Review: Amazing Spider-Man #18

Review: Amazing Spider-Man #18

amazing_spider-man_vol_4_18

First up, I haven’t enjoyed the new direction Amazing Spider-Man has taken from its latest relaunch. There is something about having Peter Parker as a rich and successful business man that just doesn’t sit right with the character. For me, Peter struggling to balance his daily life and study/jobs with his duty as Spider-Man has been the one of the core elements of the character. As a result, I have really lost touch with a character that has been one of the staples of my comic buying life.

I decided to pick up #18 as it was promoted as the return to Doc Ock. Ock became a favourite of mine recently when he took the mantle of the ‘Superior Spider-Man’ for thirty odd issues. I loved this storyline and the way it evolved, all the way to the conclusion with Ock admitting that he could never be the hero to Peter is and allowing to to return as Spider-Man. Dan Slott really hit it out of the park with that run which pushed him into the realms of my favourite comic book writers.

Where rich and powerful Peter lost me, this issue dragged me back. There is still the ‘problem’ of Peter being rich, but it took a back seat to the reemergence of Doc Ock via a personality download to the Living Brain.

R.B. Silva has a great time with this issue. The art has a real energy to it helping the story zip along at a good pace. Slott’s writing is also good in this issue, though I found Ock’s characterization a little off in places. The major criticism I had with the issue is that the story basically ends up in the same place it starts – Doc Ock is back in the tiny robot creature, but with the knowledge he was able to collect from Parker Industries, particularly regarding cloning.

Given we know that The Jackal is returning very shortly, I would imagine we will be seeing Doc Ock and The Jackal working together (likely in the flesh) before too long. Slott does a good job at major storylines for Spidey, so I have high expectations for the upcoming Clone Conspiracy storyline.

Rating – 7/10 – good fun with a classic villain returning.

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Rambling Words – The Newsletter!

Introducing – Rambling Words The Newsletter!

As you may have noticed (if I have set it up correctly) when you logged into the Rambling Words site, you got a pop-up asking you to sign up to the brand spanking new Rambling Words newsletter, written by yours truly!

I would really appreciate if you would consider signing up. The newsletter will be a fortnightly update of news, updates on my current projects, preview art, reviews, links and anything else pop-culture related that has caught my eye.

The first newsletter will be out shortly (when I have ironed out some of the kinks in my understanding of how these things work). If you don’t like the newsletter, it is easy to unsubscribe (or better yet, just delete it when it arrives), or you can email me on travisstunt@travisstunt.com and tell me my newsletter stinks and how I can improve it. Hopefully none of that will be necessary, but it is good to have all bases covered!

Hope to see most, if not all, of you on the subscriber list shortly!

Shameless self promotion: Fractured Scary Tales

Time for some shameless self promotion (if that isn’t what a blog is for, I don’t know what is!).

My short ‘Undead Poet’s Society’ is about to land! Issue two of ‘Fractured Scary Tales’ from Scary Tales Publishing will feature my print debut. Art is by Jeff Sadzinski (Jeff Sadzinski Deviantart link).

Fractured Scary Tales features 40 pages of horror parodies of famous movies by various artists and writers created by publisher (and horror movie producer) Kevin M. Glover. Fractured Scary Tales is on the website now (Fractured Scary Tales) and will be available in print soon for only $US10.

Previews of the other stories can be found on the Fractured Scary Tales website, but here is page one of ‘Undead Poet’s Society’ for your enjoyment. Don’t forget to order your copy today.

Undead Poets Society Pg 001

More exciting news!

I’m not sure how much I can give away at the moment, but I’m so excited, I have to tell something, cryptic as it will be …

I submitted an eight page short to a major, small press publisher in the UK. Not expecting much, I sort of forgot about it. About two weeks ago, I received an email from the editor saying the story had been accepted (no edits required, first piece submitted!). It was placed in the accepted pile, awaiting an artist and official commission.

I did some research, trying to work out the possible turn around time for an artist to get assigned. I sent a message to another writer who I know also has had stuff published by this publisher, and he said it could take a long time, and suggested I attempt to find my own artist.

This was a bit disappointing. I had no artist contacts and really didn’t know where to start. I figured a message board like Reddit would be as good as any, so I popped a post on, asking for an artist who would be willing to work on the story – unpaid. Not expecting much, I was utterly floored by the response.

The artist I ended up choosing has been published by one of the ‘big three’ comic publishing companies and is an absolutely fantastic artist. I couldn’t be more excited to be working with an artist of this calibre and experience.

