Friday, September 28, 2007

NOCTURNALS Event: Sat Sept 29th 1-4pm

The World Premier of Daniel Brereton's NOCTURNALS Volume One: Black Planet & Other Stories is Saturday September 29th from 1-4pm at FLYING COLORS Comics & Other Cool Stuff, 2980 Treat Blvd, Concord CA.

Need directions? Call us at 925-825-5410.

Making the event even sweeter, we've added a bonus to the premier of the NOCTURNALS' book. Get either a FREE copy of Dan Brereton's IMMORTAL IRON FIST Annual (with some art shown here) or get a FREE Nocturnals poster signed by artist Dan Brereton with the purchase of the NOCTURNALS Volume One hardcover.

(Bonus items will be available only while limited supplies last.)

See you Saturday!


Thursday, September 27, 2007

FlyCoJoe & Dan Brereton Look Back at the Early Days

The 19th Anniversary of the opening of FLYING COLORS Comics & Other Cool Stuff is upon us---and we're celebrating with a special event with artist Dan Brereton and the World Premier of NOCTURNALS Volume One: Black Planet & Other Stories, this Saturday September 29th from 1-4pm. I really hope you can join us.

Since Dan was one of our Flying Colors' Faithful all the way back to the beginning, I asked him to share some of his insights into those early days. I've added some art and photos to Dan's recollections, and I'll be interjecting the photo credits and a story or two of my own.

DAN:"I not only shopped at Joe's store, a big part of my career took wing there. I met Stan Lee there when Stan did a very exclusive appearance at Flying Colors just prior to an early WonderCon."

FlyCoJoe: Most FlyCo regulars know that every week we post all the New Releases and Staff Picks on two erasable white-boards. Back in '89, Dan was in the store at the time we were changing the New Releases' board ---and he did this special BLACK TERROR art. I hated erasing that one!
DAN:"Joe introduced me to people from Diamond in his store the month my first painted book, THE BLACK TERROR hit the stands. He made me feel like a real professional then. In fact, Joe treated me like a pro long before I'd ever been published, and he was very supportive of many local talents such as Jeff Johnson and Ken Hooper, who also shopped at FLYING COLORS."

FlyCoJoe:Dan did a number of official in-store signing events, starting with the debut of the BLACK TERROR series from Eclipse Comics in '89. Pretty regularly, though, when Dan would come in to get his weekly comics, he'd ask me for something to draw on. That's how I came to own some pretty unique Dan Brereton art, like this watercolor "sketch" of the Abomination enjoying a new HULK comic book.

DAN:"While I was illustrating the first Nocturnals graphic novel, Joe let me use his office to photograph two of his then employees, who modeled for a scene which appears in Nocturnals Black Planet #1."

FlyCoJoe: Here's another great example of Dan's watercolor art. After I became used to having Dan ask for something to draw on---and he'd use pens or sharpies of whatever markers we had laying around here, the idea hit us that maybe we should have a set of watercolors and a brush on hand, so Dan could really cut loose. This BATGIRL painting on a comic backer board is one of my favorites.

DAN:"Later, when I would come into his shop, Joe would be across the room selling a customer on my latest book, and then send the guy over to get a signature from me--- and I was only there to pick up the latest EIGHTBALL or something."

FlyCoJoe: This last photo was taken in 1990 when then Amazing Spider-Man artist, and soon to be Image Comics' founder Erik Larsen was at Flying Colors for a signing. Dan was there, too... he's on the right, Erik is in the center---and that long-haired guy on the left is an earlier model of FlyCoJoe.

That's our stroll down Memory Lane for today. I want to thank Dan for contributing to the history and the health of Flying COlors Comics & Other Cool Stuff.

Please accept my invitation to join us on Saturday September 29th from 1-4pm for the World Premier of Dan Brereton's NOCTURNALS Volume One: Black Planet & Other Stories.



Friday, September 14, 2007

Dan Brereton: The NOCTURNALS Interview

In yesterday’s View From Flying Colors, OLYMPIAN Publishing’s Tom Negovan set the stage for the return of Daniel Brereton’s NOCTURNALS, with a lavish and handsome hardcover volume soon to hit finer comic shops everywhere.

