Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Lost Interview With Ty Wakefield and Ben Kreger

This interview was conducted back in November of 2008.  At that time I had known Ty Wakefield and Benjamin Kreger for less than one year.  During that time Ben was working for Ty as part of his Alternate Reality Comics company.  This interview was done as part of a series of interviews that I was doing for a comics news site.  I do not remember the name of this site, but it seems of little importance now 9 years later.  The website closed down after publishing one of the interviews.  I meant to publish this elsewhere but lost the original file for it.  Or so I thought.  Recently while going through all of my old files I discovered this on a forgotten flash card.  I thought about correcting the spelling and grammatical errors in this, but Ty would not have wanted that.  I don’t know why.

ADAM WATSON:  What got you into comics? Do you remember the first one you ever read?
BEN KREGER:  What got me into comics?
Superman: The movie! Superman always inspired me and I often acted like him. Then my Dad was really into the Batman tv show and the Incredible Hulk so really I don't think I had a choice in the matter.
I remember being facinated with comics. I remember buying a Green Lantern/Green Arrow double sized book at a flea market once and a Superman book but I the first one I really read was Spectacular Spiderman #168.
I soon subscribed to it as soon as I had enough allowance to do so. After that it was all down hill. I became a big Spidey fan and soon moved onto other Marvel titles, Fantastic Four, X-Force, Darkhawk.
I didn't start reading DC until a few years ago. Starting with Green Lantern and then the new Batgirl, the first DC book I followed for over a year and then Batman. Though I love Superman, his books quite frankly are never written very well so it is rare I'll pick one up.
But now I'm writing my own and hope someday I'll be able to write a good Superman book myself!
TY WAKEFIELD:  What got me into comics was "A Death in the Family" when DC killed Robin. This was the first comic book series I ever really "read", I use to just look at the pictures. The story was not a typical "Batman" story. That was the first time I realized that the Joker was well Crazy. I knew at that piont I wanted to at least draw, but then I started to write some stories and then that was it I was hooked.

AW:  What comics are you currently reading? Are there any particular authors that inspire you?
BEN:  I was reading Amazing Spider-man until One More Day ended. Right now I'm reading Civil War and trying to follow Batman R.I.P. and I'm kinda hoping the local stores will carry all the Superman: New Krypton story. But lately I've been waiting until the books come out in TPB so I don't have to wait for the whole story month by month and I'm not really a collector anymore. Now I just buy them for the story and that's about it, tired of all the gimmicks.
As for authors that inspire me, a new name to comics but an old hat at writing, is Orson Scott Card. I've learned a lot about writing from him.
I've followed J. Michael Straczynski from television's Babylon 5 to Rising Stars to my favorite Spidey story of all time Spiderman: The Other Evolve or Die.
Out of the comic world I really like Jim Lee's work on FF and wish he would return to Marvel and write and draw another great story. So many names come to mind, Clarmont, Brubaker, Bendis I like Kevin Smith's Daredevil story but didn't like his Green Arrow (though that may be cause I think Green Arrow is a jerkoff) and I think Stan "The Man" Lee goes without saying. However, to narrow it down, cause this answer is getting long, I really like what Neil Gaiman did with the Marvel Universe in Marvel 1602. I keep meaning to read more from him since I read this graphic novel and hope to soon. But that book really amazed me and I haven't been so excited by a comic story since Marvels (Kurt Busiek and Alex Ross)
So I guess the short answer is Neil Gaiman.
TW:  To be honest I haven't read any current comics, except those I pick up from independent publishers. I have been busy getting back to the "roots" going to things like Batman in the 40's and 50's, Dick Tracy from the 30's and 40's, comics that make you escape reality, not question whether this could happen, but rather get lost in the journey.
I would say that some of my influnces of couse would be Bob Kane, Chester Gould, Ty Templton, Paul Dini, and William Gaines. William Gaines and his staff at E.C. comics let the artist and writers invent a new line of comics, a new line of "conventional" wisdom.

