Saturday, December 29, 2012

The Top Trade Paperbacks of 2012

Okay folks... here are my picks for the top trade paperbacks of the year to pick up at your local comic book store (and if you're local to me, then that means you pick them up at Galactic Quest in Buford, dig?)...

And trust me, this list wasn't easy. There were quite a few really incredible collections that were published this year, and if the Resident Alien and/or Punk Rock Jesus trades had hit this year, this list would be different.

1. Saga V1 (Image)

2. Revival: You're Among Friends V1 (Image)

3. Scarlet Spider: Life After Death V1 (Marvel)

4. Red Hood and the Outlaws: Redemption V1 (DC)

5. Rachel Rising: Shadow of Doubt V1 (Abstract Studios)

6. Saucer Country: Run V1 (Vertigo)

7. Demon Knights: Seven Against the Dark V1 (DC)


8. Dancer (Image)

9. Winter Soldier: The Longest Winter V1 (Marvel)


10. Tie -- Fairest: Wide Awake V1 (Vertigo)

Fatale: Death Chases Me V1 (Image)

The Best Graphic Novels Ever #14 -- The Crusades

14. The Crusades
by Steve Seagle and Kelley Jones
Published by Vertigo Comics

In The Crusades, Seagle and Jones build a better Batman.

No, seriously.

Take a generic dark knight, make him an actual knight -- on a horse, with the lance, the whole nine yards -- and set him loose in a dark and depraved city much like Gotham. Then make the poor deluded fool think he's actually a time-weary knight of the round table (or maybe he is?!). Then add a Bettie Page look-alike reporter assigned to the story. Mix and pour.

There you have it, one of the bleakest and coolest adult vigilante fantasies ever. Toss in a few sprinkles of Jones odd (in a good way) and creepy art, and Seagle's ear for offbeat dialog and unexpected story curves, and this one is truly one of the best comic book series collections ever.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Happiness is...

The Best Graphic Novels Ever #15 -- Sin City: That Yellow Bastard

Today we finally break into the top 15. Hang on, folks, we'll hit the top 10 shortly!

15. Sin City: That Yellow Bastard
by Frank Miller
Published by Dark Horse Comics

This book would hit my top list if just because of Miller's use of yellow as an accent color rather than red. And where he chooses to uses it simply adds to the gritty storytelling in a way that a full color book could never had done. (I'm looking at you, Scarlet Spider, but thanks for trying.)

Miller's pulp and noir sensibilities are strong in this book, as they are in most of his Sin City work, but something about the total package just clicks in That Yellow Bastard in a way that the others don't quite achieve. Don't ask me what exactly. It's one of the things that's impossible to quantify for a review, but it's as real as the wind or a whisper.

Regardless, this is a epic of violent poetry, of beautiful danger, and of bloody artisan-ship, and it's in Miller's unflinching POV that That Yellow Bastard (like the rest of his Sin City work) has it's power. There's something raw about it, something that refuses to let a reader stop reading even while feeling the gnawing dread in his or her gut.

Simply put, it's a powerful book that just plain works.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

The Best Graphic Novels Ever #16 -- Fables: Legends in Exile

16. Fables: Legends in Exile
by Bill Willingham and Lan Medina
Published by Vertigo Comics

Yes, this is technically the opening arc of Bill Willingham's amazing Fables series and not a true graphic novel. However, published as a stand-alone volume, I believe it fits all the criteria needed (as much as any episodic novel written by Dickens qualifies as a novel) to function as a true graphic novel independent of any other issues or trades in the series.

So, with that established, what we have here is perhaps the best re-imagining of fairy tales (and yes, that includes the more titillating Grimm's Fairy Tales) ever to grace the pages of comics. This opening volley from Willingham and Medina hits fast and hard with a noir-ish feel that makes a reader realize it's as much about the Fables as it isn't about the definition you've come to accept as a fairy tale.

Bigby (Big B) Wolf investigates the murder of Rose Red while subtly trying to woo Snow White. Yes, it sounds like the fodder of bad fan fiction, but filtered through Willingham's pen, it not only works -- it dazzles. This is one trade collection I can't recommend highly enough.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012



Reserve your room by January 1, 2013 to help PULP ARK 2013 get a whole ton of perks that will only benefit Fans and Guests! Go to and reserve your rooms at the SPECIAL PULP ARK DISCOUNT RATE by Jan 1, 2013!

