Artwork of Cherie Hellemeyer Part 2

Courtesy of the wonderful Cherie Hellemeyer, this is actually an original piece of work that she drew just for us! To see more of her work, visit one of these links:

http://blightedtheodyessy.webcomic.ws/

http://www.webtoons.com/en/challenge/blighted-the-odyssey/list?title_no=113815

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The Origins of REDemption Part 2

Originally I did not think I was going to continue this topic with this week’s post, but then I figured, “Meh, why not?” I already have the train started on this particular track. Might as well get it to its destination, right? 🙂

So when we left off, I had gotten as far as my senior year of high school when I drew a 24-page comic book called “Of Forces Beyond,” about a group of 4 US soldiers in Vietnam who discover some of their enemies aren’t quite human. One of the soldiers dies, but then revives and attacks them. Eventually they find out about the zombie virus. They figure out how to kill them, but they don’t know what to do if they are infected.

In my opinion, that is where the story got interesting because here you are in the middle of a story that is part horror, part war…but now you also have part MYSTERY, because the soldiers need to investigate and figure out what to do.

So I drew that comic, and after that I lost interest in drawing. I can’t explain why. Guess it was just a phase I went through. I continued to write other kinds of stories in other formats (novels, screen and stage plays, short stories). Any time I saw a new Romero film or some other post-apocalyptic tale that rocked my world (28 DAYS LATER), I would always think, “Man, I’d love to write a zombie story, but I have no idea where to go with it!”

I think most people will agree: as far as foes go, zombies themselves are kind of boring. They don’t talk, so they don’t have personalities like Hannibal Lecter or Dracula. Also, they are slow as hell. These two facts stumped me for years. Decades, in fact.

Then in 2010 I started seeing commercials on AMC for a new TV show (based on a comic book) called THE WALKING DEAD. Frank Darabont was the main developer of the show. I’d heard Frank’s name for years. I was a huge fan of his work on films like A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET 3, THE BLOB remake, and of course THE SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION. (Side note: By the way, that movie had no impact on what I called MY tale!)

I watched the commercial to see what it was going to be about, and it looked like pretty standard zombie fare. Still, there was a lot of buzz and excitement. Plus what can I say? I am a sucker for anything zombie; I have no taste, so I will watch it all just to see if I am pleasantly surprised.

October 31, 2010 came. I tuned in to the show. The opening scene where Rick Grimes is shot and in the hospital, only to wake up and find the zombie virus has ravaged the world, reminded me of 28 DAYS LATER. I wonder which came first: that scene in the comics, or 28 DAYS LATER’s version. Was it considered an homage to the movie? Or was the movie an homage to the opening of the comics? I have never taken the time to research the release dates on that.

Anyway, the action was your usual zombie stuff. The way to kill them was also typical. And yet the show drew me in. Why? Because of Lincoln Grimes. Because of Morgan Jones. Because of Shane Walsh. And of course, because of the amazing jobs the actors did portraying them. I don’t think it registered with me then, but I realize now that what draws people repeatedly to zombies stories are the HUMAN CHARACTERS IN THEM, and how they react and interact once the zombies have decimated civilization.

Once the episode was over, I posted a comment on Facebook that said, “Just watched WALKING DEAD and loved it. I have always wanted to write a zombie story myself, but I never have because I don’t know where to go with it. Seems like it’s all been done.”

Minutes later, a friend of mine named Nick replied. He said he’d always had similar ambitions. I moved the conversation to private messages, asking him if he could draw it since I already had the writing covered. To my dismay he said, “No, I can’t draw.” Still, I was excited about the idea of creating something as a writing team.

I moved the conversation from Facebook messenger to telephone. Nick and I discussed our ideas, with me going into detail about “Of Forces Beyond” and using that as a starting point, and him telling me how he’d had this idea of the virus being quarantined with a wall that ran up and down the entire West Coast. (PLEASE NOTE: This discussion was had in November 2010…six years before Trump started talking about his Mexico wall. How about that for visionary?!?!)

I hammered out some more ideas with Nick, like writing the story in 3 parts (since I am a huge trilogies fan). At that point, I don’t think I developed the “immune child” idea, although I know I mentioned it to him not long after that.

We talked for a little while longer, and then I had to get to bed. However, I promised him that I would start working on an outline ASAP.

And I did. 🙂

STAY TUNED FOR PART 3 NEXT WEEK!

 

~~~~~Steve G.

 

It’s ALIVE!!!! The WebComic Has Posted!!!

Well, the moment has come. As of approximately 8:45AM on Tuesday, May 16th, 2017, I posted the first handful of pages for REDemption.

This is a comic book that has been in the making since November 2010. It was not completed until April 2012. When I say “completed,” I mean the writing part. Then began the long, arduous search for an artist. Future posts here in our blog section will recount this story, so I will not go into it here. For now, I want to focus on the positive.

It has finally happened. The comic has seen the light of day. What do I think? It is freakin’ amazing! No matter what anyone says about me or the story, they cannot deny the fact that it is finally out there. Johnny and I finally did it. Even if we get bombarded with hate mail and stop posting after 10 pages, we still put it out there for consumption.

So how’s it looking? Not too bad. For some reason, it is loading “backwards” in comparison to most webcomics. What do I mean? Well, usually when a webcomic gets posted, the website will display the LATEST page uploaded. If you want to start from the beginning, there is usually a button that screams “FIRST.” You hit that and can read from the start.

Not so here. My latest upload is what displays first. Then you have to hit “PREV” instead of “NEXT” to go to the next page. I’ve got some questions posed on the WordPress forums to figure out what is going on here.

In the meantime, just go to the first image (the girl on the hillside with the cat) and hit “PREV” until you get to the Page 04 and 05 image. That’s all the story we are sharing for now…a little prologue to entice you…opening with a BANG to draw you in.

I can’t wait until next week!

~~~~~Steve