Masterpiece in Bone: Chapter 1

I thought that it might be a good idea, before actually getting too far into talking about writing and the creative process, to post some of my work, both published and unpublished, and there’s no better place to start that with my first published comic, WIINDOWS #5, from April, 1993:

Cover to WIINDOWS #5, published by Cult Press in April, 1993. Line art copyright 1993 James E. Lyle, color art copyright 1993 Jahrome Youngker.

The backstory here was that in late 1992, Cult Press had agreed to publish DoorMan based on a writing-only submission / pitch that I had made, and had put me together with artist James E. Lyle (a.k.a. Doodle) to do the comic, which was intended to be a monthly, ongoing series.

That would happen to be the most fortunate moment of my career, as it turned out:  not only is Doodle an incredibly talented artist that’s always made my words better comics than they usually had the right to be, but DoorMan would end up having a very rocky path. Having a creative partner who was willing to stick things out through thick and thin, as well as be amazing to work with — I couldn’t ask for a better collaborator and friend.

Back to this particular story: Rob Graff, Publisher at Cult Press, suggested that Doodle and I do an issue of their anthology title, WIINDOWS, as a way to break the creative ice, so to speak, and get a feel for working together before we jumped into the trenches of a monthly comic.

After some thought, I wrote ‘Masterpiece in Bone’ specifically for this opportunity.  I was very much into Clive Barker at the time, in particular his Hellraiser and Nightbreed films, and as young neophyte writers tend to do, I ripped him off   was driven to emulate one of my heroes.  So think of this as a sort of Hellraiser Lite (all the satisfying pathos and only a quarter of the gore!), and you’ll be on the right path.

I still cringe at more than a few of the clumsy captions and overwrought dialogue exchanges in the story, but all in all, I think it holds up pretty well, particularly for something written by a twenty-year-old just cutting his teeth.  And it was my first published work, so I’ll always have a fondness for it because of that, warts and all.

So without further ado, let’s get into the story.  This version is somewhat different from the original print comic, in that I thought it would be interesting to ‘remix’ the print edition into a new version that had a stronger webcomic feel to it, so I scanned the pages from the comic in and went to work crafting something new, doing these new ‘e-layouts’ from Doodle’s art.  I think it works, and it’s great practice for relaunching DoorMan in 2013 as a webcomic.

Just a quick roll call: I concieved and wrote it, Doodle did all interior pencils and inks, and Mike A.S. Smith did the lettering on the original.  Doodle did pencils and inks on the cover, and Jahrome Youngker provided some very snazzy colors for that.  (And I’ll apologize in advance if the quality of the scans aren’t quite up to snuff: they’re taken directly from a copy of the actual ninteen-year-old comic, and done on a pretty low-end consumer-grade rig sitting here on my desk.)

Just click on the cover image on the left to open the gallery, and use the arrows to navigate through the story.  Hope you enjoy it, and I’ll try to have the second chapter up soon.

— mal

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