and see your plane full of Sith — in which case reading about the aftermath of a bunch of Sith slamming into a mountain may not make the airplane food sit well!)

I'll post linkages to the free download sites as soon as I have them. If you haven't yet, this is a fine time to snarf up Part 1!

The solicitation for KOTOR #46 is up on the official site, but I usually wait until it's on the Dark Horse site to create a page for it here. I hope to have notes on #43 online this weekend.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Knights of the Old Republic #43: Ice, Ice Baby!

Nothing vanilla about Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic #43 — the latest issue in our saga, on sale Wednesday. Chaos continues when a caper on a comet crashes! (Pardon the alliteration — and very sorry for the dreaded rap flashback.)

Everyone's getting ready for San Diego and all the big announcements there and beforehand, so enjoy some pre-convention comics goodness.

Notes to follow in a while. And as usual, stay tuned to this station for further news and information...
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