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Review: Outer Darkness/Chew #1

Outer Darkness/Chew #1

There’s something special about crossovers between non-superheroes comics. Usually, a Marvel or DC crossover comes with expectations of event-like conflicts and big action set-pieces. Creator-owned crossovers, on the other hand, tend to live and die by the strength of their characters and the culture they carry from their own comics. This is definitely the case with Outer Darkness/Chew #1, from John Layman, Afu Chan, and Rob Guillory, a coming together of sci-fi, horror, and comedy of epic proportions from two books that rival each other in terms of the sheer storytelling madness they produce.

The comic starts with the crew of the Charon (from Outer Darkness) engaging with a Cibulaxian alien ambassador that only engages in conversation over food. No external communicator can help in the situation and the chef responsible for comms meets a gleefully violent and premature end early on. The captain of the Charon, Captain Rigg, is then forced to resort to plan B: traveling in time to bring Tony Chu in, a Cibopath that can dive into the memories of the things he eats (from Chew).

Outer Darkness/Chew #1 requires prior knowledge of both series to fully appreciate. Writer John Layman, who wrote both series, basically says as much in his letter to the fans at the end of the issue, when he talks about how the book approaches the Chew parts of the book as a kind of coda to the original series (which ran for 60 issues from 2009-2016).

From the Outer Darkness side of the equation, an understanding of the concept is pretty much all you need, which is basically made up of bits from The Exorcist, Star Trek, and Event Horizon. Honestly, I would recommend reading both series as they are very good on their own and are well worth the price of admission. Maybe then come back to the crossover.

The story succeeds in making both the Chewverse and the Outer Darknessverse converge as if they were naturally meant to since their inception. It even makes it a point to recognize changes in how the characters look within the story once they crossover.

Rob Guillory, co-creator of Chew, illustrates his part of the story in the original style of the book with Afu Chan, co-creator of Outer Darkness, doing the same. When Tony Chu is brought aboard the Charon, Afu Chan takes over and the characters acknowledge the change in their looks. They are baffled by it, even.

It’s a bit of meta that builds up the crossover quite well and makes each character recognize the distance between their realities. Chew characters transition well under Chan’s pencils and they still seem like they are from another place, which adds to the clash of stories between the two universes.

Layman’s script does a good job of balancing both worlds, especially in terms of tone. Outer Darkness is a more serious tale than Chew and yet they each keep their identities intact throughout the issue. One’s humor doesn’t drown out the other’s horror. This is something that rarely manages to carry over in this type of story, but Layman pulls it off. Let’s see if it manages to sustain itself over the entire arc.

There’s a lot to like about Outer Darkness/Chew #1, especially for fans of the two series. In fact, I’d say that’s precisely the audience it’s seeking. New readers will probably struggle a bit to make everything click, but there’re still enough things going on in the story that anyone could latch onto and follow. There’s just a lot of fun to be had here, and the promise of more Cibopaths in space is always a good thing.

Script: John Layman Art: Rob Guillory and Afu Chan
Story: 9 Art: 10 Overall: Buy and then read all of Chew

Image Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

C2E2 2019: Interview with Daniel Kibblesmith

Daniel Kibblesmith is a true dual threat, who has written for The Late Show with Stephen Colbert and The Onion News Network as well as comics like Marvel’s Lockjaw and Valiant’s Quantum and Woody. He also has a hilarious Twitter account. At C2E2, I had the opportunity to chat with him about the connections between comics and comedy, his work on Black Panther vs. Deadpool, and his upcoming picture book, Princess Dinosaur.

Graphic Policy: Is it harder to be funnier in comics or prose, and why?

Daniel Kibblesmith: I think it’s harder to be funny in comics because everything has to serve the story and the characters, and in most mainstream cases, the action. So, when you’re funny in comics, I think it has to either have information in it that moves the story forward, or it has to be an icing on the cake. If you’re writing capital “C” comedy, then the comedy is the end that you’re trying to get to.

