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Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Progress Report


Summer 2019 has been an extremely productive time for me. In between writing, making YouTube Videos, doing livestreams and making appearances on radio shows I’ve barely had time to blog.

In May I made an appearance on the True Power Is Mine Show where we talked about numerous issues in the Black community and my books. It was a very productive discussion.

I also made my second appearance on the Judge Joe Brown Show in July. On that show we discussed the New Female James Bond and the social engineering agenda to feminize iconic male characters like James Bond.   I talked about how there were so many great original characters like E’steem out there and how Hollywood doesn’t want to spend money on new characters, but wants to push an agenda.

In August I made an appearance on Shawn Stewart In the Morning Radio show. There I promoted THE MAN CRISIS and talked about Men’s issues in the Black community and issues in the Black community.

And I made multiple appearances on Obsidian Radio over the course of the summer to promote THE MAN CRISIS and talk about a series of issues in the Black community. Thanks to Obsidian’s help THE MAN CRISIS has been selling briskly, and is now past 250 paperback and eBook sales and on its way to 300 copies sold.  

THE MAN CRISIS has gotten a lot of positive feedback from readers and many say the book has transformed their lives.

On the nonfiction side the Simp Trilogy books continue to sell well, with Stop Simpin in the Workplace and Misadventures ofCaptain-Save-A-Hoe selling the strongest.

Along with the appearances on radio shows I’ve been doing livestreams every Wendesday and Friday for my viewers and producing daily YouTube videos. So Far I’ve produced over 2,200 videos and I’m getting closer to 11,000 subscribers.

While I’ve done a lot of appearances on shows about Black issues I would love to do a comic show and a Goth show. Possibly something where I can talk about Black fantasy, comic books and sci-fi or the Black Goth Subculture. If anyone is doing those kinds of shows you can hit me up on Facebook or Twitter and we can schedule an appearance! 

On the publishing side I’ve been building momentum on sales of the 2019 catalog books.

John Haynes: Dark Succubus has come out of the gate with strong sales. Building on the momentum of John Haynes: A Conversation With Death, Dark Succubus has been getting a lot of positive feedback from readers on social media who tell me they loved the story.

From what I’ve been hearing from readers John Haynes is starting to build a fanbase and a following. I’m hoping that readers come back for John Haynes: The Man With Nothing To Lose next year. I posted a teaser of one of the TWO covers for the book by Josh Howard and I hope to have Mike William’s cover up when I get it.

I know it’s kind of crazy to put two covers on a paperback, but I figure if comic book can publisher can sell a book with a variant cover a paperback publisher could too.

Isis: All That Glitters also has sold well this year. The book has had strong paperback, and Kindle sales and has picked up readers on KindleUnlimited. People seem to like the story where the Goddess next door takes on GoldenShine the bikini clad bank robber.  

E’steem Goddess of? Also sold strongly over the course of the last nine months. It’s sold well in paperback, Kindle and has gotten a couple of Kindle Unlimited downloads.

On the backlist E’steem The Sands of Time continues to sell well. The Teen Time Travel romance has continued to move over the summer. My take on the Disney princess story has been building momentum over the summer and I’m hoping it continues to keep building an audience.  

As I promoted E’steem: Goddess of? I saw readers picking up back books in the E’steem series. Books like E’steem: like Little Girl Lost, E’steem Ascension sold strongly over the summer.

And to my surprise readers who picked up older E’steem books like The Beast From The Bowels, Faerie Tale, Demons Anonymous and Baptism of Blood. Looks like

John Haynes: A Conversation With Death also continues to sell well. Readers of John Haynes Dark Succubus are coming back to to pick up the first book in the John Haynes series and new casual readers continue to pick up the title.

In addition readers picked up The Temptation of John Haynes and The Man Who Rules The world along with Isis Bride of Dracula and Isis: Escape From Transylvania.

