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WOW – as you can see, things have been busy for me lately.  (There are many more things happening that I can’t even talk about yet, btw.)  But I almost forgot to sound the alarm that a NEW PLAY I CO-WROTE IS NOW PLAYING IN CHICAGO!

PSYCHONAUT LIBRARIANS is a trippy, pulpy, heartfelt comedy that I co-wrote with the award-winning New York playwright (and friend) CRYSTAL SKILLMAN!

The show was developed with director (and concept creator) Sean Kelly and with The New Colony.  We were invited to devise this one-act play version of the concept for COLLABORACTION‘s annual SKETCHBOOK festival.  It’s been a wonderful chance to experiment and play in creating a madcap piece of pop theater for the broad and energetic crowd that Collaboraction cultivates.

I had a blast working with this  incredible cast.  New Colony starts its process by letting the writers work through improv and character-exploration workshops with the actors.  And this crew was particularly hilarious and emotionally genuine.  I like to think that Crystal and I captured some of their best qualities and worked them into the piece.

Anyway – if you’re in Chicago (or will be) and you like theater (or you’re willing to give an un-stuffy set of new works a try) YOU SHOULD GO GET TICKETS FOR OUR SHOW!!

RANDOM ADDITIONAL FUN-FACTS! :

  • Tickets are really affordable, but there might be REALLY CHEAP tickets on GOLDSTAR.com
  • Crystal also has a full length play running in Chicago right now!  WILD! <- (that’s the name)
  • “Psychonaut” is a REAL WORD!
  • Crystal Skillman is the wife of fellow (awesome) comic book writer – FRED VAN LENTE!

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Amelia Earhart: Jungle Princess cover by Mike Dimayuga

New Comic :  AMELIA EARHART: JUNGLE PRINCESS!

The famed aviatrix survived her legendary crash, only to live stranded on a remote and deadly isle! Will the local savages be friends or foes?  -  by James Asmus and Mike Dimayuga

Years after doing a(n award-winning) play by the same name with The New Colony in Chicago – I couldn’t let go of the idea!  This first tale is a stand-alone story with art by the fantastic Mike Dimayuga (Image Comics’ Colt Noble & the Megalords) and it’s available now through DoubleFeature comics!

*  *  *  *

DoubleFeature is an awesome digital publishing outlet that delivers two different, original 8-page stories – plus bonus material – for only $0.99!  You can get the comics as a PDF you can read on any device – OR – you can download the free DoubleFeature iPad app which offers extra features like page-by-page creator commentary and the ability to strip off different layers of the art and lettering to see the work at its various stages!

When you’re done reading Amelia, you should try out the other Double Feature comics from great creators like Tim Seeley (Hack/Slash, Witchblade), Mike Norton (Green Arrow/Black Canary, Battlepug), Dennis Hopeless (Legion of Monsters, Loveless), Sean Dove (Hack/Slash, I am Legion), Gabriel Hardman (Hulk, Planet of the Apes) and tons more!  Go get ‘em!

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C2E2

Not the (only) reason I go to conventions.

Wow!  I didn’t go to C2E2 last year – but I’m pretty sure I’ll be going as often as possible!

It was an absolutely wonderful convention experience with great people all around.  I had the pleasure of running into my long-time Chicago friends from theater & comedy, as well as great creators from all around the country.

I’ll post some links soon to a few interviews I did while in town.  I’ll also post a few other things about the great responses we’ve gotten on the UNCANNY X-MEN ANNUAL.  (THANK YOU!, by the way.)

In the meantime, if you haven’t checked out these people before – DO IT NOW.  These are not only great people, but they’re doing truly fantastic work in comics.  Cheers.

CHRIS BURNHAM ! – Just announced at C2E2 as EXCLUSIVE to DC Comics! Though, it sounds like he’ll still be able to do creator-owned work like his brilliantly ultra-violent stuff with Joe Casey at Image (like Officer Downe which is available on the ComiX app)

TIM SEELEY – You shouldn’t need me to tell you, but Tim has been an awsome source of rock n’ roll spirit in comics for years with his smartly titilating Hack Slash.  And if you’re a fan of super-heroic madness, GET his miniseries (or trade) of Ant Man & The Wasp recent, from Marvel.

MIKE NORTON – This guy is a straight-up ace at comics art.  You’ve probably already seen his art on Gravity, Green Arrow/Black Canary, or the amazing Queen & Country. But now he’s got something really cool cooking all his own with FOUR STAR STUDIOS.  <<< KEEP AN EYE ON IT.

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A little too late, but it’s worth recording for posterity that my latest play and first full-length drama “Calls to Blood” just closed its extended run at Royal George theater in Chicago.

I never got to actually see the show, but I am so incredibly grateful for the hard work of everyone involved and how well it was recieved.   I really, really look forward to revisiting this piece for future productions.  I’m 90% sure that it’ll have a different title, BTW.

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A few quotes, all from writer/editor recommended reviews (!):

“Sex, relationships and intensity done right – when I search in my memory for a comparably provocative, promising and closely observed experience, I can only come up with the early LaBute scripts I saw at the old Cafe Voltaire in the mid-1990s.” — CHICAGO TRIBUNE

“Calls to Blood masterfully manipulates dramatic clichés, veering from cheerful chick-flick to terrifyingly twisted quick enough to cause emotional whiplash — manipulating audience mindsets, too, along the way.” —CENTERSTAGE

“Lots of people have nuggets of experience that could presumably anchor a drama, but not many of them have Asmus’s technical chops…Asmus uses an improbable but apparently true scenario to demonstrate his gift for capturing the rhythms of contemporary talk. ” / “Both gut-wrenchingly tragic and very, very funny.” —TIME OUT

“Revealing a horrifying family secret straight out of Sam Shepard…Asmus packs his seemingly incompatible scenes with accurate, telling observations of human behavior.  Against all odds, nearly everything in this New Colony premiere rings poignantly true.” —CHICAGO READER

Trust me that once again, The New Colony has gone to a place most theatre companies wouldn’t even think to go. [Asmus's] skill in writing sharp comic dialogue shows he’s a writer to watch.”  —TALKIN’ BROADWAY

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