The project I’m here to write about today is Your Are Not Alone 3, the latest installment of our anti-bullying anthology aimed at younger readers who are confronted with issues like abuse, depression, homophobia, racism and violence on a daily basis. The stories themselves are filled with messages of hope and contained within the books’ chapters are resource contacts for those who feel they have no place to turn.
For more than five years, GrayHaven Comics has offered itself as a place that supports new creative voices. In those 5 years we’ve published over 70 comics and featured over 300 different creators who often got their work published for the very first time.
Our most ambitious project to date was You Are Not Alone, our anti-bullying anthology aimed at younger readers. In the Fall of 2013 I was honored to take home the award for Comic Book Creator of the Year by Geekadelphia and the Philly Geek Awards for the work done on You Are Not Alone This was followed a year later by the equally important You Are Not Alone2.
Unlike our first two volumes where our crowdfunding was created a year before publishing, You Are Not Alone3 is almost completed. The final stories are being lettered and the book will be ready to go to print by mid to late August. This means your rewards will arrive shortly after the successful funding of this project.
The successful funding of our previous You Are Not Alone volumes allowed us to go above and beyond where we wanted to reach an audience. It allowed us to create additional copies and the money earned help to offset printing and shipping costs which enabled us to comp copies of the book to schools and youth organizations that wanted them.
The Kickstarter campaign is in its early days but we need some help in getting the word out there. We want to be able to reach goal quickly in order to put some cool stretch goals in place. Thank you for taking the time to read this and please pledge and share the link.
While we’re no longer picking crowd funding projects to spotlight on our site, we’re allowing project creators to make their case for their project on our platform. We remind individuals, we don’t endorse any of these projects, and that by supporting any crowd funding project, you’re taking any risks associated with doing so. – the Management
Working At GrayHaven Part 5: You Are Not Alone In The Abyss
I spent 5 years with GrayHaven comics as a writer, editor and friend to the company. In many ways I still consider myself the last of those things and I have many friends who still work with them. I bother Andrew Goletz far too much on Facebook, speak to great friends and ridiculously talented people on a daily basis that I either met through GrayHaven or grew closer with through the company. I also met people that I genuinely detest through my time there but I am very fortunate and grateful I met more good people than bad.
I’m not completely faultless, however. I made mistakes and not just one or two. I made a number of errors in judgment in ways I dealt with certain situations and dealing with people. No one is perfect, least of all me. However, the past is gone and it’s not coming back. I hope in some ways the stories that I’ve told so far have been somewhat interesting as to my creative process but this article will be a little more educational.
This article will highlight two volumes that highlighted the best and worst of my GrayHaven experiences. Ultimately I am very proud to have my name on both projects, they are both results of many hours of work that I think paid off in terms of output. However, delivering a high quality book sadly isn’t the only mark of how successful a book is.
Before I get to them though, I realized there was one volume I forgot about last week. So to prove that I am by no means perfect, I’m going to do a brief summary of the one GrayHaven story I did, that I honestly completely forgot about.
More than ever, let me stress that the following events I describe here are from my perspective only. Other versions of events can and probably will vary. I will do my best however to give you all the events as they happened. Anyone who would like to offer a different perspective that either is similar to my own or differs from mine is invited to do so.
GrayHaven Presents: Sci-fi/Horror
So yes, this is the one I forgot about, although I’m not sure exactly why, as it is certainly memorable for several reasons. The volume was a part of GrayHaven’s ‘Limitless’ line which was now looking to produce large, graphic novel sized anthologies which would even see some colour stories. By and large, due to cost, GrayHaven rarely had done colour before (with one notable exception we’ll get to shortly) but these volumes had a healthy amount of stories with colour in them.
The first of these was ‘Sci-Fi/Horror’ which was taking GrayHaven’s most successful genre and adding in a large science fiction twist on top. The volume featured a wonderful wraparound cover by longtime GrayHaven artist, Leo Gonzales who should be working on a big three book like 5 minutes ago.
