In 2012 I attended Emerald City Comic Con in Seattle and after that con I made the decision to focus on short stories and building my portfolio. At the con I met a lot of great people and spent a lot of time that weekend with Jeremy Holt, Ed BrissonMatt Battaglia, Kurtis Weibe, Nathan Crissman, Selena Goulding and many others. 

After the con Nathan asked if I would write a short for him to do for his portfolio. I told him I would and he mentioned he wanted to do a Western. On a drive home from work the opening two pages became very clear and for me, I thought they were an interesting way to start a story. But since I essentially started with the end of the story, I needed to figure out how to get there. 

For some reason the song "Long Black Veil" popped into my head and I've always thought it was a great song and a cool story. I thought it would work well within the context I was going for and might be cool to serve as inspiration for this short. Once I had that figured out, it was off to finish the script and put my own little twist on the story. 

As I mentioned above I wanted to focus on shorts and this was first short I had written with that goal in mind. I originally pitched this to George Kambadais to do, but he ended up wanting to do our Spider-Man short. I searched for a long time and was never quite able to find the right artist for this project, so it sat while I finished up all my other shorts. 

One day I stumbled upon Artyom Trakhanov. I sent him a tweet saying I wanted to speak with him about a project and Thomas Mauer happened to see it and replied back that he supported this idea 100%. Thomas is currently working on the book UNDERTOW with Artyom for Image Comics. (If you aren't reading this book, remedy that as soon as possible.) Seeing Thomas's support of Artyom and I working together was exciting. 

I told Artyom the idea and he was all in from the get-go. He's been incredible to work with, his art is out of this world. If this short story doesn't convince you, go read UNDERTOW and look at those pages. This is some next level stuff. The dude is incredible! I don't know if I believe in the "everything happens for a reason" argument, but I think waiting almost 2 years to finally find Artyom is the best thing that ever happened to this story. His artwork has taken it to a level I never thought possible and I am honored to call him a collaborator. 

To raise the bar even more I told Thomas that we needed to do something unqiue with the lettering. The style of this short, is dream-like, told through a memory and I think the art reflects that.  Regular caption boxes just wouldn't cut it, so I tasked Thomas with doing something "different". Oh man, did he succeed. When I first saw these letters I was blown away. The effect to create the "boxes" is amazing and Thomas actually wrote out the letters, digitized them and then put them on the page. They were the absolute perfect fit for this story and in my opinion, should win him an award. 

Please enjoy this short, it was pure joy for all of us to work on this. We hope you see that come through on the pages. 


Art:  Artyom Trakhanov

Letters: Thomas Mauer