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Nature v. Nurture Vol. 4 (2)

NATURE V. NURTURE: A Greg Rucka Newsletter
Volume 4. Issue 2.

“Welcome to Summer” Edition

PATRIOT ACTS ON SALE AUGUST 28TH

Atticus is back.

There’s an excerpt here. Read it. Savor it. Then ask yourself all the questions that must be asked: how, what, why, and what the hell is going on?

If you haven’t looked at CRITICAL SPACE in a while, you might want to thumb through that, too, just to refresh your memory. And for those of you who haven’t read CRITICAL SPACE, might I suggest that now would be a good time to add it to your summer reading list?

Trust me on this—PATRIOT ACTS stands alone, and you can come to it cold and enjoy the hell out of it. But if you’re a fan of the series, now’s the time to refresh. All those questions that were asked but left unanswered at the end of CRITICAL? Here come the answers, and like most truths, they don’t come easy.

Will post signing schedules and similar events on the web-site, and list them in upcoming newsletters.

WHITEOUT: THE MOVIE

Filming has wrapped. How do I know this? I was there. Went up to Montreal to watch the filming in early May, and was offered a job assisting with rewrites. Stayed until just before the final shot.

An amazing experience.

Further news on this front is embargoed by the studio, but look for more information as we approach release. Right now, the word is that the film will be in theaters Summer ’08. And trust me, it’s going to look stunning.

BLOG? WHAT BLOG?

I caved. I’ve got a blog. Updated with reasonable frequency, given my schedule. Mostly, I talk about the work and the process, for those interested in that kind of thing. Occasionally, I uncork on some unsuspecting topic that never saw it coming and most likely doesn’t deserve my ire. Sometimes I even talk about other thing.

But mostly, I just ramble.

The Song I Can Never Write is here.

If you’re not sick of me yet, there’s a new video interview up on the web-site here, filmed when I was in NYC back in February.

OF BIBLES OF CRIME AND GAMES OF CHESS AND OTHER LIKE THINGS

Work for DC continues. The last couple issues of Checkmate, I feel, have been the best of the series thus far, and it’s just getting better. If you haven’t picked it up, I urge you to. The trade of the first half-dozen issues or so is out now, and is available in book stores.

The Crime Bible mini-series has been announced, as well, and will start soliciting next month. The series is titled The Crime Bible: The Five Books of Blood, and it features the Question, as well as peeling back the curtain on the “religion of crime” in the DCU. I can honestly say, this is the second-most fun thing I’m working on at the moment.

And the first most? Ah—not yet, that’s for San Diego. But since you asked so nicely, here’s a piece of art to tide you over for a bit, drawn by Matthew Southworth.

Art by Matthew Southworth

Art by Matthew Southworth

Look for an announcement from Oni Press around San Diego.

SCHEDULE

Convention season is here, and I’m doing, get this, one. San Diego. That’s it. Signing schedule will be posted as soon as I know it. Look for me at Oni, Bantam, and DC—and I’m told that there may even be Whiteout footage shown at the con!

Stay angry!

Greg

Nature v. Nurture Vol. 1 (6)

NATURE V. NURTURE: A Greg Rucka Newsletter
Volume 1. Issue 6.

The Quick and Dirty edition.

It’s hard to prioritize the news in order of importance, because there’s actually a fair amount and it’s all over the place.

HELL FROZE OVER
I suppose the marquee item is, well, the marquee item. For those who haven’t heard the news, after nearly ten years languishing in Hollyweird development of one sort or another, WHITEOUT is in production, with principal photography set to commence in mid-March. You can check the IMDB if you don’t believe me. And that bit about Kate Beckinsale playing Carrie? Yeah, that’s for real. Word is that they (meaning the people at Dark Castle, Joel Silver’s production company that’s making the film) are looking for a late-Spring release in 2008.

