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Production notes and trivia from my experiences on comic books, fiction, and games including
Star Wars: KenobiStar Wars: Knight ErrantStar Wars: Knights of the Old Republic
Mass EffectStar Wars: Lost Tribe of the SithOverdraftIron Man
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Wausau signing this Saturday

Friday, July 31, 2009

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!

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Lost Tribe notes -- and a San Diego tale

Sunday, July 26, 2009

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!

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Jarael, Rohlan action figures announced at San Diego!

Saturday, July 25, 2009


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!

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JJM scripts new Mass Effect comics series

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

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.

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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!)

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New podcast — and new webcomics

Monday, July 20, 2009

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!

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The Man in the Moon

Saturday, July 18, 2009

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.

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Lost Tribe #2 for Tuesday!

Friday, July 17, 2009

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.

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

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

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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John Ostrander benefit auction

Monday, July 13, 2009

A benefit auction has been organized and planned for Wizard World Chicago on behalf of fellow Star Wars comics writer John Ostrander, following his glaucoma surgeries. A website has been set up, Comix4Sight.com, with details on how you can support this worthy cause. Mike Gold and Adriane Nash of ComicMix have set up the auction with the help of the convention.

John was guest of honor at Midsouthcon this year — we all had a great time — and his contribution to the comics world (not to mention the Star Wars comics world) is legendary. In the freelance world, insurance is catch-as-catch-can, as I've had cause to find out — especially when it comes to expensive procedures. This is a chance to give back — thanks for your support!

Update: I've been in touch with the organizers and am contributing a comics lot including my personal signed copy of Purge, a complete signed KOTOR set, and some other items. More later...

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Congrats, James!

Congratulations to former CBG and Scrye cohort James Mishler, on his wedding this past weekend! All the best!

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JJM a-Twitter...

Sunday, July 12, 2009

With conventions and some news coming up, I've taken a Twitter account at http://www.twitter.com/jjmfaraway. I haven't got a notion as to how often I'll post to it — I'm not much of a text-messager in day to day life -- but as I've been too busy to blog as much as I'd like, maybe bursts of 140 characters from the web won't be as hard!

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So long, Mrs. Slocombe

Thursday, July 2, 2009

A dreadful stretch of days for fans of classic television continues: After My Little Margie's Gale Storm and Streets of San Francisco's Karl Malden, now we've lost Mollie Sugden, star of one of my favorite Britcoms, Are You Being Served? (Her cohort at the ladies' counter, Wendy Richard, passed away earlier in the year.)

A TV critic once said that the reason Cheers worked so well is that it was basically a radio show: the actors made the characters so familiar to viewers that you could enjoy the show without ever looking at the screen, which is how a lot of television is increasingly consumed. Are You Being Served? definitely fit that bill — and that's lent something to its enduring popularity, I think.

I've read a good deal about the show behind the scenes — and one can gather that the actors made the show pretty easy to write for. A true sitcom — just give them the situation, and you've got comedy. Thanks for the laughs, Mrs. Slocombe...

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New Star Wars TPB: Dueling Ambitions

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Very busy of late, but a few additions to the site: pages for September's issue of Knights of the Old Republic (#45), and for the seventh of the Knights trade paperbacks, named Dueling Ambitions and including issues #36-41. Preorder from your retailer or from Amazon.

I've been asked about San Diego, and no, the convention isn't in my plans this year. It's strictly a local convention summer for me — WasFEN in Wausau August 1, and Wizard World Chicago the following weekend. Going to San Diego any more is a bit like planning a military campaign — there's a big commitment of time and resources involved, and where I always take the computer along and say I can get something written along the way, it rarely works out that way. ('Cause, you know, there's so much free time at San Diego for writing!) That said, some of the projects keeping me busy could always wind up in the news from there, so stay tuned...

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