ISSUE 205: THINGS TO COME
A phoenix from the ashes.
That’s how I’m gonna look at it.
I was under the weather this past week. Had a nasty headache and cough that I just had a hard time shaking. As is often the case when I’m sick for an extended period of time, my thoughts turn dark. I dwell on mistakes I’ve made. I let guilt and anger and sadness consume me. I can’t help but think about my own mortality, what (if anything) waits beyond the veil of this world and what memories (if any) I’ll leave behind.
What can I say?
I think about death when I get the sniffles.
This time, though, with this little bout of sickness hitting me in the last few days of 2023, it strikes me as somehow more meaningful. Maybe my dizzy fugue-state wasn’t just induced by a Benadryl and Nyquil and Delsym cocktail.
Maybe I died.
But not for long.
Maybe it was death.
Because, what better way to tackle a year of new challenges and new opportunities than by being spat, mewling and bloody, into the world anew?
What comes next, what pours from my zombified fingertips onto my rot-crusted keyboard, is something completely new. 2024 isn’t just another year, not for me, because I’ll be damned if I’m going to let another year shamble past without shaking things up a bit. Things are gonna change no matter what I do, so I might as well take a big, bloody bite, chew the gristle, and enjoy the mutation.
Welcome to Nightmare Fuel.
Nothing will be the same.
What secrets will be revealed in 2024?
As you know (if you’ve been following this ever-changing newsletter for any amount of time) I’m going to be embarking on several new endeavors to help spread the word about my work and my brand. Now, that doesn’t mean I’m going to be flooding you with advertisements. Quite the contrary. Instead, I’ve got a ton of new horror content coming your way with a focus on fun. I’ll be dedicating a day every week to the creation of some exciting new material with all of you dirty little freaks in mind.
New videos. New updates. New Terrible Thoughts. New Bunngalows.
And some new content you’re probably not expecting going forward.
In terms of writing, though… what dark fate does the next year hold for us?
Let’s start with the stuff that hasn’t been announced just yet.
There are a couple of work-for-hire horror one-shots. A pair of licensed horror limited series I’m very excited about. A new creator-owned limited series. A couple of couple of creator-owned “novella-length” one-shots. And another new creator-owned series that just got approved though I’m not exactly sure what the length will be on the book. There might be a couple of more out there that I’m not remembering at the moment, and there are definitely a couple I’m working on now that won’t be out until some time in 2025.
As for announced projects, we’ve got GATCHAMAN, and—wow—you are not gonna believe the art in this book! Nor are you going to believe the amazing stories the other creative teams are cooking up in the spin-off series. GODZILLA VS. MIGHTY MORPHIN POWER RANGERS II is well underway. Let me stress this: you are not going to believe what happens in this series. I think it is setting up big, big things to come! GHOSTLORE, THE MIDNITE SHOW, A LEGACY OF VIOLENCE, BLOODBORNE: THE BLEAK DOMINION, and INVASIVE will be wrapping up. MONSTERS ARE MY BUSINESS will be kicking off!
I’ll be doing a bunch of projects leading into 2025, too, most notably scripting the new series in THE SIXTH GUN universe. The deluxe omnibus editions and the preview comics will be shipping soon. Those stories will give you some important clues in regards to what lies ahead! I am so excited to be writing these stories again!
2024 will also be the year of BEYOND MORTAL. Around mid-year, the OGN edition of the first BEYOND MORTAL story will be released from Dark Horse. My plans… my hopes… my dreams for that book is that it will launch an entire horror/hero universe. The second series in the world of BEYOND MORTAL is currently being drawn, and a third is just around the corner. As a build-up to what’s to come, we’re going to be releasing a number of free online comics featuring some of the heroes (and villains) of this new super-horror-hero world. Keep your eyes peeled for that!
But in the meantime… wait’ll you meet JUMPSCARE (depicted here by Danny Luckert).
I’ve been secretly working on a number of indie horror and dark fantasy comics over the last few months. What am I going to do with them? Honestly, I’m not sure. I had originally considered taking them down the crowdfunding path, but I’m not sure that’s what is right for me this year. Maybe. I still need to get a few items in order. The difficulty with crowdfunding is that I’m outproducing it. I have several projects planned that will be crowdfunded through various publishers, and I just don’t want to double up. Still figuring out what works best on that front.
Here are some hints, though, to keep you warm on the dark nights ahead…
Here’s an action-packed, zombie-stomping page from DEATH DUEL WITH THE CHAINSAW WITCHES. This book will be part of CULLEN BUNN’S TERROR TRIPLE-THREAT, a tribute to the Empire/Full Moon horror flicks. Art here is by Diogo Carvalho.