Will it be the graphic novel? No, of course it won’t. Will it have elements of it? Yes, absolutely. Will Carrie still kick major ass? I am confident she shall. I had a brief conversation with director Dominic Sena and was pleasantly surprised to discover that he was not only familiar with the source material that Steve Lieber and I had created, but that he was truly passionate about it. So, yes, it’ll be different from the comic, but I’m excited to see what it will be. Hell, I’m just excited they’re actually making a movie, you know?

In related news, Steve and I are collaborating on the third WHITEOUT, tentatively titled WHITEOUT: THAW. And yes, we’re planning to release it around the same time the movie comes out.

Imagine that.

ATTICUS IN AUGUST

PATRIOT ACTS is currently slated for an August ’07 release. I’ll be posting a preview on the website in the next six weeks or so, just to give you all a taste. For those of you who are fans of the Kodiak series, this is the direct sequel to CRITICAL SPACE. By which I mean the novel picks up about 15 minutes after CRITICAL SPACE ended, and by the time the story is over, nearly three years have passed.

Saying anything more would risk giving away a lot of the story, and considering how long this has been in coming, I’m disinclined to do so, I’m certain y’all understand. It was a brutal write, I’ll confess to that, and for a variety of reasons (not all of them my fault, honest!). Right now, I’m still snow-blind, but my gut tells me that it works, and that it tells the story I set out to tell—essentially, the second half of the transformation that Atticus began in CRITICAL SPACE.

ONE EXTRAORDINARY YEAR

52 is finished.

At least for Geoff, Grant, Mark, and myself. At least for the writers.

Except for the revising.

And the proofing.

And the actual final issue coming out.

And the unforeseen crises that will undoubtedly arise.

On May 2nd, actually. On 5-2.

Go figure.

I honestly believe that this is the first true Graphic Novel ever written. When finished, it’ll come in at over one thousand pages. A comprehensive narrative with a beginning, middle, and end. A start and finish.

Yes, I’m proud.

GOOD QUESTION(S)

John Siuntres of wordballoon.com is preparing to do another interview with me (what he calls a “Rucka Debrief” in a nod to Q&C) to be recorded and released as a podcast. He’s soliciting questions over at the ComicBloc. A few people have posted there. But there’s still time, and frankly, I thoroughly enjoy doing these kind of question & answer interviews, so please, if you’ve ever had any questions about my work in any of the mediums I publish in, by all means, ask!

APPEARANCES

Next public gig will be at Emerald City Comic Con in Seattle, to be followed by a signing at Olympic Cards and Comics on Free Comic Book Day, May 5th. Looking at the possibility of attending Heroes Con in Charlotte in June, and will definitely be attending San Diego Comic Con International… where there will be multiple announcements of new projects. May well be attending Thrillerfest in Manhattan in July, as well.

Look for a new newsletter in April.

Stay angry,

Greg

Nature v. Nurture Vol. 1 (5)

NATURE V. NURTURE: A Greg Rucka Newsletter
Volume 1. Issue 5.

The “What’s He Doing Writing This, He Should Be Working On (insert title here)” Edition.

COP FOR A NICKEL, POLICEMAN FOR A DIME

Which is a bastardization of one of my favorite Mark Twain quotes, which goes something like this:

An average English word is four letters and a half. By hard, honest labor I’ve dug all the large words out of my vocabulary and shaved it down till the average is three and a half. . . . I never write “metropolis” for seven cents, because I can get the same money for “city.” I never write “policeman,” because I can get the same price for “cop.” . . . I never write “valetudinarian” at all, for not even hunger and wretchedness can humble me to the point where I will do a word like that for seven cents; I wouldn’t do it for fifteen.

Which is my way of saying I’m going to try to keep this short.

APPEARANCES: NOW WITH NEW, INTERNATIONAL FLAVOR

We’re back in the convention season; either that, or the convention season never really ended (which seems more likely, frankly). I’m trying to limit my appearances for 2006, but there are a few shows and the like that I have committed to, and certainly are worth mentioning.

