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Hey kids!

Just a quick note to let you all know that there are going to be some changes coming. Very soon, in fact.

For the past four or five years, I’ve been writing, blogging, and publishing under the alias Boom Boom Storm Cloud. (My friend and former coworker, Scott Woods, gave me the nickname several years ago because I had never seen the Lord of the Rings movies; something about how I rain down negativity or how I’m loud but pretty much harmless, like a lightning storm, or something like that. You’ll have to ask him.)

Anyway, I dug the nickname. It stuck. It conveyed everything I wanted to say about my work to my readers: it’s going to be something different, it’s going to be fun, funny, something you won’t read anywhere else, negativity will rain down… or something like that.

I started seriously using the BBSC pseudonym when I started writing for Tastes Like Chicken, a now-defunct underground humor/entertainment/arts magazine where all of the writers and artists involved used aliases. From there, I started to alter all of my online wheelings and dealings to suit my BBSC mask; my Myspace profile was suddenly renamed, a new email account was started, ol’ Boom Boom got a blog (Y’know, the one you’re reading right now.), a Deviant Art and Twitter account.

And it was good.

And then something horrible happened — something so terrible and unspeakable that I’m ashamed to even utter the words: I grew up.

I know. I know. I’m ashamed, too.

But I decided that, since I’m seriously trying to break into the comic book industry, that I should stop hiding behind a nom de plume (Especially, on as silly-sounding as Boom Boom Storm Cloud.) and start using my real name.

And so the Great Frank Rebranding of 2009 has officially begun!

In fact, it’s kind of already started. If you look around the blog, you’ll see more “Franks” around the blog than you will “Boom Booms”. That sounds kind of dirty, actually. Anyway, I’ll be changing the blog, email address, and Twitter addresses, and so on and so forth to reflect the rebranding.

I’m hiring talented artist and friend, Michael Harris, to design a new Frank-specific logo. The old BBSC logo is a work of art but and things must change and it’s time for it to go into retirement.

Also retiring soon is my sign-off line “Your friend (and part-time lover).” “Part-time Lover” has served me well through the years it feels too BBSC-specific and so it too shall be put to an end. I’ve been racking my brains over the past few months trying to come up with a suitable replacement line but have thus far been unsuccessful.

That’s where you come in!

Let’s have a little contest, shall we? At the bottom, where it says “Post a comment”, tell me what my new sign-off line should be. We’ll let a few weeks go by before the judging. Winner will get some brand new art work that I’m going to force Mr. Harris to make. Just kidding. No idea what the prize will be. Probably an original sketch by yours truly or a short story written in your honor or something equally lame.

Hmm. Maybe we should have a contest to determine what the contest prizes should be, first…

Be sure to enter the rebranding contest and keep your eyes here in the coming weeks and months for all sorts of changes and updates!

Your friend (and part-time lover, albeit not for much longer),
Frank Cvetkovic

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I’m about to lose control and I think I like it!

Hey Kids!

Got a few quick updates for ya here that I am really excited about. Like, serious MANIC excitement.

First of all, in a few months, towards the end of June, a few friends of mine and I will be road-trippin’ it down to Charlotte, NC for Heroes Con, a fairly big comic convention. Going along for the ride will be [Punch-Up artist] Amazing David Brame and his ladyfriend, Heather, my frequent mini-comics collaborator Sir Michael Harris, and Abby “Don’t give me a stupid nickname!” Kokai.

We won’t be renting a table and selling anything at the con this time, since we… have nothing… to sell… *ahem* Our reason for making the 425 mile trip is to pitch our books to various comic companies in hopes to trick them into publishing them for us. Heh heh heh. Suckers.

David and I will be pitching Punch-Up to Oni Press, which I now believe to be our best shot at getting the book picked up. Oni Press, who publishes a few of my favorite comics including the AMAZING Scott Pilgrim OGN (Original Graphic Novel) series doesn’t accept unsolicited submissions which means you can’t get a book out through them unless they talk to you in person at a convention.

Oni also doesn’t make it out to any corporately controlled conventions — like Wizard World Chicago, San Diego, etc. – and most of the cons the do frequent are on the west coast, so Heroes Con is one of our only chances to meet with them this year. (They also have representatives at Wonder Con, in Baltimore, and the convention in Toronto, but those aren’t until later in the year.)

With Image apprehensive about taking a chance on a 260-page OGN from relative unknowns, David and I think Oni is our best bet to get Punch-Up published. While we’re there, David is also going to pitch his own OGN, which I don’t know much about so I won’t talk about it here but, from what I have heard about it, it sounds pretty fucking awesome.

While we’re at Heroes Con, Abby and I will be also talking to Image/Shadowline about our new 40-page all-ages kids book! I don’t want to give away too much about the kids book, but I will say that this thing is going to knock your socks off! I wrote it and Abby is going to quilt all of the pages!

Abby and I spent almost a good six hours last night, huddled in a Cup O’ Joe Coffee House, storyboarding the pages. We have the book completely laid out and, on Sunday, we’ll get together again, and work on character designs and *SPOILER* spaceship designs *SPOILER* We’re hoping to have the entire thing done by the end of June so we can have everything ready in time to pitch to Shadowline.

I was so excited when I got home last night, at just before one o’clock in the morning, that I couldn’t sleep last night! This book is going to be so friggin’ sweet! God, I can’t wait for you all to see it!

Don’t hold your breath for any kids book previews, though. At 260 pages, we can afford to show off a few really cool Punch-Up pages, ever now and then. But being only 40 pages, we’re only going to be able to show you maybe one or two interior pages of the kids book and the cover, although, maybe I can convince Abby to blog a tutorial on her quilting process.

