Friday, February 28, 2014

Five Things on a Friday: Groot & Rocket Raccoon Edition

I mentioned this yesterday, but let me just start by reiterating that this has been an incredible bear of a week.  I won’t get into the details, but bottom line, I feel like I’ve been sprinting on a treadmill, running hard but getting absolutely nowhere.  The weekend promises to be the same but even moreso, and then next week opens with 10” to 12” of snow on Monday, and there’s no end in sight after that.
So.  It’s pretty much all Groot and Rocket Raccoon today, and truth is, I don’t even want to try talking about anything else.  Take that for what it’s worth.

The top news of the week is that Marvel has announced a forthcoming Guardians tie-in prose novel set for release in July called Rocket Raccoon and Groot: Steal the Galaxy.  Longtime Guardians scribe/novelist Dan Abnett is writing, based (I think) on one of his unpublished storyarcs from his run (with Andy Lanning) on Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy ongoing series, circa 2008.

Abnett’s lately been writing sci fi comics for various indie publishers--for example, the Hypernaturals from Boom! Studios and Battlestar Galactica from Dynamite--but he’s been one of my favorite military sci fi novelists for a couple of years now.  I discovered his work for Warhammer 40K quite by accident and loved it.  That stuff’s all out in collected thousand-page paperback volumes on Amazon now, and it’s well worth your time if you’re looking for trippy science fiction storytelling with an edge of political/military pananoia and lots of machine guns.  Meanwhile, I have no idea what to expect from Rocket Raccoon and Groot, but I’m definitely planning to check it out and see what’s what.
2.  New Rocket Raccoon Ongoing from Skottie Young.
While we’re talking about the Guardians, Brian Michael Bendis posted this pic on Tumblr yesterday of the new Skottie Young Rocket Raccoon ongoing comic series, also coming this summer.
The oh so gorgeous cover for Rocket Racoon #1.
I got a look at the first five-page preview yesterday, and my gut reaction was all-ages sci fi farce. Emma and I sat around the kitchen table laughing at it last night, and that was without any coloring or lettering on the preview pages.  In those first five pages, Young’s got Groot in a pro-wrestling match while Rocket and the Original X-Men look on, and Rocket starts trying to put the moves on a teenaged Jean Grey!  
Eh.  You’re probably scratching your head right now, but that’s okay.  Bendis has been writing both the All-New X-Men and the Guardians for the past year or so, and there’s been some dimension-hopping time-travel stuff in both books.  I didn’t love the conceit in either title initially, but now that he’s smashed the two books together and stuck them out in the far reaches of the galaxy, it looks a little better.
Anyway, I’vee no idea what Young plans for his book, but I’ll definitely have to put it on our Pull-List, or else the natives are liable to get a little restless in the Head Household.
3.  Marvel Must Believe in the Guardians.
We all see that, right?
I guess I’m just a little surprised by how strongly the studio is getting behind this Guardians thing.  I mean, they’re really pushing with both hands.  Now, maybe that’s just a marketing ploy, with an eye towards getting guys like me to write about their various projects, and if so, that’s okay.  But it looks like they really believe that this crazy pivot towards the outer-reaches of their Universe is going to work, and if it does, it’ll be truly impressive.  I mean, Guardians of the Galaxy is a book that has always struggled to move issues regardless of how good it’s been, and it’s often been very good.
But maybe that doesn’t matter.  After all, no one had heard of Blade before his movie got made, but that didn’t stop the property from rocking the box office three seperate times.  Moveover, Iron Man was a perennial bit-player in the Marvel U. before Robert Downey Jr. took the role, and now that character is Marvel’s centerpiece.  And I still don’t think anybody’s reading Thor, even after two successful movies...
4.  Our Vacation Is Set.
We’re going back to Green Lake in Maine, probably at the beginning of August.  Which is just in time for the opening weekend of the Guardians movie.  So we’ll probably see it at the little theater up in Ellsworth at some point during that week away.  
Is it silly to be excited about that?
Frankly, I can’t wait for the break.  It hasn’t exactly been The Days of Wine and Roses around here lately.
5.  I Finally Figured Out How My Book Is Going to End.
I spent the first half of this week outlining the last half of the last story in “War Stories from Wanderhaven” and then discussing the pieces with my friend Alan Evans (Rival Angels) and my other friend Bonnie.  Let me tell you, their help has been invaluable.  Not only because they’ve helped me see the story in a few ways that I’d not have seen otherwise, but also because it just helps so much to write to a target audience.
The last story in “War Stories” is called “The Crown of Pluto”, and it’s the longest single work I’ve written in years.  That’s fine in that it gives me enough space to stretch my legs and tell a slightly more complicated tale, but it’s challenging, too.  First off, it’s impossible to hold the complete concept for a story of that length in your head at any one time.  You either have to take notes, make outlines, and use them to keep your ideas straight, or you have to pretty much make it up as you go.  In the course of writing this story I’ve done both, but the seat-of-my-pants storytelling started to get a little out-of-control in the last couple of weeks, which is why I finally sat down and hashed out the outline.  And then, too, working on the same story day-in, day-out like that always makes me feel like the story itself is going to disappear up its own butt.  After a while, it’s very hard to see the point in putting that much effort into a thing that no one cares about.
All of which is another way of saying that when I’m left to my own devices, I have a strong tendency to over-complicate everything.  By the end of last week, I’d therefore started feeling like the story was getting away from me, and it freaked me out.  So I reached out to my trusty test-readers, and I’m not afraid to say that they rescued me.  With their help, the outline’s in place, and I know how all the loops close.  That’s a pretty good feeling, even though I still have at least two more months of work before the first draft of the thing is finished.  
Still, at least now I feel like the draft is actually going somewhere.
That’s all I’ve got.  
Wish me luck this weekend.  I have a feeling I’m going to need it.


  1. Sounds like you're back on track with your writing. :D I have no idea what you are talking about with the comic books. But that's what retirement is for! Yes, I'm now retired. Yeah me. I'll scroll back through for the novelist's name & book title (put on my to do list.) you turned me on to Altered Carbon author if you recall.

    As far as your life right quote a song "when you 're going through hell, keep on going"

    Good luck, you can do it.
    PS my daughter Kimberly Andersen is just about to compete in her first Ironman. Starts today in New Zealand. Cuz it's already tomorrow there

    1. Tell your daughter "Good luck" from me. I'm sure she'll do fine, but it's still quite an accomplishment to finish an Ironman.

      As for me, I'm sure we'll be fine. We just need better coordination around the house, and maybe a few breaks here and there besides. It's not that bad. It's just been a long week, and instead of a break, I have VERY full day tomorrow and who-knows-what on Sunday. And a prediction of more snow Monday as we head back into the grind. The future just feels a little bleak is all.

    2. Kimi finished the swim in 1:15:35. and the first bike split time for 46 km was 1:36:01. I'm following the athlete tracker on my phone. Is she on pace to finish in 13 hours? that's her goal. She is bib #202. Thanks for your expertise. I think she is remarkable for entering. I know she'll finish.

    3. It sounds like she's doing great. 'Course, she's probably done by now, so tell her I said, "Congrats!"

      By the way, congrats on your retirement as well. That's a dream that few realize anymore.