The publisher accepted the artist for the script (no real surprise there!) and received official confirmation that the story would appear in print sometime in 2017 (as previous issues were already pretty full). There is a possibility it may come in 2016, but 2017 is looking most likely at this stage.

Can’t wait – it may be a while off, but this is the biggest break I have had so far, so it is still massive news for me!

Time to get writing again

My writing output has severely dropped off lately, mainly because of **lame excuses**. I think it has been at least two weeks since I actually wrote even a single page. This is simply not good enough. I need to write, and I need to write EVERY DAY if I am going to improve.

Being a shift working and having two young children will make it hard, but excuses aren’t going to cut it. It is time to get serious, time to put my fingers on the keys and pump out a story, ten stories, whatever … as long as I am writing.

I was flicking through Facebook (another reason I don’t get done what I need to get done – but, unfortunately, a necessity for networking these days) when I came across the following post from Erik Larsen:

Erik’s post (which is linked here ):

My best advice to anybody who wants to break into comics is to produce comics. Just start cranking them out. Put them up online.

If you’re “just a writer” then write a handful of imaginary books, month after month. Create characters–or just pretend to write the fucking X-Men. Write full scripts. Post one every Monday. Get cranking. Get in motion.

If you’re an artist–improvise. But crank them out!

A big part of it is simply figuring out “can I do this?” So–try. Do you have that many great ideas? Show me. And by “show me” I mean “DON’T show ME.” I mean show yourself–prove it to yourself.

It doesn’t matter if anybody sees them. Post them in Facebook if you must. Post them elsewhere. Start a blog. It’s not even about getting seen–it’s about getting that rhythm. It’s an exercise to see if you can do it.

We all have to work through the bad shit to get to the good shit. There are kinks to be worked out and it won’t happen watching TV.

I wrote and drew almost 70 full comics, many as long as 100 pages, before anything saw print. When I broke in I was already a vet. It just helped.

Every comic I’ve ever done starts with me saying, “how the hell am I going to DO this? It’s impossible!” That feeling never goes away. You just have to do it.

With these inspiring words for a writer I have much respect for, I will try publish here an ongoing story. I will add four pages a week (not a great deal, but enough to get me started). It will be titled: The Incompetents. It’s an idea that has been floating around my brain for a while. The first four pages will go up later today. They next four will be published on Friday (18 September 2015), and then every Friday until the story is told. I have no real story plan for this yet, so I’m not locked into anything – I can let the story flow however it wants.

If I can work out how to do it, I’ll make a link on the front page of this blog to go directly to the story.

Even just writing this post has made me excited to get working …

Comic Book Companies Accepting Writing Submissions

Updated: 22nd December 2015

Below is the start of a list I have been putting together of comic book companies that accept writing submissions. I know I spend a lot of time going through websites to try and work out who accepts writing submissions and who doesn’t, and I’m sure I’m not the only one that does.

So, for ease of reference, I will list all the ones I know of here with a link to the submission page. If you know of any others, please leave a message in the comments and I will add it to the list. The same applies if you are putting together an anthology and wish to have it listed here.

Antithesis Comics
www.antithesiscomics.wordpress.com
Shortly accepting submissions from writers and artists. Accepting submissions from writers and artists, though would prefer established teams.

Dark Horse Comics:
http://www.darkhorse.com/Company/Submissions/#writers

Dark Horse accept all types of submissions – ongoing series, minis, shorts. Required to format script to certain specifications which can be located via the above link. Only accept postal submissions.

Future Quake Press:
http://www.futurequake.co.uk/submissions.php

Future Quake is an English comic of a similar type to 2000AD. They prefer short stories, usually with a twist at the end. They will pair writers with artists, which is a plus. They also accept email submissions.

Image Comics:
https://imagecomics.com/about/submissions

Image only accept creator owned material submissions which have a full team already assembled.

2000AD:
http://www.2000adonline.com/submissions

2000AD accept submissions for four page, sci-fi/fantasy/horror stories with a twist ending for their ‘Future Shocks’ section of 2000AD Magazine. They only accept submissions via mail – I submitted in March 2014 and still have not heard anything back (it is now May 2015).

Oni Press:
http://onipress.tumblr.com/post/117029040489/oni-press-open-submissions-guidelines-on-may

Accepting writing submissions from 1st May 2015 until 30th June 2015. Scroll about halfway down the page for what they are looking for in a writing submission.

Dark Oz:
http://www.darkoz.com.au/submissions.html

Dark Oz is an Australian based company which publishes ‘Decay’, a horror comic. They accept submissions from writers via email. They are looking for short (between two and eight pages, though the shorter the better) horror stories.