Anyway, that’s all I can share with you today. As always, keep your eyes here for future updates and random acts of sarcasm.

Remember: The pen is mightier than the sword… unless you’re in a sword fight, and then it’s pretty much useless.

Frank Cvetkovic

16JAN2009

Work lets out at six o’clock, not a moment too soon.

After a mishap, trying to toss some old newspaper in the recycling bin only to find it completely frozen shut, I somehow find myself back in the library with my co-workers again, getting ready to lock up and leave for the night. The building locked and secured, we make our way to the parking lot, saying our “goodbyes” and “have a nice weekends”. I unlock my car, get in, revving my engine a few times trying to get the car to warm up a bit; the weather outside is in the frigid single digits, so that doesn’t seem like a likely outcome.

I pull out of the parking lot and make my way home. I take side streets the entire way since rush hour on the freeways – on a Friday night, no less – is murder. But that’s okay; I turn on my CD player and Augusten Burroughs tells my about his horrible childhood. I feel a bit better about my own.

I pull into my apartment building’s parking lot a little after six thirty. I stay in my car a few moment longer, to get to the chapter break in the book-on-CD. The CD flips from track 11 to track 12 and I shut off my car, collect my messenger bag, and head towards my apartment.

I unlock the door, step inside and throw my bag onto the dining room table. The puppy whines excitedly and does her little potty dance. I grab her lease and collar and attach it to her as I open the door to her crate. We go for a quick walk outside, so she can empty her bladder, and then it’s back inside so I can empty mine.

I change into some warm pajama pants and a sweatshirt, fill the pups food and water bowls, and sit down in my comfy chair, turning on the last disc of the fourth season of The Office. After an episode or two, I head to the fridge and grab a couple slices of leftover pizza and a can of Kroger-brand lemon lime soda.

If you ever want to make me happy, a slice or two of a good vegetarian pizza is surely the way to go.

I watch another episode before the pup lets me know that she has to go out again. I reattach her to her leash, wrapping the other end around my hand twice, and then we head out the door.

We don’t get too far out before the pup takes care of her business. I pick it up in a little plastic baggy and we set out for the dumpster, where I toss it in. The pup still has quite a bit of energy left so we continue walking.

We walk around the entire building, stopping every so often so the pup can sniff around or stick her face into the snow; looking very much like Tony Montana at the end of Scarface when she pulls out. After another twenty minutes or so, the cold has gotten into my lungs and it burns. The pup is shivering, but she wants to continue on. I persuade her to go back inside instead.

We cross the parking lot, heading back towards our apartment. The parking lot is pretty well plowed, as are the sidewalks, however, the spaces around the cars have drifts of snow upwards of a foot and a half.

We walk through the lot, practically hugging the parked cars, until we get to the shoveled sidewalk. The pup stops to jump through snowdrifts in between two cars on my right.

Out of nowhere, the snow in front of me so illuminated so brightly it’s almost blinded. My shadow is cast across the ground and quickly starts to shrink. I turn my head to the left and a bright light shines in my eyes for the briefest of moments and then I am violently thrown forward and to ground, to the sound of screeching tires, spinning slightly as I go down.

I open my eyes and I realize I’m face down in snow, but I don’t know for how long. Several seconds, I surmise. I plant my hands on the ground and push until my head is out of the snow. Pain shoots through my shoulder and back. My puppy playfully licks snow off of my face.

I’m not sure what exactly just happened.

I look up and see a red – possibly brown – pick-up truck shape stopped about twenty feet away. I almost expect the driver to throw it in reverse and finish the job off. Instead, the red – possibly brown – pick-up truck shape peels out, spraying slush from beneath it’s back tires, thick light grayish exhaust discharges from underneath.

I try to catch even one of the numbers from the red – possibly brown – pick-up truck shape’s license plate, but my eyes can’t focus. I realize that my glasses have been knocked off and I search the ground, finding them a few feet away. I put them on, hoping to still catch that license plate, but the red – possibly brown – pick-up truck shape is already long gone and my glasses are too covered in dirty slush to see anyway.

The puppy dances around me happily – “Daddy’s playing in the snow, too!” – as I try to stand up and I count myself lucky at least that I didn’t let go of the leash when I went down; as bad as I feel right now, I don’t think I could have chased after her.

Back on my feet, I look around as we walk back to the apartment – snowdrifts be damned – and, true to form, no one in the area comes out to see if I’m okay.

Ah, life in the ghetto.

I close and lock the door to my apartment, drop the pup’s leash – not even bothering to take it off of her – and collapse onto couch, with my gloves, scarf, hat and shoes still on.

I lay there for several minutes, before reaching over and picking up my cell phone off of the coffee table. I feel a stress and pain as I reach for it. I open the phone and dial the number for the police. The dispatcher tells me that a patrol car should be there within twenty to twenty-five minutes, of course, it doesn’t take nearly that long.

Forty-five minutes later, there’s a knock on my door. I put the pup in her crate and open the door. I explain to the officer what happened and even take him outside to where it happened. He tells me that a red – possibly brown – pick-up truck shape isn’t much to go on and, without a license plate number – or even a partial license plate number – there’s little he can do. I told him that I figured as much, but wanted to report it anyway.

The officer gets back in his patrol car and I head back inside myself. The officer sits in his car for about ten more minutes – doing paper work, I suppose — before leaving Tim Horton’s, I think to myself.

