TINY UPDATE 4/11: Flying To The Heart Of Nightmare Country
“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
This week is all about nightmares, so I guess it makes sense to start with one of my own.
I got back to my Brooklyn apartment just before midnight on Saturday, having mostly survived my weeklong sojourn to Los Angeles. When you’re burning hot on as many simultaneous projects as I am, the return trip from a busy work trip is always a bit of a mixed bag. You look at everything you’ve got on your plate, everything you’ve pushed off until after the trip, all the promised phone calls, unread emails, and looming deadlines and it can all hit you like a bout of vertigo. Like you’re on the edge of a cliff staring down.
I like spending time in airports. There’s something about those sorts of liminal spaces where you have no responsibility other than getting on a plane at a certain time. I find they let my brain relax a bit. I’m usually pretty productive in airport lounges or on planes, at least when I’m traveling alone. And I was on Saturday. I knocked out pages for two of the scripts I need artists moving on at the top of this week, and I did a good bit of thinking and game-planning for everything I was going to need to get done to make up for a week of very little boots on the ground scripting. I had all of these notes lined up to make the top of the week run nicely and efficiently.
Then I got home and realized I left my laptop on the plane. And that the productive day, and all of my little notes were lost in the ether. And then a big chunk of Sunday had to go to picking up a new computer so I can keep the whole Tiny Onion machine moving. I’m just grateful that I keep all of my devices linked on the cloud, so the only stuff potentially lost is whatever I knocked out while I wasn’t connected to wifi. Otherwise I’m sure I’d be having a full-on panic attack right now. But I can’t lie that feeling the loss of a single productive day, and the way that impacted the time around it really shook me.
The LA trip went well. There were the usual ups and downs, which had to do more with me being a bit allergic to existing in Los Angeles than any of the meetings I was having there. Over the next month I’ll be working on a very important, secret thing. Then, if that’s approved, I’ll be working on an even more important, even more secret thing. And if it moves forward from there…
Well, let’s just say the stakes are high. And I’m feeling them. Send me good vibes, and keep those fingers crossed for me.
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So, let’s shift gears from more abstract Nightmares to ones you can buy in your Local Comic Shop.
This week sees the release of SANDMAN UNIVERSE: NIGHTMARE COUNTRY. This is my first solo-written #1 hitting the stands since NICE HOUSE ON THE LAKE #1 last summer. I’m tremendously honored to be playing in this particular sandbox. The Sandman is the reason I am writing comics today. It’s the book, more than any other, that showed me the full extent of what the comic medium is capable of. SU:NC is a horror story, like my favorite arcs of The Sandman. Specifically, it’s the brand of urban fantasy that takes grounded human characters, living grounded human lives and sees them brush up against the fantastic. Tonally, I’d put it in between my work on NICE HOUSE ON THE LAKE and THE DEPARTMENT OF TRUTH. I’ve got something I want to say about the world we live in, and the way different people interact with the idea of “dreams” in that world. But it’s going to be a creepy, slow burn of a story. I’m not putting all of my cards on the table from the get go, but there are little tells from the first few pages that will continue to unfold over the course of the series. As the comic unfolds, we’ll see more familiar faces, but the key figure from The Sandman we’ll see moving through this Nightmare Country is THE CORINTHIAN.
I’m joined on SANDMAN UNIVERSE: NIGHTMARE COUNTRY by the phenomenal art team of Lisandro Estherren and Patricio Delpeche, who have made this a truly gorgeous book, cover to cover. We have incredible letters by Simon Bowland. And in each issue we have a “Nightmare Sequence” unpacking a bit of THE CORINTHIAN’s past, by an onslaught of incredible artists. We are graced by the presence of Yanick Paquette and Nathan Fairborn in our first issue. I also just want to thank (and curse) my friend and editor Chris Conroy for reaching out about this project. It’s the only licensed book I plan to write for the next year or so, and frankly, it was the only world I was interested in playing with that I didn’t create myself. Thanks also to the amazing Andrea Shea who gave us the all-important perspective of a newcomer to the Sandman mythos. Finally, I want to thank Neil Gaiman for giving me the opportunity to play in this world, both directly by giving my story the thumbs up, and indirectly by thinking all of this up to begin with.
It’s a DC book, so it’s in stores tomorrow (Tuesday, April 12th). We had great numbers on our first issue, in line with my big hits like NHOTL and DOT, and have a big story we’re setting out to tell here, but my real hope is that this series brings the fans of my creator owned work into the Sandman fold. Here on the Substack, we’ve got another Wild Fiction coming your way this Friday for all paid subscribers. If you don’t want to miss out, you know what to do…
THE SANDMAN UNIVERSE: NIGHTMARE COUNTRY #1
W: James Tynion IV / A: Lisandro Estherren & Yanick Paquette / C: Patricio Delpeche & Nathan Fairbairn / L: Simon Bowland / Main Cover: Reiko Murakami / Open-order Variant: Yanick Paquette & Nathan Fairbairn / 1:25 Variant by Kelley Jones & Arif Prianto / 1:50 Variant by Álvaro Martínez Bueno / 1:100 Variant by Jenny Frison / E: Andrea Shea + Chris Conroy
The first issue of a brand-new series! Designed to welcome new readers into one of the greatest worlds in DC’s library, THE SANDMAN UNIVERSE: NIGHTMARE COUNTRY is a terrifying travelogue through a nation recognizable and obscene, which will show you things seen in no Sandman series ever before-with spectacular art by Lisandro Estherren (Redneck, Strange Skies Over East Berlin) and “nightmare” sequences by comics art all-stars, starting with the incredible Yanick Paquette!
