It wasn’t very long ago that Marvel was actually good…

I’ve got an idea for an eventual video about when DisneyMarvel peaked. No spoilers yet, just know that what I’m about to say totally fortifies the theory:

Netflix-Marvel’s Daredevil series was among the top 3 of trilogies that Marvel has produced on screen in the last 10 years. Maybe top 2. (The Captain America movies were all hits too, pretty much perfect across the board.)

I’m rewatching the series with my wife. It’s her first time through them all. Man alive, compared to what we’ve gotten in the last two years from Marvel, Daredevil is trophy-worthy. I’m not high on the violence, I am extremely high on the story and the values therein.

The first seven minutes of the first episode rapidly establish the key elements of Matt Murdock’s character:

–He lives with his (single) father, who cares a great deal about him. Jack Murdock is devastated when Matt gets in a traffic accident.

–He has selfless tendencies and has since childhood. Matt pushed an old man out of the way of a car accident, getting blinded as a result.

–He’s Catholic, though less devout than his father or grandmother. Nevertheless it’s a core part of who he is. Matt goes to confession and we get some effective exposition about why he’s there.

–He’s proud of his family heritage, specifically his father’s resilience, and believes that he (Matt) has inherited that quality. He’s willing to test the idea. Those Murdock boys have the devil in them.

–He’ll risk his life and well-being to make the city he loves safer, including rescuing helpless women and beating the absolute piss out of human traffickers. End the opening with the scene at the docks, where Matt knocks out three henchmen and lets the devil out on Turk Barrett.

Great writing in TV and film is so hard to come by in the 2020s, it seems. It’s not like all the Marvel stuff was great, don’t get me wrong–and among the Netflix properties, Daredevil was the only good one. My idea of great writing is writing that makes me want to write better, to write like what I’m watching. Daredevil passes that test in spades.

More as we make our way through S1.

What am I working on?

I don’t have any artwork to share on this one yet, because it’s all sketchy blue-line stuff in the rough phase. However, you should know that I’m progressing on both the artwork and the draft for HOWLING WILDERNESS, the next exciting entry in the Engines timeline.

To give you guys a bigger picture, here’s the scope of said timeline.

Engines of Piracy: (1692 AD)

This is a planned trilogy that will replace an old idea I had for a pirate fantasy novel. I realized that several components of the story would work well as an Engines tie-in so I repurposed it as such. Given that it takes place almost 300 years prior to the Liberty trilogy, there won’t be much–if any–character overlap. The protagonist is a Spanish inventor named Tiberio Iniesta, and the antagonist is a British minor nobleman whose name I haven’t decided on yet.

I have other ideas to connect it to the main timeline. Historians will note the year, and when I tell you that it happens in Port Royal, Jamaica, I think you’ll remember a significant event that took place there. It still happens in this alternate timeline but for a very different reason. 🙂

Engines of Liberty (1984 AD)

This is the trilogy I have already written and published. I’ve decided to narrate it for the DreadPennies Adventure Hour podcast, as I will all of these books. Calvin Adler is the central figure of all three books, with love interest Amelia McCracken and antagonist Godfrey Norrington rounding out the big three.

Once upon a time I wrote a novella trilogy called Engines of Winter that took place 10 years after PATRIOT’S GAME, but it ended poorly and I need to rework it. In my head I’m treating part of it like canon, and if I ever get around to it, I’ll make sure to codify the relevant details into the timeline.

Engines of Justice (2034 AD)

This trilogy introduces Ezekiel Duncan “Ezzy” Trench, a member of the Federal Lancer Bureau, whose job it is to hunt down rogue magicians on American soil. He’s a descendant of one of the Rebel Hearts. He has magic himself but he’s approved for use due to his national loyalty.

HOWLING WILDERNESS takes place in this era but it’s not part of the Justice trilogy. HOWLING’S protagonists are a mysterious man known as Graveheart and a young Appalachee woman named Mickey Littleton. The villain’s name is Calico Hind. More as that one comes along.

Similarly I have another standalone called BLOOD RUST that’s about a disgraced bullfighter trying to win back his honor. Only it’s the Engines timeline, so this bullfighter operates mechs and fights against robot bulls.

Engines of Tyranny (2084 AD)

I have to be very careful with what I say about the Tyranny trilogy, because it concludes this alternate timeline in a way that I think is unique. This is the one that will really, flagrantly, definitely connect the Engines timeline to the rest of the DreadVerse.


The eventual goal is to release the individual stories in each trilogy as audiobooks and paperbacks, then release omnibus hardcovers with exclusive illustrations. Each one will have to be crowdfunded. Should be awesome.

