Production Blog for the new anthology from Jason Rodriguez, coedited with James W. Powell
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+It's time to update those bookmarks...
+Introducing Gia-Bao Tran and Seamus Heffernan
+POSTCARDS on All The Rage
+Little quiet 'round these parts
+POSTCARDS is Bringing the Postcard Back
+Postcards (and Jason) on MySpace
+The Bathtub Art Museum
+A Collector No More?
Wednesday, September 06, 2006
I want to introduce you folks to Gia-Bao Tran (GB) and Seamus (pronounced Shaw-mus) Heffernan.
I met GB at San Diego Comic-Con this year - he had a table at the small press pavilion. His Xeric-award winning comic, CONTENT, caught my eye and I began to gush quite profusely (even broke-as-no-joke Josh Fialkov bought a copy). You see, I've been looking for the perfect artist to team with Chris Stevens on the lead story for the book. We've talked to a couple of folks already but they were both too busy - I was getting a little worried, honestly. This is the lead story - when Chris pitched me this story I knew it was the way I needed to start the book - it complimented Harvey Pekar's story perfectly and the two could work as book ends for the anthology. They'll allow me to run a narrative through the book. I saw the whole thing unfold instantly.
But the lead story also has to have the right artwork.
I pitched GB POSTCARDS and he seemed interested. A week after I got home from SDCC I offered him the gig and he took it. Just yesterday I got the layouts for their 9-page story, including this spread:
And it's the kind of spread that makes you smile and realize you made the right choice.
Speaking of "making the right choice" there's Seamus Heffernan. I first talked to Seamus over a year ago, I was trying to get him on WESTERN TALES OF TERROR, I believe. For whatever reason it didn't work out; we fell out of touch with each other. He went traveling across Europe and we cancelled WToT and put all of our time and effort into ELK'S RUN.
I was talking to three different artists for my story and I couldn't decide which one to go with. They were all good, but none of them were perfect. Here comes Seamus, writing me to catch up and see what I've been up to. I take a look at some of his new pages and the improvements he made over the past year was astonishing (and he was great before).
I pitched him POSTCARDS and he jumped on it. We went back and forth over the story and yesterday I received his first concepts sketches:
And it's the type of sketches that make you smile and realize you made the right choice.
I love finding new people and taking a chance on them. This book will be filled with folks whose work you likely won't be familiar with. Joseph Bergin III did a four page story in WToT #4 - he's going to floor you. Jason Copland has some books coming out but WToT #4 probably had the highest distribution out of all the stuff he's done in the past - you'll want to see more from him after POSTCARDS. Tony Fleecs' IN MY LIFETIME is one of the greatest books of the year and his work for POSTCARDS is going to be jaw-dropping. Micah Farritor's pages are absolutely breathtaking - his rendition of Paris is awe-inspiring. Drew Gilbert is going to capture childhood innocence and neatly frame it within a 9x6 page.
And they'll be alongside Phil Hester and Michael Gaydos and Matt Kindt and Rob G and Tom Beland. Noel Tuazon from ELK'S RUN. Danielle Corsetto from GIRLS WITH SLINGSHOTS. Jake Allen from BROWNSVILLE. The Fraim Brothers from WOLFBOY.
Brand new talents alongside up-and-comers alongside established pros. It's going to be one hell of a gorgeous book.
Monday, September 04, 2006
Friday, September 01, 2006
Wednesday, August 30, 2006
What we’re left with now is thousands-upon-thousands of dusty shoeboxes filled with 25-cent postcards in antique shops across the country. Pieces of peoples’ lives – talks of quarantines, wars, sickly mothers, and secret admirers occasionally being shuffled through but often discarded by collectors because they’re in “bad shape”.
