WHO THE HELL AM I?

I'm James.

Writer. Reader. Ramen Eater.

I write comics. Not for a living, but not just for a hobby, either?

In 2018 I was nominated for an Eisner Award-nominee for Best Digital Comic for Contact High, a queer, sci-fi action love story I did with my artist friend, Josh Eckert. It's a 26-page story about a future where human touch is outlawed, and one man's search for his partner and for meaningful connection in that future. (It's currently available digitally via Gumroad, and there's a print edition as well.) All digital sales are donated to Lambda Legal and the Southern Poverty Law Center. Also in 2018, the Elements: Fire anthology to which I’d contributed the short, “Thrustfall,” with my friend Rashad Doucet, won the Eisner Award for Best Anthology. Which made for a pretty exciting year.

Elements: Earth, the second volume in the series, is currently under way and I was fortunate enough to be a part of it, this time collaborating with Royal Dunlap on “The Salted Earth.” Our tale is about a young girl who engages in an ancient ritual with distant elders in order to save her village from famine.

I'm also the co-creator (with artist Jackie Crofts) of Nutmeg, a coming-of-age culinary crime comic published by Action Lab Entertainment, which debuted in April 2015. It's about a pair of junior high school girls, Poppy and Cassia, who get in way over their heads when they concoct batches of super addictive brownies. The series is 15 total chapters, and is available in comic shops domestic and international, as well as digitally via Comixology. There are four trade paperback collections at the moment: Taste Buddies, Brownie Points, Femme Brûlée, and Coven Cleaner. The fifth and final collection, The Good Dine Young, will be in stores in November.

Jackie and I recently teamed up again for our first post-Nutmeg collaboration, a short Japanese-inflected ghost story called, “Okaeri,” which will appear in You Died: An Anthology of the Afterlife from Iron Circus Comics.

In addition to these, I'm also working with Liana Buszka, Bex Glendining, and Ariana Maher on Lupina, a two-volume story about an orphaned girl raised by a wolf, who goes on a quest for answers and revenge. It’s being published by Legendary Comics and Book One: Wax will debut sometime in early 2020, with Book Two: Wane dropping later in that year.

In 2011, Josh Eckert and I created the Geek Zodiac, a new way to enjoy zodiac signs based on pop-cultural touchstones. Instead of Leo and Aquarius in the Western zodiac, or Tiger and Rabbit in the Chinese zodiac, our 12 signs include Robot, Wizard, Alien, Superhero, and Pirate, among others. We then branched out to develop characters and stories in mini-comics from this initial idea. This we depicted in Geek Zodiac: Infinity Core, a comic about a pair of time travelers gathering heroes from the past to save an otherworldly threat in the future. The bulk of our work on the project is collected in the Geek Zodiac Compendium.

Josh and I teamed up again in fall 2018 for “The Whey of All Flesh,” a spooky horror take on the Little Miss Muffet nursery rhyme, which is available to read for free on Webtoons.

My friend, Little Corvus, and I contributed to the FTL, Y'all: Tales from the Age of the $200 Warp Drive anthology published by Iron Circus Comics. The project features stories in a future where an affordable warp drive democratizes space. Our short, "Prodigal Sunset," is about a group of half-human, half-alien terminally-ill teenagers on a journey to find their absentee, space-faring human fathers and, hopefully, a cure.

And in 2018 I started a series of pseudo-historical pamphlets called Apocryphals, about real and imagined figures from history, as a sort of writing exercise allowing me to play in spaces adjacent to comics work. The first, Foxglove, is about a seamstress from mid-century New York who moonlights as a pickpocket, designing mens suits to steal from, and targeting those who own factories that exploit workers. The second, Sharp Notes, is about “The Seven Seasons of Heaven,” the alleged lost final masterpiece of 18th Century composer, fencer, and violinist, Chevalier de Saint-Georges, and my attempt to recreate the story behind it.

My current focus in storytelling is to provide stories of those and for those whom are rarely the heroes of their own narratives, and to build stories of love, joy, or excellence among marginalized people existing in spaces antithetical to those desires.

As ever, there's always more stuff in the works. Josh and I are working on another one-off comic, Significant Growth, a cyberpunk story about the gig economy, health insurance, and making something that matters in the world and lives beyond you.

There’s others, too, and the train has officially left the station. I hope you’ll join me on this journey.

FIMC (Forget It, Make Comics.)

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