Kickstart your horror
Welcome back, true believers.
I'm truly excited this week because not only do we have some of my favorite guests that the blog has hosted, but I also get to officially announce that "Corsair", the comic book I'm doing with Leeds writer Nick Gonzo, has launched it's Kickstarter campaign. If you jump in early you'll be able to snag some stylized extras from Gonzo's fertile imagination as well as original commisioned artwork from myself. As explained last week, you won't see another chance at a commission by me until at least 2018, so act fast.
I'm very excited about Corsair because it's precisely the type of story for which I'm best suited as an illustrator. I completed the drawings for this comic book in January and have moved on and through several smaller projects since then. My focus has changed a few times to different areas including a big time-consuming Indigenous Peoples jam piece mural (I'm one quarter Chickasaw, for the record). Recently as the lettered and colored Corsair pages have been coming across my desk I've been reminded of how special this story is going to be. Madius Comics has cut no corners on their process. They let the project marinate and mature until they had it to the standard they thought it deserved. The result is an absolutely gorgeous book with a great story in the most professional package.
You're going to love it.
I'll certainly be talking more about Corsair as the Kickstarter campaign progresses and sharing a lot of progress art and especially behind the scenes evolution. Today I only want to briefly shine light on how I became involved.
It's not difficult for a person to glance over the comic selections on Kickstarter and get a bearing for what sells in the marketplace. The hot projects are frequently created with a fantasy manga slant and advertise a sexual identity related story. Kickstarter is like a glass walled house into which you can peer and actually design a crowdfunding pitch that flows with the proven currents of success. It's no secret that more often than not the standard pitch that I receive from writers searching for an illustrator probably boils down to "medieval gay elves in space".
Nick Gonzo came at me with something very different and against the trend. Recognizing that I had no love for manga or huggy emotional tales, he put me to work building this moody world of rock and weathered wood. Of wet leather overcoats and spiced tobacco smelling rooms. Beguiling spined books from another time that have floated unnoticed onto the shadowed bookcases of a new and uninitiated generation. And the holdover man who governs the heft of their secrets, Blythe Corsair. Gonzo tapped my proclivity for old monster movies, film noir and character-driven revenge narratives.
As a creator I only have two speeds; obsessive and dismissive. I don't envy my collaborators because they will not only have to be burdened with successfully expressing themselves through the construction of their story, but they also become immediately embattled with fielding my ridiculously obsessive questions about the characters and their motivations.
I told Gonzo that I wanted to know what Blythe Corsair eats for breakfast. I got my answer. He's first introduced ordering early morning food at his preferred table in the city of Whitby.
When we were hammering out the look of the characters I told him that due to the nature of the storyline I couldn't help imagining Corsair as resembling another overcoated paranormal persuader, Vertigo's John Constantine. Gonzo had already set the hook in me with his concept, but he completely reeled me in with his response, "I see him looking like Johnny Cash."
I said, "You mean the young amphetamine-fueled Cash, right?" I couldn't imagine that a business-minded writer would consider using the broken down white-haired diabetes-swollen old performer as a protagonist. Think for a moment of the action figure sales.
Gonzo said "What do you think I mean? Does it sound like I want the young Johnny Cash?" Once Gonzo solidified that, I knew that we were creating a very original type of thing with this.
It was full steam ahead. I started drawing the script as it came and I actually had Gonzo racing to keep up. When I said I could give him a page of art a day, that didn't mean five a week... it meant seven.
Gonzo turned in a story so fantastic that I'd be hard pressed to find another that could better exploit my sensibilities and inclinations. It really is a perfect package to showcase what I love to do and I hope that it finds an audience because I know that Gonzo has a lot more in the hopper for Corsair further down the line. And I'm certainly onboard.
- Comic shops are a turn-off for me and the advent of the digital comic is what brought me back into the market as an adult. The first book I was fortunate enough to experience through Guided View display technology was the terrifically cinematic No Place Like Home created by skateboarder-turned-writer Angelo Tirotto.
He's by no means the first person to use the Oz stories to delve into horror (If you don't agree that Return To Oz is the scariest fucking movie on celluloid, we need to have a detailed conversation) but he's so good that Image Comics enthusiastically supported he and artist Richard Jordan's concept.
Five years later he has resurfaced with an ambitious array of forthcoming projects, most forceful of which is the soon to be revealed Manwolfs (not wolves).
He tells us about the lessons he learned while creating No Place Like Home, the comic scene in his native Portsmouth, and the low down on his new plans.
- Straight from everyone's favorite online Eastern European magic resource The Witch & Walnut we have Canada's own Slavic Witch. She's comfortable providing advice on happiness, love and intuition, but this week she was gracious enough to tease out the role that her personal creativity plays in her doctrine of the dark.
- It was a little too obvious for the Hayride's first product review to be someone's comic book. Instead, how could I resist this particular item which so uncannily blends peak points of my character? Blue humor, fringe monster films and anti natalism?
From the minds that brought you the Forever Midnight horror film podcast comes... the Necronomi-Condom.
I finally get to talk with the people behind the most fearless platform ever conceived, The Comic Jam.
We'll hear from the creators of bonkers "Fringe Cinema" Gabriella and Salem Kapsaski.
We'll meet Piers Hazell who says he gets "a buzz" when people see that he's turned their favorite feel-good cartoons into flesh-craving undead zombies.
All that plus insights and updates on my past and future projects. See you then on the Comix Voodoo Hayride.