I take off my shoes, scarf, gloves, hat, and hoodie and ease myself down into my comfy chair. My warm pajama pants have dried, since falling in the snow, but my knees are still wet. I pull up my pant legs and find my knees scraped and bloodied. I go to the bedroom to change my clothes.

I throw the clothes I was wearing into a laundry basket, then head to the bathroom to clean and dress the wounds on my knees. I turn and look at my back in the bathroom mirror. Already, it is covered in black and blue bruises. I return to the bedroom and pull on another pair of warm pajama pants and a faded old sweatshirt.

It’s after ten o’clock, closer to ten thirty, and I realize that the last two hours have exhausted me. I turn out the lights in the living room. The puppy, who was sleeping on the couch, wakes up, yawns, and follows me – quickly passing me – into the bedroom.

I take off my glasses and place them on the dresser. I plug my cell phone into its charger. I climb into bed. The pup has already curled up underneath the covers. I turn off the light and I sleep.

That night, I dream about fireworks, although, I imagine that’s mostly because of the pain in my back and shoulder.



17JAN2009

At 6:02 AM, I roll over – waking briefly to eye the clock – and deciding that it is, in fact, 6:02 AM, my head nestles back down into my pillow again for what seems like seconds, but what is actually fifty-six minutes.

At 6:58, I feel a tongue gently pass through my lips and after a second, I remember that I don’t have a girlfriend and open my eyes, finding my puppy laying down on my chest, her nose to mine.

Almost immediately after, at 7:00 AM my alarm – my annoying little alarm, designed to shriek louder and louder until you either A) wake up and hit the “off” button or B) bash the damned thing against the wall over and over again until it resembles something that could pass more as modern art than as a functioning clock and, then, fall back to sleep – goes off.

This morning, regrettably, I choose option A.

I slowly, ever so slowly, sit up in bed – my head feels as though it were filled with concrete instead of blood and bone and tissue, my back and shoulder stiff and aching – and slump back over, under the tremendous weight of my head, to the opposite side of my bed. The puppy, finding this incredibly amusing, jumped back onto the bed, dancing around me with her little tail wagging.

Placing my hands on the bed, I push myself back into a sitting position and, once I get the hang of that, feel adventurous enough to attempt standing.

Like baby Bambi, it take a few tries to get into a fully vertical stance and, even when I am, my knees shake and my legs felt like jelly, my whole equilibrium off.

Several minutes pass by the time I finally stand up. The pup looks up at me as she finishes peeing on the bedroom carpet. I spray the wet spot with some carpet cleaner and head into the bathroom for a shower.

I feel a lot more stiff and sore today than I did yesterday and the bruises on my back are much more vibrant in color. It hurts when I stand. It hurts when I sit. I hurts when I rotate my shoulder or pick up anything heavier than a pillow.

I stand under the hot shower, letting the streams of water massage my back, until the water runs cold. And then I stand under it for a bit longer.

I dry off and change into fresh, warm clothes. I make my way into the kitchen, grabbing a bottle of water from the fridge and the dog food from atop the counter, and fill the pup’s food bowls; knowing full well that she won’t eat it until either A) she’s starving, later tonight, or B) I mix in a hot dog or two. Afterwards, I decide on a bowl of oatmeal for myself, strawberries and cream.

I settle into my comfy chair and eat, watching the last episode and some commentary on the fourth season of The Office. I pause only to wash my bowl, when I finish eating, and then I begin to write; nothing much, mind you, a page or two of prose.

Just before eleven, I send a text to a few friends, letting them know of the previous night’s events. “Got hit by a pick-up truck while walking the pup last night. Well, more like clipped. Pup’s fine. I just got some bruises and a little soreness in my back.”

Almost immediately after I send the text, I get a phone call from my friend Tom, who live in DC. He asks if I’m okay and, after a few minutes of questions and answers, he tries to make me feel better by saying whoever hit me likely worked for someone higher up who was trying stop Punch-Up, my book, from ever coming out and, having failed this, ended up falling through a trapdoor into some sort of James Bond-ian deathtrap.

I realize he’s only trying to cheer me up, but laughing – which I’m doing a lot of, as we talk – hurts and a part of me wonders if he’s only trying to finish me off.

We hang up and I call Abby, who called while I was on the phone with Tom.

I repeat much of the same conversation I had with Tom, then, Abby and I talk about her job and how she has the hots for this guy who may be working with her soon. I advise her to – quote – hit that. And, then, somehow, we get on the subject of her parents’ sex lives, both before and after marriage. We make plans to meet up with Michael on Monday – since she usually has Mondays off, I have a three-day weekend due to MLK Day, and Michael is unemployed… I mean, a freelance artist – for a movie day.

I move to the couch, wrap a blanket around myself and the pup, and read a couple chapters of a comic called The Goon. I finish the book and retrieve two volumes of another comic, called Nextwave, a book so ridiculous it never fails to make me feel good.

Around three o’clock I get a text from my friend Nonnie. “Glad to hear you’re not dead. Try to use this as a learning experience. And remember: Batman would’ve jumped on to the truck and jabbed the driver in the throat.”

I laugh until my ribs hurt, wondering if Nonnie is in cahoots with Tom and the driver of the red – possibly brown – pick-up truck shape.

I suddenly remember that we’re running low on dog food and are completely out of hot dogs and other dog treats and, I think to myself, the pup is probably going to want to eat again before to long. Feeling somewhat adventurous, I put on my hoodie, hat gloves, scarf, and shoes, put the pup in her crate, and leave the apartment. Driving in my conditions is fairly easy, although getting in and out of the car proves to be more than I bargained for.