HOUSE OF SLAUGHTER Vol. 1 Discover Now Edition
W: James Tynion IV & Tate Brombal / A: Werther Dell‘Edera & Chris Shehan / C: Miquel Muerto / L + D: AndWorld Design / E: Eric Harburn & Ramiro Portnoy
ONE OF THE BIGGEST SERIES OF 2021 COLLECTED FOR THE FIRST TIME, EXCLUSIVELY FOR COMIC SHOPS! Discover the inner workings of the House of Slaughter in this new horror series exploring the secret history of the Order that forged Erica Slaughter into the monster hunter she is today. You know Aaron Slaughter as Erica's handler and rival. But before he donned the black mask, Aaron was a teenager training within the House of Slaughter. Surviving within the school is tough enough, but it gets even more complicated when Aaron falls for a mysterious boy destined to be his competition. Dive deeper into the world of Something is Killing the Children in this first story arc by co-creator James Tynion IV (THE DEPARTMENT OF TRUTH, THE NICE HOUSE ON THE LAKE) and co-writer Tate Brombal (Barbalien), with art by rising star Chris Shehan (The Autumnal) and co-creator Werther Dell'Edera (RAZORBLADES) collected exclusively for comic book shops and limited to its first printing.
The larger print run of our SANDMAN UNIVERSE: NIGHTMARE COUNTRY variant, means that we’ve still got a very limited number of the Werther Dell’Edera cover in stock for all subscribers to this newsletter, paid and unpaid alike! They’re all on sale now at ShopTinyOnion.com, along with a bunch of new merch from The Closet.
This cover features art by my SIKTC co-creator WERTHER DELL’EDERA. We’re releasing 1500 of this cover, the majority of which we sold through last week in our Onion Club and Onion Drop releases. (If you’re a retailer, email firstname.lastname@example.org for more details about ordering a pack, wholesale - there are only 50 packs available, and we will be responding to retailers who inquire about them in the order that we receive emails, while supplies last). The remainder will be held in case of damages, and split between the creators.
THE CLOSET co-creator, Gavin Fullerton whipped up this incredible design for a limited edition T-Shirt featuring everyone’s favorite closet-dwelling gremlin. We’ve got a small print-run of these shirts, and when the design sells out, we won’t be reprinting it! So if you want one of these shirts, you should put your order in today!
We’ve also got two brand new, Limited Edition THE CLOSET Enamel Pins, also designed by Gavin!
So, this has been in my head for a while. An easy way to dive into each of my four primary creator-owned titles, across all publishers! If you snag this, you’ll get a SIKTC Vol 1, a NHOTL Vol 1, a DOT vol 1, and Wynd Book One. I’m also signing a whole bunch of bookplates for these so you can get this starter pack signed by yours truly! And to that end, I realized that I didn’t specify this for the last Trade Bundle during the last drop!
All of the Tiny Onion trade bundles are signed by yours truly! So if you’re looking to get your hands on some signed books, or if you want to get a really neat present for a good friend, you should pick one of these bundles up!
And gee! I wonder what OTHER bundle might drop NEXT month with the release of another one of my major series! THEY don’t want me to tell you! It must be a CONSPIRACY!
Here’s everything I’ve got coming up for you!
CONVENTION - PLANET COMIC CON - Kansas City, MO - April 22-24
SIGNING - COMIX EXPERIENCE - San Francisco, CA - April 27
CONVENTION - MEGACON - Orlando, FL - May 19-22
More details about my schedule at these conventions and events to come as we get closer to the date in question, along with the perks offered to members of the Onion Club at shows.
I’ve been banging the drum about how damn good SKTCHD is for a long time. David Harper’s doing the most crucial comic book journalism in the direct market, and his insights have been really helpful to shaping my own thinking about this weird moment in the industry we’re all living through. Every year, David collects the best articles SKTCHD put out, and releases a book of them. This year, I wrote the introduction. This is only going to be available for a limited time, so snag your copy today!
That rascal Chip Zdarsky is bringing HIS Substack comic, PUBLIC DOMAIN, to print in June, same month as THE CLOSET! I’m not going to lie, I think Public Domain is my single favorite Substack comic out there right now. If you haven’t been following Chip’s Substack, or even if you have, you should tell your LCS to add it to your pull list if you are a fan of reading good comic books.
I got a chance to read the first entry in Jeff Lemire and Andrea Sorrentino’s Bone Orchard Mythos over the weekend, and I have to say that THE PASSAGEWAY is everything I wanted it to be. Jeff and Andrea are one of the great comic collaborations, and them building a horror universe feels like the cosmos giving me a present. I have so many bigger questions about the world they’ve created here, and I’m going to be reading each and every entry in the Bone Orchard Mythos to see if I can find out the answers.
I sat down with Nick Dragotta and Caleb Goellner’s GHOST CAGE today, and it is really fucking cool. The art is unspeakably good. If you’ve been looking to play around with a new number one, I recommend it.
That’s enough from me this week. Pick up SANDMAN UNIVERSE: NIGHTMARE COUNTRY this week! I really hope you dig it!
James Tynion IV