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Coming from the same title and one of the best Nine Inch Nails songs to date, and like that song, this blog is about loss. The loss of someone dear to us, a loss that seemingly brought our world to an end, a loss that is marked by the event in which the day the whole world went away. Memorial Day has two meanings for me now, it serves as a day to remember the men and women who gave their lives for this country, but now it holds a whole new meaning for me, the day my father passed away.

My father was everything to me, and from a young age he taught all of his children to be truthful with everything in life. I’ve built my career on being truthful, admitting to the pain and anguish that seems to permeate my life and taking what destroys others and building the future with it. I kept this idea with my pain following the unexpected death of my mother and now reluctantly, I’m doing the same with this new pain following my father’s death. This blog I will talk about my father, his passing, and the next projects that are currently being built. I wish this was a blog I would never have to write, but try as I may, the slower I write this, the more I realize he really, truly is gone. He always told his children to be open and honest with everything, so in his honor I will be open and honest about the man who gave so much, who is responsible for my being in this career.

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5.27.2017 I’m having dinner after talking with my producing partner, Cody Sparshu, about our upcoming film projects, when out of nowhere my oldest sister gives me a call. A call which changed everything. She would go on to tell my that my father was unable to speak properly, and could barely understand where he was and that he was shaking uncontrollably. She was his caretaker. I told her to hang up and call 911. Not more than two minutes later, her boyfriend calls me and tells me that “He’s fine.” after hanging up with him, I called my little sister and had her go over and check on my father, as I am 500 miles away. Emily arrived, immediately called me and told me “I’ve called 911, something is really wrong.”

My father was rushed to the hospital. Unbeknownst to any of us, this was to be the last time he would see his house.

5.28.2017 early in the morning, my little sister calls me from the hospital, and tells me that he’s been moved into the Intensive Care Unit, and that the doctor wanted to speak to me. In talking to the doctor, he tells me cryptically “You need to get to Reno, as fast as you can. This isn’t going to end well.” So I hang the phone up, grab Zarah and our dog, pack up just enough clothing to survive me a day and we haul ass as fast as we can to Reno. This is the longest drive of my life, and is only punctuated by all the regretful memories of past transgressions, the happiest moments that I want to capture and hold onto, each memory passing by with each tick of the odometer in the truck he gave to me.

We arrived in town and immediately went to the hospital where I met my older sister Carrie and little sister Emily, both looking like their souls were crushed; my older sister and her boyfriend, my father’s caretaker are not here. Without having to say a word, I know the outlook is grim, so I head upstairs to my father’s ICU room and I am greeted by the sight that is forever burned into my psyche. My father lying in bed, completely reliant upon the machines that are keeping him alive, and unable to open his eyes or speak. I broke down. I couldn’t help it.

The man that gave up so much for his children for his wife, was now on the narrow precipice between life and death struggling to keep his balance. All I could do was hold his hand and weep, my father deserved better than this. His nurse came into the room and told me that his kidneys were both dead, and that his body was fighting a war with aggressive Sepsis (Septic Shock) and that he was losing. I could only stare, hoping against hope, that somehow, someway, he’ll find a way to survive. My sisters came into the room, and reiterated what the nurse told me. I hugged them and told them we need to honor his wishes, which brought everyone to tears.

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We left the hospital and while my sisters and Zarah went to Emily’s, I went to my father’s place to talk with my oldest sister and her boyfriend. When I walked into his apartment, I was finally able to see the house he was living in. It smelled, it was grimy, dirty and disgusting and entering his room, I was mortified.

I told them to find a way to the hospital in the morning, told them were meeting his doctor and ordered them to start cleaning his apartment.

5.29.2017 The Day The Whole World Went Away

We arrived at the hospital exactly 30 minutes early, and we waited for the doctor. My father was lucid at this point, but still barely able to formulate a sentence and he couldn’t control his body like he would want to, but he was able to joke around, we were able to talk with him share these moments with him. To our annoyance, the doctor was late, and then again was late to the new adjusted appointment time, and this began to annoy me, as I wanted to know his prognosis. What I didn’t realize until days later, was that this doctor gave my entire family a gift. The gift of two more hours with my father. Two hours I will cherish to the day I ultimately leave this world.