I arrive at Target within about twenty minutes and, inside the store, make my way to the pet aisle. The particular brand of food that I usually buy for the pup is, of course, on the top shelf and I have to stretch and stand on my toes to reach it. This sends a spasm of pain throughout my body. I reach again, grabbing the dog food bag. One more time and I pull the eight pound bag off the shelf. I lose my grip on it and it falls. I catch it before it even comes close to hitting the ground, but not with out painful consequences. I quickly put the bag in my cart, snag two small packages of dog treats, and exit the pet aisle.

I wander around Target aimlessly for a bit. I look in the sports department, contemplating buying a bike come spring. I make my way towards the audio/visual department and browse through the DVDs, deciding to buy two bargain bin movies: O Brother, Where Art Thou? and The Full Monty.

I check out and head back to my car.

While I’m out, I think, I should stop at the grocery store and pick up a few essentials. And fifteen minutes later, I’m entering a Kroger that’s not too far from my apartment. I roam up and down the aisles, lazily picking up various items and putting them in my cart. I check out. Return to my car. Drive home. Put groceries away. I walk the pup.

I place two hot dogs in the microwave and, a minute later, on top of the dog food she didn’t eat this morning. She gobbles down the entire thing, as I refresh her water bowl.

I change back into my warm pajama pants and collapse on the couch. I am exhausted. I feel deflated, like a balloon several days later, hovering only a foot and a half about the ground, waiting to be popped and thrown away.

I decide that A) I’m hungry, B) dinner is a must, and C) pasta sounds good. But, when I get into the kitchen, I decide that D) pasta requires several minutes standing over the stove, stirring, and several more minutes over the sink, washing dishes. Instead, I opt for another bowl of oatmeal, apples and cinnamon, which takes only two minutes on high.

I watch The Full Monty as I eat, remembering how funny this movie is and thinking that this would count as irrefutable proof, to my dad, that I am gay.

When the movie is over, I wash the bowl and put it in the dish drain. I sit back down in my comfy chair, open my iTunes and play Belle & Sebastian’s The BBC Sessions, and continue working on character sheets for my next original graphic novel, I Think I Love My Wife.

Just before six thirty, I get a phone call from Kevin, my old roommate and someone who was one of my closest friends. Kevin got married to my other good friend, Jody, a year and a half ago, and moved over a hundred miles away. We haven’t kept in close contact for about a year, ever since a rather unpleasant incident occurred, so I’m a little surprised when he calls and tell me that he and Jody are in town for the weekend and that they were inviting me out to dinner with them and a few other friends of ours at Thurman’s, a restaurant in the German Village.

I turn down Kevin’s offer, telling him that I had already ate, keeping the information about the incident with the red – possibly brown – pick-up truck shape to myself, figuring that he and Jody will learn about it soon enough from Abby or Michael, who will joining them for dinner. Part of me really does want to go to dinner with them, but another part of me is weary of getting both too close and possibly hurt again.

A third part of me is still too sore to move and that’s the part that ultimately wins out. I stay home and continue to write.

At roughly a quarter to eight, I exchange a few text messages with Michael and then get a phone call from Nonnie. We talk about the incident with the red – possibly brown – pick-up truck shape and then we talk shop, comparing books that each of us are working on. We talk for a little over an hour before Nonnie tells me that he has to get going.

It’s nine o’clock and I decide that now is as good a time as any to take the pup out one last time before bed.

We come in about ten minutes later and I finish both writing and Belle & Sebastian’s The BBC Sessions. Halfway between a cover of “The Boys Are Back In Town”, I decide that what little I’ve done today has really worn me out and the pup looks like she is about to fall asleep any moment as well, so we turn in for the night.

I double check that I’ve locked the front door and turned off the lamp in the living room, before heading into the bedroom. I charge my phone and take off my glasses, placing them on the dresser, before getting into bed. I can hear a radio commercial coming from my upstairs neighbor’s apartment. He’s listening to “Ohio’s Best Rock”.

After a moment, the ad is over and AC/DC informs me that they can do dirty deeds for me at a surprisingly reasonable rate. Aerosmith comes on next and sings me to sleep.

That night, I have an odd dream.

I enter what looks like a cross between a mall, a movie theater, and an amusement park with my friend Jason. I’m fairly sure we’re there to see a movie, however, the building is vast and palace-like. Outside, there is an amusement park log ride, in which a man-made river starts outside the entrance to the building and travels downhill towards the parking lot.

We walk down a hallway and into a theater. There is no stadium seating, like in most theaters, just rows of seats at a slight incline as it gets further away from the front stage. It looks as if someone with money transformed a high school gymnasium into an auditorium for plays and concerts, where they also sometimes show movies.

We take a seat towards the far right, next to the exit. We sit and talk for a few moments, before the movie starts. There is a couple – what looks like a husband, sitting in front of me, and a wife, in front of Jason – sitting silently in front of us. Every few minutes they turn and whisper to each other. Something bothers me about the woman; she looks familiar.

The couple stands up and starts to turn around, grabbing pamphlets out of her purse. The start to pass out these brochures to people sitting around them – I never do see what the pamphlets are about – and that’s when I figure out where I know this woman from.

Her name – for the purpose of this writing – is Kelly, and she and I used to date, sort of, back in high school. I haven’t seen her or had any sort of communication with her in nearly ten years now, though, I heard secondhand that she did get married a few years back.

She recognizes me right away and we act surprised to see each other and embrace. She introduces me to her husband and I introduce her to my friend. We small talk for a bit, catching up, and then she tells me that she’s glad she ran into me, actually. She has a favor to ask of me. I say, “Sure.” and “What can I do for you?”