First of all, for those of you in England (the three of you, heh), I will be attending Left Coast Crime 2006 in Bristol from 16 March through 19 March. I’m moderating at least one panel—God help us all—and appearing on at least two more, and there will be all sorts of events surrounding the convention. This is not a comic book convention, but rather a gathering of mystery fans and writers. It’s the first one of these I’ve attended in a long time, and I’m very much looking forward to it.

In addition to LCC, I will also be appearing at the new Forbidden Planet Megastore that’s opened in Bristol on 18 March, from 1.00 pm until 2.00 pm, or until I’m finished, whichever comes first. If you’re in the area and don’t want to, or can’t, pay the fee to get into LCC, and still want to meet me, have a chat, and get your books signed (meaning, of course, that I will sign the books that I have written, not the books I haven’t, because that’s both tacky and takes too much time), please stop by.

Come the end of April, both Jennifer and I will be attending the Paradise Comics Toronto ComicCon. The show runs from 28 April through 30 April. I’ve heard great things about this show, and after having missed it the last time around, am excited about being there this year.

Then, at the end of June, we have Heroes Con in Charlotte, North Carolina. The show runs from 30 June through 2 July, and it looks to be an enormous one this year, with an incredible array of talent. Should be a lot of fun!

BOOKS, WITH PICTURES AND WITHOUT

PATRIOT ACTS, the latest in the saga of that man-with-a-silly-name who gets all gushy for the pretty girls is limping towards its completion. An excerpt will go up onto the web-site within the next month or three, and I don’t want to give away too much as yet, but for the fans of Atticus Kodiak out there, I will offer the following:

The novel begins roughly 30 minutes after the end of CRITICAL SPACE, and proceeds to cover the next four years of Atticus’ life. Drama/Alena is in it. Danilov Korckeva is in it. John Panno is in it (hi John!). John’s friend Sean Barron is in it (surprise!). It’s got all that good Kodiak goodness you’ve come to expect, now with extra gunfights and conspiracies!

Look for more novel announcements in the next couple of months.

Over in the land of the funny book, the calm after the Infinite Crisis storm has ended, at least for me, and now the new books are beginning to trundle out. I’m writing three titles for DC Comics post INFINITE CRISIS—CHECKMATE, which is a new take on an old idea about espionage and espionage-related activities in the world of super-heroes; SUPERGIRL, which I have inherited from the amazing Jeph Loeb; and I’m one of the four writers on the mother of all projects, 52, DC’S weekly—yes, you heard that right—comic series that will run from 2006 through 2007.

No wonder I don?t have time to play my Xbox online. (Gamer tag is Shae Kest, for those of you looking to pound me into dirt while playing Battlefront II, for the record).

THAT IS ALL

Really, it is. Not much more to add at the moment. Look for another newsletter with substantial goodness, or at least random thought, sometime in April.

Stay angry, folks—there’s a hell of a lot out there to be angry about.

Greg

Nature v. Nurture Vol. 1 (4)

NATURE V. NURTURE: A Greg Rucka Newsletter
Volume 1. Issue 4.

The “Who Said Anything About Panicking? This Is Just The Culture Shock…” Edition.

THE WIDE WORLD OF DC COMICS

Which means, for those of you who don’t read my comics work, or who do read my comics work but don’t read my DC work, you can probably just delete this newsletter right now.

This is for the rest of you, especially you fans of Gotham Central.

The solicitations for the February DC offerings were released Monday evening. Several web-sites got this information in advance, and in typical style, couldn’t wait to break the news. They call this journalism, incidentally. They need to grow the hell up.

Be that as it may, it took no time at all for people to notice the words “FINAL ISSUE” had been attached to a great many DC titles in their solicitations. In some cases, those two words were associated with books that people had no reason to expect would be ending. In two cases, the words were associated with titles I am currently writing: Wonder Woman and Gotham Central.

The Internet being what it is, and comic fandom being what it is, there’s been a lot of speculation and acrimony and gnashing of teeth and placing of blame. I’m sending this out to set the record straight on Gotham Central. Matt Brady at Newsarama.com is running an interview with me on the subject, scheduled to go up Tuesday, as well.