We got to make him laugh, make him forget the pain, we got to hear his voice one last time. All of his daughters were finally here. They got to talk with him. I would hold my father’s hand, he let go after an hour and was barely able to say the words, “Go, leave.” I leaned down and asked him again, he said “Go.” I told him we would leave after the Doctor’s visit. Both he and I knew what he was trying to do. When the doctor finally arrived, and my world began to fall to shambles. The Doctor confirmed every nightmare I’ve ever had, my father was dying and based on his medical prognosis, my father would not last the night.

I had to make the decision for my father to move him to hospice care, which he would not make it to. Breathing became my ability to control things in a time where God took control of everything. Everybody wept, I consoled my sisters, and I asked them to leave the room. Carrie refused to leave, once everybody was gone except for Carrie and I, I held my father’s hand again, leaned down and kissed his forehead and told him that he was dying and that it was okay to let go, and that I would take care of his daughters for him. After composing myself, Carrie spoke with him and I had the others come into the room and speak to him. The room was dark and heavy.

We met outside in the hallway, and I told the girls we’d be going to lunch to get out from the hospital. My father was always the person who never wanted his children to suffer, and he would often take us out to places to during a stressful time. I wanted to carry on this tradition. Throughout this time, all I could think of, naturally, was him and the memories we shared. Memories that were just that, phantoms of our past. I could see the look in everybody’s eyes, one that told me I should take them back to the hospital, even at 9pm at night and have each and every one of us say our final goodbyes.

We get to the hospital, and walk into his ICU room and its startling, there is no electric hum of machines, no puff of the ventilator. My father was laying in his bed, asleep unable to wake up. The nurse would tell me that they stopped everything and that they are about to take him off his oxygen, the rest got into the room and for the first time in 3 years we saw him without an oxygen mask. The room felt lighter, calmer, almost as if filled with uncompromising love. My sisters, my one year old nephew and Zarah were holding his hands, tears flowing freely, telling stories of him, when I finally came to the realization of what was happening.

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(This photo brings me to tears every time. My little nephew Dillie and my father just five hours before he would pass)

I told them that the room feels lighter, to which they agree, and then I make the admission to them “Mom’s come for him. He’s not going to survive the night.” Everybody weeps even more, but I knew this with every fiber of my being, the room was too peaceful for it not to be true. I let each of them have alone time with him, and I waited in the waiting room, but Emily refused to leave. I had to go get her, she did not want our father to die alone. Our father was the man who shielded his children from pain, and even to his dying breath, he fought to protect his children from the pain of watching him die. I reminded them he asked us to leave, was not coincidence, but it was truly his dying wish. He wished with his last breaths to shield his children from this pain.

After a solemn moments break, I headed back into the room, by myself, I held his hand, felt his heartbeat under his wrist and talked with him even though he couldn’t wake up. This conversation is to remain between a father and his son. I kissed his forehead, and stopped in the doorframe of the room, as I did with my mother, told him that “I love him dearly.”

Even now I am writing this through a veil of tears, and this is truthfully why I could not record this blog as a video, because this hole in my life is too much. Like in his life, he cared for his children, loved his family, and lived life on his own terms, his death was on his own terms. Three hours after we left him, he straightened himself up in his bed, (a feat not easily done, because of his spasms) and was asleep, dreaming of his family when he reunited my mother. He was finally whole again, finally without pain, and with the love of his life.

We weep, and the angels rejoice, because one of their angels have returned to them. This is the natural order as my parents would explain it to us. My father meant the world to me, was one of the first two people to support my goals, my hopes, my dreams, and he would personify the old phrase of giving you the shirt off his back, except he did this for everyone of his children, and his is one of the biggest reasons my career is where it is at. I miss this man unbelievably, but I know where he’s at, is a better place.

