December 31, 2007

The True Story of Ben Avery . . . the PIRATE!

Here's a comic from an old public domain comic book called "PIRATES". Alas, this is issue 4 of the series . . . the last issue.

It's the tale of Long Ben Avery, a pirate who I have taken a liking to. Mostly because he shares my name. He's an historical figures -- an actual pirate that sailed the seas, looting people.

I'm amazed how closely Long Ben Avery's pirating career has mirrored my own career in comics. :)

As usual, click on the image for a larger version that you can read.

It was scanned by someone called "King Faraday", so many thanks to him!

~ Ben

December 29, 2007

Nano Film Review #1 -- Beowolf

Here's my review for the recent screen adaptation of Beowulf:

Neil Gaiman and Roger Avary, you're two of the most creative writers in Hollywood and that's the best ending you guys could come up with? Really? Robert Zemeckis, why was it animated again? Animation works best when it's stylized to serve the film. Flesh and blood characters would have probably elevated this movie from interesting technological achievement to engaging retelling of an age old story.

Maybe I should have seen it in IMAX 3D.

~ Ben

December 21, 2007

A Merry Christmas Comic!!!

Here's a little Christmas story from an old public domain book, Ben-Hur, I happened upon at a comic shop yesterday. Hope you enjoy it!

Click on the pages to make them larger.

~ Ben

December 19, 2007

An Interview

I did an interview last week for a website -- -- which ran a three day series on comics and spirituality.

It's not so much an interview as an essay, I guess. The man in charge asked me a couple questions and then asked me to write about them. Buzz Dixon and Robert Luedke also participated.

The interview/essay starts out talking about my earliest comics experiences and then gets into my motivation for writing comics.

Click here for the interview.

~ Ben

December 18, 2007

Hobbit Film News!!!

Peter Jackson is producing The Hobbit.

Hmmm. He's only producing. So, I guess, I'm not sure if it's good news or not.

I'm leaning toward "good news".

I'm hoping for good news.

It'll be a few years before we know, though.

I have to say, though, that some of the most inspiring books for me as a "artist" (in quites, because my arts are not drawing-based) have been the "Art of" books that came out with the movies.

The Art of The Fellowship of the Ring
The Art of The Two Towers
The Art of The Return of the King

All of them are extremely cool, just to browse, but also if you want to get some in depth glimpses behind the creative process of developing those monstrously huge movies.

But the best of the bunch is:

The Art of Lord of the Rings

The above book is my favorite because it has concept art from all three movies, but the artwork seems to be more eclectic.

Another amazing book, not linked to the movies directly, although the artist was one of the concept designers for the movies, is Alan Lee's Lord of the Rings Sketchbook.

All of these books are "must haves", in my humble opinion, for anyone involved in creating fantasy creatures, worlds, or comics. I find them inspiring, and it's interesting to see how armor evolves in artists minds, or to see abandoned creature concepts, etc.

As long as these guys are involved in The Hobbit I know that the movie will be a visual feast. But the question is, will they find someone who can match the way Peter Jackson tapped into that vision of Middle-Earth. When I watched those movies, I thought to myself, "That may not be the way I envisioned it, but that certainly looks like the way it should be."

Time will tell.

Speaking of getting a peak into how things develop, I'm very curious about this: The History of The Hobbit. It's got an unpublished draft of the book and unpublished maps and illustrations. Seems interesting.

~ Ben

A Really Cool Comic to Check Out

I have a lot of friends who want to Make Comics. And some of them actually are doing it.

It's sad, actually, as I was thinking the other day about the paucity of solid comics by my friends. Not that they can't do it. Just that they don't.

Anyway, here's a guy who's got that "can do" attitude, and he's being rewarded for it. His name is Josh Alves. He's a cool guy, and he's got a cool comic called Araknid Kid.

So cool, I should add, that he was selected to be in the Zuda comics competition. Zuda is, in a nutshell, an American Idol style competition that DC Comics is hosting. The winners of the contest get some sort of deal wherein they get paid to produce more content.