AW:  This one is for Ben.  When did you decide that you wanted to write comics?
BK:  Writing or telling stories is something I've always loved. From my pre-school days when I would record my G.I. Joe adventures on tape to the present. I've told stories as far as I can remember. I'm not sure what caused me to start writing comics. I started writing in forth or fifth grade by eighth with a friend of mine. I still have a good number of those books too. Then in high school I wrote and drew a #0 issue base on some of those characters. That one was cool but I seem to have lost my copy of it some time ago.
In high school I started writing short stories and by college I had gotten into film so I learned how to write screenplays. Then some time passed and I would work on a short story here or there but it wasn't until I met Ty that I really considered going back to my roots and writing comics, even as to make a living.

AW:  How did your work with Ty and Alternate Reality Comics come about?
BK:  Well, I was a co-worker with his wife and she found out not only do I make short films but I'm also a comic geek but most importantly I'm a writer. So she approached me and told me her husband had started his own comic book company and he was looking for talent. She asked me if I had anything I'd like to submit and I said, probably. At first I gave her one of my screen plays. They liked it so I picked out an old short story and updated it and then translated it into a comic script and gave him that to peruse.
I then went on a trip. While at a friends house I got a call from an over excited Ty telling me about how much he liked the story and how he had already started doing character drawings and he knew he shouldn't before he spoke to me but he was just to excited about it and then he asked if he could do the story and put it in his next comic.
I must admit I was a bit flabbergasted at first, really blown away about his excitement but I got excited to and say, Hell yeah, you can do it, that would be awesome!
When I got home I went to his office to take a look at what he had done in that short time and I was blown away. Next thing I know I'm working on several different projects and we begin planing the book together and before I knew it I had a new best friend.
It's been a rollercoaster ride I never want to get off of.

AW:  What is your overall goal in the comic industry?
TW:  That's a hard question. There's so much that I want to do in the industry. I mean the most important goal is to entertain, right. I think that we all (the industry) has to remember people pick up our comics for entertainment. I want to bring back the sense of escape to comics, less reality and more imgination. I would also say that I would like to bring a sense that what I do is ART, not just a paycheck. I strive for that standard with every page I do. But for the most part our overall goal at Alternate Reality is to entertain.
BK:  I'm not as ambitious at Ty. My goal is simply to get read and maybe one day I'll get to write for my big three, Spider-man, Batman and Superman. I actually already have a few stories for the DC books I'd love to do as an Elseworlds title.

AW:  This question is for Ty: When did you form Alternate Reality Comics? What made you decide to go the self-publishing route?
TW:  I guess AR formed when my brother, Beau and I were, maybe 10 or 11. We wanted to draw comics and we started with a few in school, and then in 2007, I said we should just do it and I remembered an article in Wizard on how to make mini comics, so why not invest in some and try it, if it doesn't work, we'll try again. Both Beau and I knew deep down that our stories, artwork, and imaginations would be too much for the mainstream publishers, and who knows maybe if we create just the right stories, maybe they will come to us. Not to mention self publish has what we all want FREEDOM.

AW:  If you could have any superpower, what would it be?
BK:  I really want to fly. But it really wouldn't be safe to fly unless you were tough like Superman. So really I also want to be like bullet proof and super strong.
Have you ever noticed that if you are a superhero you seem to be able to take a lot more damage than regular people even if your only poser is to read minds or something?
TW:  Man, I just had a flash back, I never thought of myself to be Broady. This is a really hard question, because the heros I enjoy to read about have no superpowers, just good old fashion smarts. But I think that have a superpower of unlimited strength, that's what I would want, all heros have that.

