TINY UPDATE 1/10: Goodbye Christmas
“Tiny Update” is a weekly free newsletter that keeps you up to date on the latest news, comic book projects and merchandise offerings from James Tynion IV and Tiny Onion Studios
Took a few days longer than I wanted, but as of yesterday afternoon, the Christmas Decorations are finally back in storage in that creepy little storage area above the bathroom in my apartment, and the New Year has begun in earnest.
I had great ambitions for the first work week of 2022, and ultimately, I give myself a B- on living up to those ambitions. It’s my own damn fault. I ended up spending half the week on the phone, a quarter of the week at doctor’s appointments, and the other quarter writing my butt off. I wish I was about… let’s say a script and a half further ahead than I am right now? This week I definitely need to put my nose to the grindstone. Everyone’s always a bit more forgiving when you’re easing back in the first week after the holidays, but by week two, they really expect you to have your butt in gear. I’m working on it. I’m getting there.
So, of course, just as I round the corner and finally get to a point where I can work on all of my projects at a steady pace without feeling like I’m punishing myself, my brain is drifting to a few new projects in the back of my mind, I’m trying to give them just enough oxygen to stay alive, without letting them distract me from what’s currently on my plate. I’ve been thinking a lot about my future lately. What are my priorities going to be in another decade, or another decade after that?
Right now, I’m enamored with this whole big complicated system I’ve built. I’ve got my DC Black Label projects, my BOOM! Studios projects, my Image projects, and my Substack projects. I’m making some aggressive moves into the collectibles/merch space (you’ll find out a lot more about this very soon). I’m basically putting a mid-sized publisher’s worth of comics into the world right now, between what I’m writing myself, and what I’m overseeing under the Tiny Onion banner. And for the moment… I love it. Especially if all the moves I’ve made to get this whole system under control pan out, and I don’t have to spend my days dealing with logistics, and order fulfillment.
At the end of the day, I just want to focus on making cool shit, experimenting with format, playing around with story, and as long as you all are supporting it enough that I can pay my bills (and the bills of my collaborators), then I’m glad. This next year is a big experiment, it’s seeing how far I can push things on a few fronts, and that’s really going to dictate what my whole operation is going to look like in 2023 and beyond. I’m nervous, and excited. And I have a bunch of emails I need to respond to, so I should wrap this up pretty quick.
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This week on Substack, we’ve got a killer WILD FICTION coming your way. I won’t spoil the artist, but after ending 2021 with Bill Sienkiewicz, I knew we had to start 2022 with one of my favorite artists working in the business today. This week in stores we have what is probably the strangest issue of THE DEPARTMENT OF TRUTH yet, featuring one of the strangest crypts in American Esoterica - THE MOTHMAN. We fuck with the format with the help of the incredible horror illustrator David Romero, who really knocked the whole issue out of the park
I’ve also got the start of the final act of my run on JOKER, which will carry us through Issue 14. I’m thrilled to be joined on this final act by the phenomenal Giuseppi Camuncoli, who is absolutely destroying every page he turns in. The issue also continues the amazing PUNCHLINE story which is also barreling towards its big conclusion, with the helping hand of rising superstar Belén Ortega. Her pages are incredible, and I’m so glad that Sam and I are getting a chance to work with her before she conquers the comic book industry!
Go pick ‘em up!
THE DEPARTMENT OF TRUTH #15
W: James Tynion IV / A: David Romero / L: Aditya Bidikar / Cover A: Martin Simmonds / Cover B: David Romero / D: Dylan Todd / E: Steve Foxe / P: Image Comics
Back in 1967, the Department of Truth went out to West Virginia and tried to create a tulpa of its own. Forty-six people died in the aftermath. Fan-favorite illustrator DAVID ROMERO (Razorblades: The Horror Magazine) joins Eisner Award-winning writer JAMES TYNION IV to reveal the true origin of Mothman.
THE JOKER #11
W: James Tynion IV / P: Giuseppe Camuncoli / I: Cam Smith / C: Arif Prianto / L: Tom Napolitano / AE: David Wilegosz / E: Ben Abernathy
The Joker is about to learn the harsh reality of the motto “Don’t Mess with Texas” as the Sampsons bring him back home to their ranch…for dinner!
Punchline: W: James Tynion IV & Sam Johns / A: Belen Ortega
While Harper Row has been making sure that Punchline stays behind bars, her brother, Cullen, has been getting closer to Punchline’s fans. His new boyfriend, Bluff, is hiding a wicked secret that promises to change the shape of organized crime in Gotham, and Punchline’s role, for years to come.
I read AUGUST: OSAGE COUNTY by Tracy Letts this past week. It’s a very powerful work, funny and heartbreaking with great dialogue and powerfully human characters. One of the most notable things for me is how well the prologue scene sets up the character Beverly, the patriarch of the family, and then just lets him linger over the rest of the show without reappearing. The other thing that was notable for me was My other idle thought is how the stage play has never shied away from the power of a tragedy, like they do in so many other media. I was lucky enough to see this on Broadway back in its original run when I was in college, so this is another revisitation. This next week I’m going to read something I haven’t read before.
This weekend I made Jerk Chicken wings with my Sous Vide, and they were so fucking good. This was my first time using my new vacuum sealer, and the gigantic bathtub I accidentally bought to use it with. I also made some poached eggs with the Sous Vide, but unfortunately, that was not a success equal to the wings. I’m probably going to just spend a weekend. I think my next Sous Vide journey
Sam has been trying to get me to watch the documentary series PRETEND IT’S A CITY since they watched it while I was in the UK at Thought Bubble, and now I’m desperately trying not to just burn through all of the episodes (we have two left). Fran Lebowitz is a great thinker and a great wit, and I’m grateful to get to spend a few hours listening to her talk. I’ve always just kind of been aware of her in a passing trivia sort of way, but never really engaged in her work before.
I’m about halfway through the first season of YELLOWJACKETS, which I’m enjoying. It’s honestly been refreshing, because I haven’t gotten into something a bit more plotty with genre trappings in a minute, despite it being the bread and butter of the sort of work I create. Maybe it’s the fact that it’s something original, rather than something adapted or reimagined? Or maybe it’s the fact that it’s not afraid of making you a bit uncomfortable. In ANY case, the cast is great. The story is compelling. It’s doing the mystery box thing (which, obviously, I love playing with in my own work), without feeling like its toying with the audience too much. Juliette Lewis and Christina Ricci chew all of the scenery. Cheers on the creative team for getting something interesting and original through the Hollywood machine!
I read a great post by Moxie Marlinspike about web3 technology, which is absolutely worth reading if you’re keeping an eye on all the discussion swirling around it in the technology sphere.
I finally bumped up the speed on my Audible to 1.7x on THE POWER BROKER, so now I only have 15 hours of book left instead of 25 hours (I tried 1.5 for about 30 minutes before thinking “I can do better than this”). I have to admit it makes me walk a bit faster on my commute, though I feel like I need to take a deep breath before I hit play. Takes about a minute for my brain to adjust to the speed, but then then it acclimates. The book remains incredibly compelling, but admittedly I don’t think I’m going to jump at another 60 hour audiobook anytime soon. I’ve got a growing list of non-fiction books I’m eager to dig into, and I’ve been working on this bastard for the better part of two months.
Ed Brubaker being the head writer of Bruce Timm’s new Batman animated series is legitimately very, very exciting.
Still getting my sea legs for 2022, so I’ll keep this brief. Still working through a backlog of emails. Thank you so much for your patience.
Everybody stay safe out there!
James Tynion IV