Ooh, look! Sun! I’d forgotten what that looks like. Neat. Today is a bit of a mad scramble (what else is new?). We’re wrapping up the lettering on ACTION COMICS #879, which means a lot of emailing back and forth with letterer Rob Leigh. He’s come up with what I think will be a stronger method for the English subtitles to all the crazy Kryptonian speak going on in the book. And if this doesn’t work, we’ll just start throwing sound chips in the book! Also on the lettering front, Jared Fletcher, the man of many nicknames, has delivered the first round of lettering for SUPERGIRL #43, and man, he’s done a great job. We asked him to do something slightly different here for Kara’s narrative, and he’s knocked it out of the park. The whole issue is somewhat of a departure, and definitely a pallet cleanser after a few months of asking, “Who is Superwoman?” I swear, Sterling and Jamal are getting exponentially better by the issue! One guy who’s not getting better is Jon Sibal, and that’s only ‘cause he couldn’t possibly get any better. The fact that he’s crazy in a good way just adds to the joy of working with him. And Wil tells me that Jon tells him that he’s inking the last page of the issue right now. I love it when a plan comes together. sg43page_5 Just got a couple of new pages in from Javi Pina for the upcoming SUPERMAN ANNUAL (#14 for those of you keeping score at home). Man!!! I’ve worked with Javi before on a few occasions, but this is far and away the best work I’ve ever seen him do. James challenged him with a heck of trippy story, and I’m already dying to see what people think of the finished book. Well, August will be here before I know it. Spend a few minutes chatting with Wil about a new costume we’re having designed for… well, don’t want to give that away here, in case anyone is actually reading this thing. The main design is coming along nicely, and we’re at the stage of small tweaks in order to put a wrap on the thing. This is going to be very, very cool. supermanannual-pag15 Hmm. It’s 3. I should eat something, but what? Right, what I always eat—oatmeal. 10 minutes and a burnt tongue later, I’m back in action. Associate editor Sean Ryan brings by a couple of rate requests for me to sign. These are the forms by which we set up page rates for artists, writers and so forth. He’s been bringing me an awful lot of these lately. I’m starting to suspect he’s hiring childhood friends or something. I’ll have to talk to him about this. sgann-129cmyk Engage in a quick conference call with Wil and Greg Rucka about some costume designs going on there—next week is the start of July, and that means beginning work on our covers for the books that come out in December. Yes, we actually do plan ahead that far. Actually, in the case of the Super-books, we’re planned through the end of 2010. In fact, I take this blessed opportunity of basking in Greg’s phone aura to confirm when the Super-writers will engage in our next weekly chat—next week looks iffy. Something about a holiday. We’ve got a lot of work to do before we all meet up in San Diego in the days leading up to the convention, putting a lock on a few dangling items for 2009 publication so we can spend the time in sunny CA (indoors, ‘natch) planning in great detail the first half of 2010 and as much of the 2nd half as we can squeeze in. Oop. Just missed a message from James Robinson. He’s included an odd comment on one of the profile pieces for August’s SUPERMAN SECRET FILES. My, he’s in a jaunty mood. It seems we’ve missed some important elements in the costuming of a non-superhero character, and he’s absolutely correct. He’s also got an idea for the inclusion of some characters normally outside the realm of Superman for next year’s stuff, and ways to maybe spin them out into something of their own afterwards. No wonder he’s so jaunty. I mark the 4:00 hour by sending my lettering notes on SUPERGIRL #43 to writer Sterling Gates, and then remember he’s on a plane to Dallas for a convention. –Sigh- my day is empty without some correspondence from Sterling. Oh, well. I settle instead on talking to Pete Woods, who’s juggling putting together a map of Kandor for the SECRET FILES while drawing the next issue of WONK (World of New Krypton). Man, he just gets better and better, and his design sense is incredible! He’s done an amazing job in less than half the series with really establishing New Krypton as a world, with all sorts of different sets and locales. The feeling begins to return to my tongue just as a new batch of pages arrives from Gary Frank for SUPERMAN: SECRET ORIGIN #2. There really aren’t adjectives that I can apply to Gary—he’s in his own stratosphere, and I feel stupidly lucky to be working with him and Geoff on this project—it’s simply incredible. Geoff seems pretty happy with the pages, too, and I’m glad to have an excuse to give Gary a call, even if most of our conversations steer towards the insanity of Italian politics. (Don’t ask.) superman-secretfiles-page05 I’m in the middle of typing up some notes on SUPERGIRL ANNUAL #1 for the mysterious colorist who only goes by the name “Blond” when Liz Gehrlein drops off two more jaw-droppingly cool profile pages by Francis Manapul for SECRET FILES. Ab-so-lute-ly stunning! This is going to be one special Secret Files. This reminds me that I need to turn in pages from artist Matt Camp, who’s illustrated a seven-page story that James wrote for the book. So many balls in the air, so few hands… And then the next thing I know, it’s 6:00, time to close up shop, blow out the candles, and be thankful another day that I didn’t set my office on fire.