With the Unit 44 collected edition, Hipsters Vs. Rednecks and The Temporal all being set free into the wild over the course of September, the kids have officially gone off to school and I am left to focus on new projects that will come together over the course of 2015/2016. I have several fun things to announce, but there’s one project in particular that has gained some ground and will likely be coming to your eyeballs sooner rather than later.
That project is Edison: The Wizard of Menlo Park. (Working title… you dig?)
There has been some really interesting alternate history stories hitting the comic marketplace over the past few years… Action Lab’s Herald features H.P. Lovecraft and Nikola Tesla, Albert Einstein: Time Mason features… well… you know, and there are several web comics out there that take a page from history. With the historical star on the rise, I knew I needed to stake my claim quickly or get left behind.
More so, I thought it would be hilarious to look at inventor Thomas Edison as some sort of MacGyver/James Bond mix. Thus Edison was born:
One part James Bond, one part MacGyver, inventor Thomas Alva Edison uses his ingenuity and creativity to combat the scientific threats of the late 1880s.
While the story is grounded in historical fact as it pertains to the people, places and major inventions happening in that era of history (trust me, I’ve been doing my homework), I’m taking Edison for a spin as a smart and dangerous man who’s amazing intellect and intelligence often outshines his common sense.
After penning (typing) a script that was equal parts humor and action I set out to find an artistic collaborator to help bring this silly series to life like some sort of Frankenstein’s monster. That search led me to the electronic doorstep of Giovanni Capurro, whose art style lies somewhere between Darwyn Cooke and a Tim Sale with a little bit of roughness around the edges. While I spoke with several interested artists about the series, it was Giovanni’s back catalog that made me sit up and take note. I saw what he wanted to do with comics, saw what he was capable of, and with what I envision in my head for the series, I was confident he was the fella for the gig.
We’re currently in the midst of developing the inaugural 30-page #1 issue and I’m thrilled with how it’s coming together. With several inked pages already in the bag, we’ve enlisted the services of talented colorist Andrew Pate, who will breathe an extra layer of life into the pages.
Hey, Wes… that’s great and all, but when is this book coming out?
Yeah, I don’t know.
Okay… but who’s going to publish it?
The short answer here is: who cares?
So far this comic has been an absolute blast to work on. Once the first issue is in the bag, we may show it around a bit to see if there’s any interest, but if publishers aren’t clamoring for a comic book about Thomas Edison, well, that’s a-okay, too.
If you have interest in humor, science, or the 1880s and its most prominent creative minds, then this comic is going to fill a void in your happy place that you probably didn’t know you had.
Are you excited? I’m really excited.
Keep it tuned here for more.
“Art is never finished, only abandoned.” – Leonardo da Vinci
While I’ve been selling this 32-page one-shot at conventions for the past few months, I finally decided to toss it up on ComiXology for just $0.99 and make it accessible to the masses.
The Temporal, with art by Kristian Rossi, is the story of a young scientist who is contracted by the U.S. Military to crack the secrets of time travel. But before he hands the project over to the military, he just needs to make one small adjustment to his past. And of course, that’s where things go bonkers.
This comic book has kind of a neat story behind it and I wanted to share it. Besides, this is my websites, so I have carte blanche to do whatever I want.
Want to hear a secret? The Temporal was actually one of my first comics I made.
Pause for dramatic effect. Cut to reaction shot.
Despite the fact that in our present day it is the year 2015 (I’m serious, check a calendar), this comic book has been complete since 2012.
In fact, this is the project that originally brought me together with Argentinian artist Kristian Rossi. I was advertising online for someone to draw my time travel comic and as luck would have it, Kristian was looking to get hired to make a comic book. He was kind enough to read over the script he agreed to come aboard for the one-shot and over the course of several months in 2011 we put the thing together.
Right as we finished The Temporal I got word that my crime-fiction miniseries Chambers had been greenlit for publication by Arcana Studio. In a spin of bad luck, the original artist who had done the pitch pages and was attached to the book dropped out. Don’t you hate it when that happens? It was up to me to find a replacement or put the project on the shelf. Working with Kristian had been such a positive experience–super professional, super nice, super talented–so I pitched him the 4-issue miniseries to see if it would be up his alley.
Kristian already had a great dark, noirish style, which was a perfect match for Chambers and after reading the scripts he did a test page to show the publisher he could handle completing the book from the ground up. Between you, me and the walls, the pages Kristian produced knocked the former artist out of the water. He brought this great cinematic eye to the world and I’m still super proud of the series, which came out in 2013.
