It may be ironic that I say costume design is an incredibly important part of Long John considering that the core concept is a gunslinger with no clothes, but it’s nonetheless true. “Costume design” normally conjures the idea of research period-appropriate clothing and what not, but in this case I tried to take “design” literally and make the costumes (complete outfits, not necessarily individual pieces) endemic to the themes of the story while trying to adhere to the rules of history as well (since it is fairly easy to stay true to historical clothing for this story).

What that means is that I wanted to make main characters’ clothes big and flamboyant and individual as foils to Long John’s relative lack of clothing (and also in reference to his previous, unseen attire and its legendary flamboyance––but not dandy). With that, especially in this first chapter, the main characters’ clothes are facades to their personalities. Muller is a skinny, unimposing man, but drapes himself in a huge scarf and overcoat (whose sleeves he isn’t even using) covering his diminutive frame. As we see in this page, Boss Fleming (as he’s called, you’ll learn that on Thursday) dresses as a dandy to hide his oafish, barbarous nature. All the townsfolk (who are also all members of Fleming’s gang) wear mostly the same things in order to feel like they’re a part of something, though they are just thugs who don’t actually do anything for the town. Whether these ideas come through or not, they are integral to the art but to the honing of the story.


I was recently interviewed by the stellar podcast, The Science Fiction Show, as part of their return to regular updating after a brief hiatus. I met the show’s host, Jason Tudor, through Eben07.  He was huge fan of the comic and was incredibly supportive despite the fact that he was an expat working in Garmisch, Bavaria, Germany. He’s back stateside now after many years in Europe, and with this change of venue he’s decided to start up the podcast again.

I was only mildly hesitant because of the fact that Long John is a western, and the obvious question is what place does a western have on a science fiction-based podcast. Luckily, the interview was a rather casual affair, and it was actually a fitting place to talk about one of my major inspirations for making Long John and for trying interesting ideas like integrating Josh Tobey into the art mix to help tell Hellrider Jackie’s story. I’ve mentioned the Image Comics’ series, Prophet, a few times before but I can’t impress its importance enough. Aside from utilizing specific artists to tell the specific stories of specific John Prophet clones (that is what the story is about––following clones of the 1990s’ John Prophet character thousands of years in the future as they’ve been scattered across the galaxy) and bringing an impressive blend of European/Japanese stylings to what is ostensibly a super hero book (though writer, Brandon Graham, pitched it as Conan in space), its creators––Brandon Graham, Simon Roy, Giannis Milonogiannis, and Farel Dalrymple––are huge creator-owned voices in the industry.

An example of a Prophet "script" by Brandon Graham.

An example of a Prophet “script” by Brandon Graham.

Graham, especially, is an ardent campaigner of breaking up the writer-artist paradigm, proselytizing the relative power of comic book artists as the people who actually make comics happen and that artists should be telling their own stories and not rely on writers as much as the industry tells them they should (this is why I often refer to myself as a ‘comicker’––a made-up word that, at least, doesn’t include either of the words ‘writer’ or ‘artist’ in it). His passion is inspiring and his transparency with the Prophet writing process has really shown me not only new avenues for collaboration, but new approaches to writing comics. His methods as well as his strong feelings on the issue––and his support of those who are taking those steps––really focused how I should approach Long John and Prophet’s influence is completely palpable throughout every page.


For those that are on Facebook and want some nice behind-the-scenes development sketches, cool (possibly) relevant links, and regular update reminders, be sure to “like” the official Long John page on Facebook!