When I was pitching my story, I had already delivered a few horror themed tales during my time with GrayHaven. I wanted something this time that would really stand out though, something that would be genuinely creepy. The first thing that hit me was an image of a man in a restaurant where all the people with him would be the same person. It was an unsettling picture in my mind but I wondered how I could make it practical. I literally built a whole story around this one image in my mind which is how the story that eventually became ‘REMWorld’ came to be.
Essentially REMWorld took place at a point in the future that (for an affordable price) you could customize your dreams. Wanting to get away from it all for reasons that were outlined in the story, the main character chose this new fad to have a wonderful dreaming experience. The trouble was that the tech started to malfunction and slowly but surely, the man’s subconscious turned the dream into a nightmare. When I came up with the concept, I thought it was something really different that I could cram as much creepy stuff as I could think of in. I could also use the advantage of the entire thing being a dream to give myself a certain freedom to do what I wanted and jump scene to scene with little or no explanation. After all, what is a dream if nothing but random?
It was several months later when it was already printed when I realized the story bore some similarities to the movie Vanilla Sky, which in turn was adapted from the Spanish film ‘Open Your Eyes’. I think however that REMWorld took the concept to a much darker place overall and I decided to never really let on about the similarity and hope no one noticed (until now, oops).
I thought the story turned out very well and it was really well illustrated by an artist named James Emmett. I can’t honestly comment what it was like to work with James because I didn’t have any communication with him. I wrote the story, I corrected the story after edits and poof it appeared. Almost like magic. I will say he did a great job and I hope to work with him more directly at some point soon!
The story also featured the debut of ‘Darma’, the virtual guide through REMWorld who took on a sinister personality as the story progressed. I loved Darma, I really did and if I have my way, she’ll be back.
So that brings us to the main points of this article. Sorry for the slight detour but now we’re about to dive in head first. Abandon hope all thee who enter the Abyss.
Tales From The Abyss Vol. 1-4 (and maybe 5?)
It all seemed to be perfect, all the stars and the planets would align and all would be right with the world. Like I mentioned above, horror was GrayHaven’s strongest seller and people wanted colour stories from us and existing creators wanted a shot at telling bigger and better stories. When Andrew decided to start (at the time) the second spin off anthology to accompany the Gathering, a horror prestige anthology that would largely feature colour stories made the most sense. We would even let people tell one story over multiple stories and we even had a top tier creator to tell such a tale over the books initial five volumes.
We had all the boxes checked, a big story for a pro lined up and more ongoing multi-anthology stories green lit from Erica J. Heflin and Inverse Comics super guru Kevin LaPorte. It all seemed like it was going to go well.
Except it didn’t, it really didn’t. Since I had edited the second and third volume of the horror books, I was the natural choice to take charge on this project too. Since the workload was going to be nothing like none of us had ever attempted at the time before, I was joined in the editing chair by Erica J. Heflin.
Ultimately we produced four issues of the anthology that faced a multitude of delays, headaches and enough tales of woe to make anyone sit and wait for nurse to bring them their medication. The first two volumes in my view, quality wise, were among GrayHaven’s best and they both overtook my long standing favorite of Vol. 6 as the best material GrayHaven had produced. The third volume and fourth volumes were not quite as strong I felt but where of a really high quality I was very proud to be involved with. I even had a story in Vol. 3 of Abyss which I’ll get it in a moment.
There was only one problem (on top of all the other problems the book faced).
No one cared. We’d done everything right, we’d seen what people were buying, were requesting and had a pro on board and we gave it to them. Still, no one cared and the four volumes of Tales From The Abyss which were produced were amongst GrayHaven’s lowest sellers.
Then there were the problems involved in actually getting the books out. The book just seemed eternally cursed with problems that included but were not exclusive to the following
Writers being difficult
Artists being difficult
Writers not delivering scripts
Artists not delivering art
Writers refusing to change their stories for edits
Writers wanting their stories removed because they didn’t like another writer/artist in the same volume as them
Colourists being hard to come by, especially since GrayHaven were not paying talent at the time
Finding replacements stories/artists/colourists with sometimes not much time between the story needing to be done and the volume being printed
Of course, at the time anyone asked how things were going with the books, Erica and myself would smile and nod. I wonder if we had perhaps pooled our efforts we put into trying to get this book chugging along that we would have accomplished something a lot easier, like say solving world hunger or curing the cold.
