Hi there, I write reviews. Also I Rap

Those of you who know me know that I love hip-hop and rap music. What you may not know is that I also create. That being said, feel free to check out my stuff and let me know what you think about it. My Audio Mack Page and a track I did with my boy Ill Dega of "Conspiracy Theory" called "The Truth"

Also I'll be posting freestyle videos on my youtube channel from time to time

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Valiant Comics...They Are Still a Thing, Folk.

So yeah as some of you may know Valiant is relaunching their more popular properties. X-O Man of War was the first book announced. Well today it was announced that Joshua Dysart (of Unknown Soldier, BPRD, Swamp Thing fame) will be responsible for relaunching Harbinger and his partner in crime will be Khari Evans (of Carbon Grey, Immortal Iron Fist). I don't have any concrete memories of the Valiant books as a kid aside from seeing them on the shelves but I've looked into the concepts/characters and gotta say they really had some interesting stuff going on over their. I've heard form other readers that the books were actually quite, quite good. If anything I've heard that the concepts were so big that the original writers never got the chances to fully explore them before the line folded. The fact that they are putting talent like Dysart on these books makes me feel very optimistic about their reemergence. I look forward to seeing what the new blood brings to these cult favorites. I mean just look at what's been done by the writers on Image's Extreme titles and those book didn't have as nearly solid a foundation as this to start with.

Edit: here's a recent Ifanboy interview with Dysart about his take on the cult classic.

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Why Image WILL Own 2012

Any of you who know me know I'm a huge champion of creator owned/indy comics. I truly believe that these kinds of books push the medium forward and have provided some of the greatest stories ever told. When I first heard about the Image Expo I thought it would be a self aggrandizing con, but as the days rolled on the news coming out of it have just floored me. I've copied Eric Stephenson's excellent keynote address which covers the history of Image, where they hope they go, and all the mouth watering upcoming projects for 2012.

"I’m Eric Stephenson, and as the publisher of Image Comics, I have the tremendous good fortune to work for and with some of the most creative people in comics.

Every so often, someone asks me what the best part of my job is, and almost always, I tell them it’s being able hear or see a new idea before anyone else.

But with so many of our creators in one place this weekend, it occurs to me that what really makes my job so fulfilling is all wonderful people who come up with those new ideas.

Want to know what a new idea sounds like?

Way back in the 20th century, I got a phone call from Jim Valentino.

I’d met Jim a few months earlier at a comic book convention in Southern California, and I’d interviewed him for what would later become Wizard magazine.

As luck would have it, my tape recorder broke, so we wound up meeting up a couple more times to re-do the interview, and we kept in touch after that.

So Jim called one day and asked: ”What would you say if I told you Rob Liefeld, Jim Lee, Todd McFarlane, Erik Larsen, Marc Silvestri, Whilce Portacio and myself were starting our own comic book company?”

All I could think to say back was, “Are you serious?”

Then Jim told me about their idea for Image Comics, and how everyone involved would own the characters they created.

He told me how they wanted to build a company that did things totally different from Marvel and DC.

Because back then, the comic book industry was Marvel, DC, and a handful of ambitious outsiders.

And I very vividly remember sitting on the floor in my living room, back in 1991, talking to Jim on the phone, and thinking Image Comics was just about the best idea I’d ever heard.

I was just beginning to establish a foothold in comics – but Image sounded a whole lot like the future.

And if not for my relationship with Jim Valentino, I may never have been part of all that.

Image thrives on relationships, though.

Image – like the whole creative experience – thrives on people.

One of the things I’ve always found so great about the whole Image story is that the founders themselves weren’t assembled by flipping through a rolodex and picking out the best bets for starting a new company.

Their relationships brought them together.

All of Image’s founders knew one another.

Some were better friends than others, but they all had a connection.

They were all on the same side.

It was a totally different dynamic from the other companies.

DC was – and is – owned by Warner Bros.

Marvel hadn’t been sold to Disney yet, but their stock had just gone public.

Image was completely – and is – independent.

