I got an email a couple of days ago from Drew at Camp Sweeney of the Alameda County Library. He was psyched to have received some donations of not only graphic novels, comics and the like, but also money as well. That is awesome. I don’t even have another word for it.

And I just want you to know I love you guys.

That in mind, one last push: now that Xmas has come and past, you might notice that you have less space than you did previously. Is some of that space still being taken up by graphic novels, comics, pulp fiction, etc that you just simply don’t need anymore? If so, PLEASE ship them to Drew at Camp Sweeney. He’s just received the go-ahead (and funds!) to start a filmmaking club as well, so if you have anything pertaining to that and no longer need it, it could be exceptionally helpful to those young men and boys who have a shot to turn their lives around. And you will have my undying gratitude and reverence, which with a dollar will get you a cup of coffee.

But that will be some good fucking coffee. I promise.

The address again – and seriously, you guys. Thanks.

Alameda County Library
RE Andrew/Camp Sweeney
2450 Stevenson Blvd
Fremont CA 94538

PS – If you’re concerned about the cost of shipping, ask your local Post Office to send everything by Media Mail. It’s dirt cheap.


“Whenever I get gloomy with the state of the world, I think about the arrivals gate at Heathrow Airport. General opinion’s starting to make out that we live in a world of hatred and greed, but I don’t see that. It seems to me that love is everywhere. Often, it’s not particularly dignified or newsworthy, but it’s always there – fathers and sons, mothers and daughters, husbands and wives, boyfriends, girlfriends, old friends. When the planes hit the Twin Towers, as far as I know, none of the phone calls from the people on board were messages of hate or revenge – they were all messages of love. If you look for it, I’ve got a sneaking suspicion… love actually IS all around.” – LOVE ACTUALLY

Just a little reminder that the world is a good place, and worth fighting for. Happy Holidays to you and yours, and much luck to you in whatever pursuits you chase in the New Year.


I made a Twitter the other day that I’m too lazy to go looking back through my shit to quote directly, but suffice to say, it went something like this: “Never underestimate the power of having a manager who is more concerned with the course of your career than with attaching him or herself to everything you write.”

And yes, that’s far too many characters for one Twitter post, but stop being such a fucking jerk about it, yeah? This website is about ME and what I’M feeling, what I’M going through, and the last thing I need is YOU coming in here, what with your finger pointing and all your character-counting nonsense. Who are you, Twitler?

(And before you sprint away to claim the @Twitler handle, rest assured that I already checked as soon as I typed that only to discover that it’s occupied by some Hispanic person who we all know is not taking proper advantage of such a genius domain. I’m so angry.)

Where was I? Right.

There was good reason for me to muse the above: I have a fantastic Manager. He gets me – and for a person like myself, whom is gotten by almost no one, that’s a great feeling. I’ve always thought of the Agent/Manager dynamic thusly, and though this is a bit oversimplified, it works much of the time: your Agent is there to get you in the mix for as many jobs as possible and provide you with a direct link to people who want to be in business with you; your Manager is there as your first creative outlet at any step of the process and is tasked with helping you choose which projects you want to chase and how to shape your career.

Sadly, for some writers, their manager can more closely be defined as “The person that auctions them off to the highest bidder and then gloms onto whatever they write as a producer who will probably add little to the mix but will get paid anyway”. Managers such as these aren’t actually managers past the business card they’re all too keen to hand out – they’re leeches who are looking for enough credits to move onto something more lucrative than mucking about with writers.

And it’s really sad. Because managers – at least the ones like mine – can make a hell of a difference in not only the path of one’s career, but how clearly one is able to see it through the trees.

Last week was our yearly sit-down, sort of a Culmination of the Year-style rumination on what’s happened and where we’re going. As of late, I’ve been disappointed with how things have been going. I got royally shafted on a project that I was hard at work on but was having a tough time cracking. I was getting negative feedback on another project that I thought I’d turned in a really, really great draft of. A couple of TV projects that I’d spent a lot of time fleshing out sort of fell apart all at once. Not good times.

