Tag - House of Fear

Live on Kickstarter: House of Fear, Lovecraft, and Shoggoths!

Our second Kickstarter is now live. It’s Kids vs. Shoggoths! When Lovecraftian monsters descend on their school, three students fight back in this 24-page stand-alone comic.

We’ve got some great rewards, both digital and printed, so check out the campaign. There, you’ll find preview pages, information about the project, and plenty of other great stuff to scratch your scary comics itch.

Be sure to check it out!

Grumpledowns Gang Teaser Trailer

It’s kids vs. shoggoths in the latest issue of House of Fear: The Grumpledowns Gang and the Case of the Mail-Order Shoggoths. Check out the teaser trailer for the comic which hits Kickstarter in May, 2017.

House of Fear: The Grumpledowns Gang and the Case of the Mail-…

Check out the teaser for our upcoming comic, House of Fear: The Grumpledowns Gang and the Case of the Mail-Order Shoggoths.

Posted by TEN31 Publishing on Wednesday, April 26, 2017

First Look: Attack of the Ice Giants

Jethro Morales is hard at work penciling pages for the third issue of House of Fear. The working title for this issue is: Attack of the Ice Giants. We’re also considering Attack of the Killer Snowmen. Only time will tell.

While I’m debating the merits of my titles, feast your eyes on these pencils.

Preview – House of Fear: The Grumpledowns Gang and the Case of the Mail-Order Shoggoths

Matt Krotzer is finishing the letters on the next issue of House of Fear, which means production is just about finished. That means the Kickstarter campaign is just around the corner, making now a perfect time to present a preview of House of Fear: The Grumpledowns Gang and the Case of the Mail-Order Shoggoths.

This complete, stand-alone story is written by Brandon Barrows, with art by Rafael Loureiro. Josh Jensen once again provides colors, and Krotzer handles the design and letters.

Calling All Teachers and Librarians

I love to write comic books, but sharing my love of storytelling and helping young people find their voice is even more important to me. The biggest thrill for me as an editor is helping a writer find his or her story. Sometimes that’s done with simple suggestions to action or pacing, but other times, it’s more about discussing the heart of the story and uncovering why the writer wants to tell this particular story at this particular time.

While guiding a writer is rewarding, talking about the creative process with younger kids is, in a way, even more exciting. I recently spent 30 minutes with my son’s first grade class, talking about the process behind making comic books, and I’ve got to tell you, I have never felt more alive or at home. Seeing those boys and girls wide-eyed with excitement, eager to learn about creating, absolutely energized me. Some were interested in the cool art, while others were captivated by the scary ghost story, but all of them were taken by the idea that anyone can create a comic book. All you have to do is try.

Anything that gets a child reading is a good thing. And if it’s something that also helps them find their creative, artistic side, then that’s even better. Which is why I want to give away copies of House of Fear: The Curse of Cottonwood Ct.

I’m happy to say that our first Kickstarter campaign has reached its funding goal. I had originally planned to provide a few simple stretch goals for backers: adding a PDF of the script to the Deluxe Digital tier, improving the paper quality of the printed comic, and providing a preview PDF of House of Fear issue 2. Instead of making those stretch goals, I’ve gone ahead and added all of that to the campaign. Those will be included regardless of the final funding number.

So now I want do something a little more fun with those stretch goals. For every $400 over the funding goal, I will send 15-30 copies of House of Fear (enough for the entire class) to a teacher or librarian who has backed the campaign. I’ll also work with that individual to see if I can participate in the class in some way, either in person or via Skype or a pre-recorded video. Depending on the age group and class topic, we can talk about the art, the storytelling, or the collaboration process. We can discuss how to read comics, how to make them, or, since we’ve got a scary comic here, we can even talk about fears and how to overcome them. I want to help bring comics into the classroom, and I’m willing to provide any help that I can.

So if you’re a teacher or librarian who thinks comics can be a benefit to your classroom, please let me know. Or if you know of a teacher who might be interested in bringing comics to his or her classroom or library, send them to the Kickstarter campaign or have them drop me an email. And please share the Kickstarter link with friends and family, too. The more support the project gets, the more comics I can send to classrooms.

Name the Host for the House of Fear

When I chose House of Fear as the name for my series of scary comics for kids, I knew I wanted a host to introduce each story. Using a host reminds me of my favorite horror comics from the 50s, which had memorable hosts like the Crypt Keeper and the Old Witch.

I decided the character should be a butler who takes care of the House of Fear. In each issue, he’ll invite young readers to sit back and enjoy another spooky tale. Of course, he can’t be any ol’ butler. He needs to be creepy. Ugly even. So when I asked James Hislope to present designs, I suggested he make the butler “nasty looking….balding, but with some wispy hair flopping around for effect…probably a nasty wart/mole of some sort.”