Anyway, I’m working on HOWLING, and making it as strong as I can. It’s fun to write and that’s always the key element. Stay tuned.

If all 32 NFL teams were forced to move…

One day Roger Goodell goes absolutely monkeyturds and forces every single team to move to a city that does not currently have an NFL team. For added madness he requires that the mascots not only have to stay the same, but they now have to make sense.

The owners hem and haw and try to dig their heels in, but Daddy Roger pushes the big red button in his basement command center, and he gets his way. This is the result.

The Arizona Cardinals move to West Virginia and become the Charleston Cardinals. The cardinal is the state bird for several states, most of which currently have NFL franchises. Virginia narrowly loses the franchise oppo to its western cousin, which has just about had enough of Big VA’s crap. Welcome to coal country, Cardinals.

The Atlanta Falcons move to Louisiana and become the Baton Rouge Falcons. This is largely due to the questionable popularity of the Marvel streaming show The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, which is rumored to not have as high a rating as Disney hoped. The Empire of the Mouse makes a deal with the (Roger) Goo-Devil, and moves the team to the fictional Falcon’s home state.

The Baltimore Ravens pull the first upset of the Great Mandated Move, and hang it all up on a technicality: Columbia is only twenty miles from Baltimore, which threatens to riot and burn this whole MF to the ground if they lose ANOTHER team to another state. Welcome to the NFL, Columbia Ravens. Goodell will not let anyone else get away with this.

The Buffalo Bills realized after all these years that their mascot is also the name of their city which limits their relocation opportunities, but they can comply with the Mascot Mandate if they go somewhere that makes enough sense…which is, of course, Omaha Nebraska. Home on the range, where the buffalo roam, etc etc. Say hello the Omaha Buffaloes.

The Carolina Panthers move to Florida and become the Orlando Panthers. They miss out on that sweet sweet Miami money by not moving to the bottom of the peninsula, but Miami loses any further NFL teams by order of Emperor Goodell, so Orlando it is.

The Chicago Bears move to California and become the Sacramento Bears. Sacramento is the state capital and the bear is on the state flag. It almost makes TOO MUCH sense, but Goodell allows it.

The Cincinnati Bengals move to the deep dirty south and become the Auburn Bengals. The NFL is finally going head-to-head with the biggest franchises in college football, which are devoted to teams like the Auburn Tigers and the Alabama Crimson Tide. They’ve got their work cut out for them, and at the same time they get to piggyback on one of those colleges’ mascots, so this could really go either way. (But we know it will be a wreck.)

The Cleveland Browns move to the brownest state in America: Nevada. The 7th largest state in the union is mostly desert, making it popular for the mining industry, and if Goodell had gone on this insane power trip just a few years sooner they could have become the Las Vegas Browns. Too bad. Sin City no longer gets any NFL team at all, and so Cleveland sets its sights on the ultimate disappointing consolation prize to the north. That’s right sports fans: say hello to your Reno Browns.

Dallas Cowboys. Jerruh tries. Oh, good mighty hell, does he try. But even he cannot overcome the force of the Big Red Button. Though it takes a declaration of war from Congress, and a military skirmish with the Texas National Guard, the Dallas Cowboys are pried from Jerruh’s old, quivery-knuckled grip, and dragged kicking and screaming into the north, where they become the Oklahoma City Cowboys. Seattle basketball fans nod knowlingly at your pain.

The Denver Broncos give Michigan a chance to alleviate the pain (lol) of losing the Lions, and they become the Dearborn Broncos. Their new stadium is right next to the Ford Motor factories. Fans will cringingly refer to the team as the “Ford Broncos” from now until the end of time.

The Detroit Lions head west to Colorado, but they can’t have a piece of Denver, so they settle for #2: Colorado Springs. Colorado has the highest population of mountain lions in the United States. It’s the best they can do. The Colorado Lions never win their division.

Green Bay Packers. It was funny when the owner of the Packers offered to fistfight Goodell for the right to stay in Green Bay, because he almost fell for it, but he played it smart and forced them out. Unwilling to leave the state, the made the obvious move to the biggest city in Wisconsin, and although they kept the Packer name, they leaned hard into “wolf pack” imagery, changing the mascot to an alpha wolf. Hello, Milwaukee Packers.

The Houston Texans take a cue from the Packers and roll with the technicality, keeping the name but changing from a longhorn mascot to a cowboy-adjacent mascot. This will hopefully let them mop up some of the furious fans in Dallas who now want to raze Oklahoma City. They’ll stay in state, tying their identity to the Alamo by becoming the San Antonio Texans.

