This September BOOM! Studios is putting out a benefit book to raise money for Josh Medors, who has been fighting cancer for several months. A great line-up of creators have donated their talent, including Steve Niles, Josh Fialkov, Kody Chamberlain, B. Clay Moore & Seth Peck, Chris Samnee and Tony Fleecs. Bringing it all together is designer Ed Dukeshire and editor Dan Taylor.
I emailed Dan a few questions about the book, its line-up and how Josh is doing.
JK: How did you get involved with the Josh Medors tribute book? Do you know
Dan: I was actually contacted by Matt Gagnon — now Managing Editor Matt Gagnon — from BOOM! It’s my understanding that I was recommended to them by way of Elk’s Run writer Josh Fialkov (who would be a nobody in this town if I hadn’t taken him under my wing back when he was just fresh off the bus and all wide-eyed with wonder). Matt was looking for someone who knew Josh and had experience in editing comic books. Having spent about three years as an editor at IDW Publishing, I knew a little something about pulling a book together. When Matt asked if I would shepherd the project, it didn’t take long for me to get back to him with a resounding “yes” because not only was it a worthy cause, it was a worthy cause for someone I knew personally.
I first met Josh on message boards, probably Steve Niles’ Inner Sanctum. Maybe the Digital Webbing boards as well. This was awhile back, six or seven years maybe. Josh and I were like a lot of other comic book fans that hung out on message boards that also wanted to create comics, be it with art, like Josh, or writing, like myself. Once we both made our breaks into the industry, we would see each other at shows such as Wizard World Chicago or San Diego Comic-Con. It’s not hard for an “acquaintanceship” that originated on an internet message board to become a comradeship or friendship when you share the same goals. There’s sort of a brotherhood/sisterhood (you know who you are) mentality with creators such as Josh, myself, Fialkov, Tony Fleecs, Kody Chamberlain and many other creators who all started out about the same time and busted their humps to break in. Even though down the line we might be competing for the same gigs, were still all in it together.
JK: You’ve got a pretty great crew of writers and artists working on the book. How did you go about recruiting them?
The comradeship that I just mentioned played a big part. I contacted a lot of talent actually — people that know Josh personally, people that had donated items to the fantastic auction at the Emerald City Comic Con that Jay Fotos put together, and people that I had worked with during my time as editor at IDW. Some folks had to regrettably decline being naturally busy with packed schedules. But it didn’t take long for me to line up a full roster of talent. In fact, I wish I had had more pages to play with since I had to unfortunately decline offers from some great talent that wanted to jump on board and help out. I even had to knock out my own planned contribution to make room. But it was well worth it for the talent that we did get.
JK: Can you give us a rundown on each of the stories?
Dan: Quick rundown…
“Bluejacket” by B. Clay Moore, Seth Peck and Chris Samnee. Former 30s crime-fighter, now corporate mogul, Bluejacket, and his supporting crew of Men of Adventure, tangle with an Aztec were-jaguar and meet the Bluejacket board of directors.
“Newt Lawman and the Secrets of the Valley” by Josh Fialkov and Andy B. Newt Lawman is the rootin’ tootinest cowboy in all of the Southwest, and he’s found himself, and his Indian pal Running Bear in a heap of trouble. They must square off against the protectors of the Golden Ox, or else the evil Hayes Rutherford will kill Newt’s lady love Maggie Mae!
“The Crescent Flame!” by Kody Chamberlain. A down on his luck, would-be photo journalist may very well have snapped the photo to make his career. That is, until the subject of the photo, the mysterious Crescent Flame, shows up with a new proposition.
“Crash Winters: Palooka P.I.” by Tony Fleecs. One time champion brawler, Marion (Crash) Winters has set up shop as Los Angeles’ punchiest Gum Shoe. When his movie star client takes a dive off the roof of her hotel, will Crash be able to wrap her case up? Or will he once again find himself down for the count?
“Limbo’s Assassin” by Steve Niles. A prose story by art by Sarah Wilkinson. A hired killer comes face to face with his victims and finds that he wasn’t as evil as he thought he was.
When Matt and I first started this project, we were kicking about what kind of “Tales” book it should be — along the lines of the BOOM! Studios’ Zombie Tales and Cthulu Tales. I suggested Pulp Tales, and Matt told me he was on the same train of thought. Each story reads as if it were a chapter or episode from an ongoing series in the true tradition of pulp-style comics and fiction. Now, we already know that we’re going to see more Bluejacket down the line, but I’m convinced that Newt Lawman, the Crescent Flame, and Crash Winters are all characters worthy of their own series, and I hope that Pulp Tales serves as the springboard. And Steve Niles’ short prose story serves as a solid and satisfactory read.
JK: When will the book be out?
Dan: BOOM! is planning on having a limited run available at this year’s San Diego Comic-Con, and then the book will be released through the direct market in September. Pulp Tales is a “Spotlight” feature in the current Previews catalog, so everybody should remind their local comic book retailer to order a handful. Diamond order code JUL08 3758 for the Prestige Cover by Josh Medors himself, and JUL08 3759 for the awesome cover by Ben Templesmith.
JK: Do you have any kind of update on Josh’s condition?
Dan: Josh finished up his radiation treatment a few weeks ago and is currently undergoing chemo treatments. He just finished with his first round of chemo, which consist of the pill form of treatment. The way Josh explained it to me is that he takes one pill a day for five days and then takes three weeks off. His first day of chemo sounded like a nightmare. I’ll save the readers the details, but it ain’t fun. The treatment takes its toll on Josh and really wipes him out. I get the feeling that he’s frustrated by the lack of work that he’s currently unable to get done. As of right now, he’s hoping that he’ll still make it out to San Diego Comic-Con this year — and I’m looking forward to seeing him there.