it’s been too long since I’ve done one of these, but Jade Gonzalez tagged me on Facebook about a cover challenge and here’s my reply.
All of these books represent to me my early years as a comic book fan and the love they fostered in me for indy comics.
First on the list is Captain Victory, I love this book because it was the very first indy comic I ever saw and picked up. The other reason I love it is because it was by none other than Jack ‘King’ Kirby. The man knew 15 years before the Image guys that you had to get out and do your own thing.
Next up is Elementals by Bill Willingham one of my all time favorite writer / artists. This wasn’t the first appearance of the group that would have been in Justice Machine annual number 1, but this is the first with them in their own solo book. This is perhaps one of the best superhero comics ever produced that we’ll probably never see collected due to Bill selling off the rights to a gentlemen who practically fell off the face of the earth, who knows what happened.
Next up Dalgoda fun space adventure by Denis Fujitake on art and Jan Strnad was the writer. A great book I honestly don’t remember too much about other than I enjoyed it. I’m going to have to make an effort to go through my collection and dig them out and give them another read. It would be nice to see a collection of these stories.
Armor and Megolith both from Neal Adams Continuity comics. Growing up I would take the NYC subway to school and somewhere during that time I remember seeing these images in the subways as large ads. At the time I thought they were going to be movies because only movies advertised in the subway system this way not comicbooks. The movies never came but one day in one of my local comic shops, the Bat Cave I think, were these two books and I was hooked. The art was great and the stories were fun but mostly consisted of origins.
Elflord by Barry Blair during the early eighties there was a period called the black and white glut which was caused primarily by the rise of TMNT. Many books came out and many of them should be forgotten and this may be one of them but I love this cover and I do remember enjoying this series for as long as I collected it.
Faze One Fazers Americomics by Vic Bridges. He was a John Byrne clone, it was thing back in the day but I loved it and I loved this book. At the time it was new and shiny and full of hope of great adventures. It only lasted 4 issues. It seems Vic and the publisher Bill Black didn’t see eye to eye on certain things and Faze One was never seen again, shame.
Dragon Force by Dale Keown I picked it up for the art and again it was being done by a John Byrne clone, who eventually grew out of it and is now the ultra popular artist who brought us Pitt and many great Hulk images. Another book I enjoyed because it was fresh and new and not part of the big two. It was around for about 14 issues before Dale got his big break doing the Hulk. It was fun while it lasted.
The Realm by Guy Davis. I know there was a writer but I have to be honest with you I didn’t get it for the story, it was all Guy, I know this because once he was gone from the book so was I. It’s a shame because it was a great book with some fun fantasy elements that I remember with fondness, but once Guy left they couldn’t find an artist who could fill his shoes. Guy went on to work at DC and for Mike Mignola on BPRD for a long stretch. My only real problem with Guy is that he changed his style, his choice I know he did what he had to, but I liked the paperclip noses, 😀
Warlock 5 by writer Gordon Derry and artist Denis Beauvais. Honestly I don’t remember much about this book other than the art by Denis Beauvais being incredible and their being 5 avatars that represented 5 different worlds battling for supremacy or something like that. I do remember enjoying it and being very disappointed when Gordon Derry and artist Denis Beauvais abandoned the book over a dispute with the publisher.
Captain Paragon by Bill Black published by AC comics. Early on I was attracted to non Marvel\DC super hero comics, they just seemed more interesting because they worked outside of the normal frame work of those two companies and presented to me an early insight into the type of work I would eventually find myself doing indy comics.
Dynamo Joe by Doug Rice, Phil Foglio and others. Perhaps my favorite giant robot comic of all time, not that there’s that many on this side of the Pacific. This is the story of the human race pairing up with the 2 other species to fight a third alien species that is traveling through their space destroying their ships, people and worlds. This book is a lot of fun and it was a shame when it ended and especially since there was more story to be told by the creators but bad sales brought the book to an end after 15 issues, shame, but well looking into.
Justice Machine by Mike Gustovich. A great book with some of the greatest costume designs outside of Dave Cockrum. This is another one of those early super heroes outside of the big two that I was happy to see. It didn’t really run for too long, I believe the initial series ran 5-6 issues and then made a short come back at Comico for a cross over with the Elementals and then a miniseries soon after. The series was purchased by another creator but I haven’t kept up with the new series so I won’t comment, but those early issues are a lot of fun.
