Friday, July 31, 2009

Best Superhero Books ever

It's hard to find good books about superheroes that aren't either a) comic books or b) books based on comic books.
Now, I have nothing against either A or B, but they don't typically represent the coolest examples of superhuman fiction.
Let me offer some examples of the coolest superhero fiction
  1. Wild Cards (the whole series, editted by George RR Martin)
  2. Devil's Cape (by Rob Rogers)
  3. Black and White (by Jackie Kessler and Caitlin Kittredge)
  4. Those Who Walk in Darkness (By John Ridley)
  5. Soon I Will Be Invincible ( by Austin Grossman)
  6. Hero (by Perry Moore)
  7. The Web of Arachnos (Robert Weinberg)
  8. Swan Song (By Frank Fradella)
  9. The Physics of Superheroes (By James Kakalios) - this one is not fiction, but it is very cool

Not a long list. There are a lot I have not read and there is a lot of crap in what I have read. It's a hard genre for some to take seriously, but there is good stuff out there! You just have to look for it...or trust my little list and get to reading.

Of course, the other option is to write some good ones! Let's do that!


Well, no word on publication as of yet. We have a couple of feelers out there, but nothing yet.
So, what do we do? Keep developing and keep sending out submissions.

As always, the key is to write, write, write or if you are an artist it is draw, draw, draw.

Point one can do our push-ups for us (get the metaphor)

So I guess I should go get to work

Monday, July 27, 2009

Merlin on NBC

Well, I have really just discovered this show "Merlin" on NBC. If you have not watched it, then you really should. Is it great Arthurian literature? No. In fact, some of the stuff is a bit switched around from the more "traditional" Arthur stories, but I am always up for a reinterpretation of classic characters. Remember when John Byrne "re-imagined" Superman in the mid 1980's? It turned out to be one of the most beloved Superman comic runs of all time.
So, don't let the re-imagining stop you from checking out Merlin. One thing I love is that unlike recent stories such as "King Arthur" and "The Last Legion" there is actual magic in this story. I am more forgiving of changes in the story than I am stories without magic. King Arthur stories, in my opinion, should have some scraps of magic around.
In any event, here is the REAL reason you should watch it. As a fellow fan of fantasy, science fiction, super heroes and all that jazz (if you weren't you would probably not still be reading) we should support shows that support our habit. We want more shows about Knights and Wizards and Dragons so we should w watch the ones that are out there. If their ratings are good, imitators will surely follow and sometimes imitation can be a wonderful thing! week, The Black Knight shows up! And he is Undead! (I'm geeking about it)

Wednesday, July 22, 2009


Read a great article in Time magazine entitled: "Why Bosses Tend To Be Blowhards"
The summary is that "A new study shows leadership is often just loudership: big mouths take charge."
The study was led by the University of California: Berkeley. The study found in a group setting, the folks who spoke out the most often and the loudest were viewed as individuals with a high degree of leadership, smarts and creativity. When given basic aptitude tests, these same individuals did not score any better (and often worse) than their quieter counterparts.

It's interesting, but then again, isn't it a quality of leadership that the person has the "courage" (or blind stupidity?) to speak out regardless of the consequences, often not letting oneself be encumbered by facts or truth?

We see it a lot where people take charge just because they are visible and rather than saying the "right thing" they say their version of the right thing and then convince others of it's correctness (Rush Limbaugh comes to mind). No offense Rush. My point is Rush picks a side of an argument and does not attempt to see the other side and then convinces listeners there is only one side. It is his goal and he does it well.

Not a surprising study, but a nice one to read because I tend towards introverted behavior in a large group and often don't get very vocal. It seems like options are to either break that behavior or get used to finishing second (or third or fourth...somewhere other than first).

Alternatively, one could seek out an environment where one felt comfortable being very vocal. For example, if you grew up building boats and building boats was your passion then I would suspect you would feel more comfortable being very vocal in a boat-building situation thus ensuring your promotion and inevitable leadership role.

All the more reason, perhaps, to seek your passion?

Monday, July 20, 2009

The Comic Book Movie Problem

Here is an issue I struggle with routinely. When making a comic book movie, how much should the movie be like the comic book?
Here is an example.
The original "Punisher" movie with Thomas Jane (not the first "original" with Dolph Lundgren...ugh). was made for 33,000,000. Not a bad budget. It grossed, worldwide, 54,600,000. Yay! A profit. The Punisher is a success.

