Edison #1 available NOW!

The first issue of my new comic book series EDISON is available NOW!

One part James Bond, one part MacGyver, inventor Thomas Alva Edison uses his ingenuity and creativity to combat the scientific threats of the late 1880s.

Grab it digitally from ComiXology for just $0.99 or in print from my web store for $4!

This book is the culmination of one of my silliest ideas… what if we took the greatest scientific minds of the late 1800s (when most of the world’s technology was taking a significant leap forward) and clash them together as action heroes and villains in an alternate history setting?

They’re not superheroes, but rather the kind that use their minds, intelligence, and higher-than-average intellect to fight for science supremacy!

The first issue was drawn by the wonderful Giovanni Capurro with interior colors by Andrew Pate and we’re jumpstarting the series with a full 24 science-fueled pages! Get to know Thomas Edison, his bumbling assistant William Joseph Hammer, as well as the villainous Nikola Tesla!

Moving forward, each 12-page issue will have a different artist to help chronicle Edison’s adventures as he faces new adversaries, all of whom want to steal the title of “world’s smartest man (or woman!)”

Come for the action, stay for the jokes. I’d like to think that if Thomas Edison were still alive, he’d totally love this comic book. I hope you do, too.

Click here to pick up Edison #1 digitally at comixology.com for $0.99!
Click here to pick up Edison #1 in print from the web store for $4!

Upcoming Event: Free Comic Book Day 2016

It’s almost my favorite day of the year… FREE COMIC BOOK DAY is Saturday, May 7!

The reason I dig this holiday so much is because it brings comic lovers together all over the U.S. to celebrate the medium. Don’t get me wrong, conventions are a ton of fun, but with so many celebrities, T-shirt vendors, cosplayers, toymakers in the aisles, sometimes it’s hard to find people who are there for the comics.

During Free Comic Book Day, everyone is there for the comics. Not only are they there to scoop up free titles, but it gets new people into the shops and gives them an opportunity to see how much fun the experience can be.

FCBD

Each year for the past three years I’ve been fortunate to be invited to spend the day at Arena Comics and Gaming, a fine comic book shop in Panama City, Florida. And I’ll be back this year starting at 10 a.m. CT.

The event gives me an opportunity to meet and greet with the local comic-reading community, fellow writers and artists and the very nice people who run the store. I’m floored at the amount of support I get each year from people willing to toss down a couple bucks to pick up my crazy comics. It reminds me that all this hard work and rejection is bringing people joy. It’s an awesome experience.

This year I’ll join my pals Andrew Pate (colorist of my upcoming comics Edison, The Rocking Dead and 90 other things we’re not talking about yet) and Jayson Kretzer (artist/writer of Wannabe Heroes and my comic The Rocking Dead) who are two of the nicest people on planet Earth.

If you’re not able to come and get high fives from us, go to your local comic shop, meet the creators, pick up some free comics and maybe buy yourself a little somethin’ somethin’ to help support the shop. Then maybe go back the following Wednesday and buy some new comics. Then go the week after that until you’ve developed a habit you can no longer control.

What will I be stocking at FCBD2K16? I’ll be armed to the teeth with copies of Unit 44, The Undoubtables, Chambers, Maintenance, The Temporal, Hipsters Vs. Rednecks, and issue #1 of Edison! Don’t miss out!

Want to see what free comics you can pick up at no cost? Visit www.freecomicbookday.com

2016 in Preview: Symptoms

Last month I talked a bit about a new series I have in the pipeline, detailing the process which will soon lead to me unleashing the wacky science action/comedy Edison #1 (with Giovanni Capurro and Andrew Pate) on the public. (Read that here.) And while new miniseries are fun and whatnot, I wanted to spotlight a short story which will see release later this year.

I try to be selective with my anthology submissions. There are a ton out there, but you don’t want to over-saturate the market or take up real estate where other creators may be able to shine. I like to pitch or submit to collections that have a cool idea/theme, talented creators involved or are backed by a good publisher. All three? Even better.

2015 saw my work published in two anthologies — the Li’l Kaiju antho from GrayHaven Comics, where my short Monster Day (with Randy Z. Ochoa and Jeremy Treece) was the lead story, and the Lost In Space antho from Titan Comics, where my short Adrift (with artist Alex Diotto) also served as lead.

While both collections were very cool, I wanted to seek out an opportunity to do something that was a little more… how do you say… ballsy.

Enter Symptoms.

Symptoms1

Though I’ve sort of pigeon-holed myself over the past few years as the “funny guy” (which I’m proud of… and is infinitely better than being called the “funny-looking guy”) I like to step outside the box when Mercury is in retrograde and the mood strikes.

Running across a superhero-themed anthology online, I was immediately struck with a vivid idea. Normally I steer as far away from superheroics as possible, as those types of stories seem futile when going up against the established heavyweights that Marvel and DC have to offer. But to build a world, a hero and a different perspective across just a few pages? Irresistible.

It’s like jumping into an icy cold lake, then climbing back out and running inside where it’s warm and there’s hot chocolate waiting. With mini marshmallows. You did it once and survived… so maybe don’t tempt fate.

