RICH INTERVIEWS: Dave Noe Co-Writer “All-New Popular Comics”

First Comics News: How did you and Jim Ludwig get together on the project “All-New Popular Comics”?

Dave Noe: Back in 2016, I had an itch to collaborate on a writing project. I created a place called Honeycomb, USA. It was a simple place in 1950 middle America, kind of like Mayberry or Riverdale, stuck in time (not literally), and on the cusp of realizing that the world was changing after WW2. I inhabited my town with a rich history and dozens of interesting characters. The main gist centered around the young and beautiful Beatrice Sweet. She had left Honeycomb to make it big in New York City. She became a model and a newspaper columnist and developed the beginnings of a relationship with her boss and editor Pip Terrillager. She became unhappy with the big city life and suddenly moved back to Honeycomb to rediscover herself. Her boss moved there to try to talk her into coming back to him and the city life. What he discovers is the character and life of small town living.

After I did some developing, I contacted a few writer friends of mine to see if they were interested in playing in my sandbox. Many of them joined in to write their own short stories which became the book, Welcome to Honeycomb, USA. It was published by Amazing Things Press and is available on Amazon even now. It has a beautiful painted cover by Chad LaBombarde.

One of the writers involved is Jim Ludwig. Early in the Honeycomb process I was surfing his Dell Comics Heroes facebook page, when I saw that he had a dilemma. Some of the folks had been talking about starting a magazine or a comic or a fanzine, something to do with Dell.

They had seen what was done with Charlton Arrow, and it stirred their interest. Jim said he would be glad to start up something, but he really needed some help. Many people immediately volunteered to help in some capacity. I remember Kevin Halter volunteered coloring, and indeed, he is a primary colorist for PopCom (All-New Popular Comics), as well as an integral part of the operation. Other folks, Steve Rino, Duke Harrington, Debbie Perry, Daniel Gorman, etc (I have to be careful listing names, because I’m bound to forget someone), were immediately on board. I, too, volunteered to help him do this thing, but I had an idea. I spoke with my publisher at Amazing Things Press to see if she would be interested in taking on a new challenge, a graphic novel. The details hadn’t been worked out yet, and I didn’t even know if Jim would be interested, but I wanted to have some info before I talked to him about it. Julie Casey, founder and head of ATP said that she was up for it, and even excited to try something new.

I messaged Jim with the info that I could get us a publisher if he really wanted to do this, and he agreed. That was on August 14th, 2016. That’s when InDELLible began… only we didn’t yet know the name of it. Over the course of the next week or two, through our own decisions and through polls on the Dell page, it was decided that the book we published would be POD (Print On Demand), available in physical and digital formats through Amazon. We would also consider ComiXology. Our company would be InDELLible Comics. Our first book would be titled, All-New Popular Comics, based on the golden age comic by Dell, Popular Comics. It would be an over sized book (8X10), have 64 pages and be in color with card-stock covers. We had no cash flow to offer a page rate, so we offered creators the ability to buy the book at our price and sell it at signings or cons for retail price. Jim would be the Editor-In-Chief, and I would help with the writing and scripts. Neither one of us really had any idea what we were getting ourselves into.

Rather quickly, over the course of the next couple of weeks, things began to take shape.

Daniel Gorman redesigned the Popular Comics Logo for our new book and designed the InDELLible Comics stamp. I approached Debbie Perry with the idea of having a mascot. She took my few ideas and improved every one of them. She came up with the perfect visuals that we use today. That turned into the character that I later named Indy the Indellibird.

I had been working with Daerick Gross Sr. on several book projects. He was doing the incredible flip covers for my western novel, The Alabaster Kid, Beneath the Veil, that you could flip over to get a new cover for a pulp detective satire called, Slipknot and the Golden Claw. He took on the much needed role of our Visual Editor for InDELLible Comics. Thus the editorial trio was complete!

We decided to keep the tone of our stories PG or less. Dell would never have published something rated R, and that was not a direction we wanted to take either. Times had changed since the silver age, and we felt we could allow a more revised standard, but we wanted to focus on story and not on being edgy. Plenty of other indy comics were doing that, and that was fine for them. We wanted to attract both new comics readers and more seasoned fans who remembered the bronze and silver and even golden ages. To that point, we set about building our house.

