Currently, I'm working on creator Michael Sumislaski's and my ongoing webcomic
"HORNTOAD SAM WEEKLY," which is now five strips into its second volume, and the sixth strip should be out by the time this is published. The first volume consisted of
64 strips. We're collecting these in three printed volumes, which will be released through GrayHaven Comics. The first volume, collecting the first
25 strips, is being worked on right now, and it should be available by this summer; the other two volumes will follow later in 2016. Mike and I had also been working on a new
"HORNTOAD SAM" ongoing series. The first issue had been written, and the art had been started, but for the time being, we've put this on hold until more time can open up to get more of it in the can.
I also recently sent a 14-page story to an artist for the 2016 IF Anthology from Alterna, which will have a superhero theme. The goal is to have this ready by the submission deadline, so fingers crossed we can get it done!
On the GrayHaven front, I just had a story come out for our "YOU ARE NOT ALONE 3" anthology called "Pinwheel," which told the story of a teenage girl dealing with cancer. It was a three-page story in the volume with art by Scott Sackett. Behind the scenes, I'm editing our three latest anthologies:
"Horror 5," "Music," and "You Are Not Alone 4." Scripts from the writers are now coming in, and by April, most stories will be well into the art stages. All three of these books should be out by the end of 2016.
2) Whom in your field do you admire most and why?
The obvious answer for me is Stan Lee (and, really, any of the early creators and innovators). He (and his peers) set the standard and pace for what we in the industry are doing in the present. There are, of course, several creators whom I admire today, among those Mark Waid, Brian Bendis, JM DeMatteis, Terry Moore, and Neil Gaiman, because of their skill and dedication to their stories.
3) How did you get into the comic book field?
I was a frequent poster on Brian Bendis's Jinxworld boards before they shut down in 2014, and Andrew Goletz, who was one of the posters there (and a friend of mine), mentioned to several of us about putting together an anthology. This was back in 2010, and many of us were thirsty for a chance to get something out there just to show that it was possible, and it was. That year we put out what would end up being only the first issue of many (and not a one-shot) of
"THE GATHERING" for Andrew's GrayHaven Comics. Each volume of
"THE GATHERING" ended up carrying a theme, and the first issue focused on hope. My story in the introductory issue was a two-page story drawn by Pat Loika about this man who had recently lost his wife and was now a single father to his little girl. The man, while caught up in his mourning, finds the strength he needs to carry on and be there for his daughter. It was a short, sweet little tale, and while I look back at it now and see many things I could have done differently, I still feel that it stands out as one of my more emotional and heartfelt stories.
Anyway, fast-forward to five years later, and GrayHaven has put out over sixty comics (over thirty issues of
"THE GATHERING" alone); I think I've had nearly two dozen of my stories in our books over the last five years. I was merely a writer with them for the first several years and didn't get into editing and production until the last year or two. I also met my
"HORNTOAD SAM" collaborator Michael Sumislaski through GrayHaven, who did the art on my second story, and for many stories after that.
4) On which title would you most like to work and why?
Outside of my own work, if I were to write for any character of the Big Two, I'd most likely do something more street-level, like
Spider-Man (my favorite comic character) or Daredevil, or something in the horror genre, like Man-Thing or Werewolf By Night. For some reason, those characters just speak the most to me, and while I like what DC puts out there, I've always been more of a Marvel guy, just because their characters seem more human to me.
5) On what project will you be working next?
The quick answer: a lot of HORNTOAD SAM material. The webcomic, as mentioned above, is still going strong. Again, there are also the collections of the old webcomic material coming this year. I hope we'll be able to get back to the ongoing series we had started to work on, but again, it will depend on available time. It will be a completely different tone than the webcomic. Mike originally had Sam appear in his own comic a few years back, but looking over things (and going over some of Mike's old notes while coming up with some of my own ideas), we're going to put a fresh coat of paint on the character. It's going to be a fun comic, though not the humor comic that the webcomic tends to be. It will have a science fiction-like feel not too far from the 1980s runs of
"Legion of Super-Heroes" or many of the First Comics produced comics, but when you have a six-foot-plus humanoid toad, you know this isn't going to be your standard sci-fi comic. In the meantime, you can "like" our Horntoad Sam Facebook page, which is included with the other links at the bottom of this interview, for continuing news and the regularly released ongoing webcomic.
Additionally, GrayHaven will be releasing a special project later this year (and you'll know it when you see it!). I have two full-sized comics coming out for this project. I've seen the art come in, and it's beautiful, so I can't wait for the readers and fans to see it. More news in the coming months!
Finally, the other project I have stewing is another series I've had in mind for a while. I won't go too much into this now since it's still in the early stages (and with my wife and I expecting our first child in June, my time will become a lot more limited!), but it's a little more superhero-focused than HORNTOAD SAM while maintaining a very human touch. It will start with a separate one-shot, but my goal is to do the series in arcs, with each arc covering a particular time period and ultimately telling the story about the main protagonist over the better part of a century. However, HTS is my main focus right now, but I'll let people know more about the other project once it's a little further along.
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