The Indianapolis Colts gave the fans 37 great years at the Crossroads of America, but they’ve got to move west yet again. Indiana’s just becoming too blue, you know? Gotta conserve those heartland roots, and there’s no redder stronghold than the frozen plains of Wyoming. Nail those horseshoes in tight and gallop into the Rockies, lads; you’re now the Casper Colts.

The Jacksonville Jaguars move upstate to a place that’s a little bit more talla-classy and become the Tallahassee Jaguars. In honor of the Interstate that runs through the northern part of the capital city, they keep losing 10 games a year.

The Kansas City Chiefs make the easiest move of all, returning an NFL franchise to Saint Louis, Missouri. Why? Because the ancient Native American mound-city of Cahokia is right there. A portion of the team’s revenues annually go to preservation and restoration of the heritage site. St. Louis Chiefs win four more titles in 20 years.

The Las Vegas Raiders skip out of the desert after only a few seasons, and go to a city that actually makes a damn lick of sense for a pirate-themed mascot: Galveston, Texas. Not only does this give dejected Houston Texans fans a chance to cheer for something closeby, but it also prompts the construction of another highway across the water to the island, creating marvels of engineering that link the thin strips to the mainland. Galveston Raiders, welcome.

The Los Angeles Chargers stay in-state and move up to the Central Coast, near the twin nuclear power plants in Avila Beach. This is some pretty low-hanging fruit, but the weather his hella nice for the San Luis Obispo Chargers.

The Los Angeles Rams decide to mimic a large number of California residents and move to Nevada. But where can they go? Reno now belongs to the Browns, and Las Vegas is off-limits. Taking a page out of the Ravens’ playbook, the Rams move close to Las Vegas, dropping their new stadium at the southmost end of Las Vegas Boulevard, right next to the M Resort where the I-15 takes you out of town. Say hello to your shiny new Henderson Rams.

The Miami Dolphins are pretty much limited to coastal cities with their mascot, and they’re used to living very close to a Latino nation with great cuisine. Plus that old Qualcomm Stadium is itching to make a comeback. Thus the team moves HELLA laterally to southern California, and becomes the San Diego Dolphins.

The Minnesota Vikings stay in the Midwest but move to the state next door, becoming the Madison Vikings. They had to stay somewhere cold enough (and Norse enough) for their moniker to remain sensible, and neither the Upper Peninsula nor Alaska had decent populations for TV ratings.

The New England Patriots have a lot of options as far as significant geography that matches their mascot. However those options narrow when you rule out cities that currently have franchises. Interested in staying somewhat close to the greater Boston area, they opt for alliteration and head a few minutes south to become the Plymouth Patriots. The new stadium is in Brockton or something…it doesn’t really matter, now that Tom’s gone the team is irrelevant.

The New Orleans Saints. Oh, when the Saints come marching in…to northern Utah. That’s right baby, this is Taysom’s team now, and he’s moving them to the mountain west to be close to home. Give a hearty hand-wave and a scrumptious casserole to the Salt Lake City (Latter-day) Saints. Watch your mouth.

The New York Giants got their team name from the skyscrapers of Manhattan, though the word “giant” itself is ambiguous enough that they could go anywhere. However, the Maras want to stay put. They like the Big Apple. They’ve been there forever. What do they do? They saw what happened to Jerruh (and they laughed.) They also saw what the Ravens and Rams did. They pull the mother of all technicalities, and move literally nowhere, opting to simply change the name to match where they already are. They are now the New Jersey Giants. Easy peasy.

The New York Jets could easily pull the same move as the Giants, but they really want to turn over a new leaf. Really want to break the curse. They’re making an effort, people. This is the era of Saleh and Wilson, it’s time to think big. They move to Virginia, and even though they have to keep the green color scheme, they want to become America’s Team. This means a lot of patriotism, a lot of military symbolism, a lot of joint showmanship with Andrews Air Force Base. That means they are now the Arlington Jets.

The Philadelphia Eagles. Hooo boy this one’s tricky, but they figure it out. The fans and media are known for being absolute jerks, so moving to Boston makes a ton of sense, but Philly hates Boston, and the Eagles are more closely tied to the Philly identity than they are to the Eagle identity. (And they can’t move to Boston.) So they need to move to the meanest city in America…which is Detroit, so they have to settle for the second-meanest city in America based on crime and population. This, surprisingly, is in Tennessee, in a place almost 2,000 violent crimes per 100,000 people. Boom. Done. You’re now the Memphis Eagles.

The Pittsburgh Steelers are pretty limited as far as steel-related cities go. Most of the big factories are in Indiana or Illinois. But there is one factory outside of Pittsburgh in North Braddock, so they copy the Ravens and Rams by becoming the No Bra Steelers.

