The misadventures of a first time father

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Lacey & Lily – a graphic novel from Darby Pop Publishing

What would you do if you suddenly found yourself with super powers? 

It’s the question a middle school girl named Lacey finds herself facing when she and her dog stumble across a pair of costumes that do just that, imbuing both kid and canine with powers beyond those of mere mortals. 

It’s Lacey & Lily!

This all-ages graphic novel is the latest from Darby Pop Publishing, and if you’re wondering just why I’m plugging it here, it’s not just because I like it, it’s because I wrote it! With some absolutely amazing illustrations from my pal Andrew Cieslinski, this is the sort of thing that has been a dream come true for people like ourselves who grew up as comic fans. 

I’ll never forget my first exposure to comic books. I was in elementary school and was home sick from school at my grandmother’s house when she pulled a stack of comic books out of the hallway closet. They were mostly from the 1970s, gathered over some indeterminate period of time, the brightly covered covers, or in some cases, cover-less splash pages were a completely new world to me, and it sucked me right in. And what a wide array of worlds they were! Uncle Scrooge! Batman! Richie Rich! The Flash! The Thing! It was like nothing I had seen before at that point in my young life. And it was amazing.

First comic I ever read.

Not long after, my uncle would expand that world even more, taking me to a comic book shop for the first time, where I would have to stand on a footstool to reach the tables and boxes filled with books from years past. I used money from my paper route to buy old books. As a kid I used to make crudely drawn comic stories that I’d photocopy and staple together to share. Those moments forever changed the way I read and told stories. And it became something I always hoped I’d get the opportunity to do.

And some decades later, it happened thanks to Andrew’s incredible art talents and the fine folks at Darby Pop Publishing. 

I thank them, and I thank you for indulging me here. We’re already hard at work on a follow-up volume with brand new adventures, more kooky villains, and more fun with Lacey, Lily, and their friend, Weston.

Words can’t describe the feeling after growing up reading comics to have a box arrive from the publisher on your doorstep with your own books inside, let alone to see the kind words people have said about it emblazoned on the cover. Though I’m overly wordy here (shocking), at that moment I think I was pretty much speechless. 

But I think maybe the greatest reviews I can ever get are those that come from kids themselves. Someone who stopped me at my kids’ school to tell me how much they loved it, or walking into my son’s room late at night to find out why he wasn’t asleep yet only to find him curled up with a flashlight reading Lacey & Lily and wanting to talk about it with me. My heart swelled.

I hope you’ll check it out, pick up a copy, and enjoy it as much as we’ve enjoyed creating it.

Available Now from Darby Pop Publishing’s Online Store

Also available on Amazon or from your Local Comic Shop (Diamond Order Code JUN201024)


blizzard-snow-winterHere in the northeast, it’s supposed to be pretty snowy this weekend, and with no plans for us set in stone, we’re likely to be hunkering down inside as much as possible, watching the birds at the feeder in the backyard and likely a ton of PBS Kids programming. Maybe I’ll even make some popcorn.

That said, three kids inside all weekend long is a recipe for the “what can we dos?” or a case of the “I’m boreds.” Fortunately, we’ve found that one of the best tools in our arsenal is not a toy, or a show but a ream of paper. Well, and a box of crayons. Creativity can only go so far with a stack of blank paper and nothing to write on it.

Amid the drawings and makeshift storybooks that come out of the messy dining room table that doubles as an art studio is a fun littlegame our son enjoys that puts both of us to the creative test.

folded monster 01It was an activity we lifted from a magazine and recreated with just a blank piece of paper, folded into four sections, each with its own designation – head, body, legs, and feet. Whoever goes first, draws the head (of a monster, a robot, whatever) in the head section, leaving just a little bit of neck on the body section, then folds it over so the next person can’t see what’s drawn. The next person then uses what is exposed of the neck to draw a body and arms, leaving just a little bit onto the legs portion for a guide and again folds it over so the bulk of what’s been drawn so far can’t be seen. So on and so forth, until all four sections have been drawn.

Then, comes the big reveal, unfolding the paper to see what you two (or possibly even four if you wanted) have jointly, but blindly created.

Easy, fun and resulting some pretty wild stuff at times.

Give it a try. And if you do, drop an image or two in the comments and let’s see what you and your kids created!

folded monster 03


© Copyright 2012 CorbisCorporationYou can take a lot for granted before you have a kid.

Before our son was born, I never thought of how easily we would come and go from the house, run an errand here and there, pick up some groceries, or grab a bite to eat, without giving it a second thought.

Now, going to the grocery store is like planning the storming of Normandy.

A date night? Well, they don’t even really come into play, at least not this early in our little guy’s career as a being on Earth.

However, the exception was this past week when, for the first time since he was born, my wife and I actually got a chance to go out and have a night of our own. While the little one spent some quality time with one of his grandmas, we went out to dinner, and then caught a performance of “A Chorus Line” on its tour stop in town.

It seemed a little weird, the whole night. At dinner, while we both thoroughly enjoyed the meal (we both ordered steak, so this MUST have been a big night) there was the occasional “you think he’s okay?” sprinkled throughout our conversations, the glancing at the phones to make sure there were no messages.

After dinner, we went to the theatre, she checked in via phone and things were going all right except for the usual fussiness, and then we enjoyed the show.

CHORUS LINEI had never seen “A Chorus Line.” Meg had caught it in NYC some years ago, but it was all new to me. At first, I was sort of skeptical, finding the opening number just a tad too long for my liking and leaving me wondering if I was going to make it through the whole story.

I like when I’m pleasantly surprised, though. Once the characters started revealing themselves and the story took shape, I really ended up having a great time and enjoying the show. Don’t judge a book by its cover…or a show by its opening tune, I suppose.

When the curtain fell, we walked back to the car and hit the road, wondering the whole ride if we had been out too late, if he was okay the rest of the night, and if he had driven grandma to drink.

Upon our arrival, he was asleep in bed and all was well with the world.

Before we became parents, it was nothing to say ‘I’m just going to run to the store’ or ‘let’s go grab some dinner.’ Heck, if you go back to when we were dating, we went out without a thought all the time.

During all those periods of life, you never give a thought to the amount of leeway and freedom you have in the decisions you make and can choose at a split second. Honestly, why would you back then?

Now, there’s a lot more planning, a lot more shifting of the to-do lists.

But, it certainly makes you enjoy those rare date nights a lot more when the chance arises.



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