News and Notes: My Story in Ahoy! Comics, Sci-fi Anthology, We Suck at Comics Kickstarter, Into That Darkness Peering

It’s been a busy month, so here are some notes on all the projects I’ve been a part of recently.

My story, “The Big Cheese” was just released this week in Billionaire Island: Cult of the Dog #1 from Ahoy! Comics. It is backing up a mark Russell story, which is pretty cool. Get it at your local comics shop.

There are still two days left to support the We Suck at Comics kickstarter. The anthology from Wayward Raven includes three of my stories, “Freedom,” a 2000AD-style science fiction story (illustrated by Tyler Carpenter), and two episodes of Sir TweetCivil, a Monty Python-esque spoof of Twitter (illustrated by Alexander Sapountzis). The anthology also includes stories by Mark Frankel, Jeff Rider, Johnny C, Sebastian Bonet, Joel Jacob Barker, and cavalcade of indie comics all-stars.

The When All That’s Left is Stories dystopian science fiction anthology is now available for free download on Amazon. My story, “The Bartleby Initiative,” is included in the book, alongside stories by 11 other writers from the Twitter writing community.

My gothic horror collection, Into That Darkness Peering, illustrated by Marika Brousianou, is still available on Amazon. It is a beautiful book, and would make a perfect holiday gift for the goth in your life.

For those of you on the platform, I have joined Mastadon. Follow me there for new

On Illustrated Poetry, Nick Offerman, and Following Your Dreams

The great Nick Offerman offers this gem of advice in his memoir: Paddle Your Own Canoe: Not everyone will like the cut of your jib, but many others will. One simply needs to seek those others and somehow trick them into buying tickets to your production of Gangsta Rap Coriolanus.”

This colorfully worded sentiment goes against much of the advice offered to aspiring creatives, which involves things like chasing trends, researching the right key words and hashtags, and writing to the market.

While I would never advise a creative not properly research the market, there is, too, a value, in making the weird thing you want to make, market and trends be damned. Make the weird thing. Find your people. Create your own market.

I found Offerman’s words particularly inspiring as I read them just as I was preparing to release my book Into That Darkness Peering, a collection of gothic horror poetry and flash fictions, written by me and illustrated by Marika Brousianou.

This book, which just came out last week, is comprised of fully-illustrated, stand alone pieces. It is an illustrated book, but not for children. It is not really a straight poetry or fiction collection, but it’s not a graphic novel either. I was really hard to choose categories and key words for it on Amazon and Lulu.

What it is, is really cool. It came out beautifully, and, yes, it is the perfect time to release a book of gothic horror tales. right on time for Halloween.

I’ll drop a few sample images at the bottom of the post, and if you want to check it out, the book is available on Amazon in print and electronic formats. It is also enrolled in Kindle Unlimited, so you can read it for free if you subscribe to that service.

It may not be gangsta rap Shakespeare, and I may not be Nick Offerman, but I hope you, my own band of miscreants and weirdos, will give it a chance and buy it.

News and Notes: Recent Interviews

If you’ve enjoyed the Surrealist Cadavre Exquis project I recently organized, be sure to check out my interview on Jon Black’s website. Black, who was one of the participants in the project, asks me about the philosophy and motivation behind the project, and provides some context and history surrounding the original surrealist cadavres as well. You can read the interview here:

I also have a story in the forthcoming Once Upon Another Time anthology, scheduled for release on May 23rd. As part of a series on the authors in this Writing Community fantasy and fairytale anthology, I was interviewed by RC Hopgood. You can read the interview here:

https://anothertime2022.blogspot.com/2022/05/five-questions-with-a-rubin.html

News and Notes: “Genesis, Jiggered” to be published in Ahoy! Comics (November 24th); Appearance on Flying Ketchup Radio

My short story, “Genesis Jiggered,” a satyrical retelling of the biblical creation story, which posits the creator was drunk, will be published by Ahoy! comics in Black’s Myth, issue 5 on November 24th.

Get it at your local comics shop, or wherever comics are sold.

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Comic Book School mentioned my story in a recent episode of it’s Tuesday night YouTube show.