We’ve moved to email. Shaping pixels on a screen with no personality – spell-checks catch our mistakes – communication is instant and free, allowing for meaningful conversation along the lines of:
POSTCARDS wants to bring the postcard back. A 160-page anthology produced and edited by Jason Rodriguez (coedited by James W. Powell), POSTCARDS tells stories inspired by these glimpses into a person’s life. Why did the mysterious “E” brave a quarantine to see his friend Elmer? Did Earl Shafer ever return from World War II? Did Anna really marry a man with a 12-year-old son, as her cousin suspected? An all-star line-up, including Harvey Pekar, Matt Kindt, Phil Hester, Tom Beland, Stuart Moore, Michael Gaydos, Josh Fialkov, Ande Parks, Rick Spears & Rob G, Robert Tinnell, Neil Kleid, Antony Johnston, and Noel Tuazon, have set out to answer these questions and more.
POSTCARDS is set to be released July 2007, but we can’t wait that long to bring the postcard back. We want your postcards. We want a glimpse into your life. If you have something you want to tell us about yourself, please send a postcard to:
P.O. Box 17851
Arlington, VA 22201
Include an email address on the card – if something catches our eye we may be asking for permission to post it on the POSTCARDS MySpace page (http://www.myspace.com/AllYouLeave) or Production Blog (http://www.allyouleave.com). If something really gets us excited we may even ask for permission to feature it within a future volume of POSTCARDS. Also, feel free to include your return address – you might get a reply postcard from someone in the book with a little bit about their life or even a sketch.
So pick out some fun postcards and get to writing - purchase proper postage (that’s 24-cents, in case you haven't mailed a postcard within the last couple of decades) - send us a postcard. Send a postcard to your mother or your boyfriend or your friend from college while you're at it.
Help us bring the postcard back.
Sunday, August 06, 2006
Inspiration hit me – I’m passionate about this project. I love this project. I spend the majority of my day thinking about this project – shouldn’t I write the introduction? When I got home I composed this piece, it could serve as the introduction to Postcards but, if it doesn’t, I hope it at least gives a little insight to the background of this project and what it means.
I’m coming down a bit, I read it over, I think it’s good for posting. Either way – this is a first draft, pure enthusiasm streamed onto virtual paper. So, here it goes…
My fascination with postcards is fairly recent. It was January, 2006 – I was in Hershey, Pennsylvania. It was Robin’s, my girlfriend’s, birthday. I took her to the spa at the Hotel Hershey for her gift, two nights of chocolate and pampering. This was our second trip to the spa – I took her there for Valentines Day a couple of years back and we’ve wanted a return engagement since.
On our second day out there Robin tells me she wants to go antique shopping. This was not my idea of a good time. I wanted a hot-stone message and a steak dinner – chocolate martinis and wasabi peas by the fireplace while a jazz quartet occasionally deviated from swinging music and pushed the well-to-do folks’ sensibilities with some improvisational jamming. It was her birthday, however, so I kept my mouth shut and we went to an antique mall a couple of miles from the hotel.
Despite my lack of verbal protests, I wasn’t the most supportive boyfriend in the world. I always walked two steps behind her, sighing heavily every time she paused to browse a cabinet filled with various knickknacks she had no intention of buying.
“If there’s anything you want, let me know. I’ll get it for you.” That’s code for “hurry up,” ladies, in case you’re wondering why your significant other seems so eager to shower you in presents when you take him out shopping with you.
About ten minutes in (we browsed through approximately 5% of the first floor at this point), Robin starts rifling through a shoebox filled with postcards. There must have been several hundred cards in there and I wasn’t having that – I let a “Jesus Christ” escape and received the nastiest look in return.
Now, unlike when other couples say, “It’s so weird – we never fight,” Robin and I have never really fought. She’s very non-confrontational and instead of fighting, she knows how to get me off her back.
“You know,” she tells me as she walks away from the shoebox, “some of these postcards were sent out. People wrote interesting things on them.”
