My name is Eric Trautmann. I'm a writer and graphic designer.
I live in the Pacific Northwest, and yes, it does rain rather a lot, but not nearly as much as the media would have you believe. I expect it will only rain for most of today, instead of all of today.
I write comic books.
I have written comic books for DC Comics (including Action Comics and Checkmate) and Dynamite Entertainment (including long runs on Red Sonja, Vampirella and Flash Gordon). For a complete list of My Mighty Works™, you could visit my website. Because websites are so very modern and pointing you at one isn't at all like trying to offer you use of my butter churn and spinning jenny.
I am a graphic designer.
I design logos and trade dress for business and entertainment publishing (notably comics).
I can design a business card for you, if you want.
I do book design. I do this every month for the pages of Black Magick and Lazarus, both published by Image Comics.
And if you enjoy this newsletter, please share the info around, so I'm not just screaming into a void. That's what Ello is for.
Where I Am At Today
First, apologies for the lack of signal recently; it's been a deadline-heavy period, punctuated by illness, then a badly, badly needed vacation, then some more illness (because apparently I am a 17th century poet about to die of consumption).
But I'm back. For now.
My father is apparently ramping up for his retirement in October, and that is some strange mojo for me. I look in the mirror and I do not see a 45 year old, most days. In my heart, I'm still a dummy in my 20s. I play with LEGO sets, I collect action figures and toys. My career has moved to a point where I can take the jobs I want, and the ones I don't can lump it.
Sure, once in a while I notice the encroaching grey hair on my temples and in my beard.
My back goes out sometimes, when I do something strenuous (like, once, when I was getting out of bed, sigh).
Music is too loud sometimes, which, you know. Ouch.
I'm a full-on workaholic, which is a thing I inherited from my Dad, who has never stopped working, and has likely been clinically exhausted for the majority of my adult life.
So, the word that he's retiring is…odd. Trying to imagine my father, his brow not furrowed by concentration on the ninety things he needs to deal with every moment of the day, relaxed and (hopefully) happy is not easy.
It's a reminder that, as my parents age, so do I and I secretly resent them pulling me along with them. (See above, in re: toys, LEGOs, etc.).
It's also a reminder that they won't be around forever, and that in turn is a big signal flare that screams "NEITHER WILL YOU HA HA."
These are the things I think about as I work in dystopian science-fiction.
I suspect, if you hooked me up to a heart monitor during a primary debate, my doctor would prescribe that I avoid politics altogether, because this election cycle is setting a time limit on my life.
Presidential elections have always been a game of "Who's the BEST liar?" but this time out, it really feels like a cross between a kaiju battle, a pro-wrestling match, and a reality tv show, and for the first time in my life I'm genuinely terrified about the future of my country. A large portion of the American electorate doesn't seem to realize that FURY ROAD is made up.
Which, I suppose, is only fair. It's not like there aren't many other countries where that terror comes with people with AK-47s and funny ideas about religion.
COMING APRIL 20
THE LAZARUS SOURCEBOOK, VOL. 001: CARLYLE A guide to life under Family Carlyle…
Written By: Greg Rucka, David Brothers, Robert Mackenzie, David J. Walker, Eric Trautmann
Art By: Michael Lark (w Tyler Boss, Brian Level, Santi Arcas), Owen Freeman
Diagrams, Schematics, "Artifact" images: Eric Trautmann
Variant Cover By: Ming Doyle
Published: April 20, 2016
Diamond ID: FEB160529
Image Comics | 32 pg. | Mature Readers | $3.99US
THE LAZARUS SOURCEBOOK VOLUME 001: CARLYLE Cover by ERIC TRAUTMANN (w / Owen Freeman)
As a kid, I loved the Official Handbook to the Marvel Universe, Who's Who in the DC Universe, Punisher Armory—the tech/setting books that comics companies put out. They informed my approach to years of work in dice and paper roleplaying games, too, and—as I've quietly been working on a new RPG project—this volume scratches the same itch.
With sections on the geography of Carlyle's domain, trade and economics, pop culture and literature, and the requisite weapons and tech in the setting, the Lazarus Sourcebook is pretty info-dense. I also got to hone my skills doing things like weapon schematics and maps, which is always fun.
The final order cutoff for the book is coming up soon, so, please tell your retailer you want a copy.
