AJ’s Side Panel
AJ’s spoiler free movie reviews covering films released that week.
Yesterday I received the heart breaking news that a very close friend of mine, Jason Graham, had passed away. Some of you might of know Jason from his Lamentations of the Grognard column here on the site. But my adventures with him started 36 years ago.
Jason and I first met in 7th grade art class. It was there that he introduced me to the game Dungeons and Dragons. We spent most of our time in that class either playing, creating characters, planning campaigns, or painting miniatures. Somehow we managed to get passing grades for being creative. He introduced me into a world that said don’t be ashamed to be a geek. He helped me to open my eyes and change my point of view on my life.
Jason moved away later in the year and we didn’t meet up again until we were in our 30’s. That initial meet up was great. It was like we were never apart. We spent hours catching up and geeking out. It was like that everytime we got together and it eventually lead to him being a writer on this site.
Jason was an extremely passionate and intelligent man. He had a big heart and a love for D&D to match. It was easy to get pulled into his world. And once you were there you never wanted to leave. He changed my life. A lot of who I am today was thanks to him. It’s a debt I could never repay, no matter how hard I might try.
I regret the years we were apart and the times I couldn’t join any of his campaigns. But I will remember the 24hr day we spent sitting next to each other at 4 Color Fantasies making our artists lives horrible. I will also remember the 12hr D&D session we spent with our friends having an awesome campaign that left my character in limbo, still waiting to be revived. And who can forget his Mead.
Jason was a writer, web designer, world creator, Dungeon Master, brewer, father, husband, singer, HP Lovecraft addict, and mad genius. But most importantly he was my friend. I will miss him dearly.
I hope he’s up there giving Gary Gygax lessons on how to DM and having the campaign of ages.
10 Years ago I sat at a tiny 4′ table next to two guys I hardly knew in a comic book store I had just started to go to and poured my heart out to a bunch of people I had never met. It was on that day that the 3 of us released our first comic, a 10 page #0 issue introducing the everyone to the world of ZKS Zombie Kill Squad. At the time we thought we were kings of the industry and beamed with pride in every way imaginable. We thought, it couldn’t get any better than this. We were dead wrong.
What started as a plea for us to get our foot into the comic book industry turned into waterfall of experiences for us. Fans loved us, locals ate us up, and stores were happy to stock us. We were taken aback and immediately humbled by the out pour of love we got from everyone.
We were invited to do all different sorts of shows and neither of us said no. The popularity allowed us to not only launch a second book, but to also be invited to do a signing at San Diego Comic Con.
We loved doing shows. Meeting new fans was always so humbling for the both of us. We even got to do free comic book day and participate in 24hr comic book day for 8 years in a row.
Eventually people started to take notice of our hard work and hustle. And so, without realizing that is was happening, our little family grew.
A growing family meant a growing cataloge which eventually led us to running 2 of our own comic expos as well as 3 Zombie Beauty Pageants.
But no matter how large or how small our family became, Justin and I never forgot where we came from and what got us there. 10 pages, 10 years, and hoards of zombies later we are still here.
Which leads us to now. In a few weeks Forbidden Panel will be launching a Kickstarter campaign to help us raise money to put on The Return Of The Zombie Beauty Pageant!! If we can reach our goal then we will be bringing back to ZBP for one last run, a grand finale. So keep an eye out here and on our social media pages for that announcement.
And finally, thank you. YOU. Our fans, our friends, our families, without whom none of this would have been possible. I never thought I would be here, 10 years later, still writing ZKS comics and working with FP. You have all made my dreams come true and allowed me to take my life in a direction I never thought possible. Thank you.
Thank You 4 Color Fantasies for having the balls to not only stock us but include us. Your trust in us helped us be here 10 years later. There are so many people that were involved in keeping us alive for a decade. I wish I could list you all.
And thank you Justin for trading a website for a comic book. Who knew 10 years later I would still owe you that website.
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