Saturday, October 27, 2007

Time for Dexter

COMIC CREATORS TAKE A SLICE OUT OF ‘DEXTER’

And TV show prop will benefit The Hero Initiative

Los Angeles, CA (Oct 27th, 2007) -- The hit Showtime TV series DEXTER has started its second season at full speed, but this Sunday, the show adds a comic touch. The October 28 episode titled “The Dark Defender” will feature cameo appearances by comic writer Dan Wickline (30 Days of Night: Spreading the Disease) and comic artist Tone Rodriguez (The Simpsons Treehouse of Horror)…and one of them doesn’t make it through alive.

The idea of adding these two creative friends was the brainchild of series writer Tim Schlattman, who’s witnessed Dan and Tone’s acidic yet friendly banter first hand. Tim pitched an episode with characters loosely based on the two, and when his concept was green-lit, then suggested using the actual men who inspired the idea. Wickline and Rodriguez will play…you guessed it…two comic creators.

“I’m glad they asked us, and it was a great experience,” said Tone Rodriguez. “I’m sure if they want us back, at least the one that lives, we’d be happy to return.”

Dan Wickline also enjoyed his experience, and had an interesting time with “Dexter” actor Michael C. Hall: “He was joking around with production assistants, and just seemed like a great guy to hang out with,” Wickline said. “Then on the set, he goes from ‘Friendly Dexter’ to ‘Killer Dexter’ with just a look…and I felt just a touch scared.”

Besides the cameos, Tone Rodriguez also provided art that will be featured prominently in the episode.

And YOU can bring home a little of the Dexter experience as well. One of the Wickline/Rodriguez characters dies in the episode, and without saying who (you can find out for yourself this Sunday), you can own one of their last personal effects. A bloody shirt (not real blood, just prop blood, we promise!) worm by the “victim” is being auctioned off via eBay.com with proceeds benefiting The Hero Initiative, the charity that helps older comic creators in medical or financial need. The shirt will be autographed by both Dan Wickline and Tone Rodriguez and is available for auction at:
http://search.ebay.com/_W0QQsassZheroinitiative

“Dexter: The Dark Defender” will debut Sunday, October 28th on Showtime.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Good-Bye Sheila

The best laid plans… I came back from San Diego with the idea of aggressively attacking the comic world again. I was going to fire up my blogs full-speed, email every editor I knew and every one I didn’t. I was going to put all my energies into making a big push. I was going to take the first week after San Diego off, knowing that everyone I wanted to contact was as well, and start the Monday after…

Little did I know that all of this would quickly take a back seat to what was really important.

My wife, Debbie, and I had been dating on and off for 16 years when her mother asked her to move back home. Sheila’s health was starting to fail and she could no longer do some of the simple things in life such as drive. Debbie and I discussed it and decided we would both move in, stopping only to get married, and then we could both be there for her mother. In April of 2004, after being married one month, we sold my condo and moved into her mother’s house. For two years, things were simple and quiet. I got the loft as an office and spent most of my time there. Sheila had her room that she stayed in and really we didn’t talk that much.

Two years passed, and on a normal day in March of 2006, I came home from work to find that Sheila was having difficulties breathing and wanted to go to the hospital. It didn’t seem like that big of deal… she didn’t want an ambulance or anything, just a ride down there. Sheila was suffering from COPD or early stage lung disease. She was also prone to drinking and smoking. On the way to the hospital, Sheila passed out. Upon her arrival at the emergency room, she was placed on a ventilator to get her breathing again. She had a DNR (Do Not Resuscitate) on file, but they played it safe first. She was on the ventilator for a solid week. Each time the tried to take her off of it, she would immediately start to crash and they put her back on. After a week, the doctor told us that he was going to take her off the machine one last time, give her a morphine drip and let her pass. Debbie and I said our good byes that night and headed home.

At 6:45 the next morning, the phone rang. A nurse asking for my wife. It turned out that Sheila was awake, responsive and wanting to go home.

