Memories of Deadlight Studios


dead men
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.


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.




Writing Comedy is no Laughing Matter… or Is It? Part 2

Greetings, Salutations and Welcome

In this new year, I have decided to make a deliberate attempt to post on my blog more frequently. Of course, it seems a daunting task given my exhausting writing and living (Yes, I have a life!) schedule, but I’ve never been one to shy away from a challenge.

What I’ve decided to do is write a series of short posts with my random observations and thoughts about genre-specific writing. You’ve probably “heard” some of what I will say, but that’s never stopped me before.

All I ask is that if you like what you read, share a link to my blog with those who may enjoy it.

If you find my posts boring, obtuse or pain-inducing, I still ask you to pass the link along…

To your most hated enemies.


Newsflash: Not Everyone Has a Good Sense of Humor

Let’s face it, some folks wouldn’t know comedy if it pooped in their bathroom and overflowed the toilet. And then there are others who’d laugh out loud at a baby’s funeral.

laughing idiot

It is impossible to write comedy successfully without a good grasp of what comedy is. Sure, we all find things that make us laugh, but that doesn’t mean we understand what makes them humorous.

Take a moment to think about a real-life event that made you laugh until you lost control of your bladder or bowels–or laughed so hard your windpipe constricted and left you a convulsing, heehawing wreck on the living room floor.

Remember? Good.

Now it’s time for your homework.

Comedy Homework Assignment

Okay… here’s what I want you to do. First, write the humorous event down like so:

Event: My 11-year-old walked up to me and said “Dad, I think I have the constipation.”

The Ol' Sour Face

Now, write down the factors that made the event humorous, like so:

1. Bodily functions are humorous to guys. Sue me.
2. Timing: His statement caught me totally off-guard.
3. My son’s “I just ate a lemon” facial expression.
4. My son was holding his backside in his hands.
5. After saying this, he ran into the bathroom (still clutching his bum) and added “Maybe not.”

As you can see, there is more to effective comedy than a funny word or statement. There are many factors that will make the event comedic. Writing down humorous events is one of the best ways to understand what makes certain things funny, and understanding is one of the first steps to writing effective comedy.

Post ‘Em if You Dare

I encourage you to post your comedy homework in the comments section. After all, a good laugh is something we’re always looking for. It’s part of what keeps us tickin’.

Monsterplex Is Funny

Writer Brock Heasley (of SuperFogeys fame), artist David Schlotterback and colorist Michael DeVito have teamed up to create a funny, entertaining and wonderfully-illustrated Zuda Comics entry titled Monsterplex.

Here’s the logline:

At Corman Cinemas, you don’t just watch a movie about monsters, you run away from them. Now under new management.

See? Isn’t that a great set-up?

So, if you have not voted in this month’s competition (or already did), I strongly recommend that you check out this fantastic entry and vote for it (or change your vote. Yes, you can do that).

And please be sure to favorite and rate the strip, too. I’m not sure how the Alchemical Zuda Win Formula© works, but, hey–why take any chances? And I’m sure the team would appreciate you doing that as well.

You can also check out the Monsterplex blog and submit a sketch request to series artist David Schlotterback or simply check out the behind-the-scenes blog posts, podcast links, character sketches–and a bunch of other cool stuff. The blog is extremely well done, so drop by and give it a good look.

Parting is Such Sweet Sorrow

Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you soon with another post about writing comedy. And maybe next time I’ll say something that’s actually–you know–funny.

Smallville and SIDEWISE Commentary

Good Morning, Good Afternoon and Goodnight

No matter where you are in the world, I’ve got you covered.

Anyway, I wanted to write a blog combining the Smallville news and the newest SIDEWISE commentary page. SIDEWISE Page 25 was posted on our Zuda Comics page shortly after 10:30 AM EST.

Have you read it yet?

Okay… moving right along.

Liberty Movement on Smallville

Back in 2005, I was approached by my friend–and Dead Men Tell No Tales colorist–Michael DeVito about writing a 12-page story for his soon-to-be-published science-fiction anthology Space Doubles. Michael had decided to go into publishing for himself (WHAT WAS HE THINKING?!), and was putting together the staff to make it happen. He had already created a site and a name for the company: Th3rdworld Studios, and his Business Director, Scott Closter, had talked Michael into publishing a sci-fi flip-book with retro-styled stories and art.

Needless to say, I immediately agreed to write a story. I’m all about the retro sci-fi (in case you didn’t notice).

The result was an action-packed tale titled “The Liberty Movement” that took place in a world where the Nazis won World War 2 and subjugated the globe.

But I digress.

When Michael asked me to get a cover, my first choice was UK superstar artist Andie Tong. I was a big fan of Andie’s work on the CrossGen/MVCreations Masters of the Universe books, so I decided to contact him.

Andie is such a cool guy. He immediately agreed to illustrate a cover for the book.

Sadly, Space Doubles #4 never happened, and Andie’s cover never graced the racks of comic shops as it should have.

I’ll admit… I wasn’t happy about it.

Happily (there’s gotta be a happy ending, right?), it does appear–along with the “Liberty Movement” story–in the Space Doubles trade paperback, along with stories written by my friends Leah Moore and John Reppion, or, as I like to refer to them: “England’s Dynamic Duo of Comic Books,” the super-imaginative Mark Andrew Smith, and… well, I’m digressing again, aren’t I? Why don’t you check out the Space Doubles page for a listing of the many talented writers and artists who contributed to the book.