Zooniverse by Fil Barlow. This one was just weird and crazed looking book that I just loved. Fil’s art is incredible and the coloring was awesome and this book was being done long before computer coloring. The art is super detailed and the story revolves around a group of guards called plastiods and how they’re caught in the political intrigues of warring factions in their universe. This book needs to be reprinted in hardcover. The awesome thing is that this series has made a comeback at Image and with any luck that reprint will happen.
Sun Runners by Roger McKenzie. Art and cover by Pat Broderick. Another awesome series that traveled around several publishers. I don’t remember much about the series except that I really enjoyed it and I’m going to have to go back into my collection and reread it from start to finish, although I don’t think it ever really did finish.
I also want to show off a few pages from The Oswald Chronicles that David Montoya has been coloring for the series. One day that color book is going to come out 😀
And once again please vote for Oswald on topwebcomics.com it really does help.
Thank you all once again and please help spread the word about The Oswald Chronicles.
So what book is the voice of this era?
It’s been too long since I did one of these and I’ve been meaning on doing this one for a hot minute 🙂
First I would like to announce for those of you who don’t already know the Tall Tails Kickstarter is now live and it is very possible for you to get all 560 plus pages of the first story arc in one volume, so go check it out now and get yourself a copy 😀
Also here’s a little something to whet the appetites for all of those who enjoy Oswald and his chronicles. Here’s the cover for the final issue of the Clive cycle with Clive and his parents no less. The cover is illustrated by the always awesome Jade Gonzalez and colored by the man himself Derwin Roberson.
Now onto a few comments about some books I read last week.
The Divine (Illustrator), Tomer Hanuka (Illustrator by Boaz Lavie (Author), Asaf Hanuka)
I picked this book up on a lark hoping that it would be something I would enjoy and I did. The art is mangaish but doesn’t completely owe everything to that fine heritage, instead it comes off as a fusion of European and Manga styles to give it strange and appealing look and feel. The story is self contained and is one of those things that made me think of things that are just out of site and what’s happening to people in other places far away from home.
Divinity by Matt Kindt and Trevor Hairsine
I didn’t know what to expect from this book since I hadn’t picked up any books from the new Valiant line and I’m glad to report that this was a good one. The story is of a Russian cosmonaut who gets sent into deep space and comes back to earth 30 years in the future totally changed from his experience. This story is just a primer for a greater story and I hope Matt Kindt and Trevor Hairsine keep going forward with this title.
Little Nemo: Return to Slumberland Paperback – July 2, 2015
by Eric Shanower (Author), Gabriel Rodriguez (Illustrator)
I’ve been interested in Little Nemo for several years now and more so since I picked up a copy of the Teschen reprint of the series. The series interests me for a number of reasons mostly because I touch upon similar themes in The Oswald Chronicles. My original inspiration for this was HP Lovecraft and his Randolph Carter character who travels through dream and lives entire life times and wakes only to wish to return to those long lost lands even though there’s always something dark and strange just beyond the horizon. The art by Gabriel Rodriguez is awesome and I think Winsor McKay himself would have been happy with it. The only thing I would have liked to have seen is the pages produced larger and for Gabriel Rodriguez to have been allowed to work on a grander scale, because when you see the original Nemo pages in such a large format it’s breath taking and it would have been nice to have seen Gabriel Rodriguez given that same opportunity. The story by Eric Shanower was okay but fell short for me, I think the trope of Nemo waking up as many times as he does slows the pace of the story and is destructive because of it. Many would argue that’s how the original was done and I would agree but the great Winsor Mckay wasn’t producing a serialized story where the reader would read page after page but rather a story that would be contained on page and I’m certain if he had been presented with a longer format he would have adjusted Nemo’s waking. It does look like this series has come to an end since Gabriel Rodriguez has moved on to another project, shame I would have liked to have seen more.
Thor: God of Thunder Volume 2 Hardcover – July 14, 2015
by Jason Aaron (Author), Nic Klein (Illustrator), Ron Garney (Illustrator), Emanuela Lupacchino (Illustrator), Das Pastoras (Illustrator), Esad Ribic (Illustrator), Agustin Alessio (Illustrator), RM Guera (Illustrator)
I have to admit that my enjoyment of Thor as a character started early on and he’s been my favorite superhero since I was a kid and it all started with Roy Thomas and his run that adopted the Ring of the Nibelung and pasted Thor and Odin in the various roles within the great story that then culminated in issue 300 where Thor takes on the Celestials and brings down Arishem, I’m going into full geek mode 😀 It’s one of my favorite runs on Thor and even though Roy didn’t write issue 300 it was still awesome.