Image isn’t just associated with independence – it’s associated with the men who started it.

Rob. Todd. Jim. Erik. Marc. Whilce. Valentino.

Image is associated with people.

This year, perhaps, more than ever.

In the same spirit the company was founded in, relationships have continued to bind the creative men and women of Image together, making us all stronger.

Robert Kirkman’s friendship with Ed Brubaker made it possible for Image to publish Fatale.

Similarly, Robert’s desire to collaborate with other writers he admired, led him to do Thief of Thieves with Nick Spencer and Shawn Martinbrough.

It was the relationship Rob Liefeld and I built working together over six years at Extreme Studios back in the ’90s that got us talking about bringing those characters back this year.

And when I started looking for writers and artists to put that line together – former Image PR coordinator Joe Keatinge was one of my first calls.

I knew Joe wanted to write comics, and I knew I liked his sensibilities.

He seemed perfect for Glory, and when he brought along the amazingly talented Ross Campbell.

Joe had introduced me to Brandon Graham a few years earlier and helped facilitate the publication of King City at Image. He also helped get Brandon on board to do Prophet with Simon Roy.

Meanwhile, Jonathan Hickman got his start at Image Comics when he pitched The Nightly Newsto us through the mail.

Jonathan went on to do some fine work elsewhere over the last few years, but we stayed in touch and continued to talk over that time.

Now we’re doing not one, but two new series with Jonathan – The Manhattan Projects with Nick Pitarra and Secret with Ryan Bodenheim.

Both of those artists have developed long-standing creative partnerships with Jonathan.

And so it goes.

Creativity is the fuel that powers the engine of comics, but it is through relationships that we mine that fuel.

Ideas are important, but people even more so.

I would have never met Jonathan Ross if not for Mark Millar.

If I hadn’t met Jonathan Ross, we wouldn’t have done Turf with Jonathan and Tommy Lee Edwards.

We wouldn’t be launching America’s Got Powers with Jonathan and Bryan Hitch this April.

And I don’t want to make Mark’s head swell too much, but I think it’s pretty obvious we wouldn’t all be looking forward to the insanely awesome work of Frank Quitely on Jupiter’s Children if not for Mark.

Here’s another one: Back when I first took over as PR & Marketing Director for Image in 2001, I had a crazy idea of my own.

I wanted to put together an anthology called Four-Letter Worlds.

One of my earliest ideas for the book came from something writer Jay Faerber had told me.

He was friends with Brian K. Vaughan, Geoff Johns, and Devin Grayson.

Each chapter of Four-Letter Worlds focused on a different four-letter word: LOVE. HATE. FEAR. FATE.

I thought it would be cool for Jay, Brian, Geoff and Devin to kind of curate one of those chapters – four friends working together.

It didn’t work out, for various reasons, but it did put me in touch with Brian.

I was a huge fan of Brian’s work on Y: The Last Man and emailed him now and then to say him how much I loved various issues.

Jay, meanwhile, frequently extolled the virtues of working at Image to Brian.

And just to add another layer to it all, Robert Kirkman established a friendship with Brian while they were working at Marvel.

Over the course of what seemed like forever, meals were had, emails were sent back and forth, and plans were hatched.

The result of all that, this year, is Brian’s amazing collaboration with Fiona Staples, Saga.

From the very beginning, Brian and Fiona have had such an easy rapport.

When we were all on a panel together in San Diego last year for the Saga announcement, I was surprised to learn it was the first time they’d actually met.

Good people just go together, don’t they?

I don’t want to bore you with a bunch of old war stories, though.

Like I said – the best part of my job is hearing about new ideas first, and tonight, I want to share some of that excitement with you.

Howard Chaykin created one of comics’ seminal works, American! Flagg! back in the ’80s, but he’s also well-known for the erotically-charged thriller Black Kiss.

We teased this last year in San Diego, but since then Howard has been working on the follow-up, and I wanted to show you the first art for Black Kiss II.

I’ve known Howard for years now – and I’ve always loved that he pretty much says and does whatever he wants, no matter what anyone else thinks.

