Roman Dirge to Cover Imaginary Voyages of Edgar Allan Poe #2

dirgeI am thrilled to announce that my longtime friend, Roman Dirge, is providing a cover for the Kickstarter-exclusive printed edition of The Imaginary Voyages of Edgar Allan Poe #2!

I don’t often tell the story of how I became friends with this brilliant creator and artist, but I would like to share it with you here because it is such an uncommon story.  Especially in the comic industry.

jim reaperBack in 2006 my black humor comic, Jim Reaper: Week One, was released by the now-defunct publisher, Silent Devil Productions. Around that same time I discovered the brilliant comic from Slave Labor Graphics called Lenore. Of course, I recognized the title immediately as an homage to Edgar Allan Poe, so I picked it up from my local comic shop. What I found inside was gorgeous art and spot-on comedic genius. I was an instant fan. As I said, Silent Devil had released Jim Reaper–which has a similar tone to Lenore–so I decided to contact Dirge, send a digital copy of Jim Reaper: Week One to him, and ask if there was any possibility that artist Mathieu Benoit and I could make a Lenore meets Jim Reaper strip for a future issue of Lenore. To my surprise, Dirge loved my comic and agreed to it right away. This was at the end of 2006.

Fast forward to early 2007. Dirge was busy in the animation field (including writing Invader ZIM with his buddy, Jhonen Vasquez) and artist Mathieu Benoit I had created the Jim Reaper spin-off, Lil’ Hellions: A Day at the Zoo, which was also published by Silent Devil Productions. In addition, I was embroiled in several comic and webcomic projects, including a little webcomic titled “The Surreal Adventures of Edgar Allan Poo.” In other words, Dirge and I were both extremely busy doing other things. Mathieu and I had completed the Lenore meets Jim Reaper strip several months earlier, but it was just sitting in a folder on my computer. It had basically been forgotten. Or so I thought.

lenore_13In June of 2007, however, I saw Dirge post an update on his Facebook page that basically said, “Hey, who is the guy I promised a strip in the next issue of Lenore? I need the strip ASAP.” Of course, I quickly responded, and Lenore Meets Jim Reaper was published the next month in Lenore #13.

Since then, Dirge and I have both been extremely busy, but we’ve managed to stay in touch. I’ve never told him how much I appreciate him and the fact that he kept his word. Over the course of my decade+ in the comics industry I’ve been promised lots of things by a lot of people and been left holding the bag more times than I’d care to admit. But not by Dirge. And for that, I will always be one of his biggest fans.

So there you have it, folks. My ode to Roman Dirge. That’s why I am absolutely over the moon that he is illustrating the cover for The Imaginary Voyages of Edgar Allan Poe #2. He’s a super talented guy, yes, but he’s also a man of integrity, and a friend that I value very much.

-Dwight

 

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It’s Poe Wednesday!

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Happy Poe Wednesday, my friends! Every Wednesday we will be posting a new page of the prequel to The Imaginary Voyages of Edgar Allan Poe, Terra Somnium, on Line Webtoon! So please go check it out, like it, subscribe, and share! And, hey, if you enjoy what me and artist Louise Fitzpatrick are doing, please become a patron and help us to continue making it!

READ TERRA SOMNIUM HERE! 

-D

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!

Happy 120th Birthday to H.P. Lovecraft!

H.P. Lovecraft is a huge inspiration to Dwight and me, so it is only fitting that we salute the original king of scream on his 120th birthday!

And talk about serendipity, Dwight just happens to be editing a script this morning for the second installment of Howard Lovecraft and the Frozen Kingdom.

Well, Ladies and Gentlemen, season one of SIDEWISE has officially wrapped! What a ride it was and so much more action to come. I leave you with a quote from the birthday man himself:

“I have dwelt ever in realms apart from the visible world; spending my youth and adolescence in ancient and little-known books, and in roaming the fields and groves of the region near my ancestral home. I do not think that what I read in these books or saw in these fields and groves was exactly what other boys read and saw there; but of this I must say little, since detailed speech would but confirm those cruel slanders upon my intellect which I sometimes overhear from the whispers of the stealthy attendants around me.”

H.P. Lovecraft

“The Tomb”

Have a great weekend everyone!

Rebecca

The Future of SIDEWISE?

What’s Going on?

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On July 1st, Zuda announced that they were being “folded into DC Comics’ exciting, new Digital Publishing initiative.” Since the announcement was made, I have received numerous phone calls, e-mails, DMs and private messages asking if SIDEWISE will be included in DC Comics’ digital catalog.

It is a question that I am not at liberty to answer.

Yet.

But I will tell you this: You will most certainly see new SIDEWISE in the near future.

More News to Come

Please stay tuned for future developments, and thank you for your overwhelming support and encouragement. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate it.

SIDEWISE Commentary Page 45 (Thursday, June 17th)

Salutations, Lords and Ladies!

This has been an extremely busy week. So much good stuff going on, it’s a pity I can’t share any of it yet.

But I will spill the beans very, very soon.

Sidewise Logo

SIDEWISE Page 45

Gascoine would make a great host for the Inquisition–don’t you think? “My name is Gascoine. I’ll be your torturer today.”