Isis: Imitation of Life continues to sell well. The Fantasy Flashback tale about Isis helping a girl during Jim crow continues to get positive feedback from readers who

Other Isis series backlist titles that continue to do well include Isis: The Beauty Myth, Isis: House of Isis, Isis Bride of Dracula, Isis: Wrath of the Cybergoddess, and Isis: Escape From Transylvania. Usually the Bill Walko Cover Isis books do better than the hand drawn ones. I’m hoping to do something to put new covers on the books of the first Isis story arc so readers can feel confident about picking up those books. There are so many great stories there that readers are missing out on and I want readers to discover those early stories and why they’re so much fun!

On the Goth side of the catalog, the books of the Spinsterella trilogy continue to sell well. Spinsterella and Spellbound sold well over the summer, and Legendary Mad Matilda gets a lot of Kindle Unlimited reads.

I’m starting to get feedback from people in the Goth scene and they like what they’re reading in the Spinsterella books. I want to write another Spinsterella book, but I gotta find time to do it.

To my surprise I’m starting to see a resurgence of sales on A Recipe for $uccess in recent months. I had thought the cute funy romantic comedy I published back in 2008 as The Cassandra Cookbook had run its course. But it looks like readers are rediscovering the book. With the book being out for over 10 years, I’m thinking it’s time for a paperback reissue!

I’m pushing hard to sell more fiction because I have so many great stories and I want readers to discover them.

While I’ve been promoting the 2019 books on social media and during my livestreams I’ve been working on the books of the 2020 SJS DIRECT catalog. Those titles include:

Coming in 2020! 
John Haynes: The Man With Nothing To Lose where The Man Who Rules The World takes on a The Block, a man who lost everything he challenged John in the first Chapter of The Man Who Rules The World. This one is ACTION PACKED and is gonna be a CLASSIC!

Isis: The Main Event, where the Goddess next door steps in a wrestling ring to conclude the Nemesis story arc and is the turning point for the Isis series.

And E’steem: Blast From The Past which follows up on the events of E’steem: The Sands of Time, where Hell’s aspiring Angel Takes on her evil past self. It’s a battle of light and darkness and shows how much E’steem has grown since her demon days.

And I’m hoping to release a new novel Eternal Night. Eternal Night is the origin story of Lilith Graves and takes us further into the world of Vampires in the SJS DIRECT Universe. As readers get a look into Lilith’s early days as an undead and how she learned how to survive in the realm of the Undead they’ll get to learn more about the SJS DIRECT vampire lore. Spinsterella trilogy fans definitely want to pick up this one, Mad Matilda makes a cameo in this book! 

I’m in the middle of the second round of editing and doing page layouts on Isis: The Main event and John Haynes: The Man With Nothing to Lose. Mike Williams is working on the John Haynes: The Man with Nothing to Lose cover, and I’ve got in toudh with Bill Walko about working on the cover for Isis: The Main Event. If things work out, both these books will be the first out the gate for Spring 2020! 

And I’m in the middle of writing the second act of the first draft of Eternal Night and plotting out E’steem: Blast From The Past.  I’ve been working feverishly to get these books done Hoping to have all the books of the SJS DIRECT 2020 catalog out early Spring for the summer reading season. 

Outlining out the stories to wrap up the second story arc of the Isis series. I want to bring the Cybergoddess back for another story, and I want to conclude things with Isis finally meeting Colleen, from The Thetas. I think it’ll be a nice book end to the Imitation of Life and Death of a Theta storylines.  

Also planning the next two John Haynes books. One is titled John Haynes: Taking Care of Business will feature John working with Lilith Graves, his right hand woman. The second has John and Death teaming up again. Readers LOVE Death and I have to bring her back for another story. This one will be a bit more philosophical and get into Life and Death, love hate and envy.