My family and myself will see to it that his legacy is lived through one another, as we live our lives on our terms, in our own ways, giving our gifts to the world and I know right now, my father, is looking down on me telling me “Enough with the sadness, party like a rockstar.” so in his honor, I will celebrate life, rather than mourning his death, by doing what he fought for me to do, create. Out of 6+ billion people on this planet, I got to be my father’s son, which is one of the greatest things I could have ever been.

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Love you immensely, Pops!

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As a child I started with filmmaking at a young age, as a way to help my mother escape her chemotherapy treatment, little did I know, that these new worlds I would create, would become almost a form of therapy for me. Right now, this is more self evident than ever before. Because with every word that is laid on the page, every storyboard drawn, every audition performed, every shot photographed, I am able to cope with these interminable losses.

Partnering up with the amazing and talented, Cody Sparshu, we have begun to bring these next stories of mine to the big screen. What these are, we cannot tell you just yet, but what I can tell you is that these stories are near and dear to my heart. Everything has lined up, so now all we have to do is make them and bring you into these worlds.

In other film news, my film, The Astronaut, which is all about the relationship my father and I shared is set to be released through Amazon! I was fortunate enough to be able to tell my father before he died that our story would be seen by people from around the world. One of my greatest memories was finally being able to show him the finished film! I absolutely cannot wait to show the world this! I’ll update more on this at schumacher.com/theastronaut

 

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As a child, I would delve into the worlds of of novels, video games, comics, and movies, and these are the first mediums that got me interested in writing new worlds, new adventures. So as the years continued to move forward, I would write more and more. My first comic book I created was Inheritance, a book that had a cinematic tone and horror that was palpable with the stories that were born from my personal tragedy. Inheritance would go on to sell out comic con after comic con, attract media attention, and connect to people in a way the few comics do.

So following Inheritance, I wanted to create a new comic book that would take the qualities of Inheritance and blow them completely out of the water. A story that would prove prophetic to my life, a story that began work a couple weeks before my father passed away. This comic book is Through The Witches.

Set in the colonial America’s, Through The Witches is a story of failing to face down the threat that is right in front of your face, and intuition giving way to supplication, little did I know how prophetic this book would prove to be in my life. While I haven’t released anything on this story yet, it’s lining up to be an absolutely amazing comic book, with artist Marco Roblin’s amazing artwork and Dezi Sienty (DC’s Justice League, Batman), lettering abilities Through The Witches is lining up to be stellar.

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Through The Witches shows you the dark side of each other, and our complete and total inhumanity towards one another. Through The Witches is the antithesis of Inheritance and I absolutely cannot wait to showcase to you this incredible book.

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Finally to keep this blog from going too long, I wanted to talk about a topic many have asked me about. My tattoos. While some may go to a shop and get flash, I chose to mark my body with my story. What’s on the outside is what’s reflective on the inside. The day after my father passed away, my sisters and I got tattoos to remember his life. I got Pops tattooed on my left hand, my sister Carrie on her ribs, Emily right above her ankle. My father always joked that I needed to stop corrupting his daughters with tattoos, so to have all of us get tattoos, he’d probably be having a laugh.

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Tattoos for me are a form of therapy and expression. It’s always helped me with pain. My entire right arm’s tattoos are a memorial to my mother, her philosophy, her essence, all of it is her. My left arm was started while my father was alive, and now since his passing I’ve decided to get it finished, starting with the top of my hand and working my way up.

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So as I close this blog, I wanted to thank each and everyone of you for your love, your support and your kindness. It has meant the world to me. And now, mid way through 2017, I’ve decided to turn everything I have, everything I am, into these projects, to drive so hard into my career that my parents only have the recourse of grabbing Johnny Cash, Stanley Kubrick and Rod Serling and say “Look at our son!”

Our time is short, it indeed is very limited in the grand scheme, so why waste it living the dogma of someone else? Go live your life as you would want it, make yourself the star of your own movie. I’m off to create these worlds with some amazing people!

Thank you!

