Well....that's what people say. And they're right!
I've been reading through my comic collection lately and really enjoying the "good stuff" and.....what? I was talking about your first comic. What did you think I was talking about? Never mind.
Any way I've read over 200 books in the last few weeks including 56 issues of the Master of Kung Fu, Misc. Marvel Team-Up, 11 issues of Black Lightning, 13 issues of Batman and the Outsiders, Misc Marvel Two In One, all 19 parts of Operation Galactic Storm, Misc. issues of What If, Brave And The Bold, Captain Marvel,Marvel Spotlight, D.C Comics Presents, and Daredevil.
Really, really good stuff...and as I was reading this stuff in putting them back into their rightful long boxes afterward I realized exactly how much of a comic book geek I really am. I can remember with almost what I think is 90% accuracy where I bought each book...who was with me when I bought each book....etc. Many of them I bought in poly bags....three for a dollar!
These boxes were full of memories in more ways then one. Comics I'll keep until the day die.
I started flipping through the boxes and I could actually recall with clarity the very first comics I bought of certain titles....almost every title including....
Invincible Iron Man
Master Of Kung Fu
And many many more. I tell you what. They just don't make them like that anymore. These stories paid attention to detail, were the perfect balance between story and art, fun, and literally took you someplace else.
I do the math and it's hard to believe I read most of this stuff for the very first time between the ages of 7-12. That's amazing. I can't believe I actually understood this stuff when I was nine years old! And of course some of it I understand even better after reading them for the first time in years and in some cases decades, in the right order...sometimes an entire series run.
Like Iron Fist, Black Lightning, and especially Master of Kung Fu. There are issues of this book that I am now convinced are the best stories ever done in a comic book format. I always thought this series was good....but I had no clue how good until I finally took the time to read the books back to back to back.
I just finished the Doug Monech/Paul Gulacy run on the title..pure comic book nirvana.
It's like comic book crack, I have to force myself to put these books down. On the weekends my wife will look at me and ask "Are you ready to go to bed yet? It's almost three in the morning." And I reply. "I can't. Not yet....Shang Chi just found out Dr. Petrie is still alive."
Yeah......the life of a true comic book geek. Now where did I put that time platform?
Not since those long ago days back in the early 90's have I loved the # 12 as much as I do this year. Back then the best quarterback that ever wore a Buffalo Bills football uniform was wearing that number as he would lead my favorite football team (the Buffalo Bills of course) to one AFC Championship victory after another....after another..and after another.
Making four straight consecutive appearances in the Super-Bowl with the Bills.. a feat that had never occurred before in the entire history of the NFL and one I believe will never be repeated.
And I know what all you "haters" are thinking right now.....BUT talk to me about not being able to win any of those four games...after your favorite team gets there four years in a row.
Fast forward to this year.....2010. And the number twelve starts to pop up a lot once again.....maybe not four times in a row...but it does reoccur 3 times in the same year.
Airship 27 a publishing company ran by good friends Ron Fortier and Rob Davis releases 12 books in one year! That's incredible!!!
Twilight Star Studios, a local studio formed by some very good friends of mine including Frank Raynor, Gary Church and Derron Church along with myself...and that would also later pick up such talent as Chad Strohl, Oscar Pena, Joe Pruitt, Chris Metzger, and Tim Hagans releases 12 books in the same year!!!
Awesome!!!!! More on that in the next Hell Yeah forum update.
But on a personal note.....12 books were released this year that I played a role in.....
The Book Of Nohiem- my first full length novel released through Wild Wolf Entertainment.
Tales From The 'Field #1 a 24 page comic from Twilight Star Studios-I was involved with two stories.
Tales From The 'Field #2-from Twilight Star-involved in two stories in this book as well.
Pandemonium Spotlight #1-Twilight Star-I inked the cover of this book and wrote two of the three stories in it.
New Comic Day-52 And Then Some-co-writer and guest artist in this collected edition of the award winning web comic seen here at Comic Related each week.
Tales From The 'Field #1-(second printing)-Twilight Star-involved in two stories in this book, which is a different book than the first printing with 25% new story and art.
Hello, Do You Work Here?-I wrote one of the short stories collected in this book from Alterna Comics.
Visions Of The Macabre-Champion City Preview Edition-From Studio Akumakaze-wrote one of the three stories that appear in this book.
Jack The Rabbit #1-Twilight Star-writer and artist on this full length comic.
Gapo The Clown #2-From Tony Meillo Productions-writer of the eight page back up story.
Prodigy #1-Twilight Star-writer and artist on this full length comic.
Ravenwood-Stepson Of Mystery (Vol. 1)-writer of one of the four short stories collected in this book from Airship 27.
What a productive year! Novels, Short Stories, Comics....what more can a guy ask for?