Anyway, check out Josh's comic on Zuda. It's fun, a lot of fun:

And if you like it, give 'im your vote.

~ Ben

EDIT: Also, check out Josh's website where he has some "DVD extras" about Araknid Kid:

December 16, 2007

How to Make It in Comics . . . from Someone Who's Been There

Here is my definitive answer to how to Make It in Comics, in three easy steps:

1. Get a pen, pencil, or computer.

2. Start a story. Use art to tell the story.

2a. If you do not have a story or cannot tell one, find someone to help.

2b. If you cannot draw, find someone to help.

2c. If you cannot find somone to help with either a or b, then go ahead and just do it yourself.

3. Convince someone to read it.

"Wait," I can hear someone saying over the electronic pulses of the internet, "that's how you Make Comics, not how you Make It in Comics."

Ah, gentle reader, I understand the confusion. But see, you will never Make It in Comics if you do not Make Comics. There is a big difference.

Many people want to Make It in Comics. Fewer, though, are those who want to Make Comics.

Have I "made it"?


Wanna see when?

That was the project where I stopped talking about Making It in Comics, and actually made a comic. It was a huge day. A turning point in my life. A complete paradigm shift occurred.

I got off my butt, took stock of what was important to me, and decided telling stories was one of those God-given urges I had been granted. So I made time and did it.

Almost as simple as that.


But I had finally Made It in Comics. And no one can tell me differently. However deluded I might be.

~ Ben

December 10, 2007

The Artistic Paradox

I wrote this as the introduction to an anthology for a local group. It gets into some hows and whys about artists and readers and the relationship between them.

I'm curious what you might think about it. For me, the core is the paragraph that starts, "Artists are an interesting bunch . . ."

"A story unread is a zen conundrum, a shout in an empty universe. Unread, unheard, a writer is a dying thing." Tad Williams, The Writer's Child

I love anthologies.

I know, "traditional wisdom" says that they aren't marketable. They aren't popular. They're too haphazard. Too hit or miss.

But I completely disagree. I love anthologies because of what they represent -- a diverse group of stories by a diverse group of artists. Now, I can understand that if you have no intention of trying to read something other than a select style of story or a select genre, an anthology may not appeal to you. But I enjoy reading all types of stories and hearing different voices.

And that's what makes this collection so cool. This anthology has allowed a number of voices to be heard, some for the first time. The stories are "various and sundry" and this provide a perfect example for why I happen to love anthologies and other people happen to hate them. For in this book, there are examples of historical fiction, fantasy, superheroes, and "indy" comics. With two exceptions, they were created by a team, which added to the challenge, since no team had worked together before this project . . . although a few teams may continue working together. (And a few teams may never speak to each other again.) It was an interesting dynamic, and every person involved learned something new about their art or about the "industry" or about both.

To be honest, if I had been smart I would have brought my camera to some of the meetings and filmed some sort of reality show documentary about the making of the project. There was a lot of human drama -- which was amplified by the fact that you had a bunch of artists getting together and working together.

Artists are an interesting bunch. Many artists are self-effacing, meek, and humble -- unwilling to share their work with the world out of a fear of rejection, coming from the introspective nature that cultivates their artistic tendancies. Other artists are arrogant and egotistical, growing from the recognition of their own talent and the knowledge that, simply put, it's good. But the majority of artists are a strange combination of the two -- living paradoxes -- humble and unassuming, yet confident and assertive. Their introspection is tempered by an arrogance that their story is worth reading, that people will enjoy it and laugh or cry or have some sort of reaction. When you get these strong artistic personalities in a room, sparks fly. There's really no way around it. (Honestly, though, it makes life more fun . . . albeit a little more stressful sometimes.)

And yet, it happened. By some miracle, the stories were completed. The files were finalized. And a fantastic anthology was birthed. The truth is, not every story may be your cup of tea. But in reading this anthology, you will get to hear a new voice you may not have heard before and experience some strong artwork that, while you may not LIKE the style, you will definitely appreciate.