The next great Thor run which followed a few years later when the title was rumored to be close to being cancelled was Walter Simonson’s run which is epic and to this day my all time favorite but after Walter I left the title and didn’t really look back for a long time and I had heard many sad things had happen to the title. I’m sure there were some good books in there somewhere but I wouldn’t take that challenge to find them, but I had heard some whispers a while ago that J. Michael Straczynski was doing some awesome things on the title and had brought it back from the dead literally, since they had destroyed Asgard and killed everyone off. I had picked up the complete run in a hard cover that JMS had done and I was very happy with it and I have to say that his version of Loki is perhaps the most conniving and disturbing version of the character I had ever seen. He returned as a beautiful woman and instead of changing himself to his normal form of a man he decided to stay as a woman and have a good time with it, the trickster god had never looked so good or scared me so much as that version and it saddened me to find out the JMS had departed the title on bad terms with Marvel because he didn’t want to do one of these massive cross over events that centered around Thor and Asgard and thus another great run ended, prematurely, sad.
Now here comes Jason Aaron the Vertigo Scalped guy, who what why, oh now I see why once I read the first volume of this series and I have to say that I’m enjoying JA’s run immensely and I love how he shows current Thor and future all father Thor and on occasion young immature Thor. The story line I found the most intriguing was the all father Thor story where he fights Galactus for Earth and has help from his very awesome granddaughters of thunder. Now those three young ladies should have their own title 🙂 I have yet to read any of the new Thor stories with Jane Foster as Goddess of thunder and the only thing I have to say is I’m looking forward to them even after all of the kvetching I’ve read about it on line about Jane Foster not really being Thor and the hair splitting about the whole thing, me I was always on the side that she has assumed the title of Goddess of Thunder the same way Betta Ray Bill had done back in the Walter Simonson run. Now the reason they want her to stay with the Thor moniker is because if they changed the title to Jane Foster Goddess of Thunder it would be just a little weird but I would have bought it if Jason Aaron was writing it. Now for all of those folks who hate that version rest assured the original Thor will be back sometime in the future when I don’t know and I don’t want to know I want to be surprised by it and I know he’ll be back because JA has given us a big clue, you know the whole thing with All Father Thor fighting Galactus , yea that was Thor not Jane Foster as Thor so at some point he’ll be back after he learns how to forgive himself for something he’s done, Nick Fury’s such a prick 😀 So yea go get this one if you like some good Thor action.
Now onto the original question, so what book is the voice of this era? I ask this because while I was at Boston Comicon (awesome show by the way ) I was asked by a fan from Spain who had been out of the loop when it comes to American comics and the last thing he had really read was Watchmen which he felt was the voice of comics for that era. Now for me it’s Watchmen and Dark Knight and the two go hand in hand and no matter what the 2 creators have gone on to do or say after this, these were great works by them all. I had to say I was stumped when he first asked I could point out great books by various creators like Fables, Sandman, Preacher, Planetary, Authority, Scalped, Marvels, Kingdome Come, American Vampire, Locke and key, East of West and various others and have to say I think it’s Saga by Brian K. Vaughn and Fiona Staples along with the Oswald Chronicles, okay that last one is a little self serving of course 😀 So what do you think? What’s the comic that most speaks to you as the comic title of this era?
Thank you one and all for indulging me here and please vote for the Oswald Chronicles on topwebcomics.com it does help and please go support the Tall Tails Kickstarter and get yourself an awesome book 😀
Thank you all again
We are having some technical issues with the latest Oswald story.
Please stand by… hopefully will be fixed by end of day today.
Like usual it’s taken me forever to get another one of these up, but here it is. First I would like to thank everyone who’s been supporting the Oswald Chronicles and I would like to share that My First Day is available on Comixology for anyone who likes to read their comics on a wireless device go to http://cmxl.gy/1lR1w0y to get a copy for yourself. We’re looking to have more stories from the series go up soon and at some point they will be on Comixology first before being up on the site.
