All of the up-and-coming comic book artists tapped to produce content for MySpace Dark Horse Presents have been discovered online, and Jeff Wamester, who penciled this month's featured story, "A+," is no exception. CBR News talked to Wamester about the project, and about how writer Nate Piekos ("Hellboy Animated") discovered the fledgling artist.
Jeff Wamester describes "A+" as an old school, EC-style revenge story. "Dark and fun at the same time and messes with your perceptions," Wamester told CBR News. The short story involves a boy named Stanley and a particularly relentless school bully called Billy. Science homework's due, and Stanley's hooked a dead frog up to a battery so it twitches around a bit. Billy's not done his project and requires Stanley's… assistance. Unfortunately for Billy, Stanley's taken his last beating, and he's got a garage full of a lot more – and a lot scarier -- things than a frog hooked up to a battery.
Wamestar knew from the moment he read the script that it would be a fun project to draw. "The idea was brilliant," the artist said. "Having the plot flip and mess with you always makes for great reading. I had a blast and I think it shows in the work!"
Wamester met writer and Blambot founder Nate Piekos in 2000, when both creators were first starting to market themselves on the web. "After a little while, I kind of dropped off the radar while I got my feet on the ground financially (student loans killed me!)," Wamester said. "Just over the past year and change I have been aggressively marketing myself online again and Nate and I ran into each other again. We linked to each other on various networking sites which then lead to doing 'A+.'"
Wamester has been a longtime comics fan, ever since he first discovered comics at a convenience store while on vacation with his family in Vermont in 1978. "I saw this rack of comic books and I was completely drawn in," Wamester said. "I had never read one or even really even seen a comic book before this, so I was a bit wide-eyed when I saw all the colors." Wamester picked up an issue of the original "Omega the Unknown," and was hooked from the first page. "My mom bought a copy for me. I must have read it 100 times over the vacation." That first comics experience not only paved the way for Wamester's love of comic books, it also sowed the seeds of his desire to be a professional comic book artist. "There's something about the power that the sequential images in a comic have."
Of "MySpace Dark Horse Presents" and "A+," Wamester said, "Everything about this project has been a great experience. I am totally green in regards to working for a big comic book company, but Nate and Dark Horse just let me go. Admittedly, I was a bit overzealous with some of my layout creativity but the feedback was spot on and it turned out great! I enjoyed the whole process."
Wamester is also currently working on a web comic that he describes as a cross between "The X-Files" and "Highlander." "It's a cool story that puts some myths on their head," Wamester said. "I hope I can get a publisher to print and promote it as a graphic novel down the road. I also have a project I have been working on for years that I think I would like to pitch to a video game company."
"A+" is featured on MySpace Dark Horse Presents right now.
CBR Staff Writer Andy Khouri contributed to this story.
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