Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Closing up shop.

PING! Mother Box PING! (and it's original incarnation, Surfing the Bleed) has been a blast. When I originally started the blog, my goal was to track my own progress breaking into comics, to help other people get access to information from professionals about breaking in, and to eventually integrate myself into the industry I love so much.

I'm now a published comic book author and journalist, and I feel like this blog has done all the good it's probably going to do. In the years since I started, I've noticed a lot of creators making a more concerted effort to offer advice and war stories to people looking to break into the industry. I won't take the credit for that, but I am proud to say that many of the people I interviewed went on to create blogs and panels similar to the experience they had through STB/PMBP.

In the time since I went back to school and started working as a copywriter, the blog has suffered. I believe it's time to give it a proper send-off and move on to an endeavor that encompasses my wide range of interests. So PMBP is closing up shop, but Stay On Target, a blog and podcast about nerd culture and writing, will carry on in its stead. Here's a glimpse of the kind of content you can expect from Stay On Target.

Goldust/Dustin Runnels as Tyrion Lannister - When the firstborn son of the American Dream Dusty Rhodes was born, I can imagine the expectations were pretty high. After all, this was the progeny of the humble son of a plumber who became the World’s Heavyweight Champion. The bar was set. Unlike Tyrion Lannister, Dustin wasn’t born a dwarf, but he did become something of the black sheep of the Rhodes family. Estranged from his ambitious, absentee father (Tywin Lannister, message for you on the courtesy raven), Dustin rebelled in the most public of ways. He became the lecherous, womanizing, overly foppish Golddust. Dustin even has a brother who is perfect in all the ways that he is not. Sounds a whole lot like the imp, right?

Cody Rhodes as Jaime Lannister - He’s not the older of the two, but after that the parallels between Cody and Jaime are uncanny. He’s everything his strange sibling Dustin is not. Where Dustin is craggy, Cody is strikingly handsome. Where Dustin carries some paunch, Cody is chiseled from stone. Where Dustin is considered a cautionary tale, Cody is expected to one day inherit the keys to the kingdom. But it’s not all easy for Cody Rhodes. Where Dustin has been free to live the life he chose, having all but erased his connection to his family for years, Cody has been constantly reminded of the fact that he’s a Rhodes from the first time he stepped into a wrestling ring. There is no doubt in anyone’s mind that he should rule one day, much like his father has, and he’s been more than a little arrogant and flippant about that legacy at times. Hell, Cody even had his face (thought to be his best quality) broken and was forced to wear a mask. Kind of like a swordsman losing his hand, right?

Dusty Rhodes as Tywin Lannister - Head full of blonde hair? Check. Working well into old age, despite the fact that he should have left the family’s legacy to his children years ago? Check. A vastly prideful man whose accomplishments are known throughout the world? Check. Capable of such shocking violence, yet so full of love for his family? Check. Lives by a code of mother fucking honor? You damn right that’s a check.

The Rhodes family = The Lannisters

Family Crest - Crescent Wrench

House Words - Hard Elbows, Hard Times

Yep, that's an article comparing Game of Thrones characters to pro wrestlers. That's the kind of weird shit I think about all day, so it's the kind of weird shit I want to crow about.

To everyone who supported this blog, to everyone who contributed time, to everyone who read, who let me interview them, and who offered me work based on this, I thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Onward and upward.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Stay On Target

That project I told you about is coming along nicely. To be a little less cryptic, I'm trying to put together an online magazine of sorts (similar to Nerdist, Machinima, etc) that covers my myriad interests. Years ago, when I started Surfing the Bleed, which then morphed into PING!, the goal was to educate people about how to break into comics. While the blog was never a massive traffic generator, I did achieve a very positive presence in the comics industry and like to think I helped out a few people along the way.

With this new project, I'm hoping to give the same attention to my other pursuits (advertising, stand-up comedy, film) that I've given comics. That's not to say that this new venture won't also cover comics, but the reason for Surfing/PING! when I started was to create a resource for new creators. When the blog began, there still weren't a lot of guides on how to break into the industry. Since then, many creators (Kurtis Wiebe, Jim Zub, etc.) have taken it upon themselves to impart their wisdom and the wealth of knowledge available to a new creator now is vast. I'll still continue to talk comics and do interviews, but it's time for me to expand.

So what you'll see with this new platform is not only comic book news and theory, but also stuff about advertising, film, stand up and improv comedy, a podcast and, if the good lord's willin' and the creek don't rise, a webcomic. In a word: content. And it won't just be from me. For a long time I've wanted to bring other contributors into PING! to get their perspective on things, but the focus of this blog was rather myopic. With the new project, there will be a lot of room for various viewpoints and I for one couldn't be more excited.

So hold onto your butts, true believers. The future is fast approaching.

Monday, February 11, 2013


This week it was revealed that Chris Pratt (Parks & Rec) would be playing the role of Starlord in Marvel's upcoming Guardians of the Galaxy film.  I'd like to start this out by saying that I don't have anything against Chris Pratt.  He's one of the things about Parks & Rec I like the most.  And a recent action turn in Kathryn Bigelow's  Zero Dark Thirty gives him some serious chops.  But Starlord?  I'm just not sure.  What's holding me back from embracing this casting choice?

Nathan Fillion.

