FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
COLUMBUS, OHIO – Actress Adrianne Palicki, who played troubled teen Tyra Collette on the acclaimed NBC drama Friday Night Lights, will write an introduction to ORPHANS, a graphic novel available exclusively through the crowdfunding site Kickstarter. Written by Adrianne’s brother Eric Palicki and illustrated by Branko Jovanovic, ORPHANS will be published digitally and in print. Adrianne will autograph a limited number of the trade paperbacks.
“Adrianne’s always been my biggest cheerleader,” said Eric Palicki. “She’s also a legitimate comics fan, which is probably my fault. When I explained what Kickstarter is and how I wanted to use it, she offered to write the introduction. I couldn’t say no.”
“I’m trying to convince her to write or co-write one of the stories inside the book,” Palicki added. “How cool would that be?”
Mixing elements of science fiction and adventure, ORPHANS tells the story of Alexis Quinn, who has positioned himself as a uniquely 21st century Robin Hood, stealing and redistributing technology. Writer Eric Palicki describes it as “Superheroes versus the Military-Industrial Complex.” Palicki has previously published his comics online at www.ericpalicki.com.
Adrianne Palicki’s roles have included Jessica Moore, Sam Winchester’s doomed girlfriend on the hit WB series Supernatural, and the title character in NBC’s Wonder Woman pilot. She stars in the upcoming films GI Joe: Retaliation and Red Dawn. Adrianne earned the number 10 spot on The Maxim Hot 100 List for 2012 and is this month’s cover girl.
For more information about ORPHANS and the crowdfunding site Kickstarter, please visit the project page: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/epalicki/orphans-volume-1-a-digital-print-graphic-novel-pro
CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD A MS WORD (.DOC) VERSION OF THIS RELEASE
For those who don’t know what Kickstarter is, it’s an opportunity for artistic folks of all stripes to raise awareness and funding for creative projects.
In my case, the creative project is a graphic novel I want to publish from a stack of scripts and story ideas that I’ve been sitting on for about two decades. Artists, good ones, cost money, as does printing, and so I’ve taken ORPHANS to Kickstarter in an attempt to raise the needed funds to illustrate, publish, distribute the book.
The thing about Kickstarter is, it’s not charity. It’s commerce (or at least it can be, when used correctly). The rewards listed on the right side of the project page (which you get to by clicking the link below), describe what you get in exchange for monetarily backing the project. Among those rewards are digital PDF downloads of individual chapters or the entire book, flash drives, tee-shirts, the book itself, including a limited number of copies autographed by me AND my sister, who (in addition to being my biggest cheerleader) has agreed to write an introduction to the book.
There’s a reasonably lofty goal attached to the project, and Kickstarter is all-or-nothing. If I don’t find enough pledges/backers/donors to reach that goal, then I get nothing, and pledgers/backers/donors are only charged if I reach the goal. There’s not much risk for you, if you decide to pledge/back the project. Either I reach the goal and you get cool rewards, or I don’t and it doesn’t cost you a dime.
Also, if you’re not into comics, but know someone who is, get the word out, eh? We appreciate all the help. Hell, we appreciate you reading all of this.
Here’s a link to the project page.
Here’s a link to the Facebook fan Page for ORPHANS. Please ‘Like’ us there.
Here’s a link to a nice interview about Orphans that I did for Tricia Ennis at All Geek to Me.
…in which Thiess smells something!
Click HERE to read our first chapter.
FINALLY! After some speedbumps and delays related to my hosting service, TEETH is back, beginning an all new story. Tell your friends. Tell your enemies. Tell MY enemies!
Start reading HERE.
The artists and I will be taking a break to celebrate the New Year, but we’ll be back on Wednesday (Jan. 4) where we begin our second story, “The Last Hound of God,” an origin of sorts.
Beginning today, and updating with a new page every Monday and Wednesday, J Christopher Greulich and I are bringing you TEETH. We’re also welcoming colorist Kyle Parker to the party.
Click HERE to begin reading.
My best friend and I were twelve years old together, reading comics and trying to make our own. Of all the funny characters that twelve year-old Eric drew (or tried to draw), there are exactly two that thirty-two year-old Eric can look back upon with more fondness than embarrassment.
1991: The 2% Solution.
