Free game!

Sometimes when I’m not writing video games for other people, I take some time out to write something that allows me to exercise ideas that might be on my mind, or game elements that may not be present in current projects.

Last year, I created a short piece of interactive fiction called The Freelancer’s Survival Guide.

It was based on my own experiences from my first year of freelance writing, therefore, it’s pretty ridiculous. Click the link below to play through the narrative that reacts to the choices you make along the way (sort of like those awesome Choose Your Own Adventure Books that were popular when I was in grade school).

The game uses persistent variables to track your choices, ultimately offering you a good or bad ending. It takes about 10 minutes to play.

While it was originally written in the interactive software Inkle, I’ve since converted it to the Twine Harlowe format. I hope you’ll check it out. It’s FREE!

Click here to check out The Freelancer’s Survival Guide.

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Edison #1 available NOW!

The first issue of my new comic book series EDISON is available NOW!

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.

Grab it digitally from ComiXology for just $0.99 or in print from my web store for $4!

This book is the culmination of one of my silliest ideas… what if we took the greatest scientific minds of the late 1800s (when most of the world’s technology was taking a significant leap forward) and clash them together as action heroes and villains in an alternate history setting?

They’re not superheroes, but rather the kind that use their minds, intelligence, and higher-than-average intellect to fight for science supremacy!

The first issue was drawn by the wonderful Giovanni Capurro with interior colors by Andrew Pate and we’re jumpstarting the series with a full 24 science-fueled pages! Get to know Thomas Edison, his bumbling assistant William Joseph Hammer, as well as the villainous Nikola Tesla!

Moving forward, each 12-page issue will have a different artist to help chronicle Edison’s adventures as he faces new adversaries, all of whom want to steal the title of “world’s smartest man (or woman!)”

Come for the action, stay for the jokes. I’d like to think that if Thomas Edison were still alive, he’d totally love this comic book. I hope you do, too.

Click here to pick up Edison #1 digitally at comixology.com for $0.99!
Click here to pick up Edison #1 in print from the web store for $4!

Unit 44 Graphic Novel in stores TODAY!

Head to your local comic shop to pick up a copy of the Unit 44 Graphic Novel, which hit stores TODAY from Alterna Comics.

Order Unit 44 @ Amazon.com
Order Unit 44 @ Target.com

SPOILER — this is a pretty big deal for me. This series came to life in 2014 from the germ of an idea that popped to mind after watching an episode of the TV reality show Storage Wars.

“What if Area 51 employees forgot to pay the rent on their storage unit, and the contents were sold at public auction?”

Enter my artist (and now good friend) Ed Jiménez, who came on board to bring the initial five pages of the series to life. From there, we went to Kickstarter, successfully funded the first issue and set about putting it out into the world. When none of the publishers we approached showed interest in a “funny” comic, we figured, “No big deal… we’ll publish this on our own!”

We decided we’d go BACK to Kickstarter, raise another couple thousand dollars and create issues 2-4. It just days before we launched that campaign that Alterna Comics messaged us and was like, “Hey, what are you planning to do with that silly Area 51 comic?”

Alterna offered to publish the issues digitally under their banner (which was awesome because they had a handful of comics that I genuinely loved) and from March – June 2015, we released the series on the ComiXology platform to some acclaim, some confusion, and lots of laughs.

In 2016, Alterna asked us if we’d like to consider releasing Unit 44 as a graphic novel to comic shops.

Sign us up.

Earlier in 2017 we did another Kickstarter, raised a bucket of money and today, the beautiful finished book arrived in comic shops. At least, the comic shops that ORDERED it.

If you go into your local store and you don’t see it, you can ask them to order the book by giving them this code: JUN171148

Give them the code, a thumbs up, and ideally, you’ll have the book next Wednesday. How cool is that?

A big thanks to all of you who supported the Unit 44 (in digital issues, on Kickstarter, at conventions, etc). I’m super proud of how the graphic novel came out. It’s the third collected edition I now have on my shelf (it sits beside the Chambers TPB and The Undoubtables OGN), and let me tell you… the book is BEAUTIFUL. Not only does it have an amazing layout created by Alterna’s head honcho Peter Simeti, but in addition to our 88-page story we’ve included a NEVER BEFORE SEEN 4-page backup comic and pinups from some of amazingly talented artists including Loch Ness (who’s drawing our upcoming comedy/action miniseries Bug Slugger XL), Graeham Jarvis (who’s drawing our upcoming sci-fi/comedy miniseries Awry), Jayson Kretzer (who’s maybe(?) still drawing our one-shot The Rocking Dead), and colorist Andrew Pate, who I’ve had the pleasure of working with on a whole bunch of books including the upcoming historical/comedy/action series, Edison).

So, what’s better than making a comic book with a good friend like Ed Jiménez and then inviting a bunch of your other friends to contribute art, all while putting the finished comic book on the world’s stage?

Today, there’s nothing better.

Order Unit 44 @ Amazon.com
Order Unit 44 @ Target.com

5 days to pre-order the Unit 44 GN!

An amazing thing happened this week — we reached our crowdfunding goal for the Unit 44 Kickstarter!

The now-successful Kickstarter will allow us to print 750 copies of the hilarious graphic novel to be distributed to comic book shops, book stores, and libraries for release on Aug. 30, 2017.

If you’d like to preorder your copy and grab some goodies in the process, hit this link >> https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/weslocher/unit-44-ever-wish-the-x-files-was-a-sitcom

A huge thanks goes out to everyone who pledged their hard earned dollars as well as our publisher, Alterna Comics, for helping us bring the ridiculous sci-fi/comedy romp to a whole new audience!