James

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“The wealthiest place on the planet, is the graveyard. Because in the graveyard we will find inventions that we never ever were exposed to. Ideas, dreams, that never became reality. Hopes and aspirations that were never acted upon.” I never once thought that what my mother told me about my success would be as true as she said it would. She begged me in the last conversation we had “Don’t give up writing, no matter how hard it gets, don’t quit.” I never realized just how right she would prove to be. How hard it would become. How many friends would turn on me. But, here I sit in this same place, in a certain calm sense of solace, with a familiar feeling of love; it is here that I come to after every hit, every roadblock; it is here where I can talk with my mother.

This is a woman who fought cancer numerous times and never once lost her drive and passion. A woman who after breaking her neck still wanted to be in shape. A woman who even in the final moments of her life, still fought for every single second. So whenever I sit and want to wallow in sorrow, stand idle, give in and give up, all I have to do is think to her strength. As a child I never knew how much she would have an impact on me; and even though those memories that pained me, memories of holding her head as she vomited after a long bought of Chemo and looking down to see her hair in my hands, these are my cherished moments with her. Moments where a mother and her 12 year old son connected in a way few ever get to, this make me smile.

Yes these are horrible thing, but these are memories, these are my pillars of strength. In my life I’ve run from my pain, hid from it like a coward, watched it creep up on me, but this changed when I lost my mother. I knew that if I continued to run from my pain, that my little sister would have to bury me. So I followed my mother’s wishes, and faced my pain head. You know what? It changed my fucking world.

I’ll smash any obstacle put into my path. So here I am moving forward again, shedding this baggage. I’ve been asked at comic cons if it is the technology that makes my work phenomenal and my response has always been  “While some think that a special piece of equipment will grant them abilities they never once possessed; the successful ones know that technology means shit in comparison to a hard driving work ethic, a sense of unstoppable innovation and a heart wrenching storytelling.” I’ve built my career upon that philosophy, and I will continue to do so. I tell people you have to be willing to walk away from the things you adore, you have to be willing to be the lone wolf, you have to be unafraid of what people think, this frees you from their self imposed shackles, and this gives you the freedom to create what people truly want.

Dial yourself to 100, anything less does nothing but lock you into mediocrity and it is what has kept comics, novels and filmmaking locked in a perpetual cycle of the “That’ll-do-attitude” and it is why we continue to get the same books and movies over and over again. Don’t be like the weak, be the strong. I love these quotes, the two that start this blog by Eric Thomas, they speak the truth, and I start each and every day listening to a compilation of his speeches.

So now I am walking away from something I thought would be interminable, a story that my mother would’ve loved to see completed, but I know my mother and she would want my sanity over this book. I have decided to shut Inheritance down. I am moving on to the next chapter in my career and I could not be happier, for the first time I taste a certain sense of freedom that has been lacking for over two years. Two years trapped in the dogma of other people. I am now free to create stories that are not tied down to expectations or insecurities.

2017 started great and continues to build towards greatness. I am in the middle of production on my next book, a story set in the colonial Americas, with the phenomenal Marco Roblin as the artist and Dezi Sienty as the letterer as well as another book series. This is a new year, new books, new future working with amazing and talented people and I could not be happier. I’ve never let anything slow me down, and neither should you. I cannot wait to show you this new book.

My advice, take your pain and build with it, ignore those people who are stuck in the same place they’ve been in for decades and watch your future grow.

Much Love,

James

 

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God damn is this an amazing television series! First one I’ve binge watched in a long time! In all fairness I love anything to do with conspiracy theories, and the assassination of John F. Kennedy is right up there, because you had a man speaking out against the system and then he’s killed in an outright crazy way. It’s an amazing story no matter how you slice it. History is remembered in stories; from text books, to war stories, to documentaries right up to fictional stories, humanity has always consumed our past in this fashion. He who controls the meaning of words, controls the people who must use the words and this in its very nature is how conspiracies are levied against people.

Can I mention James Franco, good god is he amazing in this show. He plays a character drawn into this world and dives down the rabbit hole only to find it’s deeper than anticipated. What we thought would be a simple fix, is often a war zone and as is often told in the show and book “When you try to change the past, it will push back.” This is true in our lives, it’s difficult to overcome our past, it requires work, perseverance, motivation and drive to do something you’ve always thought impossible.

