New Kickstarter Launching February 2nd

 

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I am happy to report that Rebecca and I have nearly finished prepping the next Kickstarter campaign page and we will be ready to roll on the 2nd of February. We are hoping that everyone who has supported us thus far will continue the journey with us and also help us spread the word. We’ll be offering issues 1-3 in this campaign and we will continue offering back issues for new readers in our future campaigns. Our hope is that by word of mouth we can continue to grow our fellowship. That is why we have also made a PDF version of issue 1 available absolutely free to our amazing educators of the world (see this blog entry). My college major was Secondary English Education and I have always been passionate about passing along the great literature of the world to the next generation. I believe comics can be so much more than men and women in pajamas fighting super-powered gorillas… not that that isn’t wonderful as well. But I’ve always held up the comics medium as one of seemingly boundless potential that intermarries art and literature. That is why I’ve spent countless hours researching, reading, and consulting with scholars to ensure that I’m not merely giving readers stories that entertain, but also that motivate them to seek out and experience the great classics. That is, after all, where the “deep magic” is to be found.

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The back matter for our Kickstarter Exclusive Edition third issue will illuminate the origin of our intrepid guide in Terra Somnium, Irving Rat. I am rarely asked questions by interviewers that allow me to speak about the formation of specific characters in my stories, so I am incredibly excited about sharing it with you in the pages of our book. And if you have any questions about characters, events, themes, or anything else in our story,  feel free to send them on to me at info(dot)hpcomics(at)gmail(dot)com. They just may show up in a future issue!

-Dwight

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The Imaginary Voyages of Edgar Allan Poe #1 NOW AVAILABLE on ComiXology!

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PURCHASE YOUR COPY HERE! 

What a crazy journey! When I first began writing this book in 2006, I had no idea that it would become my magnum opus. I’d been a fan of Poe’s work since childhood, but there are several authors who have inspired and shaped my work over the years. So why Edgar Allan Poe?

When I first decided to write this book, it was sort of a gag. A reviewer had commented that one of my books had “too many poop jokes,” so my response was to create Edgar Allan Poo–complete with outhouse “birth.” What this story has become surprises no one more than it surprises me!

As I’ve already said, I grew up reading Poe’s stories and poems and watching Roger Corman’s film adaptations of his work, so Poe has definitely been a major influence on my work. No doubt about it. But it wasn’t until I began studying Poe’s life that I felt more than mere admiration for his work; I felt an unexplainable bond to Poe himself. A man of sorrow and loss, he would never taste the fruit of success; never enjoy the level of notoriety and renown that he so richly deserved. At first this merely moved me. But as I read his work again in light of the incredible sadness, loss, and marginalization he experienced in his lifetime, I developed a strong bond that goes far beyond respect and admiration. I felt as if we were kindred spirits; brothers from out of time, somehow linked by this madness called “writing.”

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The “Birth” of Terra Somnium 

The inspiration for the land of Terra Somnium comes from a lifelong love for the works of C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, Lewis Carroll, L. Frank Baum, and J.M. Barrie. But I would also have to thank Homer, Virgil, and Dante as well. When considering what one of the greatest literary minds would dream about in a time of crisis–I imagined–it would be more lofty and nuanced than what an average man would dream of. So what may Poe have dreamed of? Well, I thought, he would have certainly dreamed of death, his disappointments, and his own work, but he also loved mythology, nature, and classic literature.  And so, by combining all of these elements, Terra Somnium was born.  And it’s only blossomed and grown as I continue to view its breadth and depth in my mind’s eye. As you will see over the course of the series, it only becomes richer and more exotic, and, yes, more disturbing, as the epic journey continues.

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And speaking of Terra Somnium, artist Louise Fitzpatrick and letterer Marco Della Verde and I have posted a BRAND NEW page for your viewing pleasure at Line Webtoon! Please do check it out:

READ IT HERE! 

An Epic Adventure

If you have joined us on this journey already, then you have my sincere gratitude. If you have not, I ask you to take a risk, purchase the book, and unite with us. Whether you love Poe’s work or just enjoy a good story, I’m certain you will enjoy the ride!