In narrative stories, it’s one of the tools in the toolbox. I think with superheroes it works really well. It’s one of the reasons the Marvel movies are so popular. They do a great job using humor to explain things and to break tension and to make exposition a little more interesting. So, it’s always a bigger, more diverse project when I have to write something that’s a story instead of writing a humor column, or in the case of Twitter, a million bad jokes.

GP: Do you find parallels between writing for a famous comedian like Stephen Colbert and writing stories in a big, shared universe like Marvel or Valiant?

DK: I think that, at the end of the day, you’re a collaborator with a person or a brand that people have an emotional relationship with so the audience is expecting a certain thing from that person or those characters. You want to make sure that you know their voice inside and out, and that you can deliver what the job requires. In a weird way, I think it can be similar at times. But the subject matter is so different so who can really say?

GP: Let’s talk Black Panther vs. Deadpool. I know Deadpool has these team-up books that pop up every now and then. Was there already a “Versus” story set up, or did you pitch it?

DK: My editors, Wil Moss and Sarah Brunstad, brought the project to me. We had just finished Loki and had a really good time. They were looking for another project to put me on, and in 2018, given how many “Deadpool Vs” titles there were, it seemed weird there wasn’t a Black Panther one. So, it seemed like a project we could get everyone to buy into very quickly from both a behind the scenes and audience perspective.

It was really easy to get excited about this. It was always going to be Black Panther vs. Deadpool. I think the other big decision we made was giving Black Panther top billing because, one, we could make jokes about it, and Deadpool always gets top billing in these. Which I guess we made jokes about it. I think Hawkeye got top billing in one of these though.

GP: That was my favorite “Versus” series.

DK: I really liked the Hawkeye one. I really liked the Gambit one. I read all of them coming into this. For “research”. Because it was Saturday. I had a blast reading all of them, and everyone’s take on Deadpool is slightly different. I loved seeing all the interpretations. I think people think he can be very one note, but if you look into all the different writers, there’s a lot of variation there.

GP: One thing that I found interesting about Black Panther vs. Deadpool was that you decided to focus on T’challa more as a scientist than a superhero. Why did you decide to do that?

DK: It wasn’t really a decision. To me, that’s the character. I grew up reading Silver Age comics from my dad’s collection, and T’challa’s first appearance is when he sends a fake out siginal to the Fantastic Four, hands them their asses with his traps, and he defeats them as a scientist and as a king. I love Black Panther as a superhero. But I think that the Black Panther superhero adventures I really like are when he’s doing stuff in Wakanda that’s either pertaining to being a king or a deposed king, or he’s in Manhattan. Then, he’s much more of a conventional superhero.

But, to me [the scientist] is Black Panther. He’s as much Reed Richards as he is a Daredevil type.

GP: So, Black Panther vs. Deadpool was actually a serious story about curing death. How do you balance the fourth wall breaking jokes with the heavy stuff like death, mortality, and legacy?

DK: People have asked me that a lot, but if you read the [Jonathan] Hickman stuff that I’m a big fan of, Black Panther is King of the Dead. And Deadpool has “dead” in his name. These are two characters who are obsessed with mortality and legacy and indestructibility. Deadpool literally, and Black Panther needing the project the image of being more than a person.

I think all good comedy has an emotional core where the stakes are very real. Whether that’s as dark or sad as I took it or just something human you can relate to. But [both Deadpool and Black Panther] needed to be coming from a real emotional place. And it’s a “versus” title where they’re both protagonists so they both had to 100% know they were in the right even if Deadpool’s version of “in the right” comes with a healthy layer of denial.

GP: Deadpool has been written so many ways. Some write him as a kind of hero, and some as completely amoral. Do you think that he can ever be consistently written as a hero and change, or is he completely set in his ways?

DK: So, my book is about two men. One who is resistant to change. One is desperately pursuing it and is terrible at it. You can guess who’s who. My point of view is that the whole underlying philosophy of superhero comics is that they’re all on a very slow path to change. It might take 75 years.