Find out in 2011 as I aim to completely bury this level of productivity with the help from the the New Comic Day Team, Twilight Star Studios, Studio Akumakaze, Penny Dreadful Press and the Price For The Asking team....and maybe something else from Airship27 who knows?
No Rest For The Wicked....or so they say.
Well if you've read my last few blog posts...which have been really infrequent as of late....it's no surprise that it's seems my life long love affair with comics has come dangerously close to an end.
The only new comics I buy are Captain America and Secret Avengers....and thankfully another new Cosmic Marvel limited series is on the horizon. But there has been a big void in my comic reading for most of 2010.
I have not felt this disillusioned by comics during the 35 plus years I have been collecting comics. My passion for creating comics has never been more intense and the $30.00 to $40.00 I used to spend weekly at the local comic shop is now channeled into the printing of books that I have a hand in creating be it through Twilight Star Studios or other sources. And I'm not going to deny that feels great.....but I still love to read comics as well.
Being a co-host on the RaynMan Power Hour podcast here at the Comic Related site and being a re-occurring guest on the Zone 4 podcast has helped a great deal in taking the spark that came about by "weeding out " my personal collection a few months back and fanning that spark into a raging inferno that led to a fiery re-newed love affair...with my personal collection.
Talking about so many great comics that meant so much to me...or other members of these shows has encouraged me to go through the collection and create one entire long box of comics I can grab at any moment, sit down, read, and be proud to call myself a comic collector once again. I read about three to four books a night, and when this long box is read...I'll move onto the next.
What's in this long box?
This is what I'm starting with.
Batman and the Outsiders (vol.1) #1-13 (as mentioned on both Zone 4 and the RaynMan Power Hour....and Geek Street episode #3....matter of fact I've already re-read issues #1-10 and loved every one...finding new stuff in several issues that I missed when I read them all those years ago!)
Untold Legend Of Batman-#1-3-by Len Wein and John Byrne
D.C. Comics Presents #27-cosmic greatness by Levitz and Starlin featuring the villain Mongul. As mentioned on Zone 4...I recently re-read issues #28 and #29 but missed this one somehow.
"Operation Galactic Storm" All 19 parts...in the right order for the very first time ever! This story ran in various issues of Captain America, Avengers, Avengers West Coast, Quasar, Wonder Man, Iron Man, and Thor
Marvel Two In One #16, 17 and Marvel Team-Up # 47- a great three part story featuring the Thing, Ka-Zar, and Spider-Man.
D.C Comics Presents #26, New Teen Titans (1st series) #1-10, Tales of the New Teen Titans (limited series ) #1-4...the re-reading of the classic Marv Wolfman and George Perez run on this book starts here and I'm reading it all! (see Life In Four Colors archive for more on the Wolfman/Perez run on this book! http://www.comicrelated.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=7692 )
Black Lightning (1st series )-#1-11(entire run) re-reading Batman and the Outsiders got me in the mood for these classic stories by good friend Tony Isabella.
Wolverine #1-4-The Claremont/Miller limited series as mentioned on both Zone 4 and RaynMan.
Silver Surfer/Warlock: Resurrection-#1-4 more Jim Starlin Greatness!
Frank Miller's Ronin-as mentioned on RaynMan
Swamp Thing (1st series) #1-10 by Len Wein and Berni Wrightson...plus House of Secrets #92...as mentioned on RaynMan and Zone 4
(yeah...I know...THERE IS A LOT OF D.C STUFF ON THIS LIST!!!! what's up with that?)
Silver Surfer (vol.2) #1-by Stan Lee and John Byrne!
Special Marvel Edition #15-16 (Even more Jim Starlin Greatness! The re-reading of my Master of Kung Fu collection in the correct order for the first time ever starts here!) as mentioned on RaynMan.
Marvel Premiere #31 and #44-two Bill Mantlo and Keith Giffen classics featuring Woodgod and Jack of Hearts.
Marvel Spotlight (vol.1) #28-29-Moon Knight's 1st solo adventure.
Marvel Two-In-One #43-44-Fantastic two part story featuring the Thing, Captain America, and the Man-Thing featuirng jaw dropping art by John Byrne and Gene Day
Marvel Two-In-One #50-more John Byrne at his best-as mentioned on RaynMan.
Marvels-#0-4-Kurt Buseik and Alex Ross....as mentioned on Zone 4
Ka-Zar the Savage-#1-10 by Bruce Jones and Brent Anderson...the re-reading of my complete Ka-Zar series in order for the first time ever starts here! (this has always been one of my favorite comics)
King Conan #1-4 -The last battle with Thoth-Amon. Giant Size action brought to you by Roy Thomas and John Buscema...the ultimate Conan team!
Marvel Chillers #3-7....featuring Tigra in her first solo adventure and several of my favorite comic creators like Tony Isabella and John Byrne. Plus Red-Wolf and the Super-Skrull!!
