I just wanted to drop a line to let folks know who follow me here on my personal website that this past week I have relaunched the official THRILL SEEKER COMICS™ website at www.thrillseekercomics.com. I have separated the Thrill Seeker site from my personal site after all these years so that the new site will be solely focused on the comic series and my personal site can contain my other rambling thoughts and going ons.
We're now celebrating the 20th Anniversary of the release of the very first Thrill Seeker story that introduced the world to YELLOW JACKET: MAN OF MYSTERY™, THE GOLDEN AGE EMERALD MANTIS™,
and THE SACRED SCARAB™ in SHOOTING STAR COMICS ANTHOLOGY™ #1 back in
2002. This year we are preparing to release a weekly online webcomic as well as a new series later in the year. Right now, we're offering THRILL SEEKER COMICS™ ASHCAN #1 as a limited edition release that you can purchase on the website.
I wish everyone happiness, prosperity, and good health in this New Year where we will all hopefully turn a corner in 2022 for the better.
As I mentioned previously in some posts online, it is time for a promised THRILL SEEKER COMICS™ update and to reveal my plans for the new year!
This new year marks the 20th Anniversary of the first appearance of my independent comic book series THRILL SEEKER COMICS™ featuring YELLOW JACKET: MAN OF MYSTERY™ and the EMERALD MANTIS™ that first appeared inside SHOOTING STAR COMICS ANTHOLOGY™ #1 all those years ago.
It is time to revisit this universe and so I am thrilled to announce that as a part of this celebration, THRILL SEEKER COMICS™ returns in a revival of the series with all-new stories. I have a “Three-Year Plan” in place from 2022-2024 for various THRILL SEEKER COMICS™ releases in both print comic book format and as a webcomic series to be self-published by my company-owned imprint BANDITO ENTERTAINMENT™. I have the time now to work on these projects and I personally feel that if I hit all my goals for this three-year plan and release all these projects, then my soul will be satisfied with this effort to put out this body of work and scratch an itch to publish this creative body of work. My decades' long dream to do this is now finding a window open in the moment and I hope to leave my mark with this creative output – though I hope this is only the "revival" new beginning that after this three-year plan, you will have enjoyed what is planned and there will be enough interest and demand for me to continue making more comics beyond this plan.
After being introspective during the pandemic, I know that the time is right now and that voice in my head is beckoning me to pursue these dreams of producing my creator-owned comic book series. So, I have renewed my best efforts to hopefully entertain all of you comic book fans for this upcoming ride. I hope you will enjoy this just as much as I am enjoying in making these new comics and revisiting these fictional creations bouncing around in my mind. I am working just about daily in the studio on writing and drawing these comic strips and have been doing so for the last six months in preparation for these releases. So, for this 20th Anniversary celebration first year, I have the following releases in the following formats and offerings planned:
• THRILL SEEKER COMICS™ will be featured in a spotlight for the upcoming INDIEVERSITY project - A guidebook to the varied worlds of the independent comics multiverse coming First Quarter 2022. The “Thrill Seeker Universe” will be officially recognized in this cataloged index with an entry where it will be revealed to be “Earth 24” in the multiverse of independent comics universes out there. I’ve seen the proof copy and it is all ready to go! I am hopeful that this will catch the eyes of new comic book readers who enjoy indie comics to also join us this year in our thrilling plans.
• THRILL SEEKER COMICS™ will participate and return as a feature with a brand-new story in a secret project to be officially revealed in Second Quarter 2022 that offers a new YELLOW JACKET: MAN OF MYSTERY™ tale. This was even a surprise to me that this project came together after I had begun working on the new body of work. All the pages of comic art are already 100% completed on my end and just waiting on the announcement and release of a book that I’m sure many of you will be surprised and excited to learn about! I’m really looking forward to this announcement and your reactions!
• THRILL SEEKER COMICS™ will debut a brand-new website in the Second Quarter that will be the central hub for everything happening this year. I’ll let you know when the new website is ready. In the meantime, keep watching this space on Facebook.
• THRILL SEEKER COMICS™ SERIES will launch as a free weekly online webcomic series this Summer at the start of the Third Quarter 2022 with brand-new stories. I’m building up the inventory of art for the comics strips and should have at least six months of stories “in the can” with art finished and the strips completed in various formats so that I am running ahead of schedule so that each week, a new comic strip will showcase and there won’t be pauses and looming deadlines won’t trip me up. This will be an ongoing weekly digital webcomics series with a new story arc running about ever 12-weeks before the next story arc begins. The first four story arcs are planned and in various stages of production. This webcomic series will serve as a jumping on point for new readers to introduce them to the THRILL SEEKER COMICS™ Universe and fulfill a promise for my longtime fans of the classic stories to bring them new tales. I look at this free weekly online webcomic format as a chance to entertain, put out something on a regular basis each week so that Thrill Seeker doesn’t stay dormant so that something new is coming out each week, and to build up readership where hopefully many will also want to grab copies of printed comics that are planned. Look for the webcomics series on Webtoons Canvas, Reddit, Facebook, Patreon, and other venues to be announced this summer when we're prepared to launch.