(Note to interested readers: NOCTURNALS Volume One: Black Planet and Other Stories is listed in the September issue of Diamond Previews with two distinct versions. The Regular Edition Hardcover is ordered with product codes SEP073871 at $29.99 and the Previews Exclusive Edition with an extra sketchbook section has a code of SEP073872 and retails for $39.99 Make sure your retailer reserves a copy or two for you!)

Now let’s talk with the artist --- Daniel Brereton--- as we discuss his work in comics and especially delve into his plans for the NOCTURNALS!

FlyCoJoe: Give us a little background on the NOCTURNALS. What’s the genesis of this series?

Dan Brereton: The NOCTURNALS came together in ‘92. At the time, I had a realization of wanting more out of my comics’ career than simply working on established characters. As much fun as it was illustrating stories with Batman and Superman, there were worlds I’d created myself that I wanted to delve into.

I’d already had a taste of this working with Jim Hudnall on THE PSYCHO. My sketchbooks were full of ideas and characters to play with. One of the most interesting was ‘Halloween Girl’, a young girl who lives in her own world of haunted toys and trick-or-treat costumes. Another was the Gunwitch, an undead gunfighter. I began to see this group of spooky heroes running around in a criminal and supernatural underworld. Then Doc Horror showed up in my sketchbooks--- and I knew I had a character to base a series on. He was mysterious and tough, a bit of a paradox, a lot haunted.

The story came together very rapidly after Doc arrived. The following year there were two publishers interested in NOCTURNALS, and I ended up going with Malibu’s Bravura line. The first mini-series was very well received, and was nominated for an Eisner.

FlyCoJoe: What were your inspirations for combining the genres of horror and
crime fiction?

Dan Brereton: I can’t explain it more than to say I love both--- and somehow they showed up in the same story and it worked for me. Raymond Chandler and H.P. Lovecraft are two authors I feel hugely inspired by. I could also say Ray Bradbury and Dashiell Hammet.

NOCTURNALS straddles both worlds comfortably. Crime fiction is stripped-down, hard-boiled storytelling in a world where the bad guy is as multi-faceted and compelling as the hero. In many stories, the protagonist is the bad guy. Horror is all about fear of the unknown, while being compelled to confront it. The idea that humans aren’t alone, that darkness is an abyss that holds logic-defying terror, is a big theme in NOCTURNALS. Doc Horror and his family of monsters live and face that darkness and they do it with a noir sensibility.

I’m only peripherally aware of this now being a big sub-genre in books and comics, but I swear I couldn’t name anything like NOCTURNALS in comics at the time.

FlyCoJoe: Among devotees of the series, which are the breakout characters from NOCTURNALS---and why?

Evening, (Halloween Girl) and the Gunwitch are the popular mainstays. It’s possible they captivate people in the same way they do for me: Evening is very much the kid we carry around in us: fascinated with the unknown, childlike in her imagination. She remains an innocent despite living in a world of monsters and criminals. The Gunwitch is pure laconic bad-ass, the nightmare in the closet on the side of the good guys. Still, there are many die-hard readers who zero-in on personal favorites within the group.

FlyCoJoe: Knowing you do much of your painting using photos you’ve taken, do
you have a cast in mind for a NOCTURNALS movie? Which actors would you
cast in the various roles?

Dan Brereton: I’m completely open about "dream casting" actors in a movie setting. I honestly don’t dwell on it… ah Hell, how about this: Kurt Russell, Monica Bellucci, Gary Oldman, Natalie Portman, Viggo Mortensen… I’ll let you connect the dots.

FlyCoJoe: So....Natalie Portman as Doc Horror, Gary Oldman as Eve....

Dan Brereton: You aren't very good at connecting the dots, are you, Joe?

FlyCoJoe: Can you give us a little insight into this new hardcover edition called NOCTURNALS Volume One: Black Planet & Other Stories?