Two days later, Sheila was home and now under hospice care. We were told that she probably wouldn’t be around very long, and that we just needed to make her comfortable. She was no longer drinking or smoking. She was on an oxygen line at all times and we thought we were waiting for the inevitable. The only thing was, Sheila didn’t see it as the inevitable. She rallied in such a way that surprised every nurse and doctor involved. Her mind became sharp again; her sense of humor quickened and her quality of life thrived. She went back to some of her favorite things: knitting, crossword puzzles and reading. She did so much knitting that she actually started selling hand-made scarves to the nurses and volunteers from hospice and even started listing them on-line. She became such an inspiration that the hospice nationwide newsletter came out to do an article on her.

In that time something else happened; I got to know Sheila. Not as my wife’s mother. Not as a roommate that I passed in the hall. But as a person with a wicked sense of humor, strong political beliefs and a love for life. I had started working from home full-time so I got to see a lot of her. We talked about anything and everything. Often times her and I would gang up on Debbie, poking fun at my wife and just having a good laugh. And Sheila was supportive of my decision to write full-time. I’m not sure many people would be happy that their son-in-law would quit their good paying jobs to try to make it writing comics… but she looked at it like it made perfect sense and I would be a fool not to.

The funny thing is… all those months did one thing we hadn’t counted on; it made us forget that Sheila was dying. The Monday that I had intended to focus on writing became the day we started coordinating round the clock care for Sheila. She could no longer make it down the hallway for her food. She was out of breathing going across the hall to the bathroom. She started losing her words… not being able to remember what the remote control was called. But through all of it she insisted that she was fine, that she didn’t need nurses or us to go out of our way for her. She quickly got to where she couldn’t do her own medications, or even get out of bed. With Debbie working, it fell to me to cover any open shifts, any time a nurse could not be there. I learned how to measure out doses and about a dozen other things I never thought I would have to do.

Over a three-week period, Debbie and I watched as Sheila slowly slipped away. All we could do was to make her comfortable. The nurses were amazing, but there was still so much we had to do that we both became physically and emotionally exhausted. Then, on Tuesday the 21st, I got up at 5:30 AM to let the nice nurse go home and wait for the next one at 8 AM. Sheila was no longer responsive to voice or anything else, she just was continuing to exist. I did all her meds that morning and she still seemed agitated. At 8:15 I realized there was no nurse, so I called the hospice. They were short staffed, but I told them that I couldn’t seem to get her to settle in peacefully. They promised to get me someone. At 9:30 I woke Debbie just to go over all the things I had done to make sure I didn’t miss anything. There was nothing. At 10 AM one of the hospice nurses arrived and checked everything over. We tried to go about our day. Deb had been home from work the last few days, we all sensed the end was coming, but she had decided that day she was going to go back in to the office. After a few hours, we knew she better stay home again.

At just before 2 PM, Sheila took one last deep breath and passed on.

Eighteen months. Its not often you get a second chance with someone you love. My wife got eighteen extra months with her mother after having to say good-bye to her once before. I got eighteen months to know a remarkable woman. We got to say the things we wanted to say. To let her know that she was loved and that we were blessed for having time with her. But even when you know its coming… it still hits hard.

I’m writing this at 5 AM, less than 48 hours later. I’m writing it because I need to. Because this is how I grieve. Because in the middle of the night, the glow from the computer screen in a dark room doesn’t show the tears streaming down your face. Yesterday and tomorrow… I need to be there for Debbie. To help her through this and to be strong for her. But in the quiet hours of the morning, Sheila’s favorite time of day, I can use my word to help me deal with the pain. And to try to explain to our youngest cat why the lady he used to play with all the time is no longer there.

Good-bye Sheila. We love you.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Comic-Con 2007: The Aftermath

Well, its over. The five-day tribute to Sodom and Gomorra has been packed back into its box and tucked away for another year. The half naked booth babes and carnival barking vendors have taken their wares back to where they call home and have left the creative souls who work in the industry to recover and reflect.