To our delight, there were many folks eager to help out in many capacities. We soon had many good scripts to assign to some truly outstanding artists and finishers. Both pros and new talent joined in. Jim and Daerick and I did our best to guide and direct them in the directions we were trying to take, while learning lessons almost every day. Some lessons were hard to learn, dealing with folks who wanted to do things differently, losing creators who understandably could not take a job with no page rate. Some of the hardest lessons I learned were ones dealt to me because of my own failings of communication. There were people who didn’t understand how the monetization aspect worked and chose to drop out when they realized it. I have chosen to believe in most cases that was because of a lack of proper communication on my part and not a deliberate misunderstanding on theirs. I strive to do better from every lesson learned. The three of us knew from the beginning that we were not going into something that would make us any money. This was all being done for the love of the medium, for exposure, for telling stories and the like.

POD publishing is still fairly new in the comic book business. Most nontraditional publishing is done with personal or crowd sourcing. There is a set number printed and sold mainly through electronic advertising and the comic book creating businesses online. This is a great way to do things, but not what we decided to do. Having an actual experienced publisher in Julie Casey was very helpful in getting things up and out. It has proven successful so far, and the book was released at #1 on Amazon in its category.

It turns out that the three of us editors work pretty well together. We put up with our individual idiosyncrasies and add to the whole to make a good product. Jim is writing and coloring and lettering as well as overseeing the big picture and providing much of the historical context. Daerick is a consummate professional in the art department. He is guiding new talent in directions that help polish their skills. He speaks the artistic language that Jim and I would and do struggle with. I bring my editorial and writing skills to the project. I have edited and published a small 8 page monthly magazine called TYPO Magazine for over twenty years and have several books published by ATP and others. I’m officially the script editor and copy editor.

Basically, it works like this: a creator has an idea for a story. He contacts Jim with the pitch. They discuss it until it is either rejected or in a form that works for InDELLible. The writer prepares a script and sends it to me. I do some basic editing, make some suggestions and go through a draft or two with the writer. The script is sent to Daerick to find an artist from the list of available talent. Conversely, an artist may be interested in drawing a story. He or she sends sequential samples to Daerick, or provides a link to an art page. A story is then found or written for that artist. There are other ways to get a story in PopCom (All-New Popular Comics), too. We have creators who do the whole thing, art and story. They get it approved and then go to work. Some have come to us with completed or nearly completed stories that can be used if they fit the bill.

Currently, we have enough scripts for several issues and have put a soft moratorium on new scripts until we can get caught up a bit. There are still scripts that could use a good artist, though. We are also bringing back the text story. Even though the text story was traditionally seen as a gimmick to get the second class mailing rate from the post office, we decided to use it for actual entertainment. We have a page (or two) of text with a big splash page illustration, and sometimes some spot illos in the text. This allows artists who are otherwise too busy to contribute an opportunity to do so. Sandy Carruthers did a jaw dropping Kona illustration for the first issue. Given his schedule, there is little chance he could commit to a longer sequential story. There are also many good illustrators whose talent lends itself much better to this form of illustration as opposed to panels. We have some amazing things coming up in future issues.

1st: Dell characters are being revived can you tell us about some of them?

Dave: When I first dove into the available characters in the Dell library of Public Domain and Orphaned characters, there were a few that struck me immediately. The oddness of Dr. Hormone lent itself to something strange. Kevin Halter and I are working on his continuing saga. Phantasmo and the Owl were archetypes I wanted to explore. Then, there was Lobo!

