SUNDOWN IS COMING
This July sees the release of SUNDOWN, my western/horror comic series. It’s published by Arcana Studio, who’s put up a mini-site right here. There, you can see the first two covers. Also, please visit the SUNDOWN Forum by clicking here –stop by and say howdy.

I’ve clipped the following FAQ from the forum and enhanced it a bit with questions for you non-comics types. Enjoy, and get ready…

-So what’s SUNDOWN all about?
SUNDOWN is a three-issue comic series; the first issue hits this July. It’s the story of two brothers in 1880s Arizona who find themselves on the front lines of a war for the soul of a small town…and with it, America itself.

Will Dalton, a reporter for the New York Times, heads west to investigate a string of preacher killings. He’s assuming that this will be the story that makes his career. He’s also assuming he can descend into the depths of the West…and return unscathed.

Clay Dalton, Will’s older brother, is sheriff of the small Arizona mining town of Sobrante. Sobrante is a husk of a town; its once-promising silver mine has played out, and it stands dead center of the territory where preachers have died in horrific ways. When Clay and Will begin investigating the murders, they find themselves fighting enemies beyond belief.

But, then…just because don’t believe in something doesn’t mean it’s not coming for you.

-Wait, so it’s a comic book? So it’s, like, kiddie material?
No, no, and no…for those of you who don’t currently read comics, assuming they’re all brightly-colored superhero books for kids is like assuming all movies are badly overinflated Saturday Night Live skits. (It only seems that way.) There is, quite literally, a comic that could appeal to every single person who’s ever read a book or seen a movie in their life; most of the best comics don’t have a guy in a cape anywhere near ’em. The problem is that for so many years, a combination of factors–not the least of which is hardline comic book fans who are exact duplicates of the Simpsons’ Comic Book Guy–has tainted comics’ image. But now, with movies like Sin City hitting big, comics are (hopefully) turning something of a corner in public perception. Do your part to bring comics back to the mainstream–buy my freakin’ book!

-Easy there, hondo. I ain’t on board yet. So who are bad guys here?
That’d be telling, but you can get an idea just by looking at the title. And even if you do figure that out, well–let’s just say that sometimes the bad guys don’t always play by the rules they should.

-Who’s behind SUNDOWN?
The artist and co-creator of SUNDOWN is Ryan Bodenheim, winner of the 2001 Wizard “Draw Wolverine” contest. Ryan has also drawn a couple issues of Black Panther, and has an astonishingly emotive, detailed style that’s going to nab him some more big-time gigs very, very soon. His portfolio’s online at http://www.geocities.com/rbode777.

Colorist on SUNDOWN is the estimable Ray Dillon of Golden Goat Studios. Ray’s worked with many of the best in the business, and his work graces books such as Noble Causes, Phantom Jack, Dodge’s Bullets, and Nightmare World. See more of the multitalented Ray’s work at http://rayd.goldengoatstudios.com.

And then there’s me. You know everything you need to know about me from reading this site, buddy. Anything else, I start charging.

-How’d the series come about?
Way back in the dark days of 2004, I pitched an idea for a short story to a new anthology series called Western Tales of Terror. WToT editor Josh Fialkov dug it, and it saw print as “The Deserter” in the series’ first issue. Josh asked if I had anything else in mind; I set to thinking about it, and came up with the idea that eventually blossomed into SUNDOWN. So, sorry, Josh–I kept this one for myself.

But I needed an artist. After trolling the usual artists’ hangouts online, I came across Ryan Bodenheim’s name. I dropped him a line, pitched him the basic idea of the book, and in a fit of insanity he came on board. A few months later, we hooked up with Sean at Arcana, and later Ray at Golden Goat, and the rest…well, the rest you’ll see for yourself in Issue #1.

-Okay, so it’s a comic book. When do they meet Spider-Man?
In Issue #4.

-Why the West?
Why not? Is there any era of American history cooler than the Old West? You don’t see little kids playing hippies and pigs, do ya?

Seriously, it’s a happy confluence that SUNDOWN is hitting just as interest in the West is hitting one of its periodic high-water marks. I think you can tell a lot about a time by whether they revere the westerns of John Wayne or Clint Eastwood. The ’80s were the time of the Duke; we are now most definitely in the world of The Man With No Name.

But there’s a deeper reason why SUNDOWN takes place in Old Arizona, and specifically 1880. The 1880s were the tail end of the era we think of as “The West.” The day of the cowboy was ending. The U.S. government had just about run all the Indians west of the Mississippi onto reservations or into the ground. An era was ending, and whatever came next would belong to the men with the foresight-and the guts-to grab it by the throat.

(It was also right around the time that a certain well-known book about a certain Eastern European monarch was first published…but that couldn’t have anything to do with this, could it?)

-I’m sold! How do I get me a copy?
Well, that’s where the comics/movie analogy breaks down. Whereas with a movie, you could just show up and see it at your local googolplex, with a comic–particularly a small-press comic like this one–you’ve got to order it in advance. Watch this space; in the next couple weeks I’ll post exact instructions on how to wrangle yourself a copy.

Thanks, as always, for your support. More info to come very soon!

Jay

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