Because the whole point of serialized storytelling and making sure you stay true to the characters, hitting the beats fans want, and doing it cyclically is that there all protagonists in a story on a journey. They’re looking to change. Or solve some unsolvable problem. Or repair the damage from their childhood.

I definitely believe that Deadpool could be a full-on hero, but it’ll take a minute because of the things people like about him is that he’s relatably flawed. I don’t think Deadpool will ever be Black Panther, but I think he might be a better Deadpool.

GP: I had a lot of fun reading the interplay between Black Panther and Deadpool in this comic. What do you like most about writing “mismatched” heroes?

DK: I realized that I had just finished doing Quantum and Woody. I just realized I had done another odd couple story where one of them was really straight laced and by the book while the other was this criminal wild card. It didn’t even occur to me until I was deep into the Black Panther vs. Deadpool scripts.

I think what’s fun about these characters in particular is that we all know them so well. When you pick up Black Panther vs. Deadpool, you know what it’s like for them to be in a room together. So, as their writer, I got to put them in the room together, and let would naturally happen happen and allow the conversation that I assume would happen to unfold.

I liked getting to bounce them off each other, and getting to test their limits a little bit like getting T’challa to bend a little bit and crack a joke here and there. He’s kind of softened to Deadpool a little bit. Then, the same with Deadpool to express some real melancholy and uncertainty and let his vulnerability show.

GP: I was definitely getting some Gerry Duggan vibes from the way you wrote him.

DK: I’m a huge fan of all of Duggan’s Deadpool. I read so much of it even before I got this gig. What I wanted to is synthesize what I liked by other writers. That’s the fun of writing characters that came before you.

GP: That are icons.

DK: The fun of writing icons is that you get to come in and be like “
I know what Black Panther would do if he had this problem because he’s the Black Panther.

GP: I had one last question about your upcoming picture book, Princess Dinosaur. What are some of the challenges of doing a picture book versus a story for adults or even an all ages comic?

DK: I would say in some ways that a picture book is easier because it’s not necessarily sequential storytelling. There’s less directing. But the artist of our two picture books, Princess Dinosaur and Santa’s Husband, is my friend Ashley Quach, who is just a master illustrator. She does this incredible cartooning in watercolor, and she has done a lot of comics. I think that she and I speak the same language about what we’re going for, and how we’re able to tell jokes with body language and facial expression.

The biggest difference is probably the audience. Princess Dinosaur is aimed at toddlers. So, you want everything to be boiled down to its simplest, most archetypal ideas. But, in a weird way, that’s not that different from comics with these big characters that embody their themes. People who are representative of who their characters are on the inside.

In some ways, it’s really similar because you’re writing these iconic character whether they’re capital “I” iconic because they’re created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, or they’re instantly recognizable, self-contained archetypes.

Follow Daniel Kibblesmith on Twitter.

Movie Review: Eighth Grade

Bo Burnham has been delivering top notch comedy for a long time, so it shouldn’t be surprising that he would eventually cross over into film. What is surprising is how beautiful, heartfelt, and true this movie is.

Burnham is not only a great writer of comedy and mining all that is awkward about literally the most awkward period of our lives, but he proves himself an amazing director, especially of star Elsie Fisher. This is not an overstatement that her performance here as Kayla is Oscar-worthy as she encapsulates exactly what it is to be a young adolescent, especially in 2018, but the themes here are fairly universal.

If awkwardness was a fruit, and you could press it into a juice, then reduce that into a syrup and serve it over pancakes, that would be the essence of this film. Every moment — mean girls, stupid boys, being misunderstood and lonely — rings 100% true and is uncomfortably funny.

The film actually captures such realism as Fisher’s actual acne and wearing ill-fitting bathing suits and having normal 13 year old bodies. But perhaps most surprising is its depiction of social media, phones, and texting and how it absolutely nails how this generation interacts with these things.