I shot her an untrusting look, I knew I was being manipulated but I didn’t quite catch on to her scheme yet. But Robin knows me very well – she knows I’m the type of guy who likes to find stories in people’s residuals. I’ll type up detailed character sheets for people whose writings I’ve seen on bathroom walls or in the margins of used books and use them for future stories. I’ve always found that true characterization – true drama – comes out of someone when they don’t believe they’re being analyzed. A simple song lyric scratched into a bar table can give more insight into how someone’s feeling than an hour long conversation.
I did what Robin wanted me to do – I started rifling through the box of postcards. The first postcard I pulled out was a godsend. It was sent from a Private Earl Shafer to his mother in 1942, the day before Earl’s brother, Lehr, gets shipped out to fight in the war. Earl’s telling his mother he should be going soon, too, and he’ll write her when he gets back.
Earl Shafer went to fight in Eastern Europe. He left his family and his girlfriend behind. He was in the trenches, got injured several times. He fell for a nurse during a hospital visit. Hs father found out about his cheating ways, purchased an engagement ring, gave it to Earl’s girlfriend back home. Took a picture of the girlfriend with the ring and sent it to Earl, told him that he’s an engaged man now and he better start acting like it. Earl finishes his tour, gets several medals, comes home and marries his fiancé – opens a bar and becomes a neighborhood hero.
That’s not Earl’s story – that’s what I saw when I read that postcard. In fact, that’s my grandfather’s story. Maybe Earl died. Maybe he went MIA and spent the rest of his life roaming Europe without an identity. Maybe he came home disabled, found out his girl has fell for someone else, and had to put his life back together.
The only thing that we know for sure is that Earl Shafer was supposed to go fight in World War II. There’s a good chance that, with the exception of things like birth and death certificates, this may be all we ever know about Earl Shafer. And this one insight into his life was one sale at an antique mall in Hershey, Pennsylvania for fifty cents.
I fell in love with postcards at that moment. I went through that entire shoebox and pulled out about twenty postcards, many of which are featured in this book. People writing about quarantines and sickly mothers. Anonymous cards sent from secret admirers. Little mysteries, all of them, deserving more than the treatment they were getting.
The idea for this anthology naturally followed.
We went back to the hotel. As Robin took a pre-spa treatment shower I composed an email that went out to several friends: Josh Fialkov, Saul Colt, Matt Dembicki, Guy LeCharles Gonzalez, and Jay Busbee. I transcribed several postcards and said that I wanted to produce an anthology where creators took one of these postcards and built the story around it as they saw it. They can write about what led up to the postcard, what happened after it was sent – they can jump forty years into the future and attempt to catch up on where the sender and/or receiver of the card were.
Everyone agreed – this is an anthology that needs to be made. I attacked this book like a man possessed, started pitching it to people I admired and the people I admired wanted to be a part of it. The book became my life.
At the same time, postcard collecting consumed me. On any given weekend you can find me at an antique shop or flea market, rifling through shoeboxes filled with postcards collectors deemed unworthy of display cases and high price tags. Looking for pieces of people’s lives that they left behind, pieces that reminds us of our own lives - that inspire us to tell a story that needs to be told.
Our heartache. Our desires. Our happiness. Our love. Stories people can relate to – stories that could just as well have happened to Earl Shafer, a private who went to fight in World War II just like millions of Americans. Fighting the great evil for the greater good overseas; in a foreign land. Some coming home in coffins, some coming home heroes. Like my grandfather. Like your husband or your brother or your best friend.
None of these postcards have over fifty words on them and yet there’s more life there than you’ll ever see in a novel or a movie or a TV show. Because it’s life in the raw. Unfiltered. It’s a moment from my Grandfather’s life. From my life.
From your life.
At the end of the day, when you’re not a movie star or a politician or a writer, this is what you are. This one postcard. This one paragraph. This one moment of regret or inspiration or fear.
All you are is the greatest story never told. And now we’re telling it.
Enjoy the book.
ALL CONTENT CREATED AND OWNED BY JASON RODRIGUEZ EXCEPT WHERE OTHERWISE NOTED
COPYRIGHT 2006 in ASSOCIATION WITH EXIMIOUS PRESS