Kickstart the Comic – Arthur Blackfrost

Curses and horror go hand in hand. Whether it is something that ensures you live forever as a rotted corpse or it foretells how you are going to die, they become all-consuming for those afflicted. A disease of the soul, which ensures nothing else can be well and good until it has been lifted.

And that might be the worst part, trying to figure out how to remove it.


Arthur Blackfrost: A 72-Page Dark Fantasy Graphic Novel

Writer – Justin Gray

Illustrator – Laura Rimaszombati


Kickstarter Campaign ends on Wednesday, November 14, 2018 at 10:00 AM EST.


The Pitch:

A remote fishing village – surrounded by vast seas and faced with a magical heritage, he never knew existed, Arthur Blackfrost will discover some folktales about his island home are true… and could be the key to breaking a centuries-old family curse or… make it much worse.


The Story:

After his father abandons his family, a young fisherman named Arthur inherits a curse that has plagues his bloodline for generations. On the eve of the annual fishing tournament, Arthur begs the spirit of the ocean for help. What happens next changes the lives of everyone in Gull Harbor and unravels the mystery of the Blackfrost Curse.


John’s Thoughts:

When I clicked on the Kickstarter Page, I was struck by Laura Rimaszombati’s artwork. In the introduction, Justin Gray invokes stories like Coraline and Corpse Bride, and while this artwork isn’t that, it has a fantastical feel to it right away. It reminds me of various pieces of art and nothing at the same time. And seems perfect for the type of story Justin Gray has laid out in the Kickstarter.

The Rewards:

Overall, this is a pretty straightforward Kickstarter when it comes to Pledges. You can get the book in digital ($10 level) or paperback/softcover ($20 level) or hardcover ($30 level). There are also opportunities to double down with Arthur Blackfrost and and all-ages novel The Adventures of Penelope Hawk ($40 level). The one higher end Reward Level ($120) has not only the hardcover of Arthur Blackfrost but a “box full of Hardcovers and paperbacks predominately from DC Comics” – which is one way to start up your Justin Gray collection!


The Verdict:

I feel like you just need to look at the images and ask yourself if you want a dark fantasy graphic novel to sit on your shelf. Something with great looking artwork and a compelling story? Is that something which might interest you? ūüôā


To find out more about Arthur Blackfrost, check out the Kickstarter Page here.


John McGuire is the creator/author of the steampunk comic The Gilded Age. The Trade paperback collecting the first 4 issues is finally back from the printers! If you would like to purchase a copy, go here!

Want to read the first issue for free? Click here! Already read it and eager for more?

Click here¬†to join John’s mailing list.

His other prose appears in The Dark That Follows, Hollow Empire, Beyond the Gate, and Machina Obscurum РA Collection of Small Shadows.

He can also be found at

Steampunk Fridays – Kickstart the Comic – The Death Defying #1


One of my loves has always been stage magic. I’m the guy that those tv shows about real life illusionists and every David Copperfield is for. I’ll stop what I’m doing to watch that stuff. And it wasn’t long before I discovered who Harry Houdini was. I’m not sure what it is about him – the fact that he brought a mixture of escapism to his tricks or that he was around during the height of Vaudeville or what, but I know I’ve written at least one school paper on the man.

So a comic with him (and Arthur Conan Doyle) is something that piques my interest.


The Death Defying #1

Christopher Sebela – Writer

Gavin Guidry – Artist

Marissa Louise – Colors

Micah Meyers – Letters

Kickstarter campaign ends on Tuesday, November 14, 2017 at 6:33 PM EST.


The Pitch:

Arthur Conan Doyle & Harry Houdini.

The writer and the magician.

They were once the best of Friends.

When their friendship went to hell, 

The world wasn’t very far behind.

The Story:

Harry Houdini and Arthur Conan Doyle used to be fast friends, visiting one another and writing letters back and forth, until their differing views on the afterlife set them against one another on stages and newspapers across the globe. Years after their breakup, the two continue to battle about spiritualism, the belief that the living can communicate with the dead. Doyle, creator of the great detective Sherlock Holmes, believes in ghosts, mediums, even photos of fairies. Houdini spends his time debunking the seances and the frauds who run them. The two are at war, two ideological armies whose battle of words is about to become a battle to the death for the very fate of humankind.

This Kickstarter is to fund production and printing of The Death Defying #1, the first in a series of four 30-page issues.

