Thanks for taking the time to read this e-mail. It’s certainly been a while since I last sent one of these out and to be honest I had almost forgotten that I had a mailing list. First of all, thank you for signing up for it and also thank you for your patience. I’m sure at least some of you are still wondering about the future of “The Strange Tales of Oscar Zahn” and while the comic is currently on hiatus while I focus on some other projects, it’s still the comic that is closest to my heart .
I’ve been working behind the scenes to find a permanent home for good ol’ Oscar and there’s been lots of twist and turns over the last several years. There’s actually quite a bit to talk about, but I’ll save that for another e-mail when I’m more at liberty to share.
One of the things I miss most from my Oscar Zahn days are the author’s notes I used to write as well as your comments at the end of each chapter. It felt like a conversation I was having with you, the reader.
Working in secrecy on long-term projects certainly has its advantages (the frenetic pace that “The Strange Tales of Oscar Zahn” was produced was grueling and not really sustainable in the long run), but the near immediate feedback I had from you was immensely gratifying.
I’ve been wracking my brain on how to have that type of communication with you again, short of producing another Webtoon (something I currently don’t have the bandwidth for). There’s certainly an abundance of social media platforms (ie. Youtube, Instagram, Facebook, Substack, etc.) that in theory facilitate that type of relationship but nothing felt quite right to me.
I’m not looking to be an influencer, nor do I have any ambition of accumulating millions of followers. I just simply want to tell stories and share them with a group of people that may enjoy them.
The other day I remembered I had a mailing list and was surprised to see that it had grown to over 800 people despite my neglect. It’s decidedly old school, but I think this might be a great way to get re-acquainted with all of you and also to let you know what I’ve been working on.
So, what’s been new with me since you last heard from me? Well, we have a new dog. His name is Leo and he’s quite the goofy boy.
In theory, he’s a rescue since somebody must have bought him without realizing how much work it would be. But we got him at 4 months old so it doesn’t feel quite right to say that we rescued a Golden Retriever puppy - we just really lucked out.
We love having him around although I think our Corgi, Digby, still has mixed feelings about his new brother (Leo likes to sit on him). He does make a great writing companion though:
On the comic front, I have two graphic novels out in stores right now! I’ll just tell you about one of them right now so this e-mail doesn’t get overly long.
EVERYDAY HERO MACHINE BOY
“Everyday Hero Machine Boy” is about a little robot that crashes into the domed city of Mega 416, unintentionally wreaking havoc on it’s hapless citizens until his heart is awakened by an old man’s Karate punch. Now raised and trained in the ways of the Empty Fist by the old man’s widow, Machine Boy has to overcome interstellar threats, neighborhood squabbles and the most difficult ordeal of them all…simply growing up in a world that sometimes doesn’t want to accept him.
“Everyday Hero Machine Boy” is considered a middle grade book for children aged 8 to 12 but to tell you the truth, Irma Kniivila (my co-creator) and I didn’t write the book with a particular audience in mind. We were interested in telling a coming of age story fueled by our experiences as children of immigrants, and informed by a heavy dose of nostalgia for the pop culture of the 80’s and 90’s. Our fond memories of 16-bit RPGs, obscure pop music, and the anime and manga we grew up reading, all coalesced in “Everyday Hero Machine Boy”.
Both Irma and I are fans of Studio Ghibli, particularly in the way their films seem to transcend both the age group their films are intended for as well as the time they were made. Their stories are timeless and for everyone and we tried to do the same with “Everyday Hero Machine Boy”.
Lofty ambitions ambitions, I know! But we did our best.
This is a book we poured our hearts and souls into over the last 4 years (zoinks!) and we are immensely proud to show it to the world. It’s been very gratifying to see the near universal acclaim it’s garnered from those that have read it. “Everyday Hero Machine Boy” has received starred reviews from multiple publications and organizations and has even made it to some “Best of” lists for the year. Not a bad start for our little known indie comic!
Here’s an awesome trailer that our publisher, Skybound, created for the book:
If you’re looking for a gift for a young reader or just a comic lover, we’d like to think that “Everyday Hero Machine Boy” would be a swell idea.
You can find “Everyday Hero Machine Boy” at your local comic store or you can order it online.
Whew! That was quite a long e-mail but I really enjoyed sharing some of what’s been going on in my life with you guys. Thanks once again for taking the time read to it and I hope you all have a safe and happy holiday season.