I also got my monthly horde from my comic’s supplier, a bit light for this month but I can use the break to catch up with the stack that is still waiting for me from months past.
One last thing please vote for the Oswald Chronicles and Tall Tails on topwebcomics.com it does help 😀
Now onto Anderson Silva, Anderson is the fighter that I can truly say was the one who got me hooked onto MMA and buying PPV’s from the UFC. His first fight with Chris Leben was a revelation for me because I had no idea who this guy was but I knew Chris Leben from his run on The Ultimate Fighter and I knew he was tough and could take a punch like and he could give as good as he got, so here comes this thin (some would say skinny) unassuming guy Anderson Silva in his debut, I was like this guy is going to get killed. Little did I know Anderson was slated for great things and made short work of Leben by Tk’oing him in under a minute, I was hooked and I have followed him ever since. Recently he had a bad run by losing his title and breaking his leg in a rematch in an attempt to recover the belt. After 13 months out of the cage he made his return against Nick Diaz a great fighter in his own right, albeit a controversial one. The fight went as I thought it would, in a private conversion with another friend I commented if Anderson doesn’t knock him out in the second round he’s going to dance with him for all five, which is what happened. Many people are saying that Anderson wasn’t himself and I have to agree he looked tentative, some say he looked scared, I say he looks like a man who’s confidence has been shaken and who needs time to rebuild it, or maybe it’s something else. For the most part I thought he looked good, I think age has maybe slowed him a step but he was by far the faster fighter and he did leave Nick with some serious damage to his face when all was said and done. The fight was weird but not uncommon for Anderson, in three title fights with Thales Leites, Damien Mia, and Patrick cote Anderson fought in a similar way, standoffish and not committing and willing to just spar, while doing minimal damage to his opponents while making them look completely out of their depths. Many will say that, that is not the case in this fight, I say sit back and take a closer look at the fight, Nick Diaz is tough but I think Nick was let off the hook on several occasions by Anderson and AS does this in a very slick fashion by resetting his stance and then moving back in to allow Nick to move forward. What I mean is that there were several times AS had ND moving backwards while catching him with nice clean offense and then he would stop and reset, some would call this discipline I call this playing with your food, I’ve seen cats do plenty of times. Many will say I’m nuts, but think about it what does AS gain by taking out ND, not much to be honest with you, but by prolonging the fight he gets to show off some skills against an opponent who couldn’t hurt him and whom he could hurt at will, just like in those three fights I pointed out earlier and it’s well known that if AS doesn’t feel threatened by the fighter in front of him he will goof off, this being his come back there wasn’t much of that, but there was him easing off the gas. The question is why would he do that? I think the answer is to get the work in and show everyone an entertaining fight by a fighter who is no longer at his peak. Look at those last few words, no longer at his peak, or is he? Anderson is called the Spider and he’s known for spinning his web, luring in his prey and then killing them, it took a bunch of NY no nonsense tough guys to see through this and take his belt, I don’t think Weidman would have been able to do it without Rey Longo in his corner giving him the advice he gave him. Was Anderson playing us all? Was he being the Spider and luring us into his web so he can kill his next opponent? I don’t know, he says he doesn’t know if he going to fight again I say BS, the money is too good and so is he to stop now. In a year or two the story may be different but now I think he continues. Now back to the original point what do we do with AS do we put him in a title fight with Chris Weidman the guy who knocked him out and broke his leg in two separate fights, no I wouldn’t do that to the guy, it’s too soon I feel his confidence needs to be built up again so what do we do who does he fight next? One podcast I listen to asked the question are there 5 fights at 185 you can make for AS and I say yes. The first would be against Dan Henderson a man who is on the decline but still dangerous and who AS has faced and defeated before, but DH has always maintained he would like to fight AS again, now the last thing to leave a fighter they say is his power and that’s the one thing DH has in spades, it would be a high profile fight with two guys who have a lot of drawing power for the company. Now if AS can get past DH I would say the next logical opponent would be Michael Bisping, a fighter who has come close to getting a title shot but never got one. Bisping is another fighter that’s on his way out of the sport but I think he could give AS a good fight and with the amount of trash talking he can do it can be a fun couple of months leading up to it. The next two fights in no particular order would be CB Dolloway and Tim Botsch, both of these guys have seen better days but both of them are tough and will give AS a good fight because they will see him as a diminished ex champ that they can build their names on. The last on my list would be Thales Leites who AS fought and defeated years ago in a seriously one sided affair, Leites was eventually let go from the UFC and has recently returned and has looked incredible on his return and looks like he could be real close to making a title run and if AS can get by him then I would say let him start fighting the guys at the top of the division and if he can get by two them let him fight for the title again, no matter who has it. I could go on and on with fantasy match ups and such, those are my thoughts on it. Please share yours I’m looking forward to hearing your opinions.
