I decree: Take the boots to me
Because I demand to be strangled by the work at hand
Hello out there to folks in this slow-motion, very stupid doomsday. My name is Eric Trautmann.
I am a graphic designer.
(The first step is admitting you have a problem.) ;)
I design logos and trade dress for business and entertainment publishing (notably comics). Ongoing projects include book design and various and sundry tasks for the Image Comics series LAZARUS and BLACK MAGICK. This past year, I also handled similar chores for THE OLD GUARD, and have become a free-range art and design guy for ADAMANT ENTERTAINMENT, making roleplaying game stuff.
I can do stuff for you, too, for reasonable rates.
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.
It's a beautiful Saturday afternoon, I'm stuck inside like most of us, Little Richard died yesterday, and every time I consider turning on the news, I hesitate. These are Prime Presidential Tweetstorm days, and my soul shrivels a little every time I think of it. Friday, the President, on video, with a live microphone, broke with ALL OF KNOWN SCIENCE to tell us everything's fine because COVID-19 is just going to go away all on its own without a vaccine.
yay we are saved*
George Packer recently wrote an article titled "We Are Living In A Failed State" for The Atlantic, and while the title is histrionic…he makes some pretty chilling points, and I can't stop thinking about that. You might want to give it a read.
So. Neglected newsletter it is.
The spirit was willing but global preparation for a pandemic was weak.
I had Intentions™. I had Determination™. I would update this more frequently.
Obviously, this isn’t the way things worked out. January was busy, February was busy, and March shut down the world.
It’s tough to muse about upcoming projects when the industry/industries you work in are basically switched to the “off” position, many held in thrall to a distribution monopoly-in-all-but-name that decided to just not pay publishers for delivered books.
Since March and Washington State’s order to shelter-at-home, my wife and I have been working like hell to keep her comic store open, sending our employees home (though no one has been laid off, thank god, and we’ve managed to arrange things so they’re all still receiving income) and switching over to mail order. Mail order is tons of extra work, turns out.
Not a lot of time for newsletters.
But I’m making time, dammit.
* You may not agree with my politics, and may fervently demand that comics and pop art be apolitical. All art is political, especially comics. Note that Superman, in his earliest appearances was pro-woman, anti-big business, and was essentially a Socialist. Captain America punching Hitler was INHERENTLY political. So, a) I think you misunderstand the purpose of art and b) you should just go ahead and unsubscribe. The artist's job is to look at where he/she/they are and what it looks like to them.This is what's preying on my mind, so this is what I'm gonna talk about.
Free Comic Book Day not happening this year was a huge bummer, especially for my wife. It’s a huge day for our business, to be certain, but for her, it’s also a huge party. We typically get 2,000–3,000 people through our doors, and it’s become such a big event for us, we do it over two days, normally.
But, she’s never one to be kept down for long, so she decided to do a “Virtual Free Comic Book Day” and as part of that, we streamed creator interviews all day on May 2nd.
Guests included Steve Lieber, Kelly Sue DeConnick, Greg Rucka, Jen Van Meter, Kurt Busiek, and tons more. Mark Waid wasn’t able to join us on the day of, but he recorded a segment a few days later, too.
We're contemplating doing future video interviews, product spotlights, and so on, so if comic shop shenanigans interest you, please hit "Subscribe."
Olympic Cards and Comics' Channel on YouTube
One of the weird things I’ve noticed in all of this? I’m definitely going to need to relearn Humaning when the pandemic recedes. I’m an introvert by nature, so being forced to not interact with other people is not exactly torture for me. But I’ve tried to stay in touch, and while I love my friends and family, I walk away from video and phone calls just exhausted.
Some people are just built for misanthropy, turns out.
That said, I do hope you’re all well, weathering the storm the best you can.
PROJECTS AND UPDATES
IMAGE COMICS: THE OLD GUARD: FORCE MULTIPLIED
Work has continued on The Old Guard despite the current unfortunate unfortunateness of it all, and the final issue of Volume Two is almost done. Here’s a peek at the covers for the run.
(Art by Leandro Fernandéz, Colors by Daniela Miwa)
We’ll hopefully be seeing a trailer for Netflix’s The Old Guard movie soon, too. The poster and some production photography has surfaced. Check it out!
The movie is directed by Gina Prince-Blythewood (The Secret Life of Bees), and features Charlize Theron, Kiki Layne, and Chiwetel Ejiofor, among its cast members.
Look for it soon!