I was going to write more, but now if you’ll excuse I must go continue watching this gem of a show. Check it out on Hulu!

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So I recently just started to re-read the poem, Beowulf, and I will be following it up with Gardner’s Grendel. Fitting in our current political environment. I was first introduced to Beowulf as a child by my mother, and then in high school my Myths and Monsters teacher, Jeff Janke introduced my class to Beowulf and the companion piece Grendel. First we’ve all heard of Beowulf the Geat warrior who traverses the beast filled ocean to face off with the man devouring creature known as Grendel. As a child the story enthralled me and my mind raced with these characters and mankind’s struggle against this type of beast. It’s an amazing story, however once I read through Grendel it completely changed my perspective on Beowulf.

We’ve all heard the cliché phrase “There are always two sides to a story.” this could not be more true in this case. Grendel took the triumphant story of man conquering horrid monsters and turned it to mankind’s massacre of a tormented creature and his mother. This paradigm shift had a huge impact on me when I was in high school. It was then that I realized that by humanizing what you may think is the worst creature, could prove to be the most heart wrenching thing you’ve ever done. This has taught not only myself and my perception of the world, but informed my creative process on how to approach stories.

These stories revolutionized in both of their respected times how stories are told. Thankfully I was exposed to these stories so young, because it allowed me the courage to move into the realm of the possibilities. I’ve always said you have to believe in the possibilities of the impossible. When I created Inheritance, it was from this aspect, to do something never really seen before. I was met with a constant barrage of “No one does it this way.” but I drove on, pushing those involved with the story to live beyond their well established comfort zones. It is a tough proposition for people to see past the walls they surround themselves with. God knows for a time I lived like that and it took my mother’s death to shake me free from it.

I’ve come to understand that you don’t beg people to be phenomenal. It doesn’t work. You have to let people be themselves and let them own their lives and their courses in life. You’ll waste so much time trying to change them into something better. They themselves, not you, must want success as bad as they want to breathe. Inheritance now goes with the winds, turning away from the breaking waves that crashed over the bough in an attempt to sink this story, and heads in a direction it was always meant to go. Inheritance evolves and I cannot wait to show you!

I’m writing this at 530am, because my brain is currently working overtime and not allowing me to sleep in. Inheritance is gearing up for its next phase and I couldn’t be happier. So now I will go back to reading the last bit of Beowulf and then start on Grendel before beginning the day finalizing shots, roughs and page placements!

Cheers!

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Can I just say that 2016 has flown by and what a wild ride its been. I spent the past 20 minutes trying to record a video blog, couldn’t get it figured out, so here I am. This year has been incredible! Inheritance has done so much in a short amount of time has been mind blowing. It has sold out comic after comic con, connecting to people in a way very few comic books do, and I’ve been able to talk with fans and people who have both connected to the message of Inheritance. It’s been humbling.

On the reverse side, I was faced with several challenges this year. I love the quote from the war doctor, “Great men are forged in fire, it is the privilege of the lesser man to light the flame.” it speaks directly to my circumstances. This furnace has burned away the old from my life, and even though it left me scarred, it’s forged me into something better. I remember clearly those days of watching my mother’s hair fall out while she held weakly held herself up after a horrendous chemotherapy treatment. She stood there looking at her ashen complexion in the mirror, her fading light, her receding hairline, and with tears welling up in her eyes she left the kitchen, not for her bedroom, but for the kitchen.

My mother began to cook dinner and go about her nightly routine which would culminate with her writing some of her stories with paper and pen on the couch as us children bolted through the house. She refused to let this disease bring her to her knees. It wasn’t until I was an adult that I realized the power those memories would hold over me. How much watching these horrible moments would affect me as a child. She knew it. She lived it. She wanted to show her children that the only thing that can bring you down is you, yourself.

