Single White Vigilante

Did you ever wonder about your life choices? The feeling that, when faced with the fork in the road, you took the path only an idiot would prefer? That feeling that the world continues to crumble in its own merry way, and all you want is that special someone to share a cup of cocoa with?

Hey, superheroes feel it too.

Single White Vigilante is my stab at a continuing webcomic, one that asks the question, “Why does Justice have to be so lonely?” It’s designed and drawn by my pally Airan Wright, who also designs my Rex Koko book covers and website. New comics will be rolling out every two weeks now, so I hope you will tune in and enjoy some.

Being at comic cons probably got the idea gestating in my head. That, and the fact that my kids are regular readers of so many hilarious online comics. So what would happen if the Punisher felt the need to speed date?  How does Batman keep up with the latest music, and how much does everyone talk behind his back? Which superhero would do best/worst on Tinder? These and other questions will be answered in the months to come, albeit indirectly.

And we have an entire Rogue’s Gallery to introduce: The Skink. Multi-Maniac. Muscleena. Virginia Creeper. And the mysterious Nadshot!

Hope to see you soon, out on patrol.


The Whirlwind, Ernest Hecht

A little while ago, I received news of the death of my publisher in Britain, Ernest Hecht. The news hit hard, even though I was always worried about his health. When I first met him, back when Souvenir Press released PC Bedtime Stories in the UK, he was overweight, in his late 60s, almost addicted to ice cream, and had that air of a man who thought he was immortal. Over time, I began to have the feeling he would outlive ME! Then, news came that he suffered a fall and never recovered from it.

Ernest was a fascinating man. Read his Times of London obit here to get a taste of his life.  (Also here, the obit from The Guardian.) He had a ferocious wit and kept conversations moving at such a pace that I felt like a clod next to him. When my wife and I visited London, he took us to his favorite restaurant, the White Castle, and pontificated and charmed in great amounts, with potato chip crumbs down the front of his shirt. It is one of my fondest memories.

He was a great publisher for me, managing to keep PC Bedtime Stories in print long, long after it had gone on the remainder piles in America. He also talked me up with many publishers on the continent, which led to contracts. What’s more, he would call me regularly to say that they had had steady sales all year, a few good article placements, new press runs, etc. That’s the kind of thing that’s good to hear in the long, lonely life of putting words on paper. My American publishers? Deposed, out of the business, burned out, deranged. Ernest was a rara avis in the UK as well, last of the dying breed of independent publishers, but he reveled in that. He knew no other way to be. His motto was that the publisher’s main responsibility to the writer was to make enough money to stay in business. He declined to publish many of my books, which was wise of him I guess, but he knew how to ride one of my winners for a long time. And his faith in me was always unshaken. I have huge regrets now that I didn’t make time to visit him in recent years. Good lord, the time does fly.

From a trade journalist in the UK, quoted in The Bookseller:  “No one would say he was easy, but being difficult was for Hecht a sport. Being with him, even in the last couple of tricky years, was never dull. He was truly unique, a Technicolor figure in a now-monochrome world. Publishing will never see his like again.”

Goodbye to a devoted fan of Arsenal football, ice cream, Brazil, and doing everything his own way. Ernest, you were an inspiration.

(Photo credit of his actual catastrophe of an office, The Time of London)