Honestly, it was just hellish trying to get the books out. It seemed that the fruits of our labors were worth it because, like I said the volumes were great (by and large) and looked STUNNING but again…no one bought them. Sales were so poor that when GrayHaven revamped their website earlier this year, the volumes were pulled from sale and Vol. 5 (to my knowledge) was never made available for purchase.
I often equate my time editing to like being in a room full of spinning plates. My job was simple, don’t let the plates fall and I think I did that. I think I was pretty good at that but the Abyss plates were like cutlery that fights back or cuts off your hands if you touch it.
I’m a big believer in cause and effect. I think in retrospect that working on Abyss caused a domino effect that ultimately led to me leaving GrayHaven late last year. Perhaps everything would have worked out the same but if Abyss had been handled by another editor, things may have been different.
I do hope that if you find a copy, you do buy it because the stories (by and large) are rather brilliant. The talent that DID deliver and I COULD depend on, delivered in spades and did some of their best work. It also featured the first pairing between me and my future Sparks collaborator, Kell Smith for a story that was in the 3rd Abyss issue.
I’ve complimented Kell a bunch but I can’t stress how much of a fan of her work I was by this point. It was Erica’s idea to pair us together for the horror tale I wrote which was ‘Fasten Your Seatbelt’ and showed we had some creative charisma that would secure her place as part of team Sparks.
‘Fasten Your Seatbelt’, was something I conceived based on my absolute hatred of flying. It’s not just not liking to fly (which I don’t) but it’s the overall experience of it. Like I said in one of my earlier articles (available right here on Graphic Policy!!!!) I don’t like waiting. Like at all. To me, flying is just a constant state of waiting.
You wait to check in, you wait to get through security, you wait to get on the plane, you wait for the plane to take off, you wait on the plane, you wait to get off the plane, you wait for your luggage. I just despise it and being a tall fellow, I get ridiculously uncomfortable when I fly. I have often fantasized about being on my own on a plane but then kind of thought that would be rather horrible which is where ‘Fasten Your Seatbelt’ comes in.
I wrote a story featuring a man who woke up alone on board an empty plane. I just poured all my hate of flying into the story and I think it was pretty creepy (even though Andrew and Erica kept calling it ‘Glenn’s Langoleers’, le sigh). I think Kell did a wonderful job drawing the story and I think it stood proud among the usual high quality stories that Abyss delivered.
It was a shame that not many people got to read them. It seems strange now that after all that effort to put out the books that they’re gone now. All that time spent keeping those plates spinning I’ll never get back. Still, I delivered what I thought were great comics and that was my job so I can hold my head high at least in that regards.
Sometimes though, there comes for a need for a comic where sales aren’t the primary force behind making them. Sometimes you’re compelled to make a comic for something higher, something that sadly can emanate from tragedy.
You Are Not Alone Vol. 1 and 2
On December 14th 2012, America went through a great tragedy that is known as the ‘Sandy Hook elementary school shootings’. I won’t the events of what occurred on that day because they are well known and you can find every opinion possible on the tragedy readily available online.
How it affected GrayHaven was down to how the tragedy affected our publisher, Andrew Goletz. He felt compelled to do something in response to this heinous act and that is exactly where the concept of ‘You Are Not Alone’ came from.
The volume was going to be the biggest thing that the company had ever attempted. It was going to be an anti-bullying oversized graphic novel that would help those that looked to help people that were treated differently because of their appearance, their race, their sexuality and other things that people can pray upon. It also looked to help those that were dealing with issues that would perhaps lead to self harm or anorexia and who to call and/or contact in relation to these issues.
It was an extremely worthy project and one I was eager to be a part of. I was heavily bullied when I was younger and wanted to help with the project that would hopefully help others get through similar experiences. I wasn’t part of the initial ‘You Are Not Alone’ (or YANA as it became known) conceptual team but I was eager to offer any help I could.
Sadly, I was told that I wasn’t needed. I’m sure Andrew wouldn’t mind me quoting him directly as he told me ‘I don’t think you’re a good enough editor’.