Having just come off of writing a western novel, I was really in that genre mode. The emotional struggle of a man who was trying to leave the Civil War behind him and travel to find his identity in a new country was very appealing to me. Then, I realized the historical nature of the character. He was the very first African-American character to have his own comic book. It only lasted two issues in the mid sixties, but won awards for the creators because of its ground breaking strides. I knew I had to bring him back. I wrote a story that really spoke to me, one that was more than just a shoot-em-up western, one that was more poignant. Daerick found an incredible artist in Robert Schaupp to bring Lobo back to life. Robert did some soft redesigns to the character’s look that really made it pop. Kevin Halter brought his amazing coloring talents to the story. My goodness, it was looking great! Then, Daerick did something that made me look at lettering in a different light, and made me realize just how under-appreciated good letterers are in this field. He wove the captions into the scenes in such a way that it became part of the art. It moved the story forward while remaining unobtrusive and yet fitting in to the visuals perfectly. All-in-all, we got a fantastic story for the first issue. I fell in love with the character to such a degree that I wrote a novella about him that hopefully will be out this year.

We figured that the Owl would be one of our most popular characters, and we have a bunch of stuff planned for him coming up. Sure, he was a Batman clone from his beginnings in 1940, maybe crossed with other shadowy pulp figures of the time. He was even briefly brought back in the sixties during the superhero campy phase. I wanted to focus on the Owl hero more so than his gadgets, his sidekick or his civilian identity of Nick Terry. I touch on all of those things, but mainly I use the Owl for nice shadowy noir stories where I get to introduce new and creative villains for him to face. We have several Owl stories already lined up with artists. Pete Knifton will have a story in #2. Donnie Page is working on an Owl/Owl Girl story. Rich Woodall has one in the works. Steven Butler and I are taking the Owl in a cool direction similar to the slick animated look. Neo-pulp writer, Ron Fortier (Airship 27 Productions) has written an Owl text piece, illustrated by Rob Davis and colored by Charlton Neo’s Mort Todd. All this and much more is planned for our hooting friend.

Early on there was the question of continuity and universe building. While many of our characters occupy a time and place that is intentionally fuzzy for the sake of the story, Jim Ludwig has begun crafting a dedicated continuity primarily inhabited by Dell’s silver age heroes.

Dell attempted to turn some of the Universal Studios monsters into super heroes. We have brought them together into a group called the Weird Warriors. They and Nulka and the Fab 4 and Neutro are all operating in the same time stream. More will be focused and defined as time goes on.

Roger Keel and Tony Lorenz are bringing back Radior set in his WW2 roots. Lloyd Smith and Kevin Halter are similarly writing the Voice. Captain Tornado by Bill Cain and Juan Maestas was in #1 as a direct continuation of his last appearance in 1940. Dan Reed brought back a great fun Tom Corbett in a story in the first ish. Ron Harris did a beautiful job on Rod Rian. Jim Ludwig is having a blast reviving a score of the one page and short story gags and features and funny animals and humor characters from the rich Dell library. We have folks working on individual monster hero stories of Dracula, Fleeta, Werewolf, Frankenstein. David Hayes and Harrison Wood are bringing back Nukla for #2. Lou Mougin and Don Jackson revive the Spaceman character for #2, as well. Brian K. Morris and Kevin Halter bring the Masked Pilot to the next issue, and Don Jackson has a double length Brain Boy story with many guest stars including Mr. Ozymandius, Nukla and Son of Supermind! And this is just the start!

1st: Why do you feel a more older traditional style of comic book will succeed?

Dave: Given our setup, we can’t rely on the current long form story telling used in most mainstream comics. Just the short story aspect alone, lends itself to a more self contained discipline that is sometimes very difficult to pull off. Telling an entire story in around 8 pages can sometimes be a trick to do. Look at the complaints Saturday Night Live used to get about their skits having no ending. That can be a problem. Each story has to be approached as if it were a novel. It must have a beginning, middle and end, and it must make sense and be entertaining to the reader. No small feat, that. Fortunately, short stories and flash fiction are my forte. I’ve been doing it for decades in TYPO Magazine.

