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  • Ferret Press is a publisher of fine indie comix. PANEL is a comic book writer/artist collective, based in Columbus, Ohio. This is our group blog.
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Lifelike

Dara Naraghi's graphic novel Lifelike is now available in both digital and print editions. Click here for more info.

Books – Dara
Image of Lifelike
Image of Igor Movie Prequel
Image of Witch & Wizard: Battle for Shadowland (Witch & Wizard (Idw))
Image of Terminator: Salvation Movie Prequel
Image of Witch & Wizard Volume 2: Operation Zero (Witch & Wizard (Idw))
Image of Ghostbusters: Haunted Holidays
Image of Cory Doctorow's Futuristic Tales Of The Here And Now
Image of The Absurd Adventures of Archibald Aardvark Volume 1: Bullets, Booze, and Beelzebub
Image of MGM Drive-in Theater: Motel Hell and IT
Books -Panel
Image of No Dead Time
Image of Comic Book Tattoo Special Edition
Image of Saint Germaine: Tales of an Immortal
Image of Sherlock Holmes & Kolchak: Cry For Thunder S/N Limited Edition HC
Image of Ghost Sonata
Image of Vampire The Masquerade Volume 1: Blood and Roses
Image of Moonstone Monsters Volume 1

Archive for the ‘IDW’ Category

Over on my personal blog, I’ve posted my original pitch from a couple of years ago for Ghostbusters: Tainted Love, along with some of the behind-the-scenes notes that detail the process of going from pitch to final book. You can check it all out here.

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    Check it out, via ComicsAlliance:

    Introducing a new and exciting look at Godzilla’s reign of destruction, courtesy of Orc Stain creator James Stokoe! The year is 1954 and Lieutnant Ota Murakami is on hand when Godzilla makes first landfall in Japan. Along with his pal Kentaro, Ota makes a desperate gamble to save lives… and in the process begins an obsession with the King of the Monsters that lasts fifty years! Don’t miss the first decade in a tale of a lifetime!

    Although I’d much rather have him spend every waking second making more issues of Orc Stain, and have no interest in Godzilla, I’ll still be checking out this bad boy.

    Because, you know, James Effin’ Stokoe!

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      Wow, I’d forgotten about this interview until I came across the video posted online. This was done for the Science Fiction Book Club at the 2010 New York Comic Con. The first half of the video features me talking about Witch & Wizard, plus a bit about my other projects:

      Yeah, I’m really not comfortable talking to a camera.

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        Sadly, FOX passed on the pilot for a Locke & Key TV series, based on the Joe Hill/Gabriel Rodriguez series from IDW. Here’s a trailer for the pilot, so you can see what could have been:

        From the looks of it, they remained very faithful to the book, as the trailer depicts many of the scenes from the first story arc. I think it could have been a great TV series, but alas, it wasn’t picked up.

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          USA today has a brief look at 9 different TV pilots being filmed, all hoping to be picked up for a fall season. It’s an odd assortment, but I’ll only mention the ones that might be of interest to the genre fan:

          Alcatraz – “A crime drama involving our country’s most infamous prison, Alcatraz, and the team investigating the mysterious re-appearance of its 1960s inhabitants in the present.” Brought to you by JJ Abrams, trying to recapture the lightning-in-a-bottle magic of Lost (it even features Jorge Garcia in the cast).

          Locke & Key – “Based on the graphic novel by Joe Hill, this suspenseful thriller follows a family in crisis as they move into a haunted house full of secrets, dangers and wondrous opportunities.” I just recently read the first 2 trades of this IDW series by Stephen King’s son, and it’s pretty damn good! I’m not even really a fan of the patented “Stephen King New England horror” genre, but Hill does a great job building up his characters and the mystery, and the antagonist is truly creepy, in a very normal way. The source material can surely support a TV show, I guess it just comes down to the execution. I’d love to see this one.

          Napoleon Dynamite (animated) – “The quirky Idaho teenager and his pals from the cult movie live on in animated form.” I’ll admit, I thoroughly enjoyed the movie. But seriously? 7 years too late, folks.

          Terra Nova – “A family heads back to dinosaur age to save humanity in this time-travel fantasy.” Executive producers include the dude that produces “Nikita,” and some dude who did “Debbie Does Dallas: The Musical”. Um, oookay. It’s for Fox, so not sure what to think of this.

          There’s also a Charlie’s Angels remake, and the much-talked-about David E. Kelly take on Wonder Woman. But no need to talk about those.

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            Back when IDW published my Lifelike book, they also collected and published two other indie/alternative comics: Pat Lewis’ The Claws Come Out, and Troy Little’s Chiaroscuro. (You may know Troy’s work from his more recent graphic novel, Angora Napkin.) Chiaroscuro started out as a self-published small press comics series, and follows the life of Steve Patch, an unemployed slacker artist living in a mysterious apartment building, and getting embroiled in a case of mistaken identity.

            I really wanted to like this graphic novel, and it’s certainly not bad, but…well, maybe frustrating is a proper description. From a story/plot perspective, not much happens over the 200+ pages of this pseudo-slice of life book. A lot of interesting and intriguing plot points are introduced, to be sure – a ghost only seen by the protagonist, the (possibly) haunted/mysterious apartment building he lives in, strange men accosting him over letters sent to a mysterious person who used to live in his apartment, etc. But the problem is, nothing ever comes of any of these elements.