Dark Oz are also desperately in need of artists. If you are an artist looking for exposure and something to put in your portfolio, I recommend you give Darren an email. It would be well worth the effort.

Dynamite Comics:
http://www.dynamite.com/htmlfiles/editor.htm

Dynamite Comics accept via an initial letter of inquiry detailing your writing experience and the reasons you would like to work for them.

Antarctic Press:
http://www.antarctic-press.com/html/version_01/submissions.php

Antarctic Press require a one to four page synopsis/treatment plus a one page overview. They are not particularly interested in ongoing titles, and would prefer mini-series and shorts. Submissions can be made via mail or email.

Kodiak Comics:
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Kodiak-Comics/891826324189543?fref=ts

A brand new company looking for all types of creators – but are in most need of artists. If you are interested, contact them via their Facebook page for further details.

Time Bomb Comics:
http://timebombcomics.com/submissions.html

Time Bomb Comics are a UK publisher who accept submissions from writers. They want five page completed stories – no more. After this, they will consider further and/or longer submissions.

Viper Comics:
http://vipercomics.com/contact/submissions/?hc_location=ufi

Viper Comics accept submissions from writers. They require a 3 – 5 page sample of a script you have worked on in PDF format, as well as a 55 – 60 word synopsis of the writing sample you are submitting. Submissions can be made via email.

WP Comics:
http://www.wpcomicsltd.com/#!about1/c1u40

WP Comics are accepting submissions from writers. They are only accepting 22 page single issue submissions for publication. Submissions can be made by email and the website states they will notify the writer within 1 – 3 days if the script will be published (which is pretty awesome).

Valiant Entertainment:
http://valiantuniverse.com/about-us/

Valiant Entertainment are currently accepting submissions from writers and artists. They have provided an email address for writers and artists to submit portfolios and previously published work. No further details are provided.

Committed Comics:
http://www.committedcomics.com/submission.htm

Committed Comics are accepting five page shorts from writers. They must be self contained stories and not part of a larger work.

Markosia:
http://www.committedcomics.com/submission.htm

Accepting 22 page scripts. They will accept more than one script so that you can showcase your abilities. Markosia only accept submissions via email.

Comic script: Where There Be Thieves

This is a script I finished a few weeks back. It’s a first draft, so please ignore spelling or grammar issues (if there are any – I think it sorted them all out). It’s called ‘Where There Be Thieves’ and is a superhero/horror comic. It is the first eight pages, plus the cover page. I really enjoyed writing, especially the names of the bad guys. They were a hell of a lot of fun to come up with.

This post is going to be a lengthy. The formatting doesn’t look exactly like it does in Word, but it is pretty close.

WHERE THERE BE THIEVES

By Travis STUNT

Eight page crime/horror comic script.

Date of last revision: 5th January 2015

CHARACTER NOTES:

PAPA FREAK:                     Overall leader of the gang. He is huge, violent looking thug of a man, who                                                                               has been in a thousand fights and won them all. There are knives all around him – in the                                                       chair/throne he is sitting on, in his belt, jacket, everywhere.

BIG KILLA:                           Big, mean motherfucker. Leader of the crime group (which includes the                                                                                   next three).

SHEISTY and

RAGGITY WORM:             Generic thugs. Still look pretty bad-ass though.

DIZZEE BOOTAY:               PAPA FREAK’s right hand man. Looks like a pimp. Distinctive glasses.

THE FORSAKEN:            Could be the spawn of Hell, could be a lunatic dressed up as a demonic                                                                                   creature. Go crazy. No real guidelines needed.

PATROLMAN:                    Typical patrolman.

DETECTIVE:                         Typical, cliqued detective. Grizzled.

ART NOTES:

Occasionally I’ll use camera angles, descriptions of particular shots I have envisioned. Please take these only as a guide. Use whatever works best. If my description sucks, chuck it out. I’m not sensitive like that.

PAGE ONE – SIX PANELS

PANEL ONE

Exterior – night. Three gang members are walking down a dirty alleyway, heading back to their clubhouse. They are large, tough, angry looking people. One is carrying a bag of some description. They all are carrying guns concealed under their clothing. These can be seen – gun grip popping out the top of the belt or poking out from under a shirt. They all seem pretty happy with themselves.

  1. BIG KILLA: We smoked his ass, yo!
  1. RAGGETY WORM: Ya, we did, man!
  1. SHEISTY: And got a fat bag of loot to show for it.

PANEL TWO

All three have arrived at a door leading from the alleyway into a warehouse. There is a closed viewing hole at eye level. BIG KILLA is reaching out to knock.

