Archive for May, 2013

Minutes after an oil change and another plugging of my driver’s side tire—the second in as many months. Note: My tire has an unhealthy attraction to nails and other pokey street refuse, but that’s another story. I was once again on the road, only to be rear-ended by an erratically driven minivan. By erratic, I mean that this minivan was in equal parts swerving and tailgating me, while I eyed my rearview mirror warily.

As if sensing an audience, the driver brought her vehicular ode to interpretative dance to a mighty crescendo, and smashed into my back bumper.

Stepping out onto the street, I let her know my displeasure with a few choice words and a stern shake of my head. We pulled off onto the side of the road, and our duties as motorists began to unfold accordingly. Only then, did I realize something was off.

This woman, I’ll call her Sad-Crazy-Medusa, for the sake of her privacy and all that, stepped from her minivan. She proceeded to open all of the doors to the vehicle, including the hatchback. She then trotted toward me, her jogging pants hanging on for dear life, her hair attacking the air in all directions, and her otherworldly stare set upon her prey… me.

“Here’s my license and registration, take it.” Sad-Crazy-Medusa blurted out.
“Uh, I don’t need that. The cops are coming, give it to them.” I replied, still a little miffed.

Just then an empty McDonald’s bag, the wind carrying it, skipped down the pavement from the open driver’s side door, and came to a rest at my feet. As if a cork had been pulled, the minivan (which also doubled as a scaled down version of the city dump) began spitting out various fast food wrappers, plastic grocery bags, and enough receipts to bring an accountant to tears. She was of course oblivious to the litter hell that her van was now unleashing. I pointed to the burst littergasm that had just erupted.

“Hey miss, the wind is blowing a bunch of stuff out of your car.” I said.
“Oh, huh.” was her only response.

After an uncomfortable moment, she walked back to her vehicle and sat in her passenger seat. I leaned against my car and breathed a sigh of relief, only to be shocked out of my waking slumber, by her frantic screams.

“Hey! Help me! I just lost my phone and license! Come here, please!”

I thought of jumping into my car, of riding off, the radio blaring Beastie Boy’s Sabotage as I smiled and saluted, leaving this strange moment forever. The scene replayed itself over and over inside my head as I walked toward her van.

“What?” I asked.
“I lost my license and my phone!”
“You just had them. I saw them in your hand.”
“Call my phone! Call my phone!”
“Fine.” I said, giving in to her demands.

She gave me her phone number (surprisingly the first three digits weren’t 6) and I called.
As I listened to the ring of a number I will never call again, she looked up at me angrily and shouted,

“Put your head in here so you can hear it, too!”
“No! Listen for it yourself.” I shot back, trying to contain my growing frustration at being dragged into her crazy place.

Suddenly, she began sniffing the air around her, in an attempt to locate her ringing phone. I thought back to an imaginary article I once read which described ear and nose transplants that had been botched, causing the recipient to hear from their schnoz and smell through their ears. I wondered if there was a lawsuit underway or better yet, if she somehow used this medical mishap to solve mysteries.

“I found it!” She screamed, plucking the phone and license from a pile of papers on the driver’s side seat.

Without saying another word, I walked back to my car and waited for the police officer to arrive. It appeared I was on some sort of hidden camera show. But if so, they had hid those damn things well, and I couldn’t be absolutely certain that this was the case.

I watched from the corner of my eye, as Sad-Crazy-Medusa slowly managed to escape the clutches of her minivan and once again trotted over to me. I pretended to write a text. The jumble of words on my screen spelled Help Me! in a language that only now came into existence. I knew then that I would one day dub this new language iambusydonotinteractwithmeglish.

“Do you like Fringes?!” She spat the words at me as if my answer would determine the outcome of this situation.
“You mean Fringe.”
“I uh, yeah, I guess.”
“They jump eclipses and live in different worlds.”
“I just got out of the hospital for migraines. What day is it?”
“Um, May 30th” I said, the confusion visible on my face.
“Yeah, it’s a great show!” She replied, with a toothy smile.

On and on it went, and I realized that this woman was in a situation beyond my capabilities as a doctor (of pepper). Mercifully, the police cruiser rolled into the parking lot. It’s siren ringing out for a moment, as if to say: The game is over. You don’t have to talk to her any longer, but she has issues and you should feel kind of like an asshole for thinking these rude thoughts about her. Those sirens can say a lot.