• THRILL SEEKER COMICS™ launches on the aforementioned Patreon website this Third Quarter 2022 which will offer sneak peeks, behind the scenes looks, direct access to archives, commentary, discussion forums, and other “Official Fan Club” exclusive offerings with various patron levels of participation. Look for a June 1, 2022 launch of the Official THRILL SEEKER COMICS™ Patreon webpage.
• THRILL SEEKER COMICS™ ANTHOLOGY #1 is in production and forthcoming. The format will be a retro Giant 100-Page Sized Annual to be released at the end of each year for the holidays like some of the big thick classic anthology comic book series chock full of several stories in each issue that came out during the Golden, Silver and Bronze Ages that I loved and inspired me in the first place to do THRILL SEEKER COMICS™ twenty years ago as an homage acting as a slight and not-so-subtle pastiche at times to classic comics and films with my own spin. The first issue of the three planned annuals at this point will be released Fourth Quarter 2022. I already have 40 pages completed as of New Year’s Day 2022 for this premier issue that features all-new stories visiting both old friends and introducing brand-new characters. Over the next three years, I have a single 100-page Annual planned for each holiday season as a full-color printed comic book release. I decided to go with this thicker anthology format instead of trying to juggle several short 24-page stapled “floppies” each month and/or throughout the year. I would like to focus on putting together a hefty once-a-year release that will be a special collection of tales in a more prestigious book that should be more economical and logistically for you and me to put out and purchase at the end of the year. Each annual anthology will offer several brand-new never-before-seen exclusive stories as well as collecting a finished webcomics series for posterity when appropriately timed. I have also decided over the next three years to offer “re-re-mastered” reprints of past short story tales peppered in over these first three annuals for the new readers because the previously released THRILL SEEKER COMICS™ ARCHIVE COLLECTION – VOLUME ONE is now out of print and will no longer be offered. I have also “re-re-mastered” the art (again?!?!) in 2021 of the original eight classic stories to be refreshed and match the new and improved look and style of the brand-new stories so that all-new readers can get a chance to read those essential stories they may have missed out on. Plus, the artwork is much more improved in my opinion than even what was released in the out-of-print 2017 archive with crisper inks, retouched art, and a better retro style look as if these comics were printed in the Golden, Silver and Bronze Age in their look and feel. I will show examples of the differences in a future update…
• “THRILL SEEKER COMICS™ DOSSIER - 2022 UPDATE will also be released in a traditional 24-page comic book format in Fourth Quarter 2022 for the holidays alongside THRILL SEEKER COMICS™ ANTHOLOGY #1. This issue is a “Who’s Who Guidebook” to the Thrill Seeker Universe with file entries of the main characters of the various comics featuring classic characters and introducing some of the cast of new players. This will serve as a reference book during the planned “Three Year Plan” stint.
So that is the update of what is planned for THRILL SEEKER COMICS™ in 2022. I wrestled with how much I should reveal, but I think that I am at a point and have confidence all things will come to fruition that I could make these announcements. There might be a few more surprises, but for now, this is the gist of what is coming up. When time gets closer, I will reveal more information and provide links to where and go find the new material. I hope this thrilling news for all of you reading this and that you will want to be a part of this celebration and revival this year.
Again, have a Happy New Year and I will see you in the Funny Papers!
Over the last four days, Jennifer and I watched the three-part Beatles docuseries “GET BACK” over on Disney+. I had been hyping it on Facebook ever since it was announced a few years ago that director Peter Jackson was going to take the footage that has been locked in a vault for decades and make a definitive docuseries out of it that would in a way re-write and re-place the abysmal “LET IT BE” film that for 50 years has been termed the documentary about the break up of The Beatles. The footage and sound recordings had been meticulously restored. I felt that since I’ve hyped my excitement up about wanting to see this docuseries, I might add my two cents. I thought since many of you know that I am a diehard, lifelong Beatles fan, you'd like to know what I thought.
