Moonstone has its roots in the alternative comics scene in Chicago dating back over a decade. Mostly it started at the retail level, where many comics pros shopped. From there it grew. Eventually a company was formed, which never materialized, which is where Moonstone rose from the ashes. There is just an enormous talent pool of creative folk not being tapped.
Q: One thing that I've noticed is that your books are self contained graphic novels--which is unlike other comic book companies. Why did you decide to go this route?
We went this route with readers in mind. As readers, we find that we are wanting more of a "chunk" of story at one time. As creators, it gives us an opportunity to fill in the characters and subplots, using the 48pgs. As publishers it gives us an advantage using our creative teams. With everything being "self-contained" it's not imperative to keep the same guys on each issue of the same title. This makes scheduling a little easier, if we are not pressed to come out with it every month. The format encourages retailers to keep the books on the shelves, and other "non-traditional" retail stores are more likely to carry such a format.
Q: Talk about your upcoming titles--(you can really plug them here--have a paragraph or two about each), I think people are eagerly awaiting the KOLCHAK: THE NIGHTSTALKER books.
Well, we of course, have "Vampire the Masquerade", based on the White Wolf game. Each of our books is a story within one of the clans. They are dark character pieces that really strike home. It's okay if you haven't played the game before, for it is self explanatory. But if you DO know the game, it will also rock for you! You just need to like good horror. (First up was the "Toreador clan, to be followed by "Nosferatu", then "Ventrue", then "Lasombra".) Our first Vampire book shipped in October.
"Werewolf the Apocalypse" follows a similar path to "Vampire", in that each book tells a story within a single tribe. These stories are rife with emotion and turmoil, within a goth setting. Again, we try to make it accessible to both gamers and non-gamers alike. (The first book was about the street urchins "Bone Gnawers", then to be followed by the all female "Black Furies", then the peaceful "Childre of Gaia", then the emotional "Fianna".) The first issue shipped in November.
"World of Darkness" also follows the White Wolf universe, but focuses on existing White Wolf characters from the books and game. Our first issue focuses on the Brujah policeman Theo Bell. He kicks ass and takes no prisoners, and he takes his job VERY seriously. This ships in December. This will be followed by the adventurer "Beckett", as we watch him hunt for his prize through the decades. The next issue will be the Nosferatu "Calebros", as we watch him reluctantly take charge of the city.
"The Phantom" follows the purple guy in tights running through the jungle. This action/adventure book really puts the comic-strip hereo through his paces, and punches some life into the genre. The fun starts in February!
"Kolchak" finally hits stores in March!! This has really been a labor of love, with "labor" being the operative word. We are extremely pleased to bring out this project, and the response to this has been huge, to say the least. Kolchak has only appeared (a cameo) once in comic form, and it was on a small press level. We are trying to showcase this great character with his own book. We will be doing adaptations AND original pieces as well. The first issue is an adaptation of the original novel (from where the TV show began) by Kolchak's creator Jeff Rice. We've also added some "lost footage", to make it even more interesting to those who know the story. The second issue will be an adaptation of the only (finished) un-shot script from the TV show. It's called "The Get of Belial", and is about odd murders in a mining town. After that, is our first original story ,"Fever Pitch".
"Robin Hood" is a book of classic adventures, adapting-(and adding to)-the original tales. We will also throw in an all-new story here and there. Straight up good fun. The first issue shipped in October.
"Invisible Man" is a take off on the HG Wells book, as we continue the story in the present. An interesting cinematic tale with some funky twists.
Q: All your titles right now are licenses (White Wolf, PHANTOM) or "public domain" characters (invisible man, Robin Hood), which makes sense (and what I tend to buy)--in the future do you expect to come out with more original/Moonstone created titles or do you find there's enough room within the licensed properties to sate that need?
We are quite busy with our licensed stuff, but we certainly hope to stretch things out a little. We are planning a line of "crime/noir" books soon.
Q: You were recently at the MOTOR CITY COMIC CON... how was reception for the titles?
Motor City was very warm for our form, so to speak. Everyone who stopped by, had something positive to say. Many were excited as to the properties that we have. Most were impressed with the "look" of our books, for we really try to put out high quality material. Motor City was the first con that we've done that we've had our books available for. Of course, we've only been on the racks for six weeks now.
Q: Who are some of the writers/artists involved.
We have taken on writers from the comics, games, and book fields.
writers: We have mystery novelist Stuart M Kaminsky, TSR Novelist James Lowder, Rafael Nieves (Marvel's "Hellstorm"), Ben Raab (DC's Hawkman), Paul Storrie (Justice League Adventures), Ron Goulart (Phantom and Avenger novels), William Messner Loebs ("The Flash", "Wonder Woman", etc.), Stephan Petrucha ("X-Files"), Jay Faerber ("Titans"), etc.
artists: Vince Locke (White Wolf, "Sandman", etc), Eddy Newell (DC's "Black Lightning"), Steve Ellis (White Wolf), Jerry DeCaire (Wolverine), Mike Collins (TSR, Batman, etc.), Lou Manna (DC and Marvel), Art Nichols (DC), Gordon Purcell (Xena, Sar Trek), Drew Tucker (Magic the Gathering, White Wolf), Kirk Van Wormer (Chaos, Vampirella, etc), Greg Scott (Sabretooth), etc.
Q: Anything you want to add?
I would just like to encourage folks to visit our site, to see what I'm talking about. We have some stunning artwork on display here: www.moonstonebooks.com