The Haven: Wizard World Philly and The Life of Reilly

Welcome to “The Haven,” a place where you’re going to learn all about the wonderful world of me. This includes – but is not limited to – my ongoing crusade to redevelop and publish The Life of Reilly as a trade paperback, my thoughts on the Comics Industry as a whole, developments with our little corner of cyberspace here, and probably comments on everything from movies to how I can’t stand my job.

A few promises to start off our new relationship:

  • This column is going to be late. My goal is to have it go up every Monday. What better than a healthy serving of me to start your week off on the right track? The odds of this column being late by October 1 are greater than 75%. Hell, the odds of being late before the end of June are pretty high!

This week I had the pleasure of attending the Wizard World Philly Con at the Philadelphia Convention Center. With the exception of some escalator problems on Saturday, I was impressed with the flawlessness of the weekend. The place was clean (the bathrooms weren’t horrific even during peak geek hours). The employees all had smiles on their faces and seemed to enjoy their jobs. The creators were gracious and patient. The merchandise was varied and relatively inexpensive. The scent of the crowd was not as noxious as previous places I had been. The panels were fun and informative.
And, most importantly, the costumes were kick ass, particularly Anakin Skywalker.

I got to speak with a lot of people there and was able to reconnect with friends I hadn’t spoken to in years, including my old partner on GrayHaven, Tony Volpone. If everything works out, he may be joining me at Amish Otaku in the near future. The convention provided a wealth of material that you’ll be reading about in the days and weeks to come, from interviews with creators to reviews of some of the off-the-radar books.

My favorite part of these cons recently has been getting to see the 501st in action. For non–Star Wars geeks out there, the 501st is a volunteer club formed up of costume enthusiasts who make appearances at comic conventions and Star Wars–related events and, most importantly, who do charity and volunteer work. They’ve never charged a penny and have raised money for dozens of organizations, from the American Cancer Society to the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

The detail in their costumes is incredible; my two sons, who accompanied me to the second day of the con (and are Star Wars fans in their own right), were blown away by the 501st. And have I mentioned that these guys (and gals) are incredibly friendly and fun to be around? They’re all part of a great cause that came about because of their unifying love of one movie. To find out more about them go to

I would say the big find of the week for me was Brielle and the Horror, a “live action” graphic novel about a young girl trying to get on with her life years after the gruesome death of her father. There was a lot of quality to be found at Wizard World this year, but this book was the one that just completely left me speechless. I’m going to have a review and an in-depth interview with the creative team in the next week or so.

Highlights of the Philly Con:

  • The Zenescope Entertainment booth girls. This was the greatest marketing coup in the history of comics. They were…delightful.
  • My sons (six and four) asking for and succeeding in getting some pictures with the Zenescope girls.
  • Lou Ferrigno laughing as my four-year-old, confused as all hell, asked why he wasn’t green.
  • Signing an autograph on a Spider-Man comic because someone recognized my name from the Life of Reilly.
  • Discovering some really great indie creators and their works.

Life of Reilly News:
Or, if you will…

If you haven’t heard about this yet, let me make it official: We’re going to be collecting all of the old Life of Reilly columns I did with Glenn Greenberg several years ago, reformatting them, giving them another edit and adding new commentary from new creators, and putting it into a trade paperback form.

This is something I’ve wanted to do for a long time, but I never thought it would be something that more than a handful of people wanted. Even while I was “away from the net” for years, though, I’d still get people emailing me about the column or writing about it online somewhere and commenting on it.

I spoke to Dan about this shortly after I came on board with Amish Otaku at the end of 2006. I tell you, at the rate Dan was going with his end of the deal, this trade would have been ready for you to pick up by now. But I have a vision for what I want this to be and the project isn’t ready yet… at least not the way I want.

LoR started to gel more as the columns went on. And in the course of the 35-part series, there were a lot of people involved in the Clone Saga that I didn’t get to talk to for their feedback. Collecting this into a trade paperback format gives me the chance to touch up the old columns and make them more readable, but what’s really important to me is to tie up loose ends by getting input from some of the creators out there that we missed the first time around.

Danny Fingeroth, editor at the time the Clone Saga began, has agreed to come on and share his experiences, which means a great deal to me. Gerry Conway, who technically started the whole thing when he introduced a Spider-Man clone in a one-shot story in the 1970s, has already finished up his brief Q&A with me, and there are still more to come.

I want to have a copy of The Life of Reilly book in my hands now. I want you all to have one, but I can’t do it just yet. I want it to be perfect. So right now the material has been collected and edited into one big file. Dan gave it a once over and rearranged some stuff and did a re-edit. Now I’m going over each page, figuring out where there’s room to add stuff, or move it, all while waiting for the latest feedback from other pros.

I’m having the damnedest time trying to reach Howard Mackie and Terry Kavanaugh, both of whom played huge roles in the story, and I’ve gone onto other comic book sites to try and find ways to contact them. I just don’t feel like I can have this project really completed without their involvement – at any level.

Right now we’re also in the first steps of getting involved with printing, publishing and distribution. At worst, we’ll self-publish the thing and distribute it through AO, but I think it’s worth a shot trying to go through a company like Hyperion to see if they’d be interested (they’ve done “unauthorized” books before), and I’ll probably try and get this carried through Diamond.

I’m proud of the work that Glenn and I did, and I believe that a trade of the series would be enjoyed by both the fans who clamor for Clone Saga trades and those comic historians interested in the behind-the-scenes goings on at the time. We’re currently targeting the early Fall for a potential release date, but I was never very good with deadlines. If there’s a misstep in scheduling, you’ll read about it here first. And each week you’ll get a little insight on the road from concept to execution (along with all the mistakes that I’m bound to make along the way).

I think I’ve ranted just about enough for one column. Most of the others probably stopped reading right after the “promises” section. For those of you who made it this far, thanks for reading and I’ll be back for more next week.