For this longtime fan who has poured over the music of The Beatles, listened to this material for thousands of hours over the since early childhood including collecting and listening to bootleg outtake materials of these sessions, reading book after book of analysis on the subject matter, and even owned a bootleg copy of LET IT BE on a pirated DVD, etc. --- well, this docuseries changed my perception on many things of what I’ve believed yet what was most important to me to watch as a fan was to see the dynamic of the Fab Four working together in the studio and seeing how these songs materialized while witnessing the dynamics and drama going on in their interactions. It did rewrite the history books and what I had previously thought.
While it was said that Peter Jackson had free reign to cull the footage and make this documentary to reveal the true happenings of what was going on, I still do suspect there were a few selective moments that may have been left out to not cast certain people in a negative light --- most of all – probably John Lennon as he was struggling with a drug problem in the early part of January 1969 before they moved the sessions over to the Apple Studios. The traditional history was that Yoko Ono caused the break up of The Beatles and I purely don’t believe that was the case. But I digress.
To distill all of this into a quick reaction of the docuseries --- yes, I loved this film and thought it was truly amazing. It was very much a “Fly on the Wall” experience to watch The Beatles make one of their greatest albums in their final year all together as one group. To see and hear songs “come together” was truly out of this world like watching childbirth to hear them materialize.
I mentioned to Jennifer that this 6+ hour docuseries is really for the hardcore diehard Beatles fan to watch. Again, I had to break it up and watch it over four days with her because of the length of the 3-part docuseries. I think for the casual fan and/or a “newbie” who doesn’t know much about The Beatles, it would be best if there was a companion abridged “Reader’s Digest” version of this to make it a shortened 2-hour film at the most to watch it one sitting. I read the other day that Peter Jackson did put together this shortened version that he premiered at two red carpet events for the rich and famous in London and Los Angeles and I hope that Disney will make this version also available for the casual viewer that would be more likely to watch it in one viewing for the highlights. Otherwise, I think this is too much to digest unless you were somewhat more invested into The Beatles.
So, while I could write a whole thesis on my reaction(s!) to this docuseries, I will just keep it simple and say that I absolutely loved it. For decades, like I mentioned, the only way to see the original 1970 “LET IT BE” film was through pirated copies as it was a sore spot for The Beatles. Now, with Peter Jackson’s intervention, this has finally after all these years been lovingly remastered and given back to the fans to see a fuller, bigger picture of what more honestly transpired during those sessions, and it was a love letter to and from The Beatles to their fans – and actually this was a gift to Paul, Ringo, and their loved ones as it is a sore spot no more. I truly loved “GET BACK” and thought it was “Fab”.
I’d like to welcome newcomers joining the THRILL SEEKER COMICS Facebook group in recent days. With the release of the upcoming INDIEVERSITY comic book – a guidebook to the varied worlds of the independent comics multiverse – that the THRILL SEEKER COMICS Universe will be featured inside as one of the worlds spotlighted of the Independent Comics multiverse, I expect that we might get a few new visitors who may want to explore and find out more about THRILL SEEKER COMICS.
I thought I would give an update today of what is going on with the relaunch of the THRILL SEEKER COMICS series. As I mentioned in the last update, the new year 2022 will mark the 20th anniversary of the first THRILL SEEKER COMICS story that debuted in SHOOTING STAR COMICS ANTHOLOGY #1 where readers were introduced to the Golden Age EMERALD MANTIS, the SACRED SCARAB, and the infamous YELLOW JACKET: MAN OF MYSTERY in a short story.
Well, I can reveal a little bit of news in what I hope will be an exciting update here on “WHAT’S NEW!”…
THRILL SEEKER COMICS is returning in 2022 with brand new stories in this year of celebration that will feature the return of our old friends, including the aforementioned Yellow Jacket: Man of Mystery and the various eras and characters to bear the name of the Emerald Mantis. There will also be an introduction to a new cast of characters as this world expands in these upcoming adventures for 2022. For the time being, most of these projects and what will be released must remain secretive until release time gets closer. As of today, I already have a handful of these brand-new stories 100% completed with finalized art ready for the printer. I’m also completing one story over these next 10 days and then I have another story featuring a brand-new character debuting in the Thrill Seeker Universe to finish by Christmas. It is a productive and exciting time for me and I wanted to share that good news in this update.
Ever since “lockdown” began with social distancing due to the worldwide virus, I have had a chance to reflect on my own personal life work balance and what matters and goals were important to me. I’ve realized with this upcoming 20th anniversary of THRILL SEEKER COMICS debut with Shooting Star Comics, I have some dreams painfully left undone when it comes to this independent comic book series of mine that I’ve wanted to continue to do for so long. I’m not trying to make excuses, but life threw me some curveballs this past decade that made it difficult for me to work on new tales, but while things are still crazy in the world of ours, much of the drama and obstacles that I was previously dealing with have been put behind me. I am now several months now engaged in new work for THRILL SEEKER COMICS.