Fantastic Four annuals #11-15.....real classic Mighty Marvel stuff with guest stars galore including the Inhumans, Captain Marvel, Daredevil, and the Invaders!
Daredevil #135-137-one of my first and still one of my favorite Daredevil stories ....featuring the Jester!
Man-Thing (vol.1)-#5-Steve Gerber and Mike Ploog....Nuff Said! My favorite Man-Thing story ever....mentioned in Life In Four Colors.
Man-Thing (vol.2) #1-another of my favorite all time comics...as seen in the motion picture Lost Boys !!! (no joke)
Man-Thing (vol.3) #1-8 (entire series) Strange Tales (vol.3) #1-2 (entire series) Peter Parker '99 One complete story...as mentioned on RaynMan.
Firestorm-#1-5 (entire series) Gerry Conway and Al Milgrom
Fury of Firestorm #1-18 and Annual #1-Gerry Conway and Pat Broderick-as mentioned on RaynMan.
Invaders #1-9, Giant Size Invaders #1-2, Invaders Annual #1-Roy Thomas and Frank Robbins. The re-reading of the complete Invaders series in the correct order...ever...starts here!
Warlock and the Infinity Watch-#1-10-under appreciated stuff from Jim Starlin and Angel Medina
Hercules #1-4 (first limited series) by Bob Layton-as mentioned on RaynMan
Captain Marvel (vol.1) #57-62, Marvel Spotlight (vol.2) #1-3, and issue #8. The last great Mar-Vell story (not counting the Death of Captain Marvel) with more great art by Pat Broderick....Spotlight #8 is a stand alone story that features Frank Miller.
JLA/Avengers-#1-4-Busiek and Perez....my favorite cross company crossover.
Batman-#608-619 plus Wizaed #0 The complete Hush story by Jeph Loeb and Jim Lee ...plus Scott Williams...yeah I liked it!
And there you have it.....got to go...I think I can knock out the rest of the Batman and the Outsiders stuff tonight before going to work!
Mike W.Barr and Jim Aparo kick ass!
There are a few things in life that I have a great passion for.
Music. I love music. Listening to it. Creating it. Writing it....bitching about it.
Comics....been a comic book collector since I was 7 years old, that's over 35 years I have been reading,collecting, creating, and yes like music...bitching about comics.
I've also always enjoyed gardening. Until recently that's how I made my living, sort of. I managed every aspect of a 55 acre complex that grew and sold nursery plants to landscapers. I loved that job. Unfortunately the company I worked for got bought out by a company from out west (which I won't name) and within five years they alienated our customer base...which had been loyal for the best part of 100 years...and the company closed. 74 employees kicked to the curb and the doors shut behind us as the company sold off everything and moved back to California.
That part of my life is gone now, perhaps forever. I'm working in a factory again. It pays the bills and at least I do have a job after a very lengthy amount of time unemployed. But I miss the old job, growing plants.
My very first job was at that same company. The company that my Dad worked at for over 30 years. I worked there for three years before allowing my ex-wife to convince me to try something else, but eventually I returned to the work I enjoyed best and spent the last ten years enjoying my work. I do miss that.
I also miss collecting comics. Oh I still have a comic book collection, but don't actively buy new comics. That part of my life also seems to be gone.
You see in a weird way, for me at least, there's a lot in common when it comes to collecting comics and gardening. When I was a teenager I used to mow grass, every chance I could, to earn money to buy comics. Comics and yard work has always been interconnected. During the ten years at my last job I made good money. Good enough to spend 40-60 bucks a week on comics, including buying back every book I was foolish enough to get rid of in the past for various reasons.
Like I said collecting comics and gardening does have a lot in common. If you're not careful a lot of weeds can pop up in your garden...and in your collection and you have no choice left but to get your hands dirty and start pulling those weeds.
That's what I recently done, cutting my comic collection down by half and now I have a little under 3,000 books...15 long boxes of only the good stuff.
Sometimes you have to clear out all that Bendis and Morrison stuff that is choking out all that high quality Marv Wolfman and Roger Stern stuff. All that crazy Avengers stuff is stealing way too much light and water from the roots of the collection. Get rid of it so that David Micheline and Jim Shooter stuff can thrive once more.
Look....Andy Diggle overwatered Daredevil and killed it. Throw it out.
All this D.C. stuff is like a Japanese Beetle infestation. Blast it to Hell and get rid of it quick!
The long creative drought that has been slowly killing Amazing Spider-Man for years now has finally taken it's toll. No amount of fertilizer that you throw on it can save it, it's just too far gone.
That Claremont stuff is never going to be as vibrant as it once was, just give up on it.
What is this? A Deadpool comic? How did that get in here? Where's the Round Up?
