In case you were wondering how my day’s been going… I spent three hours this morning trying to get out of my bedroom.

When I woke up this morning at 8:00 – I work from home and make my own schedule, so no judgments for sleeping in a bit on a Tuesday, OK? – I started my usual morning routine: get up, slide into my comfy old man slippers, open the bedroom door, walk through the house to the back door, let the dog out so she could pee, go to the bathroom so I could pee, shower, get dressed, grab a drink from the kitchen, head in to the home office and start working.

Except today I got stuck on step three. Literally.

I live in my grandfather’s house. He lived there since the late 50s and passed away early 2010. I moved in about nine months later. It’s an old house. An old, cantankerous, stubborn-as-a-mule house. Much in the same way that my grandfather was. (Miss you, Pop Pop.) Some things work and, well, some things don’t.

One of the sources of almost daily annoyance is my bedroom doorknob. It sticks. Fairly often. The deadlatch gets jammed after closing the door and, when you try to open it again, the knob is harder to turn and it takes a couple of tries – sometimes even a couple of minutes – to get the door open.

This morning, like every morning, I grabbed the doorknob, made the doorknob-turning motions with my hand, and… nothing happened. It refused to turn. Like, even a little bit. So I tried again. And again. And again and again and again and again.

I tried turning that doorknob for half a fucking hour.

Nothing.

Mind you, I’m not a weak guy. I’m not super strong. I can’t bench press a car or anything, but I can turn a fucking doorknob. Except for, y’know, this morning.

So I sat back down on the bed, turned to the pup and said “Welp. Guess it’s a good thing the house isn’t on fire, huh?”

I took a ten minute break, tried to reassure the pup that everything was all right, that we were going to get out of here, and I was almost assuredly not going to have to kill and eat her to survive, before trying again.

After several more minutes of trying to open the door, failing, and feeling like the most pathetic man ever birthed, I decided to work smarter, not harder. I’m pretty sure I could MacGyver my way out of this room. I mean, if Richard Dean Anderson can defuse a bomb with a rubber band and a paper clip every week, then surely I can figure out how to take apart a door, right?

I immediately looked to the full toolbox kept beside the bed, but failed to find it… because I don’t keep a full toolbox beside my bed… because I am a normal human being. So I searched through dresser drawers and the nightstand, eventually finding a small pocket knife that contained one dull blade, a bottle opener, and something that wasn’t a flathead screwdriver but could work as a flathead screwdriver if necessary.

I jammed the blade between the door and the door frame, trying press down on the latch until it closed enough that I could turn the knob and open the door. I pulled out the thing that wasn’t a flathead screwdriver but could work as a flathead screwdriver if necessary and tried to unscrew the doorknob from the door, thinking I could get out that way. After several minutes, I managed to twist the very tight screws loose and take off the doorknobs, then, presumably, I could fiddle with the deadlatch a bit and finally remove myself from my bedroom. I even removed the hinge pins, thinking – worse comes to worst – I could just take the entire door off. (Had I a bottle, I would have used the bottle opener to open it and gotten drunk, just to make sure I took advantage of everything that pocket knife had to offer. Alas…)

Nothing worked.

At this point, after about an hour and a half of failed attempts to leave my bedroom, I was starting to get desperate. Not desperate enough to call the police, as they’d have to break down two doors in order to get me out and leave me with a nice bill, or – worse – my parents, who would come over, ridicule me for getting stuck in my bedroom, and then make passive-aggressive comments about how clean I keep my home. I mean, sure, they’d be able to get me out within minutes, but then my mom would be here for the rest of the day, cleaning what was already clean. So that was not an option.

No, I was getting desperate enough to think about climbing out the bedroom window.

Here’s the thing about my bedroom: yeah, it’s on the first floor but it has high windows. I stood on my bed, thinking that, if I absolutely had to, I could probably pull myself up and out of the window. The problem being, however, that I am terrified of heights and was looking at a ten foot drop onto some pointy-ass rose bushes. So… no.

Giving in, I scrolled through names in my phone contacts list, eventually stopping on my friend Steven’s number. He lives semi-close and is a pretty handy dude, so I thought maybe he could talk me through whatever options I had left and, if need be, see if he could come over, break into my house, and then break me out of my house.

Since I already had the doorknobs off, Steven told me to try wrapping a belt around the deadlatch and pulling. It would either loosen the latch and jostle it free or rip it out of the door altogether and, either way, I’d be able to get out.

So I tried it. For a while. After half an hour of pulling on this belt wrapped around the the deadlatch, it seemed like the it was starting give, it wanted to be free of that door as much as I did, but not nearly enough. Again, I am not exactly a weak dude. But this door was killing me.

