With the launch of his own company Hocus Pocus Comics, Dwight MacPherson has finally returned to the comics world after a brief sabbatical away.  Well known for writing books like the Harvey-nominated The Surreal Adventures of Edgar Allan Poo, American McGee’s Grimm, Dead Men Tell No Tales, and co-writing Howard Lovecraft and the Undersea Kingdom with Bruce Brown, MacPherson’s return to the comic world comes with a bang, not a whisper.


Returning to writing can be daunting enough but MacPherson’s launch of Hocus Pocus shows how determined he is to come crashing through the gate.  This includes a production team that includes Brown, editor in chief Amy Sturgis, 20 year comic veteran Marco Della Verde, wife Rebecca MacPherson, and Emmy-award nominated director David Hartman.


MacPherson is bringing out the big guns with the return of Surreal Adventures but not in the way you would think.  With the launch of a Kickstarter, a web comic, and a revamp of perhaps his most famous comic book MacPherson had a lot to talk about when I caught up with him to talk about Hocus Pocus Comics.

RM: So after being away from comics for a couple years not only are you back writing comics, but you are back with your own comic company.  What brought on the decision to self-publish?


Dwight MacPherson: I couldn’t stay away from comics. I love telling stories and I missed it. I’m a storyteller first and foremost, and I think comics are such a wonderful medium for telling stories. It’s a marriage of literature and art.  What could be better? As for creating Hocus Pocus Comics, it allows me the freedom to tell my stories how I want to tell them and make sure that they are placed where I want them to be placed. I tend to thinks outside the box, so being the captain my own ship, so to speak,  just seems natural to me. Not that I had a problem working inside the box, but I feel that traditional publishers are limited in certain ways. I don’t want any limits. I want to explore every avenue of getting my work out to the world.


RM: You were well known for your book The Surreal Adventures of Edgar Allan Poo published by Image Comics.  The book is now going to be back, rebranded, and brought back to life as The Imaginary Voyages of Edgar Allan Poe with “reprints” first followed by new stories.  Why rebrand a comic that the public already knows?


Dwight MacPherson: The reason for the rebrand is simple: I feel that the original title limited the book. Yes, it is known and loved, but it was also hindered when it was shopped around Hollywood because it wasn’t taken seriously. When you say “Poo,” most people just giggle. I don’t imagine the suits giggled, though. By rebranding the book I am able to make the title more palatable to everyone. There will be no reprinted material, by the way. The story has been updated and the art will be completely original. Old fans will still have their “Poo,” and new fans will find “Master Poo” in a story about Edgar Allan Poe. Because, really, this book was born out of my love for Poe and his masterful works.


RM: What was the decision to totally redraw the book from scratch?


Dwight MacPherson:  Because I wanted to update the story. I think every great author has edited his or her own book before a new edition goes to print. I did the same thing, but it required new art.


RM: So it is not the same old story readers have read before basically.  It’s brand new art with an updated story.


Dwight MacPherson: Luis Czerniawski is absolutely killing it on the art. I am certain that old fans and new fans alike will marvel at the stunning new pages.


RM: The series is coming straight to ComiXology, correct?


Dwight MacPherson: Yes, you are correct. But it is so much more. There was always meant to be a third book. Now, at last, I can finish the tale.


RM: How many issues of the comic will there be?


Dwight MacPherson: We will be telling the story as a 12-issue limited series available first through ComiXology. We will gauge interest at the completion of the first Book (issues 1-4) and, if sales warrant it, we will use Kickstarter to publish a graphic novel collecting the first four books. We will also follow this pattern for Books 2 and 3 (issues 5-8 and 9-12).


RM: I know you had planned on a very early 2017 release for Poe but it got pushed back a bit.  When can readers expect the series to launch?


Dwight MacPherson: The Imaginary Voyages of Edgar Allan Poe #1 will launch on ComiXology in April. In the meantime, readers will be able to see an original companion series, Terra Somnium, on Line Webtoon in March.  The beauty of Line Webtoon is that it exposes your property to a perspective audience of 10 million plus readers. They are also very good about featuring and promoting webcomics that perform exceptionally well.