I was furious and I think that one sentence was another big contributor to me eventually leaving GrayHaven. In retrospect I think I should have been more understanding and realizing that this was the most important thing that GrayHaven had ever done and it was much bigger than any of us. I like to count Andrew as one of my closest friends and although we have had many, many arguments over the years about a number of subjects I don’t think he has ever done anything to intentionally hurt me. Still at the time, I was angry and I just decided to pitch a story to the book in the hope that I could help someone with what I was allowed to contribute to the volume.
I wrote ‘00110001 (binary core for the number ‘one’) is the loneliest number’ which dealt with the very modern and real problem of Cyber Bullying. I was tempted to tell a more personal take based on my own bullying experiences but I thought that there would be a lot of those types of stories. I wanted to tackle an important issue that I didn’t think anyone else would think of (I was right). I think I did a good job on the story and I asked previous collaborator, Paula Cob to do the art chores. She did an exceptional job and I think the story hit all the beats that I intended it to. In truth, You Are Not Alone is filled with many personal and harrowing tales that in truth nearly moved me to tears the first time I read it. I think it truly lived up to its purpose and I was proud that my story was a small part of it.
There was a long gestation period for the project and eventually Andrew asked me to come on board and help get it out. I can’t honestly remember what the problems were or how much work I did to help get the book out, all I remember is how I reacted. I reacted like an utter ass who continually threw Andrew’s words about my ability as an editor back at him.
I did the job I was asked to do because I always did but looking back I should have just swallowed my pride and helped the volume (which again, was much bigger than me) get out but I decided to be difficult while doing it.
Eventually the book came out, it was a big hit and we heard a lot of stories from people who it helped. We also got the most media coverage than I believe any other GrayHaven anthology and a follow up was soon seen as a necessity.
In a true 120, instead of not having me involved at all, Andrew gave me the responsibility of producing ‘You Are Not Alone 2’ all by myself. Although it wasn’t quite as large as the first volume, the second one was due to be larger than any editor had delivered by themselves.
I was intimidated by this and knowing how important the project was, I wondered if I was capable. Then, one of my fellow editors told me point blank that they didn’t think I could do it. Like a bull that had seen a red flag, I swore that I would prove them wrong and worked my ass off to make sure the volume would be ready to go by September 2014.
Along with the other books I was looking after, I can honestly say that You Are Not Alone 2 took most of my attention. I asked for help from as many artists and letterers that I could think of but never once did I contact another editor. The gauntlet had been thrown down and I was going to deliver this volume over the finish line and I was going to do it by myself.
Which I did and I think I delivered a beautiful volume that featured great stories by a multitude of creators. I was told to have it ready for production for September and I did that, only needing lettering done on a handful of stories but I had done everything else. I had read through the hundreds of submissions, I had edited the stories, I had assigned artists, I had dealt with even more submissions once they reopened and I got as many stories lettered as I could without any budget.
In truth, I think the effort to put out You Are Not Alone 2 burned me out. Other things happened after that, things were said about me and to me that along with everything else that had occured, caused me to leave GrayHaven. It broke my heart because I had invested so much effort, time and finances into the company and I was now feeling I was no longer welcome.
Whether that was true or not, I’m not sure. There are people I am still very close to there and there are those that after I left, decided to set fire to my virtual chair at the table and pretend I was never there at all.
On a final note, I want to talk about the story I wrote myself for YANA 2 which was called ‘Someone for Anyone’ that was wonderfully illustrated by Dan Laurer. The story featured an old bear in a toy shop that was never paid attention to and was picked on by the more popular toys. Finally, one day a little girl comes into the shop and takes him home. I had long since been criticized by other editors for the amount of words I would use in a story and decided to tell this one without any words or captions.
I think the story met that challenge and Dan did a great job telling the story without one word of dialogue. I had met Dan through chance when looking for an artist for a sc-fi ‘Alterna’ anthology where he delivered in spades on a story that I’m hoping sees the light of day very soon.
Dan has worked in the industry for years and is a great talent and I hope I am lucky enough to work with him again someday.
Still, I think it’s very ironic to look back at that bear, now my time at GrayHaven has come to an end. It was a good toy but it still sat on a shelf, ridiculed by the other toys on a daily basis which caused it to feel undervalued and alone.