What I needed to know was if my work product had suffered. If I was in bed with the wrong people, fine; that’s a lesson learned, but no harm and no foul. If I had just hit a patch of bad luck, fine; the ebb and flow of success for a writer is something we all have to weather as professionals. But if I was regressing as far as the quality of my work product…fuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuck. In fact, there’s no other way to describe the potential of having to hear that. The sight, feel, and sound of it is, quite literally, “Fuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuck.”

Luckily, I’ve spent the last couple of years surrounding myself with people who will refuse to bullshit me. The Manager is one of these, and I value his insight above almost all others. What he had to tell me was something that I think I’ve known subconsciously for quite a while, and finally hearing it was something of a Get Out of Jail Free Card.

“Look, essentially, you’ve been working from the same bag of tricks for the last couple of years. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a great bag of tricks, and it’s served you pretty well. But if I had one criticism of your work, if I’m being completely honest…I’m worried that bag has turned into a crutch.”

Hit me like a brick, man. Not the kind of brick that knocks you out and gives you a concussion, but the kind that instantly blasts some sense into you and wakes you up to the world in which you’re currently stranding yourself.

I’d become satisfied. I’d become comfortable. And, for all intents and purposes, I’d stopped challenging myself.

Luckily – and I hope this comes across as confidence in my craft and not braggery, because I certainly don’t mean it as the latter – I’m a good enough writer that I’ve still been producing good work. I have to believe that , and the people around me have to believe that as well. Thankfully, I’m confident they do.

At the same time, though, the Manager was right – essentially, I’ve been spinning my wheels. I’ve been languishing in one mindset for too long. And it’s started to show. And as a writer trying to establish a long-term career over here, that ain’t a good thing. So the question must be asked: how does one get to such a place?

When it comes down to it, I don’t feel I was *quite* able to say what I wanted to say with GOING THE DISTANCE. Do not get me wrong even for a second – I love the little movie that we made, and I’m damn proud of it. I think it’s great. On the same token, it was, at times, a difficult experience. The director did NOT want to work with me, almost from the beginning. We clashed on what we thought the movie should be. New writers were brought in. Dynamics and details changed. That notwithstanding, I firmly believe that the finished product was in most regards the movie I wanted it to be. At the same time, it also feel a bit short of what I wanted to communicate about that time in my life that I was living, about the surreal and hysterical tragedy that young adulthood can sometimes be.

And so, in each project since, I’ve chased that theme to one degree or another. I’ve tried to imbue a worldview, a “voice” (God I hate that fucking word, hence the sarcastic quotation) on everything I’ve touched. Sometimes it’s worked really well. Sometimes it’s blown dying goat. At least, I can say, it’s always been honest.

But here’s the hard truth: that’s not good enough.

As I was leaving the meeting, descending in the elevator with little more than my thoughts, I couldn’t help but play some of my favorite new lyrics in my head. I realized, sheepishly, that they more or less defined the veritable quicksand I’d just minutes ago recognized I was stuck in:

And I would swim, but the river is so wide, and I’m
Scared I won’t make it to the other side. Well,
God knows that I’ve failed, but he knows
That I’ve tried.

I long for something, that’s safe and warm, and
All I have is all that is gone.
As helpless, and as hopeless
As a feather on the Clyde.

And there we have it, in so many more eloquent words: I’d allowed myself to become a sufferer of complacency and fear.

If you want to be a writer with any chance at sustainability in this industry, you’ve got to eschew complacency and fear as if they’re wrongly prescribed medications. They are your two most mortal enemies. It’s easy to give in to the machinations which have always worked for you in one way or another, to let them cradle you. But to do so is to invite stagnation, staleness, irrelevance. The last thing you want to project as a creative body of any sort is that you’re past your state of usefulness. And I’m not about to do that shit.

