On Wednesday, April 18th, Near Death #7 was released in comic shops everywhere. Tucked inside this awesome issue by Jay Faeber and Simone Guglielmini is a dark, noir  story written by me entitled Loose Ends. It's a quick five page story that I wrote almost five years ago. At the time, I shared the story with Simone and he was nice enough to work on the art. The art was nothing short of beautiful, a perfect tribute to black and white film noir of the 1930's.  Nothing came of the story until a few months ago when Simone contacted me about including it in his Near Death series. I can't begin to thank both Simone and Jay Faeber for the opportunity to have been included in their series. They were both fantastic to work with in the process and I can't think of two better professionals working today.

Near Death has been getting awesome reviews. If you haven't picked it up, this is a great time to do it. There's even a trade out containing the first five issues. If you check it out I'm sure you'll get hooked on an awesome series created by two outstanding people.

So, what else is happening? I'm officially hooked on a site called Secondspin.com. I'm just cleaning up on obscure, used DVDs. I recently got a whole order of animation films that included a collection of short anime films by Katsuhiro Otomo called Memories. This was a great pick up.

As for reading, I just finished a book by Charlie Huston called Caught Stealing. Great read. A lot of fun with real characters and sharp dialogue. When I finished the story I felt like I just got dragged through a city gutter alongside the main character, Hank. There's a few more adventures with this guy written by Huston. I'm going to have to pick them up.

I also picked up the first trade of Haunt. I have to be honest, I wasn't really interested in reading the series before. I'd always pick it up but would never seal the deal. I finally gave in and I was happy I did. I'll be picking up the rest of the series for sure.

Finally, I consider myself very fortunate to live so close to New York City. Being as close as I am, I'm able to go to great education seminars at the Museum of Comic And Cartoon Art. Very recently I attended a class on Comic Writing held by the awesome Peter David. It was a surreal experience, learning about comic writing all while surrounded by original Batman art in the museum's gallery. What was even cooler about the event is that it was a very small venue, only around fifteen people. The main focus was story structure and understanding story through characterization. Peter David was great to listen to. He's just as good at entertaining a crowd as he is writing comics. He even extended the class another hour just so he could get everything in and answer questions. For anyone who lives in the area, MOCCA is a fantastic resource. Check out there site. They are always updating classes and speaking engagements.

Well, that's all I've got for now. Take it easy out there.


My childhood hero, Gary Carter, is gone. He died last week, losing a year-long battle with brain cancer. What he leaves behind is a hero's legacy.

It's hard to comprehend that he's gone. Carter was invincible to me, a galvanized hero incapable of defeat. He was pure and good, which is why my parents, especially my father, encouraged my admiration of the man.

I can remember sitting and watching a game one summer afternoon with my father. He sat there calling out key plays and brilliant hits, arguing calls. The excitement was too much for a five year old to handle. I'd have to recreate every pitch, every play. Somehow, they all revolved around number eight.

After the game I rushed to get my cards and as I rummaged through them I came across a Gary Carter card. It was then that my father taught me what a leader was. How they were unselfish and committed to a cause. In a name, a leader was Gary Carter. He became my lasting image of leadership on the field of play.

It's hard to find a figure of moral integrity these days, one that works for a greater good, not selfish individual acclaim. With one less example in a world already with too few, the loss of Carter is that much more saddening.

His daughter summed it up beautifully in this statement:

"I believe with all my heart that dad had a STANDING OVATION as he walked through the gates of heaven to be with Jesus".

Rest in peace, Gary Carter. You have been and always will be my hero.