Writing in Four Colors (Redux)

I have a lot of great memories from the time I spent working in the small press trenches with Lion’s Den Studios. We fought the good fight for 19 years, and prior to digital, had a lot of success selling ashcans and the like. As publishing evolved, we made a lot of initial mistakes, many of which eventually sunk us, but I was always scrambling, trying to get us out of the small press and saddled to a mainstream project.

We had talented creators on our staff and a kick-ass studio to work out of. We were on the brink of all our dreams coming true…

Knightshade & Sangrael stand watch over our Studio entrance.
My lettering/editorial desk.
Ye Olde Drafting Table

We came so close to that proverbial brass ring on more than one occasion. My favorite near miss was when I reached out to actress Elizabeth Gracen with the idea of creating a comic book character based on her likeness. I was (and am) a huge fan, born from admiring her performance as Amanda on the series Highlander and its spin-off, The Raven.

We negotiated a deal that included her joining us at conventions for signings, and she was interested in discussing plot and development. It was an exciting time. With this, I began talks with various publishers, eventually earning the interest of Marc Silvestri’s Top Cow.

Our Elizabeth Gracen comic, which we were calling Iron Maiden, was tailor-made for Top Cow, who were at the top of their game at the time, publishing Witchblade, The Darkness, and The Magdalena, among others.

Everything was going swimmingly, and we were set to produce a Witchblade story for one of their anthologies, with Iron Maiden still in negotiation, but things didn’t work out. Without going into the sordid details, deadlines were missed, and, well, there the dream died.

I was heartsick over it. That failed experience led me to closing the doors on Lion’s Den Studios, and I walked away from comics, concentrating on my writing career. But man, for a time there, we were almost living the dream. Almost.

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