The Best Graphic Novels Ever #17 -- The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen

17. The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen
by Alan Moore and Kevin O'Neill
Published by Vertigo Comics

I'll admit it. I'm the guy who liked the movie. Sure, it didn't have the nuances and aha moments of Moore and O'Neill's original masterpiece (perhaps the best of Moore's recent work), but it was a fun romp through literary memories and what-if playgrounds. Still, as much as I enjoyed the film, it doesn't remotely come close to how much I love the comic book on which it's based.

Moore and O'Neill do in print with LoEG what we fans have been doing for years in our imaginations -- creating a Justice League made up of our favorite characters from our favorite books. But he does more than that... Instead of creating merely an elaborately cast fan fiction, he tells an amazing story that actually builds on the literary histories (and futures) of said characters.

And he plays hard ball with the central mystery and conceit behind the series -- who exactly is pulling the team together and why that matters.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Free Holiday Story: It's Christmas, Baby, Please Come Home

It’s Christmas, Baby, Please Come Home
by Sean Taylor

This story originally appeared in Cyber Age Adventures Magazine and is collected in my short story collection Show Me A Hero by New Babel Books.

The woman across the table from me wasn’t really a woman at all. She had no real skin to speak of or any kind of humanity other than the feminine shape she had forced her new body of light and energy to look like. Her arms and legs may have been covered up with regular clothes like the rest of us wore, but the way I could see through the parts of her shiny, twinkling form that weren’t covered by clothing reminded me all over again how she was no longer human.

She was something else.

Just like my baby.

Her name was Nancy Elliot, but most of the world knew her as Starlight. A superhero. A woman who had lost her body years ago and had become a freak.

“We love our little girl, Ms. Starlight,” said my husband, Chris. “It’s not like we don’t want her.” He sat beside me, his hands gripped together in one tight fist, his muscles as tense as his mind had to be. Putting words into the air for both of us. Trying not to make us sound like monsters. “It’s just that I don’t think anymore that staying with us is what’s best for Mackenzie. I think she needs parents who can understand her situation and deal with it better.”

“It takes one to know one, huh?” asked the Elliot’s attorney, a tall man with dark hair that had introduced himself as either Tom or Thomas or Tommy.

Nancy placed her hand on his shoulder. “I’m sure that’s not the way Mr. Brown meant it.” Her fake face looked calm and compassionate. Like a mother’s face. “I’m sure this can’t be easy for them either.”

Her husband sat beside her, wearing a dark blue suit with white pinstripes. He looked like a lawyer himself, but he kept quiet, saying everything he needed to by saying nothing at all.

“I only mean that Deidra and I aren’t really capable of taking care of someone like little Mackenzie. We’re just just not physically or emotionally prepared to cope with the responsibilities of having a child that can burst into flame at a moment’s notice.”

“No parents are ever prepared for their children, Mr. Brown,” Nancy said.

I wanted to tell her that, although she was right, this went far beyond that. That a few months of sleepless nights or constantly having to clean wet bedsheets were quite a different matter than never being able to touch a child without wearing asbestos gloves and being turned down for every homeowners’ insurance policy we applied for when they discovered our daughter’s unique talent for setting herself and her surroundings on fire whenever the mood struck her.

But I didn’t. I couldn’t. She had lost a son only a few years ago. A normal son. One born to her before she became a freak. And MacKensie Elizabeth Brown, born December 17, 2003, had been my first and was my only, so what right did I have to correct a mother who had been through far more than I had?

So I merely shuffled my hands in my lap and nodded, then I smiled at her and her husband, then glanced back down into my lap.

Our attorney, or more correctly, the attorney we had hired just to take care of the adoption process, rifled through the stack of papers in front of him and cleared his throat. “If you are ready, we can sign the papers now,” he said, reaching into his pocket for a pen. He pulled out four and handed one to me, one to Chris, and one each to Nancy and her husband. “I’ve gone through the trouble of highlighting the areas to sign in yellow and marking them with an ‘X’ as well. A little overkill in preparation never hurts, I always say.”