But like all great fall afternoons working in the yard, it's paid off. I've enjoyed walking through my revitalized garden....I mean collection these past few weeks. I've rediscovered the stuff that brought me into reading comics in the first place.
I've recently re-read such great books as
Iron Fist #1-15
Adam Warlock #9-15
Invincible Iron Man #137-141
Incredible Hulk #232-236
Captain Marvel #50
Marvel Premiere #48-49
Captain America #228-232
Marvel Team Up #41-44
Sometimes it feels good to get a little dirt under the nails.
Continuing the subject of my last few blog posts and rants on the RaynMan Power Hour podcast....I'm getting rid of a whole crap load of comics.....that's right the G-man will have a vendor table at Champion City (hopefully I can find somebody to man the table by next weekend...I think I am scrapping the bottom of the barrel as far as volunteers go)
I will be getting rid of hundreds....actually THOUSANDS of comics. Everything must go! And go at crazy prices...I'm talking a buck or less on each and every book or a special deal to any vendors at the show.
As you can see...I just don't have the room to collect all these books any more and take into consideration that I recently thinned out 4,000 books for store credit at two different comic shops (the bulk of the D.C. collection and some rather disappointing recent stuff I picked up),and that there's two more long boxes and three short boxes not in this picture, on the other side of the room....I just have too many damn comics!!!!!
Hundreds I haven't even gotten around to reading yet.
After eliminating about 15 long boxes just a few weeks ago...the collection still comes in at almost 7,000 comics. (6,579 to be exact).
The plan is to get rid of everything that doesn't make me **** in my pants and get the collection down to around a "manageable" 2,000 books.
Several reasons for this decision.
1. My lack of interest in collecting current mainstream books......just Captain America and Secret Avengers are left (once a few limited series conclude)
2. No time to read or manage the collection.
3. Need the room in the office to actually work on producing my own comics for Twilight Star, Studio Akumakaze, and Comic Related. and I need the money to keep the production of these books rolling well into next year.
After Champion City is over, hopefully what is left of the collection is books I can read over and over and enjoy for years to come.....just like when I was kid.
This is it....the axe falls.
A couple of blogs back I mentioned I was very seriously falling out of love with collecting current mainstream comics and considering possibly stopping collecting new comics altogether. I am no longer considering it. I've done it. at least 99% of the way.
After a few limited series I am currently reading wrap up, I will be only collecting Captain America. Possibly a Marvel cosmic title if one continues after the current Thanos series concludes.(which has yet to knock me on my ass like the stuff that came before)
There are certain things in a man's life, or at least in mine, that after certain goals are accomplished you just lose the desire to do what you once had to do to get the same thrill. I no longer have the motivation to keep collecting main stream books.
It kind of fits in this train of thought. Once not long ago I would climb into a car with a couple friends and drive for about an hour to play two games of disc golf at the nearest 18 hole disc golf course. I used to think "Man wouldn't it be great if there was a 18 hole disc golf course in Springfield....we wouldn't have to go through all of this...." This was about late 2006.
By the early 2007 I had successfully lobbied for and secured finances for the first 18 hole disc golf in this city. By late 2007 Buck Creek State Park Disc Golf Course (which I helped install and design....maybe making it a little too difficult at least for me....it kicks my ass....best game there...plus eleven)...was open to the public and has been doing well for almost three years now. Needless to say I have not driven more than ten minutes to play a game of disc golf in the last two years.
After watching Ghost Hunters for years I wondered what it would be like to actually lead my own paranormal investigation team. Did that. It was great while it lasted, but spending 16 hours going over evidence gathered at sites and walking away empty handed in most cases got old rather quick. I don't even watch Ghost Hunters any more.
I don't play live music or even record new music nowadays for much of the same reason.
Got tired of driving forty five minutes to the nearest comic shop....so I helped open the comic shop here in town and spent over a year doing whatever I could to ensure it was a success.
With that idea came the idea of eliminating the long drives to over priced comic conventions that pretty much stay the same year after year. I wanted a high quality comic convention I could walk to if I wanted to....Champion City Comic Con celebrates it's 2nd anniversary in just a few short weeks. And once you organize your own convention....well once again this may be just me....I lost interest in attending other shows immediately (except Gem City...I still love that show).
And in my usual long winded way...we're back here. Collecting comics....or rather no longer collecting comics. I produce my own books now...and like the conventions, the disc golf courses, the music that came before I like them a whole Hell of a lot more than what's on the stands right now. I really feel I would say that if I wasn't involved with these books and can honestly say the same is true for most indie stuff I'm reading. Not just my stuff.
Why bitch about something and not to do something about it? This has always been the way I think. Don't like your job, get another one. Think you weigh too much....lose some weight. Don't like what you hear on the radio...make something better.
Comics are not worth the time and money you invest? Stop collecting.