I also love that he’s willing to challenge his audience.

Black Kiss II goes to some pretty uncomfortable places, but that’s exactly what makes me so excited to publish it.

This next book was teased online a couple days ago, and it’s a bit of a sequel as well.

It’s a book I’m very proud of, not just because it’s good, but because the insanely gifted artist who draws it is someone I’ve known for close to a decade.

We even worked together a couple times, which makes charting his progress that much more special.

The writer he’s working with now is one of my current favorites in all of comics, even if we don’t always see eye-to-eye when discussing our favorite Britpop bands from the ’90s.

But who wouldn’t be proud to publish Jamie McKelvie and Kieron Gillen?

And who wouldn’t be thrilled to announce that after far too long a wait, Phonogram returns with a third volume this year:

Phonogram: The Immaterial Girl.

My friend Ron Richards from iFanboy is here tonight, and I guarantee you he’s grinning from ear-to-ear at that news.

He’s friends with Jamie and Kieron, too.

And he owns a lot of Jamie’s Phonogram art.

Ron was also the catalyst behind this next new book.

See, Ron also works for digital provider Graphicly.

A short while ago, he asked if I’d read a new comic they were doing as a digital only release.

He said the creator was looking for someone to do the print version, and I said I was curious – let’s see it.

Within a matter of moments, I was admiring the work of a wonderful new talent named Ken Garing.

Moments after that, Ron had connected Ken and myself and we were talking about bringingPlanetoid to Image.

And that’s exactly what is happening, beginning this June.

If I can skip back to Jim Valentino for a second – we all have him and his Shadowline imprint to thank for introducing us to the work of another sharp new talent: Nick Spencer.

Nick has done a number of books with Jim at Shadowline over the last couple years – Existence 2.0. Forgetless. Shuddertown. Morning Glories.

Robert Kirkman got to know Nick’s work through those books, and as I mentioned earlier, he liked it enough to get him involved with his Thief of Thieves concept.

Nick, meanwhile, liked the whole Image experience enough to come to us with yet another new series.

He’s doing this one with fellow Image alum, Riley Rossmo.

Nick lives in England these days, and I think this one project alone is probably driving his phone bill through the roof.

When he first told me about it, I couldn’t stop asking questions.

It’s such a simple idea – but the way Nick’s handling it gives it just the right amount of complexity.

It’s called Bedlam, and you’ll be able to read it this fall.

We also have not one, but two new books coming up from the creator of 30 Days of Night.

One of them is with Scott Morse.

Scott has done a few things at Image over the years, and interestingly enough, he moved up to the Bay Area right around the same time Image did, back in 2004.

We see each off and on – probably more off, because he moved up here to work for Pixar, and as you can imagine, they keep him pretty busy – but we’ve been talking with him and Steve Niles about Crime & Terror for a while now.

Separately, Steve and I have been talking about a way for him to really let loose on something of his own for a while now.

Sometimes books projects have a long gestation period.

This one came together quickly, though, once Steve got together with an artist who shared his sensibilities and his excitement for new creativity.

That artist is the always amazing Tony Harris.

The book is called Chin Music.

It’s going to be in fine company alongside the likes of Fatale, Thief of Thieves and Near Death.

And finally, a writer whose work I’ve admired – pretty much since he started out at Image 15 years ago – is making his return this year.

That writer is Brian Wood, and he’s bringing an amazing young artist with him, the extremely talented Ming Doyle.

Together, they’re doing an all-new miniseries called Mara.

Actually, there’s one other thing I wanted to mention.

Late last year, Joe Casey asked Robert Kirkman and myself if we were interested in going to dinner with some friends of his.

They were curious about Image, and wanted to meet up – ask a few questions, get to know us a little bit.

So, one day last October, just before the New York Comicon, I made a trip down to Los Angeles.

And dinner went okay, I think, because tonight, I am incredibly proud to announce that we will be working with one of the true supergods of comics…

Grant Morrison.