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And speaking of the CBS YouTube show and Ahoy!, I also interviewed Stuart Moore and Mark Russell about the process of creating their stories in the latest issue of Edgar Allan Poe’s Snifter of Death.

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I also recently appeared on Flying Ketchup Press’ Ketchup•Pedia radio. I read two pieces on the program, a sonnet which I wrote upon finding my first grey hair, and a flash fiction story which was published in the Comic Book School Panel 1 anthology.

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My poem “snow ghosts” will be published in The Bard’s Annual 2021 from Local Gems Press on Dec 5th.

I will be reading at Bard’s Day the annual release event on Long Island. Tickets to the reading and links to buy the book can be found here.

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Into This Darkness Peering: A Collaborative Inktober Project

As a writer, I’ve long-been jealous of visual artists’ social media pages, especially during this time of year. Traditionally, Inktober is in full swing, and if like me, you follow a lot of artists, you look forward to the myriad of posts which dominate your timeline in response to various art challenges. As a writer, I wanted in on the action. I wanted a way to get more eyes on my page, and to connect with the community of visual artists with whom I might collaborate in the future.

Last year, my friend Gene Hoyle, a long time comics writer and publisher, organized a project called Pagetober, where writers and artists were supposed to collaborate on an inktober project: writers would write something for artists to draw throughout the month of October. It was a great idea, but it kind of fizzled out, and I’m not sure if any of the projects were completed.

This year, I tried again. I approached Marika Brousianou, with whom I had collaborated before, about illustrating a series of flash fiction and poetry throughout October. Thus, “Into The Darkness Peering” was born. So far, it’s working out well. We are 2/3rds of the way through the month, and so far, we have posted something every day on each of our social media. The reaction to the project has been excellent, and we are going to collect the results into a book later this year, and sell some of the individual pieces as prints as well. I have high hopes for the project, which I hope to have ready for con season next year. I like the idea of having prints at my table, which would give it a visual appeal beyond what I would usually have as “just” a writer.

I recommend all writers consider doing a similar project, especially my colleagues within the indie comics community. Why not take advantage of a popular hashtag to drive more traffic to your page? Why wouldn’t you want to engage with the community of comics artists with whom you hope to collaborate in the future? Why not work towards a modular project which you might be able to sell in different mediums?

Below, I have posted a few samples of our work so far, but I invite you to follow along and see all the pieces, on both my own or Marika’s social media pages.

#IntoThisDarknessPeering Written by A. A. Rubin, illustrated by Marika Brousianou
https://www.instagram.com/thesurrealari/
#IntoThisDarknessPeering Written by A. A. Rubin, illustrated by Marika Brousianou
#IntoThisDarknessPeering Written by A. A. Rubin, illustrated by Marika Brousianouhttps://www.instagram.com/thesurrealari/

News and Notes: Loki, Nerds of The Round, Remnants, The Great Command Meant

Some recent news and notes:

Last week I was, once again, a guest on the Nerds of the Round show. This episode was a discussion of episode 2 of the Disney+ Loki show. Be forewarned, it contains spoilers. Check it out here:

In publishing news, Remnants, the post-apocalyptic sci-fi, horror anthology which includes my story “The Forgotten” has been picked up by Fedowar Press and will be reissued later this year. Check out the info here.

I also have received my copies of The Great Command Meant (Arcane Inkdustries). The comics anthology includes a short story I wrote, illustrated by Christina Castro, as well as a full-page mixed media art piece I made. If you backed the Kickstarter, you should be receiving your books soon (if you have not already done so). Let me know what you think.

Join the Second Annual Comic Book School 8 Page Challenge

Over the last year, I’ve written extensively about my participation in the Comic Book School 8 Page Challenge. I wrote a comics story and flash fiction story for last year’s anthology, and edited the flash fiction section. This year, I will be co-editing the book and, hopefully, contributing two stories again. I welcome all writers and artists to participate in the challenge, which is starting now. Follow the link below for all the relevant information.

https://www.comicbookschool.com/creative-prompt-8-pg-challenge-2/

My Interview on The Nerds of the Round

Check out my recent interview on The Nerds of the Round Podcast where I talk about my current projects, including Under New Suns (Skullgate Media), the Comic Book School Panel 1 anthology, At The Festival, my one-act play at Black Horse Review, and how my martial arts practice affects my writing. Oh, and that’s me riding a space-shark. What’s a space-shark? You’re going to have to listen or watch to find out.