I had a collection of over 10,000 books. Recently I got rid of about 4,000...I plan to weed out another 2,000 keeping only the stuff I think deserves to stay. I already traded in several books I started collecting and have stopped to the shop in town for store credit...I won't have to buy a copy of Captain America for a while....I'm good.
This means I stopped collecting Daredevil...a book I have collected for decades. Got rid of the last several issues of that book (anything that said Andy Diggle on the freakin' cover....) and all that Shadowland crap as well.
Bendis continues to muck up everything I ever loved about the Avengers, and I'm done complaining about it. Goodbye. Don't let the door hit you in the ass.
The plus side to all of this....the money I make from not buying this sub-par, watered down middle of the road, going through the motions, redundant crap....and weeding out the stuff in the collection that should have never went in the first place (where's that new Black Widow book..and that Hawkeye series by that Diggle guy...)..... I have more room in my office to work on my own stuff, and I have more money each week to produce my own books....through Twilight Star. That's a studio I helped to form here in town....I can walk to this studio if I wanted to.
I am a believer.
And I have been for over a year now.
I know what you're thinking.....what the Hell is this idiot rambling about now? Good question. Allow me to explain.
Although I did not attend Mid-Ohio Con in 2009...the first time in nine years that I did not go to this show, and to be honest it looks as though I may never go back, but that's a story for a different time. Anyway...I wasn't at the show last year...but that show did change me forever.
Maybe I should back up to Mid-Ohio....2008. That's when I first heard about this guy named Dustin Carson and this little comic book series he had produced simply called "No Gods". The first time I realized that there was more to producing an independent comic besides photocopying pages and stabling them together to give away to family members and sell to friends.
That book made me want to create again....in a comic book way of creating. At the time I was still producing music, and writing novels ..but I haven't done anything with comics....for years. After reading "the Gospel of Dustin Carson" that was No Gods I had a new purpose and sense of direction.
I had a vision. I had faith.
A year later....at the before mentioned Mid-Ohio 2009...Dustin appears on an independent comic discussion panel hosted by Comic Related founder Chuck Moore....a great insightful panel....and there with that laid back smile and swagger that is 100% Dustin Carson....I got a second dose of the the true message behind being an independent comic creator.
Dustin is happy with his life, as it is right now. He doesn't day dream about becoming rich, working for Marvel, or even making a living with the books and stories he creates. Life is too short for those dreams of fancy. Of course as he mentioned...if he got rich...he wouldn't complain in the least.
He has a day job that pays the bills, and feels lucky enough he can work at this job, for over fifteen years now, and still produce his books in the meantime. And that's when I saw the light.
This was indeed the path I wanted to follow as well. At the time I was unemployed...and I was hoping to find a job that I could dedicate myself to, one that I wouldn't come home cursing and kicking the dog everyday. One that would allow me to create my comics on the side. To make even those most frustrating days at work worth it in the long run. I have since found a pretty decent job, and advanced quite quickly.
And I have never been more productive than right now.
Dustin was right....make yourself happy first and make comics second. It all makes sense now!
Mr. Carson.....more fish and bread please.
Well as some of you already know. I recently stopped collecting D.C. Comics. I just got to the point I couldn't take the crap any more. And also very recently Frank and I discussed on the RaynMan Power Hour about the very real possibility of just stopping collecting main stream comics....all of them, yes including Marvel Comics, in the very near future.
I'm here to say that after reading yet another week of disappointing comics....all Marvel.....(with the exception of Chad Strohl's Did Someone Call For A Hero #3 which was not disappointing in the least and was easily the best comic I read this week). I am giving my notice.
Secret Avengers (written by one of my favorite writers, Ed Brubaker, and yet this book just doesn't excite me. It feels like a Bendis book...and Bendis never excites me....) you have until issue #6 to freakin' $#!* or get off the pot as my grandmother used to say. Sadly Secret Avengers was the best of the worst I read last night.
I'll finish collecting Marvel Zombies 5 and Doomwar but both have really become disappointing. Even Captain America just felt like it was jogging in place and going nowhere fast. The best part of issue #607 was the back up Nomad feature...which was not bad.
Captain America and Daredevil will be very hard for me to give up. I've collected both titles for years...over four hundred issues of each...easy but I don't think I can collect just to collect any more. I believe Daredevil's on-going title is on hiatus during this "incredible" Shadowland epic.
Shadowland better punch me in the face so hard I get a nosebleed, because I've sat through years of Bendis crap on Daredevil and the book has been dismal since Brubaker left. If Shadowland doesn't change the way I feel about the Man without Fear right now, he better be afraid. Very afraid. Because I'm done.
Captain America has been struggling since Steve Rogers returned and I was afraid of this. Nobody seems to know what they want to do with Bucky. Well they have six more issues to figure something out about this book or I'm hanging up my shield.
