Site Maintenance Warning

We’re going to be down briefly sometime tonight, late Eastern time, for server maintenance and upgrades. Depending on whether or not I’m awake when that’s done, we may be briefly down tomorrow afternoon Eastern for site upgrades. I anticipate no major chaos and have prepared for the worst just in case.

We’d also like to take a moment to congratulate our hosting sysadmin, Dave Lawson, on his sweet new job at Canonical, the Ubuntu folks. The Department is fortunate to have a technical expert like Dave graciously giving us the bandwidth and space to run our operation.

Up Scope!

Whew! Last week was a complete attack of post-production hell here at the Department, with unexpected day job work completely swamping Janice and I. The emergencies have passed- these things are always and emergency, you see- and we’re gearing up to pick up the slack here.

art by Tim Bradstreet

Last weekend we checked out the Long Beach Comic Expo, which was a nifty (if small) dealer-centric show. We caught up with our friends from Golden Apple Comics, scored a pile of cheap trades, and I nabbed a sweet Hellblazer cover print from Tim Bradstreet. Then we caught the second night of Paul & Storm and Jonathan Coulton at Largo at the Coronet Theater, which had bonus appearances by Chris Hardwick and Wil Wheaton. More on that in another post.

This weekend was mostly the work avalanche, but I did have a chance to get out Friday night and have a food adventure with my friend Dave, a food blogger both in his own right and also for the OC Weekly. I’ve been meaning to pimp his work here, even though it’s unrelated to what we do, because he’s a cool guy and has really changed the way I think about food in the last 6 years.

Anyway! That’s where we’ve been. Coming this week, the post I mentioned above plus clearing out some comics reviews before Wednesday. And then more comics! And more reviews!

[INCOMING.]

It’s been a day of rest here at the Department. I have finally devoured all four of the main novels in Scalzi’s Old Man’s War series (I think I can stop and breathe for a few while I track down The Sagan Diary). Meanwhile, Janice has started a new gig, which is good, but there will be some adjustment around here while the new schedule kicks in.

However! Today was new comic day, and we have devoured our pull for the week. So tune in tomrrow, when I’ll be sharing my review of Demo #1 by Brian Wood and Becky Cloonan. All that and more, as the man used to say.

They Say It’s Your Birthday!

Today is Janice’s birthday, so happy birthday to her. As such things are a little busy around the Department as we celebrate. Not to fear, though! There’s another exciting segment of The Best Characters of 2009 in the pipe, and tomorrow night, being new comics night, will see more reviews. In the mean time, have some awesome art. This was a piece I commissioned from Department H favorite and all around great guy Matt Wagner as a wedding present for myself and Janice back in 2008. It was a surprise for her, and Matt was a real champ about both having it ready by SDCC that year and really milking the surprise when we got to his table. It’s of Tuncer and Rotini Barilla, our main characters that we played on City of Heroes.

fiah!

He took liberty with the chest slider, but it's still awfully heroic.

Enjoy, and we’ll see you tomorrow!

Yes, There Will Be Reviews Tonight

The Santa Monica beach this week, by Flickr user anniemole

Yep, it sucks out. Photo by Flickr user anniemole, CC BY 2.0.

The weather outside is frightful– by Southern California standards, at least– and the space heater is, indeed, so delightful… and our beloved regular shop, Golden Apple, is a bit of a drive from the Department.

However, it’s Wednesday. We will not be deterred.

Tonight, there will be reviews– I’ll be handling Spider-Woman: Agent of S.W.O.R.D. #5, and I believe Chad actually called the store to have Joe the Barbarian #1 added to our pull.

(Awesome photo of the beach by Flickr user anniemole. I love Creative Commons; it means I don’t have to walk down to the pier in this weather.)

The obligatory intro post: Chad

Because why ruin the theme.

If she’s the admin and editor, I suppose I’m everything else. My introduction to comics came with, of all things, the original Longshot miniseries. (A fact that surprised even Art Adams at Comic Con a couple years back.) For reasons lost to time, comics as a whole didn’t stick then, but a friend got me hooked on Hellblazer (Neil Gaiman’s excellent “Hold Me,” specifically) and the rest of what would shortly thereafter become Vertigo. I hung with that for several years, and then my college days waned and the fabled Real World sunk in and my reading list fell to the wayside. Aside from the occasional trade series (I’m looking at you, Preacher) my head was other places.

Then I met Janice, and before I knew it not only was she living with me, she was shoving a giant copy of Mage: The Hero Discovered at me and suddenly I was driving to Golden Apple every week.

Some stuff happened in between all that, like graduating from the Florida State Film School, moving to Los Angeles, and working in visual effects for almost 14 years. Needless to say movies have also played a big part in my life, so expect the line between that and comics to be as blurry as… the current relationship between comics and movies. My tastes are many and varied, and probably best left as an item for eventual discovery.

That’s us. We’ll probably be tweaking things over the next month or so as we get used to things here, so pardon any weirdness in advance.

The Eastern Federal Corporation welcomes you! To the movies!

The obligatory intro post: Janice

Hm, where to start…

I’m Janice, the technical and editorial face of the Collier Comics mini-empire. I administer the blog (ably hosted by our systems guy, Dave Lawson) and make worried faces over things so Chad doesn’t have to. If you have a technical concern or want to point out a bug, you should contact me and I’ll get it seen to.

On the creative side, I’ve been a comics fan for 24 years, from the middle of the Hama run on G.I. Joe all the way up until today. The comics that have been closest to my heart over that time include: Mage, Atomic Robo, Invincible Iron Man, mid-1980s Claremont X-Men, The Invisibles, and Phonogram— I’m a sucker for both urban fantasy in the Charles de Lint mold, and strongly-characterized superhero action. As you can guess from that list, my favorite creators include Matt Wagner, Brian Clevinger, Scott Wegener, Kieron Gillen, Jamie McKelvie, and Matt Fraction, among a few dozen others. The best comic I read last year was Joe Kelly and J.M. Ken Niimura’s I Kill Giants, and I firmly believe you should read it too.

My day job is in feature-film visual effects; if you’re interested, you’re welcome to check out my IMDB profile for a list of projects I’ve worked on. My favorite movie is Run Lola Run, but my favorite movie that I’ve worked on is the 2009 Star Trek. My favorite directors include Scorsese, Kubrick, and Cameron.

Before I worked in film, I was a Unix systems administrator, a call-center drone, an academic computing geek, and an occasional tech writer/ editor. I play the ukulele (poorly), crochet (well), and indulge in the occasional spot of Python programming (decently enough to get things done). Undoubtedly, none of this will prepare me for regular blogging.

Welcome!

Welcome to Department H, the new Collier Comics blog! We’re a pair of creative professionals looking to get into the comics business, and this is where we’ll be posting both work-related posts– about our own projects and process– and items of interest from the rest of the entertainment industry. ¬†Think of it as our secret basement lab.

Your hosts are Chad and Janice Collier– expect us to put up introductory posts shortly.

Play nice and enjoy!