AW:  Tell us a little bit about the stories you are doing for AR.  Which is your favorite to date?
BK:  Alternate Reality Comics (the book) is a horror anthology I like to call a cross between Outer Limits and Tales From the Crypt. The story you will see in the next issue is a very personal story even with it being a horror story. Like most writers, I took what I know from my own life and then threw in a bit of fantasy.
Another story, waiting for the artist to finish, is a fun little zombie story. Since zombie stories are a dime a dozen I took what I know about mythology and mixed it with what so many love about horror movies, T&A. It was really fun to write, if not somewhat embarrassing. However, I can't wait to see it finish I think readers will really like it.
Something I really like is when all the hard work has been done before me. Ty has asked me to translate several stories into script form and I find it really enjoyable to pick apart someone else's work and make it work for the visual medium of comics. I work really hard to keep the original artist integrity cause that is what I would want and I only add or make small changes that are simply needed to make the book the best it can be.
TW:  Being the Editor, I get involved in all of them, at one point or another. I will say that "Revenge" and "The President of the Divided States od Hamelin" where my favorite in AR 1. We have a couple in AR #2 that took a lot more thought and working with other's work than AR 1 had.
The stories all have some facet of horror in them, but depending on what kind of person you are, how funny or how scary they are to you, that's what I love about all of our stories. No good guys, all bad guys. Take "Revenge" in AR#1, a classic tale of a boy, a bitch, and a football. We took it and made it fun, and sinister. In a new story you'll find in AR#2 "Him" you'll see just exactly how love will tear a man apart. I enjoy all of our little yarns, and to pick one at such an early stage in our company would be I don't know almost like a jinx on the whole project.

AW:  Who does the majority of the editing in your books?
BK:  I think the artist has the final edit. I do a lot of self editing and will take suggestions from Ty when writing and then when he is penciling he will ask me if he is going in the right direction. It is a very collaborative process. I really enjoy it. It's a real back and forth but I'm betting Ty will say he has the final cut, the power hungry bastard that he is. lol

AW:  Besides the big three you mentioned previously, are there any other comic companies you would like to work with in the future?
BK:  Maybe Darkhorse cause they are local but I have no idea what title I'd want to work on, maybe a Star Wars one or maybe I'd try to talk them into doing something independent like they started with. It would be nice to see DH do a book like Concrete again.
TW:  Of course being a hugh Batman fan, I would love to work with Mad magazine. In truth I have always enjoyed Batman, but my ultimate thrill would do work for Mad, I have even toyed with the idea we (AR) put out something like Cracked (no longer in circulation) or Mad. I would also love to do some work for Heavy Metal, there stuff is absolutly AWESOME!!!

AW:  This question is for Ben.  While most people may not know it, you are something of an artist yourself. Do you have any plans to illustrate one of your stories in the future?
BK:  I am working on a kids book right now based on an old ghost story my friends and I would tell eachother back in the First grade. I am planning on doing all the art for it myself and I've been working on a kids comic based on some cartoon characters I've been keeping around since High School. I really have no idea when this will be done as I have a lot to learn as far as drawing goes. But I think it will be a really fun book to do and it is silly enough to be popular. I laugh just at it's concepts! Wish I could tell you more but I'm as paranoid and guarded about my unfinished work as any writer.

AW:  Is "Him" the story that Ben wrote for AR #2? How many creators comprise the AR crew?
TW:  There are only 3 creators on our crew, we always want more, trying to find them is hard, not to mention we're so small and capital is so low. "Him" was written by ben, and putting some graphics to this made it explode off the pages, pretty excited!

AW:  For Ben:  You have a background in film?  Any plans to return to that at some point?
BK:  Yes, I've been making films since I was 20. I've done been on both sides of the camera as well as done some screen writing. This experience, surprisingly, translates easily to writing for comics. As the comic book could be looked at an exaggerated story board.
And of course I have plans to return to film! lol. I recently co-wrote, shot and edited a PSA-like video for a friend of mine about Traumatic Brain Injury that has has some moderate success on Myspace as well as other internet sources.
I often flirt with the idea of taking a comic book idea or story and making it into a short film. One of the projects I am working on now is taking one of my short films I did in college and translating it into a comic books limited series. I'm very excited about this project.