Got some fun stories planned for the second E’steem story arc. Want to bring Morgan Le Fay Back for a Murder Mystery that’s like a mystic version of CSI, and I want to have E’steem face off against the Witches of Eastland again. Trying to keep the Post Ascension E’steem stories just a light and fun as the Demon ones and trying to give her some challenging new rogues like Avarisk, The Tormentor. 

Over the last couple of months I’ve been working harder and pushing to get to that next level. Trying to get my name and my work out there. Trying to reach new readers and build that audience. Working towards that big break and the sales that will allow me to find a way to make a living writing.

Monday, September 2, 2019

John Haynes: The Man With Nothing To Lose Cover "B" By Josh Howard


Josh Howard is one of my favorite comic artists. And I’ve wanted to work with him for years. I always thought my characters would be a perfect fit for his art style. And now that I’ve seen my characters in his style, I’m FLOORED.

This cover is a MASTERPIECE.  Josh did an AMAZING job on it! Josh tells a great story of John and E’steem as a Black power couple ready to stand together to take on the supernatural forces of evil.

Josh’s cover is inspired by a photograph of John Steed and Emma Peel from the Classic 1960s UK series The Avengers. When I saw that image of Steed and Peel standing together represented who were confident and assured they could work together take on any challenge that came their way.

I love how Josh kept spirit of the formal UK Avengers image but gave it American grit and ruggedness. There’s a lot of great nuances he put in the piece, like John’s rolled up shirt sleeve symbolizing his strength and E’steem’s light representing what inspires them both to keep fighting the good fight against Lucifer and his Legion. It’s a great image of Black power and Black love that I believe will inspire readers of the John Haynes series.   

Now that I’ve got Josh’s version of John and E’steem I definitely want an Isis to go along with it soon!

I couldn't have put this AWESOME Cover on John Haynes: The Man With Nothing to lose without the support of all you donors! So I thank you all for your continuing support!

John Haynes: The Man With Nothing To Lose will be available in 2020. Josh’s cover is one of TWO covers that’ll be featured on the book, Mike Williams will be designing a CLASSIC cover as well.

Thursday, August 29, 2019

Isis: The Main Event Color Cover Art & Color Umbuttra Model Sheet

Finally got to coloring the Isis: The Main Event Cover Concept. With the colors it really POPS. I want this cover to have BIG action with  an imperiled Isis held over the edge of the cage by the Umbuttra, Hell’s Beast from the Bowels, with Nemesis the Greek goddess of Retribution trying to come to the rescue with a steel chair. I can't wait to see what Bill Walko does with this one! 

I drew inspiration for this one from the 1998 Hell in a Cell where Mankind fought The Undertaker. With this being a battle between goddesses and one of Hell’s most powerful demons, I wanted to present a battle that was EPIC on the level of that match. Anyone who has seen the Taker/Mankind Match knows it set the gold standard for Hell in a Cell Matches and I wanted the fight between Isis, Nemesis and Umbuttra to be as big a spectacle as that one. 

 When I was writing this story a lot of parallels between wrestlers, gods and superheroes. and I wanted to design a cover concept that showed how all three of those worlds were similar.  

Also did Umbuttra’s model sheet. Wanted to give her dreadlocks to contrast her ram  horns. And with her being in the Ninth Level of Hell, she ain’t gonna find a hairdresser.   

I got inspired by TNA and WWE superstar Awesome Kong’s ring attire but I wanted to put a Jack Kirby spin on it. Really wanted her outfit to look like something Kong would wear while capturing the spirit of Jack Kirby's New Gods and Eternals designs.

Isis: The Main Event will be available in 2020. Still in the middle of edits and trying to get the cover done! 

Friday, August 23, 2019

Isis: The Main Event Cover Concept Art

Finally got some ideas on paper for the Isis: The Main Event Cover Concept. The cover concept is inspired by the 1998 Hell in A Cell, where Mankind took on The Undertaker. Umbuttra, the Beast From The Bowels has an evil grin on her face because she’s got Isis beat and has her dangling from the top of the cage. She’s making plans to toss her 20 feet into the announce table. Nemesis, seeing her in danger is running behind her with a steel chair in an effort to make the save. With Isis and Nemesis taking on one of the most powerful demons in the Legion it’s literally Hell in a Cell!