As a side note, Kristian also helped me through one of the toughest parts of Chambers… the ending. If you’ve read the comic (and if you haven’t, do us both a solid and check it out) you may be aware that it has a whopper of an ending. It was an ending I worried might not be the right one. When I brought up the idea of changing it, Kristian told me that when he read the original scripts the ending gave him chills. Chills! We kept it. And I’m glad we did.
With time, budgets and energies being put into Chambers over the course of 2012/2013, The Temporal had to take a back seat. Kristian had penciled and inked all 32 pages and I had every intention of getting it colored, but the funds to do so constantly went toward other things. Once Chambers had wrapped I dove into The Undoubtables. Once that wrapped I was knee-deep in Unit 44. It was quickly becoming apparent that, must to my dismay, The Temporal was going to stay on the shelf for some time. Other things were cooking and since the stove was hot I had to keep putting on the Jiffy Pop. That’s a weird analogy, right there.
Then something interesting happened… as reviews started to come in for Chambers, a recurring theme from the reviewers bubbled to the surface… many offered that Kristian’s line work was strong and could likely stand on its own without color. Several reviewers said they would have loved to have read the crime series in black and white.
As I thought back on that a few months ago, it hit me… here I was just sitting on The Temporal… a Kristian Rossi goldmine of black and white comic pages. While the story is from early in my career, rather than hold the book hostage in a closet, I should put it out there to let fans of time travel stories enjoy the narrative and allow them to appreciate Kristian’s art.
While I would have loved to see the book in color, I think the comic is a great representation of two youthful creators who are made something together while having a whole lot of fun. It’s like with rock music… a band has their entire life to write their first album and only two years to write the second. This is why the first album is always favored in the long run: they don’t know the rules. More importantly, they don’t care about the rules.
So it’s done. The Temporal is out today on ComiXology for anyone who would like to give it a read. I owe a lot to the experience of making it.
Look at it this way… without The Temporal there would be no Chambers. Without Chambers, no Undoubtables. No Unit 44. No Hipsters Vs. Rednecks. It’s the butterfly effect in action.
I spent two years working with Kristian and he’s an awesome friend and collaborator. Go enjoy his talents and hard work then give him an e-high five. The dude’s amazing.
It was a busy last few weeks!
A few days after stopping by the Vodka O’Clock podcast I also appeared on The Gravy Age Podcast where I chatted with my pal Kris about my silly new comic book Hipsters Vs. Rednecks!
We also got into some discussion about the past, present and future of digital comics, how everyone on the internet is mad about something new each week and writing humor while not potentially offending readers.
I appreciate Kris taking time out of his busy schedule to chat with my about the comic and I hope you’ll give our conversation a listen.
Kris was also kind enough to review the one-shot comic where he said, “For a book I was worried couldn’t sustain itself based on the concept initially, my biggest and only real complaint is, it’s over too soon.”
Listen to the show online by clicking here (interview starts around the halfway mark) or you can subscribe to the podcast on iTunes or Stitcher Radio.
I recently returned to the Vodka O’Clock podcast to chat with host Amber Love about my comic Hipsters Vs. Rednecks, which she was nice enough to read, enjoy and suggest we talk about. It was my third or fourth visit to the show and as always, a great time was had. Here’s hoping I don’t wear out my welcome!
As happens when I chat with Amber, the conversation took a turn as we explored other nerdery including Star Wars, comic book conventions, cats and the current state off the comic book industry.
Want to take me on your commute? You can listen to the interview online by clicking here, or you can subscribe to the Vodka O’Clock podcast on iTunes or Stitcher Radio. Amber also has a Patreon page to support the production and maintenance of her wonderful show that helps shine the spotlight on writers, artists and creators, so if you don’t mind tossing her a few dollars to keep the show going I know she’d appreciate it (and so would I).
The apocalypse has arrived. Hipsters Vs. Rednecks releases today in print and digital formats.
In a post-apocalyptic world, two factions have risen to power—the hipsters, who control New Brooklyn, the last known city, and the rednecks, who will do anything to get inside. When an outsider finds herself caught in the middle of an ongoing war, she must take a stand if she hopes to make it out of New Brooklyn alive.
If you’ve ever wanted to see Hipsters and Rednecks battle it out in comic book form, then do I have a treat for you!
Earlier this year artist Tyler Kelting and I hunkered down and crafted a 24-page comedy one-shot exploring just that idea!
If you read and enjoyed Unit 44, then this irreverent book will provide you with another fix of zany comedy. Grab a free sneak peek of the series and order in your favorite format by visiting www.hipstersvsrednecks.com!
While the comic is currently available exclusively through our site, it has been submitted to additional digital retailers and we’ll announce those platforms as they become available.