Personal story time: I have a daughter about to enter 8th grade. This film gets her and her generation in a way nothing else ever has. And unless you’ve been watching lots of YouTube and Vine and Instagram, you don’t understand where their media is coming from. And everyone wants to have their own channels and break out and be a star, but no one is watching.

Thirty or forty years ago, a protagonist may have written in her diary, fifteen years ago on her blog. Here we get her youtube channel, where she is free and her best self and giving advice to people she is obviously trying to take herself. And while she’s a star in her bedroom alone on her laptop, her class votes her “Most Quiet.” The tension between that is the key to her story and growing up– how much her self-perception differs from how people see her.

We also see some other somewhat shocking elements played off as totally normal and mundane. They have a schoolwide lockdown active shooter drill and actually pretend that children are dead in the hallways, during which time the boy she has a crush on asks her to send nudes if she wants to be his girlfriend. If the latter shocks you more than the former, you missed part of what the film is saying.

And through all of this we have Kayla’s dad. He tries so hard to connect with her and do the best he can and I literally have never connected and empathized with a movie character more in my life. There is a scene between the two of them as they sit around a firepit in their backyard that will make you cry, and also laugh a little in its over-the-top emotional stakes that overstate everything as the worst or best thing ever that is the essence of being thirteen. And of course it’s still glazed in that lovely awkward syrup that is lovingly drizzled over everything in this film.

There are a lot of amazing indie films out there that you need to see. This is one of the best films of the summer and deserves to be checked out. As great as this is, I expect even more from Bo Burnham in the near future. The kids are alright.

4.5 out of 5 stars

Movie Review: Ted 2

ted2_promo_posterPOSTER-1“Bigger, Better, Tedder.”

That’s what I was clamoring for since the moment the credits rolled on the first one. Now being a native New Englander myself, I really wanted to like Ted 2. No, correction I wanted to love it. Unfortunately only 20 minutes into it, I absolutely hated it. I almost walked out. However 20 more minutes in I started to like it. Like, really like it despite the plot  (Ted, upset due to the fact that the Commonwealth of Massachusetts defines him as property and not a person goes on a quest for his civil rights.) being shoe string thin. While I think it was bad choice for Seth MacFarlane to start out the movie with an excruciatingly long dance number, hey that’s Seth. What makes the first minutes so hard to watch is a boring wedding reception and the crudeness level being turned up to 11. (A scene of Ted wearing a wife beater going through bills at the dinner table is classic). Fair warning in advance, starting out it is slow going.

The first half hour of the movie is just an absolute onslaught of foul language (too much to be quite honest and I’m from the region this movie takes place) and ridiculous toilet humor peppered in with some entertaining cameos. (See the Liam Neeson cameo and you just might pee yourself it was so good.) Despite his part being ruined by the barrage of commercials, New England Patriots QB Tom Brady does a serviceable performance. (Don’t quit your day job Tom. Stick to championships) Where the movie really shines however is through heart of the core cast. John Bennett (Mark Wahlburg) Tami-Lynn (Jessica Barth), Samantha L. Jackson (Amanda Seyfried) and of course the star Ted (Seth MacFarlane) just take this totally preposterous scenario and breathe true blue life into it. They do so well they make you forget that Ted is not a real actor. Kudos to them, it’s not easy.

Of course there is tons of potty humor and 80’s references galore. Hell there’s even a scene which takes place at NY Comic Con (Which was amazing!) This movie is surprisingly Bi-Polar. (Like our New England Weather) You will go back and forth on it several times. One refreshing change is they veered away from using too many “Family Guy” style cut scenes and the movie moves along in a briskly linear fashion. However the reusing of Giovanni Ribisi’s creepy character Donny from the first movie was just groan inducing. They even used the same gag again. Same with Sam Jones reprising his role as the retired (and quite tired) Flash Gordon as John and Ted’s new buddy, was just unnecessary and felt forced. Suprisingly I did not miss Mila Kunis’ character (Lori Collins) at all as Amanda Seyfried outshined her completely. I was shocked due to the fact there was not a much more overly dramatic explanation of her absence. Nope, she divorced John. That was it.