With this next phase of my career, I’m going big. I’m not getting away from what I know, what I believe, what I love, but I’m pushing myself further, towards stories and concepts that I’d before felt a little too “not me” to attempt. I’m taking more chances. I’m contenting myself with being seen as even stranger, as even more unhinged, as even more ridiculous. Because what is “me”, really? Who are “you” as a writer? If you’re writing something you love, something that excites you, something that compels you to create it…who the hell cares? “You” are what you choose to put out there, not a genre or a theme or one specific set of ideas. Fuck fitting into a box.

If you’re an aspiring writer, I want you to think about this over the Holidays: have you spent all this time trying to break in doing what you want to do, saying what you want to say, or have you been laboring at what you think OTHERS want? Are you challenging yourself to create bigger, riskier worlds as you evolve, or have you been hammering at the same dead crap ever since you started? Are “They” holding you back, or are you your own worst enemy? Has your rubber been meeting the road…or have you just been spinning your wheels?

I learned one hell of a lesson this week: there’s never a better time that now to take a step back, reexamine your process, and ask yourself honestly if you’re pushing yourself to your potential. Some of us are. Many, including myself, haven’t been.

And so for me, it’s time for a reinvention. And for you? Well…someone’s gotta swim that river. Best be the one who beats the other guy to the punch.


Look, I know who you are. I know what you have. In fact, I know you have too much of it. Ideally, you want to hang onto it until the end of time. You want it there in case you ever need it again. And some of it you will need. But a lot of it…it’s time has come. You need to create space. You need to reduce clutter. Lucky for you, Uncle Geoff is here to help.

I’m talking, of course, about all of your superfluous comics, manga and graphic novels. You know, the stuff that’s piling up. Lonely. Begging to be read, absorbed, loved. LOVED, GODDAMNIT.

This year (and every year, really, so if you already do something like this you’re awesome, and if you’re not already awesome, hopefully you can become awesome now), why not kill two pterodactyls with one boulder, take a step back from your march towards HOARDERS and do something terrific in the process?

I got an email the other day from reader Drew Ackerman, and unlike the rest of us, he’s doing something great with his life. He runs the library at Camp Sweeney, an offshoot of the State of California’s juvenile detention program run by the Alameda County probation department. It hosts young men ages 15-18 for time periods that vary, but Drew estimates that the average kid is there for 9-12 months. The program they’re in – and this is something that’s become really important to me over the last few years – is focused not merely on incarceration, but on “restorative justice”, where the detainees are taught to address the root issues of their behavior and are shown that they have a choice in the direction of their lives. It’s an almost totally forgotten aspect of our current prison culture: rehabilitation. And here it’s even more important, because the program can potentially help to curb some of the problems that land our nation’s youth in a cycle of crime before it fully develops.

And so here’s the cool twist: Drew’s a bit of a genre nut, and his focus with the library has been on comics/manga/graphic novels. He’s big on these kids flexing their imaginations, and his future plans include some programming at the library: a reading group, job/career training and, close to our own hearts, a filmmaking club.

The library just opened in October, and frankly, they just don’t currently have nearly as much material as they’d like. And this is where you foist yourself onto the scene: send them what you’ve got. Send comics, send manga, send graphic novels. Send books about filmmaking and writing. Send movies. Send any materials you think could help open a young man’s mind to the imagination-driven world we’re all living in. Think about all the people that introduced you to a piece of media or entertainment that blew your mind, something that you kept close to you every day since. You now have an expanded opportunity to pay that forward a hundred times over.

These aren’t hardened criminals, grizzled baddies who’ve cashed in their chips for a life of murder and mayhem. These are kids who have made mistakes and, more often than not, simply need something to expand their horizons and give them something to work towards. How many of us used books, comics and films to not only shape our careers, but our lives in general? How tremendous would it be to put even one person on that path as well?

So donate your shit. Just do it. It’s win-win. And for Christ’s sake, it’s Xmas! It’s like the perfect storm, but with less Marky Mark and George Clooney. Or…depending on what you donate, JUST THE RIGHT AMOUNT OF MARKY AND CLOONEY.