Once again I thank you all for supporting The Oswald Chronicle and Tall Tails and please vote for us on topwebcomics.com
Until next time
I’m back again and I have another batch of books 🙂 So the problem continues and I’m excited because I got the massive Little Nemo in Slumberland reprint from Taschen and it’s not only massive but a very gorgeous book. It comes with a compendium book with a history of Little Nemo and his creator Winsor McKay, written by Alexander Braun, which will take me a while to read considering I have so many other books to read. Fortunately I already looked through the Previews and the next order looks like it should be a light one, lol, if you only knew how many times I’ve told myself that after looking through the catalog and then finding out I ended up purchasing more books because it was light from my usual sources so I decided to experiment with other titles only making my problem worse 🙂 Now of course I hope all of you understand that I say problem with a smile because it really isn’t one in the sense that I’m doing damage to myself, but rather that I’m running out of shelf space and I don’t want to have to place anything in storage or resort to having to keep them in long boxes. Once again thank you all for supporting the Oswald Chronicles and Tall Tails and please continue doing so by voting for them on topwebcomics.com 😀
Before I get to a couple of reading suggestions here’s a look at an Oswald page for the next story coming up as well a page from a story that will not appear on the site for some time to come 🙂 Let me know what you think?
Anyway onward and forward to some reading suggestions, with last month’s books I got a copy of Fantastic Four Omnibus vol. 2 by Jonathan Hickman and various artists. I have to say various because there are a lot of them. Now in the past I have done reviews and to be honest I hate doing them because on occasion there comes along a book that just needs to have the literary shit kicked out of it for one reason or another and I hate beating up on other people’s children. Now many feel that it’s a kind of service one provides by warning others to stay away from these books. I would rather not do that and just give my suggestions for books that I enjoyed. Like this book and the first volume. Now the first volume is interesting because it starts out slow very slow and at first I didn’t know if I would like it so I kept on reading, about 1/3rd of the way through I found myself enjoying the book due to Hickman’s insane concepts and ideas. I loved the league of Reed Richards, the building of a school of super geniuses, Kree and Inhuman interactions and war, Doctor Doom saving the day, Johnny Storm taking over the Negative Zone and then getting voted out as its leader and just tons of other things that went on. Was it perfect, no but what is. The real question was it fun? If you enjoy the Fantastic Four then I would say this is a must read, if you haven’t read the FF since the John Byrne run much like myself then I would say you’ll probably enjoy this.
The other book I received is Thor vol.1 by Jason Aaron, Esad Ribic, and Jaskson Guice. Now I myself am a huge fan of Walter Simonson’s run on Thor and I never thought I would find a story to rival that one but I think Jason Aaron and co. have done just that by presenting us with not 1 Thor but 3, from 3 different times in his life. We have young wild Thor who thinks of nothing but fighting women and mead, then there’s Avengers Thor the one we all know and love, and finally we have all Father Thor who has ruled over Asgard for millennia. I love the beginning of this story with a little girl on some far off planet who heard of Thor and his exploits during his gallivanting around the galaxy with the Avengers during the Infinity series of stories (another book by Hickman that was a lot of fun). Her world is barren and hasn’t had rain fall in years, her and her people will die if they do not have rain so she prays to Thor who answers her and brings rain to her world for the first time in a long time. Thor has some mead with the locals where he discovers that the local pantheon of gods has been MIA for some time, so long so that they are just considered children’s stories which Thor takes as an affront but instead of smashing the guy who tells him this like young Thor would have he instead goes looking for the missing deities. That’s the set up and the rest is golden as he finds himself confronting a god killer who hates gods and loves for nothing more than their slaughter. Lots of fun and I’m looking forward to more from Jason Aaron and co.