As a diehard Browncoat, I'm the first person to admit that we sometimes have trouble seeing the forest for the trees.  When it comes to roles that either embody the spirt or the aesthetic of Captain Malcolm Reynolds, we just can't let Firefly go.  When it was time to cast the Green Lantern, fans everywhere made a strong case for Fillion donning the ring.  Given the success of that film, maybe Warner should have considered him over the former Two Guys cast member who did get the role.  While there hasn't been nearly as vocal a contingent trying to get Fillion cast as Starlord, it's hard to imagine a better person for the role.  But even as I type that, I have to ask myself, can I not imagine a better person for the role because I'm such a fan of Fillion as a swashbuckling astronaut?  Am I not seeing the forest for the trees?

I'm a big fan of Guardians of the Galaxy and the Starlord character is one of my favorite of all time.  I guess part of me just got excited at the prospect of my favorite sci-fi captain coming back to play my favorite comics buckler of swashes.  Que sera, sera.

Too bad he's too old to play the younger version of this handsome devil.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

An Update

I apologize for the lack of content over the last, well...nine months.  No, I'm not about to announce a new baby or anything, unless you can count my finishing portfolio school as something of a baby.  Because that's the thing that's been eating up all my time.  Just so you know, PING! still exists and I'm still committed to it.  Here's how.

In the past year I also launched a blog intended to shine a light on my enjoyment of pro wrestling.  The Smark Tank was a joint effort between myself and my friend Ed that we, to say the least, have neglected.  Hell, it never even really got off the ground.  I intend to change that over the next few months.

School requires a lot of my money and a lot of my time.  Beyond that, what little time I have left is typically devoted to writing the Black Wraith and my new project which will hopefully be my second published comic.  If there is any time left after that, it usually goes to social engagements.

I can't promise that the blog will come first, or even second, in my hierarchy until school is done.  But I am going to make a conscious effort to put more content here.  On top of that, I want to eventually combine PING!, the Smark Tank and a podcast that will be coming down the pipeline as well.  I'd like to do all of this under one umbrella site, which I'm working on setting up now.

So thanks for sticking with me true believers.  2012 was great, 2013 looks bright as well.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Hamburger, anyone?

While I do know a little about stand up comedy, I must admit that when my friend asked me to review the comic he's involved in about stand up comedian Neil Hamburger, I was at a bit of a loss.  Admittedly, I don't know much about Neil Hamburger, other than the photo of the man that used to reside on my best friend's refrigerator.  What I do know is comics, which is why aforementioned friend came to me to help promote his comic.  Still, without knowing much about the founder of the feast, I wasn't sure how to go about it.  Luckily, the Grey Lady herself gave me a pretty good description of one Mr. Hamburger.

The New York Times describes Hamburger as, “a brilliantly awful persona of an old-school, C-list funnyman – the kind with an ill-fitting tuxedo and an enormous, greasy comb over – on a very bad night.  Neil Hamburger toys with an audience's expectations (and patience), and indeed his act is a kind of rude commentary on stand-up comedy altogether."

The Neil Hamburger Comics Digest is weird.  I mean, it's some strange, bawdy, funny stuff.  Which is pretty much exactly what you'd expect from anything branded "Neil Hamburger".  This is comix with an X, and that's appropriate, because it's sort of an x-rated comic book.  And that's fine.  That's great, in fact.  Because what this digest captures is just the overall abnormal feeling necessary not just for the comedy of a man like Hamburger, but for the style of Crumb-influenced underground comix you'll find within these pages.

Published by Blank Stare Entertainment and  written by Phill Hillenmeyer and Gregg Turkington (aka Neil Hamburger), Neil Hamburger Comics Digest features art by indie fan favorites and critically acclaimed cartoonists  Darick Robertson, Jeffrey Brown, Batton Lash, Chris Wisnia and more.  And the artists' love of the project is evident in every line, every panel.  The people involved in this book were clearly honored to be a part of it.

Coming into this review, I didn't feel like I knew Neil Hamburger very well.  After going through the book, I'm not sure I know the man himself much better, but I am damn interested in exploring his particular kind of loose tie, matted hair, watered down blended scotch style of comedy further.  And that means this comic does exactly what all great comics should do, and that's appeal to an established audience while grabbing a new one.  I say job well done for Hamburger and crew.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

The Black Wraith Cometh.

It's here.  This is the day.  From this moment on, whatever else you can say about me, you can't say that I've never written a comic.  The first issue of my first book from Monkey Pipe Studios, the Black Wraith, is in the can.  Quite literally, as it exists as an ashcan right now.  A black and white version (full color to follow) is available for distribution to certain interested parties.  I couldn't be happier.  I'm proud of this book and what it signifies not just for me, but for a lot of people.  This is hard work personified and I hope it begets much more hard work of its kind in the future.

I freaking love comics.  I could do this all day.  Hopefully this is the first major step toward doing exactly that.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Black Wraith #1

The time is nearly upon us.   Black Wraith #1 is currently being lettered and will hopefully be available in time for Christmas.  So if you're looking for a great Christmas gift for the superhero fan in your life, you could do worse than the Black Wraith.  Also, because I love you guys so much, I'm going to give you all a preview of the first couple of pages.  That's right, FREE COMICS right here for your eyes.  Well, at least a tenth of a free comic.


If you're looking for more great self published comics, don't forget to check out all the titles available from Monkey Pipe Studios.  And look for a seven page preview of Black Wraith #1 in the upcoming Department O by Jamie Gambell and Andrew MacLean.