I will finish the Avengers Prime limited series due to the art by Alan Davis more than anything else.
(New) New Avengers (by far the worse of the Avengers books I read) and Avengers. They have a lot of improving to do by issue #6 or...they're out of here. There will come a day, a day unlike any other...when I just say...screw it. I'm done. Although the Avengers was the very first comic I ever read, that made me fall in love with reading and collecting comics, and has remain a favorite of mine for the most part for over three whole decades....I have quit the book twice before. Once shortly after issue #300 and again shortly before issue #400. I'm ready to do so again and I don't think I'll be back this time. Three strikes, you're out.
I recently picked up several first issues of a few series and limited series that all failed to impress me. I will collect the entire Hercules: Twilight of a God limited series, and The Thanos Imperative...
..although the first issues of both series failed to impress. I don't know what the future holds for Cosmic Marvel after this story concludes, but unless this story gets better I won't be around to find out. I also plan to pick up Steve Rogers: Super Soldier limited series, but Brubaker is already starting to disappoint me on two other books, I'm skeptical of this one as well.
Other books such as Hawkeye and Mockingbird, Young Allies , and The Black Widow...picked up the first issues of all of these. I thought Young Allies was the best of the three books, but I won't be back for issue #2 of any of them.
That leaves just Vengeance of Moon Knight. Other than the recent Deadpool cameo...this book has been pretty good and still holds a glimmer of hope.
To be honest I hope by the end of the year I'm still collecting new comics, but right now...I'm just not feeling it. Does that mean I'm done collecting comics. Hell no....there's always holes to fill in the back issue stuff. Those stories never disappoint.
It's been a little over a week since I announced my departure from Wild Wolf Entertainment. This decision did not come as a surprise to some of you as you knew this is something I had been considering for a while now. What did come as a surprise to many of you, and myself as well, was the immediate cancellation of Wicked Tales the anthology horror comic/graphic novel set to be released by Wild Wolf. Of which many of you were involved in producing.
Emotions from several people I have spoken to about this range from stunned disbelieve, no real shock at all, frustration, disappointment, anger, and just plain confusion.
What I wanted to do here was just point out that although things did not turn out the way any of us wanted about that book or our involvement with Wild Wolf.....there are several things that came from this journey that are very positive.
Here is a list of things that would not be if the creators of Wicked Tales did not get together to work on that book.
New Comic Day-
That's right, everybody's favorite web comic would not exist if not for Wicked Tales. It was Chad Strohl's artwork for the story "Mouthful of Spiders" written by Dustin Carson that caught my attention and gave me the idea that maybe Chad could be the artist Eric and I were looking for to do NCD. Dustin was sending me sneak peeks of Chad's art for "Spiders" as Chad turned them in and after or initial artist for the project couldn't commit I e-mailed Dustin and asked him if he thought Chad would be interested. He replied "Only one way to find out, ask him yourself" and he sent me Chad's contact info.
The rest as they say....is history. Chad was the perfect choice for the strip and he and I have become great friends.
Becoming a part of Studio Akumakaze-
During the production of Wicked Tales I convinced long time friend (Frank Raynor) to write a story for the book. He thought I was nuts, but I finally got to him and he wrote a very good story called "Dead Money". BUT as the deadline for the book was starting to get very near...we lost the artist that was going to do this story for Frank, and we lost the second artist, and a third couldn't commit to getting it done on time...and neither could a fourth! It looked like "Dead Money" was "Dead in the Water"!!!
But I was bound and determined to not only get this story in the book, but another story as well (entitled History of Blood written by Aaron Smith....another excellent tale that was sharing the same set of problems as Frank's story)
So I got a crazy idea in my head....call BJay Johnson from Studio Akumakaze up and see if they could possibly help us out. I admit it was a "Hail Mary in the Eleventh Hour"....but did it work! Chris Martin, BJay, Chris Hoskins, and Jacob Newell meet the challenge head on.....two stories, penciled, inked, and lettered in less than two weeks....finishing up the job while attending a comic convention in Chicago!
These guys didn't mess around!!! And the artwork was just amazing.....what Martin did for Frank's story exceeded all expectations and Frank and Chris have remained good friends since. I fell in love with the artwork that Jacob did for Aaron's story and mentioned to him at the famous Wild Wolf/Wicked Tales Summit at Super Fly Comics in Yellow Springs Ohio...the last stop on the Wild Wolf Book Tour last summer, that I would love to work him on a story in the future.
And BJay hearing and seeing all of this....never misses a beat. Within a month plans were ironed out to bring both Frank and I into the Studio Akumakaze fold and pretty much set in stone during Champion City last year.
The end result? "Dead Money" and "History of Blood" will both be appearing in the very first issue of a new ongoing horror anthology called "Visions of the Macabre" along with a brand new story called "Driver's Seat". A story written by myself and drawn excellently by Chris Hoskins. Man did he knock it out of the park on this thing!!!
