Memories of Deadlight Studios

 

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Dead Men Tell No Tales #1 Cover by Ben Templesmith

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.

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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.

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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.

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-Dwight

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Kickstarter Success and More Poe-centric Goodness!

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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:

COMIXOLOGY

KINDLE [Still “Publishing” 46+ hours later. Will update when link goes live.]

And here is the link to Terra Somnium:

READ FROM THE BEGINNING HERE! 

We truly appreciate each and every one of you, and we are so thankful you’ve decided to join us on this incredible journey. It’s only just begun!

Rebecca and Dwight

Elevator Issue 3 Gets Glowing Review!

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We’re going to just let this review speak for itself:

I’ve been very vocal about the first two comic book titles from Hocus Pocus Comics. I expected the new “director’s cut” of Edgar Allan Poo to be great because I thought the book was brilliant when I read it the first time around. I certainly haven’t been disappointed in the relaunch and love not only the changes that have been made to the story but the spectacular new artwork as well. When it comes to their other new book Elevator, it really is an extremely well done horror comic. The first issue was like a Porsche. You opened the book and it went from zero to a hundred pretty quick. But issue two was like taking your Porsche onto the Autobahn, gunning it to two hundred miles per hour, and just enjoying the ride. It really was mind-blowing.

Elevator #3 seems to have taken the poor kids who are stuck in hell and taken their destiny right out of their own hands. With their friend Matt gone, Richard and Edward aren’t so much circumventing hell as following this mystery angel who is guiding them from place to place. It’s kind of like you are at Disney World and get on the It’s A Small World ride. You are there on the boat, you can’t get off, and you’re stuck watching everything around you. At this point it is like that for Richard and Edward except, well, they are in hell.

Now the brothers actually get to learn something big about their past while in hell that I won’t describe in a review as it is way too spoilerish. I will say that what they learn helps them understand their past including things about their treacherous father (who is still roaming around hell looking for his kids). It’s a sad moment for the two boys. I have a feeling that this revelation will factor in greatly to the final issue.

This is coupled with another plot point that I would love to spoil but this reveal is way too big. Back on Earth, at the Helton Inn, that old creepy dude who lured the kids into the elevator to hell is busy making preparations. Basically people will be drawn to the inn, who he’ll put in the elevator, who will then be stuck in hell. Not the best place to spend the weekend…especially if there is a Holiday Inn down the street. We see old creepy dude finalizing his plans and then the big reveal happens on who he really is. Again – too big of a reveal to spoil it in this review. But it really will make you say, “Ooooooohhhhhhh.”

So most of the issue is the characters not really in control of what they are doing with a good bit of exposition here and there. I guess as issue two moved at such an incredible pace writer Dwight MacPherson needed to fit in more of the story somewhere. That somewhere is issue three. As next issue is the last issue of this miniseries I’m sure the explanation needed to come now so we can all fully enjoy the third act.

Because of this Elevator #3 is slightly disappointing. Now that doesn’t take away how amazing this book is. This miniseries has been outstanding. Even this issue is outstanding. It’s only disappointing because it slightly feels that the exposition had to be pushed in before the fourth issue hit. Now you are absolutely glad to know what you know once you read this issue. But my solution? Make the miniseries longer. I don’t know about everyone else but I would have certainly enjoyed reading five issues instead of four.

All in all this miniseries has been fantastic. The writing is just incredible and artist Randy Valiente does a stunning job bringing this book to life. The black and white artwork is particularly haunting so making the decision not to color this book was such the perfect call. Many of the panels have no background. It’s just white. This in no way takes away from hell. Rather it speaks to how bleak hell really is. You don’t need fire and brimstone to make hell scary. The creatures that inhabit it and the grim, desolate landscape really speaks volumes. I truly applaud this decision.

If you aren’t reading Elevator you should immediately jump on. It truly is one of the best books I’ve read this year. I’m fairly certain that the last issue of this book will completely blow everyone away and I truly can’t wait to see where this journey ultimately takes us.

RANK: A-

Click here to read our reviews of Elevator #1 and #2http://2guys1review.com/?s=elevator

Can We Count on You?

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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!

-Dwight

Hocus Pocus Comics is Attending New York Comic Con 2017!

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Pro badges have been approved, and I am thrilled to announce that Rebecca and I will be attending New York Comic Con this year! We hope to see you there!

FIND OUR MORE ABOUT NEW YORK COMIC CON HERE

– Dwight and Rebecca

Hocus Pocus Comics is in the House!

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Rebecca and I had a super busy week and the weekend was no walk in the park, either. But, hey, self-publishing is totally worth it. We have invested our blood, sweat, tears, time, money, and hearts into HP Comics, and I hope our love and dedication shines brightly in every story we tell.

Thank you for your continued support, friends. We couldn’t do this without our amazing patrons and readers!

-Dwight

An Edgar Allan Poe Double Shot

As the title of this entry states, we have TWO Poe-related updates for you today!

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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.

 

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Cover by Mark Harmon

 

Second, The Imaginary Voyages of Edgar Allan Poe #2 is now available for purchase HERE ON COMIXOLOGY and HERE ON AMAZON KINDLE!

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!

-Dwight

 

 

Have You Subscribed Yet?

 

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Have you subscribed to Terra Somnium on Line Webtoon yet? This is the exciting prequel to The Imaginary Voyages of Edgar Allan Poe (Issue 2 is live on ComiXology and Kindle Wednesday, June 28th!) and, if you haven’t,  why not? It’s free, it’s awesome, and it will help us more than you can possibly know.

Our good friend and fellow creative, Tammy Fleuch Johnson, designed the logo for Terra Somnium and we love the way it represents our story so perfectly! If you are in need of professional logos or re-branding, please check out her company, Typebird Creative.  She is extremely talented, innovative, and wonderful to work with!

-Dwight

Meet The I-TEAM!

logo_low_resWant 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!

JOIN US HERE! 

-D

Breaking News: I-Team Announcement!

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COMING THIS FALL FROM HOCUS POCUS COMICS!

If you love classic X-Men and Teen Titans like I do, you will find this most excellent nostalgia blast just what the Professor ordered! (See what I did there?)

More news to come very soon, so be sure to stay tuned to this blog and hpcomics.net!

-Dwight