Dan Brereton: It’s beautiful. I have a printer’s advance copy sitting on the coffee table right now. This is the ultimate NOCTURNALS volume in terms of presentation and production values--- from the over-sized format, to the spider-web embossed end pages, to the faux leather, gold stamped cover. A lot of thought and talent went into the design and it really shows. The book looks like something you’d find in Doc Horror’s own library.

FlyCoJoe: Just a few days before you’ll be here at FLYING COLORS for the debut of the NOCTURNALS Volume One hardcover, there will be more of your work coming from Marvel Comics with the IMMORTAL IRON FIST Annual. How did that come about and what was it like working on that character?

Dan Brereton: Marvel Editor Warren Simons and I had been talking for a year about doing something together when the Iron Fist annual came up. Warren knows about the re-launch of NOCTURNALS and offered me work on the IMMORTAL IRON FIST ANNUAL partly because it was only a few months work, but mostly because he felt the pulp-era style of the sequences fit my style. I pounced on it.

I was a fan of the 70’s Iron Fist, but love the sort of vintage Orson Randall character. It was fun working in an imaginary period, what author Paul Malmont calls "the Pulp Era". I just finished reading his novel, "THE CHINATOWN DEATH CLOUD PERIL" and was inspired. Writers Matt Fraction (CASANOVA) and Ed Brubaker (CAPTAIN AMERICA, DAREDEVIL, CRIMINAL) really nailed the feel of the pulp yarn.

FlyCoJoe: Besides your comics work, you’ve done illustrations for video games
and for CDs, like the ones you did for ROB ZOMBIE and TOTO. Any other Dan Brereton projects we can look forward to soon?

Dan Brereton: Before and since the IRON FIST annual, NOCTURNALS has taken up most of my time, which suits me fine. It’s like the dream project for me, to be able to come back to them.

I’m writing and illustrating BEASTS, a 32-page NOCTURNALS story for Volume II, bridging the first and second NOCTURNALS mini-series. Then there’s the expanded versions of the GUNWITCH miniseries to be colored by series artist Ted Naifeh and a Nocs story called SPECTRES, which will appear in Volume Three.

I should begin illustrating the new NOCTURNALS arc--- THE SINISTER PATH--- in the New Year. When I can squeeze it in, I‘ve been polishing the latest draft of UNDEADLY, a horror-action film I wrote with Jon Bresman we have in development now. I have a couple other projects in the comics’ pipeline I can’t announce yet, but I can say THE PSYCHO film continues its development at Universal, with Chris Morgan writing the screenplay.

FlyCoJoe: Thanks, Dan. We're really looking forward to seeing the book---and also looking forward to having you back to FLYING COLORS for our 19th Anniversary Event on Saturday September 29.

COMING SOON! A trip on the Way-Back Machine as we look at how the beginnings of Daniel Brereton's career and the opening of FLYING COLORS collided back in the late '80s. Incriminating photos may be included!

Until then----


Thursday, September 13, 2007

A NOCTURNALS Publishing Primer

An Interview with Tom Negovan of OLYMPIAN Publishing---

FLYING COLORS Comics & Other Cool Stuff welcomes artist DANIEL BRERETON for an exclusive signing Saturday September 29 from 1pm-4pm.

The event will be the premier of NOCTURNALS Volume One: Black Planet & Other Stories, a beautiful hardcover edition of Brereton’s first Nocturnals story arc. The publisher is Tom Negovan of OLYMPIAN Publishing and we wanted to get some background on his company, his association with Daniel Brereton and this new NOCTURNALS project.

FlyCoJoe: Before we get into talking about the NOCTURNALS hardcover, give us a quick rundown on OLYMPIAN Publishing. It’s a name that may not be familiar to comics’ connoisseurs, even many long-time of the retailers.

Tom Negovan: The first book that we put out was a monograph covering the Symbolist Art of Gail Potocki titled THE UNION OF HOPE AND SADNESS. Her art is very 19th century-looking stuff and fits in with the art sold by our parent company, Century Guild. Attendees of the San Diego Comic-Con might know that we bring the big Muchas and Art Nouveau art objects to that venue every year. Grant Morrison gave us a quote for the Potocki book, that said "Brilliant occult portraits from the underworld of the 21st century... More than just paintings, Gail conducts seances on canvas." I think that's a great observation.

