So here is the first of what will be many of my most pertinant thoughts regarding the comic industry and how I fit in it. It’s cathartic, really. The more I voice my opinions, seasoning the facts with my own flavor, such as it is, I find that I have a clearer perspective on things. Case in point:
This is my fiftieth year on this earth. 50 is supposed to be a significant year in a person’s life, like 40 and 30 and 21 and 18 before it. I haven’t been to a comic convention held at New York City’s Jacob Javits Center since 1992. Yet here I am, 22 years later, preparing for the 2014 New York ComicCon at Javits. I’ll be promoting the new Atlas Unleashed anthology comic there with Mark Mazz, and in that anthology will be the second comic story I’ve ever written and my third-ever professional writing credit. The first was way back when I worked at DC Comics’ old 666 5th Avenue Headquarters, where I wrote a fictional news story for the Daily Planet supplement of the INVASION mini-series event in the summer of 1988. I wrote a news report (with my own byline attached) on the looting epidemic in Metropolis in the wake of the alien invasion, accompanied by a great illustration by Kyle Baker. I remember the front page of the supplement was a full-page headline that read “EARTH TO INVADERS: BITE MY CRANK!”
The second was the first issue of an anthology produced by the west coast chapter of the Comicbook Artists Guild, a group of creators dedicated (in theory) to learning from each other’s talents and producing quality work together. In that anthology, I wrote an 8-page Twilight Zone-esque war story called “Section 8″ that I also pencilled and inked. By my own admission, and with hindsight being 20/20, I am a much better writer, letterer and graphic designer than I am a penciller or inker. Pencilling and inking used to be my strengths, but when you stop using those strengths, and years go by, those strengths atrophy, just like anything else you don’t use for long periods of time. Needless to say, my story, though marginally better than my art, didn’t help to set the world on fire.
And now I have TIP OF THE SPEAR, a series I am developing that is homage and inspiration to the genre stories I loved reading about 30 years ago, namely supernatural horror and the spy thriller. I guess if you were to amalgamize it, it would be a mashup of Tom Clancy meets CONSTANTINE. I have a great premise in the story of protagonist Max Cortes, a spy for a super-secret arm of the U.S. Government who is an Adept, a practicioner of sorcery and the occult, whose purpose is to guard against supernatural threats to national security. I have a great artist in Aaron Palsmeier, who I found on the Digital Webbing message boards, whose natural storytelling ability has nailed point-for-point everything my demanding script has thrown at him; and I have a great colorist in Stephen Schaffer, who I found just recently on Deviant Art, who has solid experience coloring Zenescope books and an equally solid command of color theory and storytelling with color. I have a great editor and a great longtime friend in Mark Mazz, founder of Atlas Unleashed, who had offered me a place to be creative from the very beginning. And I have an opportunity to succeed in an independent comics publishing venture where my last publishing venture, Blackline Comics, disappointingly failed while within striking distance of success.
There is another milestone to consider: my wife Donna and I, after fourteen years away from New York City, where I was born and raised, have decided to move back to the city of my birth. We have spent ten years in Los Angeles and four years in Hawai’i, and I have to admit I am a New Yorker at heart. Before we left New York, I once told Donna that I could never inagine living anywhere else except New York. In a sense, I told her the truth, though the decision to move both times was mine (with divine help, but that’s another story). When we were there, I called both LA and Hawai’i home, but on a subconscious level, NYC never stopped being home, no matter what I told myself or anyone else. Besides, New York was always the creative epicenter of my life. Creating comics was king in New York. Of course, now, the internet make it possible to be almost anywhere in the world and still create comics, and still be within reach of editors, writers, artists, letterers and colorists. Hell, Mark Mazz and I have been able to work on this anthology so far with an almost 6,000 mile gap in between us. But there is something about being in New York City that has been and always will be a creative muse for those with artistic pursuits, especially in comics. I always want that to be a part of my life, and so our target date to move back to the Big Apple is late November 2014.
So it’s August 1st, 2014 as I’m writing this. 66 days until we get on the plane to visit NYC and go to ComicCon; 70 days until the Con begins, and 10 weeks until seeing my friend Mark and many others for the first time in almost a decade and a half, and hopefully lay down the final bit of groundwork for our move back in November. Why would we leave the paradise of Hawai’i to return to the hustle and bustle of New York City? Am I crazy? Like a fox, and that will be the topic of a near-future SANS SERIF blog column.
Keep watching this space for more information on the development of TIP OF THE SPEAR. As I reveal more about the series, I think you’ll discover that we’ll be doing some things with it that have been seldom seen, and some things that have never been seen before in comics. Intrigued? Stay tuned…
Me Ke Aloha ‘O Iesu Kristo
(With the love of Jesus Christ),
Michael De Lepine
Director of Operations
Atlas Unleashed Publishing
Lift the weight of the world!