If you’d like to contact Drew, his email is aackerman@aclibrary.org. If you’d like to donate something – and PLEASE do, I beg of thee – box it all up and ship it to their address at:

Alameda County Library
RE Andrew/Camp Sweeney
2450 Stevenson Blvd
Fremont CA 94538

Think about it: we have a chance to Andy Dufresne this shit. A VERY MERRY SHAWSHANK XMAS.

Posted below is a little more info on the project and a few current photos of the library; it’s what Drew sends out to comic book shops and the like. A massive and perpetual Thank You in advance to those of you who are able to help out. And a Merry Xmas indeed, you cheery, do-gooding sonsabitches.

“Camp Sweeney is currently seeking donations of graphic novels, comic books and manga for its new library. We will accept new or used items in decent condition. We are able to pick up donations and can provide a gift receipt for tax purposes. Please email or call me at 510-715-9788 if you are able to donate any items.

What is Camp Sweeney?
Camp Wilmont Sweeney is a local, unlocked, 24-hour residential program currently staffed for 80 minors ranging in age from 15 through 18 who are ordered by the Juvenile Court to be committed to the Camp. The overall goal is to return each minor to his community as a positive and productive citizen. The books, programming and technological resources of the Library will be an integral part of that goal. There will be an extensive collection of books for the youth to check out including genres like popular fiction, biographies and self-help. The new library will feature access to the library’s state of the art online resources. Job search tools, homework help and multiple research databases will be just a few clicks away. Judge Sweeney, a resident of Berkeley who became that city’s first African American to be elected to the City Council . In 1979, then-Governor Jerry Brown appointed Judge Sweeney to the Superior Court.  Judge Sweeney was a longtime advocate of finding alternatives to detention centers for juveniles, such as rehabilitation and counseling.  Alameda County’s minimum-security residential facility for juveniles convicted of misdemeanors or nonviolent felonies is known as ‘Camp Sweeney,’ in his honor.”


So a good friend of mine, who used to work for WB, had a bunch of WB-controlled swag sitting around in boxes from when he transitioned to (that’s the polite term we use in the industry to mean “fucked off for”) another job. Luckily for you, he already had enough stuff and didn’t want to cart this over to his new office, so he gave it to me to give to you. So that’s what I’m going to do.

First up, some DC items:

A little Jack Kirby for you – his FOURTH WORLD Omnibus, Volumes 1-4. Not a clue in hell what this is, but I feel like some of you are into it. Will also include a couple other random DC titles for you.

Next up, a slew of stuff from Top Cow. Click on the picture for details on the contents. You’ll get all of it. Some of it is sealed, and there are a couple Issue #1 items. Maybe there’s a treasure in here. Probably not, but what the fuck do I know?

Then, we’ve got some Superman stuff. Once again, I’ve never personally seen any of these titles, but you’ll get everything that’s included here. On the cover of one of them is some AlternaSuperman with RED EYES. OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOH.

Lastly from my buddy, a lot of 5 (total) Batman figures. Just kind of awesome.

The last thing I have to give away (at least for now) has nothing to do with DC, but it’s definitely the most awesome of all. My friend Kevin Pollak just released his book HOW I SLEPT MY WAY TO THE MIDDLE. It’s terrific. And as a big favor to me, he’s agreed to personally autograph a copy of it FOR YOU, in your name. Read: you can literally touch greatness. It’s very exciting. Here is a picture of the actual copy:

Many thanks to Kevin, who actually owes ME since I let him card-rape me in poker once a week.

Here’s how this will go down: over the next couple weeks, I’ll announce the giveaways on my Twitter. As I’ve done in the past, I’ll either offer you a challenge or a trivia question or something of the like; first person that responds to my satisfaction wins. Then I mail it to you. That’s it. It’s fun. I hope.

So be on the lookout for the announcements, and I’ll do it in enough time that it gets to you well before Xmas, in case you want to gift this crap to someone you love.

Carry on.