As you’ll see, James designed one heck of a creepy dude.

Our host has a little Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde thing going on. For our introduction pages, he’ll present his “warmer” side. As you can see in the first image below, which will become the introduction page to The Curse of Cottonwood Ct., he’s just an old butler welcoming kids to listen to a scary story.

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But after the story is complete, he shows his nasty side. In the image below, which appears immediately after the comic pages, he’s telling kids to scram. He’s got to chop down the trees surrounding the House of Fear before they overpower the demons in the haunted house. (His actions tie directly to the comic book, so if you haven’t read it yet, download it here.)

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We know what the host looks like. And we know he’s got a nasty split personality problem. Now we just need a name.

I’ve narrowed it down to two names: Boyle and Graves.

Both Boyle and Graves are great names for a butler. They work well for someone who sneaks around cemeteries at night, too. Plus, they both provide subtle references to something creepy and scary, which kids will get a kick out of.

So which do you like? What do your kids think? Boyle or Graves? In the end, there can only be one host for the House of Fear, so let me know what you think.

Head over to our Facebook page and make your voice heard.

Editing, Kids Comics, and Lovecraft

I love to write stories. I’ve been doing it since I was a kid, doing my best to mimic Edgar Rice Burroughs with some outlandish rip-offs. What many don’t know about me, however, is that my first love is editing.

When I was younger, it was all about making a writer’s sentences grammatically correct. English grammar was my thing. I understood it and had a knack for helping others get over their grammar hurdles. As I developed as an editor, it was more about helping the writer get sentences to flow and work with each other in a way that made for smooth, easy reading.

As time went on, I gravitated back to focusing on the story. I can’t tell you how rewarding and fun it is for me to help a writer make his story truly sing.

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So when I began developing the ideas behind TEN31 Publishing, I knew I wanted to invite other writers to create comics with me. To tell stories that I would edit and publish, but stories that were 100% the writer’s own. That way I can balance both loves, writing and editing, and do so by collaborating with others to make exciting comics.

One of the writers I talk with frequently is Brandon Barrows, a comic and prose writer from Vermont. Our conversations were helpful during the early days of TEN31 planning, and I knew I’d want him to write a script for me. Unfortunately, he wasn’t terribly keen on the idea of writing for kids, an audience he never really considered for his work. But that wasn’t going to stop me from asking him to do it anyway.

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Brandon digs H.P. Lovecraft. A lot. I know this because he’s written a collection of comic stories and prose stories filled with weird Lovecraftian horror. So I figured maybe I could entice him to write a Lovecraft tale for kids. I pitched the idea and he was like, “No way” and “How would that even work?” His response made sense because, let’s face it, Lovecraft isn’t for kids. I pressed harder, though, coming up with random (and bad) ideas about a cute, almost cuddly Cthulhu overtaking a small town.

Luckily, he didn’t take me up on any of those ideas. But Brandon is a creative writer through and through, which means he came up with something much, much better called THE GRUMPLEDOWNS GANG AND THE CASE OF THE MAIL-ORDER SHOGGOTHS. He sent me a script and I loved it. It was exciting and fun. It had thrills. It had monsters. It was scary. And yep, it had a hint of Lovecraft. All perfectly situated for the 7+ age group.

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His script was probably the easiest I’ve ever edited. Sure, I pushed him to make it better. That’s what editors do. But Brandon took my suggestions and not only ran with them, but improved upon them, too. Within a week, he had locked down on one hell of a comic story. One that, when published, will make kids second guess going to their school’s Halloween party.

The panels you see in this post are from Brandon’s upcoming TEN31 comic, with amazing art by Rafael Loureiro. Below are the full page images.

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House of Fear Title Designs

We’ve settled on the title design for our series, House of Fear, and I think Matt Krotzer, our letterer and designer, nailed it. The design is an effective one: simple, creepy, and classic. Reminds me of my favorite horror comics from the 50s and 60s.

Although the main title appearance won’t change from issue to issue, the intro text along the top will change from time to time. I’ve included a few samples below.

This first one will be the standard design for our comic book covers. The “Tales From” text indicates that the series is an anthology format, telling readers that they can expect stand-alone stories.

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There are no plans to number our issues, at least on the cover. However, with this second design option, I think the “Welcome to” does a nice job of indicating that this is the first issue, enticing readers to pick up the book. I’ll probably also use this design for convention signage.

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This third design won’t adorn any of our covers. However, I do see it as a sticker I give kids who’ve read one of our comics. It’s a sort of badge, indicating that you were able to overcome your fears and survive a scary story. I’d also love to hand out small versions of the stickers to kids who make their way through my garage haunt each Halloween.

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Naturally, the main part of the design will be used often all by itself, without intro text along the top. And it’s possible we develop other text, too. It’s nice to have options.

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