Also, we three editors and many of our contributors grew up on comics that are considered ‘traditional’. It’s a good audience to aim towards and it’s what we know best. Our price point of $12 fits that demographic better. I’ve found at signings that preteen kids aren’t into comics like we were at that age. The books aren’t as available or affordable, plus there is a lot more to attract their attention than there ever was when we were kids. Their parents love it, but they can be indifferent to it. That’s a shame, really. I’m hoping that the parents read the books to them or give the books to them and that the kids develop a taste for stories that can be devoured in one setting. Having All-New Popular Comics be available at all times through Amazon doesn’t work as well for continued stories as traditional monthly comics either. The books can be purchased in any order once the library starts building up.

Ultimately, it’s about creating the best stories possible, regardless of a traditional slant or not. Taking words and pictures and creating a product that is greater than the sum of its parts has always been the high point for panelology. No character is too dumb, no art is too poor if it is written well. Sure, those things can detract and lose readers who don’t want to invest in a story that is not attractive at first glance, but those who take the time can find a treasure. That being said, we take our art and characters very seriously and strive to make something that is both substantial to read and pretty to look at, even if it is silliness.

1st: What story or stories are you the writer on in “PopCom”?

Dave: I came into this project as a writer. That’s my primary focus. There are times I find that I have to take off the writer’s visor and put on the editor’s hat. Those times sometimes stink for the writer in me. I have had to change stories because of editorial concerns. Jim and I edit each others’ stories, and he has had to make changes, as well. There are times when I’ve had to bump my own stories to make room for other writers. There are stories I would like to tell that just don’t fit the InDELLible Universe due to content or tone or style or length. That being said, I have a lot of stuff going on.
I have a lot of Phantasmo stories lined up and many Owl stories. I am doing a bunch of text stories and expanding the scope of genres that we cover. I have a few new creations to reveal, as well. My one continuing saga is the upcoming adventures of Dr. Hormone, a weird hero from the golden age who liked to turn people into animals, fleas, birds, donkeys, pigs, etc, and who went around in a suit and tie fighting spies with his ten year old granddaughter.

1st: What genre stories are covered in “PopCom”?

Dave: In the first issue, we really wanted to have a diverse group of stories. I wrote a western (Lobo), a text (Kona), a humorous superhero poem! (Phantasmo et al), a horror (Deadline) and a sci-fi/fantasy (Mind Matters). I am continuing to try new genres and some experimental stuff, but nothing too crazy.

Other genres just in the first issue are pulp adventure, space opera, humor, super hero, funny animals, and others. We have war and romance stories coming up soon too, in addition to speculative and mixed genres. Dell covered a lot of ground in its many decades of publication. The road is really wide open for what we can publish. Many of our stories aren’t even based on a particular Dell character. Some are just genre stories. Horror and war stories are good examples of story types that don’t necessarily contain an established or Public Domain character.
1st: What new characters will be showing up in the InDellible Universe?

Dave: A new focus seems to be emerging for bringing back Public Domain and Orphaned characters. That is certainly part of what we are doing here. We are also trying to focus on tone and tempo and storytelling that is under represented in the contemporary mainstream. To that end, even the new characters may seem like they have been established in another time. I’m not saying they are old fashioned or geared to be simpler or more like a golden age character, just that they are not created to necessarily seem sleek or cutting edge or new and sparkly.

While other creators are introducing new characters like Bill Cain’s Red Simone (in Captain Tornado’s story in #1) or Jim Ludwig’s Spectral Mummy (coming soon!), I’m best qualified to speak to my new creations. In issue #1, I introduced a few new characters. We have a new horror host named Abra Cadaver who will be getting his own story (written by Roger Keel) in an upcoming issue. InDELLible now has its own speedster named Lyt Speed. He will have more stories in the future. There was also a secret one panel cameo by a new character named the Sc-Fighter. I have a lot planned for him, as well. Many of my new heroes and villains will be up for use in other stories by other creators in the InDELLible Universe. Our mascot, Indy the Indellibird is one such character. He pops up all over the place and even has a short story in the first issue by Jim Ludwig and Ken McFarlane.

One character who will be solely written by me is the western hero, the Alabaster Kid. I have a novel of his adventures, and really wanted to bring him to comic books too. We have a few stories already written and assigned to artists. Characters created by Debbie Perry, such as Fluffy and Mervin and their tales will be only used by Debbie, as they were created long before PopCom and are used with her permission, likewise the characters in Adapt from issue #1 are owned only by the creators. It’s up to the individual writers as to whether or not the characters can be used by other writers to populate the greater Indy U.