John’s Thoughts:

In real life Doyle and Houdini were friends, but this divide of ideologies proved to be too much. Doyle needed to believe, and I sometimes think Houdini wanted to find someone he couldn’t disprove (he never did). This feels like very ripe territory to construct a story. How does a skeptic deal with some coming supernatural apocalypse? How does a believer deal with the idea that he will be the downfall of his former friend?

Like I said, ripe territory for a story (the first 6 pages are previewed on the Kickstarter Page).

The Rewards:

This is the first issue, so there are the standard pdf only or print versions of the comic. But a couple of things jumped out at me. At the $12 level, you can get a print copy with the variant cover by Tyler Crook (of Petrograd, Harrow County, Bad Blood, and The Dark and Bloody).

For those script-writers who would like a little bit of help with their craft, Christopher Sebela will consult on your single issue script. For those of us who might not have an editor readily available, I can see this as being a relatively cheap way to get a non-biased second opinion on your story ($75 level).

And for the slightly deeper pockets you can appear in the comic you’re buying ($100 level), an always cool option.

The Verdict: 

Time is running low on this particular Kickstarter with less than a week to go. I’d love to see this one make its mark and provide us all with the opening chapter of a very cool story idea.


For more information on Christopher Sebela, find it here on his website.



John McGuire

The Gilded Age Kickstarter is still going on. Check it out on Kickstarter here.

John McGuire is the creator/author of the steampunk comic The Gilded Age. Want to read the first issue for free? Click here! Already read it and eager for more?

Click here¬†to join John’s mailing list.

His prose appears in¬†The Dark That Follows,¬†Theft & Therapy,¬†There’s Something About Mac,¬†Hollow Empire,¬†Beyond the Gate, and¬†Machina Obscurum – A Collection of Small Shadows.

He can also be found at

Kickstart the Comic – Standstill #1

Post-apocalyptic stories come in all shapes and sizes, but what they truly are about is the survivors. Like any good science fiction, they force the reader to ask questions: What if it was me who lived? What would I do to survive? At what point might it all no longer be worth it?


Standstill #1

From Justin Gray

Justin Gray – Writer

Brox – Artist

Kickstarter campaign ends on Thursday, July 20, 2017, at 10:08 AM EDT.

The Pitch:

At its core, Standstill is the bastard love child of the Americana survival horror genre and a romantic Greek tragedy. The dramatic table is set here in the opening chapter when you are introduced to Mason and Luna, two young people very much in love, but that love is going to be tested under unimaginable circumstances over the course of their story. I say their story because Standstill is big enough to sustain multiple storylines over time and that’s how I’ve been writing it. As it progresses from chapter to chapter, the story is visceral, emotional, and, in some cases, not for the faint of heart.

The Story:

Over 7 billion people live on planet Earth. What if 6 billion of them suddenly and inexplicably stopped moving – like toys that ran out of batteries. What would happen if the world came to a… Standstill.

John’s Thoughts:

The little blurb on the back of the book. The little bit of text where you have to put the idea out there enough so that it will catch someone’s eye. Simple, concise… everything I look for in a story. On the surface, it is the type of idea which could have just as easily worked in a novel format… but as a lover of comics, I’ll happily take what Justin Gray and Brox are putting out there.

Art by Brox. Standstill Issue 1, Page 1

The Rewards:

A couple of things popped out to me:

The digital comic is very reasonable at $3 and you get a copy of the script which, as a writer, is never a bad thing to know a little more about someone else’s process.

The physical copy at $5. Many comics end up charging far more than that even before shipping.

The ability to add a digital ad to the digital version of the comic at the $8 level. At the time of this writing, a small amount of money could get you in front of at least 225 backers where maybe something you write in your pitch becomes the thing which drives them to your story.

Art by Brox. Standstill Issue 1, Page 2

The Verdict:

Justin talks about the idea coming to him if he woke up and everyone else was paralyzed, waiting to die.

That is some messed up thinking… a man after my own heart. I don’t know where the story may end up going, or what the long-term ideas he may have already mapped out, but at least in the initial issue, I am all aboard to see what happens next.


For more information on Standstill or Justin’s other comic projects, check out his Facebook Page here.


John McGuire

John McGuire is the author of the supernatural thriller¬†The Dark That Follows,¬†the steampunk comic¬†The Gilded Age, and the novellas Theft & Therapy and There’s Something About Mac¬†through the Amazon Kindle Worlds program.

His second novel, Hollow Empire, is now complete. The first episode is now FREE!

He also has a short story in the Beyond the Gate anthology, which is free on most platforms!