Also did a model sheet for the main villain Umbuttra, The Beast From the Bowels. Umbuttra was last featured in E’steem: The Beast From The Bowels. I’ve had this image of her in my head for five years and I finally got it to paper.

The inspiration visually for Umbuttra is primarily former TNA and WWE wrestler Kia Stevens, also known as Awesome Kong. Kong was a human wrecking machine who practically DESTROYED TNA Knockouts and WWE Divas in the ring.

The other inspiration for Umbuttra is Batman villain Bane. Underneath Bane’s powerful physical exterior is the mind of a cunning master strategist.  When I imagine Umbttra she looks like Kong with dreadlocks and but sounds like an articulate well-spoken African woman.

With her incredible power and her brilliant mind, Umbuttra gave E’steem a run for her money in Beast From The Bowels. And in Isis: The Main Event she uses her brains and brawn to give Isis one of the biggest challenges she’s faced since the Cybergoddess.

And I finally got around to doing a model sheet for Nemesis. Nemesis made her first appearance in Isis: The Ultimate Fight. Nemesis was supposed to be the Greek Counterpart to Isis so I wanted some similarity to her outfit. The one-armed Toga was meant to contrast Isis’ blouse and kilt.
Personality wise, Nemesis was inspired by Lucy Lawless, TV’s Xena Warrior Princess. Whenever I write Nemesis’ dialogue and narration, I hear Lucy Lawless’ voice in my head.

Like Hercules in Marvel’s Thor comics, Nemesis is a rival to Isis. She’s a heroine, but she’s out to compete with Isis. And just like Isis she’s trying to find her way back on the road to being a heroine after the events of Isis: The Ultimate Fight and Isis:Power of The Princess.

Readers will see how much progress Nemesis has made on the road to redemption in Isis: The Main Event. And they’ll see how their relationship makes a major turn as they take on Umbuttra in the steel cage of the Dangerous Divas of Wrestling!

I’m hoping to have Isis: The Main Event out in Spring of 2020. This one is one you want to pick up, because it’s the turning point of the second Isis story arc that started with Isis: All About The Goddess and the turning point of the overall Isis series!

Friday, August 16, 2019

The Black Man's Survival Guide Sample Chapter

I've been busy working on books, making videos and livestreams. And I've been busy writing and editing four projects on the 2020 SJS DIRECT catalog. So I haven't had much time to write blogs.

One of the projects I'm working on is The Black Man's Survival Guide.  After seeing many young brothers like Bakari Henderson lose their lives and others like Albert Wilson wind up in prison on false rape charges I realized that Black boys and young Black men aren't being taught the unwritten social rules Black men need to follow living in a White Supremacist world. 

 I'm hoping the book can help young brothers plan a course of survival in a world that hates them and possibly save some lives.   I'm working hard to get this book done and I hope to have it done in early 2020. 

Chapter 3
Unwritten Social Rules For Black Male Survival.

