Life, Death & Sorcery #1 (Chapterhouse Comics)

indieLife, Death & Sorcery #1

By Danny Zabbal

Published By Chapterhouse Comics

Life, Death and Sorcery #1

I am always on the lookout for the next great indie book. For me, there is nothing better. When done correctly, they can be fantastic reads and also tremendously profitable (see Henchgirl for a recent example). The creators of these comics rely heavily on the support of their fans and, as a result, are often very approachable and willing to share their inspiration and vision. I want to tell you about my positive experience with a recently published small-press book and its creator Danny Zabbal.

When I read the promotional synopsis for Life, Death, & Sorcery #1 in Previews, I was intrigued:

Chapterhouse is proud to present Life, Death and Sorcery, an ongoing fantasy monthly by Toronto-based Danny Zabbal (The First Hero). Follow the story of Amelia, Coco and Winnie, three sisters that run away from home and embark on an amazing adventure. Drama, humor, and magic await in what Bleeding Cool calls “legitimately one of the best books of the year!”

It provided just enough information to make me curious and I made a note to myself to seek it out when it was released on 06/15/16. As is the case with many independent and small-press books, it was not available at any of my local stores. I went to the internet to do some more research on the book. I saw that I could read it for $3.99 on Comixology and decided it was worth the small cost to find out what the book was like and whether or not it was worth investing in.

I was very pleased with what I read. Danny Zabbal is talented storyteller. His art is sharp and does a lot of the storytelling on its own. His dialogue is only used when necessary and goes a long way in filling the reader in on the relationships of his characters. The first issue moved quickly and was over well before I was ready to leave the world Danny has created. I had a lot of questions and was eager to read more.

I went ahead and purchased one of each of the 3 available covers on the publisher’s website. I had not heard of the Canadian publisher before and was surprised to see that they also sell Captain Canuck comics. I went to Bleeding Cool to follow up on the last line of the synopsis that said it was, “legitimately one of the best books of the year!” I wanted to see what other readers thought about the comic and to see if they picked up on anything in the book that might have missed on the first couple of reads. I was confused when the information did not seem to pop up. I began altering the search terms and finally found success with an article from September of 2015 for a self-published book called Sorcery Chapter One that was also written and drawn by Danny Zabbal. There was still more for me to find out.

After searching ebay and other parts of the internet and finding nothing about Sorcery Chapter One, I decided to go directly to the source. I found contact information for Danny Zabbal and reached out to him with my questions. He got back to me extremely quickly and answered all my questions.

Looking at bleedingcool.com, I saw that it was previously reviewed as part of something called “Sorcery Chapter One.” Was this the original publishing of the book? Was it also published by Chapterhouse or was this a self-published effort? What was the format, print run, pages, etc.?

“Sorcery Chapter One” was the original black and white version of the book. It also included 26 extra pages that will be released as issue 2 in August. I printed a hundred or so sometime last year and sold them at some local cons, and even a few at NYCC. I started talking to Chapter House sometime in October of last year, but we didn’t firm up the deal until February. They’ve been incredibly generous in terms of allowing me to tell my story. The only caveat was the title, we felt that it should more fully embrace it’s indie identity so we added “Life Death &” to the beginning to attract a broader base of readers.

Is it that originally formatted book still available to purchase from you or another source?

Unfortunately, I don’t think you’ll be able to find the original anywhere. I’ve only got one copy left and it’s sitting on my bookshelf.

How much of the story has already been written and/or published and what does the future look like for the book?

So far, I’ve got the first four issues completed. As I mentioned before, the second issue is comprised of the remainder of the original edition, but three and four are entirely unpublished. The idea is to release each issue in a quarterly schedule and then progress to more frequent releases when the series picks up steam.

What was your inspiration for writing this story?

I just wanted to tell a full unhindered story. I didn’t want to be bogged down by the usual hangups of comic publication. It’s not necessarily about non-stop action and adventure, I really want to focus on characters and their relationships. In that sense, I’m hoping each issue will have it’s own kind of narrative catharsis and readers will enjoy seeing this world slowly unfurl in front of them.

What are you excited to reveal about the story going forward?