This story was supposed to also go into Wicked Tales but I could not find an artist in time. Chris and BJay learned about and Chris ended up drawing it and BJay lettered it...learning how much he really loves to letter in the process.
Dustin's "Burn Victim" also originally slated for Wicked tales will be featured in "Visions of the Macabre" #2 and don't worry...I'm sure that "Mouthful of Spiders" will be popping up somewhere too. (Cough....Twilight Star...hint ...hint)
But this bizarre chain event did not stop there. I signed on to work with Chris Martin on a few other projects "Devil Wind: Warrior of the Rising Sun" and "Devil Wind: Night of the Blade" as well as another story "Young and Wasted".
I got my wish and will be working with Jacob on a five part story called "Duality".
A story that will soon start appearing regularly in Studio Akumakaze's science fiction anthology series "Cliffhangers"
The RaynMan Power Hour-
Yep. This podcast can also trace it's origins back to Wicked Tales. How? As Frank started to get more familiar with the indie creators in our area due to his involvement with writing for Wicked Tales and his association with Studio Akumakaze...he started filming interviews with some of these creators for Richard Katterjohn over at U.V.N. Chuck Moore saw many of these interviews and loved them. An idea started to form in his head. A few people here at the site asked about the possibility of me doing a regular podcast here on the site and I replied "The only way I would ever think of doing this was if I could somehow do one with Frank. I think that would be cool, and funny as Hell."
Chuck read that response....and e-mailed me "We can make this happen and I think we SHOULD make this happen."
Next thing you know....my nipples are famous.
You put BJay Johnson, Frank Raynor, and Richard Katterjohn all in the same room and you never know what you're going to get. Well....to make a long story short....you get all kind of craziness and you call it Geek Street. And seeing how I pulled Frank into both Wicked Tales and RaynMan kicking and screaming , I returned the favor and let him talk me into being a part of the show that nobody seems to be able to get enough of . Episode #3 is in the planning stages now and all our fans (both of them) are going crazy with anticipation.
No really....just ask them....you know who they are.
Price For The Asking
The newest weekly web comic here on the Comic Related site and that will feature the shared writing talents of myself and Ron Fortier and that will also feature the pencils of Brain "Smallville" Latimer....who I met through....Studio Akumakaze. Chris Hoskins is also inking the first arc. The chain of events continues.
Twilight Star Studios-
Being a founder member of Twilight Star Studios along with Gary Church, Derron Church, and Frank Raynor is one of the things I'm most proud of right now. This is the first art studio in my home town of Springfield Ohio since the demise of Dragonsound Art Studios almost a decade ago and without a doubt this studio, that great friendship I have formed with Gary and Derron...and all the great stuff set to come through the studio would never have been a reality without Wicked Tales.
I met Gary Church at Main Street Comics and Games while I was working there sometime early last summer. I knew he was an artist, (the first prize winner of an art contest judged by Stan Lee...no joke....got the picture of Gary and Stan at the presentation hanging in my office) and he knew I wrote (I also have a picture with me and Stan....but he's just shaking my hand and signing a few books). I wanted to see his work...and I loved what he brought it to show both Scott and I. I immediately asked him if he would be interested in doing some work for me.....a seven page story called "A Matter of Life and Death". A story planned to go into....you guessed it.....Wicked Tales.
Gary said "Let's do this." He soon introduced me to his brother, another very talented artist who would be inking the story and "A Matter of Life and Death" became the very first comic project (in book form) that I ever wrote that saw completion, that I also did not draw.
Soon afterward, actually about the time of Champion City....Gary bought a new house with an upstairs room he was going to transform into a studio...."You know what....you and I should still work together....and Dirt too." (Dirt = Derron) "Why don't we start our own comic producing art studio right here in the 'Field."
That was the day I learned that watching all those pornos while eating "Fruity Pebbles" had mutated Gary's mind and he obviously became a telepath.....because he just read my mind.
Twilight Star Studios opened their doors for business in October of last year. What started out as just an idea formed by Gary, Derron, Frank and myself grew quickly as we welcomed Chad Strohl's "Did Someone Call For A Hero" to the studio's list of books that would carry our name and logo.
Our own anthology series "Tales From The 'Field" will see it's very first issue printed any day now. (I promise...it's coming and it will be well worth the wait). We could not have seen this feat through without those guys in Studio Akumakaze.
(Thank you very much BJay and Hoskins!!!)
The studio continues to grew and we picked up not only Chad as a steady member but others would also contribute work including Chris Metzger, Scott Riley and Lisa Moore. Stories that I worked on with all of them " Now I Burn" and "Tales From The Longbox: Collective Soul" will also be appearing soon. These stories along with "The Tree" written by my daughter Raichal were all three supposed to go.....being to sound repetitive isn't it? You know where.....