            Heck, in the middle of the book, an entire issue (chapter) is devoted to the protagonist playing hoops with his best friend and shooting the breeze. So again, it’s not that the writing is bad. Little has a great ear for dialogue, and the banter between Steve and his friends is very authentic and funny. But for such an apparently ambitious narrative, the pace is glacial and the non-ending extremely unsatisfying. Granted, this is listed as “Book 1″ but it’s fairly obvious the series is not going to be continued.

            On the other hand, Little’s the artwork is gorgeous. The somewhat cartoony style used to depict the characters is juxtaposed against a very realistic chiaroscuro style used to depict the backgrounds and settings. Think Dave Sim (Cerebus) or Alex Robinson (Box Office Poison). In fact, looking at the way Little hand letters everything, and the fact that Sim has had good words to say about the book, it’s no stretch to imagine he is more than a little inspired, and influenced, by Dave Sim. Little is a master of crosshatching, and does amazing things with body language, facial expressions, and gestures.

            Too bad the narrative was almost non-existent. It’s a matter of personal taste, to be sure, but for me story always comes first. Perhaps if Chiaroscuro was played as a straight slice-of-life yarn, that wouldn’t have been an issue. But with so many quirky/supernatural plot points introduced but never delivered on, it’s more than a little frustrating.

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              PANELista Andy Bennett and I both have books on the long ballot of nominees for the 2010 Children’s Choice Book Awards! Andy’s short story is part of Trickster: Native American Tales and I’m nominated for the Witch and Wizard: Battle for Shadowland graphic novel.

              “In association with the Children’s Book Council (CBC), Teenreads.com is giving you a very special opportunity to let your voices be heard by telling us your five favorite books of 2010. The five titles that receive the most votes will serve as the finalists for the CBC’s 2011 Teen Choice Book of the Year. Once the five finalists have been determined, we will tell you where you can go vote for them. The winner will be announced in May 2011.”

              We would kindly ask for your vote, if you’re so inclined. The deadline is January 31. Voting form and instructions at the link above.

              Thanks!

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                OK, I’m sure my comic book involvement with the new Terminator movie franchise had nothing to do with this, but there’s new news related to the ill-fated movie. First, the production company behind Terminator Salvation had to file for bankruptcy protection, and now I hear that the Six Flags Magic Mountain theme park is shedding the Terminator Salvation branding from their expensive wooden coaster ride.

                “The new-new name will be “Apocalypse” and the coaster itself will stay pretty much the same. But where Six Flags takes one in the pants, is they spent upwards of $1 million on the Terminator-themed intro in the queue. It included several animatronic Terminators and a training video featuring two of the film’s stars, Common and Moon Bloodgood.”

                After I finished my movie prequel scripts, Halcyon and IDW were interested in doing more comics and asked me to pitch a 5-issue mini series made up of stand-alone stories. I came up with what I thought was a pretty good mix of stories, showing the human resistance operating all over the world, from the US to Japan to Iran. A couple of them tied in directly to the characters from the movie, including delving into the background of Blair Williams, played by the aforementioned Moon Bloodgood (what a name, by the way!) All involved parties liked the pitch and we were set to begin production, when Halcyon went under and with it went the comics series.

                Oh well. Them’s the breaks.

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                  Fellow Columbusite and friend-of-the-ferret Uko Smith has a graphic novel out from IDW. It’s called FX2: The Lost Land, and it’s a sequel to the FX mini-series written by Wayne Osborne and drawn by John Byrne. Uko handles the art chores in this book, and from the previews that I’ve seen, it looks great.

                  The blog at Comic Book Resources has a review of the book, and they have this to say about Uko’s work:

                  “It’s also fantastically illustrated by Uko Smith, whose work somehow marries the fascinating geometry of Larry Stroman with the more conventional attractiveness of someone like Adam Hughes. The combination is unique, which further allows The Lost Land to stand on its own and differentiate itself from its characters’ influences. And that’s vitally important.”

                  Originally scheduled as a 4-issue mini, IDW decided to go with it as an OGN, so I know Uko’s been working hard on this book for quite a while, without the benefit of monthly feedback. So go pick up a copy and support his work!

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                    Last week, the hardcover collection of my Witch & Wizard: Battle for Shadowland debuted at #4 on the New York Times Best Sellers List (Hardcover Graphic).

                    It was also #9 on Amazon.com’s best selling graphic novels. Now, I know that the popularity is based on the James Patterson name recognition, but hey, I’ll take it. It’s good practice for when one of my own creations eventually makes it to the top of the sales charts.

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                      For you Columbusites, I wanted to let you know that I will be doing a book signing for my latest graphic novel release, WITCH & WIZARD: BATTLE FOR SHADOWLAND. This is a YA book aimed at tweens and teens. It’s part of the Educator Appreciation Event sponsored by Barnes & Noble.

