The Temporal – Now on ComiXology!

“Art is never finished, only abandoned.”  – Leonardo da Vinci

Today sees the digital release of my sci-fi comic book The Temporal!

While I’ve been selling this 32-page one-shot at conventions for the past few months, I finally decided to toss it up on ComiXology for just $0.99 and make it accessible to the masses.

The Temporal, with art by Kristian Rossi, is the story of a young scientist who is contracted by the U.S. Military to crack the secrets of time travel. But before he hands the project over to the military, he just needs to make one small adjustment to his past. And of course, that’s where things go bonkers.

This comic book has kind of a neat story behind it and I wanted to share it. Besides, this is my websites, so I have carte blanche to do whatever I want.

Want to hear a secret? The Temporal was actually one of my first comics I made.

Pause for dramatic effect. Cut to reaction shot.

Despite the fact that in our present day it is the year 2015 (I’m serious, check a calendar), this comic book has been complete since 2012.

Temporal_pg01In fact, this is the project that originally brought me together with Argentinian artist Kristian Rossi. I was advertising online for someone to draw my time travel comic and as luck would have it, Kristian was looking to get hired to make a comic book. He was kind enough to read over the script he agreed to come aboard for the one-shot and over the course of several months in 2011 we put the thing together.

Right as we finished The Temporal I got word that my crime-fiction miniseries Chambers had been greenlit for publication by Arcana Studio. In a spin of bad luck, the original artist who had done the pitch pages and was attached to the book dropped out. Don’t you hate it when that happens? It was up to me to find a replacement or put the project on the shelf. Working with Kristian had been such a positive experience–super professional, super nice, super talented–so I pitched him the 4-issue miniseries to see if it would be up his alley.

Kristian already had a great dark, noirish style, which was a perfect match for Chambers and after reading the scripts he did a test page to show the publisher he could handle completing the book from the ground up. Between you, me and the walls, the pages Kristian produced knocked the former artist out of the water. He brought this great cinematic eye to the world and I’m still super proud of the series, which came out in 2013.

As a side note, Kristian also helped me through one of the toughest parts of Chambers… the ending. If you’ve read the comic (and if you haven’t, do us both a solid and check it out) you may be aware that it has a whopper of an ending. It was an ending I worried might not be the right one. When I brought up the idea of changing it, Kristian told me that when he read the original scripts the ending gave him chills. Chills! We kept it. And I’m glad we did.

Temporal_pg02With time, budgets and energies being put into Chambers over the course of 2012/2013, The Temporal had to take a back seat. Kristian had penciled and inked all 32 pages and I had every intention of getting it colored, but the funds to do so constantly went toward other things. Once Chambers had wrapped I dove into The Undoubtables. Once that wrapped I was knee-deep in Unit 44. It was quickly becoming apparent that, must to my dismay, The Temporal was going to stay on the shelf for some time. Other things were cooking and since the stove was hot I had to keep putting on the Jiffy Pop. That’s a weird analogy, right there.

Then something interesting happened… as reviews started to come in for Chambers, a recurring theme from the reviewers bubbled to the surface… many offered that Kristian’s line work was strong and could likely stand on its own without color. Several reviewers said they would have loved to have read the crime series in black and white.

As I thought back on that a few months ago, it hit me… here I was just sitting on The Temporal… a Kristian Rossi goldmine of black and white comic pages. While the story is from early in my career, rather than hold the book hostage in a closet, I should put it out there to let fans of time travel stories enjoy the narrative and allow them to appreciate Kristian’s art.

Temporal_pg03While I would have loved to see the book in color, I think the comic is a great representation of two youthful creators who are made something together while having a whole lot of fun. It’s like with rock music… a band has their entire life to write their first album and only two years to write the second. This is why the first album is always favored in the long run: they don’t know the rules. More importantly, they don’t care about the rules.

So it’s done. The Temporal is out today on ComiXology for anyone who would like to give it a read. I owe a lot to the experience of making it.

Look at it this way… without The Temporal there would be no Chambers. Without Chambers, no Undoubtables. No Unit 44. No Hipsters Vs. Rednecks. It’s the butterfly effect in action.

I spent two years working with Kristian and he’s an awesome friend and collaborator. Go enjoy his talents and hard work then give him an e-high five. The dude’s amazing.