I am not talking about Wonder Woman except to confirm that, yes, #226 is my last issue on the title. That sound you hear is the DCMB exploding with delight. I’ll have more to say on this subject later (leaving Wonder Woman, not the DCMB—I think my opinion on that subject is well-known).

As to Gotham Central, it’s important to me that people understand the how and why of the decision to end the series. Please note, I said “end,” and not “cancel.” There’s a world of difference between the two—in the former, it’s the creative team’s decision; in the latter, it’s the publisher’s.

It was my decision to end Gotham Central with issue #40. In point of fact, DC wanted to continue the title, and I had been given multiple assurances that the book would continue for as long as I wished to keep writing it. Given the low sales numbers of the title—and despite all of the critical acclaim and devotion of its fan-base, the numbers remained low—that’s quite a testimony from DC, and one that I will always be grateful for. DC stood behind Central, and while there were problems (namely in the scheduling of trades of the series), I really have very little to complain about with regard to how they treated the title. We lasted far, far longer than we should’ve, given the nature of the market.

When Gotham Central began, it began as a joint effort between myself, Ed Brubaker, and Michael Lark. We viewed the title as a shared work, one that we were inordinately proud of, and one that we viewed very much as “ours.” With Michael’s departure to Marvel, followed by Ed’s shortly thereafter, I found myself in the awkward position of continuing the book without either of them around. While Kano and Stefano Gaudiano have done a tremendous job on the art since Michael’s departure—and while Steve Lieber’s two fill-in issues have been, in my opinion, some of the best work Steve’s ever done—at the end of the day, I couldn’t help but feel—for lack of a better word—unfaithful. Continuing Central without Ed and Michael felt like a betrayal.

With the “one year later” move at DC, ending with #40 was a perfect place, and I feel I’ve written an appropriate resolution to the series. The characters (most of them, anyway) will continue to live on in Gotham City, and it’s my sincere hope that you’ll be seeing the cops we’ve established and developed appearing in other “Bat-related” titles.

It’s not easy giving up Central. Like Wonder Woman and Queen & Country, it’s a title dear to my heart, and one that I think was unique. I honestly feel it had some of my best writing in any medium in it. It is a title that I am going to miss.

But it is also one that I could not, in good conscience, continue without Ed and Michael’s presence.

I want to thank everyone who was a fan of the book for their faith and support. Additionally, I have to thank not just Kano and Stefano, but also Lee Loughridge for his wonderful coloring work, and Clem Robins who is one of the most talented and thoughtful letterers it’s ever been my pleasure to work with. With Matt Idelson and Nachie Castro editing, these are the people who made Gotham Central come to life each month.

The final story arc begins with Central #38, a story entitled “Corrigan II.” I hope you enjoy it, and once again, thank you for giving me the opportunity to write about the men and women of the GCPD who serve in the shadow of the bat.

Best,

Greg

Nature v. Nurture Vol. 1 (3)

NATURE V. NURTURE: A Greg Rucka Newsletter
Volume 1. Issue 3.

The Not-Very-Long-Really-Only-Two-Things-To-Note Edition.

PRIVATE WARS

October 25th sees the official release of the new novel, PRIVATE WARS, the second in the Queen & Country series starring Our Lady of the Infinite Cigarettes and Bullets, Tara Chace. Picking up right on the heels of A Gentleman’s Game, the book covers a lot of ground, and a lot of changes not only in Chace’s life, but in the lives of the people around her.

And then there’s this job in Uzbekistan (news.amnesty.org/index/ENGEUR620262004 and hrw.org/press/2003/06/uzbek060303.htm, to name just a few), which, frankly, is not a very nice place.

Touring for PRIVATE WARS is limited this year, mostly confined to Portland, Salem, and, in December, Seattle. For those of you who can make any of the events, please come—it’s always a treat to meet fans of the work! Additionally, there’ll be a variety of online and audio interviews available?check the website often, we’ll be keeping the APPEARANCES and INTERVIEWS sections up to date, as well as posting to the BOOKS forum.

