2013 in Review

I had spent the majority of 2011 and 2012 making plans. Setting goals. Crying and rocking back and forth in the shower. And this year, everything began to pay off.

In life, people always seem to come back to their childhood loves, and for me, that meant comic books. In my youth, my friends and I would dream of putting together our own comics and spend countless hours swapping issues in order to save some cash while still enjoying the many events of the Marvel and DC Universes. After my music career (if you could call mostly getting paid in beer a career) started to lose its luster, I knew that I needed somewhere new to focus my creative energies, and comics were it. I was finally going to write the comics I had always dreamed of. It would be a small success for myself and my childhood friends, whether they were aware it was happening or not.

I spent a lot of time at the keyboard writing and talking with potential artists and in 2012 wheels began to turn and ink began to hit paper. Finally, in 2013, all of those crazy ideas started becoming a reality.

You May Already be a Winner – This five-page short, graciously drawn by artist Jacob Warrenfeltz was released in The Gathering: Crime anthology by GrayHaven Comics in July. The anthology was originally slotted to run a five-page short of my character Denise who went on to star in Chambers (more on that later) but I had to pull the pages from production, but luckily editor Douglas Hahner allowed me to re-pitch a story to fill the void.

This book will always hold a special place in my heart because it was the first comic story that someone else paid to print (it’s the little victories). You can pick up a copy of the 32-page anthology here.

ChambersTradeCoverWebChambers – In September, my four-issue crime-fiction miniseries (is there a theme developing?) Chambers was released by Arcana Studio. The book was part of a digital-first initiative where the publisher would release each issue through the ComiXology platform and then ultimately collect them into a physical trade paperback. This comic has the honor of being the first book signed to Arcana by former VP of Publishing Erik Hendrix.

In a twist of fate, the original artist backed out of the project right as the contract was on the table and I had the daunting task of finding a suitable replacement. Luckily, I was working with collaborator extraordinaire Kristian Rossi on another project at the time. He was interested in taking up the reigns and submitted a test page which ended up coming out better than I ever could have imagined. Erik agreed that he’d be a good fit and contracts were signed and production began. Colors for the book were provided by Kefas Armando who gave a gritty realism to the pages.

For a first miniseries, I’m proud of how this book came out. Reviews have been positive and it will always be a fun shoot-em-up cop story that I enjoyed telling. A big thanks to Erik Hendrix for believing in the project, his wife Amanda Hendrix, for helping me edit and providing an honest and helpful voice of reason, and everyone at Arcana for promoting the project as the issues released. The physical trade will be published in March of 2014, but in the meantime, the digital collection is available on ComiXology here.

Timeless – Also in September, GrayHaven Comics hooked me up again by publishing a three-page short in the anthology The Gathering: Sci-Fi 2, a follow up to their most popular collection to date. For this time travel tale, I collaborated with artist Michael Nigro who brought amazing detail to each panel and drew many awesome historical locations. I wrote a lot of short comics over the last year but each one  presented it’s own set of difficulties, obstacles and learning opportunities. I appreciate the GrayHaven crew for all of their constant support in encouraging me to write really crazy things.

Michael has gone on to work on some really awesome wild west-inspired projects so be sure to surf over to his website to see all of the cool things that he has drawn in the past year. You can pick up the Sci-Fi 2 antho, featuring 38 pages of great stories here.

InnovationCover_smallInnovation – Back in July, I came up with this crazy idea to write an ongoing comic book series and utilize a myriad of artists to help tell the tale. Over the course of one weekend I wrote the first five scripts and began mapping out a world, characters, plot points and all sorts of other craziness. Little did I realize that artists would understand what I was doing, think it was cool and want to be part of it. Fast forward to October. I’m headed to the New York Comic Con with printed copies of the first issue of Innovation in tow. It all came together quickly and beautifully. In NYC, I even got some hang time in with one of the issue’s contributors.