-Dwight

 

The Story Behind Houdini’s Silver Dollar Misfits

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I’ve always enjoyed reading the stories behind the stories that I love. Taking a look behind the curtain, if you will, to glimpse the process, struggles, and sacrifices that writers have made to create stories that have influenced and inspired me throughout my life. Reading The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien, for instance, was nearly intoxicating. I was amazed, delighted, encouraged, moved to tears in some cases, and affirmed by the intimate details I read. The collection of the Professor’s letters still stands as a cherished work that I return to time and time again. And so, in the spirit of Tolkien’s letters and the many behind-the-scenes records that authors have left behind for us to enjoy, I have decided to share the story behind creating Houdini’s Silver Dollar Misfits. It’s nowhere near as grand, I know, but I hope you will find it enjoyable nonetheless.

Several years ago while I was writing The Surreal Adventures of Edgar Allan Poo Book 2 for Image, I was struck with what I believed was a fantastic story idea: a modern-time group of friends who find a magical silver dollar that had belonged to Harry Houdini. Together the ragtag friends would use the strength of their friendship, teamwork, problem solving, and the magic of the coin, to solve mysteries and help people. My head said I didn’t have the time to develop the idea due to a heavy college workload, the challenges of being a single dad of three little boys, and the pressure of writing a sequel to a successful book, but I did it anyway, because, hey, sometimes you have to make time when inspiration strikes.

After a couple of weeks I began my artist search. Now, for those who don’t know, artist searches are fun, but they can also be arduous and a bit depressing. If I had a dime for every artist who turned me down over the course of my career I’d have Alex Ross covers on all my books.

But that’s another story for another time.

After several days of searching I came across a charming webcomic by cartoonist Worth Gowell. I really liked his style and thought it would work perfectly for the story I’d fleshed out, so I sent an email and pitched the story to him. Honestly, he wasn’t thrilled with the story, so he suggested that a teenage Houdini would be the star, the story in the late 1880s, and his friends would be circus performers. My gut said no, No, NO. A period piece starring a beloved historical figure? I was already doing that in Edgar Allan Poo. And how would an audience respond to a cast of strange and unusual characters that were referred to as “freaks” in their time? I tried to reason with Worth, but, considering the fact that I believed he was the right artist for the book, I eventually conceded. Even so, I am still extremely proud of Kid Houdini and the Silver Dollar Misfits. Next to E.A. Poo, it is my favorite book I’ve created. I even intended to make a continuing series of adventures, but, sadly, that did not work out. In fact, I’m sad to say that the book went largely unnoticed. The lesson I took away from the experience was to stick to my guns when I felt strongly enough something.

So here we are. I am now a publisher, and I can tell the stories I want to tell, how I want to tell them. The beauty of the whole situation is that Kid Houdini and the Silver Dollar Misfits now serves as a prequel of sorts to Houdini’s Silver Dollar Misfits! I say “of sorts” because it is not necessary that one read the old book to “get” the new book, rather it serves as an introduction to the man (the myth, the legend) behind the silver dollar. That’s it. So one need not comb the internet to find the first book…unless one wants to. Hey, I am still extremely proud of Kid Houdini and believe it is a wonderful story that is well worth seeking out.

I cannot begin to tell you how excited I am about this project. Mathieu and I have worked extremely hard to bring you something that we believe is magical! We can’t wait to share it with our friends (yes, that means YOU)!

-Dwight

PS – Don’t forget to mark your calendars for February 1st when the project goes LIVE on Kickstarter!

Hocus Pocus Comics…Here We Come!

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Cover by Mark Harmon (http://www.markharmonillustration.com/)

Rebecca MacPherson                                               FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

12/01/2016

Hocus Pocus Comics

http://www.hpcomics.net

http://www.patreon.com/hpcomics

http://www.twitter.com/hpcomics_

 Hocus Pocus Comics Launches With Edgar Allan Poe and Houdini Comics

The Imaginary Voyages of Edgar Allan Poe marks debut for innovative digital media publishing company

Lakeland, FL:  Start-Up Comic Publishers Hocus Pocus Comics will release their dynamic debut comic, The Imaginary Voyages of  Edgar Allan Poe, and their website, hpcomics.net, on January 1st, 2017. This begins their first wave of properties to be sold on ComiXology, with the publishers releasing four additional titles throughout 2017.