Finally, I had enough. I thought, if I can’t pull this door free, then maybe I can knock it down. I threw all my weight into that door – and I have a decent amount of weight to throw – and nothing happened. I threw myself at that door again and again and again. I kicked at the deadlatch. The door still wouldn’t open and all I earned for all that effort were new black and blue marks.

Searching again, I found an old metal rod in the back of my closet. Don’t ask me why it was there. I slid it through the hole where the knob used to be and tried using it as a lever to pry the deadlatch free. When that didn’t work, I got frustrated and started hammering the hunk of metal at the latch. If I couldn’t get it free, fuck it, I’d just break the goddamn thing further.

At one point, I got angry enough that I even stabbed the door with the dull blade, hoping I could cut enough of door up that I could break through it. But, this being an old house and all, the doors are made of, y’know, real wood and all, so… no.

Meanwhile, the pup is still watching me from behind the nightstand as I wail on this door like a lunatic.

I hit the latch again and again. I threw myself at the door. I heard a snap. I had just broken the molding on the outside of the door. I hit the latch. I threw myself at the door. I hit the latch. I threw myself at the door. It was a seemingly endless cycle.

Until… the molding got knocked off completely. Another blow or two and my bedroom door, which usually opened into my room, was knocked open out into the hallway. It didn’t fall out of the frame or even break in two. It just sort of rotated in the frame, like a hidden door behind the fireplace, in old movies, that opens after you twist the candle sconce.

After three hours, three amazingly frustrating, panic-inducing hours, the pup and I were finally free to leave the bedroom. We walked through the house to the back door, I let the pup outside to pee, and I collapsed onto the couch, sore and tired.

So, yeah, I’m gonna take the rest of the day off, buy a new doorknob, and maybe get some tacos later.

. . .

BTW, if you’ve ever wondered how much liquid a healthy adult bladder could possibly contain first thing in the morning, the answer is 16 fluid ounces. If you don’t believe me, feel free to check the water bottle I usually keep on my nightstand that is currently resting comfortably in my kitchen garbage can.

Imagine your whole world is silent.

Sure, there are people everywhere, talking. Yelling. Singing. Televisions and radios blare endless amounts of noise. Cars drive by; engines rumbling, brakes screeching, horns honking. A dog barks. But you can’t hear it.

You are walking down a busy street, trying to send a text to a friend, but something is different about your phone. You can’t find any of your previous conversations, but instead discover photos you didn’t take. Photos of… dead bodies?

You are confused. And upset. You might throw up.

Your pace slows, as you try to wrap your mind around what you’ve just seen, and you look up just in time to see the head of the person walking in front of you burst open as a bullet passes through it. The faces of people around you contort in fear as they open their mouths to scream screams you will never hear. Some of them drop to the ground, trying to make themselves as small as possible. Others run for cover.

Now you are even more confused.

You turn around, looking for the answer to a question you’ve already solved. You see a man with a gun. You remember the thing in your hand; the phone that is not your phone, filled with pictures of… such horrible things. Suddenly, you realize who it belongs to.

You look back up. The man with the gun is coming towards you. At you. Fire erupts from the end of the barrel as he takes another soundless shot. A bullet flies by your head.

And then you run.

MUTE: How do you escape a killer you can’t hear coming?

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Hey kids,

I just wanted to let you all know that the Kickstarter for my new comic, MUTE, recently went live! MUTE is a 48-page modern noir comic I wrote that is being drawn by artist Michael Lee Harris.

Mute019
Our story follows Adrian Kim, a deaf steel mill worker, and his ladyfriend, Meg, as they find themselves on the run from a ruthless killer after Adrian accidentally mistakes the killer’s smartphone – filled with incriminating evidence of grisly murders – for his own.

Because Adrian is deaf, there is absolutely no spoken dialogue or sound effects in the comic. You, as the reader, are just as “deaf” as Adrian is. Which means that there aren’t any sort of advanced warnings of oncoming danger. No footsteps slowly growing louder or gunshots ringing through an alleyway; just bullets whizzing past your head.

Of the $7,000 we need to produce MUTE, fifty percent of the money raised will cover art production; a quarter will go towards printing the book; and the rest of the money will be divided up and used to pay for shipping, Kickstarter fees, and various campaign rewards.

The MUTE Kickstarter will run until April 8th at 11:59 PM EST.

Hey kids,

As some of you may remember, I — along with the Amazing David Brame — used to run a webcomic, called Punch-Up, about a kid named Patrick, who gets beaten up for a living, and his slightly unbalanced stalker BFF, Kendra. So, with such a fantastically weird story concept like that, of course we had to do a special Christmas comic.

Santa, Baby ran during the Christmas of 2011 but, since then, the site has been taken down. It may have only been a five page story, but it was one of my favorite, more personal little comics I had ever written. It means quite a bit to me. I love this little bit of weirdness. Hope you enjoy it, too.