2014 in review

Over my last few years in comics, I’ve really come to understand the idea of working ahead. This may come as a shock, but comic books don’t come together overnight. It takes man hours of pecking away at a keyboard for writers, many hours at the drawing board for artists, and many hours in front of Photoshop and Illustrator for colorists and letterers for even 22 meager pages to come together into a complete narrative. Even though everyone is working toward a common goal, it often takes a year (or more) from the day a project begins to when it sees the light of day (sometimes even longer if the project goes to print). What I’ve learned is that each year, you’re essentially working on what you hope and plan to see the light of day the following calendar year.

Though this year was small for me on the release side, 2014 brought several projects to the shelves that I was very proud of. Though they were completed over the course of 2013 (and some even 2012) I couldn’t be happier to watch them come to life as I worked on the comics that will ideally be thrust upon the world in 2015. (More on that later.)

Hoodwinked
Shortly after my crime-fiction miniseries Chambers (released in 2013 by Arcana Studio) was complete, artist Kristian Rossi and I started looking for something else to work on together. Indie publisher GrayHaven Comics, who has made a personal mission to promote up-and-coming creators, accepted my pitch for its The Gathering: Public Domain anthology. While I originally had dreams of writing a Zorro short, I instead went with Robin Hood and put my own twist on the classic tale by bringing the rogue into the present day of New York City, rather than keeping him in Sherwood Forest.

Because the comic would be printed in black and white, I envisioned the finished product as having a dark, gritty overtone and I pitched it to Kristian for consideration since his work on Chambers proved through and through that he was the man for the job. Thankfully, he was on board to draw the comic and we were off to the races. The final 4-page short was published in May. The 32-page anthology is still available in print for just $1.99.

YIR_1_Hoodwinked

The anthology features the talents of many up-and-comers along with Ray Goldfield, Kelly Williams, Eric Grissom and Phil Sloan, all of whom I really admire. You should check this collection out. It’s probably the best anthology I read all year.

The Undoubtables
After an extended gestation period my action/heist series The Undoubtables finally hit physical and digital shelves. The series had been picked up by UK publisher Markosia Enterprises near the beginning of 2012, and co-creator/artist Emre Ozdamarlar and I worked on this book for roughly two years. Emre was in comic art school throughout the process so it was a fascinating process to watch him apply what he learned as he continued through the book and he was able to truly come into his own by the time we reached the end. The project was colored by Kefas Armando, who had colored Chambers the previous year, and Kell Smith provided us with some wonderful colors on the cover.

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Originally pitched and picked up as a miniseries, The Undoubtables read much better as a standalone piece and thus the decision was made to translate it directly to graphic novel format. It wasn’t my call, and I didn’t agree with it at first, but I actually believe it’s better for it. The 88-page adventure about career thief Spencer “Spade” Shelton and his crew robbing banks while dodging deadly mobsters and evading police was published in July and is available not only in a beautiful paperback, but also through just about every digital retailer you can name. It was my love letter to the heist genre with a crew of colorful characters overcoming impossible odds and outsmarting their enemies. The OGN can be picked up ComiXology for just $4. It’s a steal! Pun totally intended.

The series received several really great reviews across the internet and readers really seemed to enjoy how much fun this comic is. From the time the book starts it’s a wild goose chase between cops, robbers and some unpredictable mobsters who aren’t afraid to pull a trigger. I can’t thank Emre enough for the time he spent drawing and inking this book and it’s a project I’ll always look back on fondly.

In the Drink
My final physical publication of the year was a 3-page short in The Gathering: Survival anthology called In the Drink. Yet another project for indie publisher GrayHaven Comics, my pitch was accepted by the book’s editor and I turned this project around super quick with the help of the ever-talented artist Robyn Seale and it was published in September. I enjoy contributing to anthologies because it typically allows me to experiment with ideas and concepts that I may not want to dedicate an entire series to. With Hoodwinked I was able to work with a public domain character while dramatically changing the setting, and I decided that for this tale I would write a comic short that was completely silent.

YIR_3_Drink

When there aren’t any words on the comic page, the artist must shoulder the load of telling the story and I think Robyn did an amazing job with translating my outline to the page. Even though this is one of the shortest comics I’ve ever written we were able to establish a beginning, middle and end and still leave the reader with an emotional gut-punch. My idea for a Survival-themed anthology was simple…what happens when two people involved in a car accident come face to face. And more importantly, what happens if that interaction takes place underwater.

