2023-03-22 – DARTH VADER #32 in stores today!

DARTH VADER #32 hits comic book shops today, featuring writing by yours truly, interior line art by Ibraim Roberson, colors by Federico Blee, and letters by Joe Caramagna.

Here’s the official solicit:

HANDMAIDEN NO MORE? Few bonds in the galaxy are as strong as the sisterhood of the former handmaidens of Padmé Amidala. But all that was threatened when Sabé entered the service of Darth Vader, the man the handmaidens always believed was responsible for Padmé’s death. Now Dormé, Saché, Rabé and Eirtaé are determined to save Sabé—or stop her, no matter what. But the influence of the Dark Lord is strong and dangerous—and not just to Sabé. What path will the handmaidens choose? And how does all this play into Darth Vader’s true plans?

Check out the preview pages here and ask your local comics shop to hold a copy for you today!

Three Years

Missed the three year anniversary of my COVID lockdown, which was March 13, 2020.

But today’s the three year anniversary of the day I started feeling COVID symptoms. I ended up having what passed for a mild case, but it was at the beginning of that first wave in New York City, and it was quietly terrifying every step of the way.

All the best and huge hearts to everyone who went through something similar or much worse. May we all stay healthy and safe.

Photo of the Day: Empire State Building and Bird

35mm B&W photo of the Empire State Building peeking over some other buildings in NYC with a silhouetted pigeon flying by in the midground.

Minolta XE-7, Minolta MD Rokkor-X 50mm f1.4, Kodak Tri-X 400, Arista Liquid Premium Film Developer.

This picture just makes me happy. I love the light gleaming on the Empire State and the more subtle light patterns on the building on the bottom right. I love the stark angles of the buildings and the awning in the foreground and the way they seem to guide the pigeon’s trajectory. I love the fact that I nailed the exposure and got the rich black of the awning on the upper left as well as the subtle textures of the cloudy sky.

I took several photos in a row from this general angle as a few pigeons circled in the sky. This was the keeper – the position of the bird made all the angles in the image make sense. I’m constantly dazzled by how much a single bird can improve a photograph in New York City. Thanks, pigeon!

Minolta XE-7 35mm film camera with a Minolta MX Rokkor-X 50mm f1.4 lens.

This was my first time shooting a cheap, used Minolta XE-7 that I picked up recently from an auction site. I never shot Minoltas back in the day — I was an insufferable Canon snob who was very happy with an FTb and New F-1. But since I’ve gotten back into film photography over the last year, I’ve had a ton of fun trying out cheap, used cameras from other manufacturers.

The Minolta XE-7 is a big, solid camera that handles beautifully — the film advance in particular has a lovely, smooth feel. It’s a camera that’s just fun to hold. But it’s as heavy as my Canon New F-1 with a 50mm lens attached — which is a bit too heavy for a casual carry-everywhere-all-the-time camera. And I’m not quite sold on the manual metering system — a needle on the right of the viewfinder points to the recommended shutter speed while windows at the top of the viewfinder show the actual shutter speed and F-stop. So you have to move your eye from the needle to the window at the top to take note of the numbers and adjust the shutter speed. That’s better than cameras like the Canon EF and AE-1 that make you lower the camera from your eye to set the aperture. But it’s more confusing than match needle or LED systems that let you set your exposure quickly while looking at just one part of your viewfinder. The viewfinder is also noticeably darker than many of my other cameras — including the Minolta X-370.

Despite these drawbacks, I had fun with the XE-7 and love the photos I took with it. I’m sure a big part of that has to do with the Minolta MD Rokkor-X 50mm f1.4 lens I was testing. I’d heard great things about this lens and it’s living up to the hype, delivering sharp, punchy images and allowing for focusing as close as 1.5 feet.

I did have a brief issue with the mirror of the XE-7 getting stuck in the up position for a few frames. That may be due to weak batteries — the manual says “If the shutter is released when voltage is too low, no exposure will be made on the film, and the mirror will remain up to prevent viewing.” Or it may be due to old lubricant in the camera getting gummed up. I’ll have to get fresh batteries and see what I see.

2023-02-22 – AGENT STOKER Season Two debuts today – with episodes directed by Greg Pak!

Agent Stoker season two promo image featuring a startled man with a liquor glass in extreme closeup

I was lucky enough to direct the first three episodes of the second season of the paranormal thriller podcast AGENT STOKER, created by Brian Nelson and Chris Conner and co-produced and sound designed by Patrick Hogan — and I’m thrilled to report that it goes live today!

Please do check it out when it’s available at bleav.com/shows/agent-stoker/ or anywhere you download podcasts.


2023-02-22 – PLANET HULK WORLDBREAKER #4 in stores today!

Planet Hulk Worldbreaker #1 cover

PLANET HULK WORLDBREAKER #1 hits comic book stores today, written by Greg Pak with interior art by Manuel Garcia, colors by Chris Sotomayor, letters by Joe Caramagna, and cover by Carlo Pagulayan.

Here’s the solicit:

For hundreds of years, when cataclysm strikes, the people of Sakaar have desperately sought the help of the Green Scar. But what happens when you ask the Worldbreaker to help you unbreak the world? Our young heroine Tala is about to find out – and the answer strikes deep into the heart of Bruce Banner and the monster he still believes lies within.

Check out the lettered preview at MajorSpoilers and ask your local comics shop to hold a copy for you today!

DARTH VADER VOL 5 hits the NPD BookScan bestselling graphic novels list for January!

According to NPD BookScan, DARTH VADER VOL 5 was the 4th bestselling superhero graphic novel in January!

Huge love to interior artists Raffaele Ienco & Marco Castiello; colorist Carlos Lopez; letter Joe Caramagna; cover artists Paul Renaud & Rahzzah, editors Mark Paniccia, Mikey Basso, & Danny Khazem — and thanks so much to everyone who keeps buying this book! Means so much.

Believe in the faith of the people who believe in you

Jane Pak with a camera, some time in the early 1990s.

It’s been eighteen months to the day since my mom died.

You can read about Jane Pak here. She was incredible and you would have loved her.

Today I just wanted to show you the Canon FTb and the Canon New F-1 that she bought for me when I was a young high school photographer in 1985. These were the most expensive gifts anyone had ever given to me, and they’re a tremendous tribute to her love and faith in me and my potential.

My mom taught me how to shoot with a Canon FTb. The New F-1 is a more advanced camera, but it’s built on the same foundation. Both cameras feel like home, and every time I pick them up, without even consciously thinking, my fingers and eyes and nervous system remember all my mom’s lessons about framing and timing and quiet observation and being fully present in the moment.

I’m prone to worrying too much about everything. But when I hold these cameras, I know what to do and how to do it. I know where these cameras came from and what they represent. I feel like myself, or the myself that I know I can be.

Hold your loved ones close.

And believe in the faith of the people who believe in you.

Canon FTb and Canon New F-1

Writer of over 500 comic books, including PLANET HULK, MECH CADET YU, FIREFLY, and DARTH VADER