(click to enlarge)

Santa Baby
I hope you are all having a very merry happy, no matter how you may be spending it or who you’re spending it with. Love you guys.

Print
Like Beyoncé, I’ve been busy these last few weeks putting together an album in secret that I planned on releasing with absolutely no warning. Unlike Beyoncé, very few people are going to care about this one. Ah, well. My fault for not being astonishingly talented and famous and good-looking. Something to think about for the next one, I suppose.

Anyway.

Yes! A Christmas mixtape! I made one of those! For you! Yes! You! Why? Because I like you, silly! You’re so kind and funny and your hair always looks fantastic and I just wanted to do something nice to show you how much I appreciate you and the friendship we share. It’s kind of the season for that, y’know?

What Christmas Means To Me is made up of several of my favorite Christmas songs. Some of them are super fun and just kind of make you want to dance and sing along. Some are all laid back and nonchalant and perfect for sipping on some egg nog by the fire.

01. Darlene Love: Christmas (Baby, Please Come Home) // 02. Stevie Wonder: What Christmas Means To Me // 03. The Drifters: White Christmas // 04. Ella Fitzgerald: Have yourself a merry little Christmas  // 05. Eartha Kitt: Santa, Baby // 06. Louis Armstrong: ‘Zat You, Santa Claus? // 07. The Ronettes: Sleigh Ride // 08. Ray Charles: Winter Wonderland // 09. Otis Redding: Merry Christmas Baby // 10. Bobby Womack: The Christmas Song // 11. James Brown: Let’s Unite The Whole World At Christmas //12. Vince Guaraldi Trio: Christmas Time Is Here // 13. Silent Track // 14. Jackson 5: Santa Claus Is Coming To Town

You can download the What Christmas Means To Me here. I really do hope you enjoy it.

Happy holidays, you guys. Be good to each other.

My niece asked me to tell her a story, so I told her the popular children’s fable, The Little Prince of Bel-Air:

Once upon a time, there was a young peasant boy named Will, who was born and raised in the small village of West Philadelphia. He spent most of his days frolicking in the woods and meadows; chilling out, maxing, relaxing in a coolish manner, throwing rocks through holes in the trees behind the monastery. One day, a couple of knights, who were up to no good, invaded the village and started wreaking havoc on Will’s family’s land. He got into one little joust and his mother grew scared. She told him “You’re leaving at once on a quest for your aunt and uncle’s castle in the kingdom of Bel-Air!”

Will whistled for his steed and when it came near, the saddle plating said “fresh” and had the most peculiar gear. It anything, he could say that this steed was rare, but thought better of it and, instead, called out “Yah! Homes! To Bel-Air!” Homes was the name of his steed, you see.

It was a long and arduous journey, but Will arrived at the castle of his aunt and uncle, late into the next evening. He placed his steed in the stables for the night – “Yo, Homes.” he reassured the animal. “Smell you later.” Will looked at his new kingdom. He was finally there! And in a short time, after defeating the King’s own son in a duel of both wits and brawn, Will would claim the throne as the new prince of Bel-Air.

Ah, but that is a story for another day…

Because sometimes I need the reminder.

The Go! Team

The Muppets

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Amelie

Amelie

The Princess Bride

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The Brothers Bloom

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Jurassic Park

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The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy

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Parks And Recreation

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The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker

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Superman

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The Cowboy Wally Show

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Amelia Cole

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Baby Elephants

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Coffee Ice Cream

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Pepperoni Bread

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Frozen Grapes

frozen grapes

Making Comics

making comics

Finding new comic book pages from my artist in my inbox.

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When I’m lettering a comic and the dialogue makes a near-perfectly round balloon shape.

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My friends.

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My Godson.

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My Pup.

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My dad and I argue a lot. But never over anything serious. There some sort of unspoken rule in my family that we can only get into a shouting match over things that don’t matter at all.

Like the time my dad tried to unlock my car and then threw the keys at me and yelled for a full ten minutes about how I need to better take care of my things. (BTW, he was trying to unlock my car with HIS car keys. And then he yelled at me for not telling him that he was trying to unlock my car with his keys.)

We never seem to argue — or even discuss — anything that really matters. But the more inconsequential a topic, the louder we’ll shout and the longer we’ll stay mad at each other.

Anyway.

So this evening, after watching the “Angels Take Manhattan” episode of DOCTOR WHO, my dad and I almost came to blows in an argument over Weeping Angels. Tonight’s argument went a little something like this (SPOILERS, Sweeties.):

DAD: What I don’t get is why doesn’t the Doctor just pick up a baseball bat and hit the Weeping Angels with it?

ME: Because they’re in a hotel. There isn’t a baseball bat around.

