I'm a huge fan of the band Queensryche, and their album Operation Mindcrime has had a significant influence on my writing for a long time. Not so much because of its themes, but because it was a different way of looking at and approaching a genre of music (heavy metal) that was very well defined. I always try to remind myself of that when I'm writing--don't go the eaasy route, try something different.
I pre-ordered Operation Mindcrime II from their website (mainly because it came autographed), and I've just started listening to it. So far I dig it, especially the bits with Dio. (I'm such a metal nerd.) Hopefully, it'll have the legs of the original.
I finally got the production schedule for my Image book all ironed out with the book's artists. If things go according to plan, we'll have three issues in the can before the first one hits. That'll definitely give us some breathing room. I'll post a couple of preview pages later this week.