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Wild Ride arrives at my door and online

You can all relax now. My long wait is over: the first copies of Wild Ride arrived at my door yesterday and . . . they look fantastic.

It’s great to see Mike Deas’ beautiful art in its final glossy-paged form and so nice to be able to flip through the pages (as opposed to looking at a pdf file on my dying monitor.)

Unfortunately, you’ll have to wait until October before you can hold a copy of Wild Ride in your hands.

Fortunately, you won’t have to wait to get a sneak peak at the opening pages of Wild Ride. They’re available, including some of Mike’s rough pencil sketches, at the new website for the book series: graphicguideadventures.com.

We’ll be adding more goodies and news to the site in the coming weeks, so grab the feed and add it to your RSS reader to get all the updates.

In the meantime, here’s a couple of thumbnails to get you started:

wr_rough_thm_pvw_1.gifClick here to start you Wild Ride preview

The literacy value in empire building

Rome: Total War titleWe’ve been a bit Rome crazy around here for the last few weeks, due to watching entire second season of Rome, the HBO series, in four days.

We’re not wearing togas or anything (as Andrew-who’s-been-swallowed-by-Facebook suggested), but I am marching across Northern Italy trouncing Gauls whenever they have the nerve to face me.

Not satisfied with spending four days watching the entire TV series on dvd, I’ve gone out and bought the classic real time strategy game Rome: Total War. As the title suggests, it’s a pretty bloody game and as a result, many, many men (and horses) have died. But, you know, I’ve got to let off stress somehow.

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Wild Ride hot off the presses

wradvancesmaller.gifThe big day is getting close! Wild Ride will be in bookstores very soon.

The first printings have arrived at the Orca offices in beautiful Victoria, BC. And illustrator Mike Deas, lucky west coaster that he is, has the photo evidence to prove it.

Mike lives in Victoria, so all he had to do was walk around the block to grab his copies. Me? Well, I have to check the mailbox compulsively for the next week, while my copies make the 3000 km journey across Canada. Lucky books. That cross-country journey is a beautiful one.

It’s always exciting to see your new creations finally printed and bound for the first time. So, I feel a bit like a kid before his birthday, eagerly counting down the days and waiting as patiently as I can. But I really hate waiting.

Maybe I’ll go check the mail just one more time.

Having a blast at book camp

As usual, I’m a bit late with my post about last week’s Brantford & Burlington Book Camps, but you can stop fretting: the wait it over!

It was an early start to get the train to Brantford from Toronto, but I arrived just in time to find all the campers posing for their group photo. Myself and one of the powerhouses behind the conference, Marsha Skrypuch, joined in for a few photos and then we were ready to get down to the nitty gritty of comic making.

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Sounds of Algonquin at my door

chickadeeonfeeder.gifWhile I know I’ll never be a professional wildlife photographer, like Michael Runtz, I am very happy that I managed to snap this shot of a black capped chickadee on the feeder outside my office window.

For the last month or so, there’s been a pair of these little guys hanging out in our back yard fighting the bullying house sparrows and extremely rude starlings for their turn at the feeder. The chickadees are even smaller than many of the sparrows and more often than not, the bullies chase away the chickadees. And if it isn’t the sparrows then it’s the tank-sized starlings who tell the little chickadees to get lost.

But after being knocked back one too many times, these little fighters fly in quick, startle their nut-munching adversaries and manage to grab their share of the food. And once they get their claws into that feeder, it takes the pestering of more than one sparrow and starling to get a lone chickadee to leave. This fight for the feeder happens repeatedly throughout the day and it’s better than any reality show on the TV.

When the chickadees are through battling for their dinner, they then entertain all within earshot with their songs that take me right back to the woods of Algonquin Park and fill my head with distant memories of Hinterland Who’s Who spots. Listen to the chickadee’s song and tell me if it doesn’t put you in a canoe paddling along the shores of a northern Ontario lake.

Now, if we could just do something about the sounds of the two MASSIVE home renovation projects going on next door to us, I might be able to forget I’m in the city all together.