Kelly tells me about how she and her husband have been married for close to five years now and how, in those five years, they’ve tried to have children but couldn’t conceive. She tells me that they’ve seen doctors – so many doctors – but they still have problems. She tells me that she wants me to impregnate her so she can have a baby.

I think it over.

Well,” I say and then immediately bolt towards the exit, running down the hall and outside. I can’t get away fast enough. I run through a line of people, pushing them out of my way as I go, and jump into the next log-shaped car floating up and down in the man-made river. I push the car down the track, slapping away the hands of angry people waiting their turn in line, and plummet down the waterfall, creating an enormous splash as I reach the bottom.

The cart floats lazily along through the river until the bottom catches on something underwater and comes to a complete stop. A log-shaped car goes over the waterfall behind me, creating the same gigantic splash mine did, and rams into the back of my car. Everyone in that car and I are knocked into the water. I feel a little dazed but start swimming for the far end of the pool anyway.

I pull myself out of the pool, my clothes heavy with water. I jog towards the parking lot, dripping the entire way, my shoes making that horrid “squish, squish, squish” sound. I find my car, wring as much water as I can out of my clothes, and drive off as quickly as I can.

As I get onto the highway, I feel relieved and happily assume that Jason probably stayed behind to help Kelly and her husband with their little dilemma.



18JAN2009

I wake up early on Sunday morning – for some reason, I have trouble sleeping and end up tossing a turning all night – although, I lay in bed until sometime after seven.

I’m very sore and very stiff. Every move I make hurts. I try stretching, trying to loosen up a little, but it hurts too much and I end up stopping after some fifteen minutes or so.

I try to put on my hoodie, to take the dog outside, but I can’t move in the correct way to do so. I put the leash on the dog and take her outside, wearing only the pajama pants and sweatshirt I wore to bed, a pair of gloves, a scarf and my hat.

It is a quick walk this morning. No time to wander about and smell the roses.

I microwave a couple of hot dogs, when we come back in, and mix it in with the puppy’s food. Then, I make the last pack in a box of oatmeal for myself, blueberries and cream. I put on O Brother, Where Art Thou? – probably my favorite Coen Brothers film – as I eat.

When the film is over, I’m still feeing stiff so I lay down on the couch and pull my laptop – now a gut-top – onto my chest and pick up where I left off last night on my character sheets, while listening to Of Montreal’s The Sundlantic Twins.

Around twelve o’clock, I call my friend Jason. We talk for a bit, about the incident with the red – possibly brown – pick-up truck shape, work, and comics.

I try reading for a while – Warren Ellis and Stuart Immonen’s Nextwave, Vol. 1 – but end up feeling worn out and tired. The puppy is already sleeping at my feet and I figure that she has the right idea. I pull a blanket over the two of us and we nap for about two or three hours.

When I wake up, I decide that I really do need to get some work done and sit down at the computer again. I write but don’t get much accomplished and am somewhat relieved when my phone rings. It’s my friend Steph and we talk for twenty minutes or so, catching up.

I turn on the TV after a while and catch the end of Jackie Chan’s Who Am I? And I wonder the same thing: “Who are you, dude? You used to make good movies.”

Feeling sluggish and achy, I sit through Everybody Hates Chris, and two episode of The Drew Carey Show. At some point during a commercial break, I fix dinner for the pup and, tired of oatmeal, I make myself a bowl of generic Kroger-brand Honey Nut Toasted Oats for dinner.

Abby calls me a little after seven and fills me in on the events of the previous night’s dinner and club-hopping that I missed out on.

As soon as I hang up with Abby, I call my friend Tom, interrupting his studies to get a little perspective on I problem that’s been bugging me.

Tom and I talk until a little after nine-thirty and then I let him get back to his books. I read a couple of more chapters of Nextwave and then the pup and I head off to bed.

That night, I have another odd dream.

In my dream, I get a phone call from my friend and Punch-Up artist, David Brame. He tells me that he, Michael, Abby and a few other friends are meeting up to hang out. He gives me directions and I tell him I’ll meet them there in a bit.

I stop at a corner store, to buy something to drink before meeting up with the others, and, as I leave the store, I notice a police cruiser parked in the lot next to the store. I look at the cruiser and then back at my car and decide that the cruiser is a much better car than my own. So I get in and drive off, leaving my own car in its parking space.

I follow Dave’s directions and they lead me to my grandmother’s old house. I enter the house, but no one is home. I decide to explore the house and find that everything is just as it was before my grandmother had died. As I come down the stairs, another police cruiser pulls up outside of the house, its light’s flashing, siren blaring.

The police officer enters the house, gun drawn and tells me that I’m under arrest for stealing a police vehicle. I tell him that I didn’t do it, it wasn’t me. I’m not lying to the officer. The memory of stealing a police cruiser no longer exists to me. I block it out. As far as I’m concerned, I didn’t steal the car. It must have been there before I arrived.

I’m handcuffed anyway and, instead of taking me to prison, the officer takes me to my parents house. It’s late at night and, for some reason, no one is home. We wait in the living room for them, making small talk, I’m still handcuffed, and, sometime around four or five-thirty in the morning, my folks come home. The officer takes them aside and they talk. I can not hear what they are saying, but I know that nothing good can come from this.

I wake up before anything ever happens.



19JAN2009

Since winter started, the pup has been letting me sleep in a bit. I think it has something to do with the fact that when she wakes up, it’s still dark, so she goes back to sleep.

And that’s okay with me.