Now they will all three be appearing in Twilight Star's second anthology series "Pandemonium Spotlight" the first issue of which should be available by Champion City 2010...as should Tales From The 'Field #2, Prodigy #1, Jack the Rabbit #1, and Did Someone Call For A Hero? #1-4!!!!
Other books are in production now featuring the talents of Derron Church, Gary Church, Josh Warner, Sean Forney, Chad Strohl, Chris Metzger, Oscar Pena, Richard Fritz, Jef Price, Brain Latimer, Dan Matthews, BJay Johnson, and Chris Martin.
And last but not least.....I lost 40 pounds.
Thanks to the fact that I've gotten to know and call Lisa Moore a good friend and thanks in part to all the work we have done together since working on so many different projects, and she has been such a crucial part of supporting me in my efforts to lose weight....even the fact that I'm thinner than I have been in over a decade can be traced back to.............Wicked Tales.
There's even other projects in the work with the combined talents of Dustin Carson, Chris Metzger, Ron Fortier, and Chris Hoskins that all follow the same path to becoming a completed dream. Something that started with one event that did not turn out as planned, but spawned so many other great possibilities.
So in closing when something like this happens some people look at a glass and see it half empty.
Others look at it and see it half full.
I look at it and think....as long as there's something in the glass...I don't have to wash the damn thing.
Yes....there is some truth to the following old saying....all good things come to an end. I have decided that I will ending my Life In Four Colors column here on the Comic Related website. LIFC was the very first thing I ever contributed to the site and the column originally appeared every two weeks...posted on Friday afternoons.
The first column went up late May 2008 and came out without missing a beat for over a year. June 2009 the column went on it's first hiatus as I decided to step away from the Comic Related website to a certain degree as my father's health started to rapidly decline.
The column returned November 2009, but it was no longer a bi-weekly column. I intended for it to become a monthly column and had hopes of seeing it posted the last Friday of each month, but to be honest it became quite a task to even meet that goal and eventually LIFC started to appear very irregularly with no real day of the week associated with when it would appear.
There were several reasons why the column changed, becoming a shadow of it's former self. Perhaps one of the main reasons was when my computer crashed in October 2009. I lost the ability to re-format the graphics I loved to use in the LIFC columns. And at the same time sending them in to the site became twice the amount of effort. First for me to piece it together on my end, and later for poor Chuck and Brant who had to re-format each of these columns on their end once they were received . I have nothing but high praise for the both of them as I was more than surprised they were willing to take on the extra work to bring the column to the site as frequently as they did.
During the time the column ran it focused on my thoughts about comic history and current comic trends, highlighted local comic creators, reviewed several comics and Comic Related films, covered comic road trips be it to an opening of a new local comic shop or all the way to the front doors of Marvel Comics in New York City!
Even interviews with mainstream creators would pop up from time to time.
But....due to the fact that I feel that I can no longer give the column the time and respect it truly deserves, I will be ending the column with LIFC #36....which I hope will go up next Friday June 11th. This last column will spotlight a legendary comic creator and a good friend of mine....and yours as well.
As many of you know, the actual amount of time I spend on the site has diminished a lot lately due to the fact I have started working a regular job again, for the first time in over a year. But I admit it's not the job that is cutting into the amount of time I spend on the site and the time I have to do something like LIFC. As a matter of fact I was working when I first started getting more and more involved with the site in May of 2008. What has happened is what Chuck planned to happen from the moment he envisioned this web site. I've met so many people. Other talented creators, many of who have become friends that time will never be able to erase.
I'm writing, and drawing, and working with some of the most amazingly talented people I know. I'm forming partnerships and becoming friends.....becoming family....with people I feel just fortunate to know. And it makes me feel happy to be alive on a daily basis.
I have been blessed. There is not a goal I can think of that I have not achieved, or is not within reach. So many of my dreams have come true with the help of so many of you and in some way shape of form I hope I have enabled others to fullfill dreams of their own.
Thank you, all of you for taking the time to get to know me. Thank you , Chuck for allowing me a place to run this column in the first place and thanks to everybody who has ever read one of them.
But in the mean time...just in case you wanted to re-read some of those older columns....here's a couple of links for you to do so.
Does this mean the end of my involvement with Comic Related??? Of course not! I mean...I'll still be around, posting blogs, and adding comments to the forum page, just not as much as I have in the past. But for very good reasons this time around!
Plus....I'm still very much involved in other ways. The RaynMan Power Hour Podcast and the weekly New Comic Day web comic....so if you were hoping to get rid of me on a more permanent basis, I'm sorry to have to disappoint you.
Remember to look out for the last column (coming soon....I promise....) and remember Life In Four Colors may have come to a close...but Life Goes On.
See you in the funny papers..........