Monday, September 21, 2009

Voices from Artists Alley: JOE HALEY and JOHN HALEY

First up in this series of interviews with the indie and small press creators who are the lifeblood of comics is a double barreled shot of adrenaline straight to the heart: Joe and John Haley. This brother team is... actually, they're not a team so much, since they were appearing at the New England Comic Con to promote entirely unrelated projects. On the other hand, Marvel Team-Up used to have much more random excuses than brotherhood to throw people together, and if it works for Spider-man and Brother Voodoo, it can work for these guys. Let's jump right in and allow these two to tell you about Joe's comic The Underburbs and John's superhero novel Legendary Sidekick -- in 4D!

Scott Harris: Let's start with you, Joe. I'm afraid I'm not familiar with The Underburbs. What can you tell us about that project?

Joe: The Underburbs is a series that I’ve been working on with my friend T. J. Dort since about 2005. We’ve got eight issues out now. It’s basically -- the story that there is this vampire girl – I’m gesturing with my hands, by the way, our [readers] should know that – there’s a vampire girl that’s comes from the evil dimension to try and take over the human world on Halloween night. Basically, she has like this magic scroll, turns people into monsters, but that’s really about as far as she’s plotted out. She just kind of expects people to sort of follow along with her and they don’t, because they’ve got their own problems in real life to worry about. But meanwhile, there’s like a girl who volunteers herself to be turned into a witch to try and stop her.

And you've been self-publishing this since 2005?

Joe: Yes, this is self-published. [Our imprint], Roiling Boil Press is basically a two-man operation, writing and drawing and distributing. We started working on it [in 2005]; the first issue came out in October, 2006.

How about you, John? What can you tell us about your new novel Legendary Sidekick - in 4D!?

John: Legendary Sidekick is about a guy who gets out of college and decides to become a sidekick for a superhero. So, he lives in a world where superheroes exist and it’s fairly normal. He winds up getting in way over his head and basically ends up having to be chosen by God to defeat demons. There’s an interplanetary war… pretty much what it is, it’s a series of journeys through time and space and each journey is meant to read as a different short story almost, where the genre practically changes. You have samurai at one point, cowboys, knights and castles, demonic creatures and then the regular super hero stuff is where we start off.

And this is also self-published?

John: Yes, this is self-published, so I also made up my little company called Dazzlingly Brilliant Books – and that little Chinese character actually means “smile”. I got the name from my Dad, who gave me a saying: if you can’t dazzle them with your brilliance, baffle them with your bullshit. I don’t know if I can say that. You can always replace it with little swirly things and asterisks on the site when you retype it I suppose.

Obviously, you're both long time fans of comic books.

John: Yeah, we just have different ways of expressing it. For example, I did draw scenes from the book by hand, but because my drawings basically suck compared to everything else here, you don’t see them in the book. But I do draw them to visualize, and I don’t want to toot my own horn or anything but one thing I was proud of in this book is that it does create a lot of strong visuals. Which I do with words, where my brother’s art is beautiful.

Joe: Yeah, I do my visuals with visuals.

Lastly, do you have any websites where our readers can check out your work online?

Joe: Yes I do. I’m on deviant art, so it would just be I put a lot of convention sketches, things like that, covers. The actual comic isn’t online, but it can be ordered online.

John: Yep. And I’ve got my book on a site called, which is a self-publishing site for writers, and from there I have some free downloads, short stories and stuff like that. You can see a book review and interview for the book. And, of course, the book itself is on there and on Amazon as well.

Thanks very much guys, I appreciate the time. Hopefully my readers will check our these projects. Good luck.

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