We wake up sometime after eight o’clock which, I know doesn’t sound like sleeping in to most people but, to me, it is quite awesome.

I sit up in bed and a sharp pain shoots through my right shoulder, like someone stuck a knife in and then started to twist. It hurts like hell and I think that it might be an aftereffect of getting hit by the red – possibly brown – pick-up truck shape. I’ve been in two other car accidents before Friday night, one as a driver and one as a passenger – neither of them my fault – and, in both cases, I felt fine for the most part on the day of the accident; it wasn’t until a few days later that I started to really feel any discomfort and sore.

I throw on my hoodie and gloves, put the pup’s leash on her, and took her for a quick walk.

When we get back, I make a bowl of oatmeal for breakfast – strawberries and cream – and put on a French film by Luc Besson that Michael recommended to me, called Angel-A. It takes place in Paris, it’s in black and white, and it’s everything I could ever want in a film. I make a note to add it to my Amazon DVD Wish-List.

After the film is over, I think to myself that I need to buy Michael some Chipotle for recommending it to me. But then I think that he never reads my blog, so he’ll never read this anyway and I’ll never have to pay up.

I wash my breakfast bowl, then turn on Chappelle’s Show: The Lost Episodes, and start to write.

Around one-thirty, I called Michael and made a game plan to meet up at Abby’s later for a movie day. A little while later, I feed the pup, put her in her crate, packed up my computer, and gathered the trash. I’m just getting ready to leave when someone knocks on my door. It’s my neighbor, the Taxi.

Sometimes, I give people nicknames based on what they use me as.

Anyway, the Taxi – who, admittedly, has had her share of health problems lately – tells me that she needs to go to her sister’s house so she could get her medicine. I tell her that I have to go meet friends of mine is a few minutes and she tells me it won’t take long, it’s just around the corner. Honest.

I tell her again that I really can’t, I have to meet friends at three o’clock, and I close the door. A few minutes later, I head out to my car and the Taxi is waiting at my passenger’s side door. I tell her I really have go and she offers me twenty dollars.

Well, I mean, twenty bucks is twenty bucks, right?

We get in the car and pull out onto the road. She tells me her sister’s house is not to far, just a few miles down Livingston. Fifteen minutes later, we turn off of Livingston and travel another ten minutes before we finally get to her sister’s house. As we drive, I get two calls from Michael, wondering where I am, but I silence them.

We pull into the driveway and the Taxi gets out, telling me that I should come in with her. I say that I’d rather just wait in the car, but she says to come in. I tell her that I have to make a phone call and she says just come on in when I’m done.

I call Michael, but he doesn’t answer. I leave a voicemail. I call Abby next, because I figure she and Michael are together. She answers and I fill her in on my current situation. I tell her I should be at her place at four o’clock. She calls me a bitch and then puts Michael on so he can call me a bitch.

I hang up and the Taxi is standing in at the front door, waving at me to come on. I get out of my car and walk towards the house. The Taxi goes inside and, a few moments later, I follow. I open the door and step inside the Taxi’s sister’s house.

Except it’s not the Taxi’s sister’s house.

It’s her drug dealer’s. I look around and there are three angry and dangerous-looking men in the house. There are little bags of marijuana and crack littered all over the living room. There is a small scale on the coffee table, white powder spilled all over and around it.

Of course, this is all kind of hard to see, what with the gun pressed against my face and all.

The Taxi says this isn’t really necessary, she knows me and I’m – quote – “cool”. The man holding the gun to my head tells her that he doesn’t care; she may know me, but he doesn’t. He keeps the gun trained on me for the rest of the business transaction, which – amazingly – takes over twenty minutes!

I mean, it you’re not getting you crack in under twenty minutes, I suggest you talk to your dealers boss.

We leave the house and get back in the car. The Taxi tells me that she needs to make a few other stops, to the corner convenience store, then to her daughter’s house, and so on.

Hey, whatever you want lady. You’re the one with gun-totting drug dealers. And I’m pretty sure they know where you live and you kind of live next door to me, so…

We stop at the corner store, her daughter’s house and wherever else the Taxi wanted to go. Finally, I drop her off at her apartment and she throws a balled up twenty dollar bill at me, as if I am some common whore.

Which I suppose I am.

I drive away as quickly as I can and make it over to Abby’s around fourthirty and tell them of the day’s adventures. The make fun of me for six hours. We put on a couple of films, Phantasm III followed by The Wackness. Michael draws, Abby sews, and I write this.

Long story short: I could think of better ways to have spent my three-day weekend.



Your friend (and part-time lover),

Boom Boom Storm Cloud

Hey kids,

So, a while ago, I posted this comic I wrote a looong time ago, that was based upon a true event. It’s called The Last Time I Rode A Greyhound Bus and it sat on my harddrive for YEARS until I gave this script to the talented Mr. Michael Harris to illustrate. We ended up printed it up for The Comictron 2.0 — a book we made for the Wizard World 2008 Chicago Comic Convention, along with two stories by David Brame.

I took another look at it recently and was horrified by the lettering. True, this was the first comic I’ve ever lettered — and for a first-timer, it wasn’t that bad. I’m still not an expert, but I think I have definitely grown leaps and bounds in the lettering field.

Anyway, I went ahead and relettered the story for your reading pleasure.

So enjoy. Or don’t. Whatever. I already gots my money, so your enjoyment doesn’t mean that much to me anymore.

Your friend (and part-time lover),
Boom Boom Storm Cloud

Hey kids,

OK.