The San Francisco 49ers are extremely limited on geographical options due to the highly specific nature of their mascot. However, they watched what the Packers did, keeping the name but changing the angle: they now base their entire identity on significant events from 1949, including the inauguration of President Harry S Truman for what would be his only full term. They become the Springfield 49ers, moving to Missouri not far from where Truman was born. The team is not popular in Japan.

The Seattle Seahawks have a logo based on Native American art, in a city named after a powerful Native American chief. Plus there’s the alliteration to consider. With that in mind, they head down the coast just south of the Bay Area near Carmel-by-the-Sea, and they become the Seaside Seahawks. They keep the logo and associated imagery, making inroads with the local Salinan leadership.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers add Captain Blackbeard to their iconography and head up to the Carolinas, where the famous pirate died. It’s not really possible to build a stadium at Ocracoke like the Galveston Raiders, so they compromise and set up in a coastal city in South Carolina. Thus they become the Charleston Buccaneers.

The Tennessee Titans really want to stay in the Midwest but they also want to move somewhere that embraces the Greek mythology angle. This leads them to Olympia, Kentucky, a place in the absolute middle of freaking nowhere. They’re not quite able to get away with calling themselves the Olympia Titans, since they have to build the stadium in Lexington, so they’re now the Lexington Titans with an offseason getaway resort in Olympia.

The Washington Football Team wants to move to Portland, Oregon. It just makes too much sense, plus it would give them a lead on a mascot name. But Dan Snyder is really embracing the generic-ness of the current name, and there’s a perfect little town east of Portland and south of Gresham that will allow him to keep trolling the team’s fans. And thus we round out the 32-club roster with the Boring Football Team.

Anyway, screw the offseason. Three months until football.

Cancellation was the best thing to happen to #Firefly

Been a minute since I rewatched this classic, which is now old enough to vote in the US. Yes kids, 18 years since Firefly aired, and 18 since it got booted from Fox.

That shouldn’t shock anyone. Ask The Adventures of Brisco County Jr. just how well Fox supports good westerns.

Anyway, I’m partway through the pilot and still loving it. The characters, the dialogue, the speed of the story, it’s no wonder the show continues to find new fans even after all this time.

One thing that aids that? Its cancellation.

The brevity that was heaped upon it when Fox pulled the plug has helped to keep the overall story tight and tidy, especially with the conclusion that the movie Serenity provides.

It’s the same principle that makes 8-episode streaming series so successful. There is a such thing as too much.

Just ask The Hobbit trilogy.

Plus the perception of injustice–“How could you cancel something so great?!”–gives it the oh-so-coveted victim status that the new century thrives on.

There are comics that continue the story, and some of them have been good, but they run into the Hobbit problem after a few issues.

Too much of a good thing isn’t still a good thing. Too much is just too much.

Something to keep in mind with my own work. It’s why I’ve taken a liking to shorter pieces. Satiate the appetite and move on.

Get back to work.

May 2020: State of the Dread

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The Mascot of May!

We are 1/3rd of the way through the year! Here’s what’s up:

The Podcast

The BTBC Podcast is on hold until mid-July at the earliest. I’ve wanted to take a break for a while, and I’ve been more excited about a different podcast idea, so I’m tackling that instead. The WTTF Podcast (Welcome to the Faro) is a new podcast wherein I recap my experience as a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Find it on whatever platform you use for podcasts and subscribe! I’m really proud of how it’s coming together so far.

Image may contain: 2 people, people standing, possible text that says 'Welcome to the Faro! Missionary Training Center A Chronicle of My Mission to Barcelona, Spain'


I was only able to record the first 5 chapters of REBEL HEART last month. You can find them on my YouTube playlist here. Right now the view count is pretty low, and filming/uploading is time-consuming, so unless more people are interested I will be leaving that alone for now. Too many irons in the fire. (A frequent problem of mine.)

The Artwork

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I’m up into the 120s on my #draweveryday challenge. This huge commission was for my friend Lisa, who’s been having a rough go of it even without the WuFlu coming at her. Here’s a bunch of her friends (including yours truly as the Winter Soldier Brother Trucker) wearing Marvel skins.

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This one, though…this one I’m very very pleased with. It’s only a small portion of the cover for WITH ANSWERABLE COURAGE (coming November 2020!) but man alive, I LOVE digital drawing! Steelpunk Myles Standish is so much fun to write and draw, too.

As always, follow my Insta for the daily drawings and sketches.


