As I sit at Mulligan’s Family Fun Park, a wonderland of mini-golf, go-carts, video games, and candy, I can’t help but think about new beginnings.

I’m masked up at a picnic bench while my son and his best friend are off playing mini-golf, and I, like most freelancers, am spending my weekend working. But work nowadays isn’t for some big company (I love you, DC, if you are reading this, never let me go!) but rather for myself.

Again, new beginnings.

I started on the path of writing comics a long time ago when I would spend almost all my time with my best friend, Nic. We would walk from his house to the comic book store (at this time, our shop was Emerald City Comics. A store that overtook Debby’s Gallery in our area.) On the way back, we would talk about the comics we bought, what superheroes we would want to be, and because of our age, which ones we would go out on a date with if we could (Rogue from X-Men).

But as most of you know, writing comics wasn’t something I did until recently. At age 15, I was plucked and sat down in front of a computer to color. And I loved it. But something in me always wanted to get back into writing. I tried many times throughout my career, but Editors found it hard to see me as anything else but a colorist.

But that was my fault. I was just too darn good at what I did with a stylus.

Joking, of course. It was because I was afraid of new beginnings. I was fearful of stopping something I was good at, that I was being paid for, that people knew for, to go into something that I had to fight for.

Fight, like every hero in every comic I’ve ever read. I needed to stand up and fight for something I wanted. I think we forget that at times. We fall into a safe pattern. Become too scared to start over, even if starting all over is best for us.

In 2009 I started my new beginning. My wife just gave birth to my son, my favorite football team, Manchester United, was winning titles. Story ideas were coming to me again, like when I was a kid walking with Nic to the comic book store. Life was good.

Then parts of my life got weird. Manchester let the greatest footballer of my time, Cristiano Ronaldo, go to Real Madrid. Carlos Tevez left for Man City (puke!), and I was digging graves for books I loved, like DETECTIVE COMICS and JLA, as DC prepares to launch the New 52 line of comics.

It’s 2011, and New 52 was here. I was on Green Lantern and Green Arrow, and I was thrilled to be included in such a big relaunch. But then the weirdness continued. I quit my first project ever, Green Arrow, due to differences with my editor. A couple months later, I was taken off of Green Lantern, a book I thought I was doing fantastic work on and not put on anything else DC.

Life, work-wise, went from good, to weird, to bad.

A week after I was let go of Green Lantern, I got a phone call from John Nee, then President and Co-Founder of the gaming company Cryptozoic Entertainment. He wanted me to color a book written by my friend, Ben McCool and asked if I was available. I said I was.

Then something came over me, and I said to him, “I’ll color this book for you, but I’d prefer to do something more. What openings do you have at CZE?”

It just happened that Cryptozoic was looking for an Art Director to work on their World of Warcraft TCG. Better, John thought I would be perfect for the job.

It turned out I was perfect for the job, and at long last, I have my new beginning. I’m reinventing myself as an Art Director. Taking my two decades of creative and print knowledge to help shape one of the biggest brands in gaming.

Fast forward to the end, I left the company a little over a year later (on excellent terms) to go back to comics.

One of the reasons I took the job was the promise of writing comics. Something that I almost got to do with Cryptozoic, but it just didn’t work out there. And that was okay.

It’s now 2013, and I’m currently working with VALIANT 2.0. A publisher with properties that I knew and loved as a kid. But again, I’m coloring. As great as it was to work with someone new, it was still not a new beginning. In fact, it was the opposite, as I was just doing the same thing I was hoping to move away from.

But remember, you got to fight!

This was the moment in my career that I told myself I am going to be a writer. I WANT TO BE A WRITER. And I’m going to fight to become a writer.

I took my favorite story and character that I had previously created and wrote my pitch. Then followed the pitch with a 12-issue sci-fi adventure story. I found an artist. Then another artist when that artist bailed on the project, then another artist.

I fully funded the first issue, fully lettered and colored, and was ready to show it to the world. Sadly, the world was not as thrilled as I was with it. Not a single publisher would look at it or even give me feedback other than they don’t want to commit to a 12-issue/ongoing story.


Yeah, yeah, yeah, fight. But what does that really mean? To me, it means to take a good long, hard look at yourself. Ask yourself two important questions.

One, do you have what it takes?

Hell-yeah, I have what it takes. I’ve been at the top of my game in comics for twenty-plus years. I know this business and understand what I have in me.

Two, if it’s not you, then what IS wrong?

This is the question that really everyone should ask. The answer is never “them.” Never are “THEY” wrong. It is always “you.” You are the one that does something wrong, which won’t get you the response you’re looking for. That is life. And it’s up to you to change that.

So at this point, I went back to question one and answered it in more detail. The story and complete package just weren’t good enough. I wasn’t looking at where the comic industry was currently at, what the publisher’s needs were at the time, or how I was presenting my book to others. It simply wasn’t good enough.


I pulled a Tony Stark in the Iron Man movies and started pulling apart my creation to start over. I didn’t need this in the script or that in the story. I added something more, combined several weak parts to build a fuller world. I took a deep look into my abilities, and I wouldn’t let myself settle for anything that I didn’t feel was absolutely solid.

That process built STAINED, a 5-issue sci-fi adventure thriller that sold out, went to a second printing and put me on the map as a serious writer.

Finally, the new beginnings I’ve been mentioning.

But life isn’t that easy. I didn’t get any job offers to write. I didn’t get a second STAINED series (at least not right away). Heck, the first series trade sold out in under 45 days isn’t even in print.

Funny enough, the fame and praise I did receive from STAINED landed me more work as a colorist. How’s that for new beginnings?


At this point, I’ve known so many others to just give up. So many people stay in a holding pattern. So many friends to turn bitter. But for me, this mild success was all I need to know that my new beginning was here to stay. That I am a writer.

Sure, I’m still a colorist. I am also a Husband, Father, Son, Brother, Coach, Mentor, and Volunteer.

I am all those things. Happily.

So as I sit here at Mulligan’s, wearing a mask, I’m witnessing new beginnings all around me. Life takes on a journey, but it’s up to us to fight for which path we take.

And to my fans who took a chance on STAINED…thank you for being a part of my new beginning.



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