The Heirloom, written by myself, illustrated by Jacob Redmon, and produced by John Bucher (Sideshow Media Group) will be available for purchase very soon!
It all began in a cramped economy seat on an American Airlines plane taxiing on a Port-Au-Prince airstrip in Haiti. I had just finished a week of video work in the small village of Poteau with some good friends. We were about to take off for Miami when I sketched a twenties’ styled woman smoking a cigarette*. The dialogue bubble above her head read: "What is life if not a chance to dabble in a little insanity?"
I could picture my poorly etched lady sauntering into a P.I. office, or considering a shady compromise in the back of a speakeasy; wherever she was I knew she flirted with the darkness preferring to be morally ambiguous. A month or two passed and she stayed hidden among a hundred other stream-of-consciousness sketches in my notebook.
In April, the university film festival ads were making their circuit, and I knew I wanted to do a period piece. I knew my production budget was $0, like always, and I needed my story to be confined to one location. I referred back to my drawing as I brainstormed, just her and I in that stuffy room. A few hours later, we had figured it out. I had written the first version of the story: a who-dun-it set in a ballroom. I never made the short film, but I loved my story and the world it implied.
I knew that if I expounded on my story-world I would never be able to film it. I decided the best hope for this story was a comic book. I had never made a comic book, could barely draw and hadn't, at that time, even read a graphic novel. I wrote the story anyway and found a willing artist on campus. He drew a few panels, and it was exciting to see my story "come to life" on paper. At that time I was planning on a three-issue story; it made a nice little trilogy. Unfortunately, we never finished the first issue.
That fall, I attended Los Angeles Film Studies Center where I met John Bucher and Jacob Redmon. At this point, I was deep into Alan Moore and Frank Miller comics/graphic novels and had heard John Bucher owned a company that had produced a few comics. I got together with my artist classmate, Rachel Brewster (now my wife) and we drew up some character concepts. I pitched my story idea to John and he gave me a few notes. I came back to him a week later with the adjusted script and I remember him being surprised that I had actually made the proper adjustments. Of course, after working under Joe Aaron who had a ruthless desire for perfection, John's notes were nothing new.
I was offered 20 pages of art to tell my story. I was thrilled! But, I had over 40 pages of story, the real challenge had just begun. Jacob and I would spend the next couple of months figuring out how to cram the story into such a relatively small space. He lived in Ohio and I had moved back to Arkansas to finish school, but we completed the comic over Skype and email.
There were also complications on the printing side of things. Jacob's unique art style did not complement the classic inking you find in most comics. John and his team implemented a new way to produce the comic: a two-pass print, where one pass is doubly black, which allows for the gradient found in Redmon's style.
Check out the comic here: Sideshow Media Group
*I no longer know where that adventurous sketch of a woman has disappeared to; I hope our paths meet again so I can thank her for all she's done for me.