I’ve been alternating between two short stories that will be the inaugural fare for my StoryTime podcast. The first one is HOMEWORLD, the second is TORERO, both are working titles. I won’t have interior art for them for a while, but I will have cover art before I narrate either. Each one will comprise about 3 episodes of 30 minutes or so. More on that as it develops.

By the end of May I will have a ready script for HOMEWORLD, as I think that’s the stronger of the two stories, and the closest to the greenlight.


You may not care, but I do.

My shoulder is back to about 95%. The rest is just details. I can hammer out pushups like before–hell, even better than before, as I don’t have any pain in that shoulder. Pull-ups are another story and I can do about 2.5 before my form collapses, so I need to focus on that direction to get my strength back.

By the end of May, I will weigh under 205 pounds.

Okay now get back to work.

Bad@$$ Artwork for Sleepless Hollow

I’m 5/12ths of the way done with the art for my next book. Follow me on Insta and Twitter (@DreadPennies) for updates in real-time.

Just knocked this one out Saturday, biggest piece in the book.

Silas and Josie.

Kay, the ghost hunter.

Kerstan, a ghost who helps the good guys.

The Headless Horseman with shotguns, riding a mammoth. Because yolo.

Poetic Harassment

The powerful bloggers say “Post every day,”

But that’s a rate I can’t sustain

Still it sits in my head and I think I should say

Whatever pops into my brain.

That turns a blog into Twitter though,

And we have enough of that crap

The goal of my writing should be to spread joy

Not spout garbage takes in all caps.

Since I was a kid I have written these rhymes

For purpose of whimsy and humor

You can hate on these lyrics and call them a crime

I care ’bout as much as a tumor.

Buy all of my books and share with your homies

The wit of your boi Graham Bradley

I’ll be too busy with sequels to rap for you normies

If not, I’ll keep dropping this madly.

What makes a story truly land for me

Long story short: you need a big question, or a big concept.

Every time I come back to this scene ag the end of Star Trek: The Next Generation, the strength of the concept is just superb.

Q tells Picard that exploration isn’t a physical thing, limited to the five senses. It’s exploring existence and opening your mind up to the seemingly impossible.

That’s where faith finds its place in the universe. I love this exchange. I hope that when I tackle story ideas of my own, I’m able to succinctly describe big truths and concepts like this.

It’s what makes truly good art.

Around here, we celebrate Dread-ful years

Woot woot, sawlid Dad Joke.

2018 sucked for a lot of people in a lot of ways, myself included. That’s just life. Then again, none of my family died, we’re all healthy and I still have a job. Not too much to complain about here at DreadPennies.

January was chill as all hell, no pun intended. I did my first ever author event at a library in Tremonton, Utah. It was an excuse to get out of town and have a quiet anniversary weekend with the wife.

February I taught at LTUE about how to wreck different vehicles in different ways. Also somebody hit my dog with their car so I hope their car wrecks.

March saw more gym time because I was a massive fatty and needed to stop the train. I didn’t lose any weight but I benched 250 for the first time.

April Avengers: Infinity War hit theaters, and the Internet was instantly flooded with dusty people memes. What a movie. Also I sold a short story.

May At work we landed a huge contract for a job to clean up a diesel spill in the desert. I would spend most of my summer driving boxes full of dirt across Utah. Easy easy money.

June My friend Ryan gave me a motorcycle. The baseline for friendship leveled up significantly.

July We took a family trip to Yellowstone for our birthdays, and I saw a bison up close for the first time! Also, the acidic caldera smells a lot like an oil refinery. Nature is pretty bad for nature.

August I finally lost weight when the wife made me do Jillian Michaels workouts in the mornings. Then a routine pipe job at work ended up dislocating my shoulder. Not my best summer ending, more on that later.

September We all welcomed the fall with open arms, and there was much anticipation for a change in the Sunday schedule at church. Also, as the dirt job slowed down, refinery work picked up. I started 60+ hour weeks.

October I did Inktober for the first time and it was a ton of fun. Even got paid to do it! I was on standby at work and had my sketchbook in the truck.

November I got paid to write! Same sitch as Inktober. Also, after looking forward to Thanksgiving for months, I got sick with strep for the weekend. Ugh. But I took the wife to see The Scarlet Pimpernel so the weekend wasn’t a total loss.

December For the first time in a long time, I think I finally found real meaning in the great Christmas holiday, without being super bummed that it was over. God bless us every one (said without irony.)

And now begins the resetting of the apocalypse clock, as 2019 rolls in and I take the long view of what I will accomplish next year.

Will I bore you with it here?

Hell no.

Just get ready for adventure. Fill your life with it. Live for something more than the grind. Strive. Struggle. Achieve.

And get back to work.