  1. BIG KILLA: The boss man is gunna love us.

PANEL THREE

BIG KILLA raps his knuckles on the door.

PANEL FOUR

Close up on the view hole. It has slid open. A pair of angry looking eyes are now peering through. The eyes belong to DIZZEE BOOTAY.

  1. DIZZEE BOOTAY: WHAT?!

PANEL FIVE

BIG KILLA is looking closely through the hole at DIZZEE. BIG KILLA looks extra angry.

  1. BIG KILLA: Yo! Open the damn door, you idiot! Tell Papa Freak Big Killa is here.

PANEL SIX

The door is opened and the gang members are moving inside. Above, on the roof of the warehouse, we can catch a glimpse of our anti-hero, THE FORSAKEN

PAGE TWO – THREE PANELS

 PANEL ONE

Large panel. BIG KILLA, RAGGITY WORM and SHEISTY are standing in front of a large gang member and leader of the gang, PAPA FREAK. He is huge, violent looking thug of a man, who has been in a thousand fights and won them all. There are knives all around him – in the chair/throne he is sitting on, in his belt, jacket, everywhere. DIZZEE stands next to him. If room permits, other random gang members can be seen doing gang member stuff.

  1. TITLE: WHERE THERE BE THIEVES
  1. PAPA FREAK: Big Killa, my main man. What have you got for me?
  1. BIG KILLA: Some major cashola, Papa Freak. Knocked over a gas station.

PANEL TWO

Close on PAPA FREAK. He doesn’t look impressed.

  1. PAPA FREAK: A gas station?
  1. PAPA FREAK: A little … small scale for you, isn’t it? Big Killa?
  1. BIG KILLA (OP): Well … I mean we … the cash was good –

PANEL THREE

PAPA FREAK and BIG KILLA look up as they here a crash somewhere in the warehouse.

  1. SFX: CRASH!
  1. PAPA FREAK: What the f –

PAGE THREE – FOUR PANELS

PANEL ONE

PAPA FREAK begins organising his troops to meet the potential threat. DIZZEE BOOTAY and RAGGITY WORM and heading off towards out of the room and towards the noise. Both have handguns drawn.

  1. PAPA FREAK: Dizzee Bootay, Raggity Worm – you two find out what that                                                                          noise was.
  1. DIZZEE BOOTAY: Yes Boss.

PANEL TWO

More commotion from off panel. DIZZEE and RAGGITY WORM stop at the door, hesitating.

  1. SFX (OP): BAM! BAM! BAM! BAM!
  1. UNSEEN THUG (OP): ARRGGHH!

PANEL THREE

PAPA FREAK is out of his throne now. He is screaming in anger at DIZZEE BOOTAY and RAGGITY WORM.

  1. PAPA FREAK: MOVE YOU TWO USELESS PIECES OF SHIT!

PANEL FOUR

Closer on the door that DIZZEE and RAGGITY WORM are going through. They move through is guns aimed straight out in front. They look terrified.

 

PAGE FOUR – SIX PANELS

 PANEL ONE

DIZZEE and RAGGITY WORM have moved into a darkened area of the warehouse complex. It is a larger room, with packing crates and boxes stacked high. Shadows are everywhere. DIZZEE has reached out to a light switch on a nearby wall. It doesn’t work.

  1. DIZZEE BOOTAY: Shit!

PANEL TWO

Both men spin towards a noise, guns aimed.

  1. SFX: creek

PANEL THREE

Both men swing around again towards another noise. This time they open fire.

  1. SFX: BAM BAM BAM BAM BAM

PANEL FOUR

They approach the area they just shot up. There is nothing there except destroyed crates and boxes. RAGGITY WORM is standing slightly behind DIZZEE.

  1. DIZZEE BOOTAY: Nothing.

PANEL FIVE

The clawed hand of THE FORSAKEN reaches out from the darkness behind RAGGITY WORM and grabs him by the shoulder. He half turns to see what it is.

  1. RAGGITY WORM: Huh?

PANEL SIX

THE FORSAKEN yanks RAGGITY WORM out of the panel, so that his legs and feet are the only things showing.

  1. RAGGITY WORM: AAIIIEEEE!

PAGE FIVE – SIX PANELS

PANEL ONE

Back in the room with PAPA FREAK, BIG KILLA and SHEISTY. BIG KILLA is holding a small machine gun at hip height. SHEISTY has a hand gun. Both have the guns point off panel towards the noises. PAPA FREAK has several knife blades held in between his fingers, ready to launch them at the killer when he makes his appearance.