I don’t want to ruin all the fun by giving you every last detail about this, but I can tell you that it’s called HAPPY! and that Grant is being joined on this project by another comics superstar, whom you may know from Transmetropolitan and from The Boys – Darick Robertson.

And that really is it for now.

There are going to be other announcements over the course of the weekend, so make sure you come back for our panels tomorrow and Sunday.

More than anything, though – have fun.

I’m going to tell you right now – putting this whole thing on wound up being even more of an undertaking than I think any of us imagined going in – and we’ve been going crazy these last few days getting ready for this.

But we’re glad to be here – and we’re glad you’re here.

And just like I wouldn’t be here if not for an exciting phone call from Jim Valentino back in 1991 – none of us would be here without your enthusiasm and support.

This is your celebration just as much as it is ours – so seriously, have fun – and thank you for being here to experience our creativity."

Seriously, that list of books contains at least six I will likely be following monthly!!! The new 52 got people buzzing about comics again last year, but this stuff. This has really got my motor running. Fatale, Prophet,& Thief of Thieves are already among my most anticipated books and I can't wait to feast my eyes upon Saga, Bedlam, Happy!, Secret,& Manhattan Projects!

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Jim McCann's Mind The Gap Looks Great...

After G-Man's recent post about creator owned comics I've decided to do even more to promote independent/creator owned works that I'm interested in. So for the foreseeable future that's what my blog will be dedicated to. Last time I focuses on Sam Humphries upcoming Higher Earth, this time I want to shine some light on Jim McCann's (writer of Return of The Dapper Men) Mind the Gap with Rodin Esquejo (cover artists of Morning Glories) and Sonia Oback (colorist on books like S.H.I.E.L.D. & X-Force). McCann recently did a very nice interview about the book with CBR and reading it has me even more excited for this book than I was before. I mean Esquejo/Oback on art alone makes this book worth a look, but it sounds like McCann's really got a very interesting story in the works.

here's a preview of issue one's interiors. I've been dying to see Esquejo do interiors ever since I saw his first cover for Morning Glories.

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Why Rozum REALLY Left Static Shock

So it seems something was actually up...

"This post is to clarify some comments a made on facebook, which were picked up by Bleeding Cool News about why I left the comic book series Static Shock which was one of the 52 titles that were part of DC Comics' much celebrated relaunch last fall. The comments were made in a Milestone specific group and were meant more to shed light on my feelings about the missed opportunity to show the true potential of the character of Static, and what I had hoped to do with the character, and series, when I was asked to write it, and less to do with my reasons for leaving. Because the comments were made casually, I left a lot of room for interpretation for anyone reading them, which isn't fair to any parties involved, so I'm taking this opportunity to offer some clarity.

Initially, I had never intended to openly discuss the reasons why I chose to leave Static Shock. My reasons were my own, and I felt that after expressing them to the powers that be at DC Comics and after discussing them with Bob Harras that the situation was resolved amicably and that there was no reason to say anything further than acknowledging that I had indeed left the series. However, since the announcement that Static Shock would cease publication with issue #8 ( I was only involved with issues 1-4) there's been a lot of online chatter about why the series failed, and I've received a lot of angry email blaming me for wrecking the series, the character, and the opportunity for an African-American character to take center stage at one of the big publishing companies. I've had people announce that due to the low quality of comic that they would no longer buy anything that had my name on it. I've had an editor at a publisher other than DC say they weren't interested in having me write for them because they thought Static Shock was a poor comic book series.

I don't really care what people think of me personally. Not everyone is going to like me, that's a given. That's okay. I don't really care if people don't like my work. I can't please everyone. No one can. That's okay, too. There are enough people who do like my work that I'm happy to have them, and happy to let those who don't like my work read the stuff they do like. That's all good. I finally spoke out because I'm unwilling to have my professional reputation damaged because of something that is not my responsibility. I've always been very vocal about crediting my collaborators for their contributions, or for others for inspiring aspects of my work, and always been completely willing to take responsibility for something I did that turned out to be less than it could have been.