Below are a couple work-in-progress images of the 30-40 I did for the collection; the first is a partial schematic of the cool Carlyle gunships that have appeared in the series (the "Voodoo III") and a mockup of a "Carlyle Signature Edition" novel—prestige/status items among certain groups of Carlyle Serfs. Signature Editions are classic works of literature (with approved and "sanitized" content) published by Family Carlyle. In this case, it's Dickens.)
We're also hard at work finishing up the second hardcover collection to the series. And it's…rather substantial, clocking in at 300-something pages. As with the prior volume, there's lots of bonus material—the faux "ads" from the single-issue back covers, unit histories and insignia for some of the Carlyle military units, process sections from Michael Lark and Owen Freeman, and a bunch of other stuff we're frankly still figuring out.
LAZARUS: THE SECOND COLLECTION HC
Story By: Greg Rucka
Art By: Michael Lark
Cover By: Owen Freeman
Published: January 27, 2016
Diamond ID: NOV150672
Sixteen Families have gathered together in the exclusive luxury confines of Triton One to resolve the emerging conflict between Carlyle and Hock, and they’ve brought their Lazari with them. Deception and war go hand in hand, culminating in a final revelation that will truly change everything for Forever Carlyle. Collects LAZARUS #10-21
Image Comics | Color | Mature Readers | $34.99
In Progress / Coming Soon:
PROJEKT: SABRE UPDATE
Work proceeds apace on SABRE, the "sekret" roleplaying game thing I'm working on. I've hit about the 50% mark with the manuscript, and, once work on the LAZARUS hardcover wraps up, I'm hoping to bang out the rest, send it out for proofreading, and get to work on the interior art and layout.
PROJECT: BLACK MAGICK VOLUME 001: AWAKENING TPB
Also coming soon: the first collection of the crime/police procedural/supernatural thriller is coming out soon, too—collecting issues 1-5 and a gallery of the series' variant covers.
If you are a customer of Newbury Comics (in New England, it seems, based on their website), then you may be interested to know there's a retailer-exclusive cover for the book, too. Same content, but a different cover, featuring the issue #5 variant image by Stephanie Hans. Immodestly, I think it looks pretty cool.
No interview this time out, but I'm hoping to a) finish up a couple soon, and b) increase update frequency here now that the current rush of colliding projects has eased.
What I'm Reading:Whiskey Tango Foxtrot, Kim Barker. I'm only a quarter of the way in to Barker's non-fiction piece about her time as a journalist in Afghanistan, and while the subject matter is engaging, I'm bouncing off the maddeningly breezy writing style. For a book that is described as witty and funny, she sure steps on her own punchlines a lot.
Also reading: Makers, Cory Doctorow. Well, re-reading, anyway. I always make time for Doctorow's work. He's super sharp, but also very accessible.
What I'm Listening To: Pete Yorn, Arranging Time. I always make time for Yorn, too. His musicforthemorningafter album owned my playlist for a long, long time, and this new album falls comfortably into that same template. Good stuff.
What I'm Watching: Recently watched Spotlight (which deserves all the accolades it's received, and boy howdy, is it nice to see Michael Keaton again) and American Ultra. Max Landis—at least his online persona—seems to be, um, not lovely? But I thought American Ultra was a sly satire of action movies and featured insanely charismatic performances from both Jesse Eisenberg and Kristen Stewart—not actors I normally dig.
A Thing I Worked On You Might Not Have Seen: Superman: New Krypton—Nightwing & Flamebird Vol 2. The title alone might give some evidence of this series somewhat trouble development. It's at the tail end of the sprawling "New Krypton" story, and my lifelong dream of writing Action Comics was attenuated by the fact that Superman (off planet on a new Kryptonian settlement) wasn't in the title at the time.
Massive last-minute editorial direction pretty much shot apart the stuff Greg and I were doing, but there are moments in here I'm really happy with (notably a Kryptonian villain, Jax-Ur, who's sort of Krypton's answer to Mengele). It also includes my three-part story from Adventure Comics (featuring a Kryptonian spy infiltrating the Human Defense Corps on the brink of war between Earth and New Krypton), which I remain very, very proud of. Ask me about it at a convention, over beers, if you want the whole skinny.
Vector Art: Some crass commerce. I create the occasional vector art set for sale (generally about $5 per set). The sets are themed, and are royalty free for commercial and personal use. You can find that stuff here.