ATOMIC ROBO VOLUME 13: THE DAWN OF A NEW ERA HC
Production files have been handed off to Tesladyne for the crowdfunded hardcover edition of Robo’s most recent adventure. As always, the HC contains bonus material (which I designed) not available in the softcover editions—another round of THE SECRET FILES OF DR. DINOSAUR. Plus, y’know, there’s also a tote bag.
(Cover by Scott Wegener.)
Just as the world was shutting down, we released Lazarus: Risen #4, and I assure that the fact that our comic was about a horrific and fatal virus outbreak was purely a coincidence.
Look, since the move to quarterly release means we have gotten back on schedule. No idea when issue #5 releases, but this time it ain't our fault.
Work has continued—issue 5 is being worked on as I type this. It includes a complete update to the Carlyle computer system interface. Here's a work-in-progress screen.
In any event, we plan to continue the series, and work is happening.
(Cover by Michael Lark.)
I’ve been working on several notions for creator-owned work, since my writing had been pretty dormant for the last few years.
PROJECT SPOOKY is a steampunk-esque Victorian supernatural adventure that involves, among other things: tentacular horrors from beyond time and space; a lost toddler; the theft of the Marie Celeste; a mission into the Bermuda Triangle (where the walls between Here and There are thin), spectral leviathans speared by electric harpoons; jars filled with ghosts; and other strangeness. Update: As the illustrator’s schedule got crunched, oh and yeah :: gestures at the hellscape that is our stupid dystopia ::. Proposal drafting in process.
PROJECT DRY GULCH. A weird western, and a prequel to a DIFFERENT unpublished project. To be co-written with my friend Gareth-Michael Skarka. Maybe 2% done, just idle notes and concepts right now. Moving into tightening up the conceptual work in early 2020. Artist TBD.
PROJECT NUKE. A love letter to dystopian 1980s VHS low-budget sci-fi. To be co-written with Jarrod Feliciano, artist TBD. Outlined, first issue script underway. Stalled slightly by … look, you get the idea.
PROJECT SABRE. The long-delayed RPG project that I’ve been the hold-up on is inching closer to being done. I need to write the last two acts of a short collection, lay it out, proofread and correct the layout, and then it’s done. Soon. So soon.
PROJECT HOLSTER is in early development as a comics project. I’ll be designer on this one, working with a veteran writer and a veteran comic book artist. Provided the comics industry exists in six months, it’s the most likely to be released first.
THINGS I’M READING
I just finished Binti by Nnedi Okarafor, a collection of short novels about an exceptional young woman’s adventures in a distant future. Excellent science fiction, and Okarafor manages to effortlessly dash off breathtaking fantastical bits of world building and setting that other writers would spend pages on, and does it in an economical sentence or two.
I also finished Robert Crais’ most recent Elvis Cole & Joe Pike story, A Dangerous Man. It moves along pretty briskly by the end, but, as has becoming increasingly common in this series, it just…drags…on… until you get closer to the end. Crais’ interest in Joe Pike is not one I share, and the bits with Elvis are becoming less prevalent in the books (which is weird, since he's the character the series was built around).
Elvis is a Chandler-by-way-of-Robert-Parker PI in modern L.A., and Joe Pike was clearly intended to be the “Hawk” to Elvis’ “Spenser.” To my taste, he reads as too perfect. He has no flaws, and comes across as a roleplaying game character someone min-maxed into an ultimate killing machine. But it wasn’t bad, and god knows I’ll buy the next one, too.
I’m also burning through Stephen King’s latest short story collection, If It Bleeds, at a gallop. I’ve just started the title story — which, happily, features the character Holly Gibney, who was a major supporting character in King’s “Bill Hodges” Trilogy (Mr. Mercedes, Finders Keepers, End of Watch) and in The Outsider So far, it’s terrific.
Today, as I write this, lots of Little Richard, who passed away yesterday.
Lately: Fountains of Wayne’s “Utopia Parkway” and various Pete Yorn tracks. Notably, “Lux Prima” by Karen O. and Danger Mouse has dominated my replays.
WHAT I’M WATCHING
Binge-rewatching House, M.D., season by season because for some reason there’s some comfort in a doctor fixing medical stuff. I’m starting on an old TV series starring Tony Curtis and Roger Moore, The Protectors and eagerly awaiting my pre-order of the the Criterion Collection edition of The War of the Worlds.
Vector Art: Some crass self-promotion. 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. Some of it has appeared on actual big-kid-grown-up packaging (the clockwork-looking glowy reticle things on the S1 Legends of Tomorrow key art, for one).
Be safe, be kind, and have the happiest of New Years!