I took a pen and looked at Chris. He forced a smile and looked back at me, then looked away toward the corner of the ceiling. I dropped the pen onto table.

“Mrs. Elliot,” I asked, trying to sound sincere.

“Yes?” she answered.

I wished then and there that some—What do they call them? Supervillains?—that some supervillain would begin a rampage downtown and Starlight would get a beep on her pager or special phone, or whatever people in authority used to contact super types, and she’d have to leave and allow me a few more moments of motherhood, a few more minutes of being a parent of a child I didn’t need and couldn’t raise.

Just a few seconds more of living without the guilt of giving up on a child I didn’t want to accept the responsibility of raising.

But there was no beep, no call, no interruption. Only her calm, understanding smile that she drew in the air with light in an attempt to make us all feel at ease around her. 

“Nothing,” I said. “I thought there was something I wanted to tell you, but I guess there really wasn’t.”

She reached across the table for my hand, and I let her take it, if just to know what her artificial touch felt like. “It’s okay,” she said. “I know this has to be difficult for you.”

Her hand felt somehow cool and warm at the same time, like a weird combination of thin metal and a light bulb. I said, “Thank you,” and let go, then settled back into my chair.

Our attorney distributed sets of documents to each of us, indicating where to sign and what parts of the page we might most like to read over before agreeing to, and I signed as I was instructed, barely listening and centering my gaze on the highlighted ‘X’s on the back page of each form.

After a few minutes, he stopped passing around papers and instead gathered them all in front of him and began to sort them into three stacks. The center stack, the largest of them, for him to file with various agencies and in his off-site storage should Mackenzie ever decide to look us up once she grew up. The two smaller stacks were for us and the Elliots to keep or burn or lose or file away.

There was a lot more talk, all friendly and agreeable and tending to go along the lines of how this decision was really best for all of us, and how Chris couldn’t think of a better couple to raise our daughter, and how much Nancy and her husband had been looking forward to having another child after their youngest boy had died of luekemia. We stood up and hugged each other and cried, and the attorneys shook hands and exchanged a second set of business cards.

And it was over.

On the way outside, I followed a few yards behind the Elliots, watching as they walked to their SUV, like a normal couple. Nancy’s husband opened her door, then closed it after she stepped inside, then made his way around to the driver’s side and got in. I wondered why she didn’t just fly to pick up Mackenzie. After all, that was how they got around, right?

Chris came up behind me and put his arm around my shoulders. I pulled in close to him.

“She’ll be better off. You’ll see,” he said.

“Her hand,” I said.


“Her hand. It was like nothing I’ve ever felt before.”


“Yeah, really.”

And the world seemed suddenly normal again.

(C) Sean Taylor

Merry Christmas!

Feliz Navidad!

Wishing all our readers the merriest of Christmases and the happiest of eggnog dreams! May Santa bring you your hearts desire, be it a bad girl, a good guy or just some two-fisted action!

(All images from

Monday, December 24, 2012

The Best Graphic Novels Ever #18 -- Crisis on Infinite Earths

18. Crisis on Infinite Earths
by Marv Wolfman and George Perez
Published by DC Comics

This is the last of the big company crossovers on this list. I promise. And this one's here as much for its importance to the medium as for its amazing story that gave some (at least for a while) finality and maturity to the heroes of DC Comics. (After all, until the New 52 debut, DC's BC and AD was divided into pre-Crisis and post-Crisis.)

Sure, it's a bit of a downer with the death of Supergirl, Flash, and a cast of thousands of others, but it's also an amazing tale of sacrifice and heroism.

Free Holiday Tunes!

Merry Christmas and happy holidays from the Taylorverse!

Here's the gift of free music from my days with the band Nothing Regal. Sure,
they're available for free streaming anytime, but for the next few days, I'm making them available as free downloads -- just for you.


Christmas Must Be Tonight

So Long Awaited

O Come All You Faithful

We Three Kings

Silent Night

What Child Is This?