Aw:  Anything you can tell us about this project? Is it true that it features a guy creating a gun from chicken parts?
BK:  LOL. Yes if fact it does involve a hero with a chicken-guts-gun though the comic adaption will attempt to explain the oddities of the story a little better and not to belittle the creator but bring out the comedy that the film sometimes missed.
What can I tell you about this story?
Well it is about the eternal struggle between Theater and Television. Since the dawn of time...err the dawn of Television attendance of classic theater has diminished. Until one day a balance of the audience was achieved. However, on the campus of one college in Oregon the battle rages on between a group of public broadcasting students vs. a group of thespians, pant-suited thespians.
When the delicate balance of power is tipped in favor of the theater, the television students are bestowed awesome and somewhat grotesque super powers to stop the thespians from destroying their dreams.

AW:  Sounds like a very fun story. I understand that you made a cameo in the original film version of this project?
BK:  I was brought in as an understudy with no explanation in the story as to where I came from. I plan on exploring this twist in the comic version as the character in the film loosely alludes to foul play upon the actor he replaced.

AW:  When can we expect to see this project? Will it be coming out under AR or another company? Do you have anyone in mind for the art chores?
BK:   wanted this project to come out by Jan. but now, I have no idea, I suppose when I get it done. lol but yes it will be coming out under the AR banner and the artist has been tapped, he has worked in comics for a year or two now [I'll get back to you on his stuff soon] His name is Warren Blyth and... well, he has his own style for everything. A very nice and cool dude but, lets use the word eccentric. I'm very excited about working with him and I know he will bring the right look to this book.

AW:  Do you find it more challenging to get a comic off the ground in Lewiston, ID? Are there any specific problems you face that you feel you wouldn't if you lived in a bigger city?
TW:  I think to most challenging thing is distrubution. We have to drive a lot to meet new people, and hope they will pick us up. I guess another is supplies, we have to get supplies as in professional supplies 45 miles away. But all in all We are going, and as long as we keep our focus feirce we will get out there.

AW: Any last words of advice for aspiring creators?
BK:  Yeah, don't wait until you're 30 to start your dreams! LOL Seriously I should have kept at it, I'd be freakin' RICH by now if I hadn't listened to all those people who told me entertainment was not a viable career choice.
So if you want to entertain people, tell stories, draw, paint, be artistic in any way, no matter your age, get started now and don't stop, never stop. DO NOT LISTEN to all those people who say you can't do it. Do as the commercial says, "Just Do It!"

Trust me, the starving is worth it!

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Recommended Reads-Infinite Kung Fu and Trilogy Tour II

One of the questions I get asked the most frequently is what I am currently reading.  Because of this I have decided to to do a blog post every week where I will go over the books that I have read that week.  I don't want these posts to be criticism so due to that fact there may be weeks where I don't do a post as quite frankly, there are weeks that I don't like the things that I have read.  This week I read issues #1-3 of Infinite Kung Fu and the Trilogy Tour II one-shot.
One of the greatest things about being a comics reseller is that I am rarely without something to read.  Infinite Kung Fu issues #1-3 was found in a collection that I bought earlier this year.  The issues are slightly smaller than standard comics size so as I was sorting everything out I pulled these and set them on top of another box to keep any damage from occuring.  I didn't give them much thought after that until a few weeks ago when I was recording a podcast with Darkslinger Mafia co-host Robert Diaz.  Robert often goes through the boxes that I have stacked in my room (one of his most annoying traits).  He picked up an issue from this series, flipped through it and then quickly discarded it with the comment that he hated the art.  Robert likes his art fairly straight forward.  I enjoy all types as long as it is in service to the story.  Later that night I picked up issue #1 of Infinite Kung Fu from the stacks, flipped through it and decided to give it a read.  The artwork reminded me of Adam Pollina back in his X-Force days.  I found myself reading the 3 issues that I had that night and loved every minute of it.  The story is about  Lei Kung, a soldier who goes AWOL in a post-apocalyptic zombie filled future.  He accidentally burns a monk, not realizing that the monk is actually meditating.  The monk uses Kung Fu to take over the body of a nearby zombie and starts training Lei Kung in the ways of kung fu.  This isn't the standard kung fu that you would find in the real world though.  The kung fu in this story is more reminiscent of what you might find in Nartuo.   The dialogue in these issues is extremely well done, the plotting is fantastic and the artwork fits the story perfectly.  My only complaint is that I don't have the rest of the issues, but I will be fixing that soon as I will definitely be buying the collected graphic novel for this series.  

