Happy Newsletter Day everyone -- wait, is that not a thing?
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So, welcome to our 7th newsletter. Things have been crazy busy here, between comics and a secret TV project that I still cannot talk about yet. One of the reasons I love comics so much is how quickly things happen, but in Hollywood there's a lot of waiting before you can even talk about stuff in development. But soon. Very soon. 

KILL OR BE KILLED #3 is out this week!
Here's the first five pages, which really don't show you much of what happens this issue, but I don't want to spoil anything really, because this issue is a lot different than the first two. 
You may want to get to your comic shop early or call them to reserve your copy, because the first two issues sold out immediately. Both of them have new printings hitting the stands alongside #3.  This book has gotten a crazy amount of new readers for us, and it continues to overwhelm me. It's humbling as hell. Strangely people seem to identify with this story about how messed up the world feels right now. 

Anyway, all I can say is, this story is just getting started.

Sean is almost done with issue 4, which looks amazing even in black and white so far, and I'll give you a secret tease to that here, with one of my favorite pages that doesn't spoil anything:
We're not using these full page panels quite as much, but I still am really enjoying how they slow down the pace sometimes. Issue 4 went long again, as usual, too. So there's extra pages to look forward to. 
The big 400 page Deluxe Edition Hardback of THE FADE OUT is finally out, and you can't understand how happy I am to see it all collected in one book. For me this book was less a series of issues and more a novel. So this is how it was always meant to be read. 

If you've read it before once, I really encourage you to give it another read. I changed a few minor things here and there throughout the book, which is one thing, but this book was always dense, and there were many storylines and details that may have been missed. Like, for example, most readers never figured out Dottie's secret. 
We really went all out on this edition, and I think it's our best one yet. There's over 50 pages of extra content, including a research piece by me, and process work by both Sean and Bettie. If there's a nicer looking book on the shelves this week, then Sean will be very irate, because he worked so hard on this design. Heh. 

A perfect Xmas present for all your friends and family who enjoy dark tales of old Hollywood. 
HBO came out with a new Westworld trailer that is my favorite one so far.
As many of you know, I was a writer and Supervising Producer on the first season of HBO's Westworld, which has finally begun airing and is of course turning out to be a huge hit. People are already obsessing and analyzing every aspect. It's really awesome to see.  I was very lucky to be a small part of what Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy were building with this show. 

So I hope you're all watching it. The episode I co-wrote is episode four, which airs in a week and a half. I'm very proud of it, so I hope you'll check it out. 
INCOGNITO MOVIE STILL IN THE WORKS I'll just cut and paste the first part of this article that came out Tuesday in the Hollywood Reporter: 

Rising scribe Daniel Casey has been brought on board to work on Incognito, Sony’s adaptation of the comic by Ed Brubaker with art by Sean Phillips.

Fede Alvarez, who directed this summer’s hit Don’t Breathe, is attached to helm the thriller that is being produced by Chernin Entertainment.

Initially published as a six-issue miniseries by Marvel’s creator-owned Icon Comics imprint, Incognito told of a super villain who turns evidence against his boss, ending up in a witness protection program in which he’s administered drugs to suppress his powers and given a low-level job. But the man starts to chafe under his “normal life” and when he finds a way to get his powers back, must decide what kind of life he wants to lead. Image Comics now publishes the comic.

I can't really say any more than what's in the article, if you click to read the rest. But the fact that Fede Alvarez's movie DON'T BREATHE was a big hit certainly has helped get some heat back on this. I'm keeping my fingers crossed, and I've heard nothing but great things about this new writer on the project. 
Okay, you know the deal at this point, right? Send in a question, any question about anything, and if I pick your question, you win a free signed book. US shipping only, though. (Sorry, but International shipping rates are nuts). 

To enter, send a question to: with the subject line QUESTION. 
Our first question is from Chris Adair: 

So you know when some actors try method acting and it completely messes with their head...does the same thing happen to a writer who thinks up these all too real stories? As much as I love reading your stories I can always close the cover and revert to my fairly quiet parenting life. Maybe it's worse for Sean who has to draw the whole thing?! Also, what's the most personal story you've translated into comics/media?

God, I don't know. Sean's never complained about it. Sometimes I worry that some of my work might be too bleak for some readers, but the only stuff that really sticks with me is the research, sometimes. Sometimes you read about something so ugly that it can't get out of your head for a while. But creating dark stories and dark characters is not in itself a depressing or bleak thing to do. I really enjoy being a writer, I feel like it's what I was meant to be. It's just that the stuff that needs to come out of me is the stuff that tortured me most of my life, the stuff I agonize about internally, or that haunts me. Whenever I try to write anything that isn't basically just following that, at least anymore, I feel there's something dishonest in the work. 

As for the second part of your question, the most personal story I've written is a hard one to answer. They're all really personal most of the time, since everything you write comes out of some part of your life or your thoughts. Even stuff that isn't about you at all. The most recent one, though, was the scene from issue 2 of KILL OR BE KILLED with the two kids, where Dylan finds out his friend is being molested.  That's a tragic moment from my past, when I was a very little kid, that always stuck with me and haunted me, that I was too young and stupid to realize what another kid was trying to tell me. In real life, I don't remember his name, though, he was just one of a hundred friends I made on the Navy bases over those years, and his family was transferred out not long after that. Bleak but true. 

Our next question is from Andrew Hall, who kept is short: 

Who’s your favorite comic book character, other than one of your own, and why?

I think my favorite comic character is probably either Jughead (from the late 50s to the mid-70s era) or Linus from PEANUTS. I don't totally do favorites, really, but if I had to narrow it down it would probably be one of those two. Not sure exactly why, they were just characters I really liked as a kid. Maybe because they were the side characters and the side characters are often the most engaging or interesting ones in an ensemble. 


Our last one this time is from Aaron Botts: 

You often hear the statement, "he/she is writing for the trade," in comics these days. But if you could totally skip single issue deadlines, and just knock out trade-size volumes of stories, would you take that option? How would that affect your plotting style?

I feel like you really don't hear that too much anymore. That feels like a thing we heard a lot ten years ago, when I was at Marvel, though. But to answer your question, no. I love the single issue comic format for serializing stories, or for doing a "continuing adventures of" kind of thing. It was perfect for THE FADE OUT, which was a serialized novel, and it's perfect for KILL OR BE KILLED, which is an ongoing, uh, not adventure, but you know what I mean. What I try to do is look at each issue as something that needs to be satisfying on its own, even if it's part of a larger story that's still in progress.

Serializing fiction is a challenge certainly, but it's also an artistic tradition that goes back a long time -- both Dumas and Dickens serialized their novels as they wrote them, and we're still talking about and reading their books today. And in comics, most of Chris Ware's graphic novels were serialized a few pages at a time, and MAUS, probably the most acclaimed graphic novel ever, was serialized a chapter at a time, over a decade or so. So I don't think there's anything inherently superior about an OGN instead of a serialized story, it's all about the execution. 

I think it would drive me nuts having to wait a year or more to have people see the stuff we're working on. I love getting a book out every month, and I actually believe that the comics market has helped keep print alive, which I still think is the best way to read everything. 

I'm not sure if we did an OGN if my plotting would be much different than it is now. I tend to have a general idea of where I'm going and then outline chapter by chapter as I write. But also I'm very lucky, because I don't have a page limit, other than what Sean can draw in the time allotted. We go long on issues all the time because I need more pages to get the story right. 

Okay, that's it for this time out. If your question was picked, please email me at: with the subject line: WINNER
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