Jay Busbee is a novelist and journalist living in Atlanta. Click the links below and at right for more information on his novels, articles, and comics.

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Sundown: Arizona

Arizona territory, 1880. Someone’s killing preachers, and New York City reporter Will Dalton heads west to cover the story. Will and his brother Clay, a small-town sheriff, dig for the truth behind the murders, but soon find themselves on the front lines of a horrific war for the very soul of America. Sundown is a terrifying three-issue tale of the Old West…where sometimes, dying just means you’re switching sides.

SUNDOWN: ARIZONA #1, published by Arcana Studio, is listed in the May 2005 Previews (Order code MAY052493) for shipping in July. The Arcana mini-site for Sundown is located at www.arcanastudio.com/sundown.

This summer...Hell comes riding.

In Issue #1:

Murdered preachers—it’s the kind of story journalists’ careers are made on, and New York reporter Will Dalton wants to claim the terrifying tale for his own. In the premiere issue of Sundown, Will and his brother Clay, a small-town Arizona sheriff, begin digging for the truth behind these ghastly murders. But Will soon learns that in Arizona, life is more fragile than stained glass…and Clay discovers that there are things worse than dying.


Check out a few (nonsequential) prepublication pages from Issue #1:





Sundown #2


In Issue #2 (cover above):

Sundown: Arizona continues as sheriff Clay Dalton and his brother Will must confront the horror growing beneath the town of Sobrante, Arizona. Clay, Will, and the men of Sobrante descend into the silver mines below the town to root out the evil that threatens their home and find that a horror from the Old World now has its eyes on the West!

Sundown #3

In Issue #3 (cover above):

In Sundown: Arizona's final issue, the men of Sobrante, Arizona face a terrible choice as their battle with the vampire horde reaches its epic conclusion! Defeat will cost them their lives but will victory cost them their souls? And young reporter Will Dalton finally uncovers the truth behind the Arizona preacher killings -- but he may not live long enough to tell the world!



-So what's SUNDOWN: ARIZONA all about?
S:A 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 Arcana's own Stefani Rennee, nominated for a 2005 Harvey Award for his work on the Arcana series Ant.

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?

For those of you not familiar with the comics industry--which is pretty much all of you--it's comparable to any other entertainment medium in that you've got to do a little digging for anything beyond the big blockbuster properties (Spider-Man, Superman, etc.). I'm publishing SUNDOWN through a smaller publisher named Arcana Studio. But even though y'all know and love me, most comic shops don't, and will stock only one or two copies--if that many--of the book.

So if you want to get your hands on a copy, you need to pre-order it this month. Here's how you do it:

--If you don't know where your nearest comic shop is, go to http://csls.diamondcomics.com/default.asp and enter your zip code. That'll give you a list of the closest ones.

--Call 'em up and tell the gentleman--yes, it's almost always a gentleman--who answers the phone that you want to order a copy of SUNDOWN #1 (or, better yet, the entire three-issue series) by Arcana Studio. Give them the "Previews Order Code," which is the code they use to order: MAY052493.

--Most comic shop owners AREN'T like the Simpsons guy; those kinds have been mostly driven out of the industry. They shouldn't charge you for the order; they'll likely just take your number and call you when the book's in (or you can check my website)--the first issue is scheduled to hit in July, with 2 and 3 following the next months.

--Go to the store in July, buy the book (three measly bucks an issue), and enjoy.



-Ryan Bodenheim has been replaced on art duties by Jason Ossman for issues 2 and 3 of SUNDOWN: ARIZONA. Check out Jason's work by clicking here, and you'll see that he's a worthy addition to the SUNDOWN crew!

Thanks, as always, for your support!


All contents copyright © 2005 James Busbee. All Rights Reserved.


-Tom Cruise Breaks Out His 'A' Games, ESPN.com, July 2005

-Dream Another Dream (Hoop Dreams DVD review), Chicago Sports Review July 2005

-Rollin' On The River (Feature on the late, lamented Chattahoochee Raft Race in Atlanta), Atlanta, June 2005

-Fuzzy Yellow Bloodlust (column on my tennis temper), Atlanta, June 2005

For earlier works, click here.



Sundown #3

Sundown: Arizona #3
Published by Arcana Studio
Art by Jason Ossman and Stefani Rennee, cover by Ryan Bodenheim

October 2005

Sundown #2

Sundown: Arizona #2
Published by Arcana Studio
Art by Jason Ossman and Stefani Rennee, cover by Ryan Bodenheim

September 2005

Sundown: Arizona #1
Published by Arcana Studio
Art by Ryan Bodenheim and Stefani Rennee

July 2005

Digital Webbing #23
Featuring "Fight Junkies"
Art by Reilly Brown
Published by Digital Webbing

Western Tales of Terror #1
Featuring "The Deserter"
Art by Jared Bivens

Published by Hoarse & Buggy

The Face of the River:
the debut novel
Click here for more info