RM: Will this be a finite story that runs on there?  Or ongoing for as long as your mind comes up with stories?


Dwight MacPherson: The plan is to write it in story arcs. I’m also experimenting with the format and storytelling, so it is a wonderful exercise as well. I’ve always loved webcomics, but rather than creating my own webcomic site, why not use a well-established site with over 10 million readers?


RM: Let’s talk Houdini’s Silver Dollar Misfits.  You describe the series as Harry Potter meets Gravity Falls – but who is our protagonist?  Is he/she a magician?  What is the book about beyond a logline?


Dwight MacPherson: Without giving too much away, as the Kickstarter launches on February 1st, the star of our story is an orphan named Drake Smith. The graphic novel follows Drake’s journey to discover who he is and where he comes from. I have seen so many shows over the years about orphans longing to know where they come from. Sometimes their search results in a wonderful reunion, but other times they result in a mind-numbing revelation that shatters their world. I will let readers discover where Drake falls when they read the graphic novel.


RM: As a fan of Harry Potter, Artemis Fowl, and Percy Jackson this sounds right up my alley.  Is this a self-contained story?  Or is there more of a story to tell beyond the initial graphic novel?


Dwight MacPherson: Yes, this will be a self-contained story. But my plan is to tell as many stories about Drake and his misfit friends as I can. I’ve learned to always leave a window open because you never know.


RM:  Let’s talk a moment about (Houdini’s artist Mathieu) Benoit.  How far is he in the book right now?  Once the Kickstarter comes and ends will the book be near ready or is there still a lot to go before it gets into readers hands?


Dwight MacPherson: Mathieu is well into the first chapter and his artwork has never been better! I am thrilled with his character designs and the look of the pages. Mathieu is a phenomenal cartoonist and visual storyteller. I am thrilled to be working with him again after our partnership on Jim Reaper: Week One and Lil’ Hellions: A Day at the Zoo. I believe that readers who bought those books or read the webcomic will see that he has really grown as an artist.  Our goal is to have the graphic novel complete when the Kickstarter wraps up. At the rate Mathieu is going, that should be no problem.


RM: Is the book black & white or color?


Dwight MacPherson: In beautiful technicolor! Mathieu is drawing, coloring, and lettering the book. The guy’s a machine!


RM: You have a production consultant…


Dwight MacPherson: Yes, indeed! The mad scientist of art himself, David Hartman!


RM: First of all tell him I apologize that I OWN Phantasm: Ravager but haven’t gotten around to watching it yet.  It is on the list of flicks to watch.  Second whhat is his role?  What does he do and add to the fledgling comic company?  And how important/great is it having someone like David on your team?


Dwight MacPherson: First of all, correct that problem before this interview is posted (RYAN NOTE: Sorry Dave – I haven’t yet.  You can call me a bad Phantasm fan!). Secondly, I met David through Steve Niles’ forum. What an amazing place. So many talented creators were borne from that unhallowed ground. David and I stayed in touch since first connecting there, and our relationship really grew through many, many conversations. David has always been available as a mentor for me through my journey of being a comic creator. It’s really hard to encapsulate how much he means to me personally, but to Hocus Pocus Comics, he is an ever-present sounding board and objective voice of reason that can be trusted. His role in Hocus Pocus Comics is to guide us through the treacherous (only half-kidding) world of property licensing and the future development of our properties into various mediums such as animation, feature-length films, videogames, RPG’s, etc. I’m certain his role will continue to evolve as we gain momentum with our properties.


Hocus Pocus Comics launches the Houdini’s Silver Dollar Misfits Kickstarter in February 1, 2017.  Look for The Imaginary Voyages of Edgar Allen Poe on ComiXology this April.  You can find out more on Hocus Pocus Comics by visiting http://www.hpcomics.net.