I didn't get into comics until I was about 27 or 28 years old. My best friend Rob wanted to do a graphic novel as a prequel to a vampire western novel he had written. That prequel eventually became a series called Ex Occultus and he and I started our own comic company called Saint James. During our time with SJ we did a few issues of Ex, quite a few online shorts as well as several other series. We had a lot of fun, but over time we just didn't have the funds to sustain a company. Rob focused more on writing prose and I focused more on comics. But the idea of Ex Occultus, the characters Wakefield & Hollander, are something I've never been able to get out of my head.

When I was coming up with ideas for my portfolio I was always drawn back to these characters and knew I had to do another short with them. I also knew I needed to find the right artist to bring these characters to life. 

I found that artist in Joanna Estep who's work I first discovered when I read an article online about a new graphic novel from Archaia called The Thrilling Adventure Hour. It was an anthology of sorts and featured a couple of pages from different stories. Two of the pages featured happened to be from Joanna's short and I was blown away. I contacted her immediately and luckily for me (and for you, dear readers) she had an opening in her schedule and was interested in the short. 

I don't remember my original idea for the short, but I asked Joanna what she liked to draw and she said she really wanted to draw a Sphinx, so I took that and built the story around it. As you'll see from her pages, she was just perfect for this story.

Paulina is back on colors for another short and every time she sends me pages they just reaffirm that she is one of the best kept secrets in comics. Her colors are always so brilliant and she is such a joy to work with. I truly believe that she will be the next breakout colorist in comics. 

For a while I've been wanting to work with Deron Bennett who does some amazing lettering work for a lot of Archaia books. He did a killer job and has been a pleasure to work with. My favorite part of his lettering was how he did the caption info in the first panel. 

I really love this short and I really love this series. The elevator pitch for Ex is: Indiana Jones meets the X-Files in the 19th century. Wakefield and Hollander have plenty of adventures we've yet to see and I still hope to one day get to tell their complete story.


Created by Jesse Young & Robert James Russell

Art: Joanna Estep

Colors: Paulina Ganucheau

Letters: Deron Bennett

PRESS: (Check out what some nice folks had to say about the short)