And has two shorts in the Machina Obscurum РA Collection of Small Shadows anthology! Check it out!

He can also be found at

Behind the Comic – Terminus Team Up #2


Terminus Team-up #2

Writer – John McGuire

Pencils – Shamus Beyale

Inks – Rich Perrotta

Colors – Ann Siri

Letters – Khari J. Sampson

Editors – Tony Cade & Robert Jeffrey II


And as I wrote in the intro, I cheated a little with this comic. You see, the point of the Team Up books are to present the character Amber Fox interacting with various other Terminus Media comic books. Issue #1, written by our own Robert Jeffrey II, had her interact with Terra Force.

(And by interact I mean try to steal something from them and pretty much have the whole team hunting her down.)

Issue 2 it was suggested that Amber Fox come to the Gilded Age.

Pencils – Shamus Beyale, Inks – Rich Perrotta, Colors – Ann Siri

I wasn’t exactly behind that idea. Not that I’m against the idea of having other characters pop up in my comics, but more that I wasn’t even sure where to begin with such an idea. At its core, The Gilded Age is a steampunk comic book where the technology level is late 19th Century for the most part. Amber Fox is from a future where she can effectively teleport, she has laser knives as her primary weapon, nanites travelling through her body… how in the world can I possibly make something like that work and not just feel…

Out of place.

This was an opportunity. Not only to tell another story, get another Gilded Age “thing” out there, but to find a way to do it that I was happy with. And like so many times when I’m not sure what to do about a writing related problem – I focus on something else. Allow my mind to work on the problem “behind the scenes” for a bit.

I don’t know where the solution came from, but I hit upon the solution for my problem. It would focus on the Time Traveling aspect of Amber Fox, but from more of a HG Wells inspired way. Looking at the cover above, you can get a good idea of what I might be talking about.

More than that, this needed to have something else. A reason for the story to exist beyond “hey wouldn’t it be cool if”.

From Amazon:

Terminus Team Up shows us the continuing adventures of Amber Fox, a woman who is tasked with recovering all manner of strange and powerful objects across space and time. And while she appears in this issue…

This story is not necessarily about her.

Nor is it about Lucas Knight, the inventor/scientist from The Gilded Age.

This comic is about beginnings and endings…

Think about Time Travel for a moment. What would you want to see? ¬†A question pondered by fiction writers and scientists. And if you were a scientist looking at the end of the century? Could be that endings might be on your mind. And here is this woman with the ability to show you things you didn’t even know you wanted to see.

Things started falling into place. There was just one last piece: Shamus Beyale, the artist for the book. Since he came on the book as I was still working on the rough draft I thought it might be a good idea to see what things he might like to draw. I gotta think the worst thing for an artist is to hate drawing something like horses, and then reading the script where every panel apparently has a horse in it.

And bless Shamus, he came up with the last piece of the story. He mentioned how there was a “sense of death in the story” and he’d “like to see right before the end of things/eras”. End of the dinosaurs, Pompeii, the end of the neanderthals… all of this was just golden stuff and was tying the book together in a way hadn’t expected.

But he had one more… something that had a personal connection to him. From one of our emails about the project:

“The next thing would be something related to my culture. I’m Navajo and our people went through a genocide of sorts called the Long Walk. Although our culture didn’t end with it, we barely survived.”

Page 19 – One of the Long Walk Pages

It’s something I wasn’t even aware of, but once I read a little about it, I knew we needed it in the comic.


More than anything, Team-up 2 served to remind me of the truth about comic books: That nothing is done in a bubble. You have collaborators, reach out to them and see what can get them jazzed about doing a story your constructing. Hopefully, it makes them feel as much ownership of the project as the original creator has. In the end, you will have a stronger final product.

And something you can all feel proud of being a part of.


John McGuire

John McGuire is the author of the supernatural thriller¬†The Dark That Follows,¬†the steampunk comic¬†The Gilded Age, and the novella¬†There’s Something About Mac¬†through the Amazon Kindle Worlds program.

His second novel, Hollow Empire, is now complete. The first episode is now FREE!

He also has a short story in the Beyond the Gate anthology, which is free on most platforms!

And has two shorts in the Machina Obscurum РA Collection of Small Shadows anthology! Check it out!

He can also be found at

Comic Challenge, Part 8 (29-33)

For the first 7 in this series, check out: 1 & 2 & 3 & 4 & 5 & 6 & 7.