Sadly, the storm will bring much more than a Tesla-powered dirigible.

Until Next Week…

Sorry for the short entry, but I have a lot of exciting projects to get to work on (including a second novel).

Oh, and thank you for supporting SIDEWISE! I appreciate each and every one of you.

SIDEWISE Commentary Page 44 (Thursday, June 10th)

TA-DA!

As promised, here is your weekly SIDEWISE commentary page. I will continue to post commentary each Thursday as we conclude the third act of Season 1.

Unless I’m trapped in a parallel universe (again)… in which case, my lovely wife Rebecca will publish an updated blog post.


SIDEWISE illustration by the super-talented writer/artist Andrew Drilon

SIDEWISE Page 44

Wait a tick. Did Adam just say “that none of us would survive?!”

Indeed. No one is safe in SIDEWISE.

No one.

Which is not to say that Adam will die, but it does make you think–doesn’t it?

Parting Shot

As you have no doubt surmised by now, SIDEWISE is a long-form story.

In order to continue into Season 2, I need your help.

The simplest way to assist us is to read SIDEWISE each week and leave a comment. Believe it or not, this will help us quite a bit. Zuda wants to see that people are reading. Why would they possibly continue a story no one cares about?

If you wish to do more to help, you can also post about SIDEWISE on your blog, link to SIDEWISE on your Facebook page, tweet about it–help spread the word. If you would like to post SIDEWISE banners on your blog, please contact me at lordnikolatesla@gmail.com and I’ll send them post haste.

We can’t do it without you, so please help us spread the word.

Special thanks to those who have supported us from the beginning, and thanks to those who will join the cause after reading this post.

I truly appreciate your assistance!

All right, I need to get back to work, so I’ll see you next week, Lords and Ladies.

SIDEWISE Commentary Page 28 (Thursday, February 18th)

Welcome, Fellow Time Travelers

I intended to post a follow-up to my entry on writing comedy before the new page of SIDEWISE posted–especially in light of the interest that submission generated.

To those who would create controversy, please see this eloquent and undeniably true quote from superstar author Orson Scott Card:

“The most important training, though, is to experience life as a writer, questioning everything, inventing multiple explanations for everything. If you do that, all the other things will come; if you don’t, there’s no hope for you.”

Lord Tesla

Page 28 Commentary

If you have not already read Page 28, please do so before reading this commentary piece.

We’ll wait for you.

*******

As you can see, there is more to Lord Tesla than meets the eye!

But… while it is true that Tesla possesses advanced technological cognition–knowledge not consistent with the time period–has he truly traveled to another universe? And, if he has, then why bring Adam into a conflict in an alternate world instead of returning him to his own time?

It seems highly unlikely (but not impossible) that Tesla would lie to Adam. Especially after sharing the sordid secrets of his life.

When dealing with such enigmatic personalities, however, true intentions are not always immediately apparent, and lies become nothing more than means of manipulation.

Ah, but this may be much ado about nothing! It is best to see the story unfold without jumping to conclusions–don’t you think?

I’ll Be Back

Thank you for reading this week’s SIDEWISE commentary page! We have seen our views and favorites numbers explode at the Zuda site, so thanks for spreading the word! We truly appreciate your support and willingness to spread the word about our little steampunk extravaganza.

Until next week… adieu.

SIDEWISE Commentary Page 27 (Thursday, February 11th)

Full Steam Ahead!

Good morning, good afternoon and good evening, Lords and Ladies, and thank you for joining us for another page of SIDEWISE commentary! If you have not already read the newly-posted SIDEWISE Page 27, please do so now.

We’ll hold the dirigible until you return.

Me

Page 27 Commentary

Sometimes there is no choice but to trust. Especially when hope is fading and the immensity of a situation begins to sink in. Adam is in such a situation. Despite what he has learned about Nikola Tesla–which will remain a mystery for now–Adam appears to have an insoluble problem. Even with the assistance of one of the greatest scientific minds the world has ever seen, can he actually repair the device in 1902 London?

And what has Wells and Hopping–well–hopping?

We shall see.

Nikola Tesla – El Mago Olvidado (The Forgotten Magician)

Check out this wonderful Tesla mini-documentary sent to me by my friend Juan Felipe Salcedo.

I’m always on the lookout for cool Tesla videos and pictures, so please feel free to post cool links on my blog.

MacPherson Media News

I can’t share much… yet, but here are a few (of the many) things I’m currently working on:

  • * A secret project with my lovely wife and writing partner Rebecca MacPherson and phenomenal artist Michael Stearns.
  • * A project with good friends and Zuda alum Juan Felipe Salcedo and Gus Higuera.
  • * My first novel (with Rebecca), which shall remain nameless for now.
  • * A comic book project with (my big brother and) co-writer Bruce Brown, artist Randy Valiente and colorist Erik Fokkens.
  • I Believe It’s Time For Me To Fly

    Sorry for the REO Speedwagon reference, but I’m old.

    *AHEM*

    Thank you for reading! See you next week with a brand new commentary post.