Lately I’ve been working on a new character to join the Weird Warriors. Jim and I are putting together a special comic to introduce his Spectral Mummy and My AKA the B.L.O.B. to their ranks. I’m also introducing new heroes for the Indelibles, our ultimate super team headed by Phantasmo and including the likes of Lyt Speed, Solaria, Camazotz, Quatic, Mr. Bizarre and others. We are thinking about making a special out of it.

1st: Which character from InDellible are you most like?

Dave: They say everything in a dream is you, every good guy, bad guy, plant, bird, chair, feeling, etc. While that may or may not be true, there is probably at least some truth to it. That’s probably a bit like writing a book. There’s a little of you in every character, even if you don’t like it. I would say there are different aspect of me in the big four Dell PD characters that I am focusing on right now, the mystery of the Owl, the control of Phantasmo, the imbalance of Dr. Hormone and the disillusionment of Lobo. It really depends on who I’m writing at the time. I try to make these characters more than two dimensional. I have a lot of backstory that only I know and portion out in dollops and spoons full as the story demands. I can add a lot of myself to the new characters I am creating, the arrogance of Solaria, the care of Professor Tumified, the drive of Sci-Fighter. Perhaps not every character in the story is me, but I can’t help but to put a little
of me in every character.
1st: Who is Phantasmo and why will we identify with him?

Dave: Phantasmo proved an interesting study. Here was this nearly all powerful character who was like a cross between Superman and the Spectre. How could I use him in today’s world and avoid the problems faced by characters like Supes? I focused on telling done in one stories and in using Phantasmo to introduce new characters, new heroes into the Indelliverse. Many of them will be coming up in future issues of PopCom, and I am working on a special team book with Phantasmo, eventually forming our own super team called the Indelibles!

The golden age Phantasmo was difficult to identify with, at least that’s what I found in my research. There’s a greater depth to my Phantasmo that I will begin to explore. There’s a problem and a secret to him that needs to be addressed. That in itself makes him identifiable.

Who doesn’t have unspoken problems that need to be addressed? I’m not a huge proponent of having a PD character in name only. I don’t generally like to take a character and totally change him or her. I like to use the constraints of what came before to craft contemporary storylines that build on the history. (That being said, I totally revamp Dr. Hormone!)

1st: What is “The Thrill of Drowning” all about?

Dave: The Thrill Of Drowning is my latest collection of poetry from Amazing Things Press. It focuses on relationships of all sizes and shapes, good, bad, sad and funny. The title refers to that feeling you get when you first fall in love. It’s the third of six planned poetry collections.

The first is called, Scanner Code, and deals with large issues such as life and death and after life and after death. It has a QR code on the cover that takes you to a special website I have set up. The second has a cover designed by my daughter, Kelsey Noe. She is a graphics designer in Kansas City. It’s called, New Things Among the Old. It has poems that are also stories of people and events and places. The Thrill of Drowning has a painting by my daughter, Sarah Noe who lives in New York City. It’s acrylic on canvas and evokes the perfect nighttime feeling overlooking a moonlit bay. The next one, Prairie Thicket, is also painted by Sarah and is a book of poetry all about poetry and poets. I’m hoping it will be published next spring. The last two are still being written. One is a collection of praise and worship poetry called, Psalms of a Different David, and the final one is currently untitled and is a collection of very short poems.

There will probably be more down the road.

I have a trio of short story collections that I haven’t mentioned yet, too. Aside from the collaborative, Welcome to Honeycomb, USA, I have Kin, Voices In My Pen and With a Twist that I wrote by myself. Kin is filled with short stories about family in all its myriad forms, good, bad, beautiful and ugly. One story may have you laughing and the next may have you sobbing.