I’m happy to report that the comic has bet met by solid reception from reviewers so far! Take a look at what people are saying (click site names for the full review):
“If the idea behind this one shot comic sounds even remotely interesting to you, then you should be thinking about reading this comic; it’s a fun look at what could be a disastrous future should these two factions remain in order to rebuild the human race.” – GraphicPolicy.com
“Hipsters vs Rednecks is a fun and funny story that sets up some really interesting things. We have The Walking Dead and some other group survival/post-apocalyptic stories out there, but this is the match-up I never knew I wanted.” – ScreenGonzo.com
What could possibly happen next in a post-apocalyptic world? If you want to find out, pick up the comic in print or digital and show us you want to know!
The 100-page collected edition of Unit 44 arrived on ComiXology yesterday and is ready for consumption!
For those who didn’t read the issues as they came out, this is a great opportunity to drink it all down in a single sitting. You’ll actually save some money in the process as the collected edition is retailing for just $5.99!
With the release of volume 1 came plenty of new press and I’m thrilled to say that all of it was very nice and I can’t say enough thank you’s to the reviewers who took the time to not only read my email, but read the comic and took even more time to write about it, heaping praise on Ed Jimenez’s art and my silly words.
Check out what people are saying!
“Meanwhile, Wes Locher’s script is very strong. He knows exactly the sort of story he’s trying to tell and never shies away from it; just when you think things can’t get any crazier, he throws another curveball in to the proceedings to not only raise the stakes for the heroes, but keep the laughs flowing.” – ComicsVerse.com
“If you liked Men in Black, Venture Brothers, Invader Zim, The Awesomes, and government conspiracies gone astray, give Unit 44 a shot.” – ComicsOnline.com
“Once I picked up reading this collected volume, I couldn’t stop because I felt like I was reading a comic that spoke to my sense of humor and creativity.” – GeeksWithWives.com
“Locher happily plays with other tropes along the way, throwing not one but two mismatched-but-loyal sets of partners, little green men, mysterious glowing crystals, and turncoats into the mix. The result is an amusing tale that swerves about in unexpected directions and laughs with and at our world and its stories.” – FanboyNation.com
I also did a text interview with Sean at ComicsVerse.com while you can check out by clicking here. We talked about comic writing, comedy, Area 51 and creative collaboration. I appreciate him taking the time to chat. It was a ton of fun!
Plans are still in the works to release a physical edition of the book sometime in 2016, so I’m happy to report this isn’t the last the world will be hearing about my irreverent series about Area 51, conspiracies, rednecks and storage units.
Stay tuned for more!
Since the first issue of Unit 44 went into the hands of Kickstarter backers in 2014 the comic book, co-created with series artist Eduardo Jimenez, has been an absolute joyride and I’m thrilled to announce that the 100-page collected edition will hit ComiXology on Wednesday, Sept. 9 from Alterna Comics!
For anyone who didn’t read all four of our sci-fi/comedy issues as they were released in digital and print editions, this just might be the most fun you can have with a comic in the next week.
In addition to all 88-pages of the story we’re bringing in a new cover (see image at left… or wherever it ended up on the page), a bunch of pin-ups contributed by some of my amazingly talented friends and two installments of the Conspirator’s Gazette, where I write essays about… well… about whatever I felt like talking about any given time. In the case of the collected edition, one essay is about the genesis of the series and my love for all things Area 51 and the other is about why you shouldn’t be a hipster. It’s about other stuff, too, but mostly it begs people not be hipsters. Seriously. Stop that already.
I think the price point for the collected edition will drop to around $6 making it cheaper to grab volume 1 rather than the individual issues. See? How much easier can we make it to read this thing?
So, if you’re into Area 51, Aliens, government conspiracies, secrets, rednecks or laughing, then Unit 44 has you covered. If you’re tired of convoluted continuities and superheroes who never change, then this series is going to be a breath of fresh air for you.
Seriously, if you’ve resisted reading the series up til now, it’s totally time to give in. Don’t deprive yourself of these laughs. Please, think of the children.
Don’t want to wait? The issues are currently available at ComiXology!
If you did read the series and you received some joy from the experience, do me a huge favor and share the news on social media. Your friends will listen to you and buy what you like. Trust me, you can sell it to them better than I can. I’m just some dude who desperately needs a haircut.
And if you did read the series, then thank you. You rock. It means the world to Ed and I.
Back at the beginning of 2015 I embarked on the silliest of ideas.
After Unit 44 showed me how much fun writing humor was, and how naturally I felt it came to me in comic book form, I decided to up the ante on myself. Sure, I had penned a silly and irreverent four-issue sci-fi/comedy miniseries, but I wondered how could I take that to the next level.