MacFarlane and Co. do a great job of fan service to everyone who grew up in the 80’s. They even finally mention the store where John’s parents purchased Ted for him. (Child World, I used to shop there so I absolutely marked out for the reference.) Although the fact they obviously put more money, time and effort into making this sequel, it tries way too hard and falls just a bit short. This might even be history for being the first movie that has starred Morgan Freeman and not been absolutely incredible. Never thought I’d see the day.

Overall: If you like crude language, so much weed smoking, anthropomorphized talking stuffed bears, and plot holes the size of the Wells Report, this is the movie for you. If not? Well turn your brains off and (like Neil Diamond says) turn on your heartlights and give it a view anyway. You might just hate, love, then like it like I did.

Score: 7.3

Matchett’s Musings: Working for GrayHaven Part 1

Matchett’s Musings

Working At GrayHaven Part 1:  Learning to Walk and Talk

I spent five years with small press publisher, GrayHaven Comics.  It wasn’t always easy or pleasant but I loved it.  In some ways my heart is still there and my path might lead me back there someday but for now, I have a lot of good memories.

It all started as just something to do for fun that GrayHaven publisher and owner Andrew Goletz suggested on a whim.  It has since become so much more and I like to think I played some small part in that.  Over the next few weeks I’d like to talk about some of the anthology stories I wrote for GrayHaven.  I want to talk about how I came up with the stories, who I worked with, some stuff I learned and some things the company had to deal with that made it better.

It isn’t always pretty but I hope people will find it informative and interesting none the less.  I’ll only be talking about the anthologies I wrote stories for here and most of my information is based on my own perspective.  Other perspectives may vary.

Thanks to Andrew for some info and his blessing to do this!

Vol. 1: The Thing With Feathers

If Andrew had been physically been in a room with us when he asked who was interested in doing the first anthology that became ‘The Gathering’, I would have shot my hand up immediately.  I’d wanted to work in comics for a few years at that point but I had no clue how to start.  I’d done a few web comics but nothing substantial and this just seemed like a good place to start.

When he found that people were interested and he found a number of talented artists to help out.  He came up with the theme ‘Hope’ because it reflected the feeling a lot of us had going into the volume.  The majority of us wanted to pursue a career in comics and the theme of the first volume perfectly reflected our optimism and dreams going in.

When I was trying to come up with my story, I thought I’d wait to see who I was paired with before really making a start.  I’ll be honest, nothing was hitting me initially and I thought perhaps after seeing what type of artist I was working with would get the creative juices going.

I was extremely fortunate to be paired with Brent Peeples, who after checking out his work seemed as if I could tell him to draw the phone book and he’d make it look amazing sent me back to the drawing board on crafting a story.  I don’t remember much about the initial script and I don’t seem to have it on my computer.  I think I didn’t really give Brent many details beyond the outline when I did come up with the idea.

Throughout my writing for GrayHaven anthologies it wasn’t just enough to write a good type of story.  After editing a number of volumes, I know that coming up with a story isn’t enough sometimes.  You have to sometimes come up with a concept that also stands out a little, something that is good and unique that no one else will come up with.  It’s a tough one to try and balance.

So I opted to go for something completely outside the wheelhouse and do a story about a post-apocalyptic world decimated by aliens.  Because why not?

Essentially I wanted to have a father scourging supplies for his wife who was giving birth.  We’d learn a little about the world, see some creepy images of the world and I was very keen to not actually see the aliens responsible.  I thought it would give the whole story a creepy undertone which Brent of course knocked out of the park.

I was so proud to actually have a story in a real printed comic.  Getting the first volume in my hands is a feeling I won’t soon forget and seeing my name on the back (a feature in early volumes of the Gathering that I miss) is something that still makes me smile. Looking back, I know the quality of Brent’s art carries the story.