Go Tell It On the Mountain

Sunday, December 23, 2012

The Best Graphic Novels Ever #19 -- Minor Miracles

19. Minor Miracles
by Will Eisner
Published by DC Comics

The full title of this Eisner work is Minor Miracles: Long Ago and Once upon a Time Back When Uncles Were Heroic, Cousins Were Clever, and Miracles Happened on Every Block, and that's about the best synopsis you're going to get for the book.

Perhaps one of Eisner's most hopeful works, I think. It's also quite a good and proper bookend to A Contract With God.

Made up for four tales (again making it more a short story collection than a true "graphic novel" -- at least for the purists), Eisner once again is at his best creating tales not of the typical comic book fare of caped and masked heroes of out of this world adventures, but instead crafting stories of the everyday, the seemingly mundane drudge of life.

And it's in that drudge of life that he looks for the miraculous, almost with an eye toward magical realism. Almost.

Regardless, this is well worth picking up for any fan of the art form.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

[Link] Brutal Tips On Breaking In To Comics

by Gail Simone

All right,  recently, I lost two very dear friends of mine, writers who were intelligent, inspiring and endlessly supportive to me. One was Perry Moore, author of the lgbtq YA superhero novel HERO, and the other was Dwayne McDuffie,  one of the finest writers of comics and animation ever.

These two guys were dissimilar in many ways, but they both had a quality that made them heroes to me, and that is that they spoke truth to power. They loved comics as fiercely as the rest of us, but they were not afraid to point out the blemishes and open wounds, and they addressed those problems in their own work.  And over a period of just a couple weeks, we lost both their voices. They can’t be replaced but others can carry on with that mission.  Maybe you’re one of those people. And that’s why I’m doing this, to potentially help someone who has that goal in mind.

When I am talking to people about breaking in, I am honest, but I try to be kind, and polite, and patient. I try to find positive things to say. The problem is, and I’m sure everyone who has reviewed a portfolio knows what I’m saying, that that’s not what someone who REALLY wants to break in and has the stuff to make it happen needs to hear. They need to hear the truth. So, I’m going to give some truth tonight. A lot of this, you should already know.  I am not going to talk about craft or format or anything like that. That material is out there. If you want to do this right, find it, study it, buy the books, do the research. I’m going to assume for this discussion that you have the baseline talent level required to make it in.  I’m also assuming for this discussion that you want to work at one of the larger publishers.  That may not be the case for you, but it’s what I get asked about the most.

I want to make this very clear…I’m not presenting points for an argument, I’m not offering an opportunity to present excuses. No one can fix whatever roadblocks are in your way but yourself.  Telling me about it doesn’t help anything. If you want my advice, which you are then free to ignore, just listen, let it sink in, and then do with it what you will. I’m trying to help, but how seriously you take it is up to you.

I am going to say some things that will make some aspiring creators unhappy.  It will be uncomfortable.  Again, it’s your choice to listen. If my saying that fanfic can be holding you back makes you feel defensive, I’d stop right here, because it gets a lot worse.

Simply put, there’s a lot of polite stuff out there. There’s a lot of books on craft and blogs with scripts you can study.  Partake of that stuff.

This is more to kick your ass and get you to stop kidding yourself, if that’s what’s holding you back.  It is SOLELY intended to help you get to a position to work on comics. What you make of that chance is up to you entirely.

Continue reading:

The Best Graphic Novels Ever #20 -- Punk Rock Jesus

20. Punk Rock Jesus
by Sean Murphy
Published by Vertigo Comics

Okay. We're finally breaching the top 20. Yep. Finally here. 

Yes. I know I'm cheating with this one. Because, no, it hasn't been collected yet into a single volume. But it was conceived and written as a single story with a beginning, middle, and end and NOT part of an ongoing, endless graphically told serial. And, for the record, the trade is coming out shortly. So there.

What can I say about this amazing book that hasn't already been said by people way smarter and better connected than me? Not a lot. It's a fantastic story about faith and faithlessness, and how even faithlessness is itself a way to faith (clear as mud, right?). It's a tale of falling and being redeemed. It's a tale of being a son of man and a son of God. It's all that and more. With violence. And with foul language. It's kind of like going to a church re-envisioned by Quentin Tarantino. In a good way.