How do Black men survive in a world that sees them as an enemy? By having a protocol for navigating hostile territory.
During slavery and Jim Crow, Black men understood there was a target on their backs from overseers and slave masters. And in order to survive the oppression and terrorism they encountered, they developed a set of rules to follow so they could live to see the next day.
Because many of the emancipated slaves couldn’t read or write they weren’t able to write down this protocol. Instead they taught these rules to their sons orally. And with the oppression they faced daily, many Black men realized it was better to keep their rules for engaging and interacting with Whites and nonblacks oral so that White racists and their supporters couldn’t find out their code and make plans to thwart it.
These Unwritten social rules for Black male survival were passed on from father to son from generation to generation. And as the generations passed from slavery to Jim Crow To the Civil Rights Era Black men added more unwritten social rules to this code to so they could adapt to the times and avoid the pitfalls and traps racists set up to destroy their lives.
However, as Black men transitioned from the Civil Rights Era to today they weren’t able to pass these unwritten social rules for survival to their sons. As Black women got involved with the feminist movement and the welfare state they prevented their sons from having relationships with their fathers. And because those boys didn’t have that relationship with their fathers they weren’t able to learn these unwritten rules regarding how they were supposed to carry and conduct themselves in the White Supremacist world.
Most Black single mothers in the late 1960s and 1970s thought they could raise a boy to be a man on their own. However, without a Black father there to teach their sons the unwritten social rules of engagement in America many young Black boys wound up getting caught up in situations where they were harassed by police officers, racially profiled by store owners, and threatened and attacked by neighborhood racists just for walking in the wrong neighborhood or looking at the wrong woman. 
Without a father and men in the community to teach Black boys and Black men the unwritten social rules to they aren’t able to identify the racist predators in and out of the Black community and avoid dangerous situations with racist Whites and nonblacks who hate Black men. Nor are they able to develop the critical thinking and problem solving skills to diffuse situations with racists and other enemies from the state when they run into confrontations with them.
A Black man who doesn’t know what the unwritten social rules for living in a White Supremacist world is a sitting duck. And the reason why he’s vulnerable is because he has absolutely no understanding of how to carry and conduct himself when he goes out in a world that’s against him. So any reaction he takes can lead to racists taking actions that could cost him his life.
Only a Black father can teach his son the unwritten social rules of engagement of White Supremacist America because he has to live by that code every day. Unfortunately, since two three generations of Black men and Black boys who have grown up without fathers and men in the community to show them the protocol for interacting with the White Supremacist world this is why so many young black boys and young black men are becoming easy targets for imprisonment or extermination.

Thursday, August 1, 2019

Planet of the Nerds #2 Presents a Great story on Black Manhood

Saw a Story in the back of Ahoy Comics Planet of The Nerds  #2 that presented an incredibly positive image of Black Manhood and Black Masculinity.

This one shows a young Black teenager with a father in his life and shows him changing his perception of self and self image. He goes from seeing himself as the sidekick in a White Man's comic book stories to realizing he can be his own man and make his own way in the real world. It's a powerful story.

This story reminds me a lot of myself growing up and the things that motivated me to dedicate myself to writing positive stories about Black people back in 1991 and what motivates me to publish books like the John Haynes series today.

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Isis: The Main Event Sample Chapter

 Haven't had much time to blog over the last few weeks, I've been busy doing Radio shows, livestreams and promoting books. And in that time I finished writing the first draft of next year's Isis series story Isis: The Main Event. In this story The Goddess next door steps in a steel cage in an action packed Isis series story set in the squared circle! 