The one thing I’m really excited about is introducing all the colorful characters I have planned for later issues. I’ve got all kinds of fun heroes and villains that I can’t wait to show readers…to say nothing of the magic.

Are the characters featured in the prologue going to appear in later issues and/or interact with the three sisters?

The characters from the prologue do come back but not right away. The three sisters eventually meet them as the story progresses.

Lastly, there is so much character interaction in your first issue. It is clear from the conversations these characters have that much has happened prior to us meeting them. Could you give readers a sense of who your main characters are and what their motivations are as the story moves forward?

HANK SINCLAIR

Once upon a time Hank was a man of leisure. He wanted nothing more than to spend his family's fortune and enjoy a life of complete luxury. All that changed when he uncovered the world of magic and became embroiled in its drama. Eventually he found himself far away from Earth and concerned with more than just morning cocktails and afternoon badminton. He might have found a moral compass but he never lost his charm and his easy-going ways. Unfortunately for him, his instincts to cut corners and run away from his problems will soon catch up with him.

MOLLY OF ADRIAX

Molly suffers no fools, the only things she's ever relied are her magical talents and her wits. The only ideal that has ever interested her is doing what is right, which is to say, justice. Unfortunately she's seen so many horrible things in her life, and suffered so many disappointments, that her sense of hope dwindles every day. Her only guiding light is her best friend Hank, but even then her faith in him is beginning to wane.

AMELIA ACHAR

Amelia is a young woman of her time. Strong, smart and deeply sensitive. After her best friend dies she grows ever distant from classmates and family. Her fear of death, and her own growing sense of futility make her long for a deeper meaning to her mundane surroundings. Her world weary and aloof affectations are only betrayed by flickers of courage, compassion and humor.

TURGAN OF KALIGAR

Turgan is the despotic sorcerer prince of the planet Kaligar. Many years ago he made a deal with an evil being to grant him unlimited magical power, the ability to cast magic using willpower and hate alone. His wish was granted but only at the cost of his immortal soul. Turgan is alive but there is nothing inside, only his ambition, greed and fear. His only goal is to capture the mysterious Elara. With its power he can keep the fire of the Kaligari engines stoked for eternity, ever expanding, ever consuming and destroying…

Thank you so much for your time! I look forward to reading the rest of your story.

Thanks again for taking the time to read. Indie comics live and die by people, like yourself, who go out of your way to seek this content out.

I was very impressed with Danny Zabbal and his comic, Life, Death, & Sorcery #1. I would highly encourage everyone to give this small-press book a chance. The print run will undoubtedly be low. Since copies are still available on the publisher’s website, the overall investment cost is minimal. It seems like finding the self-published version would be pretty much impossible, unless you live in the northeast part of the United States and regularly deal in self-published comics. If you stumble across one, it would be a good thing to stash away. I feel that the content and quality of the book have the potential to appeal to a much wider audience. If it does, this first issue and the previously self-published version of the story will be the ones to have. If nothing else, you will be supporting small-press comics and an enthusiastic creator who seems to really enjoy what he does. Check the preview below and then look for the book!!!

4 comments

  • Eman

    Great article Mark,
    I actually pre-ordered two of the three covers from Midtown Comics almost two weeks ago.
    I never heard of this title before….but like you, once I read what the book was about I was interested.
    So that’s why I had to pre-order it. I believe Midtown’s site still has the blank cover still available.

    Also, Mark I reallly appreciate you digging and getting all the info you did…awesome job bro.
    Personally I’d like to see an “indie watch” artical at least once a week. One or two titles.
    The indie titles need a voice and today, Mark you have given Life, Death, and Sorcery it’s voice.
    Again Mark, great…great article. Keep up the AWESOME job.

  • Avatar

    Thanks for this! Found a copy at one of my LCSs. Looking forward to reading it!

  • Avatar

    Awesome! My LCS got one copy of each cover in their delivery today. Because I already bought copies online, I left them for someone else to discover. I will check back next week and see if anyone picked them up. I hope you enjoy it!

  • Avatar

    Last Wednesday Danny. Was at my lcs had blank covers. $20 for a comission. Sucks I don’t usually carry cash.

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