DAD: There could be.

ME: But there’s not. And even if there was, he’d have to quickly look around for it, taking his eyes off the Angel, and then they’d get him and send him back in time.

DAD: You mean to tell me he couldn’t keep his eye on the Angel and just back up until he found a baseball bat or a crowbar?

ME: In the middle of an empty hotel hallway? He’s just gonna find a random baseball bat laying around?

DAD: Fine! They’re not in a hotel! They’re in a warehouse and there’s a two-by-four right in front of him. You’re telling me he couldn’t just knock off the statue’s head?

*my dad picks up a bottle of Vitamin Water that was left on the coffee table and mimes hitting me over the head with it*

ME: With a two-by-four?

DAD: FINE! A sledgehammer, then! What if he had a sledgehammer?

ME: *under my breath* JFC.

ME: What if he had a NUKE?!

ME: It doesn’t matter, because they’re not in a warehouse! They’re in an empty hotel hallway and they don’t have a baseball bat or a crowbar or a sledgehammer or a &$^@ing two-by-four or any other weapon that can hurt a Weeping Angel!!!

DAD: Well, why not?!

ME: Well, for one thing, they are inside of a hotel that’s practically run by the Weeping Angels. This is their farm to feed from. This is their house. WHY would they keep weapons that could hurt them in their own house?!

DAD: Maybe they just forgot that they had them.

ME: Forgot what? That the had a SLEDGEHAMMER — OR ANY OTHER WEAPON THAT CAN HURT THEM — just laying around? In the hotel where they harvest their food?

ME: First of all, that would be like Superman storing Kryptonite in the Fortress of Solitude and then just FORGETTING ABOUT IT!

ME: Second, would YOU forget that you had a gun in the house, but still just leave it laying around on the coffee table, for the hostages you have trapped in the kitchen to find?

DAD: I don’t know why he just doesn’t run ‘em over with a truck.

ME: You realize that you are basically a crazy person, right?

ME: THEY’RE ON THE SEVENTH FLOOR OF A HOTEL!! WHERE’S HE GETTING A TRUCK FROM?

DAD: I’m just saying, all he did was run away. Running away is stupid. I don’t know why he just didn’t grab something and knock their heads off.

ME: Because that’s NOT the story that’s being told!

ME: The story that’s being told is that they are trapped — SURROUNDED — by Weeping Angels and they are DEFENSELESS against them. Y’know, for the sake of PLOT and DRAMA?

DAD: Whatever. Y’know, I could have been watching the ball game instead of this…

So glad it’s finally Free Comic Book Day! Lettering Jamal Igle’s MOLLY DANGER has been a blast and I’m so grateful that I can finally hold a physical copy of this book in my hands! Hope you guys dig it!

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Not to be outdone by FCBD, I also received Kyle Starks’s amazing THE LEGEND OF RICKY THUNDER collection, a couple of fantastic mini comics, and some pretty rad Ricky Thunder stickers and trading cards in the mail today!

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And, even though I technically received this a week ago, thanks to my best friends, Kev and Jody, I finally got my hands on a copy of THE LEGEND OF ZELDA: HYRULE HISTORIA.

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Zelda is probably my all-time FAVORITE video game series and I have been wanting a Zelda art book for the looongest time. So you can imagine how absolutely THRILLED I was when the HISTORIA was announced last year.

(I don’t know if you can tell, but I am cackling maniacally behind the book.)

So, yeah, Ice Cube, I guess today was a good day…

Hey kids,

I’ve got a pretty exciting announcement to make.

As most of you know, in addition to writing comics, I also letter comics and have been lucky enough to have worked on a number of fantastic books. About a month back, I was hired to letter what is easily one of the biggest titles of my career thus far: Jamal Igle’s MOLLY DANGER!

Molly Danger

Most of you will recognize Jamal Igle from his fantastic runs drawing books like SUPERGIRL and NIGHTWING.

MOLLY is his first all-ages creator-owned graphic album series. “She’s smart, and she’s incredibly brave. She’s the protector of Coopersville, the Princess of Finesse, the petite powerhouse known only as Molly Danger! But what secrets threaten everything she holds dear?” You can read more about both Jamal and Molly here.

And, as if that’s not cool enough, on May 4th, you can pick up the first eleven pages of the world’s most powerful 10-year-old girl’s story — with my letters : ) — for FREE in the MOLLY DANGER/PRINCELESS Free Comic Book Day book from Action Lab Entertainment!

Molly Danger FCBD

You can read a preview of the MOLLY DANGER FCBD story here (although, I CAN NOT stress enough the fact that these are not final letters.).

Check back here for more MOLLY and non-MOLLY related comic book announcements in the near future. Like, say, next week-ish. ; )

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