The Imaginary Voyages of Edgar Allan Poe is a rebranding of the Harvey and Eagle Award-nominated Surreal Adventures of Edgar Allan Poo created by Hocus Pocus Comics’ founder, Dwight L. MacPherson. The Imaginary Voyages of Edgar Allan Poe offers a twisted glimpse into the dream-life of America’s greatest fantasist, Edgar Allan Poe, in the darkest time of his life. Book 1 will be reprinted as Book 1, Issues 1-4 (with an exclusive cover by David Hartman, Rob Zombie album cover artist and producer of Phantasm: Ravager). Book 2 will feature an updated script and all-new art by Luis Czerniawski (Transformers: Evolutions, Kolchak the Nightstalker: The Forgotten Lore of Edgar Allan Poe) and Book 3 is a brand-new story that will finally complete MacPherson’s magnum opus. As he says, “Many readers have asked me what happened to Book 3, as they loved the characters and story. I’ve often joked that it’s a ‘lost book.’ Well, the time is right to finally complete this epic, and I couldn’t be more excited to share this ‘lost book’ with the world!”

Hocus Pocus Comics’ second title, Houdini’s Silver Dollar Misfits, is described by MacPherson as “Harry Potter meets Gravity Falls.” The first issue will be released this spring, and it will feature  a cover by David Hartman and interior art by Mathieu Benoit (Jim Reaper: Week One, Lil’ Hellions: A Day at the Zoo).

Speaking on Hocus Pocus Comics’ mission, MacPherson says, “I believe that telling incredible stories is fundamental to a successful publishing company. There are many publishers pumping out a whole lot of mediocre properties, but we would rather take our time, stay small, and produce 3-4 extremely well-written, beautifully-illustrated books per year that will stick with readers long after they finish reading. We believe that good stories are magical, and we will do everything in our power to conjure some truly unforgettable magic.”  To that end, MacPherson has put together several stellar teams working on books of several different genres. Hocus Pocus Comics’ motto is Imaginatio est Magicae (Imagination is Magic). Their goal is to create the future’s myths and legends, one comic at a time.

Meet our Team!

 President and Publisher: Dwight L. MacPherson

Comic creator, writer, and editor Dwight L. MacPherson has been one of the most prolific writing professionals for more than 10 years. A longtime advocate of webcomics and digital media, his steampunk webcomic, Sidewise (DC Comics), won the June 2009 Zuda competition. He has also seen his creator-owned properties published by Image Comics, IDW Publishing, and many others. For more information: https://dwightmacpherson.wordpress.com

Editor-in-Chief: Amy H. Sturgis

Amy H. Sturgis holds a Ph.D. in intellectual history from Vanderbilt University, teaches at Lenoir-Rhyne University, and specializes in Science Fiction/Fantasy and Native American Studies. The author of four books and over fifty essays, and the editor of six books, Sturgis has won awards for her scholarship (The Imperishable Flame Award for J.R.R. Tolkien Scholarship), journalism (Best Magazine Review/Criticism/Column Award from the Los Angeles Press Club), and podcasting (The Sofanaut Award from listeners of the Hugo Award-winning StarShipSofa). For more information: http://www.amyhsturgis.com

Creative Director: Bruce Brown

Bruce Brown is the creator and writer of Howard Lovecraft and the Frozen Kingdom, now a motion picture. He is also the co-writer (with Dwight L. MacPherson) of Howard Lovecraft and the Undersea Kingdom, which is now in pre-production.  Several of Brown’s properties have been published by Image Comics and Arcana Comics. He has multiple properties currently in production as well as a spin-off to the wildly successful Howard Lovecraft series.