So as 2017 rises on the horizon, I can now look onto the past year with solace. I’ve been a huge fan of the above listed rules for success from Arnold Schwarzenegger. Now if you follow these rules, you will encounter the masses of the unknowns. These unknowns flock together, they’re afraid of success, afraid of pushing themselves and they sure as shit have their opinions.

You trust yourself and they will hate your independence.

You break the rules, they will say you can’t do that.

You’re unafraid to fail and try stuff that’s never been done, they’ll mock you if you fail.

You do something incredible, that’s outside of the box and they will surely tell you its never been done before.

You work your ass off, while they drag their feet, and they’ll say you got lucky.

You help other people and they will tell people you are doing it for an ulterior motive.

These unknowns have opinions and you’d do best not to listen. My father always said “Air Force pilots never take flack over normal cities, they only get attacked when they’re directly over the target.” You know you’re on the right track when these unknowns begin to attack you. 2017 is a new beginning for all of us. Hit the ground running. Unwilling to stop, unwilling to heed these naysayers, unwilling to compromise your standards; the weak will cry about this, while the strong will rise to the occasion.

Inheritance is rising faster and faster and I am absolutely excited to be working with artist Marco Roblin, Letterer Dezi Sienty, concept artist Steven Lisefski and Rusty Gilligan and doll designer, Dalia Poudrier. They are not people of inaction, they are the ones who make their dreams possible. Make the best of 2017, get started early and I’ll see you guys there.

Much Love,

James

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This blog is going to be a short one. I feel drugged up on a cocktail of antibiotics, orange juice, and popsicles. Haven’t had strep throat this bad in a long time. Even while down on my medical imposed sick day, and while Morpheus is scolding Link for doubting his decision to take Trinity and the Keymaker onto the freeway; Inheritance continues to grow and evolve away from its old form. With every creative project, the creator is faced with a choice, a red pill or a blue pill, a choice to see how far the rabbit hole goes or to wake up and believe whatever you want to believe. God do I love this series.

2017 is set to unleash some incredible things. The new artist, Marco Roblin is downright incredible, and his attention to detail and belief that comics are movies is something that I’ve wanted for Inheritance, but never really truly had. The new letterer, Dezi Sienty, a man known for his work on DC’s Batman, Justice League and Aquaman brings his high end approach to quality and innovation to Inheritance. Rusty Gilligan and myself have partnered up in the creation of a new supplemental piece of Inheritance storytelling that has never really been seen before.

I’m also super excited to be partnering up with the phenomenal filmmaker, visual effects artist and comic creator, Troy Ruff in the creation of the announcement videos for Inheritance! Cannot forget Dalia Poudrier the amazingly creative person behind the original prototype Betsy Doll, will be creating a limited edition run of the Betsy doll! Children run off with her all the time. Early 2017 will be your chance to do so as well.

I’m excited even as my ass is being handed to me by this strep. I am unbelievably excited to show you guys the new worlds of Inheritance as well as give each and every one of you a surprise! What that is you will have to wait and see. Much love and remember to take the red pill and to hell with the blue pill.

-James

 

quote-nobody-ever-asked-me-to-do-anything-nobody-knew-what-to-do-when-comics-were-brand-new-jack-kirby-128-30-54Often times, I think to myself that comics has become to safe. With the advent of the internet and readily available advice from countless comic creators both large and small, you can find yourself talked out of an idea or story rather quickly. You can read the plethora of advice columns, the immense amount of failed creators, and successful creators vying to be the ones people look at. This attention comes in two forms ‘Don’t Do This.’ and ‘Don’t Do That.’ This dogma, this notion of telling people what to create and how to create it is absolutely sacrilegious to the creative process and yet you see everyday comic creators, storytellers, and filmmakers sacrificing quality to quantity.

I’ve never been fond of sugar coating. You don’t like hearing this, tough shit. I’m not writing for you to feel good. I’m writing in hopes that my fellow creators wake from this daze, break themselves free from the “It’s never been done that way, so I definitely can’t do it.” and trust me when I tell you this, I’ve heard that phrase an awful lot. That saying has no meaning to me. None. You may say it to yourself to help you sleep at night, but to me it makes you look weak and pathetic. Ken Knudtsen, (Artist on Of Devils and Men) would say “You want the adult answer.” well here you are.

