Whether by happenstance or design, 2006 is shaping up to be an interesting year for me, as many of my projects are scheduled to be released, while many more are in development.
For the five of you who follow my career, herewith is an incomplete list o'stuff from the mind of Raf...
1. THE PHANTOM: MAN-EATERS
This is a 96 page book published by Moonstone in their "Widescreen" format; one illustration running across the top of each two-page spread, with accompanying text underneath. In essence, it's a heavily illustrated prose story. The art for this project is by Vatche Mavlian, who's done work for Marvel and Digital Webbing and others. Vatche is a wonderful artist who evokes a real pulp flavor to the work, and is sure to increase his fan base with his work on this. I'm such a fan of Vatche's that we've already discussed the possibility of collaborating on something else! Visit moonstonebooks.com for more information on this project.
2. THE PHANTOM ANNUAL: FIVE DAYS OF THE DRAGON
For those of you who DON'T know the name Tony Akins, well, shame on you and move out from under that rock! Akins is a long time comic artist of stellar talent. His most recent work was the Papa Midnite miniseries from Vertigo, and he is hard at work on the new Jack of Fables series for the same company. I've known Akins for quite a number of years, and consider myself a rabid fan of his work. We've often discussed the possibilities of working together, and it's almost happened a few times over the years. Now, finally, opportunity didn't just knock, it beat the door down!
Mr. Akins and I are contributing a ten page chapter in the just-announced Phantom Annual from Moonstone, where we will find ourselves in the illustrious company of Ron Marz, Chuck Dixon, Mike Bullock, Tony Bedard, Graham Nolan and more, who are each telling one segment of a much larger Phantom story that takes place over many decades, and focuses on a jade dragon that gives its owner power over the elements. The Phantom's mortal enemies, The Brotherhood of Singh, are trying to retrieve the dragon, which has been separated into five pieces. A wonderful idea, a great gathering of talent (plus me!), and a sure-fire hit. Check the Moonstone website for more information!
3. THE SPIDER
Moonstone publisher Joe Gentile has graciously asked me to contribute to this anthology of prose stories featuring the adventures of The Spider, a pulp character that is so violent he puts the Shadow to shame! This collection of stories will be in the same format as Moonstone's successful Kolchak book, and features a plethora of talented creators, with artists providing spot illustrations. I can't tell you too much about my story yet, but I promise, it'll be a roller-coaster of carnage! Details to follow as we get further along.
4. THE APOCALYPSE PLAN
I've already mentioned this project in a previous post, but wanted to include it here as a reminder. I've just seen the colored cover mock-up, and it's real purty! I'm very excited to be working with new-ish publisher Narwain on this three issue mini-series; I haven't felt this loved and respected (outside my marriage) in years! The interior art and covers are by Aaron Kuder, an artist I followed on the Penciljack site. His figure work is gorgeous! Promotion for this Heaven-versus-Hell horror/thriller begin in earnest at the New York Comicon, where I'll be sitting in with the Narwain-ians. See previous posts for details.
This isn't a book, but it is quite the project! Gary Reed -- former publisher of Caliber Press, incredible writer, and good friend -- and I are joining forces to create an intellectual property development studio and content builder, called TransFuzion. This idea stems from innumerable conversations that Gary and I have had over the years about the current state and uncertain future of comic books. Our goal is to create properties that can be exploited across the entertainment board, from video games to toys to film and television, and comics of course! Joining us in this venture are Steven Jones and Randy Zimmerman, two incredibly gifted men who will bring their own special skills and talents to the table.
TransFuzion will have its debut this May. Watch this blog for more details as they develop!
AND MORE TO COME!
The following items are projects in development. As of right now, they are scheduled to appear later this year, but the formats and details have not been worked out, nor have their ultimate destinations in terms of publishing houses. However, this being my blog, I wanted the five of you to get this information first! Whether you want it or not!
Her name is Stella Ito. She's the daughter of a Japanese-American Army General, and an African-American model and actress. Stella's mother died in childbirth, and she has been raised by her globe-trotting military father, who wanted a son, no mistake, when you consider some of Stella's unique skills; she's a marksman, a black belt in two different martial arts disciplines, a gymnast, and more!
She's also a private detective, a career move that is thrust upon her a short while after the untimely death of her father, when a former friend of his, an exotic dancer named Athena, comes a'calling. Seems the stripper has attracted the attentions of a handsome young South American, the son of a diplomat and a reputed drug lord! Fearing for her safety, the stripper seeks out General John Ito, and finds, instead, the feisty, sexy, and lethal Stiletto!
STILETTO: ...SINGING IN THE DEAD OF NIGHT is currently planned as a three issue miniseries of 24 pages each. The artist for this project is Richard Jordan, another artist I "discovered" at Penciljack.com, who is hard at work on fleshing out my little "Blasian" heroine, even as we speak. I'll post art and provide more details about this project as they develop.
7. RED DEATH: A HARRY CYCYK CASE
Yet another Penciljack contributor, Arnie Gordon, provides the artwork for this retro/future Private Eye story. Harry Cycyk is a man who gets things done; the former Chicago cop was only the second person to win on "House-O-Death," the phenomenally successful t.v game show. He was also the last, as his unique method of successfully completing the challenge caused the show to be canceled, and his million dollar purse was used to pay the legal fees brought on by the litiginous producers. All too soon, Cycyk found himself penniless, and on the street. However, his past experience, quiet demeanor, and obvious cleverness put him in the spotlight of people who need problems solved, quietly and efficiently, and Cycyk finds himself employed as a private investigator.
In RED DEATH, Harry investigates the disappearance of the wife of the city's most prominent billionaire, a much younger wife who may be involved in the creation and sale of an insidious designer drug known as 'Red Death'. What Harry Cycyk discovers is not at all what he expects, and he finds himself in an underworld of death and betrayal.
RED DEATH is planned as the first in a series of Harry Cycyk stories. I'll have art to show in a few weeks on this.
8. INSPECTOR 12
Did you ever wonder about those unseen, mysterious people who stick little labels in clothing and on products, that read "inspected by...?" No? Well, artist and Hyperthetical partner Antonio Maldonado and I have wondered about it quite a bit. Inspector 12 is the result of all that wondering.
An employee of Acmecorp, 12 works the graveyard shift, inspecting products called "Doodgies" as they roll along a conveyor belt. It's a thankless job, to be sure, but 12 takes his work seriously. Nothing fazes him. On this particular night, however, when a dead body rolls past him, 12 is shaken to his very core! Deciding to investigate, he discovers an evil plan that threatens the very future of Acmecorp, and could spell doom for himself!
INSPECTOR 12 is a romp through a possible future, when corporations rule the world. Our hero is the comic book descendant of Harold Lloyd and Buster Keaton, as only the artistic minds of my erstwhile collaborators, Antonio (ShortRound) Maldonado and Steve Willhite, can interpret him. I'll be posting some samples of this fun little story in a few weeks.
That's if for now kids. Hope you like the ideas presented, and feel free to comment if you want to know more!!!