Production Manager: J.M. Bryan M. Bryan is a writer and designer. He has an Associates in the Arts degree from Jackson College and a Bachelor of Theology w/minor in Language from Michigan Baptist Seminary. He spends his days with his wife and two children and his nights pouring his imagination onto paper. He is currently writing two comic series.

Vice President, Administration: Rebecca MacPherson

Rebecca MacPherson has over seven years of TV/Film and Theatre Production experience from her tenure at both Tribune Studios and Fox Studios. An NAACP Award for Best Local Producer nominee for the Los Angeles production of Stage Directions, she worked with Academy Award actor, Denzel Washington, as Production Secretary on his directorial debut, Antwone Fisher for Fox Searchlight Films.

For more information on Hocus Pocus Comics, please contact: info.hpcomics@gmail.com

 

 

Speaking With a Man of Rohan

Special thanks to actor and MC extraordinaire Bruce Hopkins for the wonderful radio interview on his RadioLive show!

You would probably know Bruce best for his role as Gamling in The Lord of the Rings films. As a complete Tolkien nerd, I must confess that the most difficult part of the interview was restraining myself from geeking out because I was speaking with a valiant Man of Rohan! (Don’t judge me.)

Bruce, I’m pleased for the opportunity to speak with one of Rebecca’s dear friends, and it was a pleasure chatting with you. I truly appreciate it. Cheers!

Howard Lovecraft and the Undersea Kingdom

The advance reviews have been flying in, and they have been fabulous. In case you missed them, I have posted a few select links below:

Comics Worth Reading

Blog Critics

CBR’s Robot6

Chicago Comic Vault

The Outhousers

Howard Lovecraft and the Undersea Kingdom will be released in March, but if you simply cannot wait to get your tentacles on it–or you prefer digital comics–it is also available for download at ComiXology.

It’s not too late to pre-order your copies from your local comic, book, and online dealers. Bruce Brown and I would love to make a third book, but, as with all indie comics, we are completely dependent upon you: the dear reader. So please pre-order your copies today and recommend the book to friends, family, and enemies (hey, why not?) so we can continue to chronicle the weird adventures of Howard and Spot. Oh, and Beastie, too.

-D

The Wise Man’s Fear Mini-Review-Thing

In case you live under a rock–which is quite all right, from one troglodyte to another, though I prefer a good bridge–the sequel to the long-awaited (an understatement) fantasy sensation The Name of The Wind by Patrick Rothfuss hit retail stores March 1st. Was it worth the wait, you ask? I would have to respond with “Yes… though I find myself woefully disappointed.”

But I’ll get to that in a moment.

Please bear in mind, this is merely a mini-review, as I simply don’t have the time to review the book in great depth. But fear not, in this age of instant feedback, I’m certain there will be no shortage of lengthy critiques and “reviews.”

Oh, and for those of us who detest spoilers, this mini-review is spoiler free, so do read on.

The Synopsis
From the publisher’s website:

“There are three things all wise men fear: the sea in storm, a night with no moon, and the anger of a gentle man.”

My name is Kvothe.

I have stolen princesses back from sleeping barrow kings. I burned down the town of Trebon. I have spent the night with Felurian and left with both my sanity and my life. I was expelled from the University at a younger age than most people are allowed in. I tread paths by moonlight that others fear to speak of during day. I have talked to Gods, loved women, and written songs that make the minstrels weep.

You may have heard of me.

So begins the tale of a hero told from his own point of view-a story unequaled in fantasy literature. Now in The Wise Man’s Fear, Day Two of The Kingkiller Chronicle, an escalating rivalry with a powerful member of the nobility forces Kvothe to leave the University and seek his fortune abroad. Adrift, penniless, and alone, he travels to Vintas, where he quickly becomes entangled in the politics of courtly society. While attempting to curry favor with a powerful noble, Kvothe uncovers an assassination attempt, comes into conflict with a rival arcanist, and leads a group of mercenaries into the wild, in an attempt to solve the mystery of who (or what) is waylaying travelers on the King’s road.

