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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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SAN DIEGO COMIC CONIt’s that time of year again!  The biggest comics (and movies, and games, and toys, and television, and merch, and art…) convention in the US, San Diego Comic Con. (If you don’t want my thoughts on the matter, you can skip down to the ‘Business Time’ bit.)  But, I think I now preferr to call it NERDI GRAS as someone brilliantly titled one sub-event.

I used to live in New Orleans, I can’t tell you how accurate that parallel is.  A million out-of-towners descend on a small city and wreak havoc, run up huge bar tabs, dress up in all kinds of crazy costumes, while strangers try to give everyone a bunch of trinkets, ephemera, and promotional items that 90% of people will throw out within a month.  IT’S GREAT!

I’m tempted to say the only major difference is there is less debauchery and nudity at Comic Con, but I have a sneaking suspicion that I’m just not going to the right events and after-parties.

In the words of Flight of the Conchords, ‘It’s Business Time’

If you’re looking for me at Comic Con, I only guarantee one appearance – I’ll be SIGNING AT MARVEL’S BOOTH on THURS 7/21 from 6-7pm & SAT 7/23 from 5-6PM.   Please come by and say hello and get something signed!  Other than that, I’ll be seeing panels for my own entertainment & edification, shopping, and stalking Alan Davis & Mike Allred.

I’ll also be glad-handing a few editors to try and find a home for the new project I teased in the last post.  The book’s working title is THE LIFE & END TIMES of BRAHM & BEN, a collaboration with friend & writer JIM FESTANTE and fantastic (German!) artist named REMUS BREZEANU.  Among other developments, I’ve reformatted the first few pages into something I’m really tickled with:

I have loved those fire, brimstone, and damnation mini comics that conservative evangelicals hand out.*  (CHICK Tracts, if you’re not familiar.)  I have wanted to re-purpose their aesthetic for a long time, and this is the perfect project to do it.  Now, this project was/is designed as a standard comic.  But 85% of our first 7 pages fit pretty perfectly into this format, so I thought it’s worth trying to catch attention.   If nothing else, I know my editor Jordan White will get a kick out it.  He’s had his own fascination w/ them.

But if you’re going – let me know!  TWITTER ME any fun stuff or good meet-up opportunities.  And I hope you all have a safe, fun, and sexxxy NERDI GRAS.

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*To clarify, this is not intended as a mockery of Christianity.  Just of these absolutely terrifying comics that people hand to young, unsuspecting children at parades.  (As was my introduction at around 7 years old.) To be fair, I was raised Catholic (which they equate with Masonry and devil worship).

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Namor Annual #1 - part 3 of "Escape From the Negative Zone"

A preview page from Namor: First Mutant Annual #1 - pencils by Max Fiumara

WOW!  It’s been a busy couple months.   The most immediate news is that 2 of 3 chapters of ESCAPE FROM THE NEGATIVE ZONE are out – and people seem to be getting what I hoped they would from it!  If you haven’t yet, grab your copies of Uncanny X-Men Annual #3 and Steve Rogers: Super Soldier Annual #1 at your local comic shop.  And ask them to pre-order you a copy the finale – Namor: First Mutant Annual #1!  It features pencils by your new favorite artist, Max Fiumara (Four Eyes, Amazing Spider-Man).

Also, the CW just aired an episode I shot of AMERICA’S NEXT TOP MODEL.  (Seriously.)   I was hired to be creepy and make the girls uncomfortable  as one of their challenges…which was easy.

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If you really want to hear me go on about these, though – here are some INTERVIEWS

COMIC BOOK RESOURCES – has a preview of some art from the final chapter of Escape…!  And I field some follow-up questions with Dave Richards (who also did the first interview here.)

CHILL OUT, IT’S JUST A PODCAST – had me sit down (or rather, crawl into a BLANKET FORT!) for a TWO-PART chat about these comics.  Episode 13 is all about Escape From the Negative Zone (and some deeply nerdy diversions from there).  And in Episode 14 we shoot the shit about where I came from, as well as my appearance on ANTM.

BRIDGET CALLAHAN IS YOUR BEST FRIEND - My (best?) friend Bridget also interviewed me about the experience of being hired (through my improv comedy work) by America’s Next Top Model to mess with the girls in an episode (Cycle 16, Episode 6).

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And for those who might be interested in (or have been on the fence about) picking up my Marvel Comics annuals (Uncanny X-Men, Steve Rogers: Super Soldier, and Namor: First Mutant) – here are some REVIEWS that just-so-happen to insist you buy them!

WEEKLY COMIC BOOK REVIEW – “A fun, lively and jaunty story that had me laughing out loud in a few places coupled with some seriously badass art.  A- !”

COMIC BOOK RESOURCES - THE ‘BUY PILE’ – “Buy! …  All the elements here just worked, joining together perfectly while the plot rotated around Steve Rogers’ relentless military precision.  A great surprise.”

NEWSARAMA - “Humor abounds in delightfully character-specific ways… An emblematic example of skill from relative newcomer Asmus.”

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Improv, Vegas, and Possible Violence

This WEDNESDAY, JULY 14th – I’ll be back in Las Vegas to perform yet again in the weekly Executive Monkeys improv comedy show at the Palms hotel & casino.   The guest this week is MMA (mixed martial arts) champ Randy “The Natural” Couture (UFC, The Expendables)!

Granted, two weeks ago the show had Shannon Elizabeth.  But they didn’t have me come out for that one.  It’s probably for the best.   Why risk ending up in a make-out scene with her when I can risk getting punched in the face by a guy who TKOs professional atheletes?

Executive Monkeys @ The Lounge
Palms Hotel & Casino
9:00 pm – $25

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Hi.  This’ll be fast & dirty so I can get back to meeting some exciting deadlines.

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SUNDAY 13th @ 4pm – iO West – LA Improv Fest
a Writing For Comic Books workshop
2 hour crash course on writing for the comic book industry, based on my experience writing for Marvel Comics. $26.50 – 1/2 the proceeds go to LA Food Bank. — This is a much less expensive version of this workshop.  If you’re interested, it won’t get cheaper than this + it’s for a good cause.

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MONDAY 14th @ 8pm – iO West
a James Asmus solo sketch comedy performance + ExMonk improv (the show I do in Las Vegas) speaking of which…

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IF YOU OR ANYONE YOU KNOW WILL BE IN VEGAS on

WEDNESDAY JULY 14 @ 8pm – The Lounge @ Palms Casino & Hotel

short & long-form improv comedy by some truly fantastic and hillarious comedians from NYC, LA, Chicago, & Las Vegas.  The show will be running JUNE 30 – JULY 28 on Wednesdays.   I will only be able to make the 14TH.


Hope to see you soon.

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To Whom(s) it May Concern,

LAST WEEKEND:      Thank you to any and all people in Las Vegas for a wonderful weekend and an incredible reception for our show at the Palms casino!    Specific thanks, actually to Emily Jillette and Matt Donelly for promoting improv in the desert, and for continuing to include me in its development.  And for the many people who have asked – Adam Savage (TV’s Mythbusters) is a great, chill, funny guy.   In addition to being a great interview guest, his (second time performing) stand-up was wonderfully engaging and funny.

 The cast of Matt Donnelly's Executive Monkeys (James up on the catwalk)

NEXT WEEKEND:    Saturday is FREE COMIC BOOK DAY!!!  Go forth!  Read comics!!

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