The anthology this introduction appeared in is called Syndication and can be found here, if you're interested in getting it and checking out what I was referring to. There's some fun stuff in it from a diverse group of artists.

~ Ben

The Thieves -- out now!

You'll notice a nice little ad over to the right for The Thieves. It's a link to the comic and it's appearance on

The Thieves is something of an experiment for Community Comics, in that it's the first brand new comic that we're offering on (It has NEVER been published anywhere, in any form, except for me to solicit critique from some friends of mine.) is a website that offers free downloads of books and comics. And each time one of our books is downloaded, we get a small amount of money. What is unique about this model is that the downloads are free, unlike iTunes or the like which you would pay for the downloads.

So we're trying it out to see how it works. Hero TV will go up pretty soon, both the one shot and the mini-series. If this works out, look to see brand new Hero TV stories and such on Wowio.

Community Comic will also be putting up other works by other creators on We'll let you know when they are up. Please support them.

To download DOES mean creating a profile. And be warned: there are some less than savory comics up on Wowio that some may find offensive.

To find The Thieves, go here.

To find Sherwin Schwartzrock's Legends (the comic that caused me to notice Sherwin and which is the direct cause of our friendship), go here.

To find our Salvation Army fund raising project The Tempest, go here.

~ Ben

November 29, 2007

Thieves -- the cover

This came out quite beautifully, don't you think?

Artwork by Noel Paolo Libunao.

Colors by
Hu-Ann Mulia (Psycho Ann)

Logo by Sherwin Schwartzrock.


Look for it soon.

~ Ben

November 27, 2007


Kingdoms #4 is about Ezekiel. It's due to come out sometimes around summer, 2008 I believe.

But here's a little treat to whet your appetite:

And you can get a glimpse of the cover at the NEWS section of my website:

~ Ben

November 19, 2007

Terrorism Hits Home

He took refuge in a sacred place.

No one knew how he had infiltrated the land. That didn't matter. What mattered was that he was there. He had been seen and when he was, he hid. He scurried into the nooks and crannies of his sacred refuge.

Nothing would bring him out. Many techniques were tried. Noise. Arms. Gas. Fire. And then just waiting him out.

He was given the chance to leave peacefully, with full amnesty, but perhaps that was tried to quickly. Perhaps he should have been left alone, allowed to calm down and gain our trust.

But in the end it was decided: we will not deal with terrorists.

And so, we pretended to give in to his demands.

Knowing, all the while, we had no intention of letting him get away.

The trap was set. He offered him what he wanted.

But that sneaky little conniving rat . . . took the money and ran . . .

* * *

OK, so we weren't really dealing with a terrorist. But I felt like I was in the middle of a hostage situation last night.

My wife heard a noise in the stove. I pulled out the drawer from beneath the oven and there was a mouse, crawling under the cookie sheets. It jumped out of the drawer and ran back under the stove.

After that, it disappeared. There was nowhere for it to go, so my wife and I stood and watched, the back door open and a broom ready to guide it on its way outside.

Of course, he did not come out.

I tried scaring it out by banging on the stove. Nothing.

I tried putting the broom under the stove and moving it around. Nothing.

I tried turning the oven on and sweating him out. Nothing.

Finally, I tried putting a piece of cheese with peanut butter on it in the doorway and my wife and I waited and watched, ready to shoo him out as soon as he went for it.

Yeah, right, like that was going to happen.

Then it was decided. Peaceful negotiations were over. We gave the thing a chance to just leave quietly.

But now our only alternative was violence.

I set three traps, very strategically.

The mouse ate the peanut butter from one trap.

He's still with us today.

But tonight . . .

Yes, tonight . . .

~ Ben

November 14, 2007

Mac vs. PC

I’m sitting in Border’s, writing. I look around and see three people reading magazines. Two with books. And four people working. I’m not sure what they are working on, but they are engrossed in their laptops. Except the guy in the business suit. He’s got a laptop bag, but he’s working on a stack of papers. Not sure if they are papers he’s grading or business reports. Doesn’t matter.

