To read a recap of the original interview I did with Jazan, please visit - INTERVIEW WITH THE WILD MAN HIMSELF, JAZAN WILD OF CARNIVAL COMICS. To read my review of Riddle of the Skull, check out our latest Reading Digital column.
Gaming on Batteries: Could you recap how Carnival Of Souls came about? A quick history?
Jazan Wild: A writer has to draw upon their own lives, if they really want the story to resonate with the reader. So if I was on a psychiatrist’s couch then Carnival of Souls is a story that stems from my own childhood and the pain of witnessing a very destructive and unkind divorce. It was a horror show. I didn’t see my mother for years at one point due to the ugliness of that parting. My mother was and is my best friend, I love her dearly. This story shows my heartache over that situation… mixed with the dream of escaping from my small town and running away with the carnival. Onancock, Virginia, the town I grew up in, had a carnival magically appear two weeks every summer. I couldn’t wait for its arrival. And the last day of the carnival’s run would always be the 4th of July. You could see the fireworks from my back porch. Fire flies filling the summer night air… and dreams man… dreams. That is where CARNIVAL OF SOULS came from. (Tragedy and dreams.)
GoB: Our readers may not know that you are more than just clowns and the carnival, could you shed some light on Dandy and how things have improved with that property in the last few years?
JW: Well “Funhouse of Horrors” and “Atomic Dreams” have received quite a bit of exposure due to the smartphone apps that Carnival Comics have released. But you are right; DANDY is a property that I co-created with Andreas Carlsson, who has written some huge hits for Bon Jovi, Britney Spears, Nsync, Katy Perry among many, many others. DANDY is three graphic novels that we created back in 2006 / 2007 that again is born out of escapism. Both Andreas and I wanted to escape and become Rock Stars, both of us wanted to join KISS and be bigger than what people told us we could be. Both of us learned that “If you can Dream It… You Can Be IT!” …and that is DANDY!
The story was featured on a massive McDonald’s campaign in Sweden; Subway signs; huge performance in front of a stadium full of people for Sweden’s Idol show. I mean… DAMN! From a dream to 16 million placemats for McDonald’s! And now DANDY is being made into a musical for Las Vegas. Three songs just closed the GP Bullhound SUMMIT:STHLM 2013, which was a big awards show in Sweden in which the top honor went to Angry Birds.
DANDY is a story worth telling. It’s all about hope.
And yes… Andreas and I had legal issues due to the project being wanted by everyone. The project became a runaway train and everyone wanted to jump onboard. But in the end and in the beginning… DANDY started with Andreas Carlsson and Jazan Wild. Our Dream. The two of us recently had coffee and when all the lawyers and outside people are kept outside, what is left is just two friends talking about creating magic. DANDY is Andreas Carlsson’s Baby. He runs the show and I like it that way.
GoB: It has been seven years since the last Carnival of Souls book was released, what has occupied your time in the interim?
JW: Let’s see… where to begin. I left the company “Markosia” that published the Carnival of Souls Series (Three Issues) and went to work with Gene Simmons to try to build up Simmons’ Comics. That didn’t work out, but damn… being a childhood Kiss fan… that was crazy!!!
Gene was responsible for Andreas Carlsson coming my way and that brought about DANDY! As well after working with both Markosia and Gene, whom I am thankful to both for having known and worked with, I went on to start Carnival Comics, my own company.
Carnival Comics became a Nokia Success Story in 2009 alongside Netflix. We were honored for being the first to put comics on Nokia’s smartphones. We were downloaded in over 200 countries before most people even had smartphones. We were also the first on Blackberry and one of the first on Android. Carnival of Souls was the number 1 e-book on Blackberry for over a year. Then we even made Entertainment Weekly’s Must List for Halloween of 2009!!!
And then the shit hit the fan. I started my business and like any company, we’ve had legal situations arise, but this is an interview about Carnival of Souls, which is a place of fun and games, and we don’t talk about work at the dinner table.
I did write a novel for the Carnival of Souls series, which was released last July 4th and went #1 twice on the comic book/graphic novel list on Amazon which was amazing. Thank you Carny Army. As well as released a graphic novel for the Carnival of Souls series that had a bunch of bonus material, which also went #1 on Amazon. Besides that, it’s been a lot of multi-media publishing of our titles on almost every smartphone and tablet out there.