Jack Kirby and others existed in a time where comics were new, no one knew about them, and they figured out what stories to tell and how to tell them. The same goes for early years of Hollywood, it was creatives and entrepreneurs cutting their way into the history books one swing at time. No one had a fucking clue what they were doing, but they trusted their storytelling abilities and their want and desire to connect others through their stories. So they jumped in the deep end and learned to swim, they heeded no warnings, asked no one for their advice about what panel structure should go here, or if this new page setup is possible. They did it. They walked into the Wild West of comics and started to create.

Inheritance was built by doing the impossible, doing what others said was impossible. And it is that philosophy of treading my own path that made Inheritance into what its become and what it continues to evolve into. This did come with the constant battles of “No ones done this.” or “No one will pay attention to this part of the art.” In the face of this, I followed my gut and intuition and drove this story into the direction that it was meant to go and as a result, Inheritance has gone on to sell out comic con after comic con, and build a fan-base around the world.

As I sit here listening watching the Rogue One trailers, I am reminded of George Lucas, who when he first showed the rough cut of Star Wars A New Hope to his filmmaker friends, all but one said “the film would fail.” Here we sit now watching the next generation take the vision and grow it. This proves one singular point, trust yourself and push past the naysayers. Many people do not want to step out past the line of other people who likewise are too timid to be the person leading the charge. This is life, you only get one shot, fuck doubt and go for it before you’re sitting in a hospice home counting your last seconds.

I realize that for the first time I am faced with something I have wanted. I am faced with creating Inheritance in an atmosphere of innovation and quality. A place devoid of other’s fear, and crippling self-doubt. This is absolutely refreshing and invigorating. When I first met Marco Roblin, I discovered that we had more in common than I would’ve thought; a love of cinema, a love of old school filmmaking and a desire to change the face of comics forever. This is why Marco has inherited the mantle of Artist on Inheritance. His style and dedication to quality is amazing and it is exactly what Inheritance has needed.

Inheritance is the story of my mother and I, and now to see it ushered into the next evolutionary level by an amazing artist like Marco Roblin and our new Letterer who we will be announcing shortly, makes my heart skip a beat. My mother often said “Out of great tribulations and struggles you will find the real purpose for them. They will burn away the old and reveal something amazing that you were always looking for.” and in this case, yet again, my mother was right. What was burnt away made this series whole in a way I only dreamt of imagining.

So now that the great tribulation has come to an end and the skies have cleared ahead, Inheritance is set to continue as an unstoppable force. So to those of you, who like me are in the trenches of creating comics, buck up, drink a glass of concrete and harden the fuck up (Don’t remember where I heard that) and get to creating the books YOU want, not the ones other people tell you is allowed.

-James

 

 

cvjnkgzvyaa_fceBeen a while since I made my last post, I’ll explain why soon. First let us bask in the glory of Logan! Had enough? I’ve said for the longest time that comic books and comic movies have become too homogenized and the have had the same old story told over and over again. Quite frankly, I’ve long grown tired of the origin stories, the stories of people getting a super power and flying and then subsequently saving the world. It’s the same old useless trope used over and over again and I’d wager to say I’m not the only one feeling that these types of stories have overstayed their welcome. Batman V. Superman is a prime example of this idiocy. For god’s sake they told the origin story of Batman again, like we haven’t seen it countless time.

And with yesterdays trailer for Logan, it damn near made me cry. It’s never happened in a comic book movie, let alone a movie trailer.  This is a testament to the storytelling in the trailer alone, it gave you nothing much about the story, but emotionally kicked you in the teeth. A story about one of our favorite comic characters on his last legs, struggling to survive, while caring for an alzheimer consumed Professor X, is a story that we all can connect to. So much so that it practically eclipsed the trailer release for Guardians of the Galaxy 2. This is proof that people are tiring of superheroes, rapidly.