Trilogy Tour II is something that I recently came across while digging through 50 cent bins at a local comic convention.  I saw Jeff Smith in the top left corner and immediately purchased it.  I have been planning a large cross country tour for Darkslinger Comics for years and this book has inspired me to do something similar to this when that time finally comes.  This is an anthology title that introduced readers to the characters of each of the creators on the 2nd trilogy tour.
The first story is a short featuring Rose by Jeff Smith and Charles Vess.  I have read this story before in the Rose collected editions but it was great to revisit it.  If you haven't read Rose before, it is one of the companion pieces to Bone.  It features the same great story telling by Jeff Smith that you would find in Bone with fantastic illustrations by Charles Vess.  Reading this made me want to dig out my Rose collection and give it a reread.
Next up was Castle Waiting by Linda Medley.  I have the collected edition of this title but haven't given it a read.  After reading this short I have now added it to the books that I will be reading.  The story involves a nun having a pick nick with a demon at a grave yard.  The nun is apparently from an order that deals with the supernatural and doesn't appear to be directly connected with Catholicism.  While there isn't a ton of information given in this short, there was enough to make me want to continue reading this story.
Next was Scary Godmother by Jill Thompson.  This was a fun light read about a group of monsters having a tea party.  Of all of the stories in this collection, this was the one I liked the least.  It was a well told and well illustrated tale, I just don't think that I am the right audience for this comic.
The next story was a great treat.  It was an Akiko short by Mark Crilley.  I absolutely love Akiko and had never read this short.  Akiko is a story about a young girl that goes on intergalactic journeys with her strange, alien friends.  This story is about Akiko and Spuckler searching for their missing friend, Mr. Beeba.
The next tale featured Usagi Yojimbo fighting a samurai over the right to cross a bridge.  Like the Rose story I have previously read this story but like the Rose story I enjoyed revisiting it and much like Rose, it made me want to reread my Usagi collections.
The last tale is a 2 page Bone story and is the only short that is featured in black and white.  Just like with Rose and Usagi, I have read this story in the past.  But just like with those 2 I had no problems with revisiting it.  This story involves Smiley and Phoney having a conversation regarding greed while cleaning dishes.  Keep this book in mind the next time you are digging through the cheap bins, it is a fun read that features some of the greatest characters and creators to ever be featured on the comics page.  I highly recommend it.

Monday, August 07, 2017

Ghost Assassin-Where has this title been?

The most frequently asked question I have been getting from longtime fans of Darkslinger Comics is where has Ghost Assassin been?  Ghost Assassin was our first title in print and is our flagship title but it has been missing from our line up for the last few years.

The first story that I wrote for Ghost Assassin was a 10 page introduction story that I originally intended as a pitch for an anthology that was published at the time called Digital Webbing Presents.  It was my plan to use this story as a gauge for interest in the concept prior to starting an entire ongoing series.  My plans had to change though as the week that the story was fully completed was the same week that it was announced that Digital Webbing Presents was going to cease publication.  Luckily for me this was around the same time that Print on Demand was really taking off.  At the time the two companies that everyone seemed to be using were Comixpress (now defunct) and Ka-Blam.  After doing a bit of research I decided that the best option would be Ka-Blam.  I decided to release the 10 page story as a short comic titled Ghost Assassin: Prelude (it was 12 pages in length as it featured 2 pin-ups).  I printed a small run through Ka-Blam in February 2006 and had to go back to press within a few days or receiving them as I sold all of those copies to family and friends.
I ended up selling through two print runs before debuting this issue at The Eugene Comic Book Show on May 21st, 2006.  This was my first convention as a publisher.  Luckily for me Ka-Blam was able to get a third printing done before that show.  I did incredibly well at that show.  I sold through my third printing of Ghost Assassin: Prelude as well as some posters and a sketchbook that I had printed up for the show.  I made quite a few contacts, including the owner of PGX grading services, who slabbed a copy of Ghost Assassin: Prelude for me.