Sure, the idea of making a clone from the Shroud of Turin is old hat and derivative. But it's what you do with the idea of a story to make it something real, something out of this world, and what Sean Murphy does with that overly trite clone idea is just that -- something real and amazing. The characters are fully rounded, from the bit player to the starring roles, and with one or two minor exceptions, the voices are spot on. It's really hard to find anything not to like about this one, at least in my book.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Hancock included as One of Fifty+ Writers Sign On to provide genre-related content!

, the world's first science fiction magazine, opens for Beta Testing of Phase 1 on Wednesday, January 2nd, 2013.

Hancock included as One of Fifty+ Writers Sign On to provide genre-related content!

Experimenter Publishing Company
Hillsboro, NH
December 21, 2012

Pro Se Productions Partner and Editor-in-Chief Tommy Hancock announced today that he along with more than 50 other writers from around the blogosphere would help launch the Beta Test of Phase 1 of the return of
AMAZING STORIES on Wednesday, January 2nd, 2013!
AMAZING STORIES was the world's first science fiction magazine. Published by Hugo Gernsback, the Father of Science Fiction, the magazine created the genre's first home and was instrumental in helping to establish science fiction fandom – the fandom from which all other fandoms have evolved.

The magazine itself ceased publication in 2005; in 2008 the new publisher, Steve Davidson, discovered that the trademarks had lapsed and applied for them. The marks were finally granted in 2011.

Phase 1 introduces the social networking aspects of the site and the Blog Team, more than 50 authors, artists, collectors, editors, pod casters, designers and bloggers who will address 14 different subjects on a regular basis – SF, Fantasy & Horror literature, anime, gaming, film, television, the visual arts, audio works, the pulps, comics, fandom, science and publishing.

Hancock stated, "Of course, with my interest in Pulps, a lot of my focus will be there, both Classic and New. But I'll also cover a few other topics salient to Pop Culture that interests me, including old time radio, penny dreadfuls and dime novels, adaptations of classics, and more."

Those wishing to participate in the Beta Test should request an invite by emailing the publisher, Steve Davidson at

are just one click away!

The Best Graphic Novels Ever #21 -- Astro City: Life in the Big City

21. Astro City: Life in the Big City
by Kurt Busiek and Brent Anderson
Published by Wildstorm

While more a collection of vignettes or short stories than a single, unified graphic novel (though one could make the same arguments against some of Eisner's "graphic novels as well) this collection made many readers who had left super hero comics or who were burnt out on them realize all over again why they could be enjoyable and relevant. Instead of taking a "real world" approach to setting and technology (a la The Dark Knight flicks), Busiek took a more "real world" emotional tact instead, creating characters with genuine, believable motivation and pains.

The result is one of the most amazing collection of super hero stories in comics.

And let's be fair... One could argue that it's a single novel about a location, not a core human character, in much the same way that the mosaic Wild Card books are "novels."

Thursday, December 20, 2012

The Best Graphic Novels Ever #22 -- The Infinity Gauntlet

22. The Infinity Gauntlet
by Jim Starlin, George Perez and Ron Lim
Published by Marvel Comics

I'm going to be honest. I only read The Infinity Gauntlet this year. But to be fair, I've always been more a DC reader than a Marvel reader. Still, when people keep telling me that Infinity Gauntlet is the Crisis on Infinite Earths (in terms of scope, not plot) of the Marvel universe, I really should have listened a lot earlier.

Because I waited so long, I really did miss out on on a fairly epic book for a pretty long time.

This one is cosmic drama at its best as Thanos (ol' wrinkled jaw himself) seeks to extinguish all life in the universe -- just to have a good first date with Death. This is the kind of story you can only tell in comics, and it really pays off in this case.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

[Link] The only creative writing manual you’ll ever need.

This is the only creative writing manual you’ll ever need.

Chapter One – Prewriting

Come up with the seed of an idea. Ponder on it; think about it; dream about it. Get to know your characters and listen to them. They’ll tell you the story. Do some research to learn about the subjects you’ll need to know to build your world. If you need an explanation as to why that’s important, you have no business trying to write fiction. Also, read. A lot.

