Rhode Island ComicCon!

It was an off-weekend for me writing-wise, as I was in Providence to help my wife (Veronica of Storied Threads) work her booth at Rhode Island ComicCon.

It was a great weekend for her, and I had lots of fun communing with fellow geeks and, as always, grooving to some of the awesome costumes, starting with this kick-ass group doing “post-apocalyptic Wizard of Oz,” my favorite outfits of the show.

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Here are some of the other cosplay highlights for me…

To feel like the hu-man1 to cosplay like the hu-man!
To feel like the hu-man1 to cosplay like the hu-man!
So. Manos.
So. Manos.
The Birds of Prey! Oracle made this group cosplay.
The Birds of Prey! Oracle made this group cosplay.
I wanted to steal Tom, but she was a friend of a friend, so it would have been rude.
I wanted to steal Tom, but she was a friend of a friend, so it would have been rude.
Big points for the Prince Peach concept and execution.
Big points for the Prince Peach concept and execution.
Perfect. Absolutely perfect. I have no other response to this.
Perfect. Absolutely perfect. I have no other response to this.

Creator Interview: Dean Calusdian

StockingDeadCoverHey, everyone, it’s time for another author interview, but this time around I present to you Dean Calusdian, who recently released his first graphic novel, The Stocking Dead.

Dean, tell everyone a little about yourself.

I’m a freelance artist, playwright, a stage director and filmmaker. I like to try a little bit of everything. My artwork has been on such divergent things from record album covers to olive oil bottles.

The Stocking Dead. What’s it about?

It’s “Night of The Living Dead” meets “Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer.” On Christmas Eve a zombie plague spreads throughout Christmasville turning the residents into flesh eating fiends, and small band of elves fight to survive.

What was the inspiration for this project?

After years of doing haunted houses, and being known for creepy art, I had tried something new by creating a large walk-through Christmas display. After two years, and the occasional observation that my Christmas display was still more creepy than cute, I decided to try something new. So purely for the fun of it, I started The Stocking Dead. I had no real intention of ever publishing it, it was more of an exercise to just spend several hours drawing every day.

I know you’ve been working on The Stocking Dead for quite a while now. How long did it take you to complete it?

Over three years. At least a year to write and pencil it, another year for inking and a year to color.

Did you do all the art by hand or did you have some digital help?

The pencils and inks were done traditionally on 11x 17 bristol paper, then those were scanned and the coloring was all done in Photoshop.

You’ve employed a rather tongue-in-cheek marketing campaign that’s so far included fake billboards and Stocking Dead pogs. What’s the thinking behind that?

I don’t know if my funky marketing campaign will actually yield sales, but it’s a lot more entertaining for me, than to keep posting “Buy my book! PLEASE!” I’m actually having a great deal of fun creating a campaign that is its own ridiculous (and mostly fictitious) adventure.

I have a really hard time with self-promotion, so inventing “Stocking Dead Central” and their terrible marketing and public relations divisions was much easier for me.

For the print edition, why did you choose to have a large quantity of hard copies printed rather than use a print-on-demand approach?

Unlike a novel that’s completely prose, the on-demand printing costs of a 116 page fully illustrated color graphic novel are super high. It was about an average of $16 a copy, and that’s before any type of mark up. Although I’ll be living with boxes upon boxes of graphic novels, ordering a huge amount of offset print editions was the only way to make it affordable for the consumer. We currently have a cover price of $11.99.

How can people get their hands on a print edition?

Currently you can order it from Amazon, or direct from us at StockingDead.com. The Kindle version is also currently available (right here: The Stocking Dead). The coolest of comic stores will be carrying it. We’ll also be selling it, along with some of my other artwork at SuperMegaFest in Framingham MA, and RI Comic-Con.

Is this a one-time project, or do you have another graphic novel in your future?

Right now this is a one shot deal, if it’s successful maybe in another three years we’ll do our follow up book…World War X-Mas.