All the while, Kvothe searches for answers, attempting to uncover the truth about the mysterious Amyr, the Chandrian, and the death of his parents. Along the way, Kvothe is put on trial by the legendary Adem mercenaries, is forced to reclaim the honor of the Edema Ruh, and travels into the Fae realm. There he meets Felurian, the faerie woman no man can resist, and who no man has ever survived…until Kvothe.

In The Wise Man’s Fear, Kvothe takes his first steps on the path of the hero and learns how difficult life can be when a man becomes a legend in his own time.

The Good

“If you’re going to have a complicated story you must work to a map; otherwise you’ll never make a map of it afterwards.” -J.R.R. Tolkien

Rothfuss is undoubtedly working from such a map. He is a true literary maven, displaying seemingly-effortless precision in weaving an intricate, resplendent tapestry of the written word. His descriptive language and meticulous worldbuilding skill calls Tolkien and Lewis to mind.

There is certainly much to like in this sequel: action, intrigue, surprises and rich character development. From start to finish, this engrossing tale will have you feverishly turning the pages of this 900+ page tome and leave you wanting more.

The Bad

Or not.

As a “sub-creator” (as Tolkien would say), I know how much blood, sweat and tears is poured into every project a writer undertakes. Because of this awareness, I am slow to make negative comments about another author’s work.

In this case, however, I feel strongly compelled to let my voice be heard.

When I was a young boy, I remember the breathless awe I experienced reading The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. I knew it was something I wanted to share with my own children one day. I knew it was something special–something bigger and grander than anything I had ever read before. This led me to seek out all of Tolkien’s work. I simply couldn’t find enough tales of Middle-Earth to slake my thirst.

I felt a tinge of that same childhood breathless awe after reading The Name of the Wind; it was a sensation I hadn’t experienced in many, many years–though I certainly longed for it.

That is why I was so disappointed to find that the second half of the novel chronicles little more than the protagonist’s sexual exploits.

Yes, seriously! It becomes almost comical. Almost.

And while I understand the inclusion of Felurian and what transpires in the Fae (which obviously draws from Celtic myths and provides a key development in the storyline), seriously… did readers really need to know about Kvothe’s (or anyone else’s, for that matter) sex life any more than they needed to know about Aragorn’s? Or Legolas’? How about Gandalf’s? No, it was extraneous information, irrelevant to the story, and such events were completely (and wisely) left out.

As is, the inclusion of these events (and they are numerous) comes across as self-indulgent hubris at best and a bizarre form of projection at worst.

Perhaps Kvothe is an unreliable narrator–in which case, the character’s hubris would certainly color the events of his life; especially his sexual escapades. I don’t believe this to be the case, however, as he has already relayed several embarrassing happenings and mistakes rather than embellishing to save face.

The simple reality is this: many readers will stop reading the book when they become offended or exasperated by what could be seen as fanboy pandering or sexism. Or poor judgment on the author’s part.

Ultimately, it will be the stumbling block which prevents this series from advancing into the echelon of timeless classics.

The Bottom Line

While I look forward to the next book in the series, I do so with reservation. And while I longingly awaited this novel with baited breath, I may or may not read the next. Rothfuss has taken the shine off a work that may have otherwise been immortal.

And that is disheartening.

The Kids Are All Right

Got your attention, didn’t I? I just love the comment approval setting on WordPress. Keeps the riff-raff off your blog.

Zing! – Dwight

It has been a while since Dwight and I have been on here, but it is not for lack of wanting to keep it up. We are big readers and Dwight believes that as writers, we need to feed our souls from other tomes. He has recently gorged on the long-awaited sequel of The Name of The Wind and I have been plowing through The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien. Something Tolkien mentioned is ringing very true to us with this new project: we must have a map before we begin our story. So we are going about building the map (with much help from our very talented son Clay who can draw a map like no one’s business).

Before I forget, we discovered another amazing artist, Jess Bradley. I have just sent one of her cute baby Cthulhu magnets to our friend Amy Sturgis, and we plan to purchase more of her stuff in the near future. She is quite the gifted artist, so please check out her website.

Check this out:

Print by Jess Bradley

Lots of activity going on here, so I am keeping this short and sweet.

R