Meet Merrizel, one of many evil fiends who lurk in the dark fantasy realm of THE FARAWAY. Art by Vitalii Kalchenko.
This is not a cover or a panel, but a teaser from Mark Torres. Mark and I have created COLD SPOTS and PHANTOM ON THE SCAN together. We’re cooking up something new next year, and this hints at it.
Thus far, we’ve been talking about comics, but what about prose? I have a few books on the horizon. Through the Outer Shadows imprint, I’ll be releasing a series of books collecting pretty much every short story I’ve ever written. I’ll also be releasing a dark fantasy novella series that I’m really excited about. The covers for those should be ready relatively soon, and I can’t wait to see them myself and to show them off!
In addition, I’m writing a new horror novel. Contracts were signed on it so recently that the ink is still bloody. As soon as it is announced, I’ll let you know a few more details. It’s an interesting one, because almost anything I say about it is a spoiler. Finishing the book will consume a huge part of my year.
I’m also working on a feature film. I cannot tell you much about it at the moment, but it is an original horror story. I’ve written a first draft of the screenplay. I had planned to have the first round of revisions done before the end of the year, but being sick kind of murdered that plan. I’ll have it done pretty soon, though, and then we’ll move onto some other exciting steps. So, stay tuned on that!
There you have it! 2024 is sorted in terms of work, it seems. There’s more… much more… but I’ve got to keep a few surprises held back to share later.
Welcome to my new subscribers!
If you signed up through Substack, you might notice that this ISN’T a Substack newsletter. I have moved from that platform.
I’ll admit, this is the second time I’ve written this newsletter, because the new platform I’m using is a little different and doesn’t auto-save the way someone as haphazard as myself needs. I’ll get it figured out, though. One more item on the To-Do list of 2024!
I hope that all of you have an incredible start to your New Year. I want 2024 to be exciting and prosperous and full of joy! New adventures await!
Don’t let them pass you by.
I’ll see you next year!
THE MIDNITE SHOW #4
The most awful monsters in the history of cinema have been unleashed on a small, unassuming town. Only Van Helsing and a group of terrified movie fans stand in their way. Before the night is out, though, one horror screen legend will ascend to the dreaded role of God of Monsters!
The end of the series! I truly hope we can return to this world! There are so many more stories to tell!
The family harboring Harmony may be in danger and she's determined to do anything she can to save them. However, when she receives another ghost story, it's unclear whether she's been successful...
Another building block of an epic tale of horror. I'm actually writing the last two issues right now, and it's gonna be a wild ride to the end!
Me, Simon Clark, Weston Ochse, and Kelly Laymon. World Horror Convention, 2008. Kelly, Simon, and I were judges for the Gross-Out Contest. Weston was one of the bouncers. I had, at this point, entered and won the Gross-Out Contest three times, meaning I wasn’t allowed to compete. Jeff Strand and I had a surprise for the attendees, though, as we had created a tag-team exhibition entry for the event. I’m pretty sure we would have won that one if it wasn’t just for fun. The contents of that story are lost for all time, I believe. It’s the one gross-out tale I have no copy of. It felt far too impromptu to be saved.
I kind of loathe end-of-the-year “best of” lists. I find them to be absurd lists cobbled together from items someone told the writer they SHOULD include. I will, however, share some of my FAVORITE movies and books from 2023. (Still a slippery slope. Remind me to tell you what happened one time when Playboy had me write an article about some of my favorite comic shops, then published it as the best comic shops.) Keep in mind, I’m only including material released in 2023. Since my TBR pile contains books from the last several years, I’m a little behind. I’ll try to do better and be more current in the new year, but there are so many cool things I missed!
1 - Godzilla Minus One
2 - When Evil Lurks
3 - No One Will Save You
4 - Infinity Pool
5 - Evil Dead Rise
6 - Cobweb
7 - Knock at the Cabin
8 - Malum
9 - M3gan
10 - Shin Kamen Rider
Honorable Mentions - Barbie, Huesea the Bone Woman, Suitable Flesh, Scream VI, Wrath of Becky, Talk to Me
1 - How to Sell a Haunted House by Grady Hendrix
2 - Don’t Fear the Reaper by Stephen Graham Jones
3 - The Salt Grows Heavy by Cassandra Khaw
4 - 101 Books to Read Before You Are Murdered by Sadie Hartman
5 - Spin a Black Yarn by Josh Malerman
All events are subject to change at a moment’s notice, but here is where I’ll be appearing in the next several months!
February 3, 2024 - ARTCON, Neosho, Missouri
March 8 - 10, 2024 - PLANET COMICON, Kansas City, Missouri
May 31 - June 2, 2024 - TREMENDICON, Springfield, Missouri
All Year Long - KICKING ASS AND TAKING NAMES, Worldwide