  1. BIG KILLA: What the fuck is going on out there?!
  1. PAPA FREAK: Shut the fuck up.

PANEL TWO

Something is thrown through the door and into the room. We see it bounce several times, without really being able to tell what it is (it’s DIZZEE’s head, but don’t tell anyone yet).

  1. SFX: BUMP! Bump bump

PANEL THREE

The item stops, and, sure enough, it is DIZZEE’s head. BIG KILLA and SHEISTY look terrified.

  1. SHEISTY: Oh, fuck me.
  1. SHEISTY: That’s Dizzee’s head, Killa!
  1. BIG KILLA: I can see that, Sheisty, you idiot. I seen heads before.

PANEL FOUR

Darkness. Someone has turned out the lights.

  1. BIG KILLA: Where’d the fuckin’ lights go?
  1. SHEISTY: We gunna die. We gunna die.
  1. SFX: creeek

PANEL FIVE

Gun fire lights up the room. They hit nothing, but we can see another glimpse of THE FORSAKEN. Maybe a leg this time.

  1. SFX: RATATATAT!
  1. SFX: BAM BAM BAM

PANEL SIX

Darkness again as the gun fire stops.

  1. SHEISTY: ARRGGHH!
  1. BIG KILLA: SHEISTY!

PAGE SIX – FIVE PANELS

PANEL ONE

Larger panel. PAPA FREAK has lit a flare which has bathed the room in a red glow. There are still heavy shadows all around. BIG KILLA is looking down at the corpse of SHEISTY, whose head is now backwards. SHEISTY is very dead.

  1. BIG KILLA: fuck me

PANEL TWO

Again, a noise causes a reaction. PAPA FREAK spins around, looking for something behind him. BIG KILLA continues to stare at the corpse of SHEISTY.

  1. SFX: creek
  1. PAPA FREAK: Come out and face me, coward!

PANEL THREE

Close on BIG KILLA and a clawed hand punches through his chest. BIG KILLA’s face is contorted in agony, but no sound comes out. Blood and guts spray everywhere.

PANEL FOUR

PAPA FREAK has turned to face BIG KILLA’s killer. He has blood and gore dripping from him.

  1. THE FORSAKEN (OP): I am your reckoning.

PANEL FIVE

Small inset panel. Extreme close up on PAPA FREAK’s eyes. For the first time, there are showing fear.

  1. PAPA FREAK: Oh sweet Jesus …

PAGE SEVEN – SIX PANELS

PANEL ONE

Large panel. THE FORSAKEN stands in the room, facing PAPA FREAK. PAPA FREAK is still motionless, too terrified to move.

  1. THE FORSAKEN I cast judgement on you, Papa Freak.
  1. THE FORSAKEN And that judgement …
  1. THE FORSAKEN … is DEATH!

PANEL TWO

PAPA FREAK regains his composure and starts flinging his knives at THE FORSAKEN. Multiple knives fly out, seemingly simultaneously.

  1. SFX: FFT FFT FFT

PANEL THREE

THE FORSAKEN puts his forearm in front of his face and the knives slam into it.

PANEL FOUR

Front on shot of THE FORSAKEN. He painlessly pulls a knife out of his arm.

PANEL FIVE

Close up on the chest and face of THE FORSAKEN He looks pissed.

  1. THE FORSAKEN Pathetic.

PANEL SIX

A shot from outside the warehouse, similar to the shots on Page One.

  1. PAPA FREAK: NO NO NO ARRRGGHH!

PAGE EIGHT – FOUR PANELS

 

PANEL ONE

Outside the warehouse. Same shot as panel six page seven, except the sun is coming up. And there are lots of police cars with lights flashing stopped in the area.

PANEL TWO

A grizzled detective steps out of a car. A patrolmen approaches him. The patrolmen looks stressed.

  1. PATROLMAN: Sir! You gotta come see this.

PANEL THREE

The detective is entering the door to the warehouse. The patrolman follows him in, briefing him of the situation.

  1. PATROLMAN: A bum called it in. Said he heard gunfire.
  1. PATROLMAN: I got here a short time ago. Like I said on the radio, I haven’t                                                                       touched nothing.

PANEL FOUR

PAPA FREAK’s throne room. PAPA FREAK has been nailed to the wall with his own knives. He has been gutted, or similar. Whatever you want, really. He needs to look like someone has really done a number on him. On the wall behind him, in blood, has been painted the words ‘THE SINNERS WILL BE PUNISHED’. The detective looks shocked. In all his experience, he has never seen anything like this.

  1. DETECTIVE: Dear god…