Chapter 10

I catch the serious look in Ashley’s eyes after I finish my molten lava cake. Now that we’ve outlined the story for our feud it looks like she’s ready to get to start getting to the business of having me beaten up by her wrestlers in the ring. Are you ready to see our facility Isis?” She asks.
Guess I better see where I’ll be working. “Sure.”
We ease up out of our seats and head out of the restaurant. After we walk through the busy mall of shops in the hotel’s lobby, Ashley stops at an elevator bank at the end of the hall and pushes the down button.” So where is the DDW facility?” I ask.
“Right downstairs.” Ashley replies.
Since we’re a part of the Hotel’s live entertainment everything is in-house.” Ashley continues. “Our arena, training facility and production studio are all part of the hotel’s operation.”
“And here I was thinking I thought Vegas Hotels had only topless flamingo dancers and Elvis Impersonators-”
“In another era.” Ashley says. “Today’s Vegas has a whole different set of house shows.”  
The elevator opens and we all get on. After Ashley presses B3, the elevator descends into one of the hotel’s sub-basements. Once it opens I see a wrestling ring set up a few feet away. While two girls in spandex workout gear are practicing their moves, others are working out on top-of-the-line gym equipment on the far side of the room. When we step out of the elevator everyone stops what they’re doing and focuses their attention on us. “Okay ladies,  listen up.” Ashley calls out as we step out on the floor. “We got new talent in the house.”
After Ashley calls out to her wrestlers, the girls who were working on their moves slide out of the ring and almost all the women working on the gym equipment stop working out and approach me. While one woman still continues to lift weights on the bench press, I put on a professional smile as I’m introduced to my new co-workers. “This is Isis.” Ashely says. “She’s gonna be working with us until Divastation.”
Before I can introduce myself to the Dangerous Divas, the woman who was lifting weights on the bench press drops her barbell back on the rack hard and jumps off the bench. As the tall mahogany colored woman dressed in black spandex and sneakers pushes through the group of women she points daggers at me. “So this is the girl who will be in the program with Nemesis?” she says in a thick African accent as she brushes her dreadlocks out of her face.  
“Yeah, Umbuttra, Isis is the girl who beat Nemesis in The War of the Gods.” Ashley replies.   
Umbuttra scowls as she peers down at me. “She’s a lot smaller than the girls who usually work here.” Umbuttra says.
Don’t let her size fool you.” Nemesis says. “Isis can handle herself in the ring.” Nemesis says.
 “I would probably snap her in two if I had a match with her in the Octagon.” Umbuttra says glowering at me.
I’d like to think I’d beat the crap out of this playfighter if we had a real fight. Maybe after I give her a little demonstration of how strong I really am she’ll back off.  I scoop up the big woman and hoist her above my head. “It’s not the size of the girl, but the power of her punch.” I jab.  
The wrestlers gasp as I effortlessly hold the six-foot woman in the air and meet Ashley’s blue eyes. “Looks like you’ve got an understanding of how to do a body slam.” Ashley says.
“Just trying out some of the basic moves I studied on YouTube.” I say heaving Umbuttra onto the mats around the ring.
After a round of raucous laughter, Ashley gets to business. “Well, we’ll see what you have in the ring tomorrow during practice.” Ashley says. “Right now we got a show to put on. Everybody get into costumes and get ready for tonight’s matches.”

Isis: The Main Event will be out sometime in Spring of 2020 Until then you can pick up 2019's Isis series book Isis: All That Glitters on in Kindle and Paperback!

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Shawn Reviews Goth Ghost Girl #1 & 2

As a Darkly Inclined guy I’m a big fan of anything Goth. And I’m a big fan of comics. So when I heard about the Goth Ghost Girl: Bloodbath Kickstarter I eagerly put in my pledge the first day it was announced so I could pick up both Goth Ghost Girl #1 and Goth Ghost Girl #2: Bloodbath. And these books are modern CLASSICS. I highly recommend you get both these books because they are MASTERPIECES!  

Goth Ghost Girl is Lily O’Siris former lead singer of the Punk Goth band Imminent Hour. After being murdered by a deranged fanatic she wanders to and fro trying to help those in need as a vengeance seeking ghost who metes out rough justice on those who deserve it.

Each issue of Goth Ghost Girl has two to three stories. One about Lily as Goth Ghost Girl, and another flashback tale about Lilly’s days among the living. Both stories in each issue interconnect and give us hints to how Lily’s actions in the past had an relate to today. The first story of the first issue An Die Freude is a MASTERPICE. It brilliantly introduces us to Lily and shows us how great a heroine she is. As she reflects on her past life she meets Erin a deeply troubled girl who is being abused by her stepfather. This story is a powerful one and it’ll get you in the feels.  

The second story of the first Issue Rodeo Rage features Lily and her Imminent Hour bandmates helping some farmers save their land from a rich developer. This one is a more lighthearted tale, but has many of the dark undertones of An Die Freude. From Rodeo Rage we get an insight into what drove lily when she was alive and how it motivated her to do what was right. Dead or Alive Lily’s a hero readers will want to root for and anticipate getting her next issue.