I had my idea… my take… my view…

I didn’t want to be saving damsels in distress with my story. I didn’t want to pull cats out of trees. I didn’t want a nerdy kid to be emotionally scarred with a distorted definition of responsibility when his uncle dies.

Symptoms is about a hero who finds himself losing his powers.

I wanted to explore what thoughts that might trigger inside the brain of someone who goes from powerful to powerless. From top banana to bottom water chestnut. From extraordinary to ordinary.

I went on an artist hunt, talking with several talented people hungry to collaborate, but the search was over as soon as I met Kansas-dwelling Graeham Jarvis, the artist and author of the popular InstaGram webcomic Wasteland Tales, based on the lore of the Fallout video game series (which I regretfully know nothing about, but I know talent when I see it).

With more than 4,000 readers visiting his feed daily I felt bad asking him to focus his energies elsewhere for a hot minute, but his art was too good and too perfect for what I had in mind. Plus, he was looking for a chance to stretch his wings a bit. How could I say no when he offered to draw the story?

Symptoms2

After jamming out some sketches of giant robots and superhero costumes (necessities), Graeham dove in and delivered a short that punched me in the gut and didn’t apologize afterwards. Since the proposed anthology is black and white, a wash of gray set the tone and we were off to the races. Graeham’s work conveyed the exact vibe I was hoping to present and stuck what I thought could be a tricky ending, leaving the reader to consider the story long after the pages were turned.

We submitted to the anthology several weeks ago and got a rather quick letter of acceptance. I’m pretty sure this is going to be Graeham’s first officially published work. Needless to say, I’m stoked for him. Hopefully we’ll get to high five one day at a comic convention.

I’m jazzed for people to read Symptoms, see Graeham’s art, and I look forward to reading the other shorts chosen for the book. It’s gonna be super.

Stay tuned. This one drops in November.

2016 in Preview: Edison

Following last month’s 2015 in review post, I thought over the next several weeks it would be fun to explore what 2016 will have to offer my readers as far as comic book projects go.

Now, these are the projects I hope to bring to the shelves, but in an industry as unpredictable as comics, they could go sideways at any moment! However, I’m really excited about them, so I’m hoping you will be, too.

Back in October I announced a project that had recently gone into production and as of January is quickly speeding along toward completion.

That’s right. I’m talking about…

Edison

Ah, Edison… another concept that shouldn’t be interesting and yet, it took over ever fiber of my brain when the germ of the idea hit.

With many historical figures taking center stage in 2014 and 2015, I figured I had to either stake my claim on someone or miss out entirely. But if I was going to build a book around an actual human who, y’know, really existed, I didn’t want it to simply be retelling of his or her life… I wanted to offer a new experience entirely. And just because this is how I function — the idea had to be really weird.

EdCredits

You see, I’m a huge fan of science. Now, this doesn’t mean I’m any good at it… I have no business being a scientist. Back in high school I actually hated the subject and got pretty terrible grades. This is most likely because my teacher prefaced every lesson about evolution with, “Guys, I don’t believe this crap, but the school is forcing me to teach it to you.”

What a tool, right? Don’t even get me started on the time we dissected cats.

I also enjoy history. Well, some history. I prefer my history to be right around the time that life was full of possibilities and everyone was basically insane and trying new things. Hence, I had the urge to set a story around the 19th century when civilization was finally becoming…ehm… civil, and as a nation we were laying the groundwork for some of the biggest inventions in history. (Such as toilet paper.)

When I thought of that time period, there’s really one person who everyone knows… and that’s of course, inventor Thomas Alva Edison.

But, I figured, what if a comic book about him focused not on the later, more cranky parts of his life, but on his younger years when he was using his ingenuity to get out of the biggest scrapes this side of science.

That’s right… I wanted to take Thomas Edison but mix him up with the qualities found in James Bond and MacGyver.

The elevator pitch I came up with was something akin to:

One part James Bond, one part MacGyver, inventor Thomas Alva Edison uses his ingenuity and creativity to combat the scientific threats of the late 1880s.

Edison simply sitting in a workshop dreaming up new ideas would not have a good comic book made, but put Edison into bad situations where he has to invent his way out? Sign me up.

This project also gave me an opportunity to do something else interesting… I decided that I wouldn’t restrict the first issue of the comic. Normally, where I might draw the line at 20-24 pages for an issue, I decided to write as many pages as it took to tell the story I wanted to tell and establish the world in which the character lived while introducing a supporting cast (made up of other real inventors) to anchor the story to the times.

Additionally, I wanted to set the story in 1880, making Edison a handsome 32-years-old, but any artist insane enough to hop on this project  would have to be willing to draw clothing, buildings, transportation and household items as era appropriate.

That’s a pretty big wish list.

So I took my laundry list of ideas, stuck them in a blender and in mid-2015 went to town, scribing an action-packed and humor-filled first issue script that I was quite pleased with. At 30 pages I had the first story, the characters, a great cliffhanger and a metric ton of reference photos ready for an artist, but who could I get on board to draw such an insane story?

