Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Writer's Notes: S.H.O.O.T. First #2

By now you’ve probably read S.H.O.O.T. First #2 by me, Nicolas Daniel Selma, Marlac and Amanda Aguilar Selma from Dark Horse Comics. Right? And you’re probably wondering what it was like writing it. Right? Well, read on! But be warned: full spoilers within, so you should really read the issue first.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Writer's Notes: S.H.O.O.T. First #1

So, after years of effort behind the scenes, S.H.O.O.T. First #1 by myself, Nicolas Daniel Selma, Marlac and Amanda Aguilar Selma has finally been released by Dark Horse Comics. So far the reviews have been really good, and I’m excited because I think every issue is better than the last. And now, because I’ve been literally waiting for four years to talk about some of the twists in this issue, I’m going to do some Kieron Gillen-style Writer’s Notes for it. FULL SPOILERS follow, so don’t hit the jump unless you’ve already read the issue. (P.S. Read the issue)

WARNING: I also go on and on at great lengths. Deal with it.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Get my comic for free at NYCC!

Hey, we’re giving away S.H.O.O.T. First #1 for free before you can buy it, at New York Comic Con!

In celebration of the fact that my co-creator Nicolas Daniel Selma and I are both going to be in attendance at NYCC, Dark Horse has graciously consented to give away a very limited number of copies of our comic, S.H.O.O.T. First #1, for free, only at our signing at the Dark Horse booth, starting at 12 noon on Sunday, October 13th.

This is the exact same comic that hits shops on October 16, only it will cost you exactly $3.99 less. It’s not a NYCC-exclusive cover or anything, although I will sign your cover indicating that you were one of the first people to get this at New York Comic Con.

S.H.O.O.T. First #1 follows the adventures of the Secular Humanist Occult Obliteration Taskforce as they take on supernatural creatures they don’t believe in. You can read more about the series and check out some preview pages in this interview I did with Comic Book Resources.

Both Nico and I are extremely proud and excited to be debuting our creator-owned comic at New York Comic Con, and we can’t wait to share it with you. So come by the Dark Horse booth around noon on Sunday the 13th for free comics! Can’t beat that!

Also, if you’d like me to sign any of my Star Wars books, Akaneiro issues or even any Twisted ToyFare Theatre volumes, bring them by as well. I’ll see you there!

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Need Your Help!

(To the parents out there, sorry for getting that song stuck in your head. But I really do need your help!)

I’ve got a new comic coming out, and it’s both the most important comic of my career so far and my favorite thing I’ve written so far. If you can, I’d love for you to purchase it, but because of the way the comics industry works that’s not as easy as just ordering a book online. Therefore, I’m going to tell you a little about the book, then I’m going to tell you how to order it, then I’ll ramble on for a while about why this is so important and why I’m making this request.


The Secular Humanist Occult Obliteration Taskforce—defending humanity from angels, demons, and a bunch of other crap S.H.O.O.T. doesn’t believe in.
Justin Aclin (Star Wars: The Clone Wars, Twisted ToyFare Theatre) and Nicolás Daniel Selma (Tomb Raider: The Beginning) take aim at the supernatural in an all-new big-action, big-ideas sci-fi adventure!
* Original, irreverent, and controversial!
* Aclin and Selma are the next “it” team in comics!
“Is S.H.O.O.T. First Dark Horse’s Next Big Hit?” —Newsarama


The best way to order it, if you can, is to find your local comic shop and tell them you’d like to reserve a copy of S.H.O.O.T. FIrst #1, in the August issue of Previews, item #AUG130080. Or, better yet if you feel up to it, tell them you’d like to pre-order all four issues. They’ll order copies from the distributor, and then on October 16th of this year you’ll swing round your shop and purchase your copy from them for $3.99.

The reason this is the best method is it gets the book on the radar of more comic shops and hopefully makes them inclined to order more copies. The reason I’m making the request now instead of October is that there’s a final order cut-off coming up, and the shop has to order all of their comics prior to then.

Now, if you’re not able to do that, there are still other ways to order the comic. You can order it online through sites like tfaw.com or midtowncomics.com, and you can purchase the comic digitally when it comes out through the Dark Horse app (Dark Horse comics, unfortunately, are not available through the main ComiXology app). Even if you don’t feel like you can make the purchase, you could share word about the comic with someone you know who you feel might enjoy it. These are all perfectly valid ways to show your support, and still infinitely appreciated by me. For the following reasons.


This has been an incredible year for me. Like, beyond my wildest dreams of what I realistically figured I’d be able to accomplish by this point in my life. Aside from the Star Wars comic that I already blogged about, I’ve had a second Star Wars comic come out from Dark Horse, plus a 3-issue adaptation of the online game Akaneiro: Demon Hunters which has gotten some startlingly good reviews and which will soon be available in a hardcover collected edition. I haven’t blogged about these two or, you’ll notice, come begging you to pre-order them.

