Since today is Flashback Friday, I was reminiscing about my early days as a comic creator. Of course, the first thing that came to mind was Deadlight Studios. It was 2006 and my first creator-owned mini-series, Dead Men Tell No Tales, had been published by Arcana Comics. It was a smash-hit, and I quickly gained a devoted (and awesomely crazy) following.
Around that time I was producing several webcomics, and I had signed one of them, Jim Reaper, to a deal at Silent Devil Productions (remember them?). I was also involved in several anthologies and had many comic pitches in production. I was thrilled to be making comics and I was anxious to reach out and connect with aspiring and established comic creators. But what I really wanted to do was to help newcomers break into the industry. If anyone had been through hell to get there, it was me. Surrounded by naysayers who were the closest to me, and living in a seriously messed up situation, I had done it. And I wanted people to know if they worked hard enough and didn’t give up, they could make it, too. What they needed, I knew, was positive people around them who would encourage and provide a bit of guidance–someone who had seen some success, had a critical eye, and would tell them the truth… even when it hurt.
Enter Deadlight Studios.
What a magical time that was! With my trusty partner in crime, Darrell Mogg, we created a visually stunning website with a lively and thriving community forum. A couple of times I even got my buddies, Steve Niles and Ben Templesmith, to drop by and say hello!
My good friend, Amer Kokh, provided the art for the site together with friend and Dead Men Tell No Tales colorist, Michael DeVito. I never could have made it happen by myself. These friends caught my vision and helped me make it happen. It was a magical collaboration and I’ll never forget the experience of bringing it together and giving it life.
During the course of our conversation I brought up the idea of putting together a horror anthology titled Deadlight Theatre. The forums were abuzz and it was really a wonderful time as forum members put together teams and created several short horror stories for the anthology. Everyone was excited.
And then it was gone. People were shocked.
The truth of the matter is that I was being medically separated from the Army and at the same time, I assumed sole responsibility of my three young sons, so Deadlight Studios took a back seat to raising them. I was unable to keep it going and give my sons the care they needed, and as any single dad will tell you, they would have done the same thing. Some people understood, some people didn’t. But no one was more disappointed than I was.
Some people on the outside say it was a noble idea to create a community where comic creators help one other. I mean, there are others who have done something similar, but none of them were headed up by an industry insider. Some might say it was a dumb idea, that I should have concentrated on my own brand rather than worrying about other “schmucks” trying to break into the industry. Whichever camp you fall into is your prerogative. All I know is that I am still close friends with many fine people I met during the “Deadlight Years,” and I gained invaluable experience that I believe will ensure the success of Hocus Pocus Comics. So I will call it a WIN.
Rest in Peace, Deadlight Studios. You are gone but not forgotten.
What an incredible end to an epic journey! When our Kickstarter campaign for The Imaginary Voyages of Edgar Allan Poe Kickstarter-Exclusive print edition #1 launched on July 30th, we could not have dreamed that we would find our project more than 500% funded when all was said and done. While we were quite surprised to find our project fully funded within 30 hours of launch, we had no idea that our awesome supporters would obliterate all of our expectations, pushing us to create new stretch goals to accommodate the overwhelming outpouring of support. It was crazy! I want to thank my dear friends, David Hartman, Juan Ferreyra, and Dave Youkovich, for coming through with such a crazy tight deadline despite being completely swamped with work. I love you guys, and I owe you big time!
And here we are… 528% funded! The next month will see us sending PDFs to our supporters, files to the printer, getting art prints made, and ordering more Poe t-shirts than we ever dreamed we’d sell! And we couldn’t be happier to do it! Seriously, we can’t thank you enough!
But the good news doesn’t stop there! Today on ComiXology and Kindle, the digital-first copy of The Imaginary Voyages of Edgar Allan Poe #3 drops, and we make a special announcement over on Line Webtoon for our weekly Terra Somnium (the companion book to IVOEAP) update! And we really want to thank all of our subscribers on Line Webtoon as well. It is going to get a lot crazier in the Land of Dreams, so check it out, subscribe, rate it, and help us spread the word.