AND ANOTHER BOOKPLATE

Though we’re doing things a little differently, this time. No contest, no arbitrary competition, just a simple, straightforward offer. Buy PRIVATE WARS between now and December 31st, and send us proof of purchase (the receipt or appropriate receipt-like object) along with a SASE, and we’ll send you one of the lovely bookplates you can see here, art by the frighteningly talented Brian Hurtt, who drew both Q&C Volume II: Operation: Morningstar, and the first Declassified series. Brian is also the artist on DC Comic’s Hard Time, written by Steve Gerber. Each bookplate will be signed by me (Greg) and numbered out of a run of 750 plates.

Remember, you’ve got until the end of the year! No later!

So go and get a copy, enjoy it, post to the forum about it, tell your friends, sing its praises to the heavens, or just generally, you know, read it.

And finally, no announcements about PRIVATE WARS can be complete without yet another thank you to Charles Riess, the winner of the PRIVATE WARS CBLDF Auction. Thank you, Charles, for both supporting the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, and for being so generous with both your dollars and the use of your name.

Stay angry,

Greg

Nature v. Nurture vol 1 (2)

NATURE V. NURTURE: A Greg Rucka Newsletter
Volume 1. Issue 2.

The second for-Pete’s-sake-I-thought-these-were-going-to-come-out-regularly edition.

If you’re receiving this, it’s because you signed up for the Greg Rucka mailing list at gregrucka.com. Alternately, you could be receiving because someone else signed you up for the mailing list a gregrucka.com. If you find that you’ve received this newsletter in error, or cannot be bothered to read it, or frankly just don’t want any more damn email, unsubscribe information can be found at the bottom of this newsletter.

MEET THE NEW WEBSITE, NOTHING LIKE THE OLD WEBSITE

Well, not exactly. I mean, it’s still gregrucka.com, but other than that, it’s pretty much been rebuilt from the ground up by the sweat, blood, tears and toil of Webmaven Maggie Griffin and Web Designer Heidi Mack of xuni.com. And when I say blood, sweat, tears and toil, I mean blood, sweat, tears and toil.

Looks spectacular, if I may say so myself. So check it out, and for you authoritative comics types out there, check out the Almost-Absolutely-Complete-Greg Rucka Bibliography.and email us to let us know what we missed.

SO, THERE’S A NEW NOVEL COMING OUT IN OCTOBER ABOUT A WOMAN WHO KICKS ASS AND TAKES NAMES…

And it’s not the one you think. That one’s later (scroll down if you’re impatient).

Perfect Dark: Initial Vector will be released October 4th, published by Tor Books via agreement with Microsoft. Available at better bookstores everywhere, this is a tie-in to the upcoming Xbox 360 launch title Perfect Dark Zero, created by Rare.

For those of you who recognize the game, yes, this is the same Joanna Dark of Perfect Dark fame, the N64 game, except that Perfect Dark Zero is a prequel game to the N64 title. With me so far? Hold on, gets better. Perfect Dark: Initial Vector chronologically falls after the events of PDZ, but before the events of the original PD.

And no, you don’t have to have played either of the games to read it or enjoy it or to get it. For those of you who are afraid of spoilers for PDZ, I assure you, we went to great lengths to avoid giving away only the absolute minimum of information about the game. Any game spoilers in the novel are spoilers that have a very limited impact on the game’s plot.

There’s an excerpt and synopsis of the book here, if you want to wet your whistle. I had about as much fun as humanly possible writing this novel, and—much like Batman: No Man’s Land—it really is far better than you’d think a work-for-hire, based-on-someone-else’s-idea novel could or should be. I’m damn proud of it, and I think people are going to like it, whether they’re fans of the original game or not.