Right now Rudy and I have found that special magic that needs to be in every book if it’s going to stand the test of time. Rudy and I first started working together on Atomic Dreams, a book I worked on with world renowned composer, Jonathan Elias. From there we moved on to working together on the Funhouse of Horrors series. That series has been completed, although I’m currently writing the Funhouse of Horrors novel, which has new stories about Jake Stone the ghost hunter. So who knows, we may be back with more tales of the living impaired. That book should be out during Halloween, or whenever it’s right. That’s the good thing about being the boss; I don’t have to ask anyone when something is going to be released. I just make it happen.
In fact the last issue of Funhouse of Horrors features everyone’s favorite clown, Jexter from the Carnival of Souls series. It was during this book that it became very clear that Rudy was the man to take over the Carnival of Souls series. You can’t force these things, either they work or they don’t; and this partnership does. This is a great time in my life. There’s something that happens when you get older. I think they call it the “I don’t give a shit gene”. I don’t feel I have anything to prove to anyone. I’ve taken some lumps and it’s made me stronger. At the end of the day I’ve been very blessed and I went further than I ever thought I would. Hell, I kind of got to run away with the carnival, like I wanted to when I was a kid.
GoB: How did the “Riddle of the Skull” come about? Was it developed on the fly or was it something that was always planned but had to wait for the “right moment” for release?
JW: It wasn’t always planned. In fact I think it was around the time that we first released comic book apps in 2009 I started thinking about it. We were represented by William Morris Endeavor, and were taking meetings about Carnival of Souls going to a film. At some point I started thinking about a trailer for Carnival of Souls and all of a sudden I saw these gold letters spinning, reading Carnival of Souls and then fading away. Leaving only a skull in the darkness, glowing. Then the eyes would light up and you would be in an old Egyptian tomb. That was the spark that led to the “Riddle of the Skull”, the prequel to the first three books. From there I started thinking about who actually made the very first carnival. Someone had to first pull that lever and spin the Ferris wheel. Someone had to be the first one to throw up on that big rollercoaster dip. Why not let it be my carnival? Hee Hee. And of course it would have to be built by a God, a laughing God.
GoB: What can we expect from Carnival of Souls in the future? Could a game be in the works?
JW: Funny you should ask. I have recently been in talks with a couple of companies for a Carnival of Souls video game that would follow the novel. It is actually the number one priority for us right now, besides making more books. The characters and their back stories all lend themselves perfectly to the gaming arena. Imagine if you will, each level of the game would tell the story of how each carny became an act in the grandest show ever. Of course, Mother Yagga the witch and her evil minions will be tirelessly trying to stop Jexter the Clown from building his Carny Army. I see it in my head now; damn I can’t wait to play it.
We’re right now working on Boris the Strongman’s story which we hope to release by Christmas. We are different at Carnival Comics. We don’t release a book until it is right. But I promise it won’t be seven years again. However, in truth, during this last seven years, I started a company, released 4 Funhouse of Horrors books, 3 Dandy graphic novels, a Dandy novel, Atomic Dreams graphic novel, a Carnival of Souls novel and graphic novel, a Funhouse of Horrors CD, several songs for published novels, one of which, “Dead Mann Walking”, was featured on Penguin Books website for download for the book of the same title by Stefan Petrucha. Not bad for a lifetime. So really not bad for 7 years. Now I have turned down all other work so that I can focus solely on the Carnival of Souls series.
In closing, I want to thank Carl Williams for his support of our makeshift carnival. On a serious note, during these seven years I found out that this industry can be very harsh to creators who are trying to make it in this business. Take this to heart; believe in yourself and don’t give a shit about what other people say about you. I’m telling you, you can do great things.
If you don’t believe me, take it from someone wiser than I am.
(Man in the Arena)
”It is not the critic who counts: not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without error or shortcoming, but who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself for a worthy cause; who, at the best, knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who knew neither victory nor defeat.” Theodore Roosevelt.
Jazan, I would like to thank you for sitting down with us to go over this short interview. I won’t keep you any longer as I hear the carnival music in the distance calling. Thank you on behalf of Gaming on Batteries, Scenic 7 Media Group and our great readers.