Until next time, thank you and please help the Oswald Chronicles and Tall Tails by voting for them on topwebcomics.com
Best JD Calderon
I would like to start out by thanking everyone who’s been supporting the Oswald Chronicles and Tall Tails. Also please vote for both books on Topwebcomics.com it does help 🙂
Now on to my concern, I have a problem, a compulsion some may say to consistently order my monthly fix of trade paperbacks and hard covers from Previews. It’s strange because I get my monthly order in one shot and for the last few months I’ve been questioning my ordering habits with an eye to cutting down how many books I order in a month. The main reason for that is because I don’t have time to read them all. Now mind you I spend about an hour to an hour and half every night reading anywhere from 100 – 200 pages and I still can’t keep up. What’s even worse is that I feel like I’m doing a disservice to myself and the creators of these fine works (for the most part) by not giving myself the time to really peruse the art and mull the stories being dished out to me. The other issue I have is that I have so many comics to read I haven’t read a prose book in well over 11 months and this is a disconcerting to a guy who at one time read a book every few days for years, but between television, films, my own writing the internet, that godforsaken thing I do daily called the day job (it’s really not that bad I’m being overly dramatic:), and the internet, I have very little time left to just kick back and read the way I once did. There are also several new projects that I’m looking to launch early next year that will put an even further squeeze on my time will most certainly cause me to curtail my purchasing and it’s a shame really because there are more quality books being produced now than I think I’ve ever seen in comics, but what can one do there’s only so much time that can be dedicated to any one thing. Well maybe I can just start saving my money and do that one crazy wild thing I’ve always wanted to do and commission Arthur Adams to do an Oswald cover for me now that would be something 🙂 What would you do?
This set is from my latest order 19 books 😀
Some good news is that we just received a proof of the Tall Tails hardcover brick that holds all 20 issues of the first story arc. We’re looking to hold a KS campaign next year to produce more of these.
Once again if you can please vote for The Oswald Chronicles and Tall Tails on topwebcomics.com
Thank you for your time.
It’s been too long since I’ve done one of these and I have to get back into the swing of doing at least one of these a week 🙂
I’ve been working on a bunch of things mostly Oswald related but there’s also some Tall Tails news on the horizon. But for now here’s an interview I did with Donovan Goines for his magazine/website a few years back. I updated some of the info so it’s current.
I’m also putting in some images for future Oswald stories, enjoy 🙂
Please let me know what you think and support the site by voting for it on Top Web Comics.
Now on to the interview 🙂
The Oswald Chronicles and Tall Tails are published by the creative team of Dream Weaver Press. These stories have that feel of Mouse Guard, The Never Ending Story, Tellos, and many more fantastic characters. One of the men behind Oswald Chronicles is JD Calderon who is the writer of this and many more. We are going to into the mind of what it takes to create a graphic novel and also discover what Dream Weaver is all about.
Q: When did you realize you wanted to be a writer?
JD: It was early on probably around the age of 8.
Q: How did you come into this field?
JD: I started self-publishing in the early 90’s. I was a huge fan of the indy boom (which eventually became the black and white glut) of the mid 80’s and it was due to this explosion of indy books that made me want to create my own books.
Q: What were the motivations you were creating Oswald Chronicles for Dream Weaver Press?
JD: The impetus to create Oswald happened when I was working professionally as a writer in the mid-nineties. I was writing anywhere from 3-4 books a month but I worked fast and would have a great deal of down time, so I needed and wanted something to fill that time with and Oswald became that thing, but at the time the series was in prose and wouldn’t be seen as a comic until about 2005.
Q: Knowing your books are a far cry from what is out there on the market, why not just create superhero style?
JD: Are you saying Oswald is not a super hero? I’m joking of course, but the main reason is that the market is over saturated with them. Don’t get me wrong I love a great super hero comic from time to time but when you’re looking at the big two specifically it becomes one big messy soap opera for middle aged men. The only real difference is that these soap opera characters drop cars on one another regularly. I also feel that much of what’s done in the mass market is done with little or no heart. There’s plenty of testosterone in those books but very little heart and one without the other leaves me listless and wanting more. I love seeing guys bash each other over the head now and again but give me books like Sandman, Fables, Unwritten and Lock & Key and I’ll leave those costumed kids behind every time.