The majority of the friends I have made in comics have told me that the scariest moment for them was either the first convention they appeared at or the moment that they held their first physical product in their hands.  My experience was quite different.  The idea of creating something and releasing it out into the world didn't frighten me.  The way that I looked at it is that people would either get it or they wouldn't.  I had been a vendor at dozens of conventions prior to that show and I really didn't see how that one would differ.  Having something on the table that I created didn't change the experience for me in any major way.  No, for me the scariest parts of creating this comic would slowly be revealed over the next few months.

The story featured in Prelude was created relatively easily.  So easy in fact that it made me think that creating the entire series was going to be just as easy.  On that I couldn't have been more wrong.  I thought that I would have the first issue of the ongoing series out within 6 months of releasing the Prelude issue.  There was just one problem and it was a big one.  Unlike most of the comics I had written (though not published yet) I didn't know exactly how this one was going to end.  The majority of the story that I had flushed out at the point had happened prior to the story featured in Prelude.

Throughout 2006 I hit up as many conventions as possible and signed at any store that would have me (huge thank you to Cosmic Monkey for having me on several occasions).   I added digital sales channels such as Drive Thru Comics and got into as many comic shops as I could, including Lonestar Comics.  While sales varied from convention-to-convention, store-to-store, overall the response to Ghost Assassin was phenomenal.  The feedback I received from readers was extremely positive.  The reviews I had received were positive for the most part (the most common gripe seemed to be a $3 price point for a 12 page issue).  Within six months of releasing Ghost Assassin: Prelude I had my first movie offer.  It wasn't a good movie offer and I am glad that I turned it down, but still, I had my first movie offer.

All of this sounds like great news, right?  It is, but it had an unexpected effect on me.  I was all of a sudden afraid of the story that I had created.  That may sound a little odd but it doesn't keep it from being true.  People seemed to really love this book and I was afraid that the next issue was going to disappoint them.  What if I screwed up everything that they loved about Prelude?  And where exactly was I going with this story?

Having those thoughts in my head instead of the thought of just telling a good story caused me to do the exact thing that I feared.  After a year of thinking on what this story should be and where it would go I sat down and wrote a story of David's childhood that I titled Ghost Assassin: Origin.  I did everything wrong with this story.  Fortunately I figured this out early on and pulled this issue from my convention products.  But that still left me with the question of what to do.  I was experiencing writer's block which was a new sensation for me.  I wrote several Ghost Assassin stories around this time but they were all missing something.

It wasn't until I received a pitch from Michael Colbert in February of 2008 that things started to fully take shape again.  The plot of this story was excellent and I loved the title: In The Cards.  I bought the story from Michael and re-worked it a bit to make the characters seem more like the David and Todd that I had created.  In The Cards will be the main story in Ghost Assassin issue #2.
Working on this story accomplished something huge that none of the other Ghost Assassin stories I had been writing had managed to do, it cured the block in my mind.  Once again I was telling a story that I was proud of.  But I wasn't quite sure where this story would fit in in the overall Ghost Assassin story line that I was telling.  I continued to work on other Ghost Assassin stories.  Stories that would eventually become issues #3, 4, 5, etc....but something still felt like it was missing.

In 2009 (if memory serves) my best friend, Ty Wakefield, was admitted to the hospital because his lungs were deflating.  Ty had been fighting a battle with a vicious cancer called Osteosarcoma.
Our friend, Ben Kreger, and I drove up to Seattle to spend time with Ty while he was in the hospital.  I don't want to go into detail on that but while in his hospital room I started working on a new Ghost Assassin story that would later be titled "Mercy".  The story is about a man that hires David to humanely kill his mother who is fighting a losing battle with cancer.  After writing this story I really didn't know if I ever wanted to release it.  There wasn't anything mean spirited about it but it still seemed messed up, even for me.  A few weeks after Ty was released from the hospital he and I had a conversation in which he asked me what I had been working on.  I told him about Mercy and he asked to read it.  After reading it he demanded that I release this issue.  So I found an artist.  It was around this time that I started working with the immensely talented Joel Cotejar.  Joel was a perfect fit for the story that I was telling.  I wish Ty could have seen this story but unfortunately Osteosarcoma took him from this world before it ever saw print.