The first story of the second issue Bloodbath is a CLASSIC. It takes a moment to take a playful shot many of the tropes at modern so-called SJW comics before introducing us to Diablo the cat, who may be a familiar to Lily. As the story goes on we find out what happened to Lily’s bandmates in Imminent Hour after she was murdered and what happened to her late boyfriend Skunk ain’t pretty. In the aftermath, we get a hint to why Lily is stranded on earth and that mystery has me anticipating putting in a pledge for the next issue.

The second story gives us another look into Lily’s past with Ultimate Super Music Stars. This one reminded me a lot of 1980s Jem and the Battle of the Bands.  This was a fun lighthearted story that showed Lily’s love for her boyfriend Skunk in the past and her love for Goth music. 

I LOVED both issues of Goth Ghost Girl. John Schillim Jr, and Sergio Quijada capture the spirit of the Goth Subculture in every page of the comic and while they celebrate everything dark they also understand the core foundation of the subculture is the music. Each story in Goth Ghost Girl weaves a tapestry of past and present that has the reader anticipating the next issue so they can find out more about Lily’s past and how it relates to the future. I love the way John Schillim Jr. crafts the stories in Goth Ghost Girl giving these supernatural characters like Lily humanity and heart and I love the way he uses subtlety nuance, Irony and foreshadowing to tell a tale that is haunting and moving. And Sergio Qujiada’s art is so dynamic in An Die Freude and Bloodbath reminds me of the best episodes of Batman: The Animated Series Like Heart of Ice. I can’t wait for John and Sergio to announce the next Kickstarter, because I definitely want to read the next issue!

Goth Ghost Girl is one of the best comics in the medium today and I highly recommend you pick this one up on Comixology. This comic could be a collector’s item in the future, from what I’ve read in the comics I could easily see Lily’s story as an Adult Swim Animated series, or action figures in the future. So you definitely want to pick this one up today!

Sunday, June 23, 2019

John Haynes: The Book That Could’ve Saved Vertigo Comics


Last week it was announced that Vertigo Comics was being shut down. But I have to wonder: Could John Haynes have saved the imprint?

From what my readers have been telling me, John Haynes is a basically a Vertigo Comic without the Vertigo label. They say it’s everything oldschool Vertigo readers want in a Vertigo comic. A strong masculine Black male hero and his sexy Black assistant taking on supernatural forces in a strange and unusual world. A CEO working in a corporate Hell filled with vampires, demons and monsters. A book filled with supernatural action, adventure and a little bit of humor.  A fresh 21st Century take on the occult and horror stories not unlike Ghostbusters or Buffy The Vampire Slayer.

All the elements of top selling Vertigo comics like Constantine back in the day.

Right now John Haynes: A Conversation With Death is one of the top sellers on the SJS DIRECT imprint. Many of my readers tell me that JohnHaynes: A Conversation With Death reminds them of John Constantine and his comic, John Constantine: Hellblazer. A Vertigo comic that was one of the pillars Vertigo during Karen Berger’s tenure on the imprint. A Vertigo book that was a consistent seller for DC/Vertigo for over 20 years.

A Vertigo property that has allowed DC to reap a bounty of profits from licensed merchandise like action figures and has allowed them to make both movie and TV adaptations like his TV series and DC’s Legends of Tomorrow.

Why do I wonder if John Haynes could’ve saved Vertigo? In 2018 Vertigo relaunched with a series of titles comic fans hated out the gate like Border Town, Hex Wives, High Level, and Goddess Mode.  But I wonder if Vertigo were to have launched with John Haynes in the mix could it have been the title that saved the imprint?

In publishing 90% of books fail. And it’s the 10% that succeed that keep the lights on. John Haynes: A Conversation With Death has been selling since I published it in June 2018. It’s been acclaimed by readers who have picked it up.

