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Hey kids,

So I don’t usually like to tell you guys what to do with your money. It’s your money. Who the hell am I to tell you how to spend it? If I come across something cool – an awesome new Kickstarter campaign or a particularly cool book or piece of art that a friend of mine made – I might point it out to you, just so you know it exists and let you make your own purchasing decisions. Hell, a couple of weeks ago, when an anthology came out with one of my stories in it, I was even like “Hey, this exists. You can buy it. If you want. Or not. Whatever. I’m not gonna force you.”

But this? This is something different.

Earlier this week, we saw the launch of MonkeyBrain Comics; a creator-owned digital comics line, founded by Chris Roberson and Allison Baker, and distributed through Comixology. Five books were announced and released, with more titles to be revealed next week at the San Diego Comic Con. While each of those books are amazing in their own way, I’m only want to talk about one of them.

Meet Amelia Cole.

“Amelia Cole lives in two worlds — literally. One runs on magic, the other built on technology. When the barriers between those worlds start to break down, Amelia and her aunt Dani must take extreme action. It’s the start of whole new world in adventure, magic, and excitement as Amelia Cole steps forward to do what she knows it right, even when the consequences might be wrong.”

Amelia Cole and the Unknown World is one of those rare and special gems of comicdom.

The first issue hits the ground running, tossing you right into the action, and manages to stay quick-paced and action-packed, interesting and suspenseful, and – most importantly, I think – fun to the end. Like the titular character, you’re never really sure what’s going on or what could possibly come next and, by the time you get to the end, you’re practically begging for that second issue, because the first so beautiful sets up a world where anything can happen that you just can’t wait until everything does.

Here’s where I’m going to stop talking about plot, because I don’t want to spoil a single panel for you – just know that the story is magical in every sense of the word – and instead talk about character.

Amelia Cole is not a “strong female character.” She is a strong character. Period. Her gender has little [re: nothing] to do with what the book is about or anything that happens within it. She is smart and capable, with an inner strength that she herself may not be fully aware of.

But she is not without her flaws. She can be rash and headstrong, reacting without thinking about the consequences of her actions. She makes mistakes. Which land her in some sticky situations. Yet, as strong as she is, she still has moments of doubt, there are cracks in her self-confidence.

Amelia Cole is an attractive young woman, but not “sexy” by the standard “cheesecake” views of women in pop culture. She’s not a waif. She’s also not super buff, either. She doesn’t have six-pack abs, “legs that go all the way up,” a non-existent waist, or breasts that double as floatation devices. She has weight. She has hips. She has a backbone – both figuratively and literally – that conforms to the physics of how the human body can and should move.

She also wears these odd things seldom seen in mainstream comic books: clothes. Like real clothes. That a person would wear. Amelia dresses in jeans, a tank top, a slightly over-sized flannel shirt, and – gasp! – comfortable shoes. This is a girl who knows the value having to move and run quickly. There’s no spandex or form-fitting leather and all of her clothes survive the issue without being torn up and/or off. “Scantily clad” is not a phrase that exists in this world. How original!

Amelia Cole feels like more than a three dimensional character. She is a thinking, feeling human being.

And then there’s the magic. Oh, the magic.

Wands. Energy blasts. Persuasion demons. Ancient runes. Portals. Magic doors. Alternative worlds. Other realms. Bouncy teleportation balls. (Omigod, if and when they start releasing Amelia Cole merchandise, you guys are all gonna want an official “Amelia Cole” Bouncy Teleportation Ball ™! I’m telling you. They’re fun.)

And that’s just in the first issue.

I think one of the best things about Amelia Cole and the Unknown World, though, is that it has a little something for everyone, appealing to a wide and diverse demographic, and it’s rated 12+ so just about anyone can read and enjoy it!

Do you like Harry Potter? Then you’d probably like Amelia Cole. Do you read comics like Phonogram, Runaways, The Immortal Iron Fist, Y: The Last Man, or Atomic Robo? Do you watch TV shows like Avatar: The Last Airbender and The Legend of Korra? Do you enjoy the works of Miyazaki or even Joss Whedon? Then, your probably dig Amelia Cole, too.

Amelia Cole and the Unknown World is written by Adam P. Knave and D.J. Kirkbride, two award-winning writers who show their love of comics and story on every page; drawn by Nick Brokenshire, a master of illustration and color who breathes brilliant life into this magical new world; expertly lettered by Rachel Deering; and is available now on Comixology for only $1.99 for 28 pages. (You can can read an eight-page preview of the first issue here.)

With almost a third more content than your average mainstream book, and at half the cost, I urge you to take a chance, pick up the book, and get to know Amelia Cole and her unknown world with her.

You’ll be really glad you did.

Hey kids,

A couple of weeks ago, I mentioned that the EnterVOID Anthology — the 178 page full-color trade paperback, featuring self-contained fight comics by several EnterVOID writers and artists, including Cat Fight, a 20-page comic written and lettered by yours truly, drawn by the Amazing David Brame, and colored by the incredible Heather Breckel — was finally in print for $20.00.

Well, I just got word that you can now also buy the anthology in digital form, through Graphicly, for only $4.99! So feel free to pick it up, if that is a thing that is relative to your interests.

Hey kids,

Long time no see, right? Sorry about that.

Been in a bit of kind of a bad place the past two weeks. Someone I was, for a time, very close to took her own life and I have been dealing with that loss — and all of the sadness and anger and regret and guilt that comes with it — poorly, to say the least. I tried talking about it, I tried writing about it, but couldn’t quite find the right words. So I decided to keep my mouth shut, bottle that shit up, and deal with it on my own as best I could.

Y’know, ’cause that’s what I’m best at; bottling shit up.

The first few days were rough. I’m pretty sure I was in a literal near-catatonic state of shock for those first 24 hours. I did a little better next day, though, and better still the day after that. It’s been just under two weeks now and I still haven’t exactly jumped to the “acceptance” stage of the Kubler-Ross — I’m still stuck somewhere in the middle — but the hurt gets a little easier to live with every day, even if it never truly goes away.

I’ve written and rewritten this post every day for the past week, including each and every raw nerve and scattered emotion, but I could never actually bring myself to hit the “Publish” button. I finally realized that, while writing out my feelings on the subject may bring some small sense of closure, those details really aren’t any of your business. So this is all you get. Sorry.

I’m also disabling comments on this post. I don’t mean to seem rude. I just don’t think I can stand to hear anyone say “I’m sorry for your loss.” one more time. Because it’s not my loss. It’s her’s. It’s her you should feel sad for. Not me. She was the one who was is so much pain that she had to… that she felt like she had no other options. I get that. I’ve been there. Don’t feel bad for me. She was the one who was suffering. And now, for better or worse, she is not.

I don’t know. Maybe I have a skewed way of looking at suicide.

Anyway. For those of you who are upset that I’ve been mostly quiet and distant the past few weeks, I’m sorry. I’m on my way back. I promise. And for those who are upset that I’m not mostly quiet and distant more often… *shrugs* I don’t know what to tell you.

I’m still here. I’m OK-ish. I’m dealing. It’s just taking some time.