It is overwritten, over soppy and has more post-apocalyptic cliché’s than you can count.  The story pales in comparison to the ones written by other long-time GrayHaven staples like Ray Goldfield, Doug Hahner and Jason Snyder.  The story itself did get some praise from comic pro Gail Simone but when I read it, I can’t help but despair.  The biggest problem the story has is the lettering.  Likely because I had written too much for the two pages I had, the lettering was contained all in caption boxes.  This made it difficult to tell who was speaking when and it seemed the letterer took it upon themselves to change the final line that is so cheesy it makes me want to vomit out my window.

There are still some elements of the story I like though.  It was a world I revisited briefly with future collaborator Paula Cob in the short lived web comic ‘After The Gathering’ and some part of me wants to go back to it.  Since then though, shows like Falling Skies have explored similar themes and the story is perhaps too dusty now to go back to.  It holds a special place for me though as my first printed work and was a place where I learned a lot of lessons as a writer.

While I obsessed over every word I chose, Brent only returned to GrayHaven once briefly for the first ‘You Are Not Alone’ volume.  I remember approaching him shortly after the Gathering Vol. 1 was printed, asking if he was interested in expanding the world we had created.  He gave me a very polite no before going on to much bigger and better things with companies like Image and Dynamite.  I hope our paths cross again someday creatively.

The book itself was a big success and despite those awkward first steps some of the creators had, there was a lot of heart and passion in the book.  There were some great talent still contained in the book and it sold well enough to warrant a sequel.  The company still carries on but there was something really special about that first book I was flattered to be a part of.

Vol. 3: Heroes

Ah Heroes, one of our best volumes in terms of quality and due to many mistakes was one of GrayHaven’s worst sellers.

A little background on that, before I get going.  I contacted Andrew about speaking about Vol. 3 and asked him how blunt I could be.  He responded with a list of mistakes and the following quote ‘I have vivid recollections of that disaster.’

Now don’t get me wrong, the book itself is great.  I would still rank it one of the company’s best but the problem was that no one bought it.  The first problem (which I had forgotten about but Andrew kindly reminded me) was that ‘Heroes’ was supposed to be two volumes.  It was supposed to be one volume that would deal with real life heroes along the lines of police, firefighters, etc and a second volume that would deal with the more fantastical comic book heroes.

We knew the latter would be a risk, outside of Marvel and DC it is difficult to get a super hero book to sell.  The market is coming down with super heroes and the consumer we were trying (and had) appealed to would likely not be interested if we made a book involving super heroes.  Sadly, neither got enough of one type of pitch for their own full book so Andrew combined both into one book.

Former GrayHaven art director and art guru Aaron Bir, delivered an amazing cover but it was very much further conveying that this was a book about super heroes…when it wasn’t really. In fact, Vol. 3 contained only a number of super hero stories by really talented writers who offered the stories in that genre with a bit of a twist.  Still even though you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, people did and a comic called ‘Heroes’ with a super hero centric cover did nothing to help it sell.  There have been many talks over the years of getting another artist to redraw the cover and rerelease the volume but that never quite came to fruition.

The final mistake, Andrew revealed to me was that he ordered a lot more of the book than Vol. 1 or Vol. 2 given that both of them had sold well.  Having a big, expensive volume that was geared at the wrong audience with a huge amount of copies was a recipe of disaster.  It pretty much killed any possibility of other super hero orientated stories when we did get more of an audience which shows you how much of an impact it had on the company’s future decisions.

Of course, all this is great in reflection and when coming up with a story I didn’t know what the future would hold for ‘Heroes’, I just wanted to tell a different story.  Since my first story had been quite dark (and wordy) I thought I would go for something more light hearted.  I’ve heard over and over that writing good comedy that actually makes people laugh is the hardest thing to do creatively.  I took this as a challenge and thought ‘well if I can make people laugh I can do anything!’