I called the original version Nightstryker. Seriously. This was, after all, the early ‘90s, and I was, after all, an awkward twelve year-old. Alex Marshall, the character, was a brilliant biologist who had developed a new chemical weapon, a virus that altered the genetic structure of its victims, killing 98% of those infected as their bodies tore themselves apart. One night, armed thugs entered Alex’s laboratory to steal his invention. In the ensuing struggle, Alex spilled a sample of his virus, infecting everyone in the lab. To Alex’s surprise, he survived, one of the lucky two percent, his genetic modifications granting him superhuman strength and invulnerability but giving him a fatal sensitivity to light, an idea that had come to me after reading an article about the real life genetic defect Xeroderma Pigmentosum.
Presumed dead, Alex Marshall took up residence in the basement of an abandoned church, which then became the secret headquarters from which he fought crime as the costumed hero Nightstryker.
Nightstryker: because he could only stryke at night. See what I did, there?
I had created Alex Marshall without realizing how much I was borrowing from the Hulk and Darkman and Swamp Thing and from a million other comics characters who’d been brilliant scientists before becoming disfigured and/or irrevocably changed by their own inventions. Not that it mattered. I stopped being an awkward twelve year-old and became a slightly less awkward teenager, more interested in girls than in comic books. Alex Marshall went into a drawer with so many other fantasies from my childhood.
2001: You’ll Not See Nothing Like…
I was twenty-two, or thereabouts, when I stumbled across an article, probably in Popular Mechanics, about the YF-22 Raptor, and the process by which the U.S. Air Force settled upon Lockheed Martin’s design over Northrop’s YF-23. In broad strokes, the USAF invited potential contractors to bid on the project, and then to build prototypes and compete for the defense contract. I extrapolated that the military would use the same process to decide who built its superhuman soldiers.
The Captain America of 1941 was created by scientists working directly for the military, but the Captain America of 2001 would be created by scientists in the private sector hoping to win a lucrative defense contract. Because writing isn’t a game of ‘What if?’ so much as ‘What then?’ I started wondering about what would happen to the losing prototype. If the winner gets to be Captain America, I wanted to know what became of the other guy.
I also wondered what qualities the military might want its hypothetical super-soldier to possess. I imagined that, if he possessed metahuman strength and invulnerability, then the army/navy/etc. might also want a means to control him. After all, except for between the years 2001 and 2009, the launch codes to the nuclear arsenal aren’t just handed to any idiot. There would need to be some kind of safeties in place to ensure that our super-soldier couldn’t do too much damage if he went apeshit or AWOL.
My mind wandered back a decade ago, and I thought about Alex Marshall. His clichéd origins would need to be jettisoned, sure, but at his core was something I could use: a superhuman who could do anything when the lights go out, but who is just as fragile as the rest of us, or moreso, when the lights come on.
I renamed him Alexis Quinn, after Stephen King’s Alexis Machine (who isn’t a character himself in The Dark Half so much as he’s a nod to Donald Westlake’s Parker; clever metafiction abounds in that novel) and a Bob Dylan song, which provided a readymade title and tagline: “You’ll not see nothing like the mighty Quinn.” The first name also lent the story some automatic brevity, with ‘Alexis is a girl’s name’ becoming an easy way to lighten a moment before it went too dark or too heavy.
After the government awarded its defense contract to another competitor, I put Quinn to work doing corporate espionage for InGen, the company that made him.
Quinn, as written in 2002, was clever and resourceful, but there was still something missing. There was no emotional weight behind what Quinn was doing. I had a plot, and after commissioning Rudolf Montemayor to draw the first five pages, I had some very pretty pictures, but I was light on character and on theme.
I showed Rudolf’s pages to an editor, who liked the art well enough but was on the fence about the story. ‘Government super-soldier’ is a dangerous cliché, and if you’re not bringing something new to the table, then you’re basically rehashing a story that’s existed in comics since 1941 and in literature since Samson, Gilgamesh, or Beowulf.
The editor’s inexplicable hatred of song from which I borrowed my title — “I fucking hate that song” were his exact words — further knocked the wind from my sails. And so Alexis Quinn went into the drawer with his identical cousin Alex Marshall.
2011: Still a Girl’s Name, Buddy.