At the time of this writing, I haven’t seen the finished anthology with my own eyes, but it’s available in print from GrayHaven for just $3.50 and contains nearly 40-pages of comics from upcoming creators.

Innovation
After starting my sci-fi web comic in November of 2013, I tried to keep the train rolling and since the project debuted online, myself and a rotating stable of very talented artists have delivered a new short comic each month. Though each installment is drawn by someone different, the narrative keeps going, constantly building upon itself and hopefully setting up quite a mystery for those who are actively reading it.

YIR_4_Inn

This year we published 52 pages of the comic online (that’s a page a week!) with plenty more still to come. I’m thankful that the participating artists have donated their time and talents to keeping the story going and I’m keeping my fingers crossed that we can finish out the first volume in 2015. A big thanks goes out to contributors Stan ChouDamon Threet, Crisuadi Crasmaru, Jay Hernandez, Paul McCallan, Harpreet Brar and Fludi Stohr for lending their talents, along with my pals Brad Burdick and J. Jacob Barker who contributed one-shots set in the same world.

So how does 2014 stack up in my comics career since I started writing funnybooks in 2011? Let’s take a look at the numbers.

Pages written in 2011: 223 (They weren’t very good)
Pages written in 2012: 473 (These were better!)
Pages written in 2013: 267 (These were publishable!)
Pages written in 2014: 352

And how about pages published?

Pages published in 2011: Zero. Zip. Zilch. None.
Pages published in 2012: 3
Pages published in 2013: 119
Pages published in 2014: 147

What’s that? Who keeps track of stats like that? Not me…that would…uh…that would be uber dorky.

The Undoubtables review round-up #1

It’s been a few months since The Undoubtables, my action/heist comic with Emre Ozdamarlar, hit print and roughly 30 days since it went live digitally and a steady stream of reviews are starting to flow in.

I wanted to take a moment to share them with you in case you were still on the fence about purchasing the 96-page comic!

“…Locher has something really neat on his hands. Undoubtedly, this is one you should pay attention to.”
Cody “The Thorverine” Ferrell @ Comic Book Therapy | Read full review

“If you’re looking for a fast-paced, intriguing crime comic, than look no further than The Undoubtables. Wes Locher keeps the pedal buried and doesn’t let up until you flip that last page.”
Brad Gischia @ Bag and Bored | Read full review

“If you are a fan of crime thrillers with an interesting cast of unique characters, look no further than this 96-page, action packed graphic novel.”
–  Daniel Celabu @ FA Comics | Read full review

“Billed as “Ocean’s Elven” meets “Payback” the Undoubtables is an interesting story of crime and revenge.”
– Chuck Suffel @ What’cha Reading? | Read full review

Don’t forget that we have a FREE 7-page preview of the graphic novel that you can check out right here. If you like what you see, do me a solid and pick up the book from Amazon or digitally from ComiXology, for your Kindle, on your Nook, and if you look hard enough, I’m sure there’s a website that will inject the comic directly into your brain. Technology is amazing.

Copies of the trade paperback arrived at my door a few days ago! I’ll be selling them at the 2014 Panama City Creative Con this weekend and they’ll hit my web store shortly thereafter. Publisher Markosia Enterprises did a beautiful job on these!

TU_Trades-web

The Undoubtables hits ComiXology

After being released in paperback and Kindle formats last month, my action/heist comic THE UNDOUBTABLES has debuted on ComiXology courtesy of publisher Markosia Enterprises!

Myself and co-creator, artist Emre Ozdamarlar, are super excited for you to check out the book and share your thoughts with us. ComiXology has the full 96-page graphic novel available for just $3.99. How can you pass that up??

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Once you’ve read it, don’t forget to return to ComiXology and rate the title (or do so from the iPhone/iPad/Android app).

To whet your whistle a bit, Emre and I are bringing you a free 7-page preview of the book! Click right here or on the image below to see how the adventure begins!

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Interview: Vodka O’Clock Podcast 2

A week ago I made my triumphant return to the Vodka O’Clock podcast where I chatted with host Amber Love about my new heist graphic novel THE UNDOUBTABLES, published in July by Markosia Enterprises, and my upcoming sci-fi/comedy comic book UNIT 44, to be published soon by Alterna Comics.

If you’d like to hear us gab for an hour about our favorite real life heists, writing for graphic novels and the inspirations behind the story, click here to give the episode a listen.

We’ll make your commute that much sweeter. You can also download the podcast from iTunes or Stitcher radio.