Here is a comic I wrote a long time ago, that was based upon a true event. It’s called The Last Time I Rode A Greyhound Bus. It sat on my harddrive for YEARS. Recently, I gave this script to the talented Mr. Michael Harris to draw and we printed it up for The Comictron 2.0; a book we made for the Wizard World 2008 Chicago Comic Convention, along with two stories by David Brame.

Unfortunately, I ended up giving away more than we sold. (We ended up selling an embarrassing two copies of the book.) This comic was the first comic script I’ve ever written that has actually been illustrated (other than by myself) and printed. I’m very proud of this work and I would hate if only a handful of people ever got to see it.

So I’m posting it here for all (ten of you who will actually read this blog) to see. The Comictron 2.0 is still for sale so, if you would like a copy, let Michael or I know. It contains this story, as well as an amazingly hilarious Pirates vs Ninjas story (and one more that’s extremely hard to read — well, it is, Dave!) by Mr. Brame.

Either way, enjoy.


Your friend (and part-time lover),
Boom Boom Storm Cloud


David Brame:
An American
1983-2008


Yo, in the housing, thousands seen early graves
Victims of wordly ways, memories stays engraved”

— From
A Better Tomorrow, by the Wu-Tang Clan

My friends, we gather here today to remember and pay tribute to a friend, a colleague, a brother, a man so amazing that the word itself was a part of his name: Amazing David.

David Allan Brame was born Charleston, SC on May 16, 1983 at the tender age of zero, to parents Priscilla and Willie Brame. David moved around a lot as a child, living in South Carolina, North Carolina, Florida, Virginia, New Jersey and Ohio, and traveled much of the world in his twenty-five years on it, roaming across the UK, France, Italy, Switzerland, Costa Rica, Panama, Nicaragua, and Canada – often to avoid arrest.

Even from an early age, David was an incredibly smart and imaginative, believing that the fictional lands he read about in storybooks — such as Middle-Earth, Narnia, and Circus Palace — actually existed, which helped shape his future as both an artist and a writer.

Throughout his years, from his youth to his teens and into adulthood, David was a laidback man who liked to have a good time. Whether it was painting or drawing comics, beating up Muscular Dystrophy kids in the sixth grade, hanging out and watching movies with friends, sponging free video games off of Make-A-Wish cancer kids, wrecking fools in Soul Caliber, or laughing at “a downy kid, riding his bike, screaming down the street [when] nothing was chasing him,” David enjoyed the simple things in life.

Speaking of simple things, David Brame was also an appreciator of women, so long as they were completely crazy and white. Or Asian, who, as he once explained, “are like white women with jaundice and are better at math.”

However, all his public love affairs were a lie; all the women he dated-slash-fucked, beards. In truth, David Brame struggled his entire life with the secret desire to one day be one hundred percent homosexual and his heart, as well as his penis, belonged to one beard in particular, Skyler Paris.

During his brief and awkward “heterosexual” period, David also fathered two children: his little girl, Karma, whom he loved with all of his heart and soul, in whom he instilled his most valued ideals – such as mistrusting “Whitey” and staying off the [stripper] pole — claiming multiple times that she was his inspiration and motivation for being a better father, for being a better man, for just being better. And, you know, the other kid.

When he wasn’t sitting in a jail cell or having sex with white women, David attended the Columbus College of Art and Design, where he honed his artist skill and shaped his own unique personal style and fashion, by growing both dreadlocks and obese, and wearing a lot of pink, mesh tops, pants so tight they split as soon as he’d put them on, and grandma jewelry.

While at the school, he met friends Michael Harris and Kevin Rapp, along with whom he eventually tri-founded The Triumvirate, a group whose sole purpose for being was to produce the highest quality art that they could. And to also crush The COmpetition.

Upon hearing his untimely departure, his friends gathered together to mourn collectively and share stories. “Remember that time Dave was drunk for a full twenty-four hours?” “Oooh! There was that one time we were talking on the phone when he got pulled over doing 55 in a 35 and his last words to me were ‘I think I’m going to jail tonight. Yeah, I’m going to jail. If I don’t call you back, I’m in jail.’ He never did call me back and he was in jail.” Even though David is gone, on that night, celebrating his life, it was like there was a little piece of him that would live on in each of our hearts.

David is survived by his parents, Priscilla and Willie, one adopted and one half-sister, his children, Karma and the other one, dozens of close friends, as well as numerous warrants for his arrest.

Though David had several nicknames – Amazing David, Big Lockz, Wreckscaliber – he will always be my Negro Amigo.

And he will be missed.


Your friend (and part-time lover),
Boom Boom Storm Cloud






Hmm?

What do you mean, he’s not dead?

Canada?

Motherfucker!

N***a owes me twelve dolla!

Chicago Nerdfest 2008
OR
Michael And Boom Boom’s Most Manly And Heterosexual Road Trip Ever!


So, as many of you already know, the talented Mr. Harris, our friend Alicia, and I took a trip to Chicago, this past weekend, for the 2008 Wizard World Chicago Comic Convention. This is our story.


27JUNE2008
I pulled up in front of Michael’s apartment sometime around 7:30 in the morning, parked my car and headed up the stairs to help carry some of his luggage down. Along the way, I saw Alicia and Stephanie — who insisted I be nice to her sister while on the trip, under threat of getting cut –parked on the other side of the building and gave them a wave. Thirty minutes later, my trunk filled with their luggage, we made our way to the nearest Kinko’s, so Michael could make a few more last minute prints, and, by 8:15, we were on the road to Chicago. Michael shuffled through a stack of CDs, finally shoving Tegan And Sara’s So Jealous into the CD player, setting the mood for our most manly and heterosexual road trip ever.

