The Wisdom of Fools is a new horror comic anthology from Fifth Dimension Comics. Looking to be a unique take on the horror genre, we had a chance to catch up with three of the minds behind the project, David M. Brown, Dennis Coyle III, and Philip Nolte!
AP2HYC: First off, can you each tell me a little about yourselves and how you got involved in the project?
David M. Brown: Thanks for having us! I’m the founder of Fifth Dimension Comics. I’ve got three kids, a full time job and no time for anything except comics. As a writer and longtime comic lover, I was saddened by how stale mainstream comics had become over the last few years with cross over after cross over and event after event. I wanted to make the kind of comics I want to read and so, Fifth Dimension Comics was born!
Dennis Coyle lll: A few months ago I started posting random art on Twitter with no real expectations or motivations. I started talking to Shawn Langley (Earthruler) and colored a few of his pieces for fun. David found me through Shawn and pitched me the project. I was able to read a couple scripts and the story ‘Sweat’ was too promising to say no to.
Philip Nolte: I started reading comics with Tintin and Asterix, watching TMNT and the 60’s Batman show, and eventually discovered more traditional depictions of superheroes through the X-Men and Spider-Man cartoons of the early 90’s. I didn’t really start working on comics of my own until 2008 or so, and it’s been a very slow start, but things are starting to pick up and my name has shown up here and there.
AP2HYC: Can you tell us a bit about what The Wisdom of Fools is and how it came together?
David: Sure, The Wisdom of Fools is an 84-page graphic novel horror anthology which includes comic and prose stories and a pinup gallery. Five writers and nine artists contributed to the book and it turned out beautifully!
Philip: I got involved with David and D.N.S. when they were looking for a letterer for “The Magician”. We all had smaller projects and stories that we were looking for outlets for. There were a few discussions, but nothing really concrete, so I went off to work on a few things of my own, and before I knew it, The Wisdom of Fools was happening with a much expanded roster of talent.
AP2HYC: How many stories are there? Can you tell us a bit about each one?
David: There are ten tales in all. Seven of them are comics and three of them are prose with accompanying art. All of them are pretty dark so horror fans are going to get their money’s worth!
I Would Kill For A Hot Dog In Times Square: What happens when you dream? What happens when your dreams become threats to your reality? Young Addison is about to find out…
The Magician (see image below): – Everyone gets old. Eugene Roberts, a polite and stately fellow, has an odd job for a senior citizen. He’s one of the most sought-after assassins in the world.
Every Man Dies Alone: “War is hell” as one man discovers he may be the true monster after all.
Making Friends: Three young boys spend a drunken night on a Scottish isle, coming face to face with the power of their personal demons, and running afoul of the local citizens.
Inheritance: A small boy learns some important lessons from his father including: “Always hide your treasures where nobody will ever think to look for them.”
Sweat: Ever woke up from a nightmare covered in sweat, thankful that the madness you just experienced wasn’t real? For one unfortunate man, his nightmares are his reality… but is there something even more sinister behind his hellish state of being?
Ragged Flags: What is a horror anthology without zombies? Here, we present an alternate history where the zombie apocalypse occurs in the 1960’s. Told through full page art with journal excerpts. Groovy.
The Prince of the Gold Hunters: Horses, Indians, Kit Carson, Bullets.
Plasticine Hill: What’s the best way to deal with a bad situation? Acid. Always has been, always will be.
Strands: Some people are crazy…some are lunatics…but the real dangerous ones talk to spiders named Eddie. And Eddie’s got some bad ideas.
AP2HYC: How was it decided which writers and artists would work together on which stories?
David: For the most part, style determined the team ups. D.N.S. and I did “The Magician” and I thought his style would fit “Strands” as well. Dennis has more of a grungy detail art style so “Sweat” was perfect for him.
Philip: Shannon [Gretzon] and I have similar sensibilities about character and action and telling a story visually first, because of the medium, and have a few surprises in store beyond TWOF. I may have provided the basic structure of the thing, but it was a completely collaborative effort and I’m still not totally convinced I want to muck up all the art with my dumb words.
AP2HYC: What drew each of you to the project?
Dennis: I’ve always wanted to do more comics work beyond old newspaper strip style work. This opportunity to work on dark material from a group of similarly minded people blindsided me. The way I see it I had two options, work on an awesome horror comic and attempt to finally push myself closer to an illustrative career or just keep on working the day job with no motivation. No brainer.
Philip: Horror is traditionally way out of my wheelhouse. Having said that, it’s been a fun experiment, and I have a one-shot planned with an artist attached and ready to go whenever I actually sit down and write the thing.
David: Since high school it’s been my dream to do a horror book. I’m a big fan of old slasher movies and horror has always held a special place for me. The feeling of reading something suspenseful or scary is unlike anything else out there. I think we’ve brought that with this book
AP2HYC: Beyond all of the stories being horror, is there anything else that connects them, whether it’s thematically or shared worlds, or anything else?
David: All of the stories in the book all take place in the same world at different times throughout its history. None of them connect with each other in any obvious way because we didn’t want to bog the reader down with a lot of “this relates to this and that relates to that” kind of thing. But rest assured, all of these stories come directly from the Fifth Dimension.
AP2HYC: Where did the title “The Wisdom of Fools” come from?
David: Artist extraordinaire D.N.S. came up with the title. The book was originally going to be called ‘Tales from the Fifth Dimension’ but we all thought that was a little stale. So when D.N.S. suggested ‘The Wisdom of Fools’ a light bulb went off for me. What statement describes a world gone mad better than ‘The Wisdom of Fools’? It describes the world I live in right now! Just watch the news for proof. That’s what our book is, stories from a world filled with madness.
AP2HYC: Why did you decide to use Kickstarter? How is the campaign going so far?
David: Kickstarter is the most popular crowd funding site for comics at the moment and I really like the way their structure is set up. We figured that crowd funding would be best for our first book and in the future when we have a wider fan base and a published book, maybe go the pre-order route.
The campaign is going great. As of this writing we are 71% funded with 19 days to go so we’re looking good but still got that pesky 29% to deal with which is about $1000. [Note: as of publishing, the project is now 82% funded!] Inherently, Kickstarters are stressful because you’re constantly promoting your work, doing interviews, advertising, Twittering, Facebooking, etc. Put that on top of a full time job and three kids and you’ve got a bucket of stress. But ya know, I wouldn’t trade it for the world. This book is the most important thing I’ve ever done artistically and I’ll do anything it takes to get it made!
AP2HYC: If the book (and the Kickstarter) are successful, do you think we’ll see more anthologies like this from 5th Dimension?
David: For sure! The next one will be called “Rainbows and Lollipops” to balance out all the dark content in The Wisdom of Fools... Seriously though, we are going to produce another anthology down the line at some point. I’m hoping to go for a fantasy or sci-fi theme for the next one. Stay tuned!
AP2HYC: What other projects is 5th Dimension working on?
Dennis: I’m working with David on bringing a few of my ideas to life. I plan to release Fire In Glass first, what I think will be a good fit with the horror/pyschological driven work we have been creating.
David: We are continuing our web comics Beasts of Baxley with Ari Carr and Punk ‘n Hood by D.N.S. and I. We are also turning “The Magician” into an ongoing series as well as developing an awesome book with artist Jeremy Mathes. Always busy here in the Fifth Dimension!
To find out more about Fifth Dimension, check out their blog here. If you’re interested in The Wisdom of Fools (and want to support the campaign), check out their Kickstarter here. You can also find Fifth Dimension on Facebook and Twitter.