Why not, you ask?

Because Star Wars and even Akaneiro to a lesser extent have built-in fan-bases. I know that even if I sit on my ass and do nothing (and I did do press for both), they’ll get ordered, they’ll get bought and they’ll get read.

But the only built-in fan-base for S.H.O.O.T. FIrst is people I know, or people who’ve read my comics or know me from Twisted ToyFare. In other words, you.

I think it’s a very appealing concept, I think there’s a wide variety of people out there who’d be predisposed to like it if they gave it a shot, and I think the art by my co-creator Nicolas Daniel Selma and our colorist Marlac is incredible. But the number of comics that are out there is huge, and the number of people who take a chance on comics they’ve never heard of is far smaller. So a book like this, based on an entirely original concept and without huge-name creators, needs all the help it can get.

The other thing, as I mentioned, is that this book is incredibly dear to me. It started as a very mercenary germ of an idea - what’s a story I can come up with that I feel like Dark Horse would publish? But it very quickly turned into something intensely personal and idiosyncratic, something that’s (hopefully) uniquely me but also broadly enjoyable.

S.H.O.O.T. FIrst is, at its core, about issues that I’ve struggled with and that I think many people have struggled with. It was originally intended to be a screed against religious fundamentalism, but instead it ended up being a meditation on what we lose and what we struggle with when we lose our sense of faith...and ultimately why what we’re left with is good, even if it’s less comforting. It’s not, I don’t think, a didactic book, but it does draw strongly from my experiences and my beliefs. I set out writing it to explore a theme that I hadn’t fully made up my mind about, and in writing it began to puzzle out the issues I was dealing with. So even if it had never been seen by other human eyes, it would be extremely important to me.

That said, I also made it the kind of comic I’d want to read, and I think lots of other people would, too. It’s got (in my opinion) memorable and well-drawn characters, crazy sci-fi ideas, huge cool monsters, epic battle scenes, and twists and turns that keep you guessing but don’t come out of nowhere. I think it’s the best thing I’ve ever written.

And then there are the innumerable contributions of Nicolas Daniel Selma. Nico took these words on a page and turned them into characters and worlds that I’d never be able to imagine. If you like the preview pages seen here, just wait. It gets better every issue. One of the unique joys of writing comics is to see your words brought to spectacular life, and I’m so very fortunate to have collaborators like Nico, Marlac and our letterer Amanda Aguilar Selma who can do that in such an incredible fashion.

Anyway, I doubt even my mom is still reading at this point, (hi, mom!) which is why I put the pertinent info about ordering up top! But if you happen to be, thanks for reading, thanks for ordering, and I can’t wait for you to discover the world of S.H.O.O.T. First.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

I'm sick of white dudes

When The Wrap broke the scoop this morning that actor Michael B. Jordan (who's African American) might be cast as Johnny Storm in the new Fantastic Four film, I didn't even bother waiting for the whiny tweets to start up before posting the tweets above. I knew they'd be coming, like clockwork. 

Here's the thing. I understand fearing change. I wouldn't want to watch a Spider-Man movie where the character is a homicidal maniac, because that is contrary to the spirit of the character. But, and I'm going to put this in italics so you can tell I'm serious...


The only argument against Human Torch being black is that he wasn't conceived as black. But guess what...NO superheroes were conceived as black when Human Torch was created. That is not a valid reason that he should be Aryan for the rest of eternity in every possible medium.

There's nothing wrong with white dudes per se. Iron Man 3 opens tonight and it is an excellent movie chockfull of white dudes. (Even notorious Asian villain The Mandarin is played by Sir Ben Kingsley, but trust me when I say this is a good thing in every possible way.) [EDIT: It's been pointed out to me that Ben Kingsley is part Indian, which I didn't know. The Mandarin is still way awesome.] There are no shortage of superhero films fronted by white dudes. I'm ready to see something different.

And the fact is, it's not just in my consumed entertainment. I'm tired of writing white dudes. At least, white dudes as default main characters. I'm not a black woman, or a transgendered person, or any other number of identification combos. But I'm interested in exploring the commonalities and differences I have with these people way more than just dropping in another white dude because I'm a white dude and I know how white dudes live.

I always joke that the reason there are so many advertising guys as protagonists in movies and TV is because advertising is the only day job that writers can picture themselves doing because it's kind of like writing. As writers, we should be trying to move outside ourselves, at least a little bit. You know every character is going to be you in some way anyway. Isn't it more interesting if they've at least got some major differences from you that you can explore?

So please, for the love of humanity, if you're going to complain about a fictional character's race being swapped on-screen...don't. Don't be that guy. Ask yourself, is the core of the character being compromised...or is my own sense of comfort and familiarity?