I realize that the time is right for me to revisit these old friends and get back into working on new comics. Since summer, I’ve been busy working about four hours a day (outside of my day job) on working on these new THRILL SEEKER COMICS stories and art. (Remind me to talk about in a future update how “biphasic” sleeping patterns have literally opened up a new window for me to work on these projects in the middle of the night with all efficiency). I’ve completed two previously abandoned projects already. I can report that I have 34 new pages of work completed in these last few months. I also have a tight publishing schedule with several THRILL SEEKER COMICS projects planned out that I am currently working on. I am successfully happy to say that over the last 100+ days, I have kept on schedule with the new workload and met my self-imposed deadlines to prepare new material for next year’s relaunch. My excitement level is high and my creative juices are flowing. Earlier this year, I purchased a Wacom Cintiq Pro digital drawing pen and monitor that has revolutionized the way that I work and has led me to work more efficiently with my time and manner in which it takes me to draw and produce new art.
I admit that I have wrestled with my thoughts on what to say or share publicly with all of you about relaunching THRILL SEEKER COMICS with new material as we’re still several months out from things be ready for distribution. I’ve been busting at the seams to share the news, but I don’t want to be premature on announcements of upcoming projects that are still 4- to 6- to 12- month out so that any excitement and momentum wanes by that time when things are ready, nor do I want to overpromise and not deliver on anything. I want to make sure work is completed. My focus has been on the work and not the hype. I want to have “everything finished and in the can” all ready to go before I start revealing and then immediately and/or very soon afterwards be able to promote and provide the availability of these new adventures for you. Does that make sense?
So with that note, I think I will make my next big update come out between Christmas and New Year’s Day. I promise next month that I will have some examples and begin to share at lease one thing that is on the horizon for the new year and 20th Anniversary celebration.
again, I am watching live right now from my window the Gingko tree in
my neighbor's front yard releasing all of it's leaves at once. It is
just raining down the golden yellow Gingko leaves. The Gingko is my
favorite tree. The leaves are all falling to the ground in one big
shedding action. While some people love a sunset or to watch a shooting
star, this is about as close as I get to looking at God's amazing
wonderment in action with nature and just be at my utmost awe over this
simple cyclical action. There is something spiritual about this annual
moment for me that I just can't convey into words in how it moves me so
much. I just happened to walk outside this morning to witness it once
again. I think I was at the right place at the right time for right
reason. I didn't miss it this year. And I am grateful.
So, Sunday night, I went to St. Louis to see The Rolling Stones with my longtime high school pal Ronald Rice. We had a great time and attended what was a historic concert for this
great rock band. It was the first show of the U.S. "No Filter" tour that
originally began in 2017 but had to be put on hold in 2020 due to the
pandemic. There was some talk that it might not ever be concluded and
last month the longtime original member of the band, drummer Charlie
Watts died. But the show must go on. Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, and
Ron Wood with other musicians hit the stage to present a rousing rockin'
show. A video was shown before they hit the stage of Charlie Watts in
tribute. The three surviving members were visibly emotional as they
thanked the fans and paid tribute to their fallen comrade as this was
the first show that they were going to do without their beloved drummer.
The night's performance was one of the greatest shows I've ever seen.
For me, it was my first time seeing The Rolling Stones as I've been a
fan of them for as long as I can remember. My pal Ron has seen them
several times, but this was a "bucket list" item for me. Well, it was
only rock and roll, but I liked it.... liked it....liked it....yes, I
My pal Jim Beard recently released a second book in his series that exams the original 1966 BATMAN television show that starred Adam West. Originally, a few of my illustrations were going to be in the second volume (I had some artwork on the back cover of the first book), but after some legal mumbo jumbo, WB/DC Comics lawyers didn't want any non-licensed illustrations to be used in the books. My artwork, and that of other artists, had to be unfortunately pulled even though we thought that Fair Use of Copyright was allowed under these circumstances of review and commentary. It is what it is. Still, I encourage Batman fans to pick up the books if you think it is up your Crime Alley.
The gang's all here! Look for us to join the upcoming INDIEVERSITY PROJECT where the "Thrill Seeker Universe" will have one of the spotlights featured in the Independent Comics Multiverse. The Kickstarter crowdfunding has already met the initial pledge goal to be funded. You can make a pledge right now yourselves so that you can order your copy to take home and see all sorts of multiversal worlds where independent comics exist.