I didn’t have to think very long.
In a stroke of genius (or was it madness)… I thought, what if the world ended leaving just two of the planets’ silliest human stereotypes…and what if they had to fight each other?
It was then that I knew I would be writing Hipsters vs. Rednecks.
The story came rather quickly… what would happen if an outsider stumbled into the middle of a war… who would they ally with and how would they survive in that setting? This tale would not only allow me to explore a ton of silly jokes, but be a fun experiment in one-and-done storytelling.
In October 2014 I penned the script and at the end of the year went hunting for the perfect artist to co-create the world I had started to envision. After casually dropping the idea for the comic out on social media I got several responses, but there was one artist who caught my eye…
Tyler Kelting, writer and artist of the (fantastic) indie book My Friend Death offered to take a look at the script to see if it was up his alley. Tyler’s art has this amazing dark, grimy and lived-in feeling that I thought would be ideal for the story. The dude uses color in ways I’ve never seen colors used in a comic book. Needless to say, I was holding my breath that he’d dig it. Thankfully, he did and after a bit of discussion he set to work in early 2015.
Here we are just months later, sitting on top of a complete 24-page one-shot comic book that I couldn’t be more proud of.
While part of me feels like this comic book has no business existing (because it’s just that silly) the other part of me is completed inspired by the what we’ve made. As a young reader I always loved when an indie comic book would pop up in my local comic shop (The Collection Connection — hey-o!) and reel me in with it’s personality, wackiness and complete disregard for following comic book norms.
To me, Hipsters vs. Rednecks embodies that feeling. Tyler and I created the exact comic we wanted to make, making zero apologies and having a ton of fun in the process. Maybe we’ll be apologizing once it’s released… who knows.
We’ll be self-publishing the book in print and digital formats in September. Digital PDFs will first be available via Gumroad with more e-formats to follow in the near future. We’ll be dropping a pre-order link in the next few weeks!
Now, even though I’m completely into this book I can’t help but wonder if anyone will read it. With a title like Hipsters vs. Rednecks, I’m counting on curiosity alone to bring in some viewers. After all, how could there be any sort of story there? There’s only one way to find out!
While it’s all very silly, I’ve always believed that first and foremost, making comics should be fun. The fulfillment I get from collaborating with talented artists and colorists is a thrill that never gets old.
Release date info to come soon!
For those in and around Northwest Florida, I’ll be appearing at the 2015 installment of the Panama City CreativeCon tomorrow (Saturday, Aug. 1), happening in (say it with me) Panama City, FL!
The event will be held from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. ET at Gulf Coast State College in the student union building. Tickets and more info are available online at pccreativecon.com
The convention, founded by the ever-talented writer/artist/dancer(?) Jayson Kretzer, doesn’t limit itself to just comic books, but instead embraces every form of creativity from comics, to art, to writing, costume creation and more.
But don’t just come out for me! Also in attendance will be the talented colorist K. Michael Russell, writers Tony Simmons, Michael Lister and Chris Arrant and artist Rando Dixon of Inverse Press (a great group of people).
This is the first show at which I’ll be selling all four issues of Unit 44 in printed issue format! Very excited for that. I’ve sold many copies of #1 and #2 in the area and here’s hoping people actually want to finish the story.
I’ll also be packing copies of The Undoubtables graphic novel, The Temporal one-shot, my humor book Musings on Minutiae and very, very, veeeeeeeery limited quantities of the Chambers collected edition.
See you there, yeah?
A few weeks ago I sat down with Gabe Llanas, one of the hosts of the Thinking Outside the Long Box Podcast and we spent an evening chatting comics, Star Wars, Kickstarter and other miscellanea.
Specifically, I was on the show to promote my sci-fi/comedy comic book Unit 44!
Gabe gave me the chance to explain how the project came together, the inspiration behind the narrative and the process of funding the book through Kickstarter before landing at Alterna Comics.
I appreciate Gabe and his co-hosts having me on the show and for all the great questions he asked. Hopefully you have as much fun listening to it as I did recording it.
The Thinking Outside the Longbox Podcast is available on iTunes and Stitcher Radio. You can listen to the podcast online here: http://www.stitcher.com/podcast/thinking-outside-the-long-box/e/totlb-020-ccbe-special-39831178
Note: Each of TOTLB’s shows runs roughly three hours, and while there is much hilarity to be found, those who want to get in, listen to me yammer and get out, can jump forward to the 2 hour, 15 minute mark where my interview segment begins.
Support the show!
If you like what you hear, check out the show archives and tell a friend about it!