How long does the process take to get the book set up to for the printers?
JD: Once the actual work is done and lettered it typically takes anywhere from a month to a few days to get quotes, and then another month or so to set everything up to move out to the printers. Working as I do now: mainly digital and doing my own printing when I can, which is often, it can take up to a week to get everything together and printed up. It all depends on what I’m looking to do and what type of printing I’m aiming for. Offset printing will take longer, and digital will take less time.
JD: I have a bunch of them and I can’t honestly say that any one is bigger than the others so here are the top guys on my list in no particular order. For writing prose: Roger Zelazny, H.P. Lovecraft, Frank Herbert, Dennis L. Mckernian, Harlan Ellison, Isaac Asimov, Fritz Leiber, Clive Barker, and many, many more.
For comics: Frank Miller, Alan Moore, Bill Mantlo, Walter Simonson, Dave Sim, Matt Wagner, Bill Willingham, Neil Gaiman, Roy Thomas, JM DeMatias and again many more that are slipping my mind.
Right on. How about video games? While I’m not eager to date myself, I’ve got to say that the first time I laid eyes on your anthropomorphic characters I experienced a 16-bit Breath of Fire II flashback from those halcyon days of yore when Super Nintendo reigned supreme.
JD: No, I can’t say that I was influenced by any video games. The Diablo series of games I would say would be the only line of games that I can say interested me enough to stick around; it’s because of that series of games that I don’t play video games any more. I can be obsessive at times and I was with Diablo II. I had to make the hard decision to give up on video games in order to have more time to write.
Many years ago, Dreamweaver Press was known as Golden Realm Unlimited. What brought about the change?
JD: GRU was our genesis. It’s where we learned how to create comics. Dream Weaver Press represents me, and my partner in crime Daphne Lage, moving on. When we were GRU we were working with a bunch of close friends, many of whom moved on to other fields within the art world, while Daphne and I kept on with comics and graphic storytelling.
You’ve been publishing steadily for a long time. What was the toughest year you can remember, and why?
JD: Probably the year we came to the conclusion that Golden Realm Unlimited had to be shut down. That had more to do with all of us growing up and realizing that it was tough to make a buck as indie guys and that we needed to somehow make something of ourselves. Now that means different things for different people, but for me, I wanted to create comics and so I continued. The others moved on to TV broadcasting, CG effects for Hollywood films, architecture, advertising, and medical illustration, you name it.
While the title “self-publisher” surely describes you well, you have also spent some time working for others in a professional capacity. You’ve worked on some adult comics, and also on manga projects like Tenchi Muyo! Could you briefly describe a day in the adult comic industry?
JD: There really wasn’t much to it to be honest with you. I would get up write and send it in for approval. That was about it. What’s more interesting was how I got the job. Now, at the time GRU had been dissolved, Daphne and I had promised to keep Tall Tails going while the others went on their way.
Then the intrepid Matt Lundsford went off and got a job illustrating a book for another indie press (which he wasn’t happy doing because the pay wasn’t steady and the story wasn’t something he was enjoying) so he was looking for more work and he was approached by CPM to illustrate an adult book. I remember when he first told me about it, I looked down my nose at him with a sneer and said “Adult comics, the nerve!” I look back at that time and laugh at how naïve I was, because a few months later he approached me and told me they were looking for a writer to produce original stories for the line, and at the time
I was thinking of getting a real job, and oh the dread. I thought about it for about 3 seconds and I told him to throw my name in the hat. I got the interview and on the strength of the work we did at GRU they gave me the job. Now all of that may sound pretty pedestrian, but what I find interesting about the whole thing is that ya, I got the job due to some prior work, but I really got the job because I was brought in, which is how I think many positions are filled on company owned books.
And lastly, are you truly the king of one dollar poker tables?
JD: I was for about two years. I have to take that down, because I haven’t played a round in a few years. I stopped because it was eating away at my promotion and writing time, but the real nail in the coffin was the US government coming in and shutting down those sites. It’s a shame, really, because I was able to fund some of the books from my winnings. I just hope someday they legalize it and maybe I’ll start playing again. We’ll see.
JD Thank you for taking the time for this interview and best wishes.
The Oswald Chronicles