Build as much of an outline as you need to get started. Do what works for you. If you don’t know yet, do something and see how it goes. If that doesn’t work, scrap it and try something else. Keep all your notes; bookmark internet pages; scribble on napkins; text yourself. Have some kind of plan before you start writing.

Chapter Two – Writing

Find the self-discipline to write every day, at least four or five days a week. Set realistic weekly page goals and meet them. Always remember, if you create one page a day every day five days a week, at the end of the year, you’ll have a complete rough draft. So stop making excuses and go write. Don’t wait for next November. Start today. Try to write at the same time and place if you can. If that doesn’t work for you, write when and where you can.

Don’t worry about mistakes. You’re going to make them. Lots of them. If you worry about mistakes you’ll never finish anything. Just write. Allow yourself to take chances and fail. Write stupid crap; write incoherent nonsense; write long-winded, poetic sentences full of symbolism; write short, declarative sentences; write awful dialogue. Just write and don’t think about it.

Listen to your characters and write what they tell you. Don’t interrupt them; damn sure, don’t contradict them; listen to them. They know the story better than you ever will. Trust them.

Continue reading:

The Best Graphic Novels Ever #23 -- Batman: The Killing Joke

23. Batman: The Killing Joke
by Alan Moore and Brian Bolland
Published by DC Comics

Say what you want about Death in the Family, but I'm firmly convinced The Killing Joke is the quintessential Joker story. Little else in the litany of Joker tales does as much to capture the sheer mania and psychosis of this classic (and perhaps greatest) Batman villian.

Why is this book important to comic book history? Let's see...

Joker shooting and paralyzing Batgirl Barbara Gordon? Check. The redefining of the Joker origin? Check. One heck of a story by Moore and Bolland? Check.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

[Link] Hancock's Points and Peeves-Know The Story You're Telling- All of Them!

Yes, it's time once again for the man behind the curtain to offer advice and observations that in the grand scheme of things that will likely never allow you to afford a cup of coffee, even if you had a few bucks to it.   Since I went against the grain of such columns last time by kicking it off with a peeve, let's set the balance straight with a point, which is supposed to be the positive aspect of this little exercise.

Writers tell tales.  It's what we do.  Most of us do it even when we're not putting pen to paper.  Whether it's bending the ear of some unwitting fool who asks, "So, what do you write about?" or if it's entertaining kids in a classroom or alleviating boredom across a dinner table, we are full of stories to share, wondrous adventures and poignant observations.  Writers live for the story.

Except, sometimes writers get confused as to where the actual story is.

Continue reading:

The Best Graphic Novels Ever #24 -- The Sandman: Preludes & Nocturnes

24. Sandman: Preludes and Nocturnes
by Neil Gaiman and Sam Keith
Published by DC Comics

Finding just one arc from Neil Gaiman's game-changing Sandman series for this list of best graphic novels would be impossible, so I didn't. You'll see another volume listed in the posts ahead.

But for the matter at hand, what Gaiman did with this stand-alone volume not only changed the kind of things an author could do with a super-hero character (the Sandman superhero character only appears in a single panel in the book, I believe), but also the kind of story a writer could tell with the graphic storytelling medium, and the way the published package could be treated by the publishing industry.

A hit all around, both critically and from fans, Gaiman took old superhero tropes, modified them, and made readers of superhero fans, fantasy fans, and horror fans alike. This is one of the best books of the genre that tied (and still ties) fandoms together.

For the "rules" I'm using for graphic novel, check the original post.

Monday, December 17, 2012


Nominations for the PULP ARK 2013 Awards are now open and will close at 5 PM CST on January 15th, 2013. The awards are given in conjunction with Pulp Ark, the convention/creators' conference and the official New Pulp Convention to be held in Springdale, AR, April 26-28, 2013!  The Awards are given for excellence in the field of Pulp, including books, stories, comic books, magazines, and characters as well as creators. 

To determine if a work or creator qualifies for these awards the definition for works that qualify is as follows-New Pulp is fast-paced, plot-oriented storytelling of a linear nature with clearly defined, larger than life protagonists and antagonists, creative descriptions, clever use of turns of phrase and other aspects of writing that add to the intensity and pacing of the story.