Our 2008 schedule also includes GUSTAV KLIMT: INTIMATE ALCHEMY, a book on the drawings of Klimt that features lots of artwork that hasn't been seen since the 1920s. It’s a massive photography book on Art Nouveau; a book on the poster art and costume design of the Munich and Berlin Cabaret scene... all great stuff!

The other books we've released were actually meant as companion pieces to Nocturnals, but wound up coming out first: there is the small print run (only 800 copies) children's book A NOCTURNAL ALPHABET, and the first of a series of 1950s horror reprints, CHAMBER OF MYSTERY: WITCHCRAFT. Keep an eye on for updates.

FlyCoJoe: What’s the story on how you came to be the publisher for The NOCTURNALS hardcover?

Tom Negovan: I've been a huge Nocturnals fan for at least ten years. I remember how confusing it was to follow when things were coming out (the title bounced around to three publishers in that first decade) and how I would always ask the guys in the comic shop when more was supposed to be released and they were as in the dark as I was. Around four or five years ago I started seeing Dan at shows, and I would hound him with the same question and get the answer, "We're working on something..."

Fast forward to Wonder-Con 2006, and I finally get the straight answer: "the book is just too expensive to produce."

Think about it--- a fully painted comic with Dan painting full throttle for a year would only produce four issues? That's an extraordinary amount of work for not a lot of physical product, especially in this digital age. For a creator owned property, the payoff for a publisher would have to involve getting the rights to the characters as part of the deal since the money couldn't be made back on the physical comics alone, and I understand the business aspect of that. But as a fan, I hated to hear it!

The summer before, Charles Vess was sitting at the Century Guild table at the Eisners. When he didn't win the award he was up for, I thought, "why don't we sponsor some kind of Timelessness in Storytelling award, or something like that?" The idea was lingering in my head that I wanted to divert a portion of the profits from our parent company into something supportive of artists that fell outside of the standard "favorites" and it was SO formless that I was thinking of just an award.

When Dan said those words to me at Wonder-Con, I knew the answer. We would sponsor Dan (he likes to call it a patronage, like in the Middle Ages!) to create Nocturnals stories.

It's almost like getting a commission, except that we're allowed to print and share it! I feel like we're on to something really cool with this model. It has nothing to do with commerce, and everything to do with the stories themselves.

Any "wise business decisions" when discussing the Nocturnals are thrown out the window in favor of the Cool Factor. A forty foot banner at San Diego? No problem. Expensive paper stock and small "boutique" print runs? Check. Our only dedication is to realizing Dan's vision for these characters, and giving readers the highest quality product possible.

In short, I'm a huge fan of these characters and I’m willing to do anything necessary to get to read more of their adventures!

At this point, we've committed to three years of new stories. The three oversized hardcover volumes preceding the new series are meant as a gift to the existing fans as well as a jumping-on point for the new generation of readers who need to get ready for when the regular series begins. Each book follows a kind of "director's cut" approach, and includes all-new story material that rounds out the stories even further.

FlyCoJoe: The NOCTURNALS was originally slated for an October ’06 release. What caused the delay?

Tom Negovan: Since this is an article the whole industry will see, I won’t skirt or avoid the academic parts.

The main problem was technical. The materials for the first story, BLACK PLANET, were films that were thirteen years old and required some special handling. We went through the process--- or we thought--- of making sure all was well, as the films were at the same printer that had printed the ONI edition of the books, and then designed the new parts of the book around the existing material.

Everything seemed wholly on track---until the day before press time someone from the physical plant wanted to know where the materials were. You can't imagine how much this confused me, as I had been told all was well! The month ended with the printer firmly telling us that they were not as previously expressed in possession of the films to print the book, and that the material--- the only copy of films of the six issue story BLACK PLANET in the world, mind you--- was lost.

After many months and lots of melodrama Dan's lawyer got someone higher up at the printer to finally leave their desk and look for the films. From what I understand about three hours later they were found, safely filed... under "MADMAN".