                      Witch and Wizard

                      Here are the details:

                      Barnes & Noble – Lennox Town Center (1739 Olentangy River Road)
                      Tuesday, October 12
                      4-6 PM

                      Educator Appreciation Event book signing with Dara Naraghi (author of Witch & Wizard: Battle for Shadowland) and Nathan Henry (author of “Good Behavior”)

                      “In a blink of an eye, their world has changed, with the oppressive New Order declaring all magic as evil incarnate! In this action-packed tale spinning out of best-selling author James Patterson’s #1 novel, sibling teenagers Whit and Wisty Allgood use their newly discovered magical powers to infiltrate into enemy territory of the New Order to gain control of the mysterious inter-dimensional Shadowland.

                      The first of two original stories, this volume takes place between books one and two of the prose novels. Witch & Wizard: Battle for Shadowland takes bst-selling author James Pattersons hit characters on all-new, exciting adventures in this full-color graphic novel.”

                      Hope to see some of you there!

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                        In all the chaos of getting ready for Comfest, I forgot to mention that that the second issue of my Witch & Wizard: Battle for Shadowland is available at your local comic book store this week:

                        “The iron fist of the New Order has declared all magic banned from society, and sibling teenagers Whit & Wisty Allgood are on the run and using their magical powers to attempt to gain control of an inter-dimensional nowhere called Shadowland. But while Wisty faces a horde of Lost Ones—soulless creatures hungry for the warmth of the living—in Shadowland, her brother Whit finds himself in the N.O.’s stronghold, face-to-face with an even greater evil: The One Who Is The One! Continuing this brand-new story that takes place in the world from best-selling author James Pattersons’ hit novel.”

                        I had a blast writing some fun double-page action scenes, and artist Victor Santos absolutely rocked them (with colors by Jamie Grant):

                        You can read a preview of the first 5 pages here.

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                          Comic Book Resources has a nifty little feature about my new IDW mini-series, MGM Drive-in Theater: IT! The Terror From Beyond Space.

                          “…one of the lines in my proposal was ‘This is a world of sleek, stainless steel rocket ships and spirited explorers, not corporate oligarchies and blue-collar space miners.'”

                          “As with the best of stories, the core of ‘IT!’ to me is the human drama. Sure, the monster is scary, the rocket ship is ‘futuristic,’ and so on, but ultimately the movie hinges on how the crew members can come together to defeat the creature,” Naraghi said. “Naturally, this is complicated by clashing personalities, jealousies, fear, anger and all the other elements that make us relate to, care about and ultimately cheer on the protagonists. So I’ll be hinging my update on the personal dramas, as well as the action.”

                          Issue #1 hits the stores in July, kids.

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                            This week sees the release of my latest project for IDW, an original 4-issue limited series based on the characters and settings from James Patterson’s young adult novel, Witch & Wizard:

                            Witch & Wizard: Battle for Shadowland #1 (of 4) – In a blink of an eye, their world has changed, with the oppressive New Order declaring all magic as evil incarnate! In this action-packed first issue spinning out of best-selling author James Pattersons’s #1 novel, sibling teenagers Whit & Wisty Allgood use their newly discovered magical powers to infiltrate into enemy territory of the New Order to gain control of the inter-dimensional Shadowland.

                            The artwork is provided by talented Spanish artist, Victor Santos. I’ve had a blast working with Victor; his work is dynamic, fun, and full of energy. I can’t wait for everyone to see what he does with the double-page action sequences in subsequent issues. In the meantime, here’s a look at one of the pages from the first issue, showing most of our main and supporting characters…first up, Victor’s pencils:

                            Followed by his inks:

                            And finally colored by Jamie Grant (All-Star Superman):

                            And given that IDW Publishing has fully embraced the digital distribution of comics, Witch & Wizard: Battle for Shadowland #1 is also available through the Apple App Store for the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch, and on the PSP through Sony’s Digital Comics storefront.

                            And finally, looking forward to next month, here’s a peek at the cover for issue #2, courtesy of Brazilian artist Fabio Moon:

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                              The July solicitations are out, so I figured I’d promote them here as well. I have two comics shipping that month:

                              MGM Drive-In Theater: It, The Terror From Beyond Space #1 (of 4)
                              Dara Naraghi (w) • Mark Dos Santos (a) • Steve Mannion (c)
                              MGM Drive-In Theater launches with the first of three special series updating classic sci-fi flicks! Here, It, the Terror From Beyond Space is retooled as a retro-1950s alien adventure. Returning from a rescue mission to Mars, the spaceship Challenge 142 carries the only survivor of the first expedition who is now suspected of killing his crew for their lifesaving rations. Until something starts moving in the cargo bay…

                              Witch & Wizard: The Battle for Shadowland #3 (of 4)
                              Dara Naraghi (w) • Victor Santos (a) Fabio Moon (c)
                              Spinning out of James Patterson’s #1 novel! In Shadowland, Wisty and the ghosts fight the New Order troops but are losing ground. Using her magic, she inadvertently redirects various portals away from Freeland, and towards other realms and winds up in some sort of a time loop! Meanwhile, The One explains to Whit that he wants control of Shadowland, and why!

                              Look for some preview art here as soon as I get the word from my editor.

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