Okay… that’s the over dramatized version of the largest show of the year… but its not THAT far off. I head down there every year with a list of things I want to accomplish, a list of people I want to see and a list of books I want to find. And every year I come back with a list of things I never got to accomplish, a list of people I didn’t get to see and a list of books I never got a chance to look for. Two good examples of that: First I love original art and sketchbooks. I got none of those on my trip… but I did buy Adam Hughes’ sketchbook at my comic shop 3 days after the show. Second example is Scott Allie. One of the nicest guys in comics and someone I enjoy trading emails with. But for the last couple of years its been a quick look and head nod at cons because he’s always swamped at the Dark Horse booth and I’m usually heading somewhere else. This year was no different.

This year I had plans to see all the publisher I was working with or had recently done work for, track down some new editors at DC and Marvel and hook up with a few friends. I rolled into town Wednesday about 3 pm and checked right into my room at the Hyatt. Relaxed in my room for a couple hours before heading over to the show about 5 pm to get my badge. One of the fun things I do is wait to see whom the first person I see that I know is. This year it was a duo, a couple even: Matt Fraction and Kelly Sue Deconnick. The only problem was I was inside the building waiting for the doors to open to the preview night and they were outside the building in line for their badges. So short of a wave and a bow, I couldn’t say much more through the glass. I was able to catch up with them later in the weekend though and congratulate them on all their recent success and their soon-to-be child.

Ran around the first night saying ‘hi’ and getting the layout of the show. The time went so damn quick that the show was closing just when I started getting my bearings. I was invited to dinner but passed thinking a burger from room service and a good night sleep would be a better call.

Thursday morning involved having room service breakfast and that would be the last room service I would order. $15 for a stack of tiny pancakes covered (barely) with fruit. I don’t like fruit anyway so that wasn’t a selling point. I love the Hyatt and their breakfast buffet… but since my wife was not able to come with me this year due to my mother-in-law’s health, I felt guilty going to the buffet since it was Deb’s favorite part of the trip last year. So I avoided it most of the weekend.

I headed over to the con about 10:30 am since Raw Studios (Niles, Jane, Bradstreet, etc) and D2 Games were making their announcement and I promised Ludon Lee I would be there incase someone wanted to ask questions about STRANGE CASES (on sale soon). So I watched as Tom Jane worked the crowd and the media began blocking the aisle. This went on for a bit until I heard my name from the left of the crowd. William Christensen from Avatar Press and a weary looking Warren Ellis stood on one side of the sea of bodies. “Help make a path!” William cried out. As I was in the middle I was able to do my best Andre the Giant imitation: “Everybody Move!” (If you haven’t seen Princess Bride, go watch it now… I’ll wait). Warren made is way through the crowd, said ‘hi’ on his way by and headed off to his own sea of waiting fans.

The rest of the weekend was a huge blur. Dinner with Tone Rodriguez at Dick’s Last Resort. The IDW/ Circle of Confusion/Heavy Metal party, The Avatar Press/Atomic Comics party at the same time on the same night. Dinner with the D2 guys then the mixer in a tiny hotel room where I saw Bernie Wrightson talking to Mike Ploog. Hanging out with some Hollywood folks Saturday night and turning down a party to go play poker for CBLDF. And a very successfully signing at the Antidote Trust booth (thank you Dale and all).

I snuck out Sunday morning before the show opened and was home and lying in bed by noon.

I came out of it with a few very cool things. I should have a new regular series to announce shortly, one I’m incredibly excited about and something completely different for me. I may also have a chance to do some more prose work. Having done comic scripts for so long, writing prose feels like a nice change of pace occasionally and I’ll jump at the chance.

The one thing I was worried about going down to the show was sitting around with nothing to do. Because of my mother-in-laws health, I didn’t book any signings other then the one on Saturday in fear I would have to leave in the middle of the show. So other than meeting with people and a few parties, I had no specific things to do at the show. But I found that I was constantly heading over to see someone and I never once really just sat for five minutes with nothing to do.

The only person I didn’t get to see was my friend Odette from the Suicide Girls… who I apologize to for not getting over there when she was there.
Now to get working on scripts. My next con will be the Silicon in San Jose this October. Hope to see some of you there.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Mr. Wickline, you have to be ready to die by 9:00 AM.







