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Caption Boxes 11/15/17 – The "Only 10 Days Left" Edition by Frank Gogol

T-minus 10 days.

I’m currently neck-deep in packing my house to move to California at the end of next week. Between packing and inspections and more packing, I haven’t had time to do much else with my life, including making sure this newsletter was scheduled for Tuesday.
 
Luckily, this is the only thing this week that’s behind schedule. I’ll chalk that up to a win.
 
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In comics industry news, Marvel mainstay Brian Michael Bendis has changed teams and signed exclusively with DC Comics. I wrote up this little editorial to talk about why that’s a good thing for everyone. In lieu of my usual extended discussion about process, check this out if you feel so inclined.  
 
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[WORKING TITLE]
 
Honestly, it’s been a bit of a slow work week, with the mountain that is packing my house in front of me. I’ve got two pages left to write for AFTER THE STORM, and then one last pass of the full script. Outside of that, I received my last round of edits from Andy Schmidt for SUBURBIA ROBOTICA, which were minimal. There are two scenes I want to add a page each to so that they can breathe, but after that, this story is moving into production when December hits.
 
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The Read Pile
 
I’m still plugging along on my 30 graphic novels in 30 days in November challenge. While this has been a bit hard to keep up with some days while packing my house up, I am incredibly glad I decided to do it. So far, all but one of the books I’ve read have been really excellent or better. Links to all of my write-ups through yesterday are below.
 
30 in 30 - Day 1: Buffy the Vampire Slayer – Season 11: The Spread of Their Evil
30 in 30 - Day 2: Buffy the Vampire Slayer – Season 11: One Girl in All the World
30 in 30 - Day 3: Nailbiter vol. 1
30 in 30 - Day 4: Promethea - Book One
30 in 30 - Day 5: 4 Kids Walk into a Bank
30 in 30 - Day 6: V for Vendetta
30 in 30 - Day 7: Battlefields - Dear Billy
30 in 30 - Day 8: Hellboy - Seeds of Destruction 
30 in 30 - Day 9: WE3
30 in 30 - Day 10: Kill or Be Killed vol. 2
30 in 30 - Day 11: Star Wars vol. 1 - Skywalker Strikes
30 in 30 - Day 12: Pride of Baghdad
30 in 30 - Day 13: Trees vol. 1 
30 in 30 - Day 14: Sweet Tooth vol. 1 - Out of the Deep Woods
 
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With both Thanksgiving and my cross-country move landing next week, Caption Boxes is going to take a week off. I’ll be back on 11/28—transmitting from good old San Francisco—with most of the rest of 30 in 30 and some other goodies.
 
See you in 14…
 
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After Credits Scene
 
It’s occurring to me that between now and the next edition of Caption Boxes the Thanksgiving holiday will have come and gone. To those of you who celebrate like me, Happy Thanksgiving!
 
To all of you who read this newsletter each week, I’m so incredibly thankful for your support!

Caption Boxes 11/08/17 – Could you read 30 graphic novels 30 Days? by Frank Gogol

I’m just two and a half weeks from my cross-country move to California from New Jersey. Needless to say, there’s still way too much to do. But, for some reason, I thought it’d be a good idea to commit myself to reading 30 graphic novels in 30 days this month. More on that in a minute.
 
***
 
They say—for novelists—that you have to write 1 million words before you write anything good. I think I believe some version of that, and I think that there’s probably a comics equivalent. Probably a page count. But what is it? A million pages?
 
A buddy of mine, Justin Jordan, challenged himself to write 1000 pages in 2017, and as of this writing, he’s well ahead of schedule. Every day he posts a daily and yearly total—7/789 for example—and I’ve been doing something similar to track my weekly progress. For instance, rewriting AFTER THE STORM this week, I’m 5/17/22 (today/total so far this week/goal this week).
 
But I want to get better. So, I’m thinking maybe I’ll challenge myself to write 365 pages next year, or about 17-18 single issues worth of stories. I already know there are a couple of ~4-issue miniseries I want to get the ball rolling on, so if I knocked those out I’d be halfway there already.
 
A page a day seems reasonable, right?
 
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[Working Title]
 
The latest draft of AFTER THE STORM is really shaping up. Whereas I had once seen a story to tell, I now feel like I can see the complete package of the entire book. It’s so vivid in my mind and a little bit experimental, which has me even more excited about creating this book.
 
On the SUBURBIA ROBOTICA front, I’m still waiting for that last round of feedback from Andy Schmidt. I should have that soon, and so long as there’s nothing crucially wrong with the script, it’ll be ready to move into production by the end of the year. I’m just locking in the members of the creative team this week. More info on that when everything is finalized. If all goes according to plan, this is going to be a good-looking book.
 
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The Read Pile
 
For the entirety of November, I’m reading one graphic novel per day (30 in 30). If you’ve been reading this newsletter for a while, you might remember I did something similar back in May of this year. This time around, though, I’m documenting my reading journey with write-ups about what I’m learning about writing and art with each book read.
 