This brings me to Static. When I was asked to write Static Shock for DC Comics, it was no doubt because of my long relationship with Milestone Comics (where the character originated, as did Xombi) and because of my long, close friendship with Static's creator, Dwayne McDuffie, who died nearly a year ago. I was excited by the opportunity. I loved the character, who I'd previously written in an issue of Kobalt way back when, and was looking forward to writing something so radically different from what I'm usually offered, but still infusing it with my own sensibility and giving the world a comic book series full of creativity, crazy ideas, and a lot of fun and humor unlike any of the other 51 titles that DC would be offering up last September. I thought Static had the potential to be one of DCs A-list characters, and not simply some supporting character incorporated from an outside company's pantheon of heroes. I never felt thatXombi lent itself well to full incorporation into the DC Universe and would always have to exist as it's own pocket world in the DCU. WithStatic Shock, however, I was fully looking forward to embracing all areas of the greater DCU, and also using the series as a gateway to not only showcase how cool all of the other Milestone characters were, but to bring them into the DCU in their own right.

To say I was disappointed with how things turned out is an understatement. From the first issue on, I was essentially benched by Harvey Richards and artist/writer Scott McDaniel. All of my ideas and suggestions were met with disdain, and Scott McDaniel lectured me on how my method for writing was wrong because it wasn't what the Robert McKee screenwriting book he read told him was the way to do things. The man who'd never written anything was suddenly more expert than me and the editor was agreeing with him. Scott had also never read a Static comic book, nor seen the cartoon series, yet was telling me that my dialogue didn't sound true to the character and would "fix it."

There was more concern about seeing that the title sold and didn't get cancelled than there was in telling good stories and having something coherent to bring readers in. This is what led Harvey to insist on the stuff with the two Sharon's and cutting off Static's arm. He had no answers for how to resolve these things, but thought it would keep reader's wowed enough to stick with the series. This, too, was frustrating. It was a lot of grasping at straws and trying to second guess what would keep it selling. It was decided that "bigger action" on every page of every issue was the key.

Static's alter ego, Virgil, who was more important to the original series than his super hero persona, was put on the very back burner because Harvey said it wasn't important and that the book just needed to be all action. One of my scripts was deemed too slow because there were a total of 4 pages where no one was hitting or shooting anything. Essentially my job was to transcribe Scott's voluminous and often clunky dialogue into a script format. Any efforts I made to try and finesse, edit, or reduce his dialogue or captions, offended him, and everything had to be changed back to how he'd originally written it, while my dialogue always required his improvement. Scott, to be fair, had a lot of great ideas, but did not have the writing skills necessary to make these ideas compelling stories, but was not willing to take any suggestions, or changes that I'd give him. As a writer, I understand the desire to want to protect you ideas and to believe that they are all golden, but this was supposed to be a collaborative experience, and I was supposed to be the writer with experience. To give credit where credit is due, my meager contributions to Static Shock amount to including Hardware, naming the school after Dwayne McDuffie, giving Virgil an after school job at S.T.A.R. labs, the Pale Man, Guillotina and the random line of dialogue. That's about it.If you didn't like any of those things, blame me. Everything else was Scott and Harvey.

It could be said that it's Harvey's right as editor to decide that Scott's ideas, and writing in general, were better than mine, and maybe he was even right. In that case though, why keep me on the series as co-writer? Scott could have transcribed his own dialogue into script form. No one needed me for that. I was hired as writer, and the series was being published with me listed as such even though there was little to nothing between the covers of the comic that came from me. Even worse, it was all material I didn't believe in, and thought was substandard fare that we'd seen in a million comic books before.

It was a miserable experience, which I tried to weather professionally, and see if I could turn back into my favor, but that never worked. I was also determined to stick with it out of loyalty to Dwayne McDuffie hoping that I could fix what was going very wrong with this series. I even voiced my unhappiness with Harvey Richards who promised me that the situation would change. When I received an email from Harvey telling me that he and Scott had been plotting out the series without me, after Harvey had promised me that I'd be back in the driver's seat as the writer, I'd had enough and quit. The experience as a whole was incredibly stressful, and I became physically ill just seeing an email in my inbox from either Harvey, or Scott.

