Confessions of a Comic Book Geek

Posted on April 25th, 2008 in Anna Smudge: Professional Shrink,Art,Highlights by MAC

So, yeah, I collect comic books. Lots of them. My apartment is filled to the brim with boxes of graphic novels, and pretty much looks like the inside of Forbidden Planet… with a bed. I guess you could call me a comic nerd. I know the names of really obscure characters like Beppo (the monkey from Superman’s home planet Krypton) and the The Merk (the alien that gave Nexus his powers). And yes, I realize that to most folks it probably sounds as if I’m speaking Lithuanian right now. I stumbled into comics my first year in college, and from then on out I was hooked.


When I found out that there were going to be illustrations in my book, Anna Smudge, I adamantly wanted to get artists from the comic book industry. So, I wrote up a bunch of nutty character descriptions along with a brief book synopsis and sent them to Glenn Fabry, a two-time Eisner award winning comic artist in the UK, who I’ve been a big fan of for years and years. Then I held my breath and crossed my fingers & toes. Luckily, Glenn took a fancy to the material and signed on!


Check out a few of the original character descriptions I sent to Glenn alongside his final art for the book:


Note to Glenn: These portraits will be placed at the section breaks throughout the book. They are in-your-face shots of every antagonist/villain that Anna comes up against. So, each one needs to be hard core, threatening, and popping right off the page!




Donny “the Meatball” Fratelli:

Donny “the Meatball” is a notorious hitman who just escaped from prison. He’s not the sharpest knife in the drawer. In fact he’s more like a spoon.


So, in an attempt to disguise himself, he bleached his hair blonde. Now he’s a humongous giant of a man, with a violent, out of control temper, and white-blonde hair. In terms of looks, think of that huge, quiet goon in the movie Fargo or your typical Sopranos buffoon.

This portrait should be scary with a twinge of comedy. Donny is lunging at the reader with a toilet bowl plunger, his teeth gritted, his eyes wild. He is very angry!! And man, is he gonna plunge you!!!




Ms. Musashi:

Have you ever had a scary dictator of a math teacher who you could have sworn was a secret government spy? Well, then you’ve probably had math with Ms. Musashi. She is Japanese and in her forties. She has dark, shiny hair cut in a severe page boy style. She wears suits of different colors and carries a matching stick, which she smacks across the chalk board like a whip. Strict, Strict, Strict! She talks in a monotone and the word “smile” is not in her vocabulary. She is severe and military-like.

This shot should be threatening. Ms. Musashi should be smacking her stick against her open palm… “What’s 5347 divided by 53?” …her eyes burn into your very soul and you know it’s either get the answer right or pee in your pants in front of the entire class.




Mrs. Summer:

Poor Mrs. Summer. She was just a fragile, sixth-grade art teacher who liked to finger paint. But after seeing Mr. Who’s face, she’s completely lost her mind. She’s gone bonkers!

In this portrait Mrs. Summer is strapped into a straight jacket; her hair is smeared with paint, mascara is running down her face, her eyes are wild, and she is screaming at the top of her lungs, desperate to tell us something. She has blonde curly hair, she is middle-aged… and she is completely crazy!




Jacob Pierce:

Jacob is your typical 11-year old bully— loud, obnoxious, and always trying to get someone in trouble. He’s got red hair and mash of freckles on his face. In this portrait, he is coming right at you, sneering, making monster-face; “poop” is smeared on his cheeks and all over his hands. And he’s trying to wipe it all over you! Eeew!




The Annoyed Police officer:

This is the guy who has a desk job and enjoys bossing people around. Think Barney Fife from Mayberry He’s tall, thin, gangly, with a large Adam’s apple. He hates kids, and most of the rest of humanity. And he probably has an ulcer from the endless towers of papers he has to file. He is dressed in a crisp police uniform and hat.


In this shot, he is pointing at the door behind the reader, furious, impatient, ordering them to leave!!




Anna Smudge sold out at the New York Comic Con!!

I have had the great of pleasure of working with two incredible comic book artist icons. Glenn Fabry is doing all of the interior illustrations for The Professionals. And Greg Horn is doing the covers. And they are both the coolest guys. You would think that artists of their caliber would walk around with a ten person entourage and insist that someone accompany them to the bathroom. But these guys are so humble and down-to-earth.

A media frenzy!

Check out some NYCC photos. It was three days of total nuttiness. We had a great booth with five-foot-tall posters and an endless supply of donuts. It was wonderful to have our entire creative team there at once. Glenn flew in from the UK, Greg from Florida, and our brilliant book designer Greg Collins from Queens.

Glenn & I getting interviewed

Glenn Fabry and I getting interviewed by the press at the same time.

Me and a young fan, Julianna

Me and Julianna.

Hi Greg Horn!

Greg Horn had his own booth, and a massive crowd surrounding it the whole time. But he managed to meet up with Glenn and I for interviews, and occasionally popped by the Anna Smudge booth to chat.

Check out an interview Glenn, Greg, and I had with Newsarama in a glass room overlooking the Comic Con!

Get the Flash Player to see this content.

Also here’s a podcast Glenn and I did with Peter Jaffe from Comixology.

Comixology interview with Glenn Fabry & MAC



Check out the new Anna Smudge posters!

Posted on April 17th, 2008 in Anna Smudge: Professional Shrink,Appearances,Art,Events,Highlights by MAC

Yup, they’re here… bigger, badder, and way more obnoxious!!!


Donny CON poster

MrsSummer CON poster NSW CON poster


Folks who buy a copy of Anna Smudge this weekend at the New York Comic Con will get their choice of one of these posters. I will be signing books along with Glenn Fabry and Greg Horn at my publisher’s booth. So, stop by Toasted Coconut Media, Booth 1630, right across from DC Comics and say hi!