About two weeks ago I got a call from a buddy of mine asking if I wanted to do something very unique… he wanted to know if I would die for him. I kindly asked him to explain in a tad more detail and it turned out that he was offering me a chance to play a corpse on an episode of DEXTER. If you’re not familiar with the series DEXTER on Showtime… I’m going to come over and spit in your Cheerios until you go watch the show. Or you could check out this link: http://www.sho.com/site/dexter/home.do, but if you don’t start watching it… I’m coming for your breakfast cereal.

Well, as I am already a big fan of the show, I jumped at the chance without asking anything like: ‘Will I get paid?’ ‘How bloody will I get?’ ‘Can I meet the cast?’ All I knew at that point was I was just going to show up and play dead; figured I could do that. I got a call from the AD who verified I was going to play the dead guy, that was follows by a series of calls from Karen in wardrobe to figure out my sizes, how tall I am, the length of hair, if I could bring my own clothes, etc. I believe I talked to Karen more that week than I did my own wife… I kind of miss her now. I also got a call from Central Casting to let me know my call time and set location. The guys at Central Casting really have this down. You call a number to find out your specific call time and location. Then you call another number before you go to bed to see if there has been any changes, then you call again when you wake up… and you keep calling periodically until you are to leave for the set. When I called I discovered I had a 9 AM call time, and everyone else had a 10:30 call time. I began to wonder what they were going to be doing to me for an hour and a half.

I arrived at base camp just before 9 AM and found Wally the 2nd AD. He got me checked in and sent over to the Kraft Service table to eat. It seems that when you are not working, you’re expected to be eating. I had breakfast on the ride down so I just hung out and waiting till Wally came and got me. I made a trip to wardrobe so they could chose which green shirt was best for me to die in then I was taken over to Luis whose job it turns out was to make me look dead. Luis is an expert at this. As he was applying make up, he was telling me how the blood would congeal at different parts of the body depending on how you died and in what position. He told me the learned a lot of this while visiting the morgues in Mexico when he was a kid.

At 11 am they took me over to the set in a van with the regular members of the cast and an actor who was just there for the day. I got to meet Michael C Hall (Dexter Morgan), Erik King (Sgt Doakes) and Lauren Velez (Lt. Maria La Guerta) as they were all in the scene we were filming. I wish I could give more than just first names on the crew, but that’s how it works there, everyone is just on first name basis and they work together to get the job done. We did a rehearsal until 11:30, I went back and got the rest of my dead make-up done and then we were back on set by 12:15 when filming began.

We were filming in a public area, so walking past a funnel cone store with my brains half hanging out was actually rather amusing. I got to hang out behind the scenes for most of the day as they were shooting cover from every angle. I got to see the actors go from reading their lines in the morning to hearing the characters say the line an hour later with the mannerisms I would expect from them. There was a moment, and I’m going to be purposely vague, but a moment when Dexter’s outward persona is supposed to slip and we see the killer inside… well, seeing that on television is very cool… seeing it ten feet from you is actually scary.

I got on camera at about quarter to 4 pm, laid down to find my mark and then they added the pool of blood and brain matter. I was on the ground for maybe a half hour as they first shot coverage, then some pans and finally some still photos to be used later on. I got up and felt the blood running down my face and shirt. Wally took me outside and helped me get cleaned up a little using paper towels and bottled waters. That’s when I noticed I was standing two doors down from a restaurant that I took and a girlfriend too a few years ago; made a note to call and tell her about this. Got enough blood off to feel safe getting into the van and was taken back to base camp to get a shower and head home.

Now the episode should be airing in late October or early November, once I have the dates I will post it. Also, I can say a good friend of mine also makes a cameo in it, but I’m not going to say whom yet. Now I just have to wait to see how I look on camera… and figure out what I’m going to do with this blood covered t-shirt that is now part of television history (okay, a teeny-tiny part).

Luis took the attached pictures and I thank him for it. And thanks to Linda, Keith, Wally, Lauren, Luis, Keith again, Michael, Erik, Lauren, Tim, Scott and about a dozen other people I met that just made the day so damn much fun. And to the girl at the funnel cake store… I’m sorry.