Once upon a time, young people were warned not to trust anyone over thirty. The thing is, I don’t think I reached political maturity until I turned thirty, the year in which I not only codified my political beliefs but also saw my first glimpse behind the curtain and realized that the political and social-economic systems in this country are too broken to do much to benefit anyone but the people who run things. In fact, the American Dream is predicated on the myth that with enough hard work, you, too, can run things.
At thirty-two, I still love comics, including the ones about superheroes, but I realize now that the superhero is generally a right wing artifact. They’re reactionaries, defenders of the status quo, cops in fancy outfits — and please, if that’s your political bent, well, I’m not here to tell you it’s wrong, any more than I’m about to tell you that my own left-leaning posture is right. I mean, Batman’s still cool, even if he’s essentially turned Gotham City into a police state.
So, then, one begins to speculate on what a left wing superhero might look like, and what conditions might drive him to become so. Perhaps he was lied to. Maybe no one ever told him that he’d never get to see the sun again, or what the technology that created him could do if it was used for creation instead of destruction. Maybe his glimpse behind the curtain revealed something far grimmer.
And then, just like that, everything clicks. Nightstryker becomes The Mighty Quinn becomes Orphans, a comic book about Quinn’s quest to find all the unused or misused technology and repurpose it from something destructive into something constructive. Not a comic about punching the world until it’s a better place, but one about making sure people have all the tools they need to do it themselves.
Sure, it’s a tad idealistic, but so are the quests to clean up all crime in Gotham or for truth, justice and the American way.
As I type this, the complete first draft of Orphans #1 sits open in a separate Word file on my desktop. It needs to be massaged into slightly better shape, but the spine of the thing is there, along with most of my favorite bits from previous iterations. The rubber ducky, sadly, is no more. It was one darling I could afford to kill. InGen, which I accidentally lifted from Jurassic Park, became the Vitruvian Corporation. Another draft, and I’ll be ready to inflict the script upon an artist.
Orphans is being written as a series of loosely connected done-in-one stories. I’m very conscious of the similarities between this comic and Planetary in structure and message. In fact, Orphans begins where Planetary left off, with the bold and revolutionary notion that scientific advancements could make the world better for everyone, rather than blow stuff up. Filtered through a grungy, punk rock lens, Orphans is to Planetary as Nirvana’s “Man Who Sold the World” is to Bowie’s.
A yellow Post-It attached to my computer monitor reads “What would Joe Strummer Do?” and there’s more than a little of Joe’s ghost in Orphans, too.
“Kick over the wall.
Cause governments to fall.
How can you refuse it?
Let fury have the hour.
Anger can be power.
D’you know that you can use it?”
I’m going to post more essays like this in the future, as I bring Orphans and my other 2011 comics projects into existence. It’s an effort to generate some content while these comics are getting made, yes, but I think Alexis Quinn of 2011 would appreciate the transparency.
I dug this one out of the archives; ten pages of content from GALATEA, a pitch I put together a few years ago with Anthony Peruzzo. Galatea represents another example of my fondness for re-imagining the characters of myth in a modern context. Click the cover image below to read the original pitch pages.
I wrote at least a half-dozen script drafts before I settled on the direction that these pages take, and while I can look fondly upon Anthony’s contribution, I’m still not satisfied with the story. The Galatea found in these pitch pages is timid and shy. A surviving immortal deserves a stronger voice that what I gave her.
For those unfamiliar with the comics pitching process, creating comics takes time and money, and so it’s standard procedure for only part of a story to be finished before it gets shown to potential publishers. Errant chapters and story fragments litter this website, many of which you can read by clicking the links on the right side of the site. (The Undertaker’s Daughter chapters, “Touch” and CORDUROY ROAD are all complete stories.) I’ll be putting more of them online over the next few days.
Hello. I’m Eric Palicki and I’m a writer. I write comics, mostly, with occasional excursions into prose fiction and essays. You’ll find links to my comics in the right-hand column of this website.
Here are three of my favorite comics that I’ve written:
BAREFOOT (with artist Gabriel Andrade, Jr.)
CORDUROY ROAD (with artist Dion Hamill)
“TOUCH” (with artist Rich Lee)
Plans are afoot for new work in 2011, both online and in print. I’ll be in Chicago for C2E2 from March 17-20.
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Eric Palicki looks nothing like this rubber ducky.
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