ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Weston Ochse is a former intelligence officer and special operations soldier who has engaged enemy combatants, terrorists, narco smugglers, and human traffickers. His personal war stories include performing humanitarian operations over Bangladesh, being deployed to Afghanistan, and a near miss being cannibalized in Papua New Guinea. His fiction and non-fiction has been praised by USA Today, The Atlantic, The New York Post, The Financial Times of London, and Publishers Weekly. The American Library Association labeled him one of the Major Horror Authors of the 21st Century. His work has also won the Bram Stoker Award, been nominated for the Pushcart Prize, and won multiple New Mexico-Arizona Book Awards. A writer of more than 26 books in multiple genres, his military supernatural series SEAL Team 666 has been optioned to be a movie starring Dwayne Johnson. His military sci fi series, which starts with Grunt Life, has been praised for its PTSD-positive depiction of soldiers at peace and at war. Weston likes to be called a chaotic good paladin and challenges anyone to disagree. After all, no one can really stand a goody two-shoes lawful good character. They can be so annoying. It's so much more fun to be chaotic, even when you're striving to save the world. You can argue with him about this and other things online at Living Dangerously or on Facebook at Badasswriter. All content of this blog is copywrited by Weston Ochse.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

My Life in Comics - Where I Leap Into the Fray

I've loved comics ever since I can remember. After about the age of five, I always had comics. I remember driving across country and stopping at a Stuckeys in Iowa and convincing my mother to buy bags of pre-packaged comics. My mom was always good about that. She didn't care if it was a comic, as long as I was reading. In fact, I went to the grocery store with her specifially to get her to buy me comics, Cracked and Mad Magazines. We needed apples, I got comics. We were out of bread, I got comics. I tried to get her to buy Heavy Metal once, but that didn't work out. Darn.

My bud Brian Keene and I have talked about this for years. We're both Silver Age Comic nuts. I love old Fantastic Four, The Defenders, and Avengers. I grok the Inhumans, Silver Surfer and Namor (this is when he was impetuous, arrogant and an anti-hero). I dug the hell out of Marvel Team Ups and What Ifs. Remember those? What if Doctor Doom was a member of the Fantastic Four? Stuff like that. They were big in 1978 when I spent the summer with my grandparents.

I went through the 1980s not buying or reading, for that matter, any comics. I'd joined the Army and was literally knee deep in dirt and alligator shit for a decade. I returned to comics during the big wave in the early 1990s. I was able to be a part of the Image evolution. Along with traditional super heroes, they had a comic called Pitt. Remember that? This one sort of changed my idea of comics, that they weren't only about heroes. That got me into Cerebus and The Sandman. I discovered Vertigo and started to really pay attention to all the different companies and what they had to offer.

Then I discovered The Preacher and the writings of Garth Ennis. Then Warren Ellis. And with Warren I discovered that art can be ART, and was inspired by Ben Templesmith (Fell).

During this time I was writing. Learning my craft. I've won awards for fiction and screenplays. I even had a short story printed in the back of about a dozen different IDW comic books. I have projects stacked on top of projects stacked on top of projects. I have three novels and a short novel due tomorrow. Yet comics are still my love. I think about them. I read and reread them. Lately I've been enjoying Brian Keene's The Last Zombie and Joe Hill's Locke & Key. Both books combine tremendous story with stimulating art.

Now I can't draw, but I can write a tremendous story. I'm damn good at that. So after the World Horror Convention this year I decided why not try my hand at comics. I need something more than a story in a comic book. I need to be able to create the entire comic book.  So I've done three things:

One. I've partnered with artist Russel Dickerson on a project called Killing Time. He hasn't worked on comics much either, but he's a terrific artist who is coming into his own. Killing Time will be a webcomic provided page by page. Probably a full-paneled page once per week once we get going. The story of Killing Time is based on the short story 'Tarzan Doesn't Live Here Anymore' from my new short story collection Multiplex Fandango. We're targeting that the first page will be available sometime in July.

Locke & Key Volume 1: Welcome to Lovecraft HCTwo. I created a 4 script arc for a new mini-series called BLIGHT. It's a slipstream, steampunk, horror comic. Imagine of Locke & Key meets Preacher, then this would be their love child. Like most of my work, Blight takes place along the Mexican Border. I'm very excited about this. Of course the only problem is that very few people in the comic world know me. There are a few joints I can submit this to cold, but the chances are slim. The chances get much better, as do the places where I can submit this increase in volume, if I have an artist-writer team. So, in that light, I'm now searching for a comic artist with experience who wants to partner with me on Blight.  If you know one, or if you are one, shoot me an email at westonochse@gmail.com with the subject "Blight Artist." I'm a hard and fast worker.

Three. I've pitched Dynamite Comics about one of their owned projects. I'd love to breathe new life into it and resurrect it. I've definite ideas. Now to get my foot in the door.

So there you have it. I didn't step, slide, shimmy or skip into the fray. I freaking leaped.

Now to see what I can do there.

Weston Ochse
Tarantula Grotto
Sonoran Desert

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