This too is my belief, I’m sick of Superhero Movies. Despite the exceptional Captain America: Civil War, which was amazing in it’s down to earth storytelling. So let me reiterate and alter my statement just a bit, I’m sick of superhero movies and comics that do the same story over and over again. This problem persists even in the indie comic circuits, a lot of people are out there trying to recapture the story of Batman, Superman, X-Men and the Avengers crew based comic, instead of creating new original material. I love when I go to a comic con and meet people who are creating new stories, new characters instead of rehashing the same story but with a different veneer and costume.

So hopefully Logan brings people out of their haze and they start to look for amazing storytelling with amazing characters that they can connect to.

14196128_1262799723770764_4575636305643769943_oUPDATES! Thanks to Eric Hutchison the creative genius over at Inbeon Studios for helping me bring my website and store online! That’s the main reason I have not been updating or posting, was because they were so awesome to help me! Can’t thank them enough!

I’ve got some amazing things coming up, I will be releasing an interview with me this monday, where I will be updating you on the status of projects, including the fan favorite, Inheritance. SO CHECK BACK HERE FOR THE UPDATE VIDEO ON MONDAY!

Steven Lisefski, the amazing artist and colorist known for his work on Sonic the Hedgehog is currently finalizing the updates to the Inheritance logo, so be sure to show him some love at Back of the Comic Shop.

I am absolutely excited for the future and what amazing things are just around the corner for not only myself but for you guys! Thanks for the love and support!

Cheers!

-James

Of Devils and Men

As both myself and Ken Knudtsen continue to prepare the upcoming kickstarter campaign for, Of Devils and Men. A campaign in which we will invite people from around the world to come in and help us create this story, a journey of people learning to overcome loss as their world submits to a great cataclysm. These types of stories have always interested me, ever since I was a child, because I could identify with them. Of Devils and Men does this effortlessly and in doing so it unites people under a story. This has been my sole goal in the creation of this story.

The approach to Of Devils and Men has always been from a truthful aspect. Not shunning my personal pain or past and how that affects my work to this day and most certainly not whitewashing or avoiding the racial tension of the 1880’s. In modern storytelling there is this desire to smooth out the corners of storytelling so as to not offend anybody or hurt their feelings. To do this is to betray the idea of art, to break the mirror we put up to society, and both Ken and I refuse to do this. It may cost us some people out the gate, but equally it will give people who are looking for the truth in storytelling something to connect to.

To quote the great, George Orwell “In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act.” I feel that we as artists and as people who consume artwork have allowed the fields to become dominated with glacial and homogenized husks that some believe is art. But once you get through the thin veneer, you see the truth as it exists, not as it is marketed. Art has and will always never be perfect, it’ll never appear to everyone, it’ll alienate many, it’ll band people together, it has the power to topple the greatest of regimes. That is why art is persistent and carries on long after we die, because the values, the messages, the epiphanies, the allegories and metaphors very rarely become obsolete and are passed down through the generations.

I’ve made the decision to tackle the truth of my life, and the truth of racial tension and how people were treated in the vast vistas of the Wild West within the confines of the train in Of Devils and Men. Anything less is patronizing. Anything less is a lie. Anything less gives our children a false sense of the past. If it hurts, then it hurts. You don’t get the right not to be offended, you also don’t get the right to censor what people say. It happened, we must always remember that. I was raised with that mind set and it’s that mindset that guides the creation of, Of Devils and Men.

Inherently these characters; a defunct priest who has lost his faith, an ailing widow struggling to help her special needs son while balancing her growing depression and a sheriff’s deputy who’s lust for power has cost him everything including his wife, all of their stories come directly from my life. My stories, films and comics are all a form of therapy for me and Of Devils and Men is the most personal story I’ve ever written.  So to bring this story to the pages of a graphic novel is heart pumping and a form of immolation of the pain in my life.

So now, I’m off to do some interviews. I am absolutely excited to bring this series to the masses! Ken is creating some incredible artwork! Kickstarter launches 9.30.16! Mark down the date and get ready to board the train as we create this amazing story.