One day, the door opened and someone appreciated the bear for what it was. I hope that one day, the door will open and someone will do the same for me.
Many thanks to Andrew Goletz for letting me do these articles and letting me say what I wished. I’m sure I’ll be annoying him about something before you finish this.
Next: The rise of Indie Comics
Got any comments, suggestions or questions? Let me know! Also follow me on Twitter @glenn_matchett
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
Last year GrayHaven Comics decided to create their most important project to date. The result was You Are Not Alone, a 180 page anthology that covers many of the issues youth face today including bullying, depression, homophobia, racism, and violence.
Over 60 talented writers and artists joined together to tell 3-5 page stories centered around these topics with messages of hope and tolerance. Andrew Goletz who put the project together was rewarded as Comic Creator of the Year by Geekadelphia for his work on this project.
After a successful Kickstart project last year the books have finally gone out to backers and school and youth organizations interested in carrying copies of the book for those who would gain the most use out of it.
To those who have suffered in silence facing abuse because of the color of your skin, sexual orientation, weight or interests. To those who are depressed and feel there is no place left to turn…You are not Alone.
In an effort to get this project into as many hands as possible, as easily as possible, GrayHaven Comics has launched a Kickstarter to help raise funds for printing this 150 plus page book with the goal being to give them away at schools and youth organizations for Free.
Best Pledge: Give as much as you can, this is for a good cause.
Risk: LOW – The GrayHaven team has run numerous Kickstarter projects and come through as promised. Very professional in how they use it and keep folks updated.
“You are not alone.” That’s the message that the GrayHaven Comics team is getting out to the world in response to the tragedy at Sandy Hook. As a response to those tragic events in Newtown, CT the comic book team is producing a FREE COMIC BOOK that can be used to help those in need. Topics will cover dangers that many children unfortunately face every day in their lives, racism, homophobia to body issues and so on.
The tragic events of December 14, when 26 innocent people, including 20 children, lost their lives, affected the GrayHaven team. This lead to a discussion between the editors as to what they could do. What could be done?
What good is having the ability to reach people with our stories if we can’t put that to use in a beneficial way?
It goes beyond the victims of Sandy Hook Elementary School. It goes beyond the victims of Aurora. This is not about gun violence or gun control. This is not a political statement. This is a statement of being good to your fellow man.
The GrayHaven team thought about Brandon Elizares, a 14 year old boy who took his own life after being bullied for coming out to his friends and classmates.
It’s about Victoria Gray’s African American son who was tied to a locker at his High School as classmates taunted him with cheers of ‘slave for sale’
This is about the 11 year old developmentally challenged child who was held down on a kitchen table by four adults who took turns beating him.
This is about the victims of Jerry Sandusky’s abuse and others like him.
This is about the children who are ridiculed or worse because of the color of their skin. Their sexual orientation. Their mental capacity. Their weight. Their interests.
This is about the children who no longer feel safe going to the movies or to school.
This is about the millions of kids who suffer abuse and suffer in silence thinking that no one cares.
The project is designed to reinforce that these children that are abused, and the many more we don’t know about know they are not alone. The GrayHaven team cares. Those involved in this project care. People care and want to help.
GrayHaven Comics will be publishing You Are Not Alone a very special anthology one shot featuring stories inspired but not based on real life events like the ones mentioned above. With this book they hope to give people the means to get help and know what to do should they ever witness or face such situations themselves. The book will be produced by their editors and distributed for FREE in order to get the message out to as many people who could benefit from it as possible. Along with print volumes they will also offer a free digital version of the book for those that prefer their reading on handhelds. A donation button will be placed on the site for anyone who wants to contribute any amount (be it a dollar or ten) and those funds will go to the charities established for the victims of Sandy Hook Elementary School.
GrayHaven will be taking open submissions for these topics and full details will be released soon. Room will be limited and stories will be capped at 4 pages in length and editorial will guide writers and artists to make sure the material fits the criteria and is suitable for younger readers who they hope to reach with these stories. Interested writers and artists can contact them directly at firstname.lastname@example.org