When I was in 9th grade at Waterford Kettering High School, I fell in love with independent horror movies, zombie movies, more specifically. Night of the living dead, Dawn of the Dead, Day of the dead, etc., the movies struck me as awesome in their cheesy effects and comedic elements and it dawned on me, “That doesn’t look too hard to make, I could make one for pretty cheap.” My artist buddy Jake Clinton and I would talk about it, long nights of drinking (sorry Mom) and smoking cigarettes (sorry Dad) we came up with tons of ideas. We came up with a plot, and I started making money the easy way, collecting peoples change after lunch at school. About three months of doing this, I came away with a whopping $27. I knew I could never afford to make one, so I switched gears, I could make them into those things I used to read as a kid, comic books! So I talked about it, and I talked about it, and I talked about it and suddenly I’m thirty years old, married, have a mortgage and two kids. This dream that never left was sort of sailing away. Though my passion for zombies is more of a thing of the past, for whatever reason my passion for comics has only grown into an obsession. So I started saving money to hire an artist and started thinking of what I wanted to write as my first comic.
A few years ago Image comics put out “Airboy” which was a golden age, public domain character. Their version was a raunchy, crazy adventure which was much more of a look into the writers own psyche, than the previous editions of a cheesy pilot who flew a plane where its wings flapped like a bird. I loved it. I wanted to write a public domain character, whom was under-utilized. I began to research public domain characters, and I ran across one I immediately fell in love with, The Crimson Rider. It was a character whose whole story took place over about 20 pages in another characters book. “Crimson Rider” was originally published by Jumbo comics (#9 and #10) in 1939, in Wilton of the West’s story. Wilton of the West is a prototypical Western hero, seeking to right the wrongs of bad guys everywhere. Standard issue stuff, but in issue #9 and #10, he’s hunting down the Payson gang and is ultimately racing this masked vigilante that is out for blood. The Crimson Rider is really the mystery of the book, who was this masked crusader, and why were they so hungry for blood? It’s revealed that the masked murderer is a teenage girl named Mary Bennon and she’s only seeking vengeance for the slaying of her Father, by the Payson gang. Once I decided which character to write it didn’t take me long to think of a cool new angle to add to the book, I would start her story at the end of her life where she has been caught for her crimes of murders past and waiting to hang for them.
I had my character, I had my story, now I needed an artist, so I hired one that I had actually hired before. About five years ago at Motor City Comic Con, I was strolling through artists alley and was stopped in my tracks by a particular guys art, Tyler Sowles, he was selling copies of the latest book he had drawn, “Hank Steiner; Monster Detective”. I loved his art so much in fact, that I paid him to draw me a commission piece. I knew then that if I was going to write a comic, this was the dude I wanted to draw it, and so it was! The first issue has been written, drawn and lettered for a while now and is waiting to go to the printer until I run my Kickstarter. I’m currently working hard on issue #2 and #3 which will wrap up Mary’s story, for now. As for Jake Clinton, my 9th grade zombie movie (that would never be) co-director, he did some awesome promotional art work for this book and we have recently been talking about doing a children’s book together or possibly a comic in the near future. Whether that book ends up being a flesh eating, undead corpse story, only time will tell. Thanks for reading.