Our inclusion marks the beginning of our celebration just a wee bit early where next year it will be 20 years since THE YELLOW JACKET: MAN OF MYSTERY, EMERALD MANTIS, and THE SACRED SCARAB debuted in SHOOTING STAR COMICS ANTHOLOGY #1 with the THRILL SEEKER COMICS feature. More news to come... We hope everyone of you are doing well!
Early that morning, I was heading to work over at
Springfield College in Illinois. I had a 9:00 a.m. World Regional Geography
class that I was teaching that semester. My students were about to begin studying
the section on The Middle East and the Muslim religion that day – of all days.
So, on my way to work, I had the radio on and was still in Sherman at the red
light waiting to turn. The disc jockey on the radio was reporting that a jet
airplane had hit one of the Twin Towers in New York City that morning and then
a newsflash came across that a second jet had just hit the other tower. There
was shock and silence.
I knew at that moment that our country was under attack.
I pulled in to the gas station in Sherman to fill up and I
went inside. I told the clerk behind the counter that they might want to turn
on the news and told them about the World Trade Center had just been hit by two
jets and that I think our country may be under attack. Later that afternoon,
this same gas station would jack up the cost of gas with nearly 50 cars trying
to get gasoline in a panic.
I arrived at the college and went downstairs into my
classroom where I had about 50 students. Everything was abuzz with the news and
I had a television set that I turned on to the news as we all just watched live
what was going on. I “officially” cancelled class and we just watched the
television. A few minutes in, news hit that another plane had just hit the Pentagon.
There was disbelief, shock, sadness, and anger. We all watched for probably
about an hour and then people began to come and go. I remember heading over to
my office across from the classroom and trying to gather all the news that I
could. We heard that all flights across the nation were being grounded. We
heard rumors that the Sears Tower in Chicago (now called The Willis Tower) was
a target, but that didn’t come to fruition. Thank God. All sorts of chaos and
this feeling in your gut hit you that you were witnessing a moment in time that
was going to forever change the world.
As a side note, I remember that day before the attack, I was
planning on eating lunch in my office as one of my favorite musical artists,
Sting, was going to broadcast over the Internet a live concert from his home in
Italy. The concert was cancelled for the online broadcast, though Sting did decided
to go ahead and do the concert. He would later release it as a live CD album
and DVD. I digress, but this was part of my memory from that day.
I was also scheduled to teach an art class that afternoon
where I had only three art students. Hunter, Stan, and Richard. I remember
talking to them during the lunch hour and they were mentioning they weren’t
coming to class as they planned to go get gas for their cars. I guess news of a
possible gasoline shortage was starting to float around as a rumor. None of us
felt like making art that day. I also broke a rule as an instructor and I didn’t
notify the Dean of Academics office that I was cancelling a class. I just was
numb and emotionally distraught with what was happening.I decided to head home early that afternoon.
Heading home to Sherman, Illinois, I passed the gas station
that I had visited earlier in the morning and was amazed at the line of cars
that I saw. Not since the 1970’s oil crisis had I seen a scene of that many cars
all honking and lined up to get gas. I went ahead and made my way home.
I’m ashamed to admit this, but I don’t have recollections of
interacting with my ex-wife or children that evening when I got home. My kids
would have been ages five and one. I just know that I was emotionally so very
numb. I remember the television was covering the news and there was footage
being shown that evening that I don’t think I’ve seen since. It was tragic.
Watching the World Trade Center collapse. Watching footage of the jets hitting
the towers. Watching footage of people falling out of skyscraper buildings to their
deaths. All I remember was that I was sitting on the couch as evening fell and
it got dark outside. I was glued to the television set just watching the horror.
At some point, the Dean of Academics at Springfield College
called me that late afternoon. I kind of got a little bit of a chew out that I
had cancelled my class and hadn’t reported this to his Administrative
Assistant. I apologized and let him know that the students and I decided to
cancel class due to the events of the day. He asked if I was okay and I think
he heard it in my voice that I was numb. He kind of let it go and never it
mentioned it again. I don’t know how anyone else could have carried on that day
acting like it was business as usual.
I just remember sitting in the dark watching television
until I had enough and decided to go to bed. I do remember checking on my kids
in their beds as they slept and thinking that the world had just become an
uglier place for them and nothing was ever going to be the same again.
It is 20 years later as I write this. I’m still numb
thinking about that day and what it has done to the world and our country. I
think it will remain one of the saddest days of our lives. Our country seemed
to rally in the days after that and there was an American fervor like I had
never seen with patriotism and oneness. Two decades later, our country is torn
in two where I wonder if we will ever be united again.