Evolution of a Cover

Posted on April 16th, 2008 in Anna Smudge: Professional Shrink,Art,Buzzzzzz,Interviews by MAC




Wanna see how the cover of Anna Smudge: Professional Shrink came to fruition?


Well, up top is the crummy sketch I sent to cover artist Greg Horn when I was first trying to describe to him what I had in mind. The second is the  much more awesome sketch that Greg sent back to me. Greg’s a very famous artist in the comic book industry. Every time I got sketches from him in my inbox it was like Christmas!


Check out Greg’s interview with Wizard Magazine about the revision process the Anna Smudge cover went through.




New York Post write up!

Posted on April 5th, 2008 in Anna Smudge: Professional Shrink,Book Reviews,Buzzzzzz by MAC

This was a very exciting day. Don’t get me wrong, every time Anna gets a mention it’s thrilling. Except, of course, when the mention is bad, which is when I go buy an abnormally large bag of Reese’s Pieces, and eat them one-by-one in fetal position on my sofa while listening to

How Do You Mend a Broken Heart?


But it was especially exciting to get a write-up in my hometown newspaper. My hometown being New York City. The New York Post named Anna Smudge one of five books to read now that Harry Potter is over, and compared Anna to Nancy Drew! Check it out here…





Wow, Anna has some pretty large shoes to fill. I hope that she’s up to the task, ties her shoelaces right, and doesn’t trip too much.




Lauren Storm reviewed Anna!

Posted on April 4th, 2008 in Anna Smudge: Professional Shrink,Book Reviews,Buzzzzzz,Photos by MAC


Lauren Storm is a terrific actress who was on the Popular TV show, Flight 29 Down, and in the Disney film, The Game Plan. Now Lauren’s starring in the Fox feature film, I Love You, Beth Cooper, alongside Hayden Panettiere from Heroes. The film is being directed by Chris Columbus, one of my all-time favorites, who wrote Goonies! For those of you who don’t know, I named Donny “the Meatball” Fratelli after the Fratellis in Goonies. Yes, that is just how much I love that film. Check out Lauren’s review of Anna Smudge below-


“Anna Smudge is an eleven year old Manhattan rich kid, who would gladly trade her wealth for a relationship with her always-unavailable parents. She feels ugly, clumsy and invisible, and dreads awakening each school day morning. Her hours at school are filled with endless teasing and feelings of inadequacy. As slow as she moves, her adept driver always manages to get her to school on time. How this unlikely character ends up as a leader and heroine skillfully unfolds in this lively throwback to the spirit of the old “Nancy Drew” series."

"One day at school, her dreaded nemesis, Jacob Pierce, tells a lie that gets Anna sent to the new guidance counselor. The result is that Anna gains not only a new friend, but also the confidence and determination to solve a murder mystery. Along the way she comes to realize that every person has certain gifts. She is great at giving practical advice. The title of professional shrink, and minor celebrity reputation, soon follow. With her motley crew of geniuses, the formerly invisible Anna takes to the streets of New York City. This heartfelt tale is well written and satisfying. I highly recommend it.”

–Lauren Storm




Anna Smudge has won a Top Choice Award at Flamingnet!

Posted on April 2nd, 2008 in Anna Smudge: Professional Shrink,Book Reviews,Buzzzzzz by MAC




Anna won a Top Choice Award from the popular review site, Flamingnet. The reviewer called the book, “One of the best mysteries I have ever read,” and gave it a nine out of ten. It’s pizza party time!


Check it out!

Anna Smudge at Flamingnet



  • Leave a comment... Comments Off on Anna Smudge has won a Top Choice Award at Flamingnet!

Allen Alvarado: Professional Actor

Posted on March 6th, 2008 in Anna Smudge: Professional Shrink,Book Reviews,Buzzzzzz,Photos by MAC

Allen Alvarado


So, you probably don’t know who Mr. Who is…or perhaps you do. But the real question is, do you know who Allen Alvarado is? He’s an extremely talented young actor who was a series regular on the popular TV show Flight 29 Down. And he recently finished filming the movie Lower Learning, starring Eva Longoria and Jason Biggs.


Allen read Anna Smudge and had some pretty cool things to say. Thanks, Allen! You are without a doubt a Professional.


“This book is a mystery masterpiece. It has a great build-up and a shocking ending. ‘Anna Smudge: Professional Shrink’ puts you in the middle of all of the action. I loved it so much, I was heartbroken when it ended.”

— Allen Alvarado




It’s raining shrinks!

Posted on March 5th, 2008 in Anna Smudge: Professional Shrink,Art,Buzzzzzz by MAC



Who knew that therapy would become such a rage? The Associated Press featured Anna Smudge in an article about the popularity of shrinks in entertainment alongside HBO’s In Therapy, The Sopranos, Frasier, and the movie Charlie Bartlett. It was picked up by the New York Times, USA Today, MSNBC, Washington Post, LA Times, Fox News, ABC News, and a zillion other places.


Art by Greg Horn.

Layout by Gregory "Gee Willakers" Collins.




Anna’s a cover girl

Posted on March 1st, 2008 in Anna Smudge: Professional Shrink,Buzzzzzz,Writing Advice by MAC


No, she’s not on the cover of a fashion magazine. Anna’s featured alongside a few other books on the cover of Publishers Weekly, a popular trade magazine that folks in the publishing industry read. If you want to be a Professional Book Editor or a Professional Agent or a Professional Writer, then I recommend you start reading PW on the double.


« Previous PageNext Page »