Could John Haynes have been the book to keep the lights on at Vertigo?

I believe it could’ve. With the word of mouth the book is getting on the POD track and marketing on a shoestring budget on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube it’s been selling strong. I believe with a Vertigo label and Diamond’s mass distribution of DC Comics, John Haynes could’ve probably gotten 25,000 orders on the first run and another 25,000 on the second printing.

Combine that DC/Vertigo label distribution with my online marketing skills and professional web presence on Social media (I spend most of my time selling books when I’m on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube) and I believe John Haynes could’ve sold 50,000 comics. That would’ve built anticipation for the next pair of two-issue story arcs John Haynes: Dark Succubus and the upcoming John Haynes: The Man With Nothing To Lose.  

I believe a Vertigo John Haynes title would’ve made Warner reconsider on shuttering the imprint. As long as one title is selling well enough it gives a conglomerate incentive to keep the lights on.

 And I also believe my professionalism online would’ve been a model for comics pros in the face of the numerous online scandals that plagued Vertigo 2018 with so-called SJW comics pros like Eric Esquival, Robbie Reyes, and Zoe Quinn. Scandals that generated a lot of controversy with Comicsgaters on social media, but didn’t generate many sales of their books. 

As a writer with over 25 years of writing experience in romance, fantasy, chick lit and women’s fiction, and 10 years of publishing experience I know what sells books is what’s on the page. These days almost every person who buys John Haynes: A Conversation With Death and Dark Succubus has gone back to pick up his past appearances in Isis: Escape From Transylvania, Isis: Bride of Dracula, Isis: Wrath of the Cybergoddess, The Man Who Rules TheWorld and John’s first book The Temptation of John Haynes. So the new stories are selling the old ones.

Just like a good comic book should.

Proving there’s nothing wrong with the business model for selling comics. Just a problem with those who create the content these days.  

Could John Haynes have been a hit at Vertigo?

Maybe if WB executives had reneged on their crazy contract demands that led to numerous top selling comic pros like Neil Gaiman, Warren Ellis and Garth Ennis leaving the imprint. As a creator their new contract deal would’ve made me WALK AWAY. No creator who invests YEARS of their time into creating and developing a character is gonna throw it all away on a bad deal where they sign away their intellectual property rights like film, TV, and merchandising.

In a world where creators can get their projects funded and put on the market through crowdfunding while keeping all their rights, What incentive does a creator like myself have for working with a publishing house? What incentive do they have to work with a comic publishing house if they’re going to profit from all the rights to all their work?

Any deal I’d sign with any comic publishing house would be for North American Comic adaptation rights ONLY. And there’d be a clause for me to do the writing and be paid for it. Along with final approval on the artist. I would also want a cut of the merchandising on those adaptations from companies like DC Collectibles or I’d negotiate a separate deal.

Warner Brothers needs to realize that the world of publishing has changed. And that Karen Berger was on the right track when she was allowing creator-owned properties to be published at the imprint. In the short-term the higher costs of those film and TV rights that those creators owned were nothing compared to what Warner Brothers would’ve reaped on a successful adaptation of a Vertigo property and the sales from casual readers off the street when that film or TV show premièred.

As I see it better to pay a creator like myself than to have to risk the reputation of Warner Brothers on a blasphemous comic like Second Coming that alienated Christians and led to a petition with over 200,000 signatures in a boycott against it. The controversy Second Coming is what DC Got for being cheap and looking to generate controversy instead of hiring a creator who was out to generate strong sales numbers.

Could John Haynes saved Vertigo? We’ll never know. All I know is it’s a shame that Vertigo is shuttering its doors. I’m saddened that a generation of readers will never experience any of the unique takes on comics and genres of comics Vertigo offered. When I think about the praise readers shower on me for John Haynes wonder what I could’ve contributed to Vertigo Comics with a John Haynes book.