…AND THEN THERE’S THIS OTHER NOVEL ABOUT THAT OTHER WOMAN WHO KICKS ASS AND TAKES NAMES…

The second Queen & Country novel, Private Wars, will be released October 25th. This is the direct sequel to A Gentleman’s Game, so for those of you who were dying to know what happens next, well, here’s where you find out. Tara’s back, as bitter, broken, and (dammit, alliteration again… need another ‘b’ word… ‘beautiful?’ ‘bitchy?’ ‘bodacious?’… ah! got it!) battered as before, if not more so. Excerpt and cover copy here. If you thought A Gentleman’s Game was a rough ride, this one definitely has a height requirement.

Remember what I said way back when about how proud I was of AGG?

Cut and paste, kids; I’m pleased with this one beyond reason. It moves Tara forward in a very interesting, very dynamic way.a way that I don’t think most people will have seen coming. And what it promises for the future—in both novels and comics—is truly exciting.

Touring for Private Wars is going to be limited, and most likely confined to the Pacific Northwest. Check the website for appearance details, and we’ll be keeping you posted about a new bookplate offer, this time with art by Q&C artist Brian Hurrt.

…AND THEN THERE’S THIS GUY, WHO PEOPLE KEEP MISTAKING FOR A BEAR….

I’m now beginning work on the next novel, Patriot Acts. Three years have passed for Atticus since Critical Space, and the past is coming back to haunt him..

…ENOUGH ABOUT THE DAMN PROSE, TELL ME ABOUT THOSE PRETTY PICTURES…

Comic work continues apace.

Over at DC, the whole of the DCU is stampeding towards Infinite Crisis, which will begin in October, written by the far-too-talented Geoff Johns, and drawn by the just-as-annoyingly-talented Phil Jimenez.

Wonder Woman #222 features continued fall-out from the “Sacrifice” storyline, with the bonus of Cheetah. I’m very excited about this issue for two reasons—first, we finally get inside Barbara Minerva aka Cheetah’s head, and it’s not a pretty place.but we finally get a glimpse at just why she hates Diana the way she does; and second, it’s drawn by Cliff Richards, who draws some of the most beautiful women you will ever see on a comic page. Seriously. Blow your mind pretty. So good, I may post a page on the site in the next couple of weeks.

Adventures of Superman #644 – #645 – #646 Due to a ridiculous workload from DC, I enlisted help on Adventures, in the form of Nunzio DeFilippis and Christina Weir. Nunzio and Christie scripted both of these issues off my plots, and I’m very happy with how things turned out. I’m even happier that this allowed me to get an extra eight hours of sleep or so. AoS 644 teams the Man of Steel with Zatanna, and AoS 645 begins the long-anticipated (or should we say, it’s about damn time) resolution of the Ruin storyline.which at this point has honestly become something of an epic.

And Lois finally finds out who shot her.

AoS 646 I handled by myself, for purely selfish reasons.it’s the return of Mxyzptlk, and I didn’t want to share. This one’s going to have people talking. Not necessarily about the issue itself, mind you, but they’ll be talking.

Gotham Central #37, #38-#40 With Infinite Crisis underway come October, Central 37 is a tie-in, but not of the sort you’d expect. Art handled by Steve Lieber, who once again has outdone himself, we get to follow Allen as the world is coming to an end, or, at least, as it looks like it’s coming to the end.

Clearly it doesn’t, because #38 through #40 is a storyline entitled “Corrigan II,” and yes, it’s the follow-up to the “Corrigan” story that ran in issues #23 and #24. Wondering about the Spectre?

Yeah, like I’m gonna tell you guys anything.

Look for multiple announcements coming at the end of November, beginning of December from DC about future projects. And there are some very cool future projects that will be announced. I’m even writing one or two of them.

Meanwhile, at ONI PRESS, editor James Lucas Jones continues his valiant struggle to keep from strangling me with his bare hands in the hopes that I will resume a regular script delivery.

What does this mean? It means that Declassified II, Issue 3 is in Rick Burchett’s hands, and he’s drawing as you read this, and that Q&C #29 is almost completed.

The goal is to get Q&C back on track for 2006. People have been very patient, for which I am grateful. It was never my intention to fall this far behind, and I’m trying to find ways to make it up to you folks. I figure the best way to make it up to you folks is by 1) getting issues out regularly again, and 2) making them the best I can make them.