So I created the super hero Commander Cosmo, who essentially was Superman but a complete idiot.  In ‘My Day With Commander Cosmo’ the intellectually challenged hero would land in the front yard of his biggest fan where he would basically hang around.  In true ‘you should never meet your idols’ fashion the kid would soon get sick of Cosmo and soon remove him from his home.  Sadly for the boy, his mother had a new boyfriend who turned out to be the secret identity of Cosmo himself.

The story hit really well and Cosmo became something of a GrayHaven favorite.  I love writing the big goofball and have brought him back in parody web comics, other strips and he even was on the cover for GrayHaven’s ‘Hey Kids: Sunday Funnies’ volume.

On my part, the story is a bit slow to get going but it really was brought to life by artist Nathan Lee James.  His animated style and perfect comedic timing brought an extra layer to the story and once again, I found myself very fortunate to work with someone very talented.  He’s even been gracious enough to return for most of Cosmo’s subsequent appearances.

One thing in this story that Nathan did which wasn’t in the script, is one of my favorite things in any story I’ve done.

It turns out that Cosmo lands in the front yard after flying into a lamppost because he was too distracted by a *ahem* men’s magazine.  What Nathan included in the background of the initial few pages is the bent lamppost which foreshadows the eventual reveal that it was Cosmo who flew into it.  When I first spotted it, I laughed and thought it was something so small yet so brilliant, I wondered why I hadn’t thought of it myself.

Whether it’s with GrayHaven or not, I hope that Commander Cosmo will someday return but I think it’s safe to say that we shouldn’t hold our breath for ‘Heroes 2’.

Vol. 6:  Further Into The Abyss

The fourth GrayHaven volume was the first horror volume and was a big hit so we quickly did another one.  People seemed to love horror and because of that we’ve done four books under the banner as well as some similar themes and even made a book especially for it.

The tale of said spin off book ‘Tales From The Abyss’ is quite the horror story in itself but that of course, was all ahead of me.  The second volume was also the first one I was involved in editorially.  Not very heavily but this is the book I learned the ropes on until editing a book on my lonesome with ‘Vol. 8: The Fifth Dimension.’  It was also my favorite GrayHaven book for quite some time.  Everyone just knocked it out of the park on this one and it contains a story I wrote that I got quite a few good reviews on.

‘The Station’ originated as a prose novel which to this day sits on my hard drive begging for my attention.  Essentially it features a crew going to check in on a space station that hasn’t sent any communication for a number of days.  It turned out that the space station crew had discovered a special space rock that essentially turned them into monsters.

Every space horror is in danger of ripping off the brilliant Ridley Scott ‘Alien’ and mine was no exception.  The novel I had written really delved into the crew dealing with monsters but in the walls of the station and within themselves.  When I adapted it into a five page story a lot of that was lost obviously but it still made for a good story.  It got a number of shout outs from a few sites that reviewed it, even ahead of one written by former Supergirl writer, Sterling Gates.

Even though it works pretty damn well as its own five page story, I did contemplate writing a pitch for ‘the Dark’ anthologies that GrayHaven would publish down the road that would essentially be a prequel to this one.  I liked to build on universes I had created, even though generally GrayHaven didn’t really like follow on stories.  I think it’s probably best that this story stayed as a one off though.

It was however, the first appearance of the MaX corporation who I tried to cram into every story I wrote afterwards.  Go over all the stories I wrote and the logo will be there somewhere, I’ll wait.

The story was brilliantly illustrated by David Aspmo who brought exactly the right mood and tone the story needed.  He only appeared one other time for GrayHaven following this and I hope another company is putting his considerable talent to good use.


Vol. 7: Dreams and Nightmares

Two volumes in a row!  Go me!  I was really thrilled to be a part of this volume because…hey wait.

I’m not in this volume.

I was supposed to be though…the story which I’ll go into more, next week.

Next:  Wizards, Time Travel, Cowgirls and ghost stories that don’t feature ghosts.

Got any comments, suggestions or questions? Let me know! Also follow me on Twitter @glenn_matchett