A Real American Book! 2015 in Review

A Real American Book! Year In Review 2015

It felt good, a year ago, to put into words all that went into writing this G.I. Joe book, so I’m doing it again. Many things repeat from last year, and a few things are new. And there is — good news — some progress.

Stuff you may already know:

I draw comics and I teach and I own a comic book store, which doesn’t leave as much time for writing as I would hope. And “writing” includes anything for the book — blogging, research, scanning, even tidying up my studio where all the book research lives. (e.g., mess above.) Even shuttling a hard drive to my book designer in Rhode Island. Or that time I shuttled another hard drive to my book designer in Rhode Island, a week later. (The third time will be the charm, but that won’t be for a week or two, so it’ll count in next year’s Year in Review.)

As with last year, I’m cheating by including a chunk of January. School vacation is key, and recovering from the fall semester and holiday travel mean that getting back on the writing horse tend not to start until the second week of January. So this “year” in review is late January 2015 through January 2016.

So here’s what I did this year:

-Wrote and posted 17 blog articles here.
-Started a tumblr! Follow me at arealamericanbook.tumblr.com!
-Sent chapter 9 (revision) and chapters 10 and 11 to my book designer. To, you know, design.
-Drove a hard drive to my designer in Rhode Island.
-Drove another hard drive to Rhode Island two weeks later. (Remember?)
-Turned in first drafts of chapters 12, 13, and 14 to editor Nick.
-Traveled to Springfield, IL for the 2015 G.I. Joe Convention. There I chatted with friends and fans, and listened to Hasbro, and bought a toy tank and 10 action figures.
-Was interviewed for the “What’s on JOE Mind” podcast, a live version at that very same convention.
-Traveled with my photographer to Chris-in-Texas’s house to shoot treasure in his collection.
-Traveled to Rhode Island for two photo shoots with my photographer, materials for chapters 9-14.
-Was interviewed on the “Her Dork World, His Dork World” podcast, talking for an hour about this book and comics retailing.
-Secured images of some of the earliest Real American Hero development art, vital for a now-needed revision to chapter 2.
-Made contact with a dozen key toy designers and buyers, advertising folks, and actors, which resulted in 13 new interviews and some killer images for related chapters.

-I’ve also thought about Gary “Goggles” Head pretty regularly, and that big toy room in the sky he must be playing in now.

Here’s a picture from one of those photoshoots.


And in the “Now I’m known as a G.I. Joe-person” department, two separate folks reached out to me to ask for G.I. Joe art I have. One is writing his own book — this guy has a publisher that does great work, and he/they released a lovely pop-culture hardcover last year. The other is an art guy who’s putting together an art book for one of those publishers that does deluxe art books. Sorry to be vague, but more on those when they’re announced. Basically I scanned some stuff and emailed some tiffs.

So what does that leave? I’ll need to get chapters 15 – 18 finished as first drafts, get comments from editor Nick on them as well as 12 – 14, and turn those around for him. I’ll need to tweak designer Liz’s layouts for chapters 9 – 11 when she’s finished her passes on them, and then I’ll need to send her 15-18. There’s probably two more photo shoots with photographer Andre. Chapters 2 and 5 still need a rewrite, since new information surfaced in the last year and a half. And while the writing of chapter 1 has been finished for years, I need to gather images and send that to Liz as well. So there is a fair amount left. But if you compare this year in review to the previous one, there is progress. There’s also a big difference between finishing writing and getting the book published, so I don’t have much to say regarding a publication date.

So that’s where I am at the end of 2015 and the start of 2016. Please feel free to spread the word — Like A Real American Book! on Facebook, follow it on Twitter, read and comment here at the blog, and tell your friends and family that are interested in popular culture about this.

Oh, you come here for the pretty pictures and not the dry text? Alright, I can oblige you with another photo from this year. Chris-in-Texas, myself, and photographer Andre setting up a cyc in Chris’s kitchen.


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Filed under Book Behind the Scenes, Photography, Writing Process

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