In November, we took the project online as a free, albeit non-traditional webcomic and to date more than 100 pages have been written for the series with over a dozen artists signing up to help bring it to life and put their stamp on the universe. A huge thank you goes out to the original team of Ken Perry, Mike Hatfield, Damon Threet and Stan Chou who helped establish the look, feel and tone of the world and who have supplied many a great idea in the process. Reception for the book has been warm with some great reviews, but there’s so much more coming and I’ve only scratched the surface. For anyone who’s reading it and is just completely confused…that’s okay. That feeling is normal. Answers will come soon. Read the first four chapters for free at www.innovationcomic.com.

Compromised – Also in November, GrayHaven Comics continued to treat me kindly with the release of The Gathering: Spies anthology. For this three-page short I teamed up with Tomasz Witas for a dark and gritty tale of an elderly spy confronting his greatest nemesis one more time.

I want to extend an especially large thank you to Tomasz, because after having eight different artists work on the story, he’s the person who came on board and fully brought it to life. I recently got my hands on a copy of the book and I was proud to see that we were the last story featured. It’s always nice to influence how someone feels when they end a book! Grab the 36-page anthology right here.

That was it!

That was my 2013 in comics. Not bad by any stretch of the imagination and it was nice to see some projects that I’d been living with for over a year finally see the light of day and be able to share them with readers.

If you’re a numbers person (I am not), here’s how it all shook out:

Pages published in 2011: (A big, fat whopping) zero.
Pages published in 2012: 3
Pages published in 2013: 119

Now, I’m no mathematician, but this year showed at least a 9,000% increase in published work.

You may be asking yourself, after reading that extremely long block of text that came prior to this line, “What’s next, Wes?”

Awesome things.

January 2014:

Hoodwinked – GrayHaven Comics will release a four-page short that I penned for The Gathering: Public Domain anthology. The story features art by Chambers-alum, Kristian Rossi and it was great to work with such a talented fellow for the third time. The anthology is slated for January and once it’s released, I hope you’ll pick it up to see how I handle a classic public domain character that everyone will recognize.

Early 2014:

Unit 44 – I also plan to release the first issue of my sci-fi/comedy comic Unit 44 that I successfully funded via Kickstarter in September. Art for book is being completed by Eduardo Jimenez, who has been an absolute joy and pleasure to work with. Because this book doesn’t have a publisher attached, I’m quite excited about the prospect of self-publishing it myself to see what will happen.

The Undoubtables – While my adventure/heist book with Emre Ozdamarlar is still in production, it comes closer to completion with each passing day. This was the first book I ever signed a contract with a publisher for and I’m ecstatic with how this book is shaping up and excited to reveal the publisher who will be bringing it to you. It’s a fun story with some great characters and I anticipate readers being able to pick it up digitally within the first quarter of the year. Colors were handled by Chambers-alum Kefas Armando and it’s a good looking book full of adventurous and explosive fun.

April 2014:

In the Drink – Come April, GrayHaven will drop another short of mine in The Gathering: Survival anthology. This collection will feature a three-page story that I wrote with art by the fun-loving Robyn Seale. I’m really excited about this one because there are no words in the entire story. I didn’t need them because Robyn did an absolutely amazing job at telling the reader everything they needed to know with her art.

TBA 2014:

Innovation – With more than a dozen artists signed on to help keep the sci-fi story going, I expect to be dropping 20 pages worth of story every few months. The second issue should go online in December 2013 or first thing in January, as well as numerous other times throughout the year. Stay tuned as our first arc continues!

The Temporal – This was the first project that brought me together with Kristian Rossi, and hilariously enough, the last of our collaborations to be released. This 32-page one-shot is a story about a young scientist who discovers the secrets of time travel and all of the crazy stuff that happens in such a scenario. This story has been folded into the world of Innovation and will set the stage for some interesting things across both titles. Stay tuned for some fun news on this one!

New Life – We got a great start on this miniseries, managing to complete the first issue in 2013, but since artist Logan Miller and I are both students, time is not always on our side. I’m hoping that we’ll be able to complete the final three issues in the new year and serve them up to you, piping hot at some point. Stay tuned for more news as it develops!