Voices in My Pen is pure craziness. In some places it’s like a prose form of Mad Magazine. It’s filled with silly stories and lists and jokes and songs and poems and ramblings, and a continuing letter from a turnip. With a Twist is reminiscent of the classic horror stories from the Twilight Zone or horror comics. It focuses less on gore and more on the story and the twist ending, oftentimes with a mix of humor and horror.

I also wrote a nonfiction book! I’ve been a landlord for more than thirty years, and when I would tell people all the crazy stories of what I go through, they invariably say, Man, you ought to write a book!” …So, I did. Aside from containing a bunch of those stories, it’s also a how-to on how to start and maintain a small rental business, and what it takes to be a good landlord or
1st: What was your contribution to the “Charlton Arrow # 3”?

Dave: Oh what fun! Several years ago, I happen to be surfing the web, and much like what happened at the Dell site years later, I was reading on the Charlton site (of which I had already been a member for quite a while) that they were going to put together a comic book! It wasn’t long before I was inspired to try writing my own comic books scripts. I was having some initial difficulty getting through until Rick Stasi talked to me at length at a local Kansas City comic book convention, and pointed me in the right direction. Soon I was overwhelming them with submissions. I’m sure they were just thrilled. Actually, the whole gang was terrific to me, Roger McKenzie, Mort Todd, Mark Knox, Paul Kupperberg and several others who were helping out.

Eventually, Roger accepted a couple of my stories and began looking for an artist for them.

Fortuitously, Andrew Mitchell came along to draw my little two page story called, Wallbreaker.

Roger gave up one of his own stories in Charlton Arrow #3 to allow our story to be printed. It was my first comic book story, even though I had written several books before. Not long after, another opportunity arose. Grass Green’s, the Shape is owned by Roy Thomas. The Shape had one appearance back in 1968 in Charlton Premiere. Roy Thomas gave us permission to bring him back, and I was lucky enough to have my story accepted for the new premiere! Mort will be drawing the new Shape story for an upcoming Charlton Arrow, and we have other Shape stories and characters planned for future appearances. Not only that, but Mort is coloring an Owl Illustration for us for a text piece coming up in a couple of issues.

Not only did Roger help me get my story done and published, he also gave me a few months of intense tutoring. You have to keep in mind that Roger is one of a handful of writers who greatly influenced my early writing and appreciation for the form. His Daredevil #158 is still one of my all time favorite comics. Now, this guy, this icon of mine is tutoring me in the fine points of writing comic book scripts. He would give me an assignment and then absolutely and intentionally pick it to literal pieces! Then, he would make me rewrite it in a totally different fashion, then again from a different perspective, then again without dialogue, then again only in half the pages. It was an incredible learning experience, and I’m sure Roger would agree that he is worth twice what I paid him, easily. Roger then agreed to write the introduction in my super hero novel Trade of the Tricks. What an honor. And NOW, he is actually going to write a story for an upcoming issue of All-New Popular Comics! That’s like, beyond amazing. I have to be careful, I don’t want to jinx it, or, you know, have to actually pay him.

1st: What other Dell titles or characters will InDELLible be bringing back?

Dave: Aside from All-New Popular Comics, we are actively working on a series of specials under the Four Color title. Lou Mougin has written a 60 page Neutro story and Daerick has assigned each chapter to a different artist. The book is filled out by a small humor story written by me and drawn by Debbie Perry. We will be using the legacy numbering. So, Four Color Comics, featuring Neutro will be #1351. Jim and I are working on another Four Color special introducing new characters to the Weird Warrior universe. I have a possible horror comic for the special as well as the Indelibles special. Other things are in the works, as well. We have talked about spotlighting certain writers or genres or artists or characters. PopCom will remain an anthology.

1st: What is going on with the series “Trade of the Tricks” and what is it about?

Dave: The Tricks is something I’ve been working on for a long time. Arising from my love of comics and from my youth gaming with friends and family, the idea of my own super hero universe was very appealing to me. Of course, being a fan of authors as diverse as Douglas Adams and Alan Moore, I couldn’t settle on just ordinary fare. I had to have things be weird…and funny. I also had to do things a little different.