Q: DWP has been in the market for some time now but I have noticed you have gone from print to Digital Reader; why is that?
JD: It’s an experiment. When I first started we were all print, because that’s all there was at the time and we loved it and we still do. All of our books do eventually end up in print and I’ve worked on two successful Kickstarter campaigns to get the first and second Oswald trades in print. A few years ago I saw the rise of the webcomic and just like the indy boom of the 80’s I said yea that’s something I want to participate in.
Q: Coming across these titles is remarkable on how creative you can become as a writer, but you’re doing just more than one title correct?
JD: Currently I’m working on The Oswald Chronicles and Tall Tails. Those two projects are taking up all of my time at the moment but I have about a dozen other ideas screaming in the back of my mind that wish to get worked on. If things go well maybe we’ll see some of those sooner rather than later, but rest assured they will come.
Q: With Oswald Chronicles you have created a collective of really unique characters from Oswald, Diane, Ordith, Dofon, and etc… How long did it take you to conceive each one?
JD: Minutes, and I hate putting it like that but it’s true. When I first came up with Oswald he wasn’t supposed to be the main emphasis of the story he was just supposed to be some enigmatic little mouse in the center of Manhattan telling these strange stories. The first story I wrote with Oswald in it, The Park Avenue Mall War, is the story about Diane who only comes out during the day has a war with Ordith who only comes out at night and the strange dichotomy it makes in Oswald’s life since he’s friends to both of them. As far as the conception of each character I’m the type of writer that just jumps into a story and whatever happens, happens. I needed a troll, I needed a warrior fairy and I created them they happened to be Diane and Ordith and I liked them enough that I kept them around. Now at that point it’s my job to continue and build on them and their mythology, who are they, where are they from, what motivates them etc. So that’s it I don’t really take a long time to carefully construct each character instead I give them all stories or rather I let those characters whisper their stories in my ear and I allow them to build themselves.
Q: Who is the artist right now that is working on Oswald Chronicles, for those who are not familiar?
JD: The artist is the awesome Jade Gonzalez, but there have been others like my good friend Matt Lundsford and the greatest artist I know because I sleep next to her every night Daphne Lage 🙂
Q: It’s amazing the detail you constructed in your writing for this world in turn where do you find the time?
JD: It’s been done over several years, one painstaking line at a time, but to be honest with you it’s an illusion a grand one. I always try to write my stories with a sense of history, even if they don’t have one at the time, but it’s always there and if you tell the story and you let it guide you you’ll find it. At least that’s how it works for me.
Q: Did you realize that the market was changing with the success of more indie publishers such as IDW, Image, Fantagraphics?
JD: It’s something I’ve seen and been hoping for, for a long time. And for someone who’s never sought work at either of the big two it’s gratifying.
Q: It seems there are many more options for self-publishing through digital means these days, but do you see the digital taking over the paper press?
JD: I think it will one day overtake a majority of the sales in the market. While print will be relegated to high end collectables to show off to friends and family and only be for the true hard cores within the fan base.
Q: What was your reaction to going digital?
JD: It’s interesting being so close to the people who are actually consuming my work. Before I would get the odd letter from a fan here and there or at a show people would come up to me and say how much they like my work, but now they can just let me know if they approve or disapprove right on the spot and I love it.
Q: So is Oswald Chronicles going to be an ongoing series?
JD: The Oswald Chronicles just like Tall Tails has an ending but it’s just getting there is going to take some time because there are a bunch of aspects to Oswald’s life that I’ve only barely touched upon. Like his second and third lives and how they impact his current one. Currently I’m making an effort to connect the dots in his life. Many of my readers have mentioned how there are huge gaps between the stories so I’m beginning to fill in those gaps. I’m beginning with “My First Day” and filling in all of the stories that lead up to “I was There and I Remember” the stories are important obviously “My First Day” is Oswald’s beginning but “I was There and I Remember” is the story where Oswald first steps into his second life which happens in dream.
Q: With the understanding of the market today there are some who would say that there should be more books geared towards children. Others might say otherwise where do you stand on this as a writer and/or publisher?
JD: I read plenty of books when I was a child and I think there’s plenty of material there for everyone you just have to look for it. Now if we’re talking exclusively about comics I may be the wrong person to ask since as a kid I was reading Son of Satan, Alan Moore’s Swamp Thing, and Frank Miller’s Daredevil. So the whole Archie Veronica, Micky Mouse comics always left me a little cold. But I feel there’s plenty of room for everything at all levels and so long as it’s done with honesty and care.