Did you really read this far? Holy crap…I feel like you deserve a prize.

I hope you have a safe and happy holiday and a prosperous 2014!

Chambers – The Digital Collection – Now on sale!

ChambersTradeCoverWebAnother milestone reached!

Last month, the fourth and final issue of my crime-fiction miniseries CHAMBERS, with art by Kristian Rossi and colors by Kefas Armando, arrived digitally via ComiXology!

It brought my story of crooked cops and family ties to a close and felt good to have a full limited series under my belt.

But wait — THERE’S MORE!

Today, the digital collected edition, which features all 4 issues for $5.99 is now available on ComiXology! If you didn’t read the issues as they were originally released (and yes, that hurts) get them all now and save some cash in the process.

In one fell swoop you can check out all 88 pages of the series and catch up on a fun, bloody and adrenaline-fueled tale of revenge and family. I sincerely hope that you’ll give it a read and I welcome any feedback that you care to share.

Next stop? The PRINT version of the collected edition will be here in March of 2014, published by Arcana Studio.

Chambers – Digital Collected Edition – Coming Tomorrow!

You may be excited for the holidays, but here’s some news that I hope will serve to skyrocket that enthusiasm…

The digital collected edition of my crime comic CHAMBERS will hit ComiXology tomorrow!

Wha?

Okay, let me break it down… From September through November we launched four separate issues of Chambers digitally, but if you waited to pick up the book, tomorrow will be your chance to grab all four issues for one low price. You’ll also be treated to an as-of-yet unseen cover by series artist Kristian Rossi!

But, Wes… where’s the physical trade paperback that I can hold in my hands and read while I use the bathroom?

Don’t you worry, bathroom readers, that version will be along in March of 2014 and soon I’ll have a cool little code that you can take to your local comic shop, give to the guy or gal at the counter and say “Here… order me this!”

If you REALLY can’t wait until tomorrow for the digital collection to read the 88-page series, you can still grab each issue for just $1.99 on ComiXology.

Chambers is published by Arcana Studio.

While I have your attention, below you’ll find a pin-up of the comic’s main gal, Denise Chambers, drawn by one of my favorite collaborators, Daniel Pereira dos Santos. He and I have some fun stuff coming up, so keep an eye out!

ChambersPinup7

Chambers – Issue #4 – Now on sale!

Today is the day!

The final issue of my crime-fiction miniseries CHAMBERS, with art by Kristian Rossi and colors by Kefas Armando, has arrived digitally via ComiXology!

This marks the conclusion of the miniseries that took readers on a wild romp through a world of crooked cops, bad decisions, bloody revenge and apartment shower curtains (you’ll have to read the book to understand that last part). Readers witnessed just how far Denise Chambers would go to find answers once someone began taking an axe to her family tree.

In the final installment, Denise’s friendship with Bruce may be shattered, but he’s the only one left who can give her answers.

If you’re up for reading your comics digitally, just $8 will get you all four issues of the series, or stay tuned to grab the digital trade paperback, which will be released on December, 18.

Chambers is published by Arcana Studio.

Chambers Pin-up Series #6

It all ends tomorrow.

The final issue of my crime-fiction comic book CHAMBERS, with Kristian Rossi and Kefas Armando, will hit ComiXology and bring the 4-issue miniseries to a close.

To commemorate this landmark in my career, I’ve been releasing Chambers-themed pin-ups every few days to show you the characters through other artist’s eyes. Previously, I’ve shared the work of Jasen Rosselot, Shaun Ramkissoon and Kelly Williams and today I reveal great piece from Eduardo Jimenez, my artistic collaborator on the upcoming sci-fi/comedy comic, UNIT 44, which we recently funded via Kickstarter.

I appreciate the roster of talented artists who contributed to building on the Chambers universe and I really hope you’ll give the book a read! Enjoy crime? Detectives? Shoot-outs? Hopelessness? This will be right up your alley.

Chambers is published through Arcana Studio and the first three issues are available digitally through ComiXology for $1.99 each. Just $6 gets you all caught up for the finale!

ChambersPinup6