April 24, 2013

No costumes or code names: Comic author to sign locally

Charles Oliver
charlesoliver@daltoncitizen.com

Editor's note: Author Dan Jolley will sign the latest issue of “Dark Horse Presents,” featuring a new story in his “Bloodhound” series, on Saturday, May 4, from 2 to 4 p.m. at the Fantasy Factory, 257 N. Hamilton St. in Dalton. To find out more about Jolley, go to his website www.danjolley.com.

For more than 70 years, superpowered heroes and villains have battled in the pages of comic books. But if you had superpowers would you really want to call attention to yourself with a colorful costume and nickname, especially if you were up to no good?

Ringgold native Dan Jolley says that wouldn’t make much sense. Superpowered villains would try to commit their crimes without drawing attention to themselves. That is the premise behind his comic book “Bloodhound.”

“No costumes, no code names was one of my rules for the book,” he said.

The lead character of the book is Travis “Clev” Clevinger, a brutal former Atlanta police officer who specializes in hunting down supervillains.

“You could call it a superhero crime noir story. I’ve also described it as like the ‘X-Files’ if you replaced Mulder with Conan the Barbarian,” said Jolley.

Jolley, an alumnus of Dalton State College and graduate of the University of Georgia, has been writing comics for 20 years.

“I got my first job in comics at 19,” he said. “My older sister went to Mercer University, and I went down to visit her. I was hanging out at the mall and met a girl there. On our first date, she mentioned that she knew some comic book artists. I knew that I had always wanted to be a writer, and I had read comics growing up. But I had never given any thoughts to writing comics. She introduced me to them, and they decided that I didn’t suck as a writer. So they introduced me to some editors. It’s the editors who can give you work.”

Jolley says his first few years were “off and on.”

“But I’ve been published consistently for the past 10 years,” he said.

He was worked for virtually every major comics publisher. And he has also had success outside the field of comics.

“I was at a convention in Florida supporting my comics work, and I met another author (Scott Ciencin) who makes his living writing licensed property novels, novels based on television series or movies or video games,” he said. “I wrote a short ‘Star Trek’ novel with him and another based on the TV series ‘Angel.’ I’ve also done some movie novelizations. I did the teen novel based on the movie ‘Iron Man,’ and I did the junior novel based on ‘Transformers 2.’”

Jolley has also done an original trilogy, “Alex Unlimited,” a science fiction espionage series for young adults, as well as writing for video games.

His most recent work is a return to the “Bloodhound” series for Dark Horse comics.

Jolley wrote the first “Bloodhound” series for DC Comics in 2004, where it ran for 10 issues.

“It got pretty serious critical acclaim, but never found a market, largely because at the time DC was putting all of its attention into this massive event starring all of their superheroes. That was where all of their energy went,” he said.

Jolley eventually got the rights to “Bloodhound” and reached a deal with Dark Horse to reissue nine of the 10 issues as a graphic novel. That will come out in June.

“To reintroduce people to the character and to help generate interest in that, Dark Horse let me write a new ‘Bloodhound’ story,” he said.

The new story premieres today in “Dark Horse Presents,” an anthology comic, and will conclude two issues later just about the time the graphic novel is released.

Jolley says he can’t say more about the future of “Bloodhound,” but he says the graphic novel and new story may not be the end of the series.

And Jolley says he may be branching out from writing into teaching.

“I’m considering teaching creative writing courses. I haven’t made any definite plans yet, but it’s certainly something I’d like to do,” he said.