We then took physical possession of the films, and began the costly process of rescanning them with the newest technology. This not only made the materials printable on modern equipment, but also ensured there would never again be an issue of losing the art. In a digital format, it's eminently preservable.

By this point we were into this with over nine months of dedicated labor, and many tens of thousands of dollars. There is no doubt in my mind that without a parent company to lean on, this would have bankrupted any other small publisher.

So we reached a point where everything was beautifully converted to a high resolution digital format, and could print the books overseas at the same place we print our fine art books. We also used the time created by the delays to tweak the design of the book. We upgraded the paper to the highest stock available, duplicated cobweb-embossed end-papers that I had seen in an 1890s book on dinosaurs, and prepared the materials for Volumes Two and Three ahead of schedule.

All of this cost so much more that we at one point decided to raise the cover price of the books $10 to offset the expenses. But in the final hour before solicitation, we remembered that this is not a commercial venture, and decided to keep the price low so that everyone could afford the book. I really believe that the quality of NOCTURNALS Volume One is comparable to books from other companies that are priced $60- $100---but our price is $29.99 for the regular edition and $39.99 for the edition with the extra sketchbook section. You'll feel the quality of the book when you physically get a copy in your hands, I'm certain.

Now, on to Volume Two!

FlyCOJoe: What else is in your publishing plans?

Tom Negovan:In the realm of comics, it's only Dan Brereton and 1950s horror---

The second volume in our CHAMBER OF MYSTERY series, VOODOO, is due out late fall. This one--- as well as the first volume, WITCHCRAFT, feature splash pages with the stunning Polychrome from NOCTURNALS as our "EC-style" hostess, and feature some of Dan's most detailed work.

NOCTURNALS Volume Two: THE DARK FOREVER AND OTHER STORIES features a brilliantly horrific all-new 32 page painted story that takes place immediately before The Dark Forever storyline. NOCTURNALS Volume Three will see the Gunwitch story drawn by Ted Naifeh (of Courtney Crumrin fame) which has to date only appeared in black and white presented in full color and an expanded version of the rare short story "Spectres". We don't have street dates for these yet, but they're not far away.

FlyCoJoe: Thanks for the inside scoop, Tom.

TOMORROW! The artist himself, DANIEL BRERETON, discusses NOCTURNALS, his inspiration for doing a horror epic tinged with "crime noir" elements, the IMMORTAL IRON FIST, his career and, you know, "other cool stuff."

Until then----


Monday, September 10, 2007

A Look at Stan the Man Lee's Living Spaces

The New York Times ran a cool little photo piece on the places Marvel Comics' Guru STAN LEE has lived in his long and illustrious lifetime. You can check it out HERE! Enjoy!

NOTE: New Releases' Day this week is Wednesday September 12, as tons of new comics & other cool stuff are coming your way.

See you soon!


Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Comics & Kings of Classic Rock!

Reminder: Monday's Labor Day holiday means a delay for New Releases' Day at FLYING COLORS to Thursday September 6.

Among the New Releases this week is the first issue of CAPTAIN AMERICA: The Chosen by David Morell (the creator of RAMBO!) and artist Mitch Breitweiser.

FLYING COLORS Open hours this week:
Wednesday September 5 from 11am-7pm
Thursday September 6 from 11am-8pm (New Releases' Day!)
Friday September 7 from 11am-7pm
Saturday September 8 from 11am-7pm
Sunday September 9 from 12 Noon - 7pm

See you soon, OK?

Meanwhile, in the music biz, I wanted to give a plug to two members of the ultra-talented and under-appreciated SPOCK's BEARD. Lead singer/drummer NICK D'VIRGILIO and bassist DAVE MEROS along with a few buddies from their years playing on the road in various rock bands, have formed a new band called KINGS OF CLASSIC ROCK.

They're looking to book gigs at corporate events, primarily, but don't let that stop you from enjoying the classic rock cover tunes on their MySpace page. I know if I had some big deal going and needed to book a super-professional and entertaining live band to play, the KINGS of CLASSIC ROCK would be at the top of the list.

Check out this promo clip!

Keep on Rockin'!