In the last quarter of 2010 the glass shop that I had worked at for my entire adult life went under and with it, my primary source of income.  This meant that I had to scale back on the amount of titles that I was working on and the conventions that I could afford to be an exhibitor at.  I had done 42 conventions and signings in 2010.  In 2011 that number had been reduced to a mere 5.  It was clear to me that if I was going to stay in this game I had to start working smarter.

I had heard of a new platform called Kickstarter and thought that it might be a good venue to get my projects into print.  I launched 2 Kickstarters in 2010.  One for the printing of Chronicles of Van Helsing issue #3 and one for the printing of Ghost Assassin: Mercy.  I will admit that I really did not know how to make the best use of the platform at this time.  I went for the exact amounts that I needed to do small runs and just barely made my goal on each of them.  While this was enough to get a small run of Ghost Assassin completed, it was not enough to do a large printing of this issue.

Ty passed away in April of 2011.  His funeral was a seven hour drive from my house.  I worked on a Ghost Assassin story for most of the trip.  I needed something to distract myself from the urge to break down.  But after the funeral I think that that is exactly what I did.  I sat down the day after and attempted to finish a Ghost Assassin story I had been kicking around in my head for months.  Upon reading it I was a little shocked at what I found.  This story featured 24 pages of David and Todd talking but it wasn't David and Todd.  It was Ty and me.  This story will never be released.  I put down my pen and didn't touch it again for almost a year.

It took me about a year to pull myself out of the depression that I found myself in, I got back to creating and running the Darkslinger business.  Ghost Assassin was nearly ready to go but I wanted to make sure that I had enough material to finally release this title through a distributor and get into as many comic shops as possible but in order to do this I needed to build up my bank account and I needed a plan.  We had been pitched a title called "Who Will Save The World?" that seemed like it may be a perfect fit for Kickstarter.  It was a full color one shot and had an excellent premise (World War 1 zombies).  The plan was to get the El Bovine Muerte webcomic going again.  Start working on new issues of Ghost Assassin, The Principalities and Chronicles of Van Helsing.  Use Kickstarter to launch Who Will Save The World? and if successful, use it again to launch The Principalities.  I planned on collecting Chronicles of Van Helsing into graphic novel format after issue #5 was released.  El Bovine Muerte would be collected into graphic novel format after the fourth issue.  And for the final part of this plan, Ghost Assassin was going to need to be pitched to Diamond to distribute.  The plan seemed solid enough.  But I made a critical mistake.  Who Will Save The World? was nowhere near complete enough to take to Kickstarter.  Rewards that were set to be delivered in 2012 were not sent until 2014.  A one-shot that was sold as a 52 page saddle stitched comic ended up as a 60 page perfect bound graphic novel.  Shipping costs through USPS had increased (dramatically in the case of international shipping).  Printing costs had increased.  Production costs of incentives had increased.  It seemed like we had made every mistake possible with this Kickstarter.  In the end it was a mistake that ended up costing me every dime I had and nearly cost me my house.
It took me quite a bit of time to build things up to the point where I felt comfortable releasing something again.  I did 1-3 cons per year throughout 2013-2016.  These years saw only 3 releases.  The Who Will Save The World? graphic novel, Chronicles of Van Helsing #5 and a Chronicles of Van Helsing: Sally mini comic that was completed in 2012 but didn't see print until 2016.
By early 2017 it seemed that things were finally becoming fully stable again.  I started doing conventions again.  To date I have done 10 conventions so far this year and have plans to do at least 4 more by the end of 2017.  El Bovine Muerte is back on track, there will be a new page posted this Wednesday.  I am once again working with artists.  Thus far in 2017 I have launched 2 small Kickstarters that were both a part of an event that Kickstarter was having.  One for a Chronicles of Van Helsing Glass and one for a print edition of El Bovine Muerte #1.  Both projects had a low funding goal that they met.  I was able to deliver on both of these projects before the projected shipping date.  This has given me a lot of confidence in my ability to run a Kickstarter that can succeed, not only in the funding stage, but also in the delivery of the product.
It has been the plan for Ghost Assassin to have a larger print run with better distribution and I think now is the time to bring this title back.  I believe that using Kickstarter can help to achieve these goals.  With a bit of luck the Kickstarter for Ghost Assassin should launch in late August.  The state of completion for each issue is:
-Issue #1: The interior is fully done: penciled, colored and lettered.  The Prelude short will appear as a back up tale in this issue.  The cover is currently being colored.  After that I will add the logo and graphic design elements.  The Kickstarter will not be launched until this has been done.  I made that mistake once, I will not make it again.
-Issue #2:  Features In The Cards as the main story, which is fully done: penciled, colored and lettered.  The cover is finished: penciled, colored and the graphic design is complete.  This issue features a new version of Ghost Assassin: Origin as a back up feature.  I have fixed what I perceived as being wrong with the original release of this story and feel that it is now ready to be seen by the (comics reading) world.  The Origin short is fully penciled, currently awaiting coloring.  If we exceed our goal of raising funds to print issue #1 the funds will be used to finish (and print if enough is raised) Ghost Assassin #2.
-Issue #3:  This issue features a story titled "The Dig."  The cover is fully penciled and is currently being colored.  The interior of the book is penciled and is currently awaiting being colored.
-Issue #4:  This issue is written but has not yet started the art phase.