Tommy Hancock, Coordinator of Pulp Ark explains something that has become a tradition of the Pulp Ark Awards-adding categories for which awards are given.  “There will be one additional award this year added to the Pulp Ark Awards roster.  A point that is often debated within fiction circles is just what qualifies as a short story, a novella, and a novel.  Usually this argument centers around word length.   It has become increasingly apparent that stories that are longer than short, but not quite novel length are a primary part of New Pulp.  To that end, Pulp Ark will be adding an award for Best Novella of the Year as of the 2013 awards.”

“For the purposes of the Pulp Ark Awards,” Hancock continued, “A Short Story is any tale consisting of 17,500 words or less.  A Novella is any tale consisting of 17,500 words to 40,000 words.  A Novel is any work of 40,000 + words.  As with all Pulp Ark award categories, these works can be print or in ebook form or both.”

Hancock also states, “We will also give a Lifetime Achievement Award again this year as well.  A Ten Person committee selected from well-known Creators in New Pulp currently will decide the recipient of this award.  This award is given to someone who has contributed to Pulp, not necessarily just New Pulp, but to the continuation of the interest and promotion of Pulp in all its forms.” Last year’s winner of the Pulp Ark Lifetime Achievement Award was Howard Hopkins.

The only works eligible for the Pulp Ark 2013 Awards are those produced between January 1, 2012 and December 31, 2012. Anyone can make a nomination and anyone that makes a nomination will receive a ballot on January 15th, 2013 and voting will be open until 5 PM CST on February 15, 2013. The only people voting in these eleven awards will be those who made a minimum of one nomination. Also, each individual is allowed only ONE NOMINATION PER CATEGORY. A person may nominate someone in all nine categories, but may only nominate once in each category. All nominations are confidential and sources of nominations will not be revealed. All nominations should be mailed to Tommy Hancock at categories open for nomination are (in no particular order and this can be cut and pasted for your nominations ballot):

1. Best Novel (This includes E-books as well as print books and length must be 40,000 + words)

2. Best Collection/Anthology (This includes single author story collections and multi author anthologies.  This includes E-publications as well as print books)

3. Best short story (this includes stories that appear in short story collections, anthologies, magazines, and e magazines. If from an e-mag, the story must appear on a site identified as an e-magazine, not simply be posted on a site or blog. It includes e-publications as well as traditionally printed works. Length must be 17,500 words or less.)

4.  Best Novella (this includes stories that appear in short story collections, anthologies, magazines, and e magazines. If from an e-mag, the story must appear on a site identified as an e-magazine, not simply be posted on a site or blog. It includes e-publications as well as traditionally printed works.  Length must be 17,500- 40,000 words)

5. Best Cover Art (This is restricted to prose book publications, including e-books)

6. Best Interior Art (This is restricted to prose book publications, including e-books)

7. Best Pulp Related Comic (This refers to a series, complete run, one shot, etc. This award is for art, writing, and all other work associated with the nominated comics and the winner. This includes e-publications as well. )

8. Best Pulp Magazine (This award is for art, writing, and all other work associated with the nominated comics and the winner. This includes e-publications as well, but the e-publication must be identified as an e-magazine on the site supporting it. )

9. Best Pulp Revival (The Revival nominated must be published within the calendar year of 2012 and relates specifically to characters featured in Pulps when they were originally created. This includes epublications as well.)

10.  Best New Character (This must be a character that debuts in a New Pulp work published in 2012.  This included e-publications as well)

11. Best Author (This reward refers to the author and any author with work published in 2012 is eligible, including novels, short stories, etc. This includes e-publications as well).

12. Best New Writer (To be nominated, a writer must have been published for the first time in the pulp field in the calendar year of 2012. This includes e-publications as well).

Send all nominations to Hancock via email at

For More information on how to attend Pulp Ark 2013 as Guest, Vendor, or fan, go to for regular updates!


Editor's Note: For those interested, here's a list of what I had published this year that is eligible for nomination...