So, in lieu of my regular “here’s what I’ve been reading” schtick this month, I’m going to use this space to link off to the micro-blogs I’ve been writing. The books I’ve been reading have been goldmines of craft, but these posts are only quick little notes that focus on one or two things. Honestly, I’d rather take away one or two things, understand them, and start applying them than scour each book for everything it’s got to offer (that’s what re-reads are for). Anyway, follow along at home if you like:
 
30 in 30 - Day 1: Buffy the Vampire Slayer – Season 11 vol. 1
30 in 30 - Day 2: Buffy the Vampire Slayer – Season 11 vol. 2
30 in 30 - Day 3: Nailbiter vol. 1
30 in 30 - Day 3: Promethea - Book One
30 in 30 - Day 5: 4 Kids Walk into a Bank
30 in 30 - Day 6: V for Vendetta
30 in 30 - Day 7: Battlefields - Dear Billy
30 in 30 - Day 8: Hellboy - Seeds of Destruction 
 
Over the next couple of weeks, I’ll keep the links coming for those of you who might find these interesting/entertaining.
 
***
 
That’s it for this week. I’ve got boxes and boxes to pack.
 
See you in...six.
 
(That’s right. We’re heading back to a Tuesday-released newsletter. The stars are just aligning that way.)
 
***
 
After Credits Scene
 

Did you guys go check out STAIN THE SEAS SCARLET last week? If you’re still on the fence, I’ve got a great interview that I did with Ryan about the book, and his writing in general, that’ll be up on Outright Geekery in the next couple of days. I’ll include a link with next week’s newsletter for your consideration. But you should probably just go ahead and have a look at the project in the meantime. Just in case 

Caption Boxes 11/01/17 – The Belated Halloween Comic Edition by Frank Gogol

It’s November! Where the hell did this year go?
 
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It’s also (today) the tail-end of the 5-year anniversary of Superstorm Sandy, which had affected me in no small way. It wasn’t until this year that it sort of hit me just how changed I am because of the storm. A lot of that has been coming out in my writing in surprising ways.
 
Writing FLOODS, and then rewriting it as STORMS, and rewriting it again, now, as AFTER THE STORM has been a bit revelatory for me about the ways I have been affected. It’s not something I have a complete grasp of just yet, but there’s something to it.   
 
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Yesterday was Halloween, and since I did a short comic story last year, I wanted to do it again this year and try to make it a tradition. This year’s story got dark and was one of those pieces of writing that has me examining myself after Sandy—specifically my relationship with water.
 
Anyway—with art by Tiffany McLeod, colors by Luca Bulgheroni, and letters by Nikki Powers: The Drowned.

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[WORKING TITLE]
 
I finished up my Advanced Comic Book Writing course last Wednesday evening. I’m still waiting on my final feedback for SUBURBIA ROBOTICA, but I’m feeling really good about the script. At this point, I’ve written a handful of one-shot (~22-page) scripts and I’m comfortable developing stories at this length.
 
So, what’s next?
 
I’ll keep writing. I’ve got a few notebooks worth of story fuel for stories of this length and looking over them, a lot of them are pretty good.

I’m also thinking bigger these days.
 
The next logical step is for me to write a small miniseries—something 3-4 issues. I’ve also got a handful of ideas that I think would translate to this length—THE BLACK FRACTAL and THE NINETY-SEVENS are a couple that I’ve talked about here before. So, I’m studying up on structure and looking at about how much story makes for a good miniseries. Right now, the jump from one-shot to mini feels less daunting than the jump from short story to one-shot. Here’s hoping that stays true.
 
 
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Stain the Seas Scarlet is on Kickstarter starting today! This is a very cool looking sci-fi revenge story from by buddies Ryan Lindsay and Alex Cormack.
 
Check out STAIN THE SEAS SCARLET here

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A few people wrote back to me after last week’s newsletter to say that they’d definitely be interested in an Absolute Beginner’s Guide to Writing Comics, so I’m going to do it. Now, it’s about how…
 
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The Read Pile
 
I really enjoy talking about the books (and sometimes TV and movies) I’ve been liking in this section of the newsletter, but the format of the section really hasn’t clicked for me. One of the things I’m trying to be conscious of is the length of Caption Boxes, and I sometimes get caught up in talking about the books I’ve been reading. So, I’m shooting for succinct. Let’s see how that goes.
 
Promethea by Alan Moore and J. H. Williams IIII – Only one volume in, but I’m enjoying it. It’s got a great take on mantle characters, myth, and the power of storytelling.
 
Captain America #595 from Mark Waid and Chris Samnee – Not that I didn’t love Spencer’s take on Cap, but this feels like a true return to form for Cap (and Waid in some ways). It cuts to the core of what makes Cap great and I want more. Five issues just won’t be enough.

Strangers Things 2 on Netflix - I loved the first season, and I loved this one, too. If I had to choose, I think Season 1 would edge out Season 2 for which I liked better, but both are excellent. The structure of Season 2 is something to behold, though. The way each episode makes you need to watch the next is masterful. 
 
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That about does it for this week. Now that we’re in November, my big cross-country move is upon me and it’s all very real suddenly.  There are many boxes to pack (50+ for my books alone) and many, many arrangements to be made still. Wish me luck!
 
See you in seven.
 
***
 
After Credits Scene
 
Normally, I’d try to write something of substance for this part of the newsletter, but today’s is my dog Waffle’s 3rd birthday, so here’s a picture of her instead.

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Caption Boxes #001 - The Origin Story! by Frank Gogol

Welcome to the inaugural edition of Caption Boxes. If you’re here, you’re friend, family, fan, or some combination of these things. At least I hope so. My goal is that one day this will be a weekly newsletter, but because I’m just starting out (both in comics and with this newsletter) I don’t want to spam you on a weekly basis with nonsense I’ve concocted just to fill this newsletter. Realistically, these little notes will pop into your inbox once or twice a month, and we’ll go from there.

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