That’s when I met artist Giovanni Capurro.

As most comic writers do, when we have a new story idea, we tend to throw them out into the aether of social media. I’m writing this new thing, it’s like this… who would want to draw it, haha?

It sounds like we’re just joking when we writers make these types of posts, but what we’re really doing is protecting our fragile and needy egos.

Rather than make fun of me or close me inside of a locker, the Nebraska-based artist actually dug what I was proposing, and perhaps most importantly, Giovanni had been researching the late 1800s for a personal project and was very familiar with the necessary clothing, mannerisms and technology. He shared with me his minicomic Idols, which I read and enjoyed and had a gut feeling he might be a good fit. I heard from other artists about the project, but something about the way Giovanni handled comedic timing in his art kept the artist at the forefront of my mind.

I took the next step, sending Giovanni my script. He read it. He dug it. He wanted to move forward, not blinking an eye at the length.

He did some sketches of our intrepid hero, Edison, which went wonderfully with the visual style I had in mind and within a matter of weeks I was being treated to amazing art in our Dropbox, featuring scenes like this:

Ed_Gio

It was like a comedic noir comic book. How cool is that? After the first six or seven pages were complete, not only was Giovanni confident with the story and style, but we were ready to bring on a colorist to help take the pages to the next level.

That road led me to reaching out to Andrew Pate, a colorist local to the Florida Panhandle, who I’d met over the course of several area conventions and store signings. Not only did he boast wicked sideburns, but he was nice, outgoing and had a genuine love of comics. After tabling next to him on Free Comic Book Day 2015 and seeing some of his coloring work, I knew he was someone I wanted to bring onto a project.

I’d asked Andrew to color of a 4-page short earlier in the year which he did with much skill and soon presented my case to Giovanni on why this fellow who, aside from being capable of big things, could be the ruby to our Staff of Ra.

A test page was completed and Andrew just blew it out of the water.

In fact, even as the pages got crazier and crazier he continued to make them better, never shying away from the nuttiest of scenarios.

Heck, you don’t need me to brag on him, see for yourself what Andrew’s brought to the Edison table:

Ed_AP

At the time of this writing, we’re working on art for the final nine pages of the issue and hope to pitch it around and find a great home for it. If there are no takers, I have a super slick idea for how to release this online. Whichever route we pursue, it’s going to be awesome.

We hope you’ll come along for the ride.

Project Announcement: Edison

With the Unit 44 collected edition, Hipsters Vs. Rednecks and The Temporal all being set free into the wild over the course of September, the kids have officially gone off to school and I am left to focus on new projects that will come together over the course of 2015/2016. I have several fun things to announce, but there’s one project in particular that has gained some ground and will likely be coming to your eyeballs sooner rather than later.

Edison_previewThat project is Edison: The Wizard of Menlo Park. (Working title… you dig?)

There has been some really interesting alternate history stories hitting the comic marketplace over the past few years… Action Lab’s Herald features H.P. Lovecraft and Nikola Tesla, Albert Einstein: Time Mason features… well… you know, and there are several web comics out there that take a page from history. With the historical star on the rise, I knew I needed to stake my claim quickly or get left behind.

More so, I thought it would be hilarious to look at inventor Thomas Edison as some sort of MacGyver/James Bond mix. Thus Edison was born:

One part James Bond, one part MacGyver, inventor Thomas Alva Edison uses his ingenuity and creativity to combat the scientific threats of the late 1880s.

While the story is grounded in historical fact as it pertains to the people, places and major inventions happening in that era of history (trust me, I’ve been doing my homework), I’m taking Edison for a spin as a smart and dangerous man who’s amazing intellect and intelligence often outshines his common sense.

After penning (typing) a script that was equal parts humor and action I set out to find an artistic collaborator to help bring this silly series to life like some sort of Frankenstein’s monster. That search led me to the electronic doorstep of Giovanni Capurro, whose art style lies somewhere between Darwyn Cooke and a Tim Sale with a little bit of roughness around the edges. While I spoke with several interested artists about the series, it was Giovanni’s back catalog that made me sit up and take note. I saw what he wanted to do with comics, saw what he was capable of, and with what I envision in my head for the series, I was confident he was the fella for the gig.

edison0102final_color_snip1We’re currently in the midst of developing the inaugural 30-page #1 issue and I’m thrilled with how it’s coming together. With several inked pages already in the bag, we’ve enlisted the services of talented colorist Andrew Pate, who will breathe an extra layer of life into the pages.

Hey, Wes… that’s great and all, but when is this book coming out?

Yeah, I don’t know.

Okay… but who’s going to publish it?

The short answer here is: who cares?

So far this comic has been an absolute blast to work on. Once the first issue is in the bag, we may show it around a bit to see if there’s any interest, but if publishers aren’t clamoring for a comic book about Thomas Edison, well, that’s a-okay, too.

If you have interest in humor, science, or the 1880s and its most prominent creative minds, then this comic is going to fill a void in your happy place that you probably didn’t know you had.

Are you excited? I’m really excited.

Keep it tuned here for more.