Here’s what matters. Of the four people using laptops (three plus me), THREE of us are on Macs. The fourth has a Compaq.

I found it interesting. Not sure if anyone else is gonna care, but I found it interesting.

~ Ben

I Won the Yahoo Lottery!

So, I got an e-mail informing me that I won the Yahoo lottery!



And Yahoo and Microsoft Windows, together, arrange all the e-mail addresses of the people that are active online and select only 20 people every year!

This is funny, because I'm a Mac guy and haven't used Windows for years. But somehow, Windows is STILL collecting my information! I feel violated.

The best thing about this, though, is that I was notified about winning the YAHOO LOTTERY from a HOTMAIL ACCOUNT!

Yes, the people in charge of the Yahoo lottery have gone through the trouble of signing up for a FREE HOTMAIL ACCOUNT so they can notify me and twenty other people about the win! You'd think Yahoo would at least let them use the free YAHOO account . . .

~ Ben

PS -- To claim my winnings, I have to give my bank information to someone in Africa. Seems some sort of mix up sent my Payment Approval File there. But at least they apologized:
We are sorry that your Payment Approval File was sent to Africa so that you can be cleared and paid simultaneously there. You are to contact our UK Agent to give you more details for the collection of your winning fund.
Yahoo Beta Lottery Prize must be claimed not later than 14 days from date of Draw Notification after the Draw date in which Prize has won.

November 13, 2007

Speaking of Time Travel -- new Star Trek movie news


I've just read a news story that implies the new Star Trek movie will involve going back to some elements from many Trek fan's favorite episode, "City on the Edge of Forever".

Seems the Guardian donut guy is going to be the element used to travel through time, so old Spock can meet young Spock.

And Harlan Ellison, the guy who originally WROTE "City" is none too happy.

Not that he ever IS too happy.

I never did read the book that had his original script for "City". I've heard it's a completely different story than the one we ended up with.

I do like time travel. A lot. There's some really good Trek time travel. "City on the Edge of Forver". "Yesterday's Enterprise". Star Trek IV. Star Trek VII (Generations). Star Trek VIII (First Contact). But the whole time travel element of Enterprise lost me. I only watched about half the episodes, and that was a major plot element.

So I hope this goes well.

Oh, and on a side note, Journeyman, on NBC has become very interesting. The time travel is confusing (it's meant to be, it's part of the mystery), but consistent. And the consequences of bringing things back and forth in time has been cool to watch.

Back to Galileo.

~ Ben

November 12, 2007

Galileo is a JERK!

So I'm going along, writing the latest TimeFlyz book, and everything's going according to plan for the most part.

Mind you, it's TOUGH. It's been a difficult story to do, so far, but some recent revelations about some historical things that fit into my plan made it suddenly start to click!

Then, BAM!

Galileo shows up and ruins everything.

He didn't follow the outline!

Instead, as Laurel and her time traveling fly companions show up to protect him from the evil time traveling spider, he says to them, "You aren't more time travelers, are you?"

I was thunderstruck!

How DARE he deviate from the course!

But then, suddenly, there's a whole new level to this story. (Not only had Galileo been visited by time travelers before . . . he KNEW about it! There's a story there. For another day, of course.)

Meanwhile, I'm rushing to keep up with Galileo and this monkey wrench he threw at me. Is it going to make things easier? Or harder?

Who knows?

And is he going to pull something like that again?

(Answer: yes. He just tricked Laurel's brother into revealed that the Copernican view of the universe was right.)

Meanwhile, I'm extremely excited to do this story.

Did you know that Mr. "Poster Boy for Seperation of Religion and Science" Galileo was ACTUALLY a devout man of faith?

And that he believed that the Bible was inerrant?

That's right! He believed the Bible was T R U E true!

(Kinda embarrassing, for those who find him to be an awesome man of secularism . . .)

He also believed that -- get this -- if science and the Bible didn't match, then either the SCIENCE was wrong or our interpretation of the Bible was wrong.