29. Comic That Totally Blew My Mind

The Guilded Age

The Guilded Age

The Gilded Age

Yes, it is a cheat. I don’t care. While I had stories printed up prior to this one, they were not done with the intention of only being an issue 1. Those were self-contained little beasts. Get in, tell the story, and get out. My short story.

Gilded Age is my novel.

Through completing that first script, and then needing to do an issue 2 (issue 2, what’s that?), and #3 and #4… all pointing towards a view to collect them into a trade paperback. It tells me I can do it again and again and again if I persevere long enough. If I’m just too damn stubborn, then maybe… just maybe.

(And of course it didn’t hurt that Sheldon Mitchell, Rich Perrotta, Tom Chu, and Khari J. Sampson ¬†did such excellent work bringing it to life.)


30. Favorite Comic Book Couple

I love Peter Parker and Mary Jane.

Wally West and Linda Park.

Bruce Wayne and Selina Kyle.

But those are romantic couples, and I think the spirit of this one goes more to the team-ups which make comic books great. So in that spirit my choice is:


Rocket and Groot

When the two of them appeared on the cover of a book I was considering getting, I rolled my eyes. Seriously? A f#$@#$#ing raccoon and a big tree? What is this crap? They pay people to write this stuff?

Etc. Etc.

4 issues later I realized how wrong I was.

And everyone else found out the same thing when they saw Guardians of the Galaxy. I betting there were a lot of “A raccoon? Ugh.” before walking out of the theater with a “Rocket and Groot ruled!”

Yes. Yes they do. Welcome to the club.


31. A Comic You Plan on Reading

invader zim comic

Invader Zim

If you’ve never had the pleasure of watching the cartoon, you owe it to yourself to do so. The story of an alien trying to take over the earth along with his idiotic sidekick – GIR, he finds that he must enlist in school and suffer as all kids must do.

I reread the above and realize I didn’t do the best pitch, so here it goes again:

Zim is a jerk.

GIR loves taquitos.

Dib is an f-up who is trying to expose Zim as an alien.

Ok. That’s probably confusing.

3rd time is a charm:

It’s awesome.

And now there is a comic.

Nuff said.


32. A Comic You Thought You’d Hate But Ended Up Loving



An odd choice to appear on this one, I know. Typically this would show up under Favorite Comic, Favorite Writer, Best Comic of All Time, Best Twist, and so on.

However, I didn’t read Watchmen right away when it came out (I would have been about 10). In fact, I was 23 or 24 before sitting down to read it. You know that thing where one person tells you something is great, and then you read someone else loves that thing… but instead of thinking “awesome, something new to love” you think “I’ll be damned if I’m going to like that THING.” Don’t know why it triggered that way.

So I avoided it for as long as I can. But at some point if you like comics you should probably read the damn book.

And of course I loved it. It’s great. It holds up really well to the passing of time. And if you view it for when it actually came out… wow. Just wow.

Obviously nothing new here to say about the book. Just happy to have been wrong in this case.


33. An Ongoing Series You Wish Was Still Being Published

Sometimes when we talk about series that we miss, we’re really talking about missing the way a series “used to be”. The comic may actually exist in some form or fashion, but it no longer lines up with what we had hoped for. So for this one I have a particular version of a comic (as it has come back in a few different iterations):

new warriors 1

The New Warriors (original team)

This was my favorite comic for as long as it existed. There was about a year or so during college where the only two comics I could afford to collect consistently were The Flash and The New Warriors. I don’t know if it was the Teen Titans feel in some ways and yet that idea they were not sidekicks by any means. Maybe it was the fact that the whole thing opened with Night Thrasher holding a powerless Richard Rider (Nova to you and me) and dropped him from the roof in an effort to restart his powers (and he wasn’t sure it was going to work). Maybe it was Speedball, a throw-away character suddenly given a voice. Firestar, one of my favorites from the Spider-Man and his Amazing Friends cartoon.

I don’t know exactly why, but I just know I looked forward to it every month.

So that’s it, with a couple of extra thrown in, and it only took a year to get through. ūüôā


John McGuire

John McGuire is the author of the supernatural thriller¬†The Dark That Follows,¬†the steampunk comic¬†The Gilded Age, and the novella¬†There’s Something About Mac¬†through the Amazon Kindle Worlds program.

His second novel, Hollow Empire, is now complete. The first episode is now FREE!

He also has a short story in the Beyond the Gate anthology, which is free on most platforms!

And has two shorts in the Machina Obscurum РA Collection of Small Shadows anthology! Check it out!

He can also be found at