Archives for : February2016

Symmetry #3 Sociology Class with links


Welcome to the 3rd issue of Symmetry and thanks for reading! I really liked how Raffaele Ienco’s art fit the sad tone of this issue. We saw Matthew die in the first five pages of issue #1 and now at the end of the 3rd we see what’s going on. I was talking to my wife about the different series I write and she asked me whom the villain of Symmetry is. The primary antagonist is the system itself. The Elder Committee is certainly interesting and could be perceived as “villainous” but it’s not clear-cut.


The next issue is the final of the first arc and will answer a LOT of the questions I’m sure you have. We have Michael confronting SOL and there will be some fun twists and turns leading into the second arc.



Had a question online about the Michael’s narrative as recordings for his unborn child. He’s recording more than just the words printed in the narrative text boxes. He’s also recording what’s being shown in the art. This story is his version of events as he’s relating them to his unborn child. It’s his perspective and is intentionally skewed a bit based on that. If you’ve ever gone back and compared memories with old friends, people remember things very differently.



These don’t mean the same thing. Egality is an “extreme leveling of society.” Equality is “the state of being the same quantity, measure or value as another.” One of the Four Pillars is equality, but we clearly see that it’s bullshit. Egality is more appropriate since people are the same economically and everything is first come, first serve. It’s part of the point and perspective of the story.



There’s a difference between these as well. It’s summed up well by this quote:

“Segregation is that which is forced upon an inferior by a superior. Separation is done voluntarily by two equals.” Malcolm X

Researching segregation, it’s impossible to not get hit over the head with the Civil Rights movement and the insane George C. Wallace. I realize he’s a relic of his time, but this guy could have been President.

“I draw the line in the dust and toss the gauntlet before the feet of tyranny, and I say segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever.” George C. Wallace

In this story we learn about how people are segregated by race, age and disposition. The ENTIRE point of it is to avoid conflict.

From my perspective, the answer to this is yes. All you have to do is read the news and you can see how depraved and violent humanity is to itself. The war of ideas over violence and human nature has raged since the 1600s, when philosopher Thomas Hobbes first speculated that the “natural condition of mankind” was one of violence and conflict. I tend to agree with that, but stumbled across this:

When you read that you’ll see psychologists discussing that it’s not a natural state. I don’t think anyone knows for sure. History has shown that at least a percentage of us are consistently violent throughout recorded events. This link shows murder rates around the world and I found the misconception about the Third World analysis in here very interesting.



I wrote the wolves in the story originally as mountain lions, but Raffaele wanted to draw them as wolves so wolves they are! In editing I frequently will cut down the # of words from previous drafts and in some cases eliminate certain threads or explanations because they bog the story down. My philosophy on writing is that if you can think of a reasonable explanation as to why something happens, then you don’t need to go out of your way to explain it. Point being I wrote a bunch of narrative explaining why the wolves didn’t immediately catch up with Matthew and Elder Sharon in the pursuit. The reason I gave is that these wolves had never seen humans before and were slightly cautious. This was four narrative captions and I took it out because it bogged down the story and isn’t terribly important to what’s going on. Full out wolves run between 31 and 37 mph


That’s it for this issue, thanks again for reading and if you like this book please recommend it to a friend!

Carpe Diem,



Tithe 8 Sunday School


As promised, here is the Sunday School with links!

Welcome and thanks for hanging in with me through eight issues of The Tithe! In hindsight I wish I’d titled this book Samaritan. It seems a lot of people don’t know what a Tithe is or how to say the word. It’s tie-the (like tie fighter followed by a the), two syllables. You can call it whatever the hell you want though as long as you keep reading! I appreciate you =)


Getting a lot of questions about whether this is the end of the series or not. The answer is, unfortunately, I don’t know. Of all the books I write this one sells the lowest number of copies. Might be because people are afraid of what it’s about (I’ve pissed off a fair amount of religious people it seems). Honestly, I don’t know. We’re selling almost three times the number of copies for Symmetry. I love this book, but I have to bow to the gods of economics. I’ll use these characters elsewhere including the Eden’s Fall storyline (see below) but the volume 2 trade needs to sell decently for a volume 3 to be a reality. So…if you want it, please recommend the book to a friend and thanks!




I have a distinct third volume story arc in mind, which takes place in Italy, and, you guessed it, the Vatican. Jimmy and Sam are on the run together and stealing something and Dwayne is reluctantly in pursuit with the CIA. I’ve always wanted to really get into some Catholic history and mythology. This may not end up being what Volume 3 ends up being, but I like the idea and have set it up somewhat that Jimmy and Sam might take off. We shall see!


You might have noticed in The Tithe Volume 1 I referenced “Eden” when Samantha said to Kyle Araman that she found a place in Wyoming that would take them (at the time fugitives) in. I also included in this second Volume Dr. David Loren from Think Tank and that second epilogue of this issue where Thornton ends up in Eden talking to the mayor is a pretty direct tie-in with Postal.


I really, really hate massive forced cross-overs, but we’ve done a few smaller ones and when they’re organic they work well. This one is story driven and the plan is to do a three-issue mini-series called “Eden’s Fall” that will be co-written by myself and Bryan Hill and we want Atilio Rojo (artist on IXth Generation and the Postal: Dossier story) but we haven’t actually asked him yet as I write this…so could be someone else.
The story of “Eden’s Fall” will feature characters from The Tithe, Postal and Think Tank in a single story. I don’t want to give too much away but it will essentially be about some people that want to take out Jim Thornton from this very arc of The Tithe.