And yet, he's credited with the rift between faith and science!

Galileo actually was afraid that the Catholic Church was going to get left behind. As the rest of the world discovered the truth about the world, the Church was going to be stuck believing an outdated lie! And that's exactly what happened.

Of course, the Aristotle/Ptolemy view of things WAS wrong. And the Copernicus/Galileo view WAS right. And for a LONG time after Galileo made his claim that the earth did, indeed, revolve around the sun, the Church suppressed those teachings. Because the Bible said, "The earth cannot be moved."

That's not to say the Church was wrong to question him. Some of his theories were wrong, and he sometimes did not have the evidence needed to fully prove his points.

But he sought the truth. And he tried to get the Church to do the same. And part of that truth, for him, was the Holy Writ. Awesome.

And I get to play the part of Paul Harvey and tell my readers "the rest of the story".

~ Ben

PS -- Turns out, he really was a jerk. if he had just been a little less pompous, he might not have made enemies in the Catholic Church and his theories just might have been more accepted earlier on. And he tended, in his writings, to do things to humiliate, on a personal level, his detractors.

An Exciting Summer

Whew. I'm getting ready to start what promises to, possibly, be the most exciting summer of my writing life.

Now, there was the summer when I was first published. That was exciting. But this summer is the big one.

On Wednesday, June 20, The Hedge Knight II: The Sworn Sword comes out from Marvel Comics. This is the sequel to The Hedge Knight, my break out work. It will be released as a monthly series after that.

In August (some reports say July) Zondervan will be releasing two series I have written. One is called Kingdoms, which gives some familiar (and not so familiar) Old Testament stories the Braveheart/Gladiator treatment. These are BIG stories, written on a BIG canvas. (Of course, the actual size of the books is small.)

The other is TimeFlyz, a story about . . . well . . . time traveling flies. I love time travel stories. Voyagers! Time Bandits. The old Choose Your Own Adventures. The Time Machine. And so on. This is one of my additions to the genre.

And then, in the month I'm calling Julaugust, The Oz/Wonderland Chronicles #2 will be released.

Finally, at some point this summer, the final two volumes in my ArmorQuest: Genesis series will be released, and I will begin working on a new trilogy in that series. (ArmorQuest books can be bought on the Community Comics website --

Needless to say, I am very excited.

In my next entry, I'll explain why I'm excited about this summer in comics regarding other people's work.


November 9, 2007


I love Back to the Future 1 -3.


Star Trek IV.

Indeed, ALL those Star Trek eps w/ Time Travel.


The Time Machine.

Escape from Planet of the Apes.

Millennium Actress

Superman I.

Time After Time.

Time Bandits. And 12 Monkeys.

Peabody's Improbable History.

Just read a nice little manga called Time Guardians. It wasn't technically time travel, but it came close, especially at the end.

Even bad time travel can be good.

And I love that the first REAL comic I had published was a time travel comic: TIMEPIECE. (Someday I may get to do the sequel I wanted to do -- TIMEPIECE: Redux.) (A revised TIMEPIECE is also going to be my first audio drama. I got to revise it to keep the core message and a narrative through line, instead of just pontificating on religiosity.)

And I'm sitting here writing TimeFlyz for Zondervan and thinking to myself . . . I get paid to write time travel stories.

I love time travel.

I don't know if anyone else will like reading it as much as I like writing it. But for now, I'm having fun.

~ Ben

September 11, 2007

Addendum to the Creative Artist's Prayer . . .

If I were to write the Creative Artist' Prayer today, I'd add something like this:

Grant me inspiration.

Grant me motivation.

I'm struggling today. I'm about 3/4 finished with the second new ArmorQuest grapic novel, and as I look at it I'm realizing I'm going to have to go back and completely remove/rewrite a few large chunks. It's just not working.

Very frustrating.

~ Ben Avery

September 10, 2007

A Creative Artist's Prayer

As I was preparing for my day today, I prayed something like this. I decided to jot it down so I could remember it. It's probably not the most original thing in the world, but it is heartfelt.