So to answer the question of where Ghost Assassin is in a rather long winded way, it could be out by the end of this year.  With a little bit of luck and a whole lot of support.

I will be updating this blog and our social media profiles with information on the Ghost Assassin Kickstarter as it draws closer to the launch date.  Please consider liking Ghost Assassin on Facebook.  Thank you for taking the time to read this.

Adam Watson
Darkslinger Comics

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Upcoming Conventions

We will be at the Sasquatch Comic Swap this Sunday, April 30th in Eugene, Oregon.  As this is a dealer oriented show we will be selling primarily cheap comics and graphic novels (50 cents and up).  We will have a small selection of Darkslinger Comics titles available at the table as well.

On Saturday, May 13th we will be at the Fantasticon in Tacoma, Washington.  We will be tabling as Darkslinger Comics at this event but will be bringing a few long boxes of cheap comics to sell as well.  The print edition of El Bovine Muerte #1 should be making its convention debut at this show.

We will be adding several more convention appearances to our schedule in the weeks to come.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

El Bovine Muerte Kickstarter and a Convention

We are currently running a 7 day campaign on Kickstarter for a print edition of issue #1 of the El Bovine Muerte webcomic.  It can be viewed at  If you are unfamiliar with El Bovine Muerte a brief synopsis is: El Bovine Muerte is an ongoing color webcomic series that tells the story of Le Mime, a brilliantly insane industrialist and his greatest invention, Muerte.  Muerte is a cow that is genetically engineered to create the world's greatest cheese.  Muerte's cheese is so great in fact, that just one bite will leave erase your mind.

El Bovine Muerte can be viewed online at

We now have the Chronicles of Van Helsing Vampire 15 Ounce Glasses in stock!  The glass features a beautifully grotesque image by Tony Morgan.  They can be purchased at

We will have a limited supply of Darkslinger Comics titles available at The Comic Shop table at the Vancouver Vintage Toy and Record show this Saturday in Vancouver, WA.  The main focus of what will be sold at the table will be vintage toys and comics (and a few records).  We hope to see you there!

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Chronicles of Van Helsing Glasses

We are currently running a campaign on Kickstarter for Chronicles of Van Helsing 15 ounce glasses!  This is the first in what will become a series of glassware that will feature images and characters from the Chronicles of Van Hesling comic series.  Each backer will receive a digital edition of a Darkslinger Comics title of their choosing as a special bonus for purchasing a glass through the Kickstarter.  The Principalities Issue #2 will be available for the first time ever through this campaign as a digital download.  A print edition of this issue will be available later this year.