The two, unfortunately, are not necessarily complimentary. But we’re trying.

And no, no word on Everest: Facing the Goddess yet. Patience, grasshopper, patience.

…AND A FORUM UPDATE…

The kind folks at Comicbloc have portioned off a section of their message board to devote to the works of yours truly. While the forum attached to gregrucka.com will remain active, it will focus on my creator-owned novels—Atticus, Chace, and any stand-alones (such as Fistful of Rain). Comics and comic-related discussion, as well as novels relating to comics, or to other WFH projects—like PD:IV, will move over to Comicbloc. Makes sense…”comics”…”comicbloc”…

More to come.

Stay angry,

Greg

Nature v. Nurture vol 1 (1)

NATURE V. NURTURE: A Greg Rucka Newsletter
Volume 1. Issue 1.

The very first it’s-about-time what-was-he-waiting-for-issue.
A GENTLEMAN’S GAME: The First Queen & Country Novel

The new novel, A Gentleman’s Game, is officially on sale as of September 28th. If you’re a real go-getter, you can order it in advance from your favorite bookstore, and have them hold you a copy. If you’re less inclined to plan so far in advance, you’ll be able to find the book—well, just about anywhere, or so Bantam assures me.

I’m very proud of this book. This is rare for me. Mostly, I fall into a deep pit of loathing and fear when a book is about to come out. But this one, this one is special, and it feels special. It feels different, for lack of a better phrase.

It’s a good book, that’s what I’m trying to tell you. I may even go so far as to claim it is a very good book, or perhaps, possibly, an excellent book.

In consultation with my glorious Webmaven (who is not only brilliant, but incredibly hot, and how many people can you say that about, really?), I’ve decided to continue the trend started with the release of A Fistful of Rain—you guessed it, another contest.

This one, however, won’t be so esoteric. No having to go through the Greg Rucka canon in search of a single detail to answer a question. Nothing like that. This will be simple. Straightforward. Easy, even.

Here’s how it works: A Gentleman’ s Game goes on sale on September 28th in a glorious hardcover edition suitable for framing, or, better yet, reading. If you purchase the book prior to October 15th, 2004, and mail proof of that purchase—meaning the dated receipt for the book—to me, you will receive, automatically, an originally designed bookplate, signed and numbered by yours truly. This will be a one of a kind item, only available through this contest, and will feature original art by Steve Rolston, one of the Queen & Country comic artists.

I’ll say it again: send me the receipt proving you purchased the novel prior to October 15th, 2004, PLUS your name and mailing address (print clearly) and you automatically will receive the bookplate.

Additionally, if I receive your receipt prior to 10-31-04, you will be entered into a drawing for the following:

A complete set of the Queen & Country hardcover editions, covering the entire comic book series up to issue 24. The hardcovers are collectibles, and were made available to retailers on an initial order basis only. Several of the hardcovers are difficult, if not now impossible, to find. This set includes: Operation: Broken Ground (issues 1-4), Operation: Morningstar (issues 5-7), Operation: Crystal Ball (issues 8-12), Operation: Blackwall (issues 13-15), Operation: Storm Front (issues 16-20), and Operation: Dandelion (issues 21-25), as well as Queen & Country: Declassified Vol. 1.

We’ll be giving FIVE of these away. Five chances to win. The drawing will be conducted by my daughter Dashiell, and overseen by my son Elliot. Elliot is four and a half, so you know he’ll keep his seventeen month old sister in line.

That’s the contest. Win-win, from where I’m sitting, and I even get to clear some of the comps out of my basement. What could go wrong?

So, to recap, here’s the whole deal: Buy the new novel on or before 10-15-04. Mail the dated receipt, along with your name and address (printed out clearly, please), to me before 10-31-04. You will automatically receive the signed and numbered bookplate, and you will be entered into the drawing for the Q&C hardcover sets.

And the mailing address?

I Bought the Damn Novel Contest
(sorry, guys, the contest is long over)

And that’s all I want to say about that.