ConnectiCon – Day One

Something a little different this weekend…

My wife, Veronica, is vending this weekend at ConnectiCon, and I’m there helping her out at the Storied Threads booth. I’ve grown to enjoy working the cons, in part because I love cosplay watching. Today, day one of three, was not the best of days cosplay-wise, but there were some good ones.

On, and I also bumped into Diedrich Bader at the Starbucks in the convention center. Not as odd as running into former WWE Superstar Rikishi in the restroom at Rhode Island ComicCon, but not a lot can top that.

Steampunk Tom Servo!
Steampunk Tom Servo!
Don't know what they're supposed to be, but the outfits were very striking.
Don’t know what they’re supposed to be, but the outfits were very striking.
To feel like the hu-man! To cosplay like the hu-man!
To feel like the hu-man! To cosplay like the hu-man!

And Now, For Something Completely Different

This past weekend, Mike the writer took a weekend off to play minion for my wife Veronica, who had a booth at the Rhode Island ComicCon (the third con ever for Storied Threads).

For me, the fun part of working cons is playing “spot the cosplay.” I’ve grown to appreciate how creative and clever some people can be, with their costume choices and in crafting their costumes and props, and I love the costumes that go in wonderfully weird directions — the ones who stand out among the thousands of Adventure Time outfits, Jokers and Harley Quinns, Deadpools, and (yes, I’ll say it) Doctors.

To wit, perhaps my favorite outfit of the show, for the obscurity of it: Captain Chaos, Dom DeLuise‘s alter-ego from The Cannonball Run.

Dah dah DAAAAAAHHHH!
Dah dah DAAAAAAHHHH!

This fellow made the best of a bad leg and went as Professor X from the X-Men, but he went the extra mile and wore a Cerebro rig.

Funny thing is, I don't remember posing for this picture.
Funny thing is, I don’t remember posing for this picture.

This girl wasn’t any specific character, but I loved the steampunk weapons rig. It was extremely well-done.

RICC 2013 025

An odd but cool crossover: Soundwave (with Laserbeak) and Mr. Freeze.

RICC 2013 030

Another fun, unusual choice: Dum-Dum Dugan of the Howling Commandos, with, for some reason, the Infinity Gauntlet.

RICC 2013 037

This girl has a pretty cool (ha, see what I did there?) Jack Frost (from Rise of the Guardians) outfit in general, but I was wowed by the staff, which had a PVC pipe frame, and was then covered in crinkled masking tape for the texture, given a brown base coat, a white and blue frost layer, and then, to finish, more white and blue mixed with glitter.

RICC 2013 048

Meanwhile…

I’m still in my holding pattern for the Kindle version of Action Figures, thanks to some errors in the formatted file (errors I did not make, that I cannot correct on my end). Next week, hopefully, I can stop talking about how nothing is happening.

And by “nothing” I mean, “lots of stuff that isn’t necessarily connected to my novel.”

Earlier this week, my friends/writing buddies J.M Aucoin and Rob Borkowski (whose new short story is available here) and I formed a new Facebook group, The New England Self-Published Writers Group. The express (and somewhat selfish) purpose is to promote ourselves, but our long-range goal is to expand the page to include other independent authors from the New England area for purposes of networking, sharing resources, and promoting projects to readers looking for something new and different.

We’re being rather picky about who joins the group, which may seem cliquish, but, as I’ve remarked in this blog before, there are a lot of people out there who self-published a novel that never should have seen the light of day — at least without first going through some extensive and rigorous editing. One of our goals is to enhance the collective image of self-published authors, and to do that, we need to exercise and enforce standards. We need to treat ourselves and others as professionals who take the craft seriously.

Most of my week has been spent in the Storied Threads studio with my wife, helping her crank out stock in advance of Rhode Island ComicCon, where she hopes to do gangbusters business. Even our dog Beatrix has been pitching in. Sort of. She means well.

"No, really, I'm helping!"
“No, really, I’m helping!”