2016 in Preview: Edison

Following last month’s 2015 in review post, I thought over the next several weeks it would be fun to explore what 2016 will have to offer my readers as far as comic book projects go.

Now, these are the projects I hope to bring to the shelves, but in an industry as unpredictable as comics, they could go sideways at any moment! However, I’m really excited about them, so I’m hoping you will be, too.

Back in October I announced a project that had recently gone into production and as of January is quickly speeding along toward completion.

That’s right. I’m talking about…

Edison

Ah, Edison… another concept that shouldn’t be interesting and yet, it took over ever fiber of my brain when the germ of the idea hit.

With many historical figures taking center stage in 2014 and 2015, I figured I had to either stake my claim on someone or miss out entirely. But if I was going to build a book around an actual human who, y’know, really existed, I didn’t want it to simply be retelling of his or her life… I wanted to offer a new experience entirely. And just because this is how I function — the idea had to be really weird.

EdCredits

You see, I’m a huge fan of science. Now, this doesn’t mean I’m any good at it… I have no business being a scientist. Back in high school I actually hated the subject and got pretty terrible grades. This is most likely because my teacher prefaced every lesson about evolution with, “Guys, I don’t believe this crap, but the school is forcing me to teach it to you.”

What a tool, right? Don’t even get me started on the time we dissected cats.

I also enjoy history. Well, some history. I prefer my history to be right around the time that life was full of possibilities and everyone was basically insane and trying new things. Hence, I had the urge to set a story around the 19th century when civilization was finally becoming…ehm… civil, and as a nation we were laying the groundwork for some of the biggest inventions in history. (Such as toilet paper.)

When I thought of that time period, there’s really one person who everyone knows… and that’s of course, inventor Thomas Alva Edison.

But, I figured, what if a comic book about him focused not on the later, more cranky parts of his life, but on his younger years when he was using his ingenuity to get out of the biggest scrapes this side of science.

That’s right… I wanted to take Thomas Edison but mix him up with the qualities found in James Bond and MacGyver.

The elevator pitch I came up with was something akin to:

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.

Edison simply sitting in a workshop dreaming up new ideas would not have a good comic book made, but put Edison into bad situations where he has to invent his way out? Sign me up.

This project also gave me an opportunity to do something else interesting… I decided that I wouldn’t restrict the first issue of the comic. Normally, where I might draw the line at 20-24 pages for an issue, I decided to write as many pages as it took to tell the story I wanted to tell and establish the world in which the character lived while introducing a supporting cast (made up of other real inventors) to anchor the story to the times.

Additionally, I wanted to set the story in 1880, making Edison a handsome 32-years-old, but any artist insane enough to hop on this project  would have to be willing to draw clothing, buildings, transportation and household items as era appropriate.

That’s a pretty big wish list.

So I took my laundry list of ideas, stuck them in a blender and in mid-2015 went to town, scribing an action-packed and humor-filled first issue script that I was quite pleased with. At 30 pages I had the first story, the characters, a great cliffhanger and a metric ton of reference photos ready for an artist, but who could I get on board to draw such an insane story?

That’s when I met artist Giovanni Capurro.

As most comic writers do, when we have a new story idea, we tend to throw them out into the aether of social media. I’m writing this new thing, it’s like this… who would want to draw it, haha?

It sounds like we’re just joking when we writers make these types of posts, but what we’re really doing is protecting our fragile and needy egos.

Rather than make fun of me or close me inside of a locker, the Nebraska-based artist actually dug what I was proposing, and perhaps most importantly, Giovanni had been researching the late 1800s for a personal project and was very familiar with the necessary clothing, mannerisms and technology. He shared with me his minicomic Idols, which I read and enjoyed and had a gut feeling he might be a good fit. I heard from other artists about the project, but something about the way Giovanni handled comedic timing in his art kept the artist at the forefront of my mind.

I took the next step, sending Giovanni my script. He read it. He dug it. He wanted to move forward, not blinking an eye at the length.

He did some sketches of our intrepid hero, Edison, which went wonderfully with the visual style I had in mind and within a matter of weeks I was being treated to amazing art in our Dropbox, featuring scenes like this:

Ed_Gio

It was like a comedic noir comic book. How cool is that? After the first six or seven pages were complete, not only was Giovanni confident with the story and style, but we were ready to bring on a colorist to help take the pages to the next level.

That road led me to reaching out to Andrew Pate, a colorist local to the Florida Panhandle, who I’d met over the course of several area conventions and store signings. Not only did he boast wicked sideburns, but he was nice, outgoing and had a genuine love of comics. After tabling next to him on Free Comic Book Day 2015 and seeing some of his coloring work, I knew he was someone I wanted to bring onto a project.

I’d asked Andrew to color of a 4-page short earlier in the year which he did with much skill and soon presented my case to Giovanni on why this fellow who, aside from being capable of big things, could be the ruby to our Staff of Ra.

A test page was completed and Andrew just blew it out of the water.

In fact, even as the pages got crazier and crazier he continued to make them better, never shying away from the nuttiest of scenarios.

Heck, you don’t need me to brag on him, see for yourself what Andrew’s brought to the Edison table:

Ed_AP

At the time of this writing, we’re working on art for the final nine pages of the issue and hope to pitch it around and find a great home for it. If there are no takers, I have a super slick idea for how to release this online. Whichever route we pursue, it’s going to be awesome.

We hope you’ll come along for the ride.