GETTING GRAPHIC:

There was so much to say about the comics currently on the stands that my Webmaven balked at overstuffing the newsletter, so we compromised. Here are the highpoints; the details (and all cover art) can be found on the website.

Adventures of Superman #632—from DC Comics. Lois Lane got shot. (My Webmaven likes cliffhangers.)
Gotham Central #23—from DC Comics. A real cliffhanger; to be concluded in October’s #24.
Queen & Country #27—from Oni Press. This is second part of “Operation: Saddlebag.”
Queen & Country: Operation: Dandelion—from Oni Press. The trade paperback collection of issues 21-24.
Queen & Country Scriptbook—from Oni Press. Hailed as the “gold standard” of scriptbooks.
Wonder Woman #208—from DC Comics. “Stoned, Part Three of Five,” art by Drew Johnson.
Wonder Woman: Down to Earth—from DC Comics.
The trade paperback collecting my first six issues of Wonder Woman, 195-200, art by Drew Johnson.

All of these comic books are available at finer comic books stores everywhere. Don’t know where to find a comic book store? The Comic Shop Locator Service can help you out.

Trade paperbacks are available through comic book shops as well as any reasonably stocked book store, though you may have to ask them to special order. And, of course, you can find just about anything you want online.

FINALLY, AN EXPLANATION?

Why am I calling this newsletter Nature v. Nurture?

If you follow my work, you’ve probably noted a couple of consistent themes, a few recurring conflicts that seem to replay again and again. This isn’t a big deal, and every single writer out there does it (and if you don’t believe me, read three P.D. James novels back-to-back, she’ll make the point for me). Some of these are themes that I’m aware of; some of them are entirely subconscious.

I once had an interviewer ask me, shortly after Shooting at Midnight was published, what it was I had against fathers and their daughters. When I yammered out a “wha?” he pointed out that, in three books in a row—Finder, Smoker, and Shooting, the plots all rotated around daughters in conflict with their fathers. If you lumped in my first novel, Keeper, and the very absent father in that one, I was four for four.

Never had even considered it, but he was right, it was there, and the best I could offer was that I had no idea myself, except that my own big sister has Down’s Syndrome, and my father has always loved her as absolutely as any of his other children, and no, I didn’t have any experience growing up that made me think Daddy didn’t love Baby Sister.

I just didn’t know it was there, and I sure as hell couldn’t explain where it had come from.

But Nature versus Nurture, oh, man, I’ve been struggling with that one since I started scribbling stories out longhand while sitting in the back of English class during high school. Over and over again I come back to it, either directly or indirectly. In comics, my whole run on Elektra revolved around the question. In novels, it’s the heart of Critical Space. Well, one of the hearts, at any rate.

And it has always been a consistent part of Queen & Country, both in the novel and in the comics. And it rears its ugly head again in A Gentleman’s Game.

Why? I’m really not sure. It’s like asking me why I write about female protagonists more often than male ones. I can give you a glib answer, and I can try to give you a serious one after that, but in the end, I don’t really know. I am fascinated by the struggle between ourselves and our better angels. I look at stories about murderers and wonder how they got that way. I look at the world and at politics, and I wonder if the behavior I see is hard-wired in, or if it’s a choice, or if it’s both, or neither.

And I wonder if people can change. If the professional assassin can actually walk away from a life drenched in blood and find redemption, or if she’s condemned to that path for the rest of her life. If the spy who burns out his soul committing horrible atrocities so that we can sleep safe at night thinks it’s a fair trade, or if there’s a way to survive the job without losing himself in darkness.

I wonder about our natures as human beings, and whether or not William Golding was correct, and it’s all Lord of the Flies.

I don’t expect to find an answer. But each time I write a story about it, I get to try again to understand it. Sometimes I think I’m close. Sometimes, I figure it’s a wash and I should just give it up.

But I know I’ll keep coming back to it in the end.

That’s all for now. As the TELEX used to say, MESSAGE ENDS.

Be safe.

Greg