I used to be a right-winger, so I find it amusing when right-wingers call me out for being too liberal. This blog site and its reviews of multiple issues of The Tithe I find especially amusing:




Some people have taken me to task for this and let me explain it very simply; I did it because it made for a good story that I wanted to tell. That’s it. I really don’t have an agenda. I’m a centrist; a semi-conservative fiscal and a semi-liberal social person. I equally loathe both parties in our two party system. Conspiracy theories always seem to float around, even when things are on video and fairly clear. Our chief antagonist in this story arc was Senator McKitrick who pulled all the strings. I liked the idea that he saw some of these conspiracy theories and thought that was a good idea and formulated his plan after that.


9/11 conspiracy documentary, long, but free:


Easily debunked:



I skipped the full text page this issue when I found this JFK quote. I sometimes spend hours scouring for the right “quote” but I found this one quickly. I look for these last, after the story is written so I can try and find a quote that I feel encapsulates the heart of what I’m trying to say. I do try to incorporate social commentary in my stories, I know some of you don’t like that but I grew up with the 50’s-80’s science fiction authors and learned about many of the social issues in society from them. Star Trek alone boldly takes on so many social problems from the 20th century. First on screen interracial kiss anyone?

Here is the full JFK quote in his Remarks to the Greater Houston Ministerial Association:

“I believe in an America where the separation of church and state is absolute – where no Catholic prelate would tell the President (should he be Catholic) how to act, and no Protestant minister would tell his parishioners for whom to vote – where no church or church school is granted any public funds or political preference – and where no man is denied public office merely because his religion differs from the President who might appoint him or the people who might elect him.

I believe in an America that is officially neither Catholic, Protestant nor Jewish – where no public official either requests or accepts instructions on public policy from the Pope, the National Council of Churches or any other ecclesiastical source – where no religious body seeks to impose its will directly or indirectly upon the general populace or the public acts of its officials – and where religious liberty is so indivisible that an act against one church is treated as an act against all.” JFK September 12 1960.
This quote seems more applicable today to the Islam/Christianity religious drama in our world today, but back then people were concerned that JFK was a Catholic. He was the first Catholic President and before he was elected there was some concern that he would listen to the Pope over the USA’s own interests.



Given the above quote, wanted to give a plug to Stephen King’s book, which I happened to just recently read. Long, but I thoroughly enjoyed it. It’s about a guy going back in time to prevent JFK from being assassinated and how that would affect the world.



I was interested to discover this is how a lot of large firms protect their data from being hacked…they’re not on the internet. China has a closed internet that allows them to more thoroughly control and censor what goes up, but it’s still “connected” and hackable. Hackers are pretty smart though, read this first link if you want to be scared shitless.


FUTURE CRIME by Mark Goodman

This book is a bit dry but talks about the “internet of things” and how someone can be spying on you from your coffee maker. Scary shit. Worth a read. I used a lot of reference from this book for hacking in The Tithe and in Think Tank.



I’m sure you’ve seen how phones are clone-able to listen in on calls or read texts in real time, but there are a lot of interesting things you can do remotely with someone else’s phone. Bottom line your phone is not that secure, regardless of model, so don’t leave nude pics of your significant other on there.



Writing this script I was curious about the process of impeachment. Presidents Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton were both impeached by the U.S. House of Representatives, but acquitted by the Senate. Richard Nixon resigned before he could be impeached. Interesting stuff.



Given the recent Oregon militia deal up at that Wildlife Refuge I include this list merely for your amusement and education. Reading this list will add you to some FBI watch lists! Fun, fun.



That laser motion detector is legit, I took it from here:



Came across this link when I was sending reference for that page where the FBI Tac-ops guy throws the flash grenade. You never know when you might need to know this (cue the old NBC, “The More you Know” music).



Slight distinction on alcohol from the two different religions. Christianity takes the “in moderation” it’s fine approach, but Islam says alcohol is BAD, m’kay? The Christian explanation is at the first link, the Muslim one the second. If you’re too lazy to click and read, the basic view is the one is that Muslims should not have alcohol in their system when they pray and they have to pray five times a day…so no alcohol!


That’s it for this issue! Thanks for sticking it out with me, I appreciate you reading this and my other books. Phil Sevy has gone on to take over a new Tomb Raider series coming out from Dark Horse so be sure and check that out. Hopefully I’ll get a chance to work with him again.


More writing advice

Want to be a better writer?

1) Read everything. If you want to write comics books, don’t just read comic books. It’s painfully obvious when you get a submission from a writer who only reads comics. Derivative isn’t always good.

2) Live and experience shit. Real life experience always translates into better stories. Look at situations you’ve been in or things you’ve felt and exaggerate them. Change them in your mind from mundane to extraordinary. Great basis for storytelling. Get out of your comfort zone. Do things you wouldn’t normally do.

3) Listen to how people talk. It’s called eavesdropping and can be hella fun!

4) Write multiple drafts. Outline first. A plan is key. Writing yourself into a corner always sucks. Writing is rewriting. Mental block? Write anything to fill the pages, you can always go back and change it later. Progress is key. Study story structure.

5) Read dialogue out loud. You’ll be amazed how stupid stuff can sound.

6) Deconstruct others work you like. Reverse engineer a comic book arc, a film, whatever into a one pager. Then write up a paragraph or two about the characters. What do they want? Why is now important? What do they fear? You’ll start noticing patterns from successful writers.

7) Read “how to write” books by successful authors. I see so many how to books by people who don’t do or are marginally successful in the field they’re teaching about. Read “On Writing” by Stephen King.

8) Intentionally day dream. When you’re sitting in the food court at the mall look around and think up dramatic scenarios that would elevate something mundane to extraordinary. Hostage situation? Terrorist attack? People streaking? Domestic dispute?

9) Imagine conversations with people then have them. How was it different from what you thought it would be?

10) Meet new people. Nothing like learning about someone new’s life to spark the imagination. Talk to people.