So, they made a sequel.

The Punisher: War Zone, starring "that guy from the HBO Rome show" was made for 33,000,000 - hey, we made it for less! It grossed 8,000,000. A huge loss. I guess in Hollywood, that would be "a flop".

The first movie, however, disappointed fans. It was not exactly true to the original character and made several key departures disappointing hard core fans. It also made a profit.
The Punisher: War Zone was very much in line with the comic book. It was like watching a live action verion of The Punisher comic. Hard core fans loved it. It flopped.

So, you can't float a movie solely on us comic book fan boys. It has to appeal to more people, I assume, because it costs a bunch to make a movie.

It goes back to the axiom that you have to know your audience. Watchmen followed the graphic novel very well, but by all accounts, Watchmen is not a "typical" graphic novel and the movie was even a bit more graphic and was filmed in a style of photography that was nothing short of breathtaking. The 300 was done in a similar fashion.

Know your audience and make your product accordingly. Would Star Wars have been a mega hit if it were a novel first? Would The Simpsons be a household name if it had started as a movie? The right place to launch your project is out there whether it is indie publishing, online comics, finding an agent, selling a script. The only way to find it is to reach for it.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Paranormal Evidence

I don't have any...but I wish I did. It would be cool if I did.
What if some random blogger came across paranormal evidence and posted it.
Of course, he or she would immediately be targeted by the paranormal agents themselves wanting to keep their shadowy existence secret and they would also be targeted by some government agency trying to keep the lid on the news as well.
Meanwhile, our hero tries to stop the paranormal agents from instigating their nefarious plot, which of course the government wants as well, leading to an inevitable team up.

Sound interesting? Write the rest of it!

What is a writer?...a combination of an idea person (which I just posted an example of the idea) and a worker, meaning the person who takes the idea and chops the wood (meaning he or she does the work of writing). When one person has both those qualities, then (in my humble opinion) they have all the makings of a writer. All that is left to do is...write!

Someone want to write about our blogger of the paranormal? Go for it.

Watchmen on DVD!!!

Watchmen is coming on DVD on July 21st. I love Watchmen because it is superheroes for grown-ups (note - don't let the kiddies see Watchmen unless you routinely let your kids see graphic sex scenes and intense violence). But for those fanboys among us who grew up loving the superheroes but now find ourselves a bit jaded with some of the adolescent nature of comic book writing (not saying all comics books - some are a definite exception) along comes Watchmen.
Of course the graphic novel is "old". Old enough that I read it at a pretty scandalous age and was shock by the content.
Now, as an adult, I love seeing superheroes for adults. Another great example is the Wild Cards series of novels editted by George RR Martin.
I am sure that some convetional wisdom told both Alan Moore (author of Watchmen) and George RR Martin (Master of Wild Cards) that superheroes were for kids and it was not a good idea to make stories with adult content using superheroes, metahumans, whatever.
Well, Watchmen is one of the most highly acclaimed graphic novels of all times and Wild Cards has been going for two decades so I think the authors were right.
The key - Know your target audience and write for them. If you put together great content, targeted specifically for what your audience wants. Don't try and please everyone. Just give your target audience what they want. They WILL find you. And they will bring their friends.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Industry News

Just a few quick bites:
  1. San Diego Comic Con is coming up at the end of July. That is an awesome show for all comic fans!
  2. Sadly, there is currently no Superman live action movie in development. Apparently, in 2013, all Superman rights revert to the heir of Siegel and Schuster (who created Superman). I am sure they will use the rights to produce Superman related material. Kind of scary, kind of exciting
  3. Green Lantern: First Flight is an animated Green Lantern movie being released in a couple of weeks. My prediction, based on the last few DC Animated Universe movies - it will be damn cool!
  4. There is supposedly a Green Lantern live action film in the works. Since we at Green Gates share our first name with Green Lantern, allow me to comment - a live action GL movie could be awesome and it could totally be an opportunity for some cross genre superhero/sci-fi action. GL is a super hero, but he is also a space cop and Guardian of sector 7 (we live in sector 7 apparently)
  5. Spiderman 4 is being talked about at least. I am a little ho hum about this news at this point.
  6. There might be a Star Wars live action show being shot soon. Cool. Supposedly featuring more relationship and character related story lines so as to appeal to a more mature audience. Sadly enough, even the Clone Wars cartoon appeals to me. I am probably not a good example of a mature audience though.
  7. The next Star Trek movie is on for like 18 months from now (rumor from the dude that played Scotty). That should be great. I am looking forward to the DVD release of the latest Trek movie for the inevitable cut scenes.
  8. For gamers out there Mass Effect 2 will be released early next year. I am not a huge gamer, but Mass Effect was AWESOME and I will definitely buy Mass Effect 2
  9. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows is just over a week or so away from release. My suggestion: get all the Potter movies and stage a weekend Harry marathon to get up to speed for the newest film
  10. GGE watched "Push" on DVD. Our review is to give it a grade of D. Not exactly failing. The background is awesome. The premise is solid, but the movie pacing itself was weak. Could have had a lot more tension, conflict and power versus power throw downs. There were some cool scenes but overall a less-than-stellar effort. I will of course buy a personal copy so as to provide support for "superhero" movies and do my part to ensure they continue to be produced.


Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Dragon Con 2009

Anybody going to Dragon Con 2009? GGE will be there, but just as fan boys this year, no table or autograph sessions. Why? Nothing new out this year. Look for us to set up shop again next year with some cool new stuff!

A thought on conventions...if you are a fan of a genre (horror, sci-fi, fantasy) or an activity (roleplaying, card games, video games). You should seek out a convention and get your butt to one! There is nothing so satisfying as being surrounded by thousands of like minded people all into the same things you are into.

If you are more than a fan and you are a creator, writer, artists, etc. For you it is beyond "should" you "have" to go! Make contacts! Get inspired! Advance your cause. Every industry as conferences. Do you think it is just for the locations and the golf outings? Well...sometimes it is (Vegas, Baby!) But if you want to break into the entertainment sector - get to the conferences. You will not regret it!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Legacy of the Force

Most anyone interested in anything GGE has to say will also be interested in all things Star Wars. That's not to say 100%. If you are here and not a Star Wars fan, then we welcome you! We just don't understand you.
Anyway, I have been reading this book series entitled "Legacy of the Force". It takes place decades after the last movie (Return of the Jedi being the last in chronological order, not release order). It deals with the children of the Skywalkers and the Solos.
It's pretty good. I love seeing what else goes on in the Star Wars universe. It is inspiring to see how much has grown from Lucas's initial idea for the three movies (which had to start with a single hit film). It does make me wonder how much more that world can support. There is a lot in this series that casual fans might not get. Beyond that, it's 9 or 10 books long. Why not stick with the three-part story arc made popular by the films?
For those of you who wander by to see what we're reading or to participate in the discussion of all that is new and relevant in the sci-fi/fantasy/superhero fiction world, this is a good book. It is especially good if you want to see more Jedi Vs. Sith stuff.
The best part about this series makes me want to create my own "Star Wars" so thirty years from now people might be blogging about my characters.

Being the best

I was watching "4th and Long" last night, a show where amateurs try and land a spot on the Dallas Cowboys roster.
It occured to me how rare an occupation like that is. For example, in sports, there is natural talent of course, but there also has to be years and years of preparation. They have to pay their dues and there can then be a straight up competition to determine who is better than the other.
I have not been fortunate enough to have a career like that. Maybe I have been fortunate in not having a career like that. I like to consider myself a "winner" but it is hard to say that until one has won something.
In creating/writing, etc who would some of the "winners" be? I guess that would depend on how you keep score. You could keep score by pure literary skill. Then you can debate who writes better than someone else. I would not score this way. I would score by books sold or movie deals made or income.
I guess based on my own criteria, the winners list would look something like this:

JK Rowling
Stephen King
Stan Lee
George Lucas
Eastman and Laird
Todd McFarlane
Seth McFarlane
The Wachowski Brothers

That's a short list, but I would like to add "Green Gates" to it. I guess we need to score some points first.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Happy Independence Day from GGE

Happy Independence Day (a day late, but who cares - I had cookouts and parties to attend yesterday).
I know GGE is built on enjoying the freedom to write, publish, produce whatever we want to say.
So, let's all enjoy our freedom and exercise our rights by writing!


Friday, July 3, 2009

A ltle preview

Check it out! A little concept sketch of a young King Arthur from Green Gates's "Pendragon Chronicles" - now in development. this point, Arthur is not "King"'ll have to wait for the book.

We're a little far out on this one as of yet...2010 or early 2011, but more news will trickle out as we move along.