Here are the links for the digital-first copy of The Imaginary Voyages of EAP #3:
MONDAY is the day, my friends! Monday, July 31st, we will be launching our campaign for the Kickstarter-exclusive PRINTED Special Edition of The Imaginary Voyages of Edgar Allan Poe #1! This special edition will only be available in this form on Kickstarter, so you will want to make sure you get your copy! It features a beautiful new cover from David Hartman (see the teaser image above) and a special Making-Of section that is being designed by artist and HP Comics Production Manager, Tricia Martin. It is going to be gorgeous! We will also be including special prints produced exclusively for this project along with an Edgar Allan Poe t-shirt designed by series artist, Luis Czerniawski, and Tricia Martin. Trust me: you’re going to want one of these!
One of the (hard) lessons I learned about Kickstarter is that you need to have supporters pledge as early as possible. If there is a mad rush to pledge on day one your project has a much better chance of being noticed by Kickstarter staff and receiving additional promotion on their site. So I’m asking you to pledge as soon as you possibly can. Hit it hard and we’ll let Kickstarter know that we love a little Poe! And be sure to spread the love on social media as well. That helps us big time.
As soon as the project is live I’ll be all over social media breaking the news. And if you FOLLOW ME ON KICKSTARTER you’ll find out even before they do. So that’s definitely the best option.
We love you guys and thank you for helping us make comics! We very literally couldn’t do this without you!
As the title of this entry states, we have TWO Poe-related updates for you today!
First, you can check out brand new Terra Somnium by artist, Louise Fitzpatrick, and yours truly, RIGHT HERE! We are now 16 pages into the first chapter of the prequel to The Imaginary Voyages of Edgar Allan Poe, and things are getting weirder by the second!
And please, when you check it out, like it, subscribe, and share it with your friends. I can’t tell you how invaluable this is to the folks who lovingly produce webcomics.
If you’ve read issue 1, you can see just how different it is from the graphic novel that was published by Image Comics. The reviews we’ve received confirm my long-held opinion that it needed to be revised both script-wise and artistically. The addition of artists, Luis Czerniawski and Andrea Messi, bring so much life and energy to these characters and environs–wouldn’t you agree?
In other news, we are wrapping up production on ELEVATOR #3 and we will soon send it to ComiXology and Amazon Kindle. Elevator artist, Randy Valiente, has really knocked this series out of the ballpark. Issue 3 is a real gut punch, so you’ve been warned!
We took some time off in the middle of a busy week to catch the U2 Joshua Tree show in Tampa on June 14th. Rebecca goes back a long way with these guys, from her time living in Dublin, Ireland, through her years of working in the music biz and hanging out with the band–which is another blog post in itself, one I have been trying to get her to write for ages!
The show was phenomenal in every way! I’ve always been told that U2 is a band you have to experience live, and they were right. This was my first time seeing the band I’ve loved since I first saw the video to “Sunday Bloody Sunday” on MTV when I was a teen, so it was really a special experience. Rebecca and I danced and sang along as the band played a grueling set that lasted more than 2 hours. We were in the pit, so we could see the sweat dripping from Bono’s hands. At one point Bono remarked that it was “Muy caliente!” And it was. Hot and humid and Bono was–well–classic Bono, dancing and gesticulating through the Joshua Tree set (and especially during the encore). We were spent after the show, so I’m sure the band was as well! We are now all much older. This isn’t the ’80s, after all!
This experience was made even more awesome because I’m working on a comic that takes place in the 80’s–a time Rebecca and I feel very nostalgic for as pop culture and music was so unique, fresh, and fun. I am having a blast writing the story and I’m sure you are really going to really dig it. Especially if you are a child of the 80’s.
Speaking of my ’80s superhero team, we are sharing our awesome artist’s, Emiliano Correa‘s, I-TEAM character designs exclusively with our patrons. So if you’d like to become an HP Comics insider, you can do that RIGHT HERE!
Want to meet the I-TEAM before anyone else?! For as little as $1 a month you can meet the team and get some cool stuff and exclusive videos and art! Join the Hocus Pocus Comics Fam and you’ll have access to all of our TOP SECRET updates!