Thursday, November 20, 2008

Thoughts? Feelings? Questions?

The final issue of the Helm is finally out! What did you think? Liked it? Hated it? I'd love any feedback anybody wants to send my way, positive or negative. Email me, or post your thoughts, feelings or questions here. Either way.

Here's a sample question--similar to something an actual reader of the Helm might post:

Jim. What the hell were you thinking?
Yours, Don Bumbernicker

And a sample answer to show how I'll probably respond to an actual comment from a real person:

Don, I have no idea.
Yours, Jim

So, go ahead and comment! Don't be shy! I can tell from my Google analytics that at least two people have read this blog and one guy from the Ukraine has looked at it by accident. If those three people were to comment, that would be FOUR comments (including my fake one). Four comments and only one of them fake! That would be something.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

The Exciting Conclusion!!

The final installment of the Helm comes out tomorrow! Writing the series has been a strange, fun ride! I just wanted to say thanks to everyone who read the series, to all the wonderful folks who sent letters and comments and especially to all the people who made the book possible.

Sara Kaine, who introduced me to Dark Horse
Dave Land, my excellent and wise editor
Bart Sears, the awesome breakdown artist of the series and a huge part of the Helm's draw (no pun intended)
Randy Elliott, magnificent finisher (what a great job title)
Dan Jackson, superior and tasteful Colorer
Dave Lanphear, master of letters
Katie Moody, erudite Associate Editor
Josh Elliot, stylish Designer
Patrick Thorpe, essential Assistant Editor
Jacquelene Cohen, gregarious Publicity Coordinator
Dirk Wood, rockstar Marketing Director
Mike Richardson, white haired giant and lord of Dark Horse Comics
All the folks I haven't met who make Dark Horse run
Maria, Clara and Eleanor--who keep me going
And Janet--who made me want to write in the first place.

Thanks everybody, it's been fun. Now all I have to write about is the coming trade paperback version. Look for it in April of 2009!!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Baby Alligators, Toilet Seats and the Helm #4

I was just in Miami and saw a wild baby alligator in a lagoon. Not that it was particularly impressive or anything, but alligators are deadly creatures and I don't expect to see them swimming around outside of high rise office complexes. That would be like seeing a wild baby tiger running around in the mall, or having a baby great white shark bite your foot while sitting at a public fountain.

Okay, maybe not exactly.

Anyway, I was standing in the bathroom at work, thinking about baby alligators, when it suddenly occurred to me that the toilet seat was U-shaped rather than a complete oval. Now, I've seen this particular toilet seat hundreds of times over the last several years and never really noticed how it was U-shaped rather than oval, but for some reason, it registered this time. Which got me wondering why some toilet seats are U-shaped and others are oval. As I thought about it, it occurred to me that I mostly saw U-shaped toilet seats in public restrooms and mostly ovals at people's houses. So, my first thought was that the U-shaped seats were probably cheaper to make and consequently more attractive to the folks putting together public bathrooms. A quick survey of a handful of public restrooms revealed that ALL of them had U-shaped toilet seats--even one in a really expensive and upscale restaurant. That made me question the validity of my "cheapest option" conclusion. So, I did a little Internet research and discovered that United States plumbing code specifies that public restrooms have to used "open front" toilet seats! Yes! It's the law!! But why?

Well, apparently, they are considered both more sanitary and more comfortable. I'm not sure exactly how the sanitary thing works out--especially in women's public restrooms--nor am I really clear on how the comfortable thing works out--but those are the given reasons.

Anyway, while researching the issue, I stumbled across a site with details of the first time a toilet was ever shown on American broadcast television. It was on what was supposed to be the first episode of Leave it to Beaver, "Captain Jack." The episode actually got shelved for a while by the censors who refused to let a toilet be depicted on television. It aired after they compromised by shooting a single tight shot of the tank only. And why was a toilet part of the story at all? Well, the plot involved Wally and the Beaver trying to hide a BABY ALLIGATOR from their parents by keeping it in their toilet tank.

That's right, a baby alligator! Holy crap!! Too much for coincidence.

Oh, and the Helm #4 comes out next Wednesday! No alligators, no U-shaped toilet seats, no episodes of Leave it to Beaver, but it is the exciting conclusion of the mini-series! Be sure to check it out.