Saturday, April 21, 2007

Signing in Pasadena today.

UNUSUAL SUSPECTS LAUNCHES AT PASADENA’S COMICS FACTORY THIS SATURDAY
On-Site Sketches To Benefit The Hero Initiative

LOS ANGELES (April 17, 2007) – Dan Wickline’s The Unusual Suspects is being officially launched this Saturday, April 21 from 4 to 7 pm at the Comics Factory in Pasadena! The all-original 100-page graphic novel is a benefit for The Hero Initiative, the first-ever federally chartered not-for-profit corporation dedicated to helping comic book creators in need.

Come meet writer Dan Wickline, along with artists Tone Rodriguez and Mark Dos Santos, and get your very own sketch for a donation to The Hero Initiative.

In addition, eBay auctions are underway for original pages from The Unusual Suspects, so don’t miss the chance to win a page from Tone Rodriguez or Rafael Navarro! See:
http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=300102770802

http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=300102770062

WHO: Dan Wickline, Tone Rodriguez and Mark Dos Santos from The Unusual Suspects

WHAT: Sketches and Signings to launch this awesome 16 short story original graphic novel!

WHEN: Saturday, April 21, 2007 from 4:00 – 7:00 pm

WHERE: Comics Factory, 1298 E. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena, CA 91106 (626) 585-0618

Unusual Suspects
Written By Dan WicklineArtwork By Ben Templesmith, Tone Rodriguez, Nat Jones, Chris Moreno and MORE!Cover By Mike Mayhew and Dean Whiteb/w 100 pages $12.99 original graphic novel

To purchase a copy of The Unusual Suspects now (you really oughtta!), visit:
http://talesofwonder.com/product-exec/product_id/45870/category_id/75/sc/1,24,75

The Hero Initiative is the first-ever federally chartered not-for-profit corporation dedicated strictly to helping comic book creators in need. Hero creates a financial safety net for yesterdays' creators who may need emergency medical aid, financial support for essentials of life, and an avenue back into paying work. For more information, visit www.HeroInitiative.org or call 310-909-7809.

# # #

For further information, contact:
Janine Bielski
310-909-7809
HeroInitiative@aol.com
www.HeroInitiative.org

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Sunday, February 11, 2007

Unravel #1 in Previews.


New Shadowline Miniseries Continues Crime Comics Renaissance
BERKELEY, CA -- 19 January, 2007 -- The crime comic renaissance started by Warren Ellis's FELL, Ed Brubaker's CRIMINAL and Michael Avon Oeming's THE CROSS BRONX continues this April UNRAVEL ­ an all-new four-issue miniseries from Image Comics and Shadowline.
Written by Dan Wickline with art by Homeros Gilani, UNRAVEL begins with a stormy night foot pursuit through Central Park that leaves Officer Lindsey Shaw at the mercy of an amnesiac stranger. Attempts to identify the mystery man point to a connection with a decade-old cold case murder that is not only unlikely, but seemingly impossible. Thrust into a case where nothing makes sense, Shaw must figure out how her case ties to a man killed while in police custody and then convicted posthumously of murder.
"Lindsay comes from a long line of NYPD police officers," explains Wickline. "It's in her blood. She trusts her gut and takes the risks necessary to get the job done. The problem is that the case she's working on is unlike any she's ever seen. She's forced to look at everything ­ and everyone ­ she trusts differently. Even herself."
Featuring twists, turns, shady characters, deceptions and people trying to do good in the worst of circumstances, UNRAVEL gives fans of crime comics exactly what they want and is certain to keep readers guessing all the way through to the end.
UNRAVEL #1 (FEB071880), a 32-page comic with a cover price of $3.50 ships, is available for order in the March issue of Diamond Previews, with a ship date of APRIL 25.

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Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Unravel Interview at Broken Frontiers


Frederik Hautain over at Broken Frontiers interviewed Homeros and I about our new Shadowline/Image mini-series UNRAVEL. We talk about the new wave of crime comics and how to keep them unique.
Stop by and take a look.

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