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.
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