Here. Here is the stunning cover by Andie Tong…

Liberty Movement!

And here is a spoilerrific image from the February 12th episode of Smallville (Check it: Zatanna totally wants to buy my book)…

View Larger Image Here!

So be sure to watch Smallville on February 12th so you can see the cover and say “Hey, that was a cover for Dwight MacPherson’s Liberty Movement. And Land o’ Goshen, Andie Tong’s cover is finally getting its due! ROCK ON!”

I would encourage you to rock out on air guitar as you say this.

Do it for Andie.

SIDEWISE Commentary Page 25

The last time we saw young Master Graham, it appeared Doctor Tesla was frying his brain. We learn here, however, that Adam has been allowed to see all (?) of Tesla’s memories using the cerebral goggle device doohickey.

And he didn’t like what he saw. Not one bit.

This is an extremely important exchange because it calls Tesla’s character into question. Is he England’s future savior, or has he been party to the rise of the police state created by the Queen’s brain?

And is the revered Nikola Tesla actually a murderer?!

Read on, dear friends. All will be revealed.

Good day, Goodnight, Th-Th-Th-That’s All, Folks

I sincerely appreciate each and every one of you who has taken the time to read my long and rambling blog post.

But, hey… that’s what you’ve come to expect. Right?

Zombie Custer and New Interagents

How’s This?

As promised, I will attempt to update my blog more frequently. Sadly, I won’t be able to post daily updates as I’d like to, but that’s the price I pay for working on a ton of cool projects.

AccentUK Western Anthology

Sensational artist Kirk Manley and I did a wonderfully gruesome story for British publisher AccentUK’s Western anthology. Our story is a tale of retribution in the EC vein titled “The 7th Will Rise Again.” Copies of Western can be purchased directly through AccentUK’s store by clicking HERE.

Here’s an exclusive preview of “The 7th Will Rise Again.”

This volume also includes work from comic legend Stephen Bissette, my dear friends Leah Moore and John Reppion, and Kieron Gillen–as well as the UK’s brightest and best writers and artists. So please… pick up your copy today. I’m certain you will enjoy it!

New Interagents

As you have probably guessed by now, I decided to move INTERAGENTS to my good friend Michael DeVito’s Th3rd World Studios. As a result of the changeover, INTERAGENTS #3 has not been available for purchase.

That’s about to change.

I’m happy to report that copies of INTERAGENTS #3 will be available for purchase very, very soon.

In the meantime, here’s another exclusive preview featuring cover art by Ben Morse and interior art by Valerio Giangiordano…

Cover by Ben Morse
Page 1
Page 2
Page 3
Page 4
Page 5

Time For Me To Fly

All right… I’ve got a lot of work to do and not much time to do it, so I’ll close for now. I’ll be sure to post more soon-ish.

Alternate Distribution Options Part 2

Mic Check… Is This Thing On?

It would appear that my exchange with a certain online persona is gaining more attention than what I’m actually saying. I’ll be honest with you: I don’t care. If all that’s required to raise creator awareness is that I “stick it to” or “tweak” someone for their shortsightedness, so be it. It’s obviously gaining the attention of creators and small press publishers, so I’m glad it happened.

Alternate Distribution Options by the Numbers, Continued

3. Webcomics – As you may or may not know, my webcomic The Surreal Adventures of Edgar Allan Poo was nominated for a Harvey Award last year. I was not aware of the advertising broker Project Wonderful when I fist posted my webcomic. Now… I will freely admit that I do not have firsthand information about Project Wonderful yet, but I have signed up for the service and will be using it from this point forward. Friend and Th3rdworld Studios’ Publisher Michael DeVito subscribes to the service and has told me that he is seeing a steady stream of income from Project Wonderful, so I decided to give it a shot. I’ll be sure to let you know how that goes.

According to Keenspot and ComicGenesis co-CEO Chris Crosby, the best approach is to “Put your comic on an attractive, easy-to-navigate website (use popular webcomics as an example) and then advertise it on popular webcomics using Project Wonderful. That will get you way more readers than WOWIO can right now, guaranteed, and you won’t have to sign a contract with Platinum Studios.”

Bottom line: You can generate a moderate to substantial income from webcomics. No doubt about it. If you don’t believe me, do a bit of research on Perry Bible Fellowship, PvP and Penny Arcade, to name a few. Combine a webcomic format with a POD publisher and you may have a recipe for big time success.


Chris Crosby informed me that “WOWIO has dropped in traffic by about 54% over the past three months according to It currently ranks as #144,150 in web traffic. If was an individual webcomic with that traffic rank, it would not be considered popular. The fact that is home to HUNDREDS of individual comics makes that rank even more sad.”

Yikes! I stand corrected. Thank you, Chris, for chiming in!

Addendum 2:

Look for Ka-Blam to make a major announcement in the next few days in light of Diamond’s new threshold change. Write this down, Rich! *poke poke*

Audi 5000

I’m afraid that’s all the time I have time today. My children are (more) rambunctious (than usual), so I’m going to take them over to my folks’ to burn off some energy. After an hour or two of snow ball fights and snow angels, I may have some time to write. Or not.