My quitting was something that I spent a lot of time considering. It was while promoting the then forthcoming first issue that I first began to think about leaving. Even though I pushed the series, including here, where I posted the various villains in the days leading up to the issue #1 debut, my heart wasn't really in it. I avoided most interviews because I couldn't bring myself to lie about being enthusiastic about a book I had little to do with, and which I felt was not very good. I never announced the publication of any other issues for the same reason. I couldn't encourage anyone to buy them.

Again, it really came down to how this was affecting my professional reputation. No one outside of Harvey, Scott and myself knew what was really going on behind the scenes. When I saw that a lot of people were buying Static Shock because of how much they enjoyed my pervious series, Xombi, I felt that it was unethical and irresponsible for me to let them be deceived into buying something that I had made no real contribution to. I won't take credit for work that's not mine -- good, or bad. I also felt that after nearly two decades in the comic book industry and finally being recognized for my work with Xombi, I was unwilling to see that erased with Static Shock, which I felt was a mediocre comic book series, at best, a view which a lot of readers seemed to share, and blame me for.

I was stunned by how unprofessionally I was being treated by my editor, with whom I'd previously had nothing but a positive working relationship with for the bulk of my career in comics, and by Scott McDaniel, who seemed like a nice, personable guy, and the interactions he's had with his fans that I've read would indicate really is one. My negative experience was exclusively with these two people and not with anyone else at DC Comics, or with DC as a whole. As I said, no one knew any of this was happening until I quit and let the executives at DC know why. Anyone who wants to believe that my experience was some general DC policy would be wrong to think that. Bob Harras, Geoff Johns, Dan Didio, and Jim Lee did not tell Harvey Richards to reject all of my contributions on this. Harvey decided that, himself. All of my other experiences with a variety of people at DC going back to the 90s have been overwhelmingly positive. Again, they handled the situation, once I quit, rather well, I thought.

As a side note, some people read into my comment about looking for work from other publishers when I left Static Shock as some veiled hint that all was not good between DC and I. As anyone who freelances could tell you, new projects take months to reach the point where actual work is being done on them, and anyone is being paid. While I do have projects under consideration at DC, I'm still interested in working on other things. Since Static Shock, I've been concentrating my efforts on a project outside of comics which I can't announce yet, but was a nice change of pace. I'm still looking for things to do with other publishers as well, and am always willing to consider projects.

Static Shock did not get cancelled because DC has some racist motivation against minority characters, or the Milestone characters.Static Shock was cancelled, in my opinion, because it wasn't a good comic book. If it had been, people would have stuck with it, just as they have with Animal Man, who is a C-list character elevated by the talents of its creative team being allowed to do what they do best. DC wanted Static Shock to succeed as much as anyone did. They would never have started the series if they didn't think it had a chance to do so.

If you enjoy Static Shock, which by all means you have the right to do, then thank Harvey Richards and Scott McDaniel. They deserve full credit for everything you've read. Scott, constantly while rejecting my ideas and dialogue, would say he was doing it in an effort to put out the best comic book possible. I believe he was really trying to do that and was unfortunately saddled with me, a collaborator completely unsuited to his sensibility, and apparently unskilled enough to handle the task. From the first interviews supporting the launch of this series, I went out of my way to suggest that Scott was doing it almost single handedly. That wasn't me simply trying to be gracious. It was the truth.

If you hated the series, and like me, felt that it could have been something much more than it was, I'm sorry. Good, or bad. This is not the Static Shock that I had hoped it would be. It's not the way I would have written it. I hope this isn't the last time that Static will be given his own series. Even if he does manage to return, chances are high, I won't be writing it.

I don't plan to say anything else about this experience, and never had planned to say anything at all. Again, I'm just trying to correct assumptions made and preserve my professional reputation as a writer, and to keep people from making assumptions that my negative experience stemmed from some general policy at DC Comics. I plan to continue creating work for DC for as long as they'll let me."

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