Best collection -- 
The Ruby Files (Airship 27)
Blood-Price of the Missionary's Gold -- The New Adventures of Armless O'Neil (Pulp Obscura),  
The Old Weird South (Q&W Publishers)
Zombies vs. Robots -- This Means War (IDW)
Best Short Story --
"Die Giftig Lillie," The Ruby Files
"There's Always a Woman Involved," Blood-Price of the Missionary's Gold
"To Gnaw the Bones of the Wolf-Mother," The Old Weird South
"Farm Fresh," Zombies vs. Robots -- This Means War

Best Cover Art --
Mark Wheatley, The Ruby Files
Mike Fyles, Blood-Price of the Missionary's Gold
Best Interior Art -- 
Rob Moran, The Ruby Files
Best Pulp Revival -- 
Armless O'Neil (Blood-Price of the Missionary's Gold)  

Best New Character -- 
Rick Ruby (The Ruby Files)
Best Author --
Well, me, if you honestly believe that way.   

The Best Graphic Novels Ever #25 -- I Am Legend

25. I Am Legend
by Richard Matheson, adapted by Steven Niles and Elman Brown
Published by IDW Publishing

At the risk of being self-indulgent, Steve Niles adaptation of I Am Legend is the stuff of legend. It's a near perfect pairing of prose and illustration. And yes, I did say "prose" not "script."

More akin to Prince Valiant than to modern comics, this version runs the text of the sci-tinged vampire tale around Brown's amazing artwork, using one to bring the other to life and back again. Even with so many words on a page, the book never becomes "heavy." Easily one of my favorite horror graphic novels ever.

However, this one is not a light, fast read, so be warned. You'll  need to carve out some quality time for this one.

For the "rules" I'm using for graphic novel, check the original post.

Sunday, December 16, 2012


Pro Se Productions, a Publisher specializing in Heroic Fiction, New Pulp and multiple genres, announces today the licensing of a modern hard boiled PI Character originally appearing in a DC Vertigo mini series and created by one of the leading writers of modern Crime Pulp Fiction.

“Pulp is associated with many genres,” Tommy Hancock, Partner in and Editor in Chief of Pro Se stated. “None, though, probably as much as the Crime/Mystery field, particularly the PI tale.   That’s why Pro Se is proud to announce that Nate Hollis, a character created by Gary Phillips for the 2005 Vertigo miniseries ANGELTOWN is now a part of Pro Se’s future prose lineup.”

The Nate Hollis Investigations
Moonstone 2011
A noted crime and mystery writer, Gary Phillips is the creative mind behind the Ivan Monk series as well as books featuring Las Vegas’ showgirl-turned- courier, Martha Chaney.  Phillips has also contributed to multiple collections, including one of Moonstone’s AVENGER CHRONICLES, and is one of the two driving forces, along with Hancock, behind Pro Se’s upcoming major release BLACK PULP.

“ANGELTOWN,” said Hancock, “introduced the world to Nate Hollis, as hard boiled and two fisted as any detective that came before him.  Not only does Nate have all the classic attributes of a Pulp PI, but he’s set squarely in the modern era and is also enhanced by all that comes with that.   Pro Se is excited about the future of Nate Hollis, including new anthologies and even novels written by the best authors in New Pulp, including Gary himself.”

Hollis’ creator, Gary Phillips added, “I’m jazzed that Tommy and the fine folks at Pro Se Press have taken on producing the further outings of Nate Hollis and the other characters in his orbit.  Tough customers such as shotgun-wielding female bounty hunter Irma Ducett aka Irma Deuce, and Nate’s ex-pro football playing granddad, Obadiah "Clutch" Hollis, current owner of a neighborhood dive frequented by the squares and the strange.  Certainly I’m looking forward to seeing how other writers will devise cases for Nate and, of course, I’ll be penning some new stories too.  It’s going to be a blast.”

Nate Hollis Creator
Gary Phillips
Hancock stated that announcements would be forthcoming concerning publication of the first Nate Hollis book from Pro Se, fully expecting a book to be published in the first half of 2013.

Nate Hollis originally debuted in Angeltown, a five-part miniseries from DC Comics’ Vertigo imprint, January-May 2005.  The strip was then collected and reprinted in hardcover graphic novel form as Angeltown: The Nate Hollis Investigations, with two new prose short stories added, by Moonstone Books in 2011. 

For more information concerning Nate Hollis and Pro Se, email Hancock at

Gary Phillips –

Pro Se Productions-