A Creative Artist’s Prayer


Whose canvas is the universe.

Whose tale is history.

Who molded me in my mother’s womb.

Who made me in your image.

Draw me closer to you as I walk in your footsteps.

Guide my hand.

Open my mind.

Inhabit my heart.

Grant me clarity.



And courage.

Clear my mind of clutter.

Focus my heart on your Truth.

Free my hand to express your truth through my craft creatively and energetically.

Occupy my work so that when others experience it, they might see your face.

Feel your hand.

Know you better.

And that when I experience it, I might do the same.

~ Ben Avery

August 16, 2007

Soundtrack for a Writer -- Jeff Johnson

I’ve been saying for about fifteen years that if I ever made a movie, the person I would want to score the soundtrack it is Jeff Johnson.

I still say that. The only difference is . . . now that I’m making a movie, I don’t have that kind of control. Mind you, I’ll suggest it to the powers that be. But they’ve got the cash, so they make the decisions.

But that doesn’t mean that Jeff Johnson won’t do the soundtrack for my projects. Truth be told, he already has. For about fifteen years now. Of course, he doesn’t know it. And I haven’t paid him. (Shhh. Don’t tell.) No no no. I haven’t been doing anything illegal. Rather, Jeff Johnson’s music, more often than not, is what is playing when I write my graphic novels and everything else. Along with John Williams and Danny Elfman and Hans Zimmer and those guys who have made some of the greatest, most moody soundtracks you can get, Jeff Johnson gets a lot of play on iTunes when I write. Actually, looking at the play count, he gets more than all of them.

How can you repay that? How can you pay back a guy who has helped you get through some writer’s block just because of the mood of his music? How can you pay back a guy who’s reflections on some Psalms helped you walk through a potentially disastrous time in life? How can you pay back a guy who very music has helped nurse the right tone or mood out of a scene? How can you pay back a guy who’s music makes a beautiful connection to your very core?

Answer: you can’t, of course.

I mean, you an buy their albums and whatnot. So you’re PAYING for it all, yeah? But let’s face it . . . I’m getting the better end of the bargain here.

But, I can also pass him on to you readers. Granted, I don’t know how many people even READ this. But I’m passing it on anyway.

Jeff has three new albums that just came out. And all three are things I’ve been waiting on, for different reasons.

First, there’s King Raven EP, vol. 2. It’s a five song album (and “priced accordingly”, I guess) that takes it’s inspiration from Stephen Lawhead’s King Raven Trilogy. Already, there has been a King Raven, vol. 1. This isn’t the first time Jeff Johnson has taken inspiration from a Stephen Lawhead book. There was the Song of Albion trilogy, which spawned three Albion albums, and albums inspired by the novels Patrick and Byzantium. All of these albums are inspiring, beautiful and contemplative. And, ironically, all these music albums that inspired me as I worked on Hedge Knight, Kingdoms, and ArmorQuest (among others) were in truth inspired by stories themselves. These are great albums to work by, because they are almost exclusively instrumental. I’ve been waiting for King Raven vol. 2 since I got vol. 1. And finally, today, I was able to get it. It did not disappoint. Well, not true. It disappointed in that it was too short. But that’s always how I feel when I experience music like this.

Second is Selah Audio Mediations vol. 2. Hmmm. Another “Volume 2”? Yeah. Well, I’ve been looking forward to this one for a while as well. You see, there was a real movement by God when I listened to the first one. I bought it on iTunes and put it on my iPod when I went away for a business trip last year. I listened to it a couple times that weekend, actually. On the airplane and such. But a moment came on that trip when I had to make a life altering decision. Through two passages of unrelated scripture that almost literally fell into my lap and through listening to Selah Audio Meditations vol. 1, I was given a real comfort that I was going to be taken care of in this major moment. And, btw, so far I have been. I’ve listened to the Audio Meditations a number of times now, usually when I need some moments of quiet where I can just get refocused on what is important. Refocused on who is important. Refocused on God. Who knew that the iPod could be used to commune with God?