You can watch on youtube, or listen here:

It’s a longer interview, but you’ll miss my wild hand gesticulations.

Writing as Creative Play and The Remnants Anthology Release

I find it very sad that grown ups are not encouraged to play creatively. Most adults, following along with the conventions of contemporary society and do not engage in active, creative play. They rely on the creations of others to escape their dreary, every-day lives by watching television and movies, listening to music, reading books, and perhaps going to an art museum. Very few grownups, write, paint, compose, etc, Even when they do think creatively, it is often done in connection with their jobs, and therefore, they are creating for others—a boss, a company—rather than for themselves. In contrast, children are encouraged to play to draw, to make up stories and songs. Whether they consider themselves to be creative or not does not matter. Most children engage in creative play.

Many of the so-called-weird people who become successful in the arts encourage others to engage in creative activity as well. They claim, that there is a fulfillment one gets from doing art that is directly related to doing something creative for yourself. My favorite formulation of this idea is Kurt Vonnegut’s. Vonnegut, in a number of different places, encouraged his readers (and his listeners when he delivered his message as a speech) to engage in creative activities, even if what they end up producing is bad. One does not need, as Neil Gaiman exhorts his followers to do, make good art, rather, even making bad art is way of making “life bearable,” according to his view. “Practicing an art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow, for heaven’s sake,” Vonnegut claims.

I wholeheartedly agree, and I believe that the reason for this positive effect is the connection between making art—good or bad—and the creative play in which most people engaged as children. I have often, when speaking of my own writing, compared it to a (slightly) more socially acceptable version of childhood play.

During a recent live reading and discussion about the Remnants anthology from Kyanite Publishing (which was just released today), I extended that metaphor a bit further to explain the different mediums in which I write and connect them to common ways that children play.

When I want to play alone (and as an introverted writer-type, this is the kind of play in which I engage the most), I write short stories or poetry. During this type of play, I am the only one affecting the outcome of the “game.” When I want to play with others, I make comics. In this type of play, I collaborate with others to create. I work with an artist, and sometimes a team comprised of separate pencilers, inkers, colorists, and letterers, to create the final piece. We each have input into the story, and we collaborate to affect the outcome.

The Remnants anthology offered me a new way to play. Remnants is a “shared-world” anthology. It takes place in a post-apocalyptic world, created by Stephen Coghlan. Each of the authors in the anthology had to write a story which took place within this same, shared, world. Because of my background in comic books, I usually explain a shared world like the Marvel or DC universe. Each comic (or movie if you prefer) must take place within the shared world, but each is also the unique creation of the artists who made it. A Denny O’Neil Batman story is different from an Alan Moore Batman story, but they are both, recognizably Batman stories and therefore must follow the parameters of that universe. You could say the same thing about Kenneth Branagh’s Thor movie compared to Taika Waititi’s.

Similarly, the stories in the Remnants anthology each reflect the styles and talents of the authors who wrote them, yet they all take place within Stephen’s world. Writing for this anthology presented certain restrictions in terms of what I was allowed to do in the story, but it was also freeing in a way as I could just concentrate on writing the story without having to do all the world building associated with writing this type of science fiction story.

To return to my metaphor, writing this story was like go over someone’s house and being allowed to play with their toys. In this case, Stephen built this incredible world, a for a little while, he allowed me—and the other writers whose stories are included in this anthology—to come and play with it. The result’s which you can read in the anthology, are truly remarkable in they way they differ in tone, style, and content while all being true to the shared world.

I hope you consider purchasing a copy of Remnants, and reading my story, “The Forgotten,” (follow any of the hyperlinks throughout this post, including this one), and I really hope that if you endeavor to do something creative this week. Write a poem or story, draw a picture, write a song, even if you feel you’re doing it poorly, the benefits are immeasurable especially during these trying times.

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