Q: How long does the process take for the book set up to for the printers?
JD: Once the actual work is done and lettered it typically takes anywhere from a month to a few days to get quotes and another month or so to set everything up to move out to the printers. Working as I do now mainly digital and doing my own printing, when I can, which is often, it can take up to a week to get everything together and printed up. It all depends on what I’m looking to do and what type of printing I’m aiming for. Offset printing will take longer and digital will take less time.
Q: Who was your biggest influence ?
JD: I have a bunch of them and I can’t honestly say that any one is bigger than the others so here are the top guys on my list in no particular order.
For writing prose: Roger Zelazny, H.P. Lovecraft, Frank Herburt, Dennis L. Mckernian, Harlan Ellison, Isaac Asimov, Fritz Leiber, Clive Barker and many, many more.
For comics: Frank Miller, Alan Moore, Bill Mantlo, Walter Simonson, Dave Sim, Matt Wagner, Bill Willingham, Neal Gaiman, Roy Thomas, JM DeMatias and again many more that are slipping my mind.
Q: Right on. How about video games? While I’m not eager to date myself, I’ve got to say that the first time I laid eyes on your anthropomorphic characters I experienced a 16-bit Breath of Fire II flashback from those halcyon days of yore when Super Nintendo reigned supreme.
JD: No, I can’t say that I was influenced by any video games. The Diablo series of games I would say would be the only line of games that I can say interested me enough to stick around and it’s because of that series of games I don’t play video games any more. I can be obsessive at times and I was with Diablo II and I had to make the hard decision to give up on video games to have more time to write.
Q: Many years ago, Dreamweaver Press was known as Golden Realm Unlimited. What brought about the change?
JD: GRU was our genesis, it’s where we learned how to create comics and Dream Weaver Press is myself and my partner in crime Daphne Lage moving on. When we were GRU we were working with a bunch of close friends many of whom moved on to other fields within the art world, while Daphne and I kept on with comics and graphic storytelling.
Q: You’ve been publishing steadily for a long time. What was the toughest year you can remember, and why?
JD: Probably the year we came to the conclusion Golden Realm Unlimited had to be shut down, and that had more to do with all of us growing up and realizing that it was tough to make a buck as indy guys and how we wanted to make something of ourselves. Now that means different things for different people for me I wanted to create comics and I continued, the others moved on to TV broadcasting, CG effects for Hollywood films, architecture, advertising, and medical illustration.
Q: While the title “self-publisher” surely describes you well, you have also spent some time working for others in a professional capacity. You’ve worked on some adult comics, and also on manga projects like Tenchi Muyo! Could you briefly describe a day in the adult comic industry?
JD: There really wasn’t much to it to be honest with you. I would get up write and send it in for approval. That was about it. What’s more interesting was how I got the job. Now at the time GRU had been dissolved, Daphne and I had promised to keep Tall Tails going while the others went on their way. Now the intrepid Matt Lundsford went off and got a job illustrating a book for another indy press which he wasn’t happy doing because the pay wasn’t steady and the story wasn’t something he was enjoying, so he was looking for more work and he was approached by CPM to illustrate an adult book. I remember when he first told me about it I looked down my nose at him with a sneer and said adult comics, the nerve! I look back at that time and laugh at how naïve I was, because a few months later he approached me and told me they were looking for a writer to produce original stories for the line, and at the time I was thinking of getting a real job, oh the dread. I thought about it for about 3 seconds and I told him to through my name in the hat, I got the interview and on the strength of the work we did at GRU they gave me the job. Now all of that may sound pretty pedestrian but what I find interesting about the whole thing is that I got the job for some prior work, but I really got the job because I was brought in, which is how I think many positions are filled on company owned books.
Q: And lastly, are you truly the king of one dollar poker tables?
JD: I was for about two years, I have to take that down, because I haven’t played a round in a few years. I stopped because it was eating away at my promotion and writing time, but the real nail in the coffin was the US government coming in and shutting down those sites. It’s a shame really because I was able to fund some of the books from my winnings. I just hope someday they legalize it and maybe I’ll start playing again. We’ll see.
Thank you for your time.
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