Third, an album I’ve been waiting for simply because it’s from Mr. Johnson. Standing Still is a celtic inspired worship album. At least, so I’ve been told. I haven’t heard it yet. I only just bought it a few moments ago. But I’ve been looking forward to it. “Here is a soundtrack for standing still featuring modern Celtic/Classically-infused music full of rich and subtle chants, instrumentals and improvisations woven together to create a backdrop for solitude and contemplation.” C’mon, how could you NOT want it? Doesn’t that sound like just the thing we need in a fast paced world that is focused on the ME and the NOW?

Check out and get inspired as well. Or just go there to find the soundtracks for my graphic novels and stories. Just don’t tell him that’s what it is.

He may start asking for royalties . . .

~ Ben

August 2, 2007

Ingmar Bergman: 1918-2007

There is a very short list of people who I can name, off the top of my head, as influencing my creative development.

Ingmar Bergman, a Swedish film director, is one.

My introduction to him was, believe it or not, from Bill and Ted's Bogus Journey. The one where they die and Death come to them and they challenge Death to a game . . . of Twister, Battleship, etc. That was a parody of Ingmar Bergman's The Seventh Seal, in which a knight, fresh from the Crusades, arrives home. Death comes to the knight, and the knight, desperate for a chance to do something worthwhile with his life, challenges Death to a game of chess as a way to put off the inevitable. It's a slow, existential movie that, in bouncing from slapstick to melodrama to genuineness, asks hard questions and gives difficult answers. Questions that Christians need to be asking. Answers that Christians need to grapple with. Bergman himself grew up in a very religious family, and those themes and ideas come up in his movies, but religion is empty and hollow in Bergman's movies. Isolation is a common theme. And yet, in that movie, where some find existential despair, I find some hope in the end of that film.

Bergman died a few days ago. When I found out, one image kept coming into my mind, and I'm sure someone, somewhere has already done this, but this is all I could think about as they talked about his death on the radio:

I've been trying to decide what it means.

I guess it means what it means. In the end, as in the film, Death comes for us all. The question is: do you find hope or despair in that concept?

~ Ben

June 26, 2007

Two Discoveries! (One You Can't Miss!)

Today, while working on an ArmorQuest graphic novel script, I came across this file in one of my AQ folders on my computer. The file itself was not named well: "file____Macintosh_Desktop_Folder_02_03.jpg" I don't know who named it, the artist or me when I downloaded it. Anyway, I was curious and popped it open. Low and behold, it was one of my favorite two page spreads from ArmorQuest:

Doesn't that just get your blood pumping? Wow! I remember writing that scene and just trying to imagine what Sherwin (Schwartzrock, the artist) was going to do with it. When I opened it this morning, that same feeling I originally had of "awed giddiness" returned. (Larger version HERE.)

Anyway, here's the CAN'T MISS discovery I made. I looked for these guys on Ye Goode Olde here, but couldn't find them.

Anyone who knows me, knows I love the Psalms. (Follow the link to some of my thoughts on the Psalms and an artistic Psalms challenge.) So while I was at Family Christian Bookstore the other day, I noticed a CD called "Introduction" by Sons of Korah. Looked interesting, but when I looked at the back I noticed that the tracks were all Psalms!

It. Was. Awesome.

There are very few times when I have just popped in and listened to a CD and felt like I was experiencing worship. Jeff Johnson's Selah is one. (Interesting ArmorQuest related story to go with that, btw. For another day.)

I highly recommend that Sons of Korah CD. It's intended to be a sampler and, interestingly enough, comes packaged with a mini book of Psalms (which is cool). It's incredible, though. And too short.

Meaning that, from a crass marketing standpoint, this sampler got me hooked and I'll probably be using the coupons inside the sampler to buy some more. :)

But, another purpose was served as well. A man from Indiana joined in worship with a bunch of guys from Australia.

And will do so again.