Thankfully, at least part, if not all of the sirens message was true. Sad-Crazy-Medusa took to the officer’s uniform and air of authority, like one of her many cats undoubtedly took to catnip and dead-stranger meat. I had finally been freed from her grasp, though I did feel a pang of guilt for the new guy. I watched as she talked in a hushed conspiratorial tone to the officer, who according to his facial expression, began to better understand what he had just strolled into. She then mentioned something about his handcuffs, and he took a step back.

From there, the officer filed his report and she was ticketed for the collision and for having no insurance. She did mention something about having misplaced it. I pictured it being used as a paper bowl for the catnip and the smaller of dead-stranger’s organs. She emphatically crossed her heart and promised to give the card to the officer, at a later date, as I coughed the word court into my hand. He and I exchanged glances, and I knew that Sad-Crazy-Medusa had dealt her final blow.


Hey Folks!

The Mark Twain House and Museum is hosting a signing at A Hero’s Legacy Comics & Collectibles, in Manchester, CT. Nik will be on hand with limited edition print copies of Huck Finn’s Adventures in Underland (Issues 1 & 2), as well as free pins and prints! It’s all going down this Saturday at 2pm. If you happen to be in the area, stop by and say hello!

Also, don’t forget you can currently purchase issues of Huck Finn’s Adventures in Underland digitally at Comixology:




HFAUissue1coversmallWell, the day has finally arrived! Our new five issue mini-series, Huck Finn’s Adventures in Underland is now available for purchase on Comixology: 

This comic series was my first foray into writing all-ages comic books. My previous work has been in many other genres: crime, horror, and the occasional thriller. As well as the silliness that shows up here on a weekly (we’re trying) basis. Some might call it comedy, some might not be as kind, and some might just spit in my general direction. In any event, let’s get back to the subject at hand, how Huck Finn’s Adventures in Underland came to be (Just in case you were wondering).

After a misstep or three, I decided to write this as an all-ages comic book, instead of a horror/fantasy, which it was originally intended to be. I was excited at the prospect of working on something that my children might actually be allowed to read. Not to mention, that I relished the opportunity of introducing them to Mark Twain, Lewis Carroll, H.P. Lovecraft, and especially Huckleberry Finn. In my mind, I imagined this comic book as my gift to them. What actually happened was a bit different.

As pages came in, and the comic book started to progress in the way they usually do (script, layouts, pencils, inks, colors, and letters), both of my boys began sharing in this developmental process with me. Popping in and out of the room, Peeking around me at the computer screen, and asking a never ending barrage of questions. All the while, I tried to patiently look over the beginning stages of pages, as well as the end product, when the time came. I didn’t realize it then, but looking back, they were actually—in their own unique ways—helping oversee the creation of this comic book.

And after each of the first three issues had finally been finished, we sat at the computer and read each one together—unfortunately, I don’t hold a candle to the master narrators at audible… although, I have picked up a few of their tricks.

My boys seemed to enjoy the first issue, and immediately had questions, as well as quite a few suggestions for the second issue. Which in turn, had me rethinking my future scripts just a tad. After reading the second issue, these suggestions only increased, as well as taking the occasional odd turn. And after the third issue, odd became the norm. Although, I must confess, I can’t say this surprised me.

After all, we’re talking about a four-year-old, and a six-year-old, who consider eating chicken nuggets and drooling over an endless marathon of SpongeBob SquarePants to be on par with heaven. Whereas, I would rather stick my head in a wood chipper, then listen to that spongy bastard barf words at me for any prolonged period of time. Chicken nuggets are okay, though.

Suffice it to say, not all of their ideas were home runs. Still, some of their input, and more importantly, the little moments that they took a special liking to, began to squeeze their way more and more into this comic. And what started as a rather straightforward mashup, went decidedly off course… a metamorphosis of sorts.

So, as of writing this (at five in the flipping morning), I’m proud to say that Huck Finn’s Adventures in Underland is definitely written by me. Its pencils and inks are most certainly handled with flair and dedication by Gabriel (Gabo) Peralta. Its colors are without question, blended beautifully by Felipe Gaona. Its letters have undoubtedly been placed with precision and care by Peter Simeti. And, its gorgeous covers are created with exquisite craftsmanship, by none other than the talented Brian Level.

But, it was Aleks and Maks who brought this book to life. And I hope you enjoy the series as much as we do working on it.

Thanks for reading,