Tales from the Black HiwayBy any chance, do you know what Tommy Lee Jones, Matthew McConaughey, and Gary Busey all have in common? Yes. I know they're all world-famous actors. More importantly, though, they also come from West Texas, which is where my mate, Rick Forgus, comes from too. He wrote a great new comic book you might want to check out. But before you do, here, have a look at this... 

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1) What are your own origins, Rick?   I originally come from a very small town in West Texas, where I lived a fairly confining life until I eventually discovered the medium of comic books. Or to be more specific about it, the Superman comic books, which somehow ignited a creative spark inside my young mind, and spurred me on to recognize a variety of different styles of art, including those penned by Gene Colan, Neal Adams, Curt Swan, Wayne Boring, and Steve Ditko, plus others of their ilk. After a while, my passion for art inspired me to pursue a career in graphic design and illustration, which would gradually lead me from the limits of my hometown to a whole new world.

Tales from the Black Hiway2) What inspired you to create, ‘Tales from the Black Hiway’?   In retrospect, three main writers inspired me to create this story. Firstly, there's Ray Bradbury, the author of my favorite book, 'The Martian Chronicles', who I was lucky enough to correspond with throughout the years. Then there's Jack Kerouac, the author of, 'On the Road', who intrigued me with adventures involving freedom, travel, and situations that aren't always what they seem. And finally, there's Darren McGavin, the creator of the 'Night Stalker' character, who introduced me to the unseen world of darkness and mystery, which some say doesn't exist, even though I believe it does.

3) In your own words, how would you describe this story?   In very simple terms it’s a story of self-discovery and adventure. Maybe a bit autobiographical too, since the main character, Ray Lantry, is searching for answers that lay outside what he already knows (which can occasionally be somewhat dangerous). I also wanted to create a hero that could think his way out of any given situation by relying on his own instinct and knowledge.

4) What song would you say best represents this comic and why?   To answer that question I'd have to select the Bob Seger song, 'Roll Me Away', because it echoes the idea of taking a chance and exploring the road less traveled.

5) If you could get a celebrity – either living or dead – to promote your wares, who would you choose, and why would you want to choose this particular person?   Without a shadow of a doubt, I would have to say, Ray Bradbury. Not only because his work is seminal in the creation of TFTBH, but in addition to this, he was also kind enough to encourage me whenever I wrote to him. I never asked Ray to read anything I wrote, though, as that would have been such an imposition on my part. But he did say that he felt his writing -- really felt it -- and that's what I aim to do as well. To be immersed in my story. To have my heart in my work. And to have him like it for what it is, which I hope he would.

Tales from the Black Hiway
6) What have you learned about yourself throughout this endeavor?   To me, writing and drawing this book felt like looking into a mirror, all because I can identify with the character’s quest to discover and escape his current situation. He’s looking for something and isn't sure of what he will find, but he must go, he must search, regardless of the outcome, and he has to take that chance. Basically, I went down a similar road myself, one that I was unsure of, yet the more I discovered, the more I wanted to keep going to see what else I could find.

7) During your time in this field, what is the one thing that has kept you in good stead?   Hard work. As much as you can love the business, at the end of the day, it's still work that requires you to become disciplined and focused in order to create-create-create. You can’t always take the easy route, the easy answer, or the first solution. So dig in deep until you can finally come up with the best idea you can possibly find. Over the years I've accumulated stacks of pages that will never see the light of day because they simply weren’t strong enough to further the story I wanted to create.

8) If ‘TFTBH’ had a motto, what would it be?   With apologies to Matthew, I'd have to say, “Seek and ye shall find”, which really sums up the entire story in one simple sentence. Well, what you may find might not be what you expect, but you still need to learn and adapt to it. After all, there's always some form of opportunity whenever you take part in a journey! Which, is often said, more the journey than the final destination.

And on that note, I'd like to thank Rick for telling us about his comic,  ‘Tales from the Black Hiway’, before encouraging you to check out his official website, facebook, and comixology pages. 

TALES FROM THE BLACK HIWAY TALES FROM THE BLACK HIWAY Reviewed by David Andrews on December 20, 2018 Rating: 5

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