The first book that ATP published of mine was Trade of the Tricks, the Tricks’ Brand.
Strangely, it was the final part of a series that I had been writing for years. You wouldn’t know it to read it, though. It reads like a complete novel in and of itself. Basically, it takes place on a world much like our own, except there used to be super powers. Fifty years ago, there were heroes and villains of every stripe battling it out in a major fight in New York City (of course).

Suddenly, in the middle of the battle, all the powered heroes and villains around the entire world just vanished, in fact all powers in the universe just blinked out of existence. Not only were the powers mysteriously gone, but the ability to get powers was gone. Now, if you got bit by a radioactive spider, instead of being granted all the cool powers, you would probably just die. Many years went by and the powers never returned, but there was a social memory of them. People still dressed up in costumes and fought crime and committed crime, just without powers.
The most famous super group was called, The Tricks. Now, if a hero needed some help, someone to set a trap or drive a getaway vehicle or bring them a sandwich, they needed helpers. These people were not sidekicks. They were called Tricks too. Brand Meeks was a 15 year old part time Trick (every other weekend and two weeks in the summer). His grandfather was a non powered hero at the big battle and didn’t vanish.

It’s rumored that on the upcoming fiftieth anniversary of the big battle, all the powers are going to return at once…and it will destroy the world. Brand is starting to notice weird things happening. The powers may indeed be returning, and it may indeed be the end of the world…and it may all be his fault.

That’s the current book. The book coming out this year is called, The Trade of the Tricks Saga, Book 1. Saga1 takes us back in time to the original heroes called the Tricks as they battle their strange foes and slowly march towards the inevitable final battle that almost none of them know is coming. Sagas 2-4 follow the heroes along that path. We get to know them well, and we see how things shape up that lead to that confrontation.

Tricks’ Brand has a cover by Kevin Halter and interior illustrations by Kevin and Daerick Gross Sr. and Sandy Carruthers and Dana Black and Truman Vasko, along with a foreword by Roger McKenzie and back cover blurbs by Roger and Mort Todd and Dan Johnson. Saga1 will have a cover by Daerick Gross Sr, as well as an interior illustration by him and Dana Black and Kelsey Noe and Eddie Price and Richard Moore and Sandy Carruthers and Bob Wiacek.

Saga2 is scheduled to have a Tricks short story comic included by Daerick Gross Sr. As you can see, I like group projects.

I have a four novella collection coming out soon called, Fantastic 4N1. It has a novella featuring the pulp crime fighter, Purple Scar, another novella with pulp vigilante, Moon Man, a third novella thriller featuring a new character named Minsa Van Whey and a fourth western novella featuring one of my newest favorite characters, Lobo!
I have written a children’s book using the Charlton Comics PD character, Black Fury, the stallion. It’s called Black Fury’s Prairie and will be illustrated by the fantastic Bill Lunsford. I also have a book of comic strip scripts called, Anagram For Crazy. It’s about a middle aged retired cartoon cat named CC the Cat who buys a comic strip called Anagram For Crazy to retire in. He’s kind of like Bob Newhart in attitude and everyone around him is rather odd. I’m currently looking for a cartoonist to either collect this in a book form or publish it online as a weekly comic strip.

1st: If you could have one super power what would it be and why?

Dave: This is a question I have heard a lot. While it might seem as difficult as asking for a favorite song or movie or book or child, I think I might have an answer. One of the leading characters in my Tricks books is a guy named Billy. Billy knows things. As a matter of fact, to hear him tell it, Billy knows everything. I take that to a crazy degree in the stories. He’s a very difficult character to understand, let alone write. He’s a real pain and not very sympathetic until you start looking closer at him. I don’t think I would want to know everything. It would be pretty miserable, but I would like to have great knowledge. Many problems could be solved and many other powers could be approximated if I had the knowledge of how to build something to do the job.

1st: What do you have to say to your readers?

Dave: Hi, readers. Listen, folks, in today’s world of electronic everything, it’s more important than ever to read. The value of sitting quietly engrossed in another world of your own imagining is invaluable to your psyche. Explosions and computer SFX are terrific. Video games and the internet are wonderful. Reading is still magic.

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