~ Ben

June 25, 2007

GEEK CRIME: I guess these guys were on the dark side?

This happened at the library down the road from me and was reported by The South Bend Tribune:

19-year-old charged in library break-in

So a 19 year old and some friends broke into the library through a skylight using a rope. I'm sure at this point they were feeling very action-movie-ish. Of course, the alarm went off and notified police of a break in. They found an open window and just waited for one of the guys to climb out and they nabbed him. Maybe when they were watching those action movies, they should have been taking notes?

"The other two fled through a door in a different direction. Police say one of them was caught after a brief foot chase; the other was brought to the police station by his father."

Well, their action movie just came to a rather unclimactic ending.

Here's the best (or worst, depending on how you look at it) part:

"Police say several laptop computers, display case keys, boxes of Star Wars books and other items had been collected together, apparently for the purpose of being carried out."

These guys were there to steal laptops, keys to the display cases (cases which, in that library, sometimes have valuable items), and Star Wars books!

Star Wars books!

So, what, do these guys root for the Stormtroopers or Darth Maul when they watch Star Wars? Or did they forget that Star Wars is about GOOD GUYS vs. BAD GUYS? And the Jedi they enjoy watching on Star Wars would most likely try, you know, STOPPING people from doing things like breaking into a public library?

"Schultz, who is charged with a C felony, faces up to eight years in prison if convicted."

This is the worst part. This 19-year-old kid has made a HUGELY stupid choice, and that choice could carry a HUGE consequence. Part of me feels bad for him. I mean, he IS a fellow geek. Part of me wants the book thrown at him. Robbing anyone is wrong enough, but robbing a public library? There's some sort of line being crossed there.

This reminds me of the kid who just loved Spider-Man so much he just had to take twenty or so Spider-Man comics and shove them down his big, baggy pants. When my friend noticed he was walking funny, he started pulling Spider-Man comics out of the front of his pants . . . the back of his pants . . . from down his shirt . . . up his sleeves . . . It was like some sort of twisted clown car trick. Or, you know, that magic trick where the handkerchief just keeps coming out of the clown's pocket? Meanwhile, in the VERY Spider-Man stories that kid loves so much, Spidey busts kids just like him for doing things just like that! My friend was SO tempted to ask the kid, after he'd been caught and the police were called, to ask him, "What would Spider-Man think of you doing this?" Instead, he asked the police to give the kid a talking to and didn't press charges.

Geek crime.

I think I just got an idea for a comic book . . .

~ Ben

June 20, 2007

TODAY . . . from Marvel Comics . . . and me . . .

Today marks the release of The Hedge Knight II: The Sworn Sword #1, published by Marvel Comics (the people who bring you Spider-Man, X-Men, and Fantastic Four) and based on the novella by New York Times bestselling author George R.R. Martin.

Marvel just recently published the first Hedge Knight story, entitled The Hedge Knight, in a hard cover collection.

Hedge Knight also happens to have been scripted by Ben Avery, who happens to be me, which happens to be why I'm telling you about it here.

I love the Hedge Knight stories (which is good, since I've spent so much time working on them), because they deal with a young knight who is trying to follow his vows of knighthood seriously and honorably in a world that looks on such things as antiquated or a nuisance. It delves into themes of sacrifice and honor and when I first got involved, these themes really resonated with me as a Christian.

The story itself has really resonated with readers as well, which is why Marvel Comics is giving it the treatment it has: hard cover collection for the first story, and now the release of the second comic book series, which, if successful, will also be collected as a hard cover edition.

For more information, a peak at the covers for issue 1, and information about my other work (such as the graphic novels I am writing for Zondervan) check out

~ Ben

June 19, 2007

When Worlds Collide

I've always found it interesting that people who seem to come from different worlds are actually much more alike than they would like to believe. I wrote the script for this short comic. My friend Bud Rogers drew it. It appeared in The Megazeen (

For a higher resolution version, check out:

Coming soon: Why the summer of 2007 is one I've been looking forward to, part 2!