Conversations faded in and out as CDs were changed. So Jealous was swapped for Gogol Bordello’s Super Taranta, just to butch things up a bit, before putting on some comedy albums – Jim Gaffigan’s Doin’ My Time and David Cross’s It’s Not Funny! — and then we wrapped things up with Hot Chip’s The Warning and the Scissor Sister’s self-titled debut album, whose single, Tits On The Radio, became our road trip’s theme song.

After stopping once for both gas and lunch, we arrived in Chicago around 1:00. We made it to our hotel, on the other side of Chicago, almost two hours later. I am convinced that no one in Chicago works — they just drive around all day – because we seriously sat in traffic much longer than anyone ever needs to sit in traffic.

We checked into our hotel and found out that, even though we requested and had held for us a two bed room – and all of this after finding out, the day before we left, that the hotel had lost our original reservation when they got a new computer system a few months ago – that this particular hotel did not even have two beds in any of their rooms. Alicia then requested her own room and Michael and I decided we would share the bed and sleep head to toe. Hot!

The three of us then headed off to the convention center, made our way through herds of nerds, and set up our table. Michael insisted that every bald-headed white guy, myself included, was Brian Michael Bendis. We quickly made friends with our table neighbors and started playing Con Games, such as counting how many guys passed our table with pony tails and how many hot girls there were with douche bags. (I think I won the pony tail one; I must have spotted two dozen of them within the first twenty minutes we were there.)

Once everything was out and on display, I took a quick walk and found the tables where my friends Aaron Norton and Erik Rose were located. Aaron was seated at a row of tables with most of his friends — B. Clay Moore, Jeremy Haun, Jason Hurley, Jason Latour, Dennis Hopeless, and Kevin Mellon – and Erik was seated with his wife, Robyn, and Wayne Chinsang (who wouldn’t show up until Saturday), promoting their new book, The Roberts.

I took a quick walk around Artists’ Alley with Norton and he pointed out who’s who, before buying the first copy of my books, The Number Sixteen (And Other Stories That Aren’t As Good) and the mini comic anthology Comic-Tron 2.0 – which was co-created with Mr. Brame and Mr. Harris – both of which are still on sale.

Michael made some money, but that was the only copy I had sold that day. I chalked it up to the fact that we were only at the Con for about two hours on Friday, but not selling anything became the norm for the rest of the weekend.

At 6:00, Michael, Alicia, and I made our way back to the hotel, stopping first at Denny’s for dinner. Alicia went to her room for the night and Michael and I took a quick two hour nap – HOT! – before getting ready to head over to the Hyatt to meet up with Norton and his people for a night of drinking and nerdiness.

We left for the Hyatt around 10:00, but somehow ended up on the highway, driving around Chicago for about twenty minutes. Finally getting back to the main road, we found the Hyatt again, parked the car, and entered the hotel.

First of all, let me just say, for those of you who’ve never been to the Hyatt before, that bitch must have been designed by some white guy with too much money, because that shit was confusing as hell. We sneaked in the back door and walked around the lobby of the hotel for a few minutes, before discovering that the escalator at the far end of the room takes you up to the main floor. There, we took an elevator up to Norton’s hotel room, where he — along with B. Clay Moore, Jeremy Haun, Jason Latour, Jason Hurley and a few others – were sitting around, drinking, bullshitting and drawing. We took a seat, Michael broke out his ginormous bottle of Everclear, and quickly joined in conversation. B. Clay Moore finished a con sketch – of Skrullpocalypse, the combination of two Marvel Comics characters, with a raging boner, and signed it as Greg Land – and passed it around the room.

A while later, we – Norton, Michael, and I – took a trip downstairs to the bar area, where Norton pointed out several professional comics writers/artists and introduced us to a number of others; people who I not only got to talk to for a time, but actually remembered who I was throughout the rest of the weekend. We drank and walked and bullshitted for a while. Norton ran a pitch for a new book idea past me. I talked Michael up, trying to get him the job of drawing that book. And Michael talked to some purple-haired girl – that everyone else was hoping would show him her tits – for the rest of the night.

We took several trips back and forth to Norton’s hotel room, where they had a stash of Canadian beer, and, on one particular trip, B. Clay Moore entered the room right after us and informed us that he was just told comic artist Michael Turner had just died of cancer. Someone made a crack about having to do sketches of Aspen, one of Turner’s characters, for the rest of the con. I made my way back downstairs and found Michael.

ME
Have you heard the news?

MICHAEL
No. What?

ME
Dude, B. Clay told us that Michael Turner just died.


MICHAEL


MICHAEL (cont’d)
BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!


ME

Dude! Come on. The man just died. I may not have liked his work, either, but I never wished he would die. Just that he would permanently break his hands and couldn’t draw anymore or something…


MICHAEL
AHAHAHAHAHAHHAHA! I need to call Dave.

So, Michael called Dave, but Dave didn’t answer.

Michael talked up the purple-haired girl for a while longer and I walked through the bar, talking to various people. Last call was announced around 1:25, but we stayed around the Hyatt until 3:00-ish, when Norton and his friends decided to call it a night. We left the hotel and got in the car, dreading the $17 parking fee, but found the parking gate up. Not to look a gift horse in the mouth, we drove straight through, saving ourselves $17, singing the chorus to Tits On The Radio at the top of our lungs.

We arrived back at our hotel minutes